Voice of the Faithful Focus, Sept. 13, 2019

September 13, 2019


Vatican authorizes ‘Vos Estis’ investigation into Minnesota bishop Hoeppner
“Bishop Michael Hoeppner is the first sitting U.S. bishop to be investigated under new misconduct protocols introduced by Pope Francis earlier this year. Hoeppner, Bishop of Crookston, Minnesota, will be investigated by Minneapolis’ Archbishop Bernard Hebda, on charges that Hoeppner thwarted a police or canonical investigation of clerical sexual misconduct in his diocese. “I have been authorized by the Congregation for Bishops to commence an investigation into allegations that the Most Reverend Michael Hoeppner, the Bishop of Crookston, carried out acts or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid civil or canonical investigations of clerical sexual misconduct in the Diocese of Crookston,” Hebda told CNA Sept. 10.” By J.D. Flynn, Catholic News Agency, in The Pilot

Wyoming bishop a perfect test case for Pope’s vows of accountability
“Ask the typical American Catholic in the pews, and most could probably tell you a fair bit about Theodore McCarrick … By way of contrast, few rank-and-file churchgoers outside of Cheyenne, Wyoming, or Kansas City, Missouri, could probably pick Bishop Joseph Hart out of a lineup – and that relative obscurity is precisely what makes Hart such an ideal test case for Pope Francis’s avowed commitment to accountability, including for bishops.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

In secret recording, Buffalo bishop admits new scandal ‘could force me to resign’
“New audio recording reveals embattled Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, New York seeking to contain yet another public relations crisis in his diocese, saying he feared it could force his resignation. The audio files, released on Wednesday (Sept. 4) by WKBW, were recorded on August 2 by Malone’s priest secretary, Father Ryszard Biernat, who took a leave of absence from his post, beginning August 14.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Denounce abuse clergy
“Five months ago, The Hoya published an investigation identifying 14 former Georgetown University religious leaders credibly accused of sexual abuse — including two associate deans, three chaplains in residence and seven professors. The university’s only response was to add two brief paragraphs on its website reaffirming that none of the abuse had occurred on campus … To demonstrate that Georgetown is capable of acting morally — and not simply taking calculative actions to protect its reputation — Georgetown must publicly condemn the 14 abusive religious leaders and organize university-wide dialogue on its historical connection to clerical abuse.” By Yumna Naqvi, The Hoya

Indictment of former Pennsylvania priest signals aggressive new reach by federal prosecutors in clergy sex abuse investigation
“Two priests have been convicted; one other awaits trial. That’s about the sum total of legal action that has taken place in the wake of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sex abuse, which identified more than 300 predator priests statewide. That narrative could be about to change. Last week, federal prosecutors dealt the latest salvo in what is fast becoming a tide of aggressive new strategies to criminally prosecute child sex predators and their accomplices in the Catholic Church.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com


In U.S. tour, Marie Collins exposes clerical culture behind abuse cover-up
“The Catholic Church has reached a crossroads. Its leaders can either change, become open and accountable, or maintain the status quo: an institution lacking transparency, wrapped in secrecy and beholden to a clerical culture that is at the heart of the institution’s problems. That bleak assessment was made by Marie Collins, the Irish clerical sexual abuse survivor who was an original member of a papal commission dealing with the sex abuse crisis, and who said she is ‘hanging on by my fingernails.’ The scandal, she said in remarks Sept. 8 opening a five-city U.S. tour, is both systemic and global, and clericalism remains at its core.” By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter

Cardinal Dolan considering options over scandal-hit buffalo diocese
“The Catholic Herald has learned that the Archdiocese of New York is closely monitoring the crisis in the Diocese of Buffalo, and that broad consultations are ongoing, with a view to possible action. The embattled Bishop of Buffalo, Richard J. Malone, faced several new calls for his resignation … The director of communications for the Archdiocese of New York, Joseph Zwilling, told the Catholic Herald, ‘[The Archbishop of New York,] Cardinal [Timothy] Dolan, is very aware of his responsibilities as Metropolitan under Vos estis [lux mundi],’ the reform law Pope Francis enacted this past spring to streamline ecclesiastical investigations into clerical abuse and remove obstacles to investigations of abuse coverup.” By Christopher Altieri, Catholic Herald

Catholic diocese needs a new leader
“In recent months, Richard Malone, the embattled bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, continued to receive support from members of the Movement to Restore Trust, an advisory group of local Catholics that was formed in response to a recent rash of sexual abuse allegations facing members of the clergy. On Thursday (Sept. 5), that all changed. The group of lay Catholics who had been working with Malone to develop reforms in hopes of moving the diocese forward joined a chorus of critics who have been calling on the bishop to resign. In a statement issued to the media this week, members of the Movement to Restore Trust members determined that Malone’s actions in response to the sex abuse scandal threaten to set the diocese “back several decades.” By The Editorial Board of the Niagara Gazette

List: Every abusive Catholic Church priest, clergy member named in every state in past year
“In mid-August last year, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro read a grand jury report that listed more than 300 abusive priests in Pennsylvania. A month later, dioceses in Arkansas and San Diego released their own lists of priests and clergy members who were credibly accused of child sex abuse. Since then, there have been hundreds of abusive clergy named every month by dioceses, religious orders and lawyers across the country. At least 20 attorneys general in other states have followed Shapiro’s lead and launched similar statewide investigations.” By Candy Woodall, York Daily Record

The Vatican makes a dramatic move against a crisis-hit cardinal
“There appears to be no imminent finale to the corruption scandal that has dogged the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and its head, Cardinal George Alencherry. In a dramatic move earlier this week, the Vatican stripped the cardinal of his administrative powers just three months after he was controversially reinstated (after being earlier suspended) – to the chagrin of many priests and members of the laity in the southern state of Kerala.” By Saptarshi Ray, Catholic Herald


Theodore McCarrick still won’t confess
“On a cloudy Sunday morning in August, Father John Schmeidler delivered a brisk homily at St. Fidelis Catholic Church on the virtue of trusting that God always has a plan. There were at least 200 people listening in the pews, almost 20 percent of this rural prairie town’s population: large families, young couples, elderly people, men in jeans and cowboy boots. There’s not a single other church in town. Even if we just do our simple daily duties, Father John told them that Sunday, ‘our God brings great things.’ Last fall, God brought to Victoria an unexpected visitor: Theodore McCarrick, once the most powerful Catholic priest in America.” By Ruth Graham, Slate

Seton Hall investigation finds McCarrick harassed seminarians
“A yearlong investigation by Seton Hall University confirmed that Theodore McCarrick, the laicized cardinal who had been archbishop of Newark from 1986 to 2000, had sexually harassed seminarians during his tenure as head of the archdiocese. ‘McCarrick created a culture of fear and intimidation that supported his personal objectives. McCarrick used his position of power as then-archbishop of Newark to sexually harass seminarians,’ said the 700-word “update,” dated Aug. 27.” By Catholic News Service on Cruxnow.com

Former U.S. Catholic cardinal downplays charges of sexual abuse against him
“Theodore McCarrick, one of the U.S. Catholic Church’s most influential clerics until he was accused a year ago of abusing boys and young men, denied in an interview published Tuesday (Sept. 3) that he abused someone in the confessional – a charge for which the Vatican defrocked him. McCarrick spoke briefly to Ruth Graham of Slate for the piece, which profiles the life of the toppled church leader now that he’s been relegated to living in a friary in the small, western Kansas town of Victoria.” By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post


Pope Francis: ‘I pray there are no schisms’
“Faced with sustained opposition from Catholic conservatives in the United States who accuse him of driving traditionalists to break with the church, Pope Francis said on Tuesday (Sept. 10) that he hopes it doesn’t come to that, but isn’t frightened of it either. “I pray there are no schisms,” Francis said in a lengthy news conference aboard the papal plane as he returned from a six-day trip to Africa. “But I’m not scared.” By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times


Cardinal-elect was a Francis bishop before Francis
“As the calendar turned to September, Pope Francis, relatively quiet and out of the limelight during the heart of the summer, resurfaced with big news — the appointment of 13 new cardinals, choices that make clear he intends to use that papal prerogative to reshape the hierarchical culture at that elite level … The name that really jumped out at me was Bishop Alvaro Ramazzini of Huehuetenango, with whom I spent a day during a reporting trip to Guatemala in 2013. Western Guatemala, with all of its stunning natural beauty, is not a normal stop on an upwardly mobile career in the church. It is easy to say — and I have said it — that Ramazzini was a Francis bishop before Francis came along.” By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter

Pope announces names of 13 new cardinals for the missionary Church
“After reciting the Angelus in St Peter’s Square on Sunday (Sept. 1), Pope Francis announced a consistory to be held on 5 October for the nomination of 13 new Cardinals. He said that the places where these new Cardinals come from express the missionary vocation of the Church as she continues to announce the merciful love of God to every person on earth. After reading their names, the Pope asked everyone to pray for the new Cardinals so that, confirming their adhesion to Christ, they might help in his ministry as Bishop of Rome for the good of all the faithful Holy People of God. The names of the new Cardinals are …” By Vatican News


Two bishops appear on Missouri diocese’s list of substantiated clergy abusers
“The names of two bishops appear on a list of clergy with ‘substantiated abuse of minors allegations’ from the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph released Sept. 6. The bishops are retired Bishop Joseph H. Hart of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and now-deceased Bishop Joseph V. Sullivan of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. According to the list assembled by the diocese, which dates back to its founding in 1956, the abuse claims for each bishop took place within the Missouri diocese’s territory. Each bishop also had more than one abuse allegation reported.” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter

Embattled Buffalo bishop calls alleged love triangle ‘convoluted’
“In the midst of an ongoing crisis surrounding Bishop Richard Malone’s governance of the Diocese of Buffalo, newly revealed correspondence suggests a romantic relationship between the bishop’s priest secretary and a former diocesan seminarian who resigned last month. In a press conference on Wednesday (Sept. 4), Malone called the content of the letter ‘a bit concerning’ and the entire situation ‘a very complex, convoluted matter.’” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Scandal muddies legacy of former Bridgeport bishop, Vatican’s longtime fixer from Baltimore
“Late last summer, Vatican officials realized they had an uncontainable mess – four whistleblowing priests alleging financial and sexual misconduct by the bishop of West Virginia. So they did what Catholic officials have done for decades: They turned to William Lori. From Rome and Washington to Connecticut and then Baltimore, where he is now archbishop, Lori is often on the front lines when the nation’s largest religious group is facing major scandals or perceived threats to its values and traditions. He is the Vatican’s fixer in the United States.” By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post, in The Telegraph


Women must be at tables where church decisions are made
“The Catholic Church is the largest global humanitarian network, with enormous potential, and therefore responsibility, to address human suffering and complex global challenges. It is also the vehicle through which the Catholic faith is transmitted to nearly 1.3 billion people. Sui generis, with a divine mission, the church is distinct from secular institutions. Nevertheless, it is composed of people, facilities, property and finances that deserve to be handled with the highest levels of ethics, care, accountability and contemporary best management practices.” By Kerry Alys Robinson, Chicago Catholic


Pope Francis orders Vatican to get finances under control
“Pope Francis has ordered the Vatican to rein in spending and get its budget deficit under control. The Wall Street Journal reports the Vatican’s deficit doubled in 2018 to nearly $77 million on a budget of about $330 million. Vatican officials are concerned this issue could compromise the pope’s mission and the ability to preserve historic buildings and employee pensions.” By Adam Elrashidi, Newsy.com


Case of Bishop Hart shows role clericalism plays in abuse cover-up
“For years, clergy abuse survivors fought to have Bishop Joseph Hart’s name stripped from the building of St. Joseph’s Children’s Home in Torrington, Wyoming – a residence for troubled teenage boys known as the Hart’s Children Center. They had been unsuccessful for over a decade, but after Bishop Steven Biegler arrived in the diocese and deemed two allegations against Hart as credible and substantiated, the name was finally removed in 2018 as a concrete sign that the diocese was acting on the information of abuse.” By Christopher White, The Tablet

Confronting causes of clericalism; original sin, institutional dynamics
“Reforming the priesthood will mean reducing the effects of clericalism. Clericalism is a real thing, not a myth or mirage. It is a sense of elitism and superiority among the clergy that sets them apart from and above the rest of the people in the church. It affects the way clerical people — clergy and laity — behave. To tackle clericalism, the church must first figure out where it comes from. Then we must figure out how to combat it. I think that clericalism comes from four things: our fallen nature, institutional dynamics, a corrupted tradition, and seminary training.” By Fr. Peter Daly, National Catholic Reporter


Marriage doesn’t solve the priest shortage, says had of Ukrainian Rite
“Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, has urged those considering allowing priests in the Latin rite to marry in order to help solve a crippling shortage, to proceed with caution, saying marriage has not curbed shortages in his own rite. With five blooming seminaries in Ukraine alone, “thanks be to God we do not lack vocations,” Shevchuk said, but noted that despite the fact that priests in his church … have the ability to marry, the high numbers don’t appear for Greek Catholics in other countries.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com


In Africa, Pope Francis comes face to face with the future of the Church
“Young men and women wearing the words ‘Pope Francis’ on their backs and ‘Catholic Youth’ on their sleeves packed the bleachers of a stadium in Mozambique on Thursday (Sept. 5) and listened to Francis tell them, ‘You are important!’ ‘You need to believe it,’ Francis said to the raucous crowd at the Maxaquene Pavilion, in the capital, Maputo, where young Africans regaled him with songs and skits.” By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times

Unclear whether Catholic Church has future in Ireland
“Refusal to face the truth about the state of the Catholic Church in Ireland is ‘a form of religious treason,’ a founder member of the Association of Catholic Priests has said. Fr. Brendan Hoban has claimed those in the church who want to move forward ‘can no longer afford to indulge those who cling to the wreckage of the past.’” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times


CNY clergy abuse victims call for forgiveness of abusers
“A message of forgiveness is coming from two victims of the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. The two men want to propose an alternative to the anger and bitterness the scandal has wrought.” By Ellen Abbott, WRVO-FM Public Media

The Vigano letter, one year later
“It’s been just about a year since Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò published the now-infamous letter in which he accused Pope Francis of covering up for sexual abusers and ‘the gay lobby’ and called on him to resign. The ‘Viganò letter’ came less than two weeks after the release of the Pennsylvania grand-jury report on clerical sexual abuse and about a month after Francis had asked for the resignation from the college of cardinals of Theodore McCarrick … a crisis that came to a provisional close in mid-September when the leadership of the U.S. bishops’ conference met with Francis in Rome. I say ‘provisional’ because one year later, the crisis hasn’t abated so much as entered a different phase.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal


Lectures at The University of Scranton explore response to clergy sexual abuse
“The University of Scranton’s Task Force on Healing, Reconciliation and Hope will host two public lectures this fall, one exploring ‘Insights from History and Theology’ and the other discussing ‘Prevention, Healing and Reconciliation.’ On Sept. 16, award-winning authors Massimo Faggioli, Ph.D., professor of theology and religious studies at Villanova University, and Rita Ferrone, a writer and frequent speaker on issues of liturgy and church renewal, will discuss lessons that can be gleaned from history about the clergy sexual abuse crisis and how prayer and liturgy can be a source of healing and courage.” By The Abington Journal

Black victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests got dramatically smaller settlements than white victims
“Two Black male victims who received settlements over sexual abuse allegations against Catholic priests are coming forward to reveal that they were paid far less than white victims. The Associated Press reports the Diocese secretly paid two Black men from Mississippi $15,000 each, requiring them both to sign NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements), also known as confidentiality agreements. In 2006, the Catholic Diocese of Jackson settled lawsuits brought on by 19 different victims. Of those survivors, 17 are white and were paid at least $250,000 each — some up to $1.3 million — in similar settlements.” By Angela Wilson, BET

Buffalo bishops silenced Fr. Ryszard about alleged sex assault
“Ryszard Biernat was just 23 years old when he arrived in the Diocese of Buffalo in 2003. The future secretary to the bishop — who has now become Whistleblower No. 2 in the diocese sex scandal — was only a seminarian when he was assigned to stay with Rev. Art Smith at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in South Buffalo.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV7 News


Former Trumbull priest barred from ministry after review of decades-old sexual abuse claim
“A Catholic priest who retired from a Trumbull parish has been placed on administrative leave and barred from ministering publicly after a review found credible evidence he abused a minor more than 35 years ago. The Diocese of Bridgeport was first made aware of the allegation against Rev. Stephen Gleeson in 2002 but recently reviewed it again “based on certain additional information” and concluded the accusation is credible, Bishop Frank Caggiano wrote in a letter late last month to parishioners.” By Zach Murdock, Hartford Courant


Kansas City diocese names priests in ‘the dreadful scourge of sexual abuse of minors’
“Saying that ‘the dreadful scourge of sexual abuse of minors has wounded our entire family of faith,’ Bishop James V. Johnston Jr. of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph on Friday (Sept. 6) released a list of 24 priests he said have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor. ‘The release of these names cannot change the past,’ Johnston said in a statement. ‘It is merely a step forward in hope, but a necessary step.’” By Judy L. Thomas, The Kansas City Star

Catholic officials names them as abusers. Now these former St. Louis clergy must face their pasts.
“…Dennis J. McClintock, 72, a rehabilitation aide, sat at the edge of the workout floor, sporting an orange Hawaiian shirt, a stark contrast to the white clerical collar he used to wear as a Roman Catholic priest. On July 26, the Archdiocese of St. Louis made a long-awaited splash by releasing a list of former clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. Some names were already widely known; their abuse had been the subject of lawsuits and news stories. Others, including McClintock’s, were being made public for the first time.” By Jesse Bogan, Erin Heffernan and Nassim Benchaabane, St. Louis Post-Dispatch


St. Cecelia’s sex assault priest gets four years in prison
“A Roman Catholic priest was sentenced to four years in state prison for sexually assaulting a teenage girl while he was a youth group adviser at a church in Woodbridge Township, during the early 1990s. Father Thomas P. Ganley, 64, of Phillipsburg, N.J., was sentenced to four years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Diane Pincus in Middlesex County on August 26, 2019. He pleaded guilty on April 8 to second-degree sexual assault, admitting that he engaged in sexual acts with the victim when she was 16 or 17 years old, at a time when he had supervisory authority over her.” By NJToday.com Staff


More sex abuse lawsuits filed against Catholic priests who served in New Mexico
“Two new lawsuits allege abuse in New Mexico Catholic churches. A woman identified as ‘Jane Doe P’ claims she was sexually molested by a teenage boy in 2001 when she was 10 years old. Her parents sent her to see the priest at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Roswell for spiritual guidance. The lawsuit claims, instead of spiritual guidance, the priest, Father Juan Montoya, raped her inside the church.” By Chris Ramirez, KOB-TV4 News


Diocese of Rochester files bankruptcy, citing sex-abuse lawsuits
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, facing potentially huge judgments for past sexual abuse by its priests and other ministers, filed bankruptcy Thursday (Sept. 12) morning … The petition estimates the diocese’s assets as $50 million to $100 million —and its financial liabilities as $100 million to $500 million. Rochester’s diocese becomes the first of New York state’s eight dioceses, and the 20th nationwide, to seek protection from creditors in bankruptcy court because of financial fallout from the Catholic Church’s decades-long child sexual abuse scandal.” By Steve Orr, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

‘Michael Cohen of Brooklyn Diocese’ faces own sex abuse suit
“The ‘Michael Cohen of the Brooklyn Diocese’ who allegedly worked as a fixer for pedophile priests himself stands accused of child sex abuse by people deeply concerned that he continues to practice in Queens. Thomas Davis and an anonymous accuser have filed child sex abuse suits against Monsignor Otto Garcia — accused by a Diocese nun of covering up at least three child sex abuse investigations — who currently serves as parochial vicar at the Church of St. Teresa in Woodside, according to his accuser, attorneys and reports.” By Kathleen Culliton, Brooklyn Patch

Disappointment from whistleblower of diocese sex scandal
“Siobhan O’Connor, a whistleblower in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, was among the few protesters standing outside of St. Joseph’s Cathedral after Bishop Richard Malone held his press conference Wednesday (Sept. 4) detailing the complex relationship between Father Jeffrey Nowak, seminarian Matthew Bojanowski, and the bishop’s former secretary, Father Ryszard Biernat. During the press conference, the bishop reiterated that he will not resign. At the time, O’Connor only heard bits and pieces of his press conference due to the ambient noise in the background.” By Mike Baggerman, WREN-AM News

Former Cardinal Spellman, Stepinac priest accused of sex abuse at Resurrection Church in Rye
“A former Rye priest was accused of sexually molesting an altar boy in the 1970s in a lawsuit filed Thursday (Aug. 29) under New York’s Child Victims Act. William T. White is accused of sexually abusing the victim at the Church of the Resurrection in Rye multiple times between 1972 and 1973, when the boy was 11 and 12 years old, according to the suit.” By Mark Lungariello, LoHud.com

‘The Diocese of Buffalo suppresses the truth in relation to sexual abuse,” seminarian says
“Another seminarian in the Diocese of Buffalo has given up his dream of becoming a Catholic priest, blaming alleged sexual harassment by diocesan priest Rev. Jeffrey Nowak and Bishop Richard J. Malone’s lack of action when he reported it. Matthew Bojanowski, whose mother first revealed the allegations of sexual harassment in an interview with the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team, announced Tuesday (Sept. 3) he is resigning from Christ the King Seminary and is calling on the seminary to be shut down and for Bishop Malone to resign.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV7 News

Priest placed on administrative leave by Buffalo Diocese as initial inquiry wraps
“A priest has been placed on administrative leave by the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo as the investigation continues against him. Rev. Jeffrey Nowak, the pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians Parish in Cheektowaga, was placed on leave by the bishop, effectively immediately, according to a statement from the Diocese. Nowak is accused of harassing a former seminarian.” By WIVB-TV4 News

Law firms sue Catholic Church and Boy Scouts for ‘secret files’ on alleged sex abusers
“Two law firms say they are suing the Boy Scouts of America, the New York Archdiocese and the Diocese of Brooklyn over ‘secret files’ that they claim would reveal ‘decades worth of evidence’ about alleged child sex abusers. Marsh Law Firm PLLC and Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala PLLC say they will represent 550 people who claim they were abused by Catholic Church and Boy Scout leaders.” By Victoria Merlino. Queens Daily Eagle


Columbus diocese adds eight names to priest sex-abuse list
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus has added the names of eight priests who have been ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing minors, bringing the total to 48 after this third update of its list. All but one of the additions were in the category of ‘extern,’ which covers clergy members who served in Columbus but were accused of abuse elsewhere.” By Danae King, Columbus Dispatch

‘This was an act of an unloving man’: Man who accused priest of rape encourages others to come forward
“A man who says he was a victim of Father Geoff Drew says wants others to speak out about what allegedly happened to them. Drew is accused of raping an altar boy 30 years ago. He pleaded not guilty to nine counts of rape during a bond hearing on Aug. 21. Cincinnati police released a letter from the alleged victim on Thursday (Sept. 5) because he would like his words to be heard. In the letter, the man says he wants to relay a message to other alleged victims that they are not alone and what happened was not their fault.” By FOX-TV19 News


These alleged abuser priests were scot-free for decades – until they weren’t
“In photos of defrocked archdiocesan priest last week outside a Bucks County police station, the alleged child sexual predator flashed an outsized grin. He was wearing a suit jacket that flitted as he moved an arm. The pose was more fashion-catalog preen than street candid of a 74-year-old being booked for molesting children. Then again, Trauger had evaded justice since at least 1981. So that megawatt grin? Maybe it was just that of a septuagenarian who knew that he’d mostly dodged the system.” By Maria Panaritis, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Former Catholic priest arrested on false statement charges
“United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Robert Brennan, 81, of Perryville, MD, was arrested and charged by Indictment with four counts of making materially false statements in a matter within the jurisdiction of the executive branch of the United States government.” By FOX-TV43 Philadelphia

Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh contracts with outside firms for handling misconduct
“The Diocese of Pittsburgh announced Tuesday (Sept. 3) plans to expand how it handles reports of suspected wrongdoing within the diocese including allegations of child sexual abuse. The diocese has chosen Ethics Point as a third-party reporting system to receive questions related to suspected wrongdoing in parishes, schools or diocesan offices, Bishop David Zubik wrote in his pastoral letter.” By Emily Balser, TribLive.com

Defrocked Bucks County priest faces charges for fondling altar boys before Mass, DA says
“A former priest is now charged with sexually assaulting at least two altar boys during his decadelong tenure at a Bucks County church. Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub announced charges Tuesday (Sept. 3) against Francis ‘Frank’ Trauger. The alleged assaults occurred when the now 74-year-old Trauger was a priest at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Levittown, Pennsylvania in the 1990s and 2000s.” By Dan Stamm, NBC-TV10 Philadelphia

Lawsuit filed against priest of Roman Catholic Diocese of Scranton
“Four men have filed suit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Scranton and its current and former bishop over claims a priest sexually abused them when they were children. The plaintiffs are believed to be the first to take advantage of a recent Pennsylvania appeals court ruling that could make it easier for some victims of abuse to pursue civil claims.” By Associated Press on CBS-TV News Pittsburgh


Memphis’ first Catholic bishop replaced on downtown mural after child sexual abuse accusations
“Memphis’ first Catholic bishop has been replaced on a mural downtown months after he was included in a list of clergymen accused of molesting children. The ‘Upstanders Mural’ – on a wall across from the National Civil Rights Museum – is supposed to honor heroes, but after allegations of child sex abuse against the late Carroll Dozier surfaced earlier this year, the group that painted the mural decided he no longer belongs there.” By Nina Harrelson, WREG-TV3 News


Survivors question priest abuse probe
“A Vermont Catholic Church report revealing the names of 40 priests accused of sexually abusing children over the past seven decades has both provided answers and prompted questions for survivors and members of the state’s largest religious denomination. ‘This is a long overdue step towards transparency — and there is still more work to do,’ said Zach Hiner, executive director of the national Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.” By Kevin O’Connor, Valley News, on vnews.com


Priest convicted of sex abuse of girls at DC parish seeks new trial
“A Catholic priest convicted of sexually abusing two girls at a D.C. church is seeking a new trial, saying he was unfairly prejudiced, and denied a fair trial in D.C. Superior Court. Urbano Vazquez, 47, was found guilty on all four counts Aug. 15, after a seven-day jury trial. The crimes happened between 2015 and 2017, while Vazquez was an assistant pastor at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart, in the Mount Pleasant and Columbia Heights neighborhoods in Northwest D.C.” By Neal Augenstein, WTOP-FM News


West Virginia attorney general urges court to advance lawsuit against Wheeling-Charleston Diocese
“West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey urged a circuit court to allow the state to proceed with allegations that the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese violated state law through its knowing employment of pedophiles and its failure to conduct adequate background checks for those working at its schools and camps. Morrisey’s response, served Wednesday (Sept. 4) afternoon, argues that the diocese’s motion to dismiss mischaracterized the state’s intent and distorted state law.” By Herald Mail


Review completed of diocesan files on sexual abuse issues
“After a review of over 500 personnel files and tens of thousands of pages by an objective third-party review firm, the Diocese of Madison is confident that there are no known historical issues regarding the sexual abuse of minors left uninvestigated or undisclosed. These are some of the key takeaways diocesan leadership is drawing from a now-concluded forensic file review of diocesan clergy personnel files.” By Diocesan Staff for the Catholic Herald


Cheyenne diocese struggles with abuse revelations about popular bishop
“Nearly three decades had passed since Martin last stepped foot inside a Catholic church. Yet as he sat in the pews of the Cathedral of Saint Mary in Cheyenne for Good Friday service last April, he knew Bishop Steven Biegler was speaking directly to him. ‘Over the last year, we have seen that the Church’s leaders have been weak and sinful,’ said the bishop. ‘Yet, Christ still goes to the cross for us. His death is still stronger than all of our horrible sins. The blood and water flowing from Christ is the greatest force in the universe. So we can be reborn.’” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com


Laws forcing priests to report child abuse passed in Victorian parliament
“The Victorian government says it hopes it does not have to jail priests who fail to report child abuse revealed in the confession box. The state’s Parliament passed laws on Tuesday Sept. 10) carrying sentences of up to three years for failing to report abuse, but Premier Daniel Andrews said on Wednesday morning that he did not know of any convictions under Victoria’s broader mandatory reporting laws, in place for 25 years.” By Noel Towell and Simone Fox Koob, The Age

Church admits liability in child abuse case
“The Church has accepted legal responsibility for the sexual abuse of a child by pedophile Gerald Ridsdale in a significant case that could open the floodgates for survivors seeking compensation. After denying any knowledge of Risdale’s offending before the nine-year-old boy was raped in a confessional box at Mortlake, in western Victoria in 1982, lawyers for the Church on Friday (Sept. 6) accepted an amended statement of claim from the survivor in the Supreme Court – in effect admitting legal liability for his crimes.” By CathNews.com


Man protests outside Welland church for one year on behalf of sex abuse survivors
“William O’Sullivan has protested in front of St. Kevin’s Parish in Welland every Sunday for a full year, and says he is determined to do so until the Diocese of St. Catharines apologizes to the region’s survivors of sexual abuse. O’Sullivan is one of these survivors. He was sexually assaulted when he was nine years old by Donald Grecco, who was a priest at St. Kevin’s Catholic church. The assault continued for three years.” By CBC News


Paris prosecutor steps up effort to investigate clergy abuse
“The chief Paris prosecutor and the French capital’s archbishop have struck an agreement allowing faster investigations into alleged sexual abuse by clergy. Thursday’s accord came as more people in France are coming forward about past sexual wrongdoing by priests, and after repeated scandals pushed the French Catholic Church to step up efforts to address abuse.” By Associated Press on NewsMax.com


Catholic bishops apologize to child abuse victims, take steps to prevent further cases happening
“The Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference is taking all possible steps to address the issue of child abuse within the church, according to a statement on Thursday Sept. 5). ‘The sexual abuse of minors is unacceptable everywhere, especially in the church,’ the statement said, adding that it was taking ‘every possible measure’ to prevent the abuse of minors. It also apologized to victims on behalf of the abusers. ‘We feel sympathy and compassion for all those who have suffered harm as children.’ Anyone found to have engaged in abusive acts against minors has no place in the priesthood, the statement said.” By Hungary Today


U.S. priest accused of abusing boys for decades in Philippines
“The American priest’s voice echoed over the phone line, his sharp Midwestern accent softened over the decades by a gentle Filipino lilt. On the other end, recording the call, was a young man battered by shame but anxious to get the priest to describe exactly what had happened in this little island village. ‘I should have known better than trying to just have a life,’ the priest said in the November 2018 call. ‘Happy days are gone. It’s all over.’ But, the young man later told the Associated Press, those days were happy only for the priest. They were years of misery for him, he said, and for the other boys who investigators say were sexually assaulted by Father Pius Hendricks.”” By Tim Sullivan, Cruxnow.com