ABUSE TRACKER

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

January 27, 2020

Working to better things from the inside out is this clergy abuse survivor’s goal

ST. PAUL (MN)
St. Paul Pioneer Press

January 27, 2020

By Rubén Rosario

Jim Richter, a Chicago native and pathologist, wanted a fresh start when he moved to the Twin Cities five years ago. After being sexually abused in his teens by a Catholic parish priest who similarly molested other members of his family as well as scores of others, the last thing the wanted to hear again were more clergy abuse scandals.

As he told an audience that attended a restorative justice and healing conference last Friday in Lake Elmo, his abuse still affects him in some way “every day of my life.” The most intimate and longest-lasting relationship he has had in his life following his abuse, he added with a bit of a quip in his voice, has been Charlie, his 18-year old schnauzer. Trust in people is hard.

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

News Release: Diocese Suspends Retired Priest From Ministry

FALL RIVER (MA)
Diocese of Fall River

January 26, 2020

The Diocese of Fall River today announced the suspension of retired priest Father Herbert T. Nichols for an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, alleged to have occurred approximately 20 years ago. The decision to suspend him was made based on information learned from a review of the personnel files of diocesan priests.

The allegation, which Father Nichols denies, is under investigation by the Diocese.

As a retired priest, he was not assigned to any parish but did help with the celebration of Masses in various parishes since retirement, including with the Maronite community within the Diocese. His suspension precludes him from all ministry until the investigation is completed and a determination on the matter is made.

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

Fall River diocese suspends another retired priest from ministry

FALL RIVER (MA)
The Standard Times via the Taunton Gazette

January 27, 2020

In a Sunday press release, the Diocese of Fall River announced the suspension of another retired priest, Rev. Herbert T. Nichols for an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, alleged to have occurred approximately 20 years ago. The decision to suspend him was made based on information learned from a review of the personnel files of diocesan priests, the release said.

Ordained in 1975, Nichols’ assignments have included three New Bedford parishes: St. James; Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish and St. Anthony of Padua Parish. He also had assignments at St. Anne Parish, Fall River; St. Bernadette Parish, Fall River; St. Joseph Parish, Taunton and St. Mary Parish, Taunton.

The allegation, which Nichols denies, is under investigation by the diocese, according to the release.

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

Parish, Catholic school lawyer files motion to intervene in Church bankruptcy case

GUAM
KUAM News

January 27, 2020

Attorney Vincent Camacho has filed a motion to intervene in the ongoing Archdiocese of Agana bankruptcy case. He represents 33 Catholic parishes and schools. As we reported the Archdiocese submitted its bankruptcy reorganization plan which is offering $21 million to settle its more than 200 clergy sex abuse lawsuits.

There is however a separate lawsuit pending against the church to included local Catholic schools and parishes to increase the settlement fund. Although the church opposes this, the Intervenors argue that the church is not in a position to fully understand each parish or school’s finances or operating structures and “thus cannot properly make all of the Intervenor’s arguments.” Such information will permit a more complete disclosure of necessary facts for the court to make a proper determination.

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

Priest Child Sex Abuse Laws Continue to Change in Florida

FLORIDA
The Legal Examiner (law firm blog)

January 27, 2020

By Joseph H. Saunders

At a 2018 press conference, then Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced a statewide investigation into child sex abuse at the hands of Catholic priests saying, “Any priest that would exploit a position of power and trust to abuse a child is a disgrace to the Church and a threat to society,”

Shortly before the investigation was announced 15 victims had already contacted authorities. Now after more than a year victims are continuing to come forward yet the state has been tight lipped about the number of tips reported through the statewide hotline. With an estimated 2 million Catholics in the Florida, I expect the number of potential cases still to be reported to be substantial.

Consider just some the recent history we know. Here in Tampa Bay the Catholic diocese, from 1996-2006, paid nearly $3 million in settlements to people abused by church representatives. Most, but not all, of the cases were settled in in 2004 when the diocese agreed to pay over $1 million to a dozen men who accused former priest Robert Schaeufele of sexually abusing them between the ages of 9 and 14 beginning in the mid-1970s. Schaeufele served 12 years after he pleaded guilty to charges he sexually abused three boys. There were over two-dozen credible sex abuse allegations against the priest, but most couldn’t be prosecuted because the statute of limitations had run out. Schaeufele used the Florida statute of limitations to his advantage and got away with raping and abusing dozens of young boys. His crimes should have earned him a life sentence; he was released after only 12 years.

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

Fall River Diocese suspends retired priest accused of sex abuse

FALL RIVER (MA)
WPRI FM (NPR affiliate)

January 26, 2020

By Jacqui Gomersall

A retired Catholic priest has been suspended from the Fall River Diocese following allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

Father Herbert T. Nichols denies the allegation, which is alleged to have occurred twenty years ago, according to the Diocese of Fall River.

We’re told, the allegation remains under investigation by the diocese and Nichols is suspended from all ministry until a determination on the matter is made.

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

After teacher was accused of sex abuse, he moved to nearby school, man alleges

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

January 27, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

A gym teacher who left a Catholic school in South Buffalo in the 1960s after being accused of molesting a boy moved to another parochial school a mile away, according to the plaintiff in a recent lawsuit filed against the Buffalo Diocese.

John Maloney of West Seneca said Robert F. “Ollie” Weber left St. Thomas Aquinas parochial school shortly after his parents complained to a South Buffalo priest that Weber had molested their son multiple times. Maloney said he remembers that the parents of another student also complained about Weber at around the same time.

Maloney said a parish priest, the Rev. William G. Dickenson, talked his parents out of taking legal action against the school or Weber.

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

Catholic clergy abuse victim leads drive to shakeup establishment politics in Chile

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Reuters

January 27, 2020

By Natalia A. Ramos Miranda

A Chilean sexual abuse victim who took on the Catholic Church has announced plans to form a new political party, one of several that has emerged since protests rocked the country late last year.

James Hamilton, a doctor who was one of the first people in Chile to come forward claiming he was the victim of child sexual abuse by clergy, has called his party Dignity.

The name is a reference to the public square in the Chilean capital where protesters have gathered over the past three months to denounce inequality and high living costs.

Hamilton is seeking to unite his countrymen around “principles” rather than ideologies of left and right.

He was one of several men who accused now-defrocked Santiago parish priest Fernando Karadima of sexually abusing them as boys. Karadima, who denied wrongdoing, was found guilty in a Vatican investigation but not prosecuted due to the statute of limitations.

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

Bishop Strickland says he asked pope about McCarrick report

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service

January 21, 2020

By Cindy Wooden

Bishop Joseph E. Strickland of Tyler, Texas, said he asked Pope Francis about the Vatican investigation into Theodore E. McCarrick and the release of a promised report on how the former cardinal managed to rise through the church ranks.

The bishop, who was making his “ad limina” visit to Rome, drew widespread attention in August 2018 for a public statement saying he found “credible” the allegations made by retired Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former nuncio to the United States, regarding McCarrick.

Archbishop Vigano alleged that top Vatican officials, including Pope Francis, knew for years that McCarrick had been accused of sexual misconduct.

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

January 26, 2020

New Orleans Saints confirm staff helped Archdiocese during sex abuse revelations

CHICAGO (IL)
WGNO

January 25, 2020

New Orleans – The New Orleans Saints have issued a statement in response to reports that the team’s public relations staff assisted the Archdiocese of New Orleans in matters relating to the Archdiocese’s ongoing sex abuse scandal.

News of the connection between the Saints and the Archdiocese surfaced this week in an Associated Press story detailing the team’s involvement.

Nearly 300 emails between members of the Saints PR staff and the communications department of the Archdiocese have become a factor in a lawsuit filed by about two dozen men claiming abuse at the hands of clergy, according to the AP.

That lawsuit, Doe v. Archdiocese, is currently in the discovery stage.

While the Archdiocese declined to comment on the issue, the Saints released a statement confirming that Greg Bensel, Senior Vice President of Communications for the New Orleans Saints, did in fact assist the Archdiocese with messaging before the Archdiocese released a list of clergy who had been “credibly accused” of the sexual abuse of children.

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

Sexual abuse allegation made against former Cape priest

HYANNIS (MA)
Cape Cod Times

January 26, 2020

By Denise Coffey

A retired priest with ties to the Cape has been suspended by The Diocese of Fall River over an allegation that he sexually abused a minor 20 years ago.

The decision to suspend Rev. Herbert T. Nichols was based on information from a review of personnel files of diocesan priests, according to a statement from the diocese.

Nichols has denied the allegation, the statement said.

Nichols, who was ordained in 1975, served at St. Joan of Arc Parish in Orleans as well as parishes in Fall River, New Bedford, Taunton and Raynham. His ministry included Franciscan Friars of the Renewal Community in New York.

As a retired priest, Nichols was not assigned to a parish at the time of his suspension. However, he participated in celebration Masses in various parishes, including with the diocese’s Maronite Community.

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

Brooklyn Bishop DiMarzio cancels school visit amid sex abuse claim

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Post

January 25, 2020

By Sara Dorn

Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio canceled his visit to a Park Slope school Tuesday after parents raised concerns that the cleric accused of child molestation would be around their kids, The Post has learned.

DiMarzio was scheduled to participate in a Q&A with kids at St. Saviour Catholic Academy on Tuesday, as part of Catholic Schools Week activities, according to parent Gloria Pellegrino, who took her concerns to Principal Susan Walsh.

“I do not want someone with an open investigation for child sex assault to be around my child or to speak to [them]. I think it is highly inappropriate for him to come to school and speak to the children, while the investigation is pending,” Pellegrino wrote to Walsh.

“Please let me know the planned program for that day,” the email said. “I will keep [my child] home for part or all of the school day depending on the agenda involving the Bishop.”

Pellegrino said several other parents were also upset by DiMarzio’s plans, as well as the PTA.

Enlarge ImageBishop Nicholas DiMarzio at the ordainment of Msgr. Paul Sanchez and Msgr. Raymond Chappetto to become an auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Brooklyn.

The school announced last week that DiMarzio’s visit had been cancelled. “As the Diocese has heard the concerns of some of our families, Bishop DiMarzio will not visit the school at this time,” Walsh wrote.

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

With regulation change, thousands of unresolved discrimination complaints now secret

QUINCY (MA)
Patriot Ledger

January 24, 2020

By Wheeler Cowperthwaite

As of Friday, pending complaints made to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination are no longer public record. The idea is to make people more comfortable coming forward, but critics say it only protects those accused of wrongdoing.

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As Boston University communications professor Maggie Mulvihill sees it, MCAD’s decision on the complaints shows that Massachusetts learned nothing from the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandals, in which judges allowed entire lawsuits alleging abuse by priests to be kept secret.

“How many cases were impounded and the judiciary has never been held to account for that?” she said. “Why are we sealing off records that belong to the people?”

Boston lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented victims of sexually abusive Catholic priests, said the public release of allegations such as those in the discrimination complaints, as well as the abuser’s name, often results in a “triggering effect” for other victims and can empower them to also come forward.

“Victims often feel alone and isolated and at fault when they’ve been sexually abused,” he said. “When they learn there’s another victim out there, they realize they’re no longer alone and shouldn’t think of themselves as at fault.”

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

Alabama High Court Orders Bishops to Testify in Sex Abuse Case

PASADENA (CA)
Courthouse News Service

January 24, 2020

By Daniel Jackson

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled Friday two bishops in the United Methodist Church must answer questions about what they did to prevent child sex abuse around the time a boy was allegedly victimized by a former youth leader.

“Today’s decision puts church leadership on notice that when children are alleged to have been harmed through the church, church officials will be called upon to answer for what steps they took to investigate allegations of child sex abuse and what they have done and are doing to prevent child sex abuse,” the boy’s attorney Gregory Zarzaur said in a statement.

In 2015, the boy – named J.N. in the court documents – filed a suit in Talladega Circuit Court claiming that while he attended the First United Methodist Church of Sylacauga he was abused by youth pastor Charles Terrell, the 24-page decision said.

J.N. asked the former bishop of the North Alabama Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, William Willimon, and the current bishop, Debra Wallace-Padgett, about their efforts to prevent child sex abuse.

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

Bishop Franco Mulakkal files petition to remove name from accused list

BENGALURU (INDIA)
The News Minute

January 26, 2020

Franco Mulakkal is the prime accused in the case of sexually assaulting a nun of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation in Kerala, multiple times between 2014 and 2016.

In a move to delay the trial proceedings of Kerala nun rape case, accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, on Saturday, filed a discharge petition in the court. The petition was filed by Franco’s counsel to Judge Gopakumar of Additional District Court in Kottayam.

Franco Mulakkal is accused of sexually assaulting a nun of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation in Kerala, multiple times between 2014 and 2016.

Franco Mulakkal, who is on bail, filed the discharge petition, asking to relieve him from the accused list without facing the trial. The reason cited by Franco’s counsel is that the charges in the case will not stand against Franco as the case was only based on the statements of witnesses who have resentment against him, reports the Times of India.

As per reports, Franco Mulakkal’s counsel also stated that most of the witnesses against him in the case do not have a good relationship with the church.

The court will consider the discharge petition on February 4. The same court had denied Franco Mulakkal’s earlier plea seeking more time in the case.

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

Ramsey County oversight is ending, but leaders say Church is ready to hold itself accountable

ST. PAUL (MN)
Catholic Spirit – Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

January 25, 2020

By Maria Wiering

http://thecatholicspirit.com/news/local-news/whats-next-ramsey-countys-oversight-of-the-archdioceses-child-protection-efforts-is-ending-going-forward-leaders-say-the-church-is-ready-to-hold-itself-accountable/

A marathon with no finish line.

That’s the metaphor John Choi uses for the Church’s safe environment efforts.

Choi, the Ramsey County attorney since 2011, and his staff have been deeply involved in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ efforts over the past four years to improve their policies, procedures and practices around protecting children from sexual abuse.

The period of his office’s official oversight is almost over. However, Choi’s convinced that the strides taken by the archdiocese have resulted in a sustainable culture change that makes it possible for the archdiocese to continue to move in the right direction. And that includes an ever-present effort to improve what’s already been done.

“(The archdiocese has) accomplished a culture in which they’re constantly evaluating themselves in terms of the settlement agreement and the promises they’ve made and the progress that they’re undertaking,” he told The Catholic Spirit Jan. 20. “Just a lot of things have changed for the better, and it wouldn’t have changed unless we would have come to this arrangement where we came to a settlement agreement.”

That doesn’t, however, mean that everything is done, he cautioned. People should not believe “that somehow all the efforts are completed.”

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

87-year-old man sues Buffalo Diocese over alleged sex abuse nearly 8 decades ago

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

January 24, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

An 87-year-old Erie County man is suing the Buffalo Diocese, alleging that he was abused in the early 1940s by a Catholic priest and two nuns at a Catholic school in Silver Creek.

The man claimed in a lawsuit filed Thursday in Erie County State Supreme Court that Monsignor Edmund O’Connor and Sister Mary and Sister Veronica “engaged in unpermitted, forcible and harmful sexual contact” with him on church and school grounds, beginning when he was in third grade and continuing through eighth grade at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church and School.

The man, who is not named, is the oldest plaintiff in Western New York to file a Child Victims Act case to date. The priest he is accusing of abuse died more than 55 years ago.

The lawsuit alleges that O’Connor, Sister Mary and Sister Veronica “groomed” the plaintiff by giving him “special praise and attention, bringing him on trips, giving him ice cream and/or gifts, and other forms of compensation.” The lawsuit marks the first time O’Connor has been publicly accused of child sexual abuse. The suit did not include last names for the two nuns.

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

As Philadelphia’s archbishops, Chaput and Pérez may differ less in substance than style

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

January 25, 2020

by Jeremy Roebuck and Justine McDaniel

After back-to-back mass shootings one weekend last August prompted calls for stricter gun laws, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput publicly argued that “only a fool” would believe that gun control could deter such violence.

The people using the guns were to blame, twisted, he wrote in a pointed column, by society’s “culture of sexual anarchy, personal excess, political hatreds, intellectual dishonesty, and perverted freedoms.”

But when a gunman killed one person and injured three at a California synagogue in April, Chaput’s designated successor, Cleveland Bishop Nelson J. Pérez, applied a softer approach. He condemned the “evil act of violence” and offered prayers for “those who were injured, loving care for the person who was killed, and comfort and consolation for their families.”

The tragedies that triggered their remarks may have little to do with meaty questions of church dogma, but the manner in which both men responded might help the region’s 1.3 million Catholics see a distinction between the outgoing archbishop and the man whom Pope Francis has named as his replacement.

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That understated profile “actually says a lot about him,” said Kathleen Sprows Cummings, a scholar at the University of Notre Dame. “He’s not making hot-button issues his platform. He’s a moderate voice and who seems interested in building bridges instead of sewing divisions.”

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

Our new archbishop is a Philly guy – and he’s speaking our language

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer via MSN

January 24, 2020

By Mike Newall

It seems Pope Francis was paying close attention when he rolled through Philly in 2015. Maybe the Rocky theme that greeted him at the airport got stuck in his head. Maybe he thought back to it when it came time to choose our new archbishop, and thought: A town like this needs a native son.

a man holding a microphone: Bishop Nelson J. Perez, who was named to lead the Philadelphia Archdiocese, holds the crucifix that hangs around his neck. It was given to him by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, when he was first made a bishop.

And in Bishop Nelson Perez, named Thursday as the new leader of the Philadelphia Archdiocese, we get that — or pretty close to it.

The son of Cuban immigrants, he grew up in Jersey and served as a priest for two decades in the Philadelphia area, including stints in Olney and Lawncrest. It is almost certain that our new prelate has strong, long-held opinions on our sports teams, our cultural touchstones, our culinary heritage. By which I mean, he’s definitely got a favorite cheesesteak spot, and there’s something very comforting in that.

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More comforting though, is that, in addition to speaking Philly’s language, Perez speaks Francis’ language. Literally — as one of few American bishops who can speak to the pope in his native Spanish tongue — and figuratively.

Unlike his predecessor, Archbishop Charles Chaput, a staunch conservative gifted with the ability of saying the exact wrong thing at so many times of crisis and challenge, Perez talks about the church as it should be: universal. Chaput seemed at every opportunity to draw a line in the pews: These are the beliefs. You’re either with us or against us. Perez has said that the diversity of the church is its greatest strength.

Hopefully that means us wayward Catholics, too. The ones who have watched in dismay as our current archbishop has too often kowtowed to President Trump — calling on us to support a man who has no concern for morality, or religion, or the immigrants who make up so much of Philadelphia’s church.

So, perhaps our new archbishop will walk us into the 21st century. Perez has spoken out against Trump, and he’s backed it up with actions: Directly intervening in a migrant’s deportation case with a personal call to ICE. While Chaput railed against “perverted freedoms,” Perez has confronted the president, saying the nation had lost its moral compass.

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

Columbus Diocese Task Force Examining Sexual Abuse Policies

COLUMBUS (OH)
Associated Press via U.S. News and World Report

January 25, 2020

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus has created a task force to examine its policies regarding the sexual abuse of minors by priests.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus has taken steps to examine its policies regarding the sexual abuse of minors with the creation of a task force, and has hired a law firm to determine whether more names should be added to a list of credibly accused priests.

The diocese in the days before Bishop Robert Brennan’s installation last March released a list of 34 clergy members accused of sexual abuse. The list now includes 50 names.

Brennan said he wants to look at the issue of sexual abuse of minors by clergy with “new eyes,” The Columbus Dispatch reported.

“I need to know for my own conscience that I’m doing the best I can,” Brennan said.

In addition to examining policies, the task force has been looking at how the diocese reaches out to abuse survivors to help them heal.

A diocesan official said the task force will provide Brennan with a report outlining its recommendations this month.

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

New Orleans Saints go to court over Catholic Church sex abuse scandal

NEW YORK (NY)
FOXBusiness

January 25, 2020

Use of official NFL emails are targeted by attorneys for sexual abuse plantiffs

Many pro football experts thought the New Orleans Saints would be heading to the Super Bowl next week, now it appears they are heading to court instead amidst reports of the team’s involvement in the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal.

The NFL team is asking the civil district court in the Parish of Orleans to keep the public from seeing hundreds of emails that allegedly show team executives doing public relations damage control for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, In a story, first brought to light by the Associated Press Friday, attorneys for about two dozen men are suing the church and say in court filings that the 276 documents they obtained through discovery demonstrate that the NFL team, whose owner — Gayle Benson — is devoutly Catholic, aided the archdiocese of New Orleans in its “pattern and practice of concealing its crimes.”

Late Friday, the Saints released a statement acknowledging that some of its employees including Greg Bensel, the team’s senior vice president of communications, worked with the archdiocese in 2018 as it was preparing to release a list of former priests and church officials “credibly accused” of abuse. However, the team disavowed any implications it took part in covering up any information.

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

Welcome for Vatican guidelines on support of children born to Catholic clergy

CORK (IRELAND)
Irish Examiner

January 23, 2020

By Noel Baker

An Irish-based organisation which offers support to children born of Catholic clergy around the world has welcomed Vatican Guidelines on the issue which it says were largely unknown up to now.

Coping International, now in its seventh year of operation, has been endorsed by the Vatican and has seen more than 100,000 individual people from 175 countries access its free mental health and advocacy service. It has estimated that there are at least 10,000 children of priests globally and has also worked alongside the Irish Catholic Bishops here on its approach to the issue.

Coping International founder, Vincent Doyle, who is also a psychotherapist, said he has now received confirmation from the Holy See that guidelines — the existence of which were first revealed last year by the New York Times — are the official template which is globally disseminated to episcopal conferences.

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

Pope Francis put a woman in a top Vatican role. It shows how little power Catholic women hold

NEW YORK (NY)
NBC News Think

January 21, 2020

By Celia Viggo Wexler

Failing to empower women narrows the church’s vision and makes it less equipped to be a force for good in the world.

Recently, the Catholic Church took two small steps for womankind: This month, Pope Francis named the first woman to a managerial position in the Vatican’s most important office, the Secretariat of State. And in October, the world’s bishops suggested that Francis reconvene a commission he had created, at the urging of nuns, to study the ordination of women as permanent deacons — church ministers who are able to perform some of the duties of priests, but not to say Mass or hear confessions.

Yet these reforms only make clear how little power women hold in the church, where they constitute about half of Catholicism’s 1.2 billion adherents. Not only are women barred from ordination to the priesthood, they are not even allowed to vote at Vatican synods, convened to advise the pope about challenges facing the church.

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Women, in comparison, have led the charge for action and accountability. In 1988, Barbara Blaine, who had been sexually assaulted by her parish priest, founded the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and petitioned Catholic clergy to do more to respond to the crisis. As the scandals increased, Catholic women continued to raise alarm bells and urged that the laity be more involved in ensuring that the church protect children.

In 2014, abuse survivor Marie Collins was named to a Vatican commission on protecting minors from abuse. But in a sign of how marginalized women’s voices were, she resigned in 2017 out of frustration that Vatican bureaucrats failed to implement the group’s recommendations.

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

Victim-survivors share impact of clergy sexual abuse at restorative justice conference

ST. PAUL (MN)
Catholic Spirit – Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

January 25, 2020

By Joe Ruff

For Frank Meuers, a victim-survivor of clergy sexual abuse, the impact is far-reaching and never-ending.

“It’s like a stone in a pond,” he said, “the hole disappears, but the ripple effects go on and on.”

A member of St. Joseph Parish in New Hope and director of the southwest Minnesota chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, Meuers described the anger he lived with for years – and the help he received through therapy. He shared that and more as part of a five-person panel of victim-survivors at a Jan. 23 conference organized by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

More than 60 people listened – most of them also victim-survivors on a day especially set aside for them. They nodded in recognition or teared up in empathy and understanding as Meuers and others on the panel discussed broken but healing families, difficulties forging lasting relationships and struggles with their faith.

The conference was remarkable for many reasons. It brought together victim-survivors, Church officials and Ramsey County law enforcement, including Archbishop Bernard Hebda, County Attorney John Choi and Tim O’Malley, archdiocesan director of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment. It was one of several final steps this month toward the archdiocese satisfying terms of its settlement agreement over civil charges that the county filed in 2015 alleging the archdiocese was negligent in the case of an abusive priest.

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

Xavier College grapples with historical sex abuse claims

BRISBANE (AUSTRALIA)
Brisbane Times

January 26, 2020

By Samantha Hutchinson

Xavier College is grappling with the challenge of marking the death of a former principal who died suddenly in December after being named in relation to child sex abuse allegations on a controversial website run by old boys.

The prestigious Catholic boys school in Kew, which counts former Labor leader Bill Shorten and former archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart among its alumni, is understood to be preparing an obituary for the former principal Philip Wallbridge, which will be circulated in the first newsletter of the year.

Mr Wallbridge, who resigned as principal in 1993 and went on to run the AFL’s SportsReady program for more than a decade, died by suicide in the days before Christmas, at least 18 months after his name was published on a website of alleged sex offenders at Xavier run by former students.

The school operates under the Society of Jesus in Australia, which is better known as the Australian Jesuits, and has referred all questions on the allegations and the website to Australian Jesuits.

Australian Jesuits confirmed it had cooperated with a police investigation into Mr Wallbridge last year. The organisation handed information and documents regarding the former priest and principal to police investigators.

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January 25, 2020

Will Homeboy Archbishop Nelson Perez Feel Comfy with Failures In Philly?

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholics4Change

January 24, 2020

By Susan Matthews

Pope Francis announced Archbishop Nelson Perez as the next leader of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. It’s a homecoming of sorts. After graduating St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 1989, Perez was ordained by Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.

Bienvenido a casa

During my time at The Catholic Standard and Times, the archdiocesan newspaper, Perez served as the first director of the Catholic Institute for Evangelization. Bevilacqua created the institute as a public relations bandaid for the wounds inflicted on the Hispanic community after he closed St. Henry’s Parish in North Philadelphia. There was outcry over removing the Catholic presence in a community where it was arguably needed most.

Perez was tasked with outreach to balance out the abandonment. Then the newspaper was told to cover it. Bevilacqua had his PR consultants review and edit out any negative quotes before we went to press.

While every effort in his role may have been genuine and helpful to the faithful, Perez was a pawn. He was ordained into a clerical culture of power, greed, hypocrisy, manipulation and well-documented secrecy. The clergy sex abuse coverup was in full swing. Memos were shredded, priests were shuffled and victims were silenced. What did Perez know and ignore? Did he merely survive and manage to thrive in spite of it?

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Investigation of Bishop DiMarzio Follows Accountability Guidelines; Secular News Leaves Out Context and Facts in Reports

BROOKLYN (NY)
The Tablet – Diocese of Brooklyn

January 23, 2020

By Christopher White

Investigation of Bishop DiMarzio Follows Accountability Guidelines; Secular News Leaves Out Context and Facts in Reports

Under the new protocols for bishop accountability, Cardinal Timothy Dolan will formally conduct an investigation into an allegation against Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio that he abused an altar boy nearly 50 years ago.

Bishop DiMarzio has consistently denied the allegation and said he looks forward to “having his good name cleared and restored.”

The New York Post on Jan. 18 first reported that Cardinal Dolan was “ordered” to investigate Bishop DiMarzio. The Post’s report, however, didn’t mention that this is part of a standard process for any U.S. bishop facing an allegation of abuse.

Under the Vatican guidelines of “Vos estis lux mundi,” which were initially issued last May, Cardinal Dolan, as the metropolitan archbishop of New York, is responsible for carrying out the investigation initiated by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

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Not Quite Breaking News

BROOKLYN (NY)
The Tablet – Diocese of Brooklyn

January 22, 2020

By Jorge I. Dominguez-Lopez

The New York Post’s headline on Jan. 18, “Vatican Orders Cardinal Dolan to Probe Bishop DiMarzio Sex Abuse Allegation,” immediately caught my attention.

I spotted how the story was lacking context and omitted important facts that would give readers a clear picture of what is going on. Unfortunately, other news publications picked up the Post’s story, also leaving out the important details.

As you may have read on page six of this edition of The Tablet, Christopher White’s article adds clarity for Catholic readers. I don’t expect the secular press to have deep knowledge of every protocol and rule of the Catholic Church, but the facts are the facts. All too often, today’s media is too quick to report stories, without doing the necessary research and fact-checking.

The Post’s headline leads the reader to believe that the Vatican made a spontaneous decision to have Cardinal Dolan investigate an allegation against Bishop DiMarzio. That is not true. Under rules set forth by Pope Francis in his apostolic letter “Vos estis lux mundi” last May, metropolitan bishops are in charge of investigating allegations against bishops in their suffragan dioceses. What is taking place is part of a protocol that had already been established.

On the other hand, and to be fair, the Post article does include Bishop DiMarzio’s comments on the original allegation: “In my nearly 50-year ministry as a priest, I have never engaged in unlawful or inappropriate behavior and I categorically deny this allegation […] I am confident I will be fully vindicated.”

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Editorial: Dolan investigating DiMarzio points up flaws of ‘Vos Estis’

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

January 24, 2020

We have long held unabashed admiration for Pope Francis. But events keep raising issues about the shortcomings of Vos Estis Lux Mundi, his signature intervention to address the church’s sex abuse crisis.

Latest case in point: According to press reports and statements from the dioceses involved, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, under Vos Estis provisions, is investigating Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, his neighbor across the East River.

DiMarzio has been publicly accused of sexual abuse of a minor dating back 45 years to a parish in Jersey City, when he was a priest in the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. DiMarzio has adamantly denied the charge. He has won a reputation as a no-nonsense responder to sex abuse issues both in Brooklyn and in the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey, where he previously served. DiMarzio should earn the presumption of innocence. And it’s proper to keep in mind that while a lawsuit has been threatened, as of this writing it has not been filed.

Yet for ecclesial purposes, for the confidence of the people of God in New York and beyond, the serious charges cry out for an investigation. Our problem is with making Dolan responsible for leading an inquiry.

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Priest who knew of sexual affair in Dallas diocese says he didn’t plan to report it

FORT WORTH (TX)
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

January 23, 2020

By Nichole Manna

The priest at the center of a small uprising within the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth admitted that he never planned to report knowledge he had of a sexual relationship between a Dallas-area priest and a church employee, according to court documents obtained by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Furthermore, he admitted to joking with a supporter about putting a hit out on Bishop Michael Olson to have his knees broken, according to the documents.

The Rev. Richard Kirkham left the diocese in June 2018 after writing that he was “reluctantly” resigning. He later retained an attorney and moved to rescind his resignation. Olson declined to reinstate the priest. Kirkham has appealed his resignation with the Vatican.

In the year and a half since the resignation, about 1,500 parishioners who represent 20 parishes petitioned to the Vatican to remove Olson. Though Kirkham’s resignation from St. Martin de Porres in Prosper is a small part of the reason they seek Olson’s removal, Kirkham leaving is what sparked the group to step up.

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Vatican women’s magazine blames drop in nuns on abuses

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

January 23, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican women’s magazine is blaming the drastic drop in the number of nuns worldwide in part on their wretched working conditions and the sexual abuse and abuses of power they suffer at the hands of priests and their own superiors.

“Women Church World” dedicated its February issue to the burnout, trauma and exploitation experienced by religious sisters and how the church is realizing it must change its ways if it wants to attract new vocations.

The magazine published Thursday revealed that Pope Francis had authorized the creation of a special home in Rome for nuns who were kicked out of their orders and all but left on the street, some forced into prostitution to survive.

“There are some really tough cases, in which the superiors withheld the identity documents of the sisters who wanted to leave the convent, or who were kicked out,” the head of the Vatican’s religious orders congregation, Cardinal Joao Braz di Aviz, told the magazine.

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Buffalo Diocese priest who just returned to duty faces new allegations

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

January 24, 2020

By Dan Herbeck

A second allegation of sexual abuse of a child has been filed against a Catholic priest who was recently returned to ministry by the Buffalo Diocese after it ruled a prior complaint was unsubstantiated.

The diocese allowed the Rev. Paul M. Nogaro to resume practicing as a priest on Jan. 17, after saying it was unable to substantiate the allegations made against him in a Child Victims Act lawsuit last August that accused him of molesting a child about 50 years ago.

On Thursday, Nogaro was accused in a second lawsuit, by a man who alleged Nogaro molested him when he was 10 to 12 years old. The lawsuit claims the alleged abuse occurred in the 1990s, when Nogaro was assigned to St. Gregory the Great Church in Williamsville.

Paul K. Barr, the attorney for both of the men who accused Nogaro, said he believes the diocese has made “a big mistake” by allowing Nogaro to return to his duties as a priest.

“They’ve done this before and it’s gotten them into trouble – restoring a priest to duty after he’s been accused,” Barr said.

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Catholic church attempts to stop one of its own priests from suing it for child abuse

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

January 24, 2020

By Christopher Knaus

Lismore diocese plans to seek permanent stay in court to stop priest suing for abuse he suffered while a 12-year-old altar boy

The Catholic church is attempting to stop one of its own priests from suing it for child abuse because he took too long to come forward, prompting criticism that it has learned nothing from the royal commission.

The Lismore diocese plans to seek a permanent stay in the New South Wales supreme court to prevent one of its priests from suing for abuse he suffered as a 12-year-old altar boy.

Court documents allege the altar boy was abused in the 1960s by Clarence “David” Anderson, a now-dead priest. The abuse is said to have occurred at a church on the north coast of New South Wales, which sat on the grounds of a boarding school.

Anderson was a priest and religious teacher and the boy was a boarder. On one occasion, the accuser alleges he was abused in the sacristy of the church, where he had been the altar boy, following morning mass.

The Catholic church is defending the claim and last week wrote to the plaintiff’s lawyer, Mark Barrow of Ken Cush and Associates, demanding the priest drop the case by 6 February, warning it will pursue him for legal costs if he doesn’t.

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NFL’s Saints fight to shield emails in Catholic abuse crisis

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS (NJ)
CNBC

January 24, 2020

New Orleans – The New Orleans Saints are going to court to keep the public from seeing hundreds of emails that allegedly show team executives doing public relations damage control for the area’s Roman Catholic archdiocese to help it contain the fallout from a burgeoning sexual abuse crisis.

Attorneys for about two dozen men suing the church say in court filings that the 276 documents they obtained through discovery show that the NFL team, whose owner is devoutly Catholic, aided the Archdiocese of New Orleans in its “pattern and practice of concealing its crimes.”

“Obviously, the Saints should not be in the business of assisting the Archdiocese, and the Saints’ public relations team is not in the business of managing the public relations of criminals engaged in pedophilia,” the attorneys wrote in a court filing. “The Saints realize that if the documents at issue are made public, this professional sports organization also will be smearing itself.”

Saints attorneys, in court papers, disputed any suggestion that the team helped the church cover up crimes, calling such claims “outrageous.” They further said that the emails, exchanged in 2018 and 2019, were intended to be private and should not be “fodder for the public.” The archdiocese is also fighting the release of the emails.

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Victim group blasts New Orleans Saints for helping Catholic Church with PR on clergy sex abuse

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS (NJ)
CNBC

January 24, 2020

By Dan Mangan

New Orleans – Lawyers say they want the New Orleans Saints and its spokesman to testify about that football team’s public relations assistance to the Archdiocese of New Orleans regarding clergy sexual abuse cases, court documents reveal.

The lawyers represent a man who is suing the archdiocese on claims he was sexually abused as a boy by a Catholic lay minister.

The Saints said in a statement Friday that the NFL team provided the PR help to the Catholic archdiocese after being asked for assistance by church officials.

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Statement from the New Orleans Saints

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
New Orleans Saints

January 24, 2020

While there is current litigation relative to the New Orleans Archdiocese and clergy sex abuse, our comments are limited only to the scope of our involvement. The New Orleans Saints organization has always had a very strong relationship with the Archdiocese. The Archdiocese reached out to a number of community and civic minded leaders seeking counsel on handling the pending media attention that would come with the release of the clergy names in November of 2018. Greg Bensel, Senior Vice President of Communications for the New Orleans Saints, was contacted and offered input on how to work with the media. The advice was simple and never wavering. Be direct, open and fully transparent, while making sure that all law enforcement agencies were alerted. The New Orleans Saints, Greg Bensel and Mrs. Gayle Benson were and remain offended, disappointed and repulsed by the actions of certain past clergy. We remain steadfast in support of the victims who have suffered and pray for their continued healing.

Further, the Saints have no interest in concealing information from the press or public. At the current discovery stage in the case of Doe v. Archdiocese, the Saints, through their counsel, have merely requested the court to apply the normal rules of civil discovery to the documents that the Saints produced and delivered to Mr. Doe’s counsel. Until the documents are admitted into evidence at a public trial or hearing in the context of relevant testimony by persons having knowledge of the documents and the events to which they pertain, the use of the documents should be limited to the parties to the case and their attorneys. If admitted into evidence of the case, the documents and the testimony pertaining to them will become part of the public record of the trial of the case.

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Men suing Archdiocese say Saints helped cover-up crimes

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
4 WWL CBS

January 24, 2020

By Paul Murphy

The plaintiffs are now asking a judge to release hundreds of emails between the Archdiocese and the Saints.

The Saints are trying to keep private emails between team officials and the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

In a story first reported by the Associated Press, attorneys for men now suing the Archdiocese claim the Saints helped the church cover-up crimes.

They said Saints staffers, including Senior Vice President of Communications Greg Bensel, used their team email to advise church officials on “messaging” and how to soften the impact of the archdiocese’s release of a list of clergy members “credibly accused” of sexual abuse.

The plaintiffs are now asking a judge to release hundreds of emails between the Archdiocese and the Saints.

Kevin Bourgeois reached a settlement with the Archdiocese last April.

He claims a priest abused him in high school.

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Bishops narrowly approve USCCB rate hike for 2021

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency via Angelus News

January 10, 2020

The bishops of the United States have narrowly approved an increase on the amount dioceses must contribute to the national bishops’ conference. The measure initially failed to pass when put to a vote during their November 2019 meeting and additional votes had to be collected by mail to ensure the measure passed.

On the first day of their November meeting last year, the bishops voted in favor of a three percent rise in the amount each diocese in the country is required to contribute for the funding of the USCCB, based in Washington, DC, for the year 2021. But the vote of 111 to 55 in favor failed to receive the necessary two-thirds majority to pass.

The conference leadership ruled the vote “inconclusive” and determined to send additional postal ballots to bishops not present at the meeting. Two months after the initial vote in Baltimore, the measure passed with a final tally of 130 in favor, 62 against, and three abstentions.

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Pope Francis Says Goodbye To Charles Chaput, Former Denver Archbishop

CENTENNIAL (CO)
Colorado Public Radio

January 25, 2020

By Hayley Sanchez

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, who held the same post in Denver almost a decade ago.

Chaput led Denver churches from 1997 to 2011. He was an outspoken bishop on matters both political and cultural and played a role in addressing some clergy sex abuse allegations both in Colorado and Philadelphia. He helped Philadelphia’s archdiocese after it dealt with its own series of allegations. But Chaput’s poor handling of allegations in Colorado also garnered criticism.

In 2007, allegations of sexual abuse involving Rev. Kent Drotar, a leader at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, came up. Drotar was sent to therapy for a few months but was reassigned to another parish with a school.

Chaput was confronted about the assignment and said he had documentation from the therapist that Drotar was fit to serve in a parish. After a victim of Drotar’s abuse, Stephen Szutenbach, confronted him, Chaput put together a conduct response team that removed Drotar from the parish within weeks.

Szutenbach said the only new information he gave Chaput during their meeting was that he threatened to go to the media if something wasn’t done.

“The reaction of Archbishop Charles to protect himself and his reputation and the seminary’s reputation is a complete act of clericalism,” Szutenbach told CPR News in 2018.

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Archbishop Charles Chaput: America’s Least Conservative Bishop

IRONDALE (AL)
National Catholic Register

By Father Raymond J. de Souza

For more than 30 years, Archbishop Chaput has been a model of creativity and collaboration in preaching and preserving the Gospel.

The news was reported this week as one voice. Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, a “conservative” — sometimes styled a “prominent conservative” or “archconservative” — was retiring after having reached the age of 75.

This paper has already profiled the remarkable three decades that Archbishop Chaput ministered in Rapid City, Denver and Philadelphia. Yet the term “conservative” bears examination. Does it apply to Chaput?

The New York Times characterized Chaput as a “theological and political conservative.”

The first may well apply, as it is commonly used. For example, Chaput would interpret Amoris Laetitia in continuity with St. John Paul II’s encyclical on the moral life, Veritatis Splendor. Pope Francis wrote Amoris Laetitia as if Veritatis Splendor was never written; there is no mention of it whatsoever, despite the nearly 400 footnotes. Does that mean that Chaput is conservative and the Holy Father is liberal?

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Guam’s Archbishop Byrnes receives pallium in special ceremony during Mass

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholic News Service via Catholic Philly

January 23, 2020

Hagatna, Guam – In an investiture ceremony Jan. 19, Tanzanian Archbishop Novatus Rugambwa, apostolic delegate to the countries of the Pacific Ocean, conferred the pallium on Archbishop Michael J. Byrnes of Agana.

The ceremony took place during Mass at Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagatna.

Archbishop Byrnes originally received the pallium from Pope Francis at the Vatican last June during the annual pallium Mass celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Guam prelate was among 30 newly named archbishops from throughout the world who traveled to Rome to concelebrate the Mass, with Pope Francis presiding. The pope blessed the palliums, which were then to be conferred on the archbishops in their respective dioceses.

*

Archbishop Byrnes was an auxiliary bishop of Detroit when Pope Francis sent him to Guam in October 2016 as the coadjutor bishop with special powers in the midst of accusations of sexual abuse and financial mismanagement against Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron.

The former Archbishop Apuron was later found guilty of abuse against minors by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. On April 4, 2019, the congregation rejected his appeal and upheld its guilty judgment — and fully affirmed Archbishop Byrnes’ leadership as the shepherd of the Catholic faithful on Guam and the metropolitan archbishop of Agana.

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Theological Drift: Benedict’s Estrangement from Ratzinger

NEW YORK (NY)
Commonweal

January 23, 2020

By Massimo Faggioli

The publication of From the Depths of Our Hearts, Cardinal Robert Sarah’s book on clerical celibacy “co-authored” with Pope Benedict XVI, illustrates once more the problem with the institution of the emeritus papacy as it’s currently functioning. Much has already been said about this aspect of the latest controversy, but less about what Benedict’s contribution to the book signifies in terms of his continued revisionist thinking on Vatican II, where he played a significant role as a theological expert. Italian theologian Andrea Grillo has astutely remarked that “Benedict is one of the fathers of Vatican II, but full of remorse.” Indeed, the defense of clerical celibacy put forth in From the Depths of Our Hearts is built on a view of Scripture, liturgy, and the church that makes no reference whatsoever to the documents of Vatican II.

Of course, it’s hard to know at this point just how direct a hand the “pope emeritus” has had in the writing that has appeared under his name in the past year (including his musings on the genesis of the abuse crisis last April). Nevertheless, it fits within a pattern of theological drift dating back much farther than Francis’s papacy. Some see signs of Ratzinger distancing himself from the council as early as August 1965, while Vatican II was still underway and the pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes was taking shape. Others date it to the student protest movement in Germany in 1968 and 1969, when he was teaching at Tübingen before moving to the quieter University of Regensburg in Bavaria. The German national synod of 1972–1975 seems to have contributed to his disillusionment.

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Float linking Archbishop to child abuse will not be allowed to take part in Carnival

MALTA
Independent

January 23, 2020

https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2020-01-23/local-news/Carnival-float-linking-Archbishop-Church-home-to-child-abuse-draws-widespread-condemnation-6736218779

A Carnival float linking Archbishop Charles Scicluna and a Church home to child abuse has drawn widespread condemnation, and will not be allowed to participate in Carnival, reports read

The float features the Archbishop, flanked by two babies with devil’s horns and pointy teeth, in front of St Joseph children’s home, with the writing ‘Jude’s hell.’ Jude is Archbishop Scicluna’s middle name.

The Facebook post was accompanied by the following text: ‘Carnival 2020 loading … Let the children come to me … shhh don’t tell them anything.”

Lovin Malta reports that Minister for National Heritage, Arts and Local Government, José Herrera confirmed that Festivals Malta will be communicating with the float owner, and it will be prevented from participating.

Archbishop Scicluna earlier in the day told Times of Malta that, while he is not against satire, the float is “highly inappropriate”, especially for an event attended by children.

Fr Louis Mallia MSSP, who runs St Joseph Home, said he was concerned by the reaction children could have if the float is paraded through Valletta next month. He invited the float builders to visit the children’s home, to see that the real situation was very different from that depicted in the float.

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Banned ‘child abuse’ float minimised gravity of the crime, social workers say

MALTA
Malta Today

January 24, 2020

By Matthew Vella

Social workers say banned carnival float was homophobic and minimised gravity of crime of child abuse with gratuitous links to Vatican prosecutor of sex abuse cases

The Maltese Association of Social Workers has said a carnival float linking Archbishop Charles Scicluna to the historic St Joseph Home child abuse saga was likely to cause distress to the home’s residents by depicting it as unsafe.

The carnival float was banned for participation in the Maltese carnival defilé by the minister culture for juxtaposing the Catholic archbishop with two-horned cherubs and the name ‘St Joseph Home’, as well as inserting an LGBTQI rainbow in the pastiche.

The St Joseph Home was the site of repeated child abuse of orphans who resided there in the 1980s until police investigated the case in 2003. In 2011, Carmelo Pulis, then 69, and Godwin Scerri, then 78, were defrocked and jailed for five and six years respectively after a court found them guilty of sexually abusing ten boys in their care in the 1980s.

The home still houses orphaned residents.

But even Lawrence Grech, one of the survivors who has been repeatedly denied compensation from Scicluna’s archdiocese, yesterday insisted the carnival float should not be banned.

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Editorial: Carnival float – In bad taste

MALTA
The Malta Independent

January 25, 2020

A float linking Archbisop Charles Scicluna and a Church home to child abuse, caused a whole uproar this past week, with many arguing that it is in bad taste.

The float features the Archbishop, flanked by two babies with devil’s horns and pointy teeth, in front of St Joseph children’s home, with the writing ‘Jude’s hell.’ Jude is Archbishop Scicluna’s middle name. The float also contains a wedding cake with two men holding hands.

Festivals Malta took a decision to ban the float in its current form, and in this newsroom’s opinion this was the right move. While Freedom of Expression is of course sacred, there are defamatory considerations which must also be made. Archbishop Scicluna is a man who has spearheaded the fight against child abuse in the church, and depicting in such a way can be seen as linking the Archbishop to such abuse.

Scicluna is considered to be the Vatican’s main investigator into priestly sexual abuses, with the Maltese Archbishop being sent to countries like Chile and Poland to deal with such cases. He also led a Vatican summit which was aimed to draw up guidelines for the church to tackle this subject.

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January 24, 2020

Hurry up and wait: Lawyers, survivors see little motion on early CVA cases

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union

January 23, 2020

By Cayla Harris

Six months after the Child Victims Act went into effect, survivors and lawyers say hundreds of lawsuits have stalled in the pre-trial discovery stages.

In August, the act opened a one-year look-back period temporarily eliminating the civil statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases, allowing survivors of all ages to lodge lawsuits against their alleged offenders. The first filing day, Aug. 14, saw more than 400 lawsuits – and there have been about 1,000 more statewide in the months since.

But as attorneys await evidence from defendants, several cases have reached an impasse, leaving survivors waiting far after the closure of the look-back window to take their cases to trial or pursue settlements. Only a handful of cases have been settled, and the earliest trials are expected to take place in 2021 – but some have been scheduled as far as out 2023, attorneys said.

“We hear mostly from clients – in any case – it’s a longer process than a person who’s not in the legal system expects or wants,” said Jennifer Freeman, an attorney with Marsh Law Firm, which has offices in Manhattan and White Plains. “You think you can go to trial in a few months, and it just doesn’t work like that.”

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New Orleans Saints Allegedly Gave Catholic Diocese PR Help Amid Sex Abuse Crisis

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Bleacher Report

January 24, 2020

By Adam Wells

A court-appointed special master will hear arguments from the New Orleans Saints to prevent the release of emails from team executives that reportedly show them offering public relations help to the city’s Roman Catholic archdiocese as it dealt with multiple allegations of sexual abuse against its clergy members.

Per Jim Mustian of the Associated Press on Friday, attorneys for the 12 plaintiffs in the lawsuit found through discovery that the Saints “aided the Archdiocese of New Orleans in its ‘pattern and practice of concealing its crimes.'”

A full list of Saints executives involved wasn’t listed, but the team’s senior vice president of communications Greg Bensel was mentioned. “Multiple” team personnel were also said to have used their team-affiliated email addresses to advise church officials about their messaging and “how to soften the impact of the archdiocese’s release of a list of clergy members ‘credibly accused’ of sexual abuse.”

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Violence, Gaslighting and Flying Monkeys: How Abusers Manipulate their Communities

UNITED STATES
Patheos

January 23, 2020

By Mary Pezzulo

I want to say a few words about gaslighting, and about how abusive people manipulate their communities.

The other day on Facebook, I met a woman who has been the victim of some extreme domestic violence. For the record she’s not the same domestic violence survivor as the one we all helped with a gift registry in December; this is a new friend of mine. She’s told her own story publicly for the very first time this week. It’s extremely graphic and horrifying, and she promises there’s a lot more that she’s left unsaid which she’ll reveal later. But what there is now is terrible enough. You can see it yourself on facebook, complete with a picture of her burned arm.

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Former priest pleads no contest to indecent exposure

BAD AXE (MI)
Huron Daily Tribune

January 23, 2020

By Scott Nunn

Ventline scheduled for sentencing Feb. 6

Former priest and Port Austin resident Lawrence Ventline, 70, pleaded no contest to indecent exposure Jan. 15.

Ventline had been charged following a complaint made by an area business that he had exposed himself. He was scheduled for jury trial Jan. 28.

According to Huron County Prosecutor Timothy Rutkowski, the complainant stated that Ventline walked around the business for approximately 10 minutes exposing himself. Rutkowski said he had a video clip of the incident from the surveillance that was about 30 seconds in duration. In his statements to the police Ventline alleged the exposure was due to a medical issue.

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SNAP Points Out Fatal Flaw in Church-Run Investigations

UNITED STATES
SNAP

January 22, 2020

Catholic officials in Rome have opened an abuse investigation into a New York prelate who three months ago they had selected to lead an abuse investigation of his own. This situation is a clear example of the need for external, secular investigations instead of church-run ones.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio was accused of abuse in a lawsuit filed in November of last year, alleging that he had abused a boy while he was a priest in Jersey City. That accusation came after Bishop DiMarzio had been tapped by Vatican officials to lead an investigation into Bishop Richard Malone, the former head of the Diocese of Buffalo who resigned in December in disgrace.

The fact that a Bishop accused of abuse was the man investigating another Bishop’s cover-up abuse is a clear example of why internal, church-run investigations cannot be counted on to get to the bottom of clergy abuse crimes and cover-ups. Too many prelates – as many as 130 sitting bishops, according to a Boston Globe and Philadelphia Inquirer investigation – have been accused of mishandling abuse allegations or being abusers themselves for internal investigations to have any merit. There is an obvious need for oversight and investigations to come from external, secular sources.

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Nelson Perez Named as New Archbishop in Philadelphia, SNAP Responds

UNITED STATES
SNAP

January 23, 2020

Philadelphia has a new Archbishop, a man who is tasked with the tall order of bringing transparency and openness to an archdiocese that has long taken an antagonistic position towards survivors of clergy abuse.

Nelson Perez, the former Bishop of Cleveland, has been elevated to the Archbishop of Philadelphia by Pope Francis. He replaces Archbishop Charles Chaput, a man whose signature achievements included actively fighting against legislation that would benefit survivors and wantonly ignoring the church’s zero tolerance policy for priests accused of abuse.

Archbishop Perez has a lot of work in front of him. We have concerns that, as a product of St. Charles Seminary in Philadelphia and as one who knows how the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has repeatedly failed victims, he may adopt a “business as usual” approach. We hope for the complete opposite and that we see Archbishop Perez be true to his motto, “trust and hope,” two things that survivors in Philadelphia have long found wanting in their Catholic leadership. The archbishop has the opportunity to, as he said many times in Cleveland, “do the right thing.”

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Another Priest Added to Oklahoma City’s List of Abusive Clerics

UNITED STATES
SNAP

January 22, 2020

Another priest has been added to the Oklahoma City Archdiocese’s list of abusers. We call on Catholic officials to do outreach in every community where this priest worked to encourage other possible victims to come forward and make a report.

The case of Fr. Martin Leven is another example of the Church’s playbook to avoid scandal and minimize abuse allegations. Fr. Leven was first accused of abuse in 1993 and was sent to a church-run treatment facility in 1995. However, since the archdiocesan list does not include assignment dates or additional information on the allegation, we are unclear as to when the abuse was alleged to have occurred, only where.

The treatment facility found the allegation “possible.” Their recommendation was that the priest have no unsupervised contact with minors and seek intensive outpatient psychotherapy. Fr. Leven was then returned to parish ministry with the instruction that he “not be permitted to have ministerial contact with minors unless other adults are present.”

We do not know whether that instruction was actually enforced, or who was in charge of supervising its implementation. We do know that a recommendation is not enough to protect children from abuse, and that a second allegation of abuse by the priest, apparently from the same time period as the first, has also been “substantiated.” We are not told when the archdiocese received the second allegation, but Fr. Leven remained in parish ministry until 1999, in hospital ministry until 2013, and only had his faculties removed this year.

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Multiple child sex abuse lawsuits filed against Catholic Diocese of San Diego

ENCINITAS (CA)
The Coast News

January 23, 2020

By Tawny McCray

Alleged victims of childhood sexual abuse by now-deceased priests who operated throughout San Diego County, including in Encinitas, are looking for a little bit of closure as they pursue legal action against the Catholic Diocese of San Diego.

Six lawsuits were filed Jan. 2 against the Diocese and numerous local parishes on behalf of the 20 alleged victims — 14 of them male and six of them female.

The suits allege that the abuse took place in the 1960s and 70s and involves accusations of priests engaging in inappropriate behavior with minors that includes touching, fondling and massaging; kissing; oral copulation; masturbation; and simulated anal intercourse.

The victims were previously unable to pursue legal action against the Diocese, but recently enacted AB 218 expands the statute of limitations and opened a three-year window, starting this year, for victims to file suit.

Attorney Irwin Zalkin, whose office filed the six lawsuits, said his clients are seeking some sort of monetary compensation for the harm that’s been done.

“For these victims they’ve lived a life of incredibly difficult emotional distress, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxieties, depression, difficulties in relationships, and substance abuse,” Zalkin said Jan. 20. “The impact of child sexual abuse is devastating, it’s lifelong and it really derails the normal development of a human being.”

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Alleged victim of sex abuse by North Jersey priest breaks silence, sues Archdiocese of Newark

WOODLAND PARK (NJ)
NorthJersey.com

January 23, 2020

By Kaitlyn Kanzler

https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/essex/verona-cedar-grove/2020/01/23/newark-archdiocese-sued-victim-alleged-sex-abuse-verona-priest/4540653002/

Chris Rodgers is no longer a man of faith.

After struggling for years just to get up each morning after allegedly being sexual abused by a man he trusted, Rodgers’ faith is limited to believing there is a spiritual side to things.

Rodgers, who now lives in New York, is among the latest to file suit against the Catholic Church after New Jersey extended its civil statute of limitations on Dec. 1, allowing survivors a two-year window to bring a sex abuse case. Rodgers filed his suit against the Archdiocese of Newark for alleged sexual abuse by the Rev. Eugene Heyndricks, a former priest at Our Lady of the Lake in Verona.

Heyndricks, who died in 2007, was already on the list of credibly accused priests that the Archdiocese of Newark released last year. Heyndricks was placed on administrative leave in the early 2000s after he was caught in a police sting in Montreal soliciting an underage male prostitute. He pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to two years of unsupervised probation.

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Former Catholic priest pleads no contest to indecent exposure in Michigan’s Thumb

GRAND RAPIDS (MI)
M Live

January 23, 2020

By Cole Waterman

Bad Axe MI – A former Catholic priest has pleaded no contest to a criminal charge stemming from him exposing himself in public.

Lawrence M. Ventline, 70, on Jan. 15 appeared in Huron County District Court and pleaded no contest to the lone count he faced, that of indecent exposure. The charge is a one-year misdemeanor.

Huron County Prosecutor Timothy J. Rutkowski said his office had surveillance video footage recorded the morning of Aug. 26 showing Ventline inside Murphy’s Bakery, 110 W. Huron Ave. in Bad Axe, with his privates exposed.

In pleading no contest as opposed to guilty, Ventline did not admit to having committed a crime. The presiding judge relied on court documents to enter a conviction on the record.

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Dioceses come under scrutiny as they change legal structures

DENVER (CO)
Crux

January 23, 2020

By Jack Lyons

South Bend IN – As dioceses across the country continue to face multi-million dollar payouts related to clerical sex abuse, some bishops have relied on advice from lawyers to reconfigure the property of their dioceses into charitable trusts.

The practice – which has been implemented by several dioceses after the clerical sex abuse revelations of the early 2000s – creates significantly different outcomes for dioceses and abuse victims in the case of bankruptcies.

Critics say the moves shield assets that could be paid to victims of clerical abuse and may even be illegal. However, Church officials defend the practice, saying their actions were intended to better align the dioceses’ corporate status with canon law. Other dioceses say they acted to ensure the long-term viability of the Church.

In the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’s bankruptcy, which was resolved in 2016, the archdiocese calculated its assets at $45 million, while advocates for abuse victims argued that other church entities brought the sum up to $1.7 billion. That means individual victims could receive tens of thousands of dollars more in a bankruptcy settlement depending on how courts define the assets of the archdiocese.

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Pope Francis Replaces Conservative Archbishop of Philadelphia

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

January 23, 2020

By Elizabeth Dias and Jason Horowitz

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011, has long been known as a theological and political conservative, often at odds with Pope Francis.

Washington – Pope Francis, facing growing conservative opposition to his papacy from Catholics in the United States, on Thursday replaced the popular archbishop of Philadelphia, one of his most prominent critics and a prelate admired by church traditionalists.

Pope Francis announced in a statement that he had accepted the resignation of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia, who had reached retirement age, and that he would elevate Bishop Nelson J. Perez of Cleveland, a Cuban-American born in Miami and relative newcomer to the national scene, to the role.

The move is a sign that the pope, who has installed key allies in Chicago and Newark, is still intent on changing the ideological direction of the American church by setting a new tone in one of its most traditionalist dioceses.

Though Archbishop Chaput will move to an emeritus role, he plans to maintain an active speaking presence around the country. That means he will almost certainly remain influential as a prominent conservative thought leader in the church.

*
[Perez] also acknowledged the complexities of his new assignment, apologizing directly to victims of clergy sexual abuse, and he addressed Hispanic Catholics, at times in Spanish, raising concerns about anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States.

*
Archbishop Chaput was also a firm administrator, tapped to reform a region in financial and spiritual disarray after extensive allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy in the area. A county grand jury in 2005 reported that leaders of the Philadelphia archdiocese, including two cardinals, had covered up extensive sexual abuse of minors.

A second grand jury in 2011 accused the archdiocese of not stopping the abuse, and Pope Benedict appointed Archbishop Chaput to lead the archdiocese about five months later.

Archbishop Chaput removed priests accused of abuse, closed 49 schools and sold the archbishop’s mansion for $10 million as part of a plan to reduce the operating budget deficit.

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9 Catholic priests, 1 church employee within Fall River Diocese accused of sexually abusing children decades ago, attorney says

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
MassLive

January 23, 2020

By Jackson Cote

https://www.masslive.com/news/2020/01/9-catholic-priests-1-church-employee-within-fall-river-diocese-accused-of-sexually-abusing-children-decades-ago-attorney-says.html

Nine Catholic priests and one church employee within the Diocese of Fall River were accused of child sexual abuse, an attorney announced this week.

The 10 men allegedly sexually abused at least one minor during a span of nearly 40 years, from 1947 to 1986, attorney Mitchell Garabedian said in a statement.

The diocese announced Sunday that two other retired Catholic priests, James F. Buckley and Edward J. Byington, were suspended from the ministry over allegations of child sexual abuse committed decades ago.

“I believe that the Catholic Church, although saying the right things, has not made meaningful changes to protect children and help victims try to heal,” said Garabedian, who is representing one of Byington’s alleged victims.

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Roving activist calls on Fall River Diocese to release list of accused priests

PROVIDENCE (RI)
WPRI

January 21, 2020

By Bill Tomison and Kim Kalunian

Fall River MA – Dr. Robert Hoatson drove up to Massachusetts from New Jersey with one goal: demand the Diocese of Fall River release a list of clergy members who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse against minors.

Hoatson is the president of Road to Recovery, a group for sexual abuse survivors. On Tuesday, he stood outside the Diocese’s Chancery Office and held a sign reading, “Bp. da Cunha release abusive clergy list.”

“We think it is outrageous that victims in Fall River are continuing to live with the fact that secrecy continues and cover-up continues,” he said. “The longer that Bishop da Cunha does not release the list of abusive clergy in this Diocese, the less safe children are and the more revictimized victims are.”

Hoatson is a former priest and has been running Road to Recovery since 2003. He said he served with Bishop Edgar da Cunha in the Archdiocese of Newark.

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Columbus bishop creates task force, hires attorney to tackle abuse allegations

COLUMBUS (OH)
The Columbus Dispatch

January 24, 2020

By Danae King

Bishop Robert Brennan, of the Diocese of Columbus, has started a task force to look into diocesan policies regarding sexual abuse of minors by priests. The diocese has also hired a local law firm to look into its records and see if more priests should be added to a list of 50 clergy members who have been accused thus far.

Columbus Bishop Robert Brennan says he wants to look at the sexual abuse of minors by clergy members with “new eyes.”

Since being installed as the 12th bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus in March 2019, Brennan has started establishing what he calls a baseline of knowledge about the topic.

Brennan said he has hired a law firm to audit diocesan files to see whether more priests should be added to a list of clergy members accused of child sexual abuse that was released on March 1, 2019. He also has started a task force to examine diocesan policies related to sexual abuse and how the diocese reaches out to survivors to help them heal.

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Strongsville priest facing child pornography charges in two counties pleads not guilty

CLEVELAND (OH)
Cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer

January 22, 2020

By Cory Shaffer

A Strongsville Catholic priest pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Cuyahoga County court to a 21-count indictment that charged him with possessing child pornography.

The Rev. Robert McWilliams, who is also charged with possessing child pornography in Geauga County, made his first court appearance since a grand jury last week handed up the indictment.

Common Pleas Court Judge Shannon Gallagher continued McWilliams’ original bond of 10 percent of $50,000.

McWilliams is also under a $150,000 bond that a Chardon Municipal Court judge set at his first appearance in that courtroom on Jan. 8. McWilliams will have to post that bond in order to be released from custody.

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January 23, 2020

Christian Brothers child sex abuse survivor John Lawrence said attacker made him feel ‘worthless’

AUSTRALIA
ABC

January 22, 2020

By Eliza Borrello

An elderly man who was sexually abused by the Christian Brothers as a child has described the pain and fear he experienced being repeatedly raped as a nine-year-old boy at a group home for vulnerable children.

WARNING: This story contains material that some readers may find upsetting

Perth man John Thomas Lawrence, 75, has become the first child sex abuse survivor to testify about his ordeal in court since Western Australia removed time limits on such cases being heard.

Today, he detailed to the court the protracted abuse he suffered at the hands of Christian Brother Lawrence Murphy.

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US BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE SUED FOR LYING AND STEALING

PROVIDENCE (RI)
ChurchMilitant

January 22, 2020

By William Mahoney, Ph.D.

Peter’s Pence donors invited to join lawsuit

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is being sued for obtaining millions of dollars in charitable donations under false pretenses and privately investing that money into ventures such as luxury condominium developments and Hollywood movies.

Texas-based legal firm the Stanley Law Group filed a class-action lawsuit against the USCCB on Wednesday, alleging the organization fraudulently promotes Peter’s Pence as a papal charity when recent reports show as little as 10% of donations are used for its stated purpose.

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Catholic sues US bishops for ‘misleading’ faithful to donate millions to ‘fraudulent’ Vatican charity

RHODE ISLAND
LifeSiteNews

January 22, 2020

By Lianne Laurence

The suit alleges that US bishops ‘actively’ misled Catholics into believing their millions of dollars in donations to Peter’s Pence would be used to help the poor.

A Dallas law firm filed a class action lawsuit Wednesday against the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for “unlawful, deceptive and fraudulent practices” in promoting and collecting funds for the papal charity Peter’s Pence.

The suit alleges the American bishops “actively” misled Catholics into believing their millions of dollars in donations to the collection would be used to help “victims of war, oppression, natural disaster, or disease,” when in fact much of the money was funneled into private investments, such as Hollywood’s sexually explicit Elton John biopic, “luxury condominium developments” and “hefty, multi-million dollar commissions” to fund managers.

Stanley Law Group filed the lawsuit January 22 in the United States District Court in Rhode Island on behalf of David O’Connell, a parishioner at Sacred Heart Church in East Providence, who is seeking a jury trial, it stated in a press release.

“USCCB must come clean and give back the money it took from well-intentioned people who thought they were giving urgently-needed funds to help the destitute around the world,” said lead attorney Mark Stanley.

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Cleveland bishop named Philadelphia’s next archbishop

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Associated Press

January 23, 2020

The bishop of Cleveland will become the new leader of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the Vatican announced Thursday, making him the first Hispanic archbishop to lead the region’s 1.3 million-member flock.

Nelson Perez, who spent most of his early pastoral career in the Philadelphia area, was introduced Thursday in a news conference at the archdiocese’s Philadelphia headquarters. He will succeed Archbishop Charles Chaput, a conservative culture warrior who is stepping down after turning 75 last year, the traditional retirement age for Catholic bishops.

Chaput welcomed Perez to his new post, which he will assume Feb. 18. He called his successor “a man who already knows and loves the church in Philadelphia.”

Perez shared his enthusiasm for the city, saying “it’s awesome to be back in Philadelphia with people who are faith-filled, who love the Lord, love the church.” Perez also praised Chaput’s tenure in the diocese, saying he faced challenges in Philadelphia with “great courage and steadfastness.”

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The case for suppressing the Legion of Christ

MEXICO
Catholic Herald

January 22, 2020

By Christopher Altieri

A new scandal shows that only the ‘nuclear option’ will help to restore the Church’s credibility

The Legion of Christ is back in the news, with AP reporting on a gruesome story in Mexico, not only of abuse and cover-up, but also of failure to reform in the wake of revelations regarding the outfit’s founder: a charismatic sociopath called Fr Marcial Maciel. He started the Legion, which served him as a front for his perverse criminal double-life. He also founded a lay arm, Regnum Christi, which served as his cash cow.

“The papal envoy who ran the Legion starting in 2010,” AP reports, “learned about the case [in Mexico] nearly a decade ago and refused to punish or even investigate the priest or the superiors who covered up his crimes, many of whom are still in power and ministry today.”

AP noted that the story “has been corroborated by other victims and the Legion itself” and “has sparked a new credibility crisis for the once-influential order, 10 years after the Holy See took it over after determining that its founder was a pedophile”.

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News 8 Now Investigates-‘Breaking the Silence’

LA CROSSE (WI)
WKBT/NEWS8000

January 22, 2020

By Martha Koloski

As the La Crosse Diocese releases names of credibly accused clergy…. a survivor tells his story of faith and forgiveness

It’s been 18 years since the Catholic Church announced a zero-tolerance policy in hopes of ending sexual abuse by clergy.
But just this past weekend, the Diocese of La Crosse released its own list of credibly accused clergy.

And this past December Pope Francis made an important change to something called the “Pontifical Secret.” It is the church’s highest level of confidentiality.
He abolished its use in cases of clergy committing violence or sexual assaults against minors or anyone under their authority.

The new policy also includes cases related to a lack of reporting abuse and attempts to cover up accusations.

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Resignations and Appointments

VATICAN CITY
Holy See Press Office

January 23, 2020

Resignation of archbishop of Philadelphia, U.S.A., and appointment of successor

The Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Philadelphia, United States of America, presented by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

The Pope has appointed as metropolitan archbishop of Philadelphia, United States of America, Bishop Nelson Jesus Perez of Cleveland, Ohio.

The Archbishop-elect Nelson Jesus Perez was born on 16 June 1961 in Miami in the archdiocese of the same name, in Florida. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Montclair State University in New Jersey (1983) he taught at the elementary school, at the Colegio la Piedad in Puerto Rico. He carried out his ecclesiastical studies at the Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, Pennsylvania, where he obtained a master’s degree in theology (1985 to 1989).

He was ordained a priest on 20 May 1989 for the archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Since priestly ordination, he has held the following offices: parish vicar of the Saint Ambrose parish in Philadelphia (1989 to 1993); vice director of the archdiocesan office for Hispanic faithful (1990 to 1993); director and founder of the Catholic Institute for Evangelization (1993 to 2002); parish priest of the Saint William parish in Philadelphia (2002 to 2009); and parish priest of the Saint Agnes parish in West Chester (2009 to 2012). In addition, he has been member of the presbyteral council of the archdiocese of Philadelphia (2003 to 2005), and professor of psychology and religious studies at the La Salle University in Philadelphia (1994 to 2008).

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Querido Nelson, Welcome Home – Bearing Shades of Krol and Bevy, Cleveland Returns to Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Whispers in the Loggia

January 22, 2020

By Rocco Palmo

Now 212 years into our life as a local church, God’s People here in Philadelphia came to accrue an odd distinction in American Catholicism… well, one among others: given the insularity of this place, we’ve become the last major Stateside diocese that only ever had white bishops….

That is, until now – and the streak ends with a memorable splash onto the Chair of St John Neumann.

Per three Whispers ops, Pope Francis is set to name Nelson Perez – the 58 year-old son of Cuban exiles, until now the bishop of Cleveland, ordained a priest of Philadelphia in 1989 – as his adopted home’s 10th Archbishop on Thursday, 23 January.

The move comes four months after the 75th birthday of Archbishop Charles Chaput OFM Cap., who widely aired his wish to be retired quickly after 32 years as an active prelate, the last eight of them embroiled in attempting to rescue the 1.1 million-member Philly fold from a financial and managerial free-fall – an ongoing plate which now includes an unprecedented Federal investigation into clergy sex-abuse across the entire province (i.e. state) his successor will inherit.

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Bishop Nelson Perez of Cleveland named Philadelphia’s next archbishop, replacing Charles Chaput

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

January 23, 2020

By Jeremy Roebuck

Pope Francis announced Thursday that the bishop of Cleveland, Nelson Perez, will be the next head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, making him the first Hispanic archbishop to lead the region’s 1.3 million-member flock.

Born in Miami, raised in New Jersey and ordained at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Perez, 58, served as a parish priest for more than two decades in West Chester and the Olney and Lawncrest sections of Philadelphia before being elevated to the hierarchy as an auxiliary bishop in Long Island, N.Y. in 2012.

*
Chaput, who arrived from Denver in 2011, has been credited with stabilizing an archdiocese roiled at the time by financial shortfalls and fallout from a damning grand jury report that implicated the city’s church hierarchy in covering up decades of sexual abuse.

During his time here, his frank rhetoric and willingness to engage in secular political debates on issues including divorce, statute-of-limitations reform, and gun control have earned him a following among conservative U.S. Catholics, while occasionally putting him at odds with the likes of Mayor Jim Kenney, some clergy sex-abuse victims, and — seemingly, at times — Francis himself.

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Accused of sex abuse, Buffalo priest fires back with defamation lawsuit

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

January 22, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

A Buffalo priest who was accused in a Child Victims Act lawsuit of sexually abusing a boy in the 1980s is firing back with a lawsuit of his own that alleges his accuser lied about the abuse and slandered the priest.

The Rev. Roy T. Herberger, former longtime pastor of SS. Columba & Brigid Church, filed the defamation suit Tuesday in State Supreme Court in Erie County. The lawsuit is the first known defamation case in Western New York filed against a person over allegations made in a Child Victims Act suit.

Herberger said he wanted “to take a stand” to prevent people from making false claims.

“Know that you can be sued. It’s not just so simple that you can make an accusation,” Herberger said in an interview with The Buffalo News.

The Buffalo Diocese put Herberger on administrative leave in June 2018 after receiving a complaint that the priest had sexually abused an 8-year-old boy in the 1980s. Herberger vehemently denied the allegation in a letter to parishioners and friends. Following a diocese investigation that determined the allegation was unfounded, he was returned to active ministry in December 2018.

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Fresno-area priest dies seven months after being named in church’s sexual misconduct probe

FRESNO (CA)
Fresno Bee

January 22, 2020

By Yesenia Amaro

A longtime San Joaquin Valley Catholic priest died over the weekend.

Supporters called the Rev. Eric Swearingen a great man, but sexual misconduct allegations dogged him for years and key questions remained unanswered at the time of his death.

Swearingen, 58, died Saturday after a lengthy illness. Church officials declined to comment on his medical condition.

“Our focus, and sole focus, is on comforting the family, friends and parishioners that are deeply mourning the passing of Fr. Eric Swearingen,” Teresa Dominguez, chancellor for the Diocese of Fresno, said in an emailed statement.

His more than three decades of service included postings in Fresno, Bakersfield, Atwater and Lemoore and, most recently, Visalia.

Swearingen’s death comes seven months after he was placed on leave amid renewed investigations into decades-old sexual abuse allegations. Dominguez declined to say whether Swearingen was still on administrative leave at the time of his death.

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Lawyers amend sex abuse lawsuit against local school, diocese, and religious order

JOHNSTOWN (PA)
WJAC

January 21, 2020

By Crispin Havener

Lawyers filing a civil lawsuit alleging fraud and conspiracy against a local catholic school, the diocese, and a religious order over allegations of sexual abuse made by a former student have amended their lawsuit.

The plaintiff, listed in the complaint as “A.L.”, said the abuse by an unnamed “priest and athletic trainer” employed by Bishop McCort Catholic High School in Johnstown, the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, and the Third Order Regular Friars, Province of the Immaculate Conception of the United States, started after the student suffered an injury during a freshman day camp. The athletic trainer, according to the complaint assaulted the student on and off campus over a two-year period.

Adam P. Murdock of Robert Peirce & Associates tells 6 News the changes to the lawsuit, filed in October 2019, better reflect the name of the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular, Province of the Immaculate Conception of the United States and their proper address in Hollidaysburg. Murdock said the initial complaint “inadvertently identified the incorrect Franciscan party” as the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular, Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Loretto but they were in no way involved in the case.

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Priest at Summit Catholic Prep School on Leave Pending Probe

SUMMIT (NJ)
Patch

January 22, 2020

By Caren Lissner


‘The Archdiocese of Newark takes very seriously any and all credible complaints of sexual misconduct,’ said a spokeswoman.

A priest who once worked in law enforcement in New York City is now on leave from a Catholic school in Summit pending an investigation into “complaints issued in the past several days,” according to a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Newark.

Spokeswoman Maria Margiotta would not elaborate on the nature of the complaints against Rev. Salvator “Sal” DiStefano, who was serving as a chaplain at Oratory Catholic Preparatory School. But she said in a statement, “The Archdiocese of Newark takes very seriously any and all credible complaints of sexual misconduct or sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy, religious, lay staff and volunteers of the Archdiocese.”

She confirmed he has been placed on administrative leave. “The Archdiocese also stresses that Fr. DiStefano’s leave should not be interpreted as punishment and he continues to have the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise,” she said. “At the conclusion of a review and external investigation by civil authorities, a determination will be made regarding Fr. DiStefano’s status.”

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Rev. Eric V. Swearingen 1961 – 2020

VISALIA (CA)
Legacy and Visalia Times Delta

January 22, 2020

Surrounded by his loving family and many friends, Rev. Eric V. Swearingen completed his early mission on January 18, 2020, having served as a Catholic Priest of the Diocese of Fresno for more than 32 years.

Eric Van Swearingen was born August 8, 1961 in Visalia, California. He was the second son of Richard and Connie (Goodreau) Swearingen. His early years were spent on the Westside of the San Joaquin Valley, where his family farmed in the Riverdale/Five Points area. Those early lessons of farming, working side-by-side with people of diverse cultures, languages and backgrounds would serve him well in his later life of ministry. He was blessed with the opportunity for a Catholic education first at Mary Immaculate Queen school in Lemoore and then George McCann Memorial Catholic School in Visalia. After completing his high school years at Redwood High School in Visalia, the realization that he might be called to the Catholic priesthood led him to St. John’s Seminary College in Camarillo. Having earned his Bachelor Degree in Philosophy, he was sent to complete his theological studies at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, OH. On May 23, 1987 he was ordained a priest for service in the Diocese of Fresno.

Fr. Swearingen served in various parish assignments throughout his more than 32 years of priestly ministry, including: Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Bakersfield; Our Lady of Victory, St. Alphonsus, St. Helen and Holy Spirit Parishes, Fresno; St. Anthony Parish, Atwater; St. Jude Parish, Easton; St. Peter the Apostle Parish, Lemoore; and the united Catholic communities of Good Shepherd Parish, Visalia.

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January 22, 2020

Pope Francis put a woman in a top Vatican role. It shows how little power Catholic women hold.

VATICAN CITY
NBC News

January 21, 2020

By Celia Viggo Wexler

Failing to empower women narrows the church’s vision and makes it less equipped to be a force for good in the world.

Recently, the Catholic Church took two small steps for womankind: This month, Pope Francis named the first woman to a managerial position in the Vatican’s most important office, the Secretariat of State. And in October, the world’s bishops suggested that Francis reconvene a commission he had created, at the urging of nuns, to study the ordination of women as permanent deacons — church ministers who are able to perform some of the duties of priests, but not to say Mass or hear confessions.

Yet these reforms only make clear how little power women hold in the church, where they constitute about half of Catholicism’s 1.2 billion adherents. Not only are women barred from ordination to the priesthood, they are not even allowed to vote at Vatican synods, convened to advise the pope about challenges facing the church.

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Two ultra-Orthodox young women jump to their deaths in Jerusalem

ISRAEL
The Jerusalem Post

January 21, 2020

By Maayan Hoffman

Suicide note indicates at least one girl was leaving faith and feared disappointing her family.

One of the two young cousins who jumped to their deaths from the top of a Jerusalem building overnight Sunday may have been sexually abused by a relative, Channel 12 reported Tuesday.

Hani Solish, 19, from Netanya, and Sarah Klapman, 24, from Jerusalem, jumped from the top of the Mercaz Sapir building in Givat Shaul. The young women, both members of the Chabad movement, were found by Magen David Adom paramedics.

They left behind a suicide note explaining why they wanted to die.

Channel 12 said that the relative who had abused one of the girls was arrested and convicted for abuse, and sentenced to service. He was released on parole a decade ago. It was also reported that the young woman had sought therapy but stopped going for treatment due to family pressure shortly after the incident.

Also, one of the two women had recently been struggling with commitment to her faith, according to news reports. The suicide note allegedly included that one of the girls feared disappointing her parents.

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One-man protest outside Fall River Diocese demands list of credibly accused priests

FALL RIVER (MA)
Herald News

January 21, 2020

By Deborah Allard

Victim advocate and former priest Robert M. Hoatson of New Jersey held a one-man protest outside the Fall River Diocese on Highland Avenue Tuesday morning to ask that Bishop Edgar da Cunha release a complete list of priests accused of sexual abuse.

“It’s outrageous that he hasn’t released this already,” Hoatson said.

Hoatson’s protest came just two days after an additional two Catholic priests, Fr. James F. Buckley and Fr. Edward J. Byington, both retired, were suspended amid allegations of two separate accounts of sexual abuse of a minor. Both served in Fall River churches and in other local towns in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

But the Fall River Diocese said it is still conducting an internal review of sexual abuse allegations of its clergy. Da Cunha in January 2019 announced the hiring of former FBI Assistant Director William Gavin to review claims as an independent consultant. A list was expected to be released last spring.

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Priest added to abuse list worked 8 Oklahoma churches

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
NonDoc

January 21, 2020

By Matt Patterson

A former Catholic priest who worked in seven communities across Oklahoma has been added to a list of clergy with at least one “substantiated allegation” of sexual abuse, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City announced today.

Father Marvin Leven, 94, was accused in 1993 of sexual abuse on a 15-year-old boy by a former parishioner of Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Enid, the archdiocese said in a press release.

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Man who killed convicted Griffin aide charged with sex abuse of child

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

January 20, 2020

By Aaron Besecker

A man who went to prison for killing a convicted child molester almost 20 years ago has been charged with sexually abusing a child, according to Buffalo police and court records.

Richard Tyes, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 2001 homicide of Robert J. Tatu, an aide to former Mayor James D. Griffin, has been accused of first-degree sexual abuse of a child younger than 13, according to the records.

Tyes, 39, of Grider Street, also was charged by Buffalo police with child endangerment for a Jan. 4 incident. He was being held on a parole violation before being charged Thursday. He pleaded not guilty to the new felony and misdemeanor charges Friday before Buffalo City Court Judge Kevin J. Keane and was being held at the Erie County Correctional Facility.

Tatu, 42, a former Cub Scout volunteer and Griffin aide, was found shot to death on May 22, 2001, on a staircase leading to his Elmwood Avenue apartment. He had been shot in the eye and chest.

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Why Does an Accused Sex-Predator Priest Say He’s a ‘Senior Vice President’ in Rudy Giuliani’s Consulting Firm?

NEW YORK (NY)
Rolling Stone

January 21, 2020

By Seth Hettena

Giuliani and Alan Placa have long-standing personal and business ties

Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer who frequently boasts about his personal character and those of his associates, has had a long personal and business association with an accused pedophile priest.

Few people are closer to Giuliani than Monsignor Alan Placa, who is part of the former New York mayor’s innermost circle of friends and advisers. The two have been friends since childhood, and Placa played a key role in many of Giuliani’s major life events, most recently when he officiated at the 2017 wedding of Giuliani’s son, Andrew, who works at the Trump White House as a sports liaison. Placa also has had an ill-defined role at Giuliani’s consulting business, listing himself on his Facebook and LinkedIn profiles as a “senior vice president” at the firm.

Placa has long been dogged by allegations that he sexually abused children in the 1970s at a Catholic high school on Long Island. Those allegations — which Placa has long denied — were revived again in recent months when two former students sued him in previously unreported lawsuits filed in New York Supreme Court.

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Outing the French Literary World’s Jeffrey Epstein

PARIS (FRANCE)
The Daily Beast

January 19, 2020

By Erin Zaleski

For decades, Gabriel Matzneff got a pass from French culture mavens as he extolled the pleasures of sex with underage boys and girls. No longer.

Long before Jeffrey Epstein was shuttling underage girls to the U.S. Virgin Islands on his private jet, Gabriel Matzneff was engaging in sexual activities with young adolescents in his Paris apartment, in hotel rooms, and on trips to Southeast Asia—and then writing about his exploits.

“Once you have held, kissed, caressed, possessed a 13-year-old boy, a girl of 15,” Matzneff once wrote, “everything else seems bland, heavy, insipid.”

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People have less unprotected sex after the Pope visits a town and abortion rates fall by a fifth, study finds

UNITED KINGDOM
MAILONLINE

January 18, 2020

By Jemma Carr

– Towns and cities see drop in number unwanted pregnancies after a papal visit
– But birth rates don’t increase meaning couples abstaining or using protection
– Scientists who conducted study were led by team from University of Sussex

The Pope reduces the number of abortions when he visits a town because his presence makes people have less unprotected sex, a study found.

Scientists, led by a team from the University of Sussex, found that couples have less unprotected sex when the Pope is in town to avoid having an abortion and breaking Catholic doctrine.

Even after the pope leaves the area, his influence remains as researchers found abortions plummeted by up to a fifth for as long as 14 months after a papal visit.

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Freeholder E. Marie Hayes Offers Help to Other Victims of Sexual Abuse

NEW JERSEY
MediaWize

January 18, 2020

By Maddy Vitale

When Cape May County Freeholder E. Marie Hayes wrote a Letter to the Editor and sent it to local news outlets, she put her private life in the spotlight, much more than any time sparring in political debates, on the campaign trail or speaking in public.

She told of how she endured pain, grief and anguish, that she was sexually assaulted, long before the “Me Too” movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault, and when she was even too young to go to school.

A family friend, now deceased, abused her when she was growing up, she said.

And although decades had gone by, nightmares continued to haunt her until Hayes, a retired law enforcement captain who helped so many people in her career, got the help she needed to live the best life she could, without hiding the past.

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Rome summit to examine clerical sex abuse

ROME
The Tablet

January 21, 2020

By Christopher Lamb

Fr Hans Zollner, the Church’s leading child protection expert, wants more systematic theology done on abuse crisis

Rome is to host a summit examining how the clerical sexual abuse crisis is forcing the Church to go back to its core mission and re-think its model of the priesthood.

The gathering of around 90 theologians from across the world, hosted by the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University, will look at the ecclesiological impact of abuse, in a way that is not simply legal, or procedural. The 11-14 March meeting is to look clericalism, ecclesial reform and rediscovering the mission of Jesus in Church structures.

At a theological level, the abuse of children by priests, and the failure by bishops to respond adequately, is doubly shocking because it betrays the Church’s mission. Historians talk about it being the greatest crisis since the Reformation and for organisers of the forthcoming summit, the response to abuse requires deep soul searching about what it means to be the Church.

But Fr Hans Zollner, the centre’s director and the Church’s leading child protection expert, said that while the abuse crisis has been under discussion in the Church for 35 years there has been “very little attempt to do systematic theology” on it.

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Catholic prof fired by bishop after posting Viganò’s criticisms of Pope Francis online

BUENOS AIRES
LifeSiteNews

January 16, 2020

The professor said he posted Vigano’s letter on Facebook ‘in order to make manifest that things are not going well in the Church.’

A Catholic professor of philosophy has been dismissed by a bishop from his teaching post at an Argentine school of theology after the scholar posted criticisms of Pope Francis made by Vatican whistleblower Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.

Bishop Gabriel Mestre of Mar del Plata, Argentina, dismissed Dr. Maximiliano Loria from the diocesan University School of Theology. According to Dr. Mario Caponnetto, a respected Catholic physician and blogger, the reason for the dismissal was because Loria posted on his Facebook page a letter by Archbishop Viganò, who once served as the Vatican’s diplomatic representative in Washington D.C. Vigano has been a vocal critic of Pope Francis and has even called for the current pontiff to resign.

According to Dr. Caponnetto’s report at the AdelanteLaFe website, Loria said that he posted Archbishop Vigano’s letter on Facebook “in order to make manifest that things are not going well in the Church. I respect the Pope,” he said, but added that many of the Pope’s words and gestures are “incomprehensible.”

As an example, Loria cited the adoration of pagan idols that the Pope countenanced in the Vatican Gardens and inside the Basilica of St. Peter during the Amazonia Synod that was held in Rome in October.

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Leader of Visalia’s Catholics dies after long illness

VISALIA (CA)
Visalia Times-Delta

January 22, 2020

By James Ward

Rev. Eric Swearingen, a Tulare County native who rose through the church’s hierarchy to lead Visalia’s Catholics despite an allegation of sexual abuse, died on Jan. 18 at 58 after a long illness.

Swearingen, who was named head pastor over Visalia’s four Catholic congregations, George McCann School and the Bethlehem Center in 2014, was put on administrative leave in June 2019 after Bishop Joseph Brennan received more information about a civil case dating back to 2006 in which Swearingen was sued by an ex-altar boy for alleged sexual abuse. The boy said the alleged abuse by Swearingen occurred in the late 1980s and early ’90s.

No criminal charges were ever filed in that case but a civil jury ruled that Swearingen did abuse the victim. The lawsuit required that the jury find the abuse happened and that the diocese did not have any prior knowledge of the incident.

Because of the split decision, the judge ruled the case a mistrial. A second trial was scheduled, but the two sides agreed to binding arbitration well before the court date — a settlement that both sides agreed to keep private.

Brennan and the church did not reveal what additional information led to Swearingen’s 2019 administrative leave decision.

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Clergy abuse victim keeps her faith, finds healing in the Church

ST. PAUL (MN)
Catholic Spirit, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

January 21, 2020

By Dave Hrbacek

Gina Barthel went to a priest while in New York to find healing from childhood sexual abuse. She got the opposite.

In 2004 at age 28, a priest from a religious order listened to her stories about being sexually abused from age 4 to 9, then took her down the same path.

As the abuse took place, she moved back to the Twin Cities. Thanks to another priest, who serves in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, she not only got out of the abusive relationship, but reported it and played a role in the abusive priest being removed from ministry.

Even so, her struggles continued, and she felt unable to continue practicing her Catholic faith. Finally, six years after reporting the abuse, she found a path to healing with the help of Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Cozzens, who started meeting with her regularly in January 2014 and still does.

Barthel will share her story at an upcoming conference on restorative justice and reconciliation Jan. 23 at Holiday Inn & Suites in Lake Elmo. It will feature Archbishop Bernard Hebda and Ramsey County Attorney John Choi, who will talk about the settlement of civil charges against the archdiocese in 2015 and how the archdiocese has made changes to improve the handling of clergy sexual abuse.

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French Predator Priest: Church Should Have Stopped Me

FERNDALE (MI)
Church Militant

January 21, 2020

By Bradley Eli

Self-accused cleric says multiple cardinals knew of his crimes

A self-accused pedophile in France’s biggest clergy sex abuse trial is saying multiple Catholic superiors, including certain cardinals, were aware of his crimes but did not stop him.

Bernard Preynat, a priest of the diocese of Lyon, France is blowing the whistle on his Catholic leader, who enabled him to abuse minors for decades.

“Had the church sidelined me earlier, I would have stopped earlier,” testified Preynat, at his trial taking place last week in Lyon.

The archbishop of Lyon, Cdl. Phillipe Barbarin, was in charge of Preynat since 2002, but kept silent. Barbarin was convicted by a French court in 2019 of covering for Preynat’s crimes. Allegations of sex abuse against Preynat surfaced in 1991. The 68-year-old cardinal, however, kept Preynat in active ministry until 2015.

Preynat, who is 74, testified in court that his sexual obsession for young boys began when he was in his early teens and was well-known by his supervisor at that time, while he was in the minor seminary. He also says he told his bishop of his proclivities prior to his ordination.

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CARA study finds bishops are satisfied with their life and ministry

DENVER (CO)
Crux

January 22, 2020

By Susan Klemond

Minneapolis – Catholics may be surprised to learn that many U.S. bishops describe their lives as both all-consuming and satisfying, a priest-researcher said.

“These are guys who generally get up very, very early in the morning, pray about two hours every day and work about 10 hours a day,” said Father Stephen Fichter, a research associate at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate in Washington, which conducted the survey. “(They) just really do some interesting things and there are a lot of difficulties that they’re dealing with all the time.”

*
Respondents were not asked about the clergy sexual abuse crisis, Fichter explained, because the survey was conducted before the issue arose again with the start in 2016 of a months-long Pennsylvania grand jury investigation into alleged clergy abuse and supposed cover-up by church officials in six Pennsylvania dioceses, Fichter explained.

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Child sex abuse substantiated against ex-Oklahoma priest

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
Associated Press via Crux

January 22, 2020

The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City said Tuesday that it has substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse against another priest.

The archdiocese said in a news release that allegations of abuse of a minor were substantiated against Father Marvin Leven by the archdiocese following an investigation by the Oklahoma City law firm McAfee & Taft. It said the allegations date to 1993, when Leven, now 94 and retired, was assigned to Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Enid.

The allegation was made by a then-15-year-old boy, who said the abuse resumed later when he was an adult at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in Edmond, the archdiocese said.

The archdiocese said it also substantiated a separate allegation against Leven of inappropriate behavior with a minor at the Enid church.

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Retired Oklahoma City priest added to clergy abuse list

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
Archdiocese of Oklahoma City

January 21, 2020

Archbishop Paul Coakley announced Tuesday the addition of Father Marvin Leven to the list of priests who have had a substantiated allegation of abuse of a minor. Leven, 94, is retired from active ministry.

Archbishop Coakley added Father Leven to the list following an investigation by retired Oklahoma City Police detective Kim Davis. Davis was hired by the McAfee & Taft law firm at the request of the archdiocese to investigate older allegations of abuse of a minor.

According to the investigation, the archdiocese was contacted in 1993 by a former parishioner of Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Enid who reported allegations of abuse against Father Leven that started when the man was age 15 and recurred as a young adult at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in Edmond.

In 1995, as part of the archdiocese’s investigation, Father Leven was sent to Saint Luke Institute for an evaluation related to sexual abuse. In a letter to the diocese, professionals at the institute stated the allegations were possible and recommended Father Leven have no unsupervised contact with minors. They also recommended he seek intensive outpatient psychotherapy.

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Retired priest with ties to Enid added to clergy abuse list

ENID (OK)
Enid News & Eagle

January 21, 2020

By James Neal

The Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City announced Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, retired priest Marvin Leven, 94, who served at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in the 1990s, has been added to the list of priests who have had a substantiated allegation of abuse of a minor.

Archbishop Paul Coakley made the announcement following an investigation by retired Oklahoma City police detective Kim Davis. Davis was hired by the McAfee & Taft law firm at the request of the archdiocese to investigate older allegations of abuse of minors, according to an archdiocese press release.

Coakley commissioned McAfee & Taft in August 2018 to conduct a review and write a report on clergy sex abuse in the archdiocese after a Pennsylvania grand jury report detailed clergy abuse of more than 1,000 victims by more than 300 priests there, dating back to 1947.

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3 victims come forward with allegations of child sex abuse against priest

YONKERS (NY)
News 12 Westchester

January 21, 2020

Three new victims are coming forward with allegations of child sex abuse against a Catholic priest who previously pleaded guilty to forming a sex club and molesting dozens of children.

Convicted child molester Father Edward Pipala is once again at the center of a child sex abuse scandal and alleged church cover-up.

“For decades, he was given license and permission by the Archdiocese and top officials to continue one of the most predatory paths we’ve seen,” says attorney Jeff Anderson.

Anderson is the attorney who is now representing five of Pipala’s alleged victims and live-streamed a news conference Tuesday from Manhattan about three new lawsuits filed against the Archdiocese under New York’s Child Victims Act.

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Archdiocese adds to list of priests accused of sexual abuse

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
The Oklahoman

January 22, 2020

By Carla Hinton and Randy Ellis

The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City has revoked the authority of the Rev. Marvin Leven to serve as a priest after substantiating allegations that he had sexually abused parishioners in Enid and Edmond, archdiocese leaders said Tuesday.

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley said an investigation has substantiated allegations that Leven, 94, sexually abused a minor in 1993 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Enid and the same person as a young adult after moving to St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Edmond.

Contacted by phone Tuesday, Leven said: “I’m not aware of what you’re talking about.”

The investigation by retired Oklahoma City Police detective Kim Davis also substantiated another allegation of “inappropriate behavior with a minor” at the Enid parish, Coakley said in a news release. He said Davis was hired by the law firm McAfee & Taft at the archdiocese’s request to investigate older abuse allegations.

Leven retired as a parish priest with the Oklahoma City archdiocese in June 1999 but served as assistant chaplain at Mercy Health Center in Oklahoma City until 2013, Coakley said in his statement. In addition to the parishes in Enid and Edmond, Leven served at Holy Trinity in Okarche, Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Altus, Holy Family Catholic Church in Lawton, Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Tulsa, St. Eugene Catholic Church in Oklahoma City and Holy Family Cathedral in Tulsa.

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Ottawa diocese sues insurers to cover clergy sex abuse costs

OTTAWA (CANADA)
Ottawa Citizen

January 22, 2020

By Andrew Duffy

The Archdiocese of Ottawa has launched lawsuits against three insurance companies in an effort to compel them to cover the costs of 12 clergy sexual abuse cases.

The Archdiocese of Ottawa has launched lawsuits against three insurance companies in an effort to compel them to cover the costs of 12 clergy sexual abuse cases.

The civil suits, filed mostly in the past three years, involve allegations of sexual abuse that date back as far as 1971. Among the priests named in those suits are Revs. Jacques Faucher, Kenneth Keeler and Dale Crampton, the most notorious criminal in Ottawa’s clergy sex abuse scandal, who is credibly accused of abusing at least 15 children, many of them altar boys.

Two of the cases cited by the archdiocese in its insurance lawsuits were settled out of court so the alleged sexual abusers remain unknown.

The archdiocese has never released a list of priests credibly accused of sexual assault.

The Jesuits of Canada, a Catholic religious order, announced last month that it will release the names of all of its priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors. Dozens of Catholic dioceses in the U.S. have already released similar lists.

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Anchorage: Credible Evidence of Sexual Misconduct

ANCHORAGE (AK)
Archdiocese of Anchorage

January 16, 2020

By Bishop Andrew E. Bellisario, C.M.
Apostolic Administrator of Anchorage

I am writing to you today to report on the progress of the Independent Commission’s review of the personnel files of the Archdiocese of Anchorage.

But first, to the victim-survivors of clerical sexual abuse, I want to say that there are no words that can restore the innocence that was cruelly and unjustly stolen from you. That your trust was betrayed by a priest or other minister of the Church whom you had a right to expect would protect you compounded the harm done to you. It is with humility, sorrow, and shame that I apologize to you, your family, friends, and community in the name of the Church for the
grievous harm you suffered.

*

There is credible evidence to support the belief that fourteen people who have served in the Archdiocese of Anchorage since 1966 engaged in sexual misconduct against minors and/or vulnerable adults. I am releasing those names today.

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Why Bernard Preynat and sex abuse in the Church is a feminist issue

PARIS (FRANCE)
RFI

January 17, 2020

Interview of Christine Pedotti by Sarah Elzas

Bernard Preynat, a former Catholic Priest accused of sexually abusing dozens of boy scouts in the 1970s and 80s is on trial. In court he claimed that he himself was a victim. For Catholic activist and journalist Christine Pedotti, this trial, and that of the Bishop who covered up the abuse, reveals a systemic problem in the French Catholic Church, which has its roots in the masculine domination of the clergy.

The trial of Preynat and that of Bishop Barbarin are part of the biggest crisis in the French Church in decades.

Christine Pedotti, the editor of the weekly Catholic newspaper Témoignage Chrétien, was part of a group calling for a commission to look into the wider problem of sex abuse in the Church. The Catholic Church set up an independent commission in February 2019, and has so far collected over 2000 stories.

Elzas: You are active as a feminist, and have questionned how the Church approaches the issue of women, and sexuality and homosexuality. How is this current crisis of sex abuse a feminist issue?

Pedotti: I see the issue of paedophilia as a symptom of an inward-focused, masculine clerical culture, in which sexuality is always seen as a sin.

What’s terrible is that deep down, some clergy consider that sexual acts with children are less serious than sexual acts with women. This shows there is a very negative view of women.

The Catholic Church doesn’t know how to talk about sexuality, because it’s incapable of seeing women as desirable. That’s where this meets feminism.

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Man says suspended priest abused him after a religious retreat

ATTLEBORO (MA)
Sun Chronicle

January 21, 2020

By Jim Hand

An alleged victim of sexual abuse by a priest says the assault took place in a church rectory after he attended a religious retreat for teens in 1971, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian said the victim alleges he was assaulted by the Rev. Edward J. Byington after attending a retreat called Encountering Christ in Others.

Byington allegedly offered the then-teenager a ride home but took him to a rectory in Taunton and assaulted him, Garabedian said in a statement.

Byington had previously served at St. John the Evangelist Church in Attleboro and Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Seekonk.

He and another priest, the Rev. James Buckley, were suspended by the Diocese of Fall River Sunday.

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Retired Oklahoma City priest added to clergy abuse list

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
KFOR

January 21, 2020

By Kaylee Douglas

Archbishop Paul Coakley announced Tuesday the addition of a now-retired Oklahoma City priest who served in churches across the state to the list of priests who have had a substantiated allegation of abuse of a minor.

According to the investigation, the archdiocese was contacted in 1993 by a former parishioner of Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Enid who reported allegations of abuse against Father Marvin Leven, 94, that started when the victim was age 15 and recurred as a young adult at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in Edmond.

In 1995, as part of the archdiocese’s investigation, Father Leven was sent to Saint Luke Institute for an evaluation related to sexual abuse. In a letter to the diocese, professionals at the institute stated the allegations were possible and recommended Father Leven have no unsupervised contact with minors. They also recommended he seek intensive outpatient psychotherapy.

Father Leven was returned to the parish with the instruction that he “not be permitted to have ministerial contact with minors unless other adults are present.”

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