Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

Voice of the Faithful Focus, April 9, 2015

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

TOP STORIES

Vatican: No ‘objective reasons’ to preclude appointment of Chilean bishop
“The Vatican has responded to public outcry against Pope Francis' naming of a new bishop in Chile accused of covering up sexual abuse, saying the bishop's candidature was ‘carefully examined’ prior to his appointment but no ‘objective reasons’ were found to preclude it. Marking a rare reaction to public criticism against a bishop's appointment, the Vatican press office released a 19-word statement Tuesday (Mar. 31) in three languages regarding Bishop Juan Barros Madrid. Chilean clergy sexual abuse survivors accuse Barros, who was installed March 21 as head of the diocese of Osorno, Chile, amid protests in the cathedral, of covering up abuse by Fr. Fernando Karadima when Barros was a priest.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
 -- In Chile decision, Pope Francis risks reputation as reformer, By Grant Gallicho, dotCommonweal
 -- Members of Vatican abuse commission question Francis’ inaction in Chile, By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
 -- Pope Francis and zero tolerance, By William Doino, Jr., FirstThings.com

Cardinal says Catholic bishops cannot go it alone on doctrine
“The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has advised bishops’ conferences not to take ‘doctrinal and disciplinary decisions’ on issues that rightly fall under the magisterium of the church. Cardinal Gerhard Muller said that while bishops’ conferences have authority on some matters, ‘they don’t constitute a magisterium within the magisterium, independently of the pope and out of communion with other bishops.’” By Jonathan Luxmoore, Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com

Child abuse, enough evidence for 1,000 hearings
“The head of an Australian royal commission into child sexual abuse says he has uncovered enough material to justify public hearings on more than 1000 institutions where child sexual abuse has been alleged.” By Simon Collins, The New Zealand Herald

English Missal translation need overhaul
“Priests from Ireland and two bishops have become the latest to call for changes to the English translation of the Mass. The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) in Ireland has called for a review of the current English missal and for priests to be allowed to use the 1998 translation as a temporary solution.” By Sarah Mac Donald, The Tablet

Francis outlines vision of human, compassionate priesthood
“Pope Francis has outlined a deeply human and compassionate model of the Catholic priesthood, telling priests around the world Thursday (Apr. 2) he understands they can become weary from their work but that they should exhaust themselves at the service of their people. Speaking in an unusually lengthy homily in St. Peter's Basilica for the celebration of Holy Thursday, the pope said he thinks and prays often about the tiredness of priests but exhorted them to give themselves away for others.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

VOICES

Parents ask San Francisco archdiocese to remove controversial parish priests
“In a packed auditorium at Star of the Sea School in San Francisco on Wednesday (Mar.25), parents told representatives of the archdiocese to remove the parish's two priests. After describing the changes that Fr. Joseph Illo, administrator, has instituted at the school since his arrival and the effects on their children, most of the parents concluded their talks by saying, ‘We respectfully ask that Fr. Illo and Fr. Driscoll be removed from Star of the Sea’ … About 200 parents and teachers attended the meeting, the majority of them wearing Star of the Sea sweatshirts. Sixteen parents spoke at a dais at the front of the audience that faced the four clergymen. Several started to cry as they spoke.” By Mandy Erickson, National Catholic Reporter
 -- San Francisco priests’ council debates ‘PR disaster’ parish, By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

POPE FRANCIS

Francis outlines vision of human, compassionate priesthood
“Pope Francis has outlined a deeply human and compassionate model of the Catholic priesthood, telling priests around the world Thursday he understands they can become weary from their work but that they should exhaust themselves at the service of their people. Speaking in an unusually lengthy homily in St. Peter's Basilica for the celebration of Holy Thursday, the pope said he thinks and prays often about the tiredness of priests but exhorted them to give themselves away for others.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis and the New Rome
“One Saturday last month (March), Pope Francis celebrated Mass at Ognissanti (All Saints’) Church in one of Rome’s working-class neighborhoods. Little known to tourists or art historians, Ognissanti was the site of a momentous event in the modern history of the Catholic Church: Exactly 50 years earlier, Pope Paul VI had gone there to celebrate the first papal mass in Italian rather than in the traditional Latin. In marking that anniversary, Pope Francis made plain his view of the vernacular Mass, one of the most visible changes ushered in by the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).” By Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal

Cardinal Walter Kasper, ‘the pope’s theologian,’ reveals the brains behind Francis’ heart
“Pope Francis has repeatedly said he expects his papacy to be a brief one, but Cardinal Walter Kasper is working to ensure that the pontiff’s legacy endures long after this pope leaves the scene. From the first days of his pontificate two years ago, Francis singled out Kasper for high praise; ever since, the retired German cardinal is frequently known as ‘the pope’s theologian.’” By David Gibson, Religion News Service

The ‘Pope Francis effect’? Some early data suggest it could be real
Pope Francis appears more popular than ever among American Catholics, and he hasn’t even visited the U.S. yet, a trip that is planned for September and could well boost his visibility — and appeal — even further. But will Francis find American Catholics filling the pews? Or just loving the pope from afar? That’s one of the big — and so far unanswered — questions about his remarkable papacy. Now, one researcher may have found some signs, albeit tentative, of an incipient ‘Francis effect.’” By David Gibson, Religion News Service

CHURCH FINANCES

Vatican Bank: haven for money laundering and tax evasion no more
Pope Francis is sweeping off clean the Vatican bank, which for many years has been cloaked with controversy for allegedly providing a safe haven to Italian individuals who laundered money and evaded taxes. On Wednesday (Apr. 1), the Holy See’s signed tax treaty with the government of Italy — which obliges parties to share financial and tax information — seeks to regulate Vatican bank’s banking secrecy.” By Kay Aviles, International Business Times
 -- Italy, Vatican sign financial information exchange deal, By Philip Pullella, Reuters

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Child sex abuse: Judges, MPs, media entertainers, actors, police and clergy implicated in Met Police corruption probe
“The Metropolitan Police is being investigated over further allegations of corruption in relation to child sex offences dating back to the 1970s, including the claim that evidence gathered against MPs, judges, media entertainers, police, clergy and actors was dropped due to police intervention. The fresh allegations are in addition to the 14 cases being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), revealed earlier this month, dating from the 1970s to the 2000s.” By Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith, The Independent

German film tackles aftermath of Church abuse
“The film ‘The Culpable’ (orginal title: "Verfehlung") tells the story of three priests, Jakob, Dominik, and Oliver, who are good friends. Then all of a sudden everything changes: Dominik is suspected of child abuse. How do the three priests deal with the accusations?” By Deutsch World

Royal commission exposing the hard truths about abuse
“Case by case, disgraced institution by disgraced institution, our eyes are being opened. The royal commission charged with investigating how institutions deal with child sexual abuse is remaking our understanding of the people and places we entrust with the safekeeping of our children.” Editorial by The Sydney Morning Herald

ALABAMA

Alabama priest, a former TV host, accused of molesting underage son
“Here’s a soul that might need some serious saving. A Catholic priest and former TV host in Alabama has been accused of molesting his own underage son several years ago. The allegations against David Lawrence Stone, 54, appeared in court documents during a custody battle with the child's mother, Christina Presnell.” By Jason Silverstein, New York Daily News
 -- Catholic priest, ex-EWTN TV host, fathered child; he’s now in custody fight, accused of abuse, By Greg Garrison, AL.com
 -- Judge: Past Sex misconduct allegations relevant to St. Pius X bullying case, By WSFA-TV FOX 10

CALIFORNIA

Manhattan Beach mother files sexual abuse lawsuit against former American Martyrs priest
“A Manhattan Beach woman has filed a lawsuit against a former priest from American Martyrs Catholic Church, alleging he sexually abused her while she was setting up a Mass. Kate Bergin also named the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in the suit, announced Wednesday morning, claiming the church was negligent and failed to warn parishioners when it transferred the priest to another parish in Los Angeles late last year.” By Carley Dryden, The Beach Reporter

ILLINOIS

Suburban Chicago priest pleads not guilty to child pornography charges
“A Catholic priest from suburban Chicago has pleaded not guilty to child pornography charges. Thirty-four-year-old Clovis Vilchez-Parra is an associate pastor at Mission San Juan Diego in Arlington Heights. He was charged in February with felony possession and reproduction of child pornography.” By Associated Press in Greenfield Daly Reporter

MAINE

Bangor priest abused boys in the 1950s, according to letter
“A 2005 letter from a retired priest to an official at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland shows that Maine’s bishop knew in 1956 that a priest was sexually abusing boys at a Bangor church, according to an advocate for victims and an attorney.” By Judy Harrison, Bangor Daily News
 -- Ex-priest urges Portland diocese to ‘come clean’ after letter revealed, By Bangor Daily News

MICHIGAN

Catholic Church seeking abuse victims
“The Catholic Church is searching for possible victims of sexual abuse after a Toledo priest admitted in a note written before his death that he assaulted a Temperance boy 14 years ago.” By Ray Kisonas, Monroe (Michigan) News

MINNESOTA

Crookston Diocese accused of withholding names of priests in sexual abuse cases
“The Crookston Diocese under fire after its Bishop is accused of withholding the names of priests involved in sex abuse cases. A survivor's network of people abused by priests alleges Bishop Michael Hoeppner left out two priests from a list of offenders released in January 2014.” By WDAY-TV News

NEW JERSEY

Sex abuse at New Jersey Catholic Prep School Alleged
“The Delbarton School faces five lawsuits from alumni of the preparatory school who say they were sexually abused 30 years ago. The plaintiffs do not use their full names, with three of them using initials and two others simply going by John Does. Each filing involves allegations of abuse from between 1972 and 1984.” By Chris Fry, Courthouse News Service

PENNSYLVANIA

Bill would give childhood sex abuse victims 20 more years to sue
“A new bill in the Pennsylvania Senate would give childhood victims of sexual abuse until the age of 50 to file a civil lawsuit against their abuser. Sen. Rob Teplitz, a Democrat who serves Perry and Dauphin counties, introduced the bill Monday (Apr. 6), saying it addressed one of the few remaining issues left over from the state’s Task Force on Child Protection that made recommendations in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State.” By Joel Mathis, PhillyMag.com

Prison sentences upheld for priest and lay teach in sexual assault of altar boy
“A state Superior Court panel upheld this week (Mar. 27) the prison sentences of a Catholic priest and former parochial-school teacher convicted of sexually abusing a 10-year-old altar boy from Northeast Philadelphia. The Rev. Charles Engelhardt and Bernard Shero, a former St. Jerome teacher, were sentenced by a Common Pleas Court judge in June 2013 for abuse that occurred in the late 1990s.” By Matt Gelb, Philadelphia Inquirer

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Grosso bill eliminates statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases
“D.C. City Council member David Grosso (I-At Large) has introduced the Childhood Protection Against Sexual Abuse Amendment Act of 2015 that would eliminate the statute of limitations for the recovery of damages arising out of sexual abuse that occurred when a victim was a minor.” By DistrictChronicle.com

AUSTRALIA

Former Catholic priest Edward Evans found not guilty of molesting a young girl
“A jury has found former Catholic priest Father Edward Evans, 85, not guilty of molesting a young girl in the kitchen of his Braddon home in the 1990s. The verdict was delivered before Justice Richard Refshauge on the seventh day of an ACT Supreme Court trial, with jurors deliberating for more than eight hours.” By Henry Belot, The Canberra Times
 -- Canberra priest's alleged abuse victim stayed silent for mother's sake, court told, By Henry Belot, The Sydney Morning Herald

Child sex abuse survivors’ hopes for national redress scheme take a wallop
“What a kick in the guts the federal government administered to the survivors of institutional child sexual abuse when it bluntly opposed the establishment of a national redress scheme. Over months of hearings and in many submissions, survivors and their representatives made clear to the royal commission they strongly supported a national approach as the one most likely to deliver justice, fairness and consistency.” Editorial by The Sydney Morning Herald

Royal commission: blow to plan for national redress scheme for child sex abuse victims
“Hopes for a single, national scheme to provide assistance and compensation for victims of child sexual abuse have been dealt a heavy blow, with the federal government stating that such a scheme is too complex, time consuming and costly. The statements were made in a blunt, two-page submission to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which is trying to develop a redress scheme for those who have suffered abuse.” By Paul Bibby, The Sydney Morning Herald

Former priest David Rapson convicted of rape, indecent assault charges
“Former Catholic priest David Rapson has been found guilty of sexually assaulting six boys in his care at Victorian schools, in trials that can only now be reported.” By Adam Cooper, The Age

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Church to review how priest caught with pornographic videos of teenage boys was moved to Norwich
“The Bishop of East Anglia has announced a review of how a Catholic priest was moved to Norwich after his cleaner discovered a stash of pornographic videos featuring boys aged 14 to 16.” By Martin George, Eastern Daily Press

POLAND

Polish ex-priest sentenced to seven years on abuse charges
“A former priest was sentenced Wednesday (April 25) to seven years in prison on charges of sexually abusing eight children in Poland and the Dominican Republic, a spokesman for the regional court in Warsaw said. The former priest, Wojciech Gil, who was charged with committing 10 crimes, eight of which related to the sexual abuse of boys under the age of 15, will also have to pay his victims compensation totaling about $43,000.” By Joanna Berendt, The New York Times

Roman Catholic Church says “no obligation” to report child abuse by priests
“The Roman Catholic Church will not report cases of child abuse by priests as a matter of policy, the spokesperson for the Polish Episcopate said. ‘There is no such obligation,’ Father Józef Kloch said in an interview with on TOK FM radio. ‘Such a victim is told they have the right to report it to the prosecutors. That is the correct way.’” By TheNews.pl