Voice of the Faithful Focus, Mar. 18, 2016

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


Pope’s abuse accountability tribunal going nowhere fast
Pope Francis’ proposed Vatican tribunal to judge bishops who covered up for pedophile priests is going nowhere fast. Despite fresh focus from the Oscar-winning film ‘Spotlight’ on how Catholic bishops protected priests who raped children, Francis’ most significant sex abuse-related initiative to date has stalled.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Law officers, clergy forged ties stymieing prosecutions
“In January, a deputy attorney general and two agents walked into a judge’s chambers here with questions. They wanted to discuss a meeting decades earlier that had ended with a ‘monster’ priest being allowed to go free … (Bishop) Hogan didn’t dispute the claims about the Rev. Francis McCaa that day. But nothing happened.” By Caitlin McCabe and Maria Panaritis, Philly.com

Muller on ‘Spotlight’ cover-up: Most priests ‘bitterly wronged’ by abuse generalizations
“Questioned on his reaction to the unveiling of systematic cover-up of priestly sexual abuse in the Oscar-winning film ‘Spotlight,’ the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, said that only a number of individuals not motivated by their priestly office but instead ‘disturbed or immature,’ have been proven guilty of sexually abusing minors … Jesuit Fr. Klaus Mertes … has called for Müller to step down.”By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, National Catholic Reporter

The pedophile-blind cardinal who could bring down Pope Francis
“An Australian royal commission on clerical crimes finds damning evidence that one of the Vatican’s most senior cardinal’s turned a blind eye to sex abuse. So why doesn’t the pope fire him … But in what is really an unfathomable disconnect, accolades for breaking the silence and exposing serious clerical sex abuse in the United States seemed completely lost in Rome.” By Barbie Latza Nadeau, Newsweek Daily Beast

‘Payout chart’ for molestation: Secret archive held chilling details of clergy abuse
“A Catholic diocese in Pennsylvania announced Thursday (Mar. 3) that it will post the names online of priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children, a decision that came two days after a dramatic grand jury report alleged a decades-long cover-up. Advocates hope that the grand jury report … will lead to new legislation permitting more prosecutions of abusive priests and those who supervised them.” By Michelle Boorstein and Julle Zauzmer, The Washington Post

Kane: Three clergy leaders enabled predator friar
“State prosecutors on Tuesday (Mar. 15) accused three former leaders of an Altoona-area Franciscan order of enabling a friar to sexually abuse scores of children during years of work at a Catholic high school and in the community. The felony conspiracy and child endangerment charges against Giles A. Schinelli, 73, Robert J. D’Aversa, 69, and Anthony M. Criscitelli, 61, mark the second prong of a longstanding investigation by the Attorney General’s office into clergy sex abuse in the Altoona-Johnstown area.” By Maria Panaritis, Philly.com
Pennsylvania charges ex-leaders of Catholic order with aiding sexual predator, By Dave Philipps, The New York Times


VOTF sent an open letter to all U.S. Catholic Bishops on Mar. 4, 2016. Click here to see the letters as it appeared the The Hour, a Norwalk, Connecticut newspaper.


Catholic Church’s secret archives key to exposing sex abuse scandal
“Huddled in a law office on Hamilton Street, the district attorneys of the five counties in the Allentown Catholic Diocese spent days poring over files that detailed nearly two dozen allegations that priests had sexually abused children over several decades.” By Matt Assad and Peter Hall, The Morning Call

Sex abuse scandal: ‘The Vatican needs to hand over all files’
“A day after a grand jury in Pennsylvania revealed that bishops had covered up the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by at least 50 Catholic priests over four decades, FRANCE 24 spoke with clergy abuse expert, Patrick J. Wall. The report found that former Altoona-Johnstown Diocese Bishop James Hogan, who died in 2005, and his successor, Joseph Adamec, who retired in 2011, worked to cover up for the pedophile priests and that some local law enforcement agencies also turned a blind eye to the abuse allegations, said state Attorney General Kathleen Kane.” By France24.com

No statute of limitations for abuse
“The allegations contained in a grand jury report about child sexual abuse in the Altoona-Johnstown Catholic Diocese are beyond appalling. They are horrifying. For decades, the grand jury found, priests in the diocese sexually abused hundreds of children. Two bishops covered up the abuse, transferring priests accused of abusing children to other parishes. The grand jury found a shocking, and documented, pattern of criminal behavior that is simply unimaginable. That an institution that claims moral authority would behave so immorally is more than unsettling. It is terrifying.” By York Daily Record Editorial Board
Lawmakers call for statewide child sex-abuse probes of Catholic dioceses, By Steve Esack, Morning Call

Off with his hat! Why we want to see cardinals punished in the abuse scandal
“Between Law and Pell, two princes of the church, we have witnessed decades of the church staggering to recognize and apologize for its failure to protect uncountable numbers of victims.” By Cathy Lynn Grossman, Religion News Service

In Cardinal Pell’s testimony, a breakthrough for accountability
“For nearly 15 years, I have been waiting for a Catholic bishop to say, for the record, that another bishop’s handling of the sex-abuse scandal had been negligent. This week it finally happened. Think about that. Heaven knows there has been plenty of evidence of negligence. Some bishops have resigned; others have cut deals with prosecutors. Scores of bishops have acknowledged that the crisis has been handled badly, and in many cases one could read between the lines and recognize implicit criticism of an individual. But I cannot recall a single instance in which Bishop A said that Bishop B had proven himself unfit for his post.” By Phil Lawler CatholicCulture.org

The Catholic Church needs to face up to its failings
“The Roman Catholic Church has indeed done much to try to prevent further sexual abuse, but the problems are more fundamental and systemic than that. While most priests would never harm a child, and many are fine men, the culture of enforced celibacy and, forgive me, sexual immaturity, is profoundly damaging … The abuser uses this dark insularity to his advantage. When we mingle this with clericalism, a reverence towards the ordained that prevents criticism, a vehemently all-male and anti-democratic authority structure and a powerful self-defense mechanism it leads to all kinds of problems. Remember, abuse is not only sexual.” By Michael Coren, Commentary in Toronto Star on TheStar.com


Lay preachers in Rochester diocese want to be at the pulpit again
“The sounds of lay preachers — often women — echoed from pulpits in the Diocese of Rochester over decades. But those sounds have been silenced for the past two years, and former lay preachers say the church is losing out. Ever since the 1970s, the upstate New York diocese had permitted lay preachers under Bishops Joseph Lloyd Hogan and his successor, Matthew Clark. That changed two years ago, soon after Clark’s retirement and the installation of Bishop Salvatore R. Matano. Lay preaching is no longer allowed in the diocese, according to diocesan spokesman Doug Mandelaro, because church law prohibits it.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter


Document awaited from predictably unpredictable pope
“Within a few weeks, Pope Francis is expected to release a new document on Catholic family life that may touch upon controversial topics like divorce and remarriage and same-sex marriage. Francis stirred up much debate and anticipation by calling back-to-back Synods of Bishops in 2014 and 2015 on the topic of family life … Now, with most signs pointing to the end of March, the pope is expected to issue an apostolic exhortation on the synod. It should sum up the debates and decisions of the closely watched synod meetings, but, as with anything from the predictably unpredictable Argentine pope, it is unknown what direction Francis will take in his writing.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter


Victims share memories of Catholic Church sex abuse in moving video
“The Best Picture victory for ‘Spotlight’ at the Oscars pushed the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal further into the public consciousness. A new BuzzFeed video intends to keep it there. ‘I Was Sexually Abused By The Catholic Church’ features two victims recounting their horrific experiences as youths. What the two have to say will likely make you feel uncomfortable and angry but they, like so many before them, need to be heard.” By Ron Dicker, HuffingtonPost.com


For U.S. Catholics, a powerful echo of a nightmarish past
“The legacy of the sexual abuse scandals and revelations of coverups that shook this nation’s Catholic church to its foundations is a mixed one. There’s definitely been progress in redressing the wrongs done to young victims and in ensuring that they don’t recur, even if the progress has been painful and slow … But in ways both obvious and subtle, the American Catholic Church is still paying for the sins of fathers long gone — and the denomination’s determined effort, in many cases, to silence victims.” By Elizabeth Eisenstadt-Evans, LancasterOnline.com

The Catholic Church has lost its place in Australian morals
“His Eminence, Cardinal George Pell, the Australian Catholic leader who holds the third most powerful position in the Catholic Church, was finally interrogated last week by the Australian Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse. One thing is clear from the appalling revelations made over the two year old investigation: the Catholic Church’s tenure as a moral standard bearer in Australia is over. The systematic cover up that is enshrined in their guidelines, practices and culture is best epitomized by Pell’s role in the now infamous ‘Melbourne Response.’” By Daniel Sneddon, Editor, AffairsToday.com

Inquirer Editorial: Time can’t heal sexual abuse by priests
“They knew and they let it happen! To kids! That’s a quote from the movie ‘Spotlight’ attributed to real-life reporter Mike Rezendes when he was investigating Boston priests accused of sexually molesting altar boys and other children 15 years ago. The comment could just as well be applied to Pennsylvania authorities who for decades did precious little to stop similar abuse by priests and cover-ups by religious leaders in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.” By Editorial Board, Philadelphia Inquirer

Infallibility – Hans Kung appeals to Pope Francis
“It is hardly conceivable that Pope Francis would strive to define papal infallibility as Pius IX did with all the means at hand, whether good or less good, in the 19th century. It is also inconceivable that Francis would be interested in infallibly defining Marian dogmas as Pius XII did. It would, however, be far easier to imagine Pope Francis smilingly telling students, ‘Io non sono infallibile’ — “I am not infallible” — as Pope John XXIII did in his time. When he saw how surprised the students were, John added, “I am only infallible when I speak ex cathedra, but that is something I will never do.” By Hans Kung, National Catholic Reporter

The Laetare Award: Dismantling the architecture of the culture warrior church
“The University of Notre Dame announced today (Mar. 5) that its annual Laetare Award this year will be given jointly to Vice President Joseph Biden and former Speaker of the House John Boehner. The award, the most prestigious to be bestowed upon U.S. Catholics, will recreate the iconic image we all witnessed last year as Biden and Boehner sat behind Pope Francis as the Holy Father addressed the U.S. Congress. In announcing the joint award, Notre Dame’s President Fr. John Jenkins, C.S.C., said, ‘We live in a toxic political environment where poisonous invective and partisan gamesmanship pass for political leadership. Public confidence in government is at historic lows, and cynicism is high. It is a good time to remind ourselves what lives dedicated to genuine public service in politics look like. We find it in the lives of Vice President Biden and Speaker Boehner.’” By Machael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter


At 3-year mark, Francis is a both/and pope in an either/or world
Pope Francis on Sunday (Mar. 13) marks the third anniversary of his election in March 2013, and even after 36 months it’s striking how much of an enigma he remains. Several big-picture questions, which one might have thought would be resolved by now, remain hotly debated.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com
Francis stresses mercy on his 3rd anniversary, By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com
Mercy, globetrotting and our global home: recapping Francis’ third year as pope, By National Catholic Reporter
12 of Pope Francis’ most inspiring quotes from the past 3 years, By Carol Kuruvilla, Huffington Post
The seven major changes made by Pope Francis, By RomeReports.com
Pope Francis: Year four begins, By Robert Mickens, National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis’ cardinal problem: an exit strategy for George Pell
“For years he has been one of the big beasts of the Catholic Church. When in Sydney, Cardinal George Pell would regularly make the grueling 22-hour flight to Rome so he could keep his Vatican contacts warm and his ear close to the ground.” By Christopher Lamb, The Sydney Morning Herald

Francis may need to expand his comfort zone to include sexual abuse survivors
“Recently two different constituencies in the Catholic Church have complained of feeling misunderstood or let down by Pope Francis, and it’s instructive to compare the pontiff’s responses in each case.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com


Vatican statistics report increase in baptized Catholics worldwide
“The number of baptized Catholics worldwide has grown at a faster rate than that of the world’s population, according to Vatican statistics. Although the number of priests has increased globally, the number has decreased slightly in Europe and Oceania, according to the Vatican’s Central Office for Church Statistics. The figures are presented in the ‘Annuario Pontificio 2016,’ the Vatican yearbook, and will appear in the Statistical Yearbook of the Church, which gives detailed figures on the church’s workforce, sacramental life, dioceses and parishes as of Dec. 31, 2014.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter


Suburban Dayton Catholic priest pleads guilty to stealing $1.5 million from church
“The pastor at a suburban Dayton Catholic church pleaded guilty Thursday (Mar. 11) to stealing more than $1 million from his church. Fr. Earl Simone, the former pastor of St. Peter Catholic Church in Huber Heights, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated theft in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court, the Dayton Daily News reports.” By Jane Morice, Cleveland.com
Priest pleads guilty in $1.9 million theft from Ohio church, By WKTN-FM

Texas developer files extortion suit against Legionnaires
“A lawsuit against the Legionnaires of Christ approaching trial in Texas alleges one of its priests attempted to extort, via text message, an additional $94,000 from a Houston-area developer as contingent to closing a land deal between the parties.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Vatican imposes new financial rules for saint-making process
Pope Francis has overhauled the Vatican’s multimillion-euro saint-making business, months after two exposés revealed that the cost of beatification – a major step towards becoming a saint – has reached about €500,000 (£400,000). New regulations, announced on Thursday (Mar. 10), aim to put more checks and budgeting rules into a process that has long been cloaked in mystery. They include the assignment of administrators, who will have oversight of each case, and the creation of a solidarity fund that will help finance cases for lesser-known candidates for sainthood.” By Stephanie Kirchgaessner, The Guardian


Vatican event calls for boosting women’s roles in the world and the Church
“A recent Vatican conference heard strong calls for female empowerment in a world in which gender discrimination remains widespread, and in which, as one speaker put it, there are places where sexual violence and social bias is so pervasive that ‘it’s better to be a cow than a girl.’ As part of that picture, speakers pressed the Catholic Church to live up to its own talk about the importance of women, moving from an ‘occasional’ to a ‘habitual’ commitment to seeing women in leadership positions, even if not as ordained priests.” By Ines San Martin, National Catholic Reporter

Women’s role in the Catholic Church
“In the current issue of the Jesuit journal Civiltà Cattolica (Catholic Civilization) published by the Jesuits in Rome, Father Vincenzo Anselmo writes about female figures in Biblical tales: a timely article given the annual commemoration of women on March 8 with International Women’s Day. The pope also recently spoke on the complexities of the role of women within the Catholic Church, during a press conference with journalists on his return flight from Ciudad Juarez in Mexico last month.” By ANSA.it

Vatican newspaper essays say women should preach at Mass
“A series of essays in the semiofficial Vatican newspaper is urging the Catholic Church to allow women to preach from the pulpit at Mass, a role that has been reserved almost exclusively to the all-male priesthood for nearly 800 years. “This topic is a delicate one, but I believe it is urgent that we address it,” Enzo Bianchi, leader of an ecumenical religious community in northern Italy and a popular Catholic commentator, wrote in his article in L’Osservatore Romano.” By David Gibson, Religion News Service


Two recent statements from the Vatican on protecting minors
— “Declaration by the Director of the Holy See Press Office: Protecting Minors,” Vatican City, Mar. 4, 2016 – Click here to read.
— “Statement of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors,” Vatican City, Mar. 4, 2016 – Click here to read.

Commission asks high-ranking Vatican official about sex abuse of children
“Steve Inskeep talks to Joshua McElwee of the National Catholic Reporter about hearings at the Vatican during which an official took responsibility for not protecting children against abuse by priests.” By Steve Inskeep, National Public Radio

The Church and sex abuse: the past 15 years
“The movie Spotlight’s Best Picture win at the Academy Awards has brought renewed attention to the Catholic sex abuse scandals that broke in 2002. But while the Church’s failures are well-known, it is also true that the Catholic Church has made more progress than any other body on this issue. There are several marks of progress: the removal and canonical punishment of clergy who commit sex abuse, especially high-level churchmen and leaders of religious movements; papal meetings with victims; reform of church law; and the creation of new church structures.” By The Catholic World Report
Child sex abuse within the Catholic Church, By Vanguardngr.com

Clergy victims deserve justice
“Efforts to get rid of the statute of limitations for victims of sexual assault have stalled for years, even after former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was convicted of molesting 10 boys. Even after reports of the widespread abuse of children by the Philadelphia Archdiocese. Even after victims and advocates for victims have begged lawmakers to simply give them a chance to seek justice in a courtroom.” By Ron Southwick, Reading Eagle

Burns: Church must ‘remain vigilant’ to protect children from ‘scourge of abuse’
“A Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse of hundreds of children over several decades and an Oscar win for ‘Spotlight,’ about the Boston abuse scandal, ‘brought painful, but important, reminders that we must remain vigilant in our efforts to protect children from the scourge of abuse,’ said Bishop Edward J. Burns of Juneau, Alaska.” By Catholic News Service

Cardinal George Pell, top Vatican official, meets abuse victims after testimony
“Hours after testifying that he once ignored a child’s warning of molestation at a Catholic school, Australian Cardinal George Pell held an ‘honest and occasionally emotional’ meeting with victims of clergy sex abuse who had traveled to watch the senior Vatican official appear before a landmark inquiry. ‘I am committed to working with these people from Ballarat and surrounding areas,’ Pell said on Thursday (March 3), referring to the heavily Catholic area where he worked as a priest in the 1960s and ’70s, when critics say he must have known about widespread abuse in the church there.” By Rosie Scammell, Religion News Service
If Cardinal Pell survives, will his past trump his present, By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com
Vatican says abuse victims didn’t officially request a papal meeting, By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com


Ex-priest pleads guilty to possession of child porn in Los Banos
“A former Catholic priest in Los Banos pleaded guilty Friday (Mar. 11) to possession of child pornography, the Merced County District Attorney’s Office confirmed. The Rev. Robert E. Gamel, 65, changed his plea before Judge Harry Jacobs in Merced County Superior Court. He faces up to three years in state prison when he is sentenced May 24, according to Travis Colby, the deputy district attorney who prosecuted the case.” By Rob Parsons, Merced Sun Star, in The Fresno Bee


Real action on sex abuse crisis is needed
“‘Spotlight’ was awarded an Oscar for the best motion picture of 2016 and it more than deserves such recognition. It brings a whole new level of attention to this outstanding film and the problems it addresses especially the abuse of authority in the Roman Catholic Church. It is a wake-up call for people in the United States and in countries around the world to recognize the egregious damage done to children and deal with the epidemic, the pandemic really, that childhood sexual abuse is … Words simply will not do but bishops continue trying to make it so as they refuse to follow up with real action.” By Sister Maureen Paul Turlish, Delaware County Daily Times


Lawsuit filed in Tampa documents child sex abuse case at defunct Catholic school
“A decade after a Catholic school closed its doors, a former student who says he was sexually abused by a teacher on multiple occasions in the 1970s is suing the organization that ran Mary Help of Christians School.” By Laura Morel, Tampa Bay Times


Belleville diocese parish is without priest after porn found on computer
“A Belleville Catholic Diocese parish in southeastern Illinois is without a priest following a controversy involving a church laptop computer that was found to have pornography on it, according to a parish leader. The Rev. Bernardine Nganzi, who is originally from Uganda, has not been at St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Lawrenceville for several months, parishioners said.” By George Pawlaczyk, Bellville News Democrat


Former Lake Charles priest sentenced to two life sentences, plus 50 years in prison for sex abuse
“Former Lake Charles priest Mark Broussard, who was convicted in February of five counts of sexual abuse — including two counts of aggravated rape — was sentenced Friday to two life sentences, plus an additional 50 years in prison. Broussard was convicted of molestation of a juvenile, oral sexual battery, aggravated oral sexual battery and two counts of aggravated rape against two men who both served as altar boys in the late 1980s and early ‘90s. Aggravated rape carries an automatic life sentence without parole.” By Crystal Stevenson, American Press


Man relives a personal hell to ell story of boyhood abuse by priest in Maine
“For 40 years, Neal Gumpel kept the details locked away in a dark corner of his memory. Details about the night he met the Rev. Roy Drake while visiting his brother at Maine Maritime Academy. The night Drake violently molested him. The night everything changed.” By Eric Russell, Portland Press Herald


In diocese abuse cases, we owe it to the children
“A letter arrived at my house last week that, right away, caught my attention. Now I don’t know about you, but there’s something about an attorney’s return address on an envelope addressed to me that makes finding out what’s inside a lot more important than the latest missive from Publisher’s Clearinghouse. So I stood there, barely in the door, coat still on and read, ‘We are sending this letter to anyone who may have attended a parish or school in the Diocese of Winona … ’” By Jerome Christenson, Winona Daily News
The kind of church abuse in Boston, Winona is still happening—all over the world, By Leslie Hittner, Winona Daily News


Gallup diocese called on to release church records
“An attorney who filed 13 lawsuits against the Diocese of Gallup on behalf of alleged victims of clerical sexual abuse said the disclosure of church records will be an essential part of any settlement in the diocese’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.” By Olivier Uyttebrouck, Albuquerque Journal


Protester calls for seizure of Youngstown diocese records
“Youngstown Catholic Bishop George Murry is being called on to settle 28 cases of child sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated Brother Stephen Baker, who was a coach at Warren John F. Kennedy High School in the 1980’s and 1990’s.” By Janet Rogers, WFMJ.com


Sex abuse victims rally for statute of limitations reform
Victims of child sexual abuse and their advocates gathered beneath the Capitol dome in Harrisburg on Monday. Led by Pennsylvania Rep. Mark Rozzi, a Berks County Democrat who, himself, was abused as a child, they called on the full House of Representatives to take up a pair of bills that would reform child sex abuse statute of limitations.” By WFMZ-TV

Philadelphia D.A. appeals decision in Lynn sex-abuse case
“The District Attorney’s Office has asked the state Supreme Court to hear its appeal of the Dec. 22 Superior Court ruling that granted a new trial to Msgr. William J. Lynn, who was convicted for his role in supervising pedophile Catholic priests. The 37-page petition to the state’s highest court, filed Thursday (Mar. 10), contends that the 2-1 ruling by a Superior Court panel “usurps the trial court’s discretion” to let the jury hear historical evidence about how the Archdiocese of Philadelphia handled allegations that priests sexually molested children.” By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Philly.com

Legislators call on DAs to be aggressive going after abusive priests
“Fallout from the findings of a grand jury report released last week showing that the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese for decades knew and concealed the sexual abuse of hundreds of children at the hands of priests spilled into the Capitol on Wednesday (Mar. 8). Three state legislators called on all district attorneys across the commonwealth to aggressively pursue abusive Catholic priests.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

Dioceses more responsive to Catholic Church sex abuse scandals
Decades of silence by the Roman Catholic Church regarding child sexual abuse by priests has given way to an era of atonement, as public apologies and condemnation come from local dioceses up to the Vatican. But that isn’t enough for some. The church needs to name priests suspected of abuse, like those outed last week in a 147-page grand jury report about the Altoona-Johnstown diocese, so more go to prison, said David Clohessy, national director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.” By Jason Cato, TribLive.com

‘He was a monster’: how priest child abuse tore apart Pennsylvania towns
“One of Brian Gergely’s fellow altar boys had a code he would use to signal danger in the room where they and the priest prepared for mass. ‘He would say ‘red buttons’, and that was the alert that the priest was coming up behind you, and we would try to get away from him, running around the desk in the middle of the room where he kept the chalices, the host and the wine,’ said Gergely, 46.” By Joana Walters, The Guardian

‘We are much bigger than these scars’ says priest in wake of child sex abuse scandal
(Mar. 6, 2016) “Standing inside Our Mother of Sorrows’ stained glass doors before Sunday mass, Rick Messina had no trouble finding words to describe his reaction to new details released last week regarding decades of years-old child abuse by local Roman Catholic clergy.” By David Hurst, The Tribune Democart, on PennLive.com

Bishop breaks his silence on grand jury report claiming church cover-up and sex abuse claims
“The bishop of the Altoona-Johnstown Catholic Diocese broke his silence Thursday (Mar. 3). Two days after a grand jury report into the Altoona-Johnstown Catholic Diocese was made public, Bishop Mark Bartchak broke his silence with an apology. ‘I apologize to the victims, to their families, to the faithful people of our diocese to the good priest of our diocese and to the public,’ Bartchak said.” By Lauren Hensley, WJAC-TV
Bishop Mark Bartchak responds to grand jury report, By Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnston
It’s time to spotlight a personal experience with priestly abuse, By LancasterOnline.com
Clergy abuse report prompts a resignation, banner removal, By KSL.com
Hotline for Altoona-Johnstown diocese abuse gets 150 calls in first week, By ABC27.com
Clergy abuse report prompts fallout, victims’ protest, By Associated Press in The Sentinel on Cumberlink.com


Lawsuit filed against Austin priest accused of child abuse
“A man is suing the Diocese of Austin claiming that a priest abused him as a child more than 40 years ago. The man, identified as John Doe in court documents states that Reverend Milton Eggerling of the Saint Louis Catholic Church molested him, provided him with alcohol, and took him on out of state trips over five years in the 1970’s. The lawsuit also states that Father Hames O’Connor, who worked at Saint Louis, also abused John Doe.” By KXAN-TV


Seattle priest, a known pedophile, was moved parish to parish
“The secret files on the Rev. Michael Cody show how the Seattle Catholic Archdiocese moved him from parish to parish, even after knowing he was a sick and dangerous pedophile. They described his ‘deviant behavior,’ recorded his ‘abnormal attraction toward young girls,’ even warned ‘he will either blow his brains out or cause a major scandal in the parish.’” By Lewis Kamb, Seattle Times
Seattle archdiocese must release ‘secret’ files on misconduct, By Michael T. Pfau, Seattle Times, on SeattleTimes.com
Seattle archdiocese protesters want more abuse documents disclosed, By KIRO-TV


Child sex abuse compensation could be paid in state schemes
Child sexual abuse survivors have joined the Catholic Church to call on the Turnbull government to commit to a national redress scheme, fearing they will receive different levels of compensation, depending on where they were abused, through state-run schemes.” By Jane Lee, Sydney Morning Herald

Catholic Church establishes new body to handle abuse complaints in Canberra, Goulburn
“The Catholic Church has established a new body to handle sexual abuse complaints in the ACT region. Archbishop Christopher Prowse from the Canberra and Goulburn Archdiocese has launched the Institute for Professional Standards and Safeguarding.” By ABC News Australia

Vatican’s Cardinal Pell admits not reporting teacher ‘misbehaving with boys’ in 1970s
“Cardinal George Pell, one of the highest-ranking officials at the Vatican, has admitted to an Australian government commission that when a schoolboy came to him decades ago to report that a Catholic teacher was ‘misbehaving with boys’ he did not report the matter to authorities.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
George Pell: clergy abuse survivors want Vatican law rewritten, By Melissa Cunningham, The Sydney Morning Herald

Bishop Mulkearns recalled to face commission
“Terminally ill former Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns will be recalled by the child abuse royal commission in the days after Cardinal George Pell described his cover up of abuse as ‘grave and inexplicable’. Bishop Mulkearns, now 85, in February expressed his profound sorrow at his handling of offending clergy.” By SkyNews.com.au

Gun-toting Catholic pedophile faces probe
“An Australian inquiry on Wednesday (Mar. 2) heard of a gun-toting pedophile priest who made children kneel between his legs during confession as Vatican finance chief Cardinal George Pell admitted a time of ‘crimes and cover-ups’ within the Catholic Church.” By Agence France-Presse on ArabNews.com


Judge investigates pedophile priest cover-up claims
“A French judge has opened a preliminary investigation into ‘failure to report a crime’ after the alleged victims of a paedophile priest said top Catholic officials covered up for him, according to the Ministry of Justice. The victims alleged that senior figures in the diocese of Lyon, in eastern France, including Archbishop Philippe Barbarin failed to report the priest, who has been charged with sexually abusing minors between 1986 and 1991, to police.” By Associated Press on en.rfi.fr
3 French victims of alleged pedophile priest appeal to pope, By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com


Sex abuse survivors accuse Scottish inquiry of ‘abusing’ them all over again
“Survivors are growing so despondent at the progress of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry that many say they feel like they are being abused all over again. Survivors say the Scottish government is failing them, and feel the slow progress and limited remit of the inquiry is adding insult to the already very grievous injuries they have suffered, and believe they will never see the justice they deserve.” By Vicky Allan, HeraldScotland.com


Charge sheet filed against Catholic priest
“The Vadakkekara police have submitted a charge sheet before the Ernakulam additional sessions court (atrocities and sexual violence against women and children) against Edwin Figarez, the 41-year-old Catholic priest who was booked for raping a minor girl at Puthenvelikkara last year.” By Kaumundi.com

Will the Roman Catholic Church in India ever own up to sexual abuse by its clergy?
“In one of his interviews, Pope Francis is heard joking about how egocentric Argentians are: ‘Do you know how an Argentinian kills himself? By climbing over his own ego and jumping!’ And that aptly captures the Roman Catholic Church’s megalomaniac obsession with its existential worldly grandeur thereby plunging itself into a downward spiritual spiral of its own making. Christians believe that Christ came into the world to reconcile humans with their Creator by shedding His Blood on the Cross. Yet the Catholic Church seems hell-bent in converting itself into a white-washed tomb –the exact phrase Christ used to describe the self-righteous moralists of his day.” By Chintha Mary Anil, TheNewsMinute.com


Inquiry on child abuse turns to Catholic-run group of homes
“A long-running child abuse public inquiry will focus on alleged wrongdoing at institutions run by the Good Shepherd Sisters when it reconvenes next week. Former residents of facilities in Belfast, Londonderry and Newry are expected to give evidence during the next two weeks of public hearings at Banbridge Courthouse in Co Down.” By Newsletter.co.uk


New call for New Zealand church abuse inquiry
Survivors and supporters of church sex abuse victims are renewing calls for a Royal Commission into sex abuse throughout New Zealand. They say Australia is facing up to its past by having an inquiry, and New Zealand should too.” By Emily Cooper. NewsHub.com