Abuse Tracker
A Blog by Kathy Shaw

BishopAccountability.org – Documenting the Abuse Crisis

February 21, 2017

Statement Regarding Rev. Sylvestre Obwaka

Roman Catholic Diocese of Gaylord


This morning Rev. Sylvestre Obwaka, former Pastor of St. Ignatius Parish in Rogers City, Michigan, was arraigned on charges of criminal sexual conduct. This matter does not involve a minor, but is an issue between two individual adults and not against the Diocese of Gaylord. Local civil authorities are conducting the investigation and the diocese has pledged its full cooperation.

Following Rev. Obwaka's arrest on Saturday, Bishop Steven J. Raica placed him on an administrative leave pending resolution of the case. During this time, Rev. Obwaka is also prohibited from exercising any public ministry.

Rev. Obwaka, 44, is a native of Kenya and is a permanent legal resident of the United States. He was accepted as a seminarian for the Diocese of Gaylord in 2004 and was ordained to the priesthood in 2010. Following his ordination he was assigned as Parochial Vicar to the Catholic Community of Manistee (now known as Divine Mercy parish), and in 2013 was appointed Pastor of St. Ignatius Parish in Rogers City.

“We are shocked and deeply saddened by this situation,” stated Candace Neff, diocesan Director of Communications. “There is a great deal of hurt and confusion right now. We are focused on providing pastoral support to all those affected and are working closely with St. Ignatius parishioners as they continue their ministries both within their parish and in the wider community,” she said.

To that end, Bishop Raica and a team from the Diocese of Gaylord met with parish leadership and parishioners on Sunday to pray with them, share information and to listen to concerns in order to begin to chart a path forward. At that time the bishop announced he had appointed Rev. Joseph Muszkiewicz, who also serves as Pastor to All Saints Parish in Alpena and Vicar for the region, as temporary administrator for St. Ignatius parish. Rev. Muszkiewicz, in collaboration with parish staff and leadership, will oversee the day-to-day operations of the parish for the immediate future.

“I am heartbroken over the events that have unfolded in recent days,” Bishop Raica said. “Our faith calls us to ensure the dignity of each human person is upheld in every circumstance. We must respond with compassion when anyone is harmed. We must also remember that in our system of justice, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty,” he noted. “It is very early in this process and while the matter is in the civil courts we will need to wait patiently for the outcome.”

“These are difficult days,” Bishop Raica concluded. “In these moments, we must turn to Christ who always walks with us and accompanies us in our pain. I ask for your prayers for all those affected by this situation.”

In order to maintain the integrity of the investigation and to protect the rights of everyone involved, neither the Diocese of Gaylord nor leadership of St. Ignatius Parish will be making any further comments regarding this case at this time.

Presque Isle County Priest Arrested for Alleged Criminal Sexual Conduct

MI News


A Presque Isle County Priest has been charged with first degree criminal sexual conduct following an incident that allegedly occurred earlier this month.

Troopers at the Alpena State Police Post received a complaint on February 17th of criminal sexual conduct that had allegedly happened in Rogers City.

A 28-year-old man told police that on February 1st he was staying the night at the 44-year-old suspect’s home when he sexually assaulted while sleeping.

Troopers interviewed the victim and documented the allegations.

A search warrant was granted for the suspect’s home, and on the 18th troopers collected possible evidence from the scene.

Diocese of Gaylord Issues Statement on Priest Charged with Sex Crimes

9 and 10 News

[with video]

By David Lyden, Reporter

Reverend Sylvestre Obwaka was the priest at Saint Ignatius church in Rogers City.

He was arraigned on 1st and 3rd degree sex crimes Tuesday.

The Diocese of Gaylord suspended him while the case works its way through court.

Bishop Steven Raica says this is an incredibly sad situation for everyone involved and they're now focusing on helping the parish community heal and move forward.

“Whenever anyone is harmed, or accused of harming another, the entire faith community is shaken,” said Raica.

Bishop Raica says the last few days have been difficult for parishioners in Rogers City and the Diocese of Gaylord. After Fr. Obwaka's arrest, Bishop Raica placed him on administrative leave. He's also prohibited from performing public ministry.

“I am heartbroken over the events that have unfolded over the recent days. Our faith calls us to ensure the dignity of each human person is upheld in each circumstance,” said Raica.

9 Investigates: Charlotte family speaks out about son's abuse by a priest


[with video]

by: Allison Latos Updated: Feb 21, 2017

The disturbing crime of sexual abuse by priests has rocked the Catholic Church worldwide and in Charlotte.

Robert Yurgel was a priest at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Ballantyne.

He admitted to sexually abusing an altar boy, spent nearly eight years in prison and was released in the summer of 2016.

The parents of Yurgel's victim's family spoke publicly to Eyewitness News anchor Allison Latos about the crime that stole their son's innocence and their plea to all parents.

Robert and Anne Price raised their five children in the Catholic faith.

The family spent every Sunday at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Ballantyne, but they say it is now a place of so much pain.

"God said, 'Bring me your children.' He didn't say, 'Bring me your children so I can abuse them,'" Anne Price told Latos.

Ex-Haverhill priest held on $50,000 bail in Maine on sexual abuse charges

The Eagle-Tribune

By Mike LaBella mlabella@eagletribune.com

HAVERHILL — Former Haverhill priest Ronald Paquin is being held on $50,000 cash bail after being charged in Maine with multiple counts of gross sexual misconduct involving young boys.

A judge in Biddeford District Court in Maine set that bail amount and ordered that no one other than Paquin be allowed to raise the bail.

Police in Kennebunkport, Maine, said the criminal acts took place at seasonal locations in Kennebunkport in the mid-to-late 1980s. The male victims' ages were 11 and 14 when Paquin began his inappropriate criminal conduct, police said.

On Feb. 6, a York County grand jury indicted Paquin, 74, on 13 counts of gross sexual misconduct, class A, and 16 counts of gross sexual misconduct, class B.

Paquin was arrested Feb. 8 in Boston on a warrant from Maine and on Feb. 10 he was held without bail in Roxbury District Court, where he waived extradition proceedings. He was subsequently taken to Maine to face charges there.

Vatican court continues investigating possible cases of money laundering

Catholic Philly

By Cindy Wooden • Catholic News Service • Posted February 21, 2017

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — While the trial of five people accused of leaking confidential Vatican financial documents captured headlines in 2016, the Vatican City court also continued investigating possible financial crimes, freezing more than $2.1 million in assets deposited at the Vatican bank.

Gian Piero Milano, promoter of justice at the Vatican City court, summarized the city-state’s judicial activity Feb. 18.

The funds were frozen in 2016 as part of Vatican investigations of possible money laundering, Milano said. From 2012 through 2016, he said, the Vatican Financial Intelligence Authority reported 23 cases of suspicious transactions to the court; 17 of those cases still are under investigation, he said.

The total funds frozen over the past four years, Milano said, included almost 11.3 million in euros, just over 1 million in dollars and more than 320,000 British pounds — a total equivalent to about $13.3 million.

Italy Freezes Assets of Banker Accused of Using Vatican for Market Rigging

U.S. News

By Philip Pullella

ROME (Reuters) - Investigating magistrates in Italy on Tuesday froze millions of euros worth of assets belonging to a prominent Italian banker they believe used the Vatican bank and another Holy See financial department for market manipulation.

The financial crimes police said in a statement that they had executed the magistrates' orders, sequestering 2.5 million euros ($2.64 million) in buildings, stocks and land belonging to Giampietro Nattino, head of Banca Finnat Euramerica SpA. [BFE.MI]

Magistrates accuse him of market manipulation and providing false information to Consob, Italy's stock regulator.

Nattino said in a statement that the frozen assets belonged to him personally and not to his bank, and that he would cooperate with investigators.

Shares in his private bank fell 3.6 percent before recovering some of that loss.

Tuesday's developments followed an exclusive report by Reuters in November, 2015 about a Vatican investigation into Nattino's accounts at the Vatican bank, known as the Institute for Works of Religion, and at APSA, an office that oversees Vatican real estate and investments. http://reut.rs/2m7SvYh

Resignation of Panel Member

Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry

Mr Glenn Houston has resigned as a member of the panel because he has accepted two other public appointments which he is unable to hold in conjunction with his panel membership.

Having considered the time commitment they will require and the potential risk of a conflict of interest arising as between them and his Inquiry role in the future, he concluded that he could not carry on with all three roles and, with regret, that he required to resign from the Inquiry.

Lady Smith said: “Mr Houston has made a valuable contribution to the work of the Inquiry during his time as a panel member and I am very grateful to him for his support. I fully understand his decision and wish him well in his new ventures.

“The important work of the Inquiry continues as normal and we would encourage anyone who has relevant information, whether they have been abused themselves or know others who have, to get in touch.”

Third member resigns from Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry

The Courier

by Gareth McPherson

February 21 2017

A third senior figure on the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has resigned after the chairman ruled his new jobs risked a conflict of interest.

Glenn Houston resigned from the panel when he was asked by Lady Smith to consider stepping down from the new roles.

One of the posts is at the Disclosure and Barring service, the body which rules who can have contact with children in certain settings, and the other at Northern Health and Social Care Trust.

It is the latest in a series of resignations at the child abuse inquiry, which was set up in 2015 to examine the extent of abuse of children in care.

Scottish child abuse inquiry: Senior panel member resigns

BBC News

A third senior figure on the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has resigned.

Glenn Houston, who was the only original panel member, cited personal reasons for his departure.

He remained on the inquiry team last year after the resignation of the chairwoman, Susan O'Brien QC, and panel member Prof Michael Lamb.

One survivors' group said it was "indicative of a crisis" in the inquiry which is examining allegations of child abuse in residential accommodation.

Headteacher who became a Church of England vicar, 63, 'was a "father figure" to a boy he sexually abused for seven years'

Daily Mail

By Alex Matthews For Mailonline

Vicar David Fletcher is alleged to have abused a boy while he was a teacher in Bradford during the 1980s and 1990s

A former headteacher who went on to become a Church of England vicar has been accused of sexually abusing a boy for seven years.

David Fletcher, 63, is alleged to have indecently touched the youngster, who was between nine and 15, from the late 1980s and into the 1990s before targeting him again when he was an adult.

During this period Fletcher, who is currently a vicar in East Yorkshire, was deputy headteacher at a primary school and later a headteacher of a secondary school in Bradford.

A man said Fletcher touched him indecently before thrusting his body at him and 'snogging' him.

The complainant has also accused the vicar of sexually assaulting him in a kitchen on a date between 2009 and 2011.

La vieja amistad del cardenal Errázuriz con Figari, el “Karadima peruano” acusado de pederastia

El Mostrador

[The old friendship of Cardinal Errázuriz with Figari, the "Peruvian Karadima" accused of pederasty.]

por CAMILA BUSTAMANTE 17 febrero, 2017

Una casa en Eduardo Castillo Velasco con Pedro de Valdivia, en Ñuñoa, fue el punto de partida de los trabajos apostólicos de la comunidad peruana Sodalicio de Vida Cristiana (también conocida por su nombre en latín Sodalitium Christianae Vítae, SCV) en Chile. Invitados en 1999 por el entonces arzobispo de Santiago, Francisco Javier Errázuriz, los religiosos comenzaron un camino que hoy los tiene como dueños de la Universidad Gabriela Mistral, un colegio en Huechuraba, una comunidad en el exclusivo sector de Los Trapenses y a cargo de una Parroquia en Maipú. Sin embargo, el rostro de estos consagrados se ha ensuciado por las múltiples acusaciones de abusos sexuales, de poder, físicos y psicológicos que pesan sobre su fundador, Luis Fernando Figari, así como varios otros miembros de la institución.

Fue en 2015 cuando el escándalo del Sodalicio estalló en Perú, a raíz de la publicación del libro Mitad monjes, mitad soldados, de los periodistas Pedro Salinas y Paola Ugaz. En él, se relatan 30 testimonios de personas que pertenecieron a la institución y que sufrieron algún tipo de abuso, incluyendo los de índole sexual. Con este trabajo periodístico, no solo se logró visibilizar hechos que se rumoreaban entre quienes tenían familiares o amigos en la institución, sino también que el Sodalicio abriera una comisión investigadora y declarara como persona non grata a su propio fundador.

Los escabrosos testimonios de pedofilia y abusos sexuales del grupo católico Sodalicio en Perú


[The scabrous testimonies of pedophilia and sexual abuse of the Catholic group Sodalicio in Peru.]

La sociedad apostólica publicó un informe sobre los abusos sexuales cometidos en la organización a 36 jóvenes -19 de ellos menores-, pero evitó revelar la identidad de cuatro agresores. Las autoridades practicaba sodomía, tocamientos de genitales y los obligaban a acostarse juntos
15 de febrero de 2017

Luis Figari, fundador del Sodalicio en 1971, durante más de 30 años abusó sexualmente de jóvenes que reclutaba de colegios privados de clase alta y los llevaba a vivir en comunidad como "soldados de Cristo". Sus delitos también fueron replicados por otros líderes, según detalla el informe interno encargado por la organización tras las denuncias ante la justicia, con crudos testimonios sobre cómo obligaban a sus víctimas a desnudarse, tocarse y besar los genitales.

Abuso sexual e impunidad en Iglesia Católica salvadoreña


[Sexual abuse and impunity in Salvadoran Catholic church.]

SAN SALVADOR (apro).- William tenía 13 años de edad la primera vez que el sacerdote lo violó.

Fue un lunes en la noche. William Hernández entró mareado al cuarto. José Luis detrás. Se acostaron. A William le surgió la terrible certeza que después la vida no volverá a ser igual.

Transcurría el año 1985. José Luis Recinos López llegó a Apopa, al norte de San Salvador, con talento para hacer dinero. La cúpula de la Iglesia Católica salvadoreña le asignó una parroquia en crisis de la que habían desertado centenares de feligreses que perdieron la fe.

Message de Mgr Delmas aux diocésains

Diocese d'Angier

[Mgr. Emmanuel Delmas, Bishop of Angers, sent a letter to the priests of the diocese on 1 February 2017 about facts reported to him concerning a deceased priest of the diocese who is accused of misconduct with minors. He wishes to make this message known to all the Catholic faithful in the diocese.]

Mgr Emmanuel Delmas, évêque d’Angers, a transmis le 1er février 2017 aux prêtres du diocèse un courrier au sujet de faits qui lui ont été rapportés concernant un prêtre du diocèse décédé . Il souhaite faire connaître ce message à l’ensemble des fidèles catholiques du diocèse.

Aux prêtres du diocèse d’Angers,

Angers, le 1er février 2017
"Comme vous le savez peut-être, j’ai reçu des témoignages de jeunes adultes qui m’ont confié avoir subis dans leur enfance des comportements inappropriés de la part d’un ancien aumônier, l’abbé Houard, aujourd’hui décédé.

Poursuite de la procédure canonique contre le prêtre-psy Tony Anatrella

Le Monde

L’Eglise a pris cette décision après avoir recueilli les témoignages de plaignants, qui accusent l’ecclésiastique de s’être livré à des agressions sexuelles lors de ses thérapies.

Une procédure canonique, régie par le droit de l’Eglise, a été ouverte à l’encontre du prêtre-psychanalyste Tony Anatrella, prélat célèbre jusqu’au Vatican, a dévoilé, lundi 20 février dans la soirée, l’archevêché de Paris.

Au printemps 2016, près de dix ans après le dépôt des premières plaintes, cet ecclésiastique du diocèse de Paris avait été soupçonné d’avoir commis des agressions sexuelles lors de ses thérapies sur de jeunes hommes dans son cabinet de psychanalyste.


NL Times

By Janene Pieters on February 21, 2017

Although two pastors at the Reformed Church in Amersfoort Oost kept sexual abuse by a church member in 1986 quiet, there was definitely not a cover up, the church concluded in an investigation. The investigation revealed that the then pastor and his successor were only aware of two cases of sexual abuse of young boys by church member Piet Hein W. from Hoevelaken, AD reports.

The now deceased W.'s abuse was revealed in October last year, when the church was praying for the terminally ill man. A church member wrote a letter about W.'s "dark side", revealing that he sexually abused young boys. The Reformed Church quickly determined that the allegations may be true and launched an investigation. The investigation committee consisted of investigators, psychologists, a lawyer and a theologian.

The investigation revealed 16 people who may have been sexually abused by W. when they were young boys. Six of them could not be reached. Two did not want to talk about it. Five said that they do not feel that they were victimized. And the final three confirmed that they were. Victim assistance was offered to them.

Trial to Begin Today for Former Canaan Youth Pastor Accused of Sexual Abuse of Girl


FEB 21, 2017


A former youth pastor in Canaan accused of sexually abusing a young girl is scheduled to go on trial starting Tuesday.

27-year-old Lucas Savage pleaded not guilty to unlawful sexual contact….

He was co-director of Youth Haven Ministries when he was arrested last March….

Canonical inquiry into French bishops’ adviser Msgr Tony Anatrella

La Croix

Following the report from a commission set up to consider allegations of sexual assault against well-known priest psychologist, Fr Tony Anatrella, Cardinal Vingt-Trois of Paris has opened a canonical inquiry into the events.

Céline Hoyeau
February 21, 2017

For the last fifteen years, there have been accusations of sexual assault against well-known Paris priest and psychoanalyst, Msgr Tony Anatrella, 75. In a long-awaited decision, a canonical inquiry will be opened concerning the allegations, La Croix has learned.Following a series of revelations last year concerning a Lyons priest, Fr Bernard Preynat, several former patients made allegations in the media against Msgr Anatrella. In May, Cardinal Vingt-Trois of Paris said he “encouraged these people to give up their anonymity… and to make their complaints to the relevant legal authorities".

Cardinal Desmond Connell: Child abuse crisis was low point of life

Irish Times

Patsy McGarry

You could say Desmond Connell, who has died aged 90, became Archbishop of Dublin almost by default. His name was among the last to surface publicly during the extraordinary nine months which elapsed between the death in April 1997 of his predecessor, Archbishop Kevin McNamara, and the announcement of his appointment in January 1988.

It was extraordinary because of the tactics employed over that period, which saw almost everyone’s favourite for the job, Bishop Donal Murray, successfully done down. He was the man most favoured for the post by the bishops and Dublin’s priests. ...

But, without doubt, 2002 was his annus horribilis, par excellence. It was the year when his handling of clerical child sex abuse cases was exposed most mercilessly. In April it emerged that he had not told gardaí­ that Father Paul McGennis, who abused Marie Collins in 1960, had admitted the crime. In October 2002 Prime Time’s Cardinal Errors programme gave a damning account of his handling of cases involving eight priests of the diocese who had been involved in child sex abuse.

Post-October 2002, he seemed to finally admit his own personal responsibility for much that had gone wrong in the archdiocese where the handling of clerical child sex abuse during his term was concerned. His meeting with abuse victims Ms Collins and Ken Reilly on December 30th of that year was a genuine coming together of minds with a common purpose.

This threatened to fall asunder in February 2003 when it emerged the archdiocese had no structure for the support of victims, as per the 1996 guidelines issued by the Irish bishops. It reflected his “only guidelines” remark to Ms Collins about those church directions, at a meeting with Ms Collins in December 1996.

But in March 2003 he issued a strong statement that such a structure was being put in place with direct input from Ms Collins and Mr Reilly. And that was done.

In February 2008 there was general relief, not least within the church, when Cardinal Connell agreed to withdraw his High Court action claiming privilege over 5,586 documents before the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation (Murphy Commission) into the handling of clerical child sexual abuse allegations.

The subsequent Murphy report, published in November 2009, found that he “was slow to recognise the seriousness of the situation” on assuming office. He was “over-reliant” on the advice of other people. While “clearly appalled by the abuse” it took him some time “to realise that it could not be dealt with by keeping it secret and protecting priests from normal civil processes.”


Associated Press


PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Seth Williams, the city's first black district attorney, won't run for a third term amid an FBI investigation into $160,000 in gifts that he failed to report, mistakes that he said Friday caused his office "much embarrassment and shame."

The Democrat later reported taking a new roof, a $2,700 couch and luxury vacations, including the use of a defense lawyer's home in the Florida Keys. Williams has agreed to pay $62,000 in related ethics fines.

He did not take questions at a morning appearance in which he apologized for "mistakes in my personal life and in my personal financial life that cast an unnecessary shadow over my office." ...

During his seven-year tenure, his office filed the first charges against several Roman Catholic priests and earned a trial conviction against the first U.S. church official ever charged over the handling of priest sex-abuse complaints. The conviction has since been overturned, although the official served nearly three years in prison.

Poursuite de la procédure canonique contre le prêtre-psy Tony Anatrella

Le Monde

[The Catholic church is continuing with canonical action against priest Tony Anatrella who is charge with abuse.]

L’Eglise a pris cette décision après avoir recueilli les témoignages de plaignants, qui accusent l’ecclésiastique de s’être livré à des agressions sexuelles lors de ses thérapies.

Une procédure canonique, régie par le droit de l’Eglise, a été ouverte à l’encontre du prêtre-psychanalyste Tony Anatrella, prélat célèbre jusqu’au Vatican, a dévoilé, lundi 20 février dans la soirée, l’archevêché de Paris.

Au printemps 2016, près de dix ans après le dépôt des premières plaintes, cet ecclésiastique du diocèse de Paris avait été soupçonné d’avoir commis des agressions sexuelles lors de ses thérapies sur de jeunes hommes dans son cabinet de psychanalyste.

Bischof Morerod spricht Klartext zum Fall Pittet


[The Catholic Church has to bring light into its shadowy corners, says the president of the Swiss Bishops' Conference (SBK), said Bishop Charles Morerod, in a guest commentary for kath.ch.]

20.2.17 (kath.ch) Die katholische Kirche muss Licht in ihre Schattenwinkel bringen, sagt der Präsident der Schweizer Bischofskonferenz (SBK), Charles Morerod, in einem Gastkommentar für kath.ch. Er nimmt zudem Stellung zum Rücktritt von Ephrem Bucher aus dem bischöflichen Fachgremium «sexuelle Übergriffe».

Ich kenne Daniel Pittet seit mindestens 25 Jahren. In den vergangenen Monaten haben wir über sein Buch gesprochen. Als Vorbereitung auf die Veröffentlichung des Buchs und dank der Mithilfe der Kapuziner habe ich Pater Joël Allaz zwei Mal getroffen. Das tat ich, um zu unterstreichen, dass ich hinter dieser Veröffentlichung stehe und zwar aus zwei Gründen: Daniel sagt, dass ihm diese Worte helfen werden, seinen Schmerz zu überwinden. Zudem bin ich überzeugt, dass die Kirche Licht in ihre fürchterlichen Schattenzonen bringen muss.

RC priest accused of sexual assault

The Alpena News

Rev. Sylvestre Obwaka, 44, a priest at St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Rogers City was arrested and jailed over the weekend. He is accused of sexual assault.

He will be arraigned today.

Bishop Steven Raica of the Diocese of Gaylord took questions from parishioners on Sunday. He told parishioners Obwaka has denied the allegations and has been placed on administrative leave.

Candace Neff, director of communications for the diocese, stated in an email on Monday afternoon the diocese would not comment on the situation until after Obwaka was arraigned.

Vatican visit puts global spotlight on Guam allegations

Pacific Daily News

Haidee V Eugenio , heugenio@guampdn.com Published Feb. 21, 2017 | Updated 5 hours ago

A Vatican tribunal’s visit to Guam, as part of Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron’s ongoing canonical penal trial, has drawn international attention to the island’s clergy sex abuse lawsuits, even as an Apuron accuser said he didn’t meet with the Vatican mission in Hawaii.

Roy T. Quintanilla, 52 and now living in Honolulu, was the first former altar boy in May 2016 to publicly accuse Apuron of sexually abusing him in Agat in the 1970s.

Quintanilla said Tuesday he didn't provide testimony to the Vatican tribunal in Honolulu because his attorney, David Lujan, wasn't allowed to be present. He said he will submit a written declaration to the Vatican, as his attorney advised.

The tribunal, led by Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, was on Guam Feb. 16-18 to get testimony from witnesses in the Apuron canonical penal trial process.

The visit drew attention from international media and groups dealing with the Catholic abuse crisis worldwide, from Rome to Washington, D.C.

While the Burke mission received testimony from other witnesses on Guam, it didn’t hear from former altar boy Roland Sondia, because the Vatican team wouldn’t allow Sondia to be accompanied by his counsel, Lujan.

Ex-police officer accuses historical child abuse victims of LYING to win compensation

Birmingham Mail

21 FEB 2017

A former West Midlands Police officer has accused victims of institutional childhood abuse of LYING to a Government inquiry to win compensation.

Labour Party activist Bernard McEldowney is due to stand for the Bromsgrove ward of Woodvale in the county council elections in May.

But the retired police inspector has sparked fury in Northern Ireland after attacking a Government inquiry looking at the institutional abuse of children, dating back decades.

Mr McEldowney claims the inquiry was ‘hijacked’ by people who lied to win compensation, including former residents of St Joseph’s Children’s Home in Londonderry - where he was a resident.

The home was one of 22 institutions investigated by the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA), which looked at abuse allegations dating back decades.

Christian Brothers legal funds 'difficult'


FEBRUARY 21, 2017

Megan Neil
Australian Associated Press

The Christian Brothers say they review legal funding for brothers accused of child sex abuse on a case-by-case basis, despite spending more than $1.5 million on one convicted pedophile's numerous legal cases.

A Victorian County Court judge has said he is "blown away" that the Catholic Church still funds the legal defence for Brother Robert Best, who has been convicted of sex offences against 11 boys and this week admitted abusing a further 20 schoolboys.

The Christian Brothers had spent $1.53 million defending Best by 2015, and a combined $100,000 for two other brothers who had been convicted of abuse in Victoria's Ballarat diocese.

Province leader Brother Peter Clinch says the Christian Brothers have had a new protocol since February last year over providing legal assistance to brothers facing criminal charges directly related to their time in the order.

Scale of sexual abuse at Marist College Canberra revealed by royal commission

Canberra Times

Katie Burgess

Royal commission documents have exposed Marist College in Canberra as the most notorious Catholic school in Australia for child sexual abuse claims.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has revealed 63 claims of child sexual abuse made against the school.

But Bravehearts ambassador Damian De Marco believed the total number of victims at Marist College Canberra would be much higher.

"The true figure at Marist would be well over 100 given the number of stories I have heard about people who will never present officially and those that have died from suicide and drugs," Mr De Marco said.

While claims of child sexual abuse were made about 1049 separate Catholic Church institutions, the report singled out 28 institutions that had more than 20 claims of child abuse against them.

The Catholic Church's South Wagga parish priest Paddy Sykes has backed calls for cultural change to stop child sexual abuse | Video

Daily Advertiser

Ken Grimson
21 Feb 2017

THE priest in charge of one of the largest parishes in the Catholic Church’s Wagga Diocese has backed calls for lasting cultural change within the faith following the release of alarming figures revealing the extent of child sex abuse within the church.

Reverend Father Paddy Sykes, South Wagga parish priest, published the statistics under the heading “grim data” in his parish newsletter last weekend.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse said between January, 1980, and February, 2015, 4444 people made allegations of child sexual abuse to 93 Catholic Church authorities in Australia.

A total of 1880 alleged perpetrators were identified, of which 32 per cent were religious brothers, 30 per cent were priests, 29 per cent were lay people and 5 per cent were religious sisters.

“As terrible as those figures are, there are probably more (victims),” Fr Sykes said.

Bishop says he too was abused by clergy


FEBRUARY 21, 2017

Rebekah Ison
Australian Associated Press

The bishop of Parramatta has made an impassioned plea for the Catholic Church to become less "elitist" while revealing he was sexually abused by clergy himself.

Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen was applauded during his evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Tuesday.

Survivors of sex abuse and their loved ones approached afterwards and some cried as they spoke with him.

"I was also a victim of sexual abuse by clergy when I first came to Australia, even though I was an adult," the former refugee said towards the end of his testimony in Sydney.

"That had a powerful impact on me and how I want to ... walk in the shoes of other victims and really endeavour to attain justice and dignity for them."

Bishop Long, who is the first Australian bishop of Vietnamese background, said titles, privileges and the church's institutional dynamics "breed clerical superiority and elitism".

Bishop of Parramatta Vincent Long Van Nguyen tells royal commission he was abused

Sydney Morning Herald

Rachel Browne

The Bishop of Parramatta, Vincent Long Van Nguyen, has told a royal commission he suffered sexual abuse by a member of the clergy after arriving in Australia as a refugee from Vietnam in 1981.

Bishop Long told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse he had enormous empathy for victims.

"I was also a victim of sexual abuse by clergy when I first came to Australia, even though I was an adult," he said.

"That had a powerful impact on me and I want to walk in the shoes of other victims and endeavour to attain justice and dignity for them."

The bishop, 55, told the commission ordained ministers have too much power in the Catholic church and too little accountability.

The lack of women and lay people in leadership positions in the Catholic church has contributed to the high proportion of child sexual abuse allegations, Bishop Long told the inquiry.

Regional areas ‘breeding ground’ for child sex abuse, inquiry told

Hepburn Advocate

Melissa Cunningham

21 Feb 2017

Regional areas were a “breeding ground” for emotionally immature Catholic clergy who easily entrenched themselves in communities and went onto sexually abuse children undetected, an inquiry heard.

In a frank admissions to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn, Christopher Prowse said on Tuesday an “extraordinary level of trust” was invested in priests in country communities.

When asked by Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission Gail Furness SC why regional areas were epicentres of clergy sexual abuse, Archbishop Prowse, who was bishop of Sale between 2009 and 2013, said clergy were often held in the highest esteem.

“It was a breeding ground for immature and disconnected priests to be able to move into that area, perhaps, more so numerically than in a bigger city where getting to know the priest is not as easy,” he said.

“(They) were able to really become part of the family in a way that wouldn't have been so in a bigger city.”

Australian bishop says he suffered sexual abuse at hands of Catholic clergy

The Guardian

Australian Associated Press
Tuesday 21 February 2017

The Catholic bishop of Parramatta has gone public for the first time about the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of clergy.

Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen talked about the abuse at a royal commission hearing in Sydney and called on the church to consider removing priests’ honorifics and giving parishioners more power.

“I was also a victim of sexual abuse by clergy when I first came to Australia, even though I was an adult,” the former refugee told the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse on Tuesday.

“That had a powerful impact on me and how I want to … walk in the shoes of other victims and really endeavour to attain justice and dignity for them.”

Long, the first Australian bishop of Vietnamese background, was applauded throughout his testimony. Child sexual abuse survivors and their loved ones approached him afterwards. Some cried as they spoke to him.

The imprint of false allegations pervades long after the matter

Irish Independent

Patricia Casey

News items filled with details of sexual abuse allegations are well known to the Irish public. Throughout the 1990s our airwaves were filled with details of priests being charged with sexually abusing children under their charge as far back as the 1970s. We were horrified by these revelations, and several reports headed by judges on various diocese followed.

The possibility that there could be any false allegations was not countenanced and to have had the temerity to suggest this would have evoked public opprobrium and charges of being in denial about the reality of paedophilia.

Then there was the Fr Reynolds case. A priest on the missions was said to have raped a teenager and fathered a child on an RTÉ programme. Ultimately the allegation was false and he sued RTÉ. According to the Association of Catholic Priests, a number of their men have been falsely accused of child abuse by anonymous complainants. The gardaí have then been notified and with only the most cursory of attempts to verify the accuracy of the complaint, the priest is removed from duties and is left in an isolated state.

Removing a person accused of sexual abuse from duties is correct, provided that the possible veracity is established.

Bishop Vincent Long tells Royal Commission he was abused

Catholic Leader

Posted by: Mark Bowling

PARRAMATTA Bishop Vincent Long has told the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse that he was a victim of sexual abuse by clergy.

Bishop Long, who came to Australia as a refugee from Vietnam, told the commission he was abused soon after his arrival.

“I was also a victim of sexual abuse by clergy when I first came to Australia, even though I was adult,” he said.

“So, that had a powerful impact on me and how I want to walk in the shoes of other victims, and endeavour to obtain justice and dignity for them.

“We are all products of our life experiences.”

Commissioners questioned Bishop Long about whether structures had changed sufficiently to prevent further child abuse occurring.

Bishop says power of priests needs change

Sky News

The Catholic Church should consider getting rid of honorifics such as 'your lordship' and give lay people more power over parish priests, a NSW bishop says.

Parramatta Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that titles, privileges and the Church's institutional dynamics 'breed clerical superiority and elitism'.

He said he cringes when parishioners call him 'your lordship' and the church needs to review mandatory celibacy, which he thinks separates the clergy from parishioners.

'When they (faithful Catholics) come to see me, they kiss my ring,' Bishop Long, who is the first Australian bishop of Vietnamese background, said in Sydney on Tuesday.

Former Archbishop of Dublin Desmond Connell dies aged 90

The Journal

FORMER ARCHBISHOP OF Dublin Desmond Connell has died after a long illness.
He was 90.

Connell was Archbishop of Dublin from to 1988 until 2004 and Cardinal since 2001.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said that Cardinal Connell, who had been ill for some time, passed away peacefully during the night in his sleep.

His handling of clerical sexual abuse cases was widely criticised, leading to his replacement by Diarmuid Martin in 2004.

February 20, 2017

Hobart archbishop says scale of abuse by Catholic clergy 'difficult' to understand

The Guardian

Christopher Knaus
Monday 20 February 2017

The archbishop of Hobart said he still struggles to understand why Catholic clergy abused children on such a massive scale, and blamed the church’s response on an ignorance of “the seriousness of child sexual abuse”.

The royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse on Tuesday heard evidence from a panel of archbishops and bishops, largely from Australia’s smaller Catholic dioceses.

The commissioners are seeking to understand why one in 14 Catholic clergy allegedly abused children in Australia, and are scrutinising the church’s efforts to reform its child protection.

The archbishop, Julian Porteous, was asked to give his thoughts on why the abuse crisis occurred at such a significant scale in the Catholic church. He was unable to give the royal commission a clear answer, saying he found it “very difficult” to understand.

Ignorance led to abuse failure: Archbishop

9 News


The Catholic Church's failings on child sexual abuse were grounded in the "ignorance of a few", the Archbishop of Hobart says.

Archbishop Julian Porteous agreed there had been a "massive failing" by leadership but that it was based in a lack of understanding about the issue and appropriate ways to deal with it.

"Effectively, ignorance of a few?" counsel assisting Gail Furness SC said at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney on Tuesday.

"Yes," Archbishop Porteous replied.

The comments about a misunderstanding within the church angered Chrissie Foster, a mother of abuse victims.

Public hearing into Commonwealth, State and Territory governments

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

21 February, 2017

On 14 November 2016 the Royal Commission announced a series of public hearings to be held in Sydney to inquire into the current policies and procedures relating to child protection and child safety of various institutions.

Case Study 51 inquiring into the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments will commence on 6 March 2017. The scope and purpose of the public hearing is available on the Royal Commission website.

The Royal Commission will call senior representatives of relevant departments within the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments in relation to the topics set out below.

1. The response of the Commonwealth government to the recommendations of the Child Protection Panel in its report dated 11 May 2016, ‘Making Children Safer – the wellbeing and protection of children in immigration detention and regional processing centres’.

2. The steps taken by the Department of Defence in response to commitments made during the public hearing of Case Study 40 in relation to the current systems, policies and procedures of the Australian Defence Force to prevent, raise and respond to concerns and complaints about child sexual abuse

3. The responses of the States and Territories to the Commonwealth Redress Scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse, announced on 4 November 2016.

L’ossessione di papa Francesco per lo zolfo

Rete L'Abuso

Gli abusi? Tutta colpa del diavolo, scrive il pontefice nella sua premessa al libro autobiografico della vittima di un prete pedofilo. E pare che secondo Repubblica ci sia del vero.

Non più tardi di una settimana fa ricordavo nel mio blog che secondo papa Francesco il diavolo esiste ed è persona. Questa convinzione è un punto fermo della “nuova” Chiesa di Bergoglio. Dopo aver citato il demonio ben quattro volte nei primi dieci giorni del suo pontificato, Francesco lo ha nominato con cadenza regolare nelle sue omelie. “Vedendo” il diavolo in tutti gli scandali che hanno colpito la Chiesa dall’interno, il papa gesuita gli ha attribuito la responsabilità degli affari illegali targati Ior, della pedofilia clericale, delle guerre intestine che minacciano la stabilità della Curia, delle fughe di notizie riservate sulla Santa Sede.

Don Inzoli è stato condannato per atti di pedofilia, ma non tutti sanno cosa era successo prima.

Rete L'Abuso

[Don Inzoli was sentenced for acts of pedophilia and proceedings were made against him at the Vatican but then-Pope Benedict XIV stopped the proceedings.]

Inzoli non è un prete qualsiasi. E’ stato per trent’anni uomo di punta di Comunione e liberazione in Lombardia. Tra i fondatori di un’iniziativa importante come il Banco alimentare, rettore al Liceo linguistico Shakespeare di Cremona e parroco della chiesa della Santissima Trinità.

Condannato a quattro anni e nove mesi per cinque episodi di pedofilia accertati (ma sono stati molti di più). I più piccoli tra le vittime avevano tra i 12 e i 13 anni, i più grandi tra i 14 e i 16.

Si comincia col non capire perché il tribunale abbia abbassato la pena richiesta dal procuratore (sei anni) malgrado il procuratore Roberto Di Martino avesse sottolineato: “Ci sono alcuni particolari terribili ! “.

Fanno sesso con un ragazzino minorenne. Tre arresti a Vibo Valentia, tra cui un prete e un pensionato

Rete L'Abuso

[Having sex with an underage boy. Three arrests in Vibo Valentia, including a priest.]

Tre uomini sono stati arrestati a Vibo Valentia per aver fatto sesso mercenario con un ragazzino di 15 anni, straniero. Cinquanta euro la cifra pagata da i tre, tra cui anche un prete e un pensionato

VIBO VALENTIA – Una squallida vicenda è salita alla ribalta della cronaca a Vibo Valentia in Calabria. Qui si è consumato del sesso mercenario ai danni di un ragazzino straniero di 15 anni. In manette sono finiti tre uomini, tra cui un prete e un pensionato.

Vatican tribunal moves on to Hawaii

Guam Daily Post

Neil Pang | The Guam Daily Post

The Vatican tribunal led by Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, which came to Guam last week to investigate sex abuse allegations against Archbishop Anthony Apuron, is in Hawaii to hear testimony from former Agat Parish altar boy Roy Quintanilla, according to a document The Guam Daily Post has received.

"As this tribunal has been informed of your readiness to be heard in the above-titled case regarding accusations against His Excellency, the Most Reverend Anthony Sablan Apuron, OFM Cap., at the direction of the Presiding Judge, I am forwarding to you his decree of citation by which you are called for said hearing," Rev. Justin Wachs wrote to Quintanilla.

According to Post files, the tribunal comprises Burke who serves as the presiding judge, Rev. Robert Geisinger who serves as the prosecutor, Rev. James Conn who serves as Apuron's advocate, and Wachs who serves as the tribunal's notary and designated recorder.

Series of meetings

Quintanilla's meeting, which is scheduled for Feb. 20 at 10 a.m. at the Diocesan Chancery of the Diocese of Honolulu in Kaneohe, Hawaii, is the second in a series of meetings scheduled with former Guam altar boys who have accused Apuron of abuse dating back to the 1970s.

Northern Michigan priest arrested in sexual misconduct case

Fox 47

ROGERS CITY, Mich. (AP) - A Roman Catholic priest is in jail in northern Michigan in a sexual misconduct investigation.

The Presque Isle County prosecutor says he won't comment until after an arraignment Tuesday. But radio station WHSB says Bishop Steven Raica discussed the matter Sunday night with members of St. Ignatius Church in Rogers City.

Raica says the Rev. Sylvestre Obwaka denies the allegations. Raica says he's "searching for the truth." Obwaka, a native of Kenya, has been pastor at St. Ignatius since July 2013. He's been a priest since 2010.

Marist Brothers sorry for shameful abuse

9 News


One case of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church is one case too many, says the apologetic head of the Marist Brothers whose members allegedly abused hundreds of children.

Brother Peter Carroll, the provincial of the Marist Brothers in Australia, says the child sex abuse scandal has undermined confidence in the Catholic Church and the order's education mission.

"Children and their families have been grievously betrayed by the criminal actions of some of our own, and we too, as Marists, have also been greatly let down," Brother Carroll said.

"We are justifiably upset and offended."

More than 20 per cent of Marist Brothers, Christian Brothers and Salesians of Don Bosco and 40 per cent of St John of God Brothers have been the subject of child sex abuse claims to the Catholic Church in Australia.

Une procédure canonique ouverte à l’encontre de Tony Anatrella

La Croix

Céline Hoyeau, le 20/02/2017

Sur la base du rapport que lui a remis la commission mise en place pour étudier les témoignages accusant d’agressions sexuelles ce prêtre psychanalyste très en vue, l’archevêque de Paris a décidé de poursuivre la procédure canonique, délocalisée à Toulouse.

C’était une décision très attendue à l’encontre d’un prêtre en vue, sur lequel des soupçons pèsent depuis une quinzaine d’années. Une procédure canonique va s’ouvrir à l’encontre du P. Tony Anatrella, 75 ans, accusé d’agressions sexuelles dans le cadre de son activité professionnelle de psychanalyste, a appris La Croix.

Priest who denied a duty to report abuse faces abuse charges


Monsignor Tony Anatrella, a prominent French priest and psychoanalyst who stirred controversy in 2015 when he advised newly appointed Catholic bishops that they were not obligated to report sex abuse allegations to the police, now faces a Church legal procedure for abuse charges himself.

Anatrella has strongly denied the abuse allegations, suggesting in the past that he’s become a target because of his critical views and writings on homosexuality.

The French newspaper La Croix reported Monday that based on the report of a commission created by Cardinal André Vingt-Trois of Paris to examine the charges against Anatrella, a canonical procedure has been opened by the Diocese of Toulouse.

Although suspicions about Anatrella are said to date back at least 15 years, they did not become a matter of public controversy until 2016, when alleged victims aired their allegations in the French media. At the time, Vingt-Trois encouraged those alleged victims to file complaints with the proper legal authorities.

Christian Brother paedophile Robert Best's hypocrisy was 'gobsmacking', judge says

The Guardian

Australian Associated Press
Monday 20 February 2017

The hypocrisy of the notorious paedophile and Christian Brother Robert Best was “breathtaking and gobsmacking”, exacerbated by his religious affiliation, a judge has said while telling the 76-year-old it was likely he would die in jail.

Victorian county court judge Geoffrey Chettle told Best it was hard not get angry about his abuse, and said he was “blown away” by the fact that his legal fees were still being paid by the Catholic church.

Best pleaded guilty to a further 24 counts of indecent assault on boys aged between eight and 11 years. He molested them between 1968 and 1988 while teaching at St Alipius primary school in Ballarat, St Leo’s college in Box Hill and St Joseph’s college, Geelong.

He is already serving 14 years and nine months jail for sex offences against 11 boys over a 20-year period.

Bathurst St Stanislaus’ College set for apology to student victims of paedophile priest

Busselton Mail

20 Feb 2017

VICTIMS of historic sexual abuse at Bathurst’s St Stanislaus’ College will receive a formal public apology on June 16.

Head of College Dr Anne Wenham announced the date for the apology following the sentencing of disgraced former priest Brian Spillane in the District Court last Thursday.

In a letter to the school community, Dr Wenham said details of Spillane’s crimes had been distressing to read and she was deeply sorry for what his young victims had experienced during their time as students at the college.

Dr Wenham said the college and Oceania Province of the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians) agreed a formal apology to victims was important.

Mother and Baby Homes commission spent €21k on carpet

Irish Examiner

Monday, February 20, 2017

Conall Ó Fátharta

More than €20,000 was spent on carpet for the office of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA).

The details are contained in the purchase orders for €20,000 or above made by the DCYA in the first three months of 2015.

The department paid out €21,948 to Carpet Express Ltd to provide carpet for the Mother and Baby Homes Commission on Lower Baggot St in Dublin.

It spent a further €45,928 on the “supply, delivery, and installation of office furniture” for the Commission.

Another €26,575 was spent on the “supply, delivery, and installation of drawer safes” at the offices of the inquiry, while €42,657 went on the “purchase, installation, and configuration of unified communications system”.

This spend also included wifi.

New Catholic standards body to crack down on clergy: Royal Commission

The Age

Rachel Browne

A newly established national oversight body for the Catholic church will have the power to publicly name dioceses or religious orders which fail to meet its robust standards, a royal commission has heard.

The inquiry was told the new body, Catholic Professional Standards (CPS) Ltd, will also give bishops the authority to penalise priests who do not to comply with the new benchmarks.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard that the body, formed late last year, would set, enforce and audit new standards on the protection of children and vulnerable people.

Neville Owen, the chairman of the Catholic church's Truth, Justice and Healing Council, told the hearing CPS would publicly name the dioceses and orders which failed to comply.

Company to hold Catholic groups to account

9 News


Catholic priests could face serious penalties if they don't meet the mark set by a new professional standards body which will publicly name non-compliant dioceses and orders.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Monday heard Catholic Professional Standards Limited would audit the church's authorities, with a view to holding them to account by publishing reports online.

Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge thinks bishops should consider entering formal arrangements with priests so they could be stood aside or have their faculties removed if they repeatedly flout the new standards.

"These are serious sanctions - to stand a man aside or to remove his faculties - but given the seriousness of what we are discussing, they are measures that I would consider," he said on Monday.

Submissions on records and recordkeeping published

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

20 February, 2017

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has published more than 40 submissions on Records and Recordkeeping Practices in relation to child sexual abuse in institutions.

The submissions received came from a wide range of government and non-government organisations including state governments, not-for-profit organisations, advocacy groups, professional bodies, research groups, religious organisations, academics and individuals.

They are based on a consultation paper released in September last year titled Records and Recordkeeping Practices.

Royal Commission CEO Philip Reed said the submissions contribute significantly to the Royal Commission’s knowledge and understanding on institutional recordkeeping practices and how these practices could be improved for children in the future.

“The Royal Commission has heard from countless survivors about their painful experiences with poor records and recordkeeping practices in institutions. Many have told us that they had difficulty accessing records, including those who were unable to find records about themselves,” Mr Reed said.

Women also sexually abuse children, but their reasons often differ from men’s

The Conversation

Xanthe Mallett
Forensic Criminologist, University of New England

Data from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recently revealed that, between 1950 and 2010, 60% of all abuse allegedly took place at faith-based institutions. Evidence showed that, in Catholic institutions, 95% of alleged offenders were men. This means the remaining 5% (or 96 of the 1,880 accused) were women.

This may come as a surprise. There is a common misconception that all child sex offenders are men. But women child sex offenders do exist, although they differ from male counterparts in several ways.

How many women abuse?

A study for the Home Office in the UK in 1998 indicated less than 5% of child sex offences were committed by women. This is supported by data coming out of the Royal Commission – that 5% of the alleged abusers associated with the Catholic Church were religious sisters – as well as research based on correctional services data in Australia.

The author of the UK report acknowledged the number may be lower than the reality. A 2015 study looked at virtually every substantiated child sexual abuse case reported to child protective services in the United States in 2010. It concluded more than 20% of child sexual abuse cases reviewed involved a primary female perpetrator – so estimates vary significantly.

Catholic Church funding defence of paedophile Robert Best 'just blows me away', Victorian judge says

ABC News

By James Hancock

The Catholic Church is continuing to cover the legal bills of convicted paedophile and Christian Brother Robert Best, who has admitted to sexually abusing a further 20 boys in his care, a Victorian court has been told.

Best, 76, admitted on Monday to 24 charges of indecent assault against the boys, mostly aged between eight and 11 years old.

The County Court heard the abuse took place between 1968 and 1988 while Brother Best was a principal, teacher and year level co-ordinator at four schools: St Alipius at Ballarat, St Leo's at Box Hill, St Joseph's at Geelong and St Bernard's at Essendon.

Best was sentenced to 14 years and nine months jail in 2011 for sexual crimes against 11 boys during the same period.

His latest guilty pleas take the total number of victims to 31.

The Catholic Church has a formal diplomatic relationship with Australia, but there are calls for that to end

Newcastle Herald

David Shoebridge
20 Feb 2017

Australia allows the Catholic Church to protect sexual predators, and any information the church holds on its own illegal activity, from the law. We let it do this by granting protections afforded to no other religious group. It is time this ended.

In 1973 the Australian government granted the Vatican (called the Holy See in official channels) formal diplomatic recognition. This protected the Vatican, and gave its senior officials and head office in Australia the same protection we afford embassies and staff of foreign nations. Their documents cannot be subpoenaed and their senior officials cannot be forced to attend court or provide information.

By accepting the Vatican has foreign nation status, we also accept that it can refuse any Australian request or demand to hand over alleged criminals to stand trial in Australia. The only way criminals in a foreign country can be forced to stand trial in Australia is if we have an extradition treaty with that country.

Australia has an extradition treaty with Italy, but hasn’t managed in 44 years to get one in place with the tiny pretend nation-state of the Vatican that exists wholly within Rome. This is why George Pell can’t be forced back to face questioning at the Royal Commission and why, if a senior Vatican official in Rome was accused of child abuse, he could not be forced to face a criminal trial in our country.

Founder steps down while SNAP considers new directions

National Catholic Reporter

Brian Roewe | Feb. 20, 2017

In a matter of weeks, an extreme makeover changed the face of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

Gone is David Clohessy, its national director and the relentless force behind the group’s advocacy efforts.

Gone is Barbara Blaine, its president and the former Catholic Worker who founded the support network in 1988, in part through a phone call to the Phil Donahue Show.

What remains, SNAP says, is its wide network of volunteer leaders who perform “the vast majority” of its work outside public view, as well as its longstanding commitment to survivors of sexual abuse.

“I think our core mission has always been to help those who have been hurt and protect the vulnerable,” said Barbara Dorris, now SNAP managing director after 12 years as its outreach director. “We are still doing both and will continue to do both and maybe in kind of different ways.”

The change in personnel didn’t so much spark an examination of SNAP’s future so much as it fueled already ongoing conversations of what the highest-profile advocacy group against clerical sexual abuse of children, with 20,000-plus members, will look like in the future, who and how it will serve, and even what it might call itself.

“I think any organization has to change and grow to remain viable, to remain healthy,” Dorris said.

S. Jersey Christian preschool teacher's aide suspended over allegations of sex abuse


by Julie Shaw , Staff writer @julieshawphilly | shawj@phillynews.com

A teacher's aide at a South Jersey Christian preschool has been accused in a lawsuit with sexually abusing four children under his care.

The aide was recently suspended from the reJOYce Christian School in Hainesport, Burlington County, and a criminal investigation is underway by the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office, according to lawyer Brian Kent, who filed the lawsuit.

The preschool is part of St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church. The newspaper is not naming the teacher's aide because he has not been criminally charged.

His suspension was first reported by FOX 29 on Thursday.

Joel Bewley, spokesman for the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office, said in an email Friday: "Our office does not divulge the possible existence of a criminal investigation into a specific person or entity." He added that there "are no present charges against" the teacher's aide.

Victims call for support review

The Standard

Melissa Cunningham

19 Feb 2017

CLERGY sexual abuse survivors from the Ballarat diocese say a new model of victim support is needed because past systems of compensation have monumentally failed.

Survivor Peter Blenkiron has again implored the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse and the federal government to mimic the support for soldiers suffering post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mr Blenkiron and survivor Andrew Collins have previously called for victims who have ongoing health issues to receive a health care card, as well as a pension of $252 a week extra, bringing them in line with war veterans.

The Catholic church says its system that has paid $276 million in compensation to thousands of people sexually abused as children is still not fair to victims. There are discrepancies in the average amount authorities pay – from as little as $22,000 to as much as $901,000.


Church Militant

by Juliana Freitag • ChurchMilitant.com • February 19, 2017

Casting a spotlight on sex abuse in the Vatican

Italian author Emiliano Fittipaldi, one of the defendants in the 2016 Vatileaks 2.0 trial, recently published his book Lust: Sins, Scandals and Betrayals of a Church Made of Men, detailing never-before-known facts about sexual scandals in Rome. He recently spoke with Church Militant in this exclusive interview.

Editor's Note: The author's opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of ChurchMilitant.com.

CM: What prompted you to write this book?

EF: Well, it's actually quite simple. I'm an investigative journalist; I investigate power. In my previous book, Greed, the one that led me to be prosecuted in the Vatican, I tried to understand how far Pope Francis' reform had gone. And I actually discovered that the Vatican scandals hadn't been tackled at all. I went after a monsignor who works inside the Vatican, and he advised me to go ahead and find out whether there had been any actual changes regarding procedures to handle sex abuse charges. And this monsignor himself confirmed to me that there hadn't been any changes.

He showed me information from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where in the last three years, during the pontificate of Pope Francis, accusations have doubled compared to the period of 2005–2010. More than 1,200 complaints were brought forward. I thought that was interesting and decided to inspect this phenomenon. I wanted to understand if the Church was really doing what She had promised to do, and I found out that no, She's not doing it.

CM: You wrote an article in La Repubblica stating that you found out there are more than 200 cases of priests accused of sexual crimes in Italy. It's quite incredible that Italy has never seen a Spotlight investigation akin to what took place in the United States when the Boston Globe exposed the sex abuse crisis in the American Church in 2002.

EF: Well, this is what I tried to do with this book.

February 19, 2017

Reicht der Skandal bis nach Rom?

Luzerner Zeitung

[SEXUAL ABUSE ⋅ For days the fall of a Catholic priest who has abused dozens of children has made headlines. But who has covered the 76-year-old all these years? The traces lead to the Vatican.]

SEXUELLER MISSBRAUCH ⋅ Seit Tagen sorgt der Fall eines katholischen Paters, der Dutzende Kinder missbraucht hat, für Schlagzeilen. Doch wer hat den heute 76-Jährigen all die Jahre gedeckt? Die Spuren führen in den Vatikan.

18. Februar 2017, 13:24

Dominik Weingartner

Es ist ein Fall von sexuellem Missbrauch in der katholischen Kirche, der einen erschaudern lässt: Jahrzehntelang hat sich ein heute 76-jähriger Kapuzinerpater an Dutzenden von Kindern vergriffen. Das berichtete der «Blick» diese Woche in einer Artikelserie. Hintergrund ist die Veröffent­lichung des Buches eines Betroffenen, das mit dem Vorwort von Papst Franziskus besondere Aufmerksamkeit erlangt.

Über Geld spricht der Bischof nicht


[CORRECTIV complains: Where do the churches place their billions? The German churches are rich. But whoever wants to know in which funds and industries the archbishoprics and churches invested their billions encounters a wall of silence.]

Annika Joeres

Die deutschen Kirchen sind reich. Doch wer wissen will, in welche Fonds und Branchen die Erzbistümer und Landeskirchen ihre Milliarden investiert haben, stößt auf eine Mauer des Schweigens. Die wollen wir durchbrechen. Deshalb haben wir nun eine Klage auf Auskunft gegen das Erzbistum Köln eingereicht.

Das Erzbistum Köln ist ein besonderes Erzbistum. Nicht nur wegen des gotischen Doms und der großen Zahl von zwei Millionen Kirchenmitgliedern. Das Erzbistum Köln ist auch besonders wohlhabend. Laut Geschäftsbericht nahm es im Jahr 2015 rund 627 Millionen Euro an Kirchensteuern ein. Rund 2,5 Milliarden Euro hat das Bistum am Finanzmarkt angelegt.

Catholic faith group sees progress in tribunal

Guam Daily Post

Neil Pang | The Guam Daily Post

The president of a Catholic faith group that has been carrying out weekly protests outside the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica told The Guam Daily Post that he sees the signs of progress in the arrival of the Vatican-led tribunal that arrived on Guam last week to hear testimony from those who have accused Guam clergy of child sexual abuse.

"Yes, the combined efforts of the laity of Guam have made the world aware of our problem with clergy sex abuse and the deficient administration of Archbishop Anthony Apuron who abused his authority," said Dave Sablan, president of Concerned Catholics of Guam."The Vatican is now paying attention, and they need to because of the civil lawsuits filed against them as well for allegedly knowing (about) the cover ups of clergy sex abuse."

The tribunal concluded the Guam part of its inquiry Friday, according to the Archdiocese of Agana.

Sablan explained that the protest carried out last week at the Archdiocese Chancery was held both to show support for Roland Sondia, one of those who came forward last year as a former altar boy abused by then-priest Archbishop Anthony Apuron, and a way for protesters to send a strong message to the Vatican.

Vatican tribunal concludes Guam part of inquiry

Guam Daily Post

A cardinal and the rest of the members of a Vatican tribunal that came to Guam to investigate sex abuse allegations against suspended Archbishop Anthony Apuron have concluded the Guam part of their inquiry.

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, the judge of the tribunal, and other members of his party, left Friday, according to the Archdiocese of Agana.

The tribunal’s Guam visit is part of the canonical trial for Apuron, who faces penal charges in connection with allegations of sexual abuse of altar boys decades ago when he was a Guam priest.

The tribunal “conveyed their appreciation to all individuals whom they interviewed during their work here and encouraged all of Guam’s faithful to remain grounded in Christ,” according to the archdiocese’s statement.

“Archbishop Michael J. Byrnes is pleased that the Vatican is advancing this process,” the archdiocese further stated. “The archdiocese commends all witnesses who have stepped forward to tell their stories. We will continue to redouble our efforts to combat, root out and address sex abuse in the archdiocese.”

Former Families SA carer and regional school Christian pastoral worker jailed over student sex abuse

The Advertiser

Andrew Hough — Exclusive, The Advertiser
February 19, 2017

AN unrepentant former Families SA carer and school Christian pastoral worker has been jailed over his sexual abuse of a student despite his denials and victim blaming.

The Advertiser can reveal how married Wayne Daniel Phillips, 33, “exploited his position of trust” during his time at a country high school, where he targeted the “particularly vulnerable” girl.

The child-sex predator groomed his shy, lonely and naive victim — who came from a “strict religious family” and “lacked self-confidence” — online and showered her with affection, flattery and attention.

The pair communicated via Facebook over a “significant period of time”, a District Court judge said.

“(He) used his position of trust to encourage a rather shy and family-orientated young woman to engage in a lengthy sexual relationship,” said Judge Paul Cuthbertson in sentencing.

Cardinal Burke Firmly Rejects Account by Order of Malta’s Acting Head

National Catholic Register

The Cardinal Patron of the Order says he is “stunned” by Von Rumerstein’s account of Albrecht von Boeselager's dismissal and considers it “a calumny”; also gives interview detailing his recent visit to Guam.

Edward Pentin

Cardinal Raymond Burke has firmly rejected an account given by the acting head of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta who said in an interview this week that the cardinal, and not the Order's Grand Master, was the one who asked its Grand Chancellor to resign in December.

Here below are Cardinal Burke’s remarks in response to the account given by Fra' Ludwig Hoffmann von Rumerstein, who is reportedly suffering from ill health and not in possession of all his faculties:

“The account given by Fra’ Ludwig Hoffmann von Rumerstein is not accurate. I had no authority to ask the Grand Chancellor to resign. I simply stated that the person who knowingly permitted the distribution of contraceptives in the Order’s works should take responsibility, and then the Grand Master once again asked the Grand Chancellor to resign which he refused to do. Then the Grand Master proceeded to his dismissal without my involvement at all. The account of the Grand Master and myself stands.

To be frank, I am stunned by what Hoffmann von Rumerstein states in the article. I consider it a calumny.”

More on this story to follow next week.

Judge Dame Lowell at head of Britain’s child abuse inquiry had ‘no real idea’ of size of job

The Sun

BY MIKE SULLIVAN 19th February 2017

EXPLOSIVE emails reveal how the New Zealand judge who lasted less than 18 months as head of Britain’s child abuse inquiry had ‘’no real idea’’ of its size when she took the job.

Dame Lowell Goddard publicly claimed she was well aware of the scale of the inquiry when she was appointed by Theresa May in February 2015.

But she secretly admitted to a Home Office official in email that she had ‘’no real idea of the potential scope’’ of the inquiry.

Emails also reveal how the red carpet was rolled out for Dame Lowell when she arrived in the country to take up her £360,000 a year post.

The messages show how grovelling Home Office flunkeys arranged with UK Borders Agency staff for Dame Lowell to to be waved thorough immigration checks to avoid the media.

Along with the presidential treatment, Dame Lowell and her husband were given first class return tickets from New Zealand for that ten-day visit to the UK costing £23,000 in total.

Abuse inquiry bars victims’ charity

The Sunday Times

Mark Macaskill
February 19 2017
The Sunday Times

A charity that has supported more than 15,000 victims of child sex abuse has been blocked from playing a key role at a Scottish government inquiry.

Wellbeing Scotland has campaigned on behalf of victims for more than two decades but has been told it does not meet the criteria to be a “core participant” at the Scottish child abuse inquiry.

This means it cannot give evidence at the inquiry or cross-examine witnesses on behalf of victims. More than 30 clients of the Falkirk charity, formerly known as Open Secret, have signed a letter urging Lady Smith, the senior judge chairing the inquiry, to reverse the decision. An appeal has been lodged by a Glasgow law firm.

The decision to block the charity has prompted disquiet in legal circles where it was described last week as “puzzling” and “bizarre”.

One lawyer suggested that the charity has so many clients — in excess of 1,000 — that its contribution could significantly increase the inquiry’s costs. In light of the decision, dozens of victims said they would not engage with the inquiry.

Top bishop’s diocese is under fire over a child sex abuse 'cover-up' after a trainee vicar raped two Christian girls

The Mail on Sunday

By Simon Walters Political Editor For The Mail On Sunday

One of Britain’s best-known bishops faced controversy last night after it emerged his diocese refused to punish two leading priests in a new church child sex abuse row.

The London diocese, headed by the Bishop of London Richard Chartres – the third most senior Church of England cleric – faced a call by the bishop’s own independent inquiry to consider punishing two priests criticised after a trainee vicar raped two Christian girls.

But the diocese did not take any action, saying it could cause further upset to the victims.

Oxford-educated Timothy Storey was jailed for 15 years last April after a court heard how he groomed hundreds of children on Facebook, using his position as children’s pastor to prey on ‘weak, insecure girls’.

Judge Philip Katz lambasted the ‘utterly incompetent failure’ of ‘arrogant’ church leaders to protect young girls – and accused them of a cover-up. Bishop Chartres apologised and set up an independent inquiry into the scandal.

The Mail on Sunday has established that it was concluded five months ago.

Oxford-educated Timothy Storey was jailed for 15 years last April after a court heard how he groomed hundreds of children on Facebook

Its full contents were kept secret, but this newspaper can reveal the inquiry said both clerics should face disciplinary action – even though both had already been removed from their children’s supervisory roles.

Steve Bannon’s Cardinal Pal Denies Guam Post Is Pope Punishment

Huffington Post

By Mary Papenfuss

An arch-conservative American cardinal has denied that his sudden posting to Guam in the wake of a Vatican fake news attack on Pope Francis is a punishment from the liberal pontiff.

The Vatican dispatched Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke to Guam to be the judge at a trial there of an archbishop who was removed from office last year after several allegations of child sex abuse. Burke insisted the trial will likely be finished by the summer and told Mediaset in Italy that the posting was normal and not a punishment from the pope, though the two men have clashed in the past.

Burke was named in a recent New York Times article as a friend of Donald Trump’s top aide Steve Bannon. They’re both members of an emboldened Catholic power base — self-described “rad trads,” or radical traditionalists — pushing for a stricter interpretation of Church teachings, according to the Times. The pope, on the other hand, is one of the more liberal pontiffs of the last several decades. He preaches compassion, has encouraged protesting to achieve justice, is concerned about climate change and has attacked policies of the Trump administration without mentioning the president’s name.

Burke recently angered the pope after reportedly demanding the suspension of a leader of a traditionally conservative Catholic charity organization, the Knights of Malta, for arranging the distribution of free condoms in Myanmar. Francis also was recently the target of a fake publication designed by conservatives to look like the official Vatican newspaper. A phony interview in the paper mocked his liberal views.

Michael Boyle on Catholic Sexual Abuse Crisis: How It Happened, What Can Be Done — "Dysfunctional and Sick Culture Playing Out One Strand of Its Sickness and Dysfunctionality"


William D. Lindsey

I'd like to recommend to you Michael Boyle's four-part series on how the sexual abuse crisis happened in the Catholic church, and what's to be done about it. As Michael says in the first installment in this series at his Sound of Sheer Silence blog, he was motivated to write these postings in response to the release of the Australian Royal Commission's report about clerical sexual abuse, which shows one in five members of some Catholic religious communities including the Marist Brothers and Christian Brothers allegedly involved in child sexual abuse.

Michael's postings (#2 and #3 are here and here) build to the following conclusion in his final posting of the series:

Summing up what was included in the last three posts, I would say that the Roman Catholic clerical sex abuse crisis was caused by:

1. a completely closed and insular clerical culture

2. which prioritized its own autonomy from judgment by non-clerical institutions, and

3. which developed a culture of "don't ask, don't tell" with regard to sexual indiscretions

4. formed in light of its own internal struggles around the fact that a majority of its members were closeted gay men, and

5. which was also struggling with shrinking numbers, and thus

6. was incentivized doing whatever possible to keep priests in the fold and on duty

7. while lacking robust tools to recognize the true harm and danger of the sexual abuse of children.

How Did This Happen? Part 1

A Sound of Sheer Silence

Michael Boyle

Less than a month ago, I said I would stop talking about Roman Catholicism, and I had every intention of sticking to that. But I am going to break that promise to talk about the release of the report of the Royal Commission in Australia about clerical sexual abuse. The results are shocking--if the reports are correct, the scope of the problem in Australia was even worse than in the United States or in the UK/Ireland. To give an example, there was a reference to a Benedictine monastery in Western Australia in which 17.6% of the monks had an abuse allegation lodged against them at some point in the 1950s. Think about being in a room with a group of monks in which one out of every six of them had someone in the 1950s accuse them of committing a sexual violation on a minor. Think of how many complaints were not made in the culture of the 1950s. One in six. My God.

I had a twitter exchange last night with Maureen Clarke about the report, focusing on what is the obvious question--how did this happen? I've gotten this question before from various folks, and I decided it might be worthwhile to lay out my best effort at answering this question. I've talked about pieces of my thoughts on this topic in various places, but never in one place in a cohesive way. This is obviously only my own take, based on my own experience--I have no particular expertise other than having seen behind the veil of the Catholic priesthood. So, take this for whatever you think it is worth.

The first way to address this question, I think, is to divide the question "how did this happen?" into two parts, based on two different facets of the "this" at issue. The first "this" is "how did it come to pass that some number of Roman Catholic priests sexually abuse children?" The second "this" is "how did it come to pass that the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church covered up the fact that some number of Roman Catholic priests had and were sexually abusing children, either actively or passively, thus facilitating the abuse?" This distinction is important, I believe, because the causes for the two questions are different, and because much of the discussion around this issue confuses these two questions in a way that makes it difficult to get to the bottom of either of them. In this post, I want to focus on question #1, and leave the more complicated question #2 for future posts.

How Did This Happen, Part 2--A People Set Apart

A Sound of Sheer Silence

Michael Boyle

In the previous post, I framed question #2 of "how did this sex abuse crisis happen?" as "how did it come to pass that the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church covered up the fact that some number of Roman Catholic priests had and were sexually abusing children, either actively or passively, thus facilitating the abuse?" The answer to that question, in my view can be answered in a one sentence response--"because the culture of the Roman Catholic priesthood is sick and broken, and the sex abuse crisis is the most visible manifestation of that pathology."

It is extremely important here to emphasize the word "culture." While people contribute to cultures in which they are a part, a culture is a conceptually distinct entity from any particular member of that culture. There are deeply decent and honorable men who are Roman Catholic priests. But the culture in which they swim is not decent and not honorable in the main. And, in what is perhaps the greater tragedy, fundamentally decent and honorable men can become compromised by that culture to do things they would never otherwise do.

Let's talk about the big picture elements of that culture, and then drill down to the specifics. If you look at the history of the Roman Catholic Church, probably the single most consistent thread post-Constantine is the absolute and uncompromising insistence by the Church that clerics are not, and should never be, subject to the authority of non-clerics. Thomas Becket died, and was named a saint, for standing up for that principle--that he and his clerics could not be tried by the king's courts in the manner of every other person in England. Gregory VII is acclaimed as a great pope for asserting the same privileges for clerics in the Holy Roman Empire. These fights are often framed as being about protecting the Church from domination by power-hungry kings, and there is truth to that, but the core principle is clerics are to be judged by other clerics, and never by non-clerics.

How Did This Happen, Part 3--Don't Ask, Don't Tell

A Sound of Sheer Silence

Michael Boyle

Any honest discussion of sexuality and the Roman Catholic priesthood must start with the elephant in the room--something approaching a majority of priests are closeted gay men of one form or another. That seems impossible to believe for many people, but no one speaking honestly has ever seriously challenged this premise, at least not to me. And my own experience confirms this assessment.

If you think it through, though, it's not really surprising. In a pervasively homophobic culture, a priesthood in which you were not allowed, and thus not expected, to enter into a (opposite sex) marriage would be logically attractive to men who understood that such a marriage was not an option for them. It doesn't even have to work on a conscious level. I remember asking an elderly priest how he knew he had a vocation to the priesthood, and his response was, "I remember being 14 and seeing all my friends starting to get really into girls, and I was never particularly interested, so I took it to mean that I had a vocation to be a priest." Knowing this man (now deceased), I believe it never occurred to him that he may not have been interested in those girls because he was not straight. Whether or not he was gay I can't say, but you can imagine how someone who was would be steered toward becoming a Catholic priest by this thought process.

Another factor that encouraged the presence of gay men in the Roman Catholic priesthood is the operation of what writer Libby Anne calls the "Two Boxes" model of sexual morality. The Two Boxes model of sexual morality says that there is one box labelled "acceptable sexual practices"--in the Catholic account, sex between a married man and woman that is "open to the transmission of life"--and one box labelled "unacceptable sexual practices" which is everything else. Critically, in the Two Boxes model, the "everything else" is not differentiated into gradations of more or less unacceptable, but basically lumped together into one mass.

How Did This Happen, Part 4--What Is To Be Done?

A Sound of Sheer Silence

Michael Boyle

Summing up what was included in the last three posts, I would say that the Roman Catholic clerical sex abuse crisis was caused by:

1. a completely closed and insular clerical culture
2. which prioritized its own autonomy from judgment by non-clerical institutions, and
3. which developed a culture of "don't ask, don't tell" with regard to sexual indiscretions
4. formed in light of its own internal struggles around the fact that a majority of its members were closeted gay men, and
5. which was also struggling with shrinking numbers, and thus
6. was incentivized toward doing whatever possible to keep priests in the fold and on duty
7. while lacking robust tools to recognize the true harm and danger of the sexual abuse of children.

In light of this diagnosis, what can be done to rectify it? One thing that will certainly not rectify it is creating a culture of paranoia around homosexuality inside the priesthood. And yet, that seems to be what has happened, and in many respects may be one of the few substantive changes that occurred since the first wave of revelations in the U.S. in 2001-2003. Bill Lindsey points to the infamous "Halloween document" issued in 1986 by then-Cardinal Ratzinger and the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith as a turning point on LGBT issues, and I trust Bill's insight as he was "on the ground" at that time in a way I was certainly not. I can say, however, that the 1986 document was received and interpreted inside the clerical world as a prohibition on being "out," at least in terms of outside of the clerical sphere. In other words, it's fine to be gay so long as you don't public say so, because by publicly admitting that you are gay you are embracing a "gay identity" or something.

“Macché punizione del Papa! Guam non è un confino” Intervista al Card. Raymond Leo Burke

Stanze Vaticane

Il cardinale Raymond Leo Burke è il Patrono dell’Ordine di Malta. Da qualche giorno il porporato americano, 68 anni, considerato da molti un oppositore di Papa Francesco per via delle sue posizioni tradizionali, è stato inviato a 12.000 km da Roma, sull’Isola di Guam per indagare su un caso di pedofilia risalente agli anni 70. Secondo alcuni si tratta di una punizione del Pontefice nei confronti del cardinale, ma a quanto risulta a Stanze Vaticane – Tgcom24, il Papa è stato informato dell’incarico affidato al card. Burke dalla Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede soltanto a cose fatte, quando il porporato era già sull’isola del Pacifico.

Cardinale Burke come nasce questa missione sull’Isola di Guam?

La missione è nata per una richiesta della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede che io servo quale preside del suo Tribunale Apostolico. Dovrò trattare una delicata causa ecclesiastica penale.

Perché è stato scelto lei?

Il Papa ha affidato la causa alla Congregazione, e la Congregazione ha proceduto secondo la giusta procedura a formare i membri del Tribunale. In ogni caso, penso di esser stato scelto in base ai miei studi di diritto canonico e la mia lunga esperienza con i processi ecclesiastici.

Cardinal Burke denies mission in Guam is a ‘punishment’


When American Cardinal Raymond Burke was recently dispatched to Guam to preside over a Church trial for an archbishop accused of abusing altar boys in the 1970s, some were inclined to interpret the move as a sort of exile.

Burke, a former president of the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s Supreme Court, is well known as the perceived face of conservative opposition to Pope Francis, and also ran afoul of the pontiff in a recent controversy involving the leadership of the Knights of Malta, the group for which he serves as the ecclesiastical patron.

In an interview with an Italian TV outlet, however, Burke denies that the assignment in Guam is any sort of punishment. In fact, the outlet reports that it was the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, not Pope Francis, who entrusted the assignment to Burke, and Francis didn’t even know about it until Burke was already in Guam.

Translated excerpts from that interview appear below, courtesy of TGCom 24.

How was this mission on the island of Guam born?

Burke: It was born with a request from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which I serve as president of its Apostolic Tribunal. I have to deal with a delicate ecclesiastical penal case.

Why were you chosen?

The pope entrusted the case to the congregation, and the congregation went ahead according to the just procedure to form members of the tribunal. In any case, I think I was selected on the basis of my studies in canon law and my long experience with ecclesiastical processes.

Catholic church claims 'seismic shift' after child sexual abuse scandals

The Guardian

Australian Associated Press
Saturday 18 February 2017

The Catholic church says it has made a seismic shift in holding its leaders accountable for protecting Australian children after decades of abuse by hundreds of pedophiles.

The church says its new national professional standards body will ensure consistency across its autonomous dioceses and orders.

Each bishop and religious leader will sign a contract agreeing to abide by the standards and be monitored, audited and subject to public reporting, the church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council chief executive, Francis Sullivan, said.

“It is quite a seismic shift for the Catholic church in holdings leaders to account,” Sullivan said. “It is necessary in order to achieve consistency for survivors.

“It is the biggest learning we’ve had over this whole time – that what the church had previously put in place was rather toothless.”

Fond farewell

Boston College Chronicle

Colleagues and friends turned out Feb. 2 in Gasson 100 to fete retiring Boston College School of Social Work Continuing Education Director Vincent Lynch, who in his 30 years at BC launched a groundbreaking annual conference on HIV/AIDS and later played a key role in an initiative on clergy sexual abuse issues.

“It was wonderful. I appreciated seeing so many people from just about every chapter of my career,” said Lynch, interviewed the next day, as he reflected on his association with BC – one that began when he arrived in 1980 to pursue a doctorate in social work.

“I’ve seen BC grow in ways I couldn’t have imagined, and I’m glad to have been part of that. But even as we moved in that direction, for me BC has maintained that ‘mom-and-pop’ feel – a place where relationships are important, as are discussions about values and ideas.” ...

When the clergy sexual abuse scandal surfaced early this century, Lynch said, it was clear that social work, mental health and other professionals providing care to abuse survivors needed deeper insights to grasp the full dimensions of the problem. In 2004, he co-organized a conference – sponsored by BCSSW and the Church in the 21st Century initiative in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Boston – with workshops and talks on such subjects as family relationships, treatment for various abuse-related conditions such as anxiety disorders and PTSD, and the theological and psychological role of the priest.

“I never felt like I was a maverick, or in over my head,” said Lynch, who also provided consultation to priests and seminarians on issues related to sexual abuse. “Having the support enabled me to feel empowered to address critical areas of need. I always appreciated that.”

Date set for apology to student victims

Western Advocate

VICTIMS of historic sexual abuse at Bathurst’s St Stanislaus’ College will receive a formal public apology on June 16.

Head of College Dr Anne Wenham announced the date for the apology following the sentencing of disgraced former priest Brian Spillane in the District Court last Thursday.

In a letter to the school community, Dr Wenham said details of Spillane’s crimes had been distressing to read and she was deeply sorry for what his young victims had experienced during their time as students at the college.

Dr Wenham said the college and Oceania Province of the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians) agreed a formal apology to victims was important.

Public Theology Forum | Is It Just A Little Sex? - Church, Sex And Power

The Gleaner

This is a submission from Public Theology Forum.

To say that the Church in Jamaica has been rocked in recent months on the matter of sexual abuse of minors by ordained ministers is an understatement. Now it is further compounded with the revelation that pastors and police are the most prevalent high-profile accused in reported cases of sexual abuse of children in our nation. Most of the perpetrators are men, and the victims, women and children, especially girls.

As accusations fly and defences are proffered, many are hurting and lives have been destroyed. Many unhealed wounds have been opened up again as the stories in the media cause many survivors of abuse to relive their violation. As one woman lamented, "I thought I had put it behind me until I heard about the pastor and the little girl in his car. The same thing happened to me!" The stories are as real as they are painful, shameful, shaming, horrifying.

Christian witness has again been dealt another blow as the stereotype of the rapacious/lascivious parson appears once again to have more than a grain of truth in it. The Church is being called out for its hypocrisy at calling out sexual immorality while so many ministers and deacons are embroiled in the said activity. Ultimately, God is called into question as absent, unconcerned, uncaring when the representatives of God do such damage, often without sanction.

US groups question Vatican's judge choice in Apuron trial

Pacific Daily News

Haidee V Eugenio , heugenio@guampdn.com Feb. 19, 2017

Two U.S.-based groups dealing with the Catholic clergy sex abuse cases worldwide are not happy with the Vatican's choice on who will preside over Guam Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron’s canonical penal trial.

The Vatican sent Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke and other members of a tribunal to Guam to hear from witnesses in the trial of Apuron, who is accused of raping and sexually abusing altar boys in the 1970s. The Archdiocese of Agana, in a statement released late Saturday, said a team of four canon lawyers and another official from Rome worked here Feb. 16-17 and left the morning of Feb. 18.

“From what we know of Burke’s record on abuse, he is an odd and unpromising choice for such a sensitive task,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.orga Massachusetts-based information resource that gathers documents and data about the clergy sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.

Doyle said Burke has a “troubling record” in dealing with clergy abuse cases.

“He has consistently defended accused clergy and played hardball with victims,” Doyle told Pacific Daily News.

Burke, in an Associated Press report, said he aims to wrap up the Apuron investigation by the summer. The report also said Burke denied he had been sent to Guam as "punishment," telling Italy's Mediaset it was normal for cardinals to take on extra jobs in their areas of expertise.