Posts Tagged Focus

Voice of the Faithful Focus, Sept. 15, 2017


TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

CARDINALS

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

BISHOPS

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

PRIESTS

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

WOMEN DEACONS

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

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

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

VATICAN

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

MARRIED PRIESTS

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

VOICES

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

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

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

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

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

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

CALIFORNIA

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

ILLINOIS

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

MINNESOTA

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

NEW MEXICO

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

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

NEW YORK

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

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

OREGON

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GUAM

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

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

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

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

INDIA

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

PHILIPPINES

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

SICILY

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

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Round-up


TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

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Voice of the Faithful Focus

July 18, 2017

TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

CARDINALS

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

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

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

BISHOPS

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

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

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

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

PRIESTS

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

VATICAN

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

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

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

MARRIED PRIESTS

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

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

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

VOICES

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

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

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

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

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

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

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

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

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

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

GEORGIA

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

ILLINOIS

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

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

KENTUCKY

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

MARYLAND

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

NEW JERSEY

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

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

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

CANADA

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

GUAM

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

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

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Voice of the Faithful Focus

TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR THE PROTECTION OF MINORS

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

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

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

CARDINALS

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

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

BISHOPS

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

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

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

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

PRIESTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WOMEN DEACONS

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

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

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

VATICAN

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

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

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

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

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

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

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

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

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MASSACHUSETTS

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

NEW YORK

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

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

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

CANADA

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

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

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

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

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

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

GUAM

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

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

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

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

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

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

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

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Voice of the Faithful Focus

 

June 14, 2017

TOP STORIES

Pope tells Nigerian priests accept bishop or be suspended
“Pope Francis is giving priests belonging to the Diocese of Ahiara, Nigeria, 30 days to write a letter promising obedience to him(link is external) and accepting the bishop appointed for their diocese; priests who do not write will be suspended, according to Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter
— 
Online campaign tries to raise doubts about Pope’s Nigeria edict(link is external), By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Annual audit of church abuse allegations shows work still needed
“The 14th annual report on diocesan compliance with the U.S. Catholic Church’s Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People shows that church leaders have taken steps to help many find healing as victims of clergy sexual abuse, but there is still work to be done(link is external) … Any allegation involving a current minor should remind the bishops that they must rededicate themselves each day to maintaining a level of vigilance.” By Carol Zimmerman, Catholic News Service

No one is monitoring former abusive priests
“The parents of boys who accused a priest of sexual abuse(link is external) wrote to the Chicago Archdiocese more than two decades ago: ‘You’re repeatedly asking ‘what do we want’? It’s one more insult. ‘What we want’ should be totally obvious. We want something done about these priests.’” By Nicole Sotelo, National Catholic Reporter

Married priests: Groups call on U.K. church to have national, courageous conversation
“The ordination of married men to the priesthood(link is external) ‘needs to be explored openly within the church in England and Wales at national and diocesan levels,’ the retired bishop of Portsmouth, England, has said. Speaking to NCR, Bishop Crispian Hollis said he was ‘increasingly aware’ of the pressure which priests are under due to the shortage of priests.” By Sarah Mac Donald, National Catholic Reporter
Priests’ group accuses bishops of refusing to support pope’s openness to reform(link is external), By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, La Croix International

French cardinal to face new legal action over pedophile cover-up
“Almost a year after the French justice system decided to drop criminal proceedings against Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, and six others for failing to report sexual abuse of boy scouts committed by a priest, the case has been reopened(link is external) … ‘If we stop now, who will bring the debate into the public domain?’ said François Devaux, the head of La Parole Libérée (‘Lift the Burden of Silence’).” By Bénévent Tosseri, La Croix International

The church must build ‘spiritual ramps’ to sex abuse survivors
“ … But what about the Catholic faithful who are inhibited from entering the church(link is external), not by a physical disability but a sacramental one? When survivors of sexual abuse by members of the clergy encounter the symbols of Christianity through which they were abused, they may experience feelings ranging from severe discomfort to panic attacks. I consider these ‘sacramental disabilities.’ By Lea Karen Kivi, America: The Jesuit Review (Ms. Kivi is a member of Voice of the Faithful’s Broken Vessel™ Healing Circles program leadership committee)

POPE FRANCIS

We’re watching Pope Francis institutionalize his vision
“Pope Francis on Friday(Jun. 9) took part in a dedication ceremony for a new Vatican headquarters for ‘Scholas Occurentes,’ dedicated to building networks of schools around the world(link is external). Like the World Meeting of Popular Movements, Francis is institutionalizing his vision, ensuring that his initiatives to promote social activism and hear the voices of the base will survive his papacy and form part of his legacy.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Pope’s friend says Francis simply doesn’t fit any ideology
“Marcelo Figueroa, a Protestant and a close friend of Pope Francis who is now editing the Argentinian edition of the Vatican newspaper ‘L’Osservatore Romano(link is external)‘ in order to get past the local spin on the pope’s words, says that ‘trying to match or relate Francis to an ideology, be it an economic or political one, whatever the name of the ideology, is a mistake.’” By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

CARDINALS

Council of Cardinals considers decentralizing authority over permanent deacons
“The group of cardinals advising Pope Francis on reforming the Vatican bureaucracy has considered specific ways to decentralize authority in the Catholic church, proposing in particular that more responsibility for permanent deacons could move from Rome to local bishops’ conferences(link is external). The nine member Council of Cardinals spoke in their June 12-14 meeting about ‘transferring some faculties from the Roman Curia to local bishops or bishops’ conferences,’ Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said in a short briefing June 14.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Pope names five new cardinals, all from outside Italy and Vatican
“Pope Francis is to elevate five Roman Catholic prelates(link is external) from outside Italy and the Vatican to the rank of cardinal, the elite group of churchmen who are his closest advisers and can enter a conclave to choose his successor.” By Philip Pullella, Reuters, on Religion News Service
Francis names five new cardinals, including associated of Oscar Romero(link is external), By Joshua McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Eyeing Catholic demographics, and maybe his successor, Pope Francis shakes up his cardinals
“Throughout his papacy, Pope Francis has been appointing cardinals from far-flung parts of the world — choosing men who appear to be toiling away at pastoral work with little or no interest in becoming ‘princes of the church.’(link is external) Next month (July), during their council, or consistory, Francis will formally induct five more of them into the exclusive club, meaning that he will have appointed close to half of those who will elect his successor. It is these prelates who, at an unspecified date in the future and providing they are under the age of 80, will process into the Sistine Chapel during the next conclave.” By Christopher Lamb, Religion News Service

BISHOPS

Fostering safe environments in the Church
“On June 14, as they begin the spring meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in Indianapolis, the bishops of the United States will celebrate a ‘Mass of Prayer and Penance’ for survivors of sexual abuse within the Church(link is external). This is a good and important occasion. Sexual abuse is a heinous crime, one that cries out for penance and prayer. This is especially true when the Church, the sacrament of salvation, is the setting in which sexual abuse has taken place, violating sacred trust and causing real spiritual harm.” By J.D. Flynn, National Catholic Register

Immigration, religious liberty and synod on agenda for bishops’ meeting
“The proverbial plate is full of issues for U.S. bishops(link is external) to tackle at their upcoming spring assembly June 14-15 in Indianapolis. They will discuss issues ranging from immigration to religious freedom, as well as the Synod of Bishops on youth and the Fifth National Encuentro gathering, both coming up in 2018. ‘We’re certainly going to talk about the upcoming convocation in Orlando, some of the specific plans,’ said Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, referring to the Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America, July 1-4, in Orlando, Florida.’” By Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

PRIESTS

Pope tells Nigerian priests to accept bishop or be suspended
“Pope Francis has demanded obedience from priests(link is external) in a Nigerian Diocese where the bishop has been unable to take up residence. Nigerian church leaders met Francis to discuss the situation of Bishop Peter Ebere Okpaleke, who was appointed bishop of Ahiara by then-Pope Benedict XVI in 2012, but has been rejected by the clergy because he is not from the diocese.” By Cindy Wooden, Cruxnow.com
Three ironies about a dramatic show of papal muscle in Nigeria(link is external), By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

CELIBACY

From ‘Spotlight’ to ‘Keepers,’ Richard Sipe sees celibate priesthood as problem for the Catholic Church
“Richard Sipe, the former priest who spent 25 years studying the sexual behavior of the Catholic clergy, appears in ‘Keepers,’ the Netflix documentary series about the unsolved murder of Sister Catherine Cesnick and the monstrous abuse of some of her students … Sipe famously helped the Boston Globe reporters who broke the story of widespread abuse by priests in Massachusetts … He argued then, and argues now, that child sexual abuse by the clergy should be addressed as part of an examination of celibacy(link is external), which, he says, stunts the psychological development of priests, leaving them emotionally unprepared for the celibate life.” By Dan Rodricks, Baltimore Sun

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

No more audible gasps in church, please
“Recent events in the Hartford Archdiocese underscore our church’s profound challenges(link is external), yet also point the way to toward a better future. Archbishop Leonard Blair recently announced a sweeping and painful reorganization: consolidating 212 churches down into 126 … As part of that process, one parish’s congregants were briefed about the broader context. Since 1969, the number of Catholics in the archdiocese had declined by 69 percent; the number of priests had fallen by roughly two-thirds. One parishioner told National Catholic Reporter that such statistics were greeted by an audible gasp in the church … Consider that ‘audible gasp’ as an indictment of sorts and a cry to do things differently from now on: parishioners should never be in a position to be shocked by news about the ongoing health of their own parishes and diocese.” By Chris Lowney, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic parishes prepare for changes to take effect June 29
“Parishes across the Archdiocese of Hartford are facing big decisions as they prepare(link is external)for a long-anticipated reorganization plan, which takes effect June 29. Creating single parishes by merging two or more has broad implications, ranging from the emotional to the pragmatic, including questions of what will be done with church buildings, stained glass windows and other religious items, and how best to consolidate parish staff.” By Jordan Otero Sisson, Hartford Courant
Long decline in attendance led to Catholic church mergers(link is external), By Daniela Altimari, Hartford Courant

WOMEN DEACONS

The Case for Women Deacons
Dr. Phyllis Zagano discussed the ordination of women deacons recently with Sebastian Gomes of Salt + Light Catholic Media in Canada. Listen to the conversation(link is external) as Phyllis cites the presence of women deacons from the first years of the Church through the 12th century and how a focus on priesthood gradually eliminated the idea of permanent deacons. Now that the permanent diaconate has been restored by the Second Vatican Council, why shouldn’t it extend to women as well, just as in the past? By Salt+Light Catholic Media in Canada

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Patriarchy, not nature, makes women unequal
“In a new collection of papers published by an Indian pontifical college, a diverse range of bishops, theologians and lay professionals challenges the global Catholic church to break down ecclesial structures that place women on an unequal or subservient standing(link is external). As Bishop Joshua Mar Ignathios, one of the contributors to ‘Gender Justice in the Church and Society: Papers of the Second DVK National Seminar on Moral Theology’ (Dharmaram Publications, 476 pages, $25), puts it: The women who prayed with men in the Gospel accounts were there ‘not to cook for them but to pray along with them.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic young women launch self-led initiatives across U.S. after forum
Catholic women from dioceses across all 50 U.S. states(link is external) have decided to put their faith into action. In a forum sponsored by the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious more than 300 women carried out ‘action plans’ following the June 2016 Given Forum at The Catholic University of America.” By Catholic News Service on Cruxnow.com

Uphold a woman’s right to contribute fully to society, pope says
“The more women are involved in and contribute to communities, politics, economics and the church, the more positive changes will come about, Pope Francis said. ‘Women are fully entitled to actively take part in all settings,(link is external) and their rights must be affirmed and protected, including through legal instruments wherever it may prove necessary,’ he said June 9. The pope was speaking to members, consultors and guests of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, which was holding its plenary assembly in Rome June 7-9. Participants had discussed the role of women in teaching universal fraternity.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

CHURCH FINANCES

Cardinal-designate from Mali charged with hiding funds in Swiss bank accounts
“An investigative report in the French daily Le Monde charges(link is external) that Catholic bishops in Mali—including one recently named by Pope Francis to become a cardinal—have placed €12 million ($13.5 million) in Swiss bank accounts.” By CatholicCulture.org

STATUTE OF LIMINTATIONS REFORM

Cuomo’s silence is deafening as time runs out on child sex abuse bill
“As the state’s legislative session winds to a close, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has yet to announce his support for the Child Victims Act(link is external) despite his promises to survivors that he’d help get a bill passed this year. The act, which would extend the restrictive time frame for victims of child sexual abuse to seek justice, recently sailed through the Assembly with a vote of 139 to 7 before stalling, as such bills do, in the state Senate.” By Lauren Evans, The Village Voice

Assembly passes child victims act
“In a historic moment and after years of lobbying, an emotionally charged State Assembly today passed the Child Victims Act legislation(link is external), 129-7, extending the statute of limitation for criminal and civil child sex abuse cases. It was the first time that either chamber of the legislature has approved the measure after 10 years of lobbying.” By Kings County Politics

Statute of limitations bills stalled
“It’s been several months since I’ve written about efforts to extend legislative justice to more victims of child sex abuse in Pennsylvania. That’s mostly because those efforts are stalled(link is external). I’ll get back to that.” By Bill White, The Morning Call

Sexual abusers shouldn’t be allowed to run the clock
“I was only 9 years old when my landlord’s teenage son led me into the basement with the promise of new toys. Instead, he forced me to touch him. He made me do things(link is external) my young body and mind weren’t prepared to do. I distinctly remember how the damp floor and walls smelled of mildew, and how cold it was. I begged him to stop.” By Fabio Cotza, The New York Times

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Let’s call child sexual abuse in the church what it is: Catholic extremism
“…The royal commission has heard from victims of abuse in many religious and state-run institutions, but the Catholic church (my church, and Abbott’s too) stands out(link is external). Over 4,000 cases of sexual abuse in the Catholic church were reported to the royal commission. These reports showed wilful ignorance by church leaders, systematic shielding of abusers and a continual preference for the perpetrator and the institution over the victim. …” By Kristina Kelly, The Guardian

Fifteen years after Dallas, a seven-part series
“The 2002 Dallas Bishops’ Conference was a barn-burner. On the heels of the Spotlight series and scandals in dioceses across the nation, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops got together at their annual June meeting to put together ‘massive reforms.’ Those reforms became the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and its accompanying Norms … So, in honor of the 15th anniversary of the 2002 Dallas Charter, I thought I would take a look at some recent scandals that show us that the problem is far from over(link is external) and that any glad-handing on behalf of the members of the USCCB this week is just for show. Nothing has changed, except the window dressing. The Charter, which the Bishops have been hailing as ‘watershed’ document in child protection, I contend, is a massive failure. Fifteen years after Dallas, the protesters may be gone, but the disgust remains.” By Joelle Casteix, The Worthy Adversary

‘I lost faith in God … But I’m now pursuing faith in justice’: child sexual abuse survivors lobby for reform
“Inspired by his oath of honesty when enlisting in the Navy, 21-year-old recruit Shaun Dougherty decided to be truthful about what had happened to him as a child. He finally opened up to his parents on his first Christmas break from the boot camp in 1991. Dougherty told them about the three-year long sexual abuse(link is external) he had endured in 1980 starting at age 10 as a fifth-grader at St. Clement School in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. His abuser was George Koharchik ― a longtime Catholic priest, pastor at St. Clement Church, and Dougherty’s basketball coach and religion teacher. His parents, who had attended the Mass conducted by Koharchik for many years at the same church where young Shaun was an altar boy, did not believe him.” By Ilgin Yorulmaz, Huffington Post

CONNECTICUT

Settlement paid to sexual abuse victim from Norwalk Catholic Church
“A male victim of sexual abuse(link is external) at the hands of a Norwalk Catholic priest in the 1970s and ’80s will be paid an undisclosed financial settlement, one of five such settlements in Connecticut recently approved by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, reports the Stamford Advocate.” By Alfred Branch, Norwalk Patch

ILLINOIS

Judge denies new trial for St. Louis priest’s accuser; orders her to pay
“A judge has denied a woman’s request for a new civil trial seeking damages against a Roman Catholic priest(link is external) after a Lincoln County jury in April found insufficient evidence that he fondled her at her home. St. Louis Circuit Judge Steven Ohmer on Monday also ordered the woman to pay legal expenses of the St. Louis Archdiocese and the Rev. Xiu Hui “Joseph” Jiang totaling $48,516.84. Ohmer’s order requires she pay $19,316.51 to the archdiocese and $29,200.33 to Jiang.” By Joel Currier, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

KENTUCKY

Kentucky Catholic priest reaches plea deal on sex abuse
“A Catholic priest has reached a plea agreement on sexual abuse charges(link is external) that occurred at a summer camp that he ran for decades in Kentucky. R. Joseph Hemmerle was facing allegations of abuse from a second person who said Hemmerle abused him at Camp Tall Trees in Meade County. Hemmerle was also convicted in November of abusing a boy who attended the camp in the 1970s and sentenced in February to seven years imprisonment. Prosecutors say Hemmerle’s plea deal for sexual abuse and wanton endangerment calls for an additional two years imprisonment and eight years of probation.” By Dylan Lovan, Associated Press in The Washington Post

LOUISIANA

Court rejects child molesting priest’s appeal
“An appeals court has rejected the appeal of a former priest convicted of rape(link is external), molestation and sexual battery of children. Mark Broussard was convicted by a Calcasieu Parish jury last spring of five child sex charges. The crimes occurred while he was a Catholic priest in the 1980s. He’s no longer a priest; he left the church in 1994, according to evidence presented at his trial.” By KATC-TV

MARYLAND

‘Keepers’ priest Maskell spent time in Ireland, now under scrutiny
“Public health officials in Ireland say they are reviewing the work history of the Catholic priest profiled in the Netflix series ‘The Keepers,’ who was employed as a psychologist in that country after leaving Baltimore amid sexual abuse allegations(link is external). The priest, A. Joseph Maskell, worked in Wexford for about seven months in 1995 as a temporary clinical psychologist for an Irish public health board, according to the national health agency there. He later worked in private practice in Ireland between 1995 and 1998, church officials in Ireland say.” By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun

MINNESOTA

Judge laments $15 million in legal fees in St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese bankruptcy
“The judge overseeing the bankruptcy of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis expressed concern Thursday (May 18) over the legal fees being racked up in the case — about $15 million to date. ‘It bothers me so much that all these attorney fees are being run up,’ U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel said at a hearing Thursday(May 18), adding that legal fees are consuming funds that could be directed to survivors(link is external) of archdiocese clergy sex abuse.” By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune

NEW YORK

Syracuse diocese, former priest facing lawsuit over sexual abuse claims
“A California man is suing the Syracuse Catholic Diocese and a former priest for $25 million, claiming that he was sexually abused(link is external) nearly 30 years ago, according to the criminal complaint. The lawsuit was filed on Friday, June 2, in Connecticut by Matthew Strzepek who alleges former priest, Felix Colosimo, molested him from 1987 through 1990 when he was only 12-15 years old.” By Justine Marschner, CYNCentral.com

Seven victims name priests who sexually abused them as children
“Seven men who were abused as children by priests(link is external) of the Archdiocese of New York revealed on Thursday (May 18) some of the details of the settlements they had received through the archdiocese’s new sexual abuse survivor compensation fund. Since October, more than 100 victims have settled their sex abuse cases with the archdiocese by taking their claims to the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program. But very few details have been revealed because the program keeps the cases confidential, and no victims have yet spoken out.” By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times

PENNSYLVANIA

Allentown Diocese Catholic priest pleads guilty to child pornography charges, but says has no memory of images
“A Roman Catholic priest who was forced to step down after child pornography was discovered on his computer(link is external) pleaded guilty Thursday (Jun. 8) in Lehigh County Court. Monsignor John S. Mraz, formerly of St. Ann Catholic Church in Emmaus, told Judge Maria L. Dantos that he didn’t remember downloading the child pornography but didn’t contest that he possessed it.” By Laurie Mason Schroeder, Allentown Morning Call
Priest who had child pornography on computer pleads guilty(link is external), By Associated Press in Pocono News

WASHINGTON

Priest removed from ministry after allegations of abuse
“A Catholic priest in the Yakima Valley town of Granger has been removed from all public ministry following allegations by a young man that the priest sexually abused him(link is external). The Catholic Diocese of Yakima said Monday (Jun. 12) that it took the action against the Rev. Gustavo Gomez Santos from Our Lady of Guadalupe parish.” By Associated Press in The Dispatch, Granger, Washington

AUSTRALIA

Former Catholic priest, 75, jailed for just four months
“A predator Catholic priest who fondled an eight-year-old girl(link is external) in 1974 will spend just four months behind bars after pleading guilty to the historic sexual abuse offences. Friar Anthony Colbourne, now aged 75, pleaded guilty in the Brisbane District Court on Tuesday (May 23) to indecently assaulting the girl on four separate occasions in the presbytery and his office.” By Daniel Peters, Daily Mail Australia

Fifty years on, Melbourne priest charged with sexual assault of Aboriginal girls
“A retired Catholic priest from Melbourne has been charged with the sexual assault of four Aboriginal girls(link is external) at a West Australian orphanage more than 50 years ago. Father Allan Mithen, 78, was recently arrested in Clifton Hill over the sexual abuse that allegedly occurred when he served as rector at the Wandering Mission between 1965 and 1969.” By Cameron Houston, The Age, Victoria

Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson seeks to have charge of hiding child sex abuse thrown out
“Lawyers for Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson, accused of concealing child sex abuse(link is external) in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese, have fronted court again for their third attempt to stop the case against him from going ahead. Wilson, who has retained his position amid the criminal proceedings, is accused of failing to pass onto police information he had between 2004 and 2006 that might have helped convict Father Jim Fletcher.” By Karl Hoerr, ABC News Australia
Archbishop Philip Wilson failed in third bid for permanent stay against conceal charge(link is external), By Sam Rigney, The Newcastle Herald

Australian police closer to deciding Vatican abuse charges
“Australian police said Wednesday (May 17) they were a step closer to deciding whether to charge a top Vatican cardinal over allegations of sexual assault(link is external) dating back decades. Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis’ top financial adviser and Australia’s most senior Catholic, has long been dogged by allegations he mishandled cases of clergy abuse when he was archbishop of Melbourne and, later, Sydney. More recently, Pell has faced accusations of child abuse himself when he was a young priest in the 1970s. Pell, who runs the Vatican’s economy ministry, has repeatedly denied all the allegations.” By Associated Press on ABC-TV News Australia

Catholic Priest who repeatedly raped and assaulted boys is facing jail
“Father Eugene Fitzpatrick, 68, was found guilty of the horrific attacks(link is external) at Blackfriars Crown Court yesterday after he denied all charges. He raped one boy multiple times between 1986 and 1992 while working at Our Lady and Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Balls Pond Road, Islington.” By Sam Gelder, Islington Gazette

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Catholic Church sent pedophile priests away ‘for them to be fixed’: prosecutors turned blind eye to abuse
“The Catholic Church in Scotland has admitted it made a ‘huge mistake’ by sending pedophile priests away to be ‘fixed’(link is external) rather than prosecuting them. A senior cleric said yesterday (Jun. 7) that abuse was seen as a ‘sin’ and the church focused more on ‘treating’ child molesters than on helping their young victims. He said there were occasions when prosecutors turned a blind eye and agreed not to bring charges on the condition abusers received therapy, with their crimes seen as a ‘moral fault that could be fixed by prayer and retreat.’” By Graham Grant, Daily Mail

GUAM

New priest named in sexual abuse lawsuit
“A 14-year-old altar boy who aspired to be a priest in the early 1980s is the latest victim to come forward alleging sexual abuse by a member of the clergy(link is external). Francis Charfauros, who now resides in Arizona, filed a lawsuit in the District Court of Guam against the Archdiocese of Agana and the Capuchin Franciscans accusing the late Father John ‘Jack’ Niland of sexually abusing and molesting him when he was a young boy.” By Mindy Aguon, The Guam Daily Post

Guam reaches Vatican, global audience a year since clergy sex abuse exposed
“Within a year since former altar boy Roy Quintanilla came forward on May 17, 2016 to accuse Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron of sexually abusing him in the 1970s, not only has the Vatican promptly stepped in but also placed a global spotlight on Guam’s clergy sex abuses(link is external). ‘We’ve come a long way,’ Quintanilla told Pacific Daily News. ‘We wouldn’t have come this far were it not for the Catholic community’s support. It’s amazing what we can do as a community.’” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News
11 Guam Catholic priests involved in sex abuse lawsuits(link is external), By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News, in USA TODAY

Former priest named in suits may reside in Barrigada
“A former Catholic priest who has been named in at least five sex abuse complaints(link is external)may still be residing on island. Raymond Cepeda, a former priest who was defrocked in December 2009 following an investigation into abuse allegations, is believed to be currently residing in Canada, Barrigada, according to attorney Gloria Rudolph, of the Law Office of Lujan and Wolff LLP, which represents the plaintiffs in the cases currently pending in federal court.” By Neil Pang, The Guam Daily Post

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Downward trend in reports of new clerical child sex abuse allegations continues
“The Catholic Church’s child protection watchdog received reports of 72 new allegations of clerical child sex abuse as well as 10 of physical and emotional abuse in the year to March 31st 2017, as a downward trend in such allegations continues … Teresa Devlin, NBSC (National Board for Safeguarding Children) chief executive, noted however that an examination of the downward trend ‘shows we cannot assume the work is complete(link is external).’ Since 2009, when the NBSC began compiling such figures, ‘there have been years where the figures rose and only constant vigilance will keep children safe,’ she said.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

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Voice of the Faithful Focus

May 21, 2017

TOP STORIES

Abuse survivor wants papal panel to push back on Vatican resistance
“On Saturday (May 13), Pope Francis called Marie Collins(link is external), an abuse survivor who recently quit his Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors citing Vatican resistance to reform, a ‘great woman’ and said she’s ‘right on some things.’ In a Crux interview, Collins expressed gratitude but also said that the Church still needs uniform global standards and a way to hold bishops accountable.” By John Allen, Ines San Martin and Claire Giangrave, Cruxnow.com

Lawsuit accuses Minnesota bishop of coercion in clergy abuse case
“Ron Vasek said all he wanted was to become a church deacon and support his son, a Catholic priest. But in a lawsuit filed this week(link is external) (May 9), Vasek claims that Crookston Bishop Michael Hoeppner threatened to undermine his religious work and his son’s if he didn’t retract a clergy abuse claim. It’s among the allegations in an unusual lawsuit that, for the first time, accuses a U.S. bishop of coercion in a clergy abuse case, said Vasek’s attorney Jeff Anderson.” By Jean Hopfensperger, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minnesota bishop sued for coercion, blackmail over sex abuse accusation(link is external), By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter
Deacon candidate accuses Minnesota bishop of blackmail to keep abuse allegations quiet(link is external), By Steve Karnowski, Associated Press, in America: The Jesuit Review
Attorney: Suit to allege Minnesota bishop threatened retaliation against victim(link is external), By Paul Walsh, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Hartford Archdiocese announces parish consolidations, church closings
“The Hartford Archdiocese announced May 7 that its 212 Connecticut parishes will be consolidated into 127 by June 29, downsizing the archdiocese by about 40 percent(link is external). It may be the most massive effort of its kind in a series of consolidations that have taken place in dioceses in the Northeast and the Midwest over the past decade as the number of priests and Catholic Massgoers in those regions decline.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter
After reorganization, a look at the future of the Catholic Church in Connecticut,(link is external) By Catie Talarski, WNPR, Connecticut Public Radio

What did Cardinal George Pell know about allegations of child sex abuse within the church?
“New allegations of alleged conspiracies, cover-ups and broken lives(link is external) have emerged, with questions about what Pell knew about pedophilia in the Catholic Church before he become Archbishop of Melbourne.” By Louise Milligan, Canberra Times

ACCOUNTABILITY

Pope Francis says sex abuse survivor is ‘a bit right’ to complain about 2,000-case backlog
“Pope Francis says the Vatican has a 2,000-case backlog in processing clerical sex abuse cases(link is external) and admits criticism of the slow pace is justified. But he says more staff are being added and the Vatican is ‘on the right path.’ Francis was making his first comments about the criticism leveled at the Vatican’s handling of sex abuse cases by Marie Collins, an Irish abuse survivor who resigned from Francis’ sex abuse commission in March. Collins quit because of what she called the ‘unacceptable’ resistance in the Vatican to implementing the group’s proposals to better care for victims and protect children.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press in Time magazine
Pope says abuse survivor who quit Vatican panel was ‘right on some issues,(link is external)By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

CHURCH REFORM

Priests’ group accuses bishops of refusing to support pope’s openness to reform
“An internationally renown group of reform-minded priests(link is external) in Austria has criticized the world’s bishops for not capitalizing on Pope Francis’ openness to make significant changes in Church ministry and pastoral practice. The Austrian Priests’ Initiative (API) is urging the bishops to take up the leeway the pope has given them to look at such issues as the possibility of ordaining married men of proven virtue (viri probati) to the priesthood, women to the diaconate and allowing remarried divorcees to receive the Eucharist in certain cases.” By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, LaCroix

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Archdiocese plan calls for sweeping changes for Connecticut Catholics
“As Roman Catholics across the Archdiocese of Hartford learned the fate of their parishes(link is external) this weekend, Archbishop Leonard P. Blair acknowledged that there might be more changes for parishes throughout Hartford, Litchfield and New Haven counties in the future. ‘I can’t stand before you here today and say that with this plan, the next 10 years now we don’t have to do anything,’ Blair said. ‘That would be irresponsible on my part and simply not the case. I can tell you that what we are doing today goes a long way to providing stability in the assignment of priests and in the life of these parishes.’ By Jordan Otero Sisson, Hartford Courant
Catholics prepare for changes under new archdiocesan plan(link is external), By Jordan Otero Sisson and Ken Byron, Hartford Courant
Hartford Archdiocese announces parish closings, mergers(link is external), By Associated Press & WTNH.com

Disrupters and rebuilders
“It’s hard to know what the Modesto meeting portends for the future of the U.S. church(link is external). The pope’s clear desire to recalibrate Catholic identity away from the culture wars—part of his distaste for a hunkered down, fortress Catholicism—still leaves some vocal American church leaders and lay faithful more jittery than energized … At the same time, a network of Catholic activists on the right that has attacked the church’s commitment to community organizing for decades remains well-mobilized and relentless.” By John Gehring, Commonweal

Activist wants NYC’s shuttered churches put to use
“Like his nemesis Donald Trump, Felix Cepeda knows something about Manhattan real estate. Location, location, location. That’s the mantra of real estate. And it’s what now-closed properties in the New York Archdiocese(link is external) offer in abundance. One such property is Our Lady of the Scapular/St. Stephen Church on East 28th Street, between Lexington and Third Avenue.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Howells, Nebraska, has only about 550 residents – but two Catholic churches
“Howells, Nebraska, is in fact the last small town with two Catholic parishes in the entire Omaha Archdiocese. These two Catholic churches of Howells are a quirk of fate(link is external), an oddity of American immigration, a faded symbol of long-forgotten ethnic strife and also a newer symbol of this town’s persistence and cooperation … The two churches of Howells are something else, too: endangered.” By Matthew Hansen, Omaha World-Herald

VATICAN

What happened to ecumenism?
“This is the second of a series of posts(link is external) discussing issues related to the coming review and re-evaluation of ‘Liturgiam Authenticam,’ the document which governs the translation of liturgical texts – When Pope Francis and the Coptic Orthodox Pope, Tawadros II, issued a joint statement in Egypt this past week (May 3), they landed squarely on an ecumenical issue of great importance … ‘Let us deepen our shared roots in the one apostolic faith by praying together and by seeking common translations of the Lord’s Prayer …’ Common translations have been, and continue to be, one of the important tools of ecumenism.” By Rita Ferrone, Commonweal

“AMORIS LAETITIA”

Vatican’s point man on family says Church needs to go positive
“Cardinal Kevin Farrell, president of the Vatican’s new Dicastery for Marriage, Family and Life, says that Pope Francis’s document ‘Amoris Laetitia’(link is external) will be the basis for the looming World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Ireland.” By Elise Harris, Catholic News Agency, on Cruxnow.com

‘Amoris Laetitia’ is about accompaniment, not the divorced and remarried
“Three professors from the John Paul II Institute in Rome have produced a handbook explaining how to apply ‘Amoris Laetitia,(link is external)‘ which was just published in English. They argue discernment should help find ways to live spousal fidelity, and not ways to be excused from the Church’s moral law.” By Father Matthew Schneider, Cruxnow.com

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

With declining numbers, women religious are invisible to many non-Catholics
“…But in doing research for the piece, she learned this(link is external): ‘The number of women religious across America has been in steady decline since 1965, when there were approximately 180,000 sisters in the country. The total now is about 49,000, roughly 90 percent of whom are more than 60 years old. In Philadelphia — where one in four people identify as Catholic — there are only about 2,400 nuns, a 30-plus percent decrease in just the past 16 years.’” By Bill Tammeus, National Catholic Reporter

VOICES

Editorial: The enemy is not the secular world, it is fear
“Can these two men (Archbishop Joseph Naumann and Cardinal Joseph Tobin) be leaders of the same church? One implores us to encounter, to stand by the ‘other,’ to welcome the stranger. The other suggests a theology of fear — fear of outside forces and fear of change. The stark difference in focus illustrates the cultural and political divide that is expanding within the church(link is external), especially in the United States. For some bishops, the fight has taken on the theme of church vs. the devil they view as the secular world.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Knights of Columbus’ financial forms show wealth, influence
“For more than a decade and a half, under the leadership of a former political operative, the Knights of Columbus has increasingly used its enormous wealth to influence the direction of the church(link is external), underwriting think tanks and news outlets while gaining entrée to some of the highest levels of decision-making in the church.” By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter
Why do we write about the Knights of Columbus?(link is external) By Dennis Coday, National Catholic Reporter
‘Find common cause,’ Knights spokesman advices NCR(link is external), By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter

Continental Drift
“‘Il Tevere è più largo.’ Students of Italian history are familiar with the metaphoric expression describing the ever-growing distance between the Vatican and Italian politics: ‘The Tiber has become wider(link is external)’ … But the widening of the Tiber is little compared to the spreading of the world’s oceans. The ‘Catholic Pangea’ itself is breaking up, undergoing a kind of continental drift. The expanding gap between Rome and the world is perhaps best symbolized by the growing distance between Rome and the U.S. Catholic church, itself owing to the uncomfortable relationship between Francis and many American bishops—among other things.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal
Catholic Citizenship: Massimo Faggioli on the role of public theologians today(link is external), By Kaya Oakes, Religion Dispatches

Church Militant’s nonsense not authentically Catholic
“The ‘Atlantic’ video about Church Militant(link is external) and their founder Michael Voris was, at the same time, fascinating and frustrating. The fascination stems from the easy way that normalcy and extremism seem to coincide in the lives of Voris and his colleagues. One minute he is eating pizza with his dad, and the next he is prepping for a broadcast that will, like all his broadcasts, be viciously extreme and extremely vicious. He drops by a Subway for a sandwich, and then is shown spouting gibberish.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic Church’s good deeds are being erased, says archbishop
“Decades of service by countless nuns and priests in education and healthcare are being ‘almost obliterated by a revised and narrow narrative that religious ethos(link is external) cannot be good for democracy,’ Catholic Primate Archbishop Eamon Martin has said. He said there was a view that religious ethos stands ‘against the progress and flourishing of society and the rights of citizens’ and that there was a tendency in some public discussion to give the impression that things related to faith were ‘unconnected with reason.’ By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

Bishop John Stowe leads prayer at LGBT Catholic gathering
“Clad in traditional brown Franciscan robes, Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, seemed at home among the rainbow of colors at New Ways Ministry’s eighth annual symposium here April 28-30. This was the first time that the bishop had spoken in front of the advocacy group(link is external), which supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics. ‘New Ways Ministry made me want to come here,’ the bishop told NCR during a 40-minute interview at the gathering. He has been observing and admiring the group’s outreach to LGBT Catholics over several years, he added.” By Patricia Lefevere, National Catholic Reporter

CHURCH FINANCES

Priest who stole from Northboro church returns to parish work
“A Catholic priest who pleaded guilty in court to stealing(link is external) nearly $240,000 from St. Bernadette Parish and School in Northboro to feed a gambling habit has been returned to parish ministry on a limited basis. The Rev. Stephen M. Gemme will be allowed to celebrate Mass and other sacraments in parishes in need of assistance when their own priest is on vacation, retreat or unavailable because of illness or emergency, Bishop Robert J. McManus of the Worcester Diocese announced Friday (May 12).” By Mark Sullivan, Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Vatican’s financial watchdog cites progress, but still no prosecutions
“The Vatican’s financial watchdog presented a rosy annual report(link is external) on Thursday (May11), suggesting a drop in reports of suspicious activity and an increase in cooperation with international partners in tracking transactions. However, there still has been no public prosecution of anyone for financial crimes in the Vatican, which faces a ticking clock to get that done from the Council of Europe’s review process.” By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Priest pleads guilty to stealing $500K for casinos, concerts
“The rector of a church-owned retirement home for Roman Catholic priests has admitted embezzling a half-million(link is external) to pay for casino visits, high-end dinners and Philadelphia Pops concerts. Monsignor William A. Dombrow pleaded guilty Thursday (May 4) to four federal wire fraud counts for skimming money over nine years from a Villa St. Joseph account he controlled. The Philadelphia Archdiocese runs the facility in Darby to house aging priests and treat those accused of sexual abuse.” By Associate Press on FOX29-TV

Embezzlement charges filed against Catholic priest
“St. Joseph County prosecutors have filed embezzlement charges against a former Branch County Catholic priest. Reverend Richard Fritz is accused of stealing over $213,000(link is external) from St. Mary’s Assumption in Bronson and St. Barbara Mission in Colon. A pre-examination conference has been scheduled for next Tuesday (May9). A preliminary hearing is set for May 16, 2017. Fritz is currently free on bond.” By Ken Delaney WTVB-FM

Former pastor from St. Frances Xavier Catholic Church pleads guilty to federal bank fraud charges
“On Monday, May 1, 2017, John S. Mattingly, age 71, of Charlotte Hall, Maryland, pleaded guilty to bank fraud in connection with a scheme to steal funds from St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church(link is external), while he was the pastor. The guilty plea was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Stephen M. Schenning; Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron, and St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney Richard Fritz.” By Southern Maryland News Net

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Outdated laws, unpunished child abusers
“Around the country, religious groups, and predominantly the Catholic church, have balked at the prospect of similar laws(link is external) (Child Victims Act), claiming they could lead to so much litigation that their institutions would become bankrupt.” By Ginia Bellafante, The New York Times

Sex assault statute of limitations bill pondered in Nevada legislature
Victims of child sexual abuse(link is external) may get another decade to decide if they will sue an attacker. The clock would start after a victim turns 18 or discovers as an adult, through counseling or other means, that they were abused. Assembly Bill 145 would extend the statute of limitations for civil suits from 10 years to 20 years from the later date.” By Ben Botkin, Review Journal

Church supports alternative to Child Victims Act
“As lawmakers prepare for the closing weeks of session, victims of childhood sexual abuse are pushing once again for a controversial bill that would give them a chance to seek justice for decades-old cases. The Child Victims Act(link is external) (S.809) would allow victims to file legal action against their abusers, regardless of when the crime took place.” By Kaleb H. Smith, The Legislative Gazette

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Abused by a Catholic priest as a child, this man turned back to faith for forgiveness
“Today, (Miguel) Prats has a wide-eyed, happy-go-lucky demeanor. But he says 15 years ago, he was angry and tortured inside. In 2002, when the Boston Globe uncovered widespread sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, the story brought back a memory that Prats says he had repressed: shortly after he turned 18, he himself had been sexually abused by a priest(link is external).” By Jake J. Smith, Morning Edition from NPR, KALW-FM

Merced County authorities arrest former priest on child porn charges for second time
“Shortly after finishing his jail sentence, a Los Banos priest is facing child pornography charges again(link is external). Robert Gamel faces a felony charge of possession of child pornography with prior conviction after he was arrested in April.” By Nathalie Granda, ABC30-TV

CONNECTICUT

Former Danbury priest defrocked after sex abuse allegations
“Parishioners of a Catholic church where a former pastor was accused of sexually abusing a minor(link is external) a decade ago stressed their commitment on Tuesday (May 9) to supporting the victim. ‘Faith communities have been through this before, and the way forward is with as much transparency as possible, and to offer support services to any victims who come forward,’ said Thomas Saadi, a parishioner at St. Anthony Maronite Catholic Church.” By Jim Shay an Rob Ryser, Danbury News Times

MAINE

Priest at Waterville church removed over sexual abuse allegation
“A priest at a Waterville church was removed from the priesthood Sunday after a report of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) about 15 years ago in Connecticut was substantiated, according to a church official. The Rev. Larry Jensen, 62, was removed from the St. Joseph Maronite Catholic Church, by Bishop Gregory John Mansour, head of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, New York, the official said.” By Judy Harrison, Bangor Daily News
A week after priest’s ouster, St. Joseph congregation continues to grapple with allegations against him(link is external), By Kate McCormick, Morning Sentinel

MINNESOTA

Diocese of Crookston’s Hoeppner sued, Grundhaus accused
“The former Vicar General of the Diocese of Crookston, Father Roger Grundhaus, is being accused of child sexual abuse(link is external) and Minnesota Bishop Michael Hoeppner is the first bishop to be sued for coercion for suppressing a report of abuse, according to a media advisory by Jeff Anderson and Associates attorney’s office. At a news conference Tuesday (May 9) in St. Paul, attorney Jeff Anderson, a child abuse survivor, and a Minnesota priest announced the filing of a lawsuit on behalf of the survivor, Ronald Vasek, naming Bishop Hoeppner and the Diocese of Crookston as defendants.” By Crookston Times

Archdiocese bankruptcy reorganization plan rejected by sex-abuse survivors
“A group of sexual abuse survivors(link is external) engaged in bankruptcy court mediation with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has overwhelmingly rejected the archdiocese’s proposed bankruptcy reorganization plan, which includes how much it should pay victims.” By Tad Vezner, Twin Cities Pioneer Press
Clergy abuse victims reject archdiocese compensation plan(link is external), By Adrian Schramm, Twin Cities Agenda

PENNSYLVANIA

Justice for Sister Cathy is long overdue
“Catherine Cesnik was the valedictorian of her Catholic high school class in Lawrenceville in 1960, where she’d also been the May Queen and the president of the senior class and student council. Nine years later, Sister Cathy was brutally murdered in Baltimore. Nearly 48 years have passed and the killer has yet to be named, but Baltimore County Police haven’t given up … Many of (Sister Cathy’s students) believe that Father John Maskell, the priest whose body (has been) exhumed, was either the killer or an accomplice. He was the school chaplain and guidance counselor, and several of these women say he sexually molested them(link is external).” By Brian O’Neill, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Death of Johnstown man, 31, claims a voice for abuse survivors
“Just over a year ago in a Hollidaysburg courtroom, Corey Leech took the stand and, in a poised and confident voice, testified in excruciating detail how a Franciscan friar began sexually abusing him(link is external) from his early teens. Mr. Leech gave voice to scores of victims of the late Stephen Baker in his testimony, which took place in the pretrial hearing of three Franciscan supervisors who face criminal charges for allegedly failing to protect children from the abusive friar.” By Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

SOUTH CAROLINA

Nearly 10 years later, conflict over $12 million settlement between Catholic diocese of Charleston and victims of sex abuse continues
“After nearly a decade, legal wrangling continues over a $12 million settlement paid to victims who were sexually abused by Catholic priests(link is external) in the Charleston area more than 30 years ago. A lawsuit on behalf of one of the victims, identified only as John Doe 10, was filed in September 2010, according to court documents. The plaintiff was molested at his church school and parish beginning in 1983 according to the suit.” By Gregory Yee, The Post and Courier

ARGENTINA

Roman Catholic nun allegedly helped priests sexually abuse deaf children in Argentinian school
“The nun, a woman named Kosaka Kumiko, of Japanese heritage but Argentine nationality, was arrested and charged Friday (May 5) on suspicion of helping priests sexually abuse children(link is external) at the Antonio Provolo Institute, a school for the hearing-impaired in the Mendoza province of Argentina, authorities said. She was also charged with physically abusing the students.” By Samantha Schmidt, Washington Post, in National Post

AUSTRALIA

Victoria police receives advice on investigation into Cardinal George Pell
“Victoria Police has received advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions about its investigation into Cardinal George Pell, days after fresh details of historic sex abuse allegations(link is external) were aired. Detectives from the Sano taskforce, the squad set up to investigate historic child abuse allegations, will now consider the DPP’s advice, police spokeswoman Creina O’Grady said on Tuesday night.” By Beau Donelly, The Age
Pope aide denies new Australia abuse claims,(link is external) By Agence France-Presse, in Daily Mail
How George Pell gazumped other bishops to claim credit for tackling child abuse in the church(link is external), By Louise Milligan, The Sydney Morning Herald

Child sex abuse victims to be compensated in Federal budget
(May 9, 2017) “Commonwealth child sex abuse survivors(link is external) will get access to payments of up to $150,000 under a new redress scheme to be live by mid next year. The Turnbull government tonight announced a $33.4 million commitment to establish the scheme that would provide abuse survivors with counseling, apologies from the organization responsible and financial compensation.” By Lanai Scarr, News Corp Australia Network, in Herald Sun

Australian bishops gather in the light of the royal commission
“The government and the Catholic Church both face difficulties when commending values(link is external). The difficulties will dog events during the next week in which both institutions are on public display — the bringing down of the budget and the meeting of the Australian Catholics Bishops Conference.” By Andrew Hamilton, EurekaStreet.com

Dave Joseph Perrett granted conditional bail to live in Armidale on historical sex abuse charges
“An ex-priest accused of molesting young boys(link is external) in the New England has been granted bail amid reports detectives have received another complaint. Since The Leader revealed David Joseph Perrett’s extradition to NSW on Friday (May 5), police have been contacted by other members of the public looking to speak to investigators. New England Detective Inspector Ann Joy told The Leader investigations were continuing.” By Breanna Chillingworth, The Northern Daily Leader

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Retired priest faces trial over abuse claims
“A former Catholic priest charged with sexually abusing children(link is external) in the 1970s and 80s is set to stand trial. Father Paul Moore, 81, who worked in Ayrshire, is also accused of abusing a student priest in the 1990s.” By BBC News

GUAM

Guam Catholic school sued
“After more than 60 sex-abuse lawsuits(link is external) named former priests as alleged perpetrators, a new lawsuit accuses a former Guam Catholic school teacher for the first time in recent years. And unlike the previously filed cases, in which the former priests no longer hold positions in the church that directly involve children, the newly accused still teaches music to youth, but he’s no longer in Guam.” By Mindy Aguon, The Guam Daily Post

Guam archbishop’s first sex abuse accuser testifies before Vatican tribunal
“Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke and the Vatican tribunal is wrapping up the discovery phase and is entering another phase in the groundbreaking canonical trial of Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron(link is external). John Toves, the first to publicly accuse Apuron in 2014 of sexual abuse of a minor, testified before the Vatican tribunal at the archbishop’s residence in San Francisco on Monday (May 8) (Tuesday, Guam time), about Apuron’s alleged sexual abuse of Toves’ cousin while the cousin was an altar boy at the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagåtña.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News, in USA TODAY
Guam archbishop’s accusers pray Vatican defrocks him for sex abuse(link is external), By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News, in USA TODAY

Another victim names Father Mannetta as abuser
“A 60th lawsuit has been filed(link is external) against the Archdiocese of Agana and former Guam priest Andrew Mannetta is named as the perpetrator. This is not the first time that Father Mannetta has been named, he was previously named in two other lawsuits that were filed in April. Like the first two victims to accuse Father Mannetta, the 60th plaintiff to file suit is only identified by initials C.C. According to the complaint, the sexual abuse happened in the early 1980s when C.C. was between the ages of 8 to 10.” By Janela Carrera, Pacific News Center News First

Vatican gets testimony from more Apuron accusers
“The Vatican tribunal working on Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron’s canonical penal trial will be hearing testimony in California from John Toves, the first person to publicly accuse Apuron in 2014 of sexual abuse(link is external), of his cousin. Led by Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, the tribunal also received a written testimony from John Michael ‘Champ’ Quinata, alleging that Apuron raped his brother, the now deceased former altar boy Joseph Anthony ‘Sonny’ Quinata, when his brother was 9 years old.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

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Voice of the Faithful Focus

Voice of the Faithful’s twice monthly news roundup highlighting
issues we face working together to Keep the Faith, Change the Church

VOTF LogoMay 8, 2017

TOP STORIES

Evidence likely sufficient for Vatican to decide on Apuron by late July
“Minnesota-based canon lawyer and former priest Patrick J. Wall said there appears to be more than sufficient evidence for a Vatican tribunal(link is external) to come to a decision on Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron’s canonical penal trial, after two accusers provided testimony in March. ‘In short, the Roman Pontiff can step in and make a decision since he is the supervisor of Apuron,” said Wall.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

U.S. priests’ group calls Vatican vocations document ‘insulting’
“Declarations in the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy’s recent document ‘The Gift of the Priestly Vocation’ have been called ‘disrespectful,’ ‘ambiguous’ and ‘insulting(link is external)’ by the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests. In a statement released April 19, the 1,200-member Ohio-based organization charged that ‘the terms ‘homosexual tendencies’ and ‘deep-seated homosexual tendencies’ are ambiguous and disrespectful of the personhood of those who identify with a homosexual orientation.’ The terms appear in the Dec. 8, 2016, document’s section titled ‘Persons with Homosexual Tendencies.’” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

Montana Catholic officials say bankruptcy ‘best and only way’ to compensate the sexually abused
“The recent bankruptcy filing by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Great Falls-Billings was the ‘best and only way’ it could meet its obligations to all victims with sexual abuse(link is external)claims and continue its ministry, church officials said … The bankruptcy is likely to be complicated and take time. How it could affect the diocese’s operations, along with parishes, schools and other church programs, is not yet clear.” By Clair Johnson, Billings Gazette

Catholic bishops urged to renew celibacy rules amid shortage of priests
“Catholic bishops in England and Wales are facing a fresh call for a national commission on the ordination of married men(link is external) amid mounting concern that the church’s celibacy requirement is contributing to a shortage of priests … The Movement for Married Clergy (MMaC) is renewing its call for a national commission of bishops, clergy and laity to discuss ways of tackling the shortage of priests. ‘We’re asking bishops to recognize the issue and examine possible solutions in good faith,’ said the MMaC secretary, Chris McDonnell.” By Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian

Council of Cardinal speaks about decentralizing authority in the church
“The group of cardinals advising Pope Francis on reforming the Vatican bureaucracy spoke in their latest meeting about how to decentralize authority in the Catholic church(link is external) and improve relationships between the Vatican and local bishops’ conferences. The nine member Council of Cardinals spoke in their April 24-26 meeting about how the Vatican can ‘be more at the service of local bishops’ spokesman Greg Burke said.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Child sex abuse survivors visit Wall Street’s fearless girl, urge to fix child-rape law
“The ‘Fearless Girl’ has nothing on child sex abuse survivors(link is external) Bridie Farrell and Steve Jimenez. The unflinching pair came to Wall Street, urging passage of a long-rejected proposal that would finally give a full voice to the victims of sexual predators. They stood behind the ‘Fearless Girl’ statue in the Financial District to recount their own stories of abuse — and support the 11-year-old ‘Child Victims Act.’” By Micah danney and Larry McShane, New York Daily News

POPE FRANCIS

Letter from Rome: Don’t say ‘We have always done things this way’
“Vatican II pulled down the sectarian walls(link is external) behind which the Catholic Church had long taken refuge. It rediscovered and deepened the real consequences of our Christian belief in the incarnation of Jesus Christ and how that demands us to be involved in the world and not stand apart from it.” By Robert Mickens, Commonweal

Two key takeaways from the Pope’s TED talk
“Pope Francis recently gave a talk at the TED international conference, which brings in influential speakers. The talk – a surprise for all in the audience – recapitulated the key themes of the Argentinian pope’s view(link is external) of the human person: We are all related and interconnected; scientific and technological progress must not be disconnected from social justice and care for the neighbor; and that the world needs tenderness.” By Massimo Faggioli, Religion News Service

PRIESTS

Catholic church struggling to recruit future priests
“Facing an acute shortage of priests(link is external) brought on by aging in its ranks, and hoping to connect with younger parishioners, the Catholic Church is intensifying its recruitment of young men to the priesthood, an effort made more difficult by the different motivations and interests of the millennial generation.” By Sara Flores, Beaumont Enterprise
Save the Date, Jun. 19-22, for priests association assembly
“I just received this press release from the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests. The association’s annual meeting(link is external) will convene in Atlanta, Georgia, this June. Below are the details: The AUSCP 2017 Assembly, Peacemaking in Our Fractured Society, will be held June 19-22 at the Airport Marriott in Atlanta …” By Dennis Coday, National Catholic Reporter

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Vermont Catholics prepare for ‘extraordinary council’
“Emerging from a priest-sex-abuse scandal but still confronting challenges with finances and decreasing participation, Vermont’s Roman Catholic diocese is embarking on a yearlong re-examination of church structure and rules(link is external). Bishop of Burlington Christopher Coyne plans to convene ‘an extraordinary council of the church’ known as a synod next year — the first for Vermont’s Catholics in more than half a century … Events surrounding the synod are set to begin this fall, when the bishop plans to embark on a listening tour of sorts to hear from a wide range of parishioners who make up Vermont’s dominant religion.” By Adam Silverman, Burlington Free Press

Woman theologian examines new forms of religious life
“Kottayam: Kochurani Abraham, a feminist theologian, left a congregation of women religious to lead an independent religious life in her home state of Kerala, southern India. Her name, ‘Kochurani,’ means ‘little princess.’ Although born in a traditional Catholic family, she said religion did not attract her when she studied in Catholic schools in Kerala. However, a Catholic youth program she organized made her rethink her values. She said it awakened a dormant spirituality in her life that made her sensitive to the marginalized(link is external).” By Philip Matthew, MattersIndia.com

“AMORIS LAETITIA”

Ethicist sees “Joy of Love’ as call-out for family, justice
“There’s a lot going on in ‘The Joy of Love(link is external)’ (Amoris Laetitia), the exhortation Pope Francis published last year after the two-part synod on the family, but, says theologian Julie Hanlon Rubio, the core of it is pretty simple. An array of social forces makes marriage and family life more difficult — poverty, incarceration, migration, violence, racism, individualism and many more. ‘The pope says, if we care about marriage and family, we have to care about these issues as well …’” By Patrick Reardon, National Catholic Reporter

Dissenters’ conference on Amoris Laetitia hears call for an answer to the dubia
“Pope Francis ‘needs to be fraternally corrected’ because he has issued ‘Amoris Laetitia(link is external),’ the post-synodal exhortation on the family, ‘that implies heresies,’ and although he ‘does not directly contradict the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage, he does so indirectly,’ Professor Claudio Pierantoni, an Italian who teaches in a university in Chile, stated at a conference in Rome today (Apr. 22).” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

Marriage and divorce: The limits of the Roman Catholic mind
“The conservative resistance to Pope Francis(link is external) has circled its firing squad around ‘Amoris Laetitia,’ the year-old apostolic exhortation that opens the door to communion for divorced and remarried Catholics. A week ago, speakers at a conference in Rome accused the pope of heresy … ‘The pope,’ declared Australian theologian Anna M. Silvas, ‘is a skandalon (scandal), the rock has become the stumbling block.’ To be sure, the other side has mounted a defense, but it’s striking how little attention has been paid on either side to the theological concept that best supports the pope’s opening — and how ill-informed that attention has been.” By Mark Silk, Religion News Service

CELIBACY

Fresh concerns over celibacy rules for Catholic priests
“Rules preventing Catholic priests(link is external) in England and Wales from getting married should be open to fresh discussion, it has been claimed. The call comes from the Movement for Married Clergy (MMaC) which fears a celibacy requirement is deterring men from pursuing ordination. Secretary of the MMaC, Chris McDonnell, told Premier: ‘The Pope has made it very, very clear that he wants a listening church.’” By Alex Williams, Premire.org.uk

VOICES

The unhappy leadership history of St. Luke’s Institute
“There’s irony in the news that a laicized priest, who once ran a counseling center, has agreed to counseling as a condition of his parole(link is external). In case you missed the story, Edward Arsenault resigned from his post as head of the St. Luke Institute in Maryland in 2013, after he was charged with financial as well as sexual improprieties. He was eventually sentenced to a 4-year prison term after pleading guilty to misappropriating over $300,000 from the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire, where he once served as chancellor. The sexual improprieties, involving an adult male recording artist, were not criminal offenses.” By Phil Lawler, CatholicCulture.org

CHURCH FINANCES

Former Catholic pastor pleads guilty in scheme to steal Maryland church funds
“Prosecutors say a former church pastor in Maryland has pleaded guilty in connection with a scheme to steal more than $76,000 in church funds(link is external). Prosecutors said in a statement Tuesday (May 2) that 71-year-old Rev. John S. Mattingly of Charlotte Hall, Maryland, pleaded guilty to bank fraud. Prosecutors say that Mattingly was the pastor of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Leonardtown, Maryland, from 1994 to 2010.” By Associated Press on WJLA-TV

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Protecting children every day
“Child abuse can include sexual, physical and mental abuse, encompassing anything from neglect, abandonment, or even exploitation. In Oklahoma, 15 out of every 1000 children were abused in 2014, which was almost twice the rate that was reported in 2011 … This session, there are two bills moving through the legislative process aimed at helping child abuse survivors seek justice(link is external) against their abusers. The measures would amend the timeframe for abuse survivors to file criminal and civil cases against their abusers.” By Sen. Wayne Shaw, Pawhuska Journal Capital

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Website launched containing database of child sex abusers
“A new website has been launched which provides statistical information about alleged sexual abuse of minors by the Catholic Church(link is external) in 49 countries. It was created and designed to encourage legislation to expand the statute of limitations on sex crimes committed against minors. According to the website’s creator and analyst, G.R. Pafumi, the database took him two and a half years to complete.VictimsSpeakDB.org contains a database of Survivor Accounts of Catholic Clergy Abuse, Denial, Accountability and Silence, or SACCADAS.” By Donna De Jesus, Pacific News First

ILLINOIS

Former Catholic pastor pleads guilty to child porn, gets 4-year sentence
“A former associate pastor at an Arlington Heights church was sentenced to four years in prison Thursday (Apr. 28) for distributing child pornography(link is external), according to court records. Clovis Vilchez-Parra, 36, also was ordered to register as a sex offender after pleading guilty to the charge during a hearing in Cook County’s Rolling Meadows branch court. Numerous other pornography charges were dropped in exchange for his plea.” By George Houde, Chicago Tribune

Chicago Archdiocese to pay $4.45 million to settle priest abuse lawsuits
“The Archdiocese of Chicago will pay $4.45 million to settle three lawsuits brought by three men who allege they were sexually abused(link is external) more than a decade ago by former Roman Catholic priest, basketball coach and convicted sex offender Daniel McCormack, the plaintiffs’ attorney said Tuesday. According to Mark Brown, the attorney for the three plaintiffs, two brothers reached settlements in late January.” By Manya Brachear Pashman, Chicago Tribune

LOUISIANA

Breauz Bridge priest pleads not guilty to 20 child porn charges
“Nearly 10 months after his arrest in a child pornography investigation(link is external), a Roman Catholic priest made his first court appearance on Tuesday (May 2) to plead not guilty to the alleged crimes. Felix David Broussard, 51, has been formally charged with 20 counts of possessing pornography involving juveniles. He appeared in 16th Judicial Court in St. Martin Parish on Tuesday (May 2) for an arraignment.” By KATC-TV

MAINE

York gathers for form child sexual assault awareness campaign
“Jean Browne had been sexually abused at 5, and as a teenager(link is external), was a victim of date rape … Dennis O’Connor was abused by his parish priest when he was a kid, and his disclosure ultimately led to the priest’s prosecution … Heather Brower was 11 years old when she was sexually abused … These York residents were among a group of about 30 people who came to the York Library Friday (Apr. 28) afternoon to become involved in a local campaign to raise awareness of child sexual abuse.” By Deborah McDermott, SeacoastOnline.com

MASSACHUSETTS

Central Catholic sex abuse demonstration will unveil new allegations from 1960s incidents
“An international group that supports sexual abuse survivors will be on the public sidewalk in front of Central Catholic High School in Lawrence late Monday (May 1) morning. The group, Road to Recovery, is coming to the city after Central Catholic administrator Andrew Nikonchuk was fired last Tuesday (Apr. 25) due to allegations that he drugged and raped a student(link is external) in 2006. Road to Recovery is also exposing new information and allegations regarding sexual abuse of a boy by a priest at St. Patrick’s Church and members of a Catholic order of brothers who worked at Central Catholic High School in the 1960s, said Dr. Robert Hoatson, founder and leader of Road to Recovery.” By Jill Marmacinski, Lawrence Eagle-Tribune
Central Catholic teacher from Salisbury under investigation(link is external), By Newburyport Daily News
Central Catholic: We’ll be transparent on new abuse allegations(link is external), By Aaron Curtis, Lowell Sun

MISSOURI

New allegation of abuse surfaces against deceased former priest
“A complaint of sexual abuse involving a minor(link is external) and Larry Gregovich, a former Catholic priest who died earlier this year, has been made to the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, the diocese announced in a statement Monday (May 1). The diocese, which covers the southern third of Missouri, also said in the statement that it notified civil authorities of the incident, which occurred more than 30 years ago, but did not say who was notified, or where. The allegation also was forwarded to the diocesan Safe Environment Review Board, which found it ‘credible’ during a recent meeting.” By The Joplin Globe

NEW YORK

Fugitive former priest accused of sexually abusing a six-year-old girl is extradited to the U.S. to face charges
“A defrocked priest on the run for allegedly sexually abusing a young girl(link is external) in 2014 was tracked down in Guatemala and extradited back to the US, where he will finally face abuse charges in Long Island, N.Y. Upon landing at JFK Airport on Saturday (Apr. 22), Cortez — a former Catholic priest of the Vincentian Congregation — was arrested and sent to jail without bail.” By Daily Mail

RHODE ISLAND

Probable cause that R.I. Supreme Court justice Flaherty violated ethics code
“The state Ethics Commission voted 5-2 Tuesday (Apr. 24) that there was probable cause to find that Supreme Court Justice Francis X. Flaherty violated the state ethics code by failing to disclose his leadership position in a Catholic nonprofit organization … (Helen) Hyde, a former Rhode Island resident, alleges that Flaherty held that role while presiding over her appeal before the state Supreme Court. She and a man who alleged that a Roman Catholic priest sexually abused them(link is external) more than four decades ago sought to recover damages from the Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence. Flaherty wrote the decision denying Hyde and Jeffrey Thomas damages.” By Katie Mulvaney, Providence Journal

CAMBODIA

Scrutiny turns to child abusers among clergy
“Up to seven foreign clergymen are serving time in Cambodian prisons for child sex crimes(link is external), according to the executive director of a child protection NGO, a situation highlighted by the arrest of a Dutch priest who was charged last week with producing child pornography. Evrard-Nicolas Sarot, 53, who was a parish priest in the Netherlands, is accused of paying 19 boys, all under the age of 15, a few dollars each to pose nude for photographs in Siem Reap City.” By Hannah Hawkins, The Cambodian Daily

Catholic Church knew of alleged child abuser
“A Dutch priest who was arrested in Siem Reap City last week after allegedly taking more than 1,000 photographs of naked boys(link is external) had told a bishop in his home country about his ‘sexual preference for underage boys,’ church representatives said on Sunday Apr. 23). Evrard-Nicolas Sarot, 53, was charged with possessing and producing child pornography by the Siem Reap Provincial Court on Thursday (Apr. 20) and is accused of paying 19 boys, all under the age of 15, a few dollars each to pose nude for photos.” By Hannah Hawkins, The Cambodia Daily

CANADA

Suspended Ottawa priest acquitted of sexual assault charges
“An Ottawa courtroom erupted in applause today (May 2) after a Catholic priest was found not guilty of sexually assaulting a young boy(link is external). Reverend Stephen Amesse said he had forgiven his accuser, but the 14-year-old boy’s family left the court house in tears. It’s been nearly three years since police began their investigation after an allegation that the boy had been sexually assaulted in a west end Ottawa church. Three long years for both the priest and the boy, but only one of them left the courthouse feeling justice had been done.” By Joanne Schnurr, CTV News Ottawa

Disgraced priest sentenced to three years in prison
“A retired Roman Catholic priest convicted in September of sexually assaulting a young boy(link is external) in Kingston over a period of about four years in the late 1980s and early 1990s was sentenced Wednesday (Apr. 26) to three years in prison. Robin Quinton Gwyn, 69, has also been ordered included on the Sex Offender Information Registry for 20 years and Superior Court Justice Wolfram Tausendfreund has imposed a 20-year judge’s order that forbids the priest attending public parks, swimming areas and other places where children are or could reasonably be expected to be present, including play grounds, school grounds and community centers.” By Sue Yanagisawa, Kingston Whig-Standard

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Abuse priest failings found
“Concerns raised about a Catholic priest later jailed for sexual assault were not acted upon or taken seriously by the Church, a review has found. Anthony McSweeney, 70, was jailed for three years in 2015 for abusing a boy at a west London care home(link is external). In the wake of the case an independent review was commissioned by the Dioceses of Brentwood and East Anglia. The review said McSweeney was found with videos of adolescent boys in 1998 but this was not reported to police.” By BBC News

GUAM

RMS property among assets archdiocese may sell to compensate abuse victims
“The once-controversial Redemptoris Mater Seminary is among the properties the Archdiocese of Agana may be looking to sell as part of a larger effort to liquidate assets that will be used as compensation for clergy sexual abuse victims(link is external). During a press conference today (May 2), Coadjutor Archbishop Michael Byrnes fielded questions about a reported list of assets the archdiocese put together of that could be potentially sold. The archdiocese has already contributed $1 million in seed money for the Hope and Healing fund that will provide counseling services and compensation to clergy sex abuse victims.” By Janela Carrera, Pacific News First

SNAP: Put survivor on Hope and Healing board
“The world’s largest network of priest sex abuse survivors(link is external) says a program to help Guam clergy abuse victims should have an abuse survivor on its board. ‘To claim to know what survivors want and need in a ‘Hope and Healing’ program without having a survivor on the board is a bit patronizing,’ said Joelle Casteix, volunteer western regional director for the St. Louis-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. ‘Survivors are the ones who truly know how they can be helped the best.’” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Former Saipan bishop Thomas A. Camacho accused of clergy sex abuse again
“Former Saipan bishop Tomas A. Camacho stands accused a second time of clergy sex abuse(link is external). Filed in the District Court of Guam late Wednesday (Apr. 26), 65-year-old B.C. alleges he was sexually molested by Father Camacho in the early 1960s at Nuestra Senora de las Aguas Parish in Mongmong.” By Krystal Paco, KUAM-TV

Another Apuron accuser talking to Vatican
“Roy Quintanilla, the first former altar boy in 2016 to come forward and publicly accuse Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron of sexually abusing him(link is external), said Tuesday (Apr. 25) he will testify before a Vatican tribunal. The tribunal, led by Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, is handling Apuron’s canonical penal trial. Quintanilla said it will receive his testimony in Honolulu on May 6.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Limtiaco leads board to help victims of priest abuse
“Guam’s previous top federal prosecutor has been named chairwoman of the board of Hope and Healing, the organization created by the archdiocese to address multiple accusations of sexual abuse(link is external) by former Guam priests, decades ago. Chairwoman Alicia Limtiaco’s role was announced during a press conference yesterday (Apr. 22) at the Hilton Guam Resort and Spa. Limtiaco is the previous U.S. Attorney for Guam and the Northern Marianas.” By The Guam Daily Post

Archbishop seeks reporting of child abuse, sexual assault
“Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes has asked Catholics to join the rest of Guam in observing child abuse prevention month(link is external), to help bring hope and healing to victims, including those who are sexual assault survivors.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Sex abuse victims’ attorney warns Vatican could be next
“Attorney David Lujan says more lawsuits will be filed in the coming days(link is external) including two new ones next week that will name new priests. He just filed two Wednesday (Apr. 19) in District Court, marking the 52nd and 53rd lawsuits to be filed in a matter of months. Both lawsuits filed name former Guam priest and Boy Scout master Father Louis Brouillard as the alleged perpetrator … M.W.’s lawsuit further accuses the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of plotting together, saying they ‘developed and maintained a relationship …. by which pedophilic priests exploited the opportunity to serve as scout masters for the specific purpose of having access to young boys.’” By Janela Carrera, PNC News First

INDIA

Indian Catholics frustrated over clergy sex abuse cases
“A rash of recent alleged sex abuse cases involving Catholic priests(link is external) in Southern India have left Christians distraught and frustrated over the local church’s lack of response. More than 100 theologians, women religious, priests and feminists have written to India’s bishops to demand they react quickly in accordance with the pope’s call to end such transgressions. ‘We are trying every way to get the bishops to act. We thought this is a good opportunity,’ says Virginia Saldanha, a theologian who was part of the team that drafted the March 22 letter to the bishops.” By Jose Kavi, National Catholic Reporter

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Northern Ireland child abuse victims slam ‘derisory’ recommended compensation payment of £7,500
“The victims, who were abused in children’s homes run by some churches(link is external), charities and state institutions, said the payment should be higher and should reflect the length of time spent in the institutions. In January the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIAI) recommended that victims should receive financial redress. Chairman of the inquiry Sir Anthony Hart said the payments should range from £7,500 to £100,000. A 30-page response by victims has criticized the level of basic payment recommended.” By Deborah McAleese, Belfast Telegraph

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