Voice of the Faithful Focus, Mar. 2, 2023

Mar. 2, 2023


New archive of Santa Fe clergy abuse documents hailed as unprecedented
“An unprecedented public archive of clergy sexual abuse documents is being established at the University of New Mexico thanks to a collaborative agreement between abuse survivors and the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. The archive, documenting one of the U.S. Catholic Church’s epicenters of sexual abuse and coverup, is the result of a commitment Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester made to the creditors’ committee that represented clergy sex abuse claimants in the archdiocese’s concluding Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.” By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola, National Catholic Reporter

The Catholic Church in crisis
“As the shockwaves of last week’s revelations about child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in Portugal subside somewhat, it is worth remembering that Catholicism has been at the forefront of atrocious behavior towards children for centuries. The Catholic Church has certainly not been the only religious or political entity involved in inhumane activity, and historical records are just a backdrop to the moral misconduct in recent decades that has at last been highlighted by those Catholics who have courageously lifted the veil of silence on abuse.” By Len Port, PortugalResident.com

New suit alleges San Diego Catholic diocese transferred assets to avoid sex abuse claims
“A law firm representing alleged sexual abuse victims in California is suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, claiming the diocese fraudulently moved around real estate assets in an attempt to hide its wealth and avoid paying child sex abuse claims. The suit, filed Tuesday (Feb. 21) by the Zalkin Law Firm in San Diego County Superior Court on behalf of more than 100 plaintiffs, alleges that the diocese transferred at least 291 real estate parcels, with a total tax-assessed value of more than $453 million, to parish corporations in order to defraud creditors at a time when the diocese was aware of ‘significant claims’ by victims of childhood sex abuse.” By Alejandra Molina, Religion News Service

Pope Francis has opened the door to real Church reform but hasn’t stepped through
“The 10th anniversary of the election of Pope Francis offers an opportunity to consider the contributions and missteps of this remarkable pontificate. As a comprehensive assessment is impossible, I will consider the related contributions of this pontificate to the theology, structure, and exercise of ministry and authority. From the beginning of his pontificate Francis has emphasized the priority of Christian baptism … For the pope, ‘laicity’ is not a negative term, identifying the non-ordained; rather it identifies the fundamental missionary calling conferred upon all of us in baptism.” By Richard Gaillardetz, National Catholic Reporter


Synod process in North America coming to close, shows ‘deep love for Jesus Christ and church,’ says bishop
“The latest phase of the 2021-24 Synod on Synodality is coming to a close, with a final document to be written over the next six weeks and submitted to the Vatican by March 31. On Feb. 17, the North American Synod Team, led by bishops from Canada and the United States, wrapped up a weeklong retreat in Orlando, Fla., to synthesize the results of synod listening sessions throughout the two countries. The team — eight bishops, three laywomen, two priests, two laymen and two women religious — spent time in prayer, discernment and discussion to distill responses for inclusion in the text, which forms a response to the Document for the Continental Stage issued by the Vatican’s general secretariat of the synod in October 2022.” By Gina Christian, OSV News, on CatholicReview.org

Is the Holy Spirit leading you – or driving you – into synodality?

“The question isn’t whether or not we are all going to be changed by the synodal process, which is what many people hope for and some others fear. The question is whether we trust in the divine action of the Holy Spirit among the body of Christ. Do we actually believe in the sensus fidelium, the ‘sense of the faithful’ that is a gift shared by all the baptized? Or do we mistakenly think that only ordained clergy or vowed religious or Christians of a certain ideological stripe have access to the inspiration of the Spirit?” By Daniel P. Horan, National Catholic Reporter

Francis & the ‘elitist’ German synod: why the pope’s criticism is so striking
“Pope Francis has given countless interviews, but over the past few years he has rarely spoken to the public at large about the ongoing synodal process that he initiated in 2021. One exception is the January 25 interview he gave to the Associated Press, in which he talked about the Synodal Path in Germany. He didn’t delve into the specifics of the calls for reform the German bishops are addressing, such as the teaching on sexuality, new roles for women in Church leadership and ministry, or new structures of governance.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal

Continent by continent, Pope’s Synod on Synodality gathers steam
“Around the world, Pope Francis’s Synod on Synodality is moving full steam ahead as bishops gather at the continental level to discuss the concerns and priorities of their local churches, ahead of a major gathering in Rome later this year. Formally opened by Pope Francis in October 2021, the Synod of Bishops on Synodality is officially titled, ‘For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission,’ and is a multi-stage process that will culminate in two Rome-based gatherings in October 2023 and October 2024.” By Elise Ann Allen, Cruxnow.com


Francis the reformer is rooted in Vatican II. Full stop.
“As we approach the 10th anniversary of the election of Pope Francis, his role as pastor shines through first and foremost, followed by his understanding of his role as teacher of the faith, specifically re-centering the core proclamation of God’s mercy. Both, in turn, shape the third aspect of this pontificate that warrants attention: Francis the reformer. To understand Francis as a reformer, it is first necessary to clean up a misunderstanding about his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. Some commentators and bishops have invoked Benedict’s 2005 address to the Curia to claim the pope demanded a ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ between the pre-Vatican II and post-Vatican II church. In fact, while Benedict deprecated a ‘hermeneutic of rupture,’ he called for a ‘hermeneutic of reform, of renewal in the continuity of the one subject-Church which the Lord has given to us.’” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

For 10 years, Pope Francis outlasts the conservative resistance
“The dubia cardinals. The “Pachamama” affair. The Viganò dossier. Regular criticisms of his pontificate on the Eternal Word Television Network. Pope Francis’ 10 years on the chair of St. Peter have been marked in large part by persistent criticisms and tenacious resistance from the conservative wing of the Catholic Church, particularly in the Anglophone world, where formerly ardent papal defenders have lashed out against the current pontiff in ways once thought unthinkable.” By Brian Fraga, National Catholic Reporter

As synodality summit looms, navigating a papacy’s imperial phase
“When Pope John Paul II marked his 25th year in office in 2003, American Catholic theologian Richard McBrien spoke for many liberal critics in opining that the pontiff’s legacy was decidedly mixed, with the biggest negative being ‘his re-centralization of authority in the papacy at the expense of the [Second Vatican Council’s] teaching on collegiality’ … The presumption in many quarters was that with the transition to the more progressive Pope Francis, the Vatican II vision of collegiality, meaning shifting control over many matters away from Rome and toward local bishops, finally would be realized.” By John Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

The Francis revolution: Over the past 10 years, the pope has recovered the church’s true power
“The path was signposted at the start, but looking back after 10 years, it can be seen more clearly: Pope Francis has sought a transformation of the internal life and culture of the Catholic Church, at the heart of which is a conversion of power … But as he has spent the past decade teaching and enabling, all true authority in the church is the participation in that same divine power. From Rome, through the college of bishops, and extending through the synods, to the whole church, the recovery of that divine power that serves has been the hallmark of his reform. And its fruits are visible.” By Austen Ivereigh

Pope Francis reaffirms authority of Vatican’s worship office to limit Latin Mass
“Pope Francis on Feb. 21 reaffirmed that the Vatican’s worship office has been given full authority to limit the celebration of the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass, in what may be seen as a major blow to some U.S. bishops seeking to circumvent the office’s decisions on the matter … In recent months, however, a number of U.S. bishops have cited a provision from the church’s Code of Canon Law, arguing that it allows for local bishops to offer a dispensation when deemed necessary for the good of their diocese. The pope’s latest clarification reiterates that such decisions must be approved by the Vatican’s worship office.” By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter


Former U.S. cardinal McCarrick seeks to dismiss sexual abuse case, citing dementia
“Lawyers for former Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick on Monday (Feb. 28) asked a Massachusetts judge to dismiss a criminal case charging him with molesting a 16-year-old boy in 1974, saying the 92-year-old is not mentally competent to face trial due to dementia. McCarrick, a former archbishop of Washington, D.C., last July became the only current or former U.S. Catholic cardinal to ever face child sex abuse charges after prosecutors charged him with three counts of indecent assault and battery.” By Nate Raymond, Reuters


Canadian bishops outline plans for reconciliation with indigenous peoples
“With 26 commitments across three separate pastoral letters, the Canadian bishops have, albeit only in broad strokes, outlined how they plan to honor a pledge to embark ‘into a new era of reconciliation’ with the nation’s indigenous peoples. The pastoral letters, released by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on Feb. 8, were sent to the First Nations, the Inuit of Canada, and Métis Indigenous Peoples. The commitments made vary slightly from letter to letter, but largely focus on deepening dialogue, working with community leaders to address social challenges, education, engaging indigenous youth and supporting advocacy efforts.” By John Lavenburg, Cruxnow.com


A shortage of Catholic priests is why the largest congregation in the U.S. is so big
“The largest Roman Catholic parish in the nation is now in California’s Central Valley. The recently opened St. Charles Borromeo congregation serves tens of thousands of worshippers each week. Church leaders say the size of the parish is caused in part by a shortage of priests.” By Esther Quintanilla, National Public Radio

A priesthood for all: Synodal church requires new look at ministry
“If the goal of a ‘synodal’ church is to have all the baptized recognize their responsibility for the life and mission of the Catholic community, Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet said that necessarily means taking a new look at priesthood. The cardinal, outgoing prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops, organized an international conference on the theology of priesthood in February 2022, which drew some 500 priests, religious and theologians to the Vatican. Yet one year later, he and other conference organizers said that coming to grips with the clerical abuse crisis and trying to promote a real understanding of the vocation of all the baptized — priests or laity — is an exercise that cannot be limited to priests and theologians.” By Justin McLellan, Catholic Review


Partners in mission: Dicastery promotes ‘co-responsibility’ of clergy, laity
“For too many Catholics, ordained or lay, the responsibilities of the laity are those ‘delegate’ by the priest or bishop. As the continental assemblies for the Synod of Bishops make clear that hot-button issues — like sexuality, climate change and the role of women in the church — are not going away, the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life is pointing at a more fundamental issue at stake in learning to be a ‘synodal church’: What responsibility comes from baptism and unites all Catholics? And, related to the synod’s goal of promoting a church where people listen to one another and work together to share the Gospel and care for the poor, the dicastery is asking: How do clergy and laity walk and work side by side?” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis: Laypeople are not guests in the Church
“The Church is a home that priests and laypeople need to care for together, Pope Francis said on Saturday (Feb. 18). ‘It is time for pastors and laypeople to walk together, in every area of the Church’s life, in every part of the world,’ he said in the Vatican’s New Synod Hall on Feb. 18. ‘The lay faithful are not ‘guests’ in the Church, they are at home, so they are called to take care of their own home,’ he said. ‘The laity, and especially women, need to be more valued in their human and spiritual skills and gifts for the life of parishes and dioceses.’” By Hannah Brockhaus, ACI Africa

Conference explores shared mission for clergy and laity
“Archbishop Christopher Prowse says a gathering at the Vatican this week will help clergy and lay people alike better understand how they can work together to carry out God’s mission. Archbishop Prowse, chair of the Bishops Commission for Evangelisation, Laity and Ministry, is attending the conference, which has the theme ‘Pastors and Lay Faithful Called to Walk Together.’ Clara Geoghegan, the Bishops Commission’s executive secretary, and Malcolm Hart, director of the National Centre for Evangelization, are also in Rome for the event.” By CathNews.com


Pope Francis: Conduct by some Church members have made Vatican trials ‘painfully necessary’
“Pope Francis said Saturday (Feb. 25) that Vatican trials for cases of grave financial mismanagement have become unavoidable in recent years. ‘The problem is not the trials, but the facts and conduct that determine them and make them painfully necessary,’ the pope told a group of Vatican magistrates on Feb. 25. ‘In fact,’ he added, ‘such behaviors by members of the Church seriously harm its effectiveness in reflecting divine light.’” By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency

Jesuits impose new restrictions on Rupnik as questions linger on Vatican role
“Pope Francis’s Jesuit order has decided to prohibit a prominent member, whose prized murals adorn churches and chapels around the world, from further artistic activity following fresh allegations of sexual misconduct. Slovene Jesuit Father Marko Ivan Rupnik, 68, has been accused of sexual misconduct with nuns and barred by his order from public ministry.” By Elise Ann Allen, Cruxnow.com


A shortage of Catholic priest is why the largest congregation in the U.S. is so big
“The largest Catholic congregation in the U.S. is now in California’s Central Valley. It serves more than 14,000 families. Its size correlates with the dramatically falling number of Catholic priests. The largest Catholic parish in the nation is now in California’s Central Valley. The recently opened St. Charles Borromeo congregation serves tens of thousands of Catholics each week. Church leaders say the size of the parish is caused in part by a priest shortage. From Valley Public Radio, Esther Quintanilla reports from Visalia.” By Esther Quintanilla, National Public Radio


Pope Francis reinforces centralization of Vatican finances
“In an apostolic letter on Thursday (Feb. 23), Pope Francis reaffirmed that the property and assets of the Holy See are ‘ecclesiastical public goods,’ not private property. ‘The universal destination of the Holy See’s assets gives them an ecclesiastical public nature,’ the pope wrote in the Feb. 23 motu proprio. ‘The entities of the Holy See acquire and use [the assets] not for themselves, like the private owner,’ he continued, ‘but, in the name and authority of the Roman Pontiff, for the pursuit of their institutional purposes, which are likewise public, and thus for the common good and at the service of the Universal Church.’” By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency

Indiana church employee sentenced after stealing $574k for gambling, vacations: ‘fueled by pure greed’
“A 72-year-old Indiana woman will spend two years in federal prison after transferring nearly $574,000 from a Catholic Church and its associated school to her personal accounts for gambling and month-long vacations. The Department of Justice announced Monday (Feb. 20) that Marie Carson, of Indianapolis, pleaded guilty to wire fraud after 13 years of handling money as a business manager for the parish … Carson was the sole staff member responsible for processing checks received from parishioners and conducting financial transactions on behalf of the church and school for over a decade.” By Elizabeth Pritchett, Fox News


As Francis reinforces limits on Latin Mass, it’s past time to embrace Vatican II
“The implementation of Traditionis Custodes, the motu proprio from Pope Francis that limited the celebration of the pre-Vatican II Latin liturgy or ‘extraordinary form,’ should not be so hard, should it? As I wrote at the time, the liberalization of access to the old rite that Pope Benedict XVI had granted in 2007 had become a movement, even an ideology, in which the legitimacy of the Second Vatican Council was increasingly questioned.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

A downward slide: how the Church got here on sex abuse
“Temptation works like gravity. When you’re trying to walk uphill, it pulls you downhill. Worse, at the bottom of the hill are places you think you want to go and at the top of the hill are places you don’t want to go — you want the place with the great ribs rather than the gym. It’s easier to go downhill, and you want to go downhill … We have a sad example in our own Church’s sex abuse scandal. The pain of publicly dealing with a predator could be avoided by not dealing with him, by not removing him from office and by not telling his people and possible victims — and therefore the newspapers and all the Church’s enemies — what he’d done.” By David Mills, U.S. Catholic


The Pa. House is back Tuesday to kick off ‘a week for the victims’
“The Pennsylvania House will return Tuesday (Feb. 21) for the first time in more than a month to vote on two measures to help childhood sexual abuse survivors seek justice from their abusers and the institutions that protected them. In what House Speaker Mark Rozzi (D., Berks) called ‘a week for the victims,’ he called the House back into a special session where they’ll be tasked with voting on only two bills: one that would propose an amendment to the state constitution and another that would change state law; both would create a two-year window for adult victims of childhood sexual assault to file civil lawsuits against their abusers or the institutions that protected them.” By Gillian McGoldrick, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Kanakuk survivors testify to support Seitz abuse bill
“Survivors and family members of victims of sexual abuse at Kanakuk camps testified at a hearing before the Missouri House Judiciary Committee regarding a bill proposed by local state Rep. Brian Seitz to change laws to help survivors of childhood sexual assault. The bill, H.B. 367, creates a cause of action for vulnerable victims to allow filing civil actions at any time before the victim is 55-years-old, and for situations which had been dismissed because of statute of limitation issues before the passage of the bill to be revived.” By Jason Wert, Branson News


Bills requiring clergy to report abuse disclosures won’t advance in Utah legislature
“House Minority Leader Angela Romero confirmed to FOX 13 News on Friday (Feb. 17) she’s been told her bill and others mandating clergy report abuse disclosures to law enforcement will not be advancing in the legislature. There were four bills introduced in the legislature on the topic following reports of sexual abuse within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints not being handed to law enforcement.” By Ben Winslow, FOX-TV13 News


Diocese of Sacramento considers bankruptcy due to sex abuse lawsuits
“For the second time this month, a California diocese has announced that bankruptcy is possible as it figures out how to best address hundreds of clergy sex abuse lawsuits. Bishop Jaime Soto announced Feb. 26 that the Diocese of Sacramento faces more than 200 lawsuits alleging the sexual abuse of minors, and that while nothing is set in stone, bankruptcy is one of multiple options being explored to adequately address the claims.” By John Lavenburg, Cruxnow.com

Church sex scandal widens: hundreds more Catholic clergy accused across California
“An NBC Bay Area analysis of nearly 700 lawsuits filed against Catholic institutions across Northern California over the past three years suggests the church’s child sexual abuse scandal in the region is significantly worse than the public previously knew. More than 200 of the clergy and lay employees of the Catholic Church named in the wave of lawsuits have never been publicly accused of being sexually abusive towards children and teenagers until now, NBC Bay Area’s investigation found. Some of the newly accused continue to work as priests.” By Candice Nguyen, Michael Bott, Mark Villarreal and Michael Horn, NBC-TV News


Benedictine order admits keeping cleric at Marmion Academy for years after child sex abuse accusations
“The Catholic religious order that runs Marmion Academy in Aurora is acknowledging for the first time that one of its members had ‘established allegations’ of child sex abuse in the 1970s and remained at the school for years. During that time, Brother Jerome Skaja was accused of more sexual misconduct involving minors. The Benedictines long hid the fact that Skaja, who died in 2016, had been accused of repeatedly sexually abusing a Marmion student in the 1980s, as the Chicago Sun-Times reported in October — and also that they reached a secret financial settlement with the accuser when he threatened to sue when he turned 18.” By Robert Herguth, Chicago Sun-Times


Judge upholds Maine law on retroactive lawsuits, says Catholic diocese challenge has a point
“A Maine judge has upheld a state law that retroactively eliminates the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse lawsuits, though he acknowledged that attorneys for the Catholic Diocese of Portland raised “serious” constitutional concerns in their legal challenge. Justice Thomas McKeon of Cumberland County Superior Court upheld a 2021 law that allowed retroactive legal claims regarding sexual abuse allegations.” By Kevin J. Jones, Catholic News Agency


Judge orders release of redacted report on child sex abuse in Baltimore Archdiocese
“Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Robert Taylor Jr. ruled Feb. 24 that a redacted version of the Maryland Attorney General Office’s report on child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore must be released publicly. The judge ordered the attorney general’s office to redact more than 200 names from the report and submit it to the court by mid-March. ‘Ever-aware of the pain endured by survivors of child sexual abuse, the archdiocese once again offers its sincere apologies to the victim-survivors who were harmed by a minister of the church and who were harmed by those who failed to protect them and who failed to respond to them with care and compassion,’ said Christian Kendzierski, archdiocesan spokesman.” By George P. Matysek, Jr., National Catholic Reporter


Five years after Buffalo Diocese sexual abuse scandal erupted, victims still waiting for compensation
“The lid on the Buffalo Diocese’s long-held secrets about clergy molesters was pried open in 2018 when a Catholic priest admitted he had sexually abused dozens of boys. Five years later, despite promises to do right by abuse victims, the diocese has not paid a penny in damages to an estimated 900 people who filed claims alleging they were sexually abused by priests or other diocese employees. Despite pledges of greater transparency, the diocese has yet to make public internal documents on its handling of abuse cases. And no one connected with the diocese has been charged with any crimes related to child sex abuse or its cover-up in the past five years.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Buffalo diocese substantiates abuse allegations against two priests
Allegations of sexual abuse of a minor were substantiated against two Catholic priests in the Diocese of Buffalo Friday (Feb. 17). Rev. Daniel Palys and Rev. Msgr. Ronald Sciera were previously removed from ministry following allegations of abuse, according to the diocese. Both priests are now retired. Rev. Palys was removed from ministry in 2018 as result of an allegation of abuse that had been substantiated. Msgr. Sciera was placed on administrative leave in September 2021.” By Sean Mickey, WKBW-TV7 News


Group demonstrates on behalf of victims in Chickashaw
“A group of five demonstrators gathered on Sunday morning in support of abuse victims in the Chickasha community. The group’s spokesperson, Christopher Coutts, said the group gathered in support of victims from all walks of life who have been abused. ‘We are here today to stand for victims of all kinds, whether it be mental abuse, physical abuse or sexual abuse. We do not care your identify, your age, your race, your sex, your beliefs, your politics,’ Coutts said. ‘It is simply that the citizens of our town deserve better than to be abused in any way shape or form.’” By Jessica Lane, The Express Star


Harrisburg Diocese’s bankruptcy case ends with $18M trust for victims of clergy sex abuse
“A federal bankruptcy court on Wednesday (Feb. 18) approved a plan calling for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg to establish an $18 million trust to pay settlements with victims of clergy sex abuse. The so-called reorganization plan approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania also establishes stipulated child protection protocols.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com


Men claim in lawsuit that Texas nun gave them alcohol before priest abused them as children
Two men have sued the Catholic Diocese of Dallas and a charity in Texas over the alleged cover-up of their sexual assault. The victims, who have not been named in the lawsuit filed last week, say they were sexually assaulted by Reverend Henry McGill at the Dunne Memorial Home for Boys orphanage between 1962 and 1971, the Dallas Morning News reported. They claimed a nun by the name of Sister Mary Bridgette would give them alcohol before leaving them in a dark basement, where they were then assaulted.” By Andrea Blanco, Independent.co.uk


Victims urge debate, though Utah child sex abuse reporting bills may be dead
“Several plans to change state law on clergy reporting of child sex abuse, including one that would remove the ‘clergy exemption,’ seem dead at the Utah State Capitol — though two child abuse victims, one of them a rabbi, urged the measures get a hearing in the waning days of the legislative session.” By Brian Mullahy, KUTV-TV14 News


Senate panel gets first look at bill to scrap clergy exempions for reporting child abuse and neglect
“A proposal to do away with clergy exemptions for reporting child abuse and neglect got a first look Wednesday (Feb.22) from a Vermont Senate committee. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee took no action on the bill, S.16, after listening to several witnesses speak about it. The senators said they wanted to hear from more witnesses, including constitutional scholars. Vermont law says members of the clergy are obligated to report abuse and neglect, but the law adds exemptions for what they learn while hearing a confession or acting as a spiritual adviser.” By Alan J. Keays, Vt. Digger


Former DeForest church staffer enters guilty plea in sexual abuse case
“A former St. Olaf Church staff member accused of sexual misconduct with a young parishioner pleaded guilty to a single count of child enticement in a Feb. 20 hearing, with sentencing to be decided in April. Rajnal Rehmat, 31, entered the plea in a hearing in Dane County Circuit Court on Monday. As part of a plea agreement, a separate charge of sexual assault was dismissed, but read into the record. Prosecutors agreed not to seek additional charges, while seeing a sentence of two years in prison and three years of extended supervision. Sentencing will be decided in an April 5 hearing.” By Johathan Stefonek, DeForest Times-Tribune


Serial pedophile priest charged with indecent assault
“Pedophile priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale has been charged with indecently assaulting a boy during the late 1980s. Ridsdale, who has sexually assaulted dozens of child victims, was excused from appearing in Horsham Magistrates Court on Monday (Feb. 20). The 89-year-old is facing one charge over an allegation he indecently touched the child at St Brigid’s College in Horsham between July 1987 and May 1988. Ridsdale, who is behind bars, is due to face Ballarat Magistrates Court on March 2.” By Melissa Meehan, The Canberra Times


Court dismisses Vatican from church sex abuse lawsuit
“The Vatican has been dismissed from a sexual abuse lawsuit filed by an alleged victim of disgraced former archbishop Anthony Apuron. The Guam District Court found that the Holy See is absolved of certain responsibilities by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. But the 35-page decision and order does provide explicit details of the allegations against the now-defrocked Apuron. The Holy See, also commonly referred to as the Vatican, was one of several Catholic Church defendants in the lawsuit, which alleged that it was aware of numerous similar sexual abuse acts by then-Archbishop Apuron, and should share in the responsibility.” By Nestor Licanto, KUAM News


Future Pope John Paul II allowed priest to return to work after child sex abuse conviction
“The future Pope John Paul II allowed a priest to return to priestly duties after he had served a prison sentence for self-confessed multiple cases of sexually abusing 10- and 11-year-old girls, according to archival documents and interviews published in a new book. The revelations come amid debate in Poland over the legacy of John Paul II – a national hero not only for his spiritual leadership but also for the role he played in inspiring opposition to the communist regime – with regard to historical abuse cases in the Catholic church.” By NotesfromPoland.com