Voice of the Faithful Focus, Jan. 3, 2013
Highlighting issues we face working together
to Keep the Faith, Change the Church
Judge Says Times Can Argue for Release of Full Church Abuse Files
Media organizations will be allowed to argue against redactions in secret church files that are due to be made public as part of a historic $660-million settlement between the Los Angeles Archdiocese and alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled Thursday.
Pastor, 3 Priests from Elizabeth Church Get Their Walking Papers
When parishioners from St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Elizabeth, New Jersey, arrived for Mass on Sunday, Dec. 24, they had no idea they would be saying goodbye to three priests and a monsignor who have served the parish for decades.
Boston Priest to Lead Oversight of Sexual Abuse Claims
The Boston priest was the adviser to disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law.
Abuse victims aren’t happy with the choice.
Pope Benedict XVI, on Dec. 22, appointed as the Vatican’s new sexual crimes prosecutor a priest who handled clergy sexual abuse cases in the Roman Catholic Church in Boston at the height of the scandal and for years afterward.
2012 a Year of Unparalleled Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims
Experts say 2012 was a year of unparalleled justice for child sex abuse victims, but whether the string of high-profile convictions will translate into a turning point for juvenile safety remains to be seen.
Reconciling the Passions of the Members of the Church
The news is filled recently with stories of longtime, loyal Catholics being told the beliefs they have arrived at through experience and reflection are not good enough … If the church were to ban all its leaders — ordained and non-ordained — who didn’t follow all the teachings espoused by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and by all its local bishops, how many leaders would be left, how many more followers would realize this church doesn’t represent their beliefs
Women Deacons? Best Not to Talk About It.
The archdiocese of Philadelphia is looking for someone to address its deacons this spring. Former heads of the USCCB’s secretariat for the diaconate need not apply. Not, that is, if they have publicly acknowledged the unsettled question of whether women may be ordained deacons. That might be “doctrinally confusing.”
It’s Time: The Case for Women Deacons
Phyllis Zagano, award-winning author and Senior Research Associate in Residence and Adjunct Professor of Religion at Hofstra University, reviews the case for ordaining women to the diaconate in the Roman Catholic Church in the Dec. 21, 2012, edition of Commonweal magazine. Zagano received the Voice of the Faithful® St. Catherine of Siena Distinguished Layperson Award in 2012 at VOTF’s 10th Year Conference in Boston.
What Women Theologians Have Done for the Church
Women have been admitted to graduate-level theology programs at Catholic institutions only for the past 70 years, but Catholic women theologians have helped form both lay and ordained church leaders’ (and regular Catholics, no matter whether they know it) understanding of liturgy, scripture, ethics, pastoral ministry, spirituality, faith formation, theology and the church itself.
Swiss Abbot Makes Fiery Appeal for Church Reform
A fiery appeal for church reform by an influential Swiss abbot has attracted widespread attention throughout Europe, and has, moreover, been welcomed by the future president of the Swiss bishops’ conference.
— Call for Debate to Re-energize Church
Lawyer Who Foretold Church Scandals Writes His Story
Ray Mouton was a successful young lawyer in Lafayette, Louisiana, respected in the community and blessed with a loving family, when he received a call from a vicar in the Roman Catholic diocese for a lunch meeting on a fateful day in 1984.
Judge: Diocese Able to Pay Alleged Child Abusers
A federal judge has struck down a provision of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court settlement between the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington and survivors of priest sexual abuse that prevented the diocese from making any pension or charitable payments to abuser priests.
Columbus Diocese Urged to Search for Priest’s Victims
An advocacy group is asking the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus to step up efforts to reach possible abuse victims after a priest on trial in Canada testified that he engaged in inappropriate sexual activity with boys while working in central Ohio decades ago.
Maine Catholic Church Upholds Abuse Claim
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland says a claim of sexual abuse of a minor against a former director of religious education in Madawaska is substantiated.
Ex-Fitchburg Priest Will Come to Face Child Porn, Theft Charges
The Roman Catholic priest wanted in Worcester on charges of child pornography possession and stealing from his Fitchburg parish was taken into custody in Los Angeles recently and will be brought to Worcester, authorities said.
Former Catholic Priest Novi Faces Porn Charges
A former local Catholic priest has been arrested and charged with downloading child pornography. Timothy Murray, a 62-year-old Novi resident and former pastor of St. Edith Parish in Livonia, appeared in federal court Thursday on the charges and was temporarily detained.
Accused Child Predator Must Stand Trial
A Mississippi judge ruled Dec. 18 that the state’s statute of limitations does not prevent prosecution of a former Southern Baptist music minister charged with molesting five boys in the early 1980s.
Springfield Priest Arrested on Sexual Battery Charges
Fairfax County Police have arrested a priest from the Springfield area on a charge of sexual battery.
A PRIEST’S PERSPECTIVE
Twenty Years Later, I look Upon My Ordination
A former priest looks back on how he discovered abuse in the Church
Twenty years ago this week (Dec. 17) I (Patrick Wall) was ordained a Roman Catholic priest at Saint John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota. My ordination was performed by then-Bishop Jerome Hanus, O.S.B. At the time, I knew I was being sent to a one-year assignment where I would fill in for monk who had been yanked from Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, after a victim came forward and accused the monk of child sex abuse. This was not my first emergency assignment. The previous year—before I was ordained—I was ordered to replace a monk who had been working as a faculty resident at Saint John’s University. He had also been accused of sex abuse.
A New Inquisition: The Vatican Targets U.S. Nuns
This is the first in a series of articles, a joint reporting project by National Catholic Reporter and GlobalPost.com, examining the background and the principal players in the Vatican’s investigations of U.S. women religious.
2012 Has Truly Been the Year of the Nuns
If only the Vatican and conservative U.S. bishops, whether working in the Vatican or not, understood what American nuns understand: Abortion and same-sex marriage aren’t the only social justice issues that should concern us.
Bishops Investigating US Nuns Have Poor Records on Sex Abuse Cases
Vatican selection include bishops and cardinals who protected pedophile priests
From its 17th century palace, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith monitors compliance with Roman Catholic moral teaching and matters of dogma for the oldest church in Christendom … But as the CDF accelerates a disciplinary action against the main leadership group of American nuns, many sisters and priests are reacting to a climate of fear fostered by bishops and cardinals who have never been investigated by the church for their role in the greatest moral crisis of modern Catholicism: the clergy sex abuse crisis.
Vatican Implosions Really First-Order Space & Information Age Effects
(Dec. 14, 2012) That noise you hear coming from the Vatican comes not from the clang of cell doors on papal butlers taking one for the system, but from the “implosion” of the system itself.
‘The Spirit Is Still on the Job’
(Dec. 18, 2012) On October 11, 1963, Bishop Luigi Bettazzi addressed the Second Vatican Council on the need for collegiality. He was the newest bishop participant, having been consecrated only a week before, and, at 39, also one of the youngest. Now 89, Bettazzi is the most active of the five surviving Italian participants, keeping faith with the council by writing and lecturing about it tirelessly.
European Austerity Measures Reach the Vatican Budge
The Vatican must adopt “effective” cost reduction measures in the wake of the global economic crisis, Pope Benedict XVI’s No. 2 official warned on Dec. 18.
Cardinal Bertone: Commitment to Transparency in Management of Holy See’s Assets
Assets managed by Vatican entities are “at the service of the universal mission of the Church” and today, in particular, “there must be an increasing commitment to transparency and accuracy in their administration.”
Catholic Church to Face the Music
The Catholic Church in Australia is facing its most critical test. Over the coming months it will, rightly, be subjected to extreme scrutiny as a royal commission into the institutionalized abuse of children examines why so many people have had their lives ruined by organizations that were trusted to protect and nurture them as youngsters.
— Catholic University Approved Research into Pedophile Clergy
— Push To Make Church Inquiry Global
— Child Sex Abuse Is Church’s Greatest Crisis Ever
— Church Receives Report on Abuse Response
— Prominent Laymen Head Commission To Advise on Child Sex Abuse
— Sex Inquiry Hears Catholic Church Trying To Limit Financial Accountability
Alleged Abuse Victims Urge Collection Plate Boycott
They may be deaf and mute, but a group of about 200 alleged victims of sexual abuse by a Roman Catholic teaching order who gathered for a demonstration on a frigid Sunday afternoon were able to communicate a powerful message.
Catholic Deacon Charged with Making and distributing Child Pornography
A Montreal deacon is being accused of producing and distributing child pornography a day after police say they seized 2,000 images from his home.
Priest Admits U.S. Abuse, But Denies Any Crimes in British Columbia
A Roman Catholic priest has admitted to sexually abusing teenage boys in the U.S., but denies he did the same thing in Canada. Father Phil Jacobs testified in his own defense Monday at his trial on charges of sexually assaulting three teen boys in Victoria during the late 1990s.
Priest’s History of Sex Abuse Allegations Involves Vancouver & New York
A priest removed from his duties in Vancouver over accusations of sexual abuse in the 1980s was terminated from a New York diocese for “problems of a similar nature” in 2001.
— Cooper: Father Lawrence Cooper (Father Damian Cooper)
Kerala Bishops Sack Youth Commission Priest Charged with Trafficking
The Catholic Bishops’ Council of Kerala dismissed the secretary of its youth commission, who has been charged as part of a human trafficking ring. Father Stephen Alathara, spokesman for the council, also said Nov. 17 it would conduct an investigation into the priest’s activities, reported the Press Trust of India.
Former Priest To Fight Extradition on Sex Charges
(Dec. 17, 2012) Nearly three weeks after his return to New Zealand, a former Catholic brother and convicted sex offender has decided he will fight extradition to Australia on 252 fresh charges.