Voice of the Faithful Focus, Nov. 29, 2012
Highlighting issues we face working together
to Keep the Faith, Change the Church
Bishop’s Appeal Letter Doesn’t Have Much Appeal
All the while, sitting in the room, was [Bishop] Finn, perhaps the most glaring contemporary exhibit of the bishops’ total disregard of their own promises of transparency and accountability. Not once was he mentioned, nor was mention made in that meeting of the fact that a sitting bishop had been convicted of a crime that, were he a priest, would disqualify him from ministry. The fine print in the charter — rather the script written in invisible ink — must read: None of the above applies to bishops.
AP Interview: Vatican Sex Crimes Prosecutor on Sin
When Pope Benedict XVI announced last month he was transferring his respected sex crimes prosecutor to Malta to become a bishop, Vatican watchers immediately questioned whether the Holy See’s tough line on clerical abuse was going soft and whether another outspoken cleric was being punished for doing his job too well.
D.C. Bill That Expands Child Sex Abuse Reporting Requirements Advances
Nearly all adults in the District would be held liable if they fail to report suspected child sex abuse under a bill tentatively approved by the D.C. Council.
The Future of the Church: Discernment or Intimidation
It is possible to repress change temporarily — to slow change, to resist change, to deny change — but it is impossible to stop a change whose time has come. It is impossible to ignore change once it has begun to well up through the cracks in the cement of a society, however rigid the barriers to it.
The Parallel Catholic Church
Andrew Sullivan praises a new HBO documentary, “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God,” by Alex Gibney on the perpetration and cover-up of sex abuse in the Catholic Church that traces the corruption all the way to the Pope. Interesting comment on how the loss of moral credibility among the hierarchy has created two parallel churches.
The Dangerous Side Effects of the Hierarchy
Sadly, sex abuse by church personnel is a well-documented side effect of the hierarchical structure that Pope Benedict XVI vigorously seeks to restore as a central feature of his so-called reform of the reform, also known as the overturn of Vatican II.
New Non-Profit Urges Public to Face Child Sex Abuse
Recent institutional sex abuse coverups within the Philadelphia Catholic Church and Penn State University mobilized a group of professionals, parents and advocates to form CSA: Let’s Face It. Through its Web site and events, the new nonprofit offers support to adult survivors and hopes to raise awareness of the public health crisis created by child sex abuse.
Roy Bourgeois, Priest-Proponent of Women’s Ordination, Responds to Vatican Dismissal
According his religious congregation, Roy Bourgeois, a well-known Roman Catholic priest, was formally dismissed from his congregation, the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Oct. 4 of this year. And this is his response.
— Former Maryknoll Head Decries Vatican Interference in Bourgeois Case
— Maryknoll: Vatican Has Dismissed Roy Bourgeois from Order
— Religion: Priest Excommunicated for Ordaining a Woman
— Maryknoller Dismissed form Priesthood for Supporting Women’s Ordination
‘Rebel’ Nuns Receive Religious Freedom Award
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the association of the leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States, has been awarded the Herbert Haag 2013 prize.
USD Faculty Declare No Confidence in University President after Fellowship Cancellation
Almost 100 faculty members at the University of San Diego have declared a loss of confidence in their president’s leadership, saying her cancellation of a British theologian’s visiting fellowship and her response to criticism of the move have shown her to be “ethically bankrupt.”
Bishop Issues Apology for Allowing Sex Offender on School Grounds
A Catholic bishop issued an apology to parents and community members after a registered sex offender was issued a letter allowing him to attend an elementary school festival.
Catholic Officials Knew of Teacher’s Abuse, Court Files Indicate
Several incidents outlined in court documents, analyzed in a Baltimore Sun investigation, indicate that Catholic officials were aware of the lay teacher’s sexual abuse of students in the 1970s but did not report it until a criminal investigation in the 1990s.
Boston Cardinal Approves Archdiocese Reshuffle
Archbishop of Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley has approved a plan to streamline the Boston Archdiocese by combining its 288 parishes into 135 clusters that share staffing and resources.
Priest Accused of More Crimes
A priest already convicted of sex crimes and accused of molesting Mid-Missouri children is at the center of another investigation.
Associate Pastor Xiu Jiang’s Child Endangerment Trial Set for March
The associate pastor of the Cathedral Basilica in the Central West End of St. Louis is set to stand trial March 7-8, 2013.
Ex-Hattiesburg Resident Shares her Story of Abuse in Book
When Beth Taylor decided to tell the story of her childhood sexual abuse, she knew she had to be brutally honest, but that didn’t make it any easier to bare her soul in writing for the world to read.
Priest in Ohio Order Jailed after 1991 Sex Claim
A Roman Catholic priest accused of taking a 10-year-old boy to West Virginia for sex more than two decades ago has been jailed.
Task Force Urges Sweeping Changes to PA Child Protection Laws
The Pennsylvania Task Force for Child Protection has recommended the legislature enact extensive changes to the state’s child abuse laws after a year-long study prompted by the arrest and conviction of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on molestation charges.
Task Force Fails to Address Statue of Limitations Reform
Recommendations of the Pennsylvania Task Force for Child Protection do not go far enough. The culture in our institutions, both public and private, must be changed to focus on the protection of children over the protection of image and reputation. This must be accomplished not only through education, but also accountability.
Archdiocese Counters Bankruptcy Creditors
The Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee is firing back at creditors in its bankruptcy, vowing to fight their plans to pursue the assets of its 200-plus parishes and calling their proposed lawsuit “frivolous and a waste of time and money.”
Abolish Statutory Time Limits in Child Cases: Archbishop
The head of Australia’s Catholic bishops says alleged child sexual abuse offenders, including members of the clergy, should be barred from using statutory limitation restrictions to escape justice.
Protecting the Abused from Further Trauma During the Royal Commission
There is great support within the Australian community for the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse. But how will the Royal Commission affect those who were abused?
A Church in Need of Reform
The royal commission into child abuse will investigate the failure of all institutions. This was far from clear as one senator was asked, “Why shouldn’t the Royal Commission be restricted to the Catholic Church?” Certainly it was the crimes of Catholics that brought the commission into being, and at least one priest has claimed that his church has been the main offender.
An Unholy Mess: Addressing Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church
Of those who graduated as priests from the Corpus Christi seminary between 1940 and 1972, at least one in 20 eventually became child abusers. This in many ways mirrors the study of the John Jay College for Criminal Justice of 105,000 priests, commissioned by the United States Catholic Bishops, which found that 4% became convicted abusers.
Church’s Clinic Shielded Pedophiles
The Catholic Church’s little-known treatment clinic for clergy with psychosexual problems harbored known pedophiles and shielded them from police scrutiny.
Victim’s Parents Shown Lack of Empathy, They Tell Inquiry
Cardinal George Pell showed a ‘‘lack of empathy” to parents whose daughters were repeatedly raped by a priest, the parents alleged at the Victorian inquiry into child abuse.
Church Calls for Legislative Change to Mandatory and Police Reporting
The Catholic Church in Victoria is calling for mandatory reporting by ministers of religion, and for a new protocol for reporting offenders to police that protects the privacy of victims who want anonymity.
Legal Shield on Abuse ‘Must Be Axed’
Churches and other institutions should not be able to hide behind a legal loophole to avoid facing civil justice; and all states and territories should abolish their statutes of limitation restrictions for child sexual assault victims.
Church to Review Sexual Abuse Complaints Policy
The Catholic Church will review its national sexual abuse complaints policy during the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
Victims to Be Able to Sue Church
Victims of sexual abuse would be able to sue the Catholic Church for compensation as a result of the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Child Sexual Abuse.
Advice to Bishops on Royal Commission
Bishop Geoffrey Robinson has some suggestions for the Australian bishops to discuss during their biannual meeting regarding the Australian Royal Commission into sexual abuse.
Catholic Church’s Secret Files
The Australian Catholic Church holds thousands of pages of documents containing the psychosexual profiles of dozens of clergy accused of sexually abusing children and vulnerable adults.
Church Funding Pedophiles’ Legal defense
THE Catholic Church has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees to defend priests and brothers who have already been tried and convicted of serious sexual assaults against children in their care.
I Won’t Take Confession at All in Case a Pedophile Walks in, Says Father Chris Riley
Child sex abuse is not a secret priests should keep, prominent Catholics say. Sydney priest Father Chris Riley, founder of Youth Off The Streets, says he refuses to take confessions because he could not listen to a child sex abuser without reporting them to police.
Politicians Say Confession Should Not Protect Abuse
Australian politicians of all persuasions say Catholic priests must not be exempt from having to report child abuse to police should they hear it in the confession of a colleague.
Bishop Hints at Possibility of Pedophile Ring
The Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle, Bill Wright, said it was possible a pedophile ring once existed among clergy in the diocese
Former Montreal Institute for the Deaf Students Want Justice for Alleged Abuse
Former students of the Montreal Institute for the Deaf say they want justice after alleged abuse at the hands of priests. In what could turn out to be one of the largest cases of sexual abuse against deaf children, 60 former students are now pursuing a class action lawsuit against the religious order, which includes 28 priests and six other employees.
Chile: 3 Abuse Victims Sue Church
Three victims of sexual abuse by a prominent priest have filed a lawsuit for damages against the Catholic Church for what they claim was its negligent handling of their accusations.
‘Child Abuse Victims Can Finally Get Justice’ after Court Ruling over St. William’s Catholic Children’s Home
A victim of horrific abuse at an East Yorkshire care home feels justice can finally be done after a landmark court ruling.
Church Chief Claims Legislation Is Preventing Information on Abuse Allegations Being Shared
The Chief Executive of the Catholic Church’s child protection body has claimed restrictions in the Data Protection Act are preventing the sharing of allegations of abuse in hundreds of cases.
Why Do Bishops Refuse to Meet Their Priests
The Association of Catholic Priests believes that the current crisis demands real engagement between the different groupings in the Irish Catholic Church. Unless this engagement takes place it will not be possible to plan strategically for the future of our church.
Pope Benedict Appoints New Bishop to Diocese of Cloyne after Sex Abuse Scandal
Rev Canon William Crean, a parish priest in Cahersiveen, has been named as a new bishop for the scandal plagued diocese of Cloyne, County Cork, where the previous bishop for years ignored his church’s own rules requiring priests suspected of sex abuse to be reported to police.