Posts Tagged U.S. bishops

Study ranks dioceses’ online financial transparency; Sacramento on top / National Catholic Reporter

Transparency in diocesan financial statements is a means to keep dioceses accountable while also encouraging donations, Margaret Roylance, a member of the Voice of the Faithful committee that put together the study, told NCR. (National Catholic Reporter)

Separated by a continent, the dioceses of Sacramento, California, and Camden, New Jersey, are also divided by degrees of financial transparency.

“Parishioners in Sacramento can find out where their donations go with the click of a button on the diocesan website. Those in the Diocese of Camden, which covers southern New Jersey, will have a more difficult time.

“That is a takeaway from a study on financial transparency undertaken recently by Voice of the Faithful, a church watchdog group. The study surveyed dioceses and archdioceses across the country, rating them from most transparent to most opaque. The study was based on how much financial information is accessible on diocesan websites.”

Peter Feuerherd, Naitonal Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Ex-Catholic bishop of Phoenix accused of sex abuse of boy / Associated Press in The New York Times

The bishop acknowledged in a 2003 immunity deal that he let church employees accused of sex abuse continue to have contact with children. Weeks after the deal, O’Brien resigned as bishop after he was arrested in the hit-and-run death of a pedestrian. (Associated Press in The New York Times)

A former bishop who led the Roman Catholic church in metro Phoenix during a worldwide child sexual abuse scandal has been accused of molesting a young boy 35 years ago.

“Retired Bishop Thomas O’Brien is accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing the boy on several occasions at parishes in Phoenix and Goodyear from 1977 to 1982. The Diocese of Phoenix says O’Brien denies the allegation.

“O’Brien, now 81, led the diocese in Phoenix as it became embroiled in a global scandal that rocked the Catholic church after allegations surfaced in Boston about pedophile priests going unpunished.

“The bishop acknowledged in a 2003 immunity deal that he let church employees accused of sex abuse continue to have contact with children. Weeks after the deal, O’Brien resigned as bishop after he was arrested in the hit-and-run death of a pedestrian.

“O’Brien’s accuser says the clergyman sexually abused him when he was a child and he had suppressed his memories of it, said Tim Hale, his lawyer.”

By Associated Press in The New York Times — Read more …

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Annual audit of church abuse allegations shows work still needed / Catholic News Service

“Deacon Bernie Nojadera, executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection, said the audits show that even with all of the work being done to fulfill the requirements of the bishops’ charter, developed in 2002, allegations involving current minors have still occurred.”

The 14th annual report on diocesan compliance with the U.S. Catholic Church’s ‘Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People’ shows that church leaders have taken steps to help many find healing as victims of clergy sexual abuse, but there is still work to be done.

“Introductory remarks in the 2017 report urge church leaders not to assume that ‘sexual abuse of minors by the clergy is a thing of the past and a distant memory. Any allegation involving a current minor should remind the bishops that they must rededicate themselves each day to maintaining a level of vigilance,’ wrote Francesco Cesareo, chairman of the National Review Board, which oversees the audits …

“Deacon Bernie Nojadera, executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection, said the audits show that even with all of the work being done to fulfill the requirements of the bishops’ charter, developed in 2002, allegations involving current minors have still occurred.”

By Carol Zimmerman, Catholic News Service — Read More …

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Atlanta archbishop says clericalism continues to hinder sex abuse reforms / America

If only clericalism could be quashed and the Vatican II promise of a broad, deep, significant, and effective participation of equal lay and ordained in the Church could be fulfilled — but we don’t see this happening anytime soon.

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, 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. ‘I think it’s culturally driven as much as it is ideologically driven.’

“Archbishop Gregory addressed allegations by Marie Collins, an Irish laywoman and survivor of sexual abuse who resigned from the pope’s child protection commission. She complained that the Vatican refuses to implement recommendations from the group, even with the backing of Pope Francis himself. Ms. Collins, the archbishop said, ‘has touched on a truism.’

‘”‘It is the ugly face of clericalism that unfortunately still has too much influence in our church,’ Archbishop Gregory said. ‘Marie Collins is a very brave woman, and she is a very determined woman, and I believe she’s a grace for the church.’

By Michael O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …

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Clerical culture blamed in abuse survivors resignation from papal commission

bishopshatswebIn editorializing today (Mar. 3) on the resignation of abuse survivor Marie Colllins from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, National Catholic Reporter has once again pointed out that a clerical culture blocks Church reform that would better address the clergy sexual abuse scandal.

NCR says, “A resistance to change that is planted deep within the all-male clerical culture is the largely unaddressed issue at the heart of the scandal and has been since the first major story about it appeared in these pages more than 30 years ago.”

From the beginning of its efforts against clergy sexual abuse, Voice of the Faithful has pointed to the clerical culture as an underlying cause. By May 2011, the U.S. Catholic bishops had produced their study of the scandal, releasing the results of its John Jay College report. VOTF reviewed the study and released its conclusions that October. Among many points in this exhaustive review of the report,

VOTF concluded that conspicuously absent from the bishops’ study was clericalism, as a major influence “in explaining why priests sexually abused minors and the hierarchy enabled it to continue.” VOTF then defined clericalism as “the lived belief that clergy are different, separate, and exempt from the norms, rules, and consequences that apply to everyone else.”

You can read “Voice of the Faithful’s Conclusions About the John Jay College Report, The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010” by clicking here. VOTF also maintains a webpage called “Clericalism: Reality & Concerns” that can be reached by clicking here.

NCR has editorialized in the same vein a day after Collins’ resignation:

“What we know now is that all of the emotional and intellectual investment of victims, all the lofty words and intentions of countless bishops forced to acknowledge the deep corruption of the institution, all of the straining for some manner of justice by those in the wider, secular culture, mean nothing inside the community if the clergy culture continues to refuse to confront itself and its entrenched and unyielding role in sustaining the sexual abuse scandal … What is necessary to finally put this scandal behind us is a chorus of clerical voices demanding reform of their own culture, demanding that the all-male clerical caste engage in the painful work of understanding what their culture has become, how it could be so deformed that it was able to justify what some have termed the “soul-killing” of the community’s children.”

VOTF will continue to join our voices with NCR’s to proclaim that “until that culture changes, children will remain in harm’s way within this church.”

Read the entire editorial here …

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To limit clergy abuse, look at model of business accountability / Catholic News Service

“Peter Johnstone, president of the Australian group Catholics for Renewal, formed after revelations of abuse began to become public, called the church “dysfunctional, in that it is doing things that are totally contrary to its mission.”

In a wide-ranging discussion, members of Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and experts called to testify discussed how good business practices might or might not make children less vulnerable.

“The hearing included discussion of church governance, celibacy and what seminarians are being taught about power and leadership …

“(Maureen) Cleary (nonprofit governance consultant) and Patrick Parkinson, a law professor at Sydney University, spoke of the need for more involvement by laypeople to help break the institutional church’s system of clericalism, a pyramid structure of authority discussed in previous sessions.

“Peter Johnstone, president of the Australian group Catholics for Renewal, formed after revelations of abuse began to become public, called the church ‘dysfunctional, in that it is doing things that are totally contrary to its mission.’

“‘Essential requirements of good governance are usually seen as being … about accountability, transparency, leadership, listening, and (aligning the) culture and the leadership of the church, through accountability and transparency, to its mission,’ he said.”

By Catholic News Service on CatholicPhilly.com — Read more …

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Stem parish closures and mergers pleads U.S. priests group / National Catholic Reporter

An association of nearly 1,200 U.S. priests is in the final development stages of issuing an urgent ‘plea’ to the U.S. bishops to ‘formulate a plan now to meet this emerging crisis’ of parish closings and consolidations.

“In a working draft it calls a ‘Proposal for Pastoral Care In & Thru Priestless Parishes,’ the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests exhorts the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and ‘dioceses nationwide’ to quickly address the issue.

“Core to the plan is ‘new and more specific exploration’ of lay ecclesial ministers to oversee non-sacramental aspects of parish life and administration, according to a proposed plan cover letter contained in an email to NCR.”

By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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