Voice of the Faithful Focus, Aug. 25, 2023

Aug. 25, 2023


Synod raises hopes for long-sought recognition of women in the Catholic Church
“When Pope Francis called two years ago for a worldwide discussion among rank-and-file Catholics about the main challenges and issues facing the church, the question of women’s ministry and leadership echoed loudly in parishes and bishops’ assemblies. The question is resounding more loudly as the summit of bishops and lay Catholics known as the Synod on Synodality, scheduled for October, draws near. Participants and observers alike recognize that any conversation about reforming church hierarchy or promoting lay involvement, Francis’ twin goals for the synod, has to include honest exchanges about the role of women.” By Claire Giangravé, National Catholic Reporter

Australian archbishop says married Indigenous priests ‘highly likely’
“The Archbishop of Brisbane, Australia, has called for the Vatican to authorize the ordination of married men to the priesthood for ministry among the country’s indigenous communities. Archbishop Mark Coleridge made the call in an interview published Saturday with the newspaper The Australian. The archbishop argued that married priests ordained from within indigenous communities are part of necessary reforms for the Church which must “look quite different” in the future in order to continue its mission.” By The Pillar

The complicated legacy of state investigations of the Catholic sex abuse crisis
“Philadelphia is a ‘very Catholic city,’ Barbara Daly will tell you … This very Catholic city has been hammered in recent years by stories of the abuse of children by Catholic priests recounted in a series of grand jury reports, which culminated in a statewide grand jury investigation and a report released by the attorney general of Pennsylvania in August 2018. These events returned national attention to the church’s abuse scandal and inspired a flurry of similar investigations across the country.” By Kevin Clarke, America: The Jesuit Review

Discerning leadership program aims to build a synodal church
“In Pope Francis ‘The Joy of the Gospel’ — a 2013 document considered to be the blueprint for his papacy — he called for the church’s mission to be ‘channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.’ A decade later, a newly established Jesuit initiative is training senior church leaders to put that goal into practice through a program aimed at strengthening the practical skills necessary for discernment and reform for a church that is more collaborative than hierarchical. Founded in 2019, the Discerning Leadership program combines Ignatian spirituality with pioneering methodologies for polarity management and fostering communal growth.” By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic church sex abuse victims and activists to call on Ohio attorney general for investigation
“For the second time in five years, a group of victims of sex abuse by Catholic clergy and their supporters is asking Ohio’s attorney general to investigate all six dioceses in the state. Local, national survivors and/or their parents who make up SNAP Network (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), Greater Cincinnati Voice of the Faithful and Ohioans for Child Protection are holding a news conference Wednesday morning. They will publicly ask Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost to conduct a statewide investigation ‘of the history and scope of child sexual abuse, trafficking, child sex abuse enabling and cover-up in Ohio’s 6 Dioceses.’” By Jennifer Edwards Baker, FOX-TV19 News

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to facilitate settlements with abuse survivors
“The Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco (‘RCASF’) announced today (Aug.21) the filing of a voluntary petition for bankruptcy relief under chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The filing is necessary to manage and resolve the more than 500 lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse brought against RCASF under California Assembly Bill 218, which allowed decades-old claims to be filed by December 31, 2022, that otherwise were time barred. Chapter 11 is a court-supervised process that allows each claim to be evaluated on its merits, provides transparency into the proceedings and into RCASF’s finances, and gives claimants a voice in the outcome.” By Archdiocese of San Francisco on Cision PRNewswire


Ohio abuse survivors call on attorney general to investigate state’s Catholic dioceses
“Advocates for survivors of clergy sexual abuse said it’s time for Ohio’s top law enforcement official to investigate the state’s six Catholic dioceses. Members of Ohio chapters of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, Ohioans for Child Protection and the Greater Cincinnati Voice of the Faithful urged Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost in an Aug. 16 letter to follow the examples of abuse investigations that have occurred in other states in recent years. Daniel Frondorf of SNAP’s Cincinnati chapter told NCR that reports released after investigations in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Maryland included references to 49 priests who had lived, worked or had other ties to Ohio and had been accused of sexually abusing children.” By Dennis Sadowski, National Catholic Reporter


Retired Cardinal Burke claims synod causing ‘grave harm’ to Catholic Church
“The synod process underway around the world and at the Vatican is inflicting ‘evident and grave harm’ on the Catholic Church, retired U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke wrote in a letter published as the foreword to a book. ‘Synodality and its adjective, synodal, have become slogans behind which a revolution is at work to change radically the church’s self-understanding, in accord with a contemporary ideology which denies much of what the church has always taught and practiced,’ said the cardinal’s letter to José Antonio Ureta and Julio Loredo de Izcue, authors of ‘The Synodal Process Is a Pandora’s Box.’” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

New Malaysia cardinal cautions against fomenting division at synod
“Malaysia’s new cardinal, Sebastian Francis of Penang, has said the upcoming Synod of Bishops on Synodality ought to be an open process in which all issues are discussed without fear, and warned against using labels that cause division. Speaking to Crux, Francis said of the synod, ‘as long as we don’t get into labels, and we don’t get into trying to divide,’ things will be fine.” By Elise Ann Allen, Cruxnow.com

What do U.S. Latinos want from the synod? We asked three who will be there.
“Wyatt Olivas is a student at the University of Wyoming and a music intern at St. Paul’s Newman Center there. He is also one of 20 representatives from the United States who will be voting during the Synod on Synodality in Rome this October. America spoke with Mr. Olivas and other Latino Catholics from the United States who will be at the synod. Their participation is important: Recent polling data suggests that more than half of U.S. Catholics under 30 are Latino. Overall, Latinos make up more than 40 percent of Catholics in the United States.” By J.D. Long Garcia, America: The Jesuit Review

All aboard: World Youth Day pilgrims know about the synod, share its concerns
“The staff of the synod secretariat went to World Youth Day in Lisbon prepared to explain ‘synodality’ to young Catholics, but they found the pilgrims from around the world already knew about the synod assembly planned for October and about many of the issues proposed for discussion. ‘Being in contact with the young people was amazing, really amazing,’ said Thierry Bonaventura, the synod communication manager. ‘Most of them knew about the synod, were ready to listen to more about it’ and were eager to share their hopes and concerns.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Agency

World Your Day recap: foreshadowing the synod on synodality
“World Youth Day wrapped up Sunday, Aug. 6, having gathered 1.5 million young people from around the world. On this special summer episode of ‘Inside the Vatican,’ America editors Ricardo da Silva, S.J. and Gerard O’Connell recap the event. First up on the show, Gerry and Ricardo give a sense of what World Youth Day was like on the ground—a sea of young people, thrilled and excited, but in the same measure silent and reverent at moments of prayer. Pope Francis, they explain, was ‘in top form,’ energized by the crowd, often putting aside his written speeches in favor of interacting with the young people gathered there.” By Colleen Dulle, Inside the Vatican, America: The Jesuit Review

What I learned from listening to non-practicing Catholics ahead of the Synod
“The Vatican named 363 voting members for October’s Synod on Synodality a few weeks ago, including Archbishop Etienne of Seattle at the personal invitation of the pope. Since this synod was announced in 2021, I have worked with the Seattle chancery as a synod volunteer and responded to the call for dialogue by personally talking with 100 people who were baptized and are now non-practicing. Having found that the archdiocese took my findings seriously, I was heartened by the Vatican’s announcement.” By Sarah-Marie Chan, America: The Jesuit Review


When it comes to church reform, Pope Francis isn’t afraid to ruffle a few feathers
“Tensions have been bubbling recently in the Catholic Diocese of Rome, as Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, the vicar who supervises the see’s day-to-day operations, has clashed with Rome’s bishop — Catholicism’s worldwide leader, Pope Francis … Vatican insiders have begun to study the way Francis is handling the disagreements in his own backyard for insight into how the pontiff addresses reform worldwide.” By Claire Giangravé, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter


Priest pleads guilty to federal child sex exploitation charges
“A Catholic priest pleaded guilty this week to charges of child sex exploitation related to the transport of a minor from South Carolina to Florida several years ago. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina said in a press release Thursday (Aug. 10) that 68-year-old Jamie Adolfo Gonzalez-Farias had entered a guilty plea on charges of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.” By Daniel Payne, Catholic News Agency


The other form of abuse in the Catholic Church
“When we hear the term “abuse” in relation to the Catholic Church, we immediately think of crimes of a sexual nature committed against children by the clergy. But there is another form of abuse taking place in the Church and it’s just as real. It’s called emotional abuse and is most evident in the attitude of the Church hierarchy towards women. It is characterized by such things as patronizing language, silencing of voices, refusal to engage and failure to empower. It can be subtle and may even go unnoticed. That’s because it is structural in nature, camouflaged within the rules and guidelines of the institution.” By John Crothers on JohnMenadue.com


Nine-year leaders’ ability, compassion puts archdiocese on sold footing after clergy abuse crisis
“Fair. Disciplined. Thorough. Compassionate. Experienced. Credible. Co-workers, victims-survivors and other observers use those words as they describe Tim O’Malley, 67, who as director of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment helped lead the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis out of a crisis stemming from clergy sexual abuse.” By Joe Ruff, The Catholic Spirit


Two former Catholic churches in Warwick sell for $2.6 million
Two former Catholic churches that went on the market in Warwick earlier this year recently sold for a total of $2.6 million, according to MG Commercial Real Estate, which represented the seller. The former Saint Catherine’s Cathedral church property, located at 3248 Post Road, was bought from the Roman Catholic Church for $1 million by Bluth LLC, a Warwick-based residential developer, according to the quitclaim deed, a public record of the transaction. Bluth, managed by Matthew Tonning and Robert Tonning Jr., plans to convert the former church building into apartments, said MG Commercial Real Estate, in its announcement of the sale.” By Marc Larocque

Vatican investment office reports $35 million profit for 2022
“The Vatican investment office made 32.27 million euros (about $35.2 million) in profit in 2022 and contributed the entire amount to the Vatican’s operating budget, said Bishop Nunzio Galantino, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See. The profit was close to 6 million euros less than what the investments earned in 2021, the bishop said in the annual report of the administration, which is known by its Italian acronym, APSA, and controls most of the Vatican’s portfolio, including real estate.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Agency, in National Catholic Reporter

How much money has the Catholic Church paid in settlements
“How Much Money Has the Catholic Church Paid in Settlements? The Catholic Church, one of the oldest and wealthiest religious institutions in the world, has faced numerous allegations of sexual abuse by clergy members over the years. These cases have resulted in significant financial settlements being paid out to victims and their families. While it is challenging to determine an exact total, estimates suggest that the Catholic Church has paid billions of dollars in settlements.” By Investor Times in Money


Celibacy is a gift that ‘fulfills’ priests
“It might ‘go against the grain’ outside the Church, but Professor Renee Kohler-Ryan insists there is a strong case for Catholic priests to stay celibate. As national head of the School of Philosophy and Theology at Notre Dame University Australia, she teaches young men who aspire to a life in the priesthood with all the worldly sacrifices that entails. Yet there’s another side rarely brought out: what they gain in the process. ‘Spiritually speaking, they’re really married to the Church,’ Professor Kohler-Ryan said.” By CathNews.com

Australian archbishop: allow married priests for indigenous peoples
“Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane has suggested that aboriginal tribes should be exempt from the requirement of priestly celibacy, because there is ‘no way you’re going to recruit a celibate clergy in those cultures.’ The archbishop said that this suggestion could be introduced at the October meeting of the Synod on Synodality. Bishop Charles Gauci of Darwin agreed: ‘With Aboriginal people, we need to be respectful of culture. Pope Francis has said that he is open in certain situations to ordaining married men; that is not off the agenda.’” By CatholicCulture.org

Celibacy is a historical ill which the Catholic Church must immediately withdraw
“The church around the world today is witnessing a sharp reduction in the number of celibate priests and nuns. This also draw from a growing realization that the universal requirement to celibacy within the church was forced upon the clergy in the year 1123 and then again in 1139. Historically, there is no explicit commandment in the New Testament of the Holy Bible which states that the disciples of Jesus Christ must live a life of celibacy. Stances positioned in defense of celibacy by the theologians is merely a superficial interpretation refined with dogmas of asceticism and layered with eschatological theology.” By Dr. Edmond Fernandes, The Times of India


The court’s pause: a necessary change for victims

Presently 34 Catholic organizations, Boy Scouts of America, and USA Gymnastics have raced to the loving arms of the federal bankruptcy courts to seek protection for their abysmal and repeated failures to protect innocent children from a great risk of harm. In the case of the epidemic of child sexual abuse, we can see the mass migration to the federal bankruptcy courts … Defendants file for bankruptcy under the guise of insolvency (which, by the way, is not required in Chapter 11). Victims’ legal claims are stayed. There is little discovery. Blanket protective orders are issued, concealing sexual predators and crimes against children. The public is kept in the dark. Victims have little voice and receive pennies on the dollar.” By Kathryn Robb, Executive Director of CHILDUSAdvocacy, on Verdict.justia.com

When a Catholic diocese goes bankrupt, does it help or hurt sex abuse survivors?
“Catholic dioceses throughout the United States, including several in New York and California, are considering or already taking steps toward declaring bankruptcy, partly in response to a flood of sexual abuse lawsuits filed after states adopted laws that eliminate or pause statutes of limitations … Lawyers and advocates for survivors say that dioceses seeking bankruptcy protections use the process to shield church assets from individuals who were harmed by the church, by, for example, moving around funds or real estate holdings. Some bankruptcy experts, however, say the process allows for a thorough process that can ultimately lead to a more just outcome for those who were harmed.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin and Christopher Parker, America: The Jesuit Review

Catholic church predators must be held accountable
“Though it is mind-boggling anyone would still have to ask, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests filed a letter last week to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, asking the state to hold accountable those in the Catholic church who have been accused of being predators. The letter is a formal request by the organization for a statewide investigation into the history and scope of child sexual abuse it says is being covered up by the state’s Catholic diocese, according to a report by the Ohio Capital Journal.” By The Marietta Times Editorial Board

If the synod isn’t a parliament, voting should be dropped
“When the participants for the synod were announced recently, they were identified as voting or nonvoting, based on whether they will be part of the group that votes on the final document at the end of the process in October 2024. So, it appears that voting will be a part of the synod process and perhaps — even as many people anticipate the synod — an important one. But be aware of what voting suggests. It almost inevitably means moving into a default mode of a parliamentary-like process. Different points of view will be represented and then debated and voted upon. Not everyone will get their way, but in democratic fashion the majority will hold sway.” By Louis J. Cameli, America: The Jesuit Review


Louisiana court upholds ‘lookback window’ in win for Catholic abuse victims
“A Louisiana state appeals court has upheld the constitutionality of a law temporarily suspending filing deadlines for people seeking damages over long-ago sexual abuse claims, handing a victory to survivors and a setback to the Roman Catholic diocese opposing them in the case. The ruling, from a panel of judges with Louisiana’s third circuit court of appeal in Lake Charles, is the first to uphold a 2021 law in the state which opened a three-year window for victims of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits for damages regardless of whether the deadline to do so had otherwise lapsed.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, The Guardian


Lifting the lid on Catholic clergy abuse: Boston Globe former editor
“Martin Baron was editor of the Boston Globe and its award-winning Spotlight investigative team, which tenaciously uncovered widespread sexual abuse by priests, hushed up by the church paying private settlements to claimants … The day before Baron started work at the Globe, the paper ran a piece by Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Eileen McNamara, he tells Nine to Noon. ‘It talked about a case of a priest who had been accused of abusing 80 kids. And at the end of the column, she said the truth may never be known because the documents that might reveal it, were under a confidentiality order, they were secret, they weren’t being disclosed to the public.’” By Radio New Zealand


Former Alabama priest Alex Crow ‘groomed’ multiple young girls, may face charges, sheriff says
“Mobile County Sheriff Paul Burch said authorities believe a defrocked Catholic priest ‘groomed another couple of young girls’ in addition to the 18-year-old woman who accompanied him to Europe. Burch, speaking on Fox Nation’s ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace,’ said Alex Crow had a previous association with a female who was ‘best friends’ with the woman who left with him. He also said there could be felony warrants against Cros ‘this week.’” By William Thornton, AL.com


Arizona appeals court revives negligence case against Phoenix diocese
“Four years ago, Arizona lawmakers opened a temporary window for child sex abuse victims over age 30 to sue for damages. Now, the state Court of Appeals has revived a case against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix brought by an anonymous plaintiff who was 11 years old in 1979. The reversal on appeal may open the door for the plaintiff’s lawyers to scour church records for information on when clergy learned that former priest Joseph Henn was a danger to children. Henn pleaded guilty to sex crimes in 2021 after local prosecutors extradited him from Italy.” By Matthew Casey, FronterasDesk.org


Sexual misconduct lawsuit hits SF Catholic high school, multiple victims lodge allegations
“On the heels of the local SF Catholic Archdiocese declaring bankruptcy over sex-abuse lawsuits, one prestigious prep school affiliated with the archdiocese is facing a lawsuit alleging that a teacher kissed and groped multiple students. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco just declared bankruptcy Monday (Aug. 21), and made no secret of the fact they did this for financial protection from the 500-plus child sex abuse lawsuits they are facing. And there are 90 private Catholic schools under the jurisdiction of the archdiocese.” By SFirst.com

Last chance ahead for clergy abuse survivors to file claims against Santa Rosa Catholic Diocese
Survivors of clergy abuse involving the Santa Rosa Roman Catholic Diocese have one final chance this fall to come forward to seek a settlement from the church. A federal bankruptcy judge has set an Oct. 20 deadline for all claims against the embattled diocese — both from those who have lodged lawsuits against the church already and from those who have yet to take legal action but don’t want to miss a shot at taking part in a settlement.” By Mary Callahan, The Press Democrat

Court records reveal names of active East Bay priests accused of abuse
“A Catholic priest in Rodeo remains the active head of a church and parochial school while he faces accusations of molesting a child parishioner decades ago, KQED has learned. A lawsuit filed in Alameda County in September alleges ongoing abuse in the mid-1980s, including that the priest secluded the unnamed plaintiff in an office and groped his genitals underneath his clothing when he was a parishioner at St. Raymond Catholic Church in Dublin. The plaintiff was around 6 and 7 years old at the time.” By Alex Hall, KQED.org


Priest admits sexual abuse of teens to WWL-TV
“For the first time ever, one of the New Orleans Catholic church’s most notorious clergy abusers has publicly admitted that he sexually molested or harassed several teenagers during his career, describing himself as remorseful yet unsure if he’s deserving of any criminal consequences. Lawrence Hecker gave the rare admission when reporters for WWL-TV and the British newspaper the Guardian asked him to discuss a statement he gave to New Orleans church leaders in 1999. In the statement, he acknowledged committing ‘overtly sexual acts’ with at least three underage boys in the late 1960s and 1970s and revealed his close relationships with four others stretching into the 1980s.” By David Hammer, WWL-TV4 News, and Ramon Antonio Vargas, The Guardian

Abuse survivors revive calls for Aymond to resign; church says he won’t
“A small group of survivors of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy protested outside a special Mass this week, calling on Archbishop Aymond to resign over his handling of the clergy abuse crisis. Three survivors stood outside the gates of St. Angela Merici on Wednesday (Aug. 16), holding ‘Aymond Must Go’ signs as the archbishop entered for Mass on the first day of a three-day Mission to the Holy Spirit. The archdiocese issued this statement about the 73-year-old Aymond: ‘Archbishop Aymond has no intention of resigning or retiring until the age of 75 when it is canonically required of him to submit his retirement letter …’” By David Hammer, WWL-TV4 News

New Orleans archdiocese failed to monitor priests accused of sexual abuse
“After the US’s second-oldest Roman Catholic archdiocese filed for bankruptcy protection in 2020, attorneys for people claiming sexual abuse at the hands of the organization’s clergymen reviewed thousands of records outlining how the church managed the careers of priests and deacons faced with substantial allegations. Glaringly missing from those documents is any plan by which the archdiocese of New Orleans could reliably protect children from contact with clerics who had been suspended from public ministry following molestation allegations – but who for years stayed in close proximity to and were financially supported by the church.” By Ramon Antonia Vargas, The Guardian


Six more people sue Maine Catholic diocese over child sex abuse allegations
“Six more people have sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, alleging that seven clergy abused them at sites around the state between 1954 and 1988 when they were from about 4 to 14 years old. Glen Witham, one of the people who filed suit Monday (Aug. 14) in Cumberland County Superior Court, was 14 years old when claims that the Rev. John E. Harris abused him. Witham lived at the Rumford Boys Home across the street from the St. Athanasius and St. John Parish in Rumford, and the abuse allegedly began in 1984 and lasted until 1987.” By Valerie Royzman, Bangor Daily News


Maryland officials to reveal more names from April child sex abuse report on Archdiocese of Baltimore
“A redacted report that detailed child sexual abuse claims within the Archdiocese of Baltimore will be re-released in September following a recent court order to remove most of its redactions, according to an official statement from the Maryland Office of the Attorney General.” By Winston Rogers, ABC-TV7 News

Judge orders most Catholic Church names made public in Maryland AG report, calls for ‘more transparency, not less
“A Baltimore judge has ordered the release of most of the redacted names in the attorney general’s report on the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s history of child sexual abuse, according to court records unsealed Tuesday (Aug. 22). The order allows for the release Sept. 26 of 43 of 46 blacked-out names, including those of five high-ranking church officials who contributed to the cover-up, and nine of 10 alleged abusers. The people to be named will have an opportunity to appeal the order before the attorney general’s office would publish a version of the report with far fewer redactions than its initial version, which came out in April.” By Lee O. Sanderlin, The Baltimore Sun, in The Brunswick News

‘Who’s gonna believe an 11-year-old kid?’: WTOP anchor speaks out on being sexually abused by Catholic priest
“A nightmare has haunted WTOP anchor Dan Ronan for decades. The recurring dream has plagued him for most of his life. ‘I’m being chased out of the parking lot,’ 63-year-old Ronan told WTOP’s DMV Download podcast. ‘I’m being chased through that parking lot on a dark evening. And he’s chasing me and he’s … screaming at me. And before he would catch me, I would wake up sweating and crying and shaking.’ In 1971, Ronan was sexually assaulted in Chicago, Illinois, by Father Thomas Gannon — a respected priest and professor who went on to teach sociology at Georgetown University between 1983 and 1986. Ronan was in the sixth grade at the time and didn’t tell a soul about the assault for nearly 50 years.” By Luke Garrett, WTOP-FM News


New clergy sex abuse lawsuits
“New court filings name the Diocese of Winona-Rochester as a defendant, as well as schools and parishes in Rochester, Winona and Mankato. They stem from a $28 million settlement reached between the Diocese, the victims and insurance companies in 2021 … According to the lawsuits, the alleged victims were between 10-16 years old at the time of the abuse, which happened between 1968 and 1974 at churches and schools including St. Mary’s in Winona, the Church of Holy Trinity in Rollingstone, Lourdes High School in Rochester and the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Mankato.” By Rachel Mantos, KAAL-TV6 News


Waite: Hubbard can’t separate himself from abuse diocese enabled
“A celebratory profile of Bishop Emeritus Howard Hubbard on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany’s website concludes by noting that Hubbard’s 37 years as bishop made him the longest serving bishop in the history of the diocese. But now, Hubbard wants to sever formal ties to the Catholic Church … But in March the Vatican denied that laicization request until seven civil lawsuits against Hubbard alleging sexual misconduct have been resolved, according to Hubbard’s statement.” By Andrew Waite, The Daily Gazette


Advocates ask Yost to investigate Ohio’s Catholic dioceses
“A group of concerned parents, Catholics and advocates for child sexual abuse survivors are asking Attorney General Dave Yost to initiate a statewide investigation into the history of scope of sexual abuse within Ohio’s six Catholic dioceses. The groups, which include parents from Ohioans for Child Protection, Greater Cincinnati Voice of the Faithful, Concerned Catholics of Cincinnati and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, take inspiration from recent investigations into sexual abuse within the Catholic church completed by attorneys general in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Maryland.” By Mackenzi Klemann, LimaOhio.com


Archdiocese of Philadelphia settles child sex abuse case against a deceased priest for $3.5 million
“The Archdiocese of Philadelphia will pay $3.5 million to settle a civil case alleging a now-deceased priest sexually assaulted a teenage boy nearly two decades ago, and church officials knew of similar reports about the priest dating back to the 1970s, attorneys for the victim announced Wednesday (Aug. 9). The plaintiff was a 14-year-old student in religious classes at St. Katherine of Siena Parish in Wayne when the sexual assault occurred in 2006, his attorneys said. They said Monsignor John Close assaulted the boy after hearing his confession. The plaintiff, now 30, reported the episode in 2018. Many survivors of child sexual abuse do not report the abuse until years later.” By Brooke Schultz, Associated Press, on ABCNews.go.com


Former South Carolina admits to sexual misconduct with 11-year-old he took on beach vacation
“A former Catholic priest has admitted to acts of sexual misconduct with a child he met through his pastoral duties. Jamie Adolfo Gonzalez-Farias, 68, plead guilty to a federal charge that he transported a minor intending to engage in criminal sexual activity. Court evidence shows the man known as ‘Father Gonzalez’ lavished gifts and attention on an 11-year-old boy before taking him on a beach vacation to Florida in November 2020, according to a news release. He then attempted to sexually assault the child, behaved in other sexually inappropriate ways and showed him pornography, FBI officials said.” By Associated Press, on WLTX-TV19 News


San Antonio Archdiocese removes two priests over allegations of child sex abuse
“The Archdiocese of San Antonio, Texas, has removed two of its incardinated priests from ministry after receiving substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse. Father Alejandro Ortega of St. Monica Catholic Church in Converse and Father Jesus Eduardo “Lalo” Martinez-Solis of St. Joseph-Honey Creek Church in Spring Branch were both accused of sexually abusing minors. The allegations were referred to law enforcement, the archdiocese said. Both men had their faculties removed and are prohibited from identifying themselves as priests. They are forbidden from wearing clerical clothing and using clerical titles.” By Joe Bukuras, Catholic News Agency


After 50 years, a victim of clergy sex abuse speaks out
“The scourge of child sex abuse within the Catholic Church has been well documented. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is now renewing calls that the Archdiocese of Washington release the names of known, hidden abusers. It’s a message Dan Ronan — a survivor of child sex abuse at the hands of a priest — echoes. On the show, Ronan tells his story of how Father Thomas Gannon sexually abused him as an 11-year-old boy in Chicago. He also talks about why Gannon wasn’t punished for this alleged assault and later became a respected professor at Georgetown University. Ronan walks us through this trauma and shares how he ultimately found peace 50 years later.” By WTOP.com News


Wisconsin DOJ asks for sealed documents from Milwaukee archdiocese sex abuse investigation
“Wisconsin’s Department of Justice is asking to see sealed records from the Milwaukee branch of the Catholic Church as part of the attorney general’s investigation into sexual abuse by faith leaders. Those records were shielded from public view after the Milwaukee Archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in 2011. In 2015, that bankruptcy case resulted in a $21 million settlement between the archdiocese and hundreds of sexual abuse survivors.” By Sarah Lehr, Wisconsin Public Radio


Alleged Catholic priest abuse victim prevented from seeking justice in court
“Christopher Moran has been waiting a lifetime to have his day in court. When he was nine his father suddenly died and he went to stay on an Aboriginal mission in northern New South Wales. The Taungurung man alleges it was during this vulnerable time that he was sexually abused by Catholic priest David Perrett while on a camping trip to Georges Creek in 1976.” By Erin Somerville, ABC News Australia

Catholic church uses death of pedophile priest in bid to stop survivor suing NSW diocese, court hears
“The Catholic church is seeking to use using the death of a ‘prolific pedophile’ priest to permanently prevent a dying Indigenous man from seeking justice for alleged abuse suffered on camping trips in rural New South Wales. Two survivors are suing the church’s Armidale diocese for the alleged abuse by notorious priest David Joseph Perrett during camping trips from an Aboriginal mission in the mid-1970s.” By Christopher Knaus, The Guardian

Pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale sentenced to eighth hail term over historic abuse
“One of Australia’s most notorious pedophiles, Gerald Ridsdale, has been sentenced for the eighth time over historical sex offences. This morning’s sentencing over the 192nd charge faced by Ridsdale related to the former priest’s 72nd known victim-survivor. In June this year the 89-year-old pleaded guilty to one count of indecent assault of a minor in the 1980s.” By ABC News, Australia


Former Catholic priest admits to sexual misconduct with 11-year-old
“Fоrmеr Саthоlіс рrіеѕt Јаmіе Аdоlfо Gоnzаlеz-Fаrіаѕ,68, hаѕ аdmіttеd thаt hе еngаgеd іn асtѕ оf ѕехuаl mіѕсоnduсt wіth аn 11-уеаr-оld сhіld thаt hе mеt thrоugh hіѕ раѕtоrаl dutіеѕ. Ассоrdіng tо thе Аѕѕосіаtеd Рrеѕѕ, thіѕ wееk, Fаrіаѕ рlеd guіltу tо а fеdеrаl сhаrgе thаt hе trаnѕроrtеd а mіnоr іntеndіng tо еngаgе іn сrіmіnаl ѕехuаl асtіvіtу. Rероrtѕ ѕhоw thаt thе рrіеѕt gаvе gіftѕ tо thе сhіld bеfоrе tаkіng hіm оn а bеасh vасаtіоn tо Flоrіdа іn Nоvеmbеr 2020. Тhе рrіеѕt thеn аttеmрtеd tо ѕехuаllу аѕѕаult thе сhіld аnd bеhаvеd іn оthеr ѕехuаllу іnаррrорrіаtе wауѕ аnd ѕhоwеd hіm роrnоgrарhу.” By Zolla Palma Gonzalez on BreakingBelizeNews.com


Jesuit provincial in Bolivia says he would not have entered order if he know about abuse
“In the wake of the sexual abuse of minors scandal that broke out in April involving various members of the Society of Jesus in Bolivia, the country’s provincial superior, Father Bernardo Mercado, said that not even if he ‘were crazy’ would he have entered the Jesuit order if he had known the real situation involving those members accused of pederasty. The priest was interviewed recently by the special commission for the investigation of crimes of sexual abuse taking place in ecclesial environments recently created by the Bolivian Chamber of Senators, ATB Digital media reported.” By Julieta Villar, Catholic News Agency, in The Catholic World Report


Kelowna man files $6.9M lawsuit over alleged sexual abuse by priest
“A Kelowna, B.C., man has filed a $6.9-million lawsuit against an Edmonton Catholic school and the religious order that runs it claiming he was sexually abused by a priest beginning when he was 12 years old. ‘For 38 years, my memories of the abuse remained hidden deep, within my subconscious: leaking poison into every decision I ever made in life. I never trusted anyone, not even family,’ the 52-year-old Stephen Gregory Bounds said.” By Jeremy Hainsworth, VancouverIsAwesome.com

Ottawa Catholic school teacher charged with sexual assault
“A teacher at St. Francis Xavier High School in Ottawa’s south end is facing sexual assault charges following allegations involving one of her high school students, according to police. Ottawa police say an investigation was launched in July into alleged incidents involving a teacher and a student between March and May 2023. On Thursday (Aug. 10), police charged Shannon Marie Quinn, 40, of Ottawa with five counts of sexual assault and sexual exploitation. Police say she is also known as Shannon Greffe.” By Josh Pringle, CTV News Ottawa


Victim of pedophile priest Malachy Finnegan receives £400,000 settlement
“A 51-year-old Co Down man who was abused by the notorious pedophile priest Malachy Finnegan has received a settlement of £400,000, lawyers have said. Finnegan is alleged to have sexually abused children in the Catholic diocese of Dromore across four decades before his death in 2002. KRW Law, acting on behalf of the victim who wished to remain anonymous, said he had been abused over a three-year period in the mid 1980s when he was a student at St Colman’s College in Newry.” By Gráinne Ni Aodha, PA, BelfastLive.co.uk


Christian faith helps combat clerical child abuse
“The power of real Christian faith in a person is that it motivates the believer in Jesus of Nazareth and his words to take action to help the downtrodden, to protect, empower, strengthen and enlighten the weak, stand with sexually abused children, support them and work for justice. That faith, empowered by the belief that goodness, the love of justice, service to the poor, and care for the needy, will overcome and defeat evil and wrongdoing, and will bring healing and justice to the victims of sexual abuse.” By Fr. Shay Cullen, CathNews.com