Voice of the Faithful Focus, Nov. 27, 2018


Voice of the Faithful releases second annual diocesan finance report
“Is the glass half empty, or half full? When it comes to financial transparency among U.S. dioceses, there’s reason to think both. Last year, Voice of the Faithful, a group devoted to bishops’ accountability begun in response to the Boston Archdiocese sex abuse scandals of 2002, put out its first study on diocesan financial transparency. Titled “Measuring and Ranking Diocesan Online Financial Transparency,” the study charted 177 dioceses across the United States, and discovered that most were not open about their financial statements. This year’s 2.0 version, reports Margaret Roylance, chair of the committee that compiled an updated study, offers reason for optimism: 77 dioceses were found to have improved their transparency scores, meaning it became easier to find out information about how diocesan money was being collected and used.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Bishops meeting ends with no immediate action on abuse crisis
“On what was expected to be a climatic close to the U.S. bishops’ gathering on Wednesday (Nov. 14), the much-watched meeting ended without any immediate action on the Church’s response to clerical sexual abuse. Instead, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the conference, concluded with a vow of ‘strongest possible actions at the earliest possible moment’ in response to the crisis and a pledge of loyalty from the U.S. bishops to Pope Francis.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Pope Francis appoints Archbishop Scicluna to top role in addressing abuse crisis
“Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Charles Scicluna as secretary adjunct of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The pope’s decision gives the Maltese archbishop the lead role in the fight against abuse in the church and in the protection of minors … Adjunct secretary is the joint number two position in the C.D.F., a senior role which he shares with the Italian archbishop Giacomo Morandi under the prefect of that congregation, the Spanish born Jesuit, Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer. By appointing Scicluna to this important position, Pope Francis is assigning him the lead role in the Vatican in dealing with all matters relating to the abuse crisis, suggesting his determination to deal decisively with the scandal.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

Open letter to U.S. Catholic bishops: It’s over
“Dear brothers in Christ, shepherds, fellow pilgrims: We address you as you approach this year’s national meeting in Baltimore because we know there is nowhere left to hide. It’s over. All the manipulations and contortions of the past 33 years, all the attempts to deflect and equivocate — all of it has brought the church, but especially you, to this moment. It’s over. Even the feds are now on the trail. They’ve ordered that you not destroy any documents. The Department of Justice is conducting a national criminal investigation of how you’ve handled the clergy sex abuse scandal. It is a point in our history without precedent. We want you to know that you aren’t alone in this moment, you’ve not been abandoned. But this time it must be different. This time it won’t be easy.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Vatican’s delay of U.S. bishops’ abuse measures leaves even some prelates confused
“A surprise Vatican request that the annual gathering of U.S. Catholic bishops delay planned votes on proposals to address clergy sexual abuse has evoked outcry, even leaving some of the prelates at the meeting confused. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the bishops’ conference, announced the request at the opening of the gathering Nov. 12. He told the some 250 prelates taking part that he was “disappointed” but said the Vatican asked for the delay because of Pope Francis’ upcoming February summit on child protection with the heads of all the global conferences.” By Heidi Schlumpf and Joshua McElwee, National Catholic Reporter


The faithful are angry as Catholic Church fails to unite on addressing clergy abuse
“This week’s (Nov. 13-15) widely anticipated meeting of U.S. Catholic bishops ended without recommendation on how to deal with clergy abuse. Further action is now up to the Vatican and a global synod in February.” By Tom Gjelten, National Public Radio

Cupich and Wuerl collaborated on alternative sex abuse proposal
“Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago and Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington collaborated extensively on a recently proposed policy for handling abuse allegations against bishops, CNA has learned. Cupich submitted the plan Tuesday (Nov. 13) to leaders of the U.S. bishops’ conference, proffering it as an alternative to a proposal that had been devised by conference officials and staffers. The conference’s proposed plan would have established an independent lay-led commission to investigate allegations against bishops. The Cupich-Wuerl plan would instead send allegations against bishops to be investigated by their metropolitan archbishops, along with archdiocesan review boards. Metropolitans themselves would be investigated by their senior suffragan bishops.” By Ed Condon, Catholic News Agency

The DOJ is finally investigating Catholic Church sex crimes, and it could catalyze other lawsuits
“The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently launched an investigation into the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania. The central focus of the inquiry seeks to determine whether there have been violations of federal child sex-crimes and related crimes among Church leaders. This investigation raises a number of critical issues, including the potential impacts on American law and society. By Gonzaga University Prof. Spearit and edited by Jessica Lasky, Jurist: Legal News & Research

Catholic prelates are subject of blistering criticism at leadership meeting
“Stung by the Vatican’s surprise demand to postpone a long-awaited bishop accountability policy, the nation’s Roman Catholic prelates listened in rapt silence Tuesday (Nov. 13) as the leader of their own advisory panel on sexual abuse assailed them for doing too little, too late. ‘The faithful and the clergy do not trust many of you. They are angry and frustrated, no longer satisfied with words and even with prayer,’ said Francesco Cesareo, a layman who is the chairman of the National Review Board and president of Assumption College in Worcester.” By Brian MacQuarrie, The Boston Globe

The Catholic Church proves incapable of exorcising clergy sex abuse – again
“It is evident that the Catholic Church is incapable on its own of exorcising the scourge of clergy sex abuse. The scandal raged unchecked for decades and, even after it was exposed in 2002 by the Boston Globe, has been met by the church hierarchy with denial, temporizing, stone walling and half-measures … Even as the bishops of America’s 196 Catholic dioceses and archdioceses gathered in Baltimore Monday (Oct. 12) to grapple with the latest major revelations they were stopped in their tracks by an abrupt message from the Vatican, which asked them to hold off.” By The Washington Post Editorial Board

Ignore the Vatican: Bishops can forge ahead on stopping abuse, cover-up
“Speculation can be fun. But it’s not helpful, at least not in the short run. And few would dispute that the U.S. church can’t afford the luxury of ‘taking the long view’ when it come to the safety of kids right about now. So let’s stop guessing why Vatican officials nixed the nearly meaningless measures U.S. bishops had planned to discuss this week in Baltimore. Instead, let’s get practical and ask: What should U.S. bishops do now to protect kids, expose wrongdoers and heal the wounded? The answer is actually fairly straightforward. Bishops must use their already vast powers to help stop more abuse and cover-up.” By David Clohessy, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic bishops not being held accountable for abuse
“The Boston Globe – the paper that broke the Catholic priest abuse scandal in 2002 – is now reporting, along with the Philadelphia Inquirer, that American Bishops have yet to be held accountable for protecting and reassigning abusing priests. Nearly a third of the bishops who are alive at the moment have been accused during some time in their careers of not responding adequately to reports of abusive priests in their dioceses. At least 15 have themselves been accused of abuse and are still under the protection of the Catholic Church.” By Steve Jordahl, OneNewsNow.com

Archdiocese outlines abuse response in parish bulletins
“Cardinal Seán O’Malley and the four auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Boston have released a four-page document outlining archdiocese’s efforts to help victims of sexual abuse and prevent abuse in the Church to be inserted in the bulletins of every parish the weekend of Nov. 10-11.” By Jacqueline Tetrault, The Pilot


Survivor warns pope’s abuse summit may be his ‘last chance”
“A clerical sexual abuse survivor calls a summit on child protection that will take place at the Vatican Feb. 21-24, involving presidents of all bishops’ conferences around the world as well as the pope’s own top aides, a ‘last chance’ for the Vatican to be taken seriously. ‘If this 2019 meeting ends with nothing more than enthusiastic words about the discussions which have taken place and promises for the future, it will be the end of the road for many who have waited years for the Church to take concrete action,’ said Marie Collins, Irish clerical sexual abuse survivor, in a Nov. 23 interview with Crux.” By Claire Giangravè, Cruxnow.com

Cupich calls February abuse summit start of a ‘worldwide reform’
“Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, named Friday (Nov. 23) by Pope Francis to the planning committee for February’s high-stakes Vatican meeting on sex abuse, says the pope is seeking the ‘full involvement of the global Church in assuring the protection of children around the world from clerical sexual abuse.’ In an interview with Crux on Friday, he said the committee is ‘committed to achieving specific outcomes from this meeting that reflect the mind of Pope Francis.’” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Pope names organizing committee for abuse conference in February
“Pope Francis named U.S. Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago to be part of the organizing committee preparing for a meeting of the world’s bishops’ conferences and representatives of religious orders to address the abuse and protection of minors. The Feb. 21-24 Vatican meeting is not only ‘about keeping children safe from harm worldwide,’ said Greg Burke, head of the Vatican press office, in a written statement Nov. 23. ‘Pope Francis wants church leaders to have a full understanding of the devastating impact that clerical sexual abuse has on victims,’ he said, soon after the Vatican announced the members of the preparatory committee.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter


Bishops angered by scandal involving ex-Cardinal McCarrick
“At a national assembly focused on the sex-abuse crisis, numerous U.S. Roman Catholic bishops called Wednesday (Nov. 15) for a formal repudiation of Theodore McCarrick, the ex-cardinal facing allegations of sexual misconduct over a long stretch of his career. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, nearing the close of its three-day meeting, has been striving to show a commitment to combating clergy sex-abuse even though the Vatican ordered it to delay votes on two key anti-abuse proposals.” By Associated Press on Religion News Service


Pollster says Pope has tripled his American negatives over sex abuse
“Though Catholics in America continue to have an overall favorable opinion of Pope Francis, according to the director of the Pew Research Center, the Argentine pontiff has tripled his negative ratings for his handling of clerical sexual abuse in the most recent survey and today is ranked below Pope emeritus Benedict XVI at his worst.” By Cruxnow.com staff

Pope urges French bishops to fight child abuse, follow zero tolerance
“Pope Francis encouraged bishops in France to be determined in their fight against child abuse and implement ‘zero tolerance’ against known abusers. The pope said he hoped their ‘welcoming and listening to victims’ would strengthen their ‘determination in the implementation of zero tolerance and your work,’ said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, in a message sent to the bishops of France.” By Catholic News Service in Our Sunday Visitor Newsweekly


Bishop Malone accused of mishandling sex abuse in Maine, before he came to Buffalo
“At a news conference two weeks ago, Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone said he had a good record on dealing with sexually abusive priests. ‘You call it cover-up, we call it confidentiality,’ he told reporters. Malone pointed to his time in the Diocese of Portland, Maine, where he served for eight years before coming to Buffalo. But on the ground in the bishop’s old diocese, advocates for victims of sexual abuse and new documents obtained by the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team paint a much different picture of the bishop’s past — especially when it comes to dealing with sexual abuse.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV

U.S. bishops’ meeting has echoes and differences, from 2002 gathering
“The gathering of U.S. bishops in Baltimore Nov. 12-14 on the heels of the clergy abuse scandal that hit the Catholic Church this past summer had echoes of the 2002 bishops’ meeting in Dallas, which took place just months after the Church was also reeling from a clergy sexual abuse crisis that made headlines in The Boston Globe. But the two meetings reflected different times and also ended with different results.” By Carol Zimmerman, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

Editorial: U.S. bishops have yet to find their collective moral core
“This is how upside down and inside out things have become in the church: The U.S. bishops passed, by an overwhelming vote, a pastoral letter against racism during their recent meeting in Baltimore. Unfortunately, it was birthed in the shadow of the sex abuse crisis, discussion of which overwhelmed the conference meeting, and it will struggle to gain any notice amid the rubble of the ongoing fallout from the crisis … In the current atmosphere, however, it felt like an afterthought, the discussion out of place. It was a statement of moral purpose by a group of men who have yet to find their collective moral core in dealing with the most perilous danger to the church in modern history.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Catholic bishops’ missed opportunity on clergy sex abuse scandal
“Heading into this week’s fall meeting of the Catholic bishops of the United States in Baltimore, the forecast was for dramatic action on the clerical sexual abuse scandals that have rocked the Church for the last six months, during what some dubbed its ‘summer of shame.’ All that changed on Monday (Nov. 13), when the president of the conference, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, announced that late Sunday (Nov. 12) the bishops were asked to stand down by the Vatican, awaiting a three-day summit in February in Rome convened by Pope Francis for the presidents of all the bishops’ conferences in the world to discuss the abuse crisis.” By John L. Allen, Jr., The Boston Globe

Having failed in their duty, Catholic bishops should turn over secret archives
“In a far-reaching special report on Sunday (Nov. 4), journalists from the Philadelphia Inquirer and Boston Globe found that the leaders of the U.S. Catholic Church are far better at covering up child sexual abuse than stopping it. For almost two decades, both cities have been epicenters of investigations into a sickening litany of abuse that has mushroomed across the country. The church’s pattern of protecting itself over parishioners only made the scandal worse.” By Editorial from Philadelphia Inquirer in Minnesota’s Post Bulletin

Spokane bishop on Catholic Church abuse crisis: ‘How much more can the people of God put up with?’
Light streamed into Bishop Thomas Daly’s office one recent afternoon as he spoke, in sometimes blunt terms, about the widening scandal of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in the United States. ‘It’s a moral crisis,’ Daly said. ‘We have degenerate behavior, hypocrisy and now cover-up. My thought is, ‘How much more can the people of God put up with?’ As the leader of the Spokane diocese since 2015, Daly has the final say on some investigations into abuse by clergy.” By Chad Sokol, The Spokesman-Review


Missouri bishop calls for greater lay role in church, including abuse probes
“Laypeople need to help the U.S. bishops get out from under the clerical sex abuse scandal that is plaguing the church, said Bishop W. Shawn McKnight of Jefferson City in a message to Catholics of his diocese posted Nov. 16 on the diocesan website. Beyond just the abuse crisis, laity need to be involved ‘at all levels of the church,’ Bishop McKnight said.” By Catholic News Service, in The Pilot


‘Council Class’ gathers to rekindle memories, reflect light of Vatican II
“The class reconvened in Chicago in September, 52 years after they were ordained on a chilly December day in St. Peter’s Basilica, 10 days after the close of the Second Vatican Council. Only 20 members gathered this time, but the numbers don’t matter. If two or more are gathered in the name of Rome and John XXIII and Vatican II, the Spirit is there — because they like each other, because they aren’t getting any younger, and because they shared a powerful experience.” By Ken Trainor, National Catholic Reporter


The sins of celibacy
“The obsession with enforcing unenforceable standards of sexual continence that run contrary to human nature has led to an extremely unhealthy atmosphere within the modern church that contributed greatly to the sexual abuse crisis. A 1971 Loyola Study, which was also commissioned by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, concluded that a large majority of American priests were psychologically immature, underdeveloped, or maldeveloped. It also found that a solid majority of priests—including those ordained in the 1940s, well before the sexual revolution—described themselves as very or somewhat sexually active.” By Alexander Stille, The New York Review of Books


Were there women apostles?
“St. Paul includes the name Junia, a women’s name, on his list of apostles in Romans 16:7. Does this mean there were women apostles? The problem is we don’t know who this biblical person is. Not all translators are convinced that she is—rendering her name as Junias, a man. So let’s start with Paul’s list in Romans. Toward the end of his letter, Paul says, “Greet Andronicus and Junia[s], my relatives and my fellow prisoners; they are prominent among the apostles and they were in Christ before me.” By Alice Camille, U.S. Catholic

Why not have a woman run a diocese?
“There’s been a lot of talk about women in church leadership. Any cynic will remind you not much has happened. Even so, the pope has made it clear he wants to have women where they can make a difference. The members of the recent Synod of Bishops agreed: ‘An area of particular importance … is the presence of women in ecclesial bodies at all levels, even in positions of responsibility, and the participation of women in ecclesial decision-making processes, respecting the role of the ordained ministry.’ What to do? How about putting women in charge of a few dioceses?” By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter

#ChurchToo: How can we prevent the abuse of women by the clergy?
“Much attention has been paid in recent years to the horrific sexual abuse of minors in the church, and rightly so. But many men and women who experienced sexual abuse by members of the clergy in adulthood have yet to receive compassionate acknowledgment of the harm they have suffered. Regardless of the age at which sexual abuse by clergy was experienced, churches of all denominations have a long distance to travel in setting up healing ministries for and with survivors.” By Lea Karen Kivi, America: The Jesuit Review

Catholic women urge bishops to work together and with laity for healing
“The U.S. bishops, who gathered for a time of prayer at the start of their annual fall meeting in Baltimore, were urged by Catholic women church leaders Nov. 12 to be courageous and work with each other and the laity to move forward from this moment when the church is reeling from abuse allegations. The speakers were Christian Lamas, executive director of the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, and Sister Teresa Maya, a member of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word and past president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.” By Carol Zimmermann, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review


Catholic Church reform should begin with bishops
“Several hundred Catholic bishops from around the country have gathered in Baltimore for a national meeting at a time when many of us faithful are grieving, angry and running out of patience. The horrifying scale of the clergy sexual abuse crisis, as chronicled by a Pennsylvania grand jury report in August that revealed widespread abuse and cover-up over several decades, underscores an obvious but essential point: Bishops can’t be trusted to police themselves.” By John Gehring, The New York Times


How a generational divide shapes U.S. bishops’ response to sex abuse
“As the nation’s Catholic bishops scrambled last week to portray a unified response to the clergy sex-abuse crisis, it was one of the younger members of their hierarchy who offered perhaps the frankest assessment of their problem. ‘We do sometimes act as a good old boys club,” said San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, 62, citing a record of ‘cronyism, favoritism, and cover-up’ he has witnessed among some of his peers over his episcopal career.” By Jeremy Roebuck, The Inquirer

The Catholic church is in crisis, and its leaders are making it worse
“If any truth emerged from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting this week in Baltimore, it was surely Archbishop William E. Lori’s observation that the priest sex abuse scandal ‘is going to be with us for a long, long time.’ The church covered up the widespread abuse of children and adults by priests for a long, long time. It denied and deflected public outrage for a long, long time. And now, when a Pennsylvania grand jury report revealed the breadth of the abuse, and the fall of former Washington Archbishop Theodore McCarrick demonstrated that it extended to the top rungs of the Catholic hierarchy, the church is waiting longer to take even the most obvious of steps to restore its parishioners’ faith.” By Baltimore Sun Editorial Board

Is schism possible in the Catholic Church?
“As the U.S. Catholic bishops gather in Baltimore to discuss controversial issues such as clerical sexual abuse and racism, some people are talking about the threat of schism. History shows that the possibility of schism is always present, but the odds against schism today are high. First, in order to have a schism, you need at least one bishop interested in breaking away … Schismatic bishops can ordain other bishops and priests, so the breakaway has a better chance of continuing; the Great Schism of 1054 between Eastern and Western Christianity has lasted almost 1,000 years.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter


Rome won’t fix the sex abuse crisis in U.S. churches, so let U.S. lay Catholics try
“‘We have accepted it with disappointment.’ That was the public reaction of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo to the latest indignity inflicted on him and his fellow Roman Catholic bishops in the United States. The Vatican had demanded that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, whose annual meeting in Baltimore this week had cleared its agenda to focus on the sexual abuse crisis, must cancel its vote on proposals that would have begun to address that crisis. Why have the American bishops acceded to this demand from Rome?” By Daniel E. Burns, Dallas News

To the Catholic Church: I’m out
“Sixteen years ago, when the clergy sexual abuse scandal dominated headlines in the Globe, I was still a cafeteria Catholic. I attended Sunday Mass, sent my children to religious education classes, and even — Lord, forgive me — conducted one at my dining room table, all while picking and choosing which beliefs to personally embrace. No more. At a certain point, the accumulation of scandal, plus the church’s positions on issues like birth control and gay marriage, led me to conclude the cafeteria didn’t satisfy me as a customer.” By Joan Vennochi, The Boston Globe

Clergy sex abuse: why a national all-faiths inquiry is needed
“Ten years ago, SNAP was the butt of the most outrageous criticism in its three decades of work on behalf of clergy sex abuse survivors. SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, was founded with a focus on Catholic clergy abuse. But as we expanded our efforts to other faiths, the worst name-calling came not from any Catholic official but from a Baptist official. Paige Patterson, a former Southern Baptist Convention president who, at the time, was head of a prominent Baptist seminary, labeled SNAP as ‘evil-doers’ and said we were ‘just as reprehensible as sex criminals.’” By Christa Brown and David Clohessy, Religion News Service


Diocese of Winona-Rochester to file for bankruptcy
“The Diocese of Winona-Rochester is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Matthew Willkom, communications director for the Diocese, said the decision is being made in cooperation with legal counsel representing the survivors of sexual abuse. ‘Bishop (John) Quinn believes this is the best path forward to bring healing and justice to survivors of past child sexual abuse by clergy in our Diocese,’ Willkom said in an email. The diocese will be the 18th in the US, and the 4th in the state of Minnesota, to seek bankruptcy protection.” By Winona Daily News Staff


After Baltimore, where things stand on the sexual abuse crisis
“Now that the dust has settled on the U.S. bishops’ fall meeting in Baltimore – which was keenly anticipated in the run-up, and which turned out to be massively anti-climactic in the aftermath – it’s time to take preliminary stock of where things stand in the bishops’ efforts to respond to the clerical sexual abuse crisis … While much remains uncertain about what happened and where things go from here, here’s what we do know with reasonable certainty.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Panel examines how church culture enables abuse crisis
“Is this an existential crisis? The question, to which there was no crisp answer, came at the very end of an hour and a half of a panel discussion and Q&A session about the clergy sex abuse crisis, the ‘this’ of the question. ‘The Clergy Sex Abuse Crisis: How Did We Get Here?’ was the topic of a briefing for media and NCR members held Sunday (Nov. 11) night in Baltimore before the start of the meeting there of the nation’s bishops.” By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter

The 2018 Catholic clergy sex abuse crisis brings new energy – and anti-gay activists – into the survivors’ movement
“For nearly two decades, to be an advocate for survivors of Catholic clergy sex abuse was often to be a lonely protester, frequently ignored or sometimes even maligned as disrespectful by some Catholics and clergy. That has changed dramatically since June, when clergy abuse scandals surfaced again in the U.S. church. Enormous energy has been pumped into the movement, with parishes around the country holding crowded listening sessions on the topic, bishops making abuse the focus of their annual fall meeting this week and legislators finding new support for measures to expand statutes of limitation for child sexual abuse.” By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post

Psychologist: communication failures obscure U.S. bishops’ progress on abuse
“At a time when the U.S. bishops are in the crosshairs of scrutiny and scorn over their handling of clerical sexual abuse, psychologist Thomas Plante admits that at times he is viewed as a shill for them when he lays out the facts of the U.S. clerical abuse landscape since the prelates’ high-profile 2002 gathering in Dallas. According to the Santa Clara University professor, the initiatives that grew from that meeting — notably the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, canonical Essential Norms related to the charter, a National Review Board, and diocesan compliance audits — have contributed to ‘barely a trickle’ of new clerical child sexual abuse cases since 2002.” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

Bishops’ abuse response must trump all other issues, advisory group says
“A group that has been advising the U.S. bishops for 50 years on multiple issues chose to speak to the bishops in Baltimore Nov. 13 on just one issue: the clergy sexual abuse crisis itself and ways to move forward from it. “We are facing painful times as a church,” Father David Whitestone, chair of the bishops’ National Advisory Council, told the bishops at their fall general assembly. This sense weighed heavily upon the council members during their September gathering, he noted.” By Carol Zimmermann, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review


In Alabama, ‘archaic’ laws fail Catholic child sex abuse victims
“Mark Belenchia remembers the day when he first set eyes on the new Catholic priest in the small Mississippi Delta town of Shelby. It was 1968 at the time and he was 13 years-old. ‘He turned up without his collar on at a baseball game I was playing in,’ said Belenchia from his home in Jackson, Mississippi. ‘He was different from the stuffy priests we were used to. Charismatic, like a breath of fresh air.’ By Christopher Harress, Alabama Advance Media on al.com


Archdiocese of San Francisco reports instances of alleged clerical abuse, but has yet to release names
“The Archdiocese of San Francisco has revealed that six instances of alleged sex abuse of minors by clergy were reported in the 1990s and three in the year 2000, according to an initial review of personnel files dating back to the 1950s. The review follows a lawsuit accusing the Vatican of actively covering up sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.” By Laura Waxmann, San Francisco Examiner

The sexual abuse survivor suing all of California’s Catholic bishops
Survivors of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church have limited legal recourse. They can’t sue individual priests, because states’ statutes of limitations cut off at 10 to 21 years, depending on the state. They can’t force widespread disclosures on the scale of those in Pennsylvania without a grand jury investigation and a willing attorney general. Many can’t even confront their abusers, as some have sought to do: Of the 212 names listed on a recent Bay Area report of alleged abusers, more than half are now dead.” By Emily Moon, Pacific Standard

Sexual abuse allegations are made against priest who retired in San Diego County
“The Rev. James Burson, a Catholic priest now living in San Diego County, has been accused of molesting a Buffalo, N.Y., high school student in the 1970s. Burson recently was added to the Diocese of Buffalo’s list of priests credibly accused of sexual misconduct. The alleged molestation involved a boy at Cardinal Dougherty High School in Buffalo in 1979.” By Peter Rowe, The San Diego Union-Tribune


Archdiocese of Denver removed priest after seminarian’s abuse allegations, but didn’t move to defrock him
“A Catholic priest in Denver accused of having sexually abused a young seminarian over the course of four years in the early 2000s was placed in a local church with a school after the Archdiocese of Denver learned of the allegations. The clergyman, Kent Drotar, lost permission to work as a priest less than two months later and was removed from his post at Notre Dame Catholic Church in southwest Denver after a disciplinary team found the allegations against him credible, as first reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer on Monday (Nov. 12) and confirmed by The Denver Post.” By Elise Schmelzer, The Denver Post


How Chicago Catholics are responding to the church sex abuse crisis
After decades of clergy abuse allegations in the catholic church, new revelations are coming to life. But what keeps parishioners coming back week after week? For John Prezzia, the Catholic church is where he was raised. It’s part of his identity and where he continues to find solace. ‘There’s nowhere else to go for true joy, true peace, and true love,’ Prezzia said. ‘I grew up on the south side of Chicago. A cradle Catholic, very religious family,’ said Therese Albrecht-Key. But while some found true joy, others found pure hell. Therese Albrecht-Key says her priest began abusing her — in the church — when she was only 8 years old. ‘The touching started, and then it escalated to rape and sodomy over a desk in the classroom,’ Albrecht-Key said.” By FOX32 News


Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse named
“The names of 10 former northern Michigan priests — eight dead — came to light this month when the state began an investigation of sexual abuse allegations in churches. A webpage posted Friday (Nov. 9) on the Catholic Diocese of Gaylord website lists eight diocese priests who faced ‘credible and substantiated’ allegations of sexually abusing children. Two more face similar accusations.” By Mark Johnson, Traverse City Record Eagle

Sexual abuse claim against deceased metro Detroit priest credible, says Detroit archdiocese
“An allegation that a priest who died in 1994 sexually abused a child has been found to be credible, the Archdiocese of Detroit said. The archdiocese said in a news release Sunday (Nov. 11) that the complaint against Monsignor Thaddeus Ozog was brought to a review board and shared with prosecutors. Ozog served as pastor or associate pastor at parishes in Detroit, Birmingham, Wayne, Waterford, Flat Rock and Hamtramck.” By Dan Sager Kelly, ClickOnDetroit.com


Deceased bishop accused of abuse while a priest in St. Cloud Diocese
“Bishop Donald Kettler has added the name of Bishop Harold Dimmerling to the list of clergy likely to have abused minors, according to a Nov. 12 statement from the Diocese of St. Cloud. Dimmerling was a priest of the Saint Cloud Diocese who later served as bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, from 1969 until his death in 1987. Bishop Kettler recently received an allegation that Dimmerling sexually abused a minor while serving as a priest in the Diocese of Saint Cloud, the statement said.” By The Catholic Spirit of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul & Minneapolis


New Jersey Catholic Church gets subpoenaed by state, revving up priest abuse investigation
“New Jersey’s attorney general has begun issuing subpoenas to force the state’s Catholic dioceses to turn over records and files related to its clergy sexual abuse investigation, church officials said. The Archdiocese of Newark, the state’s largest diocese that represents more than 1 million Catholics, was asked to turn over documents, said James Goodness, a spokesman for the archdiocese … The subpoena to the Archdiocese of Newark is one part of what is expected to be a lengthy and wide-ranging investigation into potential priest sex abuse cases across all five dioceses and thousands of Catholic churches and schools.” Kelly Heyboer, New Jersey Advance Media on nj.com


A tale of two states on clergy abuse prosecutions
“When Michael Norris talks with fellow survivors of sexual abuse by clergy, he finds that they have a lot in common — the betrayal by a trusted priest and the long trail of damage to family relationships, schooling and a career path. But Mr. Norris said many victims are astonished when he gets to the part of the story in which he sat in a rural Kentucky courtroom on a November day in 2016. There, he witnessed a group of jurors come out from their deliberations and convict his perpetrator.” By Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Attorney General urges Pennsylvania lawmakers to allow suits in old clergy abuse cases, hints at more changes
“Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Monday (Nov. 19) more is to come from his office’s investigation into abuse within the Catholic Church. In a wide-ranging speech, Shapiro touched on the many lawsuits he’s been involved in against the Trump administration. He also touted improvements to the AG office after years of scandal, and rebuffed a question about whether he wants to be governor. But he had perhaps the most to say about a grand jury report released earlier this year that found more than 300 clergy members abused more than 1,000 children over many decades.” By Katie Meyer, WHHY-FM

Lamenting clergy sex abuse, Pennsylvania bishops announce victim compensation fund
Seven of the eight Roman Catholic dioceses of Pennsylvania will create compensation funds for victims of clergy sex abuse, following a grand jury inquiry into abuse of minors by Catholic priests in the state. ‘The damage done to innocent young people and their families by sexual abuse in the past is profound. It can’t be erased by apologies, no matter how sincere. And money can’t buy back a wounded person’s wholeness,’ Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia said in a Nov. 8 column for CatholicPhilly.com. ‘But what compensation can do is acknowledge the evil done and meaningfully assist survivors as they work to find greater peace in their lives,’ he said.” By Catholic News Agency

Ex-altar boy is first in Pennsylvania to file lawsuit against Catholic Church since bombshell AG report
“A former altar boy claimed in a lawsuit Monday (Oct. 12) that he was molested repeatedly by a Pennsylvania priest who had admitted sexually abusing another boy a decade earlier — and who had been cleared to work with kids by a New Mexico clinic for troubled clergy that was derided in Catholic circles as ‘Camp Ped.’ Bruno Tucci, now 76, allegedly abused the altar boy — who is identified in court papers only as a 29-year-old ‘John Doe’ — between 1999 and 2001 at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in Nesquehoning, a small town 30 miles north of Allentown, Pennsylvania.” By Corky Siemaszko, NBC News


Six women sue the Catholic Diocese of Austin, priest for alleged sexual harassment, abuse
“Six women are suing the Catholic Diocese of Austin and a priest for years of alleged sexual harassment and abuse. The women name Father Isidore Ndagizimana in their suit. They say he made unwanted sexual advances and isolated them — holding the women against their will. This reportedly happened while they were attending Austin’s St. Thomas More Catholic Church.” By CBS Austin on FOX29-TV


Seattle archdiocese pays nearly $7 million to settle men’s claims that six priests abuse them as boys
“He’d just finished the eighth grade and was pursuing a plan to devote his life to God when Jim Hauer met the priest who he says introduced him to evil. Back then, in 1976, Hauer said he ‘didn’t understand’ how Father Theodore Marmo — a supervisor of the Seattle Archdiocese’s seminary studies program at John F. Kennedy High School in Burien — allegedly groomed him for abuse. ‘I was innocent of thought,’ Hauer recalled this week.” By Lewis Kamb, Seattle Times


Bishop in South Africa says abuser priests should be excommunicated
“An archbishop in South Africa has suggested the Church’s law system should be amended to mandate the excommunication of priests who commit sexual abuse. Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg made his comments during an ordination mass for four new priests. ‘Perhaps the abuse of minors by a priest, considering its moral gravity … ought to be considered as an automatic excommunication. In other words, when a priest is found to have abused a child, that should be included in the list of those acts that bring about automatic excommunication,’ he said Oct. 27.” By Cruxnow.com Staff


Survivors fear they will die before receiving redress payments
“Child sexual abuse survivors are worried they will die before getting redress payments, as one man died in hospital the day after getting an offer. The redress scheme has paid out fewer than 10 people in the four months it has been open. Some survivors fear they will die before major churches and charities officially enter the scheme. Tony Duffy survived just long enough to get a payment offer from the child abuse redress scheme.” By CathNews.com


French bishops set up ‘independent’ panel into child sex abuse
“French bishops have announced setting up an ‘independent’ commission to ‘shed light on the sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic Church since 1950.’In a statement released on Wednesday (Nov. 7), the Bishops’ Conference of France (CEF) said the panel would seek ‘to understand the reasons which led to the way these affairs were handled’ and make recommendations.” By Al Jazeera


Case of Burton pedophile priest heard at inquiry into Catholic Church
“The case of a Burton paedophile priest who sexually abused young boys and girls has formed part of an ongoing public inquiry into the extent of any institutional failings by the Catholic church to protect young people. Samuel Penney, a priest at St Mary and St Modwen Church, in Guild Street, in the 1970s, has been named during the proceedings by the Independent Inquiry Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) aimed at establishing if there were failings by the Arch Diocese of Birmingham, which Burton is part of. The week-long public inquiry, which opened on Monday, November 12, is focusing on cases involving Penney and three other priests – all from the diocese.” By Helen Kreft, DerbyshireLive.co.uk


Italy’s bishops respond to long-ignored clergy sex abuse
“Italy’s Catholic bishops are declaring a new era of transparency and truth about clergy sex abuse, as awareness of the scandal that has convulsed much of the Catholic world begins to take hold in a country where it was long ignored. Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, president of the Italian bishops’ conference, said Thursday (Nov. 15) that a national advisory center of lay and religious experts is being created to help dioceses educate personnel about protecting children and help bishops investigate abuse reports.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press


Support group reveals more victims as Church stands silent
“More survivors of clerical sex abuse are coming forward after Catholic school Old Boys formed an online support network as the Church continues stonewalling over the extent of sexual predation. As the new victims emerged, a Catholic religious order used the upcoming Royal Commission as a reason for not providing information to RNZ about known child abusers, even though a report on faith-based abuse is not due until 2023. St Bernard’s Lower Hutt Old Boy Patrick Hill and another abuse victim, Steve Goodlass, set up a Facebook group to offer assistance and in doing so unearthed further victims, Mr Hill told RNZ.” By Phil Pennington, Radio New Zealand