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.

April 3, 2021

Vatican statistics show continued growth in number of Catholics worldwide

(ITALY)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

March 26, 2021

By Carol Glatz

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The number of Catholics and permanent deacons in the world has shown steady growth, while the number of religious men and women continued to decrease, according to Vatican statistics.

At the end of 2019, the worldwide Catholic population exceeded 1.34 billion, which continued to be about 17.7% of the world’s population, said an article published March 26 in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

It marked an increase of 16 million Catholics — a 1.12% increase compared to 2018 while the world’s population grew by 1.08%.

The article contained a handful of the statistics in the Statistical Yearbook of the Church, which reported worldwide church figures as of Dec. 31, 2019. It also announced the publication of the 2021 “Annuario Pontificio,” a volume containing information about every Vatican office, as well as every diocese and religious order in the world.

According to the statistical yearbook, the number of Catholics increased in…

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American Catholicism: Headed Towards a Dead End

ATLANTA (GA)
The Open Tabernacle

April 3, 2021

By Betty Clermont

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Although “nearly one-third of American adults (31.7%) say they were raised Catholic, only about one in five (20.8%) identified as Catholic” in a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. “The share of adults who identify as Christians fell from 78% to just under 71%” between 2007 and 2014. But “within Christianity the greatest net losses, by far, have been experienced by Catholics,” according to the “America’s Changing Religious Landscape” study.

The survey also showed that – since 34% of Catholics were Latino and 8% Black, Asian or other – the number of white Catholics had fallen to less than 12% of the population.

An update on the “America’s Changing Religious Landscape” study was published in October 2019. “Catholics no longer constitute a majority of the U.S. Hispanic population …. 47% of Hispanics described themselves as Catholic, down from 57% a decade ago,” Pew stated. This decline occurred while the U.S….

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Disgraced Palmerston North bishop’s future lies with the Vatican

WELLINGTON (NEW ZEALAND)
Stuff [Wellington, New Zealand]

March 26, 2021

By George Heagney

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The disgraced bishop of Palmerston North, Charles Drennan, still retains his title, but must follow conditions imposed on him by the Vatican, a commission has heard.

Cardinal John Dew apologised to victims of abuse from the Catholic Church at the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care on Friday and he also discussed Drennan’s resignation.

Drennan resigned as Palmerston North bishop in October 2019 after allegations involving an inappropriate relationship and harm of a young woman who was not a minor.

Drennan has not been laicised, which is the loss of clerical character but not the same as resignation, and remains a bishop, but must operate under conditions imposed by the Vatican.

“He was to move out of the diocese of Palmerston North and find accommodation outside the dioceses,” Dew said. “He is not to participate in any public ministry whatsoever.

“He is not to wear any episcopal attire or similar…

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Why is New Zealand bishop accused of sexual misconduct still a bishop?

AUCKLAND (NEW ZEALAND)
La Croix International [France]

March 31, 2021

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“They (the Vatican) have all the information from the investigation. I really don’t know why he is still a bishop,” says Cardinal John Dew of Wellington

New Zealand Cardinal John Dew is wondering why former Bishop Charles Drennan of Palmerston North, who resigned over allegations of sexual misconduct with a young woman, still remains a bishop.

Pope Francis October 4 accepted Drennan’s resignation over allegations of engaging in “unacceptable behavior of a sexual nature.” The behavior was not with a minor, nor criminal.

The New Zealand Catholic Church’s independent investigation body, the National Office of Professional Standards, had already contracted a licensed investigator to undertake an investigation under the oversight of Cardinal Dew, archbishop of Wellington.

Both Bishop Drennan and the young woman participated in the independent investigation.

Cardinal Dew in answer to questions from counsel Sally McKechnie at the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care pointed out that the…

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Vatican sanctions two Polish bishops for mishandling abuse cases

WARSAW (POLAND)
La Croix International [France]

March 31, 2021

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The retired archbishop of Gdansk and ousted bishop of Kalisz are banished from public events and fined for covering up sex abuse cases

The Holy See has placed sanctions on two controversial bishops in Poland following investigations that revealed both prelates badly mishandled cases of priests who sexually abused minors.

Archbishop Slawoj Leszek Glódz, who led the Archdiocese of Gdansk from 2008 until his retirement last August at age 75, was charged with “negligence”.

Bishop Edward Janiak, who was appointed to the Diocese of Kalisz in 2012, was forced to resign last October. But he had already been stripped of his authority last June for mishandling numerous cases of clergy sex abuse and the diocese was put under the leadership of a temporary administrator.

The Polish Bishops’ Conference said the Holy See ordered both men to leave their former dioceses. The Vatican also informed them they could not participate in…

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April 2, 2021

Sex-Abuse Victims Duel With Boy Scouts for Right to Steer Bankruptcy

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Wall Street Journal [New York NY]

April 2, 2021

By Peg Brickley

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Victims of childhood sexual abuse want to offer a rival reorganization plan for the Scouts, saying they haven’t come up with a viable settlement

Victims of childhood sexual abuse are challenging the Boy Scouts of America for control of the youth group’s multibillion-dollar bankruptcy case, saying they can save scouting’s future while compensating those who have suffered from its history of abuse.

An official committee representing sex-abuse victims said that because the Boy Scouts have been unable to come up with a viable settlement offer, victims themselves should be able to float a competing chapter 11 plan.

“The committee filed this motion because abuse survivors are not fairly treated under the Boy Scouts proposed plan,” said James Stang, lawyer for the committee.

The Boy Scouts have said they need to exit chapter 11 by the end of the summer for financial reasons, but don’t have the support of victims’ groups,…

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The former St. Joseph’s Catholic Orphanage in Burlington where the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington used to be headquartered. Seen on Thursday, November 14, 2019. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

Former residents of St. Joseph’s Orphanage recount horrific abuse, want day in court

BURLINGTON (VT)
VTDigger [Vermont]

April 1, 2021

By Alan Keays

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[Photo above: The former St. Joseph’s Catholic Orphanage in Burlington where the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington used to be headquartered. Seen on Thursday, November 14, 2019. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger]

Several former residents of the St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington spoke of the abuse they suffered there and urged the Legislature to eliminate the statute of limitations for civil claims of childhood physical abuse.

They would also like to see the legislation go further and allow civil claims of childhood emotional abuse. 

Linda Crossman, a member of Voices of St. Joseph’s, was among the former residents who urged expanding the legislation to include emotional abuse.

“What does it hurt?” she asked members of the Senate Judiciary Committee during a video hearing Thursday on bill S.99. “It hurts nobody. It can only help someone.”

Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, the committee chair, said Thursday the panel was still working on the…

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Victims try new tactic: writing to church employees

COLUMBIA (MO)
SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [St. Louis MO]

March 29, 2021

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Victims try new tactic: writing to church employees

Group finds two more local predators; total is now nine

Diocese is ‘silent’ about 1 who was ousted 2 years ago

SNAP nicknames Jeff City Bishop ‘Minimum’ McKnight

Stats: Mid-MO diocese has most abusers per parishioner

WHAT:

Holding signs, childhood photos and a large map of Boone County at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will disclose that

  • ten credibly accused predator priests are/were in Boone Co.,
  • mid-MO has the highest rate of predator priests in the state, and
  • bypassing mid-MO’s bishop, the group is writing to dozens of Boone County church staff about predator priests.

The victims will also demand that Jeff City’s Catholic bishop

  • tell the public more about a priest accused two years ago,
  • add more priests to his ‘credibly accused’ website list, and
  • post more details about all child molesting clerics, like other bishops do (like photos and work histories).

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Former Priest Calls to Reform the Catholic Church

BOSTON (MA)
Amanpour and Company (PBS)

March 24, 2021

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[VIDEO]

The battle to reform the Catholic Church has been plagued by a long-running sexual abuse crisis. Author, historian and journalist James Carroll argues that male dominance is the root cause of the church’s issues. His new memoir, “The Truth at the Heart of the Lie,” links his own crisis of faith as a priest to the history of the church itself. He joins Michel Martin to discuss his call for reform.

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New Zealand cardinal says church ‘ashamed and saddened’ by abuse

AUCKLAND (NEW ZEALAND)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

March 23, 2021

By Michael Otto

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Cardinal John Dew told a royal commission of inquiry that the Catholic Church in New Zealand is ashamed and saddened that people suffered abuse while in its care.

The cardinal spoke during opening statements by the Catholic Church at the second phase of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care’s hearing on redress in Auckland March 22.

“Our hope is that this commission will lead us and help us to be a better church — and that is a church (in which) this disgrace of abuse will be addressed, will cease, and our church will always be a church that gives life and hope. That’s our mission as a church.

“It is always to give life, the life that Christ offers us. We know that, in this, we still have much to learn.”

In preceding days, the hearing heard from representatives of the Salvation Army and the Anglican…

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Pope appoints abuse victim to top safeguarding role

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

April 1, 2021

By Christopher Lamb

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In 2018, when the Pope visited Chile, he dismissed as “slander” the allegations of Juan Carlos Cruz that a bishop had covered up abuse by Fernando Karadima. 

Cruz and two others had bravely come forward with details of abuse perpetrated against them by Karadima, then a highly-respected and powerful priest. They had faced attacks, criticism and a refusal from the church hierarchy to believe them. 

Following his Chile trip, Francis realised he had made a bad misjudgment, commissioned an investigation, and apologised to Cruz and the other survivors. 

Three years on, Cruz, an international advocate for survivors of clerical abuse, has been appointed by the Pope as a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. It is quite a turnaround and comes seven years after two Chilean cardinals managed to block an earlier attempt to appoint him to the safeguarding advisory body

The reversal is…

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Judge temporarily blocks 36 clergy abuse claims, citing threat to Buffalo Diocese bankruptcy case

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

April 1, 2021

By Jay Tokasz

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A federal bankruptcy judge has temporarily blocked three dozen Child Victims Act cases against area Catholic parishes and schools from moving forward in State Supreme Court.

The judge put the 36 cases on hold until Oct. 1, saying their advancement now would threaten the Buffalo Diocese’s bankruptcy reorganization effort.

“At a time when the vast majority of interested parties are working to find a way for the debtor to reorganize, the distraction of state court litigation for the benefit of a few will endanger the prospects of an outcome for the benefit of everyone,” said Chief Judge Carl L. Bucki of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Western District of New York in a written ruling Wednesday.

A Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in 2020 automatically stopped 260 Child Victims Act lawsuits against the diocese from advancing in state courts. Catholic parishes, schools and other entities that are separate nonprofit corporations…

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April 1, 2021

Billy Dinkel is pictured Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, on land he owns near Long Prairie. -- Dave Schwartz, Dschwartz@stcloudtimes.com

Is this the year Minnesota gets rid of the statute of limitations on sexual assault?

ST. CLOUD (MN)
Saint Cloud Times [Saint Cloud MN]

March 31, 2021

By Nora G. Hertel

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[Photo above: Billy Dinkel is pictured here Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, on land he owns near Long Prairie. – Dave Schwartz, Dschwartz@stcloudtimes.com]

People who commit sexual assault will be at risk of criminal charges for the rest of their lives if a bill to eliminate Minnesota’s statute of limitations on rape and other sex crimes gets enough support in the Legislature. 

William Dinkel, a survivor of child sexual abuse and a Long Prairie native, has advocated for the policy. 

A law change will send a message to victims that the justice system and the government care about them and want justice, Dinkel said Tuesday.

“It also sends a message to abusers: ‘We’re not going to take this anymore. Sexual abuse is as important as murder. And we’re going to find out who you are and we’re going to come after you. We’re going to listen to victims and we’re going to come after…

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Colorado Lawmaker Shares Story Of Rape As Legislature Eliminates Statute of Limitations Ending 30 Year Battle

DENVER (CO)
CBS Denver [KCNC-TV, Denver CO]

March 30, 2021

By Shaun Boyd

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The state legislature passed a bill which allows survivors of sexual assault to sue their perpetrators no matter how much time has passed. The bill eliminates the statute of limitations in civil cases.

Survivors have been trying to pass the bill for 30 years, telling their stories year after year. This year, a state lawmaker was among them.

“I was 14 when I was raped, and I remember every single moment,” Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet said on the floor of the House. For years, she told no one. She broke her silence as her bill appeared in danger of failing. She says sexual assault causes lifelong trauma.

“For the first time since I was 14, and I’m 48, I am able to do things I haven’t been able to do because of the attack. Every relationship – every single relationship – after that experience was impacted.”

Yet, she says,…

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Daniel Ford: A progress report on diocese’s abuse response task force

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Berkshire Eagle [Pittsfield MA]

March 31, 2021

By Daniel Ford

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Last fall, in my capacity as chair of the Independent Task Force on the Response to Sexual Abuse within the Diocese of Springfield, I wrote an op-ed providing an overview of the work the task force was undertaking with emphasis on the stakeholder input that we would be seeking.

I write now to affirm that the task force has been actively engaged and has made excellent progress in our data collection endeavor and in other phases of our work.

First, as we announced at a press conference on Jan. 8, we engaged the services of Stop It Now!, an independent professional organization in Northampton, to conduct focus groups with survivors of clergy sexual abuse. Obviously, there is no more important group from whom we need input than the men and women who have been sexually victimized by priests and other diocesan employees. We expect to…

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Seminaries and Child Sexual Abuse Risk: Equipping ministry leaders

DALLAS (TX)
Church Executive

March 31, 2021

By Kimberlee Norris & Gregory Love

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SEXUAL ABUSE ALLEGATIONS continue to make headlines, and subsequent media coverage indicates that ministry leaders tend to be unprepared for child sexual abuse issues.

Unfortunately, this lack of awareness is not unusual.

Earlier articles in this series introduced topics that church leaders must understand and apply, if children are to be effectively protected from this known risk. (To access them all, download the Stop Sexual Abuse eBook.) This writing is intended to guide ministry leaders to current resources providing a more thorough coverage of the critical concepts introduced earlier in the series. 

As Christ-followers, attorneys and child sexual abuse experts, we created MinistrySafe to raise awareness and provide effective resources to prevent sexual abuse in ministry contexts. We believe it’s imperative that ministry leaders better understand sexual abuse in order to prevent it, properly respond to it, and provide appropriate care for abuse survivors.  

How can future ministry…

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Attorney: Possible Fourth Pfleger Accuser

CHICAGO (IL)
WLS-AM [Chicago IL]

March 31, 2021

By Nick Gale

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Attorney for two brothers accusing Pfleger of abuse says CPD is looking at a fourth possible complaint.

There is a possible fourth person alleging abuse by St. Sabina’s father Michael Pfleger.

Attorney Eugene Hollander, who is representing two brother alleging abuse over 40 years ago, tells The Bruce St. James Show on WLS 890-AM, that in addition to the brothers, there is a third unnamed accuser and possibly a fourth.

“First of all, we have not just the brothers, but a third victim has come forward and said that he was sexually assaulted by Father Pfleger,” Hollander said. “Additionally, I’ve been in communication with the Chicago Police Department, a detective, who told me there is in fact a fourth victim who made a complaint to DCFS and it was turned over to the Chicago Police Department.”

Hollander adds he has no additional details about the complaint.

Meanwhile, his two clients…

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Fourth Victim Alleges Sex Abuse By Father Pfleger, Attorney Says

CHICAGO (IL)
The Patch [Chicago IL]

March 31, 2021

By Mark Konkol

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Two men who claim St. Sabina’s activist priest the Rev. Michael Pfleger sexually abused them in the 1970s took lie-detector tests.

Two men who say St. Sabina’s activist priest, the Rev. Michael Pfleger, of sexual abuse in the 1970s have taken lie-detector tests in hopes of strengthening their accusations.

On Tuesday, Attorney Eugene Hollander also told WLS AM 890 morning show host Bruce St. James the brothers who are now in their 60s “wanted to use every means at their disposal to get the truth out there and show the St. Sabina community, the Archdiocese of Chicago and the independent review board that they’re telling the truth,” about their claims Pfleger assaulted them in the 1970s.

Hollander said the victims also want Pfleger to submit to a lie-detector test.

“We want Father Pfleger to tell the truth here,” he said. “We want him to submit to a polygraph exam.”

Pfleger’s…

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Exclusive: Brothers Who Accused Pfleger of Abuse Took Polygraph Test, They Say

CHICAGO (IL)
NBC Chicago [WMAQ-TV]

March 30, 2021

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Such tests are not admissible in Illinois courts, however

Two brothers who accused St. Sabina Church leader Rev. Michael Pfleger of sexual misconduct say they have taken and passed lie detector tests in wake of what they described as attacks on their credibility, but Pfleger’s attorneys are raising their own questions.

The brothers, who live in Texas and spoke exclusively to NBC Chicago, said they chose to take polygraph exams on their own to help quell credibility concerns sparked by members of St. Sabina Church. Such tests are not admissible in Illinois courts, however.

“We can’t even get our own community to believe,” the older of the two brothers said.

The brothers, who are in their 60s and have not yet publicly identified themselves, have accused Pfleger of sexually abusing them decades ago. They allege that Pfleger groomed them as children and abused them at Chicago-area rectories. Their attorney, Eugene Hollander,…

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Analyzing Diocese of Camden’s List of Priests Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse

CAMDEN (NJ)
AdamHorowitzLaw.com

March 31, 2021

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A startling fact jumps out when you review the list of priests credibly accused of child sexual abuse in the Diocese of Camden New Jersey: Many of them are still alive.

So one or more of them could have raped a girl yesterday, groped a boy last night or is grooming an unsuspecting family full of kids right now.

The only silver lining here is that since they’re alive, they might still be prosecuted, convicted, jailed and kept away from kids.

This is one reason why you should come forward now if you saw, suspected or suffered ANY wrongdoing by ANY current or former Camden area clerics.

There are actually LOTS of reasons to come forward now. But here’s one you may not be aware of: victims of Camden clergy face an impending deadline.

On June 30, 2021 the Camden diocesan bankruptcy window closes. If you come forward before…

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Amendment Allowing Child Sexual Abuse Survivors To Sue Perpetrators Could Be Years Away

HARRISBURG (PA)
WESA [Pittsburgh PA]

March 30, 2021

By Kevin Gavin, Marylee Williams, Laura Tsutsui & Isabelle Schmeler

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On today’s program: Survivors of clergy sexual abuse may have to wait two more years for a chance to sue their abusers; the organizer of a Pittsburgh “Stop Asian Hate” protests explains why it took a mass shooting for some to mobilize; and a local theater group is using the postal service to share art with others.

[AUDIOSome survivors of sexual abuse are still waiting for the chance to sue perpetrators
(0:00 — 7:30)]

Commonwealth residents who were the victims of clergy sexual abuse could end up waiting two years or more before they get special legal window to pursue civil cases against their abusers. 

This came after the Wolf administration failed to provide proper public notice of an amendment passed by the legislature to be on the May ballot.

Then the state Senate halted an emergency measure to amend the state constitution. 

“After careful consideration, it has been determined…

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Kanakuk Kamps Abuse Reexamined In New Report

BRANSON (MO)
Christianity Today

March 28, 2021

By Kate Shellnut

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Eleven years later, an investigation by David and Nancy French plus a site for victims try to grasp the extent of predatory behavior by a longtime camp director.

Former Kanakuk director Pete Newman has been in prison since 2010 for abusing boys from the popular Christian summer camp, but a recent report and petition say the public still doesn’t know the extent of the child sex abuse that went on there.

While 19 victims were identified in the initial investigation against Newman, a civil complaint tallied at least 57, and a prosecutor in the case estimates there could be hundreds over Newman’s 15 years at the Missouri camp, according to a report published Sunday by David French and Nancy French through the conservative outlet The Dispatch.

The Frenches’ investigation noted how the number of Kanakuk victims who have come forward over the years remains unknown. Many have been settled complaints with…

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Returning to Kamp Kanakuk: Is this new expose a work of journalism, theology or both?

WASHINGTON (DC)
Get Religion

March 29, 2021

By Terry Mattingly

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Readers with long memories will recall that, when the Internet arrived it had an immediate impact on important subjects that rarely received adequate coverage in mainstream media.

Take religion, for example. The lower cost of publishing online led to an explosion of forums, listservs, newsletters, online “radio” channels, podcasts and weblogs. Some failed or evolved into new forms — consider the long and complicated histories of Beliefnet and Patheos — and others became, well, normal.

Now, in the “cancel culture” era, it’s clear that another example of online evolution is affecting serious coverage of religion, as well as other complicated topics.

I am referring to the controversies surrounding Substack and the myriad newsletters and alternative publications thriving there. For a sample of the fea paranoia surrounding Substack, click into this thread from a professor at the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry or read between the lines of this…

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‘They Aren’t Who You Think They Are’

BRANSON (MO)
The Dispatch [blog]

March 28, 2021

By David French and Nancy French

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The inside story of how Kanakuk—one of America’s largest Christian camps—enabled horrific abuse.

The first thing you need to know about Pete Newman is that people loved him. He has olive skin, dark hair, and thick eyebrows that generated good-natured “unibrow” teasing. Girls wanted to date him, guys wanted to be him, and children wanted to follow him.

He was a camp director at Kanakuk Kamps, one of the largest Christian camps in the world. Kanakuk is an immense operation. Since its founding in 1926, it claims to have served more than 450,000 campers. Its main campus is located outside of Branson, Missouri, but it has international reach. Every summer approximately 20,000 kids pass through its gates, and the institution is particularly prominent with the Evangelical elite. 

Newman was the camp’s rock star. A person who went to Auburn University with Newman said, memorably, “If Jesus and Pete walked into…

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Catholic Church: No evidence to support allegations against priest

PORT OF SPAIN (TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO)
Loop [Trinidad and Tobago]

March 31, 2021

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The Archdiocese of Port of Spain said an investigation has found there to be no evidence to support or substantiate the claims made by a woman against a priest in an online video.

Earlier this month, the Catholic Church announced a probe into the claims made by the woman.

In the five-minute viral video, the woman accused the priest of misusing his office in a number of ways.

She claimed that after being unjustly fired from her job as a security guard at the church, she felt compelled to speak out. 

In a statement on Tuesday, the Archdiocese of Port of Spain said an independent investigation by a team of professionals was conducted, and a detailed report submitted.

It said the investigation has found there to be no evidence to support the woman’s claims.

The church added that it is concerned for the well-being of all persons involved and will continue to…

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RC Church: No truth to allegations against priest

PORT OF SPAIN (TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO)
Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

March 31, 2021

By Laurel V. Williams

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The RC Archdiocese of Port of Spain has cleared a priest of allegations made against him by a woman.

On Tuesday, the archdiocese issued a public notice, which it shared on its social media accounts, including Twitter and Facebook.

It said further to the publication of an online video making allegations against the RC priest, what it described as an independent investigation by a team of professionals had been carried out, and a detailed report submitted.

“The investigation has found there to be no evidence to support or substantiate the claims made in the video,” the notice said.

“The Church is concerned for the well-being of all people involved and will continue to provide prayerful support. Gratitude is extended to the persons who assisted in the investigations.”

A woman in a video which began circulating on social media a few weeks ago accused the priest of getting her fired “for…

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Retired Archbishop Charles Chaput tackles life’s central message in latest book: ‘Things worth dying for: Thoughts on a life worth living’

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Dialog [Diocese of Wilmington DE]

March 30, 2021

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On a practical level, retired Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia said he wrote his new book, “Things Worth Dying For: Thoughts on a Life Worth Living,” because his publisher was actively “trying to get me to write in my old age.”

He has three previous books — on living the Catholic faith in a post-Christian world, rediscovering the basics of the faith and living our Catholic beliefs in political life to serve the nation.

In his new 240-page work, just published by Henry Holt, he tackles life’s central questions: why we’re here, how we can “live and die meaningfully” and “the important things we Christians should be willing to die for.”

Archbishop Chaput told Catholic News Service he hopes that after reading his latest book, “anybody who is a serious Christian will take the Gospel more seriously, their lives more seriously and the world around…

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Colorado will give sex assault victims unlimited time to sue abusers

DENVER (CO)
Colorado Sun [Denver CO]

March 31, 2021

By Jesse Paul

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Bill headed to Polis’ desk would eliminate statute of limitations for child sex cases

Colorado will give recent and future sexual assault survivors, including those molested as children, unlimited time to sue their abusers. But a separate effort to give victims of historic abuse an opportunity to take legal action remains pending and uncertain.

State lawmakers on Tuesday sent Senate Bill 73, which would eliminate the civil statute of limitations for sexual assault cases, to Gov. Jared Polis, who says he will sign the measure into law.

Legislation eliminating the civil statute of limitations for sexual assault cases has repeatedly failed in the Colorado General Assembly, including at least three times in the 15 years preceding the 2021 lawmaking term. But following a 2019 report on widespread child sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Colorado, the effort gained new steam.

“I’m truly speechless,” said state Rep. Matt Soper, a Delta…

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Funding to support abuse survivors should be ‘guaranteed’

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

March 31, 2021

By Cormac McQuinn

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Reports says many survivors will need ongoing supports when State body closes down

The need for funding to support survivors of abuse to be “guaranteed” and “not voluntary” is among the recommendations for Government in a report evaluating the work of the State body set up to help them.

The findings of the review were sent to the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee, which has been examining the organisation.

The report outlines how Caranua did not receive any public funding for its work providing grants relating to housing, education, health and wellbeing for survivors of child abuse in church-run institutions.

Instead, it was funded by the voluntary contributions sought by the Government from religious organisations in 2009 following the publication of the Ryan report on abuse.

The report on Caranua said that the funding from congregations was provided on an “ad-hoc basis” and this approach caused “particular issues for Caranua in…

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Abuse in care Royal Commission: Churches largely back calls for redress organisation

AUCKLAND (NEW ZEALAND)
Radio New Zealand [Wellington, New Zealand]

March 30, 2021

By Andrew McRae

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Survivors of abuse and the network groups that support them all agree on one thing: The urgent need for an independent statutory body to oversee the redress process for victim

They want the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care to make a recommendation to the government as soon as possible and not wait for its redress recommendations due by the end of the year.

The commission in late 2020 held the first of two public hearings on redress after abuse in faith-based institutions, New Zealand’s churches and entities they control.

The first heard from survivors and the most recent, which ended on Monday, was the turn of the Salvation Army and the Anglican and Catholic Churches to respond.

What the survivor networks says

The Network of Survivors of Abuse in Faith-Based Institutions said current processes were fatally flawed.Liz Tonks from Network of Survivors of abuse...</p>
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March 31, 2021

Kevin Waldrip, left, with Robert Hoatson of Road to Recovery.

Obituary of Kevin Paul Waldrip – February 1, 1951 – March 30, 2021

MATAWAN (NJ)
Road to Recovery [Livingston NJ]

March 31, 2021

By Robert M. Hoatson, President, Road to Recovery

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[Photo above: Kevin Waldrip, left, and Bob Hoatson of Road to Recovery. Kevin died Monday, March 30. Said Hoatson: “There was never a protest too cold or warm or far away that Kevin did not volunteer for.  He helped thousands of fellow victim/survivors get on the road to recovery.”]

Kevin Paul Waldrip, 70, of Matawan, New Jersey, died on March 30, 2021 in Old Bridge Raritan Bay Hospital, Old Bridge, New Jersey.  Kevin was born on February 1, 1951 in Newark, New Jersey and lived for the first several years of his life in the Archbishop Thomas J. Walsh Homes in North Newark, a projects-styled housing complex.

His family then moved to the neighborhood surrounding Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish on Summer Avenue.  Kevin attended Our Lady of Good Counsel Elementary School, graduating in 1965 along with his childhood friend of over 60 years, Stephen Novosedlik.  Steve and Kevin…

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Diana Almader-Douglas and "Jane Doe" stand outside of St. Bernard Catholic Church in Pirtleville, Arizona, at their first communion. Almader-Douglas came forward in 2019 and said she was sexually abused by Father Charles Knapp, a full-time retired priest with the Diocese of Tucson. -- Forester Haynie

Lawsuit accuses Tucson priests of sexually abusing minors decades ago in southern Arizona

TUCSON (AZ)

March 31, 2021

By Audrey Jensen

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[Photo above: Diana Almader-Douglas and “Jane Doe” stand outside of St. Bernard Catholic Church in Pirtleville, Arizona, at their first communion. Almader-Douglas came forward in 2019 and said she was sexually abused by Father Charles Knapp, a full-time retired priest with the Diocese of Tucson. — Forester Haynie]

A third victim has come forward in a federal lawsuit accusing Catholic priests of sexual abuse of minors across southern Arizona in the 1970s and 1980s.

Initially filed in December, the lawsuit claims that the Tucson Diocese and Los Angeles Archdiocese covered up abuse and moved priests around instead of reporting them to law enforcement.

The racketeering lawsuit was filed following a change to the Arizona Child Victims Act, which increases the statute of limitations for survivors of childhood sexual abuse from age 20 to 30 and allowed adults older than 30 to file claims up until Dec. 31,…

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Long Island Catholic Diocese Sells Headquarters for $5.2M After Filing Bankruptcy

ROCKVILLE CENTRE (NY)
Daily Voice Suffolk County [Long Island NY]

March 30, 2021

By Kathy Reakes

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The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre on Long Island has sold its headquarters for $5.2 million in an effort to compensate its creditors.

The property in Rockville Centre, at 50 North Park Ave., was purchased by Synergy Holding Partners, which includes a five-story office building and a parking lot, said Sean P. Dolan, director of communications for the Diocese. 

As part of the agreement, the diocese will continue to occupy the building until August 31, while it completes its transition to new facilities. 

The diocese, home to 1.4 million Catholics on Long Island, declared bankruptcy in October after it was hit with more than 200 lawsuits under the state’s Child Victim’s Act which covers victims of sexual abuse. 

Although Dolan said the monies will be used to pay creditors, he did not specify if the money would be used to pay off the many lawsuits under the Child Victim’s Act.

The…

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After decades of debate, Colorado will give sex assault victims unlimited time to sue their abusers

DENVER (CO)
Colorado Sun [Denver CO]

March 30, 2021

By Jesse Paul

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Senate Bill 73 is on its way to Gov. Jared Polis’ desk and would eliminate Colorado’s six-year statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims

Colorado will give recent and future sexual assault survivors, including those molested as children, unlimited time to sue their abusers. But a separate effort to give victims of historic abuse an opportunity to take legal action remains pending and uncertain.

State lawmakers on Tuesday sent Senate Bill 73, which would eliminate the civil statute of limitations for sexual assault cases, to Gov. Jared Polis, who says he will sign the measure into law.

Legislation eliminating the civil statute of limitations for sexual assault cases has repeatedly failed in the Colorado General Assembly, including at least three times in the 15 years preceding the 2021 lawmaking term. But following a 2019 report on widespread child sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Colorado, the effort gained new steam. 

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Monsignor Francis Boyle was cleared by Vatican of sex-abuse charges months before his death

(NY)
Staten Island Advance [Staten Island NY]

March 30, 2021

By Maura Grunlund

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Six months before his death, the Vatican cleared a former prominent cleric on Staten Island of sex-abuse charges that previously were deemed credible in an independent review process sponsored by the Archdiocese of New York, according to reports in Catholic New York.

The Holy See restored the good name and priestly status of Monsignor Francis Boyle several months before his death on March 13 and years after his stunning fall from grace amid the Roman Catholic church’s sex-abuse scandal.

Monsignor Boyle was a priest for about 40 years when he was named a monsignor in 1995 while at Blessed Sacrament R.C. Church in West Brighton, where he assumed the pastorship in January 1991. He retired in July 2004 and transitioned to the role of pastor emeritus for the parish.

The monsignor, who held powerful positions within the archdiocese for decades, died at age 91 after residing at St. John Vianney…

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Diocese of Lafayette must give some information in sex abuse lawsuit, court rules

LAFAYETTE (LA)
Daily Advertiser [Lafayette LA]

March 31, 2021

By Ashley White

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A Louisiana appellate court ruled the Diocese of Lafayette must give information to a woman’s lawyer who has filed a lawsuit against the church and a former priest. 

The Third Circuit Court of Appeal said in its ruling last week that the diocese must respond to some questions before a Lafayette Parish judge can rule whether the lawsuit was brought forward in a timely fashion. 

The questions are being asked by the lawyer of a woman, named only as TM Doe, who is suing the Diocese of Lafayette and Msgr. Robie Robichaux for damages after the woman claimed Robichaux abused her as a teen. 

Robichaux was placed on leave in October 2018 after sexual abuse claims were brought against him. At least two victims have come forward and reported sexual abuse against Robichaux. He was on the Diocese of Lafayette’s list of credibly accused priests that was released in April 2019.

What…

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Amid hefty legal fees, Buffalo diocese cuts Catholic school spending

BUFFALO (NY)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

March 30, 2021

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Following its bankruptcy filing last year, the Diocese of Buffalo, New York has cut spending on some of its Catholic schools. 

The cuts are part of broader cost-saving measures, which include nearly $10 million in reductions in operations expenses such as pastoral costs, ministerial support, and religious development. 

The Buffalo News reported that the diocese spent $3.8 million on bankruptcy-related expenses in its first year of bankruptcy. This amount nearly rivals its budget for the diocese’s 34 Catholic elementary schools.

The subsidiaries for the diocese’s schools are funded by school assessment fees, which are taken from parishes without education systems and then redistributed to parishes with schools.

The diocese collected $1.9 million in assessment fees taken from March until August last year. It has provided about $460,000 in elementary school funding since the diocese filed for bankruptcy in February 2020. 

Charles Mendolera, executive director of financial administration for the diocese,…

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Our Opinion: Close the child-abuse loophole

JEFFERSON CITY (MO)
News Tribune [Jefferson City MO]

March 31, 2021

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Unfortunately, a few unscrupulous boarding school operators have exploited a loophole in the law to further their sick desire to abuse children.

Missouri and South Carolina are the only two states in the nation that do not require licensing or regulation of faith-based boarding schools. As a result, sexual abuse and other types of abuse have occurred.

Rep. Rudy Veit, R-Jefferson City, is looking to close this loophole, and he’s finding support among his House colleagues.

As we recently reported, Veit is sponsoring House Bill 557 to require “child residential homes” to notify the Missouri Department of Social Services of their existence and compliance with regulations intended to protect the safety of children in the residence.

The House unanimously passed the bill. Now, we ask the Senate to also support this important bill.

Our recent story on the bill shows one example of the need: This month the Missouri attorney…

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St. Pat’s nursing home in St. John’s not Roman Catholic archdiocese property

ST. JOHN'S (CANADA)
The Telegram [St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada]

March 30, 2021

By Barb Sweet

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Facility is owned by the Sisters of Mercy

St. Patrick’s Nursing Home in St. John’s is still owned by the Sisters of Mercy, but their properties are not tied to the Catholic archdiocese, which is going through a financial restructuring.

Congregational leader Sister Elizabeth Davis said Tuesday the order’s properties are separate from the Archdiocese of St. John’s.

The Sisters of Mercy own St. Patrick’s Mercy Home, and Eastern Health partners with the Catholic order to use the facility to operate its long-term care program, Eastern Health said this week.

If Eastern Health no longer required use of the property, it would go back to the Sisters of Mercy. Eastern Health has not been involved in any discussions about buying the property.

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador owns St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital, which was originally a Catholic hospital operated by nuns.

A total of 34 public schools are still…

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German archbishop granted leave of absence after resignation

HAMBURG (GERMANY)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

March 30, 2021

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Archbishop Hesse offered his resignation after a report on the handling of clergy sex abuse cases in Cologne Archdiocese

Pope Francis has granted Hamburg Archbishop Stefan Hesse a leave of absence from his duties, the Hamburg Archdiocese announced March 29. The archbishop recently offered his resignation after a report on the handling of clergy sex abuse cases in Cologne Archdiocese, where he served as director of personnel and vicar general.

In the interim, Msgr. Ansgar Thim, vicar general, will handle archdiocesan administration, reported German Catholic news agency KNA.

The question as to if or when the pope will accept Archbishop Hesse’s resignation remains open. The Vatican has so far not issued any statement on the case. Pope Francis now has time to unhurriedly decide about the resignation, KNA reported.Subscribe to your daily free newsletter from UCA News

Further information was not available, a Hamburg Archdiocese spokesman said, adding that the pope had…

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March 30, 2021

Diocese of Tucson responds to allegations of misconduct

TUCSON (AZ)
KOLD-TV [Tucson AZ]

March 29, 2021

By Shaley Sanders

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A group has accused the Catholic Diocese of Tucson of mishandling claims of abuse.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests hosted a news conference outside the diocese’s offices early Monday, March 29.

Diana Almader-Douglas said she was abused by a priest and is joining a lawsuit against the Diocese of Tucson, along with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and St. John’s Seminary in California.

“It is critical parishioners and the public are better informed about the true extent of clergy abuse in southern Arizona, and we remain concerned about enablers within the Diocese of Tucson. Without accountability, there remains a continued threat to children and vulnerable adults,” said SNAP President Tim Lennon.

The group claims the defendants covered up abuse allegations and allowed the priest to keep ministering.

KOLD News 13 is not naming the accused priest because he has not been charged with a crime.

The Diocese…

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Polish hierarchs found guilty by the Holy See

WARSAW (POLAND)
PolandIn.com [Poland]

March 29, 2021

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Archbishop Sławoj Leszek Głódź and Bishop Edward Janiak were punished by the Holy See after a church investigation into cases of pedophilia among priests was conducted.

Abp Głódź and bp Janiak were ordered to live outside their former dioceses: the Gdańsk Archdiocese in northern Poland and the Kalisz Diocese in western Poland respectively. They are also forbidden to participate in any public religious celebrations or secular meetings in their dioceses.

The hierarchs must donate “from personal funds” an appropriate amount to Saint Joseph Foundation, “intended for preventive activities and assistance to victims of abuse.”

The Vatican’s decision was announced on the website of the Polish Episcopal Conference (KEP). This is the result of the conducted procedure to cover up cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests in dioceses managed at that time by abp Głódź and bp Janiak.

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State Rep. Mark Rozzi: Victims deserve justice. We are giving them a dual path.

(PA)
Erie Times-News [Erie PA]

March 30, 2021

By State Rep. Mark Rozzi

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Rep. Gregory and I came together again to work out a dual path for victims: Offering a standalone statutory bill and a constitutional amendment.

The short, brutal truth is Pennsylvania has failed its children.

Years after the attorney general’s grand jury report detailed the systemic cover-up of childhood sexual abuse by the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania, victims in our state are still waiting for justice.

That’s about to change.

You don’t ever stop being the victim of childhood sexual abuse. You don’t ever stop looking for justice.

I would know, because I am a victim of childhood sexual abuse.

My good friend and colleague Rep. Jim Gregory has worked by my side for years to deliver justice, and he, too, is the victim of childhood sexual abuse.

He is a Republican; I am a Democrat. We come from different parts of the state, yet this partnership works because…

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Diocese of Tucson accused of covering up sexual abuse

TUCSON (AZ)
KVOA-TV [Tucson AZ]

March 29, 2021

By Mark Mingura

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The Diocese of Tucson is being accused of a sexual abuse cover-up.

Forester Haynie Law Firm says it has filed a racketeering lawsuit against the Diocese of Tucson and others for allegedly producing and funneling a disproportionate number of sexual predators to Tucson.

An alleged victim of Father Charles Knapp has joined a lawsuit that claims childhood sexual abuse and a cover-up by the Diocese of Tucson, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and Saint John’s Seminary.

Survivors and supporters gathered Monday morning outside of the church to show support for the clergy abuse victims.

The victims are joined by the group called the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

According to SNAP, Father Knapp remains a priest in the Diocese of Tucson despite church officials having acknowledged his abuse.

“We want to speak up and get the message out that it’s not okay for the church to just be moving…

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Lawsuit against diocese will proceed – for now

LAFAYETTE (LA)
KATC-TV [Lafayette LA]

March 29, 2021

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 A state appeals court has decided that discovery will proceed in a lawsuit filed by an Acadiana native over former Msgr. Robie Robichaux.

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that the Diocese of Lafayette must answer some of the interrogatories, or questions, and produce some of the documents requested by the plaintiff in the lawsuit filed almost a year ago. The appeals judges’ ruling mirrored what the trial judge said during the hearing, which was that the Diocese must produce the evidence related to the issue of prescription. However the appeals court ruled that the lower court “abused its discretion” in rendering a blanket denial of the plaintiff’s motion to compel the defendants to respond to interrogatories and discovery.

In Louisiana, lawsuits generally must be filed within a year of the day the alleged injury occurred, but there are different rules for victims of sexual abuse. In this case,…

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Catholic sex abuse claim: State Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Hattiesburg case

HATTIESBURG (MS)
Hattisburg American [Hattiesburg MS]

March 30, 2021

By Lici Beveridge

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A Forrest County judge erred when he dismissed a case of alleged sexual abuse by a Catholic priest, one attorney argued Tuesday before a three-judge panel of the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Attorney John Hawkins said state law provides for a case to proceed if it was brought within three years of the discovery of an injury even if the statute of limitations for when the crime occurred had already expired.

Hawkins is representing Robert McGowen, who claims he was sexually abused by former Sacred Heart Catholic Church priest Father John Scanlon in 1984 and 1985, when McGowen was 12 and 13 years old.

McGowen is the administrator of public safety for Benton County, Arkansas, and previously served in law enforcement. He is an Army veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm, Hawkins told the court.

Scanlon, a Jackson native, was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1951 and served the church…

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Archbishop Sławoj Leszek Głódź and Bishop Edward Janiak punished by the Pope. Barbara Nowacka and Michał Woś comment

WARSAW (POLAND)
Polish News [London, England]

March 29, 2021

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When I heard that the Vatican made a decision to punish the gentlemen who concealed pedophilia in the Church, I thought it was a good gesture. Unfortunately, it turned out to be symbolic – said the leader of the Poland Initiative Barbara Nowacka (KO) in “Kropka nad i”.

Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy President of Solidarity Poland, Michał Woś, assessed that “from the perspective of church law, this is a severe punishment.”

Politicians commented on the Pope’s decision to punish Archbishop Sławoj Leszek Głodzie and Bishop Edward Janiak, who, among other things, were forbidden to participate in public celebrations in their diocese.

The Apostolic Nunciature reported on Monday that the Holy See punished two Polish bishops, who, for covering up cases of pedophilia, have been ordered to reside outside their dioceses and have not been allowed to participate in any public religious celebrations or lay meetings in their dioceses. In…

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Journalists accuse Cologne archdiocese of violating freedom of the press

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

March 30, 2021

By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

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The German Journalists’ Association (DJV) and the Association of German Catholic Publicists (GKP) have sharply criticised the Cologne archdiocese’s stipulations for journalists who want to read the first abuse report. 

On 25 March, under strict stipulations, the archdiocese allowed a first select group of ten journalists to inspect the Munich law firm’s report, which Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki commissioned but refused to publish.

The journalists had to sign a document which forbade them to take photos. make copies of the text or to cite from it. 

“These prohibitions violate the basic right of free information and, completely unnecessarily, set up legal risks for media coverage. The desire to influence the nature and extent of journalists’ personal notes is an unacceptable violation of freedom of the press,” the GKP underlined. 

“The Cologne archdiocese has once again given the impression that it wants to restrict critical reporting of the handling of abuse…

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Germany’s Christian churches in meltdown

The COVID-19 pandemic is once again casting a big dark shadow over Easter festivities. For so long at the heart of German society, the churches now fear they might lose their influence.

Easter is the most important festival in the Christian calendar. Traditionally, churches across Germany and in many other countries around the world would be full of worshippers, many of whom might only otherwise set foot in a church once or twice a year.

Easter in the time of COVID-19 and nothing is the same as usual in Germany’s 14,000 Protestant and almost 10,000 Catholic parishes.

In a “normal year” nearly all of them would celebrate Easter Night, marking the resurrection of Jesus. There would be Easter fires in front of churches. And inside, worshippers would gather in hearty song.

For now, though, the fires are not permitted and only a small number of the usual congregation are allowed…

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Pope grants German archbishop faulted over abuse ‘time out’

BERLIN (GERMANY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

March 30, 2021

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Pope Francis has granted a “time out” to a German archbishop who offered his resignation after being faulted for his handling of allegations of sexual abuse in his previous diocese, church authorities said Monday.

Hamburg Archbishop Stefan Hesse’s offer on March 18 followed the release of a report commissioned by his counterpart in Cologne which found 75 cases in which high-ranking officials neglected their duties in such cases. They were criticized, for example, for failing to follow up on or report cases of abuse, not sanctioning perpetrators or not caring for victims.

Hesse, previously a senior official in the Cologne archdiocese, was faulted for 11 cases of neglecting his duty. He conceded that he had made “mistakes” in the past, and said he very much regretted if he caused new suffering to victims or their relatives “through my action or omission.”

“I never participated in cover-ups,” he said. “I am…

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French bishops launch 11-point plan to fight clergy sex abuse

LOURDES (FRANCE)
La Croix International [France]

March 29, 2021

By Christophe Henning

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At the end of the plenary assembly for the bishops of France, long-awaited decisions were taken to fight against pedocriminality

The Catholic bishops of France have adopted an 11-point, long-term strategy to fight sex abuse of minors or “pedocriminality” in the Church.

The strategy, which was ratified on the penultimate day of the March 23-26 spring assembly of the French Episcopal Conference (CEF), is aimed at investigating historic cases of abuse, supporting victims and enacting measures to prevent abuse in the future.

“We must take the word of the victims seriously,” said Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort of Reims, the CEF president.

Speaking at a March 26 press conference from the Marian Shrine of Lourdes, where the bishops usually hold their plenary assemblies, the archbishop said his meetings with victims had strengthened his resolve to fight abuse.

The 59-year-old conference president gave a sober account of the work that lies ahead,…

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Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry: Religious leaders offer apologies

AUCKLAND (NEW ZEALAND)
Radio New Zealand [Wellington, New Zealand]

March 30, 2021

By David Cohen

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Analysis – Sorry seemed to be a rather easy word at the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry over the past fortnight.

The inquiry has just wrapped up its latest round of public hearings, with various faith-based redress processes in the spotlight as representatives from three church groups fronted up to the commissioners. The sessions allowed leaders to respond to testimonies given late last year in which former residents of faith-based institutions talked about their experiences of abuse and the often nettlesome problems they encountered seeking recognition and redress.

The latest round also served as something of a curtain-raiser to what almost certainly will be a centrepiece of the inquiry overall, an examination of abuse in state care, which starts in early May.

This month, all-purpose expressions of regret abounded throughout much of the process – confected with genuine emotion, to be sure, but too often not heavily seasoned with…

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Polish bishops sanctioned by Vatican over sex abuse cover-up

WARSAW (POLAND)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

March 30, 2021

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Two retired prelates ordered to live outside their former dioceses and forbidden to participate in religious celebrations

The Vatican has imposed sanctions on two Polish Catholic bishops, who resigned in 2020 after being accused of ignoring sexual abuse by their clergy.

In simultaneous statements March 29, the apostolic nunciature in Warsaw said action had been taken against Archbishop Slawoj Glodz of Gdansk and Bishop Edward Janiak of Kalisz on the basis of canon law and Pope Francis’ May 2019 motu proprio, “Vos estis lux mundi.” The statement said the decisions were made after investigations into their handling of “abuse committed by some clergy against minors,” as well as “other issues” related to their time in office.

It ordered both retired prelates to live outside their former dioceses and said they were forbidden to participate in public religious celebrations or lay meetings. They would be required to pay an “appropriate amount…

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March 29, 2021

Archbishop Sławoj Leszek Głódź (L) and Bishop Edward Janiak (R). / Credit: Joanna Adamik (public domain) and Press Office of the Archdiocese of Krakow.

Vatican sanctions two Polish bishops after ‘Vos estis’ investigations

WARSAW (POLAND)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

March 29, 2021

By Hannah Brockhaus

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[Photo above: Archbishop Sławoj Leszek Głódź (L) and Bishop Edward Janiak (R). / Credit: Joanna Adamik (public domain) and Press Office of the Archdiocese of Krakow.]

The apostolic nunciature in Poland announced Monday that the Vatican has sanctioned two Polish bishops at the conclusion of canonical inquiries into accusations they were negligent in their handling of sexual abuse of minors by clergy.

According to March 29 statements on the website of the Polish Catholic bishops’ conference, Archbishop Sławoj Leszek Głódź and Bishop Edward Janiak have been ordered by the Holy See to live outside their former dioceses, and told they cannot participate in public liturgies or non-religious gatherings within the territory of the dioceses.

Głódź and Janiak have also each been ordered to give “an appropriate sum” from their personal funds to the St. Joseph Foundation, which works to prevent abuse and assists victims of abuse.

The nunciature’s statements said…

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Vatican punishes Polish churchmen for alleged abuse cover-up

WARSAW (POLAND)
Associated Press [New York NY]

March 29, 2021

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The Vatican said Monday that it is punishing a retired Polish archbishop and a bishop for their alleged roles in covering up sexual abuse committed by other clergymen.

Former Gdansk Archbishop Slawoj Leszek Glodz and former Bishop Edward Janiak of Kalisz have also been forbidden from living in their former dioceses or participating in any public religious celebrations there.

The Vatican Embassy in predominantly Roman Catholic Poland also said each of the two is being required to contribute personal money into a fund helping victims of clerical abuse.

The embassy cited “omissions” by Glodz “in cases of sexual abuse committed by some clergy against minors, and other issues related to the administration of the archdiocese.”

In a separate statement, the embassy said the Holy See was acting on the basis of “reported negligence of Bishop Edward Janiak in cases of sexual abuse committed by some clergy against minors, and other…

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Bill would eliminate statute of limitations for civil claims of childhood physical abuse

MONTPELIER (VT)
VTDigger [Vermont]

March 26, 2021

By Alan J. Keays

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Proposed legislation would eliminate the statute of limitations in Vermont for a victim of childhood physical abuse to bring a civil action against those responsible. 

The bill, S.99, which was presented Friday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, follows legislation enacted two years ago that repealed the statute of limitations for victims of sexual abuse to bring civil lawsuits.

Both pieces of legislation also come in light of claims of physical and sexual abuse decades ago at the Vermont Catholic Diocese’s former St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington.

A two-year investigation ended late last year with the Vermont Attorney General’s Office concluding history of child abuse at the orphanage, but no charges were filed mainly as a result of criminal statute of limitations.  

In addition, an investigation last fall by VTDigger revealed allegations of decades of abuse at the New England Kurn Hattin Homes for Children, a private residential school in Westminster. 

“It’s actually…

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North mother and baby home inquiry must not repeat past mistakes – Amnesty

(UNITED KINGDOM)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

March 29, 2021

By Freya McClements

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Programme director speaking ahead online events to help survivors contribute to inquiry

An investigation into mother and baby homes and Magdalene laundries in Northern Ireland “must not repeat the mistakes of past inquiries”, Amnesty International has warned.

The human rights body’s programme director in the North, Patrick Corrigan, was speaking ahead of the launch later today (Monday) of a series of online events by Amnesty and Ulster University to help survivors contribute to the design of a forthcoming inquiry.

They will include speakers with experience of inquiries into institutional abuse in the Republic of Ireland, Northern IrelandAustralia and Canada.

In January Northern Ireland’s First Minister, Arlene Foster, announced there would be an “independent, victim-centred” investigation into eight mother and baby homes and four Magdalen laundries run by Catholic and Protestant churches and local authorities between 1922 and 1990.

It followed the publication of research by academics from Queen’s UniversityBelfast and Ulster University which…

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Fr. Norbert Orsolits, who admitted sexually abusing minors, has died

BUFFALO (NY)
WBFO [Buffalo NY]

March 28, 2021

By Jay Moran, Marian Hetherly & Michael Mroziak

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Fr. Norbert Orsolits, the priest who may have sparked the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Buffalo Catholic Diocese, has died.

Orsolits, of Springville, died March 25 at age 81 reportedly at the Buffalo Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation. W.S. Davis Funeral Home in Arcade announced no calling hours and a private service for family.

Ordained in 1965, Orsolits began ministering in Bliss, NY and frequently moved among parishes every 1-4 years throughout his career.

Accused of child molestation in at least 16 Child Victims Act lawsuits, Orsolits admitted to the Buffalo News that he had sexually abused several boys.

Among his accusers is Michael Whalen, whose revelation of sexual abuse as a minor unleashed what former Buffalo Catholic Diocese Bishop Richard Malone called a “tsunami” of similar complaints.

“When I was telling my story, he also admitted to abusing to a couple of dozen boys that same day,” Whalen…

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Catholic Priest Sexually Abuses School Boy, Tells God Would Punish Him if He Told Anyone About Abuse

AUCKLAND (NEW ZEALAND)
International Business Times

March 28, 2021

By Vinod DSouza

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A priest from a prestigious Auckland school in New Zealand is accused of sexually assaulting a boy inside the school’s Chapel.

The Priest later instilled fear in the mind of the boy by saying that God would punish him if he told anyone else about the abuse.

Father John Goodwin, who is now at the King’s School, has been ‘sent on leave’ by the school authorities after allegations of sexual abuse surfaced and now faces a police enquiry into the matter.

The school, which has a majority of religiously ordained top staff, has indicated that it will fully co-operate with the police and all court hearings and revealed that Fr. Goodwin “emphatically denies” the allegations pinned up against him.

The incident had occurred during the early 2000s and the former student, an alumni of the school, came forward revealing the horrors he had to endure under the hands of the…

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Bankrupt Buffalo Diocese cuts spending on schools as its legal bills rise

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

March 29, 2021

By Jay Tokasz

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The Buffalo Diocese dramatically cut spending after filing for bankruptcy, eliminating most of its funding of Catholic elementary schools while paying lawyers millions of dollars over the past year.

Court records show the diocese spent $3.8 million on lawyer fees and other bankruptcy-related expenses in the first year of bankruptcy – an amount nearly equal to the subsidies it used to provide to 34 Catholic elementary schools.

Most of the schools ended up being able to absorb the loss of the diocese aid in large part because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to an enrollment boom and a windfall of taxpayer-funded Paycheck Protection Program loans and grants for parishes and schools.

“It’s the irony of the Covid,” said the Rev. Paul W. Steller, pastor of St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Lancaster. “We actually kind of came out all right this past year. You hate to say that…

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Catholic priest who admitted molesting boys dies at age 81

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

March 28, 2021

By Jay Tokasz

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The Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits, a Catholic priest whose 2018 admission that he had molested “probably dozens” of boys decades earlier led to a reckoning within the Buffalo Diocese over its coverup of child sex abuse cases, has died at the age of 81.

A brief death notice published Sunday in The Buffalo News indicated that Orsolits died March 25. An obituary published on the website of W.S. Davis Funeral Home said Orsolits died in the Buffalo Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation. Orsolits said in a 2018 interview with The News that he had leukemia, but his cause of death was not known.

Orsolits admitted that he had sexually abused children in the 1970s and 1980s when he was contacted by The News at his home in the Town of Ashford about allegations by Michael F. Whalen Jr., 55, who accused the priest of molesting him in 1979 or 1980…

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Haunting pictures show inside of abandoned Catholic college with a dark past

LIVERPOOL (UNITED KINGDOM)
Liverpool Echo

March 28, 2021

By Kate McMullin

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In one picture a rat is preserved on a windowsill in one of the bedroom quarters of a student

These haunting pictures offer a glimpse inside an abandoned Catholic seminary which has been shrouded by shocking allegations of abuse.

St Joseph’s Seminary, in Upholland near Skelmersdale, was opened in 1883 and was open for more than 100 years.

However it has now been over 30 years since it closed its doors to the last pupils in 1992.

In recent years shocking allegations have come to light regarding the abuse of boys who were preyed upon by perverted priests.

And at least three Catholic priests have been accused of abusing children at the facility, with several pupils having reported horrifying mistreatment at the hands of clergy who they should have been able to trust.

Former Darlington parish priest Michael Higginbottom was one of those who was jailed for 18 years for…

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March 28, 2021

A victim of Fr Joseph Marmion has claimed that Belvedere College was aware of the abuse by the late priest before 1977. Pic: Courtesy of RTÉ

Victim of Fr Joseph Marmion claims Belvedere College were aware of priest’s abuse before 1977

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Extra.ie [Dublin, Ireland]

March 27, 2021

By Aoibhin Bryant

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[Photo above: Fr. Joseph Marmion SJ. A victim of Fr Joseph Marmion has claimed that Belvedere College was aware of the abuse by the late priest before 1977.  Pic: Courtesy of RTÉ. This article includes video: Ian Ackley, the leader of a support service for survivors of historic abuse throughout football, hopes it can bring an unreported “pandemic” in wider society into the spotlight. He was abused as a child by convicted paedophile Barry Bennell and is now overseeing the Survivors of Abuse (SA) service which is co-funded by the PFA Charity and the Football Association.]

A victim of Fr Joseph Marmion has claimed that Belvedere College was aware of the abuse by the late priest before 1977.

This week, the Jesuit Order named a former priest who taught at Dublin’s Belvedere College as a man who abused several boys ‘sexually, emotionally and physically.

In a statement, the…

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Pope Struggles to Contain Conservative-Liberal Tensions in Catholic Church

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Wall Street Journal [New York NY]

March 20, 2021

By Francis X. Rocca and Ian Lovett

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Pope Francis is struggling to manage powerful bishops in the U.S. and Germany, two groups at opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, as he tries to advance his progressive agenda without jeopardizing the unity of the Catholic Church.

The election of President Biden, a progressive Catholic whom some U.S. bishops want to censure for his support of abortion rights, has exacerbated longstanding tensions between the pope and the largely conservative American episcopate. U.S. church leaders have resisted promoting the pope’s priorities of social and economic justice and care for the environment over opposition to abortion and defense of religious freedom.

On the left, the pope is trying to rein in German bishops who—encouraged by the pope’s liberalizing gestures on topics including sexuality, ecumenism and the role of women—are pressing for changes that go further than Pope Francis is comfortable with, and that conservatives warn could…

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Fr. Joseph Marmion

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
RTÉ - Raidió Teilifís Éireann [Dublin, Ireland]

March 4, 2021

By Joe Duffy

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On today’s Liveline, we spoke to Luke about his experiences at Belvedere College and being sexually abused by Fr. Joseph Marmion. We heard from Tom Doorley and Mark Harrold who spoke of their time there and not of the sexual abuse but of the bullying and violence meted out by Marmion. Barry talked about another teacher who nicknamed him ‘Princess.’

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Following investigation, Bishop Gruss removes Father Dennis Kucharczyk’s name from list of clergy with an allegation of child sexual abuse

SAGINAW (MI)
Diocese of Saginaw [Saginaw MI]

March 26, 2021

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Today Bishop Robert Gruss, Bishop of the Diocese of Saginaw, removed the name of Reverend Dennis Kucharczyk from the diocesan website’s list of clergy with an allegation of child sexual abuse.  Following consultation with Father Kucharczyk, Bishop Gruss has released the following statement.  

On March 17, 2019, Bishop Walter A. Hurley, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Saginaw, received information from law enforcement that an allegation of sexual abuse involving a minor had been made against Reverend Dennis H. Kucharczyk, Pastor of Saint John XXIII Parish of Hemlock. The allegation dated back to Father Kucharczyk’s early years in ministry.  Following consultation with the Office of the Attorney General in Michigan, and in accordance with diocesan policy, Father Kucharczyk was placed on administrative leave pending further investigation. 

The Office of the Attorney General chose not to file criminal charges. At this point, the Diocese continued its internal investigation in February…

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Catholic Diocese of Saginaw removes priest from list of clergy accused of sexual misconduct

SAGINAW (MI)
Bay City Times [Bay City MI]

March 27, 2021

By Cole Waterman

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[Via mLive]

The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw is no longer featuring the name of a local priest on its website’s list of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor.

Bishop Robert D. Gruss on Friday, March 26, announced he had removed the Rev. Dennis H. Kucharczyk’s name from subsection of the diocesan website titled “Names of Clergy Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Minor.” The page lists 26 other names.

The Saginaw Diocese placed Kucharczyk on administrative leave from priestly duties on May 21, 2019, after it had received information from law enforcement regarding an allegation of misconduct involving a minor that occurred “many years ago.” The church prohibited Kucharczyk from having contact with anyone younger than 21. As such, he was banned from visiting school properties or participate in school and parish activities and functions, wearing clerical garb, the exercise of…

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Former Archbishop of Armagh Cardinal Sean Brady’s ‘pain’ over role in pervert priest inquiry

ARMAGH (UNITED KINGDOM)
Belfast Telegraph [Belfast, Northern Ireland]

March 21, 2021

By Maeve Sheehan

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Former Archbishop of Armagh Cardinal Sean Brady has expressed his “sadness” and “pain” over his role in an internal Church inquiry into paedophile priest Brendan Smyth, which involved swearing a 14-year-old victim to secrecy.

Cardinal Brady said he was “too focused” on getting a statement from the boy and acknowledged it was a “horrendous” situation for the child.

In a new book about Catholicism in Ireland Cardinal Brady told author Derek Scally: “Hauled into a room with three fellows there, his father wasn’t there, it was horrendous, really. That is only dawning on me now, really… his double victimisation.”

In his first interview on the Smyth controversy since he apologised at the Historical Abuse Inquiry in Northern Ireland in 2015, he says it was “strange” it did not cross his mind at the time that he had a moral obligation to report Smyth to the gardaí.

Scally’s book The Best…

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March 27, 2021

Reverend Dr. Thomas P. Doyle for faith-based redress hearing from Abuse in Care Inquiry on Vimeo.

Priest: The Catholic Church’s Hierarchy is to Blame for the Sex Abuse Scandal

AUCKLAND (NEW ZEALAND)
Patheos [Englewood CO]

March 26, 2021

By Hemant Mehta

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[Photo above: Screenshot from the full video of Reverend Dr. Thomas P. Doyle’s testimony for faith-based redress hearing from Abuse in Care Inquiry.]

New Zealand has put together a Royal Commission into Abuse in Care in order to investigate why young people (and vulnerable adults) are subject to abuse in schools and churches. Like we saw in Australia, the goal is create a tangible path forward so that victims of abuse get the help they need and other people are never put in that situation.

This week, a witness said something about the Catholic Church that’s obvious yet surprising.

On Tuesday, Dr. Tom Doyle, an ordained priest who has long been critical of the Catholic Church’s handling of the child sex abuse scandal, told the Commission that the blame for the abuse lay not with the priests themselves but with the Church’s structure.

It wasn’t Satan who took control of the priests, or…

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Submission of Thomas Patrick Doyle

AUCKLAND (NEW ZEALAND)
Abuse in Care - Royal Commission of Inquiry [Auckland, New Zealand]

March 9, 2021

By Tom Doyle

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[With thanks to Tom Doyle for providing the full text of his submission, including document exhibits.]

On January 3, 1988, an American bishop wrote to Archbishop Pio Laghi, Papal Nuncio to the United States. The purpose of his letter was to complain that a colleague and I had been speaking to the secular media about the clergy sexual abuse issue that was rapidly developing at that time. His closing remarks are reflective of the attitude then
and still apparent among some clergy and lay people in the Catholic Church:

“I am afraid that such articles [referring to one in which I was quoted] will continue to flow from time to time. The Church has weathered worse attacks, thanks to the strength and guidance of the Holy Spirit. So too will the pedophile
annoyance eventually abate.
” (Letter of Bishop A. J. Quinn to Archbishop Pio Laghi, January 3, 1988; emphasis added.)

Two years…

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Dr Tom Doyle: Church structure to blame for abuse

AUCKLAND (NEW ZEALAND)
Radio New Zealand [Wellington, New Zealand]

March 27, 2021

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A former priest says the apology by the Catholic Church to abuse survivors in New Zealand has come too late.

On Friday, Cardinal John Dew made the apology at the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care, on behalf of the bishops and congregational leaders in New Zealand.

A non-practising priest, Dr Tom Doyle this week gave evidence to the Royal Commission of Inquiry hearing in Auckland.

Since 1982, he has been involved in the issue of clergy sexual abuse, beginning with his work as the staff canon lawyer at the Vatican Embassy in Washington DC.

His involvement includes pastoral care of victims and their families, canonical defence advocate for accused clerics, consultant to dioceses and religious communities and as an expert witness and consultant in civil and criminal cases throughout the United States and other countries.

He believes victims will see through the apology made by Cardinal Dew.

“I think…

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Pope names Chilean abuse survivor to Protection of Minors post

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

March 26, 2021

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[Via CatholicPhilly.com]

Pope Francis has named Juan Carlos Cruz, a survivor of sexual abuse by a notorious Chilean priest, to be a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Cruz, James Hamilton and José Andrés Murillo, all victims of then-Father Fernando Karadima, met with Pope Francis in 2018, several weeks after the pope wrote a letter in which he said he had been mistaken in his initial assessment of the situation in Chile and asking forgiveness of the survivors and others he offended.

In a tweet after the appointment was announced, Cruz thanked the pope and said the assignment “renews my commitment to continue working to end the scourge of abuse and for so many survivors who still do not have justice.”

The Vatican announced the appointment March 24 and said Pope Francis also had extended by one year the three-year terms of 15 commission members but…

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Providence diocese opposes bill expanding liability for child sex abuse

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

March 26, 2021

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The Diocese of Providence is opposing a bill that would allow survivors of child sex abuse to sue institutions which they claim enabled their abuse. 

In 2019, Rhode Island passed “Annie’s Law,” which extended the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases up to 35 years after the survivor’s 18th birthday. The law also allowed for adults to sue up to seven years after they re-discovered childhood sexual abuse, such as through therapy sessions. 

Judge Netti Vogel ruled in October 2020 that the law did not include institutions as responsible for abuse. Thus, after three men who claimed abuse by priests sued the Diocese of Providence, Judge Vogel threw out the lawsuits. 

The sponsor of “Annie’s Law” has now proposed an amendment allowing survivors to sue not only the perpetrators of their abuse, but also the institutions they believe enabled the abuse. Bill H5725 was introduced by Rep. Carol…

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Is Synodal Path in Germany a road to schism?

FRANKFURT (GERMANY)
Crux [Denver CO]

March 26, 2021

By Inés San Martín

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This is part two of a two part series looking into Germany’s Synodal Path, a process launched by the bishops’ conference in 2019 in an attempt to respond to the clerical sexual abuse crisis. Part one can be found here.

ROME – In 2019, the German Catholic Church envisioned a “Synodal Path” to try to address the institutional clerical sexual abuse scandal. Bishops, laity, priests, religious and experts were all summoned to find solutions and set forth a reform path that has expanded its scope to question Catholic Church teaching on areas of sexuality.

Schism?

Now some are warning that what was envisioned as an effort to restore the confidence lost by the abuse scandals and to promote internal church debate could lead many Germans into schism.

Jesuit Father Bernd Hagenkord, a longtime worker at Vatican Radio who currently serves as a spiritual director of the Synodal Path, recently said…

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Critics Charge German ‘Synodal Path’ Exploits Suffering of Abuse Victims

FRANKFURT (GERMANY)
Crux [Denver CO]

March 26, 2021

By Inés San Martín

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[Via The Tablet]

Two years ago, the German church embarked on its most ambitious effort yet to fight clerical sexual abuse and to stop the hemorrhaging of faithful that followed. As the program took shape, it seemed to adopt a much more sweeping agenda, touching on virtually every aspect of Catholic life.

As what’s come to be called the German “Synodal Path” begins forwarding its mid-term conclusions to Rome, many lay activists and bishops are describing the process as a historic and inspiring moment, a potential springtime of sweeping reform and renewal in Catholic life.

The need for a comprehensive initiative that would help address the clerical sexual abuse crisis in Germany, that has seen hundreds of new allegations in recent years, is not called into question, even by the path’s most critical members.

Many of those taking part in the process believe it will bring reform and help restore…

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Vatican trial: Ex-student says he witnessed abuse at minor seminary

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

March 26, 2021

By Junno Arocho Esteves

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A former student at the St. Pius X Pre-Seminary in the Vatican said he witnessed “dozens” of instances of abuse at the minor seminary.

Taking the stand at the Vatican City State criminal court March 26, Kamil Jarzembowski, the former student, said he saw Fr. Gabriele Martinelli, who at the time was a student at the seminary, enter the dormitory room he shared with L.G., the student Martinelli is accused of abusing.

The abuse was said to have occurred between 2007 and 2012. Although both were under the age of 18 when the abuse apparently began, the court accused the priest of continuing to abuse the younger student when Martinelli, not yet a priest, was already 20.

In a 2017 television interview, Jarzembowski was the first former student to speak publicly of abuse at the seminary.

During the trial, Jarzembowski repeated the claims he made on the television program, telling…

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Saginaw Catholic Diocese Removes Priest From List Of Clergy With An Allegation Of Child Sexual Abuse

SAGINAW (MI)
WSGW [Saginaw MI]

March 26, 2021

By Ann Williams

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The former pastor of St. John the XXIII Parish in Hemlock has been removed from a diocesan list of clergy on administrative leave due to the allegation of child sexual abuse. The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw said the allegation of sexual abuse involving a minor against Rev. Dennis Kucharczyk first came to light in March 2019. He was placed on administrative leave pending further investigation at that time.

The Michigan Office of Attorney General later chose not to file criminal charges, and the Diocese continued its internal investigation in February 2020. A retired police officer was appointed an independent investigator and presented a report to Bishop Robert Gruss and the Independent Diocesan Review Board. The Diocese said the report included evidence of boundary violations involving Father Kucharczyk, but after consulting the Holy See and following the canonical process, it was determined that there was insufficient evidence to proceed further.

The…

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March 26, 2021

While David Chohessy, middle, addresses the media, Judy Jones, on left, and Steven Spaner hold up poster boards containing two dozen grade school photographs of known victims of abuse by Catholic priests. Jones is SNAP Midwest coordinator while Spaner is the coordinator for Australia Clohessy, the former national director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, spoke Wednesday morning near the Catholic Chancery to ask Bishop Shawn McKnight to take more steps concerning the list of credibly accused clergy. Julie Smith/News Tribune

Survivors group calls on Jefferson City bishop to seek out abuse victims

JEFFERSON CITY (MO)
News Tribune [Jefferson City MO]

March 25, 2021

By Joe Gamm

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[Photo above: While David Chohessy, middle, addresses the media, Judy Jones, on left, and Steven Spaner hold up poster boards containing two dozen grade school photographs of known victims of abuse by Catholic priests. Jones is SNAP Midwest coordinator while Spaner is the coordinator for Australia Clohessy, the former national director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, spoke Wednesday morning near the Catholic Chancery to ask Bishop Shawn McKnight to take more steps concerning the list of credibly accused clergy. Julie Smith/News Tribune]

Representatives from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests presented a letter Wednesday to the Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City, asking that Bishop W. Shawn McKnight take more steps concerning the diocese’s list of credibly accused clergy.

Representatives from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests presented a letter Wednesday to the Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City, asking that Bishop W. Shawn McKnight…

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He was deemed to have molested kids at NW Side parish, so why isn’t he on church lists of predator priests?

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

March 26, 2021

By Robert Herguth

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It’s because the Passionists order has ignored Cardinal Blase Cupich’s calls for Catholic religious orders to create such lists. And Cupich’s list omits order priests.

The Rev. John Baptist Ormechea lives in one of the most picturesque parts of Rome in a centuries-old monastery buffered by gardens and overlooking the ancient Colosseum.

A member of a Catholic religious order the Passionists, Ormechea was moved into the Rome complex in 2003 not for its contemplative setting but, according to the order’s province that includes Chicago, “because all the residences in the province had youth programs or were in a parish setting.”

From the late 1970s to the late 1980s, Ormechea served at Immaculate Conception parish on the Far Northwest Side.

Then, in the early 2000s, several men came forward, saying that, as boys at Immaculate Conception, they were sexually abused there by Ormechea.

The accusations were…

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Prison strike delays sentence for ex-priest, Labor figure Peter Andrew Hansen for depraved child sexual abuse

PARRAMATTA (AUSTRALIA)
The Australian [Surry Hills, Australia]

March 26, 2021

By Heath Parkes-Hupton

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A former priest and Labor Party branch president’s sentence for the sick exploitation of children in southeast Asia has been delayed due to a prison strike.

Peter Andrew Hansen has pleaded guilty to 31 offences, including one of sexual intercourse with a child under 18, and 15 counts of producing child abuse material after being caught with the vile videos in 2018.

Hansen admitted to filming sexual videos of young boys in Vietnam and the Philippines while living overseas, with the earliest offences coming in 2014.

The depraved cache of meticulously filed material was discovered by Border Force officers on a hard drive after Hansen was stopped on arrival at Sydney Airport on October 6, 2018.

On Friday Judge James Bennett was preparing to begin his judgment at Parramatta District Court when proceedings hit an unforeseen snag.

The court was told prison staff at Goulburn jail, where Hansen is being…

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Bergen Catholic faces sex abuse suits years after religious order settled prior complaints

ORADELL (NJ)
The Record [Woodland Park NJ]

March 25, 2021

By Abbott Koloff

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Four men have filed lawsuits over the past year alleging they were sexually abused decades ago at Bergen Catholic High School, with several more civil complaints expected in the coming months — the result of what legal experts say may have been a miscalculation when school officials didn’t contribute to a settlement made eight years ago by the religious order that runs the school.

Participating in that settlement would have barred future claims against the school, according to experts, who said school officials may have believed they would be protected against such claims because of restrictions on sex abuse lawsuits that were in place at the time — but that have since been removed.

Mitchell Garabedian, the attorney who filed the recent lawsuits, including two last week, said he plans to file an additional seven complaints against the school under a New Jersey law that has suspended the civil statute of limitations in such cases for…

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Sex abuse in view of staff, residents at Catholic-run foster home for girls, lawsuit alleges

(NY)
Staten Island Advance [Staten Island NY]

March 26, 2021

By Kyle Lawson

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A former resident of a Catholic-run foster home for girls on Staten Island claims she was sexually assaulted and abused on several occasions by a man assigned to oversee the home.

Details of the abuse — which allegedly occurred over the course of 1978 at a home operated by Our Lady of Good Counsel R.C. Church in Tompkinsville — are laid out in a March 15 lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.

Attorneys for the complainant— a New York state resident whose identity is kept anonymous to avoid risk of “further humiliation, trauma and psychological damage” — named the Archdiocese of New York, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York and Our Lady of Good Counsel as defendants in the civil complaint.

The suit is among several filed recently by former and current New Yorkers under the state’s Childs Victims…

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British judge: Vatican made ‘appalling’ claims in UK probe

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

March 25, 2021

By Nicole Winfield

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A British judge has blasted Vatican prosecutors for making “appalling” misrepresentations to the court about their investigation into the Holy See’s investment in a London real estate deal, determining they don’t have much of a case against their key suspect.

In a remarkable ruling made public this week, Judge Tony Baumgartner of Southwark Crown Court reversed another judge’s decision to seize the British-based bank accounts of broker Gianluigi Torzi and awarded Torzi legal fees.

The Vatican had requested the seizure as part of its corruption investigation into Torzi and other suspects whom prosecutors accuse of fleecing the Holy See of millions in fees stemming from its 350 million-euro investment in a luxury building in London’s Chelsea neighborhood.

But Baumgartner ruled that the Vatican’s seizure request was so full of omissions and misrepresentations that it likely affected the original judge’s decision, which he ordered reversed. In examining whether the Vatican’s allegations…

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March 25, 2021

Effort to eliminate clergy-penitent privilege dies amid anti-Catholic fears

PHOENIX (AZ)
Arizona Mirror [Phoenix AZ]

March 24, 2021

By Jerod MacDonald-Evoy

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This story deals with sexual abuse and assault of minors. If you or someone you know has been a victim of this crime call 800-656-HOPE for 24/7 help and support.

An effort to eliminate clergy privilege and force religious leaders to report child abuse to legal authorities was unable to get enough votes to make it out of committee Tuesday after days of backroom drama. 

Currently, only Guam, New Hampshire and West Virginia consider clergy mandated reporters and clergy-penitent privilege is waived in cases of suspected child abuse or neglect in those states. 

In Arizona (and everywhere else), clergy are not mandated reporters and suspected child abuse or neglect isn’t exempted from that, even if it is ongoing. And religious leaders cannot be forced to testify in court about abuse a parishoner confessed to committing. 

The effort has been spearheaded by Sen. Victoria Steele, D-Tucson, who introduced Senate Bill 1008 earlier this year…

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Former Albany bishop will be investigated under ‘Vos estis’ norms

ALBANY (NY)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

March 24, 2021

By Jonah McKeown

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An anonymous plaintiff last week filed a lawsuit against former Albany bishop Howard Hubbard, alleging that Hubbard molested him in 1977, soon after his installation as bishop. 

The diocese of Albany confirmed to CNA on Wednesday that Hubbard will be investigated according to Vos estis lux mundi, the procedure for investigating abuse accusations against bishops that Pope Francis promulgated in May 2019. 

Also named in the suit are the diocese of Albany and St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church in Clifton Park, New York, north of the city. 

Bishop Hubbard led the diocese from March 1977 until 2014, and was succeeded by current bishop Edward Scharfenberger. 

The suit alleges that “in or about the summer of 1977,” when the alleged victim was 11 years old, Hubbard approached him in a storage room during a carnival being held at St. Edward parish, and sexually assaulted him. 

Under Vos estis, bishops accused of sexual…

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Child sex abuse lawsuit ‘window’ amendment clears Pa. House

HARRISBURG (PA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

March 25, 2021

By Mark Scolforo

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[Via Crux]

Pennsylvania lawmakers on Wednesday finished a new first round of approvals for a constitutional amendment giving victims of child sexual abuse the power to file what would otherwise be outdated claims, but it will be 2023 at the earliest before it takes effect.

The House voted 188 to 13 to approve the proposed constitutional amendment, which must pass both chambers in two consecutive two-year legislative sessions before going before voters as a referendum.

Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, said he was hopeful that lawmakers will also pass the window as regular legislation, as a state law would take effect more quickly while the slower constitutional amendment process continues.

He called it the first step in what he hopes will be a dual track process.

Supporters say a two-year “window” to file lawsuits over older claims of abuse is needed to give victims a path to justice, taking into account…

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Fort Lauderdale cop accused of online sex chat with a minor

FORT LAUDERDALE (FL)
South Florida Sun-Sentinel [Deerfield Beach FL]

March 24, 2021

By Susannah Bryan

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A Fort Lauderdale police officer — a security officer at two Catholic schools — has been arrested on charges that he engaged in sexual chats online with an undercover detective who he believed was an underage girl.

Investigators say Louis James Walsh, 29, sent a photo of himself online and exposed his private parts, unaware that he was chatting with an undercover detective in Minnesota.

Broward sheriff’s detectives arrested Walsh at the Fort Lauderdale Police Department on Wednesday in conjunction with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, a national law enforcement network that targets child abuse and exploitation.

Walsh also works special security details at Cardinal Gibbons High School and St. Anthony Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale. He is an assistant wrestling coach at Cardinal Gibbons.

Walsh — accused of sending one photo of his private parts on Monday and another on Tuesday — faces two counts of transmission…

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Pope cuts salaries of Vatican cardinals, clergy to save lay jobs

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Crux [Denver CO]

March 24, 2021

By Elise Ann Allen

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Rome – In a bid to curb the Vatican’s financial deficit amid coronavirus losses and an impending pension crisis, Pope Francis has ordered several pay cuts targeting clergy and higher-ups, but which appear to leave most regular lay employees largely unaffected.

In a March 24 motu proprio, meaning a piece of legislation issued on the pope’s own authority, Francis announced that in order to maintain “an economically sustainable future,” as of April 1, 2021, cardinals paid by the Holy See will receive a 10 percent pay cut. Other department superiors will be cut eight percent, and the salaries of clergy and religious will be cut by three percent.

In general, Vatican cardinals reportedly receive a monthly stipend in the neighborhood of $4,700 to $6,000, so the pay cut implies a reduction of $470 to $600.

According to the new law, these reductions do not apply if a person can demonstrate that…

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Are Catholic Clergy more Likely to Be Paedophiles than the General Public? Redux

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Patheos [Englewood CO]

March 24, 2021

By Jonathan M.S. Pearce

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This has come up in a thread again, so I thought I would regale you with a piece I wrote now three years ago on the subject, but now with some updated tweaks.

This is a question that has been kicking around ever since the child sex abuse scandal involving the Catholic church came to the fore. In around 2010, loads of articles came out, citing some data, that the priesthood was broadly in line with national averages, some people claimed it was actually worse in Protestant churches/organisations, and many claiming (as a result) that this was not a Catholic problem per se, and that other denominations rate the same.

The reality could be, as Andrew Brown surmised, that the notoriety of the scandal and public perception might be skewed because of the institutional cover-up of the Catholic church. Or it could be…

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Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro speaks during an Aug. 14, 2018, press conference to announce the results of a grand jury investigation that revealed abuse of thousands of children by Catholic Church priests and lay people. Associated Press

Legislature approves abuse amendment

HARRISBURG (PA)
The Herald [Sharon PA]

March 24, 2021

By John Finnerty

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[Photo above: Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro speaks during an Aug. 14, 2018, press conference to announce the results of a grand jury investigation that revealed abuse of thousands of children by Catholic Church priests and lay people. Associated Press]

Abuse window vote could come in 2023

The state House on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly in favor of legislation that would allow voters to decide whether to open a window for lawsuits by adult survivors of childhood sex abuse.

The measure wouldn’t, however, place the question on the ballot before 2023.

The move to amend the Constitution came after years of lobbying by survivors of priest abuse. The effort picked up steam in 2018 after a statewide grand jury revealed that church officials in six Catholic dioceses had covered up abuse by 300 priests.

The question had been on track to be on the ballot in May but the Department of…

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Church, insurers oppose new effort to extend deadline for sex-abuse lawsuits

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Providence Journal [Providence RI]

March 24, 2021

By Katherine Gregg

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The Rhode Island Catholic church and the state’s insurance lobby are once again leading the charge against legislative efforts to extend the deadline for  lawsuits by victims of childhood sex abuse.

This year, the effort focuses on “time-barred” lawsuits against people and institutions who enabled and protected abusers by looking the other way or concealing their crimes. 

In written testimony, the chief lobbyist for the Providence Diocese, the Rev. Bernard Healey, voiced these “serious concerns” about the legislation headed for a House hearing on Wednesday night:

“It complicates and impedes the administration of justice … does little to protect victims, and subjects an institution that has made tremendous and demonstrable strides on the issues surrounding child sexual abuse to liability stemming from activity that occurred literally decades ago.”

“Guess what?” responded state Rep. Carol McEntee responded during a telephone interview on Wednesday. “These victims are still alive and they are still suffering and the church still lawyers up, like David and Goliath.” 

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Pope Francis names gay man to clergy sex abuse commission

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Washington Blade [Washington DC]

March 24, 2021

By Michael K. Lavers

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Pope Francis has named a gay man to a commission that advises him on protecting children from pedophile priests.

Juan Carlos Cruz — a survivor of clerical sex abuse in Chile — was named to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. The Associated Press on Wednesday reported nuns, laypeople, a bishop and a priest are among the commission’s other members.

Cruz on Wednesday told the Washington Blade during a telephone interview from Chile that Francis “decided he wanted me on the commission.”

“I’m very honored,” said Cruz. “I’m a survivor. I’m gay. I’m a lay person. I’m Catholic.”

Cruz is among the hundreds of people who a now-defrocked priest sexually abused in his parish in El Bosque, a wealthy neighborhood in the Chilean capital of Santiago over more than three decades.

Cruz and two other men — José Murillo and James Hamilton — in 2010 went public with their…

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German Catholic Church ‘covered up’ cases of sexual abuse by clergy

COLOGNE (GERMANY)
Deutsche Welle [Bonn, Germany]

March 23, 2021

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[Includes two English-language videos: Germany’s Catholic Church: Too white and too eurocentric? (a profile and interview with Fr. Regamy Thillainathan of the Cologne archdiocese); and Report on abuse by Cologne Catholic clergymen released, an interview with correspondent Martin Gak.]

A system of “silence, secrecy and lack of oversight” led to a lack of compassion for the victims of sexual abuse by the clergy, a German cardinal has announced.

Archbishop of Cologne Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki said he bore some responsibility for the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the German Catholic Church and that there was an effort in the Cologne diocese to cover up cases of sexual abuse. He did not, however, offer to resign, saying such a move would be a short-lived symbolic step. He instead vowed to do “everything humanly possible” to prevent sexual abuse in the Church.

An independent report released last week showed 314 people…

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March 24, 2021

In this April 24, 2018 file photo, clergy sex abuse survivor and victim’s advocate Juan Carlos Cruz, from Chile, is interviewed by The Associated Press, outside the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square, in Rome, Tuesday, April 24, 2018. Pope Francis on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 named Cruz, who helped uncover a clerical sex abuse scandal, to a Vatican commission which advises the pontiff on how to protect children from pedophile clergy. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, file)

Pope taps Chilean sex abuse whistleblower for Vatican panel

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

March 24, 2021

By Frances D'Emilio

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[Via KETK]

[Photo above: In this April 24, 2018 file photo, clergy sex abuse survivor and victim’s advocate Juan Carlos Cruz, from Chile, is interviewed by The Associated Press, outside the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square, in Rome, Tuesday, April 24, 2018. Pope Francis on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 named Cruz, who helped uncover a clerical sex abuse scandal, to a Vatican commission which advises the pontiff on how to protect children from pedophile clergy. (AP Photo / Andrew Medichini, file)]

Pope Francis on Wednesday named a Chilean man who helped uncover a clerical sex abuse scandal to a Vatican commission that advises the pontiff on how to protect children from pedophile clergy.

The Vatican said Juan Carlos Cruz is the latest member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Other members of the panel include a bishop, priest, nuns and laypersons.

Cruz and other survivors of a prominent…

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Pope names Chile sex abuse victim to Vatican panel

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
ANSA - Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata [Rome, Italy]

March 24, 2021

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Juan Carlos Cruz first to denounce predator priest Karadima

Pope Francis on Wednesday named a victim of clerical sex abuse in Chile to the Vatican’s panel for the protection of minors.

Juan Carlos Cruz, the first victim of notorious predator priest Fernanda Karadima to come forward, was appointed a member of the Pontifical Commission for Safeguarding Minors.

 In March 2019 a Santiago appeals court on ordered the Chilean Catholic Church to pay damages of 150,000 dollars each to three of Karadima’s victims including Cruz.

The other two were James Hamilton and and Jose’ Andres Murillo.

On September 28 2018 Pope Francis defrocked Karadima.

In February 2011, after several years of a Catholic canonical investigation, the Vatican found Karadima guilty of sexually abusing minors and psychological abuse in Chile.

The case sparked a wider child-sex-abuse scandal that the Chilean Church has yet to fully recover from.

Many of the local faithful…

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Catholic Church structure to blame for abuse in care, priest tells inquiry

AUCKLAND (NEW ZEALAND)
Radio New Zealand [Wellington, New Zealand]

March 24, 2021

By Andrew McRae

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A theologian has pointed the blame directly at the hierarchy and structure of the Catholic Church for abuse by priests.

Dr Tom Doyle, who is a priest, canon lawyer and addictions therapist, has given evidence to the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care in Auckland.

He said the so-called mystic aura of a priest had given him super human status.

Dr Doyle, who beamed in via an audio visual link from the United States, told the inquiry priests suffered from what he called clerical narcissism.

”It goes with the clerical faith, the clerical culture, because you are taught in the seminary that you are going to be above others who are lower people that have sex. You are going to be above them.”

Dr Doyle said rather than there being a few bad apples, the problem was the barrel itself – the church structure.

He said the reputation of the…

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Brazilian cardinal accused of downplaying priest’s alleged abuse of teen

SãO PAULO (BRAZIL)
Crux [Denver CO]

March 24, 2021

By Inés San Martín

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When he was 17-year-old, Elissandro Nazare de Siqueira was trying to make a living for himself in São Paulo when he met Father Bartolomeu da Silva Paz, a priest known for his lively Masses and his charitable enterprises.

Siqueira is from Manaus, in Brazil’s Amazon region, and never finished school. He describes himself as shy, and at the time he met the priest was working in a cafeteria.

At first, he saw Paz as a savior, since the priest found him a small room in the house of one of his parishioners, and he became the handyman of the parish of Nossa Senhora de Monte Serrat.

Yet soon Siqueira claims an abusive relationship began: He said that in a secluded house owned by the parish, the priest got him drunk and raped him.

The alleged abuse would continue for three years, between 2014 and 2017. Siqueira claimed he continued to…

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March 23, 2021

The Rev. Pat Wattigny of St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church in Slidell holds a drive-up confessional Wednesday, April 1, 2020, one of the changes the church has made due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Accused Slidell priest Patrick Wattigny pleads not guilty to child molestation charge

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
New Orleans Advocate

March 22, 2021

By Faimon A. Roberts III

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[Photo above: The Rev. Pat Wattigny of St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church in Slidell holds a drive-up confessional Wednesday, April 1, 2020, one of the changes the church has made due to the coronavirus pandemic.]

Former Slidell priest and high school chaplain Patrick Wattigny pleaded not guilty Monday morning to a charge that he had molested a 15-year old boy in St. Tammany Parish.

Wattigny, 53, was formally charged last week with a count of molestation of a juvenile. He has been out on bail since October, after he was arrested at a home he owns in Georgia and extradited to St. Tammany Parish. He remains free on $150,000 bond.

Until resigning last year, he had been the pastor at St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church and chaplain at Pope John Paul II High School, both in Slidell. He had held those posts since 2013. 

Wattigny became the subject of…

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Effort to change Constitution for sex-abuse survivors falls apart

HARRISBURG (PA)
Tribune-Democrat [Johnstown PA]

March 23, 2021

By John Finnerty

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A move to use an emergency provision to change the state Constitution to allow adult survivors of childhood sex abuse to sue their perpetrators and organizations that covered up for the predators seems to be stalled after Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward announced Monday there’s not enough support in her caucus for the move.

Ward, a Republican from Westmoreland County, said the effort to change the Constitution despite the bungling of a public notice requirement by the Department of State doesn’t amount to an emergency that would justify changing the Constitution immediately.

“After careful consideration, it has been determined by the majority that this matter does not meet the emergency status criteria and does not correct the failure by the Wolf administration,” she said.

The Senate on Monday began teeing up legislation that would rely on the normal process for amending the Constitution to open the window for lawsuits –…

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2 priests at same South Shore parish face sex-abuse allegations; group calls for their removal

(NY)
Staten Island Advance [Staten Island NY]

March 22, 2021

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An advocacy group is calling on Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, to remove from ministry a pastor and parochial vicar at Our Lady Star of the Sea R.C. Church in Huguenot amid sex-abuse allegations.

The Rev. Thomas Devery, pastor of the large parish on the South Shore, acknowledged in a letter to parishioners dated March 18 that sex-abuse claims are pending against both him and the Rev. Basil Akut, a parochial vicar.

The pastor’s letter came days after the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a support group for victims of alleged abuse, issued a news release on March 15 claiming that Cardinal Dolan did not inform Sea parishioners about the allegations.

SNAP alleged that Fathers Devery and Akut were allowed to continue in ministry after claims were made against them.

“It seems to us that in the interest of…

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