« August 2015 | Main | October 2015 »

September 30, 2015

South Side church pastor accused of molesting girl

CHICAGO (IL)
Fox 32

CHICAGO (STMW) - The pastor of a South Side church allegedly molested a girl during counseling sessions in his office, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

George Waddles started counseling the girl at Zion Hill Baptist Church when she was 13 in late 2011, Assistant State’s Attorney Tara Pease-Harkin said.

As the counseling sessions progressed a year later, Waddles often told the girl he had dreams about her and thought about her when she wasn’t around, Pease-Harkin said. He also allegedly tried to hug and kiss the girl several times during the meetings at the church, 1460 W. 78th St.

Then, in May or June 2014, Waddles asked the girl to sit on his lap, Pease-Harkin said. The girl complied.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:12 PM

Pastor charged with inappropriately touching girl he was counseling

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

Steve Schmadeke
Chicago Tribune

A longtime South Side pastor was charged with sexually abusing a 16-year-old girl in his office during a counseling session in 2014.

Prosecutors said the alleged victim and her mother confronted George Waddles, 67, who heads Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church, and secretly recorded his admissions to inappropriately touching the teen.

Waddles turned himself in to Chicago police Tuesday and made "a positive disclosure" to a detective that was consistent with the girl's story, said Assistant State's Attorney Tara Pease-Harkin. He was charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse, a Class 2 felony that carries a sentence of up to seven years in prison or probation on conviction.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:10 PM

Swiss bishops confirm existence of Cardinal Danneels’ ‘mafia’ against Benedict XVI

SWITZERLAND
Catholic Citizens of Illinois

By Maike Hickson

September 29, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — While correcting local media reports, the Swiss bishops today confirmed the existence of the so-called “mafia” of bishops that aimed to counter the influence of Cardinal Ratzinger during the pontificate of John Paul II.

The confirmation came amid intense discussion in Switzerland about the question of the now well-known group of cardinals, called the “St. Gallen Group,” about which Cardinal Godfried Danneels recently made some disturbing, even embarrassing revelations.

This morning, the local radio station FM1 Today in Sankt Gallen, Switerland, reported on the alleged secret meetings of this “St. Gallen Group” that supposedly worked both on making Pope Benedict XVI resign and on getting Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio then elected for the Papal office. As sources for their claims, the radio station cited a new biography about Bishop Danneels, as well as a candid public statement that the cardinal himself made. Summing up their claims about this seeming conspiracy, the radio station said:

Karim Schelkens, historian and co-author of the biography, said in an interview that the election of Bergoglio has been without doubt prepared in St. Gallen in the middle of the “mafia” and also that Ratzinger resigned because of it [this “mafia”].

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:07 PM

Pope Francis' Kim Davis Visit Is the Dumbest Thing He's Ever Done

UNITED STATES
Esquire

BY CHARLES P. PIERCE

The big news today seems to be that Kim Davis, the goldbricking county clerk from Kentucky, met secretly with Papa Francesco in Washington and that he endorsed her current status as a faith-based layabout. Given this pope's deft gift for strategic ambiguity and shrewd public relations, it's hard for me to understand how he could commit such a hamhanded blunder as picking a side in this fight. And it's odd that he (or someone) sought to publicize it through an American media entity that is not wholly sympathetic to his papacy. Inside The Vatican, the e-newsletter that broke the story, is edited by Robert Moynihan, a 79-year old whose patron was Benedict XVI.

God, the crowing from the Right is going to be deafening. Everything he said about capitalism and about the environment is going to be drowned out because he wandered into a noisy American culture-war scuffle in which one side, apparently the one he picked, has a seemingly ceaseless megaphone for its views. What a fcking blunder. What a sin against charity, as the nuns used to say.

This is, obviously, the dumbest thing this Pope ever has done. It undermines everything he accomplished on his visit here. It undermines his pastoral message, and it diminishes his stature by involving him in a petty American political dispute. A secret meeting with this nutball? That undermines any credibility he had accrued on the issue of openness and transparency. Moreover, it means that he barbered the truth during the press conference he held on his flight back to Rome, in which he spoke vaguely about religious liberty, and freedom of conscience, but claimed, "I can't have in mind all cases that can exist about conscience objection." He certainly knew the details of this case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 PM

Pope's meeting with Kentucky clerk divides public after U.S. visit

UNITED STATES
Reuters

BY ALEX DOBUZINSKIS AND PHILIP PULLELLA

A Kentucky county clerk who had been jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples secretly met Pope Francis in a move that disappointed many liberal Catholics and encouraged officials who support her stance.

The meeting with Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, and comments by the pope on Monday, may spur action by local officials across the United States who have refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples since the U.S. Supreme Court's June decision to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

Mat Staver, an attorney for Davis and founder of Liberty Counsel, a law firm that champions conservative Christian causes, told Reuters the meeting was not about sending a message to other clerks or judges who have been unwilling to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 PM

September 30, 2015, Wednesday — Further Thoughts

UNITED STATES
Inside the Vatican

Robert Moynihan

As I write this, a man in an Oklahoma prison is about to be executed for a murder he claims he did not commit.

Pope Francis has asked for his life to be spared.

His name is Richard Glossip. ...

We live in a real world, with real problems, and in a fallen world, where egoism and cruelty have led to injustice and violence since the killing of Abel by his brother Cain.

And I write this to set into context the story of the very private meeting of Pope Francis with Kim Davis, which occurred on Thursday afternoon, September 24 -- the afternoon of the Pope's address to Congress.

There has been a storm of media attention regarding this encounter since I broke the story yesterday evening. "Why did the Pope wish to see Kim Davis, of all people?" many asked on websites across the internet.

The answer, I think, is this.

Amid all of his many and well-publicized gestures of affection, respect and tenderness during his trip -- kissing children, caressing the sick and handicapped, blessing prisoners in a Philadelphia jail -- gestures of tenderness which Father Jonathan Morris, when I was with him on Fox News during the Pope's final Mass in Philadelphia, called the single most striking thing about the entire trip, Pope Francis also wished to offer a very private, intimate gesture of respect and tenderness to a woman who has been widely vilified and has suffered imprisonment due to her fidelity to her personal religious convictions with regard to marriage.

At first, many doubted that this story was even true. "Never happened," many said, in web postings and in emails to me.

Of course the story is true.

The encounter did occur.

Why did the Vatican keep the meeting private? How was it even possible that it occurred, amid the scrutiny of the Pope's every move by thousands of journalists 24/7? And, again, why Kim Davis?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:52 PM

Pope Francis’ words on abuse vary by his audience

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

By Cathy Lynn Grossman | Religion News Service September 30

As Pope Francis zipped around the East Coast during his U.S. visit last week, his words on confronting sexual abuse were all over the map as well — from praising bishops at the start to warning them at the end after a private meeting with victims.

Why the shifting tenor of remarks?

Different audiences, say church experts and victims’ advocates. ...

He sounded “tone-deaf,” said Vatican expert the Rev. Thomas Reese. “Our suffering as priests is nothing like what these poor kids (the victims) or their families went through.”

But church historian Matthew Bunson calculates that Francis was speaking to a new generation of bishops who were cleaning up the mess from their predecessors. The bishops who failed to protect their flocks are long gone — dead or retired.

Bunson, editor of The Catholic Almanac, estimated that less than 10 percent of the 300 bishops who were gathered at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington to hear the pope on Sept. 23 were bishops in 2002 when the scandal erupted.

However, one who was — Cardinal Roger Mahony, retired archbishop of Los Angeles — was sitting front and center alongside others with “dodgy” records, said Terry McKiernan, president of BishopAccountability.org, a website that tracks bishops who some say have failed to protect youth.

“He seemed to be ‘silo-ing’ his audience — not realizing that people from outside this particular silo, the U.S. bishops, would be listening and responding,” said McKiernan.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:49 PM

Pope Francis Met With Kim Davis, Kentucky County Clerk, in Washington

UNITED STATES/ROME
New York Times

Correction: September 30, 2015
An earlier version of this article misstated the name of the publication that first reported the meeting between Pope Francis and Kim Davis. It was Inside the Vatican, not the Vatican Insider.

By JIM YARDLEY and LAURIE GOODSTEINSEPT. 30, 2015

ROME — Pope Francis met privately in Washington last week with Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who defied a court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, adding a new element to an American tour that saw Francis attract huge crowds and articulate left-leaning positions on poverty, immigration, the environment and inequality.

Vatican officials initially would not confirm that the meeting occurred, finally doing so on Wednesday afternoon, while refusing to discuss any details.

Ms. Davis, the clerk in Rowan County, Ky., has been at the center of a nationwide controversy over whether government employees and private businesses have a legal right to refuse to serve same-sex couples. She spent five days in jail for disobeying a federal court order to issue the licenses.

On Tuesday night, her lawyer, Mathew D. Staver, said that Ms. Davis and her husband, Joe, were sneaked into the Vatican Embassy by car on Thursday afternoon. Francis gave her rosaries and told her to “stay strong,” the lawyer said. The couple met for about 15 minutes with the pope, who was accompanied by security guards, aides and photographers.

“I put my hand out and he reached and he grabbed it, and I hugged him and he hugged me,” Ms. Davis said Wednesday in an interview with ABC News. ‘Thank you for your courage.’”

“I had tears coming out of my eyes,” she said. “I’m just a nobody, so it was really humbling to think he would want to meet or know me.”

The secretiveness of the meeting, and the Vatican’s refusal to give any information, will inevitably raise questions about why Francis chose to meet with Ms. Davis — and why he kept the meeting secret. Mr. Staver said that he, the Davises and Vatican officials had agreed to not publicize the meeting until after the pope had left the United States because, he said, “we didn’t want the pope’s visit to be focused on Kim Davis.”

Mr. Staver said the idea for a meeting was first discussed on Sept. 14, more than a week before the pope’s arrival. He declined to say who proposed the meeting.

But “this was not a generic meeting in which Kim Davis happened to appear,” Mr. Staver said. The Davises snapped selfies inside the Vatican Embassy. However, he said, “out of deference and respect they didn’t want to pull out a cellphone with the pope. The Vatican had their own photographers there and we’re told the pictures will be released later.”

No photographs had been released by Wednesday evening in Rome.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:42 PM

Defrocked Arctic priest enters more guilty pleas for sex abuse

CANADA
CTV

The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, September 30, 2015

IQALUIT, Nunavut -- A defrocked Arctic priest already serving time for the sexual abuse of Inuit children is awaiting further sentencing on another four counts.

Eric Dejaeger will be sentenced on Oct. 22 after pleading guilty in Iqaluit Tuesday to the additional crimes, which were committed in Edmonton and include indecent assault and gross indecency.

Dejaeger lived in Edmonton from 1974 to 1978, when he was studying to be a priest.

The sixty-eight-year-old is already serving 19 years in prison for 32 sex offences against Inuit children, committed between 1978 and 1982 in the remote village of Igloolik.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:38 PM

Kim Davis and Pope Francis’s Grand Strategy

UNITED STATES
New York Times

Ross Douthat

SEPTEMBER 30, 2015 September 30, 2015

It appears we have a backhanded, non-denial version of Vatican confirmation of the story that Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk briefly jailed for her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was received by Pope Francis privately during his visit to the United States. (For the story to be false, the Davises would have needed to be pathological liars and someone in Rome would need to have baldly lied to the well-sourced Robert Moynihan of Inside the Vatican, so it was already reasonable to treat the news as basically confirmed.) This is a fairly surprising bit of news; it also lends some credence to Philip Lawler’s interpretation of this pope’s approach to the American culture war, which he offered after Francis’s address in Washington last week:

Pope Francis challenged Americans of both liberal and conservative political sympathies in his historic address to Congress on September 24. But his objections to conservative stands were clear and direct, while his criticism of liberals subtle and oblique. Why?

… Is it because he knows that the American defenders of life and of marriage really are in sympathy with the Catholic Church, whereas proponents of abortion and homosexuality are fundamentally hostile? Because he knows that he must first establish some common ground with liberal secularists (including some who masquerade as Catholics) before he can expect any positive response? Because he realizes that he can encourage pro-lifers indirectly, and the message will come through loud and clear? Maybe the Pope is reaching out to the lost sheep, confident that the others will await his return.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:34 PM

Rev. John Bocciarelli Former pastor at St. Anthony; 77

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Globe

[City Edition]

Boston Globe - Boston, Mass.
Date: May 5, 1998
Start Page: A.31
Section: OBITUARIES

Document Text
A memorial Mass will be said today for the Rev. John Bocciarelli, former pastor of St. Anthony Church in Somerville, who died April 19 in Arco, Italy. He was 77.

Father Bocciarelli was born in Piacenza, Italy, and was ordained in 1945. Two years later, he came to the United States, and was associate pastor of Holy Ghost Church in Providence for five years. He then was associate pastor of St. Anthony Church in Somerville before becoming its pastor from 1960 to 1970. He was treasurer of the Scalabrini Provincial House in New York City from 1970 to 1973 before becoming pastor of Holy Ghost Church in Providence for 11 years. He then returned to St. Anthony's, where he was associate pastor for several years prior to returning to Italy in 1995.

He leaves a sister, Caterina Sordi; and three brothers, the Rev. Luigi, Lino, and Allesandro, all of Piacenza, Italy.

The memorial Mass will be said at 7 p.m. in St. Anthony Church in Somerville. An additional memorial Mass will be said May 31 at 10:30 a.m. in St. Anthony Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:29 PM

How Pope Francis Undermined the Goodwill of His Trip and Proved to Be a Coward

UNITED STATES
Huffington Post

Michelangelo Signorile

After first refusing to confirm nor deny it, the Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis met with the Kentucky clerk Kim Davis at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, where Davis' attorney -- who made the news public after the pope's trip ended -- said Francis told her to "stay strong." And that simple encounter completely undermines all the goodwill the pope created in downplaying "the gay issue" on his U.S. trip.

The pope played us for fools, trying to have it both ways. As I noted last week, he's an artful politician, telling different audiences what they want to hear on homosexuality. He did that in Argentina as a cardinal -- railing against gay marriage when the Vatican expected him to do so -- and he's done that since becoming pope, striking a softer tone on the issue after Benedict's harsh denunciations were a p.r. disaster for the Catholic Church in the West. But this news about Kim Davis portrays him as a more sinister kind of politician. That's the kind that secretly supports hate, ushering the bigots in the back door -- knowing they're an embarrassment -- while speaking publicly about about how none of us can judge one another.

I would have more respect for the pope if he had publicly embraced Kim Davis and made an argument for her, as he did in his visit with the Little Sisters of the Poor, who are battling against filling out a form to exempt themselves from Obamacare's contraception requirement, claiming that even filling out the form violates their religious liberty -- even though I vehemently disagree with the pope on that issue. I'd have more respect if he boldly, explicitly made a public statement (not the vague, general statement he made on his plane on the way home only in response to a reporter's question about Davis), as he did in trying to stop the execution of a Georgia inmate who was put to death this morning. But by meeting with Davis secretly, and then at first having the Vatican neither confirm nor deny the encounter -- and now having the Vatican say it "won't deny" the meeting while it still won't offer any other details -- the pope comes off as a coward.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:27 PM

Churches could lose millions in tax breaks under radical national faith register plan

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

SHANNON DEERY HERALD SUN SEPTEMBER 30, 2015

CHURCHES and religious organisations would lose millions of dollars in tax breaks, concessions and hand outs under a radical plan to force priests, rabbis and imams to sign up to a national faith register.

Under the bold proposal clergy would for the first time be forced to undergo government-specified training and security checks and would be monitored by a national body, or risk losing government funding.

Former premier Ted Baillieu has backed the plan that has been put to federal and state leaders including the Prime Minister’s office, and Premier Daniel Andrews.

It is understood a number of high-profile politicians have also privately backed the proposed reforms saying ministers of religion should be subject to more stringent compliance.

The proposals have been tendered to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse amid concerns about the lack of scrutiny of some religious institutions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:21 PM

MN--Archbishop to hold “town hall” meeting; SNAP responds

MINNESOTA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015

Statement by Frank Meuers of Plymouth MN, SNAP director Southern Minnesota (952-334-5180, frankameuers@gmail.com)

The temporary head of the Twin Cities archdiocese is holding a meeting to talk about a permanent head of the archdiocese. In our view, the top priority is finding an archbishop who hasn’t and isn’t hiding child sex crimes. That will be tough.

[The Catholic Spirit]

Listening to people is easy. Acting on what you hear is tougher. Tougher still is finding a new archbishop who has acted with courage and compassion in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases. But we hope this will happen.

Regardless of who takes the reins of this archdiocese, it’s important that Catholics realize that this is a long-standing, deeply-rooted crisis in which most clerics are guilty of ignoring or concealing known or suspected child sex crimes. So no new archbishop will be fully “clean.”

And no new archbishop, by himself, can quickly reverse decades of recklessness, callousness and deceit. It’s up to every single church employee and member to be vigilant and to report any information or suspicions about possible child abuse to secular authorities. It’s up to every single church employee and member to aggressively seek out anyone who may have been abused and urge them to get help from independent sources.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:18 PM

The Church Sex Abuse Scandal

UNITED STATES
WJLA

[video]

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30TH 2015

On the last day of his visit to the U.S., Pope Francis met with victims of the church sex abuse scandal. David Lorenz of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) joined us today with his take on the Pope's response to the scandal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:13 PM

What it means that Pope Francis met Kim Davis

ROME
Crux

By John L. Allen Jr.
Associate editor September 30, 2015

ROME – If anyone suspected that Pope Francis didn’t really mean the strong words he spoke on religious freedom last week in the United States – that he was phoning it in, while his real concerns were elsewhere – claims that he held a private meeting with Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis certainly should lay that suspicion to rest.

The meeting was first reported by Robert Moynihan of Inside the Vatican magazine. A Vatican spokesman said Wednesday, “I do not deny that the meeting took place, but I have no comments to add,” which, in effect, is a way of allowing the report to stand.

Taken together with his unscheduled stop to see the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Davis encounter means Francis has expressed personal support to leading symbols of the two most contentious fronts in America’s religious freedom debates – the contraception mandates imposed by the Obama administration, and conscientious objection on gay marriage.

Before unpacking what it means, let’s roll out the necessary caveats.

First of all, the fact that someone arranged a brief encounter between Francis and Davis does not necessarily mean that Francis initiated the contact, or even that he necessarily grasps all the dimensions of her case. By her own account it was an extremely brief greeting, just long enough for the pope to tell Davis to “stay strong” and to give her a rosary. Asking for prayers and offering a blessed rosary to individuals following a meeting is a customary gesture for Pope Francis.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:13 PM

POPE’S UNSCHEDULED MEETINGS TELL ALL

UNITED STATES
Catholic League

Bill Donohue comments on two unscheduled meetings by Pope Francis when he came to the United States:

The pope made several impromptu stops and visits while in the United States: he hugged disabled children on the street; he visited orphanages; and he stopped by St. Joseph’s University. But beyond these pastoral gestures, he made two very important cultural statements: he visited the Little Sisters of the Poor and he greeted Kim Davis.

The Little Sisters of the Poor are suing the Obama administration for forcing them to sanction the distribution of abortion-inducing drugs in their health care plan. The pope’s visit was a clear rebuke of the heavy-handed tactics of the administration’s HHS mandate. Indeed, he encouraged the brave sisters to stand fast.

Now we have learned that the pope met privately with Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused, on religious grounds, to issue a marriage license to a gay couple. “Thank you for your courage. Stay strong.” These words by the pope need no interpretation. Moreover, his invocation of conscience rights as a fundamental human right can only be read as a statement against the Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:09 AM

Vatican Confirms Pope's Secret Meeting with Kim Davis, Moynihan's Site Comes Back Online.

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

William D. Lindsey

Laurie Goodstein @lauriegnyt
Vatican confirms meeting: spokesman Rev Lombardi says he doesn't deny Pope and Davis met but won't add more. Via @EPovoledo @nytimes

Robert Moynihan's Inside the Vatican report on Pope Francis's secret meeting with Kim Davis has just now come back up (I reported earlier today that it had been down previously), right after Laurie Goodstein sent out the tweet above.

My thanks to Jamie Manson for sharing information about Laurie Goodstein's tweet on Facebook.

If you're like me, LGBT Catholic folks and people who care about LGBT human beings, now's the time to give up on the Catholic church. I will never listen with respect to another word this pope says.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:26 AM

Kim Davis, Kentucky County Clerk, Met Pope Francis

UNITED STATES/VATICAN CITY
New York Times

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
SEPT. 30, 2015

Pope Francis met privately in Washington last week with Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who defied a court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a Vatican spokesman confirmed on Wednesday.

Ms. Davis, the Rowan County clerk, has been at the center of a nationwide controversy over whether government employees and private businesses have a legal right to refuse to serve same-sex couples. She spent five days in jail for disobeying a federal court order to issue the licenses.

On Tuesday night, her lawyer, Mathew D. Staver, said in a telephone interview that Ms. Davis and her husband, Joe, were sneaked into the Vatican Embassy by car on Thursday afternoon. Francis gave her rosaries and told her to “stay strong,” the lawyer said. The couple met for about 15 minutes with the pope, who was accompanied by security, aides and photographers. Mr. Staver said he expected to receive photographs of the meeting from the Vatican soon.

On Wednesday, the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, confirmed the meeting, but he declined to elaborate. “I do not deny that the meeting took place, but I have no other comments to add,” he said.

Mr. Staver said that Vatican officials had been aware of Ms. Davis, and that the meeting had been arranged through them — not through bishops or the bishops’ conference in the United States. He would not identify the Vatican officials.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:23 AM

Gelzinis: O’Malley still basking in afterglow of papal visit

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Herald

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

By: Peter Gelzinis

Cardinal Sean O’Malley looked none the worse for wear at Logan International Airport yesterday after spending the last 10 days following Pope Francis from Cuba to Washington, D.C., then on to New York and Philadelphia before accompanying the pontiff back to Rome.

On the contrary, O’Malley looked invigorated. For almost two weeks, he’d been at the side of a man who stopped this country in its tracks with his humility, grace and insight.

“Pope Francis calls us to be better versions of ourselves,” O’Malley said. He said Francis left us with an image of the church “not as a museum, or a concert hall, but rather as a field hospital … a living, vibrant institution that embodies the spirit of mercy.”

It’s no wonder O’Malley, who sold off the granite palace on Lake Street and opted to reside in a small apartment in the South End, would find a kindred spirit in Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who rode the subway in his native Buenos Aires, and promptly gave up the red shoes and lavish Vatican Suite when he became pope.

O’Malley said Americans instinctively reacted to the essential goodness of a man whose presence “seemed to cut through the noise and speak to a sense of community and dialogue.”

Though the pope’s meeting with victims of sex abuse on Sunday was an effort to cut through that noise, there still came a question about Cardinal Bernard Law and what, if anything the pope might do. After noting the pope had removed three bishops recently, O’Malley suggested Law’s exile from Boston was in itself a step toward healing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:15 AM

Editorial: Pope Francis, pray for us

NEW MEXICO
Gallup Independent

Published in the Gallup Independent, Sept. 26, 2015

By now, many people have seen the photo of Gallup Bishop James S. Wall greeting Pope Francis in Washington. But after enduring more than six years of Wall’s oppressive tenure in the Diocese of Gallup, we wonder if Wall really listened to the pope’s message that day. Or was it just a photo op for Wall?

Pope Francis had a lot to say about what a good bishop should be, and certainly the Diocese of Gallup is sorely in need of a good and holy leader.

While Pope Francis encouraged his bishops to be shepherds who selflessly devote themselves to their flock, the Gallup Diocese struggles under a bishop who has — in the words of the pope — given in to “the temptation of narcissism, which blinds the eyes of the shepherd, makes his voice unrecognizable and his actions fruitless.”

Just because Wall carries a bishop’s crosier, he’s hardly a pastor — a shepherd — who responds to the needs of his sheep. He’s not a shepherd who “smells like his sheep.” Instead, Wall is notorious for ignoring his own sheep. He ignores their letters, emails, phone calls, requests to meet and even their good-hearted invitations.

When officials at St. Bonaventure Indian Mission and School were fearful Wall was going to sell their property, the mission’s director couldn’t get his own bishop to answer a letter or meet with him. The mission’s attorney had to file a complaint in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to get Wall’s attention.

It’s a sad state of affairs when Gallup’s “airport bishop” has made more trips to Europe in six years than he has to St. Bonaventure, a Catholic mission just 30 miles from Gallup that serves needy Native American families.

While Pope Francis urged his bishops to “dialogue fearlessly” with others and not to “be paralyzed by fear,” Wall is a man who hides behind his own chancery walls. He rarely talks to anyone outside his elite conservative clique, and he appears paralyzed by fear — fear of making decisions, fear of controversies, fear of people who think differently than he does. When Wall made the ill-advised decision to shut down the thriving St. John Vianney Parish in Gallup, he didn’t have the moral courage to answer questions from frustrated parishioners. Instead, the Rev. Kevin Finnegan, then the vicar general and chancellor, was forced to clean up the mess.

Pope Francis warned bishops not to “fall into hopeless decline whenever we confuse the power of strength with the strength of that powerlessness with which God has redeemed us,” Wall forgets redemption and resorts to bully power and bully strength.

Just days before Pope Francis urged Americans to welcome immigrants into their midst and days before the pope blessed a luncheon for the homeless at Catholic Charities in Washington, Wall and his attorneys and auctioneers sold the Catholic Charities immigrant aid office and soup kitchen in Farmington. A report that the buyer is going to donate the property back to the charitable organization is the only thing hopeful in this pathetic story.

While Pope Francis made some very disappointing statements about the “courage” of bishops in dealing with the clergy sex abuse crisis, his misguided compliments certainly cannot be applied to Wall. Gallup’s bishop has not made any “great sacrifice” nor has he divested “whatever is unessential in order to regain the authority and trust” in this bankrupt diocese.

Wall has valuable property that he could sell, but he won’t. Wall could sell his and other private residences in Gallup, he could sell commercial property leased to a McDonald’s restaurant, a shopping center in Gallup or a sprawling ranch in Arizona. But he is not willing to make those sacrifices. He and his attorneys hold on tight to those assets and instead put the squeeze to nonprofit organizations like St. Bonaventure Mission and Catholic Charities. When those poor decisions generate bad publicity, the diocese stonewalls the media’s questions.

And what about the bishops’ “generous commitment to bring healing to victims”? There is very little healing in the Diocese of Gallup. For six years, Wall and his army of attorneys have blocked clergy abuse survivors at every turn. They battle them in court, and they wear them down with one legal delay after another. They have rubbed salt in the survivors’ wounds.

Jesus once asked what father would give his son a stone when he asked for bread, or give him a snake when he asked for a fish. When Wall came here, he promised transparency, but gave more secrecy. He promised unity, but produced more division. He promised to be a caring pastor, but is merely a small-minded church politician.

The Diocese of Gallup needed someone Holy, but we got someone Holy inept, Holy inadequate, Holy corrupt.

So, Pope Francis, pray for us. The devil is in our midst.

In this space only does the opinion of the opinion of the Gallup Independent Editorial Board appear.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:11 AM

Fire sale deals seen at diocese auction

NEW MEXICO
Gallup Independent

Published in the Gallup Independent, Gallup, N.M., Sept. 26, 2015

By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola
Independent correspondent
religion@gallupindependent.com

GALLUP – After selling nearly three dozen pieces of unwanted property in auctions in Phoenix and Albuquerque at fire sale prices, the Diocese of Gallup earned just about $160,660 from the endeavor.

According to reports submitted to U.S. Bankruptcy Court by diocesan attorneys, the sales total for both auctions was $225,066. Tucson Realty & Trust Co. of Arizona and Accelerated Marketing Group of California, the businesses that were hired by the diocese to promote and conduct the auctions, walked away with about $65,500. The diocese paid the companies a flat fee of $45,000 and agreed to let them collect a buyer’s premium of 10 percent on every sale.

Todd Good, the CEO and president of Accelerated Marketing Group, barred the public and the media from observing the Albuquerque auction Sept. 19. Good only allowed qualified bidders into the event, although the auctions had not been described as closed in court documents.
It is unknown if any member of the public was barred from observing the Phoenix auction Sept. 12.

Diocese fundraiser

Attorneys with Quarles & Brady LLP, the diocese’s lead bankruptcy firm, had promoted the auctions as a way to help raise funds to pay for the Gallup Diocese’s plan of reorganization. However, the property sales will only make a slight dent in the amount of money the diocese now owes a multitude of attorneys, accountants and other professionals.

The diocese’s bankruptcy costs top more than $2.7 million, according to quarterly billing statements submitted to U.S. Bankruptcy Court as of June 30. The diocese owes Quarles & Brady more than $1.5 million.

In an interview in July, George H. “Hank” Amos III, the CEO and president of Tucson Realty & Trust Co., predicted he and Good would replicate the successful auction they conducted for Quarles & Brady about a decade ago during the Diocese of Tucson’s bankruptcy.

“We sold every single one,” Amos said of the Tucson properties. “They sold their properties for more than what they appraised for.”

Amos credited those high prices to supporters of the Diocese of Tucson who wanted to help out the church, and he said he assumed the same thing would happen with the Diocese of Gallup’s auctions.

Extremely low prices

That, however, did not happen. Almost all of the Diocese of Gallup’s properties sold for far less than their actual or assessed values. The Phoenix auction, which only generated $58,960 for the sale of about a dozen properties in Arizona, saw extremely low sales prices.

The highest sales price of $26,400, which included the 10 percent buyer’s premium, was paid for three parcels being used by the Vincent de Paul Society’s Food Bank in Winslow, Arizona. The remaining properties sold at a fraction of their value, with prices ranging from $110 to $7,700.

The Albuquerque auction, which generated total sales of $166,106 for 23 New Mexico properties, included four five-figure sales prices.

The diocese’s lot on Aztec Avenue and Fourth Street in Gallup sold for $55,000, which is about half of its assessed value. A building in Farmington used by Catholic Charities sold for $44,000. The 64 parcels of land that make up La Vega Estates near San Rafael sold for $38,500, and a vacant piece of land in Farmington brought in $12,100.

All the remaining New Mexico properties sold for prices ranging from $121 to $4,400.

The Diocese of Gallup garnered negative publicity for the sales of the food bank property in Winslow and the Catholic Charities building in Farmington when Debe Betts, the director of Catholic Charities, told a Farmington reporter the diocese was selling the property out from underneath the nonprofits.

Questions about marketing

So why were the Diocese of Gallup properties sold at fire sale prices? Were the auctions poorly attended, and were they poorly advertised and promoted?

Since the public was barred from attending the Albuquerque auction, the level of attendance and bidding participation is unknown.

When Quarles & Brady attorneys requested court permission to sell the diocese’s unwanted property, they promised a “heavily marketed” campaign that would feature press releases, background kits, interviews, editorial columns, editorial board visits, radio advertising, direct and electronic mail promotions, and a telemarketing campaign.

Amos and Good were then paid $45,000 to do that work.

Susan Boswell, the diocese’s lead bankruptcy attorney, was asked if she received proof from Amos and Good that such a marketing campaign was conducted, along with questions about some apparent errors in the auction report figures. Boswell, however, declined to respond.

Attorney James Stang, legal counsel for the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors that represents the interests of clergy sex abuse claimants, also declined to comment on how effective he believed the campaign had been.

Online news reports indicate only two newspapers outside of Gallup, along with one business blogger, published any articles about the auctions.

This is in contrast to the Diocese of Gallup’s campaign to advertise its deadline for clergy abuse survivors to file claims with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. That campaign was heavily marketed and resulted in 57 claims being filed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:08 AM

Vatican Embassy Staffer Confirms: Pope Francis Met With Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Blaze

A receptionist for the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C., confirmed on Wednesday that Pope Francis met with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis during his visit to the United States last week.

While additional information about what was discussed during their meeting was not immediately available, the individual with the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See to the United States told TheBlaze that the meeting did unfold, confirming statements from Davis’ attorneys.

As TheBlaze previously reported, Liberty Counsel attorney Mat Staver told CBS News on Tuesday that Davis and the pontiff met last Thursday at the embassy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:57 AM

Vatican quiet on claim pope met with Kim Davis

VATICAN CITY
USA Today

Melanie Eversley and John Bacon, USA TODAY September 30, 2015

The Vatican on Wednesday declined to confirm or deny a claim by controversial Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis that she met with Pope Francis on Thursday during his U.S. visit.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi declined to comment on the claim. The pope was in Washington for most of Thursday, flying to New York later in the day. Davis, the clerk of courts for Rowan County, and her husband, Joe Davis, met the pope at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, lawyer Mat Staver told USA TODAY.

Davis made national news after refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, claiming it would have conflicted with her Christian beliefs. She spent five nights in jail and was allowed to return to work when she agreed not to interfere with the issuance of licenses. Davis said in a news release that she was humbled by the meeting.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:55 AM

Other Pontifical Acts

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 30 September 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Francisco Carlos da Silva of Ituiutaba, Brazil as bishop of Lins (area 8,261, population 305,000, Catholics 223,000, priests 58, permanent deacons 11, religious 49), Brazil. He succeeds Bishop Irineu Danelon, S.D.B., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:56 AM

Kim Davis, Kentucky Clerk, Is Said to Have Met Pope

UNITED STATES
New York Times

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
SEPT. 30, 2015

Pope Francis met secretly in Washington last week with Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who defied a court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, her lawyer said in a telephone interview Tuesday night. Francis gave her rosaries and told her to “stay strong,” the lawyer said.

Ms. Davis and her husband, Joe, were sneaked into the Vatican Embassy by car on Thursday afternoon, according to Ms. Davis’s lawyer, Mathew D. Staver. The couple met for about 15 minutes with the pope, who was accompanied by security, aides and photographers. Mr. Staver said he expected to receive photographs of the meeting from the Vatican soon.

Ms. Davis, the Rowan County clerk, has been at the center of a nationwide controversy over whether government employees and private businesses have a legal right to refuse to serve same-sex couples. She spent five days in jail for disobeying a federal court order to issue the licenses.

Mr. Staver said that Vatican officials had been aware of Ms. Davis, and that the meeting had been arranged through them, not through bishops or the bishops’ conference in the United States. He would not identify the Vatican officials.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for the Vatican, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, said he could neither confirm nor deny the account by Ms. Davis’s lawyer.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 AM

Pope secretly met Kentucky clerk over gay marriage licenses

UNITED STATES
Reuters

LOS ANGELES/VATICAN CITY | BY ALEX DOBUZINSKIS AND PHILIP PULLELLA

Pope Francis secretly met a Kentucky county clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples and gave her words of encouragement, her attorney said.

Mat Staver, attorney and founder of the Liberty Counsel, told CBS News on Tuesday night that the pope met Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis and her husband at the Vatican embassy in Washington last Thursday during his visit to the United States.

Vatican chief spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said he would neither confirm nor deny the report and that there would be no further statement. This was unusual for the Vatican, which normally issues either denials or confirmations.

The report of the meeting came after Francis largely avoided the contentious issue of same-sex marriage during his historic visit to the United States, where he addressed Congress, met with the homeless and urged the country to welcome immigrants.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 AM

Pope Francis Met with Kim Davis and Wrapped His Protective Mantle Around Her?! As Those Reporting This to Me Say, Absolutely Disgusting if True

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

William D. Lindsey

When I told you yesterday that I'd be very surprised if Pope Francis did not have direct knowledge of Kim Davis's case, little did I know I'd wake up to an email inbox full of messages sending me articles which are now reporting that the pope met secretly with Kim Davis on his U.S. visit. Laurie Goodstein is reporting about the meeting at today's New York Times, for instance. As she notes, the report that Pope Francis had a secret meeting with Kim Davis comes from Vatican reporter Robert Moynihan at his Inside the Vatican site. That site is returning an error message as I write this posting, but one of the email friends who sent me information about this story early today has sent me a copy of Moynihan's report.

It says that Kim Davis's parents are Catholics (something I had not yet seen reported elsewhere), that the pope met with her and her husband and gave them each a rosary, which they intend to give to her parents. Moynihan's report also says the pope told Kim Davis to stay strong. Moynihan interprets this meeting as the pope wrapping his "protective mantle" around Kim Davis.

Laurie Goodstein reports that a spokesman for the Vatican, Rev. Ciro Benedettini, has said he will not either confirm or deny whether such a meeting occurred. According to Alex Dobuzinskis and Philip Pullella at Reuters, the Vatican spokesman was Father Federico Lombardi.

The Reuters report says that Kim Davis's attorney Mat Staver of the anti-gay hate group Liberty Counsel told CBS News about the meeting last evening. The involvement of Staver in this report introduces an unfortunate wrinkle in this story, since he has just been proven to have been involved in shopping around a whopping lie about a prayer rally in support of Kim Davis that he claimed had taken place in Peru recently — and which did not take place. Zack Ford summarizes that story at Think Progress.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:33 AM

Nunavut pedophile priest convicted on four more sex charges

CANADA
Nunatsiaq Online

THOMAS ROHNER

Defrocked and disgraced, ex-priest and convicted pedophile Eric Dejaeger pleaded guilty to four more charges involving sex crimes against children Sept. 29 during an appearance before Justice Sue Cooper at the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit.

The four charges relate to incidents involving three children in the Edmonton area, between 1974 and 1978, when Dejaeger attended the Newman Theological College at the University of Alberta.

Earlier this year, Justice Robert Kilpatrick convicted Dejaeger on 32 charges, most of which were sex crimes against Inuit children, committed while Dejaeger served as the Catholic parish priest in Igloolik from 1976 to 1982.

For those charges, Kilpatrick sentenced the ex-priest, who has been in custody since January 2011, to eleven years in prison.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:01 AM

Abuse allegations inquiry is finally to start after 15 years

SCOTLAND
The National

SEPTEMBER 30TH, 2015 KATHLEEN NUTT

ONE of the most long-awaited public inquiries to be held in Scotland is due to get under way tomorrow.

The statutory inquiry into historical abuse of children in care will be headed by leading QC Susan O’Brien and is expected to last four years before reporting back to Cabinet Secretary for Education Angela Constance.

It will investigate the abuse of children in formal institutional care including by religious orders, as well as council-run children’s homes and secure care.

It will also extend to those in foster care, long-term hospital care and boarding schools.

The inquiry, announced in December, will have the power to compel witnesses to attend and give evidence, and Constance previously pledged that where crimes are uncovered the “full force of the law’’ would be used to bring those responsible to justice.

It comes after 15 years of relentless campaigning by victims of child abuse in orphanages stretching back decades and follows a pledge by the SNP in opposition that they would hold one when they took power.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 AM

Local Catholics bring home lessons from Pope's visit; critics call for more action

MISSOURI
St. Louis Public Radio

By STEPHANIE LECCI

As St. Louisans who traveled to see Pope Francis during his U.S. visit in Philadelphia last weekend return home, some said they were "awestruck" by an experience they described as "thrilling."

But not everyone was pleased with the Pontiff's words, particularly around the issue of clergy sex abuse.

For many who took the journey, being among the millions of faithful and other observers was a highlight of the trip. De Smet Jesuit High School theology teacher Tim Wilmes said the Pope's joy was "infectious" among the crowd at the World Meeting of Families.

"Saturday was a really emotional day for all of us, the perfect culmination of him expressing that joy back, talking about how important families are and that sense of community," he said. "It was so nice because we had felt that on Thursday and Friday."

Junior Michael Arens said going to the conference on families was important to him because he had hoped to pray for his family, and in particular, an aunt who recently had surgery, in the Pontiff's presence. He not only felt his faith deepened by seeing the Pope, but also from the speakers at the conference, who challenged him to express love and mercy in his everyday life. ...

Other observers took issue with some of the comments the Pope did make. Von Stamwitz said the Pontiff made a misstep in his comments early in his U.S. visit in which he praised American bishops for their "courage" in dealing with the clergy sex abuse scandal.

Von Stamwitz said the Pontiff later added lines "at the last minute" to a later speech in "which he spoke more forcefully to the ugliness of the abuse that's happened."

"He seemed very genuine when he said, 'My heart breaks and weeps when I think of what has happened,' and he specifically said this has been allowed to happen by prelates, priests and bishops," she said. "I think he corrected himself there, and I like that about this pope. I think he makes some mistakes but he’s willing to learn, willing to listen and willing to change and speak more forcibly when he’s made a mistake or omitted to say something important."

But for others, that correction was not enough. Father James Connell, a retired priest from Milwaukee who is part of the Catholic Whistleblowers group that advocates for victims and reform in the Church, said the Pope's initial words were very upsetting.

"It was surprising to me that he would speak that way," Connell said. "It was as if he had no understanding at all of the extent to which the bishops have been part of the problem, the way they have not dealt with removing abusive priests, not warning about abusive priests, the whole history that’s been there for years, and it was just oblivious to it."

That said, Connell praised Pope Francis for his later comments and his meeting with victims. But Connell said he needs to see more action.

"Words have been said before by a lot of church leaders and the actions have been more limited," he said. He said while the Pope established a Vatican tribunal to hear cases of bishops accused of covering up cases of abuse, it has not yet been set up. He also added that his group has submitted two cases against former St. Louis archbishops Cardinals Justin Rigali and Raymond Burke to the tribunal, but has not yet gotten a response.

"So this Pope has spoken strongly about a tribunal to hold bishops accountable; we’ve responded to what the Pope has brought forward," Connell said. "This is the direction he’s going, but now he needs to do it. He needs to actually put that together, he needs to announce how it’s operating, and cases need to be sent to the attention of that group and we need to see some real action. So we’re still short on action and that needs to be done, and maybe we’re headed that way, we can hope and pray."

That call to action was seconded by St. Louisan David Clohessy, who is the director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). He said the Pope erred in referring to the clergy sex abuse scandal as a "past tense problem" and "missed a real opportunity to prod American bishops to do more or in fact to mandate that they do more."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:39 AM

‘I still lover her,’ Ariel Stevenson, Church youth pastor wife indicted on statutory rape

TENNESSEE
Scallywag & Vagabond

SEPTEMBER 30, 2015 BY CHRISTOPHER KOULOURIS

The husband of Ariel Stevenson, 25 of Franklin, Tennessee has told he is standing by his wife after the Church pastor’s wife was arrested after starting a carnal relationship with an underage 17 year old boy she met at church.

The disclosure comes after Jeremy Stevenson’s wife was charged with statutory rape and sexual exploitation of a minor.

Reports franklinhomepage: The indictment states that Ariel Stevenson, 25, had carnal relations with the minor, a violation of Tennessee Code and a class E felony.

It also states that Ariel Stevenson intentionally by means of electronic communication, electronic mail or Internet service including webcam communications caused the minor to engage in simulated activity, a class B felony.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

Clearing the record

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

A caption Tuesday with a photo of a demonstration at the offices of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia by the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests incorrectly identified Marci Hamilton. She is a lawyer and is not a member of SNAP.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 AM

Papal visit 'could spark a backlash' from abuse victims

IRELAND
Irish Independent

Sarah MacDonald
PUBLISHED
30/09/2015

A Papal visit by Pope Francis to Ireland could spark angry protests by survivors of clerical sexual abuse.

Marie Kane met the Pontiff last year in the Vatican and told him about her abuse at the hands of a Dublin cleric.

The 44-year-old mother of two told the Irish Independent that she personally would welcome a visit by the Pope but "my view does not represent all survivors and there are a lot of really angry people. There could be a backlash".

For her, a papal trip would be "a gesture of openness".

"It would demonstrate a willingness to confront the demons of the Church's past," she said.

The Carlow-based counsellor said a big gesture of solidarity and repentance towards a large group of survivors was needed if trust is to be rebuilt, adding: "It could be an opportunity for him to meet other survivors and give him an opportunity to translate his words into action."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 AM

Pope Francis's sex abuse words 'hold weight'

UNITED STATES
The Intelligencer

By Gema Maria Duarte, STAFF WRITER

Among American Catholics, the clergy sex abuse scandal is the major issue facing the church. So when Pope Francis addressed the issue Sunday during his visit to Philadelphia, many were satisfied the church is moving in the right direction.

"His words hold weight, indeed an extra weight seeing that they come directly from him," said the Rev. Thomas Dailey, director of the Salesian Center for Faith & Culture at DeSales University in Lehigh County.

After meeting with five abuse victims Sunday, the pontiff said all victims are precious children of God who should always expect the church's protection, care and love. Francis said he was profoundly sorry that their innocence was violated by those they trusted.

"In all circumstances, the betrayal was a terrible violation of human dignity," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 AM

US bishops echo Pope's words on sex abuse, accountability

UNITED STATES
Catholic News Agency

By Michelle Bauman

Philadelphia, Pa., Sep 30, 2015 / 12:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Two committee heads of the U.S. bishops’ conference voiced support for Pope Francis’ statement rejecting the sexual abuse of minors and promising accountability for those guilty of crimes against children.

“I was so happy that our Holy Father was very clear with his message today,” said Bishop Edward J. Burns of Juneau, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ committee on child and youth protection.

Speaking to CNA Sept. 27, he described the Holy Father’s words to an international gathering of bishops at the Philadelphia seminary earlier that day.

Pope Francis entered the room and set aside his prepared remarks, the bishop said. “He spoke to all the bishops heart-to-heart, and you could tell that he had a passion about him.”

“And in speaking within that passion, he was very clear and he was very strong in that anyone who participates in any of the crimes of sexual abuse will be held to accountability. And he also reached out to the victims with compassion, with tenderness and care. Because our very first response is to do all that we can to bring forth healing.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 AM

Lawyers for Kim Davis say she met privately with Pope Francis

KENTUCKY
WDRB

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - The lawyers for Kim Davis say the Rowan County Clerk had a private meeting with Pope Francis last week in Washington, D.C.

Liberty Counsel says Davis met with the Pope at the Vatican Embassy on Thursday along with her husband, Joe.

In a press release, Liberty Counsel offers minimal details into how the meeting was set up and what was discussed:

During the meeting Pope Francis said, "Thank you for your courage." Pope Francis also told Kim Davis, "Stay strong. He held out his hands and asked Kim to pray for him. Kim held his hands and said, "I will. Please pray for me," and the Pope said he would. The two embraced. The Pontiff presented Kim and Joe Davis each with a Rosary that he personally blessed.

Pope Francis spoke little on the gay marriage issue while in the United States, but did offer one opinion when speaking with reporters on the papal plane Monday after leaving Philadelphia.

He spoke of "conscientious objection," but never directly referred to Davis.

"I can't have in mind all the cases that can exist about conscientious objection … but yes, I can say that conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right," Pope Francis said to reporters. "It is a right. And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

New Child Protection Office Part of Archdiocese of Sydney Review

AUSTRALIA
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
30 Sep 2015

The Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP has announced a new child protection office as part of a widespread Archdiocesan review.

On becoming Archbishop of Sydney last November, Archbishop Fisher said the safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults would be a priority for him.

He called for a review of practices and policies, regarding among other matters, child protection.

The new child protection office will be known as the Safeguarding and Ministerial Integrity Office. Together with the Vicar General of the Archdiocese the new Office will work to achieve best practice when dealing with child protection, education, training, working with parishes and responding pastorally to survivors of abuse.

The Office will also work closely with government statutory bodies including the NSW Ombudsman and the NSW Office of the Children's Guardian.

Ms Karen Larkman who has more than 25 years experience in child protection, family services and operating procedures, complaint investigation, early intervention programs and government liaison internationally and here in Australia has been appointed Director of the new Office.

She has worked in the United Kingdom in the area of child protection and also for the British Forces in Cyprus. More recently Ms Larkman was General Manager, Families and Communities and the Designated Child Protection Officer for CatholicCare working closely with the NSW Ombudsman. She also led a working party for a Royal Commission case study into abuse in Out-of-Home Care.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:13 AM

Church to fight child abuse in Sydney

AUSTRALIA
IOL

September 30 2015

Sydney - The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney announced on Wednesday a new office to coordinate with child protection authorities to help survivors of abuse.

The church is under an ongoing and intensive investigation by a Royal Commission in Australia which has uncovered extensive and historical child abuse by Catholic Church officials, both male and female, across Australia.

The Sydney arm of the Catholic church announced the creation of a Safeguarding and Ministerial Integrity Office following a widespread Archdiocesan review undertaken in the wake of the Royal Commission into child sexual and physical abuse.

It was widely reported that the new unit will work with government bodies, including the New South Wales (NSW) Ombudsman and the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 AM

Pope Francis Met Secretly With Kim Davis During U.S. Trip

WASHINGTON (DC)
Seasons of Grace

September 29, 2015 by Kathy Schiffer

Pope Francis smilingPope watchers are still reviewing and analyzing the talks which Pope Francis delivered while in the U.S.–his presentation at the White House, before the Congress, to prisoners, to the victims of sexual abuse and their families, to the Bishops, to attendees at the World Meeting of Families.

But news of the most interesting meeting of all has just come to light: Apparently, Pope Francis met secretly with Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Robert Moynihan broke the story in Inside the Vatican, after getting confirmation from Vatican sources and Kim Davis’ attorney. Ryan Fitzgerald, a staffer at Michael Voris’ Church Militant apostolate, also published the report.

According to Inside the Vatican:

It was, arguably, the most significant meeting, symbolically, of the entire trip.

It should, therefore, be brought to the attention of the public, both in the Church, and in the secular world.

That the meeting occurred may, perhaps, spark controversy. This is evidently why it was kept secret. The Vatican evidently feared the “politicization” of a “pastoral trip” which clearly wished to emphasize the encounter with Jesus Christ, with the poor, with the faithful, with the handicapped, with children, and with all Americans of whatever background.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:06 AM

The Secret Meeting of the Papal Trip

WASHINGTON (DC)
Inside the Vatican

Robert Moynihan

The Secret Meeting of the Papal Trip

Washington, D.C., September 29, 2015 — One meeting during Pope Francis' whirlwind trip to America has remained secret.

Until now.

It was, arguably, the most significant meeting, symbolically, of the entire trip.

It should, therefore, be brought to the attention of the public, both in the Church, and in the secular world.

That the meeting occurred may, perhaps, spark controversy. This is evidently why it was kept secret. The Vatican evidently feared the "politicization" of a "pastoral trip" which clearly wished to emphasize the encounter with Jesus Christ, with the poor, with the faithful, with the handicapped, with children, and with all Americans of whatever background.

But there was also, evidently, a desire to meet with a person who has taken a controversial stand out of conscience.

The meeting is a fact, and facts are the material of which reality is composed, and human beings, though they cannot, as T.S. Eliot said, bear very much reality, strive nevertheless to live in reality. And reality cannot be understood without knowledge of the facts. Of what really happened.

(Here is a picture of Pope Francis on Sunday evening, September 27, on the airplane during his airplane press conference, after leaving the United States)

On Thursday, September 24, in the afternoon after his historic address to Congress, just a few minutes before flying to New York City, Pope Francis received, spoke with, and embraced Kim Davis — the Kentucky County Clerk who was jailed in early September for refusing to sign the marriage licenses of homosexual couples who wished to have their civil marriages certified by the state of Kentucky.

Also present was Kim's husband, Joe Davis.

Kim and her husband had come to Washington for another purpose -- Kim was to receive a "Cost of Discipleship" award on Friday, September 25, from The Family Research Council at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

"Thank you for your courage"

Pope Francis entered the room.

Kim greeted him, and the two embraced.

There is no recording of this conversation, or photographs, as far as I know. But "there is not any thing secret that shall not be made manifest, nor hidden, that shall not be known and come to light." (Luke 8:17)

Kim Davis gave me this account of the meeting shortly after it took place.

"The Pope spoke in English," she told me. "There was no interpreter. 'Thank you for your courage,' Pope Francis said to me. I said, 'Thank you, Holy Father.' I had asked a monsignor earlier what was the proper way to greet the Pope, and whether it would be appropriate for me to embrace him, and I had been told it would be okay to hug him. So I hugged him, and he hugged me back. It was an extraordinary moment. 'Stay strong,' he said to me. Then he gave me a rosary as a gift, and he gave one also to my husband, Joe. I broke into tears. I was deeply moved.

"Then he said to me, 'Please pray for me.' And I said to him, 'Please pray for me also, Holy Father.' And he assured me that he would pray for me."

Joe told Kim that he would give his rosary to her mother, who is a Catholic. And Kim then said that she would give her rosary to her father, who is also a Catholic.

Vatican sources have confirmed to me that this meeting did occur; the occurrence of this meeting is not in doubt.

Those who have seen the images of the film of the Pope answering the questions of the journalists on the airplane, on the matter of individual conscience, his determination and passion, are persuaded that he had in mind not a theoretical issue of conscience, but a specific person, someone he had met and embraced — someone whose burden, as a loving pastor, he had taken on his own shoulders.

He was thinking of this person when he answered those questions.

Why Did the Pope Meet Kim?

What was the purpose of this meeting?

Pope Francis met with Kim, embraced her, encouraged her, and, on the papal airplane, when asked the question cited at the outset, he stated, very strongly, that "conscientious objection" is "a human right."

It is not surprising that the Holy Father met Kim Davis. The Holy Father is considered by many to be the father of all Christians, and is a man of compassion, a man ready to listen to and to comfort all who have suffered for their faith.

It was the Holy Father's explicit request to visit a prison in Philadelphia, and he took the time to speak with each of the 100 prisoners he met on that occasion.

This is the attitude that prompted the Holy Father to receive Kim, who had been in jail.

And her response, from the very first moment of the meeting, showing great affection toward the Holy Father, showed that she responded to this desire of his to comfort her.

The meeting with the Holy Father was a moment of consolation for Kim.

It strengthened her conviction, she told me, to obey the law of God, before the law of man.

It is the teaching of the Catholic Church that, when the human law contradicts the natural law, it is not a valid law.

This encounter between Pope Francis and Kim Davis takes on new importance since the ACLU (the American Civil Liberties Union) has asked that Kim be held in contempt of court.

This means that, should the judge agree with the ACLU, Kim could again in coming days be ordered to be held in prison.

In this sense, the Pope on September 24 clearly "wrapped his protective mantle" around Kim Davis, discreetly, in private, in a way completely hidden from the world, but in a way that was deeply moving for her personally, as a person of conscience.

(to be continued)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:59 AM

September 29, 2015

Bishop Christopher Coyne Discusses Pope Francis’ U.S. Visit

MASSACHUSETTS
WBUR

By LISA MULLINS and LYNN JOLICOEUR

BOSTON With Pope Francis back home at the Vatican, people here in the U.S. are reflecting on the messages he shared during his five-day trip to Washington, New York and Philadelphia.

We spoke with Bishop Christopher Coyne, of Burlington, Vermont. He’s the incoming chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Communications Committee, and he coordinated media coverage of the pope’s visit to the U.S. We asked Bishop Coyne for his thoughts on the pope waiting until the end of his visit to address clergy sexual abuse survivors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:03 PM

Childhood Stress May Prime Pump For Chronic Disease Later

UNITED STATES
NPR

ALLISON AUBREY

We might not be able to remember every stressful episode of our childhood.

But the emotional upheaval we experience as kids — whether it's the loss of a loved one, the chronic stress of economic insecurity, or social interactions that leave us tearful or anxious — may have a lifelong impact on our health.

In fact, a study published this week in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology indicates that emotional distress during childhood — even in the absence of high stress during adult years — can increase the risk of developing heart disease and metabolic disorders such as diabetes in adulthood.

"We know that the childhood period is really important for setting up trajectories of health and well-being," explains Ashley Winning, an author of the study and postdoctoral research fellow in social and behavioral sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:59 PM

Papal Visit Wrap-Up, Or Unwrapping Media Spin Along with Women, Abuse Survivors, and LGBT Catholics

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

William D. Lindsey

Not a wrap-up of the papal visit, but an attempt to unwrap the neatly wrapped package that has just been delivered to us vis the media (i.e., via the self-appointed official mediators of reality for the rest of us) in the visit of Pope Francis to the U.S.:

Heidi Schlumpf reminding us to pay attention just who those mediators are:

And most commentators were ordained, or at least men. It would be interesting to analyze the tens of thousands of news article and clips produced throughout the weeklong trip. I have not completed such a comprehensive study, but my initial impression is that the coverage--and definitely the commentary--was male dominated. Part of this imbalance stems from the tendency of media to rely on "experts," who in the case of this story are assumed to be clergy. For example, I thought Charlie Rose could have done better than two priests and two laymen for his in-depth discussion of the pope’s visit.

What was it I was saying only yesterday about the imperative need to challenge the dead hand of control of the centrist gatekeepers of the Catholic media, in particular, where a mostly heterosexual, mostly white old boys' network that is shamelessly unapologetic about its unmerited privilege continues to claim the right to mediate news about God, the church, the pope to the rest of us?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:56 PM

Chris Marshall: Child abuse enquiry set to commence

SCOTLAND
Scotsman

AT LAST, the historical child abuse inquiry is about to start, writes Chris Marshall

FOR decades, survivors of historical child abuse have fought for a day many of them feared might never come. A day when they believe someone will be made accountable for the horrors visited on them by individuals and institutions who have so far avoided being brought to justice.

Many of the survivors are in now in old age, others have died, while some – frustrated at the lack of progress – have taken their own lives.

Finally, however, their day is coming. Scotland’s public inquiry into historical abuse begins tomorrow and the weight of expectation is huge.

The process will not be easy, neither will it be quick; the inquiry is expected to last five years.

Indeed, many of the more elderly survivors are likely to have passed away before the inquiry concludes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:46 PM

Cardinal O’Malley: Pope Francis Is ‘Taking Steps To Move Us In The Right Direction’ On Sex Abuse

MASSACHUSETTS
WBUR

By FRED THYS

BOSTON Cardinal Sean O’Malley, speaking during a rare press conference Tuesday, said for him one of the highlights of Pope Francis’ trip to the U.S. came in Philadelphia, when he met with victims of sexual abuse by priests.

“The Holy Father in that meeting once again recommitted himself to the task of child protection in the church,” O’Malley told reporters at Logan Airport Tuesday as he returned from Philadelphia, where he had accompanied Pope Francis. “And I know that many people are angry and disappointed and skeptical, but I think the Holy Father is taking steps to move us in the right direction.”

O’Malley said the commission which he leads — the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors — is trying to help bishops around the world develop programs that deal with sexual abuse of children effectively.

“And I’ve been invited to address the bishops in Central America in a month or so,” he said.

The cardinal said the pope is committed to a “massive” process of educating bishops, and removing them when necessary.

“Three bishops have been removed in the last six months in the United States,” O’Malley pointed out.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:44 PM

Cardinal O'Malley returns from visit with pope

MASSACHUSETTS
WHDH

BOSTON (WHDH) -
Cardinal Sean O'Malley returned to Boston Tuesday after accompanying Pope Francis on his visit to Cuba and Philadelphia.

At Logan Airport, O'Malley reflected on his visit, describing it as "exhausting" trying to keep up with everything the pope was doing.

"It's exhausting trying to keep up with him," said O'Malley. He said the pope was also exhausted on his trip, but still managed to exude "serenity and peace."

O'Malley also spoke about the pope meeting with abuse victims, including victims of the Catholic church's sex abuse scandal. O'Malley said the pope is committed to helping those affected.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:40 PM

Pope, Cardinal O’Malley Share ‘Emotional Moment’ With Sex Abuse Victims

MASSACHUSETTS
CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) – Cardinal Sean O’Malley is back in Boston after accompanying Pope Francis on parts of his United States trip. O’Malley says Pope Francis is both energizing and exhausting.

“The Holy Father, despite at times being so exhausted, always exudes a certain serenity and peace. He never seems rushed about things,” the cardinal explains. “He was always happy to spend time with people and individuals, and it was a great privilege to be a fly on the wall as it were.”

O’Malley says his most meaningful moment occurred when Pope Francis met with victims of clergy sex abuse.

“The meeting with the victims and their families was a very moving and emotional moment and I think in many ways embodied that spirit of mercy that the Holy Father wants to bring to the life of the church,” he recalls.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:38 PM

Pope sends painfully mixed signals to abuse victims

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea | Sep. 29, 2015

ANALYSIS
Let's face it. We all are sick unto death of the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic church. Why can’t we let good Pope Francis have his U.S. visit and just focus on all the incredibly moving moments of compassion, mercy, humility and great importance? Climate change, immigration, capitalism, the poor, the homeless, the imprisoned — for Peter’s sake, John Boehner resigned the day after meeting the pope, apparently deciding his soul was more valuable than his power. So, Francis wasn't perfect when it came to sexual abuse — he came through in the 59th minute of the 11th hour of his visit, yes?

I get it. I get the deep desire to love this pope unconditionally and just for once in the 14 years since the sexual abuse scandal exploded to stop making such a colossal big deal of the whole topic. I mean, it isn’t even a crisis anymore, right?

But, let’s shrug off the "Francis effect" for a just a minute. Let’s look at the pope's visit from two perspectives — the victims’ and the factual. Let’s give credit where credit is due and hold his feet to the flames of accountability for the great pain he dished out to victims and for the fury he evoked in advocates.

At The Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, DC, with over three hundred bishops as a captive audience, Pope Francis blew it. Not a word about shame, the need for the bishops to carry a mantle of repentance for their and/or their predecessors' collusion in enabling abuse and protecting abusers. Not a whisper of the kind of stern admonishments he issued about ecclesiastical materialism, greed, and power mongering. Nope. Not one single word.

Remarkably, the bishops once again were cast as what sounded to survivor ears as the real — or at least the equal — victims of the sexual abuse crisis. Francis said, "I am also conscious of the courage with which you have faced difficult moments in the recent history of the Church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice. … I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims — in the knowledge that in healing we too are healed — and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated."

There are very few survivors or advocates in this country who could be anything less than astonished and distraught at the marriage of "courage" and "bishop" as related to sexual abuse. As for generous commitments to bring healing to victims, many of the men present still are authorizing defense lawyers to do everything possible not to offer victims anything tangible. Cardinal Timothy Dolan tried to defer 55 million dollars of Archdiocese of Milwaukee money into a cemetery fund to protect it from victim lawsuits, a move later struck down by the courts. Cardinal Roger Mahony, also in attendance, was relieved of public duties because of his approach to sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Generous healing? I think not.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:33 PM

GOD MAY WEEP FOR CHURCH SEXUAL ABUSE, BUT BISHOP CHAPUT PREFERS TO BARK

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Religion Dispatches

BY ANTHEA BUTLER SEPTEMBER 29, 2015

When Pope Francis met with five victims of sexual abuse this past weekend it made headlines, not only because he confessed that he “deeply regret[s] that some bishops failed in their responsibility to protect children,” but because it was the first time he met with survivors on American soil.

The Pope’s post-meeting remarks to the assembled Bishops, that “God weeps,” may be a hint of what the next phase of the sexual abuse scandal holds. In his words to the Bishops gathered, Pope Francis said, “The crimes and sins of sexual abuse of minors may no longer be kept secret; I commit myself to ensuring that the Church makes every effort to protect minors and I promise that those responsible will be held to account.”

The very next day, in response to a question about the attendance of Cardinal Justin Rigali at the papal mass, Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia testily told reporters that, “In some ways, we should get over this wanting to go back and blame, blame, blame. The church is happy to accept its responsibility, but I’m really quite tired of people making unjust accusations against people who are not to be blamed—and that happens sometimes.”

Some Bishops never learn.

I’ve been covering sexual abuse on RD for a few years now, and I’m consistently shocked and stunned by clergy members and administrators who don’t seem to understand what a soul-gutting experience it is for people who have been sexually abused by those in religious authority. To chastise people for wanting to uncover the truth is almost as bad as moving perpetrators around without caring that they molested children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:05 PM

Australian Jewish school may be investigated for abetting flight of molester

AUSTRALIA
Jerusalem Post

An Australian Jewish school that assisted its principal in fleeing the country following accusations of sexual misconduct may be facing a police investigation regarding possible criminal culpability, according to reports.

“Police will be looking at this as a broader part of the investigation to determine whether an offence has been committed,” police told The Australian newspaper.

In 2008, Malka Leifer, a dual Israeli-Australian national, fled to Israel after allegations became public that she had engaged in sexual behavior with eight students at the Adass Israel School in Elsternwick, where she was principal. She is under house arrest and has been awaiting extradition for over a year.

Earlier this month, an Australian court found the school liable in a civil suit, ordering it to pay more than a million dollars to one of the victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:03 PM

Cardinal at center of clergy sex abuse scandal in failing health

MASSACHUSETTS
WCVB

BOSTON —Cardinal Bernard Law, who was at the center of the clergy sex abuse scandal in Boston, is in failing health.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley, Law’s replacement, spoke about Law during a news conference at which he discussed his time with Pope Francis last week.

O’Malley was asked why Law has not been held responsible for his involvement in the scandal. The pope has said that he is committed to healing relationships with survivors.

“Cardinal Law, he’s been retired for many years, He’s in ill health. He is 83,” O’Malley said. “Cardinal Law left Boston. He was not kept here, and that was a very important decision, I think, for healing.”

O'Malley said Pope Francis strongly supports a tribunal to deal with bishops who are not acting responsibly.

In December 2002, Law resigned as archbishop of Boston. One year later, Massachusetts attorney general other top church officials said Law would not face criminal charges for keeping abusive priests in church parishes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:59 PM

As pope calls for accountability in clergy sex abuse, Chaput says Philly church doing its best

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Newsworks

[Pope Addresses Sex Abuse Scandal, Visits Victims - Video, CBS News]

At at post-papal visit news conference Monday, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput reiterated his belief that the archdiocese has adequately responded to the church clergy sexual abuse scandal.

"We deeply regret the past. We commit ourselves to a better future. People are angry. They want to say we're not doing anything but symbolic things," said Chaput, speaking to reporters at the World Meeting of Families media center. "I understand their anger. I don't know how to get through that, except that we keep trying."

During Pope Francis' whirlwind trip through the United States, the pontiff twice spoke to bishops about the Catholic Church's clergy sexual abuse scandal.

Sunday morning in Philadelphia, speaking to church leaders in the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary chapel, Francis went off script to discuss the matter – describing abuse survivors as "true heralds of mercy."

"God weeps for the sexual abuse of children. These cannot be maintained in secret, and I commit to a careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected and that all responsible will be held accountable," said Francis.

On Monday, Chaput said Francis' speech will reinforce the views he's maintained.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:38 PM

UK: The Goddard Inquiry: the scope of inquiry into historical child sexual abuse extends to England and Wales

UNITED KINGDOM
Mondaq

Last Updated: 29 September 2015
Article by Julia Harrison and Martin Slattery
Carroll & O'Dea

In July 2015, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was officially opened for England and Wales. Established by the British Home Secretary, the Inquiry has been given the broad remit to investigate child sexual abuse matters of the past, and to take stock of child protection procedures as a means of informing future child protection practice. It is an Inquiry which closely parallels the objectives of Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The Inquiry is now in the process of encouraging the many unreported victims of historical child sexual abuse to come forward and relate their experiences to the Inquiry's panel, which plans to commence its private sessions in October 2015. The Inquiry's public hearings, which are to commence in 2016, will concentrate on investigating:

* individuals who have failed to prevent child sexual abuse within institutions, as well as
* specific institutions that have exhibited systemic failure in their duty of care to children.

Institutions which have already been ear marked for investigation include churches, the National Health Service and BBC.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:34 PM

MO--Victims blast KC archbishop over new disclosure

KANSAS
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, Sept. 29

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those abused by Priests (314 566 9790, davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

“Credible allegations” of child sex abuse have surfaced against a deceased Kansas City area priest.

[The Leaven]

The short, quiet disclosure about Fr. Edward Roberts came on Sept. 11 in a church newspaper published by the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansa. Shame on Archbishop Joseph Naumann and his top aides. They know it’s disingenuous to disclose this information in this very limited way. They know that a small notice in a Catholic publication reduces the chances that a deeply wounded, still struggling survivor will see and be comforted by this news.

And shame on the newspaper’s staff: Father Mark Goldasich, Anita McSorley, Todd Habiger, Joe Bollig, Jill Ragar Esfeld, and Julie Holthaus. They also know it’s disingenuous to disclose this information in this very limited way.

Fr. Roberts worked at St. Peter Cathedral in KC, St Teresa in Westphalia, Sacred Heart in Baileville, St. Gregory in Marysville, St. Joseph in Nortonville and Holy Name in Topeka.

We strongly suspect that this isn’t the first report about abuse by Fr. Roberts that church officials have received.

We commend the brave individual who made this report. We hope he or she is working hard to recover from this trauma. And we hope others who saw, suspected or suffered Fr. Roberts’ crimes will come forward, seek help, expose wrongdoers, deter cover ups and start healing.

And we hope that KC Catholics – on both sides of the state line – will confront Naumann about his self-serving secrecy. Announcements like this should be made in the most open way possible. Naumann should hold a news conference about such revelations, begging victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call police. (Fr. Roberts can’t be prosecuted but it’s possible that other clerics who concealed evidence, misled police, shredded documents or kept silent about these crimes might still be charged.)

It’s sad and ironic that this disclosure surfaces about 48 hours after Pope Francis said “abuse cannot be kept secret any longer” and “all responsible will be held accountable."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:31 PM

Obituary: Msgr. Robert C. Fichtner, 84

MASSACHUSETTS
The Pilot

ON: 6/14/2013, BY PILOT STAFF

Msgr. Robert C. Fichtner passed away June 7 at his residence in Waltham, after a period of declining health. He was 84 years old.

Born on Feb. 8, 1929, in Brighton, he was the third of four children of Carl R. and Rose (Conlin) Fichtner. He was the brother of Mary E. O'Connell of Waltham, and the late Paul E. Fichtner of Waltham and the late Lt. Edward J. Fichtner, U.S. Air Force, who died in the Korean War.

He was educated at Our Lady of the Presentation Grammar School in Brighton, St. Joseph Academy in Wellesley Hills and graduated from St. Sebastian Country Day School, Newton, in 1947.

In the fall of 1947 he entered St. John's Seminary in Brighton to begin his studies for the priesthood and was ordained Feb. 2, 1955 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross by Archbishop Richard Cushing.

Msgr. Fichtner's first assignment in the priesthood was at St. Peter Parish in Plymouth. He was later assigned to the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. to study Canon Law (1958).

When he returned to the archdiocese, he was assigned as assistant pastor to St. Michael Parish, Lowell (1958-1959). He was sent to Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in South Boston (1959-1967), followed by an assignment to Our Lady Help of Christians Parish in Newton, where he spent 14 years (1967-1981).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:28 PM

Synod of Bishops might resist machinations of leadership

UNITED STATES
Catholic Culture

By Phil Lawler Sep 29, 2015

In the promising new series of Letters from the Synod, edited by the pseudonymous Xaiver Rynne II, George Weigel opens things with an intriguing and encouraging historical comparison.

In the months leading up to Vatican II, according to the standard historical narrative (for now, we need not be concerned whether that narrative is fully accurate or not), Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani was confident that he had things fully in hand. He didn’t. The Council fathers rejected the preliminary documents offered by Cardinal Ottaviani and his curial staff, and went off in entirely new directions.

Today, Weigel observes, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri seems to think that he has the Synod of Bishops under control. (His purposes are very different from those of the late Cardinal Ottaviani; he is pushing for dramatic changes, while Cardinal Ottaviani was resisting them. But again, that need not concern us here.) He, too, may have miscalculated.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:24 PM

Abp. Kurtz on the Synod: Renewal of Culture Must Come Through Families

UNITED STATES
Catholic World Report

Jim Graves

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, will be one of the American bishops participating in the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family October 4-25. The synod, the theme of which is “the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world,” follows on the heels of the controversial 2014 Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, and has already been the subject of much debate and speculation worldwide.

Archbishop Kurtz recently spoke with CWR about the synod and what he hopes it will accomplish in the life of the Church.

CWR: You’re first on the list of the American bishop-participants at the synod. How would you explain the role of a synod to the ordinary layman?

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz: A synod is a gathering of bishops who come together to advise and assist our Holy Father in the governance of the Church. This synod [in October] deals with the family, a topic of great importance to the Church.

CWR: What do you hope will be discussed?

Archbishop Kurtz: There are three areas I believe we should address.

First, we need to find new and attractive ways to touch the hearts of people with the beauty of the teachings of Jesus. This task presents itself in every age, because while cultures change, the teachings of Jesus do not. We need to find new and convincing language to express the beauty of the teachings of Jesus on marriage in an attractive way.

Next, we need to inspire the young and old, especially those with children, to be renewed in their witness to one another and to the world. We have many wonderful and heroic families who live in a sacrificial way who offer good examples for all of us. We must remember that people watch good families and learn from them.

Finally, we have to find new ways to accompany those who struggle in family life. This could include single parents who want more for their children. I believe that the Church is at her best when we reach out to such people and walk with them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:21 PM

Divisons loom over gays and divorce before Pope's Synod on Family

ROME
Christian Today

Ruth Gledhill CHRISTIAN TODAY CONTRIBUTING EDITOR 29 September 2015

Divisions are looming in advance of the Pope's Synod on the Family next month.

Nearly 800,000 Catholics, including more than 200 cardinals, bishops and archbishops, have written to the Pope appealing for clarity and warning of a "breach" in the Church over gays and marriage.

At the same time, an influential group of lesbian and gay Catholics from the UK have called in advance of the synod for the Church to take the opportunity of the coming Synod to look again at Church teachings because, the group says, they have "caused immense psychological, spiritual, and pastoral damage not only to homosexual persons, but also to their parents and families."

Pope Francis leading the synod of bishops at the Vatican in October last year. Communion for divorcees is one of a number of contentious issues that will be considered at this year's synod.
The conservative lay group Voice of the Family has submitted a 'Filial Appeal' signed by 790,190 Catholics, including 201 cardinals, archbishops and bishops, to Pope Francis calling on him to say "a clarifying word" to dissipate the "widespread confusion arising from the possibility that a breach has been opened within the Church that would accept adultery—by permitting divorced and then civilly remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion—and would virtually accept even homosexual unions when such practices are categorically condemned as being contrary to Divine and natural law."

The appeal was launched after the first Synod on the Family ended in October last year and has gained hundreds of thousands of signatures in the last few months.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:19 PM

KCK archdiocese criticized for ‘quiet disclosure’ of priest accused of sexual abuse

KANSAS
The Kansas City Star

BY JUDY L. THOMAS
jthomas@kcstar.com

A victims’ advocacy group on Tuesday sharply criticized the Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas for it’s “quiet disclosure” about a priest who church officials say has been credibly accused of sexual abuse.

The allegations were revealed in a notice on Page 7 of the Sept. 11 issue of The Leaven, the archdiocesan newspaper.

“The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas has recently received credible allegations of abuse of minors against Father Edward Roberts, a priest of the archdiocese who died in 1997,” the notice said.

The action angered leaders of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

“Shame on Archbishop Joseph Naumann and his top aides,” said the group’s national director, David Clohessy, in a statement. “They know it’s disingenuous to disclose this information in this very limited way. They know that a small notice in a Catholic publication reduces the chances that a deeply wounded, still struggling survivor will see and be comforted by this news.”

In the past, the archdiocese has published announcements in The Leaven and issued news releases to the media when priests have been accused of sexual misconduct.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:17 PM

Contradicting Pope Francis, archbishop fights for secrecy

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

for immediate release: Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those abused by Priests (314 566 9790, davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

Less than 48 hours after Pope Francis said “those who have covered up (abuse) are guilty,” the Philadelphia Inquirer has disclosed that Archbishop Charles Chaput is quietly working to keep secrets about a pedophile priest.

Francis made strong promises, including that “abuse cannot be kept secret any longer” and “all responsible will be held accountable."

Chaput apparently disagrees.

In a wrongful-death suit in Common Pleas Court,” Chaput's lawyers are trying to block discovery, the Inquirer reports. The case involves “the family of Sean McIlmail - a Willow Grove man who died of a drug overdose in 2013 while struggling to come to terms with his alleged victimization by a priest."

- pointed to the pope's calls for transparency in a motion (filed Monday) arguing against archdiocesan efforts to block discovery in an ongoing wrongful-death suit in Common Pleas Court,” reports the Inquirer.

In 2006, Pope Benedict, discussing the abuse and cover up crisis, said “It is important to establish the truth of what happened.”

[USA Today]

Chaput is contracting the expressed desires of two popes by his continued use of parishioners’ donations to keep abuse and cover ups covered up.

We hope Philly Catholics and citizens will pressure Chaput to reverse his hurtful, self-serving legal maneuvers and let the truth surface about clerics who committed and are concealing child sex crimes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:48 PM

Rev Edward F. Roberts

KANSAS
Find A Grave

Birth: Jan. 21, 1917
Kansas, USA
Death: Sep. 18, 1997

Family links:
Parents:
Russell F. Roberts (1882 - 1947)

Burial:
Mount Calvary Cemetery
Saint Marys
Pottawatomie County
Kansas, USA

Created by: Wilton Golson
Record added: Feb 12, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 33771103

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:20 PM

Announcement

KANSAS
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas - The Leaven
9/11/15 issue

The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas has recently received credible allegations of abuse of minors against Father Edward Roberts, a priest of the archdiocese who died in 1997. Ordained in 1941, Father Roberts was assigned to the following parishes: the Cathedral of St. Peter, Kansas City, Kansas; St. Teresa, Westphalia; Sacred Heart, Baileyville; St. Gregory, Marysville; St. Joseph, Nortonville; and Holy Name, Topeka.

If you have any information regarding allegations of abuse against Father Roberts, please call the Confidential Report Line at (913) 647-3051; Dr. Dennis Schemmel, victim assistance coordinator, at (913) 909-2740; and/or local law enforcement officials.

The archdiocese asks anyone who has knowledge of inappropriate conduct by any priest, deacon, employee or volunteer to please contact the Confidential Report Line at (913) 647-3051 or civil authorities. The archdiocese respects the sincere concerns of all individuals who bring forth allegations of misconduct and is fully committed to conducting thorough investigations of all such allegations and cooperating with law enforcement officials.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:10 PM

Small fire at seminary where pope is staying; no one hurt

PENNSYLVANIA
Philadelphia Inquirer

CHRIS PALMER AND CRAIG R. MCCOY, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
POSTED: Sunday, September 27, 2015

After extensive security precautions on the first day of a papal visit that unfolded without a hitch, there was a problem after Pope Francis arrived at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary on Saturday night.

A small fire broke out in an elevator shaft in the kitchen of the Wynnewood seminary around 10:47 p.m., officials said.

Francis, who was staying there for the night, was not hurt, they said. Nor was anyone else. Nor was there any significant damage.

Foul play was not suspected, they said.

Nicole Mainor, of the official information center set up for the visit, said early Sunday morning that emergency personnel were notified and firefighters from Lower Merion put the fire out by 11:03 p.m.

It was not clear how close the kitchen was to the dormitory area of the seminary in which the pope was staying. He was to spend the night in one of 45 newly renovated rooms.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:56 AM

Archdiocese Can't Duck Up-Skirt Lawsuit

CALIFORNIA
Courthouse News Service

By MIKE HEUER

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The Archdiocese of San Francisco cannot dismiss accusations that it failed to stop students at a boys school from sharing up-skirt photos of a teacher, a federal judge ruled.

A "triable issue exists" on claims the archdiocese contributed to the civil rights violations that caused the teacher's emotional distress, U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick found on Friday.

Orrick did dismiss claims of Federal Employment and Housing Act violations against Junipero High School, but denied the archdiocese's motion in all other respects.

"The archdiocese's actions in response to each successive act of harassment fell short in many ways," Orrick wrote. "The school (and the Archbishop's office) did not appear to learn from, or respond to, each instance of harassing conduct or to prevent similar occurrences in the future."

Biology teacher Kimberly Bohnert sued the archdiocese and Junipero Serra High School last year, claiming they did nothing for more than two years as students humiliated her with an online image they shared, sent sexually explicit social media posts, graphic graffiti and other acts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:50 AM

What Would Like to Be Done About Clergy Sex Abuse? Archbishop Chaput Wants to Know.

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholics4Change

SEPTEMBER 29, 2015 BY SUSAN MATTHEWS

“We’ve gone out of our way to explore in the past in response to the grand juries,” he said. “I think the people responsible for the grand jury reports would acknowledge our response as being very positive and thorough. The fact that people want more – what is the more they want that we haven’t done?”

– Archbishop Chaput

Click here to read the entire story: “After pope’s visit, tough talk from abuse survivors – and Chaput,” by Jeremy Roebuck and Julie Terruso, The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 28 and updated 29, 2015

What would you like the Archdiocese, Archbishop Chaput and Pope Francis to do?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:33 AM

Other Pontifical Acts

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 29 September 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- Bishop Hugo Alberto Torres Marin, auxiliary of Medellin, Colombia, as bishop of Apartado (area 26,000, population 561,000, Catholics 403,000, priests 65, religious 118), Colombia.

- Bishop Joao Evangelista Pimental Lavrador, auxiliary of Oporto, Portugal, as coadjutor of the diocese of Angra (area 2,243, population 246,102, Catholics 224,105, priests 147, permanent deacons 5, religious 129), Portugal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:08 AM

The Pope speaks almost an hour with journalists on flight from Philadelphia

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 29 September 2015 (VIS) – During his return flight to Rome following his apostolic trip to Cuba and the United States, Pope Francis answered a number of questions posed by the journalists who accompanied him on the papal flight.

The Holy Father first commented that he had been surprised in the United States by the warmth and friendliness of the people. He remarked that in Washington D.C. the welcome was very warm but more formal than in New York, where everything was more exuberant, while in Philadelphia it was more expressive. “Three different approaches but the same welcome”.

He also explained the reason for his meeting with the United States episcopate in Washington D.C., where he felt the need to express to the prelates his compassion with regard to cases of sexual abuse. “A horrible thing”, he said, “and many suffer because they did not know about it and are true men of the Church, true pastors. … And I spoke to them using words from the Bible, from the Book of Revelation: you are coming from a great tribulation, because what happened was a 'great tribulation'. .. I would say almost a sacrilege. … We all know that abuse has occurred in many places: in families, in the neighbourhood, in schools, at gymnasiums … But when a priest commits abuse it is very serious, because the vocation of the priest is to make that boy or girl grow in God's love, towards emotional maturity. And instead this is crushed, it is damaged. And this must not be concealed: those who have covered up these events are equally guilty. It is dreadful. And the words I spoke were not intended to say, “Don't worry, it's nothing”. Instead I wanted to say, “It has been awful and I imagine you have wept a lot”. This was the meaning of what I said, and I spoke firmly”.

He affirmed that he understood those victims of abuse and their families who felt unable to forgive the perpetrators. “Yes, I understand them. I pray for them and I do not judge them. Once, at one of these meetings, a woman said to me, 'When my mother discovered I had been abused, she blasphemed against God, lost her faith and died an atheist'. And I understand her. And God, Who is better than me, understands her. I am sure that He welcomed her. Because what was abused, destroyed, was her own flesh, the flesh of her daughter”.

With regard to the peace process in Colombia, he expressed his joy at the news that an agreement between the FARC and the government will be signed in March. “When I heard this, I asked the Lord, 'Let us arrive in March, may we arrive with this good intention', as some small details remain to be clarified, but the will is present on both sides. Even in the small group; all three are in agreement. We must await March for the definitive accord, which is the point of international justice. I have spoken twice with President Santos on the matter. And the Holy See is very open to assisting as far as possible”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:06 AM

Pope Francis and Agenda of Abuse Survivors

MASSACHUSETTS
NECN - Broadside

[video]

What Pope Francis didn't say, but needs to say, to address concerns of victims of sex abuse by priests. GUEST: Anne Barrett Doyle of Bishop Accountability.org

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:28 AM

ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT DISCUSSES SECURITY, POPE'S SEX ABUSE REMARKS

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
6 ABC

By Vernon Odom
Monday, September 28, 2015

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- On the Monday after the papal visit, Archbishop Charles Chaput discussed the event, touching on security criticisms and the pope's comments about clergy sex abuse.

Chaput was asked about Pope Francis' sincerity after he met with five local victims of sex abuse, hearing their stories and apologizing.

He later condemned pedophile priests as he met with hundreds of bishops from around the globe.

"It wasn't a publicity stunt. There is genuine interest on the part of the Holy Father to represent the whole church in expressing sadness and apology in cases where there's cases of sexual abuse by members of the church, and he sincerely meant that," Chaput said.

Chaput said he feels the disappointment of the ticket holders who missed the papal Mass on Sunday because of tight security.

The Archbishop emphasized it was the federal government calling the shots on the metal detectors and searches that prevented thousands of ticket holders from getting to the Mass on time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:35 AM

Papal pilgrims complain of 'police state' security

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

JEFF GAMMAGE AND JULIA TERRUSO, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
LAST UPDATED: Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Retired schoolteacher Matt Cinelli came to Philadelphia to experience the joy of the papal visit.

He was met, he said, by "the confusion and terror of a police state," one in which edgy National Guard soldiers barked contradictory orders and seemed prepped for confrontation.

"The security did not make me feel safe," said Cinelli, 56, who grew up Catholic and lives near Reading. "It made me feel like somebody was going to fight me, that there was a combativeness."

On Monday, hours after Pope Francis left Philadelphia for Rome, people who attended weekend events shared stories of disconcerting encounters with the massive security apparatus erected in advance of the visit. Center City was transformed into a fortress of steel fences, concrete barriers, and armed law enforcement officers from federal, state and local agencies.

Special Agent David Beach of the Secret Service, which was in charge of protecting the pope, said the high level of security was "one of those necessary evils" in staging a large event.

"We're responsible for the pope's safety but also the safety of all those attendees," he said. "I think we were successful in that mission."

Others disagreed with the tactics to accomplish that.

Austen Ivereigh, author of a definitive papal biography, who covers Pope Francis for news organizations like the BBC, said security in Philadelphia was wildly over the top, beyond the strict measures imposed when three million people saw the pope in Rio de Janeiro in 2013.

"If that was excessive," Ivereigh said, "this was pathological."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:28 AM

Cardinal Danneels Admits to Being Part of 'Mafia' Club Opposed to Benedict XVI

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Register

by Edward Pentin 09/24/2015

Further serious concerns are being raised about Cardinal Godfried Danneels, one of the papal delegates chosen to attend the upcoming Ordinary Synod on the Family, after the archbishop emeritus of Brussels confessed this week to being part of a radical "mafia" reformist group opposed to Benedict XVI.

It was also revealed this week that he once wrote a letter to the Belgium government favoring same-sex "marriage" legislation because it ended discrimination against LGBT groups.

The cardinal is already known for having once advised the king of Belgium to sign an abortion law in 1990, for telling a victim of clerical sex abuse to keep quiet, and for refusing to forbid pornographic, “educational” materials being used in Belgian Catholic schools.

He also once said same-sex “marriage” was a “positive development,” although he has sought to distinguish such a union from the Church’s understanding of marriage.

According to a forthcoming authorized biography on the cardinal co-written by Jürgen Mettepenningen, a former spokesman for Cardinal Danneels' successor, Archbishop Andre Joseph Leonard, and Karim Schelkens, a Church historian and theologian, the cardinal expressed satisfaction over the disappearance of “discrimination” against LGBT couples after legislation was passed approving same-sex "marriage" in 2003.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:08 AM

A conspiracy to elect Pope Francis? Don't believe it.

UNITED STATES
Catholic Culture

By Phil Lawler Sep 28, 2015

Did a powerful group of cardinals conspire to unseat Pope Benedict XVI and elect Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio—Pope Francis—in his place? That sensational claim has been circulating in conservative Catholic internet sites. But the available facts don’t support the sensational headlines.

Edward Pentin, a respected Vatican journalist, broke the story to the English-speaking world with his report for the National Catholic Register. He reported—accurately—that a new biography of Belgium’s retired Cardinal Godfried Danneels has disclosed that the existence of a group of prelates who were committed to “progressive” causes, and unhappy with the influence exerted in the Vatican by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

The members of the St. Gallen group reportedly included the late Cardinal Carlo Martini of Milan of Milan, the veteran Vatican insider Cardinal Achille Silvestrini, English Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, and the German Cardinals Karl Lehmann and Walter Kasper, along with Cardinal Danneels. At the launch of the book, Cardinal Danneels referred to this group—known as the St. Gallen group, after the location where they had met—as a “mafia club.”

Now it may not be edifying to learn that cardinals were plotting to influence Vatican policy, and knowledgeable readers, glancing down that list of names, might well worry about their influence. But it does not rise to the level of conspiracy if a group of prelates meet to discuss Church affairs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:05 AM

“Many survivors around the world feel betrayed [comment]”, SNAP Australia, SNAPAustralia.org, Nicky Davis, September 28, 2015.

AUSTRALIA
SNAP Australia

Many survivors around the world feel betrayed, not reassured, by Pope Francis' words during his US PR exercise.

We feel silenced and excluded when he speaks weasel words about us and how his institution has and will deal with the criminals within that institution who commit, enable or cover up horrific crimes against defenceless children.

We feel overpowered and disheartened that media around the world repeat his meaningless promises without reference to the reality of survivors' experiences, and honour him on the basis of this misleading façade.

We feel Francis' church still regards abused children as the wrongdoers, because instead of suffering in silence and neglect we insist on our right to speak about what happened to us, and to demand justice and healing.

We feel Francis' church still regards institutional officials, institutional bank accounts and institutional reputation as the real victims, and those most deserving of compassion.

We are horrified by Francis lecturing the UN and US congress about human rights, while ignoring the well researched and reasonable recommendations of both the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and UN Committee Against Torture, which defended our human rights against abuse and re-abuse by church officials.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:03 AM

Dublin to host next World Meeting of Families -- in 2018

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Pittsburgh Catholic

By Laura Ieraci Catholic News Service

PHILADELPHIA -- Irish pilgrims in Philadelphia shared their excitement after Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, announced the 2018 World Meeting of Families would be held in Dublin.

Irish pilgrim Mary Fitzgibbon's reaction was raw when she spoke with Catholic News Service. She had traveled to Philadelphia with her husband, Michael, and five children, ages 2-14, but had missed Archbishop Paglia's announcement Sept. 27. She heard it first from CNS. ...

The church in Ireland, still reeling and healing from a major sex-abuse scandal, has also experienced a decrease in church attendance and vocations to the priesthood and religious life over several years. Ireland established the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in a bid to restore public confidence in the church's handling of allegations of abuse against priests and religious after a series of judicial reports uncovered serious failings. Four Irish bishops have resigned following severe criticism of their failures in relation to handling allegations of abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:00 AM

Mobile Police: Man caught sexually violating 12-year-old at church

ALABAMA
AL.com

By Cassie Fambro | cfambro@al.com
on September 28, 2015

Rodderick George Mitchell of Mobile is in jail after an incident at Stone Street Baptist Church on Sunday, according to Mobile Police.

Mitchell, not a member of the church, entered the facility and asked a 12-year-old girl for a hug.

Police say that sexual abuse ensued.

Church-members immediately alerted the pastor as well as the victim's parents and Mitchell was arrested at the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:54 AM

Man arrested for sexual abuse at local church

ALABAMA
Lagniappe

By: JASON JOHNSON

Authorities say an unknown man entered a church on Tunstall Street in Mobile on Sunday and attempted to sexually abuse a 12-year-old girl.

Police say the the encounter started when the man asked the girl for a hug, but after the contact continued, the pastor of Stone Street Baptist Church and the girl’s parents were alerted.

When authorities arrived on the scene, they arrested 64-year-old Roderick Mitchell and charged him with second-degree sexual abuse and a separate charge listed in jail records only as a “violation.”

Mitchell’s name did not show up in a search of Mobile County’s sex offender database, but he does have multiple previous charges for “public lewdness” or “indecent exposure,” according to Mobile Metro Jail records.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:52 AM

Archdiocese holds Mass Oct. 17 for sex abuse survivors

CHICAGO (IL)
Daily Herald

The Archdiocese of Chicago will host a Mass for Hope and Healing at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, at Holy Family Church, 1080 W. Roosevelt Road in Chicago.

The Mass, sponsored by the Archdiocesan Office of Assistance Ministry, is celebrated for the ongoing healing of child and youth sexual abuse survivors, their families and the church. Mike Hoffman and Jim Richter, both victims-survivors, will give witness on behalf of survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

Attendees will include clergy, victims-survivors, family members of survivors, Catholic school leadership and many others committed to the protection and safety of children. The Rev. Ronald Hicks, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Chicago, will be the main celebrant.

The Office for Assistance Ministry works to provide pastoral care, support and resources to victims-survivors of clerical sexual abuse and their loved ones in their efforts to achieve psychological, emotional and spiritual healing. The office was first established by the Archdiocese in 1992 to respond to the sexual abuse of minors by clergy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:48 AM

Critics slam former archbishop’s role in Pope Francis’ Philadelphia visit

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Global News

By Michael R. Sisak The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA – A former archbishop who retired amid allegations he put church interests ahead of clergy sexual abuse victims returned to the city over the weekend to help Pope Francis celebrate Mass, drawing criticism from advocates who said his visibility “rubs salt into deep wounds.”

The current archbishop, Charles Chaput, defended Cardinal Justin Rigali’s role in the service Saturday at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, saying Monday his predecessor did nothing wrong and is “always welcome to be here.”

Rigali, 80, sat to Chaput’s left and stood with the pope as he consecrated the Eucharist. A spokesman said he also participated in several other events with U.S. bishops, including the Vatican-sponsored World Meeting of Families conference that brought the pope to Philadelphia.

Rigali retired to the Diocese of Knoxville, Tennessee, in 2011, months after a grand jury accused the Archdiocese of Philadelphia of sheltering more than three dozen credibly accused priests and lying about it to victims and others.

Chaput, who attended the pope’s meeting with sex abuse victims on Sunday, has removed several priests from church work since replacing Rigali. He bristled Monday when asked about Rigali at a post-papal visit news conference, asserting the grand jury reports released during the cardinal’s tenure did not accuse him of “doing anything inappropriate or not handling things appropriately.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:44 AM

September 28, 2015

Historical child abuse cases should remain under time-bar regime says Faculty

SCOTLAND
Scottish Legal News

The Faculty of Advocates has announced its opposition to plans by the Scottish government to end the three-year time limit on the raising of damages actions by survivors of historical child abuse.

“In our view, any waiver of the limitation regime in relation to such claims ought to be made on a case-by-case basis, as at present,” said the Faculty.

“We do not agree that the current regime invariably leads to a pursuer’s case failing…However, it does permit the fairness to both parties of allowing a case to proceed to be scrutinised and assessed.”

As part of an announcement in May that Susan O’Brien QC, had been appointed to chair a national public inquiry into historical abuse of children in care, the Scottish government said it intended to remove the three-year limitation period from damages actions by survivors for abuse after 26 September, 1964.

Ministers said in a consultation paper that they were of the view that victims of child abuse should not have to demonstrate to the court that they had a right to raise litigation before the case could proceed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:10 PM

Top lawyers against child abuse legal time limit change

SCOTLAND
BBC News

The body that represents Scotland's top lawyers has announced its opposition to Scottish government plans to end a time limit for survivors of historical abuse to seek damages in the courts.

The plans were announced in May, in tandem with a public inquiry into historical abuse of children in care.

It intends to end the current three-year time bar for civil action in cases of historical abuse.

But the Faculty of Advocates has warned against the change.

It claims the existing system, where claims dating back more than three years are examined on a case-by-case basis, provides "fairness to both parties".

The group said: "We do not agree that the current regime invariably leads to a pursuer's case failing. However, it does permit the fairness to both parties of allowing a case to proceed to be scrutinised and assessed."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:09 PM

Berks County lawmaker, victim of clergy abuse, criticizes Pope Francis

PENNSYLVANIA
PhillyVoice

BY DANIEL CRAIG
PhillyVoice Staff

Berks County lawmaker Mark Rozzi, who says he was the victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a priest as a child, criticized Pope Francis before his visit to Philadelphia and said the papal weekend brought back painful memories.

In a video from CNN published before the pope's visit, Democratic Rep. Rozzi calls for Francis to ask Chaput to encourage lawmakers in supporting his bill to change the statute of limitations for cases of sexual abuse.

He says the only way to allow victims to heal is to allow their voices to be heard and criticized a recent comment from the pope in which he said he was sorry how the abuse scandal had weighed upon U.S. bishops. Watch the video here:

[video]

Pope Francis did not avoid the issue during his visit to Philadelphia. Speaking before bishops in Wynnewood Sunday, he said "God weeps" for the victims and said he was "deeply sorry" for what had happened, referring to several cases of clergy members sexually abusing young boys.

The pontiff also met with five victims of clergy abuse before giving those remarks.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:06 PM

After pope's visit, tough talk from abuse survivors - and Chaput

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

JEREMY ROEBUCKAND JULIA TERRUSO, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
LAST UPDATED: Monday, September 28, 2015

Pope Francis' speech in Philadelphia harshly rebuking bishops who covered up clergy sex abuse triggered calls Monday for a more forceful response from the city's own church hierarchy.

From a small rally outside the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's 17th Street offices to legal filings that cited the pontiff's call for openness, victims and their advocates challenged Archbishop Charles J. Chaput to reevaluate the cases of several accused priests and pledge greater openness in how abuse investigations are handled in the future.

But Chaput, whose archdiocese has been one of the hardest hit in the nation by the scandal, maintained he had already done all he could reasonably be expected to do.

"We deeply regret the past; we commit ourselves to a better future" he said, speaking Monday morning at a post-event World Meeting of Families news conference. Still, he quickly appeared to grow frustrated with reporters' repeated questions on the subject, adding later:

"In some ways, we should get over this wanting to go back and blame, blame, blame. The church is happy to accept its responsibility, but I'm really quite tired of people making unjust accusations against people who are not to be blamed - and that happens sometimes."

It was a familiar response, said victims' groups, from an archdiocese still reckoning with years of fallout from two scathing grand-jury investigations that found many accused priests still serving in ministry, and the first-in-the-nation conviction in 2012 of a high-ranking church official for covering up abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:04 PM

Bishop Raphael Fliss, longtime leader of Superior Diocese, dies at age 84

MINNESOTA
Duluth News Tribune

By Lisa Kaczke and Brady Slater, News Tribune

As longtime secretary to Bishop Raphael Fliss, Pat Wildenberg came to revere him — no matter how complicated his legacy grew.

"He dealt with difficult situations and I never saw him get outwardly upset with people," she said. "He was very patient about dealing with every situation that he came across."

Bishop Fliss, the longest-serving bishop of the Diocese of Superior, died Sept. 21 in a Duluth hospital at age 84.

Fliss guided the diocese for 28 years, the first six as coadjutor bishop alongside Bishop George Albert Hammes. During Fliss' tenure the diocese went through parish closings and consolidations, and had to adapt to changing needs of the communities it served. He also helped organize the diocese's 75th and 100th anniversary celebrations. ...

In the final years of his tenure, Fliss was involved in controversy over several allegations of sex abuse by priests in the Superior Diocese. Abuse survivors called for Fliss to be investigated after it was revealed that a former Superior Diocese priest sexually assaulted two boys in the early 1980s and the church settled with the victims for nearly $3 million.

Fliss also was alleged to have been involved in the concealment of a priest who assaulted as many as 200 deaf boys in a Milwaukee boarding school before being transferred to the Superior Diocese, where he allegedly abused other boys.

And Fliss apologized in 2006 for poor oversight of a priest in the Diocese who faced allegations of sexual abuse; a judge found probable cause that the priest killed two people in Hudson, Wis., in 2002. The priest later took his own life.

Wildenberg recalled that Fliss would alert people around him to troubling news. He took it to heart, she said.

"He could handle a lot of things and took his time to make the right decision — something some people might fault him with," she said. "But that patience always impressed me."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:01 PM

Deceased Canadian pastor is accused of sexual misconduct

CANADA
Mennonite World Review

Mennonite Church Eastern Canada announced an allegation of sexual and ethical misconduct by a pastor who died 21 years ago.

On Aug. 30, three Ontario congregations formerly served by Vernon Leis, the pastor named in the allegation, heard the announcement in person from MCEC representatives, said David Martin, the conference’s executive minister.

Leis died in a car accident on Feb. 26, 1994, near Baden, Ont., at the age of 60. He had pastored Elmira Mennonite Church, Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church in Kitchener and East Zorra Mennonite Church in Tavistock. He was the first moderator of MCEC, an area conference of Mennonite Church Canada.

An MCEC news release described him as a “much loved and respected pastor.”
Martin said that the allegation against Leis came from one person and that he could not give details about what Leis is alleged to have done.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:59 PM

Berks lawmaker, sexually abused by priest as a teen, says of pope's visit: 'It has brought back my nightmares'

PENNSYLVANIA
WFMZ

READING, Pa. - Pope Francis drew lots of cheers in the United States, but now he's coming under fire from a Berks County lawmaker and victims of sexual abuse.

Pennsylvania Representative Mark Rozzi first turned down VIP tickets to the papal events in Philadelphia, and now he's slamming Pope Francis for comments he made surrounding sexual abuse.

"It has brought back my nightmares and some mental pain that I just can't put myself through," said Rozzi. "This has been a very difficult week."

On Sunday, the Vatican said Pope Francis met with five abuse victims in private in Philadelphia. After the meeting, the pope spoke before bishops and clergy members at St. Charles Borremeo Seminary.

He said God weeps at the sexual abuse of children and vowed careful oversight to ensure the youth are protected. He also said those responsible for abuse would be held accountable.

Two times during his visit to the U.S., Pope Francis praised American bishops for how they handled the sex abuse scandal and told priests he felt their pain. "It was very disappointing hearing those comments, and in fact, I was outraged, and that's why I slammed him," Rozzi said.

"We heard these words before, but victims need action!" Rozzi, who represents the 126th District in Berks County, said he was sexually abused by a priest at age 13.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:12 PM

“Anti-immigration walls fall down sooner or later, they are not the solution”

Vatican Insider

Answering journalists’ questions during the in-flight interview from Philadelphia to Rome, he said: some bishops “did cover up abuse. I can understand those families who are unable to forgive the abuse of a son or daughter.” The reform on marital nullity does not mean we are introducing “Catholic divorce”. “Conscientious objection is a right even for government officials.” “I love the Chinese people and I would like to visit China.” “Me, a star? I am the servant of the servants of God.” On the bombings in Syria, he said: “I am not up to speed with the current situation but when I hear about bombings I say: this is not right.” About the mayor of Rome turning up in the US to see the Pope, Francis said: “I didn’t invite Marino to Philadelphia”

ANDREA TORNIELLI
ON THE FLIGHT FROM PHILADELPHIA TO ROME

The barbed wire fences, the walls to stop migrants “fall down sooner or later, all of them fall down, they are not the solution” and they exacerbate hatred. Pope Francis said this during the interview with journalists on board the American Airlines flight from Philadelphia to Rome. The Pope talked about clerical sex abuse against minors, saying he understands those families that cannot forgive; he spoke about the issue of communion for remarried divorcees and the recent reform on marital nullity, explaining that it does not equate to “Catholic divorce”. He said he loves the Chinese people and that he would like to visit China. Regarding the US government official who refused to sign the document legalising a same-sex union, Francis recalled that conscientious objections is a human right. He also denied point blank that he had anything to do with the presence of Rome’s mayor, Ignazio Marino, at one of the events in the US: “I did not invite Marino to Philadelphia, is that clear?”

What surprised you about the US and what was different to how you had imagined it? What challenges does the Church in the US face?

It was my first time there, I had never been before. I was surprised by the people’s warmth - they were so friendly, it was beautiful - and also by the differences between Washington where I received a warm but slightly more formal welcome, New York which was overflowing and Philadelphia where people were very expressive. Three different types of welcome. I was very much struck by the goodness and hospitality show to me and by the piety of the religious celebrations – you could see people praying. Thanks to God it all went well, there were no provocations, no insults, nothing unpleasant happened. The challenge is this: we have to continue working with these faithful as we have been doing so far, in times of joy and difficulty, when there is no work, when there is sickness. The challenge of today’s Church is one it has always faced: being close to the people of the US. Not removed from them, but close to them. And this is a challenge that the Church in the US is well aware of.

Philadelphia has been through some very difficult times what with the sex abuse scandal. Many found it surprising that in your speech to bishops in Washington you offered words of consolation to the Church. Why did you feel the need to show compassion to the bishops?

In Washington I addressed all bishops of the US. I felt the need to express my compassion to them because a terrible thing happened and many of them have suffered because they did not know and when it all came out they suffered a great deal: they are men of the Church, men of prayer, true pastors. Using a word from the Revelation, I said to them: I know you have come forth from the great tribulation. What happened was a great tribulation. Then there were the words I addressed to those who suffered the abuse: it was almost a sacrilege! Abuse is witnessed everywhere: in the family, in the local neighbourhood, in schools, in gyms. But when a priest commits an act of abuse it is very serious indeed because a priest’s vocation is to raise that boy or girl to love God, so that they grow up to be good people. Instead, he crushed this with evil and betrayed his vocation, the Lord’s calling. Those in the Church who covered up the abuse are also guilty and that includes bishops. It is a terrible thing and the message I meant to get across through the words of comfort I offered bishops was not: don’t worry, it’s nothing. But: this was a terrible thing, I imagine you must have wept a great deal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:03 PM

L.A. Parker: Pope Francis delivered ambiguous message about Catholic priest sex abuse

UNITED STATES
The Trentonian

By L.A. Parker, The Trentonian
POSTED: 09/28/15

Pope Francis finally departed the United States after a whirlwind visit that attracted ginormous crowds in Washington, New York City and finally Philadelphia but his visit clouded a priest sex abuse scandal.

The Pontiff first praised American bishops for their “generous commitment” to aid and support abuse victims, even went as far a saying that Catholic church leaders handled the crisis “without fear or self-criticism and the cost of mortification and great sacrifice.”

“I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you, and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims — in the knowledge that in healing we, too, are healed — and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated.”

The Washington Cathedral resounded with applause from bishops in attendance for the Pope Francis address to church leaders.

The initial assessment caused such retribution, particularly from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), that Pope Francis offered a more subdued response by the time his entourage reached Philadelphia where he met with five sexual abuse victims harmed by either family members or Catholic priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:00 PM

Diocese of Gallup brings in $161K from auctions

NEW MEXICO
KRQE

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) – The Diocese of Gallup has walked away with less than $161,000 after selling nearly three dozen properties at auctions in Albuquerque and Phoenix.

The Gallup Independent reports that documents submitted by diocesan attorneys to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court say the sales total for both auctions was about $225,000. The two businesses hired by the diocese to promote and conduct the auctions earned about $65,500.

Most of the properties were sold for far less than their actual or assessed values. The highest sales price at the Phoenix auction was $26,000, and the remaining properties sold for between $110 and $7,700. Four properties at the Albuquerque auction sold for five-figure prices, and the others ranged from $121 to $4,400.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:57 PM

The "People's Pope" and the Church's Emerging Contradictions

UNITED STATES
Truthout

By Armando Carmona, Truthout | News Analysis

Pope Francis has radically changed the image of the Catholic Church. He has been called a progressive, the "people's pope" and even a radical pope who is attempting to shift the global image of Catholic conservatism. It is impossible to deny the importance of the pope's current discourse as he pushes global political leaders to address climate change and economic inequality, inviting them to refocus their energy toward a "revolution of tenderness."

How should we situate the current pope in the context of a historically conservative institution and an evolving narrative about social change? While some attempt to categorize him as a progressive or even a feminist due to his discourse on women and the poor, others understand him to be a political actor who represents a highly hierarchical and patriarchal organization that affects nearly 1.2 billion people. Regardless of our personal feelings toward the pope, we must analyze his actions in the context of his position and the institution he represents.

An Apology to Native Peoples

During his tour of South America, his first foreign trip after unveiling his encyclical - a document produced to urge climate action worldwide - Pope Francis spoke at the World Meeting of Popular Movements. The meeting was hosted in Bolivia and organized by the Pontifical Council "Justice and Peace," the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and movement leaders from around the world. This was the second of a series of encounters organized to discuss global issues such as climate change and economic inequality. It was in this meeting that the pope apologized to indigenous peoples for the role of the Church in facilitating the genocide and conquest of native peoples. "Many grave sins were committed against the native peoples of America in the name of God," Pope Francis said. "Like Saint John Paul II, I ask that the Church 'kneel before God and implore forgiveness for the past and present sins of her sons and daughters.'" He also reminded the crowd that many priests have also defended indigenous people, "often standing alongside the native peoples or accompanying their popular movements even to the point of martyrdom."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:21 PM

Pope Francis' Gesture Towards Sex Abuse Victims Wasn't Nearly Enough

UNITED STATES
Esquire

BY CHARLES P. PIERCE

On Sunday, as it turns out, the rubber of Papa Francesco's visit to the United States finally met the road of the crimes committed by the individuals and the institution of the Roman Catholic Church here in America, and around the world. On his last day in Philadelphia, the pope met with people who had been sexually abused by members of the clergy belonging to the church over which, if you believe the tradition, the Holy Spirit chose this pope to preside. All during the trip, the scandal was the bustling in the hedgerow. The pope's remarks to the bishops in Washington in he praised them for their "courage" in soldiering on in the face of their own crimes were greeted with outrage by survivors and their families, who correctly pointed out that Bernard Cardinal Law, one of the most egregious conspirators, is still soldiering on in his comfy billet at the Basilica Of Our Lady Of The Clean Getaway in Rome. In Philadelphia, by all accounts, the pope was gentle and understanding, but he also apparently remains stuck in an unhelpful and truthless paradigm regarding the offenses against God and man that were committed within the Church.​​

"Is a child anywhere on Earth safer now that a pope, for maybe the seventh or eighth time or ninth time, has briefly chatted with abuse victims? No," SNAP Director David Clohessy said in a statement. The pope said he promised to "zealously" protect young people and that "all those responsible are held accountable…" When he talked to the abuse victims, who weren't identified, the pope said: "I am deeply sorry for the time when you or your family spoke out, to report the abuse, but were not heard or believed. Please know that the Holy Father hears you and believes you. I deeply regret that some bishops failed in their responsibility to protect children."
​Sorry, Papa Francesco. Not nearly enough.—​

In a few weeks, a movie called Spotlight will be released. It concerns the courageous efforts of reporters at The Boston Globe to blow the lid off the scandal in the Boston Archdiocese. (It also has various actors and actresses playing friends of mine, which is very weird, although, if the trailer is any indication, Mark Ruffalo nails Mike Rezendes, my pal of nearly 40 years.) The reason that the Globe was able to do this—​and to touch off the explosion of similar revelations in dioceses around the world—is because a brave editor named Marty Baron saw something that the pope still does not. What occurred in all those rectories and choir lofts was not a series of unpardoned sins. It was an index of unpunished crimes. What occurred in the chanceries of the diocese was not a widespread institutional failure, it was an ongoing conspiracy to obstruct justice. The appropriate punishment for these crimes was not the loss of your rank and position within a religious institution. It was the loss of your freedom. There are people within the church who belong in jail. Period. My god, Dorothy Day would have burned their basilicas down—​rhetorically, of course.​

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:01 PM

In Extraordinary Meeting With Victims Of Sexual Abuse, Pope Pledges To Hold Offenders Accountable

UNITED STATES
Think Progress

BY CASEY QUINLAN SEP 27, 2015

Pope Francis met with survivors of clerical sexual abuse early Sunday morning at Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. In his unprepared remarks to bishops following the meeting with survivors, he promised to “zealously” protect young people against sexual predators in the Catholic Church.

I hold the stories and the suffering and the sorry of children who were sexually abused by priests deep in my heart. I remain overwhelmed with shame that men entrusted with the tender care of children violated these little ones and caused grievous harm. I am profoundly sorry. God weeps. For the sexual abuse of children, this cannot be maintained in secret and I commit to a careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected and that all responsible will be held accountable …

Those who have survived have become true heralds of mercy. Humbly we owe each of them our gratitude for their courage. And they have had to suffer terrible abuse, sexual abuse of minors. I say this I would like to express my gratitude to the archbishop and I felt it very important that I share this message with you today.

To survivors of sexual abuse, Francis said:

For those who were abused my a member of the clergy, I am deeply sorry for the times when you or your family spoke out, but you were not heard or believed. Please know that the Holy Father hears you and believes you … Within our family of faith and our human families, the sins and crimes of sexual abuse of children must no longer be held in secret and in shame. As we anticipate the Jubilee Year of Mercy, your presence, so generously given despite the anger and pain you have experienced, reveals the merciful heart of Christ.

The seminary’s local archdiocese has been the subject of scrutiny after two grand jury reports in 2005 and 2011 that showed the church had not taken proper action to prevent and the rape and molestation of children by church leaders.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:58 PM

Pope Francis Admits Church Covered Up Rampant Sex Abuse by Priests

ROME
The Daily Beast

Barbie Latza Nadeau

On his way back to Rome, Pope Francis clarified his views, and intensified his criticism of predator priests and those who protected them.

ROME — The “Vat pack” of chosen journalists aboard the papal plane from Philadelphia to Rome was treated to a 47-minute in-flight press conference with Pope Francis that ran the gamut from his amazement at the love fest poured out for him to some pretty tough love for his Church.

Vatican Radio provides a complete transcript of the inflight presser and Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa’s Vatican Insider provides a succinct analysis. “The Pope talked about clerical sex abuse against minors, saying he understands those families that cannot forgive,” Tornielli writes. “He spoke about the issue of communion for remarried divorcees and the recent reform on marital nullity, explaining that it does not equate to ‘Catholic divorce.’”

The pontiff even touched on religious freedom regarding a question that alluded to, but did not specifically name Kentucky court clerk Kim Davis’s conscientious objection and refusal to sign same sex marriage licenses. “It is a human right and if a government official is a human person, he has that right,” Francis said, according to the Vatican Radio transcript. “It is a human right.”

On the subject of clerical sex abuse, which Pope Francis addressed at length during a mass with American bishops in Philadelphia, the pope told reporters aboard the plane, “I wouldn’t say an apotheosis but almost a sacrilege. We know abuses are everywhere: in families, in neighborhoods, in schools, in gyms. But when a priest abuses it is very serious because the vocation of the priest is to make that boy, that girl, grow towards the love of God, toward maturity, and towards good,” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:57 PM

Ezra Klein on How New Online Media Technologies Shift U.S. Political Conversation: Implications for "Pope Messiahs" and Centrist Catholic Media Gatekeepers

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

William D. Lindsey

This is what I mean when I keep saying repeatedly that new media made possible by online technology, as well as the tools of social networking, are changing the game for the centrists who have long sought to control public political and religious discourse in the U.S.: Ezra Klein explains what, in his view, is going on with the rapidly shifting terrain of American politics:

[Th]e tools that party insiders use to decide both electoral and legislative outcomes are being weakened by new technologies and changing media norms. And so models of American politics that assume the effectiveness of those tools — models which weight elite opinion heavily, and give outsiders and insurgents little chance — have been thrown off.

Two points to note here: first, new technologies are weakening traditional media. They are changing the media game. They give more of us access to the role of "mediating" news stories to the world at large. And second, note the corelative statement with which Coates follows this observation: the centrist job is to "weight elite opinion heavily" while keeping dissenting voices firmly outside the conversation, firmly shoved to the margins, and pretending that they do not deserve a hearing, because they are not "objective" and "balanced" in the way centrist commentary is objective and balanced. ...

The kind of citizen journalism being done by "ordinary" citizens who snap photos of, say, police brutality against peacefully assembled citizens of Ferguson, Missouri, and immediately send those photos around the world changes the game of traditional media in a radical way. It upends the centrist gatekeepers and explodes their control games.

To relate these ideas to the Catholic context, where the challenge of overcoming the dead hand of control of the centrist gatekeepers of the Catholic media remains acute and imperative, given the continued dominance of a mostly heterosexual, mostly white old boys' network that is shamelessly unapologetic about its unearned privilege in the Catholic media: as Sister Teresa Forcades has repeatedly reminded us, effective change of the Catholic institution will not come via a "Pope Messiah" over whom the centrist old boys (of both genders) fawn and for whom they cheerlead, while they keep the voices of other Catholics, "real" Catholics — especially those on the margins of church and society — decisively locked out of their conversations. It will come from the bottom of the church, as "ordinary" Catholics raise their voices and assert their right to a role in the conversation that makes church.

Think about this for a moment: a pope has resigned. In our own lifetimes. And though the reasons for Benedict's resignation remain murky and will not ever be fully disclosed to us, it is beyond doubt that the assiduous, unrelenting pressure of some long-despised members of the Catholic church played a key role in that resignation. I'm speaking specifically about survivors of childhood clerical abuse.

Who have refused to shut up. Who keep speaking out and telling their stories, organizing despite fierce opposition on the part of the institutional church and, for a very long time, from the media and the legal and criminal justice communities.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:02 PM

Pope Francis admits cover up; SNAP responds

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday, Sept. 28

Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP president (312-399-4747, bblaine@snapnetwork.org)

After 30 years of public scandal in the US over predator priests and complicit bishops, finally a Catholic official is admitting that “princes of the church” covered up heinous crimes. But he fell short of admitting something even worse: that these cover ups continue even now.

[New York Times]

And we must stress that words – be they tougher, clearer, kinder or more frequent – are still just words. In a rigid, ancient, secretive, all-male monarchy, words are weak weapons in the battle against a massive, intractable crisis. Only actions can really make a difference. Those actions still are not happening.

We’re glad that Pope Francis admitted that church officials have concealed abuse. For decades, prelates have insisted these cover ups were “mistakes,” “oversights” and “errors in judgment” when, in fact, they are deliberate, daily decisions to put bishops’ reputations ahead of children’s safety.

Now, of course, Pope Francis must publicly and promptly punish bishops who are protecting predators now. And he must order bishops to do the same with their own staff and clerics who are protecting predators now.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:58 PM

Pope Francis Addresses Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal during Philadelphia Trip

UNITED STATES
Nonprofit Quarterly

By RICK COHEN

In the wake of the controversy regarding his comments to the U.S. bishops earlier last week, Pope Francis met and prayed with five adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse by clergy during his visit to Philadelphia. (Their abusers, according to Vatican press spokesperson Fr. Federico Lombardi, had been clergy or family members or teachers.)

The unscheduled meeting with the survivors, attended also by Boston’s Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, who chairs a church commission on the protection of minors, Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, and Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald, head of the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s office for the protection of minors, lasted a half hour, according to the Guardian.

Following the meeting, the Pope reiterated his determination to hold clergy sexual abusers accountable for their actions. He made the following statements in that regard:

“I hold the stories and the suffering and the sorry of children who were sexually abused by priests deep in my heart…I remain overwhelmed with shame that men entrusted with the tender care of children violated these little ones and caused grievous harm. I am profoundly sorry. God weeps…The crimes and sins of the sexual abuse of children must no longer be held in secret. I pledge the zealous vigilance of the church to protect children and the promise of accountability for all.”

As NPQ reported last week, advocacy groups for victims of Catholic clergy sexual abuse were unhappy with the Pope’s statements in Washington, D.C. and New York City, which focused on the burden that fell upon the bishops who, as the Pope said in New York, were forced to “bear the shame of some of your brothers who harmed and scandalized the church.” To the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the Pope’s statements in Washington and New York were insufficient, suggesting that the Pope “talks and acts like the church hierarchy is the real victim in this crisis.”

Will his meeting with the group of victims in Philadelphia mollify groups like SNAP that see the Pope’s words and deeds as inadequate on this score? The Vatican issued a statement following the Pope’s meeting explaining that the Pope “renewed the commitment of the Church to the effort that all victims are heard and treated with justice, that the guilty be punished and that the crimes of abuse be combated with an effective prevention activity in the Church and in society.” According to the Associated Press, the Pope has also given the go-ahead to a new Vatican tribunal that will prosecute bishops who have “covered up abuse and shielded pedophile priests instead of turning them over to police.”

The Pope’s words of contrition will be seen as more meaningful to victims groups if they are accompanied by changes in the official church response to ongoing and prospective charges of sexual abuse by priests and other Catholic Church leaders. Among the cases and controversies that have arisen recently are these:

* New charges against a former priest named Donald Grecco allege he abused 10- and 14-year-old boys between 1977 and 1982 in the Niagara region of upstate New York.

* Charges against a former priest, John C. Holdren, allege he abused a child in a church in Aurora, Illinois, between 1972 and 1973.

* A priest from Pennsylvania, Joseph Maurizio, has been accused of molesting young boys between 2004 and 2009 during missionary trips he took to Honduras.

* A church volunteer in an Orange County, California church has been accused of molesting a 10-year-old girl while he was assigned to supervise a children’s group.

* A 2011 court deposition of Bishop Robert Cunningham of Syracuse in a case involving a man’s charges of clergy sexual abuse revealed that Cunningham testified that the man, at the time of his alleged victimization, a boy, had been “culpable” and called victims of clergy sexual abuse “accomplices.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:54 PM

If 'God Weeps' About Church Sex Abuse, What Does a Pope Do?

UNITED STATES
Huffington Post

By Jason Berry

WASHINGTON -- Before Congress on Thursday, Pope Francis praised Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker Movement "for her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed," likening her faith to "the example of the saints."

Inspired by Day, Barbara Blaine in the mid 1980s moved into a Catholic Worker House on the South Side of Chicago where women fleeing domestic abuse found safe harbor with their kids. The cavernous floors, long emptied of nuns, housed other young radicals who lived out Day's witness, working with broken lives, people on the ragged edge, the victims of what Pope Francis calls "the throwaway culture."

After the man she loved died in an automobile accident, Blaine began dealing with the traumatic aftershocks of being sexually abused at her Toledo high school by Father Chet Warren. Years later she went after him, won a legal settlement and finally got him defrocked.

The road toward those encounters began when Blaine founded Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) while living in the Catholic Worker House in 1988. SNAP has waged a long battle in helping victims seek legal redress against bishops who concealed sexual predators -- and pushing for structural changes to remove negligent bishops.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:50 PM

Francis, Apostle of Politics and Pluralism

UNITED STATES
Religion News Service - Spiritual Politics

Mark Silk | Sep 28, 2015

On his first trip to the United States, Pope Francis communicated a vision of politics and pluralism that is rapidly becoming the signature social philosophy of his papacy.

In his address to Congress, Francis emphasized the importance of politics as a countervailing force to economic power (just as he had in his encyclical Laudato Si’):

If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance. Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life. I do not underestimate the difficulty that this involves, but I encourage you in this effort.

Similarly, at the United Nations, he stressed that in a world “marked by our technical ability to overcome distances and frontiers and, apparently, to overcome all natural limits to the exercise of power,” the juridical and political capacity of the U.N. is “an essential response, inasmuch as technological power, in the hands of nationalistic or falsely universalist ideologies, is capable of perpetrating tremendous atrocities.”

Francis’ valorization of politics doubtless derives from his experience living under a repressive military regime in a continent where all too often repressive military regimes have exploited the populace for the benefit of domestic elites and foreign economic interests. It is important to recognize that his concern is not about the relative power of government vis-a-vis the private sector so much as about how humanity makes decisions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:45 PM

Pope says bishops covered up sex abuse

UNITED STATES
USA Today

Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY September 28, 2015

Pope Francis said there are bishops who covered up child sex abuse and who will be held accountable. His remarks were to reporters on his flight home after leaving the United States Sunday.

Moving to erase any doubt about the how serious he views crimes against children in the church, the pontiff said he wanted to make clear that his words of consolation toward bishops made earlier Sunday after he visited with five sexual assault victims not be taken out of context.

"I felt the need to express compassion because something really terrible happened," Francis said of those earlier comments on child abuse, "and many of them (bishops) suffered who did not know of this."

But those bishops who were aware and who did not report them will be held accountable, he said. "Those who have covered up these things are guilty," the pope said, according to a Newsday report. "And some bishops covered this up, and it is a very ugly thing."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:33 PM

Timeline of Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Crisis in U.S.

UNITED STATES
NBC News

timeline grpahic

By Asher Klein, Jessica Glazer and Vince Lattanzio

Pope Francis made a surprise announcement on the last day of his U.S. visit, revealing that he'd met with people who have been sexually abused by clergymen. The move brought renewed focus on the issue, which has rocked the Roman Catholic church for more than a decade.

Francis isn't the first pope to apologize to victims of abuse, nor is he the first to meet with them – that would be Benedict XVI, seven years ago.

What makes Francis' remarks especially notable is where he made them – in Philadelphia, where the first U.S. clergyman was convicted for not acting to stop abuse in the city's archdiocese. Click through the timeline to see more events from the 30 year history of public abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:29 PM

Survivor of clergy abuse: I trust Pope Francis, but I still doubt he understands our pain

UNITED STATES
Fox News Latino

By Johnny Vega
Published September 28, 2015
Fox News Latino

When I heard that the pope was coming to the United States, and specifically, to the New York area, I felt anxious. I am a survivor of clergy abuse. A priest and deacon at our neighborhood church abused me and other youths when I was just 9 years old — until I was 16.

I felt confused about my mixed feelings about Pope Francis.

I liked his humble ways, I felt his sincerity toward those who were abused by clergy, but I still couldn't trust completely. Is he true to his heart and words? Is he a man of God who really cares about children abused by priests, and does he really want to put a stop to it?

I think, I hope, yes.

I feel confident and trusting about Pope Francis because never once did he ignore this issue of sexual abuse by priests in parishes around the world.

Some of his statements, to be sure, fall a little short of the truth when he speaks of bishops having "courage" for confronting this issue and selling church property to settle lawsuits to bring closure to victims — that is so far from the truth.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:27 PM

Pope Francis on clerical abuse: 'I do not judge those who are not able to forgive'

ROME
The Guardian

Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Rome
Monday 28 September 2015

Pope Francis has said he understands why some victims of clerical sex abuse and their families could not forgive the church for the suffering they faced, saying such abuse was “almost a sacrilege”.

In remarks during a 47-minute press conference on his flight back to Rome after a tour of the US, the pope also sought to clarify controversial remarks he made to American bishops, when he congratulated them on their “courageous” handling of the sex abuse crisis.

He said he wanted to “express my compassion to them because a terrible thing happened and many of them have suffered because they did not know and when it came out they suffered a great deal.

“It’s a terrible thing and the words of comfort were not to say: ‘Don’t worry that was nothing’ … no, no, no. But it was so bad that I imagine that you cried hard … that was the sense of what I meant,” he said, according to a transcript.

The pope also suggested a Kentucky clerk’s recent refusal on religious grounds to issue marriage licences to gay couples was a question of religious freedom, saying conscientious objection was a “human right”. Kim Davis’s act of defiance became national news, with some conservatives comparing her act to civil disobedience endorsed by Martin Luther King in the civil rights era.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:40 AM

Pope expands warnings on sex abuse scandals after return to Rome

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

By Brian Murphy September 28

Pope Francis broadened his warnings over the church’s sex abuse scandals Monday, saying that clergy and others who helped cover up wrongdoing are also guilty in the eyes of the Vatican.

The pope also indirectly added his voice to U.S. religious showdowns — only hours after wrapping up his three-city visit — by expressing strong backing for those who take a stand for their spiritual views.

The pope made no specific references, but it is certain to be perceived as a reference to current battles over refusals to obey laws permitting same-sex marriage.

In wide-ranging comments by the pontiff during his flight back to Rome, Francis shifted from the serious to the sublime: shrugging off his celebrity, raising interest in a possible groundbreaking trip to China and reflecting on the huge outpouring during his first visit to the United States.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:37 AM

I can forgive an abuser, but understand those who can’t, Pope says

VATICAN CITY
Headlines from the Catholic World

Vatican City, Sep 28, 2015 / 05:14 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his wide-ranging press briefing en route from the United States to Rome, Pope Francis spoke on the difficult subject of forgiving priests who have molested minors, saying that the strength to forgive, and to be forgiven, can only come from God.

Francis also told journalists that while he is willing to forgive clergy who have abused children and young people, he understands why there are some who find this difficult.

“We must forgive, because we were all forgiven,” the Pope said. However, “it is another thing to receive that forgiveness.”

Pope Francis told journalists on board the papal plane he is not judgmental of victims or the families of molested children who struggle to forgive the abuser.

He illustrated this point by recalling a meeting he once had with a victim of molestation, who told him that her mother had “lost her faith and died an atheist” on account of the abuse.

“I understand that woman,” the Pope said, “and God who is even better than me understands her.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:31 AM

Francis leaves the United States: I thank the Lord that I was able to witness the faith of God’s people in this country

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 28 September 2015 (VIS) – Following Holy Mass at Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Pope travelled by car to the airport in Philadelphia where he embarked on his return flight to Rome. He was welcomed at the airport by five hundred people, mostly members of the Organising Committee and volunteers and benefactors of the World Meeting of Families, as well as the vice president of the United States, Joe Biden. The Holy Father expressed his gratitude to them and to the families who had shared their witness during the Meeting.

“It is not so easy to speak openly of one’s life journey! But their honesty and humility before the Lord and each of us showed the beauty of family life in all its richness and diversity. I pray that our days of prayer and reflection on the importance of the family for a healthy society will inspire families to continue to strive for holiness and to see the Church as their constant companion, whatever the challenges they may face”.

The Pope thanked all those who had prepared for his stay in the archdioceses of Washington, New York and Philadelphia. “It was particularly moving for me to canonise St. Junipero Serra, who reminds us all of our call to be missionary disciples, and I was also very moved to stand with my brothers and sisters of other religions at Ground Zero, that place which speaks so powerfully of the mystery of evil. Yet we know with certainty that evil never has the last word, and that, in God’s merciful plan, love and peace triumph over all”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:29 AM

Concluding Mass at the World Meeting of Families: God wants all His children to take part in the feast of the Gospel

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 28 September 2015 (VIS) – Hundreds of thousands of people attended the concluding Mass of the Eighth World Meeting of Families celebrated by Pope Francis in Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway yesterday at 4 p.m. local time (10 p.m. in Rome). During the event, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, announced that the next Meeting will be held in Dublin, Ireland in 2018.

In his homily, Pope Francis commented on the two readings of the day's liturgy, which present the scandal of the people before the miracles and the unexpected prophecies. In the first reading, Joshua tells Moses that two members of the people are prophesying, speaking God’s word, without a mandate. In the Gospel, John tells Jesus that the disciples had stopped someone from casting out evil spirits in the name of Jesus. “Here is the surprise”, remarked the Pope. “Moses and Jesus both rebuke those closest to them for being so narrow! Would that all could be prophets of God’s word! Would that everyone could work miracles in the Lord’s name!”

Jesus encountered “hostility from people who did not accept what He said and did. For them, His openness to the honest and sincere faith of many men and women who were not part of God’s chosen people seemed intolerable. The disciples, for their part, acted in good faith. But the temptation to be scandalised by the freedom of God, Who sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous alike, bypassing bureaucracy, officialdom and inner circles, threatens the authenticity of faith. Hence it must be vigorously rejected. Once we realise this, we can understand why Jesus’ words about causing 'scandal' are so harsh. For Jesus, the truly 'intolerable' scandal consists in everything that breaks down and destroys our trust in the working of the Spirit”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:27 AM

Francis to visiting bishops: Appreciation and gratitude to families must prevail over complaints

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 28 September 2015 (VIS) – Shortly after his meeting with a group of victims, the Holy Father returned to the issue of sexual abuse at the beginning of his address to the three hundred bishops attending the World Meeting of Families, held in the great Chapel of the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.

“I am deeply pained by the stories, the sufferings and the pain of minors who were sexually abused by priests. I continue to be ashamed that persons charged with the tender care of those little ones abused them and caused them grave harm. I deeply regret this. God weeps. The crimes and sins of sexual abuse of minors may no longer be kept secret; I commit myself to ensuring that the Church makes every effort to protect minors and I promise that those responsible will be held to account. Survivors of abuse have become true heralds of hope and ministers of mercy; humbly we owe our gratitude to each of them and to their families for their great courage in shedding the light of Christ on the evil sexual abuse of minors. I say this because I have just met with a group of persons abused as children, who are helped and accompanied here in Philadelphia with particular care by Archbishop Chaput, and we felt that I should communicate this to you”.

Moving on to the issue of the family, he pronounced a discourse, at times improvised, in which he focused on the characteristics of families in today's society and the mission of bishops, reiterating that as pastors they must not be afraid to stay in the midst of families, with all their problems and their capacities, as “ A Christianity which does little in practice, while incessantly explaining its teachings, is dangerously unbalanced”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:26 AM

Francis meets with the victims of sexual abuse: perpetrators will be held accountable

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 28 September 2015 (VIS) – The final day of the Pope's apostolic trip began yesterday with his meeting at the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary with victims of sexual abuse perpetrated when they were minors by members of the clergy, or members of their families or teachers. The group was composed of five adults – 3 women and 2 men – accompanied by Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, archbishop of Boston and president of the Commission for the Protection of Minors, instituted by the Pope, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, and Bishop Michael Joseph Fitzgerald, head of the diocesan office for the protection of minors in the same diocese.

During the meeting, which lasted half an hour, Francis listened to their accounts of their experiences, addressed them as a group and then greeted each one individually. He prayed with them and manifested his participation in their suffering, his pain and his shame for the harm caused by members of the clergy or ecclesiastical collaborators.

“Thank you for corning here today”, he said. “Words cannot fully express my sorrow for the abuse you suffered. You are precious children of God who should always expect our protection, our care and our love. I am profoundly sorry that your innocence was violated by those who you trusted. In some cases the trust was betrayed by members of your own family, in other cases by priests who carry a sacred responsibility for the care of soul. In all circumstances, the betrayal was a terrible violation of human dignity.

“For those who were abused by a member of the clergy, I am deeply sorry for the times when you or your family spoke out, to report the abuse, but you were not heard or believed. Please know that the Holy Father hears you and believes you. I deeply regret that some bishops failed in their responsibility to protect children. It is very disturbing to know that in some cases bishops even were abusers. I pledge to you that we will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead. Clergy and bishops will be held accountable when they abuse or fail to protect children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:24 AM

Pope Francis calls sex abuse cover-up by some bishops ‘very ugly’

Crux

By John L. Allen Jr.
Associate editor September 28, 2015

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE — Pope Francis started his final day in the United States on Sunday by meeting sexual abuse victims and ended it by acknowledging that the problem is not just that Catholic priests have committed abuse, but that bishops have covered it up.

“Also those who have covered up these things are guilty,” he said, referring to the sexual exploitation of children.

“Some bishops covered this up, which is a very ugly thing,” the pope said.

During a 45-minute session with the media aboard the American Airlines flight that carried Francis back to Rome after his nine-day visit to Cuba and the United States, the pontiff also indirectly lent his support to US Christians who are refusing to provide services to same-sex couples.

The most celebrated case is that of a Kentucky county clerk who spent five days in jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Conscientious objection, the pope said, is a “human right,” including for government officials.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:22 AM

'I promise that all those responsible will be held accountable'

UNITED STATES
Canonical Consultation

09/27/2015

Jennifer Haselberger

As you have likely heard by now, this morning Pope Francis met with five survivors of sexual abuse. As the New York Times has reported, not all five were victims of sexual abuse by clergy, supposedly to demonstrate that the church is taking a broader view of the problem of sexual abuse.

The meeting, while not unexpected, will likely do little to calm those upset by Pope Francis's praise for American bishops' handling of the sexual abuse crisis, which he articulated at his prayer service with them in Washington DC. Ironically, our own Emeritus Archbishop, John Nienstedt, was present to hear the praise, but apparently not Pope Francis's statement that he 'deeply regret[s] that some bishops failed in their responsibility to protect children'.

You can find the full text of the Pope's remarks to victims here.

While I feel a certain skepticism about the meeting, I wholeheartedly concur with the Holy Father's final plea: ' I humbly beg you and all survivors of abuse to stay with us, to stay with the Church, and that together, as pilgrims on the journey of faith, we might find our way to the Father.'

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:53 AM

Abuse survivors pin redress hope on PM

AUSTRALIA
SBS

AAP

A key network for people brought up in orphanages and other institutions has called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to establish as a "matter of urgency" a national redress scheme for abuse survivors.

The new prime minister is a parliamentary patron of Care Leavers Australia Network (CLAN), which wants the federal government to back the $4.37 billion scheme recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The recommendations were published on September 14.

CLAN executive officer Leonie Sheedy says Mr Turnbull now has the opportunity to deliver fair and equitable compensation for the many thousands of people who were abused in Australia's orphanages, children's homes, foster care and mental institutions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:44 AM

Geelong woman leads fight for compensation for victims of abuse in care institutions

AUSTRALIA
Geelong Advertiser

NICOLE MILLS GEELONG ADVERTISER SEPTEMBER 28, 2015

A GEELONG woman leading the fight for compensation for those who were neglected and abused in orphanages, children’s homes, foster care and mental institutions has called on new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to take action.

Leonie Sheedy, who heads the Care Leavers Australia Network, has called on Mr Turnbull to deliver a national compensation scheme for the many thousands of people who suffered all forms of abuse ­during their childhood in care.

She said Mr Turnbull, a parliamentary patron of CLAN, now had the opportunity to ­expand a recommendation from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to provide compensation to victims of other types of abuse.

“The royal commission has recommended a national ­redress scheme for victims of child sexual abuse be established by the Federal Government and largely funded by the institutions in which the abuse occurred,” Ms Sheedy said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 AM

Synod’s Turn To Speak. But Decisions Will Be Up To Francis

ROME
Chiesa

The last exchange of fire before the opening of the work. The uncertainty about the procedure. The appeals to the pope. Why in the end it will be he alone who will draw the conclusions

by Sandro Magister

ROME, September 28, 2015 – Back in Rome after his journey to Cuba and the United States, culminating with the world meeting of families in Philadelphia, Pope Francis is now facing the much more exacting challenge of the synod that will open on October 4, the Sunday of the liturgical year on which - as if by a jest of providence - Catholic churches all around the world will resound with these words of Jesus: “Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”

The synod will last for three weeks, and the procedures that will be adopted have not yet been made known, despite having a big influence on the outcome of the work.

What is certain is that there will not be a final message, no commission having been set up to write one.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:34 AM

Vatican mum on gay man’s blocked nomination to abuse panel

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Washington Blade

PHILADELPHIA — A Vatican spokesperson on Sunday declined to comment on the controversy surrounding the two Chilean cardinals who conspired to block a gay man’s nomination to a sex abuse commission that Pope Francis created.

“I have no intention to enter the discussion that has taken place in Chile,” Rev. Federico Lombardi told the Washington Blade during his daily press briefing at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

El Mostrador, a Chilean newspaper, on Sept. 9 published a series of private emails between Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, the archbishop of Santiago, and his predecessor, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz, in which they discussed Juan Carlos Cruz’s nomination to the commission and their efforts to block it.

The emails indicate the cardinals, among other things, described Cruz as a “serpent.” Ezzati and Errázuriz, one of eight cardinals who advises Francis on reforming the Curia that oversees the church, also sought to prevent Cruz from speaking about sex abuse to a group of English-speaking bishops in Rome.

Cruz is among the hundreds of people who Rev. Fernando Karadima sexually abused in his parish in the Chilean capital over more than three decades.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:29 AM

Victims: “Bishops must now honor Francis’ new commitments”

WASHINGTON (DC)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Pope’s promise to “end secrecy” means prelates must act, group says
SNAP: Pontiff’s ‘accountability’ pledge means “enablers” must be punished
Self help organization wants two ---three recent local abuse cases to be “re-examined”

What:
Holding signs and childhood photos, clergy sex abuse victims will urge all US Catholic bishops – including DC’s archbishop - to honor and act on the promises Pope Francis made yesterday. Specifically, the victims will urge America’s bishops and DC Archbishop Donald Wuerl to

-- disclose names of church staff who CONCEALED child sex crimes,
-- disclose (and post on church websites) names of clerics who COMMITTED child sex crimes, and
-- publicly “defrock, demote or at least discipline” the “enablers.’

They will also prod Wuerl to disclose more about and “re-visit” three recent clergy sex abuse cases.

When:
Monday, Sept. 28 at 1:00 p.m.

Where:
Outside the US Conference of Catholic Bishops headquarters, 3211 4th Street NE, Washington DC

Who:
Three-four members of an international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

Why:
On Sunday, Pope Francis made strong promises, including that “abuse cannot be kept secret any longer,” “all responsible will be held accountable," and that church officials will provide "careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected.”

In light of these pledges and others, SNAP is challenging US and DC church officials and members to “take tangible steps” to act on these “noble sentiments”.

Regarding secrecy, the group wants All US bishops and DC Archbishop Donald Wuerl to “disclose the names of clerics who concealed – not just those who committed – clergy sex crimes.”

Regarding accountability, the group wants US bishops and Wuerl to “reveal and punish priests who protected accused predator priests, to deter such future wrongdoing.”

“With almost 6,500 child molesting clerics (and almost 30 publicly accused in the District), bishops (including Wuerl) know which church staff have hidden or ignored clergy sex crimes, but they won’t punish them,” said SNAP’s Becky Ianni of Burke VA. “He’s breaking the pope’s repeated accountability promises. So Wuerl should publicly demote at least one church staffer now.”

Francis said “never again” should clergy sex crimes happen. Toward this end, SNAP is urging all US bishops to post on church websites the names, photos, whereabouts and work histories of “proven, admitted and credibly accused predator priests in their dioceses.” Under pressure, about 15% of US bishops have done this. It’s “the absolute bare minimum” church officials can do “to protect the vulnerable and warn unsuspecting families about child molesters quietly living in their midst,” SNAP says.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:26 AM

Franziskus: Auch Bischöfe haben sexuellen Missbrauch begangen

USA
kath.net

«Die Verbrechen, die Sünden des sexuellen Missbrauchs von Minderjährigen dürfen nicht länger geheimgehalten werden.» Er bleibe «überwältigt von Scham» über solche Fälle, sagte der Papst bei einem Treffen mit 300 Bischöfen. «Gott weint!»

Philadelphia/Vatikanstadt (kath.net/KNA) Papst Franziskus hat so deutlich wie nie zuvor öffentlich eingestanden, dass auch Bischöfe Minderjährige sexuell missbraucht oder derartige Fälle vertuscht haben. «Ich beklage zutiefst, dass einige Bischöfe nicht ihrer Verantwortung nachkamen, Minderjährige zu schützen», sagte er am Sonntag bei einem Treffen mit fünf Missbrauchsopfern in Philadelphia.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:24 AM

Papst will Missbrauchstäter unter Bischöfen bestrafen

USA
Frankfurter Allgemeine

Papst Franziskus hat so deutlich wie nie zuvor öffentlich eingestanden, dass auch Bischöfe Minderjährige sexuell missbraucht oder derartige Fälle vertuscht haben. „Ich beklage zutiefst, dass einige Bischöfe nicht ihrer Verantwortung nachkamen, Minderjährige zu schützen“, sagte er am Sonntag bei einem Treffen mit fünf Missbrauchsopfern in Philadelphia. Es sei „sehr beunruhigend zu wissen, dass in einigen Fällen auch Bischöfe selbst Missbrauchstäter“ gewesen seien, erklärte der Papst laut einer vom Vatikan veröffentlichten Mitteilung.

Zugleich versprach Franziskus, dass Priester und Bischöfe für diese Taten zur Rechenschaft gezogen würden. Bei einem Treffen mit 300 Bischöfen aus aller Welt sagte Franziskus anschließend: „Die Verbrechen, die Sünden des sexuellen Missbrauchs von Minderjährigen dürfen nicht länger geheim gehalten werden.“ Er bleibe „überwältigt von Scham“ über solche Fälle, so der Papst und erklärte: „Gott weint!“

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:22 AM

P. Lombardi: la Chiesa ha a cuore la protezione dei bambini del mondo

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Radio Vaticana

[Father Lombardi: The church has at heart the protection of children in the world.]

La sollecitudine della Chiesa per tutti i bambini del mondo e per la loro protezione nell’incontro del Papa con le vittime di abusi non solo ad opera di membri della Chiesa, ma di famigliari e persone loro vicine. A sottolineare questo aspetto è il direttore della Sala Stampa vaticana padre Federico Lombardi commentando il fuori programma di ieri a Philadelphia. E poi l’attenzione dei detenuti e la centralità del tema della famiglia, lungo l’intero viaggio del Papa negli Stati Uniti. Ma sentiamo padre Lombardi al microfono di Massimiliano Menichetti:

R. – Quello che è stato caratteristico dell’incontro di questa mattina è che non è stato solo con vittime di violenze compiute dal clero o in istituzioni cattoliche, ma più ampiamente. Noi sappiamo che la massima parte degli abusi sessuali, o degli abusi nei confronti dei minori, non avviene da parte di preti né in istituzioni cattoliche, ma in altri luoghi. Allora, il Papa ha allargato la prospettiva: le persone che ha incontrato quest’oggi rappresentavano in qualche modo anche le altre situazioni.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:19 AM

"Gott weint"

USA
Domradio

Am letzten Tag seiner USA-Reise ist Papst Franziskus mit Opfern sexuellen Missbrauchs zusammengetroffen. Zudem besuchte er ein Gefängnis und kritisierte den Strafvollzug. Den Abschluss der Reise bildet ein großer Familien-Gottesdienst.

Nach der Begegnung mit drei Männern und zwei Frauen, die als Minderjährige von katholischen Geistlichen missbraucht worden waren, zeigte sich das Kirchenoberhaupt betroffen. "Gott weint", sagte Franziskus am Sonntag. Als Papst trage er Sorge, dass die Verantwortlichen zur Rechenschaft gezogen und junge Menschen künftig geschützt werden.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:17 AM

How to tell if pope’s meeting with abuse victims leads to change

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Crux

By John L. Allen Jr.
Associate editor September 27, 2015

PHILADELPHIA – Now that Pope Francis has confirmed that he met with victims of sexual abuse Sunday morning, the question will be asked: Do these sessions make a difference?

This is the seventh time a pope has met victims. Pope Benedict XVI held five such sessions, with the first coming during his own 2008 visit to the United States. Pope Francis held his first meeting with victims in July 2014 in Rome, and he has appointed two victims to his own Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

As a matter of practice, the Vatican does not release much information beyond confirming that the meeting happened. There’s no video or still photos, because organizers don’t want it to look like a publicity stunt. They insist that these are private, pastoral meetings, while leaving the victims free to make their own decisions about what they choose to reveal.

Each time these encounters happen, victims usually come away grateful that they’ve been heard. They often talk about how visibly moved the pope seemed as they told their stories, and they express hope that the Church will take their suffering to heart as it attempts to learn the lessons of the abuse scandals.

Over time, however, opinions about what these meetings accomplish often differ.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:14 AM

Pope of the people, and the politics, in historic U.S. visit

UNITED STATES
Reuters

By Philip Pullella September 28, 2015

Pope Francis dove into some of the United States’ thorniest political debates during his historic visit by urging the world’s wealthiest nation to welcome immigrants, to end homelessness and do more to address climate change.

Sometimes his political messages were blunt, like when he pleaded before the U.S. Congress for Americans to end “hostility” toward immigrants. Other times, they were more subtle, like the climate-conscious pope’s decision to ride around in a tiny Fiat rather than a gas-guzzling SUV.

While Vatican officials said the pope was only re-stating Church social teachings and not making political statements in his first U.S. visit ever, many in the public and across the political landscape saw it differently.

Among them, 42-year-old Gabriela Muñoz of Brooklyn, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, who said the pope’s comments on immigration had given her “a lot of hope and faith.

“Even if it’s a small thing, it has to have touched the heart of congressmen,” she said.

But in an acutely polarized Congress, it was unclear if lawmakers’ minds were changed by Francis’ words in Washington or at the United Nations, where he condemned the “boundless thirst” for wealth and power.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Victims of clergy abuse want bishops held responsible

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
News 12

PHILADELPHIA - While many appreciated the pope's recognition of clergy abuse Sunday, victims say that the pontiff's words were not enough.

Pope Francis met with clergy sex abuse victims in Philadelphia on Sunday, and promised to hold those responsible accountable.

Robert Hoatson, former priest with the Archdiocese of Newark who now counsels victims of abuse, says victims want the pope to hold bishops accountable for allowing priests who have abused to stay in ministry.

"Are you going to fire them because you haven't fired anybody yet?" Hoatson said. "Are you going to tell the bishops to stop blocking legislation in the United States that will give victim survivors their day in court?"

In June, Pope Francis set up a tribunal to examine bishops of wrongdoing.

Hoatson's group offered the names Archbishop John Meyers of Newark, former Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, and Cardinal Raymond Burke.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 AM

A Thin Tissue

UNITED STATES
National Survivor Advocates Coalition

by Kristine Ward, September 28, 2015

So far, it is a thin tissue that Pope Francis and the Roman Catholic Church have handed to God as a comfort to weeping over the sexual abuse victims.

Pope Francis said on Sunday morning in his unscripted remarks to bishops and seminarians at the Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia following his meeting with five victims of sexual abuse that “God weeps” because of the sexual abuse.

Even to get the tissue, the Church had to be driven to the store by massive media reporting, grand jury investigations by civil authorities and lawsuits brought by survivors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:06 AM

Analysis: In U.S. visit, pope was caring but cautious

UNITED STATES
Portland Press Herald

BY MARC FISHER
THE WASHINGTON POST

With a generous spirit and palpable affection for American values, Pope Francis won the nation’s heart during his six-day visit that ended Sunday. With his commitment to unchanging church doctrine, he disappointed some who yearn for reform.

His message was pastoral, a series of dramatic reminders of man’s obligations toward the needy, the stranger, the other. His gestures were powerful – his tiny Fiat that knocked the papacy down to a human level, his loving embrace of a disabled child, his decision to dine with the homeless directly after addressing Congress.

But as he delivered moving messages of humanity, the Argentine prelate, making his first trip to the United States at age 78, avoided engaging in America’s polarizing culture wars.

The result for many Catholics, liberal and conservative, was a sense of possibility and renewal, tempered by questions about whether welcoming rhetoric is enough to bridge serious divisions as a traditional church struggles to find its place in a fast-paced, disillusioned society.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

In meeting with sex-abuse victims, pope vows change

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

By Peter Smith / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

PHILADELPHIA — Pope Francis pledged to sexual-abuse survivors Sunday that bishops who fail to protect children from abusive priests, and not just the abusers themselves, “will be held accountable.”

The pontiff did not say what that accountability would entail in his prepared remarks for the private, long-anticipated meeting with five survivors of sexual abuse by priests or family members. He listened to the victims’ stories, prayed with them and pledged “we will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead.”

His spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said those details are being worked out but noted that the pope did form a commission to address such cases.

The meeting took place with three women and two men Sunday morning at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, where grand jury reports in 2005 and 2011 contained explosive revelations of systematic cover-ups of abusive priests by past archbishops and their staffs. A former archdiocesan official is currently incarcerated for his role in the cover-up.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:59 AM

Former priest Robert Claffey faces fresh child abuse allegations

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

SHANNON DEERY HERALD SUN SEPTEMBER 28, 2015

A FORMER priest accused of molesting a string of young children is facing fresh allegations after two new victims recently made complaints to police.

Robert Claffey is due to stand trial on 14 counts of indecent assault, one count of committing an indecent act on a child under the age of 16, and one count of buggery on a girl.

But the County Court heard today Mr Claffey would face more charges after two new victims had made statements to police.

He is accused of molesting children while stationed in parishes in the Ballarat Diocese in the 1980s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

What Pope Francis Thought of the United States

Time

Elizabeth Dias / Papal Plane @elizabethjdias

The Pontiff touched on sexual abuse, women priests and peace in Colombia

Pope Francis offered his first review of the U.S. at 39,000 feet late Sunday night. Less than an hour after departing Philadelphia, he concluded his nine-day trip to Cuba and the U.S. with a wide-ranging, in-flight press conference that touched on everything from religious liberty debates in the U.S. to the popularity of the American nuns to his own increasing stardom. He addressed journalists for nearly 60 minutes in Italian and Spanish.

Each U.S. city was different, the pontiff said, but the warmth of the country made an impression during his first-ever visit. Washington was very welcoming, but “more formal.” New York, was “stralimitate,” an Italian-Spanish mash-up that evokes overwhelming, exuberant, beyond the limits. Philadelphia was “very demonstrative.” Overall, Pope Francis said he was struck by the piety of the American people. “The church’s challenge is staying close to the people … not being a detached church,” he said. “This is something that the church in America has understood and understood well.”

Pope Francis also underscored that conscientious objection is a human right. He was asked if he supported individuals — including government officials — who say they cannot in good conscience abide by some laws or discharge their duties, for example when issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. “I can’t have in mind all cases that can exist about conscience objection but yes, I can say [that] conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right,” he said. “If a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right. … Conscientious objection must enter into every judicial structure … Otherwise we would end up in a situation where we select what is a right, saying ‘this right that has merit, this one does not.’”

One of the most poignant moments came when Pope Francis spoke about a mother who cannot forgive her daughter’s sexual abuser. The Lord still welcomes her, Francis said, even if she cannot forgive. “I understand that woman,” he said. “And God who is even better than me understands her. And I’m sure that that woman has been received by God. … I don’t judge someone who can’t forgive.”

He also directly acknowledged that the ugliness of the priestly cover-up of sexual abuse, in addition to the ugliness of the abuse itself. “Those who covered this up are guilty. Even some bishops who covered this up,” he said. “It is a terrible thing.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 AM

The Pope Just Handed Kim Davis A Huge Win

Huffington Post

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Pope Francis said on Monday government officials have a "human right" to refuse to discharge a duty, such as issuing marriage licenses to homosexuals, if they feel it violates their conscience.

Speaking to reporters as he returned home from a 10-day trip to the United States and Cuba, Francis also repeated his condemnation of priests who had sexually abused children, saying the victims had been "crushed by evil."

Although the Argentine-born pontiff delved into some of the United States' thorniest political debates during his visit, he never specifically referred to a controversy over same-sex marriages, which the Church firmly opposes.

On the flight back to Rome, he was asked if he supported individuals, including government officials, who refuse to abide by some laws, such as issuing marriage licenses to gays.

"Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right," Francis said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

'God weeps,' pope says, after meeting clergy sex abuse victims

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
GlobalPost

By Scott Malone and Philip Pullella

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Pope Francis confronted the sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic clergy on the final day of his first U.S. visit on Sunday, meeting with five adults abused as children and vowing to hold accountable those involved in the crimes and cover-ups.

The pope left the United States on Sunday night, departing from Philadelphia International Airport on an American Airlines flight to Rome. He was seen off by a number of dignitaries, including Vice President Joe Biden.

Wrapping up the six-day U.S. trip, the 78-year-old Argentine pope celebrated Mass outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a neoclassical edifice astride a rocky hill overlooking the Schuylkill River, before the largest crowd of his visit. Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput said the crowd numbered more than a million.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 AM

Pope Francis, on Flight Home, Strongly Condemns Child Sexual Abuse

The New York Times

By JIM YARDLEY
SEPT. 28, 2015

ABOARD THE PAPAL AIRPLANE — Hours after meeting with sexual abuse victims in Philadelphia, Pope Francis on Sunday night again strongly condemned priests who molested children as “sacrilegious” and publicly acknowledged that bishops had covered up abuse cases.

“When a priest abuses, it is very grave because the vocation of the priest is to make that boy, that girl grow toward the love of God,” Francis said. “For this reason, the church is strong on this and one must not cover these things up. Those who covered this up are guilty. Even some bishops who covered this up.”

Francis spoke during a wide-ranging news conference aboard the papal airliner after his trip to Cuba and the United States. He remarked on a variety of topics, including the issue of conscientious objection, the peace talks in Colombia, the so-called Roman Catholic divorce, the construction of border walls to block migrants in Europe — and he also tossed in a grinning endorsement of New York.

After a trip in which huge crowds turned out to see him, Francis on Sunday tried to salve the one major contentious point that erupted during his time in the United States: his comments on sexual abuse. Many victims were infuriated after Francis praised and comforted American bishops in Washington for their handling of the crisis before he met with any victims.

The controversy stewed until Sunday morning in Philadelphia, when Francis met with a group of abuse victims and their family members. Later that morning, Francis condemned the sexual abuse crisis during a meeting with global bishops. On the plane, Francis was asked why he had felt the need to offer bishops comfort and consolation even as feelings about the crisis remained raw in cities like Philadelphia.

“I felt the need to express compassion because something really terrible happened,” the pope replied. “And many of them suffered who did not know of this.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:47 AM

Francis on papal flight: Sexual abuse by priests a 'sacrilege'

National Catholic Reporter

Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service | Sep. 28, 2015

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM PHILADELPHIA
As the American Airlines plane taking him to Rome from Philadelphia took off, Pope Francis said he pictured the faces of all the people he met, and he prayed for them.

At the end of his first-ever visit to the United States, the pope told reporters he "was surprised by the warmth of the people" and how they were "so loving. It was beautiful."

Spending close to 50 minutes with members of the media flying back to Rome with him Sept. 27, the pope said he also was struck by the sincere piety of people at his Masses and prayer services.

Shortly after takeoff, Pope Francis responded to a dozen questions, including why he spoke with such compassion to U.S. bishops in Washington about what they went through in the aftermath of the clerical sex abuse crisis.

"I felt a need to express compassion because what happened was horrible, and many of them suffered a lot," the pope said. For "men of prayer, good pastors" the crisis was truly a "tribulation."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

Pope: Bishops who covered up for abuse guilty of wrongdoing

Athen Banner-Herald

By NICOLE WINFIELD
ASSOCIATED PRESS – published Monday, September 28, 20150

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE | Pope Francis has defended his words of consolation to U.S. bishops over the priest sex abuse scandal but says — for the first time — that those who covered up for abusers are guilty of wrongdoing.

In a wide-ranging press conference en route to Rome from his first-ever visit to the United States, Francis also declared conscience objection a "human right," explained his love affair with American nuns and discussed his own star-power, which was fully on display during his six-day, three-city tour.

He also invented a new Italian word to describe the exuberant reception he received in New York City: "stralimitata" — roughly, "beyond all limits."

On his last day in the U.S., Francis on Sunday met with five survivors of sexual abuse and issued a warning to bishops that they would be held accountable if they failed to protect their flocks.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

September 27, 2015

Editorial suggesting paedophile priest’s sentence ‘seemed pointless’ ruled offensive

AUSTRALIA
MuMBRELLA

An editorial published in the Hamilton Spectator suggesting the sentencing of an octogenarian paedophile priest “seemed pointless” has been ruled by the Australian Press Council to be offensive.

The editorial fin the weekly ‘The Spec ‘Blog’ section commented on the case of a former priest who had lost an appeal against a prison sentence for the indecent assault of a nine year old girl and case involving a former Hamilton teacher who was sentenced to imprisonment for 18 months.

The piece, which was published on April 25, opined that the suspended sentence for an 83 year old infirm priest living in a nursing home “seemed pointless” and that he was “obviously not going to re-offend”. The former teacher was said to have “got 18 months gaol for merely touching an U16 girl’s breast and genitals”.

At the time the editorial attracted national criticism, with ABC Media Watch questioning the views expressed by the newspaper’s owner Richard Beks.

In its defence after a complaint to the press council the local South West Victoria paper argued the editorial’s intention was to consider the wide range of impacts that such abuse can have, adding the editorial repeated what a judge had said and it had done all it could to rectify any misunderstandings.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:08 PM

Read Pope's final speech in the U.S.

UNITED STATES
Rome Reports

READ FULL SPEECH:

Mr. Vice-President,
Distinguished Authorities,
My Brother Bishops,
Dear Friends,

My days with you have been brief. But they have been days of great grace for me and, I pray, for you too. Please know that as I prepare to leave, I do so with a heart full of gratitude and hope.

I am grateful to all of you and to the many others who worked so hard to make my visit possible and to prepare for the World Meeting of Families. In a particular way I thank Archbishop Chaput and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the civil authorities, the organizers, and all the many volunteers and benefactors who assisted in ways large and small.

I also thank the families who shared their witness during the Meeting. It is not so easy to speak openly of one’s life journey! But their honesty and humility before the Lord and each of us showed the beauty of family life in all its richness and diversity. I pray that our days of prayer and reflection on the importance of the family for a healthy society will inspire families to continue to strive for holiness and to see the Church as their constant companion, whatever the challenges they may face.

At the end of my visit, I would also like to thank all those who prepared for my stay in the Archdioceses of Washington and New York. It was particularly moving for me to canonize Saint Junípero Serra, who reminds us all of our call to be missionary disciples, and I was also very moved to stand with my brothers and sisters of other religions at Ground Zero, that place which speaks so powerfully of the mystery of evil. Yet we know with certainty that evil never has the last word, and that, in God’s merciful plan, love and peace triumph over all.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:50 PM

After criticism, Pope Francis confronts priestly sex abuse

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Dallas Morning News

PHILADELPHIA — At the start of an otherwise joyous and well-received trip to the United States, Pope Francis hit one seriously sour note: He praised U.S. bishops for their handling of the sexual abuse scandal and told priests he felt their pain — leaving abuse victims stunned and infuriated, asking why he neglected to even acknowledge their anguish.

On the last day of his journey, Francis stepped to a lectern here before hundreds of seminarians and bishops from around the world and tried to salve the open wound. He said that he had met in private with a group of victims and pledged that “all responsible will be held accountable.”

“God weeps” at the sexual abuse of children, he said in an early translation from Spanish of his remarks added to the start of a scripted address in the chapel at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary here on Sunday. “I commit to the careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected.”

His remarks and the meeting, anticipated for weeks and carefully choreographed, were greeted with varying degrees of skepticism by abuse victims who have now seen two popes on U.S. trips meet with victims and make sweeping promises to protect children. They would like to believe that Francis’ words are sincere and pledges are real, but they continue to have serious doubts, in part because of his comments earlier this week, and because of how Sunday’s gathering came together.

Some of the victims who met with the pope had been abused by relatives or educators — not all by Catholic clergy.

The Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said this was done intentionally to show that the church is taking a “larger perspective” on the problem of sexual abuse. He added that the pope waited to make these remarks until Sunday, when he was scheduled to address an international group of bishops because, “we know the problem is a universal problem, in the universal church, and also in society.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:40 PM

SNAP President Says ‘Lofty Words’ From Pope Francis On Priest Sex Abuse Not Enough

CHICAGO (IL)
CBS Chicago

Nancy Harty

(CBS) — Pope Francis’ pledge to protect children from sexual abuse by priests and to hold accountable those responsible did not win over the head of a local survivors group.

The pope talking with sex abuse victims is nothing new, Barbara Blaine says.

The president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests says the pontiff has held such meetings seven or eight times before and other than providing comfort to those in attendance, it doesn’t do much.

Blaine called the meeting a “photo op” and referred to his comments to U.S. bishops as “timid.”
The pontiff said he commits to careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected and all those responsible will be held accountable.

Blaine says “lofty words” from Pope Francis won’t protect children and he should stop acting like the abuse is over and take steps to prevent it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:33 PM

MEDIA RELEASE – SEPTEMBER 27, 2015

NEW YORK
Road to Recovery

Neal E. Gumpel is a clergy sexual abuse victim of Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, a deceased former professor at Fordham University, Bronx, NY, and Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine, where Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, sexually abused Neal Gumpel when he was a minor child

Fordham University and the Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), who staff Fordham University and were responsible for Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, for decades until his death, refuse to acknowledge and bear responsibility for the allegations of sexual abuse against Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, in Maine and give any assistance to Neal E. Gumpel, settle and validate his claim, and help him heal

What
A press conference and leafleting alerting the media, Fordham University students and community, and the general public that the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and Fordham University refuse to assist a clergy sexual abuse victim of one of its priests, Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ

When
Monday, September 28, 2015 from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm

Where
Outside the gates of Fordham University on Southern Boulevard near the Bronx Botanical Gardens, Bronx, NY

Who

Neal E. Gumpel; his wife, Helen; survivor and advocate Kevin Waldrip; and Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., co-founder and President of Road to Recovery, Inc., a non-profit charity based in New Jersey; other supporters

Why
Neal E. Gumpel is a sexual abuse survivor of Jesuit priest Rev. Roy Alan Drake, SJ when he was a teenager. The sexual abuse occurred at Maine Maritime Academy, in Castine, Maine, where Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ was teaching and acting as a priest at all times. Fordham University and the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) have refused to validate Neal E. Gumpel’s allegation, despite the fact that other allegations against Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ have been found credible and settled. Demonstrators will call on Fordham University and the Society of Jesus to do the right thing, validate and settle the claim of Neal E. Gumpel, and help him heal.

Contacts
Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., Road to Recovery, Inc. – 862-368-2800

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:20 PM

PA--Victims: “Chaput must honor Francis’ new commitments”

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Pope’s promise to “end secrecy” means Chaput must act, group says
SNAP: Pontiff’s ‘accountability’ pledge means “enablers” must be punished
Self-help organization wants three recent local abuse cases to be “re-examined”

What:
Holding signs and childhood photos, after Pope Francis has ended his historic US visit, clergy sex abuse victims will urge Philly area Catholics and their church officials to honor and act on the promises he made. Specifically, the victims will urge Archbishop Charles Chaput to
-- discipline even a few priests who hid or ignored child sex crimes, and
-- disclose more about and “re-visit” three recent clergy sex abuse cases.

When:
Monday, Sept. 28 at 1:30 p.m.

Where:
Outside the Philadelphia Catholic archdiocesan headquarters, 222 North 17th Street (corner of Race) in Philadelphia, PA

Who:
Three-four members of an international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a Missouri woman who is the organization’s long time outreach director

Why:
On Sunday, Pope Francis made strong promises, including that “abuse cannot be kept secret any longer,” “all responsible will be held accountable," and that church officials will provide "careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected.”

In light of these pledges and others, SNAP is challenging Philly church officials and members to “take tangible steps” to act on these “noble sentiments”.

Regarding secrecy, the group wants Archbishop Charles Chaput to “disclose more about those who concealed – not just those who committed – clergy sex crimes.”

Regarding accountability, the group wants Chaput to “punish priests who protected Philly’s 136 publicly accused predator priests.”

“With almost 140 child molesting clerics, and three detailed grand jury reports, Chaput knows which church staff have hidden or ignored clergy sex crimes, but he won’t punish them,” said SNAP’s Karen Polesir of Ambler.

“He’s breaking the pope’s repeated accountability promises. So Chaput should publicly demote at least one church staffer now.”

SNAP also wants Chaput to revisit and reveal more about three recent “troubling” local abuse cases.

--A year ago, with little explanation, Chaput put Msgr. Joseph Logrip back on the job in a parish. Catholic officials admit he faced allegations of sexually violating “minors.” (Notice the plural.) He is also accused, according to the Philly Inquirer, of knowing of an “attack” on a child by a priest but doing “nothing.”

[BishopAccountability.org]

(Regarding the abuse charges, Chaput only says they are “unsubstantiated.”)

--Last year, Chaput also kept secret for months about child sex abuse reports involving Fr. John P. Paul. Fr. Paul resigned claiming he was “considering a serious road trip for 'renewal' purposes.” Chaput let this lie go unchallenged. When Chaput finally did announce that abuse complaints led to Fr. Paul’s suspension, he notified only one parish. (Eventually, Philly church officials told the public and the rest of their flock.)

--In 2012, Chaput “recklessly” put Fr. Joseph DiGregorio back on the job even though the priest “violated behavioral standards.” Chaput justified his decision by claiming that a “clinical evaluation” supposedly says the priest is no threat to children and because “no other complaints were reported.” The church’s 2002 national abuse policy, however, says nothing about a priest being kept in a parish if a therapist says he’s no threat. (Before 2002, dozens of bishops used this same rationale when, with disastrous results, they put hundreds of accused predators back around kids.)

Given Francis’ professed commitment to end secrecy and “always be vigilant to protect children,” SNAP wants Chaput and his abuse review board to “look again at these cases, be more forthcoming and err on the side of caution.

“At best, Chaput does the absolute bare minimum required of him under the church’s vague, weak, decade-old abuse policy. Surely, he’ll do more in light of Francis’ latest promises,” said David Clohessy, director of SNAP. “At worst, Chaput violates that policy by putting accused predators back on the job, by letting suspended predators live unsupervised, and by being secretive in ways that continue to put kids at risk. That too, we’d expect to change, given the pontiff’s clear pledges.”

Contact:
Barbara Dorris (314 503 0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org), David Clohessy (314 566 9790, davidgclohessy@gmail.com), Becky Ianni (703 801 6044,SNAPvirginia@cox.net

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:16 PM

Statement on the Pope's Homily in Philadelphia

UNITED STATES
BishopAccountability.org

By Terence McKiernan
President
BishopAccountability.org
September 27, 2015

After the Pope’s remarks regarding bishops and priests, and his meeting with clergy abuse survivors and other abuse survivors together, it’s sadly no surprise that Pope Francis somehow preached on the Gospel passage most relevant to clergy abuse without confronting that issue.

"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”

The Gospel reading on the millstone has been embraced by survivors of clergy abuse. Pope Francis could have acknowledged those survivors by preaching at the closing of the World Meeting of Families on that crucial aspect of today’s Gospel, and by confronting the issue of clergy abuse squarely in his homily. This would have salvaged a visit otherwise tone-deaf on this terrible problem, and would also have corrected the failure of the World Meeting of Families to include clergy abuse on its agenda.

How the Pope might have addressed this difficult Gospel today may be seen in the “shadow homily” that I posted a week ago.

Pope Francis also referred several times in his homily to scandal, a concept with an egregious history in clergy abuse and its discourse. He used the word because in the Gospel passage, the English “causes … to sin” renders the Greek verb skandalizein, which literally means “to cause to trip or err.” Again, Pope Francis failed to confront a crucial aspect of the Gospel reading.

The Pope missed an important opportunity to address clergy abuse at the closing of the World Meeting of Families, and failed to acknowledge obvious links between today’s Gospel and the plight of clergy abuse survivors in the United States and around the world.

Terence McKiernan
President
BishopAccountability.org
508-479-9304 :: cell
@TerryMcKiernan1 :: twitter
Introduction to the Archives

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 PM

Survivors of clergy sex abuse want more to be done

MASSACHUSETTS
WCVB

BOSTON —Some victims of clergy sex abuse feel the Pope’s word fell short.

Pope Francis met with survivors and members related to survivors of clerical sex abuse and has promised to hold accountable those responsible.

The Rev. Federico Lombardi says the three women and two men met with the pope for a half hour at the St. Charles Borromeo seminary Sunday. Cardinal Sean O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston, accompanied the group.

Lombardi says the pope prayed with the survivors, listened to their stories and expressed his closeness in their suffering and his "pain and shame" in the case of those abused by priests.

But some survivors believe the Pope is not fully addressing the issue.

“When a child is abused by a priest, it ruins their spirituality,” said Phil Saviano, a victim’s advocate of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP). Saviano was abused by a priest when he was 12 years old.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:32 PM

Pope’s Comments on Sex Abuse Scandal Not Enough for Some

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
New York Times

Alan Rappeport

Pope Francis met in private on Sunday morning with a group of victims of the sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Roman Catholic Church.

But while he expressed sorrow for the incidents and promised more oversight, for some it was not enough.

“I truly hope that those victims find healing from meeting with him, but what about the rest of the victims?” said Becky Ianni, an abuse victim and spokeswoman for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Speaking to CNN, Ms. Ianni said that the pope’s remarks were expected, but that he has the power to take additional steps to hold bishops accountable for their actions and to create transparency within the church.

“What we really need is for him to do something to protect children,” she said after Francis’ remarks.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:29 PM

Victims Suggest Church Is Shifting Debate on Abuse

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
New York Times

Vivian Yee

The five victims of child sexual abuse who met with Pope Francis on Sunday morning included some who had been abused by relatives or educators, not Roman Catholic clergy — a deliberate decision made to show that the church is taking a “larger perspective” on the problem of sexual abuse, said the Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman.

Victims of clergy sex abuse and their advocates saw something less benign at work: a subtle but unmistakable effort by the Vatican to shift the terms of the debate, to show “that it’s not always the church’s fault,” as Marci A. Hamilton, a law professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University who has represented hundreds of victims of clerical sexual abuse, put it.

Church officials have argued that sexual abuse of children is not confined to the Catholic Church, pointing out that it infects other institutions and other religions as well. The pope may not have explicitly said the same, the advocates said, but the meeting’s inclusion of people abused by teachers and relatives as well as priests spoke volumes.

“He almost seems to be trying to deflect attention somewhere else,” said Barbara Blaine, the president of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, the country’s most prominent support and advocacy group for victims of clergy sexual abuse. “Of course those who are sexually violated suffer horribly, regardless of who the perpetrator is. But the problem that we see is that we think Pope Francis has both the authority and the responsibility to stop the sexual violence in the church, and he’s failing to do that.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:27 PM

Reflections on the Pope's visit to the U.S.

UNITED STATES
Questions from a Ewe

My last night in China, I stayed up well past bedtime to watch Pope Francis address the U.S. Congress. I noted both what he said and what he didn’t say. He explicitly called for a global end to the death penalty and arms sales. He explicitly called for welcoming immigrants, tending the environment and caring for the poor. He explicitly spoke of the perils of child abuse. He never uttered the words, “abortion,” “birth control,” “Obamacare,” “Planned Parenthood,” or “gay marriage.”

I had to settle for reading the transcript of his homily to U.S. bishops in D.C. in which he congratulated and thanked the bishops for their actions around the clergy sex abuse scandals without offering any encouragement to abuse survivors. Yet, most abuse survivors and many lay people find the bishops’ individual and collective actions on this topic to span between cowardly and dastardly…not even close to the “courageous” description ascribed by Francis.

It seemed the connection between Francis’ child abuse comments to Congress and the lifelong wounds arising from clergy-inflicted child sexual abuse eluded Francis. In declaring the bishops’ response “courageous” and speaking of the issue as though concluded while so many abuse survivors still constantly battle abuse ramifications, Francis displayed appalling insensitivity. He evaded institutional responsibility to walk in healing restitution with survivors every day, every step of their lives.

While reading that homily I was also struck by Francis’ seeming assumption that the bishops and clergy are penultimate experts on and purveyors of gospel messages – and that they just tirelessly need to be gentle until the (clueless, sad, miserable) sheep finally catch on to their wonderful messages. This, would bring about healing in the church, he seemed to say. That and the clergy abuse comments made me wonder about Francis’ institutional self-awareness.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:16 PM

Read what Pope Francis told sex abuse victims in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
ABC 27

The following transcript is from Pope Francis’s meeting with sex abuse victims at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, as provided by the Vatican:

My dearest brothers and sisters in Christ, I am grateful for this opportunity to meet you, I am blessed by your presence. Thank you for coming here today.

Words cannot fully express my sorrow for the abuse you suffered. You are precious children of God who should always expect our protection, our care and our love. I am profoundly sorry that your innocence was violated by those who you trusted. In some cases the trust was betrayed by members of your own family, in other cases by priests who carry a sacred responsibility for the care of soul. In all circumstances, the betrayal was a terrible violation of human dignity.

For those who were abused by a member of the clergy, I am deeply sorry for the times when you or your family spoke out, to report the abuse, but you were not heard or believed. Please know that the Holy Father hears you and believes you. I deeply regret that some bishops failed in their responsibility to protect children. It is very disturbing to know that in some cases bishops even were abusers. I pledge to you that we will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead. Clergy and bishops will be held accountable when they abuse or fail to protect children.

We are gathered here in Philadelphia to celebrate God’s gift of family life. Within our family of faith and our human families, the sins and crimes of sexual abuse of children must no longer be held in secret and in shame. As we anticipate the Jubilee Year of Mercy, your presence, so generously given despite the anger and pain you have experienced, reveals the merciful heart of Christ. Your stories of survival, each unique and compelling, are powerful signs of the hope that comes from the Lord’s promise to be with us always.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:02 PM

Pope's vow to hold clergy accountable for abuse draws disdain, praise

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
USA Today

[with video]

John Bacon and Aamer Madhani September 27, 2015

PHILADELPHIA — A much-anticipated pronouncement from Pope Francis on Sunday that clergy responsible for sex abuse will be "held accountable" drew disdain from victims advocacy groups but positive reviews from Vatican experts.

At a meeting with about 300 international bishops, Francis said he met privately Sunday with five adults who experienced sexual abuse by clergy, family members or teachers when they were minors. The pontiff promised "zealous vigilance" in protecting young people in the future.

"I remain overwhelmed with shame that men entrusted with the tender care of children violated these little ones and caused grievous harm," he added. "I am profoundly sorry. God weeps."

David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said that years ago the church pretended that abuse and coverups were not happening. The church narrative now, he said, is to express regret for past behavior and pretend abuse is not still happening.

"Is a child anywhere on Earth safer now that a pope, for maybe the seventh or eighth time or ninth time, has briefly chatted with abuse victims? No," Clohessy said after Francis remarks Sunday. "A smart public relations move. That’s what this meeting is. Nothing more." ...

John Thavis, a former Catholic News Service reporter and author of The Vatican Diaries, also said he was encouraged by the pope's statement.

"The pope promises accountability, which has been the missing element in the Vatican's approach to sexual abuse," Thavis said. "He is delivering on this issue, too, having announced the establishment of a tribunal at the Vatican that will judge bishops who have failed to protect children."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:00 PM

Police backflip on Adass board over sex offender’s escape

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

KATHERINE TOWERS
THE AUSTRALIAN
SEPTEMBER 28, 2015

Members of the ultra-orthodox Adass Israel School board face a possible criminal investigation for helping secrete former headmistress and serial sex offender Malka Leifer out of Australia to avoid detection, after a major backflip by Victoria Police.

The Australian revealed last week that board members had potentially breached Victoria’s Crimes Act by arranging for Leifer to flee Australia in the dead of the night in 2008 when they were aware she was facing allegations of sexually abusing more than eight girls.

Despite last Thursday emphatically ruling out a criminal investigation into the actions of individual board members, Victoria Police yesterday changed their stand and revealed it was now under consideration.

“Police will be looking at this as a broader part of the investi­gation to determine whether an offence has been committed,’’ a police spokeswoman said.

Leifer is under house arrest in Israel facing extradition to Australia on dozens of child abuse charges relating to her time at the strictly devout Adass Israel School.

In awarding a former student and abuse victim of Leifer more than $1.2 million compensation earlier this month, Supreme Court judge Jack Rush was scathing of the behaviour of board members in helping the mother of eight flee Australia’s criminal jurisdiction by arranging for her to fly out after she had been sacked.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:56 PM

‘God Weeps,’ Says Pope Francis, Calling For Accountability on Sex Abuse Crimes

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Sojourners

By David Gibson, Religion News Service 09-27-2015

Pope Francis began the final day of his U.S. visit by meeting privately with five adults abused as children by clergy, teachers, or family members, telling them they should expect the church to look after them and vowing “the zealous vigilance of the church to protect children and the promise of accountability for all,” including bishops.

“For those who were abused by a member of the clergy, I am deeply sorry for the times when you or your family spoke out, to report the abuse, but you were not heard or believed. Please know that the Holy Father hears and believes you,” he told the three women and two men — who he called “survivors” — at the private meeting at a seminary here on Sept. 27.

A leading victims’ advocacy group in the U.S. quickly dismissed the meeting as another “feel good, do nothing” papal meeting with survivors. This is the second time Francis has met with victims; the first was in the Vatican in July last year.

According to the Vatican’s account of the meeting, Francis expressed “deep regret” that some bishops shielded abusive priests, and added: “I pledge to you that we will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead. Clergy and bishops will be held accountable when they abuse or fail to protect children.”

The pope praised the witness of the victims, who were not identified, and said their presence was “so generously given despite the anger and pain you have experienced.”

In later remarks to a group of bishops, he called the victims “heralds of hope and ministers of mercy” — mercy being a key theme of Francis’ efforts to make the church more open and inclusive. ...

David Clohessy, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, had been critical of the proposed meeting and what he heard of Sunday morning’s encounter did not change his mind.

“Is a child anywhere on earth safer now that a pope, for maybe the seventh or eighth time or ninth time, has briefly chatted with abuse victims? No,” Clohessy said in a statement.

“A smart public relations move. That’s what this meeting is. Nothing more.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:51 PM

Pope pledges vigilance against clergy sex-abuse, but victims' groups are unsatisifed

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Record

BY MARINA VILLENEUVE
STAFF WRITER | THE RECORD

Minutes after apologizing to survivors of priest sexual abuse survivors on Sunday morning, Pope Francis veered off script and promised a crowd of Catholic bishops and seminarians that he would hold accountable clergy members who sexually abuse children.

“I hold the stories and the suffering and the sorrow of children who were sexually abused by priests deep in my heart,” the pontiff said in Spanish to an audience of bishops, seminarians and seminary staff in St. Martin’s Chapel at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary outside Philadelphia.

“The crimes and sins of the sexual abuse of children must no longer be held in secret,” the pope said. “I pledge the zealous vigilance of the church to protect children and the promise of accountability for all.”

The pope’s words about the sex-abuse scandal that continues to haunt the Church on the last day of his first visit to the United States, where he has spoken about global inequality, immigration and the importance of family to Congress, the United Nations and hundreds of thousands of people at masses and gatherings in New York, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. After his remarks at the seminary, he was headed for Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility to meet with inmates, their families and staff and later the capstone of his visit, an outdoor mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi SJ said that for an hour Sunday morning, Pope Francis met with five adults -- three women, two men -- who were sexually abused as children by members of clergy, family members or teachers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:48 PM

Outreach to Abuse Victims Rings Hollow for Survivor

UNITED STATES
New York Times

Vivian Yee

Before Pope Francis touched down in the United States, Kenneth M. O’Renick, 72, who was six when he was abused by a priest at his parish school in Kansas City, was brimming with optimism about the pope. Then he heard what Francis had said to American bishops in Washington about their courage and generosity in the face of the sexual abuse crisis.

“It just turned us off,” he said on Sunday, after the pope announced that he had met with a group of abuse victims in Philadelphia. “As much good as this pope has done, what he said, we were very disappointed, very disappointed in that. That was a big step back. That was something that hit us right between the eyes.”

His praise for the bishops, Mr. O’Renick said, made his promises to protect youth and hold abusers accountable on Sunday “ring hollow, very hollow, to me.”

Before Francis’ arrival, Mr. O’Renick took the removal of Bishop Robert W. Finn as head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph as proof that Francis was taking decisive steps toward accountability. By Sunday, he had lost his certainty: “He has not even come close to what needs to be done, in my opinion,” he said. “I hope that it gets better, but I’m certainly not as hopeful as I was in anticipation of him coming.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:44 PM

Pope Francis finally met with sex abuse survivors but more action is critical, activists say

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Washington Post

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Abby Ohlheiser and Terrence McCoy

PHILADELPHIA – Pope Francis told U.S. bishops and seminarians on Sunday that he had met with sex abuse survivors. “God weeps,” he said in remarks ahead of a prepared speech on the family.

Five adults who were abused as minors – three women and two men – were at the meeting along with their families, according to the Vatican’s press office. The survivors were abused by clergy, family members, or their teachers. ...

“As with all things related to the Catholic Church, you have to listen to the words and then you have to watch what they do,” said John Salveson, a clergy sex abuse survivor, prominent activist and president of The Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse.

Salveson said the Vatican has been aware of possible solutions “for years, if not decades.” They include releasing the identity of priests who have been defrocked for abusing children; involving civil authorities when there is abuse, particularly in other countries, and extending the statute of limitations on clergy sex abuse, he said.

“The reason this all continued is that these priests don’t get prosecuted and the bishops who hide them don’t get prosecuted because they are protected by the statute of limitations,” he said.

The pope’s outreach is useful to the extent it eases victims’ suffering, said Marie Collins, a member of an advisory commission the pope set up to help him improve the church’s response to abuse.

“If it’s going to help their healing, then it’s a positive experience for them. It’s a very positive experience for them,” said Collins, a clergy abuse survivor from Ireland. But, Collins added, the meeting “really is not connected [to the] work for the future of child protection.”

Instead, she said, the pope’s decision to set up a papal commission advising him on how to handle the issue going forward was “the most positive change to happen” so far.

Robert Hoatson, who held signs in support of victims of abuse in front of Philadelphia’s basilica over the weekend, said on Sunday that he felt the pope’s comments brushed too quickly over the serious issue. “This is getting more bizarre,” said Hoatson, who works with victims. ” It’s going to cause more distress, more traumatization, re-abuse,” he said, “because it seemed like a side note.”

“It was as if he added this to his talk without telling the bishops what he is going to do, including removing some of [the bishops],” Hoatson said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:39 PM

"Alle Verantwortlichen werden zur Rechenschaft gezogen"

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Katholisch

Papst Franziskus ist in den USA mit Missbrauchsopfern zusammengetroffen. Das teilte er bei einer Begegnung mit rund 300 Bischöfen in Philadelphia am Sonntag mit.

Dabei kündigte er auch an, dafür zu sorgen, dass "alle Verantwortlichen zur Rechenschaft gezogen werden". Im Juni hatte Franziskus ein eigenes vatikanisches Gericht für Bischöfe eingerichtet, die sexuellen Missbrauch von Mitarbeitern vertuschen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:34 PM

"Tiefe Scham": Papst trifft in den USA Missbrauchsopfer

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Die Presse

Papst Franziskus hat während seiner USA-Reise in Philadelphia Missbrauchsopfer getroffen und eine harte Strafe für die Schuldigen angekündigt. "Ich verspreche, dass alle Verantwortlichen für sexuellen Missbrauch von Kindern bestraft werden", sagte der Pontifex am Sonntag bei einem Treffen mit Bischöfen zum Abschluss seiner USA-Reise.

Zuvor hatte Franziskus fünf Missbrauchsopfer empfangen, drei Frauen und zwei Männer, wie der Vatikan mitteilte. Die Opfer berichteten in dem etwa 30 Minuten langen Treffen von ihren Erfahrungen, Franziskus richtete einige Worte an sie, begrüßte dann jeden einzeln und betete mit ihnen. Der Papst sagte anschließend vor den Bischöfen aus aller Welt, er empfinde "tiefe Scham", dass den Kindern Gewalt angetan worden sei und schwere Leiden verursacht worden seien. "Diese Verbrechen können nicht länger geheim gehalten werden", sagte er. "Gott weint" angesichts dieser Taten.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:32 PM

Franziskus trifft in den USA Opfer von sexuellem Missbrauch

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Zeit

Philadelphia (AFP) Papst Franziskus ist bei seinem Besuch in den USA mit Opfern von Kindesmissbrauch durch Angehörige der katholischen Kirche zusammengetroffen. "Gott weint über diejenigen, die angegriffen wurden", sagte er am Sonntag, als er vor Bischöfen in Philadelphia von seinen Begegnungen berichtete. Die Leidtragenden seien "wirkliche Helden der Barmherzigkeit", fügte er hinzu. Die Täter würden zur Rechenschaft gezogen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:31 PM

Papst trifft in den USA fünf Missbrauchsopfer

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
kath.ch

Philadelphia, 27.9.15 (kath.ch) Papst Franziskus ist bei seiner USA-Reise mit Missbrauchsopfern zusammengetroffen. Nach Angaben von Vatikansprecher Federico Lombardi sprach und betete der Papst bei dem ausserplanmässigen Treffen am Sonntag, 27. September, in Philadelphia mit drei Frauen und zwei Männern, die als Minderjährige von Geistlichen und Kirchenmitarbeitern missbraucht worden waren.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:29 PM

Papst trifft Missbrauchsopfer: „Gott weint über diese Verbrechen"

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Radio Vatican

Papst Franziskus hat in Philadelphia Überlebende von sexuellem Missbrauch getroffen. Er trage die Lebensgeschichten und das Leiden dieser Minderjährigen im Herzen, sagte der Papst zum Beginn seiner Begegnung mit Bischöfen, die am Weltfamilientreffen teilnehmen. Er empfinde „tiefe Scham, dass Personen, denen diese Kleinen anvertraut waren, ihnen Gewalt antaten“ und schweres Leid verursachten. „Gott weint“ angesichts dieser Verbrechen, sagte Franziskus den Bischöfen aus aller Welt und schärfte ihnen ein: „Die Verbrechen des sexuellen Missbrauchs an Minderjährigen dürfen nicht länger geheim gehalten werden. Ich verspreche, dass alle Verantwortlichen dafür Rechenschaft ablegen werden.“

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:27 PM

How to tell if pope’s meeting with abuse victims leads to change

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Crux

By John L. Allen Jr.
Associate editor September 27, 2015

PHILADELPHIA – Now that Pope Francis has confirmed that he met with victims of sexual abuse Sunday morning, the question will be asked: Do these sessions make a difference?

This is the seventh time a pope has met victims. Pope Benedict XVI held five such sessions, with the first coming during his own 2008 visit to the United States. Pope Francis held his first meeting with victims in July 2014 in Rome, and he has appointed two victims to his own Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

As a matter of practice, the Vatican does not release much information beyond confirming that the meeting happened. There’s no video or still photos, because organizers don’t want it to look like a publicity stunt. They insist that these are private, pastoral meetings, while leaving the victims free to make their own decisions about what they choose to reveal.

Each time these encounters happen, victims usually come away grateful that they’ve been heard. They often talk about how visibly moved the pope seemed as they told their stories, and they express hope that the Church will take their suffering to heart as it attempts to learn the lessons of the abuse scandals.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:25 PM

Clergy Abuse Victims' Group Slams Pope's 'Brief Chat'

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
NBC News

[with video]

by HASANI GITTENS

Once again, not enough!

That's the message from the Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, following Pope Francis' message Sunday morning that he had met with some victims of clergy sex abuse.

"Is a child anywhere on earth safer now that a pope, for maybe the seventh or eighth time or ninth time, has briefly chatted with abuse victims? No," said SNAP Director David Clohessy, in a statement.

The comments came after Francis in Philadelphia Sunday morning said he had met with survivors of clerical sex abuse.

The pope said he promised to "zealously" protect young people and that "all those responsible are held accountable."

But SNAP just dismissed the meeting as a "smart public relations move."

"To give some perspective, let's assume that roughly the same percentage of priests molest the same percentage of kids across the globe. In the U.S., in 2012, two church experts estimate 100,000 kids in the U.S." wrote Clohessy. "The US is about 6 percent of the world's population. If you do the math, that means there are more than 1.5 million men and women on this planet who have been raped, sodomized or molested by Catholic priests."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:15 PM

Lifting the lid on Australia's child sex abuse

AUSTRALIA
BBC News

By Marie McInerney
Melbourne, Victoria

For decades, Peter Blenkiron remained silent about the abuse he had suffered at age 11 at the hands of his Catholic Christian Brother teacher.

Earlier this year, Mr Blenkiron relived the horror of his school days, telling an inquiry into child abuse about how he would be pressed against the wall at the back of the classroom while his teacher physically and sexually abused him, with the other students ordered to look away.

"If there was no sexual abuse after the belting, then you knew you'd had a good day," the 53-year-old told a hearing of Australia's landmark Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Giving testimony from his hometown Ballarat, in regional Victoria, and hearing harrowing stories from other survivors of child abuse brought back the pain, Mr Blenkiron told the BBC.

"I was a mess for about two months," he says.

But he was determined to shine a light on the abuse that has claimed the lives of many of his peers, through suicide and substance abuse, and that turned him into "a ticking time bomb".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:14 PM

For only second time, Francis meets abuse survivors, says 'God weeps'

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
National Catholic Reporter

Joshua J. McElwee | Sep. 27, 2015

PHILADELPHIA
For only the second time in his two-and-a-half year papacy, Pope Francis has met with survivors of clergy sexual abuse during his trip to the U.S. and has told them he is "profoundly sorry" for their suffering.

The Vatican announced the meeting in a brief press bulletin Sunday, saying Francis had met with five survivors of abuse that morning while staying at the St. Charles Borromeo seminary in Philadelphia.

The pontiff met with the survivors as a group and then one-by-one, praying with them and promising a renewed commitment to prevent abuse and provide accountability for those who covered up crimes, the Vatican said.

"Words cannot express my sorrow for the abuse you suffered," the pope told the survivors, according a text of his remarks for the meeting released by the U.S. bishops' conference.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:11 PM

Did Pope Francis ever take a single step to protect a child?

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Sunday, Sept. 27

Statement by Becky Ianni of Virginia, SNAP Virginia State leader (703-801-6044 cell, SNAPVirginia@cox.net)

The AP reports that including incest victims in the papal meeting today is an effort to “redirect the discussion.”

[US News]

We hope that’s not true. If true, that’s incredibly cynical. It’s pathetic when wrongdoers claim “someone else is even worse.” It was hurtful to victims and Catholics alike when Francis said this in 2010.

[BishopAccountability.org]

It's hurtful every time a Catholic official makes this self-serving dodge. Almost always, bishops mention incest to shift the focus onto predators and away from their own continuing complicity.

Regardless, however of church officials’ intent, we feel that every victim needs and deserves all the support and validation possible. Our hearts ache for them.

Sadly, by opposing secular reforms of child safety laws, Catholic officials hurt both clergy abuse victims AND incest victims, denying all of us the chance to protect kids by exposing predators in court.

Finally, this morning in Philadelphia, Francis said “I commit to a careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected and that all responsible will be held accountable.” We are sick and tired of these promises by Catholic officials. We’re heard them literally tens of thousands of times.

From 1969 until 1992, Francis was a priest.

From 1992 until 2001, he was a bishop.

From 2001 until 2013, he was a cardinal.

Is there a single shred of evidence that he took even a single step to protect a single child?

And from 2013 until now, he’s talked, promised and gestured but refuses to take simple, proven steps to protect kids, expose predators, punish enablers and deter wrongdoing.

He set up a church study panel. He says he’ll set up a church tribunal. But he continues to keep secret every file about every predator and every enabler. His bishops across the world are hiding even more evidence. These hundreds of thousands of pages about crimes should be in the hands of law enforcement. But under Francis, as best we can tell, not one page has been voluntarily provided to one police officer or prosecutor or government official anywhere.

Francis continues to conceal thousands of names of proven, admitted and credibly accused predator priests. He continues to tolerate thousands of complicit church officials. And he continues to promote dozens of complicit bishops (like Barros in Chile).

We hope the next time Francis talks about this crisis, it’s to announce tangible prevention steps. And we hope he calls it a continuing crisis, not “difficult moments.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:05 PM

Allentown Bishop John Barres praises Pope Francis' 'powerful' statement on sexual abuse

PENNSYLVANIA
The Morning Call

Pope Francis met with victims of child sexual abuse Sunday on the final day of his U.S. visit and promised to hold accountable those responsible for the scandal in the church, delivering a powerful warning to American bishops accused of covering up for pedophile priests instead of reporting them to police.

In a gesture of reconciliation just hours before he was to return to Rome, the pontiff praised the victims as "true heralds of mercy" who deserve the church's gratitude for helping to bring the truth to light.

"God weeps, for the sexual abuse of children cannot be maintained in secret, and I commit to a careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected and that all responsible will be held accountable," Francis said in Spanish while in the City of Brotherly Love for a big festival on the Catholic family.

It was Francis' second such meeting: He met with sexual abuse victims at the Vatican in July 2014.

But in a move that signaled a new effort by the church to reshape the discussion, the Vatican said not all five of the victims at Sunday's meeting were abused by members of the clergy; some of the three women and two men had been victimized by family members or educators.

"I was so touched by his statement to the survivors," said Allentown Bishop John O. Barres, who attended the pope's visit to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary on Sunday morning and was among the concelebrants of Sunday afternoon's Mass in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:03 PM

POPE FRANCIS' REMARKS TO BISHOPS IN PHILADELPHIA

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
6 ABC

PHILADELPHIA -- Read the full text of Pope Francis' remarks to Bishops taking part in the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.
-----

Dear Brother Bishops,

I have in my heart these stories of suffering of those youth that were sexually abused, and it continues to be on my mind that people who had the responsibility to take care of these tender ones violated that trust and caused them great pain.

God weeps for the sexual abuse of children. These cannot be maintained in secret, and I commit to a careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected and that all responsible will be held accountable.

Those who have survived this abuse have become true heralds of mercy. Humbly, we owe each of them our gratitude for their great value as they have had to suffer this terrible abuse, sexual abuse of minors.

I would like to express my gratitude to the archbishop, and I felt it was very important that I share this message with you today, and I am happy to be able to share these moments of pastoral reflection with you amid the joyful celebrations of this World Meeting of Families.

For the Church, the family is not first and foremost a cause for concern, but rather the joyous confirmation of God's blessing upon the masterpiece of creation. Every day, all over the world, the Church can rejoice in the Lord's gift of so many families who, even amid difficult trials, remain faithful to their promises and keep the faith!

I would say that the foremost pastoral challenge of our changing times is to move decisively towards recognizing this gift. For all the obstacles we see before us, gratitude and appreciation should prevail over concerns and complaints. The family is the fundamental locus of the covenant between the Church and God's creation. Without the family, not even the Church would exist. Nor could she be what she is called to be, namely "a sign and instrument of communion with God and of the unity of the entire human race" (Lumen Gentium, 1).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:01 PM

Pope meets with clergy abuse victims, says crimes can't be secret

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Angelus - The Tidings

PHILADELPHIA (CNS) -- Pope Francis met with a group of victims of sexual abuse Sept. 27 and later told bishops that he was overwhelmed by a sense of embarrassment and was committed to holding accountable those who harmed children.

In a meeting with cardinals, bishops, priests and seminarians at St. Charles Borromeo, the pope prefaced his address on the importance of the family by saying that he had met with the group as arranged by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. The Vatican said the 30-minute meeting, with three women and two men abused by members of the clergy or their families or their teachers, was held at the seminary shortly before the pope addressed the bishops.

"It is engraved in my heart, the stories, suffering and pain of the children abused by priests," the pope said. "I continue to feel an overwhelming sense of embarrassment because of those who had in their care the little ones and caused them great harm.

"I am deeply sorry. God cries," he said.

He said that "the crimes and sin of sexual abuse of children can no longer remain secret" and that he "committed the close vigilance of the church to protect the children, and I promise that all responsible will be held accountable."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:57 PM

Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse (FACSA) Statement Regarding Comments by Pope Francis on Clergy Sex Abuse

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse (FACSA)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 27, 2015
Contact: John Salveson at 215-870-0680 salveson@abolishsexabuse.org

BRYN MAWR, PA – John Salveson, President of FACSA, (Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse) released the following statement regarding Pope Francis’ comments in a speech to a group of bishops in Philadelphia today regarding the ongoing clergy sex abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church.

“This morning Pope Francis committed to ‘careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected and that all responsible will be held accountable’ when addressing the clergy sex abuse crisis.

The truth is that the survivor community has been asking the church to take several simple steps to protect children and hold perpetrators and enablers accountable for years, but the Church has refused to take these actions. If Pope Francis wishes to take effective action to back up his words he could take these steps immediately:

• Require that every diocese in the world immediately report all past and present allegations of clergy sex abuse to civil authorities when it is suspected or discovered. Today, only the Church in the United States of America has been given this direction.
• Require that every diocese in the world immediately disclose the identities of those who have been accused of child sex abuse so that children can be protected from them.
• Instruct the Vatican to immediately disclose the identities of the hundreds of priests who have been defrocked because of their sexual abuse of children so that children can be protected from them.
• Instruct every diocese and Catholic advocacy organization, such as the Catholic Conferences of every state in America, to immediately drop their relentless lobbying against the reform of criminal and civil statutes of limitations in place today, which protect abusers and enablers at the expense of children.

Most importantly, we implore the U.S. Department of Justice and the Attorneys General of each state in America to investigate the criminal behavior of the Roman Catholic Church in America and take the steps necessary to hold them accountable for their despicable actions.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:53 PM

Pope Francis On Sex Abuse Within Church: ‘All Responsible Will Be Held Accountable’

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
CBS Philly

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — While speaking to bishops and archbishops at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Pope Francis touched on a number of topics, including sex abuse within the Catholic Church.

He said, “In my heart, the suffering of those youth that were sexually abused, and it continues to be on my mind. The people who had the responsibility to take care of these tender ones violated that trust and caused them great pain.”

Pope Francis continued, “God weeps for the sexual abuse of children. These cannot be maintained in secret. I commit to a careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected and that all responsible will be held accountable.”

“Those that have survived this abuse have become true heralds of mercy. Humbly, we owe each of them our gratitude for their great value, as they have had to suffer with terrible abuse, sexual abuse, of minors. I say this, I would like to express my gratitude to the archbishop, and I felt it very important that I share this with you today. And I am very happy to share these moments of pastoral reflection with you amid the joyful celebration of this World Meeting of Families.”

“For the church, the family, is not first and foremost a cause for concern, but rather a … of god’s blessing upon the masterpiece of creation. Every day, all over the world, the church can rejoice in the Lord’s gift of so many families, who even amid difficult trials, maintain faithful to their promise and keep the faith.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:49 PM

Pope Francis Brings Out the Fire and Brimstone For Child-Abusing Clergy

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Daily Beast

Barbie Latza Nadeau

Evidently moved by his meeting with abuse survivors on Sunday, the pope departed from his official script to excoriate American bishops for their failures.

ROME—On the last day of his historic visit to the United States, Pope Francis excoriated American bishops and cardinals with him in Philadelphia for their handling of child sex abuse by clergy, one of the most damaging issues the American Catholic Church has ever faced.

Earlier Sunday morning, Francis had gone to St. Charles Borromeo seminary, where he received five adult survivors—three women and two men—who were sexually abused as minors, and his unscripted remarks to the bishops were fraught with emotion.

“I have in my heart these stories of suffering of those youth who were sexually abused,” he said. “And it continues to be on my mind. The people who had the responsibility to take care of these tender ones violated that trust and caused them great pain. God weeps for the sexual abuse of children.”

While the television cameras did not focus on the faces of any of the bishops in the audience, there were several there, including Cardinal Justin Rigali the retired archbishop of Philadelphia, who retired in 2011 amid accusations about his mishandling of known pedophile priests in his parishes. Also in attendance was Cardinal Roger Mahony, the former archbishop of Los Angeles, who was stripped of his duties in 2013 for his role covering up abuse allegations.

Francis was absolutely steadfast in his criticism of the American clerical crimes. “For the sexual abuse of children,” he said, “these cannot be maintained in secret. And I commit to a careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected and all responsible will be held accountable,” he said. “Those who have survived this abuse have become true heralds of mercy…. we owe each of them our gratitude for their great value.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:42 PM

Pope Francis' Remarks To Inmates At Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility (Full Transcript)

PENNSYLVANIA
Huffington Post

As released by the Vatican.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you for receiving me and giving me the opportunity to be here with you and to share this time in your lives. It is a difficult time, one full of struggles. I know it is a painful time not only for you, but also for your families and for all of society. Any society, any family, which cannot share or take seriously the pain of its children, and views that pain as something normal or to be expected, is a society “condemned” to remain a hostage to itself, prey to the very things which cause that pain. I am here as a pastor, but above all as a brother, to share your situation and to make it my own. I have come so that we can pray together and offer our God everything that causes us pain, but also everything that gives us hope, so that we can receive from him the power of the resurrection.

I think of the Gospel scene where Jesus washes the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper. This was something his disciples found hard to accept. Even Peter refused, and told him: “You will never wash my feet” (Jn 13:8).

In those days, it was the custom to wash someone’s feet when they came to your home. That was how they welcomed people. The roads were not paved, they were covered with dust, and little stones would get stuck in your sandals. Everyone walked those roads, which left their feet dusty, bruised or cut from those stones. That is why we see Jesus washing feet, our feet, the feet of his disciples, then and now.

Life is a journey, along different roads, different paths, which leave their mark on us.

We know in faith that Jesus seeks us out. He wants to heal our wounds, to soothe our feet which hurt from travelling alone, to wash each of us clean of the dust from our journey. He doesn’t ask us where we have been, he doesn’t question us what about we have done. Rather, he tells us: “Unless I wash your feet, you have no share with me” (Jn 13:8). Unless I wash your feet, I will not be able to give you the life which the Father always dreamed of, the life for which he created you. Jesus comes to meet us, so that he can restore our dignity as children of God. He wants to help us to set out again, to resume our journey, to recover our hope, to restore our faith and trust. He wants us to keep walking along the paths of life, to realize that we have a mission, and that confinement is not the same thing as exclusion

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:45 PM

Pope Francis met with sex abuse victims, prisoners before celebrating outdoor Mass on last day in U.S.

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Washington Post

By Emma Brown and Frances Stead Sellers September 27

PHILADELPHIA — On the final day of his visit to the United States, Pope Francis met Sunday morning with five victims of clergy sexual abuse at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary — a much anticipated event in a city still scarred by the scandal.

“God weeps,” Francis told a gathering of bishops afterwards, departing from his prepared speech. “I commit to a careful oversight of the church to ensure that youth are protected, and I promise that all those responsible will be held accountable.”

Pope Francis met later Sunday morning with about 100 inmates at the largest of Philadelphia’s six prisons, telling them “all of us need to be cleansed, to be washed.” He waded into the audience of prisoners clad in light blue uniforms, grasping their hands and touching their heads and hugging at least one.

The two meetings served as a reminder of the great tension that surrounds the U.S. Catholic Church: Its handling of sexual abuse remains one of its most profound failings, but its message of redemption and forgiveness displays its enduring moral power.

“I am profoundly sorry that your innocence was violated by those who you trusted,” Francis told the sex abuse victims, according to his prepared remarks that were released by the Vatican. “We promise to support your continued healing and to always be vigilant to protect the children of today and tomorrow.” ...

Kevin Waldrip, 64, who was abused on his 13th birthday by “a priest who was one of the first to be convicted,” was unmoved by the pope’s meeting and by his statement afterwards.

“God may weep,” he said, “but [the pope] certainly doesn’t and the church doesn’t. They’ve proven it again and again.”

The pope’s meeting with sexual abuse victims came hours before he is scheduled to celebrate an outdoor Mass before a crowd that could swell into the hundreds of thousands.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:42 PM

Pope Francis met with five sex abuse survivors: ‘God weeps’

PHILADLEPHIA (PA)
Washington Post

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Abby Ohlheiser and Terrence McCoy September 27

PHILADELPHIA – Pope Francis told U.S. bishops and seminarians on Sunday that he had met with sex abuse survivors. “God weeps,” he said in remarks ahead of a prepared speech on the family.

Five adults who were abused as minors – three women and two men – were at the meeting along with their families, according to the Vatican’s press office. The survivors were abused by clergy, family members, or their teachers.

“I have in my heart, the stories of suffering and pain of the minors who were sexually abused by priests. And, it continues to overwhelm me with shame that the people who were charged with taking care of these tender ones violated that trust and caused them a profound pain. God weeps.” Pope Francis said at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, according to a translation of the Spanish remarks by The Washington Post.

“The crimes and sins of sexual abuse of minors cannot be kept in secret any longer.” he continued.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:34 PM

Pope Francis Meets Sex-Abuse Victims; Expresses ‘Solidarity’ for Their Suffering

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Wall Street Journal

By DEBORAH BALL and SCOTT CALVERT
Sept. 27, 2015

PHILADELPHIA—The pope met with victims of sex abuse by priests on Sunday morning, expressing his “solidarity” for their suffering and assuring them the guilty will be punished.

The Vatican confirmed that the pope met at 8 a.m. Sunday morning at the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary with five adults—three women and two men—who suffered abuse by priests as minors. The group was accompanied by Boston Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, who is the chair of a papal committee for the protection of minors and has been leading the effort at the Vatican to establish new ways of dealing with the problem.

During a speech to bishops following the meeting, the pope said “God weeps” for abuse victims.

“I hold the stories and the suffering and the sorrow of children who were sexually abused by priests deep in my heart,” he said. “I remain overwhelmed with shame that men entrusted with the tender care of children violated these little ones and caused grievous harm. I am profoundly sorry…. The crimes and sins of the sexual abuse of children must no longer be held in secret. I pledge the zealous vigilance of the church to protect children and the promise of accountability for all.”

The Vatican said the pope listened to each of the victim’s stories, prayed with them and “expressed his solidarity” for their suffering. The pope also expressed “his own pain and shame especially in the case of injury caused them by clergy or church workers,” said a Vatican statement. The meeting lasted about 30 minutes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:32 PM

The Pope's Meeting with Sex Abuse Victims

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Atlantic

MARINA KOREN

Pope Francis addressed the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal on Sunday.

“I hold the stories and the suffering and the sorry of children who were sexually abused by priests deep in my heart. I remain overwhelmed with shame that men entrusted with the tender care of children violated these little ones and caused grievous harm,” he said in unscripted remarks before a speech in Philadelphia. “I am profoundly sorry. God weeps.”

Francis said that “the crimes and sins of the sexual abuse of children must no longer be held in secret,” according to a transcript provided by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“I pledge the zealous vigilance of the church to protect children and the promise of accountability for all,” he said.

This weekend, Francis met privately with three women and two men who suffered sex abuse as minors, according to the Vatican's English language press representative. They were accompanied by several clergy members, including Cardinal Seán Patrick O'Malley, whom Francis named to a Vatican anti-abuse commission last spring. More on the meeting from the representative:

The Pope spoke with visitors, listening to their stories and offering them a few words together as a group and later listening to each one individually. He then prayed with them and expressed his solidarity in sharing their suffering, as well as his own pain and shame in especially in the case of injury caused them by clergy or church workers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:30 PM

'God weeps': Pope Francis meets with sex-abuse victims, vows to hold offenders accountable

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Star Tribune

By NICOLE WINFIELD and RACHEL ZOLL Associated Press
SEPTEMBER 27, 2015

PHILADELPHIA — Pope Francis met with victims of child sexual abuse Sunday on the final day of his U.S. visit and promised to hold accountable those responsible for the scandal in the church, delivering a powerful warning to American bishops accused of covering up for pedophile priests instead of reporting them to police.

In a gesture of reconciliation just hours before he was to return to Rome, the pontiff praised the victims as "true heralds of mercy" who deserve the church's gratitude for helping to bring the truth to light.

"God weeps, for the sexual abuse of children cannot be maintained in secret, and I commit to a careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected and that all responsible will be held accountable," Francis said in Spanish while in the City of Brotherly Love for a big festival on the Catholic family.

It was Francis' second such meeting: He met with sexual abuse victims at the Vatican in July 2014.

But in a move that signaled a new effort by the church to reshape the discussion, the Vatican said not all five of the victims at Sunday's meeting were abused by members of the clergy; some of the three women and two men had been victimized by family members or educators.

Later Sunday, Francis visited a Philadelphia jail to give hope and encouragement to about 100 inmates, included suspected killers, rapists and mobsters. He greeted the men one by one, along with their families, telling them to spend their time behind bars getting their lives back on track. ...

But in an apparent effort by the church to reshape the discussion, the Vatican said not all five of the victims on Sunday were abused by members of the clergy; some of the three women and two men had been victimized by relatives or educators.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:28 PM

Pope Francis Vows to Hold Accountable All Involved in Clergy Sex Abuse

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Newsweek

Updated | PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Pope Francis met on Sunday with five adults who were abused by Catholic clergy when they were children and vowed to hold responsible all involved in the crime or cover-ups.

While the pope has met with victims of sexual abuse in Rome, this was his first meeting with them on a foreign tour. Philadelphia has been the most publicly scarred in the U.S. Church abuse scandal out of any of the cities visited by Francis, who ends his six-day U.S. tour later in the day.

"I have in my heart these stories of suffering of those youth that were sexually abused," Francis told bishops.

"The people who had the responsibility to take care of these tender ones violated that trust and caused them great pain. God weeps for the sexual abuse of children."

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said that at the morning meeting in Philadelphia's seminary the pope "expressed participation in their suffering and pain and shame."

"He renewed the Church's commitment to listen to victims and treat them with justice, to punish the guilty and that crimes of abuse would be fought with an effective program of prevention in the Church and in society," the spokesman said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:25 PM

Pope: 'God Weeps' For Victims Of Sex Abuse

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
NPR

Updated at 11:40 a.m. ET

Pope Francis, in a previously unannounced stop, met with victims of clergy sex abuse in Philadelphia, as the pontiff is wrapping up a six-day visit to the U.S. that will culminate with a huge Mass this afternoon.

Meeting with 300 bishops, Francis said he had met with the sex abuse survivor group Sunday morning.

"It continues to be on my mind that the people who had the responsibility to take care of these tender ones, violated that trust and caused them great pain," he said, adding "God weeps."

The pope added that the abuse "cannot be maintained in secret. And I commit to a careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected."

The Vatican, in a statement, says Francis met with three women and two men who had been abused as children. It said that each was accompanied by a family member or someone close and that the pope listened and expressed solidarity in sharing in their suffering.

"He renewed the commitment of the Church to the effort that all victims are heard and treated with justice, that the guilty be punished and that the crimes of abuse be combated with an effective prevention activity in the Church and in society," the statement said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:23 PM

Another “feel good, do nothing” papal meeting with survivors

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Sunday, Sept. 27

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those abused by Priests (314 566 9790, davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

Is a child anywhere on earth safer now that a pope, for maybe the seventh or eighth time or ninth time, has briefly chatted with abuse victims? No.

A smart public relations move. That’s what this meeting is. Nothing more.

It fits church officials’ carefully-crafted narrative. Years ago, prelates pretended the abuse and cover up weren’t happening. That no longer works. So now they pretend it’s not happening NOW, that it’s all “in the past” and only healing remains to be done. They know, however, this is deceptive and dangerous.

To give some perspective, let’s assume that roughly the same percentage of priests molest the same percentage of kids across the globe. In the US, in 2012, two church experts estimate 100,000 kids in the US.

[National Catholic Reporter]

The US is about 6% of the world’s population. If you do the math, that means there are more than 1.5 million men and women on this planet who have been raped, sodomized or molested by Catholic priests.

(And remember, we’re basing this on estimates from church officials which are, of course, notoriously low. More than 20 years ago, sociologist and author Fr. Andrew Greeley made the same estimate – 100,000 US victims of predator priests - in the Jesuit magazine America.)

[BishopAccountability.org]

And literally countless kids are now vulnerable to abuse by clerics today. That’s where Francis should focus: stopping abuse and cover up now and in the future, not conveniently implying that only healing is needed now. He could meet with a thousand victims. But that wouldn’t safeguard a single child.

A doctor’s first rule is to do no harm. That should be a pope’s first rule too. Stop current sexual violence and cover ups now. Prevent future ones. Then worry about ‘healing.’ Symbolic gestures can come years down the road.

We noted before that Bernie McDaid of Boston, a survivor who met with Pope Benedict, now feels deeply disappointed and betrayed. calling the meeting "self-serving." (see below)

Yesterday, we heard from an abuse survivor who met with Francis last year, Mark Vincent Healy of Ireland. He told us, in an email, that “since my meeting with Francis last July 2014, nothing has been delivered on in any substantive program in response to the life-long suffering and enormous distress which is inflicted mentally, physically, socially and economically.”

The first time Francis met with survivors, his top spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi said "The most important thing the Pope hopes to come out of this occasion, is that the victims themselves felt welcomed and listened to." Francis is a charming man and superb communicator. He’ll accomplish this in the US too. But let us not forget that by doing so, he helps no children at all.

[CNN]

In Argentina, over the years, some brave victims have stepped forward. They are the ones Francis could have helped most. But he rebuffed them. (As best we can tell, and based on research from BishopAccountability.org, he refused to meet with victims during the entire time he headed the Buenos Aires archdiocese.)

[BishopAccountability.org]

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:13 PM

Pope Francis said he has met with sex abuse victims, will celebrate outdoor Mass on his last day in U.S.

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Washington Post

By Emma Brown,, Julie Zauzmer and Pam Constable September 27

PHILADELPHIA — On the final day of his visit to the United States, Pope Francis told a gathering of bishops that he has met with victims of clergy sexual abuse.

“God weeps for sexual abuse of children,” Francis said. “I commit to a careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected and that all responsible will be held accountable.”

His remarks came Sunday morning at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, hours before he is scheduled to celebrate an outdoor Mass before a crowd that could swell into the hundreds of thousands.

The afternoon Mass is the climax of a historic six-day journey to Washington, New York and Philadelphia that has riveted Americans’ attention, giving Francis a broad audience for his messages about serving the poor, bolstering families, caring for the environment and welcoming newcomers to the country.

“Viva, Papa!” jubilant crowds have shouted everywhere the Argentine pope has gone. “Pray for me” has been his frequent refrain.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:55 AM

Pope says has met with victims of clerical sex abuse in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Today

PHILADELPHIA - Pope Francis told bishops in Philadelphia that he had met with victims of clerical sexual abuse, adding that "God weeps" for them.

"God weeps for sexual abuse of children," the 78-year-old pontiff said. "Youth are protected and ... all responsible will be held accountable."

The reports of abuse and the cover-up first became big news in 2002. Victims' groups say the church has not done enough. As many as 100,000 U.S. children may have been the victims of clerical sex abuse, insurance experts said in a paper presented at a Vatican conference in 2012. REUTERS

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:53 AM

Pope Meets With Victims of Sexual Abuse

PENNSYLVANIA
New York Times

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN and DANIEL J. WAKIN
SEPT. 27, 2015

PHILADELPHIA — Speaking to hundreds of bishops and seminarians, Pope Francis on Sunday said he met in private with a group of victims of sexual abuse and he pledged that “all responsible will be held accountable.”

“God weeps,” he said.

The pope, speaking on the last day of his trip to the United States, delivered his words before his prepared speech. He said abuse survivors “have become true heralds of mercy. Humbly, we owe each of them our gratitude for their value as they have had to suffer terrible abuse.”

His first reference to the scandal, at a prayer service with bishops in Washington on Wednesday, drew criticism from advocates for survivors of abuse for not going far enough. He told the bishops he was “conscious of courage with which you have faced difficult moments in the recent history of the Church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:51 AM

The Latest: Pope meets with US clergy sex abuse victims

PENNSYLVANIA
Lancaster Online

WYNNEWOOD, Pa. (AP) — Latest developments in Pope Francis' visit to the United States. All times local:

9:15 a.m.

Pope Francis has met with survivors of clerical sex abuse and has promised to hold accountable those responsible.

Francis announced that he had met with a group Sunday, his final day in the United States.

Speaking to U.S. bishops, Francis said sexual abuse can no longer be kept a secret. He says he promised to "zealously" protect young people and that "all those responsible are held accuontable."

Francis has decided to create a new Vatican tribunal to prosecute bishops who failed to protect their flock by covering up for pedophile priests rather than reporting them to police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:49 AM

Pope meets sex abuse victims and pledges accountability

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis held a private meeting with victims of clerical sex abuse in Philadelphia on Sunday (27th September) and told bishops afterwards that such crimes "must no longer be held in secret" and promised on behalf of the Church "the accountability of all." The Pope said he remained "overwhelmed with shame that men entrusted with the tender care of children violated these little ones and caused grievous harm. I am profoundly sorry. God weeps." He thanked the bishops for all they have down to “shine the light of Christ” on the "evil" of the sexual abuse of children. The Pope’s remarks came during an address with bishops attending the World Meeting of Families on the final day of his pastoral visit to the U.S.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:47 AM

Pope Francis: 'God Weeps' for Sex Abuse Victims

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
NBC New York

[with video]

By David Chang, Jim Iovino and Vince Lattanzio

Pope Francis met with victims of clergy sex abuse Sunday morning and vowed “careful oversight” of the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church to ensure “all responsible will be held accountable.”

Francis held a private meeting with survivors of clergy sexual abuse shortly before speaking candidly with hundreds of bishops and seminarians about the issue that has rocked the Catholic Church.

Officials say the meeting happened at the pope's request and was held on the seminary grounds where he is staying.

"God weeps for the sexual abuse of children,” he said during his speech to about 300 bishops at a Philadelphia-area seminary. "This cannot be maintained in secret, and I commit to a careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected and all responsible will be held accountable.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:45 AM

Pope Francis meets with victims of clerical sex abuse in Philadelphia – live

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Guardian (UK)

This was already a packed speech – Francis was expected to speak about the importance of family and the church’s view on marriage – instead, he met with victims of sex abuse this morning and came into the chapel with a message of justice for victims of sex abuse at the hands of priests, and has gone on to speak about the problems with young people putting off marriage.

He’s still going off script and we’re trying to keep up!

21m ago
09:22
Pope Francis appears to have met with victims of sexual abuse this morning.

Father Thomas Rosica, above, is the English-language spokesperson for the Holy See’s press office.

This is a surprise – Vatican spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi said yesterday he could not confirm whether the Holy Father would meet with the victims of abuse, because he said it could not be a “media” event.

27m ago
09:16
Pope Francis in off-script child sex abuse remarks: "God weeps."

Pope Francis just went off script unexpectedly to address child sex abuse in the church:

[It] continues to be on my mind that people who had the responsibility to take care of these tender ones [children] violated that trust and caused them great pain.

God weeps for the sexual abuse of children. These cannot be maintained in secret, and I commit to a careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected and all responsible will be held accountable.

Those who have survived this abuse have become true heralds of mercy – humbly, we owe each of them our gratitude for their great value as they have had to suffer this terrible abuse sexual abuse of minors.
...

I would like to express my gratitude to the archbishop, and I felt it very important that I shared this message with you today, and I am very happy to be able to share these moments of pastoral reflection with you amid the joyful celebrations of this World Meeting of Families.”

Francis said these remarks before a prepared speech to bishops at the St Charles Borromeo seminary. He went off script in Spanish, this is the translation of the interpreter for the official papal live stream.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:42 AM

Other Pontifical Acts

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 27 September 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Kaga-Bandoro, Central African Republic, presented by Bishop Albert Vanbuel, S.D.B., upon reaching the age limit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:11 AM

URGENT - Pope Francis Meeting Abuse Victims

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
WPTZ

(CNN) -- Pope Francis will meet with victims of clergy sexual abuse Sunday, according to two American Catholic leaders.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:08 AM

Die große Frage in Rom: Setzt sich Müllers Linie durch? Oder Marx' Kurs?

DEUTSCHLAND
Wochenblatt

[A week before the family synod begins in Rome, reformed-minded people from Europe, the Americas, Africa and Australia have appealed to Catholic ardinals and bishops for changed in doctrines and pastoral approaches to sexuality. One of the biggest opponents is Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, former bishop of Regensburg.]

Eine Woche vor Beginn der Familiensynode in Rom richten Reforminitiativen aus Europa, Nord- und Südamerika, Afrika und Australien einen Appell an die katholischen Kardinäle und Bischöfe und rufen zu Änderungen der Sexuallehre und Pastoral auf. Einer der größten Gegner ist der frühere Regensburger Bischof Gerhard Ludwig Müller.

In Rom trifft sich ab 4. Oktober die Weltkirche zur außerordentlichen Familiensynode. Für die deutsche Kirche ist beispielsweise der Münchner Kardinal Reinhard Marx mit dabei, der ein Verfechter für eine Öffnung der Kirche in Fragen der strengen Moral ist. Bereits im letzten Jahr hatten sich die Synodenväter getroffen, damals kam es sogar zu einer Kampfabstimmung zwischen Konservativen und Liberalen. Jetzt heißt es im Vorfeld der Synode, die Konservativen hätten den Schock vom letzten Jahr verdaut, den man bekommen hatte, als plötzlich klar war, dass auch Lockerungen etwa im Umgang mit homosexuellen Paaren oder wiederverheirateten Geschiedenen mehrheitsfähig sein könnten.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:02 AM

Laienbewegungen richten Appell zur Änderung der Sexuallehre

DEUTSCHLAND
All-In

[A worldwide network of Catholic lay movements, including the German reform initiative We Are Church has called on the participants of the forthcoming Vatican Synod to liberalize the Church's sexual teaching.]

Ein weltweites Netzwerk katholischer Laienbewegungen um die deutsche Reforminitiative "Wir sind Kirche" hat die Teilnehmer der bevorstehenden Vatikansynode zu einer Liberalisierung der kirchlichen Sexuallehre aufgerufen.

"Wir sind in großer Sorge über die ständig wachsende Diskrepanz zwischen Glaube und Gewissen bei der großen Mehrheit der Mitglieder der katholischen Kirche einerseits und in der Doktrin und der pastoralen Praxis des kirchlichen Lehramts andererseits", heißt es in dem internationalen "Appell an die Synodenbischöfe", der in der kommenden Woche veröffentlicht werden soll. Dem Appell schlossen sich unter anderem die "Wir sind Kirche"-Gruppen aus Deutschland, den USA, Irland, Italien, Schweden, Chile, Südafrika und Großbritannien an. Am 4. Oktober treffen sich rund 400 Kardinäle, Bischöfe, Ordensleute und Laien in Rom, um unter der Leitung von Papst Franziskus über die katholische Familienethik zu beraten. Die Zeit sei reif "für eine stärkere Rückbindung der kirchlichen Lehre an das Evangelium", schreiben die Verfasser des Appells.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:57 AM

Francis, the Perfect 19th-Century Pope

WASHINGTON (DC)
New York Times

Maureen Dowd

Washington — AFTER attending a canonization Mass at Catholic University with the pope who rails against the excesses of capitalism, I walked off campus to a festival of capitalism.

Vendors were hawking pope bracelets, buttons and T-shirts.

Excited by seeing the humble black Fiat in person and infused with Papa’s warning against the numbing effects of the “culture of prosperity,” I resisted all sales pitches. Until I got to the last guy.

He was selling blue-and-white T-shirts for $10 with the declaration “Coolest Pope Ever.”

Francis is undeniably cool. He once worked as a nightclub bouncer in Buenos Aires. He got a serenade to “Frank, baby,” from his fan Stephen Colbert. He spurred nuns to have a tailgating party at Catholic U. before his Mass, inspired the Internet to erupt in photos of dogs sporting miters and persuaded a blubbering John Boehner that he would never have a day that good again. ...

Pope Francis would be the perfect pontiff — if he lived in the 19th century. But how, in 2015, can he continue to condone the idea that women should have no voice in church decisions?

In a scandal that cascaded for decades with abuses and cover-ups, the church was revealed to be monstrously warped in its attitudes about sex and its sense of right and wrong.

Yet shortly after he was elected, Francis flatly rejected the idea that the institution could benefit from opening itself to the hearts and minds of women. Asked about the issue of female priests, he replied, “The church has spoken and says no,” adding, “That door is closed.”

Francis preaches against the elites while keeping the church an elite boys’ club.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:03 AM

Pope Francis' somewhat different take on religious liberty

UNITED STATES
John Thavis

Well, that was interesting.

At the official “religious freedom” event during his U.S. visit, Pope Francis never mentioned the U.S. bishops’ “Fortnight for Freedom” campaigns, nor their battles over alleged religious discrimination on Obamacare provisions and conscience protection issues.

The bishops have certainly made this a priority. Here was Archbishop William E. Lori last June asking the faithful to support their efforts:

“Religious institutions in the United States are in danger of losing their freedom to hire for mission and their freedom to defend the family…. Endangered is the freedom of church ministries to provide employee benefits and to provide adoptions and refugee services in accord with the church’s teaching on faith and morals. It is one thing for others to disagree with the church’s teaching but quite another to discriminate against the rights of believers to practice our faith, not just in word but in the way we conduct our daily life, ministry and business.”

Perhaps a detailed analysis of these matters was never in the cards for Pope Francis. At the White House the other day, he did offer generic backing for the bishops, encouraging the defense of religious freedom from “everything that would threaten or compromise it.” And he made a brief, symbolic stop at the Little Sisters of the Poor, a religious order that is suing over the Obamacare provisions on contraception coverage.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

Text of pope’s homily at Cathedral Mass

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholic Philly

Homily of Pope Francis at Mass with Bishops, Clergy and Religious, Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia

Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015

This morning I learned something about the history of this beautiful Cathedral: the story behind its high walls and windows. I would like to think, though, that the history of the Church in this city and state is really a story not about building walls, but about breaking them down. It is a story about generation after generation of committed Catholics going out to the peripheries, and building communities of worship, education, charity and service to the larger society.

That story is seen in the many shrines which dot this city, and the many parish churches whose towers and steeples speak of God’s presence in the midst of our communities. It is seen in the efforts of all those dedicated priests, religious and laity who for over two centuries have ministered to the spiritual needs of the poor, the immigrant, the sick and those in prison. And it is seen in the hundreds of schools where religious brothers and sisters trained children to read and write, to love God and neighbor, and to contribute as good citizens to the life of American society. All of this is a great legacy which you have received, and which you have been called to enrich and pass on.

Most of you know the story of Saint Katharine Drexel, one of the great saints raised up by this local Church. When she spoke to Pope Leo XIII of the needs of the missions, the Pope – he was a very wise Pope! – asked her pointedly: “What about you? What are you going to do?”. Those words changed Katharine’s life, because they reminded her that, in the end, every Christian man and woman, by virtue of baptism, has received a mission. Each one of us has to respond, as best we can, to the Lord’s call to build up his Body, the Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 AM

Activist in the Chancery

UNITED STATES
America Magazine

John A. Coleman

A Still and Quiet Conscience
John A. McCoy
Orbis Books. 288p $26

John McCoy, an excellent writer, tells an insider’s account of the public humiliation of Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen of Seattle. I met Hunthausen on a number of occasions. I always came away with the image of a humble, deeply pastoral and collegial bishop. He was one of my heroes. Bishop William McManus of Fort Wayne told Seattle’s Msgr. Michael Ryan: “Stay with this man and continue to back him. The American hierarchy has produced very few great men. He is one of them!”

McCoy, a former reporter for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and director of public affairs for the Archdiocese of Seattle (in Hunthausen’s last years and also under Hunthausen’s successor), gathered copious interviews and notes on Hunthausen’s pastoral presence as bishop and on the Roman investigation under Cardinal Ratzinger and Archbishop Pio Laghi, the Vatican’s ambassador to the United States. He then let his proposed book on Hunthausen lie fallow in reams of notes on his computer for many years.

Finally, the person of Pope Francis led him to complete his biography. As he says of Francis: “He reminds me in many ways of Hunthausen. He’s humble, kind, compassionate, plain-spoken and unpretentious. He has a Vatican II vision of the church, of a church that is inclusive, loving, transformative, of a church with a heart for the poor and the oppressed.” The Vatican seemed unimpressed that, under Hunthausen’s leadership, Seattle exceeded the national average on Mass attendance, adult conversions to the church and monetary contributions by some 20 percent.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

Before Pope’s Farewell Mass, Visits With Bishops and Inmates

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
New York Times

By DANIEL J. WAKIN
SEPT. 27, 2015

The American marathon is nearing its end.

Pope Francis on Sunday has one day left on a journey that began in Cuba on Sept. 19 and took him to Washington, New York and Philadelphia, his 10th foreign trip as pontiff and the first to this country. He will spend it with bishops, prison inmates and hundreds of thousands of followers attending a final Mass.

The trip has been rich with weighty speeches, encounters with world leaders, and kissed babies — a hallmark of this pontiff, who readily receives little ones passed to his open-sided popemobile by security officials.

In the morning, Francis will stop by St. Charles Borromeo Seminary to meet with bishops who had come to the city for the World Meeting of Families, a Vatican-sponsored festival that drew 18,000 people, organizers said. His comments are likely to focus on the nature of family in a modern secular society — a frequent theme of the visit, along with immigration, religious freedom and social justice.

He will then head to the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, mainly an intake jail, which has roughly 2,800 inmates and is one of six jails in Philadelphia’s system. Some of the inmates have made Francis a hand-carved chair.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 AM

Goliath-bully Bill Donohue’s POPE OFF TO FAST START is packed with pathological lies schemed by Vatican Opus Dei Beast PR Deceits Team

UNITED STATES
Pope Francis CON-artist & Vicar of Plutocrats

Paris Arrow

Never accept or believe what Pope Francis says at face-value because there are always some conniving ulterior motives beneath his sugar-coated papal speeches and charismatic papal appearances. Pope Francis is the greatest Jesuit Master of Deceits and with his Vatican Opus Dei Beast PR Deceits Team, Vatican paid mainstream media Pied Pipers, and shrewd Catholic blabbermouth bullies like Bill Donohue in Catholic League, they are all first-class pathological liars. Their conniving manipulation and the-end-justify-the- means Catholic Luciferian means – including the Eucharist – everything they do always lead to one final end, to satiate the Vatican Mammon Evil Beast.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 AM

Pope Protester: 17-Year Fight Against Child Sex Abuse

WASHINGTON (DC)
YouTube

Published on Sep 22, 2015

A man has spent 17 years outside the Vatican's U.S. embassy protesting the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 AM

Police Scotland unit leads child sex abuse battle

SCOTLAND
Scotsman

DANI GARAVELLI
Sunday 27 September 2015

POLICE Scotland’s new national child sex abuse unit has been involved in 65 investigations across the country since it began work in January, it has been revealed.

Its 48 specialist officers, based in Livingston, Inverness, Aberdeen and Dalmarnock, have lent their expertise to inquiries involving abuse carried out in institutions and elsewhere, as well as to operations into child sexual exploitation (CSE). Their work has spanned both historical and recent allegations.

The child sex abuse unit was set up after the report into failings in the investigation of CSE in Rotherham found 1,400 children had been abused between 1997 and 2013.

Its officers – who have specialist training in areas such as interviewing vulnerable witnesses, crime scene management and digital technology – are drafted in to give short-term support to divisional officers involved in complex, protracted or cross-border investigations or those which involve people who are well-known or in positions of trust. Twelve of the 65 inquiries were led by senior investigating officers from the unit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 AM

Department of Justice snubs daughter of tragic Magdalene victim buried in mass grave

IRELAND
Irish Mirror

27 SEP 2015
BY JAMES WARD

A Magdalene survivor whose mother is buried in a mass grave had the door slammed in her face on a visit to the Department of Justice.

In July, we revealed Mary Collins’ Traveller mum Angela was snatched from the side of the road and forced into the hated laundries for 27 years, only to die after not receiving proper medical treatment.

She was buried in a mass grave alongside 72 other women, where she remains today.

In her ongoing campaign for justice, Mary arranged for a meeting with the Justice Department to deliver a letter about her family’s plight, only for the doors to be locked upon her arrival.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:20 AM

Pope Francis through a U.S. Catholic prism

UNITED STATES
Los Angeles Times

By ALAN ZAREMBO AND MATT PEARCE

Pope Francis in his first trip to the United States has spoken boldly about the need for change — in the way we treat the environment, immigrants and the poorest among us.

With messages that resonated beyond those of his faith, he seemed well aware that the future of Roman Catholicism may depend less on bringing people to church than on bringing the church to the people.

Societal values in the U.S. and elsewhere are changing rapidly. Public opinion on same-sex marriage, for example, now affirmed in this country as a constitutional right, increasingly splits along generational lines.

Polls indicate that more than half of the 72 million Americans who identify as Catholic now reject church views on same-sex marriage and abortion. The ban on divorce is routinely violated.

The pope's response has not been to change the rules of the church but to change its focus, embracing a standard more human than saintly. ...

Andrea Leon-Grossmann was watching the news one day when a story came on about yet another priest accused of molesting a boy.

The case stood out for her: She recognized this priest. She had taken communion from him.

And the alleged victim was in the Los Angeles juvenile detention center where she volunteered as a mentor.

It was not the only time her faith in church leadership would waver.

Leon-Grossmann was born into Catholicism, with two nuns and a priest in her family tree. Growing up in Mexico City, she hewed closely to its teachings. Even after she moved to Los Angeles in 1993 to study art, she attended church each Sunday.

Her religion's focus on service spoke to her most forcefully. She started volunteering at the jail and joined demonstrations supporting undocumented immigrants.

Yet she was painfully aware of the ways the church seemed to function in opposition to her vision of Catholicism.

During Barack Obama's 2008 campaign, she said, the Catholic fraternal organization Knights of Columbus came to her church to urge congregants to vote against him — and support Proposition 8, the ballot measure to ban same-sex marriage.

"I couldn't stand it," Leon-Grossmann said. "In my faith, God tells me that I need to love everyone."

She stopped attending church regularly and threw herself into activism.

In 2013, she and other activists brought a petition with more than 10,000 signatures to the residence of Roger Mahony, the L.A. cardinal who had helped conceal sexual abuse by priests. They urged him not to go to Rome to help choose the next pope.

Mahony went. But Leon-Grossmann, a 42-year-old art director, was encouraged by the papal enclave's outcome.

"Something the pope said that resonated deeply with me this morning: 'A good Catholic meddles in politics,'" Leon-Grossmann said Thursday. "I completely agree."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:12 AM

September 26, 2015

In America's birthplace, pope gives pep talk to immigrants

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Reuters

PHILADELPHIA | BY PHILIP PULLELLA AND SCOTT MALONE

Pope Francis, speaking in America's birthplace on Saturday, offered stout words of support to Hispanic and other immigrants in the United States, telling them not to be discouraged at a time when some prominent politicians are directing hostility toward them.

The 78-year-old Argentine pontiff toured Independence Hall in Philadelphia before addressing a crowd estimated at more than 40,000 outside the 18th century red brick building where basic American liberties were proclaimed and where independence from Britain was declared.

"Do not be discouraged by whatever challenges and hardships you face," the pope told the many Hispanics and other recent immigrants to the United States in the crowd, adding that he felt "particular affection" toward them.

During his first visit to the United States, the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics on Thursday had urged Americans in a historic speech to Congress to reject "a mindset of hostility" toward immigrants. He expanded on that issue in his Philadelphia speech, delivered in Spanish.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:48 PM

At Independence Hall, Pope Offers a Broad Vision of Religious Freedom

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The New York Times

By JIM YARDLEY and DANIEL J. WAKIN
SEPT. 26, 2015

PHILADELPHIA — Standing near Independence Hall, where America’s founding documents were signed, Pope Francis on Saturday called religious freedom a “fundamental right” and laid out a broad and tolerant vision of what it should be, but also warned about its perversion “as a pretext for hatred and brutality.”

On the final leg of his first trip to the United States, Francis arrived in Philadelphia and went straight to the city’s Roman Catholic basilica, exhorting ordinary Catholics to bolster their role in sustaining the church. After a Mass before 2,400 people and a long midday rest, he traveled to Independence Mall and broadened his canvas: addressing the place of faith in a nation.

Religious freedom means the right to worship God, “as our consciences dictate,” Francis said. And, he went on, the principle goes beyond temples and the private sphere: Religion also serves society, especially as a bulwark “in the face of every claim to absolute power.”

Francis emerged from Independence Hall to the strains of Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man.” He stood at the lectern used by Abraham Lincoln to deliver the Gettysburg Address, and in his own address, Francis extolled the principles of the country’s founding fathers embodied by the Declaration of Independence signed in the building behind him.​

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:44 PM

PA--A third disgraced prelate spends time with Francis

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Saturday, September 26, 2015

Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP president (312-399-4747, bblaine@snapnetwork.org)

Today, Pope Francis con-celebrated mass with the disgraced former head of the Philadelphia archdiocese, Cardinal Justin Rigali. The other day, Francis brought with him to the White House the disgraced former head of the Los Angeles archdiocese, Cardinal Roger Mahony.

[CBS Los Angeles]

Seen at the papal festivities a few days ago was the disgraced Archbishop John Neinstedt. The St. Paul/Minneapolis archdiocese, which he headed for years, faces criminal prosecution for endangering kids.

The “take away” here is this: No matter how much you enable or hide predator priests, if you’re a bishop, you’ll always be welcome in and by the Catholic hierarchy. Never mind if your visibility rubs salt into deep wounds. Never mind if your grandstanding discourages others from reporting crimes. Once you’ve been let into our esteemed ranks, you’ll always be a part of this exclusive club and enjoy the many benefits such membership confers.

In 2011, nine years after bishops promised to “reform,” Rigali, under pressure, was forced to suspend 21 accused Philly priests on one day. These suspensions took place exactly one month after Rigali wrote his flock assuring them that there were no credibly-accused priests remaining within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. In 2005, Rigali kept silent as his lawyer blasted prosecutors as “anti-Catholic” in the wake of a second scathing report about widespread clergy sex crimes and cover ups in his archdiocese.

At least Bishop Robert Finn, the only US bishop to be convicted of withholding evidence of child sex crimes from police, isn’t jumping on the papal bandwagon. (He’s in Spain now, probably at the urging of church public relations officials.)

Despite this callous behavior, we beg victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to keep speaking up, exposing wrongdoers, protecting kids, calling police, deterring cover ups and getting help.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 PM

Catholic abuse victims ask for more from Pope Francis visit

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Fiscal Times

By Sebastien Malo and Philip Pullella and Laila Kearney, Reuters

September 26, 2015

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - In a dense crowd gathered in central Philadelphia waiting for the arrival of Pope Francis on Saturday, lapsed Catholic Becky Ianni stood somberly with an oversized photo of herself at age nine, when she says a priest began sexually abusing her.

The U.S. Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal, which catapulted into public view in 2002, has continued to be an open wound for victims, who say the Church has not made the changes needed to protect children and punish offenders.

"Victims this week are really hurting and they need to know that we're out here and they're not alone," said Ianni, 58, the Washington and Virginia chapter director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

The pontiff's arrival in Philadelphia came amid suggestions from a high-ranking Church official that Francis could meet with abuse victims while in the city.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said at a news conference that if Francis met with victims, it would be a private encounter to protect victim privacy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:23 PM

In Philadelphia, Pope Francis challenges Americans to live up to their ideals

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Washington Post

By Karen Heller, Frances Stead Sellers and Michael E. Ruane
September 26

PHILADELPHIA — Pope Francis made his way through a jubilant crowd here Saturday afternoon to the symbolic birthplace of the United States, and challenged the country to rededicate itself to the solemn promises of its past, including its commitment to religious liberty.

After being driven through the throng, with the popemobile stopping several times for Francis to kiss babies, the 78-year-old pontiff arrived at Independence Hall, where the U.S. Consitution and the Declaration of Independence were signed. “It was here,” Francis said, “that the freedoms which define this country were first proclaimed.”

Introduced by Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man,” the pope stood at a wooden lectern used by Abraham Lincoln for his Gettysbrg Address, and told the crowd assembled on Independence Mall that “history also shows that these or any truths must constantly be reaffirmed, re-appropriated and defended.” ...

Yet not everyone shared in the joy of the pope’s presence. The placard outside the basilica about the sex abuse scandal was stenciled by Robert Hoatson, a 63-year-old former priest whose group, Road to Recovery, works with victims of the clergy sexual abuse scandal and who says he is a victim himself.

Hoatson, who lives in West Orange, N.J., said he followed the pope to Washington, New York and now Philadelphia with his message of holding the church “accountable” for the scandal.

It is not clear whether Francis will meet with survivors before he leaves for Rome Sunday. Earlier this week at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in the District, he praised the “courage” and pain” of U.S. bishops in dealing with the scandal. That prompted rebukes from some victims’ advocates, who criticized the pope for offering comfort and symphathy to the bishops, while saying little to address the suffering of clergy sex abuse survivors.

“It’s a tough week to be a victim,” said Barbara Dorris, spokesperson for Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. “They feel like once again they’ve been forgotten.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:21 PM

Francis in America: New York, abuse survivors in Philly and the Serra sainthood

UNITED STATES
Huffington Post

By Jason Berry

PHILADELPHIA, WASHINGTON and NEW YORK -- Maintaining a tireless pace, Pope Francis kept on point Saturday as he arrived in Philadelphia and celebrated a midday Mass while large, fervent crowds waited outside, entertained by Latin American music and white-clad dancers, before a papal address in the evening at historic Independence Hall.

Anticipation of a different kind was building among people who struggle in the role of church outcasts: victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests.

The Associated Press reported that Francis was expected to "talk privately with abuse victims this weekend."

The Philadelphia archdiocese has been hit hard with prosecutions, grand jury investigations and civil cases involving more than three dozen alleged clergy perpetrators, and one monsignor who spent time in prison for complicity.

The flood of benevolent media coverage for Francis would seem a form of respite to the beleaguered archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, who has closed parishes in dealing with deficits from scandal-driven legal bills.

But for David Clohessy, director of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), the prospects of Francis meeting with survivors held scant hope.

"The seven or eight previous meetings between popes [Benedict and Francis] have given short-term comfort for a handful of survivors and long-term feelings of betrayal," Clohessy told GroundTruth before any confirmation of a meeting.

"It will reinforce the convenient narrative that abuse cover-ups are over and only healing is needed," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:17 PM

Will Pope Francis Meet With Sex Abuse Survivors?

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Magazine

By Joel Mathis | September 26, 2015

A Vatican spokesman was coy Saturday afternoon when asked if Pope Francis will meet with survivors of clergy sex abuse while in Philadelphia.

The Rev. Federico Lombardi noted that Pope Francis had met with abuse survivors on previous trips abroad, but the meetings had never been pre-publicized. He made the comments during a media briefing Saturday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

"These meetings have never been announced before," he said, adding that the pope would seek a "personal encounter" and not a "media sensation" in the event of a meeting with abuse survivors. News of a meeting would emerge afterward, he suggested, but he declined to confirm or deny any such meetings in advance.

There are good reasons to think Pope Francis would seek such a meeting here, however. Vatican observers — including Philadelphia Vatican reporter Rocco Palmo, have suggested this trip to Philadelphia was meant in large part to try to reverse the damage and pain from a decade of sex scandals in the archdiocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:15 PM

Pope's meeting with bishops will be 'more than selfies'

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
USA Today

John Bacon, USA TODAY September 26, 2015

PHILADELPHIA — Pope Francis is expected to hammer home his recurring themes of family and a welcoming church when he meets with bishops from around the globe Sunday at the World Meeting of Families.

That message may not sound too different from his speeches and homilies in Washington and New York this week, but the headline will be “more than selfies,” said Father James Bretzky, a theology professor at Boston College.

“It will be, in a certain sense, a collective reaffirmation of the importance of families,” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:12 PM

Many, Many More Images

UNITED STATES
National Survivor Advocates Coalition

by Kristine Ward, September 26, 2015

Today, NSAC feels the need to present more images in a welcoming place that we hope will console the survivors and their families and combat the onslaught of images streaming across television screens of Pope Francis.

We place the images of Judy Jones, Steve Spaner, John Pilmaier, Peter Isley, Joelle Casteix, Sister Maureen Turlish, Becky Ianni, David Lorenz all of whom have taken to the streets in strong and determined witness of the truth. To speak for survivors. To banish the sought after “it’s history” approach of the hierarchy and its pontiff.

There are more images today because we believe there is more need for comfort for the survivors, particularly in light of Pope Francis’ second expansive praising of priests and religious sisters who the Pope said, “have suffered greatly” during the sexual abuse scandal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:25 PM

For sex abuse victims in Philly, pope’s visit means a difficult week

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Religion News Service

Taylor Nakagawa and Corie Wilkins | September 26, 2015

PHILADELPHIA (RNS) It’s been a frustrating week here for Barbara Dorris and Becky Ianni.

On Friday night (Sept. 25), the two co-directors of SNAP: Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, kept a lonely vigil, trying vainly to attract attention to their cause — recognition for clergy sex-abuse victims — outside the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, the site of Pope Francis’ Mass on Saturday morning.

Yet only a block away, several groups taking to the streets to fight for economic equality, an issue dear to the current pope, were able to bring together at least 300 marchers.

“We are here because it’s going to be a very difficult week for victims,” said Ianni, who was holding a photo taken of her at 9 years old, when she says she was abused by a priest. “Many victims have felt abandoned by their church, and whenever they turn on their TV this weekend they’re gonna see something about the pope.”

Ianni thinks her fight for awareness hasn’t received much attention this week because of Francis’ enormous popularity, both within the Catholic Church and outside of it.

“This pope is so well-liked that we are the negative side of that and it’s hard for people to say they think about abuse when so many people love this pope,” Ianni said.

Standing at Ianni’s side, Dorris said she wants to raise awareness about clergy sex abuse and call attention to what she sees as Francis’ lack of recognition of its victims. Earlier this week, Francis addressed bishops in Washington, D.C., on the issue and generally commended them for their handling of the years-long crisis.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:20 PM

The Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal in the US Catholic Church

UNITED STATES
ABC News

By RACHEL ZOLL, AP RELIGION REPORTER
NEW YORK — Sep 26, 2015

U.S. Catholic bishops have called the scandal over clergy sex abuse the worst crisis ever to hit the church in America.

To restore public trust, church leaders have overhauled how they handled the cases, paid multimillion-dollar settlements to victims and apologized repeatedly for failing to protect children. Still, the scandal persists. A handful of dioceses remain in bankruptcy court, one diocese faces criminal prosecution, and advocates for victims are pressing lawmakers in several states to lift time limits so more people who were molested can be compensated.

Here's a look at how the abuse scandal played out in the United States:

HISTORY OF SCANDAL: Clergy sex abuse first drew public attention in the 1980s, with the case of a pedophile priest in the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana. Over the next two decades, scandals arose in several dioceses. But it wasn't until 2002, when The Boston Globe persuaded a judge to unseal personnel files in the Archdiocese of Boston, that a full-blown national crisis erupted. Revelations about bishops moving guilty priests among parishes without warning parents or police caused an uproar so intense that every American diocese was compelled to take an inventory of how they had dealt with abusers and treated victims going back decades.

BISHOPS RESPOND: Under enormous public pressure, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops adopted sweeping reforms in 2002 meant to safeguard children and restore trust in the church. The bishops created a streamlined process for removing any cleric who molested a child. Dioceses conducted background checks on priests and employees, trained teachers and volunteers on identifying abuse and set up programs meant to help victims. The bishops say they have spent tens of millions of dollars on child safety over the last decade. The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, along with other advocates, say bishops often still treat victims as enemies, and note most dioceses have not released the names of perpetrators, which advocates say would help give other victims the courage to come forward.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:18 PM

An Open Letter to Pope Francis from Catholics for Women's Equality

UNITED STATES
Huffington Post

Nancy Fornasiero

During his high-profile visit to the United States this week, Pope Francis is receiving an overwhelmingly warm welcome -- from Catholics and non-Catholics alike. And rightly so. Whether through his views on environmental stewardship, his tough-love critiques of excessively capitalist societies, or his compassion for the poor and marginalized, he has become the darling of liberals of all stripes.

And yet, there is still one extremely large group of "God's people" who are not on the receiving end of Pope's insistence for equality and justice. Despite the undeniable facts (half of the world's Catholics are female; most Sunday pews are occupied by women; the vast majority of North American Catholics support the idea of women's ordination) Pope Francis' 2013 assertion that the "door is closed" to women in the priesthood has remained unchanged.

As Lisa Miller, in her thoughtful overview of Pope Francis's track record on the status Catholic women, puts it: "Francis, for all his forward thinking, entirely supports this professional sidelining of females."

Case in point: Just this past Saturday, on September 20 2105, Fr. Jack McClure was told by the Archbishop of his diocese that he would no longer be permitted to minister to his parish. Why? During a panel held in Philadelphia, PA at the Women's Ordination Worldwide Conference he publicly supported the idea that qualified Catholic women should be allowed to be priests.

Roy Bourgeois, a former Catholic priest excommunicated for his refusal to tow the Church's party line of discrimination against women, is no stranger to the personal sacrifices that accompany following one's own conscience on this issue. Bourgeois, author of My Journey from Silence to Solidarity, has issued the following respectful yet pointed letter to Pope Francis just in time for his historic visit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:13 PM

Pope Francis speaks of breaking down walls in Philadelphia homily

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

By Peter Smith / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Hours before the pope's visit to Independence Mall, people have been steadily streaming along barricades toward the entrances to the event.

There were nuns in habits, children in strollers, visitors in lanyards, a little boy in suit and tie, middle-aged women in shirts that read: "This girl loves Pope Francis." They walked past metal fencing with signs noting that drones are prohibited, where every so many feet orange-clad volunteers stand giving directions.

Volunteers and siblings Justin and Maryrose Owens arrived at their corner around 6:30 a.m., and said they have seen a steady stream of people since then. Pope Francis himself is scheduled to visit at 4:45 p.m.

"Everybody is in a very good mood," he said. ...

As for the more recent history of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Pope Francis did not speak of the crisis of sexual abuse here. Grand jury reports in 2005 and 2011 revealed numerous cases of abusive priests whose superiors knew of their offenses but kept them in ministry. A priest in the archdiocese’s hierarchy is behind bars for his conviction for keeping a known abuser in a parish setting where he could and did molest again.

Francis has made only brief references to the abuse scandals in the church during his United States visit, telling bishops they had made great progress in reforming their responses and commending priests for enduring "the shame of some of your brothers who harmed and scandalized the Church in the most vulnerable of her members."

Bishops have said they expect Francis, like Pope Benedict XVI before him, will meet privately with sexual-abuse survivors before the end of his trip on Sunday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:10 PM

Predator used remote control lock when abusing boys

AUSTRALIA
Courier Mail

DAVID MURRAY THE SUNDAY MAIL (QLD) SEPTEMBER 27, 2015

PREDATOR school counsellor Kevin Lynch used a remote control at his desk to lock his office door so he could sexually abuse students in total privacy.

Lynch’s reign of terror at St Paul’s School at Bald Hills and prestigious Brisbane Grammar School from the 1970s to 1990s will be aired at the child sex abuse royal commission.

A nine-day public hearing was announced on Friday, with past and present school principals expected to give evidence about their handling of historic and current abuse.

An appalling cover-up followed Lynch’s abuse, with both schools failing to check on the welfare of students he counselled after becoming aware of serious allegations against the counsellor.

Lynch counselled thousands of boys at Brisbane Grammar from 1972 to 1988 and then at St Paul’s from 1989 until his death in 1997.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:08 PM

Read Full Text of Pope Francis' Homily From His 1st Stop in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
ABC News

Here is the full homily Pope Francis was slated to give at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, as translated by the Holy See:

This morning I learned something about the history of this beautiful Cathedral: the story behind its high walls and windows. I would like to think, though, that the history of the Church in this city and state is really a story not about building walls, but about breaking them down. It is a story about generation after generation of committed Catholics going out to the peripheries, and building communities of worship, education, charity and service to the larger society.

That story is seen in the many shrines which dot this city, and the many parish churches whose towers and steeples speak of God’s presence in the midst of our communities. It is seen in the efforts of all those dedicated priests, religious and laity who for over two centuries have ministered to the spiritual needs of the poor, the immigrant, the sick and those in prison. And it is seen in the hundreds of schools where religious brothers and sisters trained children to read and write, to love God and neighbor, and to contribute as good citizens to the life of American society. All of this is a great legacy which you have received, and which you have been called to enrich and pass on.

Most of you know the story of Saint Katharine Drexel, one of the great saints raised up by this local Church. When she spoke to Pope Leo XIII of the needs of the missions, the Pope – he was a very wise Pope! – asked her pointedly: “What about you? What are you going to do?”. Those words changed Katharine’s life, because they reminded her that, in the end, every Christian man and woman, by virtue of baptism, has received a mission. Each one of us has to respond, as best we can, to the Lord’s call to build up his Body, the Church.

“What about you?” I would like to dwell on two aspects of these words in the context of our particular mission to transmit the joy of the Gospel and to build up the Church, whether as priests, deacons, or members of institutes of consecrated life.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:02 PM

Pope calls for church to place greater value on women

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
CBS News

PHILADELPHIA -- Pope Francis arrived in the City of Brotherly Love on Saturday for the final leg of his U.S. visit - a festive weekend devoted to celebrating Catholic families - and immediately called for the church to place greater value on women.

The pontiff's plane touched down at the Philadelphia airport after takeoff from New York, bringing him to a city of blocked-off streets, sidewalks lined with portable potties, and checkpoints manned by police, National Guardsmen and border agents.

After speeches to Congress and the United Nations earlier this week aimed at spurring world leaders toward bold action on immigration and the environment, he is expected to focus more heavily on ordinary Catholics during his two days in Philadelphia.

On Friday night in New York, about 20,000 of the faithful packed into Madison Square Garden to witness the pope's message about faith in the city, CBS News correspondent Chip Reid reports.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:01 PM

Pope Calls for Engagement of the Laity

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
New York Times

Sep 26, 2015

Jon Hurdle

Pope Francis arrived at the west door of the basilica at 10:17 and was greeted by applause and some cheers by more than 2,000 clergy members and lay Catholics who had been waiting for more than two hours in a side chapel.

He walked in a procession with other church leaders up the nave, as many clergy took photos of him. He raised his hand to greet them.

After briefly moving to a side room, the pope reappeared wearing a mitre and carrying a crucifix, accompanied by bishops.

The pope ascended to the altar and kissed a white-covered table before unsteadily descending several steps, held on both sides by church officials.

Speaking in heavily accented English, Pope Francis gave a blessing, and then delivered his homily in Spanish, pausing regularly for an English interpreter.

He called for a “much more active engagement on the part of the laity.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:59 PM

The Latest: Pope blesses children in wheelchairs after Mass

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
New Zealand Herald

PHILADELPHIA (AP) " Latest developments in Pope Francis' visit to the United States. All times local:

12:15 p.m.

Pope Francis has finished celebrating a Mass, stopping to bless children in wheelchairs before leaving the cathedral in downtown Philadelphia.

Francis walked through a chapel adjacent to the main room in the cathedral on Saturday to greet ill and disabled parishioners, along with other visitors. He blessed the children and gave them a kiss on the head.

Francis delivered a homily in Spanish in front of about 1,600 people. He says the future of the church depends on an increased role for the laity and valuing the "immense contribution" of women.

He will spend a few hours at a seminary just outside of the city before giving a speech Saturday afternoon on religious freedom and immigration.
___

Noon

The former Archbishop of Philadelphia who retired in 2011 amid a scandal over clergy sex abuse is celebrating Mass with Pope Francis.

Cardinal Justin Rigali joined Francis and other bishops at the Mass Saturday on the pope's first stop in Philadelphia.

Rigali's successor, Archbishop Charles Chaput, also was on the altar in front of about 1,600 people at the main cathedral in downtown Philadelphia.

Rigali retired to the Diocese of Knoxville, Tennessee, months after a grand jury accused the Philadelphia archdiocese of sheltering more than three dozen credibly accused priests and lying about it to victims and others.

Later Saturday, Francis will give a speech on religious freedom and immigration and then join in the final night of the World Meeting of Families.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:57 PM

Ex-priest wants Pope Francis to address sex abuse in church

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
PhillyVoice

BY CHRISTINA LOBRUTTO
PhillyVoice Staff

As Pope Francis came to Philadelphia to deliver his message of peace and justice Saturday, Robert M. Hoatson stood in the Ben Franklin Parkway with a message of his own.

A former priest in the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, he said he was hoping to get the pope to address prior sexual abuse by members of the clergy. He said he appreciates the pope's pontifical commission to prevent new abuse, but said he has to address abuse in the past. Hoatson is the co-founder and president of Road to Recovery, a nonprofit in Livingston, New Jersey, that supports survivors of sexual abuse.

In a speech on Wednesday, the pope called America's cardinals "courageous" in handling sex abuse cases.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:54 PM

Francis could be the salvation of the religious freedom cause

UNITED STATES
Crux

By John L. Allen Jr.
Associate editor September 26, 2015

PHILADELPHIA – To be sure, Pope Francis did not come to the United States primarily to deliver a political message but to act as a pastor, encouraging Catholics to hold on to their faith and to put it into action. Like a mantra, he has told them over and over, “Go forth!”

Equally surely, however, politics has been part of the mix.

From his remarks on the South Lawn of the White House on Wednesday to his addresses to a joint meeting of Congress on Thursday and the United Nations on Friday, the pope has presented a bushel basket full of policy concerns, ranging from immigration and climate change to arms trafficking and the death penalty.

Francis has already changed the political landscape by apparently giving House Speaker John Boehner, second in the order of succession to the presidency, the interior peace to decide to resign.

As the trip enters the final stretch this weekend in Philadelphia, however, it’s possible that the most important long-term political subtext is still to come.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:52 AM

Other Pontifical Acts

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 26 September 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- Archbishop Paolo Rocco Gualtieri, apostolic nuncio in Madagascar, as apostolic nuncio in the Seychelles.

- Bishop Robert Francis Prevost, O.S.A., as bishop of Chiclayo (area 15,647, population 1,275,215, Catholics 1,132,202, priests 113, religious 171), Peru. Bishop Prevost is currently apostolic administrator of the same diocese.

- appointed Fr. Zbigniew Zielinski as auxiliary of Gdansk, (area 2,500, population 965,077, Catholics 900,608, priests 748, religious 689), Poland. The bishop-elect was born in Gdansk, Poland in 1965 and was ordained a priest in 1991. He holds a doctorate in pastoral theology from the Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University of Warsaw and has served in a number of pastoral and academic roles, pastor of the St. Michael parish and of the Cathedral of Gdansk-Oliwa and lecturer in sociology of religion at the state University of Gdansk. He is currently pastor of the con-Cathedral, lecturer in pastoral theology in the major seminary, and member of the Commission for canonical visits in the parishes, the presbyteral council, and the college of consultors. In 2007 he was named Chaplain of His Holiness.

- appointed Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, metropolitan archbishop of Bologna, and Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, as members of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:49 AM

Pope’s doctrine chief warns of possible ‘schism’ in the Church like Protestant split

GERMANY
LifeSite News

REGENSBURG, Germany, September 8, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- In a move that is making headlines in Germany, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has said German bishops are leading the Church to a schism.

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Mueller is warning that the tendency of German bishops to divide doctrine from pastoral practice is not unlike the abuses surrounding the Protestant split in 1517. One should "be very vigilant and not forget the lesson of Church history,” he said.

Last week, in a speech at the release of the German version of Cardinal Robert Sarah's new book God or Nothing in Regensburg, Germany, Cardinal Mueller criticized "a climate of the German claim to leadership for the Universal Church." According to the German newspaper Die Tagespost, Mueller said that he is frequently asked why German bishops claim to be leaders of the Catholic Church -- while flouting teachings on marriage and sexuality -- despite overseeing dramatic reductions in church attendance, shrinking numbers of seminarians, and a drop in vocations to religious orders.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:23 AM

Philadelphia on Lockdown as Pope Francis Makes Historic Visit

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
NBC News

by Alastair Jamieson, Katie Primm and Kasie Hunt

Crowds began to gather at dawn Saturday in Philadelphia as Pope Francis prepared to promote religious freedom in the birthplace of American independence.

The city awoke to eight-foot tall mesh fences, concrete barriers and bike racks lining the streets as airport-style security - including TSA agents - was installed for the pontiff's visit.
Image: A nun being checked by a TSA agent in Philadelphia early Saturday.
A nun is checked by a TSA agent in Philadelphia Saturday. Elyse Perlmutter-Gumbiner / NBC News

Every few blocks along the Ben Franklin Parkway parade route, white tents have food for sale and official merchandise.

Outside the site of Independence Hall, where the United States Declaration of Independence and Constitution were adopted, crowds began to form at 7 a.m. - but they will have to wait until 4 p.m. to see the pontiff.

The 78-year-old Argentine is expected to hold a rally there with Hispanic and other immigrants on the theme of religious freedom. The event combines two issues about which Francis is most concerned: the plight of immigrants seeking a better life for themselves and their families, and the freedom to practice religion.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:10 AM

Pope Francis’s visit to Philadelphia generates excitement and disruption

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Washington Post

By Karen Heller and , Frances Stead Sellers and Joe Heim September 26

PHILADELPHIA — America’s birthplace of liberty has opened its arms for Pope Francis’s weekend visit by closing almost everything.

The 78-year-old pontiff is scheduled to arrive at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Philadelphia International Airport, the final leg of his first visit to the United States. Over two days, he’ll celebrate two Masses, deliver a speech on religious liberty at Independence Hall, participate in two papal parades, and be serenaded by Aretha Franklin and Andrea Bocelli at a festival to cap the church’s World Meeting of Families, which began Tuesday.

On Saturday morning, with a huge swath of the city closed to traffic, an eerie quiet created a vague post-apocalyptic sense. On normally beeping, bustling Chestnut street the only audible sound was the hum of a cranky air conditioner and the quiet slap of a runner’s feet on the pavement.

Philadelphians who griped over the many inconveniences of hosting Francis have fled the city or settled in to watch the scenes unfolding on their doorsteps from the comfort of their sofas. On Saturday morning, the city’s streets began to swell with a chorus of more positive voices. Popetimism, some are calling it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:03 AM

Pope Francis meets 9/11 victims’ families but ignores SNAP, insults 100,000 Catholic victims of Vatican crimes by John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army–JP2Army

UNITED STATES
Pope Francis CON-artist & Vicar of Plutocrats

Paris Arrow

Pope Francis is desperate to latch on to the fame of 9/11 because he knows the Vatican Titanic is sunken deep in the ocean of moral bankruptcy as a consequence of the Vatican crimes against humanity’s children during half-the-20th century – committed by the bestial JP2 Army – John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army – in almost all dioceses across the USA. Pope Francis has no business meeting with 9/11 victims’ families – (3,000 victims were attacked by 19 Muslims) – because his first and foremost priority as Roman Pontiff should be spending time with Catholic victims raped by criminal heinous Catholic priests and punishing all evil bishops who aided and abetted them for decades. Francis should be spending time with SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, who represent 100,000 victims of more than 6,500 pedophile priests in the USA alone. Why is Pope Francis embracing the victims’ families of 19 Muslims attackers but he doesn’t give a damn to victims of his own church - those bestial Catholic JP2 Army – John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army named aptly after the pope who reigned the longest but said nothing and did nothing to save and protect children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:26 AM

Texas minister accused of sexual abuse resigns, faces multi-million dollar lawsuit

TEXAS
Palestine Herald-Press

By Gary E. Lindsley

A Greenville, Texas minister, facing a multi-million dollar lawsuit alleging he sexually abused a teenager while at his former church in the 1990s, has resigned.

Billy Bob Burge, a minister at Grace Community Church, resigned on Thursday, according to Lead Pastor Adam Brind.

Burge is accused of repeatedly sexually abusing John Jeremy Sweet-Gomez when he attended First Baptist Church of Rockwall, Texas as a teenager.

Sweet-Gomez, according to the lawsuit filed against Burge and First Baptist Church of Rockwall by his parents, Carla Sweet and Ed Gomez, committed suicide in January 2015.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:21 AM

Survivor Of Sexual Abuse Feels Unsettled By Pope's Visit

UNITED STATES
KUOW

[audio]

By JEANNIE YANDEL & AMINA AL-SADI

Jeannie Yandel talks to Mary Dispenza, author and director of the Northwest branch of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, about Pope Francis' visit to the United States.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:19 AM

Randall Balmer: How Are We to Judge this Pope?

UNITED STATES
Valley News

Randall Balmer
For the Valley News
Saturday, September 26, 2015

Pope Francis’ triumphant visit to Cuba and the United States this week calls to mind the visit of John Paul II to America early in his papacy. In 1979, the charismatic new pontiff celebrated a Mass at Living History Farms outside of Des Moines, Iowa, and utterly charmed his audience, estimated at 350,000. “You’ve got a pope,” an Iowa farmer said to his Catholic neighbor, “who really knows how to pope.”

Despite the inevitable parallels between Francis and John Paul — the charisma, the disarming candor, the vigor that contrasted with their predecessors — a more accurate comparison, in my view, is with John XXIII. The cardinals chose both men, John XXIII and Francis, to be caretakers of the papacy. Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, the primate of Venice, was elected to the papacy in 1958 on the 12th ballot and took the name John XXIII. His fellow cardinals figured that this mild-mannered prelate wouldn’t make a lot of waves and, considering his age, 76, they could revisit the matter of church leadership in a few years. ...

Francis has a full agenda. Some studies suggest that fully 10 percent of Americans identify themselves as former Catholics, and a shortage of clergy here in the U.S. and around the world raises questions about clerical celibacy, which has been a requirement for only a millennium or so — a relative short duration for an institution that marks time in centuries. Regarding the ordination of women, the pontiff apparently feels blocked by the statements of his immediate predecessors. So far he has said, “That door is closed,” although the Irish Times has reported that Francis was considering the appointment of Mary McAleese, the former president of Ireland who has studied theology at the Gregorian University in Rome, to the College of Cardinals. (There is no gender-specific requirement for cardinal; the appointment is the pope’s alone, and apparently John Paul II once considered naming Mother Teresa to the College.)

The mention of McAleese brings us, finally, to the pope’s most pressing issue: the pedophilia scandal. When McAleese, then the president of Ireland, stopped in Boston during a state visit to the United States in 1998, she was browbeaten for her support for the ordination of women by none other than Bernard Law. The archbishop of Boston, McAleese recounted later, told her that he was “sorry for Catholic Ireland to have you as president.”

Law, however, was even then shielding pedophile priests in his archdiocese, shuffling them from one assignment to another. According to Spotlight, the recently released motion picture on the scandal, 294 priests under Law’s care have been identified as pedophiles. The tally of their victims now tops a thousand, and the archdiocese so far has doled out more than $85 million in settlements.

Law was forced to resign in 2002, whereupon he was named head of Santa Marie Maggiore, one of the most significant basilicas in Rome. He retired from that post in 2011 and, according to WGBH in Boston, lives a very comfortable life within the confines of the Vatican.

In 2012, Robert Finn, the bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph, was found guilty and sentenced to two years’ probation for failing to report one of his pedophile priests to the authorities. The Vatican allowed Bishop Finn to continue in his post until his resignation from the diocese earlier this year. He remains a bishop.

Francis has begun to address the issue. He appointed a 17-member commission early in his papacy and established a Vatican tribunal in June. Still, as the very existence of the tribunal itself suggests, the Vatican clearly prefers to handle matters of sexual abuse internally rather turn them over to secular authorities.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

The Pope and the Labels of Liberalism

NEW YORK
The New Yorker

BY ADAM GOPNIK

New Yorkers personalize everything, and the shutdown of traffic around town this week was put personally on the head of our visitor, Pope Francis. A certain amount of the normal exasperation felt at out-of-towners was directed at the pontiff, as though the Pope were one of those tourists trying to stuff a dollar bill into the Metrocard slot. (God, or somebody, forbid he should try to work the new Rube Goldberg contraption for the crosstown bus.)

Yet given how disruptive he was to normal life, the tone of his visit was astonishingly welcoming, not least because this particular Pope lit up people who aren’t normally crazy about the papacy, while—and this is part of what brought joy to the first group—driving round the bend people who normally are more Catholic than he is. And yet this Pope is no more a “liberal” Pope than he is a secret Muslim Pope—he’s the Pope. His historic role, which he is playing, is to be a very well-dressed critic of the liberal state in all its forms. The trick about this Pope is not that he is a secret liberal but that he is such a thoroughgoing critic of liberalism and its dispensations that his assault takes in parts of our experience parochially described as conservative.

It would, to be sure, be a saintly liberal who didn’t feel a little schadenfreude on hearing the Pope contradict certain shibboleths of the self-described religious right. The very people—including members of the Catholic hierarchy—who, when it comes to women’s rights to make intimate reproductive decisions for themselves, have been most passionately devoted to the idea that one can’t be a “cafeteria Catholic,” picking and choosing doctrine as you like, are now loudly determined to, well, pick and choose among papal doctrines just as they like. Making metaphysical decisions about the status of embryos for women is one thing; being asked to condemn killing criminals and torturing prisoners and poisoning the Earth, these are, apparently, different—moral options on which man must be free to exercise his own conscience as he sees fit.

The pleasure one can’t help but feel is moderated, though, tempered by the truth that the extension of his causes and the reordering of his priorities does not alter Francis’s core beliefs. Nor should it be expected to do so. The Pope is still clearly against women’s reproductive rights, and as yet no friend to their ordination. Nor has he really addressed the sexual-abuse crisis, which has done so much to diminish the Church in America; his remarks on the subject in Washington were, as one survivor of priestly abuse said, in the Washington Post, “bizarre,” more devoted to praising the mostly invisible moral courage of the hierarchy that participated in the coverup than in addressing the evil done to the abused. A leader of SNAP, the victims’ organization, called Francis’s remarks “a slap in the face to all the victims, that we’re going to worry about how the poor bishop feels.” (It is a sign of the special moral exemption the Catholic Church receives that, had any other organization in the world engaged in the same activity, many of its leaders would be in prison.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:09 AM

Pope Francis Judges Gays to be Objectively Disordered, Transgender Rights as Dangerous

UNITED STATES
The Open Tabernacle: Here Comes Everybody

Posted on September 26, 2015 by Betty Clermont

Today, Pope Francis heads to Philadelphia to lead the World Meeting of Families. Before leaving for this trip to Cuba and the US, he said, “The family, as God wants it, composed of a man and a woman for the good of the spouses … is deformed by powerful contrary projects.”

The Catechism states that homosexual acts are a “grave depravity.” Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – then head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, later Pope Benedict XVI – added in 1997 that even the homosexual “inclination” is “objectively disordered.”

So Pope Francis can change this anytime he wants, but he won’t.

The pope said in February 2015, “Let’s think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings. Let’s think also of genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory that does not recognize the order of creation.”

“The ‘gender theory’ Francis is denigrating is the medically and anthropologically supported concept that gender is a construct imposed by society. It is commonly cited in defense of transgender rights, since it shows gender can vary despite society’s expectations.”

Shortly after he became pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio said “Who am I to judge” in defense of his appointment of Msgr. Battista Ricca as his watchdog at the Vatican Bank. Ricca had been outed for making a public display of his relationship with another male. The pope was responding to the question: “I would like to know, Holiness, what do you intend to do about this question of Msgr. Ricca and of the news of his private life?” No further questions were allowed.

Nevertheless, in this year alone:

Same-sex marriage “threatens to disfigure God’s plan,” the pope said. “The movement in many countries to accept same-sex marriage is an ‘ideological colonization that we have to be careful about that is trying to destroy the family,’” he continued.

After telling reporters about a public service officer who, in order to receive a loan to build schools, had to include a book on “gender theory” in her curriculum, the pope said: “Clever girl, she said ‘yes.’ And, as a result the goal of the financiers was achieved. This is ideological colonization.” (emphasis mine)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

Pope Heads To Philadelphia As Whirlwind New York Tour Comes To An End

NEW YORK
CBS New York

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Pope Francis’ whirlwind tour of New York comes to an end this morning when he heads to Kennedy Airport to leave for Philadelphia, the final stop on his first-ever visit to the United States.

A few hundred people were seen waiting at JFK to say goodbye to the pope Friday morning, including a group of nuns holding white roses for the pontiff, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

Pope’s Historic Visit Reignites Church Sex Scandal Debate

NEW YORK
News LI

by Nia Hamm

NEW YORK – The historic U.S. visit of Pope Francis has refocused attention on the Catholic Church’s sex-abuse scandal. Although the pontiff has vowed to root out child sex predators from the Church, which has cost billions in legal expenses, victims of clergy sexual abuse want the pope to do more.

In New York, Michael Mack, 58, who says he was abused by a priest when he was 11, hopes to bring more attention to the issue this week. He has written a one-man play, “Conversations with My Molester.”

“I truly believe that his intention is to heal around this process,” Mack said. “And since this play of mine really is all about healing – about my own personal healing journey, but also the journeys that it reflects for so many survivors – that it seemed like the timing was a natural.”

Mack, who began practicing Catholicism again about seven years ago, said reform efforts such as a Truth and Reconciliation Commission would give church sexual-abuse victims a true chance to heal. Mack’s play opened in New York City on Thursday, the same day Pope Francis arrived in the city.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 AM

Pope to U.S. Church: I know you have suffered embarrassment

NEW YORK
Rome Reports

[with video]

The first stop during the Pope's visit to New York was St. Patrick's Cathedral. He presided over Vespers with priests and religious.

He first offered words of affection and closeness for the Muslims who were killed during a tragic stampede in Mecca. More than 700 are believed to have died.

His second message was one of gratitude. He thanked the American Catholics who stood by the Church, despite the sexual abuse scandal that shook the Church in recent years.

POPE FRANCIS

"You suffered greatly in the not distant past by having to bear the shame of some of your brothers who harmed and scandalized the Church in the most vulnerable of her members...I accompany you at this time of pain and difficulty.”

Giving thanks to the religious for their sacrifice, he asked them to not forget strength of their vocation. He told them not to turn off their love for God.

The Pope also wanted to send a more concrete message of support to specific audience: female religious. In 2008, the Vatican began a review of 341 female religious orders after complaints from some North American priests and bishops.

Last December, the Vatican announced the conclusions of the examination: It included a list of suggestions and, overall, was very positive in its message.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:55 AM

Withington historical abuse: Ex-Sunday school teacher jailed

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

A man who ran a Sunday school has been jailed for 16 years for historical sexual abuse against girls.

Alan Dawson, 64, of Newcroft Road, Urmston, was convicted of seven counts of indecent assault and one count of rape at Manchester Crown Court.

He was part of the congregation at Mauldeth Road Gospel Hall, Withington.

Police said he abused four girls between the 1960s and the 1980s, who were than aged between 11 and 16.

The abuse took place at Dawson's home in Didsbury and at the homes of the girls.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

World Meeting of Families a 'transformative' time for Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Vatican Radio

[with audio]

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis arrives in Philadelphia on Saturday, the final stop on his 10-day pastoral visit to Cuba and the United States. After meeting with Church leaders, visiting a high-security prison and greeting the city’s immigrant community, he’ll take part in a vigil and celebrate a concluding Mass for the 8th World Meeting of Families.

The city of Philadelphia has been preparing for this international gathering for the past three years since the venue was announced at the last World Meeting of Families in Milan in 2012. David O’Reilly is a veteran religion writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer and is travelling on the papal plane throughout the Pope’s visit. Just ahead of the trip, he sat down with Philippa Hitchen to talk about the way preparations for the Meeting has transformed the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

O’Reilly says for the past 10 years the city has had “a cloud over it of the most awful kind” following two grand jury investigations into the sexual abuse crisis. Those investigations revealed not only “extensive abuse of minors but also rather dreadful cover-ups by the leadership” which made “being Catholic in this city a sort of glum, dark thing for a lot of people”.

When Archbishop Chaput arrived in the city, O’Reilly continues, he also discovered all sorts of financial difficulties, including pension debts and a Catholic education system unable to support itself. O’Reilly recalls that the archbishop admitted publically “I’m not very happy to be here” and was unprepared for the announcement three years ago that his city would be the next site for the World Meeting of Families.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

Pope in NYC: I’m With You in Recovering From the Abuse Scandal

NEW YORK
National Catholic Register

BY CNA/EWTN NEWS 09/24/2015

NEW YORK CITY — In his first address in New York, Pope Francis lamented the suffering caused by the sexual-abuse scandal in the United States — not only for the trauma inflicted on the Church's most vulnerable members, but also for the shame it has brought to priests and religious in general.

“I know that, as a presbyterate in the midst of God’s people, you suffered greatly in the not-distant past by having to bear the shame of some of your brothers who harmed and scandalized the Church in the most vulnerable of her members,” he said addressing clergy and religious gathered for Evening Prayer at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City Sept. 24.

“I accompany you at this time of pain and difficulty, and I thank God for your faithful service to his people,” he said, adding they have “come forth from the great tribulation.”

Despite these difficulties, Pope Francis said, “Our vocation is to be lived in joy.”

New York is the second of three cities the Holy Father will stop in during his Sept. 22-27 visit to the United States. In his first leg of his trip, the Holy Father addressed a joint session of Congress and met briefly with President Obama in Washington. While in New York City, Pope Francis will address the United Nations, before heading to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families.

During his remarks Thursday evening, the Pope also took a moment to express his “esteem and gratitude” for women religious in America, calling them the “front line” of evangelization. “To you, religious women, sisters and mothers of this people, I wish to say ‘thank you,’ a big thank you, and to tell you that I love you very much,” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:48 AM

Child-sex inquiry to probe elite Brisbane schools’ cover-ups

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

SEPTEMBER 26, 2015

Hedley Thomas
National Chief Correspondent
Brisbane

A child-sex abuse scandal and ensuing cover-up at two elite Brisbane schools that contributed to Australia’s governor-general quit­ting 12 years ago is being re­investigated by the royal commission into child sexual abuse.

Some 100 boys were abused over many years by a counsellor, Kevin “Skippy” Lynch, at Brisbane Grammar and, subsequently, St Paul’s. The wrongdoing was shielded from public scrutiny because leaders in both the Anglican diocese and the schools at the time kept the matters quiet.

The scandal was exposed by investigative reporting in Brisbane in the early 2000s, which showed senior figures including Brisbane’s Anglican Archbishop, Peter Hollingworth, were aware of evidence of the abuse, before Dr Hollingworth was appointed governor-general. He resigned in 2003 over his handling of a series of sex-abuse scandals.

The abuse was not reported or acknowledged by the church or the school until after a former Grammar student suspected of having been one of Lynch’s victims, Nigel Parodi, shot three people in a rampage that ended with the loner’s death in a police shootout in Brisbane.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

Archbishop of Baltimore Says Pope’s Message Comes Down to Evangelization

UNITED STATES
Aleteia

ZOE ROMANOWSKY SEPTEMBER 25, 2015

Archbishop William E. Lori was appointed the 16th Archbishop of Baltimore, the premier see of the Church in the United States, by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012. He spoke to Aleteia’s Zoe Romanowsky about the significance of Pope Francis’ visit and what the Holy Father’s message means for bishops and for all of the faithful. ...

The pope’s talk to the U.S. bishops yesterday at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in D.C. was quite moving and there was a lot to unpack there. What struck you the most about his message?

Several things. First, as a bishop sitting there, I felt very, very encouraged. He thanked us for our service to the poor and immigrants and there was wonderful encouragement about our Catholic schools. He understood how difficult it’s been to deal with the tragic situation of clergy sexual abuse. In many ways I felt the Holy Father was expressing a great brotherly solidarity with us, as bishops. And I think it was important that he do so because sometimes people like to create a lot of tension between the pope and the bishops. But this was the opposite — fraternal solidarity.

At the same time, I think the Holy Father recognizes that operating in any culture, including our own, involves a lot of challenges, and as he has done in the other places, he encouraged us be pastors, with the deepest respect for our roots, to deal with our problems with creativity and dialogue, trying to understand people who differ with us.

So, there’s a lot to unpack. It was kind of a mini-summary of what the Church has been saying to bishops — very effective and very moving.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

September 25, 2015

Victim of child sexual abuse hoping Adelaide Archbishop will be forced to defend charge

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

A victim of child sexual abuse says he is hopeful Adelaide's Archbishop will ultimately be forced to defend a charge of concealing abuse against children.

Philip Wilson, the Archbishop of Adelaide, is the most senior catholic official in the world accused of concealing child sexual abuse.

He pleaded not guilty at Newcastle Local Court yesterday with Wilson's legal team calling for a permanent stay of proceedings.

The charge relates to when Wilson was an assistant parish priest in East Maitland in the 1970s and worked with paedophile priest James Fletcher.

The magistrate has set a date for a one-day hearing in December to hear the legal argument from both sides, with no witnesses to be called.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:48 PM

‘Prophet’s Prey’ Review: A Predator and His Flock

UNITED STATES
Wall Street Journal

By JOE MORGENSTERN
Sept. 24, 2015

As horror upon horror unfolds in “Prophet’s Prey,” Amy Berg’s shocking documentary about the mad polygamist Warren Jeffs and his followers, one may marvel, in horror, at the elaborate forms that deviancy can take. The half-educated son of a crackpot father who ran a splinter group calling itself the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), Mr. Jeffs took over the church on his father’s death, declared himself a prophet, promoted polygamy that frequently involved underage girls, set up isolated communities throughout the vastness of the Southwest and reigned supreme over thousands of believers as a veritable godhead, All the while, the film contends persuasively, Mr. Jeffs’s rogue church was, fundamentally, a crime syndicate built by and for sexual predators.

Was, and by all accounts in “Prophet’s Prey,” still is—that’s the most shocking part. Mr. Jeffs is in prison for the rest of his life, having been captured in 2006 during a traffic stop near Las Vegas, and convicted, in 2007, of two felony counts of child assault. And some of the child victims were freed by authorities from what amounted to imprisonment and enslavement in FLDS compounds, thanks in large measure to an activist attorney general in Utah. (The Church of Latter-Day Saints renounced the doctrine of polygamy in 1890.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 PM

PA--Victims to Pope: “Stop bishops’ lobbying”

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

SNAP: “Prelates fight secular child safety bills”
Battles are being waged in places Francis visits: PA, DC & NY
“Chaput uses flock’s donations to protect predators,” group says
It begs church-goers: “Donate elsewhere until real change happens”
SNAP: “As Francis talks of ‘protecting families,’ bishops ‘fight them in court’”

What:
Holding signs and childhood photos, after Francis’ mass, clergy sex abuse victims will

--urge the pope to make his bishops, in PA & elsewhere, stop blocking better child safety laws,
--urge lawmakers, in PA and elsewhere, to ignore bishops’ “self-serving” lobbying efforts, and
--urge Catholics to donate elsewhere until their church officials push for, not against, better laws that protect kids, expose predators and punish enablers.

(Such legislative struggles are pending in each place Francis is visiting: Pennsylvania, New York and DC.)

The victims will also urge all victims, witnesses and whistleblowers – in every institution that serves kids – to

--report everything they know, see or suspect to law enforcement,
--seek help from independent sources (not church, school, camp or coaching staff), and
--join the growing movement to end or extend archaic, predator-friendly statutes of limitations.

When:
Saturday, Sept. 26 at 1:30 p.m.

Where:
Outside St. Patrick Church, 242. S. 20th, in center city Philadelphia, PA (where a predator priest worked)

Who:
Three-four members of an international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a Missouri woman who is the organization’s long time outreach director

Why:
While clergy sex abuse and cover up lawsuits attract considerable media attention, most victims of pedophile priests can’t seek justice in court because bishops exploit archaic, predator-friendly deadlines called “statutes of limitations.” Worse, SNAP says, US bishops are spending “hundreds of thousands of dollars” on “high-priced lobbyists” to block moves to reform these rigid statutes that “give wrongdoers incentives to intimidate victims, threaten witnesses, discredit whistleblowers, destroy evidence and ‘run out the clock’ on child sex crimes and cover ups.”

In PA, a bill has been introduced that would give child sex abuse victims more time to file lawsuits. Catholic officials have fought hard and successfully against measures like this in Harrisburg and in every other state capitol where the issue has been raised, SNAP says.

SNAP wants Pope Francis to forbid such “reckless, callous expenditures” that “save bishops’ reputations but enable abuse and cover up to continue.” The group also wants state lawmakers to pass civil “window” laws that “make it easier for struggling victims to protect others, expose predators, deter cover ups and seek justice.”

(Four states have enacted civil “window” laws. As a result, hundreds of adults who committed and concealed child sex crimes have been exposed, fired, demoted or otherwise punished and dozens of criminal prosecutions have taken place that likely would not have, SNAP maintains. The group says “windows” are “the single quickest, safest and cheapest way to expose predators, safeguard kids and end cover ups of child sexual assaults.”)

Because bishops exploit tight statues of limitations, very few victims are able to “out” their perpetrators in court. That, in turn, helps predators continue molesting children, SNAP charges.

Catholic officials disingenuously claim “window” measures “unfairly target” churches, SNAP says. But they are “neutral” bills that usually include all private non-profits where child sex crimes are most often covered up. Bishops say over time “witnesses die, memories fade and evidence is lost.” SNAP says these factors just make it harder on victims, who face the burden of proof in such cases.

“By opposing these bills, Catholic officials are “putting more kids in harm’s way in all kinds of institutions, secular and religious,” says SNAP director David Clohessy. “And they contradict all the nice-sounding things Francis says about safeguarding the vulnerable and healing the wounded.”

The Hawaii and Minnesota windows are still “open.” The California and Delaware ones have closed. They range from one year (California) to three years (Minnesota).

Sponsors of the SOL window measure in PA include Reps. Mark Rizzo of Berks County (610-921-8921) and Louise Bishop (D-Philadelphia).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 PM

Judge says Diocese of Allentown not responsible for ACE Academy sexual abuse

PENNSYLVANIA
The Morning Call

By Sarah M. Wojcik
Of The Morning Call

Diocese of Allentown, Pius X, priest not liable for sexual abuse of S. Korean student, judge rules
The Diocese of Allentown is not liable for the sexual abuse of a South Korean exchange student inside a private dormitory where she stayed while attending Pius X High School, according to a ruling by Northampton County Judge Michael Koury Jr.

While the attorney representing the diocese praised Koury's decision, Howard Myerowitz, representing the victim in the sex abuse case, voiced his deep disappointment.

"I have a lot of respect for Judge Koury, but I think he got it wrong. It shouldn't have gone on," Myerowitz said of the abuse endured by his client. "This was one of those strange cases where there was a disclosure (of the abuse), but it continued. And that's what bothers me so much about it."

The decision, handed down Thursday, exonerates the diocese, Pius X High School, Inc. and a priest identified only as Father Tom Doe, from liability, but the case against the owners of the dormitory and the abuser, Richard Kim, is still poised to move forward.

The victim was 14 when she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by 37-year-old Kim at the now-shuttered ACE Academy in Pen Argyl, where he was working as a tutor. At the time, the teenage girl was attending Pius X High School, which has since closed its doors due to lack of enrollment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:43 PM

The Quiet Speech of a Hard Man

UNITED STATES
Truthout

Friday, 25 September 2015

By William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed

So this guy in white robes showed up at the Capitol Building in Washington DC on Thursday, and the freak-out was comprehensive. Some 5,000 law enforcement officials were brought to bear in the name of "security" for the visit by Pope Francis, a number that sits in the shade of the 7,000 law enforcement officials prepared for his arrival in New York City. Both towns are effectively shut down; fences up, fences everywhere.

The pope's speech before a joint session of congress was riveting television. The crowds outside were huge, and hugely enthusiastic. The cameras flashed to various crowd shots, one including Senator Ted Cruz looking like an extra from "Grease," with Chris Matthews on MSNBC claiming that suddenly-retiring and very weepy House Speaker John Boehner "wanted personal help from the pope" at one notable point. Ponder that a moment.

The only person Francis personally greeted when he entered the chamber was John Kerry. When the pontiff assumed the podium, Speaker Boehner shook his hand and said, "Good luck." It was not a jocular statement; Boehner delivered it in the tones of a World War I officer ordering a doughboy over the side of a trench and into machine-gun fire.

Pope Francis defended working people and retired people, invoked Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton, defended religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms while denouncing the "simplistic reductionism that sees only good or evil," defended immigrants and immigration, made a stout argument in favor of the reality of climate change, described the profits made from weapons sales as "money drenched in blood," and kicked the death penalty square in the ass.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:40 PM

Joan Chittister to Pope Francis...

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

William D. Lindsey

Joan Chittister to Pope Francis: "It Is Impossible, Holy Father, to Be Serious about Doing Anything for the Poor and at the Same Time Do Little or Nothing for Women"

Because I do remain a bit muzzy in the head due to my recent tooth issues (and, above all, the difficulty one has in sleeping as she/he deals with pain in the night), I don't think I can write anything of great substance or length right now. (Lucky you, right?)

But I'll share a few top-of-head thoughts with you. Much of value is being written in the past several days about what Pope Francis has been saying and doing in the U.S. I can't give you a comprehensive report of everything that catches my eye.

I do, though, want to zero in on the following section of Tom Roberts's National Catholic Reporter commentary on the pope's remarks to U.S. bishops two days ago: Roberts writes that "Francis laid out an insistent call for dialogue – with everyone and in all directions," as he emphasized:

The dialogue should be with everyone – among bishops, in their presbyterates, with lay persons, families and with society. "I cannot ever tire of encouraging you to dialogue fearlessly," he said.

I want to zero in not only on this observation, but on the word everyone: Francis encouraged the bishops, according to Roberts, to build within the U.S. Catholic church dialogues that include everyone.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:36 PM

Ex párroco revela detalles sobre posible negligencia de Arzobispado en caso Karadima

CHILE
24 Horas

[Former pastor reveals details on possible negligence by the archbishop in the Fernando Karadima case.The former pastor of La Moneda, Percival Cowley, implicated Ricardo Ezzati and Francisco Javier Errazuriz as being possibly negligent.]

El ex párroco de La Moneda, Percival Cowley, reveló detalles que demostrarían la posible negligencia de Ricardo Ezzati y Francisco Javier Errázuriz sobre el caso Karadima.

Mediante las declaraciones por la demanda de las víctimas de Fernando Karadima -a las cuales tuvo acceso The Clinic- Cowley expresó que la cúpula católica omitió durante un tiempo los antecedentes que podrían haber acelerado la investigación.

Según el religioso, el mismo James Hamilton -víctima del otrora cura de El Bosque- le narró lo sucedido en 2003, por lo que prometió que se lo iba a comunicar el entonces obispo auxiliar de Santiago, Ricardo Ezzti.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:32 PM

UPDATED: Former priest faces sex charges

CANADA
Niagara Falls Review

By Alison Langley, Niagara Falls Review
Friday, September 25, 2015

A lawyer who represented three altar boys who were molested by Donald Grecco says he's not surprised the defrocked Catholic priest now faces new sex-related charges involving young boys.

"It didn't surprise me at all," Rob Talach, of Ledroit Beckett Litigation Lawyers, a London, Ont., law firm, said Friday.

"I sensed there were more (victims). This is a confirmation of where my gut was all along."

The Haldimand detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police this week arrested 75-year-old Grecco following an investigation into sexual abuse complaints involving two boys dating back almost 40 years.

Police allege the incidents occurred between 1977 and 1982 involving two boys ages 10 and 14 at locations in Niagara Falls, Haldimand County and the United States.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:25 PM

New sex abuse charges laid against former Catholic priest

CANADA
CTV

A former priest with the Roman Catholic Church faces new accusations of historical sexual assault involving two young boys.

Donald Grecco spent time in jail earlier this decade after being found guilty of sexual assaults involving altar boys in the 1970s and 1980s.

Haldimand County OPP say new allegations against Grecco came to light several months ago, prompting another investigation.

Grecco now faces new charges of gross indecency and indecent assault.

Police say the allegations relate to incidents that occurred between 19777 and 1982, in locations around Haldimand County, Niagara Region and the United States.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:06 PM

Former Catholic Priest Arrested

CANADA
The Square

(MISSISSAUGA, ON) – The OPP have charged a 75 year-old former Catholic priest with several sex offences after conducting an historical sexual assault investigation in the Haldimand County and Niagara Region areas.

Over the past several months police have been investigating a series of sexual assaults which had occurred between 1977 and 1982. They involved a then 10 year-old and 14 year-old boys. The assaults occurred at locations in Niagara Region, Haldimand County, and the United States.

As a result, Donald Grecco, 75, of Peel Region, has been charged with two counts each of Gross Indecency and Indecent Assault on a Male. Grecco will appear in Provincial Court in Cayuga on December 8, at 2:00 pm.

The incidents occurred while Grecco was a priest at St Stephen’s Roman Catholic Church, in Cayuga, at St Kevin’s Roman Catholic Church, in Welland, and at St Thomas More Roman Catholic Church, in Niagara Falls.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:04 PM

Pope Francis' Address To The United Nations General Assembly (Full Transcript)

NEW YORK
Huffington Post

As released by the Vatican.

Mr President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for your kind words. Once again, following a tradition by which I feel honored, the Secretary General of the United Nations has invited the Pope to address this distinguished assembly of nations. In my own name, and that of the entire Catholic community, I wish to express to you, Mr Ban Ki-moon, my heartfelt gratitude. I greet the Heads of State and Heads of Government present, as well as the ambassadors, diplomats and political and technical officials accompanying them, the personnel of the United Nations engaged in this 70th Session of the General Assembly, the personnel of the various programs and agencies of the United Nations family, and all those who, in one way or another, take part in this meeting. Through you, I also greet the citizens of all the nations represented in this hall. I thank you, each and all, for your efforts in the service of mankind.

This is the fifth time that a Pope has visited the United Nations. I follow in the footsteps of my predecessors Paul VI, in1965, John Paul II, in 1979 and 1995, and my most recent predecessor, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, in 2008. All of them expressed their great esteem for the Organization, which they considered the appropriate juridical and political response to this present moment of history, marked by our technical ability to overcome distances and frontiers and, apparently, to overcome all natural limits to the exercise of power. An essential response, inasmuch as technological power, in the hands of nationalistic or falsely universalist ideologies, is capable of perpetrating tremendous atrocities. I can only reiterate the appreciation expressed by my predecessors, in reaffirming the importance which the Catholic Church attaches to this Institution and the hope which she places in its activities.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:05 PM

Another appalling papal comment on abuse crisis

NEW YORK
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, Sept. 25

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those abused by Priests (314 566 9790, davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

Twice in two days, Pope Francis has made vague and brief references to the on-going abuse and cover up crisis, mentioning the pain of church staff but not the pain of abused children and betrayed parishioners. He refuses to even call the scandal by its name.

[New York Times]

[Kern Golden Empire]

“In his homily before a crowd of priests and nuns,” reported CNN, Francis said "You suffered greatly in the not distant past by having to bear the shame of some of your brothers who harmed and scandalized the Church in the most vulnerable of her members," and referred to a time of "pain and difficulty."

Today’s Washington Post reports “At a news conference in New York, the Rev. Federico Lombardi was asked why the pope had spoken twice now — Wednesday to bishops and Thursday to seminarians and religious sisters, among others — about the abuse crisis, but never named it explicitly and focused on encouraging the clergy without speaking first about victims.”

[Washington Post]

And today’s New York Times noted the same troubling pattern – talking about how clergy child sex crimes and cover ups impact other clergy.

[New York Times]

Francis has made similar disturbing comments about the crisis before, claiming last year that “The Catholic Church is perhaps the only public institution to have moved with transparency and accountability” on abuse “Yet the Church is the only one to be attacked

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:57 PM

Child sex abuse survivors reject adulation for Pope during US visit

NEW YORK
Al Jazeera America

In rare public support group meeting, victims called Francis a 'tranquilizer' on issue of Catholic clergy sex abuse

September 25, 2015

by Renee Lewis @Renee5Lewis55

Pope Francis has been warmly welcomed by political leaders and thousands of ordinary people since arriving in New York City, but many survivors of sexual abuse by priests have had a different reaction.

“It’s been very difficult for Pope Francis to be in my backyard,” said Megan, a member of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP). “There’s still so much hurt.”

She and other survivors spoke to Al Jazeera at a rare public support group meeting in New York City on Tuesday, sharing their anger and frustration about what they say is a lack of substantive action by the Catholic Church to hold the priests who abused them accountable. All of them asked to be identified only by their first names.

For some survivors, the visit has triggered flashbacks. Peter said he was abused by a priest in his seminary boarding school starting from the age of 13. During the “kiss of peace” section of the service, the priest would come down from the altar to hug him, Peter said. When Pope Francis was met by President Barack Obama with a hug when he landed at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Tuesday, Peter said those memories came flooding back.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:55 PM

POPE FRANCIS & $1.6 BILLION IN CONTRACTS & GRANTS

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Berger's Beat

“NOT TO BE LOST IN POMP & CIRCUMSTANCE OF POPE FRANCIS’ first visit to Washington is the reality that the Catholic Church he oversees has become one of the largest recipients of federal largesse in America,” reports Kelly Riddell. “The church and related Catholic charities and schools have collected more than $1.6 billion since 2012 in U.S. contracts and grants in a far-reaching relationship that spans from school lunches for grammar school students to contracts across the globe to care for the poor and needy at the expense of Uncle Sam,” a Washington Times review of federal spending records shows.

MEANWHILE, our town’s Barbara Dorris of SNAP is dogging the pontiff, leading support group meetings, leafleting events and news conferences in D.C. and Philly while SNAP prez Barbara Blaine, a SLU alum, does the same in NYC.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:51 PM

Abuse victims angry over Pope’s words

UNITED STATES
The Free Thinker (UK)

Pope Francis has been accused of grossly misrepresenting the Catholic Church’s reaction to clerical abuse in the US when he addressed hundreds of bishops at the Cathedral of St Matthew the Apostle in downtown Washington on Wednesday.

According to this report, he told the bishops that he was:

Conscious of the courage with which you have faced difficult moments in the recent history of the church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice.
He continued:

I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you, and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims – in the knowledge that in healing we too are healed – and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated.

John Salveson, a 59-year-old Philadelphia businessman who was abused as a child by a priest, said:

The people he was talking to are the people who moved the pedophiles around to prey on kids. If you gave me 100 years to pick a word to describe the US bishops’ reaction to this crisis, ‘generous’ would never make the list.

Terry McKiernan, who runs BishopAccountability.org, a non-profit group that tracks the abuse scandal, said Francis failed to acknowledge that most dioceses across the country have not disclosed the names of abusers and continue to lobby against reforming statute of limitations laws that shield priests from prosecution for crimes committed many years ago.

It would be a shame if the Pope’s words were taken as encouragement by the bishops to continue that behavior.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:12 PM

Abuse Victim Advocate Blasts Pope's Remarks on US Bishops'

UNITED STATES
Ms. Magazine

In a statement released Wednesday by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), president Barbara Blaine blasted Pope Francis for his praise of US bishops' "courage," accusing the pontiff of doing "little if anything" to meaningfully address the Catholic Church's decades-long sex abuse crisis.

Pope Francis, in a homily delivered at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C., one of several stops on his first US tour, told the nearly 300 bishops in attendance that he was "conscious of the courage with which you have faced difficulty moments in the recent history of the Church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice."

Blaine, who founded SNAP in 1988 as a self-help organization for victims of clergy sexual abuse, wasted no time in challenging the pope's characterization of the Church's disastrous handling of the scandals, noting no clergy have been "defrocked, demoted, disciplined or even publicly denounced" despite the revelation of at least 100,000 victims over the course of 30 years of known abuse.

"What sacrifice?," questioned Blaine. "What bishop takes fewer vacations, drives a smaller car, does his own laundry or has been passed over for promotion because he's shielding predators and endangering kids? None."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:09 PM

Talking to KABC Radio about the Papal vist

UNITED STATES
The Worthy Adversry

Posted by Joelle Casteix on September 25, 2015

You can listen to our discussion about sex abuse and cover-up, Roger Mahony, and protecting whistle-blowers here.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:07 AM

IMAGES on UNITED NATIONS DAY

UNITED STATES
National Survivor Advocates Coalition

by Kristine Ward, September 25, 2015

On this day, when Pope Francis will address the United Nations in New York, we present the images of courageous people who have preceded him in dealings with this international body.

See in the faces of leaders in the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) Mary Caplan and Megan Peterson the nobility of rising from the hopelessness that molestation can impose as rigid bondage to the conquering of fear and rising to a summit place knowing that the foundation for the rise is truth. megan peterson

See in the face of Pamela Spees, an attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights, the combination of steel determination for justice and the honing of intellect to bring to bear on a world power, one which claims to be a moral guide for the planet, no less than accountability for what has happened and continues to happen to children by men and women in its ranks.

We place these images in our pages today in the hope that we may give strength and comfort to the survivors of sexual abuse who have been so cruelly treated by the pontiff by his choosing to pay tribute to the bishops of the United States in their handling of the sexual abuse crisis and to characterize them as being men of courage. Men, he said, who are selfless in divesting themselves of all unessentials in order to right the wrongs of the scandal.mary caplan

Nothing could be further from the truth.

With his words, the Pope abandoned the survivors to the barrios of inconsequentiality – the very place into which he reaches to lift all others up and to encourage and urge others to follow him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:15 AM

Catholic Church collects $1.6 billion in U.S. contracts, grants since 2012

UNITED STATES
Washington Times

By Kelly Riddell - The Washington Times - Thursday, September 24, 2015

Not to be lost in the pomp and circumstance of Pope Francis’ first visit to Washington is the reality that the Catholic Church he oversees has become one of the largest recipients of federal largesse in America.

The Church and related Catholic charities and schools have collected more than $1.6 billion since 2012 in U.S. contracts and grants in a far-reaching relationship that spans from school lunches for grammar school students to contracts across the globe to care for the poor and needy at the expense of Uncle Sam, a Washington Times review of federal spending records shows.

Former Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York once famously noted in 1980 that the government funded 50 percent of Catholic Charities‘ budget, commenting “private institutions really aren’t private anymore.” Today, those estimates remain about the same, according to Leslie Lenkowsky, who served as the chief executive officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service under George W. Bush.

Catholic Charities USA, the largest charitable organization run by the church, receives about 65 percent of its annual budget from state and federal governments, making it an arm of the federal welfare state, said Brian Anderson, a researcher with the Manhattan Institute.

The federal government came to increasingly rely on the church to help it with Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” and the charities “imbued with their new faith in the government’s potential to solve social problems, eagerly accepted government money,” Mr. Anderson wrote in an essay for the Manhattan Institute.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:42 AM

Pope Francis Seeks Reconciliation With Anti-Semitic Order of Priests

UNITED STATES
Daily Kos

Betty Clermont

Today, Pope Francis is leading a multi-religious service at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

“Pope Francis' decision that during the Jubilee Year of Mercy the faithful can receive absolution from priests of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) is the most recent attempt at reconciliation with the priestly society [and] can be seen in the context of a hope for full reconciliation.”

In June 2012, the Simon Wiesenthal Center named SSPX as influential within the French far-right, anti-Semitic party.

In January 2012, it was noted that British fascism posed a “real danger” and “might draw strength from the assiduous networking” of the SSPX. “Further connections are being built among the elite of British fascism, where far-right Catholics associated with the Society of St Pius X are increasingly active.”

When the fascist leader of the SSPX, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, consecrated four bishops without the permission of Pope John Paul II in 1988, the illicit consecration resulted in the excommunication of the five bishops. The excommunications were lifted in 2009 by Benedict XVI amid a media outcry because one of the bishops was a Holocaust-denier.

In Buenos Aires, Catholics, Jews and Protestants hold an annual ceremony in the Metropolitan Cathedral “to mark Kristallnacht, the Nazi-led mob violence in 1938 when about 1,000 Jewish synagogues were burned and thousands of Jews were forced into concentration camps, launching the genocide that killed 6 million Jews.” SSPX members disrupted the Nov. 13, 2013, ceremony by shouting the rosary and the “Our Father” and distributed pamphlets stating, “followers of false gods must be kept out of the sacred temple.” Fr. Christian Bouchacourt, leader of the SSPX in South America, said his organization had the right to feel outraged when rabbis preside over a ceremony in a Catholic cathedral.

Talks between the SSPX and the Vatican resumed in 2014 at the direction of Pope Francis.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:48 AM

Washington DC--Grosso Calls on Pope Francis and the Catholic Church to Protect Victims of Sexual Abuse

WASHINGTON (DC)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Statement by Councilmember At-Large David Grosso

Today, at 2:30pm, Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) will join victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests at a rally in front of the Wilson Building. In advance of the rally, Grosso released the following statement:

"In his prayer meeting with U.S. bishops yesterday, Pope Francis spoke of a 'generous commitment to bring healing'- this stance must extend to those who have suffered sexual abuse. I am calling on the Pope to hold the bishops of the Catholic Church accountable for abuse committed on their watch. It is past time for the Church to support better laws that protect children, expose predators, and punish enablers.

Earlier this year I introduced the 'Childhood Protection Against Sexual Abuse Amendment Act' to give child victims of sexual abuse more time to file a civil lawsuit against perpetrators. Our current laws unjustly protect predators, and too often the Church has opposed legal reform. If the Catholic Church is truly committed to healing and forgiveness, then it will support this legislation and efforts to protect children from harm."

Today, at 2:30pm, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) will rally in support of Grosso's legislation on the steps of the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. The Childhood Protection Against Sexual Abuse Amendment Act, introduced by Grosso in March 2015, would eliminate the civil statute of limitations for recovery of damages arising out of child sexual abuse claims. Additionally, the bill creates a two-year window for individuals whose claims of child sexual abuse were previously time-barred, enabling victims to begin the long road to recovery. The legislation is currently awaiting a hearing in the D.C. Council's Committee on the Judiciary.

Councilmember At-Large David Grosso
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Suite 402
Washington, D.C. 20004
Office: 202-724-8194
http://www.davidgrosso.org/

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 AM

Papal BULL in Capitol Hill! Pope Francis speech packed with Opus Dei Beast PR Deceits Team pathological lies.

UNITED STATES
Pope Francis CON-artist & Vicar of Plutocrats

Paris Arrow

Below are our rebuttals on the pope’s speech in congress. But first we’d like to point out some related matters. In his speech before 300 bishops yesterday, Pope Francis cold-heartedly ignored and insulted SNAP and thousands of victims of pedophile priests – by praising the bishops -- who battled against these victims via expensive lawyers and deprived them of justice. We wrote that, “This time Pope Francis proved how out-of-touch with reality (VA) Vatican Autocracy is in his tiny fake country”. With today’s events at Capitol Hill and canonization of Junipero Serra, we realize that -- it isn’t that the Vatican and Pope Francis are out-of-touch with reality – but rather – they can astutely manipulate, tamper, corrupt and distort reality – and they disingenuously make what is evil look good – and what is false appear like truth. Francis made those evil bishops look good as he lauded them for their “courage” and for their "without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice" – which are all false because they protected bestial predator priests for decades.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 AM

Priest Abuse Survivors Blast Pope's Message

UNITED STATES
Associated Press

[video]

Some survivors of abuse by Catholic priests say the pope should be doing more to confront child abuse within the church. (Sept. 24)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

Minister, church sued for alleged sexual abuse

TEXAS
Herald Banner

By Gary E. Lindsley

A Greenville minister, facing a multi-million dollar lawsuit alleging he sexually abused a teenager at First Baptist Church of Rockwall in the 1990s, has resigned.

Billy Bob Burge, connect minister at Grace Community Church, resigned on Thursday, according to Lead Pastor Adam Brind.

Burge is accused of repeatedly sexually abusing John Jeremy Sweet-Gomez when he attended the church in Rockwall as a teenager.

Sweet-Gomez, according to the lawsuit filed in Dallas County District Court by his parents, Carla Sweet and Ed Gomez, committed suicide in January 2015.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 AM

How Pope Francis turned around troubled Vatican bank

UNITED STATES
CBS News

By ROBERT HENNELLY MONEYWATCH September 25, 2015

Critics of Pope Francis have cast him as anti-capitalist, seizing on his warnings about global warming and the corrosive effects of inequality. But the reality is more complex, as shown by his efforts to turn the scandal-plagued Vatican bank into a more efficient -- and profitable -- financial institution.

Under Pope Francis' watch the secretive bank, long linked to money laundering and tax evasion, is for the first time in its 73-year-history complying with international banking standards and other transparency rules, advancing reform efforts started by his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI. Francis upped the ante on the campaign by replacing many of the bank's top advisers.

The Institute for the Works of Religion, as the bank is officially known, is also seeing its earnings rebound, which some commercial bankers might view as a kind of miracle given the financial industry's aversion to regulations.

The bank's profits have gone from $3.9 million in 2013, when the pontiff -- born Jorge Mario Bergoglio -- was elected Pope to $75.5 million last year. Other standard benchmarks of bank profitability also highlight the Institute's gains. Both the Vatican bank's average return on its holdings and its profit margin on interest-bearing assets have climbed since 2012, according to SNL Financial. The bank's so-called Tier 1 capital ratio -- for regulators, the most important measure of a lender's financial strength -- has also risen over that time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 AM

Cardinal Danneels Admits to Being Part of 'Mafia' Club Opposed to Benedict XVI

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Register

by Edward Pentin 09/24/2015

Further serious concerns are being raised about Cardinal Godfried Danneels, one of the papal delegates chosen to attend the upcoming Ordinary Synod on the Family, after the archbishop emeritus of Brussels confessed this week to being part of a radical "mafia" reformist group opposed to Benedict XVI.

It was also revealed this week that he once wrote a letter to the Belgium government favoring same-sex "marriage" legislation because it ended discrimination against LGBT groups.

The cardinal is already known for having once advised the king of Belgium to sign an abortion law in 1990, for telling a victim of clerical sex abuse to keep quiet, and for refusing to forbid pornographic, “educational” materials being used in Belgian Catholic schools.

He also once said same-sex “marriage” was a “positive development,” although he has sought to distinguish such a union from the Church’s understanding of marriage.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 AM

The Francis Scorecard so far: Liberals 7, Conservatives 2

UNITED STATES
Religion News Service - Spiritual Politics

Mark Silk | Sep 24, 2015

Church spokesmen and mainstream religion reporters like to make the point that the pope — any pope — hews not to a liberal or conservative line in secular politics, but marches to the distinctively different beat of Catholic social doctrine. And the point is sufficiently true that woe to those who deny it.

But the fact remains that popes, through what they choose to emphasize and how they choose to emphasize it, may offer more aid and comfort to one side of the political divide than the other. And at the end of Pope Francis’ Washington innings my scorecard reads: Liberals 7, Conservatives 2, with innumerable hits and one error.

On the liberal side, I score runs on immigration, climate change, the death penalty, caring for the poor, assuring the common good, ending the culture war, and political over economic decision-making. Conservatives scored on abortion and religious liberty.

Of course, conservatives will argue that they also care about the poor. They just don’t believe in robust government programs to help them. If anyone doubts that Pope Francis was sending anything but that message, I suggest a rereading of his speech Congress. As in: “I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope. The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 AM

Highlights: Pope Francis in Washington and New York City

NEW YORK
New York Times

Pope Again Sympathizes With Church Leaders over Abuse Fallout

"I know that, as a presbyterate in the midst of God’s people, you suffered greatly in the not distant past by having to bear the shame of some of your brothers who harmed and scandalized the Church in the most vulnerable of her members… In the words of the Book of Revelation, I know well that you ‘have come forth from the great tribulation.’ I accompany you at this time of pain and difficulty, and I thank God for your faithful service to his people."

In the remarks he is delivering at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Francis is echoing the remarks he made on the church’s abuse scandals on Wednesday, when he told American bishops that he “supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims – in the knowledge that in healing we, too, are healed – and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated.” He also praised them for their “courage” and the “great sacrifice” they had made.

Advocates for the victims of sexual abuse by priests have condemned his words. They also questioned why Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, the former archbishop of Los Angeles who was relieved of ministry duties over revelations that he had covered up for abusive priests, was traveling with Francis.

“Once again, he seems to be talking about the pain and embarrassment of the bishops, as opposed to the pain and embarrassment of the victims, who’ve been raped and sodomized,” said Barbara Dorris, the victims outreach director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. “Well, they created this crisis by protecting predators; children didn’t ask to be raped. So to compare the two things is grossly unjust.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

Spokesman implies Pope Francis will meet with sex abuse survivors during U.S. trip

NEW YORK
Washington Post

By Michelle Boorstein September 24

Defending Pope Francis’ comments in the United States on clergy sex abuse, his spokesman Thursday night hinted that the pope will meet with survivors during this visit. U.S. church leaders had said similar things in the months leading up to this visit, but not a concrete way at such a precise time.

At a news conference in New York, the Rev. Federico Lombardi was asked why the pope had spoken twice now — Wednesday to bishops and Thursday to seminarians and religious sisters, among others — about the abuse crisis, but never named it explicitly and focused on encouraging the clergy without speaking first about victims.

“It isn’t totally true what you say. He has spoken of ‘crimes,’ and said the bishops have to engage to avoid these crimes can happen again ..it is an incredible, terrible, terrible thing,” the Italian priest said in slightly broken English. “It may be the trip is not to end now, the pope has already said speaking to bishops, to the priests, maybe he will also have other occasions to approach this problem that was and is very big.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 AM

The Latest: Governor's aide says pope blesses Sandra Lee

NEW YORK
San Diego Union-Tribune

NEW YORK (AP) — Latest developments in Pope Francis' visit to the United States. All times local: ...

10:20 p.m.

The Vatican spokesman has denied claims by advocates for victims that the pope has given short shrift to their suffering in his remarks on the clergy sex-abuse crisis.

The Rev. Federico Lombardi says Pope Francis has acknowledged victims by referring to children as the most vulnerable members of the church and speaking of child molestation as a crime.

Lombardi also noted Thursday that the pope has three more days of public events in the U.S., suggesting that further comments are ahead.

In two separate speeches, the pope has commended U.S. bishops for their response to victims and said he understood clergy had "suffered greatly" because of the shame from the scandal.

The crisis erupted in 2002 in the Archdiocese of Boston, then spread across the country and overseas.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:16 AM

Child sex abuse: States, territories challenge George Brandis on redress scheme

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

September 25, 2015

Jane Lee
Legal affairs, industrial relations and science correspondent

The states and territories have challenged Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis to say whether the Turnbull government will support a $4.01 billion national redress scheme for survivors of child sexual abuse.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse recommended last week, on the day Mr Turnbull ousted Tony Abbott as prime minister, that the federal government set up a scheme for about 60,000 survivors across Australia.

Attorneys-general of all states and territories except the Northern Territory said in a joint letter to Senator Brandis on Friday that the commission had "identified a clear role" for the federal government in the redress scheme, including giving it a deadline of the end of 2015 to announce whether it would establish a national scheme.

While institutions where historic child abuse occurred should bear most of the redress cost, the commission said in its report that federal, state and territory governments should cover any shortfall as "funders of last resort". It estimated that this would be about $613 million, or 15 per cent of total redress funding

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:08 AM

Highlights: Pope Francis in Washington and New York City

NEW YORK
The New York Times

Pope Francis is warning clergy members, nuns and brothers that taking a business-inspired approach to their ministries can dampen their spirit of “generous self-sacrifice.”

The Archdiocese of New York has been going through a reorganization that has resulted in the closing of nearly 40 churches, and some have criticized the closures for being motivated by business rather than pastoral priorities. The pope’s comment will likely be welcomed by those critics.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:06 AM

Vatican's Lombardi: Pope may address sexual abuse crisis in US again

NEW YORK
National Catholic Reporter

Joshua J. McElwee | Sep. 24, 2015

NEW YORK
A Vatican spokesman has said that Pope Francis may yet have another opportunity during his continuing visit to the U.S. to address the sexual abuse crisis, in what could be a reference to an upcoming but unannounced meeting with abuse survivors.

The pope may "have other occasions to approach this problem," Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi said at a press conference Thursday evening. Francis' six-day, three-city trip to the U.S., he said, "is not to an end now."

Lombardi was responding to an NCR question at the briefing regarding two speeches given by the pope Wednesday in Washington and Thursday in New York.

Both speeches addressed the sexual abuse crisis obliquely, and acknowledged the struggles faced by church officials in handling the issue but not the pain of survivors.

Speaking to some 300 U.S. bishops Wednesday, Francis told them: "I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:03 AM

Pope’s Historic Visit Reignites Church Sex Scandal Debate

NEW YORK
News LI

by Nia Hamm

NEW YORK – The historic U.S. visit of Pope Francis has refocused attention on the Catholic Church’s sex-abuse scandal. Although the pontiff has vowed to root out child sex predators from the Church, which has cost billions in legal expenses, victims of clergy sexual abuse want the pope to do more.

In New York, Michael Mack, 58, who says he was abused by a priest when he was 11, hopes to bring more attention to the issue this week. He has written a one-man play, “Conversations with My Molester.”

“I truly believe that his intention is to heal around this process,” Mack said. “And since this play of mine really is all about healing – about my own personal healing journey, but also the journeys that it reflects for so many survivors – that it seemed like the timing was a natural.”

Mack, who began practicing Catholicism again about seven years ago, said reform efforts such as a Truth and Reconciliation Commission would give church sexual-abuse victims a true chance to heal. Mack’s play opened in New York City on Thursday, the same day Pope Francis arrived in the city.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 AM

Catholic Church Sex Abuse Survivors Frustrated By Pope Francis' US Visit, Lack Of Action

UNITED STATES
International Business Times

By Julia Glum

Bernie McDaid remembers staring at the stained glass the first time his Catholic priest molested him. He said he was about 12 years old, an altar boy standing in the sacristy of St. James’ Church outside of Boston, when the Rev. Joseph E. Birmingham grabbed him, started tickling and then put his hands down McDaid’s pants.

McDaid soon began skipping Mass, hoping to avoid the older man. When Birmingham realized he wasn’t seeing the boy in church, he started organizing beach trips with McDaid and his classmates. McDaid would try to hide in the bushes in front of his house when Birmingham’s gold Plymouth Fury came cruising down the street to pick him up. Once in the car, he and his friends would scramble to jump out at every stop, because if they were left alone, Birmingham would ask whether they’d been masturbating, McDaid said. Sometimes, he’d scream at them.

Since then, more than 30 men have reportedly come forward claiming Birmingham abused them as kids, and the Archdiocese of Boston settled on the grounds of at least one such victim’s claims in 1996. Birmingham died in 1989.

Years later, McDaid -- no longer a Catholic -- sat next to his mother in Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., watching as Pope Benedict XVI rode around in the popemobile. It was 2008, and McDaid said he had tears in his eyes as Benedict waved to the 46,000 cheering people packed into the stands for Mass. “The crowd treated him like a rock star, and I couldn’t get over that,” McDaid said. “He’s not God. He’s not a rock star.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:59 AM

Francis praises US women religious, but is non-specific on sexual abuse

NEW YORK
National Catholic Reporter

Joshua J. McElwee | Sep. 24, 2015

NEW YORK
Pope Francis has poignantly thanked U.S. Catholic women religious -- until recently the subject of two controversial Vatican investigations -- for their work in building and maintaining the church throughout the country.

But the pontiff has also made his second statement in as many days that only obliquely mentions the clergy sexual abuse crisis, and refers to the shame brought upon priests and religious due to the perpetrators but not the pain faced by survivors.

In a prayer service with priests and members of religious orders at St. Patrick's Cathedral here Thursday evening, Francis said he wanted to express his "esteem and gratitude" to women religious of the United States "in a special way."...

The pontiff opened his remarks inside the cathedral with an unplanned moment expressing condolences and prayers for the hundreds of people who were killed in a stampede in Mecca Thursday, during part of the traditional pilgrimage for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

The pope expressed sentiments for our "Muslim brothers and sisters" and said he wished he could greet them under warmer circumstances. He asked those in the church to unite in prayer with him for them. ...

Francis had previously spoken obliquely about the sexual abuse crisis in Washington Wednesday during a speech to some 300 U.S. bishops in the Cathedral of St. Matthew.

On that occasion, he told the bishops: "I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you."

"I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims -- in the knowledge that in healing we too are healed -- and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated," the pope said.

Survivors' advocates widely criticized those words, saying they insufficiently addressed the scope of the clergy abuse crisis in the U.S. The National Survivor Advocates Coalition even said the pope had "described a fairy tale" of the bishops' handling of abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:51 AM

Catholic leaders told ACT abuse victim to 'forgive' father, police allege

AUSTRALIA
The Canberra Times

September 25, 2015

Christopher Knaus
Reporter for The Canberra Times.

Catholic community leaders told an alleged ACT child abuse victim to "forgive" her father and removed the religious mentor the girl had worked up the courage to confide in, police say.

The alleged abuser, now 73, was a leading member of a Canberra religious community closely linked to the Catholic Church, and stands accused of abusing a number of girls, including two of his own daughters.

The man, who has not been identified to protect his daughter, appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday, represented by lawyer Peter Woodhouse, and was committed for trial in the ACT Supreme Court after pleading not guilty to all charges.

Court documents allege the crimes took place in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, but were only brought to light recently as part of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:49 AM

A history of stifling dissent

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philly.com

By Andrea Vettori
and Margie Winters

At a time when so many Catholics feel a sense of renewed pride and excitement about their faith because of Pope Francis and his message of acceptance and inclusion, we in Philadelphia are painfully reminded of the arrogance and abuse of power that laid the foundation for the sex-abuse scandal and that continues to afflict this diocese.

Once again, the church attempts to quiet the voices and experiences of the faithful by citing doctrine and creating policy. The most recent example is Archbishop Charles J. Chaput's "memorandum of understanding" requiring parents of Catholic school children to sign a pledge of loyalty to the Catholic identity of the institution, as defined by the archbishop.

Such a policy is poorly supported by theological and historical realities and ignores the diversity of thought and practice among the faithful. With seeming indifference to the growing loss of moral authority engendered by the legacy of the sexual abuse of children, the archdiocese continues to create an adversarial relationship with its people.

The women and men of this archdiocese strongly lay claim to their Catholic identity and root their lives in its traditions. With pride and spiritual longing, we educate ourselves in our faith, immersed in Scripture and teachings rich in social justice, concern for the poor, and the dignity of the human person, even as we acknowledge the sins committed in our name. We own our baptismal call to be priest and prophet, challenging church teaching when it contradicts our understanding of God and the human person, a right of informed conscience bestowed on us through the catechism.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:46 AM

Public hearing into Brisbane Grammar School and St Paul’s School

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

25 September, 2015

The Royal Commission is holding a public hearing in Brisbane commencing on Tuesday, 3 November 2015 at the Brisbane Magistrates Court.

The scope and purpose of the public hearing is to inquire into:

1.The experience of former students of Brisbane Grammar School in Spring Hill, Queensland.

2.The experience of former students at St Paul’s School in Bald Hills, Queensland.

3.The response of the Board of Trustees, Headmasters and other members of staff of Brisbane Grammar School to complaints about the behaviour of Kevin Lynch, a former school counsellor at Brisbane Grammar School.

4.The responses of the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane Diocese, the School Council, Headmasters and other members of staff of St Paul’s School to concerns raised, or complaints made, about the behaviour of Kevin Lynch and Gregory Knight, former members of staff at St Paul’s School.

5.The past and current systems, practices, policies and procedures in place at Brisbane Grammar School and St Paul’s School in relation to raising and responding to concerns and complaints about child sexual abuse.

6.The circumstances relating to Gregory Knight’s employment and registration as a teacher in Queensland.

7. Any related matters.

Any person or institution who believes that they have a direct and substantial interest in the scope and purpose of the public hearing is invited to lodge a written application for leave to appear at the public hearing by 16 October 2015.

Applications for leave to appear should be made using the form available on the Royal Commission website.

Leave to appear will generally be granted when an applicant:
a. has been summoned to give evidence
b. is an institution, or is a representative of an institution, that is subject to the inquiry to be undertaken
c. may be the subject of an adverse allegation.

It is not essential for a person who will appear as a witness in a hearing to apply for leave to appear – witnesses may appear and give evidence without applying for leave.

The form should be lodged with the Royal Commission via:
Email: solicitor@childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au or
Mail: GPO Box 5283, Sydney NSW 2001.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:44 AM

Child abuse royal commission: Brisbane Grammar School reiterates apology to students as public hearing announced

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

Brisbane Grammar School (BGS) has reiterated its apology to former students who were sexually abused by a school counsellor, as a royal commission announces a public hearing in the city later this year.

The public hearings will provide an important opportunity for those who have suffered pain and hurt to be heard, and we acknowledge their courage in coming forward ... It is important we hear these courageous men tell their stories.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse said BGS, also known as Grammar, at Spring Hill, and St Paul's School, at Bald Hills, would be the focus of public hearings on November 3 at the Brisbane Magistrates Court.

About 70 former students sued BGS in the early 2000s, alleging former school counsellor Kevin Lynch sexually abused them during counselling sessions between 1975 and 1988.

The commission will inquire into the responses of the board of trustees, headmasters and other members and staff at BGS to complaints about the behaviour of Mr Lynch.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:42 AM

Victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests have limited actions to take because of NY state law

NEW YORK
WRVO

[with audio]

By TOM MAGNARELLI

Victims of past sexual abuse by Catholic priests in central New York are calling for justice as Pope Francis makes his visit to America. But the victims are limited in what they can do by New York State law.

Victim Kevin Braney started an online petition on Change.org calling for the removal of Bishop Robert Cunningham of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse for his refusal to release the names of priests with credible allegations of sexual abuse against them.

“It’s not fair for us to stand in front of people and publicly have to describe what’s happened to us and face the shame and scrutiny that comes with it," Braney said.

Braney and others have more than 1,200 signatures and want to present their petition to Pope Francis as he visits New York City. Braney's allegations occurred past the statute of limitations in New York state for criminal and civil prosecutions of sex crimes against minors. Currently, the law only allows for a claim to be made up to five years after the victim turns 18.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:39 AM

Deacon Peter Keeley-Pannett faces child abuse charges

UNITED KINGDOM
Western Daily Press

A senior Church of England clergyman has been charged with eight sexual offences against children.

Peter Keeley-Pannett, 71, a non-stipendiary deacon in the Diocese of Chichester, is accused of making 150 indecent images of children.

He also faces two counts of causing a boy, aged 13 to 15, to watch images of sexual activity, and two charges of causing or inciting a boy, aged 14, to engage in sexual activity.

He is further accused of attempting to cause a boy over 13 to engage in sexual activity.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:38 AM

Pope calls US nuns 'women of strength' after Vatican inquiry

NEW YORK
Grand Island Independent

NEW YORK (AP) — Pope Francis made a rousing show of gratitude for American nuns on Thursday while thanking clergy for persevering through the priest sex abuse scandal, seemingly intent on moving the U.S. church beyond recent crises.

The pope called religious sisters "women of strength" and "fighters" who had a "spirit of courage" as they served at the forefront of the church.

Six months ago, Francis abruptly ended a contentious Vatican overhaul of the leading umbrella group for U.S. nuns that had started under his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. The Vatican accused the Leadership Conference of Women Religious of straying far from church teaching, which the nuns denied, and overemphasizing social justice over abortion. The sisters received a wave of popular support, including parish vigils, protests outside the Vatican embassy in Washington and a congressional resolution commending the sisters for their service to the country.

"To you, religious women, sisters and mothers of this people, I wish to say thank you, a big thank you and to tell you that I love you very much," Francis, an Argentine, said in his native Spanish, to applause from worshippers in an evening prayer service at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:34 AM

Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson seeks permanent stay on charges of concealing child sexual abuse

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By David Marchese

The lawyer acting for a Catholic Archbishop accused of concealing child sexual abuse is calling for a permanent stay of proceedings.

Adelaide's Archbishop Philip Wilson has previously pleaded not guilty to concealing the serious indictable offence of another person.

The charge relates to when Wilson was an assistant parish priest in East Maitland in the 1970s and worked with paedophile priest James Fletcher.

Wilson's lawyer Simon Buchen today sought a permanent stay of proceedings.

He also told Newcastle Local Court he would be filing an application seeking a court attendance notice be quashed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:32 AM

Catholic Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson ...

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

Catholic Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson moves to stop criminal case over sexual abuse by colleague

AAP

Adelaide’s Catholic Archbishop is attempting to permanently halt criminal proceedings against him for allegedly concealing a colleague’s sexual abuse of a young boy.

Archbishop Philip Wilson was charged in March with concealing information about the 1971 sex assault of a 10-year-old boy by pedophile priest James Fletcher in the NSW town of Maitland.

The 64-year-old, who has pleaded not guilty, applied on Friday for a permanent stay of the proceedings against him when his matter came before Newcastle Local Court.

Both parties are expected to argue the application at a hearing in the local court in December.

Police allege Wilson became aware of the abuse between 2004 and 2006 when both men worked in the Maitland Diocese, in the NSW Hunter region.

They claim he concealed the information.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:29 AM

Pope Francis steers clear of politics in NYC homily

NEW YORK
York Daily Record

By Rick Hampson, USA TODAY

NEW YORK - Pope Francis arrived here amid throngs of cheering, flag-waving fans for a historic visit to the Big Apple.

The pope stepped through the huge, recently renovated bronze doors of St. Patrick's Cathedral, as a congregation of about 2,500 greeted him with a roar and the choir sang a sacred piece by Mozart written for evening prayer.

Francis walked down the center aisle of the church, sprinkling holy water on those gathered.

The pope entered midtown in his signature Fiat but moved to his Popemobile for the last few blocks down Fifth Avenue to the cathedral, waving to crowds en route. Church Bells chimed; the pope waved; the crowd roared.

In his homily, he avoided political issues and spoke instead to Roman Catholics, particularly the many priests, nuns and brothers in his audience, about spiritual issues.

Speaking in Spanish from a lectern on the high altar of St. Patrick's, the pope focused on a call for "gratitude and hard work,'' which he called "pillars of the spiritual life.''

But he was twice interrupted by loud applause when he praised U.S. nuns, who'd been the subject of a Vatican investigation that Francis closed after taking office in 2013 following the sudden resignation of Benedict XVI.

When he was a powerful member of the Vatican Curia and enforcer of church doctrine, Benedict - then Cardinal Ratzinger - was thought to look askance at American nuns who took liberal political and ecclesiastical stands.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:26 AM

September 24, 2015

For One D.C. Official, Church Sex Abuse Scandal Hits Close To Home

WASHINGTON (DC)
WAMU

By: Katie Davis
September 24, 2015

These past three days, we've been hearing loud cheers for Pope Francis. But this afternoon, a sharper call was made in Washington — this one for justice.

D.C. Council member David Grosso (I-At Large) joined a rally of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests at the Wilson Building today.

Grosso says he listened to Pope Francis' message to the Catholic Bishops yesterday. He says he was hoping the pope would hold them accountable for abuse committed in the church, but came away disappointed.

"Basically the pope thanked for efforts, which is not an accurate assessment. They have done everything they can to stop, across the country, a real open conversation around how we heal from this sexual violence," he says.

Grosso is adamant, and he doesn't just want an open conversation about the issue. He introduced legislation earlier this year that would eliminate the statute of limitations for the recovery of damages arising out of sexual abuse that occurred when a victim was a minor.

He says that the bill came out of a personal experience.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:34 PM

Catholic Justices Scalia, Alito, Thomas are no-shows for the pope

WASHINGTON (DC)
Yahoo! News

Amy Sullivan
September 24, 2015

A seat for Pope Francis’ address to Congress on Thursday was one of the most sought-after tickets in this town’s history, with each member of Congress allowed to bring along just one guest.

But in the packed House chamber, there were three noticeable vacancies right in the front row. Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas — all conservative Catholics — took a pass on the opportunity to hear from the leader of their church.

It’s possible that all three had scheduling conflicts. Perhaps they were finally able to score tickets to “Hamilton” and decided to make a day of it in the Big Apple. The three have skipped the State of the Union in the past (Alito calls it “a childish spectacle”), objecting to the partisan nature of that gathering.

More likely, however, the three justices were simply more discreet than Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., who announced to media this week that he was boycotting the pope’s talk over concerns that the pontiff was acting “like a leftist politician.”

The conspicuous absences were a bit surprising, given that the current Supreme Court is sometimes characterized as the “Catholic court.” Six of the nine justices are Catholic — the other three, John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy and Sonia Sotomayor, were in attendance — and the most conservative members of the court have not been shy about identifying with their church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:06 PM

Pope’s Blind Spots: * Militarism * Child Sex Abuse

WASHINGTON (DC)
Institute for Public Policy

September 24, 2015

COLMAN McCARTHY, cmccarthy at starpower.net
A former Washington Post columnist, McCarthy is founder and director of the Center for Teaching Peace in Washington, D.C., and the author of the book I’d Rather Teach Peace. He recently wrote the piece “Francis Needs to go Beyond his Play-it-Safe Verbiage” for the National Catholic Reporter.

McCarthy said today about Pope Francis’ speech before Congress: “I thought it over emphasized meaningless pieties.” While the speech referred to stopping the arms trade, McCarthy noted “it didn’t refer to the militarism of U.S. government itself. It didn’t talk about lowering the military budget. He quoted from [Martin Luther] King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, but not King’s calling the U.S. government ‘the greatest purveyor of violence‘ — as King did. He mentioned Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton, but they too spoke out against U.S. militarism. He should have quoted Dorothy Day and her commitment to pacifism.” See McCarthy’s piece on Dorothy Day in the Washington Post from 1980 just after her death. See also McCarthy’s piece “Rediscovering Thomas Merton.”

BARBARA BLAINE, bblaine at snapnetwork.org, @BarbaraBlaine

Blaine is with Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, which just released the statement “Chicago Abuse Victims Blast New Papal Remarks,” which says that the pope “speaks of some alleged ‘great sacrifice‘ made by bishops because of the abuse and cover up crisis. What sacrifice? What bishop takes fewer vacations, drives a smaller car, does his own laundry or has been passed over for promotion because he’s shielding predators and endangering kids? None.” Blaine said today: “If you’re a woman, you can’t be a priest, if you’re married, you can’t be a priest, but if you’ve raped children, you can still be a priest.” The group has put out 20 steps the pope could take on the child sex abuse scandal.” Blaine appeared in The Real News segment yesterday “The Pope is Dishonest About Zero Tolerance for Child Sex Abuse.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:54 PM

Child Assault Prevention sessions announced for October

CAMDEN (NJ)
Catholic Star Herald

by Carmela Malerba September 24, 2015

The Office of Child and Youth Protection is announcing CAP (Child Assault Prevention) sessions. CAP is the safe environment training program for adults who have regular contact with minors. Attendance is required in order to comply with the USCCB’s Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The policy of the Diocese of Camden is that adults will attend CAP once every five years.

CAP 1 teaches attendees to recognize child abuse and neglect and how to report to the proper authorities. Adults are taught that children have the right to be safe, strong and free. CAP 1 is for new volunteers and employees.

CAP 2 is called CAP’s Bullying Prevention Program and is a workshop addressing bullying awareness and bullying prevention. Cyber-bullying is also presented.

CAP 3 is called Cyber-Empowerment and is a workshop which promotes adults understanding of cyber activity of youth while teaching them realistic ways to help children keep their own rights and guard the rights of others in the cyber-sphere.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:51 PM

Bishop McManus: Pope’s zeal a wonderful example

MASSACHUSETTS
The Catholic Free Press

By Tanya Connor

“It’s been wonderful, absolutely wonderful!”

That’s how Bishop McManus started his account of being with Pope Francis in Washington, D.C., as he spoke with The Catholic Free Press by telephone Thursday morning.

“The excitement in the city of Washington was palpable,” he said.

It started before he got there, as strangers in T.F. Green Airport in Providence asked if he was going to see the pope and requested his prayers, he said. And the stewardess commented, “Oh what a privilege!”

At St. Matthew Cathedral in Washington, Pope Francis gave a beautiful address to the United States bishops, Bishop McManus said. He said as a bishop he found the Holy Father’s words powerful; he assured the bishops he’s walking with them and recommended that they be courageous and welcome immigrants.

“His pastoral zeal really is an example to us bishops and priests,” Bishop McManus said. “It was like a 12-hour retreat, just listening to his message, his emphasis on joy and hope. We get bogged down in the complexities of running a diocese, a parish.”

The pope was a good example for a bishop “to stand with his priests and support them, especially when they need it most,” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:48 PM

Bishop Tobin in awe as Pope Francis' visit unfolds in front of him

RHODE ISLAND
Providence Journal

By 
John Hill and Donita Naylor
Journal Staff Writers

Posted Sep. 23, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Of the hundreds of Rhode Islanders who traveled to the nation's capital Wednesday to see Pope Francis, among the most interested was Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin.

The bishop, who in addition to watching the events also participated in many of them, said one thing that particularly struck him, besides the enthusiasm of the crowds, was the pope’s stamina.
At the end of the day, he said of the bishops, “we were very tired, and we didn’t do anything.”

Earlier in the day, in an address to the bishops who were in Washington, Francis spoke of the church’s handling of sexual abuse involving priests. His remarks were widely criticized by victim support groups and others as overly sympathetic to the bishops, who are often blamed for hiding reports of abuse for, in some cases, years.

Tobin said he did not think the address to the bishops was meant to be Francis’ only comment on the issue.

“I had to remind myself, this is only his first speech,” he said. “He’s going to be making a number of them. I would tell everyone they should stay tuned. We’re only in the first inning.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:45 PM

Rally Against Sexual Abuse by Priests Held During Last Leg of Papal Visit

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington City Paper

Posted by Andrew Giambrone on September 24, 2015

Just a couple of hours after Pope Francis served lunch to 300 District homeless people outside of St. Patrick’s Church, a group of sexual-abuse survivors gathered outside of the Wilson Building to urge him to hold the clergy accountable, and to highlight legislation before the D.C. Council that would eliminate the statute of limitations on sex crimes committed against children.

The rally, organized by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a group with more than 10,000 members, was attended by six survivors who held pictures of themselves taken during the years they had been abused, and who gave candid testimony of their experiences. The survivors said the pope’s visit to the U.S. offers a unique opportunity to remind people that the Catholic Church has resisted confronting the sins of some of its priests, actively protecting them from prosecution and failing to explicitly punish bishops who have tried to cover up any scandal.

“I want to make sure victims know that they’re not alone out there,” says Becky Ianni, SNAP director for the District and Virginia. “And I think it’s really hard when every store you go into, there’s a poster of the pope. And that when the pope speaks out to Congress and to the bishops, [he does so] instead of speaking or reaching out to victims and telling them they’re courageous.”

During his speech to U.S. bishops at St. Matthew’s on Wednesday, Pope Francis remarked that clergymen had shown “courage” through the Church’s child-sex-abuse scandal. “I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims—in the knowledge that in healing, we too are healed—and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated,” he said. The Guardian reports that U.S. dioceses paid $1.7 billion in settlements between 2004 and 2013.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:17 PM

NY--Pope should denounce Syracuse bishops, group says

NEW YORK
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)

Yesterday, Pope Francis refused to criticize, even obliquely, even one US Catholic official yesterday for words or deeds that hurt innocent kids or wounded victims.

So today, while he’s in New York, we hope the pope will discipline or at least denounce two Syracuse bishops who have blamed victims of predator priests for their victimization. (This news just came to light last week. )

[Syracuse.com]

In 2011, current Syracuse Bishop Robert Cunningham was asked a clear, simple question, under oath: "did the (abused) boy commit a sin?" He made a clear, simple reply: "The boy is culpable." He later used the word “accomplice.”

And his predecessor, Bishop James Moynihan, told abuse victim Charles Bailey 'The age of reason is 7, so if you're at least 7 you're culpable for your actions.'

These are inexcusable, irresponsible comments from powerful, smart men. They will deter others who were raped and sodomized from reporting criminals and protecting kids.

Pope Francis should punish these prelates or at least harshly and publicly criticize them so that other bishops might think twice before uttering such callous views in the future.

This warped, self-serving view – that a child is to blame for his or her victimization by a priest - stems from the exalted and 'superior' status clerics give themselves. Bishops think this way because they've been indoctrinated since childhood to believe that the ordained are 'above' the common folk.

Bishops often talk of "the dignity of every person." But deep down, many of them are convinced that they really are better than the rest of us, which is why many of them almost compulsively blame others when clerics commit crimes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:11 PM

Pope sidestepping sexual abuse in US Catholic Church: Activist

UNITED STATES
Press TV (Iran)

Pope Francis is sidestepping the widespread sexual abuse committed by Christian priests in the US Catholic Church, as he visits the United States for the first time, a writer and activist in Boston says.

The pope’s remarks to US bishops in Washington on Wednesday praising their response to the sex scandal while failing to mention the words sexual abuse is “extremely disappointing for the victims of clergy sex abuse,” said Daniel Patrick Welch.

“The pope is more or less sidestepping what is the biggest issue for American Catholics in the last 50 years; it dwarfs everything else,” Welch told Press TV on Thursday.

“It’s not a scandal of course, it’s a crime, it’s a huge crime and the cover up is also a crime,” he added.

Allegations of sexual abuse by the Christian clergy go back decades, but exploded into a full-blown crisis in 2002 when US media revealed widespread abuse and cover-ups by bishops.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:07 PM

The Vatican after Francis: Has the Pope Met His Mandate for Change?

UNITED STATES
PBS - Frontline

Pope Francis’ arrival in the United States this week has focused the nation’s attention on the man who two-and-a-half years ago became the spiritual leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.

Francis inherited a church beset by scandal and many Americans are wondering what comes next. What has Francis done to reform the church? What do some of his early statements on issues like the environment and income inequality mean for the future of the faith? And what impact could his address to Congress on Thursday — the first ever by a pontiff in U.S. history — have on the nation’s political landscape?

For the answer to some of these questions, FRONTLINE spoke recently with John Thavis, the former Rome bureau chief for the Catholic News Service. Thavis is the author of The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church, and the recently released follow-up, The Vatican Prophecies: Investigating Supernatural Signs, Apparitions, and Miracles in the Modern Age.

The pope has arrived in the U.S. after only two-and-a-half years at the Vatican. He inherited a long list of problems and set out on a pretty ambitious reform agenda it seems. What have we learned about him so far?

I think we’ve learned first of all that he’s very determined. A lot of popes have been elected and come in with vague ideas of instituting reforms. I think Pope Francis came in with a mandate to institute reforms, and he’s taken it very seriously. And I think to a great degree he’s had a level of success that no previous pope has really enjoyed.

I would say that his greatest accomplishment so far in the area of reform has been bringing transparency and accountability to the Vatican’s financial operation.

In a sense that was the easiest task facing him, because he had the most support for that. Although there was some Vatican resistance, in this day and age it’s kind of hard to resist the idea of transparency in financial operations, and it’s hard to resist the idea that the Vatican bank and other entities should be in line with international guidelines and regulations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:05 PM

No police probe for Adass Israel School over headmistress

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

KATHERINE TOWERS
THE AUSTRALIAN
SEPTEMBER 25, 2015 1

Police will not investigate members of the Adass Israel School board for squirrelling headmistress and serial sex abuser Malka Leifer out of Australia to avoid ­investigators, despite law experts saying it is a clear case of criminal behaviour.

Victorian Supreme Court judge Jack Rush was scathing in a judgment delivered last week on the actions of some members of the board for their role in helping Leifer flee Australia, despite knowing she might have sexually ­abused more than eight female students at the ultra-orthodox school.

Police confirmed yesterday that they had not, or would not, ­investigate those members even though Justice Rush made it clear that board members helped and funded Leifer out of the country to avoid an investigation.

In one of the biggest payouts in Australian history for a sex-abuse case, Justice Rush awarded more than $1.2 million to a former ­student who was abused by Leifer.

Rob Melasecca, a former head of the criminal law section of the Victorian Law Institute and criminal law expert, said yesterday that at “a bare minimum” the actions of individual board members in helping Leifer out of the country in the middle of the night “warranted a serious investigation”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:59 PM

And More Images

UNITED STATES
National Survivor Advocates Coalition

by Kristine Ward, September 24, 2015

We welcome sexual abuse survivors and their families and all men and women of goodwill to our pages today as a safety spot, a haven, a place to know that you are not alone in the midst of the massive news coverage of the visit of Pope Francis to the United States.

We chose the images of the good people of BishopAccountability.org Terry McKiernan, Anne Barrett Doyle, Suzy Nauman for the images today because of BishopAccountability.org’s relentless, vital, intense, hard work in building the repository of the documents that chronicle this crushing crisis.anne barrett doyle

The truth lives in the documents.

The truth is sacred.

Without the documents, and the depositions, and the testimonies of the survivors, the scandal would remain as bishops and the Vatican intended for it to remain: hidden.

We believe this because it is in legislative bodies across the breadth of this country and in United States territories that Roman Catholic bishops and many of their Church’s adherents have blocked, sucker punched, delayed, watered down and deep sixed statute of limitation reforms for victims of sexual abuse – not only those raped and sodomized by Roman Catholic clergy and religious sisters and religious brothers but any citizen of the United States and its territories who have been so violated.

The largest lobbying group against statute of limitation reform is the band of brothers that Pope Francis calls his own and to whom he addressed these incredulous words yesterday at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC:

I am also conscious of the courage with which you have faced difficult moments in the recent history of the Church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice. Nor have you been afraid to divest whatever is unessential in order to regain the authority and trust which is demanded of ministers of Christ and rightly expected by the faithful. I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims – in the knowledge that in healing we too are healed – and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated.

This, dear readers of NSAC News and all persons to whom these words reach, is a fairy tale.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:55 PM

Timothy Cardinal Dolan calls Pope Francis’ speech about how Church handled sex abuse scandals ‘beautiful’

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

BY ADAM EDELMAN NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Thursday, September 24, 2015

Timothy Cardinal Dolan on Thursday praised Pope Francis’ speech to his brother Bishops about their handling of the Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandal as “beautiful.”

“He spoke about the courage, he spoke about the ongoing sorrow, and most importantly he spoke about the fact that we can never drop our vigilance, that we've always got to be as vigorous as we now are,” Dolan said on NBC’s “TODAY” about Francis’ approval a day earlier of how the Church has tried to restore order and make peace with victims.

“He is for us bishops what we’re supposed be for our people. He’s the bishop of bishops,” Dolan said. “He spoke to us in a very affirming, yet challenging way, like a father, like sheppard, and that moved me very much.”

On Wednesday, during a speech to Catholic bishops, Francis offered praise for a “generous commitment to bring healing to victims” and for acting “without fear of self-criticism.”

The remarks drew a slew of criticism from an organization that represents abuse victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:51 PM

Pope Francis Sex Abuse Comments “Shocked” Philly Sex Abuse Victim

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Magazine

By Victor Fiorillo | September 24, 2015

On Wednesday, Pope Francis addressed the United States bishops at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C., and the subject of the clergy sex abuse scandal came up, though he steered clear of using the words “sexual abuse.”

Pope Francis praised the bishops for their “courage” and “great sacrifice,” and seemed to recognize the bishops themselves and the church as additional victims, saying, “I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims – in the knowledge that in healing we, too, are healed – and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated.”

None of this sat very well with Bryn Mawr's John Salveson, who was sexually abused by a Catholic priest when he was a teenager. These days, Salveson is the co-founder of Radnor executive-search firm Salveson Stetson Group and president of the Foundation to Abolish Child Sexual Abuse. We got him on the phone for his reaction to Pope Francis' comments.

Were you surprised that Pope Francis addressed clergy sex abuse with the U.S. bishops in the way that he did?

I was very surprised by his comments. Really shocked. Now, I'm a bit of an outlier on this, but I'm not one of those people holding their breath for the pope to do something to make everything better. The object is not to get the Catholic church to be good to people again, to take care of victims, or to do the right thing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:50 PM

Some Advocates Say ...

UNITED STATES
TWC News

[video]

By Erin Clarke
Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pope Francis is widely viewed as progressive, but advocates say the pontiff needs to do more to stop priest sex abuse in the church. Erin Clarke reports.

(Efforts to reach the Vatican for comment on this story were unsuccessful.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:31 PM

Transcript: Pope Francis’s speech to Congress

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

September 24

The following is the prepared text of Pope Francis’s address to a joint meeting of Congress, delivered Thursday in Washington. (Follow our liveblog for the latest)

Mr. Vice-President,

Mr. Speaker,

Honorable Members of Congress,

Dear Friends,

I am most grateful for your invitation to address this Joint Session of Congress in “the land of the free and the home of the brave”. I would like to think that the reason for this is that I too am a son of this great continent, from which we have all received so much and toward which we share a common responsibility.

Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility. Your own responsibility as members of Congress is to enable this country, by your legislative activity, to grow as a nation. You are the face of its people, their representatives. You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics. A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. Legislative activity is always based on care for the people. To this you have been invited, called and convened by those who elected you.

Yours is a work which makes me reflect in two ways on the figure of Moses. On the one hand, the patriarch and lawgiver of the people of Israel symbolizes the need of peoples to keep alive their sense of unity by means of just legislation. On the other, the figure of Moses leads us directly to God and thus to the transcendent dignity of the human being. Moses provides us with a good synthesis of your work: you are asked to protect, by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face.

Today I would like not only to address you, but through you the entire people of the United States. Here, together with their representatives, I would like to take this opportunity to dialogue with the many thousands of men and women who strive each day to do an honest day’s work, to bring home their daily bread, to save money and –one step at a time – to build a better life for their families. These are men and women who are not concerned simply with paying their taxes, but in their own quiet way sustain the life of society. They generate solidarity by their actions, and they create organizations which offer a helping hand to those most in need.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:07 AM

Cardinal Dolan: Pope Francis' comments on abuse scandal emphasized 'vigilance'

WASHINGTON (DC)
Today News

Eun Kyung Kim

Pope Francis's comments on the clergy sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the church for decades, focusing on Catholic leaders rather than victims caught in the crisis, was not a misstep, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said Thursday.

The pope directly addressed the sex scandal during his speech Wednesday to U.S. Bishops in Washington, praising bishops for their "courage" and "generous commitment to bring healing to victims — in the knowledge that in healing we too are healed."

While the speech drew criticism from advocates who argued it should have focused more on the victims, Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, described the pope's speech as "beautiful" and said it set the right tone.

"He spoke about the courage, he spoke about the ongoing sorrow and most importantly, he spoke about the fact that we can never drop our vigilance," said Dolan, the former president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. "We've always got to be as vigorous as we are now."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:25 AM

POPE OFF TO FAST START

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic League

Bill Donohue comments on Pope Francis’ first day in the U.S.:

The most significant thing about the pope’s first day in the United States was his unscheduled visit to the Little Sisters of the Poor. By embracing this order of nuns, Pope Francis laid down an unmistakable marker: He rejects efforts by the Obama administration to force Catholic nonprofit organizations to pay for, or even sanction, abortion-inducing drugs in their health care plans.
Earlier in the day, Pope Francis spoke pointedly about the need to protect religious liberty. That he did so in the company of President Obama, at the White House, was critically important. The pope’s commitment to our first freedom was then underscored with his visit to the Little Sisters of the Poor.

I got a chance to meet the pope briefly following the prayer service at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. It was a moment I will never forget. Whatever Cardinal Donald Wuerl said to him as he introduced me must have struck a chord: the pope broke out into a radiant smile.

Bernadette Brady-Egan, our vice president, was also thrilled to meet the Holy Father.
Of course, not everyone is pleased with the pope. From that preppy school-boy atheist George Will on the right, to the militant atheist Catholic-bashers at the Freedom From Religion Foundation on the left, cheap shots abound. And, of course, the professional victims’ advocates are cashing in on this historic trip. No matter, as we saw at the canonization Mass yesterday, those who love the pope represent the most diverse community on earth. Go Pope Francis!

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:23 AM

Other Pontifical Acts

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 24 September 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the metropolitan archdiocese of Messina-Lipari-Santa Lucia del Mela, Italy, presented by Archbishop Calogero La Piana, S.D.B., in accordance with canon 402 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Laws.

- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Alba, Italy, presented by Bishop Giacomo Lanzetti, in accordance with canon 402 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Laws.

- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Goya, Argentina, presented by Bishop Ricardo Oscar Faifer, upon reaching the age limit. He is succeeded by Bishop Adolfo Ramon Canecin, coadjutor of the same diocese.

- appointed Archbishop Luis Gerardo Cabrera Herrera, O.F.M., of Cuenca, Ecuador as archbishop of Guayaquil (area 14,637, population 3,275,192, Catholics 2,783,913, priests 202, permanent deacons 21, religious 607), Ecuador. He succeeds Archbishop Antonio Arregui Yarza, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:16 AM

Meeting with United States bishops: never repeat the crimes of the past

WASHINGTON (DC)
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 24 September 2015 (VIS) – The challenges of a nation whose vast resources require not insignificant moral responsibility in a world seeking new equilibria of peace, prosperity and integration, the importance of never again repeating past “crimes” against victims of abuse, the need for dialogue instead of hard and bellicose language, and the defence of the excluded, migrants and the environment were some of the themes that Pope Francis considered yesterday in the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington D.C., during his meeting with the episcopate of the United States. The following are extensive extracts from his address.

“My first word to you is one of thanksgiving to God for the power of the Gospel which has brought about remarkable growth of Christ’s Church in these lands and enabled its generous contribution, past and present, to American society and to the world. … I appreciate the unfailing commitment of the Church in America to the cause of life and that of the family, which is the primary reason for my present visit. I am well aware of the immense efforts you have made to welcome and integrate those immigrants who continue to look to America, like so many others before them, in the hope of enjoying its blessings of freedom and prosperity. I also appreciate the efforts which you are making to fulfil the Church’s mission of education in schools at every level and in the charitable services offered by your numerous institutions. These works are often carried out without appreciation or support, often with heroic sacrifice, out of obedience to a divine mandate which we may not disobey. I am also conscious of the courage with which you have faced difficult moments in the recent history of the Church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice. Nor have you been afraid to divest whatever is unessential in order to regain the authority and trust which is demanded of ministers of Christ and rightly expected by the faithful. I realise how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims – in the knowledge that in healing we too are healed – and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated.

“I speak to you as the Bishop of Rome, called by God in old age, and from a land which is also American, to watch over the unity of the universal Church and to encourage in charity the journey of all the particular Churches toward ever greater knowledge, faith and love of Christ. … I too know how hard it is to sow the Gospel among people from different worlds, with hearts often hardened by the trials of a lengthy journey. Nor am I unaware of the efforts made over the years to build up the Church amid the prairies, mountains, cities and suburbs of a frequently inhospitable land, where frontiers are always provisional and easy answers do not always work. What does work is the combination of the epic struggle of the pioneers and the homely wisdom and endurance of the settlers”.

“It is not my intention to offer a plan or to devise a strategy. ... I have no wish to tell you what to do, because we all know what it is that the Lord asks of us. Instead, I would turn once again to the demanding task – ancient yet never new – of seeking out the paths we need to take and the spirit with which we need to work. … We are bishops of the Church, shepherds appointed by God to feed his flock. Our greatest joy is to be shepherds, and only shepherds, pastors with undivided hearts and selfless devotion. … The heart of our identity is to be sought in constant prayer, in preaching and in shepherding the flock entrusted to our care”.

“Ours must not be just any kind of prayer, but familiar union with Christ, in which we daily encounter His gaze and sense that He is asking us the question: 'Who is My mother? Who are My brothers?'. One in which we can calmly reply: 'Lord, here is Your mother, here are Your brothers! I hand them over to You; they are the ones whom You entrusted to me'”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:14 AM

Pope appears to praise bishops' response to abuse

NEW JERSEY
The Record

BY ABBOTT KOLOFF
STAFF WRITER | THE RECORD

Pope Francis' brief reference Wednesday to clerical sex abuse left advocates for victims wanting him to go further in the coming days, and expressing confusion by what appeared to be the pope's praise for the way American bishops handled the matter.

The pope, on the first day of his visit to the United States, did not directly address the sex abuse issue but was widely believed to be making a reference to it when he told bishops they have shown "courage" in the face of "difficult moments in the recent history of the church in this country."

He said he has supported their "generous commitment to bring healing to victims - in the knowledge that in healing we too are healed - and to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated."

Some victims' advocates said they expected the pope to make a statement about clerical sex abuse this week, and were hoping he would focus on bishops who covered up crimes. The pope has discussed setting up a tribunal in Rome to punish bishops who are found guilty of negligence in sex abuse cases, a move that would be unprecedented in the church.

Mark Crawford, the director of the New Jersey chapter of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said he was disappointed by the pope's first words on the subject during his visit and surprised by his use of the term "courage."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:12 AM

Archbishop Nienstedt is at St. Matthew's Cathedral

MINNESOTA
Canonical Consultation

09/23/2015

Jennifer Haselberger

With Pope Francis scheduled to lead a prayer service at 11:30am ET at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington DC, the American bishops have assembled- including the former Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, John Nienstedt.

Of course, there is no reason that Archbishop Nienstedt should not be in attendance. He resigned from his position as leader of the Archdiocese without any admission of guilt, and as we know he claims that his conscience is clear.

However, his presence creates a potential problem for Pope Francis, who must respond to critics who say that he has not done enough to address the issue of sexual abuse by clergy. In addition, for the Holy Father to greet Nienstedt before meeting with victims of sexual abuse by clergy is a bit of a faux pas.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:08 AM

Francis meets with nuns fighting contraceptive mandate

WASHINGTON (DC)
National Catholic Reporter

Joshua J. McElwee | Sep. 23, 2015 NCR Today

WASHINGTON Pope Francis made an unscheduled visit to a U.S. community of Catholic women religious that has been fighting against an Obama administration mandate covering contraceptives in health care plans, the Vatican spokesman said late Wednesday.

The pontiff met with a Washington-area community of the Little Sisters of the Poor, Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi said at a press briefing about the pope's day in DC Wednesday.

Lombardi did not provide any further details about the visit.

The Little Sisters are one of a few Catholic and other faith-based groups that have been protesting the administration's mandate, saying it forces them to support contraception and sterilization services that contradict their religious beliefs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:00 AM

On High Holy Days, hundreds choose to pray elsewhere as Rabbi Rosenblatt presides at RJC.

NEW YORK
The Jewish Week

Wed, 09/23/2015
Gary Rosenblatt
Editor And Publisher

Ludwig “Lou” Bravmann, a prime force behind the direction and financial stability of the Riverdale Jewish Center for decades, says that lately he wakes up in the middle of the night “feeling terrible, depressed — I’ve never felt this bad.”

At 90, after more than 45 years of daily prayer attendance and lay leadership at the 600-family Modern Orthodox synagogue, he has resigned from the board of the congregation and is praying on the High Holy Days at a newly formed service a few blocks away.

The service, now known as The Riverdale Minyan and made up of more than 100 families, was created this summer as a response to widespread dissatisfaction among some members of RJC over decisions made in the last three months by the rabbi, Jonathan Rosenblatt, and its lay leadership.

On Rosh HaShanah, making the trek with a wheelchair and walker, Bravmann was one of an estimated 240 adults, almost all RJC congregants, and 40 children, who prayed at an Orthodox service in a room rented in a nearby Reform temple. A similar service was scheduled for Yom Kippur, and efforts are under way to find a more permanent space for the group to use for Shabbat, and perhaps daily, services — a potentially stunning blow to the makeup and sustainability of the RJC, which was founded more than 60 years ago.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:51 AM

Papst: US-Kirche muss sich der großen Themen der Zukunft annehmen

WASHINGTON (DC)
Erzdioezese Wien

Papst Franziskus hat die mehr als 200 US-amerikanischen Bischöfe aufgerufen, sich der großen Themen der Zukunft der Welt anzunehmen und sich nicht nur auf Binnenkirchliches zu konzentrieren. Die Vereinigten Staaten seien eine Weltmacht und für die Entwicklungen auf der Erde stark verantwortlich. Mit seinen riesigen materiellen, politischen, technologischen und kulturellen Ressourcen stehe das Land in der Pflicht für die ganze Welt, sagte der Papst am Mittwoch, 23. September 2015 vor den Bischöfen in der St. Matthew's-Kathedrale der Hauptstadt Washington. Die Welt suche nach einem neuen Gleichgewicht des Frieden, des Reichtums und der Integration.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:44 AM

Papst Franziskus im Weißen Haus: Einwanderersohn bedankt sich bei Einwandererland

WASHINGTON (DC)
Spiegel

Papst Franziskus und US-Präsident Barack Obama haben bei ihrem Treffen in Washington zum gemeinsamen Kampf gegen den Klimawandel aufgerufen. "Angesichts der Dringlichkeit bin ich der Überzeugung, dass der Klimawandel ein Problem ist, das nicht länger einer kommenden Generation überlassen werden darf", sagte Franziskus in seiner Ansprache bei der Begrüßungszeremonie.

Man habe nicht mehr viel Zeit, den Klimawandel aufzuhalten, sagte Franziskus. Es sei ein "kritischer Moment", man müsse nun "mit Ernst und Verantwortung erkennen, was für eine Welt wir hinterlassen wollen".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 AM

Paus: nooit meer seksueel misbruik

WASHINGTON (DC)
Telegraaf (Nederland)

WASHINGTON -
Paus Franciscus heeft woensdagmiddag tijdens een bijeenkomst met ongeveer driehonderd Amerikaanse bisschoppen gezegd dat seksueel misbruik van minderjarigen door rooms-katholieke geestelijken nooit meer mag voorkomen. Hij sprak in de kathedraal van St.Matthew in de Amerikaanse hoofdstad Washington.

Hij had ook troostende woorden voor zijn gehoor: "Ik weet hoeveel de pijn van de afgelopen jaren op u drukt en ik heb uw inzet om de slachtoffers bij te staan en herhaling van dit soort misdrijven te voorkomen, ondersteund", aldus de paus in zijn toespraak tot de geestelijken.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 AM

Pope Met with Bill Donohue, Nuns Fighting Obamacare. ...

UNITED STATES
The Open Tabernacle: Here Comes Everybody

Pope Met with Bill Donohue, Nuns Fighting Obamacare. He Insulted Native Americans and Sex Abuse Survivors.

Posted on September 24, 2015 by Betty Clermont

Catholic League president, Bill Donohue, who “demagogically conflates progressive and liberal dissent with hate,” met with Pope Francis yesterday following his prayer service with the US bishops at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle.

Also not shown on his public schedule, the pope visited the Little Sisters of the Poor,
the religious order that is involved in a contentious legal battle with the Obama administration over the order’s refusal to comply with an accommodation to provide contraceptive coverage to its employees …

One, it showed that the pope is behind the bishops in their battle with the Obama administration, support which the pontiff signaled in his talk at the White House earlier that day. [“Pointedly, Francis turned and looked at Obama as he delivered the line” about religious liberty.]

And two, it demonstrated how the pope likes to address contentious topics in a low-key, behind-the-scenes way.

Yesterday, Pope Francis canonized Fr. Junipero Serra, “who has a large degree of responsibility for the death of approximately 100,000 California Indians and the complete extermination of many Native tribes, cultures and languages.”

In his sermon, the pope claimed that Serra “protected and defended Native Americans from mistreatment and abuse.” Jeb Bush was in attendance.

Two days ago, three former US ambassadors to the Vatican appointed by President George W. Bush endorsed Jeb Bush for president. Among them was Mary Ann Glendon who was appointed by Pope Francis to his board of the Vatican bank. Glendon also served on the board of several theocon “think tanks” and is probably most famous for refusing an honor from Notre Dame University because the school awarded President Obama an honorary degree. Glendon is just one of the many plutocrats appointed by this pope to a Vatican position.

“I like Jeb Bush a lot,” the prelate of Wall Street, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, said. “I especially appreciate the priority he gives to education and immigration.”

The most immediate danger from this pope is to children around the world. Yesterday, Pope Francis praised his bishops for their response to the clergy sex abuse crisis. He noted their courage in facing “difficult moments in the recent history of the Church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice.”

By failing to commit to any action to protect children, the pope put all prelates on notice that they can continue to leave them exposed to dangerous pedophiles as the pope himself did with his ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Archbishop Josef Wesolowski. The US bishops can continue their lobbying to allow all American child sexual predators to avoid apprehension and prosecution.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 AM

SNAP Dissatisfied with Pope on Abuse Crisis

ST. LOUIS (MO)
CBS St. Louis

Fred Bodimer
September 24, 2015

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Local clergy abuse survivors aren’t happy with what they are hearing from Pope Francis so far during his visit to the United States.

In remarks to America’s Bishops, Pope Francis commended what he called their courage in the face of the church’s sexual abuse scandal. Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests’ (SNAP) National Director David Clohessey says that bishops have made no sacrifices.

“He essentially made one oblique reference to the crisis…didn’t apologize,” says SNAP’s National Director David Clohessy. “More importantly, didn’t suggest much less mandate, any reforms at all by the U.S. church hierarchy.”

Clohessy says the Pope is minimizing the crisis and won’t use the word cover-up. He adds instead of praising victims for coming forward, the Pope praises the bishops, which he (Clohessy) says have continued to cause the issue.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

DC ARCHDIOCESE SHUTS BUZZFEED OUT OF PAPAL EVENTS, CITING LGBT REPORTING

WASHINGTON (DC)
Breitbart

The Archdiocese of Washington stands accused of rejecting a journalist from BuzzFeed for special press passes to cover Papal events this week in the nation’s Capitol.

BuzzFeed foreign correspondent Lester Feder and his colleagues have been trying since January to get approval to cover the Pope’s events. They were finally told flat out this week that their request had been denied and were told that the decision had been made by the press office of the Archdiocese of Washington. BuzzFeed News believes it is because a spokesman for Cardinal Donald Wuerl does not approve of BuzzFeed’s and specifically Feder’s coverage of LGBT issues.

In a letter sent yesterday to Don Clemmer of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and Chieko Noguchi of the Archdiocese of Washington DC, BuzzFeed Washington Bureau Chief John Stanton lays the blame on Archdiocesan spokesperson Noguchi and points to an exchange dating back nearly a year.

Feder had approached Cardinal Wuerl at the Bishops meeting Baltimore last year and asked for a background meeting so he could better understand LGBT issues from the Church’s point of view. Wuerl agreed and asked him to contact his office to schedule a time, at which point, according to the email exchange provided by BuzzFeed to Breitbart News, Feder got the runaround that lasted months.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 AM

Jailed paedophile priest 'abused a dozen more children' as 12 more alleged victims come forward

IRELAND
Mirror

BY GARRETH MACNAMEE

A caged paedophile priest who is facing another sex abuse charge may have forced himself on a dozen more victims, police believe.

The serial sex beast, who was recently jailed for the horrific abuse of a child, was brought before the courts last month over an alleged attack on a young boy.

The cleric, a pillar of his community in Ireland before the revelations, paid his victims following his horrific attacks on them.

And now police in the region believe there are at least 12 more victims to come forward.

Sources have told the Irish Mirror the shamed priest will have to spend a lot more time in court in the coming months.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

PSNI receives complaints against 500 people over historical abuse claims

NORTHERN IRELAND
BBC News NI

By Kevin Sharkey
BBC News NI

The PSNI has received complaints against 500 people in connection with allegations of historical abuse.

They include cases currently being examined by the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry.

This is as well as claims of abuse against some clergy and some other state and church institutions.

The PSNI is currently running two big operations into historical abuse - Operation Charwell and Operation Danzin.

The investigations began five years ago.

They include cases before the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry which is examining claims of abuse at 16 institutions and by Fr Brendan Smyth.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 AM

WTF. Pope Francis lauds bishops, did not utter word “sexual abuse”

UNITED STATES
Pope Francis CON-artist & Vicar of Plutocrats

Paris Arrow

The Vatican Circus is in town with its fattest clown-in-white Pope Francis, the greatest Jesuit Master of Deceits papal farting at idiots Americans Catholics in Washington, DC. Read his itinerary here and what the mainstream media are not telling you http://pope-francis-con-christ.blogspot.ca/2015/09/washington-subversive-guide-to-pope.html

This time Pope Francis proved how out-of-touch with reality (VA) Vatican Autocracy is in his tiny fake country and how Machiavellian he is as the theocratic monarch when he praised bishops who should all be rotting in jail for aiding and abetting more than 6,500 pedophile priests for decades and paying millions of dollars to lawyers to deprive thousands of American victims of justice and fair compensation. Obviously Pope Francis is out-of-touch with reality and he should study and converse with hundreds of victims of the current and latest most unjust diocesan “settlements” in Milwaukee, read 575 victims in Dolan’s former diocese urging Pope Francis to hold him accountable

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 AM

MEDIA RELEASE – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2015

NEW YORK
Road to Recovery

Pope Francis’ comments in Washington, DC today about clergy sexual abuse were offensive toward victim/survivors

Victim/survivors have been re-abused by Pope Francis’ insensitive congratulatory message to the bishops of the United States today in Washington, DC

Victim/survivors will have the opportunity to get together on Thursday outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral to support one another and express disapproval of Pope Francis’ message to the US Bishops about clergy sexual abuse

What
A gathering of victim/survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their supporters in order to express disappointment in Pope Francis’ strange and dangerous address to the bishops of the United States in which he applauded the bishops for handling the clergy sexual abuse scandal with courage. Courageous is the last word the Pope should use to describe the bishops of the United States.

When
Thursday, September 24, 2015 from 5:00 pm until 7:00 pm

Where
On Fifth Avenue between 47th and 48th Streets in Manhattan. The NYPD has set up an area there where groups can gather to demonstrate. We must approach the area from the south only!

Who
Members of Road to Recovery, Inc. who are victim/survivors of clergy sexual, and any other victim/survivors who wish to gather for support, encouragement, and to express disapproval of Pope Francis’ statements to the United States bishops at St. Matthew’s Cathedral on September 23, 2015

Why
Pope Francis, instead of admonishing the bishops of the United States for their mishandling of clergy sexual abuse cases, congratulated them for their courage and applauded them for confronting the scandal. In St. Matthew’s Cathedral today were some of the worst offenders regarding clergy sexual abuse, and many at the Mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception should never have been allowed to show their faces. Cardinal Theodore Mc Carrick was in Cuba with the Pope and all over Washington, DC today (and probably tomorrow). He should have been fired years ago. Cardinal Justin Rigali was there today. He was lambasted by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office for mishandling cases of clergy sexual abuse. He should have been fired years ago. And, Cardinal Roger Mahoney was there today after countless numbers of children were abused by clergy on his watch in Los Angeles.

The phone at Road to Recovery has been ringing off the hook since the Pope made his comments today, and the calls have been from victim/survivors who feel as if they have been re-abused all over again by the Church. Victim/survivors will gather together to support and console one another, and stand once again against the evil of child sexual abuse which Pope Francis seemingly has forgotten about.

Contact
Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., Road to Recovery, Inc., Livingston, NJ 07039 – 862-368-2800

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

Catholic Church sex abuse victim uses art to connect with others in support group

UNITED STATES
YouTube

Published on Sep 23, 2015

An artist and sexual abuse victim at the hand of a Catholic priest uses her artwork for survivors and supporters to connect.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

Silent vigil outside bishop’s home held in support of alleged abuse victims

NEW YORK
Buffalo News

A silent candlelight vigil was held Wednesday evening outside the residence of Bishop Richard J. Malone to support a local man and woman who were abused as children by a priest and a teacher in the Diocese of Buffalo. Bishop Malone was in Washington, D.C., for the visit of Pope Francis.

Antonio “Tino” Flores says he was abused for five years in the 1970s by a now-deceased Franciscan father associated with Bishop Timon High School. Vanessa DeRosa says she was sexually harassed in 2002 and 2003 by a teacher at St. Dominic Savio Middle School in Niagara Falls who later served a prison term for possession of child pornography.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:18 AM

Felipe Berríos lidera lista de testigos en demanda de víctimas de Karadima contra Arzobispado

CHILE
El Dinamo

[Felipe Berrios leads the list of witnesses to be called in the lawsuit against Fernando Karadima.]

El abogado Juan Pablo Hermosilla elaboró una lista de 23 personas que deberían ser llamadas a testificar en la demanda que las víctimas de Fernando Karadima entablaron contra el Arzobispado de Santiago por eventual encubrimiento de los abusos sexuales cometidos por sacerdotes.

De este modo, el representante de James Hamilton, Juan Carlos Cruz y José Andrés Murillo detalla quienes serán requeridos para exponer sobre los puntos de prueba fijados por el magistrado Juan Manuel Muñoz.

La acción judicial busca una indemnización por perjuicios de 450 millones de pesos y un acto de perdón público por parte del Arzobispado para quienes han sido víctimas de abusos sexuales por parte de religiosos, ya que alegan que la Iglesia insiste en descartar negligencia y encubrimiento en los delitos cometidos por el ex párroco de El Bosque.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:13 AM

Las presiones por las que el obispo de Osorno Juan Barros no renuncia

CHILE
Diario U Chile

[Bishop Juan Barros does not resign despite pressure.]

Fernando Seymour D. | Miércoles 23 de septiembre 2015

A las críticas por su participación y encubrimiento en el caso Karadima, se suman sus persecuciones a los sacerdotes de esa ciudad. Todo ello, amparado por la Conferencia Episcopal, donde varios obispos estarían presionando para evitar la que podría ser la primera de varias renuncias que se sucederían.

A sus 59 años Juan Barros Madrid no está tranquilo. Desde que fuera nombrado por el Vaticano como Obispo de la Diócesis de Osorno, en enero pasado, las críticas y cuestionamientos en su contra no han cesado. Y no solo desde el ámbito laico. También desde el propio clero.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:09 AM

Ex capellán de La Moneda declara en caso Karadima

CHILE
Terra

El ex capellán de La Moneda, Percival Cowley, declaró ante el ministro Juan Manuel Muñoz en el marco de la demanda que enfrenta el Arzobispado de Santiago luego que las tres víctimas de Fernando Karadima demandaran a la Iglesia por los supuestos actos de encubrimiento de obispos en materia de abuso sexual.

Junto a él también lo hará el sacerdote y vicario judicial del Tribunal Eclesiástico Nacional de Apelación, Jaime Ortiz.

La diligencia es parte de los testimonios que durante los próximos días deberían entregar las 23 personas incluidas en la lista de testigos elaborada por el abogado Juan Pablo Hermosilla, representante de James Hamilton, Juan Carlos Cruz y José Andrés Murillo.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:06 AM

Tribunal Eclesiástico hizo autocrítica por respuestas de la Iglesia ante abusos sexuales

CHILE
Bio Bio

[Ecclesiastical Court made self-criticism of the church responses to sexual abuse]

El sacerdote y vicario judicial del Tribunal Eclesiástico, Jaime Ortiz de Lazcano, hizo una autocrítica por la forma en que ha reaccionado la Iglesia Católica en casos de abusos sexuales. El religioso declaró -este martes- en el marco de la demanda civil contra el Arzobispado de Santiago por el Caso Karadima.

En la tercera jornada de la etapa testimonial de la demanda civil en contra del Arzobispado de Santiago, por encubrimiento en causas de abusos sexuales y en específico por el Caso Karadima, declararon dos sacerdotes ante el juez de fuero de la Corte de Apelaciones de Santiago, Juan Manuel Muñoz.

Se trata del ex capellán de La Moneda, Percival Cowley, que entregó su declaración por más de dos horas ante el ministro de Corte a cargo de la investigación que surge tras la demanda interpuesta por tres víctimas del párroco del El Bosque, Fernando Karadima, James Hamilton, Andrés Murillo y Juan Carlos Cruz.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:00 AM

Local survivor of church abuse scandal speaks out

MASSACHUSETTS
Fox Boston

(MyFoxBoston.com) -- It's been more than 50 years since Susan Renehan and her sister were abused by a priest their Irish Catholic family trusted and more than 50 years later, she's still in a lot of pain.

"I went to a Catholic school and he came to confession on first Fridays and he would pull me out of the classroom after these confessions and would sexually assault me in the hallway of the school," Renehan said.

Renehan is no longer a practicing Catholic, but she has been watching the pope's visit from afar.

She was upset Wednesday by the way the pope addressed the clergy sex abuse scandal when speaking to hundreds of bishops in DC.

In Italian, the pope said he knows how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon bishops and said he supports their commitment to bring healing to victims. But for Renehan, it's the bishops who should be apologizing after some helped cover up the abuse.

"That's the only thing he said about the sex abuse scandal and I think that when I look at his agenda," Renehan said, "He's not planning on meeting with the survivors so far and the whole crisis is not even on his agenda."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:57 AM

Cardinal Roger Mahony, Retired from L.A. Archdiocese ...

CALIFORNIA
KTLA

[video]

Cardinal Roger Mahony, Retired from L.A. Archdiocese After Sex Abuse Scandal, Attends Events During Papal Visit

Cardinal Emeritus Roger Mahony, retired in 2011 and then in 2013 relieved of public duties over his handling of sex abuse cases in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, was attending papal events during the six-day visit to the U.S. by Pope Francis. Mahony’s presence generated complaints from sex abuse survivors. Chip Yost reports for the KTLA 5 News at 6 on Sept. 23, 2015.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:55 AM

Who rules in Rome: Pope Francis or the Roman Curia? A papal blueprint faces red tape

UNITED STATES
Religion News Service

David Gibson | September 23, 2015

(RNS) When the cardinals gathered in the Sistine Chapel in March 2013 to elect a new pope, they faced a sobering state of affairs: The Vatican had been plagued by scandals and dysfunction during the eight-year papacy of Benedict XVI, who stunned the Catholic Church by becoming the first pope in six centuries to resign.

The sense of crisis in Rome hung like a pall on the rest of the church, and that burden weighed heavily on the 86-year-old pontiff, playing a key role in his decision to retire to make way for a younger, more energetic successor.

But the 113 cardinal-electors also faced a stark choice: select an outsider from among their ranks who would come in and clean house, or go with another insider, someone who knew the Roman Curia — the papal bureaucracy that was widely blamed for the crisis — and could fix it.

“It takes a thief to catch a thief,” the reasoning went.

The problem with that argument was that Benedict, previously known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, had worked in the Curia for decades before he was elected pope, and his familiarity seemed to breed complacency.

It didn’t take the cardinals long to make up their minds: In 24 hours they elected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, a pope “from the ends of the earth” as Francis said in introducing himself to the world from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica. Bergoglio had never liked traveling to Rome on church business, much less playing church politics, and he had a healthy suspicion of the Vatican’s curial culture.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:53 AM

Assemblywoman calls on Pope Francis to back child sexual abuse bill

NEW YORK
Politico

By BILL MAHONEY

ALBANY — Assemblywoman Margaret Markey is using Pope Francis’s visit to New York to highlight her bill to remove the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse.

Markey sponsors legislation that would remove the existing statute of limitations for future child sexual abuse incidents.

It would also allow for a one-year window in which victims of sexual abuse could bring suits against individuals or private institutions involved in past crimes.

“I respectfully plead with Pope Francis to intervene with New York Bishops, to melt their hearts, to convince them to adopt his own message of healing and reconciliation toward survivors of child sexual abuse,” Markey said. “With New York as one of the very worst states in America for how it treats victims of child sex abuse, it is the Bishops of New York State who are the biggest roadblock to changing that.”

The New York State Catholic Conference has vehemently opposed this bill for years.

Earlier this year, a spokesman for the conference suggested the bill was being advanced in the Democratic Assembly to punish Catholics for their support of education tax credits that were opposed by teachers’ unions, yet supported by private schools. (Both measures failed to pass.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:44 AM

Francis's Oblique Comments ...

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

William D. Lindsey

Francis's Oblique Comments Today on Abuse Crisis: Open Mouth, Insert Foot — Taking Us Back to Square One

As Jerry Slevin says in a comment here earlier today, Dennis Coday has some pointed things to say after Pope Francis's address to the bishops when they and he gathered for a prayer service in D.C.'s Cathedral of St. Matthew. In that gathering, Francis told the U.S. bishops,

I am also conscious of the courage with which you have faced difficult moments in the recent history of the Church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice. Nor have you been afraid to divest whatever is unessential in order to regain the authority and trust which is demanded of ministers of Christ and rightly expected by the faithful. I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims – in the knowledge that in healing we too are healed – and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated.

As Dennis Coday says in response, the oblique reference to the clergy sexual abuse crisis here is more than a foot-in-mouth remark: it's one that brings the entire discussion of the abuse crisis in the U.S. back to square one, suggesting that Pope Francis doesn't get it, hasn't gotten it, doesn't intend to get it:

Praising the bishops for the courage they have shown before acknowledging the pain of the victims, will undoubtedly raise the charges of "he just doesn’t get it."

Since his election as pope, NCR has both challenged Francis to do more for the sex abuse crisis and encouraged the moves he has made. But the message he delivered today puts him back to square one.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:41 AM

Pope to bishops: Stop licking your wounds

WASHINGTON (DC)
Click On Detroit

(CNN) -
They may be embattled by the culture wars and bruised by the clergy sexual abuse scandal, but American bishops should not stoop to self-pity or harsh responses, Pope Francis said Wednesday.

It was the Pope's first full day in the United States, but he made it clear, in a speech to 300 bishops in Washington, that he knows the strains his American church is under.

Millions of Catholics have fled the flock, leaving for other religions or for no religion at all. Meanwhile, the Catholic bishops have fought -- and largely lost -- public battles over same-sex marriage and abortion.

Referring to the clergy sexual abuse scandal, which harmed thousands of children and cost the church billions in legal settlements, Francis praised the bishops' "courage."

"I know how much the wounds of these last few years have weighed on your spirit, and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims -- in the knowledge that in healing we too are healed -- and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated."

But advocates for victims of clergy sexual abuse called the bishops anything but courageous.

"Almost without exception, they have shown cowardice and callousness and continue to do so now," said Barbara Dorris of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:36 AM

Pope couches sexual abuses as ‘difficult moments’ ...

WASHINGTON (DC)
Japan Times

Pope couches sexual abuses as ‘difficult moments’ in call to U.S. bishops to avoid further costly scandals

REUTERS
SEP 24, 2015

WASHINGTON – Pope Francis on Wednesday told U.S. Roman Catholic bishops that crimes of sexual abuse of minors by clergy should never be repeated, acknowledging the damage caused by years of scandal in the U.S. Catholic Church.

In the remarks, delivered at Saint Matthews Cathedral in Washington on the first full day of his visit to the United States, the pope did not utter the words “sexual abuse” but referred to the scandal by talking about “difficult moments” and providing help for victims.

“I know how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you, and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims … and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated,” Francis told the bishops, who applauded.

Wounds from the scandal, which saw priests who abused children moved from parish to parish instead of being defrocked, are still festering and draining church finances.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:33 AM

Critics say pope's remarks on priest sexual abuse were too tepid

WASHINGTON (DC)
USA Today

Gregory Korte, USA TODAY September 23, 2015

WASHINGTON — A group representing victims of priest sexual abuse blasted Pope Francis Wednesday for his remarks to U.S. bishops praising their response to the scandal while failing to utter the words "sexual abuse."

Francis referred to the crisis only obliquely, telling the bishops he was "conscious of the courage with which you have faced difficult moments in the recent history of the Church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice."

"What sacrifice?" said Barbara Blaine of Chicago, the president of Survivor's Network of Those Abused by Priests. "What bishop takes fewer vacations, drives a smaller car, does his own laundry or has been passed over for promotion because he’s shielding predators and endangering kids? None."

The Vatican stood by the pope's handling of the issue. “I am not surprised that there are critics that are not happy. This is not the first time,” said the Vatican Press Secretary, Rev. Federico Lombardi.

Allegations of sexual abuse by priests date back decades, but exploded into a full-blown crisis in 2002 when the Boston Globe published a Pulitzer Prize-winning series detailing a litany of abuses and cover-ups by bishops.

Thirteen years and two popes later, U.S. bishops say they have made reforms that prevent the abuse and require reporting of any allegations to civil authorities.

Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the bishops have made progress over the last 13 years with prevention strategies and mandatory reporting policies. “We continue to need to do more. We need to do more in recognizing the pain that victim survivors themselves experience,” Kurtz said.

“I took to heart the Holy Father’s words today,” he said. “I think he called upon the bishops to restore trust. As you know, rebuilding trust in a relationship takes time, but it also takes positive actions.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:30 AM

Charity's persistence led to Somerset County priest's arrest

PENNSYLVANIA
Tribune-Review

By Paul Peirce
Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015

Elizabeth Williams tried to keep her composure as people filed into a courtroom in U.S. District Court in Johnstown to hear the news: Did a jury find a Somerset County priest guilty of sexually abusing three boys at a Honduran orphanage she operated for years as president of a nonprofit foundation?

When four Honduran men she hadn't seen since they were boys living at the orphanage were led into the courtroom by federal agents, she couldn't hold back the tears.

Days before, three of the men had testified that the Rev. Joseph D. Maurizio, 70, molested them. The fourth told jurors he saw the priest touching a boy in the front seat of a car and having sex with other boys in a church and outside a dormitory.

“I did become emotional at that point,” Williams said Wednesday. “It had been years since I first saw those tapes (of victim interviews) taken by our own staff in Honduras of those same kids.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:28 AM

Watch: Pope Francis praises US bishops' response ...

UNITED STATES
Malta Independent

Watch: Pope Francis praises US bishops' response to sexual abuse by priests, angering victims

Pope Francis praised American bishops on Wednesday for their "generous commitment" to helping victims of clergy sex abuse, drawing an angry rebuke from advocates who said the bishops acted only under the threat of hundreds of lawsuits.

Addressing church leaders in a prayer service at the Washington cathedral, Francis said they had faced the crisis "without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice."

"I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you, and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims — in the knowledge that in healing we, too, are healed — and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated," the pope said to loud applause from the bishops.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:25 AM

Clergy sex-abuse victims rip Francis for remarks to bishops

WASHINGTON (DC)
Philadelphia Inquirer

DAVID O'REILLY, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
LAST UPDATED: Thursday, September 24, 2015

WASHINGTON - Pope Francis on Wednesday surprised and irked victims of Roman Catholic clergy sex abuse when he praised a gathering of U.S. bishops for their "courage" in handling the crisis, and consoled them for how stressful it had been.

He also insisted that sex abuse at the hands of clergy must never happen again.

His remarks brought a stinging rebuke from some abuse victims, who said courage should be reserved for themselves.

"The bishops are poster boys for the fainthearted and timid. They have been cowards in the face of rape and sodomy of innocent children," said the National Survivor Advocates Coalition.

To the bishops assembled for the first full day of Francis' six-day U.S. visit, the pope said, "I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you. And I have supported your generous commitment to bringing healing to victims - in the knowledge that we, too, are healed - and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated."

Bob Hoatson, a former priest in Newark, N.J., and an abuse survivor, said, "I think he let the bishops off the hook." Hoatson, who runs a group called Road to Recovery for victims and their families, said he had received numerous calls from "disappointed" victims.

"He would have been better off not saying anything about the issue rather than sugarcoating it," Hoatson said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:21 AM

Could the Vatican face racketeering charges for harboring abusive clergy?

UNITED STATES/LATIN AMERICA
GlobalPost

Will Carless on Sep 24, 2015

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Earlier this year, federal prosecutors in Manhattan made history by arresting officials at the Federation Internationale de Football Association, or FIFA, on charges of racketeering and money laundering.

The case, a groundbreaking example of US authorities policing far beyond America’s borders, raised an interesting question: If prosecutors could target FIFA — an organization headquartered outside the US — could they also take aim at the leaders of another sprawling international enterprise, say, the Roman Catholic Church?

The sex crimes that Catholic priests have committed across the globe are arguably far more harmful than anything FIFA executives are accused of. Thousands of priests been accused of destroying the innocence of society’s most vulnerable individuals: children. And in many cases, the church hierarchy has looked the other way, or worse. Yet throughout decades of abuse, the Holy See — the church’s central government, housed at the Vatican — has evaded legal consequences.

Objectively, the sex abuse crisis has been destructive for the church. Billions of dollars have been paid out to survivors of sexual abuse by clergy, leading some of the largest Catholic dioceses in the United States to declare bankruptcy. Dozens of priests have been criminally convicted and thrown in prison. But all of this has played out at the local level.

Despite aggressive efforts to put the pope and his senior leadership on trial for concealing priests’ sex crimes, to date not one Vatican official has been successfully sued or jailed, and the Vatican’s coffers have remained untouched — largely thanks to esoteric legal arguments and diplomatic immunity.

The Vatican remains a legal fortress for anyone suspected of aiding predator priests. In some cases, survivor advocates say the Rome-based enclave of Vatican City has even served as a literal sanctuary for prelates: Archbishop Josef Weselowski, for instance, was whisked off to the Vatican following allegations that he abused young boys. The move sheltered him from prosecution in the Dominican Republic.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:18 AM

Fr Charles Fenech testifies in clerical abuse compensation case, court revokes fine

MALTA
Malta Independent

Neil Camilleri

Fr Charles Fenech this morning testified in a court case in which the victims of sex abuse carried out by catholic priests are calling for compensation. Fr Fenech, who is himself charged with sexual abuse in separate proceedings, had failed to turn up when summoned last week for the compensation case.

Laurence Grech and Philip Cauchi are calling on the Constitutional Court to stop Mr Justice Joseph Micallef from presiding over the civil case for compensation because he is involved in the institution that abused them. The judge is the President of the Dominican Order-owned Radju Marija. This, according to Mr Grech and Mr Cauchi, puts his impartiality in question.

Last week, Mr Justice Mark Chetcuti fined Fr Charles Fenech, who is the founder of Radju Marija, €150 for contempt of court. He also ordered the police to arrest the priest and bring him to the next sitting. Today the court heard how Fr Fenech had not turned up in court because of a misunderstanding with his lawyer Dr Franco Galea. The court revoked the fine imposed.

Testifying today, Fr Fenech said Radju Marija was set up to convey the message of the Catholic Church, insisting it did not have any political or marketing content. Lay people managed the radio station. The president – until last October Judge Joseph R Micallef – took care of administrative work.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:16 AM

September 23, 2015

NY--As pope arrives in NYC, group to hold small vigil

NEW YORK
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

They remember hundreds of victims who committed suicide
SNAP: Pope’s callous defense of bishops opens new wounds
Organization says papal visit “provokes pain in hundreds”
They beg victims to “reach out, get therapy, call loved ones”

What:
Holding signs and childhood photos of suicide at a sidewalk vigil, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will

--remember and honor adults who were molested as kids and took their own lives, and
--express support and concern for other victims who are suffering because of Pope Francis’s visit and the laudatory attention the Catholic hierarchy is enjoying.

They will urge all victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to

--keep coming forward and seeking help (from independent sources),
--stay in therapy, support groups and 12 step programs,
--remember that recovery is possible, and
--focus less on church officials and more on their mental health and well-being.

When:
Thursday, September 24 at 5:30 p.m.

Where:
Outside of St. Joseph’s Church,
371 6th Ave at Washington Place
Greenwich Village, NYC

Who:
Seven-eight members of an international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including 1) an Illinois woman and attorney who is the organization’s long time president and 2) a California woman who is a best-selling author on abuse prevention.

Why:
Pope Francis’ first-ever US trip is already provoking considerable anxiety and pain among many clergy sex abuse victims, SNAP reports. Many struggle with seeing the pontiff’s popularity and what they see as his callous disregard of the sex abuse scandal across the United States, the group says.

“During the past few days, Pope Francis has been treated like a king, while victims of sexual abuse have been minimized and marginalized,” said Megan Peterson, SNAP’s volunteer New York director. “Seeing the Pope meet with the President Obama and address a joint session of Congress is enormously damaging to survivors, especially since the crimes and cover-ups are not over.”

“Learning that disgraced Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony was a part of the entourage was even more upsetting,” said Peter Isely, SNAP’s Mid-West director. “Cardinal Mahony covered up for hundreds of child sex crimes across California and allowed countless men to prey on children. He’s reviled in his own archdiocese. How can we trust that kids are safer from abuse when Pope Francis allows a man like Mahony to accompany him?”

“This week, Pope Francis told the U.S. bishops that many of them have made ‘great sacrifice’ because of the abuse and cover-up crisis,” said Judy Jones, SNAP volunteer Missouri leader. “Families, communities and children are destroyed by child sexual abuse. The bishops have made no sacrifices. They have only made excuses.”

SNAP believes that hundreds of US clergy abuse victims have taken their lives. In the Wichita diocese, five young men who were sexually violated by Fr. Robert K. Larson committed suicide.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:59 PM

Pope to meet with sex-abuse victims?

WASHINGTON (DC)
Philadelphia Inquirer

Part of Pope Francis' address to U.S. bishops in Washington, D.C., Wednesday addressed the clergy sex-abuse scandal, and raised the possibility that the pontiff would meet privately with victims:

David O'Reilly
‏@DOREILLYINQ
#PopeInPhilly Francis offers much compassion to US bishops for how stressful the clergy sex abuse crisis has been! Praises their "courage. "

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 PM

Pope Francis' sex abuse comments draw ire from victims

UNITED STATES
Los Angeles Times

By ALAN ZAREMBO AND VICTORIA KIM

Pope Francis on Wednesday appeared to praise the Roman Catholic Church’s handling of widespread sexual abuse by priests, drawing rebuke from victims who said his brief remarks were a setback for justice and healing.

Speaking to hundreds of U.S. bishops at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in downtown Washington, the pope told them he was “conscious of the courage with which you have faced difficult moments in the recent history of the church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice.”

He continued: “I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you, and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims — in the knowledge that in healing we too are healed — and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated.”

Victims said those comments grossly misrepresent how the church has dealt with the scandal, which it managed to cover up for decades.

“The people he was talking to are the people who moved the pedophiles around to prey on kids,” said John Salveson, a 59-year-old Philadelphia businessman who was abused as a child by a priest.

“If you gave me 100 years to pick a word to describe the U.S. bishops’ reaction to this crisis, ‘generous’ would never make the list,” he said.

Terry McKiernan, who runs BishopAccountability.org, a nonprofit group that tracks the abuse scandal, said Francis failed to acknowledge that most dioceses across the country have not disclosed the names of abusers and continue to lobby against reforming statute of limitations laws that shield priests from prosecution for crimes committed many years ago.

“It would be a shame if the pope’s words were taken as encouragement by the bishops to continue that behavior,” he said.

While Francis enjoys worldwide popularity and is widely seen as the best hope for reinvigorating the church, he has yet to win support from many abuse victims. By some counts, there are more than 17,000 in the United States, with some cases dating as far back as the 1950s.

See the most-read stories this hour >>
The National Catholic Reporter, which has been a strong supporter of the pope on many issues, has consistently challenged him to do more in punishing and preventing sexual abuse.

“But the message he delivered today puts him back to square one,” the editor, Dennis Coday, wrote in an online editorial Wednesday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 PM

Why Pope Francis's Comments On Clergy Sex Abuse Upset Survivors

WASHINGTON (DC)
Huffington Post

Antonia Blumberg
Associate Religion Editor, The Huffington Post

Pope Francis praised U.S. Catholic bishops for their response to the clergy sex abuse crisis Wednesday during an address in Washington -- comments that victims called “insulting” and “hurtful.”

The pope applauded what he said was bishops’ "generous commitment to bring healing to victims." And he praised them for courage in facing “difficult moments in the recent history of the church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice.”

John Salveson, a Philadelphia business owner who was victimized by clergy sex abuse, said he found the pope’s comments “bizarre.”

“First of all, he’s characterizing the bishops’ response as generous,” Salveson told The Huffington Post. “They have treated victims for decades like adversaries. It’s just been horrible. I don’t know how you could ever characterize them as generous.”

Barbara Blaine, of Chicago, president of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, released a statement decrying the years of clergy abuse that the church tolerated. By praising bishops, Blaine said in the statement, Francis revealed his own reluctance to take decisive action.

“His remarks today confirm what we’ve long said and suspected: this pope, like his predecessors, is doing and will do little if anything to bring real reform to this continuing crisis,” Blaine said. “Those who care about kids must focus on secular authorities, not church figures (however popular they may be).”

Dennis Coday, an editor for National Catholic Register, [note: He is with the National Catholic Reporter] criticized the pontiff for dancing around the issue without offering specifics.

“At the very least he could have used the words ‘clergy sexual abuse of minors,’” Coday wrote in an National Catholic Register [Reporter] opinion piece. “This oblique reference will do nothing to assuage the fears of victims’ advocates who believe Francis is more public relations manager than crisis manager when it comes to sexual abuse.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 PM

Sex Abuse Survivors Aren't Happy With the Pope's Comments on Bishops' 'Courage'

WASHINGTON (DC)
VICE news

By VICE News

September 23, 2015

One of the world's oldest and largest support groups for survivors of clergy-perpetrated sexual abuse today blasted the pope after he commented that US bishops showed "courage" in handling a string of Catholic Church abuse scandals over decades, while failing to apologize to victims on behalf of the church.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), which has about 20,000 members, criticized Pope Francis over his choice of words, particularly the "great sacrifice" he said bishops have made in facing "difficult moments in the recent history of the church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification."

"[The pope's] remarks today confirm what we've long said and suspected: this pope, like his predecessors, is doing and will do little if anything to bring real reform to this continuing crisis," SNAP said in a statement Wednesday after the pope delivered his speech in Washington DC. "Those who care about kids must focus on secular authorities, not church figures, however popular they may be."

In March, a new report released by BishopAccountability.org raised troubling questions about Pope Francis' complicity in the sexual abuse scandal that has plagued the Catholic Church for more than a decade.

The report, titled "Pope Francis and Clergy Sexual Abuse in Argentina," focuses on the pope's stint as archbishop of Buenos Aires from 1998 to 2013, and includes a database with links to public documents and media reports about 42 priests in Argentina previously accused of sexual misconduct. Specifically, the report focuses on five cases of sexual abuse by priests in which it alleges that the then archbishop "knowingly or unwittingly slowed victims in their fight to expose and prosecute their assailants."

Although Francis has been outspoken on a litany of other issues, he has remained surprisingly silent on the topic of clergy sexual abuse. In his 2010 book, On Heaven and Earth, the future pope claimed his priests never misbehaved during his tenure as archbishop of Buenos Aires.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 PM

Pope Francis’ Description of US Bishops Acting with Courage in Crisis is a Fairy Tale

UNITED STATES
National Survivors Advocates Coalition

National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) Statement on Pope Francis’ statement regarding Sexual Abuse during visit to the United States

Pope Francis’ description of bishops and the sexual abuse crisis in the United State is a fairy tale.

The Pope praised the bishops’ courage in the scandal. The word courage should never be used to describe the bishops, it should be reserved for the survivors alone. The best are best described as cowards who were unmoved by the survivors suffering until their neglect and complicity in criminality was unmasked by the news media and the courts.

The hurt and desolation that this Pope of mercy has heaped on the survivors in this one miscalculated section of an address is jaw droppingly stunning.

Pope Francis is aware of words can do. He is a wordsmith but what he constructed in this speech is a faulty scaffolding that needs to be torn down.

Pretty words are not a firm purpose of amendment.

Pretty words do not make a sexual abuse commission work.

Pretty words, even those from a popular Pope, do not soothe wounds, protect children or provide justice to survivors.

The Pope should never have said these words.

The fact that he did is evidence that he believes them, and that it is his intent to push the argument that the crisis is history, the bishops are put upon heroes, and the victims are afterthoughts mentioned only to give lip service while wrapping them in the envelope of the healing that never comes.

This tin ear towards the victims of sexual abuse is a resounding rebuke to survivors and its damage is heavy.

— Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) 937-272-0308

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 PM

Catholic newspaper criticizes Pope's remarks today

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release, September 23, 2015

Statement by Peter Isely of Milwaukee, SNAP Midwest Director (414 429 7259, peterisely@yahoo.com)

The editor of the independent National Catholic Reporter takes Francis to task today – as he should – for his first remarks about the church’s seemingly-endless scandal of sexual violence and secrecy.

An NCR reporter says that Francis made “an oblique” reference to the abuse and cover up crisis. And NCR editor Dennis Coday said that the pope’s “sadly disappointing” message was “a glaring oversight” that “will undoubtedly raise the charges of ‘he just doesn’t get it.’”

[National Catholic Reporter]

Both journalists are right. Francis today basically ignored those who are vulnerable because of the crisis: children. He basically ignored those who are suffering because of the crisis: victims.

He praised, instead of chastising, those who are causing the crisis: bishops. And he offered not a single step forward, other than his vague plea that these crimes, still happening now, somehow “not be repeated.”

Francis continues to please many who want a more merciful church but disappoint most who want a safer one.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:48 PM

The Toughest Job in Washington? Being a Pope Francis Protestor

WASHINGTON (DC)
New York Magazine

By Marin Cogan

“I saw a news report last night on ‘Pope pizza,’” Becky Ianni, a 57-year-old woman with light-brown hair cropped in a bob, is saying. “We were in Barnes & Noble and it was plastered with stuff about the Pope. Everything was about the Pope.” It’s Monday afternoon, and Ianni and seven other people — most of them former Catholics, most of them sexual-assault survivors or their family members — are protesting outside the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Headquarters in northeast Washington.

This is a rough week to be a Catholic Church protester. The American public's interest in the Catholic Church right now seems to begin and end with Pope Francis — as a global celebrity, charismatic spiritual leader, and transformative political figure. Francis will make his debut before Congress this week as more than just a media darling: Only 3 percent of Catholics view him unfavorably, according to a recent Times poll. The view of the Pope is so favorable among Catholics here, according to another Pew survey from earlier this summer, that 55 percent of them rated him as doing an “excellent” or “good” job addressing the abuse scandal — a number that, when compared to his approval rating on other issues, was actually considered low. Meanwhile, the decades-old conversation about the church's legacy of sexual abuse, which for a long time has been the dominant one around the institution, has quieted somewhat.

Francis made remarks to U.S. bishops about sexual abuse and is likely to meet with abuse survivors on this trip, as he has done in the past, but that’s far from enough for this group of abuse survivors, many of whom are pained by the huge celebration surrounding his arrival. “Last week, when we were getting ready for him to come, I started getting more and more anxious,” Ianni says. She and the others who say they were abused by priests don’t think Pope Francis has lived up to his responsibilities on the church's legacy of abuse. In June, the Pope called for the creation of a Vatican tribunal to judge bishops who covered up the abuse scandal, but the bishops by and large still haven’t faced any consequences for their actions. The Pope has the authority to discipline them on his own, but hasn't done so. Ianni was sexually victimized by a priest named William T. Reinecke when she was a child growing up in Virginia, but she wasn’t able to step forward with her story until 2006, she says. (Her claim was later ruled credible by her local diocesan review board.) She says she's never been able to fully get over the betrayal she felt.

Barb Dorris, a grandmother who says she joined the group after discovering a priest in her parish molesting a child and church officials failed to oust him, pointed toward a news report last week showing that American priests accused of sexual assault were sent to Latin American countries to continue working in the church rather than being turned over to the authorities. She, too, wants the Pope to move on disciplining bishops as soon as possible. “I’m one old lady standing on a corner. This Pope has all the power. He could make the changes necessary,” she says.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:45 PM

Women Priest Protesters Arrested During Pope Visit

WASHINGTON (DC)
NBC New York

By Gabriella Iannetta

A handful of women dressed in traditional priest stoles and albs were arrested after they staged civil disobedience during Pope Francis' visit in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

They held signs that read: "Women priests are here."

The women are calling on the pope and the entire Catholic community to shake up policies of the past, saying it is time to allow women to be priests.

"Women are all parts of life," Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan with the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests told NBC Owned Television Stations. "Including at the altar."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:31 PM

Protesters Advocating For Women Priests Removed Ahead Of Papal Visit

WASHINGTON (DC)
DCist

BY RACHEL SADON

With signs draped across their body advocating for the ordination of women priests, a group of protesters lay down in a crosswalk outside St. Matthew's Cathedral shortly before Pope Francis arrived this afternoon. The seven men and women were removed by police officers from the intersection of Connecticut and Rhode Island Avenues and issued criminal citations for blocking the passageway, according to a spokeswoman for MPD.

The protesters argued that the church should open the priesthood to women, wearing signs in both English and Spanish saying "This is what a Roman Catholic woman priest looks like" and "We're all equal in God's eyes; ordain women."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:28 PM

Catholic Church sex abuse victim uses art to connect

NEW YORK
Jamestown Sun

By Reuters Media on Sep 22, 2015

NEW YORK -- An artist and sexual abuse victim at the hand of a Catholic priest uses her artwork for survivors and supporters to connect.

"To me it's just a different thing that people can relate to," said Megan Peterson, a leading member of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) in New York on Tuesday.

"It's a very raw expression of what many of us go through and I feel like a lot of times for me personally as an artist the abuse and the things that I've endured, I can't necessarily put words to it. So I just feel like this is an opportunity for people to connect on that level and people that are walking that path currently."

Twenty-five-year-old Peterson is one of the tens of thousands of people who allege sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests across the globe.

As a child, Peterson was a devout Catholic who attended church in the diocese of Crookston, Minn. Every morning, before school, she would stop by her local church to pray in the hope of becoming a nun. She says everything changed one morning in 2004 when, as a 14-year-old, she was assaulted by Father Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul. Jeyapaul came from India in 2004 to preach at the Blessed Sacrament Church in Greenbush, Minn., a small town near the Canadian border. In 2005, after being accused of sexual misconduct by another girl, a 16-year-old, Jeyapaul left Minnesota and returned to India to attend to his ailing mother.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:15 PM

US bishops show cowardice and callousness

WASHINGTON (DC)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release, September 23, 2015

Statement by Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org

We're sad that Francis claims US bishops have shown "courage" in the abuse crisis. Almost without exception, they have shown cowardice and callousness and continue to do so now. They offer excuses, exploit legal technicalities and hide behind expensive lawyers and public relations professionals, hardly the marks of courage.

We're also sad that Francis can't bring himself to call this crisis what it is - not "difficult moments in recent history," but the continuing cover up of clergy child sex crimes by almost the entire church hierarchy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:11 PM

FACSA Statement Regarding Comments by Pope Francis on Clergy Sex Abuse

UNITED STATES
Foundation to Abolish Child Sexual Abuse (FACSA)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 23, 2015

Contact: John Salveson at 215-870-0680 salveson@abolishsexabuse.org

Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse (FACSA) Statement Regarding Comments by Pope Francis on Clergy Sex Abuse

BRYN MAWR, PA – John Salveson, President of FACSA, (Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse) released the following statement regarding Pope Francis’ comments in a speech to 300 bishops in Washington regarding their treatment of clergy sex abuse victims in America.

“The Pope’s comments to U.S. bishops this afternoon were both insulting and hurtful to survivors of clergy abuse. To characterize the response of American Bishop’s to clergy abuse victims as ‘generous’ and ‘courageous’ is bizarre. In reality, the Roman Catholic Church in America has treated clergy sex abuse victims as adversaries and enemies for decades.

In addition, his concern about how the abuse crisis has weighed on the bishop’s spirits, and his hope that all of their good deeds will help them heal from the crisis reflects a profound misunderstanding of the role the church has played in this self-inflicted crisis.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:08 PM

Pope praises US bishops' response to abuse, angering victims

WASHINGTON (DC)
WPXI

By RACHEL ZOLL
The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Pope Francis praised American bishops Wednesday for their "generous commitment'" to helping victims of clergy sex abuse, drawing an angry rebuke from advocates who said the bishops acted only under the threat of hundreds of lawsuits.

Addressing church leaders in a prayer service at the Washington cathedral, Francis said they had faced the crisis "without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice."

"I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you, and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims — in the knowledge that in healing we, too, are healed — and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated," the pope said to loud applause from the bishops.

But the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests said that the bishops had displayed "cowardice and callousness" in response to victims who came forward and that they "hide behind expensive lawyers and public relations professionals" instead of fully confronting the scope of the problem within the church.

Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, an advocacy group that collects records on abusive priests from around the world, called the pope's remarks "distressing and quite off-base."

The abuse crisis erupted in 2002 with the case of one pedophile priest in the Archdiocese of Boston, then spread nationwide. The revelations in Boston, about guilty priests kept in ministry without any warning to parents or police, persuaded thousands of people across the country to come forward with new abuse claims, prompted grand jury investigations in several states and compelled the bishops to take an inventory of how every American diocese had dealt with perpetrators and victims going back decades.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:01 PM

Why advocates for clergy sex abuse victims call Pope Francis’s remarks a ‘slap in the face’<

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

By Terrence McCoy, Sarah Pulliam Bailey and Perry Stein September 23

Advocates for victims of sexual abuse called Pope Francis’s apparent praise of the U.S. church’s handling of the sexual abuse scandal “a slap in the face” that will only inflame the suffering of the abused.

At the Cathedral of St. Matthews, before a gathering of U.S. bishops, Francis lauded the American church on Wednesday for its “courage” in the face of what he called “self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice.” Calling instances of abuse “crimes,” he added: “I realize how much pain the recent years has weighed upon you and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims.”

Advocates expressed outrage and surprise at these comments, which address a scandal that exploded in the early 2000s. Activists have consistently criticized U.S. Catholic Church, which has spent millions on prevention and training, for continuing to fight survivors in legal battles and declining to hold some bishops explicitly accountable. In 2012, Monsignor William Lynn in Philadelphia, where Francis will end his trip, became the first priest to be convicted on charges of concealing the crimes of accused priests.

This isn’t the first time Francis has waded into an issue that some have cited as a reason why they left the church. Francis embraced victims of sexual abuse and asked their forgiveness at a 2013 Mass “for the sins of omission on the part of church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse.” Then in June, he launched a Vatican tribunal to punish clergy who try to cover up instances of abuse. He has also created commission that recommends how best to help survivors.

Many activists were hopeful that Francis would add to that momentum during his first visit to the United States, though his official itinerary bore no mention of the topic. But now, some advocates say, Francis has tampered hopes that he’ll push for more accountability among the clergy and opened the church to fresh criticism that it’s more concerned with protecting its own than victims of abuse.

“It’s encouraging that he recognizes [the abuse], but it sounds like it is all aimed at the bishops themselves rather than the survivors,” said Bill Casey, who advocates for survivors with Voice of the Faithful. “If that’s all he says, I think that would be disappointing.”

But Barbara Dorris, victims outreach director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said she was more than disappointed. “I don’t have much of a temper, very little temper, and this makes me mad,” she said. “It’s a slap in the face to all the victims, that we’re going to worry about how the poor bishop feels? You’re the ones who created it, and now we’re going to feel sorry for what you created?”

Monsignor Stephen Rossetti, a psychologist who advises dioceses worldwide on child protection, said he was nonetheless “pleased” that Francis had mentioned instances of sexual abuse so early in his visit — and that he called them crimes.

Pope tells US bishops 'crimes' of sexual abuse must not be repeated

WASHINGTON (DC)
RTE News (Ireland)

Pope Francis has told US Catholic bishops that "crimes" of sexual abuse of minors by clergy should never be repeated.

"I know how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you, and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims ... and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated," he told the bishops on his first visit to the United States.

During his six days in the US, the pope may meet privately with victims of sexual abuse.

The Vatican has said an eventual meeting would be announced after it takes place in order to protect the privacy of the victims.

An estimated 6,400 Catholic clergy have been accused of abusing minors in the United States between 1950 and 1980.

In June, Francis sacked two US bishops accused of looking the other way: the archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, John Clayton Nienstedt, and his aide Lee Anthony Piche.

And earlier this month the Vatican replaced Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, who resigned in April after failing to report a priest accused of pedophilia.

Earlier, cheering crowds greeted Pope Francis in the streets of Washington as he rode in his open pope mobile near the White House following talks with President Barack Obama.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:55 PM

Bishop Barres: Pope's address 'powerful'

PENNSYLVANIA
The Morning Call

By Dan Sheehan
Of The Morning Call

Allentown Bishop John O. Barres was among the hundreds of cardinals, bishops and other religious who crowded the Cathedral of St. Matthew in Washington to hear Pope Francis speak about the church's mission, the clerical sex abuse crisis and the plight of immigrants.

The pontiff received long ovations during the prayer service in the church best known as the site of the funeral for the nation's first Catholic president, John F. Kennedy, in 1963.

In a statement, Barres said Francis "synthesized so many of his beautiful thoughts and themes with an emphasis on the good shepherd and a culture of encounter for the poor, all those in pain, all those in distress. (He was) calling all of us to be engaged in a culture of encounter with everyone in our global society."

Francis opened the Thursday service by thanking Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, a former priest of the Diocese of Allentown who now serves as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:54 PM

575 victims in Dolan’s former diocese urging Pope Francis to hold him accountable

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

CONTACT

--Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director (Milwaukee) – Attending SNAP events in NYC during the papal visit, 414.429.7259 (peterisely@yahoo.com)
--Megan Peterson, SNAP NYC Director, 218.684.0073 (survivor19@live.com)
--Letter from Dolan to the Vatican attached--

9/23/05 Letter to Pope Francis from Milwaukee victims, re: Cardinal Timothy Dolan

Dear Pope Francis,

I am one of 575 victims of childhood rape, sexual assault or abuse by clergy who have worked in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee who have filed cases seeking restitution from the church in US Federal Bankruptcy Court. I am writing to you on our behalf and on behalf of our families.

Every rape or sexual assault of a child is a double act of theft: first it steals the body and then it steals the voice.

Seeking justice as adults through our courts for the crimes that were committed against us as children is an effort by us to restore both body and voice. That is why we were cheered when, early in your pontificate, you directly and explicitly affirmed the rightness and importance for victims to seek justice and restitution through the civil justice system.

We filed our cases for restitution over four and a half years ago in US Bankruptcy Court because the new Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki publically assured us that by doing so he would use the bankruptcy court to bring just “compensation, healing and resolution” to victims.

The chief architect of the bankruptcy, however, was Listecki’s predecessor, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who repeatedly and directly spoke of his remorse for the crimes committed by Milwaukee clergy against children.

Imagine our sense of betrayal, then, when we learned that Archbishop Dolan before leaving for his new post as Archbishop of New York had acted directly to contravene the spirit of the very principle of civil justice for victims that your words celebrate and affirm.

In a letter obtained in federal court (also attached), Dolan wrote to Cardinal Claudio Hummes, Prefect of Congregation of the Clergy, for permission to transfer nearly $60 million dollars of assets into a new “Cemetery Perpetual Care Trust.” The archdiocese, of course, already had money set aside for the care of cemeteries. Why was Dolan seeking permission to make a new trust? Because the Wisconsin Supreme Court had just issued a unanimous ruling against the Milwaukee Archdiocese stating that there was sufficient evidence of its fraudulent concealment and transfer of clergy child sex offenders that the archdiocese could be brought to civil court by victims seeking restitution. Dolan, in the letter, clearly stated his intent in creating a new and unneeded trust.“By transferring these assets to the Trust, they [the monies]will be protected by any legal claim and liability.”

Additionally, the newly created cemetery trust was intended for only eight cemeteries, most of which also have a mausoleum in or near or near the City of Milwaukee. All the many remaining Catholic cemeteries in the archdiocese do not benefit from this trust. $60 million dollars is hardly required to serve the needs of only eight cemeteries.

Dolan’s transfer of tens of millions of dollars to prevent victims from just compensation is an act of civil and, in all likelihood, criminal fraud under US law.

Court documents also show that Dolan, after public denials to the contrary, devised and executed a secret policy of paying clerics who had abused children (a $20,000 dollar “signing bonus” added to their pension and other benefits) to leave the priesthood without the archdiocese notifying the unsuspecting communities in which they settled.

The new church you are urging us to build together requires you to hold Cardinal Dolan accountable for the planning, direction and, to a very significant degree, the current outcome of the bankruptcy, which has resulted in:

--The lowest settlements of any church bankruptcy in the United States by a factor of ten, with individual amounts to victims that do not even begin to address the severe and lasting harm done to them or provide anywhere near the resources required to begin a true recovery, with some clergy rape victims receiving as little as $2,000 dollars.

--Only 26 percent of the total bankruptcy settlement money will be allocated to help victims. 74 percent of the costs will pay lawyers’ fees, including $19.5 million to church and bankruptcy lawyers, $4 million in legal expenses to defend Dolan’s trust, and $7 million to victim attorneys; in other words, over twice as much money will be pocketed by church and other lawyers then will be given to help survivors.

--Most alarmingly, direct victim reports filed into court detail that at least 100 newly alleged clergy child sex offenders from the archdiocese have not been properly investigated or prosecuted, leaving countless children at risk in our church and community.

You have said that “the courage” victims show “by speaking up, by telling the truth” has been “in the service of love” to “shed light on a terrible darkness in the life of the Church.”

The church believes that God so ordered the universe that he placed at the center of creation the human heart and at the center of the human heart, the faculty of free consent. Love does not exist or enter the embodied soul without free consent. That is why the sexual violence by a priest against a child is a demonic parody of both creation and love, of the very miracle of creation through love.

It is an endless mystery that the shame the priest sex offender should logically and naturally feel within his own soul while violating the body of the child is rarely if ever felt by him. Instead, the shame of this crime, this awful and crushing weight, is poured into the body of the victim – our bodies. This is why it is we, not the offender, who feels the weight of this criminal shame, and why it is so difficult for most of us to come forward and bring our violation to speech.

Is it not a miracle that 575 of us in Milwaukee come forward, three generations of survivors, and together as brothers and sisters speak the unspeakable? Every time a survivor speaks, as you so rightly acknowledged, no matter how difficult to hear or unwanted the effect, it is an act of love for the church.

Victims in Milwaukee can still receive justice with your intervention and help. The money fraudulently transferred by Dolan which should have been used to compensate victims can still be put to that very purpose. Your time here in New York City will give you an opportunity to continue your pledge to hold Cardinal Dolan and other bishops accountable for the ongoing crisis of clerical sexual abuse and honor 575 acts of love and truth.

Sincerely,
Peter J. Isely
SNAP Midwest Director
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnewtork.org)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:23 PM

More Images

UNITED STATES
National Survivor Advocates Coalition

by Kristine Ward, September 23, 2015

Today in NSAC News we offer the images of Thomas Doyle, Richard Sipe, Patrick Wall, Robert Hoatson.

We place them here with our hope that these images will be a counterbalance and a safe place for survivors against the images that are nearly overtaking television screens and other forms of media.

Pope Francis is the man who could with stroke of a pen, or a word, a trademark off the cuff exhortation a walk into the right crowd, or with the right phone calls address and eliminate the behemoth that looms over the largest crisis in the Roman Catholic Church in 5000 years – the complicity in the rape and sodomy of the innocents by the aiding and abetting of predators by bishops, archbishops and cardinals, vicar generals, hatchet and yes men on chancellery staffs,, and in the Curia.

These four men were ordained to the priesthood.

All four of them became true priests. Their personal journeys brought them by varied road to the truth and to true priesthood. They found and remain on the right of the battle: justice for the survivors and leaders in the fight for the protection of children. Their routes took some of them off the official rolls of priesthood but not off real priesthood.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:20 PM

Washington DC--Disgraced Cardinal Mahony is being allowed to be at papal events at the White House

WASHINGTON (DC)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2015

Statement by Joelle Casteix, Southern California Director of SNAP,
Phone: 949-322-7434, Email: jcasteix@gmail.com

In a callous move that will rub even more pain into the already-deep and still fresh wounds of tens of thousands of caring Catholics and suffering victims, disgraced Cardinal Mahony is being allowed to be at papal events at the White House and Congress.

[CBS Los Angeles]

There are few members of the hierarchy who have a more well-deserved dishonorable reputation and well-documented record of wrongdoing as bad as Mahony. Secret sex abuse and cover-up documents and newspaper investigations exposed in 2013 showed Mahony's career-long, hands-on role in covering up abuse. The documents were so shocking, in fact, that Mahony was temporarily relieved of public duty and more than 10,000 Catholics signed a petition demanding he step down.

His attendance at White House and Congress is a slap in the face to the more than 500 LA victims who sought justice for crimes committed against them. It's a slap in the face to LA Catholics who are rightfully disgusted at Mahony's enabling of abuse.

President Obama and Congress should be investigating clergy sex crimes and cover ups, not letting a virtual criminal frolic among them.

As a society, we beg victims of sexual violence to overcome their fear, pain and shame and report these crimes so perpetrators can be stopped and others can be spared. But when we honor men who enable sexual violence, we send precisely the opposite message to victims: your suffering doesn't matter, the powerful will always prevail, and the bad guys usually win. Shame on every official - religious or secular - who is playing a role in this hurtful injustice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:15 PM

TX--New child sexual abuse lawsuit filed against Baptist church and accused predator pastor, SNAP responds

TEXAS
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2015

Statement by Amy Smith, Phone: 281-748-4050 watchkeepamy@gmail.com

A child sexual abuse lawsuit was filed this week by the parents of a now deceased victim against First Baptist Church of Rockwall, Texas and pastor Billy Bob Burge, now employed as a pastor at Grace Community Church in Greenville, Texas.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/baptist-pastors-sexual-abuse-of-a-child-leads-to-victims-suicide-as-an-adult-and-lawsuit-300147406.html

DALLAS, Sept. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/

Carla Sweet and Ed Gomez of Dallas, Texas, filed suit today in Dallas, Texas, state court against First Baptist Church of Rockwall: seeking justice for their son, John "Jeremy" Sweet-Gomez, who was repeatedly sexually abused by a Youth Pastor at First Baptist Church of Rockwall. The suit alleges that a Youth Pastor at First Baptist Church of Rockwall began sexually abusing Jeremy when he was approximately thirteen years old. The abuse included sodomy, oral sex, and inappropriate sexual touching. The suit states that the sexual abuses and assaults occurred "on church property and during church-sponsored religious trips." Jeremy suffered repeated sexual abuse as a teenager; he later committed suicide. ...

The lawsuit alleges that “Defendants entered into a civil conspiracy, accompanied by a meeting of the minds regarding concerted actions, the purposes of which were to conceal and minimize public knowledge of sexual misconduct and/or abuse by Pastor Burge. This conspiracy and concerted action was carried out by Defendants to conceal the fact that they individually and collectively committed acts of neglect, gross neglect, concealment, fraud, and breached fiduciary duties. Officials and agents or representatives of First Baptist Church of Rockwall, acting in concert, engaged in this conspiracy to avoid prosecution, to cover up sexual misconduct and abuse, and to conceal claims arising from crimes or conduct of their Youth Pastor.”

We urge officials at First Baptist Church of Rockwall to come clean with any information and to immediately report any known or suspected abuse by Billy Bob Burge to law enforcement. We hope that any other churches or places where Burge has had access to kids, including his current church employer Grace Community Church in Greenville, Texas, will aggressively reach out to anyone else that may have been harmed by Burge and urge them to call police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:13 PM

The Latest: Pope seeks change in tone from culture wars

WASHINGTON (DC)
San Diego Union-Tribune

WASHINGTON (AP) — The latest developments in Pope Francis' visit to the United States. All times local:

2 p.m.

Pope Francis is telling U.S. bishops there is no place for "harsh and divisive" rhetoric in their ministry, indicating he wants to see a change in tone after years of culture wars.

The pope is encouraging them to build relationships with anyone, no matter that person's views on church teaching, and to do so with compassion.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:09 PM

Pope Francis lauds bishops' response to sex abuse crisis

WASHINGTON (DC)
Fox News

Associated Press

Pope Francis on Wednesday praised U.S. bishops for their response to the clergy sex abuse crisis.

Speaking before the bishops at a worship service in Washington, Francis lauded them for what he called their "generous commitment to bring healing to victims." He praised them for having courage and acting, as he saw it, "without fear of self-criticism."

The clergy sex abuse scandal erupted in the U.S. in 2002 and turned into the biggest crisis in the history of the American church.

Under enormous public pressure, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops pledged to oust any guilty clergy from church work and enact safeguards for children.

However, the scandal persists, and victims say the bishops still haven't fully accounted for sheltering abusers. This year, three bishops resigned in crises over their failures to protect children.

Francis also encouraged the bishops in their ministry to immigrants, praising them for taking up the immigrants' cause and urging the bishops to welcome even more foreigners coming across the border.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:07 PM

Francis falters in addressing sex abuse

WASHINGTON (DC)
National Catholic Reporter

Dennis Coday | Sep. 23, 2015 NCR Today

Let me make just one short observation, about an obviously heartfelt, multifaceted address by Pope Francis to the U.S. bishops. There are many things to compliment and tease out of this speech over coming days. There was, however, one glaring oversight that will draw criticism.

Francis made one (Vatican correspondent Josh McElwee called it “oblique”) reference to the clergy sexual abuse crisis. Here is the entire paragraph:

I am also conscious of the courage with which you have faced difficult moments in the recent history of the Church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice. Nor have you been afraid to divest whatever is unessential in order to regain the authority and trust which is demanded of ministers of Christ and rightly expected by the faithful. I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims – in the knowledge that in healing we too are healed – and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated.

This was followed by loud applause. Given the audience, I guess that's not surprising, but it was sadly disappointing.

I have to wonder where is the forthrightness we have come to expect of Pope Francis. At the very least he could have used the words “clergy sexual abuse of minors.” This oblique reference will do nothing to assuage the fears of victims’ advocates who believe Francis is more public relations manager than crisis manager when it comes to sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:03 PM

Pope Francis is doing more to fight sex abuse than his predecessors. That's still not enough.

UNITED STATES
Vox

Updated by Dylan Matthews on September 23, 2015

For the most part, Pope Francis's first visit to North America is being met with giddy anticipation from the media and public figures. But one group is not so enthusiastic: survivors of clerical abuse.

Francis gets credit for doing much more than his predecessors to address the crisis. But the bar is low. For example, Pope John Paul II did shockingly little. His defenders asserted that he was unaware of the facts, but he was receiving reports detailing just how grave the situation was as early as 1985. "Other than making nine recorded public statements, all of which were sufficiently nuanced to be innocuous, and calling a meeting of the U.S. cardinals to tell them what everyone already knew, he did nothing positive," victims' advocate and priest Rev. Thomas Doyle writes. Pope Benedict XVI did more, but still left bishops like Kansas City's Robert Finn, who were known to have covered up abuse, in power.

By contrast, some observers argue that Francis has taken meaningfully positive measures."Pope Francis's willingness to act on the issue of holding bishops accountable has been a great source of hope for Catholics who've wondered when this great unfinished business of the abuse scandal was going to get handled," Grant Gallicho, an associate editor at Commonweal, contends.

But survivors of clerical sex abuse still aren't celebrating the pope's visit. Activists at Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) argue that Francis has offered more happy talk and conciliatory language than actual changes that would crack down on abusive clergy. They point to the breathtaking extent of the abuse: A 2004 paper by investigators at John Jay College found that between 1950 and 2002, 4,392 out of 109,794 total priests faced "not implausible" sexual assault accusations — 4 percent. As of 2014, the total was up to 6,427 priests credibly accused, with 17,259 alleged victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:01 PM

Victims blast pope’s praise of bishops

WASHINGTON (DC)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, Sept. 23

Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP president (312-399-4747, bblaine@snapnetwork.org)

In a speech today to U.S. bishops, according to ABC News, Francis “does not specifically reference the pedophilia that has rocked the Roman Catholic Church.”

He does, however, speak of some alleged “great sacrifice" made by bishops because of the abuse and cover up crisis.

What sacrifice? What bishops takes fewer vacations, drives a smaller car, does his own laundry or has been passed over for promotion because he’s shielding predators and endangering kids? None.

Only four US bishops (out of hundreds) have resigned because they hide and enabled horrific crimes, but only after staying in power for years and only after massive public, police, prosecutor and parishioner outrage. (Law, Finn, Piche and Neinstedt)

Virtually none of the other US clerics, (out of thousands) have ever been punished in the slightest for protecting predators, destroying evidence, stonewalling police, deceiving prosecutors, shunning victims or helping child molesting clerics get new jobs or flee overseas.

And no one in the entire US Catholic hierarchy, despite 30 years of horrific scandal and at least 100,000 US victims, has been defrocked, demoted, disciplined or even publicly denounced by a church colleague or supervisor, for covering up child sex crimes, no matter how clearly or often or egregiously he did so.

In carefully-crafted remarks, Francis claims church officials are working “to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated." He knows, however, this is disingenuous. Such crimes are happening right now, all across the world. He refuses to admit this, however, preferring to conveniently imply that somehow, because of tiny, belated and grudging steps forced on bishops in a few Western nations,

Finally, Francis says he has "no wish” to tell US bishop “what to do, because we all know what it is that the Lord asks of us.” He’s half right – bishops do indeed know precisely how to protect kids. But they refuse, like Francis himself does, to take the simple, proven steps to do this.

Still, we’re deeply disappointed that Francis refuses to tell bishops to do a single thing more than they’ve been forced to do by courageous victims, angry Catholics, determined law enforcement, and the church’s own insurers, defense lawyers and public relations experts.

(Here are just some of the tangible steps Francis could have told US bishops to take to protect the vulnerable, heal the wounded, expose the truth and end the cover ups:

[SNAP]

His remarks today confirm what we’ve long said and suspected: this pope, like his predecessors, is doing and will do little if anything to bring real reform to this continuing crisis. Those who care about kids must focus on secular authorities, not church figures (however popular they may be).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:58 PM

Pope tells U.S. bishops crimes of sexual abuse should not be repeated

WASHINGTON (DC)
Reuters

WASHINGTON | BY SUSAN CORNWELL AND PHILIP PULLELLA

Pope Francis on Wednesday told U.S. Roman Catholic bishops that crimes of sexual abuse of minors by clergy should never be repeated, acknowledging the damage caused by years of scandal in the U.S. Catholic Church.

In the remarks, delivered at Saint Matthews Cathedral in Washington on the first full day of his visit to the United States, the pope did not utter the words "sexual abuse" but referred to the scandal by talking about "difficult moments" and providing help for victims.

"I know how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you, and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims ... and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated," Francis told the bishops, who applauded.

Wounds from the scandal, which saw priests who abused children moved from parish to parish instead of being defrocked, are still festering and draining church finances.

The U.S. church has already been dealt a heavy financial blow by settlement payments and other costs totaling around $3 billion, which has forced it to sell off assets and cut costs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:56 PM

Pope Francis Philadelphia visit: Victims of clergy abuse will sit this one out

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
PennLive

By Ivey DeJesus | idejesus@pennlive.com
on September 23, 2015

State Rep. Mark Rozzi was offered VIP tickets to attend papal events in Philadelphia this weekend.

Raised in the Catholic Church, the Berks County Democrat declined. Like many other survivors of clergy sex abuse, Rozzi finds the visit from Pope Francis and the reception extended painful and insulting.

"It's so frustrating seeing everybody get so excited that the pope's coming," Rozzi said. "This is all we hear right now. What you hear is him talk about the fact that he wants to help this group or that group, but there is no mention of wanting to meet with victims."

Rozzi, who was 13 when he and two other friends were sexually molested by priests in the Philadelphia Archdiocese, has long been at odds with the church. One of the priest died in 1999, having never been prosecuted for the alleged crimes as a result of expired statute of limitation. Rozzi's two childhood friends committed suicide.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:53 PM

A Papal Blessing for a Biden Presidential Bid?

WASHINGTON (DC)
Huffington Post

Al Eisele
Editor-at-Large, The Hill

Pope Francis has said he won't address any domestic political issues during his visit to the U.S., but there's a good chance he may bestow his blessing on Vice President Joe Biden, and by inference, encourage him to run for president.

That is, if Biden follows the lead of Vice President Walter Mondale when Pope John Paul II visited Washington 36 years ago.

John Paul was wrapping up a six-city visit to the U.S. in 1969 after saying Mass on the National Mall and meeting President Carter at the White House. He was the first pope to visit the White House and I was working for Mondale at the time and won major points with my Irish Catholic wife and her parents by getting them invited to meet him at a White House reception.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:51 PM

Pope prays for victims of clergy abuse during service with bishops

WASHINGTON (DC)
WTOP

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis prayed for the victims of clergy sex abuse during a service at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle Wednesday.

He also praised U.S. bishops for their response to the sex abuse crisis and used his homily almost as a pep talk for bishops, telling them to be good shepherds of their flock.

Speaking before the roughly 300 bishops, Francis lauded them for what he called their “generous commitment to bring healing to victims.” He praised them for having courage and acting, as he saw it, “without fear of self-criticism.”

But he also prayed for the victims of abuse that has spanned decades at the hands of parish priests.

“We have to hope that such crimes will never repeat themselves,” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:49 PM

Pope Francis says clergy sex abuse can 'never be repeated' and other updates

WASHINGTON (DC)
Los Angeles Times

On the first day of his American visit Pope Francis wasted no time delving into difficult issues: clergy sex abuse, immigration and climate change. In lighter moments, he was welcomed to the White House by thousands of cheering onlookers, posed for a selfie with spectators and took a brief ride on the Ellipse in a popemobile.

One sentence captures it all: Clergy sex abuse, abortion and immigration.

Speaking to hundreds of U.S. bishops at St. Mathew's Cathedral in Washington, Pope Francis delved into one of the church's most difficult issues: the clergy sex-abuse scandal. The pontiff told bishops that they must "work to ensure" that those crimes "will never be repeated."

"I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you, and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims -- in the knowledge that in healing we too are healed -- and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated," Francis said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:46 PM

Pope tells US bishops 'crimes' of sexual abuse should never be repeated

WASHINGTON (DC)
Al Jazeera

September 23, 2015

Pope Francis on Wednesday told U.S. Roman Catholic bishops that crimes of sexual abuse of minors by clergy should never be repeated, acknowledging the damage caused by years of scandal in the U.S. Catholic Church.

In the remarks, delivered at Saint Matthews Cathedral in Washington on the first full day of his visit to the United States, the pope did not utter the words "sexual abuse" but referred to the scandal by talking about "difficult moments" and providing help for victims.

"I know how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you, and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims ... and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated," Francis told the bishops, who applauded.

Wounds from the scandal, which saw priests who abused children moved from parish to parish instead of being defrocked, are still festering and draining church finances.

Thumbnail image for Pope Francis highlights climate change, immigration at White House
Pope Francis highlights climate change, immigration at White House
The pope says climate change is an urgent problem that 'can no longer be left to a future generation'

The U.S. church has already been dealt a heavy financial blow by settlement payments and other costs totaling around $3 billion, which has forced it to sell off assets and cut costs.

The pontiff has vowed to root out "the scourge" of sex abuse from the Roman Catholic Church, and last June created a Vatican tribunal to judge clergy accused of covering up or failing to prevent sexual abuse of minors.

Victims' groups say the church has not done enough.

On Wednesday, David Clohessy, head of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, who himself was sexually assaulted by a priest as a child, said he was unimpressed by Francis' words.

"It's dreadfully disappointing. Bishops have been cowardly, not courageous, and still are," Clohessy said. "What grudging, belated steps they have taken have been forced on them by the most courageous people in this crisis, abuse victims and their families."

Clohessy said Francis "refuses to even be honest about what this crisis is. These are not quote-unquote 'difficult moments,' this is a centuries-old, incredibly unhealthy and self-surviving pattern of secrecy and recklessness," Clohessy said in a phone interview after the pope's remarks.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:44 PM

Pope Francis: US bishops show 'courage' over Catholic church sex abuse crisis

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Guardian

Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Rome

Pope Francis has hailed US bishops for their handling of the sexual abuse crisis that has rocked the Catholic church for decades, saying they had shown “courage” throughout and regained the authority and the trust which was demanded of them.

In rare remarks about the string of scandals that first emerged in the mid-1980s, Pope Francis stopped short of addressing the victims of clerical abuse, focusing instead on the pain that had been inflicted on the bishops who were left to weather the storm.

“I am also conscious of the courage with which you have faced difficult moments in the recent history of the church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice,” he said.

He then commended the bishops for being ready to sell off church property and assets in order to pay for settlements with abuse victims. “Nor have you been afraid to divest whatever is unessential in order to regain the authority and trust which is demanded of ministers of Christ and rightly expected by the faithful,” he said.

Between 2004 and 2013, US diocese paid $1.7bn in legal settlements, according to a report released last year by the US Conference on Catholic Bishops. In that same period, it also paid $379m in legal fees.

“I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims – in the knowledge that in healing we too are healed – and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated,” he continued, prompting a round of applause from the assembled bishops.

The abuse scandals in the US, as in other countries around the world, did not only implicate pedophile priests but also the bishops and cardinals who protected them, and in many cases allowed them to prey on more young victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:42 PM

Pope Francis' remarks at the White House (as prepared for delivery)

WASHINGTON (DC)
CNN

Mr President,

I am deeply grateful for your welcome in the name of all Americans. As the son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families. I look forward to these days of encounter and dialogue, in which I hope to listen to, and share, many of the hopes and dreams of the American people.

During my visit I will have the honor of addressing Congress, where I hope, as a brother of this country, to offer words of encouragement to those called to guide the nation's political future in fidelity to its founding principles. I will also travel to Philadelphia for the Eighth World Meeting of Families, to celebrate and support the institutions of marriage and the family at this, a critical moment in the history of our civilization.

Mr. President, together with their fellow citizens, American Catholics are committed to building a society which is truly tolerant and inclusive, to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities, and to rejecting every form of unjust discrimination. With countless other people of good will, they are likewise concerned that efforts to build a just and wisely ordered society respect their deepest concerns and their right to religious liberty. That freedom remains one of America's most precious possessions. And, as my brothers, the United States Bishops, have reminded us, all are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:39 PM

Pope tells Bishops that clergy abuse must not be repeated

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

By Abby Ohlheiser, Greg Jaffe, Michael E. Ruane September 23

Pope Francis did not shy away from controversy Wednesday, condemning priestly sex abuse, mistreatment of immigrants and destruction of the environment, as he traveled across Washington in his first full day in the United States.

He was also greeted by jubilant crowds, kissed some babies, and dispensed blessings and thumbs up from the popemobile.

But in somber midday remarks to American bishops, he said the offenses of the Catholic church’s sex abuse scandal must never be repeated.

Addressing hundreds of clergymen in Washington’s Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, the pope told them:

“I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims — in the knowledge that in healing we too are healed — and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:34 PM

SNAP v. the Pope, et al

UNITED STATES
Center for Constitutional Rights

Ongoing revelations of pervasive and serious sexual violence against children and vulnerable adults by priests and others associated with the Catholic Church in different parts of the world have demonstrated that the crisis is not one of isolated random sexual assaults by errant priests but is widespread and systemic. In the wake of scandals around the world, experts and investigators have identified policies and practices of the Vatican and high-level officials of the Catholic Church that have covered up and enabled the sexual violence to continue. Some observers have estimated that the number of victims of sexual violence by priests and clergy occurring over the past three decades is in the hundreds of thousands, particularly as more survivors come forward and civil authorities begin investigations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. CCR represents the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests in filings before the International Criminal Court, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and the United Nations Committee Against Torture. The work continues CCR's history of fighting sexual and gender-based violence and ensuring accountability for rape as a form of torture, and as a war crime and crime against humanity.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 AM

Opponents challenge parish closings, mergers in NY archdiocese

NEW YORK
National Catholic Reporter

Peter Feuerherd | Sep. 23, 2015

NEW YORK Cardinal Timothy Dolan, appointed to lead the New York archdiocese six years ago, didn't need his doctorate in U.S. Catholic history to realize he was made chief steward of a grand legacy.

There was the massive St. Patrick's Cathedral, ornate churches scattered around Manhattan and throughout the archdiocese, and small churches, barely noticeable, tucked away amidst apartments and office buildings, whose history dates to ethnic groups who have long moved on.

Impressive, yes, but not always helpful for the modern era. Over the past year, Dolan has unleashed a series of parish consolidations, closings and mergers, affecting a sizeable chunk of the archdiocese's 368 parishes. After a listening process titled "Making All Things New," the results landed towards the end of this summer as 112 parishes involved in that process were merged into 55, with 31 churches shuttered permanently.

The goal is a financially stable, revitalized church better able to evangelize a secularized culture, in an archdiocese where only about 12 percent of some 2.8 million Catholics can be found at Sunday Mass. It's been on Dolan's mind for a while.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:57 AM

Controversial LA Cardinal To Travel With Pope Francis For DC Trip

UNITED STATES
CBS Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — Pope Francis’ six-day, three-city tour of the U.S. this week evolved from a pledge he made last fall to attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.
Stops in Washington and New York were added after Francis put the triennial, Vatican-sponsored conference on his agenda. It opens Tuesday.

Organizers describe the conference that blends prayer, religious instruction and faith-themed lectures as the world’s largest gathering of Catholic families.

With more than 18,000 people signed up, this year’s will be the most attended of the eight World Meetings.

Cardinal Roger Mahony, the retired Archbishop of Los Angeles, will be traveling with the Pope when he meets with President Obama and speaks to Congress.

Mahony told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO audiences can expect to hear some frank words from this unconventional leader of the Catholic Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:53 AM

Fayette County church ex-youth worker charged with molesting boys

GEORGIA
Atlanta Journal-Consitution

A former volunteer youth ministry worker at a Fayette County church has been charged with child molestation and sexual battery against a child under 16 in a case involving two teenage boys.

Matthew Bradley Young, 46, of Norcross, was arrested Sept. 18 after an investigation into complaints made by parents of the two boys, according to incident reports filed by the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office.Young is in Fayette County Jail.

According to the reports, the parents had contacted the pastor and other leaders at the church and told them they believed their sons had been molested at a church planned function on May 9. The sheriff’s office asked that the church not be identified publicly because the investigation is ongoing.

Officers said in the reports that the parents described contact between Young and the boys via text messages, Facebook, email and cell phones as well as during a youth trip to North Carolina and during various meals. The juveniles were told by Young to delete all text messages immediately, the reports said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:51 AM

Guess Who’s Coming to Congress

UNITED STATES
skipshea

Thursday September 24th, Pope Francis will address a joint session of Congress. And politicians just couldn’t be happier. Well some of them anyway. The Right used to love the Popes with their somewhat social conservative ways. But now the Left is embracing the Pope as he seemingly makes left leaning statements.

Like in his now famous address in Bolivia when her decried unfettered capitalism. People like presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders fell all over themselves pointing to his quotes like:

“Human beings and nature must not be at the service of money. Let us say no to an economy of exclusion and inequality, where money rules, rather than service. That economy kills. That economy excludes.”

Its odd how at the same time back in Bernie’s home state of New York there is a vast amount of church closings which includes the likes of Sacred Heart Church in Mount Vernon. ...

Otherwise would this trip even be happening. Especially with the scathing report from not one, but two UN investigations into the global epidemic of childhood sexual abuse. That should bring pause to inviting the Pope to speak before a joint session of Congress. You would think.

If we look at it through another lens, the Pope is the leader of a very small country that borders Rome, Italy. The Holy See is its own nation. He was elected for life, so by definition he is now a dictator of a theocracy. In his country women have very little rights. They certainly can’t vote nor do they have any equal opportunities for social or political advancement. Like an economy that excludes. And, as the UN has pointed out, they allowed and covered up for the sexual abuse of children throughout the globe. If the Holy See were any other nation or any other religion we would not be extending invitations to its leader to speak at congress, we would be discussing sanctions and possibly military action against this country. Instead our government embraces it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:48 AM

A look at Francis’ priorities as pope

UNITED STATES
USA Today

David Gibson, Religion News Service September 23, 2015

Pope Francis is widely viewed as the “pope of change.” But just how is he changing the Catholic Church — and the world? What matters most to him? Here’s a look at 7 main elements of his pontificate.

1. Walking the walk

Every pope is first and foremost a teacher of the faith. A firm faith is the foundation for all that the Catholic Church does and preaches. But for Francis, more than most pontiffs, faith is expressed in deeds more than in sermons. He likes to cite the adage attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, whose name he took when elected pope: “Always preach the gospel — use words if you have to.”

For Francis, this is the essence of Christianity, and it is how the church must live in order to be true to the gospel — and to have any credibility going forward. He has modeled that mission by shunning the trappings of the office, living simply and trying to get the Vatican to do the same: He has installed showers for the homeless near St. Peter’s Square and sends a personal aide into the streets of Rome to dispense charity to the needy.

Francis says the Catholic Church must focus outward if it is to find its true self, and that’s a revolution in the way the institutional church has worked.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:45 AM

Father Joseph Maurizio found guilty on 5 of 8 counts

PENNSYLVANIA
WJAC

By: Maria Miller

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – A jury reached a verdict Tuesday in the federal trial of Central City priest Father Joseph Maurizio.

The five charges he was found guilty of include one count of international money laundering, one count of possession of pictures that exploit children and three counts of eliciting sexual misconduct with three different boys overseas.

One of those boys recanted his initial story of being abused. Another count for that same boy though, Maurizio was found not guilty of.

WJAC-TV was not able to speak with Maurizio’s defense team who somehow skipped past the media, but the former president of Pro Nino USA, the organization that helped fund and run the orphanage in Honduras that Maurizio was involved with, says Tuesday’s verdict validates everything.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:42 AM

Condenan a sacerdote por turismo sexual en Honduras

PENNSYLVANIA
La Prensa

Un sacerdote católico acusado de viajar a Honduras para abusar de niños pobres durante sus misiones, fue declarado culpable el martes de varios cargos.

Un jurado federal dictó sentencia de culpabilidad al reverendo Joseph Maurizio Jr. de cargos entre los que se incluyen tres de cuatro acusaciones relacionadas a abuso sexual de niños durante sus visitas a un orfanato en Honduras.

Maurizio fue acusado de viajar al extranjero entre 2004 y 2009 para tener relaciones sexuales con tres menores, un cargo conocido como turismo sexual. También fue declarado culpable de posesión de pornografía infantil y de transferir de manera ilegal fondos a una caridad que ayudó a costear los viajes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:39 AM

US-Prozess: Ex-Priester wegen Missbrauchs von Waisenkindern schuldig gesprochen

PENNSYLVANIA
Spiegel

Eine Jury im US-Bundesstaat Pennsylvania hat einen ehemaligen Priester in einem Sextourismus-Fall in fünf von acht Anklagepunkten schuldig gesprochen: Der Mann war zwischen 2004 und 2009 mehrfach nach Honduras gereist und hatte dort Sex mit drei Jungen aus einem Waisenheim. Zudem wurde der 70-Jährige wegen des Besitzes kinderpornografischen Materials sowie illegaler Finanztransaktionen verurteilt.

Die Höhe des Strafmaßes soll im Februar bekanntgegeben werden. Dem Mann drohen bis zu 130 Jahre Haft, wie die Zeitung "Pittsburgh Tribune-Review" berichtet.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:31 AM

Two tumultous years but little real progress for adult victims of child sexual abuse

AUSTRALIA
The Stringer

by Colin Penter
September 23rd, 2015

“Victims and their families have been fighting for recognition and justice for decades and great victories were achieved when the Victorian Inquiry and the Royal Commission were established. But ‘for what’ they say.”

Judy Courtin

The Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is after 2 years, at its halfway mark. The Commission is focused on systemic issues and institutional responses to allegations and incidents of child sexual abuse. Public hearings have been the main way the Commission does its work.

Although the Royal Commission’s brief is overwhelming, the hearings have been revelatory and harrowing. The Commission has heard evidence of horrific and horrendous systematic and institutional physical and sexual abuse and rape of children within religious, faith and welfare organisations.

Evidence to the Commission shows that both low and high level officials in institutions supposed to protect children actively conspired to abuse and rape them. In many cases these were highly sophisticated, organized institutional crimes committed against children.

The Commission has exposed the breadth of institutional settings – churches, schools, hospitals, out-of-homecare, children’s homes, juvenile centres, NFPs and charities- where abuse occurred.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:27 AM

Editorial: Pope is a spiritual, not economic leader

UNITED STATES
The Detroit News

Pope Francis continues his six-day tour of the United States today with a visit to the White House, where he’ll find a host in President Barack Obama sympathetic to much of his agenda on social and economic matters.

Pope Francis is quickly becoming one of the most beloved and celebrated popes of the modern era, largely for his efforts to open the Roman Catholic Church to the people.

He has set about to fulfill the 50-year-old reforms of Vatican II that were aimed at making the church more accessible and more modern.

His well-expressed compassion and commitment to service is credited with bringing lapsed Catholics back to the fold, and is even increasing interest in the priesthood.

Among his major initiatives is a softening of the Vatican’s hard-line view on homosexuality, divorce and abortion. Pope Francis famously declared it is not for him to judge gays, and has offered reconciliation to Catholics who have divorced or had an abortion.

Mostly, though, his inspiration is his leadership in carrying out the church’s mission to comfort the afflicted and serve mankind. He has made it the hallmark of his papacy to alleviate poverty.

That has rallied a church in desperate need of resurgence. Finances of the Catholic church are in crisis, in no small part due to $3 billion in payouts to the victims of sexual abuse by priests. That scandal disillusioned many Catholics and contributed to a sharp decline in mass attendance that is beginning to reverse under the pope’s guidance.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:25 AM

Ex-youth ministry volunteer at church charged with sex abuse

GEORGIA
WRDW

Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015

ATLANTA (AP) -- A former volunteer youth ministry worker at a Fayette County church has been accused of sexually abusing two teenage boys.

Authorities arrested Matthew Bradley Young of Norcross on Sept. 18 and charged him with child molestation and sexual battery against a child under 16.

Incident reports filed by the Fayette County Sheriff's Office said an investigation started after authorities received complaints from the boys' parents.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the parents believed their children were ass