Posts Tagged transparency

Women survivors speak of church authority structure facilitating their abuse / National Catholic Reporter

The three harrowing accounts were part of a Nov. 27 testimony-sharing and panel discussion event in Rome, held less than a mile east of the Vatican and meant to raise up women’s voices in the revived discussion of clergy sexual abuse after a spate of revelations globally this year. (Global Sisters Report in National Catholic Reporter)

“Three women survivors of clergy sexual abuse shared deeply personal stories during a Nov. 27 storytelling event, each revealing layers of pain, sadness and hurt exacerbated by the realization that they were trapped within a male-dominated structure that ignored their stories and demanded silence.

“Peruvian Rocio Figueroa Alvear, once the head of the women’s branch of a burgeoning but now disgraced lay religious movement, recounted being forbidden to speak of her abuse by its male second-in-command, and threatened with publishing of false claims against her own conduct should she disobey.

“American Barbara Dorris, long known as a leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests or SNAP, spoke publicly for the first time about her rape by a priest as a 6-year-old girl, and how it continued for years afterward.

“Saying she did ‘everything in my power’ to hide her pain from her devout parents and family, Dorris only came forward as a parent when she recognized warning signs in the behavior of another priest on a playground with children.

“And German Doris Wagner tells of the calamitous fifth year in her mixed-gender religious order, when a male superior came into her room at night and raped her.

“‘Instantly, I knew … that if I spoke about this, the community would blame me and not him,’ she says. ‘And so I kept silent.'”

By Joshua J. McElwee, Global Sisters Report, in National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

Advertisements

, , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Open Letter to U.S. Catholic Bishops: It’s Over / National Catholic Reporter

As a class of religious rulers, the loudest among you have become quite good at applying the law and claiming divine authority in marginalizing those who transgress the statutes. The prolonged abuse scandal would suggest, however, that you’ve not done very well taking stock of yourselves. (National Catholic Reporter)

Dear brothers in Christ, shepherds, fellow pilgrims,

“We address you as you approach this year’s national meeting in Baltimore because we know there is nowhere left to hide.

“It’s over.

“All the manipulations and contortions of the past 33 years, all the attempts to deflect and equivocate — all of it has brought the church, but especially you, to this moment.

“It’s over.

“Even the feds are now on the trail. They’ve ordered that you not destroy any documents. The Department of Justice is conducting a national criminal investigation of how you’ve handled the clergy sex abuse scandal. It is a point in our history without precedent. We want you to know that you aren’t alone in this moment, you’ve not been abandoned. But this time it must be different. This time it won’t be easy.

“From fable to sacred text, we know how this goes. The point is reached where all realize the king wears no clothes, the righteous accusers read the writing in the sand and fade away, the religious authorities receive the Master’s most stinging rebukes. As a class of religious rulers, the loudest among you have become quite good at applying the law and claiming divine authority in marginalizing those who transgress the statutes. The prolonged abuse scandal would suggest, however, that you’ve not done very well taking stock of yourselves.”

By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff — Read more …

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Failure at the top / The Boston Globe

American bishops promised reform after the clergy sexual abuse scandal exploded in Boston. But they largely ignored the misdeeds of one group: themselves. (The Boston Globe)

Bishop Robert Finn wasn’t going anywhere.

“He never alerted authorities about photos of young girls’ genitals stashed on a pastor’s laptop. He kept parishioners in the dark, letting the priest mingle with children and families. Even after a judge found the bishop guilty of failing to report the priest’s suspected child abuse — and after 200,000 people petitioned for his ouster — he refused to go.

“‘I got this job from John Paul II. There’s his signature right there,’ Finn had told a prospective deacon shortly after the priest’s arrest in 2011, pointing to the late pontiff’s photo. ‘And that’s who I answer to.’

“Sixteen years after the clergy sexual abuse crisis exploded in Boston, the American Catholic Church is again mired in scandal. This time, the controversy is propelled not so much by priests in the rectories as by the leadership, bishops across the country who like Finn have enabled sexual misconduct or in some cases committed it themselves.

“More than 130 US bishops — or nearly one-third of those still living — have been accused during their careers of failing to adequately respond to sexual misconduct in their dioceses, according to a Boston Globe and Philadelphia Inquirer examination of court records, media reports, and interviews with church officials, victims, and attorneys …”

By By Jenn Abelson, Thomas Farragher of the Globe Staff, Jeremy Roebuck, Julia Terruso and William Bender of the Philadelphia Inquirer Staff — Read more …

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

As anger over Catholic clergy sexual abuse intensifies, U.S. dioceses’ average financial transparency score rises only marginally

BOSTON, Mass., Nov. 1, 2018― Anger over clergy sexual abuse has risen dramatically with new revelations in recent months, and Voice of the Faithful’s second annual study of U.S. Catholic dioceses’ online financial transparency, released in October, shows the average score for those dioceses rising only marginally. Voice of the Faithful has long considered secrecy surrounding Catholic Church finances to be linked to secrecy surrounding clerical sexual abuse.

The average overall score achieved by all 177 dioceses comprising the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Voice of the Faithful’s “Measuring and Ranking Diocesan Online Financial Transparency: 2018” was 39.7 out of 60, or 66 percent, which represents a 5 percent increase over the 2017 average score. Thirty-nine percent of dioceses still have not posted audited financial statements on their websites, and 25 percent do not post a financial report of any kind.

Much of the recent anger over clergy abuse is invested in the secrecy surrounding the abuse. “Carrying out a widespread coverup of criminal acts without access to large amounts of untraceable money is impossible,” said Margaret Roylance, Ph.D., a VOTF trustee and Finance Working Group chair.

“In the wake of ongoing revelations about clerical sexual abuse,” she continued, “every Catholic who loves the Church is justly angry and asking serious questions about our Church leadership. This report is one tool in the hands of faithful Catholics who want to know what each of us can do. Genuine financial transparency will be essential in rebuilding U.S. Catholics’ trust in their bishops.”

Roylance continued to point out that:

  • If your diocese does not post its audited financial statement or, worse, not even an unaudited financial report, your diocesan leadership is being less than forthright about its finances.
  • If your diocese does not mandate safe collection procedures, it is failing in its duty to protect the resources you have provided to them.
  • If the names and backgrounds of your Diocesan Finance Council members cannot be found on your diocesan website, you have no way of knowing if they are “truly expert in financial affairs and civil law, outstanding in integrity,” as Canon Law requires.

“We must let our bishops know if their failures of financial transparency prevent us from fulfilling our obligations as good stewards of the gifts God has given us,” she said.

Although the transparency scores of 21 dioceses in the 2018 study dropped from 2017, more than 70 had higher scores and some achieved very significant increases. The Archdiocese of Omaha went from a dismal 26 to 56, and the Diocese of Orlando from 26 to a perfect score of 60, which tied with the Diocese of Burlington. However, Burlington received a qualified opinion from outside auditors, whereas Orlando received an unqualified (good) opinion on its audit. The Diocese of Santa Rosa was the only one of the 177 to post highlights of their Finance Council meetings—another significant factor in diocesan financial transparency.

The highest scoring dioceses in VOTF’s 2018 study are:

  • Burlington, Vermont, and Orlando, Florida, tied at 60
  • Atlanta, Georgia, Baltimore, Maryland, and Sacramento, California, tied at 59
  • Bismarck, North Dakota, Bridgeport, Connecticut, Buffalo, New York, Des Moines, Iowa, Ft. Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Omaha, Nebraska, and San Diego, California, tied at 56

The lowest scoring dioceses in VOTF’s 2018 study are:

  • Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Orange, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, tied at 19
  • Salina, Kansas, 18
  • Brownsville, Texas, Knoxville, Tennessee, Lubbock, Texas, Portland, Oregon, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, 15
  • Grand Isle, Nebraska, 13
  • Thomas, Virgin Islands, 12

Voice of the Faithful News Release, Nov. 1, 2018
Contact: Nick Ingala, nickingala@votf.org, 781-559-3360
Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Bishops’ plan to addrress abuse falls short on accountability / National Catholic Reporter

The U.S. church should invite a Vatican-appointed apostolic visitation team, assisted by competent lay experts, to review all documents at all levels of the church, to take testimony in parishes and chanceries, and to visit every seminary and formation house in the country. (National Catholic Reporter)

After a horrible summer of depressing news about how the church hierarchy has mishandled the sexual abuse crisis and misled the faithful willfully and through neglect, expectations were high for the action plan the leadership of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops promised to deliver this fall. The four points outlined are, for the most part, good beginnings.

“Given the intensity of feelings on this subject, probably no plan could satisfy Catholics in pews, but even with that caveat, we had hoped the plan would be stronger and more specific than what was delivered.

“1. A confidential, third-party reporting system will be created to receive complaints of sexual misconduct and abuse by bishops toward minors or adults and “will direct those complaints to the appropriate ecclesiastical authority and, as required by applicable law, to civil authorities.”

“This appears to be a rather straightforward proposal, and it is especially important to include the requirement of reporting to civil authorities. Unclear, however, is “the appropriate ecclesiastical authority.” Who is that authority, and where is that office housed? The tribunal Pope Francis authorized in 2015 to hear such cases would fill this need, but it was never implemented …”

By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff — Read more …

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Francis summons world’s bishop presidents to Rome for meeting on clergy abuse / National Catholic Reporter

Although the pope meets frequently with groups of bishops from particular countries, a pontiff has never before called all the presidents of the world’s bishops’ conferences to Rome. (National Catholic Reporter)

Pope Francis has called all of the presidents of the world’s various conferences of Catholic bishops to Rome for a February meeting on clergy sexual abuse, in the first such global summons by a pontiff.

“Paloma García Ovejero, the vice director of the Vatican press office, announced the decision in a Sept. 12 briefing, saying the pontiff decided to make the move during a meeting of his advisory Council of Cardinals and has already set the dates for the encounter as Feb. 21-24.

“‘The Holy Father, hearing from the Council of Cardinals, has decided to call a meeting with the presidents of the bishops’ conferences of the Catholic Church on the theme of ‘protection of minors,” said García. ‘The meeting with the pope will take place at the Vatican.’

“Announcement of the first-of-its-kind meeting comes as Francis is under intense global scrutiny for his handling of clergy sexual abuse after former Vatican ambassador Archbishop Carlo Vigano released a document Aug. 26 alleging a systemic cover-up of allegations against now ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick.”

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

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment