Voice of the Faithful Focus, Nov. 9, 2018


Catholic bishops promised reform in sex-abuse scandal. But they didn’t look at their own misdeeds
“Sixteen years after the clergy sexual abuse crisis exploded in Boston, the American Catholic Church is again mired in scandal. This time, the controversy is propelled not so much by priests in the rectories as by the leadership, bishops across the country who like (Bishop Robert) Finn have enabled sexual misconduct or in some cases committed it themselves. More than 130 US bishops — or nearly one-third of those still living — have been accused during their careers of failing to adequately respond to sexual misconduct in their dioceses, according to a Boston Globe and Philadelphia Inquirer examination of court records, media reports, and interviews with church officials, victims, and attorneys.” By Jenn Abelson and Thomas Farragher, The Boston Globe, and Julia Terruso and William Bender, Philadelphia Inquirer

DiNardo, USCCB head, was bishop during years diocese hid priest’s abuse
“The Diocese of Sioux City admitted Oct. 31 that it had concealed for decades the identity of a priest who had abused dozens of Iowa boys, as reported by the Associated Press. One of the bishops during that period was Daniel DiNardo, now cardinal archbishop of Galveston-Houston and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Associated Press obtained a Feb. 12 letter written by the diocese vicar general. According to the letter, AP reports that ‘in 1986, Coyle reported his ‘history of sexual attraction to and contact with boys’ to Sioux City’s bishop, revealing that he had victimized approximately 50 youths over a 20-year period while serving in several Iowa parishes.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Federal government tells Catholic bishops not to destroy sex abuse documents
“The Department of Justice has sent a sweeping request to every Roman Catholic diocese in the United States not to destroy documents related to the handling of child sexual abuse, a sign that the federal investigation into the church could grow far more extensive. Catholic bishops have been asked by the federal government to retain their files on a broad array of internal matters, including sexual abuse investigations, and the transfer of priests across state or international borders, or to treatment centers. The request includes documents contained in ‘secret archives’ — the confidential files that are kept by each diocese.” By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times

A Step Toward Accountability
Reports of sexual abuse and cover-ups within the church hierarchy have led to increased attention to the church’s secrecy around its finances. Until only recent decades, U.S. diocesan financial affairs were kept confidential and knowledge was compartmentalized; even some very highly placed diocesan officials were unaware of the settlements used to keep clerical sexual abuse under wraps. It was generally assumed that once contributions hit the collection basket, parishioners had no business knowing how the bishops used that money. What they would have learned is that the U.S. Catholic Church has spent $3.99 billion related to clerical-abuse settlements.” By David Castaldi, Joseph Finn and Margaret Roylance, Voice of the Faithful, on Commonweal.org

Synod ends, calling women’s inclusion in Catholic leadership a ‘duty of justice’
“A worldwide gathering of hundreds of the Catholic Church’s prelates ended Oct. 27 with the issuing of some of the global institution’s strongest language yet for the inclusion of women in its all-male decision-making structures, calling the matter a ‘duty of justice’ that requires a ‘courageous cultural conversion.’ Although the final document from the Oct. 3-28 Synod of Bishops does not mention women’s ordination — neither to the priesthood nor to the diaconate — it acknowledges that women have been excluded from decision-making processes even when they ‘do not specifically require ministerial responsibility.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Amid sex abuse crisis, Pope Francis calls on bishops to gather for retreat hosted by Blasé Cupich
“Pope Francis has called on Catholic bishops nationwide to gather for a historic seven-day spiritual retreat at Mundelein Seminary in suburban Chicago in January as church hierarchy grapples with the ongoing clergy sex abuse scandal. As chancellor of the seminary, Cardinal Blase Cupich — an Omaha native and leader of the Chicago archdiocese — will serve as host of the gathering, which could include some 300 bishops from around the country.” By Associated Press, Chicago Tribune, in Omaha World-Herald

The U.S. Catholic Church is facing an unprecedented wave of sex abuse investigations
“In the months since a Pennsylvania grand jury announced the names of more than 300 priests who’d abused at least 1,000 children, authorities across the United States have launched investigations of unprecedented scale into sex abuse within the U.S. Catholic Church. On Wednesday (Oct. 24), Virginia became at least the 15th state where officials have announced a plan to investigate sex abuse allegations within the Church. At the federal level, the Justice Department has subpoenaed records from at least seven of Pennsylvania’s eight Catholic dioceses in a probe believed to be the first of its kind.” By Carter Sherman, News.Vice.com

New York bishop accused of sexual abuse
“An auxiliary Catholic bishop in New York, John Jenik, has been accused of sexual abuse and removed from his public ministry, Catholic officials said, the latest scandal to hit an institution already reeling from revelations of inappropriate behavior by its clergy around the globe. “Although the alleged incidents occurred decades ago, the Lay Review Board has concluded that the evidence is sufficient to find the allegation credible and substantiated,” Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York, said in a statement on Wednesday (Oct. 31).” By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times


Newspapers examine U.S. bishops’ responses to abuse allegations
“The Globe/Inquirer said that amid new revelations of alleged misconduct by U.S. bishops or reported mishandling of abuse cases, the newspapers had ‘pooled their resources for a deeper look at the crisis’ and as they put it, they ‘visited nine states, conducted scores of interviews, and reviewed thousands of pages of court and church records to produce this report,’ which received funding from the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, a Philadelphia nonprofit group dedicated to local journalism.” By Carol Zimmermann, Catholic News Service

Now is the time to modify the Catholic Church’s ‘seal of confession’
“Indeed, Catholic Church law unconditionally forbids any priest from betraying a penitent, for any reason whatsoever, whether by word or in any other fashion, and any priest who directly betrays a penitent would incur an immediate and automatic excommunication. As a result, sexual abusers go unreported to civil and church authorities, and potential additional victims are endangered.” By James E. Connell, National Catholic Reporter

Bishop blasts whistleblower who copied sex misconduct files
“The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, New York, is firing back at a former assistant-turned-whistleblower who says Bishop Richard Malone should resign over his response to reports of clergy sexual misconduct. In a statement just before midnight Tuesday (Oct. 30), the diocese calls statements made by Siobhan O’Connor during an earlier news conference ‘embarrassingly contradictory.’ It attached emails from O’Connor praising Malone.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

Abuse crisis, day of discernment, prayer top agenda for Baltimore meeting
“Discussion and voting on concrete measures to address the abuse crisis and a day of spiritual discernment and prayer will top the agenda for the U.S. bishops when they meet Nov. 12-14 for their fall general assembly in Baltimore. Public sessions of the assembly also will be live s streamed, live tweeted and carried via satellite, said an Oct. 29 news release from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

Buffalo diocesan protocols for addressing abuse claims scrutinized by ‘60 Minutes’
“How the Diocese of Buffalo handles cases of priests suspected of abuse was the subject of a report Oct. 28 by the CBS newsmagazine ‘60 Minutes,’ which talked to a woman who leaked diocesan files on those priests to a local TV station. ‘60 Minutes’ also interviewed a priest who resigned his role as a counselor to Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo citing lack of action by the bishop, and spoke to a permanent deacon who has called on the bishop to resign.” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot


Catholic Church to discuss sex abuse scandal at retreat at Mundelein Seminary
“Watch for a weeklong spiritual retreat for U.S. Catholic bishops to be held at Mundelein Seminary in early January as the church hierarchy prepares for a plan to consider its role in the latest scandal involving the U.S. clergy sex abuse crisis. ‘They better pray,’ said Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, interim head of the lay board chosen by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to address the priest pedophile scandal in 2004. She has been critical of the way the church hierarchy subsequently ignored their advice, and believes a lay board should conduct the investigation.” By Michael Sneed, Chicago Sun-Times


Cardinal O’Malley elected chairman of Papal Foundation
“Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston was elected chairman of the Papal Foundation’s board of trustees during a meeting in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 30, taking over from Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who served in the position for eight years. O’Malley has been a member of the foundation’s board for 12 years. He is also president of the Pontifical Council for the Protection of Minors and a member of Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals.” By Hannah Brockhaus, Cruxnow.com

An emotional Cardinal O’Malley disheartened by bishops’ slow progress against clergy sex abuse
Pope Francis’ chief adviser on sexual abuse believed the church had turned a critical corner. The year was 2002 and the future Cardinal Sean O’Malley was sitting in a ballroom where his fellow bishops had just pledged a new era of transparency and accountability in confronting the burgeoning clergy abuse crisis. ‘I was very relieved,’ recalled O’Malley, who led the Fall River diocese at the time of the bishops’ conference in Dallas 16 years ago. ‘I thought it was a path forward.’ But as The Boston Globe and Philadelphia Inquirer reported Sunday in a joint investigation, it wasn’t.” By Thomas Farragher and Jenn Abelson, The Boston Globe


U.S. bishops to meet Nov. 12-14 in Baltimore; will address abuse crisis and action items
“The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will gather for the 2018 Fall General Assembly in Baltimore, November 12-14. The assembly will begin with an address by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the USCCB and also an address by the Papal Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre. The body of bishops will then adjourn to an on-site chapel for a full day of spiritual discernment and prayer. This will be followed by a Mass celebrated Monday evening at the site of the assembly.” By USCCB News Release

Abuse discussion may overshadow racism letter at U.S. bishops’ fall meeting
“The U.S. bishops’ long-awaited pastoral letter against racism is in danger of being overshadowed by discussion of sex abuse at the church leaders’ annual meeting in November, but two bishops who worked on the document think it could also help restore some of their credibility. ‘We have to address sexual abuse, and that should be our first and primary focus, but I also think [racism] is an important issue as well,’ said Bishop Shelton Fabre of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana. Fabre is chair of the bishops’ Subcommittee on African American Affairs and of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

U.S. bishops face most critical meeting since Dallas in 2002
“Two weeks from today, the bishops of the United States will gather in Baltimore for their most consequential meeting since Dallas in the summer of 2002, when the clergy sex abuse crisis at that time produced the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and its zero tolerance approach to the sexual abuse of children. Are the bishops today, with the leadership they have, up to the task? And, what are those tasks? By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter


Catholic priests react to clergy sex abuse meeting with Bishop Malone
“Bishop Richard Malone gathered all the priests in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo for a meeting to discuss the clergy sex abuse scandal Monday (Nov. 5) afternoon. This in the wake of explosive reporting by the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team in recent months that has shed light on the extent of Bishop Malone’s involvement in the crisis. ‘It’s going to be a long road,’ Father Jack Ledwon of St. Joseph University Parish in Buffalo said. ‘This is a marathon. This crisis developed over decades and it’s not going to be healed with a week or a new program or a new hire or something like that. It’s going to take a lot of effort on a lot of people’s parts and it’s going to be a long road back.’” By Josh Bazan, WKBW-TV News Buffalo

Work in progress: two Catholic priests reflect on how the job has changed
“Taking that first step down a career path can be daunting, like stepping into a world completely unknown. On the flip side, if you’ve been walking that road a long time, chances are you’ve learned a thing or two. Father Jim Houbeck, a newly ordained Catholic priest, sat down with Father Ed Prus, who has recently retired, to discuss their lives in this vocation. Their conversation is part of Stateside’s Work in Progress series, where we bring together two people to talk about what it’s like to be at opposite ends of the same career path.” By Stateside Staff, Michigan Public Radio


Divisions at synod on sex abuse send the wrong message, survivor says
“Denise Buchanan, a survivor of clerical sexual abuse and advocate for fellow victims, has said she was disappointed in the handling of the issue during last month’s Synod of Bishops on youth, and that a lack of a unified consensus is thwarting any progress that could be made. With some bishops making vocal apologies for the Church’s failures and others trying to downplay the problem, depicting it as a mainly Western issue, it’s clear that prelates ‘don’t know what to do,’ Buchanan said.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

Catholic bishops end synod with controversy and compromise
“For those looking for Pope Francis’ synod of bishops on young people to settle the current divides in the Catholic Church between bishops and laity, conservatives and reformers, LGBT Catholics and those who regard that group as an oxymoron, the synod’s final report is bound to disappoint. It should come as no surprise that the report approved on Saturday (Oct. 27) by the bishops who met here over the past month is filled with generalities. The broad topic of the synod, ‘young people,’ did not lend itself to specifics. In addition, each of the 167 paragraphs needed to be approved separately by a two-thirds vote — 166 out of the 249 bishops present. This encouraged compromise to get the needed votes.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service

Young people at synod eager to bring results back to the pews
“Young people who took part in a recent Synod of Bishops in Rome have said the month-long discussion was an overwhelmingly positive experience, one which they’re eager to take home and translate into action. Yadira Vieyra, a young delegate from the United States at the Oct. 3-28 synod, told Crux that as she goes home, her goal is to work on ‘bringing the Church to life, making sure that when we preach the Gospel of Jesus, we do it in a way that exudes joy, because we have such beautiful teachings and it’s important not to teach them in a somber way. We have to be excited.’” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

Drafter says ‘zero tolerance’ didn’t belong in a synod doc on young people
“As the dust settles after an Oct. 3-28 summit of bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment, many questions remain. Most are focused on the final document adopted by the bishops by an overwhelming margin last Saturday (Oct. 27) night – including who shaped it, what some of its language means, and the fact that it doesn’t contain an endorsement of a ‘zero tolerance’ policy on sexual abuse.” By John L. Allen Jr., Cruxnow.com

‘Synodality’ in final doc didn’t come from synod fathers, drafter says
“A member of the drafting committee for the final document of the 2018 Synod of Bishops says that language on ‘synodality’ and discernment”’ in a draft distributed to bishops earlier this week came from neither synod discussions nor the committee, guessing it was inserted by officials appointed by Pope Francis to run the event. ‘They’re very heavily stressed, discernment and synodality, which really were not very much prominent in the discussions,’ said Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, India, a member of both the drafting committee for the final synod document and the pope’s ‘C9’ council of cardinal advisors.” By John L. Allen, Jr., and Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com


Clericalism a key cause of women’s exclusion, Korean nun says
“Sister Mina Kwon, a South Korean nun taking part in this month’s (October) summit of bishops in Rome, has said that as the Church ponders how to better include women in decision-making roles, clericalism must be exposed as an underlying reason they’re not often seen in leadership. A member of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres, Kwon is director of the Juniorate in her convent and also director of the Counseling Center in the School of Medicine in the Catholic University of Daegu.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com


Who represents the laity: looking beyond the new ecclesial movements
“One of the most important moments in the pontificate of Francis could be the publication, probably sometime in the next few months, of the apostolic constitution Praedicate evangelium, about the reform of the Roman Curia. It will be interesting to see what Francis’s reform will keep of the old Roman Curia created by Pope Sixtus V in 1588, which is still very similar to the one we have today. It will also be very interesting to see what place is accorded to new institutions, especially the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, established by Francis in March 2014. The relationship of that commission to the other congregations and dicasteries of the Vatican has, until now, been unclear and precarious.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal


Vatican reorganization would be ‘decisive shift,’ says Cardinal Gracias
“Pope Francis’ advisory Council of Cardinals has suggested that the pontiff reorganize the Vatican to make a ‘decisive shift’ toward putting the city-state at the service of local Catholic dioceses around the world, said one of the council’s nine members. Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias said ‘the thrust’ of a new document outlining the shape of the Vatican bureaucracy, which the council is finishing after five years of work, will be a ‘service to the local churches.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter


Nigerian bishops urge child protection at education conference
“A ‘hijacking’ of missionary schools by the government is to blame for the failing standards of moral education in Nigeria, according to the country’s Catholic bishops, in a meeting where they also discussed child protection policies in the Church. Speaking Oct. 16 at the 3rd National Catholic Education Summit in Abuja, Archbishop Augustine Akubueze of Benin City said both schools and homes have failed in imparting the necessary values that should form the bedrock of a morally sound Nigeria.” By Cruxnow.com Staff


Our myth, their lie
The structure I have just described could hardly be better at catalyzing abuse. Look at Cardinals Egan and McCarrick. One was considered conservative, the other liberal, but both were notorious on abuse—and St. John Paul gave both the red hat. How about Cardinal Mahony and Cardinal Pell? Archbishops Finn, Wilson, and Bruskewitz? Or Cardinal Law, the great conservative prelate whose punishment was promotion? The same story unfolds today in Honduras, Chile, and Australia. Now we’ve learned from Pennsylvania that dozens of bishops, perhaps a cardinal, are implicated in a broad, deep, clerical conspiracy—a conspiracy that was well established years before my old scapegoats, Vatican II and the sexual revolution, were around to take the blame. This crisis was not caused by Marty Haugen tunes and the Land O’ Lakes statement. At the root of this crisis is structure—the particular way church governance has calcified in the past couple of centuries. That structure has to go.” By James J. Heaney, Commonweal


Vatican meeting ends with call for greater role for women in the Church
“A major meeting of Catholic bishops ended on Saturday (Oct. 27) with a call for women to play a greater role in Church decision making as a ‘duty of justice,’ but appeared to water down language that would have been more welcoming to gays. The role of women took center stage at the synod, which was focused on reaching out to young people but has been overshadowed by the scandal over sex abuse in the Church and acrimony between social conservatives and reformers. In a sign of the divisions, the synod used what appeared to be compromise language on the topic of homosexuality, saying people could not be identified solely by sexual orientation.” By Philip Pullella, Reuters

Lucetta Scaraffia is trying to fight Catholic patriarchy from the inside
“This past March, a small Catholic magazine called Women Church World ran an article titled ‘The (almost) free work of sisters.’ In it, the journalist Marie-Lucile Kubacki described nuns who, among other menial tasks, serve meals to bishops and then eat in the kitchen, and who are paid little or nothing for the work they do. That institutional sexism pertains in the Catholic Church was not a shock, but the messenger was a surprise: Women Church World is published by the Vatican.” By Elizabeth Barber, The New Yorker


All revved up: can the Catholic Church redeem itself?
“Despite repeated sex abuse scandals and promises from church elders that change would come, a Boston Globe and Philadelphia Inquirer investigation revealed that more than 130 U.S. Catholic bishops — roughly one third of those still living — have been accused of failing to adequately respond to sexual misconduct. Reverends Irene Monroe and Emmett G. Price III joined Jim Braude and Margery Eagan on Boston Public Radio for their weekly All Revved Up segment to look at the institution that continues despite decades-long mishandling of abuse.” By Tori Bedford, Boston Public Radio


Theologian: ‘huge dose of hypocrisy’ behind objections to ‘Amoris Laetitia’
“When British author Stephen Walford released a book in August defending the pope’s 2016 apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, he scored what few Catholic authors could only dream of: A personal preface by Francis himself. Walford, the author of two previous works on the papacy and saints, is an unconventional theologian. By day, he’s a piano teacher – yet that hasn’t stopped him from penning some of the most well-cited essays defending the pope’s cautious opening to communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com


This Catholic has lost her patience with the church
“On Aug. 16, 2018, Cardinal Sean O’Malley issued a statement responding to the Pennsylvania grand jury report about the cover-up of decades-long sexual abuse by priests in that state. Attempting to offer some assurance to beleaguered Catholics, O’Malley stated: ‘The clock is ticking for all of us in Church leadership. Catholics have lost patience with us and civil society has lost confidence in us.’ He further urged ‘a spiritual conversion’ within the church and insisted upon ‘legal transparency and pastoral accountability.’” By Helen Drinan, The Boston Globe

In the midst of the sex abuse scandal, what do the People of God want from church hierarchy?
“The allegations of abusive behavior made against Cardinal TheodoreMcCarrick and the stunning report by the Pennsylvania grand jury were a one-two punch that had the members of our Jesuit parish in Baltimore, like Catholics everywhere, reeling. To create a forum for discussion, our pastor organized two evenings during which parishioners could come together, share our feelings and develop recommendations for our church going forward. I was asked to facilitate the discussions. Many of the participants in these meetings expressed the same conundrum: ‘If I were considering joining an organization like this, would I? If I would not join it, why should I stay in it?’” By Madeline E. Lacovara, Amarica: The Jesuit Review


Catholic agencies closely monitor giving after clergy sex abuse shock
“Leaders and fundraisers at Catholic organizations are cautiously monitoring the level of donations and gifts as the end-of-the-year giving season approaches, hoping that the clergy sexual abuse scandal won’t negatively affect their bottom line. While most of the professionals contacted by Catholic News Service said it is too early yet to see what effect, if any, the abuse crisis may have on giving, some are taking steps to reassure donors that money contributed to vital ministries is not going for settlements to abuse victims or payments to attorneys.” By Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service

Catholic priest resigns amid investigation into spending at five churches
“A Catholic priest resigned during an investigation into possible misuse of funds at five Southwest Michigan churches he served. The Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo began investigating ‘suspected financial irregularities’ at five parishes led by the Rev. Richard Altine, according to a release from the diocese. Altine resigned from public ministry on Oct. 22, citing ‘medical and mental issues’ in a Facebook post two days later.” By Michael Barrett, MLive.com

Thief steals cash from donation box at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church
“Staff at an Omaha church told police that they have surveillance video of a man stealing money from a donation box near the church’s altar. About $400 in cash was stolen from St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church at 6116 Dodge St. in two separate incidents, according to the police report.” By Kevin Cole, Omaha World-Herald


Catholic Church open to discussing a Child Victims Act that includes a window to revive old cases
“The Catholic Church for the first time is saying it is open to looking at some type of provision that would allow child sex abuse victims who under current state law cannot seek justice to be able to do so. Dennis Poust, a spokesman for the state Catholic Conference headed by Timothy Cardinal Dolan, made the comment as victims of child sex abuse and rape are waiting anxiously to see the outcome of the crucial state Senate elections on Tuesday (Nov. 6).” By Kenneth Lovett, New York Daily News

A powerful lobby blocked changes in Pennsylvania child sex abuse laws. Here’s who and here’s why.
“Two powerful groups lined the halls of the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building on Oct. 17. One group included people who identify as victims or survivors of Catholic priest sex abuse. The other group represented the Catholic Church and its insurance companies, which could have been on the hook for millions in reparations to such victims. The victims and survivors argued for a bill that would let people sue the Catholic Church over decades of abuses that were covered up. The lobbyists argued that the bill was unconstitutional, and that the church could be left bankrupt, unable to help the community.” By Candy Woodall, York Daily Record


University panels ask how church should emerge from abuse crisis
“What now? Toward the end of a year marked by revelations about worldwide sex abuse, from Chile, Australia, Germany, Guam, as well as Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the question of how the church should emerge from crisis was the topic in two seminars at East Coast Jesuit universities within a week of each other. At Fordham University here, as well as Georgetown University in Washington, experts in church life and psychology offered possible pathways out, after describing the depths of the issues which confront the church.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

One man glad to be in court to see priest plead guilty to abuse
“When Father David Poulson of the Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty Oct. 17 to felony counts in connection with sexual assaults against one boy and the attempted assault of another boy, Jim VanSickle was there to witness it. VanSickle, 52, said Poulson assaulted him when he was a teenager.” By Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

Lay Catholics urged to channel anger at church abuse crisis to reform
“Although the current sexual abuse crisis in the church is similar to what the church faced in 2002 when reports of past abuse and cover-up came out of Boston, how Catholics are responding this time is different. As one panelist explained it during a recent discussion at Georgetown University, the big difference between 2002 and 2018 is the ‘cumulative effect of collective outrage.’ Beyond echoes of anger and frustration from years ago, many Catholics are demanding real change, transparency with church leaders and more lay involvement, particularly from women.” By Carol Zimmermann, Catholic News Service

Despite a history of sexual abuse, here’s why some Catholic parents choose to stay with the church
“Michael Hoffman is what some call a ‘cradle Catholic.’ Born and raised into the faith, he and his family were extremely involved in their Forest Park parish throughout his childhood. As a kid, he was an altar server. As an adult, he considers the Catholic community the ‘fabric’ of his life. From 12 to 16, it was also the source of his sexual abuse. Hoffman, now 53, kept that to himself for a long time. It wasn’t until 2006 — a decade into his marriage — that he decided to tell his wife. The second person he told? His pastor at St. Mary of the Woods Parish in Chicago.” By Lauren Chval, Chicago Tribune


‘We’re not going to hide’: Alaska archbishop fights clergy sex abuse
“Anchorage’s archbishop, who has emerged as one of the few heroes in a major newspaper story on bishops’ lack of oversight regarding clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, is continuing his inquiries in Alaska. An independent commission is currently examining church personnel files for the past half-century in Anchorage, after Archbishop Paul Etienne asked it to do so a few weeks ago. This isn’t the first time Etienne has sought justice within the church.” By Cassie Schirm, KTVA-TV News

New commission to review personnel files of Anchorage clergy, sisters
“Archbishop Paul D. Etienne of Anchorage has appointed an independent commission to review all personnel files of clerics and religious men and women who have served in the Archdiocese of Anchorage since its canonical establishment in 1966. The commission was formed following consultation with lay leadership, the archdiocese said. The independent body also will review allegations of sexual misconduct of lay volunteers and employees reported to the archdiocese.” By Catholic News Service on CatholicPhilly.com


Little Rock diocese receives 26 more clergy abuse reports
“The Catholic Diocese of Little Rock says it has received 26 more allegations of clergy abuse one month after the diocese released a list of clergy members who have had credible allegations against them of sexually abusing minors. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that Bishop Anthony B. Taylor announced the additional complaints in a letter to church members Tuesday (Oct. 23). The diocese released a preliminary list in September that identified 12 priests accused of abuse who served in Arkansas.” By Associated Press in U.S. News & World Report


Ex-Catholic priest who pleaded guilty to abusing minors is hit with lawsuit alleging he molested two brothers
“A former Catholic priest who was convicted of sexually abusing minors is the subject of a lawsuit filed by two brothers who say he molested them in the early 1990s while he ministered at a church in Riverside. Carlos Rene Rodriguez was able to abuse the then 7- and 12-year-old boys because the Catholic Church protected the priest and allowed him to continue serving in the church despite knowing his troubled history, according to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Thursday (Nov. 1).” By Alejandra Reyes-Velarde, Los Angeles Times

Bridgeport diocese says it has paid out $52 million in priest sex-abuse settlements since 1953
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport paid $52.5 million to settle 156 allegations of priest sexual abuse of children since 1953 and the church is still paying eight priests who abused children, the diocesan leader said Wednesday (Oct. 31). It is the first time that the diocese has given an overview of how much the priest-abuse scandal has cost. Bishop Frank J. Caggiano had promised to give a financial accounting in a letter to parishioners in September.” By David Altimari, Hartford Courant


Local Catholic priest under investigation, bishop says
“The Rev. Nick McLoughlin of the Diocese of Venice has been placed on administrative leave while the Diocese of St. Petersburg reviews a complaint of ‘inappropriate physical contact with a minor’ lodged against him. The Diocese of Venice declined to state the nature of McLoughlin’s exact duties before he was suspended.” Carlos R. Munoz, Herald Tribune


Bombshell documents name Catholic priests, deacons accused of abusing minors
“The Catholic archbishop of Atlanta has released bombshell documents naming over a dozen priests and other clergy in the Atlanta metro area accused of sexually abusing minors. Channel 2’s Tom Regan went to the Cathedral of Christ the King in Buckhead, where three of the priests on the list once served at the most prominent church in the archdiocese. Regan spoke to a victim, who said he was abused by one of those priests as a teenager in the 1970s at a different parish facility. The victim, who didn’t want to be identified, said the church never took his complaint seriously.” By Tom Regan, WSB-TV2 News


Abuse cover-up, priest leaves home next to Iowa school
“A retired priest who lived for months next to a Roman Catholic school in Iowa moved out Thursday (Nov. 1), hours after his history of sexually abusing boys became public knowledge following a 32-year cover-up. The Rev. Jerome Coyle left the Marian Home in Fort Dodge, Iowa, according to a spokeswoman for the Diocese of Sioux City, who said an acquaintance had agreed to take him in.” Ryan J. Foley, Associated Press

Catholic diocese in Iowa covered up priest’s abuse of 50 boys
“A Catholic diocese acknowledged Wednesday (Oct. 31) that it concealed for decades a priest’s admission that he sexually abused dozens of Iowa boys — a silence that may have put other children in danger. The Rev. Jerome Coyle, now 85, was stripped of his parish assignments in the 1980s but never defrocked. And it was not until this week, after the Associated Press inquired about him, that he was publicly identified by the church as an admitted pedophile, even though the Diocese of Sioux City had been aware of his conduct for 32 years.” By Ryan J. Foley, Associated Press, in Des Moines Register


57 clergy members ‘credibly accused’ of abuse in New Orleans since 1950, archdiocese says in releasing names
“The Archdiocese of New Orleans on Friday (Nov. 2) released the names of 57 Roman Catholic clergy members ‘credibly accused’ of abusing minors over many decades in southeast Louisiana, answering a clarion call for transparency in a scandal that has rocked the world’s largest Christian church. All of the credibly accused clergy members are either deceased or have been removed from the ministry, Archbishop Gregory Aymond said.” By Kim Chatelain, Times-Picayune on NOLA.com

Archbishop Aymond says naming clergy accused of sexual abuse will renew the church
“New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond believes the decision to release the names of clergy credibly accused of abusing minors will lead to a renewal of the Roman Catholic church, the Clarion Herald newspaper reported. Aymond’s statement was part of a question and answer feature published in the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. The archbishop said that, ahead of his decision, he received calls and emails from both those who wanted the names released and those who felt the names should not be made public.” By Kim Chatelain, The Times-Picayne, on NOLA.com


Catholic priest removed from Fenton church following sexual harassment allegation
“A Catholic priest accused of sexual harassment has been removed from a Fenton church by the Catholic Diocese of Lansing. According to the diocese, Rev. Mathew Joseph was removed from his position as parochial vicar for St. John the Evangelist Parish in Fenton due to several complaints against him. One of those complaints included what the diocese called a ‘credible allegation of sexual harassment of an adult female.’” By Jason Lorenz, NBC-TV25 News


Springfield couple reveals identities in sexual assault lawsuit against local Catholic church
“Springfield couple, Gail and Jon Herbert, decided to come forward and reveal their identities after filing a lawsuit in August against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau and Troy Casteel, director of family ministries, for years of sexual and emotional abuse. They hope to help someone else through their pain. ‘I’m angry and I fight to not feel shame … but I refuse to feel shame,’ Gail Herbert said.” By Taylor Frost, KY3-TV News


West Point priest resigns after accusation of ‘boundary violations’
“A Catholic priest in West Point accused of ‘significant boundary violations with young adults and minors’ has resigned from his assignment, an Omaha Archdiocese official said Saturday (Oct. 3). The Rev. Andy Syring, a 41-year-old priest who had been assigned to St. Mary Catholic Church in West Point, resigned Tuesday (Oct. 30). Syring has denied the allegations, which were reported to law enforcement, said Deacon Tim McNeil, chancellor of the archdiocese.” By Norfolk Daily News

Omaha priest removed from public ministry amid sexual abuse allegation
“A priest who had been celebrating Masses at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. James Catholic Churches in Omaha has been removed from public ministry after refusing to contest a decades-old allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, according to a statement by the Archdiocese of Omaha. The allegation against the Rev. Donald Cleary involves an alleged incident in the mid-1980s in Wayne, Nebraska. Cleary was a pastor at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Wayne from 1986 to 1998.” By Susan Szalewski and Nancy Gaarder, Omaha World-Herald


Buffalo bishop revises pries abuse list, fends off critics
“Embattled Bishop Richard Malone added 36 names Monday (Nov. 5) to a public list of priests with substantiated claims of sexual abuse of a child, bringing the number to 78, and described a “tsunami” of victims who came forward following the creation of a program to compensate victims. Addressing criticism over his handling of clergy abuse complaints, Malone acknowledged that some priests in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo have joined in calls for his resignation, but said stepping down wouldn’t necessarily help.” By Carolyn Thompson, Associated Press

Diocese places Fr. Michael Juran on administrative leave
“The Diocese of Buffalo has suspended another priest after an allegation of abuse. Fr. Michael P. Juran was placed on administrative leave Wednesday (Oct. 31) evening, the diocese announced on its website. Neither a spokeswoman for Bishop Richard J. Malone nor Fr. Juran responded to messages left for comment.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV

Exclusive interview with Bishop Richard Malone on clergy sex abuse scandal
“The clergy sex abuse scandal that is rocking the Roman Catholic Church around the world is sending shockwaves through the Diocese of Buffalo. Bishop Richard Malone has been the leader of Western New York’s 600,000 Catholics for the past years. Malone has come under fire after the Diocese released a list of 42 names of accused priests. A new list which includes more names will be released soon. In an exclusive interview with News 4, Bishop Malone talked to Don Postles about the message he has for all Western New York residents- and the action he’s taking to end the abuse.” By WVIB-TV

Diocese of Buffalo whistleblower interviewed for ‘60 Minutes’ story
“The confidential whistleblower in the Buffalo Catholic Diocese sex abuse scandal will be featured this Sunday (Oct. 28) on the national news magazine ‘60 Minutes.’ Siobhan O’Connor, the former secretary to embattled Bishop Richard J. Malone, will speak publicly for the first time Sunday (Oct. 28) about why she worked with the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team to expose the mishandling of sexual abuse claims against multiple priests by Malone.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV News


Second former St. Charles student comes forward alleging sexual abuse by former monsignor
“St. Charles Catholic School in Columbus did more than prepare boys to become men, according to some former students, it may have also been an environment that fostered bullying, bigotry, and sex abuse. In August a former student filed a lawsuit against St Charles, as well as the Columbus Diocese, claiming Monsignor Thomas Bennett, who died in 2008, had sexually abused him in the early 2000s. The former student, Kevin Heidtman, said it started when he had detentions with Bennett alone.” By Seema Iyer, ABC6 News

Youngstown diocese names priests ‘credibly accused’ of sexual abuse of minor
“Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown has announced the list of names of those who have served in the Diocese of Youngstown who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor and who have been reported to civil authorities. In a press release, Bishop Murry states, ‘I am very sorry that the Church has failed to act aggressively to eliminate this evil. I humbly ask forgiveness from the victims and their families for the grave mistakes the Church has made.’” By FOX8 News, Cleveland

Catholic priest charged with eight counts of sexual battery
“A Catholic priest was charged Tuesday (Oct. 30) in Athens County Municipal court with eight counts of sexual battery. Henry Christopher Foxhoven, 45, of Glouster, was accused of engaging in sexual conduct with a minor between Aug. 17, 2018, and Oct. 25, 2018, according to a news release from the Athens County Sheriff’s office. The minor is a member of Holy Cross in Glouster, Ohio, one of Foxhoven’s two parishes.” By Logan Moore, The Post

Plaque’s removal from Franciscan University exposes abuse by former chaplain
“The Portiuncula Chapel on the campus of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, is, according to university material, ‘a grace-filled haven for quiet meditation … set aside for private prayer and Eucharistic adoration.’ The chapel is a pilgrimage site and the Vatican’s Apostolic Penitentiary has decreed that Catholic faithful who pray there receive a ‘plenary indulgence,’ releasing them, according to church teaching, from temporal punishment due to sin and reducing their time in purgatory after their deaths.” By Jenn Morson, National Catholic Reporter


Catholic priest removed from ministry in Oklahoma pending sexual abuse allegation
“A Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City has been removed from ministry again pending investigation of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, according to a statement on the archdiocese’s website. Archbishop Paul Coakley on Sunday (Oct. 4) announced the removal of the Rev. James Mickus, pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Chandler and Saint Louis Catholic Church in Stroud.” By Randy Ellis, The Oklahoman


Pittsburgh class action wants Catholic Church to admit to sexual abuse cover-up
“As the aftermath of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office’s grand jury report into child sexual abuse committed statewide by members of the Roman Catholic Church continues, alleged victims have taken to suing the Church. But a class action lawsuit – filed by Carlson Lynch of Pittsburgh, Berger Montague of Philadelphia and Nye Peabody of California – differs from others that have been filed since the grand jury report stated a staggering 1,000 children were sexually assaulted by hundreds of priests throughout the state.” By Nicholas Malfitano, Forbes


Virginia Attorney General Herring investigating sexual abuse in Catholic Church
“Attorney General Mark Herring on Wednesday (Oct. 24) said his office and Virginia State Police are investigating sexual abuse within the two Catholic dioceses in Virginia, and whether people in authority covered up abuse. Herring announced the ongoing investigation at a news conference at his office, saying his review began after a grand jury in Pennsylvania issued a report in August about sexual abuse and cover-ups in the Catholic Church there.” By Patrick Wilson and Bridget Balch Richmond, The Roanoke Times


Ghana Catholic bishops’ confab to promote wellbeing of children
“The Ghana Catholic Bishop’s Conference (GCBC) is to roll out a policy to promote the wellbeing of children, prevent abuse and protect children from harm. The strategy would be adopted by all Catholic churches across the globe as a lay down foundation to address issues of child abuse. It would afford parents, guidance and all stakeholders to provide basic needs of children, and advocacy to end activities and practices negatively impacting children.” By Benedicta Gyimaah Folley and David Takyl, All Africa


Former Catholic priest abused 36 children, including 5-year-old girl, court hears
“A former Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing 36 children over more than 20 years took over the running of a homeless shelter after pleading guilty to separate abuses, a court has heard. David Joseph Perrett, 81, was refused bail by a NSW Supreme Court judge on Monday following fresh charges being laid in a case that has so far seen 115 alleged counts of sexual abuse leveled against the retired clergyman.” By Angus Thompson, Sydney Morning Herald

Anti-abuse push still a ‘work in progress’
“Melbourne Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli says the final document from the Synod of Bishops on youth left out a firm apology for the abuse crisis because not all areas of the world understand the severity of the issue. ‘Certain parts of the Church in the world are [just] coming to understand what it means to take a position of zero tolerance, and the Synod is a reflection of the Church throughout the world,’ Archbishop Comensoli told Crux. ‘It’s not just Australia, it’s not just the United States, it’s not just Germany, or Chile or where the manifestations of abuse have been most intensely felt,’ so the final document had to take this into consideration, he said.” By CathNews.com

Catholic Church set to be sued by dozens of victims of clerical abuse
“The Catholic Church is about to be inundated with Supreme Court writs from Victorian survivors of clerical abuse who previously received modest ex gratia payments and will now attempt to sue the church for further compensation. At least four Melbourne law firms have been briefed by dozens of victims seeking to challenge the validity of church settlements on the basis that payments were manifestly inadequate for the long-term suffering inflicted by paedophile priests.” By Cameron Houston & Tammy Mills, The Age


Calgary Catholic diocese removes priest after allegations of sexual misconduct
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary has placed a priest on administrative leave after receiving allegations of sexual misconduct. In an official statement released Saturday (Oct. 27), the diocese said the allegations involve two minors and several adults. The incidents are alleged to have taken place between 2010 and 2016. Diocese officials say they have contacted law enforcement and that ‘there will be no further comments until the investigation has been completed.’” By Calgary Herald


Chile’s lay people share vision of Church reform
“Amid an unprecedented crisis in the Catholic Church in Chile, lay people tired of waiting for deeper change are organizing themselves. After the extent of sexual abuse cover-up was made known, every bishop submitted his resignation to Pope Francis. He’s accepted seven, with several more expected. ‘We agree with Pope Francis that we must not get bogged down in the quicksand of desolation, protest and simple complaining, but rather it is time to make constructive suggestions as to what needs to be done,’ says a letter written by some of Chile’s most influential Catholic lay people.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com


French priest says bishops punished him for abuse petition
“A Catholic priest said Friday (Nov. 2) that he has been punished by church leaders in France after he gathered more than 100,000 signatures for a petition calling for a cardinal to resign over his handling of child sexual abuse cases. The Rev. Pierre Vignon said he learned in an email Thursday (Nov. 1) that he would no longer be considered for the church court where he has served as a judge since 2002. In a phone interview, Vignon said the decision showed church leaders are of two minds about how to deal with sex predators within the Catholic clergy.” By Associated Press

French Catholic bishops chart pedophile cases
“French Catholic bishops handed prosecutors 75 complaints of suspected pedophile abuse over the past two years, with 10 clerics facing probes. The data appears in a report published as church leaders convene at Lourdes. French bishops facing calls for an independent interdisciplinary inquiry into abuse cases within mainland and overseas dioceses, many going back decades, published their report late Tuesday, asserting that victims would be heard.” By Deutsche Welle


Aylesbury Catholic priest denies 20 child sex offenses
“Father Francis McDermott, 75, from Bideford in Devon, faces charges including the rape of a girl under 16 and gross indecency of boys and girls. The attacks are alleged to have happened between 1971 and 1978. He denied all the charges at Aylesbury Crown Court on Tuesday (Nov. 6) and is set to stand trial on 4 February.” By BBC News


Guam Catholic Church to file bankruptcy amid abuse lawsuits
“Guam’s Catholic Church will file for bankruptcy — a move that will allow the archdiocese to avoid trial in dozens of lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse by priests and move toward settlements. Archbishop Michael Byrnes announced Wednesday (Nov. 7) that mediation efforts that began in September led the church to bankruptcy.” By Caleb Jones and Grace Barces Bordallo, Associated Press, in USA TODAY


Keep fighting clergy abuse, say Irish Church leaders
“Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin warned there was a danger of complacency or inertia or of slippage into false confidence’ in the church’s fight against clerical abuse. Addressing the annual National Child Safeguarding Conference in Kilkenny in late October, the Dublin archbishop told safeguarding delegates from dioceses, parishes and religious orders across Ireland that, with renewed focus on worldwide abuse this summer, people with whom the church had been in contact years ago got back in touch.” By Sarah Mac Donald, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter


Spain child abuse: victims fight back and appeal for change
“Like other victims who have come forward, Mr Álvarez claims he was abused by staff at the Seminario Menor boarding school in La Bañeza, in Zamora province, and that Spain’s Catholic Church authorities have done little about it. He filed his accusation against a priest in early 2017, and is still waiting for a decision by the local ecclesiastical court in Astorga. Mr Álvarez says he was 11 on the night he recalls being woken by the priest.” By James Badcock, BBC News

Spanish government plans radical changes to child abuse law
“The Spanish government has announced that it is going to present a reform to the Criminal Code so that sexual abuse cases involving minors have no statute of limitations, thus putting pedophilia offenses on the same level as terrorist attacks and genocide, which are the only other crimes with no time limit. The deputy prime minister, Carmen Calvo, conveyed the news on Monday (Oct. 29) to the secretary of state at the Vatican, Pietro Parolin, during a two-hour meeting between the two in Rome.” By Carlose E. Cué, El Pais