« January 2019 | Main | March 2019 »

February 28, 2019

Local priest accused of child sex abuse in New Jersey

BOCA RATON (FL)
WPTV

February 28, 2019

By Sam Smink

A former priest from Boca Raton is accused of abusing a minor while serving as a priest in New Jersey.

Earlier this month, the Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey released a list of 28 priests they found to have credible accusations of sexual abuse against minors.

Father John Sutton, once a priest at Saint Joan of Arc in Boca, was on that list. Here is a list of all 28 priests: https://rcdop.org/list

Officials from the Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey, tell me the abuse allegation against Father John Sutton came into their office in 2005.

The victim told investigators they had been abused as a minor, by Sutton, 29 years before that, in the 70s.

According to a diocese lawyer, Father Sutton went on a leave of absence from the Diocese of Paterson in 1979. In 2000, he asked if he could resign and join the Diocese of Palm Beach instead.

Father Sutton officially joined the Diocese of Palm Beach in January 2000, according to Paterson records, and Sutton's family says he served at Saint Joan of Arc in Boca Raton. He passed away in August of 2000.

The Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey says it investigated the abuse claim in 2005, along with their local prosecutor's office, and found the accusation to be credible.

Contact 5 spoke to his sister Margaret by phone. She says she thinks the church is out of line for releasing his name after his death.

"I know my brother, he did not do anything like that. It besmirches his name and he cannot defend himself," said Margaret.

The bishop in Paterson said they released the names in an effort to promote healing for all victims of child sexual abuse.

We emailed and called the Diocese of Palm Beach multiple times to see if they would provide a statement regarding the accusation. They have not responded.

Earlier this month, we also asked the Diocese of Palm Beach if they would release a similar list of all priests with credible claims of abuse , like more than 112 other dioceses have done. They told Contact 5 "no response."

Grading the Vatican abuse summit

WASHINGTON (DC)
Religion News Service

February 28, 2019

By Mark Silk

Pope Francis, background third from left, attends a penitential liturgy at the Vatican on Feb. 23, 2019. The pontiff hosted a four-day summit on preventing clergy sexual abuse, a high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops around the world that the problem is global and that there are consequences if they cover it up. (Vincenzo Pinto/Pool Photo Via AP)

The consensus view is that the Vatican pretty much flunked its summit on the protection of minors. Yes, there was some good rhetoric, some powerful statements above all by women presenters, but what was accomplished? Where were the concrete steps that Pope Francis called for when he opened the meeting?

As a New York Times editorial concluded, “[A] malignancy whose primary victims are trusting children must be treated by immediate and radical measures, not by appeals or hand-wringing.”

Part of the explanation for the consensus is that news stories about anything to do with clergy sexual abuse almost invariably quote the reaction of leaders of victims’ groups. And these leaders find it very hard to say anything good about the church.

For example, in welcoming the conviction of Australian cardinal George Pell earlier this week, David Greenwood, secretary of the U.K.-based Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors (MACSAS), told Newsweek, “We have tried to work with and encourage Catholic organizations to make changes to their treatment of children and survivors of abuse but have been rebuffed. It has become clear to us that the Catholic Church is incapable of change from within.”

Actually, that depends on what you mean by “from within.” Over the centuries, the impulse for change—reform—has indeed come from the outside: the Swabian monarchy in the 11th century, popular heresy in the 13th, the Protestant Reformation in the 16th, modernity in the 20th.

But in each case, the reform was not imposed from without. It came from within, as it must.

We’ve seen such a process take place in this country. After the Boston Globe‘s Spotlight Team ushered in a nationwide firestorm of exposés in 2002, the country’s bishops put in place what can only be called “immediate and radical” measures to get the sexual abuse of minors by priests under control.

If you don’t think the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People worked, consider that the lists of priests credibly accused of abuse now coming out of dioceses around the country include just a handful of cases since 2002.

Nebraska AG subpoenas Catholic parishes for child sex abuse records

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

February 28, 2019

The Nebraska Department of Justice on Tuesday issued subpoenas to more than 400 Catholic churches and institutions, seeking any records related to sexual assault or abuse of children.

“The Nebraska Department of Justice has appreciated the voluntary cooperation demonstrated by the churches. However, the Department believes that subpoenas are necessary in order to ensure all reports of impropriety have been submitted to the appropriate authorities,” read a Feb. 26 statement from the attorney general's office.

“It is our goal that all reports of abuse are subject to complete law enforcement review and investigation as warranted.”

The subpoenas, issued to institutions such as parishes and schools, as well as the dioceses, “request all records or information related to any child sexual assault or abuse that has occurred by those employed or associated with each church or institution, whether previously reported or not.”

Each of the state's dioceses have indicated their cooperation with a request made by the attorney general in September 2018 voluntarily to provide information on sexual abuse and other misconduct since 1978.

The Archdiocese of Omaha announced Nov. 30 that it had submitted to the attorney general “documents pertaining to church personnel accused of criminal sexual misconduct since 1978.” The documents included information on alleged abuse or misconduct with minors that dated back as far was 1956, but was not reported to the archdiocese until 1978.

Priest scandal sparks debate of Iowa bill to end statute of limitations on sex crimes against minors

DES MOINES (IA)
Sioux City Journal

February 28, 2019

By Erin Murphy

Charges of sexual assault and other sexual crimes against minors could be tried at any time under legislation being considered by state lawmakers.

The proposal would eliminate Iowa’s current statute of limitations on those crimes.

Currently, sexual assault charges must be brought within 10 years of the alleged victim turning 18 years old or within three years of an alleged perpetrator being identified by DNA evidence.

The proposal to eliminate that statute of limitations is working its way through the Iowa Capitol in the wake of the latest round of revelations of decades-old sexual abuse committed by Catholic priests against minors, most recently in Northwest Iowa.

The Sioux City diocese on Monday released the names of 28 priests credibly accused of sexually abusing more than 100 children while serving the diocese, which covers 24 counties in Northwest Iowa. Six of the priests are still living, but the most recent case of abuse occurred in 1995.

“We continue to see case after case unfold of predators who have been allowed to continue preying on our children,” said Janet Petersen, a Democratic state senator from Des Moines. “Our laws not only benefit perpetrators, but they also benefit organizations that have covered up crimes against children, and that is simply wrong.

George Pell has good chance of winning appeal against convictions, expert says

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

February 28, 2019

By Melissa Davey

Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his convictions of sexually assaulting and penetrating choirboys is likely to be granted and has a good chance of succeeding on the basis of unreasonableness, according to legal experts and defence lawyers.

Pell’s defence barrister, Robert Richter, told the sentencing hearing on Wednesday that his client’s appeal would be based on three key grounds: unreasonableness, the prohibition of video evidence in the closing address, and composition of the jury.

Experts spoken to by Guardian Australia agreed that while the latter two appeared flimsy, an appeal on the basis of unreasonableness may have a high chance of success. This argument says the jury delivered a verdict that was not supported by the evidence.

University of Melbourne law school’s criminal appeals and procedure expert, Professor Jeremy Gans, said this was a commonly used grounds for appeal.

“Prosecutors would be completely prepared for an appeal based on this,” he said.

“And it’s not a rare grounds to succeed on. This is the defence’s best shot and carries a bonus for them in that if they win there can almost certainly be no new trial. Because once a court decides a guilty verdict is unreasonable it means they don’t think guilty should be the verdict in the next trial either. They would almost certainly acquit. Basically on this grounds of appeal, the court gets to decide if the jury got it right.”

AG on Church's release of NJ priest names

SPARTA (NJ)
Sparta Independent

February 28, 2019

In September 2018, I established a statewide task force to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by clergy in the Catholic dioceses of New Jersey. I am pleased to see that our task force’s grand jury investigation has prompted the dioceses to finally take some measures to hold predator priests accountable.

While this is a positive first step towards transparency and accountability, I hope this spirit of openness continues during the course of our ongoing investigation and in response to our requests for records and information.

Despite the recent actions by the dioceses, our investigation remains ongoing because no institution or individual is immune from accountability. We know from the hundreds of calls that we have received over our tip line that there are many others who were abused as children and as adults, both by diocesan clergy and clergy members in various religious orders. The investigative work of the task force continues so that we may assure that all survivors of clergy abuse are heard and all abusers and institutions are held accountable for their acts. To this end, we anticipate taking criminal action wherever appropriate and releasing comprehensive information at the conclusion of our investigation.

We urge survivors and others with information to contact our toll-free tip line, 855-363-6548, which is staffed by trained professionals on a 24/7 basis.

St. Joseph's Catholic School leader reacts to graduate's claims of sexual abuse by priest

GREENVILLE (SC)
Greenville News

February 28, 2019

By Mike Ellis and Nathaniel Cary

The headmaster of St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Greenville sent a letter Tuesday to alumni and parents of students to address allegations of sexual abuse that a graduate made about a priest who used to perform sacraments at the school. The headmaster also defended a current teacher whom the graduate now believes could have known about the abuse.

Michael Cassabon, a 1998 St. Joseph’s graduate, told The Greenville News he was abused by Hayden Vaverek multiple times over the course of at least two years while Cassabon was a student at the school.

Cassabon reported the alleged abuse in 2013. The Diocese of Charleston, which comprises the state of South Carolina, and the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office investigated. Vaverek was removed from the priesthood in 2016 after the diocese found Cassabon's allegations "credible."

Cassabon didn’t pursue a criminal charge against Vaverek, and Vaverek has not been criminally charged.

Cassabon, who was himself a priest at the time of the investigation in 2013, told The News that he wanted the matter to be handled by the church and feared that Vaverek would be killed in jail if he were convicted.

Multiple attempts to reach Vaverek by phone and email were unsuccessful Wednesday.

Who is Michael Cassabon, the priest who's made accusations related to St. Joseph's

GREENVILLE (SC)
Greenville News

February 28, 2019

By Mike Ellis and Nathaniel Cary

Michael Cassabon told The Greenville News he was abused by Hayden Vaverek multiple times over the course of at least two years while Cassabon was a student at St. Joseph's Catholic School in Greenville.

He reported the alleged abuse in 2013. The Diocese of Charleston and the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office investigated. Vaverek was removed from the priesthood in 2016.

Cassabon didn’t pursue a criminal charge against Vaverek, and Vaverek has not been criminally charged. Vaverek was defrocked, however, and the diocese said the claim of abuse was "credible."

Here's more on who Cassabon is:

► Michael Cassabon, 38, is a Catholic priest who now lives in Toronto, Canada. He's said he was sexually assaulted by a priest while he was a student at St. Joseph's Catholic School in Greenville

Who is Hayden Vaverek, the former Catholic priest who's been accused of sexual abuse

GREENVILLE (SC)
Greenville News

February 28, 2019

By Mike Ellis and Nathaniel Cary

Hayden Vaverek, 53, is a laicized Catholic priest who's been accused of sexually abusing a former student at St. Joseph's Catholic School in Greenville.

Michael Cassabon, a 1998 St. Joseph’s graduate, told The Greenville News he was abused by Vaverek multiple times over the course of at least two years in the 1990s.

Cassabon reported the alleged abuse in 2013. The Diocese of Charleston and the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office investigated. Vaverek was removed from the priesthood in 2013.

Cassabon didn’t pursue a criminal charge against Vaverek, and Vaverek has not been criminally charged, though the diocese said Cassabon's claim of abuse was "credible."

Tyrone priest takes case to Supreme Court

BELFAST (NORTHERN IRELAND)
Belfast Telegraph

February 28 2019

By Sarah MacDonald

A priest from Co Tyrone who claims he was pushed out of his US parish because he refused to cover up for another priest's sexually inappropriate behaviour with an underage boy is taking his case to the US Supreme Court.

Fr John Gallagher (51) alleges that Bishop Gerald Barbarito and the Diocese of Palm Beach ruined his reputation and career as a priest because he reported the sexual misconduct of another cleric, Joseph Palimattom, who had come to serve in his parish, the Holy Name of Jesus, in December 2014.

The Indian priest showed child abuse images to a 14-year-old parishioner, who complained about the cleric's actions in January 2015.

Police believe Palimattom was grooming the teenager.

The priest was later convicted of showing obscene material to a minor and served a six-month sentence.

He was then deported from the US back to India.

Fr Gallagher alleges that because of his whistleblowing, he was placed on medical leave by the diocese, the locks on his parochial home were changed and his belongings moved while he was in the hospital.

Top Vatican official's sex abuse conviction latest blow to embattled Roman Catholic Church

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

February 26, 2019

By Meghan Keneally

The revelation that a Catholic cardinal in Australia was convicted of molesting boys marks the most senior member of the church to face prison time for sexual abuse.

The charges against Cardinal George Pell -- who was not only a major figure in Australia's Catholic church but also a close adviser to Pope Francis -- were not publicly released until Tuesday because of a law in the country's court system.

In December, he was convicted of molesting two choir boys in the 1990s, but under Australian law, all details of that trial -- including the fact that the trial was held at all -- were suppressed because Pell was set to be subject to a second trial.

But the suppression order was lifted after additional charges relating to allegations that Pell had also abused boys in his hometown of Ballarat in the 1970s were dropped, prompting details of the first trial and conviction to be made public for the first time, according to the Associated Press.

Rodrigo Polanco, el influyente sacerdote UC denunciado por abuso sexual que aproblema a Ignacio Sánchez

[Rodrigo Polanco, the influential UC priest denounced for sexual abuse that troubles Ignacio Sánchez]

CHILE
El Mostrador

February 28, 2019

By Felipe Saleh

"La formación integral de los estudiantes es un deber de las universidades”, escribió Ignacio Sánchez en una columna publicada ayer por El Mercurio. En el contexto del año académico que parte la próxima semana, el rector de la Pontificia Universidad Católica (PUC) incluyó un mensaje a los estudiantes. “Dentro de los atributos del perfil del egresado resulta relevante que los estudiantes sean capaces de discernir sobre las implicancias éticas de sus decisiones y actuar con integridad en todas las instancias del proceso formativo. En nuestra institución, hemos implementado el Código de Honor, documento que se firma al ingresar a la universidad que implica actuar con rectitud y honestidad, respetando los principios y valores que rigen a la UC."

SBC Churches Singled Out for Investigation “Exonerated,” SNAP Responds

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 28, 2019

Despite being singled out for “further inquiry” into their handling of allegations of sexual abuse, Southern Baptist Convention leaders moved quickly this week to exonerate seven of those ten churches.

Baptists should be outraged that top denominational officials moved so quickly to exonerate these churches that were just in the spotlight over clergy sex abuse and cover up allegations. It is clear that, despite recent worldwide attention into cases of sexual abuse by SBC ministers, the church is still dragging its feet in moving towards change.

The SBC panel responsible for this travesty, including chairman Ken Alford, should be ashamed of rushing this investigation. As has been reported, the culture of abuse and cover-up runs deep in the SBC, so for the Executive Committee to so quickly and recklessly dismiss the serious allegations is an astonishing mis-step.

We believe that the 10 churches listed should go through the same kind of independent investigation by police and prosecutors that we demand of catholic churches who have similarly failed to respond properly to cases of sexual abuse. No institution can police itself, only independent, secular officials can get to the bottom of these cases.

La Iglesia española se resiste a investigar los abusos sexuales

[Spanish Church is reluctant to investigate sexual abuse: bishops conference leaves investigations in hands of dioceses]

MADRID (SPAIN)
El País

February 28, 2019

By Julio Núñez

La Conferencia Episcopal deja en manos de las diócesis y de Roma las medidas contra la pederastia

La Iglesia española se resiste a tomar medidas concretas contra la pederastia a la espera de que el papa Francisco le indique las normas que debe seguir para afrontar los casos de abusos. Dicen no tener autoridad para ello y lo dejan en manos de las diócesis y de los dictados que lleguen de Roma. Pero una semana después de la cumbre en el Vaticano para tratar el tema, ni allí ni en la Conferencia Episcopal Española (CEE) se han anunciado las acciones que, previsiblemente, iban a tomar para luchar contra uno de los problemas que más fuerte ha golpeado a la Iglesia universal en los últimos años.

Statement by Bill Lindsey, SNAP Arkansas Leader

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 28, 2019

We are members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. We exist for two reasons: To protect the vulnerable and to heal the wounded. We are here today for three reasons.

First, we are begging anyone with information or suspicions about crimes or cover ups by Arkansas church officials to come forward. Every victim heals in a different way. But it almost always starts with a brave disclosure. Maybe a spouse or best friend. Maybe a sibling or a therapist. But please, if you were sexually violated, do not try to carry that burden alone. Trust is difficult. But trust SOMEONE and share your pain. That’s how you can begin to move forward.

And if you did not suffer abuse, but saw or suspected it, come forward. Tell police or prosecutors or groups like ours. That’s your moral and civic duty. And that’s how we stop this horror.

Second, we are revealing the names three publicly accused abusive clerics who spent time in Arkansas and have been left off Bishop Anthony Taylor’s “accused” list, which was unveiled last September and updated this month.

-- Fr. John H. Sutton who’s accused of abuse in the 1990s in Texas, an allegation that "was found to have a semblance of truth," according to Ft. Worth church officials.

-- Fr. Daniel De Dominicis, who was included in the San Bernardino diocese’s list of clergy credibly accused of child sexual abuse.

-- Fr. Joseph D. Ross, who was convicted in 1988 of the sexual abuse of a boy in 1986. In 2008, he was again arrested, this time by Little Rock police, on charges of rape of a St. Louis girl. He was defrocked.

As Vatican conference on sexual abuse ends, Charleston Diocese on track to release list of credibly accused">

CHARLESTON (SC)
WCSC TV

February 28, 2019

Last Sunday, Pope Francis ended his unprecedented summit at the Vatican on preventing clergy sexual abuse. At the same time, the Charleston Diocese is preparing to take its own unprecedented measure.

A spokeswoman for the Diocese confirmed earlier this week that the diocese is still on track to release its list of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse by the end of March, a move that will surely spark plenty of conversation in the “Holy City” once the list is revealed.

“While universal protocol has not been approved, the National Conferences of Bishops have been given clear mandates to address and deal with the problems of sexual abuse of minors in their respective countries," Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone said in a statement.

During mass last Sunday, Pope Francis vowed to confront abusers with “the wrath of God,” and prioritize victims of what he called “brazen, aggressive and destructive evil.”

Francis summoned 190 presidents of bishops conferences around the world for the summit. The Vatican also announced it will soon issue a child protection policy and guidelines for preventing sexual abuse of minors for Vatican City State.

“I am confident that we in our country can produce the accountability that is so necessary for us to move toward prevention of these abuses in the future," Guglielmone said.

Suspended Priest Found “On the Job” in Gaylord

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 28, 2019

Though a Michigan priest was supposedly “permanently removed from ministry” in 2002, he was recently working as a sacristan and alone around boys in church according to a new report.

In 2016, Gaylord Bishop Steven J. Raica received a letter complaining that Fr. James A. Holtz was seen helping an altar boy with his belt. Then, six months later, he received a second letter.

It was only then that Raica supposedly began taking action. But he should have shouted from the rooftops and called police the minute he heard Fr. Holtz was working again in a church. Tragically, Bishop Raica did not. He kept quiet instead. We shudder to think of how many children were put at risk because of this reckless decision.

Given how easily Fr. Holtz was able to begin working again in a new parish, we can only help but wonder how many other suspended or even defrocked priests are functioning in other roles around vulnerable kids and unsuspecting families in churches throughout the US.

Former Priest in Wisconsin Arrested Again, SNAP Responds

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 28, 2019

A former priest from the Diocese of Green Bay has been arrested again for exposing himself to children.

Former priest Richard L. Thomas was defrocked just last year, even though he was arrested in 1990 and again in 1993 for similarly exposing his genitals to kids (he was convicted in the latter case). We are relieved that Thomas will again be jailed and that kids in Wisconsin will be safer.

Because his behavior is so unrelenting, we feel confident that a thorough outreach effort by church staff in Green Bay would bring forward other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers. That might enable the justice system to keep Thomas away from kids forever.

Why the Pope's Summit on Abuse Disappointed Some Survivors

NEW YORK (NY)
Time

February 28, 2019

By Ciara Nugent

Pope Francis arrived at the Vatican in 2013 promising “decisive action” on the child sex-abuse crisis that has racked the Catholic Church for at least three decades. Survivors around the world had told of horrific assaults by priests and callous cover-ups by senior clerics; in the U.S. alone, a 2004 church-commissioned report recorded over 10,000 accusations against more than 4,000 priests. Since then, the evidence has only grown. Yet advocates say Francis has offered little to restore the moral authority of the church beyond strong words.

Much then was left riding on the landmark summit the Pope called for Feb. 21–24. Nearly 200 bishops, Cardinals and other senior clerics gathered in the Vatican to hear recorded testimony from survivors, listen to speeches and hold group discussions, all with the aim of getting on the same page. As if to announce a new seriousness of purpose, the church expelled the former Archbishop of Washington, D.C., Theodore E. McCarrick, just days before, on Feb. 16–the first Cardinal to be defrocked over the sexual abuse of minors in modern times. Francis used the summit to call for an “all-out battle” against abuse, and church leaders hailed it as an unprecedented confrontation with the ugliest parts of their organization. “I am convinced that this was a moment of deep transformation,” Father Hans Zollner, one of the church’s top experts on child protection and the summit’s organizer, tells TIME.

The Charlotte Diocese’s cowardly silence on abuse

CHARLOTTE (NC)
Charlotte Observer

February 28, 2019

By Billy Maddalon

Catholic dioceses around the country have released names of priests credibly accused of sex abuse, Charlotte is not one of them.

Last week was another difficult week for local Catholics. As the Church convened a worldwide summit dealing with the endless sex abuse crisis, the Diocese of Richmond released a list of clergy who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor. On that list were two monks who previously served in the Charlotte Diocese, which has refused to disclose its list of credibly accused priests. If that list is ever released, the name of Joseph Kelleher will appear. He was the parish priest at Our Lady of Assumption, my childhood church and school, a relatively small faith community in what was then a much smaller Charlotte.

Coincidentally, going through old photos recently, one in particular caught my attention. It was my 8th grade class graduation photo. There we were, all 18 of us standing on the steps of the church, looking like a million bucks, posing with our school principal, our teacher, and our larger than life parish priest, Joseph Kelleher. And that’s where the memories get complicated. In 2010, Kelleher was charged with and admitted to police that he sexually assaulted a student in Albemarle in 1977, shortly before being moved to Charlotte. We also know he’s been accused of assaulting at least one of my classmates in 1981. Looking back, I can’t say I’m completely surprised. Kelleher was a big hugger and often encouraged me to sit on his lap. On more than one occasion, he either had an object in his pocket or … well, you get the picture. I never pulled away and I never ran. What happened to my classmate could have easily happened to me.

But this isn’t really about me or Kelleher. It turns out he is just one of many … or dozens … or hundreds of predatory priests in the Diocese of Charlotte. I say “or” because we really don’t know. We won’t know unless Bishop Peter Jugis decides to release a list of “credibly accused” abusers in his diocese. The Archdiocese of Atlanta, the dioceses of Raleigh, Charleston, Savannah, Richmond, Arlington, Nashville and Knoxville, have all released their own lists. Unlike his peers, Jugis is waiting on “additional instruction” before he decides to join this “stampede” of transparency, said Diocese spokesperson David Hains. With no apparent shame, he’s hiding behind survivors as an excuse to remain silent, saying he doesn’t want to “pile on” and cause further harm by releasing a list of offenders. What a bunch of cowardly hooey.

I’ve never met Jugis, but what I know about him suggests he’s a coward and a hypocrite. He fired a gay Charlotte Catholic High teacher because he got married, saying there would be scandal if the diocese didn’t officially respond to such a “contradictory message” from an employee. That’s rich, because in 2014 Jugis himself chose to preside over a memorial mass for deceased priest Joseph Kelleher. Yes, that Kelleher, the admitted abuser. And not one word was mentioned about a scandal caused by sending a contradictory message.

'Australia Has Changed': Church Abuse Survivors Share Their Stories

AUSTRALIA
10 daily

February 27, 2019

By Josh Butler

Warning: This story discusses child sex abuse.

Stephen Woods is still "furious" about what happened to him.

The Victorian man, a survivor of abuse at the hands of paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale and other clergy members, remembers in horrific detail what happened to him as a boy in Ballarat.

After being molested by Catholic brothers as a pre-teen, Woods told 10 daily he went to seek the guidance of a priest.

Green Bay ex-priest sent to jail for having unapproved contact with children

GREEN BAY (WI)
WBAY TV

February 28, 2019

A former Green Bay priest who was convicted of exposing his genitals to a child has been sent to jail for violating probation.

Documents obtained by Action 2 News detail recent allegations against Richard Thomas, 81.

Once of the documents is a letter sent by the Department of Corrections to Judge Timothy A. Hinkfuss. The letter states that Thomas had violated rules of supervision by having unapproved verbal and physical contact with children.

In 2016, Thomas was sentenced to 36 months on supervision after he was found guilty of two counts of Exposing Genitals/Pubic Area/Intimate Parts to a Child. Thomas had exposed himself to a teenager while living at Grellinger Hall, a residence for retired priests.

Conditions of probation include lifetime registry on the Wisconsin Sex Offender list and no contact with minors unless approved by a parole agent.

Thomas has been living in the community since Feb. 24, 2017. In the letter to Judge Hinkfuss, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections says it was reported that Thomas had been "intentionally seeking out minors" at Green Bay's Bay Motel and Family Restaurant to "engage them in conversation."

Thomas was asking the children about where they go to school and what grade they are in. He reportedly asked one child what city he lived in.

The DOC says Thomas admitted to having physical contact with a boy, "placing his hand on this minor's shoulder making him feel uncomfortable."

Thomas also admitted to telling an underage girl that he thought she was attractive "and if he was her age he would date her."

Day of reckoning: A wave of fresh accusations against priests has been unleashed

ROCHESTER (NY)
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

February 28, 2019

By Steve Orr and Sean Lahman

A new wave of allegations against Roman Catholic clergy will emerge in New York as a result of the new Child Victims Act. Matthew Leonard, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

After decades of anguish and argument over sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic church, a final reckoning may be coming for New York parishioners.

Over the last quarter-century, sexual abuse allegations, some of them horrendous, have been lodged in fits and starts against more than 400 priests and others associated with the church in New York state. The church hierarchy has been accused of concealing the truth about sexual misconduct as well.

But the number of past accusations and admissions pale in comparison to what's happening today, and what will happen in the months ahead.

History will judge George Pell, the cardinal who sought to crush me

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA)
Sydney Morning Herald

February 28, 2019

By John Ellis

I have hesitated in weighing in to add to the thousands of words written this week about the publication, at long last, of the details of the conviction of George Pell last December on child sex abuse charges.

It may surprise many to know that I have not followed the criminal process at all, know few details of it (even now), and have no opinion as to what may or may not happen in the balance of that criminal process.

However, as a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest over a period of more than 12 years, and having faced myself the opinion apparently held by those close to George Pell (and perhaps by Pell himself) – as to how inherently unlikely it was that a holy monk of God would have so openly engaged in such debased and abhorrent acts against a young boy – I feel saddened that the experiences of the complainant have been so disrespected by many commentators who feel the need to express doubt over what a jury of 12 has been satisfied beyond reasonable doubt.

George Pell apologised to me for the legal abuse perpetrated by the church under his watch as Archbishop of Sydney. Before he departed for Rome in 2014, he famously recited a public apology not to me but to the assembled audience at the conclusion of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse public hearing. I had a cup of tea with him. While that was a private meeting and will remain so, I can say that I have never felt any warmth from the man. I was not left with a sense of any acceptance of personal responsibility for how he sought to crush me or any appreciation of the impacts of his own actions.

A seismic shift…but concrete action is the next step

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Catholic

February 28, 2019

By Michael Kelly

In his closing remarks to the summit on the protection of minors at the weekend, Pope Francis summoned the bishops and religious superiors with somewhat of a battle cry. The time has come, the Pontiff said, for an “all-out battle” against the abuse, erasing this abominable crime from the face of the earth.

Since the problem is present on every continent, the Pope said he called leaders of the world’s bishops and religious superiors to Rome because “I wanted us to face it together in a co-responsible and collegial way”, he said.

“We listened to the voice of victims, we prayed and asked for forgiveness from God and the people hurt, we took stock of our responsibility, and our duty to bring justice through truth and to radically reject every form” of sexual abuse and the abuse of power and conscience, he said.

“We want every activity and every place in the Church to be completely safe for minors,” he said, which means taking every possible measure so that such crimes never happen again.

If the main purpose of the summit was to ensure that every part of the Church is on the same page on the issue of abuse, it seems safe to cautiously hail the gathering as a success. Some victims and survivors expressed disappointment over what they perceived as a lack of concrete action, but organisers were keen to ask people to wait just a little bit longer for such progress.

What Francis did make clear is that never again will a religious leader be able to say they were unaware of the issue of abuse. Speaking in the Sala Regia, the Pope told some 190 cardinals, bishops and religious superiors from around the world, “the time has come, then, to work together to eradicate this evil from the body of our humanity by adopting every necessary measure already in force on the international level and ecclesial levels”.

“I make a heartfelt appeal for an all-out battle against the abuse of minors both sexually and in other areas, on the part of all authorities and individuals, for we are dealing with abominable crimes that must be erased from the face of the earth,” he said.

Vatican embassy confirms complaint of sexual misconduct against ex-nuncio

QUEBEC CITY (CANADA)
Catholic News Service

February 28, 2019

By Philippe Vaillancourt

The apostolic nunciature in Ottawa, Ontario, confirmed Feb. 26 that it received a first complaint of sexual misconduct concerning Archbishop Luigi Ventura, the Vatican’s ambassador to Canada from 2001 to 2009.

Ventura, now 74, is under investigation for similar allegations in France, where he has served as nuncio since 2009.

The alleged incident took place July 26, 2008, at the shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre. Ventura was there for the feast of Ste. Anne, as the shrine was celebrating its 350th anniversary.

Christian Vachon, then 32, was part of the youth pastoral team. He told Presence info that, on that day, he was asked to help by providing service at the tables during a banquet. He alleged that Ventura touched his buttocks at least twice while he was serving him. He said he thought it was done inadvertently the first time, but that that there was no doubt after the second time.

He said the nuncio tried to engage in conversation with him, but he did not want to speak.

“During the meal, I was on edge. I was shocked. I was shocked by what he did. This is the complete opposite of the dignity that comes with its function. I was scandalized,” he told Presence info, a French-language Canadian news service.

Vachon said he felt “depressed” during the afternoon.

Pope Francis’ Summit On Clerical Sexual Abuse Was A Charade

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Federalist

February 28, 2019

By John Daniel Davidson

The Vatican’s four-day summit on protecting minors ended Sunday with a whimper. There were no new “concrete, effective measures” to hold Catholic bishops accountable for ignoring and covering up sexual abuse, as Pope Francis had called for before the summit began. There were likewise no discussions of the link between sexual abuse and homosexuality among the clergy, the rampant abuse of adult seminarians by their superiors, or the case of disgraced former Archbishop Theodore McCarrick.

Instead, the summit concluded with a 3,000-word speech by Francis that contained little of substance but was heavy on defensiveness and bureaucratese. Francis rattled off a list of “best practices” for ending violence against children compiled by the World Health Organization, and offered a meandering discussion about how a “great number of” abuse cases are “committed within families”—an obvious attempt to deflect attention from the putative subject of the summit: clerical sexual abuse.

In the end, the summit accomplished almost nothing because it was designed to accomplish nothing. It was narrowly tailored to address only the sexual abuse of children, and only in a generalized way, without reference to the McCarrick affair or the problems it exposed in the American hierarchy.

Never mind that the revelations about McCarrick’s sexual abuse of minors and seminarians precipitated this meeting, after Francis was accused of ignoring reports about McCarrick back in September. Never mind that more than 80 percent of abuse victims have been teenage males, or that the first reported victim of McCarrick was 17 at the time he was abused.

Vatican Summit Promises Course Change on Sexual Abuse, Concrete Actions Pending

ROME (ITALY)
National Catholic Register

February 27, 2019

By Edward Pentin

Three concrete initiatives to better handle clerical sex abuse, greater powers to help the laity hold bishops accountable, and changes to a papal decree aimed at closing legal loopholes that have allowed bishops to cover up such crimes with impunity, were some tangible achievements of the recent Vatican summit on child protection in the Church.

The 114 episcopal conference presidents taking part in the Feb. 21-24 gathering mostly welcomed the meeting’s outcome and the rare opportunity to discuss face-to-face these issues from a global perspective.

The meeting was “very useful, very necessary and very timely,” Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay, India, told reporters at the end of the conference. He welcomed bringing the “whole world together” to address the abuse problem, which is now a “common priority.” All are now conscious “this is a real serious problem,” he added.

“These have been challenging, fruitful days,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a Feb. 25 statement. “We owe survivors an unyielding vigilance that we may never fail them again.”

But many others were disappointed, angry or frustrated with the meeting’s outcome. Victim-survivor groups largely viewed the event as not radical enough and a deflection from effectively preventing abuse, achieving real accountability and ending a cover-up culture in the Church.

“My fears have been answered,” Shaun Dougherty, who was abused by a priest when he was 10 to 13 years old, told the Register. “I don’t believe that the bishops and cardinals are any more equipped to police themselves than they were last week, before the conference began.”

The meeting was also overshadowed by accusations that Pope Francis had himself been covering up for clerical abusers, including most recently Argentinian Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, accused of inappropriate behavior with seminarians and having homosexual pornography on his cellphone.

Others saw discussion of ex-cardinal and priest Theodore McCarrick’s crimes of abuse of minors, seminarians and priests of a homosexual nature as deliberately omitted and suppressed. This was despite outrage over the McCarrick scandal providing much of the impetus for the summit. It was also seen as a lost opportunity in dealing with causes of abuse that encompass vulnerable adults as well as minors.


Pope Francis opened the meeting expressing hope that the participants would “hear the cry of the little ones who plead for justice” and that they discuss “this evil” in a “synodal, frank and in-depth manner.” He also issued 21 points to consider as “starting points” for discussions on improving the handling of abuse cases, at least half of which reflected the American experience since the crisis first broke in 2002.

The meeting’s program centered on nine presentations on a theme dedicated to each of the three days: responsibility on the first, accountability on the second, and transparency on the third, interspersed by working-group sessions and testimonies from abuse victims.

The presenters — five cardinals, one archbishop, a religious sister and two laywomen — covered a wide range of issues: the need for the Church to draw close to the wounds of victims, acknowledge faults and mistakes, and ask for forgiveness to regain credibility and ensure children are safe. They highlighted areas of prevention and clarified bishops’ responsibilities and the need for collegiality and synodality in dealing with abuse.

Also proposed was a 12-point proposal for better accountability, including having metropolitan bishops hold other bishops accountable. Other suggestions were revising and possibly rescinding use of the “pontifical secret” in abuse cases and inviting Church leaders to see the media as allies rather than enemies in uncovering abuse and bringing predator priests to justice.

At a penitential liturgy on the final evening of the summit discussions, bishops made an examination of conscience, confessed to covering up abuse, and asked for pardon. In his homily at the summit’s closing Mass the next day, Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia, acknowledged that at times abuse victims have been seen “as the enemy” and that “we have not loved them; we have not blessed them.”


Cruelty towards flock haunts clergy amid sex abuse crisis

PARIS (FRANCE)
LaCroix International

February 28, 2019

About five years ago, a 17-year old girl took her newborn child to church for baptism in the central Philippine city of Cebu. Instead of blessings, a Redemptorist priest heaped scorn on the young mother.

"You should be ashamed and hide. We should close this church out of shame because you would have this child baptized without a husband," thundered the priest. "The disgrace will be passed on to the child," he warned.

Amid the drama of breast-beating during the recent Vatican summit on clerical sex abuse, there was hardly any mention of acts of cruelty and self-righteousness like the one displayed in Cebu. The omission betrays a lack of discernment.

Outrage over pedophile priests forces bishop out of St. Patrick's Day parade

NEW YORK (NY)
Irish Central

February 28, 2019

By Niall O'Dowd

The Catholic Church abuse scandals have now impacted on Buffalo’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade celebrations as a leading cleric is forced to cancel marching in city's parade.

The Bishop of Buffalo, New York, has been forced to drop out of the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade after a whistleblower on “60 Minutes” accused him of a cover-up and criticism from a local forced his hand. There has also been an online petition calling for him to drop out. The Buffalo St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the largest in the United States.

Bishop Richard Malone is accused of covering up scores of old abuse cases and currently covering for up to nine priests in his parish who have allegedly abused young children. His handling of the pedophile issue was the subject of a scathing “60 Minutes” report in November.

Explaining the decision to not march a press release from the Archdiocese stated:

“To prevent the Saint Patrick's Day Parade from being used as a platform to address unrelated issues - however important those issues may be - Bishop Malone, with immense regret, has decided not to march in the Parade this year.... It is not the proper forum for controversy.”

The United Irish American Association, which runs the parade, had stated it was up to the diocese to decide who represented them.

2 NTX Churches Cleared of Wrongdoing After Being Singled Out by Southern Baptist Leader

DALLAS (TX)
NBCDFW 5

February 27, 2019

By Dana Branham

Southern Baptist Convention officials cleared two of the three North Texas churches that the convention's president singled out last week for scrutiny in the wake of a sex abuse scandal.

President J.D. Greear targeted 10 churches in a speech last week, saying the denomination should kick out churches that show a "wanton disregard for sexual abuse and for caring for the survivors."

The three North Texas churches Greear listed were First Baptist Church in Bedford, Bolivar Baptist Church in Sanger and Arapaho Road Baptist Church in Garland.

Vatican's summit on abuse gets a mixed verdict

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

February 28, 2019

The recently completed meeting at the Vatican of heads of bishops' conferences from around the globe was the latest and most elaborate of the hierarchy's transactions with members of their own church and with the wider culture over clergy sex abuse.

For a church that proclaims Jesus, this has been a long, slow slog toward truth-telling and accountability. The transactions — from denial to reluctant reform — have been going on since the scandal was first reported nearly 34 years ago.

The recent meeting has the potential to mark a large step forward in the church's efforts to deal with the scandal and regain the trust of Catholics and others. It is essential, however, to note two factors that significantly qualify the meeting's success.

First, the gathering itself, extraordinary as it may have been, was, like most other advances in dealing with the crisis, forced by outside circumstances. The bishops were not called to Rome because it was the right thing to do. They were summoned, in part, because of extreme pressure that had built up behind ongoing revelations in a grand jury report of hierarchical malfeasance and because of the abuse of a child and seminarians by a well-known cardinal.

Second, the bishops returned home having yet to answer that ancient question, a line from the poet Juvenal, "Who will guard the guards?"

Sexual abuse by clergy met with silence

DAVENPORT (IA)
Quad Cities OnLine

February 28, 2019

By Scott Reeder

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. -- Edmund Burke

Michael Leathers is a good man who did something.

And it cost him his job.

Back in 2002, he was the editor of Illinois Baptist, a newspaper covering Southern Baptist congregations across the Land of Lincoln.

When he learned that a pastor, Leslie Mason, was criminally charged with sexually abusing girls in Olney, Ill., he reported it. One of the girls apparently was only 13 years old.

Instead of receiving praise for informing Baptists about a potential predator in their midst, he found himself in a room with a lawyer and his boss Glenn Akins, who then ran the Illinois Baptist State Association.

They wanted him gone.

According to Leathers, Akins offered a peculiar complaint about the story: writing about one pastor who committed sex crimes was unfair because that “ignores many others who have done the same thing.”

Younger bishops ready for action after Vatican summit on sex abuse

Kansas City (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

February 28, 2019

By Heidi Schlumpf

The November 2018 bishops' meeting was Bishop W. Shawn McKnight's first as a prelate, having been named to lead the Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri, a year earlier. Normally, a new bishop would refrain from speaking from the floor, but after the surprise announcement to delay action on sex abuse until after the Vatican global summit on the topic in February, McKnight couldn't keep silent. He approached the microphone and shared how "heartbroken" and concerned he felt for the future of the church.

Now that the Feb. 21-24 Vatican summit has concluded, McKnight — and several other newer, younger bishops — are ready to implement changes that would hold accountable bishops who cover up abuse, or are abusers themselves.

McKnight believes the summit has given the bishops the "green light" to move forward at the upcoming June meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore, where he sees "the themes of transparency and accountability coming to some sort of concrete decision."

"The validity and the success of the summit will depend on the concrete outcomes," the 50-year-old bishop told NCR, adding that he believes action is necessary. "Right now that's what people want to see."

In his own diocese, McKnight has already required religious communities ministering there to commit to releasing names of credibly accused abusers by end of 2019. He also developed a protocol in which any accusation against him would be reported to the lay review board in St. Louis, similar to Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich's proposal to involve "metropolitan" bishops.

Although McKnight is "not sold on any one particular proposal" for consideration at the national meeting in June, it must include meaningful lay participation, which is the only way to address the root problem of clericalism, he said.

"That needs to be part and parcel of how we structure ourselves and make decisions at every level of the church," he said, referencing a shared style of leadership based in Scripture. "Maybe that's all we need is a return to an older way of how we exercise power and authority as bishops."

Vatican financial intelligence led to conviction of UK abuser priest

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

February 28, 2019

By John Allen and Claire Giangravé

Although the Vatican has come under fire in the UK for its alleged lack of cooperation in a public sex abuse probe, sources have told Crux it was actually Vatican financial intelligence that led to the arrest and conviction of the abuser priest at the heart of the inquiry.

“This is an important fact,” one source told Crux. “It’s a game-changer, because it shows that the new legislation [adopted by Pope Francis] on reporting duties is working.”

In fact, the story captures an intersection of reform efforts on the two most persistent sources of scandal for the Vatican in recent decades - sexual abuse and money.

The sources spoke to Crux on background.

At present, a public inquiry in the UK is examining the case of the Benedictine monastery of Ealing Abbey in West London, where a former abbot, Andrew Soper, and a former deputy head teacher of its junior school, David Pearce, both have been jailed for abuse of children.

David Enright, a prominent lawyer representing victims of abuse in Catholic schools, has written to British Prime Minister Theresa May, urging her to expel the pope’s ambassador in the country, American Archbishop Edward Adams, for refusing to hand over documents requested by the probe.

Vatican must be accountable in light of sexual assault claims

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Dusquene Duke

February 28, 2019

By Timothy Rush

On Feb. 22, the Vatican began a four-day meeting of 190 church leaders to address the ongoing issue of sexual abuse within the Church. The meeting was called “The Protection of Minors in the Church,” with an emphasis on listening to abuse victims and tackling the issue head-on — something that many church officials had hoped for, especially following the Pennsylvania grand jury peport last year.

Preparations began for the meeting on Feb. 18. Church officials spoke at a news conference at the Vatican, with prelates (high-ranking members of the clergy) speaking on how the Church must hold bishops accountable for addressing sexual abuse and further emphasizing that homosexuality was not a cause for the sexual abuse amongst church officials.

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago expressed his hope “that people see this as a turning point,” and that it would be a moment to rally for bishops. In another massive shift toward transparency, the meeting had segments streamed despite it being closed-doors.

Catholic sex abuse survivor breaks silence, calls for action from Charlotte Diocese

CHARLOTTE (NC)
WBTV

February 28, 2019

By Nick Ochsner

An Asheville man who says he was abused by two priests as a young teenager is calling for the Charlotte Diocese to take new steps to publicly address sexual abuse by priests.

Douglas Dickerson was 13 when he said he was first abused by a priest at Saint Elizabeth’s of the Hill Country Catholic Church in Boone, NC.

“I definitely wasn't prepared to handle it, and my reaction was to attempt suicide actually on the church grounds,” Dickerson said in an interview with WBTV News.

Dickerson has never before spoken publicly about the abuse he said he suffered at the hands of not one but two priests at the same parish in the early 1990’s.

The first priest Dickerson said abused him was Father H. Cornell Bradley, a Jesuit priest who came to North Carolina in the late 1980’s after working primarily in Washington, D.C. and Maryland.

Expert says follow-up to anti-abuse summit won’t be an ‘easy ride’

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

February 28, 2019

By Inés San Martín

German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner is a man on a mission to guarantee the safety of minors within the Catholic Church. This aim, he knows, is a task that will require responsibility, transparency and accountability, and the path forward “will not be an easy ride.”

A psychologist by training, Zollner is a member of the pope’s Commission for the Protection of Minors, the president of the Centre for Child Protection at Rome’s Gregorian University and in 2010 he was a member of the “Round Table on Child Abuse” commissioned by the German government.

For years he’s been traveling the world, training priests, bishops, religious and laity on the protection of minors. Education has long been his main focus, and hence he’s often not one to comment on specific cases.

For instance, on Theodore McCarrick, removed from the priesthood by Francis after the former cardinal was found guilty of sexually abusing minors, Zollner simply said, “It’s my understanding that [the Vatican] is working on the release of some information, some kind of documentation, of what can be said with regards to this topic.”

Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, who leads the papal commission on minors, went further at a press conference on Friday, when he said he wants to see a report from the Vatican detailing who knew what and when about McCarrick. He also said he believes that report will include information sent to the Holy See by the four dioceses where McCarrick served, meaning New York, Metuchen, Newark and Washington, D.C.

Zollner was also one of the four churchmen tapped by Pope Francis to organize the Feb. 21-24 Vatican “Meeting on the Protection of Minors in the Church,” often described more simply as the pope’s “anti-abuse summit.”

Former nun who was raped by a priest tells her story

BELGRADE (YUGOSLAVIA)
N1 CNN

February 24, 2019

It is true that paedophilia is a problem all over the world, said Mary Dispenza, who was raped by a priest when she was seven.

“But the Pope has wrongly concluded that paedophilia is present in the Church because it is present everywhere in the world. That is a big mistake, as priests obligate themselves to cleanliness and celibacy and want to live that way,” she explained.

She said that the Church’s problem is also a culture of secrecy, cover-ups and the “genealogy of abuse which is carried over from one generation of priests to the next.”

“Their culture needs to be reexamined, and it should not simply be said that we are part of a larger culture where sexual abuse of children is the prevalent problem so it is also like that among priests,” she stressed.

The Vatican meeting is a huge event, she acknowledged.

“This morning the Pope said that if one more child is abused by a priest, he will immediately react. That is fantastic, and I hope that the bishops and cardinals will begin reporting crimes and seeking responsibility,” she said.

However, what happened to Dispenza belongs to a painful past and has to be addressed as well, she argued.

“At age seven, I was raped by a priest, it was the first parish he served after leaving the seminary. He kept moving from one parish to the next for the next 40 years,” Dispenza said.

It happened in a dark school hall where the priest played a film from a projector.

“He asked me if I wanted to sit in his lap. I agreed as I was taught that he was God. I was focused on the projector, and he put his hand in my panties and his finger into my vagina,” she said.

“The light within me was then extinguished,” she declared.

‘There was no justice for me’: Former nun reveals horrific sexual abuse by Catholic priests

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
News.Com.AU

February 28, 2019

Cardinal George Pell's bail has been revoked after sexual assault guilty verdict

My heart broke on Tuesday.

Not because I feel any sympathy for George Pell. I don’t. I will never shed a tear for him.

My chest felt heavy all day because two more poor souls have joined a club no one ever chooses to be part of, a tragic group of people from all walks of life, children, the disabled, nuns, in all corners of the globe, joined together by a common truth — their lives have been ruined by paedophile priests.

We are a club united by waves of shame, anger, worthlessness and guilt that wash over us when we least expect it, a club of people trying to run as fast as we can from the dark shadow that has haunted our lives.

I was abused by two priests.

My parents were devout Catholics, the Church was at the heart and soul of my family and my parent’s proudest day was when I joined the convent and my twin brother Michael the priesthood.

Two children to the Church! God’s glory shone down on my family.

I joined the Church to escape the abuse I’d endured by a priest in my teens, and also at the hands of my father. The convent offered a safe space, except it didn’t.

After years of struggle and anguish, I confided my darkest secret to a priest who then took advantage of my incredibly vulnerable state. He knew I was emotionally weak and he preyed upon me. I blamed myself, punished myself, I believed I was a bad person and I was going straight to hell, it was all my fault. I left the Church soon after.

How Can We Help Victims of Clergy Abuse?

NEW YORK (NY)
Psychology Today

February 27, 2019

When John J. Geoghan was sentenced in January, 2002 on multiple charges relating to his long history of serial child abuse, he represented just the latest in a long line of cases involving sexual abuse in the clergy. Evidence at Geoghan's trial showed that he was repeatedly transferred to different Catholic dioceses following allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour involving young boys. During the 1960s and 1970s, he continued to be transferred to positions where he would have regular contact with children even after the Church arranged for him to be treated for pedophilia. Even after he formally retired from his active clergy work in 1993, the allegations continued. By the time he was finally sentenced (after first being removed from the priesthood) in 2002, his career of abuse was believed to stretch back decades and involved more than 130 boys.

In the aftermath of Geoghan's sentencing (and his murder in prison less than a year later), the resulting scandal led to the resignation of Boston's archbishop and numerous investigations concerning how the Church dealt with Geoghan and many of the other priests who also faced allegations. It also highlighted the treatment of whistleblowers by the Church, many of whom faced serious penalties for attempting to expose what was happening . Still, while most of the investigations into clergy abuse have focused on the Catholic Church, cases of equivalent abuse can be found in virtually every other religion as well.

Despite countless new stories about abuse by clergy not to mention the various movie and television dramatizations of different scandals that have come to light, actual research into the impact of this kind of abuse on victims has been surprisingly scarce up to now. But a new review article published in the journal Traumatology provides a comprehensive look at the psychological impact of clergy abuse on victims and how it differs from other types of sexual abuse.

Written by Danielle M. McGraw and a team of fellow researchers at Alliant International University in Los Angeles, CA, the article examined hundreds of peer-reviewed studies looking at clergy abuse though only a small minority contained actual empirical data on clergy abuse victims. To supplement the available information, McGraw and her co-researchers also included victim data from several recent books on victims of clergy abuse as well as dissertation data.

When the Church is Toxic

Patheos blog

February 27, 2019

By Mary Pezzulo

I woke up to find out that I had been screenshotted, again.

Specifically, this time, a sometime deacon now on a leave of absence in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, who is famous among my friends for facebook stalking through sock puppets and harassing us, had taken a screenshot of a public comment I’m not ashamed of. I said that neither a tax return nor a legal marriage certificate are a sacrament, and that letting people who are legally married, even if the marriage isn’t a marriage by sacramental standards, file jointly on their taxes didn’t seem to violate any Church teaching. The deacon, who is obsessed with gay people, was mocking me and trying to paint me as a heretic, again. One of his lickspittle lackeys had impersonated a woman and friended me; the lackey published a screenshot of a friends-only conversation where I expressed dismay that John Paul the Second was ever canonized. And I admit to that wholeheartedly. I think it was imprudent to waive the five-year waiting period. I think that it was scandalous how he participated in covering up sexual abuse and I do not admire him. I don’t really care if saying something that obvious gets me into trouble. It’s the truth. I assume I’ll get a smear piece written in a shameful tabloid about me before long. The deacon doesn’t write for respectable publications.

This happens rather often when you write publicly on the internet. It’s not as bad as the time a Catholic from Chicago screenshotted my profile picture to make rape jokes about me, and then threatened to sue because he didn’t intend to rape me but to mock me for being un-rapeable and he didn’t think I’d made that clear enough.

I swore to myself, and lamented once again how toxic and abusive Catholicism can be.

Yes, I just said that. I am a baptized and confirmed practicing Catholic. I believe and profess all the Catholic Church teaches, and I try to follow her teaching as best I can, and I try to repent wherever I fail. And I’m telling you, Catholicism can be extremely toxic and abusive.

It shouldn’t be controversial to say that out loud. People act as though I’m a secret agent bent on destroying the Church, when I call attention to abuse in the Church, as if being Catholic meant pretending that Catholicism is all fun and beauty. But I’m only telling the truth: the Church, not her teaching or how she’ll look in eternity but the Church as an institution of fallen people trying to work together, is toxic.

February 27, 2019

Bill would extend statute of limitations for sexual abuse

PROVIDENCE (RI)
WPRI TV

February 27, 2019

By Steve Nielsen and Kim Kalunian

Up to 15 victims of childhood sexual abuse testified Tuesday night on a bill that would quadruple the current civil statute of limitations on abuse.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Carol McEntee, would change the civil statute of limitations from seven years after an alleged victims 18th birthday, to 35 years.

"It took me until age 41 or 42 to even go to the police," Jim Scanlan said in the days leading up to his testimony.

Scanlan's story of abuse was covered in the motion picture "Spotlight."

"At age 25, there aren't many victims who are willing to come forward or are ready emotionally to talk about it," Scanlan said.

Scanlan said he plans to testify at Tuesday's hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.

Remember to tread carefully around the fire and brimstone

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union

February 27, 2019

By Jo Page

The other day I was talking to a retired pastor who sings in the same chorus I do.

"Remember the weird things you used to get in your office mail?" I asked.

I was thinking back to "The Passion of the Christ" stuff that Mel Gibson and his ilk were hawking when I was still enough of a newbie pastor to be shocked: T-shirts of a thorn-crowned Christ, a cross nail to wear as a necklace — money-making movie merch for Mel's masses.

Really, you would be surprised what comes over the transom of the pastor's study. A few weeks ago I got solicitation material — and the pun just may work — for donating to an organization that funds priests accused of sexual abuse. On the remittance slip you are assured that your donation goes to accused priests who are "discouraged, suffering or in crisis."

The suggested donation was $100.

Hmmm.

"I do," she said, rolling her eyes. "What now?"

Group protests Catholic bishop for omittance, calling officials to add additional names

LITTLE ROCK (AR)
THV11 Digital

February 27, 2019

A group of sexual abuse victims rights advocates protested the Little Rock bishop.

They said he "overlooked" three accused clerics on his released list of credible sexual abusers within the clergy in Arkansas. The organization called "SNAP" said three clergy members, with credible sexual abuse allegations against them in other states, also served in Arkansas.

Now they're calling on Catholic officials to do more outreach and add the additional names to the list.

"They had the potential to harm somebody," William Lindsey said, who holds a doctoral degree in Catholic theology and volunteers with the "survivor's network" of abuse by priests. "We want to know why did Bishop Taylor not include those three names on the list and could he explain that and would he agree to add those three names to his list of abusive priests."

Lindsey said past history proves clergy members who abuse minors in one place will do the same thing somewhere else. So, he said, they should always be monitored.

Arkansas Bishop Anthony Taylor's "accused" list first came out in September, then updated again this year, after more investigation.

Clergy abuse sheds light on statute of limitations debate

DES MOINES (IA)
KCCI TV

February 27, 2019

By Laura Terrell

The Senate minority leader has introduced new measures that would give child sex abuse survivors more time to come forward, saying Iowa should not be a “sanctuary state” for predators.

State Sen. Janet Petersen, a Democrat from Des Moines, introduced two bills tackling the issue -- one that would end the statute of limitations for filing criminal charges and another that would end it for trying to collect damages in a civil lawsuit.

“If you were abused as a child, you only have until your 19th birthday to go after the organization that covered the crime,” Petersen said. “Our laws are terrible. We should not be a sanctuary state for predators, and organizations cover up this crime.”

The Diocese of Sioux City on Monday identified 28 priests who were credibly accused of having sexually abused more than 100 boys and girls.

Only one former priest, John Patrick Perdue, is still alive and living in Iowa. The Iowa Court of Appeals in 2011 dismissed lawsuits filed against Perdue and another priest by two alleged victims, ruling that the statute of limitations had expired.

“There was a grooming process,” said West Des Moines attorney Patrick Hopkins, who represented a victim at the time.

Meth Pipe, Sex Toys Found in Room of Priest Accused of Raping Seminarian

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Channel 7 News

February 27, 2019

By Vicky Nguyen, Michael Bott, and Mark Villarrea

A glass meth pipe and thong underwear found in a locked closet, a blindfold found inside a nightstand drawer, and sex toys found behind a mirror on the floor. Those are just a few of the items Livermore police detectives removed from the living quarters of Father Van Dinh inside the rectory of St. Michael Catholic Church as they investigated the priest for rape in 2017, according to a police report viewed recently by NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit.

Days before detectives served that search warrant at the church, Dinh’s accuser said the priest blindfolded and raped him inside the priest’s bedroom. The former seminarian’s accusations, equal parts horrific and bizarre, were detailed in the police report.

On Monday, Dinh’s accuser filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Oakland and Bishop Michael C. Barber.

The plaintiff, a 26-year-old immigrant from Mexico, listed as “John Doe” in the lawsuit, said he’s wanted to be a priest since he was a child praying the rosary every day with his family. He spoke to NBC Bay Area and asked to have his identity concealed for fear of retaliation.

“I did not want to be in this legal matter,” Doe said. “I wanted justice done. I wanted them to acknowledge that there was a crime.”

Dinh’s case briefly made headlines in November 2017, when the Diocese announced it was placing Dinh on administrative leave after an allegation of clergy misconduct. However, the Diocese never disclosed the specific allegations against Dinh. The Livermore Police Department and the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office also declined to provide those details to NBC Bay Area, only saying that no criminal charges were ever brought against Dinh.

9&10 News Investigates: Betrayal of Trust

GAYLORD (MI)
9 & 10 TV News

February 27, 2019

By David Lyden and Derrick Larr

A 9&10 News investigation is uncovering new information about a former priest removed from the ministry 17 years ago over a credible claim of sexual misconduct involving a minor.

Father Jim Holtz was permanently removed from ministry back in 2002.

Holtz is one of 10 priests the Diocese of Gaylord says have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct in its nearly 50 year history.

9&10 News was the first to report back in November that the Diocese of Gaylord had released a list of priests credibly accused of misconduct with a minor.

To fully understand this story we have to go back to November, when 9&10 News first started reporting on priests credibly accused of misconduct with minors in the Diocese of Gaylord.

That is when the phone calls and emails started. That name and face strikingly familiar to people around Petoskey including Joni Hosler.

“I was given information about him and I was told ahead of time it was going to rock my world, and it did,” said Hosler.

Joni says her three sons were all altar servers at St. Francis Xavier in Petoskey. She says the man who was in the sacristy with them as they prepared for mass was Jim Holtz.

Joni says her sons told her nothing inappropriate ever happened between them and Holtz, but she says she had no idea about Holtz’s past until recently.

“I’m not saying I’m here to judge anybody, nobody is here to judge anybody, and there are a ton of positions in the parish, somebody with a known background shouldn’t be allowed around children, and I think about the other servers and they’re great families and all I can think of is why, why was it allowed and why are we all hurting now because it was allowed,” said Hosler.

As we worked to answer that question 9&10 News obtained a copy of a letter sent to Gaylord Bishop Steven Raica in January of 2016. It outlines a moment where Holtz appeared got too close for comfort:

‘I witnessed fry Jim Holtz, sacristan, standing behind a freshman male altar server with his arms around the young man and began to attach and tie the cincture for the young man at the young man’s naval from behind’

The letter goes on to say the action by Holtz was seen as possibly suspicious and the writer of the letter is reporting it to the Diocese per diocesan policy. The writer goes on to say:

‘I confronted Fr. Jim by myself in the sacristy after mass regarding the inappropriate nature of this action and he agreed and appeared compliant.’

Welcome to my world: Notes on the reception of Frédéric Martel’s bombshell

Patheos blog

February 27, 2019

By Father James Alison

So, the other shoe has finally dropped. The veil has been removed from what the French rather gloriously call a secret de Polichinelle ― an open secret: one that “everybody knows” but for which the evidence is both elusive and never really sought. The merely anecdotal is, at last, acquiring the contours of sociological visibility.

The structure of the clerical closet

Frédéric Martel’s book In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality and Hypocrisy is the first attempt of which I am aware at a properly researched answer to the question: “How and why is it that the principal institutional obstacle to LGBT rights at the worldwide level appears itself to be massively staffed by gay men?”

Why the complainant in George Pell’s trial was so compelling

ADELAIDE (AUSTRALIA)
News.Com.AU

February 28, 2019

By Charis Chang

It’s shocking, it’s incomprehensible and to some, it’s unbelievable.

Cardinal George Pell, a man who rose to become, not just Australia’s most senior Catholic, but one of the most powerful men in the Vatican, had been found to be a paedophile.

When the news broke yesterday that Pell was found guilty in December of child sex offences, many expressed disbelief but others just couldn’t accept the verdict.

In an opinion piece, Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt said he believed Pell had been “falsely convicted”. The Daily Telegraphcolumnist Miranda Devine also said: “I don’t believe that Pell, who I know slightly and admire greatly, could be guilty of assaulting two choirboys in a busy cathedral.”

Yesterday, the 77-year-old disgraced cardinal was taken into custody and spent his first night behind bars before being sentenced on March 13. However, his legal team is pushing for a retrial and intend to appeal his child sex convictions with the Court of Appeal.

Speaking on his Sky News show on Tuesday night, Bolt said he had “serious misgivings” about Pell’s guilty verdict.

“I just can’t accept it, based on what I consider is the overwhelming evidence of this trial,” he said. “And I base that opinion also on how many times Pell has been accused of crimes and sins he clearly did not do.

“Pell could well be an innocent man who is being made to pay for the sins of his church and made to pay after an astonishing campaign of media vilification.”

ABC investigative journalist Louise Milligan is one of the few people in Australia who knows the identity of Pell’s complainant. She tracked him down while researching her book Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell, for which she won a Walkley Book Award.

Irish priest 'frozen out' when he reported another priest showing child porn to young boy

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Independent

February 27 2019

By Sarah Mac Donald

An Irish priest is trying to sue a diocese in the US claiming he was slandered because he refused to cover up for another priest's sexually inappropriate behaviour with a young boy.

Fr John Gallagher from Co Tyrone alleges that Bishop Gerald Barbarito and the Diocese of Palm Beach ruined his reputation and career as a priest because he reported the sexual misconduct of Indian priest, Joseph Palimattom, who had come to serve in his parish, the Holy Name of Jesus, in December 2014.

The Indian cleric showed child abuse images to a 14-year-old parishioner, who complained about the cleric’s actions in January 2015. Police believe Palimattom was grooming the teenager.

The priest was later convicted of showing obscene material to a minor and served a six-month sentence. He was then deported from the USA back to India.

Church officials in India did not tell Fr Gallagher that Palimattom had been previously accused of sexually abusing children in his home country.

Fr Gallagher (51) claims he was "frozen out" and punished for being a whistle-blower by the diocese and for passing information on the paedophile priest to the police in Florida.

He alleges he was placed on medical leave by the diocese and that the locks on his parochial home were changed and his belongings moved while he was in the hospital.

He also claims that when he contacted the diocese to report the abuse incident the morning after it had been reported to him, the diocesan official told him, “We’ve dealt with this before, we normally put them on a plane and send them back.”

Targeting priests is a new low in lawyer advertising (commentary)

NEW YORK (NY)
Staten Island Advance

February 27, 2019

By Daniel Leddy

On June 27, 1977, a sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court sent shockwaves through the legal profession by holding that the First Amendment’s free speech clause protects the right of lawyers to advertise their services. The ruling in Bates v. State Bar of Arizona overturned the discipline meted out to two young lawyers for placing a straightforward, dignified advertisement in the Arizona Republic informing readers of the basic legal services performed at their “clinic” and the fee for each.

Writing for the 5-4 majority, Justice Harry Blackmun asserted that lawyer advertising would further reliable decision-making, and discounted fears that some lawyers would use advertising gimmicks to deceive the public. In contrast, Justice Lewis Powell’s strongly worded dissent predicted that the decision would weaken the ability of the states to regulate attorney conduct, and “effect profound changes in the practice of law, viewed for centuries as a learned profession.”

Powell’s concerns were prophetic. For in the aftermath of the Bates decision, the legal profession has been denigrated by absurdities such as lawyers declaring themselves to be “tough and mean;” pronouncing themselves to be “pit bulls,” proclaiming their willingness to do “whatever it takes to win;” claiming to represent space aliens; emerging from the ocean bearing spear guns because so many other lawyers are “sharks,” and even sending bouquets of flowers to funeral homes where victims of legally actionable tragedies were being waked.

Last Tuesday, attorney Jeff Anderson moved offensive attorney advertising from the disgraceful to the despicable with a press release announcing “the names of more than 100 perpetrators accused of sexual misconduct in the Archdiocese of New York.”

Baton Rouge list of clergy accused of abuse grows to 40 with two new additions

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
The Advocate

February 27, 2019

By Andrea Gallo

The Diocese of Baton Rouge added two more Catholic clerics Wednesday to its list of those who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse with a minor, increasing the diocese's tally of abusive clergymen to 40.

When Baton Rouge Bishop Michael Duca released the diocese's initial list a month ago, Duca said the list would evolve over time, and likely grow. The diocese has already updated its list once, earlier this month. The newest additions come on the heels of a worldwide summit Pope Francis convened about clerical sexual abuse, in which the pontiff called for an "all-out battle" against it.

The two names added to the Diocese of Baton Rouge's list Wednesday are the Rev. Barry Finbar Coyle and the Rev. John Hardman. Though both spent time ministering in Baton Rouge, the accusations against them were lodged in other dioceses. Diocese of Baton Rouge spokesman Dan Borne said Wednesday that the diocese had received no allegations about either priest.

Gay Man Participates in Vatican Clergy Sex Abuse Summit

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Blade

February 27, 2019

By Michael Lavers

A gay man from Chile who was sexually abused by a notorious pedophile priest participated in a summit on clergy sex abuse that took place at the Vatican last week.

Juan Carlos Cruz told the Washington Blade on Monday during a telephone interview from Philadelphia that he and a dozen other survivors of clergy sex abuse met with bishops before the 4-day summit began at the Vatican on Feb. 21.

“It was positive because it was a very constructive dialogue, but at the same time (it was) painful and difficult and good,” he said. “It was all kind of things.”

Cruz told the Blade he was also asked to record a video for Pope Francis and the bishops from around the world who traveled to Rome. The video was shown at the beginning of the summit.

“You are the doctors of souls and yet, … you have become, in some cases, the killers of souls, the killers of faith,” said Cruz in the video, according to La Nación, an Argentine newspaper that covered the summit.

Nunavut plans to open centre for victims of child abuse

IQALUIT, NUNAVUT
Nunatsiaq News

February 27, 2019

By Courtney Edgar

Iqaluit's Umingmak Centre led by Arctic Children and Youth Foundation

A new child advocacy centre aimed at helping Nunavut’s victims of child abuse will open in Iqaluit in April, says Justice Minister Jeannie Ehaloak.

It will be led by the Arctic Children and Youth Foundation, which has worked with the departments of Justice, Health, Education, and Family Services, as well as the RCMP and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.

The Arctic Children and Youth Foundation, founded by Inuit leader Mary Simon, is a charitable organization created to help children and youth at all levels.

“The centre will be designed to address the needs of child victims and children who have witnessed a crime, and will meet the cultural needs of Nunavummiut,” the foundation says on its website.

“As a one-stop-shop, the centre will co-ordinate the efforts of the various service providers to ensure that all legal and forensic evidence is gathered.”

They’ve been working on the project since at least 2014, when they began advocating for centres to help Arctic youth.

Supreme Court Justice found in violation of disclosure law

PROVIDENCE (RI)
WPRI

February 26, 2019

By Walt Buteau

The Rhode Island Ethics Commission ruled Supreme Court Justice Francis X. Flaherty violated state financial disclosure law by not reporting his involvement in a religious society comprised of attorneys and judges.

The ethics complaint was filed in 2016 by Rhode Island native Helen Hyde, who one of two plaintiffs in a 2016 Supreme Court ruling involving Flaherty, who wrote the decision for the civil case.

The Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision against Hyde's demand for financial damages from the Bishop of Providence in a sexual abuse case.
Hyde alleged she was molested in the late 60's in East Greenwich by the late Father Brendan Smyth,
who died in prison after he was convicted of molesting 141 children over four decades.

By the time Hyde came forward, the statute of limitations on her case had expired.

In her complaint, Hyde said Flaherty should have disclosed his involvement with the Saint Thomas More Society since her case involved the Catholic Church.

For children of priests, the good of the child comes first

ROME (ITALY)
Vatican News

February 27, 2019

By Andrea Tornielli

The topic of “children of priests” has long been considered taboo, with the result that often, especially in the past, these children grew up without a known and acknowledged father. This topic, then, is distinct from the questions addressed in last week’s Meeting in the Vatican, which focused on the abuse committed against minors.

Recently, Irish psychotherapist Vincent Doyle, a son of a priest, was present in Rome. He is the founder of “Coping International”, an association for the defence of the rights of children fathered by Catholic priests throughout the world. Doyle wants to waive his anonymity and offer psychological help to “the many people born from a relationship between a woman and a priest” in various parts of the world. In recent interviews with diverse media, Doyle has spoken of a document of the Congregation for the Clergy, regarding the attitude to be taken in these cases. The existence of these internal documents — sometimes described, inaccurately, as “secret” — has been known since 2017, and the general criteria regarding protecting the children of priests was recently confirmed by Alessandro Gisotti, the Director ad interim of the Holy See Press Office. Vatican News spoke with Cardinal Beniamino Stella, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, which has the responsibility of dealing with cases of this sort.

Andrea Tornielli: What are the criteria that guide the decisions to be made in the case of priests with children?

R.I. Supreme Court justice violated state ethics code, board finds

PROVIDENCE (RI)
The Providence Journal

February 26, 2019

By Patrick Anderson

Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice Francis X. Flaherty said it never crossed his mind to mention he was president of the St. Thomas More Society of Rhode Island on his annual state financial disclosure form, even while he was on the bench for an appeal of a priest sexual abuse case.

PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice Francis X. Flaherty said it never crossed his mind to mention he was president of the St. Thomas More Society of Rhode Island on his annual state financial disclosure form, even while he was on the bench for the appeal of a priest’s sexual-abuse case.

After all, the organization promoting Catholic legal principles has no paid employees, meets only a handful of times a year — primarily to sponsor the annual Red Mass for the state’s legal community — and has never paid him or other officers a cent.

But the state Ethics Commission on Tuesday concluded the size and informality of the Society were no excuses to leave it off the list of entities government officials are required to disclose their leadership roles in to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

Two Embattled Buddhist Leaders Pressured to Stop Teaching

NEW YORK (NY)
Tricycle Magazine

February 22, 2019

By Matthew Abrahams

Following separate sexual misconduct investigations, Shambhala head Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has stepped back from teaching and Noah Levine’s authority has been revoked.

Two prominent Buddhist teachers accused of sexual misconduct are facing new actions from their communities, which have urged them to stop teaching after internal investigations found the allegations against them credible. Shambhala International head Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche announced that he would be stepping down from teaching for the “foreseeable future” in an email sent out to students on February 21. A day earlier, the Spirit Rock Meditation Center released a statement withdrawing authorization to teach from Noah Levine, who founded the now-shuttered Against the Stream Meditation Society (ATS).

While the Sakyong and Levine have both been accused of abusing their power, the details of the allegations and how they were handled differ in many ways. Most notably, Levine was removed from ATS, which closed its centers soon after, while the Sakyong has remained the lineage holder of Shambhala.

The Sakyong had previously announced that he was stepping aside while a law firm hired by Shambhala, Wickwire Holm, investigated the claims against him. The investigation, released this month, found that the Sakyong “more than likely” engaged in sexual misconduct in at least two cases. Earlier this week, a group of the Sakyong’s former kusung, or personal attendants, released a statement further detailing decades of inappropriate and harmful conduct.

In his email on Thursday, the Sakyong said he will continue to step back from his duties now that the investigation has concluded. He writes that he made this decision after receiving a letter the day before from Shambhala’s 42 acharyas [senior teachers] asking him to do so.

Vatican: Cardinal Pell says he's innocent, but news hurts

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

February 26, 2019

By Frances D'Emilio

The Vatican on Tuesday insisted on Australian Cardinal George Pell's right to further defend himself after being convicted of molesting two choirboys in his homeland, but said Pope Francis was keeping in place local church restrictions forbidding one of his most trusted advisers from having contact with children while appeals run their course.

Acting Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti read a brief statement that called the news of the 77-year-old's prelate's conviction "painful." He later tweeted confirmation that Pell "is no longer" the Holy See's economy chief. Pell's 5-year mandate was due to expire this month, and Francis had not been expected to renew it.

Gisotti took no questions from reporters about the Australian court's verdict, which was delivered unanimously in December and appealed by Pell last week.

Due to a court order, news of the verdict couldn't be published until Tuesday.

Pell risks a maximum prison term of 50 years for the conviction of the charges that he sexually abused the boys in a cathedral in the 1990s when he was archbishop of Melbourne. Sentencing hearings were set to begin in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Can The Church Survive Pell's 'Catastrophic' Sex Abuse Conviction?

AUSTRALIA
10 daily

February 26, 2019

By Josh Butler

It is a "happy" day for abuse survivors, and the conviction of George Pell on child sex charges is hoped to lead to wholesale change at the highest levels of the Catholic Church.

In December 2018, a Melbourne jury found Pell guilty of five charges -- one of sexually penetrating a child under the age of 16 and four of committing an indecent act.

"There's relief for sure, but I do believe people are happy," Steven Spaner, coordinator for advocacy group SNAP -- Survivors Networks of those Abused by Priests -- told 10 daily.

Other survivors have spoken of being "stunned" at the news, while a former priest said the verdict would be "catastrophic" and like a "tsunami" for the church.

George Pell's lawyer says child abuse was 'plain vanilla' sex as cardinal heads to jail

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The Guardian

February 26, 2019

By Melissa Davey

Cardinal Pell is remanded in custody following his conviction for child sexual assault, which judge calls ‘callous, brazen offending’

Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Catholic cleric ever convicted of child sexual abuse, has been taken in custody following a sentencing hearing in which his lawyer described one of Pell’s offences as a “plain vanilla sexual penetration case where the child is not actively participating”.

After the hearing, with Pell’s lawyer, Robert Richter, having withdrawn his application for bail, the chief judge said: “Take him away, please.” Pell was taken to a maximum security facility where he will be kept in protective custody and remain alone for up to 23 hours a day.

He will be sentenced on 13 March after his conviction for sexually assaulting two 13-year-old boys.

The Vatican on Wednesday also said its doctrinal department will open its own investigation into Pell. “After the guilty verdict in the first instance concerning Cardinal Pell, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) will now handle the case following the procedure and within the time established by canonical norm,” Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti told reporters. A former US cardinal, Theodore McCarrick, was this month dismissed from the priesthood following a CDF investigation.

The former Australian prime minister John Howard was among those who provided character references for Pell as the cardinal’s legal team tried to argue for a lower-end sentence in Melbourne’s county court on Wednesday morning.

Pennsylvania prosecutor fights clergy sex abuse as she maintains Catholic faith

EBENSBURG (PA)
Religion News Service

February 27, 2019

By Bobby Ross Jr.

When allegations of past sexual abuse were first made against a priest at St. Clement Catholic Church in Johnstown, Pa., Cambria County District Attorney Kelly Callihan recognized the name immediately. The Rev. George Koharchik had been her family’s pastor for the decade he served at St. Clement’s, from 1974 to 1984.

When each of her four eldest siblings got married, “he had such a connection with us that he came back to do the weddings,” Callihan, the sixth of nine children, recalled in a recent interview at her second-floor courthouse office.

But Callihan, 50, knew the victims, too: They were friends and former classmates in this western Pennsylvania county — a farming and coal-mining area hit hard by the steel industry’s decline and the opioid epidemic.

“I didn’t falter for a second in believing and understanding” the stories of abuse, Callihan told Religion News Service. “You could just hear the pain that they were going through.”

Callihan ended up referring Koharchik’s case, as well as separate sex abuse claims involving a Franciscan friar, to Pennsylvania’s attorney general. “I knew that I didn’t have the resources in a small prosecutor’s office to take on an investigation of this magnitude,” Callihan said. Also, she said, “I was too close to home with knowing a lot of these victims.”

Vatican to open its own investigation into Cardinal George Pell

AUSTRALIA
9News

February 27, 2019

The Vatican says that its doctrinal department will open its own investigation into accusations against Cardinal George Pell.

Pell, a former top Vatican official, is tonight spending his first night behind bars after he was remanded in custody pending sentencing for sexually abusing two choir boys in Melbourne two decades ago.

He has proclaimed his innocence and will appeal the verdict.

Priests Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Minor

ARLINGTON (VA)
Catholic Diocese of Arlington

February 13, 2019

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today I am fulfilling a commitment I made to publish a list of all clergy credibly accused of child sexual abuse in the Diocese of Arlington. I made this commitment in the hope that providing such a list might help some victims and survivors of clergy sexual abuse to find further healing and consolation.

The publishing of this list will bring a range of emotions for all of us. Embarrassment, frustration, anger and hurt are all natural emotions to experience in a time such as this. I share those emotions.

Today I also renew my commitment to continue to implement our policies and protocols, established in accord with the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops’ 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. These have proven to be effective in preventing abuse, standardizing reporting procedures to legal authorities and investigating allegations of sexual abuse of minors. Please know that I remain actively engaged in addressing these issues and pursuing ways to improve our existing efforts.

Psychiatrist tells judge Denham, 77, "never to have access to children"

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The Herald Sun

February 27, 2019

By Joanne McCarthy

The Catholic pedophile priest whose crimes were the catalyst for a royal commission will remain a danger to male children until the day he dies, a court was told as he faces an even lengthier jail sentence for crimes against a young boy.

John Sidney Denham, 77, should never have access to children and should never have a relationship of any kind with a male child when he leaves jail, even though he could be in his early 90s, a psychiatrist said in a report tendered at a Sydney District Court sentencing hearing on Wednesday.

Although Denham's overall risk of re-offending is likely to be low, if he is still alive when his current minimum jail term expires in 2028, his placement in the community will need close monitoring despite being an extremely advanced age, Judge Phillip Mahony was told.

The Crown has argued for an even longer jail sentence for Denham after he was found guilty in October of repeatedly sexually abusing a young boy under 10 at Taree in the late 1970s, including raping him in a church presbytery after calling the boy from a Catholic primary school playground.

Denham is already serving a minimum 19 years and five months' jail sentence for crimes against 56 boys after guilty findings in 2010 and 2015 trials, and was found guilty in 2001 of offences against another young Catholic boy in 2001 but did not serve a jail sentence. The victims were aged from 5 to 17 and the offences occurred between 1968 and 1986.

Denham sat with arms crossed in a NSW jail during the short sentencing hearing on Wednesday and said nothing after initially complaining he could not hear proceedings via the court audio-visual link.

The Catholic church must pay a high price for its cover-up culture

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Independent

February 27, 2019

By Geoffrey Robertson

News of the conviction and imprisonment of cardinal George Pell, number three in the Vatican, for the rape of small boys in a sacristy came as a fitting end to a papal summit on child abuse which achieved nothing.

It had begun with other cardinals attributing the problem to homosexuals in the priesthood. Of course, the reality is that priests abuse small boys, not because they are gay, but because they have the opportunity. Most are not even paedophiles, but rather sexually maladjusted, immature and lonely individuals, unable to resist the temptation to exploit their power over children who are taught to revere them as the agents of God.

A church which has tolerated the sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children – a crime against humanity in any definition, needs to face unpalatable truths and to make drastic reforms.

Cover-ups are no longer an option. The magnitude of the crimes is well established and the evidence of how the Vatican and its bishops hushed them up in order to protect the reputation and finances of the Catholic church is fully proved. By insisting upon its right to deal with allegations under medieval canon law weighted in favour of the defendant and providing no effective punishment, the church itself became complicit.

Pope says Vatican abuse summit damaged the Church’s credibility

Patheos blog

February 27, 2019

By Barry Duke

NO, not that Pope, but a Catholic priest in Washington DC called Msgr Charles Pope who is disappointed that recently-concluded ‘Protection of Minors in the Church’ summit signally failed to trash gay priests.

Writing for the National Catholic Register, Pope said that he’d hoped that three things would be discussed to restore the credibility of the Church:

1. The summit must focus on more than the sexual abuse of minors by clergy – it must also address the sexual abuse of vulnerable or subordinate adults.

2. The summit must speak to the link between homosexuality and sexual abuse by clergy.

3. The summit must establish a way forward to establishing greater accountability for bishops.

Of the three, he said only the last was addressed.

What seems to upset him most was the failure to address issue No 2:

Regarding the second point, the silence – even outright refusal to discuss – the clear connection between the sexual abuse crisis and active homosexuality in the priesthood is a severe blow to credibility.

That Cardinal Blase Cupich, a key organizer of the summit, denies a causal relationship between homosexual clergy and the fact that more than 80 percent of the victims have been post-pubescent males is not credible to most Catholics. There is simply no logical basis for such a claim, except perhaps among LBGTQ ideologues.

While this should not be used to rationalize the demonization of all people suffering from same-sex attraction, neither should we miss the opportunity to assess the data honestly and develop sane policies in response. In less politically-charged moments, Pope Francis has said as much.

Survivors Network: Naming Priests Accused Of Sexual Abuse Is A Big Step, But More Needs To Be Done

DES MOINES (IA)
Iowa Public Radio

February 27, 2019

By Katie Peikes

A support group for people who have been abused by clergy says the Diocese of Sioux City’s decision to publish a list of priests accused of sexual abuse is a big step towards transparency, but they still have some concerns.

Up until Monday, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sioux City had never published a list of priests “credibly accused” of sexually abusing minors. The list names 28 that face more than 100 credible allegations. Of the 28 priests on the list, 22 are deceased and only one of the remaining six still lives in Iowa, but has left the priesthood.

Zach Hiner, the executive director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, says the list is a step towards healing.

“This is one sign that church officials in Sioux City understand the importance of these lists, both for the prevention of future abuse and for the healing of survivors,” Hiner said.

Hiner says there’s still a lot that’s missing, though.

These public figures are defending convicted child sex abuser George Pell

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The New Daily

February 27, 2019

Cardinal George Pell has lodged an appeal after being found guilty on five charges of sexually abusing two boys in the 1990s.

But there are many defending him. Some question the verdict, others say it is inconsistent with his character.

Many of his defenders didn’t attend the trial, and weren’t exposed to the days’ worth of evidence presented to the court.

News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt believes Pell is innocent: “He is a scapegoat, not a child abuser.”

In his column for the Herald Sun, Bolt went on to say he’d met Pell about five times and liked him.

“The man I know seems not just incapable of such abuse, but so intelligent and cautious that he would never risk his brilliant career and good name on such a mad assault in such a public place.”

Bolt’s News Corp colleague Miranda Devine made a similar claim, that Pell was the victim of a “lynch mob” and “sacrificial lamb” for the Church’s abuses.

“They hate him because he is a conservative Catholic, the implacable enemy who stood in the way of ‘progress’ in the Church. While fellow Catholics crumbled and appeased, he unequivocally defended Church teachings and refused to compromise over gay marriage, euthanasia, abortion, or wedge issues such as communion for divorcees. And now they think they’ve won,” she wrote.

Church cannot implement reforms alone

PARIS (FRANCE)
LaCroix International

February 27, 2019

The president of the Independent Commission of Inquiry into Sex Abuse in the Catholic Church in France, Jean-Marc Sauvé, has said that the Church should accept aid in the battle against abuse, adding that the Church has taken a new step on "the path of a radical break" with abuse with the Rome summit on sex abuse from Feb. 21-24.

In this interview, Sauvé discusses the implications of last week's Rome summit on sex abuse with La Croix's Marie Malzac.La Croix: What did you learn from the Rome summit that has just concluded?

Pope Francis just declared ‘all-out battle’ on clergy sex abuse. We have no reason to take him seriously

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Examiner

February 26, 2019

By Becket Adams

Pope Francis concluded the Vatican’s summit on clerical sexual abuse this weekend by promising an “all-out battle” against this disease plaguing the Roman Catholic Church.

A bold statement, but in the words of St. Thomas the Apostle: I’ll believe it when I see it.

“We are dealing with abominable crimes that must be erased from the face of the earth,” Francis said, adding that “even a single case of abuse” must be answered, “with the utmost seriousness.”

He also said the church would “spare no effort to do all that is necessary to bring to justice.”

Nice words, but we have no reason to take them seriously, especially when they come from Francis.

First, as just a brief aside, what does he mean by "all-out battle"? Has the church not been doing this already?

Secondly, we’ve heard these promises before. In the early 2000s, after the Boston Globe uncovered rampant sexual abuse in the Boston Archdiocese, the Catholic Church promised a vigorous and thorough housecleaning. It was not so vigorous and thorough as we were led to believe, as evidenced by recent reports from Chile, Australia, and Pennsylvania. Further, let's not forget that it was the disgraced, now-laicized former archbishop of Washington, D.C., Theodore McCarrick, who led the church's response to the Boston Globe’s reporting. He served in this capacity despite it being known for years within the church that he was a sexual predator.

Opinion: It is time for change in the Catholic church and that starts with equality for women

IRELAND
The Journal

February 22, 2019

By Colm Holmes

‘Guided by the Holy Spirit we must come together and find new inclusive governance structures to replace the old patriarchal model, which has broken down’, writes Colm Holmes.

SENIOR CATHOLIC BISHOPS from all over the world gather in Rome this week for a four-day summit on clerical sexual abuse, which some say is the most serious crisis in the church since the Reformation.

Child sexual abuse will rightly top of the agenda, but it’s also just this month that Pope Francis admitted that Catholic priests and bishops have sexually abused nuns and that that abuse is likely to still be happening.

“I think it is still going on because it’s not something that just goes away like that,” said Pope Francis. He correctly identified that it is a cultural problem, the roots of which lie in “seeing women as second class”.

That was a very honest admission by the pope – that women are seen as second class within the Catholic Church. They were viewed that way by society at large for many centuries – women were there to raise children but men were in charge.

That has changed dramatically in the last 100 years, at least in western countries, with women getting the vote and almost all career paths being open to them.

Abuse in the Church: 'If people are not aware of an issue, they do not perceive it'

ROME
La Crox International

February 26, 2019

By Céline Hoyeau

The president of the International Union of Superiors General discusses last week's Rome Meeting on the Protection of Minors in the Church

In this interview with La Croix, White Sister Carmen Sammut, who is president of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), discusses last week's Rome Meeting on the Protection of Minors in the Church in which she took part.

La Croix: What was your experience of the meeting on the protection of minors? Were you changed personally over the course of the event?

Truth and justice after the Cardinal Pell verdict

AUSTRALIA
La Croix International

February 26, 2019

By Frank Brennan, SJ

What is absolutely essential is that the law be allowed to do its work

The suppression order in relation to Cardinal George Pell has been lifted. In December, a jury of 12 of his fellow citizens found him guilty of five offences of child sexual abuse.

No other charges are to proceed. Cardinal Pell has appealed the convictions. The verdict was unanimous. The jury took three days to deliberate after a four-week trial. The trial was in fact a re-run. At the first trial, the jury could not agree. The trial related to two alleged victims, one of whom had died.

Members of the public could attend those proceedings if they knew where to go in the Melbourne County Court. Members of the public could hear all the evidence except a recording of the complainant's evidence from the first trial.

The complainant, who cannot be identified, did not give evidence at the retrial; the recording from the first trial was admitted as the complainant's evidence.

The place of sexual abuse victims in the Vatican

VATICAN CITY
La Croix International

February 25, 2019

By Céline Hoyeau and Gauthier Vaillant

For the victims, any priest or bishop who has committed or covered up sexual abuse should be dismissed from the clerical state

Assembled beneath the banner of the international organization, Ending Clerical Abuse, victims of sexual abuse from all over the world were present in Rome for the Meeting on the Protection of Minors in the Church.

The wind blowing across St. Peter's Square is ice-cold on this sunlit Sunday Feb. 24. But if Jean-Marie Fürbinger admits to being cold, it is because of the pope's concluding speech, not the wind.

Cardinal Pell Avoids Immediate Discipline from the Vatican

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 27, 2019

So much for the “all-out battle.”

Just days after making bold statements in Rome, Pope Francis is continuing the trend he set during his global summit by choosing not to discipline prelates who have committed crimes against children. Despite being convicted of sexually abusing two young boys, Cardinal George Pell won’t face immediate discipline from the Vatican, according to church spokespersons.

We continue to be astounded by the Vatican’s reticence to discipline men who have committed, abetted, covered up or minimized cases of abuse. Yet Cardinal Pell’s case in particular is even more shocking.

Cardinal Pell has been convicted in a court of law in the country that he calls home. If such a conviction is not enough to compel immediate action from Pope Francis, then what will be? When can survivors, parents, and parishioners expect Pope Francis’ next salvo in his “battle” against abuse?

The answer from church officials seems to be “not anytime soon.” We hope that when Cardinal Pell is sentenced for his crimes, Australian survivors will find solace and healing.

Judge Pope Francis on actions, not intentions

INDIA
LA Croix International

February 26, 2019

By Father Myron Pereira SJ, Mumbai

Vatican summit on sex abuse outlined the scale of the problem, but words are not enough

"Go, Francis — repair my Church!" These words of the crucifix in the church of San Damiano to Francis of Assisi are addressed urgently today to Pope Francis.

No assembly in Rome has had greater significance in recent times than the four-day meeting of the heads of bishops' conferences that concluded on Feb. 24. The agenda was particularly painful: how to heal the decades of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults perpetrated by the Church's own clergy and hierarchy.

Sanchez: Church needs to admit that priests often have active sex lives

LAKELAND (FL)
Lakeland Ledger

February 26, 2019

By Mary Sanchez

In the early 1980s, Americans were absorbed by the forbidden love of a dashingly handsome Roman Catholic cardinal and the equally beguiling woman with whom he’d fathered a child.

Would the cleric, Ralph de Bricassart, renounce his holy orders and forego the riches and power of his position at the Vatican for the love of a woman? Would he join his beloved Meggie Cleary and her son, the young man he adored, who was in fact his son too?

Alas, “The Thorn Birds” was a television miniseries, after “Roots” the most watched of its time.

The romance was so alluring because the love was forbidden. Yet even to my then young Catholic mind it seemed quite plausible. Of course priests sometimes violate the discipline of celibate chastity, fall in love and desire a family.

Last week, the Vatican made a telling admission that the church has guidelines for what to do with “children of the ordained” -- and, as the New York Times reported, those guidelines are secret.

Wouldn’t it seem, at this point, that there should be no more big revelations about sex that the church needs to admit?

No, we’re not there yet.

Falling on deaf ears: Pope Francis doesn’t fully grasp accusations against church

WATERTOWN (NY)
Watertown Daily Times

February 27, 2019

If Pope Francis is concerned that some people spend years accusing the Roman Catholic Church of wrongdoing, perhaps he should consider the institution’s history of covering up instances of sexual abuse and trying to silence victims.

Catholic authorities from around the world traveled to the Vatican last week for a summit to address the sexual abuse scandal. This is the first time the church has convened such an event pertaining to the issue.

Pope Francis on Thursday delivered a speech to representatives of the Archdiocese of Benevento, which is in Southern Italy. He spoke of the love that Saint Pio of Pietrelcina had for the church.

“He was distinguished for his steadfast faith in God, firm hope in the heavenly realities, generous dedication to the people and fidelity to the church, whom he always loved with all her problems and her adversities,” according to a transcript of the pope’s speech posted on the Vatican’s website. “I will pause a little on this. He loved the church, with the many problems the church has, with so many adversities, with so many sinners. Because the church is holy, she is the bride of Christ. But we, the children of the church, are all sinners — some big ones! — but he loved the church as she was. He did not destroy her with the tongue as it is the fashion to do now. No! He loved her.”

As he has done previously, Pope Francis said many of those who make repeated accusations against the Catholic Church have a malicious intent.

“He who loves the church knows how to forgive because he knows that he himself is a sinner and is in need of God’s forgiveness. He knows how to arrange things, because the Lord wants to arrange things well but always with forgiveness: One cannot live an entire life accusing, accusing, accusing the church. Whose is the office of the accuser? The devil! And those who spend their life accusing, accusing, accusing, are — I will not say children because the devil does not have any. But [they are] friends, cousins, relatives of the devil. And no, this is not good; flaws must be indicated so they can be corrected. But at the moment that flaws are noted, flaws are denounced, one loves the church. Without love, that is of the devil.”

It’s understandable that Pope Francis wants people of faith to continue loving the church. He is correct that it has been a source of much good in the world.

Getting to the Root of the Problem

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

February 27, 2019

By Jorge I. Dominguez-Lopez

In 2003, when the first wave of sexual abuse by the clergy in the United States was at its critical point, a Latin American priest visiting New York told me: “We in Latin America read the news about the sexual abuse scandals in the Church in the United States but we can’t understand how such a thing could happen.”

For him – as for many commentators at that time – this was just an American problem.

A few years later, the epidemic of sexual abuse scandals hit Ireland and Australia. Some experts offered then another explanation – the sexual abuse epidemic was an Anglo-Saxon problem.

The new theory ignored cases of abuse in the last century like that of Mexican priest Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi movement. Other famous cases in Latin America include Peruvian layman Luis Fernando Figari, founder of Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV), a lay Catholic movement, and Fernando Karadima. After years of accusations, Karadima was defrocked by Pope Francis last September.

Karadima’s case was the prelude of the Chilean church’s crisis that exploded last year and resulted in a meeting at the Vatican where all the bishops of Chile presented their resignation to the Holy Father.

Last September, a study revealed that at least 1,670 members of the clergy and lay workers in the church in Germany had been accused of sexual abuse between 1946 and 2014. Six days later, an investigation revealed that 20 out of 39 Dutch cardinals, along with bishops and their auxiliaries “covered up sexual abuse,” for more than 65 years. Italy and India had their share of scandalous revelations too during the same year.

It became clear that the sexual abuse scandal was neither an American, nor an Anglo-Saxon problem. It became clear too in America that it was not a “Catholic problem” as scandals in Hollywood, Protestant denominations and the sports world came to light.

One year after setting off "tsunami," a victim talks of healing and continuing faith

BUFFALO (NY)
WBFO Radio

February 27, 2019

By Michael Mroziak

It was his revelation of sexual abuse as a minor, at the hands of a Catholic priest, which began what Bishop Richard Malone later admitted was an overwhelming number of similar claims and complaints lodged against dozens of priests within the Diocese, dating back decades.

One year to the day his revelation touched off a "tsunami," as it was later described," Michael Whalen holds on to his Catholic faith but will finally do something he felt unable to do for roughly 40 years—attend Mass.

On February 27, 2018, Michael Whalen stood on the sidewalk along Main Street, near the intersection with Pearl and Edward Streets, across the street from the downtown offices of the Diocese of Buffalo. It was then and there, as part of a call to state lawmakers to pass the Child Victims Act, that Whalen first revealed in public the abuse he suffered as a child.

The priest who abused him, Father Norbert Orsolits, later confessed to molesting Whalen and dozens of others when approached by the Buffalo News.

One year later, Whalen was feeling upbeat when he met one-on-one with WBFO. He is a man who has found peace.

Graphic and painful testimony on sex abuse

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Providence Journal

February 27, 2019

By Katherine Gregg

Grown-ups sexually molested when they were children — by their local parish priests, by sports coaches, family members, even by the notorious Larry Nassar — came to the Rhode Island State House on Tuesday night to tell their horrific stories, some for the second or third time.

And some were more graphic than others, including Ann Hagan Webb, the 66-year-old psychologist and sister of the Rhode Island lawmaker who introduced the legislation that was the focus of Tuesday night’s House Judiciary Committee hearing. Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee’s legislation would extend from 7 years to 35 the statute of limitations on the pursuit of legal claims against child molesters and any institution employing them that looked the other way.

“Usually we save ourselves, and you, the pain by using generalities like ‘child abuse’ or ‘molestation’ and leave it at that. It’s time to rip the scab off,” Webb told the lawmakers.

Identifying the late Monsignor Anthony DeAngelis as her molester over a seven-year period that began when she was in kindergarten at the Sacred Heart elementary school in West Warwick, Webb recounted a series of disjointed images:

“He’s in a priest’s robe, raping me with crucifix.... I remember the gross look of his genitals close to my face.... I remember choking and gagging ... I remember my arm hurting from the repetitive movement of manually bringing him to climax ... I remember the sound of the rosary beads as one of the sisters brought me over to the church to meet him.”

Herbert “Hub” Brennan, a well-known physician from East Greenwich, recounted being molested, repeatedly, when he was a child, by the Rev. Brendan Smyth, a visiting priest, counselor and teacher at Our Lady of Mercy School and Church in East Greenwich, between 1965 and 1968. Smyth later returned to Ireland and pleaded guilty there to 141 counts of sexual abuse. He died in prison.

“Smyth would call from his rectory across the street from the school and have the nuns pull me out of my second or third grade classroom ... [where] I would wait until he entered and took me across the hall to the nurse’s office where he would abuse me,″ though sometimes, “as an altar boy, he would molest me in the dressing room next to the altar.”

Not all of the people who testified blamed clergy.

Vatican contrast on Pell, McCarrick driven by doubt about guilt

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

February 27, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

Like virtually everyone in Catholic circles, the Vatican has known since December about Cardinal George Pell’s conviction in his native Australia for alleged sexual offenses against two minor boys in 1996. As a result, Rome was not at all caught off guard when news of the conviction made the rounds Tuesday, after a gag order was lifted.

The statement read aloud to reporters Tuesday by Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti was not, therefore, cobbled together under tight deadline pressure. On the contrary, officials had three months to ponder what they wanted to say when the moment came.

That truth makes it all the more striking how little the statement actually said - no word about any Church trial of Pell, nothing about taking away his cardinal’s red hat or expelling him from the Catholic priesthood, all of which happened to Theodore McCarrick of the United States in what, in Church terms, was the mere blink of an eye.

How does one explain the difference? It’s actually fairly simple: Early on, senior officials were convinced of McCarrick’s guilt. With Pell, they still aren’t.

Over the last couple of days, Crux has spoken with some of the Catholic Church’s leading reformers on clerical sexual abuse, inside the Vatican and out. To be clear, these are not people automatically inclined to give accused clergy the benefit of the doubt, and several are figures who actually dislike some of Pell’s political and theological stances as well as what’s often see as his fairly bruising personality.

Nonetheless, they’ve expressed skepticism that Pell is actually guilty of the crimes with which he was charged and convicted.

‘Sociopathic lack of empathy’: Parents of victims tell of how George Pell ‘crushed’ them

ADELAIDE (AUSTRALIA)
News.Com.AU

February 27, 2019

By Phoebe Loomes

Two parents who reached out to Cardinal George Pell for help after their daughters were sexually abused by a Catholic priest have spoken about his “sociopathic lack of empathy”.

Chrissie and Anthony Foster said the Catholic leader “crushed” them when they went to see him in 1997 about the abuse of their daughters Emma and Katie by priest Kevin O’Donnell who presided over St Mary’s Church in Dandenong, Melbourne, from 1958 to 1986.

When the Fosters approached Archbishop Pell about the horrific sexual abuse of two of their three daughters, the couple said he “bullied” them, and they were shocked by his aggression.

“In our interactions with the now cardinal, Archbishop Pell, we experienced a sociopathic lack of empathy,” Mr Foster told the ABC’s 7.30 before his death in 2017.

“And when we went to them, went to George Pell, he just crushed us,” Ms Foster added. “He just bullied us and spoke over us.”

After being repeated raped by O’Donnell, Emma became addicted to drugs, had eating disorders and self-harmed before overdosing on medication at 26. Katie was hit by a car after a drinking binge in 1999, leaving her brain damaged.

Ms Foster expanded on her comments last night to Leigh Sales on ABC’s 7.30.

Former priest says Pell verdict will not create change within the Catholic Church

BURNIE (AUSTRALIA)
The Advocate

February 27, 2019

By Emily Jarvie

Former Catholic Priest Julian Punch said the Catholic Church needs to be deconstructed, following the finding of prominent member Cardinal George Pell guilty of multiple counts of child sexual abuse.

"It needs to be a different church," Mr Punch said.

"The church has really got to the stage where it is just a group of elderly men who are in denial and who've used the church in terms of a power base. They're certainly not representing any Christian spirit.

"I've got a deep spirituality and I don't see it at all represented in the Catholic Church.

"Besides the survivors of sexual abuse, there's many, many other people that are survivors in terms of the Catholic Church."

Mr Punch said he did not think the Pell verdict would encourage any change within the church.

Lawyers’ list of accused priests includes ‘substantiated’ case of S.I. deacon

STATEN ISLAND (NY)
Staten Island Advance

February 27, 2019

By Maura Grunlund

A list of Roman Catholic priests and religious figures accused of “sexual misconduct” that was released by a law firm last week contains several cases with Staten Island ties that were deemed substantiated by the Archdiocese of New York -- including a native Staten Islander who was a prominent deacon and educator.

The allegation against Deacon Arthur Manzione was “substantiated” by the Lay Review Board and he was “dismissed from the diaconate,” according to Joseph Zwilling, director of communications for the archdiocese.

The list, posted on the website of Jeff Anderson and Associates, a firm that advocates for victims, included the names of about 30 current or former members of the clergy with ties to Staten Island.

Many of the priests on the list whose cases have been deemed substantiated by the archdiocese have been previously reported in the Advance.

The law firm’s list also includes the names of Island clergy against whom abuse allegations were found unsubstantiated by the archdiocese, although specific information about when or where the accusations were made is not provided.

Manzione taught students in Catholic schools on Staten Island for many years before rising to the ranks of associate secretary for education of the Archdiocese of New York, according to Advance records.

Cardinals Sin: Georgetown Appeases, Frustrates Students Seeking Revocation Of Honorary Degrees

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Georgetown Voice

February 27, 2019

By Margaret Gach

Following months of student activism and internal discussions among top administrators, Georgetown University announced it was revoking the honorary degree it conferred on Theodore McCarrick, former cardinal and archbishop of D.C. The Feb. 19 decision comes after McCarrick’s removal from the priesthood three days prior because of sexual abuse allegations against him that became public last summer. This is the first time Georgetown has revoked an honorary degree.

Now, students and Georgetown’s Catholic community are reflecting on the revocation and looking ahead at what they believe the university and the Catholic Church still need to do to address the decades-long clerical sexual abuse crisis.

Julie Bevilacqua (COL ’19) is one of a group of students who met with university officials throughout the fall semester to advocate for the revocations of the honorary degrees given to McCarrick and Cardinal Donald Wuerl—a former archbishop of D.C. accused of covering up clerical sexual abuse. For Bevilacqua and others in the group, the Feb. 19 announcement was a welcome one, but she said their work is far from over.

“I’m feeling simultaneously happy that this degree is finally being revoked and also frustrated that this took so long,” Bevilacqua said. “It’s really important that we remember this is a beginning step and not a final one.”

When the Archdiocese of New York released a statement on June 20, 2018 outlining an accusation that McCarrick had abused a teenage altar boy, Pope Francis ordered McCarrick out of public service and into a life of “prayer and penance” to await a trial in the Vatican. The news set off a series of allegations in other dioceses: Seminarians training to be priests claimed McCarrick had forced them to share a bed with him while they were on retreat, and a Virginia man said that McCarrick, a “family friend,” had sexually abused him over two decades.

The accusations hit the D.C. Catholic community especially hard. McCarrick had been a well-liked archbishop during his time in Washington from 2001 to 2006. Throughout his tenure in D.C., it wasn’t unusual to see him on Georgetown’s campus. McCarrick attended university President John DeGioia’s 2001 inauguration, celebrated Mass in Dahlgren Chapel, was a guest lecturer in classes, and participated in university panels up through 2014. Georgetown conferred an honorary degree on McCarrick in 2004 for his “humanitarian efforts” and “compassionate service to others.”

Vatican to open own investigation into accusations against Pell

ROME (ITALY)
Reuters

February 27, 2019

By Philip Pullella

The Vatican is opening its own investigation into accusations against Cardinal George Pell, who was found guilty of sexual abuse of minors in his native Australia, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

The move means that Pell, who maintains his innocence and plans to appeal the verdict, could be dismissed from the priesthood if the Vatican’s doctrinal department also finds him guilty.

The Pell conviction has been particularly embarrassing for the Vatican and Pope Francis, coming just two days after the end of a major meeting of Church leaders on how to better tackle the abuse of children by clergy.

The 77-year-old Pell, a former top Vatican official, will spend his first night behind bars on Wednesday after he was remanded in custody pending sentencing for sexually abusing two choir boys in Australia two decades ago.

“After the guilty verdict in the first instance concerning Cardinal Pell, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) will now handle the case following the procedure and within the time established by canonical norm,” Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said.

Reaction of conservative Catholics to abuse summit reveals a lot

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

February 27, 2019

By Michael Sean Winters

Checking out how conservative U.S. Catholics reacted to the Vatican sex abuse summit would be funny if it were not so pitiful. After so many years when they criticized NCR for covering the story (amongst other signs of indifference to the Gospel), now they have decided to get busy. They sense a vulnerability in Pope Francis on this issue, saddled as he is with a curia that has been perfecting the art of sabotaging reform for centuries. They intend to ride this train if they can. But, their commentary betrays their biases more than anything else.

There is Tim Busch, founder of the Napa Institute, board member of EWTN, funder of the business school at Catholic University that bears his name, taking to the pages of The Wall Street Journal to suggest the laity, the faithful laity, will stand up to the scourge of clergy sex abuse no matter the cost because the bishops have failed to do so. Chutzpah. This is the man who hired disgraced former Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis John Nienstedt as a kind of house chaplain for his Napa Institute and did not blink at Nienstedt's coddling of a notorious abuser of children among other things. Busch only sacked Nienstedt last summer when the incongruity became too conspicuous to ignore any longer. Say, has Busch ever called for the public release of the document compiled by investigators into Nienstedt's behavior? Did I miss that?

You could count on the folks at Church Militant to be disappointed with the summit. They wanted the bishops to focus on the scourge of homosexuality among the clergy, not the scourge of clergy sex abuse of minors. This despite the facts that there are no reputable studies that indicate a linkage between gays and sex abuse of minors, and most sexual abuse of minors happens within families and involves men violating girls.

This episode of "The Vortex" referred to the meeting as a "Summit of Lies," and called the organizers "liars and are deflecting from the real story. They are all part of the homosexual current identified by Archbishop Viganò." I note in passing that when I clicked on the link, I got an ad for President Trump's reelection campaign. Only an auto-da-fé featuring some gay clergy would have satisfied them.

LifeSiteNews made a splash at the press conferences during the summit. You can see the embedded video of one session here. Their reporter asked, in a rambling speech pretending to be a question, about the connection between gays and sex abuse and Archbishop Charles Scicluna was succinct in his reply that the two have nothing to do with one another. LifeSite's reports before, during and after the summit all focus on the issue of homosexuality.

How a priest's admission to a News reporter sparked Buffalo's clergy sex abuse scandal

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

February 27, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

I knocked on the front door expecting the Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits not to answer – or to slam the door in my face when I introduced myself as a Buffalo News reporter and explained why I had driven 45 minutes to speak with him.

I told Orsolits that a man named Michael Whalen publicly accused the priest of molesting him in the late 1970s. I was looking for a response. Orsolits didn't shut the door.

Little did I know at the time, one year ago today, that our brief conversation would help set in motion the unraveling of decades of cover-up of sexual abuse by more than 100 priests in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo.

Orsolits stepped one foot outside and asked me to repeat the name of the person making the accusation. When I did, Orsolits said he didn't remember anybody named Michael Whalen.

It was an odd reaction. We talked some more. He carefully considered my questions, but didn't give lengthy answers. I didn't immediately take notes because I didn't want to scare him from speaking freely.

Yakima Diocese may post names of accused priests

YAKIMA (WA)
Yakima Herald-Republic

February 26, 2019

By Jane Gargas

Next month the Catholic Diocese of Yakima is considering taking a new — and very public — approach to dealing with sex abuse by members of the clergy.

The Diocesan Lay Advisory Board will discuss at its March meeting whether the diocese should post on its website the names of clergy who have served here and have had credible allegations of sex abuse of a minor made against them.

The group, which meets quarterly, investigates allegations of sexual misconduct in the local Catholic Church. Once they determine whether to publish or not, members will make a recommendation to Bishop Joseph Tyson, who will make the ultimate decision.

“I am leaning one way, but it wouldn’t be fair for me to say before discussing it with the board,” said lay advisory board chair, Russ Mazzola, a Yakima attorney.

Other board members are Jorge Torres, a psychologist; Tom Dittmar, who has a background in law enforcement; Dr. Mark Maiocco, a physician; Monsignor John Ecker, pastor at St. Paul Cathedral, and Elizabeth Torres, an environmental health-project coordinator.

Tyson confirmed that the board is exploring ways to demonstrate more openness.

“Not just in light of the church’s sexual abuse scandals, but the wider scandals involving Penn State football, Olympic gymnastics, and even the #metoo movement, transparency is the key,” he wrote in an email to a reporter.

The two other dioceses in Washington, Seattle and Spokane, publish names of cleric sex abusers on their websites. The Archdiocese of Seattle posted a list of 77 names of offending priests in January 2016, and several more names have since been added.

Top Vatican official's sex abuse conviction latest blow to embattled Roman Catholic Church

NEW YORK (NY)
ABC News

February 26, 2019

By Meghan Keneally

The revelation that a Catholic cardinal in Australia was convicted of molesting boys marks the most senior member of the church to face prison time for sexual abuse.

The charges against Cardinal George Pell -- who was not only a major figure in Australia's Catholic church but also a close adviser to Pope Francis -- were not publicly released until Tuesday because of a law in the country's court system.

In December, he was convicted of molesting two choir boys in the 1990s, but under Australian law, all details of that trial -- including the fact that the trial was held at all -- were suppressed because Pell was set to be subject to a second trial.

But the suppression order was lifted after additional charges relating to allegations that Pell had also abused boys in his hometown of Ballarat in the 1970s were dropped, prompting details of the first trial and conviction to be made public for the first time, according to the Associated Press.

Pell's sentencing hearing is set to begin Wednesday, and he could face up to 50 years in prison, the AP reported. Pell's lawyer Paul Galbally said that Pell maintains his innocence and that an appeal on the conviction has already been filed.

The Australian Broadcasting Company reports that the allegations brought forth in the first trial stemmed from incidents that took place when he was the archbishop of Melbourne, the country's second-most populous city.

Víctimas chilenas de abusos sexuales critican medidas del Papa tras cumbre en Roma: "Buscan blindar" a la Iglesia

[Chilean abuse victims criticize Pope's measures after Rome summit: "They seek to shield" the Church]

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Emol

By Juan Peña

La "Red de Sobrevivientes" calificó como "obsoleta" la decisión de establecer un mecanismo que defina cómo actuar ante la aparición de denuncias y un grupo de escucha para los afectados.

La "Red de Sobrevivientes de Abuso" cometidos en entornos eclesiásticos de Chile criticó las medidas adoptadas por el Papa Francisco en la cumbre que citó en Roma, marcada por la revelación de la destrucción de archivos sobre los autores de abusos sexuales.

Out of ministry but still in the priesthood, argues a priest and survivor

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

February 26, 2019

By Joe McDonald

The day the priest who abused me was buried, the official papers removing him from the priesthood arrived from Rome.

When I was informed of this and sought clarification it was explained to me that technically he died a priest. My reaction to this news was to murmur, ‘thank God’, which surprised not only his confrère sitting in front of me but, to some degree, myself. This response has come back to me in these days as I attempt to reflect prayerfully on the work of the Vatican Summit on Clerical Abuse in Rome, which has just concluded.

Already there has been much comment on this summit. Before it was even finished the debate was framed along the lines: ‘is this the long awaited line in the sand or just the latest cosmetic exercise’? The analysis no doubt will continue. In this short contribution I do not purport to engage in any serious evaluation of its work except to address one aspect that has emerged. That is the tension between those who would argue that the priest who has abused must be removed from ministry and those who agree but also argue we should stop short of dismissing him from priesthood. I belong to the latter.

I am conscious this position may well be unpopular and I care very much that I do not add to the hurt of those already hurt. However it is important to address the issue at hand. There is, in my view, no debate around issues such as taking responsibility, our duty with regard to reporting, right through to full cooperation with civil law which will invariably be accompanied by punishment. At this point, if it is not in place beforehand, there must be clear arrangements to ensure that the priest who has been found guilty has no further unsupervised access to children or vulnerable adults. The National Conference for Safeguarding has done excellent work in this regard.

Ezzati: “Me conmovieron profundamente los testimonios de las víctimas”

[Ezzati: "I was deeply moved by the victims' testimonies"]

CHILE
La Tercera

February 26, 2019

By María José Navarrete

Tras la cumbre vaticana sobre protección de menores en la Iglesia, el cardenal dijo que se necesita avanzar en transparencia. El arzobispo de Santiago valoró las exposiciones hechas por mujeres y la necesidad de mayor colaboración entre obispos.

La semana pasada el arzobispo de Santiago, Ricardo Ezzati, aseguró que siguió “con particular interés y atención” el encuentro convocado por el Papa Francisco en Roma. La cita trató sobre los temas de abusos a menores dentro de la Iglesia. Según contó el prelado, estuvo atento al cronograma, las conferencias de prensa y las ponencias de los expositores, y en conversación con La Tercera entregó sus primeras impresiones.

“Falta control sobre los obispos. Es lo fundamental”

["There is a lack of control over the bishops. It is the fundamental thing"]

ROME (ITALY)
El País (Spain)

February 26, 2019

By Daniel Verdu

Lucetta Scaraffia denuncia la impunidad con la que actúan los obispos en los casos de abusos y subraya la importancia de feminizar la Iglesia para protegerla estas crisis

El suplemento femenino que publica L'Osservatore Romano se imprimió hace un mes con un brutal reportaje sobre los históricos abusos que han recibido las monjas por parte de sacerdotes y obispos. Violaciones, abusos de poder, relaciones de esclavitud... La historia fue reproducida por decenas de medios, abrió un debate cerrado a cal y canto durante años en la Iglesia y obligó al Papa a pronunciarse y a reconocer el problema en pleno vuelo de vuelta de su viaje a Abu Dabi. Aquella apuesta periodística, como tantas otras, fue idea de Lucetta Scaraffia (Torino, 1948), periodista, historiadora y directora de Mujeres, Iglesia y Mundo, el valiente suplemento que dirige y que impulsó el anterior responsable e L'Osservatore, Giovanni Maria Vian. Azote del machismo rampante en la Iglesia, Scaraffia está convencida que la institución debe feminizarse para afrontar plagas como la de los abusos.

“La Iglesia ha superado todos los límites de la decepción”

[Spanish victims: "The Church has exceeded all limits of disappointment"]

MADRID (SPAIN)
El País

February 25, 2019

By Julio Núñez and Íñigo Domínguez

Las víctimas españolas sienten que la cumbre sobre pederastia en el Vaticano ha sido “un lavado de cara”

La mayoría de las víctimas españolas de abusos sexuales en la Iglesia consultadas por este periódico afirman que no les sorprende el discurso vacío de medidas concretas del papa Francisco tras la histórica cumbre sobre la pederastia celebrada la semana pasada en el Vaticano. No tenían muchas esperanzas, dicen, de que los obispos anunciasen acciones para reparar el daño a los afectados, que han visto cómo los abusos que sufrieron por clérigos han prescrito. “Han superado todos los límites de la decepción. Han legalizado ante el mundo su intención de seguir ocultando y permitiendo los abusos en su seno. Ha sido una ceremonia estética sin ética alguna”, opina Teresa Conde, de 52 años, víctima de un religioso de los trinitarios de Salamanca que comenzó a abusar de ella cuando tenía 14 años.

Editorial: El Papa no ha logrado imponer medidas concretas contra la pederastia

[Editorial: Pope has failed to impose concrete measures against pedophilia]

MADRID (SPAIN)
El País

February 26, 2019

La celebración desde el pasado viernes hasta el domingo de una cumbre en el Vaticano con los presidentes de conferencias episcopales de todo el mundo que han tratado exclusivamente el problema de la pederastia en el interior de la jerarquía católica constituye un hecho sin precedentes en la historia de la Iglesia y como tal debe ser valorado. Se trata de un escándalo de carácter delictivo a escala global que afecta tanto a 1.254 millones de católicos como a decenas de países donde se han producido durante décadas los delitos que han sido ocultados a sus sistemas judiciales.

El obispo de San Sebastián reconoce haber instruido cinco casos de pederastia desde 2017

[Bishop of San Sebastian admits learning about five pedophilia cases since 2017]

MADRID (SPAIN)
El País

February 26, 2019

By Julio Núñez

José Ignacio Munilla revela que recibió varias denuncias después de que saliera a la luz que el exvicario de su diócesis había abusado de dos menores

El obispo de San Sebastián, José Ignacio Munilla, ha reconocido haber instruido desde 2017 cinco procesos canónicos sobre pederastia, cuatro de ellos no conocidos hasta ahora. Durante una entrevista este lunes en Radio Euskadi, Munilla ha recordado que a comienzos de su mandato como obispo de Gipuzkoa, en 2016, abrió una investigación contra el entonces vicario, Juan Kruz Mendizábal, después de recibir varias denuncias de abusos.

February 26, 2019

AG issues 400 subpoenas seeking records from Catholic churches in Nebraska

LINCOLN (NE)
Lincoln Journal Star

February 26, 2019

By Riley Johnson

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson issued more than 400 subpoenas to Catholic churches and institutions across the state Tuesday to compel officials to turn over information on child sexual assault and abuse within the church.

The legal summonses seek all records or information related to any assault or abuse that has occurred by those employed or associated with each church or institution, whether previously reported or not, according to a news release.

Thus far, the state's three dioceses have cooperated with Peterson's investigation, which sought 40 years of internal investigative records.

However, Peterson "believes subpoenas are necessary in order to ensure all reports of impropriety have been submitted to the appropriate authorities," the news release said. "It is our goal that all reports of abuse are subject to complete law enforcement review and investigation as warranted."

Asked whether state investigators believe church officials have withheld pertinent records, a spokeswoman for Peterson had no comment.

In August, the Attorney General's Office requested anyone with knowledge of abuse by clergy or other church staff to report it and that the state's three bishops turn over diocese records concerning alleged abuse.

Lancaster County Attorney Pat Condon, who is assisting in the investigation, deferred comment on his review of records. But in November, he said the Diocese of Lincoln was cooperating.

Peterson and his counterparts in other states announced their investigations into child sex abuse within the church in the wake of the August release of findings from a probe into the problem in Pennsylvania.

A two-year grand jury examination there led by Pennsylvania's attorney general identified 300 priests credibly accused of abusing more than 1,000 children dating back to 1947 in the state's six dioceses.

In late November, the Omaha Archdiocese released a report identifying 38 clergy that it said had substantiated abuse allegations against them.

The Diocese of Lincoln hasn't yet issued a similar report.

But in November, Lincoln Bishop James Conley announced the diocese would have an independent task force review allegations of child sexual abuse and misconduct with minors and how the diocese handled them.

Within the Diocese of Lincoln, there are 134 parishes, according to the Nebraska Catholic Conference. Nebraska has 350 Catholic churches overall.

In the pews, parishioners at Catholic churches across Lincoln have regularly offered prayers at Sunday Masses for those victimized by clergy and church staff. They've also prayed for diocese officials as they lead the Catholic church in turbulent times.

The diocese's four-person task force was instructed to issue a final report on its findings and what information Conley should release to the public by Feb. 1.

A spokesman for the diocese didn't immediately respond to requests for comment on the issuance of subpoenas or the status of the task force's work.

Those clergy named in the Omaha report were mostly priests, and some cases date back 60 years but were reported after 1978, the year the state probe looks back to.

The archdiocese said 34 of the 38 clergy members were accused of abusing minors before 2002, when the U.S. Conference of Bishops required dioceses to take steps to protect children. None remain with the archdiocese.

California priest is accused of manipulating illegal immigrant followers into letting him masturbate them to 'cure' them of their sins

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Daily Mail

February 26, 2019

By Chauncey Alcorn

A California priest who allegedly manipulated his followers into letting him masturbate them to 'cure' them of their sins has been arrested.

Jesus Antonio Castaneda Serna, 51, headed the Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Anglican Church in Fresno.

He was taken into custody on Sunday after a 13-month investigation and charged with multiple counts of sexual battery, battery, and attempted sexual battery.

Focus: Michigan Clergy Sex Abuse Investigation

CADILLAC (MI)
9 & 10 News

February 26, 2019

By Joe Buczek

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is going full-speed ahead on the state’s investigation into the Catholic Church.

Kevin Essebaggers gets you up to speed on the actions taken already, and Nessel’s plans for the future of the investigation into predator priests. We also hear everything the Attorney General had to say on the matter at her recent press conference.

Hampden DA Anthony Gulluni 'dissatisfied' with clergy sex abuse reporting by Springfield Diocese

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Springfield Republican

February 26, 2019

By Anne-Gerard Flynn

Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said Tuesday he is "dissatisfied" with what he termed the "inconsistency in reporting" of clergy sexual abuse by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield.

The district attorney is urging victims and their families to call his office's newly established hotline to report sexual abuse by members of clergy in Hampden County.

"I direct them to contact a Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Hampden County District Attorney's Office at 413 800-2958," said Gulluni during a press conference called in response to a recently released abuse report from the Springfield Diocese, whose data Gulluni says does not match what is in his files.

"This hotline is created to allow victims to report directly to law enforcement any allegations of any sexual crimes committed by a member of the clergy in Hampden County," Gulluni said. "I have established this hotline so the rights of victims are preserved and any allegations can be properly vetted and investigated by law enforcement where appropriate."

While stopping short of accusing the diocese of any wrongdoing and saying the hotline can be used even if someone also contacts the diocese, Gulluni said data on what the diocese said were the number of yearly abuse reports back to 1986 did not match referrals in his possession in recent reviews even given the fact that the diocese covers all four counties of Western Massachusetts.

"Given these reviews in the past several months I am dissatisfied with the system in place and in the inconsistency of reporting over the last many years," Gulluni said.

"This hotline is a step to rectify and improved the reporting system to ensure victims claims are heard, addressed and respected," he added.

Gulluni told reporters that a two-page report on the diocesan website and published in February's issue of The Catholic Mirror shows 15 reports of clergy sexual abuse made to the diocese in 2018.

He quoted a Republican news report in which the diocese said its outreach to all victims includes "the commitment to report all cases to the appropriate district attorneys' offices which we have done."

"Following a period of appropriate due diligence by my office in reviewing its files we have not received referrals of any kind from the diocese that comport with its own public statements," Gulluni said.

Springfield Diocese spokesperson Mark Dupont said that of the 15 cases reported in 2018 "nine were reported, the remainder were either anonymous or came to us via other attorneys directly to the offices of (diocesan) Attorney Jack Egan so there was no intake."

Dupont said difference in other referral numbers may be due to the fact that the diocese has followed a directive that he said predates Gulluni's tenure as district attorney here to not refer allegations against deceased priests, but will do so going forward.

He also said in response to one specific referral of a letter that Gulluni mentioned to not originally having in his possession in response to a reporter's question but now does from the diocese, that the diocese has "undertaken a new policy to send all future notifications via certified mail with return receipt."

Dupont showed a copy of the letter that appeared to be sent to another district attorney's office in 2011.

"We maintain this new hotline number should be promoted and made available for all victims of abuse, certainly including church abuse victims," said Dupont, reiterating the diocese's response when initially asked about the hotline.

"All victims of abuse are entitled to equal and fair treatment. The diocese will do its part in making this new number available on our website and through all parishes in Hampden County.

Pell's conviction applauded in the US

AUSTRALIA
Associated Press

February 26, 2019

By Peter Mitchell

US victims of clergy abuse have welcomed Cardinal George Pell's child rape conviction in Australia.

America's largest support group for survivors, St Louis-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said Pell's prosecution offered two lessons.

"First, police and prosecutors are doing what popes and prelates are NOT doing - exposing child-molesting clerics," SNAP said in a statement.

"Second, kids can be protected from even powerful and politically connected predators if survivors are smart and brave enough to trust law enforcement."

Pell, Australia's highest-ranking Catholic, raped a choirboy in the 1990s in Melbourne and molested another.

Former Seattle nun wants less talk, more action from Pope Francis to address sex abuse

SEATTLE (WA)
KUOW Radio

February 26, 2019

By Andy Hurst and Kim Malcolm

Kim Malcolm talks with Mary Dispenza about the recent Vatican meeting on clerical sex abuse.

Pope Francis recently held an historic meeting at the Vatican to address sex abuse within the Catholic Church. But many advocates, including Dispenza, say the summit ended with few concrete actions.

Dispenza, a former nun, is the Northwest Director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, also known as SNAP.

Listen to the interview by clicking the play button above.

Testimony: Providence diocese has paid more than $21 million to settle clergy-abuse claims

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Providence Journal

February 26, 2019

By Katherine Gregg

In an effort to demonstrate to Rhode Island lawmakers how seriously it takes sexual misconduct allegations, an arm of the Catholic Diocese of Providence has acknowledged paying “over $21 million in legal settlements,″ and another $2.3 million for counseling to “resolve″ more than 130 claims of abuse by clergy in church-run schools and parishes.

The diocese reported the payouts in written testimony the Rhode Island Catholic Conference filed with the House Judiciary Committee in advance of Tuesday night’s hearing on legislation — co-sponsored by 58 of 75 House members — that would extend the time for filing civil suits against the perpetrators of child sex abuse, and the institutions that employed them, from seven to 35 years.

The diocese does not spell out the time period the 130 claims encompassed, or the number of victims to whom the settlements were paid. Nor does it name the priests or church staff implicated in these long-hidden crimes.

But the diocese laid out its case for a massive rewrite of the legislation that Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee has championed in a 15-page filing with the committee submitted in recent days, at the same time as graphic accounts emerged of alleged sex abuse by clergy that the Diocese of Providence have provided the Rhode Island State Police since 2011.

Hotline created to report clergy sex abuse

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
WWLP TV

February 26, 2019

Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni announced the establishment of a clergy sex abuse hotline at a news conference this afternoon.

The hotline is being setup following the recent disclosures by the Diocese of Springfield.

In a statement from the Diocese of Springfield, spokesman Mark Dupont said while they think the hotline is a good idea, they would urge the D.A. to expand it and make it available to all victims of sexual abuse, not simply to one class of victims.

Hotline: 413-800-2958 staffed by Massachusetts State Police

Registered sex offender arrested after approaching Jackson school for business deal

JACKSON (TN)
Jackson Sun

February 13, 2019

By Cassandra Stephenson

A Jackson man was arraigned Monday with a charge of violating the sex offender registry after he tried to secure a business agreement with a local secondary school.

Chad Lutrell, 39, allegedly went to St. Mary's Catholic School to secure an agreement regarding the school's recyclable materials, according to court documents. As Lutrell exited an office after the meeting, a woman walking into the building recognized him as a registered sex offender. She reported it to the principal, who contacted the Jackson Police Department. The incident was recorded by the school's security cameras.

A representative from St. Mary's Catholic School declined to comment on the incident.

Lutrell was convicted of sexual battery in Madison County in 2009. The Tennessee Sexual Offender Registry lists him as a sex offender against children.

The Jackson Police Department Sex Offender Unit and U.S. Marshals Service arrested Lutrell at his home in Jackson on Tuesday morning. He is being held at Madison County Jail with a $5,000 bond.

Priest sex abuse victim helps heal through poetry

EVANSVILLE (IN)
WTHR TV

February 26, 2019

By Jennie Runevitch

Just a few days ago, the Diocese of Evansville released the names of a dozen Indiana priests with credible accusations of sex abuse against children, spanning decades.

One of the victims only shared his story of abuse after years of silence. And it took his talent for poetry to start healing those old wounds.

"It really was a cathartic process," said poet Norbert Krapf. "When I moved back to Indiana, it brought all of it back up and that's when I started to write. I knew that I had to tell my story because I knew it would tell a lot of other stories, too."

Krapf read to us some of his poetry from "Catholic Boy Blues", that weaves honesty about the scars with hope for change.

"Nobody in any of these stories, wherever they take place, will live happily ever after," Krapf read. "But if people can summon what it takes to tell the truth, they can live together and help others find their voice. One voice singing by itself can sound awfully small, but several voices lifting as one can make a chorus that sings a mighty song."

Norbert Krapf turned to writing to ease the pain of sex abuse he suffered from a priest in southwest Indiana as a child.

It took 50 years for this former Indiana Poet Laureate to find his voice. Fifty years to publicly reveal his secret of being sexual abused by a priest. Krapf says the abuse happened between sixth and eighth grade.

"Abusers prey on trust and they betray trust. And I was not nearly the only person abused by our pastor. We could not tell our parents who would have been so shocked that it would have just destroyed them almost," Krapf said.

He says the abuse ended in 1957. He started writing in 2007.

Sacred Heart Seminary: Ground Zero For Catholic Abuse Scandal In Detroit

DETROIT (MI)
Deadline Detroit

February 25, 2019

By Michael Betzold

“If an investigator knocks on your door, ask to see their badge, not their rosary.”

That’s what Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel told Catholics last week, warning them not to trust the church to self-police its abuse scandal. She said that, like Michigan State University investigating Larry Nassar, the Catholic Church is more interested in protecting itself than serving its flock. I share her suspicions.

Self-policing didn’t work well when I was a high school student boarding at Sacred Heart Seminary in the 1960s. From the close of evening prayers until we sat down to breakfast in the refectory the next morning, Grand Silence was in force.

You were supposed to be praying for discernment about your vocation, not joking around with your classmates. Talking was punishable with demerits, and enough demerits could get you expelled. But any time the proctor was out of the dorm, teenage taunts and tricks would erupt. For some of the less pious among us, our seminary years were spent learning how to defy arbitrary rules that were enforced by a larger patriarchal code of Grand Silence.

I didn’t learn about what that code protected at Sacred Heart until decades later, when a close friend finally revealed that he’d been assaulted by a faculty priest during his senior year. He was not the only victim.

Not surprisingly, seminarians targeted were intimidated and ashamed to speak out. Some were threatened with expulsion or deliberately flunked in classes taught by the perpetrators or their friends on the faculty. Our class size dwindled from over 200 entering freshmen to just 88 graduates. I always thought the attrition was due to the same loss of vocation I was experiencing — or just poor grades. Now I wonder whether some departing classmates were fleeing from abuse.

Five major Catholic leaders taken down by the church sex abuse scandal

ARLINGTON (VA)
USA Today

February 26, 2019

By Lindsay Schnell

The Catholic Church continues to find itself in crisis.

Just days after Pope Francis wrapped up the first-ever Vatican summit on sex abuse –where more than 175 bishops from around the world discussed the clergy sex abuse scandal and how better to respond to victims – the church again drew negative headlines with the news that Australian Cardinal George Pell had been convicted of molestation.

Here are five major players taken down by the scandal.

Cardinal George Pell
Pell, the pope's top financial adviser, was convicted this week of molesting two 13-year-old choir boys in late 1996. The church’s third-most-powerful official, Pell, now 77, is the most senior Catholic cleric ever charged with child sex abuse. Right before the alleged abuse took place, Pell had been named the highest-ranking Catholic in Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city.

'Centuries of entitlement': Emma Thompson on why she quit Lasseter film

LOS ANGELES (CA)
The Guardian

February 26, 2019

By Catherine Shoard

In her resignation letter from the film Luck, the actor questions whether any company should work with disgraced film executive John Lasseter

When the actor Emma Thompson left the forthcoming animated film Luck last month while it was still in production, it was done without public fanfare, and was only confirmed when film-industry publications such as Variety magazine picked up on it. Now Thompson has put herself firmly above the MeToo parapet with the publication publishing her incendiary letter of resignation addressed to the film’s backers, Skydance Media, one of Hollywood’s most prestigious studios.

It was known that Thompson was unhappy with the arrival in January of former head of Pixar John Lasseter as the new head of Skydance Animation. But the letter goes into extraordinary detail about her disquiet over the appointment of a studio executive whose downfall had been one of the key landmarks of the Me Too and Times Up campaigns.

The move was immediately hailed by activists. Melissa Silverstein, founder and publisher of the website Women and Hollywood tweeted: “This is more than an open letter — Thompson has issued a rallying cry. We hope others with power and privilege will join Thompson in speaking out about abuses of power and those who enable that toxic behavior.”

Emma Thompson’s letter to Skydance: Why I can’t work for John Lasseter

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

February 26, 2019

By Mary McNamara

When Skydance Media Chief Executive David Ellison announced this year that he was hiring John Lasseter to head Skydance Animation, many in and outside the company were shocked and deeply unhappy. Only months earlier, Lasseter had ended his relationship with Pixar — where he had worked since the early ’80s — and parent company Disney after multiple allegations of inappropriate behavior and the creation of a frat house-like work environment. Lasseter had admitted to inappropriate hugging and “other missteps.”

After announcing the hire, Ellison sent a long email to staff, noting that Lasseter was contractually obligated to behave professionally, and convened a series of town halls in which Lasseter apologized for past behavior and asked to be given the chance to prove himself to his new staff. Meanwhile, Mireille Soria, president of Paramount Pictures Animation, with which Skydance has a distribution deal, took the highly unusual step of meeting with female employees to tell them that they could decline to work with Lasseter.

But it was Emma Thompson, the politically outspoken newly anointed dame commander of the British Empire who made the first real definitive statement on Lasseter, and one of the most significant decisions in post-#MeToo Hollywood.

Cardinal George Pell of Australia Convicted of Sexually Abusing Boys in 1996

NEW YORK (NY)]
The New York Times

February 25, 2019

By Livia Albeck-Ripka and Damien Cave

A version of this article was published in print editions on Dec. 14, 2018, but not online, to comply with a suppression order imposed by a judge in Australia, where The Times has a bureau. On Tuesday, Feb. 26, in Australia, the suppression order was rescinded after a second trial was canceled. All the dates below refer to the original December publication date.

MELBOURNE, Australia — An Australian cardinal who was once an adviser to Pope Francis has been convicted of molesting choir boys more than 20 years ago, making him the highest-ranking Roman Catholic leader ever found guilty of sexual abuse.

The unanimous jury verdict against the cardinal, George Pell, 77, was delivered Tuesday in the County Court of Victoria, where a suppression order has prevented media outlets from sharing any information about the case that could be accessed in Australia.

Cardinal Pell’s case was especially significant because he occupied the highest levels of the church hierarchy. He had been tapped by Francis to reform the Vatican’s finances after leading the church’s response to sexual abuse allegations against priests in Australia.

While Catholic bishops have been convicted before in cover-ups of child sexual abuse, this is the first time that a bishop has been convicted of perpetrating such abuse, according to Ann Barrett Doyle, co-director of Bishopaccountability.org, a research and advocacy group. More than 60 bishops have been accused of sexually abusing minors, she said.

Cardinal Pell, who returned voluntarily from the Vatican in July of 2017, was charged with five offenses said to have occurred in December of 1996 during his time as the newly appointed Archbishop of Melbourne.

Australian Cardinal George Pell found guilty of child sex charges

AUSTRALIA
La Croix International

February 26, 2019

The 77-year-old Vatican treasurer on leave of absence was convicted on five charges in Melbourne

Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican treasurer on leave of absence, has been found guilty of child sex abuse and convicted of five charges in an Australian court case.

Pell was found guilty at a secret trial in Melbourne in December after a five-week trial, but the results of the case were not revealed until Feb. 26.

Popular social media ‘prophet’ Joshua Holmes caught on tape in major scandal

Rolling Out

February 26, 2019

By Mo Barnes

A popular pastor and Internet star is now among the latest big names caught for his alleged freaky and ungodly behavior. Joshua Holmes, who followers have called “Jesus in the flesh,” was apparently caught on video pressing his flesh in group sex with female members of his church.

The news was broken by YouTube commentator Larry Reid on his latest show. During the broadcast, Reid referred to and played a portion of a Periscope video where Thomas is calling out by former church member Yasir Wright for derogatory comments. The “Man of God” is heard calling his accuser a “little p—-” and asking “why you on my d— like that.”

Additionally, Thomas challenges him to meet face to face in very shocking language. Reid stated during his podcast that he was sent a link and told to open it before it was taken down. Wright has been active on social media using the Twitter handle Hope Dealer – @YasirWright777. He has repeatedly posted the indiscretions of Prophet Thomas and even names the women in the church Thomas was allegedly having an affair with.

But it gets even worse for Prophet Thomas. Soon after the exchange, the graphic video was posted online showing him engaged in group sex with women who are members of the church. The video was a shock to his followers and supporters. Thomas has been a frequent guest of religious-based programs on The Word Network, whose demographic is a Black Christian audience. According to media outlet Christian Post, the World Network has not responded to the release of the salacious videos.

Former School Director Arrested for Child Porn, SNAP Responds

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 26, 2019

An ex-Long Island Catholic school staffer has just been indicted on child pornography charges. We hope this move will prod others who have been sexually violated to step forward.

This news provides the first opportunity for Bishop John Barres to enlist in the pope’s new “all out war” on abuse. To do that, he must use parish bulletins, church websites and pulpit announcements to beg anyone with information about Michael Wustrow’s alleged crimes to call police. That’s the best way to protect kids – help make sure predators are imprisoned.

Everyone abhors abuse. The question is: will you take steps to stop it? Barres commands a large staff and many resources. So he could help police, prosecutors, parents and parishioners here, if he has the will. Based on our experience, we suspect he doesn’t.

Finally, we are glad Wustrow is being held without bail. That helps protect kids. All too often Catholic officials facing prosecution for child sex crimes fled overseas.

(Wustrow is the former music director at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre, where accused predator priests Fr. Brian Brinker and Fr. Joseph C. McComiskey also worked.)

Pope ends summit with no word on Apuron, drawing disappointment

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

February 26, 2019

By Haidee V Eugenio

Pope Francis closed on Sunday a four-day summit on the protection of children without any word on Guam Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron’s case.

That drew criticism from groups seeking justice for clergy sex abuse victims and the mother of one of the boys Apuron allegedly abused.

For nearly a year now, the pope has been reviewing Apuron's appeal of a Vatican tribunal’s verdict finding Apuron guilty of "certain accusations" involving sexual abuse of minors.

“It was very disappointing and disturbing Apuron’s appeal was not addressed. I feel the pope has let my son, Sonny, and other victims and our island down once again,” said Doris Y. Concepcion, who accused Apuron of sexually molesting her late son, who was an altar boy in Agat in the 1970s.

Concepcion, who now lives in Arizona, testified in Apuron's canonical trial in 2017.

Like Concerned Catholics of Guam and other advocacy groups, Concepcion was hoping the pope would make an announcement at the Feb. 21-24 Vatican summit about Apuron’s nearly year-long appeal.

"The summit is a ruse," Concepcion said..

Clergy sex abuse survivors who gathered at the Vatican, along with victim advocacy groups, expressed disappointment about the perceived lack of concreteness in proposed remedies at the summit.

Zach Hiner, executive director for the Missouri-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, the world's largest and oldest survivors group for abuse victims, said the summit ended up with "reflection points and conversation" instead of concrete steps to punish the likes of Apuron.

Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests responds to Clergy Abuse Summit

ERIE (PA)
WJET-TV

February 26, 2019

Yesterday, we reported on the anti-climactic Clergy Abuse Summit in Rome. Today, SNAP representatives are speaking out about the lack of action taken by those in attendance.

A representative of SNAP says, "After four long days in Rome, survivors and advocates who had hoped to see Catholic church officials take concrete action towards ending the clergy abuse and cover-up crisis were left disappointed. At the end, Pope Francis offered only words, reflection points, and policies to consider for the future.

No bishop who had been involved in covering-up or minimizing allegations was fired. No directive was handed down to order bishops to turn over their secret abuse files to police. No punishment was agreed upon nor system put in place for disciplining those bishops who continue to cover-up abuse cases in the future.

In other words, no child was made safer and no survivor was helped during this summit.

And so, in many ways, not only was the summit everything that survivors expected it would be, but is also an affirmation that we are right to lay our hopes for change at the feet of secular officials, not those in the church.

This summit was called because of the explosive grand jury reports and investigations in places like Pennsylvania and Chile. The work of independent law enforcement officials compelled catholic leaders to look deeply at this problem once again and, now that those same catholic leaders have failed to take direct action, those secular officials will be the ones we are looking to for action in the future.

Pa. clergy sexual abuse survivors voice anger, disappointment over Vatican conference

HARRISBURG (PA)
Patriot Ledger

February 26, 2019

By Charles Thompson

Shaun Daugherty has now taken his three-year public crusade for justice for clergy sex abuse victims just about everywhere.

And it’s led him to a stark conclusion: For now, the local battles over state law are as important as anything that the Roman Catholic Church is attempting to do on a global scale.

“Everybody had better protect their kids, because the Roman Catholic Church is way too big to police themselves, and they’re not even interested in doing that at this point,” Daugherty said he has concluded upon his return from Rome, where he participated in the church’s global meeting on the protection of minors.

Daugherty, who was abused by a priest in his native Johnstown in the 1980s, was one of 12 sex abuse victims from around the world invited to meet with the organizers of the conference. While he appreciated the chance to make a direct case to top church leaders (Pope Francis did not attend that session), he found what he viewed as the lack of concrete action at the conference appalling.

“They’re still researching. They’re still talking," Daugherty concluded. “It’s gut-wrenching to me. I’d say it was funny if it wasn’t so disgusting.”

Dallas victims advocates disturbed by lack of "concrete action" at pope's summit

DALLAS (TX)
Dallas Morning News

February 26, 2019

By David Tarrant

Dallas advocates for sex-abuse survivors expressed frustration and disappointment after an historic four-day summit led by Pope Francis to confront the global crisis within the Catholic Church.

The summit, which wrapped up Sunday, brought together nearly 200 bishops and other Catholic leaders from around the world to focus on prevention of clergy sexual abuse.

But Lisa Kendzior, co-leader of the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, said in a statement that church leaders should've taken more action.

“After four long days in Rome, survivors and advocates who had hoped to see Catholic church officials take concrete action towards ending the clergy abuse and cover-up crisis were left disappointed,” the DFW-SNAP statement said.

“No bishop who had been involved in covering-up or minimizing allegations was fired. No directive was handed down to order bishops to turn over their secret abuse files to police. No punishment was agreed upon nor system put in place for disciplining those bishops who continue to cover-up abuse cases in the future. In other words, no child was made safer and no survivor was helped during this summit,” the statement said.

Francis during the summit did propose 21 “reflection points” to curb clergy sex abuse. Those reflection points included procedures to make bishops accountable and to involve non-ordained experts, or lay people, in abuse investigations.

Anglican Church priest arrested for series of sex crimes committed during time with Fresno church

FRESNO (CA)
KFSN TV

February 25, 2019

By Corin Hoggard and Jason Oliveira

Fresno Police have arrested an Anglican Church priest for a series of sex crimes during his more than a decade with the local church.

Jesus Antonio Castaneda Serna was arrested early Sunday at the Central Fresno church he started -- Holy Spirit.

22 parishioners have come forward to say they'd been victimized by the Anglican Priest but according to police many of the victims are undocumented and afraid to report the crimes to law enforcement.

"He would be facing a maximum of 11 years and six months. That's why is so important for others to come forward and talk to law enforcement," said District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp.

The arrest comes after a 13-month investigation. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyers believes the sex crimes date back years and could have hundreds of victims

"It's our hope that as we progress that we'll be able to interview all of the 22 victims and we hope other people to come forward," said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.

Diocese of Sioux City Releases Names, SNAP Responds

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 25, 2019

Today, the Diocese of Sioux City, IA published a list of priests who had been "credibly" accused of abuse.

It is always helpful for survivors when these lists are posted, especially for those who may be suffering in silence. Seeing that they are not alone helps victims heal, and could also compel others who were abused – whether by the same person or in the same place – to come forward. And often, dioceses will state that they are releasing these lists to assist with survivors in their healing and to help warn the public about these clerics. We are always supportive of those goals and are grateful for this first step towards transparency taken by the Diocese of Sioux City today.

What ends up being problematic is when lists are released that are incomplete or carefully curated and leave off the names of "extern" priests, nuns, deacons, bishops, or other church staff. Sometimes, names are left off because they do not meet the diocese’s ever-changing and nebulous definition of “credible.” And this point about credibility is the focus given the release from Sioux City today.

Ex-music director at St. Agnes Cathedral indicted on child porn charges

ROCKVILLE CENTRE (NY)
News 12 Long Island

February 26, 2019

A former music director at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre has been indicted on child pornography charges.

News 12 first reported on Michael Wustrow in 2017 when he was under federal investigation for possible child exploitation.

Court documents show the 56-year-old is charged with receiving and possessing child pornography.

Wustrow pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail until a court appearance next month.

THE VEIL IS LIFTED: Convicted Cardinal Pell’s Second Secret Sex Abuse Trial Is Called Off

AUSTRALIA
The Daily Beast

February 25, 2019

By Barbie Latza Nadeau and Lachlan Cartwright

One jury found the Vatican's No. 3 prelate guilty of sexually abusing boys, but prosecutors agreed to scrap a second trial on different charges.

Two months after Cardinal George Pell was convicted of sexually abusing boys, a judge has decided the Vatican’s third most powerful official will not face a second trial on similar charges in his home country of Australia.

The decision means that a suppression order that kept the proceedings shrouded in secrecy has been lifted and Pell, 77, will now be sentenced in the original case. Reporters who have attended the proceedings without being able to report them now say the court heard testimony that Pell forced one choir boy to perform oral sex on him after mass and that he masturbated in front the other victim while he groped and fondled him.

Cardinal George Pell found guilty of child sex abuse

AUSTRALIA
NBC TODAY

February 26, 2019

Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis’ top financial advisor, has been found guilty in Australia of child sex abuse, making him the most senior member of the Catholic Church ever charged with such a conviction. NBC’s Anne Thompson reports for TODAY.

Lay Catholics who stay silent are complicit in the church’s failure on abuse

LONDON (ENGLAND)
February 26, 2019

By Joanna Moorhead

In Rome, some commentators describe the child abuse scandal as the worst crisis to hit the Catholic church since the Reformation. That’s way wide of the mark: the current situation, which was the focus last week of a four-day summit of Catholic leaders from across the world, is far worse than the fallout from the emergence of Protestantism 500 years ago. This is a true day of reckoning, and whatever theologians are saying about the ability of this institution to have survived 2,000 years of turbulent history, the stakes have never been higher.

So you might have thought there would be only one topic on the agenda at the thousands of Catholic parishes in the UK last weekend; or even that the organisation’s churches would be empty, with the so-called faithful staying away in disgust. After all, the event in Rome cracked open the sad and sorry depths to which the church has sunk. Pope Francis and 190 leaders, mostly pink- and red-skullcapped prelates and cardinals (they certainly know how to dress up, even if they don’t know how to behave) listened in stunned silence to testimonies, including one from an African woman who relayed her experience of being raped by a priest throughout her teens: three times she got pregnant, and three times he forced her to have an abortion.

Another survivor from Chile said the church’s leaders had discredited victims and protected the priests who abused them, while a Nigerian nun, Sister Veronica Openibo, called out the church’s leadership for its hypocrisy in parading themselves as the custodians of moral values, while covering up atrocities that blighted the lives of the most vulnerable members of its community. Meanwhile one of the pope’s most trusted advisers, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, admitted that files documenting abuse had been “either destroyed or never created”.

Diocese and Cardinal O'Hara HS facing $300M lawsuit by former student

BUFFALO (NY)
WBFO 88.7

February 25, 2019

By Chris Caya

A Niagara County woman, who alleges being sexually assaulted by a Catholic priest when she was a teenager is suing the Diocese of Buffalo. It is believed to be the first suit of its kind, locally, since the state's Child Victims Act was signed into law earlier this month.

Gail Holler-Kennedy is suing the Diocese along with Cardinal O'Hara High School in Tonawanda and the Franciscan orders that ran the school for $300 million.

"There is no amount that can ever bring back what was stolen from an innocent child when they were sexually abused," said attorney Mitchell Garabedian. He says Holler-Kennedy was abused dozens of times between 1978 and 1981 by her then-science teacher Father Mark Andrzejczuk.

"On multiple occassions he wrote passes excusing the plaintiff, a young girl, from attending another teacher's class. And when she was excused, he sexually assaulted her in an empty classroom," Garabedian said.

Fr. Andrzejczuk died in 2011. But Garabedian says the damages he caused Holler-Kennedy are extensive.

Pope Francis condemns clerical sexual abuse but survivors disappointed in lack of action

VATICAN CITY
NBC News

February 24, 2019

Pope Francis called on the church to “do all that is necessary” to bring perpetrators to justice, but survivors were disappointed by a lack of swift action. The Vatican says the pope will issue a new law and create a task force and handbook.

Francis unveils 21-point plan at bishops' summit on abuse of minors

VATICAN CITY
La Croix International

February 22, 2019

Survivors offended as proposals ignore their pleas for zero-tolerance policy

Pope Francis has handed bishops and religious superiors attending the Feb. 21-24 conference in Rome on the abuse of minors a list of 21 action items to consider.

The sex abuse summit and the Vatican's lack of transparency

ROME/VATICAN CITY
La Croix International

February 22, 2019

By Robert Mickens

Illustrative of the Church's fear of revealing the truth is the case of Msgr. Joseph Punderson

On the eve of the Vatican's summit aimed at getting the entire Church to face up to the ever-widening clerical sex abuse crisis, some in the media wondered if the meeting risked being overshadowed by other controversies.

One was supposed to be the issue of gay priests -- whom traditionalist Catholics have scapegoated as pederasts, and a French author has sensationalized in a just-released book in which he claims the Catholic hierarchy and the Roman Curia are full of gay men who are either leading double lives or are actually homophobic and militantly anti-homosexual.

Another looming controversy that was destined to detract from the abuse summit was the recent revelation that the Vatican has issued secret rules for priests who have fathered children.

And yet another was the issue of religious women (nuns) who have been sexually abused and raped by priests and bishops, something the Vatican has tried to keep quiet for a number of decades.

None of these controversies is directly related to the sexual abuse of minors; with apologies to our traditionalist brothers and sisters who are convinced that gay priests are prone to be child molesters.

However, there is an issue that is related to the abuse summit. And it is one that very few people are talking about. It's the Vatican's lack of transparency in dealing with credibly accused predator priests working directly for the Holy See.

State of emergency at the Vatican over sex abuse

VATICAN CITY
La Croix International

February 22, 2019

By Céline Hoyeau, Nicolas Senèze and Gauthier Vaillant

How can we profess faith in Christ when we close our eyes to all the wounds inflicted by abuse? asks Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila

"From the age of 15 I had sexual relations with a priest. This lasted for 13 years. I got pregnant three times and he made me have an abortion three times, quite simply because he did not want to use condoms or contraceptives. At first I trusted him so much that I did not know he could abuse me. I was afraid of him, and every time I refused to have sex with him, he would beat me."

The young African woman, who shared her testimony with the bishops assembled for the meeting on the protection of minors on Feb. 21, left nothing of her Calvary experience to the imagination.

In Poland, admission of sex abuse is causing 'a revolution' in the Church

POLAND
La Croix International

February 21, 2019

By Marie Malzac

In this very Catholic country where silence has long prevailed, the Church is now willing to confront the issue with greater transparency

This is the final in a five-part series on steps taken by Catholic bishops on the various continents.

Like Italy and Spain, where the Catholic tradition is strongly established, the Polish Church has been silent on the issue of sexual abuse for a long time.

In 2009, the Polish bishops published a framework document on combating pedophilia. Measures included help for the victims, attitudes towards priests involved, and the training of future clergy with a focus on prevention.

Abuser priests fundamentally undermine confidence

FRANCE
La Croix International

February 21, 2019

By Céline Hoyeau

The abuser acts in the name of an absolute principle that the abused person also regards as absolute

Dominican Father Gilles Berceville, who teaches spiritual theology at the Catholic Institute of Paris, argues that the current crisis needs to lead to more reflection on the issue of spiritual abuse. La Croix's Céline Hoyeau interviewed the priest.

Céline Hoyeau: In his Letter to the People of God, Pope Francis links sexual abuse, abuse of power and abuse of conscience. How do you explain this?

Father Gilles Berceville: Abuse must not be restricted to sexual assault. An assault by a priest is not merely sexual. It is often a symptom of something deeper, namely spiritual abuse.

How to define this and why is it so serious?

It is a very specific form of abuse of conscience because it is exercised by a person with moral or religious authority.

Inside the horrifying, unspoken world of sexually abusive nuns

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Post

February 16, 2019

By Isabel Vincent

It’s the line from Scripture that stayed with Cait Finnegan for nearly half a century as she tried to suppress the painful memories of the sexual abuse she says she suffered at the hands of her Catholic clergy educator.

“God is Love,” Sister Mary Juanita Barto told Finnegan as she repeatedly raped her in classrooms at Mater Christi High School in Queens in the late 1960s.

The abuse began when Finnegan was 15 and continued throughout her high school years — on school buses to out-of-town sporting events, at religious retreats in upstate New York, at Finnegan’s childhood home in Woodside and at a Long Island convent.

It's not just the Florida spa investigation allegedly tied to Robert Kraft. Sex trafficking is rampant across US

UNITED STATES
USA TODAY

February 25, 2019

By Ryan W. Miller

While charges against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft for soliciting prostitution brought national attention to the issue of sex trafficking on Friday, data, expert opinion and cases from around the USA show how widespread the problem is.

Sex trafficking accounted for 6,081 of the more than 8,500 reported cases of human trafficking in the United States in 2017, according to statistics from the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

There is no official estimate of the total number of human trafficking victims in the U.S. Polaris, a nonprofit that operates the hotline on human trafficking, estimates that the total number of victims nationally reaches into the hundreds of thousands when estimates of both adults and minors and sex trafficking and labor trafficking are aggregated.

Pope Francis declares 'all-out' war on abuse, but lack of 'concrete' plan frustrates survivors

VATICAN CITY
ABC News Videos

February 24, 2019

The conference brought together 190 bishops and cardinals from around the world to address an issue that has seriously undermined the church's moral authority.

Pope vows war on abuse; survivors say let down

VATICAN CITY
Reuters Videos

February 24, 2019

Pope Francis has promised zero tolerance on sex abuse at the end of a landmark conference. But survivors and activists say without concrete action such as defrocking abusing bishops, they don't trust the Church to police itself. Lucy Fielder reports.

Cardinal George Pell found guilty of child sex abuse

AUSTRALIA
The Age

February 26, 2019

By Adam Cooper

Cardinal George Pell has been found guilty and is set to be jailed for child sexual abuse in the most sensational verdict since the Catholic Church became engulfed in worldwide abuse scandals.

Pell, who was Vatican treasurer, close to the Pope and the most senior Catholic figure in the world to be charged by police with child sex offences, has been found guilty of orally raping one choirboy and molesting another in Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral 22 years ago.

Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Catholic charged with child sex abuse, convicted in Australia

AUSTRALIA
The Associated Press

February 25, 2019

MELBOURNE, Australia — The most senior Catholic cleric ever charged with child sex abuse has been convicted of molesting two choirboys moments after celebrating Mass, dealing a new blow to the Catholic hierarchy’s credibility after a year of global revelations of abuse and cover-up.

Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis’ top financial adviser and the Vatican’s economy minister, bowed his head but then regained his composure as the 12-member jury delivered unanimous verdicts in the Victoria state County Court on Dec. 11 after more than two days of deliberation.

The court had until Tuesday forbidden publication of any details about the trial.

The convictions were confirmed the same week that Francis concluded his extraordinary summit of Catholic leaders summoned to Rome for a tutorial on preventing clergy sexual abuse and protecting children from predator priests.

Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell found guilty of child sex charges

AUSTRALIA
CNN

February 26, 2019

By Hilary Whiteman and Ben Westcott

One of the most powerful men in the Roman Catholic Church was found guilty of multiple historical child sex offenses at a secret trial in Melbourne in December, the existence of which can only now be revealed.

Australian Cardinal George Pell, 77, is almost certain to face prison after a jury found him guilty of one charge of sexual penetration of a child and four charges of an indecent act with or in the presence of a child in the late 1990s.

The conviction of Pell, the Vatican treasurer and a close adviser to Pope Francis, will send shockwaves through the church, which is already reeling from accusations of sexual abuse committed by priests worldwide.

Pell is the most senior Catholic official to be found guilty of child sex offenses to date. His conviction brings the escalating international controversy around the abuse of children in Catholic institutions straight to the doors of the Holy See.

February 25, 2019

Where does Jackson diocese stand with members, priests after recent controversies?

JACKSON (MS)
Clarion Ledger

February 26, 2019

By Sarah Fowler

In 2002, a bombshell investigation in Boston revealed that priests had been abusing children for decades and that — also for decades — the church had been attempting to silence the victims and cover up the abuse. As more victims came forward, it was soon clear the abuse was not just confined to a few parishes in Massachusetts — it was a global coverup that implicated hundreds of priests.

Mississippi was not immune. Despite an overhaul of policy and implementing a new program aimed at protecting children, new allegations emerged both locally and internationally. Lawsuits have been filed and either settled or dismissed. The church settled with 29 of 30 victims in 2006, paying them a total of $731,250. In the one case that was not settled, the victim was told he was "twenty years too late," due to the statute of limitations, and his case was dismissed.

Today — as the Jackson diocese prepares to release names of priests who have been accused of sexual abuse and as the church as a whole continues to address claims of sexual abuse while continually reviewing measures to prevent future incidents — Mississippi Catholics find themselves balancing the love of their faith with their reactions to scandals old and new.

Over the last six months, the Catholic Diocese of Jackson has found itself dealing with the following:

A new lawsuit based on previous allegations of a child being victimized by a priest.
A federal affidavit alleging one priest lied to his congregation about having cancer and then raised money for treatment and for an orphanage that has not been proven to exist.
Priests speaking out as informants for the federal government against another priest.
A federal investigation related to the priest who lied about having cancer.
Mississippi Catholics have responded in different ways. Some parishioners are calling on the bishop to resign while others have found a newfound passion for their church community.

Have the Bishops Learned Anything?">The Vatican Summit on Sex Abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
Commonweal

February 25, 2019

By Austen Ivereigh

The contrast was little short of amazing. On the one hand, you had the experience inside the synod hall by the end of last week’s Vatican abuse summit, with talk of a new resolve and clarity. On the other, you had the scorn from victims’ groups who saw only missed opportunities.

Nothing like this had ever been done before: to use a synodal process to effect a global institutional conversion aimed at overcoming mechanisms of denial and resistance. Inside, 190 church leaders were becoming crusaders against child abuse, a shift that was especially notable among the presidents of bishops’ conferences from Asia and Africa, some of whom began the February 21–24 meeting saying this wasn’t their problem. Yet outside, survivors’ spokespeople said the summit was just a wordy exercise for show, one that avoided the real task.

In fact, it was the victims who had been invited to tell the bishops their stories who were catalysts for the conversion of hearts and minds. Fr. Hans Zollner, the determined and methodical German Jesuit who is the pope’s point man on this issue, spoke at the final press conference about working groups and individuals who told him of the transformation they had undergone after hearing from the survivors—many on video, others in person: “When I hear people from Asia and Africa speaking now, in the same language, with the same determination, saying we need to confront this, own this, do something about it, at home—this is for me the most comforting and hopeful experience and impression I have.” Zollner mentioned an Italian woman who had shared an especially powerful story, breaking down at the end. The bishops, cardinals, and religious-order heads stepped forward to thank and comfort her. Their reaction, Zollner told us, was a “sign that this has reached the heart level, and if it reaches that level you can’t be as you were before.”

The victims’ groups demanded “concrete” measures and didn’t see them, despite the pope promising exactly that. “Why can’t he enact zero-tolerance into church law? He has the power to do that,” complained Peter Isely, who represents a group called Ending Clergy Abuse. Yet if “zero tolerance”—a phrase with many meanings—means holding bishops accountable for failures to act on abuse allegations, then the meeting demonstrated that real progress is underway. For one, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will produce a small handbook, a vademecum, so that every bishop in the world will understand his obligations exactly. If bishops don’t fulfill those obligations, the 2016 motu propio “Like A Loving Mother” makes it clear that they will be removed.

To make it easier to report such failures, two measures are likely to be enacted. The first is a proposal from Cardinal Blase Cupich that should make it easier to denounce, investigate, and report on a bishop’s failure to act. (Some version of it is likely to pass the USCCB in June, and will no doubt be copied in other countries.) The second is a plan now being studied by the pope’s C9 advisory body that would create a new dicastery dedicated to coordinating the Vatican’s anti-abuse efforts. According to Cardinal Oswald Gracias, who is one of the C9 advisors, this, too, would make it easier to hold bishops accountable.

Fr. Zollner also announced new “task forces” of experts that will parachute into resource-starved or remote dioceses to boost local safeguarding capacities. There will also be changes to the law. The definition of a minor in Vatican City State laws governing child pornography will be raised from fourteen to eighteen, as part of the introduction of laws to protect minors that will align the Vatican with best practices of the church worldwide. These laws would cover, for example, Holy See diplomats. (There have been two cases in recent years of nunciature staff downloading child pornography.)

One reform that looks certain concerns the so-called “pontifical secret” governing trials of abusive priests. The CDF’s adjunct secretary, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, said that whatever is not strictly necessary to protect the good name and privacy of accusers and the accused while trials are underway will be reviewed in the interests of accountability and transparency. This should make it easier to announce when priests have been tried and found guilty, so that victims can know justice has been done.

And it’s not as if there isn’t more to come. The pope gave the bishops and religious leaders twenty-one recommendations culled from pre-summit submissions that included the screening of candidates, the reporting of allegations, and so on. The small groups discussed these and added at least as many new ones, which organizers said would be studied immediately with the heads of Vatican dicasteries, who also attended the summit.

All of this sounded pretty concrete to me. The victims’ groups, however, were generally scornful. They had come seeking “zero tolerance” and had found only fine-sounding words. What especially annoyed and disappointed many of them was Francis’s speech at the summit’s conclusion, which Anne Barrett Doyle, a co-founder of BishopAccountability.org, the Boston-based advocacy organization, called a “stunning letdown.”

Whether one calls it clericalism, institutional idolatry, or corruption, the mindset that has governed too many bishops for too long makes them deaf to victims and protective of perpetrators.
In the speech, Francis laid down eight principles—culled from World Health Authority documents, and his own anti-abuse experts—to guide the church’s efforts to combat a worldwide evil that has struck at the heart of Catholicism’s credibility.

Francis presented a broad picture of the abuse of minors, a form of cruelty as old as humanity yet revealed as never before in our own time. Acts of sexual violence against children in homes, neighborhoods, schools, and various other institutions has created millions of silent victims, while the spread of internet pornography and the rise of sexual tourism has led to numbing levels of suffering. (In 2017 alone, the pope said, three million people traveled to have sexual relations with a minor.) Francis was implicitly addressing church leaders from Africa who had complained at the start of the summit that clerical sex abuse wasn’t their issue, and that what they had to tackle were other forms of child exploitation. Francis insisted that clerical sex abuse represents the same demonic abuse of power that lurks behind “other forms of abuse affecting almost 85,000,000 children, forgotten by everyone.” These include “child soldiers, child prostitutes, starving children, children kidnapped and often victimized by the horrid commerce of human organs or enslaved, child victims of war, refugee children, aborted children and so many others.”

In other words, these are all dimensions of the same evil that the church everywhere has to confront as part of its core mission. You cannot care about child soldiers without caring about the sexual abuse of children, starting with the abuse committed by priests. Yet rather than seeing the pope’s references as a way of dismantling the African church’s denial mechanism, victims’ groups see it as a PR exercise designed to diminish the church’s responsibility. Barret Doyle believes Francis was “rationalizing”—minimizing the church’s crimes by pointing out that abuse happens in all sectors of society.

In reality, there was nothing the bishops and the pope could have said that would have satisfied the victims’ groups. Their response to the issue is one that Francis has explicitly rejected: one-size-fits-all retribution. As Archbishop Scicluna pointed out, when the church administers sanctions or penalties, it is for the reform of the sinner and reparation of scandal, not simply punishment.

That doesn’t mean it is lenient. In a post-summit article that seeks to capture the clash of viewpoints, Rachel Donadio describes canon law as taking “a more pastoral approach, one that leans toward forgiveness.” Yet when it comes to the abuse of minors, church law offers no second chances: abuser priests will no longer be able to act as priests, and bishops who cover up for them will be removed. The point is that canon law takes a “common-good” approach, not a punitive one. “Removing from exercise of ministry should not be seen as a punishment but rather as the duty to protect the flock,” Archbishop Scicluna told journalists.

But if your view of laws is essentially retributive, canon law does looks lax. This in turn feeds the suspicion of victims’ organizations and some right-wing Catholics, who believe that if only the church were fiercer, or more punitive—if only it were less “merciful” and more draconian—this issue could be resolved very quickly.

The summit organizers didn’t believe this. They say that laws and regulations, though necessary, are incapable of attacking the issue at its roots. They say this is a problem that can be solved only by conversion, not coercion. Whether one calls it clericalism, institutional idolatry, or corruption, the mindset that has governed too many bishops for too long makes them deaf to victims and protective of perpetrators. The pope calls it the spirit of evil, which cannot be defeated by practical means alone, but by spiritual means of “humiliation, self-accusation, prayer, and penance.” Hence the penitential liturgy on Saturday, when a Chilean victim spoke slowly and piercingly of the effect of abuse of him—“there is no dream without the memory of what happened. No day without memories, no day without flashbacks.” Hence, too, the examination of conscience, the collective confession, and an appeal for “the grace to overcome injustice and to practice justice for the people entrusted to our care.”

“The pope is a supreme monarch: Can’t he just order everyone to do this?” asked an exasperated BBC interviewer when I tried to explain why the pope had brought together church leaders for a four-day summit. The Archbishop of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Hollerich, gave to La Croix the answer I should have given. Le pape est très sage, he said. “He knows very well that you can’t change the church by just giving orders from above. You have to change people’s hearts.” Hollerich, moderator of the French-speaking group, said he could see this happening in his group: “there is a development in their consciences, in the bishops’ thinking in the course of these few days,” he said. “The bishops are changing.”

The primary purpose of the summit was never to devise severe new legislation, for which a global meeting of church leaders would hardly be necessary. The purpose was what the pope called “personal and collective conversion, the humility of learning, listening, assisting and protecting the most vulnerable.” On the way to that conversion, there were two forms of resistance to God’s grace identified by the pope: defensiveness (the kind of attitude that says, “this isn’t our issue”) and juridicism (believing you can change everything by laws and regulations alone).

Of course, if you do not believe in the power of grace to transform consciousness, this will all sound like evasive palaver. If you believe bishops are essentially corrupt and self-serving and will only act against abuser priests when they see each other locked up in jail, you will hardly see the point of the pope’s analysis.

So we’re left with a kind of paradox. Real change can happen only through the involvement of survivors, whose testimonies are key to the church’s conversion on this issue. Yet too often survivors’ organizations do not recognize conversion as amounting to any kind of solution. Their anger is fully justified—and it has sometimes forced the issue when bishops would have preferred to see it remain buried—but it has left many of them blind to the significance of what just happened at the Vatican.

TagsSexual-abuse Crisis Pope Francis Clericalism

Austen Ivereigh is the pope’s biographer. His new book A Heart For Change: Inside the Tension of Pope Francis’s Reform will be published next fall by Henry Holt.

Also by this author
Summer Reading
Please email comments to letters@commonwealmagazine.org and join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Share
Previous Story
Privilege Masked as Orthodoxy
Related
Sexual-abuse Crisis Pope Francis Clericalism

Notes from the Classroom
By Mary Kate Holman
February 19, 2019

Redefining Who’s ‘Vulnerable’
By Paul Moses
February 18, 2019

The Sex-Abuse Crisis Is Global
By Massimo Faggioli
February 18, 2019

Must Reads

politics
The Ones Ignored
A primer on New York’s recently enacted Reproductive Health Act, which goes beyond Roe in its insistence on the unlimited right to do with one’s body as one pleases
By Paul Moses
February 11, 2019

religion
Narrowing the Universal Church
Recent debates in higher education over who counts as an “authentic Catholic” have the unintended effect of splintering the universal Body of Christ
By Julia G. Young
February 6, 2019

culture
Somewhere Else
Mammon can never be God. We need ways of valuing ourselves and our neighbors that are not indexed to the market
By Ian Marcus Corbin
February 10, 2019

culture
‘Who Is This Stupid God?’
On the ground reporting from the Philippines, where President Rodrigo Duterte’s attacks on the Catholic Church have called forth a renewed sense of solidarity
By Adam Willis
February 8, 2019

books
Surviving Survivalism
Westover tells the story of her soul, not her accomplishments. Becoming an individual through paideia, she discovers herself as a relational being
By Mike St. Thomas
February 1, 2019

collections
Why We Came. Why We Left. Why We Stay.
The Catholic faith is first of all a gift, one a person must choose to keep; the days of Catholicism by default are behind us
By The Editors
December 3, 2018
become a subscriber:

2 priests found credibly accused after Saint Meinrad internal investigation

EVANSVILLE (IN)
WFIE TV

February 25, 2019

By Jared Goffinet and Kate O'Rourke

While the Diocese included two of the priests on the Archabbey’s list, Saint Meinrad handled the allegations with its own review board.

As we reported Friday, Saint Meinrad’s list includes Robert Woerdeman with one credible allegation and Warren Heitz with two.

Saint Meinrad tells us they encourage victims to report abuse to authorities and that if victims don’t, the Archabbey will. We are told most of their monks serve in seminary school as teachers or administrators.

Now, we’ve learned Heitz’s alleged abuse occurred in the ′70s. One was reported in 1999 and the other in 2018.

Heitz was removed from public ministry in 2002. Since then, we are told he has lived at a supervised residential facility for offenders since 2009.

But up until that point, which was 10 years after abuse was reported, he lived at Saint Meinrad.

“Because he’s residing here does not mean he didn’t have restrictions, so in 2009 it was decided after further evaluation and input from professionals that the best course of action was to move him to a supervised residential facility, but that does not mean that he was not under restrictions when he was living here at St. Meinrad,” Explains Saint Meinrad Spokeswoman Mary Jeanne Schumacher.

Erie’s Persico says pope gave ‘green light’ to reforms

ERIE (PA)
Erie Times

February 25, 2019

By Ed Palattella

Erie Catholic Bishop Lawrence Persico said he is ready to restart an effort with colleagues to further address the clergy sex-abuse crisis in the United States.

The go-ahead, Persico said, came from Pope Francis, who on Sunday ended an unprecedented Vatican summit on clergy sex abuse by declaring “an all-out battle against the abuse of minors” within the Roman Catholic Church and beyond.

Though abuse victims criticized Francis for failing to propose measures of his own, Persico said the pope gave responsibility for developing new rules to bishops’ groups worldwide, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Vatican frustrated Persico and others this past fall when the Holy See asked the conference to hold off on passing new regulations until Francis held the global meeting on abuse. With that four-day session over, Persico said, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is set to resume its work, with the Vatican to review its proposals later.

“The pope is very clear,” Persico said on Monday. “He wants progress on this. He wants something concrete and he wants effective measures. So I think now this is the green light.”

Persico said he believes the Vatican will be inclined to approve what the American bishops develop, including ways to discipline abusive bishops or bishops who covered up abuse. The final authority for punishing a bishop will remain with the pope, but the new rules are designed to give bishops more of a role in policing themselves.

If the Vatican is slow to approve the American proposals, Persico said, it risks even more of a backlash. Victims and others have advocated for change since the Aug. 14 release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania.

Top U.S. bishop after Vatican sex abuse summit: attack crisis with “unyielding vigilance”

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Times-Picayune

February 25, 2019

By Kim Chatelain

Promising “unyielding vigilance” in attacking clergy abuse, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrapped an unprecedented Vatican summit by vowing to intensify a 2002 charter designed to create a safe environment for children in the church.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who heads the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, released his statement Sunday (Feb. 24) at the end of a four-day meeting of church hierarchy in Rome to discuss sexual abuse and child protection.

At a meeting in Dallas in 2002, the U.S. bishops’ conference established what is formally called the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” which is also known as the Dallas Charter. Among other things, it requires dioceses to set up safe environment programs that include background checks and training for anyone who has contact with minors at any Catholic church or school event. The document has been updated several times since its adoption.

Some church leaders have said the number of sex abuse complaints has dropped dramatically since the charter was put in place. However, recent reports of child molestation by clergy members, most notably a shocking report by a Pennsylvania grand jury last year, brought the issue into public view again and prompted Pope Francis to stage the summit.

As the Pope’s Summit Ends, Survivors Continue on Their Own Path

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 25, 2019

After four long days in Rome, survivors and advocates who had hoped to see Catholic church officials take concrete action towards ending the clergy abuse and cover-up crisis were left disappointed. At the end, Pope Francis offered only words, “reflection points,” and policies to consider for the future.

No bishop who had been involved in covering-up or minimizing allegations was fired. No directive was handed down to order bishops to turn over their secret abuse files to police. No punishment was agreed upon nor system put in place for disciplining those bishops who continue to cover-up abuse cases in the future.

In other words, no child was made safer and no survivor was helped during this summit.

And so, in many ways, not only was the summit everything that survivors expected it would be, but is also an affirmation that we are right to lay our hopes for change at the feet of secular officials, not those in the church.

Ex-priest worked for county until named in sex abuse report

YORK (PA)
Associated Press

February 25, 2019

A Pennsylvania county government disclosed it fired a former Roman Catholic priest from a job working with people who have mental disabilities shortly after his name appeared in a grand jury report into child sexual abuse .

York County officials told the York Daily Record/Sunday News they had not been aware of allegations against David H. Luck before the August publication of the grand jury report that included information about him.

Luck was suspended from serving as a priest in the Harrisburg diocese in 1990. He was subsequently hired as a caseworker in the mental health and intellectual and developmental disabilities section of the York County Human Services Department.

County officials said Monday that 1994 and 2015 background checks on Luck yielded nothing.

Luck declined comment to the newspaper and did not return a phone message from the AP left at a York phone number linked to him.

The grand jury report cited secret diocesan archives that said Luck, who became a priest in 1987, was accused by a family in 1988 of raping a 15-year-old boy and fondling an 11-year-old boy.

The report alleged that Luck told church officials he was a pedophile in 1990, the year he was suspended from priestly duties.

The grand jury report said no one from the Harrisburg diocese alerted police. Luck was not charged criminally.

Profiles of the Summit Attendees

WALTHAM (MA)
BishopAccountability.org

February 2019

To prepare for the Catholic church’s first global summit on child sexual abuse by clergy, attended by episcopal conference presidents, BishopAccountability.org has looked closely at how the conference presidents from eight of the world's largest Catholic countries have handled the abuse crisis in their home countries.

Representing roughly half of the world's Catholics, these eight prelates include:

an archbishop who estimates that only one percent of his country's priests have abused children;

the head of a vast archdiocese who says he has dealt with only one abusive priest;

a cardinal who has never spoken publicly about the crisis;

a cardinal who has kept in ministry at least three accused priests.

We further examined the child protection guidelines and actions of the episcopal conferences in all eight countries. They range widely. Some conference websites, like those of France, Mexico, and the U.S., provide abundant information: how to report, the process for handling accusations, advice on prevention. It's a challenge for the visitor to discern which documents are marketing materials and which are canonically binding. At the other extreme are the episcopal conferences of Brazil and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. On their websites, the crisis is invisible, and no guidelines can be located.

New Lawsuit Filed in Buffalo, SNAP Responds

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 25, 2019

A new lawsuit against the Diocese of Buffalo, the Franciscan Order, and a high school school in upstate New York was filed today. We applaud the bravery of the victim and hope that this lawsuit helps her on her healing journey.

We are especially grateful to Gail Holler-Kennedy for exposing the wrongdoing by Fr. Mark S. Andrzejczuk and officials at the Buffalo Catholic Diocese, the Conventual Franciscan religious order and Cardinal O'Hara High School. We hope her courage will inspire others who are in pain to speak up.

According to media reports, the allegedly abusive priest also worked at Archbishop Curley High School in Baltimore. We hope officials at that school in Baltimore will aggressively reach out to their alumni in search of other victims of Fr. Andrezejczuk.

Pope uttered same old hogwash at Vatican’s four-day abuse summit

Patheos blog

February 25, 2019

By Barry Duke

‘RECYCLED rhetoric’ was the actual phrase used at the conclusion of the summit this week by Anne Barrett Doyle, co-founder of Bishop Accountability, which tracks clergy sex abuse cases, but we all know that that means.

Doyle, above, told the Guardian:

I am utterly stunned. The Pope has undone the tiny bit of progress that possibly was achieved this week. He was defensive, rationalising that abuse happens in all sectors of society. Ironically and sadly, he exhibited no responsibility, no accountability and no transparency.

She is one of many activists for survivors of clerical sexual abuse who reportedly reacted with fury after Pope Francis failed to promise a “zero tolerance” approach to paedophile priests and the bishops who cover up their crimes as he closed a landmark summit at the Vatican.

Although he vowed that the Roman Catholic church would “spare no effort” to bring abusers to justice and would not cover up or underestimate abuse, a significant part of the his closing speech emphasised that Catholic priests were far from being the sole abusers of children.

Citing data, he said that the majority of cases arose within families and that the perpetrators of abuse were:

Primarily parents, relatives, husbands of child brides and teachers.

He also said that online pornography and sex tourism exacerbated the problem.

Our work has made us realise once again that the gravity of the scourge of the sexual abuse of minors is, and historically has been, a widespread phenomenon in all cultures and societies. I am reminded of the cruel religious practice, once widespread in certain cultures, of sacrificing human beings – frequently children – in pagan rites.

$300 million lawsuit filed against Buffalo Diocese, Franciscans

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW TV

February 25, 2019

By Charlie Specht

A renowned Boston attorney is suing the Buffalo Diocese for $300 million on behalf of a Niagara County woman who said she was abused by a Franciscan priest in the 1970s and 1980s.

Mitchell Garabedian, made famous by the Academy Award-winning movie "Spotlight", has filed a lawsuit in state court against the Buffalo Diocese, the Conventual Franciscan religious order and Cardinal O'Hara High School.

The suit alleges his client, Gail Holler-Kennedy, was sexually abused by Fr. Mark S. Andrzejczuk from 1978 to 1982 at O'Hara, where Fr. Andrzejczuk was a teacher.

The priest, who died in 2011, would write passes excusing Holler-Kennedy from another teacher's class and he would then sexually abuse her, the lawsuit states.

"The abuse occurred approximately twice a week for approximately three years, beginning when Plaintiff was approximately 14 years old and ending when she was approximately 17 years old," the filing states.

The diocese, the high school and the Conventual Franciscan order "had a duty not to aid a pedophile such a Father Andrzejczuk" and also also had the responsibility as mandated reporters to report the abuse, but did not, Garabedian claims.

Catholic Church leaders launch reform process

ROME (ITALY)
LaCroix International

February 25, 2019

By Nicolas Senèze

Did Pope Francis' closing speech at the meeting of bishops conference presidents on child protection on Feb. 24 come as a disappointment?

The long text he read out in the Sala Regia inside the Apostolic Palace did not in fact contain any significant new announcements.

On the other hand, he had already warned well in advance against "inflated" expectations from the meeting. But the real point of his address had less to do with the concrete measures the Vatican has already started working on than the kind of Church that Pope Francis envisions.

In how it responds to sex abuse by priests, this will be a very different Church from the one that existed only a few years ago. No longer will it be a besieged citadel but rather a Church genuinely in the world.

After abuse summit, victims press Vatican for action

ROME (ITALY)
Agence France-Presse

February 25, 2019

By Fanny Carrier

At the end of three days of debate, Pope Francis promised an "all-out battle" against the scourge that has done so much damage to the Church's reputation worldwide.

Victims' groups, however, reacted sharply to the tone of his speech and what they said was a lack of concrete measures.

"The pope has announced a battle against child abuse but he has the weakest weapons imaginable," said Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org.

As a mark of good faith, the Vatican announced an interministerial meeting Monday on the protection of minors.

Urging more tangible progress, BishopAccountability.org and fellow campaigning group End Clergy Abuse (ECA) have drawn up a 21-point plan of action for the pope.

Their "Points of Action for Pope Francis" was intended to sharpen the Vatican's good intentions, as the pontiff set out in his points of reflection at the start of the summit.

"These aren't reflection points, these are action points, battle plans," said Peter Isely, spokesman for Ending Clergy Abuse.

Referring to the pope, Doyle said: "If he were to do the 21 points in this list, he would end this scourge once and for all."

Their plan of action pulls no punches.

Any cleric found guilty of even a single act of child sexual abuse should be permanently removed from the priesthood, they said -- as should any bishop or religious superior helping cover it up.

All abusers or suspected abusers should be reported to the civil authorities, and any abuse-related files handed over to them, the campaigners added.

The Church should also draw up a public list of all abusers, past and present, they said.

Bishops told transparency needed to overcome clergy abuse crisis

WASHINGTON (DC)
Religion News Service

February 25, 2019

By Thomas Reese

On the last full day of the meeting in Rome on clergy sex abuse, a German cardinal and a Nigerian nun, each in his or her own way, explained that transparency was the only way for the Catholic Church to deal with the crisis. They spoke with bluntness unusual in meetings of bishops, practicing the transparency they preached.

In his presentation, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the archbishop of Munich, acknowledged that files were destroyed, silence was imposed on victims, and procedures for the prosecution of offenses were deliberately not complied with.

“The rights of victims were effectively trampled underfoot, and left to the whims of individuals,” complained the cardinal.

What is needed is transparency, he said, where “actions, decisions, processes, procedures, etc., are understandable and traceable.” He noted that similar transparency is also important in finances, another area where scandals have taken place.

While acknowledging the German love of administrative rules and procedures, he said that in the church, “administration should take place in such a way that people feel accepted in administrative procedures, that they feel appreciated, that they can trust the system, that they feel secure and fairly treated, that they are listened to and their legitimate criticism is accepted.”

Transparency is especially important so people “can uncover errors and mistakes in the administrative actions and defend themselves against such actions.”

He argued that “the principles of the presumption of innocence and the protection of personal rights, and the need for transparency, are not mutually exclusive.”

Marx even criticized the practice of secrecy in the Vatican, which imposes church penalties for revealing things the Vatican doesn’t want disclosed. He saw no reason “why pontifical secrecy should apply to the prosecution of criminal offenses concerning the abuse of minors.”

The cardinal also called for the publication of judicial proceedings and the release of statistics on the number of abuse cases.

Marx’s focus on administrative structures contrasts with Pope Francis’ stress on conversion and commitment: Francis focuses on changing the culture of the church, while Marx focused on making sure things are done properly.

These approaches are not in conflict; they are complementary. All the structures in the world will not work unless people are motivated to do the right thing. Likewise, all the good intentions in the world will not suffice if you don’t know what to do.

Survivors speak out against church sex abuse scandal outside National Shrine

WASHINGTON (DC)
ABC 7 TV

February 25, 2019

By Richard Reeve

Becky Ianni is a sex abuse survivor.

She says the man who molested her decades ago was a newly ordained parish priest.

“As an 8-year-old, I knew how serious this was,” she said. “I knew this was a sin, I knew it was wrong.”

Ianni, now in her 60s, says the priest was like an adopted member of her family.

He ate dinner in her home, said mass in their basement, bought her family a TV and went on vacations with them.

“I felt like we had a little bit of God in our house,” Ianni said.

But around her 8th birthday, the relationship began to take a dark turn.

“He took that love and adoration and began to abuse me,” she said. “He would rape me with his hands in the basement, and then he would go upstairs and have dinner with my family. I would have dinner with my family and think, ‘Doesn’t anybody see I’m different?’”

Four take-aways from the pope’s summit on clerical sexual abuse

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

February 25, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

Pope Francis’s keenly-anticipated Feb. 21-24 summit on clerical sexual abuse wrapped up Sunday, and it ended much the way it began: Offering reasons for hope, for those inclined in that direction, but also ample basis for skepticism for anyone disposed to distrust assurances from ecclesiastical officialdom.

The summit provided an amplifier for the rhetoric of reform, but relatively little in terms of concrete new policies or law. If anything, there’s actually some basis to suspect division and ambiguity about certain key accountability measures, such as defrocking as the more-or-less standard punishment for abuser priests and releasing the names of clergy facing credible accusations of abuse.

On Sunday, the Vatican vowed new anti-abuse guidelines for the Vatican City State, a handbook outlining the procedures to follow in abuse cases, and new task forces to help bishops’ conferences and dioceses that lack the resources to implement anti-abuse protocols on their own. It also announced that on Monday, summit organizers will meet with Vatican officials to discuss next steps.

In the immediate wake of the summit, here are a few take-aways that seem supported by the experience of the last four days.

When it comes to sexual abuse, the Church is devil-may-care

TORONTO (CANADA)
The Globe and Mail

February 25, 2019

By Michael Coren

They came, they spoke, they left – and nothing changed.

Pope Francis and 190 prelates gathered last Thursday for an unprecedented four-day summit in Rome to discuss the Church’s sexual abuse crisis, and the result is very much business as usual. Nothing had been guaranteed, but the sheer optics of the event implied that something, at long last, might be done to respond to a circus of horrors that unwraps by the week.

Instead, the Pope refused to enact the anticipated “zero tolerance” when dealing with pedophile priests, delivering instead a platitude that the Church would ”spare no effort” – sound that signified nothing.

To make matters worse, he then devoted a large part of his concluding speech to the subject of sexual abuse in general society, arguing that it’s not confined to the Roman Catholic Church and that most offenders were family members, “husbands of child brides and teachers.”

“Our work has made us realize once again that the gravity of the scourge of the sexual abuse of minors is, and historically has been, a widespread phenomenon in all cultures and societies," he continued. "I am reminded of the cruel religious practice, once widespread in certain cultures, of sacrificing human beings – frequently children – in pagan rites.”

The degree of digression here is incredible. Nobody has ever claimed that the Church is the only offender, but that it has denied and obfuscated, protected its own, and even attacked victims who spoke out for justice. The phenomenon of child marriage is something entirely different; that human sacrifice was even mentioned is bewildering. This is what is known as “Rome speak”, where much is said and little admitted.

Abuse, tragically, exists everywhere there is a power dynamic, and that includes families, schools, sports clubs and other religious institutions. But the Church continues to refuse to examine why it is especially vulnerable, and even under the allegedly progressive Pope Francis, it still cannot acknowledge the depth and extent of the problem. In spite of papal protests, the Roman Catholic Church remains a magnet for this kind of crime, and nothing will change without reckoning with and resolving five basic aspects that in some ways are built into the religion’s bones: Enforced celibacy, patriarchy, clericalism, secrecy and sexual dishonesty.

Celibacy does not lead to abuse, and if it’s voluntary, it can be deeply spiritual. But when it’s demanded, it can attract the sexually immature and broken, and can enforce a dark stigma around sexuality. Patriarchy within Roman Catholicism is staggeringly obvious – the image of almost 200 middle-aged and elderly men discussing sexual abuse surely says it all. Women perpetrate abuse too, of course, but a culture so lacking in gender balance and female influence can never function healthily.

What I liked — and didn't like — about Pope Francis' talk at Vatican summit on sex abuse

ALLENTOWN (PA)
Allentown Call

February 25, 2019

By Paul Muschick

The papal summit that wrapped up at the Vatican on Sunday to address sex abuse in the Catholic church went where I expected it would. Nowhere.

It was just more talk. We must take this problem seriously, Pope Francis said. We’re going to do this. We’re going to do that.

So do it already.

The longer the church delays taking action, the harder it gets to have faith that it ever will appropriately address this plague. Talk is cheap.

By calling together leaders from around the world to meet for four days, Francis set high expectations. He should have been ready to implement a concrete plan of action, and called on the global leaders to publicly endorse it. Instead, the weekend was full of more mea culpas. During his concluding address, Francis just rattled off a host of talking points.

There was plenty of time to prepare. The Pennsylvania grand jury investigation that brought this issue back into the spotlight in the U.S. was released six months ago. The pressure has mounted since, with other states launching similar probes. There have been scandals in Chile, Australia and Honduras, too.

The church no longer can address them one-by-one. It needs to take a hard stand.

What should it be doing?

For starters, any clergy — a priest, a bishop, a cardinal — proven to have looked the other way when confronted with abuse allegations should be banished from the church. It goes without saying that those who commit the abuse should be banished, too.

There should be a global requirement to report allegations to law enforcement. And the Vatican should open its files so the world can get a better grip on just how extensive the abuse, and any cover-ups, really are.

The lack of action is especially disappointing because bishops in the United States were prepared to take action in November, until Pope Francis told them not to.

Frédéric Martel's In the Closet of the Vatican

LITTLE ROCK (AR)
Bilgrimage

February 24, 2019

I have not read Frédéric Martel's explosive new book In the Closet of the Vatican, about which there has been a flurry of commentary since it was officially released this past week as the Vatican meeting on sex abuse began. So I'm not able to comment on the book itself. I do intend to read it soon.

What I can comment on is some of the commentary I've read. There is, of course, much hand-wringing from predictable quarters that always mount reflexive defenses of the clerical club running the Catholic institution; there's the defensive suggestion that Martel's book is a gotcha gossip-fest that ought not to be taken seriously. There's also the more substantive concern that it's a nifty tool being handed to the hard homophobic right wing of the Catholic church to engage in further gay-bashing and blaming of gay priests for the abuse crisis.

Of the commentary I've read, analysis by a number of out gay Catholic thinkers seems to me most worth noting This book is an opportunity for the Catholic journalistic world to move beyond its usual refusal to listen seriously or give a place of respect to out gay (and lesbian and transgender and bisexual) Catholic voices and do some receptive listening — for a change — to such voices. What they have to tell us about Martel's book may be among the most important things that are being said by the book's readers.

Argentine survivors' network says Pope’s sex abuse summit is “hypocrisy”

BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
Buenos Aires Times

February 25, 2019

The Network of Survivors of Ecclesiastical Abuse of Argentina denounced Pope Francis’ historic Vatican summit against pedophilia in the Catholic Church, describing it as an "act of simulation and hypocrisy."

"We have witnessed a new act of simulation and hypocrisy by officials of an independent state. It’s a serial breach of international human rights conventions," the Network said in a harsh statement titled "The Lying Liar” on Sunday.

The network urged "the global public to declare a ‘genocidal state’ in the Holy See" for having "developed, applied and maintained a system of protection and concealment of abusive priests over time.”

The group will encourage international denunciations against the Vatican, ask for Church archives to be opened and for registers of ecclesiastical abusers to be released.

"The objective (of protecting minors) is blurred and loses value in concluding that ecclesiastical pedophilia is only part of the abuse as a transverse and very broad problem,” the Network lamented regarding the summit that will be led by Pope Francisco.

The Argentine Network of Survivors of Ecclesiastical Sexual Abuses integrates more than a hundred victims.

"Not all the victims have made a criminal or ecclesiastical complaint. Some have not yet been encouraged, many have not yet spoken and are trapped in the institution,” psychologist Liliana Rodríguez told AFP. “Everything that happens (at the Summit) will cause a setback, which is why the summit is being denounced.”

The agency accused the Catholic Church of prioritizing "its credibility as an institution to the life and physical and mental health of victims and survivors.”

It also alleged that there was "disrespectful, degrading and victimizing treatment of survivors.”

The 'Uncle Ted' McCarrick saga continues: A second priest spills all to the Washington Post

Get Religion blog

February 25, 2019

By Julia Duin

The second shoe dropped Saturday when the Washington Post came out with the on-the-record account of another priest who’d been sexually abused by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

By “shoes,” I mean the three former New Jersey priests who filed lawsuits against the Catholic Church or one of its dioceses regarding McCarrick. The first ‘shoe’ was Robert Ciolek, who went public early on in this saga. The other two were refusing to talk until now.

When reading this story, let’s keep the big picture in mind. The key questions remain: Who moved McCarrick higher and higher in the church, while reports circulated about his private affairs? Who protected him later? Who benefited from his favors?

Now, back to the new chapter in this story:

Less than a week after Theodore McCarrick became the first cardinal ever defrocked, a New Jersey priest has for the first time agreed to be interviewed about his accusations that McCarrick sexually abused him in the 1990s and the effect the alleged abuse has had on his life and career.

In exclusive interviews with the Post, the Rev. Lauro Sedlmayer said the interactions with McCarrick, who was then his archbishop, in Newark, set off a downward spiral that severely damaged his psyche and career. Now 61, the priest says he told three bishops but nothing was done.

Note the crucial detail: Bishops were informed about this and nothing happened.

The Post folks have known about this guy since last summer. I wrote about that here, but it’s taken eight months for this guy to go on the record. Better late than never.

SNAP’s Reflection Points: 21 Things People Can Do to Prevent Abuse and Support Survivors

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 24, 2019

At the papal summit this week, Pope Francis presented 21 points for reflection. SNAP is about action, so instead we’re providing 21 steps that you can take to help prevent abuse, protect children, and support survivors:

If you see something, say something! Report any suspected child sexual abuse to local law enforcement who are trained to investigate these cases. Here's a list of reporting hotlines you can use for every state in the US.

Educate yourself about child sexual abuse. Learn more about warning signs for sexual abuse here and be prepared to make a report if anything seems wrong.

Encourage open dialogue and don’t be afraid to talk about abuse. Ask all your children – including your adult children – if anything ever happened to them.

Talk to your children about sex abuse. Make sure children understand that you are always there to help and that if anything happens to them you will believe them and that it is not their fault. This resource can help.

Encourage your friends and neighbors to learn about child sexual abuse. Educated communities are better able to prevent cases of abuse and intervene in ongoing cases.

Be open to hearing about someone’s trauma. If someone tells you they were abused tell them “I am so sorry; I believe you; this isn’t your fault, how can I help you?”

Invite survivors to share their stories at your church. The more that people are aware of sexual abuse, the more likely they are to get involved in prevention.

Write letters to the editors about articles you see about abuse. Every article is an opportunity to educate others about prevention and protection.

When you read an article about someone who was abused make a positive comment in the comment section. Victims read the comments and you can make them feel they made the right choice by speaking out.

Donate to an organization that works to protect children. Non-profits rely on your donations to provide programs that support survivors and help prevent abuse. Support SNAP here.

Vatican, Catholic diocese nationwide turning the page on sexual abuse in the church

SIOUX CITY (IA)
KMEG 14

February 24, 2019

by Katie Copple and Jetske Wauran

News of Monday's announcement from the Diocese of Sioux City broke Sunday morning during Sunday Mass as the Diocese of Sioux City follows other Diocese nationwide in releasing names of abusive priests.

Sunday morning during services, parishioners were told of the impending Diocese announcement, along with more details of the investigation into the sexual abuse allegations.

The letter from Bishop R. Walker Nickless, which was given to Siouxland News, states that the first alleged sexual abuse incident occurred in 1948 and the last in 1995.

Bishop Nickless hopes that by releasing this list, the church can mark a new chapter in history in which Nickless commits to quote "a future of trust, openness and accountability."

He goes on to state that by releasing the names of the priests with credible allegations against them, the healing process can begin, showing the victims and their families that the church believes them.

The release of this list comes after years of accusations against the church here in Sioux City and worldwide.

Clergy sex abuse survivors release new list of NYC predators

BROOKLYN (NY)
Brooklyn Daily Eagle

February 22, 2019

By David Brand

Survivors of clergy sex abuse have named 112 additional clergy members from the Archdiocese of New York, who they say molested and abused them when they were children.

Attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents survivors of clergy sex abuse, said that 57 of the alleged perpetrators are alive, 42 are dead and 13 could not be located. Anderson joined survivors to publicize the list today in Manhattan.

“We are releasing this list publicly because Cardinal [Timothy] Dolan will not release a list,” Anderson said. Dolan is cardinal at the Archdiocese of New York. “He has made a conscious and calculated choice to keep these names and documents secret and he has the power to release the names right now.”

On Friday, the Diocese of Brooklyn, which includes Queens, released the names of 108 clergy members “credibly” accused of sexual abuse.

The Archdiocese of Brooklyn and The Archdiocese of New York did not provide a response to requests from the Eagle.

Pope Francis: "Clean up your church, get rid of the pedophiles"

ROME (ITALY)
CBS News

February 25, 2019

Three clergy abuse survivors all want to know why the Catholic Church still has not laid out concrete steps to stop child sex abuse. "CBS This Morning" has followed their fight for justice since last year, all the way from the U.S. to Rome, where they attended a summit with church leaders and called for a zero-tolerance policy for abuse.

On Sunday Pope Francis addressed the crowd in St. Peter's Square, promising to confront abusers with "the wrath of God," end the cover-ups by church officials, and prioritize the victims of what he termed "brazen, aggressive and destructive evil."

But the survivors told CBS News correspondent Nikki Battiste they all want to know why the Catholic Church still has not laid out concrete steps to stop child sex abuse.

Battiste asked them how they're feeling after the pope's speech.

Mary Dispenza, a former nun, said, "I don't think our children are any safer now than four days ago, by what I heard."

"What's one word you would use to describe how this summit went?"

Dispenza said, "Disappointing."

Shaun Dougherty, who was molested by a teacher at a Catholic grade school when he was 10, said, "Shortfall."

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania State Legislator Mark Rozzi, who said his priest raped him when he was 13 years old, characterized it as "a start."

Battiste asked, "What would you say to survivors and victims listening who might be disappointed by this summit?"

"Don't give up," said Dougherty.

President of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Issues Statement at Close of Meeting on the Protection of Minors in the Church

ROME (ITALY)
US Conference of Catholic Bishops

February 24, 2019

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has issued the following statement on the final day of a four day meeting attended by Presidents of Bishops’ Conferences from across the globe.

"The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth." Psalm 145:18

"These have been challenging, fruitful days. The witness of survivors revealed for us, again, the deep wound in the Body of Christ. Listening to their testimonies transforms your heart. I saw that in the faces of my brother bishops. We owe survivors an unyielding vigilance that we may never fail them again.

How then to bind the wounds? Intensify the Dallas Charter. Pope Francis, whom I want to thank for this assembly, called us to ‘concrete and effective measures.’ A range of presenters from cardinals to other bishops to religious sisters to lay women spoke about a code of conduct for bishops, the need to establish specific protocols for handling accusations against bishops, user-friendly reporting mechanisms, and the essential role transparency must play in the healing process.

Pope's sex abuse summit: What it did and didn't do

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

February 24, 2019

By Nicole Winfield

Pope Francis' summit on preventing sexual abuse was never going to meet the expectations placed on it by victims groups, the media and ordinary Catholics outraged over a scandal that has harmed so many and compromised the church's moral authority so much.

Indeed, no sweeping new law was announced to punish bishops who cover up abuse. No files were released or global reporting requirement endorsed requiring priestly rapists to be reported to police. In his final speech to the summit Sunday, Pope Francis even fell back on the hierarchy's frequent complaint of unfair press coverage.

But something has changed.

By inviting the leaders of Catholic bishops conferences and religious orders from around the world to a four-day tutorial on preventing sex abuse, Francis has made clear that they all are responsible for protecting the children in their care and must punish the priests who might violate them, or risk punishment themselves.

"In people's justified anger, the church sees the reflection of the wrath of God, betrayed and insulted by these deceitful consecrated persons," the pontiff said.

Bishops must see press as allies, not enemies, Mexican journalist says

ROME (ITALY)
Catholic News Service

February 23, 2019

By Junno Arocho Esteves

If they are truly serious about fighting clerical sex abuse, bishops must join forces with journalists and not view them as enemies plotting against the Catholic Church, Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki said.

Alazraki, who has covered the Vatican for over four decades, told bishops at the Vatican summit on abuse Feb. 23 that journalists can help them root out the "rotten apples and to overcome resistance in order to separate them from the healthy ones."

"If you do not decide in a radical way to be on the side of the children, mothers, families, civil society, you are right to be afraid of us, because we journalists — who seek the common good — will be your worst enemies." Valentina Alazraki

"But if you do not decide in a radical way to be on the side of the children, mothers, families, civil society, you are right to be afraid of us, because we journalists -- who seek the common good -- will be your worst enemies," she warned.

The veteran journalist was invited to speak at the summit about the importance of transparency with journalists and media outlets.

Alazraki, who began covering the Vatican in the final years of St. Paul VI's pontificate, said church leaders too often blamed journalists' coverage of the abuse scandal as a plot "to put an end to this institution."

"We journalists know that there are reporters who are more thorough than others and that there are media outlets more or less dependent on political, ideological or economic interests," she said. "But I believe that in no case can the mass media be blamed for having uncovered or reported on abuses."

Recalling the words of Pope Benedict XVI, Alazraki told bishops that clerical sex abuse is neither a rumor or a gossip but a crime that "comes not from external enemies but arises from sins within" the church.

Addressing the accusation that reporters are often harsher on the church than on other institutions when it comes to sex abuse, the Mexican journalist said that is natural "by virtue of your moral role."

Summit on clergy abuse ends; now focus turns to change

HOUSTON (TX)
Click 2 Houston

February 24, 2019

By Bill Balleza

The papal summit on clergy abuse has come to a close in Rome.

Those expecting concrete results worldwide will be disappointed.

But here at home, Catholics can expect meaningful change, including accountability of bishops who covered up clergy abuse of minors for decades, sometimes guilty of abuse themselves.

On the final day of the summit, Pope Francis delivered an address after celebrating mass. He had strong words for those priests guilty of abusing minors, saying they and future abusers will face the wrath of God.

The pope also talked about preventing abuse and the next generation of priests.

Three priests from Texas visited while in Rome, Joe White, of Lake Jackson, Sam Bass, of Austin and Ismael Rodriguez, of Dallas.

Survivors who traveled to The Vatican for answers have been vocal and visible.

“The summit has always centered on victims and survivors,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“It was there from the get-go in the beginning. It punctured and went through every talk.”

As for meaningful change, the pope offered only hope, relying on his bishops for change worldwide.

Local clergy abuse victim reacts to Pope's speech at Vatican Summit

SAN DIEGO (CA)
KGTV

February 24, 2019

By Rina Nakano

A landmark four-day Vatican Summit concluded today in Tome. The Pope addressed the Catholic Church's long history of child sex abuse and cover-up scandals. He concluded the event with a speech, saying that those guilty of child sex abuse are "tools of Satan."

While many thought the Pope's "all-out-battle" to fight sex abuse was refreshing, local survivors hoped to see more.

A spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of San Diego immediately praised the Pope's transparency, sending 10News this statement:

The summit hosted by Pope Francis accomplished everything we hoped for and more. The Pope and the bishops assembled in Rome endorsed tough policies to promote accountability for bishops and other church authorities and made it very clear that covering up the abuse of minors was every bit as criminal and sinful as the acts of abuse themselves. They heard first-hand from victims and from Pope Francis himself who called for an ‘all-out battle’ to fight sexual abuse.
“We expect additional guidelines to issued by the Vatican in coming days and specific policies and regulations to be voted on by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in June.”

Kevin Eckery, spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of San Diego

But for Paul Livingston, Pope Francis' words did not fix the damage he said he experienced as a victim of clergy abuse.

"It's a day late and a dollar short," Livingston said. "All we wanted was an apology. We didn't get an apology. We got a 'That never happened here'."

Local sex abuse survivors frustrated by lack of 'action steps' as Pope Francis ends Vatican summit

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

February 24, 2019

By Ashley Murray

The day before a meeting of bishops convened Thursday in Rome to discuss clergy sex abuse, Jim VanSickle made his way to the front of Pope Francis’ weekly address and handed a letter to an aide.

“I wrote on it in Italian that I was a survivor of [clergy] sexual abuse in Pennsylvania,” Mr. VanSickle, 55, said Sunday from Rome. “Only time will tell if he actually reads it, or it finds its way to a garbage can.”

The Coraopolis, Pa., resident shared a collective disappointment with other survivors as Pope Francis concluded the four-day summit with “a lot of rhetoric” rather than concrete actions.

“Even though they’re now talking about [clergy abuse] as crimes, they’re not talking about changing internal procedures,” John Faluszczak, a former priest in the Diocese of Erie and a clergy abuse survivor who also was in Rome, said. “That’s kind of concerning.”

Pope declares ‘all-out battle’ against clergy abuse, but ends summit with no concrete reforms
The meeting called more than 100 top Roman Catholic bishops from around the world Thursday through Sunday for the unprecedented summit.

List of credible allegations against previous Sullivan clergy

EVANSVILLE (IN)
Sullivan Daily Times

February 24, 2019

In late September 2018, in response to the request of clergy abuse victims and their families, Bishop Joseph M. Siegel announced that the Diocese of Evansville would collect and release the names of priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. The Diocese’s hope is that the listing of these priests will help in the process of healing for those who have been affected by clergy sexual abuse and help to keep minors safe.

Along with compiling the names that have been published in The Message in previous years, the Diocese contracted a private investigator (Mark C. Mabrey & Associates Inc. of Evansville) to review records dating to its founding in 1944. The record review began in early October and ended in mid-December 2018. In August 2018, the auditors that oversee diocesan compliance with the guidelines of the U.S. Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People recommended the record review.

The following list of clergy is based on the review of records and the recommendations of current and previous Diocesan Review Board members. The current Review Board consists of six lay persons and one priest. Current and past members of the Board hold or have held positions in mental health counseling, clinical psychology, the practice of law, the medical field and law enforcement, including specialty in areas of child physical and sexual abuse.

A credible claim is one for which, following a review of information, the Review Board determined as believable and plausible, and the Bishop accepted as credible; or the priest admitted to or acknowledged.

Finally, every allegation of child abuse must be reported to Child Protective Services, an agency of Indiana state government. Local law enforcement may also be contacted. In the event of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor (a person under 18) by any diocesan personnel, report the allegation to authorities and inform the Victim Assistance Coordinator for the diocese (Toll-free: (866) 200-3004; Local: (812) 490-9565). Sexual abuse of a person who habitually has only the imperfect use of reason is to be considered equivalent to a minor.

Ex-spy agency chief 'quit role after his support for paedophile priest emerged'

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Premier

February 25, 2019

The former head of GCHQ resigned his post after it emerged he gave a character reference in support of a paedophile priest who went on to reoffend, it has been reported.

Robert Hannigan stood down as director of the spy agency in 2017 after less than three years in the post, citing "family reasons".

The Mail on Sunday reports his departure followed the discovery that in 2013 he had given a character reference on behalf of a Catholic priest charged with possessing child pornography.

The priest, who was said to have been a long-standing family friend of Mr Hannigan, was given a non-custodial sentence and went on to offend again, the paper said.

Mr Hannigan's involvement in the case was said to have been discovered during a major investigation into online chatrooms by the National Crime Agency.

Mr Hannigan told the Mail the priest had been a "close family friend" for 20 years and they had submitted a character reference to the court "in good faith" after he pleaded guilty to the offences.

Trial for priest accused of sexual abuse set to begin

ALBUQUERQUE (NM)
KOB 4 TV

February 25, 2019

By Marian Camacho

The trial of a priest accused of sexually abusing children is set to begin Monday in Santa Fe.

Arthur Perrault faces seven charges of child sexual abuse in addition to several civil cases. He is accused of sexually abusing an 11-year-old boy on Kirtland Air Force Base in the '90s while he was a chaplain. Other cases allegedly took place at the Santa Fe National Cemetery around the same time.

According to court documents, there are dozens of other accusers who claim they were sexually assaulted by Perrault in the '60s. One of the victims says Perrault's trial is another example of delayed justice.

Perrault was originally scheduled to go on trial in November and was offered a plea deal that he refused. Instead, he pleaded not guilty.

Perrault fled the country in 1992 amid allegations of sexual abuse and spent years on the run in Morocco. He was extradited to New Mexico last year.

Iglesia Evangélica anuncia protocolo para casos de abuso sexual

[Evangelical church announces protocol for sexual abuse cases]

CHILE
BioBioChile

February 24, 2019

By Emilio Lara and Joaquín Aguilera

La Iglesia Evangélica anunció la implementación de un protocolo de acción respecto de los casos de abuso sexual en la institución religiosa, fortaleciendo los canales de denuncia, colaboración con la justicia y brindando apoyo a las víctimas.

José Andrés Murillo: “Es la primera vez que hay un reconocimiento de la responsabilidad de la Iglesia”

[José Andrés Murillo: "It is the first time there is recognition of the Church's responsibility"]

CHILE
La Tercera

February 24, 2019

By María José Navarrete

La víctima del exsacerdote Fernando Karadima criticó la ausencia de medidas concretas para llevar a cabo los anuncios de la Iglesia. También, dice, está la falta de intenciones para investigar “de manera seria” porqué ocurren estos casos.

A pocas horas del término de la cumbre para tratar temas de protección a menores en la Iglesia, convocada por el Papa Francisco en el Vaticano, José Andrés Murillo, director de la Fundación para la Confianza, habló con La Tercera respecto de sus apreciaciones de esta actividad que reunió a obispos de todo el mundo.

Fernando Ramos, secretario general de la Conferencia Episcopal: “Falta acompañar y tener cercanía con las víctimas”

[Fernando Ramos, general secretary of the Episcopal Conference: "It is necessary to accompany and have closeness to the victims"]

CHILE
La Tercera

February 25, 2019

By María José Navarrete

Además, el prelado manifestó que se debe cambiar la tipificación penal de los abusos en el código de derecho canónico y apoyar a las diócesis más pequeñas.

Desde Roma, y tras finalizar la cumbre sobre “La protección de los menores en la Iglesia”, el representante chileno y secretario general de la Conferencia Episcopal, Fernando Ramos, hizo una pausa para conversar con La Tercera respecto de los desafíos que el encuentro dejó para la Iglesia en Chile.

Following Vatican sex abuse summit, Fort Worth Diocesan bishop, priest, discuss church going forward

WICHITA FALLS (TX)
KFDX/KJTL TV

February 24, 2019

By Nicholas Quallich

The Most Reverend Michael Olson is bishop of more than a million catholics in 28 counties, many of those being Texoma counties, making up the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth. He's been an outspoken critic of the ongoing sex abuse crisis in the church, saying no one is above accountability, including the now former cardinal archbishop of Washington, D.C. And like other diocese, Fort Worth diocesan clergy, workers and volunteers, go through extensive background checks and training, helping provide a safe environment for all catholics. And like other church leaders, Bishop Olson knows with the Rome sex abuse summit now over, many will be watching carefully to see when and how soon the results of the summit will be put in place.

Bishop Olson has been leader of the Diocese of Fort Worth for five years, being named bishop by Pope Francis in November 2013 and installed in January of 2014.

"My responsibility is based in my ordination promises, which is to teach, to govern and to sanctify," Bishop Olson said.

Another obligation of a bishop is making sure the flock he shepherds stays safe. At the February Vatican sex abuse summit, Olson's brother bishops and cardinals discussed what the church should or shouldn't do going forward to end further sexual abuse by clergy. But in November, American bishops including Olson, had their chance to take action on their own; that was until the Vatican said: 'Hold off.'

After abuse summit, does ‘zero tolerance’ have a future?

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

February 25, 2019

By Charles Collins

After the heads of the world’s bishops’ conferences and Eastern Churches listened to four days of talks on the effects of sex abuse, it can now be said that no Church leader can claim that the issue isn’t a problem in their neck of the woods.

This is probably the most significant achievement of the unprecedented Feb. 21-24 Vatican summit on the topic which has been plaguing the Catholic Church for decades.

Yet there is a sense that for this giant step forward, there has also been a significant step backward: “Zero tolerance” - a buzzword since the scandal exploded in Boston in 2002 - no longer means priests who abuse minors will be defrocked even after one incident of abuse.

This policy was stated in its most succinct form by St. John Paul II, when he called every U.S. cardinal to the Vatican in April 2002 in the fallout of the revelations of abuse and cover-up exposed in the Boston Globe that year: “People need to know that there is no place in the priesthood and religious life for those who would harm the young.”

This is in contrast to removal from active ministry, when a priest does not have a pastoral assignment - and often is told not to even present himself as a priest in public - but is still, technically, a cleric.

In the countries hardest hit by the sexual abuse crisis in the late 20th century - including the United States and Ireland - the families of victims were told an abusing priest was going to be removed from ministry, only later to find out he was serving as a priest in another location.

This is why most victims support groups - including the Ending Clergy Abuse advocacy group, which had a large contingent in Rome - have insisted abusive priests should be removed from the priesthood.

From the beginning of the meeting, the Vatican showed it was resisting this policy.

Church moving from ‘American problem’ to American solutions on clergy abuse

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

February 25, 2019

By Christopher White

If the global clergy sex abuse crisis was once thought of as an “American” problem, Pope Francis’s efforts to get the global Church to take the issue seriously may now be drawing on American solutions.

Seventeen years ago, 2002 marked a turning point for the U.S. clergy abuse crisis. Bishops tangled with Rome to amend canon law and enact a “one-strike and you’re out” policy for abusive priests - something which, at the time, was criticized in Rome and elsewhere as a distortion of Church law and a typically American form of “cowboy justice.”

Yet as bishops gathered around the world in Rome this week for an anti-abuse summit convened by Francis, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Ireland told reporters he believed the universal Church was moving “much closer” to enacting that American innovation as a global policy.

In an interview with Crux on Saturday, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, offered a similar conclusion.

“The Church is moving toward zero tolerance,” he said, but “it isn’t quite there yet.”

Further, the case of former cardinal and priest Theodore McCarrick, who rose through the ranks of power in the U.S. and within the Vatican, while abusing both minors and seminarians, has now prompted a global conversation in the Catholic Church on the need for oversight of the Church’s bishops.

On Friday, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago and one of the members of the summit’s organizing committee, called for “new legal structures of accountability” for bishops who abuse or are negligent in handling cases of abuse.

His proposal would charge the metropolitan archbishop with the responsibility for overseeing investigations into bishops accused of abuse in conjunction with a local review board. Cupich later added that it’s a model that would allow a more local response and follow-up with abuse survivors.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston and president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, said that the 2002 Dallas charter on the protection of children made “a huge difference” in the way the Church responds to sexual abuse.

God’s Work Against Child Abuse Will Be Done By States, Not The Vatican

BOSTON(MA)
WBUR Radio

February 25, 2019

By Rich Barlow

The moral order has flipped upside down when civil authorities must force religious leaders to honor the Eighth Commandment against lying. Yet we are in such a Bizarro World, as I learned after my native New Jersey was among a half dozen states to investigate Catholic dioceses, following Pennsylvania’s searing catalog of decades of abuse of 1,000 children by hundreds of priests.

In the wake of Jersey’s probe, Catholic dioceses in the state recently released the names of priests credibly accused of abuse. Monsignor Thomas J. Frain, pastor of my childhood parish, was among them. (He, like many on the list, is deceased.) Though the nature of his abuse and age of his victim(s) weren’t specified — priests have preyed on adults, including nuns, as well as kids — I thank God that neither my brother nor I were ever altar boys or left alone with him.

I’d place my faith in prosecutors over prelates.

I mention this by way of suggesting, as a practicing Catholic, that attention to the just-ended Vatican summit on child abuse is misplaced. If it’s church reform you want, turn your gaze from Rome to U.S. states, where law enforcement, having lost patience with Catholic leaders (as have we in the laity), have started probing abuse.

Victims of clergy sex abuse release list of 21 'reflection points' urging the Pope to take more aggressive action

WASHINGTON (DC)
WUSA TV

February 24, 2019

Pope Francis’ landmark Vatican summit ended early Sunday morning. In the District, some local survivors said the Pope’s words stop short.


Summit drives home that clerical sexual abuse is a global problem

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

February 25, 2019

By Elise Harris

Though Pope Francis’s high-stakes Feb. 21-24 summit on clerical sexual abuse has not yet yielded any major policy moves, one message was clear throughout the four-day gathering: The problem is global, and no one should leave thinking it’s not a concern in their own backyard.

Francis himself in his Sunday Angelus address said abuse is “a widespread problem on every continent,” and because of this, he wanted bishops throughout the world “to face it together, in a co-responsible and collegial way.”

Since the beginning of the abuse scandals three decades ago, they’ve sometimes been pegged as primarily an “American” or “Western” problem by Church leaders in countries where the crisis has yet to erupt. Cracking down has been met with a certain level of resistance by prelates in these regions who see the problem as secondary in comparison to other, more pressing issues.

However, speakers this week challenged that notion with direct, bold language.

During Friday’s morning session, Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, India, a member of the pope’s council of cardinals and one of four members of the summit’s organizing committee, said, “No bishop may say to himself, ‘This problem of abuse in the Church does not concern me, because things are different in my part of the world.’”

“This, brothers and sisters, is just not true,” he said. Acknowledging that “we in leadership roles did not do enough,” Gracias said the “entire Church must take an honest look [and] act decisively to prevent abuse from occurring in the future, and to do whatever possible to foster healing for victims.”

Similarly, Sister Veronica Openibo of Nigeria, one of just three women tapped to speak at the summit, reinforced the message Saturday, telling the 190 participants that “probably like many of you, I have heard many Africans and Asians say that this is not our issue in countries in Africa and Asia.”

“It is a problem in Europe, the Americas, Canada and Australia,” Openibo said, adding that other problems in the region such as poverty, illness, war, and violence “does not mean that the area of sexual abuse should be downplayed or ignored…The Church has to be proactive in facing it.”

Prelates did not mince words, vocalizing the Church’s failures to properly address the abuse crisis and calling for the “humility” to recognize these errors and to repent.

February 24, 2019

Lafayette diocese still hasn't released list of priests accused of sexual abuse

LAFAYETTE (LA)
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

February 24, 2019

By Elaina Sauber

As nearly 200 leaders of the Roman Catholic Church from around the world convened at a first-ever summit on sexual abuse at the Vatican on Thursday, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette still hadn't released a list of priests over the last half-century who were credibly accused of sexually abusing children.

Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel of the Diocese of Lafayette said earlier this week that he expected the summit to address "pastoral outreach and accompaniment toward healing" for sexual abuse victims and the removal of any cleric who is guilty of abuse, and reporting those crimes to law enforcement.

In a Daily Advertiser story first published on Feb. 11, diocesan spokeswoman Blue Rolfes said they hoped "within the next week or two to release the list."

Nearly two weeks later, Rolfes hasn't responded to repeated phone calls and emails seeking an update on when the list will be published.

Head of Catholic order failed to tell police of sexual abuse at London school

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

February 23, 2019

By Jamie Doward

The head of one of the country’s most powerful Catholic orders was made aware of sex abuse allegations dating back to the 1970s at one of its schools but did not alert the authorities – contrary to the recommendations of a church commission on which he sat.

The wide-ranging Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse has been shown a handwritten document compiled by Abbot Richard Yeo, who as president of the Benedictines conducted an inquiry at St Benedict’s School in Ealing, west London, in June 2010 following reports that there had been widespread abuse of pupils by teachers and monks.

The year before Yeo’s visit, Father David Pearce, the former head of the junior school, had been jailed for eight years – reduced to five on appeal –after being found guilty of abusing five boys over a 36-year period.

According to notes Yeo took when he visited St Benedict’s, and which will soon be uploaded on to the inquiry’s website, many at the school had been concerned about Pearce decades before he was jailed. Yeo’s notes state: “Mid 70s knew David engaged in dubious activities.” Another monk told him: “Knew since I was junior school head there was something wrong. Graffiti ‘Fr David is bent’.” A third said he was aware of rumours of abuse when he arrived 25 years ago, and expressed disbelief that a former abbot claimed to Yeo he “never knew anything about it”.

The Catholic church’s failure to confront systemic clerical sexual abuse was acknowledged last week at an unprecedented summit on the issue opened by Pope Francis, attended by 180 bishops and cardinals. “The holy people of God are watching and expect not just simple and obvious condemnations, but efficient and concrete measures to be established,” he warned.

At DC’s Basilica, SNAP details how to help survivors of priest sex abuse

WASHINGTON (DC)
WTOP TV

February 24, 2019

By Keara Dowd

An organization that serves survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests is responding to the Pope’s points of action with their own list of ways Catholics can help victims every day.

The Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP) released a list of 21 things that they say everyday Catholics can do to help the crisis. Local leaders handed out copies to people as they left mass at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Sunday morning.

“When I listened to those eight points, I thought of them as being very vague, and they weren’t really some action points,” said Becky Ianni, who leads SNAP’s local chapter. “It’s really important that we keep vigilant, and that we work towards holding the church accountable and pushing them to take action on some of the items they listed.”

Listening, donating to organizations that help victims and educating people about sexual abuse are all on SNAP’s list of things people can do to help. Ianni, a survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of a priest herself, says that the Pope’s points of reflection sounds like it’s mostly just talk.

“One of the things that struck me was that he said that he wants bishops and cardinals to understand the severity of this problem. And I think as a survivor, you know, as an 8-year-old I knew how severe this was, I knew how devastating this was. So I don’t know why this is one of the points,” said Ianni.

Some members of SNAP made the trip to Rome for the Pope’s summit, with the hope of contributing to the solutions that the meetings hoped to find. But those who went told the National Catholic Reporter that none of their suggestions made it on to the Pope’s list.

Diocese of Sioux City to release list of 28 credibly accused priests Monday

SIOUX CITY (IA)
Sioux City Journal

February 24, 2019

The Diocese of Sioux City announced Sunday that it plans to publicly release a list of 28 priests who were credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors while serving in the diocese.

According to a press release from the diocese, each case was investigated by the Diocesan Review Board to determine credibility. The board reviewed priest files dating back to 1902.

The diocese will host a press conference at 1:30 p.m. Monday at 1821 Jackson St. to release the list. Bishop R. Walker Nickless; Father Brad Pelzel, Vicar General and Moderator; and Mark Prosser, a Review Board member and Storm Lake Police Chief, will all be on hand.

After the press conference the list will be available at www.scdiocese.org.

"Cuando denuncié a mi abusador, Bergoglio se negó a recibirme"

["When I denounced my abuser, Bergoglio refused to receive me"]

ARGENTINA
Tiempo Argentino

February 24, 2019

By Pablo Taranto

Mientras el Vaticano discute qué hacer con las denuncias de abuso sexual, Sebastián Cuattromo sostiene que se trata de "un triunfo de las víctimas", pide "además de gestos, acciones concretas", y recuerda que el entonces arzobispo porteño subestimó la gravedad del delito.

A los 13 años, Sebastián Cuattromo fue víctima de abuso sexual en el Colegio Marianista del barrio de Caballito. Durante diez años no pudo siquiera ponerlo en palabras, pero al cabo se sobrepuso a ese duro silencio y denunció a su abusador, el hermano marianista y docente Fernando Picciochi, también agresor de otros niños de su misma edad. “Luego de 20 años de dolor y de lucha –cuenta–, en 2012 logré el juicio y la condena penal de quien fuera mi abusador, a 12 años de cárcel por el delito de corrupción de menores calificada y reiterada. Entonces hice pública mi historia, convencido de que no era una cuestión personal y privada, sino colectiva y de interés público, con la clara convicción de que mi testimonio podía contribuir a visibilizar esta enorme injusticia.”

“Mi madre le contó al director de los salesianos que don Pablo había abusado de mi hermana y de mí”

[New accusation: "My mother told the director of the Salesians that Don Pablo had abused my sister and me"]

MADRID (SPAIN)
El País

February 22, 2019

By Julio Nuñez

Otro exalumno del colegio de Deusto denuncia que dos clérigos le agredieron sexualmente a él y a sus dos hermanos

Como tantos otros, Claudio (nombre anónimo) sintió un extraño alivio a sus 55 años cuando leyó por primera vez que los abusos sexuales en el colegio salesiano de Deusto estaban saliendo a la luz. Durante 45 años, nadie en su barrio le creyó cuando contaba que los religiosos del centro “metían mano” a los niños. En su historia personal y familiar se mezclan los abusos de dos de los cuatro acusados de pederastia y malos tratos: el sacerdote Pablo Ortega –investigado por la orden salesiana por pederastia– y José Miguel San Martín –conocido como don Chemi y denunciado por una treintena de antiguos alumnos–.

Un precedente de la lucha contra la pederastia en la Iglesia

[A precedent for fighting pedophilia in the Church]

ALICANTE (SPAIN)
El País

February 23, 2019

By Rafa Burgos

Un sacerdote fue condenado en 1933 a tres años de prisión por abusar de dos niñas acogidas en un orfanato de Orihuela tras la investigación de una comisión municipal

Un rumor recorre la Orihuela de 1932, en plena Segunda República. En el asilo de La Beneficencia, un orfanato tutelado por monjas, están sucediendo “irregularidades de orden moral”. Al parecer, alguna de las niñas recluidas en la institución han sufrido abusos sexuales y ninguno de los responsables del centro se libra de la sospecha. El Ayuntamiento, a instancias del Gobernador Civil de Alicante, José Echevarría Novoa, impulsa una investigación que determina que el culpable de violar a dos niñas menores, de 15 y 16 años, es el capellán del asilo, José Escurra, que será acusado ante la Fiscalía, juzgado y, finalmente, condenado a tres años de prisión.

Brasil: La Iglesia con más católicos como banco de pruebas para escuchar a las víctimas de abusos

[Brazil: Church with the most Catholics listens to abuse victims in pilot program]

SAO PAULO (BRAZIL)
El País (Spain)

February 20, 2019

By Naiara Galarraga Gortazar

Una archidiócesis acaba de ser condenada por explotación sexual de menores en el mayor caso de pederastia del clero conocido en Brasil

La Iglesia católica de Brasil, la que con 123 millones más fieles aporta en el mundo entero, llega a la cumbre convocada por el Papa recién condenada por el mayor escándalo de abusos sexuales conocido en su seno. La archidiócesis de Paraíba fue sentenciada en enero por un tribunal laboral a pagar 12 millones de reales (2,9 millones de euros) por explotación sexual de menores porque un grupo de sacerdotes pagaba habitualmente por sexo, con dinero o comida, a seminaristas, monaguillos y aparcacohes. El caso ya había tenido consecuencias para la jerarquía. El Vaticano obligó a dimitir en 2016 por encubrir esos crímenes al entonces arzobispo, Aldo Pagotto. La sentencia, desvelada por el programa Fantástico del canal O Globo, ha sido recurrida por la Iglesia. Este es el caso con mayor repercusión en un país donde no ha habido grandes investigaciones de los abusos sexuales del clero a niños por parte de los jueces, de la prensa ni de la jerarquía eclesiástica.

Ecuador: Ayuda psicológica para las víctimas de la “dinámica del pecado”

[Ecuador: Psychological help for the victims of the "dynamics of sin"]

QUITO (ECUADOR)
El País (Spain)

February 20, 2019

By Soraya Constante

El presidente de la conferencia episcopal asegura que su Iglesia está lista para responder al Papa

María, de 14 años, fue violentada en su cuarta clase de catequesis. Era el primer sábado de febrero y el sacerdote Néstor Bustos, párroco de una iglesia del norte de Quito, le había tocado sus partes íntimas y besado a la fuerza. La adolescente volvió a su casa llorando y habló con una prima y luego con sus padres. Estos, indignados, convencieron a unos cuantos vecinos para tomarse la justicia por su mano. La muchedumbre llegó a la casa parroquial y el religioso intentó huir por la puerta trasera. La policía llegó a tiempo para evitar el linchamiento y se llevó al cura, quien se defendía diciendo que solo había hecho “cosquillitas” a la menor.

Colombia: Acudir de inmediato a la Fiscalía ante un caso de abusos

[Colombia: Immediately go to the Prosecutor's Office with abuse complaints]

BOGOTA (COLOMBIA)
El País (Spain)

February 20, 2019

By Santiago Torrado

Aunque no existe un rastreo oficial del número de víctimas, varias decenas de religiosos católicos han sido señalados de abusos sexuales contra menores en los últimos años

En Colombia, un país cuya principal discusión pública se concentra en pasar la página de un conflicto armado de más de medio siglo, el escándalo mundial por la pederastia en la iglesia ha aterrizado sin tanta resonancia, ni casos tan emblemáticos como en otros lugares. Aunque no existe un rastreo oficial del número de víctimas, varias decenas de sacerdotes católicos han sido señalados por abusos sexuales contra menores en los últimos años.

Perú: Compensaciones y terapia para víctimas de abusos de clase alta

[Peru: Compensation and therapy for upper class abuse victims]

LIMA (PERU)
El País (Spain)

February 20, 2019

By Jacqueline Fowks

La organización apostólica ultraconservadora Sodalicio fue un nido de pederastia y sus responsables aún no han sido sancionados

La Conferencia Episcopal de Perú no ha encubierto a religiosos acusados de abusos sexuales a menores y los ha puesto a disposición de la justicia. Pero el arzobispo saliente de Lima, Juan Luis Cipriani, protegió a una organización ultraconservadora, el Sodalicio de Vida Cristiana, en la que los líderes cometieron abusos contra 19 menores y 10 adultos. La cifra procede de un informe que esa agrupación difundió en 2017.

Guatemala: Pocos casos de abusos conocidos en un país donde ser niño es una situación de alto riesgo

[Guatemala: Few cases of known abuse in a country where being a child is a high-risk situation]

GUATEMALA CITY (GUATEMALA)
El País (Spain)

February 20, 2019

By José Elías

En un país profundamente religioso, las víctimas temen el ostracismo social. Se conocen tres casos

En Guatemala, un país donde ser niño es una situación de alto riesgo en la medida en que la mayoría sobrevive en la pobreza extrema, la explotación laboral o la violencia sexual, los casos de pederastia que involucren a la Iglesia católica son minoritarios, desconocidos o, por pudor, no denunciados. Por ahora solo se conocen tres casos. "Los tres fueron condenados a penas de cárcel, uno de ellos era un varón y los dos restantes chicas adolescentes. Uno de los sacerdotes mantiene abiertamente su inocencia y ha apelado su condena”, cuenta a EL PAÍS el obispo de Huehuetenango (norte, en la frontera con México), Álvaro Ramazzini, en una conversación vía Internet.

Panamá y Honduras: El silencio sobre los abusos se impone en las jerarquías católicas

[Panama and Honduras: Silence over abuses is imposed on Catholic hierarchies]

SAN JOSE (COSTA RICA)
El País (Spain)

February 20, 2019

By José Meléndez

Las cúpulas religiosas de ambos países rechazan informar sobre los casos de pederastia

Cuando el papa Francisco inició el pasado 24 de enero sus primeras actividades en Panamá, reprendió a la cúpula eclesiástica por mantenerse alejada de los fieles católicos por su secretismo y su política de puertas cerradas, y exhortó a los peregrinos de todo el mundo a “hacer lío” sin importar edad, sexo, raza o ideología. Pero el hermetismo persiste en las jerarquías católicas de Panamá y de Honduras para enfrentar los casos conflictivos de pederastia ante la cumbre mundial de conferencias episcopales en el Vaticano.

El Salvador :Un pederasta biógrafo de un santo

[El Salvador: A pedophile biographer of a saint]

SAN SALVADOR (EL SALVADOR)
El País (Spain)

February 20, 2019

By Juan Jose Dalton

La Justicia enjuicia ahora otros dos casos en el país sudamericano

Los casos de pederastia denunciados e investigados en la Iglesia de El Salvador son escasos. "Hemos concluido los procesos penales eclesiásticos en contra de los sacerdotes acusados de abuso sexual de menores. Los tres sacerdotes procesados fueron encontrados culpables en sus respectivos juicios, por lo que en los tres casos se impuso la pena de dimisión del estado clerical", dijo el 18 de diciembre en su homilía dominical el arzobispo de San Salvador, José Luis Escobar Alas. Los tres sacerdotes destituidos por el Vaticano, en 2016, son Juan Francisco Gálvez, Antonio Molina y Jesús Delgado.

África occidental: Sacerdotes denunciados por abusos devueltos a Europa

[Western Africa: Priests denounced for abuses returned to Europe]

DAKAR (SENEGAL)
El País (Spain)

February 20, 2019

By Jose Naranjo

Los medios de comunicación han sacado a la luz cuatro casos

En África occidental se han registrado escasas denuncias por pederastia contra miembros de la Iglesia católica en los últimos años, lo cual no significa que no haya casos. Monseñor André Gueye, obispo de Thiès y vicepresidente de la Conferencia Episcopal —que agrupa a Senegal, Mauritania, Cabo Verde y Guinea Bissau—, dice conocer dos casos: un intento de abuso sexual de un profesor de una escuela religiosa que acabó siendo expulsado y el de un cura denunciado por acoso sexual que fue sancionado por su obispo y ya no está en activo. Sin embargo, algunos trabajos periodísticos han sacado a la luz que cuatro religiosos occidentales han sido investigados. Entre ellos el sacerdote español Juan José Gómez, que trabajaba en Benín con niños de la calle, tal y como desveló EL PAÍS.

El obispo de Astorga sobre un cura abusador: “Tengo que cuidarlo porque es un sacerdote ¿no?”

[The Bishop of Astorga about an abusive priest: "I have to take care of him because he is a priest, isn't he?"]

MADRID (SPAIN)
El País

February 21, 2019

By Julio Núñez

Juan Antonio Menéndez, presidente de la comisión antipederastia, se compadece de un cura pederasta en una grabación oculta durante una reunión con afectados

Cuando Javier recibió en 2017 la carta del obispo de Astorga y actual presidente de la comisión antipederastia de la Conferencia Episcopal, Juan Antonio Menéndez, comunicándole que el sacerdote que había abusado de él a finales de los ochenta, José Manuel Ramos Gordón, solo había sido condenado a un año de apartamiento como párroco, sintió que “el infierno” que había vivido para denunciar su caso ante el Papa y buscar justicia en el obispado había sido en balde. Tampoco le sirvió quejarse a Menéndez. Decidió, entonces, contarlo todo a los medios. Una treintena de antiguos seminaristas del seminario leones de La Bañeza (centro donde sucedieron los abusos) salieron a la calle para apoyarle y protestar contra "el encubrimiento" y el silencio que la Iglesia había seguido durante su proceso canónico y contra la pena de Ramos Gordón.

Análisis: Una crisis de credibilidad clamorosa

[Analysis: A clamorous crisis of credibility]

MADRID (SPAIN)
El País

February 24, 2019

By Juan G. Bedoya

El descubrimiento de casos de pederastia en la Iglesia, que acaba de empezar, requiere reformas de fondo

Eufemismos aparte (Santa Sede, Su Santidad el Papa, Vicario de Cristo…), resulta ya obsceno sostener que el Pontífice romano y los obispos son una referencia moral para el mundo, si es que alguna vez lo fueron desde que Constantino los encumbró como religión del Imperio y una iglesia hasta entonces perseguida con saña se convirtió en la religión perseguidora. “De pronto, cuánta suciedad”, lamentó Benedicto XVI hace diez años. Para entonces, ya se sabía que él mismo había sido encubridor, enviando, incluso, una carta a los obispos que ordenaba que actuasen en secreto y remitiesen a la Congregación para la Doctrina de la Fe, que presidió cuando era el cardenal Ratzinger, todos los casos de pederastia.

Chileno entrega su testimonio en nuevo día de la cumbre vaticana: "Un abuso es la mayor humillación"

[Chilean survivors testifies at the Vatican: "An abuse is the greatest humiliation"]

CHILE
Emol

February 23, 2019

El joven, que actualmente vive en Alemania, contó ante los obispos y el papa que luego del episodio vivido hay una parte de la persona que "es como un fantasma que los demás no pueden ver".

Un joven chileno víctima de abusos leyó su desgarrador testimonio durante la celebración penitencial que se ofició este sábado en la cumbre vaticana sobre protección de los menores y recordó a los obispos que "un abuso, de cualquier tipo, es la mayor humillación que un individuo puede sufrir".

La catarsis a puertas cerradas de los jesuitas

[Catharsis behind the Jesuits' closed doors]

CHILE
La Tercera

February 23, 2019

By Carla Pía Ruiz Pereira

Las acusaciones de abuso sexual en contra de varios de sus miembros -entre ellos Renato Poblete- marcaron la reservada cita en Padre Hurtado. Golpeados. Así llegaron los 115 jesuitas al último Encuentro de Provincia, en el que se cuestionaron todo. Su estructura, su formación, su relación con el poder. Su soberbia. La crisis que vive hoy la Iglesia Católica chilena les recordó algo: todos han caído. Y los jesuitas también.

“Los jesuitas siempre nos hemos sentido un poco distintos. Así como mejores que el resto de los curas. Pero el tema de los abusos nos puso, con todo el dolor y vergüenza del mundo, los pies en la tierra”.

Rochester priest place on leave due to allegations of sexual misconduct

ROCHESTER (NY)
WHAM TV

February 24, 2019

A Rochester priest has been put on administrative leave after he was accused of sexual misconduct with a minor.

Parishioners of St. Christopher Church in North Chili learned at this weekend's Masses that their pastor, Rev. Robert Gaudio, is being investigated over a complaint that he abused a minor in the 1970s, according to a press release from the Diocese of Rochester.

Rev. Gaudio denied the allegation. No other previous allegations of sexual abuse of a minor have ever been received, according to the diocese.

While he is on leave, he can not engage in public ministry. Rev. Edward Palumbos will serve as temporary administrator.

Rev. Gaudio was ordained in 1974. Before serving at St. Christopher’s, he previously served at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Brockport, St. Alphonsus Church in Auburn, St. Andrew Church in Rochester, Holy Name of Jesus Church in Greece, St. Monica Church in Rochester, and St. Ann Church in Palmyra concurrent with ministry at St. Gregory Church in Marion..

Pope declares war on sexual abuse but victims feel betrayed

ROME (ITALY)
Reuters

February 24, 2019

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis ended his conference on the sexual abuse of children by clergy on Sunday by calling for an "all-out battle" against a crime that should be "erased from the face of the earth".

But victims and their advocates expressed deep disappointment, saying Francis had merely repeated old promises and offered few new concrete proposals.

In his closing address to the almost 200 Church leaders he had summoned to Rome, Francis said national guidelines on preventing and punishing abuse would be strengthened and the Church's definition of minors in cases of possession by clergy of pornography would be raised from the current age of 14.

At least two Vatican officials have been convicted in recent years of possessing child pornography.

Shortly after the conference, the Vatican said it would enact a law to protect minors and vulnerable adults within the Vatican City - the tiny enclave surrounded by Rome which is one of the few countries without one.

Steve Bannon and the Pope’s Sex-Abuse Circus Are Coming to Rome

ROME (ITALY)
Daily Beast

February 19, 2019

By Barbie Latza Nadeau

Some might say it was doomed from the start. Even Pope Francis has warned that expectations are far “too high” for his three-day summit on clerical sex abuse being held here from Thursday to Saturday. The mission of the meeting has been clear from day one: to make sure all dioceses around the world are “on the same page” when it comes to handling clerical sex abuse.

But from the moment it was announced last September, just as the full impact of the now-famous Pennsylvania grand jury report sent shockwaves around the world, those with other agendas were booking flights to Rome.

One such opportunist is Steve Bannon, the former strategist and campaign chairman for U.S. President Donald Trump who confirmed to The Daily Beast that he will be in the Eternal City for the summit this week. Bannon is an ardent supporter of Pope Francis’ most vocal foe, American Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is not listed as an attendee.

Together they can be expected to use the sidelines of the summit as an opportunity to rail against what they both say they believe is the root cause of clerical abuse: gay priests. And, while doing so, they will hint that Francis’ perceived leniency toward gay Catholics somehow enables the abusers.

Pope Calls for Battle on Abuse, But Where Are the Weapons?

ROME (ITALY)
Daily Beast

February 24.2019

By Barbie Latza Nadeau

Several moments during the four-day summit on clerical sex abuse truly were inspirational. Like when Nigerian nun, Sister Veronica Openibo, scolded Pope Francis and the 190 church leaders who had gathered there. “How could the clerical Church have kept silent, covering these atrocities?" she asked, at one point turning to the pope who was seated near her. “The silence, the carrying of the secrets in the hearts of the perpetrators, the length of the abuses and the constant transfers of perpetrators are unimaginable.”

Other moments focused on the suffering at the center of the scandals. “From the age of 15 I had sexual relations with a priest,” the prelates heard on the first day, listening to one victim’s recorded testimony. “This lasted for 13 years. I got pregnant three times and he made me have an abortion three times, quite simply because he did not want to use condoms or contraceptives. At first I trusted him so much that I did not know he could abuse me. I was afraid of him, and every time I refused to have sex with him, he would beat me.”

On Saturday evening, an unnamed young man, the victim of a predatory priest for years, spoke at an evening service where the conference attendees asked for forgiveness. He seemed to look each leader, including the pope, directly in the eye as he fought back tears. “What you carry inside you is like a ghost, which others are unable to see,” he said, describing his years of abuse. “They will never fully see and know you. What hurts the most, is the certainty that nobody will understand you. That lives with you for the rest of your life.” Then he went on to play a song so mournful on his violin that he seemed to bring that ghost to life.

But what will be remembered most from this extraordinary summit is likely to be what didn't happen. Francis called for an “all-out battle against the abuse of minors” and said that his church now “feels called to combat this evil that strikes at the very heart of her mission, which is to preach the Gospel to the little ones and to protect them from ravenous wolves.”

Pope compares child sex abuse to human sacrifice as he promises to combat 'with the wrath of God'

ROME (ITALY)
The Telegraph

February 24, 2019

By Andrea Vogt

Pope Francis wrapped up a landmark Vatican summit on clerical sex abuse on Sunday pledging to bring the “wrath of God” upon clergy who abuse children, and likening paedophilia to "human sacrifice".

“We must deliver justice to whoever did this and never try to cover up any case,” Pope Francis told the 190 cardinals, bishops and participants gathered for the unprecedented four-day Vatican summit on the clerical sexual abuse crisis that has dogged the Roman Catholic Church for decades.

“The echo of the silent cry of the little ones, who, instead of finding in them fathers and spiritual guides, encountered tormentors, will shake hearts dulled by hypocrisy and power."

Support groups for the victims of clerical sexual abuse, however, said Pope Francis had lost a unique, high-profile opportunity for momentous change, instead opting for empty promises and “meaningless” reflection points.

His references to the devil and emphasis on the fact that the Church was not the only place children were abused particularly rankled.

Describing predatory priests as "tools of Satan", the Pope said paedophilia was "a widespread phenomenon in all cultures and societies".

"I am reminded of the cruel religious practice, once widespread in certain cultures, of sacrificing human beings - frequently children - in pagan rites," he said.

"Honestly it's a pastoral 'blabla', saying it's the fault of the devil," Swiss victim Jean-Marie Furbringer said.

Pope Francis wrapped up a landmark Vatican summit on clerical sex abuse on Sunday pledging to bring the “wrath of God” upon clergy who abuse children, and likening paedophilia to "human sacrifice".

“We must deliver justice to whoever did this and never try to cover up any case,” Pope Francis told the 190 cardinals, bishops and participants gathered for the unprecedented four-day Vatican summit on the clerical sexual abuse crisis that has dogged the Roman Catholic Church for decades.

“The echo of the silent cry of the little ones, who, instead of finding in them fathers and spiritual guides, encountered tormentors, will shake hearts dulled by hypocrisy and power."

Support groups for the victims of clerical sexual abuse, however, said Pope Francis had lost a unique, high-profile opportunity for momentous change, instead opting for empty promises and “meaningless” reflection points.

His references to the devil and emphasis on the fact that the Church was not the only place children were abused particularly rankled.

Describing predatory priests as "tools of Satan", the Pope said paedophilia was "a widespread phenomenon in all cultures and societies".

"I am reminded of the cruel religious practice, once widespread in certain cultures, of sacrificing human beings - frequently children - in pagan rites," he said.

"Honestly it's a pastoral 'blabla', saying it's the fault of the devil," Swiss victim Jean-Marie Furbringer said.

A call about a secret pain

MARKSVILLE (LA)
Avoyelles Today

February 24, 2019

By Raymond Daye

There are calls you wish you had not received because of the emotional toll it takes on you, but yet are glad you had the conversation because some good may come from it.

One such call came to my desk a few days after the article on priests the Diocese believes were most likely guilty of sexual abuse, molestation or impropriety with juveniles over the past several decades.

This caller is now over 70, but his story of a near tragedy occurred when he was 13.

The priest was serving in Bunkie. He was friendly and often asked the caller and his friends to help him around the church. He would give them gifts to show his appreciation for their help.

One day, he and the priest were alone.

“He gave me something to drink,” he recalled, noting that he may have had more than one.

“I know now it was a martini, with olives in it. It was very strong and made me dizzy,” he said.

The priest drove him to the Cow Palace in Marksville -- which has since been torn down to make way for the Paragon Casino.

“He tried to take my pants off in the car,” he said. “I fought back, even though I was woozy from the martini.”

As Catholic Church attendance declines because of sex abuse, U.S. leaders woo Latino youth

WASHINGTON (DC)
USA Today

February 24, 2019

By Lindsay Schnell

The Latino family entered the church after worship started, hustling to a pew in the back. The two young boys sat between their parents, while the little girl, a big white bow adorning her hair, perched on her dad’s lap, giggling.

During the homily, while the Rev. Mike Walker preached in English about finding joy in Jesus Christ despite hardships, the father whispered in Spanish for his children to be quiet and hold still. The mother handed the boys books with a Spanish translation. She wanted them to follow along.

Two hours later at St. James Catholic Church, located 50 miles southwest of Portland in the heart of Oregon’s wine country, the pews were packed again, this time entirely with Latino families. Now, the hymns were upbeat — full drums, a boisterous choir, congregants moving their hips.

Walker invited children to the front. “Escuela mañana?” he asked. Did they have school the next day on Presidents Day? The crowd of elementary school children shook their heads shyly, then headed for the Sunday school classroom, while Walker addressed his congregation and preached the same homily — this time entirely in Spanish.

McMinnville is 72 percent white and 22 percent Latino, but St. James is majority Latino, a growing trend in the U.S. Catholic Church.

Program announces first payments to survivors in Philadelphia Archdiocese

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholic News Service

February 24, 2019

By Lou Baldwin

A report on the first financial settlements by the Independent Reconciliation and Reparation Program for victims of clergy sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been made public.

The IRRP began Nov. 13, 2018, as a way to compensate individuals who had been abused years ago as minors by priests of the archdiocese but whose cases are time-barred from civil prosecution due to Pennsylvania’s statutes of limitation.

The program’s Oversight Committee released its first interim report on the awards Feb. 15. Of the $8.425 million authorized for payment to date, more than $4.5 million has been paid, according to the report, with the remaining pending victims’ acceptance of the terms. The paid claims number 16; there are 20 pending.

While the awards are paid by the archdiocese, it has no control over who receives them or in what amount, since the IRRP is run independently of the archdiocese. The program’s decisions are final and may not be appealed.

According to the report, packets were mailed to 348 previously known individuals who had reported sexual abuse. Of this number 70 have filed claims. Some packets were returned by the post office as undeliverable and there are at this time approximately 15 individuals that the archdiocese is still trying to locate and invite to participate in the program.

Canadian guidelines aim to stop Catholic church sex abuse

TORONTO (CANADA)
CTV News

February 23, 2019

As the Roman Catholic church hosts a historic summit on sexual abuse, new Canadian guidelines are being used as a possible roadmap for reformation.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ guidelines on Protecting Minors from Sexual Abuse include tougher background checks, compassion for victims and abandoning confidentiality clauses in settlements with victims.

Ron Fabbro, a bishop in London, Ont., spent years working on the 69 recommendations that were published last year and which are being considered at the summit underway at the Vatican.

“I think it’s very important for them to hear that we acknowledge that there have been failures,” Fabbro tells CTV News.

Fabrro says the most difficult part of the scandal has been knowing that those who suffered the abuse have “lost their trust in the church.”

He’s hopeful the church can change, but others have lost hope. Some were disappointed that Pope Francis did not attend a meeting with survivors on Wednesday, and has not apologized for the church’s role in abuse of Indigenous people at Canadian residential schools.

Rod MacLeod is one of those still waiting for the church to change.

In 2015, MacLeod won a $2.6 million settlement for the abuse he suffered at the hands of a Sudbury, Ont., priest and high school gym teacher in the 1960s. William Marshall was found guilty of abusing 17 people in 2011. He died in 2014.

“After gym, you'd go to the showers and he would grab you and pull you into his office where he had all these venetian blinds that he had kept closed all the time,” MacLeod recalls.

Pope Francis condemns clerical sexual abuse but offers no new solutions

ROME (ITALY)
NBC News

February 24, 2019

By Claudio Lavanga, Yuliya Talmazan and Anne Thompson

Pope Francis strongly condemned clerical sexual abuse during a speech ending a landmark Vatican conference on the subject Sunday, but stopped short of proposing new policies to combat the crisis engulfing the Catholic Church.

"No abuse should ever be covered up as was often the case in the past or not taken sufficiently seriously, since the covering up of abuses favors the spread of evil and adds a further level of scandal," he said.

At the end of the four-day summit — the Vatican's latest attempt to come to grips with the issue — Francis promised that guidelines used by bishops' conferences to prevent abuse and punish perpetrators will be reviewed and strengthened.

Speaking to some 190 senior Catholic bishops and religious superiors, the pope called abuse involving children a "universal problem."

"The church has now become increasingly aware of the need not only to curb the gravest cases of abuse by disciplinary measures and civil and canonical processes, but also to decisively confront the phenomenon both inside and outside," Francis said. "She feels called to combat this evil that strikes at the very heart of her mission, which is to preach the Gospel to the little ones and to protect them from ravenous wolves."

"The church will never seek to hush up or not take seriously any case," he added at the end of Mass celebrated in the Sala Regia, one of the grand, frescoed reception rooms of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace.

The Jesuit pope added that the vast majority of sexual abuse occurs within the family, and in a bid to contextualize what he said was once a taboo subject, offered a global review of the wider problem of sexual tourism and online pornography.

But while he acknowledged the grief of victims and offered a list of measures to combat abuse, Francis offered little in the way of new approaches during the speech.

Campaigners furious after pope's 'defensive' speech on child abuse

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

February 24, 2019

By Angela Giuffrida

Activists for survivors of clerical sexual abuse have reacted furiously after Pope Francis failed to promise a “zero tolerance” approach to paedophile priests and the bishops who cover up their crimes as he closed a landmark summit at the Vatican.

Francis vowed that the Roman Catholic church would “spare no effort” to bring abusers to justice and would not cover up or underestimate abuse, but a significant part of the pontiff’s closing speech focused on the prevalence of child abuse across society.

Citing data, he said that the majority of cases arose within families and that the perpetrators of abuse were “primarily parents, relatives, husbands of child brides and teachers”. He also said that online pornography and sex tourism amplified the issue.

“Our work has made us realise once again that the gravity of the scourge of the sexual abuse of minors is, and historically has been, a widespread phenomenon in all cultures and societies,” he said. “I am reminded of the cruel religious practice, once widespread in certain cultures, of sacrificing human beings – frequently children – in pagan rites.”

While the pope acknowledged that the occurrence of the sexual abuse of children within the Catholic church was even more “scandalous” due to its incompatibility “with her moral authority and ethical credibility”, his speech failed to reflect the concrete action that survivors of sex abuse were hoping for.

Anne Barrett Doyle, the co-founder of Bishop Accountability, which tracks clergy sex abuse cases, described the speech as “recycled rhetoric”.

Children fathered by Catholic priests and banished to Scotland

EDINBURGH (SCOTLAND)
The Scotsman

February 24, 2019

Internet DNA-testing sites have led to a wave of adults discovering that they were fathered by Catholic priests and then banished to Scotland, it was claimed.

The Catholic Church in Scotland has admitted it has no idea how many Scottish priests, or those working in the country, have fathered children. But campaigners have claimed children were sent to Scotland from Ireland and England as a way of keeping them hidden from parish communities which may find out about their parentage.

Campaign group Coping International, founded by Vincent Doyle, who grew up in Ireland believing a priest was his godfather only to discover he was actually his dad, has warned it can push people to ‘psychosis’.

Mr Doyle said: “We are supporting eight Scottish people.

Despite external pressure, little talk of homosexuality at Vatican abuse summit

NEW YORK (NY)
America Magazine

February 24, 2019

By Michael J. O’Loughlin

In the months leading up to the Vatican’s four-day summit on the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests, some U.S. prelates, activists and even some journalists tried to link homosexuality with the abuse crisis, attempts to urge church officials to take a hard line against gay priests.

But the topic was barely broached during the summit, and when it was, leading prelates dismissed any connection.

“To generalize, to look at a whole category of people is never legitimate. We have individual cases. We don’t have categories of people,” said Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna, who has become one of the Vatican’s point man in the fight against sex abuse.

Responding to a reporter’s question during a press briefing on Feb. 21 about why the Vatican was not discussing homosexuality, he said that homosexuality and heterosexuality are “human conditions,” adding, “they are not something that predisposes to sin.”

“To generalize, to look at a whole category of people is never legitimate. We have individual cases. We don’t have categories of people.”
Tweet this

“I would never dare to indicate a category as a category that has a tendency to sin,” Archbishop Scicluna said.

Key papal ally calls for reconsidering scope of pontifical secrecy

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

February 23, 2019

John L. Allen Jr.

Since the beginning of the clerical abuse crisis, some voices in Catholicism have warned that going too far towards secular standards of transparency and corporate “best practices” could ruin the reputations of innocent priests by circulating false allegations, as well as eroding traditional guarantees of pontifical secrecy.

On Saturday, bishops gathered for a special summit heard one of their own, German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, tell them bluntly that such arguments just aren’t “particularly forceful.”

“The protection of rights and transparency are not mutually exclusive,” Marx said. “The opposite is the case.”

“A clearly defined and public procedure,” the German prelate said, “is the best safety mechanism against prejudices and false judgments. Such a procedure has the credibility to restore the reputation of a wrongly accused person who otherwise would be subject to rumors.”

Ultimately, Marx said, the aim of building and maintaining effective administrative procedures in dealing with abuse cases is to “bring humanity to God.”

No secret that ‘pontifical secrecy’ is taking a beating at pope’s summit

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

February 24, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

One hallmark of Pope Francis’s style is that during big moments, he prefers to have his friends and allies in the spotlight. That’s certainly the case during his high-stakes summit on the clerical abuse scandals this week, as the prelates given choice speaking slots would be on any short list of Francis’s biggest supporters.

As a result, it’s worth paying attention to what these prelates say, because if it doesn’t directly reflect the pope’s personal thinking, it’s at least a point of view he’ll be inclined to take seriously.

In that spirit, here’s one clear take-away: The concept of “pontifical secrecy,” if not quite on life support, has certainly seen better days.

Over the last three days, two prominent speakers took direct swipes at pontifical secrecy, both heavy-hitters in Francis’s papacy: Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Germany, a member of the pope’s “C9” council of cardinal advisers, and Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, essentially the pope’s go-to man in the United States.

Speaking on Friday, Cupich went first. Though his reference was brief, it was directly on point: “The reporting of an offense should not be impeded by the official secret or confidentiality rules.”

By “reporting,” of course, Cupich meant informing police and civil prosecutors of child abuse allegations against Church personnel. Over the years, officials often cited obligations to secrecy imposed under Church law as a reason for not making those reports – so, in context, Cupich was basically saying that’s bunk.

Next up was Marx, who, in essence, argued that pontifical secrecy needs to have its wings clipped – from a blanket requirement of keeping virtually everything confidential to a more 21st century concept of “data protection,” meaning shielding personal details from hackers with malicious intent, not withholding information from people or agencies with a legitimate right to know.

“We need to consider the definition and limits of pontifical secrecy,” Marx said. “In light of changing communications patterns in the age of social media, when each and every one of us can establish instant communication, we need to redefine confidentiality and secrecy and distinguish them from data protection.”

If the Church doesn’t do so, Marx warned, “we’ll either squander the chance to maintain some level of self-determination or expose ourselves to the suspicion of covering up.”

Pope Francis Ends Landmark Meeting by Calling for ‘All-Out Battle’ to Fight Sexual Abuse

ROME (ITALY)
New York Times

February 24, 2019

By Jason Horowitz and Elizabeth Dias

Pope Francis ended a landmark Vatican meeting on clerical sexual abuse with an appeal “for an all-out battle against the abuse of minors,” which he compared to human sacrifice, but his speech did not offer concrete policy remedies demanded by many of the faithful.

In the speech at the end of a Mass in the Apostolic Palace’s frescoed Sala Reggia hall, Francis argued that “even a single case of abuse” in the Roman Catholic Church — which he said was the work of the devil — must be met “with the utmost seriousness.” He said that eradicating the scourge required more than legal processes and “disciplinary measures.”

“To combat this evil that strikes at the very heart of our mission,” the pope said, the church needed to protect children “from ravenous wolves.”

Faithful Catholics — especially those in the United States and other countries that had grappled with the problem for years — had demanded more than homilies: They wanted action that would hold their leaders accountable, once and for all.

They did not get it from the pope’s speech.

But church officials have hinted that concrete policy changes were on the horizon, especially on issues of transparency and bishop accountability that were discussed during the meeting.

Pope Francis had sought to get the church’s leaders on the same page for the first time, summoning them to the meeting in September, decades after the sexual abuse crisis first exploded in the United States. He sent a message to his bishops and the faithful that he, too, wanted concrete remedies to come out of the meeting.

After the pope’s speech on Sunday, the Vatican announced several forthcoming measures, including one that church officials described as bringing the Vatican City State itself into line with the church’s existing rules on child protection.

Another was what the Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, called a “very brief” handbook for bishops to “understand their duties and tasks” on cases of sexual abuse and the introduction of a new task force of experts and canon lawyers to assist bishops in countries with less experience and resources to handle the issue.

But when asked about the measures on Sunday, the Vatican acknowledged that all had already been in the pipeline well before the meeting began on Thursday, and Father Lombardi said that none included any input from the four-day meeting.

Ending clergy abuse: Pope says priests must be guided by 'holy fear of God'

ROME (ITALY)
USA Today

February 24, 2019

By Trevor Hughes

Pope Francis on Sunday vowed to confront the Catholic Church’s clergy sex abuse scandal head-on, calling for priests to be guided by the "holy fear of God" while victims are believed and supported.

"The church will spare no effort to do all that is necessary to bring to justice whosoever has committed such crimes," Francis told a group of about 190 Catholic bishops and religious superiors he summoned to Rome. "The church will never seek to hush up or not take seriously any case.”

The sex-abuse scandal has rocked the church for two decades as journalists and prosecutors have uncovered hundreds of examples of predator priests who abused children and were allowed to continue in their ministry. The scandal has prompted many American Catholics to leave the church, which counts about 70 million Americans as members.

Last week, Francis defrocked former U.S. cardinal Theodore McCarrick, 88, after Vatican officials found him guilty of sex crimes against minors and adults. McCarrick is the most senior Catholic official to be defrocked for such crimes, and church experts say that's a reflection of how slowly the church has moved in response to the ongoing scandal.

After a damning grand jury report released last summer uncovered 300 abusive priests in Pennsylvania, multiple state attorneys general have opened their own cases, and hundreds of new victims are expected to come forward across the U.S.

The Rev. James Bretzke, a theology professor at Marquette University, said the pope demands a change in clerical culture, which has focused more on protecting the church's reputation than the abuse of children by priests.

"The pope is saying this isn't just a problem for the United States or Europe or elsewhere," Bretzke told USA TODAY last week. "The problem is the clerical culture that looks to protect the institution even at the expense of individuals who have been harmed."

Argentine bishop’s case overshadows pope’s sex abuse summit

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

February 24, 2019

By Nicole Winfield

Pope Francis may have wrapped up his clergy sex abuse prevention summit at the Vatican, but a scandal over an Argentine bishop close to him is only gaining steam.

The Associated Press has reported that the Vatican knew as early as 2015 about Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta’s inappropriate behavior with seminarians. Yet he was allowed to stay on as bishop of the northern Argentine diocese of Oran on until 2017, when he resigned suddenly, only to be given a top job at the Vatican by Francis, his confessor.

New documents published by the Tribune of Salta newspaper show that the original 2015 complaint reported that Zanchetta had gay porn on his cellphone involving “young people” having sex, as well as naked images of Zanchetta masturbating that he sent to others.

The age of the “young people” isn’t clear. But Francis told his summit Sunday that Vatican legislation criminalizing possession of child porn involving children under age 14 should change to include older victims.

“We now consider that this age limit should be raised in order to expand the protections of minors and to bring out the gravity of these deeds,” Francis said.

It wasn’t clear if Francis was referring to the Zanchetta case, which is now under investigation by both the Vatican and Argentine judicial authorities after alleged victims came forward accusing Zanchetta of sexual abuse.

The Vatican has insisted that Zanchetta was only facing “governance” problems at the time of his 2017 resignation and appointment at the Vatican, and that the first sexual abuse allegation was made in late 2018.

"A publicity stunt": Why some doubt Pope Francis' Vatican summit on systemic sex abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
Salon

February 24, 2019

By Matthew Rozsa

In my seven years as a published writer, no single interview has had a greater impact on me than my conversation with Pennsylvania state Rep. Mark Rozzi. Rozzi, a Democrat, has made it his personal mission to hold the Catholic Church accountable for allowing priests to sexually abuse children — and, on a broader level, to make it harder for any institution that conceals child sex abuse to get away with it.

When speaking to Salon last year, Rozzi went into graphic detail about the sexual abuse he experienced at the hands of his priest as a child, details too harrowing and upsetting to be repeated here. This week he spoke to Salon about the summit held by Pope Francis at the Vatican on Thursday, one in which the pontiff vowed to implement "concrete, effective measures" to hold wrongdoers accountable and prevent future abuses. These included creating a set of protocols for dealing with accusations against bishops, requiring psychological evaluations for priests, establishing codes of conduct for priests and other church officials that will recognize personal boundaries and creating a semi-autonomous group that can serve the needs of victims of sex abuse.

These promises sound good on paper, but are they enough? According to Rozzi, his concern is that the summit will be viewed as "a publicity stunt, if we don't see concrete action."

The Pope’s Whataboutism at Sex Abuse Summit Undermined Calls for Penance and Protection

ROME (ITALY)
Daily Beast

February 24, 2019

By Barbie Latza Nadeau
Several moments during the four-day summit on clerical sex abuse truly were inspirational. Like when Nigerian nun, Sister Veronica Openibo, scolded Pope Francis and the 190 church leaders who had gathered there. “How could the clerical Church have kept silent, covering these atrocities?" she asked, at one point turning to the pope who was seated near her. “The silence, the carrying of the secrets in the hearts of the perpetrators, the length of the abuses and the constant transfers of perpetrators are unimaginable.”

Other moments focused on the suffering at the center of the scandals. “From the age of 15 I had sexual relations with a priest,” the prelates heard on the first day, listening to one victim’s recorded testimony. “This lasted for 13 years. I got pregnant three times and he made me have an abortion three times, quite simply because he did not want to use condoms or contraceptives. At first I trusted him so much that I did not know he could abuse me. I was afraid of him, and every time I refused to have sex with him, he would beat me.”

On Saturday evening, an unnamed young man, the victim of a predatory priest for years, spoke at an evening service where the conference attendees asked for forgiveness. He seemed to look each leader, including the pope, directly in the eye as he fought back tears. “What you carry inside you is like a ghost, which others are unable to see,” he said, describing his years of abuse. “They will never fully see and know you. What hurts the most, is the certainty that nobody will understand you. That lives with you for the rest of your life.” Then he went on to play a song so mournful on his violin that he seemed to bring that ghost to life.

At Vatican summit, Pope Francis calls for ‘all-out battle’ against sexual abuse but is short on specifics about next steps

ROME (ITALY)
Washington Post

February 24, 2019

By Chico Harlan

At a Mass marking the end of an unprecedented Vatican summit, Pope Francis on Sunday called for an “all-out battle” against clerical sexual abuse, saying the church needed to take “every necessary measure” to end the scourge.

But his remarks were short on specifics and roundly criticized by victims of abuse, who said the four-day summit amounted to a training seminar that concluded with no concrete steps and advocated for behavioral changes that should have been obvious years ago.

Speaking at a gilded and frescoed hall at the Vatican, Francis said that abuse should never be “covered up” or tolerated. But the pontiff’s words, which included general calls for improved national-level guidelines, underscored the looming challenges for an institution that has long acknowledged the seriousness of clerical abuse but nonetheless struggled to curtail it.

Francis mentioned unspecified “legislation” that the Catholic Church will draw up, and said it will “spare no effort to do all that is necessary to bring to justice” anyone who has committed the “crimes” of abuse. He did not mention a zero-tolerance policy — a step that advocates have long called for to codify the idea that clerics found guilty of abuse be removed permanently from the priesthood.

The pope had called for the abuse summit while facing abuse-related scandals on multiple continents — stemming from cases that sometimes showed the complicity of church higher-ups in protecting abusers. At the start of the summit Thursday, Francis had called for “concrete and effective measures” to contend with the problem. And though some of the Vatican’s handpicked speakers described their ideas for such measures, it is clear that any follow-through will have to come in the months and years ahead — if at all.

The event organizers have said they will remain in Rome in the coming days to discuss some of the ideas aired at the summit.

Vatican abuse summit is ‘wake-up call’ for countries where scandals have not yet exploded

ROME (ITALY)
Washington Post

February 23, 2019

By Chico Harlan

When Benjamin Kitobo arrived in Rome this week along with more than 100 other survivors of clerical sexual abuse from around the world, something quickly stood out. He was the only victim he could find representing a country in Africa.

“In some places, it is still life-threatening to speak out,” said Kitobo, 51, who says he was abused by a priest in the Congo, known then as Zaire. Kitobo now works as a nurse in St. Louis.

But Kitobo — and, increasingly, Vatican leaders — say that in many parts of the vast Catholic empire, the scale of clerical sexual abuse probably far exceeds what is publicly known.

Some go so far as to describe Pope Francis’s landmark four-day summit on child protection, which ends Sunday, as a direct warning for Catholic authorities across Asia, Africa and other parts of the world where abuse scandals have not yet left a searing mark.

They say the next decades of the Catholic Church’s efforts against clerical abuse depend on whether those countries can be pushed to take safeguarding measures preemptively, rather than responding only after a crisis explodes into the open.

“No bishop may say to himself, ‘This problem of abuse in the church does not concern me because things are different in my part of the world,’ ” Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the archbishop of Mumbai, who has been criticized for his own handling of cases, told the Vatican gathering of 190 bishops and other Catholic leaders. “I dare say there are cases all over the world, also in Asia, also in Africa.”

Pope, bishops look at what they have done, failed to do to prevent abuse

ROME (ITALY)
Catholic News Service

Feb. 23, 2019

By Cindy Wooden

In an opulent Vatican room designed in the 16th century for papal meetings with kings, a cardinal read, "We confess that we have shielded the guilty and have silenced those who have been harmed."

"Kyrie, eleison," (Lord, have mercy) responded Pope Francis and some 190 cardinals, bishops and religious superiors from around the world to the confessions read on their behalf by Cardinal John Dew of Wellington, New Zealand.

After three days of meetings, nine major speeches and heartbreaking testimony from survivors of clerical sexual abuse, participants at the Vatican summit on child protection and the abuse crisis gathered in the Sala Regia (literally, "royal room") of the Apostolic Palace Feb. 23 for a penitential liturgy.

The centerpiece of the liturgy was the reading of the story of the prodigal son or, as the Vatican termed it, "the merciful father" from Luke 15:11-32 and a long "examination of conscience" that asked the bishops as individuals and as presidents of bishops' conferences to be honest about what they have done and what they have failed to do to protect children, support survivors and deal with abusive priests.

While Pope Francis presided at the penitential service as part of the Vatican summit on child protection and ending clerical sexual abuse, Archbishop Philip Naameh of Tamale, Ghana, gave the homily.

He told the pope and his brother bishops that they all preach often about the parable of the prodigal son, encouraging their people to return to God and seek forgiveness.

But, he said, "we readily forget to apply this Scripture to ourselves, to see ourselves as we are, namely as prodigal sons. Just like the prodigal son in the Gospel, we have also demanded our inheritance, got it, and now we are busy squandering it."

"The current abuse crisis is an expression of this," Archbishop Naameh said.

"Too often we have kept quiet, looked the other way, avoided conflicts," he said, adding that the bishops were often "too smug" to confront "the dark sides of our church."

Failing to act, he said, they "squandered the trust placed in us."

February 23, 2019

Women vent their anger at Vatican child abuse conference

ROME (ITALY)
Reuters

February 23, 2019

By Philip Pullella

A nun and a woman journalist delivered the toughest criticism of Church leaders heard so far at Pope Francis’ sexual abuse conference on Saturday, accusing them of hypocrisy and covering up horrendous crimes against children.

Some 200 senior Church officials, all but ten of them men, listened at times in stunned silence in a Vatican audience hall as the women read their frank and at times angry speeches on the penultimate day of the conference convened by the pope to confront a worldwide scandal.

Sister Veronica Openibo, a Nigerian who has worked in Africa, Europe and the United States, spoke with a soft voice but delivered a strong message, telling the prelates sitting before her: “This storm will not pass”.

“We proclaim the Ten Commandments and parade ourselves as being the custodians of moral standards and values and good behavior in society. Hypocrites at times? Yes! Why did we keep silent for so long?” she said.

She told the pope, sitting near her on the dais, that she admired him because he was “humble enough to change your mind,” apologize and take action after he initially defended a Chilean bishop accused of covering up abuse. The bishop later resigned.

“How could the clerical Church have kept silent, covering these atrocities? The silence, the carrying of the secrets in the hearts of the perpetrators, the length of the abuses and the constant transfers of perpetrators are unimaginable,” she said.

Why the Priesthood Needs Women

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

February 23, 2019

By Alice McDermott

No Christian should need to be reminded of the moral error of discrimination. We hold at the center of our faith the belief that every human life is of equal value. And yet the Roman Catholic Church, my church, excludes more than half its members from full participation by barring women, for reasons of gender alone, from the priesthood.

The moral consequences of this failing become abundantly clear each time another instance of clergy abuse, and cover-up, is revealed. It is the inevitable logic of discrimination: If one life, one person, is of more value than another, then “the other,” the lesser, is dispensable. For the male leaders of the Catholic Church, the lives of women and children become secondary to the concerns of the more worthy, the more powerful, the more essential person — the male person, themselves.

The Catholic Church needs to correct this moral error.

I was visiting a Catholic university in Boston in 2002 as the clergy abuse scandal involving Cardinal Bernard Law was breaking. I was there to discuss a novel I had written, but the questions from the audience at my talk — and at the book signing after, and on the sidewalk as I walked to my car — were mostly, if passionately, rhetorical: What do we do now? Where do we go from here? Do you think the church understands our pain? Do you think the church understands what we’ve lost? How much corruption should we tolerate?

At the time, I could offer only small commiseration — as well as my regret that these Catholics had been so betrayed by their spiritual leaders that they were left to seek solace from the likes of me, a reluctant and often contrarian Catholic, a novelist, a woman. “Awful, yes,” I said. “Outrageous, yes.” “Hope,” I said now and again. “Hope for change, perhaps.”

Maryland delegates consider statute of limitations and child sex abuse case

ANNAPOLIS (MD)
WUSA TV

February 23, 2019

By Liz Palka

Advocates and child sex abuse survivors will stand before members of the Maryland House of Delegates on Thursday to testify. The judiciary committee will have a bill before them that would remove the statute of limitations for all child sex abuse cases.

Currently, Maryland law says a victim has until age 38 to file a civil lawsuit. However, those who are older than 25 when they come forward must prove gross negligence, which is something notoriously difficult to prove.

Maryland Delegate C.T. Wilson of Charles County was part of the negotiations for the current law and has sponsored the proposed bill. The delegate has been open about the sexual abuse he experienced as a child.

“I don’t believe [38-years-old] is enough time. That was a negotiation I had with the Catholic Church at the time, as well as the gross negligence, and I’m not negotiating anymore,” said Wilson.

Delegate Wilson says House Bill 687, which will be before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday for a hearing, would remove the statute of limitations.

The bill would make it so a child sex abuse victim could file a lawsuit no matter their age. Wilson is also adding what’s called a “two-year look back window” to include anyone precluded by the statute of limitations.

One of the people testifying on Thursday will be David Lorenz, the Maryland Director of SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.) He himself is a survivor of child sex abuse in Kentucky. He expects about a dozen survivors and advocates to testify as well.

“When you’re 16 years old, it’s hard to come to the realization that this mentor of yours was actually a criminal,” explained Wilson. “It’s hard to make that mental leap.”

He went on, “That’s why it’s important to me. I want my fellow survivors to be able to experience the sense of justice I was able to experience. And I think the church needs to be exposed for what they’re doing.”

Wilson says recent news involving the Catholic Church has encouraged him to pursue to House Bill 687.

Chile:148 investigaciones abiertas y 225 víctimas de abusos

[Chile: 148 open investigations and 225 victims of abuse]

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
El País

February 20, 2019

By Javier Sáez Leal

Tras la visita de Francisco hace un año, los obispos han comenzado un drástico proceso de reestructuración

El papa Francisco recibió en Roma a los miembros de la Conferencia Episcopal chilena el pasado 14 de enero. Quería que estos le informaran del avance de las investigaciones contra los miembros de la Iglesia relacionados con denuncias de abuso sexual a menores. La cita fue catalogada como “un diálogo preciso” por parte del obispo auxiliar de Santiago, Fernando Ramos, quien además será quien presente los antecedentes chilenos en la cumbre que arranca este jueves. En Chile, donde tras la visita del Papa, la Iglesia comenzó un drástico proceso de reestructuración, hay 148 investigaciones abiertas y 225 víctimas.

Argentina: El país del Papa no lleva una estadística ni ha hablado con las víctimas de abusos

[Argentina: The Pope's country does not keep statistics or talk to abuse victims]

BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
El País

February 20, 2019

By Federico Rivas Molina

El Episcopado argentino viaja a Roma dispuesto a “ahondar en las consecuencias” de los delitos sexuales

A diferencia de Chile, donde los escándalos sexuales en la Iglesia forzaron a los obispos a poner su renuncia a disposición del Papa, el drama de los abusos de menores en Argentina se comenta en voz baja. En el país de Francisco, el Episcopado no lleva una estadística de los casos que involucran a sus sacerdotes con el argumento de que dependen de cada diócesis. Reconstruir el mapa de las denuncias es, sin embargo, posible. La Red de Sobrevivientes de Abuso Eclesiástico de Argentina patrocina 40 casos en todo el país. La agencia pública de noticias Telam, en tanto, realizó a mediados de 2017 una lista basada en casos de abuso publicados por los diarios desde 2002. Así contabilizó otros 22.

México: 152 sacerdotes suspendidos por abusos

[Mexico: 152 priests suspended for abuse]

MEXICO
El País

February 20, 2019

By Georgina Zerega

La Iglesia crea una comisión para investigar la pederastia y romper con el silencio

Con la cumbre de pederastia del papa Francisco sobrevolando, los años de indolencia de la Iglesia mexicana parecen entrar en un terreno desconocido hasta ahora: el de la acción. Tras, al menos, seis décadas de silencio e impunidad, la conferencia episcopal mexicana abre una instancia para investigar los casos de abuso sexual, ha comunicado la suspensión de 152 sacerdotes en nueve años por “agravio a menores” y se ha reunido con víctimas y organizaciones civiles. Pero el pasado de encubrimiento y desdén que caracterizó a la institución genera un clima de incredulidad que se atisba difícil de disipar.

Vatican sex abuse summit organizer unsure if accused priests still active

ROME (ITALY)
CBC News

February 23, 2019

By Megan Williams

A dramatic feature of the sex abuse summit now underway at the Vatican has been the testimony of eight victims from around the world anonymously recounting their experience of abuse.

But the Vatican has no idea of if the victims' abusers are still active as priests, a main organizer of the summit told CBC News.

Father Hans Zollner told CBC that none of the people who gave testimony at the four-day conference told the Vatican who their abusers were or where their cases had been dealt with.

When asked if the Vatican had looked into whether the priests accused by the victims are still in active ministry, Zollner, a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and president of the Center for the Protection of Minors at the Pontifical Gregorian University, said: "No, they [the victims] have not disclosed it to me and my understanding is that maybe they don't know [if the priests are still active in the Church]. But I can't say because I don't know it."

Zollner said all but one of the victims the Vatican chose to provide testimony to a closed-door room of bishops wanted to protect their anonymity.

"They went to great effort not to reveal any detail," Zollner said. "In some cases the family doesn't know that they have been abused. In some places it would destroy the family. It would destroy their professional career and so forth."

When CBC sent a text message later asking Zollner if he wanted to further comment on his statement that the Vatican had not verified the victims' accounts since none had identified an abuser to the Vatican, he responded that was "not accurate."

When asked to be more specific, his answers were vague.

He said the victims he was in contact with "did not disclose where their proceedings are," adding that the victims were "verified by the people on the ground who had first contact with them."

When asked what that meant, he did not respond.

Canadá: Una nueva guía que protege a la víctima de abusos y señala el encubrimiento

[Canada: A new guide that protects abuse victims and points out cover-up]

MONTREAL (CANADA)
El País (Spain)

February 20, 2019

By Jaime Porras Ferreyra

En 2015 una comisión presentó un informe sobre los internados que evidenciarion castigos físicos, racismo y abusos sexuales

Canadá, como tantos otros países, no tiene cifras para medir la pederastia en el seno de la Iglesia católica. Han sido, como en tantos otros países, los reportajes periodísticos, los acuerdos extrajudiciales y las condenas a algunos responsables los que han mostrado que el asunto es copioso y de larga data en el país. Con estos mimbres llega Lionel Gendron, presidente de la Conferencia Canadiense de Obispos Católicos a la cumbre convocada por el papa Francisco.

Portugal: La Iglesia reconoce menos de cinco casos de abusos en este siglo

[Portugal: The Church recognizes fewer than five abuse cases this century]

LISBON (PORTUGAL)
El País (Spain)

February 20, 2019

By Javier Martín del Barrio

Dos sacerdotes han sido condenados a prisión incondicional, de los que uno huyó a Brasil

En la Iglesia católica portuguesa los abusos sexuales con menores no existen (casi) ni han existido (casi) en este siglo. Los tribunales eclesiásticos del país investigaron una decena de denuncias y desecharon más de la mitad, según el portavoz de la Conferencia Episcopal Portuguesa (CEP), Manuel Barbosa.

Italia: A la cola de Europa, sin comisión de investigación y solo 300 casos de abusos conocidos

[Italy: To the tail of Europe, without an investigative commission and only 300 cases of known abuses]

ROME (ITALY)
El País (Spain)

By Daniel Verdú

La Conferencia Episcopal Italiana, muy influyente en el Vaticano, no ha avanzado prácticamente nada en la lucha contra la pederastia

Italia vive completamente de espaldas a los abusos a menores de la Iglesia católica. El nivel de transparencia y tratamiento de la cuestión, pese a ser un país donde el catolicismo impregna todos los estamentos educativos, está a la cola de sus vecinos europeos. Los medios han mostrado poco interés por la cumbre que comienza este jueves en el Vaticano. Y ni la Conferencia Episcopal Italiana se ha mostrado especialmente activa, ni la magistratura del país ha exhibido demasiado interés ejecutivo por un asunto crucial al otro lado del Tíber. Tanto, que la ONU reprochó a Roma hace solo una semana el bajo número de investigaciones judiciales que se habían llevado a cabo y exigió que se cree una comisión como ha sucedido en otros países.

Irlanda: Solo 82 curas condenados por abusos entre 1.300 acusados

[Ireland: Only 82 priests condemned for abuses among 1,300 defendants]

LONDON (ENGLAND)
El País (Spain)

February 20, 2019

By Rafa de Miguel

La Iglesia irlandesa cree haber realizado ya gran parte de la expiación por los casos de pederastia, documentados en varios informes oficiales

El arzobispo de Irlanda, Eamon Martin, bendijo a principios de febrero las “velas de la expiación” destinadas a recordar, el pasado día 15, a las víctimas de abusos sexuales en la Iglesia católica. Iglesias y parroquias de todo el país las encendieron para recordar a los miles de fieles cuyo sufrimiento fue ignorado durante décadas por la jerarquía eclesial. “Es mi intención relatar las experiencias vitales y todos los sentimientos de los supervivientes irlandeses al papa Francisco en persona, y a todo el cónclave que se reunirá en Roma a finales de este mes”, anunció Martin.

Francia: Una comisión independiente empieza a investigar los casos de abusos desde 1950

[France: Independent commission begins to investigate abuses since 1950]

PARIS (FRANCE)
El País (Spain)

By Silvia Ayuso

Los obispos franceses acuden a Roma a punto de conocerse el fallo del principal juicio, en Lyon, por el silencio de la Iglesia francesa ante la pederastia

Los obispos franceses acuden a la cumbre en el Vaticano para tratar el problema de la pederastia en el seno de la Iglesia católica entre dos fechas angustiosas. Pese a los intentos de aplazarlo, la víspera del encuentro en Roma se estrena en los cines de toda Francia la película Gracias a Dios, sobre la creación de Palabra Liberada, la asociación de víctimas del cura pederasta de Lyon Bernard Preynat, responsables en buena parte de haber roto el muro de silencio sobre los abusos de religiosos a menores en el país.

Holanda: Entre 10.000 y 20.000 víctimas de abusos desde 1945

[Holland: Between 10,000 and 20,000 victims of abuse since 1945]

THE HAGUE (NETHERLANDS)
El País (Spain)

February 21, 2019

By Isabel Ferrer

La Iglesia holandesa abrió una investigación en 2010 y ha pagado 28 millones en indemnizaciones

En 2010, cuando las denuncias de abusos sexuales en el seno de la Iglesia católica holandesa empezaron a hacerse públicas, la Conferencia Episcopal y la Asociación de Órdenes Religiosas, pidieron a Wim Deetman, antiguo ministro de Educación, que investigara los hechos. Un año después, la sociedad enmudeció ante la magnitud de cifras recabadas: entre 10.000 y 20.000 fueron víctimas de estas agresiones, perpetradas desde 1945 por unos 800 religiosos en internados, orfanatos, colegios y seminarios. En sus conclusiones, la Comisión Deetman dijo que “no puede hablarse de ocultamiento deliberado de los hechos, o destrucción en masa de archivos eclesiásticos, pero los obispos y los superiores de las congregaciones no siempre informaron a Roma”.

Bélgica: Casi cinco millones de euros para las víctimas de abusos de la Iglesia

[Belgium: Almost five million euros for victims of Church abuses]

BRUSSELS (BELGIUM)
El País (Spain)

February 21, 2019

By Álvaro Sánchez

Las autoridades han recabado 1.054 denuncias de víctimas de pederastia

La Iglesia católica belga vivió durante décadas sumida en un plácido silencio sobre los abusos cometidos por algunos de sus representantes más insignes. El velo de oscuridad se descorrió abruptamente el 20 de abril de 2010, cuando el entonces obispo de Brujas, Roger Vangheluwe, se vio forzado a dimitir tras reconocer que a lo largo de 13 años abusó en reiteradas ocasiones de uno de sus sobrinos. En medio de la estupefacción por sus revelaciones, la tormenta creció al admitir que en realidad había abusado de otro sobrino más. El escándalo provocó una cascada de anulaciones de actas de bautismo, y sobre todo, abrió un proceso irreversible que llevó a la jerarquía eclesiástica a pedir perdón y colaborar con las autoridades para ayudar a las víctimas y desenmascarar a los pedófilos, muchos de los cuales salieron indemnes al haber prescrito sus delitos.

Alemania: La Iglesia alemana documenta 3.677 casos de abusos en 70 años

[Germany: The German Church documents 3,677 abuse cases in 70 years]

BERLIN (GERMANY)
El País (Spain)

February 20, 2019

By Enrique Müller

Los obispos alemanes pidieron perdón en septiembre tras publicar un extenso informe

Los obispos alemanes están convencidos de que pueden llegar a Roma con la certeza de haber hecho los deberes gracias a la publicación de un estudio que causó, en su momento, un terremoto en las filas de la Iglesia Católica. El 25 de septiembre de 2018, el presidente de la Conferencia Episcopal, el cardenal Reinhardt Marx, presentó ante la prensa un informe de más de 300 páginas que documentaba 3.677 casos de abusos cometidos por 1.670 clérigos en los últimos 70 años en Alemania, bajo el título Abuso sexual de menores por parte de sacerdotes católicos, diáconos y religiosos en el ámbito de la Conferencia Episcopal Alemana.

La histórica cumbre sobre abusos en el Vaticano pone a prueba la “tolerancia cero”

[Vatican's historic abuse summit tests "zero tolerance"]

ROME (ITALY)
El País (Spain)

February 19, 2019

By Daniel Verdú

La presión mediática y de los colectivos afectados obliga al Papa a presentar medidas concretas tras la reunión de 190 líderes religiosos

“Tolerancia cero”. El discurso se repite una y otra vez al otro lado del Tíber, pero los resultados nunca terminan de llegar. Empezó el papa Benedicto XVI y continuó Francisco con las mismas palabras. Pero, ¿qué quiere decir realmente? Las víctimas, congregadas estos días en Roma para presionar a los participantes de la histórica cumbre que tratará la plaga de los abusos en la Iglesia católica a partir del jueves, quieren esta vez un respuesta clara.

Quién ha hecho los deberes y quién no ante la cumbre contra la pederastia

[Who did their homework and who did not before Vatican abuse summit?]

SPAIN
El País

February 20, 2019

Desde la investigación en Alemania, a las terapias para víctimas de clase alta en Perú o al desamparo en África, una veintena de corresponsales explican cómo ha abordado el problema la Iglesia en sus países

La histórica cumbre que arranca este jueves en el Vaticano para tratar sobre los abusos sexuales en la Iglesia católica supone un punto de inflexión que determinará, en gran medida, el futuro de la institución. En total, 190 líderes religiosos (entre presidentes de conferencias episcopales, curiales e iglesias orientales) están convocados para una cita en la que las víctimas presionan para que se cumpla el discurso de "tolerancia cero" del papa Francisco.

Priest speaks publicly about how McCarrick allegedly ruined his life

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

February 23, 2019

By Michelle Boorstein

Less than a week after Theodore McCarrick became the first cardinal ever defrocked, a New Jersey priest has for the first time agreed to be interviewed about his accusations that McCarrick sexually abused him in the 1990s and the effect the alleged abuse has had on his life and career.

In exclusive interviews with the Post, the Rev. Lauro Sedylmayer said the interactions with McCarrick, who was then his archbishop, in Newark, set off a downward spiral that severely damaged his psyche and career. Now 61, the priest says he told three bishops but nothing was done.

Sedlmayer’s allegations against McCarrick, which include forcing him into multiple sexual situations when Sedylmayer was a young priest in the 1990s, are similar to others but add detail to the picture of how church higher-ups reacted to rumors and complaints that the high-ranking churchman was preying on younger clerics.

When McCarrick was first suspended, New Jersey bishops said last summer that they’d received three complaints years earlier against McCarrick by adults – priests and seminarians. One was from former priest Robert Ciolek, who has been public and vocal since. The second man has not. Sedlmayer is the third.

The Brazilian-born Sedlmayer has been in a tense stand-off with his superiors for a decade, with both sides filing lawsuits and accusations of sexual and financial impropriety on each side.

El abad de Montserrat admite que conocía posibles abusos del fraile Soler desde los años setenta

[Abbot of Montserrat admits he knew of possible abuses by monk Soler since 1970's]

MADRID (SPAIN)
El País

February 21, 2019

By Íñigo Domínguez

En un vídeo grabado con cámara oculta en 2015 el religioso contradice la versión oficial y reconoce que dieron credibilidad al caso del primer denunciante

El abad del monasterio catalán de Montserrat, Josep Maria Soler, admite en un vídeo grabado en 2015 que, al contrario de lo que ha dicho públicamente, ya en los años setenta conocía rumores sobre posibles abusos del fraile Andreu Soler, fundador y director del grupo scout del santuario. Es más reconoce que él mismo informó al superior de entonces, Cassià Just. Este escándalo fue destapado por EL PAÍS el pasado mes de enero con la denuncia pública de una víctima, Miguel Hurtado, y hasta ahora ha sacado a la luz nueve víctimas más. De hecho, una de ellas sitúa su abuso en 1971, el caso más antiguo conocido hasta ahora.

La Iglesia anuló un matrimonio por los abusos de un cura, pero no los investigó

[The Church annulled a marriage for the abuses of a priest, but did not investigate them]

MADRID (SPAIN)
El País

February 23, 2019

By Íñigo Domínguez

El marido pidió la nulidad en 2009 a un tribunal eclesiástico gallego, que atribuyó la ruina de la convivencia al trauma de la mujer

El tribunal eclesiástico de Mondoñedo-Ferrol anuló en 2009 un matrimonio, a petición del marido, basándose principalmente en el trauma y la inestabilidad psíquica que habrían causado en su esposa los abusos de un sacerdote en su infancia, pero aunque este episodio salió a la luz en el juicio la Iglesia lo pasó por alto y no tomó ninguna medida para investigarlo. La mujer, que tras su divorcio se desinteresó del proceso canónico que emprendió su exmarido, es Teresa Conde, que en octubre denunció en EL PAÍS los abusos que había sufrido en Salamanca por parte de un religioso trinitario, Domingo Ciordia. En 2009 este clérigo estaba vivo, aún no se habían tomado medidas contra él y el Vaticano ya obligaba a las diócesis a informar a Roma de todos los casos de los que se tuviera conocimiento.

El crudo relato de una monja argentina abusada por un cura

[The crude story of an Argentine nun abused by a priest]

ARGENTINA
Perfil

February 7, 2019

By Eugenio Druetta

La dura respuesta de una ex religiosa de una congregación de Salta al Papa Francisco luego de que admitió abusos de sacerdotes a fieles.

Mientras volvía en avión al Vaticano luego de su visita a Emiratos Árabes Unidos, el Papa Francisco admitió que curas y obispos abusaron sexualmente de monjas y generó sorpresa ya que nunca antes había tratado esta problemática interna de la Iglesia. Sin embargo, no nombró casos puntuales ni tampoco hizo referencia a los lugares donde ocurren estos crímenes sexuales.

Monjas abusadoras en Argentina: látigos, mordazas y el calvario de las víctimas

[Abusive nuns in Argentina: whips, gags and the victims' ordeal]

ARGENTINA
Perfil

February 19, 2019

By Eugenio Druetta

​El Papa Francisco admitió los abusos de curas sobre monjas, pero ahora víctimas de religiosas también cuentan sus tormentos.

"Me mandó sola al sótano debajo de la cocina para limpiarlo. Un rato después, apareció por detrás de mí diciéndome que era una de sus preferidas y me quería proteger. Hasta que en un momento, se me abalanzó y me quiso tocar”, relató al borde de las lágrimas la ex monja Sandra Migliore, que sufrió esa situación cuando tenía sólo 16 años y estaba estudiando para ser religiosa en una congregación radicada en San Lorenzo (Santa Fe) llamada Hermanas Educacionistas Franciscanas de Cristo Rey.

Juan Carlos Cruz: "Hay mucha lágrima de cocodrilo en obispos"

[Juan Carlos Cruz: "There are a lot of crocodile tears among bishops"]

CHILE
El Mostrador

February 22, 2019

By EFE

El periodista y uno de los mayores activistas en la lucha por la responsabilidad de los obispos ante los casos de abusos se encuentra en Roma después de que el comité organizador de la reunión le encargase formar un grupo de víctimas con las que poder reunirse antes de la cumbre.

Juan Carlos Cruz, una de las víctimas del sacerdote Fernando Karadima, expresó en una entrevista con EFE su esperanza sobre los frutos que dará la reunión sobre abusos a menores en el Vaticano, pero desconfió de lo que vayan a hacer después los obispos porque "hay mucha lágrima de cocodrilo".

Conferencia Espiscopal: Obispos chilenos fueron informados en 2008 de reglamento para sacerdotes con hijos

[Episcopal Conference: Chilean Bishops were informed in 2008 of regulation for priests with children]

CHILE
Emol

February 20, 2019

By Tomás Molina and Milene Alhambra

El portavoz de la entidad, Jaime Coiro, sostuvo que no son ellos quienes revisan cada caso en particular, por lo que no les corresponde llevar un registro de los mismos.

Un reglamento para establecer lineamientos en caso de que sacerdotes tengan hijos, pese su obligación de celibato, fue la polémica recientemente reconocida por el Vaticano. Información que surge a solo dos días de que inicie la inédita cumbre en Roma y en la que participarán representantes de las conferencias episcopales del mundo para tratar los escándalos por abusos sexuales en la Iglesia católica.

Obispo Ramos ante encuentro en el Vaticano por abusos: "Hemos reconocido las falencias que se han cometido"

[Bishop Ramos before Vatican abuse summit: "We have recognized the flaws that have been committed"]

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Emol

February 20, 2019

"La Santa Sede está buscando que todos sepamos exactamente lo que tenemos que hacer y lo que no tenemos que hacer", aseguró el religioso.

Este miércoles, el obispo Fernando Ramos se refirió a la histórica cumbre que se realizará entre el 21 y 24 de febrero en el Vaticano donde se abordará el abuso sexual al interior de la Iglesia. "Lo que la Santa Sede está buscando es que todos sepamos exactamente lo que tenemos que hacer y lo que no tenemos que hacer", aseguró.

El mensaje de J. C. Cruz a sacerdotes en cumbre por abusos: En algunos casos se han convertido en "asesinos de la fe"

[JC Cruz's message to priests at the abuse summit: In some cases they have become "assassins of the faith"]

CHILE
Emol

February 21, 2019

Asimismo, pidió al Papa continuar su lucha por terminar con los abusos y quienes "no quieran oír al Espíritu Santo y los que quieran seguir encubriendo, que se vayan de la Iglesia".

El atroz dolor de las víctimas de abusos sexuales por parte de sacerdotes estuvo presente este jueves en el primer día del encuentro mundial sobre protección de menores organizado en el Vaticano, un evento inédito.

En qué están los obispos chilenos durante el encuentro por abusos en la Iglesia

[What are Chile's bishops doing during Vatican sex abuse summit?]

CHILE
La Tercera

February 21, 2019

By M. J. Navarrete and G. Peñafiel

De un total de 29, 22 obispos, como es costumbre durante febrero, se encuentran de vacaciones.

“Mi anhelo es que el encuentro sea iluminador también para nuestra realidad chilena, para nuestras búsquedas y la recuperación de las confianzas, que tanto necesitamos”. Estas fueron las palabras del Arzobispo de Santiago, cardenal Ricardo Ezzati, quien afirmó a La Tercera estar siguiendo “con particular interés y atención”, en su oficina, el desarrollo del evento.

Catholic nun condemns church hierarchy over failure to tackle abuse

ROME (ITALY)
The Guardian

February 23, 2019

A nun has condemned the Catholic church’s hierarchy for its failure to tackle the scourge of clerical sexual abuse, saying leaders must concede that their “mediocrity, hypocrisy and complacency” has brought the church to a “disgraceful place”.

In her speech, delivered at the Vatican’s unprecedented summit on the issue, , Sister Veronica Openibo from Nigeria said the church was in a state of “crisis and shame”.

“We proclaim the Ten Commandments and parade ourselves as being the custodians of moral standards, values and good behaviour in society,” she said. “Hypocrites at times? Yes. Why did we keep silent for so long?”

Openibo, one of only three women to address the event, went on to say the scandal had “seriously clouded the grace of the Christ-mission”.

“Is it possible for us to move from fear of scandal to truth? How do we remove the masks that hide our sinful neglect?” she said.

She said that while preparing her speech, she recalled the sadness felt after watching the Oscar-winning film Spotlight, which told the story of the Boston Globe journalists whose investigation exposed sexual abuse of minors by clergy and showed how most of the accused priests were simply moved to other parishes.

“How could the clerical church have kept silent, covering these atrocities?” she asked. “The silence, the carrying of the secrets in the hearts of the perpetrators, the length of the abuses and the constant transfers of perpetrators are unimaginable.”

Openibo, who has worked in Africa, Europe and the US, said: “Too often we want to keep silent until the storm has passed,” she said. “This storm will not pass by. Our credibility is at stake.”

Opening the event on Thursday, Pope Francis said church leaders had a responsibility to deal effectively with the crimes of priests who rape and molest children and called for “efficient and concrete measures” to be established.

U.S. cardinal expects new abuse accountability measures in June

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

February 23, 2019

By Christopher White

As U.S. bishops craft new measures for bishop accountability, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo says he will work to ensure they are on the same page with the Vatican and plans to introduce new policies at June’s bishops’ meeting.

DiNardo, who is archbishop of Galveston-Houston and serves as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), told Crux on Saturday that “I think we can go forward once we get back,” referring to the Vatican’s request that the USCCB delay its plans last November to vote on new protocols.

At the time, the Vatican said they had only been given four days to review the proposed protocols, which included a new protocol for bishops’ conduct and would have created a new lay-led committee to evaluate complaints made against bishops.

The Texas cardinal is representing the United States at a closely watched summit on sex abuse, which concludes Sunday at the Vatican, where Pope Francis has convened the heads of every bishops’ conference around the world.

“I’m more happy right now over what I see and what has happened in these days, and when I get back home, I think I can go before the bishops’ administrative committee and all the bishops and say, that I think there is some affirmation from this meeting of what we wanted to do.”

The administrative committee of the USCCB will meet in March to prepare for the June meeting with all U.S. bishops.

“We’re going to have them work like mad,” he said of the work ahead of the USCCB and told Crux that prior to putting the new policy up for a vote, it would be necessary to “take a quick visit to Rome,” as “we don’t want to see what happened before.”

While the plan put forth in November would have relied on a national lay review board that would evaluation complaints against bishops, on Friday, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago and one of the organizing committee members for this week’s summit, gave a speech outlining “new legal structures of accountability,” which would utilize the metropolitan archbishop who oversees the dioceses within his particular province.

Why Celibacy Matters

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

February 23, 2019

By Ross Douthat

The rhetoric of anti-Catholicism, whether its sources are Protestant or secular, has always insisted that the church of Rome is the enemy of what you might call healthy sexuality. This rhetorical trope has persisted despite radical redefinitions of what healthy sexuality means; one sexual culture overthrows another, but Catholicism remains eternally condemned.

Thus in a 19th-century context, where healthy sexuality meant a large patriarchal family with the wife as the angel in the home, anti-Catholic polemicists were obsessed with Catholicism’s nuns — these women who mysteriously refused husbands and childbearing, and who were therefore presumed to be prisoners in gothic convents, victims of predatory priests.

Then a little later, when the apostles of sexual health were Victorian “muscular Christians” worried about moral deviance, the problem with Catholicism was that it was too hospitable to homosexuality — too effete, too decadent, too Oscar Wildean even before Wilde’s deathbed conversion.

Then later still, when sexual health meant the white-American, two-kid nuclear family, the problem with Catholicism was that it was too obsessed with heterosexual procreation, too inclined to overpopulate the world with kids.

And now, in our own age of sexual individualism, Catholicism is mostly just accused of a repressive cruelty, of denying people — and especially its celibacy-burdened priests — the sexual fulfillment that every human being needs.

The mix of change and consistency in anti-Catholic arguments came to mind while I was reading “In the Closet of the Vatican,” a purported exposé of homosexuality among high churchmen released to coincide with the church’s summit on clergy sexual abuse. The book, written by a gay, nonbelieving French journalist, Frédéric Martel, makes a simple argument in an florid, repetitious style: The prevalence of gay liaisons in the Vatican means that clerical celibacy is a failure and a fraud, as unnatural and damaging as an earlier moral consensus believed homosexuality to be.

Pope Spotlights Sexual Abuse of Nuns

NAIROBI (KENYA)
National Catholic Register

February 22, 2019

By Joan Frawley Desmond

An African woman religious was completing her undergraduate degree at a local university when the unthinkable happened: A religious brother pressured her to have sex.

The issue that led to their routine contact was seemingly benign, but the outcome was anything but.

The young nun “lacked a laptop and had no money to take her work to a typing pool,” said Sister Grace Candiru, of the Missionary Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church, who works with the Association of Consecrated Women in Eastern and Central Africa, a regional body for women religious in 10 African countries.

“For some time, the religious brother agreed to help her with his laptop, and she used it on the university premises,” she said.

“But one day, when she had an urgent assignment and asked to borrow his laptop, he told her to come by his community,” said Sister Grace, who had heard about the young sister’s plight from a contact. “It so happened that the other members of the community were not around. This brother took advantage of this sister, who later conceived.”

After enduring the abuse and a resulting pregnancy, said Sister Grace, the woman religious had no choice but “to leave the congregation.” The story highlights a tragic reality faced by women religious, mostly in parts of the developing world. Missionary religious orders there may struggle to provide sufficient financial independence and formation to effectively safeguard their members from manipulative and predatory clerics.

This problem is not new, but it could become a key priority for Pope Francis, who made headlines after he acknowledged that women religious had been victims of sexual abuse by priests during a news conference on his flight back from his Feb. 3-5 visit to the United Arab Emirates.

Journalist to bishops: We will be 'worst enemies' if you cover up abuse

ROME (ITALY)
National Catholic Reporter

February 23, 2019

By Valentina Alazraki

First and foremost I would like to introduce myself. I am a correspondent in Rome and in the Vatican for Televisa, Mexican television. I followed the end of the Pontificate of St. Pope Paul VI, the 33 days of the Pontificate of John Paul I, the entire Pontificates of St. John Paul II, Benedict XVI and now Pope Francis. I have covered 150 journeys with the latter three Popes.

They invited me to speak to you about communication and, in particular, about how transparent communication is indispensable to fight the sexual abuse of minors by men of the Church.

At first glance, there is little in common between you, bishops and cardinals, and me, a Catholic lay woman with no particular position in the Church, and moreover a journalist. Yet we share something very powerful: we all have a mother; we are here because a woman gave birth to us. Compared to you, perhaps I have an additional privilege: I am a mother first and foremost.

Therefore I do not feel that I am a representative just of journalists, but also of mothers, families, civil society. I would like to share with you my experiences and my life and — if you will allow me — to add some practical advice.

My point of departure, motherhood

I would like to begin precisely with motherhood in order to develop the topic entrusted to me, which is to say: how the Church should communicate about this topic of abuse.

I doubt that anyone in this hall does not think the Church is, first of all, mother. Many of us present here have or have had a brother or sister. Let us also remember that our mothers, while loving us all in the same way, were especially devoted to the frailest, weakest children, to those who perhaps did not know how to move ahead in life on their own feet and needed a little push.

Cardinal Blase Cupich admits four priests have children, calls for transparency

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

February 23, 2019

By Nicole Winfield

Cardinals attending Pope Francis’ summit on preventing clergy sex abuse called Friday for a new culture of accountability in the Catholic Church to punish bishops and religious superiors when they fail to protect their flocks from predator priests.

On the second day of Francis’ extraordinary gathering of Catholic leaders, the debate shifted to how church leaders must acknowledge that decades of their own cover-ups, secrecy and fear of scandal had only worsened the sex abuse crisis.

Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich told the 190 bishops and religious superiors that new legal procedures were needed to both report and investigate Catholic superiors when they are accused of misconduct themselves or of negligence in handling other abuse cases.

He said lay experts must be involved at every step of the process, since rank-and-file Catholics often know far better than priests what trauma the clergy sex abuse and its cover-up has caused.

“It is the witness of the laity, especially mothers and fathers with great love for the church, who have pointed out movingly and forcefully how gravely incompatible the commission, cover-up and toleration of clergy sexual abuse is with the very meaning and essence of the church,” Cupich said.

“Mothers and fathers have called us to account, for they simply cannot comprehend how we as bishops and religious superiors have often been blinded to the scope and damage of sexual abuse of minors,” he said.

Cupich’s address at the Vatican comes as the Chicago archdiocese has acknowledged “a very small number of priests have fathered children” and “four remain priests in the archdiocese” according to CBS News.

CBS reports the last time a priest fathered a child was nearly 20 years ago, and the child was provided with full financial support through college age.

Francis summoned the bishops for the four-day tutorial on preventing sex abuse and protecting children after the scandal erupted again last year in Chile and the U.S. While the Vatican for two decades has tried to crack down on the abusers themselves, it has largely given a pass to the bishops and superiors who moved the predators around from parish to parish.

Phil Saviano Letter to Archbishop Scicluna

ROME (ITALY)
BishopAccountability.org

February 20, 2019

Dear Archbishop Scicluna,
At your press conference on Monday, you spoke at length about the three themes of this week's summit: Responsibility, Accountability and Transparency. You made particular note of TRANSPARENCY, saying how important it is to "break the code of silence," and "confront the facts," no matter how painful or embarrassing the truth may be.

In my country, the United States, we’ve had two recent events that have shaken the trust of Catholics in their church. The revelations of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report that there have been at least 300 sexually abusive priests, with over 1,000 victims in six of eight dioceses in that one state, were quickly followed by news that one of the most visible, powerful and beloved Cardinals, Theodore McCarrick, was himself a sexual abuser.

The 2002 reporting of the Boston Globe Spotlight Team, in which I played an important role, left parishioners shocked and dismayed. But . . . with the formation of the highly publicized response from the American bishops, the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Minors, these parishioners were lulled into a sense of complacency, still trusting in the Vatican to do the right thing and get this problem under control.

With these recent revelations, however, these complacent Catholics are now feeling betrayed and angry. I know formerly faithful parishioners who are now pulling their children out of parochial schools, who are signing-up to be Episcopalians, who feel that they have wasted their lives being faithful to the Catholic church.

What you have here, Archbishop, is a cultural change, a "tipping point." People's faith and trust in the Vatican is rapidly washing away. To make matters worse, the bishops' ongoing inability to deal with the matters of child sexual abuse has, at long last, caught the attention of my country's top law enforcement officials. You saw the impact of the report on the state of Pennsylvania. Well, now you have 14 more attorneys general coming after you. The ship of Catholicism is going down! This would, indeed, be a good time to get real about transparency.

I am a survivor and a board member of the research organization called BishopAccountability. We are keepers of archives. We know all about church records. We believe in facts, and we believe that if the facts are fully known, the remedies will become clear. When we think of Vatican transparency, here is what comes to mind:

--In a 2014 hearing of the U.N. Committee Against Torture, the Holy See's Permanent Observer to the U.N., Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, said that in the ten previous years, 3,420 credible cases of abuse worldwide were reported to the CDF, where you were the Promoter of Justice in 2002-2012.

--In the United States alone, the church admits to 6,900 credibly accused priests reported since 1950.

Archbishop, if you as adjunct secretary of the CDF are calling for transparency in the hope that the angry Catholics may find a way back to their faith, then you will answer this question: Who are these men and where in the world are they today?

I call on the Vatican to release the guilty priests’ names and release their bishops’ vota, with full documentation for each of these criminals. Do it to launch your new era of transparency. Do it to break the code of silence. Do it out of respect for the victims of these men, and do it to help prevent these creeps from abusing any more children.

Please. Think this through, and just do it.

Phil Saviano
Boston, MA USA

The Spotlight Effect: This Church Scandal Was Revealed by Outsiders

ROME (ITALY)
The Atlantic

February 23, 2019

By Rachel Donadio

Church officials reacted badly when investigative journalists at The Boston Globe in 2002 uncovered a pattern of sexual abuse of minors by clerics and a widespread culture of cover-up. One cardinal blamed the crisis on the “Jewish media” and decried a smear campaign against Boston’s Cardinal Bernard Law who, after leaving Boston in disgrace for his role protecting predator priests, was appointed by Pope John Paul II to a powerful position at the Vatican selecting bishops.

This week at a conference here called by Pope Francis about the protection of minors in the Catholic Church, not one but two speakers—including a Nigerian nun speaking before Francis—cited the 2015 film Spotlight, about the Globe journalists who broke the story. It’s a sign of how times have changed and how popular culture has helped embolden victims to come forward, especially in the United States, where victims and lawsuits have put the Church under extreme pressure.

But it’s also an acknowledgment of how this conference would never be happening, and the dark secret of clerical sexual abuse and cover-up might never have come to light, if not for outsiders to the hierarchy: journalists, civil authorities, films, women who listened to the victims (or who were victims themselves). They helped reveal a pattern of concealment within the Church and drove a shift in the culture.

SNAP organization responds to credible abuse list; encourages more to come forward

EVANSVILLE (IN)
WFIE TV

February 22, 2019

By Paige Hagan

A member of the Survivors Network of Abused Priests tells us he expects more victims to come forward after the Diocese of Evansville released its list of credible allegations against the clergy.

In early January, we showed you SNAP victims peacefully protesting outside of the Dioceses headquarters, calling for transparency.

SNAP member Cal Pheiffer said Friday, although they’re relieved the wait is over, they still suspect there is more to be told.

“Evansville’s list is about a fourth of the size of Louisville’s," Pheiffer said. “I don’t know why it took them so long.”

Pheiffer said after the Archdiocese of Louisville released its list two weeks ago, SNAP has seen more victims speak out in Kentucky.

“It’s been important here in Louisville," Pheiffer stated. "After the publication of credible names, more people have come forward. I would expect that in Evansville. I wish they would have come out with this earlier.”

Pheiffer said SNAP members will continue pushing for transparency. He encourages those in the Tri-State to talk to someone if they have allegations of their own to share.

“I would encourage them to come forward in a manner that’s comfortable to them," Pheiffer said. “A lot of survivors do not want to talk to someone in the church that abused them, but there are other avenues.”

Law enforcement officials urge anyone with information to contact their offices.

Pope Francis must confront parishioners’ pain — and the priests who inflict it — with resolve

MIAMI (FL)
Miami Herald

February 22, 2019

By Carl Hiaasen

In a meeting that should have been held decades ago, Pope Francis last week convened Roman Catholic leaders at the Vatican and called for “concrete and effective measures” to curb the “scourge” of sexual abuse by priests.

Strong words from the Holy Father. So it’s finally time to get tough, is it?

The summit is being hailed as “historic” only because the disgraceful history of the church was to suppress the claims of young parishioners, while shielding the clerics who raped them.

No victims were invited to speak at the opening Vatican assembly, but recordings from five unnamed persons were played. One recounted what happened when he complained to church leaders about being forced to have sex:

“The first thing they did was to treat me as a liar, turn their backs and tell me that I, and others, were enemies of the church.”

Another spoke of being impregnated three times by the same priest, who forced her to get abortions. “Every time I refused to have sex with him,” she said, “he would beat me.”

If only such accounts were freakish aberrations, and not part of a sordid institutional pattern. For generations, sex abuse by priests has been widespread and well-known to the Catholic hierarchy, which operated more like what prosecutors might call a continuing criminal enterprise.

The scandal broke open after a Boston Globe series 17 years ago, and since then numerous predator priests have been prosecuted. Their crimes typically were no secret to their superiors, who routinely moved serial offenders from one diocese to another, without warning parishioners.

God forbid that an archbishop might actually grab a phone and call the cops, which is what most decent humans would do if they knew a child was being sexually molested.

A study by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, commissioned by Catholic bishops, reported that complaints about sexual abuse of minors were made against 4,392 Catholic priests between 1950 and 2002 in the United States alone.

First female speaker at Vatican sex abuse summit says bishops should kneel before victims

ROME (ITALY)
Australian Broadcasting

February 22, 2019

The first woman to speak at a Vatican conference on sexual abuse of minors has called for bishops to kneel before their victims and their victims' families.

The summit's second day focused on the different ways the Catholic Church treated sexual abuse worldwide

Linda Ghisoni, an undersecretary in one of the Vatican offices, made her comments in front of Pope Francis and a gathering of nearly 200 bishops and other Catholic leaders at a four-day meeting to discuss the church's numerous sexual abuse scandals.

She said that taking responsibility and kneeling would be the "appropriate posture" to deal with the issue of sexual abuse of minors in the church.

"Kneeling before the victims and their families, in front of the abusers, their collaborators, those that refuse, those who are unjustly accused, to the negligent, to those who have covered up, to those who tried to speak up and act but were silenced, to the indifferent.

"Kneel before the merciful Father, who sees the lacerated body of Christ, his church. He sends us to take responsibility, as his people, of the wounds and to cure them with the balm of his love."

On the second day of the meeting the debate shifted to how church leaders must acknowledge that decades of cover-ups and secrecy had only worsened the sex abuse crisis.

The religious leaders listened as Ms Ghisoni told them there should not be different ways of handling the problem in different parts of the world, and minors should be protected no matter where they were.

Cardinal admits Church files on pedophile priests ‘destroyed’

ROME (ITALY)
Agence France-Presse

February 23, 2019

A top Catholic cardinal admitted Saturday that Church files on priests who sexually abused children were destroyed or never even drawn up, a move which allowed paedophiles to prey on others.

“Files that could have documented the terrible deeds and named those responsible were destroyed, or not even created,” German Cardinal Reinhard Marx told a landmark Vatican summit on tackling paedophilia in the clergy.

“Instead of the perpetrators, the victims were regulated and silence imposed on them.

“The stipulated procedures and processes for the prosecution of offences were deliberately not complied with, but instead cancelled or overridden,” he said.

Catholic Church officials discuss plan for transparency during 3rd day of Vatican sex abuse summit

ROME (ITALY)
WLS TV

February 23, 2019

By Alan Krashesky and Ross Weidner

As the Vatican Summit on sex abuse enters its third day, transparency became a major topic of discussion.

Transparency - and the frank acknowledgement that the Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal seriously damaged the credibility the church and its bishops in leadership.

On Saturday morning, strong words came from Sister Veronica Openibo of Nigeria as she called out church leadership for hypocrisy.

"We proclaim the Ten Commandments," Openibo said. "Why did we keep silent for so long?"

"...Transparency has to be the way we handle things and deal with things, here, but it also has to invade all of our procedures," said Chicago's Cardinal Blasé Cupich in an interview Friday.

Cardinal Cupich leading the way on new procedures with a new plan for how bishops would be disciplined if they are involved in abuse or mismanage abuse cases.

Friday, Chicago's Archbishop called for a new structure for investigating bishops who are themselves abusers or those who grossly mishandle abuse cases. Those men - the Cardinal believes - should lose their jobs.

O'Malley defends 'zero tolerance' approach to abusive priests

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

February 22, 2019

By Courtney Grogan

Cardinals and clergy participating in the Vatican’s sex abuse summit expressed conflicting views on the use of the term “zero tolerance” Friday, with some claiming that “zero tolerance” is an American concept with a legalistic focus.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, one of the pope’s primary advisors on sexual abuse, said he knows that “there is a lot of resistance to using the terminology” of zero-tolerance at the summit because some believe it sounds “secular.” But, the cardinal insisted that the principle was “clearly articulated” by Pope St. John Paul II.

“There is no place in ministry for someone who harms a child and that has to be a line in the sand. That is something that is so important for all of us,” O’Malley said at a Vatican press conference Feb. 22.

Father Federico Lombardi, acting moderator at the Vatican sex abuse summit, told the press he does not use the term “zero tolerance” when he writes about the protection of minors because its definition is limited compared to what Vatican meeting has set out to accomplish.

“‘Zero tolerance’ … clearly refers to a very limited aspect of the problem we are confronting because the entire dimension of the pastoral care for victims, accompaniment, the selection of members of the clergy, prevention in parishes and in our activities, the definition of zero tolerance does not cover these aspects. It refers to one way of punitive action against criminals,” Lombardi said.

Irish archbishop says abuse summit ‘much closer’ to worldwide policy

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

February 23, 2019

By Christopher White

Ireland’s representative to Pope Francis’s abuse summit said that he believes the Catholic Church is moving “much closer” to a worldwide policy of permanently removing priests from ministry after a single case of abuse.

He said the “default position” should be that abusive priests “will not minister in any capacity, but also that you will be monitored very closely, both in the Church and by civil authorities.”

“In the case of someone who has abused a child, I don’t think there’s any way they can return to pastoral ministry,” said Archbishop Eamon Martin, speaking to reporters on Saturday.

“I think there is now a very strong realization of the heinous nature of the sinful and criminal act” of abuse, said Martin, while also adding that in speaking with survivors, many of them warned against removing abusive priests from the clerical state as they might be a danger or “increased risk” to other children or vulnerable adult if they are no longer monitored by the Church.

As Archbishop of Armagh and the Primate of All Ireland, Martin said that he supported the discussions during the past days of the summit on the need for greater transparency.

“Secrecy must go out the window,” when it comes to the abuse of children, he said. “Secrecy has been one of the root causes of the problem we are in today.”

Speaking of his own experience in Ireland, one of the countries hardest hit by the clergy abuse crisis, Martin said “my files have to be open.”

“Anything that I have that may have been sent here to the Holy See…it’s open to my national board, it’s open under proper rules of disclosure in legal cases to the police and civil authority.”

Martin said that all participants in the pope’s four-day long summit on sex abuse must be “committed to go home with actions,” and he said for him, the issue of accountability would serve as his homework, particularly when it comes to overseeing bishops.

He also said that the task of protecting children must be first and foremost a local response.

The church knew, but failed to act

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Times Picayune

February 23, 2019

By Tim Morris

The failures, missed opportunities, mistakes and criminal neglect that allowed a culture of child sexual abuse to take root and grow in the Catholic Church are all found in the story of the disgraced Louisiana priest Gilbert Gauthe.

The first Catholic clergyman in the United States to be indicted for repeatedly sexually abusing children, Gauthe’s 1984 case not only revealed his own repulsive crimes but evidence of other pedophile priests and a church hierarchy complicit in a systemic cover-up.

The tragedy is compounded by the fact that the church refused to heed the warnings that could have stemmed decades more of abuse. It also could have opened the way to reconciliation and healing for the sins that have left one of the world’s most influential institutions crippled by the scandals 35 years later.

The Times-Picayune reporter Kim Chatelain is not the first to tell Gauthe’s sordid story, but his “Catholic Church ignored 1985 report warning of child sex abuse crisis” should evoke a great weight of remorse as church leaders gather in Rome to make yet another attempt to address the problem.

Vatican Sex Abuse Summit Continues

WASHINGTON (DC)
National Public Radio

February 23, 2019

Pope Francis is holding a summit on clergy sex abuse. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Msgr. Stephen Rossetti of the Catholic University of America about the role of the church in tackling the problem.

Nun to Vatican abuse summit: “This storm will not pass by”

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

February 23, 2019

By Nicole Winfield

A prominent Nigerian nun blasted the culture of silence that has long kept clergy sexual abuse hidden in the Catholic Church, telling a Vatican summit Saturday that transparency and an admission of mistakes were needed to restore trust.

A German cardinal backed her up, telling the summit that church files about abusers had been destroyed, victims silenced and church procedures ignored, canceled or overridden — all in an attempt to keep the scandal under wraps.

Sister Veronica Openibo and German Cardinal Reinhard Marx delivered powerful speeches to nearly 190 church leaders gathered Saturday for the third day of Pope Francis’ four-day tutorial on preventing abuse and protecting children.

Openibo was one of only a handful of women invited to the meeting, and she used her time at the podium to shame the church leadership as a whole — men and women alike — for their silence in the face of such crimes.

“How could the clerical church have kept silent, covering these atrocities?” she asked. “We must acknowledge that our mediocrity, hypocrisy and complacency have brought us to this disgraceful and scandalous place we find ourselves as a church.”

Marx, for his part, called for a redefinition of the Vatican’s legal code of secrecy, known as the “pontifical secret,” and for the publication of statistics about the problem. He said they would be a first step toward restoring trust with the faithful and preventing conspiracy theories that the church was continuing to hide abuse.

Pa. victims make their presence known at Pope Francis’ sex-abuse summit

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

February 23, 2019

By Jeremy Roebuck

As a boy raised Catholic in Erie, Pa., Jim VanSickle never imagined that his first trip to Rome would be to talk about the priest who tried to sexually assault him in a rundown hotel room just days before his high school graduation.

But by the time VanSickle arrived in the Eternal City last week for Pope Francis’ historic summit on the issue, that once unimaginable prospect had morphed into an ambitious — some might say quixotic — goal.

“I want to have a private sit-down with the pope,” he said. “I want him to know who I am. I want to tell him what happened to me.”

VanSickle, 55, now of Pittsburgh, is among the handful of Pennsylvanians who have joined scores of abuse victims and reform advocates in crowding St. Peter’s Square as Francis gathered top Catholic leaders here to consider a global response to the crisis that has plagued their church for decades.

Some are victims raging against a hierarchy that enabled their abuses. Others came just to show their support, pressing against barricades and demanding the attention of cardinals with bright yellow T-shirts plastered with mottoes like “Speaking Truth to Power.”

Regardless of their motivation, they have quickly became the darlings of the worldwide media.

“I’ve done interviews with media from about six or seven countries,” VanSickle said Friday from his perch in St. Peter’s Square, where he attracted one camera crew after another. “Poland, Spain, South Africa — I’m still surprised they all want to hear from us.”

Some have even the attention of the conference organizers. Shaun Dougherty, abused as a Catholic grade-schooler in Johnstown in the 1980s, was among a dozen victims invited to share his story with top cardinals Wednesday, the eve of the summit.

Top cardinal tells Vatican summit that some sex abuse documents destroyed

WASHINGTON (DC)
USA TODAY

February 23, 2019

By Doug Stanglin

A top German cardinal said Saturday that documents on past sex abuse cases in the church had been destroyed or ignored and called Saturday for changes to the Vatican’s legal code of secrecy in such issues to restore trust.

Calling for the publication of statistics on the problem, German Cardinal Reinhard Marx addressed Pope Francis' four-day sex abuse prevention summit at the Vatican.

He said the church must redefine confidentiality and secrecy in the way it deals with such cases or risk charges of cover-up.

"Files that could have documented the terrible deeds and named those responsible were destroyed, or not even created," he told the group, according to Vatican News. "Instead of the perpetrators, the victims were regulated and silence imposed on them."

The cardinal blamed "abuse of power in the area of administration” as a major factor in the sexual abuse of children and young people. “In this regard, administration has not contributed to fulfilling the mission of the church, but on the contrary, has obscured, discredited and made it impossible.”

In an effort to keep the burgeoning scandal buried, he said, church files about abusers had been destroyed, victims silenced and church procedures ignored, canceled or countermanded.

Local Catholics want leaders held accountable

DAYTON (OH)
Dayton Daily News

February 23, 2019

By Chris Stewart

Area Catholics — including ones sexually abused by priests and those working to end the problem — are waiting for the outcome of an unprecedented summit convened by Pope Francis that ends tomorrow.

But area survivors of clergy sexual abuse — as well as the leader of southwest Ohio Catholics — say justice can’t be served until the church holds not only abusive priests to account, but also those at the top of the hierarchy who hid the abuse.“It would seem that accountability standards for bishops should not be necessary, but unfortunately we know from hard experience that they are,” wrote Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, home to 450,000 Catholics. “Indeed, the current crisis is largely a bishop accountability crisis, not a priest abuse crisis.”

Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Mary Katherine Huffman, who just completed a four-year term on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Review Board, agreed. The review board is consulted on cases resulting from the national Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, adopted by U.S. churches in 2002 to set firm rules.

“This charter tells bishops what they have to do. It doesn’t say what happens to a bishop if they don’t do it,” she said.

'Why don't you don't rise to the occasion?' clergy sex abuse advocate asks of Vatican conference

ROME (ITALY)
WESA Radio

February 23, 2019

The Roman Catholic Church must repair the "systematic failures" that enabled sexual abuse to take root around the world, and bishops should start policing each other's behavior, leading cardinals said on Friday.

Cardinals Blase Cupich of Chicago and Oswald Gracias of Mumbai spoke on the second day of a conference of some 200 senior church officials convened by Pope Francis to confront what he has called the scourge of sexual abuse by the clergy.

"This past year has taught us that the systematic failures in holding clerics of all rank responsible are due in large measure to flaws in the way we interact and communicate with each other," Cupich said.

Various aspects of the sexual abuse crisis made 2018 the worst year for the pope since his election in 2013.

Related: A new chapter, with the same old words, in the Catholic child abuse scandal

In Chile, all of the country's 34 bishops offered their resignations over a nationwide scandal; Francis' trip to Ireland shined a new light on decades of abuse in the once staunchly Catholic nation; and a damning report by a grand jury in Pennsylvania revealed that priests had sexually abused about 1,000 people over seven decades in that US state alone.

Last week, Theodore McCarrick, once a powerful cardinal in the US Catholic Church, was dismissed from the priesthood after the Vatican found him guilty of sexual abuse of minors and adults over decades.

The church had "to confront the past grave and callous errors of some bishops and religious superiors in addressing cases of clergy sexual abuse, and the discernment to understand how to establish just accountability for these massive failures," Cupich said.

Phil Saviano is one of the survivors of Catholic clergy abuse and is an activist and established the New England chapter of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. His character is also featured in the Oscar-winning film, "Spotlight." He spoke with The World's Carol Hills from Rome about the Vatican conference.

David Clohessy with Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

PITTSBURGH (PA)
KDKA Radio

February 22, 2019

By Robert Mangino

(audio)

February 22, 2019

Lawyers release list of NYC priests they claim have been accused of sex abuse

STATEN ISLAND (NY)
Staten Island Live

February 22, 2019

By Maura Grunlund

A law firm that advocates for abuse victims has released the names of more than 110 Roman Catholic priests and other religious figures in the Archdiocese of New York who it claims have been accused of “sexual misconduct.”

The list, posted on the website of Jeff Anderson and Associates, includes the names of about 30 current or former members of the clergy with ties to Staten Island.

The unveiling of the alleged roster of shame, dubbed “The Anderson List,” coincides with a summit that Pope Francis currently is hosting with the world’s bishops to stem the growing worldwide scandal. Embattled church leaders are meeting in an effort to prevent further clergy sex-abuse against minors.

The Anderson law firm identifies monsignors, principals, pastors and parochial vicars who served on Staten Island.

Many of the cases on the list which have been deemed substantiated were previously reported by the Advance.

Near the top of the list is Monsignor Francis Boyle, the former longtime pastor at Blessed Sacrament R.C. Church in West Brighton. The Archdiocese previously announced that Monsignor Boyle “will never serve as a priest again” after a church panel substantiated sex-abuse allegations against him.

List of Evansville Diocese priests accused includes one in active ministry until 3 days ago

EVANSVILLE (IN)
Courier & Press

Feb. 22, 2019

By Abbey Doyle

One of the 12 men on a list of "credible" allegations of abuse by clergy in the Diocese of Evansville was still active in public ministry until Feb. 19: three days before the list was released to the public.

Jean Vogler was arrested in 1996 in a massive child pornography ring, according to Courier & Press archives. The federal sting nabbed 130 people across 36 states.

Vogler pleaded guilty to receiving pornographic tapes in the mail. He spent about a year in federal prison and underwent psychiatric treatment when he got out.

He was reinstated to the ministry in 1999. At the time, then-Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger told the Courier that Vogler’s case didn’t fall under a zero-tolerance policy because receiving child pornography didn't constitute direct abuse of a child.

Evansville Diocese spokesman Tim Lilley, when asked about Vogler's reinstatement even after a federal conviction of possession of child pornography, said Friday "the U.S. Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People did not exist at that time. Following its issuance and subsequent revisions, the Charter recognizes the receipt, possession or distribution of child pornography as constituting sexual abuse of a minor. Keep in mind that, when reinstated, Father Vogler had completed his sentence and been released.

"Since the time of Father Vogler's conviction, the Church has recognized the tragic availability of child pornography and clarified that child pornography is a form of child sexual abuse, and that a cleric who acquires, possesses or distributes that material is not to be in public ministry; and if that offense occurs from 2010 forward, it may lead to dismissal from the clerical state (laicization) as a penalty," Lilley continued in his emailed response to questions from the C&P.

Lilley said Vogler was recently removed from public ministry after a more recent study by the Review Board.

"The bishop determined that Father Vogler is not to be in public ministry," Lilley wrote in the emailed response. "Bishop (Joseph) Siegel made the decision to remove Father Vogler from public ministry on Feb. 19 after the diocese consulted with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection and, as I mentioned, the Diocesan Review Board."

Post-conviction, Vogler lived next to Memorial High School, at Villa Maria on Lincoln Avenue.

When Vogler was still in active ministry, he "celebrated Masses on weekends when pastors had to be away from their parishes," Lilley said.

In September, the diocese promised to release the names of priests "credibly" accused of sexually abusing a minor.

In a release to media Friday, the Diocese said they compiled the names previously published in The Message, a newspaper of the Diocese. They also contacted a private investigator to review records dating to its founding in 1944 beginning in early October and ending in mid-December.

In December 2003, the diocese said allegations had been brought against 15 priests. This list names 12.

Embattled priest prays U.S. Supreme Court allows libel claim against Catholic Church

FT. LAUDERDALE (FL)
Sun Sentinel

February 22, 2019

By Marc Freeman

A priest from South Florida says he has faith the U.S. Supreme Court will allow him to do the unthinkable for a member of the clergy — sue the Catholic Church.

It might be a longshot, but the Rev. John Gallagher of West Palm Beach is used to people telling him, “You’re crazy for going up against the Catholic Church.”

This is how it’s been since he first went public three years ago with accusations that the Diocese of Palm Beach tried to cover up another priest’s sexual misconduct.

Church officials, in turn, shot back with a statement: “Father Gallagher is blatantly lying and is in need of professional assistance as well as our prayers and mercy.”

They said Gallagher made his allegations after a “ministerial decision” that he’s unfit to become a pastor.

The diocese has insisted it immediately and fully cooperated with a law enforcement investigation that led to the offending priest’s arrest and deportation.

At its core, Gallagher’s defamation lawsuit poses the big legal question of whether the freedom of religion protections under the First Amendment shields the church from such claims.

Survivor speaks out after Diocese releases list of credible allegations against clergy

EVANSVILLE, IN (IN)
WFIE TV

February 22, 2019

By Kate O'Rourke

The list is not just the names. It also includes more details about the allegations and timelines for which churches and in which schools these priests worked.

From this list we were able to do more of our own research and piece together a better narrative surrounding the priests’ allegations. Among the accused is Mark Kurzendoerfer.

He admitted to two of four credible allegations. The first dates back to the year he was ordained.

He was accused of an improper physical relationship with a 14-year-old boy. On Thursday, we sat down exclusively with priest abuse survivor Ken Meyer.

While he was abused as a teenager in St. Louis, he and his family were long-time parishioners at Holy Angles Church in New Harmony. Kurzendoerfer was their priest for nine years.

He noted that many of these names have been brought to the public since 2002.

“And I know that the committee that’s looking at the credibility of the accusations is working hard on trying to come up with a list of people who have been credibly accused. And that word credibly is really important. To come up with an accusation is easy but to have some credibility takes some effort,” says Meyer.

The Diocesan Review Board is made up of six parishioners and one priest. We have tried contacting them in the past but did not get any comment.

Again today after we got the list we reached out to each board member and have not heard back. Meyer has also encountered more than a handful of other priests who turned out to be alleged abusers.

Some of them are on this list. He says he and his family did not know about it until years later.

“Some of these priests that we’ve read about over the years of being credibly accused I’ve worked with, I’m friends with, and it’s a difficult subject,” says Meyer.

Meyer recognizes five priests on the list. He is traveled with John Breidenbach and Wilfred Englert.

Breidenbach admitted to one credible allegation. Englert was convicted of sexual battery and served a prison sentence. Meyer knew Richard Wildeman through Boy Scouts years ago. Wildeman admitted to his one credible allegation.

Meyer was at a mass in New Harmony five years ago held by Jean Vogler. Even though nearly twenty years earlier, Vogler pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography, he was still in public ministry until Tuesday.

Advocates claim names missing from list of clergy accused of child sex abuse

RICHMOND (VA)
WRIC TV

February 22, 2019

By Kerri O'Brien

A group that documents abuse in the Catholic Church says names are missing from a list of accused sex abusers recently released by the Diocese of Richmond.

8News has been combing over the Diocese of Richmond list and comparing it to an online group's that has been tracking abuse allegations for years.

"It is really important not to let names fall through the cracks," said Terence McKiernan, president of BishopAccountability.org.

McKiernan spoke to 8News over Skype from Massachusetts about BishopAccountability.org, a website which maintains a database of priests and nuns accused of abuse.

BishopAccountability.org often works with law enforcement to fill out its database.

"We're careful to include in the database people who have been publicly accused of abusing children," McKiernan said when asked what criteria the site uses to create the database.
List reveals names of dozens of Virginia priests facing 'credible' child sex abuse allegations ​​​​​​​
"We use as evidence," he continued, "reports in publicly available court documents, reports in mainstream media."

When reviewing the Bishop Accountability database for the Diocese of Richmond, 8News found five names on their list not found on the list provided by the Richmond Diocese's bishop last week. This includes an ex-priest on Virginia's sex offender registry and a nun convicted of molesting a 10-year-old boy in Virginia Beach.

U.S. Catholics Wanted a Vatican Response on Sex Abuse. Is a New Proposal Enough?

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

February 22, 2019

By Elizabeth Dias

The unprecedented summit in Rome on clerical sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church has drawn participants from around the world. But there is one country with a particularly large stake in what happens at the Vatican this week.

The clergy sex abuse crisis has engulfed the American Catholic Church for months, as leaders contend with growing state and federal investigations, and ordinary Catholics grow weary of waiting for the Vatican to finally resolve the crisis.

The yearning for a response from Pope Francis yielded on Friday a first step to holding bishops accountable for abuse in their dioceses. And it was an American — Cardinal Blase Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago — who presented the proposal. But survivors and law enforcement officials say they doubt that the church’s response so far matches the magnitude of the crisis sweeping the United States.

“Now all they are going to do is set guidelines again?” Mark Belenchia, 63, an abuse survivor and activist in Jackson, Miss., asked on Friday. “That is gibberish as far as I am concerned.”

Cardinal Cupich, who presented the proposal for increased bishop accountability, told his colleagues at the conference that the faithful had a right to doubt the church when abuse was “covered up” to protect the abuser or the institution.

“This is the source of the growing mistrust in our leadership, not to mention the outrage of our people,” he said, urging bishops to listen to victims and to provide “just accountability for these massive failures.” A key step, he suggested, was responding to the frustrations of infuriated laity sitting in their pews.

Santa Barbara attorney closely watching historic Vatican summit on clergy sex abuse

SANTA BARBARA (CA)
KCOY TV

February 22, 2019

By Beth Farnsworth

Local survivors of clergy sex abuse and legal experts are following the historic, four day summit happening this week at the Vatican. That includes Santa Barbara Attorney Tim Hale with Nye, Peabody, Stirling, Hale & Miller.

"The one thing they need to tell anyone with anything suspicious, they need to go to the police not the church," Hale said to reporter Beth Farnsworth.

Hale mentioned the number 21, referring to Pope Francis' list of 21 "Reflection Points" handed out to the assembly of church leaders, which includes preparing a "practical handbook" of guidelines for handling abuse cases when accusations emerge.

Hale said the Vatican's 21 "Reflection Points" for the clergy abuse crisis should focus on point 5 which states: Inform the civil authorities and the higher ecclesiatical authorities in compliance with civil and canonical norms.

Hale sent us the following statement:

"Specifically, any suspected child abuse should be reported to law enforcement immediately. "Canonical norms" should not be considered, and there should be no suggestion of any report to the internal structures of the church. Only law enforcement is qualified and has the power to investigate, arrest, and prosecute perpetrators of childhood sexual abuse. As soon as there is any suspicion of abuse, law enforcement should determine each and every next step in the process. It is a child safety issue."

Priest abuse survivor: Nessel right to condemn church-led investigations

LANSING (MI)
Lansing State Journal

February 22, 2019

By Megan Banta

For decades, Greg Guggemos couldn't remember the year he spent at St. Vincent Catholic Charities Children's Home.

It wasn't until memories came flooding back in 2009 that he realized that, when he and three siblings stayed there in 1954 in 1955, he had been sexually abused by Rev. John Slowey.

Guggemos, a former attorney who settled a decades-old sex abuse claim against the Diocese of Lansing for $225,000 in 2010, said Friday that it's hard for him to believe Catholic Church officials when they pledge to keep priests accountable.

"How can you even, with a straight face, expect someone to believe that?" Guggemos said. "It's like the fox loose in the hen house."

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is preparing for a long investigation into clergy abuse in Michigan. Nessel expects it could turn up more than 1,000 victims.

She said at a press conference Thursday that people should be wary of church-led investigations into clergy abuse, that they should look for a badge if someone asks to speak with them.

Guggemos said that's exactly right.

'They obviously haven't done that in the past'

Guggemos says he has no respect for the Catholic Church.

He says when the repressed memories of his sexual abuse returned in 2009, the emotional and physical toil cause him to quit practicing law.

Former Illinois priest charged with new crimes in Missouri

BLOOMINGTON (IL)
The Pantagraph

February 22, 2019

A former Catholic priest is facing new charges a decade after being declared sexually violent and admitting he abused about 30 boys in Illinois, California and Missouri.

Fred Lenczycki, 74, of the Chicago suburb of Berkeley, Illinois, was charged Thursday in Missouri with two counts each of deviate sexual assault and sodomy. Charging documents allege he repeatedly grabbed one boy's genitals and tried to force another boy to expose himself in the early 1990s in the St. Louis suburb of Bridgeton.

The documents say the allegations fit "within the pattern of abuse perpetrated by the defendant over many years," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Authorities said Lenczycki has not been taken into custody in Missouri. A man who answered the phone at his home address in Illinois declined comment to The Associated Press on Friday. No attorney is listed for him in online court records. Bail in the case is set at $500,000 cash only.

Lenczycki was removed from the ministry in 2002, when he was charged with sexually abusing three boys at a church in Hinsdale, Illinois, in the mid-1980s. He later pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual abuse and was released from custody in 2009 after becoming the first priest in the country to be declared sexually violent. Victims told authorities that "Father Fred" repeatedly molested them, often using the pretense of swaddling them in "Baby Jesus" costumes for pageants that never took place.

After the parents of one of victim complained, Lenczycki was transferred to California and then Missouri. As documented in diocese and court files, Lenczycki admitted molesting about 30 boys over 25 years. Multiple civil lawsuits have been filed.

"We're deeply grateful to both the victim for having the courage to report and law enforcement for having the will to pursue charges," said David Clohessy with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "He's obviously a very dangerous man, and shame on every church official who knew of or suspected his crimes and ignored or hid them."

The latest charges against Lenczycki were filed as victims of clergy sexual abuse demand more accountability and transparency from the Catholic church. The Vatican convened a sexual abuse summit Thursday to hear the testimony of several victims.

Evansville Diocese Releases List of Accused Clerics

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 22, 2019

A diocese in Indiana has released their list of clerics who have been “credibly” accused of abuse. We applaud this move but push for further action.

The Diocese of Evansville has become the latest – and last –Indiana Catholic Diocese to release a list of accused abusive priests. We hope this will help victims heal. We know this will make children safer.

At the same time, Bishop Joseph M. Siegel promised to take this step more than six months ago. His delay in doing so is inexcusable and has kept children needlessly at risk. We hope his flock will prod him to explain why it took him so long to take this step and why he thought this delay was in the best interests of children and parishioners in Evansville.

Bishop Siegel’s work is just beginning. Now, he must use pulpit announcements, church websites and parish bulletins to warn parents and the public about these potentially dangerous men. Alongside these names, Bishop Siegel should also include photos of these clerics as well as the dates on which allegations were received.

Local Catholic reacts to priest sexual misconduct list

EVANSVILLE (IN)
WFIE TV

February 22, 2019

By Jim Stratman

The Diocese of Evansville released it’s list of priests with credible accusations of sexual misconduct.

“Just pedophile, you know abusing children," said Jim Goebel.

That was Jim’s first reaction when he heard about the 12 priests listed.

A strong reaction, but as the words settled Jim told us the impact went deeper. He said he has a personal connection to Father Joseph Clauss.

In the report, Clauss has 10 credible accusations against him and admitted to at least one. He was removed from public ministry in 1992 and died in 2003.

In his statement, Bishop Siegle said he hoped the release of this list would begin a process of healing. That is something Jim agrees with.

“Our bishop, though he inherited this mess, is doing some good stuff so...I’m happy to see that," said Jim. “It’s a big relief. I’m glad to see it. I think it’s high time, it’s been a while.”

At sex abuse summit, Catholic bishops tangle with details

WASHINGTON (DC)
Religion News Service

February 22, 2019

By Jack Jenkins

On paper, “accountability” was the theme of the second day of the Vatican’s summit on clergy sexual abuse. In practice, that meant debating whether proposals designed to rein in bishops accused of abuse amount to, in the words of one churchman, “Caesar judging Caesar.”

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, Ill., whom some have called a potential “American Pope Francis,” offered both a broad theoretical framework and a heavily footnoted 12-point list of procedural steps for how the church could go about investigating bishops accused of wrongdoing.

“My aim is to offer a framework that is in keeping with our ecclesiological and canonical traditions in order to spark conversation among ourselves, knowing that there are differences in culture, civil and canonical laws and other factors that need to be considered, and yet aware of the urgency that we take decisive action without delay,” the cardinal said during a morning address to the assembly.

Cupich laid out overarching principles, such as respecting victims, as well as budgetary details, such as creating a common fund to cover the costs of investigating bishops.

Many of Cupich’s suggestions have already been either debated or informally instituted by church leaders in the United States. But the cardinal made clear that he was calling for concrete changes in global church law — particularly systems for investigating bishops accused of sexual misconduct or abuse. His plan would, among other things, task metropolitan archbishops with overseeing investigations into diocesan bishops.

Catholic church leaders discussed defrocked cardinal at Vatican summit on clergy sex abuse

NEW YORK
Daily News

February 22, 2019

By Leonard Greene

The shadow of a disgraced U.S. cardinal is looming large over a historic Vatican conference where Catholic church leaders from around the world have gathered to discuss sexual abuse by clergy.

Days after defrocking former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, 88, who served as the archbishop of Washington, D.C. from 2001 to 2006, Pope Francis is presiding over the summit, which is aimed at developing guidelines to prevent sexual abuse by priests.

McCarrick was the highest ranking Catholic figure to be laicized, or dismissed from the clerical state. A canonical investigation found that he was guilty of soliciting sex while hearing confession and sexual crimes against minors and adults.

Two U.S. cardinals said on Friday they hope there will be a new air of accountability in the church.

"The situation of Theodore McCarrick is a very, very sad moment in history. It's a shameful moment," Cardinal Blase Cupich, Chicago’s archbishop, told reporters. "And yet, at the same time, it causes each one of us to make sure we live our lives authentically before the people of God that we serve."

Boston’s archbishop, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, said he hoped the summit would lead to zero tolerance and no cover-ups by clergy.

"I would hope that any bishop who is aware of this kind of misbehavior would certainly make that known to the Holy See, and not feel that they in any way should try to cover up or turn a blind eye to this," O’Malley said.

Belmont Abbey, Where I Met Waterloo as a Theologian, Back in News

LITTLE ROCK (AR)
Bilgrimage blog

February 22, 2019

By William Lindsey

Readers of this blog who have followed it for any length of time will know the story of how my career as a Catholic theologian and that of my now-husband Steve were destroyed by a Benedictine college in North Carolina, Belmont Abbey, with the active assistance of the diocese of Charlotte. The "About Me" section of Bilgrimage's home page contains a brief biographical statement with links to a number of postings providing details of that story. Please click them if you want further information about this story. A compendium is here.

Steve and I were hired by Belmont Abbey College in 1991 to teach in its theology department. I was appointed department chair. In the spring semester 1993, I was presented with a one-year terminal contract. I had just received a glowing evaluation of my teaching, scholarship, and service to the college community and community at large. When I asked for an explanation for the termination, the college president refused to provide one.

I asked — repeatedly — to meet with both the abbot of the Belmont Abbey monastery that owns Belmont Abbey College and the bishop of Charlotte, who was then William Curlin. Both gentlemen refused to meet with me. I told them as I requested these interviews that how the college was treating me was producing crisis for me. My faith was being seriously challenged. The effect of the stonewalling I was encountering was to make me think I had no choice except to resign, rather than spend one more year working for an institution that could betray basic Catholic values about honesty and human decency and workers' rights in such an appalling way. I wanted to discuss all of this with Abbot Oscar and Bishop Curlin before I took that step.

Both gentlemen refused to meet with me, and I did resign. Not long before I did so, Abbot Oscar convened a meeting of the entire college community in which he said that diseased limbs must be lopped from the tree of the college community to make it wholesome. After I resigned, he gave an interview to the local media speaking of the need to shore up the college's Catholicity because it had been threatened.

A step I took before resigning was to ask for a hearing of the college's grievance committee. Prior to that hearing, a lay member of the committee said to me, "I'm not sure there's any point to this hearing. What if you sexually assaulted a student? The college would have grounds to fire you."

Bishops in Rome struggle to find way to investigate bishops

WASHINGTON (DC)
Religion News Service

February 22, 2019

By Thomas Reese

For Catholics in the United States, one of the most pressing questions about the clergy sexual abuse crisis is how the church should deal with bishops who are accused of covering up allegations of abuse or who have committed abuse themselves.

Two onetime archbishops of Washington, D.C., just to cite the most prominent examples, have been felled in recent months by allegations of their own misconduct or the failure to act on allegations of others’. The cases only compounded complaints that while there is a system in place in the United States for investigating accusations against priests, there is not a good one for dealing with accusations against bishops.

How to deal with bishops’ abuse or negligence is also one of the biggest problems ahead for the Vatican conference on clergy sexual abuse meeting in Rome this week.

Canon law says that only the pope can judge a bishop, but with more than 5,000 bishops worldwide, this is an impossible task for the pope to do on his own.

In a talk to the bishops on Friday at the four-day meeting with the pope here, Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich called for clear procedures for dealing with cases that could justify the removal of a bishop.

In his proposal, Cupich suggested that if a bishop is accused of misconduct or of mishandling abusive priests, the metropolitan archbishop of his region should investigate and report his findings to Vatican officials.

Cupich’s proposal is an expanded version of one he put forward last year at the November meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, where it was heavily criticized as having no credibility, since bishops would be investigating bishops.

Catholic clarity: Brooklyn diocese must release details it used to create list of predatory priests, lawyer says

BROOKLYN (NY)
Brooklyn Paper

February 22, 2019

By Colin Mixson

The Diocese of Brooklyn must release the criteria its leaders used to determine the credibility of sex-abuse accusations against the dozens of Catholic priests included in a list of alleged predators church officials unveiled this month, according to a lawyer for abuse victims.

“Many of my clients are looking at the list with skepticism,” said Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston-based attorney with local clients alleging abuse at the hands of Kings County Catholic clergymen. “The Brooklyn Diocese has not stated what criteria it has used to determine if a priest should be listed as a perpetrator, or sex abuser.”

The Catholic Church’s 166-year-old Kings County diocese on Feb. 15 published a list of 108 clergymen — a whopping 5-percent of its borough priests — facing sex-abuse accusations that diocesan officials believe “may be true.” The list features additional information including the named priests’ past parish postings and their current status within the church, according to the diocese, whose leader said he published the list in an effort to help victim’s heal.

“I have met with many victims who have told me that more than anything, they want an acknowledgment of what was done to them,” said Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio. “This list gives that recognition and I hope it will add another layer of healing for them on their journey toward wholeness.”

A time of reckoning for NJ’s predator priests

HUDSON (NJ)
Hudson

February 22, 2019

By Mike Montemarano

The list of priests accused of abusing children is "expanding," said Cardinal Joseph Tobin.
Editor’s note: Due to the statute-of-limitations and the failure of many Church leaders to report wrongdoing to police, most of the priests listed have not been tried and therefore are only alleged to have committed the crimes of which they are accused.

This month, Roman Catholic Church leaders in New Jersey shed new light on allegations of sexual abuse by priests that have been kept hidden for nearly a century, naming men in their clergy accused of preying on children, in some cases for decades.

Beginning on Feb. 13, the five New Jersey archdioceses, which oversee Catholic parishes in the state, publicized previously buried records of 188 clergy members who were “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children. The records ended the official silence and secrecy that cloaked the systemic atrocities within the established church.

Many of the priests “credibly accused” of sexual assault will escape prosecution because New Jersey’s statute of limitations for charging them with sexual abuse will have expired. And to pursue a civil case, victims must report the abuse within two years of their 18th birthday, according to current law.

Cardinal Joseph Tobin, who heads the Newark Archdiocese, said the investigation is not completed. “The disclosure of this list of names is not an endpoint in our process,” he said.

The revelations were preceded by a number of events. Last year a statewide New Jersey task force was created by the attorney general. In Pennsylvania, the Catholic Church was subject to a grand jury hearing in which more than 1,000 childhood victims of sexual assault connected to over 300 Catholic priests were uncovered. On Feb. 16, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a former Archbishop of Newark was stripped of his priesthood by Pope Francis.

The Newark Archdiocese, which oversees churches in Hudson, Bergen, Essex, and Passaic counties, released 63 records out of the 188 cases in the state. Some of the allegations date back to 1940.

Pope Francis must lay down the law at abuse summit

TOLEDO (OH)
Toledo Blade

February 22, 2019

The defrocking of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick last week offered hope that the Catholic Church is finally getting serious about clergy sexual abuse of minors. Now, Pope Francis needs to follow up the unprecedented punishment of Mr. McCarrick by reading bishops and other church officials the riot act during the four-day Vatican summit that began Thursday.

The Vatican has indicated that the summit, which includes more than 100 bishops ordered to Rome from around the world, will emphasize prevention of abuse, adherence to child abuse laws, caring for victims, and avoiding cover-ups.

However, the agenda also includes “prayer and discernment,” and the Pope has cautioned against “inflated” expectations, leaving some critics concerned that the gathering will be more window dressing than anything else. The pontiff got the gathering off to what some perceived as a soft start by offering the church leaders 21 “reflection points.”

The Pope, criticized last year for downplaying child sex abuse in Chile, can’t afford to let people down now. In the U.S., people are seething about a Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse, released in August, that painted a horrific picture of abuse and cover-ups stretching back decades in six dioceses. More than the church’s reputation has been affected; some parishes have reported declining attendance and shrinking financial support since the report’s release.

O’Malley wants Vatican report on who knew what about McCarrick

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

February 22, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston wants to see a report from the Vatican detailing who knew what and when about Theodore McCarrick, once among the most influential men of the Church in the United States - and, as of last Saturday, an ex-priest found guilty of sexual sins with both minors and adults.

O’Malley said he believes that report will include information sent to the Holy See by the four dioceses where McCarrick served, meaning New York, Metuchen, Newark and Washington, D.C.

Knowing what happened, O’Malley said, is “very important” when it comes to possible wrongdoing both in the United States and in the Vatican. Transparency is key, he said if the Church wants to be able to confront the problem.

O’Malley never mentioned McCarrick’s name during a Vatican news conference on Friday as part of Pope Francis’s summit on child sexual abuse. Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago did but short of every ecclesiastical title, reflecting the fact that the former U.S. cardinal is no longer a priest.

“The only thing I can tell you is that I and everyone else has to be held accountable, and I’ve always believed that,” Cupich said. “The situation of Theodore McCarrick is a very sad moment in history, a very shameful moment.”

Cupich was tapped by Francis as one of four prelates organizing this week’s summit on the protection of children.

Diocese removes priests who championed gay rights from list of those accused of sexual abuse

HARTFORD (CT)
Hartford Courant

February 21, 2019

By Dave Altimari

A priest who championed equal rights and sometimes secretly celebrated Mass with gays in church basements was mistakenly placed on a list of priests "credibly accused" of sexually abusing minors, the Norwich, Conn., Diocese said Thursday.

In a one-sentence press release, diocese spokesman Wayne Gignac said that Richard J. Cardarelli "appeared on the original list in error. There are NO allegations of sexual abuse of a minor on file." The church also acknowledged that three other priests should have been placed on the list. Gignac said the diocese wouldn't comment further.

For Steven Cardarelli, putting his brother's name on that list was the church's final tormenting of his brother, who died in 2012. Richard Cardarelli was hailed by many as a hero for his support of gay rights, advocacy that resulted in his excommunication from the Catholic Church.

"No apologies to the family just, 'Oh we made a mistake, what can you do? '" an emotional Steven Cardarelli said through tears during a telephone interview Thursday night.

"This caused tremendous heartache knowing what he was and what he fought for his whole life and how the church constantly tormented him in life and now also in death," Cardarelli said.

Richard Cardarelli was a Capuchin Franciscan monk, recognizable by their brown robes, sandals, and rope belt with three knots —signifying chastity, poverty, and obedience. He eventually was ordained a priest. At one point, he was assigned to St. Pius X Church in Middletown, where he started ministering to gays and lesbians who were not welcomed in Roman Catholic churches. Cardarelli also was the Chaplain of Mercy High School in Middletown, a job he would later refer to as "the best job I ever had."

In 1975, he founded the Hartford Chapter of Dignity and became its chaplain, and celebrated Mass in church basements on Sunday nights in the Middletown area. He then went on to work for Genesis in Manchester, a group that assists mentally challenged adults live independently.

He also taught at Central Connecticut State University and when he died, Steven Cardarelli said they took many of his brother's letters, writings and papers to add to an exhibit titled the GLBTQ archives in the Elihu Burritt Library. The library's website says there are several significant collections, including the following: John Loughery, Richard Cardarelli, George W. Henry, Christine Pattee, The Connecticut Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights, and the Connecticut Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

Diocese foot-dragging made matters worse in priest sex-abuse probe

SAGINAW (MI)
Saginaw News

February 22, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw is facing a crisis, and its initial slow response didn’t help.

Prosecutors say the diocese “stonewalled” law enforcement as it investigated claims of child sexual abuse by clergy. Some of those claims go back decades, prosecutors contend.

For victims of clergy sex abuse, the wounds run deep. Some describe a lifetime of guilt and doubt after church officials and their parents either ignored their stories of sexual abuse as children or hushed them up – priests wouldn’t do that.

Would they?

The Catholic Church today is grappling with the sex-abuse scandal across Michigan, the United States and worldwide. Pope Francis is meeting this weekend with church leaders at the Vatican to discuss the issue.

US cardinals hope new accountability stops abusers in future

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

February 22, 2019

By Nicole Winfield

Two U.S. cardinals attending the Vatican's sex abuse prevention summit said Friday that the downfall of their former colleague, Theodore McCarrick, was sad for the Catholic church but they hoped a new spirit of accountability would prevent future cover-ups of bishop misconduct.

Cardinals Sean O'Malley of Boston and Blase Cupich of Chicago addressed the McCarrick scandal at a press conference on the second day of Pope Francis' summit, which was dedicated Friday to holding the Catholic hierarchy accountable for preventing sexual abuse.

Francis defrocked McCarrick, 88, last week after a Vatican investigation found him guilty of sexually abusing minors and adults, including during confession. His downfall has sparked a crisis in credibility in the Catholic hierarchy, since it was apparently an open secret in some U.S. and Vatican circles that he slept with seminarians.

"The situation of Theodore McCarrick is a very, very sad moment in history. It's a shameful moment," Cupich told reporters. "And yet, at the same time, it causes each one of us to make sure we live our lives authentically before the people of God that we serve."

O'Malley said he expected the Vatican and the four U.S. dioceses investigating McCarrick would soon release the results of their investigations. The Holy See refused a request from the U.S. bishops conference to conduct a full-scale Vatican investigation into who knew what and when about McCarrick's rise through the church's ranks, agreeing instead to a limited review of the Holy See's own archives.

Diocese of Evansville releases list of credible allegations against clergy

EVANSVILLE (IN)
WFIE TV

February 22, 2019

By Jill Lyman

In late September 2018, in response to the request of clergy abuse victims and their families, Bishop Joseph M. Siegel announced that the Diocese of Evansville would collect and release the names of priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors.

The following list of clergy is based on the review of records and the recommendations of current and previous Diocesan Review Board members. The current Review Board consists of six lay persons and one priest.

Current and past members of the Board hold or have held positions in mental health counseling, clinical psychology, the practice of law, the medical field, and law enforcement, including specialty in areas of child physical and sexual abuse.

A credible claim is one for which, following a review of information, the Review Board determined as believable and plausible, and the Bishop accepted as credible; or the priest admitted to or acknowledged.

Michael Allen

Year of birth: 1944

Date of priestly ordination: June 5, 1971

Number of credible allegations: 1; Admitted

Action taken: Not in public ministry, July 2002

Places Served:

Associate Pastor, Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Haubstadt, June 29, 1971
Summer Ministry Program Director, December 6, 1972
Associate Pastor, St. Joseph Church, Princeton, June 14, 1974
Associate Pastor, St. John the Baptist Church, Vincennes, August 21, 1975
Teacher, Rivet High School, Vincennes, August 21, 1975
Administrator, St. Patrick, Corning, January 13, 1976
Administrator, All Saints, Cannelburg, January 13, 1976
Associate Pastor, St. Joseph Church, Jasper, August 1, 1979
Associate Pastor, St. Simon Church, Washington, July 29, 1980
Pastor, St. Mary Church, Washington, August 10, 1981
Associate Pastor, St. Joseph Church, Jasper, August 3, 1982
Military service, Assigned outside the diocese, September 21, 1984
Associate Pastor, St. Joseph Church, Jasper, June 5, 1995
Pastor, St. Joseph Church, Evansville, March 3, 1999
Pastor, St. Theresa Church, Evansville, March 3, 1999
Pastor, St. Celestine Church, Celestine, June 27, 2001
Not in public ministry, July 2002
Date posted as part of this list: February 22, 2019

Priest abuse survivor shares personal story

EVANSVILLE (IN)
WFIE TV

February 21, 2019

By Kate O'Rourke

A man from New Harmony is breaking his silence on the state of sexual abuse by Catholic Priests.

He sat down exclusively with us to share his own story and his thoughts on how accused priests are being handled both locally and globally.

“But for what the Bishops did just to move these guys around, that’s criminal," says survivor Ken Meyer. "That’s protecting your job, protecting your business, and throwing these kids under the bus to achieve that goal. That’s wrong. That’s hard to forgive.”

Right now, 170 Bishops are gathered at the Vatican. The Pope is demanding Bishops act now in the wake of the church’s abuse crisis.

“I’ve lost a lot of faith in the Catholic Church’s ability to recover,” explained Meyer.

We first met Ken Meyer in January at the the SNAP protest outside the Evansville Catholic Diocese. What we did not know then was that Meyer is a survivor of priest abuse.

Meyer has his own experiences influencing his opinions on how accused priests are being handled. For decades, they fueled personal research.

Clergy Sex Abuse Victims 'Beyond Angry' Over Pope's 'Friends Of The Devil' Comment

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Newsradio 1020 KDKA

February 22, 2019 - 11:38 AM

By Marty Griffin and Wendy Bell

Pittsburgh's Bishop and local abuse victims are reacting to developments at the Vatican summit on preventing clergy sex abuse.

Jim Van Sickle of Coraopolis is in Rome watching developments. He tells KDKA Radio he was angered to hear the Pope say those who spend their life accusing are with the devil.

“Luckily I heard it in Italian so I didn’t react right away but I can tell you everybody here is angry, beyond angry.”

During the summit Pope Francis said “One cannot live a whole life accusing, accusing, accusing, the church . . . (people who do are) the friends, cousins and relatives of the devil”.

“I was a Catholic, to me my predator was Satan, I’m not Satan for speaking out,” said Van Sickle.

Feeling “deflated” Van Sickle adds he doesn’t see any action being taken by the church, “How can you talk about responsibility, accountability and transparency if you don’t even want to admit there’s a problem?

O’Malley wants Vatican report on who knew what about McCarrick

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

Feb 22, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston wants to see a report from the Vatican detailing who knew what and when about Theodore McCarrick, once among the most influential men of the Church in the United States - and, as of last Saturday, an ex-priest found guilty of sexual sins with both minors and adults.

O’Malley said he believes that report will include information sent to the Holy See by the four dioceses where McCarrick served, meaning New York, Metuchen, Newark and Washington, D.C.

Knowing what happened, O’Malley said, is “very important” when it comes to possible wrongdoing both in the United States and in the Vatican. Transparency is key, he said if the Church wants to be able to confront the problem.

O’Malley never mentioned McCarrick’s name during a Vatican news conference on Friday as part of Pope Francis’s summit on child sexual abuse. Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago did but short of every ecclesiastical title, reflecting the fact that the former U.S. cardinal is no longer a priest.

“The only thing I can tell you is that I and everyone else has to be held accountable, and I’ve always believed that,” Cupich said. “The situation of Theodore McCarrick is a very sad moment in history, a very shameful moment.”

Cupich was tapped by Francis as one of four prelates organizing this week’s summit on the protection of children.

Guaranteeing that children are safe is a priority for the Catholic Church, O’Malley said, adding that Francis understands this cannot be only a “Church effort.”

“By addressing the problem, the Church is helping the broader society,” O’Malley said Friday. “But we have to begin by putting our house in order.”

Addressing the “crimes, the betrayals, inflicted on so many children and vulnerable adults,” he said, is part of the mission of the Church.

O’Malley served as president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. He noted that Francis requested a series of documents from the United Nations on clerical abuse be distributed to the 190 participants in his Feb. 21-24 summit.

“We’re part of a human family, and we’re all concerned about the safety of our children,” O’Malley said.

Also speaking with journalists Friday were Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna, formerly the Vatican’s top prosecutor on sex abuse crimes; Italian layman Paolo Ruffini, head of the Vatican’s communication apparatus; and Italian Father Federico Lombardi, a former papal spokesman who’s moderating the summit.

Abuse victims: Italian law helps bishops dodge investigation

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

Feb 22, 2019

By Frances D'Emilio

U.S. and Italian advocates for victims of pedophile priests are pressing for Italy to overhaul legislation that allows bishops to dodge accountability for predator clergy in the predominantly Roman Catholic country where the Church wields considerable political influence.

A U.S. state legislator joined an Italian lawmaker and American and Italian victims of pedophile clergy at the Italian Parliament on Thursday to put a spotlight on what they described as significant gaps in how the Italian justice system handles the problem.

Francesco Zanardi, who heads an Italian survivors’ advocacy group, said Italy must revise its 1929 Lateran Treaty with the Holy See. He noted that under that agreement, bishops can refuse to respond to magistrates investigating their alleged roles in hiding pedophile crimes by priests.

Thus, as long as they personally are not being investigated for abuse, bishops “have the right to refuse to answer questions from the judiciary,” Zanardi told a news conference in the Chamber of Deputies, Parliament’s lower house.

The same treaty, he noted, also requires magistrates to inform Church hierarchy they have started investigations of priests, effectively giving bishops more time to possibly discourage witnesses or victims from coming forward.

Italian law doesn’t require bishops to denounce cases of abuse by clergy, Zanardi said.

Look Back | SNAP Seeks ‘Transparent’ Study of Clergy Sex Abuse

NASHVILLE (TN)
Ethics Daily

February 22, 2019

By Bob Allen

Editor’s note: This article first appeared on Sept. 18, 2007. Bob Allen was managing editor at the time of publication. This story was part of EthicsDaily.com’s efforts to bring to light clergy sexual abuse in the U.S., particularly within Baptist churches. More than a decade later, reporting by The Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News documented 700 cases of abuse over a 20-year period. This has resulted in repentance by Southern Baptist Convention leadership, including current president J.D. Greear calling for a formal investigation of sexual abuse within the convention and its affiliated congregations.

A victims’ advocacy and support group asked Southern Baptist Convention leaders to seek input from outside experts and victims in developing a denomination-wide response to sexual abuse by clergy.

In June, SBC messengers referred a motion to the SBC Executive Committee requesting “a feasibility study concerning the development of a database of Southern Baptist clergy and staff who have been credibly accused of, personally confessed to or legally been convicted of sexual harassment or abuse and that such a database be accessible to Southern Baptist churches.”

“Baptist believers have spoken, and it is time for their leaders to listen,” Christa Brown, Baptist outreach leader for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said in a sidewalk press conference outside SBC headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee.

Brown, of Austin, Texas, and SNAP National Director David Clohessy of St. Louis traveled to Nashville to hand-deliver a letter to members of the Executive Committee’s bylaws work group urging them to be “open and transparent” about the study’s methodology and resources.

“We request that you proactively solicit input from experts and from other religious leaders who have gone down similar roads ahead of you, and that you receive their testimony in a public hearing,” the letter said. “We request that you schedule a private hearing to receive testimony from victims.”

A Life Destroyed’: Survivors And Pope Address Clergy Sex Abuse At Vatican Summit

ROME (ITALY)
National Public Radio

February 21, 2019

By Amy Held and Sylvia Poggioli

Thursday at the Vatican, Pope Francis stood before some 200 participants in an unprecedented summit on preventing clergy sex abuse and said Catholics are seeking not simply “condemnations” but “concrete, effective measures.”

But a crisis that has crossed borders and generations, lacerating the church and shaking the pope’s credibility, is standing in the way as he seeks to forge a path ahead.

Francis, who leads more than 1 billion Catholics across the world, offered 21 “reflection points,” which were distributed to attendees. They include general guidelines for addressing the crisis.

Among the proposals:

Establishing protocols for handling accusations against bishops.
Having candidates for priesthood undergo psychological evaluations.
Formulating mandatory codes of conduct for clerics and volunteers outlining “appropriate boundaries in personal relationships.”
Establishing a group with a “certain autonomy” from the church easily accessible to victims who want to report a crime.
The pope exhorted the bishops and religious superiors in attendance to “listen to the cry of the young seeking justice.”

Five anonymous abuse survivors addressed the gathering via video.

A woman from Africa relayed her experience of being raped by a priest, beginning at the age of 15.

“I got pregnant three times, and he made me have abortions three times.” She added that her life had been “destroyed.”

Priest accused of rape, defrocked - then got government job helping mentally disabled people

YORK (PA)
York Daily Record

February 22, 2019

By Candy Woodall

The church found that two reports of child sexual abuse by David Luck were credible.

Even an investigation launched in the wake of the Sandusky trial failed to reveal these allegations.

Luck has now filed a grievance against York County, which fired him in August.

Father David H. Luck allegedly raped one boy and molested another, according to findings in a Pennsylvania grand jury report.

He reportedly told people that he fantasized about sex with boys and that he was a pedophile.

The Diocese of Harrisburg removed him from ministry in 1990.

But for nearly 24 years after that, a York Daily Record investigation has revealed, York County hired him to work with some of the area's most vulnerable residents.

Reached at his home recently, Luck declined to discuss the past allegations or his work with the county. That work typically involves direct contact with many people who have mental disabilities.

County officials say they were unaware of his history until August when Luck's name appeared among 301 priests named in a Pennsylvania grand jury report. He was terminated about a month later.

The diocese and Roman Catholic Church concealed the allegations against him in secret archives for decades.

The family of a 15-year-old boy who said he was raped by Luck went to police, according to the grand jury report. A document from 1996 said the diocese would cooperate if it was contacted by police about Luck, but Luck was never criminally charged and diocese officials never reported the allegations.

Hiding the allegations against him ensured Luck would never appear on a Megan’s Law list or have any trouble passing a background check for child sexual abuse, although he was accused of abusing two boys.


Even so, it took the county 21 years to run any kind of background check on Luck, who is now 58 years old. The county didn't search state and federal records until 2015, when state child safety laws changed and required it.

Luck was hired by York County on Jan. 18, 1994, as a caseworker in the Mental Health/Intellectual and Development Disabilities section of the Human Services department.

He was terminated on Sept. 21, 2018, about a month after the Pennsylvania grand jury report was released. The county has not specified the reason for his termination.

‘It happened everywhere': How Pa. upended deep history of priest abuse across the nation

More: Catholic church still breaking its own laws, 16 years after priest abuse scandal exposed

“His employment separation was involuntary,” said county spokesman Mark Walters. “There is currently an outstanding grievance case between David Luck and the county, so regarding his involuntary separation, we won’t comment further.”

It remains unclear what the county knew in the 1990s when it hired Luck and how much it tried to learn about his past.

The grand jury report revealed that “a mental health agency” in 1996 asked the Diocese of Harrisburg for a reference. In a memo dated July 15, 1996, the Rev. Paul Helwig told Bishop Nicholas Dattilo the diocese “received a standard form, but instead of responding to the questions on the form, I wrote a letter and stated that, 'Because of conduct unbefitting a minister of the Church, David was relieved of his duties and does not have authorization to present himself or work as a priest.'"

A compilation what's happened since a sweeping grand jury report on decades of abuse by priests in Pennsylvania. Paul Kuehnel and Brandie Kessler and Mike Argento, York Daily Record

There are no records that indicate the mental health agency followed up to ask what kind of conduct was unbefitting of a minister of the church or why he was relieved of his duties during a time when the church rarely removed priests, even for abuse.

What that mental health agency didn’t know was that Luck was accused of raping a 15-year-old boy and fondling an 11-year-old boy in the late 1980s.

The sex abuse summit and the Vatican's lack of transparency

ROME (ITALY)
LaCroix International

February 22, 2019

By Robert Mickens

On the eve of the Vatican's summit aimed at getting the entire Church to face up to the ever-widening clerical sex abuse crisis, some in the media wondered if the meeting risked being overshadowed by other controversies.

One was supposed to be the issue of gay priests -- whom traditionalist Catholics have scapegoated as pederasts, and a French author has sensationalized in a just-released book in which he claims the Catholic hierarchy and the Roman Curia are full of gay men who are either leading double lives or are actually homophobic and militantly anti-homosexual.

Another looming controversy that was destined to detract from the abuse summit was the recent revelation that the Vatican has issued secret rules for priests who have fathered children. And yet another was the issue of religious women (nuns) who have been sexually abused and raped by priests and bishops, something the Vatican has tried to keep quiet for a number of decades.

None of these controversies is directly related to the sexual abuse of minors; with apologies to our traditionalist brothers and sisters who are convinced that gay priests are prone to be child molesters. However, there is an issue that is related to the abuse summit. And it is one that very few people are talking about. It's the Vatican's lack of transparency in dealing with credibly accused predator priests working directly for the Holy See.

Pope Francis vows action on clergy sex abuse but US prosecutors say church can't be trusted to police itself

ATLANTA (GA)
CNN

February 22, 2019

By Daniel Burke

)As the Vatican began a historic summit on combating clergy sexual abuse, prosecutors in the United States slammed the Catholic Church, saying it should not be trusted to police itself.

In Michigan on Thursday, State Attorney General Dana Nessel held a press conference to update the public on her investigation of the state's seven Catholic dioceses. In October, Michigan police seized hundreds of thousands of pages from church offices.

Nessel's office said it is investigating 300 tips and has asked the dioceses to suspend their own internal review processes until the investigation is over.

At the press conference, Nessel said the dioceses should stop "self-policing," according to Detroit News. She also accused church officials of asking victims to report abuse only to the dioceses and pressuring victims into non-disclosure agreements or confidential settlements.

Nessel urged clergy sexual abuse victims to report their abuse to the police, not the church.
"If an investigator comes to your door and asks to speak to you, please ask to see their badge and not their rosary," she said.

The Archdiocese of Detroit took issue with Nessel's "broad generalizations" during Thursday's press conference.

Catholic Church's problems with abuse are playing out in India amid summit

ATLANTA (GA)
CNN

February 21, 2019

By Swati Gupta and Helen Regan

As more than 200 leaders from the Roman Catholic Church meet in Rome for an unprecedented summit to address clergy sexual abuse, a crisis is being renewed in India.

In the southern Indian state of Kerala, accusations of sexual abuse involving the Catholic Church have demonstrated the challenges of holding some members of the clergy to account, and the clerical pressures victims face to remain silent.

Last Saturday, a senior Catholic priest was sentenced to 20 years in prison by an Indian court for raping a 16-year-old girl in Kerala. The incident came to light only after the victim gave birth in February, 2017.

Robin Vadakkumchery, 51, was found guilty of raping the underage girl. He was handed down three concurrent sentences of 20 years each for rape and sexual abuse.

The case has been mired in controversy. The girl's father attempted to direct the focus away from the priest -- by initially telling police that he was the father of his daughter's baby.

According to Beena Kaliyath, state prosecutor for the case, the girl's father told police he was the one who had raped her, in order to take pressure off the Church. DNA testing subsequently proved that Vadakkumchery, the priest, was the father.

Abuse Victims Say Italian Law Helps Bishops Dodge Accountability

NEW DELHI (INDIA)
New Delhi Times

February 22, 2019

U.S. and Italian advocates for victims of pedophile priests are pressing for Italy to overhaul legislation that allows bishops to dodge accountability for predator clergy in the predominantly Roman Catholic country where the church wields considerable political influence.

A U.S. state legislator joined an Italian lawmaker and American and Italian victims of pedophile clergy at the Italian Parliament on Thursday to put a spotlight on what they described as significant gaps in how the Italian justice system handles the problem.

Francesco Zanardi, who heads an Italian survivors’ advocacy group, said Italy must revise its 1929 Lateran Treaty with the Holy See. He noted that under that agreement, bishops can refuse to respond to magistrates investigating their alleged roles in hiding pedophile crimes by priests.

Thus, as long as they personally are not being investigated for abuse, bishops “have the right to refuse to answer questions from the judiciary,” Zanardi told a news conference in the Chamber of Deputies, Parliament’s lower house.

The same treaty, he noted, also requires magistrates to inform church hierarchy they have started investigations of priests, effectively giving bishops more time to possibly discourage witnesses or victims from coming forward.

Italian law doesn’t require bishops to denounce cases of abuse by clergy, Zanardi said.

“There is a legislative vacuum,” he said.

The Catholic church holds a privileged place in Italian society and wields significant influence in politics. Parishes in small towns and big cities alike run after-school and weekend recreation programs for youngsters, since public schools don’t offer them. That gives priests easy access to minors.

A U.S. advocate for accountability for pedophile priests noted that the American Catholic church was forced to “be more transparent” after victims came forward as adults when several states opened windows on statutes of limitations. That nudged U.S. bishops to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy toward abusive priests.

But the Italian church still allows itself to beguided by canon law, which “gives the priest a second chance”and “leaves it to the bishop’s discretion” on whether a priest should be punished or removed from children, said Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org.

Federal prosecutors broke law in Jeffrey Epstein case, judge rules

MIAMI (FL)
Miami Herald

February 21, 2019

By Julie K. Brown

Federal prosecutors, under former Miami U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta, broke the law when they concealed a plea agreement from more than 30 underage victims who had been sexually abused by wealthy New York hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

While the decision marks a victory for crime victims, the federal judge, Kenneth A. Marra, stopped short of overturning Epstein’s plea deal, or issuing an order resolving the case. He instead gave federal prosecutors 15 days to confer with Epstein’s victims and their attorneys to come up with a settlement. The victims did not seek money or damages as part of the suit.

It’s not clear whether the victims, now in their late 20s and early 30s, can, as part of the settlement, demand that the government prosecute Epstein. But others are calling on the Justice Department to take a new look at the case in the wake of the judge’s ruling.

The global pervasiveness of the sex abuse problems in the Catholic Church

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

February 21, 2019

Pope Francis' high-stakes sex abuse prevention summit is meant to call attention to the crisis as a global problem that requires a global response.

His decision was sparked by the realisation that in many parts of the world, bishops and religious superiors continue to deny or play down the severity of the scandal and protect their priests and the reputation of the church at all costs.

Much of the developing world has largely escaped a public explosion of the scandal, as have conflict zones and countries where Catholics are a minority.

But even majority Catholic countries have lagged. Just this week, the online resource BishopAccountability listed Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines, Congo and a handful of other heavily Catholic countries as places where the church leadership has failed to respond adequately when priests rape and molest children.

Some countries where the scandal has played out visibly in recent years:

ARGENTINA

Francis' home country is beginning to see an eruption of the scandal, with some cases even implicating the pontiff himself.

As Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Francis played a decisive and divisive role in Argentina's most famous abuse case, commissioning a four-volume, 2,000-plus page forensic study of the legal case against a convicted priest that concluded he was innocent, that his victims were lying and that the case never should have gone to trial.

Despite the study, Argentina's Supreme Court in 2017 upheld the conviction and 15-year prison sentence for the Rev. Giulio Grassi, a celebrity priest who ran homes for street children across Argentina.

Cardinal at abuse summit calls clericalism ‘distortion’ of ministry

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

February 21, 2019

By Christopher White

Church leaders were warned not to blame the outside world for the Church’s abuse crisis and that “the enemy is within.”

In delivering his afternoon remarks at the pope’s closely watched abuse summit taking place at the Vatican this week, Cardinal Rubén Salazar Gómez of Bogotà, Colombia, and President of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), said “the damage is not done by outsiders but that the first enemies are within us, among us bishops and priests and consecrated persons who have not lived up to our vocation.”

Echoing a common theme from Pope Francis on this issue, Salazar pinpointed clericalism as the root cause, leading to a “distortion of the meaning of ministry,” which he said had heightened the severity of the crisis.

Clericalism is “a clerical mentality that leads us to misunderstand the institution of the Church and place it above the suffering of the victims and the demands of justice,” he said. “This mentality accepts the justifications of the perpetrators over the testimony of those affected.”

During his remarks, the South American cardinal urged for “conversion” to replace a clerical culture in the Church, which has led to abusive priests being transferred around to other assignments instead of properly being punished and using monetary settlements to “buy silence” from victims.

Salazar’s remarks were titled “The Church in a moment of crisis: Facing conflicts and tensions and acting decisively,” and he used them, to among other things, call for a new “code of conduct” for bishops as a “concrete” means of reform and heightened attention to screening candidates for the priesthood and renewed attention to priestly formation.

St. Louis diocese won't post list of abusive priests

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Post Dispatch

February 22, 2019

By Kathy Peterson and Anne Harter

To the west, the Jefferson City Catholic diocese has posted a list of accused abusive priests on its website. To the south, the Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese has too. To the east, the Belleville diocese has posted a list. In fact, more than half of America’s 187 dioceses have produced such lists, starting in 2002.

It’s not just dioceses. A St. Louis-based Jesuit region revealed a list of 42 accused clerics (with 12 who worked at one local high school.) But the St. Louis archdiocese steadfastly refuses to do so.

Arguably if any area prelate should do this, it should be Archbishop Robert Carlson. In court filings five years ago, his lawyers admitted that 115 of the archdiocese’s staff had been accused of sexual misdeeds.

According to BishopAccountability.org, only 58 St. Louis-area clerics are publicly identified as accused of abuse. That means no Catholic jurisdiction in the bistate area is hiding so many alleged child molesters. So only half of the priests, nuns, brothers and seminarians who church officials acknowledge face accusations are known to the public. (And that information has come mostly because of brave victims who’ve filed civil lawsuits.)

These lists are not panaceas. They are small, long-overdue steps toward transparency. They’re happening now because of intense pressure on bishops — from parents, parishioners, police and prosecutors. Over the past few months, 16 attorneys general have announced investigations into the Catholic hierarchy’s handling of abuse cases.

But they do make kids safe? Sometimes. A Jefferson City priest, for instance, went on to work at Disney World after being suspended. After the Springfield, Ill., bishop posted his “accused” list, an ex-priest was fired from his taxpayer-funded job.

Even those prelates who have posted such lists usually still fall short in several key ways.

Editorial: Catholic Church must own up to all aspects of clergy sex abuse

WEST LEBANON (NH)
Valley News

February 21, 2019

On Thursday, Pope Francis convened a long-awaited meeting of Catholic bishops and other church leaders to frame a global response to the abuse by clergy of “minors and vulnerable adults.” The Vatican considered this so-called summit meeting so important that it asked the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops last year not to act on new measures to hold bishops accountable for covering up for abusive priests until after the meeting took place.

It’s scandalous that the Vatican is convening this meeting only now, after decades of revelations of abuse by priests of children and others, and delay and denial by church leaders (including the current pope, who has apologized after defending a Chilean bishop accused of covering up abuse). If this four-day meeting is to be judged a success, the pope must make it clear to participants that if they won’t deal decisively and transparently with predatory priests — and complicit superiors — in their home countries, Rome will do it for them. That message needs to be sent not only in connection with the abuse of children and adolescents by clergy, an evil that the church has been grappling with for decades, but also with a scandal that has attracted attention more recently: the sexual exploitation of adults, including seminarians and nuns, by powerful clerics. It’s increasingly clear that abuse of minors is only one dimension of the crisis.

Unfortunately, clerics involved in preparations for the summit have suggested that its focus will be primarily or even exclusively on sexual abuse of minors. Cardinal Blase Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago, said that although the sexual abuse of adults must be addressed, the summit should focus on young victims because “minors don’t have a voice.” But limiting the discussion to the abuse of children would be a mistake — the church needs to address on all forms of sexual misconduct by the clergy, and do it soon.

That reality is underlined by the Vatican’s announcement last week that it had defrocked Theodore McCarrick, the 88-year-old former archbishop of Washington, D.C., who had been accused of molesting a teenager decades ago while serving as a priest in New York. (McCarrick said he had no recollection of the abuse and believed he was innocent.) That revelation quickly led to McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals. But it then emerged that the prelate also had been accused of sexually harassing young seminarians, contriving to have them share his bed. Two New Jersey dioceses secretly paid settlements to men who said they had been preyed upon by McCarrick.

McCarrick’s behavior with seminarians figured in a sensational document published last summer by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, a retired Vatican diplomat who accused Francis of rehabilitating McCarrick after Pope Benedict XVI had supposedly imposed “sanctions” on the American prelate. Vigano’s screed floated a conspiracy theory about a “homosexual current” in the Vatican, and it may have been unfair to Francis. But his description of McCarrick as a “serial predator” seems to have been confirmed by the Vatican’s decision to defrock him.

France's bishops agree to compensation for sex abuse victims

PARIS (FRANCE)
Associated Press

February 22, 2019

Still struggling to come to terms with their share of responsibility in the clerical sex abuse scandal rocking the Catholic Church, France's bishops have agreed to award financial compensation to victims whose cases fall outside of the country's statute of limitations.

"We have agreed in principle to make a financial gesture," Vincent Neymon, head of communications for the French bishops'conference, told the Associated Press. He said he hoped to have a system for paying victims in place in less than a year.

France has not been immune to the scandal that has prompted a credibility crisis for the Catholic hierarchy, and that is the topic of a summit at the Vatican this week on preventing sex abuse and prosecuting pedophile priests.

Vatican summit on sex abuse focuses calls for accountability of predator priests

/ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

February 22, 2019

Cardinals attending Pope Francis’ summit on preventing clergy sex abuse called Friday for a new culture of accountability in the Catholic Church to punish bishops and religious superiors when they fail to protect their flocks from predator priests.

On the second day of Francis’ extraordinary gathering of Catholic leaders, the focus of debate shifted to how church leaders must acknowledge that decades of their own cover-up, secrecy and fear of scandal had only worsened the crisis.

“We must repent, and do so together, collegially, because along the way we have failed,” said Mumbai Cardinal Oswald Gracias. “We need to seek pardon.”

Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich told the 190 bishops and religious superiors that new legal procedures were needed to both report and investigate superiors when they are accused of misconduct or negligence in handling abuse cases.

He said lay experts must be involved at every step of the process, since rank-and-file Catholics know far better than priests what trauma abuse and cover-up has caused.

“In large part it is the witness of the laity, especially mothers and fathers with great love for the church, who have pointed out movingly and forcefully how gravely incompatible the commission, cover-up and toleration of clergy sexual abuse is with the very meaning and essence of the church,” he said.

“Mothers and fathers have called us to account, for they simply cannot comprehend how we as bishops and religious superiors have often been blinded to the scope and damage of sexual abuse of minors,” he said.

Francis summoned 190 bishops and religious superiors for the four-day tutorial on preventing abuse and protecting children after the scandal erupted again last year in Chile and the U.S. While the Vatican for two decades has tried to crack down on the abusers themselves, it has largely given the bishops and superiors who moved them around from parish to parish a pass.

Chicago archbishop speaks at clergy abuse summit as new scandal surfaces back home

NEW YORK (NY)
CBS News

February 22, 2019

The Archbishop of Chicago spoke Friday morning at the Vatican's summit on clergy sex abuse as a new scandal surfaced back at home. Cardinal Blase Cupich called for accountability for priest sex abuse and said the church "demands a mindset that categorically rejects cover-ups" created out of fear of legal ramifications or scandal. It comes as the Chicago archdiocese admits "a very small number of priests have fathered children" and "four remain priests in the archdiocese."

The archdiocese told CBS News the last time a priest there fathered a child was nearly 20 years ago and that financial support was provided for each child through college age. That revelation came after we interviewed Cardinal Cupich. He didn't address the issue Friday morning.

Before speaking to nearly 200 Catholic leaders, Cardinal Cupich sat down with CBS News correspondent Nikki Battiste.

"The meeting really, I think, is off to a good start where the Holy Father had a very, I think, very strong introduction, welcoming people and then giving the number of points in which he wanted us to look at as we move forward," Cupich said of the summit.

In 6 months, 2,600 church abuse allegations revealed across U.S.
Some of those "reflection points" the pope provided include establishing "specific protocols for handling accusations against bishops" and creating groups comprised of both clerics and lay-people for victims who want to report any crimes.

"It's clear to me that where the Holy Father is going on this and what I'm hearing from the other bishops is that there are going to be concrete procedures, concrete steps," Cupich said.

That's what dozens of survivors who followed the bishops to Rome are looking for, demanding the church adopt reforms to punish not only priests who abuse children but also bishops who cover it up.

CA state bill would require clergy to report child abuse

SAN DIEGO (CA)
NEWS 8

February 22, 2019

By Abbie Alford

A Bay Area state senator has introduced a new bill that would require clergy to report suspected child abuse.

Currently, clergy members are exempt from reporting cases of suspected abuse or neglect if they learned of it through confession.

State Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) said, “those in the clergy have been able to abuse and get away with it. Doctors, teachers, police officers, therapists, coaches, they all have to report if they hear something or they see something. This bill will require that everyone has to say something when they see it.”

Dan McNevin is part of Survivor’s Network for those Abused by Priest (SNAP) in the Catholic Church. He said eliminating "any loophole would be the best protection for children."

“They have exploited a well-intentional law to make it into their personal way of avoiding being truthful,” he said.

Last summer, Pennsylvania released a grand-jury report that found 1,000 children were sexually abused in the Catholic Church.

The diocese of San Diego suspended a priest during a sexual misconduct investigation and added eight to the list believed to have molested children – all are either deceased, in another church or left priesthood.

News 8 reached out to the church and the California Catholic Conference, which represents the state’s Catholic public policy.

Their statement to News 8 reads:

"Inserting government into the Confessional does nothing to protect children and everything to erode the fundamental constitutional rights and liberties we enjoy as Americans. It's also why courts here and around the world respect the special nature of spiritual counseling."

Dozens of states have launched their own investigations into clergy abuse. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has called on victims to come forward.

As the Vatican addresses priest abuse, more people are reporting sexual abuse by nuns

NEW YORK (NY)
CBS News

February 22,2019

At the Vatican summit on clergy abuse Friday morning, attention turned to abuse by nuns. Victims' advocates delivered a letter to an organization representing nuns asking predator nuns be exposed so survivors can begin to heal. This call to action comes as more victims speak out.

Nun abuse survivor Virginia June was at home in Ann Arbor, Michigan, when she heard fellow survivor Trish Cahill talking about her experience on "CBS This Morning."

"I whipped around. I could not believe that somebody was actually talking about it," June told CBS News' Nikki Battiste.

In a CBS News report last month, Cahill called nun abuse "the secret not yet told." Hearing that made June feel "validated" for the first time.

Facing a troubled childhood at home in the Detroit suburb of Farmington Hills, June said she turned to Sister Pat Kulwicki for guidance. Kulwicki taught June's religious study class at what was then Our Lady of Mercy High School.

"She seemed to be very consoling and very nurturing and very wonderful and she became a mentor to me," June said.

The 57-year-old said Sister Kulwicki began molesting her when she was 14 years old. The first time was at Kulwicki's apartment.

"I knew it was wrong and I didn't know who to tell … I was so confused it was like this sister is doing these sexual things to me and I thought she was married to God," June said.

June said the abuse continued for a decade and fueled her addiction to drugs and alcohol. She claims the school and the Detroit Archdiocese failed to act when June and her family say they reported the alleged abuse in the late 80s. June said Kulwicki denied any wrongdoing, allegedly calling June troubled. She continued to teach at the school until she died in 1994.

In response to June's allegations, Mercy High School said it is "deeply saddened" and "immediately contacted local police and initiated an internal investigation" upon receiving our request for comment.

New charges filed in St. Louis County against 'sexually violent' ex-priest

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

February 21, 2019

By Rachel Rice

New assault charges have been filed alleging a priest assaulted a boy in the early 1990s in St. Louis County.

Fred Lenczycki, 74, now faces two charges of deviate sexual assault and two counts of sodomy.

Lenczycki is a known sexual predator with multiple allegations in three states that span several years during the time he was active as a priest.

He was removed from ministry in 2002 and later laicized.

He is currently listed in the Illinois sex offender registry as “sexually violent,” having been convicted of acts of aggravated sexual abuse against victims younger than 13 . He currently lives in Berkeley, Ill., in suburban Chicago.

According to the charges filed in St. Louis County Circuit Court on Thursday, between January 1991 and December 1994 Lenczycki abused a boy younger than 14 by grabbing his genitals on multiple occasions, and abused a second boy by trying to force the boy to expose himself. The abuse reportedly happened in the 12300 block of DePaul Drive in Bridgeton.

Online listings by a law firm that advocates for sexual abuse victims say he was assigned to the DePaul Health Center in that block in the 1990s and until 2002. Those listings also say Lenczycki’s other local assignments in the 1990s included the Church of North America Martyrs Rectory in Florissant and St. Blaise Parish in Maryland Heights in the 1990s.

Charging documents note that the abuse described by the victims “fits within the pattern of abuse perpetrated by the defendant over many years.”

In 2008, Lenczycki was the first clergy member committed under Illinois’ Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act, which allows prosecutors to seek commitment in a state facility of sex offenders they believe will re-offend.

David Clohessy, advocate for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said that while he knows of Lenczycki, the predator priest isn’t yet infamous enough. Parishioners deserve to know, he said.

“We’re deeply grateful to both the victim for having the courage to report and law enforcement for having the will to pursue charges,” Clohessy said. “He’s obviously a very dangerous man, and shame on every church official who knew of or suspected his crimes and ignored or hid them.”

Victim’s advocate Jeff Anderson said he had worked to bring at least half a dozen allegations against Lenczycki to light over the years.

“(Lenczycki) is an incredibly dangerous offender, and the more that can be known about him the more likely he will be put behind bars,” Anderson said. “The number of kids he actually violated is not known, but he’s among the most dangerous perverse serial predators.”

Cardinal calls for global recognition of sex abuse in Catholic Church

VATICAN CITY
AFP

February 21, 2019

By Ella Ide

A leading cardinal acknowledged the global scale of the child sex abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church on Friday, on the second day of a landmark summit at the Vatican on tackling paedophilia in the clergy.

The refusal by some bishops -- notably in Asia and Africa -- to admit clerical paedophilia was an issue in their countries was unacceptable, Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias told the extraordinary summit.

"The point is clear. No bishop may say to himself, 'This problem of abuse in the Church does not concern me, because things are different in my part of the world'," he said.

His comments came after Pope Francis opened the global summit on Thursday -- the first of its kind -- calling on the 114 top bishops present to forge "concrete measures" to deal with sex abuse cases in the Church.

Vatican summit on Catholic Church sex abuse crisis begins

CHICAGO (IL)
WLS – Chicago

February 21, 2019

A historic event for the Catholic Church began Thursday. Bishops from around the world gathered at the Vatican to discuss the clergy sex abuse crisis.

Victims testify at child sex abuse conference, Pope promises to fight ‘enemy within’

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

February 21, 2019

By Philip Pullella

Pope Francis promised that concrete action against child sexual abuse by priests would result from a conference he opened on Thursday, with one cardinal acknowledging that the Church had to fight "the enemy within".

Francis convened Catholic leaders from around the world for the four-day meeting to address the scandal that has ravaged the Church's credibility in the United States - where it has paid billions of dollars in settlements - Ireland, Chile, Australia, and elsewhere over the last three decades.

His opening remarks appeared aimed at countering scepticism among victims who said the meeting looked like a public relations exercise.

"Faced with the scourge of sexual abuse committed by men of the Church against minors, I wanted to reach out to you," Francis told the assembled bishops and heads of religious orders. He asked them to "listen to the cry of the little ones who are seeking justice".

A global look at the Catholic Church's sex abuse problem

VATICAN CITY
The Associated Press

February 21, 2019

By Nicole Winfield

Pope Francis' high-stakes sex abuse prevention summit is meant to call attention to the crisis as a global problem that requires a global response.

His decision was sparked by the realization that in many parts of the world, bishops and religious superiors continue to deny or play down the severity of the scandal and protect their priests and the reputation of the church at all costs.

Much of the developing world has largely escaped a public explosion of the scandal, as have conflict zones and countries where Catholics are a minority.

But even majority Catholic countries have lagged. Just this week, the online resource BishopAccountability listed Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines, Congo and a handful of other heavily Catholic countries as places where the church leadership has failed to respond adequately when priests rape and molest children.

Pope Francis presents action plan for tackling clerical sex abuse but victims dismiss it as inadequate

VATICAN CITY
The Telegraph

February 21, 2019

By Nick Squires

Pope Francis put forward a 21-point plan for combating the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests on Thursday, but the proposals were dismissed by victims as wholly inadequate and a recycling of procedures that already exist.

The list of “reflection points” was put forward by the Pope on the first day of a summit that was convened in response to sex abuse scandals that have undermined faith in the Catholic Church around the world.

"The holy people of God looks to us, and expects from us not simple and predictable condemnations, but concrete and effective measures to be undertaken," the Pope said as the conference, the first of its kind, got underway at the Vatican. "Hear the cry of the little ones who plead for justice.”

Pope Francis: We Need To ‘Hear The Cry Of The Little Ones’

VATICAN CITY
MSNBC via NEWS WATCHER

February 21, 2019

Velshi & Ruhle

Pope Francis: We Need To ‘Hear The Cry Of The Little Ones’ | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC
An historic summit is underway at the Vatican over the Catholic church’s sex abuse scandals, with the Pope saying “we need to hear the cries of little ones.” NBC’s Anne Thompson and attorney for priest abuse victims Mitchell Garabedian join Stephanie Ruhle to discuss whether this meeting means the church will actually confront the decades old problem.

Parishioners still seeking answers after Bransfield's resignation | What's Next?

WHEELING (WV)
WTRF

February 21, 2019

By Kathryn Ghion

It's been a long few months for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, that all started with the resignation of Bishop Michael Bransfield.

It's a time that's left parishioners with questions, and some questioning their faith. In a time that leaves many searching for answers, 7News wanted to know: what's next?

"Our faith is founded on truth," said Archbishop William E. Lori. "Jesus said the truth will set you free."

Since being named the Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in September, Archbishop William Lori said he has aimed to seek the truth and be transparent.

"I want to thank the priests, the deacons, the religious and above all the lay people of the diocese for their patience, their love and their understanding," Archbishop Lori continued.

Judy Jones on the Sex Abuse Summit and What Needs to be Done

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Newsradio 1020 KDKA

February 21, 2019

By Robert Mangino

Judy Jones from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests joins Robert Mangino to talk about the sex abuse summit that is being held at the Vatican by Pope Francis. She explains the five demands the survivors want from the Pope. At the top of the list is that any bishop or cardinal should be fired if there was any evidence that they covered up any sex scandal.

Vatican holding meeting over church’s sex abuse scandals

VATICAN CITY
MSNBC

February 21, 2019

An historic summit is underway at the Vatican over the Catholic church’s sex abuse scandals, with the Pope saying “we need to hear the cries of little ones.” NBC’s Anne Thompson and attorney for priest abuse victims Mitchell Garabedian join Stephanie Ruhle to discuss whether this meeting means the church will actually confront the decades old problem.

Catholic clarity: Brooklyn diocese must release details it used to create list of predatory preists, lawyer says

BROOKLYN (NY)
Brooklyn Paper

February 22, 2019

By Colin Mixson

The Diocese of Brooklyn must release the criteria its leaders used to determine the credibility of sex-abuse accusations against the dozens of Catholic priests included in a list of alleged predators church officials unveiled this month, according to a lawyer for abuse victims.

“Many of my clients are looking at the list with skepticism,” said Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston-based attorney with local clients alleging abuse at the hands of Kings County Catholic clergymen. “The Brooklyn Diocese has not stated what criteria it has used to determine if a priest should be listed as a perpetrator, or sex abuser.”

The Catholic Church’s 166-year-old Kings County diocese on Feb. 15 published a list of 108 clergymen — a whopping 5-percent of its borough priests — facing sex-abuse accusations that diocesan officials believe “may be true.” The list features additional information including the named priests’ past parish postings and their current status within the church, according to the diocese, whose leader said he published the list in an effort to help victim’s heal.

February 21, 2019

Pope Francis Lays Out Plan to Combat Sex Abuse in Church

WASHINGTON (DC)
National Review

February 21, 2019

By Mairead McArdle

On Thursday, the opening day of a Vatican summit addressing the sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy, Pope Francis laid out a 21-point plan to combat the crisis battering the Church in almost all corners of the world.

“We hear the cry of the little ones asking for justice,” Francis said. “We sense the weight of the pastoral and ecclesial responsibility that obliges us to discuss together, in a synodal, frank, and in-depth manner, how to confront this evil afflicting the Church and humanity. The holy people of God looks to us, and expects from us not simple and predictable condemnations, but concrete and effective measures to be undertaken.”

Some of the recommendations Francis listed include informing the civil authorities and higher ecclesiastical authorities about incidents of abuse, protecting and offering support to victims, raising the minimum age for marriage to 16, and setting up protocols to handle various situations.

The Vatican’s top sex-crimes investigator, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, called Francis’s “reflection points” a “road map for our discussion.”

The four-day summit, dubbed “The Protection of Minors in the Church,” has gathered 190 Church leaders from around the world. Francis has said that the summit is designed to determine “how best to protect children, to avoid these tragedies, to bring healing and restoration to the victims, and to improve the training imparted in seminaries.”

AG’s Investigation Into Catholic Church Could Result In Over A Thousand Victims And Take Two Years

EAST LANSING (MI)
WKAR Radio

February 21, 2019

By Cheyna Roth

More than 70 police officers, special agents and government officials executed search warrants on each of the seven Catholic dioceses in Michigan simultaneously.

They loaded vehicles with boxes and filing cabinets – everything they could find related to potential sexual abuse by priests who have worked in Michigan from 19-50 until now.

Attorney General Dana Nessel said Michigan is the first state to execute a search warrant on the Church in this way.

“We did not depend on the dioceses to turn over documents which is what primarily happened in other states.”

Nessel said she expects her office’s investigation to last at least two years.

“Hundreds of thousands of documents were seized during the raids and an investigative team is reviewing more than 300 tips already received. “

Attorney General Dana Nessel was slim on details about the investigation since it is ongoing. But Michigan State Police Colonel Joe Gasper said not all dioceses are being as cooperative as investigators would like.

Abuse survivors organization calls for St. Louis Archbishop to reveal names of priests who faced abuse allegations

ST. LOUIS (MO)
KMOV TV

Feb 21, 2019

A group of demonstrators gathered outside the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis in the Central West End Thursday, pushing St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson to publish the names of all alleged predator priests.

The group, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), released five more names of priests who are in or have served in the St. Louis community who have faced allegations of sexual assault.

The president of SNAP, David Clohessy, said it's time for some stern punishment.

“What needs to happen is heads need to roll. Pope Francis needs to fire, publicly fire, bishops who conceal abuse. Not let them voluntarily resign,” he said. “Not quietly move them somewhere else. But he needs to fire them and he needs to say that publicly."

News 4 reached out the St. Louis Archdiocese today about SNAP's demands to publish the names of priests.

Victims of clergy sexual abuse demand mandatory reporting to police

WICHITA (KS)
KAKE TV

February 21, 2019

"Upon our meeting lays a burden of pastoral and ecclesial responsibility that compels us to discuss together, in a frank and in-depth way, how to tackle this evil that afflicts the church and humankind at large," Pope Francis told leaders of the Catholic Church Thursday morning as he opened an International Summit on how to deal with sex abuse scandals rocking the church.

A Wichita activist says she's happy the pope is recognizing the church has a problem, but now victims want action.

"I call it third degree burns of the soul," Janet Patterson says about the psychological injuries victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests have to deal with. "Maybe they can't see those burns, but they hurt and they hurt constantly."

Patterson has spent the last nineteen years working with survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests. She does it in part, because it's something she wasn't able to offer her own son, Eric.

"He had been sexually abused at the age of 12 by his parish priest in the Wichita diocese," she said.

Release of report on clergy sex abuse delayed

ENID (OK)
Enid News

February 21, 2019

By James Neal

The release of a report by the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City detailing allegations of abuse by clergy dating back to 1960 has been delayed, at the request of a law firm retained to draft the report.

Archbishop Paul Coakley commissioned the report last August, and it had been scheduled for a release Feb. 28. It now has been delayed to "before the end of March," said Diane Clay, director of communications for the archdiocese, in an email to the News & Eagle.

According to an archdiocese press release from last August, the report was commissioned to identify "instances where credible allegations of child sexual abuse were reported, substantiated, prosecuted or admitted to among priests serving in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City."

The archdiocese retained the services of Oklahoma City law firm McAfee & Taft to examine all files containing any allegations of sexual abuse by clergy, dating back to 1960 in a first report. A second report is expected to examine earlier files.

According to the August press release, McAfee & Taft attorney Ron Shinn, "an expert in internal institutional investigations," will "conduct an independent review of the files and investigate further, if necessary."

Clay said Thursday the law firm "asked for more time to review a few more files before completing the first stage of this review process."

"There were a couple of files where they wanted to do more interviews, so they requested more time," Clay said. "They also are producing the report and wanted to make sure they had the information added."

There currently are 119 priests serving in the archdiocese, according to figures provided by Clay. She said she expects the number of priests implicated in the report, dating back to 1960, to be fewer than 20.

Clay said in an earlier interview the current review is focused solely on ordained clergy and does not include non-ordained church or school staff members in the archdiocese.

The review process currently underway also includes implementation of new reporting protocols that will enable the archdiocese to better track and process any abuse allegations, Clay said.

Nessel warns Catholic Church: Let state investigate clergy sexual abuse

DETROIT (MI)
Detroit Free Press

February 21, 2019

By Niraj Warikoo

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel accused Catholic Church leaders of not fully cooperating with law enforcement, telling them to stop "self-policing" and allow state investigators to probe sexual abuse by clergy.

Speaking Thursday at her first news conference, Nessel said she will continue the investigations into Michigan's seven Catholic dioceses launched under her predecessor, former Attorney General Bill Schuette. Schuette conducted raids in October at dioceses in Michigan that involved 70 police officers and 14 assistant attorney generals, Nessel said.

Nessel told victims of abuse and others to speak with state investigators rather than Catholic officials, expressing concern that nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) are being used to discourage victims of abuse to speak with law enforcement authorities.

"Stop self-policing" and let the state do its investigations, she said. "Our office is conducting a thorough investigation and it's important we be able to talk with any and all victims harmed by these egregious acts without the intervention of the church."

Clergy Sex Abuse Survivors Release New List of NYC Predators

QUEENS (NY)
Queens Daily Eagle

February 21, 2019

By David Brand

Survivors of clergy sex abuse have named 112 additional clergy members from the Archdiocese of New York, who they say molested and abused them when they were children.

Attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents survivors of clergy sex abuse, said that 57 of the alleged perpetrators are alive, 42 are dead and 13 could not be located. Anderson joined survivors to publicize the list today in Manhattan.

“We are releasing this list publicly because Cardinal [Timothy] Dolan will not release a list,” Anderson said. Dolan is cardinal at the Archdiocese of New York. “He has made a conscious and calculated choice to keep these names and documents secret and he has the power to release the names right now.”

On Friday, the Diocese of Brooklyn, which includes Queens, released the names of 108 clergy members “credibly” accused of sexual abuse.

The Archdiocese of Brooklyn and The Archdiocese of New York did not provide a response to requests from the Eagle.

It is unclear how Catholic schools are preparing to discuss the latest church abuse revelations when students return from winter break on Monday.

At one K-through-8 school in the Bronx, which is located in the Archdiocese of New York, staff members have not received any guidance on how to talk about child sex abuse, one 8th grade teacher who asked to remain anonymous told the Eagle on Wednesday.

Survivors to rally in DC as Vatican holds summit to fight sex abuse in the Catholic church

WASHINGTON (DC
FOX 5 DC)

February 21. 2019

A historic summit at the Vatican is addressing the clergy sex abuse crisis in the Catholic church.

Pope Francis opened the summit Thursday by warning 200 Catholic leaders from around the world that the faithful want concrete action in response to the sex abuse scandal and not just condemnation.

Meanwhile, abuse survivors in the Washington, D.C. area are watching the summit closely.

FOX 5's Bob Barnard spoke with Becky Ianni, a woman who says she was sexually abused by her parish priest, Father William Reinecke, when she was an 8-year-old girl living in Alexandria, Virginia back in the 1960's.

Now a grandmother, Ianni said when she went to her church seeking solace and an apology she didn't get either. "Up until then I was Catholic. So my abuse did not take the church away from me,” Ianni said. "How the church handled my abuse is what destroyed my faith in the church."

Now a leader of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Ianni is keeping a close eye on this week's meetings at the Vatican. "I don't think they understand or I don't think they want to understand. They're still in the mode of we're going to protect the church. The church comes first," she said.

What one survivor, advocate wants to hear from pope's summit on clergy sex abuse

MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
Minnesota Public Radio

February 21, 2019

By Cathy Wurzer ·

Catholic leaders from around the world are gathered at the Vatican today for the start of a four-day summit on clergy sex abuse.

MPR News host Cathy Wurzer spoke with Frank Meuers about his expectations for the summit. Meuers leads the Minnesota chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.

Latest revelations hint at shocking global scope of Catholic Church sex abuse scandal

TORONTO (CANADA)
CBC News

February 21, 2019

By Jonathon Gatehouse

How big is the problem of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church?

No one but the Vatican knows.

Last summer, Pope Francis wrote an unprecedented letter to the world's 1.2 billion Catholics apologizing for the church's abandonment of "the little ones," and asking for the laity's help in "uprooting this culture of death."

But as a special four-day summit on abuse prevention opens in Rome this morning, the scope of the crisis might best be described as both huge and hazy.

Pope Francis’ Sex Abuse Summit Is Missing A Huge Opportunity To Center Survivors

NEW YORK (NY)
Huffington Post

February 21, 2019

By Carol Kuruvilla

Pope Francis’ highly anticipated summit on sex abuse kicked off on Thursday ― but there appears to be a glaring gap in the official list of speakers.

Of the nine individuals chosen to give presentations and offer recommendations for combating sexual abuse, none have publicly identified themselves as abuse survivors. Nor are any of them advocates representing prominent survivors’ networks.

While victims’ testimonies are woven into the summit during some key moments, there appear to be no sessions wholly dedicated to listening to survivors freely share their demands for concrete action.

This lack of representation for sex abuse survivors at a sex abuse summit would be surprising if it weren’t taking place under the auspices of the Vatican ― a notoriously hierarchical institution exclusively run by men.

“Put very simply, the church is a monarchy and has been for centuries,” Zach Hiner, the executive director of the U.S.-based Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), told HuffPost. “Its hierarchy hasn’t had to be responsive to their essentially powerless constituents."

Pope demands ‘concrete’ response to abuse crisis at Vatican summit

ROME (ITALY)
Religion News Service

February 21, 2019

By Jack Jenkins

Pope Francis on Thursday (Feb. 21) opened a highly anticipated four-day meeting on his church’s ongoing sex abuse crisis by calling on the assembled bishops and other Catholic leaders to “hear the cry of the little ones who plead for justice” and be “concrete.”

“The holy People of God look to us, and expect from us not simple and predictable condemnations, but concrete and effective measures to be undertaken. We need to be concrete,” Francis said.

But as the day wore on and the nearly 200 clerics debated ways to respond to the crisis, it became less clear which “concrete” responses can be agreed upon by a global church rattled by multiple scandals, or whether they will satisfy abuse victims.

Francis opened the conference the featured episcopal presidents of the more than 150 nations by distributing 21 “reflection points” for consideration by church leaders. The recommendations included preparing a handbook for local churches to follow in abuse cases, establishing protocols for handling accusations against bishops and raising the minimum age for marriage to 16.

At a news conference after the session, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, former director of the Holy See press office, described the list as “starting points” for conversation among bishops. But Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia, speaking after Lombardi, made clear that the bishops’ various perspectives on abuse were as different as the countries they represented.

Searing testimony heard at Vatican sex abuse summit

VATICAN CITY
The Associated Press

February 21, 2019

By Nicole Winfield

The day began with an African woman telling an extraordinary gathering of Catholic leaders that her priestly rapist forced her to have three abortions over a dozen years after he started violating her at age 15. It ended with a Colombian cardinal warning them they could all face prison if they let such crimes go unpunished.

In between, Pope Francis began charting a new course for the Catholic Church to confront the "evil" of clergy sexual abuse and cover-up, a scandal that has consumed his papacy and threatens the credibility of the Catholic hierarchy at large.

Opening a first-ever Vatican summit on preventing abuse, Francis warned 190 bishops and religious superiors on Thursday that their flocks were demanding concrete action, not just words, to punish predator priests and keep children safe. He offered them 21 proposals to consider going forward, some of them obvious and easy to adopt, others requiring new laws.

But his main point in summoning the Catholic hierarchy to the Vatican for a four-day tutorial was to impress upon them that clergy sex abuse is not confined to the United States or Ireland, but is a global scourge that requires a concerted, global response.

"Listen to the cry of the young, who want justice," Francis told the gathering. "The holy people of God are watching and expect not just simple and obvious condemnations, but efficient and concrete measures to be established."

More than 30 years after the scandal first erupted in Ireland and Australia, and 20 years after it hit the U.S., bishops and Catholic officials in many parts of Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia still either deny that clergy sex abuse exists in their regions or play down the problem.

Column: For Catholic church, just another brick in the wall

RIVERHEAD (NY)
Riverhead News Review

February 21, 2019

By Steve Wick

The gigantic scandal that is the Roman Catholic Church continues to grow worse, with new revelations of criminal behavior and the sexual abuse of children. With each new disclosure, the church itself looks more and more like a criminal cabal partly inhabited by pedophiles whose behavior was covered up and filed away, hidden from the public.

The latest report involves two women now in their 60s who say they were sexually abused as children by former Diocese of Rockville Centre Bishop John McGann. They were about 11 at the time of the alleged abuse, when McGann was a monsignor and auxiliary bishop. One of them said she was also abused by another priest in the diocese at age 5. The parents of these girls were devout Catholics who believed priests and bishops were in a special class by themselves and were to be revered. Little did they know the truth.

McGann is the once-esteemed bishop whose name adorned the Catholic high school in Riverhead, which was shuttered by the current bishop of the diocese — whose name appears in a grand jury report published last year about abuse by priests in Pennsylvania and the bishops who knew about it.

Statement from NY Leader Janet Klinger on Bishop John McGann

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 21, 2019

We are members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. We exist for two reasons: To protect the vulnerable and to heal the wounded. We are here today for three reasons.

First, we are begging anyone with information or suspicions about crimes or cover ups by former Long Island Bishop John McGann to come forward.

McGann was sued this week by two brave women. We in SNAP strongly suspect there are others in and around Rockville Centre who saw, suspected or suffered McGann’s crimes and misdeeds. They should find the courage to speak up so that they can heal and so that others who ignored or hid McGann’s wrongdoing will be expose or punished.

Our message to victims: You CAN get better. But to do so, you must break your silence. Everyone recovers from the horror of abuse in different ways. But few recover alone. Reach out to trusted sources of help – police, prosecutors, therapists, loved ones or support groups like ours! Do it today.

Policy Change is Meaningless Without Discipline

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 21, 2019

For immediate release: February 21, 2019

As Pope Francis’ global abuse summit officially got underway today, the world’s top Catholic leader opened his global meeting with a list of 21 “reflection points” to help end the clergy sex abuse crisis.

Some of the points that the Pope has called for echo some of our own demands. We agree that Bishops must be cooperating with civil investigations and that they should be fully open and honest with the public when making decisions about accused priests.

But as we have grown to expect from the Church hierarchy, every step forward is complemented by at least one step backwards. What we wanted to see from Rome was action, yet we have heard these words before. Formalizing these points into policy is meaningless without any willingness to back them up with punishment.

In refusing to discipline those prelates in attendance who have had an active role in covering up and minimizing cases of child sex abuse, Pope Francis sends the message that Bishops and Cardinals are able to openly flout the very policies designed to hold them accountable. For example, despite being published more than 15 years ago, the guidelines within the Dallas Charter were ignored by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo in his recent dealings with cases of abuse within the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

"Raza de Víboras": monjas argentinas abusaban sexualmente y usaron látigos o mordazas en víctimas

["Raza de Víboras:" Argentine nuns sexually abused and whipped victims]

CHILE
BioBioChile

February 20, 2019

By Paola Alemán

Cuando las historias que llegan casi a diario acusando de violaciones a sacerdotes en todo el mundo, incluyen a monjas entre los verdugos, la trama se vuelve más oscura para la iglesia católica, pero sobre todo para las víctimas. Así lo revela una entrevista publicada por la revista Perfil en Argentina. El abuso sexual no solo tiene cara masculina en las iglesias. También hubo vejámenes en conventos de ese territorio, donde las víctimas de las superioras, hablaron del calvario vivido.

Abogado Hermosilla afirmó que han aparecido nuevas denuncias en contra del excapellán Renato Poblete

[Lawyer Hermosilla confirms there are new accusations against priest Renato Poblete]

CHILE
BioBioChile

February 20, 2019

By Tamara Rojas

El abogado Juan Pablo Hermosilla, quien representa a Marcela Aranda denunciante del excapellán del Hogar de Cristo, Renato Poblete, aseguró que hay nuevos casos y testimonios de presunto abuso sexual por parte de Poblete.

Arzobispado de Concepción notificó a sacerdote acusado por violación inicio de juicio en su contra

[Archbishop of Concepción notifies priest about his rape trial]

CHILE
BioBioChile

February 21, 2019

By Yessenia Márquez and Carlos Avendaño

El Arzobispado de Concepción notificó al sacerdote Hernán Enríquez del inicio del juicio administrativo penal en su contra por la presunta violación de un exseminarista en el año 2002. El religioso en conversación con Radio Bío Bío en la zona, valoró la instancia por permitirle defenderse de las acusaciones.

Cruz en cita histórica contra pederastia en el Vaticano: En Chile hay sacerdotes que son una escoria

[Cruz in historical role against abuse at Vatican: "In Chile there are priests who are a scum"]

CHILE
BioBioChile

February 21, 2019

By Valentina González and Nicole Martínez

Este jueves comenzó la cumbre de obispos en el Vaticano, que estuvo antecedida ayer por un encuentro del comité organizador con 12 sobrevivientes de abuso sexual eclesiástico de varios países. La reunión estuvo encabezada por el arzobispo de Malta, Charles Scicluna, quien integra el comité que organiza la cumbre de obispos en el Vaticano. Los sobrevivientes, de distintos puntos del planeta, estuvieron encabezados por el chileno Juan Carlos Cruz, uno de los denunciantes de Fernando Karadima.

Cae el secreto de los abusos en España

[Five months of research reveals hidden clergy abuse in Spain]

MADRID (SPAIN)
El País

February 21, 2019

By Íñigo Domínguez and Julio Núñez

Cinco meses de investigación de EL PAÍS han sacado a la luz 19 casos con 87 víctimas de la pederastia, casi la mitad de los que se conocían hasta ahora en los últimos 30 años

EL PAÍS se propuso hace cinco meses comprobar si España era una excepción, o si lo excepcional era que en este país aún no hubieran salido a la luz más casos de pederastia en la Iglesia. La respuesta empieza a estar clara: los abusos en España sí han existido. Queda ahora por saber cuál es la dimensión del problema. Este periódico ha investigado y desvelado ya 19 casos, con al menos 87 víctimas. Es más de la mitad de lo que estaba registrado oficialmente en los últimos treinta años: 36 casos, a través de 34 sentencias civiles y seis eclesiásticas. Además, por primera vez hemos contabilizado los casos de los que se tiene constancia, sumando los judicializados y los que han aparecido en distintos medios de comunicación. Suman un total de 82 casos conocidos en 33 años; 28 de ellos en los últimos 14 meses. Un acelerón vertiginoso tras décadas de silencio. Un secreto que empieza a caer. Ha sido posible por la valentía de las víctimas, que se han decidido a hablar.

Scicluna profundiza en abusos sexuales cometidos por la Iglesia en Chile: “Sólo la verdad nos liberará”

[Scicluna delves into sexual abuse committed by the Church in Chile: "Only the truth will set us free"]

CHILE
The Clinic

February 18, 2019

El religioso que viniera a nuestro país para recopilar información sobre este tipo de casos, sostuvo que “sé que abrimos una caja de Pandora” y que “hay una serie de casos que están siendo revisados. El material que se nos entregó durante esas dos misiones en Chile es enorme, y cada caso debe ser estudiado por sus propios méritos y debido al debido proceso”.

En medio de la cumbre de “La Protección de Menores en la Iglesia” a realizarse entre el 21 y 24 de febrero en el Vaticano, el secretario adjunto de la Congregación para la Doctrina de la Fe, Charles Scicluna, profundizó en los abusos sexuales cometidos por miembros de la Iglesia en Chile.

Schöenstatt busca nuevo defensor para el exobispo Cox

[Schöenstatt order seeks new defender for ex-bishop Cox]

CHILE
La Tercera

February 20, 2019

By Juan Castellón

Las denuncias por presuntos abusos contra el exarzobispo serán vistas por los juzgados del crimen.

“Este magistrado y este tribunal no tienen la competencia, ni la jurisdicción, para poder mantener el conocimiento de esta causa”. Esa fue la determinación que ayer comunicó el juez Alaín Maldonado, del 2° Juzgado de Garantía de La Serena, respecto de los presuntos abusos sexuales cometidos por el exsacerdote Francisco José Cox, quien no asistió a la audiencia.

Scicluna advierte a la iglesia católica de Chile: "Tendrán que limpiar la suciedad"

[Scicluna warns the Catholic Church of Chile: "They will have to clean the dirt"]

CHILE
Publimetro

February 18, 2019

El arzobispo de Malta y secretario adjunto de la Congregación para la Doctrina de la Fe analizó el momento de la iglesia criolla sumida en una profunda crisis.

En conversación con el sitio Crux, Scicluna señaló que "hay una serie de casos que están siendo revisados. El material que se nos entregó durante esas dos misiones en Chile es enorme, y cada caso debe ser estudiado por sus propios méritos y al debido proceso".

El “factor Chile” irrumpe en la cumbre del Papa Francisco contra los abusos

[The "Chile factor" breaks into Pope Francis' anti-abuse summit]

CHILE
La Tercera

February 18, 2019

By S. Rodríguez, S. Rivas, C. Reyes y M. J. Navarrete

Juan Carlos Cruz, denunciante de Karadima y quien tiene demandada a la Iglesia de Santiago por supuesto encubrimiento, coordinará al grupo de víctimas que entregará este miércoles su testimonio. Su rol fue solicitado por Charles Scicluna.

“El arzobispo (Charles) Scicluna me pidió no solo asistir y entregar un testimonio, sino que conversar con los demás denunciantes, que irán de otras partes del mundo, para coordinar y facilitar esta reunión con los organizadores, que en un principio será el miércoles”, dijo este lunes a La Tercera Juan Carlos Cruz.

"Es impresentable que la Iglesia chilena sea un símbolo de los abusos sexuales a nivel mundial"

["It is disgraceful that the Chilean Church is a symbol of sexual abuse worldwide"]

CHILE
BioBioChile

February 19, 2019

By Paz Fonseca

Comentario de Tomás Mosciatti y Katherine Ibáñez en la edición matinal de Radiograma sobre la cumbre del Papa con los obispos de todo el mundo y la posición de la iglesia chilena ante los casos de abuso sexual.

Church Sex Abuse Survivors Want Reform Now. Here’s Why That Might Not Happen

ROME (ITALY)
New York Times

February 20, 2019

By Jason Horowitz

In parts of the vast Catholic world, some bishops view clerical sexual abuse as more of a sin than a crime. Others attribute it to homosexuality or question that it exists at all. Where Catholics are a minority, as in the Middle East, reporting a pedophile priest to the civil authorities is tantamount to sentencing him to death.

As Pope Francis convenes church leaders for a meeting at the Vatican starting on Thursday to address the scourge of clerical sexual abuse, victims’ advocates are demanding urgent and uniform church laws to impose zero tolerance for priests who abuse minors and for the bishops who cover up for them, regardless of the culture in which they operate.

But Vatican officials say such a demand reflects a misconception that change in a global and ancient institution can be made with the wave of a papal wand.

The diversity of legal and cultural barriers to identifying abusers and assisting victims, as well as entrenched denial, makes putting in place one world standard virtually impossible, they say.

Before the conference, The New York Times interviewed bishops and priests on four continents, and their views varied widely on the urgency, extent and very existence of sexual abuse of children and minors among priests — a problem that by now has been painstakingly documented in many parts of the globe.

“It is not so simple,” said the Rev. Hans Zollner, an organizer of the meeting, member of the Vatican’s child-protection commission and president of the Center for Child Protection of the Pontifical Gregorian University.

Vatican leaders have worked for weeks to tamp down expectations of a sudden revolution in the sprawling bureaucracy governing the church.

The conference instead will amount to a kind of four-day crash course to instruct church leaders on how to handle abuse cases with responsibility, accountability and transparency, and to convince some that the problem exists at all.

That has hardly appeased survivors of abuse and others in the church who call the arguments against more decisive action a cop-out.

“They are saying there are all these bishops who don’t understand sexual abuse, which is stunning!” said Peter Isely, an American abuse survivor and leader of Ending Clergy Abuse, an advocacy group for survivors of clerical child abuse.

“How do you get to be a bishop if you have to be given an education about the rape of a child?” he said, after he met on Wednesday with Father Zollner and the prelates organizing the conference. He was furious that Pope Francis himself did not show up.

“The only way to solve this is at the top,” Mr. Isely said. “He can do it with the stroke of a pen.”

Father Zollner said he understood the anguished call from victims and advocates for action. But while the Vatican is a monarchy, it is not monolithic and has “as diverse backgrounds as you can imagine in humanity,” he said.

“If you think that by the pope declaring that these are guidelines you have solved the problem, actually I think that you may run the risk of being very much disappointed,” Father Zollner said in an interview in his office in Rome.

The pope has already provided the church with zero-tolerance laws, he argued, adding that if Francis introduced new norms prematurely, he would risk eroding papal authority, because they had a good chance of being ignored.

When the pope emphasized change starting at the bottom, Father Zollner said, he was not shirking responsibility, but making the only choice available, because that was where the change needed to happen.

Pope Francis wants ‘concrete’ steps on sexual abuse. Here are his 21 starting points.

ROME (ITALY)
Washington Post

February 21, 2019

By Julie Zauzmer

As the Vatican’s much-anticipated first summit on the abuse of children got underway Thursday, Pope Francis said he hopes “concrete and effective measures” will emerge from the gathering of the world’s leading bishops. To get that discussion started, Francis handed out a list of points for the days-long conversation among 190 Catholic leaders.

The document raises a number of ideas: a handbook for how abuse cases should be handled, an increase in the church’s minimum marriage age to 16, mandatory codes of conduct, and background checks for all church staff and volunteers worldwide.

Some of the suggestions are already in place in the United States, such as psychological evaluations of men who want to become priests and removal from ministry of any priest found guilty of abusing a child, but not in all countries.

The document recommends protocols for handling accusations against bishops, which was a central proposal at a meeting of U.S. bishops last fall, when the Vatican asked the Americans not to implement their ideas yet.

Read the complete list of Francis’s proposals, as distributed by the Vatican, here.

Pope Francis calls for ‘concrete measures’ as historic clergy sex-abuse summit opens in Rome

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

February 21, 2019

By Jeremy Roebuck

Pope Francis warned the globe’s top Roman Catholic leaders Thursday that they would need to emerge with more than just “predictable statements” as he opened a highly-anticipated summit aimed at finally defining a worldwide response to the issue of sex abuse within the church.

In an opening address before an audience of leading bishops from more than 100 countries, Vatican officials and experts, the pontiff urged those in attendance to “listen to the cry of the small who are asking for justice.”

“The holy people of God are looking at us, expecting not only simple and predictable condemnations but concrete and effective measures in place,” he said. “We need to be concrete.”

Francis’ remarks kicked off the three-day, closed-door meeting at the Holy See, which will see the presidents of the world’s bishops’ conferences participating in lectures and work sessions on how to prevent sex abuse, hold each other accountable and care for victims in their churches back home.

Organizers have said they hope it will prove to be a “turning point” for a hierarchy battered by a series of scandals — especially in the United States, which saw top Cardinal Theodore McCarrick defrocked over allegations he abused seminarians and minors, a scathing grand jury report in Pennsylvania and the launch of several similar investigations in more than a dozen states all within the last year, including New Jersey.

The meeting also presents an opportunity for Pope Francis to shore up his own record on the issue. His critics have described him as sluggish to respond and, at times, callous.

Clergy sex abuse victims and representatives from their most outspoken advocacy groups — have turned the area surrounding St. Peter’s Square into their own home base in the days leading up to Thursday’s session and have sought to wrest the spotlight from the summit’s official agenda.

Survivors blast pope’s ‘reflection points’ on abuse as less than zero tolerance

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

February 21, 2019

By Elise Harris

As part of Pope Francis’ high-stakes summit on clerical sexual abuse this week at the Vatican, during Thursday’s opening session he released a list of 21 “points for reflection”- including a couple that didn’t necessarily sit well with abuse survivors, who say they fall short of the Catholic Church’s pledge of zero tolerance.

One of those points, which Pope Francis said he got from suggestions made by bishops’ conferences ahead of the summit, dealt with releasing names of accused priests. Another concerned defrocking clergy guilty of abuse, and still another with listening structures so bishops can hear victims’ stories.

In comments following the opening session of Pope Francis’ Feb. 21-24 summit on the protection of minors in the Church, abuse survivor and co-founder of the U.S. branch of the Ending Clergy Abuse advocacy group Peter Isely said the pope’s list contains “not-very-concrete points,” despite a statement from Francis earlier in the day that people want “concrete, effective” measures.

The suggestions are not a sign of progress, Isley said, because “they don’t go anywhere, they’re not moving the line anywhere.”

“There’s nothing different in here than there was yesterday. Where is it in these points that if you’re a bishop or a cardinal and you’ve covered up child sex crimes, that you’re going to be removed from the priesthood or that any action will be taken against you?” he said.

“That’s not in here at all, so that’s not accountability and that’s not zero tolerance,” he said.

Speaking of point 15 on Francis’ list, which suggests that the Church’s traditional principle of “proportionality of punishment with respect to the crime committed” should be observed and asked for “deliberation” on defrocking, Isely said the idea that some priests guilty of abusing children would not lose their clerical status is “unacceptable.”

In a news conference after Thursday’s morning session, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, a former Vatican prosecutor on clerical abuse cases and a leading figure in the protection of minors in the Church, said that dismissing abuser priests from the clerical state is not always a given, but in his view, should happen on a “case-by-case” basis.

The Latest: Pope issues ideas for handling clergy sex abuse

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

February 21, 2019

The Latest on the Vatican's conference on dealing with sex abuse by priests (all times local):

3:40 p.m.
Pope Francis has issued 21 proposals to stem the clergy sex abuse around the world, calling for specific protocols to handle accusations against bishops and for lay experts to be involved in abuse investigations.

Francis distributed the list on Thursday as he opened his high-stakes abuse prevention summit at the Vatican. The four-day event brings together some 190 bishops and religious superiors for tutorials on preventing abuse and protecting children.

The aim is to show pedophile priests a global problem and therefore require a global response.

The pope's proposals draw heavily from existing best practices, including establishing rules for transferring seminarians and priests.

Another idea suggests a basic handbook showing bishops how to investigate cases.

Polish activists pull down statue of disgraced priest

WARSAW (POLAND)
Associated Press

February 21, 2019

Activists in Poland toppled a statue of a prominent Solidarity-era priest early Thursday amid allegations that he sexually abused minors, a protest against what they called a failure by the Catholic Church and society to resolve the problem of clergy sex abuse.

The protest came only hours before Pope Francis gathered Catholic leaders from around the world for a landmark summit at the Vatican to address the Church’s sex abuse crisis.

Video footage showed three men attaching a rope around the statue of the late Monsignor Henryk Jankowski in the northern city of Gdansk and then pulling it down to the ground in the dark. The activists then placed children’s underwear in one of the statue’s hands and a small white lace church vestment worn by altar boys on the statue’s body to symbolize the suffering of the young people he allegedly molested.

It was a striking act in a country where more than 90 percent of the population identifies as Roman Catholic and where the Church still enjoys significant authority in public life. That position appears to be changing, however, as secularization grows along with a developing economy.

Church leaders have also alienated some Poles with their close ties to the conservative ruling party, which has been accused of eroding Poland’s democratic culture and institutions.

Police detained the three men and opened an investigation into whether they committed the crime of “insulting a monument.”

In six months, abuse allegations against over 2,600 priests and church workers have been revealed

NEW YORK (NY)
CBS News

February 21, 2019

By Matthew Sheridan, Elizabeth Gravier and Alexandra Myers

In the past six months, authorities and Catholic Church dioceses across the U.S. have said that credible accusations of abuse have been made against more than 2,600 priests and other church employees over a span of several decades, according to a CBS News tally. The number includes sexual abuse accusations made against 301 priests over 70 years that a Pennsylvania grand jury revealed last summer.

Since then, individual dioceses and archdioceses across the country have been reviewing their files and releasing lists of people who they said face credible allegations of abuse. The issue has prompted Pope Francis to call church leaders from all over the world to the Vatican for a summit that started Thursday.

Between the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury investigation on Aug. 14, and Monday of this week, dioceses in two states have each named more than 300 people who have been accused of abuse. In New York, dioceses have named a total of 343 people, and Texas dioceses have named 304.

Dioceses in 31 other states and Washington, D.C., have come forward with what they said they've found in their files. The findings range from Mississippi, where the diocese of Biloxi said in January that credible allegations have been made against three priests since 1989, to California, where the diocese of Oakland on Monday released a list of 45 clergy members accused of abuse dating back to the 1960s.

Bill Would Make Priests Report Abuse Revealed In Confessions

SACRAMENTO (CA)
Associated Press

February 21, 2019

A California lawmaker said Wednesday the state should require clergy members to report suspected child abuse or neglect even if they learn of it during confession.

Clergy members are among a list of more than 40 “mandated reporters,” meaning they are required under state law to report suspected abuse. But that doesn’t apply if they learn about something during a private communication such as confession, a sacrosanct practice in the Catholic church.

A bill by Democratic Sen. Jerry Hill would eliminate that exemption.

“The law should apply equally to all professionals who have been designated as mandated reporters of these crimes – with no exceptions, period,” he said in a statement. “The exemption for clergy only protects the abuser and places children at further risk.”

Clergy includes priests and ministers as well as rabbis or other religious practitioners. Under state law, clergy can assert privilege over a “penitential communication,” which is a statement made in confidence that the clergy must keep secret based on church doctrine.

SNAP exposes five more publicly accused predators

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nearly 100 alleged predators are now publicly known here

Many abused elsewhere but are or were in St. Louis area to0

In last 6 months, 37 accused child molesting clerics are ‘outed’ here

Still, archbishop won’t disclose more than 50 others who are accused

Local Catholic victims will also discuss upcoming Vatican abuse summit

WHAT

Holding five signs listing 100 accused clericsa at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will

reveal the identities of five accused priests who are/were in St. Louis but have escaped virtually all scrutiny or attention here, and
challenge local Catholic officials to disclose the names of ALL alleged predator priests,
prod Missouri’s attorney general to work harder to bring victims, witnesses and whistleblowers forward for his statewide probe into clergy sex crimes and cover ups.

WHEN
Thursday, February 21 at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE
On the sidewalk outside the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis (“new” cathdral), 4431 Lindell Blvd, (between Taylor & Newstead) in the Central West End in St. Louis

U.S. groups: Pope must sustain guilty verdict, defrock Guam's Apuron

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

February 20, 2019

By Haidee V. Eugenio

Two leading U.S. organizations protecting victims and documenting the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic priesthood have called on Pope Francis to sustain the guilty verdict on Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron in a case involving sexual abuse of minors, and to defrock or expel him from priesthood.

"It is wrong for Pope Francis to leave Guam Catholics twisting in the wind and waiting to discover the fate of Archbishop Apuron, especially since it has been nearly a full year since the archbishop was found guilty of abusing children," according to Zach Hiner, executive director for the Missouri-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the world's largest and oldest survivors group for abuse victims.

BishopAccountability.Org, which documents the Catholic clergy sex abuse crisis, said Apuron and four other bishops must be defrocked, just like the disgraced former cardinal archbishop of Washington, D.C., Theodore McCarrick.

Women activists float ‘Shawshank solution’ to Church’s abuse scandals

ROME
Crux

February 20, 2019

By Elise Harris

In the 1994 movie classic “The Shawshank Redemption,” Tim Robbins plays a wrongly convicted inmate who eventually escapes by tunneling out of the thick stone structure using only a tiny rock hammer he uses to chip the prison wall away over a long stretch of time.

His primary confidante behind bars is played by Morgan Freeman, who, after the escape, comments on his friend’s passion for geology: “Geology is the study of pressure and time. That’s all it takes, really … pressure and time.”

At a Rome news conference Tuesday, a panel of women activists touted what might be called a “Shawshank solution” to the woes plaguing the Catholic Church, including the clerical sexual abuse crisis and sexual assaults against women religious - recommending the application of pressure, combined with the determination to stay the course.

It was a piece in a women’s supplement published by the Vatican newspaper earlier in February that prompted Pope Francis to acknowledge sexual abuse of nuns by clergy.

Pope Francis skips meeting with survivors on eve of Vatican clergy abuse summit

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Trib Live

February 20, 2019

By Deb Erdley

Clergy sexual abuse survivors were left waiting for answers Wednesday as an international mix of Catholic Church leaders gathered in Rome to address the child sexual abuse scandal that has rocked parishes around the world — including Western Pennsylvania.

Calls for an apology to survivors, an acknowledgement of their pain, sweeping global policy changes and the ouster of a Pennsylvania bishop some deemed to have been complicit in cover-ups were among the demands survivors took to Rome.

Shaun Dougherty, a 49-year-old Johnstown native, was among 12 survivors invited to meet with church leaders in advance of the official call to order of the four-day summit on clergy sexual abuse, which Pope Francis will convene at the Vatican beginning Thursday. Dougherty was disappointed but not surprised the pope did not attend Wednesday’s meeting with survivors.

“I’m aggravated. This is the CEO of the Roman Catholic Church,” Dougherty told CBS News reporter Nikki Battiste. “We came to his house to meet with him about his abusive priests … and he wasn’t there. He delegated.”

'I obeyed like a robot': Abuse survivor tells of predator priest

PARIS (FRANCE)
AFP

February 18, 2019

By Lucie Peytermann

Denise Buchanan was 17 when she was raped by a seminarian who continued to abuse her when he became a priest in her native Jamaica. The Catholic Church, she says, has offered her nothing but their "prayers".

"I got pregnant and he arranged a clandestine abortion," Buchanan, still shaking and close to tears 40 years after the ordeal, told AFP.

Today aged 57, the academic is a leading member of a new international organisation, Ending Clerical Abuse (ECA), which is bringing together victims in Rome this week to pressure Pope Francis to take a tougher line on child abuse by clerics.

She has struggled in vain for years for the Church to officially recognise her as a victim -- even writing to the pope himself -- while the priest who abused her has escaped justice.

Buchanan's struggle underscores the sense of isolation felt by many victims who see the institution as still in denial, particularly in poorer countries where the Church remains politically and socially influential.

Vatican to hold first-ever sex abuse conference

VATICAN CITY
Reuters Videos

February 20, 2019

Pope Francis will convene the Church's first conference solely about sex abuse this week. But victims and activists fear it won't touch senior clerics who cover up the crimes. Philip Pullella and Lucy Fielder report.

The stakes are high for Pope Francis, Catholics worldwide in unprecedented sex abuse summit

VATICAN CITY
USA TODAY

February 19, 2019

By John Bacon

A crucial summit on clergy sexual abuse, which opens Thursday at the Vatican, will draw church leaders from around the world in an effort to break a "code of silence" that allowed the misconduct to take place over decades.

Presidents of more than 100 bishop conferences will be joined by high-ranking Vatican officials – and Pope Francis himself. The summit will focus on making bishops aware of their responsibilities, accountability and transparency, the Vatican said.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna, a member of the organizing committee, described the summit as a major step in the pope's efforts to end the code of silence. The Rev. James Bretzke, a theology professor at Marquette University, said the pope demands a change in "clerical culture."

Oakland Diocese releases names of priests accused of sex abuse; Survivor advocates say it omits names of dangerous priests

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
KGO – San Francisco

February 18, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Oakland published a list of 45 priests who have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse, but survivor advocates say the list omits names of dangerous priests.

Mexican president will not 'confront' church over sexual abuse claims

MEXICO CITY
Reuters

February 18, 2019

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday he would not confront the country’s Catholic Church over sexual abuse allegations and that it would fall to the prosecutor’s office to investigate such claims.

At least 152 Catholic priests in Mexico have been suspended over the past nine years for sexual abuse against minors, and some of those priests have been jailed over those offences, Mexico’s Archbishop for Monterrey said earlier this month.

The Catholic Church has reeled from sexual abuse scandals in the United States, Chile, Australia, Germany and a number of other countries in recent years. Mexico is home to the world’s second-largest Catholic community after Brazil.

“We don’t want to confront the church,” Lopez Obrador said at a regular news conference when asked about the role his administration would take in investigating sexual abuse allegations.

Chilean nuns relieved by Pope's recognition of abuse

CHILE
Reuters Videos

February 19, 2019

Three former Chilean nuns who claim to have been sexually abused over two decades ago by priests in their religious order have hailed comments by Pope Francis earlier this month in which he recognized the abuse of nuns in the Catholic Church. Havovi Cooper reports.

Pope Francis to host summit to tackle clergy abuse

VATICAN CITY
FOX News Videos

February 19, 2019

Vatican hopes global clergy abuse meeting will be 'turning point' and help repair the reputation of the Catholic Church.

Roman Catholic Church leaders gather at Vatican for global meeting on clergy sex abuse

CHICAGO (IL)
WLS – Chicago

February 19, 2019

A historic meeting is about to begin at the Vatican as leaders of the Roman Catholic Church gather for a global meeting on the clergy sex abuse crisis, led by Chicago's Cardinal Blase Cupich.

Victims ‘out’ two accused Long Island priests

Victims ‘out’ two accused Long Island priests

They also blast Long Island’s Catholic bishop

SNAP: “He should identify child molesting clerics”

And he must seek out others hurt by his predecessor, group says

Victim to read a letter the now-accused McGann wrote to her dad in 1995

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose the names of two publicly accused priests who are or were in the Rockville Centre dioceses but have largely been ‘under the radar,’

They will also prod Rockville Centre Catholic officials to
--reveal the names of ALL proven, admitted and ‘credibly accused’ predator priests,
--permanently and prominently post their photos, whereabouts, and work histories on church websites, and
--‘aggressively reach out’ to anyone who may have been hurt by a Long Island ex-bishop

WHEN
Thursday, February 21 at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE

On the sidewalk outside St. Agnes Cathedral, 29 Quealy Place in Rockville Centre, NY

Catholic Church credibility on the line at abuse meeting

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

February 17, 2019

By Philip Pullella

The Vatican will gather senior bishops from around the world later this week for a conference on sex abuse designed to guide them on how best to tackle a problem that has decimated the Church’s credibility, but critics say it is too little, too late.

The unprecedented four-day meeting, starting on Thursday, brings together presidents of national Roman Catholic bishops conferences, Vatican officials, experts and heads of male and female religious orders.

“I am absolutely convinced that our credibility in this area is at stake,” said Father Federico Lombardi, who Pope Francis has chosen to moderate the meeting.

“We have to get to the root of this problem and show our ability to undergo a cure as a Church that proposes to be a teacher or it would be better for us to get into another line of work,” he told reporters.

Vatican needs to offer more

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

February 20, 2019

In a recent letter to U.S. bishops, Pope Francis called for a “change of mindset” to regain credibility forfeited by the Catholic Church after nearly two decades of temporizing, equivocation and half-measures to address clerical sex abuse. In fact, the pontiff himself, whose response to the scandal has been a fog of mixed messages, would benefit from this advice. Just as important, as he prepares for a meeting of some 130 top bishops from around the world what is needed is a concrete blueprint that will shift the church toward a new era of accountability and transparency.

Those are among the stated goals of the meeting, called by the pope, of the presidents of the world’s Conferences of Catholic Bishops, scheduled for today through Sunday in Rome. Yet, rather than identifying specific agenda items that would signal a no-nonsense new approach, the Vatican has tried to lower expectations. Francis says the meeting will be an occasion for deep “discernment.” New policies would help more.

A good start would be the establishment of a muscular new mechanism, including lay members of the church, that would enable the Vatican to investigate and remove bishops and other senior clerics implicated in covering up for pedophile priests. Even now, more than 17 years after revelations of systematic abuse and coverups first rocked the American church, the wall of impunity that has long protected bishops is only gradually starting to crack.

In the United States, the church must also drop its largely successful efforts to block changes in state law that would allow adults who were once child victims of abuse to bring civil lawsuits against their abusers and the dioceses that enabled them. Owing to pressure by the church and insurance companies, only a handful of states have, so far, allowed such lawsuits. It’s hypocrisy on the church’s part to pledge “zero tolerance” for pedophile priests while lobbying resolutely to impede legislation that would allow victims to seek a measure of justice in the courts.

A genuine change of mindset would also mean a shift in tone by church officials at all levels. Many implicitly excuse the church’s epidemic of child sex abuse as no more than a reflection of society’s own problem with the same blight. It’s a fact that pedophilia isn’t limited to the church; it’s also a fact that no other large institution has been similarly plagued by the scale and scope of abuse that has beset the church, or by such massive systematic, institutional foot-dragging in the face of reform efforts.

Aly Raisman on Larry Nassar assault: Sometimes people forget I'm still coping with it

UNITED STATES
Yahoo News Video

February 19, 2019

By Rebecca Corey

“Through Her Eyes” is a new weekly half-hour show hosted by human rights activist Zainab Salbi that explores contemporary issues from a female perspective. You can watch “Through Her Eyes” every Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on Roku and see full episodes at yahoonews.com.

It has been a year since former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for abusing more than 150 girls entrusted in his care. But Aly Raisman — an Olympic gold medalist and former captain of the U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics team — is still coming to terms with the sexual abuse she experienced as a teenager.

“When I go out on the street, or I’m at the airport, or the grocery store, or whatever it is, people are so supportive. And I’m so grateful for that,” Raisman said during an interview with the Yahoo News show “Through Her Eyes.”

Raisman is frequently approached by supportive strangers who are eager to share their own traumatic experiences of sexual assault. But these stories from fellow survivors can sometimes be difficult for Raisman to hear.

“I think sometimes people forget I am coping with it too,” Raisman explained. “And sometimes people will go into graphic detail.”

"Everything in This Spreading Crisis Revolves Around Structural Mendacity"

LITTLE ROCK (AR)
Bilgrimmage blog

February 20, 2019

By William Lindsey

Pope news
@Pope_news
Poland's most senior nun has been banned from further media contact after condemning the sexual abuse of religious sisters by Catholic priests in her country https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/11385/polish-nun-silenced-for-speaking-out-on-abuse- …

12:36 PM - Feb 19, 2019
Polish nun 'silenced' for speaking out on abuse
Poland's most senior nun has been banned from further media contact after condemning the sexual abuse of nuns by Catholic priests in her country

Talking abuse, Catholic context and Southern Baptist context: good things I've been reading and want to share with you:

Carol Howard Merritt, "The Problem of 'Evil' in Describing Southern Baptist Abuse Crisis":

The Southern Baptist Church upholds gracious submission as godly and relegates the abuse as "satanic," casting them into different realms. Yet, submission and abuse should not occupy spaces so far apart in our theological imaginations, because they work together. When leaders demand unquestioning obedience from women and girls, it sets up the perfect environment for predation to occur.

Jonathan Merritt, "The Lessons Southern Baptists Need to Learn":

It's correct that Southern Baptist churches are autonomous, unlike Catholic churches, are not under the authority of a hierarchy. And yet, claims that the denomination's hands are tied in this matter will come as a shock to the many churches that have been censored or kicked out of the denomination due to their acceptance of LGBT people, ordination of women, or more progressive interpretations of the Bible. The denomination does actually possess the power to impose standards on its member churches, but heretofore protecting children from sex predators hasn’t been prioritized to that level. ...

How far will Pope Francis go in rooting out sexual abuse?

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Economist

February 21, 2019

“We hear the cry of the little ones asking for justice,” said Pope Francis on February 21st to 100 bishops from around the world and other leading members of the Catholic hierarchy who had gathered in the Vatican for a four-day meeting on clerical sex abuse. The conference is the most conspicuous effort yet to extirpate the cancer eating at the world’s biggest Christian church.

In the run-up to the meeting, a series of events had charged the atmosphere. Earlier this month, the pope admitted that there was truth in stories that nuns around the world had been raped by priests and bishops. This week a book by a French journalist, Frédéric Martel, was published, claiming that 80% of the clerics in the Vatican are gay. That may seem to have little bearing on the subject of the conference: there is abundant evidence to show that heterosexuals are as likely as homosexuals to prey on the young. But Mr Martel, himself gay, argues that sexually active homosexual priests are reluctant to report abusers for fear of being “outed” in revenge.

Pope's credibility 'on the line' as Vatican convenes global meeting on combating child abuse by clergy

VATICAN CITY
The Telegraph

February 18, 2019

By Nick Squires

Victims of clerical sex abuse have warned Pope Francis that his credibility is on the line as he confronts the biggest challenge of his papacy with a landmark conference on protecting children from rape and molestation.

Nearly 200 bishops, archbishops, patriarchs and other senior Catholic figures from around the world will convene in Rome on Thursday for an unprecedented four-day conference that is supposed to tackle the scourge of child abuse by clergy.

It is the biggest effort so far to address scandals that have eroded faith in the Catholic Church in the US, Ireland, Australia and elsewhere.

“There’s going to be every effort to close whatever loopholes there are,” said Charles Scicluna, an archbishop from Malta who is one of the organisers of the summit.

Predator priest was moved around

HOUSTON (TX)
KHOU TV

February 20, 2019

The Catholic Church often shuffled priests accused of sexually abusing children from one assignment to another instead of removing them from ministry immediately, a KHOU 11 Investigates analysis has found.


‘Gay priests are in the crosshairs:’ As Vatican abuse summit begins, debate over homosexuality is divisive undercurrent

ROME (ITALY)
Washington Post

February 20, 2019

By Chico Harlan

This week, one arch-conservative Catholic website published a commentary saying that gay clerics needed to leave the priesthood “permanently.” Two traditionalist cardinals wrote an open letter decrying the “homosexual agenda” that they said was spreading throughout the church. And a gossipy 550-page book was set for release purporting to lift the veil on the double lives inside the Vatican, “one of the biggest gay communities in the world.”

The prevalence of mostly closeted gay priests has recently been portrayed in all manners, from the work of the devil to something the church should learn to embrace.

But church figures in Rome and beyond say one thing is clear: As Pope Francis opens a landmark conference at the Vatican on sexual abuse Thursday, the debate over gay priests is becoming a divisive undercurrent of the summit itself.

“Gay priests are in the cross hairs,” said Father James Martin, an American Jesuit who has advocated for the church to welcome LGBT members with more compassion.

The topic hints at the challenges for the Roman Catholic Church as it begins the most direct attempt in its history to address the problem of sexual abuse. Though abuse and sexuality have been found to have no correlation, according to widely accepted research, they have become intertwined on the ideological battlefield of the church — and Catholics of all stripes have descended on Rome this week, with some arguing that Pope Francis is overlooking homosexuality in diagnosing the root reasons for abuse.

“The church seems to have agreed, with a complicit silence, on a trivialization of homosexuality,” Jean-Pierre Maugendre, president of a French Catholic group, said at a news conference this week.

Victims Of Priest Sex Abuse Say Serious Changes Need To Be Made

CHICAGO (IL)
WBBM News Radio

February 21, 2019

By Bernie Tafoya

Victims of priest sex abuse in Chicago are closely watching to see if Catholic bishops meeting in Rome seriously deal with the abuse scandal that has haunted the church since it was uncovered 20 years ago.

Larry Antonsen is a leader of the Chicago chapter of SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. He said bishops meeting in Rome need to make some "serious, radical changes" to keep children safe and to address the needs of victims.

"They have a chance to do something really, really important right now. Whether they do it or not, I have a lot of question marks," he said.

Antonsen is a Catholic deacon, as well as being a victim of priest sex abuse. He said he was abused by an Augustinian order priest on a trip to Wisconsin in 1962 when he was a student at St. Rita High School.

"I don’t think the pain ever goes away. I really don’t. I still wake up almost every night of the week with a nightmare or a thought or whatever," the 72-year-old North Beverly resident said.

He said the bishops have done some good things over the years in dealing with the sex abuse scandal such as putting out lists of predator priests, but he said, "Lists aren’t enough either. If they put out lists, they should also put out pictures and work histories and where they are now, even if they’re dead."

Law Firm to Release Names of More Than 100 Perpetrators Accused of Sexual Misconduct in the Archdiocese of New York

NEW YORK (NY)
Jeff Anderson & Associates

February 20, 2019

Survivors, attorneys and advocates demand transparency, accountability and action from Cardinal Dolan and Archdiocesan officials

Firm has released reports on sexual abuse nationwide, including reports involving the Dioceses of Buffalo, Syracuse and Ogdensburg

WHAT: At a news conference Thursday in downtown Manhattan, sexual abuse survivors and their attorneys and advocates will:

· Release the names and photographs of over 100 perpetrators accused of sexual misconduct with minors in the Archdiocese of New York;

· Demand that Cardinal Dolan release the identities and background information on all perpetrators in the Archdiocese of New York who have been accused of sexual misconduct with minors, including all the names reported to the Archdiocese during the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, which closed in 2017;

· Announce an upcoming lawsuit to be filed under the Child Victims Act by survivor Monica Perez-Jimenez against Loyola High School for abuse by Louis Tambini.

· Expose how Church officials allowed Tambini, a former, successful basketball coach, to be placed with children at a second prestigious NYC private school.

WHEN: Thursday, February 21st at 1:00PM ET

WHERE: Andaz Wall Street Hotel – Studio 2
75 Wall Street
New York City, NY 10005

NOTES: Watch the event live on our website www.andersonadvocates.com, on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AndersonAdvocates/, and on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/andersonadvocates.

Contact: Jeff Anderson: Office: (646)759-2551; Cell: (646)499-3364
Mike Reck: Office (646)759-2551; Cell: (646)493-8058
Trusha Patel Goffe: (646)759-2551; Cell: (646)693-6862

Catholic Church abuse: Canada’s dark history and how to move forward

TORONTO (CANADA)
Global News

February 21, 2019

By Rebecca Joseph

The Catholic Church is hosting its first-ever summit on sex abuse to address the scale of the scandals that have plagued the church over the past years.

The four-day meeting, which began Thursday, will bring together some 190 presidents of bishops’ conferences, religious orders and Vatican offices for lectures and workshops on preventing sex abuse in their churches, tending to victims, and investigating abuse when it occurs.

The Vatican isn’t expecting any miracles, and Pope Francis himself has called for expectations to be “deflated.” But organizers say the meeting nevertheless marks a turning point in the way the Catholic Church has dealt with the problem, with Francis’ own conversion last year a key point of departure.

Canadian bishops are participating in the conference as well, as Canada hasn’t been free from the scandals that have plagued the church worldwide.

Voices of survivors are the wounds inflicted on Christ by the Church, says Scicluna

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

February 20, 2019

By Christopher Lamb

The voices of sexual abuse victims are like the wounds inflicted on the body of Jesus Christ by the Church and must be heard by the world’s bishops, according to Pope Francis's most trusted adviser on child protection.

In an interview which took place in the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith ahead of the Pope’s unprecedented summit dedicated to abuse, the Archbishop of Malta, Charles Scicluna, who has been helping to organise the 21-24 February gathering, defended the Pope’s legal document on holding bishops accountable, the stepping up of the Vatican’s attempts to process sex abuse cases and why bishops leading “double lives” lack moral authority to take the right decisions in this area.

REGARDING POPE FRANCIS’ COMMENTS ABOUT THOSE WHO CRITICIZE THE CHURCH BEING LIKE THE DEVIL

UNITED STATES
Catholic Whistleblowers and Road to Recovery, Inc.

February 20, 2019

On February 20, 2019, on the eve of the international Papal summit on clergy sexual abuse, Pope Francis issued a statement indicating that those who criticize the Church are engaged in the work of the devil. The Holy Father’s words are unfortunate because, no doubt, he was referring to victim/survivors, advocates, and supporters who for decades have attempted to hold the Church accountable, especially members of the hierarchy who have covered-up, obfuscated, participated in, and enabled the sexual abuse of children.

It is outrageous that Pope Francis, after recently defrocking Cardinal Theodore Mc Carrick for his heinous sexual abuse of children and seminarians, would in any way blame anyone except himself, his predecessors, and his colleagues in the College of Bishops for the scandal of clergy sexual abuse that continues to infect the Catholic Church. Doesn’t Pope Francis realize that the “devil” is within, not without?

Pope Francis has indicated that his expectations are low for the international Papal summit with bishops from around the world which begins on February 21, 2019. The Holy Father must revise his expectations, for if nothing substantive comes from the summit, the credibility of the Pope might be lost forever. Unless Pope Francis and the bishops leave the summit on Sunday, February 24, 2019 with concrete solutions to very serious issues of clergy sexual abuse and accountability of the hierarchy, the Holy Father might be called upon to resign.

Catholic Whistleblowers and Road to Recovery, Inc., two advocacy organizations that assist victim/survivors of clergy sexual abuse and declare a preferential option for victim/survivors and their pursuit of justice, urge Pope Francis not to be distracted by foolish and unnecessary comments about “devil” critics; rather, he is urged to hold himself and the bishops of the world accountable for allowing the scourge of clergy sexual abuse to continue and flourish for so long.

Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., President
Road to Recovery, Inc.
Livingston, New Jersey 07039
862-368-2800
roberthoatson@gmail.com

Rev. James E. Connell, J.C.D.
Catholic Whistleblowers
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
(414) 940-8054
connell.jim951@gmail.com

Churches sinking over dwindling contributions, bishop warns laity

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
The Irish Catholic

February 21, 2019

Parishioners must play a more active role in keeping their local churches afloat, Waterford and Lismore’s bishop Phonsie Cullinan has warned.

Dr Cullinan said that lay people are called to be involved in and support the Church which at a “very nuts and bolts” level requires financial contribution in their local parish.

His comments come after the diocese said it had no money to pay its priests’ wages at Christmas due to the depleting funds collected from parishioners.

“People don’t realise that bringing a child for baptism, first Holy Communion, Confirmation, that they too have a role to play in the Church – it’s not just the priest and the extraordinary ministers and those kind of people with specific jobs in the Church,” the bishop told The Irish Catholic.

“Everyone is called to be involved and an essential part of that, and just a very nuts and bolts part of that, is that people have to contribute to both the upkeep of the church building and keeping the parish going and of course to realise the priest has to be paid.”

The Catholic Church finally begins to own up to its #MeToo reckoning

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

February 21, 2019

By The Times Editorial Board

On Thursday, Pope Francis will convene a long-awaited meeting of Catholic bishops and other church leaders to frame a global response to the abuse by clergy of “minors and vulnerable adults.” The Vatican considered this so-called summit meeting so important that it asked the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops last year not to act on new measures to hold bishops accountable for covering up for abusive priests until after the meeting took place.

It’s scandalous that the Vatican is convening this meeting only now, after decades of revelations of abuse by priests of children and others, and delay and denial by church leaders (including the current pope, who has apologized after defending a Chilean bishop accused of covering up abuse). If this four-day meeting is to be judged a success, the pope must make it clear to participants that if they won’t deal decisively and transparently with predatory priests — and complicit superiors — in their home countries, Rome will do it for them.

That message needs to be sent not only in connection with the abuse of children and adolescents by clergy, an evil that the church has been grappling with for decades, but also with a scandal that has attracted attention more recently: the sexual exploitation of adults, including seminarians and nuns, by powerful clerics. It’s increasingly clear that abuse of minors is only one dimension of the crisis.

Abuse survivor: Pope’s devil comments ‘outrageous’

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Herald

February 21, 2019

By Lisa Kashinsky

Pope Francis’ latest slam on church critics as cohorts of Satan stunned survivors of priest sex abuse and their advocates, who called the pontiff’s remarks “outrageous” on the eve of his clergy summit on the long-running scandal.

“It’s outrageous … He’s re-victimizing and re-traumatizing the very people he’s supposed to be meeting about,” said Robert Hoatson, co-founder of Road to Recovery. “Instead of criticizing people like us, he should be welcoming us into the dialogue and following the recommendations that we make.”

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, an advocate for victims of sexual abuse by priests, said he’s “not surprised the pope would try to portray the Catholic Church as the victim,” but that it’s “really going to reopen a lot of wounds for clerical sex abuse victims and is very harmful to those victims.”

Church critics and advocates for victims of priest sex abuse told the Herald they have little hope for concrete reform to come out of the four-day summit on clerical sex abuse, which begins Thursday and is set to draw about 190 members of bishops’ conferences, religious orders and Vatican offices for lectures and workshops on preventing and investigating sex abuse, as well as caring for victims.

The summit comes three months after the Vatican pushed the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to delay voting last November on proposed steps to address clergy sex abuse.

Victims who met with summit organizers on Wednesday demanded transparency and accountability from the church. Among them was Phil Saviano, who urged the Vatican “break the code of silence” and release the names of abusive priests.

Hoatson said the defrocking of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick last week, seen as a rare high-level act of accountability by the church, was also “an indication that cardinals and bishops are involved not only in the cover-up, but in the practice of clergy sex abuse.” But Hoatson said the church is “inherently incapable” of policing itself and that “we need outside forces to hold them accountable

Vatican’s Legal Procedures For Handling Sex Abuse, Explained

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press
|
February 21, 2019

For centuries, the Vatican’s canon law system busied itself with banning books and dispensing punishments that included burnings at the stake for heretics.

These days, the Vatican office that eventually replaced the Roman Catholic Inquisition is knee-deep in processing clergy sex abuse cases. The procedures of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will be on display this week as high-ranking bishops summoned by Pope Francis attend an unprecedented four-day tutorial on preventing sex abuse and prosecuting pedophile priests

Here is a primer on the Catholic Church’s regulations for investigating both priests accused of molesting children and superiors who have been accused of covering up those crimes.

___

ARE POLICE CALLED IN SUSPECTED SEX ABUSE CASES?

In countries where clergy are required to report child abuse, bishops and superiors of religious orders are supposed to notify police when someone alleges that a priest molested a child and they are supposed to cooperate with any investigations.

However, the policy is nonbinding and only was articulated publicly in 2010 when the Vatican posted it on its website. Prior to that, the Vatican long sought to prevent public law enforcement agencies from learning about abusers in the clergy.

Irish bishops who considered adopting a mandatory reporting policy in 1997 received a letter from the Vatican warning that their in-house church investigations could be compromised if they referred cases to Irish police.

Nowadays, the Vatican justifies not having a binding policy that requires all sex crimes to be reported to police by arguing that accused clergy could be unfairly persecuted in places where Catholics are a threatened minority.

Rome priest accused of sex abuse in new lawsuit

ROME (NY)
Rome Sentinel

February 20, 2019

The Rev. Paul F. Angelicchio, of Rome, has been named in a lawsuit accusing him of sexually abusing a teenage altar boy when the priest worked at a church in Onondaga County in the late 1980s.

Angelicchio is pastor of the Catholic Church of St. John the Baptist & Transfiguration on East Dominick Street. Angelicchio was placed on a leave of absence by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse in late 2016 to investigate the claims. Church officials deemed the accusations not credible at the time and Angelicchio soon returned to service.

The lawsuit, filed on Feb. 14, also accuses two Syracuse-area priests who were named by the Diocese in December as having “credible” accusations of sexual abuse made against them. Those priests, Charles Eckermann and James F. Quinn, are both deceased.

Angelicchio was not among the priests listed by the Diocese in December.

Kevin Braney, age 46, currently of Colorado, filed the lawsuit only hours after the Child Victims Act was signed into law. The Act extends the statute of limitations for sexual abuse victims to seek criminal charges or file lawsuits. Braney is represented by the Saeed & Little LLP law firm in Indiana.

The lawsuit has been filed as a class action case, meaning other possible plaintiffs can join. The lawsuit lists up to 1,000 possible “John Doe” victims of sexual abuse by Syracuse Diocese priests. The lawsuit also accuses four to 200 unnamed “John Doe” priests as defendants, alongside Angelicchio, Eckermann and Quinn.

Braney’s lawsuit also accuses impropriety from the Diocese itself, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Bishop Robert J. Cunningham.

“We want to expose and discover the truth of what happened,” said attorney Lauren Berri, of California. She is one of several attorneys attached to the class action lawsuit.

“Who knew what and when? Who allowed these priests to abuse so many children, and why didn’t they do anything to stop it?”

Berri said that the attorneys attached to the lawsuit are working to find and involve more plaintiffs with accusations against the three priests and the Syracuse Diocese.

“It’s expected to be a very large number,” she stated. The plaintiffs will be allowed to remain anonymous, with Braney acting as the focal point.

Bishop offers apology to clergy sex abuse victims, but still not releasing priest list

CHARLOTTE (NC)
Charlotte Observer

By Tim Funk

February 20, 2019

Bishop Peter Jugis, who heads the 46-county Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, issued a “sincere apology” Wednesday to victims of clergy sex abuse, which he called “this crime and awful sin.”

Jugis’ statement came a day after the Observer and others reported that the names of two monks who had once worked at Belmont Abbey College and at St. Michael Catholic Church in Gastonia appeared on a list recently released by the Diocese of Richmond, Va., of priests “with credible and substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.”

The two monks, Donald Scales and Frederick George, had also worked in Virginia, though the accusation against Scales, who died in 2008, dated to his time as pastor of St. Michael parish in the late 1970s.

Though Jugis said in his Tuesday statement that the Charlotte diocese was committed to being “open and transparent,” it has so far resisted the trend around the country of releasing a list of past and present priests in the diocese who have been credibly accused of child sex abuse.

According to the Catholic News Herald, the Charlotte diocese’s own newspaper, the scores of dioceses that have put out such lists in recent months include many of those nearby. The Archdiocese of Atlanta, and the dioceses of Raleigh, Charleston, Savannah, Richmond and Arlington, Va., and Nashville and Knoxville, Tenn., have all released their own lists, the newspaper reported.

New molestation lawsuit against disgraced San Jose priest

SAN JOSE (CA)
Bay Area News Group

February 21, 2019

Bt Nico Savidge

A former Roman Catholic priest and convicted sex offender is facing a civil suit filed by a minor who alleges that he repeatedly sexually assaulted her in her family’s home.

The lawsuit filed last week is the latest allegation against Hernan Toro, a 91-year-old former priest who was allowed to return to ministry in the 1980s despite the fact that he was a registered sex offender.

Toro, who retired in 1990, was also arrested in 2017 and charged with child molestation, but the criminal case is on hold, after doctors determined last year that the Toro was not competent to stand trial.

The civil suit in Santa Clara County Superior Court alleges that Toro molested the girl on five occasions from 2011 to 2016.

A complaint filed in the lawsuit states that at the time the girl was molested, her family was not aware that Toro was a convicted sex offender. Instead, according to the complaint, the family considered Toro “a close family friend,” who sometimes stayed overnight as a guest in their home.

The lawsuit alleges that during four of those visits, Toro entered the girl’s bedroom and touched her genitals. In a fifth instance, according to the lawsuit, Toro touched the girl while watching a movie with her in the family’s living room.

The girl said she did not report the assaults to her parents or to police because she feared Toro “would cause her more harm,” the complaint states. The girl is not identified in court documents, nor is her age specified.

N.J. priest at Vatican, removed in 2018, was accused of abuse in 2003

ROME (ITALY)
Catholic News Service

February 21, 2019

ByCindy Wooden

U.S. Msgr. Joseph R. Punderson, a senior official of the Vatican’s highest court, was instructed by his bishop to resign his Vatican post late in 2018 and then was removed from ministry 15 years after he was found to be credibly accused of the sexual abuse of a minor.

The abuse was reported to the Vatican, and Punderson offered to resign in 2004, but the Vatican allowed him to continue working.

Punderson’s named was included on a list of credibly accused clergy published by the Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey, Feb. 13. Bishop David M. O’Connell heads the diocese.

After initially declining to comment, Alessando Gisotti, interim director of the Vatican press office said Feb. 20 that Punderson “is no longer in service at the tribunal of the Apostolic Signature and has been in retirement since last fall.”

Local attorney on priest abuse: "I think there's a bigger issue"

LAFAYETTE (LA)
KLFY TV

February 20, 2019

By Renee Allen

There are both survivors and attorneys committed to standing up against priests accused of sexual abuse.

Attorney Anthony Fontana, Jr. of Abbeville has tried one of the first priests in U.S. history to be convicted of child molestation.

"I believe the church has created an atmosphere of sexual abuse tolerance; and created an expectation that we're going to protect you,” Fontana said.

Fontana has one clear emotion about clergy accused of sexual abuse. Fontana says there needs to be some secular oversight.

"A secular group that runs the church parishes and priests run the spirituality. Any complaints go to the secular group and they have mandatory reporters; and turn it over to police."

Fontana talks about his stance on the summit and the Pope's acknowledgement to address the issue of clergy sexual abuse. "Are we exposing it to protect the kids or to please the public? Or is there a bigger issue? I think there's a bigger issue to protect the good religious," Fontana said.

Fontana say he requested that the Diocese of Lafayette release the names and personnel records of those with credible accusations. "I had enough of all this. I'm tired and we're going to expose it," Fontana added.

For Pope Francis, the moment of truth on sexual abuse has arrived

ROME (ITALY)
The Guardian

February 21, 2019

By Catherine Pepinster

When I got married in 2003 it turned out that my wedding was caught up – unbeknown to me – in the abuse crisis that has engulfed the Catholic church. There were three Benedictine monk-priests there, one as celebrant, two as guests. One of the guests was later tried and acquitted of assaulting a child, although he was banned from living in his monastery. The other, David Pearce, would go on to be convicted in 2009 of the assault of five children, and jailed for five years. At the time of the wedding I had no idea of any murmurs about child sexual abuse. But others did hold deep suspicions.

Abuse was certainly known about in Rome, where documents passed across the desk of the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.When Ratzinger stood in for the dying John Paul II at the torchlit Stations of the Cross on Good Friday 2005, he declaimed: “How much filth there is in the church, even among those who, in the priesthood, should belong entirely to Him.” Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI in April 2005. He did more than John Paul had done in 26 years, by removing the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Marcial Maciel, from office after his own investigations revealed the extent of Maciel’s abuse of boys and seminarians.

But despite this decisive start, his papacy became engulfed by the abuse scandal. Eventually, exhausted by it, Benedict dramatically resigned and was succeeded by Pope Francis in 2013. But his papacy has also been mired in scandal over child abuse. What could once be seen as incidents involving a few rotten apples now suggest something rotten at the heart of the institution.

This weekend will see the most ambitious attempt yet to deal with the crisis, with a four-day summit, ordered by Francis, that brings together almost 190 church leaders plus Vatican officials, invited experts and guest speakers. It is being presented by organisers as a turning point for the way in which the church handles allegations across the globe and the way it strengthens child protection policies. If it is indeed a turning point, the survivors of clerical sexual abuse and lay Catholics, exhausted by the constant revelations, will be mightily relieved. But they will also be wanting the church to explain why there has been a pandemic of abuse over so many years, and why abusers were left free to assault and rape children.

Clergy Sex Abuse Summit: A mother’s letter to church leaders

LAFAYETTE (LA)
KATC TV

February 20, 2019

Fr. Jim Hummel

As church leaders from around the world meet at the Vatican this week to address the clergy sex abuse crisis, they will be hearing the story of a St. Landry parish family that was forever changed by clergy sex abuse.

Letitia Peyton, whose son has accused Father Michael Guidry of molestation, was asked by the Catholic Women’s Forum to write a letter to church leaders. It’s one of three documents the CWF has sent to Pope Francis and bishops across the country in advance of this week’s summit at the Vatican.

“From my words I hope there’s an understanding of what the victims suffer and what their families suffer,” said Peyton. “It’s not something that you just get over. It’s a different kind of sin that goes at the core of the victim’s heart and their families.”

Life changed for the Peyton family in May, 2018. In her letter, Peyton writes about the night her husband Scott, who is a deacon in the Diocese of Lafayette, awoke her to share horrible news.

Francis must fix cover-up culture that John Paul II enabled

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

February 21, 2019

By Jason Berry

Editor's note: Jason Berry was the first to report on clergy sex abuse in any substantial way, beginning with a landmark 1985 report about the Louisiana case involving a priest named Gilbert Gauthe. In 1992, he published Lead Us Not into Temptation: Catholic Priests and the Sexual Abuse of Children, a nationwide investigation after seven years of reporting in various outlets. In the foreword, Fr. Andrew Greeley referred to "what may be the greatest scandal in the history of religion in America and perhaps the greatest problem Catholicism has faced since the Reformation."

Berry followed the crisis in articles, documentaries, and two other books, Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II (2004) and Render unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church (2011), which won the Investigative Reporters and Editors Best Book Award. Given the current moment and its possibilities and the fact that Berry is singular in his experience covering the scandal from multiple angles, NCR asked if he would write a reflection on the matter as the church's bishops are about to gather in Rome to consider the issue. Below is the concluding Part 3. Read the previous entries here: Part 1 and Part 2.

The church's cover-up debacle owes greatly to John Paul II.

In 1979, barely a year after becoming pope, John Paul II visited his native Poland and stood up to the Communist regime with ringing sermons on freedom. Almost overnight, he became a force in global politics in the Cold War era. He played a catalytic role in the collapse of the Soviet empire in 1989 as the Berlin Wall cracked apart.

In November of 1989, with John Paul triumphant on the world stage, the U.S. bishops responded to a rising tide of abuse lawsuits by sending a team of canon lawyers to Rome, seeking the authority for bishops to defrock child predators. American bishops were already sending scores of offenders to church-run treatment facilities; they wanted power to the oust the worst of them. John Paul refused. For years, I wondered why.

Jonathan Kwitny's 1997 biography Man of the Century: The Life and Times of Pope John Paul II details how as cardinal of Krakow, Karol Wojtyla, backed by a unified church, was the leader of the opposition to the Communist Party. As pope, his long delays in signing papers to release priests from their vows reflected John Paul's view that a man changes ontologically on becoming a priest, his very being made new. Priests could sin but pick up and carry on. The idea of a criminal sexual underground in clerical life was beyond his ken.

What if U.S. bishops had gotten the power in 1989 to defrock sex criminals without the long delays after sending case files to various Vatican tribunals? If a few bishops had taken the lead, sacking the worst priests, the reliance on treatment tanks as de facto safe houses, or the dishonest tactics to help a Lane Fontenot or Gary Berthiaume, might have ended sooner.

Canon law allows for internal church courts to assess a priest's guilt before sending the file to Rome, requesting that he be laicized. American bishops were reluctant to use that canonical process without a speedy judgment; the files were increasingly vulnerable to subpoena by plaintiff lawyers. A priest found guilty by a secret church court would raise the financial stakes for a settlement or verdict, particularly if the bishop was waiting to hear from Rome.

I learned more about the standoff on a milky afternoon in Rome in 2002. An influential canon lawyer spoke with me on the condition that he not be identified. We sat in a spartan conference room in a building older than most American states. The Holy See was well aware of the rising lawsuit costs in 1989, he told me. "There was more concern about the scandal undermining the work of the church. In how many cases did they apply the penal procedures [ecclesial courts]? Well, none."

He leaned forward, eyes flared. "The United States has the largest tribunal system in the world. To say that people were not qualified begs the issue. The U.S. tribunals violated grandly — terribly — the annulments of marriage."

I was bewildered. "What do marriage annulments have to do with pedophiles?" I asked

At summit, survivors expose 'cancer' of clergy sex abuse

ROME (ITALY)
Catholic News Service

February 21, 2019

By Junno Arocho Esteves

"Every time I refused to have sex with him, he would beat me," an abuse survivor from Africa told Pope Francis and bishops attending the Vatican summit on child protection and the abuse crisis.

The meeting began Feb. 21 w