Vice of the Faithful Focus, Mar. 1, 2019


Pope defrocks Theodore McCarrick, ex-cardinal accused of sexual abuse
Pope Francis has expelled Theodore E. McCarrick, a former cardinal and archbishop of Washington, from the priesthood, after the church found him guilty of sexually abusing minors and adult seminarians over decades, the Vatican said on Saturday (Feb. 16). The move appears to be the first time any cardinal has been defrocked for sexual abuse — marking a critical moment in the Vatican’s handling of a scandal that has gripped the church for nearly two decades. It is also the first time an American cardinal has been removed from the priesthood.” By Elizabeth Dias and Jason Horowitz, The New York Times

Australian Cardinal George Pell convicted of child sex abuse
A high-ranking Catholic official has been convicted of child sex abuse and is due to be sentenced Wednesday (Feb. 27). Australian Cardinal George Pell, a top adviser to Pope Francis who was in charge of Vatican finances until he was accused, was found guilty of five charges of ‘historical child sexual offenses’ that go back decades. A jury in the County Court of Victoria in Melbourne where Pell, 77, was once archbishop, found the cardinal guilty after two days of deliberation in December.” By Richard Gonzales, National Public Radio

After abuse crisis, Holy Spirit planning new ‘season’ for the church
“The laity may be angry over the most recent revelations of the Catholic Church’s sex abuse crisis, but bishops, particularly younger ones, share in that anger and ‘want to move with real force’ toward solutions and it could yield a new season for the church, said the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Feb. 6.” By Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service, on

Why does the Catholic Church keep failing on sexual abuse, By Emma Green
“A few years after Seán O’Malley took over the Archdiocese of Boston in 2003, at the peak of the clergy sexual-abuse crisis in America, he led novenas of penance at nine of the city’s most affected parishes. At each church he visited, he lay facedown on the floor before the altar, begging for forgiveness. This is how O’Malley has spent his life in ministry: cleaning up after pedophile priests and their apologists, and serving as the Catholic Church’s public face of repentance and reform.” By Emma Green, The Atlantic

How Long, O Lord, Must We Wait
“How long O Lord? How long must we wait for both clergy and laity to recognize that incremental change will not work? We need wide-ranging structural reform. We need checks and balances rather than the feudal governance we have now in which each bishop is the undisputed master of his diocesan fief. Catholic patience is (finally) running out. And many Catholics are working to find solutions rather than enable the present moribund clerical system.” By Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter


In six months, abuse allegations against over 2,600 priests and church workers have been revealed
“In the past six months, authorities and Catholic Church dioceses across the U.S. have said that credible accusations of abuse have been made against more than 2,600 priests and other church employees over a span of several decades, according to a CBS News tally. The number includes sexual abuse accusations made against 301 priests over 70 years that a Pennsylvania grand jury revealed last summer. Since then, individual dioceses and archdioceses across the country have been reviewing their files and releasing lists of people who they said face credible allegations of abuse. The issue has prompted Pope Francis to call church leaders from all over the world to the Vatican for a summit that started Thursday.” By Alex Sundby, CBS News

Vatican’s legal procedures for handling sex abuse, explained
“For centuries, the Vatican’s canon law system busied itself with banning books and dispensing punishments that included burnings at the stake for heretics. These days, the Vatican office that eventually replaced the Roman Catholic Inquisition is knee-deep in processing clergy sex abuse cases. The procedures of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will be on display this week as high-ranking bishops summoned by Pope Francis attend an unprecedented four-day tutorial on preventing sex abuse and prosecuting pedophile priests.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Why the Catholic Church needs a Eucharistic response to the sex abuse scandals
“‘The gates of hell shall not prevail against the church.’ With these words of the Lord, stalwart Catholics have sought to dissuade brothers and sisters alienated by the sex abuse scandals from exiting the fold. While it is good to be reminded that insolvency is not the church’s destiny, such words alone will not assuage today’s disillusioned laity … Absent justice, many will leave the church.” By Daniel Philpott, America: The Jesuit Review

British inquiry into church sexual abuse blasts UK’s papal nuncio
“A British government inquiry into the sexual abuse crisis that continues to shake the Catholic Church has focused on the actions of the Vatican’s diplomatic service — its network of papal nuncios around the world. Under new policies put in place by Pope Francis, all sexual abuse cases now must be referred to the apostolic nuncio — effectively the pope’s ambassador — in every country, who in turn informs Rome.” By Catherine Pepinster, Religion News Service

Abuse survivors and outspoken critics meet organizers of pope’s summit
“Representatives of some of the world’s leading advocacy groups for survivors of clerical abuse met organizers of Pope Francis’s closely-watched anti-abuse summit Wednesday (Feb. 19), although the pope himself did not take part – an absence to which some participants objected. ‘Pope Francis wasn’t there, and we made it very clear that wasn’t okay,’ said Peter Isley, an abuse survivor and cofounder of the ‘Ending Clergy Abuse’ network, who took part in the meeting.” By Staff

Pope Francis addresses abuse of nuns by priests
“NPR’s Ari Shapiro speaks with Sister Carol Zinn, executive director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, about the abuse of nuns and how the Catholic Church has dealt with the issue. Pope Francis has talked a lot about young people who have been sexually abused by priests. Now for the first time, he is addressing a related problem. During a press conference on an airplane, a reporter asked about priests who have abused nuns. The pope acknowledged that it has happened.” By Ari Shapiro, National Public Radio

Theology, history, canon law may figure in lay role in addressing crisis
“A panel of academics at a Feb. 6 conference on the clergy sex abuse crisis noted that the current crisis is not the first scandal to confront the church, and that the church has had trouble putting those scandals to rest. The clergy has had ‘the power to correct themselves,’ said Carlos Eire, a professor of history and religious studies at Yale University, ‘but throughout all of this time, that power has been used very unevenly and ineffectively.’ Reform is a constant in church history, he added, because “corruption is a constant in human history.” By Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service, on


Younger bishops ready for action after Vatican summit on sex abuse
“The November 2018 bishops’ meeting was Bishop W. Shawn McKnight’s first as a prelate, having been named to lead the Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri, a year earlier. Normally, a new bishop would refrain from speaking from the floor, but after the surprise announcement to delay action on sex abuse until after the Vatican global summit on the topic in February, McKnight couldn’t keep silent. He approached the microphone and shared how ‘heartbroken’ and concerned he felt for the future of the church.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

Exclusive: Cupich, Scicluna say Vatican should give reasons when a bishop is sacked
“Two of the bishops who organized Pope Francis’ recent summit on clergy sexual abuse say the Vatican should begin disclosing the reasons for a Catholic prelate’s removal from office, signaling a potentially significant policy change for the global church. In separate exclusive half-hour interviews with NCR, Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich and Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna also both indicated that procedures the pope developed in 2016 to initiate the removal of bishops found negligent in clergy abuse cases may be updated to make them more transparent.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Bishops told transparency needed to overcome clergy abuse crisis
“On the last full day of the meeting in Rome on clergy sex abuse, a German cardinal and a Nigerian nun, each in his or her own way, explained that transparency was the only way for the Catholic Church to deal with the crisis. They spoke with bluntness unusual in meetings of bishops, practicing the transparency they preached. In his presentation, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the archbishop of Munich, acknowledged that files were destroyed, silence was imposed on victims, and procedures for the prosecution of offenses were deliberately not complied with.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service

Abuse survivor on how Catholic Church will make good on Pope’s vow
“Juan Carlos Cruz, a victim of a Chilean predator priest, helped organize a meeting between abuse survivors and Vatican officials last week. He tells NPR’s Ari Shapiro his thoughts on Pope Francis’ vow to erase abuse in the church ‘from the face of the Earth.’ Pope Francis yesterday (Feb. 24) declared an all-out battle on abuse in the Catholic Church, saying it must be erased from the face of the Earth. Today the bishops and abuse survivors who went to Rome for the historic summit have returned to their homes around the world, and the question remains. How will the church make good on the pope’s promise?” By Ari Shapiro, All Things Considered, National Public Radio

Pope Francis ends landmark sex abuse meeting with strong words, but few actions
“Pope Francis ended a landmark Vatican meeting on clerical sexual abuse by calling ‘for an all-out battle against the abuse of minors’ and insisting that the church needed to protect children ‘from ravenous wolves.’ But for all the vivid language and the vow ‘to combat this evil that strikes at the very heart of our mission,’ the pope’s speech was short on the sort of detailed battle plan demanded by many Catholics around the world.” By Jason Horowitz and Elizabeth Dias, The New York Times

Pope’s vow to battle child sex abuse fails to appease victims
“Pope Francis on Sunday (Feb. 24) vowed to tackle every single case of sexual abuse by priests, comparing pedophilia to ‘human sacrifice,’ but drew an angry response from victims. As the pope promised an ‘all-out battle’ against abusive priests at the end of the landmark Vatican summit on the issue, his critics dismissed his speech as a ‘stunning letdown.’” By Agence France-Presse

Summit affirms need to hold bishops accountable
“The Vatican summit on child protection and the clerical sexual abuse crisis affirmed the U.S. bishops’ strong belief that bishops and cardinals who abuse children or cover up abuse must be held accountable, said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston. The cardinal attended the Feb. 21-24 summit as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. ‘While here, it became obvious to me’ that several speakers were insisting that ‘any loopholes’ existing in how bishops are treated — if they are accused of abuse or of negligence in handling allegations – ‘must be closed,’ Cardinal DiNardo told Catholic News Service.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

Women in pope’s summit say child safety is everyone’s challenge
“Women who took star turns at Pope Francis’s recent summit on the protection of minors in the Catholic Church have said that ensuring child safety is something everyone is responsible for, not just bishops. Sister Pat Murray, executive secretary of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), a Rome-based umbrella group for leaders of women’s religious orders, said Monday (Feb. 25) that topics discussed during the Feb. 21-24 anti-abuse summit – responsibility, accountability and transparency – are not just aimed at bishops, but are things the Church as a whole must take to heart.” By Elise Harris,

Outspoken Nigerian nun says ‘zero tolerance’ means defrocking
“One of the questions left open in the wake of Pope Francis’s Feb. 21-24 summit on clerical sexual abuse is what, exactly, is meant by a policy of ‘zero tolerance.’ While everyone seemed to feel the Church needs it, exactly how to define it was far less clear … ‘If found guilty, you shouldn’t just move [the cleric] to another diocese, or a village parish, or a monastery,’ said Sister Veronica Openibo. ‘If it’s a grave offense, the person should leave the priesthood. To make our little ones into objects of sexual abuse is a grave sin.’” By John L. Allen, Jr., National Catholic Reporter

Survivors of sex abuse want zero tolerance. The pope offers context
“At a Vatican conference on protecting minors in the Church, abuse survivors, including a woman who’d been raped repeatedly by a priest, told how their lives had been ruined—before Pope Francis and an audience of 190 prelates from around the world. A Nigerian nun took the Church to task for ‘mediocrity, hypocrisy, and complacency.’ A cardinal acknowledged that some Church files on abuse cases had been systematically destroyed. All this seemed a step forward. And then in his closing remarks here on Sunday, Francis struck a different tone.” By Rachel Donadio, The Atlantic

‘All optics, no substance’: Survivors react to Vatican abuse summit
“Clerical child sexual abuse survivors in Ireland and abroad have reacted with disappointment to the four-day meeting at the Vatican on the protection of minors, which ended on Sunday (Feb. 24). In his final strongly worded address to 190 Catholic Church leaders from around the world, Pope Francis called for the eradication of child abuse ‘from the face of the earth’ and how in ‘the justified rage of the people, the church sees the reflection of God’s wrath, betrayed and slapped by these dishonest consecrated persons.’” By Patsy McGarry The Irish Times

Head of U.S. bishops’ after Vatican abuse summit: ‘Intensify the Dallas Charter’
“Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has promised ‘unyielding vigilance’ and an intensification of the Dallas Charter following the Vatican summit on the sexual abuse of minors. ‘We owe survivors an unyielding vigilance that we may never fail them again,’ DiNardo said. ‘How then to bind the wounds? Intensify the Dallas Charter.’” By Catholic News Agency

The church took a large step forward after abuse summit
“I hope the naysayers will be as public in admitting the success of the Vatican summit last week as they were beforehand in predicting its failure. As far as I can tell only Religion News Service’s Mark Silk and I predicted, in advance, that the meeting would constitute a large step forward. I admit, now, that my expectations were actually exceeded. I was not alone. Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, one of the meeting participants and the prelate who, more than any other, has been on the frontlines of the fight against clergy sex abuse, told me Sunday (Feb. 24) that he thought the meeting had been a success.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Women take Catholic bishops to task at Vatican abuse summit
“A prominent Nigerian nun blasted the culture of silence that has long kept clergy sexual abuse hidden in the Catholic Church, telling Catholic leaders Saturday (Feb. 23) that they must transparently admit their mistakes to restore trust among the faithful. A Mexican journalist followed up, telling the bishops and others at Pope Francis’ abuse summit that their collective failure to report abuse and inform their flocks about predator priests made them complicit in the crimes.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press in the Chicago Daily Herald

Cardinal admits to Vatican summit that Catholic Church destroyed abuse files
“A top cardinal has admitted that the global Catholic Church destroyed files to prevent documentation of decades of sexual abuse of children, telling the prelates attending Pope Francis’ clergy abuse summit Feb. 23 that such maladministration led ‘in no small measure’ to more children being harmed. In a frank speech to the 190 cardinals, bishops and heads of religious orders taking part in the four-day summit, German Cardinal Reinhard Marx said the church’s administration had left victims’ rights ‘trampled underfoot’ and ‘made it impossible’ for the worldwide institution to fulfill its mission.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Vatican abuse summit focuses on how Catholic bishops can police one another
“Presentations during the second day of Pope Francis’ highly anticipated global summit on clergy sexual abuse focused widely on how Catholic bishops should police one another for signs of questionable conduct, while also making room for the ‘essential role’ of laypeople in rooting out abuse. Although the main speeches from Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias and Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich on Feb. 22 mentioned various issues facing the global Catholic Church in confronting the abuse crisis, they both stressed a desire for prelates to watch over each other.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Vatican starts 4-day summit on clergy sex abuse
“At the opening of a landmark Vatican summit, Pope Francis warned church leaders that the faithful are demanding concrete action against the clerical sex abuse that has devastated the Catholic Church’s credibility. But as NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli reports, abuse survivors are skeptical that this will be little more than a consciousness-raising session. A note to our listeners – this story includes language describing sexual assault.” By Sylvia Poggioli, National Public Radio

Vatican abuse summit focuses on how Catholic bishops can police one another
“Presentations during the second day of Pope Francis’ highly anticipated global summit on clergy sexual abuse focused widely on how Catholic bishops should police one another for signs of questionable conduct, while also making room for the “essential role” of laypeople in rooting out abuse. Although the main speeches from Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias and Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich on Feb. 22 mentioned various issues facing the global Catholic Church in confronting the abuse crisis, they both stressed a desire for prelates to watch over each other.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Harming a child must be ‘line in the sand’ for removal, cardinal says
“For the Catholic Church, there is a ‘line in the sand,’ which can never be crossed, and that is to not allow anyone who harms or would harm a child to exercise public ministry, said Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston. In fact, removing someone from public ministry for abuse should be seen not so much as a punitive act as much as it is an urgent pastoral and ‘prudential’ measure to keep young people safe, added Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta.” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

Pope Francis presents 21-point ‘road map’ to guide discussion at abuse summit
“Pope Francis opened the four-day Vatican summit on the protection of minors in the church this morning by telling the 190 participants from more than 130 countries that ‘the holy People of God looks to us, and expects from us…concrete and effective measures to be undertaken’ to respond to the sexual abuse of minors in the church. To reinforce his words he provided the attending bishops with 21 specific points to guide their discussion in the 11 working groups divided according to languages—English, Italian, Spanish and French.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

Exclusive: Archbishop suggests creating new Vatican office to tackle abuse, clerical culture
“The Australian archbishop taking part in Pope Francis’ clergy sexual abuse summit has suggested the Vatican may need to create a new high-level office to streamline responses to victims and to examine the deep roots of the now decades-long abuse scandals. Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge said such an office could be focused on ensuring ‘integrity in the church’ and would be a way of signaling the seriousness of the problems facing the worldwide institution.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Cardinal Cupich asks for new structure to ensure bishops’ accountability
“The Catholic Church needs ‘new legal structures of accountability’ for bishops accused of sexual abuse or of negligence in handling abuse allegations, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago told the Vatican summit on safeguarding. Addressing Pope Francis and some 190 presidents of bishops’ conferences, heads of Eastern Catholic churches, religious superiors and officials of the Roman Curia Feb. 22, Cardinal Cupich provided details of what some people have described as a ‘metropolitan model’ of accountability, although he insisted the model would involve laypeople.” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

As O’Malley recedes, abuse survivors steal the show in Rome
“As Pope Francis presides over a virtually unprecedented summit of Catholic bishops to grapple with the church’s clerical abuse scandals, the pontiff’s erstwhile point man on the issue, Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, is notable largely for his absence — not physically, because he is in the room, but from the inner circle shaping policy. Filling the vacuum in large part have been activist groups such as Bishop Accountability, Ending Clergy Abuse, and Voices of Faith — the first US-based, the other two international, and all clamoring for reform not only on sex abuse but also other matters, such as the empowerment of women in the church.” By John Allen, The Boston Globe


Vatican summit opens with acknowledgment of evil committed
“Opening the Vatican summit on child protection and the clerical sexual abuse crisis, Pope Francis said, ‘The holy people of God are watching and are awaiting from us not simple, predictable condemnations, but concrete and effective measures’ to stop abuse. The summit meeting Feb. 21-24 brought together almost 190 church leaders: the presidents of national bishops’ conferences, the heads of the Eastern Catholic churches, superiors of some men’s and women’s religious orders and top Vatican officials.” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

Great expectations: Vatican abuse summit has key, realistic goals
“All eyes and ears will be on the Vatican during an unprecedented gathering next week to discuss the protection of minors in the Church. When Pope Francis announced the February 21-24 international meeting in September, it sparked an optimistic note that the global problem of abuse finally would be tackled with a concerted, coordinated global effort … So, what should people expect from the four-day meeting? The following five points hit the highlights …” By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service

Survivors of sexual abuse want church reform. Here’s why it might not happen.
“In parts of the vast Catholic world, some bishops view clerical sexual abuse as more of a sin than a crime. Others attribute it to homosexuality or question that it exists at all. Where Catholics are a minority, as in the Middle East, reporting a pedophile priest to the civil authorities is tantamount to sentencing him to death.” By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times

As Pope holds sex abuse summit, U.S. Catholics not hopeful for ‘bold moves’
“Never in the history of the Roman Catholic Church has a pope ordered bishops from around the world to come together and consider how many priests abuse children sexually and how many church officials cover for the abusers. The scandal of clergy sex abuse has deep roots in church history, but church leaders have been notoriously reluctant to acknowledge it and deal with the consequences.” By Tom Gjelten, National Public Radio

Vatican hopes meeting on child sex abuse will be a turning point
“In the decades since the crisis of clerical sexual abuse of children first exploded, the Roman Catholic church has struggled to resolve a scourge that has eroded its credibility, driven away the faithful and stained its priests, bishops, cardinals and popes. On Monday (Feb. 18), as the Vatican prepared for a meeting that will include Pope Francis and the presidents of the world’s bishops conferences, the church was still looking for a way forward.” By Jason Horowitz and Elisabetta Povoledo

Vatican emphasizes transparency and accountability at upcoming sex abuse summit
“In a significant development to ensure as much transparency as possible at the first-ever summit on the protection of minors in the church (Feb. 21-24), the Vatican will live-stream all the keynote speeches and the interventions of Pope Francis, as well as the penitential service and the closing Mass. All this can be followed in the United States, Canada and other countries worldwide. Furthermore, the Vatican has also opened a special website that is accessible to the public.” By Gerard O’Connrell, America: The Jesuit Review

Pope’s sex abuse prevention summit explained
“Pope Francis is hosting a four-day summit on preventing clergy sexual abuse, a high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops around the world that the problem is global and that there are consequences if they cover it up. The meeting opening Thursday (Feb. 21.) comes at a critical time for the church and Francis’ papacy, following the explosion of the scandal in Chile last year and renewed outrage in the United States over decades of cover-up that were exposed by the Pennsylvania grand jury report.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Ahead of pope’s abuse summit, expert warns there’s no ‘one size fits all’ fix
“A leading expert in the field of child protection has said that while one goal of the upcoming Vatican summit on abuse prevention is to get the world’s bishops on the same page, a uniform solution to the clerical abuse issue doesn’t exist. Speaking to Crux, Jesuit Father Hans Zollner said he believes the reason for calling the Feb. 21-24 anti-abuse summit is because ‘this is a very urgent, very challenging moment for the Church and an urgent question which the Holy Father has made a priority for himself and for the Church, by calling for this unique meeting.’ By Elise Harris and John L. Allen, Jr.,

No clear-cut solution to sex abuse, but next week’s meeting won’t be a failure
“One week from tomorrow (on Feb. 21), the presidents of the world’s bishops’ conferences will begin a four-day meeting in Rome to discuss the church’s response to clergy sex abuse. What can we reasonably expect from such a short meeting and on such a complex issue? Most prognosticators think the meeting will fall short of expectations. I suppose that depends on what those expectations are. Take for example, my colleague Jesuit Fr. Tom Reese, who offered five reasons he thought the meeting would fail, the last of which was this …” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

‘Zero tolerance’ doesn’t seem an inflated expectation for pope’s summit
“Twice now, and with ascending levels of authority, we’ve been cautioned not to expect too much from the summit on clerical sexual abuse Pope Francis has called for Feb. 21-24 for the presidents of bishops’ conferences around the world. First came the Vatican’s new editorial director, veteran Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli, who penned a Jan. 10 editorial complaining of media ‘hype’ over the meeting, quipping that it’s being covered as if it were ‘halfway between a council and a conclave.’” By John L. Allen, Jr.,

Catholic bishops should have experts at conference to address global clerical sexual abuse
“Catholic bishops from across the globe will meet Feb. 21-24 at the Vatican for a much anticipated conference to discuss global clerical sexual abuse. While clerics might know a lot about theology, church history and church law, they aren’t experts on research and best practices in child protection, child abuse or pedophilia. Those experts aren’t invited to the conference. And it is a shame.” By Thomas G. Plante, San Francisco Chronicle


People sieze on McCarrick laicization for their own agendas
“The Holy See’s decision to laicize Theodore McCarrick, the former cardinal, only partially closes a sad and ugly chapter in the history of the Catholic Church in the United States. The victims of McCarrick’s depraved behavior may find a modicum of healing in this execution of justice, but there is no way to give them back their childhood, nor the years of suffering that followed. To them, our hearts go out … It is impossible to square concern for victims with the efforts of some to weaponize the McCarrick tragedy for unrelated and incongruous objectives.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

McCarrick might be ‘laicized’ this week. What’s that?
“Archbishop Theodore McCarrick will reportedly be laicized this week (Feb. 12), if he is foun guilty of having sexually abused minors. But what does it mean to be ‘laicized, ‘defrocked,’ or ‘dismissed from the clerical state?’ Ordination, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, ‘confers a gift of the Holy Spirit that permits the exercise of a ‘sacred power’ which can come only from Christ himself through his Church.’” By Catholic News Agency in The Pilot


From evasion to conversion: how Pope Francis sees the sex-abuse crisis
“This is how Francis, after a difficult 2018 and above all his own experience of misjudgment and mismanagement in the case of Chile, has come to see the abuse crisis. It is much deeper than it looks, for it involves a turning-away from Christ in his people. And it cannot be repaired merely by procedural or judicial mechanisms, necessary as these are. It will require a radical transformation—a turning-back to Christ.” By Austen Ivereigh, Malaysia Herald


Daylong conference on church crisis looks at laity role, response
“Younger bishops are generally angrier about the sexual abuse crisis and want to act with more urgency to deal with it than older bishops, said the president of the United States Conference of Catholic bishops. ‘Some of the younger bishops are more angry than some of us who have been around a little longer,’ said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, answering a question on assessing the general mood of the bishops. ‘They want to move with real force — thank you. They want to move with real ‘now’ — thank you, in some sense,’ DiNardo said of the younger bishops. ‘But they also have to know that prudence is also needed,’ he added.” By Jesse Remedios, National Catholic Reporter


Dissenting sisters in rape case say they are church ‘outcasts’
“As the Vatican grapples to devise stronger protocols and responses following a historic summit focused on clergy sex abuse of minors, five nuns in India complain of church repression for their support of a former superior general who was allegedly raped by a bishop. ‘The Catholic Church leadership has been treating us as outcasts after we went public against Bishop Franco Mulakkal [of Jalandhar]. Even the Vatican has not bothered to acknowledge our complaints,’ says Sr. Anupama Kelamangalathuveli, the spokesperson for five Missionaries of Jesus nuns who in September last year staged a sit-in for the bishop’s arrest.” By Saji Thomas, Global Sisters Report, in National Catholic Reporter

World’s Catholic superiors general apologize to abuse victims before Vatican summit
“The heads of Catholic religious orders around the world apologized to clergy abuse survivors Feb. 19, acknowledging in a rare joint statement that orders habitually denied accusations in the past and covered up for abusers. Writing as ‘the Major Superiors of Religious Orders and Congregations around the world’ days before Pope Francis’ global summit on clergy sexual abuse gets underway, the groups likewise called on the Feb. 21-24 meeting to create ‘structures of accountability’ in the global church.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

U.S. nuns call for Catholic leadership overhaul after Pope admits they are abuse victims too
“The largest association of religious sisters in the United States called Thursday (Feb. 7) for an overhaul of the male-led leadership structure of the Catholic Church, after Pope Francis publicly acknowledged the problem of priests and bishops sexually abusing nuns. The Leadership Conference of Women Religious also appealed in a statement for reporting guidelines to be established so abused nuns ‘are met with compassion and are offered safety.’” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in Time


Vatican probes sex abuse allegations against Argentine bishop close to Pope Francis
“The Vatican is proceeding with an investigation into an Argentine bishop close to Pope Francis who has been accused of improper behaviour with seminarians and sexual abuse. In a statement posted to its Facebook page, the Argentine Diocese of Oran said Feb. 5 that the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops had entrusted Tucuman Archbishop Carlos Alberto Sanchez with the next phase of the investigation regarding accusations against Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta.” By Associated Press in National Post


Screening, service, reflection are Mount Angel’s antidotes to clericalism
“Catholic commentators, including Pope Francis, charge that a clerical culture embracing privilege, secrecy, superiority, anemic oversight and deference undergirds the clerical sex abuse crisis, its cover-up and the exploitation of church authority. But where does clericalism start? How is it nurtured? Who or what is to blame? Priestly formation programs predictably come to the fore. Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon seems an ideal target for inquiry — geographically isolated, approaching 130 years old, a nearly all-male student body, a brick-and-mortar reflection of the pre-Vatican II era — all factors of concern to priestly formation critics.” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter


Vatican’s secret rules for Catholic priests who have children
“Vincent Doyle, a psychotherapist in Ireland, was 28 when he learned from his mother that the Roman Catholic priest he had always known as his godfather was in truth his biological father. The discovery led him to create a global support group to help other children of priests, like him, suffering from the internalized shame that comes with being born from church scandal. When he pressed bishops to acknowledge these children, some church leaders told him that he was the product of the rarest of transgressions.” By Jason Horowitz and Elisabetta Povoledo


The Catholic Church’s U.S. seminaries need reform
“No one has a greater impact on a Catholic parish than its pastor, which is why diocesan seminaries are key to the future of the church in America. Diocesan seminaries evaluate and then form those men who want to be parish priests. Sadly, in recent decades, too many of the priests coming out of these seminaries have been trained to be authoritarians with few pastoral skills. Some of them come to seminary with an authoritarian mindset, but faculty at today’s seminaries often do little to change that.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service


Vatican’s summit on abuse gets a mixed verdict
“The recently completed meeting at the Vatican of heads of bishops’ conferences from around the globe was the latest and most elaborate of the hierarchy’s transactions with members of their own church and with the wider culture over clergy sex abuse. For a church that proclaims Jesus, this has been a long, slow slog toward truth-telling and accountability. The transactions — from denial to reluctant reform — have been going on since the scandal was first reported nearly 34 years ago.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

The Vatican summit on sex abuse: Have the bishops learned anything?
“The contrast was little short of amazing. On the one hand, you had the experience inside the synod hall by the end of last week’s Vatican abuse summit, with talk of a new resolve and clarity. On the other, you had the scorn from victims’ groups who saw only missed opportunities. Nothing like this had ever been done before: to use a synodal process to effect a global institutional conversion aimed at overcoming mechanisms of denial and resistance.” By Austin Ivereigh, Commonweal

Analysis: Pope’s sex abuse summit: what it did and didn’t do
“Pope Francis’ summit on preventing sexual abuse was never going to meet the expectations placed on it by victims groups, the media and ordinary Catholics outraged over a scandal that has harmed so many and compromised the church’s moral authority so much. Indeed, no sweeping new law was announced to punish bishops who cover up abuse. No files were released or global reporting requirement endorsed requiring priestly rapists to be reported to police. In his final speech to the summit Sunday, Pope Francis even fell back on the hierarchy’s frequent complaint of unfair press coverage. But something has changed.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

The Catholic Church’s ‘ravenous wolves’
“To many Roman Catholics worldwide, the very fact of senior bishops listening to victims of clerical sexual abuse and the pope condemning the evil in vivid language no doubt came as a shock. The main body of the church has long shifted away from the United States and Western Europe, and the faithful in Africa, Asia and Latin America have not yet confronted the blight of predatory clergymen and institutional deafness to the extent of Americans or Europeans.” By The New York Times Editorial Board

Editorial: Systematic malady has deep roots in clerical culture
“Reasons immediate and remote have merged to force a first meeting of its kind — the gathering in Rome in February of the heads of bishops’ conferences around the world to discuss the global clergy sex abuse scandal. John Carr, who directs the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University and who has spent most of his life working for bishops, had an apt characterization of the Feb. 21-24 event: It should have happened a long time ago, and it’s a miracle it’s happening.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Catholic Church ‘nowhere close’ to confronting global ‘epidemic’ of child sex abuse by priests
“The Catholic Church is ‘nowhere close’ to enacting the reforms needed to stop the ‘epidemic’ of sex abuse by predatory priests and bishops against children, campaigners warned on Tuesday (Feb. 19). Pope Francis is ‘in retreat’ from any meaningful effort to bring abusers to justice, said Bishop Accountability, a leading pressure group. The scathing criticism comes as the Vatican admits it has secret guidelines on how to deal with priests who break their celibacy vows and sire children.” By Nick Squires, The Guardian

Francis inherits decades of abuse cover-up
“As the heir to disastrous mistakes of John Paul II and Benedict XVI in their handling of the clergy sex abuse crisis, Francis is an existential pope, trying to chart a way out of the long, aching scandal by forging standards where few exist. The upcoming meeting of the heads of bishops’ conferences from around the world is the latest evidence that what was once considered the scandal of ‘a few bad apples,’ or the result of Western permissiveness, or hostile, anti-Catholic media is, in fact, a pathological sickness eating through the church’s clerical and episcopal culture. The scandal has gone global. Prosecutors in several countries have church officials under scrutiny for helping predators evade criminal prosecution.” By Jason Berry, National Catholic Reporter

What the Army can teach the Catholic Church about responding to sexual abuse
“When Pope Francis said in a 2015 interview, ‘I am a sinner,’ he reminded us of a fundamental truth: We are all imperfect. Even those striving for both moral and spiritual perfection are prone to mistakes, errors in judgment, blindnesses and biases. As human beings, we cannot be otherwise, and the organizations we create to govern ourselves—whether for business, political, security, social or religious purposes—reflect these imperfections. The Catholic Church is facing twin crises that prove this point exactly: a sexual abuse crisis and a crisis of confidence in leadership practices that allowed, then covered up, the abuse.” By James M. Dubik, America: The Jesuit Review

The Catholic Church’s euphemization of power
“Leaders of the national conferences of Catholic bishops will soon convene Feb. 21-24 in Rome to collectively confront the scourge of clerical sex abuse that failures in leadership have allowed to fester over several decades. Concrete action outcomes are urgently needed and impatiently awaited. Any emergent policy, however, if it is not built on church leaders’ recognition of how sacramental power (ordination) may contribute to the fermentation of abuse, is unlikely to be effective in eliminating clerical sexual activity and its cover-up. This task requires Pope Francis and his fellow bishops to actively choose to get to the truth and to outline it.” By Michele Dillon, National Catholic Reporter

The Editors: The Vatican’s sex abuse summit is a time for decisive action
“Cunctando regitur mundus: ‘By delay is the world ruled.’ This ancient Latin aphorism has long been a guiding principle of the practice of romanita, the art of getting things done in the Eternal City. In a church that tends to measure time in centuries, patience to wait for the right moment to act is indeed important … Now that the Vatican meeting is finally upon us, hopes are high (perhaps too high) that the summit will bring about significant and lasting change in the church’s approach to the plague of sex abuse and its cover-up.” By The Editors, America: The Jesuit Review

With so much of its leadership compromised, is the Catholic Church irredeemable?
“It’s difficult to exaggerate the crisis that has engulfed the Catholic Church due to unending revelations about priests who have sexually abused children, young adults — even nuns — and the bishops who have covered up for them. Each week, it seems, the scandal detonates yet again with fresh news of priests who have had their way with children, and the bishops who have allowed them to continue working as trusted clergymen. Nearly two decades after the scandal erupted in Boston and began its relentless march around the world, it’s become a crisis without end.” By Michael Rezendes, The Boston Globe

The Catholic Church can root out sexual abuse. But does it have the will to act?
“Pope Francis sure knows how to make headlines — and not always in a good way. Last week, aboard his flight returning from the United Arab Emirates, when asked about reports of the sexual abuse of nuns by some priests and bishops, Francis spoke about a case in which Pope Benedict dissolved an order of nuns ‘because a certain slavery of women had crept in, slavery to the point of sexual slavery on the part of clergy or the founder.’” By Father Edward Beck, CNN

Advocacy centers help abuse victims tell their story, regain turst, heal
“On a long, low shelf at Safe Shores in downtown Washington, colorful figurines of wild animals, army soldiers, a winged dragon and an angel appear to be the toy collection of an overly neat child. It’s the ‘sand tray room,’ where young survivors of sexual assault arrange figures in a tray of sand to tell stories about their experiences, often, too difficult to put into words … Over the last 30 years, the network of children’s advocacy centers has emerged as one of the nation’s most comprehensive responses to sexual violence against children.” By Eleanor Kennelly Gaetan, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

“Confess”: The profoundly spiritual art exhibit tackling the abuse crisis
“Eight years ago, the Irish-born artist Trina McKillen returned to Dublin to discover that her elderly mother no longer wanted to go to Mass—the ongoing revelations of clerical child abuse were just too much … What came of that desire to help her mother and others like her is “Confess,” an art exhibit having its Los Angeles debut over the next two months at L.M.U.’s Laband Art Gallery. The body of work consists of a series of pieces that evoke the grief and horror that surround the sexual abuse crisis.” By Jim McDermott, America: The Jesuit Review

Child sex abuse is ‘a serious and pervasive’ issue in U.S.
“Child sexual abuse in the United States is at epidemic levels. More than 60,000 children are reported to have been abused every year, outnumbering those killed by guns or cars. Those who survive are often left not only with physical wounds, but also with psychological wounds that may never heal. These wounds exact both a profound personal and social cost.” By Julie Asher, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review


An offer we must refuse
“Ninety years ago, the Church’s freedom was essentially secured and threatened by the power of a nation-state that then tried to control and subjugate the spiritual power. Today, the freedom of the Church is still at risk. This is true in some countries along the so-called ‘tenth parallel’ in Africa and Asia where Christians face a growing threat to their freedom of religion. This threat is manifest and sign of our times. But the Church faces another sign of our times, which is more subtle and insidious. It is the threat that big money poses to the Church’s freedom, presenting itself in the language of offering ‘protection.’” By Massimo Faggioli, La Croix International

Much of the $100 million from sale of Holy Name lot to go to church sex-abuse debts.
“Anticipating getting $100 million or more from the sale of a parking lot at Holy Name Cathedral, the Archdiocese of Chicago expects to spend most of that windfall repaying money that was borrowed to cover the financial costs of clergy sex abuse claims. That’s according to a Chicago Sun-Times examination of the church’s most recent financial reports and interviews that show the archdiocese owes more than $200 million, mostly related to sex abuse claims. And the church estimates it could end up with another $100 million in costs for pending and future claims.” By Robert Herguth, Chicago Sun Times


Sex-abuse survivors offer graphic and painful testimony at R.I. House hearing
“Some accounts were more graphic than others, including Ann Hagan Webb, the 66-year-old psychologist and sister of the Rhode Island lawmaker who introduced the legislation that was the focus of Tuesday (Feb. 26) night’s House Judiciary Committee hearing. Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee’s legislation would extend from 7 years to 35 the statute of limitations on the pursuit of legal claims against child molesters and any institution employing them that looked the other way.” By Katherine Gregg, Providence Journal

Clergy abuse sheds light on statute of limitations debate
“The Senate minority leader has introduced new measures that would give child sex abuse survivors more time to come forward, saying Iowa should not be a “sanctuary state” for predators. State Sen. Janet Petersen, a Democrat from Des Moines, introduced two bills tackling the issue — one that would end the statute of limitations for filing criminal charges and another that would end it for trying to collect damages in a civil lawsuit.” By Kayura Terrell, KCCI-TV 8 News Des Moines

New York State set to extend statute of limitations on child sex abuse
“They finally got a yes. After more than a decade of lobbying, advocates for changes in the New York state statute of limitations found out Jan. 28 that the state legislature approved what they had long wanted. Both the State Assembly and State Senate approved changes in the Child Victims Act, allowing sex abuse victims to sue and file criminal charges until they reach the age of 55, and opening a window for suits for up to a year for those previously frozen out by the current law. Currently, lawsuits are limited to those under the age of 23, one of the more restrictive in the country.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter


Sacred Heart Seminary: ground zero for Catholic abuse scandal in Detroit
“‘If an investigator knocks on your door, ask to see their badge, not their rosary.’ That’s what Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel told Catholics last week, warning them not to trust the church to self-police its abuse scandal. She said that, like Michigan State University investigating Larry Nassar, the Catholic Church is more interested in protecting itself than serving its flock. I share her suspicions.” By Michael Betzold, Deadline Detroit

Five major Catholic leaders taken down by the church sex abuse scandal
“The Catholic Church continues to find itself in crisis. Just days after Pope Francis wrapped up the first-ever Vatican summit on sex abuse–where more than 175 bishops from around the world discussed the clergy sex abuse scandal and how better to respond to victims–the church again drew negative headlines with the news that Australian Cardinal George Pell had been convicted of molestation. Here are five major players taken down by the scandal …” By Lindsay Schnell, USA TODAY

I was sexually abused by a Catholic priest. The Church must listen to victims.
“There is no greater pain than shame. I know. When I was a child, I was sexually abused by a Catholic priest. Trauma is the devil. It stays in the core of your being. My tears waited nearly a half-century to stream from my eyes. Many victims go to their graves never revealing what they endured. Some take their own life, like one friend of mine. I suffered the pangs of addiction, the subsequent lies, and depression and suicidal ideation, along with bankruptcy and the loss of my job and home.” By Mark Joseph Williams, The New York Times

Catholic sexual abuse crisis: where to get help
“The number of survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of priests and clergy has been estimated to be more than 100,000 people, according to the Boston Globe. There are a number of resources available for victims of priests …” By North Jersey Record

Catholic higher ed wants to be ‘part of the solution’ to sex abuse crisis
“After the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report last summer, Thomas Mengler, president of St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, sat down and wrote his archbishop a letter, in effect saying, ‘You need to get ahead of this.’ Mengler recommended a lay commission to audit the archdiocese’s efforts addressing the issue and to suggest ways to improve. This would be separate and in addition to the archdiocesan review board that evaluates individual allegations — and this new commission’s members would not be appointed by the archbishop.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter


Arkansas diocese updates clergy abuse report after independent review
“Bishop Anthony Taylor released an updated list of people who had assignments in Arkansas and against whom credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor were filed. The bishop’s addition of one priest and a religious brother to the list Feb. 8 followed an extensive review of more than 1,350 files of priests and religious who have served in Arkansas during the past 70 years.” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter


Catholic priests would have to report child sex abuse under proposed California law
“The Catholic seal of confession could lose its legal protection in California, at least as it concerns to knowledge of child abuse. Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, announced Wednesday (Feb. 20) that he is introducing a bill that would remove an exemption in the state’s ‘mandated reporter’ law that allows all members of the clergy to withhold knowledge of suspected child abuse from law enforcement if that information is obtained during ‘a penitential communication,’ such as Catholic confession.” By Andrew Sheeler, The Sacramento Bee


Review of Catholic church sexual abuse to be undertaken in Colorado; reparations program planned
“Colorado’s former U.S. attorney will lead an independent review of sexual abuse of minors in the three Colorado dioceses of the Catholic Church, and an independent compensation fund will be created for the victims of abuse, as part of a combined effort between the Colorado Attorney General’s Office and the church. Attorney General Phil Weiser and Archbishop Samuel Aquila announced the new initiatives in Denver Tuesday (Feb. 19) morning.” By Blair Miller, The Denver Channel


In video, Bridgeport bishop calls sex abuse by clerics crime and sin
“In a video posted Feb. 11 on YouTube, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut, offered support for the ‘many sisters and brothers who have been wounded, violated, hurt and abused at the hands of priests and deacons’ and whose sexual abuse in their youth ‘changed their lives forever.’ ‘The crime and sin of sexual abuse in our midst is a deep evil that has created a deep wound,’ said Bishop Caggiano, who has been one of the most outspoken U.S. bishops on the topic of sex abuse by clergy.” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

Norwich diocese posts list of priests accused of sexually assaulting children
“The Diocese of Norwich on Sunday (Feb. 10) afternoon released the names of 43 priests who have served in the diocese since its founding in 1953 and have had ‘allegations of substance’ made against them regarding the sexual abuse of minors. The list does not include what parishes the priests served at, what they were accused of doing and whether the diocese reported them to police or the state Department of Children and Families, which clergy have been required to do under the state’s mandatory reporter law since 1971.” By Joe Wojtas, The Day

Preliminary settlement I Haitian sex abuse case involving Fairfield U., others
“About 133 victims of sexual abuse at a Haitian boys school affiliated with Fairfield University and other religious groups are a step closer to receiving $250,000 each — or $61 million in total — for their suffering. U.S. District Judge Robert Chatigny on Monday (Feb11) accepted a negotiated settlement with the university and other groups for payment to the victims. A final settlement is expected to be approved this spring.” By Bill Cummings, New Haven Register


Sioux City diocese names 28 priests ‘credibly accused’ of sexually assaulting minors
“The Diocese of Sioux City has published the names of 28 priests it said are credibly accused of sexually abusing minors. ‘It’s with a heavy and sad heart I acknowledge that some of our priests and bishops have abused the grace and beauty of the priesthood,’ Sioux City Bishop R. Walker Nickless said at a news conference Monday (Feb. 25). ‘They have sexually abused innocent children.’” By Shelby Fleig, Des Moines Register


Survivors group in Kansas reveals names of more Catholic priests accused of molestation
“The names of five Roman Catholic priests thought to have molested children in other states — though they weren’t on the list the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas released Jan. 25 identifying 22 priests it concluded had sexually abused children — were made public Wednesday (Feb. 13) in Topeka by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.” By Tim Hrenchir, Dodge City Daily Globe


Louisville Catholic archdiocese reports on priest abuse
“The Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville released a report Friday (Feb.8) that documents priests who have been accused of sexual abuse dating to the 1930s.The report, prepared by a former federal prosecutor, names 22 priests ordained between 1932 and 1985 who were described as being credibly accused of past abuse. All 22 are either deceased, were removed from ministry or are in prison. The archdiocese says there were 12 more priests who had been accused but there was incomplete information. Eleven of those priests have died.” By Dylan Lovan, Associated Press, in The Eagle


Church releases more names of Catholic priests accused of molesting children
“The Catholic church has released the names of 17 priests assigned to churches in North Louisiana who are believed to have sexually abused children before 1986. Thirteen served at churches in Shreveport-Bossier City. The names were released Wednesday (Feb. 6) by the Diocese of Alexandria, which oversaw Shreveport until 1986, when Shreveport became a separate diocese. Under church protocol, the files of accused pedophile priests stayed in Alexandria.” By KTBS-TV


Hampden DA Anthony Gulluni ‘dissatisfied’ with clergy sex abuse reporting by Springfield Diocese
“Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said Tuesday Feb. 26) he is ‘dissatisfied’ with what he termed the ‘inconsistency in reporting’ of clergy sexual abuse by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield. The district attorney is urging victims and their families to call his office’s newly established hotline to report sexual abuse by members of clergy in Hampden County.” By Anne-Gerard Flynn, Springfield Republican on

Clergy sex abuse survivor plans hunger strike
“A survivor of clergy sex abuse from Massachusetts has decided to stop eating until the Vatican acknowledges receipt of messages from several families of victims that he was assured would be sent to Pope Francis. Olan Horne, 59, of Chester, one of the first survivors to go public about abuse in the Boston Archdiocese and a longtime advocate for families affected by abuse, told The Berkshire Eagle for a story published Monday (Feb. 18) that his hunger strike will start at midnight Wednesday (Feb. 19). A summit on abuse starts Thursday (Feb. 21) in Rome.” By Associated Press in Minneapolis Star Tribune


Focus: Michigan clergy sex abuse investigation
“Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is going full-speed ahead on the state’s investigation into the Catholic Church. Kevin Essebaggers gets you up to speed on the actions taken already, and Nessel’s plans for the future of the investigation into predator priests. We also hear everything the Attorney General had to say on the matter at her recent press conference.” By Joe Buczek, 9&10 News

Local priest banned from Catholic church after sexual harassment claims
“A local priest who resigned last year after being accused of sexual harassment has been banned from the catholic church. It’s an update to a story FOX 47 News has been tracking for months. Father Inglot submitted his resignation as pastor of Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish in East Lansing and the Saint John Church and Student Center last October.” By Maureen Haliday, FOX47 News


Nienstedt probe shows need for bishop reforms, Minnesota Catholics say
“Pope Francis will convene a historic clergy sex abuse summit this month, and many Minnesota Catholics are watching to see if it tackles an issue close to home — what to do about reported misconduct by bishops. It’s an issue felt keenly in the Twin Cities, where the halted 2014 investigation into former Archbishop John Nienstedt is considered by many Catholics as a case study of all that can go wrong when the church has no clear, independent policies for investigating its top leaders.” By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune


Nebraska officials subpoena hundreds of Catholic churches
“Nebraska officials have subpoenaed more than 400 Roman Catholic churches and institutions in the state seeking any records related to child sexual assault or abuse. The move was announced Tuesday (Feb. 26) by the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, which had last summer asked Nebraska’s three Catholic diocese to voluntarily turn over records of child sex abuse dating back decades.” By Margery A. Beck, Associated Press, on Fox News Network

Clergy sex abuse support group to challenge Omaha Catholic officials Wednesday
“Holding childhood photos and signs, members of a nation-wide support group for clergy sex abuse will stand outside Omaha’s Catholic headquarters tomorrow (Feb. 13) urging officials to make changes and provide more information. The support group is called SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), and say via e-mail that Omaha Archbishop George Lucas omitted crucial details and four names from his list of 38 alleged predators released in November.” By Danielle Meadows,


Five disturbing things we learned from the Catholic Church’s list of 188 alleged sexual abusers in New Jersey
“The list spans nearly a century. It reaches across every corner of the state. And it reveals a tangled web of abuse allegedly carried out by scores of priests, some of whom were apparently shuffled from parish to parish. The five Catholic Dioceses’ release of 188 priests and deacons who were credibly accused of sexually abusing children reverberates across generations of Catholics both in New Jersey and across the country, once again confronted with disheartening allegations against church leaders amid an ever-deepening scandal.” By Stephen Stirling,

New Jersey Catholic dioceses launch compensation fund for victims of clergy sex abuse
“The Roman Catholic dioceses in New Jersey, some reeling from their own clergy abuse scandals, announced plans on Monday Feb. 11) to establish a unified victims-compensation fund aimed at providing money to some people who were abused by clergy members as children. ‘This is the first time we’re doing a statewide program using the same protocol and the same eligibility criteria,’ said Camille Biros, who will administer the program and currently oversees similar ones in New York and Pennsylvania. ‘This is important news, and we’re looking forward to working with all the dioceses in the state.” By Liz Navratil and Angela Couloumbis, Pittsburg Post-Gazette


New Mexico Catholic ex-priest arrested for child rape
“A former Catholic priest on the Santa Fe Archdiocese’s list of clergy members credibly accused of sexually abusing children was arrested Friday on charges he kidnapped and raped a 6-year-old boy during the mid-1980s. Marvin Archuleta, 80, was taken into custody in Albuquerque after the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office filed a criminal complaint against the former priest on child rape and kidnapping charges.” By Associated Press on


Clergy abuse survivor sues Syracuse Catholic Diocese hours after new law takes effect
“A survivor of clergy sexual abuse in Central New York filed a lawsuit against the Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese, this afternoon (Feb. 14) after a new law lifted restrictions on such suits. The Child Victims Act, passed in New York in January and signed by the governor today, gives victims until their 55th birthday to file civil suits against their abusers and institutions.” By Julie McMahon,

Local priest had ‘improper conduct with minor’
“Church officials say an independent review board has found that decades-old abuse allegations against Father John J. Lynch are credible, and that he has been permanently removed from his ministry at Immaculate Conception Church in Woodbourne. Lynch, 79, a Newburgh native, was temporarily removed in late September after the Archdiocese of New York received a complaint of ‘improper conduct with a minor’ said to have happened 30-plus years ago in Orange County.” By Heather Yakin, Times Herald-Record


Erie diocese set to start victims’ fund
“In the week ahead, as many as 120 victims of clergy sexual abuse will receive letters from Erie Catholic Bishop Lawrence Persico. The letters will help launch the operation of the diocese’s victims’ compensation fund, which Persico created in response to the Aug. 14 Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy abuse in the Roman Catholic Church statewide. The six-month period for victims to file claims with the fund starts on Feb. 15 and ends on Aug. 15, Persico said in an interview on Friday (Feb. 8).” By Ed Palattella,

‘They are angry’: Harrisburg Diocese Catholics bring questions to session about clergy sex abuse
“A Manheim Township couple who has stopped attending Mass said they don’t believe the leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg when he speaks. Central Pennsylvania’s diocese has scheduled listening sessions to atone for their role in the Catholic Church’s clergy sexual abuse scandal. The fourth session was held at St. Leo the Great Parish in Lancaster County on Tuesday (Feb. 12) evening. Another session is scheduled Wednesday in St. Joseph Parish in Mechanicsburg.” By Jana Benscoter,

New sexual abuse allegations announced against deceased priest
“The Diocese of Pittsburgh has announced new sexual abuse allegations against a deceased priest who taught at Central Catholic High School. The diocese said Father John O’Brien is accused of sexually abusing a minor in the mid-1960s while he was a Christian Brother teaching at the school using his religious name Brother Firmilian, John, FSC.” By WPXI-TV News


Testimony: Providence has paid more than $21 million to settle clergy-abuse claims
“In an effort to demonstrate to Rhode Island lawmakers how seriously it takes sexual misconduct allegations, an arm of the Catholic Diocese of Providence has acknowledged paying ‘over $21 million in legal settlements,’ and another $2.3 million for counseling to ‘resolve’ more than 130 claims of abuse by clergy in church-run schools and parishes.” By Katherine Gregg, Providence Journal


Houston police investigate local Catholic priest accused of sexual abuse
“The Houston Police Department is investigating a local Catholic priest based on accusations of sexual abuse by two alleged victims, the Houston Chronicle reported. HPD’s Special Victims Division is conducting the investigation. Although police haven’t identified the priest, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has disclosed that it forwarded two complaints to HPD about Father John Keller, a priest at Prince of Peace Catholic Community, located in Tomball. Keller has been temporarily removed from ministry.” By KUHT-TV 8 Houston Public Media

What we know about the priests accused of sexual abuse of minors in Corpus Christi
“Twenty-six clergy members with ties to the Catholic Diocese of Corpus Christi had ‘credible’ claims of sexual abuse to minors. The diocese was among the 15 in Texas that released names of clergy members with “credible” accusations Jan. 31. Twelve of the clergy members listed were dead and two received criminal convictions. Bishop Michael Mulvey said no one on the list is active in the ministry. Here’s what we know about the men on the Diocese of Corpus Christi’s list.” By Alexandra Rodriguez, Corpus Christi Caller Times


Virginia’s two Catholic bishops release names of 58 priests they say have credibly accused of sexually abusing minors
“Virginia’s two Catholic dioceses on Wednesday (Feb. 14) released lists of clergy who officials say were deemed ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing youth, the latest in a slew of U.S. dioceses to make public such names amid a national crisis over clerical abuse and coverups. The Diocese of Arlington, which covers the northeastern corner of Virginia, released a list of 16 names. It said the list was the product of two former FBI agents contracted by the diocese and given access to clergy files and information dating to its founding in 1974.” By Michelle Boorstein and Sarah Pulliam Bailey, The Washington Post


Former Seattle nun wants less talk, more action from Pope Francis to address sex abuse
“Kim Malcolm talks with Mary Dispenza about the recent Vatican meeting on clerical sex abuse. Pope Francis recently held an historic meeting at the Vatican to address sex abuse within the Catholic Church. But many advocates, including Dispenza, say the summit ended with few concrete actions. Dispenza, a former nun, is the Northwest Director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, also known as SNAP.” By Andy Hurst and Kim Malcolm,


West Virginia Catholic high school removes bishop’s name from gym
“Former Wheeling-Charleston Bishop Michael Bransfield’s name has been removed from the gymnasium at Central Catholic High School in Wheeling. School officials said the school board voted unanimously at its January meeting to recommend to the diocese, for its approval, that the name be removed to coincide with the recommendation that all buildings and facilities be named for saints.” By Colleen Rowan, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter


Africa is also grappling with clerical abuse, say Catholic leaders
When child sexual abuse scandals involving Catholic priests emerge in Africa, they do not draw a frenzied reaction similar to that witnessed in developed countries, but the continent’s church is affected, said Catholic leaders. While there is a general view that the scandals are a challenge of the church in Europe and America, African officials confirm the incidents, amid reports of some provinces expelling or defrocking priests.” By Fredrick Nzwili, Catholic News Service, on


In countdown to summit, abuse scandals rock pope’s native Argentina
“As a Feb. 21-24 Vatican summit on the protection of minors approaches, ferment related to clerical sexual abuse continues to percolate in Pope Francis’s native Argentina. The episodes in question range from a bishop given refuge in the Vatican who is now facing charges, to a monastery in trouble and a bishops’ conference president with great expectations for the pope’s assembly.” By Inés San Martin,


Royal commission a roadmap for Church: Archbishop Coleridge
“The royal commission into child sexual abuse is a roadmap that can help guide the Church’s response to decades of crimes and cover-ups, Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge said in Rome on Tuesday (Feb. 19). Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge Coleridge is in Rome for a summit at the Vatican where over 100 bishops, Church leaders and survivors will discuss the protection of minors and vulnerable adults.” By


Catholic archbishop in Brazil bans priests from being alone with children
“A Brazilian Catholic archbishop has banned priests in his district from being alone with children. Manoel Delson, archbishop of the northeastern state of Paraiba, signed the decree on Wednesday (Feb. 13) following a court order forcing the archdiocese to pay almost £2.5m in compensation over the sexual exploitation of minors.” By Tom Embury-Dennis, Independent


French bishops agree to compensation for sex abuse victims
“Still struggling to come to terms with their share of responsibility in the clerical sex abuse scandal rocking the Catholic Church, France’s bishops have agreed to award financial compensation to victims whose cases fall outside of France’s statute of limitations. ‘We have agreed in principle to make a financial gesture,’ Vincent Neymon, head of communications for the French bishops’conference, told The Associated Press in an interview this week. He said he hoped to have a system for paying victims in place in less than a year.” By Samuel Petrequin, The Tribune

They say they were sexually abused by priests, then silenced. Now these women are speaking out.
“Lucie was just 16 when she became involved with a Catholic religious community after attending a holiday camp in Switzerland. At the time, she told CNN, she was ‘very, very, very alone’ and looking for friends and affection. What she found at first was ‘really like a family,’ she said. But two years later — by which time she was preparing to become an ‘oblate,’ a lay person affiliated with a religious order — she says a pattern of sexual abuse by a charismatic priest who she considered her spiritual father began … CNN has spoken to several other women who say they are victims of the devastating sexual, psychological and spiritual abuse they suffered within the Community of St. John.” By Melissa Bell, Saskya Vandoorne and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

French senate questions Catholic official on abuse by clergy
“The spokesman for France’s Catholic bishops’ conference told lawmakers Tuesday Feb. 12) the French church is working with authorities to uncover and eradicate child sex abuse after allegations made in recent years revealed the scope of the country’s problem with pedophile priests. Senators questioned the Rev. Olivier Ribadeau Dumas of the Conference of Bishops of France for a Senate commission that is preparing a report on pedophilia across French institutions.” By Thomas Adamson, Associated Press, in


Doris Reisinger: For clergy, ‘I was the perfect victim’
“Pope Francis has belatedly acknowledged that nuns have been sexually assaulted by Catholic priests. Doris Reisinger, who wrote of enduring sexual assault by clergy as a nun, tells DW that the Vatican must finally act. As the Catholic Church reels from continued reports of sexual abuse by clergy worldwide, Pope Francis has, for the first time, acknowledged the rape of nuns by clergy, saying the Vatican must do more to prevent assault.” By Deutsch Welle


Nun’s rape case against bishop shakes a Catholic bastion in India
“ When Bishop Franco Mulakkal agreed to personally celebrate the First Communion for Darly’s son, a rare honor in their Catholic Church in India, the family was overcome with pride. During the ceremony, Darly looked over at her sister, a nun who worked with the bishop, to see her eyes spilling over with tears — tears of joy, she figured. But only later would she learn of her sister’s allegation that the night before, the bishop had summoned the nun to his quarters and raped her. The family says that was the first assault in a two-year ordeal in which the prelate raped her 13 times.” By Maria Abi-Habib and Suhasini Raj, The New York Times


Catholic Primate says abuse survivors rightly demand church transparency
Abuse survivors deserve to be believed, loved and cherished – not isolated or seen as a threat,’ the Catholic Primate of All Ireland, Eamon Martin, has said, speaking on the eve of a meeting in the Vatican on child protection. The archbishop said he knew nothing he could say could ‘undo the terrible wrong’ abuse survivors had endured, ‘but I once more commit to doing all I can to ensure that church activities are as safe as possible for children and vulnerable people.’” By Patsy McGarry, Irish Times


U.N. committee blasts Italy for complicity in Church’s abuse scandals
“A United Nations commission has published a scathing report of Italy’s handling of clerical sexual abuse, stating its concern with numerous cases of children being sexually abused by Catholic priests in the country and calling for an independent and impartial commission of inquiry. ‘The committee is concerned about the numerous cases of children having been sexually abused by religious personnel of the Catholic Church in the State party and the low number of investigations and criminal prosecutions,’ said a Feb. 7 report of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.” By Claire Giangravè,, on


Mexican bishops confirm 152 priests removed for abusing minors
“The Mexican bishops’ conference has confirmed 152 priests have been removed from ministry for sexually abusing minors. In a Feb. 12 statement, the conference published the preliminary figure, while promising, ‘We will continue with the effort to have a complete diagnosis of cases of child sexual abuse in Mexico.’ The statement followed comments from Archbishop Rogelio Cabrera Lopez of Monterrey, conference president, who told reporters Feb. 10, ‘152 priests have been removed from ministry. Some, for the size of their crime, have had to go to prison.’” By David Agren, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter


Polish archbishop meets pedophilia victims, says concealing abuse inexcusable
“A Polish archbishop has invited victims of sexual abuse by pedophile priests to meet him, and said all Catholics had a duty to report and prevent such crimes. Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki said on Wednesday (Feb. 13) that 28 people who suffered abuse as children had accepted his invitation, some of whom he had already spoken to.” By Reuters


Portuguese Catholic Church finds few sexual abuse cases
“The Catholic Church’s news service in Portugal reports that a senior official says church authorities have investigated only about a dozen allegations of sexual abuse involving Portuguese priests since 2001. Agencia Ecclesia says Father Manuel Barbosa, spokesman for the Portuguese bishops’ conference, told reporters Tuesday that more than half of those cases were dropped because church investigators decided there was not enough evidence to pursue them.” By Associated Press on Fox News Network