Documenting the Catholic Sexual Abuse and Financial Crisis – Data on bishops, priests, brothers, nuns, Pope Francis, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Thursday, September 21, 2023
A digest of links to media coverage of clergy abuse. For recent coverage listed in this blog, read the full article in the newspaper or other media source by clicking “Read original article.” For earlier coverage, click the title to read the original article.
Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has helped all Canadians and First Nations communities grapple with the sorrowful realities of their nation’s colonial past, particularly the gruesome legacy of its residential schools for Indigenous children. Those schools, many administered by Catholic religious orders and intended to be engines of assimilation, became centers of despair and brutality.
The recent discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at two schools, and the likelihood that thousands more will be found at other residential school sites, have added to the anguish. But at least in Canada, a foundation for healing is being laid by the government-sponsored truth and reconciliation commission.
No similar process has started in the United States, though many of the same outrages likely occurred on this side of the border, in the system of more than 350 Native American boarding schools in the 19th century that were the model for the Canadian network….
It is time to open the window to justice to give survivors their day in court, no matter when they were born. Other states have done it.
In an episode of “This is Us,” the show depicts a scene of a woman in labor in a 1960s delivery room. The camera toggles between the woman struggling through the final minutes of labor and the wall clock above her. The baby’s birthday is about to be determined — before midnight or after. Just two minutes before midnight, the baby is born.
Earlier in the same episode, two young brothers are sitting at a bar watching television intensely as the Selective Service draft lottery pulls the birthday of one of the young men, the baby born in the other scene. That birthday, right before midnight, got assigned a single0digit draft number, which sent the young man to Vietnam and changed the…
After the discovery of 751 unmarked graves at the site of a former school for Native children in Canada, it is time to investigate similar abuses in the US
There is so much mourning Native people have yet to do. The full magnitude of Native suffering has yet to be entirely understood, especially when it comes to the nightmarish legacies of American Indian boarding schools. The purpose of the schools was “civilization”, but, as I have written elsewhere, boarding schools served to provide access to Native land, by breaking up Native families and holding children hostage so their nations would cede more territory. And one of the primary benefactors of the boarding school system is the Catholic church, which is today the world’s largest non-governmental landowner, with roughly 177 million acres of property throughout the globe. Part of the evidence of how exactly the church acquired its wealth in North America…
To contribute to a dialogue of healing and understanding following the Kamloops Indian Residential School announcement, The B.C. Catholic is sharing stories of individuals who have been working toward truth and reconciliation. We are publishing first-person accounts as well as interviews over a few weeks.
The news coming out of Kamloops has been very deflating for me. As a permanent deacon I have worked very hard in the communities I serve – Sts’ ailes and Seabird Island – to promote the Church where First Nations people have distanced themselves from the Church.
It’s been difficult for me to encourage them to give the Church another chance. There are difficult questions, such as why the Church would be involved in such a thing, and how priests and nuns abused people while representing the Church. No one is here to help me answer those questions.
The latest progress report from the committee studying clerical sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Vancouver names five more clergymen involved in abuse settlements, lawsuits, or other cases.
The previously unpublished names are Father Roland Joncas, Brother Edward Patrick English, Father Frederick Robert Neilsen, Father Duncan George Goguillot, and Father William Crawford Mendenhall.
The cases of Joncas, English, and Goguillot involved allegations of abuse of a minor, while Mendenhall reportedly admitted to sexual misconduct with adult men. Information published about Neilsen doesn’t specify the age of those who came forward alleging sexual abuse, but says he served as a high school counsellor for five years.
Joncas and Goguillot are deceased and Neilson and Medenhall were removed from ministry or laicized. A lawsuit involving allegations against Goguillot is currently before the courts, while English was named as an accused in a class action lawsuit in 2021.
[Photo above: Joe Croteau, left, hugs Retired priest Rev. James Scahill after Scahill spoke at held a graveside memorial service for Joe’s little brother Danny, the 13-year-old altar boy authorities determined was killed by his parish priest in 1972. (Don Treeger / The Republican) 6/28/2021]
Daniel Croteau’s older brother, Joseph Croteau, asked mourners to replace their memories of the melancholy portrait of their late parents holding a painting of their dead son that featured so frequently in media coverage over the years.
“I want you to instead imagine a happy mother with a little boy’s feet on hers while she taught him to dance,” said Joseph…
Church authorities said they had received 368 reports of the sexual abuse, and almost half involved children under 15.
Poland’s Catholic Church, assailed by accusations that it for years ignored the sexual abuse of minors by clergy members, on Monday acknowledged that from July 2018 through the end of last year, it had received complaints of abuse against 368 boys and girls.
Pleading for “forgiveness” from “those wronged and all those shocked by the evil in the church,” the head of the Polish church, Archbishop Wojciech Polak, said the figures “do not express the full depth of the drama of sexual abuse of minors perpetrated by some clergymen.”
Nearly half the latest cases reported related to accusations of abuse against victims under age 15.
The timing of the figures’ release — just days after the Vatican said it was investigating accusations against a retired Polish cardinal of negligence on sexual…
Investigators treating fires in British Columbia as suspicious
Anger over church’s historical role in forced assimilation
Two more Catholic churches on First Nations reserves in western Canada have been destroyed by fires that investigators are once again treating as suspicious.
Over the weekend, crews in southern British Columbia responded to early morning blazes at St Ann’s Church on Upper Similkameen Indian Band land, and the Chopaka Church on the lands of the Lower Similkameen Indian Band. Both churches, built from wood and more than 100 years old, were burned to the ground.
The fires come nearly a week after two other churches were destroyed , and amid growing anger over the church’s role in Canada’s campaign to forcibly assimilate Indigenous people.
In recent weeks, the country has been rocked by the discovery of nearly a thousand unmarked graves at the sites of church-run residential schools where Indigenous children were forcibly converted to Christianity and stripped…
Pennsylvania legislators and Gov. Tom Wolf all claimed some level of victory after the state budget passed the General Assembly late Friday night.
Wolf, a Democrat, championed what he saw as wins for his party, especially the largest education funding increase in state history.
But the $416 million state funding increase in public education was less than the $1.3 billion Wolf wanted, which he intended to pay for with a tax hike on high earners before federal stimulus money and bigger tax revenues flowed in.
When Republicans cheered the budget passage on their way out of Harrisburg, they were quick to say they blocked Wolf’s “huge tax burden.”
But for all the political theater, lawmakers left the state capital with a lot of unfinished business.
Despite the lingering pandemic fallout and the challenges Pennsylvania faced before COVID-19, lawmakers did little to solve problems this session other than passing a budget.
Monsignor John Paddack, a former principal on Staten Island, faces a new allegation of sexual misconduct during his time at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx.
The Advance/SILive.com previously reported on claims of sex-abuse levied against the priest while he served in administrative positions at Monsignor Farrell High School in Oakwood and St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School in Huguenot.
Monsignor Paddack and former religious Brother Christopher Keogan are referred to as “serial pedophiles” in a lawsuit filed in Bronx Supreme Court on May 31 by the Herman Law Firm on behalf of an anonymous male victim.
The defendants in the case, brought under the state’s Child Victims Act, are the archdiocese and Cardinal Hayes…
In its latest report released Monday on the sexual abuse of minors, Poland’s Catholic Church lists 292 clergymen who are alleged to have abused over 300 boys and girls from 1958 though 2020.
The cases were reported to church authorities from mid-2018 until the end of 2020. The reports came from the victims, their families, other clergymen, the media and from other sources.
At an online conference in Warsaw, the head of Poland’s Catholic Church, Archbishop Wojciech Polak, apologized to the victims and asked their forgiveness, echoing apologies he has made before.
According to church statistics gathered from all dioceses, 368 reports of abuse of people under the age of 18 were made to church authorities between July 1, 2018, and Dec. 31, 2020. They cover a period ranging from 1958 though 2020.
Of them, 144 cases have been confirmed or considered credible at an initial stage of an investigation…
Proving a case decades after the schools ceased to operate would be very difficult, experts say
Cowessess Chief Cadmus Delorme said he is treating the site of 751 unmarked graves at the former Marieval Indian Residential School “like a crime scene.”
Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) Chief Bobby Cameron said the deaths of children at the school was “a crime against humanity.”
And yet, after the second discovery in less than a month of hundreds of previously unknown burials at former residential schools, there is no indication that criminal charges of any kind will be laid in connection to those deaths.
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) says those charges are not only warranted, but necessary if Canada wants to fulfil its pledge of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
“If they have committed a crime, then they need to be held criminally responsible for those actions,” said Lynne Groulx, NWAC’s CEO.
On the grounds of the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan, where an estimated 751 unmarked graves have now been identified, Carol Lavallee remembers a skating rink.
At the time Lavallee, who was forced to attend the school at just six-years-old, had no idea the rink was situated above a burial site. It wasn’t until she was an adult that she heard rumours of unmarked graves on the school grounds. “There was a barn there. There used to be a chicken coop, a pig sty, and a cattle corral was over those graves… why would any religion condone something like that,” Lavallee told CTV National News.
“The priest was in charge of the school, he knew there were bodies there…. There must be records of it.”
On Thursday, Cowessess First Nation, located 164 kilometres east of Regina, announced the discovery of the unmarked graves, found after radar scanning of the…
Two gruesome discoveries of what Indigenous groups say are the remains of hundreds of children have strengthened the groups’ resolve to hold the country accountable for a long-hidden brutal history.
[Photo above: Ken Thomas at the Muskowekwan Indian Residential School, a part of a system of schools that were designed to sever Indigenous children from their culture, near Lestock, Saskatchewan.]
MUSKOWEKWAN FIRST NATION, Saskatchewan — At age 6, Ken Thomas said he was put in a van, driven two hours from his home and dropped on the steps of the Muskowekwan Indian Residential School. The nuns immediately shaved off his braids, and he soon learned that whenever he spoke his Indigenous language they would wash out his mouth with soap.
During his 10 years there he experienced many more searing horrors. He recalled a friend committing suicide after being stripped naked and locked into a dorm after trying to escape….
An Indigenous group said the remains of as many as 751 people, mainly children, had been found in unmarked graves on the site of a former boarding school in Saskatchewan.
CALGARY, Alberta — For decades, the Indigenous children were taken from their families, sometimes by force, and housed in crowded, church-run boarding schools, where they were abused and prohibited from speaking their languages. Thousands vanished altogether.
Now, a new discovery offers chilling evidence that many of the missing children may have died at these schools: The remains of as many as 751 people, mainly Indigenous children, were found at the site of a former school in the province of Saskatchewan, an Indigenous group said on Thursday.
The burial site, the largest one to date, was uncovered only weeks after the remains of 215 children were found in unmarked graves on the grounds of another former church-run school for Indigenous students in…
Bob Hilbig’s crisis of confidence in the Roman Catholic Church isn’t his first reckoning with the institution that shaped his childhood. It’s not even his second.https:
But the discovery over the past month of what’s believed to be nearly 1,000 bodies in unmarked graves at two former residential schools for Indigenous children could prove to be the last, he said, unless church officials take responsibility. article continues below
“I’m really hopeful that there is some transparency and atonement to go around,” Hilbig said. “I’ll be analyzing…I’m going to be paying close attention to how they react.”
The disappointment that came with news of the residential school grave sites carried reminders of past personal letdowns, he said, including the 2005 appointment of ultra-conservative Pope Benedict XVI and the co-ordinated coverups of priests’ sexual abuse of children.
Given that recent history, the 35-year-old Hilbig said, along with what he already knew of the…
For almost three decades, missionary Richard Daschbach ran an orphanage providing refuge for some of East Timor’s most needy children. He has since admitted to sexually abusing countless young girls – yet locals still support him.
Nona was born in a dirt-floor hut in a East Timor highland village, where hungry children grow up stunted and wise men see omens in the flight of birds. Her parents grew rice and corn in swidden gardens, but struggled to feed six children. At the age of 9, Nona decided on a solution: she would leave home to live at an orphanage called Topu Honis. It had brightly painted dormitories, neat vegetable gardens and a tiny church. “There was a playground with a slide and swings and the girls wore colourful, clean outfits. It seemed like a dream for a little girl,” she remembers.
The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer:
I have a Catholic friend who can’t receive Eucharist.
This isn’t because she’s a sinner; far from it. Rather it is because ever since the decadeslong, thought-it-was-over clergy sex abuse crisis reappeared in a horrific August 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report, she fears no priest is worthy of handling Jesus in Communion.
Her stance came to mind after the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ decision June 18 to draft a “teaching document” on the Eucharist.
The document’s outline, as reported in various media outlets, would emphasize church teachings on the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and, according to Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, “how participation in the Eucharist compels us to conversion.” Rhoades is chairman of the USCCB’s doctrine committee.
The controversial part is a subset of this conversion paragraph that addresses “Eucharistic consistency,” which is theological language…
Have we ever grasped how to adequately atone for the sins of the Church and of the State in this country for the abuses suffered in industrial schools, day schools, symphysiotomy, and Magdalene laundries? Jess Casey finds out
“Redress; to remedy, or set right.” The history of modern Ireland is woven tightly with a litany of human rights violations, often referred to as ‘historical’ abuses as if they are confined, now, only to books.
These traumas are living, breathing memory.
We live amongst the legacy of abuse of power, most often inflicted on children, women, and unmarried mothers.
Redress should be an acknowledgment of victims’ pain, and for the loss of opportunity, they suffered as a result, as well as a symbol of reconciliation and a move towards righting an injustice of the past.
But have we ever grasped how to adequately atone for the sins of the Church and…
Wis 1:13-15; 2:23-24; Ps 30; 2 Cor 8:7-9, 13-15; Mark 5:21-43
It is hard to miss the theme of touch in today’s masterful Gospel. Mark nests one story about a woman with a blood issue inside another about Jesus raising a young girl from her deathbed. In both instances, legal and social taboos were broken. The woman with the blood flow would be faulted for contaminating the crowd by pushing her way through to touch Jesus’ cloak. The little girl was presumed dead and, therefore, touching her would have rendered Jesus unclean.
Jesus’ freedom to touch the dead and lepers, dine with public sinners, allow women to anoint and kiss his feet, speak with a Samaritan woman in public and accept water from her at the well, were part of his mission as the Incarnate Word. Every healing…
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is urging community leaders to aggressively search for sexual abuse victims and to add 12 Marianist clergy members’ names to the Archdiocese of San Antonio’s list of those accused of committing it.
Self-described clergy abuse survivors and advocates with SNAP gathered Wednesday outside the archdiocese’s headquarters on Woodlawn Avenue to bring public attention to their demands, calling on Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller and St. Mary’s University President Thomas Mengler to take action.
The archbishop “must include these 12 new names on the archdiocese list and its website, parish announcements and newsletters,” SNAP officials said in a news release. “He should be speaking at every school, parish and retreat center in the San Antonio area where these Marianist priests worked. Mr. Mengler should write to (all) alumni who attended St. Mary’s University during the time these accused predators worked there.”
The Vatican’s Polish embassy said on Saturday that the Holy See sent an envoy to Poland for more than a week to investigate reports of abuse from Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, a close confidant to Pope St. John Paul II.
The envoy was headed by retired Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, who along with his team, held numerous meetings and reviewed documents relating to the abuse allegations.
“The aim was to verify signals, also made in public, of negligence by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz during his term as the archbishop of Krakow (2005-2016),” the Holy See embassy said in a statement.
At the conclusion of the investigation, Bagnasco will present his findings to high-ranking officials at the Vatican.
In 2012, the Rev. Tadeusz Isakowicz-Zaleski, a Polish priest, gave Dziwsz a letter that contained evidence of a fellow priest sexually abusing a 12-year-old altar server. Initially, Dziwsz denied the letter and believed that there should…
That’s how we at Horowitz Law reacted to the news that a New York bishop is telling his credibly accused clerics “Either live under supervision or live without my financial support.”
A Buffalo TV station reports that a priest, deemed by Buffalo church and lay officials ‘credibly accused’ of abuse, is fighting his boss’ ultimatum.
We solidly side with the bishop. It’s about time a Catholic prelate uses his powers to keep suspected abusers away from kids.
For decades, bishops have recruited, educated, ordained, paid, supervised and transferred priests, even or especially those who do wrong. But when their wrongdoing surfaces, bishops often feign powerlessness over these same priests. When they do this, bishops usually blame the church’s internal, archaic, ‘canon laws.’
“Once a priest, always a priest,” the claim goes, so “Church policy is that we must keep Father on the payroll, no matter what he’s…
Polish Cardinal investigated over tenure as Krakow archbishop up to 2016
The Vatican said Saturday it was investigating an influential aide to late pope John Paul II, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, following allegations of abuse cover-ups.
Its embassy to Poland said the Holy See had sent Italian Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco to Poland from June 17 to 26 to look into the matter.
The visit’s “goal was to verify reports, including those made public, of negligence on the part of Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz during his tenure as Krakow archbishop (2005-2016),” the Apostolic Nunciature, the official name for the embassy, said in a statement.
Dziwisz, now 82, worked alongside the Polish pontiff in the Vatican and later served as Archbishop of Krakow, before retiring in 2016.
“Bagnasco reviewed documents and held a series of meetings and will report back to the Holy See regarding the visit,” the embassy added.
The Vatican’s embassy in Poland said Saturday that a Holy See envoy spent 10 days in the country checking reports of alleged negligence by a retired archbishop of Krakow who had served as personal secretary to the late Pope St. John Paul II.
The embassy said that during his June 17-26 visit, retired Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco held a number of meetings and reviewed documents.
“The aim was to verify signals, also made in public, of negligence by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz during his term as the archbishop of Krakow (2005-2016),” the embassy statement said.
Bagnasco is to present his finding at the Vatican.
A priest in Poland, the Rev. Tadeusz Isakowicz-Zaleski, says that in 2012 he personally gave Dziwisz a letter containing evidence of sex abuse by a priest of a 12-year-old altar boy. Dziwisz at first denied it and suggested the matter should be investigated, but later said the letter…
In recent days, Pope Francis has described the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis as a worldwide catastrophe. He urged that the Catholic Church end its “head-in-sand policy”, acknowledge its institutional hypocrisy, and “take responsibility for this history, both as individuals and as a community.” While much of that activity must, by definition, be backward-looking, forward-looking action that makes a decisive break with the past is just as important.
Is the recent overhaul of the Vatican’s Code of Canon law such an action? Pope Francis announced the changes to the 1983 Code of Canon as required “to allow Pastors to employ it as a more agile salvific and corrective tool, to be applied promptly and with pastoral charity to avoid more serious evils and to soothe the wounds caused by human weakness.” Code drafters explained the changes as facilitating the Catholic Church’s embrace of the routine administration of justice and rejecting the notions…
The amended law eliminates the statute of limitations for child sex abuse— but not for those born before 1986.
Under the old law, those sexually abused as children had 15 years after turning 18 to press charges.
The new law changed that expiration date, allowing survivors of child sex abuse born after 1986 to come forward and seek prosecution at any time.
The new law only affects the statute of limitations for criminal charges, not civil.
“We find enough corroborating evidence and have enough to file prosecutors can still do that, instead of saying, ‘I have enough evidence to file this, but I’ve been barred by that statute of limitations and therefore I can’t,’” explained Jessica Reynolds, executive director of the Iowa Counties Attorney…
A Catholic priest in the Pittsburgh Diocese is facing criminal charges for allegedly molesting an 8-year-old boy at a Plum church in 1998.
According to a criminal complaint, the victim was just 8 when Rev. Robert Cedolia assaulted him at Our Lady of Joy.Advertisement
The victim told police the first incident occurred when he was training for first communion. The second incident happened two weeks later.
During the second alleged assault, the victim said Cedolia told him, “God sees all.”
“Just those words are so eerie to hear not only as a survivor myself but these are the methods predator priests will use,” said Michael McDonnell, spokesman for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Defense attorney Lisa Mantella said Cedolia “vehemently denies the accusations and he is completely innocent of the charges.”
A Pittsburgh diocese spokesperson said the diocese placed Cedolia on administrative leave after first getting word of…
Oh, wait — the bishops aren’t targeting terrorists and those who goad them, but rather the president of the United States and other Catholic politicians who support abortion rights?
It would be tempting to channel an iconic Saturday Night Live character and say “never mind.” Actually, that response is appropriate in a way the bishops don’t intend: Never mind the antics of their conference’s kooky corner. Putting aside the Catholic right’s defective moral math (terminating a pregnancy=unforgivable; fascist violence against democracy=we can live with it), the episcopal right is blowing smoke, and not the kind from an…
A disgraced Polish archbishop has been elected mayor of his hometown after being sanctioned by the Vatican for ignoring sexual abuse by his clergy, as two more bishops were disciplined for similar offenses.
In a statement, the Jaswila district council said Archbishop Slawoj Glodz, who headed the Gdansk Archdiocese until last August, had been elected administrator, of Piaski, adding that local officials had extended “heartfelt congratulations.”
However, Poland’s Catholic Wiez quarterly, which has campaigned against sexual abuse in the church, warned the “unprecedented move” would provoke “irritation and scandal in society.”
“Unfortunately, this isn’t the opening of a new TV comedy season, but part of our Polish ecclesial life,” Wiez commented June 24.
“As a doctor of canon law, Archbishop Glodz may well defend his decision from the letter of the law — but the letter isn’t everything. An additional issue is the disgust associated with yet another exposure of…
Two men who said they were sexually molested decades ago by a notorious Catholic priest who was imprisoned for molesting other boys have agreed to a settlement of $880,000 from the Archdiocese of Chicago, attorneys announced Wednesday.
The men alleged Norbert Maday sexually abused them repeatedly starting when they were as young as 10 years old while they were alter boys and students at St. Bede the Venerable Elementary School on the city’s South Side, attorneys Jason Friedl and Martin Gould said.
Based on lawsuits, court cases and documents, the two were among at least 14 boys whom Maday molested at the six parishes where he was assigned from 1967 to 1986, the attorneys said, adding that they believe Maday died in recent years.
Archdiocese spokesman Manny Gonzalez declined to comment on the settlement.
Friedl and Gould said the agreement was reached before a lawsuit was even filed, representing a…
The streaming channel Discovery+ has announced plans for a documentary series on Hillsong Church and its disgraced former pastor, Carl Lentz, according to a report Monday (June 21) from the entertainment news website Deadline.
But Discovery+ is not the only production company with an eye on the controversy-laden megachurch and its trendily tattooed former pastor. In February, Deadline also signaled that “Queer Eye” producer Scout Productions was working on a limited documentary series examining Hillsong.
Both docuseries are planned in partnership with separate news organizations and based on their respective coverage of the ongoing scandals plaguing the church, founded in Australia by Brian Houston and his wife, Bobbie, in the 1980s. Now a multimedia company, it has 130 worship centers around the globe.
Discovery+ will base its three-episode series, “Breaking Hillsong,” on a series of articles by Hannah Frishberg that appeared in the New York Post, covering primarily the downfall of…
Holy See makes ill-fated, last-ditch attempt to alter proposed anti-homophobia law supported by most people in democratic Italy
Call it the Vatican or call it the Holy See.
It hardly matters anymore because the difference and nuances between the two terms (or entities) are lost on most people. That includes the majority of Catholics.
Increasingly, it seems, people don’t care whether a distinction even exists.
Holy See and Vatican mean only one thing to most folks — headquarters of the Catholic Church or bureaucratic center of a two-millennia-old religious behemoth.
And that behemoth, as I argued last week, continues to experience an implosion that dates back to at least the Reformation. Certainly by the time of the Enlightenment in the 17th century, this implosion became an ongoing process.
As the ancien régime arrangement of “throne and altar” in Old Europe was giving way to democracy, the Church — especially the…
The former Iowan who pushed the Attorney General to investigate cases of priest abuse says the report just released by the AG is another positive step forward.
Tim Lennon was living in Sioux City when he got involved in the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests or SNAP. “I think it’s the voice of survivors who have risen up. I was one of many who called for reform and change and investigation — because too many people had been harmed,” Lennon says.
Lennon says things are much different now than they used to be. “Twenty years ago every victim of sexual abuse, especially child sexual abuse, would come forward as an individual. Now we come forward as organizations, as a movement,” Lennon says. “And I think politicians, society, and culture have come to realize how much sexual abuse there is in society and has taken action.”
Do you think the Catholic clergy sexual abuse and cover up crisis started in Boston in 2002? Think again. It really started much earlier, in 1983 in fact, down in Louisiana.
And now – finally, thankfully – there’s a new Louisiana law that may benefit some of those very first clergy abuse survivors who stepped forward, long before the pubic had even heard the phrase ‘pedophile priest.’
Many of those brave pioneers were victims of Fr. Gilbert Gauthe, the first U.S. priest to generate nationwide headlines due to his stunning crimes against kids.
His victims started filing abuse reports in the early and mid-1980s, eventually leading to Fr. Gauthe’s 1985 conviction on charges of molesting at least 39 boys, mostly in the Lafayette diocese.
Imagine, for a moment, what they endured. Horrific childhood sexual trauma, inflicted by a so-called “man of God,” who represented Jesus, who could forgive their sins…
The ghastly child abuse history of F. Barry Bossa follows what has unfortunately become an all too familiar pattern in the Catholic Church. Both prior to and after F. Barry Bossa became a Catholic priest, he has been the subject of both criminal prosecution and numerous civil lawsuits in Massachusetts and New York for abusing children in his care at every assignment. In fact, at one point in 2002, the Vatican even plucked him from his assignment at a parish in Yonkers in order to evade criminal and civil accountability to Bossa’s victims. The Vatican’s removal was so abrupt, Bossa’s sister had to retrieve his belongings from his living quarters at his church in Yonkers.
FBI analysis on Catholic Church sexual abuse cover-up strategy
In 2018, the FBI’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime – the division within the bureau that provides profiles of violent criminals, among other things – reviewed much of the evidence the Pennsylvania Grand Jury received and concluded that its analysis of the material revealed something akin to “a playbook for concealing the truth.”
First, the church employed euphemisms for sexual assault, referring to the crime not as rape, but as “inappropriate contact” or “boundary issues,” center investigators said. In one case, the grand jury reported a priest’s repeated and violent sexual assaults of children were referred to as “his difficulties.”
The Church officials actually follow a ‘playbook for concealing the truth’ – Pennsylvania Grand Jury stated after investigating 70 years of child sex abuse by more than 300 Catholic priests in six dioceses across the state.
The Pennsylvania Grand Jury report catalogs horrific…
What would American evangelicalism look like if the southernization of American evangelicalism had never happened, and instead the evangelical fervor of the Second Great Awakening had continued in the North and produced an ongoing legacy of New England-centered global evangelism combined with advocacy for egalitarian-minded social justice?
This question has taken on increasing importance this week, after the Southern Baptist Convention narrowly averted a further lurch to the cultural right. In the leadup to the SBC’s annual meeting, it was easy perhaps for some to equate American evangelicalism mainly with Trump-voting, culturally conservative defenders of the Second Amendment and opponents of critical race theory. In the South and in southern-influenced regions of the country, there is no question that this particular brand of white evangelicalism has an outsized influence and colors national perceptions of the meaning of the word “evangelical.” But in the Northeast, there’s another version of home-grown evangelicalism…
Deacon Aaron Kaiser, a pastoral associate for an office that managed youth camps and rallies, has been placed on administrative leave. The Rev. Patrick Sullivan will return to ministry work.
Just days after a priest in the Crookston Catholic Diocese was cleared of sexually abusing a minor, leadership announced a deacon who oversaw youth camps is under investigation for similar accusations.
Deacon Aaron Kaiser has been placed on administrative leave pending the probe into allegations of child sex abuse, according to a news release issued June 11. He has been removed from ministry.
“Also pending the investigation’s conclusion and in accordance with Canon Law, Deacon Kaiser is afforded the presumption of innocence and a right to his good reputation,” the release said. “To protect the integrity of the investigation, no further comments on the matter will be made at this time.”
The statement didn’t give details about the accusations, including…
That means victims of childhood abuse who are currently 33 and over will not be able to have their abusers prosecuted because they missed the deadline to report. They also can’t sue perpetrators and officials who concealed the abuse because the law didn’t change the civil statute of limitations.
At least nine retired or defrocked priests and one retired nun have recently been accused of decades-old abuse in Iowa and are…
While the First Amendment protects “the free exercise” of religion, that does not shield the Springfield Diocese from claims that it tried to conceal sexual abuse by a late bishop, a Hampden Superior Court judge ruled this month.
As a result, a civil lawsuit filed in February ordinarily would proceed against the diocese and eight individual defendants, including the local church’s longtime lawyer and its former bishop, the Rev. Mitchell T. Rozanski.
But, the defendants say they plan to appeal the rejection of their motions to dismiss to the Massachusetts Appeals Court.
In her 13-page decision, Judge Karen L. Goodwin said the defense had misapplied case law in arguing that the complaint should be dismissed because civil courts lack jurisdiction over “doctrine, canon law, polity, discipline and ministerial relationships.”
In the suit, an unnamed Chicopee man says he repeatedly was raped by former Bishop Christopher J. Weldon…
Surviving members of the Croteau family will hold a graveside memorial service Monday for Daniel “Danny” Croteau, the 13-year-old altar boy authorities determined was killed by his parish priest in 1972.
Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni announced the service will be conducted at Hillcrest Cemetery near the headstone that has marked the boy’s final resting place for almost 50 years. The service will take place a month after the death of his alleged killer, defrocked Catholic priest Richard Lavigne.
Lavigne was his presumed killer, Gulluni has said. Croteau was bludgeoned in the head and found facedown floating in the Chicopee River on April 15, 1972 — a day after he went missing.
In recent months, Lavigne admitted to Massachusetts State Trooper Michael T. McNally that he was the last to see Croteau, struck him in the head with a rock and gave him “a good…
[Photo above: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits a memorial at the Eternal Flame on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 1, 2021, that’s in recognition of discovery of children’s remains at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)]
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday he has urged Pope Francis to come to Canada to apologize for church-run boarding schools where hundreds of unmarked graves have been found, and he said Canadians are “horrified and ashamed” by their government’s longtime policy of forcing Indigenous children to attend such schools.
Indigenous leaders said this week that 600 or more remains were discovered at the Marieval Indian Residential School, which operated from 1899 to 1997 in the province of Saskatchewan. Last month, some 215 remains were reported at a similar school in British Columbia.
The president of the German bishops’ conference said he personally assured Pope Francis that the Catholic Church in Germany does not want “to go its own way.”
Bishop Georg Bätzing of Limburg, president of the conference, met Francis privately at the Vatican June 24 and issued a statement afterward.
“Our conversation focused first on the situation of the church in Germany in light of the processing of sexual abuse cases and the difficult situation in several dioceses,” which have recently or are about to publish reports on the handling of abuse allegations, the bishop said. “Pope Francis is well aware of the situation of the church in Germany. He hopes that tensions can be overcome.”
Bätzing also said he “informed the pope in detail” about the status of the German church’s “Synodal Path” and “made it clear that the rumors that the church in Germany wants to go its own…
The panel is made of victims of clerical sexual abuse so as to ensure that their voices are heard and learnt from
English and Welsh Catholic bishops have established a new survivor reference panel against abuse.
The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales (CBCEW) announced that this new initiative will replace the Survivor Advisory Panel (SAP) of the now decommissioned National Catholic Safeguarding Commission, which has been replaced by the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency (CSSA).
Previously, SAP provided the commission with advice on matters relevant to survivors and helped to highlight unidentified areas of concern to safeguarding professionals.
The new panel will support and inform the work of the CSSA by ensuring that the voice of victims and survivors of clerical abuse is heard and learnt from. The appointments to the new panel will be announced a later date.
This is part of the wide-ranging child protection reforms which…
It is no secret that the globalists at the United Nations hate the Catholic Church. Since 1994, the Catholic League has lodged multiple complaints against these Catholic-bashers. This June, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has been rather active, targeting the Church twice.
Starting on June 4, so-called experts from OHCHR put out a statement condemning the Church for the mistreatment of indigenous children at residential schools in Canada. But this is not exclusively a Catholic problem. It is most especially a Canadian problem, and these tragedies are not unique to Catholic-run residential schools. Virtually every faith and institution in Canada is culpable. Yet, true to globalist Catholic-bashing form, OHCHR chooses to single out the Church.
Hot on the heels of this attack, on June 21, some of these same savants wasted no time to express further animosity toward the Church. In this instance, they called on the Holy…
Less than one month before word of this gravesite hit the news, the Jesuit Forum for Social Faith and Justice released a resource aiming to help guide some of those conversations. Listening to Indigenous Voices launched in English April 28 and French May 4.
“Many people deplore the lack of references to Indigenous Peoples in the history taught in Canadian schools. And still others are looking for ways to become true allies,” wrote Nicole O’Bomsawin, Abenaki activist and anthropologist, in the foreword.
She calls this new resource “an indispensable tool” for people who want to “make a difference today in building bridges across ignorance and racism.”
Listening to Indigenous Voices is a study guide created for small group or classroom study and includes…
Two blockbusters dominated the American religion beat last week.
The Catholic bishops defied a nudge from Pope Francis’s Vatican and decided overwhelmingly to write a Communion policy that might target President Joe Biden and other pols for liberal abortion stances. And conservative establishment voters in a Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) presidential showdown narrowly defeated (for now) hard-right populists.
Standard news judgment automatically puts the spotlight on hot disputes in the nation’s two largest religious sectors — white evangelicalism and Catholicism. Meanwhile, week by week, year by year, the media consistently downplay the third-ranking religious category, “Mainline” Protestantism, which not so long ago exercised such vast cultural influence. (They also neglect fourth-ranking Black Protestantism.)
Two thoughtful new articles show intriguing ways to overcome sins of omission.
Mark Tooley of the conservative Institute on Religion & Democracy asks, at the Juicy Ecumenism weblog, why Mainline churches apparently suffer fewer sexual abuse…
Prime Minister Trudeau said he was “terribly saddened” by the new discovery at the school about 87 miles from the provincial capital Regina
An indigenous group in Canada’s Saskatchewan province on Thursday said it had found the unmarked graves of 751 people at a now-defunct Catholic residential school, just weeks after a similar discovery rocked the country.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “terribly saddened” by the new discovery at Marieval Indian Residential School about 87 miles (140 km) from the provincial capital Regina.
He told indigenous people that “the hurt and the trauma that you feel is Canada’s responsibility to bear.”
It is not clear how many of the remains detected belong to children, Cowessess First Nation Chief Cadmus Delorme told reporters.
He said the church that ran the school removed the headstones.
“We didn’t remove the headstones. Removing headstones is a crime in this country. We are…
In the weeks following the discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children at a former residential school site in Kamloops, British Columbia, Toronto mom Mateja noticed her daughter had covered up a shelf of religious items in her bedroom.
The 14-year-old had placed a sheet of blank paper over a cubby containing a cross, a rosary, a photo of the Virgin Mary, and a prayer book.
“I said, ‘You know, if you don’t like that, you are not forced to keep that there,’” said Mateja, who does not want her last name used to protect her daughter’s privacy.
Like her daughter, Mateja, 48, is struggling with her association with the church in light of the discovery of the graves under the Catholic-run Kamloops Indian Residential School. She said the church’s response has been inadequate and she will no longer attend mass.
“I’m done,” said Mateja, a lifelong Catholic. “They…
A Mississauga, Ont. pastor has issued a public apology for comments he made about the “good that was done” in residential schools operated by the Catholic Church.
Pastor Owen Keenan of Merciful Redeemer Parish made the controversial remarks during a sermon as he referenced the discovery of unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school in British Columbia, where the remains of more than 200 children were found.
“Two thirds of the country is blaming the church, which we love, for the tragedies that occurred there,” Keenan said in a clip of the sermon posted to Reddit. “Now I presume that the same number would thank the church for the good that was done in those schools but of course that question was never asked and in fact we are not allowed to even say that good was done in those schools.”
The Cowessess First Nation will put a name to each of the hundreds of bodies found at the unmarked graves on the former Marieval Indian Residential School, vows Chief Cadmus Delorme.
“We will put a headstone and a grave to each of them,” Delorme said at a June 24 news conference to announce the discovery of hundreds of bodies on the southeast Saskatchewan First Nations’ lands.
The chief announced the discovery of up to 751 unmarked graves at the site of the Catholic residential school on its territory, the news coming almost a month after the discovery of 215 children’s bodies buried at another residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia.
The graves at Marieval — which Delorme said were not part of a mass grave — were discovered by ground-penetrating radar which the First Nation, with the help of Saskatchewan Polytechnic, had been using since earlier this month on the…
From Most Rev. Thomas R. Zinkula, Bishop of Diocese of Davenport:
Two years ago, the Attorney General of Iowa asked the state’s four Catholic dioceses to submit documents related to clergy sexual abuse. In the interest of transparency and accountability, each diocese complied with the Attorney General’s request.
I apologize for abuse by clergy that occurred in the past. In 2002, the bishops of the United States made significant and sweeping changes to the Church’s role in protecting children and vulnerable adults. As a result, we respond promptly and compassionately to victims, report the alleged abuse of minors to civil authorities, remove offenders following a review of allegations by lay experts in relevant fields, and submit to third-party annual audits.
Since 2003, the Diocese of Davenport has provided ongoing safe environment training sessions for adults and children. We also…
The Rev. Robert “Bud” Grant, investigated in 2020 for sexual assault allegations, was discussed in a report released Wednesday by the Iowa Attorney General’s Office.
Attorney General Tom Miller conducted a more than two-year review of clergy sexual abuse in the state of Iowa, analyzing records involving about 70 Catholic priests and looking into 50 complaints of sexual abuse and misconduct reported to the attorney general.
The report outlines the process of the review and goes through the abuse policies in each of the four Iowa dioceses, concluding that while the Catholic Church in Iowa had a long, painful history of sexual abuse by priests and cover-up by their leadership, the Catholic Church has enacted many reforms over the last two decades.
“Sexual abuse took place over decades. The complaints, the victims, the duration of the abuse were overwhelming,” the report stated. “Our hearts go…
[Photo above: Signs are pictured at a memorial outside the Residential School in Kamloops, British Columbia., Sunday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)]
A First Nation in southern Saskatchewan said Wednesday that it has discovered hundreds of unmarked graves at the site of another former residential school for Indigenous children.
A statement from the Cowessess First Nation and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous First Nations, which represents Saskatchewan’s First Nations, said that “the number of unmarked graves will be the most significantly substantial to date in Canada.”
Last month the remains of 215 children, some as young as 3 years old, were found buried on the site of what was once Canada’s largest Indigenous residential school near Kamloops, British Columbia.
Cowessess Chief Cadmus Delorme and Chief Bobby Cameron of…
Late last month, the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation community announced its grim discovery of 215 graves at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia. The news of so many children’s bodies, interred beneath the windswept grounds of an old Catholic facility, run for nearly 80 years by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, astounded white audiences and affirmed a horror that First Nations people have lived with for generations.
Between the 1880s and the 1990s, approximately 150,000 First Nations children were put into residential schools in Canada, mostly Catholic institutions. Thousands of those children, including the ones found at Kamloops, never returned home.
But the Kamloops graves are part of a history of Catholic missions to Native peoples that spans Canada and the United States. The horrors of the Kamloops School are also horrors of other North American Catholic institutions.
Although major steps have been taken to help achieve healing and reconciliation with survivors of clergy sexual abuse, much work remains ahead for the U.S. Catholic Church, the chairwoman of the National Review Board told the spring assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Citing the progress that has occurred since 2002 when the abuse scandal exploded, Suzanne Healy said in a prerecorded address to the bishops that the church’s outreach efforts must continue to evolve as the needs of survivors are better understood.
“We must focus on the areas of healing and reconciliation, accountability, transparency and ongoing education for all involved in child and youth protection,” said Healy, who has chaired the NRB since June 2020.
“You, as bishops and eparchs, have made significant progress over the years. And sometimes we can imagine that it may feel like it is never enough. However, as the pain of child abuse is…
The UN is concerned about the efforts of Catholic Church members to undermine efforts to improve the prosecution child sex abusers.
Four UN special rapporteurs have called on the Vatican to make it mandatory that church officials everywhere report abuse allegations to civil authorities.
While acknowledging Vatican-mandated reforms in the handling of clerical sexual abuse, The four human rights experts, volunteers who investigate and make recommendations on behalf of the UN Human Rights Council, also expressed concern about the “continued efforts of members of the Catholic Church to undermine legislative efforts to improve the prosecution of sexual abuse against children in national courts” and to lobby legislatures “to preserve the statute of limitations on these crimes”.
The report, sent to the Vatican in April and published on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights today, was written by special rapporteurs working on the promotion of…
Poland’s state commission for fighting sex abuse of minors said Thursday it has asked the Vatican for data on abuse by the clergy in Poland because Poland’s church is not providing the requested information.
Head of the commission Blazej Kmieciak said that some 30% of cases of abuse of persons aged under 15 that the commission is analyzing relate to the clergy.
He said, however, that despite written requests made earlier this year to regional leaders of Poland’s Catholic Church and of other churches, only one bishops’ court made its files available to the State Commission for Cases of Pedophilia.
“We are receiving no documents, no information from Poland’s Episcopate Conference that would allow for a substantive analysis of the cases that we need to clarify,” Kmieciak told a news conference.
As a result, the commission sent a letter to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asking,…
N special rapporteurs have criticised the Vatican over child sexual abuse in stronger terms than ever before, highlighting that there have been “tens of thousands of alleged victims” over “decades”.
This week the office of the UN high commissioner for human rights has released a letter which it sent to the Holy See in April (English translation available).
It details significant abuse in eight countries and highlights concerns over the Vatican’s “obstructionist practices”.
The letter expressed regret that there had been no response to a separate communication which the rapporteurs sent in 2019.
The latest letter has only been made public, as they had threatened, because it had not been replied to either.
The rapporteurs referred to “persistent allegations” that the Catholic Church had obstructed and failed to cooperate with domestic judicial proceedings, in order to “prevent” accountability for abusers and compensation for victims.
The Diocese of Lafayette has received an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by Deacon Shawn Jude Gautreaux, according to a news release.
Following an initial inquiry, the Diocese has placed Gautreaux on administrative leave pending a further determination in the matter.
The allegation received, according to the release, relates to a period of time many years before he was ordained a deacon. Further, the Diocese has reported the allegation to law enforcement authorities in St. Martin Parish.
The Diocese reportedly is unaware of any other allegations involving Gautreaux at this time.
According to the release from the Diocese, staff is continuing to cooperate fully with law enforcement and anyone with any information on any cases of possible abuse is urged to come forward to local law enforcement authorities and to the Diocese.
In response, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) issued the following statement:
However, it is what the Diocese of Lafayette is not sharing that concerns us. We believe that full transparency requires more information about Deacon Gautreaux. What the accusations are, when he was ordained, what his assignments were and how long he worked at each, including St. Bernard Parish, is vital knowledge for the parish community and the public. Catholic officials should also visit every place where the Deacon was assigned and beg anyone with information or suspicions to notify the police immediately.
Roman Catholic priests sexually abused minors across Iowa for decades while church leaders covered it up, but reforms implemented in the last two decades have largely ended the problem, a three-year review by Iowa’s attorney general concluded.
A report issued by Attorney General Tom Miller said the number of complaints, victims and the duration of the abuse was “overwhelming” and the “cover-up was extensive,” similar to what has been found elsewhere in the U.S.
“The image and reputation of the church were put ahead of the enormous harm to young people,” the 30-page report found.
The review found that only five Iowa priests have been the subject of allegations since 2002, and that bishops who participated in concealing past problems are no longer in charge in Iowa.
Miller said key reforms implemented since 2002 are working. He praised the automatic reporting of all abuse allegations by church…
A years-long investigation by the office reviewed nearly 50 complaints of sexual abuse against current and former Catholic priests and other officials, including 17 allegations that had never before been reported.
In a statement Wednesday, the bishops of Iowa’s four Catholic dioceses said the church “is committed to do all that is humanly possible to protect minors from the sin and crime of clergy sexual abuse, and to promote healing.” The bishops said the new report would be studied for ways to improve existing reporting and investigating procedures.
The state’s investigation was inspired by a sweeping and scathing report issued by the Pennsylvania Attorney General in 2018.
‘Our hearts go out to the victims of these acts,’ report says
The Iowa Attorney General’s Office has completed a review of clergy abuse in Iowa. The office examined records involving about 70 Catholic priests and looked into 50 complaints of sexual abuse and misconduct reported to the attorney general.
“Sexual abuse took place over decades. The complaints, the victims, the duration of the abuse were overwhelming,” a report by the AG’s Office concluded. “Our hearts go out to the victims of these acts. The consequences are severe and lifelong.”
The report concludes that while the Catholic Church in Iowa had a long, painful history of abuse by priests and a cover-up by officials, the Dioceses have enacted many reforms over the last two decades. The Dioceses have become more responsive to victims of clergy abuse and each now reports all accusations to law enforcement authorities.
When a bipartisan majority of state lawmakers voted in the final days of the legislative session to give survivors of past childhood sex abuse access to the justice system, a small group of people quietly celebrated the accomplishment: the former Colorado legislators who watched their similar effort go down in flames 15 years ago.
“I do applaud the people who really worked on it,” said Alice Madden, the House majority leader in 2006 and a Democrat from Boulder. “I’m sad there were not champions prior to this.”
At the time, Madden was one of the sponsors of an effort to abolish the civil statute of limitations — the time window in which victims could file a lawsuit — for child sexual abuse. Until the recent law change, survivors generally had six years after they turned 18 to sue their perpetrator and only two years to sue an institution. The…
[Photo above: David Clohessy of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, on Wednesday wrote the names of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse outside the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese, 20 W. 9th St. in Kansas City. SNAP said priests who once worked in the Kansas City diocese and were credibly accused of abuse elsewhere were left off the diocese’s list of abusers. TAMMY LJUNGBLAD TLJUNGBLAD@KCSTAR.COM]
The Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese has failed to include nearly 20 priests on its list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse even though they are named elsewhere, a victim’s advocate group said Wednesday.
Those priests — including one convicted in Texas of trying to hire a hit man to kill his victim— all had ties to the diocese at one time, according to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The group plans to publicly release the names at an afternoon news…
The review into the national redress scheme recommended significant changes to the application process
Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said the government was taking immediate action on 25 of the 38 recommendations
The government did not back a recommendation to change the standard of proof required for a claim
Elderly and terminally ill survivors of child sexual abuse will be able to access advance compensation payments of up to $10,000, after an inquiry found the scheme designed to support victims is a bureaucratic nightmare.
The Archdiocese of Berlin announced that it was temporarily suspending the work of its expert commission established to follow up on a legal report about sexual abuse in the archdiocese since 1946.
The archdiocese said June 22 that the commission is recommending that findings from the legal firm Redeker Sellner Dahs be reworked or that another legal firm be commissioned to investigate the abuse.
In a statement later that day, lawyers Sabine Wildfeuer and Peter-Andreas Brand of Redeker Sellner Dahs said they learned about the suspension of the archdiocesan Sexual Abuse Expert Commission through the media.
“No one has spoken to us about this, neither from the archdiocesan staff nor from the expert commission,” the letter said.
“Our mandate for a legal opinion has been fulfilled completely and properly. The report states in detail by whom and in what way cases of sexual abuse were covered up in the area…
To us, it is excellent news that yet another highly respected group is calling on the Vatican to reform. Hopefully, the increased pressure from these international experts will force Church officials to make a difference for children and the vulnerable. We also applaud the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) for noting the tactics used by Catholic leadership in avoiding accountability and transparency. Most importantly, we fully agree with the UN experts who raised concerns about the Church’s efforts to thwart legislative efforts to make the prosecution of abusive clergy, brothers, and nuns easier, as intense…
A man abused for years by a paedophile priest at a County Down school is to receive a six-figure sum in damages, the High Court has been told.
Tony Gribben, 61, sued the trustees and board of governors at St Colman’s College in Newry and the Diocese of Dromore.
He took the lawsuit over the sexual and physical assaults suffered at the hands of the late Father Malachy Finnegan.
The pay-out to Mr Gribben forms part of a settlement.
A personal apology will also be issued on behalf of the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland under the terms of the agreement.
Outside the court, Mr Gribben said that for the apology to be meaningful, the Church must “acknowledge it was more concerned about protecting its reputation than safeguarding children from the actions of predatory paedophiles like Finnegan”.
“The diocese needs to be completely transparent in cooperating with a…
Father Andrew Small from Liverpool was appointed on Tuesday as the new secretary of the pope’s commission for the protection of minors, succeeding American Monsignor Robert Oliver, who was removed from the position earlier this year.
“I am deeply honored to be called to serve the Holy Father and God’s people as secretary of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors,” said Small in a statement released by the commission when the appointment was announced.
“Safeguarding the youth of our Church and of our communities remains one of the most urgent priorities of the Church today,” he said. “I look forward to doing my part to help rebuild trust in a Church whose mission is to protect, support and love any and all, but especially those wounded by the Church’s ministers. The Lord will accompany us in the healing that lies ahead as we continue on this most important…
“We told you so” also comes to mind. The context of this cliché – that the church cannot honestly or possibly police itself – has been a concern of advocates for years and is sadly shown to be true with each new story about clergy abuse that comes out.
In this particular case, the red flag was that the accused cleric, Fr. William Haegelin, was laicized in 2004, just two years after the accusation. In the context of the Catholic Church, this kind of timeframe is speedy and sends the message that this cleric’s crimes were severe enough that the institutional church wanted to distance themselves from him as quickly…
Voicing “deep sorrow for the suffering of victims and survivors of abuse,” the archdiocese said that former priest William Haegelin was in fact the subject of “a substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.
Crediting a sex abuse victim for his challenge of a review board’s ruling in 2002, the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas says an allegation that a now-laicized priest abused a minor was, in fact, able to be substantiated.
“The archdiocese is particularly grateful for this survivor’s courage and strength in coming forward to challenge the decision,” the archdiocese said in a June 18 statement in the case involving former priest William Haegelin.
“Due to this persistence, we are now able to acknowledge more fully the harm to the survivor and to better assist and support their healing,” the archdiocese said. “Archbishop Naumann offers his sincere apology to the survivor, their family and community.”
A viral video has in many ways exposed a practice of child abuse at some religious schools that clerics don’t want people to talk about.
A sexually explicit video involving a senior Muslim cleric that surfaced a few days back has reignited a debate on the seemingly rampant abuse that takes place in Pakistan’s religious schools known as madrassahs.
Seventy-year-old Aziz ur Rehman, a scholar at one of the top Islamic institutions in Pakistan’s second largest city of Lahore, has confessed he forced a student to perform sexual acts in return for a promise to let him take an exam after he was caught cheating. Rehman is now in police custody.
The case involving Rehman, who’s a Mufti, which means he’s among the highest echelons of the clergy, can become a test case for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government on how to tackle a politically sensitive matter, experts said.
A determined Sister Lucy is unwilling to give in to the Church’s coercion tactics. She remarked, “Other than my room, they have denied me access to all the other areas in the convent. They don’t talk to me. Still, I will continue my fight and I won’t be leaving this convent.”
Days after the dismissal of Sister Lucy Kalapura from the Franciscan Christ Congregation (FCC), an exclusive report by The Times of India revealed that she was removed by the Vatican over frivolous charges. Sister Lucy had supported the nun, who accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal in a rape case. And this drew the ire of the Apostolica Signatura, the highest judicial authority in the Catholic Church.
The former nun had joined the FCC at the tender age of 17. According to the Church, she has committed a long list of ‘crimes.’ It includes buying a car and publishing…
The other three died decades ago, according to the Archdiocese. John Patrick Barry, C.S.B., Franz B. Lickteig, O.Carm. and William “Herb” Schreiner, C.S.B. were members of Religious Orders based outside of the Archdiocese but serving within its geographic boundaries.
A credible allegation is one which there is reason to believe is true, based on reasonably available information, in…
Five individuals, among them a priest, have been arrested in Bengaluru for allegedly trying to get a 10-year-old girl sacrificed in order to ‘ward off evil spirits’ in a field, as per India Today.
A case has been registered against them by the cops under the Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Bill, kidnapping and criminal intimidation as per The New Indian Express.
The report said it happened in Gandhi Grama near Nelamangala on June 14. The girl was a Class 4 student and lived with her grandma while her parents lived in Magadi. Both were labourers.
In their complaint, the parents claimed that the neighbours Savithramma and Soumya took their daughter to a nearby field. She told them she was forced to wear a garland.
The grandmother noticed she was missing and on hearing her screams, raised the alarm. She was rescued and narrated the incident…
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has said he will appeal a ruling by a magistrate’s Court in Kitui which freed a former Catholic priest who had been accused of attempting to kill a woman and a child he is alleged to have fathered.
Senior State Counsel Bonnie Okemwa said the office of the DPP disagrees with Kitui Chief Magistrate Stephen Mbungi’s judgment and will be moving to the High Court to lodge an appeal.
Fr Japheth Mwove Kimanzi, a former Catholic priest, was acquitted on Wednesday last week, prompting protests and loud wailing from the victim, who claimed that she had been denied justice.
Veronica Musali Mutua burst out crying inside the courtroom as soon as the trial magistrate delivered the judgment, saying that the trial court had sided with her persecutor.
Mr Okemwa, who is the head of prosecutions in Kitui County, said the appeal will…
The Lahore police reported that they had filed a complaint against Mufti Azizur Rahman after distressing video footage of the priest allegedly sexually abusing one of his students quickly went viral.
Local media reported that the victim has included in his complaint that he was barred from taking examinations at Wafaqul Madaris for three years because Mufti Rahman had accused him and another student of cheating.
Mufti Rahman allegedly told the victim that if he engages in sexual activity and pleases Mufti, he will help him with his exams, and the victim had no choice but to be sexually abused.
The distressing video, which went viral a few days ago, sparked outrage on social media, with many demanding that it should be prosecuted. Meanwhile, Mufti Rahman asserted his innocence in a video message claimed that the student in the video had drugged him and made him lose his wits.
Craig Harrison’s attorney claimed that Harrison received a letter from Bishop Brennan from the Fresno Diocese threatening and defaming him.
Harrison resigned his post in the catholic church earlier this year, claiming he was not given the chance to defend himself to the diocese following allegations of sexual misconduct.
Now Kyle Humphrey, Harrison’s lawyer, claims the letter from Bishop Brennan accused Harrison of continuing to present himself as a catholic priest in his private businesses. Humphrey claimed the letter said, “essentially if monsignor did not agree to shut down his business and no longer work with his woman’s non-profit then they would put him on the list of credibly accused priest, something he is not on.”
Humphrey claims the bishop’s letter says that he creates a source of “confusion and scandal” for local Catholics.
We have not seen a copy of this letter for ourselves, despite asking Humphrey for the…
Accused former priest Craig Harrison has been told by his previous boss at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno to shut down his counseling business and stop serving in a nonprofit that ministers to women because such activities might sow confusion and scandal, according to a statement released Friday by Harrison’s attorneys.
The statement also said his lawyers have received word from the Catholic Church that Harrison will not be named on a soon-to-be released list of priests credibly accused of sexual improprieties.
The diocese’s chancellor declined to confirm either assertion, about the list or any attempt to call off Harrison’s spiritual consulting activities, and declined to address them. She said the list of accused priests is still being finalized.
“I will not make any comment about who’s on the list and who’s not on the list,” Chancellor Cheryl Sarkisian said.
Harrison has repeatedly denied he has ever had inappropriate…
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced June 17 it has fulfilled its remaining $3 million obligation to clergy abuse survivors ahead of schedule in its $210 million bankruptcy settlement.
Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda said in a statement, “With funds drawn from unexpected estate gifts, and at the advice of the Archdiocesan Finance Council and Corporate Board [lay leaders who advise him on archdiocesan operations], the archdiocese has decided to accelerate its payment schedule, underscoring a heartfelt desire to assist the survivors as promptly as possible by fulfilling our financial obligation ahead of schedule.”
The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2015 in the wake of mounting claims of clergy sexual abuse dating back as far as the 1940s.
Ultimately, 453 claims were filed against the archdiocese during the claim-filing period, most of which were related to lawsuits brought against the archdiocese during a three-year-lifting of the statute…
Pope Francis has named Oblate Fr. Andrew Small secretary “pro tempore” of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
Small, 53, had served two terms as national director for the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States, and his successor there was named in April.
The Vatican June 22 announced Small’s appointment to the commission, which Pope Francis established in 2014. The body of experts, with input from survivors, is meant to make proposals and spearhead initiatives to improve safeguarding norms and procedures throughout the church. Its work is separate from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s investigation and canonical prosecution of clerics accused of abuse.
Small, who was born in Liverpool, England, but worked in the United States for many years and holds U.S. citizenship, succeeds Msgr. Robert Oliver, a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston.
The commission is headed by Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley;…
While acknowledging Vatican-mandated reforms in the handling of clerical sexual abuse, four U.N. special rapporteurs urged the Vatican to make it mandatory that church officials everywhere report abuse allegations to civil authorities.
The four human rights experts, volunteers who investigate and make recommendations on behalf of the U.N. Human Rights Council, also expressed “concern about the continued efforts of members of the Catholic Church to undermine legislative efforts to improve the prosecution of sexual abuse against children in national courts” and to lobby legislatures “to preserve the statute of limitations on these crimes.”
The report, sent to the Vatican in April and published on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights June 21, was written by special rapporteurs working on the promotion of truth, justice and reparation; on the sale and sexual exploitation of children; on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and on the rights of persons…
THERE is a compelling documentary on Netflix titled The Keepers. It begins with an unsolved murder mystery, a theme which has become rather popular for documentaries on streaming websites and elsewhere. The murder is of a nun back in 1969, who taught at a high school in Baltimore, US. After her disappearance one night, her body was found two months later but the perpetrators were never identified or found.
But within one episode, it is clear the series, and the story it was following, was so much bigger than the murder of a young nun, who taught English at a Catholic school. By the time the viewer clicks on the second episode it turns into a story of abuse carried out at the school by a priest; as the survivors tell of their experiences; it turns out that some of them had confided in the nun and there is circumstantial…