Voice of the Faithful Focus, Nov. 17, 2023

Nov. 17, 2023


Texas bishop loudly critical of the pope is removed
“Pope Francis fired on Saturday (Nov.11) a bishop in Texas who was one of his loudest American critics within the Catholic Church, a highly rare dismissal that appeared to reflect the growing rift between the Vatican and a more conservative wing of the church. The Vatican did not cite a reason for the dismissal of the bishop, Joseph Strickland, saying in a statement only that the pope ‘relieved’ Bishop Strickland from the governance of his diocese in Tyler, Texas.” By Ruth Graham and Jason Horowitz, The New York Times

Religious superiors from around the world meeting in Rome to prevent abuse
“The Unions of Superiors and Superiors General (UISG-USG) have organized an in-person workshop taking place in Rome from Nov. 6–10 with the aim of ‘creating a culture of protection within religious congregations.’ A total of 132 representatives of the 90 male and female religious congregations are participating in the event and are members of the Union of Superiors General and the International Union of Superiors General.” By Andrés Henriquez, Catholic News Agency

A good start for the Synod … but still too much of the ‘rabbi, father, teacher’
“In this past Sunday’s (Nov. 5) Gospel, Jesus addresses the people and his disciples: ‘You must not allow yourselves to be called Rabbi…. You must call no one on earth your father … Nor must you allow yourselves to be called teachers…’ Do not be guided by those like the scribes and Pharisees: ‘All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels … As scripture scholar Brendan Byrne writes in his book Lifting the Burden: ‘Scarcely any injunction of the Lord has been so ignored as this ruling out of titles and, by extension, accoutrements of dress and ceremonial.’” By Frank Brennan, Commonweal

The biased spotlight on sex abuse in Catholic Church
“In the realm of sexual crimes, a stark contrast exists in the level of media attention and public awareness when the perpetrators wear different hats, specifically, the robes of the Catholic Church versus the more secular attire of public school teachers or individuals from diverse spiritual beliefs. When allegations of sexual misconduct arise within the Catholic Church, the media responds with a resounding uproar that reverberates globally. Cases involving Catholic priests make headlines, sparking international outrage, and prompting discussions about accountability and reform.” By UCANews.com


GOP legislator blocks bill requiring clergy to report child sex abuse
“An Arizona Republican is refusing to require clergy to report confessions of child abuse despite a horrific case involving the Mormon Church. A Bisbee father of six admitted to his bishop during a counseling session that he was raping his then-5-year-old daughter, but court records show that Bishop John Herrod, and then his replacement Bishop Robert “Kim” Mauzy, were advised by attorney Merrill Nelson not to alert anyone outside the church — and the man then started raping his 6-week-old daughter, reported the Arizona Republic.” By Travis Gettys, RawStory.com


Australia’s Archbishop Costelloe: Cardinal Newman’s ‘development of doctrine’ is key to understanding the Synod
“‘I don’t think we experienced the inversion of the pyramid model of the church at the synod; rather we experienced a different model altogether of the church,’ the Australian archbishop Timothy Costelloe, S.D.B., one of the president delegates of the synod, told America’s Vatican correspondent in this exclusive interview in Rome on Oct. 30 … In this interview, which has been edited for clarity and length, he described ‘being a synodal church’ as ‘an experience’ that ‘we have to live in order to understand it.’’ By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

The synodal journey continues, but course corrections are needed
“The first assembly of the Synod on Synodality in October left us with some important certainties as well as a few uncertainties. One of the certainties is that synodality is not an experiment (even if the form of the recent assembly is somewhat experimental). Indeed, synodality is a long-forgotten way for the Church to gather, listen, and make decisions in the service of the Gospel. It is a moment of ressourcement in the tradition of the Church—a reconnection with an important and very real part of its past.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal

Synodal surprises: the rise of Catholic Africa / a sign of things to come
“As stated, in a previous article in July, ‘regardless of how the Synod of Synodality turns out, disappointment is the only certain outcome for all involved.’ And considering the responses from those hoping for significant change within the Church, the above statement appears prophetic, or at least partially so. Of all the contingents involved, one seemed to exert an uncommonly strong influence over the final document released by Synod of Synodality (SoS). This group, with its strong commitment to Catholic orthodoxy and orthopraxy, represents the future of the global Catholic Church. This group also stands in direct opposition to the pro-sexual liberation/identity political crowd in Western Europe and their allies within the Church.” By Dennis Knapp, Patheos

Fifteen hidden gems in the Synod on Synodality report
“At the Synod on Synodality, the Western media focused on a limited number of hot-button issues — women’s ordination, married priests and blessing of gay couples. But hidden in the synod participants’ 40-page synthesis are some surprising gems that could lead to significant reform in the church. The first is a new stress on lay involvement. Compared with other Christian churches, the Catholic Church is very hierarchical. This synod, especially the conversations at roundtables, was structured so that lay voices, including women and young people, were heard and respected.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service

‘This is the Church we are called to dream’ – Synod analysis
The document released at the conclusion of the first of the two-part climax to the Synod process points toward a profound shake-up of the Church. Its proposals include an expanded role for women in ministry, making lay involvement in decision-making mandatory, an overhaul of the seminary system, and a revision of the Church’s Code of Canon Law.  On women deacons, the Synod agreed that this issue needs more discernment and asked that the findings of previous papal commissions on the issue be presented to the concluding assembly in October 2024.” By Christopher Lamb, The Tablet

Synod on Synodality report is disappointing but not surprising
“For Pope Francis, the first session of the synod on synodality was never about resolving the controversial issues facing the church. Even so, there were those who hoped for forward motion on married priests, women deacons and LGBTQ issues. They will be disappointed by the final report issued by the synod on Oct. 28. For Francis, it was not about the hot-button topics. It was always about the synodal process, which he hoped would overcome divisions in the church and recommit us to the mission of Jesus — of proclaiming the Gospel of the Father’s love and compassion for all of humanity and the Earth.” By Thomas Reese, National Catholic Reporter

Synodality, hierarchy, and the clericalizing of the laity
Leveling hierarchical distinctions in the Church without removing them entirely has emerged as a principal objective of Pope Francis’ Synod on Synodality. That is perhaps the chief conclusion to be drawn from the first session of the Synod, which took place October 4-29 at the Vatican … Advance speculation had focused on whether the Synod would address hot-button issues like ordaining women and giving blessings to same-sex couples. But although these topics were discussed—though no consensus was reached—the Synod’s more immediate goal was the less dramatic, but in the long run arguably more significant, objective of cutting back on clergy-only hierarchy.” By Russell Shaw, The Catholic World Report

10 top takeaways from the synthesis report and why they matter
“The Synod on Synodality’s first session at the Vatican has concluded, with its results wrapped up in a 41-page ‘half-time report’ for the entire church to digest, reflect on and give feedback ahead of the synod’s final session in Rome next October. The report, a synthesis of the Oct. 4-29 meeting, is fundamentally an instrument for discernment, and it is designed to elicit further reflection and response from the whole church. The synod’s next session in Rome will have the task of making decisions about what concrete proposals to present before the pope. Ultimately, the pope will decide what to implement coming out of the Synod on Synodality.” By Peter Jesserer Smith, The Catholic Review


Pope Francis’ approach to theology continues reception of Vatican II
“Pope Francis recently issued a short apostolic letter motu proprio titled ‘Ad Theologiam Promovendam.’ The text introduces new statutes for the Pontifical Academy of Theology and, in so doing, captures some of the essential reforms Francis has initiated. In a sense, this document achieves at the theoretical level what the Holy Father said in a more specific form in his recent responses to some dubia submitted by five intransigent cardinals … The pope’s intention is clear: Theology, like doctrine, must serve the church’s primary goal, the salvation of souls. To achieve this, it must be engaged in the world it seeks to evangelize, and not just engaged intellectually.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Pope calls for ‘contextual theology’ that responds to modern questions
“Calling for a major push toward developing a ‘fundamentally contextual theology, capable of reading and interpreting the Gospel in the conditions in which men and women live each day,’ Pope Francis has approved new statutes for the Pontifical Theological Academy … In an apostolic letter issued ‘motu proprio,’ on his own initiative, Nov. 1, Pope Francis said that in a ‘synodal, missionary and outgoing church,’ theologians must also dialogue with other sciences and with members of other religions and that helping Catholics have a deeper understanding of the faith will be possible only if theology grapples with their questions and concerns.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, on CatholicChicago,com

Pope Francis talks Synod on Synodality and homosexuality in new interview
“Pope Francis answered two questions about the Synod on Synodality, including on the topic of homosexuality, in an interview with Italian state television RAI on Wednesday (Nov. 1). Asked about the synod assembly’s discussion of homosexuality, Pope Francis said: ‘When I say ‘everyone, everyone, everyone,’ [I’m speaking about] people. The Church receives people. Everyone. And it does not ask how you are. Then, inside, everyone grows, but from a Christian belonging.’” By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency


Cardinal Pierre on why U.S. bishops are struggling to connect with Pope Francis
“Cardinal Christophe Pierre has been apostolic nuncio to the United States since 2016 and, at Pope Francis’ request, he will continue in this role for the foreseeable future, he told America’s Vatican correspondent in an exclusive interview in Rome in early October. The newly created cardinal described Francis as ‘a man of vision’ and ‘a man of prayer’ and as the one ‘chosen by the Holy Spirit’ to lead the church at this moment in history. He also spoke about his experience as nuncio in the United States. Cardinal Pierre said he was ‘shocked’ to learn that many U.S. Catholic bishops did not know that synodality had developed in South America in the last few decades and are still struggling to understand what it is.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review


https://apnews.com/article/catholic-bishops-unity-baltimore-meeting-bb937e3e22f2034c20184954cc9df5d6 “Catholic leaders called for peace in a war-torn world and unity amid strife within their own clerical ranks on Tuesday (Nov. 14), as U.S. bishops gathered in Baltimore for their annual fall meeting. The meeting came soon after two actions by Pope Francis that illustrated the divisive challenges facing the Catholic Church – removing one of his harshest conservative critics from his role as bishop of Tyler, Texas, and releasing a document conveying a more welcoming stance to transgender people than the official positions of the U.S. bishops.” By Tiffany Stanley and Peter Smith, Associated Press

Vatican ambassador urges U.S. bishops to embrace synod on synodality
“The Vatican’s ambassador to the U.S. urged the nation’s Catholic bishops on Nov. 14 to step out of their ‘comfort zones’ and embrace the open-ended discussions at Pope Francis’ Synod of Bishops as the way forward for the global church. In a 20-minute opening address to the bishops’ annual fall assembly here, Cardinal Christophe Pierre told the prelates that Francis’ vision of a synodal church where all members listen to one another is ‘essential to evangelization.’” By Brian Fraga, National Catholic Reporter

Bishops open fall assembly with prayer, reflection, Mass for peace
“Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services, who is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, led his brother bishops in prayer for wisdom as they began their fall plenary assembly in Baltimore Nov. 13 with a Mass for peace. The archbishop was the homilist for the Mass at the historic Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the first Catholic cathedral in the United States. The Mass followed a morning of prayer, reflection and confession.” By OSV News

Synod expected to be major discussion item at U.S. bishops’ fall meeting
“A little more than two weeks after Pope Francis wrapped up the first of his two major Rome summits on the future of the Catholic Church, the U.S. bishops will meet for their fall assembly in Baltimore Nov. 13-16 and are expected to discuss the four-week event. The American prelates will have a packed agenda for their gathering, which also includes a vote to implement a new framework for Indigenous ministry, reauthorizing their anti-racism committee, and likely approval of parish bulletin inserts about Catholics’ responsibilities in political life, for use ahead of the 2024 presidential election.” By Brian Fraga, National Catholic Reporter

Podcast: Does the Synod threaten bishops’ authority
“The Synod on Synodality has major implications on the Catholic church’s structures and its hierarchical nature. One of the synod’s goals is to implement the vision of the church laid out at the Second Vatican Council, and to ask what structural changes might be necessary to make that vision a reality, and how the formation of people at every level of the church needs urgent review. Ecclesiologist and theologian Catherine Clifford, a professor at the University of Ottawa, was a full, voting member of the Synod on Synodality, representing North America. She joined host Colleen Dulle in Rome near the end of the synod to explain what happened and what is coming over the next 11 months.” By Colleen Dulle, Inside the Vatican, America: The Jesuit Review


Notre Dame program aims to help priests, seminarians minister to abuse victims
“A new offering from the University of Notre Dame’s McGrath Institute for Church Life aims to help seminaries and dioceses strengthen formation programs, particularly in pastoral ministry to victim-survivors of sexual abuse. ‘Fully Equipped for Every Good Work: A Proposal of Twelve Core Competencies in Ministering to Survivors of Sexual Abuse for Seminary,’ outlines twelve competencies for seminaries to adopt for seminarians to demonstrate before they’re ordained.” By John Lavenburg, Cruxnow.com

Major survey finds ‘conservative’ and ‘orthodox’ priests on the rise
“The new analysis of a study that claims to be the largest national survey of Catholic priests conducted in more than 50 years has found, among other things, that priests describing themselves as ‘progressive’ are practically going ‘extinct’ among U.S. seminary graduates, with the vast majority of young ordinands describing themselves as conservative and orthodox.” By Jonah McKeown, Catholic News Agency

The joys and sufferings of a priest, and how laypeople can help
“As a psychologist, I primarily work with priests, and I am constantly fascinated by how different their lives are yet how normal their struggles are. The research available on clergy mental health is quite mixed. Some research suggests priests’ mental health is in a state of crisis, while others state they are psychologically thriving. Research from Msgr. Stephen Rossetti suggests priests are happy in general but experience high stress, and their rates of mental health problems are probably like the general population.” By Jim Langley, Denver Catholic


How has the synodal process affected Catholic sisters?
“The Synod of Bishops on synodality just completed the first of two major assemblies. The synodal process has the potential to impact the entire church, including women religious. For the final question to this panel, Global Sisters Report asked: How has the synodal process affected you, your parish, or your community? What hopes do you have for the synod? Responses have been edited for clarity. We will debut a new crop of panelists later this month.” By Life Panelists, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

‘Process is key’: sisters respond to document from synod’s first session
“The first Vatican session for the synod on synodality, Pope Francis’ multiyear summit on the future of the Catholic Church, was both fruitful and profound, women religious say, but it also had missed opportunities … ‘I won’t use the term success, but it has been fruitful. It’s a new state in the experience of synodality — there was a lot of grace, it was a time of joy,’ said Xavière Missionary Sr. Nathalie Becquart, an undersecretary of the Vatican’s Synod of Bishops office, which made her not only a voting participant but a member of the synod itself.” By Dan Stockman, National Catholic Reporter


Women played an unprecedented role at the Pope’s synod. Will it make any difference?
“Last month, some four hundred and fifty Catholic leaders from around the world—cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests and nuns, professors and students, laymen and women—came together in Rome for four weeks of structured conversations. It was one phase of an effort that began with national surveys of Catholics, in 2021, and will conclude in Rome next fall. The whole thing is known as the Synod on Synodality, after a Greek term for coming together. Pope Francis, who called for the synod, opened and closed the proceedings with Masses at St. Peter’s’s Basilica and, on many days, joined the conversations, which were held in the Vatican audience hall.” By Paul Elie, The New Yorker

A Tribute to the Women of the Synod
“For the first time in the history of the Roman Catholic Church, women participated as co-equals with their ordained brothers and voted at the Synod. This is a moment that will forever change the Church as it opens itself to the richness of women’s faith, courage, and love. May their work and memory live on!” By FutureChurch

Synodality is impossible without women’s voices and vote
“On April 6, I had the privilege of joining a group of 70 people for a private audience with Pope Francis in Rome. This delegation was organized jointly by Catholic Extension and St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. This delegation comprised cardinals, lay people, Hispanic women religious serving in impoverished dioceses in the United States, as well as people invited by the Catholic Extension team. On the same day as the private audience with the pope, hours later, the Vatican released the groundbreaking news. Pope Francis declared that women and laypeople would be allowed to participate with voice and vote during the Synod of Bishops in October, signifying a momentous change.” By María Elena Méndez Ochoa, Global Sister Report, National Catholic Reporter


Independent audit finds diocese in full compliance with child protection guidelines
For the 21st consecutive year, independent auditors have found the Diocese of Allentown in full compliance with national guidelines designed to protect children from abuse. The Charter for Protection of Children and Young People was adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002. Among other things, it calls for annual audits to ensure that dioceses are meeting its strict requirements. Auditors from StoneBridge Business Partners of Rochester, New York, recently completed their inspection of the Diocese’s actions, procedures, policies, and records.” By Diocese of Allentown on ad-today.com


What African theologians will mean to the future of the Catholic Church
“In August 2014, I had the opportunity while working as an editor at Orbis Books to attend the second of three annual conferences in Nairobi, Kenya of the Theological Colloquium on Church, Religion and Society in Africa. After the first of those conferences, A. E. Orobator—one of the event’s organizers—noted in America that among those participating in the conference, ‘the majority received their doctorates in theology less than five years ago. This means that a new generation of African theologians has emerged, primed to receive the mantle from the more seasoned generation of theologians who negotiated the transition from a colonial church to a truly African church, but ready to steer this church in a new and exciting direction.’” By James T. Keane, America: The Jesuit Review


Catholic dioceses are declaring bankruptcy. Abuse survivors say it’s a ‘way to silence’ them
“In Oakland, California, the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Christ the Light is difficult to miss. Towering over Lake Merritt in the heart of the city, its modernist glass dome reflects the East Bay sun in all directions. The building, which was completed in 2008 and financed by the Roman Catholic diocese of Oakland, cost $175m. But that price tag confounds Joseph Piscitelli. In the 1970s, Piscitelli attended a Catholic high school in nearby Richmond, where, from the age of 14, he experienced repeated sexual abuse at the hands of his vice-principal, an ordained priest. For decades, Piscitelli experienced nightmares and panic attacks. Friends who had also been abused turned to drugs and alcohol, and several took their own lives.” By Robin Buller, The Guardian

Baltimore’s Archbishop Lori: bankruptcy was the only way to compensate abuse victims and continue our ministries
“In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI appointed me archbishop of Baltimore, the oldest diocese in the United States. I consider it an honor and a privilege to have been entrusted with the spiritual care of the faithful of what is known as the birthplace of Catholicism in the United States … On Sept. 29, (2023), I announced the historic decision to seek Chapter 11 reorganization under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code … But in the end, the decision was easy because it was the only clear path that will allow the archdiocese to both equitably compensate victims (though no compensation can fully undo their pain) and continue its ministries, as is my canonical responsibility to ensure.” By William E. Lori, America: The Jesuit Review

Financial investigation taking place in Catholic Diocese of Youngstown parishes
“The Catholic Diocese of Youngstown announced in a press release Sunday (Nov. 12) that there is an ongoing review of financial irregularities at two Youngstown Diocese parishes: Saint Joseph Parish in Alliance and Divine Mercy Parish in Massillon. The release states the investigation began in December when concerns were uncovered at Saint Joseph Parish related to the time that Father Maciej ‘Matthew’ Mankowski was pastor from 2011 to 2021 but then expanded to Divine Mercy Parish, where Father Mankowski was then the pastor.” By Laurel Stone, WKBN-TV27 News


Priests must be like fathers and not spinsters, say Pope on celibacy
“Pope Francis has said that a change in the Catholic Church’s rule on celibacy will not solve difficulties in the Church because the deeper problem is of priests behaving like spinsters instead of fathers … He reminded Italian journalist Gian Marco Chiocci, director of Italy’s TG1 television channel, that celibacy is a discipline rather than a doctrine and can therefore be changed.” By The Catholic Herald


The Catholic synod offers little hope for real change in the Church
“The Roman Catholic Church made history this year by allowing women to vote in a synod for the first time in 2,000 years. This ‘victory’ was dubious, as the voting was on a consensus document that did not advance anything and even managed to backburner several important issues, like LGBTIQ+ inclusion, that figured in the reports leading up to the meeting. At a conference of progressive Catholics held in Rome at the same time, former president of Ireland Mary McAleese observed: ‘Equality is a right, not a favor. The women attending the Synod on Synodality are there as a favor, not as a right.’’ By Mary E. Hunt, WomensMediaCenter.com

‘Why do I stay?’ A young Catholic feminist on a church plagued by scandal
“My first thought: ‘Why do I, a young woman and a feminist, stay in a church mired in scandal?’ Two days later, on Oct. 27, the Vatican admitted that there were “serious problems in the handling of the Fr. Marko Rupnik case” and lifted the statute of limitations on his alleged abuses to allow a review process to take place. That is all well and good—I pray that justice is done—but it does not change the fact that Father Rupnik’s case is an all-too-familiar instance of the ugliest kind of clericalism.” By Delaney Coyne, America: The Jesuit Review

Can the entire church be run like a religious order? Should it?
“The Synod on Synodality has worked its way through the questions set for it to consider by the people of God. The responses by participants to the consultations initiated by Pope Francis two years ago are now being read and studied. Now might be an opportune time to consider what unasked questions may be raised by how our conception of synodality is developing. One theme that has been emerging is the extent to which the synod looked toward the church’s great religious institutes such as the Jesuits, Benedictines, Franciscans and Dominicans as models of what synodality within the universal church may look like.” By Scott Smith, America: The Jesuit Review

Father James Martin: the good (and bad) spirits I experienced at the Synod
“My experience of the synod was far more than the thrill of sitting with church leaders from around the world. It was also a spiritual journey, some of which I’d like to share—without breaking confidence. I’ve already written about what happened exteriorly, but I thought I might share what it was like from an interior point of view and how I experienced the ‘good spirits’ and the ‘evil spirits,’ to use some Jesuit terminology (or ‘counterspirits,’ a phrase I heard last month) at work. I offer this … to bring you into the spirit of the month. So here are eight words that I feel best evoke the spiritual movements that I felt during the Synod of Bishops.” By James Martin, S.J., America: The Jesuit Review


Maine’s Catholic church, victims of child sex abuse argue law’s constitutionality before state’s Supreme Court
“But they weren’t there for a jury trial. Instead, they watched as seven Maine Supreme Judicial Court justices questioned their lawyers about a 2021 state law that scrapped the statute of limitations for civil claims of childhood sexual abuse and allowed them to file dozens of lawsuits against the church leaders and the institution itself. ‘I don’t think I’ve seen this many people in the courtroom before for Law Court arguments,’ Chief Justice Valerie Stanfill said at one point.’ By Emily Allen, Portland Press Herald


Abuse charges against U.S. ecclesial movement leader deemed credible
“An ecclesial movement has just admitted its former U.S. leader has been credibly accused of sexual and psychological abuse against young adults and minors over more than two decades. Christopher Bacich, who headed up Communion and Liberation in the U.S. from March 2007 until August 2013, was the “sole perpetrator” of abuse against “multiple victims,” according to an Oct. 31 statement issued by Father Michael Carvill, the movement’s current head, and Steve Brown, president of the New York-based Human Adventure Corporation, a nonprofit that coordinates the movement’s activities in the U.S.” By Gina Christian, OSV News, on UCANews.com


Legislator wants to change the right of confession to allow priests to disclose child abuse by parishioners
“A first-term Democratic lawmaker wants to enact an exception to state laws that allow clergy to refuse to disclose what was told to them in confession or similar confidential communication. But Rep. Stacey Travers of Phoenix has so far run into a procedural wall. Rep. Quang Nguyen, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, where her bill was assigned earlier this year, refused to even give it a hearing. And the Prescott Republican told Capitol Media Services that he’s not prepared to allow the bill to proceed in 2024, even if it deals only with cases of child abuse and neglect.” By Howard Fischer, White Mountain Independent


Bay area priests accused of child molestation remain in active ministry
“A San Mateo priest accused of molestation in a lawsuit is one of two accused clergy who remain in active ministry with the Archdiocese of San Francisco as the church faces renewed questions over how it responds to sexual abuse allegations. The lawsuit, filed in Alameda County in November 2022, alleges Father Linh Tien Nguyen sexually abused a former altar boy and student of St. Pius Catholic Church and School in Redwood City between approximately 2005 and 2008.” By Alex Hall, KQED.org National Public Radio

Calaveras DA’s decision to drop charges against Catholic priest under review by attorney general
“The Office of the California Attorney General said Monday (Nov. 6) night that it will review the Calaveras County district attorney’s decision to dismiss sexual assault charges against a Catholic priest. In a letter sent to CBS Sacramento, Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office said the victim’s mother requested an official review after District Attorney Barbara Yook dropped all charges against Father Michael Kelly. The move came after the victim Kelly allegedly abused died in 2016. Bonta’s office will now review that decision. Kelly was held liable for sex abuse in a separate civil trial back in 2012 when he was with the Stockton diocese. Kelly has since moved to Ireland.” By Richard Ramos, CBS-TV13 News


Florida Supreme Court won’t hear South Florida priest abuse case
“The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday (Nov. 2) rejected a request by the Archdiocese of Miami to take up a dispute involving allegations that a priest sexually abused a child. Justices, as is common, did not explain their reasons for declining to hear the case. The archdiocese wanted justices to review a decision by the 3rd District Court of Appeal that allowed the alleged victim to pursue a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress against the archdiocese.” By CBS-TV News Miami


Catholic archdiocese bankruptcy process moves forward as injunction pausing claims remains in place
The Archdiocese of Baltimore will need to disclose more of its ‘third party’ assets like schools and parishes during its bankruptcy case. The Archdiocese filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September ahead of a new law that went into effect in October. The Child Victims Act eliminated the statute of limitations in child sexual abuse claims. ‘They need to be accountable for their lies,’ abuse survivor Teresa Lancaster said outside court Monday (Nov. 6). ‘It’s the church that made this happen that enabled the rapists to continue. The church, the property of the church, needs to be responsible.’” By Paul Gessler, CBS-TV News Baltimore

Clergy abuse victims ask Baltimore bankruptcy judge to reconsider ban on lawsuits against Catholic parishes, schools
“A committee representing clergy abuse survivors is asking a federal bankruptcy judge to reconsider her order barring lawsuits against Catholic schools and parishes as part of the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Parishes and schools are technically not assets of the archdiocese, despite Archbishop William E. Lori having control over whether they can be bought or sold, but were granted protection from lawsuits because the archdiocese insures them. In early October, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Michelle Harner issued an interim injunction on lawsuits against entities covered by archdiocesan insurance policies (known as covered parties). Harner determined those policies are assets of the corporation that makes up the archdiocese, meaning any lawsuit would inevitably draw down on insurance monies in order to pay legal fees and settlements.” By Lee O. Sanderlin, Baltimore Sun, in The Frederick News-Post

St. Benedict Catholic Church will no longer hold Mass due to ‘limited number of clergy’
“A southwest Baltimore church will no longer hold Mass after nearly a century of worship. While St. Benedict Catholic Church is in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, it’s run by the Order of the Benedictines, which is said to be unable to find a new priest due to a ‘limited number of clergy.’ The decision comes as its longtime leader is under investigation for alleged sexual assault of a minor. Father Paschal Morlino, who served as St. Benedict’s priest for decades, was removed last month after news of a secret settlement surfaced involving allegations of inappropriate behavior.” By Tommie Clark, WBAL-TV11 News


Diocese adds new credible findings against late, defrocked priest Richard Lavigne
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield this week (Nov. 6) acknowledged new credible findings against the late Richard Lavigne, a convicted sex offender and former Shelburne Falls priest believed to have killed a 13-year-old altar boy in 1972. The diocese issued a statement on Oct. 31 to announce an update on Lavigne, as well as on the late Stigmatine priest Joseph E. Flood and the late Rev. J. Victor Carrier.” By Domenic Poli, Greenfield Recorder


Former Michigan priest sentenced to year in jail after pleading guilty to sexually abusing altar boy
“A former Michigan priest has been sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to sexually abusing an altar boy more than three decades ago. A Washtenaw County judge sentenced Timothy Crowley, who must also serve five years of probation, on Wednesday (Nov.8). Crowley, 74, pleaded guilty in August to two felony counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct under a plea agreement that dismissed two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.” By Associated Press


Archdiocese of St. Louis abuse victim speaks out after settling with church for $1M
“It was 1993, and Jonathan Dean was 10 years old when his world was no longer fulfilled by the things that make childhood carefree. He was a fourth grader at the Ascension Catholic Church in Chesterfield when he said he suffered sexual abuse at the hands of now ex-priest Gary Paul Wolken. Now an attorney based out of Chicago, Dean, 41, decided to speak out and unveil his identity that was concealed in 2018 as “John Doe,” when he first sued Wolten and the Archdiocese of St. Louis.” By Lacretia Wimbley, St. Louis Public Radio, National Public Radio


Final sentencing in former Hyde Park, N.Y., pastor’s sex abuse trial includes prison time
“After months of waiting for the resolution of the sex abuse case of Hyde Park and Poughkeepsie pastor Father James Garisto, the final sentencing was held Monday, November 6th. Hudson Valley community members and parishioners have been awaiting Garisto’s sentencing after his plea of ‘No Contest’ back in June of this year. Garisto served the St. Peter’s Parish community from 1998 to 2014.” By WRRV-FM News


Victim of pedophile priest Vincent Kiss vindicated by potential record payout from Catholic Church
“An abuse survivor who will potentially receive one of Australia’s largest-ever compensation payouts from the Catholic Church says it is a ‘mind-blowing’ victory he hopes will give other survivors a ‘sense of hope.’ The civil case verdict in Victoria’s Supreme Court last Friday (Nov.10) related to child sex abuse committed by convicted pedophile priest Vincent Kiss in the 1960s and 70s.” By Conor Burke, ABC News, Riverina, Australia

Permanent Stay of Historical Child Sexual Abuse Proceedings: GLJ v Trustees of the Roman Catholic Church for the Diocese of Lismore
“Civil trials can be complex and challenging, especially when key witnesses or evidence are unavailable due to the passage of time. However, upholding the principle of a fair trial is paramount in the legal system. By majority, the High Court of Australia recently allowed an appeal, overturning a decision in the NSW Court of Appeal to permanently stay proceedings arising out of a claim for historical child sexual abuse.” By ClydeCo.com

Lawyers for witnesses of alleged historical sex abuse at Port Hedland Catholic school
“A Catholic primary school in WA’s north has become the target of a historical child sexual abuse investigation, with allegations two clergymen assaulted a student at the school more than 30 years ago. Maurice Blackburn Lawyers has made a public appeal calling for witnesses who attended St Cecilia’s Catholic Primary School and parish in Port Hedland in the 1980s and 1990s.” By Jane Murphy, ABC News Australia


Brazilian bishop resigns at 62; accused of sexually harassing priests, seminarians
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Valdir Mamede of Catanduva, Brazil. The Brazilian newspaper Diário da Região reported that the 62-year-old prelate resigned after an investigation into allegations that he sexually harassed priests and seminarians. The investigation, the newspaper reported, was conducted by the metropolitan archbishop, Archbishop Moacir Silva of Ribeirão Preto. Police have not conducted an inquiry, according to the newspaper.” By CatholicCulture.org


New national organization to hold the Roman Catholic church of Canada accountable for sex crimes
“Outrage Canada is a newly formed group of outraged Canadians committed to holding leaders of the Roman Catholic church publicly accountable for sexual abuse crimes past and present. Sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic church of Canada is well documented with a growing number of civil and criminal cases surfacing each year. Given the response to date however, Outrage Canada believes that the Roman Catholic church is more concerned with avoiding scandal and protecting their reputation than ending sexual abuse and finding justice for victims.” By Outrage Canada on finance.yahoo.com


Cardinal Nichols praises new National Tribunal for managing clerical sex abuse cases
“President of the England and Wales Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, said Saturday (Noc. 4) was a ‘most significant day in the life of the Church in England and Wales, and indeed for the Church more widely’ due to the creation a new National Tribunal to apply the church’s criminal law. Nichols called the new tribunal ‘a focus of practical love and service,’ saying it was established to ensure that the ‘rights and obligations of all the Christian faithful are upheld, robustly and impartially, and that justice and equality prevail.’ While not its only purpose, the tribunal becomes the primary forum in the country for managing cases of clerical sexual abuse under the church’s own legal system, based on the Code of Canon Law.” By Catholic Herald


Church punishes priest who denounced 12 suspected pedophile colleagues
“The priest who denounced 12 cases of colleagues whom he suspected of having sexually abused children – some of them still priests today – has been punished by Portugal’s Catholic Church … At a point where this scandal within the Roman Catholic Church was finally being addressed by various countries, Nazaré also gave interviews to Expresso and RTP (at the time, his identity was kept secret). Among Nazaré’s list of names was that of a priest who for various years has been placed at the Sanctuary of Fátima but who was accused by the parents of a teenager who committed suicide in 1997 of having abused their son.” By Natsha Donn, Portugal Resident


Slovenian bishops distance themselves from incardination of Rupnik
“Both the alleged victims of Slovene Fr Marko Ivan Rupnik and the bishops of his native Slovenia have spoken out about the disgraced artist’s welcome into a new diocese. In the wake of Pope Francis’s decision on Friday (Nov. 3) to waive the statute of limitations in canon law, five of Fr Rupnik’s presumed victims signed and released a brief statement that was shared in Italian media, saying they were ‘very surprised’ by the announcement. They voiced hope that ‘this is a suitable step towards seeing the truth fully known,’ and said they are awaiting ‘further developments.’” By The Catholic Herald


The report on abuse in the Catholic Church in Switzerland
“On the morning of September 10, 2023, the following news appeared on the website of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference: ‘Canonical Investigations into Suspected Concealment of Sexual Abuse by Members of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference. This news was a prelude to the publication, two days later, of the Report on the Pilot Project for the History of Sexual Abuse in the Context of the Roman Catholic Church in Switzerland since the Mid-20th Century. What consequences will result from these investigations and when these investigations will be continued cannot yet be predicted.” By Hans Zollner, S.J., La Civiltá Cattolica