Voice of the Faithful Focus, Nov. 4, 2022

Nov. 4, 2022


Commission starts planning global report on child protection efforts
“With a renewed membership, the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors met at the Vatican in late October and laid the groundwork for devising an annual report on child protection efforts by the Catholic Church globally. Oblate Father Andrew Small, commission secretary, told reporters Oct. 28 that members also looked at the commission’s new relationship to the disciplinary section of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith and continued their efforts to promote greater transparency and fuller reporting to victims about the outcome of their cases.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Voice of the Faithful celebrates 20-year anniversary
“Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) members from across the U.S. gathered on Saturday, October 29, at the Boston Marriott Newton Hotel in Newton, Massachusetts, to celebrate the organization’s 20th anniversary. VOTF is a lay organization of faithful Catholics with more than 30,000 members worldwide. VOTF president Mary Pat Fox opened the day by reflecting on the group’s history and ongoing mission. Referencing the founding vision of VOTF, Fox said, ‘It took a lot of work and a lot of listening to come up with such a beautiful mission statement and goals that have stood the test of time.’” By Michael Centore, Today’s American Catholic

Catholic Diocese of Buffalo will submit to government oversight
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo has agreed to submit to sweeping government oversight of its operations in a legal settlement reached on Tuesday (Oct. 25) with the New York attorney general, Letitia James, resolving a lawsuit that accused the church and its officials of a yearslong cover-up of sexual abuse. The agreement, which is the first of its kind in New York, includes no financial penalties but instead mandates a series of structural reforms within the diocese, particularly regarding its handling of abuse allegations.” By Liam Stack, The New York Times

The seal of Confession could be latest casualty of sex abuse crisis
“A new report in the United Kingdom is recommending legislation that will mandate the reporting of child abuse, and specifically says no exemptions should be given for sacramental confession, which could lead to a clash with a central tenet of Catholic teaching. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in England and Wales was announced by the British government in 2014 to examine how the country’s institutions handled their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

New Vatican synod document mentions women’s ordination, LGBTQ relationships
“A newly released Vatican document for the next phase of Pope Francis’ ongoing consultation process for the world’s Catholics reckons with a number of topics once considered taboo in the Catholic Church, including women’s ordination, LGBTQ relationships, children of priests, sexism and clergy sexual abuse. The 45-page document, released on Oct. 27, distills a number of the major themes from listening sessions held with millions of Catholics across the globe over the last year. While the document is careful to note that it is not magisterial church teaching, it is arguably the most comprehensive and candid expression of the Catholic Church’s relationship with the modern world yet released by a Vatican office.” By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter


Laws requiring ministers of religioin to report child sexual abuse come into effect
Ministers of religion are now legally required to report information about child sexual abuse, including information gained in confession. The changes are part of new laws introduced by the McGowan Government and come into effect today (Nov. 1). Failure to make a mandatory report is an offence with a maximum penalty of $6,000. A minister of religion will not be excused from criminal responsibility for failing to make a report because their belief is based on information disclosed during a religious confession.” By Government of Western Australia

Catholic Church in England and Wales will ‘carefully study’ abuse report recommendations
“The Catholic Church in England and Wales has said it will ‘carefully study’ the contents of a national report concerning sexual abuse, which recommends that reporting abuse to the police should be made mandatory, even if perpetrators admit to child abuse while confessing to a priest. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) released its report on Oct. 20 after seven years of investigation and evidence-gathering.” By Catholic News Agency


Catholic leaders want Latin American church that’s synodal, reaches out
“The church in Latin America and the Caribbean is called to be a missionary church that heeds the cry of the poor and excluded; a synodal church where women, young people and laypeople have greater roles; and a church that is evangelized even as it evangelizes, according to the final document of the church’s First Ecclesial Assembly held a year ago in Mexico. The document of reflections and pastoral challenges resulting from the assembly was released by leaders of the Latin American bishops’ council, CELAM, Oct. 31 during a news conference at the Vatican.” By Barbara Fraser, Catholic News Service

I helped write the first global synod document. Here’s what we heard from Catholics around the world.
“At the end of our first day in Frascati in late September, struck by the solemnity of the task that faced us, I messaged a friend to say that many of my fellow ‘experts’ felt the hand of history and the weight of responsibility on our shoulders. ‘I hope you’re keeping a diary,’ my friend pinged back. I didn’t just mean the pressure to create, in two short weeks, a document that harvested the fruits of the greatest-ever exercise in listening and consultation the Catholic Church has ever carried out. It was more solemn than that. As Cardinal Mario Grech, the general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, had told us that morning, we were on res sacra, holy ground.” By Austen Ivereigh, America, The Jesuit Review

Synod organizers sell process as cementing Catholicism as church of ‘both/and/
“Retired Pope Benedict XVI once famously said in an address to a group of clergy that the inherent beauty of Catholicism is ‘the religion of the great ‘both/and,’ meaning there is space for everyone. Speaking to priests from the Italian dioceses of Belluno-Feltre and Treviso in 2007, Benedict was told by one of the veteran priests in attendance that while in seminary, he had been chastised by a spiritual director for enjoying soccer more than Eucharistic adoration, and he wanted Benedict’s opinion. In response, Benedict said that ‘Catholicism, a little simplistically, has always been considered the religion of the great ‘both/and,’ not of great exclusions, but of syntheses. ‘Catholic’ means precisely ‘synthesis.’” By Elise Ann Allen, Cruxnow.com

Synod document ‘genuine voice of the People of God’
“Australian Synod on Synodality advisor Susan Pascoe has told a meeting of Asian bishops that Pope Francis has been personally involved in the preparation work for the next stage of the Synod process. Ms. Pascoe, who is an adjunct professor at the University of Western Australia, yesterday (Oct. 26) addressed the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences general conference in Bangkok, Thailand. She updated FABC delegates on the Synod process, summing up the continental meeting that took place in Frascati, Italy, from September 21 to October 2.” By CathNews.com

Synod report reveals need for healing, signs of hope
“Area faithful say the Catholic Church in Philadelphia is in need of healing, yet remains marked by hope as well as a desire for growth, according to a new report. Earlier today, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia released its official summary of the diocesan level of the Synod on Synodality. Launched by Pope Francis in October 2021, the synod — organized around the theme of ‘communion, participation and mission’ – was initially scheduled to culminate at the 15th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican in October 2023.” By Gina Christian, CatholicPhilly.com

Groups invited to prepare for next Synod of Bishops phase
“The National Centre for Pastoral Research is inviting groups of seven to 10 people to express their interest in participating in the next round of consultation for the global Synod of Bishops on Synodality. The Document for The Continental Stage, which is drawing content provided in national syntheses from around the world, as well as contributions from Eastern Churches, religious institutes, lay movements and other groups, is due to be published soon. Once the document is released, groups – assisted by a reflection guide being produced by the national Synod of Bishops committee to support prayer, discernment and response – will be able to gather and share their feedback through an online portal.” By CathNews.com


Pope Francis accepts resignation of German archbishop
“Pope Francis accepted the resignation of a German archbishop on Tuesday (Nov. 1). Archbishop Ludwig Schick of Bamberg had been in charge of the Bavarian archdiocese since 2002. Schick recently came under pressure for the handling of sexual abuse cases in his diocese. The archbishop of the diocese in Southern Germany said in a statement published Nov. 1 that he had conveyed this request ‘to the pope verbally and in writing during a private audience in April of this year, explaining it thus: I have fulfilled and completed my duties in the archdiocese.’” By A.C. Wimmer, Catholic News Agency

New claims against French bishop reported to Vatican
“The Vatican has received a new report containing allegations against French Bishop Michel Santier, who resigned in 2021 following accusations of spiritual abuse but said publicly that he was stepping down for health reasons. Archbishop Dominique Lebrun, Santier’s metropolitan archbishop, announced on Oct. 20 that “other people” had come forward claiming that the retired bishop had committed acts against them when they were young adults.” By Luke Coppen, The Pillar


7 ways to support your priest
“There’s good news in a major new survey done with US Catholic priests: the majority of them are happy in their vocation. But the study, which surveyed 3,516 priests from 191 US Catholic dioceses, also showed that many priests display signs of burnout — especially younger priests. And diocesan priests fare worse than those who belong to religious orders. Priests surveyed also said that they find significant support in their lay friends — so that should motivate us to think about how we can be better friends to the priests we know and love. We should never assume that they have the support they need, so here are a few ideas to consider.” By Aleteia.org


Role of women must be tackled ‘urgently’ in Catholic Church
“Women out of the picture: cardinals and bishops attend the closing Mass of a recent Synod of Bishops. Catholics want the role and vocation of women to be tackled urgently, according to a new report that has come out of the synodal listening process. The landmark synod report says that Catholics repeatedly express the desire for a more welcoming, inclusive Church that eradicates the misuse of power.” By Christopher Lamb, The Tablet


Analysis: Vatican ‘trial of the century’ prepares for hearing of ‘super-witness’
“A key witness in the so-called Vatican finance ‘trial of the century’ will be heard at the end of November. His role — and testimony — is considered so vital to the corruption trial that some are calling him a ‘super-witness.’ Monsignor Alberto Perlasca, for 11 years a senior official in the Vatican Secretariat of State, will testify at the Vatican tribunal on Nov. 23, 24, and 25 in what is expected to be a crucial moment of the trial.” By Andrea Gagliarducci, Catholic News Agency


Popes John XXIII and Francis: two ‘men in dark times’
“Published in 1968, the book ‘Men in Dark Times’ still has something to say in our time. Hannah Arendt wrote it long ago, it is true, and the work consists of a collection of essays devoted to people who lived most of their lives during the first half of the last century, with the exception of Gotthold Lessing. Yet a light shines in the lives of these people who have gone before us, given the fact that some of them never lost their integrity in the difficult settings in which they lived. For us today, this is not only a reminder of the ideological dangers that still threaten us, but also a leaven of hope in a humanity that, though often hidden, encourages us for the future.” By Andreas Lind, S.J., La Civiltà Cattolica

The Catholic opposition to Pope Francis: On Massimo Borghesi’s ‘Catholic Discordance’
“In his masterful intellectual biography,’The Mind of Pope Francis: Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s Intellectual Journey’ (2018), Italian moral philosopher Massimo Borghesi mentions in passing those American Catholics who criticize Francis for creating confusion through his supposedly vague or inconsistent doctrinal stands. Instead, Borghesi paints a complex portrait of the pope’s mind, tracing intellectual influences going back some 60 years. He shows that Francis’s remarkably coherent, nuanced, and theologically sound worldview has been shaped by many little-known sources such as the French Jesuit Gaston Fessard, Argentinian philosopher Amelia Podetti, German Italian social critic Romano Guardini, and Uruguayan journalist Alberto Methol Ferré.” By Victor Gaetan, Los Angeles Review of Books

Change is not easy in the Catholic Church, whether Vatican II or Pope Francis
“Sixty years ago, about a month after I entered the Jesuit novitiate in Los Gatos, California, the Second Vatican Council opened in Rome. No one bothered to tell the novices about it. The council went on for three years, during which I took vows and studied Latin and Greek without knowing what was happening at the council. In those pre-Vatican II days, the novitiate was what sociologists call a ‘total institution,’ completely isolated from the rest of the world, with no access to newspapers, radio or television. Except when I went to the dentist, I did not talk to a woman outside my family for four years. The idea was to insulate us from the world so we could devote ourselves to our Jesuit formation.” By Thomas Reese, National Catholic Reporter

Why I declined to join my diocesan sex abuse review board
“A report last month that a priest in suburban Chicago had been accused of sex abuse after a diocesan review board had found ‘insufficient reason to suspect’ misbehavior has raised questions about the efficacy of these special committees set up to review allegations of sex abuse by Catholic clergy. For me, it also brought to mind an invitation I received last year to join one of those boards. The call came from a priest who worked for Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik. The bishop wanted a journalist on the board, the priest explained, and I had done good work in Catholic media.” By John W. Miller, National Catholic Reporter


Victims group calls Wisconsin statute of limitations archaic
“A former Wausau area priest has been accused of sexual misconduct. Reverend Mark Pierce resigned from his position with St. Michael and Church of the Resurrection, collectively known as the Eastside Parishes, after the allegation arose. A pastor’s letter dated back to May 2017, features a brief bio written by Pierce introducing himself to the parish. He describes his journey to becoming a priest. Stating he was ordained in 1981 and continued to become an associate priest in Chippewa Falls and Stevens Point.” By WAOW-TV News

Child sex abuse survivors beg Ohio lawmakers to eliminate statute of limitations
“Child sexual abuse survivors begged Ohio lawmakers last week to eliminate the statute of limitations, but no legislators attended their press conference. Advocacy group Ohioans for Child Protection say many of them never get justice, adding that Ohio’s statute of limitations actually helps prevent their abusers from being held accountable. From the age of eight to 10, Paul Neyer was repeatedly sexually abused by his Cincinnati music minister. Thirty-two years later, he began to take his life back.” By Morgan Trau, Ohio Capital Journal


Pursuing restorative justice amid the Church’s sex abuse crisis
“More than 20 years after the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team uncovered a sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, serious wounds remain. Many victim-survivors say they are still trying to heal. Some Catholics in the pews say they are still struggling to trust Church leaders. And advocates for reform say there still needs to be more accountability and transparency in the Church. Father Daniel Griffith believes that restorative justice could be one way to pursue healing and reconciliation.” By Charlie Camosy, The Pillar

France rejects Canada’s request to extradite priest accused of sex assault
“France has rejected a request to extradite a priest accused of sexually abusing Indigenous children in Canada’s far north decades ago, Canadian authorities said Wednesday (Oct. 27). Johannes Rivoire, who now lives in a retirement home in Lyon, is the subject of an arrest warrant in Canada for allegedly sexually assaulting a child between 1974 and 1979. The Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) said Wednesday that France refused the request because its law prohibits extradition of its own citizens, and because ‘too much time has passed between the events and the charges being laid.’” By AgenceFrance Presse, in Barron’s


‘Desolate Country’: Abusive priests clustered at mission schools
“Nearly half the Jesuit priests or brothers found to be credibly accused of sexual abuse in a 10-state region in the western United States spent time working in Indian schools and missions, according to a new database drawn from Catholic data on abuse. The new database allows users to track how priests moved within the church and supports allegations that the church used rural tribal communities as dumping grounds for ‘problem priests,’ according to researchers Kathleen Holscher and Jack Downey, who compiled the data.” By Amary Annette Pember, IndianCountryToday.com


Cardinal Blase Cupich is still keeping secrets on child sex abuse by order priests
“Several years after Cardinal Blase Cupich began cracking down on religious orders to report their sexually abusive clergy members who preyed on minors, the Archdiocese of Chicago has added dozens of order priests to its online posting of predatory clergy. But Cupich is still keeping secrets on clergy sex abuse of minors, a Chicago Sun-Times investigation has found. Even though the archdiocese instantly nearly doubled the size of its list of clergy deemed to have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children, there are significant gaps in what’s been added.” By Robert Herguth, Chicago Sun-Times


Former St. Tammany priest arrested again
“A former priest has been arrested on an additional charge for molestation after a second victim came forward in St. Tammany Parish. Recall in October 2020, Patrick Wattigny was arrested on molestation charges after it was alleged he had sexually abused a minor in 2013 while serving as pastor of a Slidell-area church.” By St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office


84-year-old sues diocese, says she was groped by Chicopee priest during Mass
“A Chicopee woman is suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield and a Franciscan friars’ order over allegations her parish priest grabbed her buttocks during a Mass in 2019. According to a lawsuit filed in Hampden Superior Court by Irene Collins, 84, Friar Paul Miskiewicz first touched her buttocks when the two were standing in the sacristy of Chicopee’s St. Stanislaus Church where she was a longtime congregant and secular minister.” By Stephanie Barry, Springfield Republican


Nessel reports on abuse allegations; bishop responds
“Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Thursday (Oct. 27) the release of a 154-page report detailing allegations of sexual abuse within the Marquette Catholic Diocese. The report is the first of a series of seven reports that will be released detailing alleged abuses in each of the state’s six diocese and the Archdiocese in Detroit. The Marquette report draws from a number of sources, ranging from the Department of the Attorney General’s clergy abuse tip line and victim interviews to documents seized from the diocese and reports of allegations disclosed by the diocese itself.” By Ilsa Minor, The Daily Press


Survivor seeks clarity about abusive priest’s future
“After a St. Cloud priest was recently released from prison after serving more than two years for sexual misconduct with an adult, one of his victims says the Catholic Diocese of St. Cloud needs to do more to ensure that he will never again serve in the priesthood. The Rev. Anthony Oelrich was released from the state prison in Lino Lakes on Oct. 17 after serving two-thirds of a 41-month sentence. Oelrich pleaded guilty in 2019 to one felony count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct for being a member of the clergy and having ongoing sexual contact with a woman who’d come to him for spiritual advice.” By Kirsti Marohn, Minnesota Public Radio


Helena Diocese investigating a priest accused of child abuse, working with law enforcement
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena is investigating a priest accused of abuse a minor. The alleged abuse happened in 2001. In a statement, the diocese says Bishop Austin Vetter notified law enforcement after they learned of the accusation and placed the priest on administrative leave as of October 27, 2022. The priest has not been officially charged with any crime at this time. MTN News is not identifying the priest because he has not been charged with a crime.” By John Riley, KTVH-TV News


Bankruptcy judge erred, diocese contends
“Bankruptcy Judge Paul Warren erred in letting abuse survivors’ individually filed claims against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester’s parishes move ahead, the diocese argues in papers filed recently in the Western District of New York’s Rochester Division. The diocese’s appeal brief comes some three months after it filed a notice of its intention to appeal Warren’s May ruling. In that decision, Warren said some 300 individually filed state court Child Victims Act claims against Rochester Catholic parishes that had been stayed since the bankruptcy’s filing could resume.” By Will Astor, Rochester Beacon


Father Drew rape victim, other activists call for Ohio law changes to protect kids from sex abuse
“Ohio needs laws that do a better job protecting children from sex predators who victimize them, according to activists who traveled to Columbus and held a news conference Thursday (Oct. 27) inside the statehouse to call out lawmakers. These activists include Paul Neyer, the man who came forward in 2019 to press charges against a priest in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Father Geoff Drew, and one of his classmates from St. Jude School, where the rapes occurred, Rebecca Surendorff.” By Chris Riva and Jennifer Edwards Baker, FOX-TV19 News


How Washington state law lets clergy hid child sexual abuse
“Nearly 20 years ago, in the aftermath of the Catholic sexual abuse scandal, former Washington state Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson wanted to make sure child sexual abuse could not be hidden so easily by church leaders. In Washington, clergy — unlike teachers, physicians and law enforcement — were not listed as mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect. Dickerson, D-Seattle, introduced a bill that would have changed that. ‘I really wanted to have a law that was as strong as possible that would require clergy to report abuse,’ Dickerson tells InvestigateWest today. ‘And I was concerned about children.’” By Wilson Criscione, InvestigateWest


Wausau priest resigns amid abuse allegation
“A Catholic priest serving two Wausau parishes is no longer in the ministry, after an allegation of ‘sexual misconduct’ with a minor. Parishioners at several Wausau Catholic churches learned of the accusation Oct. 23 during Sunday worship services. The abuse was referred to as ‘sexual misconduct with a minor,’ rather than ‘sexual abuse,’ in a prepared statement from La Crosse Diocese Bishop William Callahan, when shared with congregations.” By Shereen Siewert, Wausau Pilot & Review


Harrowing story of a boy whose childhood was stolen
“Mark was raised in a deeply religious Catholic family and his devout parents taught him to respect and obey all his hometown authority figures. Trusting his elders helped feed Mark into the hands of notorious pedophile teacher John Coogan at St Joseph’s College in Geelong, a Christian Brothers campus south-west of Melbourne. Day after day for three years Coogan forced Mark to sit on his lap in his locked office and molested him, violating the boy at least 100 times through primary school.” By Stephen Gibb for Daily Mail Australia


Lawsuit claims Catholic priest sexually abused Calgary girl in 1980s
“The Catholic Church in Calgary is facing a $3.2-million lawsuit over allegations a since-deceased priest sexually abused a young girl in the 1980s. But in a statement of defense, the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Calgary denies the plaintiff was abused and said if Father Joseph John Toole committed any sexual assaults it was without the knowledge of church officials. The statement of claim filed last month says the sexual abuse of the plaintiff began in 1985 when she was seven or eight years old and continued for about four or five years.” By Kevin Martin, Calgary Herald

P.E.I. Roman Catholic priest charged in alleged sexual assaults dating back to 1990s
“A Roman Catholic priest is facing charges in connection with alleged sexual assaults that happened over a four-year period in the 1990s. Police said a 69-year-old man was arrested Oct. 31 and will face charges of sexual exploitation and sexual assault. Summerside Police Services began investigating after the sexual assaults were reported to police by the Diocese of Charlottetown in May, said Jason Blacquiere, deputy chief, in an interview with SaltWire Network on Nov. 1.” By SaltWire.com

Canada supreme court refuses to hear appeal in blow to residential school survivors
“Canada’s supreme court has declined to hear an appeal brought by a group of Indigenous residential school survivors, dealing a major blow to their decade-long fight against federal government over thousands of unreleased documents. Survivors of St Anne’s Indian residential school had hoped the country’s top court would take their case, which alleges Canada’s federal government withheld crucial evidence in determining compensation for victims of abuse at the school in northern Ontario.” By Leyland Cecco, The Guardian


As Macron meets Pope Francis, abuse victims urge swifter reparations
“A group of victims of sexual abuse says the Catholic church is reacting too slowly to a report revealing assaults by French clergy on more than 200,000 children and is urging President Emmanuel Macron to raise the issue directly with Pope Francis on Monday. Macron is meeting the pontiff in the Vatican a year after a 2,500-page report by the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse detailed how the church repeatedly silenced victims and failed to discipline the clergy involved. Ahead of Macron’s visit to the Vatican, the president’s office said the subject had been addressed with the pope in the past, and that it was not likely to be brought up on Monday (Oct. 24).” By Juliette Jabkhiro, Reuters


Child sex abuse in Britain is epidemic
“Child sex abuse is epidemic in Britain, affecting millions of victims, and those who work with young people should be prosecuted if they fail to report it, a seven-year public inquiry concluded on Thursday (Oct. 20). The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) said institutions and politicians had prioritized reputations over the welfare of young people, meaning horrific acts were hidden away for decades, while there were still inadequate protection measures in place.” By Michael Holden, Reuters


Appeal could delay Guam clergy sex abuse payouts
“An insurance company is appealing the recently confirmed reorganization plan for the Archdiocese of Agana, which could delay the church’s exit from bankruptcy. It could also delay the payouts to more than 270 men and women who say they were abused as children by Guam priests and others associated with the Catholic Church. Continental Insurance Co. on Tuesday notified the U.S. District Court of Guam that it is appealing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, challenging a final order confirming the archdiocese’s reorganization plan.” By Haidee Eugenio Gilver, Pacific Daily News


Indian priest accused of sex abuse surrenders to police
“An Indian Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing a boy has surrendered before the police as they began a probe against Bishop Thomas Dabre of Pune for allegedly attempting to cover up the crime. Father Vincent Pereira, 55, of Pune in the western state of Maharashtra presented himself before the police on Oct 23, ending his nearly month-long efforts to evade arrest. He is alleged to have abused a 15-year-old boy at his parents’ home on Dec. 4 last year. Police said the priest had been in hiding ever since they booked him on Sept. 30 under India’s stringent Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.” By UCANews.com


Tuguegarao diocese to cooperate with probe on priest accused of sexually abusing teen
“The Archdiocese of Tuguegarao on Monday, Oct. 24, said it will cooperate with authorities investigating the case of a priest accused of sexual abuse in Cagayan. In a statement, the archdiocese said Fr. Karole Reward Israel is currently not allowed to perform his priestly duties. ‘Fr. Karole Reward Israel of a parish in Solana town was ‘excused’ from his priestly duties as the probe is ongoing. The archdiocese will fully cooperate with the prosecution service towards the conduct of an unbiased preliminary investigation and will also extend its assistance to our priest,’ it added. National Bureau of Investigation agents arrested the priest on Oct. 18 for allegedly abusing a 16-year-old girl.” By Philippine News Agency in Manila Bulletin