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.

November 18, 2020

6 more former students alleged sexual abuse by priests at Dallas Jesuit Prep

DALLAS (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

November 18, 2020

By David Tarrant

Lawsuit reveals new allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Jesuit priests in the late 1970s and early 1980s, including a former principal and president of the school.

Six more former students at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas have joined a lawsuit saying they were abused by priests when they were enrolled in school there.

The latest plaintiffs bring to eight the number of former students in the lawsuit, first filed in Dallas County civil court in August 2019, against the school and the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, among others, alleging that they were sexually abused in the early 1980s by five Jesuit Prep priests.

Six of the eight plaintiffs are using pseudonyms in the lawsuit. All eight men say the were abused during a time in the late 1970s and 1980s, when a cluster of priests that have since been found credibly accused of sexual assault, taught, counseled or coached students at the exclusive Jesuit Prep, according to records.

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.

6 more former students alleged sexual abuse by priests at Dallas Jesuit Prep

DALLAS (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

November 18, 2020

By David Tarrant

Lawsuit reveals new allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Jesuit priests in the late 1970s and early 1980s, including a former principal and president of the school.

Six more former students at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas have joined a lawsuit saying they were abused by priests when they were enrolled in school there.

The latest plaintiffs bring to eight the number of former students in the lawsuit, first filed in Dallas County civil court in August 2019, against the school and the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, among others, alleging that they were sexually abused in the early 1980s by five Jesuit Prep priests.

Six of the eight plaintiffs are using pseudonyms in the lawsuit. All eight men say the were abused during a time in the late 1970s and 1980s, when a cluster of priests that have since been found credibly accused of sexual assault, taught, counseled or coached students at the exclusive Jesuit Prep, according to records.

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.

Ex-Conroe priest Manuel La Rosa-Lopez pleads guilty to child molestation charges

HOUSTON (TX)
Houston Chronicle

November 17, 2020

By Nicole Hensley

Former priest Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, whose case surfaced amid a revitalized look at how the Catholic Church handled decades of child sex abuse, on Tuesday accepted a plea deal after facing five counts of indecency with a child, officials said.

The Houston-area cleric, charged in 2018, was accused of molesting three children at a Conroe church from 1998 to 2000. He pleaded guilty to two of the charges involving one male and female victim and will be sentenced in December to a decade in prison, said Nancy Hebert, a Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office prosecutor.

Lesser felony charges stemming from a second male accuser — who said La Rosa-Lopez exposed his genitals in a confessional booth — would be dismissed, she said.

La Rosa-Lopez, who was slated to go to trial in January and had recently been considering the plea deal, Hebert said. He decided this week to accept the offer.

“It wasn’t an easy thing for him to do,” La Rosa-Lopez’s lawyer, Wendell Odom, said. “He didn’t deny kissing one of the complainants and embracing the other. The question in his mind was if it was done with pure intentions .”

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.

Ex-Conroe priest Manuel La Rosa-Lopez pleads guilty to child molestation charges

HOUSTON (TX)
Houston Chronicle

November 17, 2020

By Nicole Hensley

Former priest Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, whose case surfaced amid a revitalized look at how the Catholic Church handled decades of child sex abuse, on Tuesday accepted a plea deal after facing five counts of indecency with a child, officials said.

The Houston-area cleric, charged in 2018, was accused of molesting three children at a Conroe church from 1998 to 2000. He pleaded guilty to two of the charges involving one male and female victim and will be sentenced in December to a decade in prison, said Nancy Hebert, a Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office prosecutor.

Lesser felony charges stemming from a second male accuser — who said La Rosa-Lopez exposed his genitals in a confessional booth — would be dismissed, she said.

La Rosa-Lopez, who was slated to go to trial in January and had recently been considering the plea deal, Hebert said. He decided this week to accept the offer.

“It wasn’t an easy thing for him to do,” La Rosa-Lopez’s lawyer, Wendell Odom, said. “He didn’t deny kissing one of the complainants and embracing the other. The question in his mind was if it was done with pure intentions .”

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

Former Conroe priest pleads guilty to 2 counts of child indecency

HOUSTON (TX)
KHOU

November 17, 2020

By Jeremy Rogalski

Manuel LaRosa-Lopez is scheduled for a formal sentencing on Dec. 16.

Conroe TX – A former Conroe priest at the center of a sex abuse scandal involving children is headed to prison.

Manuel LaRosa-Lopez has pled guilty to two counts of indecency with a child, and according to prosecutors Tuesday, has agreed to serve 10 years in prison.

He is scheduled for a formal sentencing on Dec. 16.

LaRosa-Lopez was charged back in May 2019. He is accused of abusing children while he was a priest at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe.

“It is incredibly rare for clergy abusers to see jail time for their crimes and we applaud the brave victims who came forward to ensure that this dangerous man would face justice,” Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said in a statement. “We believe that these survivors have surely saved other children from the lifelong scourge of sexual abuse and hope that they will now be able to focus on their own healing.”

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

Former Conroe priest pleads guilty to 2 counts of child indecency

HOUSTON (TX)
KHOU

November 17, 2020

By Jeremy Rogalski

Manuel LaRosa-Lopez is scheduled for a formal sentencing on Dec. 16.

Conroe TX – A former Conroe priest at the center of a sex abuse scandal involving children is headed to prison.

Manuel LaRosa-Lopez has pled guilty to two counts of indecency with a child, and according to prosecutors Tuesday, has agreed to serve 10 years in prison.

He is scheduled for a formal sentencing on Dec. 16.

LaRosa-Lopez was charged back in May 2019. He is accused of abusing children while he was a priest at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe.

“It is incredibly rare for clergy abusers to see jail time for their crimes and we applaud the brave victims who came forward to ensure that this dangerous man would face justice,” Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said in a statement. “We believe that these survivors have surely saved other children from the lifelong scourge of sexual abuse and hope that they will now be able to focus on their own healing.”

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 accused of sexually abusing children headed to prison

HOUSTON (TX)
KPRC

November 17, 2020

By Phil Archer and Rose-Ann Aragon

A Houston-area priest who was accused of sexually abusing children has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

KPRC 2 Investigates has learned, Father Manuel La Rosa-Lopez pleaded guilty to two counts of indecency with a child on early Tuesday morning. It was part of a plea deal that will send him to prison for a decade and make him a registered sex offender for the rest of his life, according to prosecutors.

He was charged with five counts of indecency with a child involving sexual contact. He was headed to trial in January but surprised prosecutors by agreeing to the plea deal, they said.

Investigators said La Rosa-Lopez abused a girl and a boy while he was a priest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe from the late ’90s to early 2000s. A third person came forward last year and said he was also abused by La Rosa-Lopez when he served as an altar boy in the mid-’90s.

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 accused of sexually abusing children headed to prison

HOUSTON (TX)
KPRC

November 17, 2020

By Phil Archer and Rose-Ann Aragon

A Houston-area priest who was accused of sexually abusing children has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

KPRC 2 Investigates has learned, Father Manuel La Rosa-Lopez pleaded guilty to two counts of indecency with a child on early Tuesday morning. It was part of a plea deal that will send him to prison for a decade and make him a registered sex offender for the rest of his life, according to prosecutors.

He was charged with five counts of indecency with a child involving sexual contact. He was headed to trial in January but surprised prosecutors by agreeing to the plea deal, they said.

Investigators said La Rosa-Lopez abused a girl and a boy while he was a priest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe from the late ’90s to early 2000s. A third person came forward last year and said he was also abused by La Rosa-Lopez when he served as an altar boy in the mid-’90s.

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.

Diocese of Savannah denies it knew about sex abuse allegations

SAVANNAH (GA)
WTOC

November 17, 2020

By Jessica Savage

The Catholic Diocese of Savannah responded to a new lawsuit about claims that it knew about the sexual abuse involving a priest and young boys; and conspired to cover it up.

This lawsuit is the third one involving Wayland Brown who was defrocked in 1988. Brown was convicted just two years ago for sexual crimes against boys who attended St James Catholic School in Savannah in 1987.

The Diocese claims it didn’t know or try to cover up any sexual abuse involving Brown and the young boys at St. James.

Much of the lawsuit filed against the Catholic Diocese of Savannah is based on this 1986 transcript. It describes a meeting called by then acting Bishop Raymond Lessard after he learned of a police investigation involving Priest Wayland Brown and allegations he molested boys in another Georgia county.

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.

‘Who am I to judge?’ helps explain pope’s view

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press via Star-Tribune

November 18, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

Pope Francis’ famous quip “Who am I to judge?” could go a long way toward explaining his initial attitude toward Theodore McCarrick, the defrocked and disgraced American cardinal who was the subject of a two-year Vatican investigation that was released last week.

Francis uttered the line on July 29, 2013, four months into his pontificate, when he was asked en route home from his first papal trip about reports of a sexually active gay priest whom he had just promoted. His point: If someone violated the church’s teaching on sexual morals in the past but had sought forgiveness from God, who was he to pass judgment?

The comment won plaudits from the LGBT community and landed Francis on the cover of The Advocate magazine. But Francis’ broader tendency to blindly trust his friends and resist judging them has created problems seven years later. A handful of priests, bishops and cardinals whom Francis has trusted over the years have turned out to be either accused of sexual misconduct or convicted of it, or of having covered it up.

In short, Francis’ loyalty to them cost him credibility.

The Vatican report spared Francis blame for McCarrick’s rise in the hierarchy, faulting instead his predecessors for having failed to recognize, investigate or effectively sanction McCarrick over consistent reports that he invited seminarians into his bed.

Francis ultimately defrocked McCarrick last year after a Vatican investigation determined he sexually abused children as well as adults. Francis commissioned the more in-depth probe after a former Vatican ambassador alleged in 2018 that some two dozen church officials were aware of McCarrick’s sexual misconduct with adult seminarians but covered it up for two decades.

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.

California Bishop Cantu under Vatican ‘Vos estis’ investigation

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

November 17, 2020

By JD Flynn and Ed Condon

Washington DC – The Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops has ordered an investigation into Bishop Oscar Cantu’s handling of allegations of clerical sexual abuse and misconduct. The investigation is being carried out under the provisions of Vos estis lux mundi, Pope Francis’ 2019 law for holding bishops accountable in the handling of sexual abuse cases.

Senior sources in the Vatican told CNA that the investigation was ordered by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, in October and that the allegations concern Cantu’s handling of abuse and misconduct cases in his former diocese of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Cantu is now Bishop of San Jose, California.

One senior official in the Vatican congregation, who spoke to CNA on condition of anonymity because the investigation is confidential, said that Pope Francis has adopted a “zero tolerance” policy with regard to American bishops’ handling of clerical sexual misconduct.

“The Holy Father is absolutely firm that cases of abuse will not be tolerated. He is also firm that bishops must treat all of these cases with complete seriousness,” the official said.

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

Ex-Burmarrad parish priest gets three years in jail for sexual abuse of minors

SAN ĠWANN (MALTA)
Malta Today

November 18, 2020

By Matthew Agius

Priest found guilty of corruption of minors has three-year prison sentence confirmed on appeal

A former parish priest convicted of sexually abusing a teenage boy has had his three-year jail sentence confirmed on appeal.

The erstwhile parish priest of Burmarrad, Fr Donald Bellizzi, had been found guilty in June 2020 of corrupting the boy, a crime for which he was sentenced to three years in prison.

He had been charged with corrupting the boy and another two minors, participating in sexual acts with them and producing or circulating child pornography. He was eventually cleared of the latter charge but found guilty of the first two.

Bellizzi had appealed, arguing amongst other things that the sexual contact had been consensual and that this had a bearing on the charges.

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.

What happened to Bobby Bizup?

DENVER (CO)
KTVD 9 NBC

November 17, 2020

By Kevin Vaughan

{Includes video report.]

Bobby Bizup disappeared while attending a popular Catholic summer camp.

In the square, black-and-white snapshot, Bobby Bizup holds a toy pistol in his left hand, pointing it at the camera, a triangle of hair peeking from beneath his cap and pointing down his forehead.

There’s a mischievous grin sneaking across his face, just the barest hint of a gap in his teeth.

In another picture, Bobby cocks a bat above his left shoulder, ready to unleash a home-run swing on an imaginary pitch.

And the grin’s there again.

“He was always smiling,” said his cousin, Harriet Dudich.

Smiling, even though he was different in an era when that was a lot harder.

Born almost completely deaf, Bobby wore a hearing aid that didn’t do him much good. And when he spoke, few people besides his parents could understand him. He relied on sign language and lip-reading, and he seemed to shrug off the times that other kids teased him

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.

Independent inquiry into claims Dunedin bishop failed to act on abuse claims spanning 30 years

AUCKLAND (NEW ZEALAND)
New Zealand Herald

November 17 2020

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/independent-inquiry-into-claims-dunedin-bishop-failed-to-act-on-abuse-claims-spanning-30-years/6GMIESBA5S2JPTSPJU2JKRDNRM/

An independent investigation is under way into the handling of sexual abuse complaints by a former Roman Catholic bishop of Dunedin.

The Catholic Church has appointed an independent investigator to look at whether Bishop John Kavanagh took proper action when he received complaints of sexual abuse during his tenure, between 1957 and 1985.

The news comes as survivors of abuse in faith-based settings, including the Catholic Church, prepare to give evidence as part of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care.

The investigation could also have ramifications for Kavanagh College, the Dunedin high school that bears his name.

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.

November 17, 2020

Deadline arrives for sex-abuse claims in Boy Scouts bankruptcy case, with tens of thousands filed

SEATTLE (WA)
The Seattle Times

November 16, 2020

By Lewis Kamb

Before a Monday deadline, tens of thousands of men — including scores from Washington — already have filed sexual-abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in a federal bankruptcy case the national organization hopes will help it emerge from the cloud of a decades-old scandal.

But the sheer flood of claims that already have rolled in has revealed the hidden horrors of pedophilia perpetuated in scouting programs at a level vastly more widespread than previously known, some claimants’ lawyers said.

Not only does the far-reaching bankruptcy case now jeopardize the national BSA’s existence, but it throws into question whether hundreds of local scouting councils in Washington and around the nation can survive unscathed, according to two Seattle attorneys involved in the case.

“It was a disastrous decision,” Michael Pfau, a Seattle attorney who co-represents more than 1,000 sexual-abuse claimants, said of the BSA’s bankruptcy filing.

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.

Cyr column: Pope Francis’ leadership underscores global influence of Roman Catholic Church

LEAVENWORTH (KS)
The Leavenworth Times

November 17, 2020

By Arthur I. Cyr

Columns share an author’s personal perspective.
*****
“An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth …,” is a useful starting place for discussion of the influence of Pope Francis, who is proving to be a remarkably active and activist leader of the Roman Catholic Church. To modern readers, the Biblical quote (Exodus 21:24) may seem brutal, but the Old Testament sentiment actually represented revolutionary progress.

Ancient warfare involved unrestrained killing and pillaging. By contrast, this Hebrew law codified proportionality and limits. Historically and currently, the Vatican has played an important role in restraining and restricting warfare, building on this fundamental insight.

Pope Francis has just made an important statement supporting of civil unions of same-sex couples. His message is in the documentary “Francesco” which premiered Oct. 28 in Rome.

The essential Christian message emphasizes compassion, and the Catholic Church over centuries has played a vital role in relief of poverty and human misery, and in promotion of human rights. The cumulative positive impact is profound among the approximately one billion Roman Catholics currently on the planet, and well beyond.

Pope Francis’ April 2016 letter on marriage and the family should be viewed in this context. Media commentary emphasized Rome’s reiteration of commitment to traditional marriage, which is hardly news. The letter emphasizes tolerance for those who do not accept Catholic doctrine. That marks a change, important if overdue.

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 prevails in Vatican abuse row

ROME
Politico

November 17, 2020

By Hannah Roberts

Accusations from conservative Catholics seem to have backfired.

In the civil war that is raging inside the Catholic church, Pope Francis has won an important battle.

In 2018, Monsignor Carlo Viganò, a former Vatican ambassador to the U.S., accused Francis of covering up clerical sex abuse at the highest level, alleging that he had ignored sexual misconduct allegations against former Cardinal and Archbishop of Washington Theodore McCarrick. Viganò then called for the Pope to resign.

But two years on, following the publication of a forensic and ground-breaking report into the case last week, the conservative assault seems to have backfired, with Francis emerging stronger than ever.

The Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Blase Cupich, who was also attacked by Viganò for having “a pro-gay ideology,” called Francis “fearless” in admitting church leaders’ failings. The report represented a “watershed moment” that demonstrated Francis’ “commitment to responsibility, accountability and transparency to all victim-survivors,” he said.

The attack by Viganò was widely seen as the latest skirmish in the conflict between progressives and mainly U.S.-based conservatives who oppose Francis for his more liberal stances on issues including homosexuality and migrants.

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.

Survey shows opinions about diocese’s response to sexual abuse allegations

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Daily Hampshire Gazette

November 17, 2020

By Michael Connors

A task force charged with improving the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield’s response to allegations of sexual abuse within the local church released preliminary results Tuesday from an online survey in which respondents were asked to provide input into how they perceive the diocese’s response to such allegations.

The survey was available on the diocese’s website from Oct. 8 to Oct. 19 and garnered 492 responses. It asked respondents to rate their perception of the diocese and to provide recommendations that the Independent Task Force on the Response to Sexual Abuse within the diocese should consider making, according to a statement released by the diocese.

“The results of the survey established a baseline for how people perceived the current and past response by the diocese,” said Jeffrey Trant, director of the diocesan Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance in a statement. “With the help of these responses, the task force is developing a strategic plan that we hope will significantly improve the response to these allegations while supporting healing and reconciliation for survivors and their families and the faith 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.

Full timeline of sex abuse allegations against former Conroe priest

CONROE (TX)
KTRK

November 17, 2020

A possible sex abuse scandal involving a local priest is unfolding.

Prosecutors say multiple people have come forward, saying that Father Manuel La Rosa-Lopez sexually abused children in Conroe in the 1990s to early 2000s.

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.

University of California system agrees to proposed $73M settlement in lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by gynecologist

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Associated Press

November 16, 2020

University of California system agrees to proposed $73M settlement in lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by gynecologist.

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 accused of sexually abusing children headed to prison

HOUSTON(TX)
KPRC 2

November 17, 2020

By Debbie Strauss

A Houston-area priest who was accused of sexually abusing children has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

KPRC 2 Investigates has learned, Father Manuel La Rosa-Lopez plead guilty early Tuesday morning.

He was charged with four counts of indecency with a child involving sexual contact.

Investigators said La Rosa-Lopez abused a girl and a boy while he was a priest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe from the late ’90s to early 2000s. A third person came forward last year and said he was also abused by La Rosa-Lopez when he served as an altar boy in the mid-’90s.

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.

WVa high court deals setback in state’s Catholic church suit

CHARLESTON (WV)
Associated Press

November 17, 2020

West Virginia’s attorney general cannot use a consumer protection law to sue a Roman Catholic diocese over sexual abuse allegations, the state’s high court said Monday.

The West Virginia Supreme Court issued its opinion in response to a lawsuit the state filed last year accusing the Wheeling-Charleston diocese of failing to publicly disclose the employment of sexual abusers in its schools and camps. The absence of such disclosure amounted to a violation of a consumer protection law, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey argued. Attorneys for the diocese asked the court to dismiss the suit.

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.

It Is Past Time for a National Federal Investigation into the Catholic Church

UNITED STATES
SNAP Network

November 16, 2020

The United States is lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to investigating and preventing cases of Catholic child sexual abuse. We need to catch up and we can start by launching a federal investigation into sexual crimes and cover-ups committed by clergy and staffers.

Australia, the UK, France, and Canada have all launched their own nationwide investigations into crimes committed against their children and the vulnerable by Catholic clergy. It is time that the US does the same. The McCarrick report is only the most recent example of the critical need for secular oversight and it is becoming clearer and clearer that we cannot trust the word of Church officials when they promise to investigate their own.

Revelations that multiple US bishops lied to protect their friend Ted McCarrick from a Vatican “investigation” illustrates that internal probes are fraught with bias and unlikely to be probative. But the McCarrick scandal is not the only situation that shows the need for external oversight.

Take, for example, the case of Nicholas DiMarzio, a bishop in Brooklyn. Bishop DiMarzio had been tasked by the Vatican to investigate wrongdoing in the neighboring Diocese of Buffalo, but he himself has been accused twice of child sexual abuse and a nearly-year-long investigation from Vatican officials has yet to reveal any findings to the public. For another example, look at that of Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore. Archbishop Lori was tasked with investigating the crimes of former West Virginia bishop Michael Bransfield, but when he released his final report, the Archbishop scrubbed any mention of the lavish financial gifts that Bishop Bransfield doled out to other prelates, including Archbishop Lori himself.

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.

Boy Scout Bankruptcy Reveals Similarities with Catholic Church Abuse Scandal

UNITED STATES
SNAP Network

November 16, 2020

As the true depth of sexual abuse and cover-up within the Boy Scouts of America continues to be revealed, it is impossible to ignore the similarities between the abuse scandal within the BSA and that of the Catholic Church.

According to the BSA’s own records, at least 7,800 scoutmasters abused boys under their care. We are sure that number will grow as this bankruptcy proceeds, given that more than 82,000 cases have been filed and more are likely to come. While these numbers are staggering, it is important to recognize that they are likely not even a full accounting. Due to the fact that many victims never come forward, there is no doubt that the number of children abused in the BSA system is in the hundreds of thousands and the number of abusive scoutmasters in the tens of thousands.

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 John Paul II was no saint. Neither is Pope Francis

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

November 16, 2020

By Joan Vennochi

Putting much of the blame on a dead pope is a convenient outcome for a living one.

Last week’s big headline about Pope Francis concerned the call he made to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden. A 449 page Vatican report, also released last week, presented a less pleasant revelation — that Francis knew of “allegations and rumors” of sexual abuse involving former cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick but didn’t pursue them because he believed others before him had properly vetted the matter.

The report holds Pope John Paul II — who died in 2005 — mostly accountable for McCarrick’s elevation to the top of the church hierarchy, despite decades of explicit warnings about sexual abuse. Francis — who canonized John Paul in 2014 and also launched the Vatican investigation into the McCarrick matter, in 2018 — is essentially let off the hook. In the wake of the findings, the sainthood of John Paul II is being questioned, while Francis is vowing to “eradicate” sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

Putting much of the blame on a dead pope is a convenient outcome for a living one. But what about Francis’s role? Protecting him from shared responsibility, the report draws a line between gossip that he might have heard and confirmed knowledge. Yet the details suggest that he, too, was part of a deliberate blindness that allowed predators like McCarrick to flourish. As Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability, a group that gathers information on clergy abuse, told The Washington Post that Francis’s “lack of curiosity” about the allegations against McCarrick “was at best negligent, at worst corrupt.”

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.

Diocesan priest placed on administrative leave

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Diocese of Springfield

November 15, 2020

Father Francis “Frank” Lawlor, a priest of the Diocese of Springfield, has been placed on administrative leave effective immediately pending the outcome of a private legal matter.

Father Lawlor has most recently been serving as administrator of Sacred Heart Parish in Pittsfield. That parish community was informed of the action in a statement read at all Masses this weekend, Nov. 14-15.

The Diocese of Springfield’s apostolic administrator, Worcester Bishop Robert McManus, has placed the parish’s day-to-day pastoral and administrative care under the guidance of Msgr. Michael Shershanovich, pastor of neighboring St. Joseph Parish in Pittsfield.

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.

Gulbinowicz, Polish cardinal accused of abuse, dies at 97

WARSAW (POLAND)
Associated Press

November 16, 2020

By Vanessa Gera

Henryk Gulbinowicz, a prominent Polish cardinal who only days ago was sanctioned by the Vatican over accusations he had sexually abused a seminarian and covered up abuse in another case, has died. He was 97.

The Polish Bishops’ Conference said Gulbinowicz died Monday morning, adding in a brief statement: “Lord, give him eternal rest.”

Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, the head of the bishops’ conference, asked God to forgive Gulbinowicz.

“I am asking God in His mercy to forgive the deceased for causing suffering to those harmed, and pain to the community of believers,” Gadecki said in a statement.

“While unequivocally expressing disapproval of the sins committed, one must not forget about the good that many people shared through his life and ministry. May he rest in peace!”

Gulbinowicz was long viewed as a hero in Poland and was decorated with the nation’s highest honors. Under communism, he was considered one of the most important clerics helping the democratic opposition, hiding Solidarity activists in his church buildings in Wroclaw and helping to store its money.

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.

Tumult over sex abuse, abortion and corruption grips LatAm church

DENVER (CO)
Crux

November 16, 2020

By Inés San Martín

Rosario, Argentina – Between the Vatican’s McCarrick report and the US presidential elections, much of what’s happened in the rest of the global Church over the past week has gone unnoticed.

Here’s a round-up, including the Argentine bishops accusing the president of being a pawn of the “abortion lobby;” Bolivians asking their newly elected president to respect the constitution; prelates in Peru applauding protests in the midst of a pandemic; and survivors of clerical abuse once again facing disappointment in Chile.

Chile
This past week, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found Father Jorge Laplagne, a renowned priest in Santiago, Chile’s capital, guilty of sexually abusing a minor 15 years ago.

Javier Molina, a former altar boy for Laplagne, had accused the priest of sexual abuse and abuse of power. He did so first in 2010, but Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz, then Archbishop of Santiago, after hearing the allegations from Molina himself, accepted a report by the then-Promotor of Justice of the archdiocese concluding the accusations were “not true,” and decided not to investigate.

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A Troubled Vatican: When Praxis Contradicts Profession

CAROL STREAM (IL)
Christianity Today

November 17, 2020

By Scott McKnight

Let’s begin with the cultural problem before we get to the recent revelations about McCarrick, what the popes knew, and before we get to comments by conservatives like Vigano and Barron. I begin with Frederic Martel’s blockbuster book published simultaneously in eight languages, based on more than 1500 people interviewed (some many times) from 30 countries, including 41 cardinals, 52 bishops and monsignors, 45 ambassadors and nuncios, all conducted by the author and some 80 researchers, etc.. In other words, lots of data accumulated in his book called In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy.

What I am about to describe is, yes, duplicity regarding same-sex relations, but our intent is to frame this description as something about the Vatican’s culture, a “Christian” culture corrupted to the core and all the way to the top. It is so pervasive no one in the Vatican, from the Popes down, could not have known what was going on.

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McCarrick report rings familiar to former Newark seminarians

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

November 17, 2020

By Peter Feuerherd

While some reacted with shock to a report released Nov. 10 by the Vatican detailing how church officials ignored former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s long history of sexual abuse, one group was not surprised.

Those who went through seminary for the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, during McCarrick’s tenure as archbishop from 1986 to 2000 already knew the story, with the Vatican report a kind of “imprimatur” validating their experiences.

Bob Hoatson remembers that as summer weekends approached, “Uncle Ted,” as McCarrick called himself, would send out invitations to a select crew of students. They would number just beyond the number of beds available at McCarrick’s New Jersey beach house. McCarrick, according to the report, would then invite a seminarian to share a bed with him.

“Everybody knew about McCarrick, about Uncle Ted and the ‘nephews’ he had,” Hoatson told NCR.

Those selected for the beach house trips knew, said Hoatson, “you had to go,” or they would fear repercussions with the archbishop, who had ultimate authority over their future careers as priests.

Hoatson, then in his 40s, was never invited, he surmises because of his relatively advanced age. But before starting ordination studies for Newark, he asked if the archbishop was still sleeping with seminarians, and was assured by an archdiocesan official that the practice had stopped, even as the invites to the beach house continued. Hoatson had heard of McCarrick’s reputation while he worked as a teacher in New York’s Harlem as a Christian Brother.

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Buffalo Diocese’s legal bill in first 6 months of bankruptcy grows to $1.9M

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

November 17, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

Dozens of lawyers and other professionals have billed the Buffalo Diocese $1.9 million for their work so far on the diocese’s bankruptcy case.

More than 30 attorneys in five law firms that charge from $150 to $843 per hour have worked on behalf of the diocese since its Chapter 11 filing on Feb. 28.

In addition, the diocese is on the hook for U.S. trustee fees and for fees charged by two additional law firms that represent the committee of unsecured creditors, which consists of childhood victims of sex abuse.

The diocese also hired a financial firm, a public relations firm and a research firm, each of which has submitted a bill for work over the past eight months.

The charges revealed in court papers filed over the past few weeks are on top of the more than $2 million the diocese spent on attorneys in the 12 months prior to the bankruptcy filing, primarily defending against more than 200 lawsuits alleging childhood sex abuse by priests and other employees.

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November 16, 2020

Reality of the abuse scandals now seems A Tale of Two Cardinals

ROME
Crux

November 15, 2020

By John L. Allen Jr.

Over the last three years, sexual abuse charges against two high-profile and massively influential cardinals have rocked the Catholic Church, and now, seemingly, both stories have reached their conclusions. George Pell is a free man, while Theodore McCarrick is defrocked and exposed as a cunning manipulator able to hoodwink three papacies until his string finally ran out.

The McCarrick and Pell sagas contain two unavoidable truths about the clerical abuse scandals, and they must always be held together: Every accusation of abuse has to be taken seriously, but the mere fact of an allegation doesn’t make it true.

To put the point differently, McCarrick illustrates the risks of clericalism in blinding an entire system to clear warning signs and sincere attempts to blow the whistle; Pell illustrates the risks of anti-clericalism in allowing implausible charges to go to trial and cost a man 400 days behind bars before being finally dismissed.

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Tumult over sex abuse, abortion and corruption grips LatAm church

ROSARIO (ARGENTINA)
Crux

November 16, 2020

By Inés San Martín

Between the Vatican’s McCarrick report and the US presidential elections, much of what’s happened in the rest of the global Church over the past week has gone unnoticed.

Here’s a round-up, including the Argentine bishops accusing the president of being a pawn of the “abortion lobby;” Bolivians asking their newly elected president to respect the constitution; prelates in Peru applauding protests in the midst of a pandemic; and survivors of clerical abuse once again facing disappointment in Chile.

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Church child sex abuse survivor says crimes made her a ‘compassionate’ oncology nurse

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

November 16, 2020

By Meagan Dillon

A South Australian child sex abuse survivor has told a court that crimes committed against her within the Church have made her a “compassionate” oncology nurse who cares for those dying of cancer.

In September, District Court Judge Paul Slattery found former music teacher and Church organist Malcolm Winston Day, 79, guilty of child sex crimes against a pupil, aged between nine and 12 at the time, in the 1980s.

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Damning child sex abuse report finds Catholic Church put its own reputation over children’s welfare

IRELAND
The Irish Post

November 16, 2020

By Fiona Audley

THE Catholic Church prioritised its reputation over the welfare of vulnerable children for decades, according to a report by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

The 147-page report, released on November 10, finds the Catholic Church’s moral purpose was betrayed by those who sexually abused children – as well as those who turned a blind eye and failed to take action against perpetrators.

Between 1970 and 2015, the Catholic Church received more than 900 complaints involving over 3,000 instances of child sexual abuse in England and Wales.

Since 2016, there have been more than 100 reported allegations each year.

The true scale of abuse over the last 50 years is likely to have been far higher, according to the report’s authors.

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What to make of the McCarrick Report?

UNITED STATES
La Croix International

November 15, 2020

By Peter Steinfels

The striking conclusions and the remaining questions

The Vatican has issued its report on the shocking case of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Two years in the making, it is 449 pages long, names names, gives dates, and cites extensive documentation and more than ninety interviews, all anchored with 1,410 footnotes.

Will it bring closure to questions about how the now-defrocked prelate could rise to the heights of the hierarchy despite rumors of sexual activity with adults and repeated machinations to bed seminarians?

Anyone who believes that must inhabit an alternative universe.

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Sex-Abuse Claims Against Boy Scouts Now Surpass 82,000

NEW YORK (NY)
The New York Times

November 15, 2020

By Mike Baker

The deluge of sex-abuse filings, coming ahead of a bankruptcy deadline, far surpasses the number of claims filed in Catholic Church cases.

More than 82,000 people have come forward with sex-abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America, describing a decades-long accumulation of assaults at the hands of scout leaders across the nation who had been trusted as role models.

The claims, which lawyers said far eclipsed the number of abuse accusations filed in Catholic Church cases, continued to mount ahead of a Monday deadline established in bankruptcy court in Delaware, where the Boy Scouts had sought refuge this year in a bid to survive the demands for damages.

Paul Mones, a lawyer who has been working on Boy Scouts cases for nearly two decades, said the prevalence of abuse detailed in the filings was breathtaking and might reflect only a fraction of victims.

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Records military fought to keep secret show pedophile priest had multiple child victims

OTTAWA (CANADA)
Ottawa Citizen

November 16, 2020

By David Pugliese

The Canadian Forces has fought for 40 years to keep such details under wraps, even to the point of falsely claiming the original charges against pedophile Chaplain Capt. Angus McRae couldn’t be revealed to the public.

A Canadian Forces chaplain took children to his quarters at an Edmonton military base and gave them alcohol before sexually assaulting them, according to newly released court martial transcripts.

The Canadian Forces has fought for 40 years to keep such details under wraps, even to the point of falsely claiming the original charges against pedophile Chaplain Capt. Angus McRae couldn’t be revealed to the public.

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Former Holy Family Priest charged with child molestation

PROVIDENCE (RI)
The Valley Breeze

November 11, 2020

By Lauren Clem

A former priest who served at Holy Family Parish in Woonsocket from 1981 to 1990 was indicted by a grand jury on child molestation charges last week.

John Petrocelli, who was the assistant pastor at Holy Family Parish, faces three counts of first-degree child molestation and nine counts of second-degree child molestation. He is accused of molesting three male victims under the age of 14 during his time at the church.

The Diocese of Providence said in a statement that Petrocelli was removed from ministry in 2002 following credible allegations of abuse. His name was included on a list of credibly accused clergy released last year.

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Child sex abuse survivor wins payout after electric shock ‘therapy’

AUSTRALIA
The Age

November 15, 2020

By Henrietta Cook

A former ward of the state who was forced to undergo electric shock “therapy” after disclosing he had been sexually abused has reached an $825,000 settlement with the state government and Uniting Church.

It is believed to be one of the largest top-up payments for a state ward since new laws took effect in Victoria giving victims who have accepted meagre settlements the right to sue again.

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New ‘benchmarks’ released to help seminaries deal with sexual misconduct

NEW YORK (NY)
Crux

November 13, 2020

By John Lavenburg

When reports of then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual misconduct surfaced in 2018, John Cavadini got to work.

The director of the Notre Dame McGrath Institute for Church Life wanted to figure out a way to help ensure those guilty of sexual abuse or misconduct were held accountable in the future.

Two years later, and the Institute has come out with five sexual misconduct policy benchmarks for seminaries.

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UK abuse inquiry says London cardinal, Vatican did not show leadership

MANCHESTER (ENGLAND)
Catholic News Service

November 11, 2020

By Simon Caldwell

The Catholic Church in England and Wales and the Vatican failed to show compassion or leadership in the fight against child abuse, a U.K. inquiry concluded.

“The Roman Catholic Church: Investigation Report” was part of a national inquiry — set up by the British home secretary — into abuse in a range of institutions, including social care, government and the Church of England. The report on the Catholic Church, released Nov. 10, accused Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, of putting the reputation of the church ahead of the welfare of vulnerable children.

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In a Moment of Turmoil, US Catholic Bishops Meet Virtually

NEW YORK (NY)
Associated Press

November 15, 2020

By David Crary

Catholic bishops of the United States open a national meeting Monday under dramatic circumstances.

A pandemic has compelled them to meet virtually from their far-flung dioceses. A hard-fought presidential election has caused sharp divisions in their own ranks. And six days before the meeting, the Vatican released a revelatory report detailing how clerics in the U.S. and abroad failed to hold ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick to account until many years after suspicions of serial sexual misconduct had become widespread.

“The shadow of the McCarrick report hangs over this meeting,” said John Gehring, Catholic program director at a Washington-based clergy network called Faith in Public Life.

McCarrick, who was defrocked by Pope Francis last year, headed up dioceses in Metuchen and Newark, New Jersey, and in Washington, D.C. The report found that three decades of bishops, cardinals and popes dismissed or downplayed reports of McCarrick’s misconduct with young men.

For U.S. clergy, one of the most embarrassing revelations was that three New Jersey bishops — all now deceased — provided “inaccurate and incomplete information” about McCarrick to the Vatican as part of an investigation in 2000, just a few months before he became a cardinal and archbishop of Washington.

The bishops will discuss the McCarrick report twice Monday, first in a private session and later in a public livestream, according to the communications office of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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Abusive Church ‘betrayed’ its moral purpose

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

November 10, 2020

By Catherine Pepinster

The Catholic Church betrayed its moral purpose by prioritising its own reputation over bringing child abusers to book and turning a blind eye to sex assaults, according to the official report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

Survivors of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests, monks and other Church figures have called for mandatory reporting of assaults in the wake of the damning report, which accuses the Catholic Church of repeated failures to protect the vulnerable and of showing more interest in protecting its own reputation.

In an exclusive letter, published in The Tablet (below), 20 survivors of abuse appeal for mandatory reporting and an independent body to be responsible for the oversight of safeguarding in the Catholic Church. IICSA says that the Church’s moral purpose has been betrayed by not only those who abused children but also by those who turned a blind eye to the assaults and failed to take action against the perpetrators. It says that the Church prioritised its own reputation.

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Blaming St. John Paul II for McCarrick’s advancement called misplaced

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service via Catholic Sentinel

November 11, 2020

Following the Nov. 10 release of the Vatican’s 460-page report on former cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, some of the speculation in the media has centered on the role of St. John Paul II in McCarrick’s rise through church ranks.

Commentators have alleged the pope knowingly advanced McCarrick up the hierarchical ladder despite being aware of allegations of sexual misconduct going back decades.

But those who are experts on St. John Paul’s life oppose that characterization.

“The McCarrick report is an important document that relates painful events,” said the Knights of Columbus, which operates the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington. “We pray that it leads to healing and reconciliation. However, this tragedy in no way diminishes St. John Paul II’s legacy of love and compassion, and it has no bearing on the shrine or its mission.”

“From its inception, the shrine was intended as a response to St. John Paul II’s call for a ‘new evangelization,’ which was repeated by Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis,” the Knights said in a Nov. 11 statement to Catholic News Service.

“The shrine is a place of genuine encounter with God that leads to a renewal of individuals, families, societies and cultures — a place where God heals and renews every dimension of human life,” it added. “That continues to be the shrine’s focus.”

Catholic commentator George Weigel — in two articles published Nov. 10 to coincide with the McCarrick report’s release — provided strong opposition to those seeking to blame St. John Paul for McCarrick’s advancement.

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Polish church reels from new claims against John Paul II

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

November 16, 2020

By Jonathan Luxmoore

Warsaw, Poland – When a long-awaited report on the case of disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was published by the Vatican Nov. 10, it had a special resonance in Poland.

The extensive document highlighted mistakes by the last three popes, but particularly questioned judgments by St. John Paul II, a figure long considered beyond criticism in his homeland.

The role of the Polish pontiff’s long-serving secretary, retired Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, had been examined a day earlier by a Polish TV documentary, citing damning evidence that he connived in covering up sex abuse by Catholic clergy both in Rome and in Poland.

The revelations come during a hot autumn for Poland’s predominant Catholic Church, already facing multiple abuse-related investigations, the disgracing of its oldest cardinal and angry protests over its backing for new curbs on abortion.

How the church reacts now will be closely watched.

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Editorial: US bishops, please suppress the cult of St. John Paul II

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

November 13, 2020

In many, many ways, Pope John Paul II was an admirable man. The last decades of the 20th century were enriched immeasurably by his deft use of papal statecraft in raising up the voices of oppressed peoples across Eastern Europe, in his various efforts toward inter-religious dialogue, and by his personal witness to the dignity of aging.

But as the Vatican’s unprecedented report on the career of disgraced ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick reveals in shocking detail, the first decade of the 21st century will forever be marred by John Paul’s calamitous, callous decision-making.

It is time for a difficult reckoning. This man, proclaimed a Catholic saint by Pope Francis in 2014, willfully put at risk children and young adults in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., and across the world. In doing so, he also undermined the global church’s witness, shattered its credibility as an institution, and set a deplorable example for bishops in ignoring the accounts of abuse victims.

As with every saint, John Paul has a vibrant cult — people across the world who celebrate his memory by encouraging devotion to him, placing his name on churches and schools, and hosting processions and parades on his liturgical feast.

Given what we know now about the long-lasting repercussions of John Paul’s decision-making, the U.S. bishops, meeting next week for their annual conference, should seriously consider whether American Catholics can continue such practices. They should also discuss requesting that the Vatican formally suppress John Paul’s cult. Abuse victims deserve no less.

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Bishops’ conference elections: why they matter and what they portend

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

November 16, 2020

By Michael Sean Winters

The U.S. bishops’ conference begins its virtual plenary session this afternoon. On Friday, I looked at what I thought they should be discussing today and tomorrow. Sadly, if they do have that discussion, it will likely be mostly during executive session.

This morning, let’s look at the conference’s public agenda and especially at the elections of new committee chairs. Your average Catholic in the pew may not care who leads the Communications Committee at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, or the Pro-Life Activities Committee, but it matters a lot to the direction the conference will take in the years ahead.

Overall, one question has hung over the conference’s meetings for seven years now: Will the U.S. bishops continue to resist the direction Pope Francis is trying to steer the church or will they engage his evangelical vision?

The first order of business will be addresses from the papal nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, and from the conference president, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles. Pierre is a diplomat and Gomez is one of the most mild-mannered people you could ever want to meet, so I do not expect fireworks in either address. Yet both men must address the recent report about former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Of course, both must recommit the church to eradicating the scourge of clergy sex abuse, but it will be interesting to see how much either or both of them acknowledge the indictment of the clerical culture that report contained: a pope none-too-curious about the veracity of serious allegations about a prospective cardinal, bishops willing to lie to protect a friend and mentor, a diplomat — I am talkin’ about you, Viganò! — who did not carry out an investigation when requested, only to later complain that he was the only one trying to hold McCarrick accountable.

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In gathering for U.S. bishops like no other, annual meeting goes online

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service via Catholic Philly

November 16, 2020

By Rhina Guidos

U.S. Catholic bishops will address the recent Vatican report on former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick when they gather Nov. 16 and 17 for their annual meeting, taking place in an online format this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A revision to the agenda issued in a Nov. 13 news release by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops shows a change to reflect that “changes were made in the schedule in order to accommodate a discussion by the bishops on the Holy See’s report on Theodore McCarrick.”

“Additionally, the bishops will hear a report from the National Review Board, which advises the Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People on matters of child and youth protection, specifically on policies and practices,” the press release said.

In what is undoubtedly one of the largest virtual gatherings of Catholic bishops in the world, more than 300 prelates are expected to log on for the two-day meeting with plenary sessions to be livestreamed from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 16 and from 1 p.m. to about 3 p.m. Nov. 17, both Eastern Standard Time, to accommodate the variety of time zones.

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Editorial: Bishops shouldn’t investigate one another. Their U.S. conference must enact reforms.

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

November 13, 2020

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/bishops-shouldnt-investigate-one-another-their-us-conference-must-enact-reforms/2020/11/13/7d38ea92-247a-11eb-a688-5298ad5d580a_story.html

As the Catholic Church was reeling two years ago in the aftermath of revelations that former cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, one of the highest-profile prelates in this country, was a serial sexual predator, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops met in Baltimore. At the top of the bishops’ agenda was how to grapple, once again, with the unending scandals that had ensnared so many clerics and wrecked so many lives. In the end, they did nothing.

The bishops were derailed by the Vatican, which urged them to hold off pending an action plan to be formulated in Rome for addressing wrongdoing by bishops. Yet in the end, the shortcomings of the church’s approach to rooting out misconduct in its highest ranks, which relies largely on bishops investigating and judging their fellow bishops, were exposed by an extraordinary Vatican report this week, which laid bare the details of the McCarrick case itself.

Mr. McCarrick, who was expelled from the priesthood last year, was found to have preyed on at least 17 victims. Some were young seminarians; more than half were children. The 449-page document’s headline finding is that Pope John Paul II dismissed explicit information about Mr. McCarrick’s sexual abuse in naming him archbishop of Washington in 2000. Yet the report also makes clear that at least three American bishops, tasked with investigating the allegations at the time, provided the Vatican with “inaccurate and incomplete information.” And another bishop, in Rome, who functioned as the pope’s own gatekeeper, believed Mr. McCarrick’s denials when the American prelate contacted him.

One of the main takeaways from the report, therefore, is the manifest inadequacy of the system now in place that counts on archbishops to police abuse by bishops. Yet proposals from within the American church’s U.S. hierarchy to give laypeople a prominent, formal role in investigating allegations involving bishops, floated two years in Baltimore, were controversial within the U.S. bishops conference — and do not appear to have been seriously considered by the Holy See.

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Here’s how the Catholic Church is trying to reform after years of clergy abuse scandals

WOODLAND PARK (NJ)
Bergen Record via NorthJersey.com

November 16, 2020

By Deena Yellin

The Catholic Church is still reckoning with the legacy of alleged abusers like Theodore McCarrick and the culture of silence that let the former cardinal rise to prominence.

But that culture has also been transformed after years of painful revelations.

The church still faces hundreds of lawsuits and an incalculable loss of trust. But it’s also made progress through reforms adopted by Pope Francis and his predecessors, experts said last week after the Vatican released a 449-page report that documented decades of indifference to McCarrick’s misdeeds.

Local churches now require background checks and training for priests, volunteers and other staff who work with children. Dioceses have been ordered to quickly report allegations to local authorities, a sea change from the days when McCarrick ascended through the Catholic hierarchy in New York and New Jersey despite the accusations against him.

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Three more lawsuits alleging sexual abuse filed against Diocese of Scranton

WILKES-BARRES (PA)
Citizens Voice

November 16, 2020

By Terrie Morgan-Besecker

Three more people who allege they were sexually abused by priests as children filed lawsuits against the Diocese of Scranton.

Two of the lawsuits were filed by men who allege they were molested at St. Dominic’s Parish in Wilkes-Barre in the early 1970s. The third suit, filed by a female, alleges a priest at St. Ignatius Church in Kingston raped her in 1972, when she was 7.

The lawsuits are among dozens of lawsuits filed against the diocese on behalf of abuse victims.

Two of the most recent complaints filed by Kingston attorney Kevin Quinn relate to abuse at St. Dominic’s. One man alleges he was molested at age 11 by the Rev. Gerald Burns in 1972, while the other man was abused at age 7, by the Rev. William Culnane, in 1971. The third suit identifies the Rev. Neil McLaughlin, who was a member of the Society of Jesus but served in the diocese, as the abuser.

Each lawsuit alleges church officials knew the clergy members were abusing children, but instead of stopping it they transferred them to other parishes. The suits name as defendants the Diocese of Scranton, retired Bishop James Timlin and current Bishop Joseph Bambera.

Eric Deabill, spokesman for the diocese, said the diocese does not comment on pending litigation.

The allegations against Culnane were filed by Jeffery A. Stucker of Wilkes-Barre, who claims Culnane once forced him to perform oral sex on Culnane behind the church’s altar. He also groped and penetrated him two other times.

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Gulbinowicz, Polish cardinal accused of abuse, dies at 97

WARSAW (POLAND)
Associated Press

November 16, 2020

Henryk Gulbinowicz, a prominent Polish cardinal, died Monday at the age of 97, days after the Vatican imposed sanctions on him over accusations he had sexually abused a seminarian and covered up abuse in another case.

The Polish Bishops’ Conference said Gulbinowicz died on Monday morning, adding in a brief statement: “Lord, give him eternal rest.” The body did not give details about the circumstances of his death.

Earlier this month, the Vatican’s embassy in Poland said Gulbinowicz, the retired archbishop of Wroclaw, was forbidden from using his bishop’s insignia and participating in any religious celebrations or public events.

The once well-respected cardinal, who supported Poland’s pro-democracy Solidarity movement in the 1980s, was also denied the right to have a cathedral burial service or to be buried in a cathedral.

Days after that announcement, it was reported that Gulbinowicz was hospitalized in Wroclaw and was unconscious.

Last year, prosecutors in Wroclaw opened an investigation into allegations against Gulbinowicz concerning sexual abuse of a seminarian in the 1980s, but they dropped the case because too much time had passed.

Gulbinowicz was also cited in a recent video documentary in Poland, called “Tell No One,” about predator priests and coverup efforts. It alleged that Gulbinowicz saved a priest suspected of abuse of minors from arrest by vouching for him.

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November 15, 2020

Opinion: Diocesan sex abuse panel committed to fairness, transparency

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
MassLive

November 15, 2020

By Daniel A. Ford

I am the Chair of the Bishop’s Independent Task Force on the Response to Sexual Abuse within the Diocese of Springfield. Last month I wrote an op-ed explaining that the Task Force was conducting an online survey designed to elicit ideas from the faithful, both laity and clergy, to inform us in our work, and encouraging people to participate. The response was very strong, and I wish to thank profusely those individuals who took the time to respond. I want to assure everyone who responded that all answers and comments, some of which were extremely thoughtful and insightful, have been read and studied. I know that they will be seriously considered and I expect that many of them will be incorporated into our final report.

There is one misconception that I want to clear up. Some people seem to think that the mission of the Task Force is to investigate claims of sexual misconduct within the Diocese. It is not. Our charge is to identify areas in which the Diocese’s response to those claims could be improved and to recommend significant and meaningful changes in Diocesan policies and procedures designed to promote healing and reconciliation. To that end, we are in the process of engaging the services of an outside professional organization which will organize focus groups in order to obtain the views and perspectives of survivors of clergy sexual abuse in a safe and trauma-informed way. We consider their opinions to be essential if we are to provide sensible and workable recommendations to the Bishop which are responsive to the needs of these most important stakeholders.

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Polish cardinal chastised by Vatican unconscious in hospital

WARSAW (POLAND)
Associated Press

November 10, 2020

A prominent Polish cardinal who was recently sanctioned by the Vatican over sexual abuse allegations has been hospitalized since last week and remains unconscious, Polish media reported Tuesday.

Retired Archbishop Henryk Gulbinowicz was sanctioned by the Vatican last week after the 97-year-old was accused of sexually abusing a seminarian and of covering up abuse in another case.

Private Polish broadcaster TVN24 on Monday night aired a documentary suggesting that another well-respected churchman, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, covered up sex abuse by priests in Poland and elsewhere, including abuse of minors by the Mexican priest Marcial Meciel Degollado.

The head of Poland’s Catholic episcopate, Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, said in a statement Tuesday he hopes that “all doubts” presented in the documentary “Don Stanislao. The other face of Cardinal Dziwisz” will be “clarified by the appropriate commission of the Holy See.”

Dziwisz, the retired archbishop of Krakow who served as secretary to beloved Polish pope St. John Paul II in 1978-2005, said he was ready to cooperate with a commission and wanted the matter to be “clarified in a transparent way.”

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Sainted Too Soon? Vatican Report Cast John Paul II in Harsh New Light

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

November 14, 2020

By Jason Horowitz

The former pope was fast-tracked for canonization immediately after his death. But a tarnished legacy in dealing with the church’s sex abuse scandals has left critics to wonder whether it was too fast.

Rome – At the funeral of Pope John Paul II at St. Peter’s Square, banners rose from the sea of mourners reading “Santo Subito,” or “Saint at Once.” He was a giant of the church in the 20th century, spanning the globe, inspiring generations of believers with his youthful magnetism, then aged infirmity, and, as the Polish pope, he helped bring down Communism over his more than 26-year reign.

Days after his death in 2005, cardinals eager to uphold his conservative policies had already begun discussing putting him on a fast track to sainthood while devotees in Rome and beyond clamored for his immediate canonization, drowning out notes of caution from survivors of sexual abuse and historians that John Paul had persistently turned a blind eye to the crimes in his church.

Now, after more than a decade of doubts, his reputation has fallen under its darkest cloud yet, after the very Vatican that rushed to canonize him released an extraordinary report this week that laid at the saint’s feet the blame for the advancement of the disgraced former prelate Theodore E. McCarrick.

The investigation, commissioned by Pope Francis, who canonized John Paul in 2014, revealed how John Paul chose not to believe longstanding accusations of sexual abuse against Mr. McCarrick, including pedophilia, allowing him to climb the hierarchy’s ladder.

The findings detailed decades of bureaucratic obfuscation and lack of accountability by a host of top prelates and threatened to sully the white robes of three popes. But most of all, critics say, it provides searing proof that the church moved with reckless speed to canonize John Paul and now it is caught in its own wreckage.

“He was canonized too fast,” said Kathleen Cummings, author of “A Saint of Our Own” and the head of a center on U.S. Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame. She said that given the “really damning evidence,” in the report, had the church waited at least five years, and not mere days, to begin the canonization process “it would probably not begin for John Paul II because of his complicity in the clergy sex abuse scandal.”

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November 14, 2020

Diocese of Stockton releases updated list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of a child

STOCKTON (CA)
The Stockton Record

November 12 2020

By Bob Highfill

https://www.recordnet.com/story/news/crime/2020/11/12/credibly-accused-diocese-stocktons-updated-list-includes-27-priests-and-two-brothers-who-faced-credi/6269083002/

The Diocese of Stockton has released an expanded and updated list of priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a child.

The diocese added the names of 27 priests and two religious order brothers who have served in the Diocese of Stockton and faced credible accusations elsewhere. The original list published in 2017 during bankruptcy proceedings included only clergy who were accused of abuse that occurred within the diocese or who were accused while serving within the diocese.

No one on the updated list currently serves with the Diocese of Stockton.

Bishop Myron J. Cotta said the update is a vital part of the Church’s effort to confront and atone for the sins of the past.

“The process of atoning for the horrible sins of clergy sexual abuse requires us to continually revisit this list and seek to make it as thorough as we can,” Cotta said. “A thorough, honest and open accounting of the sins of the past is necessary if our Church and the many victim-survivors of clergy abuse are to find healing.”

The updated list was prepared following a review of more than 1,850 diocese personnel files by Kinsale Management Consulting led by Dr. Kathleen McChesney, a former executive assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and a founding member of the Office of Child Protection at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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Former Rapid City priest expected to pay back over $259,000 to local parishes

RAPID CITY (SD)
KEVN

November 13 2020

By Natalie Cruz

United States Attorneys are requesting over $40,000 to be paid back to the (IRS) Internal Revenue Service

Former Rapid City Priest Marcin Garbacz was convicted last March of wire fraud, money laundering, transporting stolen money from Rapid City Parishes, and filing a false tax return.

Earlier today at the restitution hearing, the Diocese of Rapid City and the United States attorneys are asking Garbacz to pay $259,096.19 to the Parishes.

Internal Revenue Service agent Bryan Pickens testified at the restitution hearing and says ” the hardworking people of the Catholic church deserve their money back”.

The Diocese requested the money will be split evenly between St.Therese Catholic church, Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, and Cathedral of the lady of Perpetual Help.

In addition to paying back the Parishes, the IRS is requesting Garnacz to pay an additional $46,000 for not declaring the stolen money on his 2018 tax return.

Garbacz attorney Jennifer Albertson says ” herself and the defendant both agree to paying back the parishes”.

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Pope Francis defrocks former Rapid City priest

RAPID CITY (SD)
Rapid City Journal

November 12, 2020

By Arielle Zionts

Pope Francis has defrocked, or laicized, a former Rapid City priest convicted of child sexual abuse.

The Pope laicized John Praveen on March 26, the West River Catholic reported in its September issue.

“This means that John Praveen has been removed from the clerical state and cannot function or present himself as a priest,” the announcement says.

The 40-year-old was sentenced in March 2019 to six years in prison after admitting to sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl inside the Rapid City cathedral.

Praveen, who is from Hyderabad, India, joined the Diocese of Rapid City for a 10-year assignment in December 2017. The diocese sponsored his work visa.

Praveen first worked in Eagle Butte on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe reservation.

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Editorial: Catholic report shows there should be no time limit for justice

ORLANDO (FL)
Orlando Sentinel

November 14, 2020

The state attorney general’s office has concluded a two-year investigation into alleged sexual abuse by Catholic priests. Investigators believe the systemic abuse has been largely weeded out.

That’s the good news. The bad news is investigators say they have enough evidence to prosecute dozen of priests, and here’s what they plan to do about it:

Nothing.

They can’t. Statute-of-limitations laws make the alleged criminals untouchable.

“Some of these people, we would have loved to have prosecuted,” statewide prosecutor Nick Cox told CBS12 News in West Palm Beach.

Beyond the names, investigative details and disturbing anecdotes, the report could be interpreted as a 19-page distress letter to Florida lawmakers. The conclusions tell us that the Legislature needs to pass a “look-back” law that would override statute-of-limitations constraints.

If ever a situation demanded a good look back, it’s this one.

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Commentary: McCarrick report must be the Catholic Church’s #MeToo moment

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Press-Herald

November 14, 2020

By Michael McGough

The explosive inquiry leaves the strong impression that allegations of exploiting young adults weren’t treated as seriously as the abuse of minors.

The Vatican this week released an eye-popping report documenting how Theodore McCarrick, the defrocked former cardinal archbishop of Washington, D.C., ascended in the church hierarchy despite warnings that he had sexually harassed young seminarians.

The report, released by the Vatican secretary of state’s office, assigns primary responsibility for McCarrick’s advancement to Pope John Paul II, a favorite of Catholic conservatives, and essentially exonerates the current pope, Francis. It discredits the suggestion by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, a retired Vatican diplomat, that Francis had relaxed “sanctions” imposed by now retired Pope Benedict XVI. (Vigano also accused Francis of being close to a “homosexual current” in the church.)

In assessing blame for the rise of McCarrick, a prodigious fundraiser, the report confirms much that was already obvious from decades of scandal over the church’s cover-up of sexual abuse of minors. When confronted with suspicious behavior or even specific evidence, church authorities turned a blind eye or gave accused clerics the benefit of the doubt.

On Wednesday Pope Francis said, “I renew my closeness to victims of any abuse and commitment of the church to eradicate this evil.” It’s unclear, however, whether the McCarrick investigation will be an inflection point in the church’s newfound commitment to confronting sexual abuse by the clergy and abandoning a culture of cover-up.

In the aftermath of the McCarrick investigation, liberal and conservative Catholics probably will continue to refract the issue of clerical sexual abuse through their respective partisan lenses. Liberals will link the problem to mandatory celibacy for priests; conservatives will complain about a gay subculture in the clergy.

But there is one arguably new takeaway from the report: that the church is belatedly realizing that sexual abuse of children and adolescents, horrific as it obviously is, isn’t the only form of sexual predation by priests.

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Boy Scouts of America Sexual Abuse Victims Seek Justice in Bankruptcy Court

WASHINGTON (DC)
NPR

November 13, 2020

By Wade Goodwyn

The Boy Scouts of America are in the midst of a legal action that could threaten the very existence of the iconic, century-old institution. The Scouts declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February after thousands of allegations of child sexual abuse perpetrated by scoutmasters. The scope far exceeds the scope of American Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal — the number of abused Boy Scout claimants is more than 60,000 men. And that number could rise before Monday’s deadline to file a claim.

In the summer of 1977, Frank Spinelli was a young boy and lived on Staten Island with his mom and dad and two sisters. His parents were Italian immigrants, devoutly Catholic and eager for their children to become successful Americans. One weekend, the family went to the Staten Island Mall, where there just so happened to be, a Boy Scout Jamboree.

“And my parents, particularly my mother, thought it would be really good if I joined the Boy Scouts because my father worked two jobs at the time and she thought it would be really good for me to be around boys,” Spinelli recalls.

At the mall was the scoutmaster for Troop 85, a man named Bill Fox, he was a New York City police officer. And although Spinelli was a few months shy of being old enough to join the Scouts, the officer took an interest in the boy immediately.

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November 13, 2020

Letter to the Editor: The Vatican Report on Clerical Abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

November 12, 2020

By James Connell

A Catholic priest says the report documents the failure of the hierarchy, and a need for civil authorities to take the lead in finding the truth. Also: Happy to fly the flag again.

To the Editor:

Re “The Catholic Sex Abuse Crisis Is Far From Over,” by Elizabeth Bruenig (Opinion, Nov. 11), about the Vatican report on the former cardinal Theodore McCarrick:

We have seen the unwillingness and even inability of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church to confront and resolve its clergy sexual abuse scandal, but now a report by the Vatican itself documents the utter failure of church leadership at the highest level and the many victims who have suffered.

Who can be trusted to right this tilting ship?

Civil governments must take the lead and do what the church won’t do: find and declare the truth because without the whole and complete truth there can be no justice, and without justice there will be no healing.

Culprits must be held accountable, regardless of their social or professional status. Doing so serves the common good of our society.

James Connell
Milwaukee

The writer is a priest in the Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

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The McCarrick Report and Pope John Paul II: Confronting a saint’s tarnished legacy

NEW YORK (NY)
America Magazine

November 10, 2020

By James T. Keane

The release of the long-awaited “McCarrick Report” by the Vatican this morning provided significant information about Theodore McCarrick’s abuse of minors and adult seminarians, as well as a long and shameful history of church leaders ignoring complaints and concerns about Mr. McCarrick. It also raised the inevitable questions of who knew what and when, including regarding three popes: John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. John Paul II was canonized by Pope Francis in 2014, less than 10 years after his death.

Mr. McCarrick, once a priest and an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New York (full disclosure: Mr. McCarrick was the homilist at America’s 100th anniversary Mass at St. Ignatius Church in New York City in 2009), served as the first bishop of the newly formed Diocese of Metuchen in New Jersey from 1981 to 1986, as archbishop of Newark from 1986 to 2000 and as archbishop of Washington from 2000 to 2006. He was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 2001.

In June 2018, he was removed from ministry after the Archdiocese of New York deemed an allegation that he had abused an altar boy decades earlier “credible and substantiated.” In the weeks following, further allegations emerged of inappropriate behavior with minors and adults, including seminarians, and officials in the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Metuchen admitted that both had reached financial settlements with alleged victims of Mr. McCarrick over a decade earlier. He was finally removed from the clerical state by Pope Francis in February 2019 after a canonical trial and an unsuccessful appeal by Mr. McCarrick of the guilty verdict.

Today’s report largely avoids blaming Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI for the lack of oversight and restrictions on Mr. McCarrick, saying that Benedict and Francis both assumed that John Paul II had determined that Mr. McCarrick was not guilty of any crimes. In the case of John Paul II, the report argues that he was naturally suspicious of accusations of sexual misconduct against bishops because he had seen similar tactics used in his native Poland under Soviet rule. “Several prelates familiar with Pope John Paul II’s thinking opined that the Pope believed that allegations of sexual misconduct against important clerics were often false and that this belief was grounded in his own prior experience in Poland,” the report states, “where rumors and innuendo had been used to damage the reputations of Church leaders.”

A similar rationale was offered by many church leaders in the case of the Rev. Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legion of Christ, who was removed from ministry by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 after multiple allegations of sexual abuse of minors, repeated affairs with adult women and decades of financial malfeasance while serving as head of the religious order. Father Maciel was close to John Paul II, who beatified Father Maciel’s uncle, Rafael Guízar (Pope Benedict XVI canonized Guízar, in 2006), and the priest was a prominent financial donor to the Vatican for many years.

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The McCarrick Report confirms it: Clericalism powered the sex abuse crisis.

NEW YORK (NY)
America Magazine

November 12, 2020

By Sam Sawyer, S.J.

People have been scouring the 461 pages of the McCarrick Report, looking for a smoking gun that definitively explains what went wrong and who should be held responsible for the church’s long-standing failure to take allegations of abuse by former cardinal Theodore McCarrick seriously. But there is no single smoking gun. Instead, the report documents decades worth of smoke during which almost no one went looking for the very real fire producing it. Even more, it gives us a close-up view of concentric layers of plausible deniability and culpable ignorance, powered by clericalism, that allowed McCarrick to evade discovery or accountability.

There are, to be sure, specific events in the report that are particularly shocking, most especially Pope John Paul II’s irresponsible decision to accept McCarrick’s protestations of innocence over the counsel of multiple advisors when transferring him to become archbishop of Washington, D.C. But even if John Paul II had refused to promote him, McCarrick would have remained the archbishop of Newark, with the hope—made explicit by those recommending against his appointment—that the rumors swirling around him would simply fade into the background, never to be further investigated.

This dark and deceptive hope, focused on avoiding scandal, is perhaps the single most common theme in the report. It shows up when McCarrick is passed over for appointment to Chicago and New York, when he is chosen for Washington and when the Vatican spends years unsuccessfully attempting to limit his public activity and travel. Over and over again, shepherds of the church, were faced with persistent and proliferating rumors and eventually even specific allegations that one of their brothers had abused and mistreated those entrusted to his care. But time and time again they asked themselves not whether members of the flock had been hurt and were in need of care but how likely the media was to notice and publicize the matter. To put it bluntly, the hope of those with responsibility over him was not that McCarrick had not done these things of which he was accused—a hope that might have led to investigations and oversight—but rather that it would be possible to avoid any definitive reckoning before the public about whether or not he had.

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The Catholic Sex Abuse Crisis Is Far from Over

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

November 10, 2020

By Elizabeth Bruenig

What can we learn about needed reforms from the Vatican’s damning report on the defrocked cardinal Theodore McCarrick?

After the Catholic sex abuse crisis exploded into headlines in 2002, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops promulgated standards that would guide the American church’s efforts to protect children. In May 2002, the editorial board of USA Today met with an American bishop who would play an important role in shaping the new regulations.

“We haven’t been focused on the Lord; I’m trying to do that,” he told them. “As I see the bishops losing credibility in many areas, I want to try to be as good a bishop as I can be. I’ve got a long way to go.” It now seems that bishop, Theodore McCarrick, had further to go than it seemed.

But the report the Vatican released Tuesday on Mr. McCarrick’s history of sexual misconduct before he was removed from the College of Cardinals and defrocked in 2019 sheds harsh light on the church’s unfinished response to the sex abuse crisis. It indicates policy weaknesses and dangerous habits that must be corrected so figures like Mr. McCarrick cannot again wreak havoc on future generations of Catholics.

Mr. McCarrick’s own history of abuse underscores the gaps left by the standards he helped craft in 2002.

While the charter improved the church’s policies on sex abuse prevention and its management of allegations, it was directed specifically at shielding children and youths from the predations of priests. As Mr. McCarrick’s exploits show, it isn’t just children who are at risk of sexual exploitation in the church.

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November 12, 2020

French hotline for Church sex abuse received 6,500 calls in 17 months

LOURDES (FRANCE)
Channel News Asia

November 11, 2020

An independent commission set up by the Catholic Church in France to investigate claims of sex abuse by priests said on Wednesday (Nov 11) it had received 6,500 calls in 17 months from alleged victims and witnesses.

A hotline line set up for this purpose was closed on Oct 31.

Jean-Marc Sauve, who leads the commission, told a video conference of religious bodies that 62 per cent of the callers were men, and nearly 90 per cent of the allegations concerned crimes against minors.

About a third said they were aged between six and ten when they were targeted, and about another third aged 11 to 15.

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‘We need to look this evil in the eye’ – Clergy abuse survivors respond to McCarrick Report

Denver (CO)
CNA

November 11, 2020

By Jonah McKeown

After the Nov. 10 release of the Vatican’s McCarrick Report, some survivors of clerical abuse told CNA they remain skeptical that the report contains the full truth about McCarrick, and say the were disappointed that rumors of McCarrick’s misconduct with adults largely appeared not to have been investigated.

Jan Ruidl, who lives in Milwaukee, was abused by a priest in the 1970s. She worked in church ministry for several years and now works in grief ministry at a funeral home.

Based on her reading of the report, Ruidl said, there was “an extremely high level of denial” in the hierarchy about McCarrick, especially when it came to the allegations that he abused adults.

“As a woman who’s been abused, as a mother, a wife, a church minister, and a human being, I just can’t comprehend why nobody was concerned about these young men. They were adults, but they were young, and in such a power imbalance they might as well have been children.”

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Civil authorities must confront clergy sexual abuse scandal

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun Times

November 12, 2020

Letters to the Editor

Without the whole and complete truth, there can be no justice; and without justice there will be no healing.

I welcomed your news story on Wednesday about the Vatican report regarding former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Once again, we see the unwillingness and even inability of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church to confront and resolve its clergy sexual abuse scandal. And this time it is a report by the Vatican itself that documents the utter failure of church leadership at the highest level.

Who can be trusted to right this tilting ship?

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Clergy abuse survivors face a lifetime of recurrence of PTSD

CLEVELAND (OH)
CNS

November 10, 2020

By Dennis Sadowski

New job in hand, Jim Richter was adjusting well to life in Minneapolis several months after leaving his hometown of Chicago.

He was enjoying his fellowship at the University of Minnesota Medical Center despite the long hours and he was coming to realize his move was a good one.

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Pope Francis vows to end sexual abuse after McCarrick report

ROME
Associated Press

November 11, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

Pope Francis pledged Wednesday to rid the Catholic Church of sexual abuse and offered prayers to victims of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a day after the Vatican released a detailed report into the decadeslong church cover-up of his sexual misconduct.

The Vatican report blamed a host of bishops, cardinals and popes for downplaying and dismissing mountains of evidence of McCarrick’s misconduct starting in the 1990s — but largely spared Francis. Instead, it laid the lion’s share of the blame on St. John Paul II, a former pope, for having appointed McCarrick archbishop of Washington in 2000, and making him a cardinal, despite having commissioned an inquiry that found he had slept with seminarians.

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USCCB president apologizes to clergy abuse victims as report is released

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

November 10, 2020

Calling a Vatican report on its investigation into its knowledge of sexual improprieties of Theodore McCarrick while a clergyman, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles said the findings mark “another tragic chapter in the church’s long struggle to confront the crimes of sexual abuse by clergy.”

The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops also said in a Nov. 10 statement as the report was being released at the Vatican that the findings were being reviewed by U.S. church leaders, and he expressed gratitude for Pope Francis’ effort to address clergy sexual abuse.

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Catholic Diocese of Peoria says church is held to account for leaders looking the other way in sex abuse case

PEORIA (IL)
HOI ABC and AP

November 11, 2020

The Catholic Diocese of Peoria, covering much of central Illinois, is weighing in on the Vatican’s report showing bishops, cardinals, and popes downplayed or dismissed multiple reports of sexual misconduct by former Washington, D.C. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

The two-year investigation culminated in the release Tuesday of a 449-page report showing among other things that Pope John Paul II knew about the sexual abuse allegations, but allowed McCarrick’s promotion anyway.

The investigation determined Pope Francis merely continued his predecessors’ handling of the case until a former alter boy alleged abuse.

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Deadline nears for national Boy Scouts sex abuse lawsuit

REXBURG (ID)
Post Register

November 10, 2020

By Sally Krutzig

Fifteen years ago, Adam Steed came forward to the Post Register with his story of abuse.

Steed detailed his experiences of sexual assault at the age of 14 by Brad Stowell, a Boy Scout counselor, while at Camp Little Lemhi in Swan Valley in 1997. The Post Register’s six-part “Scouts’ Honor” series investigating Stowell and the cover-up of his crimes by many connected to the Boy Scouts of America sparked outcry from all directions in eastern Idaho.

The Steed family learned that the Boy Scouts had settled claims from lawsuits alleging Stowell had abused other boys and gotten the lawsuits dismissed. When one of those court files was finally made public in January 2005, “it revealed that before the Scouts settled the suits and paid the victims, Stowell had testified under oath that from 1988 to 1997 he molested at least 24 boys, many of them Scout campers,” the Post Register reported.

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Anti-SLAPP motion denied in lawsuit filed by Craig Harrison against Catholic monk

BAKERSFIELD (CA)
KGET

November 12, 2020

A Kern County judge has denied a motion seeking to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Msgr. Craig Harrison against a Catholic monk.

Judge Kenneth G. Pritchard’s Nov. 3 ruling on the anti-SLAPP motion filed by Justin Gilligan allows Harrison to continue with his defamation suit against the monk, who is also known as Ryan Dixon. An anti-SLAPP motion is typically filed to stop lawsuits from restricting someone’s freedom of speech.

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Norwich diocese reveals it is investigating the sexual abuse of children by its priests

NORWICH (CT)
The Day

November 8, 2020

By Joe Wojtas

The Diocese of Norwich revealed to the region’s Catholics on Sunday that it has spent the past 13 months investigating the extent of abuse of children by priests assigned to the diocese dating back to 1953.

In a letter to parishioners across the diocese, Bishop of Norwich Michael Cote announced that retired state Superior Court Judge Michael E. Riley is leading the “Clerical Sexual Abuse Accountability Investigation” for the diocese. Riley is a member of the Internal Investigations and Alternative Dispute Resolution practice at Pullman & Comley, a Connecticut-based legal firm.

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Catholic Church in Malta reports six priests for child abuse in two years

MALTA
Times of Malta

November 12, 2020

By Jessica Arena

Safeguarding commission receives 53 complaints

Six priests and two lay persons have had substantiated claims of child abuse made against them in the last two years, according to the Catholic Church in Malta’s safeguarding commission.

All eight were reported to the authorities and had “restrictions placed upon their pastoral duties” following an investigation, according to two annual reports on complaints of abuse published on Thursday.

In all, 53 complaints of abuse were made against diocesan priests, religious priests or lay people in 2018 and 2019. More than half of those, 35, were allegations of abuse against minors.

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Cardinal Dziwisz defends himself in wake of McCarrick report

KRAKÓW (POLAND)
CRUX

November 11, 2020

By Paulina Guzik

While the world is still digesting the McCarrick report, released by the Vatican on Tuesday, the blame game has begun in Poland, St. John Paul II’s homeland. One of the report’s few living protagonists is Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, John Paul’s longtime personal secretary, who was mentioned 45 times in the document.

But the storm for Dziwisz actually started the day before the report was released, when TVN24 aired “Don Stanislao” by journalist Marcin Gutowski, a 90-minutes-long documentary “showing another face of Cardinal Dziwisz,” as the station advertised it.

The film aired a long list of accusations from covering up for his friends from the seminary, to the role of Dziwisz in the case of the late Father Marcial Maciel, the disgraced founder of the Legionaries of Christ, another other dark spot in John Paul’s pontificate.

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Pope Francis, retired Pope Benedict questioned for McCarrick report

ROME
Catholic News Service

November 11, 2020

By Cindy Wooden

In an unusual move, both Pope Francis and retired Pope Benedict XVI subjected themselves to questioning by Vatican investigators charged with compiling a report on how church decisions were made regarding the career and ultimate expulsion of Theodore E. McCarrick.

“Pope Francis was questioned closely regarding the 23 June and 10 October 2013 meetings” during which Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former nuncio to the United States, claimed he told Pope Francis about McCarrick’s history of sexual misconduct and about supposed sanctions imposed on him by Pope Benedict, said the report released Nov. 10.

The footnotes indicate that McCarrick himself also was among the more than 90 people interviewed for the report. Vigano, who claimed to have gone into hiding after making his accusations against Pope Francis in 2018, apparently was not. The report refers only to his 2018 statement and to documents and letters written by him and available in archives at the Vatican and the nunciature in Washington.

In the interviews, “Pope Francis did not recollect what Vigano said about McCarrick” during the two 2013 meetings with Vigano, the report said. “However, because McCarrick was a cardinal known personally to him, Pope Francis was certain that he would have remembered had Vigano spoken about McCarrick with any ‘force or clarity.’”

The pope also said he was “certain that Vigano never told him that McCarrick had committed ‘crimes’ against any person, whether adult or minor, or described McCarrick as a ‘serial predator’ or stated that McCarrick had ‘corrupted generations of seminarians and priests,’” as Vigano claimed in 2018.

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After McCarrick report, Chile wants full accounting of its abuse crisis

ROSARIO (ARGENTINA)
CRUX

November 11, 2020

By Inés San Martín

Upon the release of the Vatican’s long-awaited report on the rise to power of former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, abuse survivors from Chile wonder where’s the report on the rise to power and fall of several members of the local hierarchy, included two influential cardinals accused of cover-up.

Chile’s abuse crisis is staggering: Over a quarter of the country’s bishops have been subpoenaed by prosecutors over allegations of either abuse or its cover up.

The list includes Cardinals Francisco Javier Errazuriz and Ricardo Ezzati, both former archbishops of Santiago.

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Opinion: The disturbing truths in the new Vatican scandal report

ATLANTA (GA)
CNN

November 11, 2020

By Paul Moses

November 11, 2020

As a Catholic, I long ago uneasily made my peace with the knowledge that too many church leaders who preached a Christian message I regard as sacred may themselves be deeply flawed, deceitful or corrupt. The release Tuesday of a Vatican report filled with the sordid details of former Archbishop of Washington Theodore McCarrick’s rise and fall doesn’t so much tear at my faith as give hope that the Holy See is finally learning to come clean with the truth.

This is so even though the report convincingly details how then-Pope and now St. John Paul II, who died in 2005, promoted McCarrick despite being very much aware of allegations that he was a predator who had sexually manipulated and abused seminarians. McCarrick denied the allegations against him in the past, but his attorney, Barry Coburn, has declined to comment since church authorities formally found him guilty in 2019 of sexual misconduct with minors and adults, “with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.”

The report outlines how church authorities failed to take action as allegations mounted that McCarrick, an influential voice for the church internationally and a prodigious fundraiser, manipulated seminarians and male teenagers into unwanted sexual activity while serving as a New York priest and then as the leader of two New Jersey dioceses and the Archdiocese of Washington, DC. In January of this year, according to the Catholic News Service, McCarrick, who is 90, moved from a Kansas friary to a new location that has not been made public.

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History-making report sets a precedent the Vatican can’t walk back

DENVER (CO)
Crux

November 12, 2020

By John L. Allen Jr.

Rome – When I took Western Civ in college, our professor once read aloud to the class an excerpt from the diary of a Roman senator written on Sept. 4, 476 AD. The senator described his efforts to suck up to 16-year-old Emperor Romulus Augustulus in hopes of being appointed to some high office, perhaps a tribune or magistrate.

On that same day, Romulus Augustulus, the last emperor in the West, was deposed by the barbarian warlord Odoacer, marking what historians now conventionally identify as the fall of the Roman Empire.

My professor’s point was that quite often, people living through moments that change history fail to recognize them at the time.

The point arises with respect to Tuesday’s release of the Vatican’s long-awaited report on the case of ex-cardinal and ex-priest Theodore McCarrick. While the focus, understandably, has been on the content of what the report contains, the crucial historical point may be the fact it happened at all.

It’s so breathtaking, in fact, that one wonders if anyone in the Vatican actually understands the magnitude of the precedent they just set.

The only comparison that comes to mind dates to August 17, 2011, when the Vatican released roughly 70 pages of documents in its possession regarding the case of Father Andrew Ronan, a Servite priest who was laicized in 1966 and died in 1992 and who later figured in a sex abuse lawsuit in Oregon in which the Vatican was named as a defendant.

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Victims ‘welcome’ McCarrick report, but say accountability needed

DENVER (CO)
Crux

November 12, 2020

By Inés San Martín

As the dust begins to settle on the report on the rise to power of defrocked ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick, survivors are lauded by many as the impetus of the 460-page Vatican document.

Had victim’s not come forward, one of the Church’s most notorious predators might still be in the Vatican’s most exclusive club.

“As a survivor of clergy sexual abuse and someone who worked closely with former Cardinal McCarrick, I welcome the Vatican’s report on his abusive activity, how it was hidden and covered up and who enabled this betrayal of trust and failed to act to protect victims and the Church,” said John Carr. “For me, the former cardinal’s repeated abuse of young people and children, his constant lies, and his ongoing refusal to accept responsibility and apologize are a greater betrayal of trust than what I experienced more than 50 years ago as a young seminarian.”

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McCarrick whistleblower says he feels ‘vindicated’ by report

DENVER (CO)
Crux

November 12, 2020

By Elise Ann Allen

Rome – Over 30 years after he first raised concerns about the conduct of his then-Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, Father Boniface Ramsey says he believes he is finally seeing justice in a lengthy report detailing how his former boss was able to climb the ecclesial ladder despite rumors of sexual misconduct.

“In a mild sort of way, I feel vindicated,” Ramsey told Crux.

“McCarrick was in and out of my consciousness for more than 30 years. I was outraged by him. He wasn’t always at the top of my mind, I wasn’t always thinking about McCarrick, he wasn’t an obsession for me, but every now and then he would come up and do something that angered me,” the priest said.

A former Dominican, Ramsey oversees the parish of St. Joseph in Yorkville in upper Manhattan, and was the first person to blow the whistle on ex-cardinal and ex-priest Theodore McCarrick, a towering figure in the American Catholic Church who was defrocked last year over allegations of child sexual abuse and the sexual harassment of seminarians under his watch.

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Attorney Mitchell Garabedian Calls for Consequences Following Vatican Report on McCarrick

BOSTON (MA)
GBH

By Mitchell Garabedian Interviewed by Jim Braude

The Vatican released a nearly 450-page report this week about former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s rise through the Catholic Church ranks, in spite of warnings about his sexual abuse of minors. The damning report, commissioned by Pope Francis more than two years ago, determined that then-Pope John Paul II knew about the claims of wrongdoing when he elevated McCarrick to cardinal. To discuss, Jim Braude was joined by Mitchell Garabedian, an attorney who has represented hundreds of victims of clergy sexual abuse including James Grein, who says he personally told Pope John Paul in 1988 about sexual abuse by McCarrick, which started when he was a young boy.

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Who are the 13 Diocese of St. Augustine priests credibly accused of sex abuse?

JACKSONVILLE (FL)
News 4 JAX

November 10, 2020

St. Augustine – Top church officials in Northeast Florida published a list of 13 priests with credible allegations of sex abuse against them. All 13 have ties to the Diocese of St. Augustine, according to the Diocese, and are all either dead or were removed from ministry.

The list was published this week after the Office of Statewide Prosecutors released its long-awaited findings from a two-year-long investigation into sex abuse within Florida’s Catholic churches.

A Florida Statewide Prosecutor said at the start of the investigation he was immediately concerned with whether children were currently being abused by clergy in Florida, but the investigation found no allegations of sex abuse after 2002.

Investigators did release a list of 97 priests they found were credibly accused of sexual abuse prior to 2002. The list included at least five clergy members who held assignments within the Diocese of St. Augustine at the time of the allegation and only one of them is currently alive, according to the Office of the Attorney General.

“It was disturbing. And whether it was in the Catholic Church or anywhere, it’s disturbing,” said state prosecutor Nick Cox. “But you know, what got to me was is this was a church.”

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List of Credibly Accused Clergy

ST. AUGUSTINE (FL)
Diocese of St. Augustine

November 6, 2020

The following clergy have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor. A “credible allegation” is one that, after review of reasonably available, relevant information in consultation with the Diocesan Review Board and other professionals, there is reason to believe it occurred. A credible allegation on this list is not equivalent to a finding by a judge or jury that a cleric is liable or guilty for sexual abuse of a minor under civil or criminal law. All clergy identified have been removed from ministry or are deceased.

The Diocese of St. Augustine initially encompassed the state of Florida east of the Apalachicola River and was subsequently split into other dioceses, including the Diocese of Miami in 1958, the Diocese of Orlando in 1968, the Diocese of St. Petersburg in 1968 and the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee in 1975. In 1984, two additional dioceses were formed in Florida – Palm Beach and Venice. All seven dioceses make up the Province of Miami. The clergy listed below have been credibly accused within the Diocese of St. Augustine’s current boundaries.

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Cupich calls Vatican sex abuse report a watershed moment for Catholics

CHICAGO (IL)
WGN

November 10, 2020

By Katharin Czink and Dina Bair

The Catholic Church is reeling after a Vatican report on sex abuse was released Tuesday.

The report reveals mistakes and cover ups allowed for the abuse.

Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich calls it a watershed moment.

The report is almost too difficult to read — 449 pages documenting assaults on innocent victims and protection of the adults who carried out the abuse.

Church sex abuse victims stood in Rome telling the Pope, cardinals and bishops about their abuse. The sex abuse summit was just the beginning for the Catholic Church. An investigation of one of the most powerful U.S. bishops and a disgraced former U.S. cardinal was occurring at the same time.

Now the final report.

It is a revelation church leadership hopes will pull the curtain back on what were systemic problems to make way for healing for abuse victims and prevention of these horrors from ever happening again.

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Vatican report finds Pope John Paul II dismissed sex abuse by ex-Cardinal McCarrick – but goes easy on Pope Francis

McLEAN (VA)
USA Today

November 11, 2020

By John Bacon

A Vatican investigation into disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick lashed out at bishops, cardinals and a pope-turned-saint who downplayed ominous reports about the Catholic kingmaker’s sexual abuse of children and seminarians.

But the 400-page internal investigation released Tuesday by the Vatican goes easy on Pope Francis, saying the pontiff accepted his predecessors’ naive belief in McCarrick’s impassioned denials.

Francis defrocked McCarrick, 90, last year after the investigation confirmed decades of allegations that he had sexually molested children and adults. The Vatican had reports from authoritative figures dating back more than two decades yet allowed the prelate’s rise in the church to continue unchecked.

“Today’s report paints a picture of fraternal lenience and silence,” Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, told USA Today. “The impact of this brotherly support has been horrifying. Dozens of children and vulnerable young people were sexually violated by McCarrick himself, and perhaps hundreds more were sexually assaulted by abusive priests who went unchecked under McCarrick.”

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Still saintly? Vatican’s new report on McCarrick may complicate the legacy of Pope John Paul II

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

November 11, 2020

By Michelle Boorstein and Sarah Pulliam Bailey

A new Vatican report’s revelations that Pope John Paul II disregarded reports about ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual misconduct had Catholics on Wednesday debating the legacy of one of the modern church’s towering figures. The report triggered questions about whether John Paul was rushed through the saint-making process, and whether the author of contemporary Catholic teaching on human sexuality didn’t understand the complex nature of the topic.

The 450-page report released Tuesday is an unprecedented effort by the church at full transparency, a rare window on internal Vatican decision-making that showed that not only John Paul but also popes Benedict and Francis knew McCarrick had faced multiple accusations. Each pontiff was aware of different aspects of the accusations against McCarrick, but the initial years of the case came under John Paul’s 27-year reign.

John Paul, who died in 2005 and was made a saint in 2014, elevated McCarrick to archbishop of Washington and summarily to cardinal despite the allegations. Under Benedict, McCarrick was asked to step down as archbishop of Washington when he reached the standard retirement age of 75 and told to keep a lower profile. Francis assumed his predecessors had already vetted the allegations against McCarrick, but took action once a credible accusation surfaced involving a minor. McCarrick was laicized in 2019.

Reactions to the revelations about John Paul have been emotional and divided. Some saw a man perhaps naively believing a scheming friend. The report’s authors raised the possibility that John Paul’s judgment was heavily colored by his experience in the Eastern Bloc, where negative propaganda about priests was used to weaken religious organizations. Others felt his decisions were potentially disqualifying for the high moral honor of sainthood.

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Pope Francis responds to McCarrick report with vow to end sexual abuse

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

November 11, 2020

By Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli

Rome – Pope Francis on Wednesday vowed to “eradicate” the evil of sexual abuse from the Catholic Church, one day after an investigation into the case of ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick detailed failures that continued into his pontificate.

The Vatican’s 449-page report focused mainly on the years critical to McCarrick’s rise, when Pope John Paul II named him archbishop of Washington despite being warned of his sexual misconduct.

But the report also revealed how lieutenants close to Francis showed little interest in following clues about McCarrick’s misconduct. When briefing the pope, they glossed over the accusations, describing them as something “gossiped about” or resolved.

Vatican’s McCarrick report says Pope John Paul II knew of misconduct allegations nearly two decades before cardinal’s removal

In its transparency, the report is a groundbreaking moment in Francis’s papacy, documenting impunity and coverup with the kind of detail advocates and abuse victims have long demanded. But the report also muddles the picture for Catholics of how effectively Francis and his advisers can respond to the broader scourge.

In speaking about the report for the first time, at a general audience Wednesday, Francis was brief. He expressed his “closeness to the victims of all abuse” but did not elaborate on plans to fight abuse within the church. He notably quoted John Paul II, after mentioning it was Poland’s independence day.

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Early reactions to McCarrick report cite its significance to the church

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

November 10, 2020

By Brian Roewe

Two years after reports of sexual abuse by Theodore McCarrick surfaced into public view, the Vatican’s long-awaited report on the now-defrocked former cardinal was released Tuesday. As the public sifted through the dense and detailed document, abuse survivors and their advocates called it an important moment that must lead to further action and investigations, perhaps even from the nation’s next president.

Much of the early reaction centered on the significance of the report itself, rather than specific findings and conclusions. At 400-plus pages, the report presents an extensive portrait of McCarrick’s rise within the church’s ranks and how allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct followed him throughout his career but did not derail it, even as the highest levels of the church learned of them.

In perhaps its most explosive discovery, the report stated that Pope John Paul II made the decision in 2000 to appoint McCarrick as archbishop of Washington, D.C., despite a warning a year earlier that he had been accused of pedophilia and sharing beds with seminarians.

‘Awareness is meaningless without concrete action’

Survivors of sexual abuse and their advocates called the report a milestone. They said it told a story too familiar to too many victims, and they cautioned against viewing it as a condemnation of one pope alone, or as the end of the abuse saga.

Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of Bishop-Accountability.org, a web archive that houses troves of documents on the abuse crisis, called the report “the most significant document on the abuse crisis to come from the Church,” and expressed hope that it represents in the Catholic Church “a shift to genuine transparency.”

At the same time, Barrett Doyle said the report represents “a powerful argument” against Vos Estis Lux Mundi, the 2019 apostolic letter that issued mandates and laws for reporting and investigating sexual abuse, and the self-policing model of accountability.

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Vatican’s McCarrick report says Pope John Paul II knew of misconduct allegations nearly two decades before cardinal’s removal

ROME (ITALY)
Washington Post

By Chico Harlan, Michelle Boorstein and Sarah Pulliam Bailey

November 10, 2020

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/vatican-mccarrick-sexual-abuse/2020/11/10/c92de382-2045-11eb-ad53-4c1fda49907d_story.html

An unprecedented Vatican internal investigation has found that Pope John Paul II knew about and overlooked sexual misconduct claims against Theodore McCarrick, instead choosing to facilitate the rise of an American prelate who would be defrocked and disgraced two decades later.

The Vatican’s report amounts to a stunning play-by-play of the kind of systemic failure that the Catholic Church normally keeps under wraps, describing how ­McCarrick amassed power and prestige in the face of rumors, and sometimes written evidence, of his sexual misconduct with seminarians, priests and teenage boys.

The report devotes a good deal of attention to John Paul II and the pivotal years of McCarrick’s rise, but it also portrays Pope Benedict XVI as trying to handle the cardinal quietly and out of the public spotlight, and Pope Francis as assuming that his predecessors had made the right judgments. It shows how U.S. bishops sanitized reports of what they knew and all but ensured that warnings would arrive at the Vatican unsubstantiated or dismissible. In Rome, church leaders found every rationale for believing a “good pastor” over a victim.

For a church that has grappled for a generation with its sexual abuse crisis, the report — 449 pages, and two years in the making — goes further than any previous effort in naming names and providing details of a coverup. Such assessments have been long requested by victims of abuse, but they are nonetheless fraught for the church, because revelations have the potential to recolor the reputations of major figures within the faith, including John Paul, who was named a saint in 2014.

“By virtue of the simple fact that this investigation had to be conducted and this report had to be written, my heart hurts for all who will be shocked, saddened, scandalized and angered by the revelations contained therein,” Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington, wrote in a statement Tuesday.

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‘It’s crushing’: Survivors react to McCarrick abuse report

RICHMOND (VA)
Associated Press

November 12, 2020

By Sarah Rankin

[Includes brief video statements by James Grein, Mitchell Garabedian, and Jeffrey Anderson (about “Priest 3”)].

Men who have come forward with allegations of abuse by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick expressed disgust, frustration and outrage after an internal Vatican report outlined what was known about the clergyman’s behavior — and what was ignored.

“It was very emotional to read. It was very emotional because there were so many opportunities to stop him. So many opportunities to stop him. And maybe my life would be different, maybe I wouldn’t be a victim if someone had,” said John Bellocchio, a New Jersey man who has sued both McCarrick and the Holy See, alleging the prelate abused him in the 1990s when he was a teenager.

In interviews with The Associated Press, Bellocchio and others demanded that the Vatican institute changes to ensure nothing like what was described in Tuesday’s extraordinary report can happen again.

*

The report contained heartbreaking testimony about McCarrick’s inappropriate behavior, including from a woman identified only as “Mother 1” who told Vatican investigators she also sent anonymous letters in the 1980s when McCarrick was bishop in Metuchen, New Jersey, after she saw McCarrick “massaging (her two sons’) inner thighs” at her home.

“It’s crushing,” said Geoffrey Downs, who in a lawsuit filed in New Jersey accused McCarrick of abusing him when he was a teenager and serving as an altar boy. “It’s just crushing to those of us who went through it because you realize how small and incidental you are to these creatures, predators. You’re almost like a small nut and bolt in this giant machine of predatory behavior.”

Both Bellocchio and Downs suggested the church create lay review boards as a way to give parishoners an actionable role in holding priests accountable.

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Office of Statewide Prosecution’s Report on Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church in Florida

TALLAHASSEE (FL)
State of Florida – Office of the Attorney General

November 6, 2020

[Note: This brief report includes two lists:
– Alleged Priests in Florida and reason for impossibility of a criminal prosecution
– Credibly Accused Priests Relocated to Florida by the Church]

Executive Summary

In October 2018, the Office of Statewide Prosecution (“OSP”) with the assistance of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (“FDLE”) began an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse of children in Florida by priests of the Catholic Church (the “Church”). OSP began that investigation after reviewing the findings of a grand jury report by a Pennsylvania grand jury that found sexual abuse by Church priests and wrongful actions by the Church in response to reports of that sexual abuse. This investigation did not find any instances indicating children in Florida were currently in immediate danger of sexual abuse by priests. The investigation did identify ninety-seven (97) priests against whom allegations of historical sexual abuse were made. However, after careful examination of each allegation and the relevant criminal statutes, prosecution ofthose allegations is barred by either the applicable statute of limitations or intervening death of the accused priest. Likewise, the wrongful actions or inactions of the Church and its personnel in connection with those depraved acts are not prosecutable because either the applicable statute of limitations has expired or the person who committed that act is deceased. This past legislative session the Florida legislature modified the statute of limitations (HB 199) that barred the prosecution of the accused priests, but that change constitutionally cannot retroactively allow prosecution of any alleged perpetrator who may still be alive. With these hurdles removed, any future, similar misconduct can be prosecuted.

Investigation and Findings

A. Summary of the Investigation Conducted

In August 2018, a grand jury in Pennsylvania released a report that detailed seventy (70) years of clerical sexual abuse within that state. See Report of the 40th Statewide Investigative Grand Jury (2018) (hereinafter the “Pennsylvania Report”). Over three hundred (300) priests were listed by the grand jury who were accused of sexual misconduct and instances of cover up were described, several of which had ties to Florida. Id. Following the Pennsylvania Report, many jurisdictions followed suit and reported their findings within their states. Across the board, jurisdictions’ conclusions were consistent: the Church placed very little focus on victims and no substantial proactive policies for protecting children existed prior to 2002.

The Church in Florida is compromised of six Florida dioceses and the Archdiocese of Miami (collectively referred to as the “Florida Province”).1 After the launch of the investigation in October 2018, OSP created and placed a link on the Department of Legal Affairs’ website for victims to report information related to the investigation. The inquiry highlighted the prevalence of incidents of abuse and the response by the Church. The investigation focused on those priests accused and the viability of their prosecution. Over two hundred sixty (260) tips were submitted regarding clergy abuse. All tips were reviewed, and the individuals involved with reporting were interviewed when possible. During the informational phase, tips unrelated to the investigation of the Church were forwarded to law enforcement for response and/or follow-up investigation.

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Vatican’s McCarrick report forces debate on power and abuse

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

November 12, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican’s report into ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has raised uncomfortable questions the Holy See will have to confront going forward, chief among them what it’s going to do about current and future clergy who abuse their power to sexually abuse adults.

Priests, lay experts and canon lawyers alike say the Vatican needs to revisit how the church protects its seminarians, nuns and even rank-and-file parishioners from problem bishops and cardinals, who for centuries have wielded power and authority with few — if any — checks or accountability.

McCarrick was only investigated and defrocked by Pope Francis because a former altar boy came forward in 2017 to report the prelate had groped him when he was a teenager in the 1970s. It was the first time someone had claimed to be abused by McCarrick while a minor, a serious crime in the Vatican’s in-house legal system.

And yet the bulk of the Vatican’s 449-page forensic study into the McCarrick scandal released Tuesday dealt with the cardinal’s behavior with young men: the seminarians whose priestly careers he controlled and who felt powerless to say no when he arranged for them to sleep in his bed.

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Vatican faults others for McCarrick’s rise, spares Francis

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

November 10, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

A Vatican investigation into former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick found that bishops, cardinals and popes downplayed or dismissed multiple reports of sexual misconduct and determined that Pope Francis merely continued his predecessors’ handling of the predator until taking action when a former altar boy alleged abuse.

The Vatican took the extraordinary step Tuesday of publishing its two-year, 449-page internal investigation into the American prelate’s rise and fall in a bid to restore credibility to the U.S. and Vatican hierarchies, which have been shattered by the McCarrick scandal.

The report put the lion’s share of blame on a dead saint: Pope John Paul II, who appointed McCarrick archbishop of Washington, D.C., in 2000, despite having commissioned an inquiry that confirmed he slept with seminarians. The report found that John Paul believed McCarrick’s last-minute, handwritten denial: “I have made mistakes and may have sometimes lacked in prudence, but in the seventy years of my life I have never had sexual relations with any person, male or female, young or old, cleric or lay,” McCarrick wrote.

But the report also charted the alarm bells that were ignored, excused or dismissed in 1992-93 when six anonymous letters were sent to U.S. church officials and the Vatican’s ambassador to the U.S. alleging McCarrick was a “pedophile” who would sleep in the same bed with young men and boys. Those alarms continued, when a Catholic psychiatrist traveled to the Vatican in 1997 to report that his priest-patient was a victim of McCarrick’s sexual abuse.

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Key findings in Vatican report into ex-Cardinal McCarrick

NEW YORK (NY)
Associated Press

November 10, 2020

The Vatican has taken the extraordinary step of publishing its two-year investigation into the rise and fall of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was defrocked in 2019 after a Vatican investigation determined he sexually abused adults as well as children.

Here are key findings from the report, based on documentation and interviews with witnesses, divided into the three papacies that are affected by the McCarrick case: St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis.

Pope John Paul II (1978-2005)

McCarrick had generally positive marks during his first two posts as bishop, in Metuchen, N.J. (1981-1986) and Newark, N.J. (1986-2000). But by the mid-1990s, rumors about his behavior were starting to fly, and John Paul passed McCarrick over as archbishop of Chicago in 1997 and New York in 1999.

When the position of archbishop of Washington D.C., opened up, the then-archbishop of New York, Cardinal John O’Connor, warned the Vatican in an Oct. 28, 1999 letter that naming McCarrick there would be a mistake, the findings said.

By that time, the allegations against McCarrick included: a 1994 letter by one priest to the Metuchen, N.J., bishop providing eyewitness testimony of McCarrick and other seminarians engaging in sexual acts during a fishing trip, and the priest’s own claims that McCarrick tried to fondle him. It also included anonymous letters sent to various U.S. cardinals that “accused McCarrick of pedophilia with seminarians as well as claims that McCarrick slept with young men in his official residence as well as seminarians at his beach house. O’Connor cited that information and said the risk of scandal would be too great if McCarrick were moved to Washington.

John Paul tasked the Vatican ambassador to the U.S. to investigate. His report confirmed McCarrick bedded seminarians but didn’t find “certainty” that he had engaged in sexual misconduct. The findings didn’t explain what McCarrick and the seminarians were doing in bed together. Instead, they faulted the bishops who were asked to provide information to the ambassador, saying “three of the four bishops provided inaccurate and incomplete information.”

The doubts, however, were enough to persuade John Paul to drop McCarrick as a candidate….

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A look at the lawsuits against ex-Cardinal McCarrick

NEW YORK (NY)
Associated Press

November 9, 2020

McCarrick, who was one of the highest-ranking, most visible Roman Catholic officials in the United States, was defrocked by Pope Francis in 2019 after a Vatican investigation determined he sexually abused minors as well as adults.

A number of accusers have come forward in the past two years, and the 90-year-old McCarrick and the various archdioceses where he was stationed are facing lawsuits.

McCarrick denied an initial allegation that led to his removal from public ministry in 2018 — an accusation that he had groped an altar boy in the 1970s. He has not commented on the lawsuits against him, nor did he when he was defrocked last year.

A look at the lawsuits and other settlements involving McCarrick …

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McCarrick: What’s known about the abusive US ex-cardinal

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

November 9, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican on Tuesday will release its report into the rise and fall of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the once-influential American cardinal who was defrocked by Pope Francis in 2019 after a Vatican investigation confirmed decades of rumors that he was a sexual predator.

The McCarrick scandal is different from other cases of clergy abuse, primarily because there is evidence that Vatican and U.S. church leaders knew of his penchant for bedding seminarians but turned a blind eye as McCarrick rose to the top of the U.S. church as an adept fundraiser who advised three popes.

When McCarrick’s crimes were revealed, the scandal sparked such a crisis of confidence in the church’s U.S. and Vatican hierarchies that Francis approved new procedures to investigate bishops accused of abuse in a bid to end decades of impunity for Catholic leaders.

But beyond that, the McCarrick case has forced the Vatican to acknowledge that adults can be victims of sexual abuse, too. The Vatican has long tried to paint any sexual relations between priests and adult men or women as consensual, focusing its prevention policies on protecting minors.

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