Voice of the Faithful Focus, Oct. 27, 2023

Oct. 27, 2023


General Assembly to the People of God: The Church must listen to everyone

Letter of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to the People of God
“Participants in the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops have approved a Letter to the People of God giving thanks for their experience, detailing the work of the past few weeks, and expressing the hope that in the coming months, everyone will be able to ‘concretely participate in the dynamism of missionary communion indicated by the word ‘synod.’” By Vatican News

Synod enters final week recalling Vatican II and the Church’s ‘living tradition’
“As Pope Francis’ major summit on the future of the Catholic Church enters its final week (Oct. 23), bishops and laity were reminded of the Second Vatican Council’s emphasis on the church’s ‘living tradition,’ including the participation and inclusion of all of the ‘people of God.’ As delegates commenced work on their hotly anticipated final document from the monthlong meeting, Australian Fr. Ormond Rush — one of the world’s leading scholars on Vatican II — encouraged the synod’s more than 450 members to be attentive to the ‘traps’ of ‘being drawn into ways of thinking that are not ‘of God.’” By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter

Synod participants say it’s ‘too early’ to decide on women deacons
“Participants in Pope Francis’s Synod of Bishops on Synodality chosen to speak to the media said Friday (Oct. 20) that while various topics are being discussed, no decisions will be made on specific issues, and that it is too early in the process to rule on hot-button questions such as women deacons. Asked during an Oct. 20 press briefing whether it was time to make a decision on women deacons, Archbishop Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi of Tokyo said there are ‘differences of opinions’ within the synod.’” By Elise Ann Allen, Cruxnow.com

Synod assembly to issue ‘Letter to the People of God’
“Members of the Synod of Bishops will issue a ‘Letter to the People of God’ at the close of the first session of the Synod assembly, which ends on Sunday (Oct. 29). The letter, the drafting of which was approved by the Synod assembly, will be discussed both during small group working sessions and among the entire assembly today after a Mass for Synod participants in St Peter’s Basilica, the Synod general secretariat announced.” By CathNews.com

High court to rule on Catholic church’s liability for abuse committed by pedophile priests
“The Catholic church has won the right to challenge in the high court a landmark Victorian ruling forcing the church to take on greater liability for the actions of pedophile priests within its ranks. In the past two years, the Victorian courts have delivered and upheld an unprecedented ruling that the Ballarat diocese was vicariously liable for the abuse of a five-year-old child known as DP at the hands of assistant priest Father Bryan Coffey.” By Christopher Knaus, The Guardian

Archdiocese of Baltimore files for bankruptcy to evade sexual abuse cases
“The archdiocese of Baltimore filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sept. 29 to preempt child sexual abuse lawsuits which were expected to be filed once a new Maryland law removing the statute of limitations took effect on Oct. 1. This strategic move means that all claims against the archdiocese must be made as part of bankruptcy proceedings, effectively eliminating the opportunity for survivors to tell their stories in civil court, precluding legal accountability and insulating the archdiocese from scrutiny of its past mistakes.” By Michelle Onello, Ms. Magazine

Survivor group sends complaint to Vatican on Paprocki’s ‘secrecy and callousness’
“Four men who say they were sexually abused by clergy gathered outside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Thursday (Oct. 19) to announce their group sent a formal complaint with the Vatican, charging that Springfield’s bishop ‘harms his flock.’ The group also sent a letter to Bishop Thomas Paprocki asking that they be allowed to speak at a Diocesan gathering later this month. “We think that would be a long overdue, welcome gesture on his part, and we think that it would encourage other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward …’’ said David Clohessy, former national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and volunteer director of the Missouri group.” By national Public Radio Illinois


Work still needed to bring justice to sexual abuse survivors, say advocates
“Despite more than two decades of efforts to transform the Catholic Church to bring justice to sexual abuse victims and ensure widespread abuse and its cover-up do not happen again, there is much to be done, advocates say. Barbara Thorp, a social worker and the former director of Office of Pastoral Support and Child Protection for the Boston Archdiocese, told the National Catholic Conference on Restorative Justice Oct. 6 that while great strides have been made in some areas, shocking examples of failure continue to arise.” By Dan Stockman, National Catholic Reporter

Victims of sexual abuse demand action from UN and Vatican
“Victims of clerical abuse have traveled to Geneva to urge the United Nations to force the Vatican to honor its international obligations. ‘It’s a pandemic and it has to stop,’ Adalberto Mendez, founder of Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA), told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday (Oct. 3). ‘It’s a huge problem, a human rights problem, not just in Europe, but all over the world.’ In Geneva, members of ECA and victims are due to hold talks on the sidelines of the UN Human Rights Council.” By SwissInfo.ch


At the synod, a new kind of conversation is evolving
“The naysayers about the synod, and those who insist that the synod reach specific decisions on specific topics, are both missing the boat. There is a revolution afoot at the synod, and it doesn’t have to do with who gets ordained or any particular hot-button issue. We are learning how to have a different kind of conversation within the Catholic Church, one that gives voice to all the baptized, avoiding the clericalism and ultramontanism of recent centuries. It is not clear why that worries some people or seems insufficient for others. What is happening in Rome is extraordinary.” By Micheal Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Synod Diary: will synod members get to vote on the final document?
“Yesterday in the synod hall, delegates approved a two-page letter ‘to the people of God’ by applauding. This was a new method for the Roman meeting, and one that understandably ruffled some feathers. Synod members had voted last week overwhelmingly (355-11) in favor of publishing such a letter, in part as a way to answer the question they will surely face when they return to their communities: ‘What exactly have you been doing for the last month?’ After the letter was drafted, though, synod participants were invited to signal their approval of the document by applauding. The group applauded, and only after this ‘approval’ were synod delegates invited to contribute feedback or possible edits. It is not clear whether there will be any more voting or voting-by-applause to approve the final text. The letter is expected to be published tomorrow (Oct. 25).” By Colleen Dulle, America: The Jesuit Review

Hot-button topics may get public attention at the Vatican synod, but a more fundamental issue for the Catholic Church is at heart of debate
“High-ranking Catholics from across the globe have converged on the Vatican, where a landmark initiative is underway that will shape the future of the Catholic Church. Cardinals, bishops, priests and lay Catholics, both men and women, are meeting Oct. 4-29, 2023, as part of the Synod on Synodality: an effort Pope Francis launched in 2021 to generate dialogue among Catholics. More than two weeks into the synod’s first global assembly, participants are largely keeping quiet. Opening the synod, Francis called for a ‘fasting of the public word,’ encouraging delegates to focus inward and treat discussions as private.” By The Conversation

Francis wants the synod in every parish. Here’s how to bring it to yours.
“It is hard for result-oriented Americans to understand that, for Pope Francis, the synodal process is more important than any decision, report or document that comes out of it. We are eager to know what the synod will decide on specific issues like blessing gay couples, ordaining women as deacons or priests and authorizing married priests … Rather than focusing on these topics, Francis wants to overcome the polarization in the church so it can be a true sign and instrument of communion with God and with humanity. He wants the people of God to fulfill their responsibility to announce to the world the Good News of the Gospel, the love and mercy of God toward all humanity and indeed all creation. He wants the entire church to become synodal.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service

Theologian points to Vatican II’s ‘dynamic’ tradition in synod on Synodality speech
Vatican II’s discussion of tradition is the authority for the Synod on Synodality’s reflections today, a theologian and Australian Catholic priest told delegates as the assembly’s final week kicked off Monday (Oct. 23). ‘Having listened to you over these past three weeks, I have had the impression that some of you are struggling with the notion of tradition, in the light of your love of truth,’ Father Ormond Rush said.” By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency

Synod Files: Pope Francis channels Paul VI by taking issues off the table
“Leaders probably ought to be judged not only by the problems they solve, but also the problems they avoid in the first place. The latter are sometimes harder to see, because by definition we’re talking about something that didn’t happen, but that doesn’t make the impact any less real. One participant in the ongoing Synod of Bishops on Synodality has suggested Pope Francis may be in line for just that second kind of credit right now, citing an interesting historical parallel from the Second Vatican Council.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com


Pope Francis intervenes at the synod, calling clericalism a ‘scourge’ that ‘enslaves’ God’s people
“Pope Francis told members of the synod on synodality that they should respect and honor the faith of all baptized Catholics, including the women, trusting ‘the holy, faithful people of God’ who continue to believe even when their pastors act like dictators. ‘I like to think of the church as the simple and humble people who walk in the presence of the Lord — the faithful people of God,’ he told participants at the assembly of the Synod of Bishops Oct. 25. In a rare intervention as the assembly was nearing its conclusion, Pope Francis told members to trust the fidelity of the people they listened to in preparation for the synod over the past two years.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

Pope Francis: here are five times the Pontiff has split with the Vatican
“In an opening speech to a discussion on the future of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis expressed it needed ‘repair’ and that ‘everyone, everyone, everyone’ should be welcomed. During his address on Wednesday (Oct. 4) in the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square, Francis said he recognized the divisions in varying ideologies but asked that people listen to the Holy Spirit. He stated that it was time to ‘rebuild’ the church.” By Niamh Cavanagh, News.Yahoo.com


Pope gives Curia assignments to new cardinals
“Four days after creating new cardinals, Pope Francis gave an extra job or two to the 18 prelates who are under the retirement age of 80. All active cardinals, whether they lead a diocese far from Rome or head a department of the Roman Curia, are appointed members of Vatican dicasteries, tribunals and offices as part of their service to the pope and the universal church. The new assignments for the cardinals created Sept. 30 were published by the Vatican Oct. 4, and the cardinals with full-time Curia posts received multiple new tasks.” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter


Bishops walking out, ‘tiresome’ listening: inside tensions at the synod
“It was less than two weeks into Pope Francis’ high-stakes Vatican summit on the future of the Catholic Church when multiple reports emerged about participating delegates storming out of the room. In one case, a bishop didn’t want to be photographed sitting next to a priest with whom he had numerous disagreements. In another, a cardinal believed that the Oct. 4-29 Synod of Bishops was a misnomer because it now included the equal participation of the laity — a criticism that has reverberated throughout the monthlong meeting.” By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter

Polish bishop resigns after diocese is rocked by sex scandal
“A Polish bishop whose diocese has been badly tarnished by reports of a gay orgy involving priests and a prostitute resigned on Tuesday (Oct. 25), the latest in a long series of sexual and financial scandals in Poland’s Roman Catholic Church. Grzegorz Kaszak, the bishop of Sosnowiec in southwestern Poland, announced his departure after one of his priests was placed under criminal investigation in connection with reports last month that he had organized a sex party during which a male prostitute lost consciousness from an overdose of erectile dysfunction pills.” By Andrew Higgins, The New York Times

New leader of Canadian bishops says synodality is job number one
“When it was announced on Oct. 16 that Bishop William McGrattan of Calgary, Alberta, was elected the next president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, he was in Rome participating in the Synod of Bishops on Synodality, and he’s still there now. With that in mind, perhaps it’s not a coincidence that in a recent conversation with Crux on his priorities for the conference over his two-year term, many of his answers went back to applying lessons from the synod process, including structural changes to the CCCB governance model. In fact, he said applying the principles of synodality to the conference is the top priority.” By John Lavenburg, Cruxnow.com

USCCB candidates’ slate shows a divided conference
“The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has announced the slate of candidates for a new secretary of the conference and several committee chairs. The choices the bishops make when they gather Nov. 13-16 in Baltimore for their fall plenary assembly will be a good indication of the direction in which the body of bishops wish to go. The most important choice will be that of a new secretary for the conference. Not only will the bishop selected be a member of the executive committee, which is called upon to make a variety of administrative decisions, he will also serve as chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Priorities and Plans. In that role, among other things, the chair draws up the slate of nominees for these elections, so it is a very influential position.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter


Why Catholic clergy in Poland are leaving the priesthood en masse
Archbishop Gądecki took it upon himself to diagnose the issue. In his list to the archdiocese, he named, among other reasons, the quality of education available in seminaries as well as the poor level of pastoral work accessible to priests. He also cited certain factors in the priesthood that might be “limiting to their personal development,” which might have contributed to the high number of recent departures.” By BishopPatBuckley.blog

‘Beacons of Light’ report reveals potential priest shortage in Cincinnati archdiocese
“The Archdiocese of Cincinnati released its report on the ‘Beacons of Light’ after the first full year of it being in effect.” By WKRC-TV 12 News


No joke, Sr. Jeannine Gramick just had a friendly meeting with the pope
“Jeannine Gramick just had a friendly meeting with the pope. In the not-too-long-ago, that might have been the punch line to a bad joke or a way of emphasizing that something was impossible. But Jeannine Gramick, a Loretto sister and a co-founder of New Ways Ministry, which advocates for LGBTQ Catholics, did in fact just have a friendly meeting with the pope.” By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter

Pope names sister as first woman secretary of dicastery for religious
Pope Francis has appointed a woman for the first time to be the No. 2 official of the Roman Curia office that works with religious orders and their members. Consolata Missionary Sr. Simona Brambilla will be secretary of the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the Vatican announced Oct. 7. According to Vatican statistics published in February, there are nearly 609,000 professed religious women in the world. There are just under 50,000 religious brothers and just over 128,000 religious-order priests.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in Global Sisters Report, National Catholic reporter


Women will vote at a Vatican meeting for the first time
“When Helena Jeppesen-Spuhler, an advocate for the ordination of women, joined a major Vatican meeting this month, she was skeptical that an institution dominated by men for 2,000 years was ready to listen to women like her. The gathering of some 300 bishops from around the world also included for the first time nuns and 70 lay people, women among them, who have voting rights. It was called by Pope Francis to discuss the future of the Roman Catholic Church, including sensitive topics — married priests, the blessing of gay couples, sacraments for the divorced and remarried, as well as the role of women.” By Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times

Vatican summit tackles women’s ordination with a nod from Pope Francis
“Discussions about women’s ordination to the priesthood have become livelier in the waning days of the synod on synodality, Pope Francis’ monthlong summit to discuss pressing issues facing the church. While there’s a consensus that women’s roles need to be promoted, participants remain divided on how to achieve that goal … Few topics have captured the attention of attendants more than the question of women’s roles in the church.” By Claire Giangravé, Religion News Service, in The Salt Lake Tribune

I think I was a deacon … or not?
“For women it is not only about being able to do baptism preparation, but to baptize. It is not just about doing marriage preparation but witnessing marriage. It is not only about teaching about the Gospels, but about breaking open the Gospel message during Mass. Once again, I quote Phyllis Zagano who says, ‘The benefit to the church, the people of God, if a woman — religious or secular — is ordained as deacon is that she becomes more clearly identified as acting and being in the image of Christ, the servant, as well as acting on behalf of the bishop.’” By Janet M. Peterworth, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter


Redemptorist priest says times is right for more lay-led ceremonies in Catholic Church
“The time is right for lay people to be involved in delivering Church and funeral services. That’s according to Redemptorist Priest, Fr Larry Gallaher; who is in Listowel this week as part of a Redemptorist mission. He was reacting to comments from the Association of Catholic Priests, which said “lay-led” ceremonies will become more common in Ireland.” By Radio Kerry News


Baltimore abuse revelations show urgent need for prevention
“The late-September decision by the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore to file for bankruptcy, ahead of an expected flurry of new claims from adult survivors of child sexual abuse, no doubt resurfaces trauma for the hundreds of people who experienced the abuse detailed by an exhaustive report by the Maryland Attorney General in April. The report highlights several changes institutions have made and needs to make to put the well-being of the children they serve first. It underscores how important it is for institutions to prevent abuse before it occurs and confront it effectively and honestly when it happens.” By Elizabeth Letourneau, Ph.D., Amanda Ruzicka, MA, and Mitchell Beer, Psychology Today


In Kenya, married ex-priest follow Vatican synod’s discussion of clerical celibacy
“As a summit of Catholic bishops in Rome considers allowing priests to marry, a young Kenyan clergyman drew attention to the question of celibate priests on Sunday (Oct. 22) when he married a woman and was ordained in the Catholic Charismatic Church, a splinter tradition, on the same day. The Rev. Edwin Githang’i Waiguru, a former Roman Catholic missionary who had served in the United States and Haiti, said marriage was a dream come true for him. Before Sunday’s wedding, Waiguru had lived in an African traditional marriage and had become the father of two children. Though never ordained, Waiguru made headlines for publicly celebrating his journey.” By Fredrick Nzwili, Religion News Service


Two Illinois parishes live on either side of a Catholic divide
“The Synod on Synodality, the sprawling meeting in Rome, has become a flashpoint among different factions of the church’s leadership. Women and laypeople are participating in the meeting for the first time. Attendees have a broad mandate to discuss the future of the church, including ordaining women as deacons and outreach to L.G.B.T.Q. people. Relatively progressive leaders, including those appointed by Pope Francis, see the synod as a hopeful moment that could lead to much-needed changes. Conservatives fear that the meeting will decay church standards and unleash chaos. They have compared it to Pandora’s box, and warn that it could cause a schism.” By Ruth Graham, The New York Times

What is the sound of a woman leaving the church?
“A famous Zen koan asks: What is the sound of one hand clapping? A contemporary spiritual riddle might inquire: What is the sound of a woman leaving? Neither has an answer. There is only silence. I reentered Catholicism with some trepidation, overpowered by a longing I could not name. Intellectually, I understood that what had exiled me in the 1980s had not changed. Popes come and go but misogyny remains entrenched. I came back anyway, drawn by light through stained glass, by music both beautiful and inspiring, by pews filled with goodhearted people who reflected our city neighborhoods, not just in ethnicity and color but in shades of gender, sexuality, physical abilities and gifts. In the decades of my absence it seemed the church had gotten much right. But not the whole gender equity thing. On that the hierarchy remains frozen. Intransigent. Unyielding. Unhearing.” By Geraldine Gorman, National Catholic Reporter

How the extraordinary became normal in Catholicism
The Francis era in Roman Catholicism is a good example of how the abnormal and even extraordinary can come to feel, with enough repetition, old hat and status quo. The wildness of the last decade is undeniable: the first papal resignation in centuries, the elevation of a new pope who began casting about for the means to alter Catholic teaching, the attempted rebellions by that pope’s own cardinals, the growing threats of schism from both the traditional and progressive wings of the church.” By Ross Douthat, The New York Times


Boston Archdiocese opposes canceling civil statute of limitations for abuse claims
“Advocates say getting rid of the statute of limitations for victims of child sexual abuse is a matter of moral justice, but the Archdiocese of Boston says the move will hurt its own efforts to help sexual abuse victims. The Massachusetts Legislature is considering eliminating the civil statute of limitations for adult victims of child sexual abuse. The current law allows victims to file civil lawsuits up to 35 years after the abuse.” By Damien Fisher, OSV News, in National Catholic Reporter


Update: Rupnik ‘presumed innocent’ until proven guilty, says diocese that welcomed him
“Father Marko Rupnik, the former Jesuit priest and mosaic artist accused of serious abuses against women, has been accepted for priestly ministry in a diocese in Slovenia. In a statement to CNA on Wednesday, the Diocese of Koper confirmed earlier Italian and German media reports that Rupnik was now incardinated there. The statement said that Rupnik was received into the diocese at the end of August.” By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency

10/23 statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis
“We’re here today outside a courthouse because this is where you go – if you were physically or sexually or emotionally abused in an institutional setting – this is where you go for justice, healing, closure, accountability and prevention, to the admittedly flawed but time-tested and transparent legal system. You find justice, healing closure, accountability and prevention in secular courts of law, not in the private offices of wrongdoers. This is especially true when it comes to institutions that are private, independent and secretive and when they posture as religious or educational.” By David Clohessy, volunteer Missouri director of SNAP, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Delegates at Spirit Unbounded address issues facing the Church
“The source of the ‘plague’ of child sexual abuse in the Church is the ‘traditional devaluation of children,’ the theology of priesthood and mythical image of the priest promoted by Pope John Paul II, according to canon lawyer Dr Tom Doyle … Doyle, who has taught in a number of US seminaries and universities, told the Spirit Unbounded assembly of lay reform groups that he had ‘never heard’ of the concept of ontological change when he was in the seminary or for the first 30 years of his priesthood.” By Sarah Mac Donald, The Tablet

‘What if I’m not the only person?’ Survivor names priests who abused him decades ago.
“Derek McCarthy wants public to know that Spiritan priest with ties to two US cities was one of four men who sexually molested him at Irish boarding school. Some in the US cities of Pittsburgh and New Orleans knew Naos McCool as a Roman Catholic priest who worked with college students and first responders, and also officiated his share of weddings. But Derek McCarthy wants the public to know that McCool, a Spiritan priest, was one of four men who sexually molested him while attending an Irish boarding school – decades before he secured a six-figure settlement from the cleric’s religious order.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, The Guardian

Survivor: abuse should be seriously addressed by the synod, or not at all
“While the doors of the Synod on Synodality, taking place in the Vatican Oct. 4-29, are closed to journalists and the public, a group of survivors of sexual abuse anxiously awaits news on how the assembly addresses the clerical sexual abuse that affected their lives so painfully. While OSV News sources say abuse has been mentioned a few times in the first synodal week — synodal groups spoke about abuse; none of the individual interventions have so far — it is not clear how and to what extent it will be brought into discussion.” By Paulina Guzik, Our Sunday Visitor


Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone won’t name his predators and won’t be honest about bankruptcy
“When a Catholic entity runs to federal court seeking bankruptcy protection, its head often posts a ‘FAQ’ (frequently asked questions) or a ‘Q & A’ section on its website, putting the church hierarchy’s spin on the decision. Usually, these postings are dreadfully disingenuous and dishonest. The Archdiocese of San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s latest posting is perhaps the worst. It’s hard to know where to begin.” By Adam Horowitz, AdamHorowitzLaw.com

Priest pleads not guilty in child pornography case
“A Catholic priest who had served at an Oxnard church pleaded not guilty to a felony child pornography charge on Tuesday (Oct. 3) in Ventura County Superior Court. The Rev. Rodolfo Martinez-Guevara, 38, also denied a special allegation of aggravated possession involving more than 600 images of child pornography, court records show. Prosecutors have said some of the images showed minors younger than 12.” By VCStar.com


Why did church take so long to admit New Orleans deacon was a child abuser?
“More than 10 months after he pleaded guilty to child molestation and after his victim received a substantial financial settlement, the Roman Catholic archdiocese of New Orleans has at last acknowledged that deacon VM Wheeler was a credibly accused child molester. Wheeler, a prominent attorney and church benefactor who died this spring, was ordained in 2018 by the New Orleans archbishop, Gregory Aymond.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, The Guardian


Baltimore priest removed from ministry after settlement over claims of sexual misconduct surfaces
“The Archdiocese of Baltimore is confirming a settlement with a priest in Baltimore accused of sexual harassment. The archdiocese said it learned about the claims on Thursday (Oct. 12) involving Father Paschal Morlino, who is the pastor of St. Benedict Church in southwest Baltimore. Within 24 hours, the priest was suspended from any duties in public ministry. His removal was announced Sunday to parishioners … In a statement, the archdiocese said someone filed a complaint in 2018 with the archdiocese, citing multiple concerns, and that the complaint did not include any information about the issues that led to the settlement.” By Tommie Clark, WBAL-TV11 News

A parent’s nightmare: 12 predator priests at same Maryland Catholic Church
“What if you learned, years later, that a dozen credibly accused abusive employees worked at the daycare where you sent your children? Or if you found out that a dozen predatory teachers taught at the elementary school, your youngsters had attended … Try to put yourself in this dreadful scenario. It’s really hard to imagine, isn’t it? Though it’s mind-blowing, it’s not theoretical. Hundreds of good parents who attended – and may still attend – St. Mark’s Catholic Church in Catonsville, Maryland, in the Baltimore Archdiocese find themselves in this frightening situation.” By Adam Horowitz, AdamHorowitzLaw.com

Archdiocese of Baltimore makes first appearance in federal bankruptcy court
“Baltimore Archbishop William Lori did not attend the hearing in person as the Catholic Church filed eight motions, all of which the judge granted, but only the time extension was granted permanently. Among the motions, the church’s team of private attorneys asked for more time, for continued access to cash and to keep most of the process secret. The other seven motions were granted on an interim basis.” By Kate Amara, WBAL-TV11 News


Roman Catholic diocese settles with 70-year-old man over sex abuse he suffered as a child
“A 70-year-old man who recently reached a settlement with a Roman Catholic diocese in Massachusetts over sexual abuse he suffered at age 8 said Wednesday (Oct. 11) he is speaking out because ‘my voice was taken away from me for all those years’ and he wants to help others like himself. ‘There were a number of details that bring that memory back, painful details,’ Claude Leboeuf said at a news conference in Fall River. ‘I could feel muscle pain, sometimes emotional pain. I can visualize them. I can never know when those memories come flashing back to me. But that’s how it happens. It’s very real to me.’” By The Associated Press on WBUR-FM


Former priest guilty of sex crime
“Aaron James Nowicki, 49, a former priest in Marquette, was arrested in 2021 after an undercover operation by the Genessee Human Oppression Strike Team, the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office, the Sault Ste. Marie Police Department, the Sault Tribe Police Department and TRIDENT. A press release from Chippewa County Prosecutor Robert Stratton says that the undercover operation saw law enforcement officials using the social media application Grindr to pose as a 15-year-old boy.” By Randy Crouch, Daily Press


Buffalo Diocese prepared to offer $100 million to child sex abuse victims
“The Buffalo Diocese is offering up to $100 million to settle child sex abuse claims in its federal bankruptcy case. As much as half of that would come from parishes, schools and other Catholic entities, while the diocese would also need to sell its Catholic Center on Main Street, the former Christ the King Seminary campus in the Town of Aurora and other properties. Those details were revealed in court papers filed late Monday (Oct. 23) in which diocese lawyers sought a preliminary injunction to keep all sex abuse lawsuits against parishes and schools grounded while mediated negotiations in the diocese bankruptcy case continue.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News


Former Philadelphia priest Armand Garcia will plead guilty on sexual abuse charges against a minor
“Former Philadelphia priest Armand Garcia will plead guilty to sexually abusing a teenage girl in court on Monday (Oct. 23) … Garcia also committed unlawful conduct with the same girl in his home in Delaware County, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office said. He first met the girl when she was a 13-year-old altar server at the Immaculate Heart of Mary’s Elementary School.” By Jessica Macaulay, CBS-TV3 News Philadelphia

Former Pennsylvania Catholic priest faces multiple charges in child porn investigation: reports
“A Blair County man and former priest is facing more than 30 charges following a months-long child porn investigation, according to reports. Anthony Petracca Jr., 67, was placed on leave by the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown following allegations of misconduct in 2017. Then, cybertips were reported to the Office of the Attorney General during the summer of 2022.” By EmilyAnn Jackman, PennLive.com


A Tennessee man was abused as a boy. The priest who did it was never named – until now.
“When Turner Casey, 56, first spoke to a reporter at The Commercial Appeal about having been sexually abused as a child by a Catholic priest in Humboldt, Tennessee, he wondered who else had been abused by the same priest. ‘I’m 99.9% certain I couldn’t have been the only one,’ said Casey, who now lives in Louisiana. In the weeks following that phone call, as Casey spoke to friends and family about the possibility of his childhood abuse coming to light in an article, he learned something he’d never expected: His younger brother, who died in 2021, was likely also abused by the same priest.” By Katherine Burgess, Commercial Appeal


Priest who served in La Vernia charged with sexual assault
“The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a Catholic priest who previously served in La Vernia and Stockdale, and charged him with aggravated sexual assault, a felony. Father George Mbugua Ndung’u, known as Father Wanjiru Ndung’u in the parishes where he served, was arrested Sept. 26. This followed an investigation by the Archdiocese of San Antonio, and further investigation by the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office. He is alleged to have sexually assaulted an elderly parishioner several times in the parish where he has most recently been serving, St. Rose of Lima in San Antonio.” By La Vernia News


Archdiocese of Washington hit with lawsuit claiming decades of sexual abuse
“The Archdiocese of Washington is the target of a class-action lawsuit accusing Roman Catholic officials of allowing clergy to sexually abuse children for decades. The lawsuit was filed Monday (Oct. 2) in Prince George’s County Circuit Court, a day after Maryland’s Child Victims Act of 2023 took effect by lifting the statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases. The Archdiocese of Baltimore filed for bankruptcy on Friday (Sept. 29), before the law was to take effect. The lawsuit was brought by three survivors of alleged abuse from Maryland counties who were between 9 and 12 years old when they say the abuse occurred.” By Mark A. Kellner, Washington Times


Mendoza court acquits nuns in Próvolo deaf children sex abuse case
“Two nuns and seven other female employees accused of complicity in years of sexual abuse of minors at the Antonio Próvolo Institute for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children in Mendoza Province were acquitted by a court Wednesday (Oct. 18) of sexual abuse and rape. The ruling, broadcast on public television, concluded a trial of two-and-a-half years in a case that has shocked the home country of Pope Francis.” By Buenos Aires Times


Call for a national summit to address child abuse and neglect
“The Albanese Government is ‘dragging its heels’ on the need for a national summit to address endemic levels of child abuse and neglect, says Australian Catholic University child protection expert Daryl Higgins. The director of the Institute of Child Protection Studies at the Australian Catholic University said the ‘appalling’ findings of a national child maltreatment study earlier this year require a multi-disciplinary focus on prevention with support from political leaders.” By CathNews.com

Vatican report reveals grooming by ‘sexual predator’ bishop
“The Vatican is investigating allegations of sexual abuse and misuse of Church funds by the former Bishop of Broome, whose diocese covers a vast area of Western Australia’s tropical north and includes a large number of Aboriginal communities. A 200-page Church-commissioned report alleges 73-year-old Christopher Saunders sexually abused four Aboriginal youths and misused hundreds of thousands of dollars in Church and charity funds attempting to groom dozens more.” By Mark Bowling, The Tablet


Twenty victims of pedophilia denounce the Society of Jesus of Bolivia for covering up rapes
“A pedophilia scandal is cornering the Society of Jesus in Bolivia. Half a year after the publication of the diary of the late Spanish Jesuit priest Alfonso Pedrajas, in which he admitted to having abused dozens of Bolivian children while his superiors looked the other way — and which triggered a series of accusations against a dozen priests in the Latin American country — a group of victims on Tuesday (Oct. 3) brought legal action against the Roman Catholic organization for covering up the abuse, for protecting pedophile clerics and for silencing the victims.” By Julio Núñez, El Pais


Overshadowed by Mount Cashel: this school abuse survivor says grade 7 was a nightmare
“The sky over St. John’s on this October morning is thick with dark clouds as a blue sedan slowly pulls into an unremarkable parking lot on Patrick Street. The older man at the wheel is expressionless as he guides his car to a stop. He takes a second to compose himself, opens his door and plants his sneaker-clad feet onto the damp asphalt. Smartly, he stands erect. Looking to the back of the parking lot, where Holy Cross all-boys school once stood, he feels a chill unrelated to the threatening skies overhead.” By Terry Roberts, CBC News

Former N.W.T. priest gets two years jail for indecent assault against child in Fort Simpson 40 years ago
“A former N.W.T. priest began a two-year sentence Monday (Oct. 23) for a crime dating back four decades. Camille Piché pleaded guilty in N.W.T. territorial court to indecent assault against a child while working as a priest in Fort Simpson, N.W.T. According to an agreed statement of facts read in court on Monday, Piché was working at the Sacred Heart Church in Fort Simpson when he developed a friendship with the victim’s parents and made regular visits to their home.” By Natalie Pressman, CBC News

Former St. Anne’s nun 8th person charged for alleged abuses at that residential school
“Some were remembered only by their nicknames. They were brothers Big Nose and Pigskin, Hamburger Lips and Pinching Lady, sisters Grasshopper, Skunk and Pig — aliases and Cree epithets the children of St. Anne’s residential school in Fort Albany, Ont., gave their alleged abusers. They’re among 180 alleged perpetrators listed by 152 survivors in 61 lawsuits, filed against the Canadian government and Catholic Church in the early 2000s. But in some cases, like those above, the now-adult children could only recall the nicknames.” By Brett Forester, CBC News Canada

Family says Christian Brothers abuse led to death of loved one in Vancouver’s downtown eastside
“It’s been one year since Paddy Munro held her son as he shivered, emaciated, in a hospital waiting room. A full year since he slipped out of the observation room and back to a dilapidated hotel on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. One year since the worst day of her life — when she got a phone call saying her son was dead. Sean Munro fought to vanquish his intrusive thoughts for more than 20 years, his family says. He struggled with obsessive-compulsive disorder, body dysmorphia, alcoholism and more. At the root of it all, his mother says, was what happened in a small office at a Vancouver private school in the 1980s — with a teacher who they believe never should have been there.” By Ryan Cook, CBC News


A priest from Charente indicted for sexual assault on a minor
“A 31-year-old priest from Charente was indicted for sexual assault on a minor under the age of 15, Agence France-Presse (AFP) learned from the Versailles public prosecutor’s office and the diocese of Angoulême, which suspended from all functions on Tuesday October 24. The indictment, pronounced on Friday (Oct. 20) was accompanied by judicial review. The facts occurred between July 1, 2021 and August 5, 2023, ‘to the detriment of a single victim, a boy aged between 9 and 11 years old at the time of the events, one of the children of a family to whom the accused was close,’ declared the prosecution to AFP.” By David Sadler, Globe Echo World News


Christian Brothers agree to enter mediation in protracted historical child abuse case
“The congregation of the Christian Brothers has ‘effectively’ agreed to enter into mediation with a victim of historical child sex abuse, the High Court was told on Tuesday (Oct. 10). In a major development in a case where the congregation has, up to now, been refusing to put forward a nominee to represent it for the purposes of the litigation, mediation is set to begin with Frank Buttimer Solicitors acting for the current head of the congregation, Bro David Gibson, as well as 104 other members.” By Colm Keena, The Irish Times


Roman Catholic priest appears in court charged with rape
“A Roman Catholic priest appeared in the Family Court in St Vincent and the Grenadines on Monday (Oct. 23) charged with two counts of sexual offenses. The priest, a foreign national, was arraigned on two counts of rape and two counts of indecent assault and appeared on camera before Magistrate, John Ballah … He has been granted and was granted bail to appear before the Family Court, whose president would conduct a preliminary inquiry.” By Caibbean.LoopNews.com