Some Questions about “The Keepers”

UNITED STATES
Huffington Post

December 31, 2017

By Tim Lynch, Contributor
Attorney specializing in criminal law and civil liberties

The Keepers” is a riveting documentary about two unsolved murders and sexual abuse at a Catholic high school for girls in the City of Baltimore called Bishop Keough. On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s a 10 —so all Netflix subscribers are encouraged to see this one. Spoiler Alert: This post will be examining various aspects of the documentary—so for those who have not yet seen the whole thing, you may wish to stop right here and return later on.

Even though I highly recommend this documentary, I was perplexed by a few things. At the end of the series, we meet Charles Franz, the dentist. He is portrayed as a key figure because his mother lodged a complaint with the Catholic Church in Baltimore that Maskell…

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15 recommendations from the royal commission into child sexual abuse you should know about

AUSTRALIA
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

December 17, 2017

The final report from the almost five-year royal commission into child sexual abuse was officially handed to the Governor-General this morning.

The document is tens of thousands of pages long, and contains a total of 409 recommendations which aim to make institutions safer for children.

Of those 409 recommendations, 189 recommendations are new today.

You can follow our live blog for updates as we continue to read through the report. But if you’re strapped for time, here are some of the big ones you should know about.

For religious institutions:

– The ministry of churches (not just the Catholic Church) should not be exempt from reporting information discovered in religious confession.

– Any religious organisation with a rite of religious confession should implement a policy that confession for children be conducted in an open space and in a clear line…

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Student priests believe it’s time for the Catholic Church to evolve

AUSTRALIA
ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corp.) Radio

By Isabella Higgins on AM

[LINK TO AUDIO BROADCAST]

More scrutiny than ever is upon the powerful leadership in Australia’s Catholic Church, following damning findings in the Child Abuse Royal Commission.

The commission made recommendations for the church to break with centuries of tradition and remove the sanctity of confessional and make celibacy for priests voluntary.

Senior Australian church leaders have already made it clear they don’t support those changes, but a new generation of priests is promising to do things differently.

Duration: 2min 49sec

Broadcast: Mon 1 Jan 2018, 7:14am

Featured:

Tom Duncan, seminarian, Holy Spirit Seminary, Brisbane
Minje Kim, seminarian, Holy Spirit Seminary, Brisbane
Ashwin Ancharya, seminarian, Holy Spirit Seminary, Brisbane

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Pope Francis Visits Chile and Peru: Sex Abuse, Politics and Opus Dei

UNITED STATES
The Open Tabernacle

December 30, 2017

By Betty Clermont

This is the pope’s sixth trip to the region with which he is most familiar. But this one is different. This is the first time he will face a populace aware of both his indifference, at best, to victims of sexual abuse and, at worse, his efforts to shield the perpetrators. In addition, there is a consistent pattern of issues, as well as an alliance of powerful elites from church and state, in both countries.

Pope Francis will face significant hostility when he visits Chile Jan. 15 – 18. Demonstrations have been planned to protest his response to clerical sex abuse.

There had been a near riot in Osorno when Pope Francis assigned Juan Barros Madrid as bishop in 2015. Victims of the sexual predator, Fr. Fernando Karadima, accused Barros of sometimes being present while Karadima abused…

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Couple leaves words ‘priest rapist’ off Wheaton cemetery tombstone

WHEATON (IL)
Chicago Daily Herald

December 30, 2017

By Chacour Koop

“She supported priest rapist victims” is not chiseled into the grave marker for Jack Ruhl’s mother.

Instead, the tombstone he and his wife, Diane Ruhl, installed at Assumption Cemetery in Wheaton a few days before Christmas says, “She supported priest sexual abuse victims.”

It’s a compromise the Michigan couple made with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet, which called the proposed wording too explicit. Ruhl conceded that this was the best he could do for his mother, Marguerite N. Ridgeway of Lisle, who died in July 2015.

“Nowadays and for some time, there’s been so much ambiguity about what sexual abuse is,” Ruhl said in a phone interview Saturday. “I wanted to use the word rape because to me it stands for the most extreme, dehumanizing act one person can inflict upon another.”

Ridgeway converted to Catholicism after…

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Opinion: Death of disgraced cardinal reveals a truth we’d rather ignore about the Catholic Church

NORWICH (CT)
Norwich Bulletin

December 31, 2017

By Melinda Henneberger

Twelve years ago, after the death of Pope John Paul II, I watched a man who will go down in history as a fierce protector of child rapists process into St. Peter’s to celebrate one of the nine masses that traditionally follow the death of a pontiff.

On that day, Cardinal Bernard Law, who died recently at 86, had already resigned in disgrace from his post as archbishop of Boston. He’d lost his stroke with the White House, too, after the Boston Globe revealed the full extent of the clerical sex abuse scandal that Law’s cover-up had both delayed and compounded.

In exile in Rome, Law was a pariah but also a man who retained some vestiges of power, especially on the key committee that helps choose bishops; if Catholics didn’t invent having it both ways, we certainly have…

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Michigan man reaches compromise with diocese over his mother’s controversial gravestone epitaph referencing church sex crimes

WHEATON (IL)
Associated Press, as it appeared in The Daily Mail

December 31, 2017

Jack Ruhl of Michigan wanted to install a gravestone on his mother Marguerite Ridgeway’s grave in Assumption Cemetery in Wheaton, Illinois

He wanted her epitaph to read: ‘She supported priest rapist victims;’ the Roman Catholic Diocese did not agree to the use of the word ‘rapist’

A compromise was reached for the gravestone which was installed December 22

It now reads: ‘She supported priest sexual abuse victims’

Ridgeway had been a devout Catholic before she became disillusioned with the church over its handling of its sex abuse scandal

A man who wanted to install a gravestone at a suburban Chicago cemetery that proclaimed his late mother’s support for victims of ‘rapist’ priests has reached a resolution with a Roman Catholic diocese.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet refused to allow the proposed marker for…

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Let’s salute the true heroes of 2017

BRISBANE (QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA)
Brisbane Times

December 29, 2017

By Julia Baird

[Note: For more on Joanne McCarthy, see From Darkness, a Light Starts to Shine, by Ian Kirkwood, Newcastle Herald, December 14, 2017 and There Will Be a Royal Commission Because There Must Be, by Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald, August 3, 2012. See also the Newcastle Herald’s coverage of the abuse crisis.]

This year, when cart-wheeling down streets to usher in the new year, take a moment to hat-tip the legends of the one ending.

Here’s my list of some icons of 2017, each a reminder of the change that a determined individual can make.

* * *

5. The fifth is investigative journalists. We can all thank scammer Jaime Phillips, who tried to get the Washington Post to run a false story, only to have them challenge her inconsistencies, thereby underlining how rigorous and scrupulous…

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John Corrigan, who pleaded guilty in church sex-abuse scandal, dies

TORONTO (ONTARIO, CANADA)
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

December 29, 2017

One of the first priests charged in connection with the Roman Catholic sex-abuse scandal in the 1980s has died.

In 1988 Father John Corrigan pleaded guilty to five charges of gross indecency and two counts of sexual assault on boys between the ages of 10 and 13.

Eight other charges originally filed against the priest were dropped. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

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Hollywood sex-abuse tsunami a new twist on a very old plot

HALIFAX (NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA)
The Herald

December 30, 2017

By Gail Lethbridge

The biggest surprise of 2017 was that anyone was surprised.

Never, it seems, have there been more pearls clutched, more sharp breath intakes, more heads shaken in disgust, as one Hollywood mogul after another went down in the wake of sexual assault allegations.

I’m not questioning the rightness of this. Of course it’s right that people are being held accountable for their actions.

But what perplexes me is that anyone should be surprised by the fact that powerful men in show business (or any other business, for that matter) would use their positions to get their way with less powerful people.

* * *

Anyone who thinks it’s weird that a woman didn’t report an incident of sexual abuse need only look at the Catholic Church and connect the dots. Like the altar boys, that woman knew…

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After dispute over epitaph, tombstone at Catholic cemetery reads: She supported priest sexual abuse victims

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

December 30, 2017

By Angie Leventis Lourgos

[Note: The article includes a video interview with Jack and Diane Ruhl.]

A son says his late mother finally will be able to rest in peace now that a dispute with a Catholic cemetery over her controversial grave marker has been resolved.

Marguerite Ridgeway, of west suburban Lisle, was a faithful Catholic before church sex abuse scandals came to light, including decades-old trauma recounted by her daughter-in-law. Before her 2015 death, Ridgeway closely followed the stories of abuse victims locally and across the country, and her outrage ultimately spurred a break with the church she once loved, according to her son, Jack Ruhl, of Kalamazoo, Mich.

In October, Ruhl had proposed the marker at her grave at Assumption Cemetery in Wheaton bear the message “She supported priest rapist victims.” But the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet, which…

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Millennials Fueling Resurgence in Candidates for Priesthood

CINCINNATI (OH)
Associated Press

December 30, 2017

By Dan Horn

Millennials seeking to become Catholic priests are being credited with an increase in enrollment at an Ohio seminary.

The Rev. Benedict O’Cinnsealaigh looks out his office window at the courtyard below, marveling at how much his view has changed in just a few weeks.

Once home to green grass and well-manicured shrubs, the courtyard is now a muddy mess. Heavy equipment rumbles throughout the day and temporary fences surround ditches and overturned earth.

O’Cinnsealaigh thinks it’s beautiful. As president of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary at The Athenaeum of Ohio, he knows what this big construction project means for the Catholic Church in Cincinnati.

“We have a future here,” he says.

* * *

Their generation came of age as society was becoming less religious overall and as the Catholic Church was suffering through a yearslong clergy abuse crisis that…

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2017 Year in Review – Story No. 5: Vatican tribunal, $500M in sex abuse lawsuits

GUAM
Guam Daily Post

December 30, 2017

By Mindy Aguon

Coadjutor Archbishop Michael Byrnes had hoped 2017 would be a year of reparation. It turned into a year of more than 100 sex abuse lawsuits, a canonical trial and efforts to fix a broken Catholic Church on Guam.

At the start of the year, Byrnes gave the island’s Catholic faithful assurance that he would work to regain their “tremendous loss of trust” in the Catholic Church, after suspended Archbishop Anthony Apuron left the island amid allegations that he sexually abused altar boys decades ago when he was a priest.

Apuron faces penal charges in connection with the allegations, prompting a Vatican tribunal’s visit to Guam in February to interview Apuron’s accusers and other individuals related to their inquiry.

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, the judge of the tribunal; Rev. Justin Wachs, the notary; and other members of the Vatican tribunal…

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Former Newfoundland and Labrador priest John Corrigan convicted in sexual abuse scandal dead at 86

ST. JOHN’S (NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR, CANADA)
The Telegram

December 30, 2017

[See also the two reports referenced below: the Hughes Report (Volume 1 and Volume 2); and the Winter Report (Volume 1, Volume 2, and the Conclusions and Recommendations). The Winter Report includes a section on Corrigan.

John Corrigan, a Roman Catholic priest once convicted in connection with the sexual abuse scandal that took place in the late 1980s died Thursday.

He was 86.

In December 1988, Corrigan pleaded guilty to five charges of gross indecency and two charges of sexual assault on young boys who ranged in ages from 10 to 13. He received a five-year prison sentence.

Eight other charges originally filed against Corrigan were dropped.

* * *

Corrigan’s guilty plea came only two months after another Roman Catholic priest, Father James Hickey, also of St. John’s, was sentenced to…

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8 Stories That Made A Difference In Hawaii This Year

HAWAII
Honolulu Civil Beat

December 29, 2017

By Landess Kearns

Deep-dive investigations, dogged daily coverage and a multimedia journey to exotic islands were all part of Civil Beat’s efforts in 2017.

Excerpt:

6. Faith Betrayed

Earlier this year, reporter Anita Hofschneider traveled to Guam to report on the more than 100 people who filed lawsuits against the Catholic Church alleging sex abuse by priests.

On an island where indigenous culture and Catholicism are deeply intertwined, the situation is agonizing for everyone involved. In our special report, “Faith Betrayed,” read and hear the stories of the survivors themselves.

You can also learn more from an accompanying Offshore podcast, “Confronting Faith,” that further explores how people on Guam are reexamining their culture and faith in the wake of the scandal.

This project was made possible by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

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Priest Convicted In Mount Cashel Abuse Passes Away

ST. JOHN’S (CANADA)
VOCM News

December 29, 2017

Roman Catholic priest convicted of sexually assaulting young boys in St. John’s in the 80s has passed away.

Father John Corrigan was found guilty of gross indecency and sexual offences against young boys in 1988. He was convicted along with Father James Hickey. Their convictions led to the reopening of the Mount Cashel investigation.

Family members have confirmed for VOCM News that the former priest died yesterday in St. John’s.

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U.S. Church in 2017: Debates over pastoral priorities and approaches

NEW YORK (NY)
CRUX

December 28, 2017

By Christopher White

[Editors note: This is part two of Crux national correspondent Christopher White’s look back at the U.S. Church in 2017. In part one, he examined the Church’s engagement in the public square over the past year.]

NEW YORK – While the Church’s engagement in the public square is often what attracts major headlines – and 2017 did not disappoint as yesterday’s recap chronicled – the behind-the-scenes internal workings, and indeed, controversies, of the U.S. Church are equally important to remember.

These machinations help illuminate larger trends in Church life, and often inform and shape the Church’s external focus – and in that regard, 2017 proved to be a similarly critical year for life in the U.S. Church.

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Universities face #MeToo movement over sexual harassment

WASHINGTON (DC)
Associated Press

December 28, 2017

By Maria Danilova

WASHINGTON (AP) — When Celeste Kidd was a graduate student of neuroscience at the University of Rochester she says a professor supervising her made her life unbearable by stalking her, making demeaning comments about her weight and talking about sex.

Ten years on and now a professor of neuroscience at the university, Kidd is taking legal action. She has filed a federal lawsuit against the school alleging that it mishandled its sexual harassment investigation into the professor’s actions and then retaliated against her and her colleagues for reporting the misconduct.

“We are trying to bring transparency to a system that is corrupt,” Kidd told The Associated Press.

Academia — like Hollywood, the media and Congress — is facing its own #MeToo movement over allegations of sexual misconduct. Brett Sokolow, who heads an association of sexual harassment investigators on campuses,…

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Duterte and Church set for showdown, Filipino journalist warns

TORONTO (ONTARIO, CANADA)
The Catholic Register

December 28, 2017

By Jean Ko Din

An award-winning Philippines journalist fears his country’s Catholic Church is on a collision course with iron-fisted President Rodrigo Duterte.

“The president, who does not tolerate criticism, is fighting back,” said Manuel Mogato.

The veteran reporter for Reuters, who has faced threats and harassment for his coverage of Duterte’s regime, was in Toronto Dec. 5 to accept the 2017 Marshall McLuhan Fellowship Award. He was recognized for investigative reporting in a multimedia series titled “Duterte’s War.”

In the past year, Mogato said the Church has become even more vocal in condemning extra-judicial killings during a war on drugs that has claimed thousands of lives within the first year of Duterte’s presidency.

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Attleboro’s Tom Carroll remembered for seeking justice for abused children

ATTLEBORO (MA)
The Sun Chronicle

December 29, 2017

By David Linton

ATTLEBORO — For three decades Tom Carroll investigated the most heinous and notorious child abuse and child sex abuse cases throughout Bristol County.

They include the Father James Porter case, which started the avalanche of child sex abuse claims against priests in the Catholic Church that followed, and the Attleboro religious cult case in which a 6-month-old child was starved to death by his father in the name of God.

During the course of his career, first with the state Department of Social Services — now called the Department of Children and Families — and then as an investigator under three district attorneys, Carroll affected the lives of hundreds of other children as he sought justice for them, former colleagues and friends say.

Now, his hard work, sense of duty to children, devotion to his family, his friendship…

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Catholic women join fight against sexual assault, solicit govt support

ENUGU (NIGERIA)
Vanguard

December 29, 2017

By Anayo Okoli

ENUGU—CATHOLIC female knights in Enugu have joined in the fight against rape and other forms of sexual abuse in Enugu and other parts of the South East zone.

To take their fight far, the women have appealed to Enugu State Government and other governments of the South East zone to partner with them in the fight.

As part of the awareness creation, the women, led by a former Minister of State for Education and Supervising Minister for Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri, recently protested in some major streets in Enugu, which took them to the Government House, where they were received by the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Cecelia Ezeilo, who encouraged them and assured of the support of the government in the fight against the ill.

Represented by the State Commissioner for Gender Affairs, Mrs. Peace Nnaji, Ezeilo urged other organizations…

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New Lawsuit Accuses FLDS Church Leadership Of Ritualistic Sex Abuse Of Children

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Inquisitr

December 28, 2017

A lawsuit filed last week accuses multiple FLDS Church leaders, including Warren Jeffs, of religious-based sex abuse of children as young as 8-years-old.

In a lawsuit filed on Wednesday against the leadership of the Fundamentalist LDS (FLDS) Church, an offshoot of the mainstream Mormon (LDS) Church, an unnamed 21-year-old woman identified publicly only as “R.H.” accused high-ranking FLDS leaders of ritualistic sexual abuse against girls as young as 8-years-old. Named as defendants in the lawsuit are FLDS Church president (and previous FBI “10 Most Wanted” fugitive) Warren Jeffs, brothers Lyle and Seth Jeffs, and previous FLDS Church leader Wendall Nielsen. All are accused of child sex abuse.

As Fox 13 Now reports, R.H. is targeting the relatively deep pockets of both the FLDS Church and its court-managed United Effort Plan Trust, which manages the controversial church’s real estate holdings. According to…

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Sex Abuse Case Against Mormon Church Leaders to Go to Trial

MARTINSBURG (WV)
Associated Press

December 29, 2017

A jury in West Virginia will hear the evidence against the Mormon Church in a lawsuit accusing local church officials of covering up allegations that the son of officials abused 12 children over more than five years.

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — A jury in West Virginia will hear the evidence against the Mormon Church in a lawsuit accusing local church officials of covering up allegations that the son of officials abused 12 children over more than five years.

The Journal reports that the lawsuit filed by children who were between the ages of 3 and 12 when they say they were sexually abused by Christopher Michael Jensen will go to trial Jan. 8 in Berkeley County. Jensen was sentenced in 2013 to 35 to 75 years in prison for sexually abusing two minors.

The lawsuit was initially filed in…

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Judge Orders Parties Involved in Archdiocese Bankruptcy Case to Return to Mediation

ST. PAUL AND MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
KSTP-TV

December 28, 2017

By Rebecca Omastiak

A judge has denied reorganization plans from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Creditor’s Committee.

The archdiocese originally filed its reorganization plan in its bankruptcy case in May 2016. The Creditor’s Committee also submitted a request the archdiocese’s assets be consolidated, which was denied.

In December 2016, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel allowed both plans to be moved to a vote. A group of more than 400 clergy abuse victims rejected the reorganization plan.

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Judge denies Twins Cities Archdiocese bankruptcy plans

ST. PAUL (MN)
FOX 9

December 28, 2017

By Karen Scullin

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) – A bankruptcy judge denied the Archdiocese’s reorganization plan, but also a competing plan made by the Creditor’s Committee, which represents the victims of clergy abuse.

The judge sent all parties to mediation along with the insurance companies involved. Despite both plans being rejected, including the plan the victims were in favor of, the victim’s attorney actually sees the denial as a good thing because the victims’ voices are finally being heard.

In the order, the judge was highly critical of the parties involved, except the victims. He pointed out that the bickering has gone on much too long and that some of the victims are in fact passing away without a resolution. He criticized the Archdiocese for minimizing the complaints and the pain, the parishes who have been quick to blame the Archdiocese…

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Judge rejects archdiocese bankruptcy plans, orders return to mediation

ST. PAUL (MN)
WASECA County News

December 28, 2017

By Martin Moylan

A federal judge has rejected competing reorganization plans for the the bankrupt Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and ordered the church and its creditors back into mediation.

In orders released Thursday, Judge Robert Kressel said plans put forth by the archdiocese and a creditors committee made up largely of sexual abuse victims both had shortcomings.

Among other things, the judge noted that the archdiocese plan offering about $155 million had been overwhelmingly rejected in a vote of abuse victims. And Kressel said flaws in the plan advanced by abuse victims included an unrealistic reliance on lawsuits against third-parties to raise money for victims.

Kressel said he expects all parties to reach a consensual plan “providing appropriate and timely compensation to those who have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of those employed by or affiliated with…

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Letter: Pornography is fueling epidemic

ALBERT LEA (MN)
Albert Lea Tribune

December 28, 2017

“For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.” — Luke 8:17

Recently, the issue of sexual abuse has come to light in a big way. We first became aware of it with the clergy abuse scandals, and now it has been extended to include big name politicians, Hollywood celebrities, high profile news anchors, as well as many others in positions of power who have been exposed by their multiple victims. This issue was never limited to one segment of society. In fact, we are finding out that sexual abuse, in its many forms, tends to cut across all of society, including our schools.

Sadly, we are reaping what we have sown. Pornography has been a major factor in fueling this epidemic. I once heard it said…

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Judge overseeing Twin Cities archdiocese’s bankruptcy case rejects both sides’ plans

ST. PAUL AND MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
Pioneer Press

December 28, 2017

By Sarah Horner

A federal bankruptcy judge has rejected both the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ and a group of sexual abuse survivors’ proposed bankruptcy reorganization plans, which would have guided the payout to victims of abusive clergy.

The ruling issued Thursday by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel sends both parties back to the negotiating table with instructions to “put aside their desire to win” so a “resolution that is fair to all of the people involved” can be achieved.

“The (survivors) must put aside (their) desire for retribution,” according to the judge’s memo filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in St. Paul. “After all, whatever else the archdiocese is, it is a corporation. (And) corporations do not suffer; only people suffer.”

The Roman Catholic archdiocese will also need to shift priorities, Kressel wrote, in particular its “desire to…

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Judge denies Twin Cities archdiocese bankruptcy plans

ST. PAUL (MN)
The Associated Press

December 29, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — An attorney for victims for clergy sex abuse said Thursday that a judge has ordered all sides back to mediation in the years-long bankruptcy case of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, but he said the ruling will quicken the process of getting payments to victims.

The judge denied both the archdiocese’s reorganization plan and a competing plan submitted by a creditors’ committee before ordering all sides back into negotiations, St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson said. The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy protection in 2015, as it faced an onslaught of new abuse allegations.

Anderson said the judge’s decision means “there will be a speedier resolution” than either plan could have offered. A spokesman for the archdiocese did not immediately reply to messages for comment.

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Survivors Reveal Rampant Child Abuse At Amarillo Ranch For At-Risk Boys

AUSTIN (TX)
Texas Standard via KUT 90.5

December 29, 2017

By Laura Rice

There’s a city of sorts in the Texas Panhandle that really isn’t a regular city at all. It has a post office, a museum, and a church – but other than that, it’s mostly just homes, dorms, and school buildings. Boys Ranch, Texas is home to Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch, a residential community for at-risk children. It’s been serving this purpose for close to 80 years. But now, some former residents say it’s Boys Ranch itself that really put them at risk.

Jason Wilson writes in the Guardian about more than a decade’s worth of allegations of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch.

Wilson says Steve Smith lived at the ranch with his younger brother Rick Smith in the late 1950s through the 1960s.

“He detailed the most shocking abuse really,” Wilson…

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Web Exclusive: Bishop Oscar Solis on controversy in the Catholic Church [with video]

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
KUTV CBS 2

December 28, 2017

By Maren Jensen

(KUTV) In the past, the Catholic Church has faced some controversy, including news about some priests involved in sexual abuse of children.

“The Church has not been a perfect church,” said Bishop Oscar Solis. “It is perfect because God is there, but the administration of the church is run by human persons–flawed, weak, broken. So it’s expected.”

Solis believes that those times are times the Church and its leaders need to take a moment to self-evaluate what they might be doing wrong so they can set things right.

“It makes our church better, we serve our community better, by seeing to it that the people we serve are in a safer place, in a safe environment, where they’re respected,” he said.

“It’s a challenge for us. It’s a sad moment in our life, in our history,…

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‘Reform’: Lone protester targets St Patrick’s over Christmas

AUSTRALIA
The Gympie Times

December 29, 2017

By Scott Kovacevic

THE findings of the Royal Commission into child abuse has made a Gympie man launch his own crusade in the hope of reforming one of the region’s biggest parishes.

Over the past week, Frank Lightfoot has been protesting with homemade signs calling for the reform of the Catholic Church following the release of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

And he has not been subtle about his passion.

He has already set up camp outside St Patrick’s Church in the lead-up to Christmas, and said that on the first day someone called the police in the hope they would move him on.

A former Catholic himself, the 71-year-old said he had a personal connection to the child abuse controversy.

“I encourage renewal because a lot of my family members are impacted by this,” Mr Lightfoot…

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Judge rejects archdiocese bankruptcy plans, orders return to mediation

ST. PAUL AND MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
MPR News

December 28, 2017

By Martin Moylan

A federal judge has rejected competing reorganization plans for the the bankrupt Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and ordered the church and its creditors back into mediation.

In orders released Thursday, Judge Robert Kressel said plans put forth by the archdiocese and a creditors committee made up largely of sexual abuse victims both had shortcomings.

Among other things, the judge noted that the archdiocese plan offering about $155 million had been overwhelmingly rejected in a vote of abuse victims. And Kressel said flaws in the plan advanced by abuse victims included an unrealistic reliance on lawsuits against third-parties to raise money for victims.

Kressel said he expects all parties to reach a consensual plan “providing appropriate and timely compensation to those who have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of those employed by or affiliated…

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Dozens come forward to report abuse by Jehovah’s Witnesses

THE NETHERLANDS
Dutch News

December 28, 2017

Some 80 reports of sexual abuse involving the Jehovah’s Witnesses community have been made over the past month, Trouw said on Thursday.

In total, 50 reports were made to the hotline set up by the Reclaimed Voices foundation, while a further 30 were received by the newspaper after it published a report on the growing scandal earlier this month.

Frank Huiting, one of the foundation’s founders and himself an abuse victim, told the paper the scale of the problem is only now becoming clear. Most of the complaints have been made by people who have already left the church and this is of particular concern, Huiting said.

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Law planned to stop sex offenders going abroad

UNITED KINGDOM/IRELAND
The Times

December 28 2017

By Ed Carty

Proposed new legislation to ban paedophiles and sex offenders from foreign travel is to be unveiled in the new year.

Plans to expand the passport “stop list” have been drafted after Father Shay Cullen, the four-time Nobel peace prize nominee, called on western governments to tackle sex tourism.

Father Cullen, who has been working with street children in the Philippines since 1974, said paedophiles should be barred from going overseas in the same way as suspected terrorists.

“I expect the Irish people and the Dáil will support it and set an example for other EU countries,” he said.

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Blue Creek Academy church sues insurance company

CHARLESTON (WV)
Charleston Gazette-Mail

December 28, 2017

By Lacie Pierson

Officials with Bible Baptist Church claim employees with the church’s insurance company lied about the church’s coverage amid a sexual abuse scandal at a church-sponsored school.

The church’s lawsuit against Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company was assigned to U.S. District Court in Southern West Virginia on Dec. 22.

In the lawsuit, church officials say the insurance company and the church’s insurance agent, Stephen Peters, lied in a separate lawsuit in U.S. District Court about whether Blue Creek Academy was covered by the church’s insurance policy.

The church originally filed the lawsuit in Kanawha County Circuit Court on Sept. 28.

The lawsuit that was moved up to district court this month was filed by Pastor James Waldeck, along with Darrell Baker, Howard Prease and Michael V. Minnick, who are trustees at the church.

The insurance company and Peters are the only…

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Jury to hear case against Mormon Church, officials

MARTINSBURG (WV)
The Journal

December 28, 2017

By Kelsie LeRose

MARTINSBURG–A Berkeley County jury will hear the accusations and evidence against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormon Church, and local church officials in early January for allegedly covering up allegations that the son of local church officials sexually abused 12 children over the course of more than five years.

The case against the church was initially investigated after Christopher Michael Jensen, of Martinsburg, was found guilty and sentenced on July 29, 2013 to 35 to 75 years in prison for sexually abusing two minors–4 and 3 years of age at the time of the abuse.

According to the office of 23rd Judicial Circuit Court Judge Christopher C. Wilkes, the pre-trial is scheduled for 9 a.m. Jan. 8 and the trial is set to begin on Jan. 9.

Filed in 2013, the lawsuit…

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FLDS Church leaders facing lawsuit for sexual ‘religious rituals’ with underage girls

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
ABC4 Utah

December 27, 2017

By Kierra Dotson

Leaders with the Fundamentalists Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are being accused of sexual “religious rituals” with underage girls.

Court documents filed Wednesday say a victim came forward and told state officials leaders of the FLDS church watched, taped, and participated in several sexual encounters with underage girls between five and six times a week. The victims ages ranged from 8 years old to 14 years old.

“This horrific religious doctrine and religious rituals as performed on Plaintiff consisted of Plaintiff, beginning at the age of 8, having a bag placed over her head, led out of her house by representatives of the Defendants, placed in a vehicle, and being driven to an unknown location,’ court documents said.

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After polygamist leaders used underage girls for sex, lawsuit says, one teen was forced to be a scribe for the rituals

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
The Salt Lake Tribune

December 28, 2017

By Paighten Harkins

Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints President Warren Jeffs, along with other officials in the church and its former land trust, is accused of carrying out a “calculated plan” to sexually abuse underage girls as part of a religious ritual, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.

The lawsuit also cites for alleged wrongdoing the United Effort Plan Trust, Warren Jeffs’ brothers Lyle and Seth Jeffs, former FLDS President and convicted bigamist Wendell Nielsen, and the church.

The lawsuit filed in 3rd District Court alleges that as part of their FLDS beliefs, men have historically sexually abused and assaulted underage girls. However, under Warren Jeffs’ leadership, the lawsuit’s plaintiff — a 21-year-old woman identified as R.H. — says a new practice involving ritualistic sexual intercourse with young girls began.

Starting when she was 8…

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New lawsuit accuses FLDS Church leaders of ritualistic sex abuse

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
FOX13

December 27, 2017

By Ben Winslow

SALT LAKE CITY — A new lawsuit accuses Fundamentalist LDS Church leader Warren Jeffs and others in the church of ritualistic sex abuse involving girls as young as eight years old.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in state court by a 21-year-old woman only identified as “R.H.,” levels allegations of abuse against Warren Jeffs, his brothers Lyle Jeffs and Seth Jeffs; and former FLDS leader Wendell Nielsen of sex abuse. It also goes after the FLDS Church and the court-controlled real-estate holdings arm, the United Effort Plan Trust.

“I have filed this lawsuit in order to hold certain parties accountable for the religious-based systemic sexual abuse of young children. Even though Warren Jeffs is in prison, it is my belief and personal experience that these abuses continue,” R.H. said in a statement to FOX 13 released through her attorneys.

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Uttar Pradesh: Priest Arrested For Molesting Girls In Vrindavan

INDIA
The GenX Times

December 28, 2017

By Shweta Sachdeva

In a shocking incident, a priest in Vrindavan was reportedly thrashed for by a mob for allegedly molesting his two followers on Wednesday.

The incident was captured on camera which is been circulated on the social media platform.

It was believed that two female devotees from Maharashtra alleged that priest Baba Basudev Shastri has sexually assaulted them.

The video which is going viral has been seen thrashed with sticks and was held with his hair by a mob Mathura’s Vrindavan.

It was reported that the priest is earlier accused of molesting girls on several occasions, officials said.

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Vrindavan priest held for rape of girls from Maharashtra

AGRA (INDIA)
Times of India

December 28, 2017

By Anuja Jaiswal

AGRA: A 35-year-old Vrindavan katha vachak (one who recites religious texts for the audience), named Vasudev Giri, was arrested on Wednesday on charges of raping two girls from Maharashtra.

In a complaint to the police, the survivors have alleged that the suspect had been sexually exploiting them for the past three months. They claimed that they had come to him to learn recital of Bhagwad Gita.

Police said that they were tipped off about the case by a caller and when they reached Moti Jheel area, they found the local residents thrashing the katha vachak.

According to the police, the girls, who are around 18 years old, hail from Maharashtra. The suspect also reportedly hails from the same area.

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UPDATE: Attorney blasts reinstatement of Dilworth-Hawley priest accused of sexually abusing teen

CROOKSTON (MN)
Inforum

December 27, 2017

By Dave Olson

CROOKSTON, Minn. — An attorney representing a man who claims a Catholic priest sexually abused him as a teen expressed outrage Wednesday, Dec. 27, that the Crookston Diocese has reinstated the priest as pastor of the Dilworth and Hawley parishes.

The diocese announced on Tuesday, Dec. 26, that Father Patrick Sullivan resumed his priestly duties at St. Elizabeth’s Parish in Dilworth and St. Andrew’s Parish in Hawley. Sullivan had been placed on administrative leave after the abuse allegations surfaced in 2016.

The diocese said it had concluded that allegations of wrongdoing by Sullivan were unfounded.

The alleged victim’s attorney, Jeff Anderson, said a lawsuit would be filed sometime Wednesday relating to allegations involving Sullivan and a minor.

“The decision by the diocese and Bishop (Michael) Hoeppner to return Father Sullivan to ministry while the lawsuit is pending is reckless, because…

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Opinion: Do right by the victims: Time to protect New York’s children

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Daily News

December 28, 2017

Next year will bring yet another attempt to overhaul New York’s antiquated statutes of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse — and it must be the last.

With exceptions for rape and other forcible violations, prosecutors have just five years after individuals victimized as children turn 18 to bring criminal charges, a constraint that has protected many a pedophile.

Victims have just until they are 21 years old to bring a civil complaint against organizations that may have been havens for predators.

At this #MeToo moment — in light of profound new public understanding why victims delay, sometimes for many years, reporting their abuse by those more powerful than they — this state must stand with victims and right a great wrong.

Gov. Cuomo ought to seize his chance to lead the way, in the spotlight of his…

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Journalists in the movies present the dogged fight for truth — as in ‘The Post’ — as well as the scoundrels

LOS ANGELES (CA)
The Los Angeles Tiimes

December 28, 2017

By Lewis Beale

Journalism isn’t exactly held in high esteem these days. Yet despite a recent USA Today poll that found nearly two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the mainstream media, that hasn’t deterred Hollywood’s fascination with the Fourth Estate, particularly its print component. In 2016, “Spotlight” won the best picture Oscar for its portrayal of Boston Globe reporters uncovering a sex abuse scandal within the Catholic Church, and now director Steven Spielberg’s “The Post,” starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, details the Washington Post’s decision to publish the Pentagon Papers, a secret Defense Department report showing that the Johnson administration (among others) systematically lied about its conduct of the Vietnam War.

“I certainly hope that our movie makes people aware of the kind of effort that goes into searching for and seeking and printing the truth,” Spielberg has said….

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In #MeToo movement Catholic Church can play role in discussion, healing

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service via The Catholic Sun

December 28, 2017

By Carol Zimmermann

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The wave of accusations of sexual harassment, misconduct and assault from Hollywood to Capitol Hill and many places in between in recent months has been described as a revolution, a moment and a time for national reckoning.

The accused — abruptly fired or resigned — have issued apology statements or denied wrongdoing. Those who have come forward — predominantly women, but also some men emboldened by the solidarity of the #MeToo movement — were named “Silence Breakers” by Time magazine and honored as its 2017 Person of the Year.

“We’re still at the bomb-throwing point of this revolution,” the Time article points out, stressing that for true social change to happen, private conversations on this issue are essential.

And that’s where some say the Catholic Church has something to offer both…

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OUR VIEW: Church’s handling of Cardinal Law’s death inappropriate

ATTLEBORO (MA)
The Sun Chronicle

December 28, 2017

Time, they say, heals all wounds.

Even if that were true — we all know someone grieving the loss of a loved one years after their death — it’s clear that not nearly enough time has passed since the Catholic Church’s clergy abuse scandal to salve the damage to its victims.

That’s one of two lessons learned from the death last week of Cardinal Bernard Law, the disgraced former head of the Archdiocese of Boston.

Law covered up sexual abuse committed against children by dozens of priests before he was forced to resign in 2002 when the scandal, and his role in it, was exposed by The Boston Globe.

“With his passing, I say I hope the gates of hell are open wide to welcome him, because I feel no redemption for somebody like him is worthwhile,” Alexa MacPherson, a native…

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Drawing lessons from the life of Cardinal Bernard Law

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

December 27, 2017

For those trying to understand the legacy of Cardinal Bernard Law, Donna B. Doucette, executive director of Voice of the Faithful, may offer the most useful insight.

Doucette’s organization grew out of the revelations of clergy sexually abusing children and its cover up that forced Law out of Boston in 2002, ripped the lid off a simmering cauldron of scandal, and made the sexual exploitation of children by clergy an issue of global concern. She says Catholics should learn three basic lessons from Law’s legacy: “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” “secrets destroy” and, for those interested in reforming church structures, “trust but verify.”

Law died in Rome Dec. 20, 15 years after resigning as archbishop of Boston.

In the winter and spring of 2002 as the public began to learn the tragic, awful truth of how clergy had sexually abused minors,…

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Give citizens a voice against injustice: Letters to the editor, Dec. 28

NASHVILLE (TN)
The Tennessean

December 28, 2017

Give citizens a voice against injustice

We have a societal tendency to give people in power undue benefit of the doubt at the expense of justice when faced with allegations of systemic abuse. Additionally, it is common that the pure chance of a victim’s birth – their gender, race or economic conditions – will give enough cause to discredit their lived experience.

From sexual abuse (the Catholic Church; Hollywood; U.S. Gymnastics; Missoula, Mont.) to police brutality (throughout history and nationwide), the consequences have been deep and lasting. When the arc of the universe bends toward justice, the perspective of an independent agency has been necessary to right the consistent imbalance in power, privilege and protection.

Similar to the actions of the Diocese of the Catholic Church and the prosecutors office in Missoula protecting the status quo by any means necessary will not…

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Minnesota priest accused of misconduct returns to public ministry; attorney calls move ‘reckless’

MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
Star Tribune

December 27, 2017

By Paul Walsh

Crookston bishop said clergy abuse panel “deemed the allegations not credible.”

A Roman Catholic priest on leave from two northwestern Minnesota parishes for 20 months amid an allegation of sexual misconduct with a 15-year-old boy returned to public ministry in time to celebrate Christmas.

In a statement posted on the Diocese of Crookston website Saturday, Bishop Michael Hoeppner said its clergy abuse review panel scrutinized a deposition given by the accuser in a lawsuit “and deemed the allegations not credible.”

The diocese statement also pointed out that local and federal authorities investigated the allegations and that “no criminal charges were filed.” No other accusations have been leveled against the Rev. Patrick Sullivan, who has denied any wrongdoing.

Sullivan returned to his work at the same parishes where he had been before, St. Elizabeth’s in Dilworth and…

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Opinion: Cardinal Law’s complex role in the contemporary history of clergy sexual abuse

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

December 28, 2017

By Thomas P. Doyle

Public awareness of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy actually dates from 1984. It was triggered by the public exposure of widespread sexual violation of children by a single priest in the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, and its systemic cover-up by the church’s leadership that lasted well over a decade.

Cardinal Bernard Law, who went from in 1974 being bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to in 1984 being named archbishop of Boston, became the most powerful and influential Catholic bishop in the United States. This all came to a screeching halt in 2002. In one day Law became the face of hierarchical treachery and dishonesty when The Boston Globe revealed the systemic cover-up of widespread sexual abuse by Boston priests, most of it his doing. He remained the face of the hierarchy’s disgraceful attitude towards the violation…

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Lawsuit Seeks $70M from Montana Diocese for Abuse Victims

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Insurance Journal

December 27, 2017

Representatives of sex abuse victims and their survivors are suing a bankrupt Roman Catholic diocese in Montana in an effort to ensure more than $70 million in assets are available for those abused by church officials.

The Diocese of Great Falls-Billings entered bankruptcy protection in March as part of settlements involving more than 400 people in sex abuse lawsuits. Church officials said at the time the diocese and its insurers would contribute to a fund to compensate victims and set aside additional money for those who had yet to come forward.

Mediation has not produced a settlement so far.

A committee of unsecured creditors representing eight sex abuse survivors sued the diocese in U.S. Bankruptcy Court this week, aiming to reach a negotiated settlement. California attorney James Stang, who represents the committee, said the complaint was “part of the process,” the…

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Former V.I. Bishop Reflects on Boston Church Sex Scandal

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
St. Thomas Source

December 27, 2017

By Judi Shimel

When a former Catholic archbishop of Boston died Dec. 20 in Italy, the cleric who played a role in his downfall had words of compassion for him.

The paths of former Archbishop Bernard Law, who died last week, and Cardinal Sean O’Malley both include time in the Virgin Islands. O’Malley was bishop of the Catholic Church of St. Thomas from 1984 to 1992. Law, a native of Mexico, graduated from Charlotte Amalie High School.

But when their paths crossed in Boston, the resulting scandal led to Law’s downfall. Law died Dec. 20 at the age of 86. He resigned from the Boston archdiocese in 2002 after O’Malley made public his investigation into child sexual abuse by priests.

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Watch: Vrindavan women thrash priest with lathis for molesting girls

NEW DELHI (INDIA)
IndiaToday.in

December 27, 2017

By Yusuf Begg

Residents of Mathura’s Vrindavan take the law in their own hands as they beat up a priest accused of molesting girls.

Priests are supposed to help ordinary people get over their baser instincts. Besides giving religious prescriptions, they are also supposed to make us aware of social evils. Not this baba though.

A video that is going viral in social media that a priest accused of molesting girls is beaten up by locals in Mathura’s Vrindavan.

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Crookston diocese reinstates priest after no charges filed in abuse inquiry

CROOKSTON (MN)
Pioneer Press

December 26, 2017

CROOKSTON, Minn. — The Catholic Diocese of Crookston has reinstated a priest who was placed on administrative leave as pastor of parishes in Dilworth and Hawley after allegations of abuse surfaced in early 2016.

The Rev. Patrick Sullivan has been reinstated to priestly ministry at St. Elizabeth’s Parish in Dilworth and St. Andrew’s Parish in Hawley, the diocese said in a statement released Tuesday.

The diocese said Sullivan was placed on leave in April 2016 after the diocese was served with a civil complaint through the plaintiff’s attorney, Jeff Anderson. The complaint claimed that in 2008, while serving as pastor at St. Mary’s Mission Church in Red Lake, Minn., Sullivan engaged in unpermitted sexual conduct with the plaintiff when he was 15 years old.

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Saying child sexual abuse charge not credible, Crookston Diocese reinstates local priest

CROOKSTON (MN)
KFGO

December 27, 2017

By Don Haney

CROOKSTON, MINN. (KFGO) – The Crookston Catholic Diocese has reinstated a priest who served parishes in Clay County who was accused of sexual misconduct of a minor. 

Local and federal authorities investigated a claim Father Pat Sullivan engaged in “unpermitted sexual conduct” with a 15-year old boy while serving as a pastor at a church in Red Lake, Minnesota in 2008 but no charges were filed. Sullivan was put on administrative leave from his assignment as pastor of St. Elizabeth and St. Andrews parishes in Dilworth and Hawley when the complaint was made in April of 2016. Sullivan consistantly denied the allegations. 

The decision to reinstate Sullivan was made after the accuser was questioned by attorney’s for the diocese and the Crookston Diocese Board of Review for the Protection of Children and Young People then determined the accusation was “not…

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Valderice, processo sui presunti abusi delle suore Legali di vittima chiedono risarcimento milionario

ITALY
Meridio News

December 23, 2017

By Pamela Giacomarro

[Google Translate: At the end the process on the Casa del Fanciullo San Pio X in Valderice . One million and 300 thousand euros and an immediate provisional amount of 130 thousand euros is the claim for damages in favor of the child who triggered the investigation and the main victim of the alleged violence. Advancing it were the lawyers Antonino Sugamele and Annalisa Pisano. At the bar, on charges of mistreatment, Sr. Yvonne Jacqueline Noah and the three former educators Laura Milana , Carlo Cammarata and Maria Mazzara. Two other people had ended up in the sights of the magistrates, the former director, Sr. Teresa Mandirà, and the cook of the Pina Ruggeri structure, who died soon after the trial began. For the defendants, the public prosecutor Nicola Lamia has requested a sentence of three years imprisonment . For…

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Pedofilia, l’arcivescovo di Milano coinvolto nello scandalo Don Galli: “Sapeva degli abusi”

ITALY
Fanpage.it

December 23, 2017

By Sacha Biazzo and Simone Giancristofaro

[Google Translate: The highest offices of the Church in Lombardy knew of the alleged sexual abuse of a priest of Rozzano against a minor three years before the investigation of the judiciary, but they never reported the incident.]

Le più alte cariche della Chiesa in Lombardia sapevano del presunto abuso sessuale di un prete di Rozzano ai danni di un minore tre anni prima delle indagini della magistratura, ma non hanno mai denunciato l’accaduto.

“Che cosa aspettiamo che ci mettano tutti in galera per pedofilia? Aspettiamo che ci mettano tutti in galera per pedofilia e poi cominciamo seriamente a guardare le cose, va bene, cioè, basta saperlo e ci adeguiamo, però già che possiamo farlo prima, facciamolo prima”

A parlare sono due preti di Rozzano intercettati dai carabinieri. Un prete della loro parrocchia, don Mauro Galli,…

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RIETS Addresses Sexual Abuse in Orthodox Community

NEW YORK (NY)
The YU Commentator: The Independent Student Newspaper of Yeshiva University

December 26, 2017

By Shoshy Ciment, Lilly Gelman, and David Rubinstein

On December 25, the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary hosted a talk for rabbinical students on sexual abuse in the Orthodox community. The event, which was attended by over 50 students, rabbis, community members, and administrators, featured remarks from Dr. Norman Blumenthal and Rabbi Yosef Blau. Pizza was served and copies of the most recent issue of Tradition—the foremost Modern Orthodox journal of Jewish thought and law—which focused on sexual abuse, were distributed free of charge, courtesy of its publisher, the Rabbinical Council of America.

This event occurred amidst a tide of high profile cases centering around sexual abuse in the United States. In light of this, it was announced a few weeks ago that employees of Yeshiva University were required to complete an online…

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Ending the Silence on Abuse

Bergen County (NJ)
The Jewish Link of New Jersey

Originally Published on December 21, 2017

By Jonathan S. Tobin

In the past two months, the avalanche of stories about sexual abuse and harassment has touched virtually every sector of American society. The revelations about deeply troubling behavior on the part of politicians, journalists and figures in the entertainment world have transfixed the country. As more victims come forward to tell their stories, the consequences have gone beyond the disgrace of some prominent individuals, the end of careers and, in Alabama, a surprising election result. What began with a shocking story about movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has led to what may well be a crucial turning point in the way sexual misconduct is viewed.

We are no longer in an era in which all forms of abuse—be it violent crime, abuse of minors as well as unwanted physical touching, abusive…

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‘The Hurt Is Still There’: Clergy Abuse Survivors, Others React To Cardinal Law’s Death [with audio]

BOSTON (MA)
WBUR 90.9

Originally published on December 20, 2017

By Deborah Becker

Reaction to the death of Cardinal Bernard Law, the man who came to be the face of the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, has been emotional, particularly for survivors of clergy abuse.

Law, who led the Boston archdiocese for 19 years before he stepped down in disgrace over the scandal in 2002, died in Rome early Wednesday. He was 86.

Cardinal Seán O’Malley, the current leader of Boston’s archdioceses, said his predecessor was more than the mistakes he made when he failed to properly address clergy sex abuse. O’Malley said he understands how the death of Law has re-opened old wounds for abuse survivors.

“The hurt is still there,” he said, speaking to reporters Wednesday. “Healing is still necessary, and we all must be vigilant, especially for prevention of child abuse and to create…

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Anglican Dean of Perth Very Rev. Richard Pengelley apologises for Church hurt

PERTH (AUSTRALIA)
The West Australian

December 26, 2017

By Liam Croy and Claire Tyrrell

The Anglican Dean of Perth apologised for the hurt the Church has caused in a moving Christmas Day sermon.

Speaking after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the Very Rev. Richard Pengelley said the Church deserved much of the bad press it had endured.

“I am deeply sorry for the ways in which we have hurt people,” he said.

Mr Pengelley told worshippers at St George’s Cathedral the Church was inclusive of all cultures, sexualities and walks of life.

He pointed to the good work it did in the community, from helping with food relief to providing music and arts programs.

“We support charities … we are home to memorials and burials,” he said. “We support refugees, lobby for justice and we lobby to be inclusive.”

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House of Prayer residents say torture, abuse was common

GAINESVILLE (FL)
The Gainesville Sun

December 25, 2017

By Cindy Swirko

‘This didn’t have to go on. It could have been stopped much earlier.’

John Neal was about 6 when he and his little sister, Katonya, went to live with Anna Young at the House of Prayer, and he was 12 when he was spirited away.

During those years, Neal saw Katonya tortured until she eventually died. He was beaten and saw others beaten. He said Young forced a mother to take her son to Puerto Rico and abandon him at a church, or else the boy might have died from abuse.

Neal, now 40, saw a lot more and kept quiet, until recently. Now, thanks to him and others who went to law enforcement, Young is a 76-year-old in the Alachua County jail facing murder charges in connection with the death of a toddler about 30 years ago.

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Ex-priest fell from grace after archbishop resigned

ALBUQUERQUE (NM)
Albuquerque Journal

December 26, 2017

By Olivier Uyttebrouck

Former priest Sabine Griego’s relationship with the Archdiocese of Santa Fe took an abrupt turn for the worse after the late Archbishop Robert Sanchez stepped down in March 1993.

Just three days after Sanchez resigned, an archdiocese official sent Griego a letter telling him to “not exercise your ministry in parishes or in any other ministerial situations.”

The archdiocese’s concerns about Griego were well-founded, according to court records released recently by a judge’s order. In 2004, former Archbishop Michael Sheehan, who succeeded Sanchez in 1993, sent a letter to Vatican officials urging them to remove Griego from the priesthood. The Vatican did so in 2005.

“First, there is the sheer volume and heinous nature of the accusations,” Sheehan wrote.

He included a list of 16 men and a woman who alleged that the La Madera native ordained in 1964…

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Ohio Priest Jumps From Skyscraper After He’s Accused of Having Relationship With Minor

NEW ALBANY (OH)
Christian Post

December 22, 2017

By Leonardo Blair

James Csaszar, a suspended Ohio priest who was under investigation for engaging in an inappropriate relationship with an underage boy, jumped from an 82-story hotel in Chicago Wednesday, leaving his colleagues in shock.

The 44-year-old priest who was reportedly well-liked led the Church of the Resurrection in New Albany, Ohio. Officials say he was under investigation for leading a double life prior to his death at the sleek Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel.

“It is with deep shock and sadness that we have learned of the death of Father James Csaszar, pastor of the Church of the Resurrection in New Albany, who took his own life yesterday in Chicago,” Bishop of Columbus, the Most Rev. Frederick F. Campbell, confirmed in a statement Wednesday.

“On Nov. 7, Father Csaszar was placed on an administrative leave by the Diocese of Columbus…

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Miranda: Catholic Church tied to a past that can’t be undone

AUSTRALIA
The Weekly Times

December 26, 2017

By Genevieve Barlow

THE act by parishioners of removing ribbons placed by survivors and their supporters to mark the institutionalised sexual and other abuse at churches, orphanages, schools and
elsewhere was misguided and insensitive.

Ribbons had been tied to church gates, fences and signs from Ballarat to Shepparton, Sale, Mortlake, Ararat, Sunbury, Bendigo, Castlemaine and Lancefield in a movement called the Loud Fence campaign, which began in 2015.

Then, at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Ballarat, the week before Christmas and just days after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuses handed down its report, parishioners took the ribbons down from the cathedral fence.

“It signalled what the Catholic Church has done historically. They just want us to go away. All they wanted was to get them down before Christmas,” said Phil Nagle, who was abused as a boy…

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OPINION: Please, parliament: protect kids from pedophile priests

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

December 26, 2017

By Chrissie Foster

A total of 37 per cent of the 15,000 survivors who came forward to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse were sexually assaulted within the Catholic Church. These atrocious crimes against children were not committed by suburban delinquents or bikie gangs — but by your local clergy.

Back in March 1996 when my husband, Anthony Foster, and I began our battle against the Catholic Church hierarchy over the sexual assaults of our own child by a priest, it was at a time when a rumour flourished — that supposed victims were liars after money. This lie was taken as the biblical truth by the faithful.

That, together with a priest’s status — claiming they became another Christ when ordained — meant we were easily dismissed by priest and parishioner alike. But there was no hint of…

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VOX POPULI: ‘MeToo’ shaping up as force to be reckoned with in sexual abuse

JAPAN
The Asahi Shimbun

December 26, 2017

Every year-end, TIME magazine selects an influential individual as Person of the Year.

In 2015, it was German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her commitment to accepting refugees. Last year, the magazine picked U.S. President-elect Donald Trump for his “accomplishment” of dividing the nation by winning the presidential election.

But this year, five women made the TIME cover by edging out North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other candidates.

Dubbed “The Silence Breakers,” the group includes an actress who testified against an influential film executive over allegations of sexual misconduct.

But these are not the only people who started going public as victims of sexual abuse. The hashtag “MeToo” went viral on social media, empowering countless other individuals to come forward and start a movement.

I imagine that the originator of this hashtag must have hoped that if every victim declared themselves…

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Not the time: Bishop won’t comment on Royal Commission into abuse

AUSTRALIA
Central Western Daily

December 26, 2017

By Rachel Chamberlain

BISHOP of Bathurst Michael McKenna plans to study the recommendations put forward from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse before having his say on them.

The 409 recommendations, aimed at keeping children safe, were handed down in a 17-volume final report on December 15.

Bishop McKenna, whose diocese includes Catholic parishes in Orange, Dubbo, Mudgee and Cowra, said it was not the right time to respond to the report’s recommendations.

“The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has now concluded its work and delivered its report to the Australian Government,” he said.

“Very soon, we must begin to study the multi-volume report and consider the recommendations that the commissioners have made. Then will be the time for a full response.

“For now, we should acknowledge gratefully the work of everyone who has…

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COMMENTARY: Cardinal Law at the gates

TOLEDO (OH)
The Toledo Blade

December 26, 2017

By Keith C. Burris

Bernard Law, who came to symbolize the inability of the Catholic church to deal honestly with sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, died last week at 86.

No human being should be only a symbol in the eyes of fellow human beings. But there is a reason Cardinal Law became a symbol. He, as the archbishop of Boston, enabled the abusers — serially transferring them instead of urging them into treatment and defrocking them. He also directed a systematic stonewalling by the archdiocese when the Boston Globe began to uncover the extent of clergy abuse in Massachusetts. And though he “apologized,” in a very broad and general way, several times, he never set out to make it right.

By that I mean two things: The cardinal never took personal responsibility. And he never ministered to the…

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Andrew Soper, former abbot of Ealing Abbey, guilty of raping boys

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Times

[Note: This important article was not blogged in Tracker when it appeared earlier this month. See also Report by Lord Carlile of Berriew Q.C. into Matters Relating to Ealing Abbey and St Benedict’s School, Ealing, released on November 9, 2011.]

December 7, 2017

By Fiona Hamilton

A “sadistic” monk who was head of a top Catholic school was convicted yesterday of molesting ten pupils in a campaign of abuse during the 1970s and 1980s that was exposed by The Times.

Andrew Soper, known as Father Laurence, is thought to be the most senior Catholic priest to be convicted of sex crimes in the UK. He withdrew £182,000 from his Vatican bank account and fled to Kosovo to avoid prosecution for attacking boys at St Benedict’s School in Ealing, west London.

Soper, the former abbot of Ealing Abbey, which adjoins the school, spent five years…

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Priest who sexually abused boys at London school jailed for 18 years

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

December 21, 2017

By Harriet Sherwood

Andrew Soper had been convicted of 19 charges of rape and other sexual offences against 10 boys at St Benedict’s school

A Roman Catholic priest who sexually abused boys at an abbey school in the 1970s and 80s has been sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Andrew Soper, 74, formerly known as Father Laurence Soper, was a fugitive for five years after jumping bail. An international warrant was issued for his arrest.

He was convicted earlier this month of 19 charges of rape and other sexual offences against 10 boys at St Benedict’s school in Ealing, west London. He is the fourth man at the school to have been convicted of abuse.

Following the guilty verdicts, the school apologised unreservedly for the “serious wrongs of the past”.

Sentencing Soper at the Old Bailey on Thursday, Judge Anthony Bate said:…

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Man jailed for non-recent abuse

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Metropolitan Police

December 21, 2017

A Roman Catholic priest has been jailed for 18 years after he was found guilty of 19 counts of non-recent abuse against boys at a school in Ealing.

Andrew Soper, known as Father Laurence, 74 (17.09.43) of no fixed abode, was sentenced on Thursday, 21 December, after a ten-week-long trial at the Old Bailey.

He was also handed down a Sexual Harm Prevention Order with no time limit.

Soper was found guilty on Wednesday, 6 December of 19 counts of indecent assault against ten boys who attended St Benedict’s Middle School in Ealing between 1975 and 1982.

In his summing up, the judge told Soper “Your disgrace is complete.”

The court heard Soper was a former abbot at Ealing Abbey and a headmaster of the middle school between 1972 and 1991. He taught boys aged between 11 and 14 and, as headmaster,…

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Sexual predator abused children — and treated priests who did the same

HONOLULU (HI)
KHNL / KGMB / Hawaii News Now

December 20, 2017

By Lynn Kawano

[See also the recent KHNL-KGMB series Hidden Betrayal:

• Part I: Kamehameha Schools sex abuse victims: ‘Monster’ stole our childhoods (11/27/17)

• Part II: ‘Cover-up’ added to pain, Kamehameha School sex abuse victims say (11/28/17)

• Part III: Victims: Kamehameha Schools sex abuse suit is about accountability (11/29/17)

Former trustees: ‘Wall of secrecy’ at Kamehameha Schools helped sex abuse stay hidden (11/28/17]

Long-hidden documents show how the same man, prominent Honolulu psychiatrist Dr. Robert Browne, played a central role in two of Hawaii’s biggest sex abuse scandals.

Browne is accused of sexually assaulting more than 30 former students at Kamehameha Schools over nearly three decades, from 1958 to 1985.

And, the documents show, he was also treating…

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Former bishop of Charlotte’s Catholic diocese dies at 90

CHARLOTTE (NC)
Charlotte Observer

December 24, 2017

By Tim Funk

Bishop William Curlin, who presided over the rapidly growing Catholic Diocese of Charlotte from 1994 to 2002, died Saturday at Carolinas Medical Center. He was 90.

The cause of death was cancer, which he had battled for years.

Curlin was known as a pastoral bishop and as a longtime friend and spiritual adviser to Mother Teresa. In 1995, he brought the diminutive nun with a towering reputation to Charlotte for an ecumenical service that drew 19,000 people to the old Charlotte Coliseum. She also installed in Charlotte some of her sisters from the Missionaries of Charity, the religious order she founded in India to serve the poorest of the poor.

* * *

Curlin’s tenure was not without controversy. He was bishop at a time when the Catholic Church in the United States and around the world was rocked…

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Abusive Priest Escapes Justice by Killing Himself Amid Police Investigation

ENGELWOOD (CO)
Patheos

December 24, 2017

By David McAfee

A Catholic priest who was being investigated for “questionable texts” and phone calls with a 16-year-old boy killed himself by jumping from a building on Wednesday, signaling there may be much more to this case.

Rev. James Csaszar, who was also being investigated for misusing money from the Church of the Resurrection in the Columbus (Ohio) suburb of New Albany, jumped to his death from a room at the Aqua Hotel in Chicago. Previously, the Diocese had suspended him for “excessive and questionable” texts and phone calls with the young boy. Church officials also contacted the local police.

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Sex abuse lawsuit seeks $70 million in assets from Montana diocese

WASHINGTON (DC)
Christian Times

December 25, 2017

By Jardine Malado

Attorneys for victims of sex abuse have filed a lawsuit against a bankrupt Catholic diocese in Montana last week to ensure that more than $70 million in assets will be available to their clients.

A committee representing eight sex abuse victims filed a complaint against the diocese of Great Falls-Billings in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Dec. 18 in an attempt to reach a negotiated settlement in the dispute over the matter of $70 million worth of diocesan assets.

According to Fox News, the diocese filed for bankruptcy protection in March as part of sex abuse settlements in a lawsuit involving over 400 victims.

The officials said at the time that the diocese and its insurers would set up a fund for the victims and additional money will be provided for those who have yet to come forward.

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All we want for Christmas is solidarity forever

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

December 24, 2017

By Brad Chilcott

For both people of faith and no faith the Christmas story is an opportunity to reflect: Will we keep power and privilege to ourselves or offer the gift of solidarity?

The newborn lying in a feeding trough and soon to be threatened with death by an occupying power, commemorated in sanitised nativity scenes in shopping malls and front yard light displays is the child born in Palestine for whom fear of violence is the daily norm.

He is the Rohingya Muslim watching his village burn.

The child of Mary is the survivor exposing their abuse before a royal commission.

The son of God is the woman unable to escape domestic violence, the bullied transgender student contemplating suicide and the Aboriginal child in a spit hood.

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Urbi et Orbi Christmas Message and Blessing of Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY
Vatican News

December 25, 2017

By Pope Francis

[See also Pope Francis’ Christmas Eve homily.]

On Christmas Day Pope Francis prays for world peace and gives his “Urbi et Orbi” blessing
Pope Francis has appealed for peace and for a world in which children across the globe may be able to hope for a future of justice, security and joy.

The Pope’s words came on Christmas Day as he addressed the city and the world during his traditional “Urbi et Orbi” message from the Central Loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica.

Please find below the full text of the Pope’s message:

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Happy Christmas!

In Bethlehem, Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary. He was born, not by the will of man, but by the gift of the love of God our Father, who “so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten…

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35 thousand euros a month for the Cardinal: the new scandal that shakes the Vatican

ROME (ITALY)
L’Espresso

December 21, 2017

By Emiliano Fittipaldi

Francesco’s friend and adviser, Oscar Maradiaga, preached pauperism but received half a million a year from a University of Honduras. Bergoglio also wanted an investigation on millionaire investments and on the inappropriate behavior of Bishop Pineda, a loyalist of the cardinal

When he finished reading the inquiry drafted by the apostolic envoy he himself had sent to Honduras last May, Pope Francis’ hands went up to his skullcap. He had just found out that his friend and main councilor — powerful cardinal Oscar Maradiaga, a staunch supporter of a poor and pauperist Church and coordinator of the Council of Cardinals after he appointed him in 2013 — had received over the years from the Catholic University of Tegucigalpa around 41,600 US dollars a month, with an additional 64,200 dollars bonus in December. Bergoglio had yet to learn that several witnesses,…

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Pope Francis’ top ‘reform’ cardinal accused of massive financial scandal

FRONT ROYAL (VA)
LifeSiteNews

December 22, 2017

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

The cardinal who has led Pope Francis’ efforts to “reform” the Church is now accused of having received over 40,000 USD monthly for years from a Catholic university under his control, and of funneling millions of dollars to foreign corporations that have mysteriously lost part of the deposits.

The allegations appeared in a report that was delivered to Pope Francis in May of this year which was revealed Thursday by the Italian newspaper L’Espresso.

Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, the archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, has wielded immense influence under Francis’ papacy because the pope chose him to lead the “C9” Council of Cardinal Advisers charged with reforming the Roman Curia. He was one of the key members of the liberal faction at the Synod on the Family that has resulted in a crisis over the Church’s teaching on…

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Cardinal Law’s Papal Sendoff Shows Church’s Laxity on Sex Abuse Scandal

NEW YORK (NY)
Huffington Post

December 22, 2017

By Celia Wexler

I didn’t expect this punch in the gut from Pope Francis. But I guess I was naïve. Of course, the pope would say a formal and apparently heartfelt goodbye to Cardinal Bernard Law, the prelate whose reckless disregard for the welfare of children in the Boston archdiocese led to a tragedy that still harms and hurts.

Law died this week at 86. He had resigned in disgrace from his powerful position in Boston, and found a cushy berth in Rome. Still able to savor the pomp and perks of that rarest of rare male clubs, the college of cardinals.

Law never really apologized enough for the damage he wrought. But for posterity’s sake, let’s review : After the Boston abuse scandal became front-page news in Boston in 2002, the Globe tallied its initial toll: 500-plus claims of abuse…

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Fallen Kings: How Cardinal Law’s Reign Cemented the Church’s Fading Power

WASHINGTON (DC)
NPR

December 23, 2017

By Tovia Smith

When the cardinal’s residence was built in the 1920s atop a hill in the leafy, most western outpost of Boston, it was modeled after an Italian palazzo. The grand mansion, replete with ornate mahogany and marble appointments, stood as a testament to the Boston Archdiocese’s stature in the very Catholic city of Boston. Political candidates — local and national — would come calling, and even the pope came to visit.

When Cardinal Bernard Law took up residence in the Renaissance Revival mansion, Boston’s Roman Catholic movers and shakers would flock to the backyard for his garden party fundraisers.

Today, a steady stream of students hauling backpacks and members of the public traipse across that same property. The mansion, now owned by Boston College, has been gutted and converted to an art museum and meeting rooms — a remarkable fall from…

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Cardinal Law’s funeral celebrated at Vatican

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

December 21, 2017

Cardinal Bernard Law, who resigned as archbishop of Boston when it became clear he had knowingly transferred priests accused of sexually abusing children, made mistakes as all people do, Cardinal Angelo Sodano said at his funeral.

Sodano, as dean of the College of Cardinals, celebrated the funeral Mass for Cardinal Law Dec. 21 at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica.

In his homily, Sodano said, “unfortunately, each one of us can sometimes lack in fidelity to our mission. That is why, at the beginning of every Mass, we say the ‘Confiteor,’” the prayer that begins, “I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned.”

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Cardinal Law funeral held with no mention of sex abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY
Reuters via Union-Leader

December 21. 2017

By Philip Pullella

The funeral of Cardinal Bernard Law, who resigned as Archbishop of Boston 15 years ago after covering up years of sexual abuse of children by priests, was held in the Vatican on Thursday without a mention of what led to his downfall.

About 200 people attended the funeral Mass in a chapel in the apse of St. Peter’s Basilica and presided over by a senior cardinal, Angelo Sodano. The wooden coffin lay on the floor with an open book of the gospels resting on it.

Pope Francis entered the chapel for a few minutes after the Mass to bless the coffin and conduct a brief service known as the Final Commendation and Farewell – which he does for all cardinals who die in Rome.

“He dedicated his whole life to the Church,” Sodano said in his homily in…

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Death of disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law reveals a truth we’d rather ignore about the Catholic Church

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Kansas City Star

December 21, 2017

By Melinda Henneberger

Twelve years ago, after the death of Pope John Paul II, I watched a man who will go down in history as a fierce protector of child rapists process into St. Peter’s to celebrate one of the nine masses that traditionally follow the death of a pontiff.

On that day, Cardinal Bernard Law, who died this week at 86, had already resigned in disgrace from his post as archbishop of Boston. He’d lost his stroke with the White House, too, after the Boston Globe revealed the full extent of the clerical sex abuse scandal that Law’s cover-up had both delayed and compounded.

In exile in Rome, Law was a pariah but also a man who retained some vestiges of power, especially on the key committee that helps choose bishops; if Catholics didn’t invent having it both ways,…

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Child sex abuse: Class action looms in Nudgee Junior claims

BRISBANE (QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA)
Courier-Mail

December 23, 2017

By Greg Stolz

A class action against the Catholic Church over alleged shocking private school abuse could be looming, with dozens of former students from Nudgee Junior College coming forward.

The ex-students have contacted lawyers after The Sunday Mail revealed that two Queensland brothers have launched a multimillion-dollar claim for damages, for physical and sexual abuse they allegedly suffered at the hands of teachers at the Brisbane school in the 1970s.

Former Nudgee Junior College captain John O’Leary and his brother Bill are seeking about $7 million in damages from the Christian Brothers for their alleged mistreatment while they were boarders.

The Supreme Court claim, lodged last week, alleges then-Nudgee Junior headmaster Brother John Regan subjected the O’Learys to ‘‘terrifying’’ physical and verbal attacks.

The siblings allege Regan beat them daily – sometimes knocking them unconscious – kicked them, struck them hundreds…

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The half-life and death of the Irish Catholic novel

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times

December 23, 2017

By Eamon Maher

[Note: See also The Catholic priesthood blighted my youth and the youth of people like me, by John Boyne, Irish Times, November 7, 2014.]

In a country renowned for its Catholicism, it is unusual the ‘Catholic novel’ never took root

In Underground Cathedrals (2010), the Glenstal monk and author Mark Patrick Hederman described artists as the “secret agents” of the Holy Spirit: “Art has the imagination to sketch out the possible. When this happens something entirely new comes into the world. Often it is not recognised for what it is and is rejected or vilified by those who are comfortable with what is already there and afraid of whatever might unsettle the status quo”. Reflecting on this position, one wonders to what extent Irish novelists have fulfilled the important role outlined by Hederman. In the past, they definitely…

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Right holy mess

TOWNSVILLE CITY (QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA)
Townsville Bulletin

December 23, 2017

By Shari Tagliabue

It must be difficult to be Catholic at this holy time of year; anyone who follows a faith from baptism to the grave should have been shaken to the core after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released its findings this week.

After four years of investigation, the pomp and ceremony, immense power, vast wealth, traditions and rituals of the once-revered Catholic Church counted for little as thousands of testimonials documenting sexual and physical abuse weren’t able to be silenced by denials, shifting of blame, secretive payouts, gag orders or clandestine transfers.

The past month marked 2017 as the year victims found the courage to speak out, safety in numbers has allowed working-age women affected by sexual predators in the entertainment industry to break their shame-based silence, yet the victims of the most…

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Cardinal Law’s overlooked legacy: a new anti-clericalism in America’s Catholic heartland

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Catholic Herald

December 23, 2017

By Michael Davis

[Note: See also Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s 2011 letter about the Boston abuse statistics, his 2004 summary of the data, and the Boston Globe article on the priests left off O’Malley’s 2011 list.

After the abuse crisis, priests are considered guilty until proven innocent

In the early 2000s, when claims clerical sex abuse in Boston first surfaced, there were roughly 1,350 priests ministering to the archdiocese. At least 270 were accused of abusing children. That’s upwards of 20 per cent of all clergy, both secular and religious.

Now, that does not mean one in five priests is a predator. But, then again, who knows? Cardinal Seán O’Malley, his successor as Archbishop of Boston, has called this “the greatest tragedy to befall children” in the history of Massachusetts. And he’s right. But it was the worst tragedy to…

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Sexual misconduct scandals remind clergy victims of abuse: The dynamics of authority and acquiescence are similar themes in the crimes, victims say

EUGENE (OR)
Associated Press via Register-Guard

December 24, 2017

By Gillian Flaccus

When stories of sexual misconduct by powerful men ­began to fill the news this fall, Manny Vega immediately flashed back to his childhood. He saw strong similarities between the recent allegations against producers and politicians and his own abuse as a child by his parish priest.

“The parallels are in the power dynamics,” said Vega, a former police officer and decorated Marine who lives in Oxnard, Calif. “Whether you’re the leader of a church or the leader of a film studio, you’re ­going to be someone people look up to and someone people go to for guidance. It puts the victim at a horrible ­disadvantage.”

While there are key differences, the sexual harassment detailed in today’s headlines shares the same well-worn themes that made it so hard for Vega and hundreds of other clergy abuse victims to…

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Cardinal’s confession: Sex abuse victim reflects on meeting Law as scandal erupted

GLOUCESTER (MA)
Gloucester Times

December 21, 2017

By Paul Leighton

Salem — In the summer of 2002, Bernie McDaid and his mother met with Cardinal Bernard Law in the Archdiocese of Boston’s mansion in Brighton.

It was in the early stages of revelations that hundreds of children, including McDaid, a former altar boy at St. James Church in Salem, had been sexually abused by priests in the Boston area.

Law agreed to meet with McDaid and his mother to personally apologize. At the time, the stories of abuse had mostly come out of Boston, and McDaid asked Law why the problem was so prevalent in this area.

“He bowed his head like a puppy dog, looked at the floor and looked back up to me and said, ‘I wish it was just Boston,’” McDaid recalled. “That was a very telling moment in my life. One of the heads of…

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Statement from Bishop Campbell

COLUMBUS (OH) and NEW ALBANY (OH)
Diocese of Columbus and Church of the Resurrection

December 21, 2017

By Bishop Frederick F. Campbell

It is with deep shock and sadness !hat we have learned of the death of Fattier James Csaszar, pastor of the Church of !he Resurrection in New Albany, who took his own life yesterday in Chicago.

On November 7, Father Csaszar was placed on an administrative leave by the Diocese of Columbus after diocesan officials were made aware of excessive and questionable text and telephone communications with a minor and potential misuse of church funds while serving as pastor of St Rose Parish, New Lexington. Following a diocesan review of the matter, the New Lexington Police were contacted and all information was turned over to !hem and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation for !heir review; an investigation was being conducted at the time of Father Csaszar’s…

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Since 2002, U.S. church has had strict protocols in place to address abuse

BOSTON (MA) and WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service via The Pilot

December 22, 2017

By Julie Asher

The death of Cardinal Bernard F. Law opened “a lot of old wounds,” causing “much pain and anger in those who have suffered so much already,” Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley said Dec. 20, the day the Vatican announced Cardinal Law’s death.

The passing of the cardinal in Rome has put the spotlight once again on Boston as the epicenter of a clergy sex abuse scandal that has affected the whole U.S. church. The scandal erupted in 2002 and Cardinal Law resigned a year later amid allegations of mishandling clergy sex abuse cases.

Since 2002, however, the U.S. Catholic Church has taken many steps to bring abusers to justice, to prevent abuse and to heighten awareness of signs and symptoms of abuse.

“Looking at the culture of safety and well-being, the modus…

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‘A horrible year’: Australia’s leading Catholic slammed for Christmas message

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The New Daily

December 23, 2017

[Note: Includes a video of Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher’s Christmas message.]

Advocates for marriage equality have criticised Australia’s leading Catholic for saying 2017 was a ‘horrible year’ because of the same-sex marriage debate and the findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse.

In a Christmas message released on Friday, Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher said Christian concepts of life and love were challenged during the “annus horribilis” of 2017.

Reverend Fisher also acknowledged the “shameful crimes and cover-ups” in the church uncovered by the child abuse royal commission.

“For people of faith you might say it’s been an annus horribilis,” he said.

“Our Christian conceptions of life and love have been challenged in the marriage and euthanasia debates, freedom of religion in Australia put in doubt and shameful crimes and cover ups in our church uncovered by…

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Cardinal Bernard Law obituary: Most senior US prelate deposed in child-abuse scandal

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times

December 22, 2017

Cardinal Bernard F Law, whose stature as archbishop of Boston and America’s senior Roman Catholic prelate was shattered in a maelstrom of scandal, acrimony and resignation in 2002 after revelations that he had protected abusive priests for years, died Wednesday. He was 86 and lived in Rome.

The Vatican confirmed the death in a news release.

He was a staunch defender of church orthodoxy, a Harvard-educated advocate of social justice for immigrants and the poor, who had campaigned for civil rights in the segregated South. And when he arrived in Boston in 1984 as Pope John Paul II’s new archbishop, he was welcomed like a favourite son.

Over the next 17 years, he became one of the nation’s most influential churchmen, a protégé and confidant of the Pope, a friend of presidents, a force in politics who travelled widely, conferred with foreign…

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A Fictional Priest Uncovers a Long History of Clerical Child Abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

By Randy Boyagodadec, reviewing Crimes of the Father, by Thomas Keneally

December 22, 2017

“He was a bad priest, he knew it.” Graham Greene’s whiskey priest risks his life to celebrate Mass in anticlerical Mexico. He’s an enemy of the state, a man of God and the great hero of “The Power and the Glory.” Father Frank Docherty, the protagonist of Thomas Keneally’s new novel, “Crimes of the Father,” is a bad priest to some and a good one to others, and he certainly knows it. Sent away from his native Sydney in 1972 by an archbishop who found Docherty’s political activism and theological liberalism unacceptable, he is by the 1990s a psychologist and a professor in Canada. Under those auspices, he researches the sexual abuse of children and minors by the clergy. “He knew the suspicion he attracted from his brethren in…

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Don’t look now, but that special papal commission on sexual abuse has ceased to exist

ROME
Catholic Culture

December 19, 2017

By Phil Lawler

As of yesterday, the Pope’s special commission on sexual abuse formally ceased to exist.

The Commission for the Protection of Minors was established by Pope Francis in 2013, for a four-year term that began on December 17 of that year. That term has now officially expired.

Vatican-watchers fully expect that Pope Francis will extend the group’s mandate (or, at this point, renew it)—although nobody knows whether or not he will renew the terms of the current members. And the group wasn’t likely to hold meetings during the Christmas season anyway, so no real harm has been done by allowing the group’s formal authority to lapse.

Nevertheless, at a time when an Australian royal commission is lambasting the Catholic Church for its handling of abuse complaints, it’s noteworthy that the Vatican has not announced the timely renewal of the papal…

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Andrew Soper trial: Disgraced Catholic priest handed 18 year prison sentence for sex attacks against pupils at Ealing school

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Get West London

December 22, 2017

Andrew Soper was handed the lengthy sentence on Thursday (December 21), after a jury had found him guilty of a string of offences at St Benedict’s School

A Roman Catholic priest has been jailed for 18 years for molesting children at a church school in Ealing .

The former abbot and headmaster Andrew Soper, 74, was handed the sentence on Thursday (December 21) at the Old Bailey after being found guilty following a 10-week trial earlier in the month .

He had been extradited to face 19 charges of indecent assault and buggery against 10 former pupils after fleeing the country with £182,000 from the Vatican bank in a bid to avoid responsibility for the abuse at fee-paying St Benedict’s School, in Eaton Rise .

Some of his victims were at court to hear his sentencing, with their statements read out…

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Priest Laurence Soper jailed for sexually abusing boys

LONDON (ENGLAND)
BBC

December 21, 2017

A Catholic priest who abused boys at a London school in the 1970s and 1980s has been jailed for 18 years.

Laurence Soper, 74, fled to Kosovo with £182,000 from the Vatican bank in a bid to avoid prosecution for abusing boys at the independent St Benedict’s School, in Ealing, where he taught.

He was extradited to face 19 charges of indecent and serious sexual assault against 10 former pupils.

He is the fourth man to be convicted of molesting children at the school.

Sentencing, Judge Anthony Bate said Soper’s conduct was “the most appalling breach of trust” and he had “subverted the rules of the Benedictine order and teachings of the Catholic Church”.

He said the former abbot and headmaster’s life would now be “overshadowed by the proven catalogue of vile abuse”.

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