Hampshire rector suspended by diocese over ‘serious allegations’

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

A rector from Hampshire has been suspended by the Bishop of Portsmouth while police investigate “serious allegations” against him.

The Rev Simon Sayers, from the Church of England’s Warblington with Emsworth parish, has been suspended by the Right Rev Christopher Foster.

The Diocese of Portsmouth said it was “aware” of the investigation.

A spokesman said their “prayers are with all of those involved in this difficult situation”.

The St James CoE Church in Emsworth and St Thomas à Becket Church in Warblington will get “alternative arrangements for ministry”, a diocesan spokesman said.

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Rector suspended amid police investigation

UNITED KINGDOM
Portsmouth News

by Ruth Scammell
ruth.scammell@thenews.co.uk
Updated on the 26 January 2015

PARISHIONERS were shocked when they were told the rector of their parish had been suspended due to a police investigation.

The Diocese of Portsmouth has confirmed that the Reverend Simon Sayers, Rector of the Warblington with Emsworth parish, has been suspended.

They would not give any details about what the police investigation relates to.

Parishioners at both St James CoE Church in Emsworth and St Thomas the Beckett Church in Warblington were informed by the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Christopher Foster before services yesterday morning. A spokesperson for the Diocese of Portsmouth said: ‘We are aware of an ongoing police investigation into a serious allegation made against the Rev Simon Sayers.

‘Because the investigation is ongoing, we can make no further comment at the moment.

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Simon Sayers: Priest arrested on suspicion of indecent assault suspended from duties at two village churches

UNITED KINGDOM
Mirror

Jan 26, 2015 By Ben Mitchell

Rev Simon Sayers had been suspended from his position as cops investigate an allegation dating back to the early 90s

A Church of England priest has been suspended from his duties at churches in two sleepy villages after being arrested on suspicion of indecent assault.

Rector, Rev Simon Sayers had been suspended from his position as cops investigate an allegation dating back to the early 90s.

Parishioners at St James CoE Church in Emsworth, Hampshire, and St Thomas a Beckett Church in Warblington were informed of the decision by the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Christopher Foster before services yesterday morning.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said that the alleged offence took place in the Islington area of London.

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Jersey Church abuse report: Victim against release

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

The findings of an inquiry into the handling of an allegation of abuse should not be made public, the victim has said.

In 2008, the woman known as HG, made a formal complaint about abuse by a Jersey church warden.

In an email to the Bishop of Winchester, the Right Reverend Tim Dakin, HG threatened legal action if the report was released.

It follows calls for the report to be published by leading Anglicans.

In the email, HG said the inquiry was a whitewash, lacked independence and its publication could cause her serious harm.

A spokesman representing the bishop, said: “We don’t yet have a date for publication, as the Steel Report is currently continuing to be reviewed by legal and safeguarding experts.”

The inquiry, led by Dame Heather Steel into the incident, was commissioned alongside a wider review into safeguarding policies being undertaken by Bishop John Gladwin.

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Damaged computer proposes problem in sex abuse trial

NEW YORK
WGRZ

ALBION, NY– Jurors in Orleans County are back to deliberating the fate of a pastor accused of molesting children.

The jury was charged on Friday and deliberated for 4-1/2 hours Friday without reaching a verdict.

Roy Harriger, 71, most recently the pastor of a Niagara county church, is accused of molesting three of his grandchildren when they were little kids. THis happened more than 12 years ago when he was a pastor of a church in Lyndonville in Orleans County.

All three of those grandkids testified at the trial.

Jurors had asked to have read back to them the testimony of three witnesses that include one of those grandkids, as well as Harriger’s daughter Joy who is the only one of Harriger’s five grown children to still stand by him while the other four are among the ranks of his accusers.

A problem occurred on Monday morning when jurors asked for some testimony to be read back. It was discovered that the laptop belonging to the court reporter was damaged over the weekend when a pipe in the courthouse burst. Officials consulted an IT professional to see if the data can be recovered. Efforts are being made to print out trial testimony.

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Clergy Misconduct among Priests in the Philippines: Key Cases

PHILIPPINES
BishopAccountability.org

This special report profiles a dozen key cases of priests in the Philippines accused of child sexual abuse. All are believed to be living in the Philippines as of January 2015. At least seven are still in active ministry, according to online church directories and news sources; the other five were in active ministry as of a few years ago, but their current status is unclear. None is known to have been laicized.

This report launches our Philippines research project – an effort to document comprehensively the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the world’s third largest Catholic country. We have identified and researched to date more than 70 priests, brothers, and bishops in the Philippines who have been accused of child sexual abuse and sexual misconduct with adults. A report on our complete findings will be posted later in 2015.

We present this page in the meantime because these cases raise particularly urgent concerns about child safety (see also our letter). They include:

* Rev. Apolinario “Jing” Mejorada, O.S.A., an active parish priest in Laguna province who admitted to sexually assaulting boys in Cebu City in the late 1990s.
* Rev. Joseph Skelton, Jr., still in active ministry with young people in the Philippines, although the bishop of Tagbilaran and the Philippine bishops’ conference were made aware that Skelton had been convicted of sexual misconduct with a 15-year-old boy in the Detroit MI archdiocese in 1988.
* Rev. Raul Cabonce, who was quickly transferred to his bishop’s residence in 2011 after a 17-year-old girl filed rape charges against him.
* Rev. Manuel Perez “Benilda” Maramba, O.S.B., currently listed as a faculty member of San Beda College and performer with the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music, both in Manila. He is named by at least three victims from his former assignments in Las Cruces, New Mexico, U.S.

These cases are important too because they reveal an enduring resistance by Filipino bishops to punishing and exposing offending priests. This attitude is evident even in Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the popular Manila archbishop considered a possible successor to Pope Francis. In a 2012 interview with journalist John Allen, he said that zero tolerance was a subject of debate in the Philippines: “We’ve had cases in the past … in which some priests who had offended were given a second chance and turned out to be very good priests.” And in a little-noticed 2012 video interview with UCANews, he observed of the Asian church’s response to clergy sexual misconduct, “I think for us … exposing persons, both victims and abusers, to the public, either through media or legal action, that adds to the pain.”

Civil action by victims, investigations of the church by prosecutors, and governmental inquiries – factors that have forced bishops and religious superiors in other countries to adopt more effective child protection measures – have occurred little or not at all in the Philippines. Even its criminal justice system seems skewed against victims: our research so far has found no convictions of clerics for child sexual abuse. In July 2002, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines addressed clergy sexual abuse for the first time, issuing an apology. The group’s president, Cotabato archbishop Orlando Quevado, estimated that in the 20 years previous, 200 of 7,000 priests nationwide may have committed sexual abuse or sexual misconduct. But church officials since then have released virtually no information – no documents and no names – of specific offenders.

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Residential schools class-action may be settled in June

CANADA
CBC News

A class-action lawsuit against the federal government and operators of residential schools in this province is heading to mediation in five months.

The lawsuit — involving more than 1,000 people who say they were neglected and abused at residential schools in Newfoundland and Labrador — was slated to go to trial on Nov. 18.

However, the case was delayed at the defence lawyers’ request.

According to lawyer Ches Crosbie, all groups will head to mediation on June 9 and 10.

“The decision to engage in settlement talks came about in discussion with the case management judge before lawyers for residential school survivors put forward a formal application for mediation,” Crosbie said.

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Court rejects Vatican appeal to keep Swiss bank account secret

GENEVA
Dunya News

GENEVA (AFP) – A Swiss court rejected Monday an appeal by the Vatican s bank to keep secret information from one of its Swiss bank accounts suspected of being used for fraud.

Judges at Switzerland s federal criminal court allowed the transfer of most information sought by prosecutors in Italy from the account held by the Vatican bank, officially known as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), the daily Le Temps reported.

Italian prosecutors suspect the account was used in 2007 and 2008 by third parties to launder as a donation funds from the sale of a company.

The IOR had invoked the Vatican s sovereign immunity, but the judges found that the transactions in question did not relate to functions covered by that immunity.

However, Swiss judges ruled that information not pertinent to the investigation would not be transferred.

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N.L. residential schools class action moves to mediation

CANADA
CTV

The Canadian Press
Published Monday, January 26, 2015

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Lawyers who filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of former students of residential schools in Newfoundland and Labrador say they will try to resolve the dispute through mediation.

Ches Crosbie, a lawyer representing some of the 1,000 members of the suit, said Monday that the talks are set to begin June 9. He said the decision to join in settlement negotiations came after discussions with the case management judge.

He said if the parties agree to a settlement in June, it could take months to gain court approval and disperse payments. If it fails, the case will go to trial next September. Crosbie said the trial was scheduled to start last November, but was adjourned after the defence requested delays.

The class of mostly Inuit members is suing the federal government for abuse and neglect members allege they suffered at the residential schools in the province.

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Pope Francis Is A U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Public Relations Creation

UNITED STATES
Politics USA

Over the past week there were hints and suppositions that Republicans were quaking in their boots at the thought of Pope Francis addressing a joint session of Congress due to his advocacy for the poor and message on climate change. However, it was Speaker of the House John Boehner who invited the “Vicar of Christ” because Pope Francis is not, in any universe, the shining progressive many Americans believe he is. In fact, Francis is closely aligned with conservative Republican ideology; particularly in his position on addressing poverty and social issues such as homosexuality, same-sex marriage, birth control, and women’s rights.

There is a gross misconception that Pope Francis is exceedingly more progressive on social issues than his predecessors. That is just not true and it is a mistake to believe otherwise. However, where he is most insincere is speaking like an advocate for the poor. As leader of the extremely wealthy Catholic Church, he is not remotely leading according to, or following, Jesus Christ’s example or teachings.

In fact, as a few who are not mesmerized by his Jesus-like messages have noted, there is a monumental disconnect between what the pope says, and his strict adherence to the same archaic Vatican policies he perpetuates; particularly about wealth. What Pope Francis represents is a finely-honed, friendlier, and more progressive public relations image that belies longstanding archaic Vatican policies; not unlike the much-touted new and friendlier Republican Party was supposed to be. …

Even before Pope Francis was elected, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) were planning a PR campaign to soften the Church’s image and attract the younger generation. The Vatican hired a former Fox News correspondent, Greg Burke, as a senior communications adviser reporting directly to the Vatican. The New York Times noted that Burke met with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, and “confirmed that being known by the Fox-favorite cardinal helped him get hired.” Burke is a celibate, traditionalist, and member of the conservative Catholic alliance Opus-Dei. The Vatican also hired the consulting firm of McKinsey & Company to “study the Holy See’s communications, with an eye to creating a more effective media operation.” The ultimate goal in hiring a phalanx of public relations firms was simply to reverse the “declining view of the Church” caused by public relations miscues (accurate reporting).

Apparently, because of the high level of funding from America, the American Cardinals wield a great deal of influence over the Vatican’s public relation policies; especially when it concerns halting declining member donations due to church policy. One recurring comment in several surveys of American Catholics was that the church is harsh and out of touch. One oft-stated sentiment from American Catholics surveyed was that “I would like them not to be so quick to condemn people because of their sexual preference or because of abortion, or to refuse priests the right to get married or women to be priests. I don’t think the church should ever get involved in whether or not people use birth control.” According to polling, that sentiment typified the responses of American Catholics, and it was crucially important to improve Americans’ image of the Church to keep American dollars rolling in.

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Dick McBrien, free at last

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Eugene Cullen Kennedy | Jan. 26, 2015 Bulletins from the Human Side

When word came of the death of the distinguished theologian Richard McBrien, the famous phase of oppression finally lifted, and deserved freedom won rang like a Sunday carillon in my head. Few people I know, or know of, have been asked to bear a series of serious illnesses as long as Dick did. Now he is indeed free at last of time’s unforgiving grip and at home in the eternal with which he was so familiar from a lifetime of meditation on, and experience of, every day in his work. He spent a lot of time in the eternal precincts, and his papers were in order as he was waved through, no inspection needed, free at last and home for good.

It would take a lot to misunderstand Dick and his columns and books. Yet mysteriously, the word was out that he was a dangerous dissident, and his excellent column was banned in many diocesan newspapers. Curious, I called up the editors of about a dozen Catholic papers, all of whom gave the same answer to my question about why they did not use his column: “I am under orders from the bishop not to use it.”

His columns, which continued over 30 years, were perfectly orthodox, the product of a master teacher who knew how to make complex issues clear.

I did not understand how much he was feared, however, until I stopped in the bookstore of a grand Midwestern cathedral. I was told by a man who obviously felt that his fate, temporal and eternal, depended on his answer, “We don’t carry any of his books here.”

My mistake was in telling him that they should, especially Catholicism, his masterly work on church teaching.

“I’m calling security,” he responded, reaching for his telephone. I left before security arrived but with a new impression of the terrible irony of those in the official church who were afraid of Dick or the plain truths about faith that he taught. Maybe both. Those officials who trembled at Dick’s work resembled the man who buried his gifts in the ground in the Gospel and explained his behavior, as these officials would to their superiors, “I knew that you were a hard man, and I was afraid.”

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Dolan: ‘God Expects More Of Americans’

WEST VIRGINIA
The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register

January 25, 2015

By HEATHER ZIEGLER – Associate City Editor , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING – Cardinal Timothy Dolan, in Wheeling on Saturday evening, told a crowd of lawmakers, judges, attorneys and other public servants that “God expects more of us Americans.”

As principal celebrant and homilist, Dolan, archbishop of New York, celebrated the annual Red Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph. Members of “the Bench and Bar” participated in the Mass where they were asked to pray to the Holy Spirit to assist them in their service to the truth of justice. Dolan was asked to celebrate the Mass at the invitation of his personal friend, the Most Rev. Michael J. Bransfield, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

The Rev. Jeffrey M. Montforton, bishop of the Diocese of Steubenville, and a host of diocesan priests and deacons, joined Dolan and Bransfield on the altar as an overflow crowd packed the church.

During his homily, Dolan urged the legal community to pray for wisdom and prudence and “not allow outside distractions such as polls, newspaper editorial pages, especially the New York Times, and rap music” to influence their decisions.

“God has blessed us (Americans) in extraordinary ways. … Look at the convictions our parents and grandparents were willing to die for. Our homes here are built only on sand if our laws are not grounded in family values.”

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NYC’s Cardinal Dolan disses NYC & NYT

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday, Jan. 26

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

New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan is urging Catholics to not let “outside distractions” likes “polls, rap music, and newspaper editorial pages, especially the New York Times” to influence their decisions.

[BishopAccountability.org]

This is disturbing and reckless.

Dolan’s remarks were made on Saturday night and reported yesterday by The Wheeling News-Register. He spoke as the guest of “his personal friend” Bishop Michael Bransfield who was accused in 2012 of molesting a child.

[BishopAccountability.org]

(Dolan, who repeatedly says he loves New York, told the same crowd that while West Virginia is “almost heaven,” New York City is “almost purgatory.”)

For decades, secular news outlets have repeatedly make kids safer by exposing Catholic officials who commit and conceal heinous child sex crimes. Bishops should praise, not denounce, reputable journalists. He should be encouraging, not discouraging, his flock to read independent news sources. Predators will be better off and parents will be worse off if Catholics heed Dolan’s advice to ignore independent journalism.

Polls consistently show that Catholics are still justifiably concerned about the continuing cover up of child sex crimes by Catholic officials. Is that why Dolan wants his flock to disregard polls?

While Pope Francis talks kindness and inclusiveness, it’s sad to see Dolan spewing divisiveness and advocating ignorance.

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Inquiry hears witness left suicidal after alleged care home abuse

NORTHERN IRELAND
Irish Times

Gerry Moriarty

Mon, Jan 26, 2015

A man who was put into a Belfast care home when he was six has alleged at the Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry that he suffered physical abuse from “sadistic nuns” which ultimately left him in a suicidal and enraged state.

The man was taken from his parents who were both alcoholics and put into the care of the Sisters of Nazareth in 1982 with his older brother at Nazareth Lodge in Belfast in 1982, the inquiry in Banbridge, Co Down was told on Monday. A younger brother and sister who were also taken into care were fostered, the inquiry heard.

The man claimed that he suffered various forms of cruelty at the home. The nuns have apologised to all who suffered abuse in their care but have denied specific allegations that the witness made to the inquiry.

The inquiry, which was set up in 2013 to investigate alleged child abuse in residential institutions in Northern Ireland over a 73-year period up to 1995, is currently examining abuse claims at Narareth House and Nazareth Lodge in Belfast. In all 13 institutions are being investigated.

The witness said he was at Nazareth Lodge from the age of six up to when he was nearly 10. He said he was “force fed” by the nuns and that once when he got sick he was forced to clean up the mess.
He said on one occasion a nun told him, “You will never see your mother and father again”, which caused him extreme distress.

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Catholic Diocese Fundraiser Brings In More Than $200 Million

PITTSBURGH (PA)
CBS Pittsburgh

[with video]

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese celebrated a major milestone Sunday.
A fundraising campaign has brought in nearly double its goal.

A mass of gratitude at St. Paul Cathedral was held to thank parish leaders for their sacrifice and dedication.

Sunday, Bishop David Zubik announced the “Our Campaign for the Church Alive,” an historical initiative to invest in the future of the Catholic Church was a huge success. Two years ago, the goal was to raise $125 million. Bishop Zubik says the church has well exceeded the goal in pledges.

“That’s a little more than $230 million with more than $62 million already returned in cash,” Zubik said.

The bishop says 200 parishes stand to benefit the most, receiving 70 percent of the funds or $96 million. He cautions, the money can only be used for specific needs at the parishes.

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Geestelijken aartsbisdom keren zich tegen Eijk

NEDERLAND
Trouw

[93 retired priests, pastoral workers, deacons have signed a petition opposing the policy of Cardinal Wim Eijk. Eijk.]

93 retired priests, pastoral workers, deacons and blankets from the Archdiocese of Utrecht oppose the policy of Cardinal Wim Eijk. In a petition, they declare their solidarity with a prominent priest. Which Eijk last reproached in an open letter “sectarianism” and “dictatorial traits’ at the close of churches.

93 emeritus priesters, pastoraal werkers, diakens en dekens uit het aartsbisdom Utrecht keren zich tegen het beleid van kardinaal Wim Eijk. In een petitie verklaren ze zich solidair met een prominente priester. Die verweet Eijk laatst in een open brief ‘sektarisme’ en ‘dictatoriale trekken’ bij het sluiten van kerken.

Net als de priester, Jozef Wissink, zijn de ondertekenaars zeer kritisch over Eijks toekomstvisie voor het aartsbisdom. De kardinaal gaat de leegloop van kerken te lijf door tientallen kerken te sluiten en parochies te fuseren. In december sprak hij de verwachting uit dat het aartsbisdom over vijftien jaar nog een stuk of twintig kerkgebouwen telt. Nu zijn dat er nog driehonderd. Eijk heeft naar eigen zeggen geen keuze: de meeste dorpen en plaatsen zouden niet meer genoeg geld en personeel hebben om de kerk open te houden.

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Zahl der Kirchenaustritte 2014 deutlich gestiegen

DEUTSCHLAND
Die Welt

[Number of leaving the church in 2014 increased significantly]

München/Bamberg (dpa/lby) – Die beiden großen Kirchen in Bayern haben 2014 mehr Mitglieder verloren als noch im Jahr zuvor. Verantwortlich dafür ist nach Einschätzung des evangelischen Landesbischofs Heinrich Bedford-Strohm vor allem das neue Einzugsverfahren der Kirchensteuer auf Kapitalerträge. Die Kirche müsse sich selbstkritisch fragen, ob sie die neue Regelung ausreichend kommuniziert habe, sagte er am Freitag in München. Bei manchen Christen sei der falsche Eindruck entstanden, es handle sich um eine neue Steuer.

Seit Januar führen Banken und Versicherer die auf Kapitalerträge entfallende Kirchensteuer direkt ab. 2014 wurden die Anleger meist per Brief über diese Neuregelung informiert. Die evangelische Landeskirche verzeichnete im vergangenen Jahr 30 600 Austritte – nach knapp 19 000 im Jahr 2013.

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Erhebungsverfahren der Kirchensteuer auf die Kapitalertragssteuer

DEUTSCHLAND
EKD

[An explanation of how the church tax is assessed in Germany.]

Häufige Fragen zum Erhebungsverfahren der Kirchensteuer auf die Kapitalertragssteuer (Abgeltungssteuer) ab 2015

Ab 2015 soll die Kirchensteuer auf Kapitalertragsteuer direkt von Banken, Versicherungen oder Wohnungsbaugenossenschaften abgeführt werden. Da ist es gut, die Fakten zu kennen. Ein Faltblatt mit ausführlichen Informationen steht für Sie zum Download bereit.

Kirchensteuer auf Kapitalerträge – ist das etwa schon wieder eine neue Steuer?

Nein, Kirchensteuer auf Kapitalerträge oberhalb des Steuerfreibetrages von 801 Euro (ledig) bzw. 1602 Euro (verheiratet) gibt es schon immer. Kapitalerträge waren schon früher als Einkommen in der Steuererklärung anzugeben und zu versteuern, inklusive Kirchensteuerzuschlag. Neu ist lediglich ab 2015 die Art der Erhebung:

Seit 2009 wird die Kapitalertragsteuer direkt an der Quelle ihrer Entstehung von den Banken automatisch erhoben und an die Finanzbehörden weitergeleitet. Die automatische Weiterleitung der Kirchensteuer auf die Kapitalertragsteuer erfolgte nur nach entsprechender Mitteilung des Steuerpflichtigen an seine Bank. Ab 2015 wird auch die auf die Kapitalerträge entfallende Kirchensteuer an die Finanzbehörden weitergeleitet.

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Chronik: Der Missbrauchsskandal in der Katholischen Kirche

DEUTSCHLAND
Spiegel

[Timeline of sexual abuse revelations in the Catholic Church.]

1994: Der irische Ministerpräsident Albert Reynolds tritt von seinem Amt zurück. Der Anlass: Er hatte Generalstaatsanwalt Harry Whelehan aktiv gefördert, einen radikalen Abtreibungsgegner, der einen des Kindesmissbrauchs verdächtigen katholischen Priester vor Strafverfolgung geschützt hatte. In Irland wurden jahrzehntelang Tausende Minderjährige in kirchlichen und staatlichen Heimen systematisch missbraucht und misshandelt.

Mai 1999: Der irische Ministerpräsident Bertie Ahern entschuldigt sich bei den Opfern sexuellen Missbrauchs. Schon ein Jahr zuvor hatte er angekündigt, eine Meldepflicht für möglichen Kindesmissbrauch einführen zu wollen. Bis zum Ende seiner Regierungszeit 2008 bleibt dieses Vorhaben unrealisiert.

März 2001: Erste Berichte über sexuellen Missbrauch an Nonnen durch katholische Priester unter anderem in Afrika werden öffentlich. Auch Bischöfe sollen in Verdachtsfälle verwickelt gewesen sein. Erst viele Jahre später wird das Ausmaß der Übergriffe bekannt.

30. April 2001: In einem “Motu Proprio” verfügt Papst Johannes Paul II., dass die Aufklärung sexuellen Missbrauchs in der katholischen Kirche in Zukunft der Glaubenskongregation in Rom unterliegt. Angeblich soll dadurch einer Vertuschung vorgebeugt werden. Sexualstraftaten gehören ab jetzt zu den schweren Vergehen, die mit Disziplinarstrafen oder Laisierung einhergehen können. Die kirchenrechtliche Verjährung der Delikte wird auf zehn Jahre erhöht, gerechnet ab Vollendung des 18. Lebensjahres des Opfers.

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The Stolzman File

MINNESOTA
Canonical Consultation

01/25/2015

Jennifer Haselberger

When the file of Father William Stolzman was released on January 14, 2015, it generated very little attention. That is not necessarily surprising, especially considering that it was released along with five other files, the documents didn’t appear to contain any ‘smoking guns’, and the alleged abuse is said to have occurred many years earlier. Accordingly, there was no press conference, no victims’ photos, and no emotional statements for TV and other news outlets to record. The media had plenty of reason not to notice.

But for those who are following the saga here in Saint Paul (which I understand the current Vicar General likes to refer to as my ‘crusade’), the Stolzman file is a veritable gold mine. In it, you can find hints of everything that led us to where we are today: the palpable decline of a once vibrant Archdiocese, the erosion of policies and protocols regarding just about every significant aspect of ecclesiastical life, and the institutional adoption of what I came to think of as the cardinal rule: ‘Don’t go looking under rocks’.

For those willing to wade through the documents, there are other titillating finds. There are cameos of important personages (including the newly-installed Archbishop of Chicago, Blase Cupich), hard fought battles over liturgical practices (Dixie cups for the Precious Blood?), and an apparently frank explanation of how one homosexual priest attempted to sublimate his desires in order to conform to divine law and to maintain celibate chastity. And then there is page upon page of seeming minutiae.

So, what is so important about the Stolzman file?

Well, for starters, it provides some of the most detailed information available to outside observers as to how the Archdiocese operates and has (mis)managed its Pension Plan for Priests. For, while in the process of incardination, Father Stolzman, who is a stickler for detail on financial matters, engaged in protracted and often one-sided conversations about how he could ensure that his pension was appropriately funded so that he could retire with full benefits at age 70. The file shows that time and time again Father Stolzman pressured diocesan officials to determine the extent of the contribution for prior service required from the Jesuit order, and that for more than two years diocesan officials generally ignored his efforts. The quarterly statements to his parish, which are included in the file for this time period, also demonstrate how parishes were billed and remitted payments to the priest pension plan and insurance plans through a single payment to the Archdiocese.

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Italian priest abandons church for love

ITALY
The Local

A priest in northern Italy on Sunday told parishioners he was leaving the church to start a new life with a woman, with whom he is reportedly expecting a child.

Claudio Cavallo made the announcement during his Sunday service in Borgo San Dalmazzo, a town close to the French border.

The mass would be his last, the 50-year-old priest said, owing to his desire to have a relationship.

“I’ve taken this decision after speaking at length with my superiors. I would like to continue to put my energy into the church, if possible,” Cavallo was quoted in Rai News as saying.

There are reports that Cavallo may be expecting a child with his new partner, the news site said.

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Bankruptcy case brings financial fears for Catholic schools

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

Article by: TONY KENNEDY , Star Tribune Updated: January 26, 2015

As president of an inner-city Catholic grade school that depends critically on donations, Helen Dahlman admits to an unconventional fundraising strategy.

“We believe in miracles, so we pray a lot,” said Dahlman, who leads Risen Christ School in south Minneapolis, a place devoted to poor immigrants and other severely disadvantaged kids.

Risen Christ is among dozens of Catholic schools across the Twin Cities watching how the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis shoulders millions of dollars of anticipated debt from clergy sexual abuse lawsuits. And as the church’s bankruptcy case unfolds, they are keeping the faith that it won’t have ripple effects on their finances.

Catholic leaders in St. Paul have said repeatedly that the church’s decentralized corporate structure will protect individual schools and parishes from financial harm — a stance proven correct in other U.S. Catholic church bankruptcies.

Still, some veterans of the Twin Cities Catholic education scene worry about a trickle-down of pain.

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Police apology call over abuse inaction

AUSTRALIA
9 News

An organisation representing people abused as children in group homes and orphanages wants police commissioners across Australia to apologise for not acting when children revealed crimes.

Care Leavers Australia Network (CLAN) says there is growing evidence that children suffering abuse and mistreatment were disbelieved, humiliated, put into prison cells, assaulted by police and returned back to the perpetrators and abusers with no investigations undertaken.

CLAN’s chief executive Leonie Sheedy said children in orphanages, children’s homes and foster homes ran away to escape sexual, physical and emotional abuse and neglect.

“We know that police would be notified by the orphanage or children’s home and police in every state and territory kept records of these events,” Ms Sheedy said.

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Tackling sexual abuse in the Church

MALTA
Times of Malta

The announcement that the commission tasked with investigating suspected cases of sexual abuse within the Church is to start its work next month is welcome.

The Safeguarding Commission, as it is called, will replace the Church’s Response Team and inherit five cases, three of which involve minors.

Andrew Azzopardi, who heads the five-member commission, said the working group’s role will not be limited to investigating cases of abuse but will also include the introduction of measures aimed at preventing abuse and the creation of a culture where children and vulnerable adults feel protected, both of which are welcome steps.

Mr Azzopardi also stated that the commission would help and cooperate with the police and that it would abide by the law of mandatory reporting to the police. This is an important assertion and gives credibility to the commission; in the past the Church’s Response Team had an ambiguous policy vis-à-vis reporting alleged cases of abuse to the police.

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Opinion: A closer look at Pope Francis

TENNESSEE
The Daily Beacon

THOMAS CARPENTER, COLUMNIST
Mon Jan 26, 2015
Thomas Carpenter

In 2014, pop culture had a surprising hero: The Pope.

Pope Francis joined the ranks of the selfie and Lil Jon for some of the most talked about topics of last year. Comments like, “Atheists can be good people too” and the fact that he used to be a nightclub bouncer gave him a status among young people the papacy hasn’t enjoyed since the Great Schism.

He has been hailed as a “progressive” and “revolutionary” pope, but are his policies really any different from previous popes? He certainly is more charismatic than that bowl of cherries Benedict XVI, but is he really the progressive the media and non-Catholics alike are calling him? It turns out it may just be a facade.

First of all, let me just say that anyone would look hip after having Benedict XVI as pope. This guy was about as lively as a banana slug. So here comes the newly elected Pope Francis giving impassioned sermons about the mistreatment of homosexuals, and the liberals just absolutely went crazy.

In fact, Benedict said the exact same thing in his “On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons” letter but spent so much time talking about the sinfulness of homosexuality, it was dismissed by the left. Pope Francis has made it clear he believes homosexuality is very much a sin in the eyes of God and is in fact, “an attempt to destroy God’s plan.”

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Catholic Bishop expresses sadness as court doubles Denham’s jail sentence

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

The Catholic Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle has expressed sadness in relation to sex abuse committed by a priest, deemed one of Australia’s worst paedophiles.

On Friday, 73-year-old defrocked priest John Sidney Denham had 13 years added to his jail sentence for the abuse of an additional 18 boys, mainly at Newcastle’s St Pius High School.

In 2010 he was sentenced to 14 years jail for the abuse of 40 boys.

In a statement, Bishop Bill Wright said the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle “continues to be saddened by the terrible harm that he inflicted on so many innocent lives”.

He says the Diocese continues to demonstrate its commitment to protect children through the funding of Zimmerman Services.

“I continue to personally promote the importance of each individual’s responsibility in reporting suspected abuse,” he said.

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Pope Francis Still Treats Catholics & the Media As Docile Dopes -Why?

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

Fr. Richard McBrien, like Pope Francis, a 78 year old Jesuit educated priest, has passed to his well earned eternal reward, see “Fr. Richard McBrien, theologian, has died “, here

[National Catholic Reporter]

Fr. McBrien brilliantly, bravely and honestly educated millions of adult Catholics about church history and theology, the good, the bad and the ugly, despite heavy handed right wing resentment that he unfairly faced often. He trusted fully Jesus’ Gospel message that the truth would make Catholics free. Catholicism ( also the title of Fr. McBrien’s magnum opus) will always be in his debt.

Pope Francis, by contrast to Fr. McBrien, acts often as the modern Wizard of Oz and too often treats adult Catholics as docile children, seeking mythical reassurances about infallibility, contraception and even the devil. Then, who is Dorothy and where is her dog, Toto?

Dorothy is Glyzelle Palomar, a courageous 12 year old Manila street child and sex abuse victim, who recently challenged the pope before a world audience. Toto is the media that is awakening from it Fancismania/Opus Dei induced coma. See Glyzelle’s beautiful picture, despite her very sad eyes, here [National Catholic Reporter] in the article, “The Catholic church’s complicity in Glyzelle Palomar’s suffering“.

The US political context of Pope Francis’ obvious Wizard of Oz strategy has been well documented by Betty Clermont in her important new analysis set forth below, and in her excellent book, “The Neo-Catholics: Implementing Christian Nationalism in America“, at

[Amazon]

For my fuller analysis of Pope Francis’ currently misguided geo-political and moral strategies, please see my “Pope Francis Is Still Failing Too Many Abused & Abandoned Children, No?‏”

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Priest snubs judge’s accusations of knowledge

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

By JOANNE McCARTHY Jan. 25, 2015

RETIRED Catholic priest Ron Pickin has denied being part of ‘‘an organised criminal activity’’ within the Church in the 1970s and 1980s that protected sadistic predator priest John Denham.

Father Pickin, 81, said Denham was ‘‘a crook’’, but denied knowing he sexually abused boys, denied watching Denham sexually abuse a boy or boys, and said Sydney District Court Judge Helen Syme was wrong to say he was actively or tacitly complicit in those crimes.

‘‘She’s said it wrong,’’ said Father Pickin, the former Wingham priest, army chaplain and Newcastle police chaplain who is confined to a wheelchair in a Hunter aged care facility.

On Friday Judge Syme issued some of the strongest remarks yet heard in a court about Catholic Church knowledge of a child sex offender priest while sentencing Denham, 73, to a total minimum term of 19 years and five months jail for sexually abusing 57 boys aged 5-17 between 1968 and 1986 in the Hunter and Taree.

‘‘The combined set of facts lead to an inescapable conclusion of the active or tacit collusion by at least two other church officers,’’ Judge Syme said before naming Father Pickin and the late Toronto priest and St Pius X Adamstown principal Tom Brennan.

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Internal review discloses specific details

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

Written by
Malorie Paine
Pacific Daily News

The Archdiocese of Agana yesterday disclosed specific details of alleged financial mismanagement by Monsignor James Benavente, the former administrator of the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica and The Catholic Cemeteries.

An Archdiocesan internal review report, which was distributed inside yesterday’s issue of Umatuna Si Yu’os, the archdiocese’s newspaper, alleges Benavente used funds for the two entities interchangeably, used clergy stipends to make personal credit card payments and used cemetery funds to pay for his 20th anniversary reception, along with other allegations.

“The Archdiocese of Agana in the past several months has been conducting an internal review of the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica and The Catholic Cemeteries of Guam, Inc. following a determination by the accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche, that The Catholic Cemeteries was not auditable,” the review report stated.

The report also states during Benavente’s time as administrator of the two entities, he developed projects that resulted in the Archdiocese incurring $7 million in debt.

Pacific Daily News made several attempts to contact Benavente yesterday, but was unsuccessful.

Tim Rohr, a friend of Benavente, said Benavente had been asked by Vatican officials not to respond to the allegations.

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ARCHDIOCESAN INTERNAL REVIEW REPORT OF CATHEDRAL-BASILICA AND THE CATHOLIC CEMETERIES

GUAM
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Agana

The Archdiocese of Agana in the past several months has been conducting an internal review of the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica and The Catholic Cemeteries of Guam, Inc. following a determination by the accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche, that The Catholic Cemeteries was not auditable. Following the appointment of the current Rector, Monsignor David C. Quitugua, grave irregularities were discovered involving the administration of the entities which were formerly administered by Monsignor James Benavente (“Msgr. Benavente”), prior to July 25, 2014. Specifically, the following are some of the irregularities noted:

(1) Msgr. Benavente as the administrator of the Cathedral-Basilica and The Catholic Cemeteries developed projects which resulted in the Archdiocese incurring $7 million dollars ($7,029,853.93), which were consolidated in 2009 from different loans held at the Bank of Hawaii and Bank of Guam to First Hawaiian Bank, and re-financed again in 2012. These two entities have the largest ndebtedness of all other entities in the Archdiocese, and in 2013, a review of the principal balances indicated that the overall reduction of their indebtedness was less than the average 20% reduction by other Archdiocesan entities. Another project that was formerly administered by Msgr. Benavente is indebted for $2.2 million dollars as of 2013, and due to its financial condition has only been paying interest on its outstanding debt, up to August 2014. These three entities constitute approximately 37% of the total indebtedness of the Archdiocese (the remaining indebtedness represents all parishes and catholic schools).

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Archdiocesan Internal Review Report of the Cathedral-Basilica and The Catholic Cemeteries

GUAM
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Agana

The Archdiocese of Agana in the past several months has been conducting an internal review of the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica and The Catholic Cemeteries of Guam, Inc. following a determination by the accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche, that The Catholic Cemeteries was not auditable. Following the appointment of the current Rector, Monsignor David C. Quitugua, grave irregularities were discovered involving the administration of the entities which were formerly administered by Monsignor James Benavente (“Msgr. Benavente”), prior to July 25, 2014….

Download Full Report

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Guam archdiocese blames Monsignor Benavente for financial ‘irregularities’

GUAM
Marianas Variety

25 Jan 2015 By Jasmine Stole – jasmine@mvguam.com – Variety News Staff

HAGÅTÑA — After Deloitte & Touche, LLC determined the Agana Archdiocese’s finances were not auditable, the archdiocese’s administration took matters into its own hands and completed what the Chancery Office said is an “internal review” of financial affairs.

The archdiocese printed a two-page statement dated Jan. 23 and inserted the statement in this week’s edition of the U Matuna Si Yu’os, the weekly local Catholic newspaper. In the statement, the church administration details five “irregularities” it discovered as a result of its internal review.

The statement released this past weekend lists incidents involving the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica account and the Catholic Cemeteries of Guam account, both of which fall under the rector’s management. Monsignor James Benavente was the only named church official tied to the financial irregularities published this past weekend.

The archdiocese said Benavente “commingled funds without respect of restriction on funds” between the Cathedral-Basilica and the Catholic Cemeteries. The former rector allegedly used cemetery funds to pay for Cathedral payroll and allegedly used money for the clergy to pay church loans.

Further, the church said after Benavente was removed, credit cards issued in the name of the Catholic Cemeteries were found and had balances in excess of $60,000. Benavente is said to have used the cards for restaurants, airfare, the Shangri-La Hotel in Manila and other five star hotels between 2009 and 2014, according to the archdiocese. …

In response to the statement issued over the weekend, Catholic blogger Tim Rohr said he sent an email to Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, secretary for the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples on Saturday. In his letter, Rohr said he will not contribute to Church collections until Savio answers his questions about costs incurred for Apuron’s travel, meals, credit cards and other bills.

Rohr said Benavente is saddened by Apuron’s “apparent need to go public with his accusations instead of meeting with (Benavente) to discuss these matters personally.”

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Jersey synod calls for abuse report publication

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

Leading Anglicans in Jersey have called for a report on an inquiry into the mishandling of an an abuse allegation to be made public.

In 2008, a woman said she had been abused by a Jersey church warden. In 2013 the Very Reverend Bob Key was suspended for two months over the alleged mishandling of the complaint.

The inquiry has been completed but the report has not been published.

It was reported in September the Bishop of Winchester was reviewing the report.

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Fr. Richard McBrien, theologian, has died

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

NCR Staff | Jan. 25, 2015

Fr. Richard McBrien, who as a scholar brought distinction to a university theology department and who as an author and often-interviewed popular expert explained the Catholic church to the wider world, died early Sunday morning. He was 78.

McBrien had been seriously ill for several years and had moved recently from South Bend, Ind., to his native Connecticut.

It would be difficult to find a figure comparable in making understandable to a broad public the basic beliefs and traditions of the Roman Catholic church. …

Unabashedly on the progressive side of most Catholic debates, McBrien advocated the ordination of women priests, an end to mandatory celibacy for priests, moral approval of artificial birth control, and decentralization of power in the church. In so doing, he helped to define the battle lines within Catholicism over the legacy of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). …

For supporters of the conservative direction set by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, McBrien was instead a favorite bête noire. Foes routinely tried to get him fired at Notre Dame, occasionally tried to cajole bishops into excommunicating him, pressured diocesan papers to drop his syndicated column, and once even lodged charges of plagiarism. University officials investigated the plagiarism complaint in 2006, and McBrien was cleared.

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Nuncio Disses Pope

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Michael Sean Winters | Jan. 24, 2015 Distinctly Catholic

I was trolling the rightwing blogosphere – and I use that verb advisedly – and I came across this post at Rorate Caeli attacking Archbishop Blase Cupich. The article was bad enough, but what really caught my eye was the twitter feed which included this item:

Thomas E. Gullickson @GullicksonEd
Francis Flogs the Curia. But What a Gap Between Words and Deeds http://ino.to/15wTeZg via @Inoreader
Retweeted by Rorate Caeli

Archbishop Thomas Gullickson is the papal nuncio to Ukraine. I was not aware that trashing the pope by disseminating articles that are highly critical of him was a part of a nuncio’s brief. Who knew? In fact, there are five or six other tweets of similar articles attacking Pope Francis. There are no similar links to articles that are favorable to the Holy Father. Cardinal Parolin: Call your office! There is also a link to Gloria.tv. If you ever need a laugh, check it out.

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Philippines homeless ‘relocated’ during Pope Francis visit

PHILIPPINES
BBC News

The government in the Philippines is facing calls for an inquiry after it admitted relocating homeless people temporarily during Pope Francis’ visit.

Social welfare secretary Corazon Soliman said that nearly 500 people were taken from the streets of Manila to an upscale resort in the outskirts.

House of Representatives member Terry Ridon called for an inquiry, saying the move was a “clearing operation”.

Pope Francis arrived in the Philippines last week and left on Monday.

Mr Ridon said the government relocation scheme was “truly horrendous, given the fact that Pope Francis visited our country to – first and foremost – see and talk to the poor.”

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Theresa May’s child abuse inquiry shame: Petition launched as victims’ wait for justice passes 200 days

UNITED KINGDOM
Mirror

You can sign Becky’s petition at change.org/abuseinquiry

Jan 24, 2015 By Nigel Nelson

An abuse survivor has begun a petition at change.org demanding the Home Secretary stops dithering over the inquiry promised 3203 days ago

Home Secretary Theresa May is under increasing pressure to get her inquiry into historic child sex abuse off the ground.

It comes as our May-o-meter records 203 days have elapsed since she first ­announced it.

Today abuse survivor “Becky” will launch a ­petition on website change.org ­urging May to get a move on.

Becky demands: “Start the ­inquiry you promised to abuse survivors without ­further ­delay.”

Her plea comes after the death of Leon Brittan last week as child abuse campaigners fear others will now take what they know of the alleged paedophile ring cover-up to their graves.

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Inquiry into historic sex abuse has ‘wasted’…

UNITED KINGDOM
Daily Mail

Inquiry into historic sex abuse has ‘wasted’ £25,000 on controversial eight-strong panel that Theresa May is poised to sack

Tens of thousands of pounds have been ‘wasted’ on the Government’s inquiry into historic child abuse and key figures are set to be sacked even though it has barely begun.

The controversial eight-strong panel has had seven meetings, as well as ‘listening meetings’ with survivors, putting their bill at well over £25,000 already – despite Theresa May being poised to give them the boot.

Thousands more have been paid to a barrister accused of bullying panel members, while the Home Office has rented central London offices and is paying up to 15 staff to run the back-office operation.

Yet six months after it was set up to investigate claims of VIP paedophile rings dating back to the 1970s, the inquiry is without a chairman, and has not had a proper hearing.

Last week former Home Secretary Leon Brittan, a key witness, died before giving evidence.
Last night a leading child abuse campaigner branded the panel’s wages ‘a massive waste’.

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What the Sex Scandal has Cost the Church

UNITED STATES
Waiting for Godot to Leave

Kevin O’Brien

What has the sex abuse scandal cost the Catholic Church? Not merely ruined lives. Not merely $2.7 billion dollars. Jo Renee Formicola argues that a price has been paid that we haven’t even been noticing.

What she points out is this: because of the perfidious negligence of the bishops, civil law now trumps canon law. The two millennial tradition of the separate and conflicting realms in the West – civil / temporal vs. spiritual – has now collapsed. Bishop Finn in Kansas City willingly gave oversight of his diocese to the county government – just to avoid a misdemeanor rap. But, in effect, every bishop has done the same. Protecting pedophiles has led to this. From the article …

“The legal system has stepped forward to do what the church itself would not do. It has challenged the church and demanded information on priests’ medical and psychiatric records,” Formicola said. “Things that were held ecclesiastically as being outside the law and protected by privilege, are no longer protected by privilege.

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Argument of Some U.S. Catholics…

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

Jerry Slevin

Argument of Some U.S. Catholics That Church Position on Contraception Doesn’t Affect Poor Women in Developing Nations: What’s at Stake Here?

Perhaps I have not been clear in what I have written this week (here and here) about some of the fault lines that are apparent among American lay Catholics now that the pope’s comments about contraception and family planning in the Philippines have opened discussion of those issues all over again. I’m going to try again.

In her National Catholic Reporter article about the Catholic church’s complicity in the suffering of Glyzelle Palomar, Jamie Manson provides a clear, compelling case for why the issue of contraception (and the denial of contraceptives to women in developing nations) should concern all Catholics everywhere — as an ethical challenge: she writes,

For more than a decade, the Roman Catholic hierarchy obstructed the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill, a proposed Philippine law intended to bring free or subsidized birth control options (condoms, birth control pills and intrauterine devices) to government health centers, including remote areas where some of the poorest live. It would provide family-planning training for community health officers and require sex education in public schools. It also would vastly improve maternity care for poor women. Abortion and abortifacients would remain illegal.
What I have been trying to draw attention to is not the response to issue of contraception of the Catholic hard right as represented by groups like Human Life International, which has long argued that contraceptives should be actively opposed for women in developing nations. I’m trying to focus on what is a quite typical and predictable response of a solid core of American Catholics who are pro-contraceptive-use, who use contraceptives themselves, but who want flatly to deny that the Catholic magisterial teaching about contraceptives has much effect at all on women and children in poor nations. I want to focus on the response of many American Catholic “liberals” to this discussion, in other words.

In comments made by some lay Catholics in the U.S. at NCR this week, you can see this position clearly developed, with claims, for instance, that a majority of Filipino women must be using contraception, since the birth rate in the Philippines is moderate. This claim flatly denies what both Jamie Manson and NCR’s editors are saying. In fact, it calls into question the integrity of these fellow lay Catholic witnesses to Catholic ethical truths in an important intraecclesial Catholic ethical discussion. It also flatly denies that the official teaching of the Catholic church vis-a-vis contraception has much effect at all on the lives of poor women and children in places like the Philippines.

Another tactic of this same set of lay American Catholics who themselves use contraceptives and who themselves approve of contraceptive use for others is the claim that the debate about contraception is a tired debate that reflects concerns of over-the-hill Vatican II lefties, while younger, with-it lay Catholics have transcended that post-Vatican II debate. Since lay Catholics in general, in the Western nations, no longer care what the magisterium says about these issues, and no longer listen when the magisterium talks about sex . . . .

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Judge presiding over clerical abuse case is Radju Marija president

MALTA
Malta Independent

Therese Bonnici
Sunday, 25 January 2015

The judge presiding over the civil court case involving the sexual abuse of boys by priests at St Joseph Home in the late 1980s, Mr Justice Joseph Micallef, also happens to be the president of Radju Marija, a radio station which is strongly associated with the Church, although the Church is not directly involved.

Given the doubts raised by the connection to the Church, the lawyer of the victims has now requested that the judge abstains from the case, and a decision is yet to be taken by the court.

According to the local code of organisation and civil procedures, a judge can be challenged from sitting in a case if he is related by consanguinity or affinity in a direct line to any of the parties. He can also be challenged if he is the tutor, curator, or presumptive heir of any of the parties; if he is or has been the agent of any of the parties to the suit or if he is the administrator of any establishment or partnership involved in the suit.

Despite the fact that Radju Marija is not led by the church – the lawyers are concerned that there is a conflict of interest.

Radio stations transmitting religious content, such as Radju Marija, need to first be approved by the Church. The radio station is transmitted from the Dominican Friars Convent in Rabat, and up until a few months ago, it was directed by Fr Charles Fenech, who is now facing charges of sexual abuse in court. Radju Marija is a civil and private not-for-profit organisation, however it is operated by priests, religious and lay people.

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Catholic Church settles with law firm

WASHINGTON
The Register-Guard

By The Associated Press
JAN. 25, 2015

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Catholic Diocese of Spokane has settled a malpractice case it filed against the law firm that handled its bankruptcy over priest sexual abuse claims.

The church and the Paine Hamblen law firm settled Friday, but the terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

The malpractice lawsuit was set for a trial in February, but both sides reached a settlement through a ­mediation effort.

“The settlement does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing by either side,” both sides said in a joint statement. “Rather, it is a resolution of differences in an amicable manner which allows the parties to move forward with the important work that each conducts in the service of the common good.”

Jane Brown, the managing partner of Paine Hamblen, said her firm is pleased with the outcome. Robert Gould, a lawyer hired by the diocese to pursue the malpractice case, declined comment.

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O’Toole backs removal of litigation time limits in sexual abuse cases

AUSTRALIA
Maitland Mercury

By Emma Swain Jan. 25, 2015

Maitland survivors of child sexual abuse are being urged to have their say on whether to remove or lift the legal time limit to sue for damages.

NSW Attorney-General Brad Hazzard said the NSW government has released a discussion paper on whether to amend the Limitation Act 1969 as part of its response to the inquiries into child abuse in religious, non-government and government organisations.

“The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has uncovered widespread claims of abuse and the legal barriers survivors face in pursuing justice many years after the event,” Mr Hazzard said.

“Civil litigation offers people an opportunity to sue perpetrators and responsible institutions for damages suffered as a result of their abuse.

“However, it is well documented that many survivors of child sexual abuse do not disclose their experiences or act on them until decades after the abuse, well after the time period has ended.”

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LI diocese facing critical moment as Bishop William Murphy nears retirement age

NEW YORK
Newsday

January 24, 2015
By BART JONES bart.jones@newsday.com

Bishop William Murphy hits the mandatory church retirement age of 75 in mid-May, and although he may not depart immediately, it is setting the stage for a momentous shift in one of the largest Roman Catholic dioceses in the nation.

By church regulations, Murphy, like all bishops, must submit a letter of resignation to the Vatican on his birthday, May 14. It could be accepted immediately, or he could be permitted to remain in his post for months or even years, said the Rev. Thomas Reese, a senior analyst with the National Catholic Reporter who has written two books on the Vatican.

“We’ve had cases where the day after his birthday a bishop’s been replaced,” Reese said. “And we’ve had cases where it’s been five years,” though one or two is usually the limit. “It’s so very unpredictable.”

John Thavis, a longtime Vatican reporter and author of “The Vatican Diaries,” said that if a bishop is in good health, things are running well in a diocese and the bishop himself would like to stay on, it’s common for him to be permitted to do so for a few years.

“If there are no problems, if it is smooth sailing, it’s probably something they can wait a year or two on,” Thavis said. If things are not smooth, he said, “expect it sooner, I would say.”

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Hacking group Anonymous to target paedophiles using the ‘dark web’ to carry out child abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
Daily Mail

By KEILIGH BAKER FOR MAILONLINE

In the wake of the Westminster child abuse scandal and allegations of establishment cover-ups, hackers Anonymous have decided to expose international paedophile networks.

The hacking group says it is is planning on collecting evidence against international paedophile rings and their abuse of children to find the links between different operations and ultimately bring the perpetrators to justice.

Named ‘Operation Death Eaters’ after Voldemort’s band of evil followers in the Harry Potter series, the group is calling for a global effort in exposing the paedophile rings through the power of social media.

This newest Anonymous campaign comes just weeks after the group declared war on jihadists in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris.

Now, they are building a grassroots database of paedophile cases from across the world in order to ultimately expose an ‘international cult’ of child sex abuse.

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Does Pope Francis’ “Galileo 2.0″ Strategy Show a Lack of Faith?

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

Pope Francis is pushing a population growth policy — generally, more Catholic babies are always better — that is completely irrational and harmful to millions of poor Catholics. In the 17th Century, popes tried to get Galileo to accept that the sun revolves around the earth — another irrational papal position that took 400 years for the Vatican to get right. But how many of the poor cared which sphere revolved around which sphere, really?

For my detailed analysis of Pope Francis’ misguided geo-political and moral strategies, please see my : “Pope Francis Is Still Failing Too Many Abused & Abandoned Children, No?‏” at the link, Pope Still Fails Abandoned Children, No .

With papal acquiescence, if not full support, a childless and celibate African bishop has called for more Catholic babies to replenish Catholics killed in inter-tribal wars as reported here

[National Catholic Reporter]

An informed African woman has a different perspective, however, see here

[The Guardian]

And Kenyan bishops are opposing children’s vaccinations, apparently on “anti-birth control” grounds as reported here

[Commonweal]

Why this irrationality? Maximizing money and power for the Catholic hierarchy, it appears. More Catholic babies mean more Catholic donors and voters, in some hierarchs’ short sighted view. They seem to be oblivious to the millions of Catholics worldwide rushing to the Catholic Church exits, often led by mothers.

Pope Francis appears to want to try to cover all financial and political bets, and will likely fail in the process. He needs to trust Jesus more and stop trying to control Catholics. He needs to listen more closely to Jesus in Luke 12:27 :

“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.”

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Madison author: Sex abuse costs changed everything for Catholic Church

UNITED STATES
MyCentralJersey.com

Lorraine Ash, @LorraineVAsh January 24, 2015

MADISON – When the Catholic sexual abuse scandals of the last 15 years entered American courtrooms, a kind of showdown was at play: canon law versus civil law. It got the attention of Jo Renee Formicola, a political science professor at Seton Hall University.

After 10 years of researching legal reports, church documents, newspaper accounts, and personal stories, the Madison resident penned her ninth book—”Clerical Sexual Abuse: How the Crisis Changed US Catholic Church-State Relations” (Palgrave Macmillan, $105), released last November.

“I didn’t want to write an angry book,” said Formicola, who specializes in church/state relations.

“I also didn’t set out to write a book that was going to come down on all clergymen,” she added. “I do teach with a lot of very kind, caring, compassionate priests, and I see what this issue has done to them.”

The result is an objective, behind-the-scenes account written for a mass audience. On the other hand, “Clerical Sexual Abuse,” lauded as “scrupulously fair” by the author’s peers, is published by an academic press and priced accordingly.

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Pope Francis, Dostoyevsky and the tears of a child

UNITED STATES
GlobalPost

Jason Berry
January 24, 2015

On each pilgrimage, Pope Francis gives the global audience another glimpse into his complex mind.

The first unscripted pope in the age of mass media gives lengthy airborne press conferences, as when he famously replied, “Who am I to judge?” in reply to a question about gay priests on the flight from Brazil to Rome last year.

Pope Benedict avoided reporters and the charismatic John Paul rarely exposed himself to long encounters with the press. Both popes gave selective interviews to reporters or biographers they trusted.

Francis thrives on the intellectual agility of being interviewed, a trait consistent with Jesuit training in the Socratic method: question sparks answer, answer drives new questions and the wheel of learning turns.

But improvisational remarks have unpredictable receptions.

At a Sunday Mass for 40,000 people at University of Manila, 12-year-old Glyzelle Palomar, who lives in a foundation home for abandoned children, read a statement in her native dialect, translated for the pope and press.

Well-groomed, in a lovely dress, she said: “There are many children neglected by their own parents…[and] are also many who became victims and many terrible things happened to them like drugs or prostitution.”

Voice breaking, Glyzelle asked, “Why is God allowing such things to happen, even if it is not the fault of the children?”

As she broke down, Francis moved close; she wrapped her arms around his waist, burying her face in his side.

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Rabbi arrests bring attention to abuse by faith leaders

MARYLAND
ABC 2

Ron Snyder
Jan 23, 2015

BALTIMORE – Coming forward with allegations of sexual assault can be difficult enough for many people.

That difficulty often is magnified exponentially when the perpetrator is a faith leader. This was the case this week when Baltimore County police charged and Ohio rabbi of sexually abusing a minor.

Police said Rabbi Frederick Martin Karp, 50, of Beachwood, Ohio is awaiting extradition from New York after being arrested there following the accusations in Maryland.

Locally, there are organizations that can assist such victims deal with the trauma and find the help they need, whether it is psychological, physical, legal or financial assistance. Located off Park Heights Road in northwest Baltimore, CHANA offers a Jewish community program to the needs of those who experience physical, psychological, sexual, or financial abuse.

Over the last 20 years, CHANA (Counseling, Helping & Aid Network for Abused Women) has assisted people of all faiths and backgrounds deal with such abuse, including cases involving a rabbi or other faith leader.

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Dartford woman vows to seek justice for abuse she claims she suffered at a convent

UNITED KINGDOM
Kent Online

by Jamie Bullenjbullen@thekmgroup.co.uk

A woman who claims she suffered beatings during her five years at a convent has vowed to seek justice, as hundreds of alleged victims urge Home Secretary Theresa May to rethink an inquiry into child abuse.

Rosalinda Hutton, 57, of Littlebrook Manor Way, Dartford, was one of 300 people at Parliament last week to demand changes after the resignations of two senior inquiry panel judges.

Previous chairmen Lady Butler Sloss and Fiona Woolf were both forced to stand down over fears they both had close links to the establishment.

The inquiry was set up seven months ago but has been criticised for achieving very little. People who say they were victims gathered in London to demand the process be reformed.

Rosalinda was 11 when she joined St Anne’s Convent in Orpington.

She claims she was punched in the face, grabbed by the hair and kicked on the ground while others were beaten.

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Attention, parents! New app helps ‘flag’ predators

UNITED STATES
HLN

By Diane Kaye

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in six boys and one in four girls are sexually abused before the age of 18. And it may surprise you that 90% of those victims are molested by someone they know, according to the Justice Department.

So what can parents do to protect their children from sexual predators?

A new app created by Jeff Herman, child advocate and attorney for victims of sexual abuse, may be the answer.

“Most children are groomed before they are sexually abused,” Herman told HLN. “The grooming process follows typical patterns that can be identified as red flags. After representing hundreds of victims of sexual abuse it became readily apparent to me that many kids can be protected from sexual abuse if their parents recognized these red flags and responded.”

Herman said it’s not enough to simply teach our children about good touch and bad touch.

“A child is no match for a seasoned predator,” Herman explained. “Parents must be equipped with knowledge and be prepared to act.”

That’s where the SafeParent app comes in.

The app has a quiz for parents to take with their kids. The quiz contains a series of questions regarding “red flag” behavior about an adult in their child’s life. The answers are weighted based on the statistics relating to the seriousness of the red flag. When you’re finished, the SafeParent meter will score your answers and calculate a concern score ranging from low to immediate threat.

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Father Matthew Despard: Anger as priest is left out of an official directory listing for John Ogilvie Church

SCOTLAND
Daily Record

Jan 24, 2015 By Leona Greenan

A suspended Blantyre priest has been left out of an official directory listing for his parish – sparking anger among his supporters.

Father Matthew Despard hasn’t been named in John Ogilvie Church’s entry in this year’s Western Catholic Calendar, yet his stand-in Father William Nolan has been named as the administrator.

The priest was suspended back in 2013 after publication of his book called Crisis in the Priesthood, which accused the Catholic Church in Scotland of covering up sexual bullying.

Father Despard’s supporters, many of whom meet following Saturday vigil mass on Saturday evenings to pray for his reinstatement and for “a speedy outcome” for the priest, were disappointed to learn he was not named in the calendar.

Parishioner Ann Reid said: “I’m not happy. In my book Father Despard is still the parish priest. To leave him out speaks volumes.”

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Sainthood and Serra: His virtues outdistance his sins

CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles Times

Op-Ed

By GREGORY ORFALEA

The outcries began as soon as Pope Francis announced that, after 80 years of formal consideration, Father Junipero Serra, founder of the California missions, was to be made a saint. The outrage isn’t new. It hews back to the accusation that Serra actively participated in “genocide,” a notion promoted by California Native American advocates such as Rupert and Jeannette Costo in the 1980s. For others it is bad enough that, to modern eyes, the mission system was oppressive.

But look closer. The majority of California’s Indians were never in the missions. The system didn’t enslave them (though it was a version of indentured servitude). And what killed most of them, in or out of the missions, was disease, lethal germs — which no Spaniard of Serra’s time had any clue about.

The “criminals” in this enterprise were not the Spanish, but the Americans. The indigenous population at the time of European contact (225,000) declined 33% (to 150,000) under Spanish and Mexican rule. Under American rule (from 1848 on), when most of the missions were in ruin, sold off or closed, the Indian population plummeted, to 30,000 in 1870 — an 80% drop. Either figure is tragic, but there is no mistaking who the major culprit was.

Where is Serra in all this? And where the case for sainthood? Lost in the red herring of obvious, harmful effects of colonialism on the native population.

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Bistum: 173 Hinweise auf Missbrauch

DEUTSCHLAND
RP

[Since becoming aware of the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church five years ago, the Essen diocese has found 173 references to sexual violence. This also included most Catholic churches in Duisburg. The allegations date back to the early 1950 and many of the accused persons have died. They found 56 accused priests of which 41 have died and 16 nuns of which 11 have died. Twelve priests were prosecuted and seven were convicted. Eight priests were sentenced under canon law and seven cases are ongoing.]

Duisburg. Es gab auch Hinweise aus Duisburg. Viele Täter sind bereits verstorben. An die Missbrauchsopfer wurden 300 000 Euro gezahlt. Bischof Overbeck ernannte zudem eine evangelische Missbrauchsbeauftragte als “neutrale Instanz”.

Seit Bekanntwerden des Missbrauchsskandals in der katholischen Kirche vor fünf Jahren lagen dem Bistum Essen insgesamt 173 Hinweise auf “sexualisierter Gewalt” vor. Diese Zahl teilte das Bistum Essen, zu dem auch die meisten katholischen Gemeinden in Duisburg gehören, mit. Der Bistumssprecher erläuterte zudem die Angaben: Grundlage dafür seien sowohl Hinweise von Opfern als auch eigene Recherchen gewesen. Zudem seien sämtliche Personalakten lebender Priester durch eine externe Anwaltskanzlei geprüft worden. Die Vorwürfe reichen bis zum Beginn der 1950er Jahre zurück, viele der Beschuldigten sind bereits verstorben, einige konnten namentlich nicht ermittelt werden.

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Kincora: Army ferried ‘top MI5 officer’ to two meetings at boys’ home

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

24 JANUARY 2015

A former intelligence officer has revealed that a senior civilian was driven by the Army to Kincora Boys’ Home on visits at the height of the child sex abuse scandal there in the 1970s.

Brian Gemmell left Belfast as a captain in Military Intelligence in 1976. Last August he volunteered, through an article in the Belfast Telegraph, to help the Hart Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) or any other body investigating the Kincora scandal.

Speaking last week, Mr Gemmell told us he had not yet heard from the HIA.

He said: “One soldier who worked for me told me after I left that he drove a civilian, who he now thinks was MI5 but never identified himself, from HQNI to a meeting in Kincora. He did it a couple of times.”

He went on: “My intelligence NCO (non-commissioned officer) drove him to Kincora and he was inside for half-an-hour and then he drove him back. I am prepared to give the inquiry the name of the driver.” He added: “It didn’t really impact him that significantly at the time sitting outside in the car.

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Broken Rites helped victims of Father John Denham to gain justice

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 23 January 2015)

Broken Rites has helped to obtain justice for victims of an Australian paedophile Catholic priest, Father John Sidney Denham. This priest got away with his crimes for four decades, while his superiors and colleagues looked the other way. Finally, Broken Rites helped to expose Denham, resulting in him being jailed in July 2010 and again in January 2015.

Broken Rites began researching Father John Denham in the late 1990s. Broken Rites ascertained that Denham (born on 8 September 1942) was recruited in the 1960s as a trainee priest for the Newcastle-Maitland Diocese, north of Sydney. As a trainee and later as a priest, he officially belonged to this diocese, and it is usual for diocesan priests to spend their whole career in one diocese. (The Catholic Church in the state of New South Wales is divided into eleven dioceses.)

As a trainee priest, Denham was a danger to children from Day One. According to statements made in court, some of Denham’s child-sex crimes were committed during his period of training.

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Sex abuse inquiry puts spotlight on yeshivas

AUSTRALIA
The Age

January 24, 2015

Rachel Kleinman

Orthodox Jewish communities in Sydney and Melbourne are bracing themselves for royal commission hearings into how yeshivas dealt with child sex abuse.

Police have been swamped with reports of child sex abuse following evidence given in public hearings, as well as stories told in numerous private sessions.

Commissioners investigating institutional responses to child sexual abuse have reported more than 480 cases to police forces across the country since hearings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse began in 2013.

More cases may emerge from new hearings due to start soon in Melbourne. Melbourne and Sydney’s Orthodox Jewish communities are bracing themselves for the hearings, which will examine how Orthodox yeshiva centres dealt with numerous cases of child sexual abuse across decades.

The commission will look at the handling of individual cases involving Aron Kestecher and convicted sex offenders David Samuel Cyprys and David Kramer, who both pleaded guilty and were jailed in 2013. All were employees of St Kilda East’s exclusive Yeshivah College or its umbrella Yeshivah centre.

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Taoiseach must honour promise to Magdalene survivors

IRELAND
Irish Independent

Maeve O’Rourke
PUBLISHED
24/01/2015

If the Taoiseach’s emotional apology to Magdalene survivors was a highlight of his term, next week’s introduction of Magdalene legislation is in danger of being a low point. Quietly and deliberately, the Government is preparing to break its promise to approximately 500 elderly women regarding the redress package they were promised in 2013.

Next week, the Dáil will debate the Redress for Women Resident in Certain Institutions Bill. The purpose of the Bill is to implement the remaining aspects of the Magdalene redress scheme recommended by Mr Justice John Quirke in 2013.

Judge Quirke’s very first recommendation was that the women should receive a card entitling them to ‘the full range of services currently enjoyed by holders of the Health (Amendment) Act 1996 Card (“the HAA card”)’.

The Government is now refusing to give the women such a card. This is absolutely clear from the wording of the draft legislation.

No amount of spinning that the women will receive an “enhanced medical card” changes the fact that they will not receive what was promised: the full range of HAA card services.

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APD: Man sexually abused girls at church, may have more victims

ALASKA
KTUU

ANCHORAGE –
Police arrested 39-year-old Simi Seu for alleged third-degree sexual abuse of a minor, and investigators ask anyone else who was abused to come forward.

Seu inappropriately touched a 14-year-old girl while attending First Samoan United Methodist Church, according to the Anchorage Police Department.

Police report that investigation revealed Seu was also inappropriately touching other female juveniles, typically while attending church.

APD believes Seu may have additional juvenile victims.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to call Detective Leonard Torres with APD’s Crimes Against Children Unit at 907-786-8573.

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Police seek other victims of man arrested for sexual abuse of a minor

ALASKA
KTVA

By KTVA CBS 11 News January 23, 2015

ANCHORAGE – A man has been arrested under charges of sexually abusing a minor in an Anchorage church in December, and the Anchorage Police Department is now asking any other potential victims to come forward.

Simi Seu, 39, was arrested following an investigation into accusations that he inappropriately touched a 14-year-old girl while attending the First Samoan United Methodist Church located on West 9th Avenue.

Investigators believe Seu may have also been touching other young women inappropriately, mostly while on church property or engaged in church activities.

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Anchorage man charged with sexually abusing underage girls at local church

ALASKA
Anchorage Dispatch News

Jerzy Shedlock
January 23, 2015

Anchorage police reported Friday that 39-year-old Simi Seu has been charged with third-degree sexual abuse of a minor and three counts of harassment for touching multiple young girls at a local church.

Seu may have additional underage victims, police said.

Detectives began investigating Seu in late December 2014 after receiving a report that he’d been inappropriately touching a 14-year-old girl while attending a local church, the First Samoan United Methodist Church.

The investigation found Seu “was also inappropriately touching other female juveniles,” police said. The majority of the abuse occurred at the church, they said.

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Volunteer at St. Margaret Mary parish in Lomita charged with lewd conduct with children

CALIFORNIA
Daily Breeze

By Larry Altman, Daily Breeze
POSTED: 01/23/15

A Harbor City man who taught religious school at a Lomita church was charged Friday with posing online as a 15-year-old girl and enticing a teenage boy to perform sex acts on video chat, prosecutors said.

Steven Joseph Mesplou, 30, also instructed the teen’s 8-year-old brother to expose himself during the online meetings, prosecutors said.

Mesplou is scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 20 at the Long Beach courthouse on four felony counts of a lewd act upon a child and two counts of contact with a minor for a sexual offense, the District Attorney’s Office said.

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Man arrested for sexual abuse of a minor at church, may have more victims

ALASKA
KTUU

In this video:

— 39-year-old Simi Seu was arrested and charged with sexual abuse of a minor in the third degree, along with three counts of harassment.

— Police say they received a report of a 14 year old girl who had been inappropriately touched at the first Samoan United Methodist Church.

APD says there could be other victims who have not yet contacted police.

— Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call detective Leonard Torres with the Crimes Against Children Unit at 786-8573.

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Why pastors love sex and cheating

NIGERIA
News 24

23 January 2015, 14:08
Solomon Izang Ashoms

Durban – Earlier this week a video showing well renowned pastor and popular motivational speaker in South Africa, Sthembiso Zondo in the nude, went viral on social media.

The recorded video, taken by a woman sitting in front of him, shows the unmarried Pastor Zondo talking on his phone, while pacing up and down around the lounge in front of a woman sitting on a couch, the video shows the pastor wearing nothing, using his hand to rub his penis, twice.

Divorced Zondo is the founder and senior pastor of Soul Renaissance Ministries Durban, South Africa, established in 2001. He also founded Zero-to-Hero, an NGO whose objective is to preach the gospel of hope.

This is indeed a very sad story seeing that Pastor Zondo influences millions of people and is ranked as one of the most influential pastors in South Africa. The new rockstars in town are definitely pastors, they command respect, attention, drive state-of-the art cars, they are always on TV and radio and wear designer clothes.

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Former youth pastor now accused of using hidden camera to film girls

OREGON
KAJO

A former youth pastor for Mountain Christian Fellowship has been charged with multiple crimes related to the explicit filming of girls and women in his Jacksonville home.

The Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force says they’ve obtained 28 videos recorded by a hidden camera in 36-year-old Donald Biggs’ bathroom of girls and women in various stages of undress. The Jackson County District Attorney’s Office has filed charges of six counts of first-degree encouraging child sexual abuse, six counts of using a child in display of a sex act and two counts of private indecency.

Biggs was already lodged in jail before the new charges surfaced on two counts of second-degree burglary and invasion of privacy for allegedly breaking into the church he worked at and stealing computer hard drives and for texting a 14-year-old girl inappropriately. His bail is set at $6 million.

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Jury excused for weekend after Harriger trial deliberations

NEW YORK
WIVB

[with video]

By Mark Belcher, News 4 Digital Producer
Published: January 23, 2015

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A pastor on trial for accused sex abuse will likely learn the verdict of his trial Monday.

A jury, which was selected Wednesday, has heard the case, and spent time deliberating Friday before being excused for a weekend recess. They’ll get back to work on Monday, and are expected to make a verdict then.

The case they’ve heard, is that of an Orleans County pastor who was charged with three counts of coercive criminal sexual conduct against a child, one count of first degree incest, two counts of incest and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

Harriger was arrested after 15 people across three states, including relatives, came out saying the 70-year-old molested them as children. Although many of the 15 cases are past the statute of limitations, police say three are still within the statute of limitations.

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No verdict in trial of pastor accused of abuse

NEW YORK
The Daily News

By Scott DeSmit sdesmit@batavianews.com

ALBION — A jury failed to reach a verdict Friday and will resume deliberating Monday in the Orleans County Court trial of a former pastor accused of molesting three of his grandchildren.

Jurors received the case after lunch and deliberated until late afternoon before Judge James Punch sent them home.

Deliberations came after closing arguments from defense attorney Larry Koss and District Attorney Joseph Cardone.

Koss asked jurors to use “common sense” regarding the evidence against Roy Harriger Sr., 71, former pastor of Ashwood Wesleyan Church.

Koss detailed the allegations against Harriger and, specifically, the testimony of Harriger’s son, George Harriger.

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Pope Francis Is Still Failing Too Many Abused & Abandoned Children, No?

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

* Defenseless children paradoxically may defeat the overly defended and childless Vatican. Pope Francis’ seeming smokescreen on contraception was almost blown away, in a “David and Goliath moment”, by a courageous 12 year old former Manila street child victim of sexual abuse. She movingly asked the pope in front of the world’s media, in effect, how can an omnipotent God (and powerful popes) permit sexual abuse to happen to innocent children. This is not a question of theodicy, but of moral theology — the short answers are “lust” and “greed”, mostly of powerful men.

* Francis, evidently taken by surprise, tried to give the girl a 30 minute Jesuitically evasive and woefully inadequate dissertation on suffering, followed shortly thereafter by his latest missteps on doubling down on his contraception ban. This is further discussed wonderfully by prophetic theologian Jamie Manson, at [National Catholic Reporter] , and here where contraception expert Patricia Miller calls the bluff of Pope Francis, as well as by incisive theologian, Bill Lindsey, here, and by me in earlier remarks here, Curtain Up On Pope’s Veto of Hillary C’s Pill

* And as luck would have it in a tough week, Pope Francis’ “secretary” and the ex-pope’s “convent mate”, Archbishop George Gänswein, even weighed in gratuitously according to Crux. by expressing regret over cases in which Vatican spokesmen have had to issue clarifications about things Pope Francis has said or done. What was that all about — criticizing the boss publicly?

* And the objections to Pope Francis’ plan to canonize 18th Century Franciscan, Father Junipero Serra, who had been a very harsh taskmaster of Native Americans, continue to be heard, see,

* [SFGate]

* Nevertheless. Pope Francis still seems almost oblivious to the frequent and obvious connection between millions of abandoned and unaffordable children worldwide and their sexual exploitation. whether by sex traffickers or predatory priests. The shameful public relations ploy during Francis’ visit (that Cardinal Tagle likely was aware of), of locking up street children, and even putting homeless families in expensive resorts, until Francis left, failed totally, as reported here [Daily Mail] and here So the Vatican media machine now tries to pivot and instead hypes that Pope Francis had more spectators at his free final Mass than rock stars and sports teams have at their paid events, which proves what exactly?

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The more things change, the more they stay the same.

MINNESOTA
Canonical Consultation

01/23/2015

Jennifer Haselberger

I, perhaps more than anyone, want to believe that the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis has changed. I want to believe the statements of leadership that they are putting the needs of victims and the safety of children above self-interest and the protection of clergy, and I want to believe that all of their new employees and new initiatives are having a positive impact on the way the Archdiocese is responding to sexual abuse committed by clergy.

But I don’t.

From where I stand, the old adage applies: changes wrought from turbulent times do not impact the reality of the situation except to cement the status quo. Never was this more obvious than with the absolutely unconscionable situation that resulted from the release last week of the file of Father William Stolzman.

The release of Father Stolzman’s file, amongst six others, had been agreed upon as part of the ongoing negotiations of the Doe 1 settlement. Along with the release of the six files, the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis issued the following statement:

Statement Regarding Unsealing of Priest Files

Date: Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Source: Anne Steffens, Interim Director of CommunicationsFrom Archbishop John Nienstedt, Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

By virtue of an agreement reached between Jeff Anderson and Associates and the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in the Doe 1 case, the files of seven current or former priests previously assigned to the Archdiocese have been unsealed. One of the files, that of Rev. Michael Keating, was publicly released earlier this week.

Two of the priests are/were of religious orders. Of these seven men whose files were unsealed, one left the priesthood in 1990, one is deceased, one is retired, one is prohibited from ministry, one has restrictions placed on his ministry, and two are on leaves of absence.

What this statement does not say (following a long tradition in the Archdiocese of telling people what they want to hear, rather than what is true), is that one of the seven was- at the time of the announcement- actually a regularly scheduled Sunday presider at a parish in the Archdiocese (even on days when the Children’s Choir would be present), as well as an Archdiocesan-appointed chaplain to the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Shakopee.

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Pope urges new cardinals to refrain from excessive partying: Like grappa on an empty stomach

VATICAN CITY
Fox News

January 23, 2015
Associated Press

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis is warning his new cardinals to keep the partying to a minimum — and keep their egos in check — when they are formally elevated at a Vatican ceremony next month.

In a letter written to the 20 new princes of the church published Friday in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Francis warned the cardinals to avoid the type of ostentatious festivities that “stun worse than grappa on an empty stomach.”

Traditionally, new cardinals are feted with lavish parties, often funded by well-meaning parishioners, following the ceremony where they receive their red hats.

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Catholic church settles lawsuit against lawyers

WASHINGTON
Spokesman Review

The law firm of Paine Hamblen has been absolved of all wrongdoing in its bankruptcy representation of the Catholic Diocese of Spokane.

A mediated settlement signed Friday ends the diocese’s malpractice suit against its former law firm.

Though terms of the settlement were not disclosed, court records indicate the diocese did not receive any money.

The two sides mediated under the guidance of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Ralph Mabey. After meetings in mid-January the sides reached a deal.

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Spokane diocese and its former law firm settle malpractice lawsuit

WASHINGTON
National Catholic Reporter

Tom Gallagher | Jan. 23, 2015 NCR Today

Just a few weeks before starting the legal malpractice trial, the Spokane, Wash., diocese and the diocese’s former legal counsel, the Spokane-based Paine Hamblen law firm, agreed to a settlement, according to a joint press release published Friday. The lawsuit brought by the diocese stems from the diocese’s 2007 bankruptcy because of priest sexual abuse claims.

The diocese released a brief statement:

Following a mediation conducted by former Bankruptcy Judge Ralph Mabey (Salt Lake City, Utah), the parties to the litigation pending in In re Catholic Bishop of Spokane in the United States Bankruptcy Court in Spokane, have settled their disputes in a manner satisfactory to all parties.

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Church’s tone-deaf move to canonize Serra will drive people away

CALIFORNIA
SFGate

By Caille Millner Updated Friday, January 23, 2015

On my walk home from work, I pass three storefront evangelical churches. They’re often the only institutions of well repute on those blocks, and their congregants have the pride of people who treasure respectability and order, because there’s so little of those things in their surroundings. The women wear long skirts, the men wear boxy suits, the children have clean collars.

Some of them were born here, and some of them are immigrants from Mexico or El Salvador or Nicaragua or elsewhere in Latin America, but the crucial point is that they are all from traditionally Catholic cultures, and they’ve all chosen a different church. It’s a distinct choice that can be appreciated even on the most secular level — they’re choosing to spend their time at small storefronts with ugly overhead lighting and bad carpets, instead of in San Francisco’s beautiful Catholic churches. They’re doing this because the faith of their ancestors didn’t hold enough for them.

I thought about these storefront churches when I heard that Pope Francis is planning to canonize the Rev. Junipero Serra, the priest who “brought” Christianity to California in the late 1700s.

Or perhaps I should say that I thought about why, despite a wildly popular Latin American pope, the church is struggling to hold onto believers even where it’s strongest. The Serra choice is as fine an example of the church’s tone deafness as I can imagine.

There are at least two Junipero Serras. There’s the Serra of California’s roadways and statues, the Serra whom California schoolchildren learn about in the fourth grade.

This is the Serra who was the pious, humble Franciscan. He was a man of immense personal bravery, giving up a comfortable life as a theologian in Spain to bring the Gospel to the Americas. He brought the Gospel to California — at the time one of the most remote and threatened regions of the Spanish empire — along with the famous mission system that became the first permanent European presence on the West Coast.

Then there’s the Serra whom children don’t learn about in school. This Serra is the figure of serious academic historians and a despised figure in the American Indian community. He was a brutal colonist who exploited the local indigenous communities for their labor and for their souls — Indian recruits were forced to convert, sometimes at gunpoint, and rounded up by soldiers if they tried to escape.

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Woman have much to give as leaders in Catholic Church

FLORIDA
Orlando Sentinel

By Carol Stanton
Guest columnist

Rita Lucey is smiling. She defies her 80 years in photographer Red Huber’s wonderful picture accompanying the article about her ordination to priesthood (“She’ll become priest, get excommunicated,” Friday).

This is a woman who has given many of her eight decades to action, even imprisonment, for social justice and to care for the sick. This is a wife of 60 years, a mother and grandmother who, under ordinary circumstances, would be celebrated in Catholic officialdom as a model of what Pope Francis is encouraging priests and people to be.

This is a woman whose ordination to priesthood through the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests will automatically incur excommunication from a church that does not recognize the association as one of its own, even though many of its own are part of it. A church whose leaders continue to bar women from ordination, the participation in governance that comes along with it and the fullest use of their gifts as servant leaders.

Excommunication has a long history in the Catholic Church. Often used as a political weapon, it could place entire communities under a pall of eucharistic deprivation sometimes lasting years.

Excommunication in 2015 has not lost that whiff of weaponry, and Lucey joins a whole raft of politicians and other waywards who, by the law of the church, either incur it automatically or are pronounced “out of communion” by a local bishop. Its punitive cousins are the increasing threats of job loss for church employees who are judged to stray.

Yet, here is Lucey, well beyond the age of acceptance into any of the Roman Catholic Church’s Seminary or Diaconate preparation programs but, from all indications, a woman faithful, over a lifetime, to her church’s call to discipleship. Somewhere along the way, in her spiritual journey, she found this current path and is following it, despite the official consequences.

And she is not alone. A couple of hundred women from around the world have been following this same path. Without ecclesial space in their church of origin, they find other spaces for gathering and leading communities of worship and service to the marginalized.

Are the Rita Luceys seeking ordination because they are frustrated, disgruntled, angry and alienated and want to poke the eye of a clerical and mostly male church bureaucracy?

Maybe. Women keep Catholic parishes and dioceses going on a daily basis, bringing extraordinary pastoral and leadership skills. Many pastors will admit that should the women in their church go on strike, parish life would come to a grinding halt. It is difficult for women to minister and yet remain invisible and mostly unacknowledged. This is cause for some just anger. However, perhaps there is another and ironically more traditional reason some catholic women are seeking ordination where they can find it.

Catholic faithful, both men and women, are beginning to recognize the dissonance of not having women able to serve sacramentally — not only prepare for baptism but baptize; not only accompany the dying but bury them; not only teach the Gospel but proclaim and preach it.

A Pew Research Center survey in February 2014 shows that 68 percent of the U.S. Catholics polled are in favor of ordaining women as priests, and that 42 percent expect the church to change its position by 2050. Church leaders are not known to be swayed by popularity or polls. At the same time, the church has always taught that there is a sense of the faithful operating in the reception of church teaching, a resonating that speaks to the wisdom and timeliness of a teaching.

In 2015, a serious survey such as Pew’s could be revealing where that sense of the faithful is heading. It may be worth some attention.

Is it possible that despite being excommunicated from the center of the present church, Lucey, at 80, may be the face of the church to come? What is certain is that change rarely comes from the center.

Carol Stanton has worked as a teacher and director of programs, communications and marketing/development in the Catholic Church in Boston, Maryland, Central Florida and the Republic of Ireland. She was also a TV news reporter/anchor for WFTV and WESH in Orlando.

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Manila homeless removed from streets, kept at luxury resort during papal visit

PHILIPPINES
UCA News

AFP, Manila
Philippines
January 23, 2015

The Philippines government came under fire Friday after admitting that hundreds of homeless people were taken off Manila’s streets and put into luxury accommodation during Pope Francis’s recent visit, when he preached compassion for the poor.

Members of parliament demanded an explanation after Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman revealed 490 beggars and homeless people were taken to air-conditioned log cabins at a resort near Manila for the January 15-19 visit.

“The pope would have wanted to see the Philippines, warts and all. Let us not pretend that we are a first-world country,” said House of Representatives member Terry Ridon, who is initiating a congressional inquiry.

Soliman said the street people, many of whom live in shanties and hammocks tied to palm trees along the Manila Bay seafront, were removed from the capital’s Roxas Boulevard before the visit.

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Pope Francis removes Iowa priest for sexually abusing minor

IOWA
New York Daily News

BY DEBORAH HASTINGS NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Thursday, January 22, 2015

A veteran Iowa pastor has been removed from the priesthood by Pope Francis after a church investigation determined he had sexually assaulted a juvenile decades ago.

Howard Fitzgerald had been on administrative leave since June and has a 35-year history of working in Iowa churches. His most recent postings were at Immaculate Conception Church, St. Thomas Aquinas Church and Simpson College, according to the Des Moines Register.

The 63-year-old was the subject of a diocese review that found “credible evidence” Fitzgerald abused a minor in a “decades-old” incident. Those findings were sent to the Vatican, where the Pope ordered Fitzgerald removed from the priesthood.

“I encourage your prayers for Howard at this time, as well as continuing prayer for victims of sexual abuse both by the clergy and perpetrators in the broader society,” wrote Bishop Richard Pates of the Diocese of Des Moines in a memo to employees, the paper said.

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Pope tells new cardinals to be humble, shun parties

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

(Reuters) – Pope Francis has told the men he will elevate to the high rank of cardinal next month to be humble and shun lavish parties in their honor, saying they can do more damage than alcohol on an empty stomach.

“It is not easy to be humble servants if you see the role of a cardinal as a position of power or superiority,” he said in a letter written to each of the cardinals-to-be and published in the Vatican newspaper on Friday.

He also told them to beware that parties held for them by faithful from their countries do not become fancy social events that can disorient them and “stun someone more than grappa on an empty stomach.” Grappa is a very strong Italian liquor.

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With Leon Brittan gone, we’ll never know about the ‘child abuse dossier’

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Jim Gamble

Leon Brittan’s death is a personal tragedy for his family, friends and former colleagues, to whom I offer my personal condolences. But a wider tragedy stretches beyond that intimate circle, as the opportunity for him to give evidence to the child abuse inquiry, to clarify issues concerning allegations of a missing dossier, has been lost forever. This is a consequence of the failure to deliver the inquiry, which was initially launched by the home secretary in July 2014.

Other jurisdictions have managed inquiries, so why can’t we? Why is the child abuse inquiry in Northern Ireland moving forward with some success, for instance, while the best Westminster can do is two false starts?

It boils down to trust and leadership. The bond of trust that was broken when children who should have been cared for and protected were abused is not one that will be easily mended. Abusers used their position of power and/or the influence and reputation of the institution they represented to maintain a veil of secrecy. They believed their power and control over the lives of their victims was absolute; but few will be sleeping easily tonight.

Given the relationship between those institutions, powerful individuals and the state, it’s insulting to expect survivors of such abuse to accept the imposition of an inquiry on trust alone. While some within government claim credit for setting up the inquiry, survivors had been calling for one for many years, and many feel it was the alleged destruction or loss of so many documents at the Home Office, and speculation about who did what and when, that finally forced a government response.

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New Catholic foundation sets sights on $130M

CINCINNATI (OH)
Cincinnati Enquirer

Dan Horn, dhorn@enquirer.com January 23, 2015

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati launched its largest fundraising campaign in at least a half century Friday with the creation of a new charitable foundation that soon could become one of the region’s largest.

The goal is to quickly turn the new Catholic Community Foundation into a fundraising powerhouse with as much as $130 million available to help Catholic schools, priests, parishes and a wide range of social services – from food pantries to adoption.

The foundation is a departure from the decades-long practice of running all campaigns directly through the archdiocese. Under the new system, the church still will control the money but will conduct fundraising like any other private charity, with more public accountability and a board of directors comprised of lay people, priests, church leaders and Archbishop Dennis Schnurr.

Church officials already have raised about $36 million in pledges through a pilot program that began last year, but the archdiocese-wide campaign is just getting under way. They seek five-year commitments from donors – some for $100 and some for well over $1 million – and hope the new foundation structure assures potential contributors their money will be well spent.

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Nun gives birth, intends to keep baby

ITALY
Gazzetta del Sud

Ancona, January 23 – A Bolivian nun gave birth in San Severino Marche after being taken to hospital where she complained of a bad stomach ache, Italian newspaper Corriere Adriatico said on Friday. The newspaper said the nun, whose age wasn’t given, gave birth last Sunday and intends to keep the baby, whose sex wasn’t given. The nun had been staying at a cloistered convent in the province of Macerata since June. The hospital hasn’t confirmed the birth and the bishop of nearby town Camerino, Francesco Brugnaro, hasn’t made any comment on the case. Another case of a nun giving birth took place in 2011 in Marche, when a 41-year-old Congolese nun gave birth to a baby girl in Pesaro. In that case, the nun had been raped abroad by a foreign priest and initially gave her daughter up for adoption.

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Are we really pro-LIFE?

UNITED STATES
Rhymes with Religion

Boz Tchividjian | Jan 23, 2015

I am very grateful for this thought provoking guest post and hope it challenges each of us to re-examine how we approach the value of life. Robert Peters is both my student and my friend, and he gives me much hope for the next generation. – Boz
_____________________________________________________________________________

I will never forget the first ultrasound of my unborn child. Expecting an idle smudge on a grainy screen, my wife and I were greeted by a hyperactive baby, all four flailing limbs foiling the doctor’s attempt at accurate measurement. Our child was beautiful, and very much alive.

This week marks the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and across the country pro-lifers gather to profess the humanity of unborn children. However, as Brennan Manning noted in The Ragamuffin Gospel, “the danger of the pro-life position… is that it can be frighteningly selective.” Recent events provide repeated and disturbing evidence of this selectivity.

For example, the Internet is littered with conservatives decrying the abortion of children conceived through rape, yet many of these same conservatives minimize, ignore, and otherwise dehumanize the rape survivors themselves.

We see this in the popular conservative blogger who glibly dismisses the prevalence of sexual assault with an unrelated hyperlink and the question, “Does any rational person really believe that the numbers are this high?” We see this in the perverse portrayal of those who condemn Cosby as “liberals” who, of course, whole-heartedly endorse Clinton’s sexual conduct. We see this in the many Christian institutions that publicly proclaim a pro-life ethic, while actively marginalizing abuse survivors and concealing predators. We see this in repeated incredulity towards abuse allegations, shackling victims in the shadows. We see this in the calloused right-wing pundits who dismiss rape survivors as little girls in need of attention. We see this in the culture warrior who only mentions child abuse if a homosexual is involved.

There is a common thread: a dehumanizing prioritization of partisanship over people, of political platforms over Biblical principles. Mark 12 lists the two greatest commandments: love God and love people. That’s it. No partisan talking points: just the simple command to love others as we love ourselves. How we treat “the least of these” is how we treat Christ (Matthew 25:40). God created man in His image (Genesis 1:27). Life is sacred, precious, and beautiful. If you ignore or exploit rape allegations to score political points, you demean the image of God. You’re not pro-life.

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Nun accuses former priest of sexual assault in Madhya Pradesh

INDIA
Hindustan Times

A nun has accused former priest of Shyampura Church Fijo Chirnal of sexual assault and ‘rape’. After receiving the complaint on Thursday, superintendent of police Sachin Atulkar forwarded the case to the mahila police station of Sagar for investigation.

Assistant sub-inspector JS Thakur, who is investigating the case, recorded the nun’s statement on Thursday. “We have received the case from the SP for investigation. The nun has accused Father Chirnal of sexually exploiting her between 2010 and 2012,” Thakur said.

Chirnal was transferred to Odisha later in 2012. When the Bishop of Sagar Diosys Anthony Chiyarth was contacted, he asked the correspondent to contact wicker general Father Robin.

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Sex assault Tory MP visited Kincora boys’ home, claim retired detectives

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

BY LIAM CLARKE – 23 JANUARY 2015

At least one Tory MP visited Kincora during the 1970s when it was riven with sexual abuse by staff of boys in their care, it has been claimed.

The allegation was made by two retired detectives who were part of a team which investigated the east Belfast boys’ home in the 1980s and successfully prosecuted three members of staff for sexual abuse.

The names of the police officers are being withheld for security reasons. They are instead referred to as officers Smith and Jones.

Both are known to the Belfast Telegraph and we have established that they conducted the inquiry. Both are also willing to help any inquiry into Kincora either here or in England. They revealed that the MP died before they could arrange to interview him.

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Case must be included in UK probe, says lawyer

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

BY LIAM CLARKE – 23 JANUARY 2015

The head of Northern Ireland’s biggest criminal law practice has said that the Kincora investigation should not be conducted in Northern Ireland.

Kevin Winters wants the possible links to child abuse rings elsewhere, and to the intelligence services’ involvement, looked at as part of the overall Westminster inquiry.

He represents a number of former Kincora residents who have launched a judicial review to have abuse at the boys’ home dealt with as part of a UK-wide inquiry and not by Anthony Hart’s Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry which is currently sitting in Banbridge.

“The Kincora investigation will lose something if it is isolated and put into the backwater of Banbridge. There is still no compellability of witnesses in Banbridge. Until they get compellability and until they have what could specifically be described as Human Rights Act compliant powers we must part company with what is being proposed by the HIA.”

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I Understand Why People Believe Sexual Predators Rather than Victims—I Did

UNITED STATES
AlterNet

By Ijeoma Oluo / The Guardian January 22, 2015

I am a woman. I am a feminist. And it took me 12 years to admit that someone I loved was a sexual predator.

This isn’t easy to acknowledge, but it feels especially important after a year marked by several high profile accusations of sexual assault and domestic violence. Almost every case featured public scrutiny of the accuser’s history and values and motivations; almost every case featured a woman who choses to publicly stand by the accused. Many other women responded with shock and disappointment: Why would any woman defend a rapist? How could any smart, confident woman be in such denial?

The public refusal to believe rape accusations is harmful to all women, and it casts a shadow on rape victims all over the world. But as appalling as it is to refuse to believe a woman who has been so brutally violated, I cannot help but feel some empathy with the disbelievers, because when a close family member of mine – who I’ll call Steve – was accused and convicted of sexual assault, I refused to believe it.

My father had left for Nigeria when I was two years old and my brother was six months old and, as we grew up, Steve was what we imagined a “cool dad” would be like: he was funny, he swore, he played pranks. He always had time for us when it seemed like all the other adults had more important things to do.

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Ettaler Mönch weist Vorwürfe des sexuellen Missbrauchs zurück

DEUTSCHLAND
Die Welt

München – Ein wegen sexuellen Missbrauchs von Kindern angeklagter Pater des oberbayerischen Klosters Ettal hat sämtliche Vorwürfe gegen ihn zurückgewiesen. «Alle mir zur Last gelegten Vorwürfe sind unzutreffend», sagte der 44-Jährige zu Beginn seines Prozesses vor dem Landgericht München.

Die Staatsanwaltschaft wirft dem Ordensgeistlichen sexuellen Missbrauch von zwei Internatsschülern und versuchten sexuellen Missbrauch von zwei weiteren Jungen vor. Der Priester soll zwischen 2001 und 2005 wiederholt Schülern in die Unterhose gefasst haben.

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Glasgow Archbishop Tartaglia suffers heart attack

SCOTLAND
Evening Times

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia was taken to hospital last night after falling unwell in the Spanish city of Salamanca, where the Scottish bishops have gathered for their annual winter meeting in the Royal Scots College in the city.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Glasgow said that the Archbishop is conscious and in good spirits.

It is understood that the Archbishop became concerned about his health after feeling unwell and asked to be taken to hospital.

He was taken to the city’s University hospital and, after initial treatment and tests were carried out, doctors confirmed that he had suffered a heart attack.

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Court probes abuse at Catholic boarding school

GERMANY
The Local

A monk and former teacher at a boarding school in the Bavarian alps pleaded not guilty on Thursday at his trial for abusing two pupils and attempted abuse of two more.

Jürgen R., a 44-year-old priest and teacher at the Ettal monastery school, told the judge in Munich that “all accusations laid against me are untrue” when he appeared to hear the charges.

He claims that he did nothing more than stroke the children on their backs and stomachs, saying that his mother did the same thing to him when he came to her for comfort.

“At that time I was in the place of the father and the mother” for the children in his care at the boarding school, he said.

Although he apologized for not maintaining the proper distance from the children, he argues that they came to him to cry on his shoulder due to his position as a “prefect” – the title given to teachers at the Benedictine monastery in the Ammergau Alps.

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Former Medford youth pastor accused of secretly videotaping women and girls

OREGON
Mail Tribune

By Thomas Moriarty
Mail Tribune
Posted Jan. 22, 2015

Medford police have added child pornography charges against a former youth pastor they allege had been secretly videotaping women at various locations in Jackson County.

According to a Medford Police Department news release, investigators with the Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force so far have obtained 28 videos from a hidden camera in the bathroom of Donald Biggs’ Jacksonville home showing women and young girls in various states of nudity.

Biggs, 36, has been held in the Jackson County Jail on charges of invasion of privacy and two counts of second-degree burglary since Jan. 15, when he was arrested, police say, after they connected him to a Jan. 12 burglary at Mountain Christian Fellowship, where he was formerly a youth pastor.

He’s now also charged with six counts of using a child in a display of a sex act, six counts of encouraging first-degree child sex abuse and two counts of private indecency. Using a child in a display of a sex act is a Class A felony, carrying a minimum sentence of more than five years in prison without parole under Measure 11 guidelines.

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Police to probe Leon Brittan’s alleged Westminster paedophile cover-up beyond the grave

UNITED KINGDOM
Mirror

Jan 22, 2015 By Tom Pettifor

The former Tory Home Secretary has died after a long fight with cancer – leaving unanswered questions about his role in the disappearance of a dossier

Child sex abuse campaigners have spoken of their fury that Leon Brittan has taken secrets of an alleged Westminster paedophile cover-up to his grave.

The former Tory Home Secretary has died after a long fight with cancer – leaving unanswered questions about his role in the disappearance of a dossier said to reveal the existence of an abuse network at the top of government.

And detectives declared they would still be investigating claims Lord Brittan raped a teenager in 1967.

The dossier was handed to him in 1983 by Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens and the row over its “loss” led to Home Secretary Theresa May launching a wide-ranging public inquiry into the allegations of a paedophile ring.

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Public consultation – redress and civil litigation

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

23 January, 2015

The Royal Commission is launching a public consultation paper on redress and civil litigation at a public hearing in Sydney on 30 January 2015 at 9.30am.

At the public hearing, the Chair of the Royal Commission Justice Peter McClellan will outline key issues for consideration in the provision of redress and civil litigation for survivors of child sexual abuse in institutions.

The public hearing will commence at 9.30am. Members of the public and the media are invited to attend the public hearing in person: Level 17 Governor Macquarie Tower, 1 Farrer Place Sydney or watch live via the Royal Commission’s website.

A detailed public consultation paper on redress and civil litigation will be available on the Royal Commission’s website from 9.30am on 30 January 2015. The Royal Commission invites submissions by interested parties to the consultation paper by midday Monday 2 March 2015.

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Catholic group wants answers over Bishop allegations

FLORIDA
NBC 2

[with video]

By Jim Spiewak, NBC2 Investigator

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA –
A group of Catholics are calling for answers into allegations surrounding Bishop Frank Dewane.

The NBC2 investigators have covered the bishop’s troubles for nearly a year now.

The group wants to know why church leaders have not even acknowledged their concerns. The international group, The Voice for the Faithful, called Thursday’s meeting in part because of a letter uncovered by the NBC2 investigators, signed by ten priests and sent to the Pope’s aide in Washington D.C.

It alleges Bishop Dewane lacks financial transparency, violates canon law and uses bullying tactics.

Now the group alleges the Diocese is buying up land under a company called Trinity Enterprise Holdings instead of in the name of the Diocese and they say that could protect assets against a pending $5 million sexual abuse lawsuit.

Land records show Trinity owns land in Sarasota County. We asked the president of the Voice of the Faithful if Bishop Dewane needs to be removed from his position.

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Leon Brittan: Thatcher minister accused of failure to act on child sex abuse dossier dies

UNITED KINGDOM
The Independent

PAUL PEACHEY Thursday 22 January 2015

The Prime Minister has led tributes to Lord Brittan, the former Home Secretary, whose retirement after years of public service has been dogged by controversy over the alleged cover-up of child abuse on his watch.

The death of Lord Brittan, at the age of 75 from cancer, was greeted with sorrow by his family and the admiration of his political peers, but with disappointment from abuse victims’ groups seeking answers about an alleged establishment paedophile ring.

As the youngest Home Secretary since Winston Churchill, Lord Brittan was a key member of Cabinet after the Conservative landslide of 1983 swept Margaret Thatcher back to power.

He was a central figure in the controversy over the policing of the miners’ strike and the Libyan embassy siege that resulted in the fatal shooting of PC Yvonne Fletcher. He was forced to resign from the cabinet over the Westland affair and spent a decade in Brussels as one of the UK’s European commissioners.

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Pope Francis completes new Vatican office to tackle clergy abuse

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Agency

By Andrea Gagliarducci

Vatican City, Jan 23, 2015 / 12:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis completed the membership of the new Vatican body with responsibility for dealing with clerical sex abuse on Wednesday, marking a further step in providing adequate procedures to insure justice for all the victims.

The body is a specific office within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that will deal with ‘delicta graviora’, or ‘more grave crimes’. These are the most serious crimes in the Church, and most notably include offenses against morality: the sexual abuse of a minor by a cleric; or the acquisition, possession, or distribution of child pornography by a cleric.

The new office is established as a college of seven people, whose names were announced Jan. 21.

Bishop Charles Scicluna has been appointed president of the college. Now the Auxiliary Bishop of Malta, Bishop Scicluna served from 2002 to 2012 as Promoter of Justice in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – that is, as the Vatican’s public prosecutor – personally handling the sex abuses crises of 2002 and 2010 and carrying forward the ‘zero tolerance’ line wanted by St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI to tackle the issue.

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Spotsylvania youth pastor guilty of indecent liberties with girl

VIRGINIA
The Free Lance-Star

BY PORTSIA SMITH / THE FREE LANCE–STAR

A Spotsylvania County man who served as a youth minister at a local church pleaded guilty to custodial indecent liberties with a 17-year-old girl.

Timothy Ralph Noszek Jr., 33, waived indictment and entered an Alford guilty plea in Spotsylvania Circuit Court last Thursday. An Alford plea means that he does not admit guilt, but acknowledges that there is enough evidence for a conviction.

Noszek received a suspended five-year sentence and must register as a sex offender. He was also ordered to have no contact with the victim for five years or unsupervised contact with juveniles not related to him, under the plea agreement.

He had served about two months in jail following his arrest last fall.

According to the plea agreement, a deputy responded to the back parking lot in the 11000 block of Gordon Road around 10:40 a.m. on Oct. 10 for a report about two suspicious parked cars. The cars were spotted there at least five times in the two weeks prior to this incident, the agreement said.
When the deputy arrived, he found Noszek and a 17-year-old girl in the car.

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Brooks former youth pastor charged with 1st-degree rape

OREGON
Statesman Journal

Alexa Armstrong, Statesman Journal
January 22, 2015

A former youth pastor for the Brooks Assembly of God church made his initial appearance in court today and was formally charged with 10 counts of first-degree rape.

Peter Bass, 36, appeared for his arraignment at the Marion County Circuit Court annex behind a glass partition sporting a blue jumpsuit and orange sandals.

With his attorney, Robert Botta, by his side, he stood casually, resting his elbows on the ledge behind the glass. Bass did not speak or enter a plea.

Bass of Brooks was arrested Wednesday morning on 15 counts each of first-degree sodomy and second-degree sex abuse, shocking the members of his small town. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office has declined to say how Bass knew his victims, but said that it was not through his work as a youth pastor.

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Auf der dunklen Seite

DEUTSCHLAND
Sueddeutsche

[On the dark side. A monk is on trial for abusing youngsters at the Ettal Monastery.]

Von Heiner Effern

Ein büßender Mönch auf der Anklagebank sieht anders aus. Im dunkelgrauen Anzug, mit weißem Hemd und blau-gestreifter Krawatte ist Pater Georg ins Landgericht München II gekommen. Aufrecht, den Kopf erhoben, nimmt er vor seinen Verteidigern Platz. Mitgebracht hat er zum Prozessauftakt ein dickes Konvolut, aus dem er gleich nach dem Vortrag der Anklage vorliest. Mit vielen Worten zeichnet er mehr als zweieinhalb Stunden lang das Bild eines Menschen. Einfühlsam, manchmal unglücklich, konfliktscheu, oft überfordert. Er beschreibt sich als einen Mann, der sich verirrt hat. Doch nicht auf die Abwege, die ihm die Staatsanwältin vorwirft. Niemals habe er sich den ihm anvertrauten Schülern als Präfekt des Internats in Kloster Ettal sexuell genähert, sagt der 44-jährige Pater Georg. Er ist nicht als Büßer gekommen, sondern um seine Unschuld zu beweisen.

Zwischen den Jahren 2001 und 2005 soll er zwei Schüler sexuell missbraucht haben. Er soll sie mit der Hand am Genital berührt und auch gestreichelt haben. Bei zweien ist er des Versuchs angeklagt, sie sollen rechtzeitig gegangen sein. Pater Georg soll seine Position als Vertrauensperson der Kinder dafür schamlos ausgenutzt haben. So steht es in der Anklageschrift der Staatsanwaltschaft. “Falsch”, sagt Pater Georg. “Alle mir zur Last gelegten Vorwürfe sind unzutreffend.”

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Paedophile priest John Sidney Denham given extra jail time for treating NSW school as ‘paedophilic smorgasboard’

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

A former priest described in court as one of Australia’s worst paedophiles has had his jail term extended for sexually abusing students.

John Sidney Denham, 73, has been serving a 14-year sentence for abusing 40 children, mostly at Newcastle’s St Pius X College in the 1970s and early 80s.

The District Court today handed down a 13-year jail term for abusing another 18 boys, with Judge Syme saying the offences “represent the most abhorrent and sadistic combination of circumstances that courts are likely to see”.

“The offender operated as if he was at some paedophilic smorgasbord, entitled to abuse boys at any time or place of his choosing,” Judge Syme said.

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NSW reviews time limit on child sexual abuse claims

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Sarah Gerathy

The New South Wales Government is considering removing a time limit on legal claims being lodged by victims of child sexual abuse.

Under existing laws, victims of child sexual abuse in NSW typically have between three and 12 years to sue for damages in a civil court before the statute of limitations can be used to block their claims.

But Attorney-General Brad Hazzard said the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse had highlighted the trauma this causes victims, who often taken years to work up the courage to come forward.

“Most of us would be thinking after hearing the horror stories at the royal commission that removing the limitation would be a good way to go,” said Mr Hazzard.

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NSW may extend time limit on child sex abuse claims

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Australian Associated Press
Thursday 22 January 2015

The NSW government is considering lifting the time limit in which survivors of child sexual abuse can sue for damages.

The NSW attorney general Brad Hazzard said the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse had uncovered widespread claims about abuse and the legal barriers survivors face in pursuing justice many years after the crime.

“It is well documented that many survivors of child sexual abuse do not disclose their experiences or act on them until decades after the abuse, well after the time period has ended,” Hazzard said on Friday.

The government has released a discussion paper on whether to amend the Limitation Act 1969 and wants to hear from the public.

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