Voice of the Faithful Focus, Feb. 10, 2017

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


Child abuse: 7% of Australian Catholic priests alleged to be involved
“An inquiry examining institutional sex abuse in Australia has heard 7% of the nation’s Catholic priests allegedly abused children between 1950 and 2010. In one religious order, over 40% of church figures were accused of abuse. Over 4,440 people claim to have been victims between 1980 and 2015. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse … has previously heard harrowing testimony from scores of people who suffered abuse at the hands of clergy.” By BBC News Australia
— ‘This scourge must end once and for all.’ says priest’s victim, By Samantha Hutchinson, The Australian
Royal Commission into child sex abuse: Senior ranks of Catholic Church to front inquiry, By Carleen Frost, The Daily Telegraph
Australian Catholic Church: 7 percent of priests sexually abused kids over decades, By Merrit Kennedy, National Public Radio

Pennsylvania Senate approves child sex-abuse bill extending criminal, civil statues of limitaitons
“The Pennsylvania Senate unanimously passed a bill Wednesday (Feb. 1) that would give future victims of child sex abuse more time to prosecute or sue their attackers than currently allowed under state law … The measure would eliminate the criminal statute of limitations for prospective cases of child sexual abuse and also allow future victims to sue their attackers at any age.” By Maria Panaritis, Philly.com

‘Clarification is gravely needed’: international priests’ association gives support to dubia
“An international association of Catholic priests has issued a statement in support of the four cardinals’ request for clarification of Amoris Laetitia. The Confraternities of Catholic Clergy, who represent over 1,000 priests in Britain, Ireland, Australia and the United States, said a clarification is ‘gravely needed to correct the misuse of the Apostolic Exhortation to undermine sacred Tradition.’” By Dan Hitchens, Catholic Herald

North Carolina ‘Church in Exile’ battles restorationists
“It’s a few nights after a January snowstorm, and the mountain pathways around Waynesville are treacherous … These are the people of St. John the Evangelist Church in Waynesville who, soon after the arrival of Fr. Christopher Riehl as parish administrator in July 2014, formed what they call a Church in Exile.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter
Restorationism brings traditionalist approaches to parish life, By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis has ordered a review of the new Mass translation
“Pope Francis has ordered a review of ‘Liturgiam Authenticam,’ the controversial decree behind the most recent translations of liturgical texts from Latin into English and other languages. The commission, established by the pope just before Christmas, is also tasked with examining what level of decentralization is desirable in the church on matters such as this. The mixed commission includes bishops from all the continents.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review
Why Pope Francis is right to revisit the new Mass translation, By Michael Ryan, America: The Jesuit Review


Vatican confirms Apuron trial: canon lawyers say trial could last for years
“The Vatican has confirmed Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron’s canonical trial is ongoing, and some leading canon law experts said it could last for years. Vatican policy dictates that only Rome can investigate bishops and archbishops who are accused of sexual abuse. Besides undergoing a canonical trial in Rome, Apuron is also facing lawsuits filed in the Superior Court of Guam for allegedly raping and sexually abusing altar boys in the 1970s.” By Haidee V. Eugenio, Pacific Daily News


Pope denounces ‘restorationist’ orders, pokes fun at Medjugorje
“Pope Francis said that clerical sexual abuse is the work of the devil, there’s corruption in the Vatican, warned against new religious orders with a ‘restorationist’ mentality, and even appeared to take a gentle shot at reputed Marian apparitions such as Medjugorje, saying the real Madonna is not ‘the head of a post office that every day sends a different letter.’ By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Cries of ‘dictator’ show Pope Francis is making progress
Critics of Pope Francis have seized on his intervention in the Order of Malta to portray him as an authoritarian at odds with his benign image. In fact, Francis has always been a fierce reformer who will use his authority to combat ‘spiritual worldliness.’ The complaints now being directed at the pope show that the reforms are working.” By Austen Ivereigh, Cruxnow.com

Conservative criticism intensifies against Pope Francis
Conservative criticism of Pope Francis intensified Saturday (Feb. 4) after his intervention in the Knights of Malta order, with posters appearing around Rome citing his actions against conservative Catholics and asking: ‘Where’s your mercy?’ The posters appeared on the same day that Francis cemented his authority over the Knights by naming a top Vatican archbishop, Angelo Becciu, to be his special delegate to the ancient aristocratic order.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Salt Lake Tribune
U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke stokes papal tensions by meeting nationalist in Rome, By Stephanie Kirchgaessner, The Guardian

Pope Francis is leading a huge, quiet revolution in the church
“Cardinal Kasper has had some interesting things to say about what is going on in the Catholic Church under the papacy of Francis. In particular he commented that the 2016 Apostolic Exhortation ‘The Joy of Love,’ ‘doesn’t change anything of church doctrine or canon law– but it changes everything.’ Kasper is clearly excited by what is happening, but what does he mean by a statement like that?” By Fr. Gerry O’Hanlon, The Irish Times


Removal of pastor feeds perceptions of draconian authority
“By removing a dedicated pastor at an Anglican Use parish, Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio has not only engaged in a striking overreach, but he’s fed perceptions that Catholic prelates are inflexible, authoritarian and aggressively assertive.” By Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Cruxnow.com

Politics and the pastor William Murphy
“As a priest, in private moments with the ill or the grieving, Bishop William F. Murphy has been admirably pastoral and compassionate. As a bishop, he’s too often been autocratic, with a knack for committing unforced errors, marring his 15-plus years leading the Diocese of Rockville Centre.” By Bob Keeler, Newsday


Redemptorist Fr. Tony Flannery celebrates Mass after five-year ban
“Redemptorist Fr. Tony Flannery has said he is not anticipating any backlash from the Vatican over his celebration of a public Mass last Sunday (Jan. 22) in contravention of a ban on public ministry imposed on him by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. The 70-year-old Irish missioner described the liturgy, which was attended by up to 800 people, as ‘emotional and beautiful.’” By Sarah Mac Donald, National Catholic Reporter


Stem parish closures and mergers pleads U.S. priests group
“An association of nearly 1,200 U.S. priests is in the final development stages of issuing an urgent ‘plea’ to the U.S. bishops to ‘formulate a plan now to meet this emerging crisis’ of parish closings and consolidations. In a working draft it calls a ‘Proposal for Pastoral Care In & Thru Priestless Parishes,’ the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests exhorts the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and ‘dioceses nationwide’ to quickly address the issue. Core to the plan is ‘new and more specific exploration’ of lay ecclesial ministers to oversee non-sacramental aspects of parish life and administration, according to a proposed plan cover letter contained in an email to NCR.” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

Summer gathering of Catholic leaders meant to revitalize church in U.S.
“When a diverse group of more than 3,000 Catholic leaders convene in Orlando, Florida, they will be coming up with ways to best reflect the church’s missionary call in today’s world. The invitation-only convocation will gather bishops, heads of national Catholic organizations and lay movements, leaders of religious orders and diocesan ministries and outreach programs.” By Catholic News Agency on Cruxnow.com

Diversity, leaky roofs and aging priests: In the changing U.S. Catholic Church
“The American Catholic Church is changing faster than its infrastructure can keep up with. Catholic Parishes of the 21st Century, out on Feb. 1, paints a portrait of a church that is challenged not so much by hot-button political and cultural issues as it is by the quotidian concerns of leaky roofs and aging priests.” By Leah Libresco, America: The Jesuit Review

Reform of the reform
“The tightly controlled and highly centralized approach to the translation of liturgical texts that has reigned in the Roman Catholic Church over the past fifteen years is likely coming to an end. In a move that is widely expected to open the door to more pastoral guidelines and approaches, Pope Francis has inaugurated a review and re-evaluation of the 2001 document Liturgiam authenticam. The move was at least a year in coming. To understand what happened, however, it is necessary to know some background.” By Rita Ferrone, Commonweal

‘The Church is in a state of utter collapse’: Irish priests at odds with Vatican speak out
“Two priests have said the Vatican should change how it deals with clergy and lay people. Fr Tony Flannery and Fr Sean McDonagh, co-founders of the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland, have both been at odds with the Vatican on more than one occasion. Speaking to Miriam O’Callaghan on RTÉ Radio 1 today (Jan. 29), they said the Catholic Church also needs to apologize for how it has treated women and give them more power in the Church.” By TheJournal.ie


Germans still jousting over the proper reading of ‘Amoris Laetitia’
“Cardinal Gerhard Muller, the Vatican’s doctrinal czar, said Wednesday (Feb. 1) that Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics is against Church doctrine and no one, including the pope, can change that. On the same day, the German bishops wrote that Pope Francis’ ‘Amoris Laetitia’ does in fact, open doors to access the sacraments, at least in some circumstances.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com
German Catholic Church approves case-by-case communion for remarried, By Deutsche Welle

Wuerl: ‘Amoris Laetitia’ about accompanying couples amid life’s changes
“Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on marriage and family life, ‘Amoris Laetitia,’ calls on priests to accompany couples and individuals facing the challenges of modern life, so they can draw closer to Christ and experience his love and mercy, Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl said Jan. 21. He addressed a workshop on the papal document for seminarians of the Archdiocese of Washington.” By Mark Zimmermann, Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com


Priests call on Rome to recognize women
“Censured priest Tony Flannery has called on the Vatican to apologize for the way it has treated women and to give them a greater role within the Church … ‘One of the greatest scandals of the Church is, from the New Testament period right up to now, how [it] treated women,’ he said.” By The Irish World


Would scrapping Catholic priest celibacy reduce child sex abuse?
“After they are ordained, Catholic priests can’t have sex or get married. This week the Royal Commission asked the question: could the tradition of celibacy have partly led to the high rates of sex abuse in the Church … The same day these figures (on clergy sexual abuse) were released, Dr Michael Whelan, a Marist priest, told the inquiry that the church’s law of celibacy was misguided and should not be in place. He said celibacy was ‘a huge issue for the Catholic Church and we have to deal with it.’” By Australian Broadcasting Company
Why Catholic priests should be allowed to marry, By Bill Hoffman, Northern Star


Cardinal Dolan, fuming over archdiocese’s ‘rich’ image, vacations at mansion
“The luxurious home, given to the Archdiocese of New York in December 2015, is an eight-bedroom, 10,000-square-foot manor house on seven lakefront acres here, with a private tennis court, outdoor pool and 70-foot indoor lap pool that resembles a Venetian canal… But the forest-framed residence, where Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York, has vacationed at least twice in the past year, is now presenting a conundrum for the New York archdiocese, which is already fighting a perception among parishioners that it is ‘bloated’ and ‘rich,’ even as it continues to close parishes and schools, including six school closings announced Monday.” By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times


New Hampshire bills would end statute of limitations for sex assaults
“State Sens. Martha Fuller Clark, D-Portsmouth, and Lou D’Allesandro, D-Manchester, on Tuesday (Jan. 31) introduced Senate Bills 98 and 164 before the Judiciary Committee. Both bills increase protections for sexual assault survivors by eliminating the statute of limitations in sexual assault cases. ‘We need to do more in New Hampshire to ensure that survivors are given the resources they need to seek justice,’ said Fuller Clark, prime sponsor of SB 98.” By Martha Fuller Clark, SeacoastOnline.com

Pennsylvania Senate reopens child sex abuse debate; deadlines to bring cases against abusers extended in new bill
“The state Senate reopened debate Monday (Jan. 30) on the thorny issue of ensuring wider paths to justice for victims of child sexual abuse. Judiciary Committee members voted without opposition to move a bill to the Senate floor that would give future abuse victims longer windows to bring lawsuits or criminal prosecution against their tormentors. But it does not include any changes for those adults for whom statute of limitations have already run, a demand insisted on by many advocates for abuse victims that was included in House-passed versions of the bill last year.” By Charles Thompson, PennLive.com


Father Thomas Doyle tells royal commission Vatican failed sex abuse victims
“The Vatican has failed to support survivors of sexual abuse in the church for decades, with prominent Catholics demanding action at a royal commission.A whistleblower priest who was one of the first to report allegations of sexual abuse tothe Vatican in the 1980s told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse he was punished for speaking out.” By Rachel Browne, Sydney Morning Herald

Canon lawyers: Guam clergy abuse trials could rip open secret archives
“Guam clergy sexual abuse trials could rip open secret archives that every bishop or archbishop is required to keep under canon law, U.S.-based experts on laws governing the Catholic Church said. The church secret archives contain sensitive records that could pertain to priest misconduct such as their sexual abuse of children, substance abuse and alcoholism, as well as mental health challenges, lawyers said.” By Haidee V. Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

“Tragic, indefensible”: Seven percent of Catholic priests accused of child abuse
“Seven per cent of Australia’s Catholic priests were alleged perpetrators of child sexual abuse between 1950 and 2010, according to an analysis released by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The royal commission had sought information about claims received by the Australian Catholic Church between 1980 and 2015. ‘Between January 1980 and February 2015, 4444 people alleged incidents of child sexual abuse made to 93 Catholic Church authorities,’ counsel assisting Gail Furness SC said her opening address at a commission hearing in Sydney today (Feb. 6).” By Adelaide In Daily
Australian priest confesses to child abuse, By SkyNews.com.au

Watchdog group that fought Catholic Church faces upheaval
“A victims’ support group that helped force the Roman Catholic Church to confront the problem of child-molesting priests is going through upheaval of its own, including the resignations of two top leaders and a potentially reputation-damaging lawsuit. Barbara Blaine, who founded the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, in 1988, stepped down as president Friday, about a month after the resignation of long-time executive director David Clohessy.” By Jim Salter, Associated Press
SNAP founder quits in second major loss for abuse advocacy group following lawsuit, By David Gibson, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter
Barbara Blaine, leader of priest sex-abuse survivors group, steps down, By Chicago Tribune Staff
SNAP statement regarding Gretchen Hammond’s recent lawsuit, By SNAP Board Chair Mary Ellen Kruger
After SNAP president resigns, new generation of leadership eyed, By Denni Sadowski, Catholic News Service


Settlement of another lawsuit against defrocked priest McCormack: $2.3 million
“The Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has settled another lawsuit accusing defrocked priest Daniel McCormack of sexual abuse, this one for $2.3 million. The settlement was reached with a man who said in a lawsuit that he was 12 when he was twice sexually abused by McCormack when the priest was assigned to St. Agatha’s Parish in Lawndale on the West Side.” By Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas, Chicago Tribune


Defrocked Massachusetts priest once jailed for rape now faces charges in Maine
“A former Catholic priest of the Boston archdiocese, who served more than 10 years in prison for raping an altar boy, was indicted Tuesday (Feb. 7) in Maine on 29 new counts of sexual misconduct involving two boys dating back to when he was a priest in Massachusetts, authorities said. Ronald H. Paquin, 74, who served at parishes in Haverhill and Methuen before he was defrocked in 2004, was indicted by a grand jury in York County for allegedly abusing the victims in Kennebunkport between 1985 and 1989, District Attorney Kathryn Slattery said.” By Travis Andersen, The Boston Globe


Catholic school teacher faces sex abuse charges
“Robert Bonner, a teacher, coach and part-time assistant athletic director at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School a Catholic elementary and high school in Middle River, turned himself in to Baltimore County police Wednesday (Feb. 1) after a warrant for his arrest was issued Monday (Jan. 30), a spokesman with the Archdiocese of Baltimore said in a statement.” By WBAL-TV


Lawsuit against church youth leader, Charlotte Catholic Diocese alleges sexual assault, negligence
“A civil lawsuit filed Thursday (Feb. 2) in Mecklenburg County claims that John Brian Kaup, who was in the seminary training to become a priest, used his position as a youth counselor at Sacred Heart Church in Salisburty to sexually abuse a teenage girl. The Charlotte Catholic diocese and Bishop Peter Jugis are also named in a lawsuit, saying they failed to protect the teenager.” By Allison Latos, WSOC-TV


Adult brothers file sex suit against Oregon priests
“Two adult brothers filed suit against the Archdiocese of Portland Wednesday (Feb. 1) alleging they were sexually abused by priests as children in Oregon. The lawsuit, filed by the Dumas Law Group, claims Fr. James Harris and Fr. Maurice Grammond abused the brothers in the mid- to late-1960s in St. Paul, Oregon.” By KOIN-TV
Brothers sue Archdiocese of Portland for $6 million over alleged sex abuse, By The Daily Astorian


AG investigating claims that priest, nun sexually abused Beaver man in 1970s
“After more than three decades of silence, a man who says he was sexually abused by a priest and a nun in Beaver is speaking out and working with state investigators. Johnny Hewko was an elementary student in the 1970s at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Beaver, which is where he said the abuse happened. Hewko said he was abused once a week for nearly three years.” By WPXI-TV


Catholic clergy to apologize over sex abuse
“The horrific extent of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in Australia will be laid bare in a world first as its apologetic leaders pledge to ‘eradicate this evil’. Data on abuse claims in the Catholic Church will be released as part of a royal commission hearing that begins on Monday (Feb. 6). The head of the church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council expects the community will be shocked by the extent of abuse revealed by church records going back to the 1950s.” By SkyNews.com.au

Sex abuse inquiry to hold final hearing into Australian Catholic Church
“The Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse will examine the current policies and procedures of Catholic Church authorities in Australia in its final public hearing into the church. The public hearing will be held on Monday (Feb. 6) inside the royal commission’s hearing rooms at the Governor Macquarie Tower in Sydney. The hearing will probe existing child protection and child-safe standards within the Catholic Church, including responding to allegations of child sexual abuse. It will also examine factors that may have contributed to the occurrence of child sexual abuse at Catholic Church institutions across Australia.” By Melissa Cunningham, The Courier
— Australian Catholic Church warns congregation ahead of final ‘grim’ royal commission hearing, By Philippa McDonald, ABC News Australia
Catholic Church under the microscope, By Megan Neil, Australian Associated Press, on News.com.au
Australians urged to stand up to Vatican as U.S. priest slams church’s response to abuse, By Australian Associated Press on sbs.com.au
Catholic Church doesn’t understand toll of child sexual abuse, says U.S. priest, By Christopher Knaus, the Guardian

Maitland-Newcastle Catholic Bishop Bill Wright apologized to the community in September, and now he’s acting
“Hunter Catholic Bishop Bill Wright has appointed a new body to advise him on protecting children and vulnerable adults after a public apology in September for the diocese’s ‘particularly troubled history’ of failing to protect children from sexual abuse. The nine-member diocese protection and safety council will help ‘rebuild a sense of trust within the community about Maitland-Newcastle diocese’s commitment to protect children and vulnerable adults,’ said a statement released on Monday (Jan. 23).” By Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald


Victims deserve compensation as well as justice, abuse inquiry told
“Campaigners have urged ministers to extend the powers of an inquiry into the abuse of youngsters in care, enabling it to authorize compensation for victims. The senior judge Lady Smith will tomorrow chair a preliminary hearing of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, but her officials have already made clear that it cannot recommend payments to victims.” By Mike Wade, The Times, United Kingdom


Clergy abuse cases won’t be dismissed from local courts
“Superior Court Judge Arthur R. Barcinas this week (Deb. 3) granted the Archdiocese of Agana’s request for more time to respond to lawsuits which accuse Catholic clergy of sexually abusing and raping former altar boys. The judge also stated that the cases will not be dismissed in the Superior Court of Guam, even though 12 of the 15 clergy abuse lawsuits filed in local court had also been filed in the U.S. District Court of Guam as of Thursday (Feb. 2) afternoon.” By Haidee V. Eugenio, Pacific Daily News
Guam’s Catholic Church facing potential $60 million in payouts, By Radio New Zealand

Archbishop Apuron located in Fairfield, California
“‘Where in the world is Archbishop Anthony Apuron? ‘Fairfield, California,’ said Attorney David Lujan. Cozied in a two-story home in the West Coast, you wouldn’t recognize Apuron at first glance. Here he is answering the door for investigators who faked a story about a missing dog. This picture was captured in mid-January, in a home Lujan believes belongs to Apuron’s best friend, who he identifies as Joseph Quitugua. ‘Well, let me ask you this … is it flight or hiding out, isn’t that a sign of guilt? That’s what I think you know,’ he said.” By Krystal Paco, KUAM-TV

Six former Guam altar boys sue priest, Vatican for $30 million in U.S. federal court
“Six former altar boys on Guam filed multimillion-dollar lawsuits in federal court Wednesday (Jan. 25) afternoon against former island priest Louis Brouillard, the Archdiocese of Agana and the Vatican over allegations that Brouillard sexually abused them decades ago … As many as nine other lawsuits, also alleging rape or sex abuse by other former and current Catholic priests on Guam, including Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron, will be filed in the District Court of Guam in the days ahead, Attorney David Lujan said.” By Haidee V. Eugenio, Pacific Daily News


Abuse ‘destroyed’ church image in Ireland
“The child sex abuse scandal has destroyed the image of the Catholic Church in Ireland, an Australian royal commission has heard.The former provincial of the Jesuit order in Ireland, Dr Gerry O’Hanlon, said the scandal changed the culture in Ireland so much that in the 1990s almost all priests were viewed as pedophiles.” By Megan Neil, Australian Associated Press, on news.com.au

Priest avoids jail for sex assault on boy after Mass
“A priest has received a suspended sentence for sexual assault after a court heard he has been put under effective house arrest by his order. Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard the 65 year old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, molested a boy after Mass one Sunday. The abuse came to light after the boy’s mother went to gardaí and the priest made admissions.” By Irish Independent

What the North’s child abuse inquiry reveals
“Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry, chaired by retired judge Sir Anthony Hart, dealt with abuse in institutions in Northern Ireland. These institutions were run by the Catholic Church, by the state, and by other voluntary bodies such as Barnardo’s and Protestant organizations. The inquiry covered the period 1922 (when partition occurred) until 1995 … A total of 65 institutions had allegations made against them, but in the end the inquiry settled on 22 institutions, which were the ones against which most allegations were made.” By David Quinn, Commentary in The Irish Catholic