Voice of the Faithful Focus, Apr. 5, 2012
Highlighting issues we face working together
to Keep the Faith, Change the Church
Spiritans Religious Order to Be Audited on Sex Abuse
(Mar. 31, 2012) The Irish province of the Spiritans (Holy Ghost Fathers) congregation will be the first Catholic male religious order internationally to request an audit to establish “the reality of the sexual abuse of children and minors by clergy, religious or church workers.” VOTF has issued a National Statement applauding the congregation’s effort.
Monsignor’s Landmark Trial Continues in Philadelphia
New information unfolds daily in Philadelphia sex abuse trial; some difficult to hear
Each week in Philadelphia new allegations are made and new stories told. It is a sad situation but important to understand.
This is The Kind of Bishop That I Long for as a Priest
And this is also the kind of Bishop that we laity long for. A few years ago I unexpectedly found myself as the guest of an archbishop whose diocese was a large bustling city in Bolivia. Not only did I get a shock at the sight of so much poverty in Bolivia, the poorest country in South America … but I was also immensely surprised at the manner and lifestyle of the archbishop.
Bishop: Total Re-Examination of Catholic Faith, Culture Needed
In light of abuse crisis, Australian prelate calls for complete rethinking. The roots of the decades-long clergy sex abuse scandal lie not in any set of rules or practices, but are found deep in the culture of the church itself, retired Australian Bishop Geoffrey Robinson said Wednesday in a wide-ranging talk at the historic Newberry Library in downtown Chicago.
Online Sexual Predators Only Need Eight Minutes
8 minutes. Researchers discover sexual predators “groom” children for sex online in just 8 minutes. In an article in the Irish Independent newspaper, researchers at Middlesex University in London revealed that online predators appear to be much more aggressive in the way that they approach children in cyberspace.
7 Reasons Catholics Leave Church (in Trenton, #1 is Sex Abuse Crisis)
Even though Roman Catholics are the second-largest religious group in the United States, the tradition has seen an exodus of members in recent decades. One in ten Americans is an ex-Catholic.
The Vatican Sees Ireland as a Disgraced and Busted Flush
The Vatican report holds no surprises in its clear assertion of top-down hierarchical authority. Yet the Vatican’s summary of reports on the Irish church written for Rome by cardinals and other senior church figures who visited this island at the request of Pope Benedict, and which was issued last week, reads as if little has changed. In addition Cardinal Brady will not resign and a priest is falsely accused.
Update on Kansas City Where the Bishop Has Been Charged with a Misdemeanor
While the future of the Bishop of Kansas City is in the hands of the legal system, two women in the diocese are taking the protection of children to heart.
Cleveland Bishop Analyzing Vatican Rulings on Church Closings
Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Bishop Richard G. Lennon has issued a letter to the more than 700,000 Catholics in the eight-county diocese to assure them that he is working on a response to Vatican rulings that upheld appeals from parishioners challenging the bishop’s orders to close 13 parishes.
Molestation Suit Filed Too Late, Court Rules
A lawsuit by six Bay Area men who said they were molested by a Catholic priest in the early 1970s, and sought damages from the Oakland diocese that employed and supervised him, must be dismissed because it was filed too late, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
Retired Priest Pleads Guilty to Abuse
A retired Catholic priest pleaded guilty in California to sexually abusing a boy in the 1990s, authorities said. Denis Lyons, 78, pleaded guilty Friday to four felony counts of lewd acts upon a child under 14, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Australians Speak Out
Clergy and survivors speak out for better treatment and an improved process in the sexual abuse crisis facing Australia. Also the laity is challenged to fulfill their role outlined in Vatican II.
— Top Catholic Priest Calls for Inquiry on Assaults (Australia): Parish priest in Australia says the church’s moral authority had been “compromised to an extraordinary degree” by its failure to independently review the handling of sexual abuse claims. Senior clergy in Melbourne say there is a groundswell of support in their ranks for an independent inquiry into the handling of sexual abuse complaints.
— Clergy Call for Inquiry into Sexual Abuse Claims: Senior clergy in Melbourne’s Catholic Church say there is a groundswell of support in their ranks for an independent inquiry into the handling of sexual abuse complaints.
— Sex Abuse Victims Claim Conflict in Care Process: At least seven victims of abuse by Catholic priests have lodged complaints with the Psychology Board of Australia against Melbourne church’s psychologist employed to co-ordinate their care.
— Robert Fitzgerald on Lay Leadership: This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. Even with the passing of half a century there is still contention and ambivalence about the legacy of this momentous meeting. At a recent conference in Sydney, AU, the keynote speech, about the role of the laity, was entitled ‘The time has come — but are we willing?’
Gesu Catholic Church Says Missing Cash Totals $510,000
The pastor of Gesu Catholic Church (University Heights, Ohio) told parishioners Sunday that the money the parish learned was missing in August amounted to $510,000, and he reassured them that despite the loss, parish and school financial obligations were being met. In a letter read at all Masses, the Rev. Jim Cryan said the amount was determined through an investigation by the Diocese of Toledo and law enforcement.
Papal Impropriety: The Dark Secrets of the Vatican Bank
The Vatican Bank has been plagued by corruption and criminality ever since it was established in 1942. Yet this is hardly a surprise, given that no bona fide legal system is currently in place to ensure check and balances for the bank of God.
Other Happenings around the World
Both Positive and Negative Issues Overshadow the Pope’s Visit to Mexico and Cuba
The shadow of the disgraced Mexican founder of a powerful religious order darkened the visit of Pope Benedict XVI this (past) weekend, as former victims and authors organized news conferences to call attention to the church’s failure to combat what they called a systemic culture of sexual abuse. On the lighter side, the Pope spoke directly to children about their future.
Diocese Agrees to Mediation in Priest Abuse Case
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena has pledged to open its books and attempt to use a mediator to settle claims that priests and nuns sexually abused about 250 people as children in western Montana. Timothy Kosnoff, lead plaintiffs’ attorney in one of the lawsuits, called the diocese’s pledge of transparency unprecedented in his experience litigating sex-abuse lawsuits.
Church Accused of ‘Bullying’ Organization Representing Clergy Sex Abuse Victims
A victims advocacy organization alleging pressure from lawyers representing the Roman Catholic Church to hand over confidential documents related to clergy sex abuse cases claims the tactics being used are akin to “bullying” and “intimidation.” Church officials deny, however, that any tactics are being used to pressure the group.
Former Priest Arrested for Sexual Battery
A former priest in two area Catholic churches has been charged with two counts of aggravated rape and 52 counts of sexual battery, according to the Calcasieu Parish (in Lake Charles, LA) Sheriff’s Office.
Help Victims Carry Their Cross and Pray for Church:
Join Us Good Friday at Steps of Cathedral
During last Sunday’s homily, a priest at St. David in Willow Grove, asked congregants to pray for the victims of clergy sex abuse this Easter season as we enter the clergy sex abuse trial and what could be called the “passion of the Philadelphia Church.” It’s not enough to pray alone at home. More than one victim has explained that they survived the abuse but are still victimized by the turned backs of fellow Catholics.
Play about Clergy Abuse Retells Cambridge Playwright’s Story
Last week in a Cambridge church, playwright Michael Mack performed his autobiographical play, “Conversations with My Molester: A Faith Journey,” about talking to the priest who molested him as a boy. Over 200 viewed the play, many of whom were VOTF members. The play was powerful, thoughtful, and, at the same time, almost lyrical. His prose was more like poetry and brought a profound beauty to difficult events. Watch for it in your area. It is well worth the viewing.