Voice of the Faithful Focus, Jan. 31, 2013
Highlighting issues we face working together
to Keep the Faith, Change the Church
The Cardinal and the Truth
No member of the Roman Catholic hierarchy fought longer and more energetically than Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles to conceal the decades-long scandal involving the rape and intimidation of children by rogue priests. For years, the cardinal withheld seamy church records from parents, victims and the public, brandishing endless litigation and claims of confidentiality.
— Victims Accuse L.A. Catholic Church Leaders of Covering Up Sex Abuse
— Files Show How Catholic Church Leaders in L.A. Controlled Damage
— Church Sex Abuse Files Unlikely to Lead to Charges, Experts Say
— Sexual Abuse Files Cast Shadow on Los Angeles Cardinal
— Los Angeles Cardinal Hid Abuse, Files Show
— A Priest’s Confession, a Man’s Relief
— L.A. Church Leaders Sought to Hide Sex Abuse Cases from Authorities
— Files Show How Catholic Church Leaders in L.A. Controlled Damage
— Files Show How LA Catholic Leaders Shielded Priests
— Catholic Hierarchy Hid Priests’ Sex Abuse
— Letters: Sex Abuse in the Catholic Church
— Southern California Clergy Abuse News
Frank Bruni, op-ed columnist for the New York Times, says he has nothing against priests, but quite a lot against an institution that has done a disservice to them and to the parishioners in whose interests they should toil. “I refer to the Roman Catholic Church, specifically to its modern incarnation and current leaders, who have tucked priests into a cosseted caste above the flock, wrapped them in mysticism and prioritized their protection and reputations over the needs and sometimes even the anguish of the people in the pews.”
German Priests Carried Out Sexual Abuse for Years
A report about child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in Germany, based on victim accounts and released by the church this week (Jan. 18), showed that priests carefully planned their assaults and frequently abused the same children repeatedly for years.
Church May Lose ‘Shield’
Victoria’s commission inquiring into clergy sex abuse is likely to recommend at least six state laws be reformed to hold the Catholic Church to account, including removal of the legal ”shield” it has used to avoid being sued by victims.
New Jersey Parishioners Protest Priests’ Ouster
About 150 parishioners from St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Elizabeth, N.J., including a contingent of Voice of the Faithful members, traveled by caravan Jan. 6 to Sacred Heart Cathedral in Newark in an effort to reverse an order by Archbishop John Myers that the four priests living in their parish rectory vacate this month.
Fr. Flannery’s Grasp of Theology Better Than That of His Silencers
The Irish Redemptorist Fr. Tony Flannery refuses to meet the Vatican demand that he affirm, among other things, that “Christ instituted the church with a permanent hierarchical structure and that bishops are divinely appointed successors to the apostles.”
— No Question of Excommunication for Father Tony Flannery
— Priest ‘Threatened’ by Catholic Church over Ordination Stance
— Priest Is Planning to Defy the Vatican’s Orders to Stay Quiet
Priest Admits to Groping Teen Girl and Two Women
A Roman Catholic priest who ministered at a Long Beach church pleaded no contest to sexually groping a 14-year-old girl and two young women and was sentenced to five years felony probation Jan. 23.
‘Monsignor Meth’ Dealt Drug, Bought Sex Shop
Monsignor Kevin Wallin’s fall from grace at his Connecticut parish seems like something out of “Breaking Bad,” the television series about a high school chemistry teacher who becomes a methamphetamine lord.
— Suspended Roman Catholic Priest Pleads Not Guilty in Alleged Nationwide Meth Ring
— Priest Charged in Meth Sting Tried to Open Sex Shop, Feds Say
— Signs of Trouble before Meth Priest’s Bust
— Connecticut’s Catholics Humiliated Yet Again
Why should I return to the Catholic Church?
This Illinois mother and grandmother decided to take the Catholic Diocesan Survey and to make it public instead of going through the confidential diocesan webpage. As a member of St. Aloysius Parish; she sent her contribution every month, even though she no longer attends church there. She will give to St. Aloysius School in her own way, so only the school will have access to it.
Retired Roman Catholic Priest Sentenced for Abusing Boys in Fort Lauderdale
A retired Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing dozens of boys for decades has been sentenced to 15 years in prison in Fort Lauderdale court.
Five More Former JFK Students Claim Sexual Abuse
Five more people have contacted attorneys claiming they were sexually abused by a Franciscan friar who taught religion, coached baseball and was the athletic trainer at Warren’s John F. Kennedy High School in the late 1980s.
Pennsylvania Lawmakers Fight to Reform Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse
In Pennsylvania, statute of limitation reform bills have been blocked for many years. Although the criminal statute of limitations was abolished and the statute for civil charges extended to 50 years old, the far more important and controversial initiative for advocates, the “window” provision, was completely struck from the law as passed.
— Renewed Push to Update Statute-of-Limitations laws in Child Sex Abuse Cases
Claims of Abuse by Baker Rising
The magnitude of accusations against Brother Stephen Baker is staggering, said an Altoona attorney who has represented victims of sexual abuse since 1987.
Watchdog Group Releases Data on Claims against Archdiocese of Philadelphia Priests
BishopAccountability.org began publishing Jan. 22 the first of 5,700 pages of documents about past claims against Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests. Documents were culled from evidence introduced at last year’s landmark child-endangerment trial of Msgr. William J. Lynn.
Lawyers Attack Credibility of Man Who Alleged Sex Assault as Altar Boy
Lawyers for a priest and a former parochial-school teacher attacked the credibility Jan. 16 of a 24-year-old Northeast Philadelphia man who says the pair sexually assaulted him when he was a 10-year-old altar boy.
Priest at Center of Priest Sex Abuse Case Recants
Former Catholic priest Edward Avery on Jan. 17 recanted under oath his guilty plea to sexually assaulting an altar boy in 1999, potentially undermining the District Attorney’s larger conspiracy case against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Archdiocese to Release Information about Defrocked Priest to Police
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee said Jan. 17 it will allow a Fond du Lac police detective to review the file of a defrocked priest as part of an ongoing sex-abuse investigation there, in response to a motion filed the same day by sex-abuse victims in its bankruptcy case.
Milwaukee archdiocese Says It’s Going Broke
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee is hemorrhaging money on legal and professional fees as a result of its bankruptcy and will be unable to pay its monthly operating expenses beginning in April unless the judge suspends those payments, it says in court documents filed Jan. 24.
Cardinal Dolan and the Dead Lose One to the Living
Who is more deserving: victims of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests, or dead people moldering their graves? When he was Archbishop of Milwaukee, Timothy Dolan chose the dead people, placing $55 million into cemetery trust funds and out of the reach of local abuse victims suing the Church. The victims asked a federal bankruptcy judge to reverse him, and on Jan. 11 she did.
Troy Priest Under Investigation Following Archdiocese Audit
Father Edward Belczak has presided over the Parish of St. Thomas More in Troy for nearly 30 years. He is now under investigation and removed from his post pending the outcome after an audit by the Archdiocese discovered more than $400,000 had disappeared over the course of six years.
Vatican to Meet Bankers Next Week on Credit-Card Crisis
Meetings next week (week of Jan. 21) between Italy’s central bank, the Vatican and its credit-card provider could help to resolve the credit-card block that has plagued visitors and the Vatican itself for weeks.
What’s the Message on the Runway for Baroque Fashions
Sometimes rituals focus more on clothes than on religious words and sacrament. Removing gloves and putting on glasses, keeping a skullcap in place or adjusting a pallium could appear more important than the elevation of the chalice.
WOMEN’S ROLES IN THE CHURCH
The Meaning of Ordination and How Women Were Gradually Excluded
The definition of ordination changed radically during the 12th century. Second, women were considered capable of ordination up until the 13th century. This having been said, it is important to understand what ordination meant from the fifth to the 13th centuries. Only then can we understand what it meant to ordain women during that period.
More Charges Laid in Sex Abuse Case
A retired Hunter Marist Brother charged with child sex offences in the 1960s and 1970s will apply to Newcastle Local Court for a stay in proceedings against him, a court heard yesterday.
Second Australian Catholic Priest Charged
Retired Maitland-Newcastle catholic priest Lewis Fenton has appeared in Newcastle local court as the second Australian Catholic priest charged with concealing the child sex crimes of another person.
Church Sex Abuse Inquiry: Former Gladstone Park Priest Tells of Catholic’s ‘Horror’
A vast majority of Catholics were “horrified” and “overwhelmed” by reports of child sexual abuse and “want something done”, former Gladstone Park priest Philip O’Donnell has said.
Catholic Church Incapable of Child Abuse Reform, says Ex-priest Phil O’Donnell
The Catholic Church is incapable of the radical reforms necessary to resolve child abuse by clergy, a parliamentary inquiry has heard. Former priest Phil O’Donnell said the Archdiocese of Melbourne had known about allegations of sexual abuse by clergy since the 1950s but failed to protect children in its care.
Church ‘Sheltered Abuser’
A priest accused of sexually abusing altar boys throughout the 1980s was sheltered by the Catholic Church in the parish of Father Finian Egan, who is facing charges of indecent assault and rape.
Church Will Hand over Documents to Inquiry if Asked
The Catholic Church has said it will do what it can to assist the Royal Commission into child sex abuse, including releasing victims from confidentiality agreements they’ve signed with the church, the head of the Church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council has told the ABC.
Cardinal Pell to Be Called Before Victorian Abuse Inquiry
The Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, is to be called before the Victorian child sex abuse inquiry to explain his and the church’s role in the scandal.
Catholic Church Procedures Criticized in Sex Abuse Inquiry
An inquiry into the way the Catholic Church handled child sex abuse accusations against one of its priests has strongly criticized church procedures. Had the protocols of today been in force in the early 1980s, the abuse by the priest – identified only as Father F – could have been stopped in its tracks.
Child Abuse Inquiry Says It’s Ready to Use Powers to Compel Production of Evidence
The head of the royal commission into child sexual abuse says the inquiry won’t hesitate to exercise its powers to compel people and organizations to give evidence before it. Justice Peter McClellan said the task before the commission, set up to investigate institutional responses to child sexual abuse, was complex, large and would take time.
The World from Berlin: Blame Traded after Failed Church Abuse Probe
The German Catholic Church called off an independent review of allegations of sexual abuse in its ranks this week. The head of the investigation accused the Church of censorship. On Thursday (Jan. 10), the two sides traded blame as German commentators largely mourned the end of the examination.
Vatican OKs Next Catholic Leader for Ireland
The Roman Catholic Church’s much-criticized leader in Ireland announced Friday that the Vatican has approved his successor, a reform-minded priest who has been outspoken on the need for more church accountability on child sex abuse.
— Eamon Martin Set to Become Head of Ireland’s Catholics
— After Abuse Scandal, Pope Appoints New Head of Irish Church