News Briefing: Church in the World

The Tablet

October 30, 2020


A retired cardinal who served as personal secretary to Pope John Paul II has denied any knowledge of sexual abuse by priests in his Krakow archdiocese. “They seek to thrust responsibility on to me when I had no such responsibility and no knowledge of this matter,” said Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, 81, responding in a Polish TV interview to questions about a prominent sexual abuse case in the Krakow archdiocese, which he headed for 11 years until his retirement in 2016. He said he had no recollection of the case, insisting it fell under the jurisdiction of another retired prelate, Bishop Tadeusz Rakoczy.

The three top leaders of the Focolare movement in France have stepped down after a news report said an independent commission into sexual abuse in the Church had found about 30 cases committed by a former consecrated lay member.

The investigative website Les Jours said the man was accused of abuse in 1994 but was not expelled until 2016. The leaders who resigned were Bernard Brechet and Claude Goffinet, co-leaders of the Focolare movement in France, and Henri-Louis Roche, head of Focolare’s Western European region. Accepting the resignations, Focolare headquarters in Rome said Jesus Moran, co-president of the international movement, had met with presumed victims and the French section’s abuse commission in September. On that occasion, Moran spoke of “the silence or lack of initiative sustained for years on the part of various people in positions of responsibility”.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel released an interim report documenting clergy sex abuse in the state. The two-year investigation, which began with the search and seizure of documents at the state’s seven chanceries, charges 454 priests with abusing 811 victims. The special investigative team continues to make its way through all the documents seized and estimates it has examined 65 per cent of them. Eleven clergy have been charged and two have already been convicted of sexual abuse.

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