Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

Voice of the Faithful Focus, March 25, 2015

Highlighting issues we face working together
                            to Keep the Faith, Change the Church


TOP STORIES

Angry protest over new bishop in Chile
“Hundreds of demonstrators dressed in black barged into a cathedral in a city in southern Chile on Saturday (Mar. 21) and interrupted the installation ceremony for the city’s new Roman Catholic bishop, Juan Barros, whom they accuse of complicity in a notorious case of clerical sexual abuse, blocking his passage and shouting, ‘Barros, get out of the city!” By Pascale Bonnefoy, The New York Times
 -- Scuffles, protests as Chilean bishop is ordained despite alleged sex abuse cover-up, By Eva Vergara, Associated Press
 -- Amid arrests and protests, bishop linked to abuse priest takes over in Chile, By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Convicted Minnesota priest removed from clerical state
“One of the primary priests that triggered the now more-than-yearlong clergy sex abuse scandal in the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese has been laicized. The archdiocese announced Wednesday (Mar. 11) afternoon that the Vatican has removed Curtis Wehmeyer from the clerical state.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Women speak up about equality in the church from the heart of the Vatican
“OK, I'm gobsmacked, as the Brits say (‘gobsmacked’: adjective, British, informal: utterly astonished; astounded). I spent four hours on International Women's Day watching a Voices of Faith event ‘from the heart of the Vatican’ in which women shared stories ‘for a creative exchange of ideas from a female perspective.’ There were some amazing narratives.” By Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter
 -- A Space for Women, By the Editors at America magazine

Archdiocese of St. Louis ordered to produce 20 years of documents on sexual abuse
“A judge has ordered the Archdiocese of St. Louis to produce two decades worth of internal documents on sexual abuse allegations. Thomas J. Prebil is only the second judge to attempt to compel the archdiocese to hand over such an extensive number of records. The order, released earlier this week (week of Mar. 9), is part of a civil lawsuit filed in St. Louis County Circuit Court involving the parents of a man from Florissant who sued the archdiocese over the suicide of their son.” By Lilly Fowler, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Jury again unable to reach verdict in Philadelphia priest’s sex-abuse trial
“For the second time in 12 months, a Philadelphia jury was unable to reach a verdict in the trial of a Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy almost 18 years ago in a Bridesburg parish.” By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Philadelphia Inquirer

Despite questionable local support, San Francisco archbishop lauded by conservatives
Support appears shallow in the San Francisco Bay Area for Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone's imperative that faculty handbooks of high schools under his jurisdiction underscore church teaching on ‘hot-button’ issues and that employees not contradict church doctrine on or off campus. However, viaducts of encouragement are pouring into his office from multiple sources outside the archdiocese …” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

ACCOUNTABILITY

Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson charged with concealing child sex abuse
“Hunter-born Archbishop Philip Wilson has become the most senior Catholic clergyman in the world to be charged with concealing a child sex abuse allegation against another priest on what a pedophile priest victim has described as ‘a St Patrick’s Day we’ll never forget.’” By Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald, Australia
 -- Australian archbishop charged with concealing child sex abuse, By Agence France-Press in ucanews.com
 -- Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson charged with concealing sex abuse, By Dan Box, The Australian
 -- Australian archbishop charged with concealing child abuse, By Rod Mcguirk, Associated Press, on Cruxnow.com

Pope’s zero tolerance for bishops who covered for pedophiles faces tough test in Chile
“Juan Carlos Cruz recalls that he and another teen boy would lie down on the priest's bed, one resting his head at the man's shoulder, another sitting near his feet. The priest would kiss the boys and grope them, he said, all while the Rev. Juan Barros watched … Barros has been tapped by Pope Francis to become bishop of a southern Chilean diocese this month, provoking an unprecedented outcry by abuse victims and Catholic faithful who contend he covered up sexual abuse committed by his mentor and superior, the Rev. Fernando Karadima …” By Eva Vergara, Associated Press, in Star Tribune
 -- Pope Francis’ zero tolerance for sexual abuse questioned, By Alison Lesley, WorldReligionNews.com
 -- Chile’s bishops back prelate linked to notorious abuser priest, By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com
 -- Pope’s promise to tackle abuse tested by appointment of Chilean bishop, By The Guardian

When the Pope speaks, priest abuse cases get heard
“Diego was the shy one in Father Silverio Mura’s class; a 13-year-old, olive-skinned and handsome, who spent his free time indoors watching cartoons. He walked to school alone in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, stopping first to pray to a statue of the Virgin Mary in the rose garden in front of his apartment building. ‘She was my protector,’ he said. But nothing and no one, Diego charged, protected him from Mura — the religion teacher who invited the then-teenage boy to the priest’s small apartment on Brothers Grimm Street after class one day in 1989.” By Anthony Faiola, The Washington Post
 -- Letter to Pope Francis yields some result for male Italian victim of priest sex abuse, By Vittorio Hernandez, International Business Times

Doctrinal chief says bishops must be accountable in abuse prevention
“Bishops of dioceses around the world have an obligation to work to prevent clerical sexual abuse and to ensure that priests in their dioceses do not commit acts of abuse, said Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic New Service, in National Catholic Reporter

In rare step, Scottish prelate caught in sex scandal quits as cardinal
“A Scottish cardinal who stepped down as an archbishop in 2013 amid revelations of sexual misconduct now has renounced his rights and privileges as a cardinal, although he will retain the title, the Vatican announced Friday. By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

SYNOD OF BISHOPS ON THE FAMILY

Cardinal rebukes 500 priests for going to the press with call to resist change to church teaching
“Cardinal Vincent Nichols has rebuked the almost 500 priests in England and Wales who have signed a letter resisting any change to church teaching at the Vatican’s next Synod on the Family, saying that discussions around the Synod are ‘not best conducted through the press’” By The Tablet
 -- Priests drum up support to resist any change to Church’s ‘unchanging’ teaching at this year’s synod, By Christopher Lamb, The Tablet

POPE FRANCIS

Pope Francis and the politics of a (maybe) short papacy
“Pope Francis marked the second anniversary of his election on Friday (Mar. 13) with yet another blockbuster media interview, this one with the Mexican network Televisa. One headline from the conversation with veteran Vatican reporter Valentina Alazraki focused on his expectations for a short papacy. As he has on other occasions, Francis hinted that he doesn’t expect to be around very long.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Pope Francis calls sexual abuse scandals a ‘grave problem’
“Pope Francis has delivered one of his strongest statements to date on the Catholic Church’s child sexual abuse scandals, calling them a “grave problem” and declaring that “one priest abusing a minor is reason enough to move the Church’s whole structure.” By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Here are five Francis forecasts for Ano Tres
“Today (Mar. 13) is the beginning of Year Three of the Pope Francis era, as the pontiff completes two full years in office since his surprise election in March 2013. Although the Vatican says there are no festivities planned aside from giving most employees the day off, that hasn’t stopped the rest of the world from taking stock of the spiritual tsunami this maverick pope has become.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Pope Francis’ 2nd anniversary, part 1
“Tomorrow (Mar. 13) will be the second anniversary of the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis. If, on the 12th of March 2013 you had told me the cardinals were set to elect a man who would revolutionize the Church in two years, I would have scoffed. Not anymore. By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis has history, but not time, on his side
“Can the Roman Catholic Church change? And if so, how? And what’s on the table — traditions, rites, doctrine, none of the above? Such fundamental questions go to the heart of Catholic identity, and they’re the same questions Pope Francis has raised almost since the moment he was elected two years ago this Friday (Mar. 13), a dark horse candidate who became the first pontiff from Latin America.” By David Gibson, Religion News Service, on Cruxnow.com

U.S. Catholic survey finds American Catholics still divided on Pope Francis
“As the second anniversary of Pope Francis’ election approaches, a survey conducted by U.S. Catholic magazine finds that American Catholics still have sharply divided views of the pope. But no matter which position they take, Catholics seems to hold strong opinions on Francis.” By Religion News Service

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

A Chilean diocese is in an uproar over a bishop who defended an abuser
“A decision by Pope Francis to assign a bishop in Chile linked to one of the country’s most notorious clerical sex abusers as the new leader of a local diocese has locals gathering signatures to try to block the appointment. Bishop Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid, previously Chile’s military chaplain, was appointed in mid-January as the new bishop of the small Osorno diocese and is scheduled to be installed on March.” By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Bill removing statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases passes legislature
“The Utah Legislature passed a bill Wednesday (Mar. 11) that eliminates the statute of limitations for lawsuits against perpetrators of child sexual abuse. Deondra Brown, co-founder of the nonprofit Foundation for Survivors of Abuse, watched from the Senate gallery as lawmakers engaged in a final debate before voting to pass HB277 and sending it to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature.” By Katie McKellar, Deseret News

Catholic Church claims it can refuse to pay victims of sex abuse because of religious freedom
“The Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee sought to insulate $55 million of its funds from lawsuits brought by victims of priestly sex abuse, according to a letter penned by then-Archbishop of Milwaukee Timothy Dolan, so it transferred those funds into a separate trust set up to care for the archdiocese’s cemeteries and mausoleums. Once the sexual abuse victims sought those funds in a bankruptcy proceeding, however, the archdiocese claimed that it had a religious liberty right not to use that money to compensate victims of abuse.” By Ian Millhiser, ThinkProgress.org

ALASKA

Former Fairbanks priest pleads guilty to soliciting and paying for child porn
“Clint Landry, formerly a priest with the Catholic Diocese of Fairbanks, pleaded guilty to a single count of attempted coercion and enticement of a minor for messaging contacts in the Philippines and wiring cash for child pornography, according to a federal plea agreement.” By Jerzy Shedlock, Alaska Dispatch News

CALIFORNIA

Lawsuit alleges California ex-priest abused two boys
“A lawsuit alleges that Roman Catholic church officials in Los Angeles placed a priest who was a known child molester back into ministry in Santa Paula, where he abused two more young boys.” By Associate Press, on KPCC-FM

Defrocked Davis Catholic priest faces deportation
“Federal immigration authorities have arrested a former Davis priest and are preparing to deport him to Mexico after he admitted having unlawful sex with a 16-year-old altar girl. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say agents arrested 46-year-old Hector Coria Gonzales at his home in Davis on Friday (Mar. 20).” By Associated Press in Daily Democrat

CONNECTICUT

Settlement reached in Norwich Catholic Diocese priest molestation case
“The Catholic Diocese of Norwich will pay $1.1 million dollars as part of a settlement released today (Mar. 22) in a priest molestation case. The lawsuit stems from an unidentified Massachusetts woman’s claim that Father Thomas Shea molested her about 60 times between the ages of 3 and 16-years-old. The settlement comes one day before the jury trial was to start on Tuesday (Mar. 23) and following three day mediation sessions.” By Scott Powell, WTNH-TV

FLORIDA

Naples priest accused of sex abuse in Iowa
“A Naples priest is on administrative leave after recent allegations of child molestation in his former parish of Dubuque, Iowa. The incident is alleged to have occurred 30 years ago in 1985.” By Karl Fortier, WFTX-TV Fort Myers

GEORGIA

Lawsuit alleges more abuse by former Roman Catholic priest from Georgia
“A former Roman Catholic priest from Savannah has been accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy on trips years ago to South Carolina, according to a lawsuit. The suit filed Thursday (Mar. 19) in the Court of Common Pleas in Jasper County, South Carolina, accuses Wayland Brown of abusing the teenager, a student at St. James Catholic School, on separate occasions from August 1987 to May 1988.” By Associated Press in The Republic

IOWA

Dubuque man claims past abuse from priest
(Mar. 24, 2015) “A former Dubuque man says his priest abused him when he was a child at Resurrection School. Jeff Buchheit says Father Leo Riley first abused him in 1985 before school during an early morning mass.” By ABC9 News
 -- Priest abuse survivor speaks out, By Jeff Reinitz, WCF Courier

MINNESOTA

In a first, New Ulm Diocese names four clergy sex offenders
“The Diocese of New Ulm has quietly released the names of four priests accused of child sex abuse, marking its first public disclosure of any such names. It remains the only Minnesota diocese that has not made public its full list of priest sex abusers. A list was compiled a decade ago, when now-Archbishop John Nienstedt oversaw the New Ulm diocese as bishop.” By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune

AFRICA

The Catholic Church in Africa to set up a Committee on Reconciliation
(Mar. 16, 2015) “Representatives of the national and regional Justice and Peace Commissions of the Catholic Church in Africa have just ended a meeting in Windhoek, Namibia on the theme: Justice and Peace at the service of Reconciliation and Integral Development of Africa.” By Vatican Radio

AUSTRALIA

Catholic priest told alleged abuse victim to ‘move on’
“A former Catholic priest told his alleged abuse victim to ‘move on’ and stop living in the past when she asked for an apology during a covertly recorded phone call almost 20 years later, a court has heard.” By Christopher Knaus, The Canberra Times

Child sex abuse at St. Ignatius College, Riverview: investigation launched into historic allegations
“An investigation has been launched into allegations of child sexual abuse at one of Sydney's most prestigious private schools dating back more than 30 years. St Ignatius' College, Riverview on Monday (Mar. 23) sent a letter to its old boys informing them that a former student had made allegations which principal Paul Hine said had now been reported to the NSW police force.” By Nick Ralston, The Sydney Morning Herald

Former St. Joseph’s College dorm master brother John Dennis Maguire sentenced for child sex abuse
“A former dorm master at Sydney's prestigious St Joseph's Catholic College has been jailed for sexually assaulting a student after nine separate trials spanning 13 years, and more than 30 years after the abuse took place. ‘The wolf has finally been exposed,’ a former student of Marist brother John Dennis Maguire said after the 71-year-old was sentenced at the Downing Centre District Court on Friday (Mar. 20) and taken into custody for the first time.” By Paul Bibby, The Sydney Morning Herald

Catholic priest jailed for child porn
“A Catholic priest who says he was interested in finding out ‘what makes young males tick’ has been jailed for at least 10 months for possessing child pornography. Fr Stanislaus Hogan, 70, had 1555 child pornography images, as well as magazines, videos and books, in his locked bedroom at the Jesuit St Ignatius College in Athelstone in Adelaide.” By Agence France-Press, on SBS.com.au

Catholic diocese apologizes over historic child sex abuse allegations at Bellambi school
“The Wollongong Catholic Education Office has apologized to victims of abuse after a priest was charged over an alleged historical event. It's alleged a 15 year old boy was assaulted at Holy Spirit College in Bellambi north of Wollongong in 1988.” By ABC News Australia

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Catholic priest suspended over abuse allegations
“Father Richard Rodgers was suspended from his North Lanarkshire parish after a complaint was made to the diocese and passed to police. The 79-year-old, who served at St Mary's Parish Church in Cleland, has been suspended for an indefinite period while the investigation continues.” By Victoria Brenan, Evening Times
 -- Father Richard Rodgers suspended amid historic sex abuse probe, By BBC News Glasgow & West Scotland

IRELAND

Catholic priest abused boy (7) at Co. Down seaside
“A disgraced former Catholic priest has received an 18-month suspended prison sentence for what a judge described as ‘a significant and grievous breach of trust’ for sexually assaulting a seven-year-old boy in his care.” By John Cassidy, Belfast Telegraph

Former Catholic priest to be sentenced for sexually abusing altar boy on Co. Down
“A disgraced former Catholic priest will learn next week (week of Mr. 23) if he is to serve any more time in custody after he admitted sexually (abusing) a young altar boy at his family cottage in Co Down over 20 years ago. Reserving his decision today (Mar. 19) at Downpatrick Crown Court, Judge Piers Grant told Daniel Curran that he will pass sentence on Monday, March 23.” By John Cassidy, Belfast Telegraph

POLAND

Polish court sentences priest for child sexual abuse
“A Polish court has sentenced a Roman Catholic priest to seven years in prison after finding him guilty of sexually abusing underage boys. The court in the western Polish city of Wroclaw also ordered the 44-year-old priest, identified only as Pawel K., to undergo psychological treatment and prohibited him from working with young people for the rest of his life.” By PressTV