« February 2010 | Main | April 2010 »

March 31, 2010

US lawyer wants to question pope on child sex cases

KENTUCKY
AFP

WASHINGTON — A US lawyer has filed a legal motion to have Pope Benedict XVI questioned over the child sex scandal that is rocking the Roman Catholic church, he told AFP Wednesday.

Lawyer William McMurry filed a motion in a Kentucky court Tuesday seeking to take sworn testimony from the pope on what the Vatican knew about the long-running scandal of predator priests.

The motion, a copy of which was sent to AFP, says Benedict was aware of clergy sex abuse in the United States and that he "discouraged prosecution of accused clergy and encouraged secrecy to protect the reputation of the Church" in the 24 years that he led the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:53 PM

The Catholic Church has forfeited its soul

Pique Newsmagazine

By Jesse Ferreras

Satan is taking names at Hell's VIP party. Next to pass the velvet rope is Pope Benedict XVI.

The New York Times reported last week that Joseph Ratzinger was once in a position to stop the sexual abuse of children at a Wisconsin school for the deaf. Evidence abounds that a case of abuse once came before him and he did nothing to address it.

Father Lawrence Murphy took up a position as chaplain at St. John's School for the Deaf in 1950. The first reports of his abuse came as early as 1955, when they were reported to David Walsh, chaplain of the deaf in Chicago from 1955 to 1963. They were reported to the Archbishop of Milwaukee, who said Murphy first denied, then admitted to the abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:48 PM

Levada takes on the Times

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
San Francisco Bay Guardian

Cardinal William Levada, former archbishop of San Francisco Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco, has penned a caustic response to recent New York Times articles and editorials that were critical of how the church and Pope Benedict XVI have handled sexual abuse cases involving priests over the years, calling the coverage “deficient by any reasonable standards of fairness that Americans have every right and expectation to find in their major media reporting.”

This bold, Spiro Agnew-like counterattack on the press during a time of mounting evidence of a covered-up pedophilia epidemic in the church is all the more notable given that Levada is the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, an office then-Cardinal Ratzinger held before becoming Pope Benedict XVI, helping to place that office in charge of all reports of pedophiliac priests, a move that critics have charged was made to shield the church from criticism.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:45 PM

How Vatican Tries to Dodge Legal Fallout of Sex Abuse

KENTUCKY
AOL News

Dana Kennedy

(March 31) -- Developments in a Kentucky court case suggest that the Vatican will seek to shield Pope Benedict XVI and the church from liability in the worldwide clerical sex abuse crisis by distancing itself from individual dioceses.

In legal documents filed in U.S. District Court in Louisville last week, the Vatican claims that as the head of a sovereign state, the Vatican City, the pope is immune from prosecution. The papers further assert that American bishops are not employed by the Holy See.

The Vatican will also likely deny that a 1962 church decree about clergy and the reporting of clerical pedophilia is a "smoking gun" that led to a worldwide cover-up of sexual crimes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:42 PM

Group Says McCann Should Have Prosecuted Priest

MILWAUKEE (WI)
WUWM

By Marti Mikkelson
March 31, 2010 | WUWM | Milwaukee, WI

An advocacy group for victims of clergy abuse says former Milwaukee District Attorney E. Michael McCann knew that a priest was molesting boys, and didn't file charges. Peter Isely, of the group Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, says the Rev. Lawrence Murphy admitted to the Archdiocese in 1958 that he was assaulting kids at the School for the Deaf in St. Francis. He says students brought their cases to McCann in 1974 and claims the district attorney helped the Archdiocese cover up the scandal.

"The church and him shared in my opinion a common understanding that priests don't get prosecuted," Isely says.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:36 PM

Catholics rue sex scandal, but hands off the pope

SOUTH AFRICA
Times LIVE

Mar 31, 2010

Fr Chris Townsend, Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference:

THE crisis facing the Roman Catholic Church around the world is grave. It points to two major failures: a failure to protect the vulnerable and a failure of leadership.

The Catholic Church in southern Africa has had a process in place for the past 15 years to deal with complaints of sexual abuse of minors by church personnel.

In all our efforts, particularly in the past five years, those responsible for dealing with such complaints have a clear process that ensures these two major failings are minimised.

I do not claim the process is perfect, but it is under constant review and revision to ensure accusations of cover-ups and the double abuse of victims doesn't happen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:32 PM

Will the Pope Be Deposed? Not If the Vatican Can Help It

UNITED STATES
The Wall Street Journal

By Ashby Jones
On Monday, we blogged an Associated Press story on Jeff Anderson, the man behind many of the suits filed against members of the Catholic Church over allegations of sexual abuse by priests and other church leaders.

Today, it seems, it’s the Vatican’s turn. An AP story takes a look at the Holy See’s planned legal defense. The specific goal of the defense: to keep the pope from having to be deposed in a lawsuit going on in Kentucky.

According to the AP, Vatican lawyers plan to argue:

that the pope has immunity as a head of state;
that American bishops who oversaw abusive priests weren’t employees of the Vatican,
that a 1962 document is not the “smoking gun” that provides proof of a cover-up.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:27 PM

U.S. Bishops Quietly Reinstate Accused Priests

UNITED STATES
NPR

[with audio]

by Barbara Bradley Hagerty

While the Roman Catholic sexual abuse scandal unfolds in Europe, the Catholic Church in the U.S. is under renewed scrutiny.

In the wake of its own scandal almost a decade ago, the U.S. church says it has reformed its policies for handling sexual abuse allegations and will remove from ministry every priest who is credibly accused of abuse.

But some of those priests are now being quietly reinstated. ...

Swearingen's case is not an isolated one, says Anne Barrett Doyle, who works with the watchdog group BishopAccountability.org. She says that recently, bishops have started quietly returning to ministry priests who previously have been accused of abuse.

"I think they feel that the crisis has died down in the public mind," she says. "Therefore, they have some confidence that if they go ahead and reinstate these priests, that they'll get very little backlash."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:22 PM

Fairness for the Pope: Pontiff not at fault in Wisconsin pedophile priest case

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

Wednesday, March 31st 2010

It has become an increasingly prevailing belief that as a cardinal, before he ascended to the papacy, Pope Benedict enabled a pedophile priest to do enormous harm. This is false.

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd took the accusations against the Pope, whose given name is Joseph Ratzinger, to their most extreme. She wrote:

"Now we learn the sickening news that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, nicknamed 'God's Rottweiler' when he was the church's enforcer on matters of faith and sin, ignored repeated warnings and looked away in the case of the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, a Wisconsin priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:05 PM

New York Daily News urges ‘Fairness for the Pope’

NEW YORK
Catholic News Agency

New York City, N.Y., Mar 31, 2010 / 02:33 pm (CNA).- Reacting to the slew of articles from media outlets attempting to incriminate Pope Benedict in past clerical sex abuse cases, the New York Daily News published an editorial today calling for a fair analysis of the facts about the Pope’s involvement with such cases.

Using extremely direct diction, the Daily News’ editorial states that “with certainty,” the belief that Pope Benedict enabled a pedophile priest to inflict great harm is “false.”

The editorial then refers to a recent column by the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd, stating that she “took the accusations against the Pope, whose given name is Joseph Ratzinger, to their most extreme.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:00 PM

Pressure Mounts For Pope Amid Abuse Revelations

ITALY
WBUR (United States)

By Sylvia Poggioli
March 31, 2010

As the faithful fill churches during Holy Week, a wave of clerical sex abuse revelations is sweeping Europe. The latest allegations come from Italy, just outside Vatican walls.

As the scandal mounts, Pope Benedict XVI is under increasing pressure to give a more forceful response to the most serious crisis of his papacy.

Following weeks of media coverage of sex abuse by priests in the United States, Ireland and Germany, three deaf men from Italy appeared on national TV last week.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:57 PM

Sinead O’Connor Calls for Catholic Boycott

IRELAND
The New York Times

[with video]

By ROBERT MACKEY

Nearly two decades after the Irish singer Sinead O’Connor tore up a photograph of Pope John Paul II on “Saturday Night Live,” to protest what she said was the Vatican’s responsibility for child abuse, she has called on fellow Irish Catholics to boycott the church until Pope Benedict XVI makes “a full confession” and agrees to “a full criminal investigation” of the church’s role in concealing the sexual abuse of children by members of the clergy.

First in a statement on her Web site, then in an op-ed piece for The Washington Post and in interviews with The Los Angeles Times, the BBC and CNN, Ms. O’Connor rejected the pope’s pastoral letter to the Irish people as “an insult” and suggested that “the goodhearted, sweet Catholic people who go to Mass still despite all of this” could force the Vatican into giving a more complete account of its role by employing a tactic with Irish roots: a boycott.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:48 PM

Learning From the Vatican's Problems: What the U.S. Must Do to Protect Children Now

UNITED STATES
The Huffington Post

Marci Hamilton

In the last several weeks, Germany and Brazil have been added to the already lengthy list of countries where there is irrefutable evidence of childhood sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy. The Pope, whose previous role in the Vatican made him the primary policymaker on this issue, has even been implicated in the persistent, global pattern of abuse -- most recently in a case involving hundreds of deaf boys in Wisconsin. Moreover, there now appears to be overwhelming evidence that Benedict, as the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was aware of hundreds -- if not thousands -- of other especially heinous cases of abusive priests who were allowed to continue pastoring despite proof of their horrific actions and went on to victimize more children. And, in 2001, in what many are now calling nothing short of an obstruction of justice, he issued a definitive letter requiring that the handling of child sexual abuse issues be under the "pontifical secret."

Yet, the Pope's responses lag well behind the world's demands for accountability; last weekend, as the crisis continued to spiral across Europe, he offered a written apology in response to the months-long crisis in Ireland. Yet, he remains mute on Germany, his own home country, and on Brazil, where the evidence of abuse has been caught on tape. The Catholic system, though, does not permit the Pope to be removed from office without his assent. So if countries are to protect their children, they will have to take action on their own.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:43 PM

Denmark's Catholic Church to investigate abuse cases dating back decades

DENMARK
The Canadian Press

By Richard Steed (CP)

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Denmark's Catholic Church will launch an investigation next week into claims of clerical abuse dating back several decades, a spokesman said Wednesday.

The move comes after the church came under pressure from media and human rights groups to revisit allegations of sexual abuse that had not been reported to police.

Claims that priests sexually abused children at Catholic institutions have swept across Europe, including in the small Catholic communities in the Nordic countries, which are predominantly Lutheran.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:40 PM

This 'Blame The Gays' Defense Of The Vatican Basically Makes No Sense At All

UNITED STATES
The Huffington Post

Jason Linkins

In case you missed it, the novel defense of the Catholic Church being mounted by Bill Donohue of the Catholic League over the whole matter of Vatican officials covering up the crimes of a Wisconsin priest who molested upwards of 200 deaf boys is to blame the gays. Wow: first the gays get blamed for the massacre at Srebrenica, now this!

Here's the relevant quote from Donohue, from a full-page ad taken out in the New York Times:

The Times continues to editorialize about the "pedophilia crisis," when all along it's been a homosexual crisis. Eighty percent of the victims of priestly sexual abuse are male and most of them are post-pubescent. While homosexuality does not cause predatory behavior, and most gay priests are not molesters, most of the molesters have been gay.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:37 PM

Catholic League head: Abuse not pedophilia because boys were ‘post-pubescent’

UNITED STATES
Raw Story

By Daniel Tencer
Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

The head of the influential Catholic League says that the priest who allegedly sexually abused 200 deaf boys in Wisconsin did not engage in pedophilia because 'the vast majority of the victims [were] post-pubescent."

Bill Donohue made the argument during a raucous debate on Larry King Live Tuesday night, during which he repeatedly pointed the finger to homosexuality -- rather than pedophilia -- as the cause of the church's sex abuse problems.

"You've got to get your facts straight," Donohue said, addressing sex abuse victim Thomas Roberts. "I'm sorry. If I'm the only one that's going to deal with facts tonight then that'll be it. The vast majority of the victims are post-pubescent. That's not pedophilia, buddy. That's homosexuality."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:33 PM

Group: Milwaukee Ex-DA Should Have Charged Priest

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Channel 3000

MILWAUKEE -- The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is renewing its claims that Milwaukee prosecutors should have charged a priest accused of sexually assaulting hundreds of deaf boys between 1950 and 1974.

The man who was the prosecutor at the time says he had no choice. E. Michael McCann said the crimes were reported after the six-year statute of limitations had lapsed.

But SNAP spokesman Peter Isely disagreed Wednesday. He said one victim found a letter he says he submitted to McCann's office in 1974. It details abuse from four years earlier.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:24 PM

Group: Milwaukee Ex-DA Should Have Charged Priest

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Channel 3000

MILWAUKEE -- The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is renewing its claims that Milwaukee prosecutors should have charged a priest accused of sexually assaulting hundreds of deaf boys between 1950 and 1974.

The man who was the prosecutor at the time says he had no choice. E. Michael McCann said the crimes were reported after the six-year statute of limitations had lapsed.

But SNAP spokesman Peter Isely disagreed Wednesday. He said one victim found a letter he says he submitted to McCann's office in 1974. It details abuse from four years earlier.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:24 PM

Pope John Paul II's Path to Sainthood Now in Doubt

AOL News

Dana Kennedy

(March 30) -- To many, the charismatic Pope John Paul II represented much that is lacking in the dour, scholarly Pope Benedict XVI, who was once nicknamed "the Rottweiler" and is under worldwide siege for the child sex abuse scandals sweeping the Roman Catholic Church.

But even as more questions swirl around Benedict and his alleged role in the cover-ups of pedophile priests, John Paul's stellar reputation is suddenly taking a subtle beating.

A miracle ascribed to John Paul that is a prerequisite for his canonization has been questioned, and one of church's highest-ranking officials has said that John Paul ignored Benedict's pleas to mount a full investigation into sex abuse accusations against the archbishop of Vienna.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:21 PM

1963 letter shows former pope knew of abuse

LOS ANGELES (CA)
TBO

By GILLIAN FLACCUS
Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A newly released letter to then-Pope Paul VI indicates the Vatican was aware of clergy abuse in the U.S. nearly five decades ago.

In the 1963 letter released Wednesday, the head of a Roman Catholic order that oversaw treatment of pedophile priests tells the pope he recommends removing pedophile priests from active ministry.

The letter is a summary of the Rev. Gerald M.C. Fitzgerald's thoughts on problem priests that appears to have been requested by the pope after Fitzgerald's 1963 visit to the Vatican. Fitzgerald headed the New Mexico-based Servants of the Holy Paracletes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:18 PM

THANK YOU, CARDINAL RATZINGER

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Cardinal Mahony Blogs LA

While I have no personal information on some of the specific allegations against our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, when he served the Church of Munich in Germany, I am able to assert without hesitation the action steps which he undertook in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith when he served as Prefect of that Congregation.

Beginning in that dark year of 2002, the then Cardinal Ratzinger responded quickly and affirmatively to all of our requests for assistance here in the United States.

Recall that Canon 1324, par. 4, states that in Canon Law a minor is a person under the age of 16 years. However, in the civil laws of the United States, a minor is deemed to be a person under the age of 18 years. After we brought this gap to the attention of Cardinal Ratzinger, the canonical age was also raised to 18 years to accommodate civil law in our country and in other countries.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:10 PM

Pedophile Priests and the Challenge to Catholic Authority

UNITED STATES
KCRW

{with audio]

The worldwide scandal of pedophile priests has reached into the Vatican. Lay Catholics are asking the Pope himself to reveal what he knew, when he knew it and how he responded. We look at the details in the context of 2000 years of institutional history. Also, the Obama Administration clears way for expanded offshore drilling, and a committee of Parliament says the Special Relationship between Britain and the US is a thing of the past.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:07 PM

Former Upland priest leaves Airzona Air Force base after complaints

CALIFORNIA
Contra Costa Times

Sandra Emerson, Staff Writer

UPLAND - A priest formerly assigned to St. Anthony's Church in Upland recently started work at an Air Force base in Arizona, causing some to rehash complaints of the past.

He has been released within the past week due to contractual restrictions, according to an Air Force spokesman, not because of present or past complaints.

The Rev. Charles Schultz resigned from the Diocese of San Bernardino in June after parishioners filed complaints with the Upland Police Department and the diocese's human- resources department.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:01 PM

Brady meets clerical abuse survivors

IRELAND
The Irish Times

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor in Armagh

Cardinal Sean Brady has expressed support for the concept of a national inquiry into clerical child sex abuse, according to survivors of clerical abuse and their representatives who met him in Armagh City today.

The victims and the representatives variously said that the meetings were useful, frank, positive and at times "emotional" and "uncomfortable". Various views were expressed during and after the meetings at the Catholic primate's residence beside St Patrick's Cathedral with some maintaining he should resign and others saying he is now a "lame duck Cardinal".

Cardinal Brady requested the meetings following from the continuing disclosures about clerical abuse, the recent pastoral letter about the abuse from Pope Benedict XVI and from the criticism of the primate's failure to notify the Gardai of allegations of sex abuse against two children made to him when he was a priest in 1975.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:35 PM

US bishops back the Pope; SNAP responds

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Statement by Peter Isely, Midwest Director of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (414-429-7259)

America's bishops have joined the "circle the wagons" chorus, more intent on protecting prelates' reputations than on protecting children's safety.

Instead of exposing predators and helping victims, America's bishops busy themselves with self-congratulations and public relations. They tout their plentiful but largely ineffective policies, panels and procedures which were adopted as public relations moves. Since 2002, they have done little but water down and increasingly ignore their pledges of greater openness, confident that 'the wave has crested' and they have little to fear from more victims, lawsuits, prosecutions or media exposes.

Once again, bishops still refuse to use the words "bishop" or "cover up" when talking about a crisis caused by bishops covering up. This statement, like so many others, tries to minimize this crisis, blaming only the predators and ignoring their corrupt supervisors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:32 PM

Clergy sex victims release more church records

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

What
Holding signs and child hood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will release a dozen pages of once secret church records proving that the Pope and other top Catholic officials – in Rome and here - knew much about pedophile priests even decades ago. ...

When
Wednesday, March 31 at 11:00 a.m.

Where
Outside Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W. Temple St. (at N. Grand Ave.) in Los Angeles ...

Why
Newly released records, including letters to the Vatican in the 1960s, show a Catholic official admitting a “tremendous problem” of predator priests. The documents prove that almost 50 years ago, top church staff knew how widespread and incorrigible pedophiles are. They severely undercut recent claims by the Pope’s defenders that he and others in the church hierarchy mishandled cases because they were “on a learning curve.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:28 PM

The Pope’s pedophilic church

UNITED STATES
Bay Windows

by Rev. Irene Monroe
Bay Windows Contributor
Wednesday Mar 31, 2010

Who among us would not flinch at the thought of a "holy man" preying on children instead of praying with them?

What faith can anyone have in a Church that says it stands on the teachings of Jesus, yet violates his biblical mandate stated in Mark 10:14: "Let the children come to me; do not try to stop them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."

When you have a pope more invested in doctrinal debates than personal suffering, and he’s more invested in exerting his ecclesiastical power and defrocking dissident theologians than his priestly flock of sex predators, then it’s easy to comprehend why the pleas and petitions for decades from Catholic parishioners -- worldwide -- to Pope Benedict XVI to do something never happened.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:25 PM

Pope Benedict's 'friend' accused of hitting children with carpet beater at Catholic orphanage

GERMANY
Mail (United Kingdom)

By Allan Hall
Last updated at 8:06 PM on 31st March 2010

The Catholic Church abuse scandal in Germany moved closer to the Vatican today with claims of violence against both boys and girls committed by a friend and ally of Pope Benedict XVI.

Bishop Walter Mixa of Augsburg - appointed by the pope in 2005 - is accused of the systematic beating of children in his care when he oversaw a Catholic orphanage 30 years ago.

The Bishop, a controversial figure who tried to explain away rampant paedophilia in the Church by claiming the sexual liberation movement must share a 'significant' part of the blame, is accused of using a carpet beater on the bare behinds of victims as he screamed: 'Satan is in you and I must drive him out.'

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:21 PM

Vatican to AP: Pope sees sex abuse crisis as test

VATICAN CITY
Washington Post

The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 31, 2010

VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican says Pope Benedict XVI sees the clerical abuse crisis as a "test for him and the church."

The Vatican spokseman, Rev. Federico Lombardi, told The Associated Press on Wednesday the pontiff is holding up well physically but is enduring a Holy Week of "penitence and humility."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:18 PM

Italian politicians rally to pope's defense

ITALY
Washington Post

By FRANCES D'EMILIO
The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 31, 2010

ROME -- Italy's foreign minister has rushed to Pope Benedict XVI's defense, while Italian newspapers labeled foreign media reports as "attacks" for questioning what the pontiff might have known about pedophile clergy.

Europe has been rocked in recent months by a flood of allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, leading some rank-and-file Catholics to question the traditional chummy relationship between the Vatican and Italian institutions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:15 PM

Vatican Official Defends Pope’s Handling of Case

VATICAN CITY
The New York Times

By RACHEL DONADIO
Published: March 31, 2010

ROME — The head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office sought Wednesday to rebut criticism that top Vatican officials, including the man who would become Pope Benedict XVI, had mishandled the case of a Wisconsin priest who sexually abused scores of deaf boys.

In a statement posted on the Vatican’s Web site, Cardinal William J. Levada, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, criticized an article in The New York Times that raised questions about why the Vatican had not defrocked the priest, Father Lawrence C. Murphy, despite calls for action on his case from American bishops.

“It seems to me, on the other hand, that we owe Pope Benedict a great debt of gratitude for introducing the procedures that have helped the Church to take action in the face of the scandal of priestly sexual abuse of minors,” Cardinal Levada wrote in the lengthy statement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:09 PM

The New York Times has seriously screwed up its coverage of the Pope and the child abus

UNITED KINGDOM
Telegraph

By Damian Thompson

It’s pretty clear now that The New York Times has screwed up its coverage of Pope Benedict XVI and the child abuse scandals. In fact, I doubt it could have done a worse job if it had brought back Jayson Blair to report the story.

Cardinal William Levada, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, this week laid into the NYT in Catholic San Francisco Online. I’m not a huge fan of Levada, and reckon he’ll be moving on shortly, but he’s spot on about the Old Gray Lady. So is Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, who received a standing ovation in St Patrick’s Cathedral when, without mentioning the paper by name, he attacked it from the sanctuary on Sunday. Dolan long ago worked out that the NYT has an insidious anti-Catholic slant, and has not been afraid to say so in the past.

Meanwhile, I hope you’ve had a chance to read the devastating expose of the media’s methods by the canonical judge in charge of the Wisconsin case, which I reproduced in a blog post yesterday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:55 PM

Satan behind media attacks on the Pope, asserts Italian exorcist

ITALY
Catholic News Agency

Rome, Italy, Mar 31, 2010 / 11:47 am (CNA).- Noted Italian exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth, commented this week that the recent defamatory reporting on Pope Benedict XVI, especially by the New York Times, was “prompted by the devil.”

Speaking to News Mediaset in Italy, the 85-year-old exorcist noted that the devil is behind “the recent attacks on Pope Benedict XVI regarding some pedophilia cases.”

“There is no doubt about it. Because he is a marvelous Pope and worthy successor to John Paul II, it is clear that the devil wants to ‘grab hold’ of him.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:46 PM

Cardinal Levada to NY Times: Reconsider 'attack mode' against Pope Benedict

UNITED STATES
Catholic San Francisco

The New York Times and Pope Benedict XVI:
how it looks to an American in the Vatican

By Cardinal William J. Levada
Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

In our melting pot of peoples, languages and backgrounds, Americans are not noted as examples of “high” culture. But we can take pride as a rule in our passion for fairness. In the Vatican where I currently work, my colleagues – whether fellow cardinals at meetings or officials in my office – come from many different countries, continents and cultures. As I write this response today (March 26, 2010) I have had to admit to them that I am not proud of America’s newspaper of record, the New York Times, as a paragon of fairness.

I say this because today’s Times presents both a lengthy article by Laurie Goodstein, a senior columnist, headlined “Warned About Abuse, Vatican Failed to Defrock Priest,” and an accompanying editorial entitled “The Pope and the Pedophilia Scandal,” in which the editors call the Goodstein article a disturbing report (emphasis in original) as a basis for their own charges against the Pope. Both the article and the editorial are deficient by any reasonable standards of fairness that Americans have every right and expectation to find in their major media reporting.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:44 PM

Indonesian Catholics Prepare for Easter as Church Struggles with Scandal

INDONESIA
Jakarta Globe

More than seven million Indonesians are preparing to mark the Easter season, considered by many as the holiest period in the Catholic calendar.

Pope Benedict XVI opened Holy Week on Sunday amid a raging crisis facing not only the church but the pope himself over his handling of cases of pedophile priests when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. ...

“The impact can be seen in the behavior of our priests. This has become a matter for reflection and a test of our commitment to serve,” he said.

“A lot of people from the communion have also asked us about this issue. This has seen the priests reflect on themselves, to make sure that they do not betray their people’s trust.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:41 PM

Says the judge: Priest was on trial the day he died

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By Patrick McIlheran of the Journal Sentinel
March 31, 2010

Did the Vatican protect an old molesting priest? The canonical judge trying the priest says no.

The claim is that the man now Pope Benedict XVI in the 1990s "refused" to defrock the notorious Father Lawrence Murphy, who molested boys from the 1950s to 1974 at a school for the deaf in St. Francis.

This is the basis of the New York Times story of scandal over the past week. This is what made one protester in Milwaukee say the other day that "We're finally able to get it where we believe it belongs, and that's at the Vatican doorstep."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:38 PM

European bishops urge victims to go to the police

VATICAN CITY
Forbes

By NICOLE WINFIELD , 03.31.10

VATICAN CITY -- Swiss bishops urge victims of clerical abuse to file criminal complaints and are considering creating a national registry for pedophile priests. Danish bishops launch an investigation into decades-old claims. Austria's senior bishop celebrates a Holy Week Mass of repentance.

A week after Pope Benedict XVI excoriated Irish bishops for gross errors of judgment in handling cases of priests who sexually abuse children, European bishops are admitting to mistakes, reaching out to victims and promising to act quickly when they learn about abuse cases.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:35 PM

Cardinal Seán Brady meets with survivors of abuse in Armagh

IRELAND
Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference

As part of an ongoing series of meetings between survivors of sexual abuse by clergy and Catholic Church representatives, Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, today held meetings with survivors of abuse and with groups representing survivors.

The following meetings took place separately in Cardinal Brady’s home in Armagh:

9.30 am Mr John Kelly, Mr Patrick Walsh and Ms Marie Seo of Irish SOCA

11.30 am Mrs Marie and Mr Raymond Collins

3.00 pm Mr Michael O’Brien, Right to Peace and Mr Christopher Heaphy of Right of Place

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:32 PM

German bishop accused of hitting children with carpet beater

GERMANY
Telegraph (United Kingdom)

By Allan Hall in Berlin and Nick Pisa in Rome

Bishop Walter Mixa of Augsburg is facing claims he flogged and hit former pupils at a Catholic orphanage in Germany 30 years ago.

The Bishop, who was appointed by the Pope in 2005, is a controversial figure who has tried to explain paedophilia in the Church by claiming the sexual liberation movement must share a "significant" part of the blame.

He is accused of using a carpet beater on the bare skin of boys and girls as he screamed: "Satan is in you and I must drive him out."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:28 PM

The truth shall set us free: Responding to the sex abuse crisis

UNITED STATES
U.S. Catholic

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Anne M. Burke

In this excerpt of her March 23, 2010 talk at St. Xavier University in Chicago, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke, who served on the National Review Board responding to the U.S. sex abuse scandal, lambasts those church officials who continue to betray the gospel by their untruthfulness in the clergy sex abuse scandals.

Forty years ago the Swiss theologian Hans Küng published his remarkable reflection on the future of the church called Truthfulness. Küng lamented that the exciting participation of the laity in the dialogue that was once so promising had come to be simply disregarded. He asked some pointed questions in light of the political maneuvering at the time by those opposed to artificial methods to prevent conception.

Truthfulness was Küng's look into the world that was yet to be, the one you and I are presently living in. He posited what was his deepest hope-an "unshakable hope," he called it-that the Catholic Church would emerge renewed even from the post-conciliar crisis.

I believe Küng and I appear to have come to the same point of conclusion, though largely from very different journeys. The conclusion is this: "Truthfulness is the future of the Church."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:23 PM

Abuse survivors tell Cardinal Brady to resign

IRELAND
The Times (United Kingdom)

Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

Survivors of sex abuse at the hands of Roman Catholic clergy told the head of the Church in Ireland today that he was a "lame duck cardinal" and should resign.

Overturning a centuries-old tradition of deference towards the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Ireland, victims confronted Cardinal Seán Brady with their stark judgment during a face-to-face meeting at his residence in Armagh.

They spared him most of the details of the torture they suffered at the hands of priests, including rape and beatings with metal straps that they had been forced to manufacture themselves in workshops.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:20 PM

Dissident Catholic Bishop Calls for Pope to Resign over Sex Abuse Scandal

AlterNet

March 31, 2010

Amy Goodman

Editor's Note: The Vatican has denied a series of media reports alleging that Pope Benedict, before being elected pontiff, may have looked the other way in cases of abuse in his native Germany and in the United States. Last week, the Vatican strongly defended its decision not to defrock the Wisconsin-based priest Father Lawrence Murphy, who abused some 200 deaf boys in the 1950s and ’60s. The National Catholic Reporter, perhaps the US's most influential Catholic publication, published a line-in-the-sand editorial saying the Pope must be ready to answer questions and called the scandal “the largest institutional crisis in centuries, possibly in church history":

The Holy Father needs to directly answer questions, in a credible forum, about his role -- as archbishop of Munich (1977-82), as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1982-2005), and as pope (2005-present) -- in the mismanagement of the clergy sex abuse crisis.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:16 PM

Tyler Bishop Urges Congregation To Speak Out Against Sex Abuse

TYLER (TX)
Tyler Morning Telegraph

By MELISSA CROWE
Staff Writer

A Catholic Tyler bishop is urging his congregation to speak out against sexual abuse crimes.

Last week, Bishop Rev. Alvaro Corrada, of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler, issued a statement on his Web site concerning Cincinnati-based priest Father Robert Poandl's indictment on sexual abuse charges.

About a week ago, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) asked bishops, who are not Vatican employees, to use their diocesan Web sites, newspapers, employees, parish Web sites and parish bulletins to urge sexual abuse victims and witnesses to speak out against the crime.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:13 PM

POPE'S CRITICS LACK EVIDENCE

UNITED STATES
Catholic League

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the latest falsehoods being told about the pope:

Much of the accusation against Pope Benedict XVI in the case of Wisconsin priest Fr. Lawrence Murphy rests on his alleged disinterest in pushing for Murphy to be defrocked. Contradicting this smear is the judge in the Murphy trial and the New York Times itself. ...

I challenge anyone to produce a single piece of evidence that the pope did anything wrong.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:10 PM

Enfant Terrible der katholischen Kirche

GERMANY
Spiegel

Von Carsten Volkery

Als konservative Reizfigur provoziert er seit Jahren, Mitschuld für den Kindesmissbrauch in der Kirche suchte er in der sexuellen Revolution. Nun erheben ehemalige Heimkinder Vorwürfe gegen den Augsburger Bischof Mixa - er soll sie als Pfarrer geprügelt haben.

In der katholischen Kirche spielt der Augsburger Bischof Walter Mixa seit Jahren die Rolle des Enfant Terrible. Er gefällt sich darin, gegen die Mehrheitsmeinung und liberale Tendenzen anzugehen. Es überraschte daher niemanden, als er kürzlich die Mitschuld für den Kindesmissbrauch in der Kirche ganz außerhalb des Klerus suchte.

Die "sogenannte sexuelle Revolution", verkündete Mixa, sei daran "sicher nicht unschuldig". Das klang so, als sei vor 1968 in der Kirche alles mit rechten Dingen zugegangen. Dabei zählen die fünfziger Jahre zu den dunkelsten Kapiteln in der Missbrauchssaga. Es war eine typische Mixa-Provokation, der gewünschte Proteststurm folgte auf dem Fuß. Selbst die "Bild"-Zeitung erklärte: "Murks, Herr Mixa".

[summary]

As a conservative figure, Bishop Walter Mixa of Augsburg has blamed child abuse in the church on the sexual revolution. Charges have now been brought against him by former children in care that he beat them when he was a pastor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:00 PM

''Er hat mir mit voller Wucht ins Gesicht geschlagen''

GERMANY
Sueddeutsche

Von Stefan Mayr
Die Vorwürfe gegen Bischof Mixa reißen nicht ab. Eine weitere Betroffene meldet sich in der Süddeutschen Zeitung zu Wort und berichtet von brutalen Misshandlungen. Auch Klosterschwestern sollen daran beteiligt gewesen sein.

[summary]

A group of people who as children were in care have accused Augssburg Bishop Walter Mixa of corporal punishment. Jutta Stadler of Pfaffenhofen confirmed on Wednesday in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung that the accusation were included in an affivdavit. One person said the bishops gave full force in the face.

Six sworn statements say that Mixa had beaten them during his time as pastor in the Schrobenhausen children's home.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:48 PM

The Church's moral accountability

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

Terry McKiernan

[See also the original version of this column with links to dozens of key articles and documents.]

Last week was a remarkable time for victims of abuse by Catholic clergy and for the Vatican. The week will be remembered as the moment when a crisis that had gained notoriety in several countries, starting with the U.S. in 1985, suddenly emerged as a global issue and reached the Pope himself, with implications that I'll discuss below. By Saturday, March 27, Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi, S.J., acknowledged that the way the church deals with sexual abuse "is crucial for her moral credibility." Lombardi was referring to these developments:

▪ March 21: Embattled Irish primate Cardinal Sean Brady released Benedict's letter to the Irish people, who gave it a mixed reception.

▪ March 24: The Munich and Freising archdiocese announced it had informed police that Rev. Peter Hullermann (welcomed to the archdiocese by then-Archbishop Ratzinger in 1980 after allegations, and convicted of child abuse in 1986) had been accused of sexually abusing a boy in 1998; the alleged abuse is recent enough to prosecute.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:41 PM

The Church versus the law . . it's been going on sin

UNITED KINGDOM
Bromley Times

ALL the scandals about paedophile priest cover-ups are nothing new and further endorse the extraordinary philosophy the church can uphold the myth its staff are somehow beyond the laws of the land.

This incredibly arrogant situation began, arguably, back in the 12th century in the reign of Henry II.

This monarch famously disagreed with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, over this issue and quite rightly refused to accept why any priest committing a criminal act albeit child abuse (if such an act was deemed a crime in those days) stealing, or fornication, would only be tried by other fellows of the cassock. Oh? So no real punishment there then 'cos we're all mates together and it's just slapped wrists all around.

German bishop faces allegations of physical punishment

GERMANY
Deutsche Welle

According to allegations published Wednesday in a German newspaper, leading Catholic bishop Walter Mixa physically abused children in a church orphanage three decades ago. The bishop's office has denied the accusations.

The German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung published a report on its website on Wednesday alleging that Bishop Walter Mixa had "slapped, punched or spanked the behinds of boys and girls who had misbehaved" at an orphanage in the southern town of Schrobenhausen in the 1970s.

The newspaper said three women and two men had given statements under oath that Mixa had beaten them repeatedly.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:28 PM

St. Louis area priest pleads guilty in child porn case

ST. LOUIS (MO)
KMOX

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) -- St. Louis Catholic priest could spend more than 6 years behind bars after being caught in federal sting operation last summer.

Father James Grady pleaded guilty this morning to possessing child porn.

Investigators say they found more than 100 images of girls between the ages of 7 and 17 on his computer, along with search terms consistent with child porn.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:24 PM

St. Louis area priest pleads guilty to child porn

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Globe-Democrat

James Patrick Grady pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography Wednesday according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors gave the following account of the investigation:

•According to court documents, James Patrick Grady was employed as the pastor at St. Rafael’s Parish in St. Louis. Grady was provided with a computer by the Archdiocese of St. Louis, but requested that parish members obtain a laptop computer for his personal usage. The parish purchased him a Toshiba laptop computer.

•On July 29, 2009, law enforcement officers and agents were involved in an undercover operation investigating subjects who attempt to purchase children, or their services, for commercial sex in the Eastern District of Missouri. The same day, officers received an e-mail in response to an Internet advertisement that had been placed by law enforcement working in the undercover capacity. The advertisement indicated that young females of an indeterminate age were available. The e-mail was from James Patrick Grady, seeking more information regarding the ad, and was informed that there were two females. In the course of the e-mails, Grady received a digitally morphed photograph of a 16-year old female. Grady inquired about the cost of the child depicted and was given a price for a half hour and for one hour. Grady indicated that he wanted a half hour and was told that the girl was 16 years old. He indicated that was fine and set up a meeting. Upon arriving at the agreed upon location, Grady met an undercover officer, and asked to see the girls. Grady was subsequently arrested by the FBI, St. Louis County Police and the Maryland Heights Police. After his arrest, Grady admitted that he intended to have sex with the girl.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:20 PM

Father James Grady pleads guilty to child pornography

ST. LOUIS (MO)
KSDK

KSDK -- A St. Louis priest pled guilty to possessing child pornography on Wednesday morning, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Father James Patrick Grady will be sentenced June 25.

According to court documents, while Father Grady was priest at St. Raphael Parish in St. Louis, the parish purchased him a laptop computer.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:10 PM

Louisville Attorney Files Lawsuit Against Pope Benedict XVI

KENTUCKY
Louisville Mojo

A historic, if misguided, legal landmark is unfolding before our eyes: for the first time in history, a U.S. court will decide whether The Vatican and The Pope can be held liable for negligence in the growing nationwide priest abuse scandal.

The case against Pope Benedict XVI was filed in Louisville by William McMurry, with three men claiming to have been abused by priests in Kentucky. They also claim that the Pope and Vatican officials did nothing about it, and maintain this makes them legally liable.

Don't expect the case to go very far, however. The notion that a man sitting in Rome can be held personally responsible for the acts of men he's never met doing scurrilous things in Kentucky is pretty ridiculous, and not likely to hold up in court. The leader of a religion cannot keep in check his millions of followers any more than the CEO of a global corporation can keep tabs on the day-to-day doings of its blue-collar workers in plants around the world.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:08 PM

Alleged victim's lawyers: Vatican protected priest

MIAMI (FL)
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

By CHRISTINE ARMARIO
The Associated Press

MIAMI — Lawyers representing an alleged victim of sex abuse claim the Vatican instructed church officials in Florida to shelter a priest from Cuba who was later accused of pedophilia.

Attorney Jessica Arbour, who represents an alleged victim of the Rev. Ernesto Garcia-Rubio, released a 1968 letter from the Vatican to the Archdiocese of Miami, stating the cleric had been forced to leave Cuba "because of serious difficulties of a moral nature (homosexuality)."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:05 PM

German bishop accused of corporal punishment (Roundup)

GERMANY
Monsters and Critics

Augsburg, Germany - A German Catholic bishop was accused Wednesday of administering corporal punishment to children 30 years ago as a scandal over sex abuse and violence grew in the homeland of Pope Benedict XVI.

The office of Walter Mixa, bishop of Augsburg, vehemently denied the claims that he spanked and slapped children in an orphanage in the southern town of Schrobenhausen while he was a junior priest.

Many German Catholics have been embittered at revelations that Catholic clergy groped, fondled or thrashed children in hundreds of cases between the 1950s and the 1980s. In a few cases, it has emerged that priests were convicted of rape.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:02 PM

Benedict's failure and opportunity

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

This Catholic's View

By Thomas J. Reese, S.J.

Like most bishops, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI, did not understand the sexual abuse crisis when it first appeared. He underestimated its extent and scope.

But over time, he grew in understanding as he watched what was happening in the United States and as he learned from reports from the American bishops. He got it faster than other Vatican officials, including Pope John Paul II. As head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he was forced to read the files on these priests when bishops asked for their dismissal from the priesthood.

As a Vatican official, he supported the American bishops when in 2002 they adopted a zero tolerance rule so that no abusive priest could be returned to ministry. He also condemned the abuse and expressed sorrow when he visited the United States in 2008, the high point of which was his meeting with victims of abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:39 AM

Pope should abandon institutional self-protection, embrace transparency

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

Rajan Zed

Q:Should Pope Benedict XVI be held responsible for the escalating scandals over clerical sexual abuse in Europe? Should he be investigated for cases of abuse that occurred under his watch as archbishop of Munich or as the Vatican's chief doctrinal enforcer? Should the pope resign?

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI should urgently come up with a White Paper on the reportedly mushrooming global sex scandal engulfing the Roman Catholic Church, which is unprecedented and shocking.

This authoritative Paper should honestly address the reported worldwide sexual abuse crisis the Church is facing; and then list the solutions, action program and implementation schedule. A monitoring body should also be established for future.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:20 AM

Pope's U.S. favorable rating drops

UNITED STATES
St. Louis Globe-Democrat

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

PRINCETON, N.J., March 31 (UPI) -- Pope Benedict's favorable rating has dropped sharply in the United States over his handling of clergy sex abuse cases in Europe, a poll suggested.

The pope's favorable rating dropped from 63 percent in a Gallup poll taken two years ago to 40 percent in a Gallup poll released Wednesday.

The pontiff's rating deteriorated about equally among Roman Catholics and non-Roman Catholics interviewed for the poll, Gallup said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:14 AM

Day of Repent for sexual abuse at Vienna cathedral

AUSTRIA
Austrian Independent

Vienna Archbishop Christoph Cardinal Schönborn will preside at a "day of repentance" service today (Weds) in the wake of revelations of numerous cases of violence and sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy.

His office said yesterday that the service at 7pm at Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral would constitute "an acknowledgement of guilt in the name of the Church."

The office added that members of some organisations critical of Schönborn, such as "We are the Church," had been invited to attend it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:10 AM

Employment Testing for the Priesthood Can Prevent Child Abuse

UNITED STATES
The Huffington Post

Jerry Chautin

Do you have the propensity to molest young boys? What about girls? If you become a messenger of God, will you exploit your powers to fulfill your sexual fantasies? Can you handle celibacy without having affairs with your parishioners?

In a pre-employment test for the priesthood, these questions will need to be answered. The questions will be cloaked with ambiguities so that the applicant will not be sure what the questions mean. The tester will gain insight to personal characteristics of the job applicant applying to enter the clergy. Unsuitable candidates will be disqualified.

Abuse by Catholic priests is continuing to capture the headlines. Psychological testing is needed to screen out would-be priests and other candidates for religious or spiritual leadership, regardless of their faith.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:01 AM

Attorneys Want Pope To Answer Questions

UNITED STATES
WLWT

CINCINNATI -- Three men who claim they were abused by priests are asking for the pope to be held accountable for their ordeal.

The men filed a lawsuit in 2004, accusing the Vatican of negligence.

Attorneys want to question the pope under oath about the rampant sex abuse scandals plaguing the Catholic Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:58 AM

Statement by John Manly: Cardinal Mahony Defends the Pope and Sex Abuse Cover-up

CALIFORNIA
Manly & Stewart

March 31, 2010 | By John Manly
Incredibly, Cardinal Mahony of the Los Angeles Archdiocese issued a statement today lauding Pope Benedict for his work in allegedly protecting victims from sexually abusive priests.

It’s incredible that the Cardinal who presided over the largest known number of pedophile priests in the United States would be qualified to issue statements regarding proper behavior in preventing child molestation.

The Pope’s misdeeds and inaction - while a Bishop in Germany, and later as a Senior Vatican Official acting as the gate keeper for abusive priests - are well documented. The fact that the Pope must rely on a man so thoroughly discredited as Roger Mahony, acutely demonstrates the desperate position he finds himself in now that the Pope’s misdeeds and crimes have come to light.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:55 AM

Priests told to refocus on holy living

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

By Lisa Wangsness
Globe Staff / March 31, 2010

Cardinal Sean O’Malley directly addressed the sex abuse scandal in Europe in his Holy Week homily to priests yesterday, telling local clergy that “the crisis that keeps coming back at us’’ underscores the need for priests to “live a life of holiness.’’ He thanked the priests for their sacrifice and service but urged them to work on living more balanced and prayerful lives.

O’Malley spoke to hundreds of priests gathered at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End in the midst of the most sacred week of the church year, and at a time when the worldwide church is confronting anew the crisis that first roiled the American church, beginning with the Boston Archdiocese, eight years ago.

In Europe, Pope Benedict XVI has been under harsh attack for his own role in a case involving an abusive priest in the early 1980s, when he was an archbishop in Germany, as well as for his recent handling of the sex abuse scandal in the Irish church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:51 AM

Catholics critical of abuse 'cover-up'

IRELAND
Leinster Express

By Staff Reporter
CATHOLICS from Parishes across the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin gathered in Portarlington and Carlow last week to discuss the recent Papal Letter from Pope Benedict XVI on clerical sex abuse and to hear the views of Baroness Nuala O'Loan, former ombudsman for the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

The meeting at Mount St Annes, Portarlington was held alongside a gathering at the Carlow Cathedral Parish Centre. In Diocesan statement, there was discussion at the meetings of the Vatican and its role in the ongoing scandal but also criticism of the "cover up" mentality. Some questioned why the meetings had not been more widely advertised and there were calls for further meetings in every parish.

The Diocese said the people spoke of their own hurt and lack of trust, of their disappointment with aspects of the church's handling of child abuse, The statement said a number of speakers congratulated Bishop Jim Moriarty on the position he adopted when offering his resignation after the publication of the Murphy report. The bishop’s letter of resignation has yet to be accepted by the Pope.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:39 AM

Pope Benedict and the bishops: Who's to blame?

UNITED STATES
USA Today

Isn't nuance annoying? It's so pesky to say on the one hand/one the other or he did X but he also did Y, or the context of such-and-such is so-and-so, which might alter your perceptions. All that information has a way of messing up neat answers. And so it is with examining Pope Benedict XVI and the global sexual abuse crisis.

He faces unrelenting criticism for failing to rid the priest ranks of predators for decades, for choosing treatment, silence and respect for accused priests' reputations, and the Church's, over the safety and spiritual treasures of children and teens, and for failing to hold bishops' feet to the fire on the jobs they are appointed to do -- to preach teach and govern.

Reckless remarks are flying (see Sally Quinn equating the Pope to Nixon enmeshed in Watergate). Anger mounts as demonstrations are planned by victims (today in California aimed at Cardinal Roger Mahony). Also in Los Angeles, the LA. Times profiled Jeffrey Anderson, the victims advocate who has been trying for more than a decade to establish in U.S. courts that blame for the ongoing abuse epidemic goes all the way to the Vatican.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:36 AM

Brunch with Jaime, Elizabeth, and Virginia

PORTLAND (OR)
The Garden of Roses: Stories of Abuse and Healing

Date: May 1, 2010
Time: 10:30 AM to 1PM
Where: Elizabeth Goeke’s home
in Portland, Oregon (call for directions to get there)

Join us for brunch and an informal conversation on healing the wounds of abuse.

Brunch Panel:
Dr. Jaime Romo was sexually abused by a priest as a boy. He later studied to be a priest at St. John Seminary, dropping out before being ordained. He went on the be a teacher, a school administrator, and then a professor of education at a Catholic university. When his own sons reached the age he was when he was abused, memories of the his long buried abuse began to surface, throwing him into a personal and professional crisis. He became a member of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, leading leaflettings and press conferences about church policies relative to abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:17 AM

German bishop Mixa rejects corporal-punishment allegations

GERMANY
Earth Times

Augsburg, Germany - The office of a leading conservative Catholic bishop in Germany, Walter Mixa of Augsburg, denied on Wednesday allegations that he had slapped or spanked children in a church orphanage three decades ago.

A newspaper had earlier in the day quoted former residents with claims that the clergyman gave them corporal punishment for misbehaviour while he was parish priest of the southern town of Schrobenhausen.

Mixa is the first of Germany's 27 bishops to have to face an allegation that he personally abused children. Germany has already been rocked by allegations that priests sexually abused hundreds of children in their care.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:14 AM

Report: 5 allege priest beat them before becoming bishop

GERMANY
Toronto Sun

BERLIN — A German newspaper says three women and two men are claiming they were physically abused at a Roman Catholic orphanage by a priest who is now a bishop.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung said Wednesday it has obtained affidavits the five self-described victims had prepared claiming that Walter Mixa struck them with his fists or instruments such as sticks, carpet beaters or wooden spoons in the 1970s and 1980s when he was a priest at the orphanage in Schrobenhausen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:11 AM

How to Defend Without Being Defensive?

UNITED STATES
American Magazine

Posted at: 2010-03-31 08
Author: Michael Sean Winters

It is one of the most confounding conundrums faced by anyone in the public spotlight: How to defend without being defensive? How to correct critical details without the appearance of nitpicking? Finally, how to deal with the media – which is the only way most people will come to know of the controversy in question – when that media is in a feeding frenzy?

Let me start with this important caveat. I do not – and no one at the Vatican should – blame the media for the current controversy surrounding the sexual abuse of minors by clergy, and most especially, the role of Pope Benedict, in his earlier positions of authority, in perpetuating the culture that covered-up that sexual abuse. I will go further and say, thank God for the Boston Globe and National Catholic Reporter and other media outlets that covered the scandal. Otherwise, we might never have had the explosion in Boston which caused the U.S. bishops to get serious and crackdown on pedophilia and set about creating safe environment for children. The bishops had ignored earlier, internal warnings about the nature and extent of the crisis. Only when the Globe sunk its teeth into the story develop the kind of momentum that made it unstoppable. To be clear, the crisis in Catholicism did not begin when the Globe covered the story. The crisis was the on-going cover-up of serial child abusers. The reporting in NCR and the Globe were nothing more than the provocation needed to get the bishops to being the painful surgery of removing the cancer.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:05 AM

German bishop accused of beating orphaned girls

GERMANY
The Times (United Kingdom)

Roger Boyes, Berlin
One of the Pope's closest conservative allies in Germany, Bishop Walter Mixa, has been accused of brutally beating and flogging children in his care.

The Bishop of Augsburg, 68, denies the claims by five former pupils at a Catholic-run orphanage and care facility. But they will be a source of deep embarrassment and concern in the Vatican: Bishop Mixa is part of a conservative axis in Pope Benedict XVI's native Bavaria that has always backed the pontiff in his most controversial decisions, from criticising the violence of Islam in Regensburg cathedral, to rehabilitating the Holocaust-sceptic Bishop Richard Williamson.

Although there are no accusations of sexual abuse at the home – where the bishop was a visiting priest in the 1970s and 1980s – it is clear that Mr Mixa is in trouble.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:02 AM

Setting the Record Straight: an interview with Murphy trial judge Fr. Thomas Brundage

UNITED STATES
Vatican Radio

(31 Mar 10 - RV) The judge who presided over the Church Court that was trying Fr. Lawrence Murphy on charges he abused deaf boys in the confessional, Fr. Thomas Brundage, has written an article in the archdiocesan newspaper of Anchorage, Alaska, where he is currently stationed. The article is critical of the New York Times’ reporting of the Fr Murphy case, and seeks to set the record straight. Chris Altieri reached Fr. Brundage by phone this (Wednesday) morning and asked him about the trial, which began in the mid 1990’s on the explicit authorization of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, of which the man who would become Pope Benedict XVI was head at the time.

Fr. Brundage: From 1996 until 1998, the trial lasted about eighteen (18) months, and concluded with Fr. Murphy’s death.

Chris Altieri: - And at any time during that trial, did you have any pressure whatsoever from Rome to abey the proceedings, to suspend them, to push this under the rug - anything like that?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:59 AM

A church adrift

AUSTRALIA
The Age

BARNEY ZWARTZ
April 1, 2010

IT'S only a quarter over, but mark down 2010 as a bad year for the Vatican. A steady drip of revelations of sexual abuse by clergy and cover-ups by bishops has become a flow, then a torrent.

Hundreds of new allegations are emerging in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, and the stain is spreading right to the top, with serious accusations being levelled against Pope Benedict XVI himself.

Once dismissed as merely an Anglo-Saxon disease, or a hostile media campaign, the avalanche is catastrophic for the Roman Catholic hierarchy's already battered credibility and moral authority.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:56 AM

Swiss bishops 'underestimated' sexual abuse

SWITZERLAND
Taiwan News

Top Swiss Catholic clergymen say they underestimated the problem of sexual abuse and are now telling victims to consider criminal complaints.

The Swiss Bishops' Conference said Wednesday it was "ashamed" by the number of sexual abuses cases and apologized for "errors." They have previously cited about 60 people claiming to be victims and said they "underestimated the magnitude of the situation."

The bishops are split over the idea of a blacklist of pedophile priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:52 AM

Bishop says 'vast' tally of sexual abuse yet to emerge

AUSTRALIA
The Age

BARNEY ZWARTZ
April 1, 2010

THE Catholic Church has a turbulent future as probably a much smaller church in the West, with a ''vast amount'' of sexual abuse cases yet to emerge, according to a retired Australian bishop.

''The church is not going to fold up its tent and disappear, but there could be very dramatic changes'' as a result of the clergy abuse crisis, said Bishop Geoffrey Robinson.

The Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, blamed a failure of leadership and a lack of courage for the crisis and warned that while Australia had learnt its lessons, the difficulties for the church in many countries were still coming.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:49 AM

Pope Pressured To Address Church's Sex Abuse Crisis

ITALY
KPCC (United States)

Sylvia Poggioli | NPR

Allegations of child abuse by Catholic priests have emerged in Italy. Three men say they were abused as boys at a Catholic school for the deaf. They say no action has been taken against the priests - even though they reported the cases more than a year ago. Pope Benedict is under pressure to make a full response to abuse charges in Europe and the U.S.

As the faithful fill churches during Holy Week, a wave of clerical sex abuse revelations is sweeping Europe. The latest allegations come from Italy, just outside Vatican walls.

As the scandal mounts, Pope Benedict XVI is under increasing pressure to give a more forceful response to the most serious crisis of his papacy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:46 AM

O'CONNOR WILLING TO DEFEND POPE

IRELAND
Express (United Kingdom)

Wednesday March 31,2010
Outspoken singer SINEAD O'CONNOR has vowed to "stand up and defend" the Pope if allegations of sexual abuse within the Catholic church are proved false.

The Nothing Compares 2 U hitmaker was one of the first celebrities to address the issue of child abuse in the church, and has previously urged Pope Benedict XVI to resign over reports the Vatican covered up the scandal for decades.

O'Connor admits the reputation of church leaders has been destroyed by the allegations and insists she would support the pontiff if he's innocent.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:44 AM

The Vatican’s cross

PHILIPPINES
Inquirer

THIS MUST BE THE BLEAKEST HOLY THURSDAY at the Vatican in many decades. An unholy shroud of suspicion has enveloped the Holy See, threatening to suffocate even the papacy itself. An Associated Press story Wednesday drew a forbidding global picture: “As the faithful fill churches this Holy Week, many Roman Catholics around the world are finding their relationship to the church painfully tested by new revelations of clerical abuse and suggestions [that Pope] Benedict himself may have helped cover up cases in Germany and the US.”

We should point out that these new revelations about insufficient institutional responses to allegations of sexual abuse by predatory priests have had perhaps less impact on the Church in the Philippines (and, the AP story suggests, in Poland too, another staunchly Catholic country). Indeed, the AP story itself recognizes that many of the Catholic faithful who are aware of the latest iteration of a long-running scandal aren’t necessarily thinking of leaving the Church. It quotes Linda Faust, of Greendale, Wisconsin, as saying, rather pungently, “At this point in my life I wouldn’t leave the Church for somebody else’s sins.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:42 AM

Catholic Students Attack Media Over Abuse Charges

VATICAN CITY
The New York Times

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Conservative Catholic university students rushed to Pope Benedict's defense on Wednesday, attacking journalists who have written about the sexual abuse of children by priests as "sowers of mistrust."

The some 4,000 students from around the world, in Rome for a convention, handed the beleaguered pope a letter of support during his weekly general audience in St Peter's Square.

In his address, the pope made no direct reference to the scandal sweeping the church but said priests should always send a message of "hope, reconciliation and peace."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:39 AM

Bishop Mixa accused of abusing children

GERMANY
The Local

Published: 31 Mar 10
Online: http://www.thelocal.de/national/20100331-26229.html

Five people have accused Germany's controversial Catholic Bishop Walter Mixa of physically abusing them while they were at a children’s home north of Munich in the 1970s and 1980s.

Three women and two men claimed that Mixa hit them on multiple occasions while they were at the St. Josef children’s home in Schrobenhausen, daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Wednesday, citing statements declared under oath by the alleged victims.

Their descriptions of the abuse include slaps to the face, punches to their upper arms, and spankings with a carpet beater, the paper said.

But the Augsburg diocese called the accusations “absurd, untrue, and obviously invented to defame the bishop.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:33 AM

German bishop accused of physical abuse of children

GERMANY
Catholic Culture

March 31, 2010
Three women and two men who were former residents of a Catholic children’s home have accused Bishop Walter Mixa of Augsburg of physically abusing them in the 1970s and 1980s. Calling the allegations “absurd, untrue, and obviously invented to defame the bishop,” a diocesan spokesman said that the diocese reserved the right to take press charges or file a civil suit against the accusers.

The nation’s justice minister criticized Bishop Mixa in February after he attributed the abuse scandal in part to the sexual revolution. Bishop Mixa also serves as the bishop of the nation’s military.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:28 AM

German bishop accused of physical abuse of children

GERMANY
Catholic Culture

March 31, 2010
Three women and two men who were former residents of a Catholic children’s home have accused Bishop Walter Mixa of Augsburg of physically abusing them in the 1970s and 1980s. Calling the allegations “absurd, untrue, and obviously invented to defame the bishop,” a diocesan spokesman said that the diocese reserved the right to take press charges or file a civil suit against the accusers.

The nation’s justice minister criticized Bishop Mixa in February after he attributed the abuse scandal in part to the sexual revolution. Bishop Mixa also serves as the bishop of the nation’s military.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:28 AM

Check, recheck and triple check

UNITED STATES
GetReligion

Posted by Mollie

It appears that ace Vatican reporter John Allen isn’t the only person who noted problems with the New York Times’ recent attempt to link Pope Benedict XVI to a particularly sickening story of priest abuse.

We looked at Allen’s critique already. The Times said the fact that only 20 percent of abuse cases went to trial was a mark of “inaction” by the office Benedict oversaw when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. But Allen said that most Vatican observers would say that allowing bishops to handle cases instead of sending them all to trial was much more favorable to the victims. Allen summed up his take on the situation in a new op-ed for the Times:

After being elected pope, Benedict made the abuse cases a priority. One of his first acts was to discipline two high-profile clerics against whom sex abuse allegations had been hanging around for decades, but had previously been protected at the highest levels.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:26 AM

Cardinal Mahony praises Pope’s swift response to Los Angeles abuse cases

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Catholic News Agency

Los Angeles, Calif., Mar 31, 2010 / 06:27 am (CNA).- Responding to controversial media reports about Pope Benedict’s handling of abusive clergy, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, the Archbishop of Los Angeles, has praised “without hesitation” the future Pope’s quick and helpful response to allegations in the California archdiocese.

As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the future pontiff responded “quickly and affirmatively” to all requests for assistance from prelates in the United States during the year 2002 with reports about the American sexual abuse scandal.

Cardinal Ratzinger and the CDF responded “swiftly” and advised how to proceed in cases of alleged sexual abuse by priests in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Cardinal Mahony wrote on his blog.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:23 AM

Law firm implicates Vatican, Pope in abuse case

MIAMI (FL)
Washington Post

By CHRISTINE ARMARIO
The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 31, 2010

MIAMI -- A South Florida law firm is implicating the Vatican and Pope Benedict XVI in its handling of a priest accused of sexually abusing children.

Jessica Arbour, an attorney representing one of the alleged victims, says documents show the Vatican was aware of Rev. Ernesto Garcia-Rubio's misconduct as early as 1968.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:19 AM

Dioceses in the U.S publish online document aimed to prevent abuse

UNITED STATES
Rome Reports

[with video]

Romereports.com March 31, 2010.

Some 80 dioceses in the United States have taken a simple step to prevent sexual abuse cases. They’ve published this document on their websites in an effort to prevent abuse.

Dioceses like the ones in New York City, Brooklyn, Iowa, Dallas and Philadelphia have made the ‘Model Code of Pastoral Conduct’, readily available. You can download it for free from the website www.virtus.org. The National Catholic Risk Retention Group created the website to prevent sexual abuse in the Church.

This 13-page document, outlines the code of conduct for the diocese to prevent abuse in parishes and schools. It refers to priests, deacons, pastoral ministers, administrators and volunteers who work there.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:15 AM

Pedophilia in the Catholic Church: Coverup Operation at the Vatican?

Center for Research on Globalization

by Mike Whitney

Pope Benedict should do everyone a favor and resign. By hanging on, he's just making matters worse. Who does he think he's fooling anyway? Everyone knows that he was involved in the sex-scandal cover up. Does he really think that a few papal apologies will make a difference? He was in charge and knew everything that was going on. That makes him responsible. His best option now is to "man up" and face the consequences. He needs to arrange a press conference, tell the truth, and resign. End of story.

It's clear that the problem isn't going to go away. In the last week, three more incidents have surfaced adding more fuel to the fire. In Wisconsin, Father Lawrence Murphy abused as many as 200 boys at a Milwaukee school for the deaf. One of the victims, Arthur Budzinski, has been all over TV telling his story and blaming the pope. It's pretty heart-wrenching stuff, too. According to Budzinski's daughter Gigi:

"The pope knew about this. He was the one who handled the sex abuse cases. So, I think he should be accountable, because he did nothing."


Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:12 AM

Ky lawsuit seeks to question Pope under oath

KENTUCKY
FOX 41

[with video]

By Bennett Haeberle WDRB-TV Fox 41 News

Vatican attorneys are working to protect Pope Benedict XVI from being deposed in a Kentucky lawsuit that claims the Vatican and its clergy were responsible for covering up cases of priest sex abuse.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Louisville in 2004, claims the pontiff "has extensive knowledge" and was "intimately and uniquely tied to the issue of child sexual abuse by the clergy."

The class-action litigation has been ongoing for years, but stalled until recently.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:06 AM

Church at the crossroads

VERMONT
Bennington Banner

Tuesday March 30, 2010

It has been a long and, for Catholics, frequently excruciating eight years since the Roman Catholic sexual abuse scandal broke in the U.S. in early 2002.

A similar firestorm over the abuse of children by priests, and the hierarchy’s failure to stop it, is now engulfing the church in Ireland and in Germany. Moreover, Pope Benedict XVI himself is now under fire, the fact having emerged that when he was archbishop of Munich in 1980, a known pedophile priest came to his diocese and was assigned to parish work. Whether then-Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger knew about this decision or not, it happened while he was in charge.

However, a sense of the overall arc of the abuse scandal seems necessary to gain perspective. First, the Catholic Church has made great strides in its handling of abuse cases. The vast majority of cases at issue over the last eight years, both in the U.S., and now in Europe, took place before the 1990s. Church officials long ago discarded the misguided notions that pedophilia can be successfully "cured" with therapy and that Christian forgiveness means allowing abusive priests to continue in ministry.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:04 AM

Mumbai Catholics react to Vatican paedophilia scandals

INDIA
Mid-Day

By: Bobby Anthony Date: 2010-03-31

Even as Good Friday approaches, Catholics in Mumbai have begun reacting to Western media reports about allegations against Pope Benedict XVI and his brother, which accuse them of protecting priests involved in child
sex abuse.

"I don't deny that there are cases of paedophile priests. But there has been no attempt to shield any such priest. We live in the age of legal activism and openness, and it would be a generalisation to say that Catholics are asking the Pope to step down, which is not fair," said Fr Anthony Charanghat, director, Catholic Communication Centre.

"You must also understand that the global porn industry is responsible for blowing these reports out of proportion. They have been trying to demonise the Catholic clergy, since the Church has been fighting them," he added.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:01 AM

Milwaukee Archbishop Supports Victims, Defends Pope

WISCONSIN
WBAY

By Matt Smith

During the most holy week of the Christian year, a cloud of sin hangs over the Catholic Church. Tuesday night, Milwaukee's archbishop publicly addressed the alleged sex abuse cover-up extending from Wisconsin to the Vatican.

The late Father Lawrence Murphy is accused of molesting as many as 200 boys at a school for the deaf in Milwaukee in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

Last week, a victims advocacy group called SNAP said it has documentation that Vatican leaders, including Pope Benedict when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, stopped a church trial against Father Murphy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:59 AM

Full text of Listecki's remarks

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The comments below were shared by Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki Tuesday night at the end of the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.

Dear Friends,

This Lent throughout the archdiocese, we celebrated a Season of Mercy, acknowledging our sinfulness and our need to reconcile with our God. This Season of Mercy is a stark recognition of the presence of sin in our world, in our Church, amongst our people, and, yes, within priests and bishops. That sin has never been more present to us as a Church than through the sin and crime of clergy sexual abuse.

As a bishop, a priest, and as a man of faith, I apologize to anyone who has been a victim of clergy sexual abuse. This crime, this sin, this horror, should never occur, especially by a priest. Those who committed these crimes and those, including some bishops, who didn’t do everything in their power to stop it, go against everything the Church and the priesthood represent. For those actions, I offer my sincere apology.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:57 AM

Editorial: What the pope should do

UNITED STATES
The Providence Journal

It has been nearly a decade since widespread allegations of sexual abuse by priests rocked the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. Now similar allegations are sweeping Europe. And new evidence suggests that, before he became Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger shielded a U.S. priest from accusations that he molested some 200 deaf boys in Wisconsin.

So far, the pope has taken only modest steps to try to calm the mounting outrage. In Ireland, where last year two scathing government reports revealed decades of abuse, he issued a letter of apology. And last week, he accepted the resignation of one bishop, John Magee. Yet Bishop Magee will keep his title as head of the Diocese of Coyne, in southern Ireland, and is likely to continue with pastoral work. At least four other bishops have reportedly offered to resign, but the pope is resisting accepting their resignations.

Meanwhile, in Germany, hundreds of alleged victims have come forward since a news report centering on a Jesuit high school was published in January. In one 1980 case, an accused priest was ordered by Archbishop Ratzinger to undergo treatment. He returned to work and allegedly molested more children. The Vatican contends the pope was unaware of this development at the time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 AM

The Vatican Hotline Outrage

The Daily Beast

by Barbie Latza Nadeau

The Catholic Church’s move to open a hotline to report sex abuse has infuriated victims who say it’s another ploy to keep the church’s darkest secrets under lock and key.

The Roman Catholic Church is the last place victims of predator priests should turn to. That, according to victims, is how the church got into this mess in the first place. And it’s why victims’ groups are outraged by a new church-sponsored hotline for victims to report alleged crimes.

“Victims should tell loved ones and police first,” said David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP. “Calling the church should be a last resort.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:51 AM

Child abuse allegations made against 45 Maltese priests in 11 years

MALTA
Times of Malta

Cynthia Busuttil

A total of 84 allegations of child abuse, involving forty-five Maltese priests, were reported to a Church response team over the last 11 years, The Times reports today.

The response team was set up in 1999 and receives reports from both the Maltese and Gozitan dioceses, a spokesman for the Curia said.

He would not divulge the nature of the cases, saying the response team's work was carried out in confidence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:48 AM

Jerome Christenson: Why am I still Catholic? Read on, my friend

MINNESOTA
Winona Daily News

By Jerome Christenson | jchristenson@winonadailynews.com | Posted: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Just when I thought it was safe to go to communion, my church is making me uncomfortable again.

Just in time for Easter the sorry legacy of pedophile priests has resurfaced. This time international attention is focused on Milwaukee and Munich, on what did the pope know and when did he know it?

Most people I know aren't so rude as to ask how I can be part of an organization that has harbored and protected predatory pedophiles. I don't have to be so polite with myself, especially after I learned, some years ago, that as I entered adolescence one such notorious priest was assigned to a parish and parish school just blocks from my home. My friends and schoolmates served him as altar boys. More than that, I can't know for sure, but there but for the grace of God ...

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:44 AM

Father Tim: Nobody buying what Catholic Church defenders selling

UNITED STATES
Irish Central

by Father TIm

My friends:

The Catholic Church's "defenders of the fake" have begun their expected counterattack to those pesky critics who still don't believe -- despite Pope Benedict sending them a letter -- that the Church's leadership (if that's the right word) is serious about putting pedophile priests behind bars along with the conspiratorial clergy who covered up their heinous crimes.

In my adopted hometown of New York City, the Church's defensive lineup was especially pathetic, and even comical.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan, leader of some of the city's Catholics, used his Palm Sunday performance to compare Benedict to Jesus Christ, a hysterical analogy that may in fact become blasphemous if the Pope is found to have been complicit in cover-ups himself.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 AM

For critics of pope and Church, end justifies means

UNITED STATES
The Tribune-Democrat

Pedro Vega
For The Tribune-Democrat

— For the past several years now, I have sat back and waited during the Lent and Easter seasons for the inevitable eruptions of sensational reports, purported exposés and clever reinterpretations of traditional Christian teachings. This year, would it be a new documentary concerning the discovery of the corpse of Jesus? Would it be another shallow, runaway bestseller such as “The Da Vinci Code”?

Nope. This year’s Easter surprise has been the relentless attacks against the Catholic Church in general, and Pope Benedict XVI in particular, from critics both outside and inside the Church. Who they are and what they say reveal a lot of what they want.

But before we go into that, let’s reaffirm what is accepted by all: This injury is largely self-inflicted. Years of negligent handling of sexual abuse allegations have brought us here. As Pope Benedict recently told the Irish bishops:

“It cannot be denied that some of you and your predecessors failed, at times grievously, to apply the long-established norms of canon law to the crime of child abuse. Serious mistakes were made in responding to allegations … it must be admitted that grave errors of judgment were made and failures of leadership occurred. All this has seriously undermined your credibility and effectiveness.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:36 AM

Lubbock churches carry on as usual amid protests against Pope

LUBBOCK (TX)
Avalanche Journal

By Kellie Bramlet | AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Protesters in London demanded the Pope's resignation and some in Switzerland called for a registry of pedophile priests, The Associated Press reported, but Catholic leaders in Lubbock are carrying on as usual.

"We are much bigger and much stronger and much more multidimensional than this one terrible problem that has plagued the Church," said Monsignor David Cruz, pastor of Our Lady of Grace Church. "We cannot let this one issue define who we are."

Cruz said he's spoken with individual members about the recent allegations that Pope Benedict XVI knew of some of the incidents of sexual abuse committed by clergy members while he served as the archbishop of Munich, but Cruz hasn't addressed the whole congregation regarding the issue.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:33 AM

Kathy Redig: Womenpriests support vicitims of clergy abuse

MINNESOTA
Winona Daily News

By Kathy Redig / Winona | Posted: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Roman Catholic Womenpriests stand in solidarity with victims of clergy sex abuse throughout Europe and around the world who were sexually assaulted by Catholic clergy.

The growing number of allegations of sexual abuse in Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands indicate that the cover-up of crimes against children and youth in the Catholic Church goes all the way to the pope and the Vatican.

In the U.S., the sex abuse scandal has destroyed the lives of victims and their families, bankrupted some dioceses and cost the church more than $2 billion.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:28 AM

New garda unit will oversee sex-crime inquiries

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By TOM BRADY

Wednesday March 31 2010

A NEW sexual crime management unit is being set up within An Garda Siochana to oversee inquiries by members of the force into allegations and complaints of abuse.

The move was announced yesterday by Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy at the annual conference of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors in Galway. He said the unit would regularly evaluate investigations into child sexual abuse, child neglect and other sexual offences to ensure they were being dealt with properly and brought to a prompt conclusion.

The team, which is being established within the existing domestic violence and sexual assault investigation unit, will also focus on assisting and training gardai around the country in carrying out inquiries into abuse and promote international standards.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:25 AM

Abuse must never be dismissed: archbishop

CANADA
National Post

Charles Lewis, National Post
Published: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Roman Catholics should not try to minimize the crisis facing the Church by making reference to the small percentage of abusive priests in their midst or by dismissing reports about the scandal as media exaggeration, Thomas Collins, the Archbishop of Toronto, said yesterday.

"We cannot escape the horror of this by pointing out that almost all priests serve faithfully -- though that fact is a grace that gives joy to the Catholic people," Archbishop Collins said in a homily.

"But even one priest gone wrong causes immense harm, and throughout the world priests have done unspeakable evil."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:22 AM

Letter of apology unacceptable

CANADA
Windsor Star

By Sandy Cameron, Windsor Star

March 31, 2010 I would think most people might find the Pope's letter of apology absolutely unacceptable. Sorry, it just doesn't cut it. It can be a part of it but the major message should have been: "We take full responsibility and this will not be tolerated."

In his letter, the Pope didn't specifically insist that cases of child sexual abuse be reported to the police by the church. These crimes are decades past being left to the Catholic Church to police itself.

The Pope is the person with the ultimate power in his church. More than anyone, he could -- even at this very late stage -- start protecting children from these monsters.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:20 AM

A troubling order for the Catholic Church

UNTIED STATES
Los Angeles Times

By Tim Rutten

March 31, 2010

One of the decisions confronting Pope Benedict XVI as he struggles to contain an abuse scandal whose tendrils now appear to extend into the Vatican may have a particular resonance in the United States.

That decision involves what to do about a wealthy and influential order, the Legionaries of Christ, and the worldwide lay movement it operates, Regnum Christi. The former includes 800 priests and the latter as many as 75,000 members. Around the globe, the Legionaries operate 120 seminaries, universities, schools and Catholic newspapers. Their ability to recruit future priests in an era of declining vocations has impressed the Vatican; today 2,600 are preparing for ordination in their seminaries.

The Legionaries were founded in Mexico in 1941 by a seminarian, Marcial Maciel, who went on to lead what quickly became the church's fastest-growing religious order and one of its most powerful. That power came from the socially well-connected Maciel's ability to raise astonishing sums of money, and from his insistence on unquestioning loyalty to papal authority.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:17 AM

Sex scandals call for change

UNITED STATES
The Daily Bruin

By Jordan Manalastas

March 31, 2010

It is now Holy Week. In four days, hymns will harmonize, priests will pray, and congregations will congregate to commemorate the most glorious Sunday among the same old, same old: the yearly resurrection of their god. But Catholic churches from Los Angeles to the Vatican have more important things to worry about than Mass turnout or incense supplies. In light of a resurgence in sex scandals among the clergy, the Church must face the repercussions of her ignoble failure of accountability.

Regardless, parishioners across the globe continue to abide. As one Milwaukee Catholic told Wisconsin ABC News, the scandal “hasn’t shaken my faith in the whole institution.” But the institution, dear reader, is exactly the problem.

The Church’s habit of concealing molestation cases and reassigning guilty priests to other parishes – a trend implicating countless priests, bishops and even the Pope – reveals a profound flaw in the system itself. This goes beyond the actions of individual priests and the reckless bishops who enable them. The root of this evil is the Church’s insistence on private self-policing, an asinine opacity that completely disregards the law, the victims and the safety of their communities.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Guilty priests must step down

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Trinidad and Tobago's Newsday

By CECILY ASSON Wednesday, March 31 2010

Chairman of the Social Justice Commission Leela Ramdeen on Monday joined Roman Catholic priest Fr Kenneth Assing in mourning for a church that has been “disfigured” by mounting allegations of sex abuse made against several priests.

“The actions of a few have tarnished an entire church when in fact there are millions of Catholics around the world doing good work,” Ramdeen, an attorney, told Newsday.

“We have been betrayed by those who have been put in a position of trust.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:09 AM

An Unholy Holy Week ...

Religion Dispatches

By Anne Eggebroten
March 31, 2010

In the midst of the worst crisis to hit Roman Catholicism in centuries, it is clear that the all-male rule of the Church has failed.

A flock of newly-mitred Cardinals, 2007 This week is unprecedented in the two-thousand-year history of the Christian church. Instead of focusing on the last week of the earthly life of Jesus Christ, Christians are listening to horrific accounts of priestly sexual abuse of children and wondering whether Pope Benedict XVI will take decisive action to cleanse the church.

Probably he will not. After all, he will be 83 years old on April 16, and he just doesn’t get it. His focus has been purity of doctrine, not the purity of those who say Mass and administer the church.

In the US, he has approved an on-going investigation of nuns whose social activism ranges from anti-war activity to challenging the Roman Catholic ban on contraception, married priests, women priests, and acceptance of same-sex relationships. But there’s no investigation of the reasons why widespread sexual activity by priests persists, whether it be child sexual abuse, affairs with parishioners, or “marriages” surrounded by a conspiracy of silence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:03 AM

The (Re)Reformation of the Catholic Church

UNITED STATES
The Cornell Daily Sun

March 31, 2010
By Mike Wacker

In the wake of the horrendous sex abuse scandal which has afflicted the Catholic Church, criticism of Catholicism in its current form has exploded. Certainly much of the criticism comes with good reason, but simultaneously, one can sense that some critics seem to have a few other motivating factors behind their critiques of the Catholic Church, factors unrelated to the scandal itself.

Sun columnist Peter Finocchiaro ‘10 and New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd have both written on this scandal. Given the topic of these columns, you would expect that if you removed any content not directly related to the sex abuse scandal from them, the columns would contain almost nothing. But instead of nothing, you would find a laundry list of complaints about Catholic doctrines or beliefs, complaints often made outside the context of a sex abuse scandal.

I myself am Lutheran, and for those of you vaguely familiar with the Reformation, you would know I have my own disagreements with Catholicism, including a few but not all of the items on that laundry list. Yet the sex abuse scandal should not become an excuse for any of us to renew our disagreements with Catholicism.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 AM

The Catholic Church's Dirty Little Secret

UNITED STATES
New America Media

New America Media, Commentary, Blase Bonpane, Posted: Mar 31, 2010

More than 40 years ago I, was automatically excommunicated from the Catholic Church for "attempting marriage." Our “attempted marriage” was conducted at my parents’ home with four priests presiding together with my bride, the former Sister Maura Killene of Maryknoll who had served in Southern Chile. We have now celebrated four decades together and now have two children and five grandchildren. There is nothing “attempted” about it. It is a wonderful marriage followed by a life of full-time work for justice and peace.

The excommunication has never upset me, mostly because of the guidance of my mother who had admonished me to “take it with a grain of salt.” This was her comment on many ecclesiastical directives, including celibacy. She was very disturbed that I went off to the seminary to become a priest in the first place.

Blase Bonpane”Why don’t they marry? It’s not normal,” she insisted. Both of her parents were born in Italy and they had a wonderful understanding of the irrationality of Canon Law. That’s right. They loved their church and were very comfortable criticizing it and even making fun of it. But as is becoming increasingly clear amid almost daily revelations of sexual abuse among the clergy, much of church behavior is really not funny.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:55 AM

Archbishop: Mistakes made in priest sex abuse case

MILWAUKEE (WI)
CNN

(CNN) -- The archbishop of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, apologized repeatedly Tuesday night for the way his archdiocese handled an abusive priest and he defended the Vatican which has come under fire for not disciplining or defrocking the man.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

Vatican: Three reasons why we are not liable for sexual abuse and cover-ups in the Catholic Church

UNITED STATES
Mail (United Kingdom)

Pope has immunity as head of state

Bishops who oversaw abusive priests were not employed by Vatican

1962 document does not provide proof of cover-up

The Vatican has revealed its three-point defence against an American lawsuit seeking to have the Pope deposed over claims of sexual abuse and cover-ups in the Catholic Church.

The Kentucky case is the first in the U.S. to reach the stage of determining whether victims actually have a claim against the Vatican itself for allegedly failing to alert police or the public about Roman Catholic priests who molested children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:49 AM

Archbishop Listecki: Milwaukee, not Rome at fault in Murphy abuse scandal

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Catholic Culture

Apologizing to victims of clerical abuse, Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee said in his March 30 Chrism Mass homily that Milwaukee bishops-- implicitly Archbishop William Cousins (1958-77) and Archbishop Rembert Weakland (1977-2002)-- were at fault in the handling of Father Lawrence Murphy’s abuse of deaf children.

“As a bishop, a priest, and as a man of faith, I apologize to anyone who has been a victim of clergy sexual abuse,” Archbishop Listecki said. “This crime, this sin, this horror, should never occur, especially by a priest. Those who committed these crimes and those, including some bishops, who didn’t do everything in their power to stop it, go against everything the Church and the priesthood represent. For those actions, I offer my sincere apology.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 AM

Should There Be an Inquisition for the Pope?

UNITED STATES
The New York Times

By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: March 30, 2010
WASHINGTON

It doesn’t seem right that the Catholic Church is spending Holy Week practicing the unholy art of spin.

Complete with crown-of-thorns imagery, the church has started an Easter public relations blitz defending a pope who went along with the perverse culture of protecting molesters and the church’s reputation rather than abused — and sometimes disabled and disadvantaged — children.

The church gave up its credibility for Lent. Holy Thursday and Good Friday are now becoming Cover-Up Thursday and Blame-Others Friday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

Pope has done nothing wrong, says Toronto archbishop

CANADA
Toronto Star

Raveena Aulakh
Staff reporter

Minutes after warning more than 200 priests that there will always be among them those who will betray the innocent, the archbishop of Toronto strongly defended the Pope’s actions during the most serious crisis facing the Roman Catholic Church in decades.

“This is the man who has done so much. He’s led the way,” Archbishop Thomas Collins told reporters in a courtyard of St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto. “Of all the people to become the target of attacks in this, the Pope ... good grief.”

Earlier, Collins addressed the congregation at a mass for priests where they renewed their commitment to the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 AM

Top speakers for Graigue Novena

IRELAND
Leinster Express

By Staff Reporter
A PRIEST who challenged the handling of child clerical abuse within the Catholic Church as far back the 1990s will be among a list of high profile speakers set to speak about their work and how their faith guides them at the Solemn Novena in Graiguecullen in the coming weeks.

The fourth Solemn Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help begins on Monday, April 12 and will run for nine consecutive Monday nights to June 7 at St Clare’s Parish Church Graiguecullen.

Perhaps the most challenging speaker will be Fr Kevin Hearty, a priest in Belmullet, Co Mayo who is a former editor of church’s pastoral and liturgical resource magazine Intercom. He will speak on April 26. Fr Hegarty was moved out of his job as editor after he raised questions over the handling of clerical child sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 AM

In Brazil, Catholic Church sees few scandals

BRAZIL
NRC Handelsblad (Netherlands)

Published: 31 March 2010

Brazil is the biggest Catholic country in the world, but accusations of sexual abuse by its clergy are few and don’t get much attention.

By Philip de Wit in Rio de Janeiro

In Arapiraca, a town in the Brazilian state of Alagoas, an unlikely DVD was a bestseller this month: a sex tape showing a 82-year-old priest, Luiz Marques Barbosa, in bed with a 19-year-old altar boy. The images are hard to bear for the people of Arapiraca, who worshiped the priest and even named a school after him.

On March 11, Brazilian TV first aired the sordid pictures of Barbosa. On the programme, former altar boys accused him and two other priests from Arapiraca of sexually abusing them from age 12 onward. Other altar boys from the same parish soon came forward with similar accusations.

The incident has led to great indignation in Arapiraca, where the suspected priests were known as extremely conservative and puritan. Congregants wept openly on TV. The local police has even put a special team on the case. But, contrary to many European countries, the revelations have not led to a stream of complaints over paedophilia within the Catholic Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

Prosecute peadophile priests: Swiss bishops

SWITZERLAND
Times LIVE (South Africa)

Mar 31, 2010 11:54 AM | By Sapa

Swiss Roman Catholic bishops admit hat they underestimated the extent of sexual abuse by the clergy and called on any victims to seek prosecution.

"We humbly admit that we underestimated the extent of the situation," the Swiss bishop's conference said in a statement.

"Those in charge of the diocese and religious orders made mistakes."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:30 AM

Bishop William Lee issues statement

IRELAND
Waterford Today

Bishop William Lee issues statement regarding his handling of child sexual abuse complaints

Statement of Bishop William Lee issued by the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore Communications office, St. John's Pastoral Centre, John's Hill, Waterford:

"In December 1993, a few months after my ordination as Bishop of Waterford & Lismore, I received complaints of child sexual abuse against a priest of the Diocese. This was the first case of such a nature that I had ever dealt with.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 AM

The story of a 40-year cover-up

MILWAUKEE (WI)
News Buzz

By Marie Rohde
An international firestorm raged last week after lawyers released documents linking the cover up of sexual abuse of children in Wisconsin to Pope Benedict XVI. Yet, there is still far more to the story: an extraordinary tale of how countless officials failed to pursue legal charges against the abusive priest, Father Lawrence Murphy. Among these officials were Archbishop Rembert Weakland and his two predecessors as archbishop, former Milwaukee County District Attorney E. Michael McCann and his deputy prosecutor, William Gardner, and St. Francis Police.

All knew about the allegations that Murphy abused boys who were students at the St. John’s School for the Deaf in St. Francis, as NewsBuzz found in reviewing records released by St. Paul lawyer Jeffrey Anderson. Anderson has represented victims in this and other clergy abuse cases.

Some 200 men have by now accused Murphy of sexually abusing them. Critics have charged that church officials seemed more concerned about protecting the church and the priest from dishonor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

March 30, 2010

Edmonton bishop latest to defend Pope in abuse scandal

CANADA
CBC News

Edmonton's Roman Catholic archbishop held a rare news conference Tuesday to say Canada's bishops strongly support Pope Benedict XVI — who has come under fire lately over allegations he covered up sex abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.

Archbishop Richard Smith said he and his fellow Canadian bishops have sent a letter to the Vatican offering the "absolute support and confidence of ... all the bishops of Canada in the clear and decisive leadership of the Holy Father at this time."

Last Friday, Canada’s top Roman Catholic cardinal, Quebec City Archbishop Marc Ouellet, denounced allegations that Pope Benedict XVI covered up cases of sexual abuse committed by priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:37 PM

Vatican and Pope Stumble in Response to Abuse Crisis

VATICAN CITY
The New York Times

By RACHEL DONADIO and DANIEL J. WAKIN
Published: March 30, 2010

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican has been ramping up its defense of how Pope Benedict XVI and the church have handled a growing sexual abuse scandal. But deflecting criticism has proved challenging for this papacy, which has been defined by missteps and difficulties in conveying its message.

Even as the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, has said that the crisis has threatened the “moral credibility” of the church, he acknowledged in an interview this week that he had not personally discussed the abuse crisis with the pope, a fact he attributed to the structure of the Vatican’s communications apparatus.

“The pope has never avoided the problems of the church,” Father Lombardi said of the sexual abuse issue in an interview on Monday. “He has always expressed his very deep pain and his very deep awareness of the seriousness of what has happened.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:34 PM

Papal Letter to Ireland Seen as Valid for Everyone

ROME
Zenit

ROME, MARCH 30, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI's letter to the Church in Ireland regarding sexual abuse of minors is a "real step forward" in combatting an abominable evil, according to the retired theologian of the pontifical household.

Cardinal Georges Cottier spoke to La Repubblica last week about the Pope's efforts to stop sexual abuse in the Church. He pointed to the Holy Father's "courage" and "firm condemnation."

Regarding the cases of abuse in Ireland, the cardinal contended that oftentimes things were handled too quickly.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:11 PM

Vatican, Catholic officials defend Pope Benedict XVI's record on child abuse cases

VATICAN CITY
Washington Post

By Anthony Faiola
Washington Post staff writer
Wednesday, March 31, 2010

VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican on Tuesday dismissed any notion that Pope Benedict XVI should take personal responsibility for the child sexual abuse scandal rocking the church, defending his management of such cases and vowing that the crisis would not interrupt what historians view as his conservative agenda for Catholics around the world.

The defense of the pope, outlined in an interview Tuesday by the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican's official spokesman, came as the church hierarchy is launching a public relations blitz in the United States and Europe to ease Catholic anger and bolster the pope's image in sermons and interviews ahead of Easter Sunday.

Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Vienna, for instance, this week publicly countered accusations that Benedict turned a blind eye to abuse scandals when, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he headed a powerful Vatican office in charge of disciplinary action of the clergy between 1981 and 2005. Schoenborn said that Ratzinger in 1995 pressed for a special investigation into the former archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, for allegedly molesting young monks. That push, Schoenborn said, was blocked by aides to then-Pope John Paul II.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:07 PM

Archbishop of Edmonton speaks out after allegations against Catholic church

CANADA
iNews 880

The Archbishop of Edmonton is speaking out after new allegations of sexual abuse among the clergy of the Catholic church re-surfaced in Germany and Ireland.

Archbishop Richard Smith broached the subject last night with Edmonton leaders of the Catholic church, and met again with reporters this afternoon. "Somehow the Pope was involved in the culture of secrecy - all of these different things that you hear out there, that's the impression. I just want to state, categorically, that is not the case. That would be false information. This is a Pope that is addressing this with complete determination and resolution."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:01 PM

San Angelo Diocese passes annual audit

SAN ANGELO (TX)
Standard-Times

By Michael Kelly
Posted March 30, 2010

SAN ANGELO, Texas — The San Angelo Catholic diocese is in compliance with all directives of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, according to the 2009 annual report on the charter's implementation, the diocese said in an announcement Friday.

The audit was conducted by the Gavin Group of Boston in September, the diocese said. The diocese was commended in the report for conducting safe environment workshops for children, employees and parents and conducting background checks on personnel.

Bishop Michael Pfeifer organized task forces and supported community efforts to protect children throughout the diocese, the announcement said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:57 PM

Priest goes to ground after child concerns

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

A Co Tyrone parish priest who was stood down while child safety concerns are investigated has gone to ground.

Fr Sean McEvoy left the parochial house in Aughnacloy at the weekend, and attempts to contact him yesterday were unsuccessful.

Fr McEvoy has been parish priest of Aghaloo for the last six years, and yesterday people in the border community spoke of their shock at the news.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:51 PM

Vatican confirms report of sexual abuse and rape of nuns by priests in 23 countries

VATICAN CITY
The Indpendent (United Kingdom)

[This is a 2001 article but it pre-dates the Tracker and was not previously posted.]

By Frances Kennedy in Rome

Wednesday, 21 March 2001

The Catholic Church in Rome made the extraordinary admission yesterday that it is aware priests from at least 23 countries have been sexually abusing nuns.

Most of the abuse has occurred in Africa, where priests vowed to celibacy, who previously sought out prostitutes, have preyed on nuns to avoid contracting the Aids virus.

Confidential Vatican reports obtained by the National Catholic Reporter, a weekly magazine in the US, have revealed that members of the Catholic clergy have been exploiting their financial and spiritual authority to gain sexual favours from nuns, particularly those from the Third World who are more likely to be culturally conditioned to be subservient to men.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:44 PM

Diocese fights against sex crimes

ALBANY (NY)
CBS 6

March 30, 2010 7:21 PM
Alexandra Field
ALBANY -- As the latest sex scandal rocks the Catholic Church, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany is fighting to put an end to sex crimes in the Church.

It's an initiative that started eight years ago under order of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. In 2002, the bishops signed the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. Soon after, the Albany diocese developed a plan to meet the goals of the charter. It's a dual approach aimed at educating young people and training the adults who work for them.

Since the start of the program, the diocese's sexual assault education programs have reached about 35,000 kids a year both in their parishes and schools. John Soja, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative SErvices for Catholic schools says the program is helping the diocese meet goals. " The awareness level and the transperency that is more prevalent nowadays...makes it more comfortable for kids to raise these types of issues and seek help when needed," says Soja.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 PM

Catholic League Misleading Ad Smears Gays

NEW YORK
Outcome

NEW YORK CITY — Truth Wins Out today harshly condemned the Catholic League and its President Bill Donohue for its full-page New York Times ad in which the organization served as an enabler for sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and sought to deflect blame for the crisis by smearing the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

The offensive ad sought to exonerate the Pope and other priests of blame who are ensnared in a widening sexual abuse scandal that reaches across the globe. Instead of offering an apology for sinful behavior, the Catholic League served as apologists and used the ad to try to deflect the crisis by attacking gay priests.

"This was a disgraceful ad and an unconscionable attempt to smear gay and lesbian people," said Truth Wins Out's Executive Director Wayne Besen. "Clearly, the Catholic League is more interested in finding scapegoats than solutions."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 PM

Church abuse victim wants royal commission

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

Child sex abuse victims of New South Wales Hunter Valley Catholic priests say a full-scale probe into the church's handling of abuse cases will further help the healing process.

Dozens of boys claim to have been abused by members of the clergy in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese since the 1970s.

Several priests have been convicted and others are still before the courts.

A senior Hunter police office believes a wider investigation like a royal commission is warranted.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:36 PM

Standards for church should be different

WISCONSIN
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By Nancy Ettenheim

Posted: March 30, 2010 6:39 p.m. |(0) Comments

As can be expected, the Child Victims Act has generated a lot of heat, both from sexual abuse survivors and from the church. (In this column, I refer to "the church" to mean all religious denominations.) I strongly support the bill and believe it is long overdue.

The church loudly complains that the legislation treats it unfairly, essentially holding it to a higher standard than others. My position is that religious organizations and individuals should and must be held to a higher standard of behavior as well as consequences because they already claim that position for themselves in many ways.

Why? My answer is threefold and resides in the nature of the victim, the perpetrator and the seriousness of child sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 PM

Denver Archdiocese responds not to papal scandal but to ‘media frenzy’

DENVER (CO)
The Colorado Independent

By John Tomasic 3/30/10

The Archdiocese of Denver has responded to international reports of sexual abuse and cover up by the Catholic Church in three countries by posting a paragraph on its website not about sexual abuse or coverup or administrative responsibility but about what it calls a “media frenzy.” Archbishop Chaput, the U.S. representative on a special team appointed to investigate a high-profile pedophile priest this year, has yet to address the scandals directly. His office failed to return messages yesterday.

If the comment threads at the Catholic websites he is sending readers to are any measure, though, Chaput’s or the archdiocese’s paragraph critiquing the media will fail to satisfy the restive flock, which seems to be looking for leaders to confront the issue instead of dodging it.

Chaput is not shy to speak in the public sphere on controversial issues. Indeed he has written a book arguing that it is a Catholic obligation to do so. Chaput was one of the loudest Catholic voices in opposing health reform. He went to Texas recently (Texas!) and critiqued Pres. John Kennedy’s reading of Catholicism as a non-controlling factor in his approach to public policy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 PM

A call for a Catholic reformation

Washington Post

By Henri Boulad
Egyptian Jesuit

Holy Father,
I dare to speak directly to you for my heart bleeds upon seeing the abyss into which our Church is falling. Hopefully, you will forgive the filial frankness, inspired by the liberty of the children of God to which St. Paul invites us and for my impassioned love for the Church.
I will be pleased also that you forgive the alarmist tone of this letter for I know that little time remains and that the situation remains dire. Let me first tell you a little about myself. I am an Egyptian Lebanese Jesuit of the Melkiterite. I will soon turn 78. For the last 3 years, I have been the rector of the Jesuit school in Cairo. I have also carried out the following responsibilities: superior of the Jesuits in Alexandria, regional superior of the Jesuits in Egypt, professor of theology in El Cairo, director of Caritas-Egypt, and vice president of Caritas International for the Middle East and North Africa.

I am well acquainted with the Catholic hierarchy of Egypt having participated over many years in meetings as president of superiors of the religious orders of Egypt. I have very close relations with each one of them, some of whom are my former students. I also personally know Pope Chenouda III, whom I saw frequently. As far as the Catholic hierarchy of Europe goes, I had the opportunity to meet personally with some of its members such as Cardinal Koening, Cardinal Schonborn, Cardinal Daneels, Cardinal Martini, Archbishop Kothgasser, Bishops Kapellari and Kung, other Austrian bishops and bishops of other European countries. These encounters occurred during my annual trips to give conferences throughout Europe, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, France, Belgium, etc. During these visits, I spoke and engaged with diverse audiences and the media (newspapers, radio, television, etc.) I did the same in Egypt and the Near East.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:23 PM

The Vatican’s 3 reasons the Pope can’t be deposed

UNITED STATES
True/Slant

David Knowles

The inevitable has happened. A lawsuit in Kentucky is attempting to have Pope Benedict XVI deposed in a criminal proceeding looking into his role in the ever-widening pedophilia scandal currently rocking the Catholic Church.

The case was filed in 2004 in Kentucky by three men who claim they were abused by priests and claim negligence by the Vatican. Their attorney, William McMurry, is seeking class-action status for the case, saying there are thousands of victims across the country.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:20 PM

Local SNAP leader sets up new chapter in England

ST. LOUIS (MO)
KMOX

Fred Bodimer Reporting
flbodimer@cbs.com

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) -- St. Louisian Barbara Dorris, the National Outreach Director for the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, concluded her European tour Tuesday with a stop in London.

At a news conference outside Westminster Cathedral, Dorris and another SNAP leader Barbara Blaine announced the creation of a new permanent SNAP chapter titled "SNAP England."

"We also called on the Archbishop here to make a national registry of priests and clergy members who have been credibly accused of abuse," said Dorris. "And to open his files to law enforcement."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 PM

Petty gossip and unfair intimidation: A look at the real victims of the Vatican sex abuse scandal

Straight

By Mike Cowie

"Indifference is the essence of inhumanity"
—George Bernard Shaw

Hey, did you hear the news? The Vatican sex abuse scandal isn't really about the tens of thousands of little kids who've been raped and abused in all sorts of disturbing ways over the years by their friendly neighborhood clergymen. No, it seems the real issue, at least according to the Vatican and Pope Benedict himself, is the strength and resolve of the Church to not be intimidated by such "petty gossip".

And, yes, "petty gossip" is indeed the term the Pope used to refer to all of this. It's not clear whether he was referring to the Church's systemic worldwide sheltering and protection of habitual child rapists or just the allegations of his own personal involvement in at least two cases of coverups in the year's before he became Pope, but, either way, it's terrific to see him standing up for the true victims in all of this: the poor maligned leaders of the Catholic Church, himself included.

His exact words, reverberating with indignation for justice not yet achieved, referred to "the courage of not allowing oneself to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:58 PM

Marquette Professor Calls For Pope’s Resignation

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Today's TMJ

By Tom Murray
MILWAUKEE – Marquette’s Daniel Maguire, a religious ethics professor, knows what he has to say goes against what leaders at his university want to hear.

"I met the Pope when he was a Cardinal and he made it clear he did not agree with me on everything,” Maguire told TODAY’S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray.

Maguire, a former priest, is calling for Pope Benedict to step down.

"That is for two clear reasons,” he said. “Number one, the crime. Number two, the cover up."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:55 PM

Ahearn: A church scandal, a papal response

NEW JERSEY
Daily Record

By JAMES AHEARN
RECORD COLUMNIST

THE ESCALATING scandal in the Roman Catholic Church about sex abuses by rogue priests is rooted in two church doctrines.

The first is that sinners can obtain absolution in the confessional, with the admonition that they go forth and sin no more. Some mend their ways. Some don’t. The plight of a victim is treated as a separate matter.

The second tenet is that scandalous information about the church must be kept secret.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:49 PM

"Our church will no longer be the personal punching bag of the New York Times"

NEW YORK
Beliefnet

Deacon Greg Kandra

That's how Brooklyn's Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio describes the recent coverage of the pope, in his homily at tonight's Chrism Mass.

From the press release:
In his homily to the priests and people of the Diocese of Brooklyn, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, called upon the priests and people of the Diocese of Brooklyn to stand up with him and "besiege The New York Times. Send a message loud and clear that the Pope, our Church, and bishops and our priests will no longer be the personal punching bag of The New York Times."

Bishop DiMarzio's spirited defense of the Holy Father was based on the decision of The New York Times editors to, "Omit significant facts," and ignore the reality that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Cardinal Ratzinger headed up, did not have competency over Canonical Trials in 1996. Moreover, Bishop DiMarzio continued "...the priest in question, Father Murphy was in the midst of a Canonical Trial. He died before a verdict was rendered."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:46 PM

Spotlight on pope evokes local priest scandals

LOUISIANA
Daily Comet

John DeSantis
Senior Staff Writer

THIBODAUX — As the world follows allegations that the pope ignored alarms concerning priests accused of sex abuse, two cases with local ties continue creeping through the courts.

Attorneys representing accusers in the local cases say their clients met a “conspiracy of silence” similar to allegations now leveled against Pope Benedict XVI and other high-ranking church officials concerning cases in Germany, Ireland and the U.S.

“Failure to take appropriate action against these priests, failure to weed them out of the ministry, it’s all part of that conspiracy,” said Roger Stetter, one of the attorneys for 24-year-old Jared Ribardi, who accuses the Rev. Etienne LeBlanc, former pastor of Annunziata Catholic Church in Houma, of molesting him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:43 PM

What did Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger know and when?

UGANDA
The New Vision

Tuesday, 30th March, 2010

Opiyo Oloya

AS Christians around the world prepare to celebrate Easter, trouble is brewing about the Vatican’s handling of allegations of sex abuses involving Catholic priests.

At the heart of the scandal is the Catholic Church’s unwillingness to confront the issues of sexual abuse in a forthright manner as Jesus would have. Now, because of that failure, there are growing calls for Pope Benedict XVI to resign.

That is not going to happen. But the Vatican needs to come clean about what Pope Benedict XVI knew and when. The questions surround several cases of alleged sex abuses that the pope handled when he was still known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. While not all alleged sexual abuses by priests happened under Cardinal Ratzinger’s watch, those raising the most hackles happened during his tenure as the archbishop of Munich, and later as the head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.


Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:39 PM

Not Throwing Stones: A Protestant Remembers The Best Of The Catholic Church

UNITED STATES
The Huffington Post

Serene Jones

As a Protestant, and as the President of a seminary known for its commitment to progressive theology, my reaction is deeply divided about the sexual abuse crisis that is currently shaking the Roman Catholic Church in Europe and the United States. Watching the disturbing details of cover-ups by clergy -- even those at the highest levels -- unfold during Holy Week, of all times, I can't decide whether to cry out in despair or be ever-so-slightly optimistic that real changes may result from this tragedy. Most days, I feel both.

Tears come easily when I think of the abuse and the horrifying realization that some within the church clearly believe that protecting priests is more important than safeguarding children. When I think of Jesus suffering during Holy Week, it is the broken bodies of children, betrayed by their own religious leaders, that come to mind. They bear the crosses of the church's abuses of power.

That said, I also weep because this latest sex scandal adds to our distrust of religious leadership in general and keeps us from remembering all the good work the Roman Catholic church does for the poor, hungry, and homeless, and has done for many decades. I am personally indebted to countless nuns and priests I've encountered over the years, who patiently taught me what it means to "stand with the least of these." In the twentieth century, especially, it was Roman Catholics rather than liberal, so-called "Main Line" Protestants who more often found spiritual grounds for social justice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:37 PM

The Pattern of Priestly Sex Abuse

UNITED STATES
The New York Times

Ross Douthot

Reproduced below is a chart from the John Jay Report on sexual abuse in the Catholic priesthood, commissioned by the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops, showing the number of credible accusations of abuse across the last half-century. It’s part of the basis for my column’s claim that something in the moral/cultural/theological climate of the 1960s and 1970s encouraged a spike in sexual abuse, and also for my assertion that we’ve since seen the church come to grips with the problem, at least in the United States.

It’s important to note that most of these incidents were reported in the 1990s and 2000s, years after they took place. This raises the question of whether the low numbers for the 1950s reflect a real difference between the rate of abuse in the Eisenhower era and the rate in the decades that followed, or whether it’s just that fewer of the victims from the ’50s have come forward with their stories, because of advanced age, greater shame, etc.

There’s no way to be completely certain about this, and clearly there was abuse in the church, and horrid cover-ups as well, going back decades and centuries and more. But the John Jay data suggest that something significant really did shift, and escalate, in the years around the sexual revolution.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:33 PM

Reports blaming Pope for mishandled sex abuse case are inaccurate, Church judge reveals

UNITED STATES
Catholic News Agency

Anchorage, Alaska, Mar 30, 2010 / 04:43 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Reports in the New York Times and other media about a Wisconsin priest who sexually abused deaf children have been “sloppy and inaccurate,” the then-judicial vicar of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has said. Correcting the public record, he said the claim Pope Benedict XVI was involved in the case is “a huge leap of logic.”

Fr. Thomas Brundage, JLC, former judicial vicar of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, wrote in Anchorage, Alaska’s Catholic Anchor about the case of Fr. Lawrence Murphy, a principal of St. John’s School for the Deaf in Milwaukee.

About 200 former students have said they were molested by Fr. Murphy, sometimes even in the confessional. Outlets such as the Associated Press claim that the priest was “spared a defrocking in the mid-1990s” because he was allegedly “protected by the Vatican office led by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger,” who is now Pope Benedict XVI.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:31 PM

How To Prosecute Your Local Priest

Slate

By Juliet Lapidos
Posted Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI continues to face criticism over a 2001 letter he sent advising bishops to forward cases of sexual abuse to the Vatican, rather than suggesting they call the police. Meanwhile, allegations of Catholic priests molesting children have surfaced by the hundreds in Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, and the United States. Do the legal systems in those countries allow people to keep mum if they know about a crime?

Sometimes. Generally speaking, the rules are more strict in the United States than in Europe. All states plus the District of Columbia have statutes identifying "mandated reporters" with a "duty to report" suspected child abuse; usually these are professionals who come in frequent contact with kids, including social workers, teachers, physicians, mental health professionals, and law enforcement officers. More than 20 states specifically mention that members of the clergy count as "mandated reporters." Reporting laws often recognize clergy-penitent confidentiality, yet this privilege is interpreted narrowly in a child-abuse context—so if a priest learns of abuse outside the context of confession or counseling, he can be held liable for keeping that information to himself. Canada (which had its own pedophile priest scandal in the 1980s) has laws very comparable to ours. And according to the U.S. Embassy in Italy, Italian law requires any citizen who suspects child abuse to notify law enforcement. But Germany, the Netherlands, and Ireland do not mandate reporting.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:27 PM

Rollback Rollback

UNITED STATES
Newsweek

By The Rev. Richard P. McBrien | Newsweek Web Exclusive

The child sex-abuse scandal in the Catholic priesthood—and the worldwide cover-up that seems, at least indirectly, to have involved Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he was elevated to the papacy—has embarrassed the Catholic Church and angered parishioners. It's a good bet Pope Benedict XVI won't resign under pressure; it's not his style and, more importantly, nobody can compel him. But that doesn't mean the scandal will simply go away. Benedict brought a clearly conservative moral agenda to the Vatican, and he has gone about implementing it slowly. Yet until he comes clean on what he knew—and fires bishops who mishandled abuse cases—his changes are likely to stall or fail altogether.

The pope's ideas about the church include his belief that interpreters of Vatican II overly weakened the church's teachings on salvation outside the church (that is, they relaxed the message that only Catholic dogma can lead to salvation), ecumenical relations with other Christian communities, abortion, homosexuality, and contraception, for example. There is already an air of widespread indifference, if not outright opposition, to some of Benedict's objections, such as those related to human sexuality and reproduction.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:23 PM

Listecki To Speak Out On Sex Abuse Crisis

WISCONSIN
WISN

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki is set to publicly address the recent allegations of a cover-up of priest sex abuse in the archdiocese.

The speech comes at a tough time for the Catholic faith, as allegations of abuse cross the globe and enflame even the pope.

Listecki will speak following Mass Tuesday night at St. John's Cathedral.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:19 PM

Vatican offers 3 reasons it's not liable for abuse

VATICAN CITY
Houston Chronicle

By NICOLE WINFIELD Associated Press Writer
March 30, 2010

VATICAN CITY — Dragged deeper than ever into the clerical sex abuse scandal, the Vatican is launching a legal defense that the church hopes will shield the pope from a lawsuit in Kentucky seeking to have him deposed.

Court documents obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press show that Vatican lawyers plan to argue that the pope has immunity as head of state, that American bishops who oversaw abusive priests weren't employees of the Vatican, and that a 1962 document is not the "smoking gun" that provides proof of a cover-up.

The Holy See is trying to fend off the first U.S. case to reach the stage of determining whether victims actually have a claim against the Vatican itself for negligence for allegedly failing to alert police or the public about Roman Catholic priests who molested children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:13 PM

Pope accused in new U.S. predator priest case

UNITED STATES
Canada.com

Agence France-Presse
March 30, 2010 5:03 PM

WASHINGTON - The Vatican and Pope Benedict XVI came under fire in the United States Tuesday for allegedly covering up for another predator priest and doing nothing to remove him from ministry.

Documents sent to AFP by lawyers representing a man who claims he was sexually abused as a teen by Father Ernesto Garcia Rubio claim the Papal Nuncio — the Vatican ambassador to the U.S. — asked the church in Miami to protect Garcia after he moved there from Cuba in 1968 after "serious difficulties of a moral nature."

"He was in ministry here in Miami for about 30 years and during that time we know of about a dozen victims that he abused," said Jessica Arbour, an attorney for the unnamed victim and five others who are suing the archdiocese of Miami for alleged abuse between 1977 and 1987.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:08 PM

Group urges Catholic church to out sex abusers

UNITED KINGDOM
Reuters

The diocese of Westminster could not immediately be reached for comment.

SNAP says it has already been contacted by 45 victims in England looking for help and expects many more to come forward once proper support is in place.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:58 PM

Catholic League says Church crisis is homosexual problem, not child abuse

UNITED STATES
Irish Central

By ANTOINETTE KELLY, IrishCentral.com

The Catholic League says the ongoing Church abuse scandal is a homosexual crisis.

President Bill Donohoe singles out The New York Times for allegedly getting the story wrong saying, "The Times continues to editorialize about the pedophilia crisis while all along it's been a homosexual crisis."

Donohoe took out an ad in the op-ed section of The New York Times Tuesday to broadcast his anti-gay message.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:56 PM

Catholic League Stands by Pope, Catholic Church via NYT Ad

UNITED STATES
Media Bistro

By Kiran Aditham on Mar 30, 2010

In light of the global shitstorm that's surrounded the Vatican, Pope Benedict and the Catholic Church following sexual abuse allegations from Wisconsin to Miami to Germany, Catholic League president Bill Donohue (left) is rushing to the defense of his religious brethren with a quarter-page ad in today's New York Times (below).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:50 PM

Criticism makes no distinction between the past and what is happening now

NEW ZEALAND
The Dominion Post

Bishop Peter J Cullinane responds to claims the Catholic Church has lost its moral authority over sex-abuse scandals.

New Zealand's Catholic bishops make no excuse whatever for sexual crimes or for errors of judgment in dealing with them. Wrong is wrong.

Like other bishops around the world, the New Zealand bishops feel nothing but shame that such crimes have been committed here or anywhere, and sadness at the slowness of the Church, everywhere, to appreciate the irremediable nature of some not all kinds of sexual offending.

The claim that the Church has lost its moral authority in your editorial refers especially to recent allegations of mismanagement by the Pope. Unfortunately, some media are still disseminating inaccuracies and misleading reports.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:46 PM

Catholic Bishops Praise Pope for Handling of Sex Abuse Crisis

UNITED STATES
NBC Chicago

By MARY ANN AHERN

Chicago's Francis Cardinal George and other U.S. Bishops on Tuesday praised Pope Benedict for his leadership as others question the pontiff's moral credibility in the midst of the current priest sex abuse crisis.

"We know from our experience how Pope Benedict is deeply concerned for those who have been harmed by sexual abuse and how he has strengthened the Church’s response to victims and supported our efforts to deal with perpetrators," George, as the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in a statement.

"We continue to intensify our efforts to provide safe environments for children in our parishes and schools. Further, we work with others in our communities to address the prevalence of sexual abuse in the larger society."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:43 PM

Judicial Vicar in Fr. Murphy Case: Pope Not Involved, Case Moved "Slow"

WISCONSIN
WTMJ

By Jay Sorgi
MILWAUKEE - Another major player has come forward to give his perspective in a church sex abuse scandal that has linked the case of an abusive priest from Milwaukee to the man who is now Pope.

Fr. Thomas Brundage, who was judicial vicar for the Milwaukee Archdiocese at the time of the case (1996-98), explains that a number of complications extended the length of the case to a point where it could not be completed before the priest accused of child sex abuse, Fr. Lawrence Murphy, passed away.

He also contends that current Pope Benedict XVI had no role in the case, despite recent media reports to the contrary.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:41 PM

NYT’s Ross Douthat Gains Voice as He Reacts to the Pope Scandal Coverage

UNITED STATES
Mediaite

by Michael Triplett | 4:27 pm, March 30th, 2010

Professional angry-Catholic Bill Donohue at the Catholic League is convinced that the New York Times is harassing the Pope and Catholics and he took out an ad in the paper to underscore the point. But it is likely conservative columnist Ross Douthat the folks churning out the reporting on the new scandals that allegedly implicate Pope Benedict XVI are probably more concerned about.

Donahue’s quarter-page ad says the paper is refusing to properly cover what he calls a “homosexual crisis” and that the paper is trying to undermine the church “[b]ecause of issues like abortion, gay marriage and women’s ordination. That’s what’s really driving them mad, and that’s why they are on the hunt.”

The paper’s new revelations about the Pope’s alleged involvement in not moving forward with charges against a pedophile priest in Wisconsin and reinstating a pedophile priest in Munich have been fodder for the paper’s editorial pages, with more than five editorial, op-eds, and columns over the past week.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:38 PM

Vatican supporters strike back

UNITED STATES
Dallas Voice

March 30th, 2010
Below is a scan of an ad that ran in today’s issue of The New York Times. The ad was paid for by the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, and it ran on the Times’ op-ed page.

Apparently, the Catholic League is unhappy with the Times’ recent coverage of yet another sex scandal in the Catholic Church, this was reaching as high, possibly, as Pope Benedict, with some charging that the pope — back when he was Cardinal Ratzinger — participated in a cover-up of at least one instance of a priest being accused of molesting a child. So the Catholic League ran this ad that, in essence, blames the gays.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:51 PM

Lawyers: Vatican knew of abusive priest

MIAMI (FL)
United Press International

MIAMI, March 30 (UPI) -- The Archdiocese of Miami and the Vatican knew a South Florida priest had "serious difficulties of a moral nature," lawyers for alleged abuse victims say.

Jessica Arbour and Stuart Mermelstein are representing men who say they were abused as children by the Rev. Ernesto Garcia-Rubio, The Miami Herald reports. They say Luigi Raimondi, then the apostolic delegate to Washington, warned Archbishop Coleman Carroll in a secret letter in 1968 that Garcia-Rubio had been "forced to leave Cuba because of serious difficulties of a moral nature," or homosexuality.

"It was a longstanding and well-known secret that the Vatican and Archdiocese of Miami knew exactly what Ernesto Garcia-Rubio was capable of," Arbour said Monday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:47 PM

Bill Donohue shifts goalposts on Church scandals

UNITED STATES
Irish Central

by Cahir O'Doherty

Bill Donohue is at it again. Today he took out a quarter page ad in The New York Times to defend the Church and Pope Benedict from the seemingly endless glut of sexual abuse stories rocking the Church around the world.

For Donohue, the real scandal doesn't appear to be the abuse; it seems to be what he calls a sustained press campaign against the church. If that's true then the abuse was not the problem, the rape, the shaming, the enforced silence; only the revelation of it.

Donohue, the leader of the Catholic League, an organization fellow Irish American Kathy Griffin called “one man in a room in front of a computer,” is switching the goalposts in his effort to defend the Catholic Church from the international, decades long sex abuse crisis it did little or nothing to prevent.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:42 PM

Tracking the Papal Paper Trail on Sex Abuse

UNITED STATES
ProPublica

by Marian Wang, ProPublica - March 30, 2010

Earlier this month, the Vatican denounced what it viewed as a campaign against the pope:

“It’s rather clear that in recent days there have been people who have searched—with notable tenacity in Regensberg and Munich—for elements to personally involve the Holy Father in the question of the abuses,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told Vatican Radio. “To any objective observer, it’s clear that these attempts have failed.”

Observers, in addition to taking in the Vatican’s statement, may want to take a look at what documents are out there, especially since documents—more than statements, accusations or denials—have historically proven useful for revealing the awareness of abuses up the institutional hierarchy. So we’ve compiled a list of documents that have so far been cited in reporting on ties between Cardinal Ratzinger—now Pope Benedict XVI—on the subject of sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:36 PM

Support Benedict XVI from Secular Journalist Terrorism!

Blogger News Network

Posted on March 30th, 2010 by Hugh McNichol

Perhaps it is the right time for all Catholics worldwide to garner support for the bashing the secular press is giving to Pope Benedict XVI. As the visible head of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict is an easy target for the secular press and collective media that has any type of anti-Catholic grudge that offers at opportunity at sensationalism. Some secular journalists are waging a ad hominem attack against the Pope as a larger delivery method of anti-Catholic rhetoric.

The personal attacks aimed at Benedict XVI are not justified and reflect a growing and pervasive attempt to discredit the activities of good priests, bishops and religious of both sexes that faithfully serve the world’s Catholic faithful without any involvement in scandals. While there are quite a few examples of sexual abuse that are surfacing throughout the Catholic world, most of the reported cases are extremely dated and quite frankly old. When these cases are considered, Catholics and indeed all observers need to ask why the allegations of abuse were unreported for decades by scores of allegedly abused victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:36 PM

Pope under the spotlight

MALTA
Times of Malta

As Malta prepares for Pope Benedict XVI's visit on April 17 and 18, he faces increasing scrutiny over cases of sexual abuse by priests. Could this taint the Pope's image in the eyes of Maltese Catholics? Will it affect the enthusiastic welcome he is expected to receive from the people? By Cynthia Busuttil and Claudia Calleja.

The sex abuse scandal rocking the Roman Catholic Church is not expected to overshadow the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Malta next month.

The Vatican last week attacked what it called an "ignoble attempt" to smear the Pope himself with allegations that, while still a cardinal, he had some part in covering up sexual abuse of children by priests. Protestors in London have gone so far as to demand his resignation.

Sociologist Rev. Joe Inguanez is one of those who believe the impact of the allegations will not be widespread in Malta, an overwhelmingly Catholic country.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:32 PM

Catholicism in turmoil

MSNBC

[with video]

WARSAW, Poland - An Austrian priest avoids mention of Pope Benedict XVI in his Masses. A Philadelphia woman stops going to confession, saying she now sees priests as more flawed than herself. British protesters call for the pontiff to resign.

As the faithful fill churches this Holy Week, many Roman Catholics around the world are finding their relationship to the church painfully tested by new revelations of clerical abuse and suggestions Benedict himself may have helped cover up cases in Germany and the U.S.

There are fears that for those whose commitment is already wavering, the scandal could be the final blow, and a growing chorus is clamoring for the church to embrace full transparency, take a hard line against pedophiles, and reconsider the rule of priestly celibacy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:17 PM

The Demons of Pope Benedict XVI

VATICAN CITY
Spiegel (Germany)

By Alexander Smoltczyk

The case of an American priest who abused deaf children for years has shaken the Vatican. Detailed information about the sexual misconduct of the Rev. Lawrence Murphy went across the desk of Cardinal Ratzinger prior to his papacy. Abuse allegations in Italy are also putting the Catholic Church in an increasingly tough spot.

It is late on a Thursday evening at the Vatican and it is already beginning to look like Easter. St. Peter's Square is brightly lit, and groups attending a world youth forum are in high spirits as they sing and clap to celebrate their pope, clad in immaculate white, who has just spoken about the "Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin," behaving "as if nothing at all had happened."

These are the words of Peter Isely. Standing on a street corner one block away from the spectacle, he is determined to spoil the pope's festival of redemption. Isely has come to Rome all the way from Milwaukee, in the US state of Wisconsin. He is a 49-year-old psychotherapist with a buzz cut and a question that has been on his mind since he was 13: "Why is my church the only institution where pedophiles continue to be employed?"

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:09 PM

Pope Faces a 'Scourging by Words', says Former Student and Publisher

UNITED STATES
Earned Media

SAN FRANCISCO, March 30 /Christian Newswire/ -- As nearly one billion Catholics enter Holy Week, their chief shepherd faces attacks in newspapers, blogs, twitter posts, and television and radio news. Unfortunately, the primary news sources repeatedly fail to report accurate timelines and crucial details. The impression is left that Pope Benedict XVI is part of the problem, rather than leading the way to solving it. Consequently, concerned Catholics and others are agitated and confused.

Pope Benedict's former student speaks out in support of the Pope and responds to the lack of responsible journalism on this story.

"Benedict the XVI is only infallible as an authoritative teacher of the Faith, not as an administrator. He certainly may have made some mistakes, even serious ones, in the 33 years since he was first made a bishop. But there is no evidence for the ones he's being blamed for in the media; for those who know the facts, the evidence leads to just the opposite conclusion. Like the Master he serves, he's also, after 33 years, being publically scourged, this time with words," Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio says.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:37 PM

U.S. Bishops Voice Concern for Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse, Thank Pope Benedict for Leadershi

UNITED STATES
PRNewswire

WASHINGTON, March 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. bishops March 30 voiced concern for victims of child sexual abuse by clerics and praised Pope Benedict XVI for leadership in dealing with the sin and crime of child sexual abuse.

"We know from our experience how Pope Benedict is deeply concerned for those who have been harmed by sexual abuse and how he has strengthened the Church's response to victims and supported our efforts to deal with perpetrators," the bishops said. "We continue to intensify our efforts to provide safe environments for children in our parishes and schools. Further, we work with others in our communities to address the prevalence of sexual abuse in the larger society."

The bishops' comments came in a statement issued by the Executive Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Cardinal Francis George, OMI, of Chicago, president; Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona, vice-president; Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, treasurer; Bishop George Murry, SJ of Youngstown, Ohio, secretary; and Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, New Jersey, elected member.

A Personal Issue, The Catholic Church Scandal

Reader Supported News

By John Cory, Reader Supported News
28 March 2010

My views on child abuse and child molestation are harsh and unforgiving and forged by the fires of my own childhood. I give no quarter on this issue.

I have no kind words or forgiving thoughts for the Catholic hierarchy or their enablers, which brings me to Bill Donohue's article on the CNN Opinion web site. You can read what he says here but I'll give you my version:

Child abuse and molestation is bad but this stuff happened a long time ago and times were different then and besides everyone does it including churches, schools, businesses and even the Jews. This is all about picking on the Catholic Church for headlines.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:17 PM

Going for the Vatican Jugular

UNITED STATES
Bishop.Accountability.org

By Bill Donohue
Catholic League
Advertisement in the New York Times
March 30, 2010

[This ad was scanned from the print edition of the New York Times by BishopAccountability.org. See also an image of the ad with a PDF. Donohue is discussing Vatican Declined to Defrock U.S. Priest Who Abused Boys, by Laurie Goodstein, New York Times, March 24, 2010, with the documents posted on the web to accompany the article. See also For Years, Deaf Boys Tried to Tell of Priest’s Abuse, by Laurie Goodstein and David Callender, New York Times, March 26, 2010.]

Recent accusations against the Vatican deserve a response.

• Fr. Lawrence Murphy apparently began his predatory behavior in Wisconsin in the 1950s, yet the victims' families never contacted the police until the mid-1970s. After an investigation, the case was dropped.

• The Vatican did not learn of the case until 1996.

• Cardinal Ratzinger, now the pope, was the head of the office that was contacted. There is no evidence that he knew of it. But even if he did, he would have had to allow for an investigation. While the inquiry was proceeding, Murphy died.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:12 PM

Going for the Vatican Jugular

UNITED STATES
BishopAccountability.org

This links to a copy of the advertisement from the Catholic League.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:07 PM

A Response to the New York Times

National Review

[Fr. Raymond J. de Souza]

The New York Times on March 25 accused Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, of intervening to prevent a priest, Fr. Lawrence Murphy, from facing penalties for cases of sexual abuse of minors.

The story is false. It is unsupported by its own documentation. Indeed, it gives every indication of being part of a coordinated campaign against Pope Benedict, rather than responsible journalism.

Before addressing the false substance of the story, the following circumstances are worthy of note:

• The New York Times story had two sources. First, lawyers who currently have a civil suit pending against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. One of the lawyers, Jeffrey Anderson, also has cases in the United States Supreme Court pending against the Holy See. He has a direct financial interest in the matter being reported.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:03 PM

Indian holy man calls sex tape 'false campaign'

INDIA
BBC News

A Hindu holy man in India has denied any wrongdoing, days after video emerged apparently showing him engaging in sexual acts with two women.

A spokesman for Nithyananda Swami said he was at the Kumbh Mela festival and would soon "clear the air".

In a video released on Sunday, the guru said he had done nothing illegal and the scandal was "a false campaign".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:07 AM

Schönborn, Ratzinger, and Groër

UNITED STATES
Leon J. Podles: Dialogue

Now that he has made a public statement, I feel I can now reveal what Cardinal Schönborn told me two years ago.

I know him a little, and I sent him my book Sacrilege: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church. We met in San Diego, and I asked him what he thought of the book, especially the section on his predecessor, Cardinal Groër. I wondered whether I had understood all the German sources correctly.

Schönborn said the situation was worse than I knew. Groër had molested almost every student he had come into contact with for decades. After Groër was accused of this abuse, John Paul II continued to receive Groër socially in the Vatican, and tens of thousands of Austrians were resigning from the Church in protest.

Schönborn in person pleaded with John Paul to make a statement about Groër. John Paul replied that he would like to, but “they won’t let me.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:57 AM

Bishop Duffy says he has no questions to answer in Fermanagh abuse case

IRELAND
Donegal Democrat

A spokesperson for the Bishop of Clogher said this week he had not been made aware of any allegations against de-frocked priest Jeremiah McGrath.

The spokesperson told a reporter from The Irish News that the Bishop, whose diocese includes parts of south Donegal, that once the PSNI informed the bishop of claims against McGrath, he co-operated fully with the investigations.

McGrath, who was born in Kerry, served as parish priest in the Fermanagh town of Roslea. He was convicted at Liverpool Crown Court in 2007 for assisting and facilitating the rape of a 12-year-old schoolgirl by his lover, convicted rapist Billy Adams

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:53 AM

Listecki To Address Clergy Abuse From Pulpit

MILWAUKEE (WI)
WTMJ

By Tom Murray

MILWAUKEE - Archbishop Jerome Listecki plans to address the latest developments in the clergy abuse scandal during the Tuesday evening Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. Representatives from every parish in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee are expected to be in attendance.

Listecki defends the Pope's handling of clergy abuse cases.

"This Pope really did recognize that response and was on the forefront of reparation," Listecki told TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:49 AM

Papalgate: The Pope's Nixon Problem

UNITED STATES
The Atlantic

The ever-widening scandal over Pope Benedict XVI’s handling of Church sex abuse cases has an eerily familiar ring: it's unfolding in much the same way that Watergate played out for Richard Nixon. Each day brings new revelations, to which the Pope and his supporters respond with carefully crafted explanations and pointed counterattacks.

Is this Watergate with holy water? Here’s a look at some of the ways in which Pope Benedict XVI has found himself caught up in a scandal of Nixonian proportions…

What Did He Know and When Did He Know It?

During the Watergate hearings, Senator Howard Baker famously posed the question that came to define the case against Richard Nixon: "What did the President know and when did he know it?" There’s ample evidence that Nixon had no prior knowledge of the Watergate break-in. So the crucial question became, What did Nixon do once he found out about White House involvement in the crime?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:43 AM

Hundreds of cases of clerical abuse reported

AUSTRIA
Austrian Independent

There have been 566 reports of various kinds of abuse by clergy at the Catholic Church’s ombudsman’s offices this year, it was reported today (Tues).

Vienna archdiocese has had the highest number, 174, followed by Innsbruck diocese with 115. More than half of them can no longer be prosecuted because of the statute of limitations.

Cases of sexual abuse constitute 27 per cent of these, cases of violence 26 per cent. More than half of them require further investigation, according to the media.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:39 AM

Church judge in Wisconsin priest’s trial speaks out

UNITED STATES
San Francisco Examiner

Online Opinion Editor
03/30/10

Over at Catholic Anchor, the ecclesiastical judge in the case of the Wisconsin priest who molested hundreds of deaf children is speaking out. His long piece on what really happened there suggests that there has been much sloppy reporting attempting to establish a tenuous link between the horrific case of Father Lawrence Murphy and Pope Benedict, decades after Murphy sexually abused scores of deaf children.

This short excerpt won’t be enough to catch you up on the case if you haven’t been following it, but if you have, then I think it’s worth reading:

[I]n a letter from [Milwaukee] Archbishop Weakland to then-secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone on August 19, 1998, Archbishop Weakland stated that he had instructed me to abate the proceedings against Father Murphy. Father Murphy, however, died two days later and the fact is that on the day that Father Murphy died, he was still the defendant in a church criminal trial. No one seems to be aware of this. Had I been asked to abate this trial, I most certainly would have insisted that an appeal be made to the supreme court of the church, or Pope John Paul II if necessary. That process would have taken months if not longer.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:35 AM

Jerbal Infallibility

ORANGE COUNTY (CA)
Orange Juice

Within Roman Catholic theology there is a dogma of Papal infallibility under which the faithful believe that the Pope is protected from the possibility of error when “making a statement on faith or morals”. Well appearently if we are to believe the ever increasingly pious Matt Cunningham he has “Jerbal infallibility”.

Cunningham who is best know for his outing the names of Catholic Church sexual abuse victims in order to intimidate them and scare other victims from coming forward continues to tell anyone that will listen it was just a simple mistake on his part. In “Jerbal’s” sick mind it was “no harm, no foul”. Unfortunately the victims feel much differently about his actions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:27 AM

Sex Abuse Statute Limitations Move Closer To Elimination

CONNECTICUT
NBC Connecticut

By a vote of 23 to 20, the state's Judiciary Committee voted on Monday to eliminate the statute of limitations in civil cases involving child sexual abuse.

The committee sent the bill, on a 23-20 vote, to the House of Representatives for further action.

The proposal is a direct result of the case involving the late Dr. George Reardon. He died in 1998, but in 2007 a worker renovating his former West Hartford home found thousands of slides and hundreds of movie reels of child pornography. Nearly 150 lawsuits have been filed against St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, where Reardon worked.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:24 AM

Healing Survivors, Ending Abuse

UNITED STATES
Healing and Spirituality

Dr. Jaime Romo

Mar 29th, 2010

An ancient Vedic text says, “You are your deepest driving desire. As is your desire, so is your will as is your will, so is your deed. As is your deed, so is your destiny. Therefore, your desires can become your destiny.”

If we really want healing and an end to sexual abuse, it requires us to shift, in some small and big ways: different words, thoughts, actions to connect us to what we really really want.

When I was finishing my doctoral studies, people asked me what I wanted to accomplish with my dissertation. I answered as many in the same position answered, after having gone through a six year process of learning and then applying my own ideas; after working with sometimes challenging or harsh feedback about whether I really knew what I was talking about. I said that I wanted my dissertation to change the world.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:17 AM

The Pope's message

CANADA
Toronto Star

As Roman Catholics reel from the latest child abuse scandals, Pope Benedict's every word is being scrutinized for a sign that he gets it. That the Vatican truly grasps how appalled Catholics are by the victims' anguish and the cover-ups. And that Rome will do better.

By that standard, Benedict's Palm Sunday homily was a missed opportunity. Rather than face the latest crisis head on, and the pain and the need for reform, he came across as defensive. He said faith provides "the courage that does not let itself be intimidated by the gossip of dominant opinions." He also extolled "the loyalty that stands with the other even when the situation makes it difficult."

Surely the abuse scandal is more than "gossip," to be stifled by the church reflexively closing ranks. That is how this crisis grew.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:12 AM

Group says abuse victims under attack by pope

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By Annysa Johnson of the Journal Sentinel

Posted: March 30, 2010

Milwaukee advocates for victims of clergy sex abuse called on Pope Benedict XVI and Catholic Church officials Monday to curtail what they see as verbal attacks on victims in the wake of the abuse scandal enveloping the Vatican.

In a protest organized by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, victims stood on the steps of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist holding handmade signs saying "stop attacking us" and "I'm not 'petty gossip' " - references to quotes by Benedict and others since last week's revelation that the Vatican failed to remove a Wisconsin priest who is believed to have molested as many as 200 deaf boys over decades.

"Hundreds and hundreds of wounded victims are finding the courage to speak up," said victim Mary Guentner.

"They should be praised  . . .  and instead they're being vilified."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:09 AM

The Pope Should Step Down...For Now

UNITED STATES
NPR

by Kenneth Briggs

Kenneth Briggs writes for the National Catholic Reporter. He's a professor at Lafayette College professor and a former New York Times religion editor.

The predicament that surrounds Pope Benedict XVI has cast suspicion on his behavior without yet delivering a clear-cut verdict. The unanswered questions related to whether he covered up priests who were child abusers are troubling enough to paralyze his papacy, even though the power of his office cannot be diminished. But he has been convicted of nothing. Fairness dictates that he remain pope until or unless he is judged guilty.

My proposal, therefore, is that Benedict take a leave of absence until his case is cleared one way or another. He should ask for a full investigation by both secular and church agencies and step aside until the results are in. If he fails to clear his name, he would be honor bound to resign. A refusal to invite such tough scrutiny would be widely seen as admission of wrongdoing. Otherwise, he could return with a clean slate.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:06 AM

Italian Church to help courts on child abuse

ITALY
RTE News

Italy's Roman Catholic Church says it will help to bring paedophile priests to justice after the country's bishops ruled that it was right to do so under Canon law.

The Italian conference of bishops stressed concern for the victims of sexual abuse and their families as they met in Rome to address the widening scandal embroiling the Church in Europe and the US.

'The key to searching for the truth is to enforce the procedures and penal rules of Canon law with rigour and transparency,' the episcopal conference said in a statement after the talks.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:04 AM

“Many guilty priests would still be considered priests”

LOS ANGELES (CA)
California Catholic Daily

(Editor’s Note: The following is from a Sunday, March 28, entry from the website “Cardinal Roger Mahony Blogs L.A.” under the heading, “Thank you, Cardinal Ratzinger.”)

While I have no personal information on some of the specific allegations against our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, when he served the Church of Munich in Germany, I am able to assert without hesitation the action steps which he undertook in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith when he served as Prefect of that Congregation.

Beginning in that dark year of 2002, the then Cardinal Ratzinger responded quickly and affirmatively to all of our requests for assistance here in the United States.

Recall that Canon 1324, par. 4, states that in Canon Law a minor is a person under the age of 16 years. However, in the civil laws of the United States, a minor is deemed to be a person under the age of 18 years. After we brought this gap to the attention of Cardinal Ratzinger, the canonical age was also raised to 18 years to accommodate civil law in our country and in other countries.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:01 AM

Ex-Christ the King boys basketball coach Bob Oliva to be arraigned on sex abuse charges April 12

BOSTON (MA)
New York Daily News

By Michael O'Keeffe
Daily News Sports Writer

Tuesday, March 30th 2010

Bob Oliva, the former Christ the King Regional High School boys basketball coach, will be arraigned April 12 in Suffolk (Mass.) Superior Court in Boston on sex abuse charges.

Oliva, the influential former coach who won four CHSAA Class AA intersectional titles and coached Lamar Odom and Jayson Williams before they became NBA stars, was indicted last week by a Massachusetts grand jury on two counts of rape of a child. He could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors say Oliva raped a 14-year-old boy at the Boston Sheraton during a visit to Massachusetts in 1976 to attend a Red Sox-Yankees doubleheader at Fenway Park.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:54 AM

The Pope Should Stay ... For Now

UNITED STATES
NPR

by David Clohessy

David Clohessy is the director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

If the Pope were to resign (highly unlikely), it would no doubt bring short-term comfort to tens of thousands of deeply wounded and still suffering clergy-sex-abuse victims across the globe. It would also provide some hope for millions of Catholics who desperately want to believe that their church hierarchy is capable of reform. It might temporarily scare and deter others who have, are or might be reckless, callous or deceitful regarding child safety.

But there's plenty it would not do. It wouldn't end centuries of secrecy in an ancient, rigid, self-perpetuating, all-male monarchy. It wouldn't unearth volumes of carefully-concealed church records that contain names of predator priests and complicit bishops, some or many of whom are still in parishes and chanceries across the globe. It wouldn't strengthen efforts to reform archaic, predator-friendly laws that enable corrupt employers to hire and shield offenders while jeopardizing kids.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:51 AM

The Pope, the judge, the paedophile priest and The New York Times

UNITED KINGDOM
Telegraph

By Damian Thompson

Fr Thomas Brundage, the former Archdiocese of Milwaukee Judicial Vicar who presided over the canonical criminal case of the Wisconsin child abuser Fr Lawrence Murphy, has broken his silence to give a devastating account of the scandal – and of the behaviour of The New York Times, which resurrected the story.

It looks as if the media were in such a hurry to to blame the Pope for this wretched business that not one news organisation contacted Fr Brundage. As a result, crucial details were unreported.

Moreover, Fr Brundage – who seems to have shown admirable tenacity in pursuing the loathsome Fr Murphy – claims that a document of questionable provenance was quoted authoritatively by the media as a source for his own opinions. At the very least, The New York Times and many other organisations have some explaining to do. They must be held to account for the way they pursued this story, which led to hysterical attacks on Benedict XVI.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:46 AM

Setting the record straight in the case of abusive Milwaukee priest Father Lawrence Murphy

UNITED STATES
Catholic Anchor

By Fr. THOMAS BRUNDAGE, JLC
For CatholicAnchor.org

To provide context to this article, I was the Judicial Vicar for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee from 1995-2003. During those years, I presided over four canonical criminal cases, one of which involved Father Lawrence Murphy. Two of the four men died during the process. God alone will judge these men.

To put some parameters on the following remarks, I am writing this article with the express knowledge and consent of Archbishop Roger Schwietz, OMI, the Archbishop of Anchorage, where I currently serve. Archbishop Schwietz is also the publisher of the Catholic Anchor newspaper.

I will limit my comments, because of judicial oaths I have taken as a canon lawyer and as an ecclesiastical judge. However, since my name and comments in the matter of the Father Murphy case have been liberally and often inaccurately quoted in the New York Times and in more than 100 other newspapers and on-line periodicals, I feel a freedom to tell part of the story of Father Murphy’s trial from ground zero.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:43 AM

The idea that the Vatican helped Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann escape ...

UNITED KINGDOM
Telegraph

Guy Walters

With the Roman Catholic Church now supposedly responsible for every evil on the planet, it came as no surprise to read in the Jerusalem Post that the Vatican “aided” Adolf Eichmann’s escape to Argentina. This accusation is made annually by hacks eager to do their bit of pontiff-baiting, but unfortunately for them, it is complete tosh. Yes, members of the Catholic Church certainly helped Eichmann escape, but there is no evidence that suggests that the Vatican as an institution helped Nazis on their way to South America and the Middle East (an often overlooked retirement destination for pensioned fascists). This distinction between individuals and an institution is an important one to make – one bent copper does not make a corrupt police force.

Like all institutions, the Catholic Church has its share of rotten apples, and historians are fairly knowledgeable about the ones who helped Eichmann. These include the members of the St Raphael Community in Bavaria, and a Franciscan called Edoardo Dömöter in Genoa. Some, such as Simon Wiesenthal, supposed that Eichmann went to Rome to receive the assistance of Bishop Alois Hudal, but this is nonsense. I’ve looked through Hudal’s archives in Rome, and although names such as Franz Stangl and Erich Priebke pop up, there is no mention of Eichmann or of his alias, Riccardo Klement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:35 AM

Judiciary Committee Passes Proposal To Change Statute Of Limitations On Sexual Abuse Civil Lawsuits

CONNECTICUT
The Hartford Courant

By ARIELLE LEVIN BECKER

March 30, 2010

HARTFORD — - A proposal to change the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits in child sexual abuse cases cleared the judiciary committee by a 23-20 vote Monday but only after lawmakers revised it to maintain some restrictions on those currently barred from suing.

Under current law, victims of child sexual abuse have until they turn 48 — 30 years after they turn 18 — to file lawsuits. The original proposal, inspired in part by pending sexual abuse lawsuits involving St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, would have eliminated the statute of limitations for civil cases involving child sexual abuse, assault or exploitation.

But after a public hearing during which victims of sexual abuse supported the change and representatives of the Roman Catholic Church opposed it, lawmakers changed the proposal, allowing victims 48 and older to sue only if they can clear certain hurdles.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:32 AM

Group calling for change in Catholic church to hold vigil

CANADA
Telegraph-Journal

BRUCE BARTLETT
Telegraph-Journal

SAINT JOHN - While officials in the Catholic church are fighting allegations that the cover-up of sexual abuse of children by priests leads to the very highest levels, a grassroots group remains committed to fighting for changes from within.

This evening, members of the Catholic Network for Women's Equality will gather for a purple stole vigil outside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Waterloo Street. Inside, the annual mass of the holy chrism, a celebration of the institution of the priesthood, will be taking place as part of the week leading up to Easter. The vigil begins at 6 p.m.

"We've had a purple stole vigil since 2003," said Cathy Holtmann, a spokeswoman for the network in New Brunswick.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:28 AM

More Sources of the Scandal

UNITED STATES
America Magazine

At its deepest level, the sexual abuse crisis, and most especially the manner in which the hierarchy has responded to it, entails profound cultural issues. Yesterday, I looked at two issues that were proximate to the crisis, but today I would like to look at a couple of issues that are more deeply ingrained in the culture of the Church and the habits of its leaders.

In his book The Difference God Makes, Cardinal Francis George writes of our contemporary American culture: "Everything is possible, but nothing can be forgiven." He contrasts this with what a faithful, Catholic culture would demand. "Faith, by contrast, says that many things cannot be done," Cardinal George writes. "But, in the end, everything can be forgiven." This profound difference between the ecclesiastical culture and the mainstream culture informed the sexual abuse crisis from start to finish. And, I should add, the Church owes no one an apology for believing that God’s mercy can reach to all man’s sins, even the sins of the pedophiles. But, the promise of God’s mercy became something to hide behind, instead of an invitation to repentance. The bishops imagined themselves in the role of the father in the story of the Prodigal, welcoming back their errant priests, getting them counseling and therapy, and returning them to their prior status, as if what the priests had done was only a sin and not also a crime.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:24 AM

Sex abuse files surface in Boy Scout, Mormon case

OREGON
Oregon Faith Report

March 30, 2010

Faith Report News Note:

An Oregon sex abuse case could uncover a secret Boy Scout file of Scout leader sexual abusers. Some have labeled the records as the “Perversion Files”. A Portland lawyer, Kelly Clark, has obtained over 1,000 of these records. Because the Mormon Church was a charter organization, they are also named in the case.

KVAL reports more on the story,“At the start of the Oregon trial, attorney Kelly Clark recited the Boy Scout oath and the promise to obey Scout law to be “trustworthy.” Then he presented six boxes of documents that he said will show “how the Boy Scouts of America broke that oath.” He held up file folder after file folder he said contained reports of abuse from around the country, telling the jury the efforts to keep them secret may have actually set back efforts to prevent child abuse nationally. “The Boy Scouts of America ignored clear warning signs that Boy Scouts were being abused,” Clark said

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:21 AM

A pope with a problem

UNITED STATES
Sacramento Bee

By TIM RUTTEN
Los Angeles Times
Published: Tuesday, Mar. 30, 2010

This has been a tough Lent for the Roman Catholic Church. Its seemingly endless sexual abuse scandal finally has seeped into the papal apartments, and the Vatican's response to this week's revelations suggests that far too little has been learned from this squalid affair.

Until now, Pope Benedict XVI had seemed to be taking a far more forthright approach to the problem than his predecessor, John Paul II, most recently in a blistering "pastoral letter" to the entire Irish church.

Last week, however, the New York Times published a pair of stories suggesting that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - the future Pope Benedict - participated in precisely the sort of secrecy and administrative negligence that has been at the root of this scandal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:03 AM

Hindus ask Pope to issue “white paper” on global Church sex scandal

The 300 News Daily

Hindus want Pope to urgently come up with a white paper on reportedly mushrooming global sex scandal engulfing the Roman Catholic Church, which they called “unprecedented and shocking”.

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that this authoritative paper should truthfully address the reported worldwide sexual abuse crisis the Church was facing; and then list the solutions, action program and implementation schedule. A monitoring body should also be established for future.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that instead of church officials pointing fingers at the “hostile media”, consumerism, and secularism; His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI should publicly acknowledge the reported past mistakes of the Church on this issue, apologize, and clarify his personal role in the crisis.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:00 AM

Nothing but the truth

UNITED STATES
U.S. Catholic

A U.S. Catholic interview
Judge Anne M. Burke reviewed her years monitoring the U.S. church's response to the clergy sex abuse crisis.

As the wife of a veteran Chicago alderman, Judge Anne M. Burke has seen her share of political intrigue up close. But not even Chicago politics, she says, adequately prepared her for the "medieval, certainly Byzantine machinations" she encountered during the two and a half years she served on the National Review Board.

The U.S. bishops appointed this 13-member board of lay Catholics at the height of the clergy sex abuse crisis to oversee their compliance with the reforms they had pledged to institute. But many of the bishops, it seems, were surprised when the board took its job seriously and went to work. Accustomed to having laypeople only give them advice they could choose to follow or ignore, some bishops were taken aback when the board publicly called them to task for foot-dragging or for efforts to obstruct or circumvent agreed-upon processes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:56 AM

Destiny pastors accused of abuse leave church

NEW ZEALAND
3 News

Destiny Church Taranaki pastors Lee and Robyn Edmonds have quit their roles amid allegations of sexual misconduct against two family members.

In a statement issued by the church today, spokesman Richard Lewis said "management" had accepted the couple's offer to stand down and would be looking into the circumstances of both cases.

One of the matters, against a 29-year-old man, is already before the courts. He is next due to appear in New Plymouth District Court in May. The other allegation is against a woman.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 AM

Pillar of Truth

UNITED STATES
The Huffington Post

Wayne Trujillo

Earlier this month, a Boulder Catholic school created a stir when it expelled a student whose parents are lesbians because, according to the Denver Archdiocese, the parents are "living in open discord with Catholic teaching." After reading the recent New York Times report about the latest set of revelations involving Catholic priests, children and cover-ups that allegedly extend to the top tiers of the Vatican, which drew a quick and indignant response from Rome, it seems to me that the Catholic hierarchy should be quicker to kick out wayward priests rather than children. Or is the operative word "open"? Those errant priests, while not exactly conducting themselves in exactly a saintly manner, were living in "closed" discord with Catholic teaching. The whole affair seems like a canonical refrain of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Much of the anger directed toward the Catholic Church over these scandals, aside from travesty of the pedophilia within its midst on an international scale, are its largely static and secretive responses when informed by its members of the problems.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:51 AM

Archbishop criticised on handling of abuse issue

IRELAND
The Irish Times

PATSY McGARRY Religious Affairs Correspondent

ARCHBISHOP DIARMUID Martin has been strongly criticised by a former spokesman for his predecessor as Archbishop of Dublin, Cardinal Desmond Connell, over his handling of the clerical sex abuse issue.

The criticism by Eddie Shaw, who was spokesman for Cardinal Connell from September 2002 to October 2003, is contained in a book, The Dublin/Murphy Report: A Watershed for Irish Catholicism?, launched yesterday.

In the book Mr Shaw criticises what he claims is Archbishop Martin’s failure to support the auxiliary bishops of his diocese in the fall-out from the Murphy report.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:48 AM

Bishop says he met up to 80 victims of sexual abuse

IRELAND
The Irish Times

GORDON DEEGAN

THE BISHOP of Killaloe, Dr Willie Walsh has confirmed that he has met 70-80 victims of sex abuse during his time as bishop.

Dr Walsh said the victims were abused by the religious and clergy and also lay people, inside and outside the diocese.

“I do believe that I tried every time to treat every victim with respect and kindness and sympathy and I do have a sense of their dreadful pain,” he said in an interview.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:45 AM

Judiciary Committee Approves Extending Statute Of Limitations; Related To Case Of Dr. Reardon At St. Francis

CONNECTICUT
The Hartford Courant

By Christopher Keating on March 29, 2010

The judiciary committee narrowly approved a controversial bill Monday that would eliminate the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits in cases of sexual abuse.

The measure was approved, 23 to 20, on a topic that divided both Republicans and Democrats.

Currently, the law allows lawsuits by those up to the age of 48, which is 30 years after reaching the age of 18. If adopted into law, Connecticut would become the fourth state in the nation to eliminate the statute.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 AM

Catholics concerned about abuse, not surprised

CALIFORNIA
The Desert Sun

Nicole C. Brambila • The Desert Sun • March 30, 2010

In the wake of reports Pope Benedict XVI once shuffled a priest accused of child sex abuse while archbishop in Germany, local diocesan officials offer papal support while victims say the latest scandal to rock the Catholic Church is “the tip of the iceberg.”

“It's always painful for us as Catholics to reflect on this issue,” said John Andrews, spokesman for the San Bernardino Diocese that also includes Riverside County.

“Our prayers go out to the victims of this terrible crime. And, of course, we're also praying for the pope,” he said Monday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:37 AM

Faith will survive - Archbishop Moras

INDIA
Mangalorean

By Fr Adolf Washington

Bangalore March 30, 2010: Faith has been under attack after recent reports of child abuse by priests of the Roman Catholic Church. Jeff Anderson, a US-based lawyer, filed thousands of suits against the Church since 1983, following up cases of sexual abuse.

The New York Times has started a series of investigative articles into the abuses, even claiming that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was then Archbishop of Munich, and became Pope Benedict XVI in April 2005, failed to act in time against priests accused of sexually abusing children in their care.

Archbishop Dr. Bernard Moras of the Archdiocese of Bangalore answers a volley of questions from the media (DNA) on the impact of these developments on the local Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:34 AM

Authority on Catholic Sex Abuse Crisis Defends and Criticizes Pope

UNITED STATES
Christian Newswire

Contact: Dr. Leon Podles, 443-824-4550, leepodles@gmail.com; http://podles.org

BALTIMORE, March 30 /Christian Newswire/ -- Dr. Leon J. Podles, author of Sacrilege: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church, ended that book with the election of Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI and his promise to clean up the filth in the Church. In his book, which explored the deep roots of the Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal, Podles pulled no punches in describing the horrors of that abuse. He traced the enabling of abuse back to the failures of the clergy and its narcissistic culture of clericalism.

As president of Crossland Foundation Podles has collected and reviewed tens of thousands of pages that document sexual abuse in every diocese in the United States and numerous cases throughout the world. His background as a retired federal investigator has given him the ability to skillfully analyze these cases. On his website http://podles.org, he documents numerous case studies of abusers and murderers who were protected by the hierarchy and provides frequent blog commentary on the crisis.

As a major Catholic donor, Podles endowed the Chair of Catholic Studies at McGill University in Canada and has watched $3 billion paid in settlements to victims and unknown hundreds of millions paid out to attorneys defending the hierarchy. As a board member of the pontifical International Theological Institute in Austria he has continued his support of Catholic education.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:31 AM

MSM, liberal Catholics exploiting scandal for political gain

UNITED STATES
The Daily Caller

By John Rossomando 03/30/10

Few things have been more disgusting than the countless priestly sex abuse cases that have been publicized around the globe in recent weeks or the Catholic Church’s mishandling of these crimes.

But the bid by liberal Catholics and their allies in the establishment press to exploit these scandals for political gain has been just as outrageous.

Instead of merely expressing righteous anger with the apparent cover-ups, the establishment press has returned to lecturing the Church on how it could have prevented these scandals had it ordained married men or women to the priesthood.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 AM

SBS Dateline

AUSTRALIA
Insights

Easter Sunday night on Dateline, 8.30 pm on SBS ONE, host George Negus will be interviewing Father Tom Doyle about the sex scandal involving the Catholic Church.

Father Doyle is a Washington DC priest who, since 1984, has been trying to get the Church to face up to its faults in regard to sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:24 AM

Pope’s reaction to allegations is a nail in the body of the church

WALES
Western Mail

Mar 30 2010 by Steve Dube, Western Mail

“PETTY gossip” will not intimidate His Holiness, who urges all of us to resist such a temptation. He even claims that it needs “courage” to resist the siren call that he and others covered up sexual shenanigans by men in cassocks. Alas, Pope Benedict’s reaction is the opposite of courage, and another nail in the body of the church he leads.

Some of us with an intimate past relationship of a wholly innocent nature with the Roman Catholic Church can confess that we have been taken in by such gossip, and it didn’t seem petty at the time.

As for intimidation, that definitely came from elsewhere, and it invariably ensured silence. To be precise, it came from many “brothers” in the religious order that made up most of the staff at my school more than 40 years ago.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:22 AM

Column - Greg Sagan: Church endures agony of secrecy

TEXAS
Amarillo.com

This must be a time of agony for the Catholic church.

Locally, we endure the loss of Bishop Emeritus L.T. Matthiesen, who passed away last week. I was privileged to have been acquainted with Bishop Matt for the past dozen years, and I have even received mail from him about my writing.

Every once in a while he agreed with me, and when he didn't he was articulate, knowledgeable, sincere and reasonable. He was what I'm sure many would call an elitist, being as he was intelligent, educated and wise, but to me he was a force of God from the moment we met.

I miss him.

In point of fact, Bishop Matthiesen was to me a persuasive argument in favor of a married clergy. He was, in every sense of the word, a father. The world is less for not having more children raised by him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:19 AM

Temptation to cover-up

CANADA
The Globe and Mail

A mistaken application of the Christian theological concept of scandal has tended to tempt the Roman Catholic Church into cover-ups, which have compounded the abundantly justified outrage over the sexual abuse of children by priests.

The Catholic Church is not like a business corporation or a government department that happens to be inept in its public-relations strategy. Its purposes and principles are different, and its seriously held ideas are complex enough that its leaders can become entangled and misapply them.

Whether Pope Benedict XVI, in his previous or present functions, has been at fault in these matters is a question of fact that may or may not be sorted out in due course.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:16 AM

Pope unlikely to alter course

The Vancouver Sun

By Tom Heneghan, Reuters

The sex abuse scandals lashing the Vatican have led to calls for an end to priestly celibacy, a cleanout of the Catholic Church hierarchy and the resignation of Pope Benedict, but the pope seems unlikely to alter his approach.

The demands, widely aired in the media, are so far removed from the way Benedict works that abuse victims and other critics who raise them seem bound to be disappointed.

The sex abuse saga, while shameful enough to make Benedict issue several apologies to victims, has many aspects that apparently convince him he can continue to tackle the problem quietly but firmly, without undue fanfare.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:14 AM

The Year of the Abusive Priest

Religion Dispatches

By Anthea Butler
March 30, 2010

When Pope Benedict refers to the ever-growing scandal threatening the Church as "petty gossip of dominant opinion" he shows, for all his theological learning, a shocking disregard for both his flock and for the moral standing of the institution he heads. Is it curtains for the Church as we know it?

In June of 2009, Pope Benedict XVI declared “The Year of the Priest,” and in his homily at the vespers marking the opening day, he spoke the following words:

How can we forget, in this regard, that nothing causes more suffering for the Church, the Body of Christ, than the sins of her pastors, especially the sins of those who become “thieves and robbers” of the sheep (cf. Jn 10:1 ff.), lead them astray by their own private teachings, or ensnare them in the toils of sin and death? Dear priests, the summons to conversion and to trust in God’s mercy also applies to us; we too must humbly, sincerely and unceasingly implore the heart of Jesus to preserve us from the terrifying risk of endangering the very people we are obliged to save.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:11 AM

Overture To Catholics, From an Episcopal Priest

Religion Dispatches

By Randall Balmer
March 30, 2010

In the midst of new developments in the Catholic sex abuse scandal and in light of last year’s surprise invitation from the Pope to conservative Episcopalians, a new invitation is extended to disheartened Catholics.

I have no authority whatsoever to speak for my Church, nor would I presume to do so. But as an Episcopal priest, I call on my ecclesiastical superiors to make a special overture to Roman Catholics who are disgruntled by the pedophilia scandals in the Catholic Church; scandals that increasingly point to the complicity of the man in charge of the Vatican, Benedict XVI.

My reference here, of course, is to the declaration last fall by the very same Benedict seeking to lure conservative Anglicans and Episcopalians to the Roman Catholic Church. The Vatican sensed an opening, especially with those Episcopalians (and former Episcopalians) who were still fuming over the consecration of V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, as bishop of New Hampshire, the refusal of the Episcopal Church to foreswear same-sex marriages, and the ordination of gays and lesbians and even (still!) the ordination of women.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:07 AM

It's wrong to point finger at Pope in sex abuse scandals

CANADA
Calgary Herald

By Bishop Fred Henry, For The Calgary Herald

March 30, 2010

(This is a pastoral letter that was sent to all of Calgary's Catholic parishes).

In the Liturgy of the Hours for Passion (Palm) Sunday, part of a Sermon by St. Andrew of Crete reads: "Let us go together to meet Christ on the Mount of Olives ... In his humility Christ entered the dark regions of our fallen world ... his love for humanity will never rest until he has restored our earthbound nature from glory to glory, and made it one with his own in heaven."

These are not easy times. Priests and people feel battered and scattered by the seemingly relentless media campaign about child sexual abuse in the Church. We, too, have entered into the dark regions of our fallen world. This is a painful, emptying and humbling experience.

Pope Benedict XVI, in his Pastoral Letter to Catholics in Ireland, has expressed his dismay at the sexual abuse of young people by Church representatives and the way this was addressed by local bishops and religious superiors. He speaks of his closeness in prayer to the whole Irish Catholic community at this painful time and he proposes a path of healing, renewal and reparation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:05 AM

Celibacy not to blame for pedophilia: cardinal

VATICAN CITY
Edmonton Journal (Canada)

A leading Vatican prelate on Monday rejected any link between the requirement of celibacy for priests and the spate of pedophilia scandals rocking the Roman Catholic Church.

"Celibacy has nothing to do with the sexual abuse of minors," Cardinal Walter Kasper said, as calls for the church to rethink the tradition grow.

"Pedophilia has no connection with the very old tradition that prevents priests from marrying," the German cardinal said in an interview with the Italian daily La Stampa published Monday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

Catholic Church launches sex abuse telephone hotline

GERMANY
Deutsche Welle

After a torrent of sex abuse allegations, Germany's Catholic Church is opening a nationwide hotline to deal with the clerical sex abuse scandal.

In response to a growing number of sex abuse allegations, the Catholic Church in Germany is launching a nationwide telephone hotline this Tuesday to offer support and counseling to those impacted by the scandal.

The hotline is the church's response to a spate of revelations of sexual abuse and physical cruelty by clerics and parochial school teachers in recent months. So far more than 150 cases of sexual abuse in Catholic institutions in Germany have been reported.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 AM

What Pope Benedict Must Do

UNITED STATES
Politics Daily

Jason Berry
Contributor

Pope Benedict faces an epic scandal as victims of clerical sex abuse in Ireland, Western Europe and America raise the issue of justice denied by secret tribunals that allowed predators to remain priests. Yet an editorial in the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, scored the media for "an ignoble attempt to strike at Pope Benedict and his closest aides at any cost."

Benedict is grappling with an unfinished crisis that drew media coverage in America in 1992; victims' lawsuits revealed bishops who had sheltered predators from prosecution. By 1994 the coverage had ebbed. Then, in 2002, The Boston Globe gained access to voluminous documents, exposing a vast clergy sexual underground. Pope John Paul II called the American cardinals to Rome for an emergency conference. In June, the U.S. bishops enacted a youth protection charter. Lay review boards would comb clergy files and probe new accusations. Bishops began weeding out sex offenders.

The Vatican drew the line, however, at giving these review boards the authority to investigate bishops. That decision has come back to haunt the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

Germany's Catholic Church launches sex abuse hotline

GERMANY
BBC News

[with video]

The Roman Catholic Church in Germany is launching a telephone hotline for victims of sexual abuse.

The helpline will be run from the western city of Trier.

Its bishop has been appointed to handle any allegations made against clergy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 AM

Weighing Weigel’s case against The Times

UNITED STATES
dotCommonweal

March 29, 2010

Posted by Paul Moses

George Weigel’s column on the First Things blog summarizes the case being made in many quarters that The New York Times has been biased in its recent coverage of Pope Benedict’s handling of cases of clergy sexual abuse. He writes:

“… the sexual abuse story in the global media is almost entirely a Catholic story, in which the Catholic Church is portrayed as the epicenter of the sexual abuse of the young, with hints of an ecclesiastical criminal conspiracy involving sexual predators whose predations continue today. That the vast majority of the abuse cases in the United States took place decades ago is of no consequence to this story line.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:47 AM

Scoundrel Time(s)

UNITED STATES
First Things

Mar 29, 2010
George Weigel
The sexual and physical abuse of children and young people is a global plague; its manifestations run the gamut from fondling by teachers to rape by uncles to kidnapping-and-sex-trafficking. In the United States alone, there are reportedly some 39 million victims of childhood sexual abuse. Forty to sixty percent were abused by family members, including stepfathers and live-in boyfriends of a child’s mother—thus suggesting that abused children are the principal victims of the sexual revolution, the breakdown of marriage, and the hook-up culture. Hofstra University professor Charol Shakeshaft reports that 6-10 percent of public school students have been molested in recent years—some 290,000 between 1991 and 2000. According to other recent studies, 2 percent of sex abuse offenders were Catholic priests—a phenomenon that spiked between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s but seems to have virtually disappeared (six credible cases of clerical sexual abuse in 2009 were reported in the U.S. bishops’ annual audit, in a Church of some 65,000,000 members).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

Catholics find ties to the church tested by crisis

Belleville News-Democrat

By VANESSA GERA - Associated Press Writer

WARSAW, Poland -- An Austrian priest avoids mention of Pope Benedict XVI in his Masses. A Philadelphia woman stops going to confession, saying she now sees priests as more flawed than herself. British protesters call for the pontiff to resign.

As the faithful fill churches this Holy Week, many Roman Catholics around the world are finding their relationship to the church painfully tested by new revelations of clerical abuse and suggestions Benedict himself may have helped cover up cases in Germany and the U.S.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 AM

Catholic Church's Klasnic pick causes a stir

AUSTRIA
Austrian Independent

Christoph Cardinal Schönborn’s announcement that Waltraud Klasnic will head a commission dealing with victims of Catholic Church abuse and violence has been met with harsh criticism.

Schönborn said in a TV interview on Sunday that the former Styrian People’s Party (ÖVP) governor will head a special commission checking on all claims and reports of sexual abuse and violence by Catholic Church clergy.

Parish priest Rudolf Schermann, who published Catholic magazine Kirche In, said yesterday (Mon): "I would have preferred an objective atheist."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:39 AM

Germany's Catholic church sex abuse hotline goes live

GERMANY
Earth Times

Berlin - Germany's Catholic church set up a telephone hotline for sexual abuse victims on Tuesday, after several hundred reports of widespread mistreatment by priests emerged in recent months, dating back to the 1950s.

Three days a week, trained advisors and therapists will now be available to answer calls to the free telephone number, set up by the Catholic church.

"With this offer we want to encourage victims to contact us, irrespective of whether these are old or current cases," said the bishop of Trier, Stephan Ackermann, who has been appointed by the church to investigate sex abuse complaints.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

March 29, 2010

Lawyers claim Vatican knew about troubled past' of former Miami priest

MIAMI (FL)
News & Observer

By JAY WEAVER - McClatchy Newspapers
MIAMI -- The Archdiocese of Miami, along with top Vatican authorities, knew as far back as 1968 that the Rev. Ernesto Garcia-Rubio, a priest later defrocked amid child sex-abuse allegations, had a troubled past in Cuba before transferring to South Florida, lawyers representing victims claimed Monday.

The lawyers say the Vatican's role is similar to what is alleged in the scandal now unfolding in Wisconsin, where top Catholic officials are accused of failing to defrock a priest accused of molesting some 200 deaf boys in a long career that paralleled the Miami cleric's. Pope Benedict XVI was in charge of the Vatican office that reviewed such cases when he served as Cardinal Ratzinger.

"It was a longstanding and well-known secret that the Vatican and Archdiocese of Miami knew exactly what Ernesto Garcia-Rubio was capable of," said attorney Jessica Arbour, who with lawyer Stuart Mermelstein, has filed several suits against the archdiocese involving Garcia-Rubio

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:25 PM

Vatican goes on offensive after ‘difficult and frustrating week’

VATICAN CITY
The Globe and Mail (Canada)

Eric Reguly

The nightmare day for the Vatican press office came last Thursday, when a report alleged that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who would become Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, declined to defrock a priest who had been one of the American church’s most aggressive and perverted pedophiles – he went after deaf boys.

Published in The New York Times, the report left Father Ciro Benedettini, the Vatican’s amiable deputy press secretary, and chief spokesman Father Frederico Lombardi frazzled. “It’s been a difficult and frustrating week,” Father Benedettini said from his cluttered office within metres of St. Peter’s Square and the papal apartments that overlook it.

The report, coming only days after the Pope's apology to the victims of abuse in Ireland, triggered a genuine credibility crisis within the Catholic Church and left the Vatican press office struggling to salvage the Pope’s reputation. Father Benedettini, 64, can’t remember having been so busy. To prove the point, he clicked onto the electronic service used by the Vatican to monitor Vatican- and Pope-related stories. There were more than 2,200 new stories yesterday morning alone. Most, probably, were about the scandals.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:19 PM

Weigel: NY Times trying to discredit Church using sex abuse

UNITED STATES
Catholic News Agency

Washington D.C., Mar 29, 2010 / 02:46 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In an article published on Monday, noted Catholic scholar George Weigel condemned the recent media treatment of Pope Benedict XVI, particularly by the New York Times, as part of a larger agenda to take “the Church down” and discredit its moral authority. Weigel also praised the Holy Father's “determination to root out” what the Pontiff previously called “filth in the Church.”

Weigel began his First Things article by arguing that the media has recently portrayed the Catholic Church as “the epicenter of the sexual abuse of the young,” when in fact, it is “by empirical measure, the safest environment for young people in America today.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:16 PM

The reasons for targeting Ratzinger

WISCONSIN
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By Patrick McIlheran of the Journal Sentinel
March 29, 2010

Father Raymond d'Souza pointed out a little oddity at National Review the other day:

American demonstrators were in Rome on exactly the day the New York Times published its story claiming that then-Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, helped shield a pervert who'd been a priest in Milwaukee. "One might ask," writes d'Souza, "how American activists would happen to be in Rome distributing the very documents referred to that day in the New York Times. The appearance here is one of a coordinated campaign, rather than disinterested reporting."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:11 PM

The absolute wrong response to sex abuse

UNITED STATES
U.S. Catholic

Monday, March 29, 2010
By Bryan Cones
Every day brings another headline on the sex abuse crisis unfolding in Europe and echoing again stateside. And every time the hierarchy is responding in the absolute worst way possible.

Consider this from Archbishop Timothy Dolan's Palm Sunday homily, according to the New York Post: The pope is suffering "the same unjust accusations, shouts of the mob and scourging at the pillar" and is "now being daily crowned with thorns by groundless innuendo." Dolan goes ot credit the pope with the progress the U.S. church has made on its own crisis--credit that should be going to the National Lay Review Board, which struggled mightily, at times against the bishops' opposition, to enforce compliance with the Dallas Charter. (You can read our January 2005 interview with Justice Anne Burke, who once chaired the review board, for some background.)

The Vatican's defense in its conduct in the case of a Milwaukee priest who abused between 100 and 200 children is no more helpful, in effect amounting to an argument that the Holy See didn't know about the case until long after the abuse took place. And a homily by the preacher of the papal household, Raniero Cantalamessa, ends up sounding almost deranged in its narcissistic lamentation about "the present moment of serious hardship we priests of the Catholic Church are experiencing."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:08 PM

Uncovering the cover-up by the Catholic Church

UNITED STATES
The Salt Lake Tribuen

Cal Thomas

God knows -- and He does -- Protestants shouldn't be throwing stones at the Roman Catholic Church for the scandals involving the abuse of children by some priests. Protestants have a blemished history of how they have handled their own scandals involving extramarital sex, misappropriated funds and arrogant behavior.

The hall of shame in the last century includes Aimee Semple McPherson (an alleged affair with her radio engineer, Kenneth Ormiston), Garner Ted Armstrong ( Hustler magazine carried a story in September of 1978 called "In Bed with Garner Ted Armstrong -- America's Promiscuous Preacher," which detailed gambling, adultery and the alleged rape of a young stewardess who worked on his private jet), Jim Bakker (sex with his secretary), Jimmy Swaggart (sex with a prostitute) and Ted Haggard (sex with a man), among too many others.

The difference between them and what is happening in the Catholic Church is that the sex -- though still sinful -- was (with the exception of Armstrong's alleged crime) between consenting adults. Those swindled or otherwise deprived of their money were old enough to have known better.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:02 PM

Protesters call on Pope Benedict to confront abuse scandal

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
KGO

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Protesters in San Francisco on Monday called on Pope Benedict XVI to confront the sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church.

Members of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, demonstrated outside the offices of the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

SNAP's protest comes as Benedict faces calls to resign over his handling of abuse cases while the pope served as a bishop in his native Germany.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:56 PM

SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

GERMANY
YouTube

[video presentation]

SNAP = Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests Schutzgemeinschaft für die Opfer von geilen Pfaffen Frauenfeindlich = kinderfeindlich!

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:53 PM

What a difference a week makes

Mar. 29, 2010
By Sr. Maureen Paul Turlish

I had been out of the loop, as it were, since Monday, March 22, when I left for Alabama to attend the 26th annual symposium on child abuse sponsored by the National Children's Advocacy Center headquartered in Huntsville. I made the mistake of not taking my laptop, thinking that I could check my e-mail on the hotel's computer. That did not work out.

As a result, I couldn't open my e-mail, couldn't read The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Tablet of London, or even National Catholic Reporter.

I was in the dark until early afternoon Thursday while I waited for my connecting flight from Washington to Philadelphia. That was when I caught some news from CNN and I realized that that sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy was all over the news..

What a difference a week makes!

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:49 PM

Clergy sex victims blast NY Archbishop Dolan

NEW YORK
Voice from the Desert

Statement by David Clohessy, Executive Director of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-566-9790)

Dolan’s comments yesterday hurt the church he loves, hurt abuse victims, and hurt himself. He showed a callousness and narrowness that ill-befits the head of a religious institution. His intent may be to “circle the wagons.” The effect, however, will be to harm the children, because by demeaning, insulting and ignoring wounded victims and suffering children, Dolan perpetuates the culture of sexual secrecy and clerical entitlement that leads to more devastation.

The Pope isn’t a victim here. He’s the most powerful monarch in the world’s largest monarchy. His distressing track record on clergy sex crimes and cover ups is finally being examined with some rigor. To compare his situation now to the suffering of Christ is over the top. And it suggests that victims who find the courage to speak up and report unspeakable crimes are somehow hurting the pontiff. (The truth is that these brave victims are helping the church, not hurting it.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:45 PM

SAINTHOOD NOW? NO – NEVER!

Voice from the Desert

By James A. Turcotte, U.E.

Foreword

Let me make it clear, right from the start, that I am an 83-year-old Roman Catholic, dedicated to the Faith. I am one of eleven children raised by honest, sincere parents who taught us to be people of integrity.

My concern is that the Vatican hierarchy appears to be pushing the effort to canonize the late John Paul II. In fact, there is insufficient evidence to warrant this honour.

The claims of a potential cure of a nun from Parkinson’s Disease through John Paul’s intercession as well as other minor claims, has raised many questions by the laity about the one-sidedness of the evidence. The lure to sainthood is based on the former pope’s display of charisma and holiness during his world tours. However, there is no sign of an investigation into his behind-the-scenes activities that would further support or deny the claim for this very serious matter.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:42 PM

Jeff Anderson: One Man's Crusade Against The Catholic Church

UNITED STATES
The Huffington Post

Patrick Condon

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Jeff Anderson has filed thousands of lawsuits alleging sex abuse by priests and won tens of millions of dollars for his clients, but he has had a bigger goal in mind for nearly two decades. He wants to bring his career-long legal crusade against misconduct in the Roman Catholic Church right to the top.

He would love to question Pope Benedict XVI himself under oath. Though that is extremely unlikely given that the pope is a head of state, documents Anderson has unearthed have the potential to take a scandal that has plagued dozens of dioceses around the world and place it at the doorstep of Vatican leadership.

The documents, which became publicly known in the past week after Anderson shared them with The New York Times, show that a Vatican office led by the pope, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, halted a church trial against a Wisconsin priest accused of molesting some 200 boys at a school for the deaf.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 PM

Holy Week and the suffering Church

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

By Sister Mary Ann Walsh
Director of Media Relations, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Holy Week is time when Catholics worldwide feel the pain of dying in Christ.

It comes this year as media reports bring up heartrending, often previously published, stories with a new twist - how the Vatican handled the cases. Efforts to link stories to culpable inaction by Pope Benedict XVI cause reasonable people anguish given all that the pope has tried to do to address this crisis.

Since 2002, the church in the United States has had a policy of zero tolerance, which means a priest or deacon who has admitted to or been found guilty of sexually abusing a minor can no longer engage in public ministry. Likewise, the church has developed screenings and processes to ensure that the children in its schools and religious formation programs today are not subject to abusive behavior, whether by a cleric or lay person. This has solved one problem by excising child abusers from parishes and dioceses.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 PM

Tom Sutcliffe: This papal tone of petulance is shameful

UNITED KINGDOM
The Independent

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

I've been trying to resist the temptation to take satisfaction in the current embarrassments of the Catholic Church. Why? Well, one obvious reason would be that those embarrassments arise out of the suffering of children – and it would be far better if the occasions for the Catholic hierarchy's current confusion and disgrace had never occurred in the first place.

Another reason would be that I can't quite share the zeal in opposition of some of my fellow-atheists – whose sincere indignation on behalf of abused children has sometimes appeared to be mixed with an opportunistic loathing of clerics in general. And though I share their distaste for the institutional Church – and for the real-world effects of some of its dogmas – it seemed to me unseemly to crow, to say "we told you so", when there was real sorrow in this story – both for the victims of abusing priests and for disillusioned believers.

This self-denying ordinance got a lot harder over the weekend though, after an address from the Pope in which he appeared to dismiss recent criticism of him and his church as the "petty gossip of dominant opinion". I still find myself murmuring those first two words in tones of incredulity. Petty gossip. At a time when the Church is being found guilty of covering up real crimes and facilitating fresh ones, at a time when contrition would seem to be the only morally decent tone to adopt, he talks of how religious faith gives one the courage not to be intimidated by "petty gossip".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 PM

Let the children come to me...

MALTA
Malta Today

As Malta prepares to welcome Pope Benedict XVI next week, revelations of child abuse cover-ups have plunged the Vatican into its deepest crisis in centuries. RAPHAEL VASSALLO on the scandal that dare not speak its name

With the Church now facing unprecedented levels of hostility over child abuse allegations, it is difficult to remember a time when priests and bishops were still accorded the respect we now reserve for visiting royalty.

And yet it was only a few years ago that public genuflection before the Archbishop was deemed an almost compulsory obeisance – as was the custom of kneeling to kiss a Monsignor’s ring.
Today, those who remember a time when it was ‘sinful’ to eat meat on a Friday – among countless other insignificant trivialities – find themselves having to digest the news that the same Catholic Church, having exacted such high moral standards from others, had all along been aware of far more immoral and reprehensible activities conducted by members of its own clergy... and not only did it fail abjectly to curb the abuse itself, but in some respects, it appears to have even abetted it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 PM

Vatican ripped for its handling of Wisconsin abuse scandal

WISCONSIN
Green Bay Press-Gazette

By Carrie Antlfinger • The Associated Press • March 29, 2010

MILWAUKEE — A man who says he was among some 200 deaf boys allegedly molested by a priest in Wisconsin said Monday the Vatican’s defensive responses to revelations about the case make him feel like he did when he was 12, when no one would listen to him about the abuse.

Arthur Budzinski, 61, said at a news conference outside the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist that Pope Benedict XVI is trying to protect himself against criticism of his handling of the Wisconsin case against the Rev. Lawrence Murphy. Murphy was accused of molesting some 200 boys at the St. John’s School for the Deaf outside Milwaukee from 1950 to 1975. He never was defrocked.

“It’s 2010. I’m not trying to hurt the pope,” Budzinski said. “The pope should do something. I’m just telling my story. That’s all I’m doing,” said his 26-year-old daughter Gigi Budzinski, who interpreted his sign language.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 PM

VOTF National Vigil of Sorrow Good Friday, April 2, 2010

UNITED STATES
Voice of the Faithful

Good Friday is a day of sorrow for the Catholic Church. On this solemn day, we stand in solidarity with victims of clergy abuse and, as Pope Benedict requested of the faithful in Ireland, we too devote our penances for the healing and renewal of the Church. We call on our pastoral leaders to say “Stop the Hiding; Start the Healing.”

• The revelations emerging from Europe these past weeks demonstrate that all the cases have not been resolved, that some priest offenders are still serving. It is long past time to open the files on sex abuse.
• An apology is not enough. The secrecy and oaths of silence must end. The structures that favor deceptions and cover-ups must fall away in favor of the transparency and accountability essential for healing and rebuilding our Church.

WHEN AND WHERE

New York City
- St. Patrick's Cathedral, 12pm - 3pm

Boston
- Cathedral of the Holy Cross, 12pm - 3pm

Chicago
- Holy Name Cathedral, 3pm

Washington, D.C.
- Cathedral of St. Matthew, 12pm – 1pm

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 PM

The storm buffeting God's Rottweiler

EUROPE
BBC News

Gavin Hewitt | 13:07 UK time, Monday, 29 March 2010

I was in Ghent at the weekend and dropped in on Saint Bavo's monumental cathedral. It was Palm Sunday. The place bursts with Gothic extravagance; its soaring brick roof testifying to another era and the muscular confidence of the Catholic Church. By the time I was there the service was over and people, clutching fronds or sprigs of green, were embracing each other.

It was a peaceful ritual that belies the storm battering the Church. Across Europe, there is now a torrent of allegations against predatory priests and the abuse of children. In Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands people are emerging, with their often buried stories, and pointing their fingers at priests and bishops. One Catholic paper opined that this scandal was the "largest in centuries" to trouble the Church.

The questions facing the Vatican are these: Was its priority protecting vulnerable children or guarding the reputation of the Church? Were children systematically abused at Catholic schools and were paedophile priests shipped out to other parishes rather than being prosecuted?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 PM

Lori on Pope Benedict

BRIDGEPORT (CT)
YouTube

[video presentation]

(WTNH) -- The beginning of Holy Week for Catholics has been marred by fresh allegations against Pope Benedict. Bridgeport Bishop William Lori is speaking out in his defense.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 PM

Sex abuse scandal drives down Pope Benedict's U.S. approval ratings

UNITED STATES
USA Today

Pope Benedict XVI's ratings with Americans in general and U.S. Catholics in particular have fallen sharply in the wake of daily news stories on the global clerical sexual abuse epidemic.

Those with a favorable view of him fell from 63% of adults -- his personal best in the USA in April 2008, when he visited New York and Washington D.C. -- to 40%, according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup survey of 1,033 adults conducted March 26-28. Among Catholics surveyed, the drop was also steep -- from 81% favorable to 61%.

In parallel, his unfavorable ratings climbed from 15% in 2009 to 35% last weekend overall. Catholics in particular also viewed him more critically, with unfavorable rating rising from 12% two years ago to 25% now.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:20 PM

Opinion: The churches and sexual abuse

UNITED STATES
Associated Baptist Press

By David Gushee
Monday, March 29, 2010

(ABP) -- The child-sexual-abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church has resurfaced with a vengeance, with events in Ireland, Germany, and the United States having been the subjects of recent reporting. A particularly nauseating case involves a Wisconsin priest who is accused of molesting at least one young boy in the confessional, perhaps the holiest and most trusted space in Catholic life. As one who grew up Catholic, I know exactly what that sacred space is supposed to mean.

Today I write as a Baptist ethicist and minister with no desire to condemn the Catholic Church. Indeed, I want to suggest in this column that three of the four main factors that have fueled this scandal are just as relevant in Baptist or other Protestant settings.

First, this scandal has been fueled by imbalances of power between laity and clergy, and especially between children and adults. When a child is sexually abused by the most-trusted authority figure in a church, he or she begins from a position of total powerlessness. He or she starts off with the voicelessness of every child in a world where the rules are set by adults. He or she lives in a context in which adults are far more likely to be believed than children. And if he or she does somehow develop the capacity to articulate the abuse, the complaint must eventually be made to the very institution led by the child’s abuser. The victim will need a significant infusion of power arrayed in solidarity with him or her from other adults -- such as parents, lay leaders in the congregation, lawyers, or the civil authorities -- to start leveling the imbalance of power.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:16 PM

Media attacks on Pope Benedict, and responses (Roundup)

Catholic Culture

With a media assault on Pope Benedict XVI reaching a frenzied level, reporters for dozens of major newspapers and wire services placed responsibility for sex-abuse cases at the Vatican, despite the clear evidence that diocesan bishops have been responsible for disciplinary failures.

An AP story claimed that only 20% of reported abuse cases result in full canonical trials. The truth is that in most cases, disciplinary measures are imposed without a full trial. As prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), then-Cardinal Ratzinger pressed for vigorous action and authorized diocesan bishops to proceed with their own disciplinary action.

A Reuters story rehearsed the now-familiar charges against the Pope, and only after 18 paragraphs did the reporter mention a vigorous defense by Vienna's Cardinal Christoph Schönborn. During his years at CDF, the Austrian cardinal said, Cardinal Ratzinger pushed Pope John Paul II to conduct a full inquiry into charges against another Austrian prelate, the late Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:13 PM

Pope seen undeterred by abuse scandal, reform calls

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

(Reuters) - The sex abuse scandals lashing the Vatican have led to calls for an end to priestly celibacy, a cleanout of the Catholic Church hierarchy and the resignation of Pope Benedict, but the pope seems unlikely to alter his approach.

The demands, widely aired in the media, are so far removed from the way Benedict works that abuse victims and other critics who raise them seem bound to be disappointed.

The sex abuse saga, while shameful enough to make Benedict issue several apologies to victims, has many aspects that apparently convince him he can continue to tackle the problem quietly but firmly, without undue fanfare.

"He will plod along undeterred," said Rev. Vincent Twomey, an Irish theologian who has known the pope for 37 years. "He takes note of things, but he's not a magician. He works steadily ... I think he'll weather the storm."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:06 PM

Up to the Pope: Stop the Pandemic of Pedophilia

UNITED STATES
The Huffington Post

Rev. Debra Haffner

The latest revelations about sexual abuse against children by Roman Catholic priests are nothing short of revolting. The story of Father Lawrence Murphy, who abused more than 200 deaf boys in Milwaukee over decades, despite the boys' speaking out and calling for help, should outrage us all. The new revelations from Germany and other European countries add to the understanding that the prevalence of pedophile priests are, in the words of my colleague, Dan Maguire, "a global Catholic Church pandemic."

"It went up to the Pope," a formerly Roman Catholic friend said to me yesterday, with tears in her eyes. "How is it possible that people knew and didn't stop it?" Unfortunately, the answer is that the Catholic hierarchy did know, and chose to transfer the priests rather than address the crimes they were committing against children.

Yes, crimes. In the secular world, the offending priests and their superiors would be held criminally accountable for their behavior. It is not enough for the Pope to apologize, as he did to victims last week. It is unconscionable when Catholic apologists try to explain away the church's inaction as a relic of another time, when people didn't talk as much about sexual abuse. We are talking now - and learning, to our dismay, how widespread sexual abuse in faith communities really is.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:01 PM

Proposed NY Child Abuse Bill Being Fought by Religious Leaders

NEW YORK
News Inferno

Religious leaders in New York State continue to fight a proposed child abuse law that would temporarily lift the statute of limitations for lawsuits alleging the sexual abuse of children. According to The New York Times, opposition to the law, known as the Child Victims Act, is being led by the Catholic Church, and a loose coalition that includes leaders of the Hasidic and Sephardic Jewish institutions in Brooklyn.

The impetus for the Child Victims Act was the Roman Catholic Church child sexual abuse scandal that has rocked New York, as well as much of the country, over the past decade. Because of the current statute of limitations, hundreds of claims filed in recent years against Catholic priests and dioceses in New York have been dismissed.

Currently, the deadline for bringing such a lawsuit in New York is 5 years after a victim turns 18. The Child Victims Act would give victims a one-year exemption from the statute of limitations. Regardless of how long ago the alleged abuse occurred, they could file suit in civil court. At the year’s end, time limits on such claims would be restored, but with a wider window: Instead of a five-year period after turning 18, victims would have 10 years to file claims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:57 PM

Papers Reveal Cover Up Priest's Sexual Misconduct

FLORIDA
CBS 4

John MacLauchlan

MIAMI (CBS4)
An investigation into a defrocked priest who ministered here in South Florida and allegedly preyed on young children from the Mariel boat lift, Nicaragua and El Salvador has reportedly uncovered documents that indicate his actions were acknowledged and covered up by the Vatican.

The documents concern the former Father Ernesto Garcia-Rubio who was pastor of "Our Lady of Divine Providence" in Sweetwater in the 1980s. Garcia-Rubio was defrocked in the late 1990s after he was accused of raping four young boys from Central America.

According to child sexual abuse attorneys Stuart Mermelstein and Jessica Arbour the documents reveal an international cover up of Garcia-Rubios' pattern of sexual misconduct. The Vatican, Archdiocese of Miami, and Garcia-Rubio's Cuban diocese all reportedly knew he posed a threat to children early in his ministry, yet did each entity did nothing to warn the parishioners.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:54 PM

Is the Vatican scandal really about the abuse of power?

Foreign Policy

David Rothkopf

This weekend the Pope took a hard stand on behalf of the power of faith to provide "the courage" to not allow "oneself to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion." This revealed more about the Pontiff's misunderstanding of the current crisis in the Church than intended. Because, of course, the problem is not the petty gossip. The problem is the hard and awful fact of decades of abuse of thousands upon thousands of innocent children at the hands of priests in whom they and their families had placed the ultimate trust.

The problem is not petty gossip. The problem is what would be considered in any other organization to be a criminal conspiracy to cover up grievous crimes and to recklessly endanger innocents. The problem is a culture not of compassion but of one that placed the interests of a rich and powerful organization above those of the individuals it was supposed to be serving. The Church doesn't need to be protected. The children need to be protected.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:50 PM

Pope Remains Silent On Abuse Case In Germany

GERMANY
WBUR

[with audio]

By Eric Westervelt

March 29, 2010 :

Pope Benedict XVI has apologized to abuse victims in Ireland, but has yet to speak out about the growing church abuse scandal in his native Germany.

In particular, he has been silent about the case of a priest who was treated for molesting boys in Munich in the 1980s, when the current pope was archbishop of Munich.

The doctor who treated the abusive priest says his warnings went unheeded.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:48 PM

The Priestly Pedophilia Program (PPP)

True/Slant

Michael Shermer

By now everyone is painfully aware of the latest scandal to hit the Catholic Church over the matter of the Priestly Pedophilia Program (PPP). As the circle of justice slowly tightens around the Vatican and the Pope himself, who apparently not only knew about extensive priest-on-boy molestation but directly and actively helped bury the story and possibly even moved the offending priest to a perish that would grant him greater access to even more boys, the one-liner of the eminently quotable Christopher Hitchens comes to mind here about the PPP: No Child’s Behind Left.

If it were revealed that any other organization but the Catholic Church had not only engaged in but protected and sometimes even encouraged child molestation, rest assured that any government worthy of the name would swoop down upon them and shut them down cold, stopping all further activities until a full and legal investigation and proper prosecution of all offenders were undertaken.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:40 PM

Vocal Archbishop Chaput so far silent on Church sex scandal

COLORADO
The Colorado Independent

By John Tomasic 3/29/10
The latest chapter in a widening scandal of Catholic Church pedophelia and cover-up that counts thousands of victims on two continents unfolded spectacularly last week, implicating the Pope directly as a key player even before he was pope in a culture of power and secrecy that flouted secular law. The escalating stories of hushed-up child abuse in Ireland, Germany and Wisconsin were augmented Saturday by the long-delayed official admission that the revered head of the powerful Legionaries of Christ Catholic order was also a pedophile and a thief.

Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput was the U.S. member of a five-man investigative team appointed by the Vatican last July to look into the allegations of abuse conducted by Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the deceased leader of the Legionaries. What the team found, by all accounts, isn’t good news for the Church. Chaput, who has spoken out repeatedly on the moral failings of the health care bill and members of Congress and who recently expelled the children of a lesbian couple from a Catholic school in Boulder, has remained publicly silent on the abuse scandals and the Church’s willful failure to follow criminal and civil legal codes.

Although representatives of the Legionaries have admitted the guilt of Degollado– who reportedly molested at least a dozen underlings and fathered and surreptitiously supported a number of children– the official report of the Vatican investigative team has yet to be made public.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:36 PM

NYT UNFAIRLY CITES POPE'S ROLE

UNITED STATES
Catholic League

March 29, 2010

Catholic League president Bill Donohue criticizes an op-ed article and a news story in the New York Times about Pope Benedict XVI's role in the case of Fr. Lawrence Murphy:

In yesterday's Times, columnist Maureen Dowd said that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now the pope, "ignored repeated warnings and looked away in the case of the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, a Wisconsin priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys." Wrong. Her own newspaper said it has no evidence that he even knew of letters that reached his office in 1996 about this matter.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:33 PM

PopeWatch: Palm Sunday Edition

UNITED STATES
Beliefnet

Nicole Neroulias

Given the daily -- sometimes hourly -- influx of Catholic news lately, I'm introducing PopeWatch, my daily digest of the Vatican's response to the global clergy sex abuse scandal, including the New York Times' ongoing investigative coverage and commentary, and other headlines.

Yesterday was Palm Sunday (the same day for all Christians this year, including the Eastern Orthodox branch), the start of Holy Week, leading up to Easter. The Associated Press reported that Pope Benedict made no direct reference to the scandal in his homily, though one of the prayers during Mass was "for the young and for those charged with educating them and protecting them." Some sex abuse victims took offense at something else he said, however: "From God comes the courage not to be intimidated by petty gossip."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:44 PM

The Theocons Dig In

UNITED STATES
The Daily Dish

George Weigel, once a staunch defender of cultist and multiple child-rapist Marcial Maciel, a man protected by both Woytila and Ratzinger for years, now blames gay former archbishop, Rembert Weakland, and Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times for airing the hideous story of how a Catholic priest was able to rape countless deaf children in Milwaukee for decades. All of it is now a liberal media conspiracy against the church:

[T]he crisis of sexual abuse and episcopal malfeasance has been seized upon by the Church’s enemies to cripple it, morally and financially, and to cripple its leaders. That was the subtext in Boston in 2002 (where the effort was aided by Catholics who want to turn Catholicism into high-church Congregationalism, preferably with themselves in charge). And that is what has happened in recent weeks, as a global media attack has swirled around Pope Benedict XVI, following the revelation of odious abuse cases throughout Europe. In his native Germany, Der Spiegel has called for the pope’s resignation; similar cries for papal blood have been raised in Ireland, a once-Catholic country now home to the most aggressively secularist press in Europe.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:41 PM

Press Claims and Document Trails Miss Point in Abuse Scandal

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Radio

[with audio]

(29 Mar 10 - RV) 3,000 cases of sex abuse against minors by priests or religious have been dealt with by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith since 2001.

According to Raymond de Souza, a priest and columnist with Canada’s National Post newspaper, this is the quiet revolution taking place in the Vatican when it comes to investigating cases and ensuring those responsible are brought to justice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:39 PM

The Position of the Church

NEW YORK
The New York Times

Ross Douthat

New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan, blogging on the sex abuse scandal:

What causes us Catholics to bristle is not only the latest revelations of sickening sexual abuse by priests, and blindness on the part of some who wrongly reassigned them — such stories, unending though they appear to be, are fair enough, — but also that the sexual abuse of minors is presented as a tragedy unique to the Church alone.

That, of course, is malarkey. Because, as we now sadly realize, nobody, nowhere, no time, no way, no how knew the extent, depth, or horror of this scourge, nor how to adequately address it.

There is truth to this. The Catholic Church is not unique among large institutions in having a problem with sexual abuse. The American public school system is rife with sexual misconduct, and the same is presumably true of most religious denominations, Boy Scout-type groups and so forth. Any organization devoted to the care and education of the young is going to attract would-be abusers, and provide settings for misconduct and criminality. Nor was the Catholic Church unique in misunderstanding the scope of the crisis it faced from the early 1960s through the 1980s: Catholicism’s abuse problem wouldn’t have spiraled so far out of control if a host of American professions — psychiatrists, policemen, lawyers, judges, etc. — hadn’t been similarly inclined to downplay the risks of abuse and overstate the ease with which the problem could be managed. Nor, finally, is the archbishop wrong to see a certain amount of anti-Catholic and anti-religious animus motivating the media’s often-obsessive coverage of the priest-abuse scandals, and the level of scrutiny that the church receives relative to other institutions.

But I wish that he and others would think twice before complaining so vociferously about it. Call out bad reporting, by all means; defend yourself against unjustified allegations, definitely. But don’t spend too much time complaining about a double standard, or griping about being unfairly targeted. Because, after all, the church is the church — not the public school bureaucracy, not the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, not the American juvenile detention system or the Scientologists or any other organization that you might not be surprised to discover has a problem with sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:33 PM

Monday, March 29, 2010

UNITED STATES
outpatient clinic

Skip Shea

Archbishop Dolan of New York's assertion that Pope Benedict is like Jesus should be considered miraculous. What else could possibly explain the transformation of one person from Hitler Youth to the King of the Jews?

Alright, that's an unfair joke. He was only 16 years old when he went into military service for the Nazi's. Clearly that doesn't count. Just like my Uncle Vinny who lied about his age and joined the US Navy at the age of 16. He was there when they captured the only German submarine in WWII, the U-505. That doesn't count either.

I can understand the Church's unease with discussions around Nazi's as Pope Pius XII reputation and record during that period is a little suspect. In particular, letting the likes of Dr. Josef Mengele to escape justice by fleeing Europe down the ratline, which went through the Vatican.

That's not good for PR. Although all of this bad press does keep the likes of Catholic League President Bill Donohue employed. As silly as he sometimes may be. Like his response that Cardinal Ratzinger may have seen a memo about the transfer of pedophile priest Peter Hullermann.

Donohue said "So what? Wasn't that what he expected to happen?” Yes, but he wasn't supposed to get caught transferring him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:23 PM

Stance on perverted priests still problematic

UNITED STATES
Western Courier

Cody Boland

It doesn't take a discerning eye to realize that the Catholic religion, which was based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, seems to have missed the point about such messages as "blessed are the meek."

The sovereign city-state known as Vatican City, a theocratic state run by the pope, delights in elaborate ceremony and expensive architecture, something that their favorite Nazareth resident may have had a few words against.

The economy, funded by tourism, is another interesting irony that seems to be a bit of a contrast to what the charitable, robed desert walker had in mind.

But those are just minor nuances that rub me the wrong way. While the concept of the pope, the spiritual leader who represents the closest connection between Catholics' and their god, needing a bulletproof dome to travel in implies an amusing lack of "faith," this easy comedic paradox that creates a good stand-up routine is largely insignificant. It is the words of the man himself which move my Vatican stance from a joke to strong disdain.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:12 PM

German bishops beg forgiveness for sex abuse by priests

GERMANY
Earth Times

Berlin - Several Catholic bishops in Germany begged for forgiveness Monday for past sex abuse by paedophile priests, saying the hundreds of cases were a "shocking" judgement on the church.

For days, as the scandal has widened in Germany and the United States, bishops have been issuing previously unpublished tallies of molestation in the period from 1950 to 1990, and reporting more recent cases to police.

As hundreds of priests listened in his cathedral in Muenster, bishop Felix Genn asked victims for forgiveness for these "appalling attacks" and said the church had suffered major damage and lost face.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:09 PM

Spreading the Big Lie

UNITED STATES
National Review

George Weigel & Rev. Jay Scott Newman

If Irish singer Sinead O’Connor wishes to denounce her mother publicly as an abusive parent, that is her privilege. If Ms. O’Connor wishes to shred a photograph of Pope John Paul II on stage, as she did almost two decades ago, she is, one supposes, within the boundaries of “performance art.” If Ms. O’Connor wishes to “separate” the God she believes in from the Catholic Church in which she was raised, as she put it in a March 28 article in the “Outlook” section of the Washington Post, she is free to do so.

What Sinead O’Connor is not free to do is to misrepresent the teaching and law of the Catholic Church in the Post in order to buttress her claim that the Church is an “abusive organization” and that the Church threatens with excommunication those who would blow the whistle on clerical sexual abusers. That is utterly false. If Ms. O’Connor is aware of that falsehood, she has lied. What is more likely is that she picked up this arrant nonsense from those who are attempting to portray the Catholic Church as a global criminal conspiracy of sexual predators, in order to cripple the Church morally and financially and to drive it from the public square in shame.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:06 PM

Controversial Priest moves out of Strabane

NORTHERN IRELAND
The Ulster Herald

By Alan Rodgers

THE priest at the centre of sex abuse allegations who had been living in Strabane Parochial House for over nine years, is moving out of the residence.

Parishioners in the town were told of the decision on Fr John McCullagh at weekend Masses by Parish Priest, Fr Declan Boland. He had previously accused the Derry Diocese of 'stitching him up' amid fears that the parish would be tainted by the controversy.

In a statement read to congregations Fr Boland said the decision was taken following consultations with the Parish Pastoral Council and Bishop Seamus Hegarty.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:02 PM

Can faith in the Pope, and the church, be saved?

CANADA
The Globe and Mail

Michael Valpy

.Benedict XVI risks history’s lasting stain as the pope of a sexually abusive church unless he takes bold steps to steer Roman Catholicism onto a fresh path such as summoning a global council to deal with the problem, says a Canadian scholar who is one of the world’s leading experts on the faith.

Michael Higgins’s issued his warning as Catholic leaders around the world – including members of the Canadian church hierarchy – defended Benedict against what they called unfair attacks and smears against a man they say has been the Vatican’s driving force behind ridding the church of priestly sex predators.

“I just find it so ironic that he who has really belled the cat in these cases, and has actually confronted and dealt with and changed things and made things happen for the whole church, that of all people he should be attacked,” said Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto, head of the Canadian church’s largest archdiocese. “Of course if you can attack the Pope, you can hit a home run. But it’s so unfair, so unfair, the Holy Father has done so much.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:58 PM

When Priests and Rabbis Commit Sexual Abuse

UNITED STATES
The Huffington Post

Brad Hirschfield

The words used by Pope Benedict and others in responding to the Church's ever-deepening sexual abuse crises reflect a sickness that is not unique to the Catholic community. In fact, that sickness creeps into all religious communities of which I know, and leaves a trail of victims in its wake every time. I refer to the way in which religious leaders and the communities which they lead wear the mantle of victimhood to cover their naked moral failings.

In the past days I have heard Catholics tell me again and again that "the Church is under assault." Under assault by whom? Is this "assault" the real problem? Or is it a deflection from the horrors of child abuse committed by the religious?

In his Palm Sunday address, Pope Benedict spoke about allowing neither himself nor the Church to be "intimidated by petty gossip". "Petty gossip"? Is that how the Holy Father understands the outcry against the evil acts which members of the Church have committed? Is it really his view that the Church is a victim of gossip mongers more than the thousands of children have been victims of the Church?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:51 PM

20 Trier diocese priests accused of sex abuse

GERMANY
The Local

Trier's Roman Catholic diocese said Monday that 20 of its current and former priests had been accused "in recent weeks" of sexual abuse as part of an ever widening scandal embroiling the Church in Germany.

The Trier bishopric in the western part of the country said the "shocking" allegations involved crimes committed from the 1950s to 1990.

"For my part, I would like to encourage those victims who have not yet found the courage to come forward to do so," Bishop Stephan Ackermann told reporters, saying he was "stunned" by the cases that had come to light.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:48 PM

Editorial: The church needs to be true to itself

NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand Herald

A Vatican newspaper claims the hailstorm of allegations of priestly sexual abuse is a conspiracy aimed at the present Pope and the Catholic Church.

Ironically, it targets the "media" as leading or cheerleading this conspiracy, the New York Times being the latest to publish a historical claim, from up to 70 young, deaf boys who allege abuse by an American priest now dead.

It is unfortunate the messenger is being criticised rather than the message heeded. There is much still to be done for the church to put this sin behind it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:49 AM

SNAP Criticizes Vatican Handling of Scandal

UNITED STATES
KSAX

MILWAUKEE (AP) - The group called Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is criticizing the Vatican for its handling of the recent scandal involving Wisconsin abuse victims.

The group claims in a news release that top Catholic officials in Rome have publicly insulted abuse victims in the last few days.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:46 AM

Cravatts: Is clergy abuse inevitable?

MASSACHUSETTS
MetroWest Daily News

By Richard Cravatts/Guest columnist
The MetroWest Daily News

The recent revelations of yet another history of rampant sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in Ireland, not to mention Pope Benedict XVI's own complicity in covering up instances of such abuse when he was an archbishop in Germany in the 1980s, still leaves unanswered and troubling questions about the psychology of the perpetrators and the motivation of Church leaders who ignored these morally-defective, criminal actions and allowed them to continue.

What is it about the Catholic Church that attracted the many priests who would go on to sexually abuse hundreds of pre- and post-pubescent children, both in Europe and the United States?

Answering those questions gives clues about why the Church's scandal happened, and, more importantly, how Church leadership and lay professionals can begin to unravel the psychosocial trap into which many troubled priests have seemingly fallen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:42 AM

The sins of the Fathers...are crimes

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite

The sexual abuse of children is a crime; in Wisconsin, where as many as 200 deaf boys may have been sexually abused by Father Murphy at St. Johns' School for the Deaf in St. Francis, clergy are now among those legally mandated to report child sexual abuse to authorities. The failure of clergy to report child sexual abuse in WI is now against the law. Unfortunately, this law was only adopted nearly a decade after the alleged abuse by Father Murphy.

From Wisconsin to Ireland to Rome, and everywhere in between, the Catholic church must not only be held morally accountable for the crimes of sexual assault by priests against children, it must be held legally accountable. Until Catholic priests are everywhere held legally accountable for the crimes of sexual abuse they commit, and Catholic authorities are held legally responsible for the crimes they cover-up, the abuse will not stop.

A fundamental question that often gets overlooked in the horrible pattern of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, is who is the church? Are children part of the church, and the beloved of God, and their safety the condition for being able to say the church is holy? Or is it only the church hierarchy that is the church, and the protection of the hierarchy the most important issue? Are children part of the church or not?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:37 AM

Maciel Disowned By His Own Cult

UNITED STATES
The Daily Dish

[with video]

A serial child-rapist, cult-leader and secretly married confidant of John Paul II and Benedict XVI is finally disowned by his own cult. John Paul II called this multiple child-rapist "an efficacious guide to youth". Of course, he was never subjected to any criminal sanctions, was protected by Woytila and Ratzinger for years, even as they knew full well what was going on, and the euphemized statement just released is what the Catholic hierarchy believes is contrition. In 2006, the Vatican decided not even to subject him to canonical hearing because of his advanced age. So if you live long enough, and bring enough cash into the church, you can be allowed to molest countless children and your only punishment is an invitation to spend the rest of your life, supported by the church, in "prayer and penance, renouncing to any public ministry”.

The person who approved of this non-punishment is now the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the American Cardinal Levada. Punishing Maciel for decades of child-rape with a paid retirement and invitation to prayer was also approved directly by Pope Benedict XVI.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:35 AM

"Bad" popes and bishops

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

By Anthony Stevens-Arroyo

What do Alexander VI, the Renaissance Borgia pope, and today's Benedict XVI have in common? No, it's not a sex scandal - even though different kinds of sex scandals abound in both cases. Rather, like Alexander in his time, Benedict is trying to protect the Church's political power at a time when secularism is replacing respect for religious institutions.

Papal history is filled with scandal. Alexander VI (1492-1503) was notorious for his mistresses and illegitimate children. Renaissance pope Julius II (1503-1513) led mercenary armies in Italy as a field general. Paul III (1534-1549) convoked the Council of Trent, but not before he appointed his two teenage grandsons as Cardinals first. Most of Catholic America considers prelates like these to be "bad" popes and bishops. From today's moral standards, they certainly were. But others disagreed; Machiavelli, for example, wrote that Alexander VI was a brilliant politician who was good for the Church. So there is a difference between "morally bad" and "politically bad."

I do not subscribe to the idea, common in Protestant circles, that the Holy Spirit abandoned the Renaissance Church. Catholics at that time accepted the goal of institutional power calculating that it outweighed scandal. I suspect that four centuries from now, the Catholic faithful will look back on the Pope John Paul II (1978-2005) and his successors with the same criteria used for the Renaissance popes: despite mistakes, they fought to preserve institutional power.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:52 AM

Listecki "Cannot Believe" Attemped Cover-Up Happened at Vatican

MILWAUKEE (WI)
WTMJ

By Jay Sorgi

MILWAUKEE - It's Holy Week, the week including Good Friday and Easter Sunday, but Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki has to give his Holy Week message amidst claims of a Vatican cover-up of sex abuse of children by a priest here.

"It's a shame."

So said Listecki on 620WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News."

He mentioned that he doesn't believe the Vatican had involvement of a cover-up in the case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:48 AM

Vatican Documents Showing Coverup of Miami Priest to be Released

FLORIDA
Mermelstein & Horowitz

New Documents Released Show Vatican Involvement in Coverup of Miami Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing Children

Child sexual abuse attorneys Stuart Mermelstein and Jessica Arbour will release never-before seen documents obtained in litigation that reveal an international coverup of Fr. Ernesto Garcia-Rubio’s pattern of sexual misconduct. Garcia-Rubio has been accused of sexually abusing multiple boys he came to know through his work in Miami’s immigrant and refugee communities. Documents reveal that officials in the Vatican, Archdiocese of Miami, and Garcia-Rubio’s Cuban diocese knew he posed a threat to children early in his ministry, yet did nothing to warn parishioners.

The documents reveal that Garcia-Rubio was personally known to several Vatican officials, and began his career in Miami at the request of the Holy See. Less than 5 years after he was ordained, the Vatican warned Miami officials that he had been forced to leave Cuba because of sexual misconduct, and it sought assurance that Garcia-Rubio would be “protected” in Miami. Garcia-Rubio was so well known that Vatican officials even called on him to assist with special projects.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:45 AM

Ex-Powys vicar Richard Hart faces child sex offences

WALES
BBC News

A former vicar has appeared in court accused of a series of sexual offences against children.

Richard Hart, 60, of Beguildy, near Knighton, Powys, has been charged with gross indecency and indecent assault offences.

Dyfed-Powys Police said he appeared before magistrates in Llandrindod Wells last Thursday. No plea was entered.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:32 AM

Pope talks today of "petty gossip;" Clergy sex victims are hurt & insulted

VATICAN CITY
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Statement by Barbara Blaine, SNAP President, 312 299 4747

Contrary to what a few in Rome are saying, we are not "ignoble," "despicable" or engaging in "petty gossip." We are men, women and children who are in deep pain, having been raped, sodomized and assaulted by Catholic clergy and often betrayed by Catholic officials. Our trauma - past and present - should never be trivialized by anyone, much less by those who profess to be caring shepherds.

That last description - "petty gossip" - hurts the worst, because it comes from the Pope himself. The mean-spirited comments by some loyal church bureaucrats in defense of the pontiff are wrong but understandable, given the intense scrutiny their leader now faces. But when the Pope himself responds to hundreds of suffering clergy sex abuse victims and thousands of aching Catholic parishioners with dismissive rhetoric, it's particularly disturbing.

Tens of thousands of us are doing a public service. By our courage, we are making the church, and society, safer for children. By our actions, we are exposing predators, warning parents, protecting families and deterring future recklessness and deceit in child sex cases, secular and religious. We are shining a sorely-needed light on long-hidden secrets and corruption, so that horrific wounds can be healed and so that vulnerable youngsters can be safeguarded. That's no "conspiracy," that's decency and bravery.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:21 AM

Clergy sex abuse victims announce new group forming in England

UNITED KINGDOM
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, two prominent US clergy sex abuse victims and 2 or 3 victims from the UK will
-- express their concern for vulnerable children and wounded adults in England,
-- announce the formation of a confidential self help group for British victims, and
-- beg anyone who saw, suspected or suffer clergy sex crimes to speak up, call police, get help, expose predators, protect others and start healing.

When:
Tuesday, 30th of March, 11:00 a.m.

WHO
Two US women who lead the world’s largest & most highly visible support group for clergy sex abuse victims, called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) and 2 or 3 victims from England

Where
In front of the Westminster Cathedral at Ambroseden Avenue, Westminster, London SW1P 1QJ

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:15 AM

Maciel’s men.

ROME
dotCommonweal

March 29, 2010, 8:07 am Posted by Grant Gallicho

In her thread on the Legion of Christ’s disavowal of Maciel, Mollie linked to an important piece by Sandro Magister, “Legionaries: The ‘Nomenklatura’ that Must Disappear.” Next month, the five bishops who led investigations of the the Legion–Archbishop Chaput in the United States–will present their findings to Vatican officials. Magister details the maneuverings of Legion leadership in advance of those meetings. Rome will likely place the Legionaries under the authority of an “external commissioner endowed with full powers,” yet, according to Magister, the group’s leaders–all with close ties to Maciel, several of whom alleged to have knowledge of Maciel’s double life–are “anything but resigned to giving way.”

Freed from the annoyance of the visitors, and not yet subjected to the command of the commissioner, during this interim period which they are hoping will last for “several months” they are doing everything they can to consolidate their power and win the support of the majority of the 800 priests of the Legion, and of the other religious and lay members.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:12 AM

FR. LOMBARDI: CHURCH COMMITMENT AGAINST CHILD ABUSE

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

VATICAN CITY, 27 MAR 2010 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a note released by Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., entitled "Vigil of Holy Week".

"The question of the sexual abuse of minors by members of the Catholic clergy has continued to receive wide coverage in the communications media of many countries, especially in Europe and North America, coverage which has continued over recent days following the publication of the Pope's Letter to the Catholics of Ireland.

"This is no surprise. The nature of the question is such as to attract the attention of the media, and the way in which the Church deals with it is crucial for her moral credibility.

"The truth is that the cases that have come to public attention generally took place some time ago, even decades ago, although recognising them and making amends with the victims is the best way to restore justice and to achieve that 'purification of memory' which enables us to look to the future with renewed commitment, with humility and trust.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:52 AM

Is he a hard hat or a prophet?

SOUTH AFRICA
Mail & Guardian

JOHN HOOPER - Mar 29 2010

On the opening evening of the Second Vatican Council in 1962, thousands of Romans poured into St Peter's Square in a torchlight procession. Called to the window of his study by the multitude, John XXIII said: "Returning home, you'll find the children. Give them a caress and say: 'This is the caress of the pope.'"

Forty-three years later, on the night Benedict XVI was elected, a text message hurtled between cellphones as the crowds dispersed from the same square. "Returning home, you'll find the children," it read. "Give them a belt round the ear and say: 'That's from the pope.'"

In the five years since it has become clear that the daunting reputation the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger brought into office as "God's rottweiler" was, in many respects, misleading.

A man less likely to cuff a child would be hard to imagine -- although, as the latest and biggest scandal to rock his papacy has revealed, his choirmaster brother was not above cuffing choristers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:37 AM

Three Catholic Church reformers reflect on latest sexual abuse reports

UNITED STATES
The Star-Ledger

By Jeff Diamant/The Star-Ledger
March 28, 2010

To many advocates of reform in the Catholic Church, the papal election of conservative Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in April 2005 was a blow to hopes the Vatican would change positions on gender, sexuality, divorce, and the church hierarchy.

Yet the result encouraged three prominent reformers who were appointees to a U.S. bishops' advisory panel. The three American Catholics — a judge, an attorney and a newspaper publisher — were concerned mainly with the clergy sex scandal.

They had met with Ratzinger in his Vatican office in 2004 for an extensive discussion on the cover-ups of clergy sex abuse of children and came to view Ratzinger as the best churchman anywhere on the issue. A year later, when he became Pope Benedict XVI, they were often quoted praising him in American news articles.

But that was then. This month's clamor over revelations in a German newspaper and the New York Times about two priests whose abuse cases were adjudicated under Ratzinger's watch have led two of the three panel members who met with Ratzinger to reconsider their views.

The Star-Ledger interviewed all three late last week: Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, Washington attorney Robert Bennett, and retired publishing executive William Burleigh

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:30 AM

Bishop's apology is not enough -- survivor

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By Ralph Riegel

Monday March 29 2010

ONE of the alleged victims of clerical abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne has welcomed the resignation of Bishop Dr John Magee.

However, the victim said the resignation of the 73-year old bishop would not draw a line under the hurt caused by the diocese's mishandling of abuse allegations.

A special letter from Dr Magee was read out at all Masses in the diocese yesterday. He thanked people for their support over his 23 years as their bishop and said victims would remain in his prayers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:24 AM

Brady under fire over new allegations against priest

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By John Cooney and Paul Melia

Monday March 29 2010

The embattled head of the Catholic Church in Ireland has found himself at the centre of another child-abuse scandal involving allegations against one of his senior priests.

Cardinal Sean Brady announced yesterday that a parish priest in his archdiocese of Armagh had agreed to step aside from his official duties pending a police investigation.

On Saturday night the 70-year-old cardinal travelled from Armagh to the unidentified parish to concelebrate Mass and tell shocked parishioners about the sudden departure of their parish priest.

Last night, the cardinal's spokesman refused to respond to questions from the Irish Independent about details of the complaint against the cleric, and about when it was first made known to Cardinal Brady.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:21 AM

Just outrageous

UNITED STATES
A Passionate Engagement

Ken Harvey

I keep thinking that the response of the Roman Catholic Church to the sex abuse crisis can't shock me any longer, but, unfortunately, it still does. The latest outrage was Pope Benedict XVI's Palm Sunday missive to the faithful. One line sums up everything that is wrong with the Church.

In a not-so-subtle reference to the recent investigations into further sexual abuse, the pontiff said faith in God helps lead one “towards the courage of not allowing oneself to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion.”

Okay. A few points here.

1. The sexual abuse of thousands of children is not "petty gossip." It is real and painful. It could have been stopped. It has left lasting scars on its victims. Petty gossip? You insult every victim of clergy abuse with these two outrageous words.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:09 AM

Sources of the Scandal

UNITED STATES
America Magazine

Father Martin, below, usefully recommends that everyone look back at the incredible resource which is the report of the National Review Board, set up by the USCCB, to monitor their own compliance with the provisions adopted at Dallas in 2002 to address the clergy sex abuse crisis. Last week, the Review Board issued its annual update, which is also useful reading.

There are two "causes" of the crisis that the Review Board did not mention, however, that merit mentioning. One applies to the actual issue of clerical sexual abuse and the other to the pattern of Episcopal cover-ups of the abuse. A priest told me that he believes most dioceses and most seminaries still throw out anyone who admits to having had sexual relations with a woman within the past five years or anyone who admits to being homosexual. The priest predicted, and I have every reason to think he is right, that for most applicants this is simply an invitation to lie. I recall an article in a newspaper in which a seminary rector said there were no homosexuals in his seminary. Having visited many seminaries over the years, I am quite certain that this statement is false. I am also certain that such naivete about sexual matters is an instance of clerical malpractice. Note to the Board of Trustees at all seminaries: Fire any rector or seminary staffer who says something that dumb. I would also call attention to the much more nuanced approach taken by Archbishop Timothy Dolan during a recent interview when asked about his tenure as rector of the North American College. Dolan gets it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:01 AM

Catholic Church still silent on SNAP allegations

GUAM
KUAM

by Mindy Aguon

Guam - The Catholic Church continues to remain silent on allegations made by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The head of the group's Southwest Division was on island last week and talked with victims, some including high ranking government officials.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:53 AM

OC Catholic Sex-Abuse Survivor Visits Guam to Give its Pedo-Priests Hell

ORANGE COUNTY (CA)
Orange County Weekly

By Gustavo Arellano, Monday, Mar. 29 2010

This past Saturday, after traveling for nearly 24 hours nonstop, Joelle Casteix finally returned home after a week of giving pedophile priests and their apologists hell. The setting wasn't her usual stomping grounds outside any Diocese of Orange facility but a place much, much prettier but no less demonic: Guam.

Casteix--one of the eight or so graduates of Mater Dei High who ever turned out to become a decent person--went in her capacity as the Southwest Regional Director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) after sex-abuse victims in the American territory contacted her seeking to tell their stories. She spent a week meeting with victims, but none showed up for a public session she organized. Unfazed, Casteix will return in a couple of months, telling a Guam newspaper "Our goal is two-fold. Number one: To begin healing for survivors of sexual abuse, and that is through them talking. ... Number two is making sure what happened to us never happens to another child."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:50 AM

A Time for Contrition

UNITED STATES
The New York Times

By ROSS DOUTHAT
Published: March 28, 2010

During a frustrating argument with a Roman Catholic cardinal, Napoleon Bonaparte supposedly burst out: “Your eminence, are you not aware that I have the power to destroy the Catholic Church?” The cardinal, the anecdote goes, responded ruefully: “Your majesty, we, the Catholic clergy, have done our best to destroy the church for the last 1,800 years. We have not succeeded, and neither will you.”

Two centuries later, the clergy has taken another shot at it. What the American and Irish churches have endured in the last decade and what German Catholics find themselves enduring today is all part of the same grim story: the exposure, years after the fact, of an appalling period in which the Catholic hierarchy responded to an explosion of priestly sex abuse with cover-ups, evasions and criminal negligence.

Now the scandal has touched the pope himself. There are two charges against Benedict XVI: first, that he allowed a pedophile priest to return to ministry while archbishop of Munich in 1980; and second, that as head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the 1990s, he failed to defrock a Wisconsin priest who had abused deaf children 30 years before.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:47 AM

CONSERVATIVE MEXICAN PRIEST SEXUALLY ABUSED SONS HE FATHERED - MARCIAL MACIEL, Founder of $2 BILLION, 75,000-Member Order Of The Legion Of Christ

UNITED STATES
San Francisco Sentinel

By Tracy Wilkinson
The Los Angeles Times

He hobnobbed with Mexico’s rich and famous, cut lucrative real estate deals and was rumored to travel on occasion with a briefcase full of cash. He fathered at least one child, molested seminarians and boys and is said to have boasted that he had the pope’s permission to get massages from young nuns.

And all the while the conservative priest was building one of the most influential organizations in the Roman Catholic Church.

Two years after the death of the Rev. Marcial Maciel, a Mexico native, scandals continue to unfold: Just the other day in Mexico City, two brothers came forward, claiming tearfully that not only was Maciel their father, he had also sexually abused them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:44 AM

Petty Gossip

VATICAN CITY
Democratic Underground

Posted by NanceGreggs

Faced with yet another resurgence of outrage over the Catholic Church’s systematic cover-up of the sexual abuse of children at the hands of its priests – this time triggered by allegations that the current pontiff himself participated in this heinous exercise – Pope Benedict XVI today chose to respond not by reassuring the faithful that such a serious matter would be investigated and addressed, but instead by adding insult to injury.

In his address to the crowd assembled in St. Peter’s Square to observe Palm Sunday, His Holier-Than-Thouness stated that faith in God leads one "towards the courage of not allowing one’s self to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion".

One cannot help but note the use of the words “one’s self” – because, as this particular pontiff has demonstrated time and again, it’s his world, and it’s all about him, and the children who were stripped of the innocence of their childhood be damned – literally and figuratively – for suggesting otherwise.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:40 AM

Pope's prayer for sex-abuse victims fails to pacify critics

ROME
The Globe and Mail (Canada)

Eric Reguly

.Parishioners at Santa Susanna, a baroque gem of a Catholic church that has served as the American national church in Rome since the 1920s, were surprised by a prayer said at Palm Sunday mass. Mixed in with invocations for the victims of earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, came a prayer “for all the victims of child abuse.”

“This is the first time I heard a prayer for the abused at the church,” said Jack Zaleweski, an American security consultant who lives in Rome and regularly attends services at Santa Susanna, which opened 1603.

There was no other acknowledgment during the mass of the abuse scandal shaking the Roman Catholic Church around the world.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:36 AM

Abuse crisis weighs on area's Catholics

CHARLOTTE (NC)
Charlotte Observer

Charlotte Catholics heading into Holy Week are thinking not only about the approach of Easter but also about troubling new questions swirling around the leader of their ancient church.

On Saturday and Sunday, Catholics leaving Palm Sunday Masses at three Charlotte parishes indicated that they have long been concerned, even "heartbroken," as one put it, about a child sex abuse crisis that has rocked dioceses in the United States, Ireland - and now Germany, where Pope Benedict XVI previously served as archbishop of Munich.

Recent news reports allege that, in 1980, he approved the transfer of an abusive priest to another jurisdiction. Then in the 1990s, when he was the Vatican's top doctrinal official, he was allegedly made aware of a Wisconsin case in which the church failed to defrock a priest accused of molesting 200 deaf children from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:32 AM

Lawsuits affect area dioceses

NORTH DAKOTA
Grand Forks Herald

By: Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald

The St. Paul attorney who is suing the Vatican also has filed lawsuits recently against the Catholic dioceses of Fargo and Crookston, alleging sexual abuse by priests.

Jeffrey Anderson’s law firm has filed four suits against the Fargo diocese alleging that Raimond Rose, who as a Christian Brother taught at Shanley High School in Fargo from 1976-80, sexually molested students and that diocesan officials knew Rose had been accused of molesting students at Catholic schools in the Twin Cities before he was hired at Shanley.

A spokeswoman for the diocese said recently that no one had come forward to the diocese to report abuse by Rose.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:29 AM

Ireland deserves better than this papal apology

IRELAND
Guelph Mercury

March 29, 2010

By Sinead O’Connor

When I was a child, Ireland was a Catholic theocracy. If a bishop came walking down the street, people would move to make a path for him. If a bishop attended a national sporting event, the team would kneel to kiss his ring. If someone made a mistake, instead of saying, “Nobody’s perfect,” we said, “Ah sure, it could happen to a bishop.”

The expression was more accurate than we knew. This month, Pope Benedict XVI wrote a pastoral letter of apology — of sorts — to Ireland to atone for decades of sexual abuse of minors by priests whom those children were supposed to trust. To many people in my homeland, the pope’s letter is an insult not only to our intelligence, but to our faith and to our country. To understand why, one must realize that we Irish endured a brutal brand of Catholicism that revolved around the humiliation of children.

I experienced this personally. When I was a young girl, my mother — an abusive, less-than-perfect parent — encouraged me to shoplift. After being caught once too often, I spent 18 months in An Grianán Training Centre, an institution in Dublin for girls with behavioral problems, at the recommendation of a social worker. An Grianán was one of the now-infamous church-sponsored “Magdalene laundries,” which housed pregnant teenagers and uncooperative young women. We worked in the basement, washing priests’ clothes in sinks with cold water and bars of soap. We studied math and typing. We had limited contact with our families. We earned no wages. One of the nuns, at least, was kind to me and gave me my first guitar.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:25 AM

Ormond man wants Catholic penance week

FLORIDA
The Daytona Beach News-Journal

By MARK HARPER, STAFF WRITER

The latest revelations in the pedophile priest scandal that have damaged the Catholic Church have sparked debate within the Diocese of Orlando about the days leading up to Easter Sunday.

Volusia Voice of the Faithful -- headed by Ormond Beach resident Robert Keane -- is calling on Bishop Thomas Wenski to proclaim this, Holy Week, a period of "recollection and remorse." The group is asking than all pastors wear sack cloth and ashes, lead penance services and "admit the extent of this, our greatest crisis since the flagrant conduct of the Renaissance Church."

Wenski, through a church spokeswoman, issued a statement to The News-Journal on Friday. The purpose of Holy Week is to remember the passion of Christ, who Catholics believe died in order to redeem the sins of all men and women, according to the statement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:22 AM

World waits for pope's reaction to sexual abuse claims

VATICAN CITY
WFIE

Posted by Sarah Harlan

VATICAN CITY (NBC) - The Catholic church began this holy week under a cloud of suspicion with more claims of sexual abuse by priests and more accusations that the leaders of the church ignored those claims.

The accusations reach all the way to Pope Benedict.

The majesty of the Catholic church was on display in St. Peter's Square Sunday morning, with the Palm Sunday mass commemorating Jesus Christ's triumphant arrival into Jerusalem, the first in a week of events focused on Christ's death and resurrection.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:19 AM

For Rwandans, the pope's apology must be unbearable

RWANDA
Guardian (United Kingdom)

Martin Kimani The Guardian, Monday 29 March 2010

If you are an Irish Catholic, and have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a priest, you were recently read a letter from Pope Benedict that tells you: "You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry. I know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated."

For any practising Catholic in Rwanda, this letter must be unbearable. For it tells you how little you mean to the Vatican. Fifteen years ago, tens of thousands of Catholics were hacked to death inside churches. Sometimes priests and nuns led the slaughter. Sometimes they did nothing while it progressed. The incidents were not isolated. Nyamata, Ntarama, Nyarubuye, Cyahinda, Nyange, and Saint Famille were just a few of the churches that were sites of massacres.

To you, Catholic survivor of genocide in Rwanda, the Vatican says that those priests, those bishops, those nuns, those archbishops who planned and killed were not acting under the instruction of the church. But moral responsibility changes dramatically if you are a European or US Catholic. To the priests of the Irish church who abused children, the pope has this to say: "You must answer for it before almighty God and before properly constituted tribunals. You have forfeited the esteem of the people of Ireland and brought shame and dishonour upon your confreres."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

Kenyan rebel Catholics challenge church

KENYA
Capital FM

BY EVELYN NJOROGE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 29 - The Roman Catholic Church has been challenged to embrace reforms as one way of reducing the sexual abuse scandals that have rocked the church in recent months.

Reverend Godfrey Shiundu, who leads a break-away faction of catholic priests who have broken the celibacy vow, said on Sunday that the Church needs to be honest with itself and allow change that would see members shun immorality and accept the married state of priests and other religious people.

“This is the right time for Rome to go back to its consciousness and say yes we goofed and bring this change,” said the Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ Principal Consecrator adding that a priest who had a family ‘would respect himself and preach in fear.’

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Church's shame

JAMAICA
The Gleaner

André Wright, Night Editor

While condemning the cover-up of child sex-abuse cases involving Roman Catholic clergy globally, Archbishop of Kingston, the Most Reverend Donald Reece, says paedophilia should be treated as an irreversible psychological problem and not necessarily a moral or spiritual failing.

Reece, who is the head of Jamaica's Roman Catholic community, acknowledges that the church's system of dealing with child sex abuse - by sending priests on 30- or 40-day therapeutic retreats - was short-sighted and wrong, leading to the development of institutional secrecy.

The church leader argued that paedophilia has a psychological imprint which can never be cured.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:10 AM

Church in crisis

SOUTH AFRICA
Leadership

“Pope Benedict XVI’s latest apology for the emerging global scandal of child abuse by predatory priests – an issue that the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) should have engaged years ago – is strong on forgiveness, but far short of the full accountability that Catholics need for repairing,” The New York Times wrote last week. As the now-adult victims of molestation by priests increasingly are coming to the fore, it is clear that the RCC is far from out of the woods on perhaps the greatest threat in its long history.

One of the most spellbinding responses can be found in the comments section of a recent report on the OpenDemocracy website. A victim who identifies himself as Gerry Stafford writes an open letter to the Pope.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:07 AM

Majority want pedophile priest registry

SWITZERLAND
World Radio Switzerland

Swiss President Doris Leuthard is calling for a national list of pedophile priests—and a strong majority of the Swiss people would support such a move according to a nationwide poll.

It’s the first time that the head of the government has spoken about the widening scandal of sexual abuse in the Catholic church. She said in a position paper yesterday that it’s “particularly despicable for priests, teachers and other who supervise children.”

Leuthard said a list of teachers who have abused children already exists and that one should now be developed for priests to prevent them from having any more contact with children. She added that the church must accept its share of responsibility, and that “everyone is subject to the Swiss Penal Code, without exception.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:05 AM

CATHOLIC CHURCH 'DISFIGURED'

Trinidad and Tobago
Triniday and Tobago's Newsday

By Janelle de Souza Monday, March 29 2010

As protestors in Europe clamour for Pope Benedict XVI to resign over a clerical sex abuse scandal, a local Roman Catholic priest yesterday urged his congregation to mourn not only for the victims, most of them children, but also for the “disfigured church”.

“Mourn for the victims who have felt betrayed by the priests who have perpetrated the crime, not understanding the reason why these priests have done what they did,” Father Kenneth Assing, declared in his Palm Sunday homily at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Port-of- Spain yesterday.

Assing said the scandal, which intensified yesterday into a protest at Westminster Cathedral, London, England, where protestors demanded that the Pope step down, has shown that the Catholic Church has been betrayed by its own priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

The Vatican apologists carry on

True/Slant

Allison Kilkenny

Now is the time the Vatican apologists will:

A) Continue their disgusting tradition of acting as apologists for child torturers and rapists, or

B) Revise their history of acting as Vatican apologists, and claim none of these accusations are surprising — and gee! — can’t Catholics clean house, and send the kid-toucher priests to an island, or something?

Then there’s Douthat, who heroically attempts to do both.

He half-scolds the Pope for allowing a pedophile priest to return to ministry while Benedict XVI served as archbishop of Munich in 1980. But Douthat then claims a second charge — that the Pope failed to report a Wisconsin priest who had abused 200 deaf children — is “unfair.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 AM

Boston Catholics decry Pope's handling of abuse scandal

MASSACHUSETTS
The Daily Free Press

By Meaghan Beatley

As reported cases of child sexual abuse committed by priests explode across the globe, Catholics in the Boston area are condemning what they see as a lack of inadequacy and lack of accountability in dealing with the crisis by the Vatican.

On March 20, Pope Benedict XVI publicly released an 18-page pastoral letter to the Catholic Church in Ireland in which he formally apologized for the wave of sexual abuses committed by priests in the traditionally deeply Catholic country.

Many Catholics, including a large number in Boston, have voiced their concern that the pope has failed to take responsibility for the issue or action to address it.

“What he did was quell the crisis and the outrage but keep the focus away from the Vatican and its role in creating this culture in the Catholic Church. He did not address his own role, and he did not administer any real punishment,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, a co-director of BishopAccountability.org, a Massachusetts nonprofit organization dedicated to gathering documents, reports and news items related to clergy abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

Archbishop Dolan compares pope abuse flap to torment of Jesus

NEW YORK
New York Post

By LACHLAN CARTWRIGHT and LEONARD GREENE
Post Wire Services

The pope is being crucified over untrue allegations that he condoned the acts of pedophile priests, Archbishop Timothy Dolan told worshippers in St. Patrick's Cathedral yesterday.

The charges being hurled at Pope Benedict XVI are the "the same unjust accusations, shouts of the mob and scourging at the pillar" suffered by Christ, Dolan said in his first Palm Sunday Mass as New York archbishop.

Discussing child abuse by clergy, he added, "The dramatic progress that the Catholic Church in the United States has made . . . could never have happened without the insistence and support of the very man now being daily crowned with thorns by groundless innuendo.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

Chilean Priest Speaks Out As Revelations Sweep the Catholic Church

CHILE
The Santiago Times

Written by Aaron Cantu
Monday, 29 March 2010 05:43

Members of Chile’s Legion of Christ express sorrow for the actions of its founder

The recent accusations of pedophilic abuse and fatherhood involving Marcial Maciel - the founder of the Legion of Christ, an international Roman Catholic congregation - have moved leaders in Chile’s chapter to publicly comment on the matter and express regret.

The Legion, founded in 1941 and brought to Chile in 1980, released a statement on March 26 acknowledging that its founder and former leader, the late Marcial Maciel, engaged in a drug-addled double life of pubescent molestation and sexual affairs at unspecified moments throughout his 64-year post.

“[Maciel] can no longer serve as a role model for us,” said Father John O’Reilly, chaplain of El Colegio Cumbres in Chile. “Right now, it is necessary to distinguish between the Legion and the deplorable actions of its founder… We have a lot of respect for our superiors, so this has been very painful for us.”

Readers wonder whether the pope should step down

Deutsche Welle

As the clergy abuse scandal has crept closer to the Vatican, some have called for the resignation of Pope Benedict. We asked our readers what they thought.

The following comments reflect the views of DW-WORLD.DE readers. Not all reader comments have been published. DW-WORLD.DE reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.

Vatican stands by pope amid calls for resignation
We asked: Should the pope step down?

No the pope should not step down. This is a time for the pope to grow in authority and take action against the rebellious bishops and priests who are teaching false doctrines and who want to see the pope removed. Hang tough Pope Benedict. -- Evelyn, Canada

Yes! -- Robin McGinty, US

As a loyal Catholic, I say he should certainly consider doing it, especially if more and more complaints implicate him in a cover up of sexual abuse in the church. Maybe he should step down now for the good of the church. Maybe some one from a new generation with a far better record on this issue could do a much more effective job. -- Anne Rice, US

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:47 AM

DiManno: A church sex scandal where the truth is crucified

VATICAN CITY
Toronto Star

By Rosie DiManno
Columnist
TURIN, ITALY

The doctrinarian-in-chief, disciplinarian of even picayune transgressions when it came to canon law, has no excuse for ignoring the mortal sins of the priests.

Before he succeeded to the white beanie, Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, headed the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which received information about virtually every priest in the world who'd been accused of sexual abuse.

If, as his defenders claim, Benedict was so distressed by the extent of the problem and the Church's historical tendency to shelter predators from exposure that he altered practice so that direct action would be taken in a majority of cases, this epiphany came rather late in his administrative career.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:44 AM

UK protestors tell Pope: You’re not welcome here

UNITED KINGDOM
Digital Journal

Fifty protesters from humanist, secular, women’s and gay organizations have accused Pope Benedict of “covering up child sex abuse by Catholic clergy”.

At a protest rally in London yesterday (Sunday), they also called him a “protector of paedophile priests” and “an accomplice to sex crimes”. They demanded: “The Pope must resign” and “Prosecute the Pope for collusion with sex abusers”.

The protest took place noon on what was Palm Sunday in the Christian calendar, outside London’s Westminster Cathedral, the main Catholic church in Britain.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

March 28, 2010

Justice Interrupted Radio

UNITED STATES
blogtalkradio

[audio presentation]

As Passover begins this week, Vicki Polin from the Awareness Center will be discussing how there is still an overwhelming rate of abuse in the Jewish Community.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:23 PM

Rugman in Rome: victims refuse to shake priest’s hand

ITALY
Channel 4

Author: Jonathan Rugman

Just after 9pm on Friday night I found a myself in a television studio in Rome as a member of the audience of an Italian television programme called “Brought to You by Rai Three”.

The show was broadcast live, with between 3 and 4 million Italians watching at home. I was briefly distracted when a television camera fell on the head of an audience member, obliging the TV staff to bundle the victim off the stage; but that was a surreal moment in an otherwise gripping show.

Three gentlemen from Verona were in the presenter’s hotseat, being interviewed about how they were abused by Italian priests when they were children. A Monsignor from the Verona diocese called Bruno Fasani had been sent down to put the church’s point of view. During a break for advertisements, Mgr. Bruno leapt out of his chair to shake the victims’ hands. But they refused to take it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:18 PM

Local Bishop responds to abuse scandal

NEW YORK
WIVB

[with video]

Mylous Hairston
Posted by: Kate McGowan
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Catholics are being asked to give what they can to help charity, and this comes as the Pope faces world wide criticism in a church scandal.

The 82-year-old says he will not be intimidated by critics or media reports, claiming he played a role in covering up sex abuse of children by priests.

Bishop Edward Kmiec of the Catholic Diocese of Western New York expressed, "I think the Pope has answered his critics. He gives an answer. And I think he's a man of honor, of integrity, of honesty. I think if he felt he had done something wrong, I think he'd admit to it."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:09 PM

Matthew Norman: Ye of little faith, hark the voice of the Vatican

UNITED KINGDOM
The Independent

If there's a finer and more fearless organ than L'Osservatore Romano anywhere on the planet today, I'd love to know what it is.

Mischievously described as the "semi-official" newspaper of the Vatican – a slur similar to slandering the Daily Mirror (see below) as the semi-official newspaper of No 10 – it flourishes under editor-in-chief Giovanni Maria Vian. His leader dismissing as malevolent conspiracy theorising the current nonsense about Hitler Youth pontiff Benedict XVI – real name: Joseph Ratzinger – is a classic.

As his leader makes plain, the charge of cover up has been all got up by the press, and is "clearly an ignoble attempt to strike at Pope Benedict at any cost". Yet the masterstroke here lay in Signor Vian's skilful pre-emption last June of any criticism now that his paper trivialises allegations of the kind. "No accusation, however serious or shameful," L'Osservatore's Michael Jackson eulogy put it, "is enough to tarnish his myth among his millions of fans ..." What cleverness to seize that chance, in the midst of an unending but ever worsening scandal, to ridicule the notion that the Vatican takes an atypically liberal approach to paedophilia.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:07 PM

Leading article: The Pope at bay

UNITED KINGDOM
The Independent

For Roman Catholics, Holy Week is the most important time of the year: a period of deep contemplation, when believers recall and in a sense re-enact the last days of Christ's life, from Palm Sunday to the crucifixion and resurrection. Traditionally this is also a time when millions of otherwise nominal Catholics return, if only briefly, to the Church's embrace.

But not this year, perhaps, with Easter overshadowed by fresh damaging revelations about the abuse of children entrusted to clerical care. This year, the likelihood is that many cradle Catholics will just stay away, and never return.

As concern with the Church's handling of child-abuse cases gives way to anger, and as demands grow for the Church to end its culture of secrecy, the Pope's Easter message is likely to be drowned out. Still sounding a defiant note, he is starting to resemble some ancien régime monarch, immured in his palace and dangerously out of touch with the world outside.

Some writers – Catholic writers, not members of the increasingly confident movement of militant atheists – liken this restive atmosphere within the Church to the mood on the eve of the Reformation, when disgust with the venality of the Renaissance popes resulted in large chunks of Catholic Europe denouncing their authority.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:04 PM

Scandal Tests Catholics’ Trust in Leadership

The New York Times

This article is by John F. Burns, Rachel Donadio and Nicholas Kulish.

ARMAGH, Northern Ireland — As the sexual abuse scandal sweeps through the Roman Catholic Church in Europe and the United States, there are few places where dismay and confusion among worshipers strikes as deep a chord as here in Armagh, seat of the embattled cardinal whose fate has become closely entangled with the widening controversy facing Pope Benedict XVI.

As they have for centuries, townspeople turned out in the hundreds this weekend for Palm Sunday Masses in the twin-spired cathedral that looks down on the city, where St. Patrick established his first church in Ireland more than 1,500 years ago.

But judging by the responses of those leaving the Masses, trust in church leaders has been profoundly battered by a succession of revelations that the church hierarchy often failed to take strong action against the abuse in its ranks, and sometimes sought to cover up the problem.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:01 PM

Local faithful react to church abuse scandal

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
6 ABC

[with video]

Dann Cuellar

At the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Center City Philadelphia, Archbishop Cardinal Justin Rigali performed the blessing of the palms. It's a symbolic emblem of the palms used by Christians commemorating Jesus Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem. It's also the start of the Church's Holy Week which includes the Good Friday re-enactment of Christ's crucifixion and death, and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

But this year, the most solemn week on the Catholic Calendar has been stained by questions about the Pope Benedict's own handling on pedophile priests and the Vatican acknowledging it's moral credibility was on the line.

For some people the topic was too sensitive to comment on. Others, however, were clearly disturbed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:56 PM

Pope Remains Silent On Abuse Case In Germany

UNITED STATES
NPR

[with audio]

March 29, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI has apologized to abuse victims in Ireland, but has yet to speak out about the growing church abuse scandal in his native Germany.

In particular, he has been silent about the case of a priest who was treated for molesting boys in Munich in the 1980s, when the current pope was archbishop of Munich.

The doctor who treated the abusive priest says his warnings went unheeded.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:52 PM

Pope John Paul II ignored Ratzinger's pleas to pursue sex abuse cardinal

UNITED KINGDOM
Telegraph

By Damian Thompson

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger tried to persuade Pope John Paul II to mount a full investigation into a cardinal who abused boys and young monks, one of the Church’s most senior figures revealed yesterday. But Ratzinger’s opponents in the Vatican managed to block the inquiry. As the future Benedict XVI put it: “The other side won.”

The pervert cardinal was the late Hans Hermann Groer, removed as Archbishop of Vienna in 1995 following sex allegations. The source for the story is Groer’s successor in Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, an intellectual whom some commentators have tipped as a possible future Pope.

That’s quite a revelation, in my book – but it doesn’t fit the script that the Benedict-hating media have written, so we’re not hearing too much about it. Also, I suspect that former advisers to John Paul would rather not remind us that the late Pope didn’t do enough to curb sex abuse and cover-ups. Safer to blame Benedict, eh?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:50 PM

Pope's Holy Week crisis

VATICAN CITY
Sunday Star-Times (New Zealand)

[with video]

Pope Benedict XVI has opened Holy Week amid one of the most serious crises facing the church in decades, with protesters in London demanding he resign and calls in Switzerland for a central registry for paedophile priests.

Benedict made no direct mention of the scandal in his Palm Sunday homily. But one of the prayers, recited in Portuguese during Mass, was "for the young and for those charged with educating them and protecting them."

Jesus Christ, Benedict said in his homily, guides the faithful "toward the courage that doesn't let us be intimidated by the chatting of dominant opinions, towards patience that supports others."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:03 PM

Pope mass hints at fightback against abuse critics

VATICAN CITY
BBC News

The Pope has spoken of the need not to be intimidated by critics, in a veiled reference to anger at the Catholic Church over past sex abuse scandals.

At a mass in Rome's St Peter's Square, he said his faith would help give him the courage to deflect "petty gossip".

The Pope has been accused of failing to act over the case of a US priest alleged to have abused 200 deaf boys.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:59 PM

Many Catholics unwilling to address sex-abuse allegations

CANADA
CTV

Sonia Sunger, ctvedmonton.ca

The Catholic Church is facing some of the harshest criticism in years following allegations of sex abuse and supposed cover-ups to protect priests, and while the issues have captured global attention, many Catholics here in Edmonton were unwilling to address the matter.

CTV News tried to speak to parishioners as they were leaving St. Joseph's Basilica this Palm Sunday, but many walked away stating they had no comment on the allegations of abuse in the church.

CTV's Deborah Shiry approached nine people outside the downtown church and only got a response from one woman.

"I think it's upsetting," said parishioner Shastina Tessier. "There's a lot of things that are upsetting that I see, but God is love and forgiveness and that's the best we can do."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:55 PM

Bishop Magee latest senior casualty of Church crisis

IRELAND
Sunday Business Post

In Rome, John Magee stood at the right hand of three Popes, but his career went no further after his surprise appointment as bishop of a small diocese in Ireland. Kieron Wood reports.

Seldom has a bishop generated so much expectation as John Magee - and seldom has a bishop fallen so far short of the mark.

Secretary to three popes, a Vatican high-flier in the 1960s, Magee returned from Rome to his native Ireland as bishop of the Cork diocese of Cloyne in 1987. The appointment was seen as a stepping stone, and Vatican-watchers predicted that the native of the diocese of Dromore would eventually return to his home province to succeed Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich as head of the Catholic Church in Ireland.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:51 PM

Column: Church sex-abuse crisis sparks a haunting déjà vu

WISCONSIN
Duluth News Tribune

By: Robin Washington, Duluth News Tribune

Verne Wagner gets to live a normal life most of the time. But then, as he told News Tribune reporter Jana Hollingsworth in Saturday’s paper, a new wrinkle in the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal erupts, and he’s reliving the horror of his childhood, lost at the hands of a Proctor priest.

I know something of what he’s talking about. Not, thank God, the terror of abuse, but the lulls and flash points of an incessant wrong that never seems to go away.

For most of 2002 and 2003, the scandal consumed my life; reporting — mostly on the victims, and later, the accused priests — for the Boston Herald. It was a fantastic story that encompassed every aspect of journalism; shoe-leather and investigative skills, empathy and skepticism, of victims and clergy and bishops alike; and tears. Journalists (and even archbishops, as the disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law told me in a fleeting moment of compassion) do cry. But you turn your head away from the person you’re interviewing, hide it and go on.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:48 PM

Legionaries. The "Nomenklatura" That Must Disappear

ROME
Chiesa

Name by name, all the top leaders of the congregation. Their extremely close connection with the founder and with his scandal. The impossibility of any real renewal, as long as they remain in power

by Sandro Magister

ROME, March 29, 2010 – At the end of April, the five bishops who have completed the apostolic visit among the Legionaries of Christ as ordered by the Holy See will present to the Vatican authorities the contents of their reports, delivered in mid-March.

A previous, long-ago apostolic visit among the Legionaries, between 1956 and 1959, ended with absolution.

This time, however, everything gives the impression that will not be the case again.

It is likely that the Vatican authorities will put the Legion under the command of an external commissioner endowed with full powers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:41 PM

Apologies aren’t enough

UNITED STATES
Boston Herald

By Boston Herald Editorial Staff

The stories out of Europe - first Ireland, now Germany - of pedophile priests and a church in denial come all too close to home for us here.

The pattern is one we have become sadly familiar with. A troubled priest caught molesting boys in his parish is sent for therapy and then transferred to another unsuspecting parish by those who should have known better, who should have put the welfare of children above all else - but didn’t. So then more children are subject to abuse and the question becomes who knew what and when. And why was nothing ever done.

The scandal has now reached the Vatican itself. The New York Times [NYT] reported yesterday that then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, presided over a meeting of his diocesan council on Jan. 15, 1980, at which a priest accused of molesting three boys in the Essen Diocese less than a month earlier is transferred to Munich and returned to pastoral duties by Feb. 1 that year

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:37 PM

N. Ireland priest on leave over child safety concern

NORTHERN IRELAND
Reuters

(Reuters) - A parish priest in Northern Ireland has been asked to take a period of leave following concerns over child safety, the head of the Irish Church Cardinal Sean Brady said.

A statement published on Sunday on the website of a local archdiocese said that Brady told a congregation in Armagh on Saturday that their priest's absence from his ministry was to allow an investigation by civil authorities.

"The policy of the Archdiocese of Armagh is that in all matters relating to child safeguarding, the safety and welfare of the child must be our paramount concern," Brady said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:33 PM

Protesters call for Pope to quit

UNITED KINGDOM
Mercury

Protesters have gathered outside the main Catholic church in the UK to call for the Pope's resignation over clerical sex abuse.

Carrying placards stating "Pope Protects Paedophile Priests - Resign!" and "Sex Abuse Cover Up - Pope Must Resign", demonstrators confronted the congregation as it left Westminster Cathedral in central London.

They claim that Pope Benedict XVI was complicit in protecting priests accused of child sex abuse from prosecution.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:28 PM

Pope opens solemn Holy Week amid sex abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY
The Associated Press

By NICOLE WINFIELD (AP)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI opened Holy Week on Sunday amid one of the most serious crises facing the church in decades, with protesters in London demanding he resign and calls in Switzerland for a central registry for pedophile priests.

Benedict made no direct mention of the scandal in his Palm Sunday homily. But one of the prayers, recited in Portuguese during Mass, was "for the young and for those charged with educating them and protecting them."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:26 PM

Pope Benedict All But Says “I Am Not A Crook”- Refuses To Resign

Lez Get Real

03/28/10-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
Pope Benedict has signaled that he plans on hunkering down and refuses to be pushed out of the Papacy despite growing evidence that people are reluctant to stay in the Church because of the child molestation scandal. Pope Benedict stated in his sermon opening Holy Week, which began today with Palm Sunday, that God can lead one “towards the courage of not allowing oneself to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion.” What Pope Benedict seems to miss is any actual taking of responsibility for his own actions, or lack there of.

Pope Benedict is a man who is stuck somewhere around the 15th Century, when the Roman Catholic Church was the dominant power in Europe and any deviation from doctrine would be met with, if necessary, force. During this time, heretics were burned en masse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:23 PM

Father Lawrence Murphy Plays The Catholic Church Like a Fiddle

WISCONSIN
News Blaze

By John Kays

I heard of the unbelievable case of Father Lawrence Murphy many years ago, but didn't think that much about it until an article was published in the New York Times last week. No stone was left unturned. Finally people can awaken to the gravity of this unresolved case. It's been known since 1955 that this priest at St. John's School for the Deaf in Wisconsin was a sexual predator, but it's been hushed up for all these years. Why is this so?

The ice was broken by a New York Times article, Vatican Declined to Defrock U.S. Priest Who Abused Boys by Laurie Goodstein, published last Wednesday, March 24th. Along with the article The Times published 24 documents associated with the Father Murphy case. Now for the first time the public can see for themselves primary evidence of how one of the most heinous cases of child abuse was covered up by the Catholic Church.

These documents are a revealing gut-shot of the slowly grinding bureaucratic wheels of the Catholic Church. The Times obtained these crucial documents from attorneys for five men who were abused by Father Murphy. It was 1996 before Archbishop Weakland petitioned the Vatican to consider this serious case. Matters of abuse by priests were handled by a department at the Vatican called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Doctrine of the Faith was headed up by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, our future Pope Benedict XVI.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:20 PM

Chicago cardinal mum on sex abuse in Catholic Church

CHICAGO (IL)
The State Journal-Register

CHICAGO — Pope Benedict XVI has opened the church’s solemn Holy Week amid increasing questions about his own handling of cases of sexual abuse of children by priests.

In Chicago, thousands attended Palm Sunday services at downtown’s Holy Name Cathedral.

Cardinal Francis George made no mention of the ongoing controversy during his homily at a morning mass. He instead focused on a message of forgiveness and strength.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:17 PM

NY Archbishop Defends Pope In Sex Abuse Scandal

NEW YORK
Fox 4

(NewsCore) - New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan came to the Vatican’s defense Sunday, saying embattled Pope Benedict XVI -- recently under fire for a decades-old sex abuse scandal -- is suffering the same slings and arrows as Jesus did before his crucifixion.

In a Palm Sunday service at a packed St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dolan gave a spirited defense of the pontiff’s leadership and received a standing ovation.

“Sunday Mass is hardly the place to document the inaccuracy, bias and hyperbole of such aspersions,” Dolan told parishioners.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:13 PM

Report: Poland's top church leader defends pope

POLAND
The Oklahoman

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A news agency says Poland's top Roman Catholic leader is defending Pope Benedict XVI's handing of church abuse cases.

The PAP news agency quotes the Primate of Poland, Henryk Muszynski, as saying that criticism of Benedict amounts to a personal attack on the pontiff and an attempt to discredit the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:07 PM

Archbishop Defends Pope's Handling Of Sex Abuse Claims

NEW YORK
NY1

[with video]

Archbishop Timothy Dolan defended the Pope's handling of the recent sex-abuse scandal, which has rocked the Catholic Church.

At the end of Palm Sunday Mass at Saint Patrick's Cathedral, the archbishop condemned the alleged abuse of minors by priests in Ireland and Germany, saying it intensified the somber nature of Holy Week.

Dolan also criticized suggestions that Pope Benedict did not come out more strongly against the abuse or somehow aided in coverups.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:04 PM

GUESTVIEW: Are Catholics masochists?

Ethopian Review

The following is a guest contribution. Reuters is not responsible for the content and the views expressed are the authors’ alone. Isabelle de Gaulmyn is Religion Editor of the Paris Catholic daily newspaper La Croix and author of Benoît XVI, Le pape incompris (Benedict XVI, The Misunderstood Pope). She blogs in French at Une foi par semaine, where this first appeared.

Are Catholics masochists? After all that’s been happening these days, this looks like the question to ask. There were probably more than 3 million Catholics in France who went to church to celebrate Palm Sunday today. And during this Holy Week, millions more will to prepare for Easter. If the news we hear is anything to go by, these Catholics must be either mad or masochistic.

Why not take advantage of this Sunday to go fishing or play tennis rather than frequent a place full of pedophile priests and leaders who lie and hush up the truth? How can there still be people in the pews, on pilgrimages, in monasteries or volunteering in one of many charities?

And what about the adults who will be baptised as Catholics on Saturday evening?* Are they thoughtless, suicidal or stupid? In short, are Catholics “the blind being led to slaughter,” as was written in a militant secularist pamphlet dropped into my mail box?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:55 PM

Minn. attorney who found documents implicating pope in abuse scandal has long pursued Vatican

ST. PAUL (MN)
Los Angeles Times

PATRICK CONDON
Associated Press Writer

March 28, 2010

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Jeff Anderson has filed thousands of lawsuits alleging sex abuse by priests and won tens of millions of dollars for his clients, but he has had a bigger goal in mind for nearly two decades. He wants to bring his career-long legal crusade against misconduct in the Roman Catholic Church right to the top.

He would love to question Pope Benedict XVI himself under oath. Though that is extremely unlikely given that the pope is a head of state, documents Anderson has unearthed have the potential to take a scandal that has plagued dozens of dioceses around the world and place it at the doorstep of Vatican leadership.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:52 PM

Protesters decry papal visit to Britain

UNITED KINGDOM
CNN

About 50 protesters gathered near Westminster Cathedral Sunday to protest the pope's announced state visit to Britain later this year, as well as the Catholic Church's most recent sex abuse scandal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:48 PM

The Catholic Church: Why Have Anything To Do With These People?

UNITED STATES
The Huffington Post

Richard Greener

Two questions jump right out at you about the sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church. They scream so loudly your ears echo until someone answers.

#1. What if the grown men accused of these perverted acts were not priests, but rather employees such as janitors, security guards, maintenance workers or any other kind of men who might happen to be around a Catholic church - like deliverymen, mail carriers, plumbers, carpenters, construction workers, painters, electricians? How would these kinds of sexual criminals be treated by the Church and by the local law enforcement agencies?

#2. What does it take to make someone walk away from the Catholic Church?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:45 PM

NY archbishop defends pope against sex abuse furor

NEW YORK
The Associated Press

By LARRY NEUMEISTER (AP)

NEW YORK — Archbishop Timothy Dolan was greeted with applause after finishing Palm Sunday Mass by defending Pope Benedict XVI against suggestions he aided cover-ups of reports of child abuse.

The standing-room-only crowd at St. Patrick's Cathedral applauded for 20 seconds after Dolan read a statement calling the pope the "leader in purification, reform and renewal that the church so very much needs."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:42 PM

German priest defrocked over sex offence

GERMANY
Sydney Morning Herald

AFP

A German diocese says it has defrocked a priest over an unspecified sex crime, as the Roman Catholic Church struggles to cope with a widening abuse scandal.

Officials from the bishopric of Osnabrueck in western Germany said on Sunday the priest has been stripped of his functions with immediate effect "following an allegation of a sexual offence".

"The clergyman admitted misconduct on Friday in a conversation with Bishop Franz-Josef Boden," the diocese said in a statement and added that the priest, who was not named, has turned himself in to prosecutors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:40 PM

Pope dismisses 'petty gossip' of sexual abuse allegations

VATICAN CITY
Guardian (United Kingdom)

Tom Kington in Rome guardian.co.uk, Sunday 28 March 2010

Pope Benedict, facing the worst crisis of his papacy as a sexual abuse scandal sweeps the Catholic church, declared today he would not be "intimidated" by "petty gossip", angering activists who say he has done too little to stamp out paedophilia.

Addressing crowds in St Peter's square during a Palm Sunday service, the pope did not directly mention the scandal spreading though Europe and engulfing the Vatican, but alluded to it during his sermon. Faith in God, he said, led "towards the courage of not allowing oneself to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion".

As Benedict spoke, the president of Switzerland, Doris Leuthard, called for a central register of paedophile priests to keep them away from children. In Austria, the archbishop of Vienna announced the creation of a commission funded by the church, but without church representatives, to look into Austrian abuse claims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:37 PM

Daylight upon Magic

UNITED KINGDOM
The Times

The English constitutionalist Walter Bagehot once said of the monarchy something that applies to religious hierarchies too. It does not do to let in daylight upon magic. The mystique of the institution, in other words, is the secret of its power. So, the preservation of a certain distance by the Vatican from the rules of temporal life is to be expected. That said, the inadequate response from Rome to the scandal of clerical abuse is not mitigated by its defensible requirement for mystery.

In his Palm Sunday address yesterday, marking the start of Holy Week, Pope Benedict XVI struck a defiant note. He would not be “intimidated”, he said, by the “chatter of dominant opinions”. Coming immediately after the Vatican unwisely criticised the media for its coverage of the allegations, there is a sense that the gravity of the issue has not yet been fully grasped.

If a more emollient tone is not found, then the critics demonstrating outside Westminster Cathedral yesterday, demanding the resignation of the Pope himself, will find a voice. There are lots of unanswered questions about the role of Cardinal Ratzinger — as he was then — and, specifically, his handling of cases of paedophile priests, first as Archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982 and then later as the head of doctrine at the Vatican.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:32 PM

Abused deaf children, the Pope & Boulder Junction, Wisconsin

WISCONSIN
YouTube

[video presentation]

Clergy sexual abuse by Fr. Lawrence Murphy of deaf children in Milwaukee and Boulder Junction, Wisconsin was known by the Archbishops' of Milwaukee and the Bishops of Superior and Joseph Ratzinder who is now Pope Benedict XVI. These videos are about March 25, 2010 press conferences in Superior and Boulder Junction, Wisconsin.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:29 PM

Abused deaf children, the Pope & Superior Diocese

UNITED STATES
YouTube

[video presentation]

Clergy sexual abuse by Fr. Lawrence Murphy of deaf children in Milwaukee and Boulder Junction, Wisconsin was known by the Archibishops of Milwaukee and the Bishops of Superior and Joseph Ratzinger

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:26 PM

Resignation is not an option for the Pope

UNITED KINGDOM
The Times

William Rees-Mogg

The paedophile abuse cases have become a big crisis for the Roman Catholic Church. A crisis for the laity, a crisis for the clergy, a crisis for the bishops and, increasingly, a crisis for the Pope himself.

It has caused great damage to the victims, who need to be considered first. In some cases the psychological damage will last a lifetime. The crisis has damaged the image that the Church has of itself; it has damaged the authority of the Pope.

Priests see themselves as men of spiritual values, disciplined in their personal lives and requiring considerable personal sacrifices, including the sacrifice involved in a life of celibacy. They usually have the respect of their own communities.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:24 PM

Holy Week's unholy question: What could end sex abuse crisis?

UNITED STATES
USA Today

This is Palm Sunday for Christians, the beginning of Holy Week leading up to Easter Sunday. But news coverage of the Catholic Church right now is distracted from the ways believers celebrate the "good news" -- the gospel of Christ -- to coverage of the pope and the sexual abuse crisis now raging.

So why am I thinking about the aftermath of Enron?

Something about reaction to the news coverage reminds me of how the American public just loved seeing the alleged bad boys of that financial scandal arrested and led off in handcuffs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:17 PM

British protesters demand Pope quit over abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
The Associated Press

LONDON — British protesters called on Pope Benedict XVI to resign Sunday as they staged a demonstration over the Catholic Church's handling of clerical sex abuse cases.

Demonstrators gathered outside Westminster Cathedral to call for action over the scandal, carrying placards displaying messages including "Pope? Nope!" and "Don't Turn a Blind Eye," though fewer than 50 people joined the rally.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:47 PM

Man accused of Haiti school abuse in court

NEW HAVEN (CT)
The Hartford Courant

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A Colorado man charged with sexually abusing boys at a school he founded for street children in Haiti is due in court for a hearing on his motion to dismiss the charges.

Douglas Perlitz is scheduled to return Thursday to federal court in New Haven.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:31 PM

Today, Sunday, March 28, NBC nightly news will have a story on SNAP leaders in Rome

ROME
Voice from the Desert

Today, Sunday, March 28, NBC nightly news will have a story on SNAP leaders in Rome and the rest of the fast-breaking news about the Church’s response, and non-response, to the widening worldwide scandal of 1) clerical sex abuse of children and 2) cover up by many bishops and religious superiors of this widespread abuse .

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:27 PM

Helping accused (innocent and guilty) priests

UNITED STATES
Renew America

By Matt C. Abbott

In response to my March 18 column featuring Opus Bono Sacerdotii, a Detroit-based organization founded to assist Catholic priests in difficult situations, a reader sent me a link to a 2008 article posted on AveWatch.com, excerpted and edited below (click here to see the full article).

'According to Ave Maria University's Web site, the AMU Founder's Club hosted a visit from the president of Opus Bono Sacerdotii (OBS), Joseph Maher, one year ago this past Friday. IRS records show that the self-described exempt purpose of OBS is to offer 'outplacement services for Roman Catholic priests and religious men and women for the purpose of providing a transition from one position to another.'

'The University's Founders Club, which was established by Tom Monaghan, advertised that the purpose of OBS was 'to find solutions to sensitive situations confronting priests and religious in accordance with the authentic teaching of the Church.'

''Outplacement services' for 'sensitive situations'? Translation: OBS helps to quietly shuffle around pederast priests....

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:23 PM

Protesters call for Pope's resignation over alleged sex abuse cover up

UNITED KINGDOM
Ekklesia

By staff writers
28 Mar 2010
Palm Sunday worshippers were startled to face strong protests against the Pope and calls for his resignation as "an accomplice in sex crimes" outside London's Westminster Cathedral.

The demonstration by 50 members of secularist, women's and gay organisations accused the Pope of "covering up child sex abuse by Catholic clergy" and called him a "protector of paedophile priests".

Some congegants had sympathy with the protest, but others were angry at what they accused of being an attempt to create generalised anti-Catholic sentiment out of the current child abuse crisis - which has been growing in scale and strength in recent days.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:36 PM

Statement from Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, concerning a priest of the diocese

IRELAND
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Armagh

After celebrating Vigil Mass in a parish in the Archdiocese of Armagh, Cardinal Seán Brady spoke to the congregation about a decision he has made concerning their Parish Priest.

Cardinal Brady said “The policy of the Archdiocese of Armagh is that in all matters relating to child safeguarding, the safety and welfare of the child must be our paramount concern.”

Cardinal Brady said that in the light of information relating to child safeguarding issues, he has asked the priest concerned to take a period of leave from his ministry which he has agreed to do. “This is to allow the civil authorities, who have been informed, to investigate this matter” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:30 PM

Child concerns see priest 'take leave'

IRELAND
BBC News

A parish priest in the Diocese of Armagh has been asked to take a period of leave from his ministry due to concerns over child safety.

Cardinal Sean Brady told the undisclosed congregation about his decision after vigil mass on Saturday.

"This is to allow the civil authorities, who have been informed, to investigate this matter," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:27 PM

Emotionally - Can I Do Pesach This Year?

UNITED STATES
The Awareness Center

(2010) by Vicki Polin, MA, LCPC
With Pesach (Passover) less then a week away many Jewish incest survivors are faced with the dilemma of trying to figure out what they are going to do for the holiday. For many survivors it’s much too dangerous to go home because they fear the risk of emotional and or physical harm. The truth is that other incest survivors may not even be invited home after confronting family members with their childhood abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:26 PM

Baruch Lebovits Sentencing Put Off Until Monday, April 12

NEW YORK
Frum Follies

by Yerachmiel Lopin on 03/27/2010
Sentencing of Baruch (Mordechai) Lebovits for eight Class D Felonies of child sexual assault was originally scheduled for Monday, March 29, Erev Pesach. Supporters of both the defendant and the victim requested a postponement because this is a very difficult day to get to a court house with all the necessary work preceding Passover.

I have urged all of you concerned about molesting in our community to write letters to the judge and to show up in the courtroom. If you are sympathetic but have not yet committed to either of these courses of action you have another chance to act.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:23 PM

OK, yes, the Times is piling on Benedict

UNITED STATES
Beliefnet

Rod Dreher

This morning's NYTimes brings us the shocking news that as Archbishop of Munich, Joseph Ratzinger was preoccupied with theological matters. Clutch the pearls! Here's the story. Excerpt:

When Pope Benedict XVI was archbishop of Munich and Freising, he was broadly described as a theologian more concerned with doctrinal debates than personnel matters. That, say his defenders, helps explain why he did not keep close tabs on a pedophile priest sent to his archdiocese in 1980 and allowed to work in a parish.

Yet in 1979, the year before Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, approved the Rev. Peter Hullermann's move to Munich, the cardinal blocked the assignment to the local university of a prominent theology professor recommended by the university senate. And in 1981, he punished a priest for holding a Mass at a peace demonstration, leading the man to ultimately leave the priesthood.

The construal of these facts advances the line put forward by some liberal Catholics, namely that while Benedict focused on punishing theological deviants within the Church, he left the field open to sexual deviants. The conclusion one is meant to draw is that Ratzinger focused on the unimportant things to the exclusion of important things.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:12 PM

Archbishop of Westminster: 'secrecy vows should never have happened'

UNITED KINGDOM
The Times

Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

The Archbishop of Westminster has said children should not have been made to swear life-long vows of secrecy as more details of legal cases in which the head of the Irish Catholic Church Cardinal Seán Brady is named as a defendant emerged in Ireland.

Responding to the reports that Cardinal Brady was present when abused children were sworn to secrecy, Archbishop Vincent Nichols said it was wrong for victims to swear secrecy for a lifetime but told the BBC's Andrew Marr show that it was comparable to the secrecy imposed for the purposes of a trial.

"It is like giving victims anonymity in the course of a trial," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:08 PM

Bishop Patrick Dunn: Local perspective on child abuse within the church

NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand Herald

By Bishop Patrick Dunn

Catholics in New Zealand have had to deal with outrage and betrayal says Bishop Patrick Dunn.

Much public comment has been made in this country in the wake of Pope Benedict's letter to the Catholic people of Ireland.

The Pope has strongly criticised the Irish bishops and other church authorities for their mishandling of accusations of sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:06 PM

Cardinal Brady confirms parish priest investigation

IRELAND
The Irish Times

CHARLIE TAYLOR

A parish priest serving in the Diocese of Armagh has been asked to take a period of leave from his ministry due to concerns over child safety.

After celebrating vigil mass in a parish in the Archdiocese of Armagh yesterday, the cardinal spoke to the congregation about a decision he has made concerning their parish priest.

Cardinal Brady said that in the light of information relating to child safeguarding issues, he has asked the priest to take a period of leave, which he has agreed to do.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:58 AM

Pope Benedict: don't be intimidated by 'petty gossip'

VATICAN CITY
National Post (Canada)

Philip Pullella, Reuters Published: Sunday, March 28, 2010

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict, facing one of the gravest crises of his pontificate as a sexual abuse scandal sweeps the Church, indicated on Sunday that his faith would give him the courage not to be intimidated by critics.

The 82-year-old pontiff led tens of thousands of people in a sunny St. Peter's Square in a Palm Sunday service at the start of Holy Week events commemorating the last days in Jesus's life.

While he did not directly mention the scandal involving sexual abuse of children by priests, parts of his sermon could be applicable to the crisis he and the Roman Catholic Church are facing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:55 AM

Pope Benedict More Interested In Pursuing Heretics Than Pedophile Priests

Lez Get Real

03/28/10-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
As revelations of what Pope Benedict did in his previous incarnation as Cardinal and Archbishop Ratzinger begin to surface, one has to wondering if he is channeling Tomas de Torquemada who is most famous as the head of the Spanish Inquisition. Perhaps Pope Benedict has decided to model himself after Torquemada, after all, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition.

All laughter and Monty Python references aside, Pope Benedict’s tenure as head of the diocese of Munich is one of the least examined portions of his life. Somewhere between his tenure there and his role as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and his time as a professor, it should have become clear that Pope Benedict’s interests were certainly not in the pursuit of pedophiles nor the protection of the children taken under wing by the Church.

At a time when the Catholic Church was and still is facing major sex abuse scandals, Archbishop Ratzinger was more interested in pursuit of heretics and maintaining doctrine than in the pursuit of child molesters inside the Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:08 AM

Westminster Cathedral protest calls for Pope's resignation over child sex scandal

UNITED KINGDOM
Mail

Protesters gathered outside the main Catholic church in the UK today to call for the Pope's resignation over clerical sex abuse.

Carrying placards stating 'Pope Protects Paedophile Priests - Resign!' and 'Sex Abuse Cover Up - Pope Must Resign' demonstrators confronted the congregation as it left Westminster Cathedral in central London.

They claim that Pope Benedict XVI was complicit in protecting priests accused of child sex abuse from prosecution.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:04 AM

Pope will 'not be intimidated by petty gossip' over sex abuse scandals

VATICAN CITY
Telegraph

By Nick Pisa in Rome

Pope Benedict XVI began Holy Week on Sunday by suggesting in his Palm Sunday address that the Catholic Church would "not be intimidated" by the sex abuse scandals sweeping it.

Pope Benedict XVI Leads Palm Sunday At St. Peter's Square Photo: GETTY In a clear indication that the Vatican continues to insist the continual abuse revelations are part of a conspiracy the Pope said: "From God comes the courage not to be intimidated by petty gossip."

Although he did not directly mention the crisis that has seen claims of abuse from Ireland, Germany, Austria, Holland and Brazil the 82 year old Pontiff's message was evidently clear.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:00 AM

Avvenire: New York Times Contradicts Itself

VATICAN CITY
Zenit

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 26, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The documentation published by The New York Times contradicts its own thesis, which accuses Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of not being sufficiently energetic in the case of an American priest who the Church punished for acts of pederasty.

This is the conclusion of an analysis by Riccardo Cascioli that appeared in today's edition of Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian episcopal conference.

According to The New York Times, "top Vatican officials -- including the future Pope Benedict XVI -- did not laicize a priest who had molested some 200 deaf boys, despite the fact that several American bishops repeatedly warned that the lack of decisive action in the matter could embarrass the Church."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:57 AM

Ratzinger is the Perfect Pope

Washington Post

Richard Dawkins

"Should Pope Benedict XVI be held responsible for the escalating scandals over clerical sexual abuse in Europe?" Yes he should, and it's going to escalate a lot further, as more and more victims break through the guilt of their childhood indoctrination and come forward.

"Should he be investigated for how cases of abuse were handled under his watch as archbishop of Munich or as the Vatican's chief doctrinal enforcer?" Yes, of course he should. This former head of the Inquisition should be arrested the moment he dares to set foot outside his tinpot fiefdom of the Vatican, and he should be tried in an appropriate civil - not ecclesiastical - court. That's what should happen. Sadly, we all know our faith-befuddled governments will be too craven to do it.

"Should the pope resign?" No. As the College of Cardinals must have recognized when they elected him, he is perfectly - ideally - qualified to lead the Roman Catholic Church. A leering old villain in a frock, who spent decades conspiring behind closed doors for the position he now holds; a man who believes he is infallible and acts the part; a man whose preaching of scientific falsehood is responsible for the deaths of countless AIDS victims in Africa; a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence: in short, exactly the right man for the job. He should not resign, moreover, because he is perfectly positioned to accelerate the downfall of the evil, corrupt organization whose character he fits like a glove, and of which he is the absolute and historically appropriate monarch.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:48 AM

Archbishop Nichols says sex abuse anger 'justifiable'

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

[with video]

The leader of Catholics in England and Wales has said just one case of child abuse was enough to create "justifiable anger" but the issue could be tackled.

The Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, said the "anger and dismay" over the alleged cover up of sex abuse by some Catholic clergy was "proper".

But he said allegations about the Pope's involvement were unfounded.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:31 AM

Why can't the media treat the Pope fairly?

UNITED KINGDOM
Telegraph

Andrew M. Brown

I read the coverage of the Pope every day in the newspapers and listen to the BBC news and as a Catholic and a journalist I feel like crying out pathetically: “This is not fair!” And it isn’t fair, or reasonable. Intelligent journalists who are normally capable of mental subtlety and of coping with complexities have abandoned their critical faculties. There is an atmosphere of unreason.

I cannot help feeling that a lot of it is down to sheer, blind hatred. It amounts to the demonisation of a whole institution and its leader. We have come to a stage where nothing good whatever, no good faith can be assumed of anybody involved in the Church – however senior, however greatly respected, loved, admired, including the Pope.

In this hysteria, everybody is tainted. Here Andrew Sullivan, a Catholic, writes as though the entire priesthood is corrupted by sexual repression and they’re all, every single one of them, covering up for each other.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:27 AM

Pope condemns critics over abuse scandal 'gossip'

VATICAN CITY
The Independent (United Kingdom)

By Jerome Taylor, Religious Affairs Correspondent

Sunday, 28 March 2010

In his Palm Sunday address the Pope reminded worshippers that belief in Jesus Christ helped lead Christians 'towards the courage of not allowing oneself to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion.'

In a characteristically cryptic but illuminating speech to mark the start of the Christian Holy Week, Pope Benedict XVI made it clear today that he would not intimidated by his critics over the ongoing sexual abuse scandal enveloping his church.

Speaking at a Palm Sunday service in Rome in front of tens of thousands of worshippers, the 82-year-old pontiff made no official mention of global clerical sex abuse scandals that have thrown the church into its worst crisis in recent decades.

But he did launch a clear broadside against those who have called on him to do more to explain his previous role as the Vatican’s head investigator of child abuse claims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:23 AM

Abuse protesters call on Pope to resign

UNITED KINGDOM
UTV

Protesters gathered outside the main Catholic Church in London on Sunday to call for the Pope's resignation over clerical sex abuse.

Carrying placards stating "Pope Protects Paedophile Priests - Resign!" and "Sex Abuse Cover Up - Pope Must Resign" demonstrators confronted the congregation as it left Westminster Cathedral.

They claim that Pope Benedict XVI was complicit in protecting priests accused of child sex abuse from prosecution.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:20 AM

Pope Benedict condemns 'petty gossip' over child sexual abuse scandal

VATICAN CITY
Guardian

Mark Tran and agencies guardian.co.uk, Sunday 28 March 2010

Pope Benedict today risked inflaming opinion as he appeared to round on critics of the Catholic church over the widening sexual abuse scandal, saying he would not "be intimidated by ... petty gossip".

The 82-year-old pontiff led tens of thousands of people in a Palm Sunday service in St Peter's square. He did not mention the scandal engulfing the church directly, but parts of his sermon alluded to it.

The pope said that faith in God helped lead one "towards the courage of not allowing oneself to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:17 AM

Clergy sex abuse victims to pass out leaflets to parishioners as they leave Mass

NETHERLANDS
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

What:
Holding childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, three clergy sex abuse victims will
--will pass out leaflets after the 11:00 Mass, begging victims and witnesses to come forward ...

When:
Sunday, March 28 at 11:45 am

Where:
Outside the Cathedral of St. Lawrence and St. Elisabeth, Mathenesseriaan 305, Rotterdam

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:04 AM

Friday, March 26, 2010

UNITED STATES
WPTF

[audio presentation]

Discussing sexual abuse in the Catholic church and dangerous dogs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:59 AM

Some liberal Catholics are thinking: It's payback time, Ratzinger!

UNITED KINGDOM
Telegraph

By Damian Thompson

There is still no good evidence that Pope Benedict XVI is seriously implicated in the atrocious child abuse scandals that are – rightly – blackening the reputation of the institutions of the Catholic Church. But still the attempts to join the dots continue. To put it bluntly, there is an increasingly frantic media campaign against the Pope in which headlines are being written first and then facts shaved to fit them.

It is also clear that many prominent liberal Catholics are turning a blind eye to this media vendetta because they don’t like Pope Benedict. They are happy for him to take the rap for diocesan cover-ups initiated, in some cases, by liberal prelates. Those relates are grateful for the opportunity to pass the buck to the one man who, though his record on this matter is certainly not beyond criticism, has done more than any other to rectify the Church’s lax procedures – Joseph Ratzinger.

Some Catholics, such as our blogger Cristina Odone, have protested against the unjust treatment of the Pope. God bless her, for I know that Cristina is not sympathetic to some of the Pope’s views; yet she can spot the hidden agenda here.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:56 AM

Why Pope Benedict’s got to go!

UNITED STATES
Boston Herald

By Margery Eagan

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Boston Herald Columnist

The Pope should resign. He should offer himself up to authorities for prosecution, like the sacrificial lamb he’s supposed to represent here on earth.

Long ago he should have opened the secret church books on priestly abuse. He hasn’t. Courts finally forced that in Boston almost a decade ago and, oh, what horrors we found. Remember? The Vatican hierarchy then blamed our scandal on a decadent American culture. Now the same priestly disease has swept Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, on and on across Europe and beyond. So was all the world, from the 1950s on, just one huge, decadent Gomorrah? Or was the Catholic hierarchy, from the ’50s on, run like an international crime organization aiding and abetting child abuse, then covering up its cover-up?

A few years back, former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating caused an uproar by comparing secret-keeping American bishops to La Cosa Nostra.

He was but ahead of his time

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:53 AM

Pope: I 'will not be intimidated' by sex abuse accusations

VATICAN CITY
The Times (United Kingdom)

Richard Owen, Rome

Pope Benedict XVI has opened Holy Week indicating that he would "not be intimidated" by accusations against the Vatican over the clerical sex abuse crisis.

In his Palm Sunday address the Pope said that Jesus Christ "leads us towards courage which does not allow us to be intimidated by the chatter of dominant opinions, towards patience which supports and sustains others".

The pontiff did not refer to accusations over his handling of cases of paedophile priests, both as Archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982 and subsequently as head of doctrine at the Vatican. However, Vatican watchers said his meaning today was clear "in the current context".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:49 AM

Ex-pastor is guilty of child porn

LUBBOCK (TX)
Avalanche Journal

By Logan G. Carver | AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
Friday, March 26, 2010

A former Lubbock pastor faces up to 10 years in prison, a lifetime of supervised release and a hefty fine after pleading guilty Thursday to attempted possession of child pornography.

Dean Richard Tarkington admitted to engaging in online sexual activity both at his home and at his office at the Word of Faith Christian Center, according to court documents.

Judge Sam Cummings ordered a pre-sentence investigation. Tarkington will be sentenced at a later date.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:37 AM

Words are not enough

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

Alan Howe From: Herald Sun March 29, 2010

PURGATORY would be a busy place. Cosmopolitan, too. It's where Catholics, and many others, believe you are warehoused after you die, possibly with some punishment, before facing God in heaven.

That's presupposing you have not already passed "go" on your way to warmer climes.

I am sure we all test God's mercy - none so much, you'd reckon, as the likes of Middle Eastern suicide bombers and paedophile Catholic priests.

While they might rub shoulders in purgatory, God only knows how their various punishments are measured by He Who Must Be Obeyed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:32 AM

Brady is fighting five legal cases from Smyth victims

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By JIM CUSACK

Sunday March 28 2010

Cardinal Sean Brady is fighting five victims of the paedophile priest rapist Brendan Smyth in legal cases, three of which have been before the High Court for more than a decade.

And it has also been learnt that senior clergy who knew about clerical abusers and did nothing could now be facing prosecution after the appointment of the former heard of the Criminal Assets Bureau to investigate whether offences were committed by failure to report to gardai or to take steps to stop the rape and abuse of children.

Assistant Commissioner John O'Mahony has been brought back to Dublin from his position as head of the garda western region based in Galway.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:25 AM

More paid to lawyers than victims

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By MAEVE SHEEHAN

Sunday March 28 2010

CARDINAL Sean Brady's archdiocese has spent more on legal fees than on compensating victims of sex abuse by priests.

More than €600,000 has been paid to lawyers defending the Archdiocese of Armagh in 10 civil actions while victims shared compensation payouts totalling €562,000.

The disproportionate legal bill will further anger victims of clerical abuse as public opinion towards the cardinal hardens.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:19 AM

Friends leap to defense of priest

WASHINGTON
The Wenatchee World

By Michelle McNiel
World staff writer

Saturday, March 27, 2010

WENATCHEE — The accusation that a former Waterville priest sexually abused a child in the 1970s has shocked people who were close to the priest, including a family who lived with him at one time.

“It’s just not true, it can’t be true,” said June Norman, now of Wenatchee, who worked as a housekeeper and cook for the Rev. Joseph “Joe” Graaff during part of the time he served in Waterville.

“It surprised me — shocked me in fact,” said Mary Ann Sprauer, Graaff’s bookkeeper at the church during the nine years he served in the rural Douglas County community. “This man that I knew professionally was a perfectly decent, honorable man.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:14 AM

Scandal draws mixed response to pontiff

NEW BEDFORD (MA)
South Coast Today

By Steve Urbon
surbon@s-t.com
March 28, 2010

NEW BEDFORD — While the Roman Catholic Church's latest abuse scandal spreads across Europe, SouthCoast reactions are decidedly split as Pope Benedict XVI finds himself at the vortex of a storm of questions about his own possible involvement in handling cases.

Benedict has one of his biggest defenders in the Rev. Roger Landry, pastor of St.. Anthony's of Padua Church in New Bedford and editor of the diocesan newspaper, The Anchor.

Landry had a casual acquaintance with Benedict, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, when he was in Rome as a young priest in the late 1990s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:11 AM

OUR VIEW: Heartbreak for Catholics

MASSACHUSETTS
South Coast Today

March 28, 2010

Through the long agony of the clergy abuse scandal, Roman Catholics have known that some bishops and cardinals in the American church allowed priests who were known pedophiles to continue to prey on children.

The cover-up of crimes committed by a small minority of priests reached the office of Cardinal Bernard Law and other high-ranking bishops in dioceses across the United States.

It has now been alleged, however, that the policy of protecting the institution and its clergy instead of victims of child rape and molestation reached the highest levels of the Vatican, which has responded as it often has — by issuing unsupported denials, deflecting blame and accusing news organizations of waging an attack on the Roman Catholic Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:09 AM

Pope Benedict XVI under fire amid fresh scandal

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Herald

By Marie Szaniszlo
Sunday, March 28, 2010

The clergy sex-abuse scandal that has landed on Pope Benedict XVI’s doorstep in recent weeks has yet to produce a smoking gun implicating the pontiff, a theologian said yesterday, making the Pope’s departure very unlikely.

But the distance between Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Pope’s name when he headed the Archdiocese of Munich, and Cardinal Bernard F. Law, the Boston cleric who quit after revelations that he moved a pedophile priest from one parish to another, is narrowing, said Stephen Pope, professor of moral theology at Boston College.

“Both men tended to treat sexual abuse as a sin rather than as a crime,” Pope said. Still, the mushrooming sex-abuse scandal is “extremely” unlikely to result in Benedict’s resignation or ouster. At the end of the day, the Pope himself calls the Vatican shots.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

Catholic Church is getting sex education the hard way

IRELAND
Irish Central

by Father TIm

My friends:

A great deal of the rage and shock felt by the public about the Catholic Church's self-inflicted child sex abuse scandal centers on a simple question: WHY didn't those in authority DO SOMETHING right away when they heard about THE PROBLEM?

Of course, many of those in authority DID do something right away: They either ignored it, blamed the victims and swore them to silence after wrenching, blame-switching interrogations, or transferred the offending priest to another parish or even another country where he was free to renew his evil acts. A few sought to send the priest, or the victims, or all of them, to a Church psychiatrist (a responsibility I know well) -- hopefully to both sort out the truth, arrive at a just solution consistent with canon and civil law, and to help begin the process of emotional and spiritual healing needed by all.

Sadly but honestly though, this latter path was the exception rather than the rule. And an even less-followed path was simply calling the police, although in Ireland particularly, the Church had built itself a very high pedestal from which to "rule" its flock -- which the police were part of. They were not in the business of arresting priests on the word of a couple of young, probably "misbehaving" boys.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 AM

Cravatts: Is the sexual abuse of children by priests inevitable?

MASSACHUSETTS
MetroWest Daily News

By Richard Cravatts/Guest columnist
The MetroWest Daily News
Posted Mar 28, 2010

The recent revelations of yet another history of rampant sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in Ireland, not to mention Pope Benedict XVI's own complicity in covering up instances of such abuse when he was an archbishop in Germany in the 1980s, still leaves unanswered and troubling questions about the psychology of the perpetrators and the motivation of Church leaders who ignored these morally-defective, criminal actions and allowed them to continue.

What is it about the Catholic Church that attracted the many priests who would go on to sexually abuse hundreds of pre- and post-pubescent children, both in Europe and the United States?

Answering those questions gives clues about why the Church's scandal happened, and, more importantly, how Church leadership and lay professionals can begin to unravel the psychosocial trap into which many troubled priests have seemingly fallen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 AM

Ruben Rosario: He spoke truth to power, but Vatican wouldn't listen

UNITED STATES
Pioneer Press

By Rubén Rosario

Updated: 03/28/2010

Last Sunday, I went to a suburban east metro Catholic church I sometimes attend. The elderly priest gave a traditional Lenten homily based on the biblical tale of the adulterous woman and Jesus' words, 'Let ye who have not sinned cast the first stone.'

It was all well and good until, right before the benediction, the priest implored the congregation to pray that the health care reform bill be defeated by Congress because it contained federal funding for abortion. I will wager a week's pay the guy did not read the entire bill.

There was also no mention of how the Catholic Church's priest abuse scandal has spread across Europe and into Pope Benedict XVI's native Germany in recent months. ...

I confess all this now as a backhanded way of introducing Father Tom Doyle, 65. Four decades ago, the Sheboygan, Wis., native went through "priesthood boot camp" in Winona, Minn., and ultimately became a top official in the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church.

As a canon lawyer for the Vatican's embassy in Washington, Doyle seemed on a smooth ascension up the diplomatic and legal ladders of a church he believed with all his heart and soul was the paragon of morality.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 AM

Time to heal: After 30 years, local woman speaks about clergy abuse

NORTH ANDOVER (MA)
The Eagle-Tribune

By Brian Messenger
bmessenger@eagletribune.com

NORTH ANDOVER — It came without warning, a subconscious flash flood washing up images from a forgotten childhood. Painful details Kristen Merrill unwittingly suppressed for decades made their return. She thought she was dreaming.

The distinct wallpaper in the rectory kitchen. The green linoleum counter top and a red tin filled with cookies her grandmother made. Her yellow blouse.

And there stood the man she knew simply then as Father Paul, a popular priest at St. Michael Church who years later would marry her to a young Coast Guardsman.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

Valley native who took down Geoghan still fighting for victims

METHUEN (MA)
The Eagle-Tribune

By Brian Messenger
bmessenger@eagletribune.com

METHUEN — He is the Hampshire Street farm boy best known for taking down former priest and pedophile John J. Geoghan.

Mitchell Garabedian had been an attorney for 15 years when a woman walked into his Boston law office in the mid-1990s with her three children in tow.

The story they shared with him would change all their lives, not to mention those of countless other victims with similar tales of sexual abuse at the hands of Geoghan and other clergy members.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 AM

Does Pope Benedict XVI Lack Moral Authority to Sanctimony?

New Liberian

By Paul I. Adujie, New York

Pope Benedict XVI and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church deserve worldwide condemnations for the failure and wanton neglect to action.

They failed to act, again, and again and again in connection with this pandemic of sex abuses and molestations of children which is now revealed. Data, evidences, facts which are thoroughly documented have revealed wide ranging sex abuse of children in America, Germany, Ireland, Italy and quite likely, these sexual exploitation of innocent hapless children occurred worldwide.

This pandemic of sexual abuse and exploitation of children by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church is evidently still unfolding. The length and breadth of sex abuse of children by Catholic Church priests is clearly predominant a practice in many nations across the world. The unfolding torrid tales of lewd criminal sex abuse of children by these priests are just mind boggling depravity.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 AM

Vatican says pope's authority still strong despite sex abuse scandal

VATICAN CITY
Los Angeles Times

March 28, 2010

Vatican City - The Vatican said Saturday that recent attacks on the church over its handling of clerical sex abuse cases have been harmful but that the pope's authority had not been weakened.

Instead, the Vatican spokesman said, Pope Benedict XVI's authority and the commitment of the Vatican doctrinal and disciplinary office "have been confirmed in their support and guidance to bishops to combat and root out the blight of abuse wherever it appears."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:36 AM

Pope Benedict Should Resign In Wake Of Catholic Church Paedophile Scandals

Voxy

Chris Ford

Pope Benedict XVI should consider resigning the papacy after revelations of his involvement in possible cover ups of paedophile sex offending by priests.

This past week has witnessed a new round of revelations surrounding the abuse of Deaf schoolboys in the United States by a now deceased former priest during the 1960s. The most alarming revelations, however, have surfaced from within Benedict's former German archdiocese where it is alleged that he took part in the cover up of child sex abuse by priests there during the 1980s. Furthermore, it has been reported that when Benedict (as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) was head of the Vatican's doctrinal office under Pope John Paul II, he was very slow to act on cases of child sex abuse that were reported to him in that capacity.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 AM

Catholics keep the faith

CANADA
Montreal Gazette

By IRWIN BLOCK, The Gazette

The scandal of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy and the suggestion of a cover-up by Pope Benedict XVI while still a cardinal have done nothing to shake the faith of Montreal believers in the church and its precepts.

That's what a parent, a seminarian, a priest, and two students said in random interviews yesterday as several hundred Catholics gathered in Chinatown to celebrate World Youth Day, founded 25 years ago by Pope John Paul II.

At the Chinese Catholic Community Centre, young women prepared palm leaves for an afternoon procession - a head start for today's Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week, which precedes Easter.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 AM

Abuse, denial

PENNSYLVANIA
The Times-Tribune

The Vatican newspaper last week characterized a mounting sexual abuse scandal as a global media conspiracy against the Catholic Church "as if," L'Osservatore Romano said, "it were the only one responsible for sexual abuse."

Sexual abuse of children actually is a common feature of secular news coverage just about everywhere. The problem for the Catholic Church, and the reason for the media focus, is the Vatican's failure to decisively deal with it.

When the epidemic of abuse in the United States first was revealed about a decade ago, the Vatican called it an "American problem," that is, an element of the decadent American culture rather than a problem within the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 AM

Swiss president calls for blacklist of 'paedophile' priests

SWITZERLAND
Expatica

Swiss President Doris Leuthard called in remarks published Sunday for paedophile priests to be put on a blacklist to ensure they have no contact with children.

"It is important that paedophiles, whether they are priests, teachers or if they have one form or other dealings with children, should no longer be able to have contact with children," she said on the website of Swiss newspaper Le Matin Dimanche.

"Maintaining a centralised register as it currently exists for teachers should also be discussed for paedophile priests," she said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

Vatican knew of allegations against Ontario priest: Victim

CANADA
Toronto Star

Sandro Contenta
Feature Writer

An Ontario victim of a pedophile priest who later became a top Vatican official says the Vatican knew of allegations against the priest years before he was convicted.

The priest, former Monsignor Bernard Prince, was convicted in 2008 of molesting 13 young boys between 1964 and 1984. Most of the incidents occurred in the Killaloe area, near Pembroke in eastern Ontario. He was defrocked last year.

Prince was appointed to a top Vatican job in Rome in 1991 – the year after the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pembroke learned of sex abuse allegations – says the victim, who can't be identified because of a court publication ban on identifying him. The victim says in 1993 the Apostolic Nunciature in Ottawa – the Vatican's embassy – was notified of the allegations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 AM

Pope is setting the right example

MALTA
Times of Malta

Fr Joe Borg

During the pontificate of John Paul II, the Church got accustomed to apologising for mistakes committed decades and centuries ago.

Pope Benedict took the process a step further. He did not find it difficult to apologise for mishandling the Bishop Williamson case due to incomplete information given to him. Moreover, on March 20, Pope Benedict personally apologised to victims of priestly sexual abuse in Ireland and announced new steps to heal the wounds of the scandal, including a Vatican investigation and a year of penitential reparation.

The letter proved how unjust and untruthful are the attempts of those trying to link the Pope to cases of abusing priests or to the culture of silence which, unfortunately, was common in the Church for a very long period of time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 AM

Archbishop: Pope will not resign

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

[with video]

The Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols says the Pope will not resign over the paedophile priests scandal.

The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols told Andrew Marr that child abuse was "the most-hidden crime" following a slew of reports of sexual misconduct with minors by members of the Roman Catholic church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 AM

As It Stands: If the truth sets you free, the Catholic Church is in captivity

UNITED STATES
Times-Standard

Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard
Posted: 03/28/2010

Facts can fracture foundations, but once they are exposed they can also be repaired. The current scandals involving the Roman Catholic pedophile priests in Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the United States, the Netherlands and Italy are rocking the church's credibility and stability to the core.

When Pope Benedict XVI recently sent a letter to Ireland apologizing for the chronic child abuse within the Catholic Church, after offering no help to three official Irish investigations that revealed 100 years of abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese and the rural Ferns diocese, he followed the road paved by his predecessors. Over 15,000 victims of sexual abuse by priests have been discovered thus far.

In his letter, the Pope urged priests to confess if they're child molesters, but didn't say what he'd do with them when they did. He mentioned facing the law. But whose law? The Vatican's track record with the church's pedophiles is not very reassuring. The church outright refused to help in the 2001-2009 probes that revealed the scale and longevity of the abuse suffered by Irish children throughout the 20th century.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 AM

Pope opens Holy Week amid abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY
Cape Cod Times (United States)

By The Associated Press
March 28, 2010

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI has opened the church's solemn Holy Week amid increasing questions about his own handling of cases of sexual abuse of children by priests.

Benedict's procession entered St. Peter's Square on Sunday at the start of Palm Sunday Mass. The pontiff, in crimson and golden vestments, waved to the throngs of faithful waving palm fronds and olive branches.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:07 AM

March 27, 2010

What Vatican secrets does disgraced Bishop John Magee take with him ?

IRELAND
Irish Central

by Niall O'Dowd

The disgraced Bishop of Cloyne John Magee will bring at least two dark secrets to his grave with him. He resigned this week after a tribunal found he had blatantly failed to implement church regulations on abuse of children.

The Newry-both Magee was Secretary to three popes, Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul I and Pope John Paul II, the only cleric in history to achieve such an incredible honor. In the picture above he is with John Paul II.

John Cooney, an Irish journalist covering religious affairs, wrote how Magee proudly boasted that Pope Paul VI treated him as a son, and that John Paul II treated him like a brother.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:30 PM

Protesters urge Pope to quit over sex abuse 'cover up'

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

Campaigners are to urge Pope Benedict XVI to resign over the alleged cover up of sex abuse by some Catholic clergy.

They will protest outside Westminster Cathedral from 1200 GMT over claims he failed to ensure priests who abused young people were reported to police.

The Protest the Pope coalition says he has personal responsibility for letting many paedophile priests escape justice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:03 PM

Vatican Attacks Americans, White House Does Nothing

UNITED STATES/VATICAN CITY
News Junkie Post

By Liam Fox
NEWS JUNKIE POST

Mar 27, 2010

Dr. Miguel Humberto Diaz is the American Ambassador to the the Holy See, the State of the Vatican City(1). As yet, there has been no official reaction from Dr. Diaz, on behalf of the United States Government, demanding official accountability by the State of the Holy See to the citizens of the United States of America for crimes committed by its officials against American citizens.

There is a great deal of reaction regarding the silence of the Holy See government, and its head of state Pope Benedict XVI, regarding these atrocities. The silence of the American Government, charged with the protection of its citizens, against all enemies foreign and domestic, is somewhat more puzzling. Thousands of America’s most vulnerable citizens have been terrorized by agents directly under the supervision of a foreign power. Where is the official action from the American government?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also refrained from exercising the duties of her office despite the many thousand attacks and assaults against American citizens aided by this foreign Power. Diplomatic relations and status must be reviewed immediately, and appropriate limitations and suspensions applied as a result of the Holly See’s official complicity to these heinous crimes. The American government must not remain inactive when its people have been so egregiously violated.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:56 PM

The Pope says pray for these priests. I say prosecute them

UNITED KINGDOM
Mail

By Suzanne Moore

Sometimes it is necessary to be graphic. To spell things out however upsetting it may be. Pope Benedict XVI’s letter to the people of Ireland emphasised the spiritual rebuilding that must take place following the child-abuse scandals that have engulfed the Catholic church there. It talks a lot about priests but not much about the actual abuse.

So let’s be clear: we are not talking about a little inappropriate behaviour, a clumsy pass, standing too close to a teenager. We are talking about the rape of children. We are talking about systematic beatings, torture and humiliation. Many of those abused by priests and monks are now elderly but they weep and tremble when recounting what those who were meant to care for them did.

Last year in Ireland, the ten-year Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, that had heard evidence from 2,000 people aged between 50 and 80 who grew up in Catholic institutions, concluded that abuse was ‘endemic’.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:52 PM

Hitchens: Pope Benedict wants 'wiggle room' for 'rape and torture of children'

PageOneQ

by Stephen C. Webster, Raw Story

The Catholic Church is in serious trouble and may have nowhere to run, depending on who you ask.

"I warned them about all of this," declared author Christopher Hitchens, appearing on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday night. "Nothing good can come of a church that has as its' slogan, 'Leave no child's behind.' And then they went and chose as pope the man who was personally responsible, in his dioceses, and institutionally responsible for the cover-up. So now, there's no escape."

The child rape scandals that have savaged Catholic ranks for years starting in the United States, then flaring up in Ireland, Germany, Italy and other locations around the world, have finally come to implicate Pope Benedict XVI, according to recent reports.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:50 PM

Vatican defensive as pope targeted in child abuse scandal

VATICAN CITY
Sydney Morning Herald

MICHELE LERIDON
March 28, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI will not be weakened by abuse scandals rocking the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican said Saturday, amid mounting criticism of his handling of predator priests.

The Vatican, which dismissed a New York Times report Friday that Benedict had failed in 1980 to stop a priest accused of sexually abusing children, put up a brave front amid mounting criticism in newspapers and magazines.

"The recent media attacks have without doubt caused damage," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told Italy's ANSA news agency.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:45 PM

No sermon needed on church sex abuse, says bishop

CANADA
Calgary Sun

By DAVE DORMER, Calgary Sun

Last Updated: March 27, 2010

The clerical sex abuse scandal hanging over the Catholic church won’t be addressed by Bishop Fred Henry during Palm Sunday services.

Instead, the leader of the Calgary Catholic diocese said he will be focusing his message on preparing for the Easter holiday

“I’m going to speaking about the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and setting up holy week,” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:43 PM

NZ Catholics doubt Pope knew of abuse

NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand City

28 March 2010
A leading figure amongst New Zealand Catholics says the ongoing bad publicity is bringing sadness to the church.

Questions have been raised about how much the Pope and the Vatican knew about cases of sexual abuse by clergy and whether the Pope did enough to address the issue of pedophile priests before he was appointed to the church's top position.

Pat Dunn, the Catholic Bishop of Auckland, says the allegations have brought sadness to the church in New Zealand, but he doubts the Pontiff would have knowingly done anything to protect an offender. He says the letter Pope Benedict sent to Irish Catholics last week demonstrated his understanding of their of hurt and outrage over abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:40 PM

Celibacy, sexual abuse and other stories

NIGERIA
Punch

By Casmir Igbokwe, Published: Sunday, 28 Mar 2010

PENULTIMATE Sunday, worshippers at Saint Francis Catholic Church, Idimu, Lagos, heard what many considered a funny story. According to the story, a parishioner took another man‘s wife to a hotel to catch some fun. No sooner had they settled down at their rendezvous than some kidnappers struck. They took the man away and demanded N5m ransom.

The culprit‘s wife does not have this kind of money. Though shocked, she still summoned courage to meet and plead with the husband of her man‘s concubine to release her husband. Obviously, she thought the man engineered her hubby‘s abduction. That one denied any knowledge of the incident. Not knowing where else to go, this woman decided to approach the church for help.

Hence, a church official made an important announcement. Those who wished to help the woman, he reportedly said, should come forward with their freewill donation. Some hissed. Some giggled.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:37 PM

Chilean Priest Under Investigation for Sexual Abuse of Minors

CHILE
Latin American Herald Tribune

VALPARAISO, Chile – A Chilean priest is being investigated for suspected sexual abuse of minors and for aiding prostitution.

Judicial sources said that Fr. Juan Henriquez Zapata, 64, a parish priest in the city of Limache, located at some 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest of Santiago, is suspected of having paid in 2008 the sum of 25,000 pesos (about $48), to practice oral sex on two minors aged 15 and 16.

According to accusations by local prosecutors at a hearing, the incidents occurred in April of that year at the priest’s home behind the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:34 PM

Irish Cardinal refuses to quit over abuse cover-up despite Vatican outrage

IRELAND
Scotman

Published Date: 28 March 2010
By Michael McHugh
REPORTS that the Vatican intends to force the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland to quit over the paedophile priests scandal have been dismissed by his spokesman.

Cardinal Sean Brady has apologised for his role in the handling of sex abuse cases. But he insists he wants to work towards a just resolution of a case being raised against him by an abuse victim. The man claims he was abused by Father Brendan Smyth and alleges the Church failed to do enough to stop Smyth.

The Northern Ireland Assembly is preparing to order an official investigation into child abuse after details emerged of more attacks on children by the clergy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:32 PM

Pope faces fresh wave of child abuse scandals in Italy

UNITED KINGDOM
The Observer

Tom Kington in Rome and Henry McDonald in Dublin
The Observer, Sunday 28 March 2010

Pope Benedict XVI is facing growing pressure over his handling of paedophile priests as new cover-ups come to light in Italy, the country with the greatest concentration of Roman Catholic clerics.

After the latest allegations – that Benedict took no action in the US when he was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican's enforcer – the church is now "terrified" as more victims stand up to be counted in Italy, according to Roberto Mirabile, head of La Caramella Buona, an Italian anti-abuse group. "With the scandals erupting abroad, we will see a huge growth in victims' groups in Italy in coming weeks," said Mirabile yesterday. As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict handled abuse cases at the Vatican for 24 years before he became pope in 2005.

"We are likely to discover that the Vatican worked even harder in Italy with bishops than elsewhere to hide cases, simply because the contact was closer and the church is so powerful in Italy," Mirabile added.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:28 PM

Pope deserves better credit

CANADA
The Ottawa Citizen

By David Warren, The Ottawa Citizen

March 27, 2010

Palm Sunday is as good a day as any to be defending the Catholic Church against the latest onslaught of media smears, and the tireless efforts to tarnish Pope Benedict personally.

I desisted from writing this column for St. Patrick’s Day, when the issue was whether in 1979, Joseph Ratzinger, then Archbishop of Munich and Freising, had knowingly transferred a pedophile priest to another assignment where he could abuse more children.

The truth was that he had removed the offending priest from his station promptly, and sent him into therapy; and that without Ratzinger’s knowledge, that priest’s parochial vicar, no doubt falsely believing he was “cured,” later put him back in a parochial setting. To suggest that Ratzinger had knowingly put other children at risk was a calumny. But I notice the journalists are still combing old cc’d memos to find mud that will stick.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:25 PM

Victims of sex abuse to sue Vatican

The Times (United Kingdom)

Tony Allen-Mills in New York and John Follain in Rome

NEW revelations about Pope Benedict XVI’s alleged role in covering up accusations of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy have exposed the Vatican to the risk of lawsuits brought by victims around the world.

Mounting anger at the Catholic Church’s failure to act on predatory priests in the US, Europe and Mexico has plunged the papacy into an institutional crisis described by an American Catholic newspaper last week as “the largest in centuries”.

Yesterday the Vatican denounced the “aggressive persistence” of critics who were attempting to “involve the Holy Father personally in the matter of abuse”. A spokesman told Vatican Radio that the Pope’s record was “above discussion”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:21 PM

Beyond the church: Most child sex abuse never sees the light

UNITED STATES
The Oregonian

By Susan Nielsen, The Oregonian
March 27, 2010

Is it hard for survivors of child sex abuse to speak out?

Is the pope Catholic?

Victims worldwide continue to pour forward with stories of abuse as children at the hands of clergy. Many of the allegations have been substantiated by priests who've confessed. Even the pope himself was drawn into the scandal last week with questions about his past role in protecting an abusive priest from earthly consequences.

The surprising part here isn't the sheer number of victims, from the deaf children in Wisconsin to the altar boys in Ireland. The real shocker is remembering that most child sex abuse victims aren't connected to churches, don't file lawsuits and never speak publicly at all.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:16 PM

Pope defended over sex abuse row

VATICAN CITY
Herald (Ireland)

Sunday March 28 2010

The Vatican said recent attacks on the church over its handling of clerical sex abuse cases have been harmful, but insisted the pope's authority had not been weakened.

Instead, the Vatican spokesman said, Pope Benedict XVI's authority and the commitment of the Vatican doctrinal and disciplinary office "have been confirmed in their support and guidance to bishops to combat and root out the blight of abuse wherever it appears."

"The way in which the church deals with it is crucial for her moral credibility," said the spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, on Vatican Radio.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:13 PM

Holy Father, I can stay no longer in this Church of Disgust

UNITED KINGDOM
The Times

India Knight

My daughter was baptised into the Roman Catholic faith when she was two months old. She is now six, and should really be gearing up for her first communion. The fact that she isn’t is down to one factor: the parish priest at the local church was suspended, pending investigations into allegations of child abuse.

He was eventually cleared of all charges, which was nice for him but didn’t really work for me because I don’t want any of my children left alone with adult men in any context where the words “child abuse” are hovering in the air. In recent years that context has, sadly, broadened to include the entire church.

To be blunt about it, my daughter was baptised because we feared she might die — she had complicated open-heart surgery a few weeks after she was born, and for some reason I found the sacrament intensely comforting. Beautiful, too.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:10 PM

A Nope for Pope

UNITED STATES
The New York Times

By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: March 27, 2010

WASHINGTON

Yup, we need a Nope.

A nun who is pope.

The Catholic Church can never recover as long as its Holy Shepherd is seen as a black sheep in the ever-darkening sex abuse scandal.

Now we learn the sickening news that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, nicknamed “God’s Rottweiler” when he was the church’s enforcer on matters of faith and sin, ignored repeated warnings and looked away in the case of the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, a Wisconsin priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys.

The church has been tone deaf and dumb on the scandal for so long that it’s shocking, but not surprising, to learn from The Times’s Laurie Goodstein that a group of deaf former students spent 30 years trying to get church leaders to pay attention.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:07 PM

Pope considers emergency 'abuse summit'

VATICAN CITY
The Independent (United Kingdom)

By John Phillips in Rome

Sunday, 28 March 2010

As pilgrims, tourists and the faithful congregate in St Peter's Square today to collect olive branches during a solemn Palm Sunday Mass, an embattled Pope Benedict XVI is coming under mounting pressure to call an emergency synod of bishops from around the world to hammer out a new strategy to deal with the worsening child abuse scandal, Vatican sources say.

A number of Roman Catholic prelates have strongly urged the Holy See that such an extraordinary synod, or conference, be held on the grounds that the German pontiff and the Vatican evidently cannot cope effectively on their own with the spiralling image crisis.

"There is a deep feeling of unease in the Vatican at the moment," said one well-placed source in the Holy See. "Senior people in the Curia feel under siege from parts of the international media as they see it trying to nail the Pope for allegedly covering up or mishandling abuse cases.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:03 PM

Bad Popes

UNITED STATES
The Fifth Column

Bonnie Erbe of US News and World Report is in high dudgeon. The Pope was remiss in handling a sexually abuse priest! Hang the Pope! yada, yada, yada.

Now, as a Catholic, I want to personally thank Bonnie and company for their close attention to the Catholic Church's trials and tribulations. After all, Bonnie is very concerned for Catholic welfare. She cares about Catholics in a way that she obviously doesn't when it comes to any other group of people.

When Carol Shakeshaft reported on the level of sexual abuse in the American public school system, Bonnie was silent as a lamb. When Yemen found it impossible to outlaw child marriage, Bonnie saw no news. There is nothing wrong with Muslims who insist that child marriage is not only legal, but laudable, because they are Muslims, after all, and we can't expect them to be decent people. And we won't even discuss how the ritual of Jewish circumcision passes on HIV to infants, or the rates of sexual abuse in Jewish or Protestant communities.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:33 PM

Canadian Cardinal jumps to the defence of Pope

CANADA
Montreal Gazette

By Amy Husser, Canwest News Service

One of Canada’s highest-ranking Roman Catholic officials has joined the ranks of those coming to the defence of Pope Benedict XVI, as the pontiff faces allegations he turned a blind eye to priests who were sexually abusing children.

The scandal has led to some calls for Benedict to resign, and on Saturday one Swiss newspaper reportedly called him “the biggest sinner in the whole Catholic Church."

Cardinal Marc Ouellet — who is the Primate of the Catholic Church in Canada — posted a statement on the website of his archdiocese in Quebec City that denounced the reports from “several media” this week.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:20 PM

Church abuse victims dissect '08 pope meeting anew

BOSTON (MA)
San Francisco Chronicle

By JAY LINDSAY, Associated Press Writer

Saturday, March 27, 2010

(03-27) 09:53 PDT BOSTON, (AP) --

Two years ago, Bernie McDaid stepped out of a police escort and into a Washington, D.C., chapel for a secret meeting with Pope Benedict XVI and a handful of clergy sex-abuse victims like him.

McDaid left afterward believing Benedict was beginning to understand the scope of his church's corruption. He doesn't believe that today.

"Was it a PR move? Looking back at that now, I have to say it was," McDaid said of the meeting. "Everything they do is not about the children. It's about the church. It's always the church first."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:15 PM

At the Vatican, Up Against the World

VATICAN CITY
The New York Times

By FRANK BRUNI
Published: March 26, 2010

Of the many heartbreaking details in the latest round of outrage over child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, one stands out as particularly emblematic: a tidy window into Church leaders’ mindsets; a bracing glimpse of what went wrong.

It traces back to 1975, when the Rev. Sean Brady, now a cardinal at the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, was tending to two boys who had been molested by a priest. By Cardinal Brady’s own admission, he did not report what had happened to the authorities. It was his understanding, he said, that the church would not want that. Instead, the boys — one 14, one just 10, both surely reeling — were forced to sign an oath that such notification would never be made.

It is doubtful that pledge helped them heal, or that he or anyone else in the church thought it might. It certainly did not safeguard other children, many of whom the priest went on to molest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:06 PM

Vatican Calls Scandal Test of 'Moral Credibility'

VATICAN CITY
The Wall Street Journal

By STACY MEICHTRY
ROME—The Vatican said Saturday that the Roman Catholic Church faces a test of "moral credibility" in confronting a global sexual-abuse crisis, which has shaken the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI.

In an address on Vatican Radio, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi highlighted the recent media scrutiny of the church's handling of sexual-abuse cases.

His remarks come in the wake of reports in the New York Times focusing on how the pope handled cases of alleged sex abusers when he was Archbishop of Munich and subsequently as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican department in charge of disciplining priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:03 PM

Vatican pressured to reveal more about Pope Benedict connection to sex abuse cases

VATICAN CITY
The Christian Science Monitor

By Brad Knickerbocker, Staff writer / March 27, 2010

Pressure is building on the Vatican to reveal more information about a priest accused of sexually molesting boys – specifically the extent to which Pope Benedict XVI, then an archbishop in Munich, may have known about the sex abuse.

.“The future Pope Benedict XVI was kept more closely apprised of a sexual abuse case in Germany than previous church statements have suggested, raising fresh questions about his handling of a scandal unfolding under his direct supervision before he rose to the top of the church’s hierarchy,” the New York Times reported Friday.

“Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope and archbishop in Munich at the time, was copied on a memo that informed him that a priest, whom he had approved sending to therapy in 1980 to overcome pedophilia, would be returned to pastoral work within days of beginning psychiatric treatment,” the Times report states. “The priest was later convicted of molesting boys in another parish.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:00 PM

Clerical Paedophilia in the Catholic Church – are economic migrants into the priesthood to blame?

UNITED KINGDOM
Asian Tribune

Hemantha Abeywardena writes from London…
London, 28 March, (Asiantribune.com): At the moment, the Catholic Church wants to be seen as an institute, metaphorically speaking, under siege in the wake of serious allegations about sexual abuse of children and the subsequent systematic cover-up, both in America and Europe. The burgeoning scandal in the two continents has started knocking on the central core of the powerful establishment; even its head, the Pontiff, is no longer immune from accusations. Nor is he above criticism any more.

The Vatican was compelled to issue a statement through its printed media condemning what it called ‘ignoble’ attacks to smear the Holy Father, following a report in the New York Times which said that the then Cardinal Ratzinger, the present Pope Benedict, failed to take action against a priest who abused 200 deaf boys in the US in the eighties.

It was only last week that the pope wrote to the Irish Catholics while apologising for what some of them suffered at the hand of a section of the Catholic clergy. It came in the form of an open letter to be distributed among the church-goers. Unfortunately, the letter didn’t go far enough for the victims and the debate reignited on both sides of the Atlantic pool and then spread like wild fire; the pontiff has been forced to moonlight as a fire-fighter too, in addition to his demanding daily spiritual duties, with the long hose of Vatican’s media unit at full stretch.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:54 PM

A Papal Conversion

UNITED STATES
The New York Times

By JOHN L. ALLEN Jr.
Published: March 27, 2010

Denver

IN light of recent revelations, Pope Benedict XVI now seems to symbolize the tremendous failure by the Catholic Church to crack down on the sexual abuse of children. Both the pope’s brief stint as a bishop in Germany 30 years ago and his quarter-century as a top Vatican official are being scoured for records of abusive priests whom he failed to stop, and each case seems to strengthen the indictment.

For example, considerable skepticism surrounds the Vatican’s insistence that in 1980 the pope, then Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger of Munich, was unaware of a decision to transfer a known pedophile priest to his diocese and give him duties in a parish. In some ways, the question of what he knew at the time is almost secondary, since it happened on his watch and ultimately he has to bear the responsibility. However, all the criticism is obscuring something equally important: For anyone who knows the Vatican’s history on this issue, Benedict XVI isn’t just part of the problem. He’s also a major chapter in the solution.

To understand that, it’s necessary to wind the clock back a decade. Before then, no Vatican office had clear responsibility for cases of priests accused of sexual abuse, which instead were usually handled — and often ignored — at the diocesan level. In 2001, however, Pope John Paul II assigned responsibility to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s all-important doctrinal office, which was headed by Joseph Ratzinger, then a cardinal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:50 PM

Northern Ireland plans child abuse investigation

NORTHERN IRELAND
Channel 4 News

Updated on 27 March 2010

[with video]

The Northern Ireland Executive is set to launch a major investigation into child abuse, after allegations that it was rife in the Catholic Church in Northern Ireland and beyond have rocked the community. Kylie Morris reports.

Stormont and Northern Ireland's politicians have finally found their voices over the scandal that has hit the Catholic Church, and Channel 4 News understands that an investigation will take place.

Early indications of the parameters for any Stormont inquiry into abuse suggests it shouldn't concentrate on the church alone, but also on abuse across state institutions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:47 PM

New Book Release Tells the Heartbreaking True Story of a Survivor of Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church

UNITED STATES
PR-USA

"Altar Boy Altered Life" (ISBN 978-159858-724-1, Dog Ear Publishing) is a new book released by author David Price. When he becomes depressed and suicidal in 1993 at age 28, David Price decides to seek therapy. During his sessions David begins to uncover repressed memories of being sexually abused as a teen (1979-1984) by a trusted and well-loved Catholic priest.

Father Michael Harris, an attractive and athletic young priest and headmaster of David's school, was an extremely popular figure in the community. David Price, one of fourteen children and orphaned by the age of eight, had led a difficult life and was an innocent teenager when he met the man who would change his life forever.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:39 PM

As Archbishop, Benedict Focused on Doctrine

GERMANY
The New York Times

By KATRIN BENNHOLD and NICHOLAS KULISH
Published: March 27, 2010

MUNICH — When Pope Benedict XVI was archbishop of Munich and Freising, he was broadly described as a theologian more concerned with doctrinal debates than personnel matters. That, say his defenders, helps explain why he did not keep close tabs on a pedophile priest sent to his archdiocese in 1980 and allowed to work in a parish.

Yet in 1979, the year before Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, approved the Rev. Peter Hullermann’s move to Munich, the cardinal blocked the assignment to the local university of a prominent theology professor recommended by the university senate. And in 1981, he punished a priest for holding a Mass at a peace demonstration, leading the man to ultimately leave the priesthood.

Pope Benedict’s four-and-a-half-year tenure as archbishop is among the least-examined periods of his life, but his time presiding over 1,713 priests and 2.2 million Catholics was in many ways a dress rehearsal for his present job tending to the Roman Catholic Church’s more than one billion members worldwide.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:33 PM

Vatican say abuse response crucial for credibility

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

(Reuters) - The Catholic Church's response to cases of sexual abuse by priests is crucial to its credibility and it must "acknowledge and make amends for" even decades-old cases, a Vatican spokesman said on Saturday.

The church is reeling from a series of media reports this week that Pope Benedict, before being elected pontiff, may have looked the other way in the case of the abuse of hundreds of boys by a priest at an American school for the deaf.

The Vatican has denied any cover-up in the abuse of 200 deaf boys by Reverend Lawrence Murphy from the 1950s to the 1960s, after the New York Times reported he was not defrocked despite warnings sent to the Vatican and to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then the church's top doctrinal official, now Pope Benedict.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:32 PM

Ordinary Catholics 'ashamed and broken-hearted'

UNITED KINGDOM
The Times

Ruth Gledhill

Tablet editor Catherine Pepinster's Thought for the Day today was so profoundly moving that I am delighted she has granted permission for me to reproduce it on Articles of Faith, below. A BBC source tells me that normally, the staff in the Today programme office use the brief Thought slot to have a quick coffee break. But today, they all sat and listened. Alone at home, I also had a sense also of the nation stopping what it was doing, to listen closely to what this leading lay Catholic woman would say. Another moving article, this one by lay Catholic Mike McCarthy, appears in today's Independent. 'The crisis affecting the Catholic Church is currently being treated as the failure of an arrogant institution, a sort of colossal religious Watergate, and indeed it is that, but we are starting to see that the trouble runs even deeper, right into the church's spiritual heart. Some sort of terrible worm has got into the bud of Catholicism; its crisis is only beginning,' he writes.

Catherine Pepinster said on BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day:

'Earlier this week I was fortunate to be able to visit St Walburge’s, one of the most magnificent Catholic churches in the country. These days St Walburge’s is open infrequently for most of the houses that once surrounded it have been demolished and the population has moved elsewhere. But as I looked around this stunning grade one listed church in Preston, I was aware of what I can only describe as its prayerful silence and the thousands upon thousands of ordinary people who’d prayed there over the years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:04 PM

Local Catholics on sex abuse scandal

HOUSTON (TX)
KTRK

[video presentation]

People from Houston discuss the latest controversy involving allegations of cover-ups of abuse of children within the Catholic Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:52 PM

Tréadlitir an Phápa Rónaofa Beinidict XVI Chuig Caitlicigh na hÉireann

IRELAND
Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference

The Irish language translation of the Pastoral Letter of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI to the Catholics of Ireland is now available on the Irish Catholic Bishops’ website www.catholicbishops.ie as part of a special web feature.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:39 PM

COMMUNIQUÉ regarding the current circumstances of the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement

Legion of Christ

March 25, 2010
Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

Introduction

As we are gathered for the annual meeting of the territorial directors with our general director, we wish to write to our brothers in the Legion of Christ, to the consecrated and all the members of Regnum Christi, our families and friends who accompany us at this juncture in our history, and also to all those who have been affected, wounded, or scandalized by the reprehensible actions of our founder, Fr Marcial Maciel, LC.

It has taken us time to come to terms with these facts regarding his life. For many, especially the victims, this time has been too long and very painful.

We have not always been able, or found the way to reach out to everyone in the way we should have, and in fact wanted to. Hence the need we feel to make this communiqué.

1. Regarding some facts in the life of our founder, Fr Marcial Maciel, LC (1920-2008)

We had thought and hoped that the accusations brought against our founder were false and unfounded, since they conflicted with our experience of him personally and his work. However, on May 19, 2006, the Holy See’s Press Office issued a communiqué as the conclusion of a canonical investigation that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) had begun in 2004. At that time, the CDF reached sufficient moral certainty to impose serious canonical sanctions related to the accusations made against Fr Maciel, which included the sexual abuse of minor seminarians. Therefore, though it causes us consternation, we have to say that these acts did take place.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:34 PM

Grinding the Faces of the Oppressed

UNITED STATES
Leon J. Podles: Dialogue

The NYT has the story of how everyone: bishops, priests. Pope, police, failed the deaf children who were molested by Father Murphy. Some critics have asked why victims sometimes take so long to come forward. As the experience of the deaf children showed, even going directly to the police, even leafleting in front of the cathedral did no good. No one would listen to them, no one would help them.

They told other priests. They told three archbishops of Milwaukee. They told two police departments and the district attorney. They used sign language, written affidavits and graphic gestures to show what exactly Father Murphy had done to them. But their reports fell on the deaf ears of hearing people.

Throughout history, the poor, the disadvantaged, the weak, have suffered for the convenience of the important, the wealthy, the powerful. It has been no different in the Church or the state.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:36 PM

Vatican Corruption

UNITED STATES
Leon J. Podles: Dialogue

March 27th, 2010

John Paul II and Paul VI did not listen to the cries of violated children. Why?

I have a few sources with Vatican connections and have received fairly reliable second-hand information, and my guess at the scenario is this.

John Paul, for reasons he refused to explain even to a cardinal who questioned him, would not act against abusers. John Paul was a lousy judge of character. His priest–“friends” in the Krakow chancery were all in the pay of the Communist secret police, and gave them detailed information about the precise location of Wojtyla’s bed, which medicines he took, who his pharmacist was, etc. The priests were supplying information potential assassins in return for permission to study aboard for career advancement. When this was finally discovered after the fall of communism, John Paul’s secretary kept it from him - why disturb an old man, he explained.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:30 PM

Former priest gets 20 years for sexually assaulting 2 teens in Elm Grove

WISCONSIN
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By Gina Barton of the Journal Sentinel

Posted: March 27, 2010

A former Catholic priest was sentenced to 20 years in prison Friday for sexually assaulting two teenage boys in Elm Grove in the late 1970s and early 1980s, according to his attorney.

James R. Blume, 64, who first served as a Brother of the Holy Cross, became a priest in 1980. He was removed from the priesthood in June 2007. Blume most recently lived in Florida, where he worked as a prison counselor and social worker, said his attorney, Jonathan LaVoy of Brookfield.

In January, Blume pleaded guilty in Waukesha County Circuit Court to two counts of sexual assault of a child.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:36 PM

The Sources of the Catholic Crisis

William Pfaff

Paris, March 23, 2010 -- I would think one judgement history will make on the Catholic Church’s Second Vatican Council (1962-65), under Pope John XXIII, will be a reproach for its failure to lift the rule of celibacy for secular priests. This has not been a moral failure. It was and remains a monumental failure of human courage and prudence in a matter wholly under the responsibility of the clergy themselves.

The rule of celibacy was ceasing to work and was damaging the Church at the very moment of the Council. The result was an exodus of many of the best priests the Church had, followed by a severe drop in the number of American and European candidates for the priesthood. The
moral spell of the rule of celibacy had broken.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:25 PM

Catholics Need to Save the Church, Hold Bishops and Pope Benedict Accountable in Sexual Abuse Crisis

Bridget Mary's Blog

By Bridget Mary Meehan

“Cry out as if you had a million voices, it is silence that kills the world,” said St. Catherine of Siena, a courageous reformer who lived from 1347-1380, at a time of grave scandal when three men, each claiming to be the pope, shook the church to its foundation. Today Catholics live in a time when the institutional church has lost credibility because of the cover-up of a global sex abuse scandal that, like a rapidly spreading cancer, is destroying the moral fiber of our church. Like St. Catherine, we, the people, need to speak truth to our church leaders including our bishops and our pope. Silence is compliance. It was silence on the part of many good people that allowed world-wide atrocities such as the Holocaust and the rape and murder of hundreds of thousands of women and children in tribal warfare in Africa to continue without world intervention.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:07 AM

Three allegations overseen by Pontiff during church career

Irish Independent

Saturday March 27 2010

In his time as an archbishop in Germany, a cardinal at the Vatican and after becoming Pope Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger has overseen at least three cases involving allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy and church workers. A glance at the cases.

Wisconsin, US

Allegations: About 200 deaf boys at St John's School for the Deaf near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, alleged they were molested by Fr Lawrence Murphy, including in the confessional, in dormitories, in closets and during field trips during his years at the institution from the 1950s through to 1974.

Handling: Church and Vatican documents show that in the mid-1990s, two Wisconsin bishops urged the Vatican office handling abuse cases to let them hold a church trial against Fr Murphy. The office, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, was led by then-Cardinal Ratzinger.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:58 AM

Stunning flood of claims held in secret diocesan archive

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By John Cooney and Ralph Riegel

Saturday March 27 2010

A METICULOUSLY maintained secret archive on abuse allegations against clerics in the Diocese of Cloyne has shocked both victim representatives and church investigators.

The revelation came as the Irish Independent has learnt that the same archive will be used to support a flood of civil damages claims once a state-ordered probe into alleged clerical abuses in Dublin and Cloyne is published.

The archive contains stunning data -- recorded in meticulous detail -- on abuse allegations dating over several years, related correspondence, clerical responses and the diocesan handling of the individual complaints. Gardai were, at the time, unaware of significant data in the file.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:55 AM

Pope will force Brady to resign

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By John Cooney, Ruth Gledhill and Jill Sherman

Saturday March 27 2010

THE Vatican will force the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, to quit if he refuses to resign over the growing child abuse scandal.

Sources in Rome signalled that nothing less than Dr Brady's resignation will diminish fury at the highest levels in Rome over his role in paedophile priest cover-ups.

Dr Brady apologised last week for his role in a Catholic Church tribunal on allegations made by a 14-year-old boy against Brendan Smyth, the priest whose case brought down the Government in 1994.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:52 AM

Bruce Arnold: Church must respect State law ahead of its own rules

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By Bruce Arnold

Saturday March 27 2010

Politicians, including party leaders, are ignoring their role in putting right deeply flawed social structures that have failed

We have reached a point of surfeit over abuse. The story spreads worldwide, now involving Germany, South America, the United States again with the Milwaukee revelations. We can always trump what happens elsewhere with worse here. If it is deaf children, we had worse in Ireland where boys were sexually abused over decades, and the girls suffered mindless cruelty.

Disabled children? The same. We allowed a massive culture of abuse to develop, the church part of it, but by no means the whole, since the people, together with their guardians -- the State, the law and the police -- simply allowed it to happen. Even today, politicians, including party leaders, are ignoring their role in putting right deeply flawed social structures that have failed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:46 AM

John Cooney: The secret scandal-hit Magee will take to grave

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By John Cooney

Saturday March 27 2010

ON February 17, 1987, Pope John Paul II announced he was appointing the Master of Pontifical Ceremonies Fr John Magee to the vacant bishopric of Cloyne in Co Cork.

But the story of why the most handsome man in the Vatican became the Bishop of Cloyne has never been told before today.

For the first time, the high drama of ecclesiastical intrigue and ruthless church politics that has been kept under the wraps of pontifical secrecy can now be unveiled.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:38 AM

Pope may seek Brady's resignation - report

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

Saturday, March 27, 2010

It is being reported that the Pope may force the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, to resign.

Pope Benedict the Sixteenth is considering asking the Cardinal to step down over his role in a Catholic Church tribunal on abuse allegations by a teenage boy against Fr Brendan Smyth, according to today's Irish Independent .

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:35 AM

Mexican cleric led double life, Vatican inquiry finds

VATICAN CITY
National Post (Canada)

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY -- An influential Roman Catholic priestly order — whose Mexican founder was discovered to have been a sexual molester and to have fathered at least one child — apologized yesterday to the priest’s victims, whose accusations were ignored.

Last week, the Vatican announced the completion of a one-year inquiry of the conservative order, which involved visits by papal inspectors to its more than 120 seminaries, 200 schools and 600 centres for lay Catholics around the world.

Father Marcial Maciel, who died in 2008 at age 87, was a cult figure in the order and for years had the ear of pope John Paul II despite allegations he had abused young male seminarians.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:26 AM

Cardinal Brady Downplays Resignation Claims

IRELAND
98 FM

Reports that the Vatican intends to force Cardinal Sean Brady to resign have been dismissed by his spokesman today.

This morning’s papers claimed that the Pope is to seek the Cardinal’s resignation over his role in the cover-up of child sex abuse cases.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:23 AM

Cardinal Brady denies Vatican wants him to resign

IRELAND
BBC News

Reports that the Vatican want the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland to resign over a child abuse scandal have been denied.

As a priest in 1975 Cardinal Sean Brady was at meetings where children signed vows of silence over complaints against paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth.

A number of newspapers reported that the Vatican hierarchy want the cardinal to stand aside.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:19 AM

Vatican stands by pope amid calls for resignation

VATICAN CITY
Deutsche Welle

The Vatican has once again dismissed media allegations that Pope Benedict XVI helped cover up sex abuse as mounting criticism from lay reform movements resulted in a call for the pontiff to step down.

The New York Times reported that during his tenure as archbishop in Germany, Pope Benedict didn't prevent a known pedophile priest, Reverend Peter Hullerman, from being transferred to a new parish.

"The then archbishop had no knowledge of the decision to reassign (Hullerman) to pastoral activities in a parish," the Vatican said in a statement on Friday, March 26, adding that it "rejects any other version of events as mere speculation."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:15 AM

Dutch cardinal apologises for Nazi reference

NETHERLANDS
Radio Netherlands

The former head of the Catholic Church in the Netherlands, Cardinal Ad Simonis, has apologised for his recent remark, in German, "Wir haben es nicht gewusst".

Speaking on television on Tuesday evening, Cardinal Simonis used the notorious German phrase to say Dutch church leaders had not known of any child sex abuse taking place between 1950 and 1980.

The cardinal says his remark has been misinterpreted. He says he feared a plain denial would prompt sneers and so used one himself to preempt them. On Tuesday, he had already added: "I know that is a very dangerous remark and a very loaded one, but it's true."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:11 AM

143 Years of Papal Documents in One Click

VATICAN CITY
Chiesa

[Italian]

[French]

[Spanish]

The Vatican has put on the web the records of the Holy See from the past century and a half, including those on the second world war and on Pius XII and the Jews. A user's guide

by Sandro Magister

ROME, March 27, 2010 – For two days now, all the official records of the Holy See from 1865 to 2007 have been freely available on the internet, in pdf format, on the Vatican website:

> Acta Sanctae Sedis, 1865-1908

> Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 1909-2007

Also available online are the twelve large volumes of the records and documents of the Holy See relative to the period of the second world war, from 1939 to 1945, the collection requested by Paul VI in 1964 and compiled between 1965 and 1981 by the Jesuit historians Pierre Blet, Angelo Martini, Burkhart Schneider and Robert A. Graham:

> Actes et documents du Saint Siège relatifs à la Seconde Guerre Mondiale

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:55 AM

Archbishop Nichols Praises Pope Benedict's Reforms of Vatican Procedures in Clerical Abuse Allegations

UNITED KINGDOM
Vatican Radio

[with audio]

(27 Mar 10 - RV) Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster has explained how extensive the then Cardinal Ratzinger’s reforms of Vatican procedures were after he took over responsibility for dealing with clerical sex abuse allegations in 2001.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:51 AM

Church abuse in Delaware: Diocese bankruptcy judge waits to appoint mediator

WILMINGTON (DE)
The News Journal

From staff and wire reports • March 27, 2010

A judge was expected to sign an order Friday in the Diocese of Wilmington bankruptcy approving a global mediator to help resolve the case outside the courtroom, but it did not happen.

Instead, a proposed order to appoint Thomas Rutter, a retired judge from Philadelphia who has mediated in earlier, individual church abuse cases, was entered on the docket.

According to attorneys, Bankruptcy Judge Christopher S. Sontchi is expected to sign off on Rutter as the mediator early next month at a previously scheduled hearing in the case involving the diocese, the official unsecured creditors committee and abuse victims who are suing the diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:48 AM

Can a pope resign from office?

VATICAN CITY
BBC News

The possibility has been raised that Pope Benedict XVI should resign over the snowballing paedophile priest scandal in the Catholic Church. The BBC's Vatican correspondent, David Willey, examines the question.

In theory, there is nothing to stop Pope Benedict taking a piece of paper out of his writing desk and drafting a letter of resignation to hand to the College of Cardinals, the supreme electoral body of the Catholic Church.

Under Canon Law, the only conditions for the validity of such a resignation are that it be made freely and be properly published.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:45 AM

Top Vatican cardinal defends pope amid scandal

VATICAN CITY
The Associated Press

VATICAN CITY — A top Vatican cardinal is calling for "housecleaning" and urging the Roman Catholic Church to be more alert and brave in dealing with cases of clerical sex abuse.

Cardinal Walter Kasper has also defended the pope, saying he was the first to recognize the need for a harsher stance against offenders. He says attacks on Pope Benedict XVI go "beyond any limit of justice and loyalty."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:42 AM

Scandal's Stain Spreads Through Vatican

UNITED STATES
NPR

March 27, 2010 The Vatican is facing renewed pressure amid charges that Pope Benedict XVI mishandled priest sex abuse cases while serving as archbishop of Munich in the 1980s. Host Scott Simon talks with John Allen, who reports on the Roman Catholic Church as a senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:40 AM

Secrecy on child abuse stalks Pope

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

AS POPE Benedict XVI struggles to stay above the paedophilia priest scandals engulfing the Catholic Church, the Vatican is facing growing calls for an end to its ''culture of secrecy''.

The Pope is at a ''crossroads'', said Vatican expert Marco Politi the day after the pontiff was implicated for a second time in a snowballing scandal. Pope Benedict has been accused of helping to keep the lid on the case of a US serial abuser - a priest who abused children at a school for the deaf in Wisconsin in the 1960s.

''Either he proceeds on the path of greater transparency'' or he hunkers down with defenders who claim he is being unfairly targeted, said Mr Politi of the left-wing Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:38 AM

Christ the King keeps eye on state Federation championship, tries to ignore Bob Oliva case

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

BY Mark Lelinwalla and Mitch Abramson
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITERS

Saturday, March 27th 2010, 4:00 AM

lThe Christ the King boys basketball team says it is focused on winning a state Federation championship, refusing to let the news of Bob Oliva get in the way.

Oliva, the former legendary basketball coach of CK, was indicted by a Massachussets grand jury Thursday on two counts of child rape.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:33 AM

Vindicating the Victims

UNITED STATES
Leon J. Podles: Dialogue

We are witnessing a cruel irony of history: Joseph Ratzinger, one of the few ecclesiastics to evidence genuine horror at the sexual abuse of children by priests and the one pope since perhaps Pius V to act against corruption in the Church, is receiving a massive international attack for his failures in handling abuse cases.

It is not entirely undeserved. Ratzinger worked within the system and accepted how it handled sexual abusers: treatment and secrecy, and no regard for the victims. He seems to have come to a genuine awakening and determined to change the Church once he became pope, and he did immediately act against abusers, such as Maciel, whom John Paul had protected.

But Ratzinger too had failed to protect children, chiefly through negligence. At the very least, he did not monitor Peter Hullermann, he did not forbid Hullermann to work in a parish, he did not read the memo (perhaps) that Hullermann has been assigned to parish work within days of arriving in Munich for therapy for the “disease” of pedophilia.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:24 AM

Cardinal 'will not be forced to resign'

IRELAND
The Independent (United Kingdom)

By Michael McHugh, Press Association

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Reports that the Vatican intends to force the resignation of the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland over the paedophile priests scandal have been dismissed by his spokesman today.

Cardinal Sean Brady has apologised for his role in the handling of sex abuse cases. He has said he wants to work towards a just resolution of a case being taken against him by a man who claims he was abused by Father Brendan Smyth but not enough was done to stop his attacker.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:20 AM

London protest planned over Pope’s alleged child-abuse cover-up

UNITED KINGDOM
Digital Journal

Protesters in London will on Sunday accuse Pope Benedict XVI of covering up child sex abuse by Catholic clergy and demand his resignation.

“In a 2001 edict to Catholic Bishops worldwide, the Pope ordered a cover-up of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy,” says the Australian-born British human-rights activist Peter Tatchell.

“He failed to ensure that priests who raped and sexually abused young people were reported to the police. This is why he is not welcome in the UK and why we object to his being honoured with a State Visit in September, especially a State Visit that is being funded by the taxpayer,” said Tatchell, who also represents the gay human-rights group OutRage!.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:16 AM

Sisters of Mercy bring insights into addiction to seminary students and faculty

CANADA
The B.C. Catholic

By Laureen McMahon

“Sex” is the number one search topic on the internet, according to U.S. psychiatrist Sister Marysia Weber, a Religious Sister of Mercy. Browsers can now access close to 400 million pornographic websites, up from 1.3 million in 2003.

The Seminary of Christ the King at Westminster Abbey in Mission is among the religious institutions in North America turning to Sister Weber and Sister Esther Mary Nickel, a member of the same order, to help students and faculty understand how the explosion of Internet pornography, the sexual abuse of minors, and homosexual activity affect seminarians and priestly and religious vocations, said Abbot John Braganza, OSB.

“Our concern is the good formation of healthy and mature religious vocations,” the abbot told The B.C. Catholic. “The Church must be in tune with the signs of the times. We are all struggling to deal with this phenomenon of the Internet in a reasonably healthy and spiritual fashion and how to integrate this gift (and the Internet is a gift) in a balanced way into our lives as people faithful to the Gospel.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:13 AM

Church teacher charged with molestation

SUMMERFIELD (FL)
Ocala.com

By Austin L. Miller
Staff writer

SUMMERFIELD - A music teacher at a church school was charged Friday with four counts of lewd and lascivious molestation, one count of lewd and lascivious conduct, 12 counts of lewd and lascivious exhibition and one count of child abuse.

Lanham David Solomon Lanham, 29, turned himself in at the Marion County Jail at 1:50 p.m. He remained behind bars Friday night. He declined to comment for this article.

He is a teacher at Royal Child Academy in Summerfield, and is a member of the Open Door Community Church, where the school is located, at 5200 S.E. 145th St. According to the church Web site, Lanham is listed as a worship leader/design coordinator.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:10 AM

Vatican fights to protect Pope's image

VATICAN CITY
Jamaica Observer

AFP

Saturday, March 27, 2010

VATICAN CITY, Italy (AFP) -- The Vatican fought on yesterday to limit the damage from a report alleging Pope Benedict XVI failed to bar the transfer of a known paedophile priest.

The fresh allegation added fuel to the fire after child abuse scandals sweeping Catholic churches around the world have encouraged more and more victims to speak out.

The New York Times reported on yesterday that Pope Benedict failed to act in 1980 to stop Reverend Peter Hullerman, accused of sexually abusing children, from taking up new duties in a different parish in Germany.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:08 AM

Differing papal perspectives

GetReligion

We’ve discussed a bit of the European media’s coverage of various Roman Catholic sex scandals. The German press has been working on stories dealing with Pope Benedict XVI’s time there as a diocesan bishop, during which one child-molesting priest was transferred. The news has been terribly sad to read. And the New York Times has also gotten into the fray with some hard-hitting coverage. Here’s Laurie Goodstein’s recent story questioning whether then-Cardinal Ratzinger failed to act with one troublesome case involving untold numbers of deaf children in the scandal-plagued Milwaukee diocese.

I haven’t really highlighted the coverage from the New York Times because I didn’t really have much to say. The piece was well researched and written and I thought that Goodstein was careful to not overhype the links — as some of the press across the pond have been doing and as some folks have been doing in response to her reporting.

Still, some folks have gotten a bit carried away. And it doesn’t seem to be calming down much. Religion News Service’s lead story right now is “Will the Pope resign?” What can I say about it other than Andrew Sullivan is actually quoted in the piece?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:05 AM

For Years, Deaf Boys Tried to Tell of Priest’s Abuse

WISCONSIN
The New York Times

[Documents: The Case of the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy]

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN and DAVID CALLENDER
Published: March 26, 2010

They were deaf, but they were not silent. For decades, a group of men who were sexually abused as children by the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy at a school for the deaf in Wisconsin reported to every type of official they could think of that he was a danger, according to the victims and church documents.

Mr. Geier reported the abuse to three priests, including the Rev. Tom Schroeder
They told other priests. They told three archbishops of Milwaukee. They told two police departments and the district attorney. They used sign language, written affidavits and graphic gestures to show what exactly Father Murphy had done to them. But their reports fell on the deaf ears of hearing people.

This week, they learned that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, received letters about Father Murphy in 1996 from Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland of Milwaukee, who said that the deaf community needed “a healing response from the Church.” The Vatican sat on the case, then equivocated, and when Father Murphy died in 1998, he died a priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:01 AM

NYTimes vs. Pope Benedict: Paper Seeks to Implicate Pope in Abuse Cases

LifeSite

By John Jalsevac

March 26, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The NYTimes has set its sights firmly on Pope Benedict in its front page coverage of the fallout of the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, which has been reignited in recent weeks and months after revelations of abuse by priests and religious in Ireland and Germany.

In recent days the U.S. paper has published a series of articles claiming to have unearthed information personally implicating the pope and/or "top Vatican officials" of having allowed a known child abuser to be put back into pastoral service, and having ignored requests to defrock a known child sex abuser.

The Vatican in turn has blasted the NYTimes coverage - claiming in one case that the coverage included no new information that has not already been soundly refuted, and, in another, that the paper had unfairly targeted the pope and the Vatican for having declined to defrock a priest whose alleged crimes had occurred over two decades previous, and who was dying at the time the Vatican was informed about his misdeeds.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:59 AM

Canada's top cardinal defends Pope

CANADA
CBC News

Canada’s top Roman Catholic cardinal, Quebec City Archbishop Marc Ouellet, is denouncing allegations Pope Benedict XVI covered up cases of sexual abuse by priests.

In a statement released Friday, Ouellet, who is primate of the Roman Catholic Church in Canada, accused members of the media of having ulterior motives for their attempts to link the Pope to cases of sexual abuse.

The Pope has always shown a "zero tolerance" attitude towards sexual assaults committed by members of the clergy at each step of his career in the church, said Ouellet.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:56 AM

The Words of a Victim

UNITED STATES
The New York Times

Steven Geier, 59, is among the former students of St. John’s School for the Deaf who has accused the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy of sexual abuse. He spoke Thursday to David Callender, a reporter covering the story for The Times, in Madison, Wis. The following is a transcript of their conversation. It has been edited and condensed, and it contains mature language.

The interview began with a question to Mr. Geier asking how he felt about his treatment by the Roman Catholic Church.

A. I feel my church has been very mean to me. When I attended St. John’s, the priests and the nuns were always mean and never nice to any of the children. I’ve never forgotten that the nuns and the priests told us that we were deaf because that was God’s way of punishing our parents. When I saw my mom, I told her that and she said that was not true. She told me that I became deaf because of a high fever.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:52 AM

The Bad Shepherd

UNITED STATES
Newsweek

By Lisa Miller | NEWSWEEK

Two years ago Pope Benedict XVI—once known as "God's Rottweiler"—displayed his gentler side on a pilgrimage to America. Television pundits spoke of his soft white hair, his smile, "his great warmth and his sense of humor," says Thomas Noble, head of the history department at Notre Dame. On the trip Benedict confronted head-on the American church's sexual-abuse crisis, a catastrophe that first came to light in Boston in the 1990s and unfolded over the years, involving more than 10,000 children and 4,400 priests. The pope even met firsthand with a small group of abuse victims in Washington.

But those victims aren't sure he heard what they were saying. One of them was Bernie McDaid, 11 years old when his parish priest started fondling him during car rides in his Boston neighborhood. McDaid, now 54, says that during the meeting, Benedict read a 10-minute speech offering an apology on behalf of the church. Then each victim had a private five-minute audience with the pontiff, who stood, unmoving, before an altar. McDaid says he told the pope what happened to him in detail and warned the Holy Father that sex abuse was "a cancer" in the church. Benedict just listened and nodded. "He would only speak to me when I pushed him for words," says McDaid.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:50 AM

U.S. courts allow sex abuse cases against Vatican to proceed in rare legal move

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

By Michelle Boorstein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 27, 2010

Since the Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal exploded in the United States almost a decade ago, advocates have been trying to find a way to learn the role the Vatican played. Now they have gotten further than ever in their efforts to holding the Holy See accountable in a U.S. courtroom.

Two federal appeals courts in recent months have allowed sexual abuse lawsuits against the Vatican to proceed in Oregon and Kentucky. Vatican attorneys have asked the Supreme Court to hear an appeal of the Oregon case. Attorneys for both sides in the Oregon proceeding were in Washington two weeks ago making their arguments before a roomful of U.S. government officials, who could wind up weighing in if the Vatican -- considered a foreign country with immunity to lawsuits -- is found a liable party in an American case.

If the Supreme Court declines to take up the case this summer and lets the federal appeals ruling stand, attorneys could begin subpoenaing decades of documents and calling Vatican officials under oath.

Correspondence between the Vatican and U.S. clergy has always been subject to subpoena if the documents are located in the United States, attorneys say.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:46 AM

What will the good men of the church do now?

UNITED STATES
Belleville News-Democrat

By MARY SANCHEZ - McClatchy Newspapers

Once upon a time, my hair would be pulled taut each morning into pigtails, I'd don my plaid pleated skirt, and happily trot off to my parochial school, where dedicated nuns impressed upon me and my peers the basics of right and wrong.

Things were simple in my world of Catholicism. Mind your mother. Don't fight with your brothers. Say your prayers. And if you do find yourself in error, fess up quickly. Correct the situation. This was the path God wanted of his children.

Years later, this ex-Catholic school pupil is having a hard time reconciling these basic moral teachings with the behavior of a lot of high prelates of the church, including the pope himself.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:43 AM

Drane: Catholic Church reaches crisis point

UNITED STATES
GoErie

By JAMES F. DRANE
Contributing writerScandals have an amazing durability. They never seem to go away. They affect ever larger groups of people.

The latest news about the priest pedophile scandal is an effort to link Pope Benedict to immoral priest behavior. Vatican officials have responded forcefully to protect the Pope against what they describe as an unfair campaign to smear him.

According to his critics, while Benedict was archbishop of Munich, a pedophile priest was permitted to practice rather than being suspended and reported to civil authorities. After being sent for therapy, the priest was returned to pastoral work. When the accusations were made against the pope, the priest was still doing parish work in Bavaria.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 AM

Pope Benedict deserves more for his apology

CANADA
London Free Press

By RORY LEISHMAN, Special to QMI Agency

While Pope Benedict XVI is not without fault in his dealings with the sex-abuse crisis afflicting the worldwide Catholic Church, his shrillest critics in the media are not offering any legitimate criticism or constructive advice. Instead, they are exploiting the occasion to serve up the vilest anti-Catholic prejudice and abuse.

Benedict deserves much better. In a pastoral letter read out in every Catholic church in Ireland on Sunday, he made an unqualified apology to the hundreds of victims of child-abuse by members of the Catholic Church in Ireland. "It is understandable that you find it hard to forgive or be reconciled with the Church," he said. "In her name, I openly express the shame and remorse that we all feel."

George Weigel, author of Witness to Hope, much the best biography of Pope John Paul 11, has welcomed this statement. In an article entitled The End of Euphemism: Benedict XVI and the corruptions of Catholic Ireland published in National Review Online, Weigel observed: "The letter breaks ground for the Vatican by acknowledging, with admirable candour, that parents and entire families have suffered grievously because of the abuse of their loved ones, and that these families trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:35 AM

Pittsburgh Diocese Taking Proactive Approach As Catholic Scandal Grows

PITTSBURGH (PA)
WTAE

[with video]

PITTSBURGH --
As a swirling global sex abuse scandal inches closer to Pope Benedict XVI, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh said it's already taken proactive steps to prevent any further problems.

"The problem with abuse, sexual abuse with minors is a national problem. It's a national epidemic," said Ronald Regan, of the Pittsburgh diocese.

Archbishop Donald Wuerl initiated a zero-tolerance policy while serving as bishop in Pittsburgh in the 1990s that called for the immediate removal of any priest caught in allegations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 AM

Commentary on March 26 News

LifeSite

Pope Benedict is under sustained assault by the enemies of the moral principles of the Catholic Church. Yes, many bishops have been severely negligent about past sexual abuse incidents and need to be held personally accountable. Nothing wrong with that public campaign. However, the Holy Father is not one of those.

It cannot be a coincidence that this is occurring so soon after the health care battle when the Catholic Church stood against the Democrat anti-life factions and Catholic Church dissidents who are becoming very emboldened in their opposition to the authority of the Pope and those bishops in union with him.

They are enraged over the Church's unwillingness to bend on life and homosexuality and enraged over the new, more faithful translation of the liturgy, the Pope's welcoming into the Church of traditional and morally conservative Anglicans, his encouragement of the more traditional liturgies, the intensified questioning of the Catholicity of Catholic universities and his increasingly strong actions against dissent and moral corruption among the clergy and religious nuns and brothers. They fear that all their gains from the fraudulent "Spirit of Vatican II" revolution within the Church may be lost.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:28 AM

Bankruptcy judge blasts attorneys for Del. diocese

WILMINGTON (DE)
The Capital

By RANDALL CHASE, Associated Press Writer
Published 03/27/10
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — An irate Delaware judge on Friday blasted attorneys in the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington's bankruptcy for agreeing to a mediation process involving the diocese and alleged victims of priest sex abuse behind his back.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Sontchi ordered a telephone status conference with attorneys Friday afternoon after reading in a local newspaper that lawyers for the diocese and its unsecured creditors committee had agreed that a Philadelphia mediator would oversee talks aimed at resolving claims by alleged abuse victims.

"You may not remember me, but I am the judge in the case," Sontchi icily told lawyers representing the diocese and the alleged abuse victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:24 AM

Old wounds resurface with each new priest scandal

WISCONSIN
Duluth News Tribune

By: Jana Hollingsworth, Duluth News Tribune

Every time a new Catholic Church scandal surfaces in the media, Duluthian Verne Wagner is brought back to his own horrible experience.

Wagner, an altar boy at St. Rose Parish in Proctor in the 1960s, was sexually abused by a priest beginning when he was 11 and continuing for a year. Although he sued the Catholic Diocese of Duluth in the 1990s and settled, the pain from that time remains.

“There’s so much anger that goes with this, so much negative energy,” he said. “There’s a public shame. But part of getting rid of that is to stand up and take your power back.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:18 AM

Step down, Benedict XVI

CANADA
The McGill Daily

By Riva Gold

The 1917 Code of Canon Law guarantees him the security of his office regardless of health, psychological state, or performance record. No one can impeach him or call for his resignation. Oh, and he has sovereign immunity – under canon law, he’s immune from prosecution for any crime. Talk about job security. So while firing him is next to impossible, Pope Benedict XVI should consider stepping down from the papacy if the post is to retain any legitimacy.

To be sure, I do appreciate the Pope’s revival of the red cappello romano, a highly fashionable outdoor hat with a wide brim. This hat has been neglected by unfashionable popes since the early ’60s. But there are also many things I find distasteful about Pope Benedict’s policies. His refusal to overturn the Vatican’s prohibition on condoms to combat the spread of HIV strikes me as grossly negligent. His motu proprio Summorum Pontificum allows the use of a prayer that asks God to “take the veil from [Jewish people’s] hearts” so they will convert to Catholicism, which creeps me out just a little bit.

But while his hard-line conservative and theological positions on divorce, Jewish people, homosexuality, and abortion don’t resonate with a lot of liberal sensibilities, this is hardly unique to Pope Benedict. It would be nonsensical to ask a leader to resign for simply carrying on the policies of his predecessors. Rather, it is Pope Benedict’s direct and increasingly public involvement in a series of church-wide sexual abuse scandals that demand his resignation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

Sadness but little shock over latest church allegations

SANTA ROSA (CA)
The Press Democrat

By GUY KOVNER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Retired Judge John Gallagher of Santa Rosa is among the Catholics wondering if the head of their church, Pope Benedict XVI, is guilty of covering up the crimes of child-abusing priests.

“I don’t know,” Gallagher said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if he is.”

The pontiff, who previously served as archbishop in Munich and as enforcer of church doctrine in Rome, is “part of the old church,” Gallagher said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Trial set for retired priest accused of child sex abuse

MARYLAND
News-Post

By Kate Leckie
News-Post Staff

A Sept. 28 trial date has been set for a retired priest removed from his position in the Catholic Church after allegations of child sexual abuse in the mid-1970s surfaced.

During a pretrial conference Friday in Frederick County Circuit Court, Thomas Roy Bevan, 73, of Cascade, waived his right to a trial within 180 days of being charged.

On Jan. 22, a Frederick County grand jury indicted Bevan on two counts of child abuse by a custodian.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:07 AM

Ratzinger unaware of transfer: Church

GERMANY
National Post (Canada)

Christopher Lawton, Reuters
Published: Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pope Benedict's former archdiocese of Munich insisted yesterday he had no knowledge of a 1980 decision to reassign a priest undergoing therapy there for suspected pedophilia to a post with access to children.

Archdiocesan spokesman Bernhard Kellner dismissed as speculation a New York Times article, which suggests the fact then-cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was copied on a memo of the transfer meant he was informed of what went on.

"We stand by our account that Cardinal Ratzinger didn't know about this decision," he said. "I cannot confirm he knew about this, and we don't have any evidence to that effect."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

Pope Benedict at crossroads

CANADA
National Post

Charles Lewis, National Post Published: Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Roman Catholic Church has been defending its handling of the pedophile priests in its midst for several decades -- but at least up until a few months ago the murky waters of this scandal were at a safe distance from its popes.

Now with unproven media allegations that then-cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope who was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, failed to remove clerics in both Germany and Wisconsin who were known as dangerous to children, the Vatican is facing a new level of crisis management.

Marco Politi, a veteran Vatican journalist, told The New York Times that Pope Benedict is now at a crossroads. "What's extraordinary is that the scandal has reached the heart of the centre of the Church. Up to now it was far way -- in the States, in Canada, in Brazil, in Australia. Then it came to Europe, to Ireland.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:01 AM

A pope with a problem

UNITED STATES
Los Angeles Times

By Tim Rutten

March 27, 2010

This has been a tough Lent for the Roman Catholic Church. Its seemingly endless sexual abuse scandal finally has seeped into the papal apartments, and the Vatican's response to this week's revelations suggests that far too little has been learned from this squalid affair.

Until now, Pope Benedict XVI had seemed to be taking a far more forthright approach to the problem than his predecessor, John Paul II, most recently in a blistering "pastoral letter" to the entire Irish church.

This week, however, the New York Times published a pair of stories suggesting that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger -- the future Pope Benedict -- participated in precisely the sort of secrecy and administrative negligence that has been at the root of this scandal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 AM

Local Catholics outraged by recurrent pedophile priest scandals

CALIFORNIA
Sacramento Bee

By Jennifer Garza
jgarza@sacbee.com
Published: Saturday, Mar. 27, 2010

New allegations about old molestation cases in the Catholic Church – and reports that top Vatican officials were more interested in protecting the church than abused children – have worried and enraged local parishioners who now watch church leaders again defend themselves.

Catholics from throughout the Sacramento diocese said Friday that the continuing sex scandal and reports that Vatican officials ignored repeated warnings about a Wisconsin priest who may have molested 200 deaf boys have shaken their confidence in church leadership.

"I am absolutely outraged," said Rita Mize, vice president of the Sacramento-area Call to Action, a group of Catholics that describes itself as working for equality and justice in the church. "The church has not taken responsibility for this. They really don't get it."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

Papacy under fire

UNITED STATES
The Courier-Journal

The scandal of sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests, which led to the dismissal of 700 priests in the United States alone in a single three-year period, now threatens to engulf the papacy.

If that assessment sounds extreme, consider the Nixon-era echoes in a National Catholic Reporter editorial about Pope Benedict XVI: “The focus now is on Benedict. What did he know? When did he know it? How did he act once he knew?”

At the moment, neither Catholics nor the larger public know the answers to those questions. What is clear is that for 33 years — as archbishop of Munich, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and, since 2005, as pope — Benedict has been in a position to be involved in the handling of sex abuse by the clergy. The record is deeply troubling.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

Mistakes were made. Boys were abused

CANADA
National Post

Robert Fulford, National Post
Published: Saturday, March 27, 2010

In his recent letter to Irish Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI remarked that one cause of the sexual-abuse scandal was a fear of scandal itself. "A misplaced concern for the reputation of the Church" apparently caused bishops to hide the monstrous crimes of priests and leave them unpunished.

That was last weekend. On Thursday, The New York Times reported that court papers filed in a suit against the diocese of Milwaukee indicate that the Pope himself committed precisely that error. In 1996, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, heading the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he declined to challenge a priest who had molested perhaps 200 deaf boys in his care. The priest died in 1998 without official stain on his record. He was buried in his priestly vestments--a scandal in itself.

In writing to Ireland, the Pope expressed a generalized "shame and remorse that we all feel" in response to sexual crimes against children. He said nothing about his connection to the Milwaukee case or a German case that has thrown another shadow across his record.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 AM

The Church's challenge

CANADA
Ottawa Citizen

If Catholicism is under threat, as some Church officials fear, it is not just the result of secularism, consumerism and a hostile media. The Church itself has behaved in such a way as to erode faith and breed cynicism.

The institution of the Roman Catholic Church -- centred in the Vatican -- is not the same thing as the Catholic religion. There are one billion Catholics in the world, and membership in the church is steadily climbing, particularly in Asia and Africa. It is a glorious and important religious tradition, filled with ceremony, mysticism and a legacy of good works.

But many committed Catholics are despondent over the Church's inadequate response to the historic sexual abuse of children by priests, a response that has not only left perpetrators unpunished but has resulted in the victimization of children who could, and should, have been protected.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:47 AM

Deaf men confront Italian church

ITALY
Philadelphia Inquirer

By Nicole Winfield
Associated Press

ROME - Three deaf men who say they were repeatedly sodomized and abused by priests as children confronted the church diocese yesterday about why it had not punished their abusers, saying they wanted justice.

The three men, first interviewed last year by the Associated Press, appeared on a prime-time talk show on Italy's state-run RAI television, squaring off with the spokesman of the Verona Diocese amid a global sex-abuse scandal that has inched closer to Pope Benedict XVI.

The former students have not gone to the police because the 10-year statute of limitations expired. They have asked the priests in question to waive the statute of limitations so a case can be opened.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:44 AM

Editorial: The scandal continues

UNITED STATES
Philadelphia Inquirer

The leaders of the Roman Catholic Church still do not seem to get it.

Despite a long and ugly list of sexual-abuse scandals that have cast the church in a harsh light, top officials continue to defend their actions to protect scores of pedophile priests. Two recent cases have made international news because they have raised questions about the role of Pope Benedict XVI.

One case involves a priest in Wisconsin accused of molesting more than 200 deaf boys in confessionals, dormitories, closets, and on field trips.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 AM

Don't blame pope, Vatican says

VATICAN CITY
Boston Globe

By Rachel Donadio
New York Times / March 27, 2010

ROME — The Vatican yesterday reaffirmed its position that the future Pope Benedict XVI “had no knowledge’’ of a decision to allow a known pedophile priest to resume pastoral duties when the pope was archbishop in Munich in 1980.

In a statement, the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said that an article that appeared in The New York Times yesterday, which said that the future pope had been sent a memorandum relating to the reassignment of the priest, “contained no new information.’’ The Vatican rejected as “speculation’’ any version of events other than the one it originally put forward to explain what it called the pope’s “nonresponsibility’’ in the matter.

The Archdiocese of Munich and Freising has said that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, had approved a decision to transfer the troubled priest, the Rev. Peter Hullermann, in