Voice of the Faithful Focus, June 6, 2013
Highlighting issues we face working together
to Keep the Faith, Change the Church
Voice of the Faithful Urges Pope Francis to “Act Decisively”
Regarding Bishops, Clergy Sexual Abuse
& His Message to Vatican Congregation
Pope Francis has recommended that the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Catholic Church’s child sexual abuse prosecutorial arm, “act decisively” with regard to cases of sexual abuse. If he wishes to demonstrate that the Church will, at last, “act decisively” in matters of child sexual abuse, there are clear instances where he can hold accountable the bishops who fail to act in such cases.
Editorial: Newark Shows Need for Transparency
Five people have resigned in New Jersey in the wake of revelations that a priest who was supposedly on a supervised lifetime ban from ministering to minors was indeed ministering to youth and wasn’t being monitored. The events surrounding this case raise serious questions about accountability and transparency in Newark.
— Newark Monsignor Loses Job for Failing to Stop Priest’s Work with Children
— Newark Vicar General Quits in Wake of Mismanaged Abuse Case
— New Jersey Catholic Church Official Resigns in Sex Abuse Case
— Archbishop John J. Myers Addresses Fugee Scandal, Demotes His Second-in-Command
— Some Cry Scapegoat, Others Satisfied as Archbishop Demotes Deputy in Wake of Priest Scandal
— Fugee Case Isn’t an Anomaly in the Catholic Church
— Another Bishop Fails to Put Children First in Dealing with Abusive Priest
Priests & Nuns Who Are ‘Whistle-Blowers’ Join Forces on Abuse
They call themselves Catholic Whistleblowers, a newly formed cadre of priests and nuns who say the Roman Catholic Church is still protecting sexual predators. Although they know they could face repercussions, they have banded together to push the new pope to clean house and the American bishops to enforce the zero-tolerance policies they adopted more than a decade ago.
— Catholic Whistleblowers Urge Greater Accountability on Sex Abuse Crisis
— Catholic Priests and Nuns Unite to Fight Church’s Abuse Problem
— In Praise of Catholic Whistleblowers
New Lay Catholic Association Set Up to Stem “Crisis” within the Church
Some 150 people turned up June 1 to launch formally launch a new lay organization for Irish Catholics, the Association of Catholics in Ireland, which is committed to reform and renewal in the Church. The organization, which has been planned for a year, aims to provide a voice for lay Catholics in the same way that the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland does for the clergy.
Australian Catholic Bishops Launch Appeal to Church for Action on Child Abuse
A group of Australian Catholic bishops have launched a petition to tell the people at the top – the Pope and the Vatican – to act to stop the abuse of children within the church. Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, Emeritus Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney said the national royal commission into institutionalized child sex abuse could bring healing and change laws but could not force the church hierarchy to make fundamental changes.
— Australian Bishop Launches Petition for Council on Sex Abuse
— Crusader Recruits Catholics to Force Vatican Rethink about Sexual Abuse
— Sydney Bishop Calls for Vatican Reform
Fr. Andrew Greeley, Sociologist and Priest-Novelist, Dies at 85
Fr. Andrew Greeley, an eminent sociologist of religion who also happened to be probably the best-selling priest-novelist of all time and the Catholic church’s most prominent in-house critic, died Wednesday in Chicago. He was 85.
— Andrew Greeley, Outspoken Priest and writer, Dies at 85
FUTURE OF THE CHURCH
Vatican Reform May Be Slow, But It Is Inevitable
In commentary, Father William Grimm has said: “Reforming the Vatican is like nailing jelly to a wall.” He is right to say that jelly will not stick to the wall; however, it will leave a mark.
New Doctrinal Watchdog: Theological Intervention Sometimes Necessary
The new head of the U.S. bishops’ office that has in recent years attracted controversy for criticizing theologians has said he hopes to be in dialogue with those theologians but may sometimes have to make interventions to “make sure that the faith is being handed down intact.”
Priests Dislike New Mass Translations, Survey Says
For every two U.S. priests who prefer a new set of Vatican-ordered English translations of the Roman Catholic Mass, there are three others who say they do not, according to a survey by Saint John’s School of Theology, Collegeville, Minn.
— Priests Ask Bishops to Stall Missal
A Post-Catholic Ireland
Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin says that for decades Ireland was looked on as one of the world’s most deeply and stably Catholic countries. Today Ireland finds itself, along with other parts of Europe, being classified as “post-Catholic.” Irish Catholicism has its own unique history and culture. Renewal in the Irish church will not come from imported plans and programs; it must be home-grown.
Francis’ Humility and Emphasis on the Poor Strike a New Tone at the Vatican
Pope Francis has been in office for only two months, but already he has changed the tone of the papacy, lifting morale and bringing a new sense of enthusiasm to the Roman Catholic Church and to the Vatican itself, Vatican officials and the faithful say.
The Paradox of Pope Francis
Has Jorge Mario Bergoglio considered why no pope has dared to choose the name of Francis until now? At any rate, the Argentine was aware that with the name of Francis he was connecting himself with Francis of Assisi.
Vatican Financial Body Investigating Possible Money Laundering
The Vatican’s new financial watchdog said it had detected six possible attempts to use the Holy See to launder money last year, citing this as proof of its commitment to transparency.
— Vatican’s Financial Intelligence Unit Nets Suspicious Activity
— Is the Vatican Bank Finally Fighting Money Laundering for Real
Questions Linger after Dynamic Sisters’ Meeting
Although LCWR’s troubles may be an important, they remain only a portion of the larger global picture coming to light among leaders of women religious around the world.
CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE
Pope Francis Urges Continued Fight to Protect Children from Abuse
“This is important work, keep it up!” said Pope Francis three times as he greeted Prof. Hans Zollner, the German Jesuit who heads the Gregorian University Centre for Child Protection.
Progress on Charter Compliance, But Need for Continued Vigilance
Ten years after the Dallas Charter, the U.S. Catholic church has made progress in the protection of children from clergy sexual abuse, but high-profile cases from coast to coast in the past year underscore the need for continued vigilance.
Court Orders Release of Additional Priest Files
A Superior Court judge has set September 10 as the deadline for Catholic religious orders to release confidential personnel files of members who were accused of sexually abusing children. The deadline affects more than 50 religious orders that operate independently from the Los Angeles Archdiocese, which has already made public thousands of pages of files.
Sex-Abuse Investigations Rip Open Catholic Church’s Secret Files
Instead of destroying them, Cardinal Roger Mahony and other church leaders preserved reports of clergy sexual abuse in carefully organized file cabinets where they remained until this year. The release of those records — and thousands of pages of other damaging abuse documents in January — begged a question: Why did the church hold on to decades-old evidence of its priests’ sins?
Ex-Priest Gets Life for Sex with Boy
A Catholic priest was sentenced to life in prison May 16 for repeatedly having sex with a teenage boy. William C. Wert, now 56, had recurring sexual interactions with a 14-year-old Nokomis boy after the man found him on a chat website for teenagers.
Peoria Diocese Members Must Answer Questions in Sex Abuse Lawsuit
The bishop and the vicar general of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria must answer questions in a sexual abuse lawsuit filed five years ago against the diocese and a deceased Twin City priest, under an order entered in Peoria County Circuit Court.
Christian Brothers Settle Suit with 400 Sex Abuse Victims
On May 23, more than 80 alumni of three Christian Brother’s high schools in the Chicago area learned they would share in a $16.5 million payout to 400 accusers nationwide from a lawsuit against the order for allowing Brother Edward Chrysostom Courtney and 11 other men to teach despite allegations that those men had sexually abused children.
Monk Charged with Trying to Lure Girls Released on Bond
A Benedictine monk, Thomas Chmura, charged with trying to lure several far north suburban girls into his car has been released on bond — for a second time – and is now living with his father.
Chicago Jesuits Hid Sex Crimes
Internal church records released May 21 show that Chicago Jesuits consciously concealed the crimes of convicted sex offender Donald McGuire for more than 40 years as the prominent Roman Catholic priest continued to sexually abuse dozens of children around the globe.
More Sex Abuse Cases Filed against Diocese of Joliet
Five new lawsuits alleging cases of sexual abuse by priests and a Catholic school principal were filed in Will County Circuit Court May 15.
Review Clears Davenport Priest Accused of touching
A suspended Catholic priest in Davenport has been reinstated after a diocese investigation did not substantiate an allegation that he inappropriately touched a minor in 1990.
Our View: Wounds Stay Fresh, Even from Long-Ago Abuse
The Rev. James Vallely, long dead, has left behind a long list of sexual abuse victims, both male and female, from his career in Portland, South Berwick and other parishes throughout the state from 1958 to 1988. He died in 1997 at the age of 75.
— Brothers Sue Portland diocese over Alleged Sex Abuse by Rev. James Vallely
Attorney in clergy Sex Abuse Scandal Talks about Own Abuse
Attorney Eric MacLeish represented hundreds of people who, as children, had been sexually abused by priests in the Boston archdiocese. He joined WGBH-TV’s “Greater Boston” to talk about the abuse he suffered as a child and his work changing the statute of limitations on child sex abuse laws.
Boston Archdiocese Reinstates Suspended Priest
A Roman Catholic priest, Rev. Joseph Byrne, suspended a year ago after he was accused of child sexual abuse has been returned to ministry and has been granted senior priest status after the allegation was found to be unsubstantiated.
New Minnesota law Allows More Childhood Abuse Lawsuits
Adults who suffered childhood sexual abuse and want to file lawsuits against both abusers and the institutions that employed them will have greater access to Minnesota’s court system under a bill awaiting Gov. Mark Dayton’s signature.
Efforts to Address Child Abuse Take Hold in KC Diocese
Since the firestorm over handling of a disgraced Catholic priest’s production of child pornography prompted the local church to undertake the most far-reaching child protection reforms in its history, the women at the center of the changes feel tremendous strides in training have been made. By Mark Morris,
New Civil Suits Are Filed against Priest, Bishop and KC Diocese
Civil suits accusing a Catholic priest and his superiors of child sexual abuse, child pornography and fraud have been filed in Jackson County, Missouri. The two new actions allege that Bishop Robert Finn and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph aided and abetted the Rev. Shawn Ratigan as he sexually abused and engaged in “child pornographic offenses” with two young girls while Ratigan was employed as a priest.
— Deal Reached in Catholic Lawsuit over Child Pornography Photos
— Judge Dismisses One Civil Count against KC Diocese, Bishop
Editorial: Prosecutor’s Investigation Shouldn’t Stop at Fugee
It’s a relief to see the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office step in and do what the Catholic Church could not: protect children from a priest who confessed to sexually groping a 13-year-old boy. Editorial in Star-Ledger
— Catholic Church Suffers Another Failure by Allowing Rev. Fugee Access to Children
— Charges against Priest Do Not Involve Nutley Church
— N.J. Archbishop Says He Did Not Know of Priest’s Contact with Minors
— Newark Archdiocese Reaches New Settlement in Decades-Old Case of Alleged Sexual Abuse
Priest Charged with Child Porn after Removal from Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese
A Catholic priest who was removed from public ministry after an allegation of past child sex abuse was deemed “credible” by the Pittsburgh diocese has now been indicted on a federal charge of possessing child pornography.
Cardinal Pell Admits Catholic Church Put Pedophile Priests ‘Above the Law’
Cardinal George Pell has admitted the Catholic Church had put paedophile priests ”above the law,” covered up abuse and moved abusers.
— Crucial Documents Were in George Pell’s Office
— Cardinal Pell Admits Church Covered Up Cases of Child Sex Abuse
— Australian Archbishop Admits Church Covered-up Abuse
— Call for Cardinal to Go
— Calls for Australia’s Top Catholic to Resign over Sex Abuse
— Cardinal Pell Says Legislative Change Would Discriminate against Church
Archbishop Hart Calls for Reforms to Improve Response to Abuse
The Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, said his faith had been tested, but had not wavered, in the wake of revelations of decades-long child abuse within the church.
Police Interview Pedophile Priest Gerald Ridsdale over New Abuse Claims
One of Australia’s worst pedophile priests has been interviewed by police over new abuse claims. Former Victorian Catholic priest Gerald Ridsdale, who is eligible for parole next month after serving a jail sentence for abusing 30 boys between 1961 and 1987.
Catholic Church Names Melbourne Abusers
The Catholic Church has released the names of nearly 30 Melbourne priests it says are guilty of sexually abusing children.
— Church Releases List of 29 Melbourne Priests Guilty of Sexual Abuse
Catholic Church Interfered in Investigation
Former policeman turned state parliamentarian Troy Grant told the special commission of inquiry into the handling of child sexual abuse in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese that members of the Catholic Church had interfered in his investigation into sexual abuse.
Church Abuse Victim Required to Repay Compensation
Police have expressed concern about the terms of a compensation settlement between an abuse victim and the Catholic Church that show a victim was required to repay his compensation payment plus 10 per cent a year if he decided to take the matter to the police for criminal action.
Mount Cashel Orphanage Survivors Reach Settlement Worth More than $16.5 Million
Survivors of abuse at the Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John’s, N.L. have reached a settlement with the Christian Brothers of Ireland worth more than $16.5 million.
Abuse Inquiry in Great Britain Urgently Needed
Pedophiles continue targeting young people because institutions allow them to do so. Sometimes those institutions were the ones to which the criminals belonged – the Catholic Church, the Church of England, the BBC – and which failed to act because those in charge were more concerned with the institutions’ reputations and the impact of scandal than with the pain of a child.
Northern Ireland Abuse Inquiry Calls for Australian Victims to Come Forward
An inquiry into institutional abuse in Northern Ireland wants to hear from dozens of potential victims who were sent to Australia as child migrants. The Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse in Northern Ireland says it has uncovered information suggesting 112 children were sent mainly in the post-war years from Northern Ireland to Australia.
Concern at Low Rate of Convictions for Clerical Abuse Cases
Only a fraction of more than 700 abuse allegations against 320 priests have resulted in convictions since 1975, according to the Catholic Church’s independent child protection watchdog.
The Catholic Church’s Child Protection Watchdog Calls for Review of Services
The Catholic Church’s independent child protection watchdog has said that services provided to both the victims and perpetrators of clerical sexual abuse need to be reviewed.
Philippine Bishops Accused of Abuse Cover-up
Catholic bishops in the Philippines are covering up “rampant sexual abuse of children by the clergy,” said a missionary priest who has been working with prostituted children for the past four decades.
A Dark Side of the Catholic Church
Until recently Polish media have been notoriously wary of confronting the powerful Catholic Church, but last month a news channel ran the second half-hour program about child abuse by priests in just a few weeks.
Catholic Priest Nabbed for Child Porn in Poland
A 40-year-old Roman Catholic priest was taken into custody in central Poland May 15 under suspicion of possessing and distributing child pornography.
Poland’s Clergy Sex Abuse Victims From Foundation to Seek Damages
Polish victims of alleged sexual abuse by Catholic priests have formed a foundation to seek damages from the church. “This is to be our forum for cooperating with the church — we want the people who harmed us to be penalized, barred from working with children and even dismissed from pastoral service,” according to the foundation’s founder.
Vatican: Cardinal’s Penance
The Scottish cardinal who resigned as archbishop after admitting to sexual misconduct will leave Scotland for months of prayer and atonement, the Vatican said May 15.
Bishop Motherwell Quits over Sex Scandal
The Pope has accepted the resignation of Bishop Joseph Devine for mishandling a scandal surrounding an e-book, “Priesthood in Crisis,” written by serving priest Father Matthew Despard. Fr. Despard alleged in the book that the Catholic Church in Scotland had covered up sexual misconduct in junior seminaries and claimed that when he alerted church authorities to the issue, nothing was done.
— Bishop’s Resignation Leaves More Than Half of Scottish Dioceses Vacant