Voice of the Faithful Focus, Sept. 25, 2015

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


Sex abuse survivor revives one-man play for Pope’s visit
“Ten years ago, poet, playwright and performer Michael Mack Googled the name of the priest who had sexually abused him decades earlier when he was an 11-years-old boy living in North Carolina … What followed is the subject of “Conversations with My Molester: A Journey of Faith,” a play written and performed by Mack and directed by Daniel Gidron, which will open in New York City on Sept. 24, the day Pope Francis arrives there as part of his visit to the United States.” By Margot Patterson, America magazine

‘Spotlight’ film on pedophile priest investigation earns Oscar buzz at TIFF
“Journalists from The Boston Globe are being called ‘the true heroes’ of the Spotlight film, which tells the true story of how their team uncovered a massive child sex abuse scandal and subsequent cover-up within the Boston Catholic Archdiocese. The Toronto-made film made its North American debut at the Toronto International Film Festival Monday (Sept. 14) night to cheers and rave reviews.” By Patricia Koxicka, GlobalNews.com

Congregation for laity and family is on the way
“The C9 has finalized the proposal it will present to the Pope, who may decide to establish the congregation even before the whole reform plan is complete … After the establishment of the Secretariat for the Economy and the Secretariat for Communications, the next step will be the creation of a new congregation dedicated to the laity, the family and life issues.” By Andrea Tornielli, Vatican Insider, La Stampa

Advocates for victims seek Vatican inquiry of Rigali, Burke
“Priests, nuns and canon lawyers who advocate for clergy sex abuse victims urged Pope Francis, on the eve of his U.S. visit, to investigate the child protection records of Cardinal Justin Rigali, the former archbishop of Philadelphia, and Cardinal Raymond Burke, who led dioceses in Wisconsin and Missouri.” By Michael R. Sisak and Rachel Zoll, Associated Press, on ABCNews.com
Catholic group calls for Vatican investigation of former archbishop Rigali, By Kevin McCorry, Newsworks

Chile Catholic Church rocked by email scandal
“The Catholic Church in Chile has been rocked by another scandal surrounding its most infamous pedophile. Leaked emails between the archbishop of Santiago and his predecessor show how they conspired to block a well-known abuse survivor from being named to Pope Francis’ sex abuse commission, fearing it would damage the church.” By Eva Vergara, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe

German priest wants more action, transparency from Vatican to clear sex abuse cases
“German Jesuit Fr. Klaus Mertes, who first broke the story of the long-standing, systematic priestly sex abuse scandal in Germany in 2010, said in an interview with the German Internet portal katholisch.de, that the Vatican is not doing nearly enough to clear up sex abuse cases.” By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, National Catholic Reporter


Critics: Bishops lag behind Pope’s promise to deal with abusive priests
“Later this week, Pope Francis heads across the Atlantic – first to Cuba and then on to the United States. Such enormous crowds are expected in this country that authorities are still calculating how to handle them. One group, though, has mixed feelings about this hugely popular pope – they are people who, as children, were sexually abused by their priests. Many feel the church still has not entirely faced up to the problem.” By Tom Gjelten, KUAC-FM, National Public Radio

Pope, Council of Cardinal discuss how bishops are chosen
“Pope Francis has asked his international Council of Cardinals to study the way the church vets, identifies and appoints bishops around the world, looking particularly at the qualities needed in a bishop today.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Francis appoints new bishop for scandal-rocked U.S. diocese of Kansas City
Pope Francis has appointed a new bishop for the diocese in the U.S. heartland that became an international symbol of church failings in the sexual abuse crisis, less than five months after the unusual resignation of its former leader. Bishop James Johnston, until now the bishop of the Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese in southern Missouri, has been appointed to replace resigned Bishop Robert Finn in the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese in the same state.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter


My father, the priest
“When anyone asks what my father does, I say he’s a retired teacher. He did, after all, teach high school science and Latin, so I’m not lying. I’m just not telling the whole story: My father, married to my mother for 45 years, is a Catholic priest. Not a former priest, but a member of the clergy in good standing in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn. Especially on a date, that’s a conversation stopper.” By Benedicta Cipola, Commentary in The New York Times


List of participants augurs another rollicking synod on the family
“While most of the protagonists from last year’s hotly debated Synod of Bishops on the family will be back for Round Two, the Vatican made it official on Tuesday (Sept. 15) that one star of last year’s show will be conspicuously absent: US Cardinal Raymond Burke, who emerged as a champion of the traditionalist camp last year.” By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com
Vatican releases synod list: 279 participants, 8 Americans, By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
Pope appoints 18 married couples to attend Synod, By Deacon Greg Kandra, Patheos.com

Synod needs your prayers
“When Pope Francis returns to Rome after his historic visit to the United States he will convene the much awaited October Synod of Bishops. This will be chapter two of what was initially conceived to be a two-part convocation with the first session being a preliminary surfacing of major issues facing families today. The hope and plan for the upcoming meeting is the development by the bishops of some concrete suggestions as to how our Church should proceed in the present age. To say the least, expectations are very high that the Synod may recommend some very dramatic shifts in pastoral practice. And, needless to say, this is generating both hopes and fears.” By Msgr. Paul V. Garrity, The Pilot

Indian bishops want family synod to discuss interreligious marriages
“The upcoming world Synod of Bishops on the family should discuss interreligious marriages and consider relaxing the Church’s strict stand against contraception, Indian bishops said. The Latin-rite bishops in a document based on a 46-question-survey among clergy, religious and laity also acknowledged ‘some disconnect between the Church’s teaching and the lived reality’ in the Hindu-majority nation. ‘The Church’s pastoral care initiatives fall short of meeting the needs of the families in various situations,’ the statement said.” By Christopher Joseph, usanews.com


American Catholics approve of Pope’s direction, poll finds
“In advance of Pope Francis’ first visit to the United States, American Catholics overwhelmingly approve of the direction in which he is leading the Roman Catholic Church and express a favorable opinion of him personally. Most now say the church is in touch with the needs of Catholics today, far more than said so at the end of the papacy of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, the latest New York Times/CBS News poll finds.” By Dalia Sussman and Bill Marsh, The New York Times

Life on the papal beat
“In the two short years since his election, Pope Francis has managed an unusual feat: He has become as beloved by the international news media and the secular intelligentsia as by his own flock of 1.2 billion. I got a taste of what has been called ‘‘the Francis effect’’ when, on a sweltering July day, I watched dozens of mayors from around the world gather at the Vatican for a two-day conference on climate change. “By Rachel Donadio, The New York Times

The Pope is keeping hope for change alive
“Just days now from Pope Francis’ arrival in the United States, the media is filled with analyses of what his papacy has meant inside and outside the Church. Some secular liberals are still gushing. Feminist Catholics and sex abuse survivors? Not so much.” By Margery Egan, Cruxnow.com

The paradox at the heart of Catholic World Meeting of Families
“‘Love is our mission.’ So proclaims the promo language for the Catholic World Meeting of Families, which begins Sept. 22 in Philadelphia and will feature the most famous and well-loved Catholic of them all, Pope Francis. But what’s being shown LGBT Catholics and their supporters in the run-up to Philadelphia feels less like love and more like a chill wind.” By Tom Krattenmaker, Commentary on Religion News Service

Catholic activists raise ordination issue as pope’s U.S. trip approaches
“Some 500 Catholic activists from around the globe will converge on Philadelphia for a three-day conference Sept. 18-20 to press for women’s rights in the church. They will meet one week before Pope Francis is set to step foot into the city. The U.S.-based Women’s Ordination Conference is hosting the Women’s Ordination Worldwide meeting.” By Thomas C. Fox, National Catholic Reporter

In defiance of the church, some Catholic women seek priesthood
“Sunday morning services at St. Mary Magdalene Community in Drexel Hill, Pa., look different than a typical Roman Catholic mass. The homily is interactive, there’s gluten-free communion bread and the priest is a woman. Caryl Johnson calls herself a priest but technically she was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church. That happened automatically in 2011 when she was ordained by the group Roman Catholic Womenpriests.” By Jeff Brady, National Public Radio


Pope Francis’ balancing act
Will Pope Francis come to America as a healer or a divider? A bit of both, I guess. A healer, surely, by intent. But by situation, for some, a divider. This pope has a double orientation — as the first pope to have a respected predecessor, with a loyal following, living next door to him; and as the first pope from the New World, with a populist instinct and gift. I think of him as a kind of Scarlet Pimpernel operating behind enemy lines.” By Garry Wills, The Boston Globe

Pope Francis to find a Church in upheaval
“The Roman Catholic Church that Pope Francis will encounter on his first visit to the United States is being buffeted by immense change, and it is struggling — with integrating a new generation of immigrants, with conflicts over buildings and resources, with recruiting priests and with retaining congregants. The denomination is still the largest in the United States, but its power base is shifting.” By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times

A snapshot of U.S. Catholic Church on eve of papal visit
“Pope Francis will arrive Sept. 22 in the United States to find a Catholic church playing a prominent role in American life, with a vast network of charities and an infusion of energy from a fast-growing Latino population. At the same time, the church is struggling to find its footing a few months after gay marriage became legal and as more people leave organized religion behind. Here are some key things to know about the Roman Catholic Church in the United States …” By Rachel Zoll, Associated Press

Pope Francis sharpens his focus
“Forget about ‘Frankie goes to Hollywood.’ Millions of excited Catholics (and battalions of nervous cops and secret service agents) are counting down the final hours until Pope Francis comes to Washington, New York and Philadelphia. And many pundits who earn their bread and butter by tracking the whirlwind pontificate of the only Latin American and the first-ever Jesuit pope have put people on notice: be prepared for surprises.” By Robert Mickens, National Catholic Reporter

Troubled Philadelphia Catholic diocese welcomes Pope Francis’ late-September visit
“Philadelphia is one of the cradles of American Catholicism, an immigrant gateway that weathered deadly anti-Catholic rioting in the 19th century and became home to the first American parochial school system and pioneering saints Katharine Drexel and John Neumann. But more recently, the city became the dateline for some of the most devastating revelations of sexual abuse by priests in the world.” By Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

As Pope visit nears, U.S. sex victims say Church remains obstacle to justice
“ … When Pope Francis makes his first visit to the United States this month, he will find that wounds from the U.S. Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal are still festering – and draining its finances – more than a decade after it burst onto the national stage … The pontiff has vowed to root out ‘the scourge’ of sex abuse from the Roman Catholic Church, and this year created a Vatican tribunal to judge clergy accused of such crimes. But U.S. victims’ advocates contend the biggest obstacle they face in giving victims more time to report abuse remains the Church itself, and want the pope to change that stance.” By Scott Malone, Reuters

Ongoing child sex abuse in Catholic church casts shadow on pope’s U.S. visit
“For decades, the locker rooms at Chaminade College Preparatory School in St Louis were a place of terror for several students aged 11 to 18, who as adults have filed lawsuits against the school alleging widespread sexual abuse by its staff … When Pope Francis arrives in the US for the first time later this month, his reputation as the beloved ‘people’s pope’ will be clouded by the trauma endured by the thousands of people abused as children in the Catholic church.” By Amanda Holpuch, The Guardian

Five things to look for during the papal visit
“The pope’s visit to the United States is going to be a whirlwind affair with scores of events and activities. In the midst of this papal storm, here are five things to focus on … First, Francis is a man … Second, Francis the prophet … Third, Francis the peacemaker … Fourth, Francis the pastor … Finally, Francis on message.” By Thomas Reese, National Catholic Reporter


A humble Pope, challenging the world
“Days after the election of Pope Francis, word reached the Vatican press office that the new pontiff was unexpectedly celebrating morning Mass. Other popes had presided over morning services, too, but as the world (and the Vatican press office) would soon realize, Francis did things his own way.” By Jim Yardley, The New York Times

How the Pope might renew the Church
“I am a Catholic, born in 1921 of Italian and Irish families and raised in California seminaries. After decades of work as a priest, I was astonished that Pope Paul VI appointed me a bishop in San Francisco. I love my church, and every night I pray that I might die in her warm, loving arms. Yet I worry about my church’s future. Basic doctrines will not change. But the church may change policies and practices after doing serious study.” By Francis A. Quinn, Commentary in The New York Times

‘It’s all about Church closings’: Catholic parishes shrink in Northeast, Midwest
“On Sunday mornings, the church doors at Our Lady Queen of Angels are locked up tight. Cobwebs frame the rust red doorways. But just across this cul-de-sac, in the corner of a park in New York City’s East Harlem neighborhood, the weekly mass goes on. ‘This is our church. We’re surrounded by trees, by the birds, the sky and very good-natured people. So no one can drag us out of here,’ says Margarita Barada, 91, sitting on a bench across from the closed parish. She and a half-dozen faithful now meet without a priest.” By Hansi Lo Wang, National Public Radio

There’s no such thing as a ‘typical’ U.S. parish anymore
“Today, changing demographics of the US Catholic population have brought a great deal of variety to parishes — the US church is now 40 percent Latino, a proportion that is rapidly increasing. Fewer Catholics feel compelled to have the kind of every-Sunday commitment to Mass that previous generations did. And an increasingly secularized, mobile and multicultural society has ended the days when one’s neighborhood or the country where one’s parents were born dictated what church the family attended. But perhaps more than anything else, the changes in the way Catholic parishes function is a byproduct of the dramatic shift in the number of priests.” By Patricia Zapor, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com


Pope Francis’s actions speak louder than his words
“A danger for all of us in the column business is that we’ll look for political meaning in Pope Francis’s big speeches and ignore what he does while he’s here. Yes, his words will matter, and Francis will have an enormous impact both on American politics and on politics inside a divided American Catholic Church.” By E.J. Dionne, Jr., Commentary in The New York Times

Pope Francis and U.S. Catholic leadership are speaking different languages
“When Pope Francis arrives in the United States next week, he will encounter a big disconnect between the agenda he has set for the Catholic Church and the agenda of the American bishops. The bishops, all of them appointed under the traditionalist papacies of Francis’ two predecessors, continue to be mired in the culture wars of the past three decades.” By John A. McCoy, Commentary in The Seattle Times


Catholic nuns starting 7-state tour this week
“A Catholic social justice lobbying group is beginning a seven-state tour this month in St. Louis. The group NETWORK says the ‘Nuns on the Bus’ tour will begin Thursday (Sept. 10) with a kickoff rally. After passing through Kansas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia, it will wrap up Sept. 22 in Washington as Pope Francis visits the White House.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com


Theresa Kane’s message to Pope Francis: eradicate scandal of gender inequality
“It was arguably the most notable request of a pope in modern times. In 1979, Mercy Sr. Theresa Kane, serving as president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, after consulting with a few friends, decided to ask Pope John Paul II, during his first visit to the United States, to open all church ministries to women. The story of that request is etched in the psyches of reform-minded Catholics around the globe.” By Thomas C. Fox, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic women sharply call for Synod to open to women’s participation, voices
“A diverse global network of Catholic women is set to launch an expansive and compelling collection of writings before the opening of October’s Synod of Bishops, pointedly calling on the male prelates to include their half of humanity and its experience in the synod’s discussions. In 40 short essays mixing the sociological, theological, and sometimes deeply personal, the writers raise a number of weighty concerns for the hotly anticipated worldwide meeting of prelates on family life — centered on the fact that extraordinarily few women are invited or involved.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Women responsible for holding India’s bishops accountable on gender policy
“The remarkable thing about a landmark document on gender policy written by the Catholic bishops of India is the extraordinary extent to which women were involved in the process, says an Indian lay woman who assisted with the document. ‘Not only did women set the agenda for this meeting, 40 of them were present in the [delegation], participating in all the group discussions and plenary sessions,’ Dr. Astrid Lobo Gajiwala said during a recent webcast lecture on the topic, ‘Creating a Roadmap for Gender Equality in the Church.’” By Elizabeth A. Elliott, National Catholic Reporter


Pope Francis’ U.S. visit spawns anxiety in clergy abuse victims
“The news earlier this year that Pope Francis was coming to America hit Robert Costello “like a punch in the gut,” and as a survivor of clergy sexual abuse in the 1960s and ’70s, he is dreading the coming tsunami of media coverage of the papal visit.” By Mark Arsenault, The Boston Globe

Pope Francis has done nothing to prevent sex abuse
“Stop talking. Start doing. That’s my message to Pope Francis about the abuse crisis. The pope is already being more inclusive, decisive, and innovative. ‘A real breath of fresh air,’ he’s been repeatedly and justifiably called. He’s addressing church finances, governance, and morale. But on the most devastating controversy that has roiled the US Catholic Church for decades — and that is beginning to roil the church in the developing world these days — he is woefully backward.” By Dave O’Regan, Commentary on Cruxnow.com

Pope Francis, the church sex abuse scandal is not over
“When he visits the United States this week, Pope Francis is likely to repeat his acclaimed vow of ‘zero tolerance’ for clergy who sexually abuse minors. For most Americans, this will have a reassuring ring. We assume we know what the pope means — that the global Catholic Church now adheres to the same ‘one strike and you’re out’ policy that, at least in theory, has bound all US bishops since 2002 … But this isn’t what the pope is saying.” By Anne Barrett Doyle, Commentary in The Boston Globe

South America has become a safe haven for the Catholic Church’s alleged child molesters
“Even as Pope Francis has touted reform of the Vatican’s safeguards against child abuse, GlobalPost has found that the Catholic Church has allowed allegedly abusive priests to slip off to parts of the world where they would face less scrutiny from prosecutors and the media. In a yearlong investigation, we tracked down and confronted five such priests. All were able to continue working for the church despite serious accusations against them. When we found them, all but one continued to lead Mass, mostly in remote, poor communities in South America.” By Will Carless, GlobalPost.com

Ahead of Pope Francis’ visit, survivors of sexual abuse take stock
“Dan Ogrodowski stayed silent into middle age. He expected to go to the grave, he said, without speaking out about the Milwaukee priest who had raped him as a child. But now, embittered by what he calls the Roman Catholic Church’s continued betrayal of abuse survivors, he is publicly describing his childhood torment for the first time, hoping that Pope Francis will prioritize the needs of victims and will hold priests and bishops accountable during his visit to the United States this month.” By Vivian Yee, The New York Times

Clergy abuse victim, abuser want to create resource hub
“A woman who was molested by a nun is teaming up with a priest convicted of sexual misconduct to create a resource center for victims of sexual abuse. Susan Pavlak and Gil Gustafson are raising funds with hopes of buying the chancery building of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported. The building has been assessed at about $6 million and is on the market as part of the archdiocese’s bankruptcy proceedings.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com


Former Crystal Lake, Johnsburg priest accused of sexually abusing child
“A lawsuit filed Tuesday (Sept. 8) accuses a priest, formerly of churches in Crystal Lake and Johnsburg, of sexually abusing a 7- to 9-year-old child while assigned to an Aurora church. The lawsuit names the Rev. John C. Holdren, who retired in 1994 from St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Johnsburg, where he spent 10 years as a priest. He also spent six years in the 1970s at St. Thomas the Apostle in Crystal Lake. Holdren also served at St. Peter in Geneva from 1981 to 1983.” By Emily K. Coleman, Northwest Herald


Priest accused of sexual battery involving 12-year-old boy
“A Catholic priest in south Mississippi was arrested Wednesday (Aug. 9), accused of sexual battery involving a 12-year-old boy, according to SunHerald.com. Rev. Jose Vazquez, pastor at St. Francis Xavier in Wiggins and at St. Lucy Mission in Lucedale, confessed to several sex acts with the boy and other incidents in different jurisdictions, the website reported, citing a press release from Jones County Sheriff’s Office.” By Kim Chatelian, The Times-Picayune


Longtime K.C. area leader of priest sex abuse victims’ group dies at 66
“Mike Hunter, who for more than two decades was the voice of clergy sexual abuse victims in the Kansas City area, died Tuesday(Sept. 15) after suffering a heart attack last month. Hunter, 66, had served as head of the local chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests since 1992 and was among the longest-serving local SNAP leaders in the country.” By Judy L. Thomas, Kansas City Star

K.C. diocese holds second healing service for clergy sex abuse survivors
“Baskets of fresh white candles greeted visitors at St. Elizabeth Parish as they entered the dim and sparsely decorated church for an unusual evening service. A little more than 100 men and women scattered throughout the pews, some in small groups, some in couples, some quietly alone … The event was the second in a series of healing services sponsored by the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., to reach out to survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy over many decades.” By Elizabeth A. Elliott, National Catholic Reporter
Catholic Church training program helps adults spot signs of abuse, By KMBC-TV
Abuse victim gives opinion on new K.C.-St. Joseph bishop, By KSHB-TV


Priest sex abuse survivor to walk 270 miles hoping to change N.J. laws
Abused by a priest at 11 years old and quiet about it for most of his life, 68-year-old Fred Marigliano is making up for his silence. For each step of a 270-mile walk he’s making across New Jersey, he is stopping people on the street and educating them about what it’s like to be a survivor of abuse and how much further the justice system needs to go to make it right.” By Don E. Woods, NJ.com

Paterson Diocese settles sex abuse case from 1977
“The Paterson Roman Catholic Diocese acknowledged Monday (Sept. 14,) that it settled yet another case of sexual abuse allegations against Monsignor Ronald J. Tully, this time involving a woman who accused the one-time Passaic Catholic high school administrator of repeatedly fondling her decades ago.” By Abbott Koloff, NorthJersey.com


Victims of child-molesting priests call for Syracuse bishop to resign
“Two victims of child-molesting priests fought back tears tonight (Sept. 14) as they told their stories and called on the Catholic bishop of Syracuse to resign. About 50 people listened to Kevin Braney and Charles Bailey retell the repeated abuse they suffered as children, and their call for Bishop Robert Cunningham to release the names of all priests against whom the diocese has found credible evidence of abuse.” By John O’Brien, The Post-Standard

Bishop Cunningham clarifies remarks about victims of sexual abuse by priests
“Bishop Robert Cunningham is clarifying his views on victims who were abused as children by catholic priests. The bishop released a long statement on Sunday (Sept. 13), responding to an article on the front page of the Post-Standard with the headline: Bishop: Priests’ Victims Share Blame. ‘Allow me to be clear: I in no way believe a child is responsible for being abused by any person,’ Cunningham stated. ‘I also believe and have clearly stated that a priest who abuses a child is wrong as is any adult who takes advantage and harms a child.’” By LocSyr.com
Syracuse bishop on 2011 deposition: My words gave wrong impression to child-molesting victims, By Syracuse.com
Survivors of clergy abuse call for bishops’ resignation, By Brett Hall CNYCentral.com


A conflict for abuse victims
“Philip DiWilliams had mostly kept to himself what happened in a Roman Catholic High School counselor’s office in 1969. Years later, when he decided to seek therapy, he told his wife, but did not want to upset his children. Now, as Philadelphia prepares to welcome Pope Francis with all the celebration a papal visit garners, DiWilliams has decided to share his story.” By Julia Terruso and Jeremy Roebuck, The Inquirer

Key witness recants in Pennsylvania priests child sex trial
“A key witness in the trial of a Pennsylvania priest charged with traveling to Honduras to molest poor street children during missionary trips has recanted on the stand. The 24-year-old man testified in a federal courtroom in Johnstown that he was never molested by the Rev. Joseph Maurizio despite prosecution claims that he had been as a 14-year-old boy.” By Associated Press on ABCNews.com
Trial opens in Johnstown for suspended Catholic priest on child sex charges, By Paul Peirce, TribLive.com


Australian bishop testifies on prevalence of child sex abuse in the church
“Dying of cancer, Bishop Emeritus Geoffrey Robinson appeared Aug. 24 before the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to testify to the prevalence of child sexual abuse in the Church.” By Kieran Tapsell, National Catholic Reporter

Melbourne scheme not independent of church
“The Catholic Church’s much-criticized Melbourne Response is not independent, is overly legalistic and should leave it to the police to advise abuse victims about potential charges, an inquiry has found. The child abuse royal commission has found the Melbourne Response scheme is not sufficiently independent of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, and its independent commissioners … They also share the same lawyers as the archdiocese, creating a potential for conflict and difficulties with maintaining confidentiality, it said.” By Australian Associated Press on SBS.com

St. Joseph’s Primary School, East Maitland, joins white balloon campaign against child abuse
“Hundreds of white balloons have been dotted across Maitland as the Catholic Church confirms its commitment to raising awareness of child abuse. The balloons will be publicly displayed across 56 schools on Friday in honor of National Protection Week, also signifying the importance of empowering survivors to break their silence.” By Emma Swain, The Maitland Mercury

TJH Council calls for new national law on abuse reporting
“The Truth Justice and Healing Council has called for the introduction of a new, consistent nationwide criminal law requiring the reporting to the police of suspected child sexual abuse. In its submission to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the Council recommends the new law should require anyone who has a reasonable belief that a sexual offence has been committed against a child to disclose what they know to the police.” By CathNews.com
TJH Council says abuse redress scheme ‘a huge leap forward,’ By CathNews.com


Leaked emails reveal new child sex abuse controversy
“The Catholic Church has been drawn into a new scandal after senior clerics conspired to block a survivor from joining the Pope’s sex abuse advisory board, accusing him of ‘lies.’ Emails between the Archbishop of Santiago and his predecessor, leaked to Chile’s top online newspaper El Mostrado, show how they blocked Juan Carlos Cruz from the Holy See’s advisory board, set up by the Pope last year to help create a climate of greater accountability.” By Ruth Gledhill, Christian Today


Only eight convictions from 325 Church abuse claims dating back to 1941 in Ireland
Only 2.5% of sex abuse claims made against priests in Ireland since 1941 resulted in criminal convictions, it has emerged. Newly-released reports by the Catholic Church’s child protection watchdog revealed 325 allegations were made against 141 priests or brothers in the past seven decades. Of those, only eight ended with a conviction.” By Adelina Campos, Irish Mirror


Death of this rampant pedophile priest robs his victims of closure
“The odious former priest Bill Carney died in the Midlands Prison last Saturday week (Sept. 5), apparently without a word of remorse or apology to his many victims. He was awaiting trial on 34 charges of sexually abusing eight boys and two girls over 20 years up to 1989, having pleaded neither guilty nor not guilty, his day of reckoning delayed because of his bad health.” By Maeve Sheehan, The Independent