ABUSE TRACKER

A digest of links to media coverage of clergy abuse. For recent coverage listed in this blog, read the full article in the newspaper or other media source by clicking “Read original article.” For earlier coverage, click the title to read the original article.

July 12, 2021

‘Gay and Catholic’: A Q&A with Writer and Speaker Eve Tushnet

WASHINGTON (DC)
National Catholic Register - EWTN [Irondale AL]

July 12, 2021

By Eve Tushnet and Autumn Jones

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This spring, Eve Tushnet wrote an article about the conversion therapy in Catholic spaces. The article, included in the June 2021 issue of America Magazine, cited anecdotal evidence from interviews Tushnet conducted during her research. CNA responded to the article with a different perspective on welcoming LGBT members of the Church, supported by our own research and interviews. 

Over the last several weeks, Tushnet and our staff engaged in a charitable discourse about our respective points of view. We invited Tushnet to share her thoughts in an interview with CNA:

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your approach to ministry. How did you acquire your position with America? What prompted you to write your book?

I was born in 1978 and raised in Washington, D.C., more or less secular or Reform Jewish. When I was 12 or 13, I began to realize that the way other girls were talking…

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An Uncertain Future for the Adult Survivors Act

ALBANY (NY)
WSKG [Vestal NY]

July 12, 2021

By Darrell Camp

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[Includes video with additional content, including statements by Senator Brad Hoylman and survivor Tom Andriola, further comments by survivor Marissa Hoechstetter, and the text of the proposed law.]

The Adult Survivors Act unanimously passed the New York State Senate during this year’s legislative session, but its future in the Assembly remains unclear.

New York’s legislative session ended nearly one month ago, but not without criticism from advocacy groups.

The Adult Survivors Act would create a one-year look back window for cases of adult sexual abuse. That’s similar to the Child Victims Act, legislation passed in 2019 targeted at victims of child sex abuse.

While the Senate passed the Adult Survivors Act unanimously, the Assembly didn’t bring it to the floor for a vote.

Assembly member Linda Rosenthal, a Democrat from Manhattan who sponsors the bill, said that even she doesn’t completely understand why it wasn’t voted on.

“Some of it…

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Young boy sexually abused in Staten Island foster home, alleges suit against NYC

(NY)
Staten Island Advance [Staten Island NY]

July 11, 2021

By Frank Donnelly

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Running away didn’t help.

Neither did telling a social worker about the abuse he contends he suffered in his Staten Island foster home.

A young boy could have been spared the pain and agony of being sexually abused by an older foster child had the city and a child-care agency acted on his complaints of molestation, a lawsuit alleges.

“If minimal foster care services had been provided to plaintiff with reasonable care, the sexual assaults of plaintiff could have been thus prevented,” alleges a civil complaint against the city and Seamen’s Society for Children and Families.

As a result of the defendants’ negligence, the plaintiff has suffered “severe and permanent psychological, emotional and physical injuries, shame, humiliation and the inability to lead a normal life,” contends the complaint.

A New Jersey resident, the man is now in his late 30s, his court filings indicate.

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Colorado Law Allows Sex Abuse Victims to Collect Restitution in Civil Court From Public and Private Institutions

DENVER (CO)
National Catholic Register - EWTN [Irondale AL]

July 12, 2021

By Autumn Jones

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Senate Bill 88 is the first opportunity for victims who were abused by employees of public institutions to pursue restitution.

On Tuesday, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed into law Senate Bill 88, which allows victims of sexual abuse to file for restitution from public and private entities in civil court.

The law adopted July 6 permits victims of abuse from 1960 to January 2022 retroactively to collect restitution from employers who knew about or who should have known about the abuse taking place, as long as claims are filed by January 2025. 

“For decades, the Catholic Church in Colorado has recognized a need for restorative justice for victims of sexual abuse, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred,” said the Colorado Catholic Conference in a statement. “It is important to acknowledge that this new law could provide opportunities for victims of childhood sexual abuse from other institutions who have…

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July 11, 2021

Diocese places Msgr. Leo McCarthy on leave following allegation of sexual abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW [Buffalo NY]

July 9, 2021

By Sean Mickey

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McCarthy assists in parish ministry at Blessed Sacrament Church

A retired Buffalo priest with numerous accolades was placed on administrative leave by Bishop Michael Fisher on Friday after an allegation of child sexual abuse.

Rev. Msgr. Leo McCarthy, 88, is alleged to have sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl at St. Matthew’s Church in 1982, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in State Supreme Court against St. Matthew’s Church and School.

McCarthy, a popular priest who assists in parish ministry at Blessed Sacrament Church in the Town of Tonawanda, denied committing any acts of abuse, the Diocese of Buffalo said in a news release.

According to the lawsuit, McCarthy asked the young girl to help at the church, then showed her pornography and forced her to sit on his lap as he allegedly hugged and touched her.

During the two months the girl was asked to help at the church, McCarthy…

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Sex Molesting Track Coach At Burbank Catholic School? Providence Ex-Student’s Lawsuit Alleges She Was 16

BURBANK (CA)
MyNewsLA.com [Los Angeles CA]

July 11, 2021

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A private Catholic high school in Burbank is being sued by a former student who alleges she was sexually molested as a minor in 2019 by a track-and-field coach who warned her not to tell anyone what he had done to her.

The plaintiff is identified only as Jane Doe in the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit brought against Providence High School and the now-18-year-old plaintiff’s former coach, Mohamed Haddada, who is 27 and awaiting trial on charges of sexual abuse, according to her court papers.

The suit’s allegations include sexual abuse of a minor, sexual harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent hiring, supervision and retention. Doe seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

A Providence High School representative could not be immediately reached.

At the outset of the 2018-19 school year, Doe was 16 years old and in the 10th grade, the suit states. He was assigned as…

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Homophobic priest accused of trying to cure homosexuality…through sex with men

PARIS (FRANCE)
Queerty [United States]

July 10, 2021

By David Reddish

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A notoriously anti-gay priest in Paris will face trial within the Catholic Church over his self-professed attempts to “cure” homosexuality. His method: have sex with men.

Msgr. Tony Anatrella has a long history of campaigning against LGBTQ rights initiatives inside and outside the church. In 2005, he authored an article supporting a ban on LGBTQ people from serving in the priesthood. The following year, he claimed gay men raise “violent” children, and further supported a ban on same-sex marriage equality. He further described homosexuality as a “confusion of sex and feelings leads to a confusion of the realities and an impasse.”

Anatrella’s stance on homosexuality boggles the mind considering his decades-long history of sexual assault of other men. The National Catholic Reporter reports that allegations against Anatrella have circulated for more than 20 years. In 2006, a former seminarian named Daniel Lamarca claimed Anatrella sexually assaulted him during therapy…

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Former ministry leader at NC university sexually abused student for years, lawsuit says

CHARLOTTE (NC)
Charlotte Observer [Charlotte NC]

July 10, 2021

By Joe Marusek

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A former Catholic ministry leader at Western Carolina University in the North Carolina mountains sexually abused a student for years in the 1980s, according to a lawsuit the former student filed on Tuesday against his alleged abuser and the Charlotte Catholic Diocese.

On Friday, the diocese issued a statement that it “has zero tolerance for child sexual abuse, and we continue to encourage anyone who has been the victim of abuse to seek help and report to authorities.”

Al Behm is named in the lawsuit as the man who allegedly sexually abused the student at WCU in Cullowhee. The student said he had known Behm since he was a boy in Connecticut.

Behm was an ordained Catholic brother of the Ohio-based Glenmary Home Missioners religious order, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Mecklenburg County Civil Superior Court.

From about 1980 to 1984, the diocese and…

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Canada officials call for Pope Francis to formally apologise on behalf of Catholic Church after over 1,000 children’s bodies found

OTTAWA (CANADA)
The Irish Post [London, England]

July 10, 2021

By Rachael O'Connor

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THERE ARE growing calls for Pope Francis to officially apologise on behalf of the Catholic Church for the church’s role in Canada’s residential schools, set up to forcibly assimilate First Nations children.

Over the past several months, the bodies of over 1,000 children have been discovered at three former residential schools run by the Catholic Church; neither the Pope or the Church have issued a formal apology, leading to huge anger in Canada.

Now elected officials and authorities have called on the Church to formally apologise, with Ontario MPs and Mayor Walter Sendzik writing an open letter to the bishop of St Catharines, their local town, asking that he demands Pope Francis apologise.

In the letter, the officials acknowledge that “The residential school sustem was an attempt by the Government of Canada and Canadian churches to erase Indigenous culture from Canada.”

While some other Canadian Christian churches have apologised for…

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Graveside service for Danny Croteau The flowers on his grave frame a portrait of Danny Croteau during a graveside memorial service for the 13-year-old altar boy authorities determined was killed by his parish priest in 1972. (Don Treeger / The Republican) 6/28/2021

Defrocked Catholic priest Richard Lavigne in deathbed tapes: ‘I assume I’m going to heaven’ (audio)

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
MassLive.com/The Republican [Springfield MA]

July 10, 2021

By Stephanie Barry

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[Photo above: Graveside service for Danny CroteauThe flowers on his grave frame a portrait of Danny Croteau during a graveside memorial service for the 13-year-old altar boy authorities determined was killed by his parish priest in 1972. (Don Treeger / The Republican) 6/28/2021]

Until his last breath, defrocked Roman Catholic priest Richard R. Lavigne — prolific child molester, alleged murderer and catalyst for many lifetimes of ruin — remained convinced he was going to heaven.

With the steady beeping of a heart monitor in the background, this was among the revelations a state trooper drew from Lavigne as the disgraced cleric lay ill in medical facilities in Springfield and Franklin County over the spring.

Detective Michael T. McNally, a product of Catholic schools himself, first visited Lavigne’s bedside in the hope of eliciting a confession to the 1972 killing of altar boy Daniel “Danny” Croteau. After…

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Under Philippine law, 12-year-olds can consent to sex. Activists are trying to change that

MANILA (PHILIPPINES)
CNN [Atlanta GA]

July 10, 2021

By Jessie Yeung

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Antonette Acupinpin was 7 when the sexual abuse started.

She had already endured years of beating and physical violence from her mother and stepfather, she said — but then he took it a step further.

He would put a long knife near her face during the abuse, and threaten to kill her mother and brother if she reported him, she said. Terrified and ashamed, she didn’t tell anyone for a year and a half — until a school teacher saw her with a black eye and notified the police.

“I felt hopeless,” said Acupinpin, now 23. “It felt like I had nowhere to go because it’s my family who was hurting me. I didn’t know anyone who could really help me.”

She’s not alone. Child sexual abuse is rampant in the Philippines, which activists say is partly driven by the country’s ​law regarding the age at which ​girls can legally…

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July 10, 2021

The $128-million renovation to St. Michael's Cathedral Basilica in Toronto was completed in September 2016, one year after Catholic Church groups told a judge that $3.9 million was all they could fundraise nationally for Canada's residential school survivors. (St. Michael's Cathedral Basilica / Facebook)

Priest slams ‘pitiful’ lack of Catholic fundraising for residential school survivors

SASKATOON (CANADA)
CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) [Toronto, Canada]

July 10, 2021

By Jason Warick

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[Photo above: The $128-million renovation to St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica in Toronto was completed in September 2016, one year after Catholic Church groups told a judge that $3.9 million was all they could fundraise nationally for Canada’s residential school survivors. (St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica / Facebook)]

Saskatchewan’s 5 bishops have agreed to resume fundraising, while dozens elsewhere remain silent

A Catholic priest is speaking out against his own church, saying he’s ashamed it used a legal “loophole” to escape its $25-million promise to residential school survivors.

“It’s scandalous, really shameful,” said Saskatoon priest and Order of Canada recipient André Poilièvre.

“It was a loophole. It might be legal, but it’s not ethical.”

One of the Catholic Church’s promises in the landmark 2005 Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement was to give its “best efforts” at fundraising $25 million for survivors.

After a decade, more than $21 million of that remained…

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Catholic Church dedicated nearly $300M for buildings since promising residential school survivors $25M in 2005

SASKATOON (CANADA)
CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) [Toronto, Canada]

July 6, 2021

By Jason Warick

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CBC compiled Catholic projects announced since promising ‘best efforts’ to survivors, paying them under $4M

Catholic officials said in 2015 they could only fundraise a total of $3.9 million for residential school survivors, but efforts for Catholic cathedrals and other buildings across Canada reached nearly $300 million since November 2005, according to data gathered by CBC News.

The actual number may be higher. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops declined a CBC News request this week to ask its member bishops for the information. The figure of $292 million resulted from searches of individual dioceses’ websites and other public sources.

These include a $128-million renovation of St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica in Toronto. The 2016 gala opening — complete with a brass band — was held one year after Canadian church groups went to court to say there was no more fundraising money for survivors.

Critics say these figures throw into question the church’s legal claim it gave “best efforts” to…

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Bishop Fisher places a retired Buffalo priest on administrative leave after abuse accusation is discovered

BUFFALO (NY)
WIVB [Buffalo NY]

July 9, 2021

By Patrick Ryan

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88-year-old Reverend Monsignor Leo McCarthy, a retired Buffalo Catholic priest, has been placed on administrative leave after a complaint of alleged abuse was discovered by the diocese.

The alleged abuse came to light through a Child Victims Act complaint, claiming this individual was abused as a child in the early 1980s at St. Matthew parish. The Buffalo Catholic Diocese came across the complaint during a search of publicly filed complaints. The diocese was not directly served the claim.

The diocese notified the Erie County District Attorney’s office and contacted the plaintiff’s attorney after learning of the complaint. The matter has also been reported to their Independent Review Board — responsible for appointing an independent investigator. 

The plaintiff is unwilling to cooperate in the investigation.

McCarthy was placed on leave by Bishop Michael Fisher. The 88-year-old, who assists in parish ministry, denies committing any abuse.

“As a result, Bishop Fisher has decided…

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East Timor: Defrocked priest’s trial must be swift – NGO

(TIMOR-LESTE)
Macau Business Media

July 9, 2021

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An East Timorese NGO has called for more respect and support for victims of sexual abuse in the country, calling for a speedy trial of a defrocked priest accused of sexually abusing several children over a period of years.

“Sexual violations against women and girls are serious crimes, and everyone must unite to oppose these acts. Activists, journalists, the state, human rights institutions and our entire population need to act more purposefully to fight for the physical safety, privacy and freedom of women and girls,” said La’o Hamutuk, a Timorese non-governmental organisation (NGO).

In a statement sent to Lusa La’o Hamutuk welcomes the fact that Daschbach’s trial is finally taking place, expressing concern over repeated postponements in the process and by “political pressure from important people and comments on social media that could increase the psychological suffering of the victims”.

“These trends can set a bad example for other victims in the future, or make victims afraid to…

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James Carroll’s book outlines struggling relationship with Catholic Church

BOSTON (MA)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

July 10, 2021

By Bill Mitchell

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Catholics of a certain age and outlook, like many of NCR’s readers, will find in James Carroll’s latest book, The Truth at the Heart of the Lie: How the Catholic Church Lost Its Soul — A Memoir of Faith, a useful framing of our relationship with the church.

I’m thinking, especially, of Catholics encouraged by the inclusiveness and compassion exhibited by Pope Francis but confounded by a church that remains bogged down by clericalism and resistant to reforms already too long delayed.

Put aside, for the moment, the impassioned critiques and defenses ignited by Carroll’s 2019 article, “Abolish the Priesthood,” that preceded the book.

Consider, instead, the most interesting argument in the book:

The paradox of the Francis pontificate lies in its setting the ‘not yet’ against the ‘no longer tolerable,’ and it presents Catholics who long for the…

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I Could Do Priest, But I Couldn’t Be Priest

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
MyNewOrleans.com [New Orleans LA]

July 9, 2021

By Peter Finney III

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From the Pulpit to the Pew

I thought about a billboard, but there’s little wiggle in an unemployed budget.

About a postcard, but that would be a bit brief.

A homily, but an ellipsis is not an endpoint.

So I waited. I waited for a question from friend or family. I waited for my long, quiet journey to be caught up to by the reckoning with a sudden announcement. I waited even for this blog, an invitation out-of-the-blue and right-on-time.

I waited to explain why I left the priesthood.

As I sit in a creaky, lonely church pew—I made Mass Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday this week, good for a gold star on my bulletin and a compulsive disorder referral in my inbox—my mind often goes to James Joyce. To call him an “Irish author” is as incomplete as to call him a “complicated Catholic.” But like any good Irish lad…

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How Josh Duggar Shifted Homeschoolers’ Sense of Security

FORT SMITH (AR)
Christianity Today [Carol Stream IL]

July 12, 2021

By Kate Shellnutt

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After recognizing that sin and evil aren’t outside threats, families are doing more to promote abuse awareness.

Josh Duggar was slated to stand trial this month on charges of downloading and possessing material that depicted the sexual abuse of minors. Instead, his court date has been delayed until the fall. His family’s series Counting On has been cancelled by TLC.

In the months to come, Duggar’s case will be covered as the saga of a former reality TV star, making headlines in celebrity magazines as did every courtship, wedding, pregnancy, and birth announcement from the famously fruitful Duggar brood.

But for some who come from Christian circles like the Duggars’—conservative Christian churches, tight-knit homeschool networks, big-family “quiverfull” movements—this case isn’t just about Josh Duggar. It represents a larger concern over how their communities teach about sexual abuse and, sadly, have missed opportunities…

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Pope Francis Fast Facts

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
CNN [Atlanta GA]

July 9, 2021

Read original article

[Via KAKE NBC, Wichita KS]

Here is a look at the life of Pope Francis, the current pope and first non-European pontiff of the modern era.

Personal

Birth date: December 17, 1936

Birth place: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Birth name: Jorge Mario Bergoglio

Father: Mario Bergoglio

Mother: Regina (Sivori) Bergoglio

Religion: Roman Catholic

Other Facts

The first Jesuit pope.

The first Latin American pope and the first from the Americas.

The first non-European pope in more than 1,000 years.

Reportedly received the second most votes in the 2005 papal election.

As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio took the bus to work and cooked his own meals.

Part of one lung was removed when he was a young man, but he is in good health, according to the Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi.

Timeline

December 13, 1969  Is ordained as a priest.

1973-1979 – Serves as provincial for Argentina.

1980-1986  Rector of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty…

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Catholic ‘Party Priest’ brandished gun, was abusive, suit by Fresno County woman alleges

FRESNO (CA)
Fresno Bee [Fresno CA]

July 9, 2021

By Thaddeus Miller

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A Fresno County woman has filed a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno over what she says was an abusive relationship with a religious leader called the “Party Priest” who brandished a gun.

The court filing from Wednesday says the Rev. Guadalupe Rios and the woman identified only as Jane Doe were romantically involved for about four years, and that Rios was physically and emotionally abusive.

Rios was head priest at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Selma from 2014 to 2020. He also served at a church with the same name in Los Banos before that, according to the lawsuit.

The woman worked as a cook and housekeeper for the church’s rectory, which was Rios’ living quarters.

The diocese does not comment on pending litigation, according to Cheryl Sarkisian, chancellor for the Diocese of Fresno. She said in November that Rios was placed on administrative…

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Cardinal sins: Can Pope Francis clean up the Vatican’s act?

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

July 10, 2021

By Patsy McGarry

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A trial before the Vatican’s criminal tribunal begins this month, those charged include four former Vatican officials and Cardinal Angelo Becciu

Oh dear. It was Jesus himself who advised: “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Despite which, and repeatedly, some dealing with Vatican finances appear to have fallen for the undoubted charms of mammon.

The latest episode remains to be proven. Previous ones show up Dan Brown and his Da Vinci Code for its lack of imagination as well as the sad limitations of fiction.

Last Saturday the Vatican announced that 10 people, including a cardinal, were to face charges which include fraud, embezzlement, abuse of office, appropriation of funds, money laundering, self-laundering, corruption, extortion, publication of documents under the cover of secrecy, false documentation, falsified internal agreements….

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July 9, 2021

Indigenous survivor describes her ‘haunting experience’ of boarding school abuse

PRINCE ALBERT (CANADA)
PBS NewsHour [Arlington VA]

July 8, 2021

By John Yang

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[VIDEO]

For more than a century, native children sent to Canadian Christian boarding schools were banned from speaking their languages or practicing their traditions. Hundreds died but their families were never told and bodies never returned — only found in unmarked graves recently. John Yang speaks to Heather Bear, vice chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, about Canada’s dark past.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff :The shocking discoveries of several hundred unmarked graves at former boarding schools for indigenous children in Western Canada has focused attention a dark chapter of that nation’s history.As John Yang reports, it’s a story of forced assimilation and physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
  • John Yang: Judy, for more than a century, the children of Canadian native communities, including what’s known as the First Nations, were taken from their families and sent to Christian boarding schools run for the government, about 70 percent of…
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Like attacks on mosques after 9/11, setting churches ablaze only punishes innocent worshippers

(CANADA)
The Globe and Mail [Toronto, Canada]

July 9, 2021

By Robyn Urback

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[Photo above: RCMP said in a release that officers were called to the blaze at St. John Baptiste Parish in Morinville, about 40 kilometres north of Edmonton, just after 3 a.m. on June 30, 2021. — TRACY DALZELL-HEISE/THE CANADIAN PRESS]

Just days after al-Qaeda terrorists flew passenger planes into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, a mosque all the way over in Montreal was firebombed. Another mosque was then vandalized in Hamilton, where a rather confused assailant also set a Hindu temple ablaze. A few weeks later, two Ontario mosques – one in Burlington and one in Mississauga – were firebombed in the same weekend. In the U.S., a bullet flew through the window of the only mosque in Hernando County, Fla. The Islamic Center of Tallahassee was broken into and trashed. A man rammed his car into a mosque in Evansville, Ind.

Indeed, hundreds of…

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Komunikat Archidiecezji Krakowskiej dotyczący abp. Wiktora Skworca metropolity katowickiego, biskupa tarnowskiego w latach 1998 – 2011

KRAKóW (POLAND)
Konferencja Episkopatu Polski (Polish Bishops' Conference)

July 9, 2021

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Działając na podstawie przepisów Kodeksu Prawa Kanonicznego i motu proprio Papieża Franciszka Vos estis lux mundi, Stolica Apostolska – w następstwie zgłoszenia dokonanego przez abp. Wiktora Skworca – przeprowadziła postępowanie w celu zbadania sygnalizowanych zaniedbań dokonanych przez niego, jako biskupa tarnowskiego, w sprawach wykorzystania seksualnego popełnionego wobec osób małoletnich przez dwóch kapłanów tej diecezji.

Po zakończeniu powyższego dochodzenia i w związku ze swoimi wcześniejszymi oświadczeniami, abp Wiktor Skworc:

  1. złożył rezygnację z członkostwa w Radzie Stałej Konferencji Episkopatu Polski;
  2. złożył rezygnację z funkcji przewodniczącego Komisji ds. Duszpasterstwa Konferencji Episkopatu Polski;
  3. zobowiązał się wesprzeć finansowo – z prywatnych środków – wydatki diecezji tarnowskiej związane ze sprawami wykorzystania seksualnego;
  4. poprosił o wyznaczenie Arcybiskupa Koadiutora.

Kraków, dnia 9 lipca 2021 r.

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Polish Catholic Archbishop Asks for Coadjutor After Vatican Negligence Probe

KRAKóW (POLAND)
National Catholic Register - EWTN [Irondale AL]

July 9, 2021

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The inquiry was conducted according to the provisions of the Code of Canon Law and Pope Francis’ 2019 motu proprio Vos estis lux mundi.

KRAKOW, Poland — A Polish Catholic archbishop has asked for a coadjutor following a Vatican probe into his handling of clerical abuse cases.

The archdiocese of Kraków announced on July 9 the conclusions of the investigation into the actions of Archbishop Wiktor Skworc of Katowice, southern Poland.

In a statement, Kraków archdiocese said that the Vatican had investigated claims that Skworc behaved negligently concerning abuse cases involving two priests of the Diocese of Tarnów, which Skworc led from 1998 to 2011.

Tarnów, in southeastern Poland, is a suffragan diocese of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kraków.

The inquiry was conducted according to the provisions of the Code of Canon Law and Pope Francis’ 2019 motu proprio Vos estis lux mundi.

The Kraków archdiocese statement said that Archbishop Skworc…

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Polish archbishop quits Polish Episcopal Conference

KRAKóW (POLAND)
The First News [Warsaw, Poland]

July 9, 2021

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An archbishop from the archdiocese of Katowice has resigned from the Permanent Council of the Polish Bishops’ Conference owing to negligence when dealing with cases of child sex abuse committed by members of the clergy.

The announcement, concerning resignation of Archbishop Wiktor Skworc from the archdiocese was published on the website of the Archdiocese of Krakow.

The high-profile resignation of a senior member of Poland’s Catholic Church will further tarnish its reputation. In recent years, the Church has faced numerous allegations that it failed to act on reports of sexual abuse my its clerics.

In its statement, the Krakow archdiocese said that acting under new procedural norms to combat sexual abuse and ensure that bishops are held accountable for their actions, “the Holy See… conducted proceedings to investigate the reported negligence by him, while he was the bishop of Tarnow, in cases of sexual abuse committed against minors by two…

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Interim Support Scheme has caused more anxiety, abuse survivors report

LONDON (UNITED KINGDOM)
Church Times [London, England]

July 9, 2021

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SURVIVORS of abuse in Church of England contexts have said that the Interim Support Scheme, set up last year, is failing them.

One survivor, Sophie Whiting, said this week that the scheme had compounded the original abuse; she has put in an additional claim for compensation for “stress, anxiety” caused by the administration of the scheme.

Another, Teresa Cooper, complained that, although the scheme was set up to meet “urgent and immediate needs”, she has had to wait for a panel decision on the cost of a week’s home help so that she can have a Covid vaccination. Ms Cooper suffers from a rare and severe disease traced back to her time in Kendall House, in the early 1980s. Kendall House was a Church of England-run home in Gravesend, Kent, in which teenage girls were routinely sedated, straitjacketed, abused, and given experimental drugs (News, 15 July 2016).

Ms Cooper cannot have…

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Abuse Survivors, Ministry Workers Opposing Non-Disclosure Agreements in Christian Organizations Launch #NDAFree Campaign

NASHVILLE (TN)
Christian Headlines [Richmond VA]

July 9, 2021

By Milton Quintanilla

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A group of abuse victims, whistleblowers, ministry workers and activists have launched a campaign against the use of non-disclosure agreements by major Christian organizations.

On Wednesday, the #NDAFree campaign was launched by an international group of Christians aimed at ending “the misuse of non-disclosure agreements,” or NDAs by Christian groups and organizations. The group launched a website that features stories of survivors who felt like they were silenced in their abuse because an NDA prohibited them from speaking out.

“In some ways, an NDA can look reasonable,” Lee Furney, one of the group’s organizers and an advocate for abuse survivors, told Christianity Today. “But find for me the perfect NDA, and it’s still not perfect. There’s no transparency. No accountability. You can’t track them or how they’re used. And they’re binding the conscience for the future, saying I can’t change my mind, regardless of the situation.”

He added, “It’s time…

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Litton names task force to review SBC Executive Committee’s handling of sexual abuse

NASHVILLE (TN)
Alabama Baptist

July 9, 2021

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Southern Baptist Convention President Ed Litton has announced the formation of a task force to review the SBC Executive Committee’s handling of sexual abuse allegations.

The announcement was made on the website of Litton’s church, Redemption Church, Saraland.

The statement reads: “At the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting in Nashville, TN, the messengers passed a motion calling for the appointment of a task force to conduct a third-party review into the handling of abuse disclosures and the treatment of survivors of abuse by the Executive Committee of the SBC.

“The Convention directed that this task force be comprised of members of Baptist churches cooperating with this Convention as well as experts on sexual abuse and the handling of sexual abuse-related dynamics. My first priority has been to form a task force that is independent of the Executive Committee to oversee the third party.

Task force members

The…

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PA School Teacher Made 1st Grader Give, Receive Oral Sex As ‘Discipline’: DA

WEST CHESTER (PA)
Chester Daily Voice [Chester PA]

July 9, 2021

By Cecilia Levine

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** WARNING: This story contains graphic and disturbing details about sexual abuse. **

A pastor and former West Chester Christian School teacher has been charged with sexually abusing a first grade student during the 2007-08 school year, the Chester County DA’s Office said Friday.

Last month, a 20-year-old man apparently told his mom he was sexually assaulted at the West Chester Christian School on Paoli Pike by Randy Boston, according to an affidavit. Boston, 63, currently works as a pastor at the Bible Baptist Church in Shickshinny, ADVERTISING

A Childline Report of Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect was filed with the West Goshen Township Police Department on June 1.

The victim told police on June 2 that Boston performed oral sex on him and made him perform oral sex on him, as well, the affidavit said.

The victim said he remembered this happening three times, but could only remember the details of…

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Priest to be tried for rape

BOGIA (PAPUA NEW GUINEA)
The National [Papua New Guinea]

July 9, 2021

By Sylvester Wemuru

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CATHOLIC priest Stannis Tipong Jr, 35, was committed by the Madang District Court to stand trial in the National Court for allegedly sexually harassing and raping four girls aged between 14 and 16.

Senior Magistrate Fredolin Kambibel on Monday found that there was sufficient evidence to commit Tipong, from Bogia’s Aidibal village, to stand trial in the National Court for the alleged charges.

The court heard that between Dec 31, 2018, and July 31, 2019, Tipong, who served in Halopa Catholic Mission as a priest, allegedly sexually harassed and raped the four girls on numerous occasions in his house.

After going through the police file and submissions from Police Prosecutor First Const Eugine Vinai, Tipong was committed to stand trial in the National Court.

According to a police brief, Tipong had allegedly been using force to rape the girls when he invited them to his house to do dishes or cook for him.

According to…

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Letter to the editor: Legacy of abuse

LONDON (UNITED KINGDOM)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

July 8, 2021

By Keith Porteous Wood

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According to your report (News from Britain and Ireland, 3 July), those seriously abused at Mirfield in the 1960s and 1970s by the Comboni Missionaries had to wait until 2014 for compensation. Although the missionaries hold huge investments the compensation was pitiful.

Archbishop Scicluna explained that “the only person who could order the Comboni Missionaries to apologise would be Pope Francis himself” and the archbishop appears to be seeking to arrange this, albeit belatedly.

Surely no less important than apologies is decent compensation. The Comboni case exposes the near-total autonomy of such orders and that of dioceses too. Has the time not come for Mgr Scicluna, who has pledged to protect minors “at all costs”, to set up a formal conduit for such injustices to be brought directly to the Pope’s attention?

Keith Porteous Wood
President, National Secular Society, London WC1

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CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE – Survivors hope to see papal ambassador’s words ‘backed up by actions’

LONDON (UNITED KINGDOM)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

June 23, 2021

By Catherine Pepinster

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The papal nuncio to Great Britain has met survivors of child sexual abuse and promised to raise their treatment by the Catholic Church directly with Pope Francis. After a lengthy meeting during which Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti listened to three survivors tell their stories, he apologised for how they had been treated and said he would give an account of their situation when he meets Francis in Rome in September.

The meeting marked a major breakthrough in the way the Church has handled abuse cases in this country and follows criticism by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) of the Vatican’s handling of abuse.

Survivors wrote on several occasions to the nuncio asking to meet him; after delays caused by Covid lockdowns, talks finally went ahead on Saturday when Archbishop Gugerotti travelled to Birmingham to meet several survivors in person at Archbishop’s House. For an hour and three-quarters, he…

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Walking with the wounded – abuse and the Comboni Order

MIRFIELD (UNITED KINGDOM)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

July 8, 2021

By Danny Sullivan

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More than 50 years after they were abused by predatory priests at a school run by the Verona Fathers, a brave and resolute group of survivors have finally received a full apology from the Church. Yet their painful story is far from over

In October 2014, The Observer ran a two-page story by the Scottish journalist and writer Catherine Deveney about the experiences of a group of survivors of sexual abuse by priests when at Mirfield Junior Seminary in West Yorkshire in the 1960s and 1970s. St Peter Claver College was in the care of the Verona Fathers (now known as the Comboni Missionaries).

At that time, Pope Francis’ direction to ­bishops and the leaders of religious orders was to meet survivors and victims of abuse directly, listen to their stories, apologise unreservedly and offer them support. I found the statement by the provincial of the order quoted in Deveney’s article…

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Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq holds a photo Thursday morning of French Oblate priest Joannis Rivoire, who is accused of sexually assaulting Inuit children who attended residential schools in Nunavut communities in the 1960s. The NDP is calling on the government to investigate Rivoire and other alleged perpetrators within the residential school system. (Screen grab courtesy of CPAC)

NDP calls for criminal probe into residential schools

OTTAWA (CANADA)

July 8, 2021

By Sarah Rogers

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‘The map of Canada is covered in crime scenes,’ Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq says

[Photo above: Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq holds a photo Thursday morning of French Oblate priest Joannis Rivoire, who is accused of sexually assaulting Inuit children who attended residential schools in Nunavut communities in the 1960s. The NDP is calling on the government to investigate Rivoire and other alleged perpetrators within the residential school system. (Screen grab courtesy of CPAC)]

The federal New Democrats are calling on Ottawa to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate potential crimes committed against Indigenous people at residential schools, and their alleged perpetrators.

Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq and her fellow NDP MP Charlie Angus held a press conference on Parliament Hill Thursday to ask federal Justice Minister and Attorney General David Lametti to reach out to the International Criminal Court to launch an investigation into a system they said “represents a crime…

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New lawsuit alleges sex abuse by former minister on list of credibly accused clergy

CHARLOTTE (NC)
WSOC-TV [Charlotte NC]

July 9, 2021

By Allison Latos

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[VIDEO]

A man who claims his minister took advantage of his family’s faith and his vulnerability by grooming — then abusing him — for years, has filed a civil lawsuit in Charlotte.

But Channel 9 anchor Allison Latos learned the law allowing him to sue is now at the center of its own court battle.

Allison has covered cases of abuse involving former clergy members in the Charlotte Diocese for years, and this lawsuit, filed Tuesday, follows the same pattern of many of those cases.

It accuses the church of moving accused ministers to different churches or parishes instead of reporting them to police.

The latest lawsuit says Al Behm was credibly accused of sexual abuse in Kentucky, and then moved to a new position as campus clergy at Western Carolina University, where he was in charge of ministering to the spiritual needs of all Catholic students.

During that time,…

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Monica Doumit: The true price paid by the innocent

(AUSTRALIA)
The Catholic Weekly [Archdiocese of Sydney NSW, Australia]

July 9, 2021

By Monica Doumit

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Those highlighting the cost of Cardinal Pell’s defence are not giving the public the context or the whole truth about what he was up against.

Cardinal George Pell’s legal defence cost $3 million; so ran the article in The Australian last weekend.

The legal fees which – according to the report – have still not been paid in full, were borne by the Cardinal himself as well as friends, family and others who were willing to chip in to help his cause.

While a legal bill of several million dollars might seem extravagant to non-lawyers, those among us who are or were once lawyers were a lot less scandalised, given our knowledge of the often-exorbitant expenses of legal representation – especially top legal representation.

At the tail end of the story, abuse specialist lawyer Peter Kelso is quoted as saying that celebrities and the wealthy had a better opportunity to…

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July 8, 2021

Ohio priest’s plea raises tech accountability concerns

CLEVELAND (OH)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

July 7, 2021

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An Ohio priest will plead guilty to federal child pornography and child exploitation charges, his attorney said in a court filing last week. The priest was arrested after using hookup apps and social media to meet and pay a male minor victim for sex, and to acquire pornographic selfies from minors through manipulation and extortion. 

The priest’s crimes raise concerns about the digital front of the Church’s child protection efforts, and the emerging challenge of ensuring technology accountability among clerics and other Church leaders.

Fr. Robert McWilliams, 40, was arrested in December 2019 from the Strongsville, Ohio, parish where he had been a parochial vicar since his 2017 ordination. At the time of his arrest, police found child pornography on his computer, cell phone, and iPad.

The priest allegedly used social media and location-based hookup apps to meet and coerce young male victims.

In some cases, McWilliams allegedly pretended to…

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Some Abuse Victims Dissatisfied by Rochester Diocese’s Bankruptcy Plan

ROCHESTER (NY)
National Catholic Register - EWTN [Irondale AL]

July 8, 2021

By Catholic News Agency

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. —A proposed settlement deal between the Diocese of Rochester and several insurance agencies has drawn criticism from a group of abuse victims, whose lawyer says the settlement would not cover enough of the lawsuits that the diocese faces.

The Rochester diocese, which filed for bankruptcy in September 2019, has been negotiating with victims of sex abuse during the bankruptcy proceedings on a judge’s orders. More than 475 abuse claims have been filed against the diocese.

A proposed settlement, which the diocese announced June 11, involves a $35 million agreement with the major insurers involved in the bankruptcy case. 

The settlement would cover “only a portion” of the abuse claims against the diocese, with the rest coming from a yet-to-be-established “Survivors Fund,” the diocese said. 

“We believe this settlement, if approved, is a significant step forward in our goal of achieving a fair and equitable Reorganization Plan – the…

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The Supreme Court’s Hits and Misses on Children’s Civil Rights During the 2020 Term

WASHINGTON (DC)
Justia [Mountain View CA]

July 7, 2021

By Marci Hamilton

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It goes without saying at this point that children are “persons” under the Fourteenth Amendment. That is to say, they have constitutional rights. They are no longer property of their parents as they were for centuries; on that we can all agree. Yet the contours of the rights are emerging incrementally. The United States actually had a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals before it had one for children, so this is no mean feat! Of course, the rest of the world has already gone down this road with their ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as I discussed here in the context of the crisis of family separation at our border. The development of a children’s civil rights has been painstaking, with stops and starts. We saw both during the 2020 Term.

Children’s rights were implicated in six cases this last Term, as you…

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Bishops support investigation of former U.S. residential schools

WASHINGTON (DC)
Crux [Denver CO]

July 4, 2021

By Carol Zimmerman, Catholic News Service

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In response to a late June announcement, the United States will be conducting an investigation of former federally funded boarding schools to search for graves of Native American children, a spokesperson for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said June 28 the bishops will “look for ways to be of assistance.”

“It is important to understand what might have occurred here in the United States,” said the statement from Chieko Noguchi, who added the bishops will be “following closely” the investigation announced June 22 by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

Haaland, who is a member of the Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico and is Catholic, announced this upcoming review, called the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, during her remarks at the virtual conference of the National Congress of American Indians.

“I know that this process will be long and difficult. I know that this process will be painful. It won’t undo…

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U.S. bishops back federal probe of Native American boarding schools

WASHINGTON (DC)
B. C. Catholic [Archdiocese of Vancouver, British Columbia]

July 8, 2021

By Jonah McKeown, Catholic News Agency

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A spokeswoman for the U.S. bishops conference said it is looking to help with a new federal investigation of the history of boarding schools for Native American children in the United States. 

Following the recent discovery of unmarked graves outside former Canadian residential schools, the U.S. government recently promised a comprehensive report on its involvement with the boarding schools for Native Americans.

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who is Catholic, announced the investigation on June 22 at a conference for Native American leaders. “[W]e must shed light on the unspoken traumas of the past, no matter how hard it will be,” Haaland said. The investigation will focus on the loss of life at the schools, as well as the consequences and legacy of the federal policy of sending Indigenous children to the schools.

In a June 28 statement, a spokesperson for the U.S. bishops’ conference said the bishops will “look…

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‘The final straw’: Some Catholic Canadians renounce church as residential school outrage grows

EDMONTON (CANADA)
CTV Television Network [Toronto, Canada]

July 7, 2021

By Todd Battis and Nicole Bogart

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EDMONTON — Outrage directed at the Catholic Church for its role in Canada’s residential school system continues, with more churches allegedly set ablaze and faithful followers questioning their loyalty to the institution.

While some continue to call for a Papal apology, others have renounced the church altogether, unable to come to terms with the atrocities carried out by religious leaders.

“I’ve struggled with my feelings for the church and its position on many issues, including Indigenous rights, and I felt I’d reached this moment where I couldn’t take it anymore,” writer Bernadette Hardaker told CTV National News from her home in Orangeville, Ont.

In a recent editorial published by the Globe and Mail, Hardaker – who now describes herself as a former Catholic – said she was ashamed that she “upheld an institution that dodges and waves instead of taking responsibility.”

What started as an urge to write the Pope…

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Special prosecutor could be appointed in church child abuse case

HOPKINSVILLE (KY)
WHOP-AM [Hopkinsville KY]

July 7, 2021

By Adam May

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It’s possible a special prosecutor could be appointed before trial for the four women charged in connection with alleged child abuse at the First United Methodist Church day care.

Former day care director Abby Leach appeared in Christian Circuit Court Wednesday with attorney Ben Fletcher and Commonwealth’s Attorney Rick Boling said the Attorney General’s Office is presently considering whether there should be a special prosecutor.

Trial is set for November 15 for Leach, former day care employees Nina Morgan and Allison Simpson and former pastor Paige Williams.

Superseding indictments for eight counts each of complicity to criminal child abuse against children under the age 12 were returned in April against Williams and Leach.

The indictments allege they “breached their legal duty to protect the minor children by failing to prevent Simpson and Morgan from intentionally abusing children. In each count, the victim is described as being under the age of…

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With the help of the Mounties, the priests piled the children into boats and floated away

(CANADA)
Canada's National Observer

June 30, 2021

By Karyn Pugliese aka Pabàmàdiz

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Warning: The information and material here may trigger unpleasant feelings or thoughts of past abuse. Please contact the 24-hour Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419 if you require emotional support.

An elder told me a story. It goes like this.

It was long ago and late summer in a remote northern village. A Cree village. Everyone still lived in tents. One day priests visited. They announced that the next time they came, they would take the children. It would be for the best, they explained. The children would go to school. The priests left, and some short time later — maybe a week, maybe two — they returned. This time, the Mounties came with them. The Mounties wore red coats, black boots and each Mountie wore a belt with a gun. The priests did as they’d promised. With the help of the Mounties, they piled the children into boats and…

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‘I was beaten severely all over my body with a strap… The only reason he quit was that he was too exhausted to continue’

OTTAWA (CANADA)
Canada's National Observer

July 7, 2021

By By Karyn Pugliese aka Pabàmàdiz

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Warning: The information and material here may trigger unpleasant feelings or thoughts of past abuse. Please contact the 24-hour Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419 if you require emotional support.

This is the second in a two-part series. Read Part 1 here.

If reconciliation has a birthplace, it is in the mostly beige West Block room numbered 371. On Feb. 17, 2005, a dozen members of Parliament shuffled into their seats, under sterile fluorescent lights, carrying mugs of tea and coffee.

Canadians may think that reconciliation was born of altruism. That the government gifted reconciliation to survivors in an act of contrition. But that’s not true. Every battle the survivors ever won — from the time they were children until they grew into elders — they fought hard for.

That February meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Aboriginal Affairs was the backdrop to one of those battles. It is where three…

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The German Church’s thorny path

MUNICH (GERMANY)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

July 1, 2021

By Derek Scally

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Clerical abuse and its damaging legacy

The Church in Germany is at a tipping point that is reminding many of events of 500 years ago, when a storm of protest was unleashed that was to change the face of Catholicism for ever

In the bright, stuccoed glory of Munich’s Theatine Church, soloists and ensemble reflect mournfully on the Catholic Church’s darkest disgrace. Oratio is a musical work of harrowing beauty by composer Mathias Rehfeldt that adapts Jeremiah’s Lamentations on the fall of Jerusalem (“They shamelessly abused us … the crown has fallen”) to the abuse crisis in the global Catholic Church. As the crisis reaches a scale beyond rational understanding, the searing music of Oratio, paired with an ancient lament of mourning and salvation, opens the ear – and the soul – to a space no words can reach. “We wanted to send a signal that wasn’t just a one-off…

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July 7, 2021

How do you recognize clericalism?

VANCOUVER (CANADA)
B. C. Catholic [Archdiocese of Vancouver, British Columbia]

July 7, 2021

By ARCHDIOCESE OF VANCOUVER CLERICALISM COMMITTEE

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In November of 2019, the Report on Clerical Sexual Abuse made 31 recommendations for preventing and investigating sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Vancouver. In particular, recommendation #25 called for “…the immediate establishment of a leadership team comprised of lay, religious and clergy to prayerfully explore the development of an Archdiocese-wide plan” to combat “the inherent evil of clericalism” within both the laity and clergy of the Archdiocese.

This recommendation requires the development of “…a strategy for developing and maintaining a Church which more fully reflects the spirit of Vatican II (Lumen gentium and Apostolicam actuositatem, for example)” as individuals, communities, and as an institution.

Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, created a committee to study the problem of clericalism. The new committee’s task is to study this recommendation and propose practical measures to reduce clericalism in our archdiocese. The committee includes lay, religious, and clergy. This membership includes two members of the Case Review Committee that…

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Colorado survivors of childhood sexual abuse can sue institutions that hid or ignored it

DENVER (CO)
The Denver Post

July 7, 2021

By Saja Hindi

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The new law takes effect January 2022 and covers the years of 1960 to 2022

Individuals who were abused as children in Colorado can sue the institutions that hid abuse or did nothing to stop it starting in January.

Gov. Jared Polis signed SB21-088 into law Tuesday, giving survivors another avenue to pursue claims against government entities, schools and private institutions that have youth programs like the Boy Scouts or the Catholic Church. The law caps how much victims can get from the lawsuits — up to $1 million from private entities and up to $387,000 from governmental entities.

“The bill provides an opportunity for survivors to seek damages for terrible and sometimes institutionalized abuses that occurred when they were children,” Polis spokesman Conor Cahill said.

In April, the governor signed SB21-073, which removes the statute of limitations for child sex abuse lawsuits, but it doesn’t apply retroactively.

Previously, survivors had only six…

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Momentum for Catholic Church reform builds in Australia

(AUSTRALIA)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

July 7, 2021

By Mark Bowling

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As Australian Catholics prepare for an historic plenary council assembly in October, a leading churchman says there’s “unprecedented momentum for deep reform”. 

The Bishop of Parramatta, Vincent Long, a Vietnamese-born former boat refugee and a survivor of clergy sexual abuse, has called for the elimination of clericalism and for more women to be given roles in church governance and decision-making.

“For the Church to flourish, it is crucial that we come to terms with the flaws of clericalism and move beyond its patriarchal and monarchical matrix,” Bishop Long said, delivering the prestigious Dom Helder Camara Lectureat the Univeristy of Melbourne’s Newman College.

“There is a sense in which the Church must change into a more Christ-like pattern of humility, simplicity and powerlessness as opposed to worldly triumphalism, splendour, dominance and power.

“What is urgent is that we need to find fresh ways of being Church and fresh ways of ministry and…

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Former priest jailed for repeated indecent assault of a boy in 1970s

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

July 7, 2021

By Brion Hoban

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Man was trainee priest when he abused the child on six occasions, court told

Former priest Tony Walsh has been jailed for two years for repeatedly indecently assaulting a child 45 years ago.

Walsh (67) was a trainee priest when he sexually abused the child victim on six occasions inside a church in the 1970s.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Walsh has 39 previous convictions, 34 of which are for previous offences of indecent assault.

The court heard he was most recently sentenced for indecent assault in 2018 to a term of imprisonment of five years with the final 18 months suspended. Prior to sentencing on Wednesday, Walsh had a release date of July 9th, 2021.

Walsh was convicted by a jury following a trial in May 2021 of six counts of indecent assault at a church in Dublin on unknown dates between September 1st, 1973 and July 1st, 1977. He…

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Former Rocky Mount, Martinsville priest is without a church after Vatican, bishop reject pleas

MARTINSVILLE (VA)
The Franklin News-Post [Rocky Mount VA]

July 7, 2021

By Bill Wyatt

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A Catholic priest who formerly pastored churches in Rocky Mount and Martinsville still wears his clerical collar but without a church to serve and apparently grim prospects for being assigned a new one.

On April 2 the Rev. Mark White received a document written in Latin from the Apostolic Signatura, the Supreme Court of the Vatican.

“I struggled to translate it, but it reaffirmed the decision rendered by the Congregation of the Clergy in June 2020, that is: My appeal of the bishop’s decision to remove me as pastor of Rocky Mount and Martinsville did not come from the right source, a procurator,” White said. “Since then the clock has run out.”

White’s case before the court was dismissed the first time on a technicality, for White’s failing to refer to his canon lawyer as a “procurator,” the second time because the Vatican’s imposed statute of limitations had expired.

White’s…

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Home of former Newark archbishop sells for $910K, years after controversial renovations

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP (NJ)
NorthJersey.com [Woodland Park NJ]

July 7, 2021

By Deena Yellin

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The Archdiocese of Newark has sold the Hunterdon County retirement home of former Archbishop John J. Myers for almost $1 million, unloading a property whose lavish renovations sparked controversy seven years ago. 

The five-bedroom, five-bath house, secluded on eight wooded acres in Pittstown, sold for $910,000 on June 8, the archdiocese said in a statement. Myers had moved out as of early 2020 to be near family in Illinois as his health deteriorated. The 79-year-old died in September. 

Myers, who led the archdiocese for 16 years, held on to the home despite criticism over a $500,000 expansion in 2014 that added a 3,000-square-foot wing with three fireplaces and an indoor exercise pool. More than 17,000 people signed a petition that year urging that the home be sold. 

The property was purchased in 2002 for $678,000, county records show, so this year’s sale represents a loss…

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Indictments for Vatican financial crimes a sign of progress

ROME (ITALY)
Religion News Service - Missouri School of Journalism [Columbia MO]

July 6, 2021

By Thomas Reese

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Vatican financial scandals have repeatedly tarnished the image of the church. It is time for the Vatican to get its act together. Ironically, that will mean more bad news as crimes are uncovered and prosecuted.

The Catholic faithful are rightly outraged by news of financial crimes in the Vatican, especially since the latest alleged crimes involve Peter’s Pence, the collection for the pope’s charities. But last week’s announcement of indictments by Vatican prosecutors is not a scandal but a sign of progress.

Indicted by the Vatican are six former Vatican officials, including the cardinal who was behind a real estate investment in London involving hundreds of millions of dollars. Also indicted are Italian businessmen who worked with the Vatican on the investment, as well as a woman accused of buying luxury goods with Vatican funds intended for ransoming Catholic hostages.

The charges include embezzlement, corruption, extortion, money…

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North Avondale says no to home for priests: ‘This group won’t have any respect for our way of life’

CINCINNATI (OH)
WCPO - ABC 9 [Cincinnati OH]

July 6, 2021

By Dan Monk

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CINCINNATI — An upscale Cincinnati neighborhood known for its inclusiveness is fighting against a Catholic religious order’s proposal to establish a monastery in North Avondale.

The Legionaries of Christ has requested a conditional use permit to establish a residence for seven to 10 “Catholic missionary priests” at 3980 Rose Hill Avenue.

The city’s zoning staff has recommended approval of the permit in advance of a hearing scheduled for July 7. More than three dozen neighbors have blanketed the city with letters of opposition, citing concerns about parking constraints, the zoning process, housing values and clergy sexual abuse.

“I implore you to simply Google this particular order of priests,” wrote Jason Rich, who lives six doors down from 3980 Rose Hill. “As a lifelong Catholic and father of a 6-year-old, there is simply no way this order should be allowed in a residential community of single-family homes.”

The Legionaries of Christ…

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Amid shameful residential-school revelations, I cannot remain a Catholic

ORANGEVILLE (CANADA)
The Globe and Mail [Toronto, Canada]

July 5, 2021

By Bernadette Hardaker

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Bernadette Hardaker is a writer living in Orangeville, Ont. Between 1985 and 1988, she covered “Native affairs,” as it was called then, for CBC Radio.

In my six decades, I have been many kinds of Catholic: a cradle Catholic, a confirmed Catholic, a convenient Catholic, a lapsed Catholic, a renewed Catholic and a conflicted one. Now I am nothing but ashamed.

Ashamed that I have upheld an institution that dodges and weaves instead of taking responsibility. Ashamed that it has required the reported discovery of the remains of 966 children to push the church into possible action when it has had decades to do the right thing. Ashamed that Canadian Catholics can raise tens of millions of dollars for cathedrals, churches and other capital projects across the country, but can’t offer enough to keep a $25-million promise to compensate the survivors of the cruelty the church inflicted.

This is more…

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A photo of the original Thunderchild Residential School building. (Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan)

Land near two former North Battleford-area residential schools being searched for unmarked graves

DELMAS (CANADA)
CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) [Toronto, Canada]

July 6, 2021

By Colleen Silverthorn

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‘We’re preparing for the worst,’ says Neil Sasakamoose

WARNING: This story contains distressing details

[Photo above: A photo of the original Thunderchild Residential School building. (Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan)]

As Canada grapples with its dark history of residential schools, another search for unmarked graves of children forced to attend is underway in Saskatchewan.

Ground-penetrating radar is currently being used on land near the former Thunderchild Residential School near Delmas, about 32 kilometres northwest of North Battleford.

When that search ends in mid-July, another will begin on land around the former Battleford Industrial School near North Battleford, said Neil Sasakamoose, executive director of the Battleford Agency Tribal Chiefs (BATC).

“We’re preparing for the worst,” Sasakamoose said.

“There’s people [buried] down by the river, we were told. There’s people down by the school.  There’s people in different places, children.”

Sasakamoose said five separate locations to search for graves have been identified. 

In some cases, they’ve relied…

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Disgraced Bishop Hubert O’Connor again accused of sexual assault

KELOWNA (CANADA)
Pique News Magazine [Whistler, British Columbia]

July 6, 2021

By Jeremy Hainsworth

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Teen was forced to watch priests having sex, court documents say

Note: The contents of this story are graphic and may be disturbing to some readers. 

A dead former B.C. Roman Catholic bishop convicted in 1997 of rape and indecent assault against residential school students has again been named in new allegations of sexual assault.

The now-dead Bishop Hubert O’Connor is one of three priests named in the lawsuit.

In 1997, O’Connor was convicted of rape and indecent assault of female students at schools. He was later acquitted of indecent assault in a 1999 appeal and a new trial was ordered for the rape charge but the Crown decided not to pursue the case after O’Connor apologized.

Now, Ronald Wayne Petruk, 76, has filed suit against The Roman Catholic Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Vancouver, a Corporation Sole and the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

In the suit, Petruk describes multiple…

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Presentation of research on the sexual abuse of minors in the Church in the years 1958-2020

WARSAW (POLAND)
Konferencja Episkopatu Polski (Polish Bishops' Conference)

June 28, 2021

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[Note from BishopAccountability: On 6/28/2021, the Polish bishops’ conference published on its website a brief abuse report in Polish, English and Italian. Here is the English version.]

In the period from July 1, 2018 to December 31, 2020, 368 declarations of sexual abuse against minors under and over 15 were received by dioceses and men’s orders in Poland. The reports concern the acts committed in the years 1958-2020. 292 priests and religious were accused of sexual crimes against minors during that period. These are the data of the latest report prepared by the Institute of Statistics of the Catholic Church in cooperation with the Office of the Delegate for the Protection of Children and Youth of the Polish Bishops’ Conference. The research was financed by the Saint Joseph Foundation of the Polish Episcopate.

From mid-2018 to the end of 2020, 300 declarations of sexual abuse against minors were made in…

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Prezentacja badań dotyczących wykorzystania seksualnego małoletnich w Kościele w latach 1958-2020

WARSAW (POLAND)
Konferencja Episkopatu Polski (Polish Bishops' Conference)

June 28, 2021

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[Note from BishopAccountability: On 6/28/2021, the Polish bishops’ conference published on its website a brief abuse report in Polish, English and Italian. Here is the Polish version.]

Na konferencji prasowej, która odbyła się w siedzibie Katolickiej Agencji Informacyjnej, zaprezentowano dzisiaj raport dotyczący wykorzystania seksualnego małoletnich w Kościele w latach 1958-2020, przygotowany przez Instytut Statystyki Kościoła Katolickiego we współpracy z Biurem Delegata KEP ds. ochrony dzieci i młodzieży. Zgłoszenia dotyczą czynów z lat 1958-2020. W okresie od 1 lipca 2018 r. do 31 grudnia 2020 wpłynęło do diecezji oraz zakonów męskich w Polsce 368 zgłoszeń dotyczących wykorzystywania seksualnego osób małoletnich poniżej oraz powyżej 15 roku życia. O przestępstwa seksualne wobec małoletnich, które miały być popełnione w tym czasie, oskarżonych zostało 292 księży oraz zakonników. Badania zostały sfinansowane przez Fundację Świętego Józefa KEP.

Od połowy 2018 r. do końca 2020 r. dokonano 300 zgłoszeń wykorzystania seksualnego osób małoletnich w diecezjach oraz 68 w zakonach….

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July 6, 2021

N.J. Catholic diocese sells archbishop’s controversial ‘luxury’ retirement house for $910K

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP (NJ)
nj.com [New Jersey]

July 6, 2021

By Kelly Heyboer

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[Photo above: A 2014 file photo of Archbishop John J. Myers’ retirement house as the Archdiocese of Newark spent more than a half million dollars for a 3,000-square-foot addition with an indoor pool, fireplaces and an elevator. (Star-Ledger file photo)]

A sprawling retirement house used by former Newark Archbishop John J. Myers — that drew protests from some parishioners for being too lavish for a Catholic priest — has been sold, church officials said.

The Hunterdon County residential house, which included two elevators, indoor and outdoor pools and a three-story addition, sold last month for $910,000 to an undisclosed buyer, the Archdiocese of Newark said in a statement.

The real estate listing called the property a “private luxurious estate on 8+ acres.”

The sale came nine months after Myers died at age 79.

The five-bedroom house located on 8.3 wooded acres in…

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Bishop denounces ‘Doctrine of Discovery,’ used to justify abuse of Indigenous peoples, and suggests Pope Francis do the same

SYRACUSE (NY)
America [New York NY]

July 6, 2021

By Jack Jenkins, Religion News Service

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(RNS) — The Catholic bishop of Syracuse, New York, is speaking out against the Doctrine of Discovery and revealing plans to ask Pope Francis to repudiate theological teachings used for centuries to justify the subjugation of Indigenous peoples.

In an interview with Religion News Service on Wednesday (June 30), Bishop Douglas J. Lucia explained he is exploring a possible meeting with the Holy See to discuss a series of 15th-century papal bulls, or decrees, used by European Christians to rationalize colonizing Indigenous people and their land.

“Since they were papal bulls in the beginning,” Lucia said, there should be “a public acknowledgment from the Holy Father of the harm these bulls have done to the Indigenous population” as well as some kind of statement “to repudiate” the Doctrine of Discovery.

The Doctrine of Discovery draws from a series of papal documents that date back to Pope Nicholas V, whose 1452…

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Maine priest placed on leave following sexual abuse allegation

PORTLAND (ME)
The Portland Press Herald [Portland ME]

July 5, 2021

By Kevin Miller

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A Roman Catholic priest serving several midcoast churches but who has worked throughout Maine is on temporary administrative leave while the diocese investigates a decades-old abuse allegation, officials said Monday.

According to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, the Rev. Robert Vaillancourt has been accused of sexually abusing an underage girl in the 1980s. He has been placed on administrative leave while the diocese’s Office of Professional Responsibility conducts an internal investigation, consistent with the diocese’s protocol for such allegations.

Vaillancourt currently serves as pastor of St. Brendan the Navigator Parish, which is composed of Our Lady of Good Hope Church in Camden, St. Bernard Church in Rockland, St. Francis of Assisi Church in Belfast, and St. Mary of the Isles Churches on Islesboro, Vinalhaven and North Haven. He was also recently appointed as hospital chaplain of Maine Medical Center in Portland.

“Fr. Vaillancourt has denied any wrongdoing and indicated…

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Rochester diocese’s proposed settlement with insurers questioned

ROCHESTER (NY)
Rochester Beacon [Rochester NY]

July 6, 2021

By Will Astor

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As the two-year mark in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester’s bankruptcy draws nigh, a $35 million settlement proposed between the diocese and a handful of its insurers is not sitting well with the bankruptcy’s official creditors committee.

How the court comes down on the proposed Rochester diocese settlement could set the tone, not just for the Rochester case, but also for Chapter 11 bankruptcies of three other New York Catholic dioceses that asked for court protection months after the Rochester diocese’s September 2019 filing. 

“I believe that the settlement of $35 million is within the range of reasonableness and should be approved by the Court,” wrote diocese special insurance counsel James Murray in a June 24 brief supporting the proposal. Murray is a Washington, D.C.-based partner with Blank Rome LLP. He heads the firm’s policyholder-only insurance recovery group.

“We hope for the Court’s approval and we pray this settlement will be…

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Native children didn’t ‘lose’ their lives at residential schools. Their lives were stolen

OTTAWA (CANADA)
The Guardian [London, England]

July 6, 2021

By Erica Violet Lee

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Terms like residential school are deeply inadequate. These were not schools; they were prisons and forced labour camps

We’d all heard the stories, long before they started to receive this summer’s 24/7 coverage by every news station in Canada. Long before ground-penetrating radars confirmed the presence of unmarked graves, we knew that our missing family members did not simply “disappear” nor attempt and fail to run away from residential schools, despite what we were told by missionaries and government officials. Indigenous communities are necessarily close-knit, and we live in the histories of our people despite every effort at the eradication of our knowledges, cultures, languages – and of our lives.

Published in 2015, the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) estimated that 4,100 named and unnamed students died in Canada’s residential schools. To keep costs low, the report said, many were probably buried in untended…

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Trial date set for Catholic priest charged with rape

BARNSTABLE (MA)
Cape Cod Times [Hyannis MA]

July 6, 2021

By Jessica Hill

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A trial date has been tentatively scheduled for the Catholic priest who was charged with rape in a local case. 

Mark Hession is scheduled to go to trial Oct. 5, according to a pretrial hearing Monday in Barnstable Superior Court. He faces two charges of rape, one charge of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, and one charge of intimidating a witness.

Hession, a 63-year-old Fairhaven resident, on Jan. 11 pleaded not guilty to the charges. Hession served at 12 different institutions in the Cape Cod and Fall River areas, including as parish priest from 2000 to 2014 at Our Lady of Victory church in Centerville.

At Monday’s hearing, attorney Sharon Thibeault with the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office said the discovery is almost finished, and sheneeds to receive the list of witnesses the defendant plans to call. She said…

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Are Cardinal Tobin and the Newark Archdiocese Hiding Anything?

NEWARK (NJ)
Horowitz Law [Fort Lauderdale FL]

July 7, 2021

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In Catholic circles, it is widely known that Cardinal Joseph Tobin is close to Pope Francis. He oversees the Newark archdiocese, a very large flock in the vast New York media market once headed by the now-disgrace-and-defrocked former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

All of this might lead one to believe that Tobin would work hard to be more forthcoming about abuse and cover-ups than other bishops who head dioceses with less troubled histories.

That does not, however, seem to be the case.

In a very short time, we at Horowitz Law have found a number of accused child molesting clerics who are or were in the Newark archdiocese but who are NOT on Tobin’s ‘credibly accused’ list. They include

—Sr. Andre, a Dominican nun who was accused in 1967 of sexually abusing a 12 year old girl. (Letters from the nun to the girl and the nun’s journals confirmed the accusations.)

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People take part in a march on Canada Day in Toronto July 1, after the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves on the grounds of former residential schools for Indigenous children in Canada. (CNS/Reuters/Carlos Osorio)

Why hasn’t Pope Francis apologized in Canada? Ask the bishops.

OTTAWA (CANADA)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

July 6, 2021

By Dean Dettloff

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[Photo above: People take part in a march on Canada Day in Toronto July 1, after the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves on the grounds of former residential schools for Indigenous children in Canada. (CNS/Reuters/Carlos Osorio)]

In the last two months, over 1,000 unmarked graves of Indigenous children at four residential schools have been discovered in Canada: 182 at St. Eugene’s Mission School and 215 at Kamloops Indian Residential School (British Columbia), 104 at Brandon Indian Residential School (Manitoba), and up to 751 at Marieval Indian Residential School (Saskatchewan). And there will be more.

Over the years, Indigenous leadersPrime Minister Justin TrudeauCanada’s Parliament and plenty of Catholics have all called on Pope Francis to apologize for the Catholic Church’s role…

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Santa Fe Archdiocese says property auction postponed

SANTA FE (NM)
Santa Fe New Mexican

July 5, 2021

By Rick Ruggles

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The Archdiocese of Santa Fe announced in a community letter that the effort to auction 732 properties for a bankruptcy settlement has been delayed.

The Rev. Glennon Jones, vicar general of the archdiocese, said last week in the letter the auction company doesn’t have a final list of properties because surveyors’ work continues, property titles still need to be acquired or analyzed, and opening prices haven’t been set.

Jones suggested the postponement reflected no setback and the auction would simply be rescheduled.

About 385 victims of sexual abuse by archdiocese clergy members have sued, prompting the Archdiocese of Santa Fe to declare bankruptcy three years ago. The archdiocese now seeks to raise money to settle the case, but the amount hasn’t been determined, an attorney for victims said. Numerous Catholic dioceses across the country have filed for bankruptcy because of abuse by priests.

Brad Hall, an Albuquerque attorney who represents…

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WATCH NOW: Father Mark White is a priest without a church after Vatican, bishop reject pleas

MARTINSVILLE (VA)
Martinsville Bulletin [Martinsville VA]

July 3, 2021

By Bill Wyatt

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[VIDEO]

Father Mark White still wears his clerical collar — he is still a Catholic priest after all — but without a church to serve and apparently grim prospects for being assigned a new one.

On April 2 White received a document written in Latin from the Apostolic Signatura, the Supreme Court of the Vatican.

“I struggled to translate it, but it reaffirmed the decision rendered by the Congregation of the Clergy in June 2020, that is: My appeal of the bishop’s decision to remove me as pastor of Rocky Mount and Martinsville did not come from the right source, a procurator,” White said. “Since then the clock has run out.”

White’s case before the court was dismissed the first time on a technicality, for White’s failing to refer to his canon lawyer as a “procurator,” the second time because the Vatican’s imposed statute of limitations had expired.

White’s final…

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Catherine Deveney: Abused boys waited 50 years for a church apology that wasn’t even unanimous – they deserved better

MIRFIELD (UNITED KINGDOM)
Press and Journal [Aberdeen, Scotland]

July 1, 2021

By Catherine Deveney

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“The rent boy” was anonymous, just a voice down the line.

The voice haunted me afterwards, the way its inflections held a lifetime of pain and confusion, of fear and self-loathing. There was something awful yet fitting about the juxtaposition of intimacy and anonymity in our call. He told me about his abuse, his prostitution, his sexual confusion and above all, his shame. He just never told me his name.

“Rent boy” didn’t come close to who he was, but he was trapped in his past. I was used to hearing the lifelong effects of abuse, given all the interviews I had done regarding the Catholic church, but still, the rent boy pierced me. In his many conversations with psychologists, he never once talked about training for the priesthood. He never once mentioned the name “Mirfield”.

Mirfield was a seminary in Yorkshire, run by the Verona Fathers who later changed…

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B.C. man sues Vancouver Catholic archbishop for alleged sexual abuse in 1970s

CHILLIWACK (CANADA)
West K News [West Kelowna, BC, Canada]

July 5, 2021

By Paul Henderson

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Sexual abuse alleged to have occurred at Bible camp on Gambier Island

A Chilliwack man who says he was sexually assaulted at a Bible camp in the late 1970s is suing the Roman Catholic archbishop and the archdiocese of Vancouver who operated the camp.

Not named in the lawsuit is the alleged perpetrator, referred to as John Doe, who was a counsellor and/or clergy member at the camp that was located on Gambier Island in Howe Sound.

Vernon Mulvahill’s notice of civil claim was filed in BC Supreme Court in Vancouver last month.

It was 1978 or 1979 when Mulvahill said he was sent by his parents to Camp Latona on Gambier Island in Howe Sound. He is now 49.

“During the week of camp activities, John D. sexually assaulted the plaintiff,” according to the civil claim.

The claim outlines specific demeaning and sexually explicit acts John Doe allegedly committed…

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Diane Francis: Penance is required for the church’s residential school sins

TORONTO (CANADA)
Financial Post [Toronto ON, Canada]

July 5, 2021

By Diane Francis

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Guaranteeing the security and well-being of children in a society is a sacred trust. Both church and state were to blame in Canada for this terrible stain on the country’s history

My late mother spent her childhood in a Roman Catholic orphanage in Chicago with her siblings. She never talked about it.

She eventually left the church when I was young. She never fully explained why.

My family history is another reason why Canada’s renewed residential school scandal, because of the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves near some of these schools, has hit me harder than most. It’s an abomination and the Catholic Church has much to answer for. These unmarked graves were found near some of their schools and others are being probed.

The new revelations have sparked the burning of 10 Catholic churches thus far. Nearly three-quarters of Canada’s 130 residential schools were run by Roman Catholic missionary congregations….

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Catholic Faithful Create ‘Coalition Of Canceled Priests’ To Support Those Who Speak Up Against Wokeness, Abuse

FLOSSMOOR (IL)
Christianity Daily [Los Angeles CA]

July 5, 2021

By Anton Carillo

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Catholic clergy reportedly created a “Coalition Of Canceled Priests” to support those who allegedly speak up against wokeness and abuse.

WND reported that the coalition was established early 2021 due to the “Vatican’s cowardice,” “in response to ‘secular corruption’,” as an aftermath of “leftist backlash,” and from “wokeness” within the Catholic Church.

WND cited that one of the reasons for this was the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ refusal to deny Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians out of being “ever mindful of the feelings (and influence)” of said politicians, but “betrays” the rest of the Faithful.

“Ever mindful of the feelings (and influence) of nominally ‘Catholic’ politicians, these bishops have forsaken one of the first duties of priests. Such churchmen bring to mind the image of a commanding officer who, when the battle turns against his troops, goes over to the enemy and betrays his men,” WND quoted from…

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Investigation confirms former Fargo bishop abused 2 children; middle school renamed

FARGO (ND)
Duluth News Tribune [Duluth MN]

July 1, 2021

By April Baumgarten

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A former Fargo bishop sexually abused two children in the 1960s when he was a priest in Michigan, church leaders said.

The accusations against former Bishop James Sullivan have been deemed credible by Catholic officials, the Fargo Diocese said in a statement issued Friday, July 2. An investigation found that Sullivan sexually groomed and inappropriately touched two boys when he was a priest living at the Church of the Resurrection Parish in Lansing , Mich., according to a news release issued Friday by the Lansing Diocese.

“I am saddened by the reports concerning Bishop Sullivan, and I am sure the faithful of the Diocese of Fargo share in my disappointment,” Fargo Bishop John Folda said. “I ask that we join in prayers for healing and continue in our resolve and efforts to protect those whom we serve.”

Sullivan did not face any credible allegations when he served as a bishop…

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Vatican indicts 10 people, including a once-powerful cardinal, over ‘reckless’ London investment scandal

ROME (ITALY)
Washington Post

July 3, 2021

By Chico Harlan

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ROME — The Vatican indicted 10 people Saturday, including an Italian cardinal, for financial crimes over a botched investment in London that allegedly squandered money intended “for the personal charity of the Holy Father.”

The announcement marked a major escalation in a long-simmering investigation into the Vatican’s investment in a luxury residential building in London. Among those who will stand trial later this month is Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who was once the third-highest-ranked figure in the Vatican and who helped oversee a substantial asset portfolio.

A Holy See spokesman said a special procedure, involving Pope Francis’s personal approval, was needed for the indictment of a cardinal. Becciu, who was removed from his position by the pontiff last year, faces charges including embezzlement and abuse of office.

The prospect of a cardinal facing a Vatican trial appears unprecedented in the modern history of the church, and is sure to amplify what had already…

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Catholic Church is being persecuted, says Canadian bishops’ conference head

WINNIPEG (CANADA)
La Croix International [France]

July 5, 2021

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Archbishop Richard Gagnon says there is “a lot of blame, a lot of accusations, a lot of exaggerations, a lot of false ideas” over gravesite discoveries at former Church-run residential schools

The president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has in a recent homily said that the Church in Canada is being persecuted because of attention to gravesite discoveries at former residential schools.

Residential schools are “a big thing right now in Canada and I know that we Catholics, we’re troubled, we’re hurt by this a lot in our hearts”, Archbishop Richard Gagnon of Winnipeg said in his homily on Sunday.

 Archbishop Gagnon, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, said he is getting “bombarded a lot,” and that in dealing with the media, he’s noticing “a lot of blame, a lot of accusations, a lot of exaggerations, a lot of false ideas,” reported The Globe and Mail.

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July 5, 2021

Church desperately in need of inner conversion, says Australian bishop

(AUSTRALIA)
La Croix International [France]

July 1, 2021

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We are at a point in history where all the indications point to a perfect storm: sexual abuse crisis, loss of credibility…, says Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen, Australia’s first Asian-born bishop

Few Catholics have any appetite left for cosmetic changes, mediocrity or restorationism dressed up as renewal, warns an outspoken Australian Catholic bishop.

“We have struggled under the weight of the old ecclesial paradigm of clerical order, control and hegemony with a penchant for triumphalism, self-referential pomp and smugness.

“We yearn for a Church that commits to a God-oriented future of equal discipleship, relational harmony, wholeness and sustainability,” said Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen of Parramatta during the Dom Helder Camara Lecture at the Jesuit-run Newman College that is affiliated with the University of Melbourne.

His lecture entitled “My hope for the Plenary Council” comes a few months ahead of the first session of the Plenary Council 2020 (PC2020),…

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Priests Pascal Ipolito and Samuel J. Venne are pushing back against the Buffalo Diocese's new monitoring program for priests with substantiated abuse claims against them

Some priests accused of abuse push back on diocese’s plan to monitor them

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News [Buffalo NY]

July 5, 2021

By Jay Tokasz

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[Photo above: Priests Pascal Ipolito and Samuel J. Venne are pushing back against the Buffalo Diocese’s new monitoring program for priests with substantiated abuse claims against them]

The Rev. Samuel J. Venne insists he never molested a child, and he believes he has evidence to prove it.

But three years after he was first accused of sex abuse, Venne, 80, has not had a chance to defend himself against the claims.

Bishop Michael W. Fisher now is threatening to take away Venne’s pension, unless he agrees to be monitored under a new diocese program for priests with substantiated abuse claims against them.

Venne wants no part of the program, and a lawyer has advised him not to sign any monitoring agreement.

“I am not guilty and have never been given an opportunity to present my case,” Venne wrote in a recent letter to Fisher. “This entire process is…

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Canada’s Grim Legacy of Cultural Erasure, in Poignant School Photos

OTTAWA (CANADA)
New York Times

July 5, 2021

By Ian Austen

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OTTAWA — At times it was the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who came for them. Other times, it was a school van. However it happened, for generations, Indigenous families in Canada had no choice but to send their children to church-run residential schools established by the government to erode their culture and languages, and to assimilate them.

A national Truth and Reconciliation Commission declared in 2015 that the schools, which operated from 1883 to 1996, were a form of “cultural genocide.”

But the profound damage inflicted by the schools didn’t stop there. The commission cataloged extensive physical, sexual and emotional abuse at the schools, which were often overcrowded, understaffed and underfunded. Disease, fire and malnourishment all brought death and suffering.

Now, the national shame of the schools is again dominating the conversation in Canada.

Since May, new technology has enabled the discovery of human remains, mostly of children, in many…

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Maine priest accused of abusing girl in the 1980s

PORTLAND (ME)
Associated Press [New York NY]

July 5, 2021

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A Roman Catholic priest who previously led youth retreats is on temporary administrative leave while the Diocese of Portland investigates an abuse allegation, officials said Monday.

Known as “Father Bob,” the Rev. Robert Vaillancourt is accused of sexually abusing a girl in the 1980s, the diocese said. He has denied any wrongdoing and is cooperating with an investigation, the diocese said.

Vaillancourt, 67, attended several of the late Pope John Paul II’s World Youth Day events and led Maine’s delegation to the event at least once, in 2002 in Toronto, the Bangor Daily News previously reported.

The Lewiston native has served at parishes across the state and is currently the pastor at St. Brendan the Navigator Parish, which serves churches in Belfast, Rockland and Camden on the mainland, along with island churches on Islesboro, Vinalhaven and North Haven.

The diocese did not say where Vaillancourt was…

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Fr. Robert Vaillancourt Placed on Temporary Administrative Leave

PORTLAND (ME)
Diocese of Portland ME

July 5, 2021

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PORTLAND—In accordance with diocesan policy, Fr. Robert Vaillancourt has been placed on temporary administrative leave pending an investigation into an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor girl in the 1980s. Fr. Vaillancourt is currently the pastor of St. Brendan the Navigator Parish (Our Lady of Good Hope Church, Camden; St. Bernard Church, Rockland; St. Francis of Assisi Church, Belfast; St. Mary of the Isles Churches on Islesboro, Vinalhaven and North Haven). Bishop Deeley has appointed Monsignor Paul Stefanko, who has been serving at the parish in recent months, as temporary administrator of the parish, effective immediately.

Fr. Vaillancourt has denied any wrongdoing and indicated that he will cooperate with any investigation into the matter. The temporary administrative leave is not a presumption of guilt or a result of suspected wrongdoing, but is the protocol followed by the diocese. It is for the purpose of preserving the integrity of the…

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Midcoast priest placed on leave amid abuse allegation investigation

PORTLAND (ME)
villagesoup.com/Courier Publications [Rockland ME]

July 5, 2021

Read original article

Father Vaillancourt has denied any wrongdoing and indicated that he will cooperate with any investigation into the matter, the Diocese stated.

In accordance with diocesan policy, Father Robert Vaillancourt has been placed on temporary administrative leave pending an investigation into an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor girl in the 1980s, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland announced Monday, July 5 in a news release.

Father Vaillancourt is currently the pastor of St. Brendan the Navigator Parish (Our Lady of Good Hope Church, Camden; St. Bernard Church, Rockland; St. Francis of Assisi Church, Belfast; St. Mary of the Isles Churches on Islesboro, Vinalhaven and North Haven).

Father Vaillancourt has denied any wrongdoing and indicated that he will cooperate with any investigation into the matter, the Diocese stated.

“The temporary administrative leave is not a presumption of guilt or a result of suspected wrongdoing, but is the protocol followed by the diocese….

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Vatican Tribunal sends Cardinal Becciu and nine others for trial for misuse of Vatican funds

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
America [New York NY]

July 3, 2021

By Gerard O'Connell

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The Vatican City State’s chief prosecutor has indicted ten persons including Cardinal Angelo Becciu, his former priest secretary, the woman he hired to gather intelligence, and seven laymen. They are accused of crimes related to the misuse of funds managed by the secretariat of state, also in the purchase of a London property. The prosecutor asked that they be sent for trial, and the Vatican Tribunal acceded to his request.

The Vatican broke the news around midday July 3 when it published a decree from the president of the Vatican Tribunal, acceding to the request, and naming ten persons and four entities— financial companies and a private firm—who are to be sent to trial in relation to the financial investments of the Secretariat of State in London. It said the trial will begin on July 27.

A trial of this nature and dimension has no precedent in the history of…

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Federal probe of American Indian boarding schools reflects dark chapter in U.S. history

RIVERSIDE (CA)
The Press-Enterprise [Riverside CA]

July 4, 2021

By Joe Nelson, San Bernardino Sun

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‘It’s a very important chapter in our history that needs to be addressed. You just can’t sweep it under the rug and forget about it’

[Photo: The remains of more than a dozen Indigenous students who died at the former St. Boniface Indian Industrial School in Banning, which operated from 1890 until 1952, remain buried at the former school’s cemetery on Gilman Street, west of 8th Street. (Photos by Joe Nelson)]

Among the crumbling ruins of the former St. Boniface Indian Industrial School in Banning is a fenced enclosure where broken, weathered and worn grave markers lie. A white, wooden cross looms over the cemetery, where the remains of more than a dozen Indigenous children remain buried and forgotten.

Nestled against a hillside, it is a somber reminder of the atrocities that once occurred there.

“Those of us who grew up on Indian reservations, we heard about St. Boniface. My…

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UN Rebukes Pope Francis on Child Sex Abuse – Again

GENEVA (SWITZERLAND)
The Open Tabernacle

July 3, 2021

By Betty Clermont

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A letter sent to the Vatican in April was published on the website of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on June 21. UN human rights experts expressed “utmost concern” about “the apparent pervasiveness of child sexual abuse cases” in the Catholic Church.

This was the third time during his pontificate that UN representatives made clear to Pope Francis the ways he has refused to protect our children and told him what measures needed to be taken.

UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

A UN Committee on the Rights of the Child issued a 15-page report on February 5, 2014. The Holy See had ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990. It was the first time a pope and his men had been called to account for their actions and omissions on protecting our children by an international body. The subject of the report…

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Long-awaited apology brings healing for abuse survivors

LEEDS (UNITED KINGDOM)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

June 30, 2021

By Catherine Pepinster

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Victims of abuse who endured assaults when they were pupils of a junior seminary have finally received an apology from the Church, more than 50 years after they were attacked.

The survivors, who all endured abuse at the hands of members of the Verona Fathers order of priests, received a heartfelt apology last week from the Bishop of Leeds, Martin Stock. He said he would raise their case with Pope Francis. He told them their abusers were people they should have been able to trust.

Eight of the survivors met Bishop Stock in person at Hinsley Hall, in Leeds, joined via Zoom by Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Charles Scicluna, an adviser on abuse to Pope Francis, as well as three other survivors.

Bishop Stock told them: “I wish to apologise to you personally and unreservedly for the childhood sexual abuse you suffered, and I wish to apologise also to…

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Sex abuse data from Poland’s Catholic Church is decades too late

WARSAW (POLAND)
Al Jazeera

July 4, 2021

By Victor Sande-Aneiros

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These figures detailing allegations of child sexual abuse by clergy do not tell the full story

Last Monday, Poland’s Catholic Church released new figures of the number of complaints it has received alleging sexual abuse at the hands of its clergy.

In total, 368 complaints were made to the Church between 2018 and 2020 relating to alleged abuse by more than 290 priests and other religious figures. The cases stretch as far back as 1958 and 173 of them concern children under the age of 15, which is the age of consent in Poland.

Following the release of these figures, the head of the Polish Catholic Church, Archbishop Wojciech Polak, apologised to survivors and asked for forgiveness. While some survivors will appreciate this, it does not excuse the fact that Poland’s church has arrived at the issue decades too late.

This is only the second time that Poland’s…

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July 4, 2021

Firefighters inspect the damage at the burned-out Roman Catholic St Jean Baptiste church in Morinville, Alberta, Canada. Photograph: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Burned churches stir deep Indigenous ambivalence over faith of forefathers

PENTICTON (CANADA)
The Guardian [London, England]

July 4, 2021

By Leyland Cecco

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[Photo above: Firefighters inspect the damage at the burned-out Roman Catholic St Jean Baptiste church in Morinville, Alberta, Canada. Photograph: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images]

After hundreds of unmarked graves were found at Canada’s former Catholic-run residential schools, churches in First Nations territories have been destroyed by suspected arson

For more than a century, the clapboard church set amid rolling hills in western Canada has been a spiritual home to the Upper Similkameen Indian Band.

To build St Anne’s, residents of Chuchuwayha Indian Reserve #2 travelled 40 miles to the closest town, hauling lumber back to their community by horse and wagon.

To reach its pews, generations of congregants would travel miles by foot, past ponderosa pine and sagebrush.

But early last Saturday, thick smoke filled the air and flames ripped through the ageing wooden structure near Hedley in British Columbia. By the time local fire crews…

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Church fires are latest chapter in unmarked grave scandal

PENTICTON (CANADA)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

July 1, 2021

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Churches are burning across western Canada in a spate of fires which local authorities are treating as suspicious, and which one local premier has identified as possible hate crime. 

The fires, which have damaged or destroyed at least seven churches in recent days, follow the still ongoing confirmation of hundreds of unmarked graves of First Nations children on the sites of residential schools operated by the Catholic Church throughout the twentieth century.

No direct link has been proven between the discovery of the unmarked graves and the church burnings, but the fires have mostly occurred on tribal lands, amid fierce criticism of the Catholic Church from many Canadians, and renewed expressions of pain by First Nations peoples over systematic injustices, both historic and recent.

As the situation continues to unfold, The Pillar brings you a brief guide to what has happened, and who has said what so far.

History

The residential schools…

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Fire Destroys Two Catholic Churches on Canadian Indigenous Land

PENTICTON (CANADA)
New York Times

June 22, 2021

By Dan Bilefsky

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Montreal – National Canadian police were investigating on Tuesday after two century-old Catholic churches burned to the ground within hours of one another on Indigenous lands in British Columbia.

Indigenous leaders said they were particularly disturbed by the timing of the fires, which took place on National Indigenous Peoples Day, which celebrates Indigenous culture. The fires come at a particularly raw moment, just weeks after the unmarked graves of 215 children were found near a former church-run school in British Columbia.

While the circumstances remained murky, investigators said one line of inquiry was arson, including the possibility that the Indigenous communities had been targeted.

Investigators said another possible motive was anger at the Roman Catholic Church. The two churches are about 120 miles from the Kamloops Indian Residential School, where the children’s graves were discovered on the grounds in May.

From 1883 until 1996, an estimated 150,000 Indigenous children were sent…

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Vatican indicts Cardinal Becciu, former officials involved in London deal

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

July 3, 2021

By Junno Arocho Esteves

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[Via Catholic Philly]

In an unprecedented move, Vatican prosecutors have indicted 10 individuals and entities, including Cardinal Angelo Becciu, former prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, on charges ranging from embezzlement to money laundering and abuse of office.

The indictment included charges against “ecclesiastical and lay personnel of the Secretariat of State and senior figures of the former Financial Information Authority, as well as external figures active in the world of international finance,” the Vatican said July 3.

Their trial at the Vatican was set to begin July 27.

In a statement released by his lawyers shortly after the announcement, Cardinal Becciu declared his “absolute innocence,” saying he was “the victim of a plot hatched against me.”

Cardinal Becciu said the accusations exposed him to “an unparalleled media pillory to which I did not defend myself, suffering in silence.” However, in November, he filed a lawsuit against the Italian…

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No queer person should face abuse I endured at College of the Ozarks

HOLLISTER (MO)
Springfield News-Leader [Springfield MO]

July 4, 2021

By Saren Craig

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I have been watching the College of the Ozarks lawsuit against the Biden administration over protections afforded to LGBTQ+ persons and cannot in good conscience keep silent about this very personal matter. I am a queer, non-binary trans person who was born an hour away from College of the Ozarks (C of O) on a cattle farm. My dad attended C of O, and it was expected that this was where I would go. I grew up in the ’80s and ’90s. My mother was a conservative Catholic and raised me in the church.

Although I wasn’t fully aware of my identity as a young child, I did get the message from my parents and my community that being LGBTQ wasn’t an option. I only started realizing I might be queer when it was used as a slur against me as a preteen. I was choked by some older boys…

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A Catholic Priest Admitted to Raping a Child. Because His Deposition Is Sealed, He Walks Free.

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Big Easy Magazine [New Orleans LA]

June 22, 2021

By Helen Lewis

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The Survivors of Childhood Sex Abuse (SCSA) issued a letter to various law enforcement officials requesting that they read the sealed deposition of accused child rapist, and former Catholic priest, Lawrence Hecker. 

The President of SCSA Richard Windmann explained that a “Federal Court in New Orleans, Louisiana has sealed a deposition in which a Catholic priest admitted to raping a child. Because the deposition is sealed by the court, this predator is a free man on the streets of our community, and no child is safe, and he has escaped Justice…In the original filing of the motion, the filing attorneys (who conducted the deposition) admitted that Lawrence Hecker admitted to raping a child.” The court ended up sealing the deposition because of the Archdiocese of New Orleans’s bankruptcy filing

Archbishop Aymond, who runs the Archdiocese of New Orleans, has repeatedly stated that the church cannot release personnel records…

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Tennessee abuse case settled after allegations ‘one of the most respected priests’ exploited adult converting to Catholicism

KNOXVILLE (TN)
Chattanooga Times Free Press [Chattanooga TN]

July 3, 2021

By Wyatt Massey

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The Roman Catholic Diocese of Knoxville has settled an abuse lawsuit against “one of the most respected priests in the diocese” who was accused of sexually exploiting an adult woman he converted to the Catholic faith in 2000.

In the lawsuit, Celeste Arnone accused the Rev. Michael Sweeney of sexual assault and exploitation, severe psychological distress, defamation, the loss of faith in God and the loss of her marriage. She also accused the diocese of negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress for its handling of her allegations after they were first reported.

“I hope my case will help survivors to, first of all, realize that this is not your fault, even if you might think it is, and it may take years to realize what actually did happen to you,” Arnone said in a statement to the Times Free Press.

The news comes as Pope Francis has moved to…

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July 3, 2021

Lansing Diocese deems abuse allegations against late Bishop as “credible”

LANSING (MI)
WILX - NBC 10 [Lansing MI]

July 2, 2021

By Krystle Holleman

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Friday the Diocese of Lansing announced it has deemed two allegations of sexual abuse leveled against the late Bishop James Sullivan as credible. Bishop Sullivan, who died of Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 76, was Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Lansing from 1972 to 1985. Sullivan then became Bishop of Fargo in North Dakota from 1985 to 2002.

Both accusations stem from the mid-1960′s when then-Father Sullivan was living at a parish in Lansing. Both male victims were subject to sexual grooming and inappropriate contact by Sullivan.

“Following investigation and review, the Diocese of Lansing has found two allegations against the late Bishop James Sullivan to be credible,” said David Kerr, spokesman for the Diocese of Lansing, July 2, 2021.

“Bishop Sullivan’s actions were gravely immoral, deeply scandalous and betrayed both the trust of the Catholic community within the Diocese of Lansing and, more significantly, the faith placed…

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Benedict XVI to mark 70 years as priest with brother’s choir

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Crux [Denver CO]

June 28, 2021

By Elise Ann Allen

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This week marks the 70th anniversary of retired Pope Benedict XVI’s ordination as a priest – an anniversary his personal secretary says will be celebrated with things of personal significance: The liturgy, and former members of his late brother’s choir.

Speaking to Rome Reports, German Archbishop Georg Gänswein, head of the Prefecture for the Papal Household and Benedict XVI’s personal secretary, said the choir was a surprise for Benedict.

For Benedict XVI, “surprises are always related to the liturgy,” Gänswein said, noting that for the June 29 anniversary, “We’ve invited a group of former members of the choir from Regensburg who learned to sing alongside his brother.”

By now, the chorists, who were children at the time of their participation in the Regensburg choir, are between 40 and 60 years old, and “some of them will sing in the chapel during Mass,” Gänswein said.

Gänswein was among the speakers for a…

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Vatican indicts 10 people, including a cardinal, in UK deal

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

July 3, 2021

By Nicole Winfield

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A Vatican judge on Saturday indicted 10 people, including a once-powerful cardinal, on charges including embezzlement, abuse of office, extortion and fraud in connection with the Secretariat of State’s 350 million-euro investment in a London real estate venture.

The president of the Vatican’s criminal tribunal, Giuseppe Pignatone, set July 27 as the trial date, according to a Vatican press statement.

The indictments were handed down following a sprawling, two-year investigation into how the Secretariat of State managed its vast asset portfolio, much of which is funded by the Peter’s Pence donations from the faithful. The scandal has resulted in a sharp reduction in donations and prompted Pope Francis to strip the office of its ability to manage the money.

Five former Vatican officials, including Cardinal Angelo Becciu and two officials from the Secretariat of State, were indicted, as well as Italian businessmen who handled the London investment.

Also indicted on…

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LA Judge Rules Childhood Sex Abuse Statute Allowing Triple Damages for Cover Up Unconstitutional

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Legal Examiner - Saunders & Walker [Pinellas Park FL]

July 2, 2021

By Joseph H. Saunders

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The Judge handling the coordinated Clergy childhood sex abuse cases in Los Angeles and Orange Counties ruled on June 11, 2021 that California Statute, CCP 340.1(b)(1) is unconstitutionally vague and that it violates the ex post facto clauses of the state and federal constitutions. The ruling let stand the core of CCP 340.1 which provides a window in the Statute of Limitations for survivors of childhood sex abuse to bring cases from years or decades ago that would have otherwise been time barred.  Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed by survivors of childhood sex abuse since AB 218 was passed by the California Legislature and signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2019.

The section of Statute 340 that was stricken states:

(b) (1) In an action described in subdivision (a), a person who is sexually assaulted and proves it was as the result of a cover up may recover up…

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July 2, 2021

The Catholic Diocese of Lansing determined allegations against the late Bishop James Sullivan, accused of abusing two boys, to be credible.

Sexual abuse allegations against late Lansing priest deemed credible

LANSING (MI)
Lansing State Journal [Lansing MI]

July 2, 2021

By Mark Johnson

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[Photo above: The Catholic Diocese of Lansing determined allegations against the late Bishop James Sullivan, accused of abusing two boys, to be credible.]

LANSING —The Catholic Diocese of Lansing determined allegations against the late Bishop James Sullivan, who is accused of sexually abusing two boys, to be credible.

Sullivan, who died in 2006, was the auxiliary bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Lansing from 1972 to 1985 before leaving to become bishop in Fargo, North Dakota from 1985 to 2002, according to a Diocese of Lansing press release issued Friday. 

The Diocese of Lansing launched an investigation in July 2020 after the Michigan Attorney General provided it with abuse allegations against Sullivan. A second allegation emerged during a probe led by a private investigator.

In 1964, Sullivan inappropriately touched a boy, who was 12 years old at the time, according to the press release, and subjected the boy to “uninvited sexualized conversations.” The…

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