Posts Tagged transparency

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 …

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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 …

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Flirting with schism / Commonweal

This summer has inaugurated a new chapter in the history of the abuse scandal. The ecclesial context of this chapter is very different from the situation between 2002 and the pontificate of Benedict XVI. The sex-abuse crisis is now reacting explosively with another crisis: the growing rifts within the Catholic Church in the United States. (Massimo Faggioli in Commonweal)

The publication of the ‘testimony’ of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former Vatican nuncio to the United States, is an unprecedented moment in modern church history—and not just because of his demand that Pope Francis resign. The eleven-page document, crafted and published by Viganò with the help of sympathetic Catholic journalists while the pope was in Ireland, is motivated by a personal vendetta and enabled by a serious crisis within U.S. Catholicism.

“Those familiar with Viganò’s career at the Vatican and in Washington, D.C., were not surprised to see his accusations fall apart upon inspection. His earlier smear campaign against other members of the Curia, which came to light because of ‘Vatileaks,’ had similarly collapsed. It is worth noting that the first real pushback from the Vatican came on September 2, when officials challenged Viganò’s account of how he had arranged the private meeting between the pope and Kim Davis in 2015. Viganò misled Pope Francis about that stunt, and ignored the advice of Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Archbishop Joseph Edward Kurtz, who had both warned him against it …

“This summer has inaugurated a new chapter in the history of the abuse scandal. The ecclesial context of this chapter is very different from the situation between 2002 and the pontificate of Benedict XVI. The sex-abuse crisis is now reacting explosively with another crisis: the growing rifts within the Catholic Church in the United States. There is, first, the not entirely new rift between different kinds of Catholic culture. Then there is the rift between the current pope and many American bishops, which is more recent. Finally, there is a new rift between Pope Francis and American Catholics; even those who love him can’t make out what his short-term strategy for dealing with the abuse crisis is—as opposed to the long-term fight against clericalism outlined in his “Letter to the people of God” of August 20 …”

By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal — Read more …

Massimo Faggioli, and internationally recognized author and theologian at Villanova University, will be a featured speaker at Voice of the Faithful’s 2018 Conference: Progress & Promise, in Providence, R.I., on Oct. 6. Click here for information and to register.

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You’re surprised by pedophile priests? Here’s how to stop them / Sacramento Bee

What’s happening shows the church is a closed society of men in desperate need of forced transparency … But the problem won’t go away as long as bishops, priests and lay people worship the men in the collars over the people they are supposed to minister, over the law, and over the teachings of God that is supposed to guide the church. (Sacramento Bee)

Since he became the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento a decade ago, Jaime Soto has chosen to remove priests accused of pedophilia or misconduct. This is in contrast to shielding them, as other bishops have in now-infamous coverups of child abuse being investigated by law enforcement authorities in several states.

“Soto learned. The question is, has the rest of the church?

“Mind you, Soto’s approach of hewing to the law over the loyalty to a fraternity of priests and bishops was informed by years when he did the opposite. He acted in a way that showed he cared more about the priests doing the abusing than the children; believed that therapy for pedophiles was the way to go; he would comment on the sexual abuse of priests without really knowing the facts.

“He thought that sex abuse by priests needed to be kept secret.

“Soto believed in all those falsehoods when he was rising through the ranks of the Diocese of Orange County, his home base before moving to Sacramento at the end of 2007, and he acted on them accordingly. What pains him most now is a letter he wrote to a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge to plead for mercy for a priest who preyed on altar boys …

“This is what almost never gets discussed among lay Catholics – our own complicity. Soto readily admits now that he was wrong to advocate for Andersen. He was wrong to believe that treatment can help some hardened pedophiles. He was wrong to believe that keeping these abuses quiet was the way to go.

“But plenty of lay people went along for the ride, including parishioners and church lawyers who advised bishops for years to cover up and protect against liability …”

By Marcos Breton, Sacramento Bee — Read more …

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National Review Board: change in church’s culture needed to end abuse / National Catholic Reporter

“Intimidation, fear, and the misuse of authority created an environment that was taken advantage of by clerics, including bishops, causing harm to minors, seminarians, and those most vulnerable,” the National Review Board said. (National Catholic Reporter)

More committees are not the answer to stop the abuse of children and vulnerable adults by clergy, said an Aug. 28 statement by the National Review Board, which is charged with addressing clerical sexual misconduct in the Catholic Church.

“‘What needs to happen is a genuine change in the church’s culture, specifically among the bishops themselves,’ the board said. ‘This evil has resulted from a loss of moral leadership and an abuse of power that led to a culture of silence that enabled these incidents to occur.

“‘Intimidation, fear, and the misuse of authority created an environment that was taken advantage of by clerics, including bishops, causing harm to minors, seminarians, and those most vulnerable,’ the NRB said. ‘The culture of silence enabled the abuse to go on virtually unchecked. Trust was betrayed for the victims/survivors of the abuse; the entire body of Christ was betrayed in turn by these crimes and the failure to act.’

“The purpose of the NRB, established in 2002 as part of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, is to work collaboratively with the U.S. bishops’ Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People in preventing the sexual abuse of minors in the United States by persons in the service of the church.”

By Mark Pattison, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Prominent Catholics see larger role for laity in church’s abuse response / Catholic news Service

“It’s heartening that finally after all these years, and we hope it’s more than just verbiage, that the very things that the bishops attacked us for saying, they’re saying it now,” she (Donna Doucette, Voice of the Faithful Executive Director) added. (Catholic News Service)

An independent lay-run board that would hold bishops accountable for their actions, a national day for Mass or prayers of reparation, and encouragement to parishioners to become more involved in their diocese are among steps suggested by prominent lay Catholics to right the U.S. church as it deals with a new clergy sexual abuse scandal.

“Those contacted by Catholic News Service said that it was time for laypeople to boost their profile within the church and help begin to dismantle long-standing clericalism that has sought to preserve the reputation of offending clergy at the expense of the safety of children.

”Their credibility is gone and the trust of the faithful is gone,’ Francesco Cesareo, chairman of the National Review Board, said of the U.S. bishops as they worked to develop steps to promote greater accountability on abuse …

Cesareo was not alone in calling for a separate body to be established to handle accusations of abuse involving bishops. While details varied, the basic premise envisions that such a board would review abuse allegations or complaints of improper handling of an abuse claim by any bishop.

Just such a body has been sought since 2002, when the abuse scandal arose in the Archdiocese of Boston, by the church reform group Voice of the Faithful, said Donna Doucette, executive director.

By Dennis Sadowsky, Catholic News Service — Read more …

 

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