Posts Tagged U.S. bishops

Letter confirms Vatican officials knew of McCarrick allegations in 2000 / National Catholic Reporter

The 2006 letter not only confirms past remarks made by Ramsey, but also elements of a document written by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who served as nuncio to the United States from 2011 to 2016. (National Catholic Reporter)

A top official from the Vatican Secretariat of State acknowledged allegations made by a New York priest in 2000 concerning Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, according to a letter obtained by Catholic News Service.

“Fr. Boniface Ramsey, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church Yorkville in New York City, told CNS Sept. 7 that he received the letter dated Oct. 11, 2006, from then-Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, the former Vatican substitute for general affairs, asking for information regarding a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark who studied at Immaculate Conception Seminary and was being vetted for a post at a Vatican office. He made the letter available to CNS.

“Sandri wrote to Ramsey, ‘I ask with particular reference to the serious matters involving some of the students of the Immaculate Conception Seminary, which in November 2000 you were good enough to bring confidentially to the attention of the then Apostolic Nuncio in the United States, the late Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo.'”

By Robert Duncan, Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, in 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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Pope Francis’ exhortation for prayer and fasting are appropriate, but more wll be needed following Pennsylvania grand jury report / Voice of the Faithful

BOSTON, Mass., Aug. 20, 2018 – Pope Francis issued a letter today addressed to all the People of God in response to last week’s grand jury report of long-term Catholic clergy sexual abuse and its coverup in six Pennsylvania dioceses. The Pope abjectly apologized for the abuse, pointed out the spiritual failings, Church structures and culture of clericalism that led to it, and he exhorted Catholics to prayer and fasting for conversion.

With these words, Pope Francis seems at last to understand how corrupting clericalism has been and how terrible the evil perpetrated by abusers and the bishops who covered up. But prayer, fasting and penance, while essential, will not fix the problems. A good deal of prayer, penance and fasting has occurred but has not stopped the abuse, or the coverups, or fix clericalism. Although we applaud the Pope’s expressions of regret and sorrow, as always, we find ourselves anxiously anticipating action to back up his words.

This time, all the people of God must be involved in a systemic solution, as several bishops have pointed out over the past few days since the grand jury report was released. It is impossible to think of a conversion of our activity as a Church, which Pope Francis is calling for, that does not include the active participation of all God’s people. VOTF has long called for greater lay input into the governance and guidance of the Church and for accountability now so clearly essential to addressing this systemic evil.

The Pope also correctly and emphatically points out the evils of clericalism. He says it is an approach that “not only nullifies the character of Christians, but also tends to diminish and undervalue the baptismal grace that the Holy Spirit has placed in the heart of our people. Clericalism, whether fostered by priests themselves or by lay persons, leads to an excision in the ecclesial body that supports and helps to perpetuate many of the evils that we are condemning today.”

We agree. Clericalism, as VOTF has said since our 2011 response to the John Jay College report on clergy sexual abuse, is at the root of the problem within the church today. The priests, the hierarchy and the laity all play a role in creating the culture of clericalism, and we must all play a role in tearing it down. The first step must be to hold accountable those bishops that covered up the abuse. This is not just to point out that some bishops are guilty. It also is meant to be a call to action for the lay people.

The Church is the People of God, and we all must right these wrongs:

  • We must stand for nothing less than a full account of those who allowed this abuse of children in the Church to continue and who covered it up, and the Pope must remove from ministry those found guilty of committing or covering up these crimes.
  • We must call for a change in statutes of limitations so that victims can seek justice in our courts, and the church must support those changes—not stand in the way.
  • We must work together to root out clericalism and make the Church as an organization answerable to all the People of God.

Click here to read Pope Francis’ letter in response to Pennsylvania grand jury report.(link is external)


Voice of the Faithful Statement, Aug. 20, 2018
Contact: 
Nick Ingala, nickingala@votf.org(link sends e-mail), 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.

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More than 300 accused priests listed in Pennsylvania report on Catholic Church sex abuse / The Washington Post

The report has helped renew a crisis many in the church thought and hoped had ended nearly 20 years ago after the scandal erupted in Boston. (The Washington Post)

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday (Aug. 14) released a sweeping grand jury report on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, listing more than 300 accused clergy and detailing a ‘systematic’ coverup effort by church leaders over 70 years.

“State Attorney General Josh Shapiro said at a news conference Tuesday that more than 1,000 child victims were identified in the report, but the grand jury believes there are more.

“The release is the culmination of an 18-month probe, led Shapiro, on six of the state’s eight dioceses — Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Scranton, Erie and Greensburg — and follows other state grand jury reports that revealed abuse and coverups in two other dioceses.

“Shapiro said that the report details a ‘systematic coverup by senior church officials in Pennsylvania and at the Vatican.'”

By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post — Read more …

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Albany bishop says laypeople should investigate misconduct by U.S. bishops / America: The Jesuit Review

As fallout from Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s resignation continues, at least one bishop is saying what Voice of the Faithful has been saying for the past 16 years: give the laity a voice in the governance and guidance of our Church. This is the way Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany, N.Y., put it in America magazine when talking about a “high-level panel” of the USCCB suggested by Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl to “evaluate allegations or rumors of sexual misconduct by one of its member bishops”: “‘To have credibility, a panel would have to be separated from any source of power whose trustworthiness might potentially be compromised,’ he said … ‘Our laypeople are not only willing to take on this much-needed role, but they are eager to help us make lasting reforms that will restore a level of trust that has been shattered yet again,’ Bishop Scharfenberger said.”

Click here to read the rest of the story by Michael O’Loughlin in America: The Jesuit Review.

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Cardinal Wuerl proposes national panel to investigate allegations against bishops / National Catholic Reporter

“We’re at a moment where the shock, because it involves a bishop, impels us now to do at the level of the episcopate what we did so successfully at the level of the priesthood,” the cardinal said in the interview. (National Catholic Reporter)

Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl has proposed that the national conference of U.S. Catholic bishops create a new high-level panel to receive and evaluate any allegations or rumors of sexual misconduct by one of its member bishops.

“In an NCR interview focused on how the American church should address the wider systemic questions raised by the revelations of sexual abuse by his predecessor, now former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Wuerl also suggested that the Vatican could designate one of its offices to act on the proposed panel’s findings.

“Although Wuerl said he had not personally been aware of rumors about McCarrick’s alleged abuse of young men during the former cardinal’s time as a priest and bishop, he acknowledged that others have now brought forward earlier existence of such rumors.

“‘If there were [rumors], and if people heard them, there needs to be some mechanism by which there can be at least an evaluation and review of them,’ said Wuerl, speaking in a phone conversation.

“‘I think it’s very important that we … as bishops enter into that world and say, ‘If there is an accumulation of rumors, ought not something be said?” the cardinal continued.”

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

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Change the clerical culture / Commonweal

Why is predatory behavior by priests permitted?


“The problem is with those bishops, and others with influence in the church, who at best are asleep at the wheel and at worst willing to excuse predatory behavior … More important is changing a clerical culture that prizes secrecy and loyalty over truth and transparency.” (Commonweal) (Also see Voice of the Faithful’s study of the 2010 John Jay College clergy abuse report for its discussion of clericalism)

Emerging details about the scope and duration of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexually abusive behavior once more underscore the fact that an institutional sickness afflicts the Catholic Church. A predator priest can ascend to princely rank only if the clerical culture around him enables those who are complicit by their silence and failure to act.

“The behavior of “Uncle Ted,” as the cardinal insisted he be called by his preferred victims, was something of an open secret at elite levels of the church. As the New YorkTimes noted, multiple reports about McCarrick’s sexual encounters with seminary students were made between 1994 and 2008—to American bishops, to the pope’s representative in Washington, and even to Pope Benedict XVI. Two dioceses secretly made settlement payments to alleged victims. This didn’t slow a swift rise: McCarrick became a global ambassador dispatched to conflict zones, a prolific fundraiser, and the honoree of numerous Catholic institutions eager to present him with awards. He even played a prominent role as a spokesperson for the church’s “zero-tolerance” policy on sexual abuse.”

By John Gehring, Commonweal — Read more …

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