Online clamor over fatal bike crash includes calls for Cook to resign

MARYLAND
The Baltimore Brew

[with video]

Fern Shen December 31, 2014

In the wake of the revelation that Episcopal Bishop Heather Elizabeth Cook drove off after she hit a bicyclist who later died, calls for her to be arrested and to step down from the church hierarchy have been mounting.

The Facebook page “Charge Bishop Heather Cook with Homicide” has 1,804 likes and, at the top of the page right now, is an open letter from cyclist Vince Harriman calling on Cook to resign as Bishop Suffragan.

“This is your chance to say to the world as a person, as a priest, as a bishop, that you believe in what you say about personal responsibility,” Harriman wrote.

Putting extra pressure on Cook is her high-profile spiritual role as the No. 2 official in the Maryland Diocese, serving directly under Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton.

Cook’s own words in sermons have…

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Tulare priest charged with embezzlement

CALIFORNIA
Fresno Bee

BY HANNAH FURFARO
The Fresno Bee
December 31, 2014

The former leader of St. Rita’s Catholic Church in Tulare is being charged with embezzlement, officials from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno announced Wednesday.

The Tulare County District Attorney filed the charges against the the Rev. Ignacio Villafan after being contacted by the diocese, which discovered financial discrepancies under Villafan’s watch, officials from the church say.

Villafan was removed from his position at St. Rita’s in 2012 after the discrepancies were discovered. Teresa Dominguez, chancellor for the diocese, said Father Ivan Hernandez took over for Villafan in late 2013. A resume provided by Dominguez shows Villafan previously worked at St. Anne’s Church in Porterville, St. John the Evangelist Parish in Tipton and St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Cutler.

Dominguez referred all questions about the case to the Tulare District Attorney’s office. Officials did not…

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Embezzlement charges filed against Tulare priest

CALIFORNIA
ABC 30

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) —
The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office has filed embezzlement charges against Rev. Ignacio Villafan following an investigation by the Tulare Police Department.

In a statement, Diocesan officials said, “[…] evidence of financial improprieties was brought to their attention and verified by an outside accounting firm dating back to the time that Rev. Villafan was pastor.”

Pending the outcome of the investigation, Rev. Villafan was immediately removed from administrative duties, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno.

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Woolf abuse inquiry predecessor defends New Year honour

UNITED KINGDOM
ITV

Criticism of the New Year honour awarded to former Lord Mayor of London Fiona Woolf, a few months after she was forced to resign as chair of the Government’s child sexual abuse inquiry, is “very unfair”, her inquiry predecessor has said.

Baroness Butler-Sloss defended the damehood awarded to Ms Woolf, saying the “very least that the honours system could do would be to honour a woman who has got such a distinguished post”.

Fiona Woolf misled the Home Secretary over her links with Leon Brittan, caused unnecessary distress to victims of child abuse and caused a lengthy and avoidable delay to a very serious inquiry that urgently needs to get started.

– SIMON DANCZUK, MP FOR ROCHDALE

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Row over damehood for ousted abuse inquiry chair

UNITED KINGDOM
The Times

Jenny Booth

Senior figures have sprung to the defence of Fiona Woolf, after she was criticised for accepting a damehood in the new year’s honours list despite her forced exit as the head of the government’s child sex abuse inquiry.

The retired judge Baroness Butler-Sloss said it was “very unfair” of MPs Simon Danczuk and Tom Watson to criticise the honour, and warned that if abuse survivors continued to veto potential leaders of the abuse inquiry then there was a risk the investigation would never get off the ground at all.

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Cardinal George dropped from experimental cancer treatment

CHICAGO (IL)
National Catholic Reporter

Stephanie Yeagle | Dec. 31, 2014

Chicago Cardinal Francis George has been dropped from the experimental cancer treatment program at the University of Chicago, according to a press release from the Chicago archdiocese’s Department of Communications and Public Relations.

“Recent scans showed that this experimental drug has not been effective in his case, but the physicians and others who are overseeing this trial assured him that the information that they had gathered during his course of treatment will be of benefit to others,” the statement said.

The statement added that George will meet with his physicians at Loyola University Hospital in January to discuss next steps. So far, the cancer has not spread to any vital organs, according to the statement.

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2015 — The Beginning of the End of Vatican Scandals?

UNITED KINGDOM
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

2015 begins with some hopeful developments:

* A prominent UK judge and and former head of a national investigation panel admits that the UK establishment covered up child abuse by members of the establishment’s elite. This adds a powerful impetus to the increasing calls for a thorough and transparent UK investigation, including of the Vatican’s seeming complicity in UK priest child abuse cover-ups.

* The USA’s Minneapolis Archdiocese appears about to explode. It reportedly is seemingly drifting into imminent bankruptcy that will possibly lead to a new bishop being put in charge. This likely could have negative repercussions for a key former official, Fr. Kevin McDonough, brother of President Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.

* A Belgian bishop has boldly and squarely called on the Vatican to recognize gay relationships. Will the Vatican respond soon? Will any journalists ask them about this?…

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The Case of the Drunk-Driving Bishop

MARYLAND
The American Conservative

By ROD DREHER • December 31, 2014

Terrible story from Baltimore. Bishop Heather Elizabeth Cook hit a cyclist with her car, and sped away. He died. Then the story got a lot more complicated:

First Sunday came the news that the driver in the crash was a bishop — the No. 2 Episcopal bishop in the Diocese of Maryland — which initially drew a national audience intrigued by the moral complications of a high-ranking clergy possibly abandoning someone who was hurt. Then Monday and Tuesday came additional detail about an ugly 2010 drunk driving arrest involving Cook, then a priest. Police records show she was so drunk she couldn’t even complete the sobriety tests, had apparently thrown up on her shirt while driving and was driving on only three wheels as one tire had been worn to its rims.

The fact that top church…

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Abusive Coaches: Lawmaker Says Oregon Could Crack Down More

OREGON
Willemette Week

December 19th, 2014 | Beth Slovic

This week’s edition of WW looks at Central Catholic High School’s football team and the hiring practices that allowed the high school to twice hire coaches who faced sexual misconduct allegations at prior schools.

The story noted that Central Catholic is not alone in Oregon in facing challenges when it comes to keeping tabs on coaches. The state doesn’t require teaching licenses to coach school sports, for example. That means that the state regulators who discipline teachers at the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission have no jurisdiction over coaches. Meanwhile, the TSPC can discipline teachers even if they don’t face criminal charges for abuse.

In 2009, the Legislature enacted a number of changes to state law that attempted to end the practice of “passing the trash” among school districts—that is, keeping quiet about an educator’s past when a new…

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Ex-chairman of VIP paedophile inquiry claims establishment ‘covered up child sex abuse’

UNITED KINGDOM
Express

By OWEN BENNETT

The retired judge was appointed in July by Home Secretary Theresa May to lead the investigation into child abuse claims at institutions across the country, and how allegations were dealt with by authorities.

Elizabeth Butler-Sloss stood down less than a week after her appointment amid claims of a conflict of interest, as her brother, Sir Michael Havers, was Attorney-General during the 1980s when some of the alleged abuse occurred.

This morning, the 81-year-old said she took on the role as she felt it was her ‘duty’.

She said: “I do believe the establishment has in the past looked after itself, partly because people did not really recognise the seriousness of child abuse and they did not think it was so important, and it was important to protect members of the establishment.

“So I would want to go in with a knife and cut…

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Butler-Sloss: victims should not run child abuse inquiry

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Patrick Wintour, political editor
Wednesday 31 December 2014

Lady Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, the appeal court judge forced to stand down as chair of the government child abuse inquiry, has said she fears the government will never be able to find an experienced figure to run the investigation, but that victims should not think they can do it.

Butler-Sloss was forced to stand down as the chair of the broad inquiry into child abuse in July because her late brother Sir Michael Havers had been attorney general in the 1980s and his actions would have been subject to investigation by the inquiry.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday she said she was adamant that the establishment had covered up its role in child abuse. “I do believe the establishment has in the past looked after itself, partly because people did not really recognise the seriousness…

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Baroness Butler-Sloss on abuse inquiry controversy

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

[with video]

31 December 2014

Baroness Butler-Sloss says she agreed to chair an inquiry into historical child abuse because she felt it was her duty and that she was “quite able to be independent and say that people had got it wrong and to be critical of them”.

She later stood down from the role, under pressure to quit from MPs and victims concerned about her family links.

Baroness Butler-Sloss was the guest editor of the Today programme on Wednesday.

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Victims tell Butler-Sloss: don’t blame us for child abuse inquiry mistakes

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Rowena Mason, political correspondent
Wednesday 31 December 2014

Lady Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, the high court judge forced to stand down as chair of the government child abuse inquiry, has been criticised for suggesting survivors are at risk of causing problems with the investigation.

Peter Saunders, the chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (Napac), hit back after Butler-Sloss warned it would be difficult to find a chair for the inquiry who was sufficiently removed from the establishment to satisfy victims groups. Both Butler-Sloss and the City lawyer Dame Fiona Woolf resigned from the role after survivors of abuse objected to their links to senior Westminster politicians.

However, Saunders said Butler-Sloss was wrong to imply survivors were holding the government hostage over the selection of the chair, when it was the Home Office that had made two bad choices.

Survivor groups just…

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There WAS an Establishment cover-up of child abuse …

UNITED KINGDOM
Daily Mail

There WAS an Establishment cover-up of child abuse as the powerful looked after themselves, says former inquiry chief

By MATT CHORLEY, POLITICAL EDITOR FOR MAILONLINE

There was an Establishment cover-up of horrific child abuse because powerful figures looked after themselves, former judge Lady Butler-Sloss warned today.

Senior members of British society in the past did not think child abuse was as serious or important as protecting politicians and other members of the elite, she suggested.

Lady Butler-Sloss was forced to quit as chairman of the wide-ranging inquiry into allegations of a cover-up because her brother was in the Cabinet in the 1980s.

But she insisted if she had stayed in post and been able to run the inquiry she would have ‘cut the whole thing open’.

Lady Butler-Sloss’s resignation in July came less than a week after David Cameron agreed to an inquiry into allegations…

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Dame Butler-Sloss abuse inquiry comments spark anger

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

31 December 2014

Baroness Butler-Sloss has cautioned against giving victims too much influence over who runs the planned inquiry into historical child abuse.

The retired judge, who stepped down as head of the public inquiry, said there could be “real problems” if they were to decide who is its eventual chair, but her comments have angered some victims’ groups.

Anti-abuse campaigner Phil Frampton said that he was “appalled” at the idea that “victims can’t take a rational view”.

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Butler-Sloss cautions over victims’ role in abuse inquiry

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

Baroness Butler-Sloss has cautioned against giving victims too much influence over who runs the planned inquiry into historical child abuse.

The retired judge, who stepped down as head of the public inquiry, said there could be “real problems” if they were to decide who is its eventual chair.

She also told BBC Radio 4 she has “enormous sympathy” for the victims.

The home secretary will decide who heads the inquiry, but the government says she wants to hear victims’ views.

A Home Office spokesman said Home Secretary Theresa May is “absolutely committed” the inquiry has the “confidence of survivors… to ensure the right person is appointed”.

The inquiry, sparked by claims of paedophiles operating in Westminster in the 1980s, is set to investigate whether “public bodies and other non-state institutions have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse in England…

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Catholic Belgian Bishop Calls For ‘Formal Recognition’ Of Gay Couples In The Church

BELGIUM
International Business Times

By Zoe Mintz

A Catholic bishop in Belgium has called for ecclesiastical recognition of same-sex couples within the Roman Catholic Church. Bishop Johan Bonny of Antwerp, Belgium, shared his thoughts in an interview for De Morgen, a Belgian newspaper, on Dec. 27.

“Indeed, we need to seek a formal recognition of the kind of relationship that exists between many gay and lesbian couples,” Bonny said according to the National Catholic Reporter. “Does that recognition have to be a sacramental marriage? Perhaps the church could much better reflect on a diversity of forms of relationships. One has the same kind of discussion about civil marriages. In Belgium the same model (for civil marriages) exists for man-woman relations as well as for same-sex relations.”

He noted, “The intrinsic values are more important to me than the institutional question. The Christian ethic is based on lasting relationships where…

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Bonny wil kerkelijke erkenning holebi’s

BELGIE
De Morgen

REMY AMKREUTZ, KOEN VIDAL
27-12-14

De Antwerpse bisschop Johan Bonny pleit voor een kerkelijke erkenning van holebirelaties. Het dogma dat de katholieke kerk alleen man-vrouwrelaties kan aanvaarden, stelt hij in een interview met deze krant in vraag. “Er moet een diversiteit aan erkenningsvormen komen.”

Met zijn pleidooi is Bonny een van de eerste kerkelijke leiders die het absolute monopolie van het man-vrouwhuwelijk openbreekt. “We moeten binnen de kerk zoeken naar een formele erkenning van de relationaliteit die ook bij veel holebikoppels aanwezig is. Zoals er ook in de samenleving een diversiteit aan legale kaders bestaat voor partners, moet er in de kerk een diversiteit aan erkenningsvormen komen.”

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A Priest’s Dying Declaration In Prison

PENNSYLVANIA
Big Trial

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

The night before Father Charles Engelhardt died, a fellow inmate claims, the priest gave a dying declaration:

“Paul, I do not feel well. Please understand that I am an innocent man, who was wrongly convicted.”

On Dec. 22, the inmate, Paul H. Eline, a former Temple Law student, filed as an intervenor with the state Superior Court in the case of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Charles Engelhardt, appellant. In his application for third party intervention, Eline wrote that the matters he was bringing to the court’s attention were “critical and constitute ‘extraordinary circumstances’ ” that should be made part of the record.

At the time of his death last month, Engelhardt was an inmate at the State Correctional Institution in Coal Township, Northumberland County. The 67-year-old priest had served nearly two years of a 6-to-12 year-sentence after being convicted…

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The Curious Case of Carlos Urrutigoity (VIII)

UNITED STATES
Commonweal

Grant Gallicho December 31, 2014

This is the conclusion of a series of posts on the Urrutigoity case. Read the first part here, the second here, the third here, the fourth here, the fifth here, the sixth here, and the seventh here.

“I want to assure everyone,” Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano wrote in 2008, “that I have never hidden or protected anyone convicted of any crime.” The bishop was attempting to quell the outcry of Catholics in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, over his decision to invite an accused priest and his followers—the Society of St. John—to establish themselves in his diocese. “My track record in these cases is very clear,” Livieres continued. “Just as I have not hesitated to convict the guilty, neither will I punish an innocent victim of slander.” The victim, according to Livieres, was Fr….

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Number of Catholics growing throughout the world

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) The number of Catholics in the world has increased with growth registered across all five continents. The figures are taken by the Fides news agency from the latest edition of the Church’s Book of Statistics updated to 31 December 2012. These show that on that date the number of Catholics in the world stood at 1,228,621,000 with an overall increase of more than 15,000,000 compared to the previous year. The Americas and Africa registered the biggest increases followed by Asia, Europe and Oceania. The world percentage of Catholics stood at 17.49 %, a decrease of 0.01% compared to the end of 2011.

The total number of priests in the world increased by 895 to 414,313. Europe once again registered the largest decrease (-1,375) followed by the Americas (-90) and Oceania (-80). In Africa the number of priests grew by 1,076 and in Asia…

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At Year End: the State of the See of Saint Paul (and Minneapolis)

MINNESOTA
Canonical Consultation

Jennifer Haselberger

12/30/2014

With the new year upon us, I thought I would take a moment to summarize some of the issues that have plagued the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis over the past year, and to provide some context as to what we can expect moving forward. Minnesota Public Radio did its own assessment, ‘A year in the life of the Twin Cities Archdiocese’, as did the AP. The AP story, which highlighted events of national importance and described how they played out in Minnesota, placed the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis under the category of ‘Clergy Sex Abuse’.

Yet the sexual abuse scandal is only one part (albeit an incredibly significant one) of the overall shaky state of affairs in the Archdiocese. Lest anyone forget, the Archdiocese’s financial problems began long before the passage of the Minnesota Child Victims Act, and the…

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Bishop accused in bicylist death…

MARYLAND
Washington Post

Bishop accused in bicylist death raises question: Who’s qualified to be clergy?

By Michelle Boorstein December 31

The awful death Saturday in Baltimore of a biker who was hit by an Episcopal bishop has set off questions around the country: How long after she hit the man did she return to the scene? Could dividers bordering the bike lane have helped?

But mostly: How could a member of the clergy do that kind of thing?

Baltimore police have released almost no information about what they believe happened Saturday when Bishop Heather Elizabeth Cook hit the bike of Thomas Palermo before leaving the scene and returning some time later. But that hasn’t stopped the incident from immediately setting off passionate debate about our expectations of religious leaders and exactly what kind of flaws should disqualify someone from the clergy. The case shows that even with Americans’ cynicism…

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Lawyer representing three in abuse claim against John Furlong withdraws from civil cases

CANADA
Vancouver Sun

By Tracy Sherlock, Vancouver Sun December 30, 2014

The lawyer representing three people accusing Vancouver Olympics boss John Furlong of abuse while he was a teacher in the late 1960s has withdrawn from all three B.C. Supreme Court civil cases.

The news comes after one woman withdrew her complaint and court documents show that one of Furlong’s accusers may have been attending a different school during the years he accuses Furlong of abuse.

Three people — Beverly Mary Abraham (who recently withdrew her lawsuit), Grace Jessie West and an unidentified man — initially filed civil lawsuits in B.C. Supreme Court accusing former Vancouver Olympics CEO Furlong of physical and sexual abuse. Vancouver lawyer Jason Gratl was the lawyer for each.

The allegations surfaced after the Georgia Straight published an article written by Laura Robinson suggesting Furlong physically and verbally abused First Nations students while teaching at…

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Maryland Episcopal bishop in fatal crash …

MARYLAND
Washington Post

Maryland Episcopal bishop in fatal crash had DUI history, and diocese knew

[police report]

By Michelle Boorstein and T. Rees Shapiro December 30

Leaders in the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland who this spring made Heather Elizabeth Cook a bishop — the diocese’s first female bishop — knew the ugly details of her 2010 drunk-driving arrest but determined “that this one mistake should not bar her for consideration as a leader,” the diocese said in a statement Tuesday.

Now the diocese finds itself under fire after Cook’s acknowledgment that she was involved in a crash on Saturday that killed bicyclist Thomas Palermo, the father of two small children. Cook left the scene but returned later, Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton said in a statement Monday.

Baltimore police said they have questioned a woman about the crash, but they have not named Cook and no charges have been…

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Civil war in the papacy

MALTA
Times of Malta

Wednesday, December 31, 2014 by Martin Scicluna

Pope Francis may well be remembered as one of the most transformative and inspirational pontiffs of the last 200 years – if he is allowed to, that is.

The month of October 2014 will probably go down as the defining moment of his papacy. To view the issues he had to deal with in the course of those four weeks is to see both the magnitude and the range of his task in trying to rescue the Catholic Church from the corruption and short-sightedness that have undermined it.

October found him – among other things – having to send a special administrator to the scandal-plagued diocese of Albenga-Impera on the Italian Riviera, where priests there were accused of offences ranging from theft to sex abuse and links to prostitution.

Meanwhile, at the Vatican, Pope Francis decided to assemble one…

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We’d rather not hear from last year’s bad newsmakers

MISSOURI
Pitch

A new year should be a new beginning. But 2014’s baggage weighs heavy as we try to push into 2015.

So we’ve made a list — a special list, a wish list — of the people and organizations we’d love to leave in the past. It’s not that the inept, the perverse and the just plain mean don’t sometimes amuse us. And we aren’t saying we’ll never forgive certain corrupt or morally suspect people. It’s just that we’d rather they went away and let the healing begin. We know that most of them won’t oblige us, but we’re determined to start 2015 fresh anyway by saying our own goodbyes to these 2014 bums and bummers.

———————————————-

Bishop Robert Finn

If you work for a Catholic institution in northwest Missouri, you report to the highest-ranking U.S. Catholic official to be convicted in a sex-abuse scandal: Bishop Robert Finn….

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Swedish youth pastor convicted of raping child

SWEDEN
The Local

A pastor in the Church of Sweden diocese of Uppsala has been jailed after being convicted of raping a teenage member of his confirmation class.

The court sentenced the man, who has been employed as a youth pastor in the diocese, to two and a half years in prison for the rape of a child. According to the court ruling, the pastor had raped the 14-year-old confirmand on several occasions during the spring of 2014 .

The bishop of the diocese of Uppsala, Ragnar Persenius has responded to the verdict by saying that it is a serious matter when a pastor is incapable of setting boundaries and acting professionally.

“Regardless of whether the crime is classed as rape or sexual molestation, it is completely unacceptable for a pastor. We have zero tolerance for sexual abuse,” said Persenius.

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Impact statement from Victim

CANADA
The StarPhoenix

[Sexual assault by priest haunts victim – The StarPhoenix]

From the victim impact statement of a 46-year-old woman who was 10 years old when Omer Desjardins sexually touched her in 1978:

“You sexually assaulted me many years ago, when I was only a child. This betrayal has affected me from that night on to the present day.

I did tell my grandmother the very next morning that you had done this to me, but she did not share this with my mother, her own daughter.

You were a priest, supposedly a man of God. How could you do this to an innocent child?

For many years, I tried not to think of what you had done to me and how it has affected me from that day forward. I became a mother (in 2003) and was blessed with a beautiful daughter. … I once again…

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Insurer seeks to limit priest abuse liability

MINNESOTA
KARE

ST. PAUL, Minn. – An insurance company has asked a court to limit or eliminate its responsibility to cover some clergy sex abuse claims against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Last month, the archdiocese sued about 20 insurers in federal court to try to clarify the amount of money the carriers would pay to settle clergy sex abuse claims.

In a court filing, the insurer CNA contends the company and its predecessors have no responsibility to pay claims related to events that were “not unexpected or unforeseen.”

Minnesota Public Radio News reports the insurer said it has no record of some policies that the archdiocese claims exist. The insurer also said some coverage doesn’t include sexual abuse.

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Man accusing ex-VANOC CEO of sexual abuse was attending a different residential school at the time: court documents

CANADA
The Province

The Canadian Press

Court documents related to a lawsuit against former Olympic CEO John Furlong suggest one of the plaintiffs attended a school in a different community at the time of alleged sexual abuse.

The plaintiff, a man who has asked that his name not be published, alleged Furlong sexually abused him while he was at Immaculata School in Burns Lake in 1969 and 1970.

But court documents indicate the man filed a claim for compensation under the Indian residential schools settlement that said he attended Lejac Residential School in Fraser Lake from 1966 until 1975.

The case is one of three lawsuits that allege Furlong sexually abused students while teaching in northern B.C. in the late 1960s and early 1970s, though in each case Furlong has denied any wrongdoing.

A lawsuit filed by Beverly Abraham has been dropped, leaving the man’s claim and a lawsuit…

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Sexual assault by priest haunts victim

CANADA
StarPhoenix

BY HANNAH SPRAY, THE STARPHOENIX DECEMBER 30, 2014

A sexual assault by a priest on a 10-year-old girl in the middle of the night has caused the victim to lose her faith in God and her trust in people.

“The sight of any Catholic priest disgusts me and when I see one, I think, ‘I bet that priest has sexually assaulted a child,’ just like you did to me,” the 46-year-old woman told Omer Desjardins as she stood across from him in Saskatoon provincial court.

Desjardins, 82, pleaded guilty to one count of indecent assault, stemming from the incident in 1978 in a small community north of Saskatoon, and lawyers made sentencing arguments Tuesday in Saskatoon provincial court.

Desjardins doesn’t remember the specifics of what happened, but accepted the woman’s allegation — that while they were both guests at her grandparents’ house one night, he came into…

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Investigation Continues Into Fatal Baltimore Bike Accident

MARYLAND
WJZ

Mike Hellgren

BALTIMORE (WJZ) –Timeline of a tragedy. What WJZ is uncovering about the crash that killed a cyclist and father of two. And what the church is saying now about the drunk driving past of a high-ranking bishop at the center of the investigation.

Outrage and sadness, over the death of cyclist, Tom Palermo in North Baltimore. Police at the scene of what they call a hit and run and the Episcopal Church is releasing updated information about the bishop behind the wheel.

Investigator Mike Hellgren has the details on where the investigation stand at this moment.

The pain is intense over the loss of Tom Palermo, the father of two, who was hit and killed on his bike Saturday. The outrage is intense as well after Maryland’s Episcopal Church confirmed its number two in command, Bishop Heather Cook, was behind the wheel and left the…

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Citing “forgiveness,” diocese elected Cook despite 2010 drunk driving infraction

MARYLAND
The Baltimore Brew

[with court record]

Fern Shen and Danielle Sweeney December 30, 2014

Citing the Christian value of “forgiveness,” officials of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland said today that Bishop Heather Cook disclosed her 2010 drunk driving and marijuana arrest, but that they decided it should not disqualify her from consideration to serve as bishop.

“One of the core values of the Christian faith is forgiveness. We cannot preach forgiveness without practicing forgiveness and offering people opportunity for redemption,” said the statement from the director of communications for the Baltimore-based diocese.

Cook’s arrest on the Eastern Shore has been in the spotlight since the 58-year-old “Bishop Suffragan” was identified as the driver of the car that hit bicyclist Thomas Palermo Saturday. Cook initially left the scene of the crash, returning after being chased to an apartment complex by a bicyclist. Palermo was pronounced dead at Sinai Hospital.

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Insurer seeks to limit priest abuse liability

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Martin Moylan Dec 30, 2014

A major insurer asked a court Tuesday to limit or eliminate its responsibility to cover some clergy sex abuse claims against the Twin Cities archdiocese.

Last month, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis sued about 20 insurers in federal court to try to clarify the amount of money the carriers would pay to settle clergy sex abuse claims. In a court filing, the insurer CNA is now contending that the company and its predecessors have no responsibility to pay claims related to events that were “not unexpected or unforeseen,” or claims that otherwise breach contractual obligations.

The insurer said it has no record of some policies that the archdiocese claims exist. The insurer also said some coverage doesn’t include sexual abuse.

CNA is also seeking rulings that would limit its financial responsibility if it is determined that the company…

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The Likely Public Image Decline of Pope Francis in 2015

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

* With some help, it appears, from an ongoing right wing influenced media push, Pope Francis, according to polls, is beginning 2015 with a very positive public image worldwide. Also, he has twice as many Republican fans as Democratic fans in the USA (although many less than likely 2016 US Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, with whom the pope will likely clash in 2015).

Please see here:

* [Pew Research]
* [Gallup]

* Meanwhile, the editors at the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) seemingly struggled to name the pope, barely, as Person of the Year after twenty one months. NCR conceded that Francis’ abuse commission has yet to act and that he was tone deaf on women, while NCR also apparently skipped over Francis’ reported failure so far even to appoint independent auditors for the Vatican’s own significant financial operations and…

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Alcohol Influence Report, for Heather Cook, 9/10/10 (Caroline County Sheriff’s Office)

MARYLAND
The Baltimore Brew

Brew Editors December 30, 2014

From the Caroline Co. Sheriff’s office Case Report Summary

Alcohol Influence Report

On 09/10/10 I, Dfc. Reibly, was patrolling East on Preston Rd. in the area of Greenfield Ct., Preston, Caroline County, MD while operating moving radar. I observed a vehicle traveling West on Preston Rd. that appeared to be going significantly slower than the posted 50 mph speed limit. As I got closer to the vehicle I noticed the vehicle was riding on the shoulder of the roadway. I activated my Stalker (#5) radar unit and received a digital readout of 29 mph. I also noticed the vehicle was dragging something under the front passenger side of the car.

I conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle. The vehicle was a 2001 green Subaru wagon with Maryland registration 56837BY. As I approached the vehicle I detected a strong odor…

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Episcopal Diocese of Maryland was aware …

MARYLAND
ABC 2

Episcopal Diocese of Maryland was aware of bishop’s previous DUI prior to fatal hit-and-run

BALTIMORE – The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland said it was fully aware that a bishop involved in a deadly hit-and-run of a bicyclist in Roland Park Saturday afternoon had been previously arrested for driving under the influence.

According to a statement from the Diocese, Heather Elizabeth Cook, Bishop Suffragan of Maryland, fully disclosed the 2010 DUI for which charges were filed resulting in probation before judgment. Following the disclosure, Cook was elected as bishop suffragan on May 2, 2014. She is the first woman bishop in the diocese.

“One of the core values of the Christian faith is forgiveness,” the statement read. “We cannot preach forgiveness without practicing forgiveness and offering people opportunity for redemption…After extensive discussion and discernment about the incident, and after further investigation, including extensive background check and psychological…

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Baltimore bishop got evaluations after DUI charge

MARYLAND
The Baltimore Sun

By Mark Puente
The Baltimore Sun

Before being elevated to a position as a high-ranking bishop, Heather Elizabeth Cook was subjected to an extensive background check and psychological investigation regarding a 2010 drunken driving incident, the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland said Tuesday.

“One of the core values of the Christian faith is forgiveness. We cannot preach forgiveness without practicing forgiveness and offering people opportunity for redemption,” the diocese said in a statement about the search process for an elected bishop.

Cook — who in September became Maryland’s bishop suffragan, the No. 2 leader of the diocese — was driving a car involved in Saturday’s fatal crash on Roland Avenue. Bicyclist Thomas Palermo, 41, a married, father of two, died from his injuries.

No charges have been filed in connection with the afternoon crash in North Baltimore, and police said an investigation was in its…

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Former Teacher At Private Girls School Pleads Not Guilty To Molesting Teen

LOS ANGELES (CA)
CBS Los Angeles

December 29, 2014

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A former teacher at a private Westside girls school pleaded not guilty Monday to sexually molesting a 16-year-old student.

Elizabeth Ann Brewer, 39, of Culver City, is charged with three counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object, two counts of oral copulation and one count of forcible oral copulation between January 2004 and December 2006.

Brewer was a teacher at Notre Dame Academy, a Catholic college-prep school for girls in West Los Angeles, during the time in question.

Brewer, who faces up to 21 years in prison if convicted, is scheduled to return to court Jan. 20.

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Ex-Teacher at Westside Girls’ School Pleads Not Guilty in Alleged Sexual Relationship With Student

LOS ANGELES (CA)
KTLA

A former teacher at a Catholic girls’ high school pleaded not guilty Monday to multiple criminal charges in connection with an alleged nearly three-year sexual relationship with an underage student.

Elizabeth Ann Brewer, 39, was a teacher at Notre Dame Academy, a Westside all-girls private school, when she had the alleged relationship between January 2004 and December 2006, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Brewer was arrested in October by police in Culver City, where she lives. Police said a “lengthy investigation” led to her arrest after an alleged victim came forward.

She was accused of having a relationship with a 16-year-old student at the Rancho Park school, according to the DA’s office.

Brewer pleaded not guilty to three counts of sexual penetration by foreign object two counts of oral copulation and one count of forcible oral copulation, the DA’s office stated.

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EX-CATHOLIC GIRLS’ HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER CHARGED FOR SEXUAL CONTACT WITH STUDENT

LOS ANGELES (CA)
ABC 7

By ABC7.com staff
Monday, December 29, 2014

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — A former teacher at Notre Dame Academy has been charged with having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student. The alleged abuse occurred between January 2004 and December 2006.

Elizabeth Brewer, 39, faces three counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object, two counts of oral copulation and one count of forcible oral copulation.

Brewer pleaded not guilty Monday. She is due back in court on Jan. 20.

Notre Dame Academy is a Catholic college preparatory school for girls in West Los Angeles.

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2014 in review: Top Twin Cities stories

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Laura McCallum December 30, 2014 …

7. After more than a year’s worth of reporting on the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, MPR News’ special report, Betrayed by Silence, goes inside the cover-up led by three archbishops to see how and why the church protected priests who sexually abused children. Hundreds of hours of interviews and thousands of documents make clear that that church leaders knew they had abusers in the priesthood and they did everything in their power to keep the situation quiet. Meanwhile, they reassured the faithful and the media that clergy sexual abuse was a thing of the past.

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Indiana diocese to appeal $1.9 million verdict in teacher’s firing

INDIANA
Catholic Sentinel

Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — The Diocese of Fort-Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, plans to appeal a $1.9 million judgment against it in a lawsuit over the firing of an elementary school teacher who it claimed violated the morals clause of her contract.

A U.S. District Court jury determined Dec. 19 that the diocese discriminated against Emily Herx, a former language arts teacher at St. Vincent de Paul School in Fort Wayne, when her contract was not renewed in June 2011 after she informed a school official that she had undergone in vitro fertilization a second time.

Diocesan spokesman Sean McBride told Catholic News Service that work on an appeal was underway and would be filed in the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

In a statement, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades said the jury’s decision was disappointing.

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Former priest admitting to abuse still not charged

WISCONSIN
Sawyer County Record

Posted: Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Frank Zufall, staff reporter

A former Catholic priest alleged to have committed molestation against children in the village of Winter in 1983, and who admits in a Dec. 1 report that he abused, has never been charged even though Wisconsin’s statute of limitations allows for charges to be filed.

Thomas Ericksen, 67, now living in the Twin Cities, served as a Catholic priest in the Diocese of Superior at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in the Village of Winter.

Two alleged victims, Paul Eck and his nephew, James, filed a civil lawsuit against the diocese and Ericksen for alleged assault and settled for $3 million in 1989, the year after Ericksen left the priesthood.

However, criminal charges have never been filed against Ericksen.

In 2010, investigating Ericksen on the Internet, Paul Eck discovered the former priest had been volunteering for three…

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Belgian bishop advocates church recognition of gay relationships

BELGIUM
National Catholic Reporter

John A. Dick | Dec. 30, 2014

LEUVEN, BELGIUM — Bishop Johan Bonny of Antwerp, Belgium, has called for ecclesiastical recognition of gay relationships, according to an interview published in De Morgen, a Belgian newspaper, on Dec. 27.

The official teaching that the Catholic church can recognize only male-female committed relationships has to change, Bonny said.

“There should be recognition of a diversity of forms,” he said. “We have to look inside the church for a formal recognition of the kind of interpersonal relationship that is also present in many gay couples. Just as there are a variety of legal frameworks for partners in civil society, one must arrive at a diversity of forms in the church. … The intrinsic values are more important to me than the institutional question. The Christian ethic is based on lasting relationships where exclusivity, loyalty, and care are central…

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Jongsocialisten dienen klacht in tegen KVHV na uitspraken over Bonny

BELGIE
De Morgen

Het Katholiek Vlaams Hoogstudentenverbond (KVHV) Antwerpen reageert in een persbericht fel op de Antwerpse bisschop Johan Bonny, die de voorbije weken verschillende keren opriep om homoseksuelen met meer respect te behandelen. De Antwerpse Jongsocialisten reageren verontwaardigd en dienen klacht in.

“Monseigneur, wat u voorstelt is niet katholiek”, klinkt het fel in het persbericht van het KVHV. De vereniging verwijst daarmee naar Bonny’s oproep in deze krant, toen de Antwerpse bisschop opriep om “de inhoudelijke kwaliteit van holebikoppels” ook binnen de kerk te erkennen.

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When a Good Bishop Tries to Do the Right Thing

UNITED STATES
Waiting for Godot to Leave

Kevin O’Brieni

This has been a tremendous series of articles, and Commonweal today posts the next-to-last installment.

We pray and pray for bishops who give a damn, who care enough about children to protect them and

who care enough about the Faith to take a stand. But things are so rotten in Denmark that even when a heroic bishop like Martino comes along, Rome, politics, the money trail and other nasty things will keep the Church seriously corrupt and deeply in need of reform. And the Latin Mass is no guarantee of either sanctity or common sense.

Again, that even a good bishop who tried his best to do the right thing was unable to protect either children from sexual assault or adults from financial fraud is tremendously troubling.

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The Curious Case of Carlos Urrutigoity (VII)

UNITED STATES
Commonweal

Grant Gallicho December 30, 2014

This is the seventh in a series of posts on the Urrutigoity case. Read the first part here, the second here, the third here, the fourth here, the fifth here, and the sixth here.

In November 2003, Joseph Martino attended his first meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops after succeeding James Timlin as bishop of Scranton, Pennsylvania. During the weeks following his October 1 installation Mass, Martino had been briefed on the scandal Timlin brought to the diocese in 1997 when he allowed the Society of St. John, a band of traditionalist clerics looking for a home, to set up shop in Scranton. As Martino walked down the aisle of the USCCB convention hall, flanked by nearly all the nation’s bishops, he turned to his auxiliary bishop, John Dougherty, and said, “I think…

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Diaspora Deutschland

DEUTSCHLAND
Frankfurter Allgemeine

29.12.2014, von MARKUS GÜNTHER

In der Nacht vom 13. auf den 14. Dezember, fast auf den Tag genau vor 50 Jahren, irrte ein Student namens Franz durch die Straßen Münsters. Er konnte nicht schlafen. Zu aufgewühlt war er von der Predigt, die er am frühen Abend im Dom gehört hatte von einem jungen Priester und Professor, nur ein paar Jahre älter als er selbst, der Advent und Weihnachten auf ganz neue, ja revolutionäre Art deutete: Die alte Lehre, nach der die menschliche Geschichte sich in die Zeit des Dunkels und die des Heils teilt, die Zeit vor und nach Christi Geburt nämlich, könne doch heute niemand mehr ernst nehmen, sagte der junge Theologe. Wer wolle nach den Weltkriegen, nach Auschwitz und nach Hiroshima noch von der Zeit des Heils sprechen, die vor 2000 Jahren in Bethlehem begonnen habe? Nein, die Grenze zwischen dem Dunkel und dem…

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Länder streiten über Hilfsfonds

DEUTSCHLAND
Die Welt

Von Miriam Hollstein

Es war ein ungewöhnlicher Brief, der Bundesarbeitsministerin Andrea Nahles (SPD) kürzlich erreichte: Unterzeichnet hatten ihn die Behindertenbeauftragten aller vier Fraktionen im Bundestag – ein seltener Akt der Einmütigkeit. “Sehr enttäuscht” habe man zur Kenntnis gekommen, dass die Arbeits- und Sozialminister der Länder auf ihrer Sitzung Ende November sich mehrheitlich gegen eine Beteiligung an einem Hilfsfonds für missbrauchte behinderte Heimkinder ausgesprochen hätten. “Aus unserer Sicht geht es um eine gemeinschaftliche Verantwortung der Länder, des Bundes und der Kirchen”, steht in dem Schreiben. “Eine Verweigerung der Länder ist deshalb aus unserer Sicht nicht akzeptabel.”

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I dubbi sulla svolta di Papa Francesco

ROMA
Corriere della Sera

Bergoglio è imprevedibile per il cattolico medio. Suscita un interesse vasto, ma quanto sincero?

di Vittorio Messori

Credo sia onesto ammetterlo subito: abusando, forse, dello spazio concessomi, ciò che qui propongo, più che un articolo, è una riflessione personale. Anzi, una sorta di confessione che avrei volentieri rimandata, se non mi fosse stata richiesta. Ma sì, rimandata perché la mia (e non solo mia) valutazione di questo papato oscilla di continuo tra adesione e perplessità, è un giudizio mutevole a seconda dei momenti, delle occasioni, dei temi. Un Papa non imprevisto: per quanto vale, ero tra quelli che si attendevano un sudamericano e un uomo di pastorale, di esperienza quotidiana di governo, quasi a bilanciare un ammirevole professore, un teologo sin troppo raffinato per certi palati, quale l’amato Joseph Ratzinger. Un Papa non imprevisto, dunque, ma che subito, sin da quel primissimo «buonasera», si è…

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Italian writer stirs a hornet’s nest with doubts about Pope Francis

ROME
Crux

By John L. Allen Jr.
Associate editor December 30, 2014

ROME — For those in and around the Vatican, the most talked-about piece of rhetoric during the holiday season has been Pope Francis’s Dec. 22 blast at the Roman Curia. A close second, however, has been Vittorio Messori’s own Dec. 24 fusillade at the pope, published in the Italian paper of record, Corriere della Sera.

Under the headline, “Doubts about the turning point of Pope Francis,” Messori wrote that “my evaluation of this papacy oscillates continually between adhesion and perplexity,” and also asserted that Francis’ unpredictability has caused even “some of the cardinals who were among his electors to have second thoughts.”

Messori did not name any repentant cardinals, but his claim has been taken seriously because he is Italy’s most famous living Catholic writer, the man whose 1984 interview book with then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger,…

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Maryland’s first female Episcopal bishop allegedly is driver behind fatal hit-and-run

MARYLAND
New York Daily News

BY ALEJANDRO ALBA NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Published: Monday, December 29, 2014

The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland said a newly ordained bishop, Heather Elizabeth Cook, was the driver allegedly responsible for a hit-and-run that killed a bicyclist Sunday afternoon in Baltimore.

The Right Reverend Eugene Taylor Sutton identified Cook, who was ordained in September, in an email, the Baltimore Brew reports.

“I am distressed to announce that Bishop Heather E. Cook was involved in a traffic accident Saturday afternoon that resulted in the death of bicyclist Thomas Palermo, 41,” Sutton wrote.

Palermo was still alive when police arrived at the scene. He was taken to Sinai Hospital where he died of his injuries, according to cops.

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Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

MARYLAND
Heavy

1. Bishop Cook Initially Left the Scene

In an email to parishioners Sunday, Bishop Eugene Sutton said that Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook left the scene of the crash but returned about 20 minutes later “to take responsibility for her actions.”

Sutton wrote:

“Together with the Diocese of Maryland, I express my deep sorrow over the death of the cyclist and offer my condolences to the victim’s family. Please pray for Mr. Palermo, his family and Bishop Cook during this most difficult time.”

2. The Deceased Was a Well-Known Cyclist

Thomas Palermo, 41, was known for building custom bike frames, and was well acquainted with the area of Baltimore in which he was killed.

Baltimore bicyclist Chris Merriam told the AP:

“He was a craftsman. A lot of people owned frames built by him with loving care. He was a very talented guy, and a lot of people…

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Maryland Episcopal bishop investigated …

MARYLAND
Washington Post

Maryland Episcopal bishop investigated in car accident that killed cyclist

By Michelle Boorstein December 29

The No. 2 Episcopal bishop in the Diocese of Maryland has been placed on administrative leave after she was involved in a car crash Saturday that killed a bicyclist.

Bishop Heather Elizabeth Cook, who is the bishop suffragan, or second bishop for the diocese of Maryland, which is headquartered in Baltimore, left the scene but returned later “to take responsibility for her actions,” her bishop said in a statement.

Baltimore police said Monday that they are investigating a fatal car crash that killed Thomas Palermo, 41, a father of two and a computer specialist who ran a bike shop out of his garage. Palermo, whose family lives in Baltimore County, was on a recreational ride, said his brother-in-law, Jeff Hulting.

Police did not identify the driver, saying in a statement that…

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Witness says car left scene of bike crash for 45, not 20, minutes

MARYLAND
Baltimore Brew

Fern Shen and Danielle Sweeney December 29, 2014

The station wagon with the smashed windshield that drove away from Saturday’s fatal Roland Avenue bike crash was gone for close to 45 minutes – not the reported 20 – before returning to the scene, according to a reliable witness interviewed by The Brew.

The woman, a Roland Park resident who was at the crash scene minutes after it happened, said she pulled over – horrified by the sight of the inert bicyclist – and remained there.

“When I arrived, I saw a group of teenage boys and also a Fed-Ex truck. The boys and Fed-Ex truck may have been the first to see the accident. People were already calling the police, when I arrived,” said the woman, who remained in her car watching.

The car that had struck cyclist Thomas Palermo was not there while she watched…

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Child abuse…

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

Child abuse: Bathed in disinfectant, whipped with kettle flexes, beaten and forced to eat vomit… victims’ harrowing testimonies

BY ADRIAN RUTHERFORD – 30 DECEMBER 2014

Harrowing accounts of how children were beaten and abused in care homes in Northern Ireland have dominated the news during 2014.

The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry is investigating allegations between 1922 and 1995.

It was set up by the Executive to investigate institutions run by the State and churches or owned by the private sector or voluntary bodies. Victims have given a series of powerful testimonies of the abuse they suffered while in care.

The inquiry heard how children at homes run by nuns were made to eat their own vomit.

Some were also forced to bathe in disinfectant and beaten for wetting the bed.

Children at Sisters of Nazareth properties in Derry were known by their numbers rather than…

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Child abuse: Media coverage of high-profile cases…

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

Child abuse: Media coverage of high-profile cases has given more children courage to seek help

BY NEIL ANDERSON – 30 DECEMBER 2014

Over the last few years the news agenda has been flooded with reports of large-scale sexual abuse including the horrendous actions of Jimmy Savile and accounts from victims giving evidence to the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry here.

While the figure of 718 ongoing sex abuse investigations by the PSNI is a stark statistic which highlights, to a degree, the scale of this heinous crime, the figures need to be seen in context.

There is reason to believe that media coverage of high-profile cases may be encouraging victims to come forward in the confidence that they will be believed.

Changes to the child protection reporting systems in Northern Ireland have also made it easier for victims to disclose abuse.

We also know that sexual…

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Police investigating 718 cases of child abuse in Northern Ireland

NORTHERN IRELAND
Befast Telegraph

BY ADRIAN RUTHERFORD – 30 DECEMBER 2014

Police are investigating more than 700 claims of child abuse in Northern Ireland, it can be revealed.

Officers are probing 718 “live” cases where the victim was aged under 18.

The figure is thought to include a number of historic allegations relating to children’s care homes.

It comes as a leading charity revealed it has seen the number of calls to a specialist helpline jump by almost a quarter in the last year.

The issue of child abuse has been in the headlines throughout 2014. A State inquiry into historical abuse in Northern Ireland, chaired by retired judge Sir Anthony Hart, opened in January.

The inquiry, which has so far been contacted by 524 individuals, has already heard harrowing testimonies from victims.

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Editorial: Person of the year for 2014

UNITED STATES
Naitonal Catholic Reporter

EDITORIAL

A year ago, Pope Francis’ photo adorned the covers of Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, TIME magazine and The Advocate. The latter two named the pope their person of the year. Francis’ personal humility and simplicity, his common-sense rhetoric seasoned with homespun charm had captured the imagination of Catholics, non-Catholics and even nonbelievers. Acutely aware of the power of simple language and of images, Francis set about molding a pontificate for the age of Facebook and Twitter. Though he has little computer knowledge himself, Francis harnessed these tools for a new kind of evangelization.

Many among our readers, editors, staff and contributors embraced the message he advocated. They heralded not just a change in tone and style, but a change in substance and direction. Just as many among us, however, were not convinced. The refrain was, “Yes, but what has he done? To…

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Pope Francis’ Image Positive in Much of World

UNITED STATES
Pew Research

Pope Francis, leader of the world’s nearly 1.1 billion Catholics, enjoys broad support across much of the world, according to a new survey report by the Pew Research Center. A median of 60% across 43 nations have a favorable view of the pontiff. Only 11% see the pope unfavorably, and 28% give no rating.

Francis’ strongest support comes from Europe, where a median of 84% offer a favorable rating. Latin America – the pope’s home region – also gives him high marks, with 72% saying they have a positive opinion.1 However, Francis is less well-known in other parts of the world. In Africa, 44% say they like the pope, but 40% offer no rating. Asians are similarly unfamiliar with Francis, with 41% supporting him and 45% expressing no opinion. The Middle East is the most negative toward Francis, with a quarter viewing him unfavorably. However,…

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Pope Francis continues to take ‘the world by storm’

UNITED STATES
Catholic News Service

By Carol Zimmermann
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — During the second year of his pontificate, Pope Francis was still feeling the love, and not just from Catholics or those from his homeland of Argentina.

A Pew Research Center study released Dec. 11 showed that the pope has broad support across much of the world. Sixty percent of the 43 nations polled had a positive view of the pontiff.

And Americans, in particular, have shown their fondness for Pope Francis, often extolling his simple style. According to the Pew study, 78 percent of Americans view the pope favorably. …

One catch, so far with the pope’s popularity, is that it has not, as of yet in the U.S., drawn more people, or those who have left the church, back to Mass or the sacraments in measurable numbers, according to a Pew Research Center…

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Priest who ‘abused’ boys absconding

INDIA
Kaumudi Online

KOCHI: A church priest who took boys for pleasure trips and dining in high-end hotels, as a means to lure them into sexual acts with him, has been absconding since complaints were raised against him recently.

Since December 22, the main priest of a significant church at Kaloore has not turned up for conducting mass in the church. Currently, the assistant priest is carrying out his duties. “The tainted priest mostly hobnobbed with senior students. He used to conduct trips for them in posh cars. He also took them to have lunch and dinner in big hotels. This was how he attracted the boys towards him,” according to reports.

The boys who went to Saturday’s ‘Thirubalasakhyam’ and Sunday classes often fell prey to the priest’s homosexuality. In the third week of December, a boy disclosed to his parents the priest’s misdemeanour. Following this, three parents and…

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Protest gegen Groer-Denkmal: Pfarrer bezieht Stellung

OSTERREICH
Profil

In der oberösterreichischen Gemeinde Hohenzell bei Ried im Innkreis formiert sich Protest gegen ein Denkmal für den verstorbenen ehemaligen Wiener Erzbischof Hans Hermann Groer.

Von Franziska Dzugan

Das Denkmal erinnert seit Jahren daran, dass Hans Hermann Groer in der Hohenzeller Kirche 1989 für ungeborene Kinder gebetet hat. 1995 musste Groer wegen Missbrauchs von Zöglingen zurücktreten. In profil bezieht Pfarrer Josef Bauer erstmals Stellung. Er will die Gedenktafel nicht entfernen lassen: „Es hat keine gerichtliche Verurteilung Groers stattgefunden. Ich kannte ihn persönlich und kann mir nicht vorstellen, dass an den Vorwürfen etwas dran ist.“ Auch die Diözese Linz habe kein Interesse, das Denkmal zu demontieren, sagt Sepp Rothwangl (siehe Bild), Obmann der Plattform “Betroffene kirchlicher Gewalt”. Generalvikar Severin Lederhilger habe einem Missbrauchsopfer, das sich beschwerte, gesagt, er könne in dieser Angelegenheit nichts machen.

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Pope’s 15 Ailments or My Sixth Grade Assembly

UNITED STATES
skipshea

Posted on December 30, 2014 by skipshea

Recently the news has been going crazy with glee over the Pope dressing down the Vatican Curia. At least that’s what the headlines called it. It is actually the Roman Curia which is the governing body of the Holy See, which is the sovereign state in which the Vatican resides. But why let facts get in the way.

So this dressing down has more to do with the business end of the Vatican and not all of that other stuff they do. Which is why Francis was elected in the first place. The Vatican Bank was in scandal and crisis, laundering money for pre-repentant sinners and stuff like that. Monsignor Nunzio Scarano was arrested and Peter Sutherland from Goldman Sachs flew to the Vatican with words of wisdom.

As an aside, no one flew to the Holy See with…

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Breaking the habit

UNITED STATES
The Economist

Dec 20th 2014 BY E.W. | WASHINGTON, DC

WOMEN entering religious life in the Catholic church take, among other vows, the vow of obedience. This vow demands deference to both God and church doctrine; in other words, to the men who set and uphold Catholic teaching. But the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), an organisation representing 80% of American nuns, hasn’t always been so keen on meek deference. Members in the past have publicly dissented with the Vatican on issues including gay rights, abortion and the ordination of women. More recently, the group has been criticised for concentrating too much on social justice, rather than championing the church’s teachings on abortion and sexuality.

In 2008, under Pope Benedict XVI, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith initiated an investigation of American nuns, citing concerns about “a certain feminist spirit.” As Reverend Paul Sullins…

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The year of Pope Francis

UNITED STATES
AlJazeera

December 30, 2014

by Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig @ebruenig

In January 2014, Italian sculptor and pop artist Mauro Pallotta explained the inspiration behind a series of paintings depicting Pope Francis as a Marvel-esque superhero, cape and all. “I thought of representing this pope, Francis, as a superhero,” he said, “simply because, according to me, he is one of the few people who, having a real power as a pope, he uses it for the good.”

This year saw further realization of Pallotta’s depiction: Francis established himself as a crusader against economic exclusion, perpetrators of violence and clergy who flaunt wealth and abuse power. Still, Francis’ most impressive gambit is his farthest ranging: a genuine effort to challenge rigidity and cynicism both inside and outside the church. …

September proved a monumental month for progress in accountability for the church’s history of child sex abuse. Francis placed former…

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Group Says Vatican Visit to Guam is Rare

GUAM
Pacific News Center

[with video]

Written by Janela Carrera

Guam – As the Archdiocese of Agana prepares for an important visit from three Vatican officials next week, a group of concerned Catholics is also planning to meet with the delegation. The group says they will hand over what’s called a white paper.

“This is a very rare occasion that would have this many Vatican officials come here,” says Concerned Catholics of Guam Vice President David Sablan.

It’s been dubbed a pastoral visit by the Archdiocese of Agana, but some believe the visit from three important Vatican officials next week has more to do with the troubles plaguing the Church than a mere trip just to say hello.

“For all the times that I could remember, usually they would come passing through, it’s usually just the papal nuncio … so he is someone we could expect to visit with…

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Former Catholic brother refused bail

AUSTRALIA
7 News

AAP

A former Catholic brother facing hundreds of child sexual abuse charges has been refused bail at a Sydney court.

Bernard McGrath, 66, was extradited from New Zealand to Australia earlier this month.

He did not apply for bail when he appeared at Parramatta Local Court via video link on Monday afternoon, and bail was formally refused.

He is facing a total 252 charges, including 102 counts of indecent assaults on males.

The allegations date back to the 1970s and 1980s.

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Furlong sexual abuse suit questioned as documents reveal conflicting claim

CANADA
The Globe and Mail

MARK HUME

VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Dec. 30 2014

Documents filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia have raised questions about a man’s claim he was sexually abused by former Vancouver Olympics CEO John Furlong.

Last year, Mr. Furlong was accused of abuse by the man, who has asked that his identity be withheld by the media, and by two women, Beverly Abraham and Grace West, who did not seek anonymity.

The three accusers filed suits against Mr. Furlong, the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. of Prince Rupert and Catholic Independent Schools Diocese of Prince George, saying they were abused when Mr. Furlong was their teacher at Immaculata Elementary School in Burns Lake in 1969-70.

But in a 2005 document filed with the Indian residential schools dispute resolution process, the man claims he was at a different school in…

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No. 3 Story of the Year: Ex-Shoals youth ministers face child sex abuse charges

ALABAMA
Times Daily

By Tom Smith Senior Staff Writer

Three former Shoals area youth ministers made headlines this year when they were accused of abusing children who were members of their churches.

The combined stories of their arrests was voted the third story of the year in a TimesDaily newsroom poll.

Charles Kyle Adcock, 31, who now lives in Frisco, Texas, and is a former Woodward Avenue Baptist Church youth minister, is charged with 22 counts of second-degree rape and nine counts of second-degree sodomy.

Adcock was a youth minister at Woodward Avenue Baptist Church from 2010-12. Investigators said Adcock faces sexual abuse charges that date back to his days as a youth minister.

Adcock is accused of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a girl who was 14 at the time. Adcock was the girl’s youth minister.

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Ten Minutes of Real Pope Dope

UNITED STATES
The Costarican Times

Martin LeFevre

“60 Minutes,” one of America’s last remaining bulwarks of the status quo, devoted a full fawning hour to Pope Francis Sunday, between Christmas and New Years. Can this media-canonized pope save the world’s institutions, beginning with the Catholic Church and extending to the American-made international system?

What’s at issue is the whole crumbling world order, and the desperate need by those in positions of wealth and power (and make no mistake about it, the papacy is a position of wealth and power) to shore up the rotten timbers, even as more and more people are giving up on religions and the old order altogether.

When I was young, the news magazine “60 Minutes” challenged the powers that be, but in recent years it has been more concerned with falling ratings and stale rehash. It also has a developed a decidedly reactionary bent…

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A message from Bishop Sutton regarding the tragic situation involving Bishop Heather Cook

MARYLAND
Episcopal Diocese of Maryland

Posted on December 29, 2014

I am distressed to announce that Bishop Heather E. Cook was involved in a traffic accident Saturday afternoon, Dec 27, that resulted in the death of a bicyclist, Thomas Palermo, 41. Bishop Cook did not sustain any injuries. Together with the Diocese of Maryland, I express my deep sorrow over the death of the cyclist and offer my condolences to the victim’s family. Please pray for Mr. Palermo, his family and Bishop Cook during this most difficult time. Please do not contact Bishop Cook directly, but feel free to send written notes to the Diocesan Center.

There is an ongoing police investigation into the accident. Several news agencies have reported this as a ‘hit and run.’ Bishop Cook did leave the scene initially, but returned after about 20 minutes to take responsibility for her actions.

Because the nature of…

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Female US bishop ‘in bike hit-and-run’

MARYLAND
9 News

The Episcopal diocese of Maryland says the state’s first female bishop has been put on leave after her involvement in a fatal hit-and-run crash that occurred in Baltimore during the weekend.

“I am distressed to announce that Bishop Heather E. Cook was involved in a traffic accident Saturday afternoon … that resulted in the death of a bicyclist,” the Right Reverend Eugene Taylor Sutton said in a statement.

Sutton added that Cook left the scene initially, but returned after about 20 minutes “to take responsibility for her actions”.

Cook, who was ordained as a priest in 1987 and elected bishop in September, was placed on immediate administrative leave while an oversight committee considers the situation.

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2014 in review: An unsettling year, with religion in a starring role

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Kevin Eckstrom Religion News Service | Dec. 29, 2014

For most of recorded history, Isis was an Egyptian goddess, a benevolent type who cared for widows and orphans, cured the sick and even brought the dead back to life.
This year, the world met the other ISIS.

The rise of the so-called Islamic State, variously known as ISIS or ISIL, dominated headlines in 2014 as a self-proclaimed caliphate sowed death and destruction across Iraq and Syria. For some, the group confirmed their worst fears about Muslim extremists, bent on killing religious minorities and subjugating women in a quest for domination that included leveling villages and beheading hostages. …

Among the names that captured the public imagination in 2014:

* Seattle megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll resigned after facing a series of allegations involving plagiarism, bullying and an unhealthy ego.
* Conservative activist Bill…

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Voor zenboeddhist Shimano was seksueel misbruik ‘a way of life’

NEW YORK
NRC (Nederland)

[The Zen Predator of the Upper East Side – The Atlantic]

door Anouk Eigenraam

Bij seksueel misbruik binnen religies is de associatie met het misbruik binnen de katholieke kerk snel gemaakt. Je denkt niet zo snel aan het boeddhisme. In een artikel in The Atlantic betoogt Mark Oppenheimer dat het misbruik binnen het zenboeddhisme niet alleen vele malen groter is, maar ook veel banaler.

Komt seksueel misbruik binnen andere religies niet voor of is het gewoon nog een blinde vlek? Tot nu toe horen we nog weinig over misbruik onder leiders van andere geloven. Maar de vraag is of het misschien niet wat onwaarschijnlijk is om te denken dat seksueel misbruik alleen maar voorbehouden is aan de katholieke kerk.

Het artikel van Oppenheimer, dat onderdeel is van een e-book, spreekt wat dat betreft boekdelen. Bij boeddhisten denk je eerder aan vriendelijk uitziende, vredelievende, kale…

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Video: The ‘tender’ revolution of Pope Francis

FRANCE
France 24

Pope Francis began the year with an overhaul of the Vatican’s scandal-ridden bank and ended it with a scathing critique of the Vatican’s power-hungry bureaucracy.

Since his election as the church’s first Jesuit head, the Argentinian pope has proved to be a popular force in the Catholic world and beyond.

He is the first pontiff to have received victims of sexual abuse by clergymen at the Vatican and has set up a commission to root out the “plague” of paedophilia inside the church.

The 78-year-old pope has also launched a number of sweeping financial and administrative reforms, and drawn up a list of the “15 ailments” he says are afflicting Catholicism’s highest-ranking officials.

His calls for “tenderness” and “love”, and salvos against the church bureaucracy’s “spiritual Alzheimer’s”, have sanctioned his reputation as the people’s pope. But his soaring popularity and reformist zeal have unsettled some.

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Some names not included on diocese abuser list

NEW MEXICO
Gallup Independent

Published in the Gallup Independent, Gallup, N.M., Dec. 23, 2014

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

GALLUP — When the Diocese of Gallup publicly released its list of credibly accused sex abusers last week, it failed to include the names of four former Gallup priests who had previously been identified as abusers by other Catholic dioceses or religious orders.

Diego Mazon had been publicly confirmed by an official with the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Harry R. Morgan and Laurence A. Florez had been identified by the Diocese of Phoenix, and Justin Weger had been identified by his religious order, the Crosier Fathers and Brothers.

“The investigation into names and the process of adding to the list has not ended,” diocesan spokeswoman Suzanne Hammons said in an emailed response to a question about the discrepancy. “Bishop Wall mentioned in his letter that ‘The publication…

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Concerned Catholics start petition

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

Written by
Malorie Paine
Pacific Daily News

The Concerned Catholics of Guam, a nonprofit organization formed to bring attention to what it believes are financial and leadership problems within the local Catholic Church, is circulating a petition to gather support in “resolving the divisive misunderstandings that currently plague our Catholic parish communities.”

The petition is not against the archdiocese, but is intended to show support for the Concerned Catholics, Vangie Lujan, secretary of the nonprofit group, said during a press conference yesterday morning.

The petition will be presented to three Vatican officials, who will be visiting Guam from Jan. 3 to 10, 2015, and to the archdiocese.

The petition addresses three objectives of the Concerned Catholics, including the clergy and laity, parish affairs, and archdiocesan affairs, according to organization’s website.

Under the clergy and laity objectives, one of the main areas of…

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My interview on Lawpreneur Radio: Civil rights for crime victims

UNITED STATES
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on December 29, 2014

Last, week, I spoke with Miranda Dempsey McCroskey of Lawpreneur Radio about the importance of civil rights for crime victims, how plaintiffs’ attorneys have been instrumental in exposing abuse … and, of course, THE WELL-ARMORED CHILD. The podcast is up and you can listen here.

Or, you can check out the interview on iTunes.

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“Die klerikale Struktur ist zäh”

DEUTSCHLAND
Domradio

[After becoming aware of the abuse scandal five years ago, the psychotherapist and theologian Wunibald Müller has called for structural changes in the Catholic Church. An initial assessment.]

Nach dem Bekanntwerden des Missbrauchsskandals vor fünf Jahren hat der Psychotherapeut und Theologe Wunibald Müller strukturelle Veränderungen in der katholischen Kirche gefordert. Eine erste Bilanz.

Im Interview mit der Katholischen Nachrichten-Agentur (KNA) zieht der Leiter des Münsterschwarzacher Recollectio-Hauses für kirchliche Mitarbeiter in Lebenskrisen Bilanz.

KNA: Herr Müller, fünf Jahre sind seit dem Bekanntwerden des Missbrauchsskandals vergangen. Was hat sich getan?

Müller: Die Bischöfe sind wachsamer geworden. Die Überarbeitung der Leitlinien hat viel gebracht. Mittlerweile werden auch alle kirchlichen Mitarbeiter in Prävention geschult und sensibilisiert.

Externe sind oft die Ansprechpartner für Opfer. Und es ist jetzt klar, dass Jugendliche nicht mehr im Pfarrhaus schlafen oder der Pfarrer mit ihnen duscht. Verglichen mit dem, was vor 15 Jahren war, ist das…

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“Schule ist sehr viel sicherer geworden”

DEUTSCHLAND
Domradio

[Jesuit priest Klaus Mertes talks about the five years since he opened up the major sexual abuse scandal at Canisius College in Berlin.]

Bilanz, nicht Schlussstrich: Der Jesuit Klaus Mertes spricht im Interview über fünf Jahre Aufarbeitung von Missbrauchsfällen in der katholischen Kirche. Und er hofft auf weitere Reformen der Kirche, um Machtmissbrauch wirksam zu bekämpfen.

KNA: Pater Mertes, hätten Sie sich jemals vorstellen können, mit Ihrem Brief vor fünf Jahren eine solche Lawine auszulösen?

Mertes: Nein, aber das heißt nicht, dass ich den Schritt bereue. Im Gegenteil. Mir war von Anfang an klar, dass es allein bei dem einen Pater in Berlin mindestens 100 Opfer geben muss. Ich musste mich daher an die potenziell betroffenen Jahrgänge richten, um klar zu machen: Damals ist Euch nicht zugehört worden, heute aber bin ich dazu bereit.

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Mahnmal gegen Groer vor Stephansdom

OSTERREICH
HPD

[A millstone monument has been erected in fron of Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral to draw attention to the church abuse scandal and as a protest against the lasting admiration for the late Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer. It has been alleged that Groer abused minors and covered-up sexual abuse.]

Von Christoph Baumgarten

WIEN. (hpd) Die Plattform Betroffener kirchlicher Gewalt hat vor dem Wiener Stephansdom ein Mahnmal in Form eines Mühlsteins aufgestellt. Es soll auf den Missbrauchsskandal in der Kirche aufmerksam machen – und Protest gegen die nach wie vor anhaltende Verehrung für den verstorbenen Kardinal Hans Hermann Groer sein.

Es war ein symbolträchtiger Tag, den sich die Plattform Betroffener kirchlicher Gewalt für ihre Protestaktion ausgesucht hat. Und es war eine symbolträchtige Geste. Am katholischen “Tag der unschuldigen Kinder” deponierte Obmann Sepp Rothwangl einen 300 Kilogramm schweren Mühlstein vor dem Wiener Stephansdom.

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Tag der unschuldigen Kinder: Heute wird Mega-Mühlstein am Wiener Stephansplatz aus Protest gegen kirchliche Missbrauchsverbrechen enthüllt

OSTERREICH
Betroffen

[A 300-kg millstone was deposited at Stephansplatz in Vienna to remember cover-up and dneial of sexual, physical and psychological violence against innocent children by church representatives.]

(Wien, 28.12.14, PUR) Einen 300 kg schweren Mühlstein deponiert die Plattform Betroffener kirchlicher Gewalt am 28. Dezember am Stephansplatz. Der 28.12 ist der “Tag der unschuldigen Kinder“ – Gedenktag der ermordeten Kinder von Bethlehem nach Herodes´ Geheiß. Mit der Hinterlegung des Mühlsteins vor dem Stephansdom erinnert die Plattform an die Vertuschung und Verleugnung sexueller, körperlicher und seelischer Gewalt an unschuldigen Kindern durch Kirchenrepräsentanten. Der nunmehr vor dem Stephansplatz angekommene Mühlstein ist bereits weitgereist: Zuerst war er – im kleineren Format – im oberösterreichischen Hohenzell. Dort wurde er von Aktivisten als Gegengewicht neben einer Ehrentafel für den verstorbenen Kardinal Hans Hermann Groer angebracht.

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ON THE MATTER OF THE REMOVAL OF FR. PAUL GOFIGAN AS PASTOR OF SANTA BARBARA CHURCH AND THE SLANDER AGAINST MR. JOSEPH LASTIMOZA

GUAM
Jungle Watch

[with documents]

Submitted by Tim Rohr
timrohr.guam@gmail.com
December 28, 2014, Hagatna, Guam

A PDF copy is available here.

July 16, 2013. Fr. Paul Gofigan is called to a meeting with Archbishop Anthony Apuron and Msgr. David C. Quitugua, the Vicar General. At the meeting he is read a letter 1 :

* accusing him of disobeying an order from the Vicar General to terminate an employee two years previously
* accusing him of causing “grave harm to the parish…especially the youth” and creating “a lasting and potential threat to the safety and well-being” of his parishioners and staff
* demanding his immediate resignation as pastor of Santa Barbara parish or face a more “arduous and painful closure to your assignment”
* telling him to go “look for a benevolent bishop willing to accept you.”
According to Fr. Gofigan, upon…

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Concerned Catholics Group Demands Apology from Archbishop

GUAM
Pacific News Center

Written by Janela Carrera

Guam – The Concerned Catholics of guam is demanding an apology from Archbishop Anthony Apuron for referring to them as a group that’s plotting against the Church.

The group held a press conference today saying they are appalled that the archbishop would refer to them that way as their objective is to assist the church in healing the division within the catholic community. The reference was allegedly made in a letter Archbishop Apuron wrote to Deacon Steve Martinez last week, demanding that Deacon Martinez cut ties with CCOG or face censureship.

“We wanted to bring this to the attention of the media of the public that this is wrong. We are not plotting against the church. We love our church, we wanna help her,” said Vice President Dave Sablan. “Is this group really plotting against the church and that is why…

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Catholics group demands apology from archbishop

GUAM
KUAM

by Jolene Toves

Guam – The Concerned Catholics of Guam organization is demanding an apology from Archbishop Anthony Apuron as the pastoral visit nears for implying that the organization is plotting against the church.

As you may recall the latest rift stems from Deacon Steve Martinez’s involvement in the organization where he serves as the treasurer, and although Martinez was absent from today’s meeting he has pledged his support. Martinez was given an ultimatum by the archbishop to discontinue his involvement with the CCOG or face censure, in which all his faculties would be removed.

“But the deacon has basically said what we are doing is right and good therefore there is nothing wrong with his membership here and he is willing an prepared to continue his work with us even under threat of censureship so he is not really concerned with the deadline he hopes that…

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Spirituele Alzheimer

NEDERLAND
NRC

Verzoening, tederheid, vrijheid, verantwoordelijkheid, gemeenschapszin, begrip voor de ander – ik zeg ja! Mooie woorden horen bij de Kerst, net als het fossiele Home Alone, de sleetse André Rieu en de overdaad aan interviews waarin wordt teruggekeken op groot verdriet („Ik liep de helft van de week te janken”). Gerieflijk omdat het zo voorspelbaar is, een koesterende oproep aan je betere ik, dat diep in jezelf begraven ligt, maar in de laatste dagen van het jaar plotseling ruim baan krijgt. Driehonderd dagen per jaar gaat het over jezelf, de laatste dagen van het jaar zijn voor de Ander.

Juist daarom was de jaarlijkse „kerstgroet” van de paus aan de Romeinse curie een vlammende verrassing: een verzengende aanklacht tegen de al te wereldse, al te menselijke aanvechtingen van de kardinalen die in het Vaticaan de dienst uitmaken. Zonder pardon somde Franciscus de zonden van zijn gehoor op, in…

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Forum editorial: Pope puts his words into action

UNITED STATES
InForum

Editorial

What are Catholics, and the world for that matter, to make of the stern words of Pope Francis in his Christmas lecture to senior Vatican staff? The pope minced no words in an unexpectedly harsh critique of the conduct and lifestyles of cardinals and church high officials. His extraordinary rebuke of Vatican hierarchy and bureaucracy signaled that the reforms he said he would institute will happen.

The pontiff’s denunciation of the scandal-ridden Curia, the Vatican’s administrative apparatus, was in keeping with criticism he has leveled since he was elected in March 2013. But the intensity and strong language of the Dec. 22 address to the assembled Curia were an unexpected ramping up of his campaign. And that he chose the annual address in the Apostolic Palace to denounce the Curia added more weight to his pledge to reform the Vatican’s bureaucracy.

He’s already started the…

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Vatican Bank Joins 100 Nations In FATCA Offshore Account Hunt

VATICAN CITY/UNITED STATES
Forbes

Robert W. Wood

In his annual Christmas messages to more than one billion Catholics, the Pope may have left out something: offshore account compliance. Maybe, but the U.S. Treasury is more than happy to fill in the blanks. Just before Christmas, the Holy See reached the substance of an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) to hand over American account details. FATCA is everywhere, and the fact that the Treasury Department now trumpets the Vatican deal should come as no surprise.

The Holy See is not part of the European Union and should not be confused with Vatican City. The Holy See is the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Catholic church. The Vatican Bank has had its share of corruption kerfuffles in the past. Indeed, the Vatican Bank isn’t exactly transparent, and released its first annual report in 2013.

With transparency comes compliance, and there may…

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A man of healing, a saga of suffering

SOUTH DAKOTA
Washington Post

Written by Sari Horwitz

In WANBLEE, S.D.

He was a world-famous medicine man, a traditional healer and spiritual leader. Followers would travel long distances to this tiny hamlet on the Great Plains to be in his presence and pray in the darkness with him in a sacred sweat lodge.

But Charles Chipps Sr., a medicine man on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation, had a dark secret, federal prosecutors say.

For years, they allege, Chipps sexually abused and raped girls, including some of his own daughters and granddaughters; many of the alleged victims were younger than 12 and several were as young as 5. A girl from Colorado whose aunt brought her to meet Chipps for spiritual guidance committed suicide after revealing the abuse she allegedly suffered.

TOP: Lena Chipps, shown near the skeleton of a sweat lodge, is the sister-in-law of Charles Chipps Sr., above,…

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Rev. Thomas R. HOPP (1940 – 2014)

OHIO
Cincinnati Enquirer

[BishopAccountability.org database – Cincinnati archdiocese]

Reverend Thomas R., died December 21, 2014, Fr. Hopp was born October 8, 1940 and was Ordained May 28, 1966. He served in various parishes in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday, December 29, 2014 at 10 AM at All Saints Church in Kenwood. Burial will immediately follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery.

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Pope Francis: Children Are Good & More Children Are Better ???

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

* It is astonishing to me as the youngest of ten children and father of four children to read that Pope Francis, a celibate bachelor, is still pushing couples to have more children. Francis even stresses the need to pump up Italy’s low birth rate, as militaristic Mussolini likely did in 1930 when his “ally”, Pope Pius XI, banned birth control apparently out of concern for the threat of the expanding atheistic Soviets and a depleted post-World War I population in Western Europe.

* Pope Francis even suggests that couples may be having less children due to “egoism”. Francis reportedly said on 12/28/14: “In a world often marked by egoism, a large family is a school of solidarity and of mission that’s of benefit to the entire society, … ” . This is likely insulting and offensive to many sincere and responsible couples,…

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REBUTTAL to Peggy Noonan’s article ‘Cardinal, Please Spare This Church’ in Wall Street Journal – Opus Dei Beast PR Stunt of Day in US

UNITED STATES
POPE FRANCIS the CON-Christ.

December 26, 2014

Paris Arrow

Introduction. Read our related articles: Learning from the Temple of Solomon and saving historical Our Lady of Assumption Church – ‘No building is more important than this one’ http://pope-francis-con-christ.blogspot.ca/2014/11/learning-from-temple-of-solomon-and.html

Jesus Christ is liberated from hundreds of tabernacles (prison) in Catholic churches shut down, sold-off, converted into apartments, stores, warehouses http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2014/09/jesus-christ-is-liberated-from-hundreds.html

Last November, Cardinal Dolan announced the merger of 112 (of the archdiocese’s 368) parishes consolidated to create 55 new parishes and the sale of 30 churches located in prime real estate in New York. A month later, on December 14, The New York Times published an article that “New York Archdiocese Appears Likely to Shutter More Churches” – indicating that an additional 38 parishes will merge, to create 16 new ones, among the affected churches, 11 would effectively close.

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Concerned Catholics of Guam Petition

GUAM
Concerned Catholics of Guam

The Concerned Catholics of Guam (CCOG) organization has stepped forward to offer assistance in resolving the divisive misunderstandings that currently plague our Catholic parish communities. The objectives of CCOG can be found by clicking here. In support of these objectives, CCOG is distributing a petition to collect names and signatures of supporters. Click the links below to view and download the petition and objectives:

CCOG Support Petition

CCOG Objectives

We hope to gather 2000 signatures by January 3, 2015. Please return any signed pages to Perez Brothers, Inc. in Harmon or contact Vangie Lujan by sending her a message on our Contact Us page.

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Concerned Guam Catholics circulate petition

GUAM
Marianas Variety

28 Dec 2014 By Jasmine Stole – jasmine@mvguam.com – Variety News Staff

HAGÅTÑA — The recently organized Concerned Catholics of Guam group has ​decided to circulate a petition to collect names and signatures of people who support the organization’s mission and objectives. The group aims to collect 2,000 signatures by Jan. 3, 2015, one day before three high level Church leaders are expected to visit Guam.

The petition is the latest development amid several connected controversies surrounding the local archdiocese.

The Concerned Catholics of Guam or CCOG posted a blank printable petition sheet and their objectives online. They aim to target local parishioners ages 16 years old and older for support.

In a short announcement posted on its website, the organization said it has “stepped forward to offer assistance in resolving the divisive misunderstandings that currently plague our Catholic parish communities” and invited the community…

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Pope Francis, JUST DO IT, Please, For God’s Sake !!!

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

* Pope Francis is a sports fan, a “football enthusiast”. Recently, he cutely observed reportedly that “oddsmakers” last year had him, in effect, as a “dark horse” candidate for papal election at 25-1. Francis convincingly cleared the papal field, but after almost two years of play, he is falling behind in the “match” to save the Catholic Church.

* Pope Francis at times seems like the legendary “Dutch Boy” trying to plug the Vatican dikes’ unending leaks with his papal fingers, but ten fingers are woefully inadequate for the task. The child abuse tsunami is too massive. He needs help, real help!

* Pope Francis needs now to follow Nike’s advice and “Just Do It“. The odds against him “Just Doing It” must be even higher, especially given his present losing “gameplan”. He needs at a minimum to add new players as Cardinals…

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Schedule

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

January

Tues 20 – Fri 30 Private sessions in capital cities Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth
Wed 28 – Fri 30 Private sessions in regional areas

February

Mon 2 – Fri 13 Public hearing: Case Study 22, Melbourne
Tues 3 – Fri 27 Private sessions in capital cities Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney
Wed 18 – Fri 27 Private sessions in regional areas
Mon 23 – Fri 6 Public hearing Sydney

March

Tues 3 – Tues 31 Private sessions in capital cities Sydney, Perth, Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane
Tues 10 – Fri 20 Public hearing Sydney
Tues 17 – Fri 20 Private sessions in regional areas
Wed 25 – Fri 27 Public hearing Sydney

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