Scandal triggered by U.S. nuncio just won’t die

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
Rome

You can often tell how upset someone is with a story by how many statements they put out denying it, and how detailed those statements are. By that standard, the Vatican seems mightily piqued indeed by the recent scandal surrounding Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò – which is one part about Viganò’s charges of financial corruption, and another about his exposing internal Vatican power politics.

On Saturday, the Vatican issued a second lengthy statement on the Viganò mess, this one signed by a cardinal, a cardinal-to-be, and two other senior officials.

Viganò is today the pope’s nuncio, or ambassador, in the United States, but from 2009 to 2011 he served as the number two official in the government of the Vatican city-state. It’s responsible for the physical 108-acre Vatican territory, including operations such as the Vatican museums, gardens and post office, as opposed to institutions or funds directed at the universal church

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Egan’s Moral Idiocy

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

by Michael Sean Winters on Feb. 06, 2012 Distinctly Catholic

I had thought that by now, 2012, it was impossible to be shocked by an example of episcopal moral idiocy regarding the sexual abuse of minors. For every bishop like Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, who has self-evidently tried to do the right thing by the victims of this horror, there is a grand jury report, actually two, in Philadelphia cataloguing indifference or worse. For every archdiocese like Washington, where three consecutive archbishops – Hickey, McCarrick and Wuerl – have handled accusations of abuse with swiftness and justice, there is a diocese like Kansas City-St. Joseph, which is under criminal indictment for failing to follow civil law, let alone moral law. And for every brave and decisive bishop like Wilton Gregory, who as chairman of the USCCB in 2002 refused to ignore the gravity of the crisis or accept half-measures to face it, there is a bishop like Fabian Bruskewitz who still refuses to even permit an audit of his diocese’s compliance with child protection procedures. As I say, I thought I was beyond shock.

But, then I read the recently published interview in Connecticut Magazine with Cardinal Edward Egan, the archbishop emeritus of New York. And I was shocked. Before reading it, make sure you allow yourself some time to meltdown after.

The cardinal’s words are those of a narcissist in the extreme. He begins, “You know, I never had one of these sex abuse cases, either in Bridgeport or here (New York). Not one. The newspapers pretend as though what happened under Walter Curtis (Bishop of the Bridgeport diocese from 1961 to 1988) happened to me. Walter was a wonderful, wonderful, dear gentleman. He had gotten very old and they were sitting there. And I took care of them one by one.” Funny, I thought only a teenager could get so many “I’s” into so few sentences.

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What if the Vatican revokes its trust in Viganò?

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Insider

The Governorate’s release and Father Lombardi’s earlier statement: the nuncio’s position in the United States is more and more poised

Andrea Tornielli
Vatican City

The long seven-point statement with which Saturday, February 4, today’s and yesterday’s highest authorities in the Vatican Governorate have denied and dismissed as unfounded the allegations contained in the letters sent by archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò to the Pope and to cardinal Tarcisio Bertone has rekindled the world spotlight on a story that had gone off in terms of media.

The two cardinals, Giovanni Layolo and Giuseppe Bertello, respectively former and present president (the latter was made cardinal on February 18), together with Giuseppe Sciacca, current secretary of the Governorate, and Giorgio Corbellini, former assistant secretary of the Governorate, have signed a detailed defence in which they state they do not wish to enter into the details of individual allegations submitted by Viganò, though belying them one by one, their evident purpose being the reaffirmation of the good name of the Governorate and of people working there.

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Abuse victims among speakers at Vatican conference on abuse scandal

ROME
Catholic Culture

Representatives of 100 bishops’ conferences and 30 religious orders are meeting in Rome from February 6-9 to discuss the clerical abuse scandal. Abuse victims are among the conference speakers, and at one point in the conference groups of participants will ask victims’ forgiveness.

Vatican Radio reported that

one Irish survivor, Marie Collins, will address the participants about her own need to hear not just the abuser priests ask forgiveness–something she has already grated to her own abuse–but to hear Church leaders, priests, bishops and cardinals, own up to their own roles in prolonging the suffering by putting the reputation of the Church above the needs of the children in their care.

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Survivor urges papal apology for protection of abusers

ROME
The Irish Times

PADDY AGNEW in Rome

IT WOULD be “wonderful” if Pope Benedict publicly sought forgiveness for church leaders who put loyalty to their institution ahead of children’s safety, clerical sex abuse survivor Marie Collins told an audience in Rome.

Addressing a press conference to promote “Towards Healing and Renewal”, a four-day symposium being held this week at the Pontifical Gregorian University in the city, Ms Collins conceded it had not been easy to accept an invitation to attend the church-run event.

Pointing an accusatory finger at Irish primate Cardinal Seán Brady, she said: “We know that among the many reasons for the anger of survivors is that despite apologies for the actions of the abusers, there have been few apologies for the protection given to them by their superiors.

“There seems to be a lack of a penalty for any of these men in leadership who deliberately or negligently covered up for these abusers, letting them continue to abuse new victims unhindered . . . We have an example of this in our own cardinal primate.”

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Congregations urged over compensation bill

IRELAND
RTE News

The Minister for Education is to write to the 18 religious congregations, which ran residential institutions where children were abused, asking them to contribute more towards the €1.2 billion bill for compensating victims.

In 2009, the Ryan Commission published its finding that children put into State care in religious-run residential institutions had suffered systemic abuse.

Then taoiseach Brian Cowen told the congregations concerned they should pay into a Trust Fund the State would establish, amounting to almost €600m – or half the bill incurred by taxpayers in redress to victims.

This was almost €500m more than the settlement the outgoing Bertie Ahern-led government made with the congregations.

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Quinn wants orders to pay more

IRELAND
The Irish Times

JOANNE HUNT

THE MINISTER for Education is to write to the 18 religious congregations, which ran residential institutions where children were abused, asking them to contribute more towards the €1.2 billion bill for compensating victims.

The letter from Ruairí Quinn follows questions put to Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Dáil yesterday about the status of the payment of compensation by the congregations.

In 2009, the Ryan commission published its finding that children put into State care in religious-run residential institutions had suffered systemic abuse. Under the 2002 indemnity agreement, the congregations agreed to provide a contribution of €128 million to those abused, comprising cash, property and counselling services.

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Ceremony for Forgotten Irish marks efforts of two ‘fighters

IRELAND/UNITED KINGDOM
The God Squad

By Ruth Dudley Edwards
Sunday January 29 2012

‘How many times can a man turn his head, pretending he just doesn’t see?’ asked Bobby McDonagh, Irish Ambassador to the UK, as he addressed supporters of the Forgotten Irish on Friday evening.

His Bob Dylan allusion was to that period in the Irish past when children suffered abuse in institutions, single mothers were enslaved in Magdalene laundries, and no one wanted to know. Many of the damaged young people who escaped to Britain are now among the thousands of impoverished and isolated elderly people being helped by a multi-million campaign driven by the Ireland Fund of Great Britain (IFGB).

But last Friday night, at an award ceremony at the House of Lords in London, it was an occasion to celebrate a much improved present, where recent emigrants are acknowledging and helping their predecessors who — despite their hard lives — sent as much as €3.57bn in today’s terms to help the people struggling back home.

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Forgotten Irish Award 2011

IRELAND/UNITED KINGDOM
The Ireland Fund

IFGB co-Chairs Ruth McCarthy and Basil Geoghegan presented the ‘Forgotten Irish’ Award to Phyllis Morgan and Sally Mulready for their outstanding support of survivors of abuse in Irish institutions. Sally and Phyllis are survivors themselves and they have worked tirelessly for over 10 years to give survivors in the UK a voice.

Guests were welcomed to the magnificent House of Lords by IFGB Director Sheila Bailey. Basil Geoghegan spoke about his time on Everest and was delighted to announce that he has raised almost £112,000 to be used to help survivors of industrial abuse in the UK, presenting the award to Sally and Phyllis Basil said that survivors of abuse “have their own Everest to climb every day, and not one which they chose, but one that was thrust upon them”.

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Vatican university hosts global anti-abuse summit

ROME
The New Age

Scores of Catholic leaders from around the world gathered on Monday for an unprecedented anti-abuse summit hosted by the Vatican intended to find ways to root out paedophilia.

Bishops from 100 countries and the leaders of 33 religious orders will take part in the four-day meeting, as well as the Vatican’s anti-paedophilia prosecutor Charles Scicluna and one abuse victim, Ireland’s Marie Collins.

Pope Benedict XVI is expected to issue a special blessing for the conference held at the Vatican’s Gregorian University, which will also launch a Centre for Child Protection in Germany to fight sex abuse by the clergy in the Church worldwide.

The symposium entitled “Towards Healing and Renewal” will also include a church service on Tuesday in which representatives of seven religious orders which had paedophile clergy in their midst will plead for forgiveness.

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Archbishop Tagle: Sex abuse a global reality

VATICAN CITY
Global Nation (Philippines)

VATICAN CITY—Newly appointed Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle, a rising star in the Catholic Church hierarchy, is expected to address a major international conference on Thursday about the particular challenges of dealing with the issue of child abuse in Asia.

A preconference press statement said Tagle’s speech would show “that sexual abuse inside and outside the Church is a global reality, not focused simply in the United States and Europe.”

“Careful consideration needs to be given to the cultural values that can foster greater transparency and cooperation as a universal Church that protects the most vulnerable,” the statement said.

The Vatican’s top prosecutor has warned that the Catholic Church in Asia is falling behind in the fight against pedophilia due to cultural differences over what constitutes child abuse.

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History repeats itself with sex abuse cases

ALABAMA
CBS 42

[with video]

ALABASTER, Ala. (WIAT) According to police, former school teacher Daniel Acker has admitted to molesting more than twenty children during his time with Shelby County Schools. Acker was investigated and cleared on similar charges during the early 1990’s, according to police. Acker was actually selected to be Teacher of the Year around that time. Many parents may be wondering how something like that could happen, but similar scenarios have played out before in Central Alabama. Some draw parallels between the Acker case and the 1995 conviction of Homewood resident Don Corley on multiple counts of sexual abuse and sodomy involving children.

“All those charges were underage and forced,” said Mike Anderton, Deputy District Attorney, Jefferson County.

Prosecutor Mike Anderton remembers the disturbing details of the Corley case all too well. He describes the convicted sex offender as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

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Roman notebook: Strokes for Sant’Egidio and Dolan

ROME
National Catholic Reporter

By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
Rome

I’m in Rome for most of February, primarily to cover three big-ticket Vatican stories: A summit on the sexual abuse crisis from today through Thursday, at the Jesuit-run Gregorian University; a joint meeting of bishops from Africa and Europe Feb. 13-17; and the consistory on Feb. 18-19, when Pope Benedict XVI will create 22 new cardinals, including two Americans (Archbishops Timothy Dolan and Edwin O’Brien).

While I’m here, I’ll be keeping my eye on whatever else is going on, since Rome is the crossroads of the Catholic world and there’s always something percolating. To capture that surplus material, I’ll be filing regular “reporter’s notebook” pieces.

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Leader of board reviewing diocese’s sex abuse cases steps down

KANSAS CITY (MO)
The Kansas City Star

By JUDY L. THOMAS
The Kansas City Star

The chairman of the review board that handles child sexual abuse allegations in the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese is stepping down.

Jim Caccamo, who headed the diocese’s Independent Review Board during a tumultuous period that saw a priest charged with child pornography and the bishop indicted for allegedly failing to report suspected child abuse, recently submitted his resignation.

“I’m whipped. I’m exhausted,” Caccamo said. “This has not been an easy thing.

“My fellow Catholics are real people who are hurting and suffering over this, and I hear from them. I care about my church, I care about the children.”

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Irish church not ready for Pope visit, says Martin

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By Luke Byrne and Michael Brennan

Monday February 06 2012

A LEADING church figure has indicated that a papal visit to Ireland is now unlikely this year.

Pope Benedict XVI would visit Ireland “soon rather than later” and was “actively considering” an invitation from the Catholic Church in Ireland, the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said yesterday.

But Dr Martin added that the Irish church is not ready for a papal visit.

It had initially been hoped that Pope Benedict would attend the Eucharistic Congress taking place in Dublin this June.

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I am the victim, says priest at centre of abuse claim

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By Ralph Riegel

Monday February 06 2012

A PRIEST at the centre of the Cloyne Report will attempt to paint himself as a victim as he fights to stay in the priesthood, the Irish Independent has learned.

The cleric, known as Fr Ronat, was the subject of 11 separate child sex abuse allegations, and was questioned over his interest in hypnosis.

The complaints included claims of inappropriate contact and sexual intercourse.

But now he is set to question those claims, becoming the first priest to challenge allegations published in last year’s Cloyne Report.

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Woman sues former St. Paul priest for restitution

MINNESOTA
Grand Forks Herald

By: Associated Press, Grand Forks Herald

ST. PAUL — A woman who accused a former St. Paul priest of inappropriate sexual conduct wants him to pay $42,000 in restitution.

The female parishioner at Nativity of Our Lord has asked court to have Christopher Wenthe pay $42,000 in restitution.

A jury convicted Wenthe of third-degree criminal sexual conduct Nov. 15 for having sex with the woman in 2003 when she sought spiritual counseling.

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Bishop Finn reinstates suspended priest

MISSOURI
The Kansas City Star

Bishop Robert Finn has reinstated a priest within the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph following an investigation by an independent review board.

The priest was suspended last month after unspecified allegations were made. It was the first such case since the office of ombudsman was created last summer in the wake of a church sex abuse scandal.

In a prepared statement Sunday, Finn praised the process.

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Katholieke Kerk in Luxemburg compenseert slachtoffers misbruik

LUXEMBURG
De Morgen (Belgie)

De Luxemburgse katholieke Kerk gaat slachtoffers van seksueel misbruik in de Kerk compenseren. Jean-Claude Hollerich, de aartsbisschop van Luxemburg, heeft een decreet gepubliceerd waarin staat dat slachtoffers van misbruik dat al verjaard is nog aanspraak kunnen maken op een compensatie van maximaal 5.000 euro. Dat meldt Kerknet.

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Pastoor verdacht van grootscheeps misbruik

NEDERLAND
BNR

Het Haarlems Dagblad noemt hem één van de meeste geliefde pastoors in Haarlem. Nu wordt deze man verdacht van ontuchtige handelingen met talloze jonge meisjes in het gehele land in de jaren ’60 en ’70.

Bij de Koepel Landelijk Overleg Kerkelijk Kindermisbruik (Klokk), een landelijke stichting voor slachtoffers van misbruik binnen de kerk, zijn zeker 20 meldingen over hem binnengekomen.

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Pastoor verdacht van ontucht

NEDERLAND
De Telegraaf

AMSTERDAM – Een Haarlemse pastoor wordt verdacht van seksueel misbruik, meldt RTV Noord-Holland. De man zou ontucht hebben gepleegd met jonge meisjes. Over de pastoor zijn inmiddels 20 meldingen binnengekomen.

De Koepel Landelijk Overleg Kerkelijk Kindermisbruik noemt het misbruik omvangrijk en heeft een verzoek ingediend bij het Haarlemse bisdom om de pastoor te schorsen. De organisatie roept slachtoffers op zich via internet te melden.

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Resignation ends chapter of concern for children

MISSOURI
The Kansas City Star

“Is it good for the children?”

The simple question is familiar to most Kansas Citians. It’s one of those good-hearted slogans, commonly met with nodding agreement.

But the words are incredibly difficult to follow as a strict mission. Egos, ingrained chains of command and even well intentioned attitudes can conflict.

For decades, though, the question has guided Jim Caccamo.

Now he’s stepping down, resigning as chairman of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese’s independent review board, which is charged with handling allegations of sexual abuse.

Caccamo held the post when it was discovered that the church hierarchy had been a barrier to the board’s delicate work. The board was never given the specifics of the allegations against the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, a local priest who is now charged with possessing child pornography. Board members were not told many things they needed to know, details that are entwined in the allegations against Ratigan and Bishop Robert Finn, who is accused of failing to report suspected abuse.

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St. Cyril’s priest cleared to resume duties

MISSOURI
The Examiner

Posted Feb 05, 2012

Sugar Creek, MO —

A Sugar Creek priest who had been placed on administrative leave following an investigation into a complaint against him has beem cleared to return to parish work, according to a release from the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

The Rev. Matthew Bartulica was given permission to resume duties at St. Cyril Parish in Sugar Creek effective Feb. 4.

St. Cyril parishioners were told in a letter on Jan. 22 that Bartulica had been put on administrative leave — under the diocese’s new rules — because of an undisclosed complaint brought to the ombudsman now acting as an independent public liaison to field and investigate any reports of suspicious or inappropriate behavior.

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Katholieke leiders praten over misbruik

NEDERLAND
DePers

Leiders binnen de Rooms-Katholieke Kerk komen volgende week in Rome bijeen voor een conferentie over de middelen om seksueel misbruik van minderjarigen te voorkomen en te bestrijden. Zij zullen onder meer een gebedsdienst bijwonen, waar vertegenwoordigers van zeven religieuze ordes en congregaties in het openbaar om vergeving zullen vragen voor wat leden van hun organisatie kinderen hebben aangedaan.

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Protesters Pray For The Future Of The Philadelphia Catholic Church

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
CBS Philly

By Hadas Kuznits

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – With so much attention on the Catholic Church now following the death of Cardinal Bevilacqua, some folks are hoping to force the church to be more forthcoming.

Folks concerned about the future of the Catholic Church gathered in front of the administrative offices of the archdiocese of Philadelphia for a prayerful vigil. Nancy Mortimer O’Brien is one of the organizers asking the archdiocese for some accountability:

“People are just disenchanted. For years it was ‘Pay, pray and obey’ and they did it.”

And it’s not just the church sex abuse scandal they’re concerned about:

“There are other people who’ve been invited (to this vigil) who want to see the books,” said Sister Maureen Turlish, a former Catholic School teacher.

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Bishop Eddie Long apologizes for king-crowning ceremony

GEORGIA
11 Alive

Written by
Jennifer Leslie

Lithonia, GA – Senior Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church issued an apology to the Anti-Defamation League for his role in a king-crowning ceremony last weekend.

“The ceremony was not my suggestion, nor was it my intent, to participate in any ritual that is offensive in any manner to the Jewish community, or any group,” Bishop Long wrote in an open letter to Bill Nigut, Southern Regional Director of the ADL. “Futhermore, I sincerely denounce any action that depicts me as a King, for I am merely just a servant of the Lord.”

Nigut released a copy of the letter on Sunday.

“I thought it was terribly important that he acknowledge the fact that he made a mistake,” Nigut said. “I think Bishop Long participated in this ritual not understanding it wasn’t an authentic Jewish ritual and that the man who performed it is not what we consider to be a Rabbi.”

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The international conference on sex abuse begins in Rome

ROME
Vatican Insider

The Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (no. 5, Piazza della Pilotta) is to host the international Symposium “Towards Healing and Renewal” until 9 February. The conference will be attended by bishops and religious leaders from all over the world with the aim of renewing the Church’s commitment to the protection of minors and vulnerable people from sex abuse.

Speeches will be given by experts in various fields such as psychology, canonical law, theology and pastoral care. Among those present will be Mgr. Charles Scicluna, Promoter of Justice in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, Director of Vatican Radio and the Holy See Press Office.

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Pope ‘considering’ Irish visit

IRELAND
The Irish Times

KITTY HOLLAND

Pope Benedict would visit Ireland “soon rather than later” and was “actively considering” an invitation from the Irish Catholic Church, the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said.

Dr Martin also said, however, that the Irish Church was not ready for a papal visit.

Speaking on RTÉ radio today, in advance of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress which takes place in Dublin in June, he said the pope had been invited.

“We haven’t got a response. He did say to me that he would be open to coming but he said, and this I agree with, that his coming would have to fit into the overall timetable of the renewal of the Church in Ireland.

“Short-circuiting that programme wouldn’t bring the benefits that a papal visit would bring and I am not sure that we are at that stage yet.”

He said in the wake of the sexual, emotional and physical abuse scandals in Catholic-run institutions and the subsequent fall in Mass attendances, the Church here was in need of radical renewal and reform. This process would have to be further progressed before a papal visit would be of significant benefit.

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Catholic diocese in Vermont responds to former altar boy’s abuse suit

VERMONT
The Republic

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
First Posted: February 05, 2012

BURLINGTON, Vt. — The Roman Catholic diocese of Vermont says it could be put out of business, and constitutional protections of religious freedom could be violated by a priest-abuse lawsuit.

The Burlington Free Press (http://bfpne.ws/yZACU1 ) cites papers filed by the diocese in U.S. District Court in Burlington. They say paying more big damage awards to victims of long-ago priest sexual abuse could bring those results.

The diocese asks Judge William Sessions III to throw out a lawsuit filed in 2010 by a man alleging that as an altar boy he was molested in Rutland by a priest in 1974.

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FOR PETE’S SAKE Benefit to Honor Road to Recovery, 3/16

NEW YORK
Broadway World

On Friday, March 16th, a benefit performance of “For Pete’s Sake” will be held The 52nd St. Project. The benefit will honor Bob Hoatson and his organization Road to Recovery.

FOR PETE’S SAKE, directed by Angelique Letizia, is actor/author Joe Capozzi’s autobiographical tale of a young man who chose to keep a secret without realizing how it would affect the rest of his life.

The performance features David Beck, Kristen Busalacchi, Joe Capozzi, Paul Lange, Thomas J Pilutik, Bill Sorvino and Bilgin Turker.

Friday, March 16th at 8pm
5 Angels Theater @ The 52nd St. Project
789 10th Avenue NYC

TIX: $20 suggested donation*
Email: forpetessaketheplay@gmail.com
or Call (646)881-4656 to Reserve

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Double murder is now 10 years old

HUDSON (WI)
Hudson Star-Observer

By: Doug Stohlberg, Hudson Star-Observer

Feb. 5, 2012 marks the 10-year anniversary of Hudson’s most infamous crime — the double murder of funeral home director Dan O’Connell and his student intern, James Ellison.

Making the case even more bizarre was that the murders were committed by a Catholic priest, Ryan Erickson. It took nearly three years to finally put together the necessary evidence and solve the case. Erickson died of suicide as the police dragnet closed around him.

It was a cold Tuesday afternoon on Feb. 5, 2002, when police received a call at about 1:40 p.m. from Marty Shanklin, the St. Croix County medical examiner. He had stopped at the O’Connell Funeral home at 520 11th St. to collect routine signatures on a death certificate.

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Allegations Mount Against Ex-Delbarton Chief

NEW JERSEY
Patch

By Michael Daigle

A victims advocate says at least five people are now accusing a former Delbarton School of making sexual advances toward them.

The latest is a former Morris County resident who now lives in North Carolina. In a notarized statement released by advocate Patrick J. Marker, the alleged victim says the Rev. Luke Travers “kissed my neck and then put his cheek on my cheek” during an intimate confessional session.

“Only recently have I begun to understand the effect that Father Luke’s actions had in my life. I do not wish similar pain or confusion on any person,” the alleged victim says in the letter.

In January, Marker said he that alleged victim had not filed charges with any agency. It was not clear if that remained the case.

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Jody Corcoran: Closing Vatican embassy to cut costs doesn’t add up

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By Jody Corcoran

Sunday February 05 2012

The Government’s stated reason for the closure of our embassy at the Vatican is questionable.

Eamon Gilmore, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, said the reason had to do with cost cutting, and was unrelated to a row between Ireland and the Vatican regarding co-operation with a child sex abuse inquiry.

The timing of the closure, in the immediate aftermath of the Cloyne Report, was certainly unfortunate from the Government’s point of view, that is, if it expects people to accept its motivation was entirely as presented.

There are two Irish embassies in Rome, one to Italy, the other to the Vatican. The intention now is for diplomatic relations with the Vatican to be conducted from Dublin, an exercise that may well involve frequent — and expensive — trips to the Vatican by our man in, eh, Dublin.

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Gilmore’s ‘not an inch on Vatican’ sparks crisis

IRELAND
Irish Independent

By DANIEL McCONNELL Chief Reporter and JOHN DRENNAN

Sunday February 05 2012

THE Government has been plunged into its first crisis after Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore yesterday categorically rejected Fine Gael calls to reverse the decision to close the Irish embassy to the Vatican.

The astonishing row over the Vatican embassy comes on the heels of a series of spats between the coalition over cuts in the Budget, which have led to a significant deterioration of relations between FG and Labour in recent weeks.

Speaking exclusively to this newspaper, the Labour leader has delivered an unequivocal rejection to his coalition partners, saying “no, the decision will not be reversed. It was a government decision”.

“I have set out the position as to why it was necessary to do so. It was one of three embassies we closed. Like everyone else, the Department of Foreign Affairs had to cut its cloth to measure.”

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Vatican prosecutor warns on Asia child abuse problem

VATICAN CITY
Inquirer (Philippines)

By Dario Thuburn
Agence France-Presse
11:20 am | Sunday, February 5th, 2012

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican’s top anti-abuse prosecutor has warned that the Catholic Church in Asia is falling behind in the fight against paedophilia due to cultural differences over what constitutes child abuse.

“The problem is very accentuated in Asia,” Archbishop Charles Scicluna told reporters ahead of a major international conference this week in the Vatican’s Gregorian University on the crisis of paedophilia in the Church.

Scicluna, who addressed an unprecedented closed-door meeting on the issue with Asian Church leaders in Bangkok in November last year, added: “There is an awareness that there is abuse and something needs to be done.”

The Vatican has asked national bishops’ conferences from around the world to submit by May their guidelines on how to deal with abusive priests and cooperate with local law enforcement in an effort to root out abuse.

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Appellate court will decide if clergymembers must testify about crime

MICHIGAN
Lvingston Daily

Written by
Lisa Roose-Church
DAILY PRESS & ARGUS

Should a priest have to testify about a crime that a parishioner disclosed during confession?

The Michigan Court of Appeals will consider that issue Thursday when it hears oral arguments in the Wayne County case of Samuel Dale Bragg, now 18, whom prosecutors allege confessed to his pastor that he sexually assaulted a female cousin when he was 15 years old.

The case is expected to set precedent on the issue statewide.

“This kind of decision would have a chilling effect on any kind of religion,” Bragg’s attorney, Raymond Cassar, said. “I don’t think the Court of Appeals should tamper with this.”

Michael Diebold, director of communications for the Diocese of Lansing, agreed, saying congregation members know they can admit their sins in confession — known as the Sacrament of Reconciliation — and be forgiven in confidence.

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Bishop is keeper of the flame

LINCOLN (NE)
World-Herald

By Leslie Reed
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER

LINCOLN — Perhaps the story of Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz’s 20-year watch over the Lincoln Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church could be told as a parable of two men.

Both were trained as priests at a select seminary in Rome, their time there overlapping during the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The slightly older priest revered church tradition as a living connection between believers and Jesus Christ, established through a succession of priests tracing back to St. Peter himself. That priest, a Milwaukee native ordained in 1960, has had a storied career and went on to become the eighth bishop of Lincoln.

The younger man visualized the church as a champion of social justice, embracing all people and ending discrimination. John Krejci, a South Omaha native ordained in 1962, grew disillusioned. He left the priesthood in 1971 to become a professor of social work.

Three decades later, Bruskewitz and Krejci crossed paths again in Lincoln. Their clash of values ended with Bruskewitz excommunicating Krejci and other local members of a Catholic reform group known as Call to Action.

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Priest abuse lawsuit erodes religious freedom, Vermont diocese claims

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

Written by
Sam Hemingway

The prospect of paying more big damage awards to victims of long-ago priest sexual abuse will put the state’s Roman Catholic diocese out of business and violate constitutional protections regarding religious freedom, the diocese is claiming in papers on file at U.S. District Court in Burlington.

“The State cannot infringe on a protected freedom by imposing damages and penalties that the church cannot pay,” the diocese said in a motion asking Judge William Sessions III to throw out a lawsuit filed in 2010 by a man alleging that as an altar boy he was molested in Rutland by the Rev. Edward Paquette in 1974.

“If the protections of the First Amendment are to mean anything, the government should not be allowed to shut the doors of a church and put it up for sale,” church lawyers Kaveh Shahi and Tom McCormick wrote.

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Vatican officials say ‘corruption’ charges by envoy to U.S. are ‘unfounded’

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service

By Francis X. Rocca
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In an unusually public rebuke of a high-ranking colleague, Vatican officials dismissed as baseless the accusations of “corruption and abuse of power” made in letters by an archbishop who is now apostolic nuncio to the United States.

In a statement released by the Vatican Feb. 4, Cardinal-designate Giuseppe Bertello and Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, the current and immediate past presidents of the Governorate of Vatican City State, described as a “cause of great sadness” the recent “unlawful publication” by Italian journalists of two letters addressed to Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state.

The letters, written by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano when he was the governorate’s secretary general, or second-highest official, contained assertions based on “erroneous evaluations” or “fears unsupported by proof,” the statement said.

Archbishop Vigano’s letter to the pope, dated March 27, 2011, lamented “so many situations of corruption and abuse of power long rooted in the various departments” of the governorate, and warned that the archbishop’s departure from his position there “would provoke profound confusion and dejection” among all those supporting his efforts at reform.

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Le Vatican rejette les accusations de corruption

VATICAN
La Croix (France)

« Ces allégations (de corruption, NDLR) sont le fruit de jugement erronés, ou basés sur des craintes sans fondement » : le communiqué publié samedi 4 février, à Rome, par le président du gouvernorat du Vatican, le cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, est sans ambiguités. Il se veut une réponse ferme aux medias italiens qui ont publié, ces derniers jours, des lettres de Mgr Carlo Maria Viganò, ancien secrétaire général du gouvernorat du Vatican devenu en octobre nonce (ambassadeur) à Washington.

Dans ces missives au pape et au secrétaire d’Etat (numéro deux) Tarcisio Bertone datant de l’an dernier, le prélat dénonçait des cas de « gabegie » au sein de cette institution. Il qualifiait aussi sa mutation aux Etats-Unis de « verdict de condamnation » au moment où il tentait « d’assainir de nombreuses situations de corruption et de malversation ».

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Vatican Rejects Prelate’s Corruption Allegations

VATICAN CITY
ABC News (United States)

VATICAN CITY February 5, 2012 (AP)

The administration of the Vatican City State on Saturday categorically rejected as groundless a top prelate’s accusations of corruption in the Holy See’s awarding of contracts.

Last month, an Italian investigative news program reported that the prelate had unsuccessfully requested not to be transferred to Washington by Pope Benedict XVI after exposing alleged corruption that cost the Holy See millions of euros in terms of higher contract prices.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano was the No. 2 administrator until the pope selected him to be his envoy to the U.S. last fall.

While the Vatican had previously defended Vigano’s transfer to the prestigious post as proof of Benedict’s “unquestionable respect and trust” in him, the written statement Saturday by the Vatican’s governorship was the Holy See’s first response to the corruption allegations themselves.

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Benedict XVI must first be tried at The Hague and face true justice, or else, Gregorian Conference is only a PR campaign and more Vatican deceptions

UNITED STATES
Pope Crimes & Vatican Evils…

Paris Arrow

Benedict XVI must first be tried at the international court of The Hague for his crimes against humanity — or else, the Jesuit Gregorian University’s conference on child sexual abuse is all PR stunts by the Vatican Titanic Ship which is sinking in moral bankruptcy because as a country it violated the human rights of tens if not hundred of thousands of children in the latter half of the 20th century as Amnesty International announced, read our related article, Amnesty International Report Vatican “Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment” on tens of thousands of children sexually abused by priests in Ireland

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Vatican rejects prelate’s corruption allegations

VATICAN CITY
The Sacramento Bee

The Associated Press

VATICAN CITY — The administration of the Vatican City State is rejecting accusations of corruption in the Holy See’s awarding of contracts.

Last month, an Italian news program reported that a top Vatican official had unsuccessfully begged the pope not to be transferred to Washington after exposing alleged corruption that cost the Holy See millions of euros in terms of higher contract prices.

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RC leaders convene over sex abuse

ROME
Radio Netherlands

Leaders of the Roman Catholic church in Rome have convened for a conference on how to prevent the sexual abuse of minors.

They will also attend a prayer service, in which representatives of seven religious orders and congregations will ask for forgiveness in public for what their organisation has done to children.

The Gregoriana University, led by Jesuit priests has organised the meeting. The conference opens on Monday. Bishops and their representatives from 100 countries and the leaders of 33 orders and congregations will participate. Marie Collins, an Irish victim of rape by a Catholic priest, will also attend.

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Lombardi Editorial: Credibility and transparency

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Radio

Credibility and transparency

In these years of heated debate and strong criticism towards the Holy See and the Church, it is absolutely necessary to remain firm, and – drawing inspiration from the Pope’s following of the Gospel standards of truth and moral strength – to show a firm determination to continue to give a coherent witness to moral values. The matter is especially urgent in two fields that attract a great deal of public attention: the issue of the sexual abuse of children, and that of economic-financial transparency.

In the first sphere, the actions taken by the Pope, and the commitments developed in various local Churches that have been harshly tired by the scandal, have set in motion a series of initiatives: to listen to and help the victims of abuse, to examine the causes of abuse; and to raise awareness of, and work to prevent sexual abuse of children. By promoting these initiatives, it can be confidently said that we are heading in the right direction. The Conference being held this week at the Gregorian University of Rome – “Towards healing and renewal” – with the participation of over 100 episcopal conferences and 30 religious orders, and with the launch of an international centre that will continue its drive, is new proof of that. The Church intends to render justice to those harmed by abuse; to be itself renewed; and to be able to help a society and a world where sexual abuse is rampant, to effectively fight this scourge.

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Vatican officials contest corruption charges

VATICAN CITY
Chicago Tribune

Philip Pullella
Reuters

10:27 a.m. CST, February 4, 2012

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – In the latest twist of a messy internal conflict shaking the Vatican, four clerics in the office that manages the tiny city-state Saturday rejected charges of corruption, mismanagement and greed levelled by a former deputy governor.

The four said in a statement that charges made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, currently Pope Benedict’s ambassador in Washington, were “either the fruit of erroneous evaluations or based on fears not backed up by proof.”

Vigano was transferred to the United States against his will last year after he denounced what he saw as a web of corruption in the management of Vatican City, a 108-acre (44-hectare) sovereign city-state surrounded by Rome and where the pope rules as a monarch.

In letters to Pope Benedict and his number two, the secretary of state, Vigano complained about what he said was nepotism and cronyism linked to the awarding of contracts to outside companies at inflated prices.

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Pedopriesters jokken doorrr, Deetman weet ervan

NEDERLAND
Geen Stijl

Dat onze Vaticaanse vriendjes zich schuldig maken aan grensoverschrijdend gedrag jegens hun eigen RKK-jugend is bekend. Dat de Roomse viesbah zorgvuldig onder de mijter is gehouden ook. Enter Getuige 261 (naam bij de redactie bekend), overlevende van poel des verderfs Bleijerheide. Dat Joseph Goebbels er scholierde in 1917 is bijkans een aanbeveling vergeleken met het pedopriesterregime in de jaren 50 en 60. De broeders “zopen, mishandelden, misbruikten en stalen.”

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Onderzoek ál het misbruik, pak niet alleen de Kerk aan

NEDERLAND
RKnieuws

DEN HAAG (RKnieuws.net) – Enkele partijen in de Tweede Kamer maken zich nog steeds sterk voor een parlementaire enquête rond seksueel misbruik in de RK-Kerk.

Prima, wanneer ook politieke partijen zich het zeer goede rapport van Wim Deetman aantrekken en zijn uitdaging opnemen om er verder in Nederland mee aan de slag te gaan. Ik verzet me echter ernstig tegen een parlementaire enquête, zeker wanneer deze zich zou beperken tot misbruik in de RK-Kerk.

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Monument voor misbruikslachtoffers

NEDERLAND
HartvanNederland

[met video]

De misbruikaffaire binnen de kerk sleept al tijden voort. Speciaal voor de slachtoffers van dat seksueel misbruik komt er in Hengelo een monument.

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Vatican Downplays Corruption Charges

VATICAN CITY
America Magazine

From CNS, staff and other sources | FEBRUARY 13, 2012
F ederico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Vatican Press Office, criticized as “partisan…partial and banal” an Italian television news program that on Jan. 25 broadcast portions of letters addressed to Pope Benedict and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state. The letters were apparently signed by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, right, and written when he was the secretary general of the commission that governs Vatican City. One of the letters, dated April 4, 2011, said that when Archbishop Viganò took office almost two years earlier, he discovered “chaotic management” and overspending.

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DICHIARAZIONE DELLA PRESIDENZA DEL GOVERNATORATO DELLO STATO DELLA CITTÀ DEL VATICANO , 04.02.2012

CITTA DEL VATICAN
Bolletino

1. La pubblicazione abusiva delle due lettere di S.E. Mons. Carlo Maria Viganò, la prima indirizzata al Santo Padre in data 27 marzo 2011, la seconda al Cardinale Segretario di Stato in data 8 maggio, è per il Governatorato dello SCV motivo di grande amarezza.

Le asserzioni in esse contenute non possono non causare l’impressione che il Governatorato dello Stato della Città del Vaticano, invece di essere uno strumento di governo responsabile, sia un’entità inaffidabile, in balia di forze oscure. Dopo attento esame del contenuto delle due missive, la Presidenza del Governatorato ritiene suo dovere di dichiarare pubblicamente che le dette asserzioni sono frutto di valutazioni erronee, o si basano su timori non suffragati da prove, anzi apertamente contraddetti dalle principali personalità invocate come testimoni.

Senza entrare nel merito delle singole affermazioni, la Presidenza del Governatorato ritiene di dover attirare l’attenzione sui seguenti sicuri elementi di giudizio.

2. I bilanci preventivo e consuntivo del Governatorato, dopo essere stati approvati dalla Pontificia Commissione per lo Stato della Città del Vaticano, vengono regolarmente sottoposti alla Prefettura degli Affari Economici della Santa Sede, la quale li esamina nei propri uffici e li fa esaminare anche dal suo collegio di Revisori Internazionali. La Prefettura stessa ha, del resto, la possibilità di esaminare in ogni momento, senza preavviso, la documentazione di tutti gli Uffici del Governatorato nello stesso iter della sua produzione.

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Vatican infighting on alleged corruption now out in Italian media

VATICAN CITY
GMA News

Agence France Presse February 4, 2012

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican on Saturday fiercely refuted claims by one of its top officials of widespread corruption and waste in the management of the Holy See, rejecting the accusations as utterly groundless.

“The claims are the fruit of erroneous judgements, or based on groundless fears, openly contradicted by those called as witnesses,” the head of the Vatican’s governorate, Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, said in a statement.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former secretary general of the governorate and current envoy to Washington, had sent strongly-worded letters warning Pope Benedict XVI of corruption, which were published in January in Italian media.

In a rare public rebuke of another top Vatican official, Lajolo said he was “greatly embittered” by the publication of the letters and accusations made.

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Catholic leaders hold global anti-abuse conference

VATICAN CITY
GMA News

DARIO TUBURN, Agence France Presse February 4, 2012

VATICAN CITY – Catholic leaders from around the world meet next week for a conference to combat child abuse which will include a penitential service but which has already drawn fire from victims’ groups.

Bishops and their representatives from 100 countries and the leaders of 33 religious orders will take part, as well as the Vatican’s anti-paedophilia prosecutor Charles Scicluna and one abuse victim, Ireland’s Marie Collins.

“All of us must look at the sin and crime of sex abuse and we must face this with humility, courage, reflection and vigilance,” said Francois-Xavier Dumortier of the Vatican’s Gregorian University, which hosts the meeting.

The conference will receive a blessing from Pope Benedict XVI and will launch a Centre for Child Protection in Germany to fight abuse, which Vatican officials underlined was a problem for the Church worldwide.

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Anti-Defamation League upset over Eddie Long ceremony

GEORGIA
WSB

By Richard Elliot

LITHONIA, Ga. —

Controversy continues over a Jewish rabbi wrapping embattled megachurch leader Bishop Eddie Long in a sacred Torah scroll and calling him a king at a ceremony last Sunday at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.

The Anti-Defamation League, which aims to protect Jewish rights and customs, is among the latest group of opponents criticizing what they saw on the YouTube video circulating on the Internet.

“We were appalled by the video of Bishop Long being celebrated in a fake Jewish ritual,” said the ADL’s Southeast Director Bill Nigut. “There’s no Jewish ritual that bears any resemblance to what went on at the church last Sunday.”

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Op-Ed: Shamed preacher is anointed ‘king’

GEORGIA
Digital Journal

By Jacki Viles
Feb 4, 2012

Atlanta- In 2010, Bishop Eddie Long was accused by 4 young men who alleged that the bishop abused his authority, took them on trips and gave out lavish gifts to coerce them into sexual relationships.

In May of this past year, the bishop settled out of court. By December, his wife of 21 years filed for divorce. Bishop Long took a month off to re group and was back at the pulpit in January.

This past Sunday the congregation of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church was on hand for a real treat as the bishop was given ‘new birth’ himself and anointed ‘King’ by a man known as Rabbi Ralph Messer. Ralph Messer is a particularly controversial figure. He claims to be a Messianic Rabbi. Messianic Jews are better known by their common name, ‘Jews for Jesus’. This group is not Jewish faith based. They are Christians. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

But something is definitely wrong with the ‘rabbi’. Whatever Ralph Messer purports to being, his ceremony was a sanctimonious sham. His deliberate misuse of the most holiest religious article in the Jewish faith made my skin crawl. I couldn’t believe my ears as he preached to the congregation that the Torah he was using was over 312 years old and recovered from the concentration camps at Auschwitz! Watch the video. I think he said the scroll was recovered from Auschwitz and Birkenstocks! Where? Rabbi, don’t you mean Birkenau?

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Priest jury set to begin work

UNITED KINGDOM
The Sentinel

THE jury in the trial of a Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing eight boys is expected to start considering its verdict on Monday.

Judge Paul Glenn spent yesterday summing up the case of Alexander Bede Walsh who faces 27 charges including indecency and indecent assault.

The 58-year-old, who lives in church accommodation in Church Lane, Abbots Bromley, near Rugeley, denies all the charges.

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550 Seeking Restitution from Milwaukee Archdiocese

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Claims Journal

By CARRIE ANTLFINGER | February 3, 2012

A bankruptcy lawyer says about 550 people are asking for restitution for alleged sexual abuse by clergy in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Attorney James Stang said Wednesday that’s more than in any of the other U.S. dioceses that have filed for bankruptcy protection. Stang represents creditors in the case.

The Milwaukee Archdiocese filed for bankruptcy protection last year, saying pending sex-abuse lawsuits could leave it with debts it couldn’t afford.

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PRESS RELEASE

ROME
Pontificia Universita Gregoriana

Church leaders from across the world come to Rome to relaunch their commitment to the safeguarding of the vulnerable with a new global initiative: “Towards Healing and Renewal”

Bishops and Religious Superiors from across the world will come to Rome in February for the launch of the Catholic Church’s global initiative on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.

Towards Healing and Renewal is being offered by the Gregorian University in Rome and consists of a major symposium followed by the launch of a multiinstitution e-learning centre which will run for the next three years – the Centre for the Protection of Children based in Munich, Germany. Delegates for the symposium will come from about 110 Bishops’ Conferences and also be superiors of more than 30 Religious Orders, making this a truly international gathering focusing on safeguarding by the Catholic Church.

This initiative has the support of several Vatican Congregations as well as the Secretary of State and the symposium, which will run from February 6-9, will have speakers from all continents in recognition of the global nature of safeguarding the vulnerable. The speakers include the testimony of a victim of abuse, who will address the delegates about the need for victims to be heard and how to effect positive change. Full details of the symposium and the
speakers are available on the website thr.unigre.it.

Following the 2011 circular letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to Bishops’ Conferences requiring all Dioceses in the world to develop guidelines within the next year on the handling of all abuse allegations, the symposium will play a significant role in enabling Bishops and major religious superiors to move towards creating a consistent global response. Cardinal Levada, Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, will give the opening address at the Symposium conference, and representatives from the
CDF have had a very active role in giving shape to Towards Healing and Renewal.

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More Argument In Priest Abuse Case

CONNECTICUT
The Hartford Courant

By EDMUND H. MAHONY, emahony@courant.com
The Hartford Courant

7:01 p.m. EST, February 3, 2012
WATERBURY—
The parties trying a sexual abuse complaint against the Archdiocese of Hartford spent much of Friday arguing over how much the jury should hear of testimony given at a related legal proceeding by one of the world’s foremost experts on clergy sexual abuse.

The subject of the argument was a transcript of a deposition taken in November from Thomas P. Doyle, a priest, canon lawyer, former Vatican diplomat and authority on child abuse. In 2006, Doyle co-authored, with A.W. Richard Sipe and Patrick J. Wall, the book “Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes: The Catholic Church’s 2,000-Year Paper Trail of Sexual Abuse.”

In 1985, concerned that the bishops of the Catholic Church were ill-equipped to deal with growing evidence of clergy abuse, Doyle also co-wrote a manual on preventing and reacting to abuse that was considered the definitive work on the subject at the time.

That manual was one of the subjects discussed Friday in the suit by a former altar boy who claims he was sexually abused by Father Ivan Ferguson, often at a church rectory in Derby, from 1981 to 1983. The suit contends the church allowed the abuse to take place because it failed to act when Ferguson admitted molesting two boys two years earlier, in 1979, in the Tarriffville section of Simsbury.

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Priest sex abuse victim wants $42K; archdiocese says he, not it, should pay

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By Emily Gurnon
egurnon@pioneerpress.com

The victim in the criminal sex case of former Nativity of Our Lord priest Christopher Wenthe has filed a request for $42,000 in restitution with the court.

The woman, who was 21 when the abuse occurred, did not initially ask for the money from the former St. Paul priest.

But the Ramsey County judge in the case, Margaret Marrinan, suggested at sentencing that it would be appropriate for her to do so.

The judge said she had heard that the victim’s mother had spent a great deal of money for her treatment for an eating disorder – which was exacerbated by Wenthe’s abuse, the victim said during trial.

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Lawyers exploiting native school survivors, says group

CANADA
CBC News

Former students of native residential schools say they are being mistreated by lawyers who are supposed to help them claim federal compensation, but are instead taking their award money in some cases.

The National Residential School Survivors’ Society, which represents about 32,000 former students across Canada, is calling on law societies to do more to discipline lawyers who are taking advantage of those who are applying for compensation.

Society spokesman Ted Quewezance said some survivors are being told their claims are bogus, while others are having problems with the lawyers they have hired.

“We get complaints regarding lawyers — lawyers cherry-picking certain cases, only taking cases which are lucrative, and denying the little people,” Quewezance told reporters Thursday in Winnipeg.

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Vatican to host global summit on sexual abuse

VATICAN CITY
Washington Post

By Alessandro Speciale| Religion News Service,

VATICAN CITY — Ten years after the clergy sexual abuse scandal erupted in the United States, Catholic bishops from all over the world will meet next week at a Vatican summit aimed at preventing abuse and protecting children.

The conference, “Towards Healing and Renewal,” will be held on Feb. 6-9 and is organized by the Jesuit-run Gregorian University in Rome.

The Vatican’s top spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, told reporters on Friday (Feb. 3) that the summit enjoys the “full support and participation” of the Vatican’s highest offices, but Pope Benedict XVI is not expected to attend.

Monsignor Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s chief abuse prosecutor, said the protection of children must become “a permanent principle and concern” in every decision of the church.

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Jury Trial Set for Ex-Church Official Charged with Child Pornography

WISCONSIN
Patch

By Sarah Millard

A jury trial has been set for former communications director for the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod who faces up to 75 years in prison if convicted on three counts of possessing child pornography.

Joel W. Hochmuth will go before the jury March 13 and 14. A jury status hearing is scheduled for March 8.

Hochmuth was charged in November after detectives from the Waukesha Police Department met with a special agent from the FBI, who told detectives that Hochmuth was using the Internet handle “Skiguy10101” had child pornography on his computer depicting “pre-pubescent and adolescent boys engaged in various sexual acts,” according to a criminal complaint.

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Pope must ask forgiveness from abuse victims, says survivor Marie Collins

IRELAND
The Journal

THE POPE AND other senior clergy must ask forgiveness of clerical sex abuse victims if the Catholic Church is to move on, a woman who was raped by a priest as a teen has said.

Marie Collins, who has been prominent in the struggle for justice for victims after being abused by Dublin priest Fr Paul McGennis, is scheduled to speak at a Vatican symposium on the issue of abuse next week.

However, she said some of her fellow survivors are questioning the motives behind the event. Collins told the Associated Press that some have wondered if the meeting in Rome is merely a public relations exercise instead of a genuine initiative to protect children.

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Father steps aside during police investigation

CONNECTICUT
WTNH

Tina Detelj

Moodus, Conn. (WTNH) – State Police have launched a criminal investigation involving a church in Moodus.

Investigators aren’t saying specifically what they’re looking for but say the investigation involving Saint Bridget Church started in December.

Reverend Gregoire Fluet’s name is on the sign but he’s not at his parish. He’s on a leave of absence while state police investigate.

A spokesperson for the Diocese of Norwich tells News 8 the investigation began in December when concerns were brought up by one parishioner at St. Bridget of Kildare Church in Moodus. Father Gregoire Fluet who oversees all finances in the parish stepped aside to allow for the investigation by State Police.

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Pedophile ex-priest makes plea to judge

WISCONSIN
Fox 11

Published : Friday, 03 Feb 2012

Laura Smith, FOX 11 News

WINNEBAGO COUNTY – A pedophile ex-priest makes a plea to a judge about his future, just days before his trial.

Norbert Maday is a former priest convicted of sexually assaulting boys in Winnebago County.

The state wants him labeled as a sexual predator and sent to a secure facility for treatment.

But he wants to go to a treatment home that specializes in treating pedophile priests.

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Denial no option in sexual abuse scandal: Vatican

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY | Fri Feb 3, 2012

(Reuters) – The Roman Catholic Church has sometimes been in denial over the sexual abuse of children by clergy but must now move forward to face up to the scandal, the Vatican’s top official for the issue said on Friday.

In an interview with Reuters Television, Monsignor Charles Scicluna said he hoped a major symposium on pedophilia to be held next week in Rome would encourage Church leaders from around the world to listen more to the victims.

“Denial is a very primitive way of coping with very sad things,” said Scicluna, whose formal title is Justice Promoter.

“I don’t think that denial will ever be a good response. I will not deny that we have been in denial. I think that people know that. But people need to know that we have to move forward from that very primitive coping mechanism. It doesn’t work,” he said.

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Gregorian University to host conference on ‘Healing and Renewal’ from sex abuse

RIME
Vatican Radio

[with audio]

Representatives of 100 bishops’ conferences and 30 religious orders meet in Rome next week to launch a global initiative aimed at improving efforts to address the clerical sex abuse crisis.

The initiative is to be presented at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University during the course of a four day conference entitled ‘Towards Healing and Renewal’, supported by the Vatican Secretariat of State and Curial offices.

Philippa Hitchen went along to the press conference on Friday evening to find out more…..

After almost two years of preparation, this closed door conference describes itself as a symposium for Catholic bishops and religious superiors on how to deal with the devastating effects of sex abuse. It’s the first time that representatives of 100 bishops conferences, plus over 30 religious congregations have come together to hear first hand from victims and to try and promote a consistent response of the church to this ‘open wound’ as it’s often called.

All participants have been urged to meet with victims in their own countries and listen to their stories to have a clear understanding of what healing and renewal might been to survivors who in many cases lived for decades without any recognition of the abuses they suffered.
One Irish survivor, Marie Collins will address the participants about her own need to hear not just the abuser priests ask forgiveness – something she has already grated to her own abuser – but to hear church leaders – priests, bishops and cardinals, own up to their own roles in prolonging the suffering by putting the reputation of the church above the needs of the children in their care.

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Bisdom zet Maastrichtse pastoor op non-actief

NEDERLAND
Nu

ROERMOND – Bisschop Frans Wiertz van Roermond heeft vrijdag pastoor Jan S. van de Koepelkerk in Maastricht op non-actief gesteld.

Wiertz deed dit nadat bij het bisdom klachten waren binnen gekomen over seksueel misbruik door S. uit de tijd dat hij nog broeder was op jongereninternaat Bleijerheide in Kerkrade.

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Abuse Victim: Church at Top Must Ask Forgiveness

ROME
ABC News (United States)

ROME February 3, 2012 (AP)

An Irish woman who was raped as a teen by a priest says some fellow survivors of clergy sex abuse are questioning the motives behind an upcoming Vatican-backed symposium.

Marie Collins said Friday that some have wondered if the meeting next week in Rome is merely a public relations exercise instead of a genuine initiative to protect children.

She says she wrestled with her decision to accept an invitation to be a keynote speaker, but agreed because top Vatican officials will be there, including the U.S. cardinal in charge of church strategy on abuse, and she wants her voice heard.

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Man convicted of killing Chatham priest to be sentenced in March

NEW JERSEY
Daily Record

Written by
Peggy Wright
Staff Writer

Jose Ramon Feliciano, the ex-church janitor found guilty in December of murdering the Rev. Edward Hinds in his rectory in Chatham in 2009, is slated to be sentenced on March 2.

The sentencing of the 66-year-old Feliciano, who had blamed the 61-year-old victim for provoking the fatal knife attack on Oct. 22, 2009, was not set when a Morris County jury declared him guilty of murder on Dec. 22. The March 2 date, however, could be postponed at the request of prosecutors or defense lawyers or based on changes in Superior Court Judge Thomas Manahan’s schedule.

Feliciano is expected to be sentenced to life imprisonment.

A janitor at St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church for 18 years as of October 2009, Feliciano was among a few people who discovered the priest dead on the kitchen floor of the rectory around 8 a.m. on Oct. 23, 2009, and he made half-hearted attempts to resuscitate him. Within hours and while Feliciano was being tended to for elevated blood pressure at Morristown Medical Center, investigators had begun accumulating evidence that linked Feliciano to the crime.

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Former priest denies indecently assaulting boy

IRELAND
Breaking News

A former priest has appeared in court charged with indecently assaulting a boy in North Dublin in 1983 and 1984.

The 75-year-old, who lives in Meath, was arrested this morning at Ballymun garda station on seven charges.

Dublin District Court heard he replied “not guilty” to three of the charges.

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Hudson double murder is 10 years old

WISCONSIN
Pierce County Herald

By: Doug Stohlberg, Pierce County Herald

Feb 5 marks the 10-year anniversary of Hudson’s most infamous crime — the double murder of funeral home director Dan O’Connell and his student intern, James Ellison.

Making the case even more bizarre was that the murders were committed by a Catholic priest, Ryan Erickson. It took nearly three years to finally put together the necessary evidence and solve the case. Erickson died of suicide as the police dragnet closed around him.

It was a cold Tuesday afternoon on Feb. 5, 2002, when police received a call at about 1:40 p.m. from Marty Shanklin, the St. Croix County medical examiner. He had stopped at the O’Connell Funeral home at 520 11th St. to collect routine signatures on a death certificate.

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A make-or-break moment on sex abuse and more Vatican news

ROME
National Catholic Reporter

by John L Allen Jr on Feb. 03, 2012 All Things Catholic

In a polarized world, it was probably inevitable that opinion on the Catholic sex abuse crisis, like pretty much everything else, would crystallize into two opposing blocs. On one side are critics convinced the church still doesn’t get it because it has failed to enact the sweeping reforms they support; on the other are apologists who believe the church has been unfairly turned into a scapegoat, and that if anything, it’s overreacted.

Although there are highly distinct subgroups within each bloc, in general, both the critics and the apologists tend to be well organized and quite savvy about getting their message out. (Without comparing them in other ways, both SNAP and the Catholic League, for instance, have highly effective PR operations.)

Yet there is also a third constituency, swimming against the polarized tide, though you wouldn’t really know it from media coverage or the blogosphere. Composed mostly of Catholic insiders, these are people who grasp the church’s failures and who regard recovery very much as a work in progress, but who also believe the church has made important strides and could become a social pacesetter in anti-abuse efforts.

Generally, these are folks who work quietly within institutional structures, more interested in getting something done than in issuing press releases. Their effectiveness stems from their focus. Unlike the two other camps, these folks don’t believe the sexual abuse crisis is primarily about something else, such as the corruption of the hierarchy or anti-Catholic media bias. They believe the core challenge is to create systems and structures that keep children safe — and, where possible, to promote healing and reconciliation with victims.

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Bethany issue ‘under consideration’

IRELAND
The Irish Times

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has said he is giving “very careful consideration” to issues relating to the former Bethany Home for mothers and babies in Dublin.

There have been demands to include the Protestant-run Rathgar home, which was open between 1921 and 1972, in the terms of reference of an inquiry into the former Magdalen laundries.

Former residents of the Bethany Home have accused the government of discriminating against them on religious grounds by excluding them from the remit of its investigation of the Catholic-run Magdalene laundries. Mr Shatter has rejected the suggestion that the State’s position is motivated by religious discrimination.

In a letter to Northern Ireland Assembly MLA William Irwin, Mr Shatter said there were “no plans” to expand the brief of the interdepartmental committee chaired by Senator Martin McAleese.

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ROAD TO RECOVERY RESPONDS TO VATICAN DECISION REGARDING MSGR. WALLACE HARRIS OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW YORK

NEW YORK
Voice from the Desert

Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D.

The January 26, 2012 edition of the New York Archdiocesan newspaper, Catholic New York, carried a story regarding the decision of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to assign Msgr. Wallace Harris, former pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Harlem, to “a life of prayer and penance.” Road to Recovery’s response to this news is one of outrage and disgust. Cardinal-designate Dolan is fully aware of the fact that Msgr. Harris had many victims, including the courageous Eric Crumbley who publicly announced that he had been sexually abused by Harris while a student at Cathedral Prep and a youth member of St. Joseph of the Holy Family Parish in Harlem.

Msgr. Wallace Harris should be defrocked by the Vatican, and Cardinal-designate Dolan should petition the Holy Father to do so. Harris had access to teenage boys during most of his priesthood, including stints at Cathedral Prep High School, Cardinal Hayes High School, and parish youth programs throughout Harlem and the Bronx. The many victims who have already come forward to report their abuse by Harris deserve better. By relegating Harris to a life of prayer and penance, the Vatican is sending a message that he will never truly be held accountable for his extensive and despicable abuse of young men. He must be stripped of his priesthood and Cardinal-designate Dolan should insist on it.

Why did the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith not defrock him? Was it because Cardinal-designate Dolan recommended that he not be defrocked? It appears that the Vatican would not have acted without the recommendation of the Archbishop of New York. It is interesting that Cardinal-designate Dolan has not made public statements about any of the NY priests recently who have sexually abused children, gambled parish money away, or fathered children before ordination to the priesthood.

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Catholic Cardinal on abuse: “We did nothing wrong!”

CONNECTICUT
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by David Clohessy on February 03, 2012

In a new, rare and stunning just-published interview, former NYC Archbishop Edward Egan made shocking statements about the church’s on-going clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis, including:
■I don’t think we did anything wrong.
■I’m very proud of how this thing was handled.
■I believe the sex abuse thing was incredibly good.
■There really wasn’t much . . . hidden.
■I do think it’s time to get off this subject.
■I don’t think I should be upset about that, or you should be, or anybody else.
■I never had one of these sex abuse cases, either in Bridgeport or here (New York). And I believe that the cases I had were each handled just exactly as they should have been.
■I did exactly what we were told to do. And as a result, not one of them (the accused priests) did a thing out of line.
■I’m not the slightest bit surprised that, of course, the scandal was going to be fun in the news.
■If you have another bishop in the United States who has the record I have, I’d be happy to know who he is.

(See full interview, in Connecticut Magazine, below)

Most bishops have a dreadfully skewed and self-serving view of the crisis. But most work very hard to conceal it. Most are carefully coached by top-notch public relations professionals to say all the right things publicly (while privately, they deal with wounded victims and abusive clerics in largely the same ways they always have).

Egan, however, is obviously unrepentant, self-absorbed and painfully dismissive of the abject suffering of tens of thousands of deeply wounded men, women and children who have been sexually violated by priests, nuns, bishops, brothers, seminarians and other Catholic officials. We can’t help but believe that many other prelates feel exactly as he does but are shrewd enough to avoid saying so outside of clerical circles.

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Molestation trial delayed for suspended priest; Ojeda case put off until March

CALIFORNIA
Record Searchlight

SACRAMENTO — A suspended Redding priest charged with seven felony counts of child molestation appeared for the first time Thursday in Sacramento County Superior Court since he was released from jail last month after his $5 million bail was reduced to $700,000.

Sacramento defense attorney Jesse Ortiz III, who is representing the Rev. Uriel Ojeda, 32, said his client’s case was put off Thursday until March 9 to allow more time to investigate.

But, he said, it’s unlikely the investigation will be finished by the March status conference date.

“That takes time,” he said.

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How many chances are left?

CALIFORNIA
The Record

February 03, 2012

Former Stockton-area priest and notorious pedophile Oliver O’Grady is back in prison, charged yet again with crimes involving sexually abused children.

O’Grady, who served nine years in prison before being defrocked and deported when he was released in 2000, was sentenced in his native Ireland to three years in prison.

His crime this time? He had thousands of electronically-stored pornographic photos and videos of children. The images were found in 2010 on a laptop he left behind on a flight to Ireland from the Netherlands where he fled after the release of a documentary film, “Deliver Us From Evil,” that detailed his crimes.

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Victims blast Dolan & Vatican over serial predator priest ruling

NEW YORK
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by Mary Caplan on February 02, 2012

In a new decision, Vatican officials are refusing to defrock a serial predator priest, Msgr. Wallace A. Harris, and NY Archbishop Timothy Dolan is quietly going along with the reckless decision.

In 2010, Dolan quietly let this prominent and powerful priest quietly resign from his Harlem parish, deliberately and deceptively leaving the impression that he was stepping aside because of alleged health problems. Dolan knew then that Harris had been accused by at least ten men of sexually assaulting them when they were kids.

Still, despite repeated promises to be “transparent” in child sex cases, Dolan only hinted to only one group of parishioners at only one church that the accusations against Harris were credible, letting many of them believe their pastor was innocent but beset with health issues and leaving for that reason.

And now Dolan, who so vigorously pledges to be “open” about clergy sexual abuse, refuses to even disclose where Harris is.

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Redding priest again enters no plea in molestation case

CALIFORNIA
The Modesto Bee

A Catholic priest accused of child molestation again did not enter a plea Thursday at his Sacramento Superior Court arraignment.

The Rev. Uriel Ojeda made his fifth court appearance since his Nov. 30 arrest on seven counts of molesting the same girl under the age of 14 in Woodland and Redding.

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Second sex conviction for flasher priest

UNITED KINGDOM
The Northern Echo

A SELF-PROCLAIMED priest has been convicted of his second sexual offence in as many weeks after he indecently exposed himself to a doctor during a medical examination.

Royston Thompson, a priest in the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, appeared in court yesterday following Tuesday’s examination.

Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court heard that the 25-year-old attended the Darlington surgery complaining of back pain and was examined by a female doctor.

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Priest sex trial: Abuse claims are ‘pack of lies’, jury told

UNITED KINGDOM
The Sentinel

CATHOLIC priest Father Alexander Bede Walsh told a jury he is “deeply ashamed” about his previous conviction for downloading indecent images of children from the internet in 2005.

The 58-year-old, who served as a priest in Cheadle for 14 years, is on trial at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court charged with 27 offences including indecency and indecent assault. He denies all the allegations.

Yesterday Walsh said he “knew it was wrong” when he accessed the material, but said he pleaded guilty to the offence.

And he said he felt “deeply shocked” by the recent accusations made by eight complainants.

Walsh, who now lives in church accommodation in Church Lane, Abbots Bromley, near Rugeley, said he could not remember some of them.

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Child abuse at church could have led to man’s alcoholism

UNITED KINGDOM
Get Hampshire

By Stephanie Cockroft
February 03, 2012

AN alcoholic drunk himself to death after struggling to cope with the memories of being sexually abused by a Roman Cathlolic priest when he served as an alter boy, an inquest has heard.

Simon Withrington was found dead in his Aldershot home on November 17 last year, after drinking enough vodka to put him more than six times over the drink-drive limit.

The coroner Andrew Bradley, who took the hearing at Alton Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, gave a verdict of misadventure and said it was clear Simon had not actively tried to kill himself.

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Cardinal Egan: Ten Years After

CONNECTICUT
Connecticut Magazine

by Tom Connor

Editor’s note: As the first trial in the Hartford Catholic priest sex abuse scandal is underway (as reported in the Hartford Courant) and new testimony comes to light in how the Hartford archdiocese handled the issue, writer Tom Connor was able to interview former Bridgeport bishop and New York City cardinal Edward Egan, who held a high position within the Catholic church when the abuses were alleged to have happened in the Bridgeport dioceses.

Ten years ago this spring, the sexual abuse crisis involving hundreds of Roman Catholic priests and thousands of young victims broke nationally in the media, engulfing dioceses from Boston to Los Angeles but also the Diocese of Bridgeport, where 23 lawsuits against seven local priests were working their way through the courts.

Three years earlier, however, this magazine had reported on long-standing and widespread abuses in the diocese (“Gods and Monsters,” May 1999; link opens a .pdf of the original story), then under the leadership of Bishop Edward Egan. In that article, Egan was portrayed as a wily, coldly-calculating defender of the Church and abusive priests, more corporate lawyer than spiritual guardian. The article revealed that he had let accused priests continue to work in local parishes, authorized payments to victims in exchange for silence agreements, and lied about those payments during a deposition. At the time, he had refused to meet with this writer.

Edward Egan came to Bridgeport in 1988 with impressive credentials: doctorate summa cum laude in Canon Law from the Pontifical Gregorian University in the Vatican City, a judge of the Tribunal of the Sacred Roman Rota, co-chancellor of the Chicago archdiocese where he worked with Dr. Martin Luther King on the Civil Rights marches. And once in Bridgeport, he restored the diocese’s finances; opened schools, immigrant centers, a seminary and a residence for retired priests; and co-founded the Inner-City Foundation for Charity and Education.

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Shatter considers Bethany Home investigation

IRELAND
RTE News

Minister for Justice & Equality Alan Shatter has said he is considering very carefully demands for an investigation of the former Protestant-run Bethany Home.

Former residents have accused the Government of discriminating against them on religious grounds by excluding them from the remit of its investigation of the Catholic-run Magdalene Laundries.

Mr Shatter gave his assurance to William Irwin, a Co Armagh-based member of the Northern Assembly.

However, he told him there are no plans at present to expand the brief of the Government-appointed McAleese Committee to include the Bethany mother-and-baby home where, despite State inspections, a number of unreported deaths occurred before and during WWII.

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Church Pastor Accused of Sexual Assault Gets More Charges: Cops

FLORIDA
NBC Miami

Authorities have filed new charges against the Fort Lauderdale youth pastor accused of sexually assaulting a boy while the boy lived in his home for 10 years.

Jeffery London, 48, faces five additional sexual battery charges, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

Police said London performed oral sex on the child while he played pornography on his TV, the complaint affidavit said.

London was first arrested on Wednesday, Jan. 25 for several sex-related crimes, according to the BSO.

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Ex-Harlem Pastor Living Under Close Supervision

NEW YORK
CBS New York

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – The ex-pastor of a Harlem church accused of sexually abusing children in the 1980s has been assigned to “a life of prayer and penance.”

Archdiocese of New York spokesman Joseph Zwilling tells the New York Post that Wallace Harris is living “under very, very close supervision” in a Catholic-run residence.

Harris arranged Pope Benedict XVI’s 2008 Mass at Yankee Stadium and gave the invocation at Gov. David Paterson‘s swearing-in that same year.

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Archdiocese Angers Many by Contesting Abuse Claims

MILWAUKEE (WI)
The New York Times

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN

Published: February 3, 2012

More than 550 people who say they were sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests or church employees have filed claims against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in bankruptcy proceedings, the largest group of claimants against any of the eight dioceses that have declared bankruptcy since 2004.

The claimants came forward, many just before the deadline late Wednesday, after being encouraged to do so by the church itself and by victims’ advocates. The archdiocese ran notices in local parish bulletins and in newspapers across the country, as the bankruptcy court required.

However, if the archdiocese has its way in court, as many as 95 percent of the claims could be dismissed. The archdiocese has filed motions asking the bankruptcy judge to throw out the claims of those whose cases are beyond the statute of limitations, or who already have settlements from the archdiocese or whose alleged abuse was at the hands of a layman or laywoman working for the church, not a cleric, said Jerry Topczewski, a spokesman for the Milwaukee archdiocese.

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Government has ‘no immediate plans’ to review Vatican embassy closure

IRELAND
The Journal

THE GOVERNMENT HAS restated that there are no immediate plans to reconsider the decision to close Ireland’s embassy in the Vatican.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore announced last November that the Irish embassy in the Vatican would be closed as part of the government’s programme of cuts to its budget with embassies in Iran and East Timor also shuttered.

The decision was criticised by Catholic groups and opposition parties who expressed scepticism as to the reasons behind the closure of the embassy following a cooling of the government’s relationship with the Vatican in the wake of the Cloyne report into clerical sex abuse in a Cork diocese.

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Jewish leaders offended by Ga. preacher’s ceremony

GEORGIA
The Associated Press

By GREG BLUESTEIN, Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — Jewish leaders are criticizing a ceremony that involved a controversial megachurch leader being wrapped in a religious scroll and exalted as a “king” to the applause of his parishioners.

The video from a service last Sunday at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church shows Rabbi Ralph Messer, a Messianic preacher, instructing two men to slowly wrap Bishop Eddie Long in a large scroll that’s purported to be the Torah.

“It doesn’t matter where you go, how you try to attack him. He’s sealed,” Messer proclaims, before the scroll is opened to reveal a teary-eyed Long. Moments later, Long was seated in a plush chair, covered in a prayer shawl while holding the sacred scroll and lifted by four men.

“He now is raised up from a commoner to a kingship,” Messer proclaims, as the men walk Long’s seat around an adoring crowd.

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Sex Scandal Bishop Eddie Long ‘Crowned King’ [VIDEO]

GEORGIA
International Business Times

By Toyin Owoseje | February 3, 2012

A video showing controversial US Bishop Eddie Long of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church being crowned ‘King’ by Rabbi Ralph Messer during one of the church’s televised services has sparked outrage with the Christian community.

The 14-minute video clip of the crowning of the embattled preacher, who is at the centre of a sex scandal following allegations that he sexually abused several teenage church members over a period of years, has gone viral just hours after it was uploaded on video sharing website YouTube.

Eyebrows were raised across the globe after viewers watched the uploaded ritual like service, currently making the rounds on the internet.

In the footage of the service on January 29 at New Birth, guest preacher Rabbi Messer, who leads Simchat Torah Beit Midrash (STBM) proclaimed Long to be spiritual royalty.

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Watch the New Birth Throne: Eddie Long Declared ‘King’ by ‘Rabbi’

GEORGIA
Religion Dispatches

[with video]

Post by Anthea Butler

Hat tip to my Twitter follower @Shugah for sending me this clip of Eddie Long being crowned King at New Birth on Sunday, January 29, 2012.

While most Christians were having regular Sunday services, over at Eddie Long’s New Birth Church in Lithonia, Ga, Ralph Messer, who is part of the Hebrew Roots movement, was crowning Eddie Long King in an elaborate ceremony that included wrapping Long in a Torah Scroll purported to be found at Auschwitz and Birkenau.

In case you’re unable or unwilling to watch: the video shows Messer giving Long the Torah scroll declaring that he is the first man to look upon the scroll after 3000 years. Long is “wrapped in the scroll” and prayed over. Messer asks Long to take a seat, and declares that God gave Long a position of power and authority. He is given the constitution of God as a king (6:49), the Torah, and then, Messer has four men representing the four corners of the earth, (7:04) pick the chair up. Messer then declares that Eddie Long is raised up from a commoner to a King, replete with music, cheers, and a poorly executed blessing in Hebrew. If it weren’t so offensive to Christian and Jewish sensibilities, it would be laughable.

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Indecent assault victim relieved at priest’s resignation

CANADA
Canada.com

By Robert Hiltz, Postmedia News February 2, 2012

OTTAWA – Anglican priest Rev. Wayne Lynch, convicted of indecent assault in 1999 for incidents that occurred in the ’70s, resigned from a church Thursday that recently allowed him to join in eucharist celebrations.

Lynch’s victim said Thursday he’s relieved by the resignation but he can’t understand why he wasn’t involved in the decision to bring the priest to Annapolis Royal’s St. Luke’s Anglican Parish in the first place.

Glenn Johnson, who was sexually assaulted by Lynch when he was 14 years old, says the decision to give restricted duties to Lynch without any consultation with him doesn’t make sense.

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Priest’s return shocked victim

CANADA
The Chronicle-Herald

February 3, 2012 – 4:34am By GORDON DELANEY Valley Bureau

ANNAPOLIS ROYAL — A former Nova Scotia man who was sexually assaulted by an Anglican priest says he was shocked to learn his abuser had again been performing duties at a small Annapolis Royal church.

The priest resigned Thursday in the wake of the controversy.

In an interview from his Ottawa home, Glenn Johnson said he was “flabbergasted” that Rev. Wayne Lynch had been performing duties at St. Luke’s Anglican Church before his resignation.

“I would think that the church would know better.”

Johnson, 48, was sexually assaulted by Lynch in the late 1970s while serving as an altar boy at All Saints Anglican Church in Brooklyn, Queens County. He was 13 at the time.

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Gardai claim improvement in handling of child abuse cases

IRELAND
Irish Independent

[Garda Inspectorate reports]

By Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

Friday February 03 2012

GARDA Commissioner Martin Callinan said yesterday that the force had given “huge attention” to improving its handling of child sexual abuse investigations in the wake of a critical report.

He was speaking after a Garda Inspectorate report found fault with the gardai for under-reporting child sexual abuse allegations in its crime statistics and for lacking specialist child abuse investigators.

But Com. Callinan said the force had drawn up a new policy on child sexual abuse investigations since it had received the draft report in 2010.

“All of the areas which have been identified in the report have received huge attention since,” he said.

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Child protection – We still have a very long way to go

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Nothing is more important than protecting our children.

So begins Kathleen O’Toole, head of the Garda Inspectorate, in her review of the force’s response to child sexual abuse.

Yet the Ferns, Dublin, Cloyne and Ryan reports revealed occasions when gardaí were more concerned with protecting the reputation of the Catholic Church or shielding themselves from the hassle of a potentially difficult investigation.

Chief Inspector O’Toole frankly acknowledges those failings, not only historic but, more importantly, current. On communication between the agencies tasked with child protection, she states: “Effective collaboration still appears to be the exception and not the rule.” One example is the failure to complete joint action sheets between the HSE and the gardaí when a concern about child sexual abuse is reported. In the Dublin Metropolitan Area, only 1% of those concerns resulted in a joint action sheet. Across all six Garda regions, the completion rate averaged just 23%.

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More Charges Filed Against Lauderdale Lakes Youth Pastor

FLORIDA
CBS Miami

[with video]

FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – More charges have been filed against a South Florida youth pastor accused of molesting children.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office said another child has come forward to say that they were sexually abused by 48-year old Jeffrey London. During a court hearing on Thursday, the judge ordered that London be held without bond.

London was arrested last week at his Lauderdale Lakes home for allegedly sexually abusing a boy. The alleged victim in the case said he lived with London for more than a decade and he was repeatedly abused during that time.

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Local Pastor arrested in Mexico for sexual assault

NEVADA
The Henderson Press

Written by Carla J. Zvosec

Otis Holland, 55, a Las Vegas pastor wanted on charges of having sex with underage girls, was captured on Wednesday, Jan. 25, in Mexico.

Holland disappeared from the Henderson area in June, after an arrest warrant was issued for him by the Henderson Police. The warrant was for 11 counts of sexual assault of a victim under the age of 16, one count of child abuse and conspiracy to commit a crime.

On a recent airing of Fox-TV’s America’s Most Wanted, the pastor’s crimes were broadcast, bringing in a tip from a viewer who saw the program. The information was delivered to the U.S. Marshals Service, which had been working in conjunction with the Henderson Police in the search for Holland.

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A failure to protect

IRELAND
The Irish Times

[Garda Inspectorate reports]

A REPORT by the Garda Inspectorate into consistent failures by members of the force to properly investigate, record and prosecute cases of child sex abuse makes for disturbing reading. An excessively deferential approach and a reluctance to apply for search warrants to secure church records are suggested as contributory factors. It sounds familiar. Hasn’t that kind of weak-kneed reaction to potentially illegal or criminal actions by senior church, business, banking and political individuals been tolerated for decades?

It is important to realise that this investigation was ordered in the aftermath of the Murphy report concerning clerical sex abuse in the Dublin archdiocese and it deals with criticisms of the Garda Síochána from 2009. The report was delivered in 2010, as public anger over denials and cover-ups by the Catholic hierarchy overflowed and a fresh investigation was launched in the Cloyne diocese. In the circumstances, withholding the document to avoid the Garda being caught up in public condemnations was understandable. The official reason given for the delay was “legal constraints”.

Poor management, indiscipline and inadequate Garda record-keeping has come under scrutiny in recent years. The Morris tribunal, which investigated corruption in Donegal, recommended the establishment of a Garda Inspectorate to review professional standards and to promote best international practice. In this case, it found that record-keeping was so poor that up to 65 per cent of sex crimes against children were not officially noted. Many were not recorded as criminal offences. And a poor level of co-operation existed between the Garda and the Health Service Executive in responding to abuse cases.

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