Voice of the Faithful Focus, Feb. 19, 2016

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


Papal commission: Bishops must report sex abuse charges
“A commission created by Pope Francis to advise him in the fight against child sexual abuse has reiterated that Catholic bishops have “a moral and ethical responsibility” to report suspected abuse to civil authorities. The statement comes amid controversy over a Vatican training course for new Catholic bishops around the world held in September 2015, in which French Monsignor Tony Anatrella, a psychologist known for his views on homosexuality and ‘gender theory,’ told bishops they had no obligation to report abuse charges to law enforcement.” By Crux Staff at Cruxnow.com
Statement of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors
What new Catholic bishops are, and aren’t being told on sex abuse, By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com
Catholic bishops not obliged to report clerical child abuse, Vatican says, by Stephanie Kirchgaessner, The Guardian

Priest convicted of sexual assault on teenage girl has suspension lifted by church
“An Indian priest convicted of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in the United States more than 10 years ago has had his suspension lifted by the Roman Catholic church. Rev. Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, 61, had the suspension lifted by the bishop of the Ootacamund Diocese in India’s southern Tamil Nadu state after he was instructed to do so by authorities at the Vatican, spokesman for the diocese Rev. Sebastian Selvanathan told CBS News.” By Chloe Farand, London Independent
Church lifts ban of Indian priest convicted of sexually abusing Minnesota girl, By Associated Press in Star Tribune
Church lifts ban of Indian priest convicted of U.S. sexual assault, By CBS News

Abuse survivor on Vatican committee frustrated at Roman Curia on clergy abuse reforms
“The Curia is blocking improvements in the handling of abuse cases, according to a member of the Vatican’s Commission for the Protection of Minors. Marie Collins … has been a member of the abuse commission for two years. In an interview with the Irish Times, she has expressed her frustration that little is being done by the Curia to push through proposals made by the commission, despite Pope Francis’s support for action.” By David V. Barrett, Catholic Herald
Roman Curia ‘not co-operating’ with child abuse commission, By Patsy McGary, The Irish Times
Challenging Pope Francis on clerical child abuse, Editorial in The Irish Times

Vatican abuse commission member responds to leave of absence controversy
“As a survivor of child clerical sexual abuse I spent many years silent, then many years speaking out to expose the way the Catholic Church had protected itself and abandoned children to the abusers in its midst … Then came the Pope’s decision in 2013 to set up the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and my own appointment to that body … I had to decide if there was any hope that this Commission, through its advice to the Pope, would bring about permanent change within the universal Church or would it be a wasted effort, just a PR exercise. In the end I decided that if there was any hope at all, of protecting children in the future better than in the past, then I should take part.” By Marie Collins, National Catholic Reporter


Tracing the bishops’ culpability in the child abuse scandal
“Pope Francis’ commission on the clergy’s sexual violation of children had a timely private screening in Rome last week of ‘Spotlight,’ the Oscar-nominated film about the pedophilia scandal in Boston. The film offers the Vatican, if it will listen, an emphatic lesson in accountability … Hierarchical accountability remains a pressing issue that the Vatican has not fully confronted in the numerous dioceses of the world where the scandal was suppressed.” By The New York Times Editorial Board

Is Pope serious about confronting child abuse
Even by Vatican standards the timing is spectacularly inept. The six Oscar nominations for the movie Spotlight have refocused the attention of the world on the issue of paedophile priests inside the Catholic church – almost certainly the biggest scandal to plague the institution in the past century. And yet, with disdain or disregard for world opinion, just two weeks before the Oscars the most outspoken member of the pope’s commission to combat sex abuse has been sacked.” By Paul Vallely, The Guardian

Pope Francis’ efforts to stop church child abuse are falling apart
“A member of a commission set up by Pope Francis to advise him on child abuse says the group is a ‘token body’ exercising in ‘smoke and mirrors’ that won’t help children stay safe from abusive priests. Peter Saunders, the commission member, is now on a leave of absence as he considers whether to continue with an effort he says he has lost faith in.” By Will Carless, Globalpost.com
‘On child abuse, there is no sincerity on Francis’ side,’ By Richard Townley, Buenos Aires Herald


The Vatican should do away with priestly celibacy
“The gospels are full of details that the Catholic Church prefers to overlook. Like the references to Saint Peter, the first Pope, having a mother-in-law, and therefore a wife. The texts don’t ever reveal what happened to Mrs Peter. Her husband may have been a widower when he was charged by Jesus with establishing the Church. Yet for an institution that continues to insist that its clergy are celibate, she is surely significant.” By Peter Stanford, The Telegraph

The married priest debate
“They haven’t ordered team jerseys yet, but two sharply divided sides are lining up in the married priest debate. Supporters of a wider married priesthood in the Roman Catholic church argue for the whole church’s tradition of married clergy, never abandoned by most of the 23 or so Eastern Catholic churches. The other side points to studies of failed clergy marriages and says married priests are just too expensive.” By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter


The ‘Spotlight’ on crimes against children
“There comes a time when truth has to be revealed, when the secrecy of crimes can no longer be contained and denied, and when the guilty must be held to account. History shows that secrecy and cover-ups keep that day of reckoning at bay but one day the truth will come out. That is the story of Spotlight, a film about a team of investigative reporters at the Boston Globe newspaper who exposed sex crimes against children by priests and the church cover-up.” By Shay Cullen, CathNews.com

Member of the Pope’s abuse commission watch ‘Spotlight’ movie
“Members of a Vatican commission created by Pope Francis to lead the Church’s recovery from clerical sexual abuse scandals gathered the evening before their February meeting to watch ‘Spotlight,’ the Oscar-nominated movie based on The Boston Globe’s coverage of abuse scandals 14 years ago.” By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com
‘Spotlight’ gets a Vatican audience, By Cara Buckley, The New York Times

The movie ‘Spotlight’ and the Church’s need for outsiders
“Warned by media and friends to compare the movie Spotlight with the 1976 classic All the President’s Men I am now intensely grateful for that misdirection. It meant that Spotlight was a complete surprise, and a stunning reminder of the Catholicism that for most of my own lifetime did not want to look closely at clerical sexual abuse of children.” By Sean O’Conaill, Association of Catholics in Ireland


We’re survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their supporters. What do we want?
“Over the past 14 years, thousands of survivors of sexual abuse by priests and their supporters have maintained a vigil every Sunday at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in downtown Boston … Yet some parishioners still ask: ‘Why are you demonstrating? What do you want?’” By abuse survivors and their supporters, Special to Cruxnow.com

Letter from Rome
Robert Mickens, long-time Vatican watcher and editor in chief of Global Pulse, talks about Pope Francis and the clergy sexual abuse and how real synodality must include women in his Feb. 10 Letter from Rome


Pope, Russian Orthodox patriarch to meet in Cuba, Vatican announces
“After almost three decades of tense Catholic-Russian Orthodox relations, Pope Francis will meet Patriarch Kirill of Moscow Feb. 12 in Cuba on the pope’s way to Mexico. It will be the first-ever meeting of a pope and Moscow patriarch, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters Feb. 5.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service
In historic move, Pope to meet with leader of Russian Orthodox Church, By Elisabetta Povoledo and Jim Yardley, The New York Times


Church reform requires decentralization, synodality
“On the agenda of the most recent meeting of the Council of Cardinals was what might be the most important issue in the reform of the Roman Curia — the decentralization of decision-making in the church … The Feb. 8-9 meeting of the council included a discussion of the Holy Father’s discourse on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops (Oct. 17). This talk developed theme of ‘synodality,’ and spoke of ‘the need to proceed with a healthy decentralization’ in the church. The pope’s speech ‘constitutes an important point of reference for the work of reforming the Curia,’ according to Vtican spokesman Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi.” By Thomas Reese, National Catholic Reporter

Massive overhaul slated for Chicago archdiocese
“A radical overhaul in the nation’s third-largest Roman Catholic archdiocese could shutter many of the Chicago church’s houses of worship by 2030 as it reckons with dilapidated buildings and an expected shortage of priests, sources say. Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich told priests and advisers in meetings in recent weeks that the shortage — an estimated 240 priests available in 2030 for the archdiocese’s 351 parishes — could necessitate closings and consolidations, according to the sources. The archdiocese governs parishes in Cook and Lake counties.” By Manya Brashear Pashman, Chicago Tribune


Pope’s reformer tells the ‘baby bishops’ how to manage money
“Recently, the Vatican published a collection of papers presented to new Catholic bishops from around the world taking part in a Rome training course known informally as ‘baby bishops school.’ While several presentations were of dubious real-world value, not so with (Cardinal George) Pell’s. He was his usual no-nonsense self, wryly warning new bishops that ‘dishonesty is not unknown’ in how Church personnel handle money.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Settlement of Diocese of Gallup bankruptcy case hits a snag
“Progress in settling the 26-month-old Diocese of Gallup bankruptcy case has stumbled because an insurer is unwilling to provide detailed financial information demanded by a representative for future sex abuse claims against the diocese, attorneys told a judge on Tuesday (Feb. 2.)” By Olivier Uyttebrouck, Albuquerque Journal
Gallup diocese owes $3.5 million in costs, By Olivier Uyttebrouck, Albuquerque Journal
Consultant to review diocese finance records, By Olivier Uyttebrouck, Albuquerque Journal

Vatican financial reform aims to help the church do its job better
“The Vatican’s recent financial reforms have the common good – not just efficiency – as their end, said an economist on the Holy See’s financial council. ‘With a more efficient system, with the elimination of waste, we would be able to release more funds which can go for the poor and which can go for the marginalized to be able to build more hospitals, to build more educational facilities,’ said Joseph Zahra, a Maltese economist who serves on the Holy See’s Council for the Economy.” By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency


Priest abuse victim suspended from Vatican panel
“A high-profile Vatican commission on the prevention of child sexual abuse voted on Saturday (Feb. 6) to temporarily suspend one of its members, an outspoken victim of clerical abuse who accused the church of failing to deliver on its promises of reform and accountability. By Elisabetta Povoledo and Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times
Sex abuse victim allegedly sidelined by papal panel, By Rosie Scammell, Religion News Service
British Catholic church child abuse campaigner demands meeting with Pope after his ousting, By Andrea Vogt, The Telegraph
Pontifical commission on minors concludes plenary, By Vatican Radio
Pope’s anti-abuse panel presses on despite criticism from survivor, By Ines San Martin on Cruxnow.com
Peter Saunder’s departure was ugly, but inevitable, By Edward Condon, Catholic Herald
Pope Francis broke my heart, says sex abuse victim sidelined by Vatican, By Agence France-Presse on RawStory.com

After sexually abusing children for decades, Catholic brother lives under the radar in Hawaii
“When the Archdiocese of Seattle recently released the names of 77 priests, brothers, deacons and a nun reported to have sexually abused children over an 85-year-period, the list included a short entry near the bottom: ‘Courtney, Edward CFC, Unknown,’ with the names of three schools … According to court records, the Catholic schoolteacher was a cross-country serial molester, accused of abusing at least 50 children and teens from new York to Chicago to Seattle over three decades … He never spent a day in jail.” By Rick Anderson, Los Angeles Times

Gregorian University beings course on child protection
“The Pontifical Gregorian University on Monday (Feb. 15) began its first Diploma Program on the Safeguarding of Minors. The one-semester course is conducted under auspices of the Centre for Child Protection, as a unit of the University’s Institute of Psychology. In a speech to the first class of the programme, the Rector of the Gregorian University Father François-Xavier Dumortier, S.J., said it was a ‘relevant part’ of the academic structure of the Pontifical Gregorian University.” By Vatican Radio

Catholic Church instinct to deal with sex abuse itself has caused victims spiritual and physical trauma
“The Church’s instinct to deal with sex abuse cases internally has been its most dangerous and common response to the crisis, according to a leading expert. Fr Hans Zollner SJ, president of the Centre for Child Protection (CCP) at the Gregorian University in Rome, said a typical church response to abuse scandals had been ‘We will solve this internally as only we can really understand it.’” By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, The Tablet

Church confronts abuse scandal at famed German choir
“This month, Mr. Kaiser, now 58, will be one of six victims from the Regensburg Domspatzen — literally ‘Cathedral Sparrows’ — who will finally have a chance to tell their stories to representatives of the Roman Catholic Church and the choir, which was run from 1964 to 1994 by Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, the brother of Pope Benedict XVI.” By Melissa Eddy, The New York Times


Hartford Catholic diocese settles sexual abuse lawsuit
“A lawsuit involving allegations of clergy sex abuse with a minor and an alleged cover-up in the Catholic Church was settled Wednesday for $500,000. Just weeks before the trial involving a former Connecticut-based Catholic priest, Stephen Bzdyra, was to begin, the Diocese agreed to settle the claim.” By VOX61-TV
Hartford archdiocese to pay former altar boy $500,000 to settle priest abuse case, law firm says, By Dave Altimari, Hartford Courant


Most allegations in Hawaii Catholic Church sex abuse scandal came from two locations
“A Catholic church in Kailua and a school in Kalihi are the two locations that generated the most allegations about priests and teachers sexually abusing students decades ago, a Hawaii News Now investigation has revealed.” By Keoki Kerr, Hawaii News Now


Illinois priest accused of sexually abusing children under 13
“Prosecutors outside Chicago have charged a Catholic priest with sexually abusing two children under age 13. The Kane County State’s Attorney’s office announced charges Friday against the Rev. Alfredo Pedraza Arias, who served at Sacred Heart Church in Aurora. The 49-year-old was taken into custody Thursday, February 11, 2016, in Rockford. He faces two counts of felony aggravated criminal sexual abuse and his bail was set at $50,000.” By Shellie Nelson, WQAD-TV

Judge: Chicago archdiocese can be punished for part in McCormack sex abuse case
“A decade after defrocked Roman Catholic priest Daniel McCormack was arrested for molesting children at his West Side church, a Cook County judge has ruled that victims abused by McCormack after September 2000 can seek punitive damages against the Chicago Archdiocese if their lawsuits go to trial.” By Manya Brachaer Pashman, Chicago Tribune


Former Calcasieu priest Mark Broussard found guilty of sexually abusing altar boys
“A former Catholic priest molested and raped altar boys in Calcasieu Parish in the 1980s and 1990s. A Calcasieu Parish jury found Mark Anthony Broussard, 60, guilty on two counts of aggravated rape, molestation of a juvenile, aggravated oral sexual battery and aggravated rape. The verdict came scarcely two hours after deliberations began.” By Theresa Schmidt, Tucson News Now


Victims’ advocacy group rejects Bishop Rozanski’s apology for sexual abuse by Catholic clergy
“The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the victims advocacy group that has long clashed with the Catholic Church over its clergy sexual abuse scandal, is not accepting the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield’s apology. In a pastoral letter released on Ash Wednesday, the Most. Rev. Mitchell T. Rozanski sought to welcome Catholics distanced from or disillusioned with the Church back into the fold. The letter included a direct apology for the Diocese’s role in the sexual abuse scandal, which led to more than$12 million in settlements to dozens of victims.” By Dan Glaun, MassLive.com

Latest sex offender notice from Chicopee police includes defrocked Roman Catholic priest
“Police on Monday (Feb. 8) released information on two registered Level 3 sex offenders residing in Chicopee as a way to alert the community of their presence … One of the two names, Richard Lavigne, is likely to be familiar to people in the area. Lavigne, 74, is a defrocked Roman Catholic priest who was pleaded guilty in 1992 to two counts of molestation of a minor and was given a 10-year probation sentence.” By Patrick Johnson, MassLive.com


Just 100 days left to file child sex abuse lawsuits before deadline
Victims of historic sexual abuse have 100 days left to come forward and file an action for damages before the claim window closes in Minnesota. In 2013, the state lifted the statute of limitations for child sex abuse through the Minnesota Child Victims Act, giving victims a three-year window to file a civil lawsuit seeking damages for abuse that may have happened decades ago.” By Adam Uren, BringMetheNews.com

Probe clears St. John’s Abbey prior of sex abuse allegations
“A six-month investigation has concluded the sexual abuse allegations against the former prior at St. John’s Abbey were unsupported. Minnesota Public Radio News reported that a former student at St. John’s Preparatory School in Collegeville last summer accused the Rev. Thomas Andert of sexual abuse sometime between 1979 and 1980.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com


No new trial for priest convicted of sex tourism with boys
“A priest who was convicted of sexually assaulting poor street children during missionary trips to Honduras and said federal prosecutors wrongly withheld evidence in his case won’t get a new trial, a judge ruled. The priest, 70-year-old Joseph Maurizio, was convicted in the sexual tourism case in September.” By Joe Mandak, Associated Press on Philly.com
Court stands by decision overturning cleric’s conviction, By Jeremy Roebuck, Philadelphia Inquirer
Could Catholic Church official convicted of child endangerment get out of jail? By Maryclaire Dale, Associated Press, on NBC10-TV


No excuse for Seattle archdiocese’s omissions in sexual-abuse cases
“The recent story in The Seattle Times of one man’s struggle to heal from being sexually abused while a student at St. Benedict School in Wallingford brings to light both the lifelong, often silent, struggle for those who have been sexually victimized in childhood and also the critical need for adults to act when children divulge abuse.” By Janice Palm, The Seattle Times

Open the secret files on clergy sexual abuse of minors in Western Washington
“Open the secret files, Archbishop J. Peter Sartain. The Archdiocese of Seattle last month took the long overdue act of naming 77 local clergy accused of sexual misconduct with minors. It should have happened in 2004, when a high-level review board comprised primarily of lay people suggested the diocese come clean. Better late than never. But this was only a half-step toward repentance.” Editorial in Seattle Times


Ex-Catholic priest John Joseph Farrell found guilty on 10 more child sex offenses
“A former Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing three young altar boys in regional NSW in the 1980s has been found guilty in a Sydney court of 10 child sex offences. John Joseph Farrell, also known as “Father F”, was tried in the Downing Centre District Court for 17 offences he was accused of committing against the boys, aged 11 and 12, between 1980 and 1984.” By Emma Partridge, Sydney Morning Herald

Ballarat bishop agrees to be sued for historic sex abuse claims in lieu of dead predecessor
“A Catholic bishop in regional Victoria has agreed to be sued for sex abuse claims dating back to the 1960s, standing in the place of his long-dead predecessor. His stance means victims can bring the Ballarat diocese to court over the actions of the previous bishop who is alleged to have presided over child sex abuse.” By Charlotte King ABC News Australia

Catholic priest was ‘naïve’ to abuse in church
“Father Joe Duffy admits he feels embarrassed by the extent of the abuse which has been revealed in the Catholic Church. The Maroochydore Parish Priest was ordained during the dark period of history when priests were abusing children and getting away with it Kathy Sundstrom, Sunshine Coast Daily

Mass protest over parish priest Father John Walshe spreads to second school
“More than 40 parents pulled their children out of mass at a Melbourne Catholic school on Wednesday (Feb. 10) in protest over an allegedly abusive priest. Parents at St John Vianney’s Primary School in Parkdale are calling for the resignation of parish priest Father John Walshe.” By Timna Jacks, The Age

Catholic Church officials deny responsibility for supervising priests as it faces lawsuit
“The Catholic Church is arguing it has no responsibility for the supervision of its priests, as it fights a damages case launched by an alleged victim of a dead priest in the New South Wales Hunter Valley. A 2013 special commission of inquiry found the Catholic Church knew that father Denis McAlinden was a paedophile, dating back to the 1950s.” By Giselle Wakatama, ABC News Australia

Melbourne priest Paul Grasby moves to Malaysia to pursue ‘young Asian men’ while on paid leave
“A Catholic priest stood down amid child sexual abuse allegations has moved to Malaysia, where he is using a gay dating website to seek the company of ‘young Asian men’ while on paid leave. Father Peter Grasby, who is suspected of abusing boys from at least two Melbourne parishes during almost 40 years as a priest, also propositioned a former parishioner on a gay dating website, it can be revealed.” By Nino Bucci, The Age
Church left in the dark over pedophile priest Peter Grasby’s Asian relocation, By Nino Bucci, Brisbane Times
Malaysia says it will deport priest suspected of sex abuse, By UCANews.com

Bishop’s child sex offenses a mistake
“The former head of the Catholic Church’s military diocese, who is accused of sexually abusing boys more than 40 years ago, is a victim of mistaken identity, a Perth jury has heard. Bishop Max Leroy Davis, 70, is charged with six counts of being grossly indecent with five boys under the age of 15 between December 1968 and October 1972 at St Benedict’s College in New Norcia, northeast of Perth.” By SkyNews.com
Catholic bishop Max Davis responds to ‘horrifying’ child sexual abuse allegations in video, By Joanna Menagh, ABC News Australia

George Pell cleared to give sex abuse royal commission evidence by video link
“Australia’s most senior Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, will give evidence about child sex abuse that occurred within his parishes via videolink following a ruling by the chair of the royal commission into institutional responses into child sexual abuse, Justice Peter McClellan. Child sexual abuse victims have been waiting to hear whether Pell would appear in person since December, when his lawyers told the commission days before he was due to give evidence that he was too unwell to make the flight from Rome to Melbourne.” By Melissa Davey, The Guardian


Priest joins campaign calling for inquiry to cover abuse within the Catholic Church
“Pressure on the Scottish Government to widen the scope of an inquiry into historic child abuse has grown after a priest joined calls for institutions of the Catholic Church to be covered. Father Gerry Magee, Parish Priest of Saint Winin’s Church, Kilwinning, has agreed to chair White Flowers Alba, a group representing victims of abuse within the Catholic Church.” By Stephen Naysmith, The Herald Scotland

Catholic Church “let off the hook” in Scottish abuse probe
“The Catholic Church is being ‘let off the hook’ for failing children, the In Care Abuse Survivors Scotland (INCAS) group has claimed. It has called for the Scottish Government to include the faith in the country’s inquiry into the abuse of children in care.” By Antony Bushfield, Premier.org.uk

Catholic priest avoids jail over more than 3,000 child porn images
“A Catholic priest has avoided being sent to jail after pleading guilty to having more than 3,000 child porn images. Paul Clarke, 71, now of Urmston, Manchester, but formerly of Watchbell Road, Rye, East Sussex, was sentenced to an eight-month prison sentence suspended for two years at Lewes Crown Court.” By Littlehampton Gazette

Catholic church is quietly paying out compensation for alleged child sex abuse – but refuses to admit liability
“The Catholic church has continued to pay out compensation to victims of alleged child sex abuse at its schools – but is still refusing to accept liability. Leslie Turner was paid £17,000 in compensation after claiming two members of the Irish Christian Brothers order sexually abused him at a school in Sunderland in the 1960s. Mr Turner, who has waived his right to anonymity, said he was abused by teachers there between 1961 and 1967.” By Caroline Mortimer, London Independent


Victims of pedophile priest Brendan Smyth want to sue Catholic bishop over alleged failure to prevent abuse
“Three people sexually abused by paedophile priest Brendan Smyth want the Supreme Court to permit them sue a Catholic Bishop here over the church’s alleged failure to act to prevent Smyth abusing children.” By Aodhan O’Faolain, Irish Independent
Church accused of failing to stop Smyth’s abuse of children, By Tim Healy, London Independent