Voice of the Faithful Focus, Sept. 28, 2018


Over half of Dutch bishops shielded priest-abusers, according to report
“A sensational new report on sexual abuse in the Netherlands claims over half of the bishops in the country from 1945-2010 were involved in either covering up abuse or abusing children themselves. The report appearing in NRC Handelsblad, the Netherlands’ most prestigious newspaper, charges the Dutch hierarchy had a ‘policy of transfers and turning a blind eye’ to abusive priests in the country.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

U.S. bishops voice support for ‘full investigation’ of McCarrick scandal
“After a meeting between Pope Francis and the leadership of the US bishops’ conference last Thursday (Sept. 13) following which no plans for a probe of the case of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick were announced, the bishops on Wednesday (Sept. 19) announced their support for a ‘full investigation.’ A statement from the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) also announced various plans for establishing reporting systems and codes of conduct with regard to bishops and the sexual abuse of minors.” By John L. Allen, Cruxnow.com

The Catholic Church’s unholy stain
“Pope Francis has summoned senior bishops from around the world for the first global gathering of Roman Catholic leaders to address the crisis of clerical pedophilia. The action is long overdue, and the outcome cannot be yet more apologies and pledges of better behavior. The unending revelations of clerical sexual abuse and cover-ups demand radical, public, convincing systemic change.” By The New York Times Editorial Board

‘Elitist, clericalist’ church allows abuse to thrive
“Sexual and physical abuse by priests and religious and the scandal of its cover-up by church authorities thrive in countries where the Catholic Church is ‘elitist and clericalist,’ Pope Francis told Jesuits in Ireland in August. ‘There is something I have understood with great clarity: this drama of abuse, especially when it is widespread and gives great scandal — think of Chile, here in Ireland or in the United States — has behind it a church that is elitist and clericalist, an inability to be near to the people of God,’ the pope told the Jesuits during a meeting Aug. 25 in Dublin.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, National Catholic Reporter
Resignations, Rome meetings and investigations: a week of major developments in the sexual abuse crisis
“‘It just doesn’t stop.’ That sentiment, shared on Twitter Thursday (Sept. 13) morning by Associated Press Vatican correspondent Nicole Winfield, captures the feelings of many Catholics trying to keep up with the seemingly endless cycle of new revelations about sexual abuse, harassment and misconduct in the U.S. church.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review


Georgetown panel deals with ‘moral catastrophe’ of church’s own making
“Sept. 25 was a night of powerful admissions in a packed lecture hall at Georgetown University. Perhaps that was not surprising, given the topic up for discussion — ‘Confronting a Moral Catastrophe: Lay Leadership, Catholic Social Teaching, and the Sexual Abuse Crisis.’ Still, those in the audience of the latest dialogue put forward by the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life could not have been fully prepared for the alternating tones of anger and anguish that characterized the evening’s conversation.” By Julie Bourbon, National Catholic Reporter

Secret files suggest Catholic bishop shielded alleged ‘predator priests’ from the public
“In this hardscrabble Rust Belt city with deep Catholic roots, the Catholic Church’s top official is facing calls for his resignation over his handling of sexual abuse allegations against priests. Documents obtained by CNN suggest Bishop Richard J. Malone did not sanction priests accused of sexual abuse and concealed the identities of alleged ‘predator priests’ from the public. In a preemptive move in March, Malone released a list of 42 priests in the Buffalo diocese who had left the priesthood after facing accusations of sexually abusing minors … But a trove of secret diocesan records, first reported by CNN affiliate WKBW and obtained by CNN, show the number of accused priests could be up to 200.” By Rose Flores and Kevin Conlon, CNN

The latest Catholic abuse scandal shows that nothing was ever resolved
“ I’m having a hard time understanding why the recent Pennsylvania grand-jury report dealing with the Roman Catholic Church’s child-rape scandal sparked so much shock and outrage. Indeed, the allegations contained in the report are shocking and outrageous. But, as someone who reported extensively on the issue in Southern California 10 to 15 years ago, I’m not surprised by the revelations. Obvious questions jump to mind.” By Editorial Board of The Press-Enterprise

Church sex abuse review is ordered by Cardinal Dolan
“Seeking to restore the trust of New York Catholics shaken by recent revelations of abuse, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan announced on Thursday (Sept. 20) that he had appointed a former federal judge to review how the Archdiocese of New York handles cases of sexual abuse of minors and sexual harassment of adults. The review, led by Barbara S. Jones, a former judge in Federal District Court in Manhattan, will primarily focus on whether the archdiocese is following the protocols to protect minors from abuse that were approved by the nation’s bishops in 2002.” By Sharon Otterman, the New York Times

Former F.B.I. agent who led 2002 child protection efforts says bishops ‘can’t police their own’
“I think what was most surprising to people is that it was possible for an offender [like Archbishop Theodore McCarrick] to manage to rise to the very highest levels in the church and that other members of the church hierarchy may have been aware of his offenses. If proven, it is reprehensible. How does that happen? Has it happened with others? Have other clerics ignored or protected such secrets and crimes?” By Jim McDermott, America: The Jesuit Review

Class action lawsuit filed against eight Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses, including Pittsburgh, Greenburg
“Eight Pennsylvania Roman Catholic dioceses, including those in Pittsburgh and Greensburg, are named in a class action lawsuit filed Monday (Sept. 17) that alleges they didn’t obey state laws requiring them to report child sexual abuse. ‘I have not lost faith in my religion,’ said the lead plaintiff, Ryan O’Connor. ‘I have lost faith in the men who are pulling the purse strings.’ O’Connor was a victim of sexual abuse by a priest in the Johnstown-Altoona diocese when he was 9 years old. He now has two children in Catholic schools. O’Connor, his fellow plaintiffs and their attorneys are seeking a massive release of previously confidential internal church files.” By Bob Mayo, Pittsburgh’s Action News 4

For survivors of priest child sex abuse, what would real justice look like?
“There are crimes for which justice can seem like a remote concept. There are crimes, like the sexual abuse of children, from which many turn away – using language like ‘unspeakable,’ ‘unimaginable,’ or even ‘inhuman.’ Even survivors create their mental shields from the crimes they endured. ‘This form of abuse is really completely and utterly spiritually annihilating,’ says Christa Brown, a survivor of abuse at the hands of a Baptist minister decades ago, and an author who now lives in Colorado. ‘It’s been called ‘soul murder,’ and I think that’s a very apt word for it.’” By Harry Bruinius, The Christian Science Monitor

Fall of a West Virginia bishop widens the Catholic Crisis over sex abuse
“The blows seem to land nearly every day: Bishops are accused, investigations are ordered, resignations are demanded, damning documents are leaked. The sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church keeps spiraling through the church hierarchy, threatening the standing of Pope Francis. On Thursday (Sept. 13), an American bishop in West Virginia was brought down by allegations of sexual misconduct, even as a delegation of American church leaders met urgently with the pope behind closed doors over whether the Vatican had ignored past warnings of abuse by a prominent cardinal.” By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times


Sambi, a veteran papal diplomat, allegedly told Rome about McCarrick
“Although his biggest public turn in the United States may have been welcoming Pope Benedict XVI to the country in 2008, Italian Archbishop Pietro Sambi turns out, at least according to one reconstruction, to have had a fairly important behind-the-scenes part in the saga of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Sambi, a veteran Vatican diplomat, served as the pope’s ambassador to the United States from 2005 until his death in 2011.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

If there were secret sanctions on McCarrick, it wouldn’t be a first
“Three weeks after a bombshell accusation of abuse cover-up against Pope Francis by an ex-papal ambassador, an element of that charge still remains an enigma: Were there, or were there not, secret restrictions on former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick imposed under Pope emeritus Benedict XVI? It’s been a tough claim for some to swallow, given that there’s abundant evidence that McCarrick hardly behaved like a man under a cloud during the Benedict papacy – he was often seen with the pope, and even with Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, Francis’s accuser and, at the time, papal ambassador in the U.S.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com


Pennsylvania bishops support creating fund to compensate survivors of sex abuse
“The bishops of Pennsylvania’s eight Roman Catholic dioceses are supporting creation of an independent fund to compensate survivors of clergy sexual abuse. Ever since the Aug. 14 release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report that graphically detailed the alleged sexual abuse of more than 1,000 boys and girls by some 300 priests and church workers in the state over 70 years, the bishops had ‘reflected deeply on the ugly record’ of abuse’ and how church leadership failed to protect our people over a period of decades.’” By Matthew Gambino, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot


Francis: young people ‘outraged’ at Catholic Church over sexual abuse
“Pope Francis has acknowledged that some young people are angry with the leaders of the global Catholic Church, saying that a perceived lack of ‘clear condemnation’ of clergy sexual abuse has resulted in youth becoming ‘outraged.’ In a Sept. 25 address to an ecumenical meeting on the last of his four-day visit to the three Baltic countries, the pontiff also noted that many youth no longer even think of the church as being able to offer them counsel or life advice.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Francis defends response to clergy abuse, says church has ‘spared no effort’
“Pope Francis has defended the measures undertaken by the Catholic Church in recent years to respond to clergy sexual abuse, saying the global institution has grown in its understanding of the ‘monstrous’ problem and has ‘spared no effort’ to protect children. In a press conference aboard the Sept. 25 papal flight back to Rome after a four-day visit to the three Baltic States, the pontiff said that the number of children abused over past decades ‘has diminished because the church has realized that it must fight in a different way.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

For Francis, February bishops’ meeting will be a defining moment
“Could this be the moment for which Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was called from ‘the ends of the earth’ to be pope? Let’s not forget how when Bergoglio was introduced to us as Pope Francis — the name of not a previous pope or apostle, but of a reforming saint — he captured the world’s imagination with his humble request for all those gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray for him, and he bowed before them. Let’s not forget that he was elected by a conclave of cardinals who knew they wanted a freshness brought to the papacy and reform to the church. That was his mandate.” By Dennis Coday, National Catholic Reporter

In private letters, Benedict rebukes critics of Pope Francis
“The remarkable letter last month calling on Pope Francis to resign for allegedly shielding an abusive American cardinal also served as a public call to arms for some conservative Catholics who pine for the pontificate of the previous pope, Benedict XVI. For years now, they have carried his name like a battle standard into the ideological trenches. Benedict apparently would like them to knock it off.” By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times


Pressing pope to accept his resignation, Cardinal Wuerl does the right thing
“Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., has done the right thing. He has asked Pope Francis to accept his resignation, which he submitted three years ago when he reached 75, the age at which all Catholic bishops submit their resignations. The cardinal has been under heavy pressure to resign ever since the Pennsylvania grand jury report was released in August, in which Wuerl was criticized for his handling of abusive priests while he was bishop of Pittsburgh (1988-2006). He is the first U.S. cardinal to resign his archdiocese as a result of the abuse crisis since Cardinal Bernard Law did so in 2002 for his failure to deal with abusive priests in Boston.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, National Catholic Reporter


A closer look at the Vatican’s would-be whistleblower
“(Archbishop Carlo Maria) Vigano’s history of would-be whistleblowing and controversy began long before the McCarrick affair, going back to his days serving as an official in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State. Not only was he a central figure in the infamous 2011-2012 “Vatileaks” scandal that erupted shortly after his transfer to the U.S., but even there, he managed to be an object of controversy.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com


Catholic bishop in West Virginia resigns amid sexual harassment investigation
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a West Virginia bishop and has ordered a church-run investigation into allegations that the bishop sexually harassed adults, church officials said Thursday (Sept. 13). Michael Bransfield submitted his resignation as bishop of Wheeling-Charleston Diocese upon turning 75 last week — and 75 is the age at which bishops are required to offer to step down. Francis not only accepted Bransfield’s resignation but also ordered the archbishop of Baltimore to oversee Bransfield’s diocese temporarily and investigate ‘allegations of sexual harassment of adults against’ Bransfield.” By Jason Hanna, CNN

Abuse crisis is like a fire purifying the church, says head of Canadian bishops
“The sexual abuse crisis is like a fire that should be left to burn to purify the church, said the president of the Canadian bishops’ conference. ‘When there is a fire, our first instinct is often to try to put it out to prevent damage,’ said Bishop Lionel Gendron of Saint-Jean-Longueuil, Quebec. He spoke Sept. 24 to more than 80 bishops and eparchs at the annual plenary meeting of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. ‘In this case, however, we may need to allow this fire to keep burning,’ he said.” By Deborah Gyapong, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

Germany’s bishops apologize for sex abuse and pledge to pursue justice
“The head of the German Bishops’ Conference apologized on Tuesday (Sept. 25) for the ‘pain and suffering’ caused by the Catholic Church’s decades-long failure to take abuse of children at the hands of clergy members seriously enough, and pledged to pursue justice. The apology came as a new report that found over 3,600 children in Germany had been victimized by clergy members.” By Melissa Eddy, The New York Times

U.S. bishops won’t restore trust with announced plans to stop abuse”
“Are the U.S. bishops up to the task of restoring trust? Early indications are mixed. The Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement last week pledging to use ‘every bit of the strength God provides us’ to protect the church — from themselves. As is not infrequent in such cases of self-management, and if the steps they announced are any indication, the bishops have a long way to go before they can rest easy that their efforts to heal the church will not, in fact, make an already terrible situation even more dreadful.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Retired Green Bay auxiliary Bishop Morneau withdraws from public ministry
“Retired Auxiliary Bishop Robert Morneau of Green Bay has requested and has been granted a withdrawal from all public ministry. In a letter dated Sept. 14 and addressed to Bishop David Ricken, the head of the diocese, Morneau stated that he failed to report to authorities an incident of priest sexual abuse of a minor in 1979.” By Sam Lucero, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Bishop Patrick J. McGrath announces diocesan actions to address clergy abuse
“Recent revelations of the horrific and heartbreaking crime of the sexual abuse of minors by priests – and the systematic cover-up by bishops – have fueled a crisis, unprecedented in modern times, in the Catholic Church. There is a need for reform; there is a need for transparency in the way the Church responds to allegations of the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults, even as we continue our efforts of preventing abuse and fostering a safe environment for all.” By Bishop Patrick J. McGrath on DSJ.org

Bishop Bransfield and the Catholic crisis
“The worldwide Roman Catholic Church has been battered for decades by sexual misdeeds of priests. Predatory abuses against altar boys, other vulnerable children and adults have been the worst aspect. Almost monthly, new reports of victims arise — in Boston, Pennsylvania, Ireland, Germany, nearly everywhere. Now, West Virginia’s Bishop Michael Bransfield is drawn into the morass. He’s accused of molesting teen-age boys in Philadelphia in the 1970s or early 1980s when he was a Pennsylvania priest and vice principal of a Catholic high school.” By Charleston Gazette-Mail Editorial Board


What can we say about the synod of bishops? The optics are not good
“As the church worldwide recoils at the renewed wave of sexual abuse, several hundred bishops will soon gather in Rome to talk about young people. The optics are not good. Don’t get me wrong. Of the voting members, most — if not all — are upstanding men. Only one is currently under indictment. But, like water dripping on a stone, the same story — from Chile, from the Netherlands, from the United States, with variations on the theme from India and Africa — is wearing people’s patience thin … The working document notes that the synod’s March 2018 preliminary meeting, at which young people were able to voice their opinions, found great distance between what the church says and what the church does.” By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter

Young Catholics on healing from the clergy sex abuse crisis
“Inspired by their Vatican II forebearers, many young Catholics are planning to stay in the church and fight for reform of the power structures that allowed clergy sexual abuse to happen and that protected church leaders who tried to cover it up. On the show today: Brian Harper, NCR Young Voices columnist and graduate student in Fordham University’s International Political Economy and Development program. He currently interns with the Americas Society and Council of the Americas. Julie Bourbon, NCR contributor, based in Washington, D.C. Annie Selak, Catholic lay minister and PhD candidate in Systematic Theology at Boston College.” By National Catholic Reporter Staff

Vatican publishes list of synod participants, including papal appointees
“To the list of members of the Synod of Bishops elected by national bishops’ conferences, Pope Francis added cardinals from 14 countries, bishops from another 10 nations, as well as 10 priests who be full voting members of the gathering. The pope’s appointees to the synod were announced Sept. 15 and included Canadian Cardinal Gerald LaCroix of Quebec and U.S. Cardinals Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, and Blase J. Cupich of Chicago. The synod will meet Oct. 3-28 at the Vatican to focus on ‘young people, faith and vocational discernment.’ By Catholic News Service in The Pilot


Anti-abuse activists pan U.S. Catholic bishops’ new proposals
“Lawyers and advocates for victims of clergy sex-abuse are assailing as inadequate some new steps announced by U.S. Catholic bishops to curtail the abuse scandals that have deeply shaken the church this year. The initiatives, announced Wednesday (Sept. 19), include developing a code of conduct for bishops regarding sexual abuse and harassment, and establishing a confidential hotline — to be run by a third party — to receive complaints of sexual misconduct by bishops, and relay such complaints to appropriate church and civil authorities. Critics called on the bishops to go further by allowing outside investigators full access to church sex-abuse records and by supporting changes to statute-of-limitation laws so that more cases of long-ago sex abuse could be addressed in court.” By David Crary, Associated Press, on FOX News

At the church she called home, she found her own quiet way to protest
“On the first Sunday morning in September, Rebecca Shipman Hurst gathered up her things — her small quilted purse, her car keys, the sealed pink envelope containing her weekly offering to the Catholic Church — and walked out the door of her weathered gray farmhouse … At 69, she was deeply invested in the faith she’d worked so hard to nurture, but today was, for her, a day of protest. Hurst had dressed in white for the noon Mass. She’d chosen the color to signify purity and innocence. And she had asked others to wear white to Mass too, to join her in a silent, symbolic call for action.” By Jeanna Russell, The Boston Globe


Clericalism led to abuse
Homily at St. Partick’s Church, Erie, Pennsylvania, Sept. 19, 2018

Abuse in Germany: Cardinal Marx, ‘We have often promoted a clericalism which has in turn facilitated violence and abuse’
“While presenting the report on sexual abuse in the Church in Germany, Cardinal Reinhard Marx wondered whether the efforts made so far have been sufficient: ‘Justice should be rendered to sexual violence victims. We do not want to fight sexual abuse in the Church without taking into account the victims. We must create a climate in which also others have the courage to expose their sufferings and wounds. For far too long, we have looked elsewhere, out of love for the institution and to defend ourselves, bishops and priests.’” By AgenSir.it

Canadian cardinal: women should help screen, train priest applicants
Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future sex abuse, said Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. ‘We would need participation of more women in (training) of priests,’ the Canadian cardinal told reporters at a recent meeting of the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe, a four-day assembly in Poznan, Poland.” By Catholic News Agency Staff in The Pilot

Women’s Catholic leadership program, GIVEN Institute, officially launches
“A Catholic women’s leadership organization, the GIVEN Institute, which aims to encourage and train young women in leadership roles in the church and society, officially launched Sept. 12. ‘There are plenty of leadership programs in the private sector; there is no reason we can’t do it with a faith component,’ the organization’s founder, Elise Italiano, said Sept. 11. Italiano, who also writes for the Catholic News Service column ‘In Light of Faith,’ noted that there also are plenty of innovative programs in the church but leadership development for women is especially needed, particularly in the current moment in the church.” By Carol Zimmermann, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review


Eight lessons to be learned from the sex abuse crisis
For me, clerical sexual abuse is personal, professional and institutional. It has haunted my service of the church for more than five decades, involving the abuse of people, power and trust and a clerical culture that enabled it and covered it up. My experiences have taught me several lessons that I believe will be helpful as the church moves forward.” By John Carr, America: The Jesuit Review

Church crisis response: healing Masses, listening sessions, fasting
In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church, Catholics are praying for victims, talking about their frustration and anger, and being urged to pray and fast for church healing. They’ve gathered in cathedrals and parishes across the country for healing Masses said by bishops who have often prostrated themselves before the altar in a posture of repentance. They’ve met in parish halls to ask church leaders what went wrong and how the church should move forward. Their bishops have issued multiple statements on the crisis and many also have begun to urge Catholics to pray and fast for the church to find healing and restoration.” By Carol Zimmerman, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot


Don’t ignore local community in thinking about the abuse crisis
“In the on-going disclosures of sexual abuse and cover-ups that are rocking the Catholic Church, high churchmen and great thinkers have scurried to provide explanations, observations, and programs for reform. It seems everyone has an opinion. And yet, for all such conversations and printed words, there has oddly been one essential group that has been neglected, namely, the local Catholic community. The local Catholic community is the distinct community of faith whose children were abused and whose own trust was violated. Yet, in the dash to name the problem and propose its solutions, such a community is being taken for granted. Falling into some universalized ‘Catholic community’ or ‘Catholic faithful,’ the particular and specific local community is being absorbed into some enlarged entity.” By Fr. Jeffrey Kirby, Cruxnow.com

For real change, we must get at four roots deeper than church structures
“In the midst of the angst that has accompanied the revelation of unparalleled amounts of sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church, the cry for reform gets louder by the day. For some, it’s a call for the elimination of celibacy as an unnatural and therefore impossible way of life. For others, it’s about barring homosexuals from the priesthood, as if homosexuality was in essence a model of immorality rather than simply another state of nature … For many, it’s about a lack of psychosocial development in seminaries … But there is one element on which everyone seems to agree: There must be repentance. There must be accountability. There must be reform. Good. And that looks like what?” By Joan Chittister, National Catholic Reporter

Why I’m staying Catholic
“I always come back to the question in times of scandal: Why am I a Catholic? Why stick around? Two reasons — one practical, one ethereal — go back to Katherine ‘Roma’ Jacobson, my Irish-Catholic grandmother who was born 100 years ago this week … So the practical reason I’m Catholic is that Roma was Catholic — very, very Catholic. My grandfather had been raised Episcopalian and converted, developing a love of the faith for himself that must have been inspired at least somewhat by his vivacious wife. My mom married my Jewish dad with the understanding the kids would be Catholic.” By Mike Jordan Laskey, National Catholic Reporter

Are children safe from sexual abuse in Catholic Church
“In a letter from Bishop Patrick J. McGrath last week the Catholic diocese of San Jose became one of the first in the nation to announce plans to disclose all of the names of priests who had credible accusations of sexual abuse who ministered in the diocese. Additionally, the bishop offered several listening sessions and announced the hiring of a distinguished former FBI executive, Kathleen McChesney and her consulting team, to review diocesan personal files. This effort on the part of the diocese to offer full transparency and accountability is certainly a step in the right direction in terms of the efforts by the local church to deal with their history of clergy abuse and to try to do the right thing for victims and their families as well as for rank-and-file Catholics.” By Thomas G. Plante, Mercury News

Time for a federal commission on sex abuse of children
“But no matter how many separate state inquiries are initiated, I predict that the findings will all repeat the vocabulary of ‘cover-up,’ ‘collusion,’ ‘enabling,’ ‘sacrificing children for the sake of the institution’s reputation’ — the same script gets replayed over and over. The time is long past for the criminality of the Roman Catholic Church to be treated as just a local or state problem — this is a national problem that is part of the global epidemic of child abuse. We must insist that this country hold a national, federal inquiry that covers all 50 states.” By Arthur McCaffrey, Philadelphia Inquirer

Father Hans Zollner: post abuse crisis, how can we get back to our Christian roots
“Hans Zollner, S.J., is a licensed German psychologist and psychotherapist with a doctorate in theology and one of the church’s leading experts in the area of safeguarding minors. He is the president of the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, a member on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and a consultor to the Congregation for the Clergy. America spoke with Father Zollner in July and followed up recently as the sexual abuse crisis in the United States continues to roil the church. This is the first of three interviews James McDermott, S.J., is conducting about the abuse crisis.” By Jim McDermott, America: The Jesuit Review

Clergy in a candy store
“In the 1970s, when I attended St. Joseph’s School in Mendham, NJ, I didn’t know what a pedophile priest was but I knew a creepy priest when I saw one, and that was our pastor, Father James T. Hanley. He abused scores of boys in my town during the 1970s and 80s. He never went to jail but the Diocese of Patterson paid close to $5 million to his victims. I, like many people, didn’t think the abuse was widespread and that St. Joe’s was an anomaly. But as the years went on and more accusations came from all over the world, I started to believe that the church gave the nod to this behavior, which would explain why the abuse seemed to stop at the priest level. The church had to be protecting the abusers who had been promoted to bishop and cardinal.” By Kathleen Thometz, TheLatest.com

Tim Busch, Napa Institute tout ‘authentic reform’ at upcoming event
“In 2002, in the wake of the Boston-centered clergy sex abuse scandal, lay Catholics gathered in a church basement to pray and try to change the church through what would become the reform group Voice of the Faithful. Now another group of reformers is emerging. But it’s quite different from Voice of the Faithful, which tried to avoid ideological issues to focus on supporting victims, fighting clerical culture and promoting lay leadership. The Napa Institute, known for its blend of conservative theology and libertarian economics, hosts annual conferences that attract wealthy Catholics to California’s wine country. The organization’s focus on apologetics, sexual ethics and the need to counter secularization is shared by its ecclesiastical adviser, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, a darling of the Catholic right.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter


Head of USCCB vows ‘independence’, ‘accountability’ in addressing abuse, urges Diocesan finance leaders to pray
“At a time when the church is facing increasing pressure to be accountable over the issue of clergy sex abuse, diocesan finance officials were urged by the nation’s leading Catholic bishop to approach their task with the mindset of a servant and a shepherd. “It’s extremely important that everyone in church finance work has a disciple’s heart, especially right now,’ Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops told hundreds of local Diocesan officials during the 2018 Diocesan Financial Management Conference Sept. 17.” By Jeff Grant, The Catholic Sun

Erie Catholic diocese spends over $4 million on legal fees
“The investigation into child sexual abuse in the Catholic church is costing the Diocese of Erie around $4 million. We looked into where that money came from. That $4 million pertains to just the last two years investigating cases of clergy abuse within the Diocese spanning several decades. The bishop says the investment was worth it, but not everyone agrees.” By Jackie Roberts, YourErie.com

After allegations of theft at Winchester church, a youth minister asked questions. Now, he may lose his job
“In the spring of 2016, officials at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston began suspecting that someone was stealing from the collection plate at St. Mary’s, a Catholic parish in Winchester. Local police and the FBI investigated, but no one was ever charged. Parishioners, who had heard a swirl of rumors about stolen donations and quiet staff departures, never learned what had actually happened. But Salvatore Caraviello, St. Mary’s longtime director of youth and family ministries, was rankled by the silence of church officials.” By Maria Cramer, The Boston Globe

Catholics, keep your wallets closed until the Church reforms from the Vatican on down
“It is hard to be a Catholic today. It is clear from this summer’s Pennsylvania grand jury report, the Cardinal Theodore McCarrick scandal and, most recently, the dodge by Pope Francis to a Vatican diplomat’s testimony that the pontiff rehabilitated McCarrick, that the Catholic Church has been betrayed by her leaders.” By Charles Rice, NorthJersey.com

Leaders of Sistine Chapel choir face Vatican fraud investigation
“The leaders of the Sistine Chapel Choir have landed in the cross hairs of an investigation by Vatican prosecutors into possible money laundering, fraud and embezzlement. The Vatican announced that Pope Francis had authorized an ‘investigation into some economic-administrative aspects’ of the choral ensemble, the world’s oldest. The targets of the investigation, the Rev. Massimo Palombella, choirmaster, and Michelangelo Nardella, administrative director, denied any wrongdoing through their lawyers.” By Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times


Pennsylvania House advances bill allowing older victims of child sexual abuse to sue
“After protesters flocked to the Capitol on Monday (Sept. 24), the state House advanced a measure that would allow more victims of child sex abuse to sue their attackers decades after being assaulted. The House voted, 171-23, to amend a bill to lift for two years the state’s civil statute of limitations that bars accusers older than 30 from suing over abuse that occurred when they were children. The change was a major recommendation in last month’s state grand jury report that outlined decades of sex abuse and cover-ups by Catholic clergy across the state.” By Liz Navratil and Angela Couloumbis, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Will clergy sex abuse allegations spur change in statute of limitation laws?
“The Pennsylvania report has prompted attorneys general in at least six states to review or investigate clergy sex abuse cases. But the concern is not just with the Catholic Church. Recent events have brought attention to sexual abuse, assault and harassment in Boy Scouts of America, USA Gymnastics, Hollywood and the halls of government. Amid this national conversation, a growing number of lawmakers want to expand the window that victims of child sex abuse have to file civil and criminal lawsuits. Some want to eliminate these time limits altogether. If history is any indication, it will likely be an uphill battle.” By Candice Norwood, Governing.com


In a show of contrition, Catholic dioceses begin long road of healing
“In the end, it didn’t matter much what the bishop said during the Mass of Reparation and Prayer for Healing for victims of the sex abuse scandal. His gesture said it all. Standing in front of the altar Tuesday (Sept. 25) in Raleigh’s Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama took his violet zucchetto from his head and fell to his knees … The Mass was one of many such healing services specifically tailored to address the clergy sex abuse crisis, which got new life last month after the Pennsylvania attorney general released the report on a two-year grand jury investigation into widespread sexual abuse and cover-up within six Catholic dioceses across that state.” By Yonat Shimron and Jack Jenkins, Religion News Service

Take-aways on the latest twists in the clerical abuse saga
“When a news cycle goes supernova, generally developments come far too fast and furious for anyone really to absorb them in anything other than bite-size, superficial form. Over just the last 72 hours, there have been at least three new twists to the clerical sexual abuse scandals once again rocking the global Church.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Priest sex abuse reports continue to spike after Pennsylvania investigation
“A statewide priest abuse investigation in Pennsylvania has inspired widespread inquiries in other states and dioceses across the country. Most recently, dioceses in Salt Lake City, Utah, and San Jose, California, said they would reveal the names of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse.” By Candy Woodall, York Daily Record

New director named, former leader returns to SNAP after legal threats, leadership upheaval
“The St. Louis-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests named a new executive director Friday (Sept. 14) following a turbulent year that saw a serious legal threat and resignations of longtime leaders. Zach Hiner, who began his eight-year career in child abuse and neglect prevention as an assistant to SNAP founder Barbara Blaine and longtime executive director David Clohessy, will take the reins Sept. 24 as head of the nation’s oldest and largest self-help group for survivors of clergy sexual abuse.” By Nassim Benchaabane, St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Little Rock Diocese makes list of credible abuse allegations public
“The Diocese of Little Rock released a list of clergy who had assignments in Arkansas and against whom credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor were filed. Released Sept. 10, the list was gathered through an internal review of diocesan files, the diocese said. The list contains the name of one former priest who was previously identified and 11 former priests who were identified for the first time.” By Catholic News Service in America: The Jesuit Review


Angry parishioners blast San Jose Diocese, Catholic Church over sexual abuse allegations
“Angry and hurt over national reports of clergy abuse that have again rocked the Catholic Church to its core, dozens of residents confronted Bishop Patrick McGrath Saturday (Sept. 22) to demand transparency as the Diocese of San Jose prepares to launch its own investigation. About 70 people — including alleged victims of abuse — gathered at Our Lady of the Rosary for a listening session hosted by the diocese to allow people to ask questions, express concerns and, in some cases, outrage over recent revelations of the sexual abuse of minors by Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania and beyond. Calling on the bishop to launch a criminal investigation into any local allegations of abuse, many criticized the Catholic Church for waiting so long to take action and said it’s caused them to lose hope in church leaders. Some said they’re abandoning Catholicism altogether.” By Tatiana Sanchez, The Mercury News

Priest abuse: Bay Area politicians call for statewide probe of Catholic Church
“Four Bay Area state legislators and an East Bay congressman are calling for the state’s top attorney to launch an investigation into Catholic Church priest abuse, similar to the groundbreaking Pennsylvania grand jury report released last month that has thrust the scandal back into international headlines.” By Matthias Gafni, Mercury News

Catholic Church abuse victims call for California investigation
“Catholic Church sexual abuse survivors from the Bay Area will head to the state capital Monday (Sept. 17), focused on calling California’s attorney general to launch a statewide investigation into the alleged abuse. The victims want a statewide probe similar to the one recently concluded in Pennsylvania and are also clamoring for local law enforcement and prosecutors to be more aggressive when it comes to dealing with the cases.” By NBC-TV Staff

San Jose Diocese to release names of every priest believed to have abused minors
“Catholic leaders in San Jose are working to be more transparent about sexual abuse by priests. By mid-October, they plan on releasing the names of every priest throughout the city who is believed to have abused minors. This is just one step towards improving transparency regarding sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.” By Amanda del Castillo, ABC7 News San Jose


Colorado Springs Catholic bishop to address sex-abuse scandal on Facebook Live
“Bishop Michael Sheridan, head of the Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs, will appear in a first-ever interactive Facebook live session at 7 p.m. Thursday (Spt. 14) to answer questions from the public about the Catholic Church’s clergy sex-abuse scandal … Sheridan has received ‘a good response,’ in terms of questions posed in advance of Thursday night’s event, said Veronica Ambuul, editor of the Colorado Catholic Herald, the diocesan newspaper.” By Debbie Kelley, The Colorado Springs Gazette


Bridgeport Diocese hit with abuse lawsuits against three priests
“Five men claim in lawsuits filed Friday (Sept. 21) that they were sexually abused as children by priests in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport. The lawsuits, filed in state Superior Court in Bridgeport, claim the abuse occurred from the late 1980s to the early 2000s and was perpetrated by three priests — the Rev. Walter Coleman, the Rev. Robert Morrissey and the Rev. Larry Jensen, in Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury and Ridgefield.” By Daniel Tepfer, Connecticut Post


Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese releases names of 18 priests or deacons accused of sex abuse
“A Catholic diocese in northern Indiana on Tuesday (Sept. 18) released the names of more than a dozen clergy accused of sexual abuse. At the direction of Bishop Kevin Rhoades, the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend published the names of 18 priests or deacons who the church said were ‘credibly’ accused of sexual abuse of a minor. Eight of the men listed are deceased, and two are incarcerated, according to the diocese. The remaining men have either been dismissed or removed from their ministerial or clerical duties.” By Holly V. Hays, IndyStar

Bishop Kevin Rhoades cleared of any wrongdoing following referral by diocese
“After a full investigation, the Dauphin County District Attorney has determined that there is no basis to conclude that Bishop Kevin C. Rhodes ever engaged in a criminal or otherwise improper relationship with a person whom we will refer to at J.T. to protect the privacy of his family … No witness has alleged observing any criminal or improper conduct by Bishop Rhoades with respect to J.T. Bishop Rhoades and the family of J.T. fully cooperated in the investigation.” By Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office


Priest in sex abuse probe to move away from Catholic grade school amid furor
“When a student reported last year that she had seen an image of a naked boy on the Rev. Richard McGrath’s cellphone, the priest, who was president of Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox, was asked by the school and the police to hand over the phone. McGrath refused, which officials say effectively killed an investigation by the police. Their focus later turned to accusations that the priest sexually abused another student at the far southwest suburban school in the 1990s — allegations that Will County prosecutors are reviewing and which also are the subject of a lawsuit by that former student.” By Robert Hurguth, Chicago Sun Times

Man comes forward with sex abuse allegations against Catholic priest
“Larry Antonsen was 16-years old and on a church trip in Wisconsin, when he said he was molested by his priest in a motel room. ‘Frozen. I couldn’t move. I was just paralyzed. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know where to go,’ said Antonsen. It was a night he wanted so badly to forget.” By Beth Sweeney, WFIE-TV


Indiana dioceses issues list of priests, deacons with credible accusations
“The Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese’s release of the names of priests and deacons credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor ‘is an appropriate step and part of a commitment to openness and transparency by the church in this area,’ said a member of the Diocesan Review Board. ‘I am hopeful too that it will bring some solace and healing to the victims and their families,’ said Donald Schmid in a Sept. 19 statement, a day after the diocese released the list.” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter


Kentucky legislature shouldn’t bow to Catholic church on priest abuse
“As reported in the Courier Journal on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2018, Kentucky Attorney General Andrew Beshear, announced that he ‘will seek the legislature’s permission to form a statewide grand jury to investigate Kentucky’s Catholic dioceses in line with last month’s damning report on Pennsylvania Catholic churches.’” By William F. McMurry, Couier Journal


Louisiana Catholic Church should name pedophile clergymen, victims’ advocates say
“Advocates for victims of the Catholic Church’s pervasive clergy sex abuse scandal are calling upon Louisiana bishops to release the names of pedophile priests and clergy members whose actions have thrown one of the world’s oldest religious institutions into crisis. The calls come as New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond on Thursday (Sept. 20) said he and the state’s six other bishops are mulling whether to release the names of clergy members against whom credible accusations of abuse have been made. He said the issue was a topic of discussion at a meeting of the bishops last week.” By Kim Chatelain, New Orleans Times-Picayne

In New Orleans, more quietly settled, decades-old Catholic Church sex abuse cases surface
“Other cases have surfaced involving quietly settled, decades-old sexual abuse claims against the Catholic Church in New Orleans, naming a pair of diocesan priests as well as an educator. Three separate, unnamed plaintiffs pursued claims against Malcolm Strassel, once a priest at Our Lady of Lourdes; Michael Fraser, once a priest at St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church; and Nolan Delatte, once an educator at St. Pius X School, according to documents filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, The New Orleans Advocate


Archbishop: Maryland AG investigating records in abuse probe
“Maryland’s attorney general is delving into records of the Baltimore archdiocese as part of an investigation into child sex abuse, the latest U.S. state seeking confidential church files since a Pennsylvania grand jury released an explosive report alleging widespread abuse and a cover-up scandal. Archbishop William Lori said in a statement Monday (Sept. 24) that he has written priests and deacons in the archdiocese advising them he’s been informed by Attorney General Brian Frosh of ‘an investigation of records related to the sexual abuse of children.’” By David McFadden, Associated Press


Priest abuse lawsuits in Massachusetts name Catholic order in Bellevue
“A Catholic order based in Bellevue is now a defendant in two lawsuits in Massachusetts that allege sexual abuse of two children by a priest in the 1970s. The lawsuits say officials with the Columban Fathers of Bellevue, as well as those with the Archdiocese of Boston, knew that a now-deceased priest, the Rev. Brian Gallagher, was an abuser, yet assigned him to serve a parish and nursing home in Dorchester, Massachusetts, granting him ‘unchecked power to sexually abuse Catholic boys.’ By Paul Hammel, Omaha World-Herald


Alleged abuse victim searches for justice in the Diocese of Crookston
“In 1971, when Ron Vasek was 16 years old, a priest invited him to take a trip. The priest, Fr. Roger Grundhaus, was a family friend, and Ron’s parents supported the idea. Fr. Grundhaus, a priest of the Diocese of Crookston, Minnesota, was going to a canon law convention in Columbus, Ohio. He said he wanted Vasek to come along to help with the drive … After dinner, Vasek said, the priest sexually assaulted him in their hotel room.” By J.D. Flynn, Catholic News Agency


New Jersey Catholic diocese releases priest sex abuse victims from agreements
“Victims of priest sexual abuse who signed confidentiality agreements with Catholic dioceses in New Jersey are free to ignore those deals and speak publicly about their experiences, church officials said in a statement Tuesday (Sept. 18). The announcement means all victims who reached financial settlements with the Catholic Church in New Jersey can call a new hotline established by the state Attorney General’s office earlier this month to speak to investigators gathering evidence of clergy sexual abuse in the church.” By Kelly Heyboer, NJ.com

New Jersey hot line to report abuse in Catholic Church inundated with calls, attorney general says
“A hotline the New Jersey attorney general set up to report sexual abuse within the Catholic Church has been ‘ringing off the hook’ for nearly two weeks, the state’s top prosecutor said. ‘We’ve had to put extra resources into taking those calls,’ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Tuesday (Sept. 18).” By James Nash and Nicholas Pugliese, NorthJersey.com


We are starting to listen to victims – finally
“Arthur Perrault is behind bars, finally. The 80-year-old priest is back from Morocco and in federal custody as he awaits trial on charges that he molested an 11-year-old boy at Kirkland Air Force Base in Albuquerque. A U.S. magistrate judge earlier this week agreed that Perrault should remain in federal custody until his trial. Authorities, correctly, do not trust the man who fled the country in 1992. They fear the priest could use the force of his charming personality to find help and escape again … For his many accusers this reckoning has been a long time coming.” By The New Mexican Editoral Board


Brooklyn Diocese is part of $27.5 million settlement in four sex abuse cases
“Four men who were repeatedly sexually abused as children by a religion teacher at a Roman Catholic church reached a $27.5 million settlement with the Diocese of Brooklyn and a local after-school program on Tuesday (Sept. 18), in one of the largest settlements ever awarded to individual victims of abuse within the church. The victims were repeatedly abused by Angelo Serrano, 67, who taught catechism classes and helped organize the religious education programs at St. Lucy’s-St. Patrick’s Church, in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.” By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times

Long Island diocese settles nearly 300 claims filed by clergy sexual abuse victims
“Nearly 300 men and women will be compensated by the Diocese of Rockville Centre for the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of priests, in some cases decades ago. The diocese has received 293 claims since it established a special compensation program last fall, said Camille Biros, the program’s co-administrator. So far, she said, 221 victims have been offered financial settlements and the others will receive offers within a few months.” By Bart Jones, Newsday


Three Ohio dioceses to release abusive priest list
“Three of Ohio’s six Roman Catholic dioceses now say they will release new lists of priests who have been removed from parishes because of sexual abuse and misconduct allegations, The Associated Press has learned. The Catholic Diocese of Columbus said Wednesday (Sept. 26) it would release a list in the next few months that will include the names of clergy who have been credibly accused of abuse, whether they are living or dead. The announcement comes a day after the Steubenville diocese said it will make public the names of abusive priests by the end of October and several weeks after the Youngstown diocese made a similar announcement.” By Mark Gillispie and John Seewer, Associated Press, on WJHG-TV News


As Catholic sex abuse investigations begin, questions remain
“‘Our work in Pennsylvania has spurred a movement,’ Josh Shapiro, the state’s attorney general, said earlier this month as New York and New Jersey announced they would, like Pennsylvania, investigate child sexual abuse in Catholic dioceses within their borders. Since Shapiro unveiled a grand jury report in August detailing decades of allegations of child sex abuse by Catholic priests, at least nine states have initiated some form of investigation of their own. The issue also continues to rage in Pennsylvania courts … But as new investigations begin, questions remain as to what exactly will be revealed, and how much of it will result in legal action.” By Jack Jenkins, Religion News Service

Some priests impregnated the girls they abused—one even helped her get an abortion
“Found within the depths of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on priest sex abuse is a letter written by a former Diocese of Scranton bishop. A priest raped a girl, got her pregnant, and arranged an abortion, according to the grand jury report. And then-Bishop James C. Timlin wrote a letter expressing his feelings: ‘This is a very difficult time in your life, and I realize how upset you are. I too share your grief.’ But the letter was not for the girl. It was addressed to the rapist.” By Sue Ruland, York Daily Record

Pennsylvania Catholics weigh in on priest sexual abuse scandal: ‘I was heartbroken’
“New details are emerging about the Catholic priest sex abuse scandal that has rocked the church. The diocese of Brooklyn, New York, has agreed to pay $27.5 million to four men who were sexually abused as boys by their religion teacher. The archbishop of Washington, D.C., Cardinal Donald Wuerl, is also reportedly set to resign. These developments come after a Pennsylvania grand jury report accused Wuerl of not doing enough to deal with pedophile priests when he ran the Pittsburgh diocese. CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor recently sat down with a group of Catholics in Pennsylvania to discuss how the scandal has affected their faith.” By CBS Evening News

Woman accuses Pennsylvania cardinal of abuse in new lawsuit
“Then, she (Heather Taylor) was escorted into a nearby room for a private audience with the bishop. There, she said, under the guise of adjusting her school uniform, a plaid jumper, he groped her. The bishop was Anthony Bevilacqua, she said, a man who would, one day, attain the title of cardinal.” By Mike Argento, York Daily Record

Bethlehem Township priest accused of sex abuse says he can prove his innocence
“The Allentown Diocese has removed a monsignor from ministry as authorities investigate a sexual abuse allegation against him, spokesman Matt Kerr said Tuesday (Sept. 18). Monsignor Edward Sacks, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Bethlehem Township, is the third Allentown Diocese priest removed from ministry since a statewide grand jury report was released Aug. 14. One of the three faces criminal charges, and one was reinstated last week after the accusation against him was found to be false.” By Daniel Patrick Sheehan, The Morning Call

Clergy sex-abuse survivor files defamation lawsuit against Catholic Church
“A woman who reported that she had been sexually abused by a Catholic priest in Pennsylvania when she was a teenager is now suing the Catholic Church after finding out the church investigated her and her family. Juliann Bortz, now 68, had become a member of a survivors’ group and an outspoken critic of the church and its efforts to conceal the abuse perpetrated by its clergy.” By Mike Argento, York Daily Record, in USA TODAY


Dear Attorney General Paxton—It’s time to investigate the Catholic Church
“It is a difficult time to be a Roman Catholic. Barely a month after the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, accusations of sexual misconduct, abuse and coverups have quickly enveloped multiple dioceses in several states and implicated high-ranking prelates in the U.S. and in Rome … At least seven states now see it that way. In the weeks since the Pennsylvania report, New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, Missouri, Illinois and Nebraska have opened investigations into sex abuse by Catholic priests in their states and have asked local dioceses for records. Take note, Attorney General Paxton. Texas should waste no time in following suit.” By Cynthia M. Allen, Fort Worth Star-Telegram


‘Credible allegations’ of sexual abuse against Catholic priests received, Diocese of Salt Lake City says
“In a letter from the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City published Thursday (Sept. 13), officials said the Diocese received ‘credible allegations of sexual abuse against 16 priests’ since 1990. Those reports – detailing incidents which date back to between 1962 and 1994 – all involved minors, the Diocese said.” By Andrew Reeser, Good4Utah.com


In the Church scandals, all roads lead to Rome, and many run through D.C.
“While all roads in the scandals involving sexual abuse by Catholic priests lead back to Rome, it appears that one of those roads runs through the lush landscaping of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in the U.S. capital. A disproportionate number of the American bishops and cardinals entangled in the latest revelations of abuse and cover-up have spent significant time in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.” By Anne Hendershott, National Review


The latest: West Virginia AG plans review of allegations
“The latest on the sex abuse and cover-up scandal rocking the Vatican (all times local): 11:45 p.m. (Sept. 14). West Virginia’s attorney general says allegations that a U.S. Roman Catholic bishop sexually harassed adults warrant ‘a close review’ by the state. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey issued a statement Thursday after Pope Francis accepted Bishop Michael Bransfield’s resignation and authorized Baltimore Archbishop William Lori to conduct an investigation into allegations against Bransfield.” By Associated Press in The Washington Post


Pope role in study of Argentine sex abuse case in spotlight
“Pope Francis’ role in Argentina’s most famous case of priestly sex abuse is coming under renewed scrutiny as he faces the greatest crisis of his papacy over the Catholic Church’s troubled legacy of cover-up and allegations he himself sided with the accused. Francis, who at the time was still Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, in 2010 commissioned a four-volume, 2,000-plus page forensic study of the legal case against a convicted priest that concluded he was innocent, that his victims were lying and that the case never should have gone to trial.” By Luis Andres Henao and Nicole Winfield, Associated Press


Reforms to clear way for abuse survivors to sue
“Legal barriers that have prevented child sexual abuse survivors from suing institutions will be removed following the introduction of new civil litigation laws in the NSW Parliament. State Attorney General Mark Speakman yesterday (Sept. 26) said the reforms stem from royal commission recommendations and will include the removal of the ‘Ellis defense,’ which enabled certain institutions to avoid liability.” By CathNews.com

Australian bishop who was victim of sex abuse speaks on U.S. church’s crisis
“Bishop Vincent Long is the Bishop of Parramatta, a diocese northwest of Sydney. A former Assistant General of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, he is Australia’s first Asian-born bishop and the first Vietnamese-born bishop to head a diocese outside of Vietnam. In 2017 Bishop Long testified before Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. … This is the third in a series of interviews Jim McDermott, S.J., is conducting on the sexual abuse crisis. This interview was conducted by e-mail.” By Jim McDermott, America: The Jesuit Review

Faith and survivor groups form committee to tackle child abuse
“Representatives from 20 faith-based organizations and major survivor advocate groups in New South Wales and the ACT have formed a joint standing committee to tackle child abuse within religious settings. A gathering was held earlier this month at New South Wales Parliament House with the view to establishing the committee, which was instigated by the NSW Ombudsman’s Office and the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian.” By CathNews.com


Admitted abuser removed from university post in Canada
“A liturgical canonist and teacher who had admitted abusing a minor while serving as an associate pastor in the United States is no longer teaching at the Canadian pontifical university where he had been a full professor. St. Paul University confirmed that John Huels is no longer teaching at the university, after Huels’ victim contacted Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast and NCR ran a story about the abuse. In the article that NCR published Sept. 12, survivor Michael Bland wondered if he would find justice amid the renewed attention to clergy sexual abuse, telling NCR that he had hope but little trust. ‘I think I have found healing, but I have not found accountability,’ he said.” By Heidi Schumpf, National Catholic Reporter

Canadian bishops to approve new sex abuse protocols
“Canada’s Catholic bishops are set to approve a long-awaited document on sexual abuse when they meet for their annual plenary Sept. 24-28 in Cornwall, Ont. The new document, entitled Protecting Minors from Sexual Abuse: A Call to the Faithful of Canada for Healing, Reconciliation and Transformation, comes as the Catholic Church grapples with a worldwide crisis from Chile, to the United States, to India, to Germany and other European countries.” By Deborah Gyapong, The B.C. Catholic


Two more Chilean bishops step down in wake of abuse crisis
“Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing to seven the number of bishops who have stepped down since June in response to the clerical sexual abuse scandal in their country. The Vatican announced Sept. 21 the resignations of 60-year-old Bishop Carlos Pellegrin Barrera of San Bartolome de Chillan and 71-year-old Bishop Cristian Contreras Molina of San Felipe … Pope Francis accepted the resignations June 11 of three Chilean bishops, including Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, who had been accused of witnessing and covering up abuse by his mentor, Father Fernando Karadima. The pope accepted the resignations of two other bishops June 28.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Chilean hero expelled from priesthood over sex abuse charges
“A priest who was once a national hero in Chile, and who now finds himself another casualty of that country’s massive clerical sexual abuse crisis, has been expelled from the priesthood by Pope Francis after being found guilty of abusing minors and vulnerable adults. The Archdiocese of Santiago in Chile released a statement on Saturday (Sept. 15) saying that Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had notified the Chilean Church that on Sept. 12 Francis had decreed, ‘with no possibility of appeal,’ the ‘removal from clerical state ‘ex officio et pro bono Ecclesiae’’ of Father Cristián Precht Bañados.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Chile authorities raid four dioceses in clerical abuse probe
“Chilean authorities raided four dioceses on Thursday (Sept. 13) as part of an investigation into clerical sex abuse of minors and alleged cover-ups by bishops. Prosecutors said the surprise raids took place at the dioceses of Valparaiso, Chillan, Osorno and Concepcion. Images published by local media showed authorities walking out from the buildings after seizing documents.” By Eva Vergara, Associated Press


New report details more than 3,600 sex abuse cases spanning decades in the German Catholic Church
“A report on sexual abuse inside the Catholic Church in Germany says 3,677 people were abused by clergy between 1946 and 2014, two leading German media outlets said Wednesday (Sept. 12). Der Spiegel Online and Die Zeit said the report they obtained — commissioned by the German Bishops Conference and researched by three universities — concludes that more than half of the victims were 13 or younger and most were boys. Every sixth case involved rape and at least 1,670 clergy were involved, both weeklies reported. Die Zeit wrote that 969 abuse victims were altar boys.” By Kristen Grieshaber, Associated Press, in Time magazine


Vatican suspends priest in Spain over child sex abuse claims
“Church officials in northern Spain say the Vatican has suspended a priest for 10 years over allegations that he abused schoolchildren more than three decades ago. The priest, Jose Manuel Ramos, is required to serve out his suspension in a monastery outside of his Astorga diocese, according to bishop Juan Antonio Menendez. Menendez said Monday (Sept. 18) that the Holy See’s orthodoxy watchdog decided the punishment following an internal investigation concluding that Ramos ‘had committed a serious crime of sexual abuse of minors’ between 1981 and 1984.” By Associated Press on WSBTV.com