[Opinion] Add racism to church’s sex-abuse scandals

DULUTH (MN)
Duluth News Tribune

December 13, 2020

By David McGrath

“Too often the Catholic Church uses Native American communities to hide pedophile priests,” Phoenix attorney Robert Pastor said.

Environmental racism was a term coined to describe historical tendencies in the U.S. to store toxic waste on Native American reservations or build pollution-spewing incinerators in Latino or African-American neighborhoods.

An analogous term may now be required for the Catholic Church’s systematic dumping of sexually abusive priests into minority communities: Racist diocesan exile? Clergy abuse racism?

That’s because, as more information has been extracted through recent lawsuits against dioceses and investigations of abusive priests, it has become clear that the church often banished sex offenders to minority parishes as a way of burying them.

“It is amazing the number of priests whose assignment histories show them lasting a year or so at parish after parish until they get to an under-resourced, minority area, where, miraculously, they stay for a decade or more,” wrote Josh Peck, an attorney with Jeffrey Anderson & Associates, which has represented thousands of abuse victims.

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Retired priest, religion teacher accused of sexual relationship with teenager in 1977

JACKSONVILLE (FL)
News4Jax.com

December 30, 2020

By Kelly Wiley

A retired Jacksonville priest and former religion teacher is under investigation over allegations he was in a sexual relationship with a teenager in 1977, police reports show.

Father David Terrence Morgan, or Father Terry Morgan, was a 27-year-old religion teacher at Bishop Kenny High School at the time. The priest is accused of having a sexual relationship with the 17- or 18-year-old, lasting two to three months.

The victim, now in their 60s, told police they were never forced to have sex. The victim also told police they had no intention of pursuing criminal charges and knows the incident is past the statute of limitations.

The allegations were brought to the Jacksonville Sheriffs Office in September 2020. The person or entity that brought the charges to police was contacted by the victim in August. That person or entity was not named.

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SC’s Catholic Bishop Guglielmone to seek resignation Wednesday on 75th birthday

CHARLESTON (SC)
The Post and Courier

December 29, 2020

By Rickey Ciapha Dennis Jr.

https://www.postandcourier.com/news/scs-catholic-bishop-guglielmone-to-seek-resignation-wednesday-on-75th-birthday/article_b9985928-49ff-11eb-a135-2fbe530f86d7.html

Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone, who presides over the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston, will seek resignation from the position this week.

As required by the Vatican, Guglielmone will submit a letter of resignation to Pope Francis on Wednesday, which is Guglielmone’s 75th birthday, the diocese said on Monday. …

… His final year as South Carolina’s top Roman Catholic clergyman including fending off a legal challenge. A lawsuit filed last year in New York alleged Guglielmone sexually abused an 8-year-old boy while serving as a pastor in the late 1970s at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Amityville.

Guglielmone denied those accusations and said earlier this month the Vatican cleared him of wrongdoing. He said the Roman Catholic Church headquarters had sent him a letter stating it had determined the sexual abuse allegation against Guglielmone “has no semblance of truth and is thus unfounded.”

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Notorious Catholic Priest Dies in Missouri [Press Statement]

MISSOURI
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

December 30, 2020

A Catholic clergyman from the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph who faced multiple lawsuits for child sexual abuse has died. We hope that the news of his passing will bring comfort to the many people he irreparably harmed and will encourage other still-silent and suffering victims to come forward and get the help they need.

In addition to having been sued many times, Fr. Michael Tierney is also on the Diocesan list of clergy with “substantiated abuse allegations.” The entry for the priest on the list notes that a “canonical trial decreed guilt in multiple cases.”

Despite the fact that Catholic officials in Kansas City were notified of allegations against Fr. Tierney at least as early as 2008, the priest was only permanently removed from ministry in 2011. Sadly, this pattern of Diocesan delay and inaction is likely what allowed Fr. Tierney to hurt so many in the first place.

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‘Catholic Eton’ Ampleforth College in Yorkshire may be forced to close if ban on new students is not lifted, says head

YORKSHIRE (ENGLAND)
Yorkshire Post

December 30, 2020

By Robyn Vinter

https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/education/catholic-eton-ampleforth-college-yorkshire-may-be-forced-close-if-ban-new-students-not-lifted-says-head-3080870

The head of a prestigious independent school in North Yorkshire has criticised a ban on accepting new students issued by the Government last month, warning that it may be forced to close.

Ampleforth College was told by the Department for Education in November that it could no longer accept new pupils due to “very serious” safeguarding failures uncovered during an inspection in September.

Robin Dyer, the head of the Catholic school, said the institution had come a long way in a short amount of time, but the restriction order, which came into place yesterday, made it more difficult to make improvements and could mean that the school closed.

Speaking on Times Radio yesterday, he said: “If you’re denied the fee income that independent schools rely on, you can’t survive.

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Dublin archbishop who helped Ireland heal from abuse retires

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

December 29, 2020

Pope Francis on Tuesday accepted the resignation of Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who worked to rebuild the Roman Catholic Church’s credibility in Ireland after it was shattered by decades of clergy sexual abuse and cover-up.

Martin turned 75 earlier this year, the mandatory retirement age for bishops. Francis named Bishop Dermot Farrell, 66, the head of the Ossory diocese in eastern Ireland, as Martin’s replacement.

Deeply Catholic Ireland has had one of the world’s worst records of clergy sex abuse, crimes that were revealed to its 4.8 million people over the past decade by a series of government-mandated inquiries. The reviews concluded that thousands of children were raped and molested by priests or physically abused in church-run schools while bishops worked to protect the predators and the Irish church’s reputation.

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Pope names Ossory bishop to head Dublin, Ireland’s largest diocese

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

December 29, 2020

By Sarah Mac Donald

Pope Francis has chosen Bishop Dermot Farrell of Ossory as Archbishop Diarmuid Martin’s successor in Dublin.

The appointment is one of the most significant in the Irish church, involving oversight of the largest and most secular Irish diocese with up to 1 million Catholics.

Farrell, 66, a former president of the national seminary in Maynooth, has a range of experience in administration, pastoral ministry and seminary formation. He was elected finance secretary of the Irish bishops’ conference in March 2019.

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Pope Francis appoints Bishop Dermot Farrell as head of Dublin archdiocese

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Agency

December 29, 2020
.
By Hannah Brockhaus

Pope Francis Tuesday named theologian Bishop Dermot Farrell of Ossory, Ireland, as the next archbishop of Dublin.

Farrell, 66, takes over leadership of the metropolitan archdiocese from Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, whose resignation was accepted by the pope Dec. 29.

Martin, who turned 75 in April, led the large Irish archdiocese since 2003 as coadjutor archbishop, and since 2004 as archbishop.

He was archbishop during Ireland’s sexual abuse crisis, including the 2009 release of the Murphy Report, the result of a three-year investigation into the abuse scandal in the Dublin archdiocese, which implicated some of Martin’s predecessors in cover up of abuse by priests.

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Incoming Archbishop of Dublin Dermot Farrell faces daunting job

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times

December 29, 2020

By Patsy McGarry

Current Bishop of Ossory will oversee archdiocese in which half of priests are over 70

The announcement that Bishop of Ossory Dermot Farrell (66) is to be the new Archbishop of Dublin will come as no great surprise to many priests in the archdiocese, as his name has always been among the front runners since Archbishop Diarmuid Martin made clear his intention to retire on reaching 75 last April. …

… Probably his most uncomfortable period was in 2002 when it emerged in this newspaper on May 8th 2002 that his predecessor as president at Maynooth Msgr Micheál Ledwith was then lecturing with a new age cult on the US west coast following his sudden resignation as president at Maynooth in 1994 in circumstances unexplained up to then by Catholic Church authorities and despite persistent media queries.

Then on May 31st 2002, responding to a series of questions from this newspaper, Msgr Farrell as president at Maynooth and the seminary’s 17 Bishop trustees issued a statement confirming that, prior to his resignation from office in 1994, child sexual abuse allegations had been made against Msgr Ledwith, which he denied.

It emerged later that Msgr Ledwith had agreed a confidential financial settlement with his accuser, without admission of liability.

As a priest of Ferns diocese, Msgr Ledwith was also investigated by the Ferns inquiry, which published its report in October 2005.

Due to the confidentiality clause it was unable to make specific findings in the alleged abuse case but it did repeat the various abuse allegations against the then still Msgr Lediwth, laicised by the Catholic Church in 2005.

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DA’s report details allegations against New Bedford priest; attorney calls it ‘mistaken identity’

NEW BEDFORD (MA)
Standard Times

December 29, 2020

By Kiernan Dunlop

An investigative report from the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office and Daniel Lacroix’s attorney have shed some light on sexual misconduct allegations against an area priest who was permanently removed from the ministry in November.

In a letter that was read during a Mass at Lacroix’s former parish, St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Illinois Street, Diocese of Fall River Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha said allegations against Lacroix were determined to be credible by a ministerial review board.

In a statement Thursday, the diocese said Lacroix was removed “because of conduct that is inconsistent with standards of ministerial behavior and in direct violation of the Code of Conduct for priests in the Fall River Diocese and the U.S. Bishops’ Charter for The Protection of Children and Young People.”

Da Cunha made the decision to remove Lacroix from ministry himself after his own review of the evidence revealed in an investigation of the allegations, according to the diocese.

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Coronavirus, elections, and McCarrick dominate 2020 in U.S.

UNITED STATES
Crux

December 30, 2020

By John Lavenburg

2020 in the United States, like the rest of the world, will always be synonymous with the coronavirus pandemic. It’s taken over 330,000 American lives to date, put millions out of work and single-handedly changed the way society lives and communicates.

That is, however, only one chapter in the story of the American Catholic Church in 2020.

Here’s a look at 2020 for the American Catholic Church through the pandemic, election of Joe Biden as the second Catholic president, and the unprecedented report from the Holy See on laicized ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s rise through the American episcopacy.

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As deadline nears, adults flood Arizona courts with lawsuits alleging childhood sex abuse

PHOENIX (AZ)
Arizona Republic

December 30, 2020

By Lauren Castle

Hundreds of civil lawsuits by people who allege they suffered abuse as children are being filed in Arizona’s courts as a year-end deadline looms for them to seek justice.

Many of those filing are listed in court documents simply as “John Doe” or “Jane Doe.”

They have filed civil complaints against priests, teachers, volunteers, the Roman Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Boy Scout councils, Big Brothers Big Sisters and other institutions.

The Arizona Child Victims Act allows survivors of sex abuse to sue their perpetrators and organizations that allowed the incident to happen. The act, passed by lawmakers in 2019, raised the statute of limitations for a civil claim to the age of 30 from the previous age of 20. Survivors who are 30 or older have until Dec. 31 to file a claim.

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Former KC priest who was the subject of multiple child sexual abuse lawsuits has died

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Kansas City Star

December 30, 2020

By Judy L. Thomas

A former Kansas City-area priest whom the diocese named in 2019 on a list of clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing minors has died.

The Rev. Michael Tierney, 76, died on Dec. 15. A private memorial service was held Monday at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Lee’s Summit, according to his obituary.

Tierney had been the subject of multiple civil lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of minors. In 2011, the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph removed him from all pastoral assignments. He was never prosecuted, but the diocese’s list of more than two dozen credibly accused priests says that a canonical trial “decreed guilt in multiple cases.”

Born in 1944 and ordained in 1969, Tierney served in Kansas City and St. Joseph parishes. His last posting was at Christ the King in Kansas City, where he worked until diocesan officials removed him in June 2011.

Tierney repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

The first lawsuit, filed in 2010, alleged that Tierney abused a 13-year-old in the 1970s. The plaintiff alleged that Tierney had asked him to move furniture at the priest’s mother’s house and then fondled and groped him.

A lawsuit filed in late 2011 — the fifth to be filed against Tierney — accused him of sexually abusing an altar boy at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church. It also alleged that Tierney took the plaintiff and another boy to Lake Viking near Cameron, Mo.

The lawsuit said that Tierney and Monsignor Thomas J. O’Brien provided alcohol to a group of boys at the lake house and that some boys became “inebriated or high to the point of insensibility.” O’Brien, who died in 2013, had been named as a defendant in more than two dozen sexual abuse lawsuits.

Tierney was among 12 current or former priests named in a 47-plaintiff case that the diocese settled for $10 million in 2008.

He also was one of the priests covered in a $10 million settlement agreement the diocese made with plaintiffs in 2014. That settlement covered 32 lawsuits filed from September 2010 through February 2014. Those lawsuits involved 14 current and former priests in allegations of sexual abuse covering three decades.

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German nuns were paid to ‘drag’ children to be sexually abused by predatory Catholic priests, court documents allege

GERMANY
The Insider (blog)

December 29, 2020

By Haven Orecchio-Egresitz

– German nuns aided in the abuse of children by priests in the 1960s and 1970s, according to recently released court documents.

– A victim testified that he was abused more than 1,000 times by clergy after nuns dragged him to the home of predators, Deutsche Welle reported.

– The victim alleged some of the nuns received money for acting like “pimps,” Der Spiegel reported.

German nuns in the city of Speyer received money for luring children to predatory priests who sexually abused them, local media reported from recently released court documents.

One victim, Karl Haucke, filed a court case seeking compensation from the Catholic church and alleging more than 1,000 instances of abuse over the 10 years he lived at a now-shuttered children’s home, Deutsche Welle reported.

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Head of German bishops, self-described conservative, calls for change

BERLIN (GERMANY)
Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

December 29, 2020

In a wide-ranging interview, the head of the German bishops’ conference called for far-reaching changes to the Catholic Church and criticized the Vatican’s treatment of the church in his country.

“I would describe myself as conservative because I love this church and enjoy devoting my life and my strength to it. But I want it to change,” Limburg Bishop Georg Bätzing told the magazine Herder Korrespondenz. His remarks were reported by the German Catholic news agency KNA.

Among other things, Bätzing suggested changing church teaching on LGBTQ rights. The Catholic Church says gay sex is “intrinsically disordered,” but LGBTQ people are to be treated with “respect, compassion and sensitivity” and without discrimination.

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[Opinion] New year and many old issues: Catholic storylines journalists need to keep an eye on in 2021

GetReligion (blog)

December 29, 2020

By Clemente Lisi

I am not a very good prognosticator. Yet this is the time of year that forces many journalists to do just that.

What will 2021 bring? That’s the big question following a 2020 that will forever remain a year where the world was held hostage by a pandemic. It was also a year where we had a combative presidential election and a reawakened social justice movement that brought our divided politics out into our streets. Could any of us have accurately predicted what 2020 would have been like? I don’t think so.

That hasn’t stopped many from trying to predict what next year will be like. The vaccine could bring with it prosperity and freedom again, but a new strain of the virus has forced much of Europe into lockdown once again. A lot of what 2021 will look like — in terms of religion and faith — will depend on the virus and how politicians choose to handle it.

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Please explain $2bn, bishops ask Pope Francis

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

December 30, 2020

By Dennis Shanahan

Australia’s Catholic bishops are working on a direct request to the Pope to investigate and explain how $2.3bn was transferred from the Vatican City to Australia over six years without their knowledge.

The Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference is considering the request after they were “astonished at the scale of the transfers” from the Holy See’s secretariat of state between 2014 and this year.

The Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, told The Australian on Tuesday that no Australian Catholic, diocese, charity, religious order or church entity had received any of the money.

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COVID-19 caused problems for German church, but other issues arose in 2020

BONN (GERMANY)
Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

December 29, 2020

Most people looking back at 2020 will mainly see the coronavirus pandemic, but the Catholic Church in Germany was rattled by a number of other issues as well, from the impact of the sexual abuse scandal to the debates surrounding the Synodal Path that reverberated beyond Germany’s borders and triggered interventions from Rome.

The German Catholic news agency KNA reported it has been a demanding year for the president of the German bishops’ conference, Limburg Bishop Georg Bätzing. Since his election in March, the coronavirus has severely curtailed church life, including an Easter without public religious services and accusations that the churches submitted too readily to the state-imposed lockdown — to the extent that even the dying were abandoned. During the second lockdown, church services were spared, subject to conditions.

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Boarding schools fleeing abuse claims in other states find ‘Promised Land’ in Missouri

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Kansas City Star

December 27, 2020

By Laura Bauer and July L. Thomas

Aaron Rother was 16 when the leader of his boarding school announced they were packing up and moving again, to their third state in a little more than a year.

But this time, in the mid-1990s, Agape Boarding School was moving away from the “nonbelievers” in Washington and California and heading east. To a place with “good Christian people,” no government scrutiny and where leaders could feel free to run their school the way they saw fit.

“It was the feeling like we were going to the Promised Land,” said Rother, whose father dropped him off at Agape in Othello, Washington, when he was 15. “Kind of like, ‘This is where the Christians can go to not be messed with.’

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Former Cape pastor indicted on rape, assault and battery charges

MASSACHUSETTS
Cape Cod Times

December 14, 2020

By Jessica Hill

A grand jury returned indictments against a former Cape pastor on Friday, with multiple counts of rape and assault and battery.

The Rev. Mark Hession was indicted out of Barnstable Superior Court on two counts of rape, one count of indecent assault and battery on a child less than 14 and one count of intimidation of a witness, a superior court official confirmed Monday.

Hession was previously pastor of Our Lady of Victory Parish in Centerville from 2000 to 2014 and also served at St. Joan of Arc Church in Orleans. In 2009, he delivered the homily at the funeral for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

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Attorneys for alleged church sex abuse victim ask court to unseal deposition of accused priest

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
WVUE-TV, Channel 8

December 28, 2020

By Kimberly Curth

In a recently filed motion, attorneys for an alleged church sex abuse victim say former priest Lawrence Hecker “is still very much alive, vibrant, lives alone, and is a danger to young boys until he draws his final breath.”

As part of the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ ongoing federal bankruptcy case, plaintiff’s attorneys are now asking the court to unseal Hecker’s deposition as well as related documents.

“In America, there is a presumption that things should be open in a courtroom, so, what is a compelling reason for this not to be released is a question the judge is going to have to answer. So, the church has to come up with a reason, which I’m struggling with, as to why this should not be released,” said Fox 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti.

Hecker was on the church’s 2018 list of clergy credibly accused of child sex abuse. On March 3, 2020, we tracked him down.

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Allegations Of Abuse Within The Convent Walls

HuffPost.com

December 28, 2020

By Jessica Blank

Four former nuns shared their story of their time in the Sisters Minor of Mary Immaculate religious order.

Religious orders are supposed to provide spiritual guidance to those who join. But some of the women who entered Sisters Minor of Mary Immaculate (SMMI) say they faced physical and emotional abuse.

Patricia Budd, one of the former nuns of SMMI, first entered in 1995 in hopes of connecting with her Catholicism. It was at her first retreat where she met the order’s U.S. delegate, Sister Theresa Kovacs.

“It was a lot of hugs. There was a lot of encouragement,” Budd told HuffPost. “They would listen to you, and you felt really important, and you felt like you’re valued.” But soon after she joined, Budd and the other nuns realized things were not as they seemed.

“I witnessed other girls just being yelled at on a constant basis by Theresa Kovacs,” said Rose, who joined SMMI in 1995. (Three interviewees asked to only be identified by their first names.) According to Rose, a sister named Georgiana often got the brunt of Kovacs’ anger.

“It would be a torrent of the nastiest stuff you could ever say to a human being, she would say to me,” said Georgiana. “It was meant to keep people in line.”

Theresa Kovacs did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The nuns faced strict rules. They weren’t allowed to speak to each other. They weren’t allowed to go for walks outside the convent doors.

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[Opinion] McCarrick report shows a church infected with unchecked clericalism

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

December 29, 2020

By Lisa Fullam

The Vatican’s report on defrocked Cardinal Theodore McCarrick revealed sexual abuse of adults and minors by a Catholic cleric and its cover-up by church officials — more of the same pattern we’ve seen so often in the church, reaching to the highest levels.

How should church leadership respond? It’s easy to see this as a lack of effective rules to root out bad actors. I want to suggest that instead of a legal or juridical approach to this ongoing problem, we instead take a medical metaphor for our lead. What’s going on in the organism of the church?

Diagnosis starts with a thorough exam. Here our symptoms start with sexual abuse of boys and men, à la McCarrick.

But it’s not just sex: Bishop Michael Bransfield lived a lavish, jet-setting lifestyle while shepherding — fleecing — his Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia. He also showered cash gifts on other church leaders, including thousands to adults he allegedly harassed. As Fr. Peter Daly commented, bishops are the “spiritual heirs of the Borgias and the Medici.”

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Top Five Catholic Dogs that didn’t Bark in 2020

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

December 27, 2020

By John L. Allen Jr.

In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1892 Sherlock Holmes short story “Silver Blaze,” about the disappearance of a celebrated racehorse and the murder of its trainer, the following exchange occurs.

Scotland Yard detective: “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”

Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”

Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”

Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”

Holmes’ point was that no witness at the stables had said anything about hearing the guard dog barking, suggesting whoever stole the horse was well known to the dog and wouldn’t cause him to get worked up – in other words, it had to be an inside job.

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Mormon church sued for alleged role in Boy Scouts sex abuse

PHOENIX (AZ)
Associated Press

December 28, 2020

By Terry Tang

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was hit with several lawsuits Monday for allegedly covering up decades of sexual abuse among Boy Scout troops in Arizona, marking the latest litigation before the state’s end-of-year deadline for adult victims to sue.

The church “must be held accountable in order to bring healing and closure to Mormon victims of childhood sexual abuse,” Hurley McKenna & Mertz, a law firm that focuses on church sex abuse, said in a statement.

In the seven lawsuits each representing seven different male victims, attorneys say church officials never notified authorities about abuse allegations. Public records show members of church-sponsored Boy Scout troops who were abused would tell church bishops about what they had experienced. The lawsuits allege bishops would then tell the victims to keep quiet so the church could conduct its own investigation. In the meantime, troop leaders and volunteers accused of sex abuse would be allowed to continue in their roles or be assigned to another troop, the suits said.

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NCR’s top 10 most read news stories of 2020

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

December 28, 2020

By Stephanie Yeagle

The biggest news story of 2020 is undoubtedly the coronavirus pandemic. One small virus has changed the way we live, learn and connect with other people, most likely for the foreseeable future. And although the coronavirus has impacted the Catholic Church in a multitude of ways, non-virus-related news also had a major impact.

The top 10 most read news stories on NCR’s website for 2020 are dedicated to the topics of the coronavirus pandemic, the ever-present clerical sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, the entwining of the U.S. bishops with the Republican Party, and the evolving discussion of married priests, to name a few.

These are NCR’s most read — not necessarily the most important — news stories and are listed in order by the number of site visitors who read the story. You can see what NCR’s most read opinion and commentary pieces were for 2020 here.

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Damning decision

ST. JOHN’S (NEWFOUNDLAND)
CBC News

December 28, 2020

By Ryan Cooke

Mount Cashel victims hope the Supreme Court of Canada holds the Roman Catholic Church responsible for years of child abuse they suffered at the orphanage in St. John’s decades ago.

John Doe No. 26 places two weathered hands on his dining room table, smoothing out creases in a holiday tablecloth as he talks about the monsters of a Christmas past.

Dec. 25, 1955, was the day he put a stop to the abuse he suffered inside the hallowed walls of the Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John’s.

For seven years, sadists in black robes and white collars desecrated so much that was innocent in the child. The abuse was physical, sexual and psychological.

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Poles losing faith in once mighty Catholic Church

WARSAW (POLAND)
Agence France-Presse via France 24

December 28, 2020

Once all powerful in Poland, the Catholic Church has been under severe pressure this year — from a series of abuse scandals and a perceived association with the country’s right-wing government.

Negative media reports and documentaries have hurt its image, as has criticism from the Vatican itself.

Some Poles are even beginning to question the legacy of the late Polish pope John Paul II.

A poll published earlier this month found that only 41 percent of Poles have a positive view of the Church, a decline of 16 percentage points since March.

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‘Catholic Eton’ apologises for failing to prevent boys being abused

ENGLAND
Daily Mail

December 28, 2020

By Steve Doughty

Ampleforth College issues statement of ‘profound regret and sorrow’ after series of scandals involving perverted staff

– Ampleforth, known as the ‘Catholic Eton’, apologised for failure to prevent abuse
– The Roman Catholic school has been hit by a series of sexual abuse scandals
– Last month Gavin Williamson prevented the school from recruiting new pupils

England’s most famous Roman Catholic school has apologised for its failure to prevent sexual abuse of pupils.

The statement of ‘profound regret and sorrow’ follows a ban on the admission of new children to Ampleforth College which has threatened the future of the 218 year-old school.

Ampleforth, known as the ‘Catholic Eton’, has been shadowed by a series of abuse scandals which culminated last month in a scathing Ofsted inspection report and an order by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson that prevented the school from recruiting new pupils.

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Report documents steady, meaningful progress on safeguarding

AUSTRALIA
Catholic Outlook (Diocese of Parramatta)

December 28, 2020

The presidents of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia say their annual report to the National Office for Child Safety outlines comprehensive and sustained work across Church settings.

The provision of an annual report on progress in child protection and safeguarding was one of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The Bishops Conference and CRA adopted that recommendation. They published the Church’s third such report on Thursday 17 December.

“The annual report reflects that the Catholic community has been working hard for decades to ensure Church environments are safe, but we are constantly learning from experts within and beyond the Church how to improve our practices and protocols and, most importantly, to change the culture,” said Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of the Bishops Conference.

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Abuse survivors speak at redress hearing

NEW ZEALAND
NZ Catholic

December 28, 2020

As the first phase of the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care’s hearing into the redress processes of faith-based institutions was about to begin on November 30 in Auckland, Catholic Church leaders made statements that they would take the opportunity to listen, learn and reflect on the experience of survivors.

The first week of the two-week public hearing saw 10 survivors of abuse in the Catholic Church in New Zealand or their family members speak at the royal commission. There was one closed session in the first week. The second week was scheduled to see 14 survivors of abuse in the Anglican Church or Salvation Army institutions give their testimony. Many of the testimonies were live-streamed.

The royal commission said these hearings “will investigate the adequacy of the redress processes of the Catholic Church, Anglican Church and the Salvation Army and what needs to be done to support people who have been abused or neglected in faith-based institutions”.

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Jailing of killer priest, nun fuels crisis in India’s Catholic Church

INDIA
RFI.com

December 27, 2020

Bringing a dramatic end to a nearly three decade old case, a court in the southern Indian state of Kerala has convicted a Catholic priest and a nun of murdering a convent member. The ruling has contributed to a growing crisis in India’s Catholic Church.

A special court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), a federal investigating agency, sentenced Father Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy to life in prison after finding them guilty of the murder of Sister Abhaya, who died 28 years ago in the town of Kottayam.

Special CBI Judge K Sanal Kumar gave a double life sentence to Father Kottoor, and imposed a fine of 7,200 euros (650,000 rupees) for destroying evidence.

Justice at last

Sister Abhaya, who was aged 19, was murdered after she discovered Father Kottoor and Sister Sephy engaged in sexual activity. Her body was then dumped in a well.

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[Opinion] The abusive wolves in our midst … sexual abuse in the church

UNITED STATES
Center for Parent/Youth Understanding (blog)

December 23, 2020

By Walt Mueller

There’s a curtain of silence which sits in both the church and the culture-at-large. It is a curtain that shields horrifying realities which I have not experienced personally, but which over time I have been invited into by a growing number of people I know who have and are experiencing the horror and its fallout firsthand.

Perhaps you are one who has been on the receiving end of the horror. Statistics tell us that there are more of you out there than we know or imagine. The curtain of silence can fool us into believing it’s nowhere near as widespread as it really is. Add to that the fact that perpetrators of the horrors of abuse are masterful at hiding it, and it can remain invisible to everyone but the victims. . . which of course sets those victims on a course into a lifetime of deep pain, hurt, and shame. And when the systems that should be coming to the aid of the victims are complicit in perpetration of abuse through silence, denial, or even blind-eyed-support of perpetrators. . . the horror only increases.

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Ampleforth, the ‘Catholic Eton’, admits it failed to protect its pupils

ENGLAND
The Sunday Times of London

December 27, 2020

By Sian Griffiths

College has accepted serious failings over child abuse as it seeks to overturn a ban on new admissions

One of England’s most famous Catholic boarding schools, which has been surrounded by abuse
scandals for years, has accepted it has “very serious” safeguarding failings as it fights to stave off closure.

Ampleforth College, nicknamed “the Catholic Eton”, has submitted to ministers an action plan to tackle the serious weaknesses highlighted in an emergency inspection in September.

The 200-year-old school in North Yorkshire, which initially complained about the inspection report, says it now hopes to be reinspected early in the New Year. Local Conservative MPs have met ministers to intervene on its behalf.

When Ofsted inspectors visited Ampleforth this autumn, they found a range of failings including leaders not taking “reasonable, timely and appropriate action to safeguard pupils”, concerns raised by the police “not always given sufficient consideration”, and “serious weaknesses in the way leaders … manage allegations”.

The education secretary, Gavin Williamson, subsequently banned the school from admitting new pupils.

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Edmonton Catholic priest removed under allegations of historic sexual abuse of minor

EDMONTON (ALBERTA, CANADA)
Edmonton Journal

December 27, 2020

By Lauren Boothby

An Edmonton Catholic priest has been removed from public ministry in the region after an allegation of historic sexual abuse of a minor surfaced.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton said in a statement Christmas Eve it removed Rev. Sylvio Lacar after he was identified by the archdiocese of Los Angeles. It says Lacar was the subject of a credible accusation of sexual assault of a minor in the Los Angeles area during the 1980s.

He regularly served at St. Theresa’s Parish in Ma-Me-O Beach and occasionally at St. Theresa’s Parish in Mill Woods. He is retired priest from the diocese of Peterborough.

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Edmonton priest released from duties after discovery of past sexual assault allegation

ALBERTA (CANADA)
Global News

December 26, 2020

By Slav Kornik

The Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton has removed a local priest from his duties after learning of a previous sexual assault accusation.

The Archdiocese said Rev. Sylvio Lacar was removed from his role after it learned the Archdiocese of Los Angeles identified Lacar as the person whom a “credible accusation of sexual abuse of a minor” was brought forward against in the 1980s.

In a news release, the Archdiocese’s communications lead Andrew Ehrkamp said Lacar has denied the allegation and there was no criminal prosecution against him, but Lacar was included in a group civil settlement.

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Crisis Episode 10: Bishops’ Accountability

WASHINGTON D.C.
The Catholic Project / Catholic University of America

December 21, 2020

[AUDIO]

This podcast series keeps coming back to the question of bishops’ accountability. Are the reforms of Vos estis lux mundi being applied in the US Church? This episode features Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York, reporters Harriet Ryan of the L.A. Times and Christopher Altieri of the UK Catholic Herlald [sic], and canon lawyer Tom Doyle.

Participants:

– Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York
– Harriet Ryan, The Los Angeles Times
– Christopher Altieri, The Catholic Herald, UK, author of Into the Storm: Chronicle of a Year in Crisis about 2018
– Tom Doyle, inactive priest and canon lawyer

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A New Cardinal in D.C.: Celebrating Cardinal Wilton Gregory’s appointment

WASHINGTON D.C.
Commonweal

December 25, 2020

By Katie Daniels

On November 28, Archbishop of Washington Wilton Gregory became the first African-American cardinal in a socially distanced ceremony at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. His appointment by Pope Francis comes during a period of political discord and renewed attention to racial injustice in the United States. Gregory said that his appointment was “a sign to the African-American community that the Catholic Church has a great reverence, respect and esteem for the people, for my people of color.” …

… Gregory was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2001, just as the sexual-abuse crisis began to make headlines in Boston and elsewhere. As president of the USCCB, he oversaw the groundbreaking document “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” which established procedures for handling sexual-abuse allegations and set a “zero-tolerance” policy for priests found guilty of abuse. When Pope Francis appointed Gregory the seventh archbishop of the Archdiocese of Washington in 2019, the area was still reeling from a new round of the sexual-abuse crisis. The previous cardinal, Donald Wuerl, had resigned amid the fallout from a Pennsylvania grand-jury report that accused him of mishandling clerical sex-abuse cases when he was the bishop of Pittsburgh. Wuerl’s predecessor, former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, was defrocked after Rome received credible reports that he had sexually abused minors for years. “It’s not about the structures of the Church, it’s about the mistakes, the awful bad judgments that the Church made in not focusing on the people that had been harmed,” Gregory said in an interview with CNN. “We were so intent on caring about the clerics, priests, or bishops, that we did not see that the biggest pain to be endured was endured by the people that were hurt.”

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Bishop Byrne discusses what he’d like to accomplish in 2021

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
WWLP-TV

December 25, 2020

By Hector Molina

The Christmas season is a busy time of year for all, especially in the catholic church. 22News spoke with newly elected Bishop William Byrne of the Springfield Diocese on how the catholic church is observing the holiday season.

The Christmas holiday usually means large attendance of worshipers at churches and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ with many family and friends. However, due to the pandemic the holiday will be much different. Newly elected Bishop William Byrne of the Springfield Diocese said a year where everything has changed could mean a new hope.

A new perspective that he would like to bring in 2021 to the Springfield Diocese in his first full year as Bishop.

“We’ve been separated by the pandemic and have had reminders of abuse with the clergy in this diocese,” said Bishop Byrne.

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[News Release] Government Accountability Project Praises D.C. City Council for Unanimous Passage of the Ombudsperson for Children Establishment Amendment Act of 2020

WASHINGTON D.C.
Government Accountability Project

December 22, 2020

New Act Models Recommendations of the U.S. Ombudsman Association to Keep Children Safe

Press Release: Government Accountability Project Praises D.C. City Council for Unanimous Passage of the Ombudsperson for Children Establishment Amendment Act of 2020

Today, Government Accountability Project praised the D.C. City Council for its December 15, 2020 unanimous passage of the Office of the Ombudsperson for Children Establishment Amendment Act of 2020. To establish protections against the abuse and neglect of foster children, the Act creates an independent Ombudsman for children, which aligns with recommendations in the model law of the U.S. Ombudsman Association. The new Office will report to and can only be removed by the City Council, and it is free from control by the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency (CFAS) – where it previously had been a subunit.

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Denver’s Samaritan House looks to its future following abuse allegations against co-founder Father Woody

DENVER (CO)
Colorado Politics

December 25, 2020

By Hannah Metzger

https://www.coloradopolitics.com/denver/denver-s-samaritan-house-looks-to-its-future-following-abuse-allegations-against-co-founder-father/article_d1108ddd-fbfc-543f-b116-774809506eba.html

As recent sexual abuse allegations have risen against Catholic Priest Rev. Charles Woodrich, one organization Woodrich helped found hopes to continue its work and separate itself from his disgraced legacy.

Denver’s Samaritan House, co-founded by Woodrich in 1986, was the first building in America designed specifically as a homeless shelter. Still operating today, the Samaritan House now serves thousands of men, women and children in the Denver metro community.

“The founding and the ongoing charitable work of Samaritan House is not the result of a single person,” said the Samaritan House regarding Woodrich, “but rather from the efforts of many visionaries, political leaders, co-founders and benefactors with a deep compassion and concern for the poor and those in need in our community.”

Woodrich, more commonly referred to as Father Woody, was known as a patron to the homeless when he helped found the Samaritan House in 1986 and up until his death in 1991.

However, authorities say that at the time of the shelter’s founding, Woodrich was in the middle of the years-long sexual abuse of his last known victim.

Earlier this month, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office released a report identifying nine Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing minors, including Woodrich.

Three victims were included in the report, describing sexual abuse from Woodrich in the 1970s and 1980s. Two of the victims were altar servers and the third was a parishioner. Of the nine newly identified priests, Woodrich is accused of committing the most known abuses.

The first victim was abused monthly for six years beginning in 1983 when Woodrich was serving at Denver’s Holy Ghost Parish. The second victim was abused in 1976 and the third victim in 1978.

“Our hearts go out to the victims of past abuse,” the Samaritan House said. “We hope for healing and that a measure of peace will be found through the Archdiocese of Denver and the Colorado Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program.”

In response to the news about its co-founder, the organization said it will continue its work to try and help those in need in the Denver community.

“(Our) mission will carry on,” the Samaritan House said. “The spirit of charity is as strong as ever.”

Release of abuse allegations reshapes legacy of Denver’s Father Woody

During the last fiscal year, the Samaritan House provided 60,219 nights of shelter for men, women and children experiencing homelessness. It also gave nearly 400,000 meals to shelter participants and children at education centers. In 2019, the Samaritan House housed over 1,400 people.

According to the organization, the Samaritan House supplies nearly 25% of Denver’s shelter housing available to families.

The organization said its ultimate goal is to provide for those experiencing homelessness while helping to assure that they do not face homelessness again.

The Samaritan House provides services to its residents including job assistance, housing referrals, money management and case management. Residents can stay in the shelter for up to four months straight, receiving clothing and toiletries in addition to meals and beds.

Upon completing the Samaritan House program, 92% of single residents and families have income, 64% of single residents have housing and 62% of families have housing.

To prevent affiliation with any other dangerous individuals, the Samaritan House, as part of Catholic Charities of Denver, continues to follow the policies and procedures set by the Archdiocese of Denver.

The Archdiocese of Denver, which has promised to address sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, provided the Attorney General’s Office with full access to 70 years of files concerning the sexual abuse of minors by priests and access to interview victims, priests and witnesses for the report.

The Archdiocese of Denver said in a statement that it has removed the names of all accused priests — including Woodrich — “from any honorary designation including buildings, facilities, and programs.”

Haven of Hope, another Denver homeless shelter founded by Woodrich, has also cut ties, removing all mention of Woodrich from its website and legally changing its name from “Father Woody’s Haven of Hope” in June.

Last year, the Archdiocese of Denver started a reparations fund for victims of sexual assault within the church.

“The damage inflicted upon young people and their families by sexual abuse, especially when it’s committed by a trusted person like a priest, is profound,” said Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila. “And while money can’t heal wounds, it can acknowledge the evil that was done and help restore peace and dignity to the survivors.”

The fund is available online at promise.archden.org/reparations.

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Rev. Sylvio Lacar removed from public ministry

EDMONTON (CANADA)
Grandin Media / Catholic Alberta

December 24, 2020

Archbishop Richard W. Smith has permanently removed the faculties of Rev. Sylvio Lacar and removed him from any public ministry within the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton.

The decision to remove Rev. Lacar’s faculties was made because the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton has learned that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles identified Rev. Lacar as a priest against whom a credible accusation of sexual abuse of a minor was brought in the 1980s when he was serving in their Archdiocese. Rev. Lacar has denied this allegation, there was no criminal prosecution, but he was included in a group civil settlement.

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Abuse victim says German nuns rented out children for sex

Patheos (blog)

December 24, 2020

By Barry Duke

GERMANY’S Karl-Heinz Wiesemann, above, Bishop of Speyer, has revealed for the first time the details of an investigation of abuse carried out at a Catholic children’s home run by nuns who ‘earned money’ by procuring kids for paedophile priests, politicians and wealthy men.

The findings of the investigation, which had been kept under wraps since May, after they were allegedly suppressed, were addressed earlier this month by Wiesemann in an interview with Catholic magazine Der Pilger. He said that “several” abuse allegations had been filed, and revealed that the principle abuser was a now-dead vicar named Rudolf Motzenbäcker.

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Justice in limbo for sex abuse survivors

PERTH (WESTERN AUSTRALIA)
The Australian

December 26, 2020

By Paige Taylor

A Perth court’s decision to throw out a child sex abuse claim arising from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse has raised questions about the viability of other pending cases.

The District Court of Western Australia has granted a permanent stay on the man’s claim against UnitingCare West and the WA government, meaning it will never be heard unless the man’s legal team can find grounds for appeal.

The accused abuser, a woman, died in 2012. The man came forward at the royal commission to give evidence he was abused repeatedly at a church-run children’s home in Perth in the late 1950s and early 60s. He was about to turn six when his “cottage mother” began abusing him at shower time.

“(The cottage mother) would soap us up and she would force slivers of soap up into our anus,” the accuser said.

“It felt sharp and it hurt. As time passed the size of the soap pieces (she) would push up our rectums became bigger, much bigger and more painful.”

The man’s claim reached the district court because in 2018, in direct response to the royal commission, the McGowan government passed laws allowing child sex abuse survivors to sue institutions in the name of their current office holders. The legislation included provisions to overcome difficulties survivors may face in identifying a proper defendant. Most significantly, the legislation wiped the six year statute of limitations on claims.

The man’s allegations included that the house mother introduced the boy to church men in regional WA and he stayed with them on numerous occasions. He said they gave him pink “medicine” and twice he woke up bleeding from the anus.

The court took into account the allegations were first made in September 2017, more than 50 years after the alleged abuse. The court found UnitingCare West was unable to make a meaningful defence.

“In circumstances where the allegation has never been made whilst (the house mother) was alive, neither (the house mother) nor the defendants had an opportunity to investigate,” the judgment states. “It is practically impossible for the first defendant to have any real opportunity to participate in the hearing, or contest the case or, if appropriate, admit liability.”

Justice Project director George Newhouse said the case was very disturbing “and the victim must be gutted by the decision”.

“No one would argue with the principle that court proceedings need to be fair but, where the allegations of child sexual abuse are serious, a survivor should be entitled to their day in court,” Mr Newhouse said.

“Perpetrators have been known to take their lives when their misconduct is exposed and many perpetrators die of natural causes in the period between the abuse and the commencement of court proceedings.

“I hope this decision doesn’t allow powerful organisations like governments and churches to escape accountability and responsibility for the harm done to children in their care, just because the perpetrator is dead.

“Court proceedings are re-traumatising for the survivors of sexual abuse and I hope that this decision doesn’t have a chilling effect on anyone brave enough to seek justice for being abused as a child.”

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SSPX teacher on trial for abusing 13 children

Church Militant (blog)

December 24, 2020

By Christine Niles

SAINT-MALO, France (ChurchMilitant.com) – A teacher at a Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) school in France stood trial for reportedly abusing 13 children, and victims’ attorneys are blasting the SSPX for enabling the abuse.

French media is reporting that on Nov. 12, “Guillaume A.” — a former soldier — stood trial for multiple counts of sexual assault that took place from 1996–2001 at Sainte-Marie Academy, in Saint-Père-Marc-en-Poulet, near Saint-Malo on the northwestern coast of France.

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A Christmas gift: Sister Abhaya verdict is a testament to the divinity of truth

INDIA
TribuneIndia.com

December 25, 2020

Colonial Christianity had ushered in modernity by setting up some of the best schools, colleges, hospitals and charity institutions that India continues to cherish. An independent judiciary, the greatest contribution of the British, had enshrined a value system that had distinct elements of the Christian moral universe in it. Yet, the Church, particularly the Catholic Church, has been in the dock for its un-Christian conduct of standing with rapists and murderers in cassocks than those sinned against — the helpless, meek victims of power and lust. The Jalandhar bishop, Franco Mulakkal, is accused of raping a nun and is facing trial; but that has not stopped the Church from celebrating him in an official calendar issued by a diocese of the Syro-Malabar Church.

Worse, when a CBI court in Kerala this week concluded the trial in a 28-year-old case of murder of a nun and pronounced the verdict of guilty against a priest and a nun, the Church responded claiming that the charges against the priest and nun were “unbelievable”. One of its own was killed and the court, after several hurdles thrown at it by the accused, has delivered its much-delayed judgment, yet all that the Church has to say is that it is unbelievable. Also for the Church, the priest and the nun are still merely the “accused”, not convicts, despite the sentences of double life imprisonment in one case and life imprisonment in another. Instead of hailing the verdict as divine justice to a miserably poor 21-year-old bride of Christ, the Church reaffirms the right of the convicts to appeal against the trial court’s order.

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Oakland priest ousted for alleged ‘boundary violations’ with man

OAKLAND (CA)
San Francisco Chronicle

December 24, 2020

By Megan Cassidy

A Catholic priest has been stripped of his position in Oakland following allegations of “boundary violations with an adult man,” according to officials with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland.

The Rev. Jeffrey J. Finley, a member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood in the Diocese of Oakland, will remain a Catholic priest but “cannot function as a priest in the Diocese of Oakland by celebrating the sacraments,” according to the Catholic Voice, the diocese’s official publication.

Church officials said the alleged violation occurred in 2000 and was reported to the Diocese in September.

The Catholic Diocese of Oakland in 2019 released the names of 45 clergymen and religious brothers they said were “credibly accused” of molesting minors, one of several dioceses to do so amid decades of scandals involving abusive priests and church cover-ups.

However the list still does not include some of the men accused more recently. One of those missing from the list is Father Alex Castillo, who was placed on administrative leave after allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor, and later fled the country.

Church officials said while Finley has not had an official appointment in the diocese in nearly a decade, he has assisted with duties at Our Lady of the Rosary in Union City.

Finley’s previous assignments included St. Edward Parish in Newark from 1990 to2004 and as chaplain at Washington Hospital in Fremont from 2004 to 2011. He had most recently been working as a civilian in the Palliative Care Unit of Washington Hospital, officials said.

The removal came after an internal investigation and at the direction of Bishop Michael Barber. The diocesan Review Board upheld Barber’s decision, officials said.

Finley is at least the fifth Oakland priest to be removed from his post in recent years, according to a review by the advocacy group SNAP, or Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

The group criticized the Diocese of Oakland for its vague description of the allegations and Finley’s work history and called on local or state law enforcement to independently investigate the claims.

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Priest, nun convicted of 1992 murder of Indian woman religious

INDIA
Catholic News Service via Crux

December 23, 2020

BHOPAL, India — More than 28 years after a 19-year-old nun was found dead in a convent well, a court in India’s Kerala state convicted a priest and a woman religious of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church of murdering her.

The special court of the Central Bureau of Investigation, a federal agency, convicted Father Thomas Kottoor and the nun, identified as Sister Sephy, Dec. 22, ucanews.com reported. Sentencing was tentatively scheduled for Dec. 23 pending the results of coronavirus tests of the defendants.

The court found the pair guilty of murdering St. Joseph Sister Abhaya, destroying evidence, and conspiracy, among other charges.

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[Opinion] Sex-Abuse Scandals in the SBC: Don’t Ever Believe They Care

UNITED STATES
Patheos (blog)

December 23, 2020

By Captain Cassidy

Hi and welcome back! Recently, we checked out the response of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) to accusations of racism in their leadership ranks. And we discovered that one faction of the SBC’s top leaders have decided to pretend very hard that they want to reform the SBC. It’s a time-honored strategy with them. After all, they adopted the same strategy for dealing with their constant stream of sex-abuse allegations too! Don’t ever believe that any big-name evangelical leaders really want to fix anything. Today, I’ll show you a heartbreaking case in point that illustrates what the SBC really cares about the most.

A Sex-Abuse Narrative Begins to Form.

The SBC has certainly seen a lot of controversy over the past few years. I doubt that we’ve seen everything yet, though. In my opinion, their cultural clout has simply subsided enough to allow their various and numerous victims room — and safety enough — to speak openly about their experiences.

Every single thing I see SBC leaders doing in response to their scandals feels like nothing more than appeasement of their enemies. I strongly suspect these leaders are just doing what they think they must until the flocks calm down and forget about that situation. At that point, everyone just completely forgets what happened. Then, they cruise along until the next giant scandal erupts, at which point they just repeat their whole mind-numbing, thought-stopping charade.

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[Opinion] Time for Catholic bishops to be transparent about all alleged abusers

UNITED STATES
adamhorowitzlaw.com (law firm blog)

December 21, 2020

This is the story of two US Catholic bishops and a simple word: “transparency.”

One is the just-installed head of the Springfield MA diocese, Bishop Bill Byrne. The other is a New York native who now heads the South Carolina diocese, Bishop Robert Guglielmone.

These two prelates apparently differ radically in their interpretation of the word ‘transparency.’ Both of course have pledged, as has every single Catholic bishop for the last 20 years, to be ‘transparent’ in abuse cases.

Let’s start with Bryne.

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At last, people are talking about the needs of children of priests

UNITED KINGDOM
The Tablet

December 17, 2020

By Carina Murphy

Vincent Doyle was 28 when he learned the Catholic priest he knew as a godfather was his biological father. Now, in a book described as “the first of its kind”, he hopes to help others in the same position, and save children like him from lives overshadowed by shame and scandal.

Published this month, Our Fathers, A Phenomenon of Children of Catholic Priests is both an examination of the children born to the ordained and a roadmap to solving the problems they face. It promises shocking stories of hushed up pregnancies, and offers possible solutions such as allowing more married clergy in the Catholic church. Doyle hopes it will “catalyse a conversation and encourage people to come forwards with their stories”.

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Diocese to hire another law firm in defending against AG’s lawsuit

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

December 23, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

The Buffalo Diocese, which already is paying six law firms for work in bankruptcy proceedings, is looking to hire another firm to defend against a lawsuit filed by state Attorney General Letitia James in November.

The diocese wants to retain the Jones Day firm as “special counsel” for the lawsuit, which alleges that diocese leaders protected more than two dozen priests accused of child sexual abuse by not referring their cases to the Vatican for potential removal from the priesthood.

Jones Day partners make up to $1,250 per hour and associates make up to $900 per hour, according to court papers filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Western District.

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Life-term for priest and nun accused in Abhaya murder case

INDIA
Deccan Herald

December 23 2020

By Arjun Raghunath, DHNS

The CBI special court in Thiruvananthapuram sentenced priest Thomas M Kottoor for life-term and sister Sephy for life-term in the 28-year old Sister Abhaya murder case of Kerala.

CBI special judge K Sanilkumar, who found the two guilty on Tuesday, pronounced the sentence on Wednesday.

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New sexual abuse allegation surfaces against former Charlotte priest Robert Yurgel

CHARLOTTE (NC)
The Charlotte Observer

December 22, 2020

By Michael Gordon

The Charlotte Catholic Church’s sexual-abuse scandal among priests continued to widen Tuesday as another accuser surfaced to say he had been abused by Robert Yurgel, a now-defrocked priest who served almost eight years in prison for assaulting another child at St. Matthew.

According to the lawsuit filed in Mecklenburg County, a California man said Yurgel abused him multiple times at the Ballantyne church when the man was between 5 and 7 years old. The abuse began in July 1997 and lasted about two years, says the accuser’s attorney, Nate Foote of Harrisburg, Pa.

“What Yurgel would do is basically lie to our client and tell him they needed to engage in this behavior as part of confession. That’s how he got him alone,” Foote told the Observer on Tuesday.

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Catholic Church’s insurance company in financial trouble over abuse payouts

AUSTRALIA
The Sydney Morning Herald

December 22, 2020

By Chris Vedelago

The Catholic Church’s private insurer spent more than $58 million paying out the victims of sexual abuse last year and the company is being forced to raise fresh capital and liquidate investments to cover a future compensation bill worth at least another $238 million.

Catholic Church Insurance (CCI) has posted nearly a $250 million loss as it struggles to meet a wave of new claims in the wake of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

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Sexual abuse allegation against former Catholic priest recanted

RICHMOND (VA)
CBS19 NEWS

December 23, 2020

A person who accused a former priest of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond of sexual abuse has recanted that accusation.

According to a release from the diocese, the individual had accused retired Father William Dinga, Jr. of child sexual abuse earlier this year.

Now that the accusation has been recanted, Dinga is considered exonerated of wrongdoing.

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Former Rep. Katie Hill sues ex-husband, Daily Mail, Redstate.com over ‘nonconsensual porn’

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Yahoo

December 22, 2020

By Andrew Blankstein

Former congresswoman Katie Hill filed suit in Los Angeles Tuesday against her ex-husband and the owners of Redstate.com and the Daily Mail, saying they had distributed “nonconsensual porn” and arguing the media outlets did not have a “carte blanche right” under the First Amendment to “sexually degrade and expose public officials.”

The 41-page lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages for emotional distress and violation of state law for distribution of intimate personal material without Hill’s consent, lists as defendants Salem Media Group Inc., Mail Media, Inc., as well as writer Jennifer Van Laar, the deputy managing editor of Redstate.com whose work also has appeared in the Daily Mail, and Joseph Messina, the host of “The Real Side” Radio Show, as well as other unnamed individuals.

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Editorial: New Orleans archdiocese owes Catholics acknowledgment, promise not to fail again

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
NOLA.com / The Advocate

December 23, 2020

We knew things had been bad with the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ handling of the case of George Brignac some time ago. But new reporting by Ramon Antonio Vargas of The Times-Picayune | The Advocate and David Hammer of WWL-TV shows that the diocese has — for more than a generation — been negligent at least and intentionally evasive at worst.

Brignac was a Christian Brothers priest in the 1950s and served with St. Paul’s in Covington, De La Salle and Christian Brothers in New Orleans, then Archbishop Rummel in Metairie before being expelled in 1960. A superior cited “obedience difficult,” and it seems that was a polite way of saying the man was not fulfilling his abstinence obligation and his dutiful adherence to support Catholicism’s key tenets.

Catholic priests have different roles, depending on their assignments. Overall, however, they are responsible for church sacraments such as baptisms, confirmations, holy communion, marriage and attending to the sick. That includes pastoral care, which clearly doesn’t involve sexual abuse or sex of any kind, especially not with youth. There were plenty of reasons to know that Brignac had been disloyal to his oath, the church and the faithful.

Still, Archbishop Philip Hannan, with limited or full knowledge, allowed Brignac to return to church service as a deacon. At a later point, when Brignac was being investigated for fondling a seven-year-old boy during a Christmas activity at Our Lady of the Rosary, the diocese seemed to intimidate the boy and his family. With 50 priests sitting behind Brignac during a court hearing, it’s clear that the diocese intended to intimidate the boy and his family. District Attorney Harry Connick dropped charges against Brignac, and Hannan thanked the diocese attorney for “the good news.”

There were child molestation arrests through decades, and it seemed that a fourth arrest in August 2018 might be the one that would put him in jail for his transgressions — based on one man’s recounting that Brignac engaged him with sex activity from the ages of 7 through 11, from 1978 to 1982. Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro was proceeding against Brignac because the first-degree rape charges had no statute of limitation. Then Brignac died in June.

The case died with Brignac.

What remains is the proof that the archdiocese failed the church and faithful Catholics. Children were failed most of all. Those failings have stretched across the tenures of four archbishops, from Hannan to Gregory Aymond.

The archdiocese should acknowledge what happened with Brignac, explain what was done and why and promise to never allow such things to happen again.

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Indian priest and nun convicted of convent killing after three decades

INDIA
Agence France-Presse via Inquirer.net

December 23, 2020

New Delhi, India — An Indian court on Tuesday convicted a priest and a nun for the ax murder of another convent sister 30 years ago because they feared their illicit relationship would be made public.

Highlighting the latest in a series of sex scandals to hit the Roman Catholic church in the southern state of Kerala, prosecutors said they would seek a tough sentence for Father Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy in a hearing on Wednesday.

The murder only came to light after federal investigators were called in because of doubts over local police claims that Sister Abhaya, a member of the Pious X Convent in Kottayam, had committed suicide.

The 18-year-old nun’s body was found in a well in the convent in 1992.

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Faith group linked to Amy Coney Barrett urges leaders to report sexual abuse claims

UNITED STATES
The Guardian

December 23, 2020

By Stephanie Kirchgaessner

Group’s head sends letter to all-male leadership after former member shares allegations she was abused

The head of the secretive Christian faith group People of Praise, which reportedly counts the supreme court justice Amy Coney Barrett as a member, has called on its leaders to report any allegations of previous sexual abuse to a lawyer the group has hired to investigate such claims.

The letter from Craig Lent to the leaders of the group, who are known as coordinators, was sent shortly after one of the group’s former members, Sarah Kuehl, shared her own story of alleged childhood abuse at the hands of a member who lived with the family.

In a letter to members written in November, sent shortly after Kuehl had shared her allegations of childhood sexual abuse with the Guardian, Kuehl described how Barrett’s nomination to the high court had triggered feelings in her because of the manner in which People of Praise had allegedly tried to discourage her from discussing the abuse.

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Survivor calls on Trudeau to release St. Anne’s residential-school abuse documents

OTTAWA (CANADA)
The Canadian Press via Kamloops This Week

December 23, 2020

By Maan Alhmidi

Residential school survivor Evelyn Korkmaz is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to release thousands of documents that detail the sexual and physical abuse of thousands of Indigenous children at St. Anne’s residential school in the last century.

Korkmaz said the federal government has not turned over 12,300 reports from Ontario Provincial Police investigations of violations at St. Anne’s in Fort Albany, Ont. despite an Ontario Superior Court order.

Following the court order in 2014, Ottawa released heavily redacted copies of materials generated by the OPP between 1992 and 1996.

“They’re useless if they’re redacted,” Korkmaz said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “This is part of Canada’s Indigenous history. We can learn from this.”

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Survivors of abuse in care of the Catholic Church say their voices matter

NEW ZEALAND
Radio New Zealand

December 23, 2020

By Andrew McRae

Victims of abuse while in the care of the Catholic Church say survivor voices matter the most.

SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is a world-wide organisation supporting women and men wounded by religious and institutional authorities (priests, ministers, bishops, deacons, nuns, coaches, teachers, and others).

Its National Leader in New Zealand, Dr Christopher Longhurst, said the organisation believed that it was of paramount importance that the Catholic Church use the extent of its powers to look further and deeper to discover where the abuse was still happening today, and make the necessary recommendations to stop it.

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Almost five years after abuse reports shut Eagleton School, some plaintiffs have been paid

MASSACHUSETTS
The Berkshire Eagle

December 23, 2020

By Heather Bellow

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/almost-five-years-after-abuse-reports-shut-eagleton-school-some-plaintiffs-have-been-paid/article_fd659b94-43a0-11eb-a88d-93c8d7c2ccfa.html

GREAT BARRINGTON — Several lawsuits filed by former students who allege rampant abuse at a now-shuttered boarding school were settled this year for undisclosed amounts. Other lawsuits are still pending.

Three lawsuits against Eagleton School, its founder and former director Bruce Bona, as well as staff, have settled with former students of the school for boys ages 9 to 22 with emotional, behavioral and cognitive disabilities.

Two suits are still pending — one in U.S. District Court in Springfield, the other in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston.

In two cases, settled in federal court, the former students had asked for $9.9 million and $1 million. Chester Tennyson, their attorney, said he could not reveal the amount of the settlements. One of his cases is pending.

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German nuns were ‘pimps’ for sick priests, says sexual abuse victim

GERMANY
New York Post

December 22, 2020

By Hannah Sparks

A child rape victim has accused nuns at a now-shuttered Catholic children’s home in Germany of “pimping” out orphans to priests, politicians and other wealthy men.

The victim, now 63, has remained anonymous despite having fought and won a legal battle for compensation in May over the horrors they endured, beginning at 5 years old in March 1963.

The man, who has struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression since then, was awarded a total of 25,000 euros by German courts due to claims he’d been raped more than 1,000 times.

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Francis warns Vatican officials their conflicts polarize Catholic Church

ROME
National Catholic Reporter

December 21, 2020

By Joshua J. McElwee

Pope Francis Dec. 21 urged the bishops and cardinals who lead the Vatican’s bureaucracy not to be in conflict with one another, warning that the Catholic Church can become polarized if the prelates appear always at odds.

In an annual pre-Christmas meeting that Francis has frequently used to upbraid his top Vatican officials, the pontiff acknowledged that the church may be in crisis due to scandals “past and present” but said crisis should not be confused with conflict.

“Crisis generally has a positive outcome, whereas conflict always creates discord and competition, an apparently irreconcilable antagonism that separates others into friends to love and enemies to fight,” the pope told the prelates.

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Lawsuit alleges LDS Church, leaders knew of child sex abuse but failed to report it

ARIZONA
KUTV

December 21, 2020

By Larry D. Curtis

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently announced policy changes in its revised, updated handbook, but a lawsuit in Arizona filed against the Church earlier this month seeks to change how its abuse helpline handles reporting of child sexual abuse.

The Arizona lawsuit contends that the sexual abuse hotline of the Church contributed to years of ongoing rape and sexual and physical abuse of three Arizona children because it instructed local Church leaders not to report it. Bishops in charge of local congregations are instructed to call the helpline for assistance in abuse cases.

A bishop is a volunteer leader appointed over a local congregation (known as a ward) with duties similar to those of a pastor, priest or rabbi. Typical length of service is five years. The Church provided a statement from lawyer Bill Maledon, representing the case in Arizona that said it offers assistance to the victims but will also “vigorously defend against this baseless lawsuit.”

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Kerala: Priest and nun found guilty in 28-year-old Abhaya murder case

KERALA (INDIA)
Deccan Herald

December 22 2020

By Arjun Raghunath, DHNS, Thiruvananthapuram

Catholic priests and the nun were even subjected to narco-analysis test to unearth the facts

A priest and nun in Kerala have been found guilty of murdering a nun at a convent in Kottayam district in Kerala 28 years back.

Sister Abhaya, aged 21, was found dead in the well of the St. Pius X convent in Kottayam on March 27, 1992. Knanaya Catholic priest Thomas M Kottoor, who was the first accused, and Sister Sephy, who was the third accused, were found guilty by the CBI special court in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday. Special judge K Sanil Kumar would be pronouncing sentence on Wednesday.

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Nuns pimped out boys to priests and politicians who would rape the children as other men watched at German children’s home, it emerges as victim wins compensation battle

GERMANY
Daily Mail

December 22, 2020

By Rachael Bunyan


The victim, now 63, was just five when he joined the children’s home in Speyer
He said he was raped around 1,000 times before leaving the home in 1972
Darmstaft Social Welfare Court awarded the man with compensation over abuse

Catholic nuns running a children’s home in Germany pimped out boys to priests, politicians and businessmen who would rape the children at sex parties, according to a victim who has won a compensation battle.

Darmstaft Social Welfare Court awarded the man, now 63, compensation after he detailed how nuns dragged him to be abused by priests and powerful men at parties, starting at age five. They paid the women for doing so.

The victim, who remains anonymous, said he was raped around 1,000 times during his time at the home in the 1960s and 70s, alongside other boys.

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Sister Abhaya Murder: 28 Years On, Kerala Catholic Priest, Nun Convicted

INDIA
NDTV

December 22, 2020

By Sneha Mary Koshy

Sister Abhaya Murder: The incident was initially labelled as “death by suicide” by police and Crime Branch officials. Amid protests and petitions, the case was transferred to the CBI.

Thiruvananthapuram: A special CBI court in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram today delivered its verdict in a 28-year-old murder case as it held a Catholic priest and a nun guilty. Sister Abhaya, 21, was murdered and her body was dumped inside the well of a convent in Kottayam in 1992.
Among those convicted is Father Thomas Kottoor, who was a Vicar and taught Sister Abhaya psychology at Kottayam’s BCM College. He was also Secretary to the then Bishop. He later rose to be Chancellor of the Catholic Diocese in Kottayam.

Another convict, Sister Sephy, stayed in the same hostel as Sister Abhaya and was de facto in-charge of the hostel. The quantum of punishment will be delivered tomorrow.

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Time running out for some sex abuse victims to file suit

ARIZONA
Arizona Capitol Times

December 21, 2020

By Howard Fischer

Time is quickly running out for many who were sexually assaulted or abused years ago as children to try to get some justice from perpetrators or those who allowed it to occur.

An Arizona law approved last year scrapped existing statutes that required victims to sue before the 20th birthday or forfeit their legal rights. Now they have until age 30.

That portion of the law is permanent.

What is not is a temporary legal “window” that legislators agreed to open for those whose time to file suit already had expired. They have only until the end of this year to bring their claims.

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Syracuse diocese bankruptcy case: 162 sexual abuse claims from Child Victims Act

NEW YORK
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin via Utica Observer-Dispatch

December 22, 2020

By Anthony Borelli

Victims of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse might not be getting the day in court they envisioned.

Nearly six months after the Diocese of Syracuse filed for bankruptcy under the weight of 162 active lawsuits through New York state’s Child Victims Act, priest sex abuse victims have a new deadline to meet if they wish to be part of a resolution to its Chapter 11 reorganization proceedings.

The diocese’s filing for bankruptcy in June essentially froze all pending lawsuit cases against it, regardless of what stages those lawsuits had reached in state court. Most recently, a federal judge has set April 15, 2021 as the deadline for victims’ attorneys to file proofs of claim in connection with the bankruptcy case’s next stages.

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Priestly faculties for Father Jeffrey Finley, CPPS, removed by Diocese of Oakland

OAKLAND (CA)
Catholic Voice (Diocese of Oakland)

December 20, 2020

Bishop Michael Barber, SJ, has permanently revoked the priestly faculties of Father Jeffrey J. Finley, a member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood (C.PP.S.), in the Diocese of Oakland, due to allegations of boundary violations with an adult man. The alleged behavior occurred in 2000 and was reported to the Diocese in September 2020.

This means, although Father Finley remains a Catholic priest, he cannot function as a priest in the Diocese of Oakland by celebrating the sacraments. He has not had an official appointment in the Diocese since 2011, but has assisted on an as-needed basis at Our Lady of the Rosary in Union City.

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In EWTN interview, Cardinal Pell discusses acquittal, Vatican finances

ROME (ITALY)
Catholic News Agency

December 21, 2020

Cardinal George Pell, who was acquitted this year after becoming the highest-ranking Catholic cleric ever to be convicted of sexual abuse, spoke this week about his time in prison, his hopes for the future, and his thoughts on Vatican financial reform efforts.

Pell was initially convicted in Australia in 2018 of multiple counts of sexual abuse. On April 7, 2020, Australia’s High Court overturned his six-year prison sentence. The High Court ruled that he should not have been found guilty of the charges and that the prosecution had not proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Lawsuit claims former priest sexually abused boy inside Ballantyne church

CHARLOTTE (SC)
WSOC-TV

December 21, 2020

By Allison Latos

There are new claims that a former priest sexually abused a boy inside Ballantyne church.

Former Catholic priest Robert Yurgel is a free man after he went to prison in 2009 for abusing an altar boy at St. Matthew in the late 1990s.

Another man said Yurgel abused him there when he was as young as five years old.

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Philippines poised to lift age of consent for sex from 12 to 16 after decades of lobbying from children’s rights activists

PHILIPPINES
Agence France-Presse via South China Morning Post

December 21, 2020

– Campaigners say the legislation would help protect youngsters in a nation that has become a global hotspot for online child sex abuse

– Prosecuting adult perpetrators in rape cases involving children as young as 12 has been difficult because they can argue the sex was consensual

Manila teenager Rose Alvarez was 13 when she started having sex with a man who was more than twice her age. That would be statutory rape in most countries, but not in the Philippines.
The Catholic-majority country has one of the lowest ages of consent in the world, allowing adults to legally have sex with children as young as 12. Congress now looks set to approve a bill to raise the age to 16.

Children’s rights activists have lobbied for decades to increase the age – enshrined in the penal code since 1930 – but faced resistance from what they describe as a “culture of patriarchy” in a country where abortion and divorce are illegal.

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Philippines to raise age of sexual consent from 12 to 16

ASIA
WION Web Team

December 22, 2020

The Philippines is set to raise the age of sexual consent from the age of 12 to 16. Once the bill is approved, the legal age for sexual consent in the Catholic-majority country would go up.

The country has one of the world’s lowest ages of consent in the world. The Philippines allows adults to legally engage in sexual intercourse with children as young as 12.

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‘Beatles church’ vicar John Roberts jailed for child sex abuse

ENGLAND
BBC News

December 21, 2020

A former vicar who sexually abused children for four decades in a “despicable” exploitation of trust has been jailed.

Rev John Roberts, 86 and of Cherry Vale, Woolton, was found guilty of ten counts of indecent and sexual assault at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday.

Roberts was vicar at St Peter’s Church in Woolton, which is known as the “Beatles church” due to it being where John Lennon and Paul McCartney met.

He was jailed for nine years.

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Granville Gibson abuse: Priest ‘blackballed’ for raising allegations with bishop

ENGLAND
BBC News

December 21, 2020

A clergyman claims he was “blackballed” by the Church of England after reporting sexual abuse by a priest.

John Skinner said he told the Bishop of Durham about Granville Gibson in the early 1980s but was told not to gossip.

A review into how the Diocese of Durham dealt with complaints about Gibson said others may have been spared abuse if he had been “more robustly challenged”.

The church said Father Skinner’s sense of injustice was “understandable” but a “culture of cover-up” had ended.

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EXPOSING BOY SCOUTS SEX ABUSE TURNED INTO BATTLE OF PRESS FREEDOM AGAINST POWERFUL INTERESTS

UNITED STATES
The Intercept

December 21, 2020

By Brian Knappenberger

The film “Church and the Fourth Estate” tells the story of how the Boy Scouts tried to cover up a massive scandal of child sexual abuse.

ON NOVEMBER 16, the U.S. passed a milestone: the end of a window of less than nine months in which nearly 92,700 people came forward with shocking sexual abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America. By way of comparison, in the last 15 years there have been some 15,000 credible child sex abuse allegations reported against the Catholic Church.

The allegations of sexual abuse against the Boy Scouts include highly violent attacks. More than half of the claimants, according to Tim Kosnoff, an attorney who has spent years representing victims of child sexual abuse, described behavior that would constitute a Class A felony — “the most serious child sex offenses,” Kosnoff said. Cover-ups by Scout officials were frequent. Instead of informing authorities, the officials told the subjects of the allegations to quietly leave the organization. Many went on to join other troops, only to face more allegations of child abuse. The young people targeted by abuse were often told by Scouting officials not to tell their parents.

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Should abuse scandals make Church ‘wait and see’ on sainthood causes?

NEW YORK (NY)
CRUX

December 19, 2020

By John Lavenburg

According to one University of Notre Dame professor, the revelations of the Holy See’s report on laicized ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick and the totality of the clergy sex abuse crisis are grounds enough to increase the number of years after a person dies before a sainthood cause can be opened.

In a conversation with Crux, Kathleen Cummings, who also serves as director of the university’s Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, said history needs a longer opportunity to play itself out before the process should start.

“What the actual truth of the matter is, we don’t fully know yet. I think any man who served as a bishop at any point since, say the 1960’s, just the possibility something is going to come to light is going to be enough to say, ‘this isn’t a good idea,’” Cummings said. “The legacy of clergy sex abuse is going to be long and I think it’s going to have an effect on canonization as it does everything else.”

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Analysis: Vatican decision on Indianapolis could impact pending lawsuit, and Catholic identity in Catholic schools

DENVER (CO)
CNA

December 21, 2020

By JD Flynn and Ed Condon

The outcome of a Vatican appeal involving same-sex civil marriage and the Catholic identity of an Indiana school could have effect on a pending religious liberty lawsuit, and on the way other Catholic schools approach the issue of Catholic identity among their faculty.

Layton Payne-Elliot is a math teacher at Brebeuf Jesuit High School in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. In 2017, the school became aware that Payne-Elliot had contracted a same-sex marriage with Joshua Payne-Elliot, a teacher at Cathedral High School, which is also in the archdiocese.

The archdiocese asked that both schools not renew the teachers’ contracts, because, they said, teachers in Catholic schools are supposed to be witnesses of Catholic doctrine, and contracting a same-sex marriage constitutes a public act of counterwitness to that doctrine.

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Survivors claiming childhood abuse from adults hired to care for them now push for justice

MECKLENBURG COUNTY (NC)
WSOCTV.com

December 17, 2020

A North Carolina orphanage is now at the center of four lawsuits claiming adults hired to care for children decades ago sexually abused them.

The survivors are now coming forward.

Channel 9′s Allison Latos has covered the push for justice for survivors for years now. She found out when state lawmakers signed the Safe Child Act in 2019. Part of the law allowed adults who were abused when they were children a chance to fight back in civil court.

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Vermont review of church orphanage finds misconduct but not murder

VERMONT
The VT Digger

December 14, 2020

By Kevin O’Connor

A two-year investigation of past problems at Burlington’s shuttered St. Joseph’s Orphanage — sparked by a 2018 BuzzFeed News story headlined “We Saw Nuns Kill Children” — has confirmed a history of child abuse but concluded with no criminal charges of murder.

“It’s clear that abuse did occur at St. Joseph’s Orphanage, and that many children suffered,” Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan said Monday upon releasing a 286-page report. “But we have found that there is no credible evidence to suggest that a murder occurred.”

The Attorney General’s Office teamed with local and state police and prosecutors after reading BuzzFeed claims that not only recounted previously reported “unrelenting physical and psychological abuse of captive children” but also revealed a few deadly allegations not documented in a series of well-publicized lawsuits in the 1990s.

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Former members of Kingston, Ont., church raise concerns of abuse at independent churches

CANADA
Global News

December 17, 2020

By Alexandra Mazur

Former members are asking for more oversight over non-denominational churches after claiming they experienced religious trauma at a Kingston, Ont., church.

Over the summer of 2020, Kingston, Ont., resident Tianna Weatherdon found herself incensed while researching a non-denominational Christian church in her hometown, called Third Day Worship Centre.

As a gay Christian, she was shocked by the church’s views on the LGBTQ2 community.

“I was pissed,” she says. “I was like, this is my city and these people hate me.”

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Pope Francis Warns Against Division in Response to Vatican Scandals

ROME
The Wall Street Journal

December 21, 2020

By Francis X. Rocca

Pontiff says bad news shouldn’t discourage church after a year dogged by crises

Pope Francis urged hope and warned against polarization in response to crisis in the Catholic Church, at the end of a year marked by scandals over financial dealings and sex abuse that besmirched the reputations of the last three popes and other prominent clerics.

A Vatican report revealed in November that Pope Francis and his two immediate predecessors had failed for years to discipline U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick for sexual misconduct. Separately, the church was dogged during 2020 by scandals over a loss-making investment purchase in London real estate by the Vatican’s powerful Secretariat of State.

In his Christmas speech to Vatican officials on Monday, Pope Francis cautioned against “judging the church hastily on the basis of the crises caused by scandals past and present.…Problems immediately end up in the newspapers—this happens every day—while signs of hope only make the news much later, if at all.”

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ISPCC warn new privacy laws could result in 46,000 daily reports of child sex abuse being missed

UNITED KINGDOM
Sunday World

December 19, 2020

By Neil Fetherstonhaugh

https://www.sundayworld.com/news/irish-news/ispcc-warn-new-privacy-laws-could-result-in-46000-daily-reports-of-child-sex-abuse-being-missed-39880668.html

The charity says these new privacy rules could prevent online giants from using software that automatically scans their systems for such images.

New privacy rules designed to protect private online communications from being monitored by internet companies could mean that thousands of images of child sexual abuse and grooming could be missed, the Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) has warned.

The children’s charity has expressed concern at the prospect of “vital child protection” measures becoming illegal as a result of a failure at EU level to resolve a row over privacy laws.

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Charity fears 46,000 daily reports of child-sex abuse material will be missed

IRELAND
irish Examiner

December 19, 2020

By Cormac O’Keeffe

The ISPCC warns that new privacy rules could prevent online giants from using software that automatically detects child-abuse material.

A children’s charity is alarmed by stuttering efforts at EU level to resolve a row over privacy laws that risks preventing internet firms from automatically detecting child-abuse material.

The ISPCC said that if these software tools were made illegal that an estimated 46,000 reports of child sexual-abuse imagery and grooming behaviour per day could be missed.

The threat is described as the unintended consequence of a broader attempt in the European Parliament to protect private online communications from being monitored by internet companies.

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Tamil Nadu: Christian Pastor kidnaps a 13-year-old tribal girl from a hamlet in Tiruvannamalai, absconding for weeks

TAMIL NADU (INDIA)
OpIndia

December 20, 2020

The Police have found that he was married twice but both the wives left him. They have slapped a case of kidnapping on the pastor and the search for Jayaraj is going on.

A tribal girl was allegedly abducted by a pastor from a tribal hamlet in the Jawadhu hills located in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu. According to the reports, the 49-year-old Christian pastor identified as Jayaraj, a resident of Trichy, was camping in Perungattur, a tribal hamlet in the Jawadhu hills of TN. The Christian priest indulged in preaching and evangelism in the village for four years in the garb of a social worker.

In October, as schools were shut down due to the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the pandemic, Pastor Jayaraj took advantage of this situation and proposed that he would like to teach the children at his house.

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Court of Appeal ruling means survivors of institutionalised abuse can seek further damages

VICTORIA (AUSTRALIA)
The Courier

December 21, 2020

By Greg Gliddon

SURVIVORS of child sexual abuse in Ballarat have welcomed a landmark court decision that will allow a Victorian man to to overturn a settlement with the church.

On Friday, the Catholic Church failed in its bid to overturn a landmark court decision meaning it can be sued by the survivor, despite him having accepted a compensation of $32,500 in 1996.

The Victorian Court of Appeal judges said it was not enough given the wrong done to him

“It is, in our view, very plainly just and reasonable to set aside the (1996) deed. Indeed, it would positively be unjust and unreasonable not to do so,” they found.

This means the survivor can press ahead with suing the church for abuse inflicted by now-dead Warragul priest Daniel Hourigan between 1977 and 1980.

It’s a judgement which could set a precedent for many survivors in abuse in Ballarat.

Phil Nagle, a pupil at St Alipius from 1974-76, who hung new ribbons on the school fence at the weekend, said many people had simply taken money that was offered at the time.

“It was all very unfair and low, insignificant settlements and didn’t fit the crime that were committed against the victims,” he said.

“Once the Ellis defence was lifted, the judges have decided to review theses ‘deeds of release’ and have realised they were unjust.

“Rightside Legal got the deed of release overturned. All these extra cases are now like time bombs as every single one signed pre the Ellis defence can be reviewed.

“They’ve done a terrific job and now this sets the precedence for a lot of appeals.”

Mr Nagle said he himself had accepted a settlement without legal representation in the 1990s.

“I had no legal representation at the time of my deed, this guy had all the legal representation, and so for him to get such a result, it’s brilliant,” he said.

“I signed a deed of release in 1998. After the parliamentary enquiry in Ballarat, the church came to me again, and offered me some more money, so I accepted it at the time.”

The decision means the survivor can press ahead with suing the church for abuse inflicted by now-dead Warragul priest Daniel Hourigan between 1977 and 1980. A Supreme Court trial date had been set down for November but this was vacated because of the church’s appeal.

Rightside Legal Senior associate Laird Macdonald hopes the trial can go ahead in early 2021. “The church went to the highest court in Victoria trying to justify a pittance it paid to a man whose life was ripped to shreds by a pedophile priest,” Senior associate Laird Macdonald said.

In a statement, the Diocese of Sale said it would consider the court’s findings. The church would have to go to the High Court to lodge another appeal.

Lifeline 13 11 14 beyondblue 1300 22 4636

– with AAP

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Court refuses Catholic Church appeal against settlement agreement

VICTORIA (AUSTRALIA)
Gippsland Times

THE Victorian Court of Appeal has declined to hear an appeal from the Catholic Church against the overturning of a settlement agreement it had with a Gippsland man.

In a unanimous decision, the Victorian Court of Appeal declined to hear the church’s appeal.

“It is, in our view, very plainly just and reasonable to set aside the deed,” the court said. “Indeed, it would positively be unjust and unreasonable not to do so.”

In the late 1970s the former altar boy, known as WCB, was sexually abused for three years, from the age of 12, by his local parish priest, Father Daniel Hourigan.

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Priest exonerated after abuse allegations by Ellensburg man

YAKIMA (WA)
Associated Press

December 20, 2020

One of four priests accused of sexual abuse by an Ellensburg man has been exonerated, with the man’s attorneys expressing regret over the false accusation and the priest being restored to ministry.

The Rev. Seamus Kerr, 91, was named in a lawsuit filed in Kittitas County last year by a man identified only as John Doe, the Yakima Herald-Republic reported. The man said he was abused as a boy in the late 1970s and early 1980s at St. Andrew Catholic Church in Ellensburg.

But during the course of the litigation, it was revealed that Kerr, who has been a priest for 60 years, was wrongly accused. The lawsuit was settled on Dec. 10, with the Catholic Diocese of Yakima agreeing to pay $15,000 in past and future counseling costs for the man in exchange for the lawsuit’s dismissal.

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Houston-area priest Manuel La Rosa-Lopez sentenced on child sex abuse charges

HOUSTON (TX)
Houston Chronicle

December 15, 2020

By Nicole Hensley

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:1zqI5XEyDHIJ:https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/crime/article/Houston-priest-Manuel-La-Rosa-Lopez-sex-abuse-15807970.php+&cd=16&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

CONROE — The woman in the courtroom said shame filled her life in the years that followed the sexual abuse of Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, the Catholic priest whose crimes stained her childhood and those of others at a Montgomery County parish.

She shared the tearful reflection Wednesday as the Houston-area cleric was sentenced to 10 years in prison in exchange for pleading guilty to two counts of indecency with a child. The woman’s 2018 complaint to law enforcement resulted in priest’s arrest and conviction for abuse that spanned from 1998 to 2001 at Conroe’s Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

The criminal investigation happened amid a closer look at how the Catholic Church handled decades of clergy abuse accusations

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Monster in our midst: After disgraced deacon’s exposure, recriminations but no justice

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
NOLA.com

December 18, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas and David Hammer

Editor’s Note: This is the final part of a three-part series. Earlier:

Part I: Monster in our Midst: How a pedophile clergyman stayed close to prey
Part II: Monster in our Midst: Despite predatory past, deacon welcomed back to Catholic institutions

The email to the Archdiocese of New Orleans came in on a Friday in November 2018.

A week earlier, New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond had published a list of clergymen credibly accused of child molestation — a first-ever effort by the leadership in this traditionally Catholic city to fully come clean about the depth of a scandal that blew up in 2002 and had begun to simmer again in summer 2018.

The scandal’s recent flare-up owed mostly to the first name on the list, which was organized alphabetically: George Brignac. That name jumped out at one man, and it prompted him to write the email.

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Monster in our midst: Despite predatory past, deacon welcomed back to Catholic institutions

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
NOLA.com

December 17, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas and David Hammer

This is the second part of a three-part series.

Anyone else in George Brignac’s shoes — saddled with the disgrace that accompanies his name — might have gotten the hell out of Dodge and tried to reinvent himself, to outrun the shame.

Over the 12 years he served as a deacon at Our Lady of the Rosary Church, beginning in 1976, Brignac had been accused of molesting at least five boys and was arrested at least three times.

Brignac, who was also a schoolteacher, was never convicted. But he was forced to sign an agreement, under duress, to stay away from children. And, though some fellow priests objected, the Archdiocese of New Orleans suspended him from ministry in 1988.

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Leon Cannizzaro finds one defendant who got away particularly vexing: George Brignac

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
NOLA.com

December 18, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

Editor’s Note: This is a follow-up to our three-part series on the career of deacon and serial child predator George Brignac.

Earlier:

Part I: Monster in our Midst: How a pedophile clergyman stayed close to prey
Part II: Monster in our Midst:Despite predatory past, deacon welcomed back to Catholic institutions
Part III: Monster in our midst: After disgraced deacon’s exposure, recriminations but no justice

For Leon Cannizzaro, preparing to leave office after 12 years as Orleans Parish district attorney, one defendant that was in his sights and got away is a particularly vexing one: the inveterate child molester and former Catholic deacon George Brignac.

Cannizzaro had more than two years left in his final term when the local archdiocese in November 2018 released the first version of a list of clerics who had been credibly accused of child molestation over the decades.

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Kerala church shouldn’t glorify rape accused Bishop: Priests

KERALA (INDIA)
Tribune News Service

December 17, 2020

Row over Franco Mulakkal’s photo in church calendar

The release of the official calendar of 2021 by the Syro Malabar Thrissur Diocese bearing the picture of rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal has not just evoked protests in Kerala but also angered a section of priests in the Jalandhar Diocese.

The priests supporting the victim nun have said even though they chose not to come out openly over the issue in Punjab as the calendar was not circulated here, they were certainly unhappy with the decision of the Thrissur Archdiocese to go ahead with inclusion of the photograph of Franco Mulakkal.

The 43-year-old victim nun had served as the Superior General in the Missionaries of the Jesus congregation based in Jalandhar.

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Deaf mute Korean priest charged with molesting disabled people

EAST MALAYSIA
Daily Gazette

December 19, 2020

A deaf mute Korean priest was charged in the Magistrate’s Court here Friday with molesting two Persons with Disabilities (PwD) a few years ago.

However, no plea was recorded from Jee Jon Hoon, 55, as Magistrate M.Kalaiarasi postponed the case to Jan 18 for mention for the court to get a Korean and international sign language interpreter.

Jee was charged with using criminal force on the two victims, aged 26 and 27, and are also deaf-mute, with intent to outrage their modesty at an apartment in Kampung Paya here at 12.20am in October 2013 and between 11pm and 1 am in July 2017, respectively.

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Indian bishop’s resignation sought over covering up priest’s child

KERALA (INDIA)
UCA News

By Saji Thomas

December 1, 2020

The priest continues to serve as a pastor five years after he fathered a child with a Catholic nun

A Catholic diocese in southern India has denied allegations of covering up the case of a priest who had a child with a nun, but a campaign is seeking its bishop’s resignation and the priest’s dismissal.

Officials of Thamarassery Diocese in Kerala state maintain some laypeople “with a vested interest” raked up the five-year-old case of Father Jomon Kandathinkara despite the diocese acting against him.

“It is true the priest had a child with a nun, and he was suspended for a year after the matter came to our notice,” Father Benny Mundanattu, the diocesan chancellor, told UCA News on Dec. 1

“The diocese did not laicize him after he expressed deep remorse for his sin, and both of them were not ready to marry and settle down together.”

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Catholic archbishop: ‘The Church in France is jostled from many sides’

FRANCE
Catholic News Agency

December 19, 2020

The Church in France is under pressure, according to the president of the French Catholic bishops’ conference.

But for Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, that is no cause for despair.

“The Church in France is being jostled in many ways; it is reacting, which proves that it is alive,” he told CNA in an email interview.

The archbishop of Reims, in northeastern France’s Grand Est region, has had a busy past few months.

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Cardinal Pell says his conservative views drove public against him

VATICAN CITY
BBC

December 20, 2020

George Pell, the Australian cardinal whose conviction for child abuse was overturned this year, has said his conservative Christian views drove public opinion against him.

Speaking to the BBC, the 79-year-old said there was “no doubt” that his direct style and traditional approach to issues such as abortion had contributed to a hostile atmosphere.

The former Vatican treasurer said he would not apologise for those views.

His case rocked the Catholic Church.

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