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.
Although agreeing with him that the clerical abuse crisis is a “catastrophe,” Pope Francis rejected the resignation presented to him by German Cardinal Reinhard Marx as archbishop of the archdiocese of Munich.
“You tell me that you are going through a moment of crisis, and not only you but also the Church in Germany is going through it,” Francis wrote in a letter dated June 10. “The whole Church is in crisis because of the abuse matter; moreover, the Church today cannot take a step forward without addressing this crisis.”
The “ostrich policy” of hiding the head in the sand leads nowhere, the pope argues, and the only way to address the crisis is to address it “from our paschal faith.”
The Catholic Church in Germany has long been struggling to address the clerical abuse crisis, with several top-ranking officials, including Marx and Cardinal Rainer Woelki of Cologne, accused of…
Covering the Catholic Church is a tough gig for reporters, not least because we’re often forced to be killjoys. We’re forever put in the position of raining on a media parade, and such was the case again Friday with the sensational “resignation” of Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich.
Bishops resign all the time, but what made this one a headline is A) Marx is a big fish in the Church, a key ally and confidante of Pope Francis; B) While the German church has been hit hard by clerical sexual abuse scandals, Marx personally hasn’t been accused of abuse or significant wrongdoing; C) Nevertheless, he volunteered to resign anyway in order to take “institutional responsibility” for the church’s failures.
That’s a noteworthy development by any standard. However, there are at least three immediate misunderstandings about the story – natural and, to some extent, inevitable – which quickly went into circulation…
“The pope will need to accept Cardinal Marx’s resignation,” I wrote last Friday. “If he doesn’t, he ought to be doing some soul-searching of his own.”
Now that Pope Francis has seen fit to refuse Cardinal Marx’s offer, and demand that he remain in place as Archbishop of Munich and Freising, I should say that my second sentence originally read: “If he doesn’t, he should think about offering his own.”
It’s the last time I soften anything.
It is difficult, in any circumstances, to judge another’s motivations. When it is a question of a very public figure, in the midst of momentous events, it is all but impossible. As Christians, and even as decent human beings, it is only right to give the benefit of the doubt, and presume the best of intentions.
Whatever Cardinal Marx’s reasons for submitting his resignation, Pope Francis’s rejection of it makes the whole thing appear thoroughly…
[Photo above: The Rev. Bruno Ugliano in 1990. File photo.]
A former North Jersey high school football standout is among the latest to file a lawsuit against the Catholic order that runs the Delbarton School in Morris Township, alleging that he was sexually abused by three monks decades ago and kept quiet about it for years — partly because he and his brother were the school’s only Black students.
Rodney Baron, who lives in Morristown, said in court papers that he was abused more than 150 times, was punished for minor infractions that white students got away with, and was afraid to challenge the sexual abuse even after one priest escalated the abuse during a class trip to the Jersey Shore.
“As the only African American student in the school other than his brother, Rodney thought to himself: ‘Who is going to believe me?’” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit accuses…
THE baptism of babies into the Catholic Church is unsuitable and needs to be overhauled because it means people’s freedoms are being suppressed for life, Mary McAleese has said.
In an address to Oxford University today, the former Irish President said canon law claims the Church is entitled to limit, compromise and control church members’ rights thanks to the “christening contract which most of us slept or cried through”.
Her talk – entitled ‘Baptismal obligations? Revisiting the christening contract – a necessary prelude to any synodal journey’ – called for a change in the way infant baptism imposes lifelong obligations and compulsory obedience to church teaching as babies cannot possibly understand what is being promised on their behalf.
Church members, she warned, are expected to subordinate their freedoms to compulsory obedience to the Church’s teaching or magisterium from the day of their baptism onwards.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says…
More adult victims of child abuse could get an opportunity to sue for damages
The Catholic Church and other major institutions accused of mistreating children stand to lose a lot more money to lawsuits brought by victims of abuse under a bill unanimously approved by the Louisiana Legislature Thursday.
House Bill 492, sponsored by Rep. Jason Hughes, D-New Orleans, removes the time limit for civil lawsuits over child abuse. Currently, a person must sue over child abuse before they turn 28 years old.
The legislation also establishes a three-year “lookback window” that would allow any adult victims of child abuse who ran out of time to sue under the current law to now file a lawsuit over that abuse. The new law would essentially become retroactive — but only for three years — under this legislation.
Similar laws in other states brought a wave of new suits against the…
This week, on the last legislative session day, Colorado lawmakers made history. We are thrilled to report that with the passage of SB 21-088 at least some survivors of child sexual abuse in the state will have a chance at justice. Although this bill will not allow victims to sue their perpetrators, it will let survivors file lawsuits against institutions if their harm was the consequence of a cover-up by the organization.
Survivors once believed that it would be impossible to reform the statute of limitations in Colorado retroactively. The consensus was that it would take an amendment to the state’s constitution to allow the revival of time-barred actions for child sexual assault. However, the Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act creates a new cause of action. Until victims and their supporters are able to place the reform of the Colorado Constitution on the ballot, this is the best possible solution….
The Diocese of Rochester has asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to approve a $35 million settlement agreement with several of the major insurers involved in the diocese’s nearly two-year-old bankruptcy case. If approved, the settlement proceeds paid by the insurers will be available to satisfy claims of survivors of sexual abuse.
Diocesan attorneys filed a motion on May 27 with the United States Bankruptcy Court, Western District of New York, seeking approval of a settlement with underwriters at Lloyd’s of London, certain London market companies, Interstate Fire & Casualty Co. and National Surety Corp. A hearing regarding the petition has been scheduled for July 9 before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Paul R. Warren.
“We believe this settlement, if approved, is a significant step forward in our goal of achieving a fair and equitable reorganization plan — the vast majority of which will be funded by our insurers — that will compensate the…
In the years since the revised Code of Canon Law was published in 1983, specific issues have challenged the church and made necessary certain changes in canon law.
In the various inquiries into the question of abuse in the Catholic Church the role, wording and function of canon law have been held to particular scrutiny, which has led to several recommendations. One such recommendation was made in 2017 in the final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia, which suggested that the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference should request the Vatican to add new canons to the 1983 Code of Canon Law to deal specifically with crimes of child sexual abuse.
The latest revisions to Catholic Church law, published on June 1, respond not only to the recommendations of the Australian Royal Commission but to new kinds of abuses identified by the church in the years since…
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee is citing decades of Catholic efforts to prevent sex abuse, along with judicial statements and reviews of Church documents, as among the reasons it is pushing back against a state inquiry into clergy abuse.
In April, Wisconsin attorney general Josh Kaul had announced the launch of an investigation into alleged sexual abuse in the state’s Catholic dioceses and at least three religious orders. Kaul said he planned to review reports of abuse by clergy and faith leaders “with support from district attorneys, survivor groups, and crime victim services professionals.”
In response, the Milwaukee archdiocese says that judges, civil authorities, and an outside firm have already reviewed their documents – multiple times – and a bankruptcy judge has declared no concern for public safety after reviewing abuse claims.
“Our assertion is the Church is being unfairly singled out by this investigation,” Jerry Topczewski, chief of staff to…
[Photo above: In this Germany, Friday, June 4, 2021 file photo, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Freising, gives a statement to the press in the courtyard of his residence in Munich. Pope Francis refused Thursday, June 10, 2021 to accept the resignation offered by German Cardinal Reinhard Marx over the sex abuse scandal in the church, but said a process of reform was necessary and that every bishop must take responsibility for the “catastrophe” of the crisis. (Peter Kneffel/dpa via AP, File)]
Pope Francis refused Thursday to let German Cardinal Reinhard Marx resign over the sex abuse scandal in the German Church, but said a process of reform was necessary and that every bishop must take responsibility for the “catastrophe” of the crisis.
Francis wrote a letter to Marx to respond to his bombshell announcement last week that he had offered to resign as archbishop of Munich and…
The word “shocking” has come up a lot in news stories about the discovery of the remains of 215 children at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops; though, to anyone familiar with the history of such schools, there was nothing remotely surprising about it.
That most of the country was “shocked” by the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation revelation of unmarked graves speaks to our collective ignorance about our country’s past and the sins of commission and omission made by those in positions of authority who sought to bury the truth.
The abuse of Indigenous children by both church and state that occurred for more than a century at residential schools across Canada occurred on multiple levels, in both life and death. Children removed from their families by the state and entrusted to clergy were subjected to such physical, sexual and emotional abuse that some Indigenous youth took…
Jeremy M. Bergen is an associate professor of religious studies and theological studies at Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo. He is the author of Ecclesial Repentance: The Churches Confront Their Sinful Pasts.
The Catholic Church seems to be tripping over itself to avoid issuing a clear and definitive apology for the church’s role in Canada’s residential schools after the remains of 215 children were discovered outside a Catholic-run school in Kamloops. While concerns about liability may be a factor, one significant barrier is theological.
In traditional Catholic theology, the church can act collectively, but as the Body of Christ it cannot sin. Only members, including leaders, sin. When Catholics do something good, this may be ascribed to the church. When Catholics harm others, it is the action of individuals.
Pope John Paul II is perceived to have apologized for many church wrongs, but he did not claim the church itself was the…
Pope Francis rejects the resignation of Cardinal Reinhard Marx as Archbishop of Munich. “Thank you for your Christian courage, which does not fear to be humbled before the reality of sin,” the Pope writes to the Cardinal. “Taking up the crisis, personally and communally, is the only fruitful path
“If you are tempted to think that by confirming your mission and not accepting your resignation, this Bishop of Rome (your brother who loves you) does not understand you, think of what Peter felt before the Lord when, in his own way, he presented his resignation,” by presenting himself as a sinner, and received the answer, “Shepherd my sheep.” It is with this image that Pope Francis concludes his letter in which he rejects the resignation presented by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Freising. In a letter to the Pope dated 21 May – which was later published –…
Cardinal Reinhard Marx had sought to quit as a way to take responsibility for the church’s earlier failures to address sexual abuse by priests.
Pope Francis on Thursday rejected the resignation of Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the archbishop of Munich, who had sought to leave his position last month in a gesture to take personal responsibility on behalf of the entire church hierarchy for decades of sexual abuse by priests and unaccountability by bishops.
In a warm letter written in his native Spanish and signed “with brotherly affection,” Francis told the 67-year-old German, a leading liberal in Germany’s Roman Catholic Church and a member of the pope’s powerful advisory council, that he should stay in his office and help guide the church through the shoals.
“I like the way you finish the letter,” Francis wrote, referring to Cardinal Marx’s request to continue acting as a priest and a bishop and to…
Calls to release internal church records on abuse, residential schools grow following Kamloops revelations
Warning: This story contains details readers may find distressing.
[Photo above: Joey Basaraba, now 55, says he was abused repeatedly by two Prince Albert, Sask., priests, starting at age six. He failed Grade 1 twice, dropped out of school, and never learned to read or write. (Submitted by Joey Basaraba)]
Joey Basaraba cries randomly while sitting in his Saskatoon apartment, in the shower or out walking. He can’t remember the last time he slept through the night.
“I take it one day at a time,” Basaraba said in an interview this week.
Basaraba, who says he was sexually abused for years starting at age six by two Prince Albert, Sask., priests, is joining the renewed national calls for church transparency after the discovery of what are believed to be the unmarked graves of 215 children at a Catholic residential school site in Kamloops, B.C.
Pontiff urges Cardinal Reinhard Marx to continue anti-abuse reforms
Pope Francis told German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who offered his resignation last month to take responsibility for the Catholic Church’s institutional failures to prevent clerical sex abuse, instead to remain in office and pursue reform.
The cardinal, a top papal adviser and a one of the most powerful Catholic prelates in Germany, made the surprise announcement last week that he had asked to step down “to share the responsibility for the catastrophe of the sexual abuse by church officials over the past decades.”
The prospect of his departure stimulated speculation that other bishops might follow suit and raised questions about the course of the German church’s ongoing national synod, an assembly originally called in response to the abuse crisis. Cardinal Marx has been a leading figure in the Catholic Church’s response to abuse scandals and in…
The Diocese of Fresno is close to releasing a much-anticipated report on priests accused of sexual misconduct, an official said Wednesday.
“We are in the process of finalizing that report, “ said Cheryl Sarkisian, chancellor and victim assistance coordinator for the diocese. “It has been time- and labor-intensive and is close to being finalized for release soon.”
The diocese under then-Bishop Armando Ochoa vowed in January 2019 to release a list of accused priests, much like other dioceses have done across the country. Ochoa said at the time that the diocese would review its records dating back to 1922.
Among those pushing the Catholic Church for more transparency is noted lawyer Jeff Anderson & Associates. The Minnesota-based law firm specializes in representing victims of sexual abuse nationwide.
Anderson and his legal team were in Fresno on Wednesday announcing two lawsuits on behalf of the alleged sexually abused victims of former…
We’ve heard the reports of alleged and confirmed sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church, but we’re also learning about racial disparities in the treatment of clergy abuse victims.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, June 8, the lawyer for a Black clergy abuse victim accused the Franciscans of the Blessed Virgin Mary, headquartered in Franklin, Wisconsin, and the Diocese of Jackson Mississippi, of discrimination.
He said both churches ignored Raphael Love’s repeated claim of abuse by former Franciscan Brother Paul West.
“His life has been altered and his life is more trying and difficult, even in this environment, because of the abuse,” said Phillip Aaron, Love’s attorney. “And he’s suffered the loss of the enjoyment of life.”
In addition to wanting proper compensation for Love, they want to raise awareness about how far more accused clergy get transferred to predominantly Black parishes than predominantly white parishes.
In a statement Tuesday,…
A new federal lawsuit alleges discrimination and racial disparity in the treatment of Raphael Love, a Black clergy sexual abuse victim. We are pleased to learn about this action against the Franciscans of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who operated under the authority of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in Wisconsin and the Diocese of Jackson in Mississippi. Just last week the Archdiocese of Milwaukee announced that it would refuse to cooperate with the Wisconsin Attorney General’s investigation into abuse by Catholic clergy and other Church leaders.
Raphael and his cousins, La Jarvis Love and Joshua Love, fell prey to Brother Paul West in the 1990s, when the Franciscan was a teacher in Mississippi. Raphael and his grandmother reported the abuse to Church and secular authorities in 1998 with no result.
Despite having been informed of the abuse allegations, the Franciscans allowed Brother West to teach…
Attorneys have filed lawsuits alleging former priest Craig Harrison sexually assaulted two minors, one at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Bakersfield.
Harrison sexually assaulted a 13-year-old at St. Francis in about 1990, said plaintiffs’ attorney Jeff Anderson at a press conference in Fresno. He said Harrison lured the teen into the rectory and “violated him repeatedly.”
“It was by virtue of (Harrison’s) position as a priest of defendants that he met and groomed plaintiff, established trust with plaintiff, and manipulated that trust in order to sexually assault and abuse plaintiff,” the suit says.
The other suit alleges Harrison sexually assaulted a teen over a three-year period in Firebaugh, beginning when the boy was 15. It says the abuse started in 1993.
Anderson said he’s aware Harrison has been a very public pastor who has been in the diocese for years and is beloved and trusted by many.
Attorneys say two lawsuits are expected to be filed Wednesday accusing former Bakersfield priest Craig Harrison of sexual abuse and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno of “ignoring and concealing” his actions.
Attorneys representing the purported victims of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest will address the media regarding lawsuits being filed against Craig Harrison, formerly of Bakersfield’s St. Francis of Assisi Church, and other Fresno Catholic officials who are accused of “ignoring and concealed his crimes.”
In February, Harrison left the priesthood following allegations of sexual misconduct.
“I was never given any opportunity to respond to any accusation against me or to give any evidence in support of my innocence,” Harrison said. “To this day, right now, no one in the Diocese of Fresno has ever even asked me a question about the allegations, and it’s almost two years,” he said.
Authorities in Bakersfield, Fresno and Merced declined…
A Georgian court ordered on Saturday the evacuation of children from a Church-run boarding school for orphans after the local archbishop refused to let authorities enter the school and look into allegations of violence and sexual abuse of children.
The Georgian Orthodox Church said on Sunday it will cooperate with authorities but it will also appeal the ruling because “the court did not present the relevant evidence of ill-treatment and violence against the minors there.”
The case came to public attention last April, when the country’s ombudsman Nino Lomjaria announced that a monitoring group of the Public Defender’s office was not allowed to enter the school in Ninotsminda, a town 160 kilometers southwest of Tbilisi, although it tried several times.
The school said it was instructed by Archbishop Gocha Abuladze, whose Church name is “
Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, Germany, has offered his resignation to Pope Francis, despite being eight years shy of the mandatory retirement age of 75, saying he wants to take his share of responsibility for the “catastrophe of sexual abuse” by representatives of the Catholic Church.
Under church law, a bishop may offer his resignation, but it’s always up to the pope to the decide whether to accept it. In the meantime, Marx said in a message to reporters that Francis has asked him to remain in office.
“It is important to me to share the responsibility for the catastrophe of the sexual abuse by Church officials over the past decades,” Marx wrote to Pope Francis in a letter dated May 21 that was meant to be as “confidential and personal,” but which was released to the media by the Munich archdiocese after the pontiff reportedly told Marx the letter…
Pope Francis earlier this month asked an Italian bishop and expert in canon law to conduct visitation of the curial Congregation for Clergy, much like the one that recently concluded of the Vatican’s liturgy department.
In a letter to diocesan priests widely reported on by Italian news outlets, including Italian newspapers La Stampa and L’Unione Monregalese and the official online news outlet of the Italian bishops, SIR, Bishop Egidio Miragoli of Mondovì said he had been tasked with the job.
Miragoli, who holds a doctorate in canon law from Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University, was appointed to lead the Diocese of Mondovì by Pope Francis in September 2017.
In his letter, sent out the morning of June 7 to all priests in his diocese, Miragoli said he was approached by Pope Francis, who wanted “to ask me for a favor,” during the Italian bishops’ recent plenary assembly late last month.
On that occasion, he said, the…
How Russell Moore fell afoul of them.
If you think it’s a coincidence that two accusatory letters from Russell Moore were leaked just before the Southern Baptist Convention convenes in Nashville, Tennessee, next week, I’ve got a big granite mountain east of Atlanta to sell you.
The main business of the annual meeting will be to elect a new SBC president to follow J.D. Greear, who, because the 2020 meeting was canceled due to COVID-19, has served two one-year terms.
One of the four candidates for the presidency, Georgia Pastor Mike Stone, is charged by Moore with undermining the denomination’s efforts at sexual abuse reform, a charge Stone protests. If you’ve read either of the two letters, you’ll know that Stone is hardly the only object of Moore’s ire.
But let’s back up a bit.
Eight years ago, Moore became president of the SBC’s Ethics and…
A man who alleges a former Catholic priest repeatedly molested him when he was a young boy, then continued to be active at parishes within the Diocese of San Diego for decades, said Tuesday he decided to file a lawsuit to protect children.
Beau Potter, now 54 years old, alleges Father Ramon Marrufo molested him in Rialto over the course of several years in the 1970s, beginning when the plaintiff was in second grade. Prior to 1978, the Diocese of San Diego stretched into portions of San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
Marrufo was ordained in 1976 and was assigned to various locations across San Diego County, including churches in San Diego, Oceanside, Chula Vista, Vista, Fallbrook and Escondido, according to the lawsuit, which alleges his most recent assignment was at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Parish and School in Fallbrook from 2010 until 2019.
Potter’s lawsuit names the Diocese of…
Fr. Michael Pfleger has been the pastor of St. Sabina Church in Chicago’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood since 1981, most widely known for his activism against violence in the city.
One day after presiding at his first Mass at Chicago’s Saint Sabina Church since being reinstated as senior pastor, Father Michael Pfleger on Monday opened up about the sexual abuse allegations that kept him away from the parish for five months.
Cardinal Blase Cupich announced late last month that Pfleger would be reinstated after an investigation by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago’s review board found that allegations of abuse against the longtime pastor were unfounded.
In January, the Archdiocese asked Pfleger to step aside from his ministry after receiving an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. The accuser’s sibling came forward later that month with a second allegation of abuse.
Pfleger said he felt helpless when the allegations emerged, leading…
Earlier this year, lawmakers lifted the statute of limitations for sexual assault cases going forward but, because the state constitution bars retroactive claims, it didn’t help those abused in the past. This bill creates a new type of claim not under the statute of limitations.
Ray Desser is among dozens of survivors who testified on the bill.
“I just got tired of myself and my family being a doormat. So I kind of put my life on hold and I’ve been part of this process from womb to tomb,” he told CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd.
Desser says he was 13 years old when the sexual abuse started and life as he knew it ended.
“I just prayed to die every day,” he explained. “I could not live with this anymore.”
It would take 25 years before he could talk about the abuse and by then the statute of…
Senate Bill 88 would give survivors of abuse after 1960 for whom the civil statute of limitations has expired the ability to file lawsuits during a three-year window starting Jan. 1, 2022
The Colorado legislature on Tuesday sent Gov. Jared Polis a contentious bill that would give historic survivors of child sexual assault, for whom the civil statute of limitations has run out, a three-year opportunity to sue their abusers and the institutions or organizations that failed to stop the abuse.
Senate Bill 88 cleared the House on a 50-14 vote. The Senate voted 31-3 on the measure.
Lawsuits could begin on Jan. 1. The bill would cap damages for public entities sued under the bill at $387,000. There would also be a $500,000 “soft” cap for private entities, like a church or summer camp, sued under the legislation. The limit rises to a $1 million “hard” cap if a…
Father Paul Bringleson spoke to his congregation in Flin Flon, Man., in a powerful sermon apologizing for residential schools and calling out the failures of Catholic Church leaders
Last Sunday, Father Paul Bringleson of St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church in Flin Flon, Man., delivered a homily about the Catholic Church’s role in residential schools in Canada, and notably, its failure to apologize and account for its “horrendous visible sin.” His message to bishops: “You sit there in your offices knowing that you embody a legacy that we are discovering every year is filled with racism and hatred.” Father Bringleson’s sermon, which he posted on YouTube, ends with an apology to Indigenous people, and a message to church leaders: “Take off your robes, your shoes, and your rings and your crosses. Sit yourself in a chair. And listen. Listen. Listen until it hurts. And keep listening.”
In an interview with Vatican News, the Australian Cardinal who turns 80 today relives the experience he had during thirteen months of detention recounted in his book “Prison Journal”. “It helped me to live my sufferings by associating them with those of Jesus. I have always believed that God was behind everything that was happening to me”.
Cardinal George Pell, Prefect Emeritus of the Secretariat for the Economy, has been a free man for fourteen months. Today, 8 June 2021, he was able to celebrate his eightieth birthday in his home country, Australia. We reached him by phone at a time in which he is in self-isolation for health reasons related to Covid. The conversation took place as the Cantagalli Publishing House releases his “Prison Journal” – Volume I in Italian. The 400-page book collects the notes that make up the Cardinal’s daily diary between 27 February and 13 July…
“Window” Laws are not just ‘one-offs” any more.
They are now the go-to legislative measure to repair decades of arbitrary statute of limitations laws that have denied sexual abuse survivors meaningful access to the civil court system.
“Window” laws create a period of time in which abuse sexual abuse survivors whose claims are currently expired under existing statutes of limitations can bring their civil lawsuits without the obstacle of a statute of limitations defense. The whole reason these laws are needed is that many states have arbitrary and woefully short statute of limitations periods requiring child sexual abuse victims to file civil lawsuits before the survivors are psychologically and emotionally ready to process and seek justice for their abuse.
Arguably, the “Window” laws are the quickest and cheapest ways to protect victims because they enable victims of child sexual abuse to expose child molesters who may well be abusing kids…
The pastors want to confront allegations detailed in letters from outgoing SBC ethics chief Russell Moore, who said top leaders of the convention resisted sexual abuse reforms and bullied a sexual abuse victim.
Two Southern Baptist pastors will seek an investigation into allegations that the highest echelons of the Southern Baptist Convention mishandled several sex abuse claims and bullied sex abuse victims.
The pastors — Ronnie Parrott of Christ Community Church in Huntersville, North Carolina, and Grant Gaines, pastor of Belle Aire Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee — have said they will make a motion at the upcoming meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention asking the denomination’s newly elected president to hire an outside firm to investigate.
“The intention behind the motion Grant and I are making is to seek the truth,” Parrott said. “We don’t need any more of the ‘he said this,’ and ‘he said that’ comments. We…
Several priests, some of whom were former students at a minor seminary located in the Vatican, testified at the ongoing trial of Fr. Gabriele Martinelli, who is accused of sexually abusing a younger student at the St. Pius X Pre-Seminary.
The priests — Frs. Giuliano Zanotta, Daniele Pinton, Giampaolo Cozzi and Ambrogio Marinoni — described Father Martinelli’s influence at the minor seminary, as well as that of his mentor and former rector of St. Pius X, Msgr. Enrico Radice, and L.G., the victim who is also a former student. Also testifying was Deacon Alessio Primante.
The June 7 session was the 10th of the trial, which began in October. Giuseppe Pignatone, president of the Vatican City State tribunal, said the court would listen to three more witness July 15 and possibly hear arguments July 16 before the court adjourns for the summer.
The trial would resume after the summer recess…
[Photo above: Nuns wearing protective masks take part in a Corpus Christi procession in Krakow, Poland, June 11, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. (CNS/Agencja Gazeta via Reuters/Jakub Porzycki)]
When Bishop Tadeusz Rakoczy, a retired Polish prelate, was sanctioned by the Vatican in late May for mishandling sexual abuse by his clergy, it was just the latest blow to the once-unsullied image of the country’s Catholic Church.
In recent days, there have been reports that the Polish bishops have been specially summoned to Rome in the fall by Pope Francis because of a spate of sexual abuse cases that have rocked the country’s church. Although officials have denied the accuracy of the reports, they nonetheless signal the deep unease now afflicting religious life in Europe’s most Catholic country.
“It’s been a kind of shock therapy for everyone,” said Marcin Przeciszewski, director of Poland’s Catholic Information Agency, KAI.
A cleric who sexually abuses a child and a bishop or religious superior who covers up that abuse are personally morally at fault, but the Catholic Church as an institution is not, said Cardinal Julián Herranz, retired president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.
In a letter published on the front page of the Vatican newspaper, the 91-year-old cardinal said that “the errors, sins and sometimes even crimes of her members, including senior members of the hierarchy” cannot be allowed to “cast doubt on the credibility of the church and the salvific value of her mission and her magisterium.”
Herranz’s letter was published June 8, four days after German Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, 67, announced he had submitted his resignation to Pope Francis. Marx said he took such action because he believed bishops must begin to accept responsibility for the institutional failures of the church in…
- The Catholic church and the Commonwealth have agreed to compensate Aboriginal physical and sexual abuse survivors of the Garden Point mission
- The Bishop of Darwin has apologised for the wrongs of the past
- Other groups are considering following the avenue of civil action
Forty-two survivors of Aboriginal forced removal policies have signed a deal for compensation and apology 40 years after suffering sexual and physical abuse in the Garden Point Catholic Church mission on Melville Island north of Darwin.
“I’m happy, and I’m sad for the people who have gone already … we had a minute’s silence for them … but it’s been very tiring fighting for this for three years,” said Maxine Kunde, the leader of a group which took civil action against the church and Commonwealth in the Northern Territory Supreme Court.
At age six, Ms Kunde, along with her brothers and sisters, was forcibly taken from her mother…
Discussions with bishops happening to request residential school apology, return of records and cultural items
National Indigenous leaders are planning a visit to the Vatican this November to seek a papal apology for the Catholic Church’s role in running residential schools and other Canadian institutions that Indigenous students were forced to attend.
National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations and Vice-President David Chartrand of the Métis National Council told CBC News their organizations are working with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to send delegations.
“It’s a very big part of healing,” Bellegarde said. “Our missing children have not received the same dignity nor respect in death or in life that every human being deserves.”
The leaders said the trip to the Vatican was supposed to have happened by now, but the pandemic pushed those plans back.
Now, with the discovery of what are believed…
All of the dioceses that had residential schools and the religious orders involved apologized decades ago, and those expressions have been renewed in recent days
There has been much commentary about a Catholic apology for residential schools, even in these pages, that I prefer to think is ill-informed rather than ill-motivated.
While I speak for no one but myself, and certainly not for the Catholic bishops, much less the Holy See, it is understandable that many have asked me about how and where the Catholic Church should apologize for its role in the grave offences against human dignity that occurred in residential schools.
All three parts of that are important: “Catholic Church,” “how” and “where.”
Notice that “if” and “when” are not part of the question. The Catholic Church, like other Christian communities, has been engaged in reconciliation and healing for 30 years. It made sincere apologies not long after…
‘It needed to happen then. It really needs to happen now,’ Chief Felix Thomas says
For a brief period in 2016, Chief Felix Thomas allowed himself to believe that Pope Francis would come to Saskatchewan.
“We were very hopeful. We thought it was going ahead,” said Thomas, chief of the Kinistin Saulteaux Nation.
Thomas and then-Saskatoon bishop Don Bolen, who is now archbishop of Regina, had worked for months building support across Canada among First Nations residential school survivors, church leaders and all levels of government to secure a papal visit to Wanuskewin Heritage Park, just outside Saskatoon.
There, the plan was that Francis would apologize for the Catholic Church’s central role in the Indian residential school system in Canada.
But their efforts failed, and Thomas said no reason was given.
“I guess they were just hoping people would forget about it,” he said Monday in an interview with CBC News.
WARNING: This video contains details some viewers may find distressing. Cardinal Thomas Collins downplayed the need for a papal apology for residential schools after Pope Francis did not deliver one on Sunday when talking about the preliminary findings announced by the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation that indicated the remains of what could be 215 children buried on the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C.
There are growing calls among Canadian Catholics for Pope Francis to come to Canada and issue an apology for the church’s role in the residential school system.
More than 3,500 people have signed a petition on Change.org, calling on the church to take more accountability measures after the discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children on the site of a former Catholic residential school in Kamloops, B.C.
The signatories want the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to invite the Pope to Canda and “make a public apology on behalf of the Church in Canada for our sins of commission and omission in the matter of Residential Schools.”
“We are a group of lay people and clergy who are deeply disappointed with our official church – hurt, ashamed and saddened at the discovery of the graves of 215 Indigenous children in Kamloops,” the petition says.
The petition was started…
Liability concerns and paralysis over how to deal with issue of abuse cited as reasons
WARNING: This story contains distressing details.
When Pope Francis stood on his balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, he expressed “closeness to traumatized Canadians” over the discovery of what are believed to be the remains of an estimated 215 children buried on the grounds of a former Catholic-run residential school in Kamloops, B.C.
Yet many Canadians reacted in anger and disappointment that among the phrases spoken by the Pope, the word “sorry” was not included.
Vatican observers, however, were far from surprised. They say the lack of a formal apology from both the Pope and Canadian bishops as a group reflects an ongoing paralysis within the Vatican hierarchy over how to deal with the issue of abuse, along with a Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops that one observer has called “tragically inadequate,” and liability concerns.
A Catholic priest writing of his unwanted “sexual problem” left something crucial out of the passage, a jury has heard.
“In my dreams,” Anthony William Peter Caruana told Sydney’s District Court.
“When you talk about fondling young boys, is this referring to your dreams or real life?” the 79-year-old’s barrister Bernard Brassil said on Wednesday.
“My dreams,” Caruana said.
He further explained another passage in which he writes he would change “this feeling I have towards young boys,” if by magic he could, was also in reference to his “dreams”.
The former high school teacher has pleaded not guilty to 29 historical charges, including four counts of homosexual sex.
He is accused of sexually abusing boys in band practice, at rugby training, in dorm rooms, and other parts of Chevalier College in NSW Southern Highlands, in the 1980s.
He departed in 1989 following complaints about his conduct and filled out…
A man who alleges a former Catholic priest repeatedly molested him when he was a young boy, then continued to be active at parishes within the Diocese of San Diego for decades, said Tuesday he decided to file a lawsuit to protect children.
Beau Potter, now 54 years old, alleges Father Ramon Marrufo molested him in Rialto over the course of several years in the 1970s, beginning when the plaintiff was in second grade. Prior to 1978, the Diocese of San Diego stretched into portions of San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
Marrufo was ordained in 1976 and was assigned to various locations across San Diego County, including churches in San Diego, Oceanside, Chula Vista, Vista, Fallbrook and Escondido, according to the lawsuit, which alleges his most recent assignment was at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Parish and School in Fallbrook from 2010 until 2019.
Potter’s lawsuit names the Diocese of San Diego…
WHAT: At a news conference tomorrow, survivor advocates and attorneys from the law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates will reveal the filing of two child sex abuse lawsuits against the Fresno diocese and one of its most high-profile clerics.
WHEN: Wednesday, June 9, 2021 – 1:00 PM PST
WHERE: DoubleTree by Hilton Fresno Convention Center
2233 Ventura St.
Fresno, CA 93721
Room: Salon 1 A
Room: Salon 1 A
WHO: Attorneys from the law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates, who represent the survivors filing lawsuits under the California Child Victims Act as Joseph Does. Survivor advocate Joelle Casteix will present survivors’ statements. Attorney Elizabeth del Cid will be available for Spanish-speakers and press.
WHY: Two civil child sexual abuse lawsuits will be filed accusing Fresno diocesan priest, Msgr. Craig Francis Harrison of sexually abusing boys and Fresno Catholic officials of ignoring and concealed his crimes.
Statement of Joseph Doe: “Msgr. Harrison hurt me when I was…
A law firm announced it will file two lawsuits against former Bakersfield priest Craig Harrison of sexual abuse and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno of ignoring and concealing his actions.
Jeff Anderson & Associates will announce the two lawsuits tomorrow at a press conference in Fresno.
Harrison announced his resignation from his position as the Pastor of St. Francis Parish and from his obligations as a Catholic priest in February.
Harrison was the subject of several investigations after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against him in April 2019. The Bakersfield Police Department closed their investigation without forwarding it to the County DA, while the Fresno County DA and Merced County DA did not file criminal charges.
In May, a judge has dismissed Harrison’s defamation lawsuit filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno.
[Photo above: Demonstrators pose for a picture next to a carnival float showing an unnamed bishop from the 2019 “Rosenmontag” (Rose Monday) parade of Duesseldorf placed in front of the Cologne Cathedral by activists of the Giordano Bruno Foundation to protest against sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Cologne, Germany, March 18, 2021. Float reads “11 years of brutal honest reconnaissance of sexual abuse”. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen]
Victims of Catholic Church sex abuse met on Tuesday with two senior bishops sent by the Pope to investigate the German archdiosese of Cologne, which has come under increasing pressure after a report found hundreds of historic cases.
The Pope’s two envoys are looking at possible mistakes committed by Germany’s largest archdiocese, after an 800-page report in March found more than 200 abusers and more than 300 victims, mainly children, in cases from 1975-2018.
“We were allowed to decide what we said, how long…
Fr. Brent Shelton has admitted that he was targeted as a seminarian by Fr.Jose Saldana. Fr. Saldana, who was acknowledged as an abuser by the Catholic Diocese of Dallas in 2019, was reportedly removed from active ministry in 1998. The now deceased perpetrator had multiple allegations of sexually abusing other teens.
We know that it can take victims decades to come forward, and that delayed disclosure is the norm, not the exception. It is also quite common for a survivor to gather the courage to speak up once an abuser is outed. So we are not surprised that while Fr. Shelton “thought about that hotel incident every single day since it happened over 30 years ago,” he did not approach the Dallas Bishop until the Diocesan list of abusers was published in 2019.
Susan Vance sums it up well, “As a…
While New Mexico’s attorney general has taken credit for securing Catholic Church documents on sex abuse by clergy, saying they will be released to the public soon, a spokesperson for the Las Cruces diocese said it provided the documents voluntarily out of a desire to address the “abhorrent crime” of sex abuse, not because of a search warrant or legal obligation.
“In September of 2018, the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office requested documents related to the potential abuse of children by priests,” a Las Cruces diocese spokesperson told CNA June 7. “The Diocese of Las Cruces immediately began the voluntary process of providing the requested documents. Any statement claiming that a search warrant was presented to the diocese for the requested documents is incorrect, as is the assertion that the Diocese of Las Cruces only responded due to a legal obligation.”
“In fact, the Diocese of Las Cruces fully and…
Attorneys for survivors who have filed child sex abuse lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester say mediation has failed. Nearly 500 claims are part of a federal bankruptcy proceeding.
Now, in documents filed Tuesday, some are asking the judge to take a rather unusual step: to allow them to move their cases to a different court.
Since Carol Dupre first shared her story of sex abuse, the months now number years. “I keep adding a year on how long I’m going to have to wait, and then I think about after that year or two, how old I’m going to be,” she said.
Dupre says it appears as though many of the legal maneuvers are an attempt to stall the proceedings. She and the others petitioned the bankruptcy court 19 months ago.
“They’re waiting for us to say, ‘Okay, we don’t care, let’s get this over with,’” she…
Man claims he, other boys abused repeatedly by unnamed camp counsellor
A B.C. man is suing the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver and its archbishop alleging a camp counsellor sexually abused him and others at a Bible camp.
Vernon Mulvahill, in a notice of civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court June 7, alleges a man named only as John Doe exposed his penis to him, touched him in a sexual manner, made other children perform sexual acts on him in the same room and made the plaintiff perform oral sex on him.
The events allegedly occurred at the archdiocese’s Gambier Island Camp Latona, property in 1978 or 1979.
The archbishop and archdiocese are named as defendants. They could not be immediately reached for comment.
Mulvahill alleges John Doe engaged in behaviour intended to make him confused and to believe obeying John Doe was the only option. He alleges John…
[Note from BishopAccountability.org: This announcement appears in both Polish and English on the website of the Polish Bishops’ Conference. Both versions are posted here.]
After a thorough analysis of the collected documentation, the Apostolic See has recognized that the accusations against Archbishop Gądecki are unfounded – we can read in the communiqué of the Apostolic Nunciature in Poland of June 8 2021.
Following formal notifications, the Holy See has conducted an investigation into the alleged negligence of Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki in cases of sexual abuse committed against minors by a priest of the Archdiocese of Poznan and a priest of the Diocese of Bielsko-Zywiec.
„After a thorough analysis of the collected documentation, the Holy See has found the above accusations to be unfounded, and therefore the complaints filed in these cases are dismissed, and the proceedings are considered concluded,” says the communiqué.
We are publishing the full text of the…
The Vatican has ruled that accusations of negligence against the president of the Polish bishops’ conference are groundless.
A statement published June 8 by the apostolic nunciature in the Polish capital, Warsaw, said that the Vatican had investigated allegations that Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki behaved negligently in two cases of clerical abuse against minors.
The Vatican investigated the claims under the norms of the motu proprio Vos estis lux mundi, issued by Pope Francis in 2019 for an experimental period of three years.
“Acting on the basis of the provisions of the Code of Canon Law and Pope Francis’ motu proprio Vos estis lux mundi, the Holy See, following formal notifications, has conducted an investigation into the alleged negligence of Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki in cases of sexual abuse committed against minors by one priest of the Archdiocese of Poznań and one priest of the Diocese of Bielsko-Żywiec,” the statement said.
“After a thorough analysis of…
WHO: Representatives of Nate’s Mission, survivors of clergy abuse, Phillip Aaron (Attorney for Raphael Love), representative of Congresswoman Gwen Moore’s office
WHAT: A press conference in front of the Federal Courthouse in Downtown Milwaukee where survivors of clergy abuse and a representative from the office of a prominent Black state elected official who is a survivor of childhood sexual assault will discuss racial disparities in treatment of clergy abuse victims
WHEN: Tuesday, June 8th, 11:00am
WHERE: Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, 517 E. Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202
WHY: A new lawsuit is being filed against the Franciscans of the Blessed Virgin Mary, headquartered in Franklin, Wisconsin, under the authority of the Milwaukee archdiocese, and the Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi in the case of former Franciscan Brother Paul West, alleging discrimination and racial disparities in the treatment of Raphael Love, a Black clergy abuse victim.
Raphael, along with his brother, Joshua Love, and cousin, La…
German Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, 67, has submitted his resignation to Pope Francis, saying that bishops must begin to accept responsibility for the institutional failures of the Church in handling the clerical sexual abuse crisis.
Cardinal Marx released a statement on June 4 and, with the Pope’s permission, a copy of the letter dated May 21, in which he told the Pope: “It is important to me to share the responsibility for the catastrophe of the sexual abuse perpetrated by representatives of the Church over the past decades.”
Pope Francis did not immediately accept the cardinal’s resignation. In his statement, the cardinal said Pope Francis asked him to continue his ministry as archbishop “until his decision is made”.
In his letter to the Pope, Cardinal Marx said that “the investigations and reports of the last 10 years have consistently shown that there have been many personal failures…
They may have attracted positive PR for the Church, but the new measures for dealing with clerical abuse are a million miles away from being good enough
I don’t know whether he lacks the will or the courage, or whether he is incapable of asserting real and moral authority. I don’t know whether he has been undermined from within, or is just an old man incapable of seeing anything resembling a bigger picture.
I don’t know whether he or the people around him still regard the institution as more important than the people it is supposed to serve, but sometimes abuses. Or maybe it’s just — and I don’t know the answer to this either — he and those around him think we’re all fools.
Whatever the answer to those questions, I don’t believe it is possible to read the most recent changes to canon law — the law of…
The shocking resignation of one of the most important cardinals in the Church today
It came as a complete shock.
Cardinal Reinhard Marx, arguably one of the Catholic Church’s most powerful prelates, publicly announced on Friday that he’s asked Pope Francis to accept his resignation as Archbishop of Munich and Freising.
Why is this so shocking?
Marx is only 67 years old — eight years short of reaching the normal retirement age — and he is one of the pope’s closest and most influential advisors.
And although it has not been reported with the attention it deserves, he’s also been one of the driving forces in getting the Vatican to devote time and resources to addressing the clergy sex abuse crisis.
He’s long advocated focusing on the needs of victims, rather than protecting the interests and image of the Church.
One of the Church’s most determined bishops
The hefty German…
Pope Francis led hundreds of pilgrims and visitors in St. Peter’s Square in a moment of silent prayer for the Indigenous children who died in Canadian residential schools and for their grieving families.
After praying the Angelus June 6, the pope told the crowd, “With sorrow I am following the news from Canada about the shocking discovery of the remains of 215 children, pupils at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in the Province of British Columbia.”
“I join the Canadian bishops and the whole Catholic Church in Canada in expressing my closeness to the Canadian people who have been traumatized by this shocking news,” the pope said. “This sad discovery further heightens awareness of the pain and sufferings of the past.”
The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation reported May 30 that using ground-penetrating radar an estimated 215 bodies had been found in unmarked graves at the site of the former…
Survivors of child sex abuse in Pennsylvania have waited far too long for a chance to bring their abusers to court and finally begin the healing process. It has been 16 years since the first major grand jury report on sex abuse was released by District Attorney Lynne Abraham on the Philadelphia Archdiocese and nearly three years since Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s grand jury report that revealed the Catholic cover up was an ongoing problem across 6 other dioceses.
These survivors—not to mention the many more victims of abuse that occurred in every other context—remain barred from pursuing justice due to our commonwealth’s long-standing restrictive statutes of limitations (SOL).
The good news is the state House of Representatives recently passed—with overwhelming bipartisan support – H.B. 951, which would create a two-year civil liability window for child sex abuse survivors. Immediate passage of the bill presents the best…
“Never let temporary situations determine eternal thinking about you and your life.”
Father Michael Pfleger spoke candidly about his return to Saint Sabina Catholic Church after being cleared of sex abuse allegations and the months he spent away from his congregation and his ministry while those allegations were investigated.
“Yesterday was great. First of all, I was nervous because I haven’t celebrated mass here in five months,” Pfleger said. “But as soon as I was out that door and people just started clapping and shouting, and you know, I felt at home.”
After five months away while the Archdiocese of Chicago investigated allegations of misconduct decades ago, Pfleger celebrated his first mass on Sunday after he was cleared of those accusations.
“I worked to say I’m going to forgive, I’m going to let it go, I’m going pray for them and all the others who were taking delight in…
The sudden departure of Russell Moore is forcing an overdue conversation about the crises of American Christendom.
“The presenting issue here is that, first and foremost, of sexual abuse,” Moore wrote. “This Executive Committee, through their bylaws workgroup, ‘exonerated’ churches, in a spur-of-the-moment meeting, from serious charges of sexual abuse cover-up.”
At the ERLC’s National Conference in 2019, Moore interviewed Rachael Denhollander, a former gymnast who was the first woman to publicly accuse Larry Nassar, the USA Gymnastics doctor, of sexual assault. (Nassar was the perpetrator in the largest sexual-abuse scandal in sports history and will serve the rest of his life in prison.) In the interview, Denhollander criticized the executive committee for how it had handled the case of Jennifer Lyell, who had accused a Southern Baptist seminary professor of abuse.
“The story Rachael told is accurate,” Moore wrote, “and [my wife] and I know that because we were,…
[Photo above: A toppled and defaced statue of Egerton Ryerson, considered an architect of Canada’s residential Indigenous school system, following a protest at Ryerson University in Toronto on June 6. (Chris Helgren/Reuters)]
Protesters on Sunday toppled a statute of Egerton Ryerson — one of the key figures behind Canada’s residential school system, which separated some 150,000 Indigenous children from their homes — amid growing anger over the Catholic Church’s refusal to issue an apology for its role in the abuse students faced.
The rally at Ryerson University in Toronto was organized in response to news last month that the remains of 215 Indigenous children had been found in the yard of a former residential school run by the Catholic Church in British Columbia.
Since the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation shared news of the unmarked burial site on May 27, members of the student body and Indigenous communities…
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee said Attorney General Josh Kaul doesn’t have the authority, and that the investigation is “anti-Catholic bigotry”
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee is pushing back against a recently announced attorney general investigation into sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, calling it a display of “anti-Catholic bigotry” and a violation of the First Amendment.
In a letter from the archdiocese’s attorney, Frank LoCoco of the Milwaukee firm Husch Blackwell, contends Attorney General Josh Kaul doesn’t have the authority to investigate the Catholic dioceses of the state and that doing so would go against the U.S. Constitution and state laws.
In the letter, LoCoco suggests that the investigation may be motivated by anti-religious sentiments, and that the probe is looking back too far in time.
The first-term, Democratic attorney general announced the investigation in April.
Led by Kaul’s Department of Justice, the probe focuses on abuse allegations against clergy and…
The Church continues to pray for abuse survivors and keep their needs a priority
Just a few weeks ago, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul issued a press release and held a news conference to announce that he was launching a review of old reports of clergy abuse within the Catholic Church. It is with sorrow and regret that once again I have to write to you on this topic. When we received the request, I asked my staff to meet with the Attorney General to find a pathway for him to lawfully achieve his goal. We believe we have offered a way to provide what the Attorney General has requested while continuing to walk with survivors, maintaining the Church’s rights and avoiding unnecessary expense.
The Church continues to pray for abuse survivors and keep their needs a priority. Since 1989, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has continuously provided outreach to abuse…
Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki’s recent blog post attempting to justify his refusal to cooperate with the Wisconsin Attorney General’s investigation into Catholic abuse is both disturbing and disingenuous. When the Archbishop writes that the scandal “was the fault of criminals who used the sanctity of the priesthood to commit crimes,” it seems to us that he is willfully ignoring the truths uncovered by earlier probes around the country and the world, such as the report issued in 2018 in Pennsylvania.
That is, the scandal was not just about the abusers; the bigger scandal was that Catholic officials used a “playbook” to conceal the truth from parishioners and the public. Bishops ignored the pain of the victims and the danger to other children. Instead, they purposely moved perpetrators from parish to parish. We are convinced that these cover ups continue to this day, and…
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Who shall watch over the Watchers? That is just one of the questions raised by the complex and deeply troubling circumstances of the Diocese of Knoxville, only some of which have been reported.
The Catholic Herald has learned significant details regarding several cases of clerical misconduct and mismanagement in Knoxville.
The details of one case in particular involve senior Church leaders in the US and abroad, and raise questions regarding oft-cited structural weaknesses in the Church’s new “metropolitan” system for investigating abuse and coverup allegations.
The overarching story of trouble in Knoxville is really the result of convergence.
At least two discrete stories, each with its own set of native complexities, are interwoven with one another and with the structural weaknesses in Pope Francis’s own highly publicized reform of the Church’s modes and methods of investigating and trying abuse and coverup allegations.
Those two stories both regard the…
Host Evan Solomon discusses the week’s top political stories with AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde and FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron, Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller, Mitchell Garabedian, a lawyer known for representing victims in the Boston Catholic priest sexual abuse scandal, and Professor Pam Palmater, from Ryerson University.
By most accounts, Fran O’Connell seemed to have the world at his feet as a teen in the 1970s. But on one evening, he found himself holding his father’s gun to his temple.
At 14 years old, O’Connell was a brute of a boy. He stood over 6 feet tall and was a dominant athlete at Holyoke Catholic High School. He came from a large, Irish-Catholic family. A natural leader, he was the kid who organized neighborhood kickball and pick-up games. He turned his fair share of heads among his female classmates. His dad was among the Holyoke Police Department brass, serving as chief for a time.
These factors combined offered O’Connell a solid pedigree in a working-class city that valued family and faith — and applauded his thunder on the basketball court and football field.
But on that night, he took his father’s revolver down…
The unwillingness or inability to do the hard work of healing from one’s past is fueling the crisis of abusive behavior among clergy, according to a seasoned traumatologist with theological training.
“As Richard Rohr has wisely noted, suffering that has not been transformed will be transmitted,” explained John Loren Dotson, a licensed psychotherapist and certified expert traumatologist who also is an ordained pastor.
Dotson added: “There is simply no substitute for doing the hard work of healing from one’s past.”
That’s why as he continues to hear weekly news about clergy sexual abuse and the abuse of power among both clergy and lay leaders within the church, he wants to get across one simple message: All pastors need therapeutic help to understand their past and how it influences their responses in the present.
Making this kind of mental and emotional work as essential as learning basic theology would dramatically reduce…
[Photo above: The main street in Kutet.]
Singapore: The road up to the village of Kutet in East Timor’s western enclave of Oecusse is so rough that most highlanders walk the jungle trail when they need to visit the coast.
Often hauling bags of rice on their backs, the steep and rocky journey takes them up to three hours if they’re fit.
It’s a path that has also been often taken by outsiders, who have emerged over the crest of the mountainous terrain to find a remote, poor settlement with a deep history of inter-tribal politics and where the locals believed in various spirits.
At Kutet’s centre is a shelter for girls and boys that for many years was run by American Catholic priest and Timorese independence hero Richard Daschbach. There, visitors would witness a serene setting with children playing marbles, with jump ropes and running around apparently as happy as…
Another Polish bishop has been sanctioned by the Vatican and ordered to withdraw from public life, for covering up sexual abuse of minors by clergy in the predominantly Catholic country.
“Acting on the basis of Canon Law provisions and Pope Francis’ motu proprio Vos estis lux mundi, the Holy See conducted proceedings, following formal reports, into reported negligence by Bishop Tadeusz Rakoczy,” Poland’s southern Krakow Archdiocese said in a weekend communique.
“As a result of the completed investigation, it has decided to ban him from participating in any public celebrations or meetings, to order him to lead a life of penance and prayer, and to prohibit his attending bishops’ conferences plenaries.”
The disciplining of 83-year-old Rakoczy, who retired as bishop of Bielsko-Zywiec in 2013, is the latest blow to hit Poland’s bishops, several of whom were accused in 2019 and 2020 TV documentaries of violating Polish law and Vatican guidelines by brushing…
Three priests — including one who long served in Olean — have been placed on leave in response to claims in a lawsuit filed last month that they sexually abused a boy in the 1990s, the Diocese of Buffalo announced over the weekend.
Bishop Michael Fisher said Saturday the priests all “deny ever committing any acts of abuse” but were placed on leave pending an investigation.
The diocese also notified the Erie County District Attorney’s Office of the claims, which emerged in a lawsuit last month.
Rev. Gregory Dobson, the former rector of Olean’s Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels, who is retired but continues to assist in various parishes of the diocese, was one of the priests placed on administrative leave.
The Revs. Adolph Kowalczyk, pastor of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church in Orchard Park, and Mieczyslaw “Matt” Nycz, pastor of SS. Peter and Paul in…
An activist Roman Catholic priest cleared by an Archdiocese of Chicago investigation into claims that he sexually abused several boys decades ago returned to the pulpit of his longtime church on Sunday for the first time in five months.
“It’s good to be home,” the Rev. Michael Pfleger repeatedly told congregants of the Faith Community of St. Sabina, describing his time away during the investigation as a “painful nightmare.”
Pfleger, 72, was placed on leave in January amid allegations from two brothers who said Pfleger sexually abused them as children starting in the 1970s. A third man later also alleged that Pfleger molested him once in 1979 when he was 18. Last month, the archdiocese concluded there was “insufficient reason to suspect” that Pfleger had abused children. A police investigation remains open.
His first service back at the largely Black church on Chicago’s South Side was as spirited as ever,…
“It’s good to be home,” an emotional Rev. Michael Pfleger said to a packed and jubilant crowd Sunday at St. Sabina Church — his first time leading a congregation in five months.
The long-tenured South Side priest famous for his activism had been sidelined from the pulpit as the Archdiocese of Chicago investigated complaints by two brothers who alleged in January that Pfleger sexually abused them in the early 1970s when they were minors. Pfleger was reinstated in May as senior pastor at St. Sabina, which celebrated his anticipated return at a Sunday morning service.
“The last five months have been a roller coaster of hurt and anger and depression and pain,” the pastor said during the service, which featured spotlights, a full band and choir, and dancers. “I stand here this morning back with my church, family and friends, and I am grateful. … God is real.”
VICTORIA’S Supreme Court has fined some of Australia’s biggest newspapers, websites and radio stations $1.1 million for their coverage of Cardinal George Pell’s now-overturned conviction in a sexual abuse case.
In all, 12 media groups admitted breaching a legal order in 2018 banning them from reporting the verdict at the time.
Justice John Dixon rejected arguments that their news reports – even though they did not name Cardinal Pell – were in the public interest.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, was fined about $430,000, for its reports on its news.com.au site, The Daily Telegraph and other newspapers, while Nine Entertainment, publisher of The Age newspaper and owner of Channel Nine, was fined over A$600,000 for its stories.
The Australian Financial Review received a $162,000 fine, and Nine’s Today Show received a $30,000 fine.
The reporting ban – enforced through a legal order – was introduced at the start of Cardinal Pell’s…
After thousands of reported cases of sexual abuse, the Vatican has finally updated its canon laws for handling cases within the Church — standards which haven’t been touched since the 1980s. The new canon laws, or a set of laws set by the Roman Catholic Church to be followed by members of the religion, sought to streamline and clarify how to deal with child sexual abuse. The biggest of these changes included requiring all priests and nuns to become mandated reporters, making grooming for sex or child pornography illegal, and enforcing punishment within the Church like defrocking.
Throughout all this time, the Catholic Church has spent over $400 billion in settlements to victims and their families. Over half of the nearly 40,000 priests in the U.S. have had at least one formal allegation of abuse against them. This wasn’t just one bad egg — this is an ongoing crisis. A crisis…
Pontiff fails to issue direct apology for church’s role in residential schools where children were abused
Pope Francis has said he was pained by the discovery of the remains of 215 children at a former Catholic school for indigenous students in Canada and called for respect of the rights and cultures of native peoples, but stopped short of the direct apology some Canadians had demanded.
Speaking to pilgrims and tourists in St Peter’s Square in the Vatican during his weekly blessing, Francis urged Canadian political and Catholic religious leaders to “cooperate with determination” to shed light on the finding and to seek reconciliation and healing.
Francis said he felt close to “the Canadian people, who have been traumatised by the shocking news”.
Two days ago, the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said the Catholic church must take responsibility for its role in running many of the schools.
The residential schools…
Smith College knew two decades ago that a faculty member had been accused of sexually abusing a minor, but chose not to act on those allegations, allowing him to teach at the college until recently.
On Wednesday morning, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield released an expanded list of former employees who had been “credibly accused” of sexually abusing minors. The list included the name of Robert Ellis Hosmer Jr., a Smith lecturer from 1989 until 2016 who previously worked at Holyoke Catholic High School from 1968 to 1979.
Wednesday evening, Smith College President Kathleen McCartney and Provost and Dean of the Faculty Michael Thurston wrote in a letter to faculty, students, staff, and alumni that a review of Hosmer’s employment records revealed a 2001 letter from a person who said Hosmer abused him at a high school prior to Hosmer working at the college. McCartney and Thurston wrote that no allegations from anyone…
Smith College said last week that it knew a faculty member was accused of sexually abusing a minor two decades ago and that it should have done something at the time. Instead, the instructor of English, Robert Ellis Hosmer, was allowed to teach at Smith until his retirement in 2016, and he’s taught on and off since then as well. The Daily Hampshire Gazette reported that Hosmer’s name was released by the Roman Catholic diocese this month on an expanded list of former employees credibly accused of sexual abuse, and that Hosmer worked at Holyoke Catholic High School near Smith from 1968 to 1979.
In response to the news, Smith president Kathleen McCartney and provost Michael Thurston wrote in an all-campus memo that they’d learned Hosmer’s personnel file included a 2001 letter from someone who said Hosmer had abused him in the 1970s, when he…
[Photo above: Robert M. Hoatson, founder of the clergy abuse victims advocacy group Road to Recovery, protests outside St. Michael’s Cathedral in Springfield on June 3, 2021. (Stephanie Barry photo)]
Robert M. Hoatson has grown accustomed to being a protest of one.
Founder of the clergy abuse survivor advocacy group Road to Recovery, Hoatson, a former priest from Livingston, New Jersey, travels from coast to coast and occasionally overseas. He goes where the cause takes him.
On Thursday, the cause brought him to St. Michael’s Cathedral in Springfield, where a Mass of healing was about to take place on the heels of recent revelations within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield. As the faithful trickled into the church, Hoatson stood outside stoically carrying two large signs.
“THERE R MORE THAN 61,” one read. “RELEASE THE FILES,” read the second.
The first referred to a revised…
Three Catholic priests provided an Orchard Park elementary school student with access to four girls and encouraged the children to participate in sexual acts that the victim fears were secretly filmed in the 1990s, according to a Child Victims Act lawsuit against the Buffalo Diocese.
Bishop Michael W. Fisher put the priests on administrative leave pending an investigation by the diocese’s Independent Review Board. In a statement issued Saturday by the diocese, the priests were identified as:
• Rev. Adolph Kowalczyk, pastor of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church in Orchard Park.
• Rev. Gregory Dobson, who is retired but continues to assist in various parishes of the diocese.
• Rev. Mieczyslaw “Matt” Nycz, pastor of SS. Peter and Paul in Williamsville.
An attorney for the now 35-year-old Erie County man said Saturday that his client is worried that recordings of the incidents may still exist and could have…
The Rev. James Altman calls himself “a lowly priest” serving a blue-collar city in western Wisconsin. But when his bishop demanded his resignation – after a series of divisive remarks about politics and the pandemic – Altman refused to oblige and has since raised more than $640,000 from his conservative supporters to defend himself.
While not unprecedented, a Catholic priest’s refusal to abide by a bishop’s call to resign is certainly rare. Altman’s case, which has garnered national attention and made him a celebrity of sorts among conservative Catholics, has further fueled the divide between them and those urging a more progressive, inclusive church.
Altman, pastor of St. James the Less Roman Catholic Church in La Crosse, first came into prominence before the 2020 election with a fiery video on YouTube.
“You cannot be Catholic and be a Democrat,” said Altman, admonishing people to “repent of…
After spending seven years being abused at a residential school in Saskatchewan, Fred Gordon says he is not surprised that the remains of 215 children were found buried near a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C.
The residential school survivor told CTV News Channel on Monday that he attended Lebret Indian Industrial Residential School from 1944 to 1951. Gordon says he was kidnapped when he was nine years old and taken to the school.
“One day [my parents] were out picking berries, and I was playing with two other kids in the front yard of the house… when an RCMP, a priest and two nuns came and just grabbed me out of the yard and threw me in a wagon,” Gordon said in an interview from Duck Lake, Sask.
“That’s kidnapping. We had no say in those days,” he added.
He explained that his aunt, Evelyn, was killed by the…
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday he is “deeply disappointed” the Roman Catholic Church has not offered a formal apology and made amends for its role in Canada’s former system of church-run Indigenous boarding schools after the remains of 215 children were located at what was once the country’s largest such institution.
Trudeau called on the church to “step up” and take responsibility after years of silence.
“As a Catholic, I am deeply disappointed by the position that the Catholic Church has taken now and over the past many years,” Trudeau said.
“When I went to the Vatican a number of years ago I directly asked His Holiness, Pope Francis, to move forward on apologizing, on asking for forgiveness, on restitution, on making these records available, and we’re still seeing resistance from the church, possibly from the church in Canada.”
But Trudeau said the church is “silent” and “not…
[Via Kamloops This Week]
The United Nations’ human-rights special rapporteurs are calling on Canada and the Catholic Church to conduct prompt and thorough investigations into the finding of an unmarked burial site believed to contain the remains of 215 Indigenous children at a British Columbia residential school.
The UN special rapporteurs said Friday the investigations should examine the circumstances and responsibilities surrounding these deaths, including forensic examinations of any remains to allow for the identification and registration of missing children.
“We urge the authorities to conduct full-fledged investigations,” said the UN experts in a statement.
“Large scale human rights violations have been committed against children belonging to Indigenous communities, it is inconceivable that Canada and the Holy See would leave such heinous crimes unaccounted for and without full redress.”
The Holy See is the central governing body of the Catholic Church.
The UN experts also called on Ottawa to undertake…
The recent discovery of 215 childrens’ remains at a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia is strengthening the resolve of survivors to share their stories about the system and educate young people.
Rounded up on her northern Ontario first nation when she was just eight years old, Susan Hunter remembers well the day she left home.
“We left in a plane. It landed on its belly in Fort Albany and then, when the hatch was opened, there were canoes to take us the rest of the way to the residential school and the students were from all over Ontario,” Susan Hunter told CTV News Toronto Tuesday.
Hunter was there for seven years, she left at age 14.
“Just when you think getting on with your life, something else crops up to mess it up again,” Hunter said. “You get re-traumatized, but you have to tell your truth.”
It was a spring day in 1883 when John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister now comfortably into his second stint in office, explained why it was so important that Indigenous children be separated from their parents, forcibly if need be.
“When the school is on the reserve, the child lives with its parents, who are savages. … He is simply a savage who can read and write,” he said, as quoted in the record of debates in the House of Commons.
“Indian children should be withdrawn as much as possible from the parental influence, and the only way to do that would be to put them in central training industrial schools, where they will acquire the habits and modes of thought of white men.”
So went the cruel racism that would set in motion decades of physical and sexual abuse at what are now known as residential schools.
[Photo above: Dennis Saddleman was forced to attend the Kamloops Indian Residential School for 11 years. (Submitted)]
Dennis Saddleman became a poet after years of abuse in Kamloops residential school
Days after Dennis Saddleman was sexually abused as a child at the Kamloops residential school, he found himself standing on the banks of a river, feeling so ashamed that he wanted to disappear.
He was around eight years old at the time.
“I said ‘River, river, if I jumped in, would you swallow me?’” remembers Saddleman, an Indigenous poet from Merritt, B.C.
“The river never said anything, all it did was just flow and flow.”
Saddleman turned away from the river that day, and walked back to the Kamloops Indian Residential School. His abuser had warned him not to tell anyone about what happened, but when the young boy did pluck up the courage to tell the principal, he was accused…
[The Current on CBC Radio One, with audio]
Matt Galloway: Deep generational wounds have been opened yet again in this country, survivors, those who love them and many more Canadians are grieving. This week after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc first Nation announced, a preliminary report shows the remains of 215 children unmarked on the site of the former Kamloops Indian residential school. Dennis Saddleman attended that same school for 11 years beginning in 1957. And the news wasn’t easy for him to process. But he has been reaching out, connecting with friends and continuing the work he started as a child to heal and stay, in his words, in balance. Part of that is through his poetry. You might have heard his voice on this show earlier this week, reading his powerful poem, Monster, about his experience at residential school. Dennis’s mother was Nlka’pamux and his father was Syilx and…
[Via Yahoo News. With video and transcript.]
JUSTIN TRUDEAU: “As a Catholic, I am deeply disappointed by the position the Catholic Church has taken now and over the past many years…”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday blasted the Catholic Church, saying it must take responsibility for its role running so-called residential schools for indigenous children, after the discovery of the remains of 215 children at one former school.
JUSTIN TRUDEAU : “We expect the Church to step up and take responsibility for its role in this.”
The discovery last week of the remains of the children – some as young as three years old – at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia which closed in 1978, has reopened old wounds and is fueling outrage about the lack of information and accountability.
Between 1831 and 1996, Canada’s residential school system forcibly separated about 150,000 children from their homes.
A Roman Catholic pastor in Tennessee confessed in an open letter that as a 19-year-old seminarian he was the target of sexual advances by an older priest later accused of abusing other teens, and admits he failed to forcefully sound the alarm about this “troublesome person.”
Father Brent Shelton insisted he was “not a sexual abuse victim, as such, but I am a witness to priestly predation, which I was complicit in covering up.”
Shelton did not say in the letter why he chose this year to divulge that Father Jose Saldana, now deceased, allegedly “forced himself on top” of him at a Red Roof Inn in Texas more than three decades ago.
“I’ve thought about that hotel incident every single day since it happened over 30 years ago, but I cringe whenever any priest or bishop speaks of the need for ‘healing’ in these situations,” Shelton, who…
In a letter to Pope Francis, Cardinal Reinhard Marx said he saw his resignation as an opportunity to take responsibility for the abuses of past decades.
[Includes video excerpts from the speech by Cardinal Marx.]
Cardinal Reinhard Marx, a leading figure in Germany’s Roman Catholic Church and a member of the Pope Francis’s advisory council, said on Friday that he had offered his resignation in a personal gesture to take responsibility for sexual abuses by priests over the past decades.
Speaking to reporters outside of the offices of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, the cardinal, who has not been accused of abuse, said he had been considering the decision for months. After spending the weeks leading up to Easter in prayer and reflection, he wrote a letter to the pope, asking to be relieved of his duties.
“It is important to me to share the responsibility for the…
The Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul said Rev. Kevin McDonough should be barred from positions where he’s tasked at protecting kids.
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has finished its review into Rev. Kevin McDonough, finding he “failed, albeit not intentionally, to adequately keep children safe.”
McDonough, who has not been accused of abuse, was the vicar general for the archdiocese from 1991-2008, and from 2008-2013 he was the delegate for safe environment. He was responsible for overseeing investigations related to reports of priest sexual abuse and misconduct, and providing support services to abuse survivors.
The Archdiocesan Ministerial Review Board (MRB) conducted a “comprehensive investigation and examination” of McDonough’s role in the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis, Tim O’Malley, director of ministerial standards and safe environment, said in a June 3 news release.
The MRB found McDonough “had not always demonstrated…
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee will not turn over its sealed records to a state investigation into clergy sex abuse.
On Thursday, The Associated Press reported that the archdiocese refused to turn over its sealed records to the state Department of Justice as part of its investigation into clerical sex abuse. The archdiocese claimed the records were sealed as part of a 2012 bankruptcy case.
In April, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul had announced the launch of an investigation into sexual abuse in the state’s Catholic dioceses and at least three religious orders. He asked representatives of the dioceses to an April 26 online meeting.
Four of the state’s five dioceses, as well as the Jesuits and the Norbertines, have already disclosed the names of priests credibly accused of sex abuse. The Diocese of Superior is gathering its own list, with the intent to publish it by the end of the…
[See also the German text of the letter, and Cardinal Marx’s personal declaration. Photo above: Pope Francis received Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Freising and Coordinator of the Council for Economics, in a private audience at the Vatican on May 27, 2019. Photographer unknown.]
21st May 2021
Without doubt, these are times of crisis for the Church in Germany. There are, of course, many reasons for this situation – also beyond Germany in the whole world – and I believe it is not necessary to state them in detail here. However, this crisis has also been caused by our own failure, by our own guilt. This has become clearer and clearer to me looking at the Catholic Church as a whole, not only today but also in the past decades. My impression is that we are at a „dead end“ which, and this is…
[See also the German text of the declaration, and the letter to Pope Francis.]
I have asked the Holy Father on May 21, 2021 to accept my resignation as Archbishop of Munich and Freising and handed over the decision about my further service to him. He has now informed me that this letter may be published and that I should keep performing my service as bishop until his decision is made.
In the past months, I have repeatedly thought about my resignation, introspected and tried to make the right decision in prayer and in the spiritual dialogue by „discerning the spirits“. The events and debates of the past weeks, however, only play a subordinate role in this context.
Over the past years, I have repeatedly been asked questions which I have always on my mind and which constantly challenge me. An American journalist asked me during a conversation…
One of Germany’s most senior Catholic clerics has offered his resignation to Pope Francis. He said in his letter that he wanted to take a share of responsibility “for the catastrophe of sexual abuse” by church members.
German Cardinal Reinhard Marx has offered Pope Francis his resignation from his position as archbishop of Munich and Freising, saying the Catholic Church had reached a “dead point.” He said he hoped his resignation would help show that a new start was possible.
“In essence, for me it is about sharing responsibility for the catastrophe of sexual abuse by church officials in the past few decades,” Marx wrote to the pope, explaining his reasons for the decision.
Marx said investigations and reports of the past 10 years showed him there had not only been “a lot of personal failure and administrative errors,” but “also institutional and systemic failure” within the Catholic Church.
Recent discussions have shown “that some in the…
[Via ABC News]
A leading German cardinal and confidant of Pope Francis has offered to resign over the church’s mishandling of clergy sexual abuse scandals and declared that the church had arrived at “a dead end.”
A leading German cardinal and confidant of Pope Francis, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, offered to resign Friday over the Catholic Church’s “catastrophic” mishandling of clergy sexual abuse cases, declaring in an extraordinary gesture that the scandals had brought the church to “a dead end.”
The archdiocese of Munich and Freising, where Marx has served as archbishop since 2007, published his resignation letter to the pope online, in multiple languages, and the cardinal said Francis had given him permission to make it public.
“It is important to me to share the responsibility for the catastrophe of the sexual abuse by Church officials over the past decades,” the 67-year-old Marx wrote in…