ABUSE TRACKER

A digest of links to media coverage of clergy abuse. For recent coverage listed in this blog, read the full article in the newspaper or other media source by clicking “Read original article.” For earlier coverage, click the title to read the original article.

February 3, 2015

A Decades Long Sex Abuse Scandal At America’s Largest Private Catholic High School.

NEW YORK
John Cardillo

St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows, Queens NY is the largest private Catholic high school in the United States, and consistently ranked one of the best.

President Ronald Reagan visited the school and presented it with an award his last year in office, only a few years after the school’s football team was ranked one of the top 25 in the nation.

Graduates include legendary coach Vince Lombardi, world champion NY Yankee manager Joe Torre, TV host Julie Chen, police officer and movie subject Frank Serpico, actor Peter Facinelli. and a plethora of other professional athletes, business titans, politicians, law enforcement administrators, military officers, and celebrities.

Those graduating from the school enjoy a global network of power broker alumni, and the contacts made over four years in one’s teens benefits them throughout their life.

I should know as I myself am a 1987 graduate of St. Francis Prep..

St. Francis Preparatory School also bears another distinction, but this one is far less impressive.

It appears that for decades, St. Francis Prep has been aggressively covering up allegations of child sexual abuse, and allowing the alleged abusers to be reassigned to other teaching jobs free of prosecution or civil liability.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Four Stories Hot off the Press…

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

Four Stories Hot off the Press: Catholic Whistleblowers, Mennonite Conference on Yoder, Catholic Abuse Case Settled in Arkansas, Dr. Rosemary McHugh Tells Her Story

William D. Lindsey

Several links this morning to stories about the abuse situation in communities of faith:

Back in May 2013, I told you that a group called Catholic Whistleblowers had formed.* As I noted, twelve nuns and priests had organized the group to monitor and blow the whistle on the cover-up of abuse cases in the Catholic church, and had written a letter to Pope Francis about their concerns.

And now this: as Brian Roewe reports for National Catholic Reporter yesterday, the Catholic Whistleblowers group is going to air a documentary in New York City on 5 February, focusing on the difficulties faced by people who have spoken out about abuse in the church. Catholic Whistleblowers premiered this documentary last October at Boston College.

For readers of Bilgrimage in New York: the film will be shown at Cardozo Law School in Manhattan. I have no idea if it will eventually be more widely available (e.g., online). If you’re interested in following this group, supporting it, and obtaining information about its activities, you might visit its website.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

MINNESOTA
Canonical Consultation

02/02/2015

Jennifer Haselberger

One of the many legends that is told about the first Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, John Ireland, is that he rose up out of his death bed in order to burn his papers, including the list of donors, donations, and other acts of procurement that facilitated the building of the Cathedral of Saint Paul. His sister, Sister Seraphine, CSJ, was entrusted with completing the job, but as any historian can tell you both brother and sister were only partially successful. Therefore, I can only imagine the thoughts of the illustrious Archbishop Ireland if he happened to be looking down from heaven last Friday when his former Archdiocese submitted its financial schedules to US Bankruptcy Court. ‘Did I teach you nothing?’, would probably have been first and foremost.

For, in providing what it described as a ‘good faith best effort’ to account for its financial assets, the Archdiocese may have fallen into the old Ireland trap of having produced more documents than it is possible to account for in the eleventh hour. Local and national newspapers and media outlets are already having a field day identifying those areas in which the Archdiocese has apparently significantly underestimated the value of its assets, as well as attempts to shield those assets by transferring them out of church control. From my perspective, however, what the schedules demonstrate is abysmally poor bookkeeping and administration. In other words, from where I stand the schedules simply don’t match the current situation of the Archdiocese.

For instance, Schedule A is the list of real property owned by the Archdiocese. It lists the Chancery complex on Summit Avenue and Kellogg Boulevard, the Cathedral, the Hazelwood property which was the retirement home of Archbishop Flynn prior to his move to the University of St Thomas, the land on which three Catholic high schools sit, and the Indian Ministry building in Minneapolis (listed as Gichitwaa Kateri although she was canonized in 2012 as Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, a ceremony which Deacon Joseph Damiani attended despite accusations of child sexual abuse) .

I find it interesting that the Archdiocese chose not to list its current value interest in the high school properties in the Schedule, but only gave an estimated land market value in the notes. I also question whether such numbers truly represent a ‘good faith best effort’ to assess the value of those properties. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, in 2004 the Archdiocese executed a quit claim deed for its 49% of the property on which Hill Murray sits, and the school purchased the other 51% from the Sisters of Saint Benedict. The total value of the property at that time was estimated at $12,000,000, which makes last week’s estimated appraisals of the De LaSalle property (located on the historic Nicollet Island, and listed by the Archdiocese at $2,682,100), Totino Grace ($5,088,200), and Benilde-St Margaret ($5,900,000) seem suspiciously low.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Zimbabwe: Defrocked Priest Sires Kids With Wife’s Sister

ZIMBABWE
allAfrica

The Herald

By Prosper Dembedza

The former Roman Catholic priest who was recently ordered to pay $80 maintenance for a child he sired while still serving, also sired two other children with his wife’s sister during the same period.

Roman Catholic church priests pledge to celibacy, but it emerged at the Harare Civil Court last week that not only did Mathew Jonga, who was based in Guruve, break the cardinal rule by marrying, he went on to sire two children with his wife’s sister.

Jonga was recently ordered to pay $80 per month for the upkeep of a child he had with wife Emma Mutaka.

It was revealed that Jonga sired two other children with Mutaka’s sister Trinity (54) after he went to court applying for custody of the seven-year daughter he had with Mutaka.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Former Indian nun accuses priest of rape

INDIA
UCA News

Saji Thomas, Bhopal
India
February 3, 2015

A former nun in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh has filed a complaint against a local Catholic priest, accusing him of raping her four years ago.

In the complaint filed last week, the nun alleges that she was raped in April 2010, a year after she was set to work at the Shampura church. She says that the priest took photos of her naked and threatened to release them if she reported him. According to the complaint, she gathered the courage to report him only after the accused was transferred to another diocese.

Officials from the Catholic Church have blasted the complaint, claiming the accusation is a form of retaliation.

Anthony Chirrayath of Sagar claimed that a day before the complaint, the former nun met him demanding incorporation of her name into the family cards of a married man with whom she was living. When he refused, she left “threatening dire consequences”.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Abuse victims share stories at Ham Lake parish during prayer service for healing

MINNESOTA
The Catholic Spirit

Maria Wiering | February 2, 2015

A little girl, around age 10, squints in a black-and-white photo. She wears short hair with bangs, and a blouse with a pointed collar.

She does not smile.

The photo passed from person to person in the chapel of the Church of St. Paul in Ham Lake, where about 50 people gathered Jan. 29 to pray and listen to victims/survivors of child sexual abuse share their stories.

It belonged to Connie, a 59-year-old survivor who described being raped by her parish priest around age 9.

The photo was taken of her sometime after she was victimized. When Connie looks at it, she sees a struggling child, she said.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Manila’s hungry street urchins

PHILIPPINES
Asia One

Raul DancelThe Straits TimesTuesday, Feb 03, 2015

At a busy corner of Roxas Boulevard arcing Manila Bay, Dennis, only three years old but spunky, dashes for a jeepney – a repurposed passenger jeep – as it waits for the light to turn green.

He dives into the open rear of the vehicle on all fours. With a dirty rag in his hand, he wipes the feet of the passengers, then stands up and starts begging for money. Sometimes, he gets a coin.

Sometimes, just a pat on the head. At other times, it may be a scolding. But most of the time, he is ignored.

He jumps off the jeepney just before the traffic light turns green, and then waits for it to turn red again.
A few paces away, his six-year-old sister Lyka, in clothes two sizes too big, is carrying their year-old brother. She taps on car windows, also asking for money. …

The Pope’s recent visit here has brought a renewed interest in the street children.

In one of the most moving images of that visit, 12-year-old Glyzelle Palomar broke down before she could finish narrating her hard life and how she had seen other children use drugs and forced to work as prostitutes. “Why does God let bad things happen to children?” she asked the Pope, who had no answer, just a rosary and a grandfatherly embrace.

Poverty continues to drive the poorest in the countryside to move to urban centres, creating even more homeless families, says Childhope’s president Teresita Silva, who has been a social worker for more than four decades.

The population has also been exploding, from 85 million in 2006 to more than 100 million last year, breeding one generation of street children after another.

The Pope himself, while reiterating the Church’s opposition to contraceptives during his Philippine visit, has taken issue with Catholics “breeding like rabbits”.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

History Of The Vatican Bank And Current Efforts To Reform It

UNITED STATES
WAMU

For centuries, the Roman Catholic Church relied mostly on taxes and donations to finance operations. But during World War II, Pope Pius created The Institute for the Works of Religion. Commonly known as the Vatican Bank, it now holds billions of dollars in assets. For decades, the Bank has been plagued by a series of scandals, including bribery and money laundering. And the author of a new book says the Bank collaborated with the Nazis and tried to hide that fact for years. Pope Francis has enacted a series of reforms to end the scandals and increase transparency. Diane and guests discuss the history of the Vatican Bank and the current pope’s efforts to make lasting changes.

Guests

Gerald Posner investigative journalist and author of “God’s Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican”
Joshua McElwee Vatican correspondent, National Catholic Reporter
Gerard Mannion professor, Catholic Studies, and senior research fellow, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Georgetown University; author of “The Art of Magisterium: a Teaching Church That Learns” (2014)

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Brooks man to be tried on 10 counts of rape

OREGON
Statesman Journal

Alexa Armstrong, Statesman Journal February 2, 2015

A former Brooks youth pastor, Peter Bass, 33, who has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree rape, declined to enter a plea during a short court appearance Monday morning.

His case has been moved to Marion County Circuit Court where it will be heard by Judge Tracy Prall.

Sgt. Chris Baldridge, a spokesman for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, declined to say how Bass may have known the victims, but said it was not through his work as a youth pastor.

Bass was arraigned at the Marion County Circuit Court Annex Jan. 22, and was formally charged with 10 counts of first-degree rape. His bail was set at $1 million.

The court also issued a no-contact order for Bass, prohibiting him from having any interaction with the victims or minors. He is also not to use a smartphone, the Internet or a computer. According to Bass’s attorney, Robert Botta, an alleged victim has left the state.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Bill would extend time for filing child sex abuse lawsuits

GEORGIA
Online Athens

By WALTER C. JONESMORRIS NEWS SERVICE – updated Tuesday, February 3, 2015

ATLANTA | Justin Conway testified that he didn’t realize until age 35 that the sexual abuse he suffered as a boy was still affecting him, and when he reached that realization it was too late to prosecute or sue, which is why he told legislators Monday the law should be changed.

“This is what I thought: People who do these things go to jail. But that’s not true,” he said.

Conway was among the male and female victims and their family members who testified before a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee, along with legal and psychological experts. One witness said she was in the place of her son, who didn’t wish to come to the Capitol for fear of encountering the lobbyist who had abused him. All supported House Bill 17, the Hidden Predator Act, sponsored by Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine.

The mental and emotional development of child-sexual-abuse victims is often delayed because the perpetrator is usually a trusted, “institutional figure” like a parent, coach or preacher, leaving victims confused until middle age when they have children of their own or even later, according to Dr. Carlene Taylor, a psychologist in St. Marys, Ga., specializing in cases of sexual abuse. She said one in four girls and every fifth boy is a victim, but the frequency of the crime isn’t commonly accepted because victims are reluctant to confront abusers who are respected community members.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Abuse inqury ‘cleansing’: Bindoon survivor

AUSTRALIA
SBS

John Hennessey, who was brutalised at the notorious Bindoon orphanage, says the Royal Commission could see his pain lasted a lifetime.

A survivor of the notorious Christian Brothers-run Bindoon orphanage in Western Australia says redress isn’t so much about money, it’s about knowing the truth has finally come out.

John Hennessey was taken away from his mother at birth and in 1947 sent to Australia at the tender age of 11.

She’d been banished from Ireland to England because she was pregnant out of wedlock – and was told he had died.

It wasn’t until he was aged 62 that they were reunited, thanks to the Child Migrants Trust.

Over those lost years, he repeatedly begged the same Christians who had abused him to help him find his mother, but they refused.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Australian Royal Commission begins investigation into child sex abuse at Chabad school

AUSTRALIA
JTA

February 3, 2015

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – The Chabad-Lubavitch movement in Melbourne and Sydney is under the spotlight as a Royal Commission into the child sexual abuse scandal began hearings.

The government-sponsored inquiry into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, which began in 2013, has allocated two weeks to interrogate victims and officials of the Yeshivah Center in Melbourne and its counterpart in Sydney, as well as senior Orthodox rabbis.

In particular, the commissioners will probe the response by Chabad officials to allegations of sexual abuse by David Kramer and Davis Cyprys, who both were employed by the Yeshivah Centre in Melbourne in the 1980s and 1990s. They were jailed in 2013 for multiple offenses against boys at the Chabad-run school.

In Sydney, the response of rabbis to offenses committed by Daniel “Gug” Hayman in the 1980s also is being investigated. Hayman, who moved to the United States, was convicted but received a suspended sentence in 2014.

Victims and family members testified at the County Court of Victoria this week. “As a spouse of a victim and whistleblower, I feel hated and isolated in my community,” a woman told the hearing, fighting back tears. “I have lost faith in the leadership of the Jewish community.”

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

New bill being pushed by victims of child sex abuse

GEORGIA
WSB

[with video]

By Rachel Stockman

ATLANTA — More than a dozen victims came out in support of a new Georgia bill which would extend the statute of limitations in civil court for child sexual abuse victims to 35 years.

This would allow victims to file claims against their attackers until they are 53 years old. Current law bars claims that are filed after a victim is 23 years old.

“We are here under this dome- seeking justice in House Bill 17 to extend the statute of limitations on civil statute so the courtroom doors can be open for the survivors of child sexual abuse,” said Angela Williams, a rape victim, and founder of Voice Today, an advocacy group. Williams says it often takes years — even decades, for victims to come forward.

The “Hidden Predator Act” would also open more investigative records, and would add a two-year window for revival of claims for victims.

“These folks are locked out of the courts and justice is absolutely denied,” said Rep. Jason Spencer (R – Woodbine). Spencer is sponsoring HB 17.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Standover tactics used by Melbourne’s tight-knit Jewish community – royal commission

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

SHANNON DEERY NEWS LIMITED FEBRUARY 03, 2015

MEMBERS of Melbourne’s Jewish community routinely used “standover tactics” to bully people who spoke out against child sexual abuse, the royal commission has heard.

Senior Rabbis also threatened “hellfire and damnation” for anyone who engaged in ‘mesirah’, the act of informing on a Jewish person to non Jewish authorities.

Zephania Waks, whose son Manny was abused by several Jewish leaders at Yeshiva College, said Rabbis openly told community members they were not to cooperate with police.

Mr Waks said after his son went public with his story of abuse their family was ostracised from the tight-knit community.

“That sealed our fate. It felt like we were suddenly reduced to nothing and had lost all our friends,” he said.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Orthodox Jewish community ‘turned on victim’ after sex abuse allegations

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Melissa Davey
@MelissaLDavey
Tuesday 3 February 2015

The orthodox Jewish community has responded to allegations of child sex abuse within their institutions with “moral destitution” and by “turning on the victim”, the wife of a man who was abused by religious leaders said.

Her testimony to the royal commission into institutional responses into child sex abuse on Tuesday followed evidence from other victims and their families, who also described being attacked and ostracised after coming forward.

The witness, identified only as AVC, said the abuse of her husband occurred while he was a student at the Yeshivah Centre in Melbourne, but he only gained the strength to speak up as an adult.

“As a spouse of a victim and whistleblower, I feel hated and isolated in my community,” she told the commission at Victoria’s county court. “I have lost faith in the leadership of the Jewish community.”

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Jewish sexual abuse families branded informers for going to police

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

February 3, 2015

Jane Lee
Legal Affairs Reporter for The Age

The Jewish father of three sexual abuse victims says that being branded an informer on fellow Jews to secular authorities is a taboo as frowned upon as incest.

Three of Zephaniah Waks’ 17 children were abused by employees of Jewish institution Yeshivah Melbourne as students of Yeshivah College, including prominent Jewish victims’ advocate Manny Waks.

Mr Waks, who has been ostracised by the ultra Orthodox Chabad community after supporting Manny in going public with his story, likened the stigma associated with being a “moser” in the Jewish community to incest in general society “It’s that bad,” he told the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse on Tuesday.

Victims’ families tearfully recounted to the commission how they had been shunned for reporting abuse to the police, which was seen as a breach of “mersirah” a religious rule preventing Jews from informing on other Jews to secular authorities.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Jewish law stopped Vic sex abuse reports

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

The father of three boys sexually abused at a Jewish school was so fearful of being shunned by his community for breaching an ancient principle that he didn’t report the crime to police.

Zephaniah Waks insists breaking a code of silence by telling non-Jewish authorities about abuse by a Jewish man without permission from senior Rabbis was a taboo on a par with incest.

One witness, known as AVC, told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse that rabbis preached hellfire and damnation for people who breached the mesirah.

Mr Waks, a father of 17, says he feared being shunned and intimidated.

‘It was taboo, like, incest or anything like that. It was that big a taboo,’ he told the commission on Tuesday.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Westchester teacher nabbed for allegedly having kiddie porn delivered to school

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

BY STEPHEN REX BROWN NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Monday, February 2, 2015

The former Mamaroneck teacher had the child porn delivered to the school where he worked, authorities said Monday.

A creepy former Mamaroneck teacher was busted for having child porn delivered to the school where he worked, authorities said Monday.

Lyle Kamlet, 62, of Mount Vernon, faces up to 20 years on charges of possession and receipt of child pornography.

Authorities searched Kamlet’s home in 2013 and found the disturbing porn videos, as well as 8mm “home movies that he had created that contained images of naked children,” according to an indictment.

Authorities did not specify where Kamlet taught, but a search of teacher-rating websites indicate he worked at Westchester Day School.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Former Mamaroneck teacher arrested for receiving, possessing child porn

NEW YORK
Empire State News

WHITE PLAINS – The United States Attorney’s office and U.S. Postal Inspection Service announced the arrest of a Mount Vernon man for possession and receipt of child pornography.

Lyle Kamlet, 62, a former teacher at a school in Mamaroneck, New York, was arrested on Friday, January 30th by USPIS agents, and presented in White Plains federal court From 2008 through 2010, on a number of occasions, Kamlet ordered child pornography videos – some of which he directed to be mailed to the school where he was then employed. During a search of his residence, law enforcement seized those videos and also found home movies he had created that contained images of naked children.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Jewish day school teacher busted on child porn charges

NEW YORK
JTA

February 2, 2015

A rabbi and a former Judaic studies teacher in Westchester County, N.Y., has been arrested and charged with receiving and possessing child pornography.

Lyle Kamlet, 62, is alleged to have purchased illegal DVDs over the Internet and to have had them mailed to Westchester Day School, a co-ed Modern Orthodox school in Mamaroneck, N.Y., where he worked for some three decades.

Kamlet resigned his post at WDS — a preschool, elementary and middle school — in February 2012.

On Monday, Head of School Joshua Lookstein, together with the board’s president and chairman, emailed parents to inform them of Kamlet’s arrest. “As far as we know, during his tenure, the school had no information and had received no complaints concerning his involvement in any illegal activities,” the letter stated. “Since his resignation, Westchester Day School has not provided any references or recommendations for Kamlet.”

Kamlet was detained Friday, and charged with two counts of receipt and possession of child pornography.

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Feds: Former Mamaroneck teacher had kiddie porn

NEW YORK
The Journal News

Richard Liebson, rliebson@lohud.com February 3, 2015

A former Mamaroneck school teacher was arrested Friday, accused of buying mail-order child pornography which he had delivered to the school and then took home.

Lyle Kamlet, 62, of Mount Vernon, is charged in a federal complaint with single counts of receiving child pornography and possessing child pornography. His arrest came after an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and U.S Postal Service inspectors.

Authorities say that, from 2008 through 2010, Kamlet ordered a number of kiddie porn DVDs, some of which he had sent to the school where he had been employed. The six-page complaint does not say which school that is, only that it’s in Mamaroneck.

“This arrest was the result of a search of his house that occurred a year and a half ago,” Kamlet’s lawyer, James Roth, said Monday. “We are going to vigorously contest these charges in court.”

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Bishop accused in cyclist’s death …

MARYLAND
Washington Post

Bishop accused in cyclist’s death suspected of being drunk at installation festivities

By Michelle Boorstein February 2

The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland suspected that Heather Cook — now charged in the drunken-driving death of a Baltimore bicyclist — was drunk during her installation festivities this past fall, a new official timeline shows.

Officials with the diocese, which elected Cook its first female bishop last spring, have said for weeks that they knew before her election of a drunken-driving incident in 2010. However, they have declined to answer questions about whether they had any reason to be concerned about her drinking after she was elected — until the fatal accident in December.

The timeline, which the Diocese of Maryland said Monday it had added to its Web site, says the head of the national Episcopal Church was made aware that Cook may have been drunk during her installation celebration. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was the leader of the Sept. 6 service that consecrated Cook, or made her a bishop.

Bishop Eugene Sutton — who oversees Episcopalians in much of Maryland aside from the D.C. suburbs — suspected Cook was “inebriated during pre-consecration dinner,” the timeline says, “and conveys concern to Presiding Bishop. Presiding Bishop indicates she will discuss with Cook. Cook consecrated.”

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Spare us any more empty words about women’s genius

UNITED KINGDOM
The Tablet

02 February 2015 by Gemma Simmonds

The Pontifical Council for Culture is meeting from 4-7 February to discuss women’s cultures: equality and difference. The discussions will cover such urgent matters as physical and sexual violence against women, patriarchal attitudes that subjugate women within the Church and wider society, and the crisis of women’s alienation from the Church in some parts of the world. The assembly document has been drafted by a group of women appointed by the council, and considers both the promotion of gender equality and the valuing of gender difference as well as the extent to which women are excluded in decision-making processes within the Church.

All this is a positive move, but in the past, official church documents and pronouncements have talked an admirable talk about women in the Church while walking precisely nowhere. There is, of course, no single generic category of women, since cultures and contexts will differ enormously. The council cautions against unhelpful generalisations while seeking to “identify possible pastoral paths”. At the same time its anxiety to counteract contemporary theories that gender identity is a self-chosen construct nevertheless leads it to make the very generic judgements and statements that alienate so many women.

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Child sex abuse victims ask lawmakers for more time to sue their abusers

GEORGIA
WSBR

By Sandra Parrish

Atlanta — State House members hear testimony from adult victims of child sexual abuse who are calling for more time to be able to go after their abusers in court.

House Bill 17, which is called the Hidden Predator Act, would extend the statute of limitations for victims to file a lawsuit from five to 35 years once the victim reaches age 18.

Angela Williams, founder of Voice Today which advocates for such victims, was sexually abused by her now deceased stepfather from the age of 3 to 17. She tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish the median age for a victim to disclose the abuse is 40.

“We really need time for an adult to be able to process the trauma, to be able to heal, and to have the courage to face the perpetrator,” she says.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Shuttered Joliet Church Could Become Restaurant, Apartment Complex

ILLINOIS
Patch

By Shannon Antinori (Patch Staff)
February 2, 2015

A shuttered downtown Joliet church could get a new life as a restaurant, Mayor Tom Giarrante said last week.

A developer has secured funding to purchase St. Mary Carmelite Church, 113 N. Ottawa St., and its rectory, Giarrante said.

While neither Giarrante nor Community and Economic Development Director Jim Haller would identify the developer, both said plans call for a restaurant in the historic limestone church and apartments in the rectory. …

In 2010, the church gained notoriety as the site of a suicide attempt by the Rev. Alejandro Flores, a Diocese of Joliet priest facing child sexual abuse allegations. Flores, who was seriously injured after jumping from the church’s choir loft, pleaded guilty to criminal sexual assault and was deported to his native Bolivia in 2013.

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February 2, 2015

Second lawsuit settled against disgraced order Legion of Christ is settled

RHODE ISLAND
Providence Journal

Published: February 02, 2015

BY JOHN HILL
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER
jhill@providencejournal.com

PROVIDENCE — A second Rhode Island lawsuit that accused the disgraced Catholic religious order the Legion of Christ of improperly influencing a well-off elderly person’s donations has been settled out of court, according to court documents.

Senior U.S. District Court Judge Ronald R. Lagueux approved a motion dismissing Paul Chu’s suit against the Legion of Christ.

John J. Flanagan, who represented Chu, said he could not comment beyond saying the case was settled “to the satisfaction of the parties.”

The suit involved the estate of James Boa-Teh Chu, a former Brown University mechanical engineering professor who died in 2009 at the age of 85. He had been in declining physical and mental health for several years.

The elder Chu was born in China in 1924. He had converted to Catholicism as a young man and donated generously to Catholic charities throughout his life. In his will he had named the Legion of Christ the beneficiary of several annuities worth between $1 million and $2 million, according to court documents.

As Chu’s son and executor of his estate, Paul Chu challenged that bequest, claiming the Legion abused its role as his father’s spiritual adviser and used undue influence on him in his last years.

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Victim’s father renounced links with Chabad movement after family persecuted for going public about abuse, inquiry told

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Sarah Farnsworth

The father of three boys sexually abused at the Yeshivah Centre in Melbourne renounced the ultra-Orthodox Chabad movement after his family was persecuted for going public about the abuse, the child sexual abuse royal commission has been told.

The hearing of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse heard that two of Zephaniah Waks’ sons were assaulted by convicted child abuser David Kramer, and the other son, Manny Waks, was assaulted by serial child abuser David Cyprys.

The inquiry heard when Manny Waks told his father he had been abused by David Cyprys, he went straight to police.

“It was worse than the first case. It was very bad I thought I had failed him,” Zephaniah Waks said.

He said when Manny went public about the abuse, it “sealed their fate”.

Mr Waks was verbally attacked in the street by prominent members within the Chabad community.

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Melbourne Jewish school sent pedophile teacher to Israel

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

FEBRUARY 03, 2015

Pia Akerman
Reporter
Melbourne

JEWISH leaders who knew a teacher had admitted fondling young boys did not stop him associating with children in Israel after paying for his ticket to move there, the royal commission has heard.

The actions of the Yeshivah Centre and school in Melbourne — part of the orthodox Chabad movement — as well as its counterpart in Sydney are being examined in relation to three convicted pedophiles who abused children while working there.

The royal commission investigating institutional responses to child sexual abuse today heard evidence about how Yeshivah had responded when parents became aware in 1992 that teacher David Kramer had sexually touched some of his young students.

Zephaniah Waks, father of three boys who were abused at Yeshivah College, said senior rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Groner had told him a psychiatrist had examined Kramer and concluded the teacher allowed himself to be caught because he wanted to be stopped.

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Thatcher stopped Peter Hayman being named as paedophile-link civil servant

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Peter Walker
Monday 2 February 2015

Margaret Thatcher was adamant officials should not publicly name Sir Peter Hayman, a senior diplomat connected to a paedophile scandal, even after she had been fully briefed on his activities, examination of formerly secret papers released to the National Archives shows.

The 37-page file includes numerous handwritten notes and annotations by the late Conservative prime minister. It also reveals that security services were not initially informed about Hayman’s proclivities, as a secretary forgot to pass on a message to the relevant official and police neglected to follow up the matter.

The densely typed documents, which are available for view to the public for the first time on Tuesday, also describe how Hayman, who died in 1992, apparently arranged for “obscene correspondence” to be sent to the British high commission in Ottawa when he was the most senior diplomat there. A member of domestic staff at the mission was wrongly blamed at the time for the letters, which were sent to a false female name.

The file, compiled between October 1980 and March 1981, is made up of memos and background notes put together for Thatcher, then prime minister, and is littered with her handwritten notes, underlinings and crossings out.

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CHANNEL 5′s MIKE BUSH NOW A GRANDPA

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Berger’s Beat

…Popular KMOX host Charlie Brennan challenged his immense audience this week: “Name two governors of other states who spent part of their childhoods in St. Louis.” The answer: Pete Wilson of California and Ted Kulongoski of Oregon. Brennan revealed that he once tried to get Kulongoski on his show but he was rebuffed. Kulongoski said it was too painful to talk about his childhood, spent at St. Joseph’s Home for Boys in south city. (At least three child sex abuse lawsuits – one involving Fr. Alex Anderson – have been filed against the home.)…

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US doctor speaks out on her priest predator and Dublin Archbishop exposing him

IRELAND/UNITED STATES
Irish Central

Niall O’Dowd @niallodowd February 02,2015

A distinguished US physician has vividly described how she was abused by a priest predator when she was studying in Ireland in the 1970s and how Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin eventually came to her aid and ensured the priest was punished.

Dr Rosemary McHugh, now 70, has written her story for a chapter on a new book on restorative justice in the church. She had filed criminal charges against her abuser, who has since passed away.

Dr McHugh, a well-known family physician and frequent commentator on church issues, grew up as the child of Irish immigrants from Mayo who moved to Chicago.

She was one of three children in a devoted Catholic home. Her brother entered the priesthood for a while but later left.

She describes how after receiving her medical degree from Trinity College in Dublin In 1972 she trained and worked in Dublin including at the Rotunda.

She chose Trinity for her medical training as she liked the fact that it had balanced classes of women and men. She says she was deeply grateful for her excellent medical education at Trinity College, Dublin.

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Catholic dioceses declare bankruptcy on eve of sexual abuse trials

UNITED STATES
Reveal News

By Amy Julia Harris / February 2, 2015

The Rev. Thomas Stitts was known within the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis as a priest who molested boys.

But three civil trials on abuse that were supposed to start a week ago never did. Instead, the archdiocese filed for bankruptcy, becoming the 12th Roman Catholic diocese in the last decade to declare bankruptcy amid a wave of clergy abuse lawsuits.

Stretching from Delaware to Alaska, these bankruptcy proceedings often have taken years to hammer out, as the church and victims negotiate the terms of how much victims should be compensated. The payouts to victims have been in the millions of dollars – in San Diego, the diocese paid more than $198 million to 144 abuse victims, the largest clergy sexual abuse settlement to date.

Bankruptcies can help to bring order to chaos, says Pamela Foohey, an associate professor at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law. They ensure that hundreds of lawsuits become more manageable and that all victims get paid – not just those who file cases early.

But victim advocates and attorneys say churches that declare insolvency often do it for a less noble purpose. They say it has become a go-to move for dioceses to stop damaging trials and avoid putting church officials on the witness stand.

“Bankruptcies don’t protect kids,” said victims attorney Patrick Noaker, whose suit against Stitts was supposed to go to trial last week. “Trials and disclosures do.”

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Kinderporno gevonden in het Vaticaan

VATICAAN
NRC (Nederland)

door Marije Willems

Het Vaticaan heeft vorig jaar twee arrestaties verricht wegens het bezit van kinderporno. Dit heeft de openbaar aanklager van de Heilige Stoel, Gian Piero Milano, gezegd bij de opening van het juridisch jaar.

Een van de verdachten is Josef Wesolowski, een voormalige nuntius (diplomatiek vertegenwoordiger van het Vaticaan) in de Dominicaanse republiek. Hij is daar beschuldigd van het misbruik van jonge jongens.

De 66-jarige Wesolowski was in juni vorig jaar uit zijn ambt gezet nadat een rechter in het Vaticaan hem schuldig achtte aan misbruik. Op zijn computer werden 86.000 foto’s en ruim 100 filmpjes met minderjarigen gevonden. Hij kreeg een van de zwaarste straffen in het kerkelijk recht: laïcisering, een terugkeer naar een leven als leek. Hij verloor daarmee ook zijn diplomatieke immuniteit. Wesolowski is vanwege zijn zwakke gezondheid onder huisarrest geplaatst.

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Catholic Whistleblowers documentary set for NYC debut in February

NEW YORK
National Catholic Reporter

Brian Roewe | Feb. 2, 2015 NCR Today

A documentary detailing the often-difficult experiences of people who spoke out about clergy sexual abuse to church leaders and civil authorities is set to make its New York City debut.

The film “A Matter of Conscience” Confronting Clergy Abuse” will be shown Feb. 5 at the Cardozo Law School in Manhattan. The film originally premiered Oct. 4 at Boston College, where its producers John and Susan Michalczyk are professors. John is also co-director of the BC film studies program.

The documentary shares the stories of individuals who reported issues of clergy abuse, the stonewall responses many received, and their ongoing efforts to advocate for survivors of abuse.

Participating in the film are numerous members of the Catholic Whistleblowers group, which formed in May 2013 as a support network for those exposing abuse and advocating church reform on the issue. Among those featured are Fr. James Connell of the Milwaukee archdiocese, Dominican Fr. Thomas Doyle, Notre Dame de Namur Sr. Maureen Paul Turlish, and Anne Barrett-Doyle of BishopAccountability.org.

For many of the whistleblowers, the decision to bring abuse to light posed serious repercussions, often resulting in marginalization from the church.

“Some were ostracized, removed from their positions, and deemed disloyal. Others were looked at as traitors to their religious order or Church for breaking the code of silence,” the producers said in September.

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BATTLE OVER JUNIPERO SERRA CANONIZATION HEATS UP

CALIFORNIA
Breitbart News

by WILLIAM BIGELOW
2 Feb 20151

Parishioners praying Sunday Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday were confronted by one dozen demonstrators protesting the Pope’s decision to canonize Father Junipero Serra.

Carrying signs picturing Archbishop Jose Gomez, the head of the Los Angeles Arcgdiocese, as Adolf Hitler, with a toothbrush mustache and a swastika medallion, as well as other signs depicting Serra with a halo adorned with a swastika, the group marched straight to the gates of the cathedral.

Olin Tezcatlipoca, director of the Mexica Movement, told the Los Angeles Times that Serra committed “genocide” against the indigenous Spanish people. He added, “Serra set up forced labor camps, death camps. Women and children were raped the same way as the pedophile priests, and the church has hidden that.” He said Gomez refused to meet with the group.

Gomez has called Serra, who instituted the mission system in California, one of his “spiritual heroes,” and said his canonization is a “gift to California and the Americas.” In 1988, Pope John Paul II called Serra a “shining example of Christian Virtue and the Missionary Spirit.”

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Pope Francis Continues Priest Child Abuse Cover-up Policy

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

The Catholic Church leadership after two years under Pope Francis still continues its longstanding policy of trying to cover up priest child abuse cases, it appears. This is almost inexcusable.

Church leadership, including apparently the pope’s “child abuse czar” and even a bishops conference, currently still seem to fail to abide by the Vatican’s “zero tolerance” hype. They are trying, despite Pope Francis’well publicized grand gestures and warm words about abuse survivors, (a) to keep potential abuse cases away, as long and as much as feasible, from independent and experienced local police and criminal prosecutors, who are trained in handling these cases (most recently near Boston and in the South Pacific near Australia), and (b) to avoid paying acknowledged priest abuse survivors’ just claims, as the Minneapolis, Milwaukee and dozen USA diocesan bankruptcy filings make so clear. Pope Francis the “man” is not matching up to his “myth” once again, while many in the media sadly continue to be entranced in their two year “Francismania coma”.

Please see here,

[Radio Australia],

here, [Revere Journal], here [Reuters], here,

[Star Tribune],

[BishopAccountability.org],
and here,

[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

Boston”s Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the pope’s “child abuse czar”, is finally about to hold his first full meeting of the pope’s abuse commission, even as he is criticized for mishandling the recent Revere case. For O’Malley’s poor “prior record” on priest child abuse cases, please see here

[BishopAccountability.org]

Pope Francis’ response to date on the Vatican’s most sensational scandal, the abuse cover up, seems to be mostly more of the same half measures used by his failed predecessors. This is consistent with Pope Francis’ earlier failure as Cardinal to address priest child abuse claims fully in Argentina; please see Pope Francis & Database of Argentine Abuse .

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Protesters confront parishioners over Serra canonization

CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles Times

By GALE HOLLAND

Hoisting a sign depicting Archbishop Jose Gomez with a toothbrush mustache and a swastika medallion, a dozen people gathered outside Sunday Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels downtown to protest the proposed canonization of Father Junipero Serra.

Olin Tezcatlipoca, director of the Mexica Movement, an indigenous-rights group, said Serra and the California mission system he founded were responsible for the Spanish “genocide” of native peoples. Gomez, who heads the Los Angeles Archdiocese and has called Serra one of his “spiritual heroes,” refused to meet to discuss the group’s objections, Tezcatlipoca said.

“Serra set up forced labor camps, death camps,” Tezcatlipoca said as the group gathered in front of the Father Serra statue across from Olvera Street for the short march to the gates of the cathedral. “Women and children were raped the same way as the pedophile priests, and the church has hidden that.”

A spokeswoman for the archdiocese said she didn’t know of the Mexica Movement, which has taken part in local immigration and other protests since the 1990s, and would have no comment.

Serra’s complex legacy has sharply divided people in and out of the Catholic Church since the Pope Francis’ surprise announcement last month saying that he planned to grant the missionary’s long-sought sainthood.

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Twin Cities archdiocese puts a number on its wealth: $45.2 million

MNNESOTA
Star Tribune

Article by: JENNIFER BJORHUS , Star Tribune Updated: February 2, 2015

The archdiocese holdings include churches, schools and the archbishop’s residence.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis says it owes creditors $15.9 million and has assets of at least $45.2 million, according to a bankruptcy filing.

The tally of assets is likely much larger since the archdiocese lists the current value of its interest in key pieces of real estate, such as the Cathedral of St. Paul and the land under three Catholic high schools, as “unknown” and puts those estimates in notes.

Filed late Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Minnesota, the schedules offer a rare glimpse of the holdings and financial operations of the archdiocese, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Jan. 16, becoming the 12th Catholic organization to file for bankruptcy in the clergy sex abuse scandal.

The parties have been ordered into mediation.

Since October, the archdiocese has paid $1.6 million to Briggs & Morgan, the Minneapolis law firm the archdiocese hired to guide it through bankruptcy, the documents show.

It also paid $53,946 to Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C., the law firm representing the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in its ongoing bankruptcy, for services it provided last year.

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Pedofielenvereniging Martijn blijft verboden

NEDERLAND
NRC

[The European Court of Human Rights has rejected an appeal by the Martijn pedophile association and the organization will remain prohibited.]

door Sterre van der Hee

Het Europees Hof voor de Rechten van de Mens heeft de klacht van pedofielenvereniging Martijn verworpen. De vereniging blijft dus verboden, schrijft persdienst ANP. Martijn wilde dat het verbod op de organisatie in Nederland ongedaan werd gemaakt.

De Hoge Raad heeft de vereniging vorig jaar verboden. Dat was een uitzondering, maar in dit geval noodzakelijk, bepaalde de rechter. De vereniging bagatelliseert en verheerlijkt seksueel contact tussen volwassenen en kinderen. Die activiteiten zijn volgens de Hoge Raad schadelijk voor kinderen en in strijd met de openbare orde.

.

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Erzbistum beruft Pfarrer ab

DEUTSCHLAND
n-tv

[The Cologne archdiocese has dismissed a 73-year-old priest for what officials called “sexual boundary violations.” The church did not provide details but it is said the allegation dates to the 1970s and involved a 9-year-old girl.]

In den 70er Jahren soll sich ein heute 73-jähriger Pfarrer einem damals neunjährigen Mädchen unsittlich genähert haben. Die Rede ist von einer “sexuellen Grenzverletzung”. Genauer wird die Kirche nicht. Die Gemeinde ist empört über die Vorverurteilung.

Das Erzbistum Köln hat einen 73 Jahre alten Pfarrer wegen des Vorwurfs “sexueller Grenzverletzungen” abberufen. Die Vorgänge, zu denen die Kirche keine Details nannte, sollen sich in den 70er Jahren abgespielt haben und ein damals neunjähriges Mädchen betreffen. “Die Aussage der Betroffenen ist detailliert und glaubwürdig”, teilte das Erzbistum mit. Der Pfarrer habe “grenzverletzendes Verhalten” gegenüber dem Kind eingeräumt, bestreite aber einen sexuellen Hintergrund.

Der Fall wird nun in einem langwierigen Verfahren von der Kongregation für Glaubenslehre in Rom untersucht.

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Jewish leaders accused of covering up sex abuse

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

FEBRUARY 03, 2015 12:00AM

Pia Akerman
Reporter
Melbourne

THE royal commission into child sexual abuse has been urged to call for a criminal investigation into some of Melbourne’s most prominent Orthodox Jewish leaders, amid claims of cover-up and harassment aimed at enforcing a “code of silence”.

In its first hearing examining Jewish institutions, the royal commission yesterday heard leaders from the Yeshivah communities in Melbourne and Sydney would be challenged over what actions they had taken when allegations of abuse were made. Manny Waks, who was abused in the late 1980s by pedophile David Cyprys while Cyprys was working for the ­Yeshivah Centre in Melbourne, told the commission he had not received a direct apology from any Yeshivah leader since telling its senior rabbi, Yitzchok Dovid Groner, of his abuse in the early 2000s.

“Had Yeshivah Centre been forthright, honest, apologetic, showing contrition and that they … work with victims and support them, there’s no way I could possibly have been so antagonistic towards them,” Mr Waks said. “But all I have seen from ­Yeshivah for the last few decades has been initially (to) ignore the abuse, then cover it up, and then be involved in intimidation and harassment.”

Mr Waks said he hoped the hearings would prompt resig­nations among Yeshivah’s leadership and said criminal liability should be considered for people in positions of authority who had knowingly turned a blind eye or helped a perpetrator flee.

“The fact that not a single person from the Yeshivah leadership has ever been held to account in any way, shape or form is astounding,” he said.

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Jewish victim’s advocate in Australia alleges coverup of sexual abuse among ultra-orthodox

AUSTRALIA
The Jerusalem Post

According to Manny Waks, the halachic concepts of mesira and Loshon hora serve to deter victims from reporting their experiences.

“The abuse first occurred at Yeshivah Centre – inside the synagogue itself during the Jewish festival of Shavuot,” Manny Waks recalled, testifying about his molestation at the hands of employees of a Jewish school in Melbourne before Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Monday.

“I went upstairs to the women’s section of the synagogue to rest for a while on one of the wooden benches. [Zev] Serebryanski followed me up there, sat on the bench beside me and started stroking me on my clothes – initially on my thighs and eventually my groin area.”

The former Chabad hasid, who was eleven years old at the time when the abuse began in 1998, was molested on at least two other occasions, he said.

Waks recounted suffering verbal abuse at the hands of classmates after disclosing the abuse to a friend. The youngsters called him a homosexual, as “in many segments of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community who conflate homosexuality with paedophilia,” he explained.

A year later, he would again be molested, this time by a school guard cum martial arts instructor named Shmuel David Cyprys, including, on one occasion, at the mikvah.

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Father to give evidence on abuse

AUSTRALIA
9 News

AAP

Public hearings into child sexual abuse at a Jewish community centre and school will continue in Melbourne with testimony from the father of a victim.

Zephaniah Waks, a Royal Commission heard on Monday, was forced to move to Israel after being shunned by Melbourne’s Yeshivah community after his son Manny Waks went public with details of how he was sexually abused at Yeshivah College.

Two abuse victims, and the wife of a victim, all who are known only by pseudonyms, are also expected to give evidence as the hearings continue on Tuesday.

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AR–Child sex abuse case vs. priest settles

ARKANSAS
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Saturday, Jan. 30

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 )

A woman who says she was sexually abused as a child by an Arkansas priest has settled her child sex abuse and cover up suit. We applaud her and her family for their courage and beg Arkansas Catholic officials – especially Little Rock Bishop Anthony Taylor – to “come clean” about child molesting clerics. And we condemn the harsh words of a Subiaco Catholic official whose cruelty is rubbing even more salt into the deep wounds of this brave family.

[Star-Telegram]

A lawsuit charged that Father Bede Mitchel repeatedly sexually assaulted her when she was eight years old. He was a Benedictine priest from Subiaco Abbey who worked for four years in the Ft. Worth diocese where these crimes took place.

Subiaco Abbot Jerome Kodell claims nothing in Mitchel’s record indicates wrongdoing and claims to have done a fruitless “search for corroborating evidence of the sexual assault.”

“The abbey did not want to settle. The insurance provider opted to settle,” Kodell said. “If this had gone to trial, Mitchel would have been found innocent.”

We are appalled by these mean-spirited remarks. Years ago, Flip Wilson’s character Geraldine quipped that “The devil made me do it.” It’s equally ludicrous that Kodell claims “the insurance company made us.” Worse, it’s callous and disingenuous.

It’s callous because it heaps more pain on this brave victim. And it’s disingenuous because it contradicts the obvious fact that both the Ft. Worth Catholic officials AND the insurance company found this abuse report credible.

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Rome–Vatican admits 2 child porn cases in Vatican itself

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Saturday, Jan. 31

Statement by Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach CA, western regional director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 949 322 7434, jcasteix@gmail.com )

For at least a month-and more likely several months-top Catholic officials have kept silent about a child porn case in the Vatican itself, again showing that secrecy is still the norm in clergy sex cases.

[Reuters]

Telling the public about current child sex cases is the best and quickest way Catholic officials can help parents protect their kids and help police and prosecutors pursue predators. And keeping credible accusations hidden gives criminals more chances to destroy evidence, intimidate victims, threaten whistleblowers, discredit witnesses and even flee the country.

This information surfaced in an annual report given by a Vatican bureaucrat (Gian Piero Milano). That’s just wrong.

There’s simply no excuse for information about possible child sex crimes – especially crimes that could be prosecuted – to be kept concealed. And there’s only one reason to do so – to protect those who commit and those who conceal these heinous crimes.

If Vatican officials can’t bring themselves to promptly and publicly disclose current child sex crimes within their own walls, there’s virtually no chance that Vatican officials will force the world’s 3,000 bishops to end their continuing and selfish secrecy in this scandal.

Where is this person who allegedly had child pornography in the Vatican? Is he still on the job? Did church officials tell law enforcement? Was he quietly shuffled off to work elsewhere?

The Catholic hierarchy admits that 100,000 US kids were sexually assaulted by priests. But the US is only four percent of the world’s population. So it’s pretty clear that more than one million children across the globe have been raped, sodomized or molested by priests.

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MO–Another predator priest is exposed

MISSOURI
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday, Feb. 2, 2015

For more information: David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Director (314) 566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com

Another predator priest is exposed
He worked in three area Catholic dioceses
Cleric was in Belleville, Springfield MO & Springfield IL
Church investigation into his alleged crimes is re-opened
Sex abuse victims to bishops: “How many others are you hiding?”

For at least ten years, a priest quietly lived and worked in two Illinois dioceses and one in Missouri. Last week, Catholic officials disclosed that they are re-opening an investigation into accusations that he sexually abusing a boy and a girl in South Dakota.

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, learned last week that Fr. J. Vincent Fitzgerald spent time in the Belleville, Springfield MO and Springfield IL dioceses. The group is urging these three bishops to “aggressively use church bulletins, parish websites, and pulpit announcements to find others who saw, suspected or suffered” child sex crimes by Fitzgerald.

In 2010, Fr. Fitzgerald was sued for reportedly assaulting two children in the late 1960s at the Tekakwitha Indian Mission in Sisseton, South Dakota.

[National Catholic Reporter]

According to the Official Catholic Directory:

–From 1995-2002, Fr. Fitzgerald lived at St. Henry’s Oblate Residence 60 N. 60th in Belleville. The residence is run by a Catholic religious order called the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, to which Fr. Fitzgerald belonged. (It’s the group to which just-retired Cardinal Francis George of Chicago also belongs.)

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TX–Victims express doubts about new Austin bishop

TEXAS
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

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 )

We’re worried about Austin’s new Catholic auxiliary bishop and how he’ll deal with the church’s on-going clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis.

[U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops]

[KVUE]

[Reporter]

Bishop Daniel Garcia graduated from one of the most troubling Catholic institutions in the US – St. John’s in Collegeville Minnesota. According to a website called Behind the Pine Curtain, 50 monks and ten other members of Saint John’s are proven, admitted or credibly accused offenders who have sexually violated kids, teens or vulnerable adults.

And for several years, he’s been a diocesan “insider” – a member of the priests’ personnel board since 2011 and vicar general for almost a year. Yet we’ve seen no improvement in how Austin Catholic officials deal with abuse in that time.

Roughly 30 US bishops have posted predator priests’ names on their website. Austin Catholic officials refuse. (There are at least six publicly accused Austin area predator priests. They include Fr. Dan Clogan, Fr. Dan Delaney, Fr. Daniel Michael Drinan, Fr. C. Richard Nowrey, Fr. James O’Connor, and Fr. Lonnie C. Reyes. We strongly suspect there are far more child molesting clerics who live or work – or have lived and worked – in the Austin diocese but who remain “under the radar.”)

Often, parents, parishioners, police, prosecutors and the public give new church figures the benefit of the doubt. We hope this doesn’t happen in Austin. Complacency protect no one. Only vigilance prevents abuse and cover ups.

We urge Austin citizens and Catholics to continue to share what they know or suspect about clergy sex crimes and cover ups to secular officials, not church figures.

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Members and substitutes from the Episcopal Conferences for the 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 31 January 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has ratified the appointment of the following prelates as members and substitutes, elected by their respective Episcopal Conferences, for the 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will take place in the Vatican from 4 to 25 October 2015 on the theme “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world”:

AFRICA
BURUNDI
Member: Bishop Gervais Bashimiyubusa, of Ngozi, president of the Episcopal Conference.
Substitute: Bishop Joachim Ntahondereye of Muyinga.

ETHIOPIA and ERITREA
Member: Bishop Tsegaye Keneni Derera, apostolic vicar of Soddo, Ethiopia.
Substitute: Bishop Markos Gebremedhin, C.M., apostolic vicar of Jimma-Bonga, Ethiopia.

GHANA
Member: Archbishop Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle, of Accra.
Substitute: Bishop Anthony Kwami Adanuty of Keta-katsi.

KENYA
Members: Cardinal John Njue, archbishop of Nairobi, president of the Episcopal Conference.
Bishop James Maria Wainaina Kungu of Muranga.
Substitute: Bishop Emanuel Barbara, O.F.M. Cap. of Malindi.

MADAGASCAR
Member: Bishop Desire Tsarahazana of Toamasina, president of the Episcopal Conference.
Substitute: Bishop Jean de Dieu Raoelison, auxiliary of Antananarivo.

RWANDA
Member: Bishop Antoine Kambanda of Kibungo.
Substitute: Bishop Smaragde Mbonyintege of Kabgayi, president of the Episcopal Conference.

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Dianne Coady, former parish bookkeeper, jailed for fraud

CANADA
CBC News

Former St. Patrick’s Parish bookkeeper Dianne Coady, 69, is heading to jail for defrauding her long-time employer of more than $300,000.

Coady, who defrauded the St. John’s parish over a span of about five years, offered no explanation for her frauds when she appeared in provincial court on Monday.

Judge Lois Skanes sentenced Coady to 14 months in jail, followed by a two-year probation term.

She was also ordered to pay back the $306,000 that was determined to have gone missing in an audit.

During her sentencing in St. John’s provincial court, Skanes said Coady was in a position of trust at the time and showed no remorse for what she did.

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Erftstadt: Schwere Vorwürfe gegen Pfarrer (73)

DEUTSCHLAND
Express

[A 49-year-old woman who lives in Switzerland has raised serious allegations against priest Winfried Jansen, 73. She alleges she was sexual abused 40 years ago but the priest has denied it. ]

Von ROBERT BAUMANNS

ERFTSTADT –
Eine Frau (49), die in der Schweiz lebt, erhebt schwere Vorwürfe gegen Pfarrer Winfried Jansen (73). Der Geistliche, der die sechs Gemeinden des Pfarrverbands Ville leitet, soll vor 40 Jahren “sexuell grenzverletzend übergriffig” geworden sein.

Der Pfarrer streitet das ab. Erzbischof Rainer Maria Kardinal Woelki (58) hat ihn dennoch mit sofortiger Wirkung von seinem Priesteramt entpflichtet.

Am Sonntagabend begründete Stephan Weißkopf als Seelsorge-Personalchef die Entscheidung: “Nach den Leitlinien der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz blieb uns keine andere Wahl. Die Vorwürfe des mutmaßlichen Opfers sind plausibel.”

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Limerick priest appointed as Bishop of Waterford and Lismore

IRELAND
Limerick Leader

by Colm Ward
colm.ward@limerickleader.ie
Published on the 02 February 2015

Limerick priest Fr Alphonsus ‘Phonsie’ Cullinan has been appointed Bishop of Waterford and Lismore.

The popular priest has served in several Limerick parishes since 1995 and has been parish priest in Rathkeale since 2011.

Fr Cullinan’s appointment as bishop was announced this Monday morning in the Vatican. He replaces Bishop William Lee who retired in 2013.

Speaking in Waterford cathedral following the announcement, Fr Cullinan said he was “honoured and humbled and excited to have been nominated as bishop of this Diocese”.

“This is an historic city and Waterford and Lismore is an historic Diocese with a Christian heritage going back to the earliest days of Christianity on this island and I am very proud to be called to do something to continue that wonderful tradition,” he added.

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Diocese announces church closures

MINNESOTA
Post-Bulletin

Kay Fate, kfate@postbulletin.com

WINONA — Catholic parishes in Dodge and Fillmore counties were hit particularly hard this weekend in the Vision 2016 strategic plan announced by the Diocese of Winona.

Vision 2016, which is billed as “a strategic pastoral plan” for the diocese, has been in development since late 2011. Over the past two years, clergy and lay leaders have developed a plan designed to address changing demographics and the Church’s claim that fewer priests are available to serve the Diocese.

The goal is to finalize the plan by the spring of 2016.

Two Catholic churches in Dodge County — West Concord and Claremont — will no longer hold worship services, according to the proposal. Instead, the church in Dodge Center, St. John Baptist de la Salle, will serve as the hub parish.

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Fears baby home probe will exclude illegal adoptions

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

By Conall Ó Fátharta
Irish Examiner Reporter

Adoption campaigners are concerned that tens of thousands of unmarried women and girls whose children were forcibly or illegally adopted will be excluded from the upcoming mother and baby homes inquiry.

In a briefing note prepared for all TDs and senators in advance of last week’s second Dáil debate on the terms of reference for the inquiry, Adoption Rights Alliance (ARA) expressed concern that the Government was determined to avoid fully examining the scale of forced and illegal adoptions.

The group argued that most illegal adoptions were undocumented and were carried out by individuals and institutions with no connection to mother and baby homes.

It said it feared that the State’s role through the then Adoption Board, State-funded maternity hospitals and all bar a handful of adoption agencies “will either not be uncovered or will be entirely underestimated”.

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Yeshivah Melbourne tried to ‘cure’ serial sex offender

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

[with video]

February 2, 2015

Jane Lee

Yeshivah Melbourne tried to “cure” serial sex offender David Cyprys and continued to employ him more than 20 years after victims reported he had sexually abused them, a Royal Commission has heard.

The Royal Commission into child sexual abuse began its second hearing in Melbourne on Monday, focusing on the ultra-orthodox Jewish organisation Yeshivah.

The two-week hearing at the County Court will examine Yeshivah Melbourne and Yeshiva Bondi’s response to child sexual abuse allegations against their former employees, convicted sex offenders David Cyprys, David Kramer and Daniel Hayman.

Cyprys was found guilty of indecent assault in 1992 and released on a good behaviour bond. In 2013, the County Court found him guilty of five charges of rape, five charges of indecent assault, attempted indecent assault, and two counts of gross indecency. He is still serving his eight-year prison sentence for these crimes.

One of Cyprys’ victims, known as AVA, said he was sexually abused between the ages of 14 and 17, when he took private kung fu lessons from Cyprys.

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Jewish community let abuser work with children, inquiry hears

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

LEADERS of Melbourne’s orthodox Jewish community failed their duty of care by allowing a known child abuser to work with children, the royal commission has heard.

The royal commission investigating institutional responses to child sexual abuse today began its first examination of Jewish institutions, looking at the orthodox Yeshivah centres and schools in Sydney and Melbourne.

The commission will probe whether religious law or cultural attitudes influenced the response of the Chabad leaders and the Yeshiva community towards people who speak out against abuse, have publicly criticised past practices or called for the institutions to be accountable.

A man known by the pseudonym AVA was the first witness, testifying about the abuse he experienced over three years at the hands of David Cyprys, who is currently serving an eight year prison sentence.

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Senior orthodox Jewish rabbi David Groner …

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

Senior orthodox Jewish rabbi David Groner accused of shunning child sex abuse claims

SHANNON DEERY HERALD SUN FEBRUARY 02, 2015

A LEADING rabbi accused of involvement in a string of child sex crime cover ups within the orthodox Jewish community will escape giving evidence at the royal commission into child sexual abuse.

The commission has started a two-week hearing investigating the way Yeshivah centres in Melbourne and Bondi in Sydney responded to allegations of abuse.

But leading Yeshivah figure Rabbi Boruch Lesches, one of Australia’s most senior Orthodox Jews for more than 25 years, won’t be called to answer allegations he turned a blind eye to abuse.

Despite numerous attempts to contact the New York based rabbi, he has ignored requests to appear at the hearing.

Frustrated officials offered to arrange for Rabbi Lesches to appear via video link but have received no response from him.

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Former Yeshivah centre students tell of sex abuse and ostracism on going public

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Melissa Davey
@MelissaLDavey
Monday 2 February 2015

Former students of the Yeshivah centre in Melbourne have told a royal commission how they were groomed for sexual abuse by staff, then bullied and ostracised by religious leaders when they sought help.

Manny Waks told the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse he had received abusive emails and messages from senior members of the orthodox Jewish community since going public about his abuse in 2011.

One came from Rebbetzin Pnina Feldman, an executive of the Sydney Yeshivah centre, he told the commission at Melbourne’s county court on Monday.

“Just because a security guard molested you, don’t blame Yeshivah,” the email read. “Get over it. I haven’t met a person yet with one nice word to say about you. Most people consider you a low life.”

Waks said his abuse began in 1987, when he was 11, by a man identified only as AVP, who now lives in the US.

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Vic family shunned after Yeshivah abuse

AUSTRALIA
news.com.au

MANNY Waks is astounded no one from Yeshivah leadership has ever been held to account for the sexual abuse of children under their watch.

HE and another victim of abuse at Melbourne’s Yeshivah College insist at least one Jewish community leader knew abuse was going on but did nothing to stop it.

Mr Waks has told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse the head of Yeshivah Centre, Rabbi Dovid Groner, was aware as early as 1986 of abuse by pedophile David Cyprys.

But the rabbi’s response was that he believed Cyprys had been cured, the commission was told on Monday, as it began hearing from victims of sexual abuse in the Melbourne and Sydney Jewish communities.

Mr Waks said he was only 11 when he was first sexually abused during the Jewish festival of Shavuot by the son of a Yeshivah Centre community leader in Melbourne.

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Child sex abuse royal commission: Jewish ‘code of silence’ at Yeshivah centres under spotlight at inquiry

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Sarah Farnsworth

Child abuse victims and their families have been abused and ostracised by people within the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community for breaking the Chabad code of silence, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has heard.

The role of the Jewish law and the concept of Mesirah, the religious code dictating Jewish people do not report or “hand over” other Jewish people to the authorities, will form part of the inquiry into abuse at the Yeshivah centres in Melbourne and Bondi.

One victim told the inquiry he was groomed by serial child abuser David Cyprys in the 1980s while he was a student at the Yeshivah College.

He told the inquiry the then head of the Yeshivah, Rabbi Dovid Groner, said “I thought we’d fixed him”, when he was told of the abuse.

The victim, known only as AVA, said he had absolutely no doubt people at Yeshivah knew Cyprys had a penchant for young boys.

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Ultra-Orthodox Yeshivah College under microscope for employing child sex predators

AUSTRALIA
9 News

The Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse has held hearings into abuse within the Catholic Church, the Salvation Army and other religious groups – but today was the first involving the Jewish community, and in particular the ultra-Orthodox Yeshivah College.

Three convicted child abusers were under the spotlight of the commission including David Kramer, who pleaded guilty to molesting four young boys at the college.

A second pedophile at the same Jewish school, David Cyprys, was convicted of five counts of rape and admitted interfering with nine children.

And in Sydney’s Yeshiva centre, Daniel Hayman was handed a suspended sentence over child sexual abuse.

Manny Waks was a victim of Cyprys, and it started when he was just 11.

“I was taunted and bullied and called gay, because I had been sexually abused by a man,” he said.

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Diocese of Winona Announces Parish Reorganization Plan

MINNESOTA
KSTP

By: Rebecca Omastiak

The Diocese of Winona announced a plan to reorganize its parishes on Sunday.

Although the “Vision 2016” plan isn’t yet finalized, diocese leaders said they hope it will address three issues: a shortage of priests to attend to roughly 114 parishes, changes in participation trends, and demographic shifts of both growth and decline in the diocese.

“Nearly half of our parishes have received recommended organizational change as a result of the draft plan,” Msgr. Richard Colletti, Vicar General and Director of Planning for the Diocese, said in a statement. “These may include variations in how parishes are clustered, the residence of a pastor, or the merging of parishes.”

Part of the plan includes moving 21 smaller parishes toward “oratory status.” This means that as they merge with larger parishes, the smaller churches will no longer offer a Sunday/Vigil mass, but could host weddings, funerals and small prayer groups until congregants can no longer maintain the facility and wish to close it.

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Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG and Solomon Islands releases new sexual abuse policy

PAPUA NEW GUINEA/SOLOMON ISLAND
Radio Australia

Victims of sexual abuse at the hands of the clergy are being encouraged to come forward under a new policy released by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.

The policy, which the Catholic Church has been working on since the 1990s, outlines clear steps for investigating wrongdoing within the church and encourages members of the congregation to report sexual abuse.

The Director of Right Relationships in Ministry, Brother Frank Hough, helped formulate the new policy.

He told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program, under the new framework, people wanting to report sexual misconduct could seek advice from a contact person.

“We have what is called a contact person who is the first port of call, so to speak, for a person to make a complaint,” he said.

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February 1, 2015

John Howard Yoder’s sexual abuse: Asking the wrong question

UNITED STATES
Our Stories Untold

By HILLARY KOBERNICK on Jan 31, 2015

Editor’s note: This is a cross-post from Hillary’s blog, www.gatheringthestones.com, first published on January 30, 2015.

Even though this week a Goshen College student was slapped by Jennifer Lopez, John Howard Yoder is still the biggest Mennonite celebrity we have. While at Pastors Week, I heard stories about how he would takes notes on a lecture in a foreign language, just for practice. Or how he could listen to a lecture and engage in conversation while writing a sermon. Or from students who said, “I didn’t grow up Mennonite, but I’m studying at AMBS because I read John Howard Yoder.”

As the Mennonite Church dives into its first real attempt to name him as a serial abuser with a distorted sexual politic, one question surfaces over and over: “Can we still honor and use his work even though we now know he harassed and assaulted as many as 100 women?”

I heard this question for the bajillionth time this week, talking to a Mennonite student at AMBS. He was one of those who came to the church by way of John Howard Yoder, finding a belief system he could truly resonate with. He mused, “I wonder how we respond to his work.” After some more thought, he said, “Yoder was brilliant. He’s such an articulate thinker and he lays such an important foundation for Mennonites. I think we can still redeem his work and use it to represent our church.”

I asked him if he was, as he seemed to be, a straight white male with no history of sexual abuse. He said he was. Then I got angry, and with less grace than I wished I had. “That is not your question,” I said. “You do not get to decide how we use Yoder’s scholarship. You don’t get to answer anything.

Your job, right now, is to sit down and listen to the women who were abused. Women who are in their 60’s and 70’s now who have spent 40 years keeping their mouths shut. They took the brunt of the pain. They suffered for us, among us, so we could maintain our rosy-eyed ignorance about the man himself. Why don’t you bring this question to them, and let them answer it in their own good time? It might take years, but it’s not your job to answer.”

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Images of child abuse found in Vatican City

VATICAN CITY
The Guardian (UK)

Rosie Scammell in Rome
Sunday 1 February 2015

Two cases of child pornography possession were uncovered within the walls of the Vatican last year, along with numerous other crimes in the city state, the Holy See’s prosecutor general has announced.

Following worldwide allegations of sex abuse by priests, Gian Piero Milano, the Holy See’s Promoter of Justice, said the Vatican was now taking action against paedophilia in the heart of the Catholic church.

Unveiling the Vatican’s justice report, Milano stopped short of naming those accused of possessing child pornography. Holy See spokesman Federico Lombardi however identified Josef Wesolowski, a disgraced former ambassador, as one of the people facing charges.

Wesolowski was stripped of his diplomatic immunity last year following accusations that he abused young boys during his time as envoy to the Dominican Republic. The Polish former archbishop is currently awaiting trial at the Vatican, in what will be the first sex abuse trial ever held at the Holy See.

Beyond the child pornography cases, Vatican authorities are battling an array of crimes including drug trafficking and money laundering. Three drug deliveries addressed to the Vatican were intercepted last year, including a packet containing cocaine-filled condoms. The drugs were discovered at Germany’s Leipzig airport and handed to the Vatican in the hope of ensnaring the buyer, but no one came forward to claim the package.

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Advocacy group to protest Pope Francis’s plan to canonize Father Junipero Serra

CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles Daily News

By City News Service
POSTED: 02/01/15

LOS ANGELES >> An advocacy group representing Native Americans said will hold a demonstration in downtown Los Angeles today to protest Pope Francis’s plans to canonize Father Junipero Serra, the 18th-century Spanish priest who is both revered and reviled for founding nine of California’s 21 missions.

The Mexica Movement is an indigenous rights educational organization that says it represents native peoples on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We attempted to meet with Archbishop (Jose) Gomez over the proposed canonization of Junipero Serra. He refused to meet with us or to return our phone call,” the group said in a statement. “He does not care about the truth of the crimes and immorality of this white supremacist priest.”

Gomez, who, as Archbishop of Los Angeles heads the nation’s biggest Roman Catholic archdiocese, has hailed the pope’s decision to confer sainthood on Serra, who was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1988. Gomez called Serra one of his “spiritual heroes” and said the pope’s decision to canonize him is a “gift to California and the Americas.”

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Bishops slam official for ‘hiding’ poor from Pope

PHILIPPINES
Gulf Today

By Manolo B. Jara
February 02, 2015

MANILA: The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Sunday lashed back at a cabinet official who said she did not regret bringing poor families and street children to a posh resort in Batangas province in Southern Luzon where the maximum room rate was $500 a night during the visit of Pope Francis to the country.

The Reverend Jerome Secillano, the executive secretary of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs, said the poor should be taught livelihood projects to help improve their lives instead of treating them to a “taste of luxury.”

“Can’t the government show enough sincerity by giving them permanent dwelling places and livelihood projects?” Secillano asked in an article posted on the CBCP website.

Secillano added: “They are not even supposed to be trained to live like they have because, in truth, what they need to know is simply how to live.”

The strongly-worded Secillano statement indicated that the controversy over the alleged government attempt to hide the face of poverty from the Pope refused to die less than two weeks after he brought his message of “mercy and compassion” during his visit to the Philippines Jan.15 to 19.

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Jewish centres probed by abuse inquiry

AUSTRALIA
Otago Daily Times (New Zealand)

The child sex abuse royal commission is turning the spotlight on Jewish institutions in Sydney and Melbourne.

A public hearing by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse into Yeshivah Bondi and Yeshivah Melbourne opens today in Melbourne.

It is the first time Jewish institutions have been examined by the commission, which will look at the responses of the two centres to allegations of sex abuse against staff members.

The Yeshivah Centre and the Yeshivah College in Melbourne will be asked how they handled complaints against David Cyprys, David Kramer and Aaron Kestecher.

The commission will also look at how the centre and college in Bondi dealt with allegations of sexual abuse against Daniel Hayman, a former Yeshivah director.

Hayman, 50, pleaded guilty last June to the aggravated indecent assault of a then 14-year-old boy at a Jewish camp south of Sydney in the 1980s.

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Yet another blow for child abuse inquiry …

UNITED KINGDOM
The Mail on Sunday

Yet another blow for child abuse inquiry after it’s revealed that the Home Office coached ‘independent’ experts about how to answer ‘difficult questions’

By Martin Beckford and Simon Murphy for The Mail on Sunday

The troubled inquiry into historic child abuse is facing fresh criticism after it emerged that panel members were told what to say to MPs by a long-serving Home Office official.

Experts and abuse survivors were given a 23-page document advising them how to answer ‘difficult questions’ when they appeared before a high-profile committee, prompting fears that the huge Government-ordered investigation is not independent.

It can also be revealed that the woman in charge of administration for the inquiry was seconded from the Home Office, where she has worked for 36 years – even though the department is at the centre of many of the allegations of cover-ups and VIP paedophile rings.

Last night critics said it was yet another blow to the reputation of the inquiry, which has barely begun work more than six months after it was announced.

Baroness Butler-Sloss and Fiona Woolf both had to quit as chairman over conflicts of interest, with the replacement due to be announced this week.

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Royal Commission In Melbourne Investigates Sex Abuse Allegations In Jewish Community

AUSTRALIA
Jewish Business News

A Royal Commission in Melbourne will investigate sexual abuse charges in the Jewish community that have been the focus of a conspiracy of silence for many years, as reported by AU News. The alleged abuse took place at the Yeshivah Center, where Manny Waks says he was a victim of David Cyprus. The family moved to press charges years ago, Cyprus ended up in prison, but the result was that Waks’ parents were put in cherem, or became official pariahs in the community, emigrated to Israel and still have been unable to sell their home. Manny Waks grew up in an Orthodox family with 16 siblings, and his family have paid a high price for their support of his pressing charges for the abuse he suffered. Waks told AUNews, “Those who were involved in facilitating the abuse, cover up, intimidation, they’ve gotten away scot free until now.”

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PW Picks: Books of the Week, February 2, 2015

UNITED STATES
Publishers Weekly

God’s Bankers: A History of Money & Power at the Vatican by Gerald Posner (S&S) – Posner uses his superlative investigative skills to craft a fascinating and comprehensive look at the dark side of the Catholic Church, documenting “how money, and accumulating and fighting over it, has been a dominant theme in the history of the Catholic Church and its divine mission.” He opens with the various spiritually creative methods the Church has used to make ends meet, such as the sale of indulgences and Pope Urban II’s offer of full absolution to those who volunteered to fight in the Crusades. The bulk of the book focuses on the mid-20th century and includes the Papacy’s accommodations to the Nazis. While this is familiar terrain, Posner convincingly buttresses his unusual position that money swayed Pope Pius XII “to remain silent in the face of overwhelming evidence of mass murder.” And the author’s access to previously undisclosed documents enables him to flesh out the Vatican Bank scandal, which reached its nadir with the mysterious hanging—from London’s Blackfriars Bridge—of Italian banker and convicted fraudster Roberto Calvi. Accessible and well written, Posner’s is the definitive history of the topic to date.

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Dana Point parishioner’s lawsuit claims diocese mismanaged funds

CALIFORNIA
Orange County Register

BY TERI SFORZA / Staff Columnist

It was one thing when the faithful at St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church raised $8 million to build a new parish center, then heard little more about the project.

But when they learned that the Diocese of Orange planned a $3 million renovation of their beloved church sanctuary – perched on a Dana Point precipice and designed to showcase spectacular ocean views – dozens balked, saying it seemed like a colossal waste of money. They sent a letter to church leadership, trying to stop the renovations and demanded a detailed accounting of money raised and spent.

They didn’t get far. And so last week, with a heavy heart, one longtime parishioner filed a lawsuit against the church and its administator, the Rev. Brandon Manson, along with Bishop Kevin Vann and the Diocese of Orange, claiming breach of trust.

“I have struggled greatly over filing this action,” said Bill Robinson, a parishioner for 39 years, who is a lawyer. “In the end, I have to follow my conscience. We saw what happened in the child abuse scandal in the early 2000s. The shame brought upon the Church was not because of a handful of bad priests, but because of the arrogance of the bishops who considered themselves above the law and not accountable to their congregants.”

It’s a potentially ground-breaking case that’s a microcosm of a larger issue the Watchdog has been talking about lately: Churches and their tax exempt status in America.

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The Next Few Months Are Critical For Pope Francis’ Success

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

Pope Francis is entering the most critical period of his papacy. He meets soon with all of his Cardinals and his “go slow” abuse commission under Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley holds its first full meeting shortly. And in a matter of a mere several months, the pope holds his Final Synod (without any women as full participants, incidentally), as he then moves into his 80th year, on one lung no less.

Francis is surely a remarkable person . Yet by now he must know what the ex-Pope’s sudden quitting really signified. Popes now cannot save both the Catholic Church and the Vatican for the reasons discussed below. Francis’ Christmas attack on Vatican officials perhaps confirmed this. Francis appears, however, to have chosen mainly to protect the Catholic hierarchy, a losing proposition, and likely has as a result set the stage for an accelerated division into various Church factions.

Pope Francis is quite old and yet is working non-stop. He appears, unfortunately, to be surrounded by some men who seem to be oblivious to the Vatican’s precarious position. Francis faces at least three major scandals involving priest child abuse, sexually repressive teachings and officials’ financial corruption, while his hierarchy debate arcane matters like “graduality” and most of the media still focus on counting papal “tweets” and other irrelevancies.

The scandal that has changed everything for the previously “untouchable” Vatican is the child abuse scandal. The pope clearly has not done nearly enough here. And his efforts to change the sexually repressive teachings are facing strong resistance from conservative Cardinals as discussed below. He is almost out of time. While the pope has made a start, in Rome at least, on curtailing his hierarchy’s financial corruption, he still has a long way to go.

Pope Francis’ response to date on the most sensational scandal, the abuse cover up, seems to be mostly more of the same half measures used by his failed predecessors. Bishops are still not required under Church rules generally to report child abuse claims to the police, for example, and accused clerics are investigated secretively by other clerics mainly. Francis has not acted to improve priest selection by expanding the selection pool to include married men and women, and he has not acted on predatory priest management oversight by making bishops accountable.

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MA–Victims blast Boston parishioners & archbishop in Revere case

MASSACHUSETTS
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Sunday, Feb. 1

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 )

We are deeply saddened by the Revere Catholics who feel Boston church officials have erred in letting three staffers resign because they refused to call 911 when they suspected child sex crimes. They are wrong to minimize the harm such refusals cause.

[Revere Journal]

Refusing or delaying calls to law enforcement gives criminals and potential criminals more time to destroy evidence, intimidate victims, threaten whistleblowers, discredit witnesses, fabricate alibis and even flee the country. Such refusals and delays often enable more kids to be hurt.

So they must be harshly punished. Sadly, that’s not what happened here. Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley took the easy way out.

O’Malley must do more than let a priest, principal and teacher resign. He must defrock the cleric and fire the other two.

Nothing will more effectively deter future recklessness and secrecy in child sex cases than to publicly and permanently remove all three of these wrongdoers from any future work with the church in any capacity. The preferences of adult parishioners pale beside the safety needs of children.

If there’s an archdiocese on the planet where refusing to promptly call police about child sex allegations should be most harshly punished, it’s Boston.

Police say the staffer who used the bathroom did nothing criminal. But it just as easily could have turned out very differently.

Child predators are often sick and compulsive individuals who have little control over their actions. Their crimes often can’t be deterred. Supervisors and colleagues, however, have no excuse whatsoever. They merely need to overcome their cowardice and call 911. Catholic staffers will do this if they see that those who refuse lose their careers.

We beg these parishioners to reconsider their views. And we beg O’Malley to act more decisively and harshly toward these offenders and more responsibly toward his flock.

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Church officials accused in sex abuse lawsuit involving former St. Mary’s priest

MASSACHUSETTS
South Coast Today

By Peggy Aulisio/Editor
Posted Feb. 1, 2015 @ 8:54 am

FAIRHAVEN — Prominent Boston Attorney Mitchell Garabedian has charged Catholic church officials with not properly supervising the late Father James R. Nickel, who the lawsuit claims sexually abused young boys during his time in local churches.

In one lawsuit, the alleged abuse took place while Father Nickel supervised and counseled young boys at St. Mary’s Parish in Fairhaven. The plaintiff in this case is anonymous, but is said to live in Fairhaven. In the other lawsuit, the charges come from Brian Blackmore of Orlando, Fla.; the abuse allegedly occurred when Father Nickel was at Holy Trinity Parish in West Harwich.

Among those named in the suit are Fathers William Heffron and Gabriel Healy who live on Adams Street in Fairhaven and Bishop Daniel Cronin. Cronin lives in Connecticut, but was bishop in Fall River during the time the alleged sexual abuse occurred. They are accused of not properly supervising Nickel.

The sexual abuse is spelled out explicitly in both Superior Court complaints, which call for a jury trial. Others with supervisory authority are simply noted as unnamed defendants.

Garabedian told The Advocate on Jan. 23 the church did settle a previous suit in 2012 involving Father Nickel with a payment in the “low six figures.”

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Vatican Investigates Two Cases of Child-Porn Possession

VATICAN CITY
Wall Street Journal

Associated Press
Updated Feb. 1, 2015

VATICAN CITY—The Vatican investigated two cases of child pornography possession in the past year, officials said Saturday.

The chief prosecutor of the Vatican City state’s criminal tribunal, Gian Piero Milano, cited the two cases in a speech summarizing the tribunal’s work in 2014.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said one of the cases concerned the Vatican’s former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Jozef Wesolowski.

The Polish-born Mr. Wesolowski was recalled from his post in 2013 following accusations that he had sexually abused young boys. Mr. Wesolowski has been defrocked and placed under modified house arrest inside Vatican City pending a decision by the Vatican court on whether to indict him.

Neither Rev. Lombardi nor Mr. Milano identified the second child pornography possession suspect.

In his speech, Mr. Milano referred to a separate case involving another Polish prelate who was convicted by the Vatican tribunal of fraud. Rev. Lombardi confirmed that the prelate was Msgr. Bronislaw Morawiec, an administrator at St. Mary Major Basilica, a Rome church where Pope Francis sometimes prays.

A Vatican spokesman said Mr. Wesolowski had no comment, and declined to provide a contact for Msgr. Morawiec or his lawyer. Mr. Wesolowski couldn’t be reached directly. The spokesman confirmed Msgr. Morawiec has appealed the fraud conviction and is awaiting a ruling.

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Jailed paedophile priest James Robinson yet to be defrocked by Catholic Church

UNITED KINGDOM
Birmingham Mail

1 February 2015
By Mike Lockley

Child abuse victim continues campaign to get Brownhills “Father Jim” kicked out of priesthood

A jailed priest who preyed on young boys has NOT been defrocked by the Roman Catholic church – despite pleas directly to the Pope.

The news will sicken victims of Father James Robinson, currently serving a 21-year sentence for vile crimes dubbed “unimaginably wicked” by a Birmingham Crown Court judge.

One man, a victim of fellow twisted cleric Eric Taylor, has spent two years lobbying the Vatican, Birmingham Archdiocese and the Archbishop of Westminster in a bid to get Robinson “laicised” – kicked out of the priesthood.

He has also called on Pope Francis to bestow the ultimate punishment on the predatory priest – excommunication.

Taylor died in prison after being jailed for abusing boys at Coleshill’s Father Hudson Society home, but former boxer Robinson, now 76, is still alive and well, although behind bars.

He was collared in the American sunshine state of California six years ago and extradited to face the music for his monstrous crimes.

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Mixed emotions for Jewish abuse inquiry

AUSTRALIA
SBS

Public hearings into abuse at Melbourne’s Yeshivah College and Yeshivah Centre will begin on Monday as part of the Royal Commission into Child Abuse.

Source: AAP
31 JAN 2015

A public hearing into abuse in Melbourne’s Jewish community will bring vindication but mixed emotions when it begins, one witness says.

Manny Waks had hoped there would be no need for details to be played out in public hearings, which begin on Monday, but now concedes it’s likely the only way to bring about the changes needed.

Mr Waks will appear as a witness at this week’s hearing into abuse at Melbourne’s Yeshivah College and the Yeshivah Centre as part of the Royal Commission into Child Abuse.

“I think there’s an element of justice automatically by the very fact there is a public hearing taking place,” Mr Waks told AAP.

“I certainly feel vindicated. But it’s with mixed emotions.”

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Kincora: The man who wants to lift the lid off one of the darkest secrets in Ulster’s past

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

Kincora: the name is a byword for the most notorious child sex scandal in Northern Ireland history. Whistleblower Colin Wallace has vowed to reveal all to the Historical and Institutional Abuse Inquiry. But is the former Army officer a Deep Throat or a Walter Mitty? Liam Clarke reports

31 JANUARY 2015

You know, if my parents were told all this was going on, they would never have believed it, Colin Wallace told me. What the 71-year-old former Ballymena Academy pupil is referring to is a half-world, lurking just below the surface of official Ulster life, with its rules and its proprieties.

This was a place where an intelligence agency might turn a blind eye to child abuse to get information from the perpetrators, where the government might launch black propaganda assaults against politicians and would plot the downfall of Ian Paisley as readily as Gerry Adams.

Wallace himself wouldn’t have believed it initially, but he has spent the past 40 years trying to lift the lid on the intelligence scandals which he says swept through Northern Ireland in the early 1970s. He has also spent it trying to clear his name after being wrongfully dismissed from his job in the Ministry of Defence and then wrongfully convicted of manslaughter.

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Victory for abuse victims as Theresa May FINALLY launches VIP paedophile inquiry

UNITED KINGDOM
Mirror

31 January 2015 By Nigel Nelson

The Home Secretary has finally been shamed into belatedly beginning her inquiry following a Sunday People campaign

Theresa May has finally been shamed into launching her long-awaited historical child sex abuse inquiry this week.

The Home Secretary’s decision to get cracking at last is a victory for the Sunday People .

Our May-o-meter now stands at 210 days without progress since she announced the probe.

And Mrs May was also hammered by last Sunday’s appeal by abuse survivor “Becky” – by yesterday her ­­change.org petition had received nearly 29,000 s­ignatures from people urging the Home Secretary to get a move on.

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

Campaigners fear those involved in an alleged paedophile ring cover-up might take their secrets to their graves before they can ever give evidence.

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Royal commission to examine child sexual abuse within Jewish community at Melbourne hearings

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By court reporter Peta Carlyon
Sun 1 Feb 2015

The response of the Australian Jewish community to child sexual abuse will come under the spotlight as a royal commission reconvenes in Melbourne on Monday.

Several paedophiles who taught at the Yeshivah Centre in Melbourne have been prosecuted, but critics say the Orthodox community has covered up persistent abuse for decades.

The organisation’s Sydney chapter, in the eastern suburb of Bondi, will also be examined by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Abuse victim Manny Waks dreamt of a royal commission years ago.

He was abused as a child at the Yeshivah College by David Cyprus, who is now in prison, and famously blew the whistle on child abuse within the Yeshivah organisation.

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Iglesia conoce sólo 5 casos de pederastia

MEXICO
Pulso

[The Catholic church said it knows of only five cases of suspect pedophilia but the attorney general said there are six arrest warrants.]

Rubén Pacheco / Pulso

La Arquidiócesis de San Luis Potosí aseguró desconocer la existencia de un sexto caso de pederastia en la iglesia local, luego del anuncio hecho por la Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado (PGJE), quien reportó tener giradas seis órdenes de aprehensión en contra de sacerdotes potosinos.

Cabe informar que el año pasado se suscitó la detención de dos curas, lo cual supondría que sólo están pendientes cuatro órdenes giradas para la captura de los sacerdotes denunciados.

En entrevista, el vocero de la Arquidiócesis potosina, Juan Jesús Priego Rivera señaló que si bien la PGJE anunció una sexta orden de aprehensión, la iglesia católica desconoce a qué cura se hace referencia, y consideró que probablemente las personas afectadas acudieron a la autoridad judicial. Sólo tiene información de cinco casos, añadió.

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Prófugos 6 sacerdotes acusados de pederastia: fiscalía de SLP

MEXICO
SDP Noticias

[The San Luis Potosi attorney general has reported that sex priests accused of pedophilia are fugitives from justice. They included the prelate Eduardo Cordova Bautista, who is accused of sexual abuse of 19 children. Miguel Angel Garcia Covarrubia said there are six arrest warrants drawn by judges.]

La Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado (PGJE) emitió una ficha de localización a la Interpol y a otras procuradurías de justicia del país, para dar con el paradero de los presuntos delincuentes.

México.- La Fiscalía de San Luis Potosí informó que seis sacerdotes acusados de pederastia se encuentran prófugos de la justicia, entre los cuales destaca el caso del prelado Eduardo Córdova Bautista, quien es acusado de abuso sexual contra 19 menores de edad.

El titular de la dependencia, Miguel Ángel García Covarrubias, detalló que existen seis órdenes de aprehensión giradas por jueces penales, en contra de igual número de clérigos acusados de abuso sexual.

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Book review: Vatican money trail uncovers murder, intrigue, scandal

UNITED STATES
Providence Journal

BY DONALD D. BREED
Special to The Journal

“GOD’S BANKERS: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican,” by Gerald Posner. Simon & Schuster. 728 pages. $30.

“Money is useful to carry out many things,” Pope Francis has said, “but when your heart is attached to it, it destroys you.” As the pope well knows, attachment to money has wreaked much destruction in his own Catholic Church. This is related in a stunning exposé by investigative reporter Gerald Posner.

As exciting as a mystery thriller, “God’s Bankers” starts with an unsolved murder in London and races from one financial scandal to another, explaining how monetary considerations led several popes to disgraceful moral transgressions. It’s long, but the history is so long and intricate that a reader will agree that none of it could be left out. And there’s more than one murder.

The church’s zeal in raising money goes back centuries, whether to finance the lavish lifestyles of some popes or to finance the Crusades. One of the schemes was selling indulgences, which riled Martin Luther and led to the Protestant Reformation.

In the 19th century, the unification of Italy caused the church to lose the Papal States and the income they had raised. But in 1929, after much negotiation, Pius XI concluded the Lateran Pacts with the Fascist government under Benito Mussolini, an avowed atheist. The cynical agreement defined the 108.7 acres in Rome as a sovereign state, and gave the Vatican a big chunk of cash as compensation for Papal States. In return, the pope endorsed the Fascist government.

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The Pulse: The papal connection

PENNSYLVANIA
Philadelphia Inquirer

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, INQUIRER COLUMNIST
POSTED: Sunday, February 1, 2015

Pope John Paul II had Doylestown on his mind when, just two months into his papacy, he summoned the head of the Vatican Bank to the Apostolic Palace for a private chat. The pope had decided to bail out the Pauline Fathers, the religious order that ran Our Lady of Czestochowa, the shrine in Bucks County, and that was then enmeshed in a financial scandal.

That nugget is buried in a new, more-than-700-page book called God’s Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican, the result of a nine-year investigation by Gerald Posner, perhaps best known for having written Case Closed, about the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Gannett News Service reported the financial improprieties from Czestochowa on the front pages of many of the chain’s 80 newspapers one month before John Paul’s Oct. 16, 1978, election, coverage that would both win a Pulitzer Prize and draw an unsuccessful lawsuit from the Pauline Fathers. Gannett reported: “Vatican documents show that in less than a decade, the order squandered a substantial portion of $20 million in charitable donations, loans, investments, and bond proceeds through mismanagement, dubious business practices, and what Vatican investigators described as ‘chaotic’ and ‘immoral’ lifestyles.”

Among the highlights: $250,000 in donations was received for Masses that were never offered; more than $400,000 solicited for memorials was spent without plaques having been erected; and automobiles and gasoline credit cards were given to the monks despite their vows of poverty. It was reportedly left to Cardinal John Krol, head of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, to clean up the mess by raising millions to resolve outstanding debt.

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