Posts Tagged news roundup

Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

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

PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR THE PROTECTION OF MINORS

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

MASS TRANSLATIONS

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

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

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

CARDINALS

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

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

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

BISHOPS

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

PRIESTS

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

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

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

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

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

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

“AMORIS LAETITIA”

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

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

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

VOICES

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

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

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

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

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

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

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

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

ILLINOIS

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

KENTUCKY

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

MINNESOTA

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

MISSOURI

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

MONTANA

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

NEW JERSEY

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

NEW MEXICO

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

NEW YORK

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

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

ARGENTINA

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

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

CANADA

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

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

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

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

GUAM

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

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

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

ITALY

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

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Voice of the Faithful Focus, 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


TOP STORIES

A first: Cardinal Pell appears in Australian court on sexual charges
“Cardinal George Pell, one of Pope Francis’ top advisers, made his first court appearance in Australia on Wednesday (Jul. 26) after becoming the highest-ranking Roman Catholic prelate to be formally charged with sexual offenses(link is external). Cardinal Pell, 76, was flanked by police officers as he entered Melbourne Magistrates’ Court through a thicket of camera crews, reporters and photographers.” By Jacqueline Williams, The New York Times
— Accused of abuse, Pell maintains innocence in first court appearance(link is external)By Barney Zwartz, National Catholic Reporter
— Vatican Cardinal Pell faces Australian court on sex charges(link is external)By Kristen Gelineau, Associated Press
— Beginning fight against abuse charges, Pell says he’ll plead ‘not guilty(link is external),’ By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

547 members of Catholic boys choir abused, report says
“At least 547 members of a prestigious Catholic boys’ choir in Germany were physically or sexually abused(link is external) between 1945 and 1992, according to a report released Tuesday (Jul. 18). Allegations involving the Domspatzen choir in Regensburg were among a spate of revelations of abuse by Roman Catholic clergy in Germany that emerged in 2010. In 2015, lawyer Ulrich Weber was tasked with producing a report on what happened.” By Associated Press on CBSNews.com
— Culture of silence abetted abuse of at least 547 German choir boys, inquiry finds(link is external)By Melissa Eddy, The New York Times
— Hundreds of boys abused at storied Catholic choir in Germany, new report says(link is external)By Isaac Stanley Becker, The Washington Post
— Ex-Vatican doctrine chief says Church did what it could on German abuse scandal(link is external)By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Former top Vatican official strikes back at Pope
“A top Vatican cardinal recently dismissed by Pope Francis struck back this week, calling the Pope’s treatment of him and other Vatican employees ‘unacceptable.’ ‘I cannot accept this way of doing things,’ Cardinal Gerhard Muller said(link is external) in an interview with German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse. ‘As a bishop, [the Pope] cannot treat people in this way.’ Francis informed Muller, the former head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Vatican’s doctrinal office, that he would not be renewing his contract in a brief meeting on June 30, just two days before the contract expired.” By Delia Gallagher, CNN

First Vatican trial under laws against financial crime to open Tuesday
“Tuesday (Jul. 18) sees the start of the Vatican trial of two former officials of a papal hospital in Rome charged with illicitly using funds(link is external) to renovate the Vatican apartment of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, in a way that benefited a fellow Italian businessman. Bertone himself was not an object of the Vatican investigation and does not face any charges in the trial, which marks the first prosecution under new Vatican laws on financial crime.” By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com
— Vatican court refuses to stop embezzlement case(link is external)By Associated Press in The Sacramento Bee

ACCOUNTABILITY

Paul Shanley, notorious priest in Catholic sex abuse scandal, to be released this week
“Paul R. Shanley, a former ‘street priest’ who became one of the most notorious figures in the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal(link is external), is set to be released from prison as early as this week (He was released on Jul. 28) after serving 12 years behind bars for raping a Sunday school student in the early 1980s. Middlesex prosecutors said they had hoped to keep the 86-year-old defrocked priest behind bars even after his sentence was completed by having him declared a ‘sexually dangerous person.’ But two doctors who examined Shanley found that he did not meet the required criteria, prosecutors said.” By Michael Levenson, The Boston Globe
— Defrocked priest is about to be freed amid renewed fury(link is external)By Katherine Q. Seelye, The New York Times
— ‘I’m concerned he’s going to abuse again’: those who say priest abused them criticize his release(link is external), By Michael Levenson, The Boston Globe
— Paul Shanley, convicted child rapist and former priest, released from prison(link is external)By Emily Sweeney, John R. Ellement and Travis Andersen, The Boston Globe
— A predator walks while his protectors never had to stand(link is external)By Kevin Cullen, The Boston Globe

Read the following note to readers for background on National Catholic Reporter’srecent series of stories on the Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal. The stories are listed below this introduction:

Note to readers about content this week
“On the NCR website this week (Jul. 17), we will run a series of stories that will challenge our readers to look at the scandal of sexual abuse of minors(link is external) by clergy from several different viewpoints: from the perspective of a victim/survivor, from the perspective of a convicted offender, from the perspective of a family member of a victim, and from the perspective of professional advocates and watchdogs. The stories will make some people uncomfortable and others angry. It will be difficult reading, but my hope — my belief — is that it will make us confront a profound question about clergy sex abuse and the Catholic Church, namely, how do we as church, as a community of believers, bring healing to our wounded body? What cooperative acts of justice and mercy must we take as a community of believers to move forward in our journey of faith? Questions will be raised, but not all will be answered.” By Dennis Coday, National Catholic Reporter

Sister finds that faith sustains when institutions fail
“It’s a gorgeous spring day, and the sunshine is pouring into the bedroom of Dominican Sr. Sally Butler’s apartment in the Fort Greene neighborhood, brightening the already cheery lavender-painted walls … Butler, 86, can’t get out of bed because of spinal stenosis and arthritis. And even if she could, for the past 24 years, she says, she has had to find her connection to Christ outside the church. Though she has been in religious life for nearly 70 years, Butler is unable to believe in the institutional church anymore(link is external). But her faith in God, she says, has never been stronger.” By Dan Stockman, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

‘Uncommon conversation’ on sex abuse falls silent
“An ‘uncommon conversation’ is on hold in Minnesota. After meeting a decade ago at a sex abuse treatment conference, Gil Gustafson and Susan Pavlak each came to see in their pasts a possible way forward(link is external) for their home archdiocese, St. Paul-Minneapolis, as it struggled to deal with the scandal of clergy sexual abuse. Pavlak, now 62, was sexually abused as a child by a teacher who was a former nun at a Catholic school. Gustafson, now 66, pleaded guilty in 1983 to sexually abusing a teenage boy, and has since admitted to abuse of three other male minors.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

‘All of us together’: Sex abuse survivor seeks healing within the church
“In this interview, Susan Pavlak, a lifelong resident of St. Paul, Minnesota, describes being sexually abused by her high school religion teacher(link is external), a former nun, beginning in 1970. The abuse, according to Pavlak, happened on several occasions over four years. The alleged perpetrator, whom Pavlak has chosen not to identify by name in this interview, has never been charged in a criminal court; and Pavlak has never sought damages from any party in a civil court.” By Luke Hansen, National Catholic Reporter

Convicted soul: a priest-perpetrator of child sexual abuse shares his story
“Gilbert Gustafson was ordained a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 1977, served as an associate priest at St. Mary of the Lake Parish in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, until 1982, pleaded guilty to the sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) in 1983, and served four and a half months in jail and 10 years’ probation. Gustafson has admitted to abusing four boys between 1978 and 1982. He was not criminally charged in the other cases.” By Luke Hansen, National Catholic Reporter

The clergy’s task is unfinished in confronting sex abuse
“The story of Marie Collins, an Irish victim of clergy sex abuse and a witness of unimpeachable integrity(link is external), is a dual tale of how far the church has come in acknowledging and handling the scandal and of how wholly and demonstrably incapable the Catholic clerical culture is of dealing with its own sin. Collins was one of two survivors of clergy sex abuse who were appointed in 2014 to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, an agency created by Pope Francis. She resigned the commission in March … Three years after her appointment, she wrote: ‘I have come to the point where I can no longer be sustained by hope. As a survivor, I have watched events unfold with dismay.’” By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter

POPE FRANCIS

Can anything burst Pope’s media bubble? Probably not
“Next March will mark the five-year anniversary of Francis’s papacy, and one interesting question is whether the broad media love affair with Francis will still be in place(link is external) when that moment comes. John Allen says “probably yes,” because by now the positive narrative surrounding Francis has become so entrenched as to be basically impervious to reconsideration.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Vatican article says ‘main obstacle’ for Pope Francis is bishops, priests
“Shortly after one Vatican article stirred debate by asserting there’s an ‘ecumenism of hate’ in the U.S. between conservative Evangelicals and Catholics, another over the weekend asserted that the ‘main obstacle’ to implementing Pope Francis’s vision for the Church is ‘closure, if not hostility’ from ‘a good part of the clergy(link is external), at levels both high and low.’” By Crux Staff, Cruxnow.com

Pope Francis’ next act
“These four very different departures (Cardinal George Pell, Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, Cardinal Joachim Meisner and Cardinal Angelo Scola) have a combined effect: They weaken resistance to Francis in the highest reaches of the hierarchy(link is external). And they raise the question facing the remainder of his pontificate: With high-level opposition thinned out and the Benedict/John Paul II vision in eclipse, how far does the pope intend to push?” By Ross Douthat, The New York Times

CARDINALS

Headed to court, Cardinal Pell is no stranger to controversy
“Cardinal George Pell, who this week will become the highest ranked church official ever to face sex abuse charges in court(link is external), may be the most polarizing religious leader in Australia’s brief history. The former Archbishop of Sydney will appear in the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court on July 26 to answer yet-unspecified charges of historical sexual abuse involving multiple complainants, which he resolutely denies. The complaints apparently long predate his present Vatican role as prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, often but misleadingly referred to as number three in the Vatican hierarchy behind the pope and secretary of state. It is a staggering fall from grace for the combative cardinal.” By Barney Zwartz, National Catholic Reporter

Cardinals on two sides of the Hudson reflect two paths of Catholicism
“Two very different books about being Roman Catholic and gay were released recently, each with an endorsement from a cardinal who oversees an archdiocese along the Hudson River(link is external). Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, the archbishop of Newark, endorsed ‘Building a Bridge,’ calling it ‘brave, prophetic and inspiring.’ The book calls on church leaders to use preferred terms like ‘gay’ instead of ‘same-sex attraction,’ as a sign of respect to gay Catholics. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York, endorsed ‘Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay,’ a memoir by a Catholic man who resisted his homosexual attractions and who now leads a celibate life inspired by the Gospel.” By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times
— Real story of Tobin and Dolan in NY: try ‘America past acrimony(link is external),’ By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Cardinal Muller’s self-delusion and sense of entitlement
“Cardinal Gerhard Müller’s criticism of Pope Francis’ termination of his tenure(link is external) as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is simply astonishing. His complaint is that he had no warning and the termination was a summary dismissal. I don’t know where the cardinal has been in recent months. But it doesn’t seem to have been in Rome.” By Michael Kelly, S.J., LaCroix International
— Former doctrine chief denies false account of papal meeting(link is external)By Junno Arocho Esteves, Cruxnow.com

BISHOPS

Why Pope Francis’ appointment of the new archbishop of Milan is a big deal
“The Vatican announced on July 7 that Pope Francis had appointed Auxiliary Bishop Mario Delpini as the next archbishop of Milan(link is external), succeeding the retiring Cardinal Angelo Scola. Bishop Delpini, a native of the archdiocese, lives in a very modest home mostly for retired priests about a mile northeast of the cathedral, with its old and venerable archbishop’s palace across the piazza. He is in close contact with the clergy of the archdiocese, where he has served most of his priestly life.” By Edward W. Schmidt, America: The Jesuit Review

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Austria: more and more girls as altar servers
Altar service is still attractive for children and teenagers(link is external): it is confirmed by the figures presented by Simon Mödl, in charge of the service for the ‘Young Church’ from the archdiocese of Vienna. With respect to the decrease in other sectors, said Mödl to the agency of the Austrian Catholic Church Kathpress, ‘here, figures are incredibly stable, and the flow of boys and girls is constant.’ Following a research, from 2014, almost 55% of the over 45 thousand Austrian altar servers – including 10 thousand in the archdiocese of Vienna only – have been female.” By SIR: Servizio Informazione Religiosa, agensir.it

VATICAN

New website for Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family, Life
“The Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life has a new way to interact with the world: a new website(link is external) launched this week. The new site offers news about the Dicastery’s activities, as well as social updates and videos. Explaining its mission, the Dicastery says, ‘The new website, in addition to telling about the Dicastery’s activities, wants to become a familiar place for lay people and families, where everyone will feel at ease and have [a] chance to be heard.’” By Vatican Radio

CLERICALISM

That sneaky clericalism
“Jesus warned about it. Luther revolted against it. Pope Francis is trying to deal with it. Yet clericalism – a priest or clergyman placing himself above the laity(link is external) – is still alive. We all know its effects are negative: abuse of power, passivity of the laity (“pray, pay, and obey”) and “project[ing] an image of power and privilege” of the Church in the context of poverty. Conceretely, it’s why many have left the Church in disillusionment. So why does clericalism continue?” By Henoch Derbew, The Jesuit Post

VOICES

Catholicism between reform and counter-reform: reading Congar 50 years later
“‘We [now] live in the ‘transparency society’ and the stories of clerical sex abuse and (to a lesser degree) financial misconduct paint a very different picture of the Church than the one from Congar’s time(link is external),’ says Massimo Faggioli.” By Massimo Faggioli, La Croix Inernational

Evangelical fundamentalism and Catholic integralism in the USA: A surprising ecumenism
“In God We Trust. This phrase is printed on the banknotes of the United States of America and is the current national motto … A motto is important for a nation whose foundation was rooted in religious motivations(link is external). For many it is a simple declaration of faith. For others, it is the synthesis of a problematic fusion between religion and state, faith and politics, religious values and economy.” By Antonio Spadoro and Marcelo Figueroa, La Civlita Cattolica
— Italian Jesuit magazine criticizes political attitudes of some U.S. Catholics(link is external)By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
— Exclusive interview: Antonio Spadaro on his article about ‘The Ecumenism of Hate’ in the U.S(link is external)., By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review
— Cardinal Schonborn: Moral theology needs both principles and prudence,(link is external) By Austen Ivereigh, Cruxnow.com
— Editorial: Complicity harmed church’s cultural standing(link is external)By National Catholic Reporter
— Vatican speaks out against fundamentalism, again(link is external)By Pat Perrillo, National Catholic Reporter

CHURCH FINANCES

Catholic parishes to pay higher fees
“To help Guam’s Catholic Church correct past financial mismanagement, pay debts and properly fund chancery operations, village parishes will see an average of 186-percent increases in assessment fees(link is external). This means up to a 1,146-percent hike for the Maina parish, for example, which used to pay only $107.82, church data shows. The Dededo parish, the biggest, will be assessed $10,763.45 instead of the $5,481.26 imposed six years ago, or an increase of 96 percent.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Questions multiply by the day in latest Vatican money scandal
“Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the former Secretary of State under Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, has denied rumors of involvement in a scheme(link is external) to overpay for remodeling on his Vatican apartment in order to benefit an Italian businessman and longtime friend. Meanwhile, questions remain about how the businessman was able to bill two different Vatican departments almost $1 million for the same work, which was never even finished.” By Crux Staff, Cruxnow.com

Priest admitted in 2007 to using parish checks for home construction
“A decade before he was charged with embezzlement(link is external), Rev. Jonathan Wehrle admitted to writing checks from St. Martha Parish to pay for the construction of his $1.48 million home. In November 2007, Wehrle told lawyer Michael Ryan that at times he transferred money from his personal accounts to the church’s account, then issued checks from the church’s account for personal use.” By Beth LeBlanc, Lansing State Journal

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Legislator wants tougher hidden predator act to pursue sex offenders
“When his bill extending the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse to file civil claims was signed into law in 2015, State Rep. Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine) knew it didn’t go far enough(link is external). The lawsuits that have been filed since the Hidden Predator Act took effect bear him out. While the law allows victims to go after the individuals they say abused them, the businesses and nonprofits that allegedly enabled or covered up predatory behavior have so far avoided any potential financial liability.” By Christian Boone, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Statute of limitations on child abuse cases should be longer
“Rarely does a month go by without us having to publish a police or court report involving an adult who has victimized a child sexually(link is external). It was only a few short weeks ago we reported charges against a Cassadaga man accused of alleged sexual conduct with a child under the age of 11. There are enough such cases for Patrick Swanson, county district attorney, to suggest adding money to his budget next year to assign a prosecutor solely to sexual crimes against children.” By The Post-Journal

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

‘The Keepers’: here’s what has happened since the Netflix series debuted
“‘The Keepers’ debuted two months ago, and since then, filmmaker Ryan White has seen positive developments in the case(link is external): More victims have spoken out and police are investigating further into Father Joseph Maskell’s past life.” By Beatrice Verhoeven, SFGate.com

How the Catholic Church’s hierarchy makes it difficult to punish sexual abusers
“…While reforms in the Catholic Church in the United States have made it mandatory for priests to report instances of sexual abuse, there still remains much work to be done(link is external) in the Catholic Church worldwide. From my perspective as a Catholic scholar of religion, one of the challenges in tackling this issue is the hierarchy of the church itself. It is still difficult to hold high-ranking clerics responsible, either for the misdeeds of their subordinates or for the crimes that they may have committed themselves …” By Mathew Schmalz, SFGate.com

ILLINOIS

Catholic order settles abuse case years later
“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 nonprofit 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, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

KANSAS

Father claims Overland Park priest ‘tickled,’ touched young daughter
“Hours after the Archdiocese of KCK announced the suspension of priest Scott Kallal on Tuesday (Jul. 18), a man who claims his daughter was sexually assaulted(link is external) by Kallal came forward with new allegations. The Archdiocese announced in a statement Monday (Jul. 17) afternoon that Kallal was suspended from his position at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Overland Park after two sources came forward with allegations of wrongdoing.” By KSHB-TV

MASSACHUSETTS

Paul Shanley, priest at center of clergy sex abuse scandal, to be released
“One of the most notorious figures in the Boston clergy sex abuse scandal(link is external) has completed his prison sentence on child rape charges and will be released this week (Jul. 26) after two experts hired by prosecutors found he does not meet the legal criteria to be held as a sexually dangerous person. Paul Shanley was known in the 1960s and ’70s for being a hip street priest who reached out to troubled youths.” By Denise Lavoie, Associated Press, on WBUR.org

Man sues Boston Archdiocese citing sex abuse at orphanage
“A New York man is suing the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston for sexual abuse he says he suffered decades ago(link is external) at a church-affiliated home for orphaned and foster children. Andre Jones, who’s 51, said Monday (Jul. 17) that he was abused in the 1970s by the late Brother Edward Anthony Holmes, a supervisor and counselor at the now-shuttered Nazareth Child Care Center.” By Philip Marcelo, Associated Press

PENNSYLVANIA

Disgraced Catholic priest loses appeal of ‘sex tourism’ convictions for molesting orphans
“A former Catholic priest from Somerset County who was convicted of engaging in ‘sexual tourism(link is external)’ to molest poor orphans in Honduras has lost an appeal of his nearly 17-year prison sentence. That defeat came this week when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rejected Joseph D. Maurizio Jr.’s claims that he didn’t receive a fair trial.” By Matt Miller, PennLive.com

Advocacy group demands Greensburg Diocese release ‘secret files’
“An advocacy group believes that Greensburg Bishop Edward Malesic may be withholding evidence, hidden in secret files(link is external) known as Canon 489 files, pertaining to the arrest of the Rev. John T. Sweeney. The group thinks the files could contain evidence of the sexual abuse of children. Diocesan law describes the files as archives meant to be ‘kept secret, locked, and protected.’ On Tuesday (Jul. 25), the Diocese said it has turned over every file on Sweeney, including the Canon 489 files, to the attorney general.” By WTAE-TV Pittsburgh

Court upholds priest’s sex-abuse conviction involving orphans in Honduras
“A federal appeals court on Monday (Jul. 24) upheld the conviction of a former Somerset County priest who was found guilty in 2015 of traveling to Honduras to sexually abuse orphans(link is external) and sentenced last year to more than 16 years in federal prison. The Rev. Joseph D. Maurizio Jr., who at the time of his September 2014 arrest was the pastor at Our Lady Queen of Angels Parish in Central City, had asked the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to overturn his conviction.” By Mark Pesto, Tribune-Democrat

Retired Westmorland County priest accused of forcing boy to perform oral sex
“A now-retired Roman Catholic priest is accused of forcing a 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy to perform oral sex on him after counseling the 4th-grader about misbehaving on a school bus. The state attorney general’s office said Monday (Jul. 24) that the Rev. John Thomas Sweeney committed felony involuntary deviate sexual intercourse(link is external) against the boy at St. Margaret Mary Elementary School in Lower Burrell.” By Associated Press on WJACTV.com

Western Pennsylvania Catholics, victims react to latest abuse arrest
“Area Catholics and ex-Catholics who testified before a state grand jury that met in 2014 to investigate Roman Catholic clergy sexual abuse(link is external) reacted Monday (Jul. 24) to the news of another abuse allegation with a mixture of relief and anger. ‘Being one of those people who came forward, this is a very proud day for me,’ said Shaun Dougherty, 47, formerly of Johnstown. ‘If this arrest came as a result of anything I testified to … that’s why I came forward.’” By Stephen Huba, TribLive.com

AUSTRALIA

Priest John Denham to face fresh Taree child sex allegations
“Convicted child sex offender Catholic priest John Denham has been charged with fresh offenses after a man alleged he was sexually abused(link is external) at Taree in the late 1970s by Denham, senior Maitland-Newcastle priest Barry Tunks and two other men. Manning/Great Lakes Local Area Command detectives charged Denham, 76, with three sexual assault offences more than two months after charging former Vicar General Barry Tunks, 76, in March with three indecent assault offences against the same boy in Catholic Church facilities at Taree.” By Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald

George Pell braces for first court appearance amid accusations of Salem which hunt and slaughter of lambs
“People who have accused Cardinal George Pell of molesting them could be ‘lambs to the slaughter’ when legal proceedings begin(link is external), a Victorian lawyer representing sex abuse survivors fears. Australia’s most senior cleric will appear in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court next week on multiple historical sex charges, which one of Pell’s close friends has likened to a Salem witch hunt.” By Mark Saunokonoko, 9news.com.au

What are Catholics parishes doing to guard against child sexual abuse?
“The Catholic Church has acknowledged the number of priests identified by the child abuse royal commission is indefensible(link is external), and says it is working hard to make sure the abuse is never repeated. But what does that mean for local parishes making changes to protect children into the future?” By Eliza Borrello, ABC News Australia

Cardinal ‘knew about priest’s conviction’
“Australia’s first Catholic cardinal suspended a priest who exposed himself to children but the man later returned to parish work and allegedly abused a boy(link is external), documents before a royal commission reveal. The Catholic Church’s insurance company refused to cover a claim that Father Robert Alban McNeill abused a boy in the 1980s because of Sydney archdiocese’s prior knowledge in 1969/1970 of ‘the offender’s propensities.” By Megan Neil, Australian Associated Press, on News.com.au
— Cardinal Pell hires ‘Australia’s best lawyer’ to fight historic sex charges for rumored $11,000 a day(link is external)By Josh Hanrahan, Daily Mail Australia

CANADA

‘It killed part of me,’ clergy abuse victim says
“An Ottawa man has become the latest victim to sue the Archdiocese of Ottawa for sexual abuse that he allegedly suffered(link is external) at the hands of the city’s most notorious Catholic priest, Rev. Dale Crampton. Robert Sullivan has filed a $2-million damages claim for abuse that he says began when he was just 10 years old.” By Andrew Duffy, Ottawa Citizen

GUAM

Former priest, Boy Scout leader, accused in new abuse suits
“A man on Tuesday (Jul. 18) filed a lawsuit, alleging that now-deceased Boy Scouts of America scout leader Edward Pereira raped and sexually abused him(link is external) in the early 1970s. It is the first of 93 sexual abuse lawsuits that does not name the Archdiocese of Agana as a defendant. Another lawsuit filed Tuesday (Jul. 18), by a man now living in California, alleges that now-deceased priest Ray Techaira sexually abused him when he was a Catholic school student in the mid-1980s.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Five more sex abuse lawsuits filed against the Church
“Nearly 100 sex abuse lawsuits(link is external) have been filed against the Church. Late Thursday afternoon (Jul. 14), five more cases were filed in the District Court of Guam. 53-year-old R.W.J., 50-year-old P.P.R., and 58-year-old W.E.T. all allege they were molested by Father Louis Brouillard. P.P.R. goes into detail saying that aside from being exposed to the priest naked as well as naked swims it the river, the priest would molest him in a room behind the Church altar. The priest would tell the young boy that it was what God wanted him to do and that it was a sin if he didn’t do as Brouillard asked.” By Krystal Paco, KUAM-TV

Victim alleges sex abuse before grandma’s funeral
“Attorney David Lujan filed five more clergy sex abuse lawsuits(link is external) against the Archdiocese of Agana, Boy Scouts of America and two former Guam priests in federal court yesterday (Jul. 12) afternoon. One of the cases alleges defrocked priest Raymond Cepeda abused a boy after officiating the funeral Mass for the boy’s deceased grandmother, and while in a car ride to the burial site. The latest cases also added more cases against former Guam priest Louis Brouillard.” By Neil Pang, The Guam Daily Post

Guam’s Catholic Church could sell 41 properties to settle abuse cases
“The Guam Catholic church’s financial arm on Thursday (Jul. 13) released a list of 41 non-essential properties that could be sold to help settle more than 90 Guam clergy sexual abuse cases(link is external). The most valuable of the assets are the former Accion Hotel, which now houses the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Yona, the chancery complex where the archbishop lives, and the former Thomas Aquinas High School in Ordot, the Archdiocesan Finance Council said.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

INDIA

Kerala: Catholic priest held for sodomizing two boys
“A Kerala priest accused of sodomizing minor boys(link is external) was arrested by the police on Tuesday (Jul. 17). The suspect Fr. Saji Joseph, 45, was director of St. Vincent’s Balabhavan at Meenangadi in Waynad district. He was accused of sodomizing minor boys staying in the hostel since 2016. The incident came to light after a victim confided the ordeals to his mother when he went home for vacation recently.” By Gladwin Emmanuel, Mumbai Times

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Irish priest who exposed pedophile to sue Florida diocese for defamation
“An Irish priest has been given permission by a US court to sue the West Palm Beach diocese over defamation. Father John Gallagher, a Tyrone native, claimed the Florida diocese tried to cover-up a pedophile priest(link is external) in the diocese. Gallagher exposed him and was shunned and defamed as a result. In January 2015, Gallagher (49), who has served in Florida since 2000, helped to report criminal misconduct by Fr. Jose Palimattom, a priest of the Franciscan Province of St. Thomas the Apostle in India, who was serving a two-year residency at Holy Name of Jesus Parish, in West Palm Beach.” By Staff at Irish Central

No justice for a life destroyed
Victims of historic abuse(link is external) in state care are fighting back, demanding justice – in cash and apologies – to help rebuild broken lives. But some are going further. In the second part of ODT Insight’s special investigation, Chris Morris tells Darryl Smith’s story.” By Chris Morris, Otago Daily Times

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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

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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Voice of the Faithful Focus

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

VOTF LogoApril 21, 2017

TOP STORIES

It was an honor to know you, Joe Crowley
“No one taught me more about the incalculable damage of sexual abuse(link is external), and the surprising resiliency of the human spirit, than Joe Crowley. I met Joe in the fall of 2001, when my Spotlight Team colleagues and I were searching for people who had been molested by Catholic priests. Through a network of lawyers and advocates, I contacted Joe, then 42. He was smart, funny, and articulate, but also nervous, insecure, and still trying to recover emotionally from what had happened to him decades earlier.” By Sacha Pfeiffer, The Boston Globe

Atlanta archbishop says clericalism continues to hinder sex abuse reforms
“Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who led the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops during the tumultuous years when the wide scope of the clergy sexual abuse scandal was brought to light, said in a new interview that clericalism is still hampering efforts to address the issue(link is external), even at the highest levels of the church. ‘I would say there is a resistance to do the hard thing,’ the Atlanta archbishop told NPR affiliate WABE in a March interview broadcast on April 10.” By Michael O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

Pope makes appointments amid criticism of sex abuse response
“Pope Francis on Tuesday (Apr. 4) named a new official to oversee the Vatican office that processes clerical sex abuse cases(link is external) amid mounting criticism over a years-long backlog of cases and Francis’ handling of the problem. The promotion of Monsignor John Kennedy to head of the discipline section of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith was the second abuse-related appointment in recent days. Francis named the Rev. Hans Zollner, one of the Catholic Church’s top experts on fighting abuse and protecting children, as an adviser to the Vatican’s office for clergy on Saturday (Apr. 1).” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Washington Post

Child sex abuse: Catholic bishops ‘must meet Pope Francis to push for urgent change’
“Australia’s bishops must lead an urgent delegation to Pope Francis(link is external) seeking changes to some of the church’s most fundamental views on women, celibacy, governance and the handling of child sex cases, according to Australia’s peak Catholic reform group in a call to arms to Catholics across the country. In an open letter sent to all parishes, Catholics for Renewal has urged bishops and archbishops not to “defer to the Holy See”, or wait for the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, before acting on serious issues identified by the commission that contributed to the child sexual abuse crisis.” By Joanne McCarthy, The Sydney Morning Herald

German bishops divided on diaconate for women
“A German theologian-bishop has called for the ordination of woman deacons(link is external), saying it is more important than relaxing mandatory celibacy or ordaining married men of proven virtue (viri probati) to the priesthood. ‘Women should be ordained deacons. It is a sign of the times,’ said Bishop Gebhard Fürst of Rottenburg-Stuttgart. He told a 27 March gathering of the German Catholic Women’s Association the time had come for women deacons. The association, which has been demanding the move for over twenty years, was marking its 100th anniversary.” By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, La Croix International

ACCOUNTABILITY

Guam Catholic Church sees a perfect storm of controversy
“The Catholic Church on the Pacific island of Guam has been devastated by allegations that its longtime archbishop sexually abused altar boys(link is external). But even before the scandal broke, Guam’s church was divided over another issue — the presence of a controversial European lay movement that became so toxic that a community of nuns fled to the mainland U.S. in despair. The battle on the tiny tropical U.S. territory pits the Neocatechumenal Way lay group against critics on a majority Catholic island that was colonized by Spanish missionaries in the 17th century.” By Grace Garces Bordallo and Nicole Winfield

PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR THE PROTECTION OF MINORS

Abuse commission member: We asked pope to create Vatican office to train in responding to survivors
“A member of Pope Francis’ commission on clergy sexual abuse says his group has asked the pontiff to create a new Vatican office to train the city-state’s personnel in how to respond to letters from abuse survivors(link is external). Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner, a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, told the Italian Catholic channel TV2000 Monday  that Vatican officials need training before they can respond to survivors.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

POPE FRANCIS

Pope Francis’ message faces intensifying criticism
“It seems that criticism of Francis is increasing(link is external) and becoming more overt and intense. What is it about Francis that is making him a more and more controversial figure? One reason, of course is that he has created a more open papacy in which dissent is tolerated and even encouraged. The opportunity to share one’s thoughts, however, should not include being disrespectful.” By Pat Perriello, National Catholic Reporter

Letter from Rome: Who is Francis listening to?
“… It is about his apparently ambivalent attitude towards holding bishops accountable(link is external) for mishandling cases, protecting abusive priests, or showing more concern for the reputation of the institution than for victims. However, there was a small sign last week that the pope’s attitude may be changing (and, note well, Francis has shown an amazing capacity to listen, learn, and change). It came with the forced resignation of a bishop in Southern France. The resignation of the prelate in question—Bishop Hervé Gaschignard of the Diocese of Dax and Aire—was accepted on April 6. It occurred just a few months after people in his diocese went to the French bishops’ conference and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith with complaints over the bishop’s inappropriate ‘words and attitude with respect to several young people.’” By Robert Mickens, Commonweal
How are Pope Francis’ reforms of the Roman Curia going?
“Kurt Martens is a Belgian-born lay Catholic civil and canon lawyer who serves as a professor of canon law at the Catholic University of America. He is a consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ committee on canonical affairs and specializes in the working and organization of church structures, including published research on the reform of the Roman Curia. He is the editor of ‘The Jurist,’ the only canon law periodical in the United States. I recently interviewed Dr. Martens by email about the ongoing efforts of Pope Francis to reform the Roman Curia(link is external).” By Sean Salai, S.J., America: The Jesuit Review

BISHOPS

Atlanta’s Catholic archbishop on abuse scandal news, married priests
“As Christians began to observe Holy Week, the leader of the world’s Catholics was preparing for a two-day visit to Egypt despite the recent deadly bombings at Christian churches there. Among other things, the April 28-29 visit by Pope Francis is aimed at further improving relations between the Catholic Church and the world’s Muslims. But the church continues its internal struggles over how the Vatican and Catholic bishops have handled the clergy abuse scandal(link is external). Recently, an abuse survivor, who had been a member of a commission advising the Vatican, quit in frustration.” By Denis O’Hayer, National Public Radio, Atlanta, WABE.org

PRIESTS

Catholics surge in Africa but priest shortages persist in other parts of the globe
“The number of Catholics worldwide is rising fastest in Africa(link is external) while the church continues to suffer from a shortage of priests in some parts of the world … Despite an increase in the number of Catholics, there was a fall in the number of priests called to ministry in some parts of the world. The number of priests rose by more than 1,100 in Africa and 1,100 in Asia but fell by 2,502 (6 percent) in Europe between 2014 and 2015. There were a total of 47 new priests in the Americas in 2015.” By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service

CHURCH REFORM

Fix a disconnect that hobbles the Church
“A new book offer suggestions about how the laity can get more involved(link is external) in the life of the parish and Church at large. ‘Everyone Leads: How to Revitalize the Catholic Church’ looks at a disconnect between Church leadership and the people in the pews.” By Chris Lowney, Cruxnow.com

Married priests and female deacons? What the Pope’s politics look like from Latin America
“Priests are Catholicism’s greatest figures: shepherds who manage the relationship with the divine. But their numbers have been dwindling worldwide(link is external) since the 1930s. In Argentina, the Church lost 23% of its priests and nuns from 1960 to 2013. France and Spain have also seen a dramatic reduction in clergy. In Europe, the number of priests declined 3.6% between 2012 and 2015 alone.” By Veronica Gimenez Beliveau, University of Buenos Aires, in The Huffington Post

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Not just another ‘trade meeting,’ convocation seeks to unify U.S. church
“This summer’s Convocation of Catholic Leaders comes at a time when the U.S. Catholic Church is seeking how best to respond to a changing social landscape(link is external) while bringing Pope Francis’ vision for a church that offers mercy and joy to the world. Called by the bishops, the historic convocation will find more than 3,000 Catholic leaders — bishops, clergy, religious and laypeople — meeting July 1-4 in Orlando, Florida, to focus on how the pope’s 2013 apostolic exhortation, ‘Evangelii Gaudium’ (‘The Joy of the Gospel’), applies in the United States.” By Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service

Letter from Rome: Who will speak to solve the vocations crisis?
“The (Second Vatican) Council stated clearly that the Eucharist is the source and summit of the church’s life and all its activity. And in its decree on priestly life and ministry Vatican II said it’s impossible to truly build up a Christian community ‘unless it has its basis and center in the celebration of the most Holy Eucharist.’ Hence, the need for priests(link is external) … But the church has a serious shortage of ordained presbyters in almost every part of the world, except in some countries in Africa and Asia. And this “vocations crisis” is not something new. The first signs of it started appearing even before Vatican Council II got underway.” By Robert Mickens, Commonweal

Vatican statistics confirm the Catholic future is in Africa
“New statistic released by the Vatican on Thursday (Apr. 6) show that Africa continues to position itself as the future axis of Catholicism(link is external), with the number of baptized Catholics on the continent growing at a significantly faster rate than anywhere else in the world. According to the numbers released on Thursday by the Vatican’s press office, Catholicism has grown globally from 1.272 billion in 2014 to 1.285 in 2015. This represents a 1 percent annual growth, and 17.7 percent of the world’s population.” By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

“AMORIS LAETITIA”

On ‘Amoris’ anniversary, let’s appreciate its beauty and relevance
“Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington says the one-year anniversary of the release of ‘Amoris Laetitia’ spotlights the ‘beauty and relevance’ of the document(link is external), including the way it does not reverse Church teaching on marriage but rather offers ‘greater emphasis on the role of the individual conscience in appropriating those moral norms in the person’s actual circumstances.’” By Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Cruxnow.com

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Role of women in the modern Catholic Church ‘unacceptable’
“‘Women are stalwarts of the Catholic Church when it comes to attendance and participation. The role of women in the church(link is external), as it is now, is unacceptable in modern times,’ Fr O’Hanlon said Pope Francis wanted to change the role of women, and he urged the Bishops to embrace his ideas more enthusiastically.” By Kim Bielenberg, Irish Independent

Francis’s words about women: What does he really think?
“The Catechism of the Catholic Church offers some sage advice on how to take someone else’s words. In article 2478, it says: To avoid rash judgment, everyone ought to be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbors’ thoughts, words, and deeds, in a favorable way … I thought about this advice when considering some of Pope Francis’s words about women(link is external). As many have noted, despite his stated intention of including and promoting women, the Pope has caused no little consternation by some of his remarks concerning them.” By Rita Ferrone, Commonweal

CLERICALISM

New clericalism is imposing old ways on modern church architecture
“Church architecture has become a frontline of the liturgy wars as Catholic churches undergo re-renovations. Michael DeSanctis, a church building consultant and theology professor, is not pleased. Restoration-minded pastors, most who came of age well after Vatican II, are ordering the changes. Gone are what they sometimes disparage as ‘Pizza Hut’ churches. The goal is to restore tradition. They impose altar rails, the placement of the Blessed Sacrament near the altar, and use expensive marble on the floor to seal off the sanctuary area as a polished and exclusive arena for clerical liturgical action(link is external).” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

MARRIED PRIESTS

Why married priests won’t really fix the shortage
“What the Holy Father did say is that he is open to exploring the possibility of proven men(link is external) (‘viri probati,’ in Latin) who are married being ordained to the priesthood. Currently, such men, who are typically over the age of 35, are eligible for ordination to the permanent diaconate, but not the priesthood. However, marriage was not the first solution to the priest shortage Pope Francis proposed. In fact, it was the last.” By Mary Rezac, Catholic News Agency

Married priests would broaden perspective of Catholic Church
“Pope Francis is open to the possibility of ordaining married men as priests(link is external). But don’t get too excited. The Catholic Church moves at glacial speed, and a cadre of married priests won’t be joining the clerical ranks any time soon. My initial reaction was cynical. Ordaining married men seemed like a convenient way to shut women out. But, upon reflection, I decided that was unfair. Married priests would be a good thing for Roman Catholicism.” By Louise McEwan, Troy Media of Canada

VOICES

The Catholic Church’s child sexual abuse scandal revisited
“A few days ago in this space I kicked off Holy Week with an expression of dismay over the Catholic Church’s incorrigible ineptitude in dealing with its never-ending child sex abuse scandal(link is external). I wrote about being stunned over the Church’s legislative campaign to make it more difficult for people to sue their rapists and molesters.” By Bruce R. Nelson, “Let’s Think This Out” Blog

A new genre of civic literature: official reports of government inquiries into international cases of abuse of institutionalized children
“This is a story about institutional crime and social justice. At times, it may seem there is too much of the former and not enough of the latter. That’s the bad news. The good news is, when the institutional crime involves the abuse and exploitation of children(link is external), a number of different governments, in different countries, in different parts of the world, are finally beginning to do something. Unfortunately, the U.S. government is not one of them.” By Arthur McCaffrey, Los Angeles Review of Books

CHURCH FINANCES

Catholic priest who stole almost €60K from parish spared jail
“A Roman Catholic priest who stole £50,000 (€58,447) from his parish(link is external) after falling in love with his housekeeper and lavishing gifts on her family has been spared jail. Judge Christopher Prince said Father John Reid’s fraud was an ‘aberration’ which persisted over 40 months while he was in charge of St Cuthbert’s Church in Chester-le-Street, County Durham.” By Tom Wilkinson, Irish Independent

Pope dismisses priest who stole $300K from bishop, hospital
“The Diocese of Manchester said Friday, April 7, that Pope Francis dismissed Arsenault from the priesthood on Feb. 28. Arsenault is serving a jail sentence after he was convicted of stealing thousands of dollars(link is external) from a hospital, a bishop and a deceased priest’s estate.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

Rector charged with stealing money at Catholic priests’ home
“The rector of a church-owned retirement home for Roman Catholic priests has been charged with embezzling $535,000(link is external) to pay for casino visits, high-end dinners and Philadelphia Pops concerts. Federal prosecutors have charged Msgr. William A. Dombrow with skimming money for nearly nine years from an account meant to support Villa St. Joseph. The Philadelphia archdiocese runs the facility to house aging priests and those accused of sexual abuse. Much of the stolen money came from insurance payments for priests who died and from parishioners who left the facility money.” By Associated Press in The Washington Times
Pennsylvania monsignor to plead guilty to embezzling $500,000(link is external), By David DeKok, Religion News Service

Italy puts Vatican on ‘clean’ financial institutions list, ending years of mistrust
“Italy put the Vatican on its ‘white list’ of states with cooperative financial institutions on Tuesday (Apr. 4), ending years of mistrust and providing an endorsement(link is external) of efforts by Pope Francis to clean up the city state’s banking sector. The list includes countries with which Italy has agreements on the exchange of financial and tax information, such as other EU member states.” By Philip Pullella, Reuters, in U.S. News & World Report

Diocese filing for bankruptcy to settle sex abuse claims
“A second Montana Roman Catholic diocese will file for bankruptcy(link is external) protection as part of settlements involving more than 400 people in sex abuse lawsuits, church officials said Friday. The Diocese of Great Falls-Billings said it expected to make the Chapter 11 reorganization filing later in the day, and the diocese and its insurance carriers would contribute to a fund to compensate victims and set aside additional money for those who have not yet come forward.” By Amy Beth Hanson, Associated Press
Great Falls-Billings Diocese becomes 15th to file for bankruptcy(link is external), By Dan Morris-Young

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

House seeks wider window for child sex abuse lawsuits
“The state House (North Carolina) will likely vote this week on a bill to lengthen the statute of limitations(link is external) for civil lawsuits by victims of childhood sexual abuse. House Bill 585 had its first hearing Wednesday morning, passing the House Judiciary IV Committee by a unanimous vote.” By WRAL.com

A standard for sex abuse liability
Enabling victims of child sexual abuse to seek damages(link is external) after they become adults is a no-brainer in concept. But the tortured path of a bill in the state Legislature to expand that opportunity demonstrates that the matter is far more complex in practice.” By Standard-Speaker Editorial Board

Child sex abuse survivors rally for 2-year retroactive window
Survivors of child sex abuse(link is external) and their supporters took to the steps of the state capitol to ask lawmakers to pass their bill, one they are calling the ‘real deal.’ With his back to a row of reporters now facing his supporters, Rep. Mark Rozzi summed up why those wanting a statute of limitations reform stood together outside the Capitol Building on Monday (Apr. 3).” By Kody Leibowitz, WJAC-TV

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Report charges cover-up of sexual abuse by traditionalist society
“An explosive report airing tonight (Apr. 5) on Swedish television charges that the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X knew about at least three cases of its priests being accused of sexually abusing minors(link is external), but failed to enforce a ‘zero tolerance’ policy. An alleged victim told Crux he believes the Vatican should have done more to hold the society accountable.” By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Ending the horror of child abuse is crucial
“Last weekend (Apr. 15) on my radio show, I had the distinct honor of interviewing Angela Liddle, the president of the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance, a heroic organization based in Harrisburg that lobbies on behalf of children(link is external) who are in danger of being abused, or who have already suffered abuse.” By Christine Flower, Delaware County Daily Times

Renegade Catholic order in UK ‘harbors clergy accused of sexual abuse’
“A British Catholic priest who has been excommunicated twice by different popes is allegedly harboring clergy accused of sexual abuse(link is external) in his renegade religious order. Richard Williamson, who was illicitly ordained as a bishop in 1988 by an ultra-conservative group, the Society of St Pius X, and later convicted of Holocaust denial by a German court, is now head of the ‘SSPX Resistance,’ based in Broadstairs, Kent.” By Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian
Breakaway Catholic order ‘hides priests accused of sexual crimes’ in British coastal town(link is external), By RT.com

ILLINOIS

Chicago archdiocese pays $3.15 million to settle abuse suits
“The Archdiocese of Chicago will pay $3.15 million to settle lawsuits brought by three men who allege they were sexually abused by a notorious former pastor(link is external) of a West Side Catholic church more than a decade ago, the plaintiffs’ attorney said Wednesday (Apr. 13). The accusers, all identified in court papers as John Doe, said former priest and convicted sex offender Daniel McCormack sexually abused them more than once during their participation in an after-school program called S.A.F.E. at Our Lady of the Westside Catholic School.” By Manya Brachear Pashman, Chicago Tribune

MASSACHUSETTS

Eight clergy abuse victims receive $880,000 settlement
“The Diocese of Fall River has agreed to an $880,000 settlement with eight men who as children were sexually abused by a West Harwich priest(link is external), the victims’ attorney announced Monday. The late Rev. James Nickel, who served at Holy Trinity Parish in West Harwich, sexually abused at least eight boys in the early 1970s and 1980s, some as many as 50 times over several years. Attorneys for the men suspect there are more victims.” By Jan Ransom, The Boston Globe

MISSOURI

At sex abuse trial, St. Louis archbishop says he was unaware of priest’s sleepovers
“St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson testified Monday (Apr. 3) he told the Rev. Xiu Hui ‘Joseph’ Jiang to counsel a Lincoln County family about their participation in a rogue nun’s religious rituals(link is external) but that he didn’t know the priest sometimes slept overnight at the family’s home.” By Joel Currier, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Jury sides with St. Louis Archdiocese, suspended priest in civil sex abuse trial(link is external), By Joel Currier, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

NEW YORK

All Saints teacher’s aide promised 60 years for child porn filmed at home
“A teacher’s aide at All Saints Elementary School in Syracuse quietly admitted today (Apr. 19) that she exploited two young girls(link is external) — one less than a year old — for child pornography at her home and at the school. Emily Oberst, 24, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and child porn charges in federal court today in exchange for a promised sentence of 60 years in prison. There is no parole in federal prison, so she will not be released early.” By Douglass Dowty, Syracuse.com

PENNSYLVANIA

Grand jury hears testimony about alleged abuse in Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh
“A grand jury has been meeting behind closed doors about sexual abuse allegations in the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh(link is external). Jurors heard testimony on Tuesday (Apr. 11) during the secret proceedings about cases that could date back 70 years. Target 11’s Rick Earle learned one man who testified claims that he was abused by a priest and nun. Earle previously spoke with Johnny Hewko about the allegations. Hewko said he was abused over a nearly three-year span of time. ‘I’d have to say, on average, maybe once a week would be around right,’ he told Earle in February.” By WPXI-TV

AUSTRALIA

This Easter, it’s the Church that needs redemption
“In short, Jesus’ death and resurrection saves us from our sins. This Holy Week I won’t be at church. Don’t get me wrong. I’m no saint. I make no claim to sinlessness. I could use some of that forgiveness and redemption. But it is hard to take seriously a church that, in its very organization, seems so sinful(link is external). If Jesus’ death and resurrection imparts some saving grace to humanity, how is it that the very institution that is meant to mediate Christ to his followers can be so intrinsically flawed?” By Kristina Keneally, The Guardian

Act now against the criminals protected by the Catholic Church
“It is difficult to stop crying. A child sexual abuse expert(link is external) from the US, Bruce Perry, simply picked a random example. He spoke via video link to the Royal Commission into Institutional ­Responses to Child Sexual Abuse; he was one of 36 experts in the field who gave evidence last week at the final public hearing of the royal commission, titled Case Study 57: Nature, Cause and Impact of Child Sexual Abuse. Perry’s example was of ‘a little five-year-old child and somebody is raping you,’ and he talked of what it does to the young mind.” By Chrissie Foster, The Australian

Victim advocate: The abuse scandal has broken the heart of the Catholic Church in Australia
“In this exclusive interview with ‘America,’ Francis Sullivan, the chief executive officer of the Australian Catholic Church’s ‘Truth, Justice, and Healing Council,’ reflects on what contributed to the abuse of minors by priests and religious in Australia, and what he thinks the Royal Commission that has been investigating(link is external) this abuse might say in its report at the year’s end.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

‘They were empty word’: abuse survivors lose faith in George Pell’s Roman vow
Survivor Paul Levey said he’d lost all faith in Cardinal Pell(link is external), who stood on the steps of the Hotel Quirinale in Rome last year, pledging to help the survivors and do something to stop suicides of victims in Ballarat … ‘He’s [Cardinal Pell] done nothing since then,’ Mr Levey said. ‘They were empty words. He was just waiting for us to go away and hoping we couldn’t come back.’” By Melissa Cunningham, The Age

‘The dirty linen is out there’: slow progress on sex abuse compensation frustrates victims and states
“After decades waiting for justice and recognition, survivors of Australia’s legacy of institutional child sexual abuse(link is external) are losing patience with the slow development of a major national compensation scheme. Nearly five months after Social Services Minister Christian Porter announced an opt-in redress system to run until 2028, state governments say no further detail has been provided and the Catholic Church’s representative on a key advisory body has warned that political resistance to costly payouts will weaken any plan.” By Tom McIlroy, The Sydney Morning Herald

BELGIUM

Catholic Church in Belgium honors sex abuse victims
“The Catholic Church in Belgium on Saturday (Apr. 8) took part in a day of recognition for victims of sexual abuse by priests(link is external), seven years after a paedophile scandal rocked the institution.” By Agence France-Press on Inquirer.net

CANADA

Saskatchewan Roman Catholic priest sexual assault charge stayed
“A stay of proceedings has been granted in a sexual assault case against a Roman Catholic priest(link is external) who served three rural parishes in northwestern Saskatchewan. Father Javier De Los Angeles Cortazar, 48, was charged in 2014 after an incident at a cabin near Goodsoil, Sask. The alleged victim’s name was subject to a publication ban.” By Canadian Broadcasting Company

Late Ottawa Catholic bishop who managed sex abuse complaints now accused of sex abuse
“An Ottawa man says he was sexually abused in August 1979 by Bishop John Beahan(link is external), who was then one of the most powerful figures in the Archdiocese of Ottawa. The man, now 52, has launched a $2-million lawsuit against the Catholic archdiocese. It represents the first time that Beahan, once the second-highest-ranking member of the Ottawa clergy, has been named in a sex abuse lawsuit.” By Andrew Duffy, Ottawa Citizen

More victims of sexual abuse go after Moncton church for money
“After paying out millions of dollars in damages to more than 100 victims of sexual abuse(link is external), the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Moncton may owe even more money. Three new lawsuits have been filed in recent weeks by victims of sexual abuse against the priests accused of molesting them.” By Gabriele Fahmy, CBC News

COLOMBIA

Colombia’s Catholic Church shuns responsibility in potential child abuse cases
“A controversial document stipulating that priests are solely responsible in child abuse cases and not the church(link is external), has been circulated by the Catholic Church in Colombia, reported local media. So far only the archdiocese of the southwestern city of Cali has made its priests sign a document absolving their employer of all responsibility, which has once again opened the debate on liability in church pedophilia cases.” By Jamie Vaughan Johnson, Colombia Reports

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Catholic priest, 74, who repeatedly raped a young boy until he prayed for his own death is jailed for 17 years
“A Catholic priest who repeatedly raped a young boy(link is external) until he prayed for his own death was today (Apr. 13) jailed for 17 years. Michael Higginbottom, 74, reveled in ‘cruel, sadistic bullying’ at St Joseph’s College in Upholland, near Ormskirk, Lancashire. A court heard he used a strap and cane on boys as punishment and said he could ‘make this as easy or as hard’ as the victim wanted.” By Abe Hawken, Daily Mail
Catholic priest goes on trial accused of sex abuse at Upholland seminary(link is external), By Lynda Roughley, Liverpool Echo
Ex-Catholic school pupil who accused Darlington priest of sex abuse ‘made up the claims to get compensation(link is external),’ By Stuart Manning, The Northern Echo
Was disgraced Darlington priest Michael Higginbottom at the center of a pedophile ring?(link is external) By Joanna Morris, The Northern Echo

Catholic priest who allegedly abused boy sent to Bristol retreat near primary school
“A Catholic priest found guilty by his peers of sexually abusing a boy(link is external) was transferred to a Bristol retreat near a primary school. The unnamed priest, known as ‘Father S’ and formerly a member of the traditionalist Catholic splinter group the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), was accused of abusing a boy in 2006 while based in France.” By Lewis Pennock, Bristol Post

Child abuse inquiry to focus on Catholic Church homes
The second phase of the Scottish child abuse inquiry(link is external) will investigate children’s homes run by the Catholic Church. The inquiry is examining historical allegations about the abuse of children in care and has been taking statements from witnesses since last spring. Officials said the next phase, due to begin in autumn, will initially focus on homes run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul.” By STV News

GUAM

Apuron accusers meet with Vatican tribunal
“A former Agat altar boy and the mother of a now deceased altar boy testified before a Vatican tribunal for the canonical penal trial of Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron, who is accused of raping and sexually abusing four altar boys(link is external) in the 1970s.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Archdiocese moves to dismiss 36 abuse cases
“The Archdiocese of Agana has asked the District Court of Guam to dismiss the 36 pending child sexual abuse cases(link is external) that have been filed against it. The archdiocese contends the recently passed law, which prompted the filing of the suits, does not actually provide for claimants to file such actions against third parties.” By Neil Pang, The Guam Daily Post

Sunday marks 42nd week of protest demanding Apuron be defrocked
“Dressed not in Sunday’s best, but with signs demanding Archbishop Anthony Apuron be defrocked. Sunday (Apr. 9) marked the 42nd week of pickets in front of the Hagatna Cathedral for members of the Concerned Catholics of Guam and the Laity Forward Movement. Apuron is four-times accused of sexually abusing former altar boys(link is external) at Mt. Carmel Parish in Agat, resulting in lawsuits filed in the federal court.” By Krystal Paco, KUAM-TV

SNAP: Guam clergy sex abuse cases could reach 150-200
“The world’s largest network of priest abuse survivors says Guam’s clergy sex abuse cases could reach into the hundreds(link is external) over the next couple of years, from 46 at present. Guam children were allegedly abused by Catholic clergy between 1956 and 1988, based on lawsuits filed in local and federal courts between Nov. 1 and April 6.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Three new clergy sex abuse cases filed
“Guam’s clergy sex abuse cases increased to 45(link is external) on Wednesday (Apr. 5), with former priest Andrew Manetta named as a defendant in the two latest filings. Two men, identified only with their initials — ‘M.B.’ and ‘G.G.’ — to protect their privacy, alleged Manetta sexually molested them during sleepovers at the rectory of Santa Teresita Church in Mangilao, around 1986 to 1987, when they were altar boys, ages 13 and 14, respectively.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

40th person accuses church of sex abuse
“A 40th victim has filed suit against the Archdiocese of Agana and the Boy Scouts of America Aloha Council. Plaintiff J.C.T. alleges he was 15-years-old in the early 1970s when he was sexually molested by his Boy Scout troop leader, Father Louis Brouillard(link is external).” By Krystal Paco, KUAM-TV

Judge recusals of clergy sex abuse cases mount
“Superior Court of Guam judges continue to recuse themselves from hearing Catholic clergy sex abuse cases(link is external), now that the local court is seeing a second wave of filings. As of March 30, local judges have filed 89 disqualification memos to avoid doubts about their partiality.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Guam’s Catholic Church faces two more lawsuits
“Two more lawsuits have been filed in Guam by men who say they were sexually abused by a former priest(link is external) in the 1960s. The latest complaints bring the number of lawsuits for historical sexual abuse faced by the island’s Catholic Church to 39. Most of the allegations are against the island’s recused archbishop, Anthony Apuron, and a former priest, Louis Brouillard.” By Radio New Zealand

IRELAND

Historical abuse survivors continue to wait for compensation in Northern Ireland
Historical abuse survivors(link is external) have accused Northern Ireland’s politicians of putting their own needs before victims as they continue to wait for financial payments promised 17 months ago. Victims have warned that many have been left suicidal or facing financial ruin as the current Stormont impasse means that the findings and recommendations of a four-year inquiry into state and church abuse have still not been presented to the assembly.” By Sunday World

SPAIN

Spanish court clears priest in abuse case taken up by Pope Francis
Ending a sexual abuse case(link is external) in which Pope Francis intervened three years ago, a Spanish court on Tuesday (Apr. 11) cleared a parish priest in Granada who had been accused of molesting an altar boy. The court found no evidence that the Rev. Román Martínez had sexually abused one of his former altar boys more than a decade ago.” By Raphael Minder, The New York Times

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