Voice of the Faithful Focus, June 28, 2012

Highlighting issues we face working together
to Keep the Faith, Change the Church


The Verdict in Philadelphia
The jury in the trial of Msgr. William Lynn took 13 days to reach its verdict, and the verdict was clear: Those charged with oversight of clergy and who did not use that charge to protect children will be found guilty of criminal behavior — in this case, child endangerment.
Highlights from Trial
Shock and Grief in Msgr. William J. Lynn’s Parish after His Conviction
Catholics Have Rendered a Verdict

Guilty Verdict Is a Victory for Children and Catholics
Every single victim who has ever come forward, even if not involved in the trial, has kept our children protected, kept them safer than they ever would have been had the truth not been revealed. There is no amount of justice that could ever be served to the victims in the Philly AD for the years of horror that occurred, but your efforts have kept this generation of children safer from child predators.

Priest Takes Bishops To Task in Remarks to Parishioners
Many local Catholics have struggled for years with their faith and loyalty to the church in the face of sexual abuse allegations and cover ups. While it is often the topic of discussion at the dinner table, around the water cooler or on social media sites like Facebook, it is rarely addressed at the altar.

New Priests’ Group Hopes to Preserve Vision of Vatican II
This week, about 240 priests from around the country are meeting at Saint Leo University in St. Leo for the inaugural assembly of the newly formed Association of U.S. Catholic Priests. Among its goals: To be a “voice of hope” and to “celebrate and implement the visionary concepts of Vatican Council II.”

Church Battles Efforts to Ease Sex Abuse Suits
While the first criminal trial of a Roman Catholic church official accused of covering up child sexual abuse has drawn national attention to Philadelphia, the church has been quietly engaged in equally consequential battles over abuse, not in courtrooms but in state legislatures around the country.


Can the Nuns Reform the Catholic Church?
When I was 12 years old, Sister Eusebius washed my potty mouth with soap and pepper at St. Elisabeth’s School in Oakland. I was cured, but I still hold a grudge against little Anne, the tattletale who recounted the details of my dirty ditty. That was 60 years ago, and a lot has changed in the church, some things for better, others for worse.

LCWR Continues Discernment of CDF Mandate
The board members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) held a special session on Friday night, June 15, where they were briefed by conference president Sister Pat Farrell, OSF and executive director Sister Janet Mock, CSJ on their June 12 meeting in Rome with officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). The LCWR leaders had requested the meeting at the Vatican to address their concerns about the doctrinal assessment report of LCWR conducted by CDF and released on April 18.

Vatican Warns of ‘Dialogue with the Deaf’ with LCWR
In the wake of Tuesday’s (6/12/12) meeting with representatives of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the Vatican official responsible for a recent crackdown said he still believes the relationship can work, but also warned of a possible “dialogue of the deaf,” reflected in what he sees as a lack of movement on the Vatican’s concerns.

Exclusive Interview: Levada Talks LCWR, Criticism in the States
Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Vatican’s ultra-powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is a devoted disciple of his boss and mentor, Pope Benedict XVI, in virtually every way save one. While the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was a celebrity as a Vatican official, Levada, who turns 76 today, keeps a much lower profile, preferring to operate behind the scenes.

Nuns on the Bus Tour Promotes Social Justice —Turns a Deaf Ear to the Vatican
The bus Sister Simone Campbell is using for her cross-country publicity tour is the type typically used by rock bands. To some, this seems appropriate. The D.C. nun was greeted in Jackson, MI, with “Saint Simone” signs, and in Janesville, WI, people inside a downtown office-building atrium lined the balconies chanting and snapping photos.


Bishops Ask If Enough Done to Stop Sex Abuse
U.S. Catholic bishops are wrapping up their annual meeting in Atlanta. They vowed to continue fighting the Obama administration over contraceptive health coverage. Plus, ten years after sexual abuse scandals were revealed, the bishops assessed whether they’re doing enough to protect children. Host Michel Martin speaks with two religion reporters.

A Ten Year Progress Report, June 2012, USCCB National Review Board
The National Review Board (NRB), a lay group advising the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on the handling of the sexual abuse of minors by clergy, issued a 10-year progress report, June 13, at the USCCB spring meeting in Atlanta. (You can click to the actual report within this article, second paragraph.)
National Review Board Recommendations – 2012 June
10 Years Later: Progress Mixed on Sex Abuse Cases against Catholic Clergy
Report Praises U.S. Bishops’ Work to Stop Child Sex Abuse
Catholic Bishops Told to Follow Their Own Policies against Sexual Abuse

Abuse Report Given Today to Bishops; SNAP Responds
SNAP press release on USCCB spring meeting in Atlanta written by Barbara Dorris, member of SNAP.

Medium is the Message? Catholic Bishops Debate Hiring a Spokesperson
The nation’s Catholic bishops, gathered in Atlanta this week for their annual spring meeting, have discussed various issues of great import for the church… the suggestion on Thursday (June 14) that the hierarchy consider hiring a chief spokesperson for the first time ever prompted the most intense soul-searching so far. The debate reflected a tension between the historic reluctance of individual bishops to cede their own pulpits and the recognition that the bishops have been losing the media war in recent high-profile controversies. (See associated article “Fox News Reporter Hired as Vatican Media Adviser” under the section VATICAN.)
Perhaps We Need Some Help with PR, Say Catholic Bishops in U.S
U.S. Bishops Plan PR Campaign to Soften Image


Opportunity for Irish Renewal
The Fiftieth International Eucharistic Congress has given a boost to the beleaguered Irish Catholic Church, at least for those who attended it. The real success of the event will depend on whether this emerging sense of energy, recovery and renewal can be transmitted to the parishes and the wider population. There are grounds for optimism, but there is a long way to go.

International Eucharistic Congress: Focus on Marriage, Family, Abuse Scandal
Cardinal Marc Ouellet, pontifical legate to the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, made a pilgrimage to the famed St. Patrick’s Purgatory at Lough Derg in reparation for abuse committed by clergy and religious and to pray for healing for abuse victims.

Pope Calls Irish Abuse Crisis ‘Appalling’
In a rare video-message to a Eucharistic congress concluding today in Dublin, Ireland, Pope Benedict XVI said that gratitude for the legacy of the Irish church has been shaken “in an appalling way” by revelations of sexual abuse committed “by priests and consecrated persons against people entrusted to their care.”

Vatican Report Critical of Culture and Ethos of Irish College in Rome
A report carried out by the Archbishop of New York for Pope Benedict XVI, which expressed concern about “the atmosphere, structure, staffing and guiding philosophy” of the Irish College in Rome, contained “significant errors of fact”, Ireland’s four Catholic archbishops have said.
Irish Association of Catholic Priests Protest Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s Report


Cleveland Catholic Churches Begin Re-Opening Process; Pastoral Appointments Expected Wednesday (June 27)
Cleveland Catholic Bishop Richard Lennon is expected to announce the appointments of up to five pastors Wednesday as he moves forward to reopen 11 mothballed churches. The bishop had said last month that he hoped to have all 11 — most of them closed for more than two years — reopened by the beginning of August.


Judge Orders Local Diocese into Arbitration of 2008 Settlement
A judge has ordered the local Catholic diocese into arbitration to determine whether it violated a 2008 settlement with those who alleged they had been abused by priests.


Milwaukee Priest Leads Alliance to Promote Vatican II
A Milwaukee priest has been tapped to lead the first national alliance of Catholic clergy at the group’s inaugural assembly this month in Florida.


The Children Deserve Justice
There has been no shortage of child sex abuse scandals during the legislative session that is going into its final week in Albany — the Penn State case and the cover-up trial of Msgr. William Lynn in Pennsylvania and, closer to home, the abuse allegations at Syracuse University and the private Horace Mann School in New York. That makes it all the worse that lawmakers have done little to fix New York’s weak laws for protecting children from sexual predators and providing victims with justice.


Years of Work by Philadelphia D.A.’s Office Led to Priests’ Trial
It took nine years, two grand juries, and changes in Pennsylvania law. And it made odd partners of former District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham and successor Seth Williams.

Pa. Priest Case Points Up Conscience vs. Obedience
Why does this stand out? Because he (Monsignor Lynn) didn’t say no,” said the Rev. Chris Walsh, a city pastor who leads the Association of Philadelphia Priests, an independent group formed last year to gather support and information for rank-and-file priests.
What Rev. William Lynn’s Conviction Means for The Catholic Church
Abuse Trials Miss Other Victims
Catholic Priest’s Child-Endangerment Conviction Underscores Limits of Law in Abuse Scandal
Priest in U.S. Church Abuse Case Seeks Release from Jail

Sad Parallels Link Abuse at Church, Penn State
Just hours before a jury on Friday found former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky guilty of raping and sexually abusing boys as young as 9, a Philadelphia jury convicted a Catholic monsignor of allowing a known pedophile priest to continue his ministry with children — resulting in the sexual assault of a 10-year-old boy.

Child Abuse Victims Need Reform Now
Pennsylvania lawmakers cannot continue to hide behind the “we’ll get to it” mantra when it comes to reforming the state’s child abuse laws.

PA Lawmakers Try New Approach on Liability for Claims of Past Sex Abuse
Two Philadelphia lawmakers are making an end run around the legislative process to try to get their stalled child-abuse protection bills to a House floor vote.

Church and School Cuts Anger Catholics in Philadelphia
But the 120 worshipers attending St. Mary’s on Sunday, though upset by the case, were mostly heartsick for a different reason: After final services next Sunday, this handsome church in northwest Philadelphia, a center of life for nearby residents since 1849, is scheduled to close.

Victims Group Urges Philadelphia Archbishop to Defrock Convicted Priest, Monsignor William Lynn
The leading advocacy group for victims of sexual abuse by clergy is urging Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput to defrock the priest convicted last week of shielding other clerics who preyed on children. But laicizing Monsignor William Lynn is not as simple as it sounds. The request by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, came in a letter sent Wednesday (June 27) to Chaput.

The Earthly Power of a Philadelphia Jury
After months of testimony and deliberations the Philadelphia jurors who found Msgr. William Lynn guilty of child endangerment did more than any Vatican official has ever done to address the problem of sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church. This was made possible by the simple fact that the men and women of the jury confronted him as a peer, in a system that confers equal rights and responsibilities upon all.
With Lynn Convicted, Are Civil Cases Against Philadelphia Archdiocese up Next?


Austrian Cardinal: Dissident Priests Cannot Serve in Administrative Posts
Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has announced that priests who support a “Call to Disobedience” cannot serve as the heads of local deaneries. But the dissident priests continue to serve as pastors in the Vienna archdiocese.


Vatican: Preliminary Report on Anti-Pedophilia Guidelines Is Ready
In recent weeks bishops from across the world sent the Holy See their guidelines for preventing and combating sex abuse against minors perpetrated by clerics. In the next few days the Vatican will publish a preliminary report containing the assessment of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This is a delicate task given the diversity in the various Episcopates’ opinions on such a distressing topic.

Understanding the Vatican’s Transparency Test
Recently, two Italian newspapers reported that the Vatican will fail an upcoming transparency test by European anti-money-laundering experts while a third claimed the Vatican will pass. While such conflicting accounts are hardly new, the twist is that all three stories contained virtually identical information.

Cardinal Levada to Retire Soon as Head of CDF?
Cardinal William Levada, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), will step down before the end of June, according to the Vatican Insider.

Fox News Reporter Hired as Vatican Media Adviser
In an effort to shore up its communications strategy amid a widening leaks scandal in a troubled papacy, the Vatican has hired the Fox News correspondent in Rome as a senior communications adviser. (Greg Burke, a Fox News correspondent, told AP that his new task would be comparable to that of a White House communications adviser.)
Why The Vatican Hired A Fox News Reporter: 4 Theories
Analysis: The Vatican’s ‘Next Generation’ PR Maneuver

SSPX Rejects Vatican’s Latest Offer
The SSPX traditionalist Catholic group on Monday slammed as “clearly unacceptable” a Vatican doctrinal document that was supposed to lay the foundation for the group’s reconciliation with Rome, reports NCR Online.


This Mother’s Verdict
“No bishop living today will see that trusting smile fully restored, but no living bishop can dodge the moral imperative to begin the healing. There will be more trials and more juries and more lengthy deliberations, but it is the mothers who will render the verdict that counts.” This mother will need more than the weak statement issued in response to Msgr. Lynn’s verdict.

Can We All Get Along?
As the stories spin and positions harden, the very real male-female divide in the Catholic Church grows and grows. It’s bishops v. nuns. As Rodney King asked during the Watts riots, “Can we all get along, can we call get along, can we stop making it horrible … we’ll get our justice … let’s try to work it out.”

Priest Tells of Sex Scandal’s Impact
A New Jersey priest is providing a rare, intensive look inside a Roman Catholic priesthood tarred and shaken by the child sex-abuse scandal