Posts Tagged Focus

Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup

TOP STORIES

Archbishop Philip Wilson sentenced to 12 months’ detention for child abuse cover-up
“The most senior clergyman in the world to be convicted of concealing child sex abuse(link is external), Adelaide’s Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson, has been sentenced to 12 months’ detention. Magistrate Robert Stone adjourned the matter to August 14 while Wilson is assessed for home detention. He will be eligible for parole after six months. In May, the 67-year-old was found guilty of concealing the sexual abuse of children between 2004 and 2006 at the hands of paedophile priest Jim Fletcher in the 1970s.” By Nancy Notzon Australian Broadcasting Company News

Cardinal McCarrick’s removal shows the Catholic Church may be taking sexual abuse more seriously
“‘Credible and substantiated.’ That was the finding of a Catholic Church investigation into allegations that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a former archbishop of Washington, sexually abused a minor(link is external) almost 50 years ago. That it took nearly a half-century for these allegations to be dealt with illustrates the church’s wretched track record in combating clerical sex abuse. At the same time, even this belated reckoning shows the church is making some progress in facing up to its problems rather than, as had been its wont, covering them up.” By The Washington Post Editoral Board

Cheyenne Diocese: abuse allegations against retired bishop ‘credible’
“A recent investigation by the Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming, found that allegations of sexual abuse of minors(link is external) against retired Bishop Joseph Hart are ‘credible and require disciplinary action,’ challenging a past inquiry by a local district attorney that has now been called ‘flawed.’ Hart, who served as Cheyenne bishop from 1976 to 2001, has been restricted from public ministry since September 2015. He has faced allegations of sexual abuse dating back to his time as a priest (1956-1976) in the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, Diocese.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Vatican convicts ex-diplomat of child porn distribution
“The Vatican tribunal Saturday (Jun. 23) convicted a former papal diplomat and sentenced him to five years in prison for possessing and distributing child pornography(link is external) in the first such trial of its kind inside the Vatican. Monsignor Carlo Capella admitted to viewing the images during what he called a period of ‘fragility’ and interior crisis sparked by a job transfer to the Vatican embassy in Washington … Tribunal President Giuseppe Dalla Torre read out the verdict after a two-day trial and sentenced Capella to five years in prison and a fine of about $6,000. Capella will serve the sentence in the Vatican barracks, where he has been held since his arrest earlier this year.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe

Two more Chilean bishops are out as pope cleans house
“Pope Francis on Thursday (Jun. 28) accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops(link is external) (bringing to five the total number of resignations accepted), the latest fallout from a sex abuse scandal whose scope and gravity were initially underestimated by the pontiff. Last month all 31 of Chile’s active bishops offered to quit for collectively failing to protect children from pedophile priests.” By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press

Newspapers, victims sue for release of Pennsylvania grand jury’s clergy sex abuse report
“Several Pennsylvania news outlets and victims of clergy sex abuse sued Friday (Jul. 6) for the release of a grand jury rep(link is external)ort which details cases of abuse in six of the state’s eight Catholic dioceses. The state supreme court had blocked the release. Todd Frey, who testified to the grand jury about having been abused by a priest, filed a petition with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court July 6 … Nine news outlets argued that Pennsylvania law requires that the more-than-800-page report, a ‘matter of extraordinary public importance,’ be released publicly.” By Catholic News Agency

ACCOUNTABILITY

Investigate the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo
“Imagine an organization. It’s well-regarded and has a long, storied history. But it has a dark side. In addition to its many good works, certain members committed some of the worst offenses imaginable(link is external) – crimes against children. Even worse, imagine that administrators had concocted a scheme to hush it all up in an effort to protect the organization. A question inevitably arises: What then is the culpability of the organization? In any setting but a church, the answer would be shouted from the courthouse steps. Should it be different when it is a church? It shouldn’t, but in Erie County, it appears it is.” By The Buffalo News Editorial Board

French ex-bishop to stand trial for not reporting pedophile priest
“The former bishop of the French city of Orleans, Andre Fort, was ordered Thursday (Jun. 28) to stand trial for failing to report a pedophile priest in his diocese(link is external). Fort, who was bishop of the northern city between 2002 and his retirement in 2010, was charged last June over allegations that he turned a blind eye to child abuse by priest Pierre de Castelet. Fort had moved de Castelet into roles where he did not have contact with children, but did not inform the police about accusations by a man who said he and others had been abused by the priest as a child.” By Expatica.com

Pennsylvania Supreme Court seeks input on secrecy of sex abuse grand jury report
“A lengthy report into allegations of sexual abuse and related cover-ups(link is external) within Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic churches remained on hold Monday (Jul. 2), as the state’s highest court gave those who wanted to keep the grand jury report under wraps three days to weigh in. The state Supreme Court, through its filing office, told lawyers for those who have pending appellate challenges to the report’s release that they will have until Thursday (Jul. 5) afternoon to respond to a request to unseal it by The Associated Press and six other media organizations.” By Associated Press in The Morning Call

Have faith that the Catholic Church sex abuse report will be released
“The anger and disappointment over the last-minute hold on a potentially damning grand jury report on priest sex abuse(link is external) in Pennsylvania is understandable. The victims, the Catholic faithful and the public have waited too long already for these secrets to be spilled. We want the names. We want to know whether church officials or others tried to cover up their despicable actions.” By Paul Muschick, The Morning Call

Documents detail Vatican crackdown in troubled Indian archdiocese
“Vatican documents obtained by Crux detail the concerns that led Pope Francis on Friday(Jun. 22) to name an Apostolic Administrator for the troubled mother diocese of the Eastern Rite Syro-Malabar Church(link is external). Those documents show the Vatican is alarmed not only about financial scandals and mismanagement in the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly, technically known as an ‘archeparchy,’ but also divisions among the clergy, the auxiliary bishops of the diocese and Cardinal George Alencherry.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

POPE FRANCIS

Pope replaces Australian prelate who opposes sex abuse norm
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Melbourne’s archbishop(link is external), who said he’d prefer jail to telling civil authorities about any sex abuse of children that might be revealed to him in the confessional. The Vatican said Friday that the pontiff has appointed Monsignor Peter Comensoli, 54, to head the archdiocese, replacing Archbishop Denis Hart. At 77, Hart is two years older than the age at which all bishops must offer the pope their resignation.” By Associated Press

Bishop McElroy says ‘lived reality’ at heart of Francis’ pastoral theology, profound moment of renewal
“The ‘lived reality of men and women and children and families’ and their ‘sufferings and challenges and joys’ are at the center of ‘a moment of explicit theological renewal that will contribute enormously to the spread of the Gospel in this new millennium,’ said San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy in a June 26 keynote address. That understanding of the ‘emerging pastoral theology’(link is external) delineated and promoted by Pope Francis ‘both links us to the pastoral action and ethos of the Lord himself’ and is ‘highly attuned to the challenges and culture of the 21st century,’ McElroy told participants at the annual assembly of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests held June 25-27 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

Pope to make Vatican changes in push for reform, transparency
“Pope Francis will be making several significant changes in the Vatican(link is external) in the next few weeks and months to bring in fresh faces with new ideas and promote others as part of his push for reform. The pope disclosed his decisions in a rare sit-down interview with Reuters at his residence, during which he also spoke of migration, China, freedom of the press, sexual abuse and the role of women in the Church.” By Philip Pullella, Reuters

Pope affirms women can’t be priests, says Church has ‘woken up’ on sex abuse
“In a wide-ranging interview in which he spoke about the ongoing migrant crisis in the United States, Pope Francis also touched on issues such as female ordination, the ongoing Vatican talks with China and the clerical sexual abuse scandals in Chile(link is external). The conversation between Francis and a journalist from British news agency Reuters took place on Sunday (Jun. 17) afternoon, and sections of it were published on Wednesday. Reuters also provided a transcript of portions of the interview to Vatican journalists.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

CARDINALS

Sights and sounds as Pope Francis creates new Princes of the Church
(Jun. 28, 2018) “Pope Francis will create 14 new cardinals(link is external) on Thursday (Jun. 28), 11 of whom will be in a position to elect, and be elected as, the next pope. They come from 12 countries, including Madagascar, Japan, Pakistan, Iraq, Mexico, Peru, Spain and Italy, in another attempt by the pontiff to make the College of Cardinals a reflection of the universality of the Church. The fact that they come from so many diverse backgrounds makes it understandable that they all have different priorities.” By Inés San Martin

BISHOPS

Archbishop Coleridge demands greater accountability of bishops during visit to Rome
“Brisbane Archbishop and Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Mark Coleridge has used a Vatican visit to publicly demand bishops ‘be accountable’ in changing Church culture(link is external) that made child abuse possible. ‘We’re not above the law, we are not a law unto ourselves nor is the Church a law unto herself,’ Archbishop Coleridge said following a conference on safeguarding and child protection held at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University on June 18-21.” By Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader

German bishops resume Communion debate after ignoring pope’s requet
“The German bishops’ conference said when the bishops meet in September, they will continue to examine the issue of Communion for Protestant spouses(link is external) of Catholics. The bishops published an ‘Orientation Guide in the Responsibility of Individual Bishops’ June 27. According to DomRadio, the official news site of the Diocese of Cologne, the guide is the same handout that the bishops’ conference developed in February, but with a changed title. Although it is published, the document is not available for public viewing.” By Zita Fletcher, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

Editorial: Sound the horn, bishops, we’re waiting
“On the major issues of the day — immigration, climate change, racism, income inequality, to name a few — we are seeing extraordinary grassroots efforts to combat draconian federal policies that are the antithesis of the Beatitudes. In efforts like the renewed Poor People’s Campaign, students against gun violence, and the Catholic Climate Covenant, we have seen individuals and small groups rise up to confront those who put profits above people and those who steer government budgets and agendas away from supporting the common good to supporting corporate interests and personal gain … The time is ripe to move these grassroots efforts to a new place in the national agenda. To do that will require firm moral leadership. As Catholics, we look to our bishops for that kind of leadership(link is external).” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

PRIESTS

Priests’ social justice concerns shape assembly, resolutions
“More than 200 participants at the annual assembly of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests(link is external) June 25-28 here heard calls for the church to focus on young Catholics, embrace the pastoral theology of Pope Francis, and affirm the Second Vatican Council’s theological spadework. During two business sessions, the attendees — the vast majority of whom are what researchers denote as “Vatican II priests” — also approved four goals and passed eight resolutions on topics such as women’s status in the church, ordination of married men, climate change, seminary formation and clericalism.” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

LAITY & THE CHURCH

Dolores Leckey bridged the laity – hierarchy gap
“The Second Vatican Council presented alternative roles for believers, those who make up more than 99 percent of all Catholics. In it, the ‘docile flock’ was redefined as the people of God(link is external). Lumen Gentium stated unequivocally that the faithful shared in the ‘priestly, prophetic and kingly functions of Christ’ and as such had a mission both in the world and the church. Yet between the promulgation of these words and the reality there was a huge chasm that would be bridged over the next several decades. There were two issues of importance: how to persuade those with ecclesial authority to respond positively to lay empowerment, and how to educate laity about its mission.” By Dana Greene, National Catholic Reporter

Bishop Rozanski: Catholics want more input, outreach, transparency
“Bishop Mitchell Rozanski is looking forward to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield celebrating its 150th year in 2020 with a plan in place for more welcoming parishes, more involvement of youth in these parishes and more faith outreach beyond parish walls. In other words, an evangelizing look ahead in the spirit of Pope Francis’ proclamation(link is external), ‘Joy of the Gospel’ or ‘Evangelii Gaudium,’ rather than a narrative totally framed by recent decades of merged parishes, closed schools and clergy sexual abuse lawsuits.” By Anne-Gerard Flynn, Springfield Republican

VATICAN

Vatican City still has no policy to fight clergy sex abuse
“Pope Francis has taken measures to address a spiraling sex abuse scandal in Chile(link is external), but he hasn’t moved on a problem closer to home: Vatican City itself does not have policies to protect children from pedophile priests or require suspected abuse to be reported to police.” By Associated Press in Tampa Bay Times

CLERICALISM

The clericalist syndrome
“‘How could someone with that on his record ever have become a cardinal?(link is external)’ That question has been asked repeatedly since the disclosure that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, 87, former Archbishop of Washington, has been suspended from public ministry by order of the pope in the face of an allegation – deemed ‘credible and substantiated’ by the New York Archdiocese – that he abused a minor there forty-seven years ago.” By Russell Shaw, TheCatholicThing.org

WOMEN DEACONS

Doctrinal chief Ladaria plays down possibility of female deacons
“The leader of the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation sought to play down expectations about the possibility of female deacons(link is external) today (Jun. 26), arguing that a commission set up by Pope Francis was focussed on their historical role in the early Church rather than on ordination. Cardinal-designate Luis Ladaria told reporters in the Vatican on 26 June, that while women deacons existed in the early Church they were ‘not the same’ as their male counterparts.” By Christopher Lamb, The Tablet

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Women push for more from Vatican, Francis
“Pope Francis’ appointment of Italian journalist Paolo Ruffini as the first layperson to head a Vatican department on July 5 has been welcomed by Voices of Faith, a group promoting women’s leadership in the church … ‘It opens the door for laypersons of both genders to lead Vatican entities,’ Chantal Götz told NCR. But she added, ‘It is also an opportunity missed(link is external).’ She said that women need to be leading dicasteries and councils because that is where decisions are made. ‘Actions or implementations are now expected if the Vatican is serious about women in leadership positions,’ she said.” By Sarah Mac Donald, National Catholic Reporter

Roman burial art reveals forgotten women of Christianity
“Is there such a thing as reverent glee? If so, then that’s how I would have described St. Joseph Sr. Christine Schenk as she bounded among the ruins of ancient Cenchreae, the location of the house church of the deacon Phoebe(link is external) during a travel program I led. There is something about standing in the place mentioned in our Scriptures that stirs us, and reminds us that our ancestors in the faith were real, historical folks. In this case, a first-century woman whom the Apostle Paul called ‘our sister, who is [also] a diakonos of the church at Cenchreae’ (Romans 16:1).” By Laurie Brink, National Catholic Reporter

Women explore their role in the Church
“Sixty women and men from Parramatta Diocese and beyond gathered last week to discuss the place of women in the life of the Church(link is external) and the need for the female voice in leadership. Our Lady of Mercy College, a school deeply committed to women’s participation in Church and society, was a fitting venue for the evening of formation and consultation with the Council for Australian Catholic Women.” By CathNews.com

Women and LGBTQ people must find solidarity in struggle for a just church
“In June 2017, when Jesuit Fr. James Martin was promoting his then-newly published book, Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity, one of many interviews he offered was with Kaya Oakes, published on the website Religion Dispatches. Oakes asked Martin whether he believed there is ‘a common struggle in the church between women and LGBT people(link is external).’ Martin said that while there is an ‘interesting parallel’ between the issues, ultimately ‘that analogy fails, because LGBT people are the most marginalized people in the church today.’” By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

As traditional parishes decline, ‘personal parishes’ find new interest
“Sociologists call it the ‘Big Sort.’ Americans are increasingly choosing their own communities, clustering around like-minded people: liberals in coastal cities or college towns, Trump supporters in Southern red states and the middle of the country. For better or worse, Catholics are not immune. Increasingly churchgoers are bypassing neighborhood parishes in favor of faith communities(link is external) that deliver what they are seeking.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Engage young Catholics now, says pastoral expert at priests’ assembly
“A leading expert on pastoral theology has underscored that the Catholic Church must quickly and effectively engage young Catholics(link is external) through dialogue, awareness, listening, respect, humility, patience and creativity — or its future looks dim. In the June 25 opening presentation at the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests’ annual assembly held June 25-27 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Franciscan Sr. Katarina Schuth did not minimize challenges in reaching millennial Catholics.” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

Concerns about the future of the Catholic Church
“Parishioners shared their concerns about the future of the Catholic Church(link is external) with Bishop Richard Malone Wednesday (Jun. 20) night along with three other Catholic panelists during a Q & A session. The community talked about the problems facing the church and how to address them for years to come. Before the panel started, Monsignor Robert Zapfel addressed the sex abuse allegations against dozens of priests.” By Rachele Mongiovi, WIVB4 NEWS

CHURCH FINANCES

Catholic Church grapples with the high price of clergy sexual abuse
“The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis will need to pay victims of abuse more than $210 million(link is external) in a settlement that has brought them to the seek bankruptcy protection. This money will go to about 450 survivors who are represented in the settlement. About $40 million of the $210 million will be paid by the church; the rest will be paid by insurers. How does the church move on from this? Do parishioners trust the process? Are they confident that the issue of sexual abuse is over within the church?” By Kerri Miller and Manda Lillie, Minnesota Public Radio

Diocese says former St. Theresa priest found stealing from collection
“The Rapid City Police released a statement on Sunday (Jul. 1) saying they have completed an investigation and that Father Marcin Garbacz admitted to being responsible for the theft of the weekly collection(link is external) at St. Therese church. The case has been forwarded to the State’s Attorney’s Office and they are in the process of determining and filing criminal charges.” By KOTA-TV News

Pope Francis calls a ‘Hail Mary’ pass on Vatican financial reform
“For some time now, Pope Francis’s ambitious attempt at financial reform of the Vatican has seemed like an American football game in which the pope’s team is down late in the fourth quarter, and backed up against its side of the field. On Tuesday (Jun. 26), Francis did what teams in that situation generally do – he called a ‘Hail Mary’ pass, naming a loyal but largely untested ally to take over the Vatican’s main financial center of power(link is external). It is, in a real sense, both the most reassuring and also the riskiest move we’ve seen from the pontiff in some time.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Could Diocese of Providence declare bankruptcy – now facing exposure to tens of millions
“The very idea that the Diocese of Providence could file for bankruptcy(link is external) seems absurd as it historically has been one of the most influential and wealthy institutions in Rhode Island. If it did file for bankruptcy it would not be the first Diocese in the United States to file for bankruptcy to avoid financial claims. Today, the Diocese of Providence is facing a massive lawsuit by the receiver for the St. Joseph pension fund — a lawsuit that alleges, in part, that Bishop Thomas Tobin and other top Diocesan leaders perpetrated a massive fraud.” By GoLocalProv.com

Ex-Diocese of Corpus Christi priest faces charge of ‘severe irregularities’ in audit
“A Catholic priest released from a Port Aransas church last year has been arrested after a financial audit revealed ‘severe irregularities(link is external),’ according to a statement from the Diocese of Corpus Christi. The Rev. Krzysztof Bauta is being charged with a second-degree felony, but it was not immediately clear from the statement what exact charge he is facing.” By Tim Acosta, Corpus Christi Caller Times

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Inside Chilean abuse survivor’s meeting with Pope Francis
“In Cruz’s (Chilean clergy abuse survivor Juan Carlos Cruz) case, the encounter began with Francis apologizing(link is external). ‘I felt he was very, very sincere,’ Cruz said. In their time with Francis, the three (Chilean abuse survivors) tried to focus less on their individual stories but rather convey the global scope of the clergy sexual abuse ‘epidemic’ that has many survivors seeking justice, Cruz said. ‘This is a crime, and we spelled it out with all our words.’ ‘I said, ‘Holy Father, we cannot let this go on one more [day]. It’s in your hands to do something,’’ Cruz added. ‘He agreed.’ Specific bishops also came up in the conversations, including Cardinal Francisco Errázuriz Ossa, retired archbishop of Santiago and a member of the pope’s nine-member advisory Council of Cardinals.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic Church finally cracking down on pedophile priests
“To even casual observers of recent news about the Catholic Church, it’s clear that a new day has dawned(link is external). Finally, after decades of stalling, denials and civil lawsuits, Catholic dioceses seem to recognize their accountability for the criminal behavior of pedophile priests.” By Mary Sanchez, Courier & Press

Lessons from McCarrick case: pay attention to misconduct with adults
“When the Archdiocese of New York announced a ‘credible and substantiated’ allegation of sexual abuse(link is external) against a minor was confirmed against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick – the former Archbishop of Washington, who had served as a priest in New York – it was the first time an American cardinal was personally charged with a crime involving a minor, against the backdrop of a crisis that’s enveloped the Church for nearly two decades.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

At last, bad news is good news in the Catholic sex abuse scandal
“In the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandals, what seems like bad news for the church — seemingly daily headlines about clergy being disciplined — is actually good news. The truly bad news of the scandal, of course, has been the horrible abuse of children, which will have negative effects on them for the rest of their lives. The good news is that perpetrators have been caught and exposed. Accusations are being investigated and the guilty are being punished. When the abuse scandal was first uncovered in the United States some 30 years ago, bishops in other countries denied they had a problem. What is clearly a worldwide problem is now getting attention(link is external) at the highest level in the church, thanks to Pope Francis.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Church body (in Ireland) warns of legal barriers to addressing abuse failings
“The Catholic Church’s child protection watchdog has said legal barriers are preventing it from addressing ‘serious and widespread’ failings(link is external) in how some allegations of clerical sexual abuse are handled. Data protection concerns are preventing the National Board for Safeguarding Children from keeping a central database of priests who are facing child abuse allegations, with potentially ‘devastating consequences for children’ the organization’s board told the Department of Justice in April.” By Jack Power, The Irish Times

ILLINOIS

Ex-priest who abused child allowed access to Chicago schools
“Chicago Public Schools correspondence provided to The Associated Press shows that the nation’s third-largest school district gave a former Roman Catholic priest access to its schools for months despite knowing he was forced to leave the priesthood(link is external) for sexually abusing a boy of 6 when he was around 15.” By Michael Tarm, 5News Chicago

At 125th year, activist church St. Agatha has emerged from clergy sex-abuse pain
“The Rev. Larry Dowling still remembers when he got the call from Cardinal Francis George asking him to consider serving as pastor of St. Agatha’s Church in North Lawndale. It was 2007, and St. Agatha’s was in agony. The church at 3147 W. Douglas was at the center of the clergy sex-abuse scandal(link is external) rocking the Chicago archdiocese, with its former pastor, the Rev. Daniel J. McCormack, accused — and later convicted — of abusing five boys.” By Maudlyne Ihejirika, Chicago Sun Times

LOUISIANA

Archdiocese of New Orleans pays ‘substantial’ sum to resolve rape claims
“The Archdiocese of New Orleans has paid more than a half-million dollars to settle claims that a longtime deacon and teacher repeatedly raped an altar boy(link is external) at Holy Rosary School in New Orleans more than three decades ago. The settlement, paid this month, brought a swift conclusion to a lawsuit filed earlier this year that accused the archdiocese of allowing a ‘sexual predator’ to work among children in Our Lady of the Rosary Parish and doing ‘nothing to intervene and prevent such misconduct from occurring.’” By Jim Mustian, The New Orleans Advocate

Questions about Archdiocese of New Orleans’ need to disclose after abuse case against deacon
“Survivor groups have criticized the church for failing to deliver on many of its promises, particularly when it comes to the pledge to identify former priests and deacons accused of wrongdoing(link is external). The inconsistencies continued last week, when New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond wrote a letter to church members insisting the archdiocese acted ‘quickly and pastorally’ in response to an explosive lawsuit filed earlier this year that accused a longtime deacon and Catholic schoolteacher, George F. Brignac, of repeatedly raping an altar boy at Holy Rosary School in the early 1980s.” By Jim Mustian, The New Orleans Advocate

MICHIGAN

Sexual abuse claim against dead Michigan priest is credible, says church
“The Roman Catholic Church in southeastern Michigan is urging people to step forward if they believe they were sexually abused by a priest(link is external) who died in 1993. The archdiocese says it investigated a complaint against Monsignor Arthur Karey and found it credible. Spokesman Ned McGrath says the allegation involved a girl decades ago but was received just last year. Karey died in 1993 at age 74. He was a priest for 50 years in Detroit, Ecorse and Lake Orion. His service included work as a Detroit police chaplain.” By ClickOnDetroit.com

NEW YORK

There are now 74 Catholic priests in Buffalo accused of sexual misconduct
“To date, 74 current or former Buffalo priests have been publicly accused of sexual misconduct(link is external). The Diocese of Buffalo in March 2018 released a list of 42 ‘diocesan priests who were removed from ministry, were retired, or left ministry after allegations of sexual abuse with a minor.’ It included deceased priests ‘with more than one allegation made against them.’ That list did not include the names of dozens of additional priests …” By Charlie Specht and Christine Streich, WKBW-TV News

Suspended Greene County priest permanently barred from ministry
“Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger announced today (Jun. 30) that he has permanently barred Rev. Jeremiah Nunan, 81, from ministry after the Albany Diocese Review Board found reasonable grounds to believe he had sexually abused a minor(link is external) in the early 1990s. Nunan was placed on administrative leave by the Diocese six years ago. He was barred from officiating at sacraments, wearing clerical garb, or presenting himself as a priest. Bishop Scharfenberger accepted the recommendation of the Diocese Review Board following an independent investigation and confirmed Nunan’s permanent removal from ministry. Nunan has denied the allegation.” By Diocese of Albany

As Pennsylvania investigates dioceses, New York prosecutors stay bystanders
“Special agents with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office used search warrants and subpoenas last year to seize evidence of a massive cover-up of clergy sex abuse in six Catholic dioceses(link is external) in the state. But despite growing revelations of sex abuse by priests in the Diocese of Buffalo, law enforcement authorities in New York aren’t investigating whether crimes were committed in keeping the abuses hidden for so long.” By Jay Tokacz, The Buffalo News

Accused priest returns to pulpit after diocese finds claims ‘not substantiated’
“The Rev. Dennis G. Riter, in his first Mass since being suspended from ministry due to a sex abuse complaint(link is external), told parishioners he was happy to be back in the pulpit and acknowledged that ‘it’s been a long three months.’ ‘I am so very, very happy to be with you today,’ Riter said during the Saturday evening Mass in St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Dunkirk. ‘I certainly felt your prayers and your support over the past three months.’ Riter didn’t specifically address the abuse claim, reported to the Diocese of Buffalo in March, that resulted in his suspension.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Buffalo Diocese puts four more priests on leave over sex abuse claims
“Buffalo Diocese Bishop Richard J. Malone put four more priests on leave due to complaints of sexual abuse(link is external), said allegations against three other priests were substantiated and exonerated a fourth priest who had been suspended in March. A diocesan investigation determined that the allegations against the Rev. Dennis G. Riter, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Dunkirk, have not been substantiated. Riter has been returned to active ministry and likely will celebrate Masses in the parish this weekend (Jul. 1). Removed from active ministry this week were four retired priests who assist at area parishes: the Rev. Pascal D. Ipolito, the Rev. Daniel J. Palys, the Rev. Roy Herberger and the Rev. Robert A. Stolinski.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

PENNSYLVANIA

Sisters seek to end gag order in priest sex abuse settlement
“Two sisters asked a judge Monday (Jul. 2) to invalidate broad confidentiality agreements other family members made with a Pennsylvania Catholic diocese so they can speak publicly about sexual abuse at the hands of a parish priest(link is external) more than two decades ago. The lawsuit in county court in Harrisburg by two adult women said their silence was required in settlements made with the Harrisburg Diocese over sexual abuse of two other sisters in the same family by Father Augustine Michael Giella.” By Mark Scolforo, Associated Press, on Cruxnow.com

Erie bishop calls abuse findings ‘sobering,’ ‘graphic’
“Bishop Lawrence T. Persico sat in front of 23 angry grand jury members(link is external) in April and apologized. ‘I said that I was sorry that they had to sit there and listen for two years to hear all that,’ said the Most Rev. Persico, who heads the diocese of Erie. ‘Well, they were upset. I can understand that. They are trying to get an understanding of what happened.’” By Melissa Klaric, The Tribune-Democrat

Eastern Pennsylvania priest suspended after online sex-abuse lawsuit
“A priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown, Pa., has been suspended after a lawsuit accused him of exploiting a teenage boy’s trust by engaging in sexual acts(link is external)over the internet with him beginning in 2011. The Allentown diocese said in a statement it had just learned of the lawsuit and that Monsignor Francis Nave will be removed from ministry pending investigation. Msgr. Nave was pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Bath, Pa.” By Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

TEXAS

Bishop Cantú responds to sexual abuse lawsuit naming Las Cruces parish
“The Diocese of Las Cruces responded on Wednesday (Jun. 20) to a lawsuit filed against the Diocese of El Paso alleging sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) 40 years ago by Father Joaquin Resma when he was a priest at Our Lady of Health parish in Las Cruces. Resma died in 1983.” By Las Cruces Sun News

Alleged victim says local priest sexually assaulted her during confession
“A woman who says a former Catholic priest sexually abused her as a child(link is external) told investigators it all began when she was 8 years old, according to court documents. Miguel Luna, 68, was arrested this month after an investigation was launched into the claims of sexual abuse alleged to have happened for several years in the late 1990s.” By Jessica Gonzalez, KFOX14 News

AUSTRALIA

Some Australian bishops advise Wilson to resign
“Amidst the ongoing fallout surrounding the news that Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson will appeal his conviction of covering up sex abuse(link is external), the head of the Australian Bishops’ Conference has released a statement wherein he notes that a number of bishops have encouraged Wilson to resign.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Australia’s national compensation plan for child sex abuse victims begins
“On Sunday (Jul. 1), Australia launched a program to compensate the victims of institutional child sex abuse(link is external). ‘The development of the National Redress Scheme was one of the key recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse and was supported by the Catholic Church in Australia (which was the first non-government entity to join the scheme) and many survivor groups,’ read a statement from the Archdiocese of Sydney. The scheme runs ten years – from July 1, 2018 until June 30, 2027.” By Catholic News Agency on Cruxnow.com

Abuse survivors doubt independence of company running safeguarding standards forum
“Prominent Hunter Valley clerical abuse survivors will boycott a Catholic safeguarding standards forum, saying it is a sham that lacks independence. A consultation forum will be held in Newcastle today (Jul. 1) as part of an Australia-wide engagement with survivors of child sexual abuse(link is external), advocates, Catholic Church personnel and others to discuss draft national Catholic safeguarding standards.” By Gixelle Wakatama and Lix Farquhar, Australian Broadcasting Company

Catholic priests who don’t report confessions of child sex abuse may be charged
“Catholic priests in WA would face criminal charges if they refuse to break the seal of confession to report child sex abuse to police(link is external). But it appears WA is headed towards a stand-off between Church and State, with Perth’s top Catholic saying this week the Church is not backing down and will continue to practice confessional secrecy.” By Kate Campbell, PerthNow.com

CANADA

Catholic diocese slashing funding for priest abuse victims
“The Roman Catholic diocese in Southwestern Ontario has slashed funds to pay for counseling of those abused by pries(link is external)ts and adopted American-style tactics by using a top-dollar legal team to go after those who support victims, a London lawyer says. The change in tactics by the Diocese of London came suddenly and left victims vulnerable, said lawyer Rob Talach of London, who has represented many victims and complainants since becoming a lawyer in 2002.” By Jonathan Sher, The London Free Press

CHILE

Sacred Hearts priest in Chile investigated for sexual abuse
“The Chilean province of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary reported Monday (Jun. 18) that a preliminary investigation is underway on Father Juan Andrés Peretiatkowicz Valdés, accused of sexual abuse and the abuse of power(link is external). According to a June 18 statement, the case involves accusations of acts which ‘allegedly began at the end of the 1980s.’ According to the congregation the priest has had no pastoral responsibilities for five years for health reasons.” By Catholic News Agency on Cruxnow.com

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Isle of Man diocese to review alleged abuse by clergy
“Last week a report examining the Church’s ‘flawed’ Past Case Review (PCR) said it failed to identify at least 22 cases of possible abuse(link is external). Sodor and Man is one of seven CofE dioceses whose efforts were deemed ‘inadequate.’ A diocese spokesman acknowledged ‘shortcomings’ in its record-keeping.” By BBC News

GUAM

Archdiocese names in $5M sex abuse lawsuit
“A former Guam resident has filed a sex abuse lawsuit(link is external) against the Archdiocese of Agana, alleging he was sexually molested and abused by a priest in 1967. J.V.C., who used initials to protect his identity, now lives in Oregon and alleges he was sexually molested and abused by Antonio Cruz, who is now deceased.” By Mindy Aguon, The Guam Daily Post

INDIA

Indian Catholic priest on trial for sex abuse
“A Catholic priest in India who was arrested more than a year ago on charges of raping and impregnating a 17-year-old schoolgirl(link is external), is to stand trial. Father Robin Vadakkancherry of Mananthavady Diocese was parish priest of St. Sebastian’s Church in Kottiyoor at the time of the alleged offense.” By T.K. Devasia, International La Croix

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


TOP STORIES

Retired Washington cardinal out of ministry after credible abuse accusation
“In a shocking announcement, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who served as the archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., before retiring in 2006, has announced that he is stepping down from active ministry after allegations of sexual abuse(link is external) were found ‘credible and substantiated.’ The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, at the direction of Pope Francis, has instructed Cardinal McCarrick that he is no longer to exercise publicly his priestly ministry.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

Pope removes Chile bishop accused of abuse cover up
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a controversial Chilean bishop(link is external)accused of covering up clerical sexual abuse, making it the first such accepted resignation since all the country’s bishops offered to step down in May … The Vatican announced Francis’s decision on Monday (Jun. 11), and said Bishop Jorge Enrique Concha Cayuqueo, an auxiliary bishop from the capital Santiago, would serve as apostolic administrator of the diocese. Two other bishops also had their resignations accepted: Archbishop Cristián Caro Cordero of Puerto Montt and Bishop Gonzalo Duarte García de Cortázar of Valparaíso.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Bishops’ prosecutions may point to new phase in church’s sex abuse crisis
“Pope Francis has been dealing over recent months with what has seemed like an unending saga of the Catholic clergy sexual abuse(link is external) crisis in Chile. After being criticized for saying abuse victims had committed ‘calumny’ during his January visit to the country, the pope has since admitted making ‘serious mistakes,’ met with Chilean victims in Rome, and received offers of resignation from most of the country’s bishops … But if Francis’ response to clergy abuse in Chile has appeared unending, recent developments across the world indicate that an examination into how the global Catholic Church has handled, or mishandled, sexual abuse is just beginning to ramp up.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Expanded background checks among changes to child protection charter
“Incremental changes to the U.S. bishops’ guiding document(link is external) on addressing sexual abuse of minors by clergy were approved Thursday (Jun. 13) during the prelates’ annual spring assembly, marking the first modifications since 2011. In the first of six votes set for day two of the gathering, the bishops voted 185-5, with one abstention, to approve a series of revisions to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, also known as the Dallas Charter.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Australian prelate: laity could have prevented ‘catastrophic’ abuse crisis
“Arguably, few people in Australia can say they are more on the front lines in picking up the pieces after the recently concluded Royal Commission into Institutional Sexual Abuse that was highly critical of the Catholic Church than Archbishop Mark Coleridge, elected as president of the country’s bishops’ conference last month. Despite the challenges, which also include trials of two of Australia’s most renowned clerics … Coleridge is convinced that when it comes to fighting clerical sexual abuse, a ‘change in culture’ is needed and is already in motion(link is external).” By Inés San Martin, John L. Allen, and Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

CLERGY ABUSE CRISIS IN CHILE

The clergy abuse crisis in Chile is sending shockwaves through the Catholic community there and reverberating throughout the world as potential changes to how the Church handles such abuse are discussed. Here are some of the news stories that have appeared in addition to those we cite elsewhere in this issue of Focus:

ACCOUNTABILITY

#MeToo, earlier scandals mean pending sex abuse report can’t be ‘a small problem’
“In the mid-2000s, when then-Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham launched an investigation into clergy sex abuse and cover-up in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, she was assailed for waging a campaign against the Roman Catholic Church. It was a virtual repeat of what had played out just a few years prior in 2002 in Boston … At times, both in Philadelphia and Boston, Catholics rallied behind the church and defended their faith as legions came to terms with revelations of the assaults. Nearly a decade later, a pending grand jury investigation report into clergy sex abuse allegations and cover-up across six dioceses in Pennsylvania stands against a markedly changed landscape(link is external).” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

Report on Pennsylvania roman Catholic priest sexual abuse to be most extensive ever
“The results of a lengthy probe into the handling of sexual abuse claims by Roman Catholic dioceses(link is external) throughout Pennsylvania, which victim advocates say will be the biggest and most exhaustive ever by a U.S. state, could be made public within weeks. A statewide grand jury spent nearly two years looking into the abuse scandal, and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has said he plans to address the panel’s findings by the end of June. The grand jury investigated six of the state’s eight dioceses, which collectively minister to more than 1.7 million Catholics. The report is expected to reveal details of widespread abuse and efforts to conceal and protect abusive priests.” By Claudia Lauer, Associated Press

Chile prosecutors raid Catholic Church offices amid sex abuse probe
“Chilean police and prosecutors on Wednesday (Jun. 12) launched separate and unexpected raids on Roman Catholic Church offices(link is external) to seize documents relating to mounting claims of sexual abuse and cover-up. The raids came just hours before Vatican abuse investigators sent by Pope Francis met the country’s top prosecutor to discuss collaborating on civil and canonical probes.” By Aislinn Laing and Dave Sherwood, Reuters

Church praised for proactive response on abuse but warned of complacency
“Despite groundbreaking steps the U.S. Catholic Church has taken to prevent the sexual abuse of minors in the past 16 years, a potential ‘complacency’ in following safety protocols could pose a challenge(link is external) to those hard-won advances. Francesco Cesareo, chairman of the National Review Board, shared that view with diocesan safe environment and victims’ assistance coordinators attending the Child and Youth Protection Catholic Leadership Conference in New Orleans.” By Peter Finney, Jr., Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com

Abuse survivors launch global bishop accountability effort
“Some of the most prominent figures in the fight against sexual abuse in the Catholic Church are joining forces in a new international effort to end abuse(link is external) and the impunity of bishops and religious superiors who enable it. The multinational initiative, End Clergy Abuse, was announced Thursday at a press conference in Geneva. One after another, more than a dozen members held up their national flags and denounced an individual bishop who had mishandled a case, from the Americas to Africa and Europe in between.” By Associated Press in Tampa Bay Times

Priests who don’t report sex abuse confessions could be fined
“Some Catholic priests across the Tasman will soon be facing a $10,000 fine if someone confesses child sex abuse to them and they don’t report it to the police. Both South Australia and ACT have law changes coming to crack open the confessional(link is external). It is expected that the confession-breaking laws could spread nationwide, as part of the federal government’s recently released response to the Royal Commission into child sex abuse’s recommendations.” By Phil Pennington, Radio New Zealand

Guam’s archbishop, Anthony Apuron, appeals Vatican verdict on sex-abuse charges
“Guam’s controversial archbishop, removed from office in March and barred from living in the U.S. territory, has appealed a Vatican tribunal’s ruling that found him guilty(link is external) of ‘certain accusations’ involving the sexual abuse of minors, the Archdiocese of Agaña said Thursday (Jun. 14). During the last week of April, Rome notified new Archbishop Michael Byrnes, tapped to replace Anthony S. Apuron on March 16, about Apuron’s appeal, according to Tony Diaz, director of communications for the archdiocese.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News, on 13NewsNow.com

POPE FRANCIS

Pope Francis is finally starting to get it
“The world has heard it again and again — heartfelt, ringing pledges by Pope Francis and his predecessors that the Vatican, at long last, has gotten the message on the global epidemic of clerical sex abuse. These often have been followed by half-measures, equivocations, inertia and even outright contempt for accusers, who in most cases were victimized as children. Now, five years into his papacy, there are signs, at last, that Pope Francis is starting to get it(link is external).” By The Washington Post Editorial Board

Pope Francis to be briefed on institutional abuse ahead of Ireland visit
“Pope Francis ‘will be briefed’ before he arrives in Dublin about the abuse of women and children in Catholic-run institutions(link is external) in Ireland, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said. ‘It’s a challenge for all of us in the Irish church to recognize the way people have been damaged, the way the church has been damaged,’ Dr Martin said in Maynooth on Monday (Jun. 11) as he announced details of the pope’s visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

In letter to Chileans, Francis decries church’s ‘culture of abuse and cover-up’
“Pope Francis has become the first leader of the Catholic Church to publicly decry a ‘culture of abuse and cover-up’ in the global institution(link is external), admitting in a strikingly blunt letter to the people of Chile that clergy sexual abuse has continued because church leaders have not taken victims seriously. In an eight-page May 31 message addressed to ‘the Pilgrim people of God in Chile,’ the pope also says Catholic leaders must work to better respect the voices and opinions of non-clerics ‘to promote communities capable of fighting against abusive situations, communities where exchange, discussion, confrontation are welcome.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

CARDINALS

Council of Cardinals finalizes draft of new document on Roman Curia
“Pope Francis will review a finalized draft of the apostolic constitution that would govern the Roman Curia(link is external), the Vatican spokesman said. The document, provisionally titled ‘Praedicate Evangelium’ (“Preach the Gospel”), was reviewed by the international Council of Cardinals, and the draft will be ‘given to the Holy Father for the considerations he deems opportune, useful and necessary,’ said Greg Burke, director of the Vatican press office, June 13.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

BISHOPS

Vatican replaces archbishop convicted of concealing child sex abuse
“The Vatican on Sunday (Jun.3) announced a temporary replacement for an Australian archbishop who was convicted of concealing child sex abuse(link is external) by a fellow priest in the 1970s. Pope Francis said in a statement that Greg O’Kelly, the current Bishop of Port Pirie, in the state of South Australia, would temporarily replace Philip Wilson, the Archbishop of Adelaide, who stepped aside after being convicted of covering up abuses last month.” By Delia Gallagher and Sheena McKenzie, CNN

What to expect when the U.S. bishops meet in Florida this week
“While the June meeting of the U.S. bishops(link is external) is often considered to be the more lackluster of their two annual gatherings, at least in terms of news content, as they meet in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, this week (Jun. 12), major topics are on the agenda including healthcare, immigration, and religious liberty – all of which correspond to pressing issues on the national scene.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

SYNOD OF BISHOPS ON YOUTH

Vatican’s synod document takes inclusive tone towards youth who disagree with church
“The Vatican document outlining the initial working positions for October’s global meeting of Catholic bishops on the needs of young people focuses on considering how church leaders can better help the rising generation deal with unique 21st century challenges(link is external) such as the part-time economy, digital dependency, and even so-called ‘fake news.’ The document, which will guide the opening discussions of the Oct. 3-28 Synod of Bishops in Rome, also takes a notably inclusive tone towards both young Catholics who express disagreement with church teachings and young gay people.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

PRIESTS

Vatican reports ‘crisis of vocations’ as seminarian numbers fall worldwide
“The number of seminarians has fallen(link is external) amid what a Vatican document calls a ‘crisis of vocations.’ Between 2012 and 2016, the number of men in seminary training for the priesthood fell by nearly 4,000, to 116,160. The decline has been especially concentrated in the Americas and Europe. In Africa seminary numbers have steadily increased, with Uganda, Cameroon, Tanzania and Madagascar (an outlier with a 66 per cent rise) providing an especially large number of future priests.” By Dan Hitchens, Catholic Herald

The Vatican is facing a priest shortage
“The Vatican called Friday (Jun. 8) for courageous proposals to cope with a shortage of priests in the Amazon(link is external), and said it wouldn’t rule out debate on whether married men could step in to fill the ‘precariously-thin presence’ of the Catholic Church in the vast region. In a preparatory document seeking input from South American bishops for the Vatican’s 2019 meeting on the Amazon, organizers also said the church must identify new ‘official ministries’ for women to play in the region.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in Bloomberg News

VATICAN

Vatican’s top sex abuse investigators promise action in Chile
“The Vatican’s top sex abuse investigators arrived in Chile on Tuesday (Jun. 12) saying they had orders from Pope Francis to ensure the Roman Catholic Church responds to “every case of sexual abuse of minors(link is external) committed by clergymen” in the South American nation. New abuse accusations have emerged in recent weeks against the Church in Chile, including allegations against the pope’s own Jesuit order. They follow the resignation of three bishops after an abuse and cover-up scandal that has damaged the Church’s reputation in the country.” By Aislinn Laing, Reuters

Vatican open to official role for women and married men in Amazon
“The Vatican says it is open to discussing the ordination of married men and an official role for women,(link is external) to address a shortage of priests in the Amazon region. A document prepared for a meeting at the Vatican on the issue, due to be held in October 2019, suggests examining what “type of official ministry can be conferred on women.” The meeting is also expected to discuss a previously-mooted suggestion that older married men could serve as priests in the region.” By Delia Gallagher and Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN

Vatican denies protecting Peruvian accused of sex crimes
“The Vatican is denying it is protecting the founder of a Peru-based conservative Catholic community who is accused of sexual and psychological abuse against minors(link is external) and is being sought by Peruvian prosecutors. A letter from the Vatican’s office of religious orders acknowledged it had instructed Luis Figari to stay away from the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae community and required him to seek permission before leaving Rome, but said it never impeded his return to face charges.” By Associated Press in Tampa Bay Times

CHILD PROTECTION

As archdiocese builds new system to address clergy sex abuse, trust grows
“Tim O’Malley moved into a tiny, windowless office in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2014 facing a daunting task: To overhaul the often secretive way it addressed child sex abuse(link is external) by priests. O’Malley, former head of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, assembled a team of law enforcement leaders that scoured hundreds of abuse files from the past 60 years. They chased paper trails, interviewed witnesses, and laid the foundation for what is now seen as one of the nation’s most comprehensive archdiocesan child-protection systems.” By Jean Hopfensperger, Minneapolis Star Tribune

‘Dark Secret’ documentary now on Amazon
“Dark Secret, a documentary about the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s clergy sex abuse coverup(link is external), is now available on Amazon. It’s released just in time for the newest Grand Jury Report that will detail more coverups in several other Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses. It previously aired on PBS and I’m honored to have been interviewed for it. Documentarian Anne MacGregor worked tirelessly to bring the facts forward. It serves as yet another call to action for Catholics, the PA legislature and voters. Please watch and share with anyone who has or cares about children.” By Susan Matthews & Kathy Kane, Catholics4Change.com

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Jesus founded a movement led by both men and women
“Sometimes it is really difficult to be both female and Catholic. On the one hand, I couldn’t be prouder of the creative leadership taken by the University of Notre Dame and Pope Francis in working with oil executives to address climate change … On the other hand, I am dismayed by yet another statement from the Vatican prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about the non-ordination of women to the priesthood. I have been tracking Vatican statements on women priests since the 1970s. They are invariably ahistorical and biblically naive(link is external). It is embarrassing. Worse, they bear false witness to the Jesus of history and are ultimately destructive to the body of Christ, especially the distaff side.” By Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Vatican asks for ‘new ways’ for access to Communion in Amazon region
“A Vatican document meant to help prepare for a special meeting of Catholic bishops from the Amazon rainforest focuses on how the church’s ministry in the nine-nation region is overextended and calls for consideration of ‘new ways’ to allow laypeople(link is external) ‘better and more frequent access to the Eucharist.’ The 14-page preparatory paper for the 2019 special assembly of the Synod of Bishops of the Amazon, released June 8, references the issue of overextension several times. At one instance, it states frankly that the church’s pastoral care in the region ‘has been spread precariously thin.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

“AMORIS LAETITIA”

Polish bishops avoid Communion row in Amoris Laetitia guidelines
“Poland’s bishops have released their long-awaited guidelines on Amoris Laetitia(link is external), sidestepping questions on Communion for the divorced and remarried. The bishops said last year that Amoris had not changed Church doctrine on Holy Communion, and that those in ‘irregular unions’ should be led to ‘true repentance and sacramental reconciliation’ with their spouse.” By Nick Hallet, Catholic Herald

CHURCH FINANCES

Several thousand dollars in collection money stolen from Catholic Church
Thousands of dollars were stolen(link is external) over the weekend from St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. Father Tony Vilano of St. Francis of Assisi said it happened overnight between Sunday (Jun. 17) night and Monday morning. ‘After we finished our last Mass, sometime in the evening, someone came in and broke into St. Francis of Assisi,’ said Vilano. ‘(They) broke into this parish and went straight for the collections.’” By Stephanie Serna, KSAT-TV News

Priest stood aside amidst parish funds probe
“The Catholic Archbishop of Perth has stood aside a priest and called in police to investigate long-running financial concerns(link is external) at one of Western Australia’s oldest churches he Perth Archdiocese released a statement to The West Australian yesterday (Jun. 12) in which it revealed it had stood aside Father Joe Walsh and referred an internal financial investigation to WA Police.” By CathNews.com

Catholic church administrator accused of embezzling thousands of dollars
“A former employee of a Catholic church in Tuscola County is heading to trial, accused of embezzling money(link is external). Investigators believe Alma Moreno-Babcock, who was the church’s liturgy coordinator, may have been stealing money for at least a couple of years, if not longer.” By Terry Camp, ABC12 News

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Time is running out to help abuse victims
“With only days left in this legislative session, the Republican majority in the state Senate seems determined to acknowledge the plight of young victims of sexual abuse only if it can protect those who are responsible(link is external). That’s quite a trick, but it is at the heart of the GOP alternative to the Child Victims Act which has repeatedly passed the Assembly, which has Democratic support but lacks the vote of even one Republican including those retiring at the end of this term who could go out with this humane accomplishment as part of their legacy.” By Times Herald-Record Editorial Staff

Push for legislation to follow report on Church sex abuse
“A renewed push for legislation to abolish Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations(link is external) in sex abuse cases will follow the publication of a sweeping grand jury report on allegations of child sexual abuse and cover-ups within six Roman Catholic dioceses around the state, a lawmaker said Tuesday (Jun. 12). Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, said he will be prepared to seek a vote in the state House of Representatives on legislation that carries provisions sought by victims.” By Mark Levy, Associated Press, in U.S. News & World Report

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Hans Zollner: two keys for priests to avoid sexual abuse
“This expert from the Vatican commission for the Protection of Minors explains that to prevent priests from sexual abuse(link is external), two aspects must be stressed. The seminary must closely review candidates before accepting; and once these men have been ordained, they must never lose their spiritual guidance.” By RomeReports.com

Former senior Catholic diplomat charged with sharing ‘large quantity’ of child pornography
“A Catholic priest who once was one of the church’s top diplomats in Washington was indicted by the Vatican on accusations of possessing and sharing ‘a large quantity’ of child pornography(link is external). In a statement obtained by Reuters, the Vatican said Monsignor Carlo Capella would face a trial starting on 22 June. He is being held in a cell in the Vatican’s police barracks.” By Cleve Wootson, Julie Zauzmer, Independent

FLORIDA

Priest shielded from testifying in sexual abuse case
“Pointing to a state religious-freedom law, an appeals court has shielded a priest from testifying(link is external) about his discussion with a teenage girl during the Catholic sacrament of confession about the girl being sexual abused. The ruling Friday by a panel of the 5th District Court of Appeal in an Orange County case sided with priest Vincenzo Ronchi, who argued that the Catholic Church bars priests from disclosing any aspects of communications during confession — more formally known as the sacrament of reconciliation — and that disclosure could even lead to excommunication from the church.” By Jim Saunders, News Service of Florida, on News4Jax.com

LOUISIANA

Lafayette Diocese priest accused of abuse of a minor
“The Diocese of Lafayette was informed this week of an allegation of abuse of a minor(link is external), the Diocese said in a statement released Saturday (Jun. 2) at 4 p.m. According to the statement, the alleged incident occurred several years ago, and the alleged victim is now an adult. The Diocese and the alleged victim have reported the allegation to law enforcement authorities and the Diocese is assisting and cooperating fully with the civil investigation.” By The Daily Advertiser

Lafayette bishop won’t say whether he’ll release names of accused priests; dozens of U.S. dioceses already do
“Dozens of Roman Catholic dioceses around the U.S. have released the names of priests who sexually abused minors(link is external), but the Diocese of Lafayette has so far opted against the practice — and the bishop has declined to say whether he plans to do so in the future. The recent announcement of a sexual-abuse investigation into St. Landry Parish priest Michael Guidry has reignited calls to the Diocese of Lafayette — including from survivors of such sexual abuse — to release the names of abusive priests from the area.” By Lanie Lee Cook, KATC-TV News

MARYLAND

Second allegation of child sexual abuse made against Highlandtown priest
“A few weeks ago, we shared some difficult news with you about Father Luigi Esposito and an allegation of child sexual abuse(link is external) against him from the 1970s. Since then, we have received another allegation from an individual who also claims to have been sexually abused by Father Esposito in the 1970s. This second individual was approximately 15 years old when the abuse occurred. Both alleged victims are females and were members of Our Lady of Pompei at the time the abuse occurred. The second allegation, which was prompted by public reports about the initial allegation, has been reported to civil authorities. The Archdiocese has extended an offer of counseling assistance to both alleged victims.” By Jerri Burkhardt, Archdiocese of Baltimore

MINNESOTA

Archdiocese needs $40M for sex abuse settlement. Here’s where it’s looking.
“The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is crafting a plan that leans on budget cuts, property sales and the generosity of Catholics to help the church emerge from bankruptcy and move beyond a clergy sex abuse scandal(link is external) that has plagued it for years. The archdiocese has committed to pay $40 million of the historic $210 million settlement with clergy abuse survivors that isn’t covered by insurance. Officials on Friday (Jun. 8) shared the basics of their proposed payment plan with MPR News.” By Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio

NEW JERSEY

Former Delbarton teacher admits he had sex with 50 boys; school settles five sex abuse suits
“The Catholic order that runs the Delbarton School in Morris Township has settled lawsuits brought by five men who alleged they were sexually abused by five monks(link is external) — including a former headmaster of the school. Six additional lawsuits are pending against the Order of St. Benedict of New Jersey and St. Mary’s Abbey, which runs the school — three filed on Tuesday (May 29). Details of the settlements, made over the past couple of months, were not disclosed.” By Abbott Koloff, NorthJersey.com

NEW YORK

Editorial: Malone’s words matter
“Call it what you want – spin control, crisis management or welcome candor – but Bishop Richard J. Malone deserves credit for addressing the clergy sex-abuse scandal head-on(link is external). In last week’s interview with The Buffalo News, Malone addressed many of the questions surrounding the Diocese of Buffalo’s handling of the scandal that has been troubling the Catholic community. At least 58 priests who worked in the Buffalo area have been linked to sex allegations.” By The Buffalo News Editorial Board

Lawyer calls on Catholic church to release ‘secret’ records in Rochester priest scandal
“Saying it is time for ‘the church to stop these evil acts’ a Boston attorney who has spent decades representing victims of sexual abuse called on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester and its bishop to release records it may hold concerning allegations of sexual abuse(link is external) of children by clergy. Mitchell Garabedian stood on the steps of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Rochester on Wednesday (Jun. 13) and named eight priests from the Rochester diocese who are accused of sexually abusing minor children.” By Sean Lahman and Meaghan M. McDermont, Democrat & Chronicle

Parish wonders what happened to pastor removed three years ago
“Nearly three years ago, the Buffalo Diocese abruptly removed the Rev. Dennis A. Fronczak as pastor(link is external) of Our Lady of Pompeii Church in Lancaster. Nobody at the parish was told why. A diocese representative announced Fronczak’s departure at Masses at the church in October 2015, recalled Dick Wagner, 80, a long-time parishioner.” By Dan Herbeck and Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Here’s what churchgoers are saying about sexual abuse claims against priest
“Members of St. Patrick’s Parish in Owego are reacting to the sexual abuse allegations against a local priest(link is external). Thomas Valenti is one of eight priests accused of sexually abusing children in the Rochester Catholic Diocese. He now serves as a parochial administrator at Blessed Trinity, which includes St. Patrick’s. Valenti is accused of abusing a 15-year-old from 1975 to 1977. During that time, he was a deacon at St. Mary’s in Ontario, New York.” By Nicholas Phillips, Spectrum News

Diocese of Rochester has paid $1.6M to 20 sex abuse victims
“At least 20 children, and probably more, have been sexually abused by 24 priests(link is external)in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester since 1950. Over the years, the diocese has paid $1,616,000 in compensation to those victims. The number of victims is likely higher because not all victims accept financial compensation. Some of the payouts date back decades, although most were settled since the Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal erupted in 2002.” By David Andreatta, Democrat and Chronicle

OHIO

Alleged victim speaks out after sexual abuse case against priest
“It’s been over a week since the Diocese of Steubenville removed retired priest, Monsignor Mark Froehlich after allegations of sexual abuse were deemed ‘credible(link is external).’ But Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, officials and alleged victims are now claiming the Diocese knew about the complaint since January. There is an active investigation ongoing with the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office regarding the issue, but according to SNAP, they want to see more being done.” By Falicia Woody, WTRF-TV News

PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania abuse survivor calls on Pope Francis to intervene
“Mark Rozzi can remember the feeling of the tall grass brushing against his bare legs on the day he and a close friend desperately ran out of the rectory in Hyde Park, Pennsylvania. Rozzi, who was 13 at the time, had just been raped by his priest(link is external), the Rev Edward Graff, and remembers thinking in that moment, as he ran through a field, that he would take his terrible new secret to his grave.” By Stephanie Kirchgaessner, The Guardian

TEXAS

Former Texas Catholic priest arrested in El Paso on sexual assault of a child charge
“El Paso police arrested a former Texas priest who, during an El Paso Catholic Diocese investigation last year, allegedly admitted to sexually abusing a child(link is external). Miguel Luna, 68, was arrested Monday (Jun. 11) afternoon in front of his home in the 3500 block of Keltner Avenue in Northeast El Paso, police said. He was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, according to jail records.” By Daniel Borunda, El Pas Times

AUSTRALIA

Priest who confessed to abuse 1500 times ‘proves need for change’
“A paedophile priest who admitted to child abuse on more than 1500(link is external) occasions but was just told to “pray more” should be a ‘prime example’ for the Catholic Church to allow breaking the seal of confession, advocates have told The New Daily. Father Michael McArdle made an affidavit in 2004 stating he had confessed 1500 times to molesting children to 30 different priests over a 25-year period.” By Lucie Morris-Marr, The New Daily

Mother of abuse survivor to sue the Catholic Church
“The mother of clergy abuse survivor, Paul Levey, may be the first parent and secondary victim to sue the Catholic Church(link is external). Anne Levey, who is haunted daily by knowledge of Paul’s horrific abuse by laicized and jailed priest Gerald Ridsdale, said she will be pursuing a case against the Catholic Church as a secondary victim because of the damage and pain suffered.” By Leanne Younes, the Courier

Parish priest stood down over child safety concerns
“A Catholic priest who presides over two parishes in Melbourne’s south has been ordered to take leave while he is investigated for allegedly breaching child safety laws(link is external). Archbishop Denis Hart has asked Father Paul Newton, the parish priest for St Kevin’s Ormond and St Patrick’s Murrumbeena, to take a period of administrative leave while parishioners’ concerns are probed.” By Henrietta Cook, The Age

Australia state makes it easier for abuse victims to sue churches
Survivors of clerical abuse(link is external) in the Australian state of New South Wales will be able to directly sue churches under proposed legal changes announced on Sunday (Jun. 10). Mark Speakman, the attorney general, said the new legislation was in response to Australia’s royal commission into institutional abuse. New South Wales is Australia’s most populous state, and the home of the country’s largest city, Sydney.” By Cruxnow.com Staff

The Catholic Church should not stand in the way of this vital reform
“It is hard to know where to begin with Archbishop Christopher Prowse’s plea on behalf of the Catholic Church for the ACT government to preserve the seal of religious confession, even in instances where a child is being sexually abused(link is external). Thankfully, the ACT Assembly wasn’t swayed as it voted last week to introduce Australia’s toughest new mandatory reporting laws, making it a leader in child safety.” By Michelle James, The Canberra Times

BANGLADESH

Police say prominent Bangladeshi priest had string of relationships
“The mysterious disappearance of a Bangladeshi priest just days before Pope Francis visited the country has taken a new turn. Police suspected that Fr. Walter William Rozario had been kidnapped by radical Muslims when they found his abandoned motorbike and discovered that his mobile phone was switched off. But ucanews.com reported their investigation revealed that the 41-year-old priest allegedly had been involved in a string of relationships with women and at least one girl under 18(link is external), the age of consent in Bangladesh.” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter

Former Bangladesh nun: anti-sex abuse crusader
“Bangladeshi human rights activist Rosaline Costa says reports of clergymen abusing women and children(link is external) have been around Christendom for years. ‘In recent years the media has been very open in this respect and so many victims are coming out and even risking their lives with their claims,’ Costa said. After ucanews.com reported the case of Bangladeshi priest Father William Walter Rozario, the former Maria Bambina nun answered the following questions about the situation in Bangladesh …” By Rock Ronald Rozario, UCANews.com

CHILE

Pope’s abuse investigators headed back to Chile June 12-18
“In what amounts to Pope Francis’s latest attempt to resolve a massive clerical sexual abuse crisis(link is external), the Chilean bishops’ conference announced Wednesday (Jun. 6) that his top two investigators will return to Chile June 14-17, visiting a diocese where a controversial bishop has been accused of covering up acts of abuse. The bishops’ statement said that Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, a former official of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Spanish Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu, a current official of the congregation, will be in the diocese over those three days.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Urgent call for interim report on Catholic Church by national sex abuse inquiry
“We say that the Catholic Church, including Ealing Abbey, is not a safe place for children and it is not something we should wait to act upon. Lawyers have called on Professor Alexis Jay, chair of the national inquiry into child sexual abuse(link is external), urgently to produce an interim report on the Catholic church, saying it is ‘structurally, culturally and doctrinally incapable of implementing and enforcing the minimum standards of safeguarding.’” By The Tablet

GRENADA

Bishop Harvey – Child sexual abuse is unacceptable
“Grenada’s Roman Catholic Bishop, Trinidad-born Clyde Harvey has expressed grave concerns over the rampant occurrence of Child Sexual Abuse(link is external) in the country. Making an appearance on a local radio station, Bishop Harvey said he is hopeful that Catholics are not involved but are exuding better morals than what is being displayed very often in the country with sexual abuse of children. However, he said that while he holds out hope, he will not be fooled into thinking that members of the Catholic church are not involved in this depraved act.” By The New Today

GUAM

184 claims of Guam clergy abuse moving toward mediation
“One hundred eighty-four people said they were sexually abused by members of Guam’s Catholic clergy(link is external) or others associated with the church, but 10 of them decided not to sue, attorneys said at Tuesday’s (Jun. 12) court hearing on the status of efforts to settle the cases through mediation. Mediation is set for Sept. 17 to 21, which is two days longer than initially anticipated.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Pope Francis ‘to meet church abuse victims during summer visit to Ireland’
“Pope Francis will meet victims abused by the Church(link is external) in hellhole institutions during his summer visit to Ireland, top clergymen have predicted. Details of the Pontiff’s €20 million, two-day trip were unveiled today, but he will not be venturing across the border into Northern Ireland. Instead, hundreds of thousands of faithful will turn out to greet him at Knock in Co Mayo and in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.” By Cate McCurry, Irish Mirror

Big spike in Church child abuse cases
“A significant rise in the number of allegations of child sexual abuse(link is external) relating to the Catholic Church was recorded in the last year, a report by a safeguarding body reveals. However, the allegations received related to historic cases with the most recent alleged incident dating to 2002. The National Board for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) said the figures did not suggest the Church was becoming less safe for children.” By Joe Leogue, Irish Examiner

MEXICO

In Mexico, SNAP and the Church join forces to fight abuse
“When it comes to fighting clerical sexual abuse(link is external), unity creates strength. At least, that’s what the Archdiocese of Mexico City and the local chapter of the Survivors Networks of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) believe, as the two recently announced they will join forces to protect children and young adults.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

PERU

Vatican denies protecting founder of Peruvian movement accused of abuse
“Vatican officials have denied protecting the founder of Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, a Peru-based religious movement, who is accused of sexual, physical and psychological abuse(link is external) of minor and young adult members of the group. In a communique dated May 25 and released by the Peruvian bishops’ conference at a news conference June 1, the Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life said it was responding to claims that it had ‘hidden’ Luis Fernando Figari in Rome and was ‘protecting him.’” By Barbara J. Fraser, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

SWITZERLAND

New group campaigns to end Catholic Church child abuse
“Child abuse victims and human rights activists from 15 countries, including Switzerland, have launched a new pressure group to campaign against abuse by Catholic clerics(link is external). ‘The church has got away with crime for too long,’ said Peter Saunders, a British survivor of abuse, announcing the creation of the Ending Clerical Abuse (ECA) group at a media conference in Geneva on Thursday (Jun. 7). ‘ECA stands to compel the Roman Catholic church to end clerical abuse, especially child abuse, in order to protect children and to seek justice for victims,’ added Saunders, a former member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.” By Agence France-Press on TheLocal.com

Swiss arrest Catholic priest on sex abuse allegations
“Swiss authorities say they have arrested a Catholic priest under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct(link is external) that was brought to their attention by church leaders. Maurus Eckert, a spokesman for canton (state) prosecutors in Graubuenden, said Thursday (May 24) that the priest was taken into custody amid an ongoing investigation of alleged sexual abuse of an adult victim. He declined to provide any further details.” By Associated Press on LeaderPost.com

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup

You can also read “Focus” on Voice of the Faithful’s website …

TOP STORIES

Australian prelate convicted of covering up sexual abuse
“An Australian archbishop who was the most senior Roman Catholic cleric in the world charged with covering up child sex abuse was convicted Tuesday (May 22) and faces a potential two years in prison(link is external). Magistrate Robert Stone handed down the verdict against Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson in Newcastle Local Court, north of Sydney, following a magistrate-only trial.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

All of Chile’s bishops offer resignations after meeting pope on abuse
Every bishop in Chile offered his resignation to Pope Francis(link is external) after a three-day meeting at the Vatican to discuss the clerical sexual abuse scandal. “We want to announce that all bishops present in Rome, in writing, have placed our positions in the Holy Father’s hands so that he may freely decide regarding each one of us,” Bishop Juan Ignacio Gonzalez Errazuriz of San Bernardo said May 18 in a statement on behalf of the country’s bishops. The unprecedented decision was made on the final day of their meeting May 15-17 with Francis.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Pennsylvania dioceses say they won’t block report on clerical sexual abuse
“Several dioceses in Pennsylvania have said they will not try to block a report from a grand jury investigation into clerical sexual abuse(link is external) in the state. The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office is overseeing the grand jury investigation into six of the eight Catholic dioceses in the state: Allentown, Harrisburg, Scranton, Erie, Greensburg and Pittsburgh. ‘We will not challenge the release of the grand jury report.’” By Cruxnow.com Staff

The Pope opens his eyes to abuse
“The abuse of minors by pedophile priests has been among the most painful sagas of our time, the horror compounded by the knowledge that hierarchs could have stopped the predators if only they had not chosen, for so long, to cover up their actions. Now, at long last, Pope Francis seems to have glimpsed the depth of the global crisis(link is external).” By The New York Times Editorial Board

ACCOUNTABILITY

Francis should seize momentum of Chile resignations
“As dramatic as the resignations of the Chilean bishops are, the actual process for obtaining them differed little from the process that forced Finn, Nienstedt and Piché to resign. The church still has no system and no independent authority to investigate and hold accountable bishops(link is external) and religious superiors who enable abuse. The shock of these mass resignations creates an opportunity and momentum that Francis should seize upon to implement the tribunal he proposed three years ago. No more delays. He should act now.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Vatican needs new means to adjudicate bishops’ roles in sex abuse
Only twice in history has a pope asked for the resignation of an entire episcopate(link is external): Last week, when the entire episcopate of Chile offered their resignations to the pope, and in 1802, when Pope Pius VII removed both the orthodox, validly installed bishops of France and the rival slate of schismatic bishops never recognized by Rome and installed by the revolutionary regime. In 1945, seven bishops who had collaborated with the fascist Vichy regime were sacked. Covering up the sexual abuse of children, therefore, has now joined collaborating with Robespierre or Hitler as one of the things that forces a pope to take the extraordinary step of removing a bishop from office.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

The Pope’s turnaround on sex abuse may have a ‘tsunami effect’
“The quickly unfolding events suggest an aggressive redirection for Pope Francis(link is external), who elevated the Chilean scandal into a full-on crisis in January, whenche vigorously defended Barros during a papal visit to Chile and Peru. As the Church continues to wrestle with the aftershocks caused by clergy sex abuse around the world, its efforts to make amends in Chile may be a sign of a new approach ahead—or the extreme difficulty of recovering from years of misconduct and mishandled allegations.” By Emma Green, The Atlantic

Shapiro says grand jury report on sex abuse in Catholic dioceses coming in June
“The agreements clear the way for the release of the report next month(link is external). ‘I expect to speak publicly on this comprehensive investigation by the end of June,’ Shapiro said. ‘The only thing that could stop these findings from becoming public at that time is if one of the bishops or dioceses would seek to delay or prevent this public accounting.’” By Tim Darragh, The Morning Call

Survivors, advocates see lessons for wider church in Chile resignations
“Survivors of clergy abuse and their advocates praised Pope Francis(link is external) for his confrontation with Chile’s bishops over their handling of abuse cases, which led to a mass resignation today, and the survivors and advocates urged the pope not to allow the momentum for reform to slow. ‘We didn’t expect it and it is a powerful gesture,’ said Juan Carlos Claret, spokesperson for Lay Catholic group in Osorno, Chile, who opposed the 2015 appointment of Bishop Juan Barros to Osorno because of his alleged complicity in covering up the sexual abuse of minors.” Editorial by National Catholic Reporter Staff

Chilean bishops open to resignations, reparations for clergy abuse
“Chile’s Catholic bishops said Monday (May 14) they were open to whatever Pope Francis proposes(link is external) to overhaul the Chilean church, including the removal of bishops, reforms of seminaries, and paying financial reparation to victims of a clergy sex abuse and coverup scandal. Representatives of the Chilean bishops conference told reporters they were heading into three days of meetings with Francis humbled, pained, and shamed for their own errors in handling abuse cases. They said they wanted to listen to Francis and would follow his lead in asking forgiveness of the victims they had discredited.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe

Two Franciscan friars plead guilty to endangering children in Pennsylvania
“Two Franciscan friars who served as superiors of their community in Pennsylvania have pleaded guilty to charges of endangering children(link is external), for allowing a friar suspected of sexual abuse to continue to work with children. Father Robert D’Aversa, 70, and Father Anthony Criscitelli, 63, were each charged with first-degree misdemeanors for their role in assigning Brother Stephen Baker to positions in which he had access to children, even after several credible accusations of abuse were brought against him.” By Catholic News Service/EWTN News in National Catholic Register

POPE FRANCIS

Pope to meet more survivors of Chile’s most infamous abuser priest
“Continuing efforts to clean up the Catholic Church in Chile(link is external), whose leadership is charged with covering up cases of clerical sexual abuse, abuses of power and conscience, Pope Francis will welcome more victims of the country’s most infamous abusive priest to Rome as papal guests. On June 1-3, a group of nine people, including seven priests and two lay people, will stay at the Vatican’s Santa Marta residence where Francis has been living since the beginning of his pontificate. The Vatican confirmed the meeting in a statement released late Tuesday (May 22) Rome time.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

‘Pope cannot claim he was misinformed’: Chilean abuse survivor after Vatican meeting
“In January, Pope Francis traveled to South America to spread peace and hope. Many cheered him on, but he also wound up causing emotional pain when he dismissed accusations that Chilean clergy had covered up sexual abuse(link is external). In the weeks that followed, the Vatican’s leading sex crimes investigator looked into the allegations, and the pope did an about-face: He acknowledged making mistakes.” By Alex Leff, Morning Edition, National Public Radio
— Chilean bishops say pope’s meetings with survivors show them path to follow(link is external)By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Canadian House passes motion calling on Pope Francis to issue an apology
“In a rare show of unanimity, the House of Commons overwhelmingly supported a motion to call on Pope Francis to apologize(link is external) on Canadian soil for abuses that occurred at church-run residential schools. What happens next, however, remains unclear. The motion is not binding. The motion received all-party support in a May 1 vote, 269-10.” By Catholic Courier

CARDINALS

Francis names 14 cardinals, surpassing numbers appointed by Benedict and John Paul
“Pope Francis named fourteen new Catholic cardinals(link is external) May 20, again diversifying representation in the most elite body of church prelates with selections from places as far-flung as Iraq, Pakistan and Japan and solidifying his influence on the group that will one day elect his successor. In a surprise announcement at the end of his traditional Regina Coeli prayer with crowds in St. Peter’s Square, the pontiff said he would install the new cardinals during a consistory at the Vatican June 29.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
— Pope Francis has made 14 new cardinals. Here’s what you need to know(link is external)By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

BISHOPS

U.S. bishops search for next compliance auditor for charter to protect children
“The search process has begun for the next compliance auditor for the U.S. bishops’ clergy sexual abuse policies(link is external). In a press release April 30, the National Review Board of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced a request for proposals for firms to conduct the 2020-2022 annual audits of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, also known as the Dallas Charter.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Chilean bishops: We have come to Rome in ‘pain and shame’
“The 34 Chilean bishops have come to Rome ‘in pain and shame(link is external)’ because of the victims who have suffered abuse in their church, and they are conscious that as bishops they have erred. They have come ‘in a spirit of humility and openness,’ willing to hear what Pope Francis has to say to them, and ‘ready to collaborate with him and do whatever he asks.’ That was the message that two representatives of the Chilean bishops communicated to the international press at a conference at the Vatican Radio center on May 14.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

In career defined by the priest abuse scandal, Bishop LaValley seeks a path forward
“Bishop Terry LaValley grew up in the Plattsburgh area and says the priest abuse scandal has been devastating(link is external). His decisions shape the experience of dozens of victims and define his own legacy. Yesterday (May 10) we heard from Bishop Terry LaValley about his decision not release the name of dozens of former Roman Catholic priests in the North Country who faced credible allegations of sexual misconduct. This morning, we’re going to hear more from Bishop LaValley about how the Diocese of Ogdensburg is still coping with the clergy abuse scandal more than a decade after it erupted.” By Brian Mann, North Country Public Radio

Chilean bishops say pope’s meetings with survivors show them path to follow
“Under increasing scrutiny about the handling of clergy sexual abuse cases(link is external) over decades, Chile’s Catholic bishops say that Pope Francis’ recent emotional meetings at the Vatican with three abuse victims ‘shows us the path that the Chilean Church is called to follow.’ In a May 10 statement from the standing committee of their bishops’ conference, the Chilean prelates also confirm they will be meeting with Francis over four days May 14-17. The pope called the bishops to Rome en masse last month.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

PRIESTS

How the Church can ordain a better priest
“But most disturbing for the laity and the more seasoned clergy is the younger clergy’s ecclesiology or vision of church. Though having never lived in the pre-Vatican II church, they want to revive a clerical culture(link is external), Eucharistic adoration, Benediction, the Latin Mass, novenas and a ‘Father knows best’ mentality. These made sense in the 1940’s because the church’s theology supported them. Not anymore. One solution is to revise the way we train priests in the seminary. At its recent convention, the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP) called on the U.S. bishops to make sure teachings of the Vatican II become the foundation of priestly formation.” By Alexander Santora, NorthJersey.com

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Vatican reminds cloistered nuns not to tweet too much
“The Vatican has issued new guidelines for cloistered nuns(link is external), reminding them that they’re supposed to live separated from the world and in silence — and therefore shouldn’t be tweeting too much or downloading too much news. The instructions from the Vatican’s office for religious orders cover a host of administrative and financial issues. Included are norms for when a monastery must be closed because the number of nuns shrinks to the point that the community is no longer viable — an increasingly frequent occurrence.” By Associated Press in Miami Herald

VATICAN

More Chilean sex abuse victims speak up during pope summit
“Another group of Chilean church sex abuse victims(link is external) is making its voice heard as the country’s Catholic leadership meets with Pope Francis, demanding that the Vatican recognize crimes, cover-ups and the need for reparation. A statement from six named victims of the Marist Brothers religious community – and other unnamed survivors of Marist assaults – was issued Wednesday on the second day of the emergency summit Francis convened with 34 Chilean bishops.” By Eva Vergara, Associated Press

Vatican treasurer’s trial on historical sex offenses to last 10 weeks, court hears
“The trial of Vatican treasurer George Pell(link is external), who has pleaded not guilty to charges of historical sexual offenses, is expected to last 10 weeks, an Australian court heard on Wednesday (May 2). The County Court of Victoria state will hold a second hearing on May 16 to plan how to proceed, with the prosecution and defense agreeing to press for two separate trials, each estimated to take about five weeks.” By Reuters in Straits Times

PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR THE PROTECTION OF MINORS

Former member of pope’s sex abuse commission looks back at tenure
“Bill Kilgallon is looking back on his three years as a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors(link is external) with sense of achievement, alongside a certain sense of frustration. Kilgallon’s three-year term on the commission came to an end last year, and he was not reappointed to a second term, an outcome he had anticipated. When asked to point to the achievements by the commission in its first term, he pointed first to the establishment of the body itself, which involved the bringing together of people from different professional backgrounds from all around the world to work as a team.” By Michael Otto, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Pope calls dicastery to promote reflection on role of women
“Pope Francis has updated the statutes of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life, adding among other things a specific reference to the office’s responsibility for promoting a deeper reflection on the role of women in the church(link is external) and society. ‘The dicastery works to deepen the reflection on the relationship between men and women in their respective specificity, reciprocity, complementarity and equal dignity,’ the new statutes said. ‘Valuing the feminine ‘genius,’ it offers a contribution to ecclesial reflection on the identity and mission of women in the church and in society, promoting their participation.’” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

VATICAN II

The end of the affair? ‘Humanae Vitae’ at 50
“On July 29, 1968, Pope Paul VI published his encyclical on the regulation of birth, introducing what we call here the Humanae Vitae affair. Now approaching its golden jubilee, the encyclical was published at a time of twofold crisis, one theological, the other cultural(link is external). Paul’s theological teaching, ‘each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life,’ had never been taught before in the Catholic tradition and further fueled the post-Vatican II theological wars in the church. Humanae Vitae (‘Of Human Life’) itself further fueled the post-World War II culture wars over the meaning of sexuality. The scars from both these wars are still evident. They have inserted themselves into the papacy of Pope Francis, oblivious to the fact that he has moved away from the Catholic obsession with sex and birth control toward the beauty of a virtuous, just and loving marriage. His focus is on the complexity of human experience and relationships, which Humanae Vitae failed to adequately consider.” By Michael G. Lawler and Todd A. Salzman, National Catholic Reporter

VOICES

A deeper reckoning
“When Pope Francis appointed Juan Barros Madrid bishop of Osorno, Chile, in 2015, violent protests broke out in the streets and in the cathedral at his installation Mass. Barros was a protégé of the notorious priest Fernando Karadima, a charismatic and influential figure in the church of Santiago who had engaged in the sexual abuse of minors over the course of three decades. Karadima was sentenced by an ecclesiastical court in 2011 to a life of prayer and penitence. Yet four of Karadima’s favorites, who had turned a blind eye to his abusive behavior and defended him when he was initially accused, were later made bishops; Barros was one of those four. When Pope Francis proclaimed Barros’s innocence and expressed belief in his side of the story over the victims,’ it immediately became an international scandal. Much is at stake in this troubling case(link is external).” By Rita Ferrone, Commonweal

Vatican silence on Cardinal Pell’s trial is a turn from a long history
“Cardinal George Pell is going on trial in Australia to face charges he sexually abused minors. As victims’ advocate Anne Barrett Doyle told my colleague Josh McElwee, this trial is a ‘turning point’ in the long saga(link is external) of compelling accountability by church leaders. It is even more of a turning point than Doyle may realize. Because the big story here is the dog that did not bark, the fact that the Vatican has made no protest at the prospect of a prince of the church standing trial before a civil magistrate.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

A wake-up call to liberal theologians
“The estrangement between academic theology and the institutional Church is one reason many younger Catholics are now turning to neo-traditionalist circles for instruction(link is external). A new generation is re-examining what’s happened in the church since the 1960s and reacting against the theology that came out of the Second Vatican Council. Some younger Catholics are also questioning the legitimacy of the secular, pluralistic state. This is why the concerns of academic theology are no longer merely academic.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal

Ahead of pope’s meeting with Childe bishops, laity calling for more power
“Days before Pope Francis is scheduled to meet with over 30 Chilean bishops to discuss the clerical sexual abuse crisis in the country, victims are speaking out, and the laity of the diocese at the center of the story are demanding to have a voice in the naming of their bishop(link is external) … The statement also demands that the laity be consulted in the decisions that need to be made to resolve the crisis, instead of being ‘mere observers and receptors of important decisions already taken – either in Rome, the bishops’ conference, or the Apostolic nunciature.’ The statement called for an end to ‘unilateral decision-making,’ adding that the Church is living through a moment which is calling it to a ‘profound and genuine conversion.’” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

As Chile bishops arrive in Rome, recalling 48 hours that shook the Church
“In one of our earliest talks over the years, the late Cardinal Francis George of Chicago gave a precocious young reporter a valuable piece of advice: ‘Be careful about using the word ‘unprecedented,’ he said. ‘In the Catholic Church, everything has happened at least once(link is external).’ Thus it is that as the bishops of Chile arrive in Rome this weekend for meetings with Pope Francis Tuesday through Thursday (May 15-17) on that country’s clerical sexual abuse crisis, we can certainly call the summit ‘extraordinary,’ but not a complete novelty.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Theologians call for regular consultation of laity in church decisions
“The Catholic Church needs to seek the input, commitment and talents of all of its members if it is to be truly catholic and to evangelize effectively, said a new document from the International Theological Commission … The document explored ways the church already exercises synodality(link is external), including through parish councils, diocesan presbyteral councils, national bishops’ conferences, regional councils of bishops, the synods of bishops of the Eastern Catholic churches, the world Synod of Bishops and ecumenical councils, like Vatican II. While synodality is based on the baptismal gifts and responsibilities of each Catholic, the document said, it is not a call for some form of a Catholic parliament. The pope and the bishops, assisted by their priests, still retain their decision-making authority.” By Catholic News Service in The Catholic Spirit of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul & Minneapolis

CHURCH FINANCES

Vatican’s financial critique failed to address structural flaws, systemic rewards
“The ‘order’ of our postmodern milieu is defined by markets. Once markets were mere economic exchanges. Now market-like forces shape our tastes, our values, our morals and, as President Donald Trump reminds us each day with his morning tweets, even our truths. Yet, much as fish might not perceive the very waters in which they swim, so too we but dimly perceive the operation of market forces at work around us(link is external) and at work in our souls.” By Stephen Schneck, National Catholic Reporter

Priest in Johnson County allegedly stole more than $40,000 from his church
“A Catholic priest in Johnson County has been charged with stealing more than $40,000(link is external) from a Gardner parish while he served as pastor. Father Joseph Cramer was booked into the Johnson County Jail Tuesday (May 8) night and was released after posting a $5,000 bond.” By Tony Rizzo, The Kansas City Star

Ex-head of Vatican bank goes on trial for embezzlement
“The former president of the Vatican bank went on trial(link is external) Wednesday (May 9) on charges he and his lawyer embezzled 57 million euros ($68 million) in Vatican real estate sales, a case that shows the Holy See’s willingness to prosecute shady financial deals that may have involved top cardinals. Angelo Caloia appeared in the Vatican courtroom, while his onetime lawyer and 95-year-old co-defendant, Gabriele Liuzzo, was absent, citing his age. A third suspect died during the investigation.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Sacramento Bee

Man stole identity, sought $1M from Catholic Church sex abuse settlement
“A Covington man used another person’s identity to try to collect $1 million from a settlement fund for victims of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church(link is external), court documents say. According to a federal indictment unsealed this week, the 32-year-old Covington man had already been awarded $750,000 for a claim he filed in 2006. The charges he faces do not involve that claim.” By Kevin Grasha, Cincinnati Enquirer

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Pending report on Catholic child sex abuse in Pennsylvania could renew efforts to amend statue of limitations law
“A statewide grand jury report on sexual abuse within Catholic dioceses, including the ones in Greensburg and Pittsburgh, could be an opening for another effort to abolish Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations(link is external) for child sexual assault. At least that’s what state Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks County, said he intends to push for when the widely-anticipated report is released.” By Debra Erdley, TribLive.com

Statute of Limitations reform: no clock on this crime
“The state Legislature needs to address the statute of limitations regarding child sex cases(link is external). There are far too many cases that cannot be prosecuted because victims did not report these heinous crimes when they were children. ‘Children are targeted by predators because they are vulnerable, they are young and they struggle with shame, confusion or fear,’ state Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. ‘But once a victim finds the courage to come forward, law enforcement must take action.’” By Tribune-Review Editorial Board on TribLive.com

Local rep sponsors bill to help victims of sexual abuse
“Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee has joined with other advocates for victims of sexual abuse to fight to abolish the statute of limitations(link is external) for pressing civil charges against alleged sexual abusers. Introduced in the House by McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) and in the Senate by Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence), the legislation proposed would eliminate the current seven-year civil statute of limitations (SOL) for injuries suffered as a result of sexual abuse.” By Kendra Gravelle, the Narragansett Times

Legislators weighing time limits on sex abuse lawsuits
“Legislation introduced in response to the Larry Nassar scandal at Michigan State University, approved last month by the state Senate, would retroactively extend the civil statute of limitations(link is external) for victims who were younger than 18 at the time they were assaulted. It would give victims a one-year window to sue for incidents dating back as far as 1997 … For future abuse, minor victims would have up to their 48th birthday to pursue criminal charges or up to a decade to file lawsuits against abusers or enabling institutions. The proposed extensions, especially the window for civil suits, face opposition as they await House consideration.” By Jonathan Oosting, Detroit News

New York’s Catholic bishops ramp up lobbying against Child Victims Act
“The state’s Catholic Conference has spent $1.8 million over six years lobbying Albany to, among other things, derail a bill to make it easier for sex abuse victims to sue(link is external). The Democratic-led state Assembly approved the Child Victims Act last week, but its prospects for passage in the Republican-led Senate are less likely … But the Catholic Conference says the act would force institutions to defend misconduct ‘about which they have no knowledge, and in which they had no role.’ By Matthew Spina, The Buffalo News

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Abuse victims meet with Pope Francis: ‘We need concrete actions’
“Mr. (Juan Carlos) Cruz joined James Hamilton and José Andrés Murillo, also victims in their youth of a notorious Chilean pedophile priest, at a news conference in Rome on Wednesday (May 2) to discuss their intense and emotional sojourn(link is external) this past week as guests of the pope in the Vatican. But even as the three men expressed gratitude for the meeting — ‘I have never seen anyone so contrite,’ Mr. Cruz said of Francis — they urged the pope to transform ‘his loving words’ of apology into ‘exemplary actions’ to end sexual abuse and its cover-up in the Roman Catholic Church.” By Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Time

Victims of clergy abuse across Pennsylvania brace for ‘very bad storeis’ in huge grand jury report
“After nearly two years of investigating sexual abuse of children within six Catholic dioceses across Pennsylvania, a grand jury is getting close to issuing its report(link is external). State Rep. Mark Rozzi, a survivor of clergy abuse and an advocate for statute of limitations reform, has told The Morning Call and PennLive that the grand jury investigation would be wrapping up this month or next.” By Brandie Kessler, York Daily Record

Editorial: Catholic Church’s responsibility is to victims, not its coffers
“Entering into a fight is sometimes the only way to get what you want. Other times, it just leaves you with a black eye. That’s what is happening to the Catholic Church as it fights to keep some victims of sexual abuse from seeking redress(link is external). A story in Monday’s (May 7) Buffalo News detailed how the New York State Catholic Conference spent $1.8 million over six years on lobbying in Albany, including a push to stop the Child Victims Act, a bill that would make it easier for victims of child molestation to file lawsuits or bring criminal charges against their abusers.” By The Buffalo News Editorial Board

Convicted Guam archbishop’s presence at papal event alarms survivor advocates
“Abuse survivor advocates are expressing alarm after a Catholic archbishop accused of molesting young men(link is external), who was recently convicted in a canonical trial, appeared on a stage with other prelates at an event in Rome with Pope Francis. Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron was seen at a May 5 event for the 50th anniversary of the Neocatechumenal Way. He was sitting alongside dozens of other prelates behind Francis as the pontiff took part in a meeting with some 100,000 members of the community in a field on the edge of Rome.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

More action urged against sexual abuse by priests
“Pope Francis has yet to comment on the latest developments regarding Cardinal George Pell(link is external), the highest-ranking Catholic Church official charged with sexual offenses, who faces trial in Australia. Sabina Castelfranco reports from Rome calls have been mounting for greater efforts in the worldwide fight against pedophilia in the Roman Catholic Church.” By Sabina Castelfranco, Voice of America News

In the Catholic Church abuse scandal, things can always get worse
“It what was perceived to be the height of the clerical child abuse scandal(link is external) in the Catholic Church. I had some good priests and involved laypeople tell me that the next shoe to drop was going to drop overseas, in the Catholic missions to remote areas in places like Africa and the islands of the Pacific Ocean. Surely, they told me, if predatory priests were enabled to commit their crimes in the crowded urban areas of the United States, the same thing, or worse, must have been going on in distant places beyond the reach of the spotlight, or of ‘Spotlight.’” By Charles P. Pierce, Esquire

CALIFORNIA

Alums accuse Catholic school in San Jose for failing to handle past sex abuse claims
“Dozens of people gathered Wednesday (May 16) night in San Jose over growing concerns an all-girls Catholic high school failed to handle past sexual abuse claims(link is external). Former students organized the meeting. One of the organizers said a teacher touched her inappropriately but the school failed to act. Now, she and other alums are demanding the principal and the president of the school’s board of directors to resign.” By Azenith Smith, KTVU-TV Fox News

IDAHO

A Boise priest abused him and kept him quiet with beer. He was 12. Police never knew.
“For two decades, Mark Holden kept the secret of the man who abused him: a man he believed was next to God(link is external), a man he thought was untouchable. Holden met the Rev. James McSorley in 1971 at Boise’s Sacred Heart parish. In public, Holden served McSorley as an altar boy. In private, Holden said, the 50-year-old priest soon became exploitive, using secluded time with the children to fondle Holden — and possibly others — on multiple occasions over the course of a year.” By Ruth Brown, Idaho Statesman

ILLINOIS

Two decades later, pastor charged with sexual assault of boy in Evanston hotel
“A former Catholic priest with Chicago ties is facing criminal charges for the first time, nearly two decades after he resigned from his post amid several allegations of child sex abuse(link is external). The case that eventually landed 56-year-old Kenneth Lewis in the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Saturday (May 19) in Chicago stems from a decade-old allegation of child molestation in an Evanston hotel room, according to a police source in the northern suburb.” By Nader Issa, Chicago Tribune

MARYLAND

Baltimore Archdiocese removes priest over allegations of child sexual abuse from 1970s
“The following news release was issued by the Archdiocese of Baltimore May 21 concerning the pastor of Our Lady of Pompei in Highlandtown: The Archdiocese of Baltimore has learned of an allegation of child sexual abuse(link is external) against Father Luigi Esposito, 77, pastor at Our Lady of Pompei Church in Baltimore. The alleged abuse occurred in the 1970s while Father Esposito was serving as Associate Pastor at Our Lady of Pompei. The alleged victim claims the abuse began at the age of 14 and occurred multiple times while the minor was at Our Lady of Pompei.” By Catholic Review Staff, Archdiocese of Baltimore

Class action lawsuit filed on behalf of minor students
“Today (May 17), Murphy, Falcon & Murphy filed a class action lawsuit against Saint Frances Academy, a private Roman Catholic high school located in Baltimore City, on behalf of Jill Doe1, a current Saint Frances Academy student, and all current and former students at Saint Frances Academy who were harassed, sexually assaulted, abused, exploited, and/or inappropriately touched by Ryan Penalver(link is external), a former teacher and administrator at Saint Frances Academy.” By Murphy, Falcon & Murphy on PRNewswire

MICHIGAN

Saginaw diocese official, prosecutors meet on abuse claims
“A retired judge who’s reviewing complaints of sexual abuse by priests(link is external) for the Saginaw Roman Catholic Diocese say he’s had an initial meeting with prosecutors. Michael Talbot said Wednesday (May 2, 2018) he met with Saginaw County prosecutors in a spirit of cooperation and asked whether they knew of any allegations against priests who haven’t been removed from ministry.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

MINNESOTA

Former Catholic priest sentenced for criminal sexual conduct
“Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced Monday (May 7) 35-year-old Jacob Andrew Bertrand, who was an ordained Catholic priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, Calf., was sentenced after pleading guilty to criminal sexual conduct(link is external). In January, Bertrand pled guilty to one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct that occurred in 2010.” By KSTP-TV Eyewitness News

Minnesota priest accused of abusing 60 boys on Guam
“The Rev. Louis Brouillard has kept a low profile at his home in Pine City. But the Catholic priest faces growing notoriety on the island of Guam, where he’s been sued by at least 60 men who say he sexually abused them as children(link is external). The tiny Pacific island is reeling from a clergy sex abuse scandal not unlike the one that rocked Minnesota a few years back, with tearful victims revealing memories of sexual indignations committed decades ago. The priest most frequently accused is a 96-year-old man in a senior apartment 7,000 miles away.” By Jean Hopfensperger, Minneapolis Star Tribune

NEW MEXICO

Seven men sue former priest, alleging child sex abuse
“For the countless victims of clergy sex abuse(link is external) in New Mexico, many feel let down by police, prosecutors and other adults who should have helped them. The fight isn’t over. In a new lawsuit, seven men allege that former Catholic Priest Sabine Griego raped them repeatedly between 1968 and 1984. ‘The goal in these seven survivors in focusing on Griego specifically is to draw attention to the fact that he has escaped any kind of prosecution, even though he has been known as a credible abuser for more than 20 years,’ said Levi Monagle, who is one of the attorneys in the case.” By Chris Ramirez, KOB4-TV, Albuquerque, New Mexico

NEW YORK

The men who helped cover up Catholic Church abuse
“The recent revelations of Catholic priests who have been accused of sexual abuse show cases that date back decades(link is external). But why did it take this long for the information to be made public? Below are key figures in the Buffalo diocese dating back to the 1970s. Our I-Team has what they knew and when and the steps they took to keep the abuse out of the public eye.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV News

Clergy abuse victims in Syracuse Diocese have a decision to make
Some people abused as children by clergy(link is external) in the Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese must decide by June 18 whether to participate in the diocese’s compensation program, or wait to see if state lawmakers pass a bill that would extend the statute of limitations, so they could sue later … That bill is the Child Victims Act. Besides extending the statute of limitations for people abused as children to sue, it would also open a one-year window, so that those previously barred through the statute of limitations to bring their case to court could do so.” By Gabe Altieri, WSKG-FM

‘I didn’t think anyone would believe me,’ Buffalo woman says she was abused by a Buffalo priest
Another person who claims sexual abuse(link is external) by a member of the Buffalo Catholic Diocese is coming forward Wednesday (May 9). But for the first time, we’re hearing from a woman, who says she was abused by a Priest in Buffalo in the 90’s. ‘I didn’t think anyone would believe me.’ It’s been 25 years since Evelyn safe says she was sexually abused by Father Robert D. Moss. For the first time, she wants to talk about it. ‘I think it’s disgusting that somebody in power would do something like that.’” By Marissa Perlman, WIVB-TV News

Clergy abuse victims call for Bishop Malone’s resignation
Sexual abuse victims(link is external) on Monday (May 7) called on Bishop Richard Malone to reveal more information on sexually abusive Buffalo priests or resign as bishop. ‘I think Buffalo, New York is ‘Boston, Massachusetts West,’ said Robert Hoatson, a former priest who runs Road to Recovery Inc., which helps victims of clerical sex abuse. ‘The same level of cover-up that occurred in Boston has occurred in the Diocese of Buffalo.’” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV

Priest accused in 1995 of having sex with teen still offering Masses
“Diocese of Buffalo officials assigned the Rev. Fabian J. Maryanski to work in parishes for more than a decade after he was accused of having sexual contact(link is external) with a teenage girl in a church rectory. The priest started his sexual advances on the girl when she was a 15-year-old parishioner at St. Patrick Church in Barker, according to a 1995 letter sent by her lawyer to diocese officials. The letter from Rochester attorney Charles A. West Jr. to then-Bishop Edward D. Head alleged that Maryanski’s sexual advances escalated from hugging and kissing to sex. The abuse is alleged to have started in the mid-1980s, when Maryanski was pastor of St. Patrick Church.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

NORTH CAROLINA

Why don’t we know names of former North Country priests who face allegations of sex crimes
“The Diocese of Ogdensburg is moving forward with a program to compensate victims of sexual assault and rape by Roman Catholic priests(link is external). But unlike some other Catholic leaders, North Country Bishop Terry LaValley chose not to release names of priests who face credible allegations of wrong-doing.” By Brian Mass, North Country Public Radio

Former priest accused of sexually assaulting multiple children
“Authorities confirmed on Monday (May 7) that a former western North Carolina priest has been arrested on child sex crimes(link is external). Howard Willard White was taken into custody on Thursday and is charged with first-degree forcible sex offense, two counts of indecent liberties with a child, first-degree rape, second-degree forcible rape and second-degree rape.” By Amanda Shaw, FOX Carolina

NORTH DAKOTA

Priest extradited from Philippines pleads guilty to two counts
“A Roman Catholic priest accused of molesting two boys(link is external) in North Dakota in the 1990s has pleaded guilty to two counts of felony gross sexual imposition. Court documents show that Fernando Sayasaya entered the pleas Thursday (May 17) during a scheduling conference. He’s accused of abusing two underage siblings from 1995 to 1998, while he was assigned to the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church and St. Mary’s Cathedral in the Fargo area.” By Associated Press on CacheValleyDaily.com

OKLAHOMA

Former Tulsa Catholic priest arrested, charged with sexual assault on minor
“A former Tulsa Catholic priest has been arrested and charged with sexual assault of a minor(link is external) in Evanston, Illinois. Evanston police said Kenneth Lewis, 56, allegedly molested a then 13-year-old Tulsa boy at an Evanston Hotel in July 2001. Lewis was with the family on the trip when the incident took place, officers said.” By KJRH-TV News

PENNSYLVANIA

Trail of trauma: Grand jury report expected to shed more light on sexual abuse in dioceses
“Horror stories like these have emerged the world over for more than three decades now, of Roman Catholic priests and others associated with the church exploiting their positions of trust to gain access to children they would molest(link is external). Often, such priests stayed in ministry under knowing bishops and other church higher-ups who put a premium on minimizing scandal and often thought that predators’ criminal impulses could be controlled through spiritual or therapeutic means.” By Peter Smith, Pittsburg Post-Gazette

Former Erie Diocese Bishop: ‘There Was No Such Cover-Up’ in Sex Abuse Case
“Father David Poulson, 64, of Oil City, was a priest in the Erie diocese for four decades until he left in February 2018. Bishop Emeritus Donald Trautman of the Erie Diocese issued a new statement Monday (May 14) regarding the charges filed against former priest David Poulson for the sexual abuse of two young boys(link is external). It reads: The Erie Times News stated in its May 14, 2018, edition ‘that the Diocese of Erie engaged in a cover-up of David Poulson’s behavior under the administration of Bishop Donald Trautman,’ according to Attorney General Josh Shapiro. There was no such cover-up. Why would I cover up Father Poulson’s behavior when I had reported to several district atttorneys the behavior of other priests?” By ErieNewsNow.com

AG Shapiro announces arrest of Erie priest on charges of sexual abuse
“Eight years ago, the Rev. David L. Poulson admitted to his bishop that he was aroused by a boy, had sent sex-themed texts to minors(link is external) and was spending time alone with them in violation of diocesan rules, according to a grand jury report accompanying the Roman Catholic priest’s arrest Tuesday (May 8). The now-retired Bishop Donald Trautman ‘admonished’ Father Poulson and told him to ‘cease and desist’ from such behavior, according to an internal church memo cited by the grand jury.” By Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Former Erie bishop says there was no cover-up of child sexual abuse on his watch
“The bishop who was at the helm in the Diocese of Erie during the years in which state investigators say a priest was abusing two boys, even as the diocese knew about it, is saying there was no cover-up of sexual abuse(link is external). Bishop Emeritus Donald Trautman on Wednesday (May 9) said in a written statement that in 2010, he had received a fourth-hand allegation about Father David Poulson’s contact with a young adult man. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro on Tuesday announced the arrest of Poulson, 64, of Oil City, on charges he sexually assaulted two boys over the course of many years.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

Pennsylvania Catholic priest sexually abused at least two boys, made one say confession, AG says
“A Roman Catholic priest was arrested and charged Tuesday (May 8) with sexually abusing at least two boys(link is external) during his four decades in the Erie, Pennsylvania, diocese, and making one of them say confession after the alleged assaults. State Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the arrest of the 64-year-old Rev. David Poulson, of Oil City, as part of a statewide grand jury investigation.” By Claudia Lauer, Associated Press, in York Daily Record

Handling of child molester colleague nets two friars probation
“Two Franciscan friars who supervised another friar who fatally stabbed himself in the heart while facing child molestation claims(link is external) pleaded no contest to child endangerment charges Friday(May 4) and were sentenced to five years of probation. Prosecutors say Robert J. D’Aversa, 71, of Hollidaysburg, failed to tell officials at Bishop McCort Catholic High School in Johnstown that he reassigned the friar, Brother Stephen Baker, in 2000 because of new credible allegations about Baker’s past.” By Mark Scolforo, Associated Press

WASHINGTON

Former Gonzaga priest and professor sentenced for child porn possession
“A former Gonzaga University priest and professor was sentenced Wednesday (May 16) to six months in jail for downloading and viewing child pornography(link is external). Gary Uhlenkott, 67, pleaded guilty in February to viewing depictions of minors engaged in sexual explicit conduct in the 2nd degree back in April 2013. Uhlenkott had been a Jesuit priest for 25 years at the time and was a professor of music at Gonzaga.” By Rachel DeYoung, KXLY-TV News

WISCONSIN

Diocese of Madison statement regarding sexual abuse of a minor
“The Diocese of Madison offers the following brief statement, regarding the recent arrest and initial appearance in court of a retired priest of the diocese, Fr. William Nolan: The diocese recently learned that Fr. William Nolan (64) was arrested by the Fort Atkinson police, with charges pending. Today (May 17), we were informed that he has been charged with six counts of second-degree sexual assault of a minor(link is external) (under the age of 16), as documented in the formal criminal complaint, filed today in Jefferson County Circuit Court.” By Diocese of Madison in diocese’s newspaper, Catholic Herald

Sex abuse victims ‘appalled’ that archdiocese ‘fixer’ Matt Flynn is running for governor
“Upon the news that Matt Flynn was running for the Democratic nomination for governor, a state GOP spokesperson said, ‘Matt Flynn has sought to cover-up the crimes(link is external)committed against those who are most vulnerable.’ Even as some progressive donors line up behind the 71-year-old former Wisconsin Democratic Party chair, the GOP accusation is, if anything, an understatement.” By Louis Weisberg, Wisconsin Gazette

ARGENTINA

Argentine priest jailed for 25 years for abuse of minors
“An Argentine court sentenced a Catholic priest to 25 years in jail on Monday (May 21) for sexually abusing seven children(link is external) over a period of years. Justo Jose Ilarraz had initially been held under house arrest until the 25-year sentence was confirmed on appeal.  Ilarraz, 57, carried out the abuse at a diocesan school in the city of Parana, 600 kilometers (400 miles) north of Buenos Aires, where he was in charge of discipline and spiritual guidance.” By Agence France-Press on Yahoo.com

AUSTRALIA

Cardinal George Pell’s Sexual Abuse Trials May Be Held in Secret
“An Australian court is to decide on Wednesday (May 16) whether two planned trials for Cardinal George Pell(link is external), the senior Vatican official accused of sexual abuse, will be conducted in secret with the public barred from knowing what took place until the proceedings are over. On Friday (May 11), prosecutors in the state of Victoria applied for a ‘super injunction’ against news coverage of the separate trials. Legal experts described the application as an extreme move aimed at keeping juries in both cases from learning anything that might cause bias.” By Damien Cave, The New York Times

Safeguarding body conducts pilot audit
“Adelaide Archdiocese has participated in a pilot audit of child protection policies and practices(link is external) by the Church’s new national safeguarding body. The Archdiocese is well advanced in aligning its safeguarding practices with the royal commission’s Child Safe Standards and compliance with mandatory reporting laws which was a key factor in the choice of Adelaide for the first pilot audit, according to Tania Stegemann, Director of Compliance, Catholic Professional Standards Ltd (CPSL).” By CathNews.com

Church urged to keep up royal commission ‘momentum’
“The chair of the Church’s new safeguarding body has told a meeting of Australian bishops that the Church needs to maintain the momentum created by the royal commission(link is external). Speaking at the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Plenary Council in Sydney yesterday (May 10), Catholic Professional Standards Ltd (CPSL) chair Geoff Giudice said that no matter how much better informed the community and the Church is as a result of the royal commission, the danger has not passed.” By CathNews

New body to monitor Church’s ongoing response to abuse tragedy
“A new advisory group announced yesterday is set to play a crucial role in influencing and monitoring the Church in Australia’s ongoing response to the child sexual abuse scandal(link is external). The Implementation Advisory Group has been established by Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia. Archbishop Denis Hart, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, said the new group will monitor the response to the findings and recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse and the recommendations of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council, which led the Church’s engagement with the commission.” By CathNews.com

CANADA

Confessions from pedophile priest could help Quebec sex abuse lawsuit
“A convicted pedophile priest has left behind a confession meant to help his victims sue the church. Paul-Andre Harvey died of natural causes May 3 at a minimum security prison in Laval, Que. He was serving a six-year sentence for the sexual abuse of 39 girls(link is external). Over the last several months, Harvey wrote a series of documents in French, explaining his crimes and laying out how he got away with them for decades.” By Mike Armstrong, Global News

CHILE

Chilean bishop suspends 12 priests, apologizes for not acting sooner
“Over the weekend (May 20), Chilean Bishop Alejandro Goić Karmelić suspended several priests after allegations of sexual misconduct(link is external) were raised against them. He apologized for not following up when the accusations were first brought to his attention. ‘I would like to ask forgiveness for my actions in this case,’ the bishop said in a May 19 statement.” By Elise Harris, Catholic News Agency

Chilean bishop says mistakes were made in handling abuse cases
“A Chilean bishop acknowledged the damage inflicted on survivors of clerical sex abuse and the mishandling of cases by church leaders in the country. ‘I am not saying that perhaps we have made mistakes. We have made mistakes(link is external),’ said Bishop Juan Ignacio Gonzalez Errazuriz of San Bernardo. Bishop Gonzalez, along with Auxiliary Bishop Fernando Ramos Perez of Santiago, met with journalists May 14 on the eve of a three-day meeting between Pope Francis and 34 Chilean bishops.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service

Chileans denounce suffering sex abuse by Marists, priests
“Even as Pope Francis apologized for his failures in connection with Chile’s most famous case of clerical sex abuse, the pope and that country’s deeply discredited Catholic Church are under mounting pressure to address another, even bigger sex scan(link is external)dal. The blooming scandal of the Marist Brothers, a congregation dedicated to education, has not yet drawn great attention worldwide — unlike allegations that a bishop covered up the crimes of a pedophile priest, Rev. Fernando Karadima.” By Eva Vergara, Associated Press, on NewsOK.com

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

All priests who have been ‘credibly’ accused of abuse should be named
“Abuse survivors have criticized the Catholic Church for tokenism and a ‘lack of humility’ and called for priests accused of child abuse to be named(link is external), as the Bishops Conference attempted to draw a line under the issue. The comments came as the Church published new guidelines, titled ‘In God’s Image,’ as a final response to the 2015 McLellan Commission and its findings.” By Stephen Naysmith, The Herald, Scotland

Safeguarding in the Catholic Church in Scotland
“The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland wish to ensure that there is transparency in the arrangements for Safeguarding in Catholic parishes and organizations throughout Scotland. In 2011 the Bishops established the McLellan Commission to review Safeguarding practice in the Catholic Church in Scotland(link is external). Its report was published in 2015, at which time we published our own plan for implementing its recommendations. This plan has led to the publication of IN GOD’S IMAGE which is an ‘Instruction’ from the Bishops of Scotland directing the approach to Safeguarding which must be followed in every Catholic Diocese in Scotland, with effect from 21st May 2018.” By The Bishops Conference of Scotland on bcos.org.uk

Cardinal Nichols should give evidence at sex abuse inquiry, say lawyers
“It is ‘vital’ that Cardinal Vincent Nichols give evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA)(link is external), a lawyer has told a hearing. Sam Stein QC, said at a preliminary hearing into the Archdiocese of Birmingham, that he has been pressing ‘for some time’ for Cardinal Vincent Nichols to appear in person. Mr Stein said that whilst he appreciated counsel to the inquiry is ‘wanting to take a step-by-step process’ in terms of potentially calling him as a witness, ‘it is obvious that where he was the Archbishop of Birmingham from the year 2000 to 2009, he is key to many of these events.’” By Ruth Gledhill, The Tablet

Child abuse survivors who grew up in ‘hellholes’ run by Home Office and other institutions have been ‘ignored’
“The Home Office, local authorities, their insurance companies, police and social workers who disbelieved abused children, all came under fire. The inquiry set up by Theresa May as Home Secretary heard how these institutions had all failed shockingly to protect many of Britain’s most vulnerable children(link is external) who were in their care. Testimony was heard of how children reporting and fleeing appalling abuse at children homes, were disbelieved by police officers and social workers. How they were returned to ‘the hands of their abuser.’” By Ben Gelblum, The London Economic

GUAM

Archdiocese acknowledges latest allegations of sex abuse
“The Archdiocese of Agana on Thursday (May 10) acknowledged the latest allegations of child sexual abuse(link is external) and lawsuit filed against the church this week, which brings to 168 the total number of clergy sex abuse cases in local and federal courts since 2016. Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes, in a statement, extended prayers for accuser A.A. and all people who have come forward recently with claims of sexual abuse by Guam Catholic clergy or lay person.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Father Antonio C. Cruz, two others told altar boy he would go to hell if he told of sex abuse
“A now deceased priest, an older male active at the Tamuning parish and an altar boy sexually abused(link is external), in or around 1981 or 1982, another altar boy who was told he would go to hell if he said anything to anyone, a lawsuit filed on Wednesday (May 9) states. The lawsuit states the boy also was told he would be shamed and disowned by his own family if he told them anything.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Former church chancellor accused of 15 years of abuse
“A 33-year-old man has come forward alleging he endured nearly 15 years of sexual molestation and abuse(link is external) at the hands of Father Adrian Cristobal, the former Archdiocese of Agana chancellor, leading him to drugs for self-medication. A lawsuit filed in the District Court of Guam by J.C.C., who used initials to protect his identity, alleges the abuse began when he was 11 years old and an altar boy at San Vicente Ferrer/San Roke Catholic Church in Barrigada, where Cristobal served as parish priest and continued until 2013.” By Mindy Aguon, The Guam Daily Post

INDIA

The church has been plagued with cases of sexual abuse, and it’s time the ‘omerta’ is broken
“The 2015 movie ‘Spotlight’ had a profound, lasting impact worldwide, not only because it was a finely made motion picture that spoke about the long-standing issue of child sexual abuse by the church(link is external), but also for the manner in which it highlighted the fact that the church and the whole organizational system of Christian authorities go to elaborate lengths to deny, hide, hush up the crimes and take great measures to shelter and rehabilitate the guilty priests.” By Sanghamitra, OPINDIA.com

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Priest steps aside due to historic abuse investigation
“A Catholic priest has voluntarily stepped aside from his duties in the Northern Ireland diocese of Dromore while police investigate a historical allegation of abuse(link is external) against him. A statement from the diocese says that both it and the priest are co-operating fully with the ongoing PSNI investigation and that they will continue to do so.” By Joe Little, RTE

NEW ZEALAND

Church abuse victims resigned to being left out of inquiry
“Church abuse survivors have resigned themselves to being excluded from the upcoming Royal Commission of Inquiry(link is external). The public consultation period about how the inquiry should run wrapped up a week ago (May 1) and its chair Sir Anand Satyanand has begun going through the 300 submissions. ‘At this stage I have not formed any final views or recommendations,’ he said in a statement last night (May 7). However, Liz Tonks of the Network of Survivors of Faith-based Institutional Abuse said she got a very different impression from meeting with Sir Anand.” By Phil Pennington, Radio New Zealand

SWITZERLAND

Controversial bishop reports priest to police
“Vitus Huonder, the controversial Catholic bishop of Chur in eastern Switzerland, has reported a local priest to the authorities over alleged sexual offenses(link is external). The bishop acted after he received information about a an alleged criminal offence of a sexual nature committed against an adult individual,’ according to the website of the diocese, which reported the incident on Wednesday (May 23).” By Swissinfo.ch

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Voice of the Faithful ‘Focus’ News Roundup


TOP STORIES

Cardinal George Pell to stand trial on historical sex offenses
“Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s third-highest-ranking official, must stand trial on several charges of sexual abuse(link is external), an Australian court ruled on Tuesday, promising to prolong a case that has already dragged on for months, and which many see as a moment of reckoning for a church racked by scandal.” By Adam Baidawi, The New York Times

Chile victims of clergy sex abuse praise talks with Pope
“Men who were sexually abused by a priest in Chile described the private talks they’ve had so far with Pope Francis(link is external) at the Vatican as very helpful and respectful Sunday. James Hamilton, one of three clergy abuse survivors the pope invited to Italy after he discounted some of their assertions, tweeted that his more than two hours of conversation with Francis were ‘enormously constructive.’” By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, on Cruxnow.com

In wake of abuse scandal, bishops of Chile talk resignation
“As the date for their upcoming meeting with Pope Francis approaches, several of the 32 Chilean bishops who will be in Rome to meet the pontiff(link is external) May 14-17 are speaking up, some ready to resign, and others ready to demand the resignation of a bishop accused of covering up clerical sexual abuse.” By Inès San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Australian mining town breaks its silence about grim past of sexual abuse
“Rob Walsh was outside Melbourne Magistrates’ Court recently awaiting a pretrial hearing for Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s third-highest-ranking official, when, he said, he unexpectedly walked into the cardinal himself. The encounter wasn’t their first. They both were raised in the same old mining town, which could be why the cardinal extended his hand, inviting Mr. Walsh to shake it. Mr. Walsh declined — a gesture that signified the lasting impact of a decades-long sexual abuse scandal(link is external) that has rocked this town, Ballarat, and sent shock waves around the world.” By Jacqueline Williams, The New York Times

Household names: Junia, Phoebe, & Prisca in early Christian Rome
“Paul’s letter to the Romans is arguably the most significant theological text in Christian history … Few readers focus on the end of the letter, where Paul greets almost thirty people in the nascent assemblies of Roman Christians. After all, it seems mostly like an ordinary exchange of pleasantries and commendations. But pay closer attention to whom Paul addresses and a surprise emerges: the status of women(link is external) in the early church in Rome.” By Michael Peppard, Commonweal

ACCOUNTABILITY

Rundown of sex abuse within the Catholic Church
“Between 1950 and 2013, the Catholic Church in the US received 17,000 complaints from people who said they had suffered sexual abuse from 6,400 clerics(link is external) between 1950 and 1980. In 2012, specialists in contact with the Vatican mooted the figure of 100,000 cases of child sex abuse in the US. Vatican finance chief Cardinal George Pell on Tuesday (May 1) became the highest-ranked Catholic ever to be sent to trial for sex offences, adding to a series of scandals facing the church globally. Here is a rundown of notable cases …” By The Straits Times

Montana diocese reaches $20M settlement with abuse victims
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Great Falls-Billings reached a $20 million agreement to settle claims by 86 people(link is external) who said they were sexually abused as children by clergy employed by the Montana diocese dating back to the 1950s, officials said Friday (Apr. 27). The abuse happened at the hands of dozens of priests, deacons and at least one nun in Native American reservations and in towns and cities throughout the diocese’s territory across eastern Montana, attorneys for about half of the plaintiffs said.” By Matt Volz, Associated Press

Sexual abuse scandals deepen Chile mistrust in Catholic Church
“Despite a strong Catholic tradition, Chile is witnessing a growing rift between the people and the church, sharpened by a string of sexual abuse scandals(link is external) that until recently had been ignored by the pope. The extent of the rift became clear in January when Pope Francis visited Chile and sparked outrage by hugging Juan Barros, a controversial bishop who has been accused of covering up abuses by another priest in the 1980s and ’90s.” By The Sun Daily

Power of words: listening must lead to action, abuse survivors say
“Pope Francis’ planned meeting with abuse survivors from Chile could mark a turning point in how the Catholic Church(link is external) deals not just with prevention, but especially with how it responds to accusations. The pope has said he wants the four days of meetings in April to be his chance to ask for forgiveness and express his ‘pain and shame’ for what they have suffered. And Pope Francis, who emphasizes the importance of listening and learning, also sees this as a chance to hear survivors’ suggestions for how to avoid repeating ‘such reprehensible acts,’ the Vatican said April 25.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

He forced the Vatican to investigate sex abuse. Now he’s meeting with Pope Francis
“When I first interviewed Juan Carlos Cruz eight years ago, he was so ashamed about what had happened to him that he was not sure he wanted his name to be public. In his youth in Chile, he had been sexually abused by the Rev. Fernando Karadima(link is external), one of Chile’s most prominent priests … This week, Mr. Cruz and two other victims of Father Karadima’s will stay at the Vatican in an extended visit with Pope Francis, who issued an extraordinary apology this month for ‘grave errors’ in the handling of sexual abuse cases in Chile.” By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times

POPE FRANCIS

Pope Francis in the wilderness
“Five years ago, Pope Francis was elected to be an agent of change within a church shaken by scandals and the historic resignation of Benedict XVI. He quickly became a global force in geopolitics, setting the agenda on climate change and care for migrants. World leaders wanted to be near him. Even non-Catholics adored him. Today, Francis is increasingly embattled(link is external).” By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times

A Pope given to apologies has nothing for indigenous Canada
“The past three popes have invested deeply in the forgiveness-begging business(link is external), offering official apologies for the church’s sins against Jews during World War II and Indigenous people in Bolivia, among others. But Canada’s Roman Catholic bishops said late last month that Pope Francis would not apologize in the foreseeable future for the boarding schools where, for more than a century and a half, more than 150,000 Indigenous children were forced to attend in an effort to obliterate their cultures and languages. About 70 percent of children went to schools operated by the church.” By Ian Austen and Jason Horowitz, The New York Times

CARDINALS

Meeting of the Council of Cardinals with Pope Francis
“The Council of Cardinal Advisors assembled with Pope Francis(link is external) in Rome on Wednesday (Apr. 25) for the third and last day of their 24th session … A large part of their work has been dedicated to the draft of a new Apostolic Constitution of the Roman Curia, which will be submitted to the Holy Father for his final approval … Cardinal Sean O’Malley presented to the Cardinals the efforts that have been made to protect minors and vulnerable adults in the Church.” By Joachim Teigen, VaticanNews.va

PRIESTS

Confront racism, Archbishop Gregory tells priests at federation gathering
“As a group of priests gathered to mark the 50th anniversary of their organization, there was some reminiscing, but most of the discussion was about the present and the future, including the need to fight racism, to work more closely with laity and even to re-imagine priesthood altogether … Yet, while the societal challenges have remained over the 50-year history of the NFPC (National Federation of Priests’ Councils), much has changed for priests in the United States(link is external).” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR THE PROTECTION OF MINORS

Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors Meets in Rome
“The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM) met this week (Apr. 22) in Plenary Assembly in Rome. The first day of the meeting was dedicated to hearing from members of the Survivor Advisory Panel(link is external) (SAP) of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission from England and Wales. The gathering was part of the PCPM’s ongoing commitment to ensuring that the thoughts and contributions of people who have been abused inform all aspects of the Commission’s work.” Press Release from Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors

Kiwi’s three years on the Pope’s commission
“Bill Kilgallon is looking back on his three years as a member(link is external) of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors with sense of achievement, alongside a certain sense of frustration. Mr Kilgallon’s three years term on the commission came to an end last year, and he was not reappointed to a second term, an outcome he had anticipated.” By Michael Otto, NZCatholic.org.nz

CHILD PROTECTION

Women from ‘The Keepers’ discuss experience at Baltimore conference on child sexual abuse prevention
“ Three women featured in the documentary ‘The Keepers’ renewed calls Thursday (Apr. 19) for the Archdiocese of Baltimore to release its files on the priest at the center of the Netflix series(link is external). ‘Open your books, release your records,’ Abbie Schaub said at a conference at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Schaub, along with Lil Hughes Knipp and Teresa Lancaster, was featured in a panel at the annual symposium of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, which is part of the public health school.” By Alison Knezevich, Baltimore Sun

Child sexual abuse in the U.S. costs up to $1.5 million per child death
Child sexual abuse in the United States is costly(link is external), with an average lifetime cost of $1.1 million per death of female victims and $1.5 million per death of male victims, according to a new study. Researchers measured the economic costs of child sexual abuse by calculating health care costs, productivity losses, child welfare costs, violence/crime costs, special education costs and suicide death costs. They estimated the total lifetime economic burden of child sexual abuse in the United States to be $9.3 billion, based on child sexual abuse data from 2015.” By LaTina Emerson, Georgia State University Public Relations Coordinator

MASS TRANSLATIONS

Archbishop Gregory: the time is right to review Mass translations
“The archbishop who heads the U.S. bishops’ liturgy committee says that controversial changes to liturgical translations that have been fully implemented in Catholic parishes since 2011 may need to be revisited to fix ‘problematic’ sections(link is external) that fail to ‘bring the entire church together.’” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Women appointed to Vatican’s doctrine office
“Pope Francis named five new consultors of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Saturday (Apr. 21), including three female academics and two priests(link is external) … While a Vatican spokesman was unable to confirm whether laywomen have previously served as consultors, he did confirm for CNA that women have served as staff members at the dicastery.” By CathNews.com

CHURCH REFORM

Editorial: resist outsourcing evangelization
“In a March 19 essay in the international edition of the French Catholic newspaper La Croix, church historian Massimo Faggioli offers important insights(link is external) about the role of special interest groups, influence and money in the life of the church today. In ‘The tensions between church reform and pushing an agenda,’ Faggioli writes: In the tradition of the church, reform has been driven mostly by the urgent need to correct serious deviations (for instance, simony and corruption) or to respond to new threats facing the church (such as the Holy Roman Empire’s challenge to papal authority) … Backed by big money, special interest groups, informal networks and invisible actors are today penetrating and influencing more and more institutions, including the church.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Changes coming to Catholic parishes
Another round of church closures appears to be on the horizon(link is external) for the Catholic archdiocese of Halifax- Yarmouth. ‘We have a problem with attendance and with financial issues of the church,’ said Ervin Doak, a retired Saint Mary’s University professor, and a parishioner and volunteer at St. Thomas Aquinas and Canadian Martyrs parish in central Halifax.” By Francis Campbell, Truro Daily Herald

The Pittsburgh Diocese deadline
“Change is inevitable. We see it nationally — tax reform, tariffs, gun control. We see it regionally — fracking, medical innovation, clean energy. We see it on the job — automation, outsourcing, reorganizations, mergers. No one and nothing is immune from change, not even one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, the Catholic Church. As any practicing Catholic in the Diocese of Pittsburgh knows, Saturday (Apr. 28) at 4 p.m. is when Bishop David Zubik announces the new parish groupings(link is external) and clergy assignments that will take effect in October, known as On Mission.” By Jan Kowalski, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

VOICES

Expert says abuse of power at root of sexual abuse crisis in Church
“The center (Center for Child Protection at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University) works closely with the Vatican on developing polices to deal with sexual abuse and hosts numerous workshops for Church leaders from around the world. Which is why ‘Dalla parte dei piccoli’ [‘On the side of the small ones’] is sure to be discussed when it’s released in May. The book is by Angela Rinaldi, a 28-year-old Italian research assistant at the Center for Child Protection, and she argues the problem of sexual abuse in the Church ‘is a question of abuse of power(link is external).’” By Filipe Domingues, Cruxnow.com

When Americans say they believe in God, what do they mean?
“A new Pew Research Center survey of more than 4,700 U.S. adults finds that one-third of Americans say they do not believe in the God(link is external) of the Bible, but that they do believe there is some other higher power or spiritual force in the universe. A slim majority of Americans (56%) say they believe in God ‘as described in the Bible.’ And one-in-ten do not believe in any higher power or spiritual force.” By Pew Research Center: Religion & Public Life

CHURCH FINANCES

Federal appeals court affirms parish assets separate from archdiocese
“A federal appeals court upheld two lower court rulings that the assets of Catholic institutions, including parishes, are separate(link is external) from those of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and that they cannot be consolidated with archdiocesan assets in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The April 26 ruling came from the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.” By Maria Wiering, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

Okemos priest embezzlement grows to $5.4M
“An investigation of a Catholic priest had focused on a $3 million mansion he built in 2007, but new records show the alleged pilfering began long before then. The purported embezzlement started shortly after the Rev. Jon Wehrle founded St. Martha Church in 1988 and continued for 26 years, according to an audit by Plante Moran. In all, the priest is accused of taking $5.4 million from the church(link is external) from 1991 to 2017, the audit shows.” By Francis X. Donnelly, The Detroit News

Vatican continues its financial clean-up
“When it comes to clean-up of the Vatican’s troubled finances, officials often say that no news is good news. Such is the case with a 2017 report from the Financial Information Authority (AIF), in effect the Vatican’s financial watchdog unit. According to the report, suspicious financial activity in the Vatican has decreased(link is external) for the second year in a row.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

As much as $100,000 taken from collection plate at Holy Name Cathedral, police say
“Chicago police are investigating whether former security guards at Holy Name Cathedral may have played a role in the theft of up to $100,000 from the historic church’s collection plate(link is external), according to preliminary information from police sources and the security company. No one is in custody, but multiple suspects have been identified, according to Anthony Guglielmi, a police spokesman.” By Elyssa Cherney, Chicago Tribune

Catholic church falls victim to Melbourne’s latest crime spree
“The Catholic Church, one of Victoria’s wealthiest institutions, has found itself repeatedly targeted as part of a crime spree that some believe could be an ‘inside job.’ The Sunday Age can reveal that 23 churches and religious buildings have been robbed in the past two months, with offenders potentially reaping hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Mass collections(link is external), as well as electronic equipment, keys, and other small items … Another church source had a different view, saying that priests and lay workers were ‘fairly slack’ about putting collections and other money in safe places.” By Farrah Tomazin and Chris Vedelago, The Canberra times

Millennial philanthropy can teach Catholic Church three things
“In 2015, 84 percent of working millennials gave money to a charity. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Growing up hearing stories of Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day, and Martin Luther King Jr. in the classroom, millennials are a decidedly socially conscious generation. They prefer to financially support organizations that have a compelling cause. More specifically, they like causes that seek to alleviate burdens associated with poverty … Can the church learn any lessons from what millennials expect from charities?(link is external) My answer — yes, and below I offer three.” By Christian Mocek, National Catholic Reporter

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Child Victims Act left behind in state’s budget, kept alive by survivors
“The state budget left out the Child Victims Act — a bill supported by the governor and the State Assembly — that would have extended the statute of limitations for child victims of sexual assault(link is external), but adult survivors are not giving up. The bill never made it to the State Senate floor, so the GOP majority leader is the focus of upcoming efforts.” By Elizabeth Floyd Mair, The Altamont Enterprise Regional

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Lawyers descend on Buffalo for clergy sex abuse cases
“In the Oscar-winning movie ‘Spotlight,’ Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian talks openly about the priest who abused his clients and the power of the Catholic Church to keep the scandal a secret … That scene was from 17 years ago, but Garabedian’s anger with the Catholic Church is still front and center, an important part of his message as he brings his high profile to Buffalo in search of sexual abuse clients(link is external) here. Garabedian is one part, a big part, of the out-of-town legal presence that arrived here when the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo announced a compensation fund for victims of clergy sexual abuse.” By Phil Fairbanks, The Buffalo News

CALIFORNIA

Second person comes forward to accuse form Redondo Beach priest of sexual abuse
“A second accuser has come forward alleging sexual abuse(link is external) by former Rev. Chris Cunningham while he served at St. Lawrence Martyr Catholic Church in Redondo Beach from 1998 to 2001. The man, now 30, contacted attorney Anthony DeMarco after reading media reports about DeMarco’s representation of a different accuser at St. Lawrence during the same time period. The attorney reached out to the Southern California News Group Thursday (Apr. 26).” By David Rosenfeld, Daily Breeze

MASSACHUSETTS

New book alleges sex abuse, coverups by Springfield bishops
“‘Death of an Altar Boy,’ a new book exploring the unsolved 1972 murder of Danny Croteau, 13, of Springfield, paints a damning portrait of then Springfield bishop Christopher J. Weldon(link is external) as man who obstructed justice and may have sexually abused a young boy in the 1950s. Drawing on more than 10,000 pages of police and court records and interviews with Croteau’s family, friends, fellow abuse victims and church officials, author E.J. Fleming (“Tread Softly: Bullying and the Death of Phoebe Prince”) looks at the killing and the only publicly named suspect — Richard R. Lavigne, a since defrocked priest who has been the subject of claims from 40 alleged victims of sexual abuse.” By Ray Kelly, MassLive.com

MICHIGAN

Man gives emotional testimony claiming Saginaw priest sexually assaulted him
“When the Rev. Robert J. ‘Father Bob’ DeLand Jr. first appeared in court on sexual assault charges(link is external), he asked a judge when he’d find out who his accusers were. Two months later, the 71-year-old Catholic priest heard testimony from two of the three males who say he molested them. The witnesses testified during two of DeLand’s preliminary examinations held the morning of April 25 before Saginaw County District Judge David D. Hoffman.” By Cole Waterman, Saginaw News

Saginaw Diocese names independent delegate to lead sex abuse investigation
“The Diocese of Saginaw, Michigan, has named an independent delegate to lead its investigation into child abuse in the diocese(link is external), while also releasing the names of several priests who have been defrocked for accusations in their past. Saginaw Bishop Joseph Cistone appeared at a press conference April 13 along with Michigan Appeals Court Chief Judge Michael Talbot, to announce Talbot’s appointment to oversee the diocese’s handling of sex abuse cases.” By James Dearie, National Catholic Reporter

MONTANA

$20M settlement reached in clergy abuse cases
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Great Falls and Billings reached a $20 million settlement agreement(link is external) Friday (Apr. 27) with more than 80 people who say they were sexually abused by clergy as children, according to attorneys in the case.” By Corin Cates-Carney, Montana Public Radio

NEW YORK

Four priests accused of sexual abuse served at one Buffalo-area parish
“Members of Most Precious Blood Church in Angola were as stunned as any Catholics – and maybe more so – when the Diocese of Buffalo in March publicly named 42 priests who had been accused of child sex abuse. The list released by Bishop Richard J. Malone included not just one priest who served in the village parish, but four(link is external). Parishioners had no idea. ‘The sticker shock was the number, not that it had happened,’ said longtime member Karen A. Erickson. ‘The sticker shock of so many in your community was what had people talking.’” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Men say Long Island priest who led singing group abused them in mid-1970s
“Eight men who were members of a popular youth folk group at a Catholic church in St. James in the 1970s have filed reports with the Suffolk County district attorney saying they were sexually abused as boys by the charismatic priest(link is external) who ran the group. The men filed the accusations as part of the second phase of a program established by the Diocese of Rockville Centre to compensate clergy sex-abuse victims, according to Manhattan-based attorney Michael Reck, who is representing them.” By Bart Jones, Newsday

The long road to recovery after sexual abuse
“But Father James Spielman wasn’t there to help (David) Husted. He was there to groom him for years of sexual abuse(link is external) — and Husted says, a lifetime of pain. ‘He was thought of as a God,’ Husted said. ‘He was thought of as do no wrong, such a wonderful person. He was so good at what he did, in grooming.’” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV I-Team

You asked, we answered: why aren’t accused priests in jail?
“It’s been two months since The Buffalo News first reported that a retired priest from the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo admitted that he sexually abused ‘probably dozens’ of teenage boys(link is external) in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Since then, The News also has published more than 30 stories related to the sexual abuse scandal within the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo. Among The News’ findings …” By Qina Liu, The Buffalo News

Two priests suspended amid probe of sexual abuse allegations
“Two Buffalo-area priests were put on leave this past weekend as the Diocese of Buffalo investigates complaints of childhood sexual abuse(link is external). Bishop Richard J. Malone suspended the Rev. Samuel J. Venne and the Rev. Arthur S. Smith from ministry due to allegations that the priests behaved inappropriately with minors.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Editorial: Evidence of honorable intent
“It’s anyone’s guess whether it will be enough, but no one can say Bishop Richard J. Malone isn’t putting his money where his mouth is: With the announcement that the Diocese of Buffalo is putting the bishop’s mansion up for sale(link is external), it seems clear that the local Catholic Church is serious about securing the money in needs to settle claims of sexual abuse by priests … No properties would be off limits, he pledged – even the bishop’s stately mansion on Oakland Place in Buffalo. Plainly, he meant it.” By The Buffalo News Editorial Board

PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania is national leader in aggressively going after institutional child sex predators
“More than any other state, Pennsylvania is aggressively going after child sex predators(link is external). From multiple grand jury investigations into the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, a similar grand jury probe into the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, the prosecution of Jerry Sandusky and the investigation into systemic sex abuse of students at a New Hope private school, state prosecutors have positioned the state as arguably the most aggressive in the nation against child sex crimes. A pending grand jury investigation into six Roman Catholic dioceses in the state is poised to further ratchet up the scope of that outlook. The probe ostensibly will provide a complete look into clergy sex abuse in Pennsylvania.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

WEST VIRGINIA

Diocese won’t name sex offenders
“The Roman Catholic dioceses of Wheeling-Charleston and Steubenville don’t plan to issue any lists of alleged sexual offenders(link is external) as dioceses in neighboring states have done in recent weeks. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, New York, released lists of clergy and laity identified as being sexual abusers. The lists contained the names of living and deceased subjects. But that won’t happen here, church officials have said.” By The Weirton Daily Times

AUSTRALIA

Three years’ jail time for Catholic brother who abused boys, then moved on
“A Catholic brother who was moved by his order to other schools interstate after he sexually abused students at De La Salle College(link is external) in Malvern has been jailed for at least three years. Former De La Salle brother Frank Terrence Keating, 75, was on Friday (Apr. 20) sentenced to five years and three months in jail for indecently assaulting eight students between 1969 and 1977.” By Australian Associated Press in The Age

CANADA

Ontario jury set record punitive award against Catholic Church over priest’s abuse
“A jury has awarded $500,000 in punitive damages against a Roman Catholic religious order over a priest’s abuse of a schoolboy(link is external), accusing it of betraying the community’s trust by covering up abuse and moving a serial predator along to new posts. Rob Talach, a lawyer who represented the victim, Rod MacLeod, now 68, said the case represents the largest punitive award by a civil jury in a sexual-abuse case against the Catholic Church in Canada. Over all, the jury award in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice amounted to $2.5-million, which includes money for lost wages, suffering and lost enjoyment of life.” By Sean Fine, The Globe and Mail

Motion fails: Parliament wanted to direct CCCB on papal abuse apology
“A conservative member of Parliament blocked a motion calling on the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to invite Pope Francis to apologize for the Catholic Church’s role in abuse(link is external) at Indian residential schools. However, Charlie Angus, a member of Parliament, said the motion would come up for debate and a vote in the House in the coming weeks. Angus is seeking unanimous government support for a motion to call on the CCCB to formally invite Francis to apologize in Canada, as requested by the 2015 report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.” By Deborah Gyapong, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Nuns sent 11-yesr-old Scottish boy to Australia
“A witness told the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry hearing in Edinburgh he was 11 when he was forced to migrate overseas in the 1950s. He was then sexually abused by priests(link is external)at the care home he was moved to in Tasmania, the inquiry was told. The man accused the British government at the time of robbing him of a family, a country and an education.” By Diane King, Edinburgh News

Child abuse inquiry: victims must be offered more legal support
“The long running inquiry into child sexual abuse(link is external) has recommended that victims be offered more legal support, and the rules be changed on claiming compensation. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in England and Wales is midway through its work, but has issued an interim report based on its findings so far.” Ian Woods, By Sky News

We need a public inquiry into child sex abuse in the Catholic Church
“Only a full public inquiry led by a judge will have a chance of uncovering the true extent and nature of child sex abuse(link is external) in the Scottish Catholic Church rather than its spin doctors’ highly selective version of it. Nicola Sturgeon must start that process now in the name of a little boy she once knew a long time ago. In the meantime she should request the presence of the Papal Nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Edward Adams, at Holyrood to ask how the Vatican intends to deal with a grossly dysfunctional Catholic leadership in Scotland, one that has betrayed its people.” By Kevin McKenna, The Herald

Child abuse investigation to look into claims at former Aberdeen children’s home
“A national child abuse investigation(link is external) will turn its focus on events at a former Aberdeen children’s home from next week. Former residents and other witnesses connected to Nazareth House on the city’s Claremont Street, are expected to give evidence to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.” By Evening Express

GUAM

Three new clergy abuse lawsuits against Cepeda, Brouillard
Three new clergy sex abuse lawsuits(link is external) were filed on Monday (Aor. 30) in local and federal courts, two of them alleging abuse by former priest Louis Brouillard in the late 1960s,  and one alleging abuse by the now deceased former priest Raymond Cepeda in the mid 1980s.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Another priest, Fr. Daniel Cristobal, named in sex abuse lawsuit
“A now deceased Capuchin priest, Father Daniel Cristobal, has been named for the first time in a Guam clergy sex abuse lawsuit(link is external), which was filed Tuesday (Apr. 24) in federal court. The plaintiff, identified in court documents only as C.A. to protect his privacy, said in his lawsuit that Cristobal repeatedly sexually molested and abused him immediately after C.A. became an altar boy in or about 1979 at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Santa Rita.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

It takes time to rebuild trust in church after abuse scandal
“Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes on Tuesday (Apr. 24) said it takes time to win back peoples’ trust in the Catholic Church after the clergy sex abuse(link is external) scandal broke, but he said the Archdiocese of Agana has been making headway in trying to bring a measure of justice to more than 160 victims and in preventing more abuse from happening.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Suspended sentence for priest who assaulted two girls at first confession
“A former priest who indecently assaulted two young girls(link is external) as they made their first confession was given an 18-month suspended sentence at Cork Circuit Criminal Court today. John Calnan, 79, now living at the Presbytery, Roman Street, Co Cork, sexually abused each girl as they went into a room alone with him to make their confession.” By RTE

ITALY

Accuser tells her story of abuse and manipulation by the ‘Archangel’
“His followers called him the Archangel. People would come from far and wide to see him, to speak to him, to touch him. The word of Piero Alfio Capuana, the 70-year-old leader of the ‘Catholic Culture and Environment Association,’ or ACCA, a lay movement in the Church, was law. In 2013, when Capuana called ‘Maria,’ at the time only 11, into his study(link is external), she says she followed. When he locked the door behind her, she says she stayed. When he told her to sit on the desk in front of him, she says she sat, and when he ordered her to take off her shirt, she says, eventually, in tears, she obeyed.” By Claire Giangravè, National Catholic Reporter

SICILY

Diocese had warnings about lay group accused of abuse for 40-plus years
“Documents obtained by Crux show that both the Diocese of Acireale on the Italian island of Sicily and the Vatican were aware since the mid-1970s that a powerful lay organization whose leaders today stand accused of sexual abuse of minor girls(link is external) was suspected of ‘deviations of a doctrinal and moral character’ and ‘true scandals’ … Despite several failed attempts in the late 1970s to impose discipline, documents and interviews show the group continued to enjoy loose approval from a string of bishops in Acireale until criminal charges were lodged by civil prosecutors in August 2017.” By Claire Giangravè, Cruxnow.com

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

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

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

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

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

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

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

BISHOPS

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

SYNOD OF BISHOPS ON YOUTH

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

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

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

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

MILLENNIAL CATHOLICS

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

CHILD PROTECTION

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

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

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

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

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

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

VATICAN

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

VOICES

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

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

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

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

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

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

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

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

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

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

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

MARYLAND

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

MASSACHUSETTS

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

MICHIGAN

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

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

NEW JERSEY

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

NEW YORK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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

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

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

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

COLOMBIA

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

CROATIA

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

GERMANY

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

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

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

GUAM

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

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

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

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

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

NEW ZEALAND

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

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

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

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

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

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

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

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

CARDINALS

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

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

BISHOPS

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

PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR THE PROTECTION OF MINORS

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

CLERICALISM

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

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

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

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

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

CHURCH REFORM

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

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

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

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

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

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

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

VOICES

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

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

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

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

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

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

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

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

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

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

IDAHO

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

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

MICHIGAN

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

NEW YORK

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

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

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

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

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

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

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

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

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

GUAM

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

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

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

IRELAND& NORTHERN IRELAND

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

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

MEXICO

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

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

SOUTH KOREA

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

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


TOP STORIES

‘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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