Posts Tagged Focus

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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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

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

CARDINALS

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

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

PRIESTS

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

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

PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR THE PROTECTION OF MINORS

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

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

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

CHILD PROTECTION

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

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

CELIBACY

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

MASS TRANSLATIONS

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

CLERICALISM

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

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

WOMEN DEACONS

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

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

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

“AMORIS LAETITIA”

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

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

VOICES

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

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

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

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

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

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

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

CALIFORNIA

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

KANSAS

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

LOUISIANA

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

MAINE

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

MISSOURI

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

MONTANA

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

NEW YORK

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

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

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

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

NORTH DAKOTA

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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

TENNESSEE

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

WISCONSIN

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CANADA

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

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

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

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

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

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

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

GUAM

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

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

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

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

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

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

SICILY

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

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

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

BISHOPS

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

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

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

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

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

PRIESTS

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

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

MASS TRANSLATIONS

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

WOMEN DEACONS

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

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

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

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

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

VATICAN II

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

VOICES

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

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

CALIFORNIA

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

FLORIDA

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

ILLINOIS

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

KANSAS

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

KENTUCKY

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

MAINE

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

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

MICHIGAN

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

MINNESOTA

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

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

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

MISSOURI

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

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

NEBRASKA

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

NEW MEXICO

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

NEW YORK

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

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

RHODE ISLAND

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

CANADA

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

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

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

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

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

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

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

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

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

GUAM

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

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

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

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

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

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

ITALY

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

NEW GUINEA

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

NEW ZEALAND

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

PHILIPPINES

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

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