Voice of the Faithful Focus, July 25, 2013
Highlighting issues we face working together
to Keep the Faith, Change the Church
Church Leaders Need to Re-Examine Response to Sex Abuse
Each time there is another disclosure of documents — correspondence, transcripts of depositions, diocesan memos — the reality of an insular, secretive, Renaissance court culture aggressively protective of its clerical status and privilege becomes more apparent.
Catholic Church Lobbies to Avert Sex Abuse Lawsuits
At the height of the clergy sex-abuse scandal in 2002, Catholic leaders stayed silent as California lawmakers passed a landmark bill that gave hundreds of accusers extra time to file civil lawsuits. The consequences were costly. Now, state legislators are considering a bill that would give some alleged victims more time to sue. But this time, the church is waging a pitched battle in Sacramento to quash it.
— Catholic Church Lobbies against California Abuse Bill
Australia Inquiry Hears of 50-Year Cover-Up
The Hunter Valley in New South Wales recently has become known as the epicenter of Catholic sex abuse in Australia. A special commission of inquiry in Newcastle has heard that leaders of the diocese knew of the numerous pedophiliac activities of one priest for 50 years, but did not notify police until 2003.
Pope Updates Vatican City State Law, Criminalizing Sex Abuse, Leaks
Pope Francis has overhauled the laws that govern the Vatican city-state, criminalizing leaks of Vatican information and specifically listing sexual violence, prostitution, and possession of child pornography as crimes against children that can be punished by up to 12 years in prison.
— Pope Criminalizes Leaks, Sex Abuse in First Laws
— Pope Francis Targets Child Abuse, Leaks in Vatican Legal Reform
— Pope Francis Criminalizes Child Sex Abuse, Vatican Leaks in Motu Proprio
Catholic Church Needs Shift from Business as Usual
The recent release of documents by the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese involving sexual abuse of minors by priests not only represents another step in the long road toward healing for the victims and their families but also serves as further validation of an organizational culture steeped in denial and a clear preference for looking the other way.
FR. HELMUT SCHULLER: CATHOLIC TIPPING POINT TOUR
Fr. Helmut Schuller Kicks Off ‘Catholic Tipping Point’ Tour
Fr. Helmut Schüller should be on summer vacation right now. Instead, the Austrian priest, who gained international attention in 2011 for his “Call to Disobedience,” has chosen to spend his time off from parish ministry offering a presentation titled “The Catholic Tipping Point: Conversations” in 15 U.S. cities. The tour kicked off July 22 at Manhattan’s Judson Memorial Church.
— Fr. Helmut Schuller Makes Debut in NYC
Schuller: Now Is Not the Time for Third Vatican Council
Women who have chosen to become ordained Catholic priests are “very prophetic,” Fr. Helmut Schüller told a group of journalists July 22, but he said the focus still should be on opening up the entire priesthood to women. “It’s a system we have to change,” he said during a press conference at the National Press Club. “It’s a question of strategy.”
Reformist Priest Sees Potential Ally in Pope Francis
An Austrian priest who’s been banned from speaking at Roman Catholic churches during his three-week U.S. tour said Pope Francis could be an ally in reforming the Catholic Church, but said it will take more than the pope to open the priesthood to married men and women.
Schuller in Philadelphia: ‘Where has obedience got us?’
At best, the Catholic Church has five to six years before the shortage of clergy members plays itself out in unknown ways in Europe and North America. This is the so-called “Catholic Tipping Point” foreseen by Austrian Fr. Helmut Schüller, one of the most vocal advocates for new models of leadership in the church. The remarks came in an extended interview with NCR before his Friday (July 19) evening address at Chestnut Hill College here.
— Archdiocese Speaks Out Against Priest’s Visit
— Controversial Catholic Priest Comes to Chestnut Hill College Despite Philadelphia Archdiocese Ban
— Rebel Priest from Austria Speaks to Eyewitness News
Dissident Austrian Priest’s U.S. Speaking Tour Begins
Father Helmut Schüller, whose “Call to Disobedience” attracted the support of many of his fellow Austrian priests, has begun a speaking tour of 15 U.S. cities in an attempt to build a network of support for church reform. He spoke tonight (July 16) in a Protestant church in Manhattan, Judson Memorial Church on Washington Square.
Priest Says Grouping Parishes Will Weaken Church
An Austrian priest who advocates ordination of women and married men, a position that led Boston church leaders to bar him from speaking at a local parish, said July 17 that plans like the one Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley has put forward to group parishes and priests into clusters weaken the church rather than strengthen it. The Rev. Helmut Schuller argues that expanding the priesthood is a better answer than clustering plans that spread priests too thin, undermining their relationships with parishioners.
Hundreds Pack Unitarian Church to Hear Reformist Catholic Priest
Hundreds of people, most of them Catholic, turned out July 22 in Dedham to hear a Catholic priest — a reformist — from Austria. The Rev. Helmut Schuller was scheduled to speak at St. Susanna Parish in Dedham, but was barred by Cardinal Sean O’Malley due to his positions on several issues which run contrary to official Catholic church doctrine. So the meeting was moved to a Unitarian church.
The Rev. Helmut Schuller to speak in Independence and Cleveland
The Rev. Helmut Schuller, the reformist Austrian priest who advocates for institutional change and inclusive priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church, will stop in Northeast Ohio for two speaking engagements.
FUTURE OF THE CHURCH
Priest Sacking Stirs Controversy in Catholic Poland
A parish priest’s dismissal for criticizing church doctrine on test tube babies, abortion, euthanasia and contraception has sparked debate in devoutly Catholic Poland.
— Sacking of Rebel Priest Deepens Rift in Catholic Poland
NEW POPE – CHURCH REFORM
Panel to Study Vatican’s Finances and Transparency
As he forges ahead with reforming the Vatican’s troubled bureaucracy, Pope Francis has established a committee of international experts to help improve its finances and transparency, the Vatican said Friday (July 19). The committee of seven lay experts and one cleric will answer directly to the pope and a panel of cardinals he appointed to help coordinate reforms. The new committee will help carry out “the simplification and rationalization” of the Vatican’s departments, the Vatican said.
— Francis Brings in Lay Experts to Help Reform Vatican
— Pope Calls in Expert Laymen to Help Reform Vatican
Vatican Money Freeze Tied to Second Msgr. Scarano Case
Although the Vatican froze funds belonging to Monsignor Nunzio Scarano after the Italian police arrested him, the hold on his account at the Vatican’s Institute for Religious Works and his suspension from work are related to a separate case of alleged money laundering.
Vatican Freezes Funds of Cleric in Money Smuggling Case
The Vatican says it froze funds belonging to a senior cleric at the center of a suspected money smuggling operation, and could open investigations into other individuals.
CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE
Local Priest under Investigation for Sexual Abuse of a Minor
An East Windsor priest is being investigated by the State Department of Children and Families for allegations of sexual abuse of a minor and has been placed on administrative pending the outcome of a police investigation.
Chesterfield Man Alleges Sexual Abuse by Priest, Sues Catholic Diocese of Springfield
A 20-year-old Chesterfield man has filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Springfield, alleging he was sexually abused as a child by a priest.
St. Paul Man Alleges Clerical Abuse in 1960s, Asks Court to Unseal List of 33 Priests
The most powerful men in Waverly, Minn., in the 1960s were the banker and the parish priest. That’s why when the Rev. John T. Brown told the parents of 10-year-old David Pususta to send him over to the rectory for sex education, they sent him.
Lawsuit Alleges Direct Involvement by Archbishop of St. Louis in Failing to Supervise Abusive Priest
A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a young teenage girl and her parents, seeking to hold the Archdiocese of St Louis and Archbishop Robert Carlson responsible for the injuries they caused due to sexual abuse of the young girl by a priest.
New, National Disgrace for KC’s Catholics
It takes a lot to grab the national spotlight given the continued unfolding of the Catholic priests’ sexual abuse scandal, which seemingly has reached into every corner of this country with its disgusting revelations for years. But Kansas City has managed to do it once again, in another embarrassment for Catholics in this city.
Pastor Departs NJ Church Amid Complaints that Accused Priest Was Allowed to Live in Rectory
The pastor of a northern New Jersey church is stepping down amid parishioners’ complaints that a priest accused of molesting a teenage boy was allowed to temporarily live in the church rectory.
New Probe Renews Investigation of Rev. Michael Fugee
Voicing a view repeated often among parishioners in defense of an embattled priest, the Newark archbishop last month downplayed sex-abuse allegations against the Rev. Michael Fugee, saying his behavior was “ill advised, but did not rise to the level of sexual abuse.” But in stark contrast to that assertion, Bergen County prosecutors paint a picture of a priest who relentlessly preyed upon the boy.
Prosecutor Says Ohio Priest Abuse Charges Valid
Prosecutors are urging a federal judge to reject an Ohio priest’s contention that he was charged too late with allegedly sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy he took to West Virginia more than two decades ago.
What the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese Documents Reveal
When the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese recently released secret documents linked to how the church dealt with sexual abuse of children by priests, the headlines focused on former Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s plans to pay abusers to leave the priesthood and to move $57 million into cemetery funds to protect the money “from any legal claim or liability.” But those aren’t the only stories revealed in some 6,000 pages of documents the church had kept confidential for decades.
Multiple Issues Still Await resolution in Complex Church Bankruptcy
Following the recent release of documents on the Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s handling of sex abuse cases, the local church’s immensely complex 3-year-old bankruptcy case is now poised to resume playing out at three levels of the federal court system.
Catholic Priest Now Faces Criminal Case for Sodomy
A man who claims to have been sodomized by a Catholic priest two years ago now wants a court to allow him to prosecute a private criminal case against the cleric.
Abuse Victim Brings Inquiry to Tears
A witness has drawn tears from the public gallery and applause from the commissioner of a special inquiry as he told his story of abuse at the hands of a NSW Catholic priest. The man, now 37, flew to Newcastle from interstate to tell how abuse at the hands of Father James Fletcher had contributed to his alcohol use, relationship breakdowns, depression, business failure and a suicide attempt.
Former Catholic Priest Charged with Historical Child Assault Offenses
Police have laid 13 additional charges against a former Catholic priest relating to alleged historical child assault offences. Total charges now number 137.
Victoria Priest to be Sentenced for Sexual Touching Conviction
Philip Jacobs is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 4 for deliberately touching a boy between the age of 14 and 18 for a sexual purpose, a crime committed while Jacobs was serving as a Catholic priest in Victoria.
Australian Bishop: Early Handling of Sex Abuse Allegations Was ‘Fairly Bumbling’
An Australian bishop told a special commission of inquiry into sexual abuse that he failed to familiarize himself with the personnel file of a serial pedophile priest “because the whole area of sexual abuse is so distasteful that I would have found it very unpalatable to dig further.”
Special Commission of Inquiry into Catholic Church Sex Abuse Cover-ups Continues in Newcastle
A retired Catholic bishop has admitted he found the area of child abuse so distasteful that he didn’t look at the files of priests under his care.
Former Catholic Bishop Due to Testify at NSW Inquiry
The former Catholic bishop accused of tipping off a pedophile priest about a police investigation has faced a New South Wales inquiry into clergy sexual abuse in the Hunter Valley where documents show senior Catholic church officials, including the former Maitland-Newcastle bishop Michael Malone, knew about abuse.
Roman Catholic Priest and Another Man Charged with Sexual Abuse
A 66-year-old priest and 71-year-old man have been charged in relation to alleged historic sexual abuse at a children’s home in Hounslow, police said tonight.
Indian Catholic Priest Faces Charge of Sexual Assault in U.S.
An Indian Catholic priest, who was arrested in the US on charges of engaging in sexual contact with a child less than 13 years of age, faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and a $35,000 fine or both, as he was charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Archbishop Angry over Catholic Church’s Lack of Concern for Abused Children
The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Dr. Diarmuid Martin has hit out at the church’s lack of concern for children abused by priests. He was responding to a just-published report which was severely critical of three previous archbishops of Dublin including Cardinal Desmond Connell.
No Clergy to Be Prosecuted after Three-Year Probe
Not a single Catholic bishop or priest will be prosecuted for covering up the scandal of clerical sex abuse over several decades at the end of a three-year Garda investigation. Detectives were unable to build a case against surviving clergy for secretly moving paedophiles from parish to parish during the eighties and nineties because covering up for child abusers was not a specific offence at the time.
Nuns Say They Will Not Pay Magdalene Compensation
The four religious congregations that ran the Magdalene laundries have told the Government they will not make any financial contribution to the multimillion-euro fund set up to recompense former residents.
Former Priest and Missionary Jailed for 10 Years for Abusing 18 Boys
A former priest who was on the run in Brazil for almost a decade has been jailed for 10 years for abusing 18 boys during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. He committed the abuse in five counties as he was moved from parish to parish.
Dutch Catholic Clergy Urged to Confess Child Sex Abuse Online
Catholic clergy who have been involved in sexual abuse of children in the Netherlands are to be given the opportunity to confess online, either anonymously or using their real names, in the hope of finding and helping victims not already identified by a government inquiry.