Voice of the Faithful Focus, Apr. 28, 2023

Apr. 28, 2023


For first time in history, Pope Francis gives women right to vote at synod
“For the first time in the history of the synod, Pope Francis has given women the right to vote and has also made a radical change to the membership of the Synod of Bishops on Synodality. At the synod, which opens in October, between 21 and 25 percent of the members with a right to vote will not be bishops. These members will include consecrated women and men as well as lay women and men. All those who are members of the synod will have a right to vote.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

Sex abuse in Baltimore Archdiocese highlights an institutional problem
“Back in 2001, the Boston Globe started an investigation that would reveal one of the largest sexual assault scandals by Catholic priests anywhere in the U.S. The investigation into the Boston Archdiocese was the inspiration for the 2015 Oscar-winning film ‘Spotlight,’ which was also the name of the Globe’s investigative report. And now, a new report on the Baltimore Archdiocese by Maryland Attorney General Anthony G. Brown revealed 600 cases of child sex abuse over the past 60 years by 156 current or former Catholic clergy, seminarians, deacons, members of Catholic religious orders, teachers at Catholic schools and other employees.” By Elina Tarkazikis, Scripps News

North American synod document hits all the right notes
“The U.S. and Canadian bishops’ conferences released the ‘North American Final Document for the Continental Stage of the 2021-2024 Synod’ last week. It is remarkable both for what it says and for what it does not say, especially the absence of any conclusions or statements of finality. The awareness that synodality is a change in the way we function as a church, not a process with a particular end point, runs through the text, and that is its single most important contribution.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Top anti-abuse expert sets record straight on resignation from Vatican body
“German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, one of the church’s leading protagonists in the fight against clerical sexual abuse, has sought to clarify his reasons for stepping down from a Vatican safeguarding commission after nearly 10 years on the job. Speaking to journalists Monday (Apr. 17), Zollner denied that he was targeting anyone individually or that he resigned as part of an internal power struggle, but said he had ongoing concerns regarding how the commission operated that went unanswered, despite several attempts to engage his superiors on the issues.” By Elise Ann Allen, Cruxnow.com

Washington State House passes bill requiring clergy to violate the seal of confession
“After the Washington State House failed to pass an amendment to a bill that would require clergy to violate the seal of confession, Bishop Thomas Daly of Spokane reminded legislators that throughout history ‘all’ such attempts by ‘kings, queens, dictators, potentates, and legislators’ have failed, and that even if it passed, clergy wouldn’t capitulate … The bill then went to the Washington House for a vote. However, the House added an amendment to the Senate version that removed the clergy-penitent exemption. That version of the bill passed the House on April 11. The vote was 75-20.” By John Lavenburg, Cruxnow.com


Judge stays on Catholic bankruptcy despite church donations
“A federal judge refused Friday (Apr. 21) to recuse himself from the New Orleans Roman Catholic bankruptcy after an Associated Press report that he donated tens of thousands of dollars to archdiocese charities and consistently ruled in favor of the church in the contentious case involving nearly 500 clergy sex abuse victims. U.S. District Judge Greg Guidry told attorneys in the high-profile case that a panel of federal judges he asked to review the possible conflict determined no “reasonable person” would question his impartiality despite his contributions and longstanding ties to the archdiocese.” By Jim Mustian, Associated Press

Letters to the editor about the confessional seal
“A Milwaukee priest has been urging state legislators to repeal the clergy-penitent privilege in mandatory reporting laws that exempt Catholic priests from notifying authorities of any sexual abuse they hear about in the confessional. Following are NCR readers responding to our reporting. The letters have been edited for length and clarity …” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff


Synod organizers say process should lead to greater local control in Catholic Church
“Organizers of Pope Francis’ ongoing consultation with Catholics around the world said that, following recent discussion assemblies on each continent, there is a growing consensus that the process for the ongoing Synod of Bishops should result in the Vatican giving more deference to local church authorities. ‘There is, in fact, more than one way of being the church,’ said Archbishop Timothy Costelloe of Perth, Australia, who said that a significant feature of synodality is the understanding that unity does not call for uniformity within the Catholic Church.” By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter

Continental stage of Synod officially concludes
The continental stage of the Synod on synodality, which began on October 28, concluded with a Vatican press conference. Officially called ‘For a synodal church: communion, participation, and mission,’ the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops began in October 2021 with a diocesan phase, followed by an episcopal conference/Eastern church phase and the continental phase. The universal phase will culminate in two synodal meetings in Rome, in October 2023 and October 2024.” By Catholic World News

Synod organizers: There is ‘more than one way of being the church’
“Catholics gathered at the continental level say the Catholic Church must be united, not uniform, and embrace its many forms of expression throughout the world, said members of the synod preparatory commission after a weeklong meeting at the Vatican. ‘I think one of the most important things we have experienced during these ecclesial, continental assemblies, is that there is in fact more than one way of being the church,’ said Archbishop Timothy Costelloe of Perth, a member of the commission and president of the Australian bishops’ conference.” By Justin McLellan, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

Pope Francis: ‘The synodal path is not a collection of opinions’
“Pope Francis addressed the Union of Major Superiors of Italy, an organization dedicated to promoting a broader understanding of women’s religious life. They are celebrating the 70th chapter of their General Assembly, entitled ‘On the Synodal Journey, Women Witnesses of the Risen Christ.’ In the meeting, the Pope reflected on how the synodal path should be carried out. ‘The synodal path is not a parliament; the synodal path is not a collection of opinions,’ Pope Francis said.” By Diocesan News, Catholic Diocese of Raleigh

Church in Oceania notes ‘tensions’ between developed, developing countries in Synod document
“As the Catholic Church continues is synodal process ahead of the Synod of Bishops meeting in October, the Church in Oceania acknowledged ‘tensions’ in a region includes both developed and developing countries … Among the ‘tensions’ identified in the document were different attitudes toward those with diverse experiences of sexuality and gender in the region; the roles of women in the Church; and views about the possibility of change in Church teaching.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

Synodality is ‘radically inclusive,’ says Vatican committee member Sr. Filo Hirota
“When Pope Francis met in March with members of a newly formed commission tasked with organizing the upcoming synod meetings in Rome, he seemed a bit surprised to see women when he entered the room. Mercedarian Sr. Shizue ‘Filo’ Hirota said Francis exclaimed, ‘Donne!’ — Italian for ‘Women!’ — upon seeing her and another official from the Vatican’s synod office. ‘He was happy, but he sounded like he hadn’t expected to see us,’ Hirota told Global Sisters Report in an April 4 interview.” By Christopher White, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

Committee begins writing Synod on Synodality working document behind closed doors
“A committee of 22 people this week kicked off the writing process for the Synod on Synodality’s working document that will be the blueprint for discussions during the meeting of bishops in October. According to a statement from the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops on April 12, a ‘group of experts from five continents’ is meeting at the Vatican until April 19 ‘with the aim of starting the reflection that will lead at a later stage to the drafting of the Instrumentum Laboris, the working document for the first session of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.” By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency

North American Catholics identify harm of polarization, bishop says
“In their discussions about the life of the church and ‘synodality,’ or walking together, Catholics in United States and Canada noted the negative impact ‘polarization’ is having on the church, said Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas. ‘Politics gets mixed into it, and it’s not that politics doesn’t have a place in the way the church thinks about things,’ he said, but the situation seems to have gotten to where Catholics ‘immediately sort of categorize people.’” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

North American synod focuses on abuse scandals, inclusivity, and a ‘missionary’ church
“The need to rebuild trust in the wake of abuse scandals, the need to be inclusive and welcoming while faithful to Church teaching, and the need to approach the synodal process as ‘a missionary movement’ were on the minds of American and Canadian Catholics who participated in the North American phase of the Catholic Church’s synodal process.” By Kevin Jones, Catholic News Agency


Pope outlines vision for lay ministry; Vatican to publish document on those who have remarried outside the Church
“In an April 22 address to the second plenary assembly of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, Pope Francis outlined his vision of lay ministry in the Church. In his apostolic constitution on the Roman Curia (Praedicate Evangelium, 2022), Pope Francis established that curial dicasteries should hold plenary sessions, typically every two years, that involve all of their members (Article 26). The theme of the Dicastery’s second plenary assembly, held from April 20 to 22, was ‘Laity and Ministry in a Synodal Church,’ with special reference to Praedicate Evangelium, Article 133, which involves the institution of new ministries.” By CatholicCultur.org

Pope’s panel against minor abuse to train bishops
“The Vatican said Friday (Apr. 21) its anti-sexual abuse commission would work more closely with its evangelization branch in order to better protect minors, including training bishops from dioceses far from Rome. Pope Francis set up the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors in 2014 to fight clerical sex abuse, which will now collaborate with the Vatican’s Dicastery for Evangelization, according to the three-year agreement. The commission has come under fire recently after its most influential member, Hans Zollner, quit in March, accusing the body of urgent problems related to compliance, accountability and transparency.” By Agence France Presse on UCANews.com


Ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick charged with sex abuse in Wisconsin
“The defrocked Roman Catholic cardinal who became the face of the church’s clergy sex abuse crisis has been charged in Wisconsin with sexually assaulting an 18-year-old man more than 45 years ago, court records show. A criminal complaint filed Friday alleges that Theodore McCarrick, who was removed from the priesthood in 2019 after a Vatican investigation found he had sexually molested adults and children, fondled a man in 1977 while staying at a cabin on Geneva Lake in southeastern Wisconsin.” By Harm Venhuizen, Associated Press, in America: The Jesuit Review


Beleaguered Strasbourg archbishop quits amid complaints
“Beleaguered Strasbourg archbishop Luc Ravel has handed in his resignation on 20 April, another French Church leader accused of not smelling enough like his sheep. ‘Peace being the supreme good,’ he wrote to Pope Francis, ‘I present my resignation to the Holy Father, for whom I pray every day.’ It has not been peaceful in Strasbourg. Ravel, 65, has been criticized as isolated and authoritarian, more interested in his standing in Paris than his pastors and flock in Alsace.” By Tom Heneghan, The Tablet


Washington bishop: Priests would rather go to jail than break seal of confession
“As Washington state lawmakers debate legislation that would end legal protections for the seal of confession, Spokane Bishop Thomas A. Daly has assured his diocese that priests would opt for a jail sentence before they would break the seal. ‘I want to assure you that your shepherds, bishop and priests, are committed to keeping the seal of confession — even to the point of going to jail,’ Daly wrote in a letter to Catholics in the Diocese of Spokane, which covers eastern Washington.” By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency


Catholic Church ‘robbed’ of richness of women deacons
“The Catholic Church has been ‘robbed’ of the richness of women in the diaconate, according to a senior academic and author. Dr Phyllis Zagano, adjunct professor of religion at Hofstra University, said, ‘There is not now and never has been any doctrinal finding that women cannot be restored to the diaconate.’ In her reflection on women and ministerial service in the Church at a Loyola Institute’s symposium: ‘A Servant Church on the Synodal Way,’ she said, ‘Women can receive the sacrament of order as deacons, just as they did for hundreds of years in the early Church.’” By Sarah Mac Donald, The Tablet


Holy See: curial departments sign new agreement on child protection
“Cardinal Seán O’Malley and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle met together on Friday, 21 April, in the offices of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors to sign a memorandum of understanding between the Commission and the Dicastery for Evangelization’s Section for the First Evangelization and New Particular Churches. The new agreement helps the two Vatican departments work together in service of the particular Churches in the area of prevention of the abuse of the most fragile and follows from Pope Francis’ reform of the Roman Curia with the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium.” By Vatican News

20 years protecting youths
“When the diocesan Office for the Protection of Children and Young People (OPCYP) was established 20 years ago in the wake of the church’s clergy sexual abuse crisis, the goal was to educate the laity and the clergy that child abuse occurs, teach how to detect the warning signs and most importantly, instruct how to protect children in the church’s care … As we observe Child Abuse Prevention month this April, we reflect on the significant strides the diocese has made since it established the office.” By Deacon Robert M. Silva, The Arlington Catholic Herald

Abuse & Neglect blog – extension to Roman Catholic Church law in connection with sexual abuse
“Pope Francis recently announced an amendment to the 2019 Church law on clerical sexual abuse and increased its scope to include Catholic lay leaders of Vatican-approved religious organizations. Lay leaders are people other than clergy members who are on the professional rosters of the church. The Vatican first set out its position on clerical sexual abuse in the Apostolic letter, Vos estis lux mundi in 2019, which was due to remain in force for an initial four-year period.” By Sharon Moohan, Lexology.com


Tribunal finds retired priest guilty of ‘abuse of ecclesiastical power’
“The Diocese of Jefferson City said a retired priest was guilty of ‘abuse of ecclesiastical power.’

A press release from the diocese said a tribunal of three priests from the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois heard the case against Father Ignazio Medina. They found him guilty of financial misconduct while he was the pastor of St. Stanislaus Parish in Wardsville … When he left, he is accused of closing down the account, leaving a $300,000 discrepancy.” By Jennifer Weiser, KRCG-TV13 News


The Dalai Lama ‘Incident’: How not to respond to a troubling sexual situation with a child
“Last week, millions of believers and nonbelievers across the globe were shocked when a video went viral showing the Dalai Lama asking a boy to suck his tongue. It’s been described as a ‘playful’ exchange. We’re not so sure. The more appropriate word might well be ‘creepy.’

In education circles, an incident like this is often called a teachable moment. But the real lessons to be learned from this video could be titled ‘How NOT to respond to possible child sexual abuse’ or ‘How NOT to respond to a troubling sexual situation with a child.’” By David Clohessy, Religion Unplugged

What will it take to bring Catholic child abusers to justice in Maryland? A prosecutor with guts.
“There are worse things than legions of sadistic sexual predators abusing Maryland’s children: like legions of sadistic sexual predators abusing Maryland’s children and getting away with it. A recent report from the Maryland Attorney General’s Office unveiled decades of rampant sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy and others affiliated with the Archdiocese of Baltimore. But many of the perpetrators can likely sleep easy believing that no one will prosecute them, because they beat the clock and concealed their crimes well enough to avoid detection earlier, when it would have been less challenging to bring them to trial.” By Kurt W. Wolfgang, The Baltimore Sun

Vatican commission for the protection of minors is all about spin
“At times it is difficult to believe anything other than that Rome is being willfully stupid when it comes to its dealings with clerical child-sex abuse. This repeated failure, inevitably, prompts recall of Einstein’s much-quoted definition of stupidity, even insanity — doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. That’s how it may look, but Rome’s serial “mishaps” in this area are neither stupid nor insane. They are about protecting itself above all while obscuring that reality through spin.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

Research: child sex abuse in not more common among priests
“I’ll admit that I once suspected that there was something uniquely and inherently debased about Catholic clerics—a bias that only hardened as the avalanche of priestly pedophilia scandals crashed in wave after horrifying wave across the planet during the past few decades. But solely scapegoating priests is demonstrably unwarranted. Research indicates that priests, monks, and laymen are not uniquely guilty in this regard, and that male clergy from every denomination of every religion—all men in general, in fact—have a relatively equal average propensity for these destructive impulses.” By Rick Snedeker, OnlySky.media

No immunity from secular law: synodal reflection
“We are all aware of the child abuse scandal in the Church. Under instructions from Rome, priests who had been involved in child abuse were not referred to secular criminal authorities. I myself came across such a case. After I had spoken to a group of Catholic women campaigning for the ordination of women, one person, whom I shall call Dawn, approached me. We became good friends. We stayed in touch. On one occasion she told me her experience as a child.” By UCANews.com


Gov. Kelly signs bill giving Kansas child sex abuse survivors more time to file lawsuits
“Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly signed a bill Monday (Apr. 17) giving survivors of child sexual abuse more time to file lawsuits in a victory for victims and their advocates, who spent years demanding they have their day in court. The new law will allow police to pursue criminal cases indefinitely and give survivors until they turn 31 to file a lawsuit, as well as three years after a criminal conviction. The Democratic governor signed the measure after the Republican-controlled Legislature unanimously approved it earlier this month.” By Jonathan Shorman and Jenna Barackman, The Kansas City Star


False sex abuse claims against priests – while rare – can hurt real victims and innocent clergy, experts say
“The sexual abuse supposedly occurred in 2003 at St. Agatha Catholic Church on the city’s West Side. Accuser ‘John Doe’ claimed in court documents that as a young boy he had been sexually assaulted multiple times during the after-school SAFE program by Daniel McCormack, a defrocked Chicago priest who pleaded guilty in 2007 to sexually abusing five children while serving at St. Agatha’s parish.” By Angie Leventis Lourgos, Chicago Tribune

Two years into Wisconsin’s faith leader investigation, McCarrick is charged, survivors can still report
“Last week former cardinal Theodore McCarrick was charged in Wisconsin with fourth-degree sexual assault. The criminal charge was based on a report made by McCarrick’s victim, now in his 60s, who revealed that when he was 19, McCarrick fondled him during a 1977 trip to Lake Geneva, near Wisconsin’s border with Illinois. This charge coincides with the second anniversary of the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s ongoing statewide investigation of sexual abuse by religious leaders in the Catholic Church and other faith communities, launched by Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul in April 2021.” By Erin O’Donnell, Editor, Awake Blog

Adults remain vulnerable to clergy abuse, experts say
“The Catholic Church in the U.S. has made progress over the past two decades in confronting sexual abuse against minors within the church but has only begun to address the vulnerability of adults to sexual abuse by clergy, religious and lay leaders, experts told OSV News. ‘We’ve accomplished a tremendous amount in the area of (creating) safe environments,’ said Suzanne Healy, chairwoman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Review Board, a lay-led group that advises the bishops on preventing sexual abuse of minors.” By Gina Christian, OSV News, on UCANews.com

Legionaries of Christ present annual report on sexual abuse of minors by priests
“The Legionaries of Christ have published for the third consecutive year the ‘Annual Report: Truth, Justice, and Healing,’ which gives an account of the commitments made regarding victims of abuse by the congregation and the creation of safe spaces. According to data provided by the Legionaries of Christ, over the years 1941–2022 at least 27 priests sexually abused minors, which represents 1.9% of their priests.” By Nicolás de Cárdenas, ACI Prensa, on CatholicNewsAgency.com


White County man who says priest molested him files lawsuit against Diocese of Little Rock, two churches
“A White County man who says he was molested when he was a 10-year-old altar boy 42 years ago by a now-deceased Catholic priest filed suit Thursday (Apr. 20) against the Diocese of Little Rock and two churches where Richard Patrick Davis was pastor. A Pocahontas native, Davis died in May 2020 at age 83 after 57 years as a priest in Arkansas, serving past the traditional retirement age of 65.” By John Lynch, Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette


Arizona court upholds clergy privilege in child abuse case
“The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can refuse to answer questions or turn over documents under a state law that exempts religious officials from having to report child sex abuse if they learn of the crime during a confessional setting. The ruling was issued April 7 but not released to the public until Tuesday (Apr. 18). A lawsuit filed by child sex abuse victims accuses the church, widely known as the Mormon church, two of its bishops, and other church members of conspiracy and negligence in not reporting church member Paul Adams for abusing his older daughter as early as 2010. This negligence, the lawsuit argues, allowed Adams to continue abusing the girl for as many as seven years, a time in which he also abused the girl’s infant sister.” By Michael Rezendes and Jason Dearen, Associated Press, on ReligionNewsService.com


Child predator with Santa Monica connection arrested in Oregon
“A former employee of St. Monica’s Catholic church has been arrested in Oregon as part of a sting operation targeting child predators. Sean Baba, 29, was one of six individuals identified and arrested by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office last week. According to the Sheriff’s Office, investigators used multiple dating applications, social media sites, and other online platforms to pose as underage boys and girls.” By Matthew Hall, Santa Monica Daily Press


Four Penobscot tribe members sue Maine clergymen in decades-old sex abuse cases
“Four Native Americans who say they were abused by three Roman Catholic priests on their reservation in Maine are the latest to bring lawsuits since the state fully lifted the statute of limitations for child sex crimes. The Penobscot Nation members contend the abuse started when they were 7 to 16 years old at St. Ann Parish on Indian Island, just north of Bangor. The oldest abuse dates to 1972, while the most recent happened in 1987, according to the lawsuits.” By Associated Press on FOXNews.com

Bangor woman shares story of abuse from former Catholic priest
“A Bangor woman wants to warn others of the abuse she endured from former Catholic priest Anthony Cipolle, who was a Reverend at St. John’s in Bangor from 2017 until 2020. Melissa Kearns, who shared her story with the Portland Press Herald, claims Cipolle sexually, emotionally and psychologically abused her in 2018. The Press Herald says it reviewed numerous texts and emails between Cipolle and Kearns that support her claims.” By WPOR-FM News


Baltimore Archdiocese ‘uniquely positioned’ to name accused sexual abusers in redacted report, Maryland AG says
“The Maryland Attorney General’s Office clarified in a pointed statement Friday (Apr. 14) that the Archdiocese of Baltimore could legally and independently identify accused abusers in the state’s redacted report on historic child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese. The office last week released the 456-page investigation that details clergy, teachers, seminarians and deacons within the Archdiocese who allegedly assaulted more than 600 children going back to the 1940s. The report was released with dozens of court-ordered redactions, including the names of 10 ‘credibly accused’ abusers.” By Rohan Mattu, CBS-TV News Baltimore

Survivors call for criminal investigation into Catholic church sex abuse
“Catholic church sex abuse survivors are calling on prosecutors to open a criminal investigation into the Baltimore Archdiocese. ‘My abuser was known about in 1966. I could’ve been saved had they done the right thing then. Surely they can do the right thing now,’ said Teresa Lancaster. Since the release of this report detailing the horrific and repeated abuse of more than 600 child victims allegedly at the hands of 156 abusers within the Archdiocese of Baltimore, survivor Teresa Lancaster is demanding more.” By FOX-TV News Baltimore


Former Flint-area priest pleads guilty in criminal sexual conduct case
“Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today (Apr. 25) announced that Vincent Delorenzo, 84, formerly of Flint, Michigan pled guilty to one count of attempted criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. Delorenzo, a former priest with the Lansing Diocese, was among the first five priests charged by Nessel in late May 2019. He is pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a five-year-old boy following a service he officiated for the boy’s deceased family member in 1987. In exchange for his guilty plea today, the remaining charges will be dismissed. These charges related to the sexual assault of a child from 1995-2000, while he was a student at Holy Redeemer School and Church in Burton, Michigan.” By Michigan Department of Attorney General


Philadelphia Archdiocese accused of transferring known abuse to Catholic college
“In 2013, then-Catholic priest and would-be artist Kevin Barry McGoldrick was transferred from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to the Diocese of Nashville, where he became chaplain of Aquinas College. In the lawsuit filed on Tuesday (April 18) in Philadelphia, it alleges that archdiocesan officials transferred the priest — and issued a letter of support on his behalf — knowing that he had a history of sexual abuse. The lawsuit accuses the archdiocese of enabling the priest’s abuse in 2017 of the lawsuit’s 27-year-old plaintiff, identified only as ‘Jane Doe.’” By Kathryn Post, Religion News Service


Lack of jurisdiction sinks Roman Catholic parish sex abuse suit
“The abusive actions of an out-of-state Catholic priest during a business trip do not create personal jurisdiction over his Rhode Island parish under New York law, a federal appeals court has ruled. Philip Edwardo alleges he was a victim of the late Father Philip Magaldi’s sexual abuse from approximately 1977 to 1984 … Edwardo, then a minor, sued the Roman Catholic parish St. Anthony’s, where Magaldi worked, and others, at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York in 2021. The case was dismissed last year.” By Ufonobong Umanah, Bloomberg News


It’s time to release the names of nuns who abuse Vermont Children
“Now that Lent and Easter are over, Vermont Catholic Bishop Christopher Coyne needs to begin a new mission. In August 2019, Coyne released an incomplete list of Vermont clergy credibly accused of child abuse. Curiously, the Diocese of Burlington has never released a list of nuns who were credibly accused of abuse. As a survivor of St. Joseph’s Orphanage, I know that abusive nuns existed. Nuns participated in physical, sexual and emotional abuse of orphanage children. This is well documented, including in a report by former Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan.” By Maura Labelle, VTDigger.com


Washington bill takes away confession exception in abuse reporting
“A bill that would require clergy to report child abuse or neglect in Washington was advanced by the state’s House, prompting concern from some Catholics who are seeking a clergy-penitent exemption to protect the seal of the confessional. Catholics in the state have expressed concern the House’s version of the bill could force priests to violate the civil law in order to uphold church law regarding the seal of confession. The bill passed the House on April 11 in a 75-20 vote.” By Kate Scanlon, OSV News, on UCSNews.com


Dept. of Justice: Attorney General Kaul releases update in advance of two-year anniversary of clergy and faith leader abuse initiative
“As Wisconsin approaches the two-year anniversary of the launch of the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Clergy and Faith Leader Abuse Initiative, Attorney General Kaul is releasing additional information, including statements from several survivors who have reached out to DOJ, and highlighting progress being made through the initiative. ‘Survivors of abuse by trusted leaders deserve to be respected and supported,’ said Attorney General Kaul.” By WisPolitics.com


Quebec court approves sex abuse settlement against Catholic order
“Quebec’s Court of Appeal has approved a $28-million settlement in a class-action lawsuit filed against the Clerics of Saint-Viateur of Canada by sexual-assault victims. A deal was reached in January 2022, but last July Quebec Superior Court Justice Thomas M. Davis said the $8 million in legal fees was excessive. The judge said that despite the fact the lawyers for the 375 sexual-assault victims did ‘remarkable work,’ he wanted a new agreement with more reasonable fees.” By The Canadian Press

Priest sexual abuse alleged in northern B.C. diocese lawsuit
“A northern B.C. woman is suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Prince George with allegations she was sexually abused as a child by a priest. The B.C. Supreme Court notice of civil claim, filed on April 19, alleges Father Emile Jungbluth sexually assaulted the child between 1971 and 1977. The court documents name The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Prince Rupert, also known as the Diocese of Prince George, as the defendant. The plaintiff’s lawyer, Seth Wheeldon, said a court anonymization order is being sought for her name.” By Jeremy Hainsworth, Prince George Citizen

Saskatoon priest charged with sexual assailt of 13-year-old girl, church says
“The Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon has confirmed one of its priests has been charged in connection to an alleged sexual assault of a 13 year-old-girl. The priest, Janko Kolosnjaji, has been placed on administrative leave, according to the church’s archivist Marusia Kobrynsky. Kolosnjaji has been removed from active duty pending completion of the legal proceeding involving the assault allegation, which dates back to March 11, according to an Thursday (Apr. 20) post on the church’s website.” By Will McLernon, CBC News


A judicial investigation opened against the priest suspected of sexual assault
“And now justice. Suspended from his charge last week due to suspicions of sexual assault, which earned him a canonical investigation, the parish priest of Saint-Germain de Pantin (Seine-Saint-Denis) is also the subject of a criminal investigation, indicated this Monday, April 17, the Paris prosecutor’s office, confirming information from The cross. On Sunday, the diocese of Paris announced that the parish priest of Saint-Germain de Pantin had been suspended from his charge, under the influence of a canonical investigation, for accusations of sexual assault on young adult women between 1993 and 2002.” By NewsInFrance.com


Senior German priest resigns over handling of abuse claims
“A senior Roman Catholic priest in Germany has been removed from office after criticism of his handling of abuse allegations against a seminary director in the Diocese of Limburg, the German Catholic Church said Tuesday (Apr. 25). Vicar General Wolfgang Roesch had asked Limburg’s bishop to relieve him of his duties following the publication of a report about the case of the Rev. Christof May.” By Associate Press

Report finds Freiburg’s ex-archbishop covered up sex abuse
“A report on the past handling of sexual abuse cases in one of Germany’s larger Catholic archdioceses, Freiburg, found that the city’s former archbishop did almost everything in his power to conceal perpetrators over a period of roughly 30 years in total. The independent report, one of several comparable outside investigations commissioned by Catholic Churches in Germany of late, was critical of Robert Zollitsch’s handling of abuse in the church both as archbishop and during his 20 preceding years as a close associate of his predecessor, Alexander Saier.” By Deustche Welle

More than 250 Catholic priests suspected of abuse in Germany
“In the Archdiocese of Freiburg in the southwestern German state of Baden-Wurtemberg, more people have been affected by sexual violence by clergy than was previously officially known. It is now assumed that there are more than 540 victims, said the chairman of a reappraisal commission, Magnus Striet on Tuesday (Apr. 18) during a live press conference in Freiburg. In addition, there are more than 250 accused clerics, according to the study.” By Timo Kirez, Anadolu Ajansi


Catholic teacher in Indonesia held for abusing students
“A lay Catholic religion teacher in Indonesia with an alleged habit of watching porn videos has been accused of sexually abusing seven elementary school students. The 26-year-old teacher, only identified as Charles, was arrested by police in Ende Regency on Flores Island in Christian majority East Nusa Tenggara province on April 17. He reportedly teaches at Jopu II Catholic Elementary School in Wolowaru Subdistrict.” By UCANews.com


The pursuit of justice for victim/survivors of child abuse
“Much has changed in the Philippine judiciary in the past 20 years. Prosecutors and judges in the family courts are now armed with 37 laws that mandate that they protect children and bring their abusers to swift and strict justice. Many prosecutors and judges are doing just that in Luzon. It is a big change in a changing era for the judiciary. Finally, the judiciary is acting more swiftly and more determined to bring healing through justice for the child victims.” By Fr. Shay Cullen, The Manila Times