Voice of the Faithful Focus, Nov. 20, 2020


Vatican’s explosive McCarrick report largely places blame on John Paul II
“In an explosive report that calls into question the decision-making of three Catholic popes, the Vatican has revealed a series of institutional failures that led to the repeated promotion of now disgraced ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick despite rumors of his alleged sexual misconduct with young men as early as the 1990s. The Vatican places an abundance of responsibility on Pope John Paul II, who appointed McCarrick as archbishop of Washington in 2000 and made him a cardinal in 2001. The report reveals that the late pontiff, now a Catholic saint, made those appointments despite being warned in 1999 by then-New York Cardinal John O’Connor that McCarrick had been the subject of anonymous allegations and was known to invite seminarians to sleep in the same bed as him.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Vatican investigating Polish archbishop over alleged cover-up of sexual abuses
“The Vatican has ordered an investigation into the former archbishop of Gdansk on suspicion of negligence over sex abuse allegations, a month after the pope accepted the resignation of a bishop accused of shielding sexually abusive priests. The Vatican Embassy in Warsaw said in a statement that local Church officials would look into allegations against Archbishop Leszek Slawoj Glodz, who retired in August. The embassy said the archbishop of Warsaw would investigate Glodz for “reported negligence” that had led to the alleged “detriment of minors by some clergy of the Gdansk Archdiocese.” By Reuters Staff

Despite financial stress, many, but not all, U.S. dioceses post financial reports
“Despite financial stress from the COVID-19 pandemic and clergy sexual abuse settlements, the number of dioceses posting audited financial reports to their websites rose 5% in the past year, according to Voice of the Faithful’s® 2020 study of U.S. Catholic dioceses’ online financial transparency. However, 43 dioceses posted no financial information, and overall, diocesan transparency dropped from 65.11% in 2019 to 64.76% in 2020.” By Voice of the Faithful on PRNewswire

Buffalo Diocese’s legal bill in first six months of bankruptcy grows to $1.9 million
“Dozens of lawyers and other professionals have billed the Buffalo Diocese $1.9 million for their work so far on the diocese’s bankruptcy case. More than 30 attorneys in five law firms that charge from $150 to $843 per hour have worked on behalf of the diocese since its Chapter 11 filing on Feb. 28. In addition, the diocese is on the hook for U.S. trustee fees and for fees charged by two additional law firms that represent the committee of unsecured creditors, which consists of childhood victims of sex abuse. The diocese also hired a financial firm, a public relations firm and a research firm, each of which has submitted a bill for work over the past eight months.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News


California Bishop Cantu under Vatican ‘Vos estis’ investigation
“The Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops has ordered an investigation into Bishop Oscar Cantu’s handling of allegations of clerical sexual abuse and misconduct. The investigation is being carried out under the provisions of Vos estis lux mundi, Pope Francis’ 2019 law for holding bishops accountable in the handling of sexual abuse cases. Senior sources in the Vatican told CNA that the investigation was ordered by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, in October and that the allegations concern Cantu’s handling of abuse and misconduct cases in his former diocese of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Cantu is now Bishop of San Jose, California.” By Ed Condon, Catholic News Agency

New ‘benchmarks released to help seminaries deal with sexual misconduct
“When reports of then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual misconduct surfaced in 2018, John Cavadini got to work. The director of the Notre Dame McGrath Institute for Church Life wanted to figure out a way to help ensure those guilty of sexual abuse or misconduct were held accountable in the future. Two years later, and the Institute has come out with five sexual misconduct policy benchmarks for seminaries.’ By John Lavenburg, Cruxnow.com

Top five takeaways from the McCarrick Report
“Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick sexually abused seminarians and minors for decades—all while being promoted through the church’s ranks at a remarkable speed. How did this happen? Two years ago, the former papal ambassador to the United States released a bombshell letter blaming Vatican officials—all the way up to Pope Francis—of knowing about McCarrick’s abuse, ignoring it and choosing to promote him. Today (Nov. 10), the Vatican released an unprecedented, 400-page report on who exactly knew how much about McCarrick’s misconduct and how he was able to rise through the ranks.” By Colleen Dulle, America: The Jesuit Review

Vatican’s McCarrick report forces debate on power and abuse
“The Vatican’s report into ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has raised uncomfortable questions the Holy See will have to confront going forward, chief among them what it’s going to do about current and future clergy who abuse their power to sexually abuse adults. Priests, lay experts and canon lawyers alike say the Vatican needs to revisit how the church protects its seminarians, nuns and even rank-and-file parishioners from problem bishops and cardinals, who for centuries have wielded power and authority with few — if any — checks or accountability.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Federal lawsuit details new rape allegations against McCarrick involving 12-year-old boy
“In one of the most graphic accusations yet against Theodore McCarrick, the disgraced and defrocked former Catholic cardinal accused of sex abuse, attorneys for a 47-year-old man claim he was sexually assaulted for years by the former cleric — beginning when he was just 12 years old. The new allegations against McCarrick, 90, were made in a federal lawsuit filed in New Jersey on behalf of the unnamed “John Doe,” who said he was raped and sexually abused as a child by McCarrick on dozens of occasions from 1985 through 1990.” By ted Sherman, NJ Advance Media on NJ.com

Catholic Church abuse: Cardinal Vincent Nichols criticized over leadership
“The head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has, at times, shown he cares more about the impact of abuse on the Church’s reputation than on the victims, a report says. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse criticized the leadership of Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, and the Vatican. The cardinal said the church was ‘deeply sorry this happened.’ A lawyer representing survivors said the cardinal ‘must go right away.’” By BBC News


AP Analysis: ‘Who am I to judge?’ might explain pope’s vie
“Pope Francis’ famous remark ‘Who am I to judge?’ could go a long way toward explaining his initial attitude toward Theodore McCarrick, the defrocked and disgraced American cardinal who was the subject of a two-year Vatican investigation that was released last week. Francis uttered the line on July 29, 2013, four months into his pontificate, when he was asked en route home from his first papal trip about reports of a sexually active gay priest whom he had just promoted. The priest was not alleged to have been a serial sexual predator. But Francis’ point was: If someone violated the church’s teaching on sexual morals in the past but had sought forgiveness from God, who was he to pass judgment?” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Pope renews commitment to fight abuse
“Following the release of the Vatican’s report on Theodore McCarrick, Pope Francis has renewed the Church’s pledge to uproot the scourge of sexual abuse. Before concluding his weekly general audience yesterday, the Pope made his first public statement on the release of the report regarding the ‘painful case’ of the former cardinal. ‘I renew my closeness to all victims of every form of abuse and the Church’s commitment to eradicate this evil,’ he said. After reading his brief comment on the report, the Pope bowed his head and closed his eyes in silent prayer.” By CathNews.com

Pope Francis criticized over lack of cooperation with Catholic Church abuse inquiry
“Pope Francis and his office have been criticized for failing to fully cooperate with an investigation into historical abuse in the Catholic Church in England and Wales. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) said ‘very little information’ was provided by the Pope or his advisers, despite repeated requests to assist. The latest strand of the inquiry found child sexual abuse was ‘swept under the carpet,’ and that church leaders ‘conveyed on occasions a grudging and unsympathetic attitude to victims.’” By Ryan Hooper, The Irish Times

Pope Francis attempts to tackle sexual abuse globally and in his own backyard
“Recent comments by Catholic clergy and a sex abuse trial inside the Vatican highlight Pope Francis’ uphill battle in enforcing accountability and child protection within the Catholic Church. ‘Which is worse, abortion or an act of pedophilia?’ asked the Rev. Andrea Leonesi, the vicar of the Diocese of Macerata, Italy, during a homily on Oct. 27 that was recorded and later went viral.” By Claire Giangravé Religion News Service


Reality of the abuse scandals now seems a tale of two cardinals
“Over the last three years, sexual abuse charges against two high-profile and massively influential cardinals have rocked the Catholic Church, and now, seemingly, both stories have reached their conclusions. George Pell is a free man, while Theodore McCarrick is defrocked and exposed as a cunning manipulator able to hoodwink three papacies until his string finally ran out. The McCarrick and Pell sagas contain two unavoidable truths about the clerical abuse scandals, and they must always be held together: Every accusation of abuse has to be taken seriously, but the mere fact of an allegation doesn’t make it true.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Archbishop: Vatican should clarify ‘doubts’ after Cardinal Dziwisz accused of negligence
“Allegations that Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz failed to investigate claims of clerical abuse aired in a television program Monday (Nov. 9) should be clarified by the Vatican, the president of the Polish bishops’ conference said. Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki made the comment in a Nov. 10 statement, issued in response to the program ‘Don Stanislao: The other face of Cardinal Dziwisz,’ shown on TVN24, a Polish commercial news channel, on the eve of the publication of the McCarrick Report.” By Catholic News Agency


The double agent
“The Vatican’s report on the long career and serial abuses of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was finally published on November 10. Clocking in at nearly 450 pages and some 1,400 footnotes, the report relies on interviews with more than ninety people, ranging from senior curial officials to journeymen reporters like me. (I covered McCarrick for many years and got to know him well during my newspaper days in New Jersey, where he spent most of his episcopal career.) The report’s lead author, California attorney Jeffrey Lena, with whom I spoke several times over the summer, has been diligent about providing a comprehensive paper trail on the rise and fall of one of the most prominent churchmen in the United States.” By David Gibson, Commonweal

What to make of the McCarrick Report
“The Vatican has issued its report on the shocking case of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Two years in the making, it is 449 pages long, names names, gives dates, and cites extensive documentation and more than ninety interviews, all anchored with 1,410 footnotes. Will it bring closure to questions about how the now-defrocked prelate could rise to the heights of the hierarchy despite rumors of sexual activity with adults and repeated machinations to bed seminarians? Anyone who believes that must inhabit an alternative universe. A universe not inhabited by innumerable victims in the United States and elsewhere still scarred by clerical sex abuse—along with their grieving families and disaffected fellow Catholics.” By Peter Steinfels, Commonweal

Leading abuse expert hopes McCarrick report ‘will have consequences’
“According to a leading expert in the Catholic Church’s fight against clerical sexual abuse, the Vatican’s report into laicized ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick is ‘a good example of how seriously these whole questions of cover up and denial and non-compliance and insincerity should be dealt with,’ and believes there are other similar reports to come. ‘It is a probe into Church procedure which hopefully will have consequences, for example in regard to the process of appointing bishops,’ said German Father Hans Zollner, a member of the pope’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and the President of the Center for Child Protection of Rome’s Gregorian University.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Vatican report on disgraced ex U.S. cardinal McCarrick expected this month
“A long-awaited Vatican report into disgraced ex-U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is expected to be released this month to coincide with an annual meeting of American bishops, Vatican sources said on Thursday (Nov. 3). McCarrick was expelled from the Roman Catholic priesthood last year after a Vatican investigation found him guilty of sexual crimes against minors and adults and abuse of power. Pope Francis ordered a thorough study of all documents in Holy See offices concerning McCarrick in 2018. The four U.S. dioceses where he served – New York, Metuchen, Newark, and Washington, D.C. – carried out separate investigations to feed into the Vatican report.” By Philip Pullela, Reuters


Please press ‘mute’ to the U.S. bishops
“The first day of the plenary meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops was disappointing in virtually every regard. Indeed, the only good idea to come from this virtual meeting was the image of some bishops who had neglected to unmute themselves, talking with no sound. It is a metaphor for the conference at this moment in time: Their mouths move but they have nothing to say. If you wanted to write a short story about the reception of the McCarrick report by the U.S. bishops, you might call it ‘The nuncio that dare not speak his name.’” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Bishops shouldn’t investigate one another. Their U.S. conference must enact reforms
“As the Catholic Church was reeling two years ago in the aftermath of revelations that former cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, one of the highest-profile prelates in this country, was a serial sexual predator, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops met in Baltimore. At the top of the bishops’ agenda was how to grapple, once again, with the unending scandals that had ensnared so many clerics and wrecked so many lives. In the end, they did nothing … Yet in the end, the shortcomings of the church’s approach to rooting out misconduct in its highest ranks, which relies largely on bishops investigating and judging their fellow bishops, were exposed by an extraordinary Vatican report this week, which laid bare the details of the McCarrick case itself.” By Washington Post Editorial Board

Big questions but brief discussion of McCarrick report at U.S. bishops’ meeting
“For more than two years — and over the course of three semiannual meetings — the U.S. Catholic bishops awaited the Vatican’s release of its report on former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who in 2019 was removed from the priesthood by Pope Francis after revelations of his serial abuse of minors and seminarians. On Nov. 10, the Vatican released its findings, and as the U.S. bishops kicked off their virtual meeting on Nov. 16, discussions of the McCarrick report took center stage — if only for 45 minutes.By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter

Wisconsin priest chosen to be next USCCB general secretary
“Msgr. Jeffrey D. Burrill, a priest of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, is the new general secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He was named to a full five-year term in the position after the result of voting by the bishops was announced during the first day of the conference’s annual fall general assembly Nov. 16. He has been the conference’s associate general secretary since March 1, 2016.” By Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter


Spirituality year: how a break from academics helps prepare men for priesthood
“No phones, no Facebook, no Amazon, no Netflix. When Fr. Josh Mayer entered St. John Vianney’s Seminary in Denver, his first year looked a little more monk-like than what some might expect. ‘It had to do with getting weaned off of the damaging effects of media, and then being able to see them for what they are when you come out on the other side of that,’ Mayer told CNA. Besides fasting from their phones and the internet, the seminarians also went on a commerce fast, where they were not allowed to make purchases.” By Mary Farrow, Catholic News Agency

The battered priesthood
“I was astonished to read recently that the archbishop of New Orleans, Gregory Aymond, is seeking to laicize all clergy who have been removed from ministry because of credible accusations of sex abuse. If the report is accurate, this move represents another grave blow to the Catholic priesthood, which is now tottering because of the draconian actions of American bishops wishing to atone for their past misprision of abuse. Surely Archbishop Aymond recognizes the serious theological problems inherent in his proposal to laicize all credibly accused priests.” By Thomas G. Guarino, First Things

Paul Shanley, ‘poster boy’ of clergy sexual abuse scandal, dead at 89
“Paul R. Shanley, a defrocked priest and convicted child rapist who became one of the most notorious figures in the Catholic Church clergy sexual abuse scandal, died of heart failure on Oct. 28 at a Ware hospice facility, according to state officials. The 89-year-old had been living in Ware since his release from prison three years ago after serving 12 years for repeatedly raping a boy in the 1980s. ‘Children are now safer because of the passing of Paul Shanley,’ said Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who represented dozens of Shanley’s victims in civil claims against the church and described him as ‘one of the poster boys of clergy sexual abuse throughout the United States and the world.’” By Shelley Murphy, The Boston Globe


At annual meeting, U.S. Catholic bishops debate McCarrick report and whether it proves they need more lay oversight
“One week after a bombshell Vatican report about the rise of ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick, U.S. bishops debated the report’s import Monday (Nov. 16) at their biannual meeting, with some saying it left out the role of money, others saying it shows the bishop-picking process needs fixing, and still others disagreeing about whether it showed the need — or not — for more lay oversight of top clerics. In a last-minute change, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Friday (Nov. 13) added a discussion of the McCarrick report to the meeting agenda.” By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post


U.S. dioceses hide assets
“Only five U.S. dioceses are financially transparent, according to a recent survey by a Catholic watchdog group. Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) on Friday (Nov. 13) released its annual report titled ‘Measuring and Ranking Diocese Online Financial Transparency: 2020 Report.’ The report gives a perfect transparency rating to only three archdioceses; Baltimore, Anchorage and Philadelphia. It likewise gives a perfect score to just two dioceses; Erie, Pennsylvania and Rochester, New York. The report conversely lists the five least financially transparent dioceses as Camden, New Jersey; Crookston Minnesota; Lubbock, Texas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.” By Bradley Eli, ChurchMilitant.com

After scandals, Francis transfers financial authority away from Vatican’s Secretariat of State
“Pope Francis is removing the ability of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State to administer its own financial portfolio, in a major shake-up of authority among Vatican offices after a series of financial scandals that included the unusual resignation of a cardinal in September. In an Aug. 25 letter, made public by the Vatican Nov. 5, Francis informed Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the prefect of the secretariat, that he shall transfer management and administration of all its funds to the office in charge of administering properties owned by the Vatican.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter


‘Culture of clericalism’: firestorm of letters fly from cardinals, bishops following McCarrick Report
“Cardinals, archbishops and other clerical leaders of the Catholic Church from around the world have penned a flurry of letters and official statements in the wake of the ground-breaking McCarrick report. The Report on the Holy See’s institutional knowledge and decision-making process related to former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick, most often referred to simply as ‘The McCarrick report,’ was released on Nov. 10 to a public eager for the most intimate details of the scandal as gathered by a team of Vatican investigators. The probe into the history and interactions of the disgraced cardinal was authorized by Pope Francis after a bombshell accusation from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano that the pontiff had knowingly overlooked sexual abuse allegations.” By Timothy Nerozzi, ReligionUnplugged.com

U.S. Church leaders point to clericalism as a reason for rise of McCarrick
“Prominent leaders of the Catholic Church in America point to a ‘culture of clericalism’ that led to laicized ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick rising through the ranks of the church despite decades-long accusations of sexual misconduct and abuse. The comments come after the Vatican released its long-awaited report on the rise of McCarrick on Tuesday. It spans from 1930-2017, detailing who knew what and when regarding McCarrick’s sexual harassment and abuse of minors and seminarians going back to the early 1970’s.” By John Lavenburg, Cruxnow.com


The McCarrick Report: a call to reform Catholic priest selection
“The McCarrick Report investigating sexual abuse by disgraced former Washington, D.C., cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, released this month by the Vatican, catalogs facts that cannot be ignored, denied or explained away. The harm inflicted by Mr. McCarrick over decades is a source of deep remorse and shame for the Catholic Church. Like most, I am bewildered that he was able to advance in the ranks while preying on victims even while serious accusations about him were known or credibly rumored … The greatest value of the McCarrick Report will be what we learn from it to ensure that nothing like this is able to happen again.” By Phillip J. Brown, The Baltimore Sun

Choosing bishops
“The McCarrick report, coming after the fact, gives us an eye-opening picture of misjudgment and bungling at the upper levels of Church officialdom that enabled a man to ascend far up the ecclesiastical ladder despite continuing rumors of sexual misconduct on his part. So far, so good. But more is needed — specifically, a meaningful degree of proactive transparency regarding the process by which bishops continue to be appointed and promoted. This is a necessary step to prevent mistakes like the McCarrick disaster from happening again or at least make them less likely.” By Russell Shaw, The Pilot

An open letter to the bishops, from a young Catholic who’s only known church in scandal
“My mom tells a story about one night when I was 4 years old and had a stomach bug. She stayed up late with me, and when I finally started to drift off to sleep, she turned on the TV. When the news flashed across the screen, she had only one confused thought, ‘Why is the newscaster in front of our parish?’ Our parish priest, like several others in Boston in 2002, made headlines after it came to light that he had abused several minors in his previous position at a boys’ high school. I remember him coming to our house for dinner, bringing me gifts at holidays and baptizing my younger sister. Then, one day, he was gone.” By Milly Cahill, America: The Jesuit Review

The wrong people are in charge of protecting our children from sexual abuse
“It hurts every time. The first time I remember reading about sex abuse in the Catholic Church was in 2002. I was studying theology in graduate school when the Boston Globe published its report on abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston. A couple years later, after I got a job at the diocesan newspaper back home, victims stepped forward to name the pastor of our parish as an abuser. A few of the priests at the chancery told us the charges were false, but everything I read sounded true … When it comes to sexual abuse, the wrong people are in charge. If we continue to expect bishops to take care of this for us, we perpetuate a fundamental problem. We enable clericalism. We must set that aside and take over.” By J.D. Long-Garcia, America: The Jesuit Review

History-making report sets a precedent the Vatican can’t walk back
“My professor’s point was that quite often, people living through moments that change history fail to recognize them at the time. The point arises with respect to Tuesday’s (Nov. 10) release of the Vatican’s long-awaited report on the case of ex-cardinal and ex-priest Theodore McCarrick. While the focus, understandably, has been on the content of what the report contains, the crucial historical point may be the fact it happened at all. It’s so breathtaking, in fact, that one wonders if anyone in the Vatican actually understands the magnitude of the precedent they just set.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Everyone knew about Theodore McCarrick
“Since accusations of sexual misconduct with boys and young men culminated in the former archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s dramatic resignation as a cardinal in 2018 and expulsion from the priesthood the following year, the Catholic hierarchy has been haunted by the question of who knew what, and when. A Vatican-commissioned report released Tuesday (Nov. 10) gives us a clearer answer: everyone — to the highest echelons of the church — and far sooner than had previously been verified.” By Elizabeth Bruenig, The New York Times

McCarrick Report: details of abuse ignored
“The Vatican has issued a 450-page report on former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, acknowledging that reports of McCarrick’s sexual misconduct had circulated for years but insisting that Pope Francis was unaware of any serious charges against the influential American prelate until shortly before he was stripped of his ecclesiastical honors. The Vatican report does, however, cast some doubts on the actions of two previous Pontiffs, saying that Pope John Paul II appointed McCarrick as Archbishop of Washington despite damaging rumors, and Pope Benedict XVI chose not to take formal disciplinary action on more serious reports.” By Phil Lawler, CatholicCulture.org

What the McCarrick report tells us about the culture of the hierarchy
“Mark Twain’s darkly brilliant short story “The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg” is not really about the man, it is about the town. The previously morally incorruptible townspeople are willing to tell lies to others, and finally to themselves, in order to collect the sack of gold that has been left at the home of Edward and Mary Richards … The ‘Report on the Holy See’s Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick’ is not really about McCarrick either. Yes, he is the one around whom the rumors of scandal swirled for years … But the report is really about the ways the culture of the Catholic hierarchy dealt with the sin and crime of sex abuse, and how that culture changed over the course of four pontificates.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Your thoughts on history of clergy sexual abuse
“In Thomas P. Doyle’s review of a new book that examines clergy sexual abuse, the longtime expert for lawyers representing victims of clergy sex abuse says that Dyan Elliott’s research is ‘nothing short of remarkable, stunning and most importantly, authentic.’ Click here to read letters to the editor responding to the review. They have been edited for length and clarity. If you would like to join the conversation, follow the guidelines in the article.” By National Catholic Reporter Staff


Catholic report shows there should be no time limit for justice
“The state attorney general’s office has concluded a two-year investigation into alleged sexual abuse by Catholic priests. Investigators believe the systemic abuse has been largely weeded out. That’s the good news. The bad news is investigators say they have enough evidence to prosecute dozen of priests, and here’s what they plan to do about it: Nothing. They can’t. Statute-of-limitations laws make the alleged criminals untouchable.” By Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board


Survey shows opinions about diocese’s response to sexual abuse allegations
“A task force charged with improving the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield’s response to allegations of sexual abuse within the local church released preliminary results Tuesday (Nov. 17) from an online survey in which respondents were asked to provide input into how they perceive the diocese’s response to such allegations. The survey was available on the diocese’s website from Oct. 8 to Oct. 19 and garnered 492 responses. It asked respondents to rate their perception of the diocese and to provide recommendations that the Independent Task Force on the Response to Sexual Abuse within the diocese should consider making, according to a statement released by the diocese.” By Michael Connors, Daily Hampshire Gazette

West Virginia court deals setback in state’s Catholic church suit
“West Virginia’s attorney general cannot use a consumer protection law to sue a Roman Catholic diocese over sexual abuse allegations, the state’s high court said Monday (Nov. 16). The West Virginia Supreme Court issued its opinion in response to a lawsuit the state filed last year accusing the Wheeling-Charleston diocese of failing to publicly disclose the employment of sexual abusers in its schools and camps. The absence of such disclosure amounted to a violation of a consumer protection law, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey argued. Attorneys for the diocese asked the court to dismiss the suit.” By Associated Press

Clergy abuse survivors face a lifetime of recurrence of PTSD
“New job in hand, Jim Richter was adjusting well to life in Minneapolis several months after leaving his hometown of Chicago. He was enjoying his fellowship at the University of Minnesota Medical Center despite the long hours and he was coming to realize his move was a good one. Sexually abused as a teenager by a South Side Chicago Catholic priest who had similarly assaulted other young men, Richter wasn’t expecting to hear more about the clergy abuse scandal in Minnesota.” By Dennis Sadowski, Religion News Service

Child sexual abuse in Catholic Church ‘swept under the carpet,’ inquiry finds
“The Catholic church ‘betrayed’ its moral purpose by prioritizing its reputation over the welfare of children who had been sexually abused by priests, a damning inquiry report has concluded. In its final review of the church, the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA) was scathing in its criticism of the leadership of Cardinal Vincent Nichols and says the Vatican’s failure to cooperate with the investigation ‘passes understanding.’” By Owen Bowcott and Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian


Diocese of Norwich says retired judge brought on for sweeping investigation of decades’ worth of child sex abuse claims
“The Diocese of Norwich has announced that a retired Connecticut judge is months into a sweeping, unfettered investigation into sexual abuses suffered by children at the hands of its priests as the Catholic institution continues to rectify its past and protect some of its most vulnerable parishioners. In a letter read across the diocese during Sunday Mass, Bishop Michael R. Cote said that retired Judge Michael Riley and a team of lawyers have been digging through archives dating back to the inception of the diocese nearly 70 years ago.” By Nicholas Rondinone, Hartford Courant


Florida closes investigation into Catholic Church, alleged sexual abuse by priests
“The Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution has closed a 2-year investigation regarding the Catholic Church and alleged sexual abuse by Catholic priests. On Friday (Nov. 6), the Office of Statewide Prosecution announced it ‘found no evidence of ongoing, unreported, current sexual abuse of minors by church priests in Florida.’ The state released a 19-page report on its findings, bringing to light new details surrounding the investigation.” By Lisette Lopez and Kulie McGivern, WFTS-TV News


Diocese of Savannah denies it knew about sex abuse allegations
“The Catholic Diocese of Savannah responded to a new lawsuit about claims that it knew about the sexual abuse involving a priest and young boys; and conspired to cover it up. This lawsuit is the third one involving Wayland Brown who was defrocked in 1988. Brown was convicted just two years ago for sexual crimes against boys who attended St James Catholic School in Savannah in 1987. The Diocese claims it didn’t know or try to cover up any sexual abuse involving Brown and the young boys at St. James.” By Jessica Savage, WTOC-T11 News


Archdiocese’s abuse-prevention efforts date back to the 1990s
“One thing that has become clear since the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy made headlines again in 2018 is that many people don’t know the steps the church is already taking to prevent abuse, and to investigate allegations when they arise. The Archdiocese of Chicago was ahead of most other dioceses when the scandal broke in Boston in 2002, said Mayra Flores, safe environment coordinator for the archdiocese. The archdiocese had put many measures in place under Cardinal Joseph Bernardin in the 1990s, including the creation of a review board with a majority of laypeople to review all allegations against priests and a ministry to assist victims of clerical sexual abuse.” By Michelle Martin, Chicago Catholic


Priest abuse victims question if archdiocese properly investigated, referred cases to Vatican
“Mark Vath thought the sexual abuse complaint he filed against his father’s cousin, a Roman Catholic priest named Paul Calamari, was resolved when the Archdiocese of New Orleans put Calamari on a 2018 list of clerics strongly suspected of molesting children. Church officials also agreed to pay Vath a $100,000 settlement for his ordeal. That was less than a month before the release of the roster of fallen priests and deacons. Church officials also later told him they believed his allegations.” By David Hammer WWL-TV4 News

Two accused predator priests may be deposed despite New Orleans church’s bankruptcy case
“A bankruptcy judge has ended a stay that was blocking purported victims of child abuse at the hands of Roman Catholic clergy from taking the sworn testimony of their alleged abusers while the Archdiocese of New Orleans is protected from its creditors. The church has used its bankruptcy proceedings to fight to keep two elderly priests, whom the archdiocese acknowledges are likely child molesters, from having to testify in lawsuits that accuse them of sexually abusing minors decades ago.” By David Hammer, WWL-TV, and Ramon Antonio Vargas, New Orleans Picayune


Prosecutor: NJ Catholic Church deacon, 70, caught with child pornography
“A 70-year-old church deacon from Ocean County has been arrested for possessing child pornography, authorities said. The man served as deacon of St. John’s Roman Catholic Church in Lakehurst, they said. Anthony Laterza of Berkeley Township has been charged with three counts of possession of child pornography, according to Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer.” By Jon Craig, Ocean Daily Voice


Ex-Roman Catholic priest who lives in York County pleads guilty to sexually abusing two boys
“A former priest who is one of more than 300 clergy named in a landmark investigating grand jury report about widespread sexual abuse and institutional coverup in the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania pleaded guilty on Thursday in Dauphin County to assaulting two altar boys between 1997 and 2002. John Allen, 76, of West Manchester Township, appeared via video conference before Common Pleas Judge Deborah E. Curcillo, and admitted to sexually touching the boys over their clothes while at St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Church in Penbrook.” By Dylan Sedelbaum, York Daily Record

Eight more from Diocese of Scranton ‘credibly accused’ of abuse
“Pennsylvania’s 2018 grand jury report identified 301 priests in the state who had committed abuse, including 59 in the Diocese of Scranton, which serves 350,000 Catholics in NEPA. The grand jury concluded that the ‘several [Scranton] diocesan administrators, including the bishops, often dissuaded victims from reporting to police or conducted their own deficient, biased investigation without reporting crimes against children to the proper authorities.’ Now, the diocese has announced that six more priests, one member of a local religious order and one lay employee have been added to the list of credibly accused. Of the six priests, the only one still living is the retired, 80-year-old Monsignor Joseph Kelly, who denies the accusations.” By Own Walsh, River Reporter


Former Woonsocket priest charged amid review of diocese records
“The Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office has been examining records handed over by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence for close to 18 months, and the first criminal charges in connection with that review came on Thursday (Nov. 5). A grand jury indicted John Petrocelli, a former Woonsocket priest, on charges of abusing three boys under the age of 14 between 1981 and 1990. He was charged with three counts of first-degree child molestation and nine counts of second-degree child molestation. Petrocelli entered a not guilty plea and bail was set at $50,000 with surety. He was ordered to have no contact with the three alleged victims or any children under 16.” By WJAR-TV10 News


Pope Francis defrocks former Rapid City priest convicted of child sex abuse
“Pope Francis has defrocked, or laicized, a former Rapid City priest convicted of child sexual abuse. The Pope laicized John Praveen on March 26, the West River Catholic reported in its September issue. ‘This means that John Praveen has been removed from the clerical state and cannot function or present himself as a priest,’ the announcement says. The 40-year-old was sentenced in March 2019 to six years in prison after admitting to sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl inside the Rapid City cathedral.” By Arielle Zionts, Rapid City Journal


Six more former students alleged sexual abuse by priests at Dallas Jesuit Prep
“Six more former students at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas have joined a lawsuit saying they were abused by priests when they were enrolled in school there. The latest plaintiffs bring to eight the number of former students in the lawsuit, first filed in Dallas County civil court in August 2019, against the school and the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, among others, alleging that they were sexually abused in the early 1980s by five Jesuit Prep priests.” By David Tarrant, Dallas News

Priest accused of sexually abusing children headed to prison
“A Houston-area priest who was accused of sexually abusing children has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. KPRC 2 Investigates has learned, Father Manuel La Rosa-Lopez pleaded guilty to two counts of indecency with a child on early Tuesday morning. It was part of a plea deal that will send him to prison for a decade and make him a registered sex offender for the rest of his life, according to prosecutors.” By KPRC-TV2 News

Full timeline of sex abuse allegations against former Conroe priest
“A possible sex abuse scandal involving a local priest is unfolding. Prosecutors say multiple people have come forward, saying that Father Manuel La Rosa-Lopez sexually abused children in Conroe in the 1990s to early 2000s.” By ABC-TV13 News


West Virginia high court deals setback in state’s Catholic church suit
“West Virginia’s attorney general cannot use a consumer protection law to sue a Roman Catholic diocese over sexual abuse allegations, the state’s high court said Monday (Nov. 16). The West Virginia Supreme Court issued its opinion in response to a lawsuit the state filed last year accusing the Wheeling-Charleston diocese of failing to publicly disclose the employment of sexual abusers in its schools and camps. The absence of such disclosure amounted to a violation of a consumer protection law, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey argued. Attorneys for the diocese asked the court to dismiss the suit.” By Associated Press


Australia media face trial over Cardinal Pell’s child sex abuse case reporting
“A trial began on Monday (Nov. 9) alleging dozens of journalists, editors and media companies breached an Australia-wide court suppression order in reporting on ex-Vatican treasurer George Pell’s child sex abuse conviction in 2018. Breaches of suppression orders can be punished with up to five years jail and fines of nearly A$100,000 for individuals and nearly A$500,000 for companies. Pell was convicted in December 2018 of abusing two choirboys but reporting on the trial and the conviction was gagged by the County Court of Victoria to ensure the cardinal received a fair trial on further charges he was due to face.” By Sonali Paul, Reuters

Priest urges Vatican to intervene as fresh sexual misconduct allegations emerge from the Diocese of Broome
“A second priest has broken ranks with the Catholic Church, going public with concerns about what he has described as the ‘abysmal and extremely unjust’ Vatican response to sexual misconduct allegations at an outback diocese. It comes as an ABC investigation has uncovered a series of scandals involving priests in the trouble-plagued Diocese of Broome, including one who impregnated a schoolteacher, and a clergyman who returned to India before police could interview him over indecent assault allegations made by a teenage girl. The incidents allegedly occurred under the management of 70-year-old Bishop Christopher Saunders, who is subject to an ongoing, two-year police investigation into sexual misconduct, allegations he has strenuously denied.” By Erin Parke, ABC Kimberly


Records military fought to keep secret show pedophile priest had multiple victims
“A Canadian Forces chaplain took children to his quarters at an Edmonton military base and gave them alcohol before sexually assaulting them, according to newly released court martial transcripts. The Canadian Forces has fought for 40 years to keep such details under wraps, even to the point of falsely claiming the original charges against pedophile Chaplain Capt. Angus McRae couldn’t be revealed to the public.” By David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen


French hotline for Church sex abuse received 6,500 calls within 17 months
“An independent commission set up by the Catholic Church in France to investigate claims of sex abuse by priests said Wednesday (Nov. 11) it had received 6,500 calls in 17 months from alleged victims and witnesses. A hotline line set up for this purpose was closed October 31. Jean-Marc Sauve, who leads the commission, told a video conference of religious bodies that 62 percent of the callers were men, and nearly 90 percent of the allegations concerned crimes against minors. About a third said they were aged between six and ten when they were targeted, and about another third aged 11 to 15.” By Agence France-Presse in Deacon Herald

Ex-Vatican envoy’s trial for sex assault begins without him
“A sexual assault trial for the Vatican’s former ambassador to France went ahead without him Tuesday (Nov.10) after he produced a doctor’s note saying it was too dangerous for him to travel from Rome to Paris in the midst of France’s resurgent coronavirus epidemic. Lawyers for the accusers of retired Archbishop Luigi Ventura asked that the trial be pushed back because he wasn’t present. But the court ruled against a postponement and then heard detailed testimony from multiple men that Ventura groped their buttocks in public settings.” By John Leicester, Associated Press


UK abuse inquiry: no ‘sufficient urgency’ for safeguarding in Catholic Church
“A government-established inquiry into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in England and Wales says ‘real and lasting changes to attitudes have some way to go if the Roman Catholic Church is to shake off the failures of the past.’ The inquiry also lambasted the Vatican for its failure to fully cooperate with the investigation, saying this decision ‘passes understanding.’ The report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in England and Wales is the latest in a series covering the Catholic Church in the country, including reports into schools run by the country’s Benedictine Congregation and a report into abuse in the Archdiocese of Birmingham.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com


Catholic Church in Malta reports six priests for child abuse in two years
“Six priests and two lay persons have had substantiated claims of child abuse made against them in the last two years, according to the Catholic Church in Malta’s safeguarding commission. All eight were reported to the authorities and had ‘restrictions placed upon their pastoral duties’ following an investigation, according to two annual reports on complaints of abuse published on Thursday (Nov. 12).” By Times Malta