South Side church pastor accused of molesting girl

CHICAGO (IL)
Fox 32

CHICAGO (STMW) – The pastor of a South Side church allegedly molested a girl during counseling sessions in his office, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

George Waddles started counseling the girl at Zion Hill Baptist Church when she was 13 in late 2011, Assistant State’s Attorney Tara Pease-Harkin said.

As the counseling sessions progressed a year later, Waddles often told the girl he had dreams about her and thought about her when she wasn’t around, Pease-Harkin said. He also allegedly tried to hug and kiss the girl several times during the meetings at the church, 1460 W. 78th St.

Then, in May or June 2014, Waddles asked the girl to sit on his lap, Pease-Harkin said. The girl complied.

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Pastor charged with inappropriately touching girl he was counseling

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

Steve Schmadeke
Chicago Tribune

A longtime South Side pastor was charged with sexually abusing a 16-year-old girl in his office during a counseling session in 2014.

Prosecutors said the alleged victim and her mother confronted George Waddles, 67, who heads Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church, and secretly recorded his admissions to inappropriately touching the teen.

Waddles turned himself in to Chicago police Tuesday and made “a positive disclosure” to a detective that was consistent with the girl’s story, said Assistant State’s Attorney Tara Pease-Harkin. He was charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse, a Class 2 felony that carries a sentence of up to seven years in prison or probation on conviction.

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Swiss bishops confirm existence of Cardinal Danneels’ ‘mafia’ against Benedict XVI

SWITZERLAND
Catholic Citizens of Illinois

By Maike Hickson

September 29, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — While correcting local media reports, the Swiss bishops today confirmed the existence of the so-called “mafia” of bishops that aimed to counter the influence of Cardinal Ratzinger during the pontificate of John Paul II.

The confirmation came amid intense discussion in Switzerland about the question of the now well-known group of cardinals, called the “St. Gallen Group,” about which Cardinal Godfried Danneels recently made some disturbing, even embarrassing revelations.

This morning, the local radio station FM1 Today in Sankt Gallen, Switerland, reported on the alleged secret meetings of this “St. Gallen Group” that supposedly worked both on making Pope Benedict XVI resign and on getting Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio then elected for the Papal office. As sources for their claims, the radio station cited a new biography about Bishop Danneels, as well as a candid public statement that the cardinal himself made. Summing up their claims about this seeming conspiracy, the radio station said:

Karim Schelkens, historian and co-author of the biography, said in an interview that the election of Bergoglio has been without doubt prepared in St. Gallen in the middle of the “mafia” and also that Ratzinger resigned because of it [this “mafia”].

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Pope Francis’ Kim Davis Visit Is the Dumbest Thing He’s Ever Done

UNITED STATES
Esquire

BY CHARLES P. PIERCE

The big news today seems to be that Kim Davis, the goldbricking county clerk from Kentucky, met secretly with Papa Francesco in Washington and that he endorsed her current status as a faith-based layabout. Given this pope’s deft gift for strategic ambiguity and shrewd public relations, it’s hard for me to understand how he could commit such a hamhanded blunder as picking a side in this fight. And it’s odd that he (or someone) sought to publicize it through an American media entity that is not wholly sympathetic to his papacy. Inside The Vatican, the e-newsletter that broke the story, is edited by Robert Moynihan, a 79-year old whose patron was Benedict XVI.

God, the crowing from the Right is going to be deafening. Everything he said about capitalism and about the environment is going to be drowned out because he wandered into a noisy American culture-war scuffle in which one side, apparently the one he picked, has a seemingly ceaseless megaphone for its views. What a fcking blunder. What a sin against charity, as the nuns used to say.

This is, obviously, the dumbest thing this Pope ever has done. It undermines everything he accomplished on his visit here. It undermines his pastoral message, and it diminishes his stature by involving him in a petty American political dispute. A secret meeting with this nutball? That undermines any credibility he had accrued on the issue of openness and transparency. Moreover, it means that he barbered the truth during the press conference he held on his flight back to Rome, in which he spoke vaguely about religious liberty, and freedom of conscience, but claimed, “I can’t have in mind all cases that can exist about conscience objection.” He certainly knew the details of this case.

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Pope’s meeting with Kentucky clerk divides public after U.S. visit

UNITED STATES
Reuters

BY ALEX DOBUZINSKIS AND PHILIP PULLELLA

A Kentucky county clerk who had been jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples secretly met Pope Francis in a move that disappointed many liberal Catholics and encouraged officials who support her stance.

The meeting with Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, and comments by the pope on Monday, may spur action by local officials across the United States who have refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples since the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

Mat Staver, an attorney for Davis and founder of Liberty Counsel, a law firm that champions conservative Christian causes, told Reuters the meeting was not about sending a message to other clerks or judges who have been unwilling to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples.

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September 30, 2015, Wednesday — Further Thoughts

UNITED STATES
Inside the Vatican

Robert Moynihan

As I write this, a man in an Oklahoma prison is about to be executed for a murder he claims he did not commit.

Pope Francis has asked for his life to be spared.

His name is Richard Glossip. …

We live in a real world, with real problems, and in a fallen world, where egoism and cruelty have led to injustice and violence since the killing of Abel by his brother Cain.

And I write this to set into context the story of the very private meeting of Pope Francis with Kim Davis, which occurred on Thursday afternoon, September 24 — the afternoon of the Pope’s address to Congress.

There has been a storm of media attention regarding this encounter since I broke the story yesterday evening. “Why did the Pope wish to see Kim Davis, of all people?” many asked on websites across the internet.

The answer, I think, is this.

Amid all of his many and well-publicized gestures of affection, respect and tenderness during his trip — kissing children, caressing the sick and handicapped, blessing prisoners in a Philadelphia jail — gestures of tenderness which Father Jonathan Morris, when I was with him on Fox News during the Pope’s final Mass in Philadelphia, called the single most striking thing about the entire trip, Pope Francis also wished to offer a very private, intimate gesture of respect and tenderness to a woman who has been widely vilified and has suffered imprisonment due to her fidelity to her personal religious convictions with regard to marriage.

At first, many doubted that this story was even true. “Never happened,” many said, in web postings and in emails to me.

Of course the story is true.

The encounter did occur.

Why did the Vatican keep the meeting private? How was it even possible that it occurred, amid the scrutiny of the Pope’s every move by thousands of journalists 24/7? And, again, why Kim Davis?

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Pope Francis’ words on abuse vary by his audience

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

By Cathy Lynn Grossman | Religion News Service September 30

As Pope Francis zipped around the East Coast during his U.S. visit last week, his words on confronting sexual abuse were all over the map as well — from praising bishops at the start to warning them at the end after a private meeting with victims.

Why the shifting tenor of remarks?

Different audiences, say church experts and victims’ advocates. …

He sounded “tone-deaf,” said Vatican expert the Rev. Thomas Reese. “Our suffering as priests is nothing like what these poor kids (the victims) or their families went through.”

But church historian Matthew Bunson calculates that Francis was speaking to a new generation of bishops who were cleaning up the mess from their predecessors. The bishops who failed to protect their flocks are long gone — dead or retired.

Bunson, editor of The Catholic Almanac, estimated that less than 10 percent of the 300 bishops who were gathered at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington to hear the pope on Sept. 23 were bishops in 2002 when the scandal erupted.

However, one who was — Cardinal Roger Mahony, retired archbishop of Los Angeles — was sitting front and center alongside others with “dodgy” records, said Terry McKiernan, president of BishopAccountability.org, a website that tracks bishops who some say have failed to protect youth.

“He seemed to be ‘silo-ing’ his audience — not realizing that people from outside this particular silo, the U.S. bishops, would be listening and responding,” said McKiernan.

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Pope Francis Met With Kim Davis, Kentucky County Clerk, in Washington

UNITED STATES/ROME
New York Times

Correction: September 30, 2015
An earlier version of this article misstated the name of the publication that first reported the meeting between Pope Francis and Kim Davis. It was Inside the Vatican, not the Vatican Insider.

By JIM YARDLEY and LAURIE GOODSTEINSEPT. 30, 2015

ROME — Pope Francis met privately in Washington last week with Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who defied a court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, adding a new element to an American tour that saw Francis attract huge crowds and articulate left-leaning positions on poverty, immigration, the environment and inequality.

Vatican officials initially would not confirm that the meeting occurred, finally doing so on Wednesday afternoon, while refusing to discuss any details.

Ms. Davis, the clerk in Rowan County, Ky., has been at the center of a nationwide controversy over whether government employees and private businesses have a legal right to refuse to serve same-sex couples. She spent five days in jail for disobeying a federal court order to issue the licenses.

On Tuesday night, her lawyer, Mathew D. Staver, said that Ms. Davis and her husband, Joe, were sneaked into the Vatican Embassy by car on Thursday afternoon. Francis gave her rosaries and told her to “stay strong,” the lawyer said. The couple met for about 15 minutes with the pope, who was accompanied by security guards, aides and photographers.

“I put my hand out and he reached and he grabbed it, and I hugged him and he hugged me,” Ms. Davis said Wednesday in an interview with ABC News. ‘Thank you for your courage.’”

“I had tears coming out of my eyes,” she said. “I’m just a nobody, so it was really humbling to think he would want to meet or know me.”

The secretiveness of the meeting, and the Vatican’s refusal to give any information, will inevitably raise questions about why Francis chose to meet with Ms. Davis — and why he kept the meeting secret. Mr. Staver said that he, the Davises and Vatican officials had agreed to not publicize the meeting until after the pope had left the United States because, he said, “we didn’t want the pope’s visit to be focused on Kim Davis.”

Mr. Staver said the idea for a meeting was first discussed on Sept. 14, more than a week before the pope’s arrival. He declined to say who proposed the meeting.

But “this was not a generic meeting in which Kim Davis happened to appear,” Mr. Staver said. The Davises snapped selfies inside the Vatican Embassy. However, he said, “out of deference and respect they didn’t want to pull out a cellphone with the pope. The Vatican had their own photographers there and we’re told the pictures will be released later.”

No photographs had been released by Wednesday evening in Rome.

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Defrocked Arctic priest enters more guilty pleas for sex abuse

CANADA
CTV

The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, September 30, 2015

IQALUIT, Nunavut — A defrocked Arctic priest already serving time for the sexual abuse of Inuit children is awaiting further sentencing on another four counts.

Eric Dejaeger will be sentenced on Oct. 22 after pleading guilty in Iqaluit Tuesday to the additional crimes, which were committed in Edmonton and include indecent assault and gross indecency.

Dejaeger lived in Edmonton from 1974 to 1978, when he was studying to be a priest.

The sixty-eight-year-old is already serving 19 years in prison for 32 sex offences against Inuit children, committed between 1978 and 1982 in the remote village of Igloolik.

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Kim Davis and Pope Francis’s Grand Strategy

UNITED STATES
New York Times

Ross Douthat

SEPTEMBER 30, 2015 September 30, 2015

It appears we have a backhanded, non-denial version of Vatican confirmation of the story that Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk briefly jailed for her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was received by Pope Francis privately during his visit to the United States. (For the story to be false, the Davises would have needed to be pathological liars and someone in Rome would need to have baldly lied to the well-sourced Robert Moynihan of Inside the Vatican, so it was already reasonable to treat the news as basically confirmed.) This is a fairly surprising bit of news; it also lends some credence to Philip Lawler’s interpretation of this pope’s approach to the American culture war, which he offered after Francis’s address in Washington last week:

Pope Francis challenged Americans of both liberal and conservative political sympathies in his historic address to Congress on September 24. But his objections to conservative stands were clear and direct, while his criticism of liberals subtle and oblique. Why?

… Is it because he knows that the American defenders of life and of marriage really are in sympathy with the Catholic Church, whereas proponents of abortion and homosexuality are fundamentally hostile? Because he knows that he must first establish some common ground with liberal secularists (including some who masquerade as Catholics) before he can expect any positive response? Because he realizes that he can encourage pro-lifers indirectly, and the message will come through loud and clear? Maybe the Pope is reaching out to the lost sheep, confident that the others will await his return.

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Rev. John Bocciarelli Former pastor at St. Anthony; 77

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Globe

[City Edition]

Boston Globe – Boston, Mass.
Date: May 5, 1998
Start Page: A.31
Section: OBITUARIES

Document Text
A memorial Mass will be said today for the Rev. John Bocciarelli, former pastor of St. Anthony Church in Somerville, who died April 19 in Arco, Italy. He was 77.

Father Bocciarelli was born in Piacenza, Italy, and was ordained in 1945. Two years later, he came to the United States, and was associate pastor of Holy Ghost Church in Providence for five years. He then was associate pastor of St. Anthony Church in Somerville before becoming its pastor from 1960 to 1970. He was treasurer of the Scalabrini Provincial House in New York City from 1970 to 1973 before becoming pastor of Holy Ghost Church in Providence for 11 years. He then returned to St. Anthony’s, where he was associate pastor for several years prior to returning to Italy in 1995.

He leaves a sister, Caterina Sordi; and three brothers, the Rev. Luigi, Lino, and Allesandro, all of Piacenza, Italy.

The memorial Mass will be said at 7 p.m. in St. Anthony Church in Somerville. An additional memorial Mass will be said May 31 at 10:30 a.m. in St. Anthony Church.

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How Pope Francis Undermined the Goodwill of His Trip and Proved to Be a Coward

UNITED STATES
Huffington Post

Michelangelo Signorile

After first refusing to confirm nor deny it, the Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis met with the Kentucky clerk Kim Davis at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, where Davis’ attorney — who made the news public after the pope’s trip ended — said Francis told her to “stay strong.” And that simple encounter completely undermines all the goodwill the pope created in downplaying “the gay issue” on his U.S. trip.

The pope played us for fools, trying to have it both ways. As I noted last week, he’s an artful politician, telling different audiences what they want to hear on homosexuality. He did that in Argentina as a cardinal — railing against gay marriage when the Vatican expected him to do so — and he’s done that since becoming pope, striking a softer tone on the issue after Benedict’s harsh denunciations were a p.r. disaster for the Catholic Church in the West. But this news about Kim Davis portrays him as a more sinister kind of politician. That’s the kind that secretly supports hate, ushering the bigots in the back door — knowing they’re an embarrassment — while speaking publicly about about how none of us can judge one another.

I would have more respect for the pope if he had publicly embraced Kim Davis and made an argument for her, as he did in his visit with the Little Sisters of the Poor, who are battling against filling out a form to exempt themselves from Obamacare’s contraception requirement, claiming that even filling out the form violates their religious liberty — even though I vehemently disagree with the pope on that issue. I’d have more respect if he boldly, explicitly made a public statement (not the vague, general statement he made on his plane on the way home only in response to a reporter’s question about Davis), as he did in trying to stop the execution of a Georgia inmate who was put to death this morning. But by meeting with Davis secretly, and then at first having the Vatican neither confirm nor deny the encounter — and now having the Vatican say it “won’t deny” the meeting while it still won’t offer any other details — the pope comes off as a coward.

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Churches could lose millions in tax breaks under radical national faith register plan

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

SHANNON DEERY HERALD SUN SEPTEMBER 30, 2015

CHURCHES and religious organisations would lose millions of dollars in tax breaks, concessions and hand outs under a radical plan to force priests, rabbis and imams to sign up to a national faith register.

Under the bold proposal clergy would for the first time be forced to undergo government-specified training and security checks and would be monitored by a national body, or risk losing government funding.

Former premier Ted Baillieu has backed the plan that has been put to federal and state leaders including the Prime Minister’s office, and Premier Daniel Andrews.

It is understood a number of high-profile politicians have also privately backed the proposed reforms saying ministers of religion should be subject to more stringent compliance.

The proposals have been tendered to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse amid concerns about the lack of scrutiny of some religious institutions.

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MN–Archbishop to hold “town hall” meeting; SNAP responds

MINNESOTA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015

Statement by Frank Meuers of Plymouth MN, SNAP director Southern Minnesota (952-334-5180, frankameuers@gmail.com)

The temporary head of the Twin Cities archdiocese is holding a meeting to talk about a permanent head of the archdiocese. In our view, the top priority is finding an archbishop who hasn’t and isn’t hiding child sex crimes. That will be tough.

[The Catholic Spirit]

Listening to people is easy. Acting on what you hear is tougher. Tougher still is finding a new archbishop who has acted with courage and compassion in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases. But we hope this will happen.

Regardless of who takes the reins of this archdiocese, it’s important that Catholics realize that this is a long-standing, deeply-rooted crisis in which most clerics are guilty of ignoring or concealing known or suspected child sex crimes. So no new archbishop will be fully “clean.”

And no new archbishop, by himself, can quickly reverse decades of recklessness, callousness and deceit. It’s up to every single church employee and member to be vigilant and to report any information or suspicions about possible child abuse to secular authorities. It’s up to every single church employee and member to aggressively seek out anyone who may have been abused and urge them to get help from independent sources.

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The Church Sex Abuse Scandal

UNITED STATES
WJLA

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30TH 2015

On the last day of his visit to the U.S., Pope Francis met with victims of the church sex abuse scandal. David Lorenz of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) joined us today with his take on the Pope’s response to the scandal.

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What it means that Pope Francis met Kim Davis

ROME
Crux

By John L. Allen Jr.
Associate editor September 30, 2015

ROME – If anyone suspected that Pope Francis didn’t really mean the strong words he spoke on religious freedom last week in the United States – that he was phoning it in, while his real concerns were elsewhere – claims that he held a private meeting with Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis certainly should lay that suspicion to rest.

The meeting was first reported by Robert Moynihan of Inside the Vatican magazine. A Vatican spokesman said Wednesday, “I do not deny that the meeting took place, but I have no comments to add,” which, in effect, is a way of allowing the report to stand.

Taken together with his unscheduled stop to see the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Davis encounter means Francis has expressed personal support to leading symbols of the two most contentious fronts in America’s religious freedom debates – the contraception mandates imposed by the Obama administration, and conscientious objection on gay marriage.

Before unpacking what it means, let’s roll out the necessary caveats.

First of all, the fact that someone arranged a brief encounter between Francis and Davis does not necessarily mean that Francis initiated the contact, or even that he necessarily grasps all the dimensions of her case. By her own account it was an extremely brief greeting, just long enough for the pope to tell Davis to “stay strong” and to give her a rosary. Asking for prayers and offering a blessed rosary to individuals following a meeting is a customary gesture for Pope Francis.

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POPE’S UNSCHEDULED MEETINGS TELL ALL

UNITED STATES
Catholic League

Bill Donohue comments on two unscheduled meetings by Pope Francis when he came to the United States:

The pope made several impromptu stops and visits while in the United States: he hugged disabled children on the street; he visited orphanages; and he stopped by St. Joseph’s University. But beyond these pastoral gestures, he made two very important cultural statements: he visited the Little Sisters of the Poor and he greeted Kim Davis.

The Little Sisters of the Poor are suing the Obama administration for forcing them to sanction the distribution of abortion-inducing drugs in their health care plan. The pope’s visit was a clear rebuke of the heavy-handed tactics of the administration’s HHS mandate. Indeed, he encouraged the brave sisters to stand fast.

Now we have learned that the pope met privately with Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused, on religious grounds, to issue a marriage license to a gay couple. “Thank you for your courage. Stay strong.” These words by the pope need no interpretation. Moreover, his invocation of conscience rights as a fundamental human right can only be read as a statement against the Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage.

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Vatican Confirms Pope’s Secret Meeting with Kim Davis, Moynihan’s Site Comes Back Online.

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

William D. Lindsey

Laurie Goodstein @lauriegnyt
Vatican confirms meeting: spokesman Rev Lombardi says he doesn’t deny Pope and Davis met but won’t add more. Via @EPovoledo @nytimes

Robert Moynihan’s Inside the Vatican report on Pope Francis’s secret meeting with Kim Davis has just now come back up (I reported earlier today that it had been down previously), right after Laurie Goodstein sent out the tweet above.

My thanks to Jamie Manson for sharing information about Laurie Goodstein’s tweet on Facebook.

If you’re like me, LGBT Catholic folks and people who care about LGBT human beings, now’s the time to give up on the Catholic church. I will never listen with respect to another word this pope says.

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Kim Davis, Kentucky County Clerk, Met Pope Francis

UNITED STATES/VATICAN CITY
New York Times

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
SEPT. 30, 2015

Pope Francis met privately in Washington last week with Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who defied a court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a Vatican spokesman confirmed on Wednesday.

Ms. Davis, the Rowan County clerk, has been at the center of a nationwide controversy over whether government employees and private businesses have a legal right to refuse to serve same-sex couples. She spent five days in jail for disobeying a federal court order to issue the licenses.

On Tuesday night, her lawyer, Mathew D. Staver, said in a telephone interview that Ms. Davis and her husband, Joe, were sneaked into the Vatican Embassy by car on Thursday afternoon. Francis gave her rosaries and told her to “stay strong,” the lawyer said. The couple met for about 15 minutes with the pope, who was accompanied by security, aides and photographers. Mr. Staver said he expected to receive photographs of the meeting from the Vatican soon.

On Wednesday, the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, confirmed the meeting, but he declined to elaborate. “I do not deny that the meeting took place, but I have no other comments to add,” he said.

Mr. Staver said that Vatican officials had been aware of Ms. Davis, and that the meeting had been arranged through them — not through bishops or the bishops’ conference in the United States. He would not identify the Vatican officials.

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Gelzinis: O’Malley still basking in afterglow of papal visit

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Herald

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

By: Peter Gelzinis

Cardinal Sean O’Malley looked none the worse for wear at Logan International Airport yesterday after spending the last 10 days following Pope Francis from Cuba to Washington, D.C., then on to New York and Philadelphia before accompanying the pontiff back to Rome.

On the contrary, O’Malley looked invigorated. For almost two weeks, he’d been at the side of a man who stopped this country in its tracks with his humility, grace and insight.

“Pope Francis calls us to be better versions of ourselves,” O’Malley said. He said Francis left us with an image of the church “not as a museum, or a concert hall, but rather as a field hospital … a living, vibrant institution that embodies the spirit of mercy.”

It’s no wonder O’Malley, who sold off the granite palace on Lake Street and opted to reside in a small apartment in the South End, would find a kindred spirit in Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who rode the subway in his native Buenos Aires, and promptly gave up the red shoes and lavish Vatican Suite when he became pope.

O’Malley said Americans instinctively reacted to the essential goodness of a man whose presence “seemed to cut through the noise and speak to a sense of community and dialogue.”

Though the pope’s meeting with victims of sex abuse on Sunday was an effort to cut through that noise, there still came a question about Cardinal Bernard Law and what, if anything the pope might do. After noting the pope had removed three bishops recently, O’Malley suggested Law’s exile from Boston was in itself a step toward healing.

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Editorial: Pope Francis, pray for us

NEW MEXICO
Gallup Independent

Published in the Gallup Independent, Sept. 26, 2015

By now, many people have seen the photo of Gallup Bishop James S. Wall greeting Pope Francis in Washington. But after enduring more than six years of Wall’s oppressive tenure in the Diocese of Gallup, we wonder if Wall really listened to the pope’s message that day. Or was it just a photo op for Wall?

Pope Francis had a lot to say about what a good bishop should be, and certainly the Diocese of Gallup is sorely in need of a good and holy leader.

While Pope Francis encouraged his bishops to be shepherds who selflessly devote themselves to their flock, the Gallup Diocese struggles under a bishop who has — in the words of the pope — given in to “the temptation of narcissism, which blinds the eyes of the shepherd, makes his voice unrecognizable and his actions fruitless.”

Just because Wall carries a bishop’s crosier, he’s hardly a pastor — a shepherd — who responds to the needs of his sheep. He’s not a shepherd who “smells like his sheep.” Instead, Wall is notorious for ignoring his own sheep. He ignores their letters, emails, phone calls, requests to meet and even their good-hearted invitations.

When officials at St. Bonaventure Indian Mission and School were fearful Wall was going to sell their property, the mission’s director couldn’t get his own bishop to answer a letter or meet with him. The mission’s attorney had to file a complaint in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to get Wall’s attention.

It’s a sad state of affairs when Gallup’s “airport bishop” has made more trips to Europe in six years than he has to St. Bonaventure, a Catholic mission just 30 miles from Gallup that serves needy Native American families.

While Pope Francis urged his bishops to “dialogue fearlessly” with others and not to “be paralyzed by fear,” Wall is a man who hides behind his own chancery walls. He rarely talks to anyone outside his elite conservative clique, and he appears paralyzed by fear — fear of making decisions, fear of controversies, fear of people who think differently than he does. When Wall made the ill-advised decision to shut down the thriving St. John Vianney Parish in Gallup, he didn’t have the moral courage to answer questions from frustrated parishioners. Instead, the Rev. Kevin Finnegan, then the vicar general and chancellor, was forced to clean up the mess.

Pope Francis warned bishops not to “fall into hopeless decline whenever we confuse the power of strength with the strength of that powerlessness with which God has redeemed us,” Wall forgets redemption and resorts to bully power and bully strength.

Just days before Pope Francis urged Americans to welcome immigrants into their midst and days before the pope blessed a luncheon for the homeless at Catholic Charities in Washington, Wall and his attorneys and auctioneers sold the Catholic Charities immigrant aid office and soup kitchen in Farmington. A report that the buyer is going to donate the property back to the charitable organization is the only thing hopeful in this pathetic story.

While Pope Francis made some very disappointing statements about the “courage” of bishops in dealing with the clergy sex abuse crisis, his misguided compliments certainly cannot be applied to Wall. Gallup’s bishop has not made any “great sacrifice” nor has he divested “whatever is unessential in order to regain the authority and trust” in this bankrupt diocese.

Wall has valuable property that he could sell, but he won’t. Wall could sell his and other private residences in Gallup, he could sell commercial property leased to a McDonald’s restaurant, a shopping center in Gallup or a sprawling ranch in Arizona. But he is not willing to make those sacrifices. He and his attorneys hold on tight to those assets and instead put the squeeze to nonprofit organizations like St. Bonaventure Mission and Catholic Charities. When those poor decisions generate bad publicity, the diocese stonewalls the media’s questions.

And what about the bishops’ “generous commitment to bring healing to victims”? There is very little healing in the Diocese of Gallup. For six years, Wall and his army of attorneys have blocked clergy abuse survivors at every turn. They battle them in court, and they wear them down with one legal delay after another. They have rubbed salt in the survivors’ wounds.

Jesus once asked what father would give his son a stone when he asked for bread, or give him a snake when he asked for a fish. When Wall came here, he promised transparency, but gave more secrecy. He promised unity, but produced more division. He promised to be a caring pastor, but is merely a small-minded church politician.

The Diocese of Gallup needed someone Holy, but we got someone Holy inept, Holy inadequate, Holy corrupt.

So, Pope Francis, pray for us. The devil is in our midst.

In this space only does the opinion of the opinion of the Gallup Independent Editorial Board appear.

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Fire sale deals seen at diocese auction

NEW MEXICO
Gallup Independent

Published in the Gallup Independent, Gallup, N.M., Sept. 26, 2015

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

GALLUP – After selling nearly three dozen pieces of unwanted property in auctions in Phoenix and Albuquerque at fire sale prices, the Diocese of Gallup earned just about $160,660 from the endeavor.

According to reports submitted to U.S. Bankruptcy Court by diocesan attorneys, the sales total for both auctions was $225,066. Tucson Realty & Trust Co. of Arizona and Accelerated Marketing Group of California, the businesses that were hired by the diocese to promote and conduct the auctions, walked away with about $65,500. The diocese paid the companies a flat fee of $45,000 and agreed to let them collect a buyer’s premium of 10 percent on every sale.

Todd Good, the CEO and president of Accelerated Marketing Group, barred the public and the media from observing the Albuquerque auction Sept. 19. Good only allowed qualified bidders into the event, although the auctions had not been described as closed in court documents.
It is unknown if any member of the public was barred from observing the Phoenix auction Sept. 12.

Diocese fundraiser

Attorneys with Quarles & Brady LLP, the diocese’s lead bankruptcy firm, had promoted the auctions as a way to help raise funds to pay for the Gallup Diocese’s plan of reorganization. However, the property sales will only make a slight dent in the amount of money the diocese now owes a multitude of attorneys, accountants and other professionals.

The diocese’s bankruptcy costs top more than $2.7 million, according to quarterly billing statements submitted to U.S. Bankruptcy Court as of June 30. The diocese owes Quarles & Brady more than $1.5 million.

In an interview in July, George H. “Hank” Amos III, the CEO and president of Tucson Realty & Trust Co., predicted he and Good would replicate the successful auction they conducted for Quarles & Brady about a decade ago during the Diocese of Tucson’s bankruptcy.

“We sold every single one,” Amos said of the Tucson properties. “They sold their properties for more than what they appraised for.”

Amos credited those high prices to supporters of the Diocese of Tucson who wanted to help out the church, and he said he assumed the same thing would happen with the Diocese of Gallup’s auctions.

Extremely low prices

That, however, did not happen. Almost all of the Diocese of Gallup’s properties sold for far less than their actual or assessed values. The Phoenix auction, which only generated $58,960 for the sale of about a dozen properties in Arizona, saw extremely low sales prices.

The highest sales price of $26,400, which included the 10 percent buyer’s premium, was paid for three parcels being used by the Vincent de Paul Society’s Food Bank in Winslow, Arizona. The remaining properties sold at a fraction of their value, with prices ranging from $110 to $7,700.

The Albuquerque auction, which generated total sales of $166,106 for 23 New Mexico properties, included four five-figure sales prices.

The diocese’s lot on Aztec Avenue and Fourth Street in Gallup sold for $55,000, which is about half of its assessed value. A building in Farmington used by Catholic Charities sold for $44,000. The 64 parcels of land that make up La Vega Estates near San Rafael sold for $38,500, and a vacant piece of land in Farmington brought in $12,100.

All the remaining New Mexico properties sold for prices ranging from $121 to $4,400.

The Diocese of Gallup garnered negative publicity for the sales of the food bank property in Winslow and the Catholic Charities building in Farmington when Debe Betts, the director of Catholic Charities, told a Farmington reporter the diocese was selling the property out from underneath the nonprofits.

Questions about marketing

So why were the Diocese of Gallup properties sold at fire sale prices? Were the auctions poorly attended, and were they poorly advertised and promoted?

Since the public was barred from attending the Albuquerque auction, the level of attendance and bidding participation is unknown.

When Quarles & Brady attorneys requested court permission to sell the diocese’s unwanted property, they promised a “heavily marketed” campaign that would feature press releases, background kits, interviews, editorial columns, editorial board visits, radio advertising, direct and electronic mail promotions, and a telemarketing campaign.

Amos and Good were then paid $45,000 to do that work.

Susan Boswell, the diocese’s lead bankruptcy attorney, was asked if she received proof from Amos and Good that such a marketing campaign was conducted, along with questions about some apparent errors in the auction report figures. Boswell, however, declined to respond.

Attorney James Stang, legal counsel for the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors that represents the interests of clergy sex abuse claimants, also declined to comment on how effective he believed the campaign had been.

Online news reports indicate only two newspapers outside of Gallup, along with one business blogger, published any articles about the auctions.

This is in contrast to the Diocese of Gallup’s campaign to advertise its deadline for clergy abuse survivors to file claims with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. That campaign was heavily marketed and resulted in 57 claims being filed.

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Vatican Embassy Staffer Confirms: Pope Francis Met With Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Blaze

A receptionist for the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C., confirmed on Wednesday that Pope Francis met with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis during his visit to the United States last week.

While additional information about what was discussed during their meeting was not immediately available, the individual with the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See to the United States told TheBlaze that the meeting did unfold, confirming statements from Davis’ attorneys.

As TheBlaze previously reported, Liberty Counsel attorney Mat Staver told CBS News on Tuesday that Davis and the pontiff met last Thursday at the embassy.

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Vatican quiet on claim pope met with Kim Davis

VATICAN CITY
USA Today

Melanie Eversley and John Bacon, USA TODAY September 30, 2015

The Vatican on Wednesday declined to confirm or deny a claim by controversial Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis that she met with Pope Francis on Thursday during his U.S. visit.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi declined to comment on the claim. The pope was in Washington for most of Thursday, flying to New York later in the day. Davis, the clerk of courts for Rowan County, and her husband, Joe Davis, met the pope at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, lawyer Mat Staver told USA TODAY.

Davis made national news after refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, claiming it would have conflicted with her Christian beliefs. She spent five nights in jail and was allowed to return to work when she agreed not to interfere with the issuance of licenses. Davis said in a news release that she was humbled by the meeting.

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Other Pontifical Acts

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 30 September 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Francisco Carlos da Silva of Ituiutaba, Brazil as bishop of Lins (area 8,261, population 305,000, Catholics 223,000, priests 58, permanent deacons 11, religious 49), Brazil. He succeeds Bishop Irineu Danelon, S.D.B., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

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Kim Davis, Kentucky Clerk, Is Said to Have Met Pope

UNITED STATES
New York Times

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
SEPT. 30, 2015

Pope Francis met secretly in Washington last week with Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who defied a court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, her lawyer said in a telephone interview Tuesday night. Francis gave her rosaries and told her to “stay strong,” the lawyer said.

Ms. Davis and her husband, Joe, were sneaked into the Vatican Embassy by car on Thursday afternoon, according to Ms. Davis’s lawyer, Mathew D. Staver. The couple met for about 15 minutes with the pope, who was accompanied by security, aides and photographers. Mr. Staver said he expected to receive photographs of the meeting from the Vatican soon.

Ms. Davis, the Rowan County clerk, has been at the center of a nationwide controversy over whether government employees and private businesses have a legal right to refuse to serve same-sex couples. She spent five days in jail for disobeying a federal court order to issue the licenses.

Mr. Staver said that Vatican officials had been aware of Ms. Davis, and that the meeting had been arranged through them, not through bishops or the bishops’ conference in the United States. He would not identify the Vatican officials.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for the Vatican, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, said he could neither confirm nor deny the account by Ms. Davis’s lawyer.

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Pope secretly met Kentucky clerk over gay marriage licenses

UNITED STATES
Reuters

LOS ANGELES/VATICAN CITY | BY ALEX DOBUZINSKIS AND PHILIP PULLELLA

Pope Francis secretly met a Kentucky county clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples and gave her words of encouragement, her attorney said.

Mat Staver, attorney and founder of the Liberty Counsel, told CBS News on Tuesday night that the pope met Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis and her husband at the Vatican embassy in Washington last Thursday during his visit to the United States.

Vatican chief spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said he would neither confirm nor deny the report and that there would be no further statement. This was unusual for the Vatican, which normally issues either denials or confirmations.

The report of the meeting came after Francis largely avoided the contentious issue of same-sex marriage during his historic visit to the United States, where he addressed Congress, met with the homeless and urged the country to welcome immigrants.

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Pope Francis Met with Kim Davis and Wrapped His Protective Mantle Around Her?! As Those Reporting This to Me Say, Absolutely Disgusting if True

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

William D. Lindsey

When I told you yesterday that I’d be very surprised if Pope Francis did not have direct knowledge of Kim Davis’s case, little did I know I’d wake up to an email inbox full of messages sending me articles which are now reporting that the pope met secretly with Kim Davis on his U.S. visit. Laurie Goodstein is reporting about the meeting at today’s New York Times, for instance. As she notes, the report that Pope Francis had a secret meeting with Kim Davis comes from Vatican reporter Robert Moynihan at his Inside the Vatican site. That site is returning an error message as I write this posting, but one of the email friends who sent me information about this story early today has sent me a copy of Moynihan’s report.

It says that Kim Davis’s parents are Catholics (something I had not yet seen reported elsewhere), that the pope met with her and her husband and gave them each a rosary, which they intend to give to her parents. Moynihan’s report also says the pope told Kim Davis to stay strong. Moynihan interprets this meeting as the pope wrapping his “protective mantle” around Kim Davis.

Laurie Goodstein reports that a spokesman for the Vatican, Rev. Ciro Benedettini, has said he will not either confirm or deny whether such a meeting occurred. According to Alex Dobuzinskis and Philip Pullella at Reuters, the Vatican spokesman was Father Federico Lombardi.

The Reuters report says that Kim Davis’s attorney Mat Staver of the anti-gay hate group Liberty Counsel told CBS News about the meeting last evening. The involvement of Staver in this report introduces an unfortunate wrinkle in this story, since he has just been proven to have been involved in shopping around a whopping lie about a prayer rally in support of Kim Davis that he claimed had taken place in Peru recently — and which did not take place. Zack Ford summarizes that story at Think Progress.

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Nunavut pedophile priest convicted on four more sex charges

CANADA
Nunatsiaq Online

THOMAS ROHNER

Defrocked and disgraced, ex-priest and convicted pedophile Eric Dejaeger pleaded guilty to four more charges involving sex crimes against children Sept. 29 during an appearance before Justice Sue Cooper at the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit.

The four charges relate to incidents involving three children in the Edmonton area, between 1974 and 1978, when Dejaeger attended the Newman Theological College at the University of Alberta.

Earlier this year, Justice Robert Kilpatrick convicted Dejaeger on 32 charges, most of which were sex crimes against Inuit children, committed while Dejaeger served as the Catholic parish priest in Igloolik from 1976 to 1982.

For those charges, Kilpatrick sentenced the ex-priest, who has been in custody since January 2011, to eleven years in prison.

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Abuse allegations inquiry is finally to start after 15 years

SCOTLAND
The National

SEPTEMBER 30TH, 2015 KATHLEEN NUTT

ONE of the most long-awaited public inquiries to be held in Scotland is due to get under way tomorrow.

The statutory inquiry into historical abuse of children in care will be headed by leading QC Susan O’Brien and is expected to last four years before reporting back to Cabinet Secretary for Education Angela Constance.

It will investigate the abuse of children in formal institutional care including by religious orders, as well as council-run children’s homes and secure care.

It will also extend to those in foster care, long-term hospital care and boarding schools.

The inquiry, announced in December, will have the power to compel witnesses to attend and give evidence, and Constance previously pledged that where crimes are uncovered the “full force of the law’’ would be used to bring those responsible to justice.

It comes after 15 years of relentless campaigning by victims of child abuse in orphanages stretching back decades and follows a pledge by the SNP in opposition that they would hold one when they took power.

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Local Catholics bring home lessons from Pope’s visit; critics call for more action

MISSOURI
St. Louis Public Radio

By STEPHANIE LECCI

As St. Louisans who traveled to see Pope Francis during his U.S. visit in Philadelphia last weekend return home, some said they were “awestruck” by an experience they described as “thrilling.”

But not everyone was pleased with the Pontiff’s words, particularly around the issue of clergy sex abuse.

For many who took the journey, being among the millions of faithful and other observers was a highlight of the trip. De Smet Jesuit High School theology teacher Tim Wilmes said the Pope’s joy was “infectious” among the crowd at the World Meeting of Families.

“Saturday was a really emotional day for all of us, the perfect culmination of him expressing that joy back, talking about how important families are and that sense of community,” he said. “It was so nice because we had felt that on Thursday and Friday.”

Junior Michael Arens said going to the conference on families was important to him because he had hoped to pray for his family, and in particular, an aunt who recently had surgery, in the Pontiff’s presence. He not only felt his faith deepened by seeing the Pope, but also from the speakers at the conference, who challenged him to express love and mercy in his everyday life. …

Other observers took issue with some of the comments the Pope did make. Von Stamwitz said the Pontiff made a misstep in his comments early in his U.S. visit in which he praised American bishops for their “courage” in dealing with the clergy sex abuse scandal.

Von Stamwitz said the Pontiff later added lines “at the last minute” to a later speech in “which he spoke more forcefully to the ugliness of the abuse that’s happened.”

“He seemed very genuine when he said, ‘My heart breaks and weeps when I think of what has happened,’ and he specifically said this has been allowed to happen by prelates, priests and bishops,” she said. “I think he corrected himself there, and I like that about this pope. I think he makes some mistakes but he’s willing to learn, willing to listen and willing to change and speak more forcibly when he’s made a mistake or omitted to say something important.”

But for others, that correction was not enough. Father James Connell, a retired priest from Milwaukee who is part of the Catholic Whistleblowers group that advocates for victims and reform in the Church, said the Pope’s initial words were very upsetting.

“It was surprising to me that he would speak that way,” Connell said. “It was as if he had no understanding at all of the extent to which the bishops have been part of the problem, the way they have not dealt with removing abusive priests, not warning about abusive priests, the whole history that’s been there for years, and it was just oblivious to it.”

That said, Connell praised Pope Francis for his later comments and his meeting with victims. But Connell said he needs to see more action.

“Words have been said before by a lot of church leaders and the actions have been more limited,” he said. He said while the Pope established a Vatican tribunal to hear cases of bishops accused of covering up cases of abuse, it has not yet been set up. He also added that his group has submitted two cases against former St. Louis archbishops Cardinals Justin Rigali and Raymond Burke to the tribunal, but has not yet gotten a response.

“So this Pope has spoken strongly about a tribunal to hold bishops accountable; we’ve responded to what the Pope has brought forward,” Connell said. “This is the direction he’s going, but now he needs to do it. He needs to actually put that together, he needs to announce how it’s operating, and cases need to be sent to the attention of that group and we need to see some real action. So we’re still short on action and that needs to be done, and maybe we’re headed that way, we can hope and pray.”

That call to action was seconded by St. Louisan David Clohessy, who is the director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). He said the Pope erred in referring to the clergy sex abuse scandal as a “past tense problem” and “missed a real opportunity to prod American bishops to do more or in fact to mandate that they do more.”

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‘I still lover her,’ Ariel Stevenson, Church youth pastor wife indicted on statutory rape

TENNESSEE
Scallywag & Vagabond

SEPTEMBER 30, 2015 BY CHRISTOPHER KOULOURIS

The husband of Ariel Stevenson, 25 of Franklin, Tennessee has told he is standing by his wife after the Church pastor’s wife was arrested after starting a carnal relationship with an underage 17 year old boy she met at church.

The disclosure comes after Jeremy Stevenson’s wife was charged with statutory rape and sexual exploitation of a minor.

Reports franklinhomepage: The indictment states that Ariel Stevenson, 25, had carnal relations with the minor, a violation of Tennessee Code and a class E felony.

It also states that Ariel Stevenson intentionally by means of electronic communication, electronic mail or Internet service including webcam communications caused the minor to engage in simulated activity, a class B felony.

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Clearing the record

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

A caption Tuesday with a photo of a demonstration at the offices of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia by the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests incorrectly identified Marci Hamilton. She is a lawyer and is not a member of SNAP.

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Papal visit ‘could spark a backlash’ from abuse victims

IRELAND
Irish Independent

Sarah MacDonald
PUBLISHED
30/09/2015

A Papal visit by Pope Francis to Ireland could spark angry protests by survivors of clerical sexual abuse.

Marie Kane met the Pontiff last year in the Vatican and told him about her abuse at the hands of a Dublin cleric.

The 44-year-old mother of two told the Irish Independent that she personally would welcome a visit by the Pope but “my view does not represent all survivors and there are a lot of really angry people. There could be a backlash”.

For her, a papal trip would be “a gesture of openness”.

“It would demonstrate a willingness to confront the demons of the Church’s past,” she said.

The Carlow-based counsellor said a big gesture of solidarity and repentance towards a large group of survivors was needed if trust is to be rebuilt, adding: “It could be an opportunity for him to meet other survivors and give him an opportunity to translate his words into action.”

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Pope Francis’s sex abuse words ‘hold weight’

UNITED STATES
The Intelligencer

By Gema Maria Duarte, STAFF WRITER

Among American Catholics, the clergy sex abuse scandal is the major issue facing the church. So when Pope Francis addressed the issue Sunday during his visit to Philadelphia, many were satisfied the church is moving in the right direction.

“His words hold weight, indeed an extra weight seeing that they come directly from him,” said the Rev. Thomas Dailey, director of the Salesian Center for Faith & Culture at DeSales University in Lehigh County.

After meeting with five abuse victims Sunday, the pontiff said all victims are precious children of God who should always expect the church’s protection, care and love. Francis said he was profoundly sorry that their innocence was violated by those they trusted.

“In all circumstances, the betrayal was a terrible violation of human dignity,” he said.

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US bishops echo Pope’s words on sex abuse, accountability

UNITED STATES
Catholic News Agency

By Michelle Bauman

Philadelphia, Pa., Sep 30, 2015 / 12:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Two committee heads of the U.S. bishops’ conference voiced support for Pope Francis’ statement rejecting the sexual abuse of minors and promising accountability for those guilty of crimes against children.

“I was so happy that our Holy Father was very clear with his message today,” said Bishop Edward J. Burns of Juneau, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ committee on child and youth protection.

Speaking to CNA Sept. 27, he described the Holy Father’s words to an international gathering of bishops at the Philadelphia seminary earlier that day.

Pope Francis entered the room and set aside his prepared remarks, the bishop said. “He spoke to all the bishops heart-to-heart, and you could tell that he had a passion about him.”

“And in speaking within that passion, he was very clear and he was very strong in that anyone who participates in any of the crimes of sexual abuse will be held to accountability. And he also reached out to the victims with compassion, with tenderness and care. Because our very first response is to do all that we can to bring forth healing.”

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Lawyers for Kim Davis say she met privately with Pope Francis

KENTUCKY
WDRB

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The lawyers for Kim Davis say the Rowan County Clerk had a private meeting with Pope Francis last week in Washington, D.C.

Liberty Counsel says Davis met with the Pope at the Vatican Embassy on Thursday along with her husband, Joe.

In a press release, Liberty Counsel offers minimal details into how the meeting was set up and what was discussed:

During the meeting Pope Francis said, “Thank you for your courage.” Pope Francis also told Kim Davis, “Stay strong. He held out his hands and asked Kim to pray for him. Kim held his hands and said, “I will. Please pray for me,” and the Pope said he would. The two embraced. The Pontiff presented Kim and Joe Davis each with a Rosary that he personally blessed.

Pope Francis spoke little on the gay marriage issue while in the United States, but did offer one opinion when speaking with reporters on the papal plane Monday after leaving Philadelphia.

He spoke of “conscientious objection,” but never directly referred to Davis.

“I can’t have in mind all the cases that can exist about conscientious objection … but yes, I can say that conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right,” Pope Francis said to reporters. “It is a right. And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right.”

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New Child Protection Office Part of Archdiocese of Sydney Review

AUSTRALIA
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
30 Sep 2015

The Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP has announced a new child protection office as part of a widespread Archdiocesan review.

On becoming Archbishop of Sydney last November, Archbishop Fisher said the safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults would be a priority for him.

He called for a review of practices and policies, regarding among other matters, child protection.

The new child protection office will be known as the Safeguarding and Ministerial Integrity Office. Together with the Vicar General of the Archdiocese the new Office will work to achieve best practice when dealing with child protection, education, training, working with parishes and responding pastorally to survivors of abuse.

The Office will also work closely with government statutory bodies including the NSW Ombudsman and the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian.

Ms Karen Larkman who has more than 25 years experience in child protection, family services and operating procedures, complaint investigation, early intervention programs and government liaison internationally and here in Australia has been appointed Director of the new Office.

She has worked in the United Kingdom in the area of child protection and also for the British Forces in Cyprus. More recently Ms Larkman was General Manager, Families and Communities and the Designated Child Protection Officer for CatholicCare working closely with the NSW Ombudsman. She also led a working party for a Royal Commission case study into abuse in Out-of-Home Care.

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Church to fight child abuse in Sydney

AUSTRALIA
IOL

September 30 2015

Sydney – The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney announced on Wednesday a new office to coordinate with child protection authorities to help survivors of abuse.

The church is under an ongoing and intensive investigation by a Royal Commission in Australia which has uncovered extensive and historical child abuse by Catholic Church officials, both male and female, across Australia.

The Sydney arm of the Catholic church announced the creation of a Safeguarding and Ministerial Integrity Office following a widespread Archdiocesan review undertaken in the wake of the Royal Commission into child sexual and physical abuse.

It was widely reported that the new unit will work with government bodies, including the New South Wales (NSW) Ombudsman and the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian.

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Pope Francis Met Secretly With Kim Davis During U.S. Trip

WASHINGTON (DC)
Seasons of Grace

September 29, 2015 by Kathy Schiffer

Pope Francis smilingPope watchers are still reviewing and analyzing the talks which Pope Francis delivered while in the U.S.–his presentation at the White House, before the Congress, to prisoners, to the victims of sexual abuse and their families, to the Bishops, to attendees at the World Meeting of Families.

But news of the most interesting meeting of all has just come to light: Apparently, Pope Francis met secretly with Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Robert Moynihan broke the story in Inside the Vatican, after getting confirmation from Vatican sources and Kim Davis’ attorney. Ryan Fitzgerald, a staffer at Michael Voris’ Church Militant apostolate, also published the report.

According to Inside the Vatican:

It was, arguably, the most significant meeting, symbolically, of the entire trip.

It should, therefore, be brought to the attention of the public, both in the Church, and in the secular world.

That the meeting occurred may, perhaps, spark controversy. This is evidently why it was kept secret. The Vatican evidently feared the “politicization” of a “pastoral trip” which clearly wished to emphasize the encounter with Jesus Christ, with the poor, with the faithful, with the handicapped, with children, and with all Americans of whatever background.

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The Secret Meeting of the Papal Trip

WASHINGTON (DC)
Inside the Vatican

Robert Moynihan

The Secret Meeting of the Papal Trip

Washington, D.C., September 29, 2015 — One meeting during Pope Francis’ whirlwind trip to America has remained secret.

Until now.

It was, arguably, the most significant meeting, symbolically, of the entire trip.

It should, therefore, be brought to the attention of the public, both in the Church, and in the secular world.

That the meeting occurred may, perhaps, spark controversy. This is evidently why it was kept secret. The Vatican evidently feared the “politicization” of a “pastoral trip” which clearly wished to emphasize the encounter with Jesus Christ, with the poor, with the faithful, with the handicapped, with children, and with all Americans of whatever background.

But there was also, evidently, a desire to meet with a person who has taken a controversial stand out of conscience.

The meeting is a fact, and facts are the material of which reality is composed, and human beings, though they cannot, as T.S. Eliot said, bear very much reality, strive nevertheless to live in reality. And reality cannot be understood without knowledge of the facts. Of what really happened.

(Here is a picture of Pope Francis on Sunday evening, September 27, on the airplane during his airplane press conference, after leaving the United States)

On Thursday, September 24, in the afternoon after his historic address to Congress, just a few minutes before flying to New York City, Pope Francis received, spoke with, and embraced Kim Davis — the Kentucky County Clerk who was jailed in early September for refusing to sign the marriage licenses of homosexual couples who wished to have their civil marriages certified by the state of Kentucky.

Also present was Kim’s husband, Joe Davis.

Kim and her husband had come to Washington for another purpose — Kim was to receive a “Cost of Discipleship” award on Friday, September 25, from The Family Research Council at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

“Thank you for your courage”

Pope Francis entered the room.

Kim greeted him, and the two embraced.

There is no recording of this conversation, or photographs, as far as I know. But “there is not any thing secret that shall not be made manifest, nor hidden, that shall not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17)

Kim Davis gave me this account of the meeting shortly after it took place.

“The Pope spoke in English,” she told me. “There was no interpreter. ‘Thank you for your courage,’ Pope Francis said to me. I said, ‘Thank you, Holy Father.’ I had asked a monsignor earlier what was the proper way to greet the Pope, and whether it would be appropriate for me to embrace him, and I had been told it would be okay to hug him. So I hugged him, and he hugged me back. It was an extraordinary moment. ‘Stay strong,’ he said to me. Then he gave me a rosary as a gift, and he gave one also to my husband, Joe. I broke into tears. I was deeply moved.

“Then he said to me, ‘Please pray for me.’ And I said to him, ‘Please pray for me also, Holy Father.’ And he assured me that he would pray for me.”

Joe told Kim that he would give his rosary to her mother, who is a Catholic. And Kim then said that she would give her rosary to her father, who is also a Catholic.

Vatican sources have confirmed to me that this meeting did occur; the occurrence of this meeting is not in doubt.

Those who have seen the images of the film of the Pope answering the questions of the journalists on the airplane, on the matter of individual conscience, his determination and passion, are persuaded that he had in mind not a theoretical issue of conscience, but a specific person, someone he had met and embraced — someone whose burden, as a loving pastor, he had taken on his own shoulders.

He was thinking of this person when he answered those questions.

Why Did the Pope Meet Kim?

What was the purpose of this meeting?

Pope Francis met with Kim, embraced her, encouraged her, and, on the papal airplane, when asked the question cited at the outset, he stated, very strongly, that “conscientious objection” is “a human right.”

It is not surprising that the Holy Father met Kim Davis. The Holy Father is considered by many to be the father of all Christians, and is a man of compassion, a man ready to listen to and to comfort all who have suffered for their faith.

It was the Holy Father’s explicit request to visit a prison in Philadelphia, and he took the time to speak with each of the 100 prisoners he met on that occasion.

This is the attitude that prompted the Holy Father to receive Kim, who had been in jail.

And her response, from the very first moment of the meeting, showing great affection toward the Holy Father, showed that she responded to this desire of his to comfort her.

The meeting with the Holy Father was a moment of consolation for Kim.

It strengthened her conviction, she told me, to obey the law of God, before the law of man.

It is the teaching of the Catholic Church that, when the human law contradicts the natural law, it is not a valid law.

This encounter between Pope Francis and Kim Davis takes on new importance since the ACLU (the American Civil Liberties Union) has asked that Kim be held in contempt of court.

This means that, should the judge agree with the ACLU, Kim could again in coming days be ordered to be held in prison.

In this sense, the Pope on September 24 clearly “wrapped his protective mantle” around Kim Davis, discreetly, in private, in a way completely hidden from the world, but in a way that was deeply moving for her personally, as a person of conscience.

(to be continued)

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Bishop Christopher Coyne Discusses Pope Francis’ U.S. Visit

MASSACHUSETTS
WBUR

By LISA MULLINS and LYNN JOLICOEUR

BOSTON With Pope Francis back home at the Vatican, people here in the U.S. are reflecting on the messages he shared during his five-day trip to Washington, New York and Philadelphia.

We spoke with Bishop Christopher Coyne, of Burlington, Vermont. He’s the incoming chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Communications Committee, and he coordinated media coverage of the pope’s visit to the U.S. We asked Bishop Coyne for his thoughts on the pope waiting until the end of his visit to address clergy sexual abuse survivors.

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Childhood Stress May Prime Pump For Chronic Disease Later

UNITED STATES
NPR

ALLISON AUBREY

We might not be able to remember every stressful episode of our childhood.

But the emotional upheaval we experience as kids — whether it’s the loss of a loved one, the chronic stress of economic insecurity, or social interactions that leave us tearful or anxious — may have a lifelong impact on our health.

In fact, a study published this week in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology indicates that emotional distress during childhood — even in the absence of high stress during adult years — can increase the risk of developing heart disease and metabolic disorders such as diabetes in adulthood.

“We know that the childhood period is really important for setting up trajectories of health and well-being,” explains Ashley Winning, an author of the study and postdoctoral research fellow in social and behavioral sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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Papal Visit Wrap-Up, Or Unwrapping Media Spin Along with Women, Abuse Survivors, and LGBT Catholics

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

William D. Lindsey

Not a wrap-up of the papal visit, but an attempt to unwrap the neatly wrapped package that has just been delivered to us vis the media (i.e., via the self-appointed official mediators of reality for the rest of us) in the visit of Pope Francis to the U.S.:

Heidi Schlumpf reminding us to pay attention just who those mediators are:

And most commentators were ordained, or at least men. It would be interesting to analyze the tens of thousands of news article and clips produced throughout the weeklong trip. I have not completed such a comprehensive study, but my initial impression is that the coverage–and definitely the commentary–was male dominated. Part of this imbalance stems from the tendency of media to rely on “experts,” who in the case of this story are assumed to be clergy. For example, I thought Charlie Rose could have done better than two priests and two laymen for his in-depth discussion of the pope’s visit.

What was it I was saying only yesterday about the imperative need to challenge the dead hand of control of the centrist gatekeepers of the Catholic media, in particular, where a mostly heterosexual, mostly white old boys’ network that is shamelessly unapologetic about its unmerited privilege continues to claim the right to mediate news about God, the church, the pope to the rest of us?

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Chris Marshall: Child abuse enquiry set to commence

SCOTLAND
Scotsman

AT LAST, the historical child abuse inquiry is about to start, writes Chris Marshall

FOR decades, survivors of historical child abuse have fought for a day many of them feared might never come. A day when they believe someone will be made accountable for the horrors visited on them by individuals and institutions who have so far avoided being brought to justice.

Many of the survivors are in now in old age, others have died, while some – frustrated at the lack of progress – have taken their own lives.

Finally, however, their day is coming. Scotland’s public inquiry into historical abuse begins tomorrow and the weight of expectation is huge.

The process will not be easy, neither will it be quick; the inquiry is expected to last five years.

Indeed, many of the more elderly survivors are likely to have passed away before the inquiry concludes.

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Cardinal O’Malley: Pope Francis Is ‘Taking Steps To Move Us In The Right Direction’ On Sex Abuse

MASSACHUSETTS
WBUR

By FRED THYS

BOSTON Cardinal Sean O’Malley, speaking during a rare press conference Tuesday, said for him one of the highlights of Pope Francis’ trip to the U.S. came in Philadelphia, when he met with victims of sexual abuse by priests.

“The Holy Father in that meeting once again recommitted himself to the task of child protection in the church,” O’Malley told reporters at Logan Airport Tuesday as he returned from Philadelphia, where he had accompanied Pope Francis. “And I know that many people are angry and disappointed and skeptical, but I think the Holy Father is taking steps to move us in the right direction.”

O’Malley said the commission which he leads — the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors — is trying to help bishops around the world develop programs that deal with sexual abuse of children effectively.

“And I’ve been invited to address the bishops in Central America in a month or so,” he said.

The cardinal said the pope is committed to a “massive” process of educating bishops, and removing them when necessary.

“Three bishops have been removed in the last six months in the United States,” O’Malley pointed out.

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Cardinal O’Malley returns from visit with pope

MASSACHUSETTS
WHDH

BOSTON (WHDH) –
Cardinal Sean O’Malley returned to Boston Tuesday after accompanying Pope Francis on his visit to Cuba and Philadelphia.

At Logan Airport, O’Malley reflected on his visit, describing it as “exhausting” trying to keep up with everything the pope was doing.

“It’s exhausting trying to keep up with him,” said O’Malley. He said the pope was also exhausted on his trip, but still managed to exude “serenity and peace.”

O’Malley also spoke about the pope meeting with abuse victims, including victims of the Catholic church’s sex abuse scandal. O’Malley said the pope is committed to helping those affected.

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Pope, Cardinal O’Malley Share ‘Emotional Moment’ With Sex Abuse Victims

MASSACHUSETTS
CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) – Cardinal Sean O’Malley is back in Boston after accompanying Pope Francis on parts of his United States trip. O’Malley says Pope Francis is both energizing and exhausting.

“The Holy Father, despite at times being so exhausted, always exudes a certain serenity and peace. He never seems rushed about things,” the cardinal explains. “He was always happy to spend time with people and individuals, and it was a great privilege to be a fly on the wall as it were.”

O’Malley says his most meaningful moment occurred when Pope Francis met with victims of clergy sex abuse.

“The meeting with the victims and their families was a very moving and emotional moment and I think in many ways embodied that spirit of mercy that the Holy Father wants to bring to the life of the church,” he recalls.

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Pope sends painfully mixed signals to abuse victims

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Mary Gail Frawley-O’Dea | Sep. 29, 2015

ANALYSIS
Let’s face it. We all are sick unto death of the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic church. Why can’t we let good Pope Francis have his U.S. visit and just focus on all the incredibly moving moments of compassion, mercy, humility and great importance? Climate change, immigration, capitalism, the poor, the homeless, the imprisoned — for Peter’s sake, John Boehner resigned the day after meeting the pope, apparently deciding his soul was more valuable than his power. So, Francis wasn’t perfect when it came to sexual abuse — he came through in the 59th minute of the 11th hour of his visit, yes?

I get it. I get the deep desire to love this pope unconditionally and just for once in the 14 years since the sexual abuse scandal exploded to stop making such a colossal big deal of the whole topic. I mean, it isn’t even a crisis anymore, right?

But, let’s shrug off the “Francis effect” for a just a minute. Let’s look at the pope’s visit from two perspectives — the victims’ and the factual. Let’s give credit where credit is due and hold his feet to the flames of accountability for the great pain he dished out to victims and for the fury he evoked in advocates.

At The Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, DC, with over three hundred bishops as a captive audience, Pope Francis blew it. Not a word about shame, the need for the bishops to carry a mantle of repentance for their and/or their predecessors’ collusion in enabling abuse and protecting abusers. Not a whisper of the kind of stern admonishments he issued about ecclesiastical materialism, greed, and power mongering. Nope. Not one single word.

Remarkably, the bishops once again were cast as what sounded to survivor ears as the real — or at least the equal — victims of the sexual abuse crisis. Francis said, “I am also conscious of the courage with which you have faced difficult moments in the recent history of the Church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice. … I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims — in the knowledge that in healing we too are healed — and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated.”

There are very few survivors or advocates in this country who could be anything less than astonished and distraught at the marriage of “courage” and “bishop” as related to sexual abuse. As for generous commitments to bring healing to victims, many of the men present still are authorizing defense lawyers to do everything possible not to offer victims anything tangible. Cardinal Timothy Dolan tried to defer 55 million dollars of Archdiocese of Milwaukee money into a cemetery fund to protect it from victim lawsuits, a move later struck down by the courts. Cardinal Roger Mahony, also in attendance, was relieved of public duties because of his approach to sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Generous healing? I think not.

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GOD MAY WEEP FOR CHURCH SEXUAL ABUSE, BUT BISHOP CHAPUT PREFERS TO BARK

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Religion Dispatches

BY ANTHEA BUTLER SEPTEMBER 29, 2015

When Pope Francis met with five victims of sexual abuse this past weekend it made headlines, not only because he confessed that he “deeply regret[s] that some bishops failed in their responsibility to protect children,” but because it was the first time he met with survivors on American soil.

The Pope’s post-meeting remarks to the assembled Bishops, that “God weeps,” may be a hint of what the next phase of the sexual abuse scandal holds. In his words to the Bishops gathered, Pope Francis said, “The crimes and sins of sexual abuse of minors may no longer be kept secret; I commit myself to ensuring that the Church makes every effort to protect minors and I promise that those responsible will be held to account.”

The very next day, in response to a question about the attendance of Cardinal Justin Rigali at the papal mass, Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia testily told reporters that, “In some ways, we should get over this wanting to go back and blame, blame, blame. The church is happy to accept its responsibility, but I’m really quite tired of people making unjust accusations against people who are not to be blamed—and that happens sometimes.”

Some Bishops never learn.

I’ve been covering sexual abuse on RD for a few years now, and I’m consistently shocked and stunned by clergy members and administrators who don’t seem to understand what a soul-gutting experience it is for people who have been sexually abused by those in religious authority. To chastise people for wanting to uncover the truth is almost as bad as moving perpetrators around without caring that they molested children.

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Australian Jewish school may be investigated for abetting flight of molester

AUSTRALIA
Jerusalem Post

An Australian Jewish school that assisted its principal in fleeing the country following accusations of sexual misconduct may be facing a police investigation regarding possible criminal culpability, according to reports.

“Police will be looking at this as a broader part of the investigation to determine whether an offence has been committed,” police told The Australian newspaper.

In 2008, Malka Leifer, a dual Israeli-Australian national, fled to Israel after allegations became public that she had engaged in sexual behavior with eight students at the Adass Israel School in Elsternwick, where she was principal. She is under house arrest and has been awaiting extradition for over a year.

Earlier this month, an Australian court found the school liable in a civil suit, ordering it to pay more than a million dollars to one of the victims.

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Cardinal at center of clergy sex abuse scandal in failing health

MASSACHUSETTS
WCVB

BOSTON —Cardinal Bernard Law, who was at the center of the clergy sex abuse scandal in Boston, is in failing health.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Law’s replacement, spoke about Law during a news conference at which he discussed his time with Pope Francis last week.

O’Malley was asked why Law has not been held responsible for his involvement in the scandal. The pope has said that he is committed to healing relationships with survivors.

“Cardinal Law, he’s been retired for many years, He’s in ill health. He is 83,” O’Malley said. “Cardinal Law left Boston. He was not kept here, and that was a very important decision, I think, for healing.”

O’Malley said Pope Francis strongly supports a tribunal to deal with bishops who are not acting responsibly.

In December 2002, Law resigned as archbishop of Boston. One year later, Massachusetts attorney general other top church officials said Law would not face criminal charges for keeping abusive priests in church parishes.

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As pope calls for accountability in clergy sex abuse, Chaput says Philly church doing its best

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Newsworks

[Pope Addresses Sex Abuse Scandal, Visits Victims – Video, CBS News]

At at post-papal visit news conference Monday, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput reiterated his belief that the archdiocese has adequately responded to the church clergy sexual abuse scandal.

“We deeply regret the past. We commit ourselves to a better future. People are angry. They want to say we’re not doing anything but symbolic things,” said Chaput, speaking to reporters at the World Meeting of Families media center. “I understand their anger. I don’t know how to get through that, except that we keep trying.”

During Pope Francis’ whirlwind trip through the United States, the pontiff twice spoke to bishops about the Catholic Church’s clergy sexual abuse scandal.

Sunday morning in Philadelphia, speaking to church leaders in the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary chapel, Francis went off script to discuss the matter – describing abuse survivors as “true heralds of mercy.”

“God weeps for the sexual abuse of children. These cannot be maintained in secret, and I commit to a careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected and that all responsible will be held accountable,” said Francis.

On Monday, Chaput said Francis’ speech will reinforce the views he’s maintained.

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UK: The Goddard Inquiry: the scope of inquiry into historical child sexual abuse extends to England and Wales

UNITED KINGDOM
Mondaq

Last Updated: 29 September 2015
Article by Julia Harrison and Martin Slattery
Carroll & O’Dea

In July 2015, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was officially opened for England and Wales. Established by the British Home Secretary, the Inquiry has been given the broad remit to investigate child sexual abuse matters of the past, and to take stock of child protection procedures as a means of informing future child protection practice. It is an Inquiry which closely parallels the objectives of Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The Inquiry is now in the process of encouraging the many unreported victims of historical child sexual abuse to come forward and relate their experiences to the Inquiry’s panel, which plans to commence its private sessions in October 2015. The Inquiry’s public hearings, which are to commence in 2016, will concentrate on investigating:

* individuals who have failed to prevent child sexual abuse within institutions, as well as
* specific institutions that have exhibited systemic failure in their duty of care to children.

Institutions which have already been ear marked for investigation include churches, the National Health Service and BBC.

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MO–Victims blast KC archbishop over new disclosure

KANSAS
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, Sept. 29

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

“Credible allegations” of child sex abuse have surfaced against a deceased Kansas City area priest.

[The Leaven]

The short, quiet disclosure about Fr. Edward Roberts came on Sept. 11 in a church newspaper published by the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansa. Shame on Archbishop Joseph Naumann and his top aides. They know it’s disingenuous to disclose this information in this very limited way. They know that a small notice in a Catholic publication reduces the chances that a deeply wounded, still struggling survivor will see and be comforted by this news.

And shame on the newspaper’s staff: Father Mark Goldasich, Anita McSorley, Todd Habiger, Joe Bollig, Jill Ragar Esfeld, and Julie Holthaus. They also know it’s disingenuous to disclose this information in this very limited way.

Fr. Roberts worked at St. Peter Cathedral in KC, St Teresa in Westphalia, Sacred Heart in Baileville, St. Gregory in Marysville, St. Joseph in Nortonville and Holy Name in Topeka.

We strongly suspect that this isn’t the first report about abuse by Fr. Roberts that church officials have received.

We commend the brave individual who made this report. We hope he or she is working hard to recover from this trauma. And we hope others who saw, suspected or suffered Fr. Roberts’ crimes will come forward, seek help, expose wrongdoers, deter cover ups and start healing.

And we hope that KC Catholics – on both sides of the state line – will confront Naumann about his self-serving secrecy. Announcements like this should be made in the most open way possible. Naumann should hold a news conference about such revelations, begging victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call police. (Fr. Roberts can’t be prosecuted but it’s possible that other clerics who concealed evidence, misled police, shredded documents or kept silent about these crimes might still be charged.)

It’s sad and ironic that this disclosure surfaces about 48 hours after Pope Francis said “abuse cannot be kept secret any longer” and “all responsible will be held accountable.”

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Obituary: Msgr. Robert C. Fichtner, 84

MASSACHUSETTS
The Pilot

ON: 6/14/2013, BY PILOT STAFF

Msgr. Robert C. Fichtner passed away June 7 at his residence in Waltham, after a period of declining health. He was 84 years old.

Born on Feb. 8, 1929, in Brighton, he was the third of four children of Carl R. and Rose (Conlin) Fichtner. He was the brother of Mary E. O’Connell of Waltham, and the late Paul E. Fichtner of Waltham and the late Lt. Edward J. Fichtner, U.S. Air Force, who died in the Korean War.

He was educated at Our Lady of the Presentation Grammar School in Brighton, St. Joseph Academy in Wellesley Hills and graduated from St. Sebastian Country Day School, Newton, in 1947.

In the fall of 1947 he entered St. John’s Seminary in Brighton to begin his studies for the priesthood and was ordained Feb. 2, 1955 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross by Archbishop Richard Cushing.

Msgr. Fichtner’s first assignment in the priesthood was at St. Peter Parish in Plymouth. He was later assigned to the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. to study Canon Law (1958).

When he returned to the archdiocese, he was assigned as assistant pastor to St. Michael Parish, Lowell (1958-1959). He was sent to Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in South Boston (1959-1967), followed by an assignment to Our Lady Help of Christians Parish in Newton, where he spent 14 years (1967-1981).

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Synod of Bishops might resist machinations of leadership

UNITED STATES
Catholic Culture

By Phil Lawler Sep 29, 2015

In the promising new series of Letters from the Synod, edited by the pseudonymous Xaiver Rynne II, George Weigel opens things with an intriguing and encouraging historical comparison.

In the months leading up to Vatican II, according to the standard historical narrative (for now, we need not be concerned whether that narrative is fully accurate or not), Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani was confident that he had things fully in hand. He didn’t. The Council fathers rejected the preliminary documents offered by Cardinal Ottaviani and his curial staff, and went off in entirely new directions.

Today, Weigel observes, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri seems to think that he has the Synod of Bishops under control. (His purposes are very different from those of the late Cardinal Ottaviani; he is pushing for dramatic changes, while Cardinal Ottaviani was resisting them. But again, that need not concern us here.) He, too, may have miscalculated.

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Abp. Kurtz on the Synod: Renewal of Culture Must Come Through Families

UNITED STATES
Catholic World Report

Jim Graves

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, will be one of the American bishops participating in the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family October 4-25. The synod, the theme of which is “the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world,” follows on the heels of the controversial 2014 Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, and has already been the subject of much debate and speculation worldwide.

Archbishop Kurtz recently spoke with CWR about the synod and what he hopes it will accomplish in the life of the Church.

CWR: You’re first on the list of the American bishop-participants at the synod. How would you explain the role of a synod to the ordinary layman?

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz: A synod is a gathering of bishops who come together to advise and assist our Holy Father in the governance of the Church. This synod [in October] deals with the family, a topic of great importance to the Church.

CWR: What do you hope will be discussed?

Archbishop Kurtz: There are three areas I believe we should address.

First, we need to find new and attractive ways to touch the hearts of people with the beauty of the teachings of Jesus. This task presents itself in every age, because while cultures change, the teachings of Jesus do not. We need to find new and convincing language to express the beauty of the teachings of Jesus on marriage in an attractive way.

Next, we need to inspire the young and old, especially those with children, to be renewed in their witness to one another and to the world. We have many wonderful and heroic families who live in a sacrificial way who offer good examples for all of us. We must remember that people watch good families and learn from them.

Finally, we have to find new ways to accompany those who struggle in family life. This could include single parents who want more for their children. I believe that the Church is at her best when we reach out to such people and walk with them.

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Divisons loom over gays and divorce before Pope’s Synod on Family

ROME
Christian Today

Ruth Gledhill CHRISTIAN TODAY CONTRIBUTING EDITOR 29 September 2015

Divisions are looming in advance of the Pope’s Synod on the Family next month.

Nearly 800,000 Catholics, including more than 200 cardinals, bishops and archbishops, have written to the Pope appealing for clarity and warning of a “breach” in the Church over gays and marriage.

At the same time, an influential group of lesbian and gay Catholics from the UK have called in advance of the synod for the Church to take the opportunity of the coming Synod to look again at Church teachings because, the group says, they have “caused immense psychological, spiritual, and pastoral damage not only to homosexual persons, but also to their parents and families.”

Pope Francis leading the synod of bishops at the Vatican in October last year. Communion for divorcees is one of a number of contentious issues that will be considered at this year’s synod.
The conservative lay group Voice of the Family has submitted a ‘Filial Appeal’ signed by 790,190 Catholics, including 201 cardinals, archbishops and bishops, to Pope Francis calling on him to say “a clarifying word” to dissipate the “widespread confusion arising from the possibility that a breach has been opened within the Church that would accept adultery—by permitting divorced and then civilly remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion—and would virtually accept even homosexual unions when such practices are categorically condemned as being contrary to Divine and natural law.”

The appeal was launched after the first Synod on the Family ended in October last year and has gained hundreds of thousands of signatures in the last few months.

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KCK archdiocese criticized for ‘quiet disclosure’ of priest accused of sexual abuse

KANSAS
The Kansas City Star

BY JUDY L. THOMAS
jthomas@kcstar.com

A victims’ advocacy group on Tuesday sharply criticized the Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas for it’s “quiet disclosure” about a priest who church officials say has been credibly accused of sexual abuse.

The allegations were revealed in a notice on Page 7 of the Sept. 11 issue of The Leaven, the archdiocesan newspaper.

“The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas has recently received credible allegations of abuse of minors against Father Edward Roberts, a priest of the archdiocese who died in 1997,” the notice said.

The action angered leaders of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

“Shame on Archbishop Joseph Naumann and his top aides,” said the group’s national director, David Clohessy, in a statement. “They know it’s disingenuous to disclose this information in this very limited way. They know that a small notice in a Catholic publication reduces the chances that a deeply wounded, still struggling survivor will see and be comforted by this news.”

In the past, the archdiocese has published announcements in The Leaven and issued news releases to the media when priests have been accused of sexual misconduct.

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Contradicting Pope Francis, archbishop fights for secrecy

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

for immediate release: Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015

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

Less than 48 hours after Pope Francis said “those who have covered up (abuse) are guilty,” the Philadelphia Inquirer has disclosed that Archbishop Charles Chaput is quietly working to keep secrets about a pedophile priest.

Francis made strong promises, including that “abuse cannot be kept secret any longer” and “all responsible will be held accountable.”

Chaput apparently disagrees.

In a wrongful-death suit in Common Pleas Court,” Chaput’s lawyers are trying to block discovery, the Inquirer reports. The case involves “the family of Sean McIlmail – a Willow Grove man who died of a drug overdose in 2013 while struggling to come to terms with his alleged victimization by a priest.”

– pointed to the pope’s calls for transparency in a motion (filed Monday) arguing against archdiocesan efforts to block discovery in an ongoing wrongful-death suit in Common Pleas Court,” reports the Inquirer.

In 2006, Pope Benedict, discussing the abuse and cover up crisis, said “It is important to establish the truth of what happened.”

[USA Today]

Chaput is contracting the expressed desires of two popes by his continued use of parishioners’ donations to keep abuse and cover ups covered up.

We hope Philly Catholics and citizens will pressure Chaput to reverse his hurtful, self-serving legal maneuvers and let the truth surface about clerics who committed and are concealing child sex crimes.

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Rev Edward F. Roberts

KANSAS
Find A Grave

Birth: Jan. 21, 1917
Kansas, USA
Death: Sep. 18, 1997

Family links:
Parents:
Russell F. Roberts (1882 – 1947)

Burial:
Mount Calvary Cemetery
Saint Marys
Pottawatomie County
Kansas, USA

Created by: Wilton Golson
Record added: Feb 12, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 33771103

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Announcement

KANSAS
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas – The Leaven
9/11/15 issue

The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas has recently received credible allegations of abuse of minors against Father Edward Roberts, a priest of the archdiocese who died in 1997. Ordained in 1941, Father Roberts was assigned to the following parishes: the Cathedral of St. Peter, Kansas City, Kansas; St. Teresa, Westphalia; Sacred Heart, Baileyville; St. Gregory, Marysville; St. Joseph, Nortonville; and Holy Name, Topeka.

If you have any information regarding allegations of abuse against Father Roberts, please call the Confidential Report Line at (913) 647-3051; Dr. Dennis Schemmel, victim assistance coordinator, at (913) 909-2740; and/or local law enforcement officials.

The archdiocese asks anyone who has knowledge of inappropriate conduct by any priest, deacon, employee or volunteer to please contact the Confidential Report Line at (913) 647-3051 or civil authorities. The archdiocese respects the sincere concerns of all individuals who bring forth allegations of misconduct and is fully committed to conducting thorough investigations of all such allegations and cooperating with law enforcement officials.

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Small fire at seminary where pope is staying; no one hurt

PENNSYLVANIA
Philadelphia Inquirer

CHRIS PALMER AND CRAIG R. MCCOY, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
POSTED: Sunday, September 27, 2015

After extensive security precautions on the first day of a papal visit that unfolded without a hitch, there was a problem after Pope Francis arrived at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary on Saturday night.

A small fire broke out in an elevator shaft in the kitchen of the Wynnewood seminary around 10:47 p.m., officials said.

Francis, who was staying there for the night, was not hurt, they said. Nor was anyone else. Nor was there any significant damage.

Foul play was not suspected, they said.

Nicole Mainor, of the official information center set up for the visit, said early Sunday morning that emergency personnel were notified and firefighters from Lower Merion put the fire out by 11:03 p.m.

It was not clear how close the kitchen was to the dormitory area of the seminary in which the pope was staying. He was to spend the night in one of 45 newly renovated rooms.

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Archdiocese Can’t Duck Up-Skirt Lawsuit

CALIFORNIA
Courthouse News Service

By MIKE HEUER

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The Archdiocese of San Francisco cannot dismiss accusations that it failed to stop students at a boys school from sharing up-skirt photos of a teacher, a federal judge ruled.

A “triable issue exists” on claims the archdiocese contributed to the civil rights violations that caused the teacher’s emotional distress, U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick found on Friday.

Orrick did dismiss claims of Federal Employment and Housing Act violations against Junipero High School, but denied the archdiocese’s motion in all other respects.

“The archdiocese’s actions in response to each successive act of harassment fell short in many ways,” Orrick wrote. “The school (and the Archbishop’s office) did not appear to learn from, or respond to, each instance of harassing conduct or to prevent similar occurrences in the future.”

Biology teacher Kimberly Bohnert sued the archdiocese and Junipero Serra High School last year, claiming they did nothing for more than two years as students humiliated her with an online image they shared, sent sexually explicit social media posts, graphic graffiti and other acts.

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What Would Like to Be Done About Clergy Sex Abuse? Archbishop Chaput Wants to Know.

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholics4Change

SEPTEMBER 29, 2015 BY SUSAN MATTHEWS

“We’ve gone out of our way to explore in the past in response to the grand juries,” he said. “I think the people responsible for the grand jury reports would acknowledge our response as being very positive and thorough. The fact that people want more – what is the more they want that we haven’t done?”

– Archbishop Chaput

Click here to read the entire story: “After pope’s visit, tough talk from abuse survivors – and Chaput,” by Jeremy Roebuck and Julie Terruso, The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 28 and updated 29, 2015

What would you like the Archdiocese, Archbishop Chaput and Pope Francis to do?

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Other Pontifical Acts

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 29 September 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

– Bishop Hugo Alberto Torres Marin, auxiliary of Medellin, Colombia, as bishop of Apartado (area 26,000, population 561,000, Catholics 403,000, priests 65, religious 118), Colombia.

– Bishop Joao Evangelista Pimental Lavrador, auxiliary of Oporto, Portugal, as coadjutor of the diocese of Angra (area 2,243, population 246,102, Catholics 224,105, priests 147, permanent deacons 5, religious 129), Portugal.

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The Pope speaks almost an hour with journalists on flight from Philadelphia

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 29 September 2015 (VIS) – During his return flight to Rome following his apostolic trip to Cuba and the United States, Pope Francis answered a number of questions posed by the journalists who accompanied him on the papal flight.

The Holy Father first commented that he had been surprised in the United States by the warmth and friendliness of the people. He remarked that in Washington D.C. the welcome was very warm but more formal than in New York, where everything was more exuberant, while in Philadelphia it was more expressive. “Three different approaches but the same welcome”.

He also explained the reason for his meeting with the United States episcopate in Washington D.C., where he felt the need to express to the prelates his compassion with regard to cases of sexual abuse. “A horrible thing”, he said, “and many suffer because they did not know about it and are true men of the Church, true pastors. … And I spoke to them using words from the Bible, from the Book of Revelation: you are coming from a great tribulation, because what happened was a ‘great tribulation’. .. I would say almost a sacrilege. … We all know that abuse has occurred in many places: in families, in the neighbourhood, in schools, at gymnasiums … But when a priest commits abuse it is very serious, because the vocation of the priest is to make that boy or girl grow in God’s love, towards emotional maturity. And instead this is crushed, it is damaged. And this must not be concealed: those who have covered up these events are equally guilty. It is dreadful. And the words I spoke were not intended to say, “Don’t worry, it’s nothing”. Instead I wanted to say, “It has been awful and I imagine you have wept a lot”. This was the meaning of what I said, and I spoke firmly”.

He affirmed that he understood those victims of abuse and their families who felt unable to forgive the perpetrators. “Yes, I understand them. I pray for them and I do not judge them. Once, at one of these meetings, a woman said to me, ‘When my mother discovered I had been abused, she blasphemed against God, lost her faith and died an atheist’. And I understand her. And God, Who is better than me, understands her. I am sure that He welcomed her. Because what was abused, destroyed, was her own flesh, the flesh of her daughter”.

With regard to the peace process in Colombia, he expressed his joy at the news that an agreement between the FARC and the government will be signed in March. “When I heard this, I asked the Lord, ‘Let us arrive in March, may we arrive with this good intention’, as some small details remain to be clarified, but the will is present on both sides. Even in the small group; all three are in agreement. We must await March for the definitive accord, which is the point of international justice. I have spoken twice with President Santos on the matter. And the Holy See is very open to assisting as far as possible”.

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ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT DISCUSSES SECURITY, POPE’S SEX ABUSE REMARKS

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
6 ABC

By Vernon Odom
Monday, September 28, 2015

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — On the Monday after the papal visit, Archbishop Charles Chaput discussed the event, touching on security criticisms and the pope’s comments about clergy sex abuse.

Chaput was asked about Pope Francis’ sincerity after he met with five local victims of sex abuse, hearing their stories and apologizing.

He later condemned pedophile priests as he met with hundreds of bishops from around the globe.

“It wasn’t a publicity stunt. There is genuine interest on the part of the Holy Father to represent the whole church in expressing sadness and apology in cases where there’s cases of sexual abuse by members of the church, and he sincerely meant that,” Chaput said.

Chaput said he feels the disappointment of the ticket holders who missed the papal Mass on Sunday because of tight security.

The Archbishop emphasized it was the federal government calling the shots on the metal detectors and searches that prevented thousands of ticket holders from getting to the Mass on time.

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Papal pilgrims complain of ‘police state’ security

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

JEFF GAMMAGE AND JULIA TERRUSO, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
LAST UPDATED: Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Retired schoolteacher Matt Cinelli came to Philadelphia to experience the joy of the papal visit.

He was met, he said, by “the confusion and terror of a police state,” one in which edgy National Guard soldiers barked contradictory orders and seemed prepped for confrontation.

“The security did not make me feel safe,” said Cinelli, 56, who grew up Catholic and lives near Reading. “It made me feel like somebody was going to fight me, that there was a combativeness.”

On Monday, hours after Pope Francis left Philadelphia for Rome, people who attended weekend events shared stories of disconcerting encounters with the massive security apparatus erected in advance of the visit. Center City was transformed into a fortress of steel fences, concrete barriers, and armed law enforcement officers from federal, state and local agencies.

Special Agent David Beach of the Secret Service, which was in charge of protecting the pope, said the high level of security was “one of those necessary evils” in staging a large event.

“We’re responsible for the pope’s safety but also the safety of all those attendees,” he said. “I think we were successful in that mission.”

Others disagreed with the tactics to accomplish that.

Austen Ivereigh, author of a definitive papal biography, who covers Pope Francis for news organizations like the BBC, said security in Philadelphia was wildly over the top, beyond the strict measures imposed when three million people saw the pope in Rio de Janeiro in 2013.

“If that was excessive,” Ivereigh said, “this was pathological.”

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Cardinal Danneels Admits to Being Part of ‘Mafia’ Club Opposed to Benedict XVI

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Register

by Edward Pentin 09/24/2015

Further serious concerns are being raised about Cardinal Godfried Danneels, one of the papal delegates chosen to attend the upcoming Ordinary Synod on the Family, after the archbishop emeritus of Brussels confessed this week to being part of a radical “mafia” reformist group opposed to Benedict XVI.

It was also revealed this week that he once wrote a letter to the Belgium government favoring same-sex “marriage” legislation because it ended discrimination against LGBT groups.

The cardinal is already known for having once advised the king of Belgium to sign an abortion law in 1990, for telling a victim of clerical sex abuse to keep quiet, and for refusing to forbid pornographic, “educational” materials being used in Belgian Catholic schools.

He also once said same-sex “marriage” was a “positive development,” although he has sought to distinguish such a union from the Church’s understanding of marriage.

According to a forthcoming authorized biography on the cardinal co-written by Jürgen Mettepenningen, a former spokesman for Cardinal Danneels’ successor, Archbishop Andre Joseph Leonard, and Karim Schelkens, a Church historian and theologian, the cardinal expressed satisfaction over the disappearance of “discrimination” against LGBT couples after legislation was passed approving same-sex “marriage” in 2003.

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A conspiracy to elect Pope Francis? Don’t believe it.

UNITED STATES
Catholic Culture

By Phil Lawler Sep 28, 2015

Did a powerful group of cardinals conspire to unseat Pope Benedict XVI and elect Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio—Pope Francis—in his place? That sensational claim has been circulating in conservative Catholic internet sites. But the available facts don’t support the sensational headlines.

Edward Pentin, a respected Vatican journalist, broke the story to the English-speaking world with his report for the National Catholic Register. He reported—accurately—that a new biography of Belgium’s retired Cardinal Godfried Danneels has disclosed that the existence of a group of prelates who were committed to “progressive” causes, and unhappy with the influence exerted in the Vatican by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

The members of the St. Gallen group reportedly included the late Cardinal Carlo Martini of Milan of Milan, the veteran Vatican insider Cardinal Achille Silvestrini, English Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, and the German Cardinals Karl Lehmann and Walter Kasper, along with Cardinal Danneels. At the launch of the book, Cardinal Danneels referred to this group—known as the St. Gallen group, after the location where they had met—as a “mafia club.”

Now it may not be edifying to learn that cardinals were plotting to influence Vatican policy, and knowledgeable readers, glancing down that list of names, might well worry about their influence. But it does not rise to the level of conspiracy if a group of prelates meet to discuss Church affairs.

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“Many survivors around the world feel betrayed [comment]”, SNAP Australia, SNAPAustralia.org, Nicky Davis, September 28, 2015.

AUSTRALIA
SNAP Australia

Many survivors around the world feel betrayed, not reassured, by Pope Francis’ words during his US PR exercise.

We feel silenced and excluded when he speaks weasel words about us and how his institution has and will deal with the criminals within that institution who commit, enable or cover up horrific crimes against defenceless children.

We feel overpowered and disheartened that media around the world repeat his meaningless promises without reference to the reality of survivors’ experiences, and honour him on the basis of this misleading façade.

We feel Francis’ church still regards abused children as the wrongdoers, because instead of suffering in silence and neglect we insist on our right to speak about what happened to us, and to demand justice and healing.

We feel Francis’ church still regards institutional officials, institutional bank accounts and institutional reputation as the real victims, and those most deserving of compassion.

We are horrified by Francis lecturing the UN and US congress about human rights, while ignoring the well researched and reasonable recommendations of both the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and UN Committee Against Torture, which defended our human rights against abuse and re-abuse by church officials.

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Dublin to host next World Meeting of Families — in 2018

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Pittsburgh Catholic

By Laura Ieraci Catholic News Service

PHILADELPHIA — Irish pilgrims in Philadelphia shared their excitement after Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, announced the 2018 World Meeting of Families would be held in Dublin.

Irish pilgrim Mary Fitzgibbon’s reaction was raw when she spoke with Catholic News Service. She had traveled to Philadelphia with her husband, Michael, and five children, ages 2-14, but had missed Archbishop Paglia’s announcement Sept. 27. She heard it first from CNS. …

The church in Ireland, still reeling and healing from a major sex-abuse scandal, has also experienced a decrease in church attendance and vocations to the priesthood and religious life over several years. Ireland established the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in a bid to restore public confidence in the church’s handling of allegations of abuse against priests and religious after a series of judicial reports uncovered serious failings. Four Irish bishops have resigned following severe criticism of their failures in relation to handling allegations of abuse.

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Mobile Police: Man caught sexually violating 12-year-old at church

ALABAMA
AL.com

By Cassie Fambro | cfambro@al.com
on September 28, 2015

Rodderick George Mitchell of Mobile is in jail after an incident at Stone Street Baptist Church on Sunday, according to Mobile Police.

Mitchell, not a member of the church, entered the facility and asked a 12-year-old girl for a hug.

Police say that sexual abuse ensued.

Church-members immediately alerted the pastor as well as the victim’s parents and Mitchell was arrested at the church.

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Man arrested for sexual abuse at local church

ALABAMA
Lagniappe

By: JASON JOHNSON

Authorities say an unknown man entered a church on Tunstall Street in Mobile on Sunday and attempted to sexually abuse a 12-year-old girl.

Police say the the encounter started when the man asked the girl for a hug, but after the contact continued, the pastor of Stone Street Baptist Church and the girl’s parents were alerted.

When authorities arrived on the scene, they arrested 64-year-old Roderick Mitchell and charged him with second-degree sexual abuse and a separate charge listed in jail records only as a “violation.”

Mitchell’s name did not show up in a search of Mobile County’s sex offender database, but he does have multiple previous charges for “public lewdness” or “indecent exposure,” according to Mobile Metro Jail records.

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Archdiocese holds Mass Oct. 17 for sex abuse survivors

CHICAGO (IL)
Daily Herald

The Archdiocese of Chicago will host a Mass for Hope and Healing at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, at Holy Family Church, 1080 W. Roosevelt Road in Chicago.

The Mass, sponsored by the Archdiocesan Office of Assistance Ministry, is celebrated for the ongoing healing of child and youth sexual abuse survivors, their families and the church. Mike Hoffman and Jim Richter, both victims-survivors, will give witness on behalf of survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

Attendees will include clergy, victims-survivors, family members of survivors, Catholic school leadership and many others committed to the protection and safety of children. The Rev. Ronald Hicks, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Chicago, will be the main celebrant.

The Office for Assistance Ministry works to provide pastoral care, support and resources to victims-survivors of clerical sexual abuse and their loved ones in their efforts to achieve psychological, emotional and spiritual healing. The office was first established by the Archdiocese in 1992 to respond to the sexual abuse of minors by clergy.

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Critics slam former archbishop’s role in Pope Francis’ Philadelphia visit

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Global News

By Michael R. Sisak The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA – A former archbishop who retired amid allegations he put church interests ahead of clergy sexual abuse victims returned to the city over the weekend to help Pope Francis celebrate Mass, drawing criticism from advocates who said his visibility “rubs salt into deep wounds.”

The current archbishop, Charles Chaput, defended Cardinal Justin Rigali’s role in the service Saturday at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, saying Monday his predecessor did nothing wrong and is “always welcome to be here.”

Rigali, 80, sat to Chaput’s left and stood with the pope as he consecrated the Eucharist. A spokesman said he also participated in several other events with U.S. bishops, including the Vatican-sponsored World Meeting of Families conference that brought the pope to Philadelphia.

Rigali retired to the Diocese of Knoxville, Tennessee, in 2011, months after a grand jury accused the Archdiocese of Philadelphia of sheltering more than three dozen credibly accused priests and lying about it to victims and others.

Chaput, who attended the pope’s meeting with sex abuse victims on Sunday, has removed several priests from church work since replacing Rigali. He bristled Monday when asked about Rigali at a post-papal visit news conference, asserting the grand jury reports released during the cardinal’s tenure did not accuse him of “doing anything inappropriate or not handling things appropriately.”

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Historical child abuse cases should remain under time-bar regime says Faculty

SCOTLAND
Scottish Legal News

The Faculty of Advocates has announced its opposition to plans by the Scottish government to end the three-year time limit on the raising of damages actions by survivors of historical child abuse.

“In our view, any waiver of the limitation regime in relation to such claims ought to be made on a case-by-case basis, as at present,” said the Faculty.

“We do not agree that the current regime invariably leads to a pursuer’s case failing…However, it does permit the fairness to both parties of allowing a case to proceed to be scrutinised and assessed.”

As part of an announcement in May that Susan O’Brien QC, had been appointed to chair a national public inquiry into historical abuse of children in care, the Scottish government said it intended to remove the three-year limitation period from damages actions by survivors for abuse after 26 September, 1964.

Ministers said in a consultation paper that they were of the view that victims of child abuse should not have to demonstrate to the court that they had a right to raise litigation before the case could proceed.

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Top lawyers against child abuse legal time limit change

SCOTLAND
BBC News

The body that represents Scotland’s top lawyers has announced its opposition to Scottish government plans to end a time limit for survivors of historical abuse to seek damages in the courts.

The plans were announced in May, in tandem with a public inquiry into historical abuse of children in care.

It intends to end the current three-year time bar for civil action in cases of historical abuse.

But the Faculty of Advocates has warned against the change.

It claims the existing system, where claims dating back more than three years are examined on a case-by-case basis, provides “fairness to both parties”.

The group said: “We do not agree that the current regime invariably leads to a pursuer’s case failing. However, it does permit the fairness to both parties of allowing a case to proceed to be scrutinised and assessed.”

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Berks County lawmaker, victim of clergy abuse, criticizes Pope Francis

PENNSYLVANIA
PhillyVoice

BY DANIEL CRAIG
PhillyVoice Staff

Berks County lawmaker Mark Rozzi, who says he was the victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a priest as a child, criticized Pope Francis before his visit to Philadelphia and said the papal weekend brought back painful memories.

In a video from CNN published before the pope’s visit, Democratic Rep. Rozzi calls for Francis to ask Chaput to encourage lawmakers in supporting his bill to change the statute of limitations for cases of sexual abuse.

He says the only way to allow victims to heal is to allow their voices to be heard and criticized a recent comment from the pope in which he said he was sorry how the abuse scandal had weighed upon U.S. bishops. Watch the video here:

Pope Francis did not avoid the issue during his visit to Philadelphia. Speaking before bishops in Wynnewood Sunday, he said “God weeps” for the victims and said he was “deeply sorry” for what had happened, referring to several cases of clergy members sexually abusing young boys.

The pontiff also met with five victims of clergy abuse before giving those remarks.

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After pope’s visit, tough talk from abuse survivors – and Chaput

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

JEREMY ROEBUCKAND JULIA TERRUSO, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
LAST UPDATED: Monday, September 28, 2015

Pope Francis’ speech in Philadelphia harshly rebuking bishops who covered up clergy sex abuse triggered calls Monday for a more forceful response from the city’s own church hierarchy.

From a small rally outside the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s 17th Street offices to legal filings that cited the pontiff’s call for openness, victims and their advocates challenged Archbishop Charles J. Chaput to reevaluate the cases of several accused priests and pledge greater openness in how abuse investigations are handled in the future.

But Chaput, whose archdiocese has been one of the hardest hit in the nation by the scandal, maintained he had already done all he could reasonably be expected to do.

“We deeply regret the past; we commit ourselves to a better future” he said, speaking Monday morning at a post-event World Meeting of Families news conference. Still, he quickly appeared to grow frustrated with reporters’ repeated questions on the subject, adding later:

“In some ways, we should get over this wanting to go back and blame, blame, blame. The church is happy to accept its responsibility, but I’m really quite tired of people making unjust accusations against people who are not to be blamed – and that happens sometimes.”

It was a familiar response, said victims’ groups, from an archdiocese still reckoning with years of fallout from two scathing grand-jury investigations that found many accused priests still serving in ministry, and the first-in-the-nation conviction in 2012 of a high-ranking church official for covering up abuse.

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Bishop Raphael Fliss, longtime leader of Superior Diocese, dies at age 84

MINNESOTA
Duluth News Tribune

By Lisa Kaczke and Brady Slater, News Tribune

As longtime secretary to Bishop Raphael Fliss, Pat Wildenberg came to revere him — no matter how complicated his legacy grew.

“He dealt with difficult situations and I never saw him get outwardly upset with people,” she said. “He was very patient about dealing with every situation that he came across.”

Bishop Fliss, the longest-serving bishop of the Diocese of Superior, died Sept. 21 in a Duluth hospital at age 84.

Fliss guided the diocese for 28 years, the first six as coadjutor bishop alongside Bishop George Albert Hammes. During Fliss’ tenure the diocese went through parish closings and consolidations, and had to adapt to changing needs of the communities it served. He also helped organize the diocese’s 75th and 100th anniversary celebrations. …

In the final years of his tenure, Fliss was involved in controversy over several allegations of sex abuse by priests in the Superior Diocese. Abuse survivors called for Fliss to be investigated after it was revealed that a former Superior Diocese priest sexually assaulted two boys in the early 1980s and the church settled with the victims for nearly $3 million.

Fliss also was alleged to have been involved in the concealment of a priest who assaulted as many as 200 deaf boys in a Milwaukee boarding school before being transferred to the Superior Diocese, where he allegedly abused other boys.

And Fliss apologized in 2006 for poor oversight of a priest in the Diocese who faced allegations of sexual abuse; a judge found probable cause that the priest killed two people in Hudson, Wis., in 2002. The priest later took his own life.

Wildenberg recalled that Fliss would alert people around him to troubling news. He took it to heart, she said.

“He could handle a lot of things and took his time to make the right decision — something some people might fault him with,” she said. “But that patience always impressed me.”

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Deceased Canadian pastor is accused of sexual misconduct

CANADA
Mennonite World Review

Mennonite Church Eastern Canada announced an allegation of sexual and ethical misconduct by a pastor who died 21 years ago.

On Aug. 30, three Ontario congregations formerly served by Vernon Leis, the pastor named in the allegation, heard the announcement in person from MCEC representatives, said David Martin, the conference’s executive minister.

Leis died in a car accident on Feb. 26, 1994, near Baden, Ont., at the age of 60. He had pastored Elmira Mennonite Church, Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church in Kitchener and East Zorra Mennonite Church in Tavistock. He was the first moderator of MCEC, an area conference of Mennonite Church Canada.

An MCEC news release described him as a “much loved and respected pastor.”
Martin said that the allegation against Leis came from one person and that he could not give details about what Leis is alleged to have done.

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Berks lawmaker, sexually abused by priest as a teen, says of pope’s visit: ‘It has brought back my nightmares’

PENNSYLVANIA
WFMZ

READING, Pa. – Pope Francis drew lots of cheers in the United States, but now he’s coming under fire from a Berks County lawmaker and victims of sexual abuse.

Pennsylvania Representative Mark Rozzi first turned down VIP tickets to the papal events in Philadelphia, and now he’s slamming Pope Francis for comments he made surrounding sexual abuse.

“It has brought back my nightmares and some mental pain that I just can’t put myself through,” said Rozzi. “This has been a very difficult week.”

On Sunday, the Vatican said Pope Francis met with five abuse victims in private in Philadelphia. After the meeting, the pope spoke before bishops and clergy members at St. Charles Borremeo Seminary.

He said God weeps at the sexual abuse of children and vowed careful oversight to ensure the youth are protected. He also said those responsible for abuse would be held accountable.

Two times during his visit to the U.S., Pope Francis praised American bishops for how they handled the sex abuse scandal and told priests he felt their pain. “It was very disappointing hearing those comments, and in fact, I was outraged, and that’s why I slammed him,” Rozzi said.

“We heard these words before, but victims need action!” Rozzi, who represents the 126th District in Berks County, said he was sexually abused by a priest at age 13.

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“Anti-immigration walls fall down sooner or later, they are not the solution”

Vatican Insider

Answering journalists’ questions during the in-flight interview from Philadelphia to Rome, he said: some bishops “did cover up abuse. I can understand those families who are unable to forgive the abuse of a son or daughter.” The reform on marital nullity does not mean we are introducing “Catholic divorce”. “Conscientious objection is a right even for government officials.” “I love the Chinese people and I would like to visit China.” “Me, a star? I am the servant of the servants of God.” On the bombings in Syria, he said: “I am not up to speed with the current situation but when I hear about bombings I say: this is not right.” About the mayor of Rome turning up in the US to see the Pope, Francis said: “I didn’t invite Marino to Philadelphia”

ANDREA TORNIELLI
ON THE FLIGHT FROM PHILADELPHIA TO ROME

The barbed wire fences, the walls to stop migrants “fall down sooner or later, all of them fall down, they are not the solution” and they exacerbate hatred. Pope Francis said this during the interview with journalists on board the American Airlines flight from Philadelphia to Rome. The Pope talked about clerical sex abuse against minors, saying he understands those families that cannot forgive; he spoke about the issue of communion for remarried divorcees and the recent reform on marital nullity, explaining that it does not equate to “Catholic divorce”. He said he loves the Chinese people and that he would like to visit China. Regarding the US government official who refused to sign the document legalising a same-sex union, Francis recalled that conscientious objections is a human right. He also denied point blank that he had anything to do with the presence of Rome’s mayor, Ignazio Marino, at one of the events in the US: “I did not invite Marino to Philadelphia, is that clear?”

What surprised you about the US and what was different to how you had imagined it? What challenges does the Church in the US face?

It was my first time there, I had never been before. I was surprised by the people’s warmth – they were so friendly, it was beautiful – and also by the differences between Washington where I received a warm but slightly more formal welcome, New York which was overflowing and Philadelphia where people were very expressive. Three different types of welcome. I was very much struck by the goodness and hospitality show to me and by the piety of the religious celebrations – you could see people praying. Thanks to God it all went well, there were no provocations, no insults, nothing unpleasant happened. The challenge is this: we have to continue working with these faithful as we have been doing so far, in times of joy and difficulty, when there is no work, when there is sickness. The challenge of today’s Church is one it has always faced: being close to the people of the US. Not removed from them, but close to them. And this is a challenge that the Church in the US is well aware of.

Philadelphia has been through some very difficult times what with the sex abuse scandal. Many found it surprising that in your speech to bishops in Washington you offered words of consolation to the Church. Why did you feel the need to show compassion to the bishops?

In Washington I addressed all bishops of the US. I felt the need to express my compassion to them because a terrible thing happened and many of them have suffered because they did not know and when it all came out they suffered a great deal: they are men of the Church, men of prayer, true pastors. Using a word from the Revelation, I said to them: I know you have come forth from the great tribulation. What happened was a great tribulation. Then there were the words I addressed to those who suffered the abuse: it was almost a sacrilege! Abuse is witnessed everywhere: in the family, in the local neighbourhood, in schools, in gyms. But when a priest commits an act of abuse it is very serious indeed because a priest’s vocation is to raise that boy or girl to love God, so that they grow up to be good people. Instead, he crushed this with evil and betrayed his vocation, the Lord’s calling. Those in the Church who covered up the abuse are also guilty and that includes bishops. It is a terrible thing and the message I meant to get across through the words of comfort I offered bishops was not: don’t worry, it’s nothing. But: this was a terrible thing, I imagine you must have wept a great deal.

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L.A. Parker: Pope Francis delivered ambiguous message about Catholic priest sex abuse

UNITED STATES
The Trentonian

By L.A. Parker, The Trentonian
POSTED: 09/28/15

Pope Francis finally departed the United States after a whirlwind visit that attracted ginormous crowds in Washington, New York City and finally Philadelphia but his visit clouded a priest sex abuse scandal.

The Pontiff first praised American bishops for their “generous commitment” to aid and support abuse victims, even went as far a saying that Catholic church leaders handled the crisis “without fear or self-criticism and the cost of mortification and great sacrifice.”

“I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you, and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims — in the knowledge that in healing we, too, are healed — and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated.”

The Washington Cathedral resounded with applause from bishops in attendance for the Pope Francis address to church leaders.

The initial assessment caused such retribution, particularly from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), that Pope Francis offered a more subdued response by the time his entourage reached Philadelphia where he met with five sexual abuse victims harmed by either family members or Catholic priests.

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Diocese of Gallup brings in $161K from auctions

NEW MEXICO
KRQE

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) – The Diocese of Gallup has walked away with less than $161,000 after selling nearly three dozen properties at auctions in Albuquerque and Phoenix.

The Gallup Independent reports that documents submitted by diocesan attorneys to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court say the sales total for both auctions was about $225,000. The two businesses hired by the diocese to promote and conduct the auctions earned about $65,500.

Most of the properties were sold for far less than their actual or assessed values. The highest sales price at the Phoenix auction was $26,000, and the remaining properties sold for between $110 and $7,700. Four properties at the Albuquerque auction sold for five-figure prices, and the others ranged from $121 to $4,400.

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The “People’s Pope” and the Church’s Emerging Contradictions

UNITED STATES
Truthout

By Armando Carmona, Truthout | News Analysis

Pope Francis has radically changed the image of the Catholic Church. He has been called a progressive, the “people’s pope” and even a radical pope who is attempting to shift the global image of Catholic conservatism. It is impossible to deny the importance of the pope’s current discourse as he pushes global political leaders to address climate change and economic inequality, inviting them to refocus their energy toward a “revolution of tenderness.”

How should we situate the current pope in the context of a historically conservative institution and an evolving narrative about social change? While some attempt to categorize him as a progressive or even a feminist due to his discourse on women and the poor, others understand him to be a political actor who represents a highly hierarchical and patriarchal organization that affects nearly 1.2 billion people. Regardless of our personal feelings toward the pope, we must analyze his actions in the context of his position and the institution he represents.

An Apology to Native Peoples

During his tour of South America, his first foreign trip after unveiling his encyclical – a document produced to urge climate action worldwide – Pope Francis spoke at the World Meeting of Popular Movements. The meeting was hosted in Bolivia and organized by the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace,” the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and movement leaders from around the world. This was the second of a series of encounters organized to discuss global issues such as climate change and economic inequality. It was in this meeting that the pope apologized to indigenous peoples for the role of the Church in facilitating the genocide and conquest of native peoples. “Many grave sins were committed against the native peoples of America in the name of God,” Pope Francis said. “Like Saint John Paul II, I ask that the Church ‘kneel before God and implore forgiveness for the past and present sins of her sons and daughters.'” He also reminded the crowd that many priests have also defended indigenous people, “often standing alongside the native peoples or accompanying their popular movements even to the point of martyrdom.”

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Pope Francis’ Gesture Towards Sex Abuse Victims Wasn’t Nearly Enough

UNITED STATES
Esquire

BY CHARLES P. PIERCE

On Sunday, as it turns out, the rubber of Papa Francesco’s visit to the United States finally met the road of the crimes committed by the individuals and the institution of the Roman Catholic Church here in America, and around the world. On his last day in Philadelphia, the pope met with people who had been sexually abused by members of the clergy belonging to the church over which, if you believe the tradition, the Holy Spirit chose this pope to preside. All during the trip, the scandal was the bustling in the hedgerow. The pope’s remarks to the bishops in Washington in he praised them for their “courage” in soldiering on in the face of their own crimes were greeted with outrage by survivors and their families, who correctly pointed out that Bernard Cardinal Law, one of the most egregious conspirators, is still soldiering on in his comfy billet at the Basilica Of Our Lady Of The Clean Getaway in Rome. In Philadelphia, by all accounts, the pope was gentle and understanding, but he also apparently remains stuck in an unhelpful and truthless paradigm regarding the offenses against God and man that were committed within the Church.​​

“Is a child anywhere on Earth safer now that a pope, for maybe the seventh or eighth time or ninth time, has briefly chatted with abuse victims? No,” SNAP Director David Clohessy said in a statement. The pope said he promised to “zealously” protect young people and that “all those responsible are held accountable…” When he talked to the abuse victims, who weren’t identified, the pope said: “I am deeply sorry for the time when you or your family spoke out, to report the abuse, but were not heard or believed. Please know that the Holy Father hears you and believes you. I deeply regret that some bishops failed in their responsibility to protect children.”
​Sorry, Papa Francesco. Not nearly enough.—​

In a few weeks, a movie called Spotlight will be released. It concerns the courageous efforts of reporters at The Boston Globe to blow the lid off the scandal in the Boston Archdiocese. (It also has various actors and actresses playing friends of mine, which is very weird, although, if the trailer is any indication, Mark Ruffalo nails Mike Rezendes, my pal of nearly 40 years.) The reason that the Globe was able to do this—​and to touch off the explosion of similar revelations in dioceses around the world—is because a brave editor named Marty Baron saw something that the pope still does not. What occurred in all those rectories and choir lofts was not a series of unpardoned sins. It was an index of unpunished crimes. What occurred in the chanceries of the diocese was not a widespread institutional failure, it was an ongoing conspiracy to obstruct justice. The appropriate punishment for these crimes was not the loss of your rank and position within a religious institution. It was the loss of your freedom. There are people within the church who belong in jail. Period. My god, Dorothy Day would have burned their basilicas down—​rhetorically, of course.​

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In Extraordinary Meeting With Victims Of Sexual Abuse, Pope Pledges To Hold Offenders Accountable

UNITED STATES
Think Progress

BY CASEY QUINLAN SEP 27, 2015

Pope Francis met with survivors of clerical sexual abuse early Sunday morning at Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. In his unprepared remarks to bishops following the meeting with survivors, he promised to “zealously” protect young people against sexual predators in the Catholic Church.

I hold the stories and the suffering and the sorry of children who were sexually abused by priests deep in my heart. I remain overwhelmed with shame that men entrusted with the tender care of children violated these little ones and caused grievous harm. I am profoundly sorry. God weeps. For the sexual abuse of children, this cannot be maintained in secret and I commit to a careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected and that all responsible will be held accountable …

Those who have survived have become true heralds of mercy. Humbly we owe each of them our gratitude for their courage. And they have had to suffer terrible abuse, sexual abuse of minors. I say this I would like to express my gratitude to the archbishop and I felt it very important that I share this message with you today.

To survivors of sexual abuse, Francis said:

For those who were abused my a member of the clergy, I am deeply sorry for the times when you or your family spoke out, but you were not heard or believed. Please know that the Holy Father hears you and believes you … Within our family of faith and our human families, the sins and crimes of sexual abuse of children must no longer be held in secret and in shame. As we anticipate the Jubilee Year of Mercy, your presence, so generously given despite the anger and pain you have experienced, reveals the merciful heart of Christ.

The seminary’s local archdiocese has been the subject of scrutiny after two grand jury reports in 2005 and 2011 that showed the church had not taken proper action to prevent and the rape and molestation of children by church leaders.

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Pope Francis Admits Church Covered Up Rampant Sex Abuse by Priests

ROME
The Daily Beast

Barbie Latza Nadeau

On his way back to Rome, Pope Francis clarified his views, and intensified his criticism of predator priests and those who protected them.

ROME — The “Vat pack” of chosen journalists aboard the papal plane from Philadelphia to Rome was treated to a 47-minute in-flight press conference with Pope Francis that ran the gamut from his amazement at the love fest poured out for him to some pretty tough love for his Church.

Vatican Radio provides a complete transcript of the inflight presser and Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa’s Vatican Insider provides a succinct analysis. “The Pope talked about clerical sex abuse against minors, saying he understands those families that cannot forgive,” Tornielli writes. “He spoke about the issue of communion for remarried divorcees and the recent reform on marital nullity, explaining that it does not equate to ‘Catholic divorce.’”

The pontiff even touched on religious freedom regarding a question that alluded to, but did not specifically name Kentucky court clerk Kim Davis’s conscientious objection and refusal to sign same sex marriage licenses. “It is a human right and if a government official is a human person, he has that right,” Francis said, according to the Vatican Radio transcript. “It is a human right.”

On the subject of clerical sex abuse, which Pope Francis addressed at length during a mass with American bishops in Philadelphia, the pope told reporters aboard the plane, “I wouldn’t say an apotheosis but almost a sacrilege. We know abuses are everywhere: in families, in neighborhoods, in schools, in gyms. But when a priest abuses it is very serious because the vocation of the priest is to make that boy, that girl, grow towards the love of God, toward maturity, and towards good,” he said.

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Ezra Klein on How New Online Media Technologies Shift U.S. Political Conversation: Implications for “Pope Messiahs” and Centrist Catholic Media Gatekeepers

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

William D. Lindsey

This is what I mean when I keep saying repeatedly that new media made possible by online technology, as well as the tools of social networking, are changing the game for the centrists who have long sought to control public political and religious discourse in the U.S.: Ezra Klein explains what, in his view, is going on with the rapidly shifting terrain of American politics:

[Th]e tools that party insiders use to decide both electoral and legislative outcomes are being weakened by new technologies and changing media norms. And so models of American politics that assume the effectiveness of those tools — models which weight elite opinion heavily, and give outsiders and insurgents little chance — have been thrown off.

Two points to note here: first, new technologies are weakening traditional media. They are changing the media game. They give more of us access to the role of “mediating” news stories to the world at large. And second, note the corelative statement with which Coates follows this observation: the centrist job is to “weight elite opinion heavily” while keeping dissenting voices firmly outside the conversation, firmly shoved to the margins, and pretending that they do not deserve a hearing, because they are not “objective” and “balanced” in the way centrist commentary is objective and balanced. …

The kind of citizen journalism being done by “ordinary” citizens who snap photos of, say, police brutality against peacefully assembled citizens of Ferguson, Missouri, and immediately send those photos around the world changes the game of traditional media in a radical way. It upends the centrist gatekeepers and explodes their control games.

To relate these ideas to the Catholic context, where the challenge of overcoming the dead hand of control of the centrist gatekeepers of the Catholic media remains acute and imperative, given the continued dominance of a mostly heterosexual, mostly white old boys’ network that is shamelessly unapologetic about its unearned privilege in the Catholic media: as Sister Teresa Forcades has repeatedly reminded us, effective change of the Catholic institution will not come via a “Pope Messiah” over whom the centrist old boys (of both genders) fawn and for whom they cheerlead, while they keep the voices of other Catholics, “real” Catholics — especially those on the margins of church and society — decisively locked out of their conversations. It will come from the bottom of the church, as “ordinary” Catholics raise their voices and assert their right to a role in the conversation that makes church.

Think about this for a moment: a pope has resigned. In our own lifetimes. And though the reasons for Benedict’s resignation remain murky and will not ever be fully disclosed to us, it is beyond doubt that the assiduous, unrelenting pressure of some long-despised members of the Catholic church played a key role in that resignation. I’m speaking specifically about survivors of childhood clerical abuse.

Who have refused to shut up. Who keep speaking out and telling their stories, organizing despite fierce opposition on the part of the institutional church and, for a very long time, from the media and the legal and criminal justice communities.

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Pope Francis admits cover up; SNAP responds

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday, Sept. 28

Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP president (312-399-4747, bblaine@snapnetwork.org)

After 30 years of public scandal in the US over predator priests and complicit bishops, finally a Catholic official is admitting that “princes of the church” covered up heinous crimes. But he fell short of admitting something even worse: that these cover ups continue even now.

[New York Times]

And we must stress that words – be they tougher, clearer, kinder or more frequent – are still just words. In a rigid, ancient, secretive, all-male monarchy, words are weak weapons in the battle against a massive, intractable crisis. Only actions can really make a difference. Those actions still are not happening.

We’re glad that Pope Francis admitted that church officials have concealed abuse. For decades, prelates have insisted these cover ups were “mistakes,” “oversights” and “errors in judgment” when, in fact, they are deliberate, daily decisions to put bishops’ reputations ahead of children’s safety.

Now, of course, Pope Francis must publicly and promptly punish bishops who are protecting predators now. And he must order bishops to do the same with their own staff and clerics who are protecting predators now.

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Pope Francis Addresses Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal during Philadelphia Trip

UNITED STATES
Nonprofit Quarterly

By RICK COHEN

In the wake of the controversy regarding his comments to the U.S. bishops earlier last week, Pope Francis met and prayed with five adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse by clergy during his visit to Philadelphia. (Their abusers, according to Vatican press spokesperson Fr. Federico Lombardi, had been clergy or family members or teachers.)

The unscheduled meeting with the survivors, attended also by Boston’s Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, who chairs a church commission on the protection of minors, Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, and Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald, head of the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s office for the protection of minors, lasted a half hour, according to the Guardian.

Following the meeting, the Pope reiterated his determination to hold clergy sexual abusers accountable for their actions. He made the following statements in that regard:

“I hold the stories and the suffering and the sorry of children who were sexually abused by priests deep in my heart…I remain overwhelmed with shame that men entrusted with the tender care of children violated these little ones and caused grievous harm. I am profoundly sorry. God weeps…The crimes and sins of the sexual abuse of children must no longer be held in secret. I pledge the zealous vigilance of the church to protect children and the promise of accountability for all.”

As NPQ reported last week, advocacy groups for victims of Catholic clergy sexual abuse were unhappy with the Pope’s statements in Washington, D.C. and New York City, which focused on the burden that fell upon the bishops who, as the Pope said in New York, were forced to “bear the shame of some of your brothers who harmed and scandalized the church.” To the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the Pope’s statements in Washington and New York were insufficient, suggesting that the Pope “talks and acts like the church hierarchy is the real victim in this crisis.”

Will his meeting with the group of victims in Philadelphia mollify groups like SNAP that see the Pope’s words and deeds as inadequate on this score? The Vatican issued a statement following the Pope’s meeting explaining that the Pope “renewed the commitment of the Church to the effort that all victims are heard and treated with justice, that the guilty be punished and that the crimes of abuse be combated with an effective prevention activity in the Church and in society.” According to the Associated Press, the Pope has also given the go-ahead to a new Vatican tribunal that will prosecute bishops who have “covered up abuse and shielded pedophile priests instead of turning them over to police.”

The Pope’s words of contrition will be seen as more meaningful to victims groups if they are accompanied by changes in the official church response to ongoing and prospective charges of sexual abuse by priests and other Catholic Church leaders. Among the cases and controversies that have arisen recently are these:

* New charges against a former priest named Donald Grecco allege he abused 10- and 14-year-old boys between 1977 and 1982 in the Niagara region of upstate New York.

* Charges against a former priest, John C. Holdren, allege he abused a child in a church in Aurora, Illinois, between 1972 and 1973.

* A priest from Pennsylvania, Joseph Maurizio, has been accused of molesting young boys between 2004 and 2009 during missionary trips he took to Honduras.

* A church volunteer in an Orange County, California church has been accused of molesting a 10-year-old girl while he was assigned to supervise a children’s group.

* A 2011 court deposition of Bishop Robert Cunningham of Syracuse in a case involving a man’s charges of clergy sexual abuse revealed that Cunningham testified that the man, at the time of his alleged victimization, a boy, had been “culpable” and called victims of clergy sexual abuse “accomplices.”

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If ‘God Weeps’ About Church Sex Abuse, What Does a Pope Do?

UNITED STATES
Huffington Post

By Jason Berry

WASHINGTON — Before Congress on Thursday, Pope Francis praised Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker Movement “for her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed,” likening her faith to “the example of the saints.”

Inspired by Day, Barbara Blaine in the mid 1980s moved into a Catholic Worker House on the South Side of Chicago where women fleeing domestic abuse found safe harbor with their kids. The cavernous floors, long emptied of nuns, housed other young radicals who lived out Day’s witness, working with broken lives, people on the ragged edge, the victims of what Pope Francis calls “the throwaway culture.”

After the man she loved died in an automobile accident, Blaine began dealing with the traumatic aftershocks of being sexually abused at her Toledo high school by Father Chet Warren. Years later she went after him, won a legal settlement and finally got him defrocked.

The road toward those encounters began when Blaine founded Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) while living in the Catholic Worker House in 1988. SNAP has waged a long battle in helping victims seek legal redress against bishops who concealed sexual predators — and pushing for structural changes to remove negligent bishops.

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Francis, Apostle of Politics and Pluralism

UNITED STATES
Religion News Service – Spiritual Politics

Mark Silk | Sep 28, 2015

On his first trip to the United States, Pope Francis communicated a vision of politics and pluralism that is rapidly becoming the signature social philosophy of his papacy.

In his address to Congress, Francis emphasized the importance of politics as a countervailing force to economic power (just as he had in his encyclical Laudato Si’):

If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance. Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life. I do not underestimate the difficulty that this involves, but I encourage you in this effort.

Similarly, at the United Nations, he stressed that in a world “marked by our technical ability to overcome distances and frontiers and, apparently, to overcome all natural limits to the exercise of power,” the juridical and political capacity of the U.N. is “an essential response, inasmuch as technological power, in the hands of nationalistic or falsely universalist ideologies, is capable of perpetrating tremendous atrocities.”

Francis’ valorization of politics doubtless derives from his experience living under a repressive military regime in a continent where all too often repressive military regimes have exploited the populace for the benefit of domestic elites and foreign economic interests. It is important to recognize that his concern is not about the relative power of government vis-a-vis the private sector so much as about how humanity makes decisions.

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Pope says bishops covered up sex abuse

UNITED STATES
USA Today

Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY September 28, 2015

Pope Francis said there are bishops who covered up child sex abuse and who will be held accountable. His remarks were to reporters on his flight home after leaving the United States Sunday.

Moving to erase any doubt about the how serious he views crimes against children in the church, the pontiff said he wanted to make clear that his words of consolation toward bishops made earlier Sunday after he visited with five sexual assault victims not be taken out of context.

“I felt the need to express compassion because something really terrible happened,” Francis said of those earlier comments on child abuse, “and many of them (bishops) suffered who did not know of this.”

But those bishops who were aware and who did not report them will be held accountable, he said. “Those who have covered up these things are guilty,” the pope said, according to a Newsday report. “And some bishops covered this up, and it is a very ugly thing.”

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Timeline of Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Crisis in U.S.

UNITED STATES
NBC News

timeline grpahic

By Asher Klein, Jessica Glazer and Vince Lattanzio

Pope Francis made a surprise announcement on the last day of his U.S. visit, revealing that he’d met with people who have been sexually abused by clergymen. The move brought renewed focus on the issue, which has rocked the Roman Catholic church for more than a decade.

Francis isn’t the first pope to apologize to victims of abuse, nor is he the first to meet with them – that would be Benedict XVI, seven years ago.

What makes Francis’ remarks especially notable is where he made them – in Philadelphia, where the first U.S. clergyman was convicted for not acting to stop abuse in the city’s archdiocese. Click through the timeline to see more events from the 30 year history of public abuse.

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