Abuse Tracker
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BishopAccountability.org – Documenting the Abuse Crisis

January 28, 2020

Historic agreement to protect children

RAMSEY COUNTY (MN)
Office of Ramsey County Attorney

January 28, 2020

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi and Archbishop Bernard Hebda held a joint press conference on January 28 formally concluding the Ramsey County Attorney's Office's four-year oversight of the civil settlement agreement with the Archdiocese of Saint Paul & Minneapolis.

The primary objective of the agreement was to transform the organizational culture of the Archdiocese into one that is vigilant about protecting children from clergy sex abuse.

View press conference video

Related items:

- Press Release
- RCAO Cultural Assessment Report
- Final Independent Auditor's Report on compliance with the settlement agreement
- Eighth 6-Month Status Report submitted by the Archdiocese on its status and progress of implementation of the settlement agreement
- Archdiocese Safe Environment Plan
- Background and Timeline of Events

Florida’s Clergy Abuse Victims Deserve Answers from Attorney General

FLORIDA
Adam Horowitz Law (law firm blog)

January 28, 2020

In July 2018, Pennsylvania’s attorney general released a stunning report about clergy sexual abuse in that state. It generated lots of attention and media coverage. The next morning, Florida’s then-attorney general said that she ordered a similar statewide inquiry here in the Sunshine State.

That was 18 months ago.

What progress has been made here? No one knows.

Last June, Florida’s current attorney general was asked that question. Her spokesperson said, “As this investigation is ongoing, we cannot comment further at this time.”

Huh?

We get that some secrecy is critical when law enforcement goes after potential criminals. But both of our AG’s (Pam Biondi, who started this probe, nor Ashley Moody, who heads it now) have been extraordinarily (and we believe irresponsibly) silent about the status of their investigation.

Neither have told Floridians anything that might help them protect themselves and their families from Catholic child molesters.

Ramsey County dismisses child protection case against St. Paul archdiocese

ST. PAUL (MN)
Minneapolis Star Tribune

January 28, 2020

The archdiocese will present a final report Tuesday to Ramsey County court.

By Jean Hopfensperger

After four years of court monitoring, the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office dismissed its child protection case against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on Tuesday.

Children in archdiocese churches and schools are safer today than they were five years ago, when the county sued the archdiocese for failure to protect children, county and archdiocese leaders said.

“This is like a marathon,” Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said. “The work will continue to occur.”

The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office had filed civil and criminal charges against the archdiocese in 2015 alleging it failed to respond to repeated reports of sexual misconduct by former St. Paul priest Curtis Wehmeyer. The priest went on to sexually abuse the children of one of his church employees in a camper he parked outside the church.

Newark archbishop moves to Illinois, controversial NJ retirement home to be sold

NEWARK (NJ)
NorthJersey.com

January 28, 2020

By Abbott Koloff

Archbishop John J. Myers, the former head of the Newark Archdiocese who was criticized for his handling of priest abuse scandals, has moved to Illinois to be near family for health reasons, and the church will sell his Hunterdon County retirement home — which stirred controversy six years ago when church funds were used to build an expansive wing and an indoor pool.

Myers, who led the archdiocese for almost 16 years, held on to the house amid criticism that included a 2014 petition containing 17,000 signatures urging him to sell it. At the time, Pope Francis urged clergy to live simply, removing a German bishop because of his lavish lifestyle, and a Catholic leader in Atlanta agreed to sell a mansion built as his residence.

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, who took over as leader of the archdiocese three years ago, issued a statement saying the 78-year-old Myers "has suffered a serious decline" in his "physical and mental health" and after visiting family in Illinois "decided to remain in the region of his birth where he is receiving specialized care and can be visited by his family as well as the clergy of the Diocese of Peoria." The statement was posted on the archdiocesan website Tuesday.

Victims to discuss effects of childhood sex abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

January 28, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

The lifelong impacts of childhood sexual abuse will be the topic of a public forum from 7 to 10 p.m. Jan. 30 at the Child Advocacy Center, 768 Delaware Ave.

The event, "Enlighten & Empower: An Evening with Survivors," is sponsored by the Buffalo Survivors Group, formed by five men who have filed lawsuits under the Child Victims Act alleging sexual abuse by Buffalo Diocese priests.

It is the second in a series of discussions aimed at educating the public about the psychological, emotional and physical harm caused by sexual abuse. It will include stories from survivors of abuse, as well as questions and answers with the audience.

Suspect in ex-priest’s slaying sent to Vegas to face charges

LAS VEGAS (NV)
Associated Press

January 28, 2020

A suspect in the killing of a former priest has been returned to Las Vegas from Michigan to face robbery and murder charges.

Records show that Derrick Mitchell Decoste, 26, was booked Monday in the Clark County jail pending a court appearance in the March 2019 shooting death of former priest John Capparelli. It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer.

Capparelli, 70, was killed several weeks after church officials in New Jersey named him among 180 priests accused of sexual abuse. Authorities have not linked the killing to the New Jersey allegations.

SNAP demands response from New Orleans Saints

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
KATC-TV

January 28, 2020

The Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests is demanding that the team release emails exchanged between Saints public relations staff and the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

The Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, wants answers from the New Orleans Saints football team.

The group plans an event Wednesday morning at the team's Metairie practice facility, during which time they say they will demand that the team release emails exchanged between Saints public relations staff and the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

Last week, the Associated Press reported that the team was going to court to keep the public from seeing hundreds of emails that allegedly show team executives doing public relations damage control for the area’s Roman Catholic archdiocese to help it contain the fallout from a burgeoning sexual abuse crisis.

Oversight ends in St. Paul Archdiocese child protection case

ST. PAUL (MN)
Associated Press

January 28, 2020

Prosecutors announced Tuesday that they have ended four years of oversight of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis as part of settlement designed to protect children from clergy sex abuse.

Ramsey County sued the archdiocese in 2015 for its failure to protect children. County and church leaders said children are now safer, and many improvements have been made, including child protection training and background checks for all employees and clergy, the Star Tribune reported.

But Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said the work to protect children is a race with no finish line, and his office offered 25 recommendations for the archdiocese going forward. They include expanding the involvement of lay people, including women, in positions of influence, and permitting victims of abuse to testify before a review board as a matter of right so their voices may be heard.

First Catholic Diocese child sex abuse case settled since passing of new law

IRVINE (CA)
Turnto23.com (ABC-TV affiliate)

January 28, 2020

A California Catholic Diocese on Tuesday settled the first child sexual abuse case since the passing of the Child Victims Act back in September 2019.

Attorneys representing Richard Barrios, 47, allegedly abused as a child by convicted pedophile priest Lawrence Lovell, announced a $1.9 million settlement with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Lawrence Lovell and the Claretian Missionaries.

In the lawsuit, Barrios alleged that he was sexually abused by Father Lawrence Lovell throughout a two-year period from 1982 through 1984 when the victim was 9 to 11 years old.

"For too many years a culture of silence protected child abusers within the Catholic Church," said Barrios in a relase. "In my case, this corrupt culture allowed my abuser to continue molesting children. I encourage all his victims and those who were injured by him and other predator priests to speak out and demand justice."

Archdiocese responds to story NFL team helping cover up abuse claims

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Catholic News Service via Catholic Virginian

January 28, 2020

The Archdiocese of New Orleans said in a Jan. 24 statement that it has never called on any outside organization, like the New Orleans Saints, to help cover up information on abuse allegations.

It said it remains “steadfast in support” of victims of sex abuse by clergy and other Church workers and prays “for their continued healing.”

The statement was released in response to an AP story Jan. 24 that said the NFL team allegedly helped the archdiocese with public relations damage control on sex abuse claims.

Motion filed for retired bishop Matthew Clark to testify in bankruptcy court

ROCHESTER (NY)
WHEC-TV

January 28, 2020

A request for retired Bishop Emeritus Matthew Clark to testify in the Diocese of Rochester’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case was filed on Tuesday.

The diocese declared bankruptcy in September amidst a series of lawsuits filed under the Child Victims Act.

The motion filed on Tuesday argues that since one of Bishop Clark’s duties was assigning clergy to their posts, he was responsible for assigning them to positions where they would have access to children.

It also argues that many plaintiffs have alleged they were abused during Bishop Clark’s tenure, 1979 to 2012.

Corpus Christi priests accused of credible abuse file appeal in defamation case

CORPUS CHRISTI (TX)
The Caller Times

January 28, 2020

By Alexandria Rodriguez

A lawyer is arguing retired Corpus Christi priests were wrongly included in a list of clergy "credibly accused of sexual abuse," especially when one was exonerated multiple times.

In an Appellants' brief submitted Monday to the Thirteenth Court of Appeals, attorney Andrew M. Greenwell argues retired priests Michael Heras and John Feminelli were included in a Diocese of Corpus Christi list of priests "credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors."

The list, which was also released in every Texas Catholic diocese, was made public in January 2019.

The Diocese of Corpus Christi includes Aransas, Bee, Brooks, Duval, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kleberg, Live Oak, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio counties and some of McCullen County.

Feminelli and Heras have repeatedly denied they have sexually abused minors, the document states.

Both priests filed defamation lawsuits against Bishop Michael Mulvey and the Diocese of Corpus Christi after the list was released. The lawsuits were consolidated and were later dismissed by Texas District Judge David Stith in August. Greenwell later filed a notice to appeal on priests' behalf.

Catholic Leaders Promised Transparency About Child Abuse. They Haven’t Delivered.

UNITED STATES
ProPublica

January 28, 2020

By Lexi Churchill, Ellis Simani and Topher Sanders

After decades of shielding the identities of accused child abusers from the public, many Catholic leaders are now releasing lists of their names. But the lists are inconsistent, incomplete and omit key details.

This story is co-published with the Houston Chronicle.

It took 40 years and three bouts of cancer for Larry Giacalone to report his claim of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a Boston priest named Richard Donahue.

Giacalone sued Donahue in 2017, alleging the priest molested him in 1976, when Giacalone was 12 and Donahue was serving at Sacred Heart Parish. The lawsuit never went to trial, but a compensation program set up by the archdiocese concluded that Giacalone “suffered physical injuries and emotional injuries as a result of physical abuse” and directed the archdiocese to pay him $73,000.

Even after the claim was settled and the compensation paid in February 2019, however, the archdiocese didn’t publish Donahue’s name on its list of accused priests. Nor did it three months later when Giacalone’s lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, criticized the church publicly for not adding Donahue’s name to the list.

Credibly Accused: Search lists of U.S. Catholic clergy that have been deemed credibly accused of sexual abuse or misconduct.

UNITED STATES
ProPublica

January 28, 2020

By Ellis Simani and Ken Schwencke with Katie Zavadski and Lexi Churchill

The Catholic Church has not released a public list of clergy members who have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct or assault. However, over the last year and a half U.S. dioceses and religious orders serving most of the Catholics in the country have released lists of “credibly accused” abusers who have served in their ranks, using their own criteria for whom to include. ProPublica collected these lists to provide a central location to search across all reports.

We Assembled the Only Nationwide Database of Priests Deemed Credibly Accused of Abuse. Here’s How.

NEW YORK (NY)
ProPublica

January 28, 2020

By Ellis Simani and Lexi Churchill

ProPublica’s reporting spanned several months and produced an original database containing each diocesan list as it was originally published online.

ProPublica published an interactive database on Tuesday that lets users search for clergy who have been listed as credibly accused of sexual abuse in reports released by Catholic dioceses and religious orders.

It is, as of publication, the only nationwide database of official disclosures. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the religious leaders’ national membership organization, does not publicly release any centralized, countrywide collection of clergy members who have been credibly accused of sexual assault.

But in the absence of any mandate or directive, 178 bishops, archbishops and religious community leaders across the U.S. have published individual lists of clergy members against whom credible allegations were made as of Jan. 20. Each diocese and religious order sets its own standard for determining the credibility of allegations.

Prominent Catholics together call for review of Seattle Archdiocese’s secret clergy abuse files

SEATTLE (WA)
Seattle Times

January 28, 2020

By Lewis Kamb

A group of prominent Catholics announced Tuesday that it’s pursuing a “lay-led,” independent review of the Seattle Archdiocese’s secret clergy files to fully expose the breadth and depth of the church’s sexual abuses in Western Washington and find a path forward for healing the damage caused to generations of the religion’s followers.

Calling itself “Heal Our Church,” the group, which includes former judges and law enforcement officials, abuse survivors, retired clergy and others, last week signed and delivered a letter and statement of key objectives to new Seattle Archbishop Paul Etienne, requesting his support of the endeavor.

The letter invites the archdiocese’s participation in the “appointment of an independent, lay led Truth and Reconciliation Commission to examine pertinent church archives in order to produce a fact-based reconstruction of this horrific chapter of our church history.”

Centrafrique : mise en place d’un comité de lutte contre les abus sexuels sur mineurs

[Central African Republic: Establishment of a committee to combat sexual abuse of minors]

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Adiac-Congo

January 15, 2020

Face aux multiples cas d’abus sexuel qu’auraient commis certains responsables ecclésiastiques sur les mineurs, l’Eglise catholique est en train d’élaborer un document pouvant sanctionner toutes personnes impliquées dans ces scandales. C’est ce qu’a fait savoir le père Blaise Narcisse Kougomatchi, secrétaire de la commission des mineurs en Centrafrique.

[Google Translate: Faced with the multiple cases of sexual abuse allegedly committed by certain ecclesiastical officials on minors, the Catholic Church is in the process of drafting a document capable of punishing all those implicated in these scandals. This is what Father Blaise Narcisse Kougomatchi, secretary of the Central African miners' commission, said.]

CAR Church Admits Sexual Abuse Cases, Sets Up Commission to “sensitize Church leaders”

BANGUI (CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC)
ACI Africa

January 17, 2020

By Jude Atemanke

The Church in the Central African Republic (CAR) has admitted to incidences of sexual abuse of minors and has responded by taking steps toward the safeguarding of children and vulnerable persons by setting up a commission to examine cases of abuse.

“The situation of minors remains worrying, especially with the economic crisis that the country is going through,” the Secretary of the Commission on Minors in the CAR, Fr Blaise Narcisse Kougomatchi has been quoted as telling the news agency adiac-infos in an interview Wednesday, January 15.

Church call to Government to expand safeguarding definitions in faith settings

GREAT BRITAIN
Christian Today

January 28, 2020

Churches are seeking a change to the law to expand safeguarding protections in faith organisations and sports clubs.

The current provisions around 'positions of trust' make it illegal for teachers, care workers and youth justice staff to engage in sexual activity with a 16- or 17-year-old under their supervision. However, they do not extend to adults in similar positions of authority within churches or sports teams.

In a report launched on Tuesday, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Safeguarding in Faith Settings warned that the current loopholes are leaving 16- to 17-year-olds exposed to greater risk of grooming and abuse, and making it possible for faith leaders or sports coaches to engage in sexual activity with them "with impunity".

The APPG wants to see the law changed so that the definition of 'positions of trust' is extended to any adult working with children while in a position of trust.

Dioceses to dig deeper into their safeguarding history

ENGLAND
Church Times (Anglican)

January 28, 2020

By Adam Becket

SURVIVOR’s voices are “vital” to the running of a new trawl of the C of E’s safeguarding history, the director of the National Safeguarding Team, Melissa Caslake, has said.

The review of files of every living cleric and church officer for allegations of abuse or neglect is currently ongoing. The work, “Past-Cases Review (PCR) 2”, is expected to be completed by the end of this year, and a report is due to be published in 2021.

Speaking last Friday, Ms Caslake said: “This is a substantial and significant task, to ensure that the Church is a safer place for all, and it is vital we ensure that survivors feel they can come forward in confidence.”

Las Vegas pastor charged with sex abuse left porn on computer, report says

LAS VEGAS (NV)
Las Vegas Review-Journal

January 27, 2020

By Rio Lacanlale

Retana, who was arrested Dec. 20, remains held without bail at the Clark County Detention Center. The Metropolitan Police Department began investigating him last year after a girl told her parents that the pastor of Iglesia Cristiana Oasis De Paz had been sexually abusing her for more than a year.

The most recent criminal case against Retana, charging him with five felony counts of lewdness with a child younger than 14, was opened Jan. 15, after Metro detectives identified two more potential victims, bringing the total number of accusers to at least six.

Retana currently faces 40 felony counts in the three cases. The charges include lewdness with a child, first-degree kidnapping, child abuse and luring a child with a computer to engage in a sexual act, court records show.

The allegations range from the pastor kissing the girls’ feet to asking the girls to spit in his mouth when he was “thirsty,” according to his arrest reports.

Retana is due in court Feb. 3 for a preliminary hearings in all three cases.

Anyone with information about Retana, or anyone who believes he or she may have been a victim of abuse, may contact Metro’s juvenile sexual assault division at 702-828-3421. Anonymous tips may be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.

Even if Colorado gives child sex assault victims unlimited time to sue, it may be too late for those already abused

COLORADO
Colorado Sun

January 28, 2020

By Jesse Paul

Lawmakers are considering eliminating the civil statute of limitations for child sex assault, but Colorado’s constitution appears to prohibit laws from working retroactively. Victims’ advocates think there is a path to address past abuse.

Colorado lawmakers plan to bring legislation this year that would give child sexual assault victims unlimited time to sue their abusers and the institutions that protect the predators.

But for people abused in the past — including the more than 150 victims of Catholic priests identified in a recently released report on sexual misconduct in Colorado — the change may be coming too late.

That’s because the legislature’s attorneys say Colorado’s constitution prevents laws from working retroactively and that once a statute of limitations has expired, a case cannot be reopened. Many survivors, however, don’t come forward until decades after their abuse.

Right now, child sex assault victims in Colorado have six years from the day they turn 18 to sue their abusers. They have just two years to sue an organization that acted negligently in allowing the abuse to continue or by shielding the perpetrator.

Even though other states have successfully changed their statutes to allow survivors to retroactively sue, lawmakers pushing for the alteration to Colorado law say their hands are tied. But victims and their advocates say the constitutional question isn’t settled and that they’d like to see a fight.

JC Diocese Bishop weighs in on abuse scandal

JEFFERSON CITY (MO)
KWOS Radio

January 28, 2020

[AUDIO]

The Bishop of the Diocese of Jefferson City admits that abuse of children by Catholic priests has been a major black eye for the church. Bishop Shawn McKnight says the church is taking responsibility for the crimes …

35 priests and religious brothers have been credibly accused or have been removed from service for having abused children in the Diocese.

Bishop McKnight was on KWOS Saturday Open Air.

Cardinal at center of 2 Popes storm doubles down on celibacy

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

January 25, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

A Vatican cardinal at the center of a storm over a book about celibacy and the Catholic priesthood is denouncing the “brutality” of criticism directed at him and his collaborator, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.

In an interview with Italian daily newspaper Il Foglio published Saturday, Cardinal Robert Sarah doubled down on his argument in the book, “From the Depths of Our Hearts,” that the Catholic priesthood is incompatible with marriage.

“If you weaken the law of celibacy, you open a breach, a wound in the mystery of the church,” Sarah told the newspaper.

Sarah, who heads the Vatican’s liturgical office, insisted on the sacramental link between the priesthood and celibacy, even though the Catholic Church has for centuries had married priests in its Eastern Rites as well as in the ranks of Anglican and other Protestant converts.

Mexican program aims to improve safeguarding standards in Latin America

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

January 28, 2020

By Inés San Martín

Mexico’s Catholic University continues to train members of the Catholic Church in addressing the clerical sexual abuse crisis, with a second diploma course on abuse prevention in the Latin American Church.

Organized by the Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Training for the Protection of Children (CEPROME), the Jan. 20-Feb 14, 2020 course is an intensive training for bishops, priests, religious brothers and sisters and lay people who are committed to safeguarding.

Lecturers include Spanish priest Jordi Bertomeu, an official of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith who played a key role in addressing the clerical abuse crisis facing the Chilean Church; Jose Andres Murillo, a philosopher and abuse survivor from Chile; and Father Daniel Portillo, the director and founder of CEPROME.

Diocese of Fall River suspends retired priest for alleged sexual abuse of minor

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

January 26, 2020

By Abigail Feldman

The Diocese of Fall River announced Sunday that it had suspended a retired priest after a review of his files revealed allegations that he had sexually abused a minor about 20 years ago.

Father Herbert T. Nichols, who has worked in several parishes around Bristol and Barnstable counties since he was ordained in 1975, denies the allegation, according to a statement from the Diocese.

Nichols retired in 2015 but has continued to participate in Masses around the area and within the Diocese’ Maronite community. His suspension precludes him from all ministry until the investigation is complete, the statement said.

Last year, the Diocese hired an independent consultant to review personnel files, officials said. Since last March, the diocese has suspended or removed at least five priests for alleged abuse or misconduct, including two retired priests earlier this month.

Pressure builds on Diocese of Fall River to release names of priests, staff credibly accused of sexual abuse

FALL RIVER (MA)
Boston.com

January 27, 2020

"It is time to end the secrecy, provide transparency and act in a positive manner."

By Christopher Gavin

The Diocese of Fall River is facing calls to release a list of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

Last week, prominent attorney Mitchell Garabedian released his own list containing the names of seven priests, two clergy members, and one Catholic church employee who his office has successfully brought child sexual abuse claims against.

The move comes a year after Bishop Edgar da Cunha announced the diocese was readying a list for eventual publication, following a review of all its personnel records by former FBI assistant director William Gavin.

Most of the names anticipated to be released by the church have already been reported by the news media; however, the list is “necessary for greater transparency on our part in response to clerical sexual abuse,” da Cunha wrote in a letter to the diocese at the time.

January 27, 2020

Philippine bishops aim to protect minors from predatory priests

MANILA (PHILIPPINES)
UCA News

January 24, 2020

UNew office will provide canon law experts and professionals to tackle clergy sex abuse

The Catholic bishops of the Philippines are creating an office that aims to ensure the safety of minors and vulnerable people.

The Office on the Protection of Minors will help dioceses to address cases of clergy sex abuse by providing canon law experts and other professionals.

A bishop, to be elected during a meeting of prelates this week, will head the office, said Father Marvin Mejia, secretary-general of the bishops' conference.

‘I am being starved by the church’, says expelled Kerala nun

KERALA (INDIA)
Hindustan Times

January 25, 2020

The 52-year-old nun accused the authorities of locking food but she said she will remain at FCC’s convent even if she was starved to death.

Sister Lucy Kalapura, who was expelled from the Catholic Church, said on Saturday she was being starved at the convent as authorities have been depriving her of food to force her out.

The Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) had expelled Sister Lucy Kalapura in August last year citing “serious indiscipline” but the nun said she was victimised for supporting the agitation for the arrest of the deposed bishop of Jalandhar, Franco Mullakkal, who is facing rape charges.

The 52-year-old nun accused the authorities of locking food but she said she will remain at FCC’s convent even if she was starved to death.

“I have filed three complaints against the convent authorities but police failed to take action in any of them. It seems the police are scared to take action against authorities who trouble me,” she said.

OPINION: Nelson Pérez helped St. William church evolve. Up next: the whole Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA
The Inquirer

January 27, 2020

By Kathleen McDonough

I identify myself as a “lifer” from St. William parish in the Lawndale/Lawncrest community. For over 62 years, St. William parish has been my home — from attending St. William School as a student, to coming home to attend Mass as an adult, and the icing on the cake: teaching there for over 20 years until its 2012 closure.

During my youth in Lawncrest and neighboring Lawndale, most residents were white, blue-collar civil servants. Households were typically ones in which dad worked and mom stayed home. Children went to their neighborhood school, and you were identified as being a “Catholic” or “public.”

As the years marched on, Lawncrest and St. William changed. For 22 years, St. William’s pastor, Msgr. James E. Mortimer, embraced the changing demographics, calling the church “a welcoming community,” and establishing an after-school program, a day-care center, and a learning disabilities program. He helped the parishioners welcome priests from the Indian and Pakistani communities, as well as members and clergy from the Hispanic community.

In 2002, a new pastor, Nelson J. Pérez, arrived, just as the community was undergoing even more change.

SBC president blacklists former leader accused of enabling abuse

UNITED STATES
Baptist News Global

January 27, 2020

By Bob Allen

The president of the Southern Baptist Convention said that local church autonomy does not excuse Southern Baptists from holding one another accountable in a mild rebuke of churches giving platform to a disgraced former leader accused of enabling sexual abusers.

In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, North Carolina pastor J.D. Greear advised churches to “consider” former Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson’s 2018 firing for conduct “antithetical to the core values of our faith” before inviting the Conservative Resurgence co-founder to speak or preach.

“Southern Baptist churches must take our mutual accountability to each other more seriously than we have in the past,” Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Durham, North Carolina, is quoted as saying. “If our system of governance means anything, it means exercising due diligence and heeding what those whom we put in positions of trustee oversight have reported about official misconduct.”

College of Cardinals Gets New Dean

VATICAN CITY
Church Militant (blog)

January 27,.2020

By David Nussman

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re is the new dean of the College of Cardinals, and some Catholics are hoping change after his predecessor appeared to resign in disgrace.

A native Italian, Cdl. Re is a former prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and a former president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

The 85-year-old cardinal was elected dean by a group of 12 cardinals earlier this month. Pope Francis approved his election on Jan. 18, and an announcement was made by the Holy See this past Saturday.

Though dean of the College of Cardinals, the 85-year-old Re will be unable to vote in any future papal conclaves, because cardinals over the age of 80 are ineligible to vote.

The previous dean of the College of Cardinals, Cdl. Angelo Sodano, resigned in December.

In a motu proprio on Dec. 21, Francis thanked the 92-year-old Cdl. Sodano for his 15 years of service as dean. The Pope also changed the dean from a lifetime position to a five-year term with a two-term limit.

No reform possible without new leaders in Legionaries of Christ, advocates and survivors say

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Agency

January 27, 2020

Advocates and survivors of abuse perpetrated by priests of the Legionaries of Christ say that the religious order has no hope of authentic reform without wholesale replacement of the Legion’s leadership figures.

“As long as the same people are in power, there will continue to be manipulation, authoritarianism and cover up,” Adriana Lozano, a consecrated lay woman in the Legion's Regnum Christi apostolate, told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner.

She told ACI Prensa that although she reported for years to Legionaries leadership abuse allegations about a now laicized priest, Fernando Martínez, her allegations went unheard, even by current leaders of the religious institute.

“Nevertheless, I continued to inform each director in turn about the case, without getting a response,” she said.

Priest gets 60 days in jail for bubble-wrapping boy

DETROIT (MI)
Associated Press

January 27, 2020

By Ed White

A Michigan priest accused of wrapping a teenager in bubble wrap was sentenced Monday to 60 days in jail for attempted false imprisonment.

The Rev. Brian Stanley appeared in Allegan County court, two months after pleading guilty in a deal with the attorney general’s office. He was initially charged with false imprisonment.

Stanley was accused of wrapping a boy in bubble wrap and tape in 2013 in a janitor’s room at St. Margaret Church. The boy’s eyes and mouth were also covered while he was left alone for an hour, according to the attorney general’s office.

The Diocese Must Quicken Clergy Sex Abuse Probe [Opinion]

FALL RIVER (MA)
1420 WBSM Radio

January 27, 2020

By Barry Richard

The list of Catholic priests with ties to our area who have been accused of sexual misconduct with minors continues to grow but at a snail's pace. The Fall River Diocese is clearly making an effort to deal with the problem but must find a way to expedite the process more quickly.

In the last three weeks alone, three retired priests have been suspended by the Diocese due to allegations they sexually molested someone's kids decades ago. WBSM News reports that Father Herbert T. Nichols, Father James F. Buckley, and Father Edward J. Byington have been suspended by the Diocese "in response to information gathered during an evaluation of priestly personnel files pending further investigation, as required under its policies." Some of the allegations have been referred for criminal investigation.

Former priest sentenced to two months in jail for tying up teen boy

ALLEGAN (MI)
MLive.com

January 27, 2020

By Ryan Boldrey

A former Otsego priest was sentenced to jail and probation Monday, Jan. 27, in Allegan County Circuit Court on one count of attempted unlawful imprisonment of a 17-year-old boy.

Brian Stanley, 57, was arrested Aug. 22 and charged with one count of unlawful imprisonment, a 15-year felony. As part of a plea agreement made at his pretrial hearing in November, that charge was dismissed at sentencing.

Stanley admitted at his pretrial hearing to tying up the boy and taping his eyes and mouth shut in September 2013, while “secretly confining” him for “approximately 30 minutes" in the janitor’s room of St. Margaret’s Church in Otsego. He will spend 60 days in jail, five years on probation and be required to register as a sex offender for a period of 15 years, according to the sentence issued Monday by Allegan County Circuit Judge Margaret Bakker.

'Abuse in the guise of swimming lesson': Another allegation against priest, Boy Scout master

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

January 28, 2020

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

More than 40 years ago, a Barrigada altar boy aspiring to be a member of the Boy Scouts of America joined an outing at Lonfit River where a priest fondled and groped his private parts, according to a lawsuit filed on Monday, Jan. 27.

The plaintiff, identified in federal court documents only with the initials R.G.M. to protect his privacy, said in his $5 million lawsuit that Father Louis Brouillard falsely claimed he was teaching him how to swim.

"This event was shocking to R.G.M. and because of this, he stopped being an altar boy and he also lost interest in joining the Boy Scouts of America," the lawsuit says.

R.G.M. was about 11 or 12 years old at the time, when Brouillard allegedly sexually abused him at the river, around 1977 or 1978. He was an altar boy at the San Vicente Ferrer and San Roke Catholic Church, while the priest was also a scout master.

Plug-In: How the SBC sex abuse scandal turned a city hall reporter into a religion writer

UNITED STATES
Get Religion (blog)

January 27, 2020

By Bobby Ross Jr.

Robert Downen almost burned out on newspapers and went into the insurance business.

Instead, the talented journalist, now 28, stuck it out and spearheaded what the Religion News Association chose as the No. 1 religion story of 2019.

I’m talking about the Houston Chronicle’s bombshell investigation that revealed more than 700 victims of sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention and spurred reforms by the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

Come April, Downen’s work on the “Abuse of Faith” project could earn him and his colleagues a Pulitzer Prize. For now, it has resulted in a new gig for the former City Hall reporter. As of last week, he’s covering religion full time for the Houston newspaper. This is wonderful news for Downen and Chronicle readers.

Journalist who shared old Kobe Bryant rape story hours after his death is suspended

WASHINGTON D.C.
Metro.co.uk

January 27, 2020

By Jacob Geanous

A journalist was suspended after sharing a link to an old story about rape allegations made against Kobe Bryant hours after he died.

Felicia Sonmez, a national political reporter for The Washington Post, tweeted the link on Sunday after news broke that Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter were among nine passengers killed in a helicopter crash outside of Los Angeles.

Sonmez said she received thousands of comments of abuse and death threats after she shared the April 2016 story from The Daily Beast, titled: ‘Kobe Bryant’s Disturbing Rape Case: The DNA Evidence, the Accuser’s story, and the Half-Confession.’


Working to better things from the inside out is this clergy abuse survivor’s goal

ST. PAUL (MN)
St. Paul Pioneer Press

January 27, 2020

By Rubén Rosario

Jim Richter, a Chicago native and pathologist, wanted a fresh start when he moved to the Twin Cities five years ago. After being sexually abused in his teens by a Catholic parish priest who similarly molested other members of his family as well as scores of others, the last thing the wanted to hear again were more clergy abuse scandals.

As he told an audience that attended a restorative justice and healing conference last Friday in Lake Elmo, his abuse still affects him in some way “every day of my life.” The most intimate and longest-lasting relationship he has had in his life following his abuse, he added with a bit of a quip in his voice, has been Charlie, his 18-year old schnauzer. Trust in people is hard.

News Release: Diocese Suspends Retired Priest From Ministry

FALL RIVER (MA)
Diocese of Fall River

January 26, 2020

The Diocese of Fall River today announced the suspension of retired priest Father Herbert T. Nichols for an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, alleged to have occurred approximately 20 years ago. The decision to suspend him was made based on information learned from a review of the personnel files of diocesan priests.

The allegation, which Father Nichols denies, is under investigation by the Diocese.

As a retired priest, he was not assigned to any parish but did help with the celebration of Masses in various parishes since retirement, including with the Maronite community within the Diocese. His suspension precludes him from all ministry until the investigation is completed and a determination on the matter is made.

Fall River diocese suspends another retired priest from ministry

FALL RIVER (MA)
The Standard Times via the Taunton Gazette

January 27, 2020

In a Sunday press release, the Diocese of Fall River announced the suspension of another retired priest, Rev. Herbert T. Nichols for an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, alleged to have occurred approximately 20 years ago. The decision to suspend him was made based on information learned from a review of the personnel files of diocesan priests, the release said.

Ordained in 1975, Nichols’ assignments have included three New Bedford parishes: St. James; Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish and St. Anthony of Padua Parish. He also had assignments at St. Anne Parish, Fall River; St. Bernadette Parish, Fall River; St. Joseph Parish, Taunton and St. Mary Parish, Taunton.

The allegation, which Nichols denies, is under investigation by the diocese, according to the release.

Parish, Catholic school lawyer files motion to intervene in Church bankruptcy case

GUAM
KUAM News

January 27, 2020

Attorney Vincent Camacho has filed a motion to intervene in the ongoing Archdiocese of Agana bankruptcy case. He represents 33 Catholic parishes and schools. As we reported the Archdiocese submitted its bankruptcy reorganization plan which is offering $21 million to settle its more than 200 clergy sex abuse lawsuits.

There is however a separate lawsuit pending against the church to included local Catholic schools and parishes to increase the settlement fund. Although the church opposes this, the Intervenors argue that the church is not in a position to fully understand each parish or school's finances or operating structures and "thus cannot properly make all of the Intervenor's arguments." Such information will permit a more complete disclosure of necessary facts for the court to make a proper determination.

Priest Child Sex Abuse Laws Continue to Change in Florida

FLORIDA
The Legal Examiner (law firm blog)

January 27, 2020

By Joseph H. Saunders

At a 2018 press conference, then Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced a statewide investigation into child sex abuse at the hands of Catholic priests saying, “Any priest that would exploit a position of power and trust to abuse a child is a disgrace to the Church and a threat to society,”

Shortly before the investigation was announced 15 victims had already contacted authorities. Now after more than a year victims are continuing to come forward yet the state has been tight lipped about the number of tips reported through the statewide hotline. With an estimated 2 million Catholics in the Florida, I expect the number of potential cases still to be reported to be substantial.

Consider just some the recent history we know. Here in Tampa Bay the Catholic diocese, from 1996-2006, paid nearly $3 million in settlements to people abused by church representatives. Most, but not all, of the cases were settled in in 2004 when the diocese agreed to pay over $1 million to a dozen men who accused former priest Robert Schaeufele of sexually abusing them between the ages of 9 and 14 beginning in the mid-1970s. Schaeufele served 12 years after he pleaded guilty to charges he sexually abused three boys. There were over two-dozen credible sex abuse allegations against the priest, but most couldn’t be prosecuted because the statute of limitations had run out. Schaeufele used the Florida statute of limitations to his advantage and got away with raping and abusing dozens of young boys. His crimes should have earned him a life sentence; he was released after only 12 years.

Fall River Diocese suspends retired priest accused of sex abuse

FALL RIVER (MA)
WPRI FM (NPR affiliate)

January 26, 2020

By Jacqui Gomersall

A retired Catholic priest has been suspended from the Fall River Diocese following allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

Father Herbert T. Nichols denies the allegation, which is alleged to have occurred twenty years ago, according to the Diocese of Fall River.

We’re told, the allegation remains under investigation by the diocese and Nichols is suspended from all ministry until a determination on the matter is made.

After teacher was accused of sex abuse, he moved to nearby school, man alleges

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

January 27, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

A gym teacher who left a Catholic school in South Buffalo in the 1960s after being accused of molesting a boy moved to another parochial school a mile away, according to the plaintiff in a recent lawsuit filed against the Buffalo Diocese.

John Maloney of West Seneca said Robert F. “Ollie” Weber left St. Thomas Aquinas parochial school shortly after his parents complained to a South Buffalo priest that Weber had molested their son multiple times. Maloney said he remembers that the parents of another student also complained about Weber at around the same time.

Maloney said a parish priest, the Rev. William G. Dickenson, talked his parents out of taking legal action against the school or Weber.

Catholic clergy abuse victim leads drive to shakeup establishment politics in Chile

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Reuters

January 27, 2020

By Natalia A. Ramos Miranda

A Chilean sexual abuse victim who took on the Catholic Church has announced plans to form a new political party, one of several that has emerged since protests rocked the country late last year.

James Hamilton, a doctor who was one of the first people in Chile to come forward claiming he was the victim of child sexual abuse by clergy, has called his party Dignity.

The name is a reference to the public square in the Chilean capital where protesters have gathered over the past three months to denounce inequality and high living costs.

Hamilton is seeking to unite his countrymen around “principles” rather than ideologies of left and right.

He was one of several men who accused now-defrocked Santiago parish priest Fernando Karadima of sexually abusing them as boys. Karadima, who denied wrongdoing, was found guilty in a Vatican investigation but not prosecuted due to the statute of limitations.

Bishop Strickland says he asked pope about McCarrick report

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service

January 21, 2020

By Cindy Wooden

Bishop Joseph E. Strickland of Tyler, Texas, said he asked Pope Francis about the Vatican investigation into Theodore E. McCarrick and the release of a promised report on how the former cardinal managed to rise through the church ranks.

The bishop, who was making his "ad limina" visit to Rome, drew widespread attention in August 2018 for a public statement saying he found "credible" the allegations made by retired Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former nuncio to the United States, regarding McCarrick.

Archbishop Vigano alleged that top Vatican officials, including Pope Francis, knew for years that McCarrick had been accused of sexual misconduct.

January 26, 2020

New Orleans Saints confirm staff helped Archdiocese during sex abuse revelations

CHICAGO (IL)
WGNO

January 25, 2020

New Orleans - The New Orleans Saints have issued a statement in response to reports that the team’s public relations staff assisted the Archdiocese of New Orleans in matters relating to the Archdiocese’s ongoing sex abuse scandal.

News of the connection between the Saints and the Archdiocese surfaced this week in an Associated Press story detailing the team’s involvement.

Nearly 300 emails between members of the Saints PR staff and the communications department of the Archdiocese have become a factor in a lawsuit filed by about two dozen men claiming abuse at the hands of clergy, according to the AP.

That lawsuit, Doe v. Archdiocese, is currently in the discovery stage.

While the Archdiocese declined to comment on the issue, the Saints released a statement confirming that Greg Bensel, Senior Vice President of Communications for the New Orleans Saints, did in fact assist the Archdiocese with messaging before the Archdiocese released a list of clergy who had been “credibly accused” of the sexual abuse of children.

Sexual abuse allegation made against former Cape priest

HYANNIS (MA)
Cape Cod Times

January 26, 2020

By Denise Coffey

A retired priest with ties to the Cape has been suspended by The Diocese of Fall River over an allegation that he sexually abused a minor 20 years ago.

The decision to suspend Rev. Herbert T. Nichols was based on information from a review of personnel files of diocesan priests, according to a statement from the diocese.

Nichols has denied the allegation, the statement said.

Nichols, who was ordained in 1975, served at St. Joan of Arc Parish in Orleans as well as parishes in Fall River, New Bedford, Taunton and Raynham. His ministry included Franciscan Friars of the Renewal Community in New York.

As a retired priest, Nichols was not assigned to a parish at the time of his suspension. However, he participated in celebration Masses in various parishes, including with the diocese’s Maronite Community.

Brooklyn Bishop DiMarzio cancels school visit amid sex abuse claim

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Post

January 25, 2020

By Sara Dorn

Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio canceled his visit to a Park Slope school Tuesday after parents raised concerns that the cleric accused of child molestation would be around their kids, The Post has learned.

DiMarzio was scheduled to participate in a Q&A with kids at St. Saviour Catholic Academy on Tuesday, as part of Catholic Schools Week activities, according to parent Gloria Pellegrino, who took her concerns to Principal Susan Walsh.

“I do not want someone with an open investigation for child sex assault to be around my child or to speak to [them]. I think it is highly inappropriate for him to come to school and speak to the children, while the investigation is pending,” Pellegrino wrote to Walsh.

“Please let me know the planned program for that day,” the email said. “I will keep [my child] home for part or all of the school day depending on the agenda involving the Bishop.”

Pellegrino said several other parents were also upset by DiMarzio’s plans, as well as the PTA.

Enlarge ImageBishop Nicholas DiMarzio at the ordainment of Msgr. Paul Sanchez and Msgr. Raymond Chappetto to become an auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Brooklyn.

The school announced last week that DiMarzio’s visit had been cancelled. “As the Diocese has heard the concerns of some of our families, Bishop DiMarzio will not visit the school at this time,” Walsh wrote.

With regulation change, thousands of unresolved discrimination complaints now secret

QUINCY (MA)
Patriot Ledger

January 24, 2020

By Wheeler Cowperthwaite

As of Friday, pending complaints made to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination are no longer public record. The idea is to make people more comfortable coming forward, but critics say it only protects those accused of wrongdoing.

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As Boston University communications professor Maggie Mulvihill sees it, MCAD’s decision on the complaints shows that Massachusetts learned nothing from the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandals, in which judges allowed entire lawsuits alleging abuse by priests to be kept secret.

“How many cases were impounded and the judiciary has never been held to account for that?” she said. “Why are we sealing off records that belong to the people?”

Boston lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented victims of sexually abusive Catholic priests, said the public release of allegations such as those in the discrimination complaints, as well as the abuser’s name, often results in a “triggering effect” for other victims and can empower them to also come forward.

“Victims often feel alone and isolated and at fault when they’ve been sexually abused,” he said. “When they learn there’s another victim out there, they realize they’re no longer alone and shouldn’t think of themselves as at fault.”


Alabama High Court Orders Bishops to Testify in Sex Abuse Case

PASADENA (CA)
Courthouse News Service

January 24, 2020

By Daniel Jackson

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled Friday two bishops in the United Methodist Church must answer questions about what they did to prevent child sex abuse around the time a boy was allegedly victimized by a former youth leader.

“Today’s decision puts church leadership on notice that when children are alleged to have been harmed through the church, church officials will be called upon to answer for what steps they took to investigate allegations of child sex abuse and what they have done and are doing to prevent child sex abuse,” the boy’s attorney Gregory Zarzaur said in a statement.

In 2015, the boy – named J.N. in the court documents – filed a suit in Talladega Circuit Court claiming that while he attended the First United Methodist Church of Sylacauga he was abused by youth pastor Charles Terrell, the 24-page decision said.

J.N. asked the former bishop of the North Alabama Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, William Willimon, and the current bishop, Debra Wallace-Padgett, about their efforts to prevent child sex abuse.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal files petition to remove name from accused list

BENGALURU (INDIA)
The News Minute

January 26, 2020

Franco Mulakkal is the prime accused in the case of sexually assaulting a nun of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation in Kerala, multiple times between 2014 and 2016.

In a move to delay the trial proceedings of Kerala nun rape case, accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, on Saturday, filed a discharge petition in the court. The petition was filed by Franco’s counsel to Judge Gopakumar of Additional District Court in Kottayam.

Franco Mulakkal is accused of sexually assaulting a nun of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation in Kerala, multiple times between 2014 and 2016.

Franco Mulakkal, who is on bail, filed the discharge petition, asking to relieve him from the accused list without facing the trial. The reason cited by Franco’s counsel is that the charges in the case will not stand against Franco as the case was only based on the statements of witnesses who have resentment against him, reports the Times of India.

As per reports, Franco Mulakkal’s counsel also stated that most of the witnesses against him in the case do not have a good relationship with the church.

The court will consider the discharge petition on February 4. The same court had denied Franco Mulakkal’s earlier plea seeking more time in the case.

Ramsey County oversight is ending, but leaders say Church is ready to hold itself accountable

ST. PAUL (MN)
Catholic Spirit - Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

January 25, 2020

By Maria Wiering

http://thecatholicspirit.com/news/local-news/whats-next-ramsey-countys-oversight-of-the-archdioceses-child-protection-efforts-is-ending-going-forward-leaders-say-the-church-is-ready-to-hold-itself-accountable/

A marathon with no finish line.

That’s the metaphor John Choi uses for the Church’s safe environment efforts.

Choi, the Ramsey County attorney since 2011, and his staff have been deeply involved in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ efforts over the past four years to improve their policies, procedures and practices around protecting children from sexual abuse.

The period of his office’s official oversight is almost over. However, Choi’s convinced that the strides taken by the archdiocese have resulted in a sustainable culture change that makes it possible for the archdiocese to continue to move in the right direction. And that includes an ever-present effort to improve what’s already been done.

“(The archdiocese has) accomplished a culture in which they’re constantly evaluating themselves in terms of the settlement agreement and the promises they’ve made and the progress that they’re undertaking,” he told The Catholic Spirit Jan. 20. “Just a lot of things have changed for the better, and it wouldn’t have changed unless we would have come to this arrangement where we came to a settlement agreement.”

That doesn’t, however, mean that everything is done, he cautioned. People should not believe “that somehow all the efforts are completed.”

87-year-old man sues Buffalo Diocese over alleged sex abuse nearly 8 decades ago

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

January 24, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

An 87-year-old Erie County man is suing the Buffalo Diocese, alleging that he was abused in the early 1940s by a Catholic priest and two nuns at a Catholic school in Silver Creek.

The man claimed in a lawsuit filed Thursday in Erie County State Supreme Court that Monsignor Edmund O’Connor and Sister Mary and Sister Veronica “engaged in unpermitted, forcible and harmful sexual contact” with him on church and school grounds, beginning when he was in third grade and continuing through eighth grade at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church and School.

The man, who is not named, is the oldest plaintiff in Western New York to file a Child Victims Act case to date. The priest he is accusing of abuse died more than 55 years ago.

The lawsuit alleges that O’Connor, Sister Mary and Sister Veronica “groomed” the plaintiff by giving him “special praise and attention, bringing him on trips, giving him ice cream and/or gifts, and other forms of compensation.” The lawsuit marks the first time O’Connor has been publicly accused of child sexual abuse. The suit did not include last names for the two nuns.

As Philadelphia’s archbishops, Chaput and Pérez may differ less in substance than style

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

January 25, 2020

by Jeremy Roebuck and Justine McDaniel

After back-to-back mass shootings one weekend last August prompted calls for stricter gun laws, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput publicly argued that “only a fool” would believe that gun control could deter such violence.

The people using the guns were to blame, twisted, he wrote in a pointed column, by society’s “culture of sexual anarchy, personal excess, political hatreds, intellectual dishonesty, and perverted freedoms.”

But when a gunman killed one person and injured three at a California synagogue in April, Chaput’s designated successor, Cleveland Bishop Nelson J. Pérez, applied a softer approach. He condemned the “evil act of violence” and offered prayers for “those who were injured, loving care for the person who was killed, and comfort and consolation for their families.”

The tragedies that triggered their remarks may have little to do with meaty questions of church dogma, but the manner in which both men responded might help the region’s 1.3 million Catholics see a distinction between the outgoing archbishop and the man whom Pope Francis has named as his replacement.

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That understated profile “actually says a lot about him,” said Kathleen Sprows Cummings, a scholar at the University of Notre Dame. “He’s not making hot-button issues his platform. He’s a moderate voice and who seems interested in building bridges instead of sewing divisions.”

Our new archbishop is a Philly guy - and he’s speaking our language

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer via MSN

January 24, 2020

By Mike Newall

It seems Pope Francis was paying close attention when he rolled through Philly in 2015. Maybe the Rocky theme that greeted him at the airport got stuck in his head. Maybe he thought back to it when it came time to choose our new archbishop, and thought: A town like this needs a native son.

a man holding a microphone: Bishop Nelson J. Perez, who was named to lead the Philadelphia Archdiocese, holds the crucifix that hangs around his neck. It was given to him by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, when he was first made a bishop.

And in Bishop Nelson Perez, named Thursday as the new leader of the Philadelphia Archdiocese, we get that — or pretty close to it.

The son of Cuban immigrants, he grew up in Jersey and served as a priest for two decades in the Philadelphia area, including stints in Olney and Lawncrest. It is almost certain that our new prelate has strong, long-held opinions on our sports teams, our cultural touchstones, our culinary heritage. By which I mean, he’s definitely got a favorite cheesesteak spot, and there’s something very comforting in that.

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More comforting though, is that, in addition to speaking Philly’s language, Perez speaks Francis’ language. Literally — as one of few American bishops who can speak to the pope in his native Spanish tongue — and figuratively.

Unlike his predecessor, Archbishop Charles Chaput, a staunch conservative gifted with the ability of saying the exact wrong thing at so many times of crisis and challenge, Perez talks about the church as it should be: universal. Chaput seemed at every opportunity to draw a line in the pews: These are the beliefs. You’re either with us or against us. Perez has said that the diversity of the church is its greatest strength.

Hopefully that means us wayward Catholics, too. The ones who have watched in dismay as our current archbishop has too often kowtowed to President Trump — calling on us to support a man who has no concern for morality, or religion, or the immigrants who make up so much of Philadelphia’s church.

So, perhaps our new archbishop will walk us into the 21st century. Perez has spoken out against Trump, and he’s backed it up with actions: Directly intervening in a migrant’s deportation case with a personal call to ICE. While Chaput railed against “perverted freedoms,” Perez has confronted the president, saying the nation had lost its moral compass.

Columbus Diocese Task Force Examining Sexual Abuse Policies

COLUMBUS (OH)
Associated Press via U.S. News and World Report

January 25, 2020

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus has created a task force to examine its policies regarding the sexual abuse of minors by priests.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus has taken steps to examine its policies regarding the sexual abuse of minors with the creation of a task force, and has hired a law firm to determine whether more names should be added to a list of credibly accused priests.

The diocese in the days before Bishop Robert Brennan's installation last March released a list of 34 clergy members accused of sexual abuse. The list now includes 50 names.

Brennan said he wants to look at the issue of sexual abuse of minors by clergy with “new eyes,” The Columbus Dispatch reported.

“I need to know for my own conscience that I'm doing the best I can,” Brennan said.

In addition to examining policies, the task force has been looking at how the diocese reaches out to abuse survivors to help them heal.

A diocesan official said the task force will provide Brennan with a report outlining its recommendations this month.

New Orleans Saints go to court over Catholic Church sex abuse scandal

NEW YORK (NY)
FOXBusiness

January 25, 2020

Use of official NFL emails are targeted by attorneys for sexual abuse plantiffs

Many pro football experts thought the New Orleans Saints would be heading to the Super Bowl next week, now it appears they are heading to court instead amidst reports of the team's involvement in the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal.

The NFL team is asking the civil district court in the Parish of Orleans to keep the public from seeing hundreds of emails that allegedly show team executives doing public relations damage control for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, In a story, first brought to light by the Associated Press Friday, attorneys for about two dozen men are suing the church and say in court filings that the 276 documents they obtained through discovery demonstrate that the NFL team, whose owner -- Gayle Benson -- is devoutly Catholic, aided the archdiocese of New Orleans in its "pattern and practice of concealing its crimes."

Late Friday, the Saints released a statement acknowledging that some of its employees including Greg Bensel, the team’s senior vice president of communications, worked with the archdiocese in 2018 as it was preparing to release a list of former priests and church officials “credibly accused” of abuse. However, the team disavowed any implications it took part in covering up any information.

Welcome for Vatican guidelines on support of children born to Catholic clergy

CORK (IRELAND)
Irish Examiner

January 23, 2020

By Noel Baker

An Irish-based organisation which offers support to children born of Catholic clergy around the world has welcomed Vatican Guidelines on the issue which it says were largely unknown up to now.

Coping International, now in its seventh year of operation, has been endorsed by the Vatican and has seen more than 100,000 individual people from 175 countries access its free mental health and advocacy service. It has estimated that there are at least 10,000 children of priests globally and has also worked alongside the Irish Catholic Bishops here on its approach to the issue.

Coping International founder, Vincent Doyle, who is also a psychotherapist, said he has now received confirmation from the Holy See that guidelines — the existence of which were first revealed last year by the New York Times — are the official template which is globally disseminated to episcopal conferences.

Pope Francis put a woman in a top Vatican role. It shows how little power Catholic women hold

NEW YORK (NY)
NBC News Think

January 21, 2020

By Celia Viggo Wexler

Failing to empower women narrows the church’s vision and makes it less equipped to be a force for good in the world.

Recently, the Catholic Church took two small steps for womankind: This month, Pope Francis named the first woman to a managerial position in the Vatican’s most important office, the Secretariat of State. And in October, the world’s bishops suggested that Francis reconvene a commission he had created, at the urging of nuns, to study the ordination of women as permanent deacons — church ministers who are able to perform some of the duties of priests, but not to say Mass or hear confessions.

Yet these reforms only make clear how little power women hold in the church, where they constitute about half of Catholicism’s 1.2 billion adherents. Not only are women barred from ordination to the priesthood, they are not even allowed to vote at Vatican synods, convened to advise the pope about challenges facing the church.

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Women, in comparison, have led the charge for action and accountability. In 1988, Barbara Blaine, who had been sexually assaulted by her parish priest, founded the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and petitioned Catholic clergy to do more to respond to the crisis. As the scandals increased, Catholic women continued to raise alarm bells and urged that the laity be more involved in ensuring that the church protect children.

In 2014, abuse survivor Marie Collins was named to a Vatican commission on protecting minors from abuse. But in a sign of how marginalized women’s voices were, she resigned in 2017 out of frustration that Vatican bureaucrats failed to implement the group’s recommendations.

Victim-survivors share impact of clergy sexual abuse at restorative justice conference

ST. PAUL (MN)
Catholic Spirit - Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

January 25, 2020

By Joe Ruff

For Frank Meuers, a victim-survivor of clergy sexual abuse, the impact is far-reaching and never-ending.

“It’s like a stone in a pond,” he said, “the hole disappears, but the ripple effects go on and on.”

A member of St. Joseph Parish in New Hope and director of the southwest Minnesota chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, Meuers described the anger he lived with for years – and the help he received through therapy. He shared that and more as part of a five-person panel of victim-survivors at a Jan. 23 conference organized by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

More than 60 people listened – most of them also victim-survivors on a day especially set aside for them. They nodded in recognition or teared up in empathy and understanding as Meuers and others on the panel discussed broken but healing families, difficulties forging lasting relationships and struggles with their faith.

The conference was remarkable for many reasons. It brought together victim-survivors, Church officials and Ramsey County law enforcement, including Archbishop Bernard Hebda, County Attorney John Choi and Tim O’Malley, archdiocesan director of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment. It was one of several final steps this month toward the archdiocese satisfying terms of its settlement agreement over civil charges that the county filed in 2015 alleging the archdiocese was negligent in the case of an abusive priest.

Xavier College grapples with historical sex abuse claims

BRISBANE (AUSTRALIA)
Brisbane Times

January 26, 2020

By Samantha Hutchinson

Xavier College is grappling with the challenge of marking the death of a former principal who died suddenly in December after being named in relation to child sex abuse allegations on a controversial website run by old boys.

The prestigious Catholic boys school in Kew, which counts former Labor leader Bill Shorten and former archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart among its alumni, is understood to be preparing an obituary for the former principal Philip Wallbridge, which will be circulated in the first newsletter of the year.

Mr Wallbridge, who resigned as principal in 1993 and went on to run the AFL’s SportsReady program for more than a decade, died by suicide in the days before Christmas, at least 18 months after his name was published on a website of alleged sex offenders at Xavier run by former students.

The school operates under the Society of Jesus in Australia, which is better known as the Australian Jesuits, and has referred all questions on the allegations and the website to Australian Jesuits.

Australian Jesuits confirmed it had cooperated with a police investigation into Mr Wallbridge last year. The organisation handed information and documents regarding the former priest and principal to police investigators.