Voice of the Faithful Focus, June 16, 2023

June 16, 2023


Abuse survivors, their advocates cast doubt on leadership of Vatican commission
“Leading Catholic sexual abuse experts, survivors and survivor advocates are questioning the suitability of the priest who leads the Vatican’s clergy abuse commission, following an investigation that has raised significant questions about his record of financial transparency and accountability. Oblate Fr. Andrew Small ‘should be gone — voluntarily or forcefully,’ David Clohessy, longtime executive director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said in reaction to a May 31 Associated Press report.” By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis’ vision for the Church: Seeking a Church in service to the world
“On the evening of October 11, 1962, the night preceding the opening of the Second Vatican Council, a crowd of mostly young people gathered in Saint Peter’s Square, filled with energy, enthusiasm, and expectation for what was about to unfold. John XXIII came to the window from which popes customarily address the crowds at the Sunday Angelus and gave an impromptu fervorino, referred to simply as the ‘moonlight speech’ … John XXIII called for aggiornamento so that the worldwide Church could be refreshed and renewed for its mission in the world.” By Bishop John Stowe, OFM, Conv., Commonweal

Spanish Catholic bishops find evidence of 728 sexual abusers, 927 victims since 21945
“Spain’s Catholic bishops’ conference says it has found evidence of 728 sexual abusers within the church since 1945, through the testimony of 927 victims, in its first public report on the issue. The church said 83% of the victims and 99% of the abusers were male and that more than 60% of the offenders were dead. In a report presented Thursday (Jun. 1), more than 50% of offenders were said to be priests. The rest were other church officials. The church said that most cases occurred in the last century, 75% of them before 1990.” By Ciarán Giles, Associated Press

What the latest investigations into Catholic Church sex abuse mean
“In the years since the Pennsylvania report was published (2018), it has inspired some 20 other investigations into the Catholic Church by state attorneys general. Now the results of those investigations are rolling out, refocusing attention on the sprawling abuse scandal, and in some cases providing fresh details. The attorney general of Illinois, Kwame Raoul, released a report in May that found more than 450 credibly accused child sex abusers in the Catholic Church in Illinois since 1950. Almost 2,000 children under 18 were victims.” By Ruth Graham, The New York Times

We can have both: due process for accused priests and justice for sex abuse survivors
“The firestorm of accusations against priests of the sexual abuse of minors has created the suspicion, often fueled by the media, that any priest against whom allegations are made is guilty. The tremendous damage that has been perpetrated against the many victims in the sexual abuse crisis cannot be underestimated, nor can we underestimate what the church needs to do to make whole those who have been so horrendously hurt by members of the clergy. But it is important that safeguards for due process for those accused of abuse be honored, even as we work toward guaranteeing the safety of all members of the church.” By Kevin E. McKenna, America: The Jesuit Review

‘Significant increase’ in Catholic Church abuse allegations
“There was a ‘significant increase’ in the number of notifications of allegations of abuse reported to the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) in the past 12 months. In its latest annual report, the NBSCCCI said it is clear from the source of the allegations that many of these relate to alleged abuse in boarding schools run and managed by male and female religious orders. It is believed that the RTÉ documentary Blackrock Boys, which has resulted in a preliminary inquiry by the Government into the issue of sexual abuse in schools run by religious orders, has contributed to the rise in allegations.” By Ailbhe Conneely, RTE News


Jesuits expel prominent artist Marko Rupnik after allegations of abuse against adult women
“Pope Francis’ Jesuit religious order said Thursday (Jun. 14) it has expelled a prominent Slovenian priest from the congregation following allegations of sexual, spiritual and psychological abuses against adult women. A statement from the Jesuits said the Rev. Marko Ivan Rupnik was dismissed from the Jesuit order by decree on June 9 ‘due to stubborn refusal to observe the vow of obedience.’ Rupnik is one of the most celebrated religious artists in the Catholic Church, whose mosaics decorate churches and basilicas around the world, including at the Vatican.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in America: The Jesuit Review

Abuse: Traunstein Pope procedure: victim demands 350,000 euros
“Two weeks before the scheduled start of the civil trial in Traunstein about sexual abuse in the Catholic Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, the amount involved has become known for the first time. A victim of abuse demands a total of 350,000 euros from the Archdiocese and the heirs of the deceased Pope Benedict XVI … The plaintiff is demanding 300,000 euros from the archbishopric and 50,000 euros in compensation from the heirs of the pope emeritus who died on New Year’s Eve. According to a spokeswoman, the court put the value in dispute in the process at 362,000 euros a little higher. The Role of Pope Benedict.” By NewsInGermany.com

‘Red flags everywhere’: high court asks Catholic church why it didn’t investigate priest’s abuse 50 years ago
“The high court has pressed the Catholic church to explain why it didn’t have an adequate opportunity 50 years ago to investigate the extent of a priest’s abuse of children, given there were “red flags everywhere” about his crimes. The court on Thursday (Jun. 1) began hearing a key case about a legal tactic now routinely being employed by the church and other institutions to permanently shield themselves from abuse survivors’ civil claims for compensation.” By Christopher Knaus, The Guardian

Exactly 30 years before Illinois AG’s devastating sexual abuse report, a plan for prevention was implemented, then scrapped
“‘Way too damned little and way too damned late.’ That’s what one life-long Illinois Catholic woman I’ll call ‘Margaret’ told me last week when the state’s attorney general released a nearly 700-page report, based on a five-year investigation, that concluded at least 2,000 kids were sexually abused by 451 priests. But what has many both outside and inside the church so infuriated is the even-more-shocking charge being leveled by the attorney general that six Illinois bishops are refusing, even now, to post, on their diocesan websites, the names of some 149 clerics accused of sexually abusing children who are or have been in Illinois.” By ReligionDispatches.com


Nothing really changed after Vatican II. But synodality may make a difference
“The Vatican documents of 1965 oozed theological life. They were clearly meant to dispense with the church of the Middle Ages, to bring the church into the modern world rooted in Scripture and the model of Jesus. But as the ocean liner that brought so many of the American Catholic hierarchy back from Rome disembarked, the New York press corps, snapping pictures and shouting questions, suffered one bishop after another shrugging their questions off. Nothing had really changed, it seemed. Nothing newsworthy, at least.” By Joan Chittister, National Catholic Reporter

Theologians carry concerns to U.S. bishops in synod listening sessions
“The team leading the U.S. bishops’ participation in Pope Francis’ ongoing three-year synod process held two listening sessions with American Catholic theologians on May 25 and June 6, inviting members of the six major national theological societies to be in the virtual discussions. Several of the academics who took part in one of the unusual high-level encounters praised the bishops for creating a rare opportunity for relationship-building between U.S. prelates and theologians. But they also said they raised some concerns about the organization of the latest phase of the synod process, the virtual continental meetings for the U.S. and Canadian Catholic churches.” By Aleja Hertzler-McCain, National Catholic Reporter

The lesson of Synodality Lite
“People fretting over the pros and cons of synodality should seek enlightenment in the story of ‘shared responsibility’ half a century ago. History doesn’t literally repeat itself, but what happened then suggests why we need to move ahead carefully now while avoiding new mistakes. Shared responsibility — the Synodality Lite of the 1970s you might call it — was all the rage in the heady days right after Vatican Council II. Meetings were held and documents published promoting the idea, and preliminary steps were taken by setting up pastoral councils of clergy, religious, and laity in dioceses throughout the country.” By Russell Shaw, Angelus


Pope to meet clergy sexual abuse victims in Portugal
Pope Francis plans to meet victims of clergy sexual abuse during his five-day visit to Portugal in August to coincide with World Youth Day, Lisbon assistant bishop Americo Aguiar said on Tuesday (May 6). Francis, who is 86, will travel to Portugal from Aug. 2-6 to attend the global gathering of young Catholics held for the first time since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He will attend over 15 events, including a mass, a vigil, meetings with youngsters and politicians and a visit to the Fatima sanctuary.” By Catarina Demony, Reuters


New testimony of alleged sex abuse victim revealed in Canadian court in defamation casae filed by Cardinal Ouellet against accuser
“On Jan. 16, lawyer Alain Arsenault received a letter that began with the words: ‘I hereby describe an assault I suffered one Sunday in 1992 in the sacristy of the Grand Séminaire de Montréal,’ Montreal’s major seminary. The alleged victim, who remains anonymous, explained that on that Sunday, she was ‘preparing the missal, lectionary and evangeliary’ … She described that the celebrant then stood behind her. His two hands on the table ‘on either side of me’ prevented her from freeing herself, and the priest rubbed his pelvis over her, she claimed. The priest, she alleged, was a 48-year-old Sulpician by the name of Father Marc Ouellet. Now a cardinal and a former archbishop of Quebec, he was at the time the superior of Montreal’s major seminary.” By OSV News in Our Sunday Visitor

Pope Francis has named two-thirds of cardinal eligible to elect his successor
“Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, the retired archbishop of Naples, celebrated his 80th birthday June 2 and, consequently, became ineligible to enter a conclave to elect a new pope. The cardinal’s aging out left the College of Cardinals with 121 clerics under the age of 80 and eligible to vote. Of those 121 cardinals, 81 — 66.9% — were inducted into the college by Pope Francis. According to modifications to the norms governing the election of the bishop of Rome promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2013 and still in force, ‘a majority vote of two-thirds of the cardinal electors present is always necessary for the valid election of a Roman Pontiff.’” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter


Will the U.S. bishops discuss Catholic’s top priorities at their June meeting?
“The U.S. Catholic bishops are meeting in Orlando, Florida, next week (June 14-16) for three days of prayer and business. If you were asked by your local bishop what topics they should discuss, what would you suggest? Feel free to make suggestions in the comment section below. It’s likely that nothing you’d suggest is on the official agenda: The war in Ukraine, the treatment of transgender people, global warming, the culture wars over public education, economic inequality, political divisions and the rise of hate groups—the bishops have no plans to address the things foremost on the minds of Americans.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

Editorial: Archbishop helped right embattled Catholic Church
“The right man at the right time. Santa Fe Archdiocese Archbishop Emeritus Michael J. Sheehan was certainly that. The retired archbishop’s death Saturday (Jun. 10) reminds us of one of the darkest chapters in the history of the Catholic Church, and how one man’s integrity and forthrightness helped restore faith in his archdiocese. Sheehan presided over the Santa Fe Archdiocese for 22 years, from 1993 to 2015.” By Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board


In Peru, Latin American religious address persecution, abuse, synod
“They called out the names of their friends, sometimes their predecessors, some of them martyred, some having lived long lives, others short, but all rooted in radical closeness to the Gospel. Fr. Jose Luis Loyola gently told them not to worry if tears came. But mostly tranquility filled the Mass that closed the 48th board meeting of the Confederation of Latin American and Caribbean Religious, or CLAR, in Lima, Peru … Women and men religious gathered June 2-5 to tackle some of the toughest issues facing Latin America and the Caribbean or ‘the night,’ as Sr. Liliana Franco, president of CLAR, called the social, ecclesial and other conditions affecting consecrated life in the region. To some, those conditions, such as religious persecution, abuse and dwindling vocations, look like a crisis, she said, but to those with religious convictions, they are opportunities of grace.” By Rhina Guidos, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter


Indigenous women are doing the work of deacons. Is Pope Francis ready to recognize it?
“In early June, Pope Francis received three Indigenous women leaders from the Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon (CEAMA), an innovative form of church governance in which the bishops of the Amazon share formal leadership with Indigenous lay women, women religious, lay men, priests and deacons. During the audience, the women invited the pope to consider the full and equal participation of women in the church, including through preaching in parish settings and ordination as deacons.” By Casey Stanton, America: The Jesuit Review

Don’t stop at synod: continue participating, says Catholic women’s leader
“The Catholic Church’s synodal process is an invitation to invest in the pastoral and professional formation of women in the church, said the newly elected president of a global network of Catholic women’s associations. In a weeklong general assembly that she called an ‘exercise in synodality,’ Mónica Santamarina was elected president general of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations, WUCWO, by 832 representatives of Catholic women’s organizations from 38 countries.” By Justin McLellan, Catholic News Service


U.S. bishops urge greater online protection for children
“Multiple leaders among the U.S. Catholic bishops came together earlier this week to encourage lawmakers to explore protections for children online, and now the bishops are encouraging Catholics nationwide to do the same. On June 9, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) sent out an action alert for Catholics to ask their member of Congress to address the online child exploitation, which they argue ‘threatens the safety and well-being of our young people and destroys families and communities.’” By John Lavenburg, Cruxnow.com


After two years, Vatican financial trial closes preliminary stage
“The Vatican’s ‘trial of the century,’ in which 10 defendants, including a cardinal, face charges of fraud and corruption in a shady real estate deal, has already seen a century’s worth of testimony alleging blackmail, scandalous liaisons and secretly taped conversations with Pope Francis. The trial itself, however, has only just begun.” On Tuesday (Jun. 12), a hearing ended the preliminary stage of the trial, which has been going on since July of 2021.” By Claire Giangravé, Religion News Service

Vatican bank reports significant profit adopting Catholic ethics
“Describing itself as the only financial entity aimed at adhering to Catholic ethics instead of achieving the highest possible profit, the Vatican bank, officially called the Institute for Religious Works or IOR, made 29.6 million euros in profit in 2022, according to its budget published on Tuesday (June 6). In its 11th annual budget report, the Vatican’s financial institution presented a positive statement of its operations, crediting interest margins, investments and digitalization. The 2022 profits represent a hopeful rebound from its 2021 report, when the Vatican bank reported a profit of 18.1 million euros, a decline compared with previous years.” By Claire Giangravé, Religion News Service


Clergy sex abuse is the fault of the institution, not the religion
“I therefore want to offer a revised interpretation of the determinants of sexual abuse by suggesting that we change our analytic lens to focus more on the modern corporate institution, and its prevailing culture, as a major source of abuse. That is, it is not the substance of the institution (e.g., religion) but rather its style of operation that fosters inequity and abuse. This milieu provides a hiding place for in-house abusers who bank on getting their sins sheltered under the corporate umbrella of institutions more concerned about reputation than reparation.” By Arthur McCaffrey, America: The Jesuit Review

Op-Ed: Who are the main sexual abusers of Indigenous women and children
“The arrest of Fr. Arul Savari, a 48-year-old priest accused of sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl at a Roman Catholic church on the Little Grand Rapids Indian Reserve 265 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg on May 27 has provoked a local demand that the church leave the community. The child was alone with the priest, who was charged with sexual assault, sexual interference, sexual exploitation of a young person, luring a child and forcible confinement on May 30.” By Hymie Rubenstein, TNCNews.com

The disturbing truth: Illinois bishops still hiding child-molesting clergy
“Though I’m no longer a believer, in the wake of yet another jaw-dropping Catholic scandal, two Bible passages have coursed through my mind recently. The first verse is John 8:32: ‘Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ Illinois’ six bishops are no doubt familiar with it. Like many profound bits of wisdom, it’s short and sweet, with absolutely no qualifiers, exceptions or excuses. Why then do these well-educated prelates apparently think the actual wording is ‘Some of the truth shall set you free, but you get to determine how much and when and how to reveal it?’” By David Clohessy, Religion Unplugged


Delayed justice: three states remove all time limits on child sex abuse lawsuits
“Ann Allen loved going to church and the after-school social group led by a dynamic priest back in the 1960s. The giggling fun with friends always ended with a game of hide and seek. Each week, the Rev. Lawrence Sabatino chose one girl to hide with him. Allen said when it was her turn, she was sexually assaulted, at age 7, in the recesses of St. Peter’s Catholic Church. ‘I don’t remember how I got out of that cellar and I don’t think I ever will. But I remember it like it’s yesterday. I remember the smells. The sounds. I remember what he said, and what he did,’ she said.” By David Sharp, Associated Press

Michigan lawmakers renew effort to give sex abuse victims more time to sue
“Michigan lawmakers introduced bipartisan legislation Tuesday (Jun. 6) that would give victims of sexual abuse more time to sue for damages as the state again looks to overhaul laws following multiple sexual abuse scandals. The legislation, which appeared before a committee Tuesday afternoon, would expand the civil statute of limitations for sex abuse victims from age 28 to 52. If enacted, victims would also have a two-year window to sue retroactively, regardless of the time limit.” By Joey Cappelletti, Associated Press

Partisan stalemate keeps child sexual assault lawsuit window from advancing in Pennsylvania
“Child sexual abuse survivors pressed Pennsylvania lawmakers Monday (Jun. 5) to move ahead with opening a two-year window for them to file otherwise outdated lawsuits over their claims, but a partisan fight in the Legislature kept the proposal bottled up with no resolution in sight. Amid the stalemate, survivors renewed calls for the Legislature to pass either version of the measure — one that would give voters final say on the window in the form of a constitutional amendment, the other legislation that would also need Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro’s signature.” By Associated Press


20 years after Bishop O’Brien’s sex abuse cover-up and deadly hit-and-run, have Catholics in Phoenix healed?
“In the summer of 2003, Bishop Thomas J. O’Brien of the Diocese of Phoenix admitted to transferring priests accused of sexual abuse to other parishes. The parish communities that received these priests did not know about the accusations, and in many cases, the bishop transferred priests to poor, Latino parishes … On June 14, Bishop O’Brien climbed into his Buick after celebrating a Saturday Vigil Mass. On his way home, his car struck 43-year-old Jim L. Reed, who was jaywalking … Have we healed from this tragic sequence of events? As a Catholic in the Phoenix diocese, I’ve been reflecting on that question a lot this month, 20 years after Bishop O’Brien admitted to the cover-up.” By J.D. Long-Garcia, America: The Jesuit Review

Events in Bolivia and Brazil may signal a turning point for the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis in Latin America
“Demonstrations in Bolivia in recent weeks have been directed at a seemingly unusual target: the Catholic Church. More than three-fourths of the people in this Andean nation are Catholic, and Catholicism remained the religion of the state until 2009. Protests erupted, however, after the publication of diary entries from a deceased Spanish Jesuit priest, which detailed his sexual abuse of dozens of boys while teaching in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba during the 1970s and 1980s. Meanwhile, in neighboring Brazil, a new book by two award-winning journalists has made the magnitude of the clerical sexual abuse crisis more visible.” By Matthew Casey-Pariseault, The Conversation

Abuse claims and outrage mount as Jesuit order and church in Bolivia undergo a tectonic shake
“Revelations of rampant sexual abuse by deceased Jesuit Fr. Alfonso Pedrajas have prompted dozens of people in Bolivia to come forward with similar accusations of atrocities in the South American country, where the Catholic Church confronts a reckoning over the criminal acts of pedophile priests. An investigation by Bolivian newspaper Página Siete found more than 170 victims of clerical sexual abuse being raised since early May, when the Spanish newspaper El País published its exposé into Pedrajas — a Spanish Jesuit who kept a record of his abuse of children by writing a diary.” By David Agren, OSV News, in National Catholic Reporter

Media push for release of records over U.S. priest accused of abusing children
“Two national US media organizations and Louisiana state prosecutors have joined efforts to secure the public release of sealed information that would provide a more complete account of a retired Roman Catholic priest in New Orleans who has been previously accused of molesting several children. In papers filed late Wednesday at New Orleans’s federal courthouse, the Guardian and the Associated Press contend that there is a legitimate public interest in the contents of the documents dealing with Lawrence Hecker despite archdiocesan claims that the information could be disparaging to the organization.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, The Guardian

Church, civil laws must hold priests accountable for child abuse
What will likely never happen in the Philippines is an independent investigation to uncover the extent of clerical child abuse. It is that terrible time again for devout Catholics and Christians everywhere when the evil of clerical child sex abuse is revealed once again on the international stage. An investigative report on clerical child abuse released May 23 by the US Attorney General named six Catholic dioceses in Illinois and declared that clerical child abuse is as rife today as in the past.” By Fr. Shay Cullen, UCSNews.com

A closer look at the Illinois clergy abuse report shows Cardinal George deserves better
“The report shows that, since 1950, hundreds of priests abused nearly two thousand children … At the same time, it is necessary for the complete truth to be told, not necessarily the convenient one. For the past seven years, I have been immersed in the life of Cardinal Francis E. George, O.M.I., archbishop of Chicago from 1997 until six months before his 2015 death. In the course of my research in writing his first biography that was published earlier this year, I found one of his greatest regrets to have been the discovery that laicized priest and notorious abuser Daniel McCormack had abused children on his watch.” By Michael R. Heinlein, Our Sunday Visitor


California has investigated Catholic priest sex abuse for years. Victims want answers on what they found
“After Pennsylvania authorities issued a bombshell report in 2018 detailing widespread sexual abuse of children and coverup in the Roman Catholic church, California’s attorney general invited victims here to share their stories. The next year, the state subpoenaed half of California’s Roman Catholic dioceses. What California authorities have learned since remains a mystery. And for victims of long-ago abuse seeking justice in the courts while the state’s dioceses increasingly seek bankruptcy protection, the silence is a growing aggravation — especially as other states, notably Illinois and Maryland, recently issued their own reports, revealing a devastating past of abuse by hundreds of clergy of thousands of children.” By John Woolfolk, The Mercury News


Archbishop Aquila restores exonerated priest back into ministry
“The Archdiocese of Denver’s internal investigation against Father Michael O’Brien finds no evidence of wrongdoing, and after receiving a recommendation from the Archdiocesan Review Board, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila is restoring Fr. O’Brien back into ministry, effective immediately. The Aspen Police Department and the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office exonerated Fr. O’Brien in April of this year. Aspen Police put over 500 hours into this case to find the truth; speaking to over 80 witnesses and 26 law enforcement agencies.” By Archdiocese of Denver


Connecticut priest accused of sexual assault
“A priest that served in Waterbury, Torrington and Hamden in the last five years is now the center of a sexual assault lawsuit. ‘When we see a priest or anybody working for the diocese transferred quickly over a short period of time that’s concerning and that’s a red flag for us,’ said Mike McDonnell with the Survivor’s Network of Those Abused by Priests. ‘Out of sight, out of mind. Let the dust settle.’ Reverend Mauricio Galvis joined Saint John Paul Roman Catholic Church in Torrington in 2019.” By Brittany Schaefer, WTNH-TV8 News


Deacon at north Miami Catholic school arrested, accused of molesting students
“A deacon and teacher at a Catholic school in North Miami was arrested after he was accused of molesting two students, police said. Deacon Carlos Humberto Ramirez, 51, was arrested Wednesday (Jun. 7) on two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child, an arrest report said. Ramirez, of Miami Gardens, had worked as a teacher and deacon at Holy Family Catholic School on Northeast 12th Avenue in North Miami.” By Amanda Plasencia and brian Hamacher, NBC-TV6 News Miami


Benedictines’ world leader calls on Chicago-area monks tied to Benet, Marmion high schools to full report clergy sex abuse
“ The Benedictine monastery that founded Benet Academy in Lisle and the one that runs Marmion Academy in Aurora should publish complete lists of their clerics who have been deemed to have been credibly accused of child sex offenses, the top official of the Catholic religious order worldwide is urging. ‘I would certainly encourage they be honest about those types of things,”” the Rev. Gregory Polan, leader of the confederation of Benedictine groups around the world, told the Chicago Sun-Times.” By Robert Herguth, Chicago Sun-Times

Group says some clergy credibly accused of sex abuse in Illinois live without supervision
“Advocates, attorneys, and several survivors of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of clergy members are calling for action and increased transparency by the Catholic church. ‘The real impact this has is, you have to look at life through a whole different lens. It’s not a fun one,’ said Mike, a survivor who said he was sexually abused by a pastor of his parish in Berwyn decades ago when he was only 11. He believes what isn’t talked about enough when it comes to sexual assault, is the way it impacts how a survivor sees the world.” By Courtney Spinelli, WGN-TV9 News

Joliet Diocese priest sex abuse survivors say list of abusers is not complete
“At the Joliet Diocese Wednesday (May 31), fallout from the release of last week’s damning 700-page report on the Catholic Church continued as members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, spoke out against what they believe is a continued lack of transparency. ‘The Joliet bishop continues to protect predators for the same reason that most of his brother bishops continue to protect predators and that is because he can get by with it,” said David Clohessy of SNAP. The report, issued by Attorney General Kwame Raoul, identified 69 ‘credibly accused’ Joliet area priests or brothers, eight more than what the diocese lists on its website. But could there be even more?” By Michelle Gallardo, WLS-TV7 News

The list of 51 Peoria Catholic diocese clergy named in 2023 report on child sex abuse
“A yearslong investigation into child sex abuse by members of the Catholic clergy in Illinois has found at least 1,997 children in the state’s six dioceses were sexually abused between 1950 and 2019. The Peoria Catholic Diocese, which covers 26 counties spanning from Rock Island in northwest Illinois to Vermillion County on the Indiana border, was part of that investigation. Attorney General Kwame Raoul on May 23, 2023, released a comprehensive report, which included 51 clergy members in the Catholic Diocese of Peoria.” By Dena Muellerleile, Peoria Journal Star


Archdiocese: former Dubuque priest faces additional allegation of sexual abuse
“Archdiocese of Dubuque officials said today (Jun. 15) that they have received another allegation of past sexual abuse by a former Dubuque priest. The new accusation of past abuse of a minor against the Rev. Leo Riley, who served in the archdiocese from 1982 to 2002, was reported to archdiocesan personnel on May 23, a press release states. That was the same day the archdiocese reported that Riley had been accused of sexually abusing a minor in the 1980s.” By Elizabeth Kelsey, Telegraph Herald


Priest accused of sexual abuse offered plea deal in St. Tammany Parish courtroom
“A priest who has worked for schools and churches across the metro New Orleans area returned Monday (June 12) to a St. Tammany Parish courtroom, where a plea deal was offered. Father Patrick Wattigny could face up to 20 years in prison but would likely get less for pleading guilty. It has been three years since Wattigny was arrested and charged with molestation of a juvenile, after a teen boy came forward and claimed the longtime Catholic priest had abused him multiple times when he was 15 years old. Talks between the district attorney’s office, the victim’s family and the priest’s attorney have been lengthy.” By Rob Mason, FOX-TV8 News

NOLA district attorney joins effort to unseal secret archdiocese records for criminal investigation
“Orleans Parish District Attorney Jason Williams is urging a federal court to unseal sworn testimony by the Rev. Lawrence Hecker, as well as records held in secret by the New Orleans Archdiocese about Hecker, saying his office needs them to bring potential criminal charges against the accused child molester. ‘The continued sealing of the documents in this case serves as a major impediment to a proper investigation,’ Williams wrote in a motion filed Tuesday (Jun. 6).” By David Hammer, WWL-TV4 News


Former Flint-area priest sentenced for 1987 sexual assault of five-year-old
“Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today (Jun. 14) announced that Vincent Delorenzo, 84, formerly of Flint, was sentenced to 365 days in jail and five years’ probation on one count of attempted criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, to which he pled guilty in April. In addition to his jail time and probation, Delorenzo is also mandated to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life, is ordered to engage in sex offender counseling, and may have no contact with his victims or any minor. Five victims of Delorenzo’s sexual abuse gave impact statements today in court.” By Michigan Department of Attorney General


Archdiocese of St. Louis settles sex abuse lawsuit for $1 million, one of the largest ever here
“The Archdiocese of St. Louis has agreed to pay roughly $1 million to a man who alleged he was sexually abused as a boy by a priest at Ascension Catholic Church in Chesterfield in the 1990s, an attorney for the plaintiff said. The settlement appears to be the second largest amount the archdiocese is known to have paid one single victim in a sexual abuse claim. Both settlements resulted from lawsuits alleging abuse by the same former priest, Gary P. Wolken, one of the first St. Louis-area clergy to plead guilty to sexual abuse since the crisis shook the Roman Catholic Church two decades ago.” By Nassim Benchaabane, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Sex abuse survivors dreaded priest’s return to Kansas City. They weren’t told he never arrived.
“Survivors were outraged last fall when they learned that a retired Wyoming bishop and former Kansas City priest facing numerous sexual abuse allegations would be moving back to the Kansas City area. And now, The Star has learned, Bishop Joseph Hart did not move back to the metro area after all — bringing more outrage to the survivors who were never informed of the change. ‘I don’t even know what to say,’ said Michael Sandridge, a victim of another credibly accused priest in the Kansas City area. ‘I feel deceived. They should have at least let people know. It’s called transparency.’” By Judy L. Thomas, The Kansas City Star

‘That’s when he raped me’: survivors of clergy abuse in Missouri screen documentary
“When Joe Eldred was a child, he was sexually abused by three Catholic priests while attending Nativity of Mary Catholic Church and the accompanying elementary school in Independence, Missouri. Eldred told his story in “Procession,” a documentary directed by Robert Greene that tells the story of six men who were abused by priests in the Catholic church. The documentary starts in Kansas City, Missouri, where much of the abuse occurred, and follows the survivors as they face their trauma and work to heal together.” By Sam Bailey, Missouri Independent


Priest convicted of raping boys claims innocence, stays in prison
“A former priest accused of systematically raping and sexually abusing boys at multiple parishes throughout the Albany diocese was recently denied parole and will remain in a Massachusetts prison, where he is serving a sentence of up to 25 years for raping two altar boys. Public records indicate that Gary Mercure, 75, was again rejected for parole last month, in part, because he continues to claim he is innocent. He was sentenced in February 2011 after being convicted of raping two boys that he drove from New York into Massachusetts during skiing trips. Mercure stands accused of raping many more boys, but New York’s statute of limitations has prevented his prosecution here.” By Brendan J.Lyons, Albany Times-Union

Buffalo Diocese seeks updated value of 37 properties as it looks to settle abuse claims
“More than three dozen Buffalo Diocese properties could soon be appraised for current values that ultimately may factor heavily into a settlement with sexual abuse claimants in the diocese’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case. Lawyers for the diocese are asking a federal judge to approve a request to hire KLW Appraisal Group to come up with valuations for 37 properties spread across six counties. The properties vary from 15 acres of vacant land in the Town of Hamburg near the Erie County Fairgrounds to a historically significant four-story office building in the heart of Buffalo’s medical corridor.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News


New York priest accused of repeatedly molesting minor in Fishtown pleads no contest to some charges, others dropped
“A Staten Island priest pleaded no contest to corruption of a minor and indecent assault on Friday (Jun. 9) after prosecutors said he sexually abused an underaged boy in Fishtown during the mid-2000s. The Rev. James Garisto, 74, faced several related charges after his arrest last year, but those charges were dropped, according to a spokesperson for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.” By Jesse Bunch, The Philadelphia Inquirer


After raid found 1000s of images, former R.I. priest pleads guilty to child pornography
“A former Providence Catholic priest pleaded guilty Thursday (Jun. 8) to a federal child pornography charge, days before his case was slated to head to trial. James W. Jackson, 68, a former pastor at St. Mary’s Church, admitted to a felony count of receiving child pornography before U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith. In exchange, Assistant U.S. Attorney John P. McAdams agreed to dismiss a charge of possessing child pornography. His trial had been set to start June 20.” By Katie Mulvaney, The Providence Journal


Abuse survivor shares her story after Catholic priests with Richmond tis were named in abuse investigation
“An abuse survivor is speaking out after several priests with ties to Richmond were named in an abuse investigation by the Maryland Attorney General … The four priests named in the investigation include Fathers John Bostwick, Francis Bourbon, Charles Jeffries Burton and Henry (John) O’Toole, all of whom served in the Richmond area at some point. 8News spoke with abuse survivor, Becky Iani, who said she was abused by Father William Reinecke between the ages of 8 and 12 years old.” By Rolynn Wilson, WRIC-TV8 News

Deceased priest found credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor by Richmond Diocese
“The Catholic Diocese of Arlington has been advised that an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against Msgr. Edward P. Browne was determined to be credible by the Diocese of Richmond’s Review Board.  Msgr. Browne died in August 2002; the allegation, which involved an incident that took place prior to the establishment of the Diocese of Arlington in 1974, was reported posthumously.” By Catholic Diocese of Arlington

Loudon County priest convicted of sex crime
“Scott Asalone, a former priest of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church was sentenced to eight years in prison for carnal knowledge of a 14 -year-old child. In addition to the prison sentence, Asalone is required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and have no contact with the victim. The incident occurred in 1985 when Asalone was 29 and the victim was 14. According to court documents, ‘Asalone was removed from public duties in 1993 and dismissed from the Order of Capuchin Friars in 2007.’” By Kaitlyn Dillin, WDBJ-TV7 News


Catholic Church fails to overturn $1.9m payout to victim of pedophile priest
“The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne has been dealt a blow in the Court of Appeal, which refused the church’s bid to overturn a $1.9 million damages payout to a victim of pedophile priest Desmond Gannon. The former altar boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is the first and only victim of clerical abuse to take their case against the archdiocese to trial and receive damages. However, the archdiocese’s legal team had argued the general damages awarded by Supreme Court judge Andrew Keogh in July last year were ‘manifestly excessive’ and sought to have them reduced.” By Cameron Houston, The Age

Australian abuse survivors fight to stop Catholic church’s ‘new type of cruelty’
Survivors are lobbying to change the law to prevent institutions unfairly using legal stays to stop them taking cases to trial — Steven thought he had nothing left for the Catholic church to take. The vile abuse he suffered as a 10-year-old at a Marist Brothers school in Coogee in Sydney’s east in 1973 had already stripped his future from him … Now Steven says he’s lucky not to be living on the streets, kept from homelessness by a spare bed at his parents’ house in the inner west of Sydney.” By Christopher Knaus, The Guardian


First study of clerical abuse in Brazil calls know cases ‘tip of the iceberg’
“An unprecedented new compendium of child abuse cases in the Brazilian Catholic Church has found that 108 members of the clergy victimized 148 children and teenagers since 2000. The authors, however, claim those totals are only the tip of the iceberg, and that many other cases are still to come to light. Sixty of the clerics identified in the study have been convicted of sex crimes and sentenced to prison terms, while dozens are still waiting for trial.” By Eduardo Campos Lima, Cruxnow.com


Oblates announce own investigation into Father Rivoire
“A Catholic missionary group has retained a retired Quebec Superior Court judge to lead an independent review of the sexual abuse allegations against one of its priests, Rev. Johannes Rivoire, who served in Nunavut decades ago. The Oblates of Mary Immaculate, OMI Lacombe Canada (part of a worldwide congregation of Oblate priests) and the Oblates of the Province of France announced the appointment Monday (Jun.12).” By Nunatsiaq News

Settlements end $100M clergy abuse lawsuit against Sault diocese
“A proposed class-action lawsuit launched by sexual abuse survivors on Manitoulin Island has been discontinued after 29 victims reached individual settlements. The $100-million claim was filed against the Jesuit Fathers of Upper Canada, also known as the English Canada Province, as well as the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Sault Ste. Marie, the estate of father George Epoch and the estate of Brother O’Meare.” By Jenny Lamothe, SooToday.com

Defrocked Canadian priest arrested on further sexual assault charges
“A defrocked Canadian priest and convicted sex offender is facing eight new criminal charges for past sexual assaults he allegedly committed while living in northern Canada, authorities said Wednesday (Jun 7). Iqaluit Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Eric Dejaeger, 76, was arrested on a Canada-wide warrant in Kingston, Ontario, where he was living. Police said he will be transported to Iqaluit, Nunavut, to appear on the charges before the Nunavut Court of Justice.” By The Associated Press on ABCNews.go.com

Little Grand Rapids wants Roman Catholic Church to leave amid sexual assault allegations, chief says
“The chief of a remote First Nation in eastern Manitoba says community members want the Roman Catholic church to leave in the wake of disturbing allegations a priest who works there sexually assaulted one child, and potentially several others as well. Chief Oliver Owen of Little Grand Rapids First Nation told CBC that’s the sentiment he heard during a regularly scheduled band meeting Tuesday (May 30).” By Josh Crabb, CBC News


SSPX priest sentenced to 20 years for abuse
“A priest of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) has been sentenced by a French court to 20 years in prison for the rape and sexual assault of 27 minors – 16 boys and 11 girls between 12 and 15 years old at the time. Some of Fr Pierre de Maillard’s victims were from the same family, sometimes abused in their parents’ homes, the jury trial in La Roche sur Yon, capital of the Vendée department of western France, was told. The sentence is one of the most severe penalties for clerical sex abuse handed down in France.” By Tom Heneghan, The Tablet


German court orders Cologne archdiocese to pay clergy abuse victim over $300,000
“A court on Tuesday (Jun. 13) ordered a German diocese to pay 300,000 euros ($323,000) in compensation to a former altar boy who was repeatedly abused by a Catholic priest in the 1970s, a ruling that a victims’ association said was the first of its kind in Germany. The state court in Cologne ruled in a case in which the plaintiff, a man now aged 62 who was raped and otherwise abused more than 300 times by a now-deceased priest, had sought 750,000 euros from the Cologne archdiocese, German news agency dpa reported. The archdiocese decided against invoking the statute of limitations in the case.” By Associated Press


The great Indian Catholic Church sex scandal: priests sexually expoiting nuns and Hindu women
“Oswald Gracias, the cardinal-archbishop of Bombay and a close advisor to Pope Francis, has been presented with graphic images of Indian Catholic priests in explicit poses with nuns and teachers, which were reportedly obtained by senior Indian priests. Lay leaders from the Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC) obtained these explicit pictures and presented them to Gracias on 14 April 2023. They threatened to release the photographs to the international media if the priests involved were not removed from their positions.” By TheCommuneMag.com


Church in Spain collects almost 1,000 complaints of sexual abuse since 1945
“The Catholic Church in Spain on June 1 presented the report ‘To shed light,’ which tallies 927 complaints of alleged sexual abuse of minors under 18 years of age or vulnerable people that occurred from 1945 to 2022. The report does not include situations involving the abuse of conscience and power or committed against adults. The report was ‘prepared from the testimonies that have been collected in the offices [of the protection of minors and abuse prevention], without assuming or proving innocence or guilt.’” By Nicolás de Cárdenas, Catholic News Agency