Posts Tagged sexual abuse scandal

Australian Catholics need to wake up / The Sydney Morning Herald

With a sexual abuse record among the worst in the world, and an exhaustive and fair investigation completed by a Royal Commission that produced a clear set of recommendations, the international church ought to be looking to Australia for a way forward. All Australians, and particularly the Catholic community, should do what they can to shame and pressure the Australian bishops. The first step is to arise from their slumber. (The Sydney Moening Herald)

“Australian Catholics are being conned. After all the disgrace of the Royal Commission evidence and its specific and telling recommendations, the response effectively proposed by the Australian Bishops is to call a Plenary Council of the church in Australia in 2020-21. Australia’s Catholics seem to be meekly agreeing to what is an unconscionable delay and a fudge. In short, the bishops have us where they want us: corralled and quietened.

“In one sense, convening such a forum could be seen as innovative and consultative. Realistically, it downplays the magnitude and urgency of the issues that need to be addressed. Whether the agenda ultimately addresses the main reform issues raised by the Royal Commission is a moot point. Such forums in the Australian church have a habit of being lead down paths that produce platitudinous outcomes and avoid the contentious. More significantly it is openly acknowledged that there is considerable doubt and dispute as to whether such a forum would have the authority to make decisions that address the real issues.

“The temper of Australian Catholics appears to have moved from outrage to exhausted resignation that change in our church is just too hard. And indeed, it is. Faced with a witheringly perceptive analysis of the problems that contributed to sexual abuse, the bishops give little indication, individually or collectively that they know how to respond. They seem caught between their own, not surprisingly, inadequate skills in managing and leading organisational change and the very real sense that they are beholden to Rome and incapable of acting authentically and in ways that recognise the stark reality of the Australian church’s predicament.”

By Terry Fewtrell, The Sydney Morning Herald — Read more …

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Vatican sentences Guam archbishop accused of abuse to removal from office, exile / National Catholic Reporter

(Guam Archbishop Anthony) Apuron, a Guam native who had led the island’s only diocese since 1986, was placed on leave by Pope Francis in June 2016 after a series of accusations about abuse of young men in the 1960s and 70s were made public. (National Catholic Reporter)

A Vatican tribunal has found Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron, who had been accused of sexually abusing young men decades ago, ‘guilty of certain of the accusations,’ imposing a penalty of removal from office and a prohibition from living on the U.S. island territory.

“A five-judge apostolic tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith announced its verdict in Apuron’s canonical case March 16 with a brief press release. The release did not specify of which exact acts the archbishop had been found guilty.

“‘The canonical trial in the matter of accusations, including accusations of sexual abuse of minors … has been concluded,’ states the release. ‘The Apostolic Tribunal … has issued its sentence of first instance, finding the accused guilty of certain of the accusations and imposing upon the accused the penalties of privation of office and prohibition of residence in the Archdiocese of Guam.’

“Apuron, a Guam native who had led the island’s only diocese since 1986, was placed on leave by Pope Francis in June 2016 after a series of accusations about abuse of young men in the 1960s and 70s were made public.

“Francis named an apostolic administrator to run the archdiocese for several months and then named Coadjutor Archbishop Michael Byrnes, a former auxiliary bishop of Detroit, to take over.”

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Cardinal to face Australian court on sex abuse charges / Associated Press in The Boston Globe

Pope Francis’s former finance minister was charged in June with sexually abusing multiple people in his Australian home state of Victoria. The details of the allegations against the cardinal have yet to be released to the public. (Associated Press in The Boston Globe)

The alleged victims of the most senior Vatican official ever charged in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis began giving secret evidence to an Australian court on Monday.

“Australian Cardinal George Pell wore his clerical collar for the first day of the hearing in the Melbourne Magistrate Court to determine whether prosecutors have sufficient evidence to put him on trial. The committal hearing is scheduled to take up to a month.The testimony of alleged victims was suppressed from publication and the courtroom was closed to the public and media. Prosecutor Mark Gibson said the complainants would give evidence by a video link.

“Pope Francis’s former finance minister was charged in June with sexually abusing multiple people in his Australian home state of Victoria. The details of the allegations against the cardinal have yet to be released to the public.

“Monday’s testimony of alleged victims was suppressed from publication and the courtroom was closed to the public and media.”

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Pope revives sexual abuse commission / The New York Times

The first, three-year mandate of the commission (Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors) ended in December, and its lapsing coincided with growing criticism of the pope’s commitment to addressing sexual abuse in the church. The group plans to begin its work in April by hearing the testimony of abuse victims. (The New York Times)

After his spirited defense of a Chilean bishop accused of covering up sexual abuse prompted the greatest crisis of his pontificate, Pope Francis reactivated an abuse commission on Saturday (Feb. 17) that had lapsed into dormancy.

“It was the latest in a series of measures by the Vatican to counter criticism that fighting abuse was not a priority for Francis’ papacy.

“Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston was reappointed as the leader of the group, called the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. A Vatican statement said the panel would include some victims of clerical sexual abuse.

“‘The Holy Father has ensured continuity in the work of our commission, which is to assist local churches throughout the world in their efforts to safeguard all children, young people, and vulnerable adults from harm,’ Cardinal O’Malley said in a statement.

“The Vatican statement said the abuse victims on the commission preferred to keep their histories private.”

By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times — Read more …

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Pope Francis says he meets almost weekly with abuse victims / National Catholic Reporter

“The process they (clergy abuse survivors) go through is very tough,” said the pope. “They are left annihilated. Annihilated!” (National Catholic Reporter)

Pope Francis revealed in a meeting with confreres of his Jesuit order last month that he meets with survivors of sexual abuse on a nearly weekly basis, according to a newly released transcript of the encounter.

“In a Jan. 19 question and answer session during his visit to Peru, the text of which was published for the first time Feb. 15 by Italian Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica, the pope said the Catholic Church must hear from those who have been abused by clergy.

“‘We need to listen to what someone who has been abused feels,’ Francis told the Jesuits, according to the transcript, and continued: ‘On Fridays — sometimes this is known and sometimes it is not known — I normally meet some of them.’

“‘The process they go through is very tough,’ said the pope. ‘They are left annihilated. Annihilated!'”

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Pope Francis’ failure to address abuse allegations jeopardizes his papacy / Time magazine

In the Catholic tradition, the Pope is the Vicar of Jesus Christ. In other words, he acts and ministers in his name. If that’s the case, then Francis must end this scandal now. He must apologize to the victims. He must investigate the claims. And he must transform the Church. (Time magazine)

This week (Feb. 6) it came to light that Pope Francis received an eight-page letter from a Chilean man in 2015 that detailed how a priest sexually abused him, and how other priests ignored and concealed the crime, including then-Father Juan Barros, a man Francis had just months earlier appointed to be the bishop of Osorno, Chile.

“This revelation comes weeks after Pope Francis called accusations against Bishop Barros ‘calumny’ and said he had received no credible evidence that Barros had covered up abuse. Francis eventually walked back his claims of calumny and sent a Vatican special prosecutor to Chile to investigate the claims of coverup. But the fact that Francis received the letter from Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, one of the Church’s top-ranking officials, and either did not read the letter or did not act on it, is a stunning development that represents the biggest crisis of Francis’s nearly five year papacy …

“… I can say with conviction that if Francis doesn’t transform his focus and practice on ending the systematic cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, his papacy will be a tragic failure. Sadly, his record on this issue is worse than his immediate predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, who despite his many shortcomings on the issue, was the first pope to take the cover-up scandal seriously.

By Christopher Hale, Time magazine — Read more …

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2015 letter belies pope’s claim of ignorance / Associated Press

“When we gave him (Cardinal Sean O’Malley) the letter for the pope, he assured us he would give it to the pope and speak of the concerns,” then-commission member Marie Collins told the AP. “And at a later date, he assured us that that had been done.” (Associated Press)

Pope Francis received a victim’s letter in 2015 that graphically detailed how a priest sexually abused him and how other Chilean clergy ignored it, contradicting the pope’s recent insistence that no victims had come forward to denounce the cover-up, the letter’s author and members of Francis’ own sex- abuse commission have told The Associated Press.

The fact that Francis received the eight-page letter, obtained by the AP, challenges his insistence that he has ‘zero tolerance’ for sex abuse and cover-ups. It also calls into question his stated empathy with abuse survivors, compounding the most serious crisis of his five-year papacy.

“The scandal exploded last month when Francis’ trip to South America was marred by protests over his vigorous defense of Bishop Juan Barros, who is accused by victims of witnessing and ignoring the abuse by the Rev. Fernando Karadima. During the trip, Francis callously dismissed accusations against Barros as ‘slander,’ seemingly unaware that victims had placed Barros at the scene of Karadima’s crimes.

“On the plane home, confronted by an AP reporter, the pope said: ‘You, in all good will, tell me that there are victims, but I haven’t seen any, because they haven’t come forward.'”

By Nicole Winfield and Eva Vergara, Associated Press — Read more …

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