Voice of the Faithful Focus, June 20, 2013
Highlighting issues we face working together
to Keep the Faith, Change the Church
Report Illuminates Eight Decades of Capuchin Province’s Poor Handling of Sex Abuse
For eight decades, leaders of a community of Catholic priests and brothers spanning 10 U.S. states acted inadequately in responding to sex abuse allegations and protected accused abusers over their victims, according to an audit released June 18.
— Audit Finds Sexual Abuse Was Topic Decades Ago
— Report of the Audit and Review of the Files of the Capuchin Province of St. Joseph
— SNAP Member Abused by Capuchins Responds to Reports
Hague Court Declines Inquiry into Church Abuse Cover-Up
The International Criminal Court in The Hague has decided not to investigate or prosecute the former pope and other leaders of the Roman Catholic Church on allegations of covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests.
— Confronting the Vatican on the Rights of Children
— Victims Urge UN to Challenge Vatican on Child Abuse
— International Criminal Court Rejects Request to Investigate Vatican Officials
— For Now, Vatican Officials Will Not Face Criminal Charges
When the spotlight of the national press is on them, bishops appear to be acting responsibly. But, Nicholas Cafardi, an inaugural member of the bishops’ National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Youth, had a different perspective. When the board went looking for national data about the phenomenon of sexual abuse by clergy, the California bishops, led by Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles (now retired), strongly resisted the audits.
Priest, Teacher Get Stiff Terms in Sex Abuse Case
Stunning the packed courtroom, a Philadelphia judge sentenced a Catholic priest to six to 12 years in prison, and a former parochial teacher eight to 16 years, for the serial sexual assault of a 10-year-old altar boy in the late 1990s.
— Priest and Ex-Teacher Get Prison for Abuse
New NRB Head Says Church Has Led Way in Addressing Abuse of Minors
The Catholic Church has led the way in addressing the sexual abuse of minors, according to the new chairman of the National Review Board, Francesco C. Cesareo, president of Assumption College in Worcester and a member of the review board for one year.
Fledgling National Priests’ Group to Tackle Broad Agenda
Reinstating general absolution in the United States, consultation in the selection process for bishops, studying the ordination of women and married men, and collegial exercise of church authority are among topics of 15 resolutions on the agenda of the second annual assembly of the fledgling Association of U.S. Catholic Priests June 24-27.
FUTURE OF THE CHURCH
Catholic Parishes in City, Suburbs Close, Merge as Detroit Archdiocese Downsizes
A season of change is underway for Catholic parishes across the Archdiocese of Detroit as churches from Davisburg to Dundee merge or close as the archdiocese continues the process of downsizing to deal with the priest shortage, demographic changes and shrinking budgets.
Unlock the Door: The Case for Women in the Diaconate
The president of Germany’s bishops’ conference called last month for the creation of a new specific office for female deacons. Here, a leading biblical scholar supports the idea and dismisses objections that it would inevitably lead to women priests. Read also VOTF’s paper Women Deacons: How Long Will It Take the Catholic Church to Open This Door.
Number of Priests and Nuns in Marked Decline
Despite the popularity of Pope Francis, the latest figures from the Vatican show that there are 300,000 fewer nuns and priests in religious orders than there were 40 years ago with a marked decline in Europe, the US and Oceania.
Francis at 100 Days: ‘The World’s Parish Priest’
Francis seems determined to function as a pastor, at least as much as a primate or politician, so the right model may not be the one used to assess chief executives. Rather, it’s how Catholics tend to think about a parish priest. Their basic question usually isn’t what his policy positions are, but whether he inspires. Perhaps the root lesson of Francis’ first 100 days is that when it comes to spiritual leadership, sometimes style really is substance.
— Pope Francis’ First 100 Days: What We’ve Learned So Far
Pope Is Quoted as Acknowledging a Vatican ‘Gay Lobby’
Pope Francis, in a private audience, appears to have acknowledged what he called a “gay lobby” operating inside the Vatican, vying for power and influence.
— Latin American Religious Backtrack on Pope and Gay Lobby
— Pope Said to Speak About ‘Gay Lobby’
— The Vatican’s ‘Gay Lobby,’ Round Two
New Vatican Bank Head Says Mission Is Total Transparency
Ernst von Freyberg talks like he is on a mission from God: to clean up the murky image of the bank and steer it to total transparency and compliance with international standards on fighting terrorism financing, money laundering and tax evasion.
Akron Priest Convicted in Tax Fraud Case Retires
A northeast Ohio Catholic priest who embezzled money from an alcohol and drug rehabilitation center he founded has retired after serving a six-month prison sentence in a tax fraud case.
CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE
The Church Should Take Responsibility for Its Pedophiles
Philadelphia became known over the past decade for its criminally accused and criminally liable priests, 37 of them. One of them, Monsignor William Lynn, the first member of the U.S. Catholic Church hierarchy to suffer a conviction in the scandal, is serving a serious prison term not for rape but for helping to bury the pedophilia scandal by shredding internal Church documents.
Stockton Catholic Diocese Has Spent $15 Million on abuse Lawsuits, Says Bishop
The Catholic diocese serving parishes from Lodi to Turlock has spent about $15 million in judgments, settlements and legal costs regarding clergy abuse cases by priests and former priests, according to Bishop Stephen Blaire.
— Stockton Diocese Considering bankruptcy
Joliet Diocese Priest ‘Brutally Raped’ Teen in ’70s
A Wheaton man is suing the priest he claims “brutally raped” him dozens of times when he was a teenage altar boy. The lawsuit filed on behalf of 49-year-old Daniel Gorski against former priest Lawrence Gibbs also names the Diocese of Joliet, former Bishop Joseph Imesch and former Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Ryan as defendants.
Main Supreme Court Hears Catholic Sex Abuse Case
Attorneys in the case of an Augusta man who accused a priest of sexually abusing him as a child argued before Maine’s highest court Tuesday over whether the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland was obligated to disclose that the priest was later accused of abusing other children.
— Supreme Court Justices Consider What Bishop Know, When He Knew It in Priest Abuse Case
Catholic Priest Accused of Sexual Assault in Southern Minnesota
A Catholic priest at the church of Sts. Peter and Paul in the town of Blue Earth is accused of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl while having dinner at her grandmother’s house.
Former Delbarton Student Seeks to Void Confidentiality Agreement in Molestation Settlement
A judge June 5 said he wants to hear evidence and direct testimony before deciding whether a former Delbarton student who settled lawsuit claims in 1988 of being molested by a priest can be freed from a confidentiality clause so he can discuss the case and settlement sum.
Sexual-Abuse Lawsuits / Unseemly Battle
Catholic Church leaders are sparing no expense to try to stop legislation that would make it easier for victims of sexual abuse to seek damages in court – a move that sends a strange message at a time when many Catholics are calling for reform within the church bureaucracy and an honest accounting of past actions.
— Catholic Bishops Hire New Lobbyists
— Who Should Take the Blame for the Newark Priest Scandal
— The Bishop’s Big Guns in Trenton
Newark, N.J., Gets New Vicar General in Wake of Scandal
The archbishop of Newark, N.J., has named a new vicar general, filling a position made vacant in the wake of the Fr. Michael Fugee scandal. But the move does little to strengthen the archdiocese’s policies to protect children.
Saving the Children: Harrisburg Should Act to Strengthen Abuse Laws
If anything positive has come out of Penn State University’s harrowing sex abuse scandal, it is the uptick in government attention to child abuse prevention.
Pennsylvania Considers Broadening Definition of ‘Child Abuse’
In an effort to flag more incidents of suspected mistreatment, Pennsylvania lawmakers are getting ready to move forward with proposals to expand the state’s definition of child abuse. The changes come at the suggestion of a task force convened last year to study child-protection laws and issues.
Professor Couldn’t Escape His Past As An Abusing Priest
Few people in the Virginia Commonwealth University community could have known that the story that ended with David Primeaux’s suicide began 1,100 miles away in the Cajun country surrounding Lafayette, La., where Primeaux grew up and was ordained in 1975 as a Catholic priest.
Fresh Claims of Child Abuse Will Keep Catholic Priest Gerald Risdale Behind Bars
One of Australia’s most notorious paedophiles, Catholic priest Gerald Risdale, will not walk free from prison later this month after fresh child abuse claims emerged.
Catholic Church Supports Call for Victims of Sexual Abuse to Contact Royal Commission
Francis Sullivan, CEO of the Truth Justice and Healing and Council, has supported the call by Janette Dines, CEO of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, for victims to come forward and tell their stories to Commissioners, encouraging victims to meet face-to-face with commissioners.
Man to Be Extradited over Sex Charges
A former Catholic brother is to be extradited to Australia to face hundreds of sex offence charges. Bernard Kevin McGrath, who is in his 60s, is wanted in Australia in connection with 252 charges of sexual abuse, including allegations that he raped, molested and abused dozens of boys at church-run institutions in New South Wales in the 1970s and 80s.
Victims Outraged Clergy Can Give Evidence in Private
Victims support groups are outraged that senior members of the Catholic Church will be able to give evidence in private to the New South Wales Special Commission of Inquiry into sexual abuse investigations in the Hunter Valley. But the Commissioner Margaret Cunneen has ruled that private hearings are appropriate, because of the potential for criminal charges to be laid in the future.
Victoria Catholic Church Revises Up Number of Child Sex Abuse Victims
The Catholic Church in Victoria has revised up the number of children it acknowledges were sexually abused by Catholic clergy and staff from 620 victims to 849.
Catholic Priest Pleads Guilty
An Arnprior Catholic priest has pleaded guilty to five counts of sexually molesting young boys in incidents that occurred about 40 years ago. The victims, who ranged from 9 to 13 years old, were from the Arnprior, Deep River and Eganville areas.
Call to Expand Abuse Inquiry Remit
Hundreds of victims of clerical and Magdalene laundry abuse in Northern Ireland have been left out of a new public inquiry designed to probe past wrongdoing. The Historical Abuse Inquiry is investigating cases involving children in residential institutions in Northern Ireland since 1922, and Amnesty International Northern Ireland director Patrick Corrigan has led a delegation to meet with Stormont ministers to press for its expansion.
Clearing of Name of Kerry Priest Falsely Accused Raises ‘Matters of Great Concern’
The clearing of the name of Kerry priest Fr Liam O’Brien who was falsely accused by a woman of abuse, has highlighted “two matters of great concern,” according to the leadership of the Association of Catholic Priests.
Veteran Journalist Unveils ‘Altar of Secrets’
A veteran journalist has written a book that is a first of its kind in the Philippines, “Altar of Secrets,” which chronicles abuses of bishops and priests.