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October 31, 2015

Notre Dame Academic Coach Forced Sexual Liaison on Student: Suit

NBC News


A male student at the University of Notre Dame claims a female administrator pressured him into a sexual relationship with her daughter, according to a lawsuit filed Friday against the prestigious Catholic school.

The suit alleges the student, who is black, was subjected to sexual harassment and racial discrimination by the defendant, who is white.

Neither are identified in the lawsuit, which says the university employee, an academic coach to student athletes at the St. Joseph, Indiana-based school, was "commanding, directing, encouraging and convincing the Plaintiff to engage in sexual relations" with her daughter.

That included interrogating the student about the "nature, frequency, and quality of the sexual activities" he had with her daughter, and making "racially charged comments about his sexual prowess and genitalia," said the suit, filed by law firm Anderson, Agostino & Keller in St. Joseph Circuit Court. ...

Notre Dame dismissed the lawsuit's claims in a statement.

"The allegations against the University of Notre Dame in the complaint are unfounded, as are gratuitous and unfounded references to 'student-athletes' — an allegation that is nothing more than a cynical attempt to attract publicity," said university spokesman Paul Browne.

THANK you TIFF, for NOT giving Spotlight the award for Best Movie.

PopeCrimes& Vatican Evils.

Paris Arrow

We would like to thank TIFF for NOT giving “Spotlight” the Best Movie award (and other awards) during its 40th Toronto International Film Festival of 10 days of red carpet premieres. Lenny Abrahamson’s “Room” http://tiff.net/festivals/festival15/room starring Brie Larson as a young mother who will do anything to protect her five-year son (portrayed by 8-year-old) Jacob Tremblay, was the winner of the Grolsch People’s Choice award determined by audience voting. “Room”, adapted from Emma Donoghue's 2010 novel, is told from the perspective of a boy who was locked in a room with his mother for his entire life. “Room” is a small-scale drama compared to the heavy Hollywood A-listers Spotlight, (yet like David versus Goliath), it won Best Movie.

TIFF winners usually go to the forefront of Oscar conversation. TIFF can boast that six of the seven films that have won its People’s Choice prize have gone on to an Academy Award nomination for best picture. Three of those, “Slumdog Millionaire, The King’s Speech, 12 Years A Slave” actually won the Oscar top prize.

The 13-year-old girl sent on a 'day-trip' to Australia

BBC News

Up until the late 1960s the UK sent children living in care homes to new lives in Australia and other countries. It was a brutal experience for many, writes Kirstie Brewer.

In the winter of 1949, 13-year-old Pamela Smedley boarded a ship to Australia with 27 other girls. She had been told by the nuns from the Catholic home she lived in that she was going on a day-trip. In reality, she was being shipped out to an orphanage in Adelaide and wouldn't see England again for more than three decades.

"We thought it would be like going to Scarborough for the day because we were so innocent and naive," says Pamela, who is now in her 70s and still lives in Adelaide.

"The nuns said that in Australia you could pick the oranges off the trees, and I was very excited because I loved oranges."

D'Arcy in spotlight with film's release

Journal Gazette

You might know that a movie set for release next week tells how a team of Boston Globe journalists uncovered the child sexual abuse story that rocked the Catholic Church. You might not know a lone, brave voice in the story belonged to John D’Arcy, who died three years after he stepped down as bishop of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese in 2010.

D’Arcy, as former Boston Archdiocese auxiliary bishop, wrote a letter to Archbishop Bernard F. Law in 1984 warning that priest John Geoghan was a serial pedophile. The church’s own investigators called D’Arcy “a voice in the wilderness” for his warning, which did not surface until after the Globe’s investigation, in a lawsuit that ultimately resulted in the archdiocese settling with scores of sex-abuse victims for $85 million.

The movie “Spotlight,” named for the investigative team that tirelessly tracked and reported the story, stars Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and John Slattery.

In an interview with the National Catholic Register a year before he died, D’Arcy rejected the idea that he deserved credit for the letter he sent the archbishop, instead emphasizing the sex-abuse scandal as a lesson for bishops.

Peru Catholic Society Admits Sex Abuse Probe against Founder


Saturday, 31 Oct 2015

LIMA, Peru (AP) — A secretive Roman Catholic society with chapters across South America and in the U.S. has revealed under pressure that a Vatican investigator is looking into allegations that its founder sexually molested young recruits.

The scandal at the Peru-based Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, or Sodalitium for Human Life, has close parallels to other recent cases of charismatic Catholic leaders in Latin America being accused of sex abuse — as well as the church dragging its feet on investigating claims and trying to keep scandals quiet.

This week, Sodalitium's general secretary disclosed the Vatican investigation after two journalists published a book detailing the accusations against founder Luis Fernando Figari, 68.

Co-author Pedro Salinas, a former society member, has been publicly accusing Figari since 2010 of physical, psychological and sexual abuse. According to the book, three men lodged complaints the following year with a Peruvian church tribunal alleging Figari sexually abused them when they were minors.

There is no indication the tribunal did anything with the case, including notifying prosecutors. Nor is it known when the Vatican was advised.

Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, the conservative archbishop of Lima with jurisdiction over the tribunal, was quoted as telling the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio this week that case is "regrettable and painful" and claiming

"We have acted with absolute transparency and rapidity," he said.

Former priest convicted of molestation loses latest legal fight


[with video]

BLOUNTVILLE, TN (WJHL) A former priest from Kingsport convicted of sexually abusing a child in his congregation three decades ago lost his latest legal fight Friday.

William Casey was in Sullivan County Criminal Court trying to convince a judge to force the District Attorney General’s Office to recuse itself from his case.

A judge denied that request Friday.

Four years ago, a jury convicted Casey of rape and sexual misconduct involving a child over the period of 5 years during his time as priest at St. Dominic’s Catholic Church in Kingsport.

Casey is serving a 35 to 40 year prison sentence.

Architect of Vatican’s Financial Transparency at Communion Breakfast, Nov. 8

Fairfield University

Joseph F.X. Zahra, vice coordinator of the newly established Council for the Economy of The Holy See and the highest ranking lay member of Pope Francis’ ad-hoc cabinet, will be the featured speaker at the Ninth Annual Communion Breakfast for Business Leaders on Sunday, November 8, 2015, at Fairfield University. The annual breakfast is sponsored by Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice (CAPP) of Fairfield County and Fairfield's Center for Faith and Public Life.

Zahra, whose talk is entitled “Inside the Financial and Administrative Changes at the Vatican: What Pope Francis Wants and Why He is Doing It,” is the former head of Bank of Valletta and a renowned economist who sits on numerous major corporate boards and regularly lectures around the world.

As the most senior lay person in the Curia, Zahra has been at the heart of Pope Francis’ reform initiatives from the beginning and is uniquely positioned to tell this story. Noting that the Vatican’s financial reforms are also meant to provide dioceses around the world with a model they can themselves adopt, Zahra said that “what lies at the heart of Pope Francis’ financial and administrative reorganization of the Vatican is his wish to ensure transparenBrian Morancy, simplicity and the efficient use of resources.”

Rev. James F. Power

Patriot Ledger

Rev. James F. Power, of Charlestown, passed away August 14, 2015 at the age of 85. Born in South Boston and a graduate of Gate of Heaven High School. Loving son of the late John J. and Agnes R. (McGrath) Power. Served his country in the Army during the Korean War, graduated from Boston College and entered the seminary. James was ordained in 1962 and assigned to St. Mary of the Assumption, Revere. Later assignments included St. Peter's in Plymouth and Star of the Sea in Marblehead. During his time in Marblehead he served as Campus Minister at Salem State University. Also during this time he completed studies toward his Masters and Doctorate degrees at Boston College, later becoming the pastor of St. Francis Church in Dracut and ended his service at St. James the Great in Wellesley.

Living up to commitment to protect and to heal

The Catholic Free Press

Most Reverend Robert J. McManus, S.T.D.
Bishop of Worcester

My dear friends in Christ,

Over the coming weeks, some of you will see movie trailers for “Spotlight!” which is a cinematic portrayal of how The Boston Globe covered the crisis of abuse of children by members of the Catholic Church. As painful as it is to recall those days of continuous headlines about this heinous crime against innocent children, it is important that we pause and reflect on how much has happened since that terrible revelation. How is the Diocese of Worcester and the Catholic Church nationwide living up to the commitment made in Dallas in June of 2002 to protect and to heal?

First and foremost in our hearts and minds are those who were victims of these heinous acts and their family members. Many victims have come forward in their adulthood to tell the story of what they experienced as children; some seek help, others simply come to share their pain so that they may find help and healing. With the help of the Victims’ Assistance coordinator and the Diocesan Review Board, we have listened and responded to the best of our ability to dozens of victims and their family members since 2002, broadening the efforts which began locally with Bishop Harrington in the late-1980s and Bishop Reilly in the 1990s. While individual reports were the subject of headlines, countless more victims came forward simply to be believed so that they could move on with their lives and see that it would not happen to another child in the future.

I am deeply grateful to the many members of our Diocesan Review Board, more than half of whom are independent of the Church and bring invaluable experience in child care advocacy, civil law and law enforcement. Their expertise has been an important voice in victims advocacy as we sought to bring Christ’s healing to this pain.

While the above efforts were focused on healing, we have simultaneously been working toward protection of children in our care. As directed by the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, this effort began in 2002 with a two-pronged approach: screening the backgrounds of ALL ordained and lay employees and volunteers with the Commonwealth as well as training everyone in identifying the signs and symptoms of child abuse. We have collaborated with various groups in the community including resources in the District Attorney’s Office, YWCA Daybreak and, most recently, the Dallas Child Advocacy Center, one of the largest such groups in the country. Since 2013, over 30,000 screenings and trainings have been done in our diocese. We also introduced a Code of Conduct which must be signed in advance of engaging in ministry, and our Review Board periodically reviews these programs and resources to incorporate improvements to face new challenges such as child pornography.

October 30, 2015

Retired priest charged

Cornwall Standard-Freeholder

By Greg Peerenboom, Cornwall Standard-Freeholder
Friday, October 30, 2015

A retired priest faces a criminal charge involving an incident with an adult male several weeks ago.

Fr. Denis Vaillancourt, 69, served under the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall in a number of capacities, including parish priest of Eglise Sacre-Coeur in Alexandria.

"Any allegation of improper conduct by a priest is an extremely serious matter," said a diocese media release Friday afternoon.

"The Diocese has co-operated fully with local authorities," states the release which indicated that Vaillancourt had been arrested by the Ontario Provincial Police.

A separate media release has not been issued by the OPP, so it is unclear as to what the charge or charges pertains.

"It would be inappropriate for diocesan officials to comment on the specifics of this case as it is currently a police matter," the diocese further stated.

Crime commission issues chilling child exploitation warning

Brisbane Times

October 31, 2015

Cameron Atfield
Political journalist

The threat of paedophilia was only set to rise in the future, according to a disturbing prediction in the Queensland Organised Crime Commission of Inquiry.

Commissioner Michael Byrne, QC, handed down the report from the $6 million, six-month inquiry on Friday and there were predictions that would cause considerable community concern.

"There can be little doubt that child sex offending, particularly to feed the illicit and insatiable child exploitation market, represents a risk with an upward trajectory," the report finds.

"Further, there is a growing trend towards commercialisation of the child exploitation market.

"Despite the fact that child exploitation material is often viewed as a commodity in itself, the Queensland Police Service told the commission that offenders are increasingly using difficult-to-trace crypto-currencies to purchase or obtain access to child exploitation material."

Detective Inspector Jon Rouse of Taskforce Argos, the QPS unit dedicated to combating child exploitation, told the commission networking among sexual predators was "evolving rather than emerging".

Movie Sneaks What 'Spotlight' respects about the church-scandal-breaking journalists and the actors who play them

Los Angeles Times

[with video]

Glenn Whipp

The closing credits scroll had ended, the lights were up at Toronto's Princess of Wales Theatre, and "Spotlight" co-writer and director Tom McCarthy was introducing the actors — Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams, among them — who brought to life the movie's story of the Boston Globe's painstaking investigation into a pedophilia scandal within the Catholic Church. The audience cheered and then rose to its feet when McCarthy brought the real-life journalists on stage, leading to a moment that the filmmaker described later as gratifying but a bit awkward.

"They didn't know what to do," McCarthy said of the reporters so used to working behind the scenes. "If they could have pressed a button and dropped through a trap door on stage, they would have done it."

McCarthy and "Spotlight" co-writer Josh Singer spent 2 1/2 years crafting a film that details the Globe's reporting, beginning in 2001, that proved Boston archdiocese leaders knew there was widespread sexual abuse among its priests but did little or nothing about it. The finished movie, which opens in limited release Nov. 6, plays as a detective story that also explores the question of why people look the other way when "good" institutions do terrible things.

McCarthy and Singer each grew up avid sports fans and, as they wrote "Spotlight," they started to think about how the reporting team mirrored championship sports squads. Every member had a specific role, understood their function and performed it at a peak level.

How the ‘Spotlight’ movie got made

Boston Globe

By Meredith Goldstein GLOBE STAFF OCTOBER 30, 2015

On Jan. 6, 2002, The Boston Globe published a story by its investigative Spotlight team revealing that the Catholic Church knew about sexual abuse in its ranks and allowed a priest — John J. Geoghan — to keep his job, even though he had abused young parishioners for years.

It was the first story in a series that dug deep into the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal. The initial piece, which shocked the Boston community, asked: “Why did it take a succession of three cardinals and many bishops 34 years to place children out of Geoghan’s reach?”

It was a question that sparked the interest of film producers Nicole Rocklin and Blye Faust, who were attracted to real-life stories. A writer had suggested that the pair look into the story, and as soon as they did, they knew they wanted to make a film, not about the scandal itself, but about the journalists who told the story.

“It was immediate. It was obvious from the get-go,” Faust said, of their interest in producing a movie.

‘Spotlight’ celebrates a vanishing form of journalism and of filmmaking

Washington Post

By Ann Hornaday October 30

There’s a brief montage in “Spotlight,” a drama about the Boston Globe’s 2002 coverage of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, that neatly sums up the film’s overriding ethos: After a Globe reporter asks a newsroom librarian for clips regarding a particular story, a sequence of shots portrays the request being fulfilled, as a researcher goes through yellowed newspaper excerpts, cranks balky spools of microfilm, prints out the results, compiles it all in a file and delivers the bundle by way of a rickety basket cart.

By conventional cinematic standards, the sequence is far from thrilling. But within the world that “Spotlight” creates — a world of reporters doggedly doing their jobs with little fanfare or immediate gratification, before Google was the all-knowing behemoth it is today — it’s a soaring ode to minutiae that makes riveting cinema out of journalism’s least dramatic moments.

For Tom McCarthy, who co-wrote and directed “Spotlight,” that montage holds the key to whether his film — and the rigor and attention to detail with which he made it — will succeed or fail with viewers. Noting that his decision to go deep into the daily grind of reporting was “a huge gamble,” he said, “I felt like if [the clips] started to operate at the right level, if the audience was connecting with those, then we really succeeded with the movie.”

So far, it looks like the bet is paying off: “Spotlight” made a triumphant debut earlier this fall at three festivals in Venice, Telluride and Toronto, emerging as a critical favorite and Oscar front-runner. In late November its cast — which includes Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Liev Schreiber — will receive a special ensemble acting citation at New York’s Gotham Awards, an early harbinger of awards-season heat.

For ‘Spotlight,’ Actors Portrayed Hunters Chasing Predators

The New York Times

OCT. 30, 2015

Working from a cramped, dingy office, a scrappy band of journalists exposes the Archdiocese of Boston’s decades-long cover-up of sexual abuse of children by scores of priests.

Definitely an investigation worthy of a Pulitzer Prize, which the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team won for that 2002 series. But fodder for a Hollywood film?

The director and co-writer Tom McCarthy, whose credits include “The Station Agent” and “The Visitor,” was convinced that the nuts and bolts of journalism at its finest could make for thrilling cinema. The result is “Spotlight,” opening Friday, Nov. 6, with a budget just under $20 million and an ensemble cast that includes Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and Liev Schreiber.

“Spotlight” allowed Mr. McCarthy and his co-writer, Josh Singer, to explore both the importance of local investigative journalism at a time of convulsive change in the newspaper business and the conspiracies of silence that can surround wrongdoing at seemingly admirable institutions.

Survivors of clergy sex abuse hope “Spotlight” film brings victims forward


By Scott Malone October 30, 2015

Survivors of clergy sex abuse said they hope the upcoming film “Spotlight,” about the Boston Globe’s groundbreaking report that Roman Catholic officials routinely covered up abuse by priests, prompts more victims to publicly confront their abusers.

The newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize for revealing in 2002 that church officials routinely covered up reports that priests had sexually assaulted children, setting off a global wave of investigations that found similar patterns at dioceses around the world.

The scandal damaged the Catholic Church worldwide, undermining its moral authority and requiring costly legal settlements. The church is still struggling with the crisis, which Pope Francis addressed last month on his historic first visit to the United States, meeting with victims and declaring that “God weeps” for their pain.

The film, which focuses on the work of the investigative reporters who spent months tracking down sealed court records, victims and abusive priests, does not depict abuse but shows the heavy emotional toll it took on survivors, many of whom turned to alcohol, drugs or suicide when unable to overcome their pain.

“I do think it will encourage more survivors who are still trapped in silence and shame and suffering to find the courage to speak up,” said David Clohessy, who runs the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests and was sexually assaulted by a priest as a teenager. ...

Terence McKiernan, president of BishopAccountability.org, which maintains records on abuse and cover ups, said he worries that a movie set more than a decade ago could lead some viewers to believe the crisis had passed.

“It wouldn’t be a bad thing for people to ask themselves in what ways is this continuing and in what ways is it better,” said McKiernan, who has seen the film. “How is it that this terrible problem duplicated itself around the world, and what do we do about that?”

Insurance experts told a Vatican conference in 2012 that as many as 100,000 U.S. children may have been the victims of clerical sex abuse. Some 12 U.S. dioceses have filed for bankruptcy since the scandal broke, in part due to more than $3 billion in settlements paid to victims.

Brugse bisschop ontheft verdachte priester uit taken

Het Nieuwsblad

[Bruges Bishop Jozef De Kesel has suspended a priest named only as MD, who is suspected of sexual abuse in the 1980s. This was reported Friday by the diocese. The bishop took the action because MD left the country despite the ban and went to Brazil.]

De Brugse bisschop Jozef De Kesel suspendeert priester M.D., die verdacht wordt van seksueel misbruik in de jaren tachtig. Dat meldt het bisdom vrijdagochtend.

De bisschop nam die beslissing, omdat M.D. ondanks een verbod naar Brazilië vertrok tijdens zijn preventieve schorsing die nog liep.

Tegen de omstreden priester liepen twee klachten over seksueel misbruik die dateren uit de jaren tachtig. De klachten liepen pas in 2011 binnen. De priester die al sinds de jaren negentig in Brazilië werkzaam was, werd teruggeroepen. Omdat de feiten verjaard waren oordeelde het parket, dat de priester terug naar Brazilië kon. Het bisdom volgde dat advies.

Maar eind vorig jaar, na een reeks andere zaken van seksueel misbruik binnen de kerk, drong De Kesel aan op zijn komst naar België. De betrokken priester ging daar op in, kwam terug naar België en werd hier vervolgens preventief geschorst. Het voorbije jaar werd de zaak verder onderzocht. “Op basis van alle gegevens in het dossier en van het rapport van Fides (Forensisch Initiatief voor Deviante Seksualiteit) heeft het Opvangpunt de bisschop geadviseerd om hem niet naar Brazilië te laten terugkeren. Bisschop De Kesel volgt dit advies en heeft aan de betrokken priester duidelijk gemaakt dat hij bij een terugkeer naar Brazilië zou overgaan tot de suspensie van zijn priesterambt, wat neerkomt op een verbod nog priesterlijke taken te verrichten”, aldus het bisdom.

Diocese to fingerprint all clergy, workers

Pittsburgh Catholic

Friday, October 30, 2015

By Ann Rodgers General Manager

In response to new Pennsylvania child protection laws, the Diocese of Pittsburgh now requires FBI background checks and fingerprinting of all diocesan clergy, employees and many volunteers. This is in addition to the state child abuse and criminal background checks that the diocese has required for more than a decade.

To make these new requirements easier for volunteers and employees, the diocese has purchased a mobile fingerprint unit that can be taken to parishes and schools. At the same time, the diocese has instituted online training for its required “Protecting God’s Children” course and also for the mandated reporter training now required for those who are legally obligated to report suspected child abuse. Links to that training can be found at www.diopitt.org in the left-hand column below “Protecting God’s Children.”

Phyllis Haney, director of the diocesan Department for Protection of Children and Young People, is available to answer questions and to visit parishes to explain the new policies.

“I used to be a parish safe environment coordinator, and I understand how challenging this can be. I am here to help and support all of you in our parishes and schools, so that our children can be safe and secure,” she said. Haney can be reached at 412-456-5633 or e-mail phaney@diopitt.org.

Was the Boston Globe’s Church Abuse Scoop the Last Great Print Story?


By Isaac Chotiner

Newspapers make rare appearances in movies these days, and when they do they usually function as a throwaway detail. (Spider-Man works at a made-up New York rag.) But the new film Spotlight, directed by Tom McCarthy, is arguably the most unabashedly romanticized filmic depiction of hardworking print journalists since All The President’s Men.

The movie, opening Nov. 6, focuses on the Boston Globe’s investigative reporting team, which helped uncover the Catholic Church pedophilia scandal in early 2002. The leader of that team, which went on to win a Pulitzer for its work, was Walter Robinson, a Globe veteran, who is played by Michael Keaton in the film. (The other members of the on-screen investigative unit include Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams.)

I spoke to Robinson by phone recently. He left the Globe in 2006 to teach journalism at Northeastern, then returned to the paper last year as editor-at-large. Robinson also took some time over the past several years to advise the filmmakers. He was chatty and warm and, appealingly, made no effort to hide his excitement about the movie.

Over the course of our conversation, we discussed the changing role of the church in Boston, Pope Francis, how the Internet helped blow the abuse story wide open, and whether movie stars are as good-looking as the people they portray. The conversation has been slightly condensed and edited for clarity.

Isaac Chotiner: I guess I can call you Robby since everyone in the movie does, even people who don’t know you.

Walter Robinson: Yeah, I know. It’s not my real name. But whatever.

The movie presents Boston as being unwilling to confront what was going on in the Catholic Church. In the last 13 years, has the relationship between the city and the church changed?

Yeah. One sort of very concrete example of the change is that the church always had its way with the Massachusetts legislature. It had its own lobbyist on Beacon Hill, and if there was legislation that the cardinal did not approve of, it was very rare for such legislation to pass. They had more power than any other—pardon me for saying this—special interest.

You’re allowed to say it.

Yeah, I can say it now. There is a law in Massachusetts called a “mandated reporting law.” That is, doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers are required by law to report any suspicions they have about abuse of children, whether it’s sexual abuse or any other kind of abuse. If they don’t report it, they themselves are subject to criminal penalties.

In Massachusetts, there had been attempts over a number of years to include clergymen under that law. Those attempts always failed. My recollection is that organizations of Protestant ministers and Jewish congregations in Massachusetts had always supported that legislation, and the Catholic Church had not, and therefore it never passed. Within months of the moment that this story crashed onto the shore, in 2002, that legislation went through both houses of the legislature and was signed by the governor really fast. The church lost almost all of its political clout in Massachusetts as a consequence of the clergy scandal. What that says is that public confidence in the church, in the institution, eroded very swiftly. I don’t think it’s come back all that much.

Ludlow woman at forefront of bill extending deadlines for sex abuse victims to get her day in court

The Republican

By Stephanie Barry | sbarry@repub.com
on October 30, 2015

Former Worcester day care provider sentenced for lying about son's sexual assault on child
SPRINGFIELD - A Ludlow woman who successfully pushed for new legislation extending the statute of limitations for alleged victims of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits will get her day in court.

Kathy Picard, 52, has said previously she worked for 12 years to push a new bill extending the deadline for alleged victims to sue. The law changed the deadline from age 21 to 53. The bill was signed by former Gov. Deval L. Patrick on June 26, 2014, with Picard present.

The same day, she filed a $1 million lawsuit in U.S. District Court against her stepfather. A trial is set to begin Monday.

Picard's suit says Louis Buoniconti began molesting her at age 7 and increased the sexual abuse until she 17 - accusations Buoniconti adamantly denies, according to court records.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 30 October 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- Bishop Fidel Herraez Vegas, auxiliary of Madrid, Spain, as archbishop of Burgos (area 13,850, population 374,970, Catholics 337,473, priests 519, religious 1,377), Spain. He succeeds Archbishop Francisco Gil Hellin, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- Bishop Renauld de Dinechin, auxiliary of Paris, France, as bishop of Soissons (area 7,378, population 557,000, Catholics 403,000, priests 89, permanent deacons 22, religious 97), France.

Archdiocese has exclusive rights until May to file plan

The Catholic Spirit

Jessica Trygstad | October 29, 2015

At an Oct. 29 hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the judge overseeing the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ Reorganization proceedings allowed it to be the sole party to file a plan for Reorganization until May 31, 2016. Before Judge Robert Kressel’s approval, the date was set for next month.

Attorney Richard Anderson of Briggs and Morgan, representing the archdiocese, said that the time of exclusivity allotted to the archdiocese to file a plan is necessary because mediation is ongoing.

“It would be a mistake and harmful for everyone’s interests for the archdiocese to file a plan that hasn’t been fully vetted. The premature filing of a plan would just be a waste of resources and time,” he said following the hearing.

Anderson emphasized that the motion wasn’t asking for an extension of any deadlines and that the archdiocese hasn’t missed any deadlines.

“This isn’t a deadline. This is a right,” he said. “The archdiocese has a right to file a plan with an exclusive period.”

Schreiber’s take on the 5th estate


By Pam Grady

When he hasn’t been busy playing fixer Ray Donovan on the eponymous Showtime series, Liev Schreiber has made a cottage industry lately of playing real people: President Lyndon Johnson in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” Soviet chess champion Boris Spassky in “Pawn Sacrifice,” and now “Boston Globe” editor Marty Baron in one of the most highly anticipated dramas of the fall season, Tom McCarthy’s “Spotlight.”

“I hate playing people who actually lived,” Schreiber, 48, says. “It’s too much responsibility, but what I learned playing Hamlet is that if you pick smart roles, people will think you’re smart.”

Early award winner

Modesty aside, the actor was sharp enough to spot a winner when he accepted the role of Baron. One of the few films to live up to the hype when it screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, “Spotlight” is also an early award winner, picking up two prizes at the Venice Film Festival, where it made its world premiere; a screenwriting award at the Hollywood Film Festival; and most recently, the Audience Favorite Gold Award, US Cinema, at the Mill Valley Film Festival.

“Spotlight” is the story of how a group of investigative journalists at the Boston Globe in 2002 broke open wide the story of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and the church’s longtime practice of covering up the crimes. The Globe’s Spotlight team focused on their local parishes, but the story reverberated worldwide. Baron was the outsider, an editor brought in by the paper’s new parent, the New York Times, and the man who recognized the importance of the story and urged his reporters to pursue it.

“Baron’s very different from everyone else,” says McCarthy. “And day one, at that first 10:30 meeting, he sort of picks up on a piece of reporting that came from within the Globe, which I think is important to remember. It was a column by Eileen McNamara. He just sort of asked some simple questions and it unlocked what became this massive investigation. That, to me, was just so compelling.”

“I think Marty is a true American hero, and I think Marty did a remarkable job shepherding that team of journalists,” adds Schreiber. “And he’s always been very good at it, he’s asking the right questions and finding the right story and not being afraid to challenge powerful institutions and organizations.”

‘Spotlight’ Sticks to the Story

Wall Street Journal

Updated Oct. 29, 2015

Director Tom McCarthy and his fellow screenwriter Josh Singer knew they had a compelling story with “Spotlight.” The trick was turning it into a riveting movie.

In 2001, reporters at the Boston Globe investigated child sexual abuse by area priests and a coverup by the archdiocese. The articles the newspaper published, beginning in January 2002, led to similar revelations around the world.

The filmmakers had broad themes to work with, such as the abuse itself, the inaction of those who knew something was wrong and the importance of local investigative journalism.

Nonetheless, these rich subjects could yield a dry, procedural story about a team of reporters embarking on a six-month investigation where breakthroughs emerge from legal filings, interviews and library research. The movie dramatizes the experiences of people who tend to be sticklers for accuracy (lawyers, journalists, victims and accused), at a time when other recent films about contemporary people (like “ Steve Jobs” and Mr. Singer’s earlier screenplay, “The Fifth Estate,” about Julian Assange and WikiLeaks) have been called out for playing with facts to heighten the drama.

“I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t scared,” Mr. Singer said. He and Mr. McCarthy (who directed and wrote the funny dramas “Win Win” and “The Station Agent”) could have oversimplified or altered the investigation story. Instead, they chose to include many journalists who were part of the project rather than ignore them for the convenience of the movie.

'Spotlight' Stars Reveal In-Depth Research to Play Investigative Reporters

Hollywood Reporter

by Hilary Lewis 10/28/2015

The film, about the Boston Globe's Pulitzer prize-winning team that exposed a massive cover-up of child abuse by priests throughout the Boston Archdiocese, features Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Stanley Tucci and others.

In the new movie Spotlight, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo and Brian d'Arcy James play three members of the Boston Globe's "Spotlight" investigative team, which in 2001 uncovered numerous instances of child abuse by Catholic priests and a cover-up within the Boston Archdiocese. And as they prepared to portray reporters searching for answers, the actors investigated the journalists.

Ruffalo told The Hollywood Reporter at Tuesday night's New York premiere that he "spent a lot of time with the real journalist" he portrays, Michael Rezendes.

"I had meals with him. I talked with him for hours. I sat next to him at work," Ruffalo said. "I watched him work the phones. I watched him write his stories. I talked to him about his life and his family. I had him give me tours of Boston. As much as I could soak him up seemed to be the most important part."

'Lured to her death by Vatican cardinal paedophile ring or kidnapped in revenge by Italy mobster': Enduring mystery of girl, 15, who vanished on way home from flute class after Pope told family 'She's in heaven'

Daily Mail (UK)


The mysterious disappearance of the 15-year-old daughter of a Vatican official is Italy's most enduring cold case.

Emanuela Orlandi vanished while on her way home from a flute lesson in July 1983, and was never seen again.

It sparked an international intrigue that has pointed to the Stasi, the Italian mob and even a Satanic sex cult among the cardinals.

The teenager, the fourth of five children in a devoutly Catholic family, was enticed to meet her abductors with the offer of some work distributing leaflets at a fashion show for Avon cosmetics.

In reality, the Avon job did not exist. No one has ever been convicted of her disappearance and no body has ever been found.

The original theory followed by investigators was that she was kidnapped to secure the release of the would-be assassin who tried to kill John Paul II.

But Vatican insiders have claimed that she died under the influence of drugs at a satanic sex party with prelates.

Others insist she was is still alive and living secretly in a convent with the knowledge of the Vatican.

Mitchell Garabedian seems to approve of ‘Spotlight’

Boston Globe

By Mark Shanahan GLOBE STAFF OCTOBER 30, 2015

Mitchell Garabedian, the attorney for many of the victims in the priest sex abuse scandal that is the focus of “Spotlight,” hasn’t said much, if anything, about the film, which is widely considered to be the Oscar front-runner for best picture. Garabedian (inset) isn’t participating in the press junket for the film, and Stanley Tucci, who plays the relentless lawyer in the movie, told reporters at the Venice Film Festival that he’d never met or spoken to Garabedian. (The actor said he was urged not to because Garabedian can be abrasive.) It was interesting then to see Garabedian give director Tom McCarthy a thumbs-up from his seat in the audience at Wednesday’s premiere of “Spotlight” at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. To paraphrase Sally Field: He likes it! He really likes it!

Catholic priest Terrence Millard loses appeal over child smack in church

Sydney Morning Herald

October 30, 2015

Patrick Begley

A Sydney mother whose eight-year-old son was smacked by a priest in church says it was "disgusting" for the man to rely on a child discipline defence in his legal appeal.

Terrence John Millard, a former parish priest at Greenacre in Sydney's south-west, on Friday lost his fight against the common assault finding.

He denied hitting the boy at St John Vianney Catholic Church on September 11 last year.

Millard had been conducting a reconciliation rehearsal for children at the affiliated primary school when he noticed the boy lounging on a pew, giggling and distracting his classmates.

He says he took the boy by the shoulders in a reassuring way, guided him to the back of the church, stood him in front of the Stations of the Cross and asked him to reflect on his behaviour.

Xavier College’s past revealed following online bullying scandal


DRUGS, theft, assault, property damage, a trafficking offence and even an incident involving weapons and explosives.

It sounds like the worst school on the worst corner of the worst suburb, and yet you pay about $25,000 a year to go there.

Xavier College is a prestigious Catholic boys school in Kew in Melbourne with an esteemed alumni — Labor Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, AFL Brownlow medallist Jobe Watson, world champion marathon runner Robert de Castella and Formula One world championship winner Alan Jones.

Even Barry Humphries’ character Sir Les Patterson claims he was a student.

The school says it aims to produce “reflective, compassionate and articulate men” who will provide “outstanding service and leadership in our world”.

But it is often plagued with scandal, and online bullying is the latest transgression to rock the senior boys campus. Its students this week came under fire for taunting public school students on Facebook ahead of the VCE English exam, calling them “povos”.

'Spotlight' needed on clergy sexual abuse in the Bay Area

San Francisco Chronicle

By Tom Stier
October 29, 2015

The movie “Spotlight,” which opens Nov. 6, tells the story of the Boston Globe’s Spotlight investigation team’s reporting during 2001 and 2002 on the clergy sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston and its cover-up by Cardinal Bernard Law. For many, this movie will draw unwanted publicity to the Catholic Church but I, a former Catholic parish priest, welcome the attention. I hope this movie shines the spotlight on the Catholic Church in Oakland and San Francisco so the full extent of abuse and cover-up right here in the Bay Area may be known.

For the truth is, the story revealed here would be just as heartbreaking and just as horrifying as in Boston. The reason the Boston Globe’s journalists were able to shine such a light on the Catholic Church in Boston was due to the courage of a judge who forced the Archdiocese of Boston to open the files of its scores of criminal priests.

The Diocese of Oakland has yet to publicly name all the priests, both diocesan and religious, who abused children and teens throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Oakland Bishop Michael C. Barber and his team cannot tell the full truth to the Catholics of the East Bay, nor can Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone fully reveal these abuses to Catholics of San Francisco.

Church admits abuse by clergy in Sussex was worst in the country

The Argus

SEXUAL abuse committed by clergymen in Sussex was the worst of anywhere else in the country, the church has said.

The frank admission comes after the ninth Sussex churchman in two years was found to have used their position to commit sexual offences.

Vickery House, a former vicar of Berwick, was found guilty at the Old Bailey on Wednesday of five counts of indecent assault on males - with one as young as 14 - over a period of 16 years.

A Diocese of Chichester spokesman told The Argus they hoped House's conviction would “touch wood” be the last case to come to light.

But many abuse survivors and their lawyers said they expected more to be unearthed and called for the national Goddard Inquiry into historic sex abuse to make the diocese a particular focus of investigation.

Victim testifies how sexual abuse by Minnesota priest altered his life

Star Tribune

By Nicole Norfleet Star Tribune OCTOBER 29, 2015

John Doe 30’s life is not how he expected it to be.

The 52-year-old hair stylist said he has spent much of his adulthood struggling with anxiety, moving from place to place and not trusting people after an alleged sexual assault by a Minnesota priest when he was a boy. He has tried twice to kill himself and has always lived alone.

“I feel like the church has turned its back on me. I feel betrayed by the church,” the man testified Thursday in his court case against the Diocese of Duluth.

Attorneys for Doe 30 said he was 15 in 1978 when he was molested daily during a two-week stay with the Rev. James Vincent Fitzgerald, who had a church in Squaw Lake. Doe 30 is suing the diocese in Ramsey County District Court, alleging that it failed to protect him.

The case is the first under the Minnesota Child Victims Act to go to trial. The 2013 law has allowed older claims of child sex abuse previously barred by statutes of limitations to be aired in court.

October 29, 2015

Ex-Cathedral teacher Joe Graziano jailed three years for repeat sexual abuse

Hamilton Spectator

By Carmela Fragomeni

A former Catholic high school teacher who befriended and then sexually abused a vulnerable student has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Giuseppe (Joe) Graziano, 56, taught religious studies and cosmetology at Cathedral High School, on Wentworth Street North, at the time of the offences.

"Mr. Graziano slowly worked his way into the life (of the student) — more than one would expect of a teacher," said Superior Court Justice Harrison Arrell in sentencing Graziano on Thursday.

Graziano was convicted in August of sexual interference and sexual exploitation for sexually touching a person under 16 and for touching a young person while in a position of trust.

Teacher's Aide Acquitted of Sexually Abusing Student Plans Career Change

NBC Bay Area

[with video]

By Chuck Coppola

A former Catholic school teacher's aide acquitted this week of 10 counts of sexual abuse against a student is now talking about starting over and finding a new career.

Mia Cummings, 31, of Oakland, was held for nearly two years in Santa Rita Jail awaiting trial.

This week, she was released after a jury ruled they didn't believe the allegations against her.

The former after-school program coordinator at All Saints Catholic School in Hayward tells NBC Bay Area she's trying put the pieces of her life back together.

"I started by taking my son to school for the first time," Cummings said Thursday. "That's what I started with."

Her son was 2 when she was arrested just before Thanksgiving in 2013. Unable to make the $500,000 bail, Cummings spent the next two years seeing her child once a week as a jail visitor.

Pope OKs indulgences for Legion during anniversary


VATICAN CITY - (AP) -- Pope Francis has granted a special plenary indulgence to members of the scandal-tainted Legion of Christ order as it celebrates the 75th anniversary of its foundation by the discredited Mexican priest, Marcial Maciel.

Vatican Radio said Thursday that the decree was approved following a request by the current Legion superior, the Rev. Eduardo Robles-Gil.

Robles-Gil has been leading the Legion since the Vatican signed off on its process of reform following revelations that Maciel sexually abused seminarians.

Indulgences are the ancient church tradition related to the forgiveness of sins that roughly amounts to a "get out of Purgatory free" card. Catholics seeking them must be contrite and have a moment of deepening faith.

Pope offers pardon to scandal-tainted Legion of Christ

Inquirer (Philippines)


VATICAN CITY—Pope Francis has granted a “plenary indulgence,” or religious pardon, to the ultra-conservative Legion of Christ movement, mired in a pedophile scandal, provided its members perform acts of penance, Vatican Radio said Thursday.

The Legion of Christ has for years been beset by accusations of sexual abuse.

The order’s founder, Mexican-born Marcial Maciel, stepped down in 2005 amid allegations of pedophilia and fathering several children. He died in 2008.

In August the Chilean government decided to deport Irish priest John O’Reilly, the local Legion head who was convicted of sexually abusing a young girl.

“After the huge scandal provoked by its hellish past,” the Legion of Christ group “has begun a period of purification and renewal,” Vatican Radio said.

Lawyers for imam accused of sex abuse await possible new indictment

Chicago Tribune

George Houde
Chicago Tribune

Another indictment against a well-known Muslim leader accused of sexual abuse is expected next month, his defense attorneys said after his appearance Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court.

Mohammed Abdullah Saleem, founder of the Institute of Islamic Education in Elgin, appeared before Judge Joseph Cataldo, three weeks after the imam was charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a girl who was his student at the time.

An attorney for Saleem, who had previously been charged with sexually abusing a woman who worked for him at the school, said she expects the new indictment to relate to the allegations already made by the former student, who is now an adult.

But the attorney, Huma Rashid, said the defense team is prepared to fight any additional allegations, should they arise.

Cardinal O’Malley releases statement on ‘Spotlight’


By Dialynn Dwyer @dia_dwyer
Boston.com Staff | 10.29.15

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley released a statement Thursday on Spotlight, the new film that chronicles the investigation by Boston Globe reporters into the systemic sexual abuse of children within the Roman Catholic Church.

In a letter to the editor to the archdiocesan newspaper The Pilot (republished in full below), O’Malley said the film depicts a painful time in the history of the Catholic Church that reporters helped bring to light:

The media’s investigative reporting on the abuse crisis instigated a call for the Church to take responsibility for its failings and to reform itself—to deal with what was shameful and hidden—and to make the commitment to put the protection of children first, ahead of all other interests.

O’Malley said the church continues to seek the forgiveness of those who were abused and said he has personally met with “hundreds of survivors” over the last 12 years, hearing their stories and “humbly seeking their pardon.”

Hundreds Of Gay Marriages Have Been Annulled By A Catholic Judge

Yahoo! News

Rob Waugh

Hundreds of gay marriages have been annulled in Italy by a panel led by a Catholic judge in the secretive Opus Dei organisation.

Same-sex marriage is not technically legal in Italy, but several left-wing mayors have registered marriages which have been conducted abroad.

Judges at Italy’s highest appeal court, the Council of State, annulled a ruling in favour of cities that had registered these unions.

The panel was led by a judge who was a former president of a halls of residence in Milan, run by Opus Dei.

The move has caused controversy - Opus Dei, made famous by Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, is a highly conservative organisation, whose members practice a ‘pious’ lifestyle.

Ex-Bishop helped cover up abuse by colleague


By John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor 29 Oct 2015

A disgraced bishop who was jailed earlier this month for sexually assaulting a string of young would-be priests also helped cover up abuse by one of his closest aides, it has emerged.

Peter Ball, the former Bishop of Lewes in the Church of England diocese of Chichester, wrote to apologise to one young man who had been abused by the Rev Vickery House in 1984, claiming to have taken steps to ensure that “nothing like it happens again”.

House, now 69, was jailed for six and a half years at the Old Bailey for a series of sex attacks on boys and young men, including one victim aged just 14, over a 16-year period from 1977 to 1992.

A former vicar in Berwick, East Sussex, he served as Ball’s deputy running a church gap-year scheme called “Give A Year For Christ” where he targeted young men testing out a possible “call” to ordination.

Three of his House's victims were also abused by Ball, who was also jailed three weeks ago after admitting indecent assaults on 18 young men in the 1970s and 1980s.

Payment and apology follow abuse complaint against Bishop Bell

Church Times

by Madeleine Davies

Posted: 30 Oct 2015

ALLEGATIONS of sexual abuse by a former Bishop of Chichester, the Rt Revd George Bell, have resulted in compensation and a formal apology from the current Bishop, Dr Martin Warner, 20 years after the complaint was first made.

A statement issued by Church House, Westminster, on Thursday of last week confirmed “a legal civil claim regarding sexual abuse against the Right Reverend George Bell”. The complaint concerns the abuse of a young child in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Tracey Emmott, the solicitor for the survivor, said that her client remained “bitter” that the original complaint, made in 1995, was “not properly listened to or dealt with until my client made contact with Archbishop Justin Welby’s office in 2013”. This failure had been “very damaging, and combined with the abuse that was suffered has had a profound effect on my client’s life”.

The survivor first reported the abuse to the then Bishop of Chichester, Dr Eric Kemp, in August 1995, the statement said. The late Dr Kemp responded to the correspondence offering pastoral support, but did not refer the matter to the police or, so far as is known, investigate the complaint further. Dr Kemp died in 2009; Bishop Bell had died in 1958.

Breaching seal of confession won’t stop abuse, says Forward in Faith

Church Times

by Tim Wyatt

Posted: 30 Oct 2015

ANY attempt to allow priests to breach the confidentiality of sacramental confession would be wrong, and could lead to priests’ being imprisoned, the traditional Catholic organisation Forward in Faith (FiF) has warned.

FiF’s formal submission to a Church of England working party on the seal of the confessional urges the House of Bishops, the Archbishops’ Council, and the General Synod not to remove the ban on revealing what has been said in confession.

In the sacrament of reconciliation, or penance, a priest is obliged never to disclose what is confessed by a penitent. Canon 113 of the Code of 1603 expresses this, but, the FiF submission says: “The obligation was not created by Canon 113 . . . The Seal is intrinsic to the sacrament.”

The working party has been convened to examine whether an exception to this seal should be made if someone confesses to child abuse or other serious criminal offences.

Former Navy Chaplain to Plead Guilty in Child Porn Case


DOVER, Del. (AP) - A former Navy chaplain and Catholic priest who pleaded guilty years ago to sexually assaulting a U.S. Naval Academy midshipman is facing up to life in prison on child pornography charges.

A judge on Thursday scheduled a Nov. 16 plea hearing for 50-year-old John Thomas Matthew Lee of Millsboro.

Federal prosecutors say Lee has agreed to plead guilty to charges of production and distribution of child pornography. He was indicted on the charges in June.

Lee was court-martialed in 2007 on charges including forcible sodomy and failing to tell a sex partner he was HIV-positive. He was sentenced to no more than two years in prison.

Former priest to plead guilty child porn charges

The News Journal

Brittany Horn, The News Journal October 29, 2015

A former Navy chaplain and Catholic priest who pleaded guilty years ago to sexually assaulting a U.S. Naval Academy midshipman is scheduled to plead guilty to child pornography charges.

John Thomas Matthew Lee, 50, of Millsboro, will stand before Judge Leonard P. Stark for a plea hearing on Nov. 16 in Dover, according to court documents filed Thursday.

Federal prosecutors say Lee has agreed to plead guilty to charges of production and distribution of child pornography. He was indicted on the charges in June and could face up to life in prison.

Extensive photos and communication with young boys were recovered on phones and computer files in Lee's home, according to court documents.

Lee was court-martialed in 2007 on charges including forcible sodomy and failing to tell a sex partner he was HIV-positive. He was sentenced to no more than two years in prison.

Prosecutor cites ‘spirit of reform’ at Minnesota archdiocese

Washington Times

By STEVE KARNOWSKI - Associated Press - Thursday, October 29, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A Minnesota archdiocese and prosecutors both made conciliatory statements Thursday after an initial hearing on criminal charges against the church over its handling of an abusive priest, and the judge said she understood the two were engaged in talks.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis didn’t enter a plea or send any leaders to appear at the brief hearing. Ramsey County Chief Judge Teresa Warner told Assistant County Attorney Tom Ring and archdiocese defense attorney Joe Dixon that she understood that discussions or negotiations were continuing, but gave no details. She scheduled the next court date for Nov. 30.

The archdiocese faces six gross misdemeanor counts of child endangerment for allegedly turning a blind eye to repeated misconduct by Curtis Wehmeyer, a now-imprisoned former priest at Church of the Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul, who was convicted of molesting two boys in Minnesota and one in Wisconsin.

Prosecutors say top church officials failed to respond to “numerous and repeated reports of troubling conduct” by Wehmeyer, dating back to when he entered seminary in 1997 until he was defrocked in March.

Audit commends diocesan policies to prevent abuse

Catholic Courier

By Jennifer Burke/Catholic Courier

The Diocese of Rochester fared well in a September 2015 audit of its compliance with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

Not only did auditors from the independent auditing firm Stonebridge Business Partners find the diocese in complete compliance with the charter, but the auditors also praised the diocese for several new steps taken in the past year, according to Father Daniel Condon, diocesan chancellor.

"We are in compliance. We've never not been in compliance," Father Condon noted.

The Diocese of Rochester and most other dioceses in the country have undergone independent audits each year since 2003 in order to gauge their compliance with the charter, which is a set of procedures the USCCB adopted in 2002 in response to allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. The charter required dioceses to follow specific guidelines when responding to allegations of the sexual abuse of minors, implement safe-environment programs and develop codes of conduct for clerics, employees and volunteers.

Dennis Hastert Case Renews Debate over Sex Crime Statute of Limitations


(WASHINGTON) — The nationwide debate over statutes of limitations on child sex crimes has been reignited in the wake of a plea deal that could give former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert little to no jail time for a fraud charge linked to alleged decades-old sexual abuse of minors.

Hastert, 73, allegedly abused more than one student while he was a coach at Illinois’ Yorkville High School in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but was only brought to trial for a financial crime after attempting to hide recent hush money payments to one of his alleged victims. The maximum penalty for the financial crime for which Hastert was convicted is five years, but the plea deal includes a recommendation that he receive at most six months in prison. Hastert has declined to comment on the abuse allegations.

Jolene Burdge, the sister of one of Hastert’s alleged victims not involved in the hush money payments, told ABC News after the deal was filed Wednesday that she felt Hastert “got a pass.”

“I think he got a pass because of his power and status. I think he got a back room deal. His victims didn’t get a pass when he put them through the abuse,” she said.

St. Paul's School Rape Trial: Owen Labrie Sentenced to Year in Prison

NBC News

[with video]


The former New Hampshire prep school student convicted on lesser charges in a rape trial that exposed a campus tradition of sexual conquest was sentenced Thursday to a year in prison followed by probation.

Owen Labrie, 20, potentially faced up to 11 years in prison for the four misdemeanor sex offenses and one felony charge of computer-related seduction in the sexual assault case involving a fellow student.

Jurors, however, acquitted Labrie on Aug. 28 of the more serious felony rape charges, which each carried up to 20 years in prison.

"I believe that you are not the angel as portrayed by your counsel" and in letters of support submitted on his behalf, state Superior Court Judge Lawrence Smukler told Labrie. "But neither are you the devil as portrayed by the prosecution."

Raymond C. Plourde


November 11, 1931 - April 17, 2013
Boston, Massachusetts

Raymond was born on November 11, 1931 and passed away on Wednesday, April 17, 2013.

Raymond was a resident of Boston, Massachusetts.

Blazing ‘Spotlight’: Tom McCarthy’s drama focuses on ‘Boston Globe’ inquiry into Catholic Church coverup

Film Journal

By Daniel Eagan Oct 29, 2015

Rumors of widespread sexual abuse within the Catholic Church were largely just that—rumors—until a 2002 series of Boston Globe articles detailed how the Church hid pedophilia among more than 70 local priests. Spotlight, an Open Road Films release, reveals how the newspaper exposé came about. Already an awards contender, the drama opens in theatres on Nov. 6.

The screenplay, co-written by director Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, focuses on Spotlight, a four-member Globe team which took on long-term investigative projects for the paper. In the script, which is structured like a mystery, Marty Baron (played by Liev Schreiber), the Globe's new editor and an outsider to Boston politics, pushes the team to dig into abuse accusations about John Geoghan, a priest.

Speaking by phone from his office, McCarthy emphasizes how important a part research played in preparing and writing the script. Much like the Spotlight team, McCarthy and Singer had to be meticulously accurate. Get anything wrong, from accents to addresses or clothes, and viewers could dismiss the entire story.

"I guess our main concern was trying to remain true to the spirit of those journalists and the reporting they did," McCarthy says. "That was our guiding principle. What would the reporters do? What would Marty Baron do? Understanding of course that our job's a little different, we're telling a narrative feature and we have to do it in two hours or so."

‘Spotlight’ shows how church was impelled to act, O’Malley says

Boston Globe

By Lisa Wangsness GLOBE STAFF OCTOBER 29, 2015

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley says the forthcoming “Spotlight” film chronicling The Boston Globe’s investigation of child sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church illustrates how the newspaper’s reports prompted the church “to deal with what was shameful and hidden.”

In a statement to the archdiocesan newspaper The Pilot on Thursday, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Boston said the movie depicts “a very painful time” in church history. He said the church continues to seek the forgiveness of those harmed by abusive priests, and he reiterated his commitment to ridding the church of abusive priests.

“The Archdiocese of Boston is fully and completely committed to zero tolerance concerning the abuse of minors,” he said. “We follow a vigorous policy of reporting and disclosing information concerning allegations of abuse.”

O’Malley has not seen the movie yet, a church spokesman said. It premiered in New York and Boston this week, and the film’s distributors are holding a screening for abuse survivors Thursday night in Boston. The film, which has won critical acclaim in early reviews, is scheduled to open in theaters Nov. 6.

Film Shines A 'Spotlight' On Boston's Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal


[with audio]

In 2001, a team of reporters at the Boston Globe began investigating reports of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests. The "Spotlight" team, as it was known, eventually revealed that the abuse had been happening for decades — and that church leaders in Boston had been aware of it, and had been involved in covering it up.

Veteran reporter and editor Walter Robinson, who led the Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning Spotlight team, tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies: "These crimes were unimaginable, and that they could've been countenanced and enabled by such an iconic institution, it gave us so much energy to pursue the story and get the story and make it public."

Now, the new film, Spotlight, chronicles the investigation that brought the scandal to light. Tom McCarthy, who co-wrote and directed the new film, says he was immediately drawn to the story.

"As I dug into the material, first just on my own, and then with my co-writer Josh Singer, we realized that the story operated on so many levels. ... It went well beyond the investigation itself," McCarthy says. "It was something we were immediately engrossed in."

Vatican bracing for new revelations of mismanagement

St. Louis Post-Dispatch


VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican is bracing for more allegations of financial wrongdoing and mismanagement with the publication next week of two books that underscore the challenges Pope Francis is facing to reform the Holy See.

Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi's "Merchants in the Temple" follows his blockbuster 2012 book, "His Holiness," based on confidential papal correspondence detailing corruption and political intrigue in the Vatican. The so-called Vatileaks scandal that ensued resulted in the conviction of Pope Benedict XVI's butler for leaking the documents, and some say, to Benedict's historic resignation.

Italian journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi is releasing "Avarice: Documents Revealing Wealth, Scandals and Secrets of Francis' Church." Fittipaldi writes for L'Espresso newsweekly, which has published some of the most damaging leaks of Francis' papacy, including most recently the letter by 13 cardinals warning Francis about his family synod.

The publication of the books, both on Nov. 5, will no doubt set off a new flurry of speculation about the depth of opposition to Francis' reform agenda, given both are purportedly based on leaked documents and internal information to which only Vatican officials would have had access.

On Thursday, Italian newsweekly Panorama hinted at the dangers to come with a cover story "Sabotage in Vatican," noting the pending financial revelations and detailing the recent intrigues surrounding the just-ended synod on the family, which exposed internal battles over the direction Francis has set for the church.

Vickery House: Priest jailed over sex attacks

BBC News

A retired clergyman has been jailed for six and a half years for carrying out sex offences against a boy and three men in the 1970s and 1980s.

Vickery House, 69, from West Sussex, was convicted of five counts of indecent assault, including two against a boy aged between 14 and 15 in Devon.

He denied carrying out the attack on the boy and said his actions with the men were "mistaken sexual advances".

House, of Handcross, was sentenced at the Old Bailey on Thursday.

Judge Christine Henson QC told House, who was a Church of England vicar: "You should have epitomised all that was good, honest and moral about society.

Retired priest jailed for six and a half years for sex offences

Crawley Observer

Harley Tamplin
Thursday 29 October 2015

A retired Church of England priest has been jailed for six and a half years after he was found guilty of sexual offences against four men.

Vickery House, 69, of Brighton Road, Handcross, was sentenced at the Old Bailey today (Thursday October 29) having been found guilty of five sexual offences on Tuesday (October 27) after a 12-day trial.

He was found guilty of two offences against a teenage boy in Devon in the 1970s, and three others against three men in East Sussex in the 1980s. He was cleared of three further counts.

He had pleaded not guilty to all eight counts.

Detective inspector Jez Prior of Sussex Police said: “This complex investigation began when we received information from the Church of England in May 2012, concerning one of the victims who he has been found guilty of assaulting. The others came forward during the investigation.

“The case was about power that House, who was a priest when all these offences were committed, exercised while he was responsible for ministering to their spiritual needs, and it was about opportunism, as he took advantage of situations in which to sexually assault them.

Minn. Archdiocese Doesn’t Enter Plea Over Handling Of Abusive Priest

CBS Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota archdiocese that faces criminal charges over its handling of an abusive priest didn’t enter a plea at its initial hearing Thursday.

No leaders from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis appeared at the hearing, which lasted just a few minutes.

The archdiocese faces six gross misdemeanor counts of child endangerment for allegedly turning a blind eye to repeated misconduct by Curtis Wehmeyer, a now-imprisoned former priest at Church of the Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul, who was convicted of molesting two boys in Minnesota and one in Wisconsin.

Ramsey County Chief Judge Teresa Warner scheduled the next court date for Nov. 30. She told Assistant County Attorney Tom Ring and archdiocese defense attorney Joe Dixon that she understood that discussions or negotiations were continuing but gave no details.

NSS: Church cannot escape blame for the failure to uncover truth about sex abuse

National Secular Society

Posted: Thu, 29 Oct 2015

NSS: Church cannot escape blame for the failure to uncover truth about sex abuse

The National Secular Society has said that the Church of England cannot escape blame following the jailing of a retired Anglican priest for sexual offences committed against boys as young as 14.

Vickery House, from West Sussex, was jailed for six and half years at the Old Bailey today after being found guilty of five charges of indecent assault. House had denied eight counts of indecent assault against six males aged 14 to 34 dating back to the 1970s and 1980s.

The former Church of England priest was the "Right-hand man" of disgraced bishop Peter Ball who was jailed earlier this month for a string of offences against teenagers and young men.
Three of House's victims were also abused by Ball around the time they took part in a Church of England scheme called Give A Year For Christ which was run by the clergymen.

Speaking after the sentencing, National Secular Society executive director, Keith Porteous Wood, said:

"House and Bishop Ball misused their Anglican religious order to attract and systematically abuse young men. Instead of exercising their duty of care, they ruthlessly exploited their religious and institutional power over the victims.

BREAKING NEWS: Former priest sentenced to more than six years for sexual offences against young men

Hastings & St. Leonards Observer

A now retired Church of England priest has been sentenced to a total of six and a half years imprisonment for five sexual offences against four young men in the 1970s and 1980s.

Vickery House, 69, of Brighton Road, Handcross, was sentenced at the Old Bailey on Thursday (October 29) having been convicted on Tuesday after a 12-day trial.

He was found guilty of two offences against a boy in Devon between 1970 and 1971; one offence in East Sussex between 1983 and 1985, was against another man; one offence was against a man in East Sussex in 1981; and one offence was against another man in East Sussex in 1985.

He was found not guilty of one offence in Devon against the second victim and of one offence against each of two other men, in East Sussex and in London.

Detective Inspector Jez Prior of Sussex Police said, “This complex investigation began when we received information from the Church of England in May 2012, concerning one of the victims who he has been found guilty of assaulting. The others came forward during the investigation.

Victims' lawyer slams church after ex-priest Vickery House jailed for attacks

Leigh Journal

Victims have called on government to stop the Church "policing itself" as the right-hand man of pervert bishop Peter Ball was jailed for six and a half years for a series of sex attacks spanning 16 years.

Earlier this week, retired priest Vickery House, 69, was found guilty of five counts of indecent assault on males - with one as young as 14 - in the 1970s and 80s.

During much of that time, House was vicar in Berwick, East Sussex, and worked under Ball - who earlier this month was jailed for 32 months after he admitted molesting young men between 1977 and 1992.

Three of House's victims were also abused by Ball around the time they took part in a Church of England scheme called Give A Year For Christ which was run by the clergymen.

The scandal has been mired in accusations of an establishment cover-up with former Bishop of Lewes and Gloucester Ball, 83, counting a member of the Royal Family among those who wrote letters of support before he was let off with a caution in 1993.

NY--Victims skeptical of agreement between bishop & prosecutors

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, October 29

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those abused by Priests (314 566 9790, davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

We’re highly skeptical of the agreement between Syracuse Bishop Robert Cunningham and several local prosecutors. It was negotiated during months of secrecy which, in itself, is troubling.

A deal by a bishop to do better in the future might be helpful. But making predators’ names public right now is definitely helpful. That still needs to happen, immediately, if Syracuse kids are to be safer from child molesting Syracuse clerics.

If Cunningham cares about protecting kids, he’ll tell Syracuse families right now about every single predatory priest, nun, brother, seminarian or church worker who is now in his diocese or has ever been in his diocese. And he’ll permanently post their names, photos and whereabouts on church websites.

Across the globe, thousands of bishops have repeatedly promised to act openly and responsibly in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases. And repeatedly, thousands of bishops have broken these promises. So we aren’t very hopeful about yet another such promise, even if it will supposedly be enforced by prosecutors.

There’s one sure way to prevent Catholic officials from concealing current and future pedophile priests: reporting known and suspected abuse directly and immediately to the police. We hope parents, parishioners and the public call secular officials, not church officials, with any and all suspicions or knowledge they have about clergy sex crimes.

Catholic Services Appeal Update: A Day Late and a Million Dollars Short

Canonical Consultation

[with document]

Jennifer Haselberger


Pastors of parishes in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis this week received the following update on the status of the 2015 Catholic Services Appeal. Frankly, I am surprised that they are only $1,000,000 short, especially given the high legal costs associated with the bankruptcy and fighting the criminal charges leveled against the Archdiocesan corporation.

Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis faces charges from Ramsey County Attorney

Star Tribune

By Jean Hopfensperger Star Tribune OCTOBER 29, 2015

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis made its first appearance in Ramsey County District Court Thursday in a clergy sex abuse case spearheaded by the Ramsey County Attorney that is being watched nationally.

County Attorney John Choi criminally charged the archdiocese with “failing to protect children” last summer, citing the church’s oversight of the troubled former priest Curtis Wehmeyer. Wehmeyer was convicted of sexually abusing two sons of a parishioner in 2010, in a camper trailer parked outside his Blessed Sacrament Church in St. Paul.

It was the first time a U.S. archdiocese had been charged with such an offense, and just the second time a U.S. archdiocese as an institution has been criminally indicted on a charge of clergy abuse in its ranks, legal scholars say.

Clergy abuse cases historically have been directed at individual priests.

Ramsey County Chief Judge Teresa Warner presided over the brief hearing. She said she would hear both the criminal case — and the accompanying civil case — on the same schedule.

She set the next court date for Nov. 3.

At the time he announced the charges in June, Choi said, “The charges place responsibility for the abuse of those children not just on Wehmeyer, but on the archdiocese as well. He said the charges reflect a “disturbing institutional and systemic pattern of behavior, committed by the highest levels of [archdiocese] leadership.”

MA--Cardinal should promote “Spotlight” film

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, October 29, 2015

Statement by Ann Hagan Webb, former director, New England SNAP, (617-513-8442).

Next month, when “Spotlight” opens in theaters, Cardinal Sean O’Malley should order every church staff member to see it. That is the best, quickest and cheapest way he can protect more kids. It’s easy for bishops to claim they have changed, but acting with real openness would prove real change. Boston parents and parishioners can only benefit by learning more about the church’s on going abuse and cover up crisis. O’Malley should be promoting this movie if he truly cares about the safety of children.

For more on O’Malley’s troubling track record on abuse click here. www.snapnetwork.org/rome_question_o_malley_record or http://www.snapnetwork.org/ny_cardinal_o_malley_calls_for_compliance_not_enforcement

A look at other lawsuits where the courts have ordered diocese officials to make records public.

Monterey County Weekly

Posted: Thursday, October 29, 2015

by Mary Duan
and Sara Rubin

The Weekly’s legal battle for records is certainly not the first, nor will it be the last, in seeking to expose the extent of sexual abuse – and cover-ups by officials – in the Catholic church or anywhere. There are many more cases with diverse circumstances, but what they have in common is media outlets and victims sought to reveal confidential records, while church officials consistently opposed their release.

Here’s a look at several of the significant cases where documents were turned over to the public:


After The Boston Globe revealed the extent of cover-ups of sexual abuse in the Boston Archdiocese in the early 2000s, the issue of sexual abuse in the Catholic church surged into international consciousness. Until then, sexual abuse in the church was widely understood by the public to be isolated, one-off incidents.

The Globe challenged a court order that allowed the archdiocese to file court documents under seal in lawsuit against Fr. John Geoghan, and in late 2001, a judge forced the Boston Archdiocese to turn over thousands of pages of records.

The newspaper discovered the archdiocese had privately settled sexual abuse claims concerning 70 of its priests – and that the bishop knew about Geoghan’s abuse for years.

According to theGlobe, Bishop Robert Banks’ own notes from a 1989 conversation with a psychiatrist treating the priest said, “You better clip his wings before there is an explosion… you can’t afford to have him in a parish.”

Los Angeles:

Faced with 508 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by members of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the archdiocese agreed to pay $660 million to settle all of those cases in 2007. But the scandal wasn’t over: Attorneys for the plaintiffs demanded the release of personnel files of the accused priests.

The archdiocese appealed an order requiring the release of the records, but dozens of files of clergy, living and dead, were released under court order in 2013. They showed top officials protected accused priests.

“[The release of the files] concludes a sad and shameful chapter in the history of our Local Church,” according to a diocese statement. (The archdiocese made the clergy files available at http://clergyfiles.la-archdiocese.org.)

“The archdiocese again apologizes to all who were harmed in the past by clergy sexual abuse. We continue to pray earnestly that you and your families find emotional and spiritual healing.”

After decades of impunity, this fugitive father's past finally caught up with him


Will Carless
Jimmy Chalk
Rob Harris
on Oct 29, 2015

Colombian priest Federico Fernandez-Baeza has been accused multiple times of molesting children. In 1987, a Texas grand jury indicted him on two second-degree felony counts of indecency with a child, charges that stemmed from his alleged abuse of two boys over two years.

But despite numerous allegations against him, Fernandez was allowed to leave the United States and move to Colombia after his former diocese of San Antonio reportedly paid more than $1 million to his alleged victims. In Colombia, he went right back into the church.

When GlobalPost went looking for Fernandez, we discovered not only was he still working for the Catholic church, he was now an administrator at a prestigious university, with regular access to students.

This is the story of how our attempt to confront Fernandez eventually forced the church into action. After decades of impunity, this fugitive father's past finally caught up with him.

Polish priest given suspended sentence for molesting girls

Radio Poland


A Polish priest has been given a suspended two-year prison sentence for molesting girls near Zamość, south east Poland.

Among other incidents, Father Stanisław G. (full name withheld under Polish privacy laws) fondled girls while preparing them for their first communion.

The priest will be put on a probationary period for five years.

Besides the suspended prison sentence, the clergyman has been given a lifetime ban from instructing or overseeing minors. He has also been fined PLN 3,000.

AZ--Victims ask Phoenix bishop to help re predator

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, Oct. 27

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those abused by Priests (314 566 9790, davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

A Phoenix priest is accused of ignoring reports that a now-admitted child molester made a boy strip naked and whipped him.

Fr. Patrick Crane is with Our Lady of Sorrows in Phoenix. Last month, he was interviewed by a detective because he worked for three years - from 2003 to 2006 – with Kevin Sloniker, who faces recent child sex charges in Washington and Idaho. Crane said he remembers part of the conversation with the boy.

For the safety of kids, we call on Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmstead to suspend Fr. Crane.

And we call on Idaho Bishop Peter F. Christensen and Spokane Bishop Thomas Daly to use church websites, parish bulletins, pulpit announcements and personal appeals to reach out to others who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by Sloniker.

How to tell if Pope Francis is losing confidence in his finance czar


By John L. Allen Jr.
Associate editor October 28, 2015

On Tuesday, Pope Francis issued a letter reminding aides that even though his council of nine cardinal advisors is pondering a sweeping reform of the Church’s central administration, in the meantime all existing rules and regulations for various Vatican departments still apply.

As the pope put it, there is no “legal vacuum.”

The letter was addressed to Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the secretary of state, with the request that Parolin inform everyone else.

Depending on how one chooses to look at it, this was either:

A) A fairly routine bureaucratic reminder in a time of transition.

B) A rebuke of Australian Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s top financial official and a prime mover behind a controversial letter to the pope from roughly a dozen cardinals complaining about the process during the recent Synod of Bishops.

As the pope’s missive made the rounds on Tuesday, one could find variations on both those reactions.

Eric Dejaeger tot vijf jaar cel veroordeeld voor seksueel misbruik

De Standaard (Belgie)

Eric Dejaeger, een voormalige katholieke priester van Belgische afkomst, is vorige week donderdag in Iqaluit tot vijf jaar cel veroordeeld voor feiten van kindermisbruik. Dat melden de Canadese media. De ‘eskimopater’ zal evenwel geen extra celstraf moeten uitzitten.

De 69-jarige Dejaeger stond in Iqaluit, in het noordoosten van Canada, terecht voor feiten die tussen 1975 en 1978 plaatsvonden in het Newman Theological College in Edmonton, waar hij toen studeerde. De slachtoffers waren toen tussen de zes en negen jaar. Het ging in totaal om vier aanklachten: twee aanklachten voor grove obsceniteiten en de aanranding van een jongen en een meisje. Dejaeger had in september al schuldig gepleit.

Gay Priest Who Lost Vatican Job Assails the Church in Letter to Pope Francis

New York Times

OCT. 28, 2015

ROME — A former Vatican official, who was stripped of his post early this month after acknowledging publicly that he was gay and in a relationship, on Wednesday renewed his criticism of the Roman Catholic church, accusing it of homophobia.

The official, the Rev. Krzysztof Charamsa, made public a letter that he had sent to Pope Francis, dated Oct. 3, in which he denounced the church, saying that it had made the lives of gay and transgender people “a hell.” He wrote that the church had persecuted gay Catholics and had caused them and their families “immeasurable suffering.”

“Be merciful — at least leave us in peace, let the civil states make our lives more humane,” Father Charamsa wrote in the letter.

Father Charamsa, 43, a Polish former official at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has made such assertions before. This month, on the eve of the synod, the church’s assembly of bishops from around the world, he announced in the Italian and Polish news media, and then at a news conference in a restaurant in central Rome, that he was gay and had a partner.

On the Tenth Anniversary of the 2005 Philadelphia Grand Jury Report on Child Sex Abuse in the Archdiocese



While Pope Francis was visiting Philadelphia last month, the ten-year anniversary of the groundbreaking 2005 Grand Jury Report on Child Sex Abuse in the Philadelphia Archdiocese came and went. Let’s just say it wasn’t one of the topics on the Archdiocese’s agenda for the Pope. Nevertheless, it is important to assess what ten years have wrought as it was the most comprehensive report on clergy sex abuse in any jurisdiction in the United States. While it pales in comparison to the Australian Royal Commission’s report on abuse in multiple institutions across an entire country, it remains the benchmark for responsible prosecutorial initiative on clergy sex abuse in the United States.

There have been eight reports by prosecutors in the United States, and the 2005 Philadelphia Report is the one in my view to be duplicated in other jurisdictions. In the words of Terry McKiernan, president of the comprehensive online archive of the history of the Catholic Church’s sex abuse history, BishopAccountability.org: It “combined many different strong perspectives and modes of analysis. Anyone reading the report can get an education in how priests’ career histories, their abuse histories, and the management approach of the diocese could add up to a catastrophe for children. The report gets at the two crimes better than any other report—it provides detailed case studies of the abuse itself and the best analysis of how management made it all happen. Those case studies and the pattern studies are very unusual in the depth of their engagement and sympathy. The great article in NCR is a good reminder of where that empathy came from and how much it cost.”

Then-District Attorney Lynne Abraham remains the prosecutor who deserves the most credit in the United States for detailing the facts of abuse in a diocese. True, her successor, current District Attorney Seth Williams issued a stinging though much shorter report of his own in 2011, which led to the only conviction on child endangerment of any member of the hierarchy, Monsignor Lynn. But for the work of Abraham’s office, that conviction never would have happened. Full disclosure: I was honored to be selected by Abraham as an outside consultant on the 2005 Report.

Excellent Public Education About Child Sex Abuse in Institutions

The 400-plus page report described in painful detail what dozens of priests had done to children in the Archdiocese, and how the hierarchy covered it up. The now-familiar pattern of shuffling priests among parishes after there were reports of abuse is as clear as the callousness of the hierarchy. The catalog of abusing priests was eye opening to many Philadelphians, especially Philadelphia Catholics whose attendance and giving dropped perceptibly after the facts came out.

Did the Diocese of Monterey fail to act against an accused priest, or were they praying the story would go away?

Monterey County Weekly

by Mary Duan
and Sara Rubin

At the Diocese of Monterey, they have a codeword for the case of Edward Fitz-Henry, a former priest accused of molesting boys in several parishes over a number of decades. They call it “Primrose.”

It’s a beautiful flower, bizarrely representing an ugly blight on the diocese’s history. But Primrose, the diocese maintains, is over: Edward Fitz-Henry was “laicized,” or stripped of his duties and removed from the priesthood, in 2013. The paperwork, Fitz-Henry says, came through from Rome just this year.

He walked away with an unspecified cash settlement after he sued the diocese for failing to protect him and for revealing aspects of his private psychiatric history.

The diocese admits they found “credible” an allegation dating back nearly 25 years, that Fitz-Henry behaved inappropriately with a boy at the Mission San Carlos School in 1990, when Fitz-Henry was a priest there and had grown close to the boy’s family. There was tickling into submission, extended hugging and arm stroking and wrestling that ended with the priest’s crotch in the boy’s face. When the boy’s sister witnessed some of it, she told her mother something weird was going on and the mother agreed. The mother complained about it to her bishop, extracting a promise that Fitz-Henry would get help and that he would never be allowed around children again.

Daughter of Alabama pastor witnessed him sexually abuse minor, court filing states


By Jeremy Gray | jgray@al.com

When former Clarke County pastor Mack Charles Andrews Jr. stands trial in November on charges of raping and sexually abusing and torturing multiple young girls, prosecutors want to introduce evidence of other similar crimes.

District Attorney Spencer Walker last week filed a motion stating he wants to introduce evidence Andrews sexually abused other young girls, crimes for which he was never charged. The evidence, he wrote, would "establish the Defendant's motive and unnatural sexual desire for underage girls."

Some of the abuse, the filing states, was witnessed by Andrews' daughter.

Andrews is expected to stand trial Nov. 16 on charges involving multiple minors in the late 80s and into the 90s when he was pastor of the First United Pentacostal Church in Thomasville and principal of Faith Christian Academy.

Dead Burnet pastor’s wife indicted on child sex assault charges


BURNET — The wife of a former church pastor faces a string of felony child sex abuse charges after a woman told police she was molested by the suspect and her now-deceased husband as a young girl for several years, according to police.

Misty Rae Hopkins, 48, of Austin was booked into the Burnet County Jail on Oct. 26 on 15 indictments.

She was indicted by a Burnet County grand jury Oct. 6 for six counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child; four counts of indecency with a child (contact); four counts of indecency with a child (exposure); and one count of sexual performance of a child, according to court records.

The charges are the result of an investigation launched in December 2014 by the Burnet Police Department.

Police say the accuser “came forward to another agency,” which then contacted the Burnet department.

Cardinal O'Malley issues statement on release of 'Spotlight' film

The Pilot

Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley statement regarding release of "Spotlight"

The Spotlight film depicts a very painful time in the history of the Catholic Church in the United States and particularly here in the Archdiocese of Boston. It is very understandable that this time of the film's release can be especially painful for survivors of sexual abuse by clergy.

The media's investigative reporting on the abuse crisis instigated a call for the Church to take responsibility for its failings and to reform itself -- to deal with what was shameful and hidden -- and to make the commitment to put the protection of children first, ahead of all other interests.

We have asked for and continue to ask for forgiveness from all those harmed by the crimes of the abuse of minors. As Archbishop of Boston I have personally met with hundreds of survivors of clergy abuse over the last twelve years, hearing the accounts of their sufferings and humbly seeking their pardon. I have been deeply impacted by their histories and compelled to continue working toward healing and reconciliation while upholding the commitment to do all that is possible to prevent harm to any child in the future.

District attorneys, Diocese sign memorandum on sex abuse of minors


[with video]

By Scott Sasina

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) District Attorneys within the region of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse joined Bishop Robert Cunningham in Binghamton. The purpose of the gathering was to "formalize" the procedure following incidents of alleged sexual abuse of minors -- by all members of clergy within the Diocese.

"A priest, or any other adult who abuses a child, is wrong," Robert Cunningham, the Bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse, said.

On Wednesday, Bishop Cunningham, along with seven district attorneys -- from Chenango, Cortland, Onondaga, Oneida, Oswego and Madison counties -- signed a memorandum to formalize their agreement.

"This essentially makes the Diocese of Syracuse a mandatory reporter for any potential sexual abuse. The complaint will be reported immediately to the appropriate district attorney's office," Bill Fitzpatrick, the district attorney of Onondaga County, said.

Survivor, Father Rod Bower speak out for ‘silent victims’ of institutional child abuse

Daily Telegraph

October 28, 2015
Geraldine Cardozo
Central Coast Gosford Express Advocate

More than six decades have passed since Woy Woy Bay volunteer firefighter Malcolm Angus was sexually abused by an Anglican priest.

And yet the horrific memories of the repeated abuse, which started in Fiji when he was only 7 and ended in rape in an Australian Anglican boarding house when he was 18, still haunt the 69-year-old former CEO.

“The effects of childhood sexual abuse never leave you,” Mr Angus, who will be speaking out publicly for the first time about his experience on Saturday, said.

“But only the living victims have been offered a chance for justice. Only the living have told their stories of horror and sadness.”

Mr Angus, who never told his parents and only opened up to his two adult sons about the abuse last year, will be talking at a world-first service at St Luke’s Anglican Church in Woy Woy on Saturday night for the “silent” victims of institutional child abuse who have died.

Hibbing priest seeks dismissal of child abuse charges

Pioneer Press

By Tom Olsen
Forum News Service
POSTED: 10/28/2015

HIBBING, Minn. -- An attorney for the Hibbing priest accused of sexually abusing four girls is seeking to have his client's criminal charges dismissed, alleging that the case is the result of an overzealous prosecution fueled by the ongoing child sexual abuse controversy in the Catholic Church.

The Rev. Brian Michael Lederer, 29, faces seven felony charges related to the alleged inappropriate touching of the girls and possession of child pornography.

Lederer's defense attorney, Peter Wold of Minneapolis, contended in a motion filed last week in St. Louis County District Court that there is a lack of probable cause to substantiate the charges.

Wold said in a 17-page memorandum that the church has been "rocked" by abuse allegations, which he argued has led to a "cultural shift" in the perception of interactions between clergy and parishioners.

‘Spotlight’ Stars Walk Red Carpet At Brookline Premiere

CBS Boston

October 28, 2015 By Kate Merrill

BROOKLINE (CBS) – It’s the heart-wrenching story forever linked to Boston. The church sex abuse scandal and subsequent cover-up exposed by the Boston Globe Spotlight investigative team in 2002 is now the subject the new movie “Spotlight” showing just how those Boston reporters broke the story.

Matt Carroll is one of the Spotlight reporters he says, “It’s been tremendously exciting and surreal, mind bending.”

Marty Baron is the former Globe editor whose idea it was to investigate the Church says, “I never thought I’d be played in a movie its inconceivable to me.”

Wednesday at the Boston premiere for the film those Globe reporters walked the red carpet alongside the Hollywood stars.

Survivors of clergy sexual abuse discuss how ‘Spotlight’ portrayed their trauma


OCTOBER 29, 2015


Ann Hagan Webb didn’t expect to get emotional while watching Spotlight for the first time. As a survivor of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest, she had already lived through the events depicted in the film.

But Webb found herself feeling completely overwhelmed as she observed how The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team of investigative journalists personally reacted to uncovering the systemic problem of clergy sexual abuse. Seeing it play out on the big screen reminded her of the moment she realized that, as a victim, she wasn’t alone.

“All of the survivors thought of ourselves as the only ones at some point,” she said. “Then we would meet a few other people and realize the enormity of the problem. Seeing the journalists figure that out, too, the horror of ‘oh, there are so many,’ was very personal.”

Spotlight hits theaters nationwide on November 6. In Boston, where the scandal broke wide open, some survivors are anxious about how the movie portrays their story, in part because the film is told from the perspective of the journalists rather than the survivors. They’re also worried that the film might force them to re-live their trauma.

“There are also a lot of survivors who just don’t remember because it’s buried so deep. This movie could be the trigger,” said Robert Costello, an abuse survivor who hasn’t seen the movie yet. “It also might be a trigger for other people who were violated but not by a priest or a nun, or were assaulted in some other way.”

Diocese of Syracuse Pledges To Report All Abuse Claims Directly To DA


[with audio]


The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse and seven district attorneys announced a new agreement on handling of sexual abuse cases Wednesday. The memorandum of understanding requires the diocese to report all abuse claims directly to the appropriate DA, whether they involve current or former clergy. Onondaga District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick introduced the agreement.

“There is no potential offender who is presenting any danger to any child in central New York,” he said.

Fitzpatrick says he knows this because the memorandum released today has been a verbal agreement for 12 years. The document requires the diocese to refer all allegations or suspected sexual abuse of a minor directly to the appropriate DA. The diocese will not conduct independent investigations, and will make an effort to preserve evidence. Fitzpatrick says that’s the way they have been working and that Bishop Robert Cunningham has always cooperated.

The memorandum is a change from official diocese policy, though, which was last revised in 2007. That policy promises that allegations involving current diocese personal will be reported to law enforcement. It does not have a provision for cases where the alleged abuser is no longer in the church.

‘This Is Where It Counts': ‘Spotlight’ Movie, On Church Abuse Exposé, Premieres In Boston Area


[with audio and video]

BROOKLINE, Mass. Some local journalists and filmmakers are hoping a major motion picture in wide release as of next week demonstrates the importance of investigative journalism.

“Spotlight” chronicles The Boston Globe investigation of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, and the film had its local premiere Wednesday.

The gray, rainy weather was fitting for a movie that depicts the Globe’s extensive investigation into widespread pedophilia in the Boston Archdiocese. Tents protected journalists, and the film’s cast and crew lined up on the red carpet leading into the Coolidge Corner Theatre.

“It’s been a much more sober press line than anywhere else we’ve been, except for Venice, which may as well be the second seat of Catholicism,” said actor Mark Ruffalo, who plays Globe Spotlight reporter Michael Rezendes in the film.

He says Boston is where the team behind “Spotlight” has to get it right.

Pope Francis grants Legionaries of Christ jubilee indulgence

Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has granted a plenary indulgence in the form of a jubilee year to the Legionaries of Christ and the members of Regnum Christi during the year in which they commemorate 75 years since their foundation. Please find the full text of the English-language press release making the announcement, below.
Rome. October 28, 2015. Pope Francis has granted a plenary indulgence in the form of a jubilee year to the Legionaries of Christ and the members of Regnum Christi during the year in which they commemorate 75 years since their foundation. This jubilee will conclude with the solemnity of the Sacred Heart in 2016.

The Apostolic Penitentiary published a decree signed by the Major Penitentiary, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, as a response to the request from the General Director of Regnum Christi and the Legion of Christ, Father Eduardo Robles-Gil, L.C.

The Legionaries and members of Regnum Christi may receive the jubilee indulgence during the solemnity of Christ the King in 2015 and the solemnity of the Sacred Heart in 2016 if they profess or devotionally renew the promises or vows which bind them to the Movement or the Legion, pray that the Lord keep their country faithful to its Christian vocation, as well as pray an Our Father, the Creed and an invocation to Our Lady, Queen of Apostles.

A heroic whistleblower in the long, sad mess of clergy sexual abuse


By Margery Eagan
On Spirituality columnist October 28, 2015

Remember the famous line in “Jaws” when Chief Brody first sees the monster shark and says, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat”?

Phil Saviano remembers a similar line when he first told Boston Globe reporters there weren’t just one or two priests molesting a handful of children. Saviano knew of nearly 30 priests, if not more, with dozens of victims. And the Church was covering it up. He remembers how one editor took it all in, then called his boss to say: We’re gonna need more reporters. This is so much bigger than we thought.

Not long after that, stories of priestly sexual abuse and its cover-up burst onto the front page of The Boston Globe. It turned out there were scores of criminal priests, hundreds of victims. The abuse spanned decades. Cardinal Bernard F. Law shuffled abusers from parish to parish while lawyers pressed victims to sign confidentiality agreements in exchange for, essentially, hush money.

Now that story has been made into a highly praised movie, “Spotlight,” named for the Globe’s investigative team. It opens in theaters Nov. 6, and Phil Saviano is one of the victims portrayed. Played by actor Neal Huff, Saviano’s in that Globe meeting room holding a picture of himself at 12, the age he was when convicted serial rapist Father David A. Holley showed up in his parish. He asks the reporters, “How do you say no to God?”

“Spotlight” is not so much a story about survivors and their abuse as it is about the Globe’s uncovering a massive criminal network protected by the Catholic hierarchy. But Saviano, who for years ran New England’s chapter of SNAP (Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests) says it’s important as a powerful reminder of the scope of the crisis. At the movie’s end, there’s a list of around 200 cities where priests sexually assaulted children, and were protected.

Identity of teacher on child porn charges suppressed to prevent embarrassment to school

Sydney Morning Herald

October 29, 2015

Louise Hall
Court Reporter

A Sydney judge has suppressed the name of a Catholic primary school teacher who has pleaded guilty to child pornography offences to "limit the embarrassment and distress" of the school.

In the Downing Centre District Court on Thursday, a 59-year-old man admitted to accessing, transmitting and possessing thousands of images and videos of child abuse material.

The court heard between 2011 and 2014 the man used the internet to download child porn for his "sexual gratification".

At the time of his arrest in September 2014, the man was a teacher and e-learning co-ordinator at a Catholic primary school in Sydney's south-west.

Following pleas of guilty to one count of transmitting, one count of accessing and three counts of possessing child abuse material, Judge Chris Craigie made a non-publication order on the man's name following an application by the Commonwealth DPP.

Bishop, DAs sign sex crimes agreement

Binghamton Homepage

[with video]


District Attorneys across the region have come to an agreement with the Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese that states specific requirements on reporting sexual abuse.

Broome County District Attorney Jerry Mollen was joined by DA's that serve seven other counties within the Diocese of Syracuse to discuss details of the memorandum.

The agreement states that any complaint regarding abuse to minors must be reported to the appropriate DA's office.

It also says that the Diocese will cooperate with the DA's office and will not conduct its own investigation.

Bishop Robert Cunningham said abusers will be held accountable for their actions.

Child-molesting victim prompted Syracuse diocese's cooperation with DAs


By John O'Brien | jobrien@syracuse.com
on October 28, 2015

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- A man who says he survived child-molesting at the hands of a priest prompted prosecutors to ask the Catholic Diocese of Syracuse to turn over all cases of suspected pedophile clergy.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick revealed today that his office heard from the survivor about a year ago, leading to today's announcement about a new written agreement between the diocese and seven district attorneys.

Bishop Robert Cunningham and the seven district attorneys in the diocese announced at a news conference that the diocese signed an agreement to report all accusations of pedophile priests to the prosecutors.

The survivor contacted Fitzpatrick's office from another state about a year ago.

"After dialogue with him, I contacted my colleagues," Fitzpatrick said, referring to the other DAs. "We began the process of discussing this with the diocese as to how we could formalize some of the agreements that we have had verbally discussed in the past."

Fitzpatrick said he couldn't release the name of the survivor without that man's permission.

District Attorneys, Diocese Reach Agreement on Sex Abuse Rules


After allegations of sexual misconduct within the Syracuse Diocese, a memorandum of understanding has been created between seven county District Attorneys, including Broome County's, and the Diocese.

The document puts into written word a verbal agreement that has been present for more than a decade. It includes protocol for the Diocese reporting any reports of sexual abuse directly to the county DA to immediately assess the situation.

"Today is a great step forward to further our collective efforts to eradicate this issue and to keep our children safe," said Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse Bishop Robert Cunningham.

"It makes sure that no matter who the Bishop is or no matter who the prosecutor is, this is the way it should be done. It also tells the community that we understand that that's how it should be done," said Broome County District Attorney Gerald Mollen.

The document states responsibility to refer allegations directly to the DA regardless of its age or if the suspect is active in the diocese.

Abuse Survivor Expresses Disappointment in Diocese Agreement

TWC News

By Matt Jarchow
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It's meant to bring healing to victims and prevent future cases of abuse in the Syracuse Catholic Diocese, but one survivor said a new agreement between the Diocese and seven area counties does neither.

"Not at all," Charles Bailey Jr. said. "Why they didn't view themselves as mandated reporters is beyond me. Why we had to go to this step to have this happen? I just don't understand."

As a child, Bailey faced abuse from a priest. On Wednesday, he listened as Bishop Robert Cunningham called the memorandum of understanding a giant step forward. Bailey said that step won't come until the names of offenders gets released.

"Their names are forever hidden," he said. "Which to me does not protect children and protect the public, because if you don't know the names of the offenders you don't know who to avoid."

Bishop, DAs Agree On Sex Crimes Pact

Oswego County Today

Written by Steve Yablonski, Oct 28, 2015

OSWEGO, NY – On Wednesday (October 28), the District Attorneys for Broome, Chenango, Cortland, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga and Oswego counties held a press conference in Binghamton to announce that they had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Bishop Robert Cunningham of the Syracuse Diocese regarding the reporting of sexual misconduct of minors.

The document establishes a consistent policy and protocol for the reporting of sexual abuse by any member of the clergy and religious orders under the auspices of the Syracuse Diocese, regardless of when the incident was committed.

Read the Memo of Understanding Syracuse Diocese here

The memorandum states that when a Diocesan official learns or has reason to suspect that a member of the clergy or religious order has sexually abused a minor, the person disclosing the abuse will be strongly urged to report immediately and directly to the appropriate District Attorney’s Office.

The Diocese will also immediately refer the matter to the appropriate District Attorney’s Office for investigation, regardless of the age of the allegation, and regardless of whether the clergy member or religious is currently active.

October 28, 2015

Peruvian-based Catholic movement pledges inquiry after claims of abuse

Catholic Review

October 28, 2015

By Barbara J. Fraser
Catholic News Service

LIMA, Peru – Allegations of physical, psychological and sexual abuse by leaders of a Catholic movement founded here in the 1970s have led to a lawsuit against Lima Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani and a promise of an internal investigation from the group's leader.

The allegations were described in a new book, "Mitad Monjes, Mitad Soldados" ("Half Monks, Half Soldiers"), by Pedro Salinas, a former member of Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, who interviewed about 30 other former members.

The interviewees, some of whom were minors when they joined the group and moved into one of its formation houses, recalled military-style physical exercise and separation from family and friends. Some said spiritual directors had ordered them to disrobe and then touched them, and there were several accounts of rape. One of those accused is the organization's founder, Luis Fernando Figari.

Figari resigned as head of Sodalitium in late 2010, after the organization withdrew its proposal for the beatification of its deceased former vicar general, German Doig, in the wake of sex abuse allegations.

Denuncias de abusos sexuales crea preocupación en la Iglesia Peruana y el Vaticano

El Regional Piura

[Allegations of sexual abuse creates concern in the Peruvian church and the Vatican.]

ERP. Las denuncias contra miembros de la Iglesia Católica, sobre todo por abuso sexual contra menores, ha llegado al Perú y con diversos testimonios se acusa al fundador de Sodalicios de Vida Cristiana como el principal responsable. Frente a la arremetida mediática, monseñor Luis Cipriani, salió a declarar indicando que los presuntos delitos son “hechos increíblemente malos”.

Aunque en nuestro país se esperaba hace días que el cardenal Juan Luis Cipriani se pronuncie de una vez por todas respecto a las graves acusaciones de abusos sexuales que sacuden al Sodalicio de Vida Cristiana (SVC), fue necesario que el primado de la Iglesia peruana arribara a Chile para que rompa su silencio y hable sobre estas denuncias.

En una entrevista que concedió al diario El Mercurio, el arzobispo de Lima calificó las acusaciones como increíblemente malas y al caso como lamentable y doloroso.

Apostolic Visitor Appointed to Investigate Sodalitium Christianae Vitae Founder

National Catholic Register


LIMA, Peru — The superior general of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae has made public that the community has had an apostolic visitor since April, who is charged with investigating accusations that its founder committed sexual abuse.

The apostolic visitor, who was appointed April 22, is Bishop Fortunato Pablo Urcey, Prelate of Chota, Peru. He was charged by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life with investigating allegations of abuse committed by Luis Fernando Figari.

“When we were told this measure was being taken, the Holy See asked us to not make the visit public or to share who had been appointed as [apostolic] visitor, so he could carry out his work in a serene environment without any pressure from the media,” Alessandro Moroni Llabrés, superior general of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, stated Oct. 26.

“In the midst of the difficult situation we are going through, I requested authorization to make public that this investigation includes an apostolic visitation to our communities in Peru,” Moroni stated.

He explained that the visit began in August “and should conclude in March 2016.”
Bishop Pablo, who made solemn profession in the Order of Augustinian Recollects in 1968, was tasked with “determin[ing] the actual authenticity” of “accusations of improper behavior leveled at the founder of this society of apostolic life.”

Ex-archbishop Seraphim Storheim defrocked after sex assault conviction

Toronto Star

By: Winnipeg Free Press Published on Wed Oct 28 2015

DETROIT—A former archbishop convicted of sexually assaulting a young altar boy at a Winnipeg church has been demoted to a monk.

Seraphim Storheim, who is 69, was once the highest-ranking official in Canada for the Orthodox Church in America.

The church’s website says Storheim was removed from the priesthood during the annual fall session of its Holy Synod of Bishops last week in Detroit.

Storheim was found guilty early last year of assaulting the boy while he was working as a parish priest at Holy Trinity Sobor Orthodox Church in the 1980s.

He started serving an eight-month sentence earlier this year after an unsuccessful bid to overturn his conviction before the Manitoba Court of Appeal.

He was freed in July under an earned early release.

Diocese, DAs team up to hold priests accountable in sex abuse cases

Press & Sun Bulletin

Anthony Borrelli, aborrelli@pressconnects.com | @PSBABorrelli October 28, 2015

Bishop Robert Cunningham will join prosecutors from seven counties, including Broome, on Wednesday to formalize protocols on allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse by members of the clergy in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse.

A memorandum of understanding will be signed at 2 p.m. this afternoon at the Broome County District Attorney's Office in downtown Binghamton.

The agreement would require the diocese to immediately report suspected abuse by clergy members, regardless of how old the claims are, or whether the suspected abuser is no longer an active member of the clergy.

Broome County District Attorney Gerald F. Mollen, Onondaga County District Attorney William J. Fitzpatrick, Chenango County District Attorney Joseph A. McBride, Cortland County District Attorney Mark D. Suben, Oneida County District Attorney Scott D. McNamara and Oswego County District Attorney Gregory S. Oakes will join Cunningham at this afternoon's press conference to announce the agreement.

DA's Meet With Bishop on Clergy Sex Abuse Rules


District Attorneys from throughout Central New York will join Bishop Robert Cunningham of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse in Binghamton at 2pm Wednesday.

They will announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding formalizing the procedures to be followed in all incidents involving alleged sexual misconduct and abuse of minors by all members of the clergy and religious in the Diocese of Syracuse.

We will update the story throughout the day.

Sexueller Missbrauch: Ex-Pfarrer Georg K. rechtskräftig verurteilt

RP Online

[Karlsruhe / Willich. The sentencing of former priest Georg K. from Willich who was convicted of abusing two boys has been sentenced to six years in prison and his appeal has been rejected.]

Karlsruhe/ Willich. Die Verurteilung des früheren Pfarrers Georg K. aus Willich wegen sexuellen Missbrauchs von zwei Jungen zu sechs Jahren Haft ist rechtskräftig. Der Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) wies die Revision gegen ein Urteil des Landgerichts Krefeld als unbegründet zurück.

Die Nachprüfung dieses Urteils habe keine durchgreifenden Rechtsfehler ergeben, wie der BGH am Dienstag in Karlsruhe mitteilte. K. trägt alle Kosten des Revisionsverfahrens.

Twin Cities archdiocese seeks reorganization extension


ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis says it needs more time to file a bankruptcy reorganization plan because of the large number of clergy abuse claims.

Attorneys for the archdiocese plan to ask a bankruptcy judge Thursday for a second extension of a deadline on filing that reorganization plan. They're hoping the judge will extend the deadline to May 31, 2016. The court earlier approved an extension to Nov. 30.

The Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1M1IXq6 ) reports a motion before the bankruptcy judge says 717 claims have been filed in the case, including 416 alleging liability for sexual abuse. Claimants had until Aug. 3 to file.

The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy reorganization in January as the number of claims mounted. A 2013 state law opens a three-year window for older claims of clergy abuse.

The Church is making life 'hell' for millions of gay Catholics even though the clergy is 'full of homosexuals' says priest fired by the Vatican after coming out

Daily Mail


A high-ranking Polish priest who was fired after coming out as gay has accused the Catholic Church of making life 'hell' for millions of homosexuals.

Father Krzystof Charamsa was stripped of his post earlier this month on the day he announced he was in a relationship with another man.

In a scathing letter to Pope Francis, he accused the Vatican of hypocrisy because he said the clergy was 'full of homosexuals'.

He also condemned the Church for causing 'immeasurable suffering' to homosexual Catholics and their families.

From Cook, an apology; from the family of bicyclist Tom Palermo, grief and fury

Baltimore Brew

Fern Shen October 28, 2015

Sitting a few feet from Heather E. Cook, the former Episcopal bishop who killed her son in a drunk driving hit-and-run in North Baltimore last year, Patricia Palermo spoke with raw fury, aiming her stinging words right at Cook.

“You didn’t make calls to help my son, but you managed to make calls to help yourself,” Palermo said, as Cook broke down, dabbing her eyes with a tissue.

Cook, who was in Baltimore City Circuit Court yesterday awaiting sentencing on automobile manslaughter and other charges in connection with the death of bicyclist Thomas Palermo, was spared absolutely nothing during two hours of family members’ testimony.

“I have terrible nightmares. I keep seeing imprints of my son’s precious head on the windshield of Heather Cook’s car,” Palermo said, her voice ragged but firm. “I fear he suffered terrible pain.”

Former Bishop Heather Cook sentenced in death of bicyclist


Catherine Hawley
Oct 27, 2015

She used to be the second highest ranking Episcopal Church member in the state diocese, but now Heather Cook is a prison inmate.

The former Episcopal was sentenced Tuesday to serve seven years of a 20-year prison sentence for the accident that caused the death of bicyclist Tom Palermo. A judge ordered the remaining 13 years be suspended.

It was a difficult day for Palermo's family, who spoke at Cook's sentencing hearing.

"This tragedy will not define Tom or our family, our resolve is strong as we hold Tom in our hearts,” Palermo’s sister-in-law Alisa Rock said.

They didn't say much after court, but for two hours inside, Palermo's family gave emotional and powerful statements, sobbing and asking the judge for a harsh punishment.

Former Episcopal Bishop Heather Cook sentenced to seven years in drunk-driving death of cyclist

The Baltimore Sun

Ian Duncan
The Baltimore Sun

Former Episcopal Bishop Heather Cook was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in prison for killing a cyclist in a drunken crash in Baltimore two days after Christmas.

The sentence came at the end of a two-hour hearing in which the wife, mother and sisters-in-law of Thomas Palermo directed their grief and anger at the disgraced clergywoman.

Prosecutors said Cook was far above the legal limit for alcohol and sending a text message as she drove her Subaru Forester in Roland Park on the afternoon of Dec. 27. She struck and killed Palermo, a 41-year-old software engineer and father of two young children, as he enjoyed a ride.

She left the scene twice, a fact that weighed on judge Timothy J. Doory.

"Your leaving the scene at that time was more than irresponsibility, it was a decision," Doory said.

Former bishop Heather Cook will serve seven years for fatal hit-and-run

Christian Today


Former Bishop of Maryland Heather Cook will serve seven years in prison for killing cyclist Tom Palermo. She was driving while drunk.

A Baltimore judge sentenced her to 20 years imprisonment but suspended 13 years. Cook will serve five years for manslaughter followed by two years for leaving the scene of the accident and will serve a further five years on probation on the completion of her term.

Cook was driving her car in Baltimore on December 27, 2014, with more than three times the state's legal alcohol limit in her bloodstream. She began to text while driving and swerved out of the traffic lane onto the bicycle lane, hitting Palermo from behind. Cook then drove away, returning half an hour later. She drove away again but returned a second time and was arrested.

At the sentencing, Tom Palermo's mother Patricia told the court that she had asked God many times why he let her son die and had had a revelation. "God didn't do this," she said. "Heather Cook killed Tom."

Cook said: "I am so sorry for the grief and the agony I have caused . This is my fault. I accept complete responsibility."


American Spectatori

By George Neumayr – 10.28.15

The scandalous synod on the family skidded to a stop last weekend in Rome but not before Pope Francis got in a few more licks at conservatives, whom he caricatured in his final remarks as heartless.

The speech was notable for its nastiness, displaying the very lack of charity he routinely assigns to conservatives. The synod, he said, had exposed “closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teachings or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families.”

He continued: “It was about trying to open up broader horizons, rising above conspiracy theories and blinkered viewpoints, so as to defend and spread the freedom of the children of God, and to transmit the beauty of Christian Newness, at times encrusted in a language which is archaic or simply incomprehensible.”

Former youth pastor gets life in prison in Florida sex abuse case

Naples Daily News

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A former South Florida youth pastor has been sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of a federal sex abuse charge.

Fifty-one-year-old Jeffrey London was sentenced Tuesday for using a cellphone to entice an underage boy into sexual activity in 2011 and 2012. A jury found London guilty of the charge in June.

The unidentified victim testified that London sexually abused him from ages 7 to 16.

Last year, London was tried and acquitted on 27 child sex abuse charges in state court. Investigators say about a dozen young men have accused London of abusing them after meeting them through family members.

Former Mobridge Pastor Found Not Guilty Of Sex Crimes


SELBY, SD - A Walworth County jury found a former South Dakota pastor and educator not guilty of felony sex crimes.

Thirty-nine-year-old Timothy Thompson faced two counts of sexual contact with a child less than 16 years old. The jury acquitted him Friday.

Thompson, who now lives in California, pastored a church in Mobridge. He also worked as a teacher and administrator in South Dakota schools.

Jury acquits former South Dakota pastor accused of sex crime

Press & Dakotan

Associated Press

SELBY, S.D. (AP) — A jury has cleared a former South Dakota pastor and educator accused of having sexual contact with a minor.

KELO-TV (http://bit.ly/1MRXjpE ) reports that a Walworth County jury has acquitted 39-year-old Timothy Thompson of two counts of sexual contact with a child less than 16 years old.

Authorities filed the counts against Thompson last year. They accused him of having sexual contact with a boy in 2008, when he was a pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in Mobridge. Thompson also previously served as a school principal in McLaughlin.

A lot done more to do, by the clergy, for the clergy

Mayo News

Fr Kevin Hegarty

LAST week I gave a talk on the ‘Association of Catholic Priests’ to an assembly of the ‘Missionaries of the Sacred Heart’ held in Mount St Annes in Portarlington. Members of the congregation work in Pastoral Ministry in Ireland, England, USA, South Africa, Venezuela and Russia. The talk gave me the opportunity to reflect on the history of the ACP. Just over five years ago, the association did not exist. future historians will, I am convinced, see 2010 as a particularly harrowing year for Ireland.

The Government had lost its moral authority as it sought to cope with the most acute economic recession since the wall street crash of 1929. Equally, the moral authority of the Catholic Church had zoomed downwards. The series of official reports, starting with the diocese of Ferns and culminating with the Ryan and Murphy investigations, on the physical and sexual abuse of children by clerics had left Church leaders reeling. In the spring of that year Pope Benedict had summoned the Irish hierarchy to Rome to account for its stewardship. Many priests felt then the need of an organisation to provide a forum for discussion. Since the demise of the “National Conference of Priests” in 2007, no such forum existed. While the NCPI did have some achievements to it’s credit in its 30 year plus existence, in the view of many priests, it was hampered by being a creature of the hierarchy who established it. Bishops either ignored it or patronised it. In the 1980’s, Fr Seamus Ryan, who was then president of the NCPI, had a meeting with the then Papal Nuncio Alibrandi, on the need to consult priests about the appointment of bishops.

The Nuncio dismissed him saying he was a nobody leading a group of nobodies. Under the NCPI all Irish priests were automatically members. Here, there were shades of the great eagles song, ‘Hotel California’, where you can check out any time but never leave. Priests in Ireland are a diverse group. There are those who fervently wish for a restoration of the pious certainties of the past, those who cling tenaciously to the need for a Church that engages positively with modernity and those who just long for a quiet life. This diversity meant that NCPI statements died the death of a thousand qualifications as drafters sought to accommodate all views. In that context, it was a case of, as Seamus Heaney once wrote, ‘whatever you say, you say nothing’. In the summer 2010, soundings about the possibility of a new priests’ organisation, resulted in September in the formation of the ACP at a meeting in Portlaoise. Organisers had hoped that 100 might attend. In the event over 300 turned up. It was an index of the hunger for dialogue in an official Church that pays only lip service to it. Probably the greatest achievement of the ACP is that it has provided a safe place where priests can talk freely. Diocesan priests, in particular, can feel isolated. So the ACP has erected a sense of togetherness and solidarity.

Clergy Abuse Plaintiff Seeks Judgment Based on Lynn Conviction

The Legal Intelligencer

P.J. D'Annunzio, The Legal Intelligencer
May 15, 2015

The plaintiff in a civil clergy sex-abuse case is asking the court for summary judgment against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Monsignor William Lynn based on the reinstatement of Lynn's criminal conviction.

Billy Doe, who alleged that he was sexually abused by priests as a minor, claimed in court papers that Lynn, in his role as an archdiocese administrator, knowingly shuffled priests accused of misconduct from parish to parish across the state where they could come into contact with children. The civil case was filed under the pseudonym "Billy Doe."

The Legal does not name confirmed or alleged victims of abuse.

The Supreme Court's April reinstatement of Lynn's criminal conviction of endangering the welfare of children means the archdiocese and Lynn can be held civilly liable, Doe claimed.

Lynn's attorney, Thomas Bergstrom of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, said he had not yet had a chance to review Doe's motion, but he would file a response before the deadline in early June. He declined to comment further.

Searching for new witches in Massachusetts

Washington Times

By Anne Hendershott - - Tuesday, October 27, 2015

While the moral panic of Salem’s witches may be over, an equally pernicious panic continues to haunt Massachusetts — that of a pedophile priest embedded in a complicit Catholic Church determined to protect him. This narrative recently resurfaced in the Boston suburb of Revere, where a male janitor at the Immaculate Conception elementary school used a bathroom that had long been used by adults as well as students — and a student saw the janitor using the urinal. When the parent of that student complained that her child had seen the janitor in the bathroom, the hysteria began. And, although the police and Suffolk prosecutors quickly cleared the janitor of criminal wrongdoing, the Immaculate Conception School’s parish priest was removed by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston, and the school’s principal and a second-grade teacher were forced to resign.

The lawsuits have already begun. Last week, Alison Kelly, the former principal of Immaculate Conception School, filed a $1 million lawsuit against the archdiocese. According to the Boston Globe, “She claims the church forced her to resign in January even though she had immediately reported the parent’s complaints to the pastor in charge of the school.” Claiming that her firing was a “cold, calculated attempt by the Church to do some face-saving at the expense of innocent people,” Ms. Kelly’s attorney told reporters that the archdiocese did not bother with a full investigation into the recent episode because “it served their own aims to appear to be taking quick and decisive action against its employees.” An attorney for the fired teacher plans to file her own lawsuit within the next weeks.

The Boston Globe reports that archdiocesan spokesman, Terrence Donilon, claims not to have seen the lawsuit and refused to comment on pending litigation. Yet Mr. Donilon assured the reporter that the church observes a “zero-tolerance policy” in efforts to protect children from sexual abuse. Mr. Donilon continued: “All mandated reporters must report suspected or potential child abuse to the appropriate authorities, as they have been trained to do.” According to the lawsuit, the principal immediately called the pastor, the Rev. George Szal, who assured her that he would “take care of it.” Two weeks later, when the parent complained yet again about seeing the janitor use the bathroom, Father Szal asked Ms. Kelly to contact the archdiocese. The archdiocese asked Ms. Kelly to file a report with the State Department of Children and Families. And, according to the Globe, Father Szal told Ms. Kelly that Cardinal O’Malley had asked for his resignation the next day. Three days later, Kathleen Power Mears, the superintendent of Catholic schools in Boston told Ms. Kelly to resign or she would be terminated — despite the fact that within the week, the police and Suffolk County prosecutors cleared the janitor of any criminal wrongdoing — claiming, “No child had reported that the man had touched him or used sexual language.”

‘Spotlight’ screening for abuse victims planned in Boston

Boston Globe

By Lisa Wangsness GLOBE STAFF OCTOBER 28, 2015

The film company that released “Spotlight,” the forthcoming movie about The Boston Globe’s investigation into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, is offering a free screening for clergy abuse victims in Boston on Thursday evening.

Open Road Films organized the screening this week after some victims complained that they would not have an opportunity to see the film in advance of its official release. A few victims portrayed by actors in the movie have been to screenings and plan to attend the film’s Boston premiere Wednesday night.

Robert Costello, who sued the church in the early 1990s and has been active in the survivors’ community ever since, said he has been lobbying the film’s representatives and the Globe since the summer to offer a larger group of victims a special preview.

“The stories in it are our stories,” he said.

The company held a small screening in early October for the victims portrayed in the movie, plus a few of their invited guests — about a dozen people altogether.

Church rocked by third abuse priest in as many weeks

The Argus

THE CHURCH was rocked yesterday after a third Sussex priest in as many weeks was found to have committed sexual offences.

Vickery House, former vicar of Berwick, was convicted of five counts of indecent assault on males - with one as young as 14 - over a period of 16 years.

He was cleared on three further counts at the Old Bailey.

It comes after former Bishop of Lewes, Peter Ball, was jailed for 32 months on October 7 for committing acts of "debasement" in the name of religion with regards 18 vulnerable victims.

On Thursday last week, former Bishop of Chichester George Ball, was also outed as an offender after the Church paid compensation to a victim he abused more than 50 years ago.

Pope Francis has removed some bishops immersed in sex abuse scandals, but he’s also offered them comfort and called accusers dumb.

Monterey County Weekly

by Mary Duan

He has attained the popularity of a worldwide rock star. And that’s how the hundreds of thousands of people who lined the streets of Washington, D.C., New York and Philadelphia greeted Pope Francis during his first trip to the U.S. in late September.

First to D.C., where he met with the president, addressed Congress and urged leaders to use their power to help heal the world of poverty, conflict and injustice. Then to New York, where he addressed the United Nations General Assembly on human rights and environmental justice. Then to Philadelphia, where he attended the citywide Festival of Families, the world’s largest gathering of Catholic families—and met with five survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

According to published reports, Francis met with the survivors as a group and individually, apologizing to them for both the abuse they suffered and for not being heard or believed when they reported it.

According to a story in the National Catholic Reporter newspaper, the pope told them: "Please know that the Holy Father hears you and believes you." He added that blame rests not only with the priests who committed the abuse, but with the bishops who kept the abuse hidden or gave predator priests continued access to children, according to the Catholic news website Cruxnow.com.

He told the victims that “all responsible will be held accountable.”

October 27, 2015

Jury Acquits Catholic School Aide Accused of Molesting Boy

NBC Bay Area

A former after-school program coordinator at a Hayward Catholic school was acquitted Tuesday of charges that she sexually abused a male student beginning when he was 12.

Mia Cummings, 31, of Oakland, was charged with 10 felony counts, including five counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child, three counts of oral copulation with a minor and one count each of contacting a minor with the intent to commit a sex crime and continuous sexual abuse of a minor.

But after a day and a half of deliberation, an Alameda County Superior Court jury found Cummings not guilty of all charges.

Cummings was arrested and charged in November 2013 after Hayward police began investigating her when they were informed of a possible incident of child sexual abuse.

Jurors find Hayward Catholic school worker not guilty at child sex abuse trial

Mercury News

By Malaika Fraley
POSTED: 10/27/2015

HAYWARD -- Branded a child molester, the former Catholic school employee spent two years in jail, ripped away from her son when he was just 3. But on Tuesday, a jury set the woman free, acquitting her of molestation charges that could have sent her to prison for nearly two decades.

Mia Cummings, 31, of Oakland "wept tears of relief and gratitude" in Alameda County Judge Kevin Murphy's Hayward courtroom as a clerk read consecutive not guilty verdicts, said her attorney David Cohen, who defended Cummings with his Bay Area Criminal Lawyers associate Cherie Wallace.

Cummings was expected to be released from Santa Rita Jail late Tuesday and reunited with her 5-year-old son and her longtime boyfriend.

"This thing ended her career. It ended her life," taking her away from her family and her young son, Cohen said.

Syracuse Diocese Bishop to sign agreement with District Attorneys



The Bishop of the Syracuse Diocese will sign an agreement with District Attorneys in counties throughout the diocese regarding sex abuse incidents.

According to the Broome County District Attorney’s office, Bishop Robert Cunningham will meet with prosecutors representing counties throughout the diocese on Wednesday.

They say the bishop will sign a “memorandum of understanding,” which will establish a process for sex abuse allegations regarding clergy and minors.

The Syracuse Diocese includes:

Onondaga County
Broome County
Oneida County
Chenango County
Cortland County
Oswego County
Madison County

The press conference is set for 2 p.m. in the Broome County District Attorney’s office.

Prosecutors to be told of any child-molestation claims against priests in Syracuse Diocese

CNY Central


BINGHAMTON -- There is a sweeping new agreement between the Roman Catholic Bishop of Syracuse and District Attorneys representing every jurisdiction in the Diocese. The new deal, to be announced by the Broome County District Attorney on Wednesday in Binghamton is a "memorandum of understanding."

The language in the document will "formalize the procedures to be followed in all incidents involving alleged sexual misconduct and abuse of minors by all members of the clergy and religious in the Diocese of Syracuse. The Diocese spans an area of seven counties. The top prosecutors in each of those counties has signed the agreement. That includes Onondaga, Oswego, Oneida, Chenango, Cortland, Madison and Broome counties.

The document also states the Diocese will not conduct its own investigation into allegations and will do its part to preserve any evidence.

St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese seeks more time to file bankrupty plan

Star Tribune

By Jean Hopfensperger Star Tribune OCTOBER 27, 2015

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis will ask a bankruptcy judge Thursday for a second extension of its deadline to file its reorganization plan, arguing the extra time is needed to address the volume and complexity of sex abuse claims.

The church is now seeking an extension to May 31, 2016.

“There remains a number of difficult issues to be resolved before completion of the mediation process,” the archdiocese stated in its motion before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel. “As of the filing of this motion, 717 claims — including 416 claims alleging liability for sexual abuse — have been filed in this case.

“Each of these sexual abuse claims must be analyzed and negotiated by various constituencies … as part of the mediation process.”

Extending the deadline is not surprising, as the archdiocese has had less than three months to examine the full universe of abuse claims that poured in by the Aug. 3 filing deadline, said University of Minnesota law professor Christopher Soper. But it does have its drawbacks.

“The downside is it slows down the process and means more uncertainly for the creditors,” said Soper. “The whole point of this process is to figure out how much the church is going to pay to these 400 people. Until a plan is negotiated and approved, they don’t know how much they will be paid, or if they will be paid.”

PM 'should follow' ALP on redress: church

9 News


The Labor party's commitment to a national redress scheme for abuse survivors has been welcomed by the Uniting Church.

The church's president in Australia, Stuart McMillan, said he "warmly welcomed" the promise made by federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to establish the $4.3 billon scheme for survivors of child sexual abuse in Australian institutions.

"The Uniting Church in Australia strongly supports this initial commitment by Labor, and we sincerely hope the Turnbull government will show similar leadership on this issue," Mr McMillan said.

Mr McMillan has released a statement after Labor's announcement on Tuesday, saying the United Church stands ready to play its part.

Arrest of Danville school volunteer and youth director stems from texts, photos to teenage boys


By: Phil Pendleton

DANVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - A Boyle County man was charged Monday with sending inappropriate text messages and photographs to two teenage boys.

Bobby Cassady, 28, was arrested Monday evening and charged with promoting sexual performance by a minor, unlawful transaction with a minor and portraying a police officer.

Police say they were contacted by a 17-year-old Sunday night. Danville police say an investigation was launched after the 17-year-old boy told police about "suspicious activity." That investigation led them to a 15-year-old boy.

Police say Cassady had a juvenile send him pictures over a period of several months. In a release, police said Cassady's activity "centered around improper text messages and photographs." Police did not provide any other details.

Cassady has worked as a volunteer with the Danville School system and was the youth director at Gethsemane Baptist Church. The pastor at Gethsemane Baptist says the allegations are troubling based on the man they hired two years ago to work with their young people.

The Media’s Embarrassingly Indulgent Coverage Of The Catholic Church


Tue, Oct 27, 2015
by Eileen McNamara

One could hardly tell from the media’s preoccupation with all things papal that Islam, not Catholicism, is the fastest growing religion in the world.

In the 19 months since Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina became Pope Francis, an enchanted media has been dispensing a steady diet of “news” from Vatican City about everything from the pontiff’s preferred footwear to the birthday breakfast he shared with a few homeless men.

That the humble Jesuit from Buenos Aires has captured the public imagination is certain. Witness the throngs who greeted him in Washington, Philadelphia and New York during his U.S. visit last month. But the journalistic excess — more than 4,000 mentions in The New York Times alone — is matched by the breathless quality of the coverage.

One could hardly tell from the media’s preoccupation with all things papal that Islam, not Catholicism, is the fastest growing religion in the world.

The latest installment came over the weekend at the conclusion of a three-week meeting of the world’s Roman Catholic bishops at the Vatican to discuss family issues and Catholic doctrine. The final document produced by the synod was so ambiguous on so many points that it was hailed as a victory by conservative and liberal Catholics alike. The bishops proposed no doctrinal changes. It is still a sin to have sex outside of marriage. Homosexuals should be treated with respect but they are still “intrinsically disordered” and their legal unions are in no way comparable to heterosexual marriage.

Ex-archbishop demoted to monk after conviction for sexually assaulting teen boy

CBC News

An ex-archbishop found guilty of sexually assaulting a pre-teen boy has been demoted to simple monk.

Seraphim Storheim, 68, was sentenced to eight months in jail last year for sexually assaulting a young boy who lived with him briefly in 1985 in Winnipeg.

The boy and his young brother both lived with Storheim when they worked as altar boys during that time.

Storheim was originally charged with sexually assaulting both boys but was only convicted of sexually assaulting one.

Now, he has been stripped of his title as archbishop and returned to rank of lay or "simple" monk.

The decision came from the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America late last week.

Sacerdote que violó a niño de 10 años fue condenado a 35 años de cárcel


La Sala Penal Permanente de la Corte Suprema de Justicia confirmó, en última y definitiva instancia, la condena de 35 años de prisión impuesta al sacerdote Waldir Pérez Salias, por ser autor del delito de violación sexual en agravio de un menor de edad.

De igual manera, ratificó lo dispuesto en primera instancia por la Segunda Sala Penal para Reos en Cárcel de la Corte Superior de Lima a fin de que el sentenciado pague a la víctima un monto de S/.8 mil de reparación civil.

El Poder Judicial estableció que Waldir Pérez Salias aprovechó su condición de sacerdote y capellán del colegio parroquial San Alfonso de la Congregación de los Padres Redentoristas, ubicado en Ate, para abusar sexualmente del niño.

Peru court sentences Catholic priest to 35 years for raping boy


A Peruvian court sentenced a Catholic priest to 35 years in prison on Tuesday for repeatedly raping a boy in the school where he was chaplain - one of the few times Peru has jailed clergy accused of sex abuse.

The court found that Waldir Perez used his position as priest and chaplain at a private school in a poor district to abuse the boy between July 2010 and April 2012.

The boy was 10 years old when Perez first sexually assaulted him, the criminal chamber of Peru's Supreme Court said in a statement.

Perez, who must also pay the victim 8,000 soles ($2,439) in reparations, confessed to the crimes, the court said. Medical and psychological tests also backed up the boy's testimony.

Syracuse Diocese agrees to tell DAs about child-molesting accusations against priests


By John O'Brien | jobrien@syracuse.com
on October 27, 2015

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The Catholic Diocese of Syracuse has signed an agreement with the seven top prosecutors in Central New York to immediately report suspected child-molesting by priests.

Bishop Robert Cunningham signed a "memorandum of understanding," along with the seven district attorneys in the diocese, that sets out how the diocese will respond to allegations against priests or other religious workers.

No one involved in the agreement is saying what prompted it.

A diocese official would not comment on the document, except to say Broome County District Attorney Gerald Mollen plans to hold a news conference on Wednesday about it.

None of the seven DAs who signed the document responded to requests for an interview.

Among the terms in the memorandum is that the diocese will immediately refer
child-molesting accusations to the local DA's office for investigation "regardless of the age of the allegation or whether or not the clergy member or religious is active."

Letter to the cardinal Secretary of State on questions related to the reform of the Roman Curia

Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 27 October 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has written a letter to Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin regarding various issues that have arisen during the process of reforming the structures of the Roman Curia. The following is the full text of the letter:

“While the process of reform of various structures of the Roman Curia, to which the Council of Cardinals I instituted on 28 September 2013 is dedicating its attention, is continuing in accordance with the established programme, it is necessary to note that certain problems have emerged in the meantime, in relation to which I intend to take prompt action.

I wish first to state that the current period of transition is not a time of vacatio legis. Therefore, I confirm that the Apostolic Constitution “Pastor bonus” and subsequent amendments thereto remain in full force, along with the General Regulations of the Roman Curia.

Since compliance with the common rules is necessary both to guarantee the orderly conduct of work in the Roman Curia and in the institutions connected to the Holy See, and to ensure equitable treatment of employees and collaborators, also in economic terms, I order that the provisions in the aforementioned documents, as well as in the Regulations for lay staff of the Holy See and Vatican City State and the Regulations of the independent Commission for the evaluation of the recruitment of lay staff in the Apostolic See, be scrupulously observed.

Pope pens letter hinting at power struggles during reform

Yahoo! News

Associated Press By NICOLE WINFIELD

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Just days after closing a contentious meeting of bishops from around the world, Pope Francis turned his attention Tuesday to more domestic but equally contentious affairs.

He issued a stern warning to Vatican bureaucrats to obey Vatican rules and laws as he goes about overhauling the Vatican administration — a sign that those charged with enacting the reforms perhaps need some reform themselves.

Francis penned an unusual letter to the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, asking him to remind Curia leaders that they must observe Vatican law about the structure and powers of the existing administration and follow existing rules on new hires, transfers and salary caps.

According to the current law, Parolin's office is at the top of the Vatican hierarchy and is in charge of human resources. He imposed a hiring freeze last year.

One target of Francis' letter could be the new Secretariat for the Economy, headed by the Australian Cardinal George Pell, who has moved aggressively to try to assert authority over other Vatican entities and their finances as he builds up a new office from scratch. The Vatican in June also named a new auditor general.

Supporters Of Priest Accused Of “Inappropriate Relationship” Want Him Reinstated

CBS - Chicago

By Lisa Fielding

CHICAGO (CBS) — Parishioners of a northwest suburban church have asked Archbishop Blase Cupich to reinstate a priest who was removed for having an inappropriate relationship with a man.

Supporters of Rev. Marco Mercado prayed outside the Archdiocese of Chicago on Tuesday, as they delivered petitions bearing 5,000 signatures, all in support of reinstating Mercado, the rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines.

Cupich removed Mercado earlier this month, because of an “inappropriate relationship with an adult man.”

Mercado has said he is cooperating with the archdiocese investigation. His supporters said they want Cupich to reconsider the decision to remove Mercado from his post.

“There has been no criminal act committed. Father Mercado has a fundamental right to seek counsel, and to defend himself as a person. One is presumed innocent until proven guilty,” said activist Raul Montes Jr.

Sex abuse victim in plea to reform statute of limitations laws

The Australian

OCTOBER 28, 2015

Michael McKenna

A victim of child abuse at a prestigious Queensland private school, who is about to be the subject of royal commission hearings, has called for the nationwide ­implementation of laws to prevent churches and schools escaping legal liability for covered-up cases of pedophilia.

The victim, “John’’ — who does not wish to be named — has been fighting for changes to statute of limitations laws. The changes were recently endorsed by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse but only Victoria has adopted the reforms. The royal commission will begin public hearings in Brisbane next week.

Brisbane Grammar School and St Paul’s Anglican School are being investigated over their ­response to the abuse of scores of students by two pedophiles; Kevin “Skippy’’ Lynch, at both schools, and Gregory Knight at the Anglican school.

Formal complaints had been made about Lynch more than a decade before he was eventually investigated, with the veteran teacher killing himself in 1997 just hours after being arrested.

A class action by 86 victims of Lynch was settled with the schools’ denying liability.

A victim of Lynch, John, has written a 75,000-word submission to the royal commission and has renewed a plea for legal changes to current Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk that he first made to her Labor predecessor, Anna Bligh, in 2009. A professional, John, is expected to be a star witness at the hearing.

Gerard T. McMahon

Dignity - Oak Lawn Funeral Home

December 27, 1935 - May 21, 2013

Gerard Thomas McMahon, 77, of Pensacola, died May 21, 2013. He was born on December 27, 1935, to Thomas and Helen (Martel) McMahon in Boston, MA. He had a Doctorate in Education and retired as a Navy Commander in 1990, after serving more than 20 years as a US Navy Chaplain. He was predeceased by brothers John and Leonard, both of Boston, MA; and is survived by cousins, Eileen T. McMahon, of Quincy, MA; Anne Marie Delacono, of Hanson, MA; and Raymond McMahon, of Atlanta, GA. Mass will be held at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, followed by burial with military honors at Barrancas National Cemetery, in Pensacola, FL. An additional memorial mass will be held in Boston, MA. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to St. Vincent De Paul at www.svdpusa.org. Oak Lawn Funeral Home in Pensacola, FL has been entrusted with arrangements.

Embattled Chilean bishop defends himself, insisting he was unaware of abuse

Catholic Culture

October 27, 2015

Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, Chile, has issued a statement repeating his insistence that he was not aware of sexual abuse by a priest who had been his friend.

In a statement read at Mass in all parishes of the Osorno diocese on October 26, Bishop Barros said that he has been unjustly accused of covering up misconduct by Father Fernando Karadima, a notorious abuser. At least three of Karadima’s victims have charged that the future bishop knew about the abuse at the time it occurred. Bishop Barros has consistently said that he was unaware of the abuse much alter.

‘Spotlight’: The Story Behind Tom McCarthy’s ‘Love Letter to Investigative Journalism’


James Rainey
Senior Film Reporter

That doesn’t exactly make a newspaper an obvious backdrop for a movie — or a ripe setting for praiseworthy endeavors. Yet “Spotlight” places journalists and the printed word shamelessly front and center, celebrating a quiet kind of heroism. No wonder preview and festival audiences are chock-full of ink-stained wretches swelling with pride and affirmation.

But it’s not mere nostalgia that has put director Tom McCarthy’s fifth film prominently in the conversation for best picture and multiple other potential honors this awards season. What’s making “Spotlight” the “it” movie of the moment, even prior to its Nov. 6 theatrical debut, is that it has pre-release audiences talking not just about journalism and freedom of the press, but about the Catholic Church, Pope Francis’ stance on the plague of sexual abuse by priests and even about the bounds of faith.

With an ensemble cast led by Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and Liev Schreiber, the movie tells the real-life story of the Boston Globe’s four-member investigative reporting team (aka Spotlight) which uncovered the scandal and massive cover-up of child molestation within the local Catholic Archdiocese beginning in 2001.

A throwback in more than just its setting (the Globe newsroom), the production (backed by Open Road Films) evokes filmmaking of another era. The story is notable for eschewing the building blocks of today’s most popular movies — CGI pyrotechnics, comic-book superheroes, sex and violence.

Instead, the script, co-written by McCarthy and Josh Singer, advances character and plot gradually and assuredly. “Spotlight” is a slow burn. The investigation gets sidetracked. The journalists are flawed. But they are the only ones in a position to hold a powerful institution accountable for its greatest failing. With a monolithic adversary and children as the victims, the filmmakers establish a powerful rooting interest among the audience.

The pope has smoked out his opposition

National Catholic Reporter

Robert Mickens | Oct. 26, 2015 A Roman Observer

If you really want to know what happened inside the Synod of Bishops this past month, don't obsess too much over its final report (relatio) on the church and the family.

Each of that document's ninety-four articles or paragraphs was approved by at least two-thirds of the 264 prelates (and one layman) that showed up for the final vote. And the reason there was such overwhelming approval is because of a delicate compromise that took all of the most controversial issues off the table or treated them with open-ended language.

Nonetheless, Catholics of contrasting points of views (and even ideologies) have found ways to claim "victory" for their side through a favorable reading of one passage or another. But they are missing the point.

Pope Francis' novel decision to call the synod into session twice in twelve months to speak freely about the exact same issue ("the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world") was primarily not about the family. Rather, it was about re-introducing a process of discussion and debate at the highest level of the church, not seen since the first years immediately following the Second Vatican Council. He confirmed as much in a key address he gave on Oct. 17 during a symposium to mark the 50th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops.

Devon clergyman found guilty of string of gay sex attacks

Western Morning News

The right-hand man of pervert bishop Peter Ball has been found guilty of a string of gay attacks dating back to the 1970s.

Retired priest Vickery House, 69, was convicted at the Old Bailey of five counts of indecent assault on males, one of them in Devon – with one as young as 14 – over a period of 16 years. He was cleared on three further counts.

During much of that time, House was vicar in Berwick, East Sussex, and worked under Ball – who earlier this month was jailed for 32 months after he admitted molesting young men between 1977 and 1992.

The pair targeted young men and aspiring priests through a Church of England scheme called Give A Year For Christ with four members abused by both men, it can now be reported.

Vickery House found guilty of historic sex offences

BBC News

A retired Church of England priest has been found guilty of a string of sex offences dating back to the 1970s and 1980s.

Vickery House, 69, had denied eight counts of indecent assault against six males aged 15 to 34, between 1970 and 1986.

He told the Old Bailey he was ashamed of his actions, but claimed they were not sexual assaults.

National--New acclaimed film focuses on clergy abuse crisis

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, Oct. 27

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those abused by Priests (314 566 9790, davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

A new film about how journalists broke open the widespread Catholic abuse and cover up crisis will hit theatres next month. We urge every US bishop to order all church staff to see it, even if it means arranging special viewings at church facilities.

[The New York Times]

[Trailer: YouTube]

The movie is about how reporters began exposing 249 predator priests and their complicit church supervisors in the Boston archdiocese when a judge ordered long-secret files to be revealed.

So we urge every US bishop to do now, voluntarily, what courts forced church officials to do years ago: release long-secret records that show which clerics committed and concealed heinous crimes against children.

Releasing this information is the quickest way bishops could safeguard kids and deter cover ups. We’re told that “the truth shall set you free.” And Martin Luther King once said “No lie lives forever.”

Yet bishops across this country, and the world, continue to keep secret hundreds of thousands of pages of documents about crimes and cover ups, while claiming they’re “transparent,” they’ve “reformed” and they want “healing” and “prevention.”

We urge parents, parishioners and the public to remember that child sex crimes and cover ups in the church are still taking place now. In the few years right after the Spotlight Team’s revelations in 2002, we saw some improvements in how bishops dealt with child molesting clerics. But for the last decade, bishops have largely been moving backwards and working even harder and smarter to conceal child sex crimes.

Why? Because they now know they can get by with protecting predators and endangering kids. Only three US bishops have resigned because of this scandal (Law, Piche and Finn). Only one was criminally convicted (Finn, who withheld evidence of child sex crimes from law enforcement). Many complicit clerics have since been promoted. And because there continues to be a grave shortage of priests and seminarians, so bishops desperately cling to even sexually troubled clerics.

To its credit, the film acknowledges that years before the Boston Globe’s award-winning investigation, there were earlier waves of nation-wide attention on pedophile priests, notably in 1985 and 1993. This is important to remember because after every way, church officials pledged to “do better” only to break those promises and continue to act recklessly, callously, deceitfully and secretively.

We hope millions will see and discuss this important and acclaimed film. We hope it will encourage more journalists to look harder at and dig deeper into clergy sex cases. We hope attorneys who handle these cases will go through their files and see what information they may have that could and should still be made public. We hope the film will prod police, prosecutors, judges and juries to look more skeptically on claims made by Catholic officials in child sex and cover up cases.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 27 October 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- Bishop Matteo Maria Zuppi, auxiliary of Rome, as metropolitan archbishop of Bologna (area 3,549, population 998,600, Catholics 951,462, priests 590, permanent deacons 127, religious 1,115), Italy. He succeeds Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- Msgr. Corrado Lorefice as metropolitan archbishop of Palermo (area 1,366, population 916,000, Catholics 909,000, priests 479, permanent deacons 41, religious 1,249), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Ispica, Italy in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1987. He holds a licentiate in moral theology and a doctorate in moral theology, and has served in a number of pastoral roles in the diocese of Noto, Italy, including bursar and vice rector of the seminary, lecturer in moral theology, director of the diocesan and regional centres for vocations, director of formation of permanent deacons, director of the diocesan catechistic office, parish administrator, and episcopal vicar for the clergy. He is currently parish priest and vicar forane, episcopal vicar for pastoral ministry, and lecturer in the “San Paolo” theological faculty of Catania. He succeeds Cardinal Paolo Romeo, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- Msgr. Giacomo Morandi, vicar general of the archdiocese of Modena-Nonantola, Italy, as under-secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Vatican to take up sex abuse claims against suspended Millburn priest


[letter from the Newark archdiocese]

By Mark Mueller | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on October 27, 2015

Decades-old sexual abuse allegations against a prominent Short Hills pastor will be referred to the Vatican for further investigation — and a possible canonical trial — after a church review board found sufficient merit in the claims to raise "grave concerns," according to a letter distributed to parishioners.

Msgr. George Trabold, 68, stepped down as leader of St. Rose of Lima Church in October 2014, when someone came forward with an abuse claim that dates to the mid-1970s. At the time of the alleged abuse, Trabold served as associate pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church in Bergenfield.

The two-page letter, which was shared with parishioners at both parishes Sunday, reveals for the first time the existence of a second accuser. The letter does not describe the nature or extent of the alleged abuse, and a spokesman for Newark Archbishop John J. Myers said he could not comment on the specifics of the case.

Trabold has been barred from serving as a priest since his removal and will remain out of ministry while the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith considers his case, according to the letter and the spokesman, Jim Goodness.

Coeur d’Alene man jailed on $1 million bond, suspected of raping and abusing underage boys

The Spokesman-Review

Scott Maben The Spokesman-Review

A long-haul truck driver from Coeur d’Alene who also served as a church youth camp counselor is suspected of raping and abusing underage boys in Spokane and Kootenai counties over the past decade.

Kevin G. Sloniker, 30, faces felony charges of rape and lewd conduct involving two underage boys and is a suspect in the sexual abuse of at least eight other boys, according to court documents. He’s being held in the Kootenai County Jail on $1 million bond.

Sloniker met and befriended some of the boys in his role as a youth camp counselor at Immaculate Conception Church in Post Falls, according to investigative reports filed with 1st District Court in Kootenai County.

Some of the alleged abuse occurred at Sloniker’s parents’ home in Latah, south of Spokane, and some happened when he took boys on the road with him around the Western U.S., according to court records.

UPDATED: 2 school employees among 13 arrested in child sex investigation (PHOTOS)

NWF Daily News

315-4435 | @TomMnwfdn

Posted Oct. 26, 2015

Two employees of Saint Mary’s Catholic School have been charged with using a computer to seduce a child and traveling to meet the victim.

James Patrick Applegate, a part-time school band director, and Cameron Ahlsen-Girard, a substitute teacher for Saint Mary’s School and volunteer with the Saint Mary Catholic Church youth ministry, were arrested over the weekend.

Okaloosa County deputies took Applegate into custody Saturday on charges of using a computer to solicit or seduce a child and traveling to meet a child after using a computer to solicit or seduce.

Ahlsen-Girard was arrested Sunday on the same charges.

Parish Administrator Father John Licari sent a note Sunday to the parents of children at the school, faculty and staff, parents of children in the youth group and people who work with the youth.

'Spotlight' Film Illuminates Boston Clergy Abuse Scandal

The New York Times

OCT. 27, 2015

BOSTON — It was a scandal that shook the Roman Catholic Church to its core: Hundreds of priests molested children for decades and got away with it because church leaders covered it up.

More than a decade later, the story of how The Boston Globe exposed the church's secret is being told in "Spotlight," a movie starring Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo, set for release Nov. 6.

In Boston, where the scandal led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law and settlements with hundreds of victims, key figures featured in the film say it captures the shock of the scandal as it unfolded, the pain suffered by the victims and the work done by journalists to bring it to light.

"We obviously stumbled upon something far more extensive and horrifying than we had any right to expect to find," recalled Walter Robinson — played by Michael Keaton — who led the Globe's Spotlight Team, the investigative unit that broke open the scandal with a series of stories in 2002.

The stories detailed how church higher-ups — including Law — knew priests were abusing children but moved them from parish to parish instead of removing them. The series won the Pulitzer Prize for public service in 2003.

God Directs me to Impregnate Married Women and Single Ladies- Enugu Pastor

Nigerian Bulletin

Nigeria - A 53-year-old pastor has been arrested by the Police in Nsukka, Enugu State, for allegedly impregnating married women and young girls in his church.

The Pastor, identified as Timothy Ngwu, is the General Overseer of Holy Trinity Ministry popularly called Vineyard Ministry in Umudikwere Community in the University town.

Ironically, police sources said the suspect claims he was directed by the Holy Spirit to sexually abuse female members of his church in the name of God.

The alleged sexual exploits of the self-acclaimed man of God was blown open by his estranged wife, Veronica Ngwu, who lodged a complaint at the Criminal Investigations Department, Enugu. This led to the arrest of the pastor.

She said she escaped from the ministry with one of her daughters after her husband impregnated her niece and claimed he was obeying the directives of the Holy Spirit and a prophetic revelation.

Fate of Indian school abuse stories up in air

Cowichan Valley Citizen

posted Oct 26, 2015

By Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

TORONTO - The question of what to do with records of deeply personal, often heart-wrenching testimony from thousands of survivors of Indian residential schools who sought compensation for sexual and other abuse lands on the doorstep of Ontario's top court Tuesday.

On one side of the two-day hearing are those who argue a lower court judge was right to order the material destroyed in due course. On the other are those who believe it should be kept in perpetuity under appropriate lock and key.

Justice Murray Sinclair, who headed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, said his concern is that the stories of what went on in the schools will be lost forever if the "rich trove" of documents is destroyed as ordered.

"In a few generations, that will allow people to be able to deny the validity of the stories we have heard," Sinclair told The Canadian Press from Vancouver. "Right now there are deniers of those facts."

Linden religious teacher admits to sexually abusing children

NJ Today

NEWARK – A Linden man who was a leader in a boys’ youth organization and a religious education teacher admitted to sexually abusing children and possessing images of child sexual abuse.

Gregory J. Aker, 46, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan G. Wigenton in Newark federal court to an information charging him with possession of child pornography. He is currently in state custody.

According to U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman, the documents filed and statements made in court:

Aker was a leader with a boys’ youth organization and a religious education teacher with his church. On Feb. 22, 2014, Aker was arrested by the Linden Police Department for sexual assault and endangering the welfare of two minor children.

Turnbull government yet to meet Catholic Church on abuse redress scheme

Sydney Morning Herald

October 27, 2015

Jane Lee
Legal affairs, industrial relations and science correspondent

The Turnbull government has not met the Catholic Church to discuss a national redress scheme for child abuse survivors, months before it will decide whether to establish such a scheme.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse last month recommended the federal government set up a $4.01 billion redress scheme for 60,000 people sexually abused as children in institutions.

The commission's report - published on the day Malcolm Turnbull ousted Tony Abbott as Liberal leader - said the federal government should announce whether it will do so by the end of this year.

The Catholic Church is expected to be among the largest contributors, if not the largest, to compensation under the scheme. Francis Sullivan, chief executive officer of the church's Truth Justice and Healing Council, told Fairfax Media that he had not been able to meet Attorney-General George Brandis on the issue despite repeated requests this year.

Counts Of Child Rape Added In Pastor Case

The Lawton Constitution

Tue, 10/27/2015 Scott Rains

An 82-year-old Anadarko pastor had his bond vacated Friday after five more counts of sexual abuse involving four alleged young victims were charged.

Marion Milton-Otis Toehay Sr. of Carnegie received two counts of first-degree rape by instrumentation of a victim under 14 and three additional counts of lewd or indecent acts to a child under 16 in Caddo County District Court, records indicate. The five new charges are on top of 10 counts of lewd acts with a child allegedly committed every Sunday for two years in the church study that were filed Sept. 14. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison for each count.

The new charges followed an Oct. 5 prosecutor's request to endorse additional witnesses. Toehay is newly accused of improprieties with four other children dating back to 2001. Dates for the older charges are from within a one-year-period.

Both rape counts stem from alleged incidents that took place in a van at an Anadarko convenience store parking lot. One incident involved a 5- or 6-year-old in 2000 or 2001 and the second with a 9 or 10-year-old between 2010-2011, according to the charges. The child in the second incident was also impetus for one of the lewd acts charges.

‘Don’t shield perpetrators of child abuse in churches’

Graphic Online

By: Seth J. Bokpe
Date : Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Church leaders in the country have been advised not to shield perpetrators of child abuse in their churches as it is a violation of the Constitution.

Mr Ebenezer Tetteh Kpalam, the Founder and President of the Kinder Foundation, a Christian non-governmental organisation (NGO), urged churches to have child protection policies that protect children from abuse, and stressed that “Although the church is a place where children are sometimes abused, it is also a place where abuses are not reported.

“The church should not handle cases of sexual abuse. Domestic violence cases are criminal in nature. Such cases must be reported,” he said.

He, however, stated that the church could offer emotional support to such victims because of the trauma they go through.

He was speaking at the ninth anniversary celebration of the Child Development Centre of the Trinity Parish of the Global Evangelical Church at Kotobabi in Accra.

'Spotlight' film illuminates Boston clergy abuse scandal


BOSTON —It was a scandal that shook the Roman Catholic Church to its core: Hundreds of priests molested children for decades and got away with it because church leaders covered it up.

More than a decade later, the story of how The Boston Globe exposed the church's secret is being told in "Spotlight," a movie starring Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo, set for release Nov. 6.

In Boston, where the scandal led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law and settlements with hundreds of victims, key figures featured in the film say it captures the shock of the scandal as it unfolded, the pain suffered by the victims and the work done by journalists to bring it to light.

"We obviously stumbled upon something far more extensive and horrifying than we had any right to expect to find," recalled Walter Robinson - played by Michael Keaton - who led the Globe's Spotlight Team, the investigative unit that broke open the scandal with a series of stories in 2002.

The stories detailed how church higher-ups - including Law - knew priests were abusing children but moved them from parish to parish instead of removing them. The series won the Pulitzer Prize for public service in 2003.

Labor to set up fund for victims of church abuse

Sydney Morning Herald

October 26, 2015

Mark Kenny
Chief political correspondent

Sixty-thousand Australian victims of child sexual and other abuses at the hands of churches will be able to seek financial compensation under a future Labor government with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten set to announce Labor's support for a new "national redress scheme".

Mr Shorten will formally unveil the commitment on Tuesday in Melbourne, pledging $33 million initially even though the bulk of any financial liability would still fall on the religious institutions themselves.

The proposal reflects a key recommendation of the ongoing Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

While it reflects only a fraction of the estimated $4.01 billion in combined liabilities of a full redress scheme, the policy is likely to be welcomed by victims as it would drive the process of obtaining recompense and provide official recognition of institutional abuse over decades.

'I'm both a bishop, but also a survivor': Anglican church leader reveals he was groomed and sexually abused by senior clergymen as a teenager

Daily Mail


An Anglican bishop has revealed he was victim of sexual abuse at the hands of members of his own church denomination.

The revelations of Newcastle Anglican Bishop Greg Thompson come after a diocese apology for the way the church had treated abuse victims.

Bishop Thompson said as a 19-year-old he was targetted by an Anglican bishop and senior clergyman in the 1970s and later sexually abused, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

On Sunday a formal apology from the Newcastle Diocese was made in which it admitted it actively discouraged those who reported abuse, the ABC reported.

Earlier this year Bishop Thompson also apologised for cover-ups by the church and the manner in which it dealt with child sex abuse reports.

He told the Sydney Morning Herald the bishop and clergyman, now both dead, 'made him feel special' and manipulated his faith to cover for their abuse of him.

October 26, 2015


Road to Recovery


Neal E. Gumpel is a clergy sexual abuse victim of a previously named predator, Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, now deceased and former teacher and professor at Fordham Prep and University and Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine, where Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, sexually abused Neal E. Gumpel when he was a minor child

The Northeast Province of the Jesuits interviewed five individuals, including Neal E. Gumpel, who provided credible evidence confirming that Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, held himself out at all times as a Jesuit priest at Maine Maritime Academy and sexually abused Neal E. Gumpel there

A press conference and leafleting alerting the media, general public, Fordham University and Fordham Prep students, parents, alumni, and staff that the Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and Fordham Prep and University keep dragging their feet in assisting a childhood clergy sexual abuse victim of one of its priests, Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015 from 2:00 pm until 4:00 pm

On the public sidewalk outside the gates of Fordham Prep and University on Southern Boulevard (near the entrance to the Bronx Botanical Gardens), Bronx, NY

Neal E. Gumpel, a childhood sexual abuse victim of Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ; his wife, Helen Gumpel; and members of Road to Recovery, Inc., a non-profit charity based in New Jersey that assists victims of sexual abuse and their families, including its co-founder and President, Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., and Kevin Waldrip, a victim/survivor from New Jersey

The Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus knows that Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, was a serial molester of minor boys. They settled at least one claim against Fr. Drake in the past. Neal E. Gumpel’s credible story of having been sexually abused as a minor child by Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, at Maine Maritime Academy was credibly supported by four other individuals. Now, the Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus is dragging its feet in settling Neal E. Gumpel’s claim, and they are re-abusing Neal E. Gumpel. Demonstrators will demand that the Jesuit Priests and Brothers of the Northeast Province cease their foot-dragging, acknowledge and verify Neal E. Gumpel’s story, allow him to heal, and try to gain a degree of closure.

Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D. – Road to Recovery, Inc. – 862-368-2800
Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, Boston, MA – 617-523-6250

More child abuse survivors aged over 60 seeking help, support group says on Blue Knot Day

ABC News

By Ursula Malone

More than a quarter of people calling a helpline for adult survivors of child abuse are now over the age of 60, a leading support group says.

The figures have been released to mark Blue Knot Day, which aims to raise awareness of the estimated five million Australians who have suffered childhood trauma and abuse.

"We're seeing more people in older age groups coming forward, and what we believe that relates to is the Royal Commission (into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse)," said Dr Cathy Kezelman, President of Adults Surviving Child Abuse.

"Older people who may have kept this secret their entire life are now ringing up and reaching and seeking help.

"We have people in their 80s ringing our line and saying they have never told a soul, but then hearing how it has profoundly affected their life."

Older survivors of child sex abuse tread long hard road in search of redress

The Guardian

Shalailah Medhora
Monday 26 October 2015

Simon Cole was nearly 40 years old when he read a newspaper article noting the conviction of the man who he alleges abused him as a child. For a decade prior, he had been slowly piecing together the effect that the childhood abuse had had on his mental health.

“I was around 30 when I really started to make the connection,” Cole, who at 52 still suffers from anxiety and insomnia, said.

For three decades, he had been carrying the burden of the abuse on his own. Reading that scoutmaster Rod Corrie, the man who he said inappropriately touched him, had been jailed for abusing other children over a 30-year period, was the circuit breaker he needed to speak out and seek help.

The article prompted Cole to launch a civil case against Corrie and the scouts, which was settled out of court.

Labor promises $33m compensation scheme for child sexual abuse survivors

The Guardian

Shalailah Medhora
Monday 26 October 2015 1

Up to 60,000 adult survivors of child sex abuse could receive monetary compensation through a national redress scheme if Labor wins office at the next federal election, the party announced on Tuesday.

Labor will set aside $33m for the creation of a scheme aimed at offering counselling services and compensation for survivors of institutional child sex abuse.

The money includes $20m for the formation of a national body and advisory council to help implement the scheme. The agency would report to the federal attorney general.

There would be three broad goals for the national scheme:

* The chance for survivors to receive a direct personal response from their abuser or the institution that housed their abuser
* Monetary compensation for the abuse suffered
* Counselling and psychological support that is accessible through the course of their lives.

The redress scheme was recommended by the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, in its final report on redress and civil litigation.

Canada--Convicted Orthodox archbishop defrocked; victims’ group is grateful

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday, October 26, 2015

Statement by Melanie Jula Sakoda of Moraga, California, Orthodox Christian Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (melanie.sakoda@gmail.com, 925-708-6175)

A Canadian archbishop criminally convicted of child sexual abuse has finally been defrocked by his synod. A support group for victims is grateful for this decision, but wants the bishops to do more.

Archbishop Seraphaim Storheim, who was once the highest ranking official in Canada for the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), was removed from the priesthood this past week, according to the Church’s website.

[Orthodox Church in America]

[Orthodox Church in America]

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are grateful that the OCA has finally applied the mandates of its sexual misconduct policy to Storheim.

More older Aussies calling abuse helpline

9 News


There has been a spike in the number of older Australians seeking professional help because of childhood sex abuse, new research shows.

The research released by Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA) on Monday to coincide with Blue Knot Day - a national day to raise awareness about the five million Australian adults who survived childhood abuse.

The research, based on an analysis of 5000 calls to ASCA's 1300 professional support line, reveals abuse survivors aged between 40-69 are still the most common age group to seek support for past abuse.

There has, however, been a 10 per cent increase in the 50-59-year-old age group looking for help compared to last year.

The data shows 19 per cent of callers in the 60-69-year-old age group, and six per cent in the 70-79 age bracket called the helpline for the first time.

Charges filed against rabbi for five-year sexual assault

Arutz Sheva

A 53-year-old rabbi from central Israel was arrested on Sunday for sexual assault and statutory rape of a girl since she was 12-year-old.

The affair was discovered after the girl, now 17, complained to social services about the rabbi's behavior.

Obispo Juan Barros: "Me he visto injustamente envuelto" en encubrimiento de abusos de Karadima

La Tercera

[Bishop Juan Barros in a letter to the faithful of Osorno, which was read at the weekend, the bishop said he was a "a victim" and was unjustly accused to covering up abuse by priest Fernando Karadima and reiterated the rejection of the abuses committed by the former pastor of El Bosque.]

María Paz Núñez
26 de octubre del 2015

"Me siento en algún grado una víctima más, pues me he visto injustamente envuelto faltándose gravemente a la verdad", aseguró el obispo de Osorno, Juan Barros al negar nuevamente el haber tenido conocimiento de los abusos del ex párroco de El Bosque, Fernando Karadima, a través de una carta firmada el 22 de octubre y que fue leída a los fieles de dicha ciudad el fin de semana.

En la misiva, Barros señala que "reitero mi gran dolor por quienes han sido víctimas de los delitos del mencionado sacerdote. En declaraciones públicas le shemos ofrecido humildemente nuestra petición de perdón y he pedido que me disculpen si por mis limitaciones no he sabido expresar bien mi poisición (...) Muchos fuimos duramente impactados al conocerse esos acontecimientos de abuso que nos han escandalizado".

Synod: Forces inside church working against reform

Irish Times

Paddy Agnew in Rome

Mon, Oct 26, 2015

If anyone ever had any doubt that there are forces inside both the Catholic Church and the Roman Curia working against Pope Francis and his “reform process”, they need only look at events of the last three weeks during the Vatican’s synod on the family.

To the non-Catholic world, the conclusions might look tame in that they represent no significant (doctrinal) changes, rather an amount of pastoral fine-tuning. Much ado about nothing?
Curiously, though, somebody somewhere seemed to care. Did a series of “outside the synod” events in Rome in the last three weeks not suggest that diverse, presumably minority, groups of anti-Francis dissidents are alive and active?

For example, the synod “opened” with the coming-out of Polish monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, a middle management theologian at the Vatican’s Congregation For the Doctrine Of The Faith (CDF), ex-Holy Office. He and his partner appeared together in a Roman cafe the day before the synod, announced their relationship and then suggested there were plenty more like them within the Holy See. As Francis tries to keep everyone on board, that did not help.

One day into the Synod, an arguably more heavyweight protest surfaced when a small number of senior cardinals wrote to the pope expressing their concerns about a potentially “pre-cooked” synod outcome (of a progressive tendency).

Media invention

The third “event” came this week with Italian media speculation that Pope Francis has a brain tumour. There seems little doubt that this is a media invention, circulated by those who wish to undermine Francis. The current archbishop of Buenos Aires, Victor Fernandez, said it appeared to be a strategy to “discredit the person in control” .

My life in the cult: How “serving God” unraveled into sex abuse, child neglect and a waking nightmare



I left the Children of God in the early 2000s. It took a long time to come out of the haze of those 30 years, but when I did, I was appalled by my former self. One of the most common questions people ask is: How could you be part of such a thing? And how could you stay? For years — as I came to grips with my own guilt, remorse and shame — I asked myself the same things. In 2003, my eldest son, then an adult, sent me a link to a thorough three-year investigation into the COG as part of a child custody case filed with the High Court in England in the early 1990s, and I learned that, according to these court records, I was not alone in the horrors I’d experienced.

I grew up in suburban Washington, D.C., the youngest of seven children in a comfortably middle-class Catholic home. We must have looked like the perfect family. My parents were leaders of the Charismatic group at their large church. Our house was clean – almost sterile. “Rake the rug after you walk through the living room to clear your footprints. Put a sheet on the sofa before you sit down,” my mother would chime. After my older siblings left home, I felt lost and alone. At 16, I fell into anorexia and depression. I spent my summer lifeguarding, swimming and dabbling in drugs.

Perhaps that’s why I began my spiritual quest, or perhaps it was just a symptom of the times. I was looking for meaning to life, to belong to something larger than myself. In my junior year of high school, I saw a friend reading a Bible at school. She had recently met the COG, and gave me one of their publications to read. I found it a bit strange, but it touched something in me. I went with her to meet the COG after school that day.

I was trying to find my path in life, and I thought this might be it. Here was a group of dedicated Christian young people determined to return to the pure roots of Christianity by living communally and sharing all things. I felt loved and accepted, and was welcomed into the fold as a new “babe” in Christ. Born again. I didn’t see this as a “cult”; I saw it as a chance to live an honorable life of service to God and others. And I was so young. What did I know about how the world worked? It would be another nine years before my frontal lobe was completely developed, the portion of the brain involved in decision-making that allows us to envision long-term consequences. I had no idea I was walking into a nightmare. I couldn’t see past the utter joy of the overwhelming love and acceptance I felt.

I was abused by clergy: Anglican Bishop Greg Thompson tells of abuse as 19-year-old

Sydney Morning Herald

October 26, 2015

Joanne McCarthy

Anglican bishop Greg Thompson has spoken about being groomed by an Anglican bishop and senior clergyman in the 1970s and later sexually abused, after an historic diocese apology on Sunday for the "shameful" treatment of abuse survivors in the past.

The Newcastle bishop said he was an impressionable 19-year-old when the two men singled him out, made him feel special and used his strong faith and their shared religion as the cover to sexually abuse him.

His allegations against the two men, now dead, were revealed to NSW Police and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse earlier this year.

Bishop Thompson said he did not reveal the information before the diocese synod at the weekend because he wanted the vote on an historic apology to be a genuine response from clergy and senior diocese parishioners, and not a response to him personally.

"I couldn't have spoken about the need for an apology if they'd known I was a survivor," Bishop Thompson said.

Newcastle community urged to work together in fallout from child sexual abuse revelations

ABC News

An advocate for victims of child sexual abuse says a community-wide approach is needed to deal with the ramifications of the abuse revelations.

Dr Cathy Kezelman, president of the Adults Surviving Child Abuse organisation, said the community needed to gain an understanding of the lasting impacts trauma could have on child abuse victims.

Today, Newcastle Anglican bishop Greg Thompson revealed he also was a victim of child sexual abuse.

Bishop Thompson told 1233 ABC Newcastle that as an Anglican bishop and a survivor, he was on his own personal healing journey.

Over the weekend, the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle in New South Wales moved to issue a formal apology to local people abused by members of the clergy.

"It sends a strong message that we are recognising, we have recognised the great harm. We are working on it, but [it] also enables survivors to come forward themselves," Bishop Thompson said.

The Shadow Behind ‘Spotlight’: How Predator Priests Derailed Boston’s Would-Be Pope, Cardinal Bernard Law

The Daily Beast

[Cardinal Bernard Law Fast Facts - CNN]

Jason Berry

The shadow villain of Spotlight, Bernard Law was one of America’s most ambitious and prominent cardinals—until his handling of the sex-abuse scandal caught up with him.

Spotlight” is a gripping new film by Tom McCarthy on the Boston Globe’s investigation of how that archdiocese concealed child-molester priests. Set in 2001, the film serves as backstory to the Pulitzer Prize-winning series that began on January 6, 2002—“Feast of the Epiphany,” as we learn in the intelligent script by McCarthy and Josh Singer.

Taking on the church in heavily Catholic Boston was no small order. Several of the reporters came from Catholic homes. Marty Baron, the Globe’s new editor, by way of the Miami Herald, suggested the investigation after reading a Globe columnist on a priest abuse case. Baron wanted to know more; he later became editor of The Washington Post.

Played by the bearded Liev Schreiber, Baron presents as a shy man, of few but forceful words, an outsider to tribal Boston, and a Jew, as a Catholic businessman says, sotto voce, to Michael Keaton in his edgy, pensive portrayal of “Spotlight” editor Walter “Robby” Robinson.

Robinson’s clutch of reporters worked months before the first article appeared, finding documents and tracking down victims of some 30 priests. The turning point in 2001 came when a court ruling against the church unsealed lawsuits that put clergy personnel documents into the public record. The Globe ultimately reported that the archdiocese had sheltered 249 predatory clerics going back several decades.

October 25, 2015

Bishop leading charge against child sexual abuse admits he too was a victim

ABC News

As Newcastle's Anglican Bishop Greg Thompson urges his diocese to come to terms with the church's handling of child sexual abuse, he has admitted that he too was a victim.

Members of the Synod took part in an historic vote at the weekend, making a formal apology from the Newcastle Diocese, acknowledging it actively discouraged those who reported abuse.

Synod members watched video interviews of two Newcastle priests recounting harrowing stories of their own experience of being sexually abused as children.

Earlier this year, Bishop Thompson marked 500 days in the top job, fighting tears as he apologised to victims for past church cover-ups and the poor handling of complaints about child sexual abuse.

This morning Bishop Thompson revealed to 1233 ABC Newcastle's Aaron Kearney he has been making his own journey as a survivor.

"Well, I'm both a Bishop, but also a survivor," he said.

Newcastle Anglican priests speak out about their own childhood abuse, as Synod agrees on formal apology

ABC News

Two Hunter Anglican priests have spoken of the sexual abuse they experienced as children, as Newcastle's Bishop admits the diocese protected perpetrators.

Newcastle's Anglican Bishop Greg Thompson addressed members of the Synod who met on Saturday.

His address covered a range of issues from domestic violence to climate change, but child abuse within the church was the main focus.

"We had cultures that dissuaded people from speaking of their experience," he told the Synod.


Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly



NO. 2003-10072 (001-021)

The defendant, Fidelis DeBerardinis (“DeBerardinis”), has been charged with unnatural and lascivious acts with a child under sixteen (Counts 1-3, 9, 15-19 and 21), indecent assault and battery on a child under fourteen (Counts 4-8, 10-13 and 20), and open and gross lewdness (Count 14). He has now moved the court for a determination of his competence to stand trial on these charges.

The court conducted an evidentiary hearing on the defendant’s motion on May 11, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 19, 2004. It heard testimony from Laura Bridges, Terry Watters, Ph.D., Dr. Renee Sorrentino, Susan Lewis, J.D., Ph.D., Dr. Bruce H. Price, Brother Charles Gingerich, Nancy Hebben, Ph.D., Deborah Levy, Ph.D., Dr. Alexander Bodkin, and Timothy P. O’Neill, Esq. The court also received 33 exhibits into evidence at the hearing.

Upon consideration of such testimony from the witnesses as the court finds credible, the exhibits, and the memoranda and oral arguments of counsel, the court makes the following findings of fact and Order on the issue of the defendant’s competency to stand trial in this case.


Frank Paul (Brother Fidelis) DeBerardinis, was born on July 10, 1927, the sixth or seventh of nine children. At least two of his siblings are alive, although neither the Commonwealth’s competency experts nor his own expert witnesses made any effort to contact or speak to them about DeBerardinis, or to secure any information from them about his past or his physical or mental health history. Thus, the only information presented to the court about DeBerardinis prior to age 45 is from his own self-reported history to the various individuals who examined, tested, and treated him. (Exhibits 12 and 13).

At age 18, DeBerardinis left the tenth grade of public school to enter a Catholic seminary. Although he desired to become a priest, he apparently was unsuccessful in his studies for the priesthood and instead undertook training to become a Franciscan Friar. He never received a high school diploma. After becoming a friar in 1948, DeBerardinis was assigned, in successive years, to missions in Troy and Brooklyn, New York. He was then sent to Central America, where from 1953 to 1964 he served as a missionary in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. DeBerardinis then served at a church in the Bronx, New York for four years. He was then transferred to Our Lady of Mount Carmel in East Boston, where the present offenses allegedly occurred from 1968 to 1973. In 1974, DeBerardinis was sent to Jerusalem where he briefly served as a missionary before returning to upstate New York. He then went to St. Francis Church in Toronto, Ontario, where he stayed from 1974 to 1988. During this period he developed numerous medical conditions, including hypertension, type II diabetes, hyper-cholesterolemia, hypothyroidism and worsening coronary artery disease. (Exhibits 12 and 13).

Synod offers striking softening to remarried, proposing individual discernment

National Catholic Reporter

Joshua J. McElwee | Oct. 24, 2015

A worldwide gathering of some 270 Catholic bishops has recommended softening the church’s practice towards those who have divorced and remarried, saying such persons should discern decisions about their spiritual lives individually in concert with the guidance of priests.

Pope Francis also closed the meeting with a strong renewal of his continual emphasis of the boundless nature of divine mercy, saying: “The Church’s first duty is not to hand down condemnations or anathemas, but to proclaim God’s mercy.”

Although the final document from the Oct. 4-25 Synod of Bishops says discernment for remarried persons can “never overlook the demands of truth and love in the Gospel,” it seems to significantly move decision-making for how they can participate in the church to private conversations in dioceses around the world.

Big win for Pope Francis

Religion News Service - Spiritual Politics

Mark Silk | Oct 25, 2015

Proving himself to be the best politician on the world stage today, the Pontiff of Immigrants succeeded in getting a fractious assembly of bishops from around the world to sanction a path to full ecclesiastical citizenship — i.e. Communion — for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. Whether he was aided and abetted by the Holy Spirit I leave for others to determine.

During the three-week Synod of Bishops on the Family, those belonging to what the National Catholic Reporter’s Michael Sean Winters christened “Team Javert” weighed in early and often against any relaxation of the rules. “Team Valjean,” by contrast, held its fire until the final week, and then unloaded.

The key player, besides Francis himself, appears to have been the powerful head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Müller. A theological stickler appointed by Pope Benedict, he was among the 13 cardinals who signed a Javertian letter to the pope protesting the Synod’s ways and means. The letter was leaked to Sandro Magister, Francis’ leading critic among Vaticanistas and the journalist who became persona non grata at the Vatican after he published an almost final version of the pope’s environment encyclical Laudato si’ ahead of its embargoed release date.

Krzysztof Charamsa on Pedophile Lobby in the Vatican and the Logic of the Church: Who's Welcome in the Catholic Community, and Who Is Not Welcome


William D. Lindsey

As Chris pointed out in a comment here yesterday, in a section of his Religión Digital interview with the defrocked gay priest and Vatican employee Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, journalist José Manuel Vidal asks Msgr. Charamsa about what seems to be a glaring discrepancy between the alacrity with which Catholic officials defrock a priest who comes out of the closet, and their ability to tolerate (and hide) a pedophile priest for years. Brittmarie Janson Perez has sent me a translation of that section of the interview, which I'd like to share with you this morning.

Charamsa responds to Vidal's question:

It is also true that pedophilia continues to be protected by the Church to save its image and not pay for the damage caused. I am going to give you an example. Toward the end of last summer, the Polish Nuncio, Archbishop Wesolowski, tried by the Congregation as a pedophile, died. That man had a funeral which lasted 10 days, between the Vatican and Poland. A 10-day funeral for a prisoner who had already been tried by an ecclesiastical tribunal for sexual abuse. That funeral started with a sung Mass celebrated by the closest collaboraors of the pope and ended 10 days later in Poland with the reading of a letter in which it was said that the acusations of pedophilia were only inventions of the Dominican Republic mafia. The Vatican allowed this spectacle instead of thinking of how to immediately indemnify the victims of this pederast bishop.

Seeing all this, one can reach the conclusion that there is a pedophile lobby in the Vatican. Yes, many pederast priests and bishops get special treatment and many go scot free. In the light of this Vatican reaction to a gay priest who tells the truth is a shameful automatic reaction. But that is the logic of the Church: everything must be hidden "for the good of the Church." While it is covered up, nothing happens. But for the Church, "the devil" is the priest who tells the truth, who comes out into the light, out of the closet.

Who won? Who lost? 5 points on the contentious Vatican summit

Religion News Service

David Gibson | October 25, 2015

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The most significant and contested gathering of Roman Catholic bishops in the last 50 years formally ended on Sunday (Oct. 25) after three weeks of debate and dispute, but the arguments over who “won” and who “lost” are only beginning.

The synod of 270 cardinals and bishops from around the world was the second in a year called by Pope Francis to address how and whether Catholicism could adapt its teachings to the changing realities of modern family life. Traditionalists had taken a hard line against any openings, especially after last October’s meeting seemed to point toward possible reforms.

While the delegates made hundreds of suggestions on a host of issues, two took center stage, in part because they represented a barometer for the whole question of change: Could the church be more welcoming to gays, and was there a way divorced and remarried Catholics could receive Communion without an annulment?

On the Road Together – Wonderment, gratitude, relief, weariness

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane

Archbishop Mark Coleridge

October 25, 2015

When we returned to the Synod Hall yesterday afternoon for voting, there was another touch of high farce – an unscripted skit to finish this Synod of surprises. After we’d recited the Adsumus prayer (used daily at Vatican II), the president of the day welcomed us back and then passed the microphone to the Secretary General, as he normally did.

Cardinal Baldisseri began by reminding us that we had to remember the change from “ora legale” to “ora solare” – in other words, turn you clocks back. Glad he mentioned that; I would certainly have turned up an hour late for the closing Mass this morning. It was one of Cardinal Baldisseri’s finest moments.

He then proceeded in the normal way to register the presences in the Hall, which is something done at the start of each session. But this was more important than usual because we were about to vote on the final document. That’s where the farce began. At the first attempt, 259 registered as present. But then two more bishops arrived belatedly, so we had to start all over again. Now we had 261. But then, in slow succession, two more entered the Hall, the last (a Curial cardinal!) to resounding applause. So we had to start all over again. Some were getting tetchy, but I found it seriously comical. After a third registration, we had 263 and we were told that now the two-thirds vote required to pass a paragraph was 177. Finally we could begin the voting. We all looked furtively at the doors to make sure no more stragglers could be seen.

I should add that we have these little handsets at our seats on which you press any number from 1-9 to register your presence in the Hall. The handset also has one button saying “placet” (Latin for OK) and another saying “non placet” (Latin for not OK). We used these for voting. If you liked a paragraph (or at least thought it wasn’t offensive) you pressed “placet” and then another button saying “Confirmo”. If you felt slightly uneasy about it or hated it, you pressed “non placet” and then “Confirmo”. In all the pressing, you hoped to hell that the system worked. This evening it did, though the Archbishop of Sao Paolo had to call for a number of technicians at one point. They either fixed his handset or decided that his vote didn’t really matter.

We made our way through the 94 paragraphs of the final document in something like 90 minutes, pressing our buttons and recording the results. All paragraphs received the required two-thirds majority, a couple only just. This was a minor triumph in itself. Mind you, there were only a handful of paragraphs that proved controversial, and it’s not hard to guess what they were about. You’ll see what I mean when the document is published with the votes recorded. This was something the Pope announced at the end of the session – that the final document would be published with the votes. That’s good.

L.A. Archdiocese drops support for LAUSD efforts in sex abuse case

Los Angeles Times

Oct. 23, 2015

Teresa Watanabe

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles abruptly dropped its support for efforts by the Los Angeles Unified School District to make it more difficult to hold institutions liable for employees who commit sexual abuse.

In a letter to the California Supreme Court this week, archdiocesan attorneys had objected to an appellate court’s ruling that plaintiffs only prove that an institution knew an employee had a “potential” for sexual abuse instead of a “dangerous propensity,” as the trial court judge had instructed jurors in the L.A. Unified case.

In that case, the district argued a 14-year-old girl was partly to blame for sexual abuse by her then-math teacher at Edison Middle School during 2010 and 2011. The teacher, Elkis Hermida, was convicted of lewd conduct with a minor and sentenced to three years in state prison, but the girl has filed a civil suit against L.A. Unified, claiming negligence.

A jury found that L.A. Unified was not liable because the girl and the teacher concealed their behavior from school officials. But the Court of Appeal reversed that decision last month, saying that L.A. Superior Court Judge Lawrence Cho erred in using the “dangerous propensity” standard and in allowing evidence of the girl's past sexual history and arguments that she was partly to blame for her abuse. The appellate court ordered a new civil trial.

Pope, ending synod, excoriates bishops with 'closed hearts'


[with video]


Pope Francis, ending a contentious bishops' meeting on family issues, on Saturday excoriated immovable Church leaders who "bury their heads in the sand" and hide behind rigid doctrine while families suffer.

The pope spoke at the end of a three-week gathering, known as a synod, where the bishops agreed to a qualified opening toward divorcees who have remarried outside the Church but rejected calls for more welcoming language toward homosexuals.

It was the latest in a series of admonitions to bishops by the pontiff, who has stressed since his election in 2013 that the 1.2 billion-member Church should be open to change, side with the poor and rid itself of the pomp and stuffiness that has alienated so many Catholics.

Pope rebukes Catholic elders at closing of synod on family

Washington Post

By Anthony Faiola October 25

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Sunday delivered an extraordinary rebuke to church elders at the closing of a landmark summit on the family here, suggesting they had been too dogmatic and quick to exclude a broader array of people deserving of God’s grace.

In a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica to mark the end of the three-week summit — known as a synod — Francis took aim at narrowness and false piety, focusing his homily on the biblical story of a blind man named Bartimaeus whom Jesus engages during a journey.

“None of the disciples stopped, as Jesus did,” Francis said in what a times sounded like a scolding tone.

He continued, “if Bartimaeus was blind, they were deaf. His problem was not their problem. This can be a danger for us. In the face of constant problems, it is better to move on, instead of letting ourselves be bothered. In this way, just like the disciples, we are with Jesus but we do not think like him.”

Amid Splits, Catholic Bishops Crack Open Door on Divorce

The New York Times

OCT. 24, 2015

VATICAN CITY — After a three-week global assembly on family issues that exposed their deep divisions, Roman Catholic bishops produced a consensus document on Saturday that reinforced church doctrine but appeared to give Pope Francis enough support to advance his vision of a more merciful church.

The church doors opened just a crack for Catholics who divorced and remarried without receiving an annulment of their first marriages, and for those living together without being married. They remained firmly shut to same-sex marriage, even as the document said gay people should be treated with respect.

The document, which offers recommendations to the pope, was so carefully worded that it was immediately open to competing interpretations and allowed both the conservative and liberal flanks in the church to claim victory.

It’s a victory for the status quo but all is not yet lost for Francis

The Guardian (UK)

Andrew Brown

Pope Francis appears to have been defeated after a bruising battle with conservative Catholic forces over his attempt to humanise the treatment of divorced and remarried couples. A second meeting of bishops from around the world, in a “synod on the family”, will probably end with no movement on the inflamed question of whether some divorced and remarried couples can be admitted to communion.

This may be scored as a draw between liberals and conservatives, but it has been contested as venomously as a Test match draw – and almost as publicly. Briefings, leaks, reports – vehemently denied – that the pope has a brain tumour, and threats of schism have all been used. According to the conservative Catholic blogger Damian Thompson, the next conclave – an occurrence which would require Francis’s resignation or death – can’t come soon enough for many conservatives. And this is the least hysterical language from that side.

The German delegation, broadly liberal, has issued a stinging denunciation of the conservative Australian Cardinal George Pell for language which was “false, imprecise and misleading.” In an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro, Pell had accused the liberal German cardinal Walter Kasper of opposing Pope Benedict XVI, and this must have seemed a wholly unforgivable attack. The German cardinals said the words had “offended against the spirit of the synod and its fundamental rules … We distance ourselves decisively from this.”

Pope Criticizes Synod's Stances on Divorce, Homosexuality

Voice of America

VOA News
Last updated on: October 24, 2015

Pope Francis said Saturday that a strongly divided gathering of bishops called to soften church doctrine on divorce, unmarried couples and homosexuals "laid bare" what he called "the closed hearts which frequently hide behind the church's teachings and good intentions."

The pontiff's forceful critique of ultraconservative bishops came at the Vatican at the close of a three-week synod that saw conservatives resist papal calls to make the 1.2 billion-member church more welcoming and inclusive to gays and to divorcees who have remarried outside the church.

Francis accused those bishops of judging, "sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families."

Catholic bishops end divisive synod on family

BBC News

Roman Catholic bishops have finished an often fractious synod on the family by reaching a compromise on divisive issues.

Doctrine towards divorcees has been softened but there is no change in the church's stance on homosexuality.

In comments afterwards, Pope Francis appeared to criticise conservative bishops.

The church, he said, should confront difficult issues "fearlessly, without burying our heads in the sand".

Holy Synod renders decision concerning Archbishop Seraphim

Orthodox Church in America


During their annual fall session in Detroit, MI October 19-23, 2015, the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America canonically deposed the retired Archbishop Seraphim from the status and all sacred functions of the episcopacy, removed him from the ranks of the clergy, and returned him to the status of a lay monk.

The letter of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon to the Archdiocese of Canada reads as follows.

October 23, 2015

To the Clergy, Monastics and Faithful of the Archdiocese of Canada,

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America has concluded its Fall Session, held during the past week in Detroit, Michigan. One of the most difficult tasks of that meeting was the convening of the Synodal Court in Windsor, Ontario, to hear the case of the former Archbishop of Ottawa and Canada, His Eminence, Archbishop Seraphim. After much prayerful and intense deliberation, the Synodal Court determined that Archbishop Seraphim should be deposed from the episcopacy, removed from the ranks of the clergy and returned to the status of a simple monk.

The Holy Synod made this decision with much sorrow, but with the conviction that it was a necessary action both for the salvation of the now Monk Seraphim and for the preservation of the good order and stability of the flock of Christ. At the same time, we offer our prayers for the victims, their families and all those who have been affected by the events surrounding this case.

Survivors of Protestant mother and baby homes will die before they get compensation they deserve, victim claims

Irish Mirror


Survivors of Protestant mother and baby homes will die before they get the compensation they deserve, a brave victim has claimed.

Derek Leinster, who was born in the Bethany in 1941, said he and others from such minority facilities have had no financial redress and that for many it is getting too late.

The Government launched a new commission of investigation into mother and baby homes earlier this year – more than 15 years after the first was established to seek redress for mostly Catholic survivors.

Judge Yvonne Murphy chairs the latest investigation and will issue a report in three years.

The Synod: More Egregiously False Reporting by the Media on Pope Francis

The Open Tabernacle: Here Comes Everybody

Posted on October 25, 2015 by Betty Clermont

The following is a portion of the pope’s speech given yesterday at the close of the Vatican synod on the family:

[The synod] was about urging everyone to appreciate the importance of the institution of the family and of marriage between a man and a woman, based on unity and indissolubility, and valuing it as the fundamental basis of society and human life. …

We have seen, also by the richness of our diversity, that the same challenge is ever before us: that of proclaiming the Gospel to the men and women of today, and defending the family from all ideological and individualistic assaults.

[Pope Francis has called the movement in many countries to accept same-sex marriage as “ideological colonization that we have to be careful about that is trying to destroy the family.” In his recent speech to the UN, the pope “reminded the UN of their duty to recognize ethical limits, … ‘for carrying out an ideological colonization by the imposition of anomalous models and lifestyles which are alien to people’s identity and, in the end, irresponsible.’”]

The above quote from yesterday’s speech was omitted by the New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press, Reuters and Religion News Service. As has been true for this pontificate, only the good stuff gets reported.

Reuters: “Pope Francis Ends Synod By Excoriating Bishops With ‘Closed Hearts’ And ‘Heads In The Sand’ – In his final address, the pope appeared to criticize ultra-conservatives, saying Church leaders should confront difficult issues ‘fearlessly, without burying our heads in the sand.’ He said the synod had ‘laid bare the closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teachings or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families.’”

AP: “Pope Francis takes swipe at conservative bishops as synod on families ends – Catholic bishops … endorsed Pope Francis’ call for a more merciful and less judgmental church.” The last sentence above was repeated.

Catholic Diocese of KC-St.Joe releases annual report on sexual abuse


Dia Wall

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The catholic diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph is releasing its latest numbers on reported sexual abuse.

This week, the Office of Child and Youth Protection sent 41 Action News the latest information on investigations, training and victim’s services.

To date, there are:

6 pending investigations
4 substantiated claims
4 cleared cases
3 unsubstantiated cases
1 referred to religious community

Kansas City Royals player donates tickets to Game 5 to fire station, firefighters pay it forward

Carrie Cooper is the director of the child and youth protection office. She said after the Shawn Ratigan scandal of 2011 the church, “Really needed a concentrated effort that was direct and transparent and accountable after a trust was breached in our diocese."

This is the fourth annual report her office has released since its creation.

In the last year, close to 12,000 children and youth have gone through specialized training on how to recognize and report suspected abuse. More than 2,000 adults took part in training as well.

Cooper said as a result, there has been a sharp increase in reports of boundary violations in situations like, "If someone kissed someone that was in a role where that wouldn't be appropriate."

October 24, 2015

Conclusion of the Synod: Cardinals and Bishops react

Rome Reports

[with video]

It was just after six o clock when the doors of the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, opened, marking the end of the Synod on the Family.

After Bishops and Cardinals voted on the 94 points included in the final document, there was also some time for socializing.

Shortly after, Pope Francis walked out of the Synod Hall, with the final document in hand, as he made his way to his residence in Santa Marta.

Even though there disagreements at times, during the three week Synod, as a whole bishops seemed at ease with the final document.

Synod ends with no consensus on communion or homosexuality


24 October 2015 by Elena Curti, in Rome

The Synod on the Family has ended with no consensus on the issue of Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics and the rejection of any change in the Church’s teaching on homosexuality.

The two-year process culminated today in the publication of a document prepared for Pope Francis that sets out the synod’s views on the Church’s mission to the family. The final document is notable for its warmth and pastoral tone, its emphasis on supporting families in difficulty and in particular the welfare of children.

It recommends more detailed and extensive marriage preparation and also support in the early years of marriage which are judged to be critical.

The document makes no direct mention of Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics but there is reference to a “path of discernment” and the “internal forum” which some priests and bishops already use to determine whether a person can be readmitted to the sacraments.

Pope Francis takes swipe at conservative bishops as synod on families ends

CBS News

VATICAN CITY - Catholic bishops called Saturday for a more welcoming church for cohabitating couples, gays and Catholics who have divorced and civilly remarried, endorsing Pope Francis' call for a more merciful and less judgmental church.

Bishops from around the world adopted a final document at the end of a divisive, three-week synod on providing better pastoral care for Catholic families. It emphasizes the role of discernment and individual conscience in dealing with difficult family situations, in a win for liberal bishops.

Conservatives had resisted offering any wiggle room in determining, for example, whether civilly remarried Catholics can receive Communion since church teaching forbids it. While the document doesn't chart any specific path to receiving the sacraments as originally sought by the liberals, the document opens the door to case-by-case exceptions to church teaching by citing the role of discernment and conscience.

The Vatican Synod on the Family is over and the conservatives have won

The Spectator

Damian Thompson

This afternoon the Vatican Synod on the Family amended and approved the final document summing up three weeks of chaotic and sometimes poisonous debate – much of it focussing on whether divorced and remarried people should be allowed to receive communion.

The majority view of the Synod Fathers is that they don’t want the rules changed. They especially don’t want one rule to apply in, say, Germany and another in Tanzania. Pope Francis has just given a cautiously worded (but also, alas, rather waffly) address in which he acknowledges as much:

… we have also seen that what seems normal for a bishop on one continent, is considered strange and almost scandalous for a bishop from another; what is considered a violation of a right in one society is an evident and inviolable rule in another; what for some is freedom of conscience is for others simply confusion.

Significantly, the Fathers didn’t back a ‘solution’ suggested by liberal cardinals, whereby divorced and remarried Catholics could consult their consciences and their confessors over whether they should follow the rules.

Bishops Hand Pope a Defeat on Outreach to Divorced Catholics

Wall Street Journal

Updated Oct. 24, 2015

VATICAN CITY—Catholic bishops handed Pope Francis an embarrassing defeat Saturday by withholding support for one of his signature initiatives— a pathway for Catholics who divorced and remarried to receive Communion—thus showing the strength of conservative resistance to the pope’s liberalizing agenda.

The pope responded with a speech that, while largely hopeful, betrayed his irritation with the bishops, complaining of “conspiracy theories and blinkered viewpoints” and “closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the church’s teachings, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families.”

The final report of a bishops’ meeting on the family, called a synod, omitted any mention of the Communion question, the most fiercely debated topic during five weeks of discussion over the course of a year. Instead, the document called for greater integration of remarried divorcés in the church while “avoiding every occasion of scandal,” suggesting that such Catholics might be allowed to play a larger role in worship, education and other church activities.

Synod Fathers approve text on “discernment” for remarried divorcees

Vatican Insider

All paragraphs of the final document have been approved with a two-thirds vote from the Synod Fathers. Number 85 was also only just approved (178 placets, 80 non placets and there was a qualified majority quorum of 177). The text does not introduce any general rules, nor has unconditional access to the sacraments been granted but it does build on the work Wojtyla started with the “Familiaris consortio”, advocating “discernment” on a case-by-case basis


The concluding text of the Synod, approved by participating bishops makes no changes to Church doctrine and values the family and Gospel teaching, but also shows greater understanding to remarried divorcees. Two paragraphs in particular address the attitude to adopt with regard to remarried divorcees – a hotly debated and controversial issue – and also the possibility of them participating in the sacraments in certain cases and under certain conditions.

The decision to entrust communion for remarried divorcees to the “discernment” of pastors has been approved by a two-thirds majority, with only one vote beyond the necessary two thirds (178 “yes” votes against the required 177 votes for a qualified majority). These are the result of the vote on the Relatio Sinodi. There were 80 “no” votes. Three of the text’s paragraphs – numbers 84, 85 and 86 – received consensuses that were higher than the required two-thirds (177) but only by a narrow margin.

Paragraph 85 quotes the following passage of John Paul II’s “Familiaris consortio” as a “general criterion”: “Pastors must know that, for the sake of truth, they are obliged to exercise careful discernment of situations. There is in fact a difference between those who have sincerely tried to save their first marriage and have been unjustly abandoned, and those who through their own grave fault have destroyed a canonically valid marriage. Finally, there are those who have entered into a second union for the sake of the children's upbringing, and who are sometimes subjectively certain in conscience that their previous and irreparably destroyed marriage had never been valid."

Pope Francis' concluding remarks to Synod of Bishops


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis addressed the Synod participants on Saturday evening after the vote on the final text by the XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family.

Below, please find the official English translation of the Holy Father's address:

Dear Beatitudes, Eminences and Excellencies, Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I would like first of all to thank the Lord, who has guided our synodal process in these years by his Holy Spirit, whose support is never lacking to the Church.

My heartfelt thanks go to Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod, Bishop Fabio Fabene, its Under-Secretary, and, together with them, the Relator, Cardinal Peter Erdő, and the Special Secretary, Archbishop Bruno Forte, the Delegate Presidents, the writers, consultors and translators, and all those who have worked tirelessly and with total dedication to the Church: My deepest thanks!

I likewise thank all of you, dear Synod Fathers, Fraternal Delegates, Auditors and Assessors, parish priests and families, for your active and fruitful participation.

And I thank all those unnamed men and women who contributed generously to the labours of this Synod by quietly working behind the scenes.

Pope, ending synod, excoriates bishops with "closed hearts"



Pope Francis, ending a contentious bishops' meeting on family issues, on Saturday excoriated immovable Church leaders who "bury their heads in the sand" and hide behind rigid doctrine while families suffer.

The pope spoke at the end of a three-week gathering, known as a synod, where the bishops agreed to a qualified opening toward divorcees who have remarried outside the Church but rejected calls for more welcoming language toward homosexuals.

It was the latest in a series of admonitions to bishops by the pontiff, who has stressed since his election in 2013 that the 1.2 billion-member Church should be open to change, side with the poor and rid itself of the pomp and stuffiness that has alienated so many Catholics.

In his final address, the pope appeared to criticize ultra-conservatives, saying Church leaders should confront difficult issues "fearlessly, without burying our heads in the sand."

He said the synod had "laid bare the closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the Church's teachings or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families".

National Catholic Reporter editor on covering Catholic Church through scandal, change

The Kansas City StarTIED ST


Dennis Coday is editor of National Catholic Reporter, ncronline.org, a daily online and biweekly print publication that covers the Roman Catholic Church for a national and international audience. The newspaper has an eight-person editorial staff in Kansas City, four full-time staffers in Washington, D.C., several correspondents on the West Coast and a correspondent in Rome.

Coday, originally from Nebraska, graduated from Rockhurst University and earned a master’s in journalism at Marquette. He worked for the Catholic Key newspaper in Kansas City, the Union of Catholic-Asian News in Bangkok and as a freelancer before joining NCR in 2003 as Web editor. In 2012, he took over as editor.

National Catholic Reporter was founded in 1964 in Kansas City. It is independently owned and governed by a lay board of directors.

The paper began publishing stories about sex abuse by clergy 10 years before the Boston Globe printed its investigative series that is the subject of the new film “Spotlight” (scheduled to open Nov. 20). In June, NCR published a retrospective of its coverage of the scandal over the past three decades. (The Star also had been reporting cases about priest sex abuse in the local diocese for two decades.)

NCR also is known for taking progressive stances in its editorials, including asserting that climate change is the most important pro-life issue facing the church.

This conversation took place in the paper’s newsroom on Armour Boulevard.

Q: What precipitated NCR’s reporting on clergy abuse?

A: The way stories like this develop is, you get a phone call. And there’s a hint of something going on, or it’s allegations that can’t be traced back. But gradually things build up. By 1985, Tom Fox and Arthur Jones, who were editors at that time, had accumulated enough information that they felt like they could start to write about this.

The breakout case was in Lafayette, La., which came to a head with a trial in 1985. Jason Berry, a reporter writing for a local alternative weekly, collaborated with NCR on an extensive report about what was happening in Lafayette, and Tom Fox and Arthur Jones put together a national overview of sex abuse cases. That reporting really started the ball rolling.

Q: The founder of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Barbara Blaine, credits NCR’s reporting with her coming out about the abuse she experienced and with founding her support group.

A: Yes, and the other piece of that is Father Tom Doyle, a Dominican priest who at the time was a canon lawyer working for (the pope’s ambassador in Washington, D.C.). He was tasked with finding out what was going on.

Tom tells this story in our retrospective that he and a lawyer and a clinical psychologist who was also a priest and a lawyer from Louisiana that was familiar with the cases put together a master plan that they proposed to the U.S. bishops (in 1985). Their position is that if the bishops had acted on that plan, it would have saved decades of abuse, of financial crisis, of scandal — it could have saved the reputation of the Catholic Church. But they didn’t act on it.

Cardinal Sarah blocked discussion of gays, says bishop

The Tablet

24 October 2015 by Elena Curti

A standard-bearer of progressive thought at the Synod on the Family, Bishop Johan Bonny, admitted last night that he had been prevented from raising the issue of the pastoral care of gay Catholics in the gathering’s group discussions.

Bishop Bonny of Antwerp, who was in a group led by a senior African cardinal, Robert Sarah, said there had been no way of discussing the issue “in a peaceful way.”

Bonny was speaking at a press conference in Rome called by the three Belgian bishops at the synod on Friday night. Clearly alluding to tensions with Cardinal Sarah in the group, he said it was better to talk about the gay issue “in a positive way than in a bad atmosphere.”

In his synod intervention, Cardinal Sarah, Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship, reportedly compared “gender ideology” with Islamic State fundamentalism and Nazism.

Religión Digital Publishes Interview with Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa: "The Church Preaches Mercy, But Does It Not Keep on Persecuting Homosexuals?"


William D. Lindsey

Yesterday, the Spanish journal Religión Digital published an interview with the gay Polish priest who came out of the closet in a public way prior to the synod on the family — Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa. Those following this story will know that Msgr. Charamsa was quickly defrocked by his bishop (in sharp contrast to the many priests who have abused minors and have been permitted to remain in ministry, have been moved about from parish to parish and hidden from public scrutiny).

The interview with Msgr. Charamsa in Religión Digital is a conversation between him and journalist José M. Vidal. To the best of my knowledge, this article has not yet been translated into English. I'm very grateful to my friend Brittmarie (Brittie) Janson Perez for sending me and others on her email list a quick translation of the article. As she notes, tools like Google Translate allow non-Spanish readers to have a fairly good, if somewhat rough, idea of what the article is saying.

If I spot an English translation or any Spanish-speaking reader of this blog wants to provide one (and Brittie herself may well have more commentary down the road), I may have further commentary on this interview. For now, here are highlights that leap out at me (whose Spanish is rudimentary, though I can make out quite a bit):

Vidal asks Msgr. Charamsa, "The church preaches mercy, but does it not keep on persecuting homosexuals?" (La Iglesia predica misericordia, pero ¿sigue persiguiendo a los homosexuales?). Charamsa replies:

Sí, hay una verdadera persecución por parte de la iglesia católica tanto de las personas como de la comunidad LGBTI en general. Es la persecución de las minorías sexuales que no pertenecen y no pueden pertenecer a la mayoría heterosexual. Se trata de un proyecto ideológico de la Iglesia. Mi Iglesia se permite afirmar que debe luchar contra los gays al igual que luchaba contra el nazismo. Nos comparan con los nazis, los enemigos de la humanidad. Esta afirmación ha salido en boca del cardenal africano Sarah justo en medio del sínodo, que en su lugar debería pensar con misericordia sobre las familias. La Iglesia está obsesionada con la homosexualidad, así como con la sexualidad humana en general.

Yes, he says, the Catholic church persecutes sexual minorities, the LGBTI community, in particular. It does so as an expression of the percecution of sexual minorities who do not and cannot fit into the heterosexual majority. This is treated as an ideological project by the church — something akin to the ideological battle against Nazism. LGBTI people are compared by church officials with the Nazis; they're tagged as enemies of humanity. Cardinal Sarah made such an equation during the synod. The church is obsessed with homosexuality, as it is with human sexuality in general.




[with video]

VATICAN CITY -- Catholic bishops were voting Saturday on a final document to better minister to families following a contentious, three-week summit at the Vatican that exposed deep divisions among prelates over Pope Francis' call for a more merciful and less judgmental church.

Conservative bishops had strongly resisted calls by more liberal bishops to offer a more welcoming approach to gays and divorced Catholics, citing church doctrine on sexuality and marriage. But it wasn't clear that they had mustered the votes needed to close the door entirely on the core question of whether divorced and civilly remarried Catholics can receive Communion.

Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn said Saturday the final text, while not addressing the Communion issue head on, speaks obliquely about the "discernment" necessary to help couples in irregular situations.

"The situations are so different that we must look closely at each one, discern the situations and accompany them according to the needs of each one," Schoenborn told reporters.

If he were looking for wiggle room to push the issue further, Francis could take that reference to discernment - reached through spiritual direction with a priest or bishop - as the opening he needs.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 24 October 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- Archbishop Paolo Rocco Gualtieri, apostolic nuncio in Madagascar and the Seychelles, as apostolic nuncio in Mauritius.

- Fr. Aristide Gonsallo as bishop of Porto Novo (area 4,545, population 1,720,996, Catholics 650,000, priests 227, religious 124), Benin. The bishop-elect was born in Cotonou, Benin in 1966 and was ordained a priest in 1992. He holds a doctorate in theology from the Catholic University of Angers, France and a master's degree and doctorate in modern letters from the state University of Angers. He has served as a teacher in the minor seminary of Parakou, and is currently pastor of the St. Martin parish in Panape and chaplain of the diocesan hospital, and is responsible for the reorganisation of the diocesan health service.

- Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, S.D.B., archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar, as papal legate for the 51st International Eucharistic Congress to be held in Cebu, Philippines from 24 to 31 January.

Charles G. Coyle III S.J.

The New Orleans Advocate

Charles G. Coyle III S.J.

. . . and he grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man . . . Charles G. Coyle III, S.J. entered the Heavenly Kingdom on July 1, 2015. A private Christian memorial service was held. He is survived by his sister Florence Coyle Treadway, his brother Robert D. Coyle, many loving nieces and nephews, foster-son Hamilton Armstrong, his wife Setsuko Miura Armstrong, and his beloved granddaughter, Ariel Miura Armstrong. Father Charley was born in New Orleans and graduated from Jesuit High School in 1949. He was president of his senior class and received the Senior Class Leadership Award. He matriculated at Spring Hill College and was awarded the Freshman Cup in 1950, Outstanding ROTC Award in 1951, and selected ROTC Battalion Commander in 1952. In 1952, he entered the Jesuit novitiate and began studies toward the priesthood. In 1958, he received a Master of Arts degree in Political Philosophy from Spring Hill College and from 1958-1962 taught at Jesuit High Schools in Dallas, Shreveport, and New Orleans.

Yeshivah Centre sexual abuse under spotlight in documentary Breaking the Silence

The Age

October 24, 2015

Bianca Hall

A Melbourne man who was sexually abused as a child by Yeshivah Centre staff has taken out intervention orders against members of the Orthodox Jewish community, alleging his family was threatened after he spoke out about his abuse.

And several people who were subjected to sexual abuse as children at Yeshivah in Melbourne have now launched civil action against the ultra-Orthodox organisation.

The revelations are contained in a new ABC documentary to be aired on Tuesday night, Breaking the Silence, by film-maker Danny Ben-Moshe. It's the sequel to Code of Silence, Ben-Moshe's Walkley-winning documentary about Manny Waks, the whistleblower who lifted the lid on child sex abuse within Melbourne's Orthodox Jewish community.

This time, Ben-Moshe has turned his sights to evidence presented to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse against staff and directors from the Yeshivah Centre in Melbourne and the Yeshiva in Sydney.

After the Royal Commission's hearings in February, Sydney's Yeshiva Centre leaders publicly apologised to victims and introduced training for rabbis and education programs for children.
But while the Sydney centre was praised for its response, victims said change had come too slowly in Melbourne.

Former EFY counselor pleads guilty to sexual contact with teen


By McKenzie Romero | Posted Oct 23rd, 2015

FARMINGTON — A former counselor of the popular Especially For Youth religious seminar has pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a teenage boy he met through the program.

Keldon Severn "KC" Cook, 29, pleaded guilty earlier this week to one count of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor and three counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a 16 or 17 year old. All the charges are third-degree felonies.

Cook was originally charged with four counts of forcible sodomy, a first-degree felony; one count each of second-degree felony forcible sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of a minor; and one third-degree felony count of dealing in materials harmful to a minor.

Investigators say Cook met the boy, who was 14 at the time, at BYU in 2012 when he was assigned as his counselor during the weeklong program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Former Long Beach Mormon church member sentenced to 8 years in sexual abuse case


By Greg Yee, Press-Telegram

A former member of a Mormon church in Long Beach was sentenced to eight years in state prison this week after pleading “no contest” to criminal charges in a sexual assault case.

Daniel Montoya, 55, entered the pleas on two counts of sodomy against the victim’s will with a minor 14 or older, according to Los Angeles County Superior Court records. He has previously been convicted of molesting two teen boys in the 1970s and was arrested again in October 2014 after additional victims came forward.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind,” said Eric Hawkins, an LDS spokesman, in a statement. “Anyone who abuses a child is rightfully subject to both formal sanction from the Church — including loss of membership — and criminal prosecution. Montoya has been excommunicated from the Church, the most severe penalty we can impose. We have been supportive of the efforts of law enforcement to investigate and prosecute this case.”

One of the recent victims told police that Montoya called in April and began asking about his 8-year-old son, according to a police statement at the time of his arrest.

Sodalicio: exmiembros de congregación religiosa denuncian al fundador por violación

America TV - Cuarto Poder

[con il video]

Desgarradores testimonios de exintegrantes del Sodalicio, una de las más importantes y conservadoras congregaciones religiosas del país, dan cuenta de presuntos abusos sexuales cometidos por los líderes de esta organización espiritual.

“Con mucha tristeza te digo, que hemos descubierto casos que señalan a Luis Fernando Figari, fundador del Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, como un abusador sexual, como un depredador sexual”, denunció el escritor Pedro Salinas y que da cuenta de ello en su libro “Mitad monjes, mitad soldados”.

Luis Fernando Figari Rodrigo, líder del Sodalicio, renunció en diciembre del 2010 al cargo de Superior general de la comunidad.

Para entonces, se empezaban a conocer las primeras acusaciones de abusos sexuales cometidos por parte de quien fuera su brazo derecho, el número dos de la congregación, el hoy fallecido Germán Doig Klinge.

Catholic society rocked by sexual abuse allegations in Peru

Peru Reports

Peru’s attorney general has opened a sexual abuse investigation into Luis Fernando Figari, founder of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV) apostolic society.

Attorney general Pablo Sanchez said that a 60-day investigation was opened in wake of the revelations. However any crimes committed before 2004 would be ineligible for prosecution under Peru’s statute of limitations.

Last Sunday investigative news program Cuarto Poder featured a first look at the new book, “Half Monks, Half Soldiers” by journalists Pedro Salinas and Paola Ugaz. 30 former members alleged widespread sexual and psychological abuse within SCV. Three men who claimed to be abused by Figari himself.

“At times I literally felt nauseous, on the point of tears,” author Pedro Salinas said about writing the book. “Because they are such shocking testimonies, especially those who allege sexual abuse, that I doubt anyone would be unfazed. They are traumas people have carried with them for years, that cost them a lot to recount.”

I watch child pornography to prosecute sex crimes. The kids’ silence is deafening.

Washington Post

By Sarah Chang October 23

Sarah Chang is a federal prosecutor who specializes in child exploitation crimes.

During my first week as a federal prosecutor of sexual abuse crimes against children, one of my colleagues told me her chief coping mechanism: Turn the sound off when you have to watch a video multiple times. This advice scared me. I imagined children screaming, crying and shrieking in pain — the stuff of nightmares.

My office is responsible for investigating and prosecuting such crimes, namely the production, possession and trafficking of child pornography. My first case file contained multiple CDs and DVDs showing a young girl being sexually abused by her father, who filmed his crimes with a handheld camera. Despite my colleague’s warning, I knew I couldn’t remain deaf during my first pass at the evidence. I went to our forensic computer lab and braced myself.

But all I heard was silence. The 5-year-old girl said nothing — not even a sob. Disturbed, I continued to watch each video with the sound on. I tried to beat back the silence by turning the volume up as high as it could go. The quiet was too deafening, too defeating to accept. Surely, these children must make a sound?

But in video after video, I witnessed silent suffering. I later learned that this is a typical reaction of young sexual abuse victims. Psychiatrists say the silence conveys their sense of helplessness, which also manifests in their reluctance to report the incidents and their tendency to accommodate their abusers. If children do disclose their abuse, their reports are often ambivalent, sometimes followed by a complete retraction and a return to silence.

Former Scout leader, religion teacher, admits possessing child porn


By Tom Haydon | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on October 23, 2015

LINDEN — From all appearances, Gregory Aker was solid member of his community, an assistant scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts in Clark and a volunteer religion teachers at a Linden church.

All that changed in February 2014 when Linden police responded to a domestic complaint between Aker and his wife, and then arrested the husband on charges of sexually assaulting two minors. That was followed by federal authorities searching the home and finding 600 images and dozens of videos of child sexual abuse, authorities said.

Today Aker appeared in U.S. District Court in Newark and admitted sexually abusing children and possessing images of child sexual abuse, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said in a statement.

Aker, now 46, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Susan D. Wigenton to a charge of possession of child pornography.

A Venezia il film sulla pedofilia nella diocesi di Boston

Radio Vaticana

[con l'audio]

E' stato presentato ieri sera fuori concorso alla Mostra del Cinema di Venezia uno dei film più attesi, "Spotlight" con il quale il regista statunitense Thomas McCarty ripercorre la storia della famosa inchiesta che nel 2002 portò alla luce lo scandalo e l'orrore della pedofilia tra i sacerdoti della diocesi di Boston. Dal nostro inviato a Venezia, Luca Pellegrini:

Proprio mentre a New York crollavano, in quel fatidico 2001, le Twin Towers centrate dagli aerei civili, portando con sé nel baratro centinaia di vittime innocenti, nella Boston cattolica le fondamenta di quella grande e antica diocesi cedevano non perché attaccate da qualche forma di terrorismo umano, ma dalla forza inesauribile e incontenibile della verità. Non secondario il fatto che fosse un manipolo di validi giornalisti del quotidiano "Boston Globe" a rendersi interpreti della loro più pura vocazione, quella cioè di trovare i fatti, verificare le fonti, raccontarli e rendersi, per il bene della comunità e di una città, paladini di un bisogno di giustizia. Grazie all'unità Spotlight - da qui il titolo del film di McCarty - il 6 gennaio del 2002 solennità dell'Epifania, una data scelta non a caso, uscì un numero storico del giornale che in prima pagina scoperchiava l'orrore già in parte noto e troppo a lungo da molti taciuto, quello della pedofilia diffusa tra i sacerdoti cattolici della diocesi americana, con centinaia di vittime sulla coscienza non solo di chi il crimine l'aveva operato, ma anche di chi lo aveva nascosto, ancor peggio negato.

Vatican Radio praises movie on Boston Globe coverage of clergy abuse


[A Venezia il film sulla pedofilia nella diocesi di Boston - Radio Vaticana]

By John L. Allen Jr.
Associate editor October 23, 2015

A new film about The Boston Globe’s coverage of child sexual abuse scandals in the Church 13 years ago has drawn strong praise from the Vatican’s official radio outlet, which described the movie as “honest” and “compelling.”

A Vatican Radio commentator also said the Globe’s reporting, upon which the film is based, helped the Church in the United States “to accept fully the sin, to admit it publicly, and to pay all the consequences.”

Artistic commentary from either Vatican Radio or the official Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, is not tantamount to an endorsement of a work by either the pope or the Vatican, spokesmen have insisted over the years. Its appearance in a Vatican media outlet, however, creates at least the impression of approval.

Directed by Thomas McCarthy, the movie takes its title, “Spotlight,” from the name of the investigative unit at the Globe that documented a widespread pattern of abuse and cover-up in the Archdiocese of Boston, which eventually led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law in December 2003.

Lawsuit Accuses San Ramon School, Alamo Church Of Failing To Deter Molestation

CBS SF Bay Area

SAN RAMON (CBS SF) — A teen and his mother are seeking more than $25,000 in damages based on allegations in a lawsuit filed last week that a San Ramon school district and an Alamo church failed to deter child molestation by reporting it to police.

The lawsuit, filed in Contra Costa County Superior Court, names San Ramon Valley Unified School District and New Life Church as defendants. The plaintiff is a 16-year-old boy that was identified as one of three victims in a sexual abuse case.

The plaintiff was a victim in a case brought against Kevin Lopez, a former California High School head wrestling coach and a youth group program leader at New Life Church.

Lopez, 28, was sentenced in February to 10 years, eight months in prison after pleading guilty to eight felony counts of lewd acts on children between the ages of 14 and 15 and other related charges.

Church accused of systematic failings after sixth abuser in two years unmasked

The Argus

A SEXUAL abuse victim has accused the Church of “systematic behaviour” in failing to act on allegations of assault after the sixth Sussex churchman in two years was exposed as an offender .

The claim comes after it was revealed on Thursday that former Bishop of Chichester George Bell, a man once tipped to be Archbishop of Canterbury, sexually abused a young child for a number of years.

Campaigners are now questioning the Diocese of Chichester's ability to investigate itself, as historic cases continue to emerge despite five separate inquiries.

Additionally an inquiry into the Church’s handling of the Peter Ball case was commissioned on October 5 and the diocese is also co-operating with the national Goddard review into child sexual abuse.

Yesterday there was no clarification from the current Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, following his comment that there had been no cover up by the Church.

Lawsuit alleges San Ramon school district, Alamo church didn’t take proper steps to deter molestation


SAN RAMON (BCN) — A teen and his mother are seeking more than $25,000 in damages based on allegations in a lawsuit filed last week that a San Ramon school district and an Alamo church failed to deter child molestation by reporting it to police.

The lawsuit, filed in Contra Costa County Superior Court, names San Ramon Valley Unified School District and New Life Church as defendants. The plaintiff is a 16-year-old boy that was identified as one of three victims in a sexual abuse case.

The plaintiff was a victim in a case brought against Kevin Lopez, a former California High School head wrestling coach and a youth group program leader at New Life Church. Lopez, 28, was sentenced in February to 10 years, eight months in prison after pleading guilty to eight felony counts of lewd acts on children between the ages of 14 and 15 and other related charges.

And, the lawsuit alleges, the school district and the church might have known Lopez was engaging in this behavior with minors before police were alerted, but didn’t respond to it.

The lawsuit maintains that the district instead conducted its own investigation into a complaint that Lopez had potentially molested children, and made no further action.

It was a concerned parent’s accusation that while Lopez himself was a student at the school, he hosted parties with alcohol for middle school-aged children and may have inappropriately touched some of the minors.

October 23, 2015

Assignment Record– Rev. J. (James)Vincent Fitzgerald, O.M.I.


Summary of Case: A priest of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate ordained in 1950 in Belleville IL, Fitzgerald moved in and out of a number of dioceses during his career, including Belleville, Springfield and Peoria IL, St. Paul and Minneapolis, Duluth, Crookston and New Ulm MN, Sioux Falls SD, and Springfield-Cape Girardeau MO. He was involved with orphanages in Peoria IL and Sisseton SD. He returned to his Order in Belleville sometime in the early 1990s and died in 2009. Fitzgerald was accused in a 2010 lawsuit of having repeatedly sexually abused two residents of the Tekakwitha Indian Orphanage in the 1960s: a girl ages 4-13, and a 10 or 11-year-old boy. In a February 2014 lawsuit Fitzgerald was accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy in around 1978. He had met the boy while at a pastoral education program at a parish in the New Ulm diocese, and invited him to serve as an altar boy for two weeks at his Squaw Lake MN parish. It is during those two weeks that the abuse is said to have occurred. The lawsuit also claims Fitzgerald sexually abused another child during his time in Squaw Lake, on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation near Bemidji MN. A civil trial related to the lawsuit began in October 2015.

Born: December 9, 1919
Ordained: May 1950
Died: September 7, 2009

Peruvian-based Catholic movement pledges inquiry after claims of abuse

National Catholic Reporter

Barbara Fraser Catholic News Service | Oct. 23, 2015

Accusations of physical, psychological and sexual abuse by leaders of a Catholic movement founded here in the 1970s led the group to pledge an internal investigation.

The allegations were described in a new book, "Mitad Monjes, Mitad Soldados" ("Half Monks, Half Priests"), by Pedro Salinas, a former member of Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, who interviewed about 30 other former members.

The interviewees, some of whom were minors when they joined the group and moved into one of its formation houses, recalled military-style physical exercise and separation from family and friends. Some said spiritual directors had ordered them to disrobe and then touched them, and there were several accounts of rape. One of those accused is the organization's founder, Luis Fernando Figari.

Figari resigned as head of Sodalitium in late 2010, after the organization withdrew its proposal for the beatification of its deceased former vicar general, German Doig, in the wake of sex abuse allegations.

Sex offenders in the pews: Let’s not be deceived

Religion News Service - Rhymes with Religion

Boz Tchividjian | Oct 23, 2015

One of the many horrors about child sexual abuse is the inability to definitively assess who poses a danger to our children. Not only do decades of studies still leave us at a loss as to why offenders offend, but generations of abuse remind us that offenders are some of the most deceptive and dangerous people on the face of the earth. This combination is deadly. In order to help bring this horror to an end, we must acknowledge this deadly combination and help to equip our communities to understand so that all of us can be more proactive in protecting little ones from those inside and outside of our communities who want to destroy them.

I recently learned about an amazing individual who has committed his life to equipping the faith community to better understand the deceptions and dangers of offenders. Pastor Jimmy Hinton never grew up thinking that this would be his life’s calling. However, that all changed in 2011 when he was hit hard by a disclosure that forever changed his life. Pastor Hinton has spent the past few years collecting invaluable and unique insights into the dark mind of an offender who found himself loved and admired by an unsuspecting public that was deceived for decades. I am so glad and grateful that Jimmy Hinton has taken the time to share just a few of those insights with us today in this guest post. – Boz

It’s a cold February day and I’m standing on stage eyeing up my audience. It’s a seminar at a church on child sexual abuse and I’ve now shifted to speaking about prevention. I don’t want to lecture them about “red flag” behavior. I want them to experience deception. My colleague, a therapist who has logged over 9,000 hours counseling over 3,000 sex offenders in various prisons, has convinced me that we need to role play. He will play the firm church leader and I will play the pedophile. Days before, he assures me that he’s never seen anyone so naturally “get into role” as me. “It’s frightening! You’re too much,” he says. Our aim is to demonstrate to our unsuspecting audience how easily sex offenders cunningly win over the hearts of every person and gain access to children. It’s a scenario we both know too well. It will be, in his opinion, the most compelling and practical part of the entire weekend seminar. He was right.

We let them know that we were acting, but that several of them would find our routine eerily familiar. It’s a strange feeling to pretend to be the very thing you work so hard to fight against. Perhaps that’s why there is a profound shortage of specialists in this field. Nobody wants to plunge their minds into that level of darkness. Two minutes into my act, I could tell that most everyone was hooked. I improvised the entire thing. I had no idea what I was going to say or how I would say it but it just seemed to flow, and so did my tears. Several people in the audience were wiping tears from their own eyes, and we were only 3 minutes in. I used multiple layers of deception through words, pacing and leading, body language, and by hijacking and toying with their belief system. After only 5 minutes I was finished and, frankly, shocked at how easy it was. I asked the audience how many people would give me the benefit of the doubt and let me worship with them, unhindered. Every hand went up except for the church elders. One of the elders raised his hand—“We recently had a situation with a pedophile who gained our trust and eventually worked his way into a leadership position. Things got very ugly and it ended with him threatening lives. I swear, I had to take a second look and make sure that you were not actually that man standing on stage. You mirrored him exactly.” I had never met the man he spoke of, nor did I know any details about this church’s situation.

It’s a specialty I wish I didn’t need to develop, and I wish it wasn’t so personal. It’s taken its toll on me in so many ways, but I remain determined and understanding deception has become a niche. In 2011, a young adult disclosed to me, her pastor, that my own father had sexually abused her as a young child. Three days later, my mother and I were sitting in a police station reporting my childhood hero. How was this possible? I went into ministry because of his influence. He preached for decades at the same church I’m preaching at now. We were best friends. He confessed to over 20 victims, all of them prepubescent children at the time they were abused and is now serving a life sentence. I’ve maintained close contact with my dad, as well as the families of his victims. Learning about deception is woefully painful. Living in its wake is a nightmare.

‘Farce’ and ‘verbiage’ behind the scenes at the Pope’s synod: an Aussie archbishop spills the beans

The Spectator

Damian Thompson

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane is one of the bishops who’ll be voting on the final report of the Synod on the Family at the Vatican tomorrow. He’s ‘quite a character’, I’m told by a priest who knows him. But anyone who’s been reading his startlingly frank and witty diary of the Synod, published on his diocesan website, will have already worked that out.

There are cardinals and bishops who, after a few jars, will let slip what really goes on at these occasions. And then there’s Archbishop Mark, who – although no doubt great company in the pub – doesn’t need any prompting to spill the beans.

He hasn’t broken any rules, mind. There are no leaks in his dispatches. But let’s just say that it’s lucky for him that Pope Francis doesn’t read English.

Coleridge’s latest entry, published today, is a gem. It’s a refreshing corrective to our mental image of cardinals wringing their hands in pious despair as they debate whether to give Holy Communion to the divorced and remarried. (They’ve decided against, by the way.)

Over to you, Archbishop:

We settled into the second round of voting for the Post-Synod Council which turned out to be a hoot. The first round of voting had been inconclusive, with votes scattering in all directions. This time we were given the names of the 10 bishops who had got the most votes in the first round in each of the four continental sections (Africa, America, Europe and Asia-Oceania). Of these we had to choose three.

Off we went, pressing our little voting machines at the seats. The trouble started when the technology failed in one of the three sections of the Hall. We were voting for Europe. We all agreed that Europe had always been a problem. Technicians were called and ran from all directions. I didn’t realise we had so many technicians looking after a system that is so erratic. It might be better to have a new system and fewer technicians … but the union mightn’t like that.

Enter the Secretary General of the Synod, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, whose finest hour this has not been. He handed the Fathers the draft of the final report:

The Secretary General then told us that it was our solemn duty to read the text carefully so that we could present proposed amendments the following morning. This was OK for those who know Italian. But the fact is that many of the bishops (and even some of the cardinals!) don’t know Italian … It would have taken a bit of money to hire professional translators to turn it into other languages quickly; but surely that would have been money well spent.

The fun and games started again when Cardinal Baldisseri told us that the draft document was so sensitive and super-secret that we couldn’t even take it home. At this, there were serious rumblings in the Hall. Boos were looming. Sensing mutiny, the Secretary General changed his mind: we could take it home but it was strictly for our eyes only. Not a whisper to anyone else. They weren’t even to know we had the document.

Sinn Fein supports interim redress payments to victims of institutional abuse

Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein has backed a call for interim compensation payouts to institutional abuse victims before a long-running inquiry into the crimes is completed.

However, the request for early payments has not yet been endorsed by the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM), indicating Sinn Fein and the DUP have not reached a joint position on the issue.

Charity Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse (Savia) has warned that many former residents of institutions where abuse was committed are now old and cannot wait until the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) finishes hearing evidence and produces an official report to Stormont.

Sinn Fein's Jennifer McCann, who is an OFMDFM junior minister, said: "Sinn Fein supports some form of interim redress or acknowledgement payment, as has happened in other jurisdictions, given the age profile of some of the victims of the Historical Abuse Inquiry."

Sodalicio colaborará con la justicia tras denuncia de abuso sexual


[The religious community apologized to the victims and said it will cooperate with any investigations in both ecclesiastical and judicial bodies.]

La comunidad religiosa pidió perdón a los afectados y aseguró que colaborará con las investigaciones en cualquiera de las instancias tanto eclesiásticas como judiciales.

Tras las denuncias de abusos sexuales contra el fundador del Sodalicio de Vida Cristiana, Luis Fernando Figari, la comunidad religiosa emitió un comunicado en el que piden perdón a las personas afectadas y aseguran que colaborarán con la justicia.

Del mismo modo, informan a la opinión pública que Figari se encuentra desde el 2010 en Roma en alejado de la vida pública.

“Expresamos nuestro profundo dolor y cercanía con todas aquellas personas que han sufrido y sufren por acciones cometidas por algunos de los miembros de nuestra comunidad. A ellas les pedimos perdón y les ofrecemos nuestra disposición de escucha y ayuda”, reza el comunicado.

Violaciones sexuales cometidas por miembros del Sodalicio no han prescrito

La Ley

En caso de que las víctimas hayan sido menores de 14 años, aún podría procesarse y, eventualmente, condenarse a Luis Fernando Figari y otros miembros del Sodalicio de Vida Cristiana que sean hallados responsables de abuso sexual. Sacerdotes y autoridades religiosas no tienen ningún privilegio ante la ley penal. Más detalles aquí.

Un medio de comunicación ha afirmado que ya no sería posible condenar a Luis Fernando Figari (fundador) y otros miembros del Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (Sodalicio de Vida Cristiana) por los abusos sexuales cometidos contra menores de edad entre 1999 y 2000. ¿La razón? Se asegura que ya habrían prescrito los delitos por los cuales estos personajes han sido denunciados en recientes investigaciones periodísticas y en el libro “Mitad monjes, mitad soldados” de Pedro Salinas con la cooperación periodística de Paola Ugaz.

Sin embargo, esta afirmación no es correcta. Aún resulta posible procesar y, eventualmente, condenar a los miembros de dicho movimiento católico que sean hallados responsables de haber cometido violación sexual en agravio de menores de 14 años de edad.

Sodalitium Christianae Vitae issues statement in wake of accusations

The Tidings

The Sodalitium Christianae Vitae issued a statement on Wednesday announcing its commitment to the investigation of mistreatement, including sexual abuse, allegedly committed by its founder.

The Oct. 21 statement was released after the publication in Peru of a book containing testimonies against Luis Fernando Figari, founder of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae.

“The testimonies refer to acts of abuse and mistreatment, including sexual abuse. It is a cause for deep grief and shame if such acts could have been committed by Luis Fernando Figari, the founder and for many years the Superior General of our community,” read the statement which bore the signature of Alessandro Moroni Llabrés, the community's current superior general.

Moroni also stated that “we are creating an ad hoc committee, with the participation of experts from outside our community, that would be available to meet with any person who may have been affected.”

“At the same time we are committed to thoroughly investigating and clarifying the truth about the incidents, which are intolerable, because they involve grave suffering for persons who trusted our community, and they betray our deepest values.”

The Sodalitium Christianae Vitae is a society of apostolic life which was founded in 1971 in Peru, and granted pontifical recognition in 1997. Alejandro Bermúdez, executive director of CNA, is a member of the community.

Peru probes possible sex abuse by founder of Catholic society



Peru's attorney general has launched an investigation to determine whether the founder and former head of an elite Catholic society sexually and physically abused children and former members of the secretive group.

The two-month inquiry into Luis Fernando Figari follows the publication of a book by an investigative journalist, in which three unidentified former members of Sodalitium Christianae Vitae accuse Figari of rape and molestation when they were boys. Others, out of 30 interviewed for the book, describe being brainwashed and physically abused.

Sodalitium said Figari lives in Rome and has denied all accusations. Figari could not be located for comment.

But the organization said the accounts in the book were plausible. "It pains and shames us that acts like that could have been committed by Luis Fernando Figari," Sodalitium said.

"A corresponding investigation is being opened and if it is found necessary to bring him here that will be done," Attorney General Pablo Sanchez said.

Security ramps up for George Pell’s date with inquiry

The Australian

October 24, 2015

John Lyons, Associate Editor

Victoria police are planning a major security operation for the appearance of George Pell at the child sexual abuse royal commission in response to concerns about protecting him from angry victims.

Cardinal Pell, the Vatican’s third most senior official, has retained one of Australia’s most expensive barristers, Allan Myers QC, for what could be a make-or-break appearance in Melbourne on December 14.

The Catholic Church will pick up Mr Myers’s bill, which could be up to $20,000 a day.

Among the security concerns, abuse survivors have suggested they will hold protests to coincide with the hearing. One has threatened a dramatic demonstration inside the hearing room in front of Cardinal Pell.

The commission begins hearings in Melbourne on November 24. The first two weeks will focus on Melbourne and the third week on Ballarat, after which Cardinal Pell will give evidence.

Hearings that had been scheduled for Ballarat have been moved to Melbourne, partly because of security concerns, police said. Many in Ballarat are angry at what they see as an insufficient response by the church to the abuse they suffered.

Cardinal Pell was not in charge of Ballarat but while he was a priest he lived for a time in the presbytery with Gerald Ridsdale. Based on number of convictions, Ridsdale is the worst pedophile in any Australian church.

After parents forced Ridsdale out of Mortlake, in the Ballarat diocese in September 1982, a committee decided to move him to another parish. Minutes show Cardinal Pell was at that meeting. It has not been established whether Ridsdale’s pedophilia was discussed.

Ridsdale, now in jail, was moved to different parishes for 26 years after first sexually abusing a child. His convictions involve 54 children aged between six and 16 between 1961 and 1987. He is believed to have raped hundreds more but most decided not to prosecute.
Cardinal Pell lived in the East Ballarat presbytery with Ridsdale in 1973, and has said he did not know Ridsdale was a pedophile.

Bishop Ronald Mulkearns was responsible for the Ballarat diocese. It is not known whether, for health reasons, he will be able to give evidence to the commission.

Gewalt in Einrichtungen der Caritas Wien: Bisher 48 Betroffene

der Standard

21. Oktober 2015

Die Caritas ließ Missbrauchsfälle aufarbeiten und leitete einen Präventionsprozess ein

Wien – Die Caritas Wien hat historische Fälle von Gewalt, Missbrauch und sexuellen Übergriffen in ihren Großeinrichtungen aufarbeiten lassen. Dazu beleuchtete die Sozialpädagogin und Psychoanalytikerin Tanja Kraushofer seit Herbst 2012 Vorgänge in vier Einrichtungen. Am Mittwoch wurde ihr Bericht "Erinnern hilft vorbeugen" präsentiert: 48 von Gewalt betroffene Personen haben sich demnach bisher gemeldet.

Cari savonesi, su don Pietro Pinetto la Diocesi ha mentito. Ecco le carte. Ora il vescovo Lupi proceda col processo canonico.

Rete L'Abuso

Estratto dagli atti;“io ricordo bene la notte in cui Pinetto mi invitò nel suo letto, in seminario: lui indossava un pigiama di flanella, giacca e pantaloni a righe azzurre e bianche: anche io avevo il pigiama, ma lui strofinò il pene sulla mia coscia, io ero un bambino di 12 anni ma non ero mica scemo: ricordo benissimo quando cercò di entrare la seconda volta nel mio letto, in camera con tutti i seminaristi, subito dopo avermi spalmato la crema sulla caviglia e aver cercato di massaggiarmi le parti intime“.

Anche per noi della Rete L’ABUSO sta diventando davvero imbarazzante denunciare ancora una volta, carte alla mano, la profonda disonestà intellettuale della diocesi di Savona – Noli, del suo vescovo Vittorio Lupi e di molti dei sacerdoti che la compongono. Quello che indigna ulteriormente è il messaggio altamente diseducativo che la chiesa savonese in questi anni, attraverso i diversi casi ha dato ai giovani, un messaggio che nella sostanza insegna che qualunque malefatta si può mettere a tacere, basta screditare chi la denuncia, fare un bel comunicato stampa, chiedere scusa e si ricomincia da capo.

Caritas berichtet über Missbrauchsfälle in Heimen


[Caritas reported cases of abuse in its institutions.]

Die Caritas hat ihren Bericht über Missbrauch von Kindern und Jugendlichen in ihren Großbetreuungseinrichtungen vorgelegt - bisher haben sich 48 Opfer gemeldet. Seit Herbst 2012 arbeitet die Caritas die Missbrauchsfälle auf.

Neben einer Entschuldigung für dieses „dunkle Kapitel“ in der Geschichte der Organisation, berichtete Caritas-Präsident Michael Landau am Mittwoch auch von künftigen Präventionsmaßnahmen. Durch die Aufarbeitung der Geschehnisse, Interviews mit Zeitzeugen und Berichte von Opfern, habe man „schmerzlich erkennen“ müssen, dass es auch in den Häusern der Caritas zu systematischer Gewalt sowie physischem, psychischem und sexuellem Missbrauch gekommen sei.

Caritas-Bericht dokumentiert früheren Missbrauch in Wiener Heimen

Radio Vatikan

[In Vienna, children and young people were abused in Caritas facilities between 1950 and 1980 and this included psychological, physical and sexual violence. The abuse was documented in a 100-page report which was made public Wednesday.]

In Wiener Caritas-Einrichtungen haben Heimkinder und Jugendliche um die Jahre zwischen 1950 und 1980 psychische, physische und auch sexuelle Gewalt erfahren. Das verdeutlicht ein 100-Seiten-Bericht, der am Mittwoch in Wien präsentiert wurde. "Caritas-Einrichtungen gehören in die breite Reihe jener staatlich wie konfessionell betriebenen Fürsorgeanstalten, die in den vergangenen Jahrzehnten systematische und systemimmanente Gewalt aufwiesen,“ beschrieb Caritas-Präsident Michael Landau vor den Journalisten die Erkenntnis der Aufarbeitung, die unter Anleitung externer Experten in dreijähriger Arbeit erstellt worden ist.

"Heimkinder wurden geschlagen, misshandelt, gedemütigt und gequält, die Intims- und Privatsphäre vorenthalten", fasste die Berichtsautorin Tanja Kraushofer die Ergebnisse zusammen. Schwere Prügeleien, sexueller Missbrauch und sexuelle Übergriffe sowohl von Seiten von Mitarbeitern wie auch unter Heimkindern seien durchaus ein geduldeter Teil des Alltags gewesen.

No Credit Checks for Clergy?

Canonical Consultation


Jennifer Haselberger

Yesterday, priests of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis received the following clarification from Tim O'Malley, Director of Ministerial Standards. As the email explains, while credit checks are required for persons who handle parish money in excess of $250, the definition of 'persons' vis a vis this policy does not include priests. Per O'Malley's email, 'credit checks are not required for priests'.

In case you are wondering why this is a cause for concern, please review my prior post 'The Next Big Scandal in the Church', or the recent article on NJ.com. Obviously, credit checks don't eliminate the potential for theft or exploitation, but they can be a useful tool in identifying problematic behavior and, when properly reviewed and acted upon, may help to prevent exploitation and other harm to vulnerable individuals.

Nunavut court accepts joint sentence deal on Dejaeger’s Alberta sex crimes

Nunatsiaq Online


Justice Susan Cooper has accepted four five-year concurrent jail sentences that lawyers submitted to her jointly this past Sept. 29 for four sex crimes that the pedophile ex-priest, Eric Dejaeger, now 69, committed against three children in Alberta nearly 40 years ago.

“It is likely that all victims of Mr. Dejaeger have now come forward,” Cooper said.

Dejeager, who earned his notoriety for molesting numerous Inuit children in Baker Lake and Igloolik, pleaded guilty to the four charges last month in Iqaluit.

That includes one count of indecent assault for his molestation of a nine-year-old Aboriginal altar boy in Grande Cache, Alta., on at least 10 occasions at home and on the land between 1974 and 1976.

Another two counts, attempted buggery and indecent assault, arise from offences he committed against an eight-year-old boy in Edmonton between 1975 and 1978.

Negligence Lawsuit Filed Against IBLP

Recovering Grace

21 October 2015

Dear Recovering Grace Reader,

Late yesterday afternoon we received an email from a Texas-based law firm notifying us that a lawsuit had been filed against the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) and its current board members, John Stancil, Anthony Burrus, Gil Bates, Timothy Levendusky, Stephen Paine, and David York. The lawsuit (which we have reviewed in its entirety) was filed by five women who allege they experienced “sexual abuse, sexual harassment and inappropriate/unauthorized touching” while “participants, interns, or employees of IBLP.” Four of the plaintiffs have previously published their accounts here on Recovering Grace.

One of the law firms representing the plaintiffs is owned by David Gibbs III. You may recognize that name because his father, David Gibbs, Jr., has a long-standing relationship with Bill Gothard and the IBLP organization. In fact, it was Gibbs, Jr., who conducted the “internal investigation” paid for by the IBLP board in early 2014 (for a refresher of those events, review our response to the IBLP board statement from June 2014). Gibbs III has previously been quite outspoken against his father’s work, stating that it “helps cover for alleged and/or eventually convicted abusers, or the churches or ministries they work for.”

The lawsuit, which was filed in the Circuit Court for Dupage County (Illinois), alleges that IBLP was negligent over the past several decades by failing to properly address alleged sexual abuse and harassment by IBLP employees and that IBLP failed to properly report known or suspected abuse to the proper authorities. The lawsuit further alleges that IBLP’s conduct was “wilful and wanton” because IBLP demonstrated an “utter indifference to and/or [a] conscious disregard for a substantial risk of harm” to the plaintiffs, and that IBLP and its directors engaged in a civil conspiracy to cover up the allegations.

BUSTED: Duggar family’s homeschool program sued for sexually abusing minors

The Raw Story

22 OCT 2015

The Institute in Basic Life Principles, (IBLP) the homeschooling program used by the Duggar family, was accused of covering up sexual assault against underage girls in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, the Washington Post reported.

The five plaintiffs, identified as Charis Barker, Rachel Frost, Rachel Lees, Gretchen Wilkinson and one Jane Doe, are each seeking $50,000 in damages, saying they were “at times minors” when they were subjected to the abuse and “inappropriate touching” during their association with the group.

While the institute is named as a defendant in the suit, founder and former director Bill Gothard, who was placed on “indefinite administrative leave” last year after being accused of sexually harassing and abusing employees, was not. Despite being cleared in an internal investigation by the group — which the lawsuit described as a “sham” — Gothard is not allowed to hold any sort of counseling or leadership role within the institute.

Despite not being named in the suit, Gothard is accused of abusive actions against the victims, who were as young as 13 or 14 years old when they took place. The womens’ attorney, David Gibbs III, said Gothard would offer counseling to them at the IBLP’s home office in Oak Brook, Illinois. He would them touch the victims inappropriately when they were alone, or in the back seat of the car if Gothard used a driver.

Five women sue Bill Gothard’s ministry that has ties to the Duggars

Washington Post

By Sarah Posner October 22

Five women have sued the Institute in Basic Life Principles, once a leader in the Christian homeschooling movement, charging that the organization and its board of directors enabled and covered up sexual abuse and harassment of interns, employees, and other participants in its programs.

Each of the plaintiffs — Gretchen Wilkinson, Charis Barker, Rachel Frost, Rachel Lees and a Jane Doe — seeks $50,000 in damages, alleging that the organization and its board acted negligently, with willful and wanton disregard for them, and engaged in a civil conspiracy to conceal the wrongdoing.

The lawsuit is the latest chapter in a long-simmering scandal that has engulfed the ministry once admired by conservative Christian parents for teaching them how to raise obedient, devout and chaste children since the 1960s. The ministry has found dedicated followers in politics, including Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), who sought to replace Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) as House Speaker, and in entertainment.

Bill Gothard, founder of IBLP. (photo via RNS) Bill Gothard, founder of IBLP. (photo via RNS)
Last year, IBLP’s founder and longtime president, Bill Gothard, resigned amid allegations by more than 30 women that he had sexually harassed them. Former followers have said that Gothard was revered as an almost saint-like figure, and that members of IBLP’s homeschooling arm, the Advanced Training Institute, feared questioning him.

Victim's Attorneys John Manly And Vince Finaldi Slam Los Angeles Archdiocese For Petitioning Supreme Court To Reduce Protections For Child Victims Of Sexual Abuse



OCTOBER 22, 2015

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., Oct. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Attorneys representing child abuse victims of the Roman Catholic Church and the Los Angeles Unified School District reacted with outrage to an attempt by Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez to reduce the protections given to minor victims of sexual predators in California.

According to a breaking report by Norma Ribeiro on Univision, the Archbishop's attorneys filed a petition on October 19th with the California Supreme Court asking them to "de-publish" the recent California Court of Appeals of decision in Sinai M. v. Los Angeles Unified School District, Case No. B253983, 2015 CalApp. LEXIS 814.

This highly publicized case condemned and overturned a trial court decision that allowed LAUSD to escape liability by blaming a thirteen-year-old girl for having sex with her 28-year-old math teacher. The LAUSD attorneys introduced the girl's sexual history into the trial as part of their "blame the victim strategy." They portrayed the thirteen-year-old victim as a willing partner in her own abuse.

The Court of Appeals stated, "The district's position is as outrageous as it is wrong."

Attorney John Manly, a leading advocate for child sex abuse victims, reacted angrily to the Archbishop's petition, "I find it disturbing that the Los Angeles Archdiocese objects to the higher standard of protection for child sex abuse victims established by the court of appeals in the Sinai case. By seeking to de-publish this important decision, the Archbishop will make children throughout California more vulnerable to sexual abuse by priests, teachers, scoutmasters and other adults who are in a position to prey upon them."

Survivor of alleged elite paedophile ring including former prime minister speaks out


A WOMAN claiming to be the victim of a “VIP paedophile ring”, which involved three former prime ministers, has alleged she was prostituted to “paedophile parties” at Parliament House in Canberra.

Speaking to media in Sydney, Fiona Barnett detailed her alleged abuse by the alleged elite paedophile ring 40 years ago.

The 45-year-old said she was abused by the ring, which included high-ranking politicians, police and members of the judiciary, at the age of five and claimed there were thousands of other victims.

“My experiences were horrific beyond words,” she said. “But the way I’ve been treated for reporting the crimes I witnessed and experienced has been far worse than my original abuse experiences.”

Political elite were part of paedophile ring, alleged victim Fiona Barnett claims

Sydney Morning Herald

October 23, 2015

Rachel Browne
Social Affairs Reporter

A woman who alleges she was a child victim of the paedophile ring named by Liberal senator Bill Heffernan said she had repeatedly reported the abuse to authorities but no action had been taken.

Speaking outside the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Fiona Barnett called on the authorities to investigate the alleged ring, which she believes is still operating.

Ms Barnett alleged the ring involved hundreds of perpetrators, including a political elte, such as a former governor-general and a former education minister, but she did not name them.

"Throughout my childhood I was a victim of Australia's VIP child sex trafficking ring," she said.

"The people involved in this elite paedophile ring included high-ranking politicians, police and judiciary."

Victim of alleged paedophile ring claims she was abused at parties attended by political elite

The Australian

AAP/ The Daily Telegraph

THE victim of an alleged child sex trafficking network claims she was prostituted at dozens of paedophile parties, which were attended by political elite at Canberra’s Parliament House.

Speaking to the media outside the Royal Commission in Sydney today, Fiona Barnett, from northern NSW, also claims she witnessed “hundreds of crimes” — including murder, rape, abduction and torture — at the hands of the so-called elite paedophile ring 40 years ago.

The network, which Ms Barnett maintains still operates today, included high-ranking politicians, and police and judiciary members.

Ms Barnett, 45, said she had reported the allegations to multiple health professionals, NSW Police in 2008 and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2013.

“My experiences were horrific beyond words ... but the way I’ve been treated for reporting the crimes I witnessed and experienced has been far worse than my original abuse experiences,” she said.

The problem of porn – are bishops talking about it?

Catholic World Report

Vatican City, Oct 23, 2015 / 04:06 am (CNA).- It hasn't gotten a lot of media coverage so far, but the rampant affects of pornography on families worldwide has sparked concern and dialogue among the synod's bishops – particularly the Americans.

“Porn demeans the best in the male spirit. It addicts them to a kind of cheap junk food, when real women with minds and hearts, beliefs and hopes, are much more interesting,” Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia told CNA Oct. 19.

“Happiness is built on reality, with all of its warts and joys – not on illusions. Pornography is nothing but illusions.”

The Vatican's synod on the family was opened by Pope Francis on Oct. 4, and it will run until Oct. 25. This year's event follows the theme “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the modern world,” and follows 2014's extraordinary synod on the family, which focused on pastoral challenges regarding family life.

‘It hurt, everywhere': Teen talks about deadly beating at reclusive N.Y. church

Washington Post

By Lindsey Bever October 22

After a Sunday service at Word of Life Christian Church near New Hartford, N.Y., two teenage brothers were told to wait around. The younger teen said the pastor called a “counseling session” to “talk about what we had done.”

Police said parishioners — including the teens’ parents and sister — purportedly wanted them to “confess to prior sins and ask for forgiveness.” When the teens wouldn’t talk, the teen said, the night turned violent.

Nineteen-year-old Lucas Leonard and his younger brother, Christopher, 17, were punched, kicked and whipped with a 4-foot, folded electrical cord during the hours-long beating that began Oct. 11 and continued to the 12th, Christopher Leonard said Wednesday during a court hearing.

Lucas Leonard was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

Christopher Leonard was hospitalized with serious injures.

Ex-D.C. officer pleads guilty to sexually abusing two teenage girls

Washington Post

A former D.C. police officer pleaded guilty Thursday to sexually abusing two teenage girls who attended the Southeast Washington church where he served as pastor, prosecutors said.

Darrell Best, 46, a 25-year D.C. police department veteran, admitted to one count of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor and one count of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor. Best also pleaded guilty to a child pornography charge.

If approved by U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, the plea agreement calls for Best to be sentenced to 18 years in prison, with a hearing date set for Feb. 26, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for the District.

Ex-DC police officer tears up during guilty plea for sex crimes


[with video]

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- A former D.C. police officer and pastor teared up in court Thursday while pleading guilty to multiple sex crimes.

Darrell Best, 46, is expected to spend the next 18 years in jail after pleading guilty to one count of producing child pornography, one count of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor and one count of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor.

The charges stem from incidents involving two female minors who knew him through the Southeast D.C. church where he served as head pastor. Prosecutors say one incident happened on December 3, 2014, at Metropolitan Police Department headquarters and another happened inside the church on February 14, 2015.

In both cases, Best was wearing his MPD uniform.

Child abuse royal commission: Geelong Grammar to rethink its handling of child abuse cases

ABC News

By Margaret Paul

Geelong Grammar is looking to change the way it deals with victims of sexual abuse at the school, the commercial manager of the school has told the child abuse royal commission.

Andrew Moore gave evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse about the way the school dealt with victims of sexual abuse over several decades.

He was quizzed about the case of a former student, known only as BIW, who was abused by boarding house master Philippe Trutmann in 1989.

Trutmann was at the school's Highton campus in the 1980s and 90s, and was eventually convicted of sexually assaulting 41 students during that time.

Counsel assisting the inquiry David Lloyd asked why the school refused to acknowledge key facts in BIW's case even after Trutmann had pleaded guilty.

Another Kind of Abuse

Huffington Post

Daniel A. Olivas

The email came early one Tuesday morning two years ago, the kind of email that makes a writer's heart beat with excitement and just a bit of fear.

It began: "I'm an editor at the Times opinion section, and we're looking for someone in LA to write an essay for us about the sex abuse scandal in the church there...." The email address included the editor's name followed by @nytimes.com. Yep. That Times.

I wondered why the editor had contacted me. True, I am an LA-based, Chicano writer. At the time, I had six books under my belt and I sometimes touched on the Church abuse scandal in my fiction. So, after some thought, I figured a simple Google search could have brought The New York Times editor to my inbox.

But I tried to stay cool and wrote this simple response to the editor: "Thanks for the email. I would be interested. Please send the guidelines."

She quickly wrote back and offered an explanation of her own: "So we often ask novelists or literary writers to write essays off of a news event. The idea is to get some good, evocative writing into the paper (often with some personal anecdotes or stories), but also to offer some interesting argument or insight about the news. We were thinking you might have something interesting to say about abuse, Catholicism and Latinos in LA, but the angle would be totally up to you (and of course it would depend on whether you grew up in the church/feel like you can offer a personal perspective)."

Made sense to me. So, I hunkered down and wrote it. After some back-and-forth with the editor, it ran online on a Thursday evening and in the print edition that Sunday under the title, "The Priest That Preyed."

Catholic school principal sues over departure

Boston Globe

by Lisa Wangsness GLOBE STAFF OCTOBER 23, 2015

It started with a janitor at a Catholic school in Revere using a bathroom urinal with students present.

After a parent complained, the episode led to a community crisis: A second-grade teacher, the school principal, and the pastor of Immaculate Conception parish resigned. The police and Suffolk prosecutors swiftly cleared the janitor of criminal wrongdoing. Nearly 1,000 parents and parishioners signed a petition asking for a meeting with Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston.

Now, the former principal, Alison Kelly, is suing the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston for more than $1 million. She claims the church forced her to resign in January even though she had immediately reported the parent’s complaints to the pastor in charge of the school.

The ousting of Kelly, who was principal for about three years, and her colleagues “was a cold, calculated attempt by the church to do some face-saving at the expense of innocent people,” said Kelly’s attorney, Gerard F. Malone, in an interview.

Drafting committee cardinal: Synod will not provide Communion path for remarried

National Catholic Reporter

Joshua J. McElwee | Oct. 23, 2015

One of the prelates responsible for drafting the final document from the ongoing Synod of Bishops has said he does not anticipate that it will propose changes in the Catholic church's practices towards the divorced and remarried.

Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias -- one of ten prelates who co-drafted the document after three-weeks of intense deliberations among some 270 bishops at the Oct. 4-25 Synod -- said in particular that one specific proposal that might have allowed the remarried to take Communion would likely not be mentioned.

That proposal would have suggested that the church could use what is called the “internal forum” to allow some remarried persons to take the Eucharist on a private, case-by-case basis after seeking guidance, advice, and then permission from priests or bishops. ...

Gracias gave three examples of work bishops' conferences could be entrusted to do, saying they could perhaps handle marriage tribunals, clergy sexual abuse cases currently referred to the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and even help in the selection of bishops.

Regarding sexual abuse cases, the cardinal said: "I think [bishops' conferences] should take more responsibility because that's far too heavy to have one office in Rome handling all the cases in the world. It's practically, logistically, impossible."

"Bishops' conferences could also, I think, in the future -- I'm not saying they would decide -- assist more, have a greater role in the choice of bishops," said Gracias, who is also a member of the Council of Cardinals advising the pope on reforming the Vatican. "That's a very crucial decision for every church and bishops' conference."

October 22, 2015

Court hears Catholic teen molested by priest at Wollongong school

ABC News

By Nick McLaren

The victim in an alleged Wollongong historic child abuse case has repeatedly rejected claims in court he made up the allegations.

The alleged abuse involved former priest Father Patrick Kervin at Holy Spirit College in Bellambi.

The student was aged 15 when the alleged abuse occurred in the 1980s.

Now aged in his 40's, the student who cannot be named, told the court Kervin called him to his office to console him as his mother was ill.

He described how Kervin put his hand on his knee then slid his hand up his leg, touching his genitals as he leaned in to kiss him.



[with video]

RIVER GROVE, Ill. (WLS) -- An administrator at a west suburban Catholic high school was arrested Wednesday for allegedly sexually abusing a student, school officials confirmed.

The individual, who is an assistant principal and music director, has not yet been charged. The 34-year-old male staffer had been at the school for six years.

The administrator at Guerin College Preparatory High School in River Grove was put on administrative leave after school officials learned of the accusations last month, said Steve Baldwin, Guerin president.

The school then emailed the parents of the 400 students enrolled at the school, Baldwin said. The email read, in part: "We are taking this situation very seriously. As soon as we were made aware of these allegations ... was placed on administrative leave. We are cooperating with the authorities, including DCFS and the Chicago Police Department."

Officials said the alleged abuse did not occur at the school and there is no indication that more than one student was involved. A parent told ABC7 that the student involved was a 17-year-old boy and that another student witnessed the incident.

Suburban principal accused of sexual abuse


[with video]


RIVER GROVE, Ill. -- Charges are pending against an assistant principal of a River Grove high school for allegedly sexually abusing a male student.

The president of the school says the victim is a student.

Yesterday, the Guerin College Prep sent home to parents a letter explaining the situation. The letter identifies the assistant principal by name. But because charges are pending on the 34-year-old, WGN is not naming the suspect.

Guerin College Prep says the assistant principal has been leave since the allegations first surfaced Sept. 10.

The alleged incident occurred outside of school in the 2600 block of North Sayre Avenue in Chicago.

Police say the victim is a 17-year-old male.

Catholic high school official arrested on child sex abuse allegations

Chicago Tribune

David Pollard
Pioneer Press

A Guerin Prep High School administrator has been arrested for allegations of inappropriate sexual contact with a student off campus.

The 34-year-old assistant principal at the River Grove high school was arrested Wednesday by members of the Chicago Police Department's Special Investigations Unit on accusations of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, according to a Chicago Police Department spokeswoman.

Charges had not been filed as of Thursday afternoon, the spokeswoman said.

The man allegedly had inappropriate contact with a 17-year-old Guerin Prep student on Sept. 20 in the 2600 block of North Sayre Avenue in Chicago's Galewood neighborhood, according to police.

While working at Guerin, the assistant principal was also the musical director at St. William Catholic Church, located at 2600 N. Sayre Ave., the block where the alleged incident took place.

The Archdiocese of Chicago acknowledged the arrest in an emailed statement.

"The Archdiocese of Chicago is aware of the situation and can confirm that the situation was properly reported to [the Department of Children and Family Services]," the statement said. "We are monitoring the situation and will continue to cooperate with the civil authorities."

Prestigious school in spotlight at royal commission


TIM PALMER: The former head of one of Australia's most elite schools has spent hours in the witness box at the royal commission into child sex abuse.

Robert Bugg was campus headmaster of Geelong Grammar, investigated for its response to several abuse allegations.

Previous witnesses gave evidence that Mr Bugg contributed to expelling a student who make allegations of abuse.

Today Mr Bugg denied that, saying if he'd been told at the time he would have acted.

Tom Nightingale reports.

TOM NIGHTINGALE: Robert Bugg was the master of Geelong Grammar's Highton campus at a time when one staff member was committing devastating abuse.

Boarding house staffer Philippe Trutmann admitted to abusing 40 students over a decade ending in 1995.

Robert Bugg was questioned extensively about Trutmann today, and consistently denied knowing anything was wrong.

Former Arctic priest Eric Dejaeger to appeal in child-sex case

Global News

IQALUIT, Nunavut – A defrocked Arctic priest in prison for dozens of sex offences against Inuit children is appealing.

The news came out in a Nunavut court in Iqaluit on Thursday as Eric Dejaeger was sentenced for more child sex assaults in Alberta.

The former Oblate was given five-year sentences for acts committed against three children between the ages of six and nine in Edmonton and Grande Cache in the 1970s.

One of the victims, then a nine-year-old altar boy, was assaulted over four years. The other two were a brother and sister, eight and six, who were assaulted over a three-year period.

In victim impact statements, the brother told court he has become aggressive and has trouble controlling his impulses. His sister said she has suffered from substance abuse and depression.


Berger's Beat

LAST YEAR, HE WAS RIDICULED FROM COAST-TO-COAST FOR repeatedly saying he “couldn’t recall” when he learned that child sexual abuse was a crime. Now, he’s running for a leadership post in the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops. Our town’s Archbishop Robert Carlson is campaigning for the chairmanship of the USCCB’s Catholic Education Committee. Carlson was deposed in the case against Fr. Joseph Ross, who worked in Richmond Heights, Woodson Terrace, Pacific, U. City and elsewhere. The election is next month in Baltimore. Carlson’s opponent is the bishop of Youngstown, Ohio, says noted Catholic blogger Rocco Palmo. ...


October 21, 2015

Some funding levels for pensions of priests have fallen below 65 percent. The St. Louis Archdiocese now requires parishes to contribute to the retirement of their priests. Archdiocese CFO Robert Bouche tells Reuters: “Aggressive steps have been taken in recent years to increase funding levels.”

The Gotham Awards Just Confirmed Spotlight as the Oscar Front-Runner

Vanity Fair


Sure, it’s only October, but that’s no reason why we can’t get the awards season rolling with the first awards nominations of the year. The Gotham Awards, which highlight the best independent films of the year (along with the actors, writers, and directors who made them happen), announced its 2015 nominations this morning, so let’s see if we can glean anything about the Oscar season from these first, very early tea leaves.

The big takeaway is probably that the Gothams took special care to invent an award for the ensemble cast of Spotlight, Tom McCarthy’s journalism procedural, which took the Toronto Film Festival by storm in September. Could this be an early indicator that Spotlight is, as we’ve intimated on these pages, the current front-runner for a best-picture Academy Award? I think so! Of course, there are still some unseen movies lurking on the horizon—Joy, The Hateful Eight, The Revenant—that could spoil it for Spotlight, but right now it’s the film to beat.

Elsewhere, Carol had a strong showing, nominated for best feature, best screenplay, and best actress. Cate Blanchett was the performer singled out here, which might further dilute her co-star Rooney Mara’s awards chances, even though Mara won the best actress prize at Cannes. Though, she’ll likely be run in supporting for the big dance, so this snub might not actually mean anything bad for her. Either way, the nominations are a good, important bump for the film, which has been received rapturously by critics at festivals, but has to sustain that buzz until it’s released next month, and beyond.

Prepararán exhorto para interrogar al papa Francisco en el marco del Caso Karadima


[A move in underway in Chile to have Pope Francis questioned as part of the civil law suit against priest Fernando Karadima. The request document after being drafted will be sent to the Supreme Court which will in turn forward it to the Chilean Foreign Ministry and ultimately will be sent to the Vatican. This action comes after publication of a video recorded by an Argentine citizen at the Vatican where the pope told Chilean Catholics that people in Osorno were stupid and led by "lefties" in their opposition to appointment of Bishop Juan Barros to the Osorno diocese.]

El documento, tras ser redactado, deberá ser enviado a la Corte Suprema, quien a su vez lo remitirá al ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores para comenzar su viaje a El Vaticano.

El ministro de fuero Juan Manuel Muñoz, que lleva adelante la demanda civil interpuesta por tres víctimas del sacerdote Fernando Karadima contra la Iglesia Católica chilena, dio luz verde para preparar un exhorto con la finalidad que sea respondido por el papa Francisco.

La acción se da tras la publicación de un video grabado por un ciudadano argentino en El Vaticano, donde el sumo pontífice relató a fieles chilenos que la gente de Osorno era "tonta" por creer acusaciones de "zurdos", las cuales entregarían algún grado de responsabilidad al obispo de esa ciudad -Juan Barros- para encubrir las acciones del ex párroco de la iglesia El Bosque.

Los denunciantes de Karadina, James Hamilton, Juan Carlos Cruz y José Andrés Murillo, buscan obtener una indemnización superior a los 400 millones de pesos ya que, según su versión, la jerarquía de la iglesia criolla omitió y tuvo una actitud negligente al momento de conocer estas acusaciones.

Trevor Bolton - the 'kindly father figure' who preyed on boys at Carmel College

The JC

By Simon Rocker, October 22, 2015

For some of the boarders at the exclusive Carmel College, a Saturday night treat was in store. A select group of half a dozen or so young boys would be invited up to watch Match of the Day in the flat of one of their teachers Trevor Bolton, who would give them fizzy drinks and crisps.

Bolton had arrived when he was 31 at the Jewish school, secluded in a pleasant rural campus outside Oxford, to teach French in 1968. He became master of the junior boarding house, looking after boys from 10 to 13 or 14.

When some of the boys became homesick or bullied, he would offer them comfort and a reassuring hug.

One former pupil recalled being “taken under his wing” when he was unhappy; the boy felt out of place at an institution where other pupils arrived in a chauffeur-driven Rolls while he came from modest circumstances.

Another pupil who also found life as boarder difficult said the teacher wanted to be a “second father”.

Jury finds ex-Carmel College teacher guilty of remaining sex abuse charges

The JC

By Josh Jackman, October 22, 2015

Former Carmel College Trevor Bolton has been found guilty of all 25 counts of sexual assaulting students at a Jewish boarding school.

The jury at Oxford Crown Court returned a majority guilty verdict on four remaining counts on Thursday, having already convicted Bolton on 21 counts of abusing boys aged 11 to 15 at the Oxfordshire school College over a 20-year period.

The abuse, committed between 1968 and 1988, included 16 counts of indecent assault on a male person, six counts of indecency with a child and three other serious sexual offences.

Bolton was remanded in custody, with sentencing expected on Friday.

Co-founder of kids camp in Bushey charged with conspiracy to cause cruelty to children

Borehamwood & Elstree Times

Jyoti Rambhai, Reporter / Friday 4 September 2015

THE co-founder of an American-style children's camp in Bushey has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause cruelty to children.

Tal Landsman was one of the directors of LL Camps, based at St Margaret's School in Merry Hill Road. He has been charged with conspiracy to cause cruelty to a child and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The 25-year-old, of Admiral Drive, Stevenage, was arrested on Thursday, August 27, along with two others in an operation led by detectives at Hertfordshire Constabulary's specialist joint child protection investigation unit.

Larry Lewis, 55, of Lullington Garth, Borehamwood, has been charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Founder of children's camp in Bushey faces further charges of taking indecent photographs

Borehamwood & Elstree Times

Jyoti Rambhai, Reporter Thursday 22 October 2015

The director of an American-style children's camp in Bushey faces further charges relating to taking indecent photographs of a child.

Ben Lewis, of Lullington Garth, Borehamwood, who ran LL Camps, has been charged with two counts of taking an indecent photograph of a child in Hertfordshire on or before May 6, 2015.

He has also been charged with making indecent photographs of a child in Hertfordshire on or before May 6, 2015 and attempting to observe another person doing a private act without consent for sexual gratification in Hertfordshire, on or between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012.

Victims of institutional abuse 'should be compensated'

BBC News

Victims of institutional abuse in Northern Ireland should be compensated now, say campaigners.
It is three years since the Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry was set up to consider allegations dating back to 1922.

Such is the scale of its task, however, that its final report is not expected until next year at the earliest.

With the inquiry examining cases stretching back over decades, many of those affected are now elderly.

Some abuse victims have died without receiving any compensation or form of recognition.

Eric Dejaeger, ex-priest, sentenced to 5 years for Edmonton sex charges

CBC News

Former Catholic priest Eric Dejaeger was sentenced in Iqaluit today to five years in prison for sex offences stemming from the mid-1970s when he was studying in Edmonton.

Dejaeger had pleaded guilty in September to two counts of gross indecency, one count of indecent assault on a female, and one count of indecent assault on a male. The crimes were committed when the former priest was studying at the Newman Theological College in Edmonton.

He had previously applied to have the charges heard in a Nunavut courtroom rather than in Alberta.

In February, Dejaeger was sentenced to 19 years in prison for sexually abusing children in Igloolik, Nunavut, more than 30 years ago. He was convicted of 32 sex crimes ranging from indecent assault to bestiality, dating back to his time as a priest in the community.

Pope creates new Vatican department for laity, family and life

Catholic Herald (UK)

Pope Francis has announced the creation of a new Vatican department for laity, family and life.

He made the announcement at this evening’s session of the family synod in Rome.

The new dicastery was proposed by the Council of Cardinals, the Pope’s closest cardinal-advisers.

It is currently unclear if the new department will be called a council or a congregation. It is also not know who will lead it.

The statutes of the new body are expected to be released in December.

According to a Vatican statement, the Holy Father told the synod fathers: “I have decided to establish a new dicastery with competency for laity, family and life, that will replace the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Pontifical Council for the Family. The Pontifical Academy for Life will be joined to the new dicastery.

Peru: New Cases of Child Abuse by Catholics Documented

Telesur TV

The head of the wealthy and powerful Catholic organization called Solidatium is involved in cases of child rape and other physical and sexual abuses.

Journalist and author Pedro Salinas gave a press conference in Lima, the Peruvian capital, to speak of the impact his recent publication is having.

The book is titled “Half Monks, Half Soldiers” and in it Salinas documents the abuses by the Catholic cult called Sodalitium Christianae Vitae.

The publication has stirred up the organization and many sectors of the Peruvian society. Among a series of violations, the book shows five cases of child sexual abuse by leaders of the organization, including repeated rapes by the founder Luis Fernando Figari, who founded Sodalitium in Lima in 1971, and it acquired its canonical recognition from Pope John Paul II in 1977.

According to their website, Sodalitium is a “society of Apostolic Life made up of laymen and priests who live in community as brothers, and have fully given their lives to God, proclaiming the Gospel in the diverse circumstances of human life” and make commitments of “obedience and celibacy.” It operates in seven Latin American countries, the United States and Italy.

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Journalismus im Sterben

Wiener Zeitung

Von Matthias Greuling

Vor rund zehn Jahren, da war die Welt der schreibenden Zunft noch in Ordnung. Da leistete sich ein Blatt wie der renommierte "Boston Globe" eigene Recherche-Teams, die oft monatelang hinter einem Skandal herrecherchierten, ohne auch nur ein einziges Wort darüber zu publizieren. Wenn am Ende dann die Bombe platzte, wurde schnell klar, wieso man solche Medien als "renommiert" bezeichnete: Weil sie die Kernaufgaben einer freien Presse nicht nur wahrnahmen, sondern regelrecht zelebrierten. Im Zeitalter der Blogger-Invasion und oberflächlichen Ja-Sager-Journaille sind solch edle Tugenden rar, weil unwirtschaftlich geworden.

Das befand auch Regisseur Tom McCarthy, der für "Spotlight" anhand eines handfesten Skandals die Tugenden des aufrechten Journalismus durchdekliniert. Es geht um den sexuellen Missbrauch von Kindern durch katholische Geistliche, den der "Globe" 2001 aufdeckte und der den Bostoner Kardinal Bernard Francis Law schließlich den Job kostete. Das spannend inszenierte Drama mit Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams und Mark Ruffalo zeigt die beschwerliche Handarbeit, die Aufdeckerjournalisten leisten müssen, um hinter die Fassaden zu blicken.

Which is the real narrative for the riveting theatre of the synod?


By John L. Allen Jr.
Associate editor October 22, 2015

ROME — A Synod of Bishops at the Vatican is always a sprawling, multi-headed creature, and that’s certainly been true of the 2015 edition devoted to issues facing the family.

There have been hundreds of speeches, three sets of reports from 13 small working groups, daily press briefings, more media interviews than anyone can possibly track, not to mention a daily avalanche of commentary from a staggering variety of voices.

On Saturday, the synod is expected to adopt a final document. It likely will be a long, complex text, and on some contested points, its language may be intentionally vague in order to attract consensus.

Given all that, in some ways it’s misleading to talk about “the” Synod of Bishops, singular. In terms of perceptions, there are actually several different synods, plural, depending on who’s trying to describe it and what agenda they bring.

As the end nears, three competing narratives seem to be floating around both inside and outside the synod hall. In shorthand fashion, they are:

* The “Everything’s Fine” narrative: This view holds that impressions of clash and rivalries have been exaggerated, that differences in the synod haven’t meant division, and that the bishops are united on a wide range of matters.

* The “Rigged Synod” narrative: This storyline holds that from the beginning, the people in charge of the synod have been pushing a progressive line, and that conservatives have had to fight back to try to level the playing field.

* The “Don’t Like the Pope” narrative: This way of framing the situation posits that concerns about the synod process are artificial, that the event is actually remarkably free and open, so such complaints are really a proxy for opposition to Pope Francis.

Apuron deserves praise for seminaries

Pacific Daily News

Mari Flor L. Herrero October 22, 2015

This Aug. 16 , his excellency Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron celebrated the 43th anniversary of his ordination as a capuchin priest.

He was installed as the metropolitan archbishop of the Archdiocese of Agana on May 11, 1986. That is, he has been the spiritual shepherd of the Catholic Church in Guam for the last 29 years — no small feat!

It is obviously clear that when one is at the top of any organization, he/she is also the center of public scrutiny. No matter what you do, it will be scrutinized, and rightly so. There will always be someone who will find faults and shortcomings in every decision and circumstance. However, it will be the results of the decisions taken and the overall effect on the present and future of our Catholic Church in Guam that will eventually render a clear and fair judgment of our archbishop.

As for me, anyone in his right senses should acclaim and applaud Archbishop Apuron for his vision and foresight; actually he should be held in high esteem.

I still remember very vividly when I first came to Guam in the late ’70s and there were four Augustinian priests from Spain in various parishes of Guam. That made it very easy for me to attend Mass because I felt at home; I could understand what the priests were saying. That is not to say that everyone did, though; the language barrier was always there, but with a little bit of good will and lots of faith, all barriers can be conquered.

Pope Francis is victim of internal conspiracy to 'manipulate' him, Vatican alleges

Telegraph (UK)

By Nick Squires, Rome 22 Oct 2015

The Vatican alleged on Thursday that Pope Francis was the victim of an internal plot to undermine his authority after a false story was leaked to the Italian press claiming that he was suffering from a brain tumour.

The front-page story was published by Quotidiano Nazionale, an Italian daily, on Wednesday, but was indignantly denied by Vatican spokesmen.

It took to new heights the atmosphere of skulduggery and Machiavellian intrigue that swirls around the Holy See at the best of times.

Cardinals and others within the Catholic Church hierarchy suggested that the unfounded story about the tumour was an attempt by “enemies” of the 78-year-old Pope to discredit him and to suggest that his judgment was impaired.

They said the timing of the leak was deeply suspicious – it came just days before the conclusion of the Synod, a three-week meeting of 270 bishops and cardinals at the Vatican which has been discussing delicate issues such as divorce and the Church’s attitude towards homosexuality.

The bishops are due to present their final report to the pontiff on Saturday.

In a forthright notice, L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s own newspaper, called the story about the tumour “false” and “unfounded”.

Ex-youth pastor charged with sexual assault on girl

Butler Eagle

EAST BRADY, Clarion County — A former youth pastor at an East Brady church is accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in his charge.

New Bethlehem police on Monday arrested David T. Pesci, 24, of East Brady, alleging he kissed and fondled the teen, a member of his youth group at the East Brady First Baptist Church, on three occasions beginning last year.

District Judge Jeffrey Miller arraigned Pesci on three felony counts each of sexual assault by a volunteer or employee of a nonprofit organization and corruption of minors. He remains free on $10,000 bail.

In an e-mail statement this morning, the church said that Pesci resigned as youth pastor July 5.

At a church sleepover in early 2014, the teen recounted, Pesci kissed her in his home, which is the church parsonage.

Youth pastor accused of sexually assaulting 15-year-old girl


EAST BRADY, Pa. — A former youth pastor is accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl who was a member of a church youth group.

David Pesci, 24, was the youth pastor at East Brady Baptist Church until he resigned in July.

Police told Channel 11’s Jennifer Tomazic the allegations came to light when they received an anonymous tip about inappropriate activity during youth group sleepovers at the pastor’s home.

The alleged victim, who is now 16 years old, told investigators the relationship began last November when she went to Pesci for advice. She was 15-years-old at the time.

According to the criminal complaint, the girl told police, "She was in the basement and went to a separate couch to go to sleep and Pesci then came over to her and kissed her."

The paperwork goes on to say, "The kissing continued...she could recall Pesci kissing her on two separate occasions in the church, near the pulpit."

Youth Pastor Charged, Accused Of Having Sexual Relationship With 16-Year-Old

CBS Pittsburgh

October 22, 2015 By Lisa Washington

EAST BRADY (KDKA)- A local youth pastor has been arrested for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl.

East Brady First Baptist Church youth pastor David Pesci has been charged with sexual assault and corruption of minors.

New Bethlehem Police say the relationship started when the girl began attending a youth group at the church when she was in ninth grade. She said that Pesci, 24, was her youth pastor.

According to the complaint, the teen went on to say that the two of them began texting and messaging on Facebook less than a year ago. She said she had a fight with her best friend and was looking for advice from Pesci.

Over the months, the 16-year-old said she became very close with him and would regularly spend the night at Pesci’s home, the church parsonage along with other youth group members and Pesci’s wife.

Bishop Luffa urged to rename house after George Bell revelation

Chichester Observer

BISHOP LUFFA school will be urged to change the name of one of its houses by a charity supporting victims of rape and sexual abuse.

Maggie Ellis, director of Chichester-based charity Lifecentre said she would ask the school to change the name of ‘Bell’ house and would also be asking Chichester Cathedral to rename George Bell House, a former archdeaconry now used as a venue for away-days, meetings, quiet days, residential weekends, and conferences for up to 40 people.

The Diocese of Chichester has today apologised to a victim of the former Bishop of Chichester George Bell, who was abused as a child in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

“As a charity supporting survivors of rape and sexual abuse, we shall be writing to Bishop Luffa school to urge them to no longer name one of their ‘houses’ after Bishop Bell,” said Mrs Ellis.

“It is now clearly entirely wrong to have such a bishop held up as a person to be honoured by the school and as a figure head for children.

Italian conspiracies surround Pope's tumour

The Local

After a choppy few weeks for Pope Francis, a strongly denied report that he has a brain tumour has sent Vatican and Italian conspiracy theorists into overdrive.

"The timing chosen reveals the manipulative intention of throwing up a cloud of dust," the Vatican's Osservatore Romano claimed in its first edition after another newspaper, Quotidiano Nazionale, published its "scoop" about the pontiff's health.

Italian media on Thursday largely concurred with the Vatican's description of the story as baseless and commentators were quick to air their suspicions of a plot to undermine Francis's authority in the run-up to this weekend's conclusion of a synod on family that has divided the Church along progressive/conservative lines.

Massimo Franco, an editorialist for Corriere della Sera, said the episode should be seen in the context of a number of embarrassing, controversial or scandalous incidents Francis and his staff have had to react to recently.

Rather than a conspiracy orchestrated by one person or group, the sequence of events realed "a more heterogenous and diffuse malaise," Franco wrote.

German synod group criticises ‘harsh and merciless’ attitudes to divorced and homosexuals

Catholic Herald (UK)

The group provided detailed suggestions for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics who want to receive the sacraments

When presenting its third synod report, the German-language group has said its members felt called to admit that “in an ill-conceived attempt to respect the doctrine of the Church, repeatedly we have had harsh and merciless pastoral attitudes that created suffering, especially for unwed mothers and child born out of wedlock,” cohabiting couples, homosexual persons and those who are divorced and civilly remarried.

“As bishops in our Church, we ask forgiveness,” said the report approved by the group’s members, who include Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Cardinal Walter Kasper, a theologian and former president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The German-speaking group also provided detailed suggestions for responding to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics who want to receive the sacraments but, members said, “the discussions demonstrated that there are no simple and general solutions.”

They cited St John Paul II’s statement in the 1981 exhortation Familiaris Consortio, that pastors “must know that, for the sake of truth, they are obliged to exercise careful discernment of situations. There is in fact a difference between those who have sincerely tried to save their first marriage and have been unjustly abandoned, and those who through their own grave fault have destroyed a canonically valid marriage. Finally, there are those who have entered into a second union for the sake of the children’s upbringing, and who are sometimes subjectively certain in conscience that their previous and irreparably destroyed marriage had never been valid.”

Bishop of Chichester George Bell's sex abuse victim gets compensation

BBC News

A victim who was sexually abused as a young child by a former Bishop of Chichester who died in the 1950s has received compensation from the Church.

Allegations against the Rt Rev George Bell were first made by the victim in 1995 but were not investigated or referred to the police.

Bell was Bishop of Chichester from 1929 until his death in October 1958.

Current Bishop Dr Martin Warner issued a formal apology after the Diocese of Chichester settled the civil claim.

'Remains bitter'

He paid tribute to the victim's courage in coming forward to report the abuse.

"I am committed to ensuring that the past is handled with honesty and transparency," he said.

The allegations of sexual offences against Bell date from the late 1940s and early 1950s and concern an individual who was at the time a young child.

Church of England bishop George Bell abused young child

The Guardian

Harriet Sherwood Religion correspondent
Thursday 22 October 2015

The Church of England has issued a formal apology for sexual abuse committed by one of its most senior figures after settling a civil claim brought against George Bell, the late bishop of Chichester, who died 57 years ago.

The bishop abused a young child, whose identity and gender has not been disclosed, in the 1940s and 50s. The survivor first came forward 20 years ago, but the matter was not investigated or referred to police at the time.

Bell, who sat in the House of Lords, was once tipped as a possible archbishop of Canterbury, although his opposition to the bombing of German civilians by the RAF during the second world war was thought to have counted against him.

The church settled the claim at the end of September and on Thursday released a letter from the serving bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, to the survivor expressing “deep sorrow” and apologising for a “devastating betrayal of trust”.

At Vatican synod: outreach, pushback and struggles over soul of the church

Washington Post

By Anthony Faiola October 22

VATICAN CITY — At one point during a major summit of the Roman Catholic hierarchy that ends this weekend, a senior conservative bishop took the floor inside the Vatican’s assembly hall and promptly charged his liberal peers with doing the devil’s work.

The three-week gathering, known as a synod, has erupted into a theological slugfest over Pope Francis’s vision for a more inclusive church, displaying the most bitter and public infighting since the heady days of Catholic reform in the 1960s.

Archbishop Tomash Peta of Kazakhstan captured the intensity of the divide, raising eyebrows — and even a few incredulous laughs — as he decried some of the policy changes being floated at the synod as having the scent of “infernal smoke.”

It was just another day at a synod that — more than any single event since Francis began his papacy in 2013 — has highlighted the extent his outreach to once-scorned Catholics has triggered a tug-of-war for the soul of the Catholic Church. More important, it underscored just how hard it may be for Francis to recast the church he serves in his image.

UPDATE: Abuse victim’s 1995 complaint against deceased bishop ‘not properly listened to’

Chichester Obsever

A sex abuse victim of former Bishop of Chichester George Bell remains ‘bitter’ an earlier complaint was not followed up, according to a solicitor.

The Bishop of Chichester in 1995 Eric Kemp was told of the allegations but did not refer it to police, according to the victim’s solicitor Tracey Emmott.

“The new culture of openness in the Church of England is genuinely refreshing and seems to represent a proper recognition of the dark secrets of its past, many of which may still not have come to light,” she said.

“While my client is glad this case is over, they remain bitter that their 1995 complaint was not properly listened to or dealt with until my client made contact with Archbishop Justin Welby’s office in 2013.

“That failure to respond properly was very damaging, and combined with the abuse that was suffered has had a profound effect on my client’s life.

“For my client, the compensation finally received does not change anything. How could any amount of money possibly compensate for childhood abuse?

Polish bishop defrocks gay priest who sparked Vatican fury

Yahoo! News

Warsaw (AFP) - A Polish bishop on Wednesday defrocked a high-ranking Catholic priest fired by a furious Vatican earlier this month after he came out as gay on the eve of a key synod on the family.

Bishop Ryszard Kasyna has decided that Krzystof Charamsa should no longer be able to celebrate mass, administer sacraments like communion and baptism or wear a cassock, according to a statement on the website of their northern Pelplin diocese.

Charamsa had held a senior position working for the Vatican office for protecting Catholic dogma, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The 43-year-old priest sparked outrage at the Vatican on October 3 by publicly declaring his homosexuality -- and presenting his Catalan boyfriend Eduardo -- on the eve of a bishops' synod set to touch on the divisive issue of the Catholic Church's relationship to gay believers.



A progressive Sicilian Catholic priest who took a commendable interest in the welfare of young African migrant boys is facing a significant jail sentence for extorting sex from them in return for residency permits.

Monsignor Don Sergio Librizzi, who sat on the local committee handling asylum claims to Italy and who was involved in a number of local charities and initiatives promoting the welfare of young boys was arrested last year and admitted his guilt, allowing him to be released from prison, reports La Repubblica. Although he is now under house arrest and wears an electronic tag, Sicily prosecutors are now seeking a 10-year custodial prison sentence for his having sex with young illegal migrants, reports TheLocal.it.

The charges against Msgr. Librizzi include sexual extortion and sexual violence, relating to his treatment of young migrants under his care as a manager of immigration centres, a member of the committee processing their applications, and an organiser of charities providing food, work, and training to young migrant men and boys. It is alleged he gave the boys money and political refuge papers in return for sexual favours.

La Repubblica reported in June that the priest had also been accused of abusing seminarians under his care in the 1990s. The youths allegedly involved were then aged between 14 and 16 years old, but decided to come forward to report the assaults as adults after his arrest. Msgr. Librizzi is also under investigation for mismanagement of charities.

Attorney: Diocese of Duluth should pay millions to child abuse victim

Minnesota Public Radio

Madeleine Baran Oct 21, 2015

Attorney Jeff Anderson asked jurors in Ramsey County Wednesday to award $11.7 million to a man who says he was sexually abused by a priest in the Diocese of Duluth when he was a teenager in the late 1970s.

The case is the first clergy sex abuse lawsuit to be argued in front of a jury in Minnesota since state lawmakers passed the Child Victims Act in 2013, according to available court records. The law opened a three-year window for people to file lawsuits for older incidents of abuse.

For decades, most clergy sex abuse cases in Minnesota had been settled privately or were tossed out of court. Earlier this year, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis prevented hundreds of cases from going to trial when it filed for bankruptcy.

Anderson has represented thousands of victims of clergy sex abuse across the country, but his cases are rarely decided by a jury. Two of his cases that went before juries in Minnesota attracted national attention — one in 1990, the other in 1996.

Payout agreed to victim of abuse by most senior Anglican bishop yet

Brighton and Hove News

By : Frank le Duc

A payout has been agreed to the victim of child sexual abuse at the hands of a man tipped to become Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Church of England settled the case relating the former Bishop of Chichester George Bell 20 years after the victim first complained.

The news comes just two weeks after another Bishop from the diocese – former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball – was jailed for sexually abusing boys and young men.

The diocese covers Brighton and Hove and has its administrative offices in New Church Road, Hove.

The current Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner has written to Bishop Bell’s victim to express his “deep sorrow” in a formal apology sent after the church agreed an out of court settlement.

Revered Bishop George Bell was a paedophile – Church of England


By John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor
22 Oct 2015

A former Church of England bishop revered as a peacemaker – and granted the closest thing Anglicanism has to a saint’s days – was a paedophile, the Church has acknowledged.

George Bell, who was bishop of Chichester for 30 years until his death in 1958, sexually assaulted a young boy, who is still alive, in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

The Church of England has issued a formal apology to the victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, and settled a legal claim for compensation.

The man first came forward in 1995 but his complaint was effectively ignored by the then Bishop of Chichester, Eric Kemp, who died in 2009.

It was not until he contacted the office of the current Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, two years ago that the allegations were finally investigated properly.

Pope Francis’ Plans for Inclusiveness Divide Bishops

The New York Times

OCT. 21, 2015

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis had encouraged bishops from more than 120 countries to speak freely when they gathered at the Vatican nearly three weeks ago for a broad discussion of family matters to guide the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics. And speak freely, they have.

The result has been the most momentous, and contentious, meeting of bishops in the 50 years since the Second Vatican Council, which brought the church into the modern era. The meeting has exposed deep fault lines between traditionalists focused on shoring up doctrine, and those who want the church to be more open to Catholics who are divorced, gay, single parents or cohabiting.

As the bishops face a deadline Saturday to present their report to the pope, it is increasingly clear that Francis is struggling to build consensus for his vision of a more inclusive and decentralized church. The question is whether the pope, who has won the hearts of those in the pews, can persuade the bishops to help create a church that fully welcomes people with the kinds of family situations it now condemns.

“This is a pivotal moment of this pontificate,” said Roberto Rusconi, who teaches the history of Christianity at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, a state school. Pope Francis is sounding out the world’s bishops “to better understand whether they are going to follow his line or not.”

Child sex abuse bill doesn’t seek justice for everyone

Times Newsweekly


In reference to her Oct. 1 op-ed in The Queens Courier and Ridgewood Times, I agree with Assemblywoman Margaret Markey that our state and nation must do everything we can to eliminate child sex abuse and bring those accountable for such crimes to justice. Where Markey and the Catholic Church part ways is in her methodology.

To be clear, Assemblywoman Markey is not proposing changes to the criminal statute to allow offenders to be brought to trail and imprisoned. Indeed, the church has supported changes that would extend the period of statute of limitations for just such a purpose. Moreover, the church has supported extending the statute of limitations in a reasonable way so that both individuals and institutions might be civilly liable.

What we do not support is a half measure that fails to protect all our children and only seeks “justice” for some. Due to the extra protections given to public institutions in existing law, Assemblywoman Markey’s bill would not offer the same opportunities to bring time-barred lawsuits against public schools and municipalities as it would for the Catholic Church and other private institutions.

In the last decade, the Catholic Church, not unlike other institutions both public and private, has become painfully aware of our past failures to protect children. Today, no institution private or public is more diligent in the protection of young people and transparent when crimes and misconduct occur.

Why Was I 'Chosen' to be Abused?

New Mexico Survivors of Catholic Priest Abuse

Why was I ‘chosen’ to be abused? This is the first question I wanted answered. The fact is that I was not chosen for whom I was, but for the opportunity, I presented. This perpetrator did not go to find me on the street or break into my house, but unfortunately, due to my Catholic upbringing and the trust it fostered in me for all things Catholic, I delivered myself to his literal doorstep. In most priest-abuse cases, there is a proper and trusting relationship that develops before the abuse. In my case, I made contact with my abuser because I was eager to learn about the priesthood, since it was vocation that I was seriously considering. He did not abuse me the first or second time we met. It took a number of interactions where I now realize that he was grooming me for that ‘perfect’ opportunity. He leveraged the fact that I had spent a significant portion of my childhood listening to him every Sunday morning delivering mass on the radio and that I believed he was a priest that represented the values that I believed were universally Catholic and had been instilled in me through my weekly attendance of mass in the various parishes of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe I had belonged to.

Japanese brain cancer specialist says he never examined pope

Japan Today

Associated Press

OCT. 22, 2015

A Japanese brain cancer specialist identified in an Italian news report as having diagnosed a brain tumor in Pope Francis has denied ever examining the pontiff and says the reports are “completely false.”

Dr Takanori Fukushima, director of the Carolina Neuroscience Institute in Raleigh, North Carolina, issued a statement Wednesday through Duke University.

He said: “I have never medically examined the pope. These stories are completely false.”

Citing unnamed sources, the Italian news outlet National Daily said Fukushima had examined the pope and determined that the small dark spot on Francis’ brain was a tumor that could be treated without surgery.

The Vatican denied the reports Wednesday.

Making the case for and against statutes of limitations on sex crimes


Statutes of limitations set limits on how long a person has after an event to take legal action pertaining to that event.

The idea is to protect the defendants from being accused for long periods of time and to encourage plaintiffs to be diligent about pursuing legal action. But where is the line between protecting defendants from being accused of a crime for years and protecting defendants from ever seeing the inside of a courtroom.

Joelle Casteix argues these laws are more likely to do the latter in a recent L.A. Times op-ed titled “Don’t let time shield sex predators.” Casteix was a victim of sexual abuse in her teens and says while she was able to prosecute the person who assaulted her, many other victims aren’t so fortunate. She says California’s sex crimes laws are “abysmally complicated” and that the deadlines for victims to come forward are “arbitrary -- and downright confusing.”

How do you feel about statutes of limitations as they pertain to sex crimes? Would you support a reform of state statutes of limitations on certain crimes? When is a statute of limitations appropriate and when is it not?

Royal Commission: Child abuse allegedly covered up by Geelong Grammar for decades

ABC - The World Today

ELEANOR HALL: One of Australia's most prestigious schools is back in the spotlight today over allegations it covered up sexual abuse at the school for decades.

A former headmaster at the Geelong Grammar School's Highton Campus has taken the stand at the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse.

Jessica Longbottom has been following the proceedings and she joins us now.

Jessica, former students who've alleged they were harmed have been waiting on the evidence of this former headmaster. What are the key allegations against him?

JESSICA LONGBOTTOM: Well Eleanor, at previous hearings we've heard that abuse flourished at Geelong Grammar in the 80s and 90s when at least two paedophiles were operating at the school.

And it was when Robert Bugg, who was the headmaster of the school's Highton campus from 1981 to 1993, when he was in charge it was when one of the worst paedophiles was operating.

New investigation called for into Wollongong priest abuse allegations

ABC News

By Nick McLaren

An organisation supporting victims of child sex abuse has called for a full investigation into an alleged incident involving abuse of a primary schoolboy by a Wollongong priest in the 1980's.

The claims against the priest, who is now an academic at the University of Wollongong, were aired as part of a court case into another Wollongong Catholic priest and former teacher, Father Patrick Kervin.

The allegation was aired in Albion Park local court on October 16, 2015.

The case was previously investigated by the Wollongong Archdiocese of the Catholic Church.

It was also referred to the NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione and the Sex Crimes Squad with no charges laid.

But Nicky Davis from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, says a more thorough investigation is needed.

Synod Briefs

The Irish Catholic

Those affected by abuse need extra special care – expert

Catholics who are too angry, disillusioned or afraid to return to the Church because of clerical sexual abuse need very special care, according to an observer attending the Synod of Bishops.

Maria Harries, a member of Australia’s Truth, Justice, Healing Council said in an interview that abuse by clergy has led to a crisis of faith and a loss of trust in the Church’s moral authority.

Explaining that many people no longer go to Mass, “because of the abuse and we have to work out ways to deal with that,” she said that the shockwaves of abuse and its mishandling can be felt across multiple generations and among extended families and friends.

Asking “how do you address now a community of pain, a community of agony and a community of trauma?” she also pointed out that those hurt by abuse include members of religious congregations who have been accused of doing little or nothing to stop abuse. Such religious who have “always lived good lives and who feel terribly tainted and embarrassed and traumatised by what their brothers have done” are also shattered or disoriented, making them “another set of victims” that needs recognition and a pastoral response, she said.

- See more at: http://www.irishcatholic.ie/article/synod-briefs#sthash.BWRXclYJ.dpuf

Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell (1883 -1958)

Church of England

22 October 2015

The Bishop of Chichester has issued a formal apology following the settlement of a legal civil claim regarding sexual abuse against the Right Reverend George Bell, who was Bishop of Chichester from 1929 until his death on 3rd October 1958.

The allegations against Bell date from the late 1940s and early 1950s and concern allegations of sexual offences against an individual who was at the time a young child.

Following settlement of the claim the serving Bishop of Chichester, the Right Reverend Dr. Martin Warner, wrote to the survivor formally apologising and expressing his "deep sorrow" acknowledging that "the abuse of children is a criminal act and a devastating betrayal of trust that should never occur in any situation, particularly the church."

Bishop Warner paid tribute to the survivor's courage in coming forward to report the abuse and notes that "along with my colleagues throughout the church, I am committed to ensuring that the past is handled with honesty and transparency."

Tracey Emmott, the solicitor for the survivor, today issued the following statement on behalf of her client:

"The new culture of openness in the Church of England is genuinely refreshing and seems to represent a proper recognition of the dark secrets of its past, many of which may still not have come to light. While my client is glad this case is over, they remain bitter that their 1995 complaint was not properly listened to or dealt with until my client made contact with Archbishop Justin Welby's office in 2013. That failure to respond properly was very damaging, and combined with the abuse that was suffered has had a profound effect on my client's life. For my client, the compensation finally received does not change anything. How could any amount of money possibly compensate for childhood abuse? However, my client recognises that it represents a token of apology. What mattered to my client most and has brought more closure than anything was the personal letter my client has recently received from the Bishop of Chichester."

Woman breaks down in court as former teacher faces sexual abuse charges

Daily Echo

James Johnson, Senior Reporter

A WOMAN broke down in tears in court as she relived the moments she claimed to have been sexually abused by a former Hampshire teacher and church youth leader.

Michael McKenna, 72, is alleged to have indecently assaulted the woman over a period of six years.

Bournemouth Crown Court saw an interview recorded with the alleged victim in which she claimed McKenna abused her hundreds of times from the age of 13.

The former science teacher taught at Applemore Technology College and is accused of carrying out the assaults at his home on Springfield Avenue, Holbury.

Victims should be compensated before HIA inquiry ends, campaigners urge

Belfast Telegraph

Victims abused in church, voluntary and state-run children's homes in Northern Ireland should be offered interim compensation payments before a long-running inquiry in to the crimes is completed, campaigners have urged.

Many former residents of institutions where abuse was committed are now old and cannot wait until the Historical Abuse Inquiry (HIA) finishes hearing evidence and produces an official report to Stormont, charity Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse (SAVIA) warned.

Retired judge Sir Anthony Hart is leading the HIA probe, one of the UK's largest inquiries into physical, sexual and emotional harm to children at homes run by the church, state and voluntary organisations.

The inquiry was formally established in January 2013 by the Northern Ireland Executive to investigate child abuse which occurred in residential institutions over a 73-year period from 1922 to 1995.

Vatican to Investigate Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Catholic Priest in Javakhk Armenian Village


The Vatican says it will investigate long standing rumors that a Catholic priest serving in the Samtskhe-Javakhk village of Tzghaltbila has sexually abused boys serving in the church.

The priest in question is Reverend Father Anatoly Ivanyuk, who has served as pastor in the Armenian-populated village, where most are Catholic, for the past 25 years.

The boys who allege to have been sexually abused by the priest haven’t raised the issue, either to local police or to the Vatican hierarchy. It’s a traditional and religious community and any such charges of pedophilia and homosexuality wouldn’t be taken seriously for starters. The boys are also fearful of being ridiculed by friends and family. They also are fearful of Father Anatoly.

Hetq has obtained testimony from some of the boys claiming to be sexually molested by the clergyman. They describe, in detail, what Father Anatoly did to them between 2001 and 2007 when serving as church acolytes.

The boys claim that Father Anatoly invited them to bathe in his house and that the incidents took place afterwards. (Naturally, we will not publish the names of these boys.)

Minnesota boy sought refuge in church, was sexually abused instead

Star Tribune

By Chao Xiong Star Tribune OCTOBER 21, 2015

John Doe 30 grew up in rural Minnesota the youngest of seven. He loved animals. He loved the Catholic Church.

But he didn’t fit in, his attorney Jeff Anderson said Wednesday, and he paid the price.

His brothers and classmates called him derogatory names because they thought he was effeminate.

The boy sought refuge at St. Thomas More parish in Lake Lillian, Minn. There, he met the Rev. James Vincent Fitzgerald, who took the boy, then 15, on a trip across the state in 1978 and sexually assaulted him while working for the Diocese of Duluth, Anderson told jurors.

“The evidence will show that [Doe 30] has lost his ability to trust …,” Anderson said in the opening statements of his civil case against the diocese, the first under the Minnesota Child Victims Act to go to trial. The 2013 law has allowed older claims of child sex abuse previously barred by statutes of limitations to have their day in court.

Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell (1883 -1958)

Anglican Diocese of Chichester

The statement to follow communicates news that has brought us a bewildering mix of deep and disturbing emotions. In touching the legacy and reputation of George Bell, it yields a bitter fruit of great sadness and a sense that we are all diminished by what we are being told.

Our starting point is response to the survivor. We remain committed to listening to all allegations of abuse with an open mind. In this case, the scrutiny of the allegation has been thorough, objective, and undertaken by people who command the respect of all parties. We face with shame a story of abuse of a child; we also know that the burden of not being heard has made the experience so much worse. We apologise for the failures of the past.

The revelation of abuse demands bravery on the part of a survivor, and we respect the courage needed to tell the truth. We also recognise that telling the truth provides a legitimate opportunity for others to come forward, sometimes to identify the same source of abuse.

We also believe that in the Church of England as a whole, and certainly in the diocese of Chichester, we have done all we can to ensure that our safeguarding policies reflect best practice, and are fully and evenly implemented. The statement below speaks of an earlier report of this case, in the 1990’s. There will no doubt be some who allege a cover-up by the Church. We acknowledge that the response then would not be adequate by today’s standards, although that falls far short of a cover-up. In the present context, the diocese of Chichester has worked with Police and other agencies to ensure that we have sought the fullest understanding possible of what happened.

Please hold in your prayers all victims of abuse, especially those who have never been able to seek or receive help and a proper response. Please pray for all who are affected by this news, especially those who are our ecumenical partners, those unable to comprehend its implications, and those whose faith is damaged by it. Please pray for the diocese of Chichester, for each other, lay and ordained, as we seek to remain faithful to our apostolic mission in spite of much that could discourage and deter us.


Church apologises for 'falling short' in response to abuse allegations


Thu 22 Oct 2015
By Antony Bushfield

The Church of England has issued a formally apology and said it feels "deep sorrow" for failing to properly deal with allegations of sexual abuse against the former Bishop of Chichester, Rt Revd George Bell.

Accusations that Bell abused a young child between the late 1940s and early 1950s were made in 1995 but the Church has now admitted the response "fell a long way short".

The survivor told the then Bishop of Chichester, Eric Kemp, about the abuse in August 1995 but he was only offered pastoral support and the allegations were not referred to the police.

The Church said from the information it has, it seems Bishop Kemp did not investigate the matter further.

It was not until the claim was made to Lambeth Palace in 2013 that the survivor was put in touch with the safeguarding team at the Diocese of Chichester who referred the matter to the police and offered personal support and counselling to the survivor.

BREAKING NEWS: Former Chichester bishop George Bell abused young child

Chichester Observer

The Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner has today apologised after former diocese bishop George Bell was revealed as a paedophile.

The Right Reverend George Bell died in 1958 and he was Bishop of Chichester from 1929 until his death.

The apology follows the settlement of a legal civil claim regarding sexual abuse.

“The allegations against Bell date from the late 1940s and early 1950s and concern allegations of sexual offences against an individual who was at the time a young child,” said the statement from the diocese.

Ex-Wigan vicar jailed for child abuse

Wigan Today

A FORMER Wigan vicar has been jailed at the age of 91 for child abuse.

Rev Frank Baldwick is now facing excommunication, having earlier this year been found guilty of two counts of sexual assault against a boy more than 35 years ago.

The frail pensioner, who had denied the attacks at vicarages in both Bolton and Atherton, was sentenced at

Manchester Crown Court and the diocese which oversees his two former parishes says the conviction will ultimately lead to his being de-frocked.

October 21, 2015

TJH Council: Days of Church investigating itself ‘must end’

The Record

The days of the Church in Australia conducting its own investigations into child ¬sexual abuse “must be over”, according to the Chief Executive of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council, Francis Sullivan.

Mr Sullivan’s comments were published in The Weekend Australian on 16-17 October in response to a call for a national ¬redress scheme to compensate ¬victims of abuse.

“More than anything else, abuse survivors have been calling for fair and compassionate redress,” Mr Sullivan said.

“With the decisions about what this looks like taken out of the hands of the institutions responsible for the abuse,” he said.

“In the case of the Catholic Church, the days of the Church ¬investigating itself must be over.”

Abuse victim seeks $9 million from Diocese of Duluth

Duluth News Tribune

By Elizabeth Mohr, St. Paul Pioneer Press

ST. PAUL — There’s no dispute that the Rev. James Vincent Fitzgerald sexually abused a Minnesota teen in 1978, according to opposing attorneys in a lawsuit filed by the victim.

The question for a jury: Who supervised the priest when the abuse took place?

The victim’s attorney, Jeff Anderson, said during his opening statement Wednesday that the Diocese of Duluth was charged with overseeing the priest while he worked in one of its parishes, where the abuse took place.

The diocese’s attorney, Susan Gaertner — former Ramsey County attorney-turned-defense attorney — said that because Fitzgerald was an oblate priest, a member of a religious order, the leader of his order was in charge of his oversight, not the diocese where the order placed him.

“Doe 30” filed his lawsuit in early 2014 in Ramsey County District Court against the Diocese of Duluth, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and the Diocese of New Ulm. The Duluth diocese is the sole remaining defendant; the oblates order settled with Doe 30 and the court dismissed the New Ulm diocese earlier this year.

Mitigating the trauma of clergy sex abuse

Stop Baptist Predators

Christa Brown

"A life of wholeness does not depend on what we experience. Wholeness depends on how we experience our lives."
-- Desmond Tutu

I felt so honored when retired judge Sheila Murphy invited me to contribute a chapter for a book on restorative justice that Archbishop Desmond Tutu was supporting and writing an introduction for. I had never met Sheila before, but after my speech at the 2013 SNAP convention for clergy sex abuse survivors, Sheila introduced herself and pressed into my palm a yellow post-it note with these words: "Yoga as Restorative Justice." That was the topic she wanted me to write about. I looked at my palm, looked at her, and then said, "Huh?"

Fortunately, Sheila wasn't deterred by my monosyllabic response. "You may not have used the language of restorative justice," she said, "but I think it's what you were really talking about just now in your speech."

"It was?" Again, any pretense of wit or wisdom eluded me.

But ultimately, the more we talked, the more I decided that Sheila was right. It's funny how communication is a two-way street like that. Sometimes, what gets communicated depends as much on what's in the mind of the listener as it does on what comes out the mouth of the speaker. Sheila had heard more in my speech than what even I had realized I was saying.

So, I wrote the chapter, and the book has recently been released. You can read my chapter here: "Yoga as a Practice of Restorative Justice."

The ‘Blogging Bishop of Brisbane’ dishes on the real story of Vatican synod

Religion News Service

David Gibson | October 21, 2015

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Barrels of ink, digital and real, have been spilled by journalists trying to convey the gravity of the high-stakes debate on church teaching in Rome this month, as the melodrama that a closed-door Vatican gathering of some 270 churchmen almost guarantees.

The synod, as it’s called, has it all: steady leaks to the press, rumors of lavish dinners and reports of intense lobbying, plus open disagreements over doctrine. It’s a steady diet of soap opera and theology, and almost too much for any reporter to keep up with.

Which is why, if you want to know what it’s like to be a player in such an event, and in the extracurricular socializing where much of the work is done, you have to read the blog of Australian Archbishop Mark Coleridge.

The 67-year-old head of the Archdiocese of Brisbane has been writing his online diary nearly every day since he left for Rome on Oct. 1, offering witty, chatty postings that provide equal helpings of dish and doctrine. It’s made him something of an Internet sensation back home and the media star of the Anglophone world at the Vatican.

Archdiocese defends record as film about Boston priest abuse nears release

Chicago Sun-Times


In an unprecedented public relations maneuver, top Chicago Archdiocese officials met with several newspapers this week — days before the big screen release of a star-studded Hollywood drama depicting the Boston Globe’s 2002 expose on clergy sex abuse — to say, basically: “Don’t confuse us with Boston.”

Vicar General Ronald Hicks, second-in-command to Archbishop Blase Cupich, explained the proactive stance to the Sun-Times’ editorial board earlier this week.

“We think there’s a possibility that there’s going to be new energy and new questions around this and what we want to do is make sure that the media knows that Chicago is extremely different in handling the case of clerical sexual abuse of minors than Boston and how it’s being portrayed in the movie.”

Actors Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo play the journalists behind the Pulitzer-Prize-winning stories that shook the world in 2002, and ultimately encouraged a large number of victims in other cities, including Chicago, to come forth with their own tales of abuse, setting off a global crisis for the church.

The film, “Spotlight,” debuts locally at the Chicago Film Festival Oct. 29 and is scheduled for wider release Nov. 6.

Lack of settlement in Diocese case frustrates judge

Gallup Independent

Published in the Gallup Independent, Gallup, N.M., Oct. 17, 2015

Thuma warns he may remand abuse cases back to state court

By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola
Independent correspondent

ALBUQUERQUE – As the Diocese of Gallup’s Chapter 11 case nears its second year in bankruptcy court, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge David T. Thuma expressed frustration that the case has yet to be settled.

“I’m trying to figure out the best way to get this case resolved,” Thuma told nearly a dozen attorneys during a court hearing Thursday. “I’m not sure it’s anybody’s fault, but we’re here two years in the case and we don’t have a settlement, and the parties are very much at odds at the moment.”

Attorneys for the Gallup Diocese requested the hearing Thursday to address an emergency motion to continue a final hearing slated for Nov. 10. That final hearing, which was also referred to as a trial, centered on motions to lift the bankruptcy case’s automatic stay that prohibits civil lawsuits against the diocese from moving forward.

Phoenix attorney Robert E. Pastor, who represents 18 clergy sex abuse claimants in the case, had filed the lift stay motions. Prior to the Diocese of Gallup filing its Chapter 11 petition, Pastor had filed 13 clergy sex abuse lawsuits against the diocese in Flagstaff’s Coconino County Superior Court. With the lift stay motions, Pastor was requesting Thuma to allow two or three of his lawsuits to be remanded back to state court for trial.

The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, which advocates on behalf of the interests of clergy sex abuse claimants, is supportive of Pastor’s efforts. Both Pastor and attorneys for the committee have argued that trying the cases before a Flagstaff jury will “educate” the diocese and its insurance companies about the value of the claims.

“If I believed that letting these cases go forward would prompt settlement, I wouldn’t be standing in front of you,” Susan Boswell, the lead bankruptcy attorney for the diocese, told Thuma.

Boswell said the Gallup Diocese had an obligation to oppose lifting the stays because diocesan officials believe there would be a detrimental impact to the estate as a whole, including to all the claimants and other creditors.

Settlement roadblocks

During the hearing, Thuma heard opposing statements from Boswell, Pastor and Ilan Scharf, an attorney for the committee, about discovery requests concerning documents and depositions of witnesses related to the lift stay final hearing on Nov. 10.

Thuma, however, seemed more interested in the larger picture of what roadblocks were continuing to impede a settlement among the various parties. Throughout the hearing, the judge asked a number of questions of the attorneys, particularly questions about negotiations with insurance companies.

According to Boswell, the diocese had no insurance coverage before 1965. From 1965 until Dec. 1, 1977, the diocese was covered by a company that later went into receivership. Claims under that company are now covered by the New Mexico Property Casualty Insurance Guaranty Fund. And since Dec. 1, 1977, the diocese has been covered by insurance from Catholic Mutual.

Boswell told Thuma the diocese was attempting to resolve a dispute with the New Mexico Guaranty Fund over insurance coverage. However, the possibility of filing a declaratory judgment action against the Fund was still a possibility.

Thuma questioned why the three cases named in Pastor’s lift stay motions include one claim that is not covered by insurance and two claims that are under the limited coverage of the New Mexico Guaranty Fund. He expressed reluctance to allow Pastor’s first case, which was four months away from trial when the Gallup Diocese filed its Chapter 11 petition, to be the “test case” since it is the claim not covered by insurance.

Scharf explained the case involved a perpetrator who abused many claimants, and the other two cases were representative claims with respect to particular abusers or co-defendants.

Warning to attorneys

At the hearing’s conclusion, Thuma agreed to the diocese’s request to grant a continuance on the final hearing on the stay relief motions. In its place he scheduled a status conference Nov. 10.

Because another session of formal mediation talks is scheduled for Dec. 3-4, and both Boswell and Scharf agreed that informal mediation discussions continue to be ongoing, Thuma stressed the importance of achieving a settlement of the case by the end of the year.

If that doesn’t happen, Thuma warned the attorneys, he will consider granting stay relief for two cases — but two cases with insurance coverage — so the diocese’s estate won’t be burdened with the defense costs.

“What I want to do is to have a status conference shortly after mediation, and if the thing isn’t moving toward settlement, I want Mr. Pastor and the committee to go through their list of claims and tell me which claims against New Mexico Guaranty or Catholic Mutual can get teed-up the quickest,” Thuma said. “And I’m inclined to grant stay relief just to try it out … I’m ready to try something if we’re not palpably closer to settlement in December than we are today.”

“There’s so much very expensive litigation we can do in this case before the net recovery to the abuse victims is zero,” Thuma said. “Everyone needs to think about that a little bit harder than they have been because you’re not doing a service to your clients if that’s your result.”

Polish church suspends priest who came out as gay on eve of world bishops meeting

Fox News


WARSAW, Poland – A Polish priest who lost his job at the Vatican earlier this month after revealing that he is gay and has a boyfriend has been suspended by the church in Poland from performing the functions of a priest.

Krzysztof Charamsa, 43, came out as gay and criticized the Vatican for its approach to homosexuality on the eve of a major meeting of world bishops in Rome. The Vatican immediately fired him from his job with the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.

Bill Heffernan 'paedophile list' allegation: former royal commissioner James Wood

Sydney Morning Herald

[with video]

October 21, 2015

Jane Lee and Latika Bourke

A former royal commissioner has hit back at claims by senator Bill Heffernan that he failed to properly investigate lawyers who allegedly attended a "boy brothel", as new details emerge of a "secret list" containing the names of high-profile alleged paedophiles.

The controversial Liberal senator used parliamentary privilege on Wednesday to claim that a former Australian prime minister was on the list, which he claims forms part of a police document.

Many of the people on the list and otherwise named in the documents were "prominent", Senator Heffernan said: "They were delivered to me by a police agency some time ago because no one seems to want to deal with them."

He also claimed every Commonwealth attorney-general since Philip Ruddock had seen the list.
Fairfax Media understands Mr Ruddock referred Senator Heffernan's list to his department when he was the federal attorney-general in the Howard government between 2003 and 2007.

Powerful documentary on child sex abuse in Melbourne's Jewish orthodox community

Sydney Morning Herald

Paul Kalina
Deputy TV Editor

Filmmaker Danny Ben-Moshe had no interest at first in making a follow-up to Code of Silence, the Walkley-winning documentary about Manny Waks, the whistleblower who lifted the lid on child sex abuse within Melbourne's Orthodox Jewish community.

But listening to the testimony presented to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, he was dumb-struck at what he describes as the "phenomenally preposterous" answer a prominent rabbi gave to a question about appropriate adult conduct.

What was meant to be a jokey remark about making a sequel became reality, and 48 hours later he was filming outside Melbourne's County Court.

The clincher was that the leaders of Melbourne Yeshivah Centre, who had refused to talk to the filmmakers in Code of Silence, were now under the spotlight in the courtroom making cringeworthy and clumsy confessions. Rabbi Yosef Feldman, among others, had unwittingly given them a gift.

"It was the prevarication, the obfuscation, the denials, the twisting," recalls Ben-Moshe of the courtroom testimony.

Pope Francis, Mikhail Gorbachev and forbidden sex

The Nation

John Lloyd
Reuters October 21, 2015

The Catholic Bishop of Accra, Ghana, Charles Palmer-Buckle, sometimes can't sleep at night. He's tormented by the distance between the Vatican's teaching and his flock's behaviour.

Unusually for an African bishop - the continent's Catholic hierarchy is renowned for the strictness of its doctrinal observation - he sways towards accommodating the behaviour of the flock.

Describing, in an interview earlier this year, a parishioner married to the same man for 35 years, with children together, but sharing her husband with two other wives, he said: "If I want to apply the law as it is, I must tell her to quit the marriage. But if I do that, she and her children are going to say, 'The Church destroyed my family.' As a bishop, I tell you, I have sleepless nights… If a person is wounded in marriage and is having difficulty, what do you do? That's what the Church is struggling with."

Bishop Palmer-Buckle will struggle with this and more dilemmas with his brothers-in-Christ in the Vatican's ongoing Synod on the Family. It's been billed as the most serious internal debate on sexuality in its various forms that the Church has ever had. It may live up to that billing.

German synod group outlines Communion path for remarried, other groups wary

National Catholic Reporter

Joshua J. McElwee | Oct. 21, 2015

The group of German speaking prelates at the ongoing Synod of Bishops -- which includes a rather diverse range of so-called progressive and conservative voices -- has presented a way that certain divorced and remarried Catholic persons might be allowed to take Communion in the church.

But while their arguments are being echoed by prelates of at least one other language group at the gathering, they have clearly not found support in others -- which have closed all openness to any possibility on the matter.

Catholics who remarry are currently prohibited from taking Communion unless they obtain annulments of their first marriages. The issue of the church’s practice in the matter has become one of the most discussed during the Oct. 4-25 Synod, called by Pope Francis to focus on family life issues.

Is the end of the Church nigh?

Times of Malta

by Fr Joe Borg

The Bristol Comic Expo in 2005 brought with it the publication by Michael Molcher of the semi-annual fanzine titled The End Is Nigh. Each issue deals with themed Apocalypses foretelling the end of the world.

Judging from a number of media coverages throughout the Synod of bishops on the family currently in its final phase at the Vatican one might be led to think that a similar magazine proclaiming the end of Church would be so popular that it would fill the coffers of its publishers with easy money.

Damian Thompson’s blog in The Spectator (13 October) was titled: “This week the Catholic Church is in chaos.” And true to his ultra-conservative colours, Thompson told us that the “Pope Francis is to blame.” The article is followed by the anti-Francis vitriolic comments of those brave Catholics who hide behind a pseudonym.

Similar comments are common posts in Crux, a website purporting to cover all things Catholics. A certain Tanyi Tanyi wrote that “Francis thanks he can manipulate the whole Church and govern in an authoritarian fashion” while proposing a cherry on the cake with the statement “May God protect this Church from Francis.”

Another conservative blog said that the Synod was about “blasphemy, Heresy, Schism and the “Collapse” of the Church (but, hey, at least the bishops will get to vote).” Others predicted that Pope Francis would become an Anglican.

An Orphan Breaks His Silence: Part Two

Northlands News Center

[with video]

[part 1]

[statement from the Duluth diocese]

By Barbara Reyelts

October 20, 2015

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) -- The Duluth Catholic Diocese is under fire from a lawsuit claiming the sexual abuse, by priests, of children from 1956 through 1974.

The Diocese has been ordered by the St. Louis County District Court to turn over all records on child sex abuse by clergy during those years.

While it may seem like it all happened long ago, experts say the tragic effects of child sexual abuse continue to plague victims throughout their lives.

“It was very traumatic for me,” Gene Saumer, who lived at St. James Orphanage.

“I couldn't deal with these feelings, I felt inadequate,” Larry Dickinson, who lived at St. James Orphanage from 1968-70, said.

Catholic Church confesses to a ‘shameful, corrosive’ history

OCTOBER 22, 2015

John Lyons
Associate Editor

The Catholic Church has described its history regarding child abuse in Australia as “shameful, corrosive and complicit”.

The church says it now expects its liability exposure to be potentially $1 billion on top of payments already made.

Catholic spokesman Francis Sullivan said the church’s history was “littered with examples of cover-ups and crimes and of church leaders failing in one of the very basic tenets of their calling”.

Mr Sullivan is leading the church’s support for a national redress scheme to compensate victims of abuse. The scheme has been recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

In a speech to the Australian Catholic University, Mr Sullivan said it was important Catholics did not succumb to a feeling that the commission or media were out to “get” the church.

“The facts are we are at the very centre of the royal commission because collectively the Catholic Church is responsible for more abuse than any other institution in Australia, public or private,” he said on Tuesday night.

First reports from Pope Francis’ meeting on the family show deep divisions about the road ahead

Washington Post

By Michelle Boorstein October 21

At Pope Francis’s closed-door meeting in Rome this month, top clergy are intensely debating whether the church should bend more to the messy realities of modern families, and on Wednesday released some early reports revealing their deep divisions. In daily life, however, contemporary messiness has already changed the Catholic Church.

Questions on the agenda at the rare, high-level meeting that ends this weekend include whether those who divorce and remarry outside the church can receive Communion, and whether there is a place in Catholic life for same-sex couples. Changing Catholicism’s stance towards such things could begin to unravel the unity of the world’s largest church, say opponents who see the debate in Rome as directly tied to the future of Catholicism. But in many parts of the world – the West in particular – the church has for years quietly been making changes to engage with Catholic families who are transforming in ways that mirror the rest of the society.

Seminaries and theology schools have added classes on sex and family that were absent a decade or two ago. Some of the highest-level bishops are open about not denying Communion outright to anyone, even if the person appears to be violating church teachings on the family. And Pope Francis has changed the entire conversation about what threatens family stability by emphasizing things like economic stress and cultural isolation rather than a deviation from orthodox sexual ethics.

The first real reports from the dozens of bishops at the synod were released Wednesday, staking out varied and often highly nuanced positions. The 13 working groups are divided by language. The majority of the four English and three French groups appeared to either dismiss any significant changes or reserve judgment, while delegates from Germany and some Spanish speaking nations were calling for progressive changes, including one proposal from the Germans to allow priests to make exceptions to teachings prohibiting communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 21 October 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- Fr. Henrique Aparecido De Lima, C.SS.R., as bishop of Dourados (area 38,125, population 535,000, Catholics 375,000, priests 59, permanent deacons 11, religious 154), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Toledo, Brazil in 1964, gave his religious vows in 1995 and was ordained a priest in 1999. He has served in a number of pastoral roles including parish vicar, pastor and administrator of the diocese of Jardim, and deputy provincial of the Redemptorists. He is currently superior of the Redemptorist Province of Campo Grande. He succeeds Bishop Redovino Rizzardo, C.S., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- Fr. Jose Reginaldo Andrietta as bishop of Jales (area 12,788, population 400,000, Catholics 323,000, priests 36, religious 15), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Pirassununga, Brazil in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1983. He holds a master's degree in catechesis from the Institut de Catechese et Pastorale Lumen Vitae in Brussels, Belgium and a licentiate in pastoral theology from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. He has served in a number of pastoral, academic and administrative roles in the diocese of Limeira, Brazil and in Brussels, Belgium, including parish vicar, parish priest, professor of pastoral theology and member of the presbyteral council. He is currently pastor of the “Sao Judas Tadeu” parish in Americana. He succeeds Bishop Luiz Demetrio Valentini, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- Msgr. Paulo Bosi Dal'Bo as bishop of Sao Mateus (area 15,496, population 469,000, Catholics 335,000, priests 46, religious 49), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Colatina, Brazil in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 2000. He holds a degree in accounting sciences and master's degrees in social communications and psychology of education. He has served in a number of roles in the diocese of Colatina, including director of the “Nossa Senhora Mae dos Pobres” house of formation, parish vicar and parish administrator, pastor, rector of the diocesan seminary and president of the Organisation of Seminaries and Philosophical and Theological Institutes in Brazil. He is currently vicar general of the diocese and parish priest.

Declaration by the director of the Holy See Press Office

Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 21 October 2015 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., issued the following statement this morning:

“The circulation of entirely unfounded news regarding the health of the Holy Father by an Italian newspaper is gravely irresponsible and unworthy of attention. Furthermore, as is clearly evident, the Pope is carrying out his very intense activity in an totally normal way”.

Subsequently, during a briefing on the Synod, he added the following further information:

“I fully confirm my previous statement, having verified the facts with the appropriate sources, including the Holy Father.

No Japanese doctor has visited the Pope in the Vatican and there have been no examinations of the type indicated in the article. The competent offices have confirmed that there have been no arrivals of external parties in the Vatican by helicopter; similarly, there were no arrivals of this type during the month of January.

I am able to confirm that the Pope is in good health.

I reiterate that the publication of this false information is a grave act of irresponsibility, absolutely inexcusable and unconscionable. It would be equally unjustifiable to continue to fuel similarly unfounded information. It is hoped, therefore, that this matter be closed immediately”.

Catholic brother to stand trial on 218 child sexual abuse offences

ABC News

A Catholic brother will stand trial in the Newcastle district court, accused of more than 200 child sexual abuse offences.

The man, referred to as BM for legal reasons, was extradited from New Zealand last year, accused of more than 250 offences.

They are alleged to have happened in the Lake Macquarie region in the 1970s.

He faced court today via video link, dressed in prison greens, shuffling paperwork in front of him and staring at the floor for long periods of time.

The Director of Public Prosecutions today withdrew 39 charges, meaning BM is now accused of 218 offences.

Reined in by the Vatican, set free by the Gospel

National Catholic Reporter

Donald Cozzens | Oct. 21, 2015

By John A. McCoy
Published by Orbis, $26

It is one thing to suffer for the church, but quite another to suffer from the church. We understand that any Christian trying to bear witness to the Gospel will encounter pushback from the consumer-oriented, self-satisfied corners of our society. One would be naive to think otherwise. But to suffer public censure and humiliation from the church itself for bearing witness to the Gospel is particularly hurtful.

John McCoy's biography of Archbishop Raymond "Dutch" Hunthausen paints the painful story of a bishop's conscience and Rome's determination to hold fast to institutional control.

Whether or not Hunthausen's withholding of half his federal income tax as protest against nuclear weapons marked "a pivotal point in the history of the U.S. Catholic Church" as McCoy contends, it was unprecedented as a prophetic voice from an American Catholic bishop -- and raised alarm bells in the halls of the Roman Curia.

Hunthausen, transformed by the profound breakthroughs of the Second Vatican Council, made the pastoral care of his priests, religious and laity a priority. In doing so, he would earn the disdain often accorded to a prophet and raised the suspicions of Rome. In the eyes of the entrenched church leaders committed to at least containing, if not reversing, the reforms of the council, a bishop whose pastoral judgment didn't always square with canon law and the church's official teachings was indeed dangerous.


Berger's Beat

There were few dry eyes at the Hi Pointe Backlot as two dozen media types viewed the film “Spotlight,” which is already generating Oscar buzz. Featuring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams, it’s the gripping story of how the Boston Globe’s investigative team broke open the long-simmering but largely invisible yet widespread crimes by pedophile priests. (Eventually the paper ran almost 600 stores that one year and helped expose 249 child molesting clerics and led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law, who once ran the Springfield, MO diocese.)

AT THE SCREENING: Kevin Steincross of KTVI, Calvin Wilson of the P-D and Lynn Venhaus of the Belleville News Democrat (who in the 1990s wrote many stories about predator priests in southern Illinois.) The film was especially moving to victims’ attorney Ken Chackes, SNAP’s David Cohessy, who spent hours on the phone with Globe editors and reporters during their investigation and a Webster Groves mom whose young son took his own life after being abused by two predators – Fr. James Funke and teacher Jerome Robbins – at DuBourg High School

Singapore mega-church founder Kong Hee found guilty of $35m donations fraud

The Guardian (UK)

Associated Press
Wednesday 21 October 2015

The founder of a popular Singapore church was found guilty on Wednesday of misappropriating more than $35.5m in donations to support his wife’s singing career in Asia before helping her break into the US market for evangelization purposes.

Kong Hee, the founder and senior pastor of City Harvest church, was found guilty with five other church leaders of stealing S$24m ($17m) designated for building and investment-related purposes through sham bond investments.

The state court also found they used another S$26m ($18.5m) to hide the first embezzlement from auditors. It is a rare case of corruption of such magnitude in the city state, which has an image of being highly law-abiding and largely graft-free.

Presiding judge See Kee Onn said in finding Kong guilty on three counts of criminal breach of trust: “They were not genuine transactions because the accused persons controlled these transactions.”

“Evidence points to a finding that they knew they were acting dishonestly, and I am unable to conclude otherwise,” he told a courtroom packed with church supporters, who formed long queues since early morning to get seats.

Pope Francis 'tumour': Vatican denies 'spot on brain' report

BBC News

The Vatican has rejected as "seriously irresponsible" an Italian media report that says Pope Francis has a small but curable tumour on his brain.

The Quotidiano newspaper said the Pope had travelled by helicopter to Tuscany to see a world-renowned Japanese brain surgeon.

The Pope was diagnosed with a small, dark spot but did not need surgery, the paper said.
A Vatican spokesman said the report was totally unfounded.

"As everyone can see, the Pope is carrying out his extremely intense activities in an absolutely normal manner," Father Federico Lombardi said.

Papa Francesco ha un tumore, prime conferme: il dottor Fukushima in Vaticano a gennaio


Pisa, 21 ottobre 2015 - Arrivano le prime conferme sulla notizia diffusa dal nostro giornale circa il tumore al cervello di Papa Francesco. Il Vaticano ha smentito: "Nessuna fondatezza", ma l'Ansa ora conferma quanto scritto da Qn sulla presenza del medico Takanori Fukushima in Vaticano. L'esperto di tumori al cervello sarebbe stato in Vaticano "a fine gennaio", "probabilmente", scrive l'agenzia di stampa, "per occuparsi dello stato di salute di Papa Bergoglio".

IL VOLO DA SAN ROSSORE - Un volo dell'elicottero della clinica San Rossore con a bordo l'esperto di tumori al cervello e aneurismi partì allora da Pisa. Fu proprio il medico, da anni consulente della struttura, secondo quanto appreso da ambienti vicino alla clinica, a chiedere la disponibilità di un elicottero per organizzare in tempi rapidi una visita in Vaticano. Da qui, come ha scritto oggi Qn, la diagnosi per Bergoglio di un piccolo tumore al cervello per il quale non sarebbe necessario un intervento chirurgico.

Vatican denies pope has treatable tumour

Business Standard

AFP | Vatican City
October 21, 2015

The Vatican today dismissed an Italian media report that Pope Francis has a treatable brain tumour as "unfounded and seriously irresponsible."

Quotidiano Nazionale (QN), the newspaper which made the claim, said it stood by its story that a "small dark spot" had been detected on the 78-year-old pontiff's brain earlier this year.

The paper said it was discovered by Japanese physician Takanori Fukushima during an examination at the San Rossore di Barbaricina clinic near Pisa in central Italy.

The professor reportedly concluded that the tumour was treatable and that no surgery was required.

"The publication of completely unfounded reports on the health of the holy father by an Italian newspaper is seriously irresponsible and not worthy of attention," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

Vatican calls report of Pope Francis brain tumor 'completely baseless'


On Wednesday, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi dismissed a report in the Italian newspaper Quotidiano Nazionale that Pope Francis has a small, curable tumor in his brain, calling it “absolutely baseless” and “a complete lie.” In a statement, Lombardi said that “as everyone can see, the pope is always carrying out his intense activity without interruption, in an absolutely normal way.”

MO--Predator priest who was ousted last year is now sued again

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those abused by Priests (314 566 9790, davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

A serial predator priest is being sued for sexually assaulting another child. We commend this brave man for seeking justice and exposing wrongdoers. We hope his courage will prompt others who were hurt as kids by clerics to step forward.

In 2013 - 31 years after child sex abuse allegations against him first emerged - Fr. Leroy A. Valentine was “permanently remove him from active ministry.” Though archdiocesan officials have paid settlements to at least three of his victims, Fr. Valentine has apparently still not been defrocked. And we believe, but are not certain, that no one from the archdiocese has been supervising or monitoring Fr. Valentine for at least the last 12 years.

In 1982, when a North County mother reported that he sexually assaulted her three sons. The St. Louis Archdiocese paid the boys a settlement – believed to be around $20,000 each - and reportedly sent Valentine for treatment and then transferred him to another parish where he kept working. Catholic officials insisted that the boys never speak publicly about the abuse or the settlements

In 2002, Valentine was an associate pastor at St. Thomas the Apostle in Florissant with an adjoining parochial school. He was one of “at least three St. Louis priests who have been accused in civil court of sexual abuse remain active in the archdiocese today, two in contact with children,” according to the New York Times and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

(The other two were Fr. Bruce Forman who was – and still is – the director a youth choir in Soulard and Fr. Thomas Graham who was chaplain at a south St. Louis County nursing home. Graham was convicted in a criminal trial of molesting another boy but the jury’s verdict was later overturned. )

Former pastor gets 3 years in prison for sex with minor

Argus Leader

Mark Walker, mwalker@argusleader.com

A former South Dakota pastor has been sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to having sex with a minor while employed by a Canton church.

Tony Haglund was sentenced on Friday on one count of felony child abuse. He was originally charged with three counts of sexual penetration by a psychotherapist, sexual contact with a child under 16 and sexual contact by a psychotherapist.

He was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine or up to that amount restitution to the family.

Haglund was arrested on Oct. 6 in Sumter County, Fla., last year where he worked as a real estate agent.

Former SD pastor convicted of child abuse gets 3 years

Press & Dakotan

Associated Press

CANTON, S.D. (AP) — A former South Dakota pastor who authorities accused of having sex with a teenager has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Fifty-year-old Tony Haglund earlier pleaded guilty to one count of child abuse. The Argus Leader (http://argusne.ws/1Go9j5g ) reports Haglund was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine or up to that amount in restitution to the family of his victim.

Haglund was indicted last year on three counts of sexual penetration by a psychotherapist, sexual contact with a child under 16 and sexual contact by a psychotherapist. He was arrested on October 2014 in Florida, where he worked as a real estate agent.

Maplewood priest barred from ministry temporarily

Pioneer Press

By Elizabeth Mohr
POSTED: 10/20/2015

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis said Tuesday that it is temporarily removing from ministry a priest who was acquitted last year of sexual misconduct with a female parishioner.

The archdiocese launched its investigation into the Rev. Mark Huberty after the criminal case ended and determined the priest might have violated canon law, according to a statement from Archbishop Bernard Hebda.

While the internal investigation, or canonical process, unfolds, Huberty is barred from performing ministerial duties; he cannot "wear a Roman collar or present himself as a priest publicly," the statement said.

"Removing a priest from ministry, even temporarily, is gravely serious to me and to the Church," Hebda's statement said. "But based on the evidence and testimony from those involved, this is the proper course of action."

Submissions published for police and prosecution responses issues paper

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

21 October, 2015

The Royal Commission has published 24 submissions from organisations and those with professional experience in response to its issues paper on police and prosecution responses to institutional child sexual abuse.

Royal Commission CEO Philip Reed said the responses reflected the importance the community places on issues of criminal justice.

“In particular, the submissions indicate the community’s concern over institutional failures in reporting, investigating and responding to allegations and incidents of abuse,” he said.

“We’ve received submissions from a range of organisations including advocacy groups, the legal fraternity and agencies representing young people, people with disability and victims of crime.

“We have also received a number of submissions from individuals giving details of their personal experiences of police and prosecution responses to institutional child sexual abuse.

“We are reviewing these submissions for privacy and procedural fairness concerns, and they are not being published at this stage.”

Mr Reed said the Royal Commission’s terms of reference require it to look into what governments should do to address or alleviate the impact of past and future child sexual abuse in institutional contexts.

“This includes in ensuring justice for victims through processes for referral for investigation and prosecution,” he said.

Mr Reed said all of the submissions to the issues paper will be considered along with research the Royal Commission has commissioned on this topic, as well as relevant case studies and the personal experiences shared by survivors of abuse in private sessions.

Minnesota archdiocese temporarily removes Maplewood priest who was acquitted of sex charges from ministry

Star Tribune


ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has temporarily removed a priest from ministry after he was acquitted on sexual misconduct charges in December.

Interim Archbishop Bernard Hebda made the announcement Tuesday about the Rev. Mark Huberty. A Ramsey County jury acquitted Huberty of criminal sexual conduct involving an adult female parishioner he was counseling.

Since Huberty's acquittal, his case was reviewed by a new ministerial review board. The board found sufficient evidence to suggest Huberty may have committed a serious offense under canon law and recommended proceedings to resolve the allegations.

Opinion: Putting the archbishop’s comments in perspective

The Record


THE RECORD'S coverage during the week of Oct. 12 about principles that Archbishop John J. Myers had shared with the priests of the archdiocese to help them deal with people in different situations regarding married life and maintain church teaching is misdirecting people from the truth of the document.

It is important to put the document and the coverage into perspective.

The document, "Principles to Aid in Preserving and Protecting the Catholic Faith in the Midst of an Increasingly Secular Culture," very clearly says that these are principles. They are not "rules" or "particular law" being set down. In his role as primary teacher of the faith in this archdiocese, it is appropriate and central to Archbishop Myers' ministry to give advice and direction to priests and others involved in parish ministry as they deal directly with people facing some of the challenges about married life and living according to the faith. It is also important to make sure that this is done in line with the laws and teaching of the church.

In particular, the principles call on priests to walk with the people as they journey through their situations, and to cherish and welcome them to participate in the life of the church to the extent they can.

Malcolm Turnbull urged to investigation former prime minister paedophile claims by sex abuse survivors


PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull is under pressure to launch an investigation into elite paedophile rings in Australia, after allegations surfaced of a former prime minister on a police list of suspected paedophiles.

Child sex abuse survivors advocates have backed calls from Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan to expand the royal commission into child sex abuse.

The calls for an urgent inquiry follow the Senator’s sensational claim yesterday that he has a police list which names 28 prominent people, including a former PM, as suspected paedophiles.

Nicky Davis, the leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) urged the Mr Turnbull to act, saying the government should immediately announce a thorough investigation of elite paedophile rings in Australia, similar to one already underway in the UK.

Napier, the Voice of Truth on the Letter of the Thirteen Cardinals


It took this South African archbishop to clarify in public the true reasons for the letter, which he signed with the others. It all started with the 2014 synod and the maneuvers of some to force its results. Here he is, word for word

by Sandro Magister

ROME, October 21, 2015 - Already four days before the letter of the thirteen cardinals to Francis became public knowledge, he was singled out among the “conspirators” who wanted to sabotage the synod and lash out against the pope himself:

> The Letter of the Thirteen Cardinals. A Key Backstory

And after the publication of the letter, the aggression against him and the other signers continued with even greater vehemence, with the de facto support of the Vatican managers of synod information.

Until the day came, yesterday, Tuesday October 20, on which Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, archbishop of Durban, South Africa, was finally able to speak his mind on the synod and on the letter of the thirteen to the pope, in the official context of the daily press conference moderated by Fr. Federico Lombardi:

> Press briefing...

Napier took part in the press conference in his capacity as joint president delegate of the synod. An obligatory presence. And it was the first time that one of the thirteen signers of the letter appeared in the Vatican press office after the chaos exploded.

An “ad hoc” question for him couldn’t be left out. And in fact it came, timely and polemical, from a leading journalist of “liberal” American Catholicism, Robert Mickens, founder and director of "Global Pulse Magazine".

English synod group D’s third report: full text

Catholic Herald (UK)

The full report of Circulus Anglicus ‘D’

Members of English circle D again stressed the need to support the many families that already live the Catholic understanding of marriage and family life joyfully.

Members of our group revisited the importance of the Church acknowledging the role of women and mothers and men and fathers. Our ecumenical representative felt the document should address the whole Christian community and not simply the Catholic Church. Much discussion took place about the importance of funerals in the lives of families. Members felt this matter deserves far more attention, along with the role of the family in situations of illness and death.

Members felt that when the document talks about the Word of God, it needs to more fully convey the meaning of that term in the tradition of the Church. The Word of God refers to Jesus personally, to the written word of Scriptures, but also to the word proclaimed in the community.

Bishops said that the text paid inadequate attention to chastity formation. This work should begin very early in life and should not be delayed until marriage preparation. The danger of government authorities doing sex education caused great concern for many group members.

Vatican releases summaries of auditors' addresses at Synod

Catholic Culture

Auditors at the Synod of Bishops have spoken on topics ranging from the role of women to medical ethics and the persecution of Christians.

The auditors—whose talks were delivered on October 15 and 16, and made public on October 20—included:

* Agnes Offiong Erogunaye, a Nigerian woman who spoke on how many African women care for their households by themselves.

* Sister Maureen Kelleher, an American religious who asked Church leaders “to recognize how many women who feel called to be in service of the Kingdom of God but cannot find a place in our Church.

* Lucetta Scaraffia, an Italian history professor, who said: “Women are great experts in the family: leaving abstract theories behind, we can turn in particular to women to understand what must be done.”

Sex abuse case priest Vickery House admits sexual advances

BBC News

A retired Church of England priest from West Sussex has admitted making sexual advances towards four of his alleged male victims but not the two youngest.

Vickery House, who faces indecent assault, denied any inappropriate contact with two teenage boys.

He told the Old Bailey he was ashamed of his actions in the 1970s and 80s, but said they were not sexual assaults.

Mr House, 69, denies eight charges of indecent assault against six males aged 15 to 34, between 1970 and 1986.

October 20, 2015

Priest Removed From Ministry Amid Assault Investigation

CBS Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities priest who was previously acquitted of criminal sexual conduct charges has been temporarily removed from the ministry.

Rev. Mark Huberty was arrested in 2013 and charged with one count each of fourth- and fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct.

The complaint said that Huberty and a woman met in 2008 when she came to him for counseling at Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Maplewood. He was accused of engaging in a sexual relationship with someone he was counseling and of groping her without consent.

In 2014, a jury found Huberty not guilty.

On Tuesday, Archbishop Bernard Hebda said, “I have the sad responsibility of communicating that Rev. Mark Huberty has been temporarily removed from ministry for the duration of a formal canonical process that has been initiated to address some serious allegations that have come to the attention of the Archdiocese.”

Statement Regarding Rev. Mark Huberty

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Date: Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Source: Tom Halden, Director of Communications

From Archbishop Bernard Hebda

Today, I have the sad responsibility of communicating that Rev. Mark Huberty has been temporarily removed from ministry for the duration of a formal canonical process that has been initiated to address some serious allegations that have come to the attention of the Archdiocese.

In 2013, Rev. Huberty was arrested and charged with two counts of sexual misconduct with an adult woman. Rev. Huberty has been on a voluntary leave of absence since that time. A Ramsey County jury acquitted him of those charges last December.

During the criminal investigation and court process, the Archdiocese cooperated with civil authorities and did not conduct its own review to preserve the integrity of the police investigation and the fairness of the court proceedings—which is our protocol.

Since the acquittal, Rev. Huberty’s case, which does not involve sexual abuse of a minor, has been investigated by the Archdiocese’s Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment, and that investigation has been reviewed by its director, Judge Tim O’Malley, and the recently-formed Ministerial Review Board (MRB). The MRB consists of ten lay members and two priests, who have expertise in sexual abuse, domestic violence, psychology, medicine, criminal justice, law enforcement, and related fields.

The MRB found that there was sufficient evidence to suggest Rev. Huberty may have committed a serious offense under canon law and recommended that any questions of law or fact be resolved through a canonical process so that the truth of the matter may be determined and an appropriate penalty, if any, may be imposed. Judge O’Malley was present for all MRB deliberations, reviewed the case, and has agreed with the Board’s recommendation.

Removing a priest from ministry, even temporarily, is gravely serious to me and to the Church. But based on the evidence and testimony from those involved, this is the proper course of action.

During the canonical process, Rev. Huberty is prohibited from celebrating Mass in the presence of laity, hearing confessions, preaching, assisting at weddings or funerals or otherwise engaging in any priestly ministry. He is not permitted to wear a Roman collar or present himself as a priest publicly. Imposition of these precautionary measures reflects the seriousness of this matter, but should not be viewed as a presumption of guilt. Rev. Huberty is to be accorded the presumption of innocence during this time.

Maplewood priest barred from ministry temporarily

Minneapolis Sun-Times


The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis said Tuesday that it is temporarily removing from ministry a priest who was acquitted last year of sexual misconduct with a female parishioner. The archdiocese launched its investigation into the Rev. Mark Huberty after the criminal case ended and determined the priest might have violated canon law, according to a statement from Archbishop Bernard Hebda.

Synod ends where it began, in disagreement

National Catholic Reporter

Thomas Reese | Oct. 20, 2015

With time running out, the synodal fathers appear no closer to resolving their conflicts over issues facing the family than they were a year ago. One of the principal sticking points is over Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics who do not have an annulment. Another controversy is over the language to be used in speaking about homosexuals.

The Synod of Bishops concludes this Sunday after meeting in Rome since Oct. 4. The synod has been discussing issues facing families, the same issues discussed at a similar gathering of bishops last October.

The pope and the bishops argue that the synod is about the family and decry the media’s focus on homosexuality and divorce, but there is no question that these are the topics around which the bishops have conflict. There is little disagreement over other issues.

One group of bishops, led by Cardinal Walter Kasper, would like to see a pastoral solution that would allow a penitential process leading to Communion for such Catholics, but this is opposed by others, perhaps a majority, who feel that this would violate church doctrine.

Many bishops hoped that they could find a pastoral solution that would not involve a change in doctrine, but conservative bishops are not buying this approach.

Cumerlato Fr. Eugenio

Xaverian Missionaries

Bassano del Grappa, 20 febbraio 1910
Parma, 4 dicembre 1989

di Bassano d. Grappa - VI
Lavorò nelle nostre case: in Italia, specialmente in USA e Messico
Di anni 80. Numero di professione 204
Sepolto a Parma

Fr. Cumerlato nacque a Bassano del Grappa il 20 febbraio 1910.

Era nel fiore degli anni quando scoprì che niente come l'ideale missionario poteva dare senso pieno alla sua vita. Perciò net 1932 entrò nello Istituto Saveriano e, fatta la professione religiosa, chiese d'essere mandato in missione. "Oso domandare e sperare - scrisse nel 1936 al Superiore Ge-nerale - d'essere ammesso a questa fortunata spedizione" (di partenti per la Cina). Aggiungeva Però: "Saprò accettare con allegria anche un bel rifiuto, sapendo che dappertutto si può piacere a Dio".

Former head of paedophile inquiry to face MPs

The Guardian

Rajeev Syal
Tuesday 20 October 2015

The detective who quit as head of the VIP paedophile inquiry after reportedly being undermined by Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, will appear before a select committee on Wednesday despite objections from senior Met officers.

DCI Paul Settle, who stepped away from Operation Fernbridge last October, will give evidence to the home affairs select committee, followed by Watson. Both will be grilled about their alleged roles in the rape and paedophile investigations into Leon Brittan, the late Conservative peer.

The Met’s deputy commissioner Craig Mackey wrote to the committee arguing that MPs should not ask a relatively junior officer to appear before parliament. In a letter to Keith Vaz, the committee’s chair, Mackey said Settle’s appearance was inappropriate and had significant implications for the operational independence of the police.

“In our view this would create an unhelpful precedent and may lead to anxiety amongst officers taking operational decisions that they may subsequently have to justify the detail of those decisions before a committee of the House of Commons,” he wrote.

Abuse survivors demand pedophile action

Sky News

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull must immediately launch an investigation into elite pedophile rings in Australia, says a survivors' network for people abused by priests.

The call follows a claim by Liberal senator Bill Heffernan that he has a police list which names 28 prominent people, including a former prime minister, as suspected pedophiles.

The senator didn't name names but on Tuesday called on Attorney-General George Brandis to expand the child abuse royal commission to include the legal fraternity.

Nicky Davis, the leader of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) said the government should immediately announce a thorough investigation of elite pedophile rings in Australia, similar to one already underway in the UK.

Senator Heffernan's revelations came as no surprise to many survivors of child sexual abuse, Ms Davis said in a statement early on Wednesday.

Lawsuit filed against Archdiocese by man who claims he was sexually abused by priest


By Stephanie Baumer, Online News Producer

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) – A lawsuit has been filed against the Archdiocese of St. Louis by a man who claims he was sexually abused between 1977 and 1981.

The lawsuit alleges that Father Leroy Valentine sexually abused the plaintiff while he was a student at the Church of the Immacolata.

According to the lawsuit, Father Valentine has been accused of childhood sexual abuse multiple times in the past and resigned as an associate pastor at St. Thomas the Apostle in 2002 after another child sexual abuse allegation. In 2013, Archbishop Robert Carlson stated that an allegation of child sexual abuse against Father Valentine was found to be credible.

“I approached the Archdiocese multiple times for help and tried to get assistance without getting lawyers involved,” the plaintiff, called John Doe 121 in the lawsuit, said in a statement. “Filing a lawsuit was my last resort and due to their inaction.”

Synod. The “Conspirator” Who Does Everything in the Light of Day


He is Timothy Dolan, one of the thirteen cardinals of the letter to the pope. A living example of that “parresia,” that candor of word and thought, so desired by Francis

by Sandro Magister

ROME, October 19, 2015 - In the uproar unleashed by the publication of the letter of the thirteen cardinals to the pope, the Vatican authorities who manage communication - from Santa Marta more than from the Apostolic Palace - have in fact fomented attacks not so much against the one responsible for the publication, but much more against the synod fathers who signed the letter.

And yet these are personalities of the highest rank, archbishops of important dioceses like New York, Toronto, Houston, Utrecht, Bologna, Durban, Nairobi, Caracas. Not to mention three pillars of the Roman curia old and new like George Pell, Gerhard Müller, and Robert Sarah, themselves bishops in the past of dioceses like Sydney, Regensburg, and Conakry.

There was so much aggression in the media against this towering and tightly knit representation of the worldwide hierarchy - accused of “conspiring” against the pope even before the letter was published - that it brought up another unresolved question on top of those raised in the letter: concerning the management of the communication of what happens in the synod.

It is enough to see how Fr. Thomas Rosica, the official media liaison at the synod for the English-language media, has immediately circulated with his own enthusiastic approval the most virulent and authoritative attack against the thirteen signers of the letter, made by Washington archbishop Donald Wuerl, one of Bergoglio's preferred cardinals, in an October 18 interview with "America," the magazine of the "liberal" New York Jesuits:

The fact is that, in spite of these reactions, the letter of the thirteen cardinals has gotten results. And it got them above all after its publication, which allowed a larger number of synod fathers to become acquainted with it and recognize themselves in it, and therefore to exercise firmer pressure on those who govern the synod, in order to obtain answers more satisfying than the ones given until then.

Magister, No


Grant Gallicho
October 20, 2015

ROME—In the beginning was the letter. And the letter was published. By Sandro Magister, longtime Vaticanista, sometime critic of this papacy, and current insinuator of the idea that one of those responsible for leaking the text may be the most famous resident of Casa Santa Marta.

Last week, Magister published a letter sent by several cardinals to Pope Francis, criticizing the synod process for favoring those who want to change church practice on a range of contested issues. The letter, which was sent to the pope before the synod began, received a direct response when Francis delivered an unscheduled address on the second day of the proceedings. He reminded the synod fathers that he had personally approved of the synod process, and urged them not to fall victim to a “hermeneutic of conspiracy.” (That memorable line was amusingly interpreted by the camptastically named “Xavier Rynne II”—who has been aiming his firehose of verbiage at the goings-on here since the synod began. And by George if he doesn’t think the pope’s phrase wasn’t really referring to those who have been hoping for some change out of this meeting. XR2 assures that the leak “certainly did not involve the Holy Father.” So that’s a relief.)

Later it was reported that Magister got several of the signatories wrong. Some who acknowledged putting their names on a similar letter said that the version Magister published wasn’t the one they signed. This occasioned not the slightest hint of regret from Magister. Instead, he published a follow-up piece noting this correction but basically saying he was right all along. He still hasn’t explained how he got the letter, what the version he published actually was, or how he managed to botch the list of signatories.

Questions remain about Synod of Bishops’ closing document


By John L. Allen Jr.
Associate editor October 20, 2015

ROME – As the Oct. 4-25 Synod of Bishops on the family nears its end, two features of the process seem especially striking. One is how much the bishops have left to do; the other is how much uncertainty still surrounds exactly what they’re doing.

The final result is to be a document to be presented to Pope Francis. It’s designed to be based on a working document distributed before the synod, but there’s been enough dissatisfaction with that earlier text that it’s possible the 10-member drafting committee could essentially start from scratch.

That drafting committee includes:

* Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest and the synod’s relator general
* Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary of the synod
* Archbishop Bruno Forte, archishop of Chieti-Vasto, Italy
* Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, India
* Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, DC
* Cardinal John Dew, archbishop of Wellington, New Zealand
* Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez, rector of the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina
* Bishop Mathieu Madega Lebouakehan, bishop of Mouila, Gabon
* Bishop Marcello Semeraro, bishop of Albano, Italy
* The Rev. Adolfo Nicolas, head of the Jesuit order

Whether the group overhauls the original working document, called the Instrumentum Laboris, or goes back to the drawing board, it’s supposed to incorporate the hundreds of suggestions made by the synod’s 13 small working groups.

Reverend Fr. Loren F. O'Dea

Memorial Networks

Reverend Fr. Loren F. O'Dea
June 11, 1928 - October 14, 2015

Age 87, of Waterford, died early Wednesday morning, October 14, 2015, at Lourdes Senior Community, Waterford.

Father Loren was born June 11, 1928, the son of the late Joseph Daniel Sr. and Harriet O’Dea.

Father Loren had a career as a social worker, then Director of Mental Health at Pontiac General Hospital. In retirement, he returned to Sacred Heart Major Seminary where he was ordained a priest in 1993. He served Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Farmington.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by siblings, J. Daniel Jr., Paul (Kathryn), Catherine, Robert (Lois), John “Jackie”, and Michael (Joan).

New suit against former St. Louis priest, alleging another case of abuse

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS • A new sexual abuse lawsuit has been filed against the Archdiocese of St. Louis and Archbishop Robert Carlson over a priest who has been accused multiple times in the past.

Father Leroy Valentine, also a defendant, is accused in the suit of repeatedly abusing a young student who attended the Church of the Immacolata between approximately 1977 and 1981, starting when the boy was age 11.

Attorneys from Chackes, Carlson and Gorovsky filed the suit last week in St. Louis County Circuit Court. The petition says Valentine told the boy the abuse was "special training" required for becoming an altar boy.

Valentine has been accused of childhood sexual abuse multiple times in the past.

Retired vicar Frank Baldwick, 91, jailed for sex abuse of boy in Bolton and Atherton vicarages

This is Lancashire

A FORMER vicar aged 91 has been jailed for three years for sexually abusing a boy in vicarages in Bolton and Atherton.

Frank Baldwick was sentenced today after previously being convicted by a jury of nine men and three women at Bolton Crown Court.

They took just 90 minutes, in August, to return guilty verdicts on the two counts of indecent assault.

The offences — which date from the late 1970s when Baldwick was the Church of England vicar of St Michael’s Great Lever, and then of St Anne’s Hindsford, Atherton — were committed against a boy aged between 11 and 13 at the time.

Cardinal Napier: No more concerns about synod process, optimistic about outcome

National Catholic Reporter

Joshua J. McElwee | Oct. 20, 2015

One of the 13 cardinals said to have signed a letter to Pope Francis sharply criticizing the ongoing Synod of Bishops has said he no longer has concerns about the gathering and is even optimistic about its outcome.

South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier told reporters at a briefing Tuesday that Francis' response to the letter -- addressing the entire bishops' gathering on its second day of work Oct. 6 -- "made a huge difference … in the scale of confidence and of trust" in the pope and the synod process.

After hearing the pontiff that day, Napier said he felt "that the concerns had registered, they were being taken care of and therefore, from there on, everyone was going to work at the synod with all they've got."

"I think that's what I've experienced and that has been why I feel that this synod takes up where that first week of the last one had left off, when we were all optimistic and looking forward to really looking together on the issues as a team," said the cardinal, referring to an earlier synod held in 2014.

Synod: long term effects of sexual abuse on family life

Vatican Radio

[with audio]

(Vatican Radio) The Synod of Bishops on the family winds up its small language group work on Tuesday, with participants discussing further changes they’d like to see reflected in the concluding document.

Over the past two weeks the Church leaders have been seeking to resolve tensions between two different visions of family life and ministry, one focused more on the traditional teaching of the Church and the other searching for new ways of engaging with people living in relationships outside of that Church teaching.

Maria Harries is one of the 30 women attending the Synod as an auditor or specialist in different areas of family life. She chairs the Catholic Social Services in Australia and works with survivors of clerical sex abuse as a member of the Australian Catholic bishops’ Truth, Justice and Healing Council. She talked to Philippa Hitchen about her appeal to Synod fathers to broaden their vision of family life and to acknowledge the healing that still needs to take place for families devastated by the impact of sexual abuse…

Maria speaks first about the importance of listening to and engaging with different cultures, as she has learn through her own experience with Australia’s Aboriginal people. She explains how they have a very different family model which is not nuclear but rather a kinship or broader family system where a child can have many mothers or fathers…

She also talks about the lasting damage done by sexual abuse to both survivors’ families and the wider communities of the Church where people learn of crimes committed in their parish or religious organisation.

Listen to women, say auditors to Synod Fathers

Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, October 2015 (VIS) – The role of the woman in the family, in society and in the Church, cultural differences, concerns regarding ethics in medicine, the situation of persecuted Christian families and the testimonies of those engaged in family catechesis were main themes of the interventions by auditors in the Synod Hall during the general congregations of Thursday 15 and Friday 16 October, published today.

The national president of the Catholic Women Organisation in Nigeria, Agnes Offiong Erogunaye, reminded the Synod Fathers that African women are known for taking care of their families with or without the contributions of their spouses, and the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria indicates the strength and role of “a typical woman and mother determined to keep her family together in the face of helplessness and calamity”. She added, “From my experience with women in this difficult moment, I can boldly say that although the man is the head of the family, the woman is however the heart of the family, and when the heart stops beating the family dies because the foundation is shaken and the stability destroyed. In Nigeria, Catholic women are not just homebuilders. They are a strong force to be reckoned with when it comes to spirituality and economy, and growth in the Church”.

Sister Maureen Kelleher from the United States of America quoted the paragraph in the Instrumentum laboris that states, “The Church must instil in families a sense of 'we' in which no member is forgotten. Everyone ought to be encouraged to develop their skills and accomplish their personal plan of life in service of the Kingdom of God”. She called upon the Church, “my family”, to “live up to the challenge to instil in our family the Church a sense of 'we', to encourage each person – male or female – to develop their skills to serve the Kingdom of God”. She added, “I ask our Church leaders to recognise how many women who feel called to be in service of the Kingdom of God but cannot find a place in our Church. Gifted though some may be, they cannot bring their talents to the tables of decision making and pastoral planning. They must go elsewhere to be of service in building the Kingdom of God. In 1974, at the Synod on Evangelisation, one of our sisters, Margaret Mary, was one of two nuns appointed from the Union of Superiors General. Today, forty years later, we are three”.

“The Church needs to listen to women … as only in reciprocal listening does true discernment function”, emphasised Lucetta Scaraffia, professor of Modern History at the University of Rome. “Women are great experts in the family: leaving abstract theories behind, we can turn in particular to women to understand what must be done, and how we can lay the foundations for a new family open to respect for all its members, no longer based on the exploitation on the capacity for sacrifice of the woman, but instead ensuring emotional nourishment and solidarity for all. Instead, both in the text and in the contributions very little is said about women, about us. As if mothers, daughters, grandmothers, wives – the heart of families – were not a part of the Church, of the Church who encompasses the world, who thinks, who decides. As if it were possible to continue, even in relation to the family, pretending that women do not exist. As if it were possible to continue to forget the new outlook, the previously unheard-of and revolutionary relationship that Jesus had with women”.

Indian bishop seeks president's help for arrested priest

UCA News

ucanews.com reporter, Bhopal
October 20, 2015

A Catholic bishop has sought the intervention of Indian president Pranab Mukherjee to look into a case in Chhattisgarh state where a priest was accused of allegedly raping a fourth-grade student.

Bishop Patras Minj of Ambikapur wrote to Mukherjee pleading for him to initiate a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigations into the sex charges leveled against Father Joseph Dhanaswami.

The state police are "working under pressure from extremist groups and political parties," Bishop Minj said in his Oct. 17 letter. Chhattisgarh state in central India is run by the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.

Father Dhanaswami, principal of Jyoti Mission High School of Ambikapur Diocese in Chhattisgarh state, along with hostel warden Samaritan Sister Christ Maria and a maid were arrested Sept. 11 following a complaint by the mother of a fourth-grade student.

Il processo a don Librizzi


L'ex direttore della Caritas è accusato di concussione e violenza sessuale.

TRAPANI - La condanna a 10 anni dell'ex direttore della Caritas di Trapani, don Sergio Librizzi, è stata chiesta oggi al giudice Cavasino che presiede il processo che si svolge col rito abbreviato. Librizzi fu arrestato nel giugno dell'anno scorso dagli agenti della sezione di pg della Forestale, con le accuse di concussione e violenza sessuale: avrebbe preteso prestazioni sessuali da alcuni richiedenti asilo politico in cambio del proprio aiuto all'interno della commissione prefettizia della quale faceva parte.

Italian priest 'preyed on asylum seekers for sex'

The Local

Prosecutors in Sicily are seeking a 10-year prison term for a priest who allegedly extorted sex from asylum seekers in return for helping them to obtain residency permits.

Father Sergio Librizzi, who was arrested in June last year on aggravated sexual assault charges, allegedly preyed on asylum seekers staying at centres in the Trapani area, LiveSicilia reported.

He had been working on a committee which handled asylum claims when the alleged assaults took place. At the time of his arrest, investigators found a box containing some €10,000, which is thought to have been used as "offerings" to entice asylum seekers.

A former director at the Trapani branch of the Catholic charity, Caritas, Librizzi is also being probed in connection with separate charges related to the management of the centres, Ansa reported.

Archdiocese Sued Over Alleged Abuse by Church of the Immocalata Priest Leroy Valentine

Riverfront Times

Posted By Sarah Fenske on Tue, Oct 20, 2015

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis was sued Friday over sex abuse allegedly suffered by a young boy who attended school at the Church of the Immocolata in Richmond Heights.

The suit, filed by a pair of anonymous parents on behalf of their son, alleges that Fr. Leroy Valentine began abusing the boy when he was eleven — eventually sodomizing him in the rectory. The abuse allegedly continued for four years, from 1977 to 1981.

Valentine was a priest within the Archdiocese from 1977 to 2002, when he was removed from active duty, according to the lawsuit. But, the suit alleges, "although his church privileges were permanently removed in 2002, he was never laicized" — that is, officially defrocked.

In 2013, Archbishop Robert Carlson found allegations of sexual abuse against Valentine, then 71, to be substantiated.

The suit was filed by attorney Kenneth Chackes of Chackes, Carlson and Gorovsky, who frequently handles such chases against the Archdiocese.

Assignment Record– Rev. Raymond Cossette


Summary of Case: Raymond Cossette was ordained a priest of the Duluth diocese in 1955. He ministered in parishes and was involved in high schools as an instructor, athletic director, chaplain and principal. He was also Diocesan Superintendent of Schools for a time in the 1960s, and served on the Diocesan Tribunal. For twenty years he was chaplain at Brainerd State School and Hospital. His assignments took him from Hibbing to Duluth, Biwabik, Brainerd and Hillman. He retired in 1995 and is last known to have been living in Brainerd. Cossette's name was included on a list released by the diocese in December 2013 of clergy who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse of young persons while serving in diocese. His status at the time was "re-investigation initiated."

Born: December 24, 1929
Ordained: 1955
Retired: 1995

Public hearing into Catholic Church authorities in Ballarat

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

20 October, 2015

The Royal Commission will hold the second part of the public hearing regarding Catholic Church authorities in Ballarat at the County Court of Victoria, Melbourne.

This hearing will be co-ordinated with the public hearing regarding the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne and evidence from witnesses common to each hearing will be received. It is anticipated that the hearing regarding Catholic Church authorities in Ballarat will commence around 7 December 2015 depending on the progress of the hearing into the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne.

The scope and purpose of the second part of this public hearing is to inquire into:

1. The response of the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat and of other Catholic Church authorities in Ballarat to allegations of child sexual abuse against clergy or religious.

2. The response of Victoria Police to allegations of child sexual abuse against clergy or religious which took place within the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat.

3. Any related matters.

Cardinal Pell is expected to give evidence during the last week of the hearing.

Any person or institution who believes that they have a direct and substantial interest in the scope and purpose of the public hearing is invited to lodge a written application for leave to appear at the public hearing by 12 November 2015.

Public hearing into Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

20 October, 2015

The Royal Commission will hold a public hearing to inquire into the response of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne to allegations of child sexual abuse. The public hearing will commence on 24 November 2015 in Melbourne at the County Court of Victoria.

This hearing will be co-ordinated with the continuation of the hearing regarding Catholic Church authorities in Ballarat and evidence from witnesses common to each hearing will be received.

The scope and purpose of the public hearing in relation to the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne is to inquire into:

1. The response of relevant authorities within or associated with the Archdiocese of Melbourne to allegations of child sexual abuse against Catholic clergy associated with the Holy Family Parish, Doveton, and the Holy Family Primary School, Doveton.

2. The response of the Archdiocese of Melbourne to allegations of child sexual abuse against other Catholic clergy, including Fr Wilfred Baker; Fr David Daniel; Fr Nazareno Fasciale; Fr Desmond Gannon; Fr Paul Pavlou; and Fr Ronald Pickering.

3. Any related matters.

Any person or institution who believes that they have a direct and substantial interest in the scope and purpose of the public hearing is invited to lodge a written application for leave to appear at the public hearing by 5 November 2015.

Senator Bill Heffernan claims he has a police list which names 28 people, including a former prime minister, as suspected paedophiles



LIBERAL senator Bill Heffernan claims he has a police list which names 28 prominent people, including a former prime minister, as suspected paedophiles.

Senator Heffernan didn’t name any names but called on Attorney-General George Brandis to expand the child abuse royal commission so that it includes the legal fraternity.

He told a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra today he had provided the commission with documents, one naming the alleged paedophiles including “a whole lot of prominent people.”
Senator Heffernan is a vociferous campaigner against paedophiles, but his information hasn’t always been right.

In 2002 he used parliamentary privilege to falsely accuse a judge of using commonwealth cars to procure young men for sex. He said there was sadly a compromise at the highest levels.

Abuse inquiry ‘should investigate former PM for pedophilia’<

The Australian

OCTOBER 20, 2015

Sarah Martin
Political reporter

A Liberal senator has told a parliamentary inquiry that a list of 28 “prominent” pedophiles, which allegedly includes a former Australian prime minister and members of the judiciary, should be investigated by the royal commission into child sexual abuse.

NSW senator Bill Heffernan said he had been advised that the list of names, which he claims was uncovered during the Wood Royal Commission into the NSW Police Force and given to him by a police officer, was outside the scope of the commission’s inquiry.

Speaking under the protection of parliamentary privilege in a Senate estimates hearing this afternoon, Senator Heffernan asked Attorney General George Brandis to consider pursuing the “institution of the law” through the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

He said “disturbing” documents he had given to the commission chief executive Phillip Reed included a list of 28 alleged paedophiles, which he claimed had not been investigated by the Wood Royal Commission because of concern it may tarnish the reputation of the judiciary.

“We have in Australia sadly a compromise at the highest of levels. There is a former prime minister on this list and it is a police document.

Anglican priest Campbell Brown found dead

Newcastle Herald

By JOANNE McCARTHY Oct. 20, 2015

NEWCASTLE priest Campbell Brown was found dead in his home on Sunday as the Anglican Church prepared for a hearing into child sexual abuse allegations against him from the 1960s.

Reverend Brown, 80, died only hours after attending a service at Newcastle’s Christ Church Cathedral where people were asked to say a prayer for survivors of child sexual abuse and to stand with those who had been abused.

He died two days after former Grafton Bishop Keith Slater was defrocked for failing to act when allegations against Reverend Brown and fellow Newcastle clergyman Allan Kitchingman were raised with the Anglican Church in 2005.

Reverend Brown died two years after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard evidence that he had ‘‘made an implied admission of guilt’’ about sexually assaulting a boy at Lismore’s North Coast Children’s Home in the early 1960s.

Anglican priest discovered dead in home

The Morning Bulletin

Chris Calcino | 20th Oct 2015

AN ANGLICAN priest suspected of sexual offences against children in northern NSW has been found dead in his home.

Reverend Campbell Brown was awaiting and internal church professional standards hearing when his body was discovered in his Hunter Valley home on Sunday.

The 80-year-old was accused during the 2013 Royal Commission into child sexual abuse of making an "implied admission of guilt" that he had sexually assaulted a young boy at the North Coast Children's Home in Lismore about five decades earlier.

His death came two days after former Grafton Bishop Keith Slater was removed from holy orders for failing to report claims of Rev Brown and another priest's alleged crimes to police.

The former bishop was stood-down by the same standards board that was due to look into Rev Brown's alleged admission.

Expert and leading social worker appointed to child abuse inquiry panel

Herald Scotlan

A leading social worker and an expert on child abuse have been appointed to Scotland's public inquiry into the historical abuse of children in care.

Panel members Glenn Houston and Professor Michael Lamb will help chair Susan O'Brien QC with the work of the inquiry, which formally began at the start of the month.

Mr Houston is the chief executive of Northern Ireland's independent health and social care regulator, the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority, and has more than 30 years' experience working in the field.

Mr Lamb is a professor of psychology at the University of Cambridge and headed a research unit at the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Washington DC for 17 years.

Couple pleads guilty to sexually abusing children at Eagle church ranch


EAGLE, Idaho (KBOI) -- A married couple from Eagle, who worked as house parents at a local Christian church ranch, have pleaded guilty to sexually abusing children, according to Idaho court records.

Michael P. Magill and his wife, Jennifer, pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a minor 16 or 17 and sexual abuse of a minor under the age of 16.

An investigation into the couple began back in August after detectives were notified of abuse from a family member from one of the victims. Police then interviewed the girls, searched the Christian Children's Church Ranch in Eagle, and then arrested the couple the following day.

Duluth priest's abuse trial likely a first under Child Victims Act

Pioneer Press

By Elizabeth Mohr
POSTED: 10/19/2015

Jury selection began Monday in a clergy sex abuse lawsuit against the Diocese of Duluth, marking what attorneys say is the first such a case to go to trial under Minnesota's Child Victims Act.

The Child Victims Act, enacted by the Legislature in 2013, suspended the statute of limitations for victims of child sex abuse who wished to sue, even if the abuse took place decades ago. The previous law prevented legal action after victims reached age 24. The new law allows such claims to be brought until May 2016.

Until now, many claims brought under the law have been settled before trial, or rolled into the bankruptcy case of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, or dismissed for other reasons.

In the case filed by "Doe 30," the Diocese of Duluth denies the allegations -- that it was aware that the Rev. James Vincent Fitzgerald had been previously accused and that it failed to adequately supervise him.

Initially, the lawsuit, filed in February 2014, also named as defendants the Diocese of New Ulm and Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The Oblates order settled with the plaintiff, and a judge dismissed claims against the New Ulm diocese.

Pell to be at 'confronting' abuse inquiry

NT News


THE Catholic Church's handling of two decades of abuse by pedophile priests in a Melbourne parish will be the focus of a royal commission hearing featuring Cardinal George Pell.

CARDINAL Pell, now the Vatican's finance chief, will give evidence to the commission's public hearing into the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne's response to child abuse as well as its continuing inquiry into widespread abuse by clergy in the Ballarat diocese.

The month-long hearings will begin on November 24 in Melbourne and Cardinal Pell is expected to give evidence during the sitting's final week, which will be from December 14 to 18, the royal commission said on Tuesday.

The former Melbourne and Sydney archbishop and Ballarat priest has already appeared twice before the child abuse royal commission on other issues.

Cardinal Pell came under fire following claims again aired during the first stage of the Ballarat hearing in May that he tried to bribe one abuse victim to keep quiet, ignored complaints and was complicit in moving Australia's worst pedophile priest, Gerald Francis Ridsdale, to a different parish. Cardinal Pell has repeatedly denied the claims.

October 19, 2015

Church sex abuse lawsuit heads to court

Northlands News Center

[with video]

By Nick Minock

October 19, 2015

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.COM) --- One of the several lawsuits filed in connection with sexual abuse in the Catholic Church began Monday morning in St. Paul.

The lawsuit, that is filed by Jeff Anderson and Associates, involves the Diocese of Duluth.
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The lawsuit claims that Father J. Vincent Fitzgerald abused a teenage altar boy in 1978.

The lawsuit claims the now deceased priest molested the boy "on a daily basis."

The priest was working at St. Catherine's Church at the time under the Diocese of Duluth.

The lawsuit is set to go to trial.

"Victims of sexual abuse who come forward to tell their stories do a public service," the Diocese of Duluth said in a statement. "They help society seek justice. They help all of us, including the church, to do a better job of preventing sexual abuse."

More church documents ordered released in Ramsey County clergy sex abuse trial

Star Tribune

By Chao Xiong Star Tribune OCTOBER 19, 2015

A judge ordered the Diocese of Duluth on Monday to produce more priest files as it prepared to defend itself in a civil trial involving alleged clergy sex abuse.

The diocese failed to abide by a January court order to turn over all documents about alleged abuse it possessed before 1978, Ramsey County District Court Judge John Guthmann said Monday.

“I do not think this was in bad faith,” the judge said, “but it needs to be rectified.”

Guthmann also sanctioned the diocese $1,250 for failing to turn over all of the necessary documents to attorneys Jeff Anderson, Mike Finnegan and Elin Lindstrom. The three attorneys are representing a former altar boy, named Doe 30 in the case, who is suing the diocese.

The case is significant because it is the first lawsuit under the Minnesota Child Victims Act to go to trial. That 2013 law has allowed older claims of child sex abuse previously barred by statutes of limitations to have their day in court.

Child Sex Abuse Survivors Demand Investigation After Testimonies Deleted


By Felicity Capon 10/19/15

Child sex abuse survivors in Britain have called for an immediate investigation into revelations that testimonies they had given to an inquiry into the abuse was "instantly and permanently deleted" due to a technical error.

A statement posted on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse's website last week, explained that due to a change in the website address, information that had been submitted through the "share your experience" page between 14 September and 2 October was deleted before it reached the investigation's engagement team.

The inquiry was set up last July, prompted by claims from politicians and campaigners that paedophiles operated in Westminster during the 1980s. Its intention, as stated on its website, is to investigate whether "state and non-state institutions have failed in their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation" in England and Wales. The site also says it "will support victims and survivors to share their experience of sexual abuse." The inquiry's panel is led by New Zealand judge, Lowell Goddard.

Addressing the recent loss of the testimonies, a message on the inquiry's site reads, "We are very sorry for any inconvenience or distress this will cause and would like to reassure you that no information was put at risk of disclosure or unauthorised access. Due to the security measures on our website, your information cannot be found or viewed by anyone else as it was immediately and permanently destroyed."

Tonight at 10: An Orphan Speaks Out

Northlands New Center

[with video]

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) -- The ongoing news of the child sex abuse lawsuits against the Diocese of Duluth, has awakened some very troubling and painful memories for some.

For almost 70 years a Northland man has kept his silence about abuse he says he and his brothers suffered at the hands of priests at St. James Orphanage in Duluth.

Gene was just nine years old when he his two older brothers had to move into the orphanage just off Woodland Avenue.

Now as he ages, and faces a debilitating disease, Gene Saumer decided it was time to speak out.

Statement from Diocese of Duluth

Northland News Center

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Statement of Father James Bissonette, vicar general

“Victims of sexual abuse who come forward to tell their stories do a public service. They help society seek justice. They help all of us, including the church, to do a better job of preventing sexual abuse. They may find it helpful in their own healing. They give us a chance to tell them we’re sorry and that we want to help them. And importantly they let other people who have been sexually abused know that they’re not alone, that it’s OK to come forward and that it’s not their fault. So we are grateful to people who come forward, and we continue to ask anyone who has been hurt in this way to do so. We offer them our deepest apologies and sympathy, and we offer to support them in any way we can, as we continue our efforts to make our parishes, schools and other facilities the safest places they can possibly be for children and young people.”

Bankruptcy judge frustrated with Gallup Diocese case


By Chelo Rivera
Published: October 19, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) – A judge says he is getting frustrated as a New Mexico diocese nears its second year in bankruptcy court.

The Gallup Independent reports that U.S. Bankruptcy Judge David T. Thuma said during a Thursday court hearing that he’s not pleased the Diocese of Gallup’s case is still going on.

He agreed to the diocese’s request to postpone its final hearing, originally scheduled for next month. He scheduled a status conference in its place.

Thuma hasn’t yet ruled on a request from Phoenix attorney Robert E. Pastor, who represents 18 people who say they were sexually abused by the diocese’s clergy.

Media Release – October 19, 2015

Road to Recovery

Archbishop Emeritus of Hartford, CT, and former Bishop of Fall River, MA, Daniel A. Cronin to be deposed on October 21, 2015, as part of a Massachusetts Superior Court Civil Complaint alleging negligent supervision by two clergy sexual abuse victims of Msgr. Maurice Souza of the Diocese of Fall River, MA

Fall River, MA priest Msgr. Maurice Souza sexually abused minor children in CT, MA and numerous other states over the course of years

A press conference announcing that Archbishop Emeritus of Hartford, CT, and former Bishop of Fall River, MA, Daniel A. Cronin will be deposed on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 by attorneys for two men who have alleged that they were sexually abused by a Fall River, MA diocesan priest, Msgr. Maurice Souza, and that Msgr. Souza was negligently supervised by former Fall River Bishop Daniel A. Cronin. According to the Civil Complaint, the two plaintiffs are represented by Attorney Mitchell Garabedian of Boston, MA.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at 11:00 am

On the public sidewalk in front of the headquarters of the Diocese of Fall River, MA near 423 Highland Avenue, Fall River, MA 02720 – 508-675-1311

Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., President of Road to Recovery, Inc., a non-profit charity that assists victims of sexual abuse and their families, and advocate for the plaintiffs in this case

In June, 2015, a Civil Complaint was filed in Middlesex (MA) Superior Court on behalf of two Massachusetts men who allege that they were sexually abused in CT, MA, and numerous other states over the course of years by Msgr. Maurice Souza, a now deceased priest of the Diocese of Fall River, MA. The two plaintiffs allege that between approximately 1977 and 1986, when they were altar boys at St. Anthony’s Parish in East Falmouth, MA on Cape Cod, Msgr. Maurice Souza sexually abused them as minor children. The two plaintiffs allege that they were approximately 9-17 years of age when they were sexually abused by Msgr. Maurice Souza. The bishop of the Fall River, MA, Diocese from approximately 1970 until 1991 was Daniel A. Cronin who was the supervisor of Fall River diocesan priest Msgr. Maurice Souza when he was assigned to St. Anthony’s Parish in East Falmouth, MA. The two victims were taken as minor children to Connecticut, Massachusetts, and several other states to attend athletic and other events. Archbishop Emeritus of Hartford, CT, Daniel A. Cronin, when he was Bishop of the Diocese of Fall River, MA, is accused of negligent hiring, retention, direction, and supervision, among other things. Attorneys for the plaintiffs will depose Archbishop Emeritus of Hartford, CT, and former Diocese of Fall River Bishop Daniel A. Cronin on Wednesday, October 21, 2015.

Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., Road to Recovery, Inc., Livingston, NJ – 862-368-2800

Assignment Record– Rev. Leonard Oliver Colston


Summary of Case: Leonard Colston was ordained for the Duluth MN diocese in 1980, at age 54. He served in parishes in Brainerd, Floodweed, Meadowlands and Elmer MN before transferring in 1984 to the New Ulm MN diocese where he worked in Nicollet, Hutchinson, Ortonville and Olivia parishes. Per Duluth diocesan officials, Colston resigned September 6, 1986. His whereabouts after that are unclear. He died November 4, 2004. Colston's name was included on the Duluth diocese's December 2013 list of clergy who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse of young persons while serving in the diocese.

Born: October 10, 1936
Ordained: 1980
Died: November 4, 2004

US sister-auditor: Synod shows cultural divide between bishops, laypeople

National Catholic Reporter

Joshua J. McElwee | Oct. 19, 2015

The discussions at the ongoing Synod of Bishops have shown a clear difference in mindsets between the prelates considering issues of family life and ordinary Catholics looking to the gathering in hopes for changes in church pastoral practice, one of the non-voting participants in the event has said.

U.S. Sacred Heart of Mary Sr. Maureen Kelleher -- who is taking part in the Oct. 4-25 synod as one of 32 women serving in non-voting roles alongside the 270 prelate-members -- said there is a clear cultural divide between bishops' and laypersons' points of view.

"There's such a culture here and a common background," said Kelleher, speaking in an NCR interview. "These men have all pretty much studied together through formation and onward -- [and] are very steeped in the magisterium and the canons and the different papal documents that have come out and have formed them."

"And they're very, very -- well, they're in pain I think to deal with the pastoral situation and reaching for particularly the remarried after divorce in a way that would be accompanying them ... and yet being faithful to their understanding of Jesus' sentences on divorce and its consequences," she continued.

Clash of the archbishops: Synod dispute between senior churchmen goes public

Religion News Service

David Gibson | October 19, 2015

ROME (RNS) The eight American bishops taking part in a Vatican summit on family life stay at a huge seminary built high on a hill overlooking St. Peter’s Basilica and the rest of the Eternal City.

It’s a lovely place with spacious apartments for each bishop and any amenity they might need.

But for all that, it may be getting a tad uncomfortable.

In the latest installment of an increasingly sharp exchange conducted via the media, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput on Monday (Oct. 19) rejected what he took as a swipe at him by Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl, also a member of the U.S. delegation at this gathering of global bishops.

Chaput, who hosted Francis for the final two days of the papal visit to the U.S. last month, didn’t like what he saw as Wuerl’s attempt to lump him in with the conservative opposition to the pope at the gathering, called a synod.

Sex assault accused priest Vickery House 'denied gay feelings'

BBC News

A retired priest accused of indecent assault told a court he spent 40 years "in denial" of his homosexual feelings.

Vickery House, 69, of West Sussex also said he had a sexual relationship with a man while at theological college.

Mr House, of Brighton Road, Handcross kept the relationship secret and married his childhood sweetheart.

At the Old Bailey, the retired Church of England priest denies eight charges of indecent assault against six males aged 15 to 34, between 1970 and 1986.

The court heard that Mr House, who has been married for 47 years and has two children, was aged 18 when he had his first sexual encounter with a male.

Bishop calls for reflection after priest's death

ABC News

A suspected paedophile Anglican priest has been found dead in his Hunter home while awaiting a hearing into child sex abuse allegations.

Reverend Campbell Brown was accused of abuse at the North Coast Children's Home dating back more than 50 years.

Evidence of the abuse was recently heard by the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse.

It is understood Brown was awaiting a Diocesan Professional Standards hearing but was found dead in his Hunter home on Sunday.

Newcastle Anglican Bishop Greg Thompson has sent a letter to Members of the Synod saying "the burdens people carry can lead to awful consequences".

He says people should be mindful of those who bear great struggles of mind and spirit and how important it is to share the burden with others.


Religion Dispatches


t’s official—with Ross Douthat’s conspiracy-drenched Sunday column, the idea that the synod is somehow a “plot to change Catholicism” has leapt from the far-right Catholic fringe to the conservative Catholic mainstream.

Conservatives have been pushing the idea for months that the synod isn’t just a meeting of bishops to discuss how the church’s teachings on the family can be made more relevant for Catholics, but a Machiavellian plot by Pope Francis and his allies to change church doctrine. As evidence, as per Douthat, they offer the fact that Francis has changed the synod procedures to allow for actual discussion about issues like the pastoral treatment of divorced and remarried Catholics or gay Catholics:

The documents guiding the synod have been written with that in mind. The pope has made appointments to the synod’s ranks with that goal in mind. … The churchmen charged with writing the final synod report have been selected with that goal in mind.

As Douthat himself notes, with the “ranks of Catholic bishops includ[ing] so many Benedict XVI and John Paul II-appointed conservatives,” it would have been fundamentally pointless to hold a purely “democratic” synod in which the majority of the existing bishops drafted the synod document and controlled the discussion and final report.

The result would have been a synod like any of the other synods over the past 35 years: the bishops would assemble and give their pre-written “interventions” affirming current church policy, agree that current church policy was awesome, eat some fabulous meals in Rome, and then go home. (And for the record, conservatives have argued for years that the church isn’t a democracy.)

Pope's family synod: No changes, but everything has changed

Tidewater Review

By NICOLE WINFIELD Associated Press
October 19, 2015

It's now quite certain that Pope Francis' big summit on family issues won't endorse any changes to church doctrine on the church's teaching about homosexuality or whether civilly remarried Catholics can receive Communion.

And yet, it seems, everything has changed.

From the crucial role African bishops have played in the debate, to calls to remove "intrinsically disordered" from the church's language on gays, to the freedom bishops now enjoy to speak their minds on once-taboo issues, Francis' synod on the family has at the very least shaken up the church for years to come.

And if Francis has his way, there's more ahead.

Francis delivered a sleeper bombshell of a speech over the weekend kicking off the final week of the synod in which he called for nothing less than a revolution in the concept of the Catholic Church itself. He said it's not a top-down organization with the pope in charge but rather an inverted pyramid where the summit — the pope — is underneath and in service to the "holy faithful people of God" who are its base.

He called for a "healthy decentralization" of authority on certain problems from Rome to local bishops' conferences, and said the papacy itself should be rethought, with the pope guiding the church but really just one bishop among many, one Catholic among many.

"It's a very delicate moment, where you realize that the relationship between the church and the world is at stake," the Rev. Antonio Spadaro, a Jesuit close to Francis, said as the synod entered its third and crucial week.

Editorial: Bankruptcy judge buys bad auction deal

Gallup Independent

Published in the Gallup Independent, Gallup, N.M., Oct. 16, 2015

At the beginning of the Diocese of Gallup’s Chapter 11 case, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge David T. Thuma said he was going to keep the proceedings as transparent as possible. And up until recently, Thuma has kept his word.

However, the public should be aware that much of what transpires in a bankruptcy case actually happens during behind-the-scenes negotiations between attorneys for the different parties. The public and the media are shut out of those deals and will remain forever in the dark once the case concludes.

In a flagrant violation of Thuma’s desire to keep the case as transparent as possible, the public and the media were recently shut out of the Diocese of Gallup’s property auctions. As a result, the public does not know how well attended — or how poorly attended — the auctions were. The public does not know if the bidding on diocesan property was vigorous — or weak. The public does not know the identities of the successful bidders.

During the Hearing on the Order to Show Cause, Thuma admitted he intended the auctions to be open to the public — in the sense that the non-bidding public and media could attend and observe. And though we have found Thuma to be a thoughtful and fair-minded judge up until this point, he made the following extremely illogical statement: “There’s no question in my mind that if the press had come to me before the auction and said, ‘Can I attend, I won’t disrupt, I just want to observe,’ I would clearly have let them do that. And I’m sorry that didn’t happen.”

How would a member of the media even think to contact the judge to ask permission to attend an auction that had appeared to be advertised as open to the public? And how would a member of the public, such as the doctoral student doing research, know to contact the judge in advance to ask permission to attend an auction that appeared to be open to the public? Perhaps Thuma thinks the media and the public should have the ability to read minds or foretell the future?

Or perhaps Thuma should have just stuck to his principles and sanctioned the Diocese of Gallup and the auctioneer in some meaningful way.

We understand Thuma was between a rock and a hard place. Thuma said if he could invalidate the most recent auction with little or no expense and order a new auction, he would. However, he noted that a second auction might result in even lower bid prices, which Thuma described as “kind of imponderable.”

We find the bargain basement sales prices of the first auctions kind of imponderable, which is why we raised the issue of the extremely lackluster marketing campaign that cost the Gallup Diocese $45,000.

And what were the results of that marketing campaign? Diocesan attorneys proudly pointed out one positive news article in one Tucson newspaper — unfortunately, the diocese wasn’t selling any property anywhere near Tucson.

Where is the evidence of real marketing efforts in the communities actually near the property for sale: Arizona communities like Winslow, Holbrook, Show Low, Snowflake, St. Johns and Springerville, and New Mexico communities like Gallup, Farmington, Taos, Rio Rancho, Albuquerque, Belen, Los Lunas, Las Cruces and Deming?

The Diocese of Gallup got taken for a ride, as did Judge Thuma. But we have to hand it to Todd Good, the owner of a California real estate marketing company that conducted the property auctions. Like all slick salesmen, Good has the ability to peddle some very dubious things to buyers who apparently think they are getting the real deal.

In the case of the Gallup Diocese officials, they shelled out $45,000 for a dubious marketing campaign. In the case of Thuma, he bought Good’s very dubious explanation about why he barred the public and the media from the Albuquerque auction. In a written statement that Good signed under the penalty of perjury, he pledged to the judge that it was his “custom and practice” not to admit non-bidders to his auctions. He pledged it was his “standard procedure” during 33 years of conducting auctions.

Well, contrary to Good’s sworn declaration, media reports out of Tucson in 2005 and Phoenix in 2008 don’t back up Good’s story. According to those reports, at least two newspapers and one television station have been allowed to send journalists into Good’s auctions.

Thuma needs to keep in mind the Diocese of Gallup landed in his bankruptcy courtroom because of decades of secrecy surrounding the sexual abuse of children. Thuma’s gentle rebuke to diocesan officials just supports their pattern of secrecy and their determination to keep the public unaware, ill-informed and in the dark.

In the future, Judge Thuma needs to stick to his promise of transparency, he needs to stick to his principles, and he needs to stop buying dubious deals peddled by snake oil salesmen.

In this space only does the opinion of the opinion of the Gallup Independent Editorial Board appear.

Assignment Record– Rev. Victor Lucien Chateauvert, M.S.F.


Summary of Case: A priest of the Missionaries of the Holy Family ordained in 1973, Chateauvert worked in parishes and a hospital in Los Angeles CA archdiocese, Ottowa Canada, and in the dioceses of Springfield IL and Duluth MN. In December 1992 he was arrested on suspicion of the sexual abuse over a three-year period of two Duluth MN teenage boys. He was convicted and sentenced to six months in jail. Chateauvert died March 3, 1999. His name was included on the Duluth diocese's list released in December 2013 of clergy who had been credibly accused of the sexual abuse of young persons while serving in the diocese.

Born: May 25, 1919
Ordained: September 25, 1973
Died: March 3, 1999

When Pastors Prey: Baptist perv Sammy Nuckolls

Watch Keep

[with videos]

via Crime Watch Daily

Sammy Nuckolls, a man of God, preyed on his parishioners in the sickest of ways. As cops would uncover, the pastor's own home was exposed as a sex trap.

Peeping preacher's prison sentence stands

Prosecutor Steven Jubera suggested Nuckolls’ aims were not altruistic but driven by the same “narcissistic tendencies” that got him in trouble in the first place.

“House arrest is really not going to prevent him from doing what he did in his own home in the first place,” Jubera said.

Chatham said he was pleased to hear that Nuckolls is doing good work and adjusting well to prison. “Perhaps that is your calling,” he said.

‘Peeping preacher’ case comes to TV

Baptist News

By Bob Allen

Incriminating video that three years ago helped land a former Southern Baptist evangelist in prison for video voyeurism aired on national television Oct. 15.

Thursday’s installment of Crime Watch Daily, a syndicated investigative news magazine series that debuted in the United States and Canada on Sept. 14, opened with the story of Sammy Nuckolls, a once-popular speaker at youth events including LifeWay Christian Resources’ FUGE summer camps. He is now serving 10 years in prison for planting hidden cameras to spy on women in a bathroom at his home in Olive Branch, Miss.

The broadcast, shown in two parts, includes clips shown at his sentencing hearing in September 2012 of Nuckolls setting up spy cameras to capture video of female houseguests as they got undressed to shower. Victims testified to feeling shame and violation of trust with descriptions including “video rape.”

“From the first time that I ever entered their home, that was his objective of our friendship,” Ashley Fisher, one of a few of Nuckolls’ victims who has spoken publicly about the crimes, told Crime Watch Daily.

Her husband, Adam Fisher, a youth pastor and worship leader who once looked up to Nuckolls as a role model and mentor, said he had to put their friendship aside when confronted with the revelation that they and other couples like them were being manipulated and abused.

“Looking back, I see there were a lot of different red flags I could have noticed but just kind of threw to the side, because he was a traveling evangelist,” Fisher admitted. “I mean, you can trust those guys.”

Has the Synod Turned a Corner?


Grant Gallicho
October 19, 2015

ROME—Hoping to see a resolution to the most neuralgic issues being debated at the Synod of the Family by the time it ends next weekend? Don’t hold your breath. That’s the message that came through during today’s briefing at the Holy See Press Office. While “there is confidence” among the synod fathers that “something can emerge from this process of fermentation,” according to Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia, there is no consensus on questions related to Communion for the divorced and remarried, homosexuality, and others living in “irregular relationships.”

That makes it highly unlikely that the final summary document, which synod fathers will vote on—paragraph by paragraph—later this week, will include definitive language on any of the contested issues. That doesn’t mean Pope Francis won’t step in at some point—my money is on a post-synodal study commission—and it certainly doesn’t mean that these three weeks of discernment have been a waste. To the contrary, as Francis made clear in his remarks commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the synod on Saturday, the synodality established by this meeting of bishops is a preview of what he wants to see from the whole church. “A synodal church is a listening church, aware that listening is more than hearing.” He continued: “It is a reciprocal listening in which each one has something to learn.”

Synoding is hard work—this has been a constant refrain of all the synod fathers who have appeared at the press conferences. And who could doubt it? It’s not unusual for participants to put in twelve-hour days. Coleridge spoke of a sense of “weariness” among the synod fathers. “I have a strong sense that we wonder how we’re going to get through to Sunday morning [when the synod concludes]—how we’re going to write a final document.”

Bishops admit: We don’t know much about sex, need married advisers

The Salt Lake Tribune

By ROSIE SCAMMELL Religion News Service

Vatican City • Bishops participating in the Vatican's synod on the family have admitted that they don't know much about sex — and that they need the help of laypeople to fully understand marital intimacy.

Laypeople play an important part in the discussions at their synod on the family, the Rev. Thomas Rosica, English-language assistant to the Vatican press office, said Friday.

"At the heart of the synod is human sexuality. And oftentimes it's muted and we don't know how to talk about it, because most of us in the room are male celibates," he said, citing comments of unnamed bishops.

Fourteen married couples and other laypeople have been brought in to fill in the gaps in the churchmen's knowledge, advising the 270 bishops as they discuss family issues.

The Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican's chief spokesman, cited bishops who said it is essential to grasp "the importance of sexuality in spouses' lives."

The Scandal of the Synod, by Terence McKiernan, BishopAccountability.org

Hamilton and Griffin on Rights

The Synod on the Family is now beginning its third and final week at the Vatican – does it matter?

Most reporting has focused on 13 dissident prelates, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Archbishop Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, who complained in a leaked letter to Pope Francis that the synod procedures seemed “designed to facilitate predetermined results” on the issue of “Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried” – the “Plot to Change Catholicism,” Ross Douthat calls it at the Times.

Meanwhile, judging from the reports of small groups and the interventions (three-minute speeches to the plenary), participants have mostly been toiling on amendments (so-called modi) to make the synodal work plan sing. This would seem to be a lost cause.

Churchspeak and a Phrase Unspoken

In all the synod’s waffly churchspeak, as Australian Archbishop Mark Coleridge calls it, one phrase remains unspoken – the sexual abuse of children by clergy.

Why is this?

Billions of dollars have been spent on the problem in the United States, where more than 6,427 clerics are accused of sexually assaulting more than 17,259 victims. Government inquiries are being conducted in Australia and Northern Ireland, and in the Republic of Ireland, church attendance has plunged in the wake of the Ryan, Murphy, and Cloyne reports. The installation of a tainted Chilean bishop caused a near-riot, and serious questions have been raised about the Pope’s own performance in Argentina. Francis has removed three U.S. bishops for criminal mismanagement of abuse cases (1, 2&3), and he has named a Pontifical Commission to advise him on the whole mess.

Yet the many thousands of damaged and destroyed families behind those headlines merit no attention whatsoever at the 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops: The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and the Contemporary World.

The one honorable exception is Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland, who said in his little-noticed intervention, “We know only too well the horrific impact of sins and crimes of abuse in the Church family: the betrayal of trust, the violation of dignity, the shame – both public and private, the anger and alienation, the wound that never seems to heal.”

Breaking down the decentralization debate at the 2015 Synod of Bishops


By John L. Allen Jr.
Associate editor October 19, 2015

ROME – Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz famously said that war is the “continuation of politics by other means.” In similar fashion, one could say that a mounting debate at the 2015 Synod of Bishops on the family over decentralization is the continuation of arguments over the “Kasper proposal” under another guise.

Named for German Cardinal Walter Kasper, the proposal would allow some divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to return to Communion. It generated both strong support and strong opposition at the synod last year, and although it’s really only coming into focus this week, those divisions appear to run through the current summit as well.

This year’s synod, which ends Sunday, is entering the home stretch, with bishops scheduled to take up the most contentious issues, including the Kasper proposal.

Perhaps despairing of finding consensus, some bishops have suggested allowing the question to be resolved at the level of national bishops’ conferences or local bishops.

That position may have gotten a boost over the weekend from a talk by Pope Francis on Saturday at an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops, in which he called for greater reflection on “intermediate types of collegiality” — basically, code for decentralization.

Historic child abuse panel members appointed

Scottish Legal News

Two panel members have been appointed to Scotland’s Historic Child Abuse Inquiry by Education Secretary Angela Constance today.

Glenn Houston and Professor Michael Lamb will undertake the work of the inquiry, alongside the chair, Susan O’Brien QC.

Mr Houston is chief executive of the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority of Northern Ireland and Professor Lamb is a professor of psychology and Fellow at Sidney Sussex College, the University of Cambridge.

The inquiry formally began on October 1, 2015 with Ms O’Brien calling for those who believe they have information to share with the Inquiry to make initial contact with the Inquiry team.

Ms Constance said: “Following the launch of the Inquiry, the naming of its counsel and the launch of the Inquiry website at the start of this month, I am pleased to be able to announce the appointment of two panel members to support the chair.

Experts appointed to child abuse inquiry panel

The Extra

A leading social worker and an expert on child abuse have been appointed to Scotland's public inquiry into the historical abuse of children in care.

Panel members Glenn Houston and Professor Michael Lamb will help chair Susan O'Brien QC with the work of the inquiry, which formally began at the start of the month.

Mr Houston is the chief executive of Northern Ireland's independent health and social care regulator, the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority, and has more than 30 years' experience working in the field.

Mr Lamb is a professor of psychology at the University of Cambridge and headed a research unit at the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Washington DC for 17 years.

Op-Ed/ Don't let time shield sex predators

Los Angeles Times

Joelle Casteix

When I was between the ages of 15 and 17, I was sexually abused by one of my high school teachers in Orange County. By the time the abuse ended, I was pregnant and had a sexually transmitted disease.

It took me years to understand the extent of my abuse and recover enough to come forward, but by that time, the criminal and civil statutes of limitations had expired. Even though I had evidence that my choir director had sexually assaulted me, there was nothing I could do to stop him from targeting other vulnerable teens.

California has abysmally complicated sex crime statutes. Child victims abused before Jan. 1, 2015, have until age 28 to file criminal charges and 26 to use the civil courts (with some exceptions for those who meet a high burden of proof). Minors abused after that date (or who didn't hit the time limit by that date) have until 40 to file criminal charges and 26 for civil charges, again with exceptions.

For adult sexual assault victims, there is no limit for aggravated sexual assault — that is, when the assailant uses a weapon or there are multiple assailants. For "normal" sexual assault, adult victims usually have 10 years to file criminal charges, unless there is DNA evidence, which can give victims more time. The limit for sexual assault civil cases is two years from the date of the occurrence.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 17 October 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- Msgr. Francesco Manenti as bishop of Senigallia, (area 580, population 130,012, Catholics 121,260, priests 86, permanent deacons 11, religious 110), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Sergnano, Italy in 1963 and was ordained a priest in 1975. He holds a licentiate in theology from the theological faculty of northern Italy in Milan, and has served in a number of pastoral roles in the diocese of Crema, including parish vicar at the Cathedral, chaplain, spiritual director of the episcopal seminary, teacher at the “Dante Alighieri” diocesan school, head of the diocesan centre for spirituality and diocesan director of the family office. He is currently vicar general of the diocese of Crema, parish priest, lecturer in theology and member of the Commission for the permanent formation of the clergy. He succeeds Bishop Giuseppe Orlandoni, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- Msgr. José Melitón Chávez as bishop of Añatuya (area 68,000, population 155,800, Catholics 138,000, priests 43, religious 110), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Romera Pozo in Argentina in 1957, and was ordained a priest in 1985. He has served in various roles in the archdiocese of Tucumán, including parish vicar, pastor, vicar forane, formator, vice rector and rector of the major seminary of Tucumán, assessor for Catholic Action, vicar general, episcopal vicar for soliarity and member of the pastoral council and college of consultors. He is currently pastor of the El Salvador parish.

- Msgr. José Luis Henao Cadavid as bishop of Libano – Honda (area 3,477, population 257,049, Catholics 238,710, priests 48, religious 83), Colombia. The bishop-elect was born in Andes, Colombia in 1954 and was ordained a priest in 1979. He holds a licentiate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University of Rome, and has served in a number of roles, including parish vicar, pastor, rector of the minor seminary, defender of the bond, judge in the ecclesiastical tribunal of Medellin, diocesan delegate for social and lay pastoral ministry, diocesan vicar for pastoral ministry and pastor of the Cathedral. He is currently pastor of the “Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes” parish in Andes.

- Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, archbishop of Santo Domingo, as his special envoy to the celebration of the fifth centenary of the city of Cumana, Venezuela, origin of the evangelisation of South America, scheduled for 27 November 2015.

Synod Bishops building bridges between truth and mercy

Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) The Synod of Bishops on the family moves into its third and final week on Monday with participants meeting in small language groups to discuss further changes they’d like to see in the concluding document.

Over the first two weeks the Church leaders have been seeking to resolve tensions between two different visions of family life and ministry, one focused more on the traditional teaching of the Church and the other searching for new ways of engaging with people in relationships or situations that do not conform to Catholic doctrine.

To find out about how the Church leaders are hoping to reconcile these two visions, Philippa Hitchen spoke to the bishop of Northampton in central England, Peter Doyle.....

Archdiocese: news reports distorted Newark archbishop's efforts to guide priests

The Tidings

By Kevin J. Jones

October 17, 2015 - Catholic News Agency

A memo from the Archbishop of Newark to his priests on the reception of the Eucharist aimed to provide guidance amid the challenges of modern life, but was “taken wildly out of context” in media reports.

James Goodness, the Newark archdiocese’s communications director, told CNA Oct. 15 that the memo is about principles, not rules or particular law. He said these principles aim to call on priests to “walk with the people” in their situations and “to cherish and welcome them to participate as they can, according to the faith.”

“This direction is very much in line with the thinking and actions of Pope Francis,” Goodness said.

He added that the Pope is “reminding priests today that Church teaching will not change, but that we are all called to help people to understand the teaching, resolve differences, and bring about conversion.”

Catholic Church statistics 2015

Independent Catholic News

Monday, October 19, 2015

The latest edition of the 'Church's Book of Statistics' was released to coincide with World Mission Sunday yesterday. The book details members of the Church, church structures, healthcare, welfare and education. Increases or decreases, emerging from comparison with last year's figures, are marked increase + or decrease - in brackets.

World population

To 31 December 2013 the world population was 7.093.798.000 with an increase of 70.421.000 compared with the previous year. Population growth was registered on every continent above all in Asia and Africa followed by America ; Europe and Oceania.


On the same date Catholics in the world numbered 1.253.926,000 with an overall increase of 25,305,000 more than the previous year. The increase affects all continents especially America and Africa followed by Asia ; Europe and Oceania.

The world percentage of Catholics increased by 0.09 %, settling at 17.68%. By continent: increases were registered in Africa, America, Asia, Europe. A slight decrease was shown in Oceania.

Persons and Catholics per priest

This year the number of persons per priest in the world increased by 180 units, average 13.752. The distribution by continent: increase in America; Europe and Oceania; decrease in Africa; Asia.

The number of Catholics per priest in the world increased by 54 units, average 3.019. There are increases in America; Europe and Oceania; decrease in Asia and Africa.

Cloyne Report priest challenges his dismissal in Rome

Irish Independent

Ralph Riegel


The priest at the centre of the Cloyne Report is pursuing a challenge under canonical law to his dismissal from the clergy.

The priest, referred to in the Cloyne Report as 'Fr Ronat' and 'Fr B', has vowed to clear his name with a full legal challenge to Rome.

The Irish Independent understands that a central element of the challenge will be the church's decision to issue an apology and offer compensation to those who had levelled allegations against him while the disciplinary process was still ongoing.

The cleric's legal team has argued that this stance was taken despite the fact that the cleric was acquitted in two criminal trials. He has consistently protested his innocence.

The dismissal of 'Fr Ronat' from the clerical state was recommended by an Irish canonical court almost two years ago. This was ratified by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, one of Rome's highest clerical courts, despite an appeal from Fr Ronat.

Cleveland Rabbi to Serve Jail Time for Pleading Guilty to Sexual Abuse


A Cleveland-area rabbi will serve 22 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual abuse of a minor.

Rabbi Frederick (Ephraim) Karp, 51, was sentenced Thursday in Baltimore County Circuit Court in Maryland, the home county of the victims, all females. He had been scheduled to go on trial later this month.

Karp, the former director of spiritual living at Menorah Park Center for Senior Living in Beachwood, Ohio, was sentenced to 35 years, with 13 years suspended, plus five years of supervised probation after he is released, the Cleveland Jewish News reported.

The abuse reportedly took place when family friends visited the Karp’s suburban Cleveland home, and also when he visited the family, over a five-year period that ended last December. The victims lived in Baltimore County at the time of the incidents. Two of the three were under the age of 18.
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/jewish-world-news/1.681146

Victim was beaten for trying to leave church

The Flemingsburg Gazette

Brittany Kelley | 19 October 2015

Bruce Leonard, 65, and his wife, Deborah Leonard, 59, were in court a few feet from Irwin on Friday. Four other members of the church, including the victim's sister, are being charged with assault for their roles in the deadly attack.

"I anticipate, when we go to the grand jury, we will ask the grand jury to consider these charges and other charges against these individuals and other individuals", McNamara stated. David and Linda Morey were recently released on $50,000 bond a piece.

A witness at a probable cause hearing told a judge the counseling session lasted 14 hours, beginning Sunday night and ending Monday morning. Details emerged in court of the cult-like Word of Life Christian Church in New Hartford, N.Y., which adheres to fundamentalist principles and a literal interpretation of the Bible, and supposedly fostered an increasingly violent environment spearheaded by its preacher, based on witness accounts.

"The victim expressed a desire to leave the church and this is what may have initiated the session".

Dismissal sought in West Virginia sex-abuse case

The Exponent Telegram

Associated Press

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. (AP) — An attorney for a church volunteer in Bluefield accused of sexually molesting children is arguing that the pastor of the church violated his priest-penitent privilege when he brought his concerns about the volunteer to police.

The Bluefield Daily-Telegraph (http://bit.ly/1M0oqUP ) reports that the attorney argues in pre-trial motions that the charges against Timothy Probert of Mercer County should be dismissed.

The state counters that the pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church was following the state's mandatory reporting law.

REBUTTAL: James Martin S.J. “The Media Ministry”. He does not mention Los Angeles Times that pioneered journalistic reports especially on series of ‘sex crimes by the Jesuits’!

PopeCrimes& Vatican Evils.

Paris Arrow

In his America article, “The Media Ministry”, Jesuit priest James Martin (we do not call priests “Father” because of many reason, more on that later) (intentionally?) omits the Los Angeles Times regarding the “sexual abuse crisis” (he does not mention “priests and clergy” or who committed the abuse). Martin wrote, “Boston Globe ran its extensive series of articles on the sexual abuse crisis in the early 2000s…The National Catholic Reporter ran a remarkable series of articles on abuse in the 1990s….” James Martin knows his colleagues the Jesuits contemporary history very well – and he knows that it was the Los Angeles Times and NOT the Boston Globe or NCR -- who were the first investigative reporters on clergy sexual abuse.

October 18, 2015

Assignment Record– Rev. Kirby R. Blanchard


Summary of Case: Kirby Blanchard was ordained for the Duluth diocese in 1953. He was an assistant at the Cathedral in Duluth for 12 years, then pastored parishes in Garrison, Deerwood, Deer River, Cohasset, Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Pine River, and Duluth until 1976. He was a hospital chaplain in Duluth from 1976 until his retirement in 1993. Blanchard was removed from active ministry in December 1995. He died August 11, 2006. Blanchard's name was included on a list released by the Duluth diocese in December 2013 of priests who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse of young persons while serving in the diocese.

Born: November 16, 1928
Ordained: May 30, 1953
Died: August 11, 2006

Court hears Catholic teen molested by priest at Wollongong school

ABC News

By Nick McLaren

The victim in an alleged Wollongong historic child abuse case has repeatedly rejected claims in court he made up the allegations.

The alleged abuse involved former priest Father Patrick Kervin at Holy Spirit College in Bellambi.

The student was aged 15 when the alleged abuse occurred in the 1980s.

Now aged in his 40's, the student who cannot be named, told the court Kervin called him to his office to console him as his mother was ill.

He described how Kervin put his hand on his knee then slid his hand up his leg, touching his genitals as he leaned in to kiss him.

Cardinal Wuerl Calls Out Pope’s Opponents

American Magazine

Gerard O'Connell | Oct 18 2015

Cardinal Donald Wuerl has flatly denied the allegations by some of his fellow cardinals and bishops that the fathers attending the synod are “somehow” being manipulated by the pope and the synod structure that Francis approved. He wonders whether the underlying reason why they are suggesting or saying such things is because “they just don’t like this pope,” and find the church that he is calling for “somewhat threatening.”

In this interview with America on Oct. 18, the cardinal archbishop of Washington charged that a number of his brother cardinals and bishops have their own position and think that some questions now on the synod agenda should not even be discussed. He said some of these people “are speaking, sometimes surreptitiously, sometimes half-way implying, then backing off and then twisting around” and in this way they have "tainted" the synod process in the public eye with their groundless allegations of manipulation, and so cast a cloud over its outcome.

Assignment Record– Rev. Louis Brouillard


Summary of Case: Louis Brouillard was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Guam in 1948, where he worked in parishes and schools until 1981. There are several gaps in his work history during those years, including a sick leave 1966-68. In 1981 Brouillard was transferred as an extern priest to Diocese of Duluth, MN. He was Temporary Administrator of St. Joseph's in Beroun for a year, then Pastor of both St. Mary's in Keewatin and St. Anne's in Kelly Lake until 1985. Bouillard was removed from active ministry in November 1985. His whereabouts 1985-1987 are unclear. He retired in 1987 to Pine City, MN, with another sick leave 1988-89. Brouillard's name was included on a list released by the Duluth diocese in December 2013 of priests who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse of young persons while serving in the diocese.

Born: July 27, 1921
Ordained: December 17, 1948

Populist pontiff to shift power

Boston Herald

Sunday, October 18, 2015

By: Brian Dowling

Pope Francis has put Vatican insiders on notice in a speech to bishops, envisioning a church that draws its power from the people instead of a stodgy, disconnected hierarchy — a move to shift the church’s center of gravity that experts say brings it back to its roots.

“The centralization of all authority in Rome is in fact a modern idea, and basically Pope Francis wants to move us back to a pattern that was more typical of the early church,” said Thomas H. Groome, a professor and director of Boston College’s Church of the 21st Century Center.

Pope Francis told bishops yesterday at a Vatican synod on family issues that “walking together” as a church of lay people, bishops and a pope “is an easy concept to put into words, but not so easy to put into practice.”

But having a church that gives everyone a say would be a great example to the world that “often hands over the destiny of entire populations into the greedy hands of restricted groups of the powerful,” Francis said.

Pope Francis’s First Crisis

The New Yorker

OCTOBER 16, 2015


The honeymoon for Pope Francis is over—at least in Rome. The first two weeks of the Synod on the Family have been characterized by open rebellion, corridor intrigue, leaked documents, accusations of lack of transparency, and sharp divisions among the bishops and cardinals. In the first real crisis of his papacy, Francis finds himself in the position of enjoying a rare degree of popularity among the public but facing an unusual degree of dissent within an institution generally so respectful of hierarchy.

There was some inkling of this during the Pope’s triumphant visit to the U.S. “If a conclave were to be held today, Francis would be lucky to get ten votes,” a Vatican source told me at the time. “He gets an A-plus on public relations, but an F on all the rest.” This statement was certainly an exaggeration, but it reflected genuine unease within the Roman curia. An obvious sign of trouble came when the papal nuncio in Washington arranged for the pope to meet Kim Davis, the Kentucky state employee who refused to grant (or to delegate others to grant) marriage licenses to gay couples. The move—by a monsignor who is no stranger to Vatican intrigue and power politics—embarrassed the Pope and scored a couple of points for Church conservatives on the eve of the synod.

Traditionalists in the Church were alarmed by some of the developments at the first session of the Synod, held last fall. Progressive cardinals and bishops—drawing on the work of the German theologian Walter Kasper—pushed an agenda that included the possibility of allowing divorced Catholics who had remarried to take communion, and a more open attitude toward both homosexuals and couples who lived together without marrying. They reintroduced the concept of “graduality,” so that unmarried, previously divorced, and gay couples, by demonstrating love and fidelity toward one another, could be seen as moving toward the gospel rather than simply “living in sin.” As the German cardinal Reinhard Marx put it, “Take the case of two homosexuals who have been living together for thirty-five years and taking care of each other, even in the last phases of their lives… How can I say that this has no value?”

Pope Francis calls for a more decentralized church


Associated Press
Published: Sunday, October 18, 2015

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis called Saturday for a Catholic Church that is far more decentralized, where the laity play a greater role, bishops conferences take care of certain problems and even the papacy is rethought.

Francis issued the call during a ceremony Saturday to mark the 50th anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops, a consultative body formed during the Second Vatican Council that was intended precisely to encourage more collegiality in the running of the church by inviting bishops to offer their advice to Rome.

Over the past five decades, the synod has been little more than a talk-fest. But Francis has sought to re-energize it, and the contentious meeting under way at the Vatican, in which conservative and progressive bishops are squaring off over ministering to families, has been the result.

Francis noted that he launched the family synod process two years ago by sending out a questionnaire to Catholic families around the world asking for their input — a strong sign that ordinary lay Catholics have an important role to play in the governance of the church and spreading the faith.

Pope Francis Reminds the Synod that He Has the Last Word

America Magazine

Gerard O'Connell | Oct 17 2015

“The synod journey culminates in listening to the Bishop of Rome, (who is) called to speak authoritatively as ‘the Pastor and Teacher of all Christians,'" Pope Francis stated on October 17, on the eve of the final week of the synod on the family.

In a keynote talk of the utmost importance delivered at the celebration for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the synod of bishops, Francis spoke about “synodality in the church,” the synod’s place within this, the relation between the synod and the Successor of Peter, and reminded the synod fathers that he has the last word.

He emphasized the need to give new life to structures of synodality in the local churches worldwide, and confirmed his intention to promote greater “decentralization” in the Catholic Church and to bring about “a conversion of the papacy.”

Pope Francis began by recalling that ever since he became Bishop of Rome, “I wanted to give value to the Synod, which constitutes one of the most precious inheritances of the last council gathering.”

Pope Francis is now effectively at war with the Vatican. If he wins, the Catholic Church could fall


Damian Thompson

Pope Francis yesterday gave an address to the profoundly divided Synod on the Family in which he confirmed his plans to decentralise the Catholic Church – giving local bishops’ conferences more freedom to work out their own solutions to the problems of divorce and homosexuality.

This is the nightmare of conservative Catholic cardinals, including – unsurprisingly – those in the Vatican. They thought they had a sufficient majority in the synod to stop the lifting of the ban on divorced and remarried Catholics receiving communion, or any softening on the Church’s attitude to gay couples.

But in yesterday’s keynote speech, delivered as the synod enters its last week, Francis told them that the decentralisation will be imposed from above.

While deliberately referring to himself as ‘Bishop of Rome’, to underline his solidarity with local bishops everywhere (as opposed to the Roman Curia – i.e., ‘the Vatican’), he invoked the power of the Supreme Pontiff to overrule mere cardinals. ‘The synod journey culminates in listening to the Bishop of Rome, called to speak authoritatively as the Pastor and Teacher of all Christians,’ he said. This is more authoritarian language than I can remember Benedict XVI using as pope. It means: I call the shots. In the end, you listen to me, not the other way around.

Pfarrer K.: Revision abgelehnt

Westdeutsche Zeitung

Von Peter Korall

Bekommen die Opfer aus Südafrika jetzt eine Entschädigung? Das Bistum zeigt sich zurückhaltend.

Willich. Es hat Jahre gedauert, bis die Straftaten des aus Willich stammenden Pfarrers Georg K. vor Gericht landeten. Im Februar wurde er wegen sexuellen Missbrauchs zu sechs Jahren Haft verurteilt. Sein Verteidiger hatte Revision beim Bundesgerichtshof eingelegt. Die ist jetzt nach Informationen der WZ gescheitert. Was bedeutet: Strafrechtlich ist das Verfahren beendet.

‘Cake-porn’ priest allegedly asked mistress to get an abortion

New York Post

By Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein
October 18, 2015

He’s also a heretic: The kinky Greek Orthodox priest allegedly asked his mistress to abort their baby.

Ethel Bouzalas told Bishop Andonios Paropoulos, the chancellor of the Greek Orthodox church in the United States, that her lover wanted her to get an abortion, according to an interview with the bishop in The National Herald, a Greek-American daily.

But Andonios said Father George Passias denied he made the abortion request and said he wasn’t sure if the unborn child was his.

Abortion is against the teachings of the Greek Orthodox Church.

The affair between Bouzalas, the former principal of the St. Spyridon Parochial School in Washington Heights, and Passias, the church pastor, rocked the Greek Orthodox world when it was revealed last month by The Post.

Looking back in history in order to move the Church forward


By Michael O'Loughlin
National reporter October 17, 2015

As 270 Catholic bishops from around the world debate issues related to the family inside the Vatican’s Synod Hall from Oct. 4-25, activists, advocacy groups, and ordinary people with a cause to promote or a question to raise have descended on Rome to be active on the sidelines of the event, representing views across the spectrum. Crux is offering periodic snapshots of this “synod outside the synod,” profiling people and their causes.

ROME — Christian Weisner grew up in Germany in a Catholic family that was profoundly shaped by the Second Vatican Council. In Pope Francis, he sees an opportunity for that historic moment in the Church to be fully realized.

“In many ways, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict, who was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith 23 years before he became pope, really worked against the Council,” he said. Francis, in contrast, is bringing “the ideas, the principles of the Council, back to Rome, back to our Church.”

It’s that feeling of possibility, Weisner said, that brought him from his home outside Munich to Rome to observe the Synod of Bishops as it deliberates issues important the international movement he helps lead, We Are Church.

The group was formed in the wake of a sexual abuse scandal involving the late Austrian Cardinal Hans Hermann Groër, who was accused in 1995 of molesting several seminarians. Today, We Are Church says it has members in 20 countries. It promotes admitting women to the priesthood, allowing priests to marry, and upending the Church’s hierarchical structure.

First trial against Duluth diocese set to begin

Duluth News Tribune

By Tom Olsen on Oct 17, 2015

The Diocese of Duluth is slated to go before a jury Monday to face child sexual abuse claims in a potential landmark case.

Barring a late settlement or other legal action, the lawsuit would become the first to go to trial under the Minnesota Child Victims Act, a 2013 law that opened a window for victims of decades-old abuse to file suit in cases that otherwise would be barred by statutes of limitation.

The trial, which could last up to two weeks, is set to begin Monday morning before Judge John Guthmann in Ramsey County District Court in St. Paul.

The Catholic diocese is facing negligence claims made by an unidentified man known in court papers only as Doe 30. The alleged victim filed suit in February 2014, claiming he was sexually abused by Father J. Vincent Fitzgerald in the 1970s.


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Samantha Perry

BLUEFIELD — Did a pastor’s disclosure to police about reported sexual acts by a church elder on young boys violate the priest-penitent privilege, or was he simply following the state’s mandatory reporting law?

That is the question being argued in pre-trial motions filed in the Timothy Probert case.

Probert, 57, of Mercer County, is facing 50 charges related to alleged sexual abuse of children stemming from his time spent as a volunteer at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Bluefield and for the Working to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect (WE CAN) program.

In a pre-trial motion filed in the case, Probert’s counsel is seeking to have the charges dismissed on the basis that his pastor, Jonathan Rockness, violated the priest-penitent privilege when he told a West Virginia State Police investigator about disclosures involving Probert’s actions with young boys.

October 17, 2015

Pope says Church needs more decentralization, changes to papacy


Pope Francis called on Saturday for "healthy decentralization" of power in the Roman Catholic Church, including changes in the papacy and greater decision-making authority for local bishops.

Francis made his comments at a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Synod of Bishops, a worldwide gathering that occasionally advises the pope on a host of issues.

Over the years, many bishops have complained that the synod, which meets at the Vatican every few years, has become a weak and ineffective rubber-stamping body.

The Argentine pope said the type of collegiality - the papal governing of the Church in collaboration with bishops - envisaged by the reforming 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council still had not been achieved.

Kim Davis Bleeding in the Rearview Mirror

Crisis Magazine


Kim Davis is an innocent victim both of cowardice of churchmen and the smug eagerness of certain priests to put her in her place.

First, a few largely uncontested facts: it was Vatican personnel who invited Davis to meet the pope in Washington DC. Neither Kim Davis nor anyone connected to her requested the meeting.

What’s more, Kim Davis met privately with the pope. Whether you call it an audience or an encounter or any other thing, it took place in private. To put an even finer point on it, she was not on a rope line to shake his passing hand, neither was she in a line of people to meet him one by one.

Lastly, while Vatican personnel wanted the meeting to be private, Davis was told at the meeting, the secrecy of the meeting was to last only until the pope left the country.

The Plot to Change Catholicism

The New York Times

Ross Douthat

THE Vatican always seems to have the secrets and intrigues of a Renaissance court — which, in a way, is what it still remains. The ostentatious humility of Pope Francis, his scoldings of high-ranking prelates, have changed this not at all; if anything, the pontiff’s ambitions have encouraged plotters and counterplotters to work with greater vigor.

And right now the chief plotter is the pope himself.

Francis’s purpose is simple: He favors the proposal, put forward by the church’s liberal cardinals, that would allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive communion without having their first marriage declared null.

Thanks to the pope’s tacit support, this proposal became a central controversy in last year’s synod on the family and the larger follow-up, ongoing in Rome right now..

But if his purpose is clear, his path is decidedly murky. Procedurally, the pope’s powers are near-absolute: If Francis decided tomorrow to endorse communion for the remarried, there is no Catholic Supreme Court that could strike his ruling down.

Priest sex abuse survivors promote hope, healing at Mass

Chicago Sun-Times


Four years ago, James Richter – a childhood clergy sexual abuse survivor — couldn’t look at the faces of those who sat in the pews of Holy Family Parish for a Mass promoting healing for victims of sexual abuse.

On Saturday, he rose his head high — looking into the faces of those sitting in those pews – and spoke about the great hope and faith that has returned to his life.

“It’s very, very nice to see your faces. I wasn’t able to say that four years ago when I went to my first Mass because the tears of shame and abuse, of loneliness, of sorrow, of isolation, they would have prevented me from seeing your face,” Richter said.

Richter joined about five other survivors in the Archdiocese of Chicago service aimed at promoting recovery for survivors and for their families, as well as calling on the Catholic community and society to protect children.

“Who are we gathered today? We are laity, priests, deacons, young and old, men and women.

We are victims, survivors, friends, caregivers. We are counselors and assistants. We are the church. We are the children of God,” said the Rev. Ronald Hicks, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Both Richter and Mike Hoffman, another survivor, are part of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Healing Garden Committee. The garden, next to Holy Family church is a place where survivors can go to look for a safe place to cope.

Steubenville Diocese Survivor: Helen's Story


Helen tells her story of her son's childhood sexual abuse by two religious brothers in the Steubenville diocese and the experiences her family has endured in the aftermath and with the Diocese officials.

Chaos at the Vatican

The Weekly Standard


Everyone talks about “chaos” in Congress just because Republicans haven’t chosen a new speaker of the House. If you want to see real chaos, look at Rome, where Pope Francis’s synod on the family has been a shambling disaster since the moment it started.

Check that—the meltdown started before the synod convened. The day before Francis kicked off the assembly, Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa made quite a stir. Charamsa is not just a normal priest, but a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—the division of the Church tasked with keeping track of doctrine and orthodoxy. (You may remember them from such films as The Inquisition!)

Anyway, Charamsa, it turns out, is gay. And not just theoretically gay, but practically so, having taken a gay lover. (Or rather, a “partner,” per news accounts.) This might sound like a small doctrinal problem for a fellow whose portfolio is overseeing doctrine, since the Church teaches that (1) homosexual acts are not rightly ordered; (2) sex outside of marriage is sinful; and (3) priests make a vow of celibacy. So Charamsa was 0-for-3.

But even that wasn’t the big problem. On October 3, Charamsa was removed from his post not because he was a priest engaged in an adulterous, homosexual affair in contradiction to his vows. No, Charamsa was removed because he was planning to lead a demonstration with a group of gay activists outside the Vatican as the synod convened in order to protest the Church’s “homophobia”—his word—and advocate that the synod recognize beautiful, healthy relationships like his. After all, as the Holy Father has said on the subject, “Who am I to judge?”

This may sound like an inauspicious start to Pope Francis’s great synod on the family. It might even sound as though certain factions have viewed the synod as a chance to re-write the Church’s teachings about the nature of marriage, family, and sexuality. But don’t worry, it’s much worse than that.

Two weeks after Charamsa was sacked, the pope’s supporters—the very ones who want to change Church doctrine—started leaking to the press that l’affaire Charamsa had been a conservative scheme to weaken Francis. Leonardo Boff, a theologian close to the pope, claimed that Charamsa’s protest was “a trap set by those on the right of the church who oppose the pope. . . . Because he didn't do it in a simple way. But in a provocative way in order to create problems for the Synod and for Francis.”

Now that’s chaos.

Protecting Children from Abuse


October 17, 2015
Author will detail strategies for parents

Joelle Casteix will share age-specific strategies from her newly published book, The Well-Armored Child: A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Sexual Abuse, when she speaks at the Howland Public Library in Beacon at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 20.

Casteix, herself a survivor of abuse, is the volunteer western regional director for the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests and conducts training sessions for families, churches and community groups on how to protect children from predators.

Beachwood rabbi sentenced for sex abuse

Fox 8

[with video]


BALTIMORE- A Cleveland-area rabbi will serve prison time after pleading guilty to sex offenses.

Frederick Martin Karp, the spiritual living director at the Menorah Park Center for Senior Living in Beachwood, was arrested earlier this year at JFK Airport in New York following a criminal investigation. Investigators said he molested a child in Maryland from 2009 to 2014.

According to the Baltimore County Circuit Court, Karp pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a minor on Thursday.

Ohio rabbi sentenced to 22 years in prison for child sex abuse


An Ohio rabbi has been sentenced to 22 years in prison after pleading guilty in Maryland to sexually abusing an underage girl, court documents showed.

Rabbi Frederick Karp, 51, of Beachwood, Ohio, was sentenced by a Baltimore County Circuit Court judge on Thursday. His sentence includes five years of supervised probation after release.

Karp pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a minor and a third-degree sex offense, court filings showed. He was arrested in New York in January.

Baltimore County prosecutor Lisa Dever told the Cleveland Jewish News that the plea included charges from Cleveland based on events that allegedly occurred at Karp’s home. She said the three victims lived in Baltimore County at the time of the events.

Polonia indemnizará a víctimas dominicanas de cura pederasta

El Nuevo Dia


SANTO DOMINGO — El gobierno de Polonia notificó a las autoridades dominicanas sobre el inminente envío de indemnizaciones económicas para los seis monaguillos que fueron víctimas de abuso sexual por parte del sacerdote polaco Wojciech Gil, informó el viernes la Procuraduría general.

La institución dijo en un comunicado que recibió la información a través del departamento de Cooperación Jurídica Internacional de la fiscalía de Varsovia. Se abstuvo de precisar los detalles del pago de las indemnizaciones.

Luisa Liranzo, fiscal de la ciudad de Santiago y quien estuvo a cargo del proceso contra Gil en el país, indicó citada por la Procuraduría que se reunió con los representantes de las víctimas para informales sobre las indemnizaciones.

Ex-Bishop of Grafton removed from holy orders

The Daily Examiner

A FORMER bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Grafton has been removed from holy orders on the recommendation of an independent Professional Standards Board.

Keith Slater had been Bishop of Grafton for 10 years until his resignation in May, 2013.

The deposition means Mr Slater no longer holds any ordained position, role or status within the Anglican Church of Australia and returns to being a lay member of the church.

The recommendation follows a hearing by the Board, headed by former Supreme Court judge, the Hon. Mr Moreton Rolfe QC.

The hearing related to the diocesan response to allegations of abuse at the North Coast Children's Home in Lismore during the period 1940-1980 and claims for compensation.

Poland to pay damages to Dominican minors abused by jailed priest

Dominican Today

Santiago.- Polish judicial authorities on Friday notified Dominican Republic´s Justice Ministry on the monetary compensation from the conviction of Wojciech Gil (Padre Alberto), whose sexual abuse victims hail from the highland town of Juncalito (central).

The local authorities were notified through a statement from the International Legal Cooperation Dept of Warsaw Province Office of the Prosecutor.

Once notified Santiago Judicial District prosecutor Luisa Liranzo met with the victims’ representatives to discuss the details of how to receive their compensation.

Boston archbishop airs dismay as ex-priest convicted of raping child is freed from jail

Christian Today

Czarina Ong 17 October 2015

Ronald Paquin was freed from jail after two medical specialists determined he does not currently meet the legal criteria for sexual dangerousness, despite his history, officials said.

Boston archbishop Cardinal Sean O'Malley has expressed dismay at the report that Ronald Paquin, a 72-year-old former Massachusetts priest who was convicted of raping a 12-year-old child, has been released from prison.

"We are disappointed in today's ruling, particularly with concern for Ronald Paquin's victims and all others who have experienced the reprehensible crime of the sexual abuse of minors," he said.

O'Malley urged Paquin's victims to come forward so that new cases could be filed for him to remain locked up in jail.

Paquin was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prison, and he completed his sentence in May, officials said.

October 16, 2015

Are abuse survivors best served when institutions investigate themselves?

Religion News Service - Rhymes with Religion

Boz Tchividjian | Oct 16, 2015

In the past years, we have heard many faith-based institutions announce the launching of independent investigations to address issues of past sexual abuse that have publicly surfaced. Whether it’s academic institutions, mission organizations, churches, or denominations, the term “independent investigation” has become almost fashionable.

When an organization is confronted with public allegations of child sexual abuse within their ranks, it finds itself under a bright spotlight as the watching world waits to see how it will respond.

All too often, the overriding institutional concern has very little to do with caring for the victims, but everything to do with protecting its reputation by doing everything it can to shut off the spotlight. This is often accomplished by announcing that the institution will launch an “independent” investigation. The organization proceeds to hire a private investigative group or law firm to investigate the matter with the hope that this process will calm everyone down and eventually turn off the spotlight. Because the motivation for this process can be based upon institutional self-preservation, many investigations labeled as “independent” are nothing more than “internal” investigations in disguise. An internal investigation allows the institution being investigated to stay in the driver’s seat, while an independent investigation requires that they get into the backseat with everyone else.

Institutions faced with this critical decision have to decide what is the ultimate aim of such an investigation. While an internal investigation offers an institution the opportunity for self-protection, an independent investigation offer an institution something far more profound. It offers the institution an opportunity to understand where it failed in order to demonstrate authentic repentance to those who have been hurt, and to make the necessary changes so that the same offenses are never repeated.

It is up to the watching public to make sure that these institutions are not misleading victims, witnesses, and other interested parties regarding the true nature of the investigation. Disguising an internal investigation as independent ultimately exploits and hurts abuse survivors who are told they are engaging in a particular type of process only to learn when it’s too late that they have unwittingly participated in something that will be used to protect the institution.

Statement regarding Father Paul Madden

Roman Catholic Diocese of Jackson

Posted on September 21, 2015 by Maureen Smith

Fr. Paul Madden began work with the Catholic Diocese of Jackson in 1970. Beginning in January 1984, Fr. Paul Madden began his assignment with the St. James Society, an international organization of diocesan missionary priests who volunteer their priestly lives to serve in Peru and Ecuador.

The Diocese became aware in December 1993 that Madden had abused a minor in the 1970s.

The Diocese informed the Society of St. James of the abuse. In February 2002, Fr. Madden resigned from the Society of St. James and began working in the Diocese of Chimpote, Peru.

The Diocese of Jackson informed the Bishop of Chimpote, Peru of the reported abuse. In July 2002, pursuant to the mandates of the “Dallas Charter” and the Diocese of Jackson’s of Jackson’s Protection of Children policies, the Diocese suspended the faculties of Fr. Paul Madden.

After the suspension, Fr. Madden sought incardination from the Bishop of Chimpote Diocese. In response to the Chimpote’s inquiries, the Diocese of Jackson again informed the Bishop of Chimpote of the abuse, as well as actions taken by the Diocese of Jackson, namely the suspension of his faculties.

A copy of the Dallas Charter in Spanish was sent to the Bishop of Chimpote. In April of 2004 the Bishop of Chimbote incardinated Paul Madden into the Diocese of Chimpote.

Other than the report of December 1993, the Diocese of Jackson has not received any additional complaints about Fr. Madden.

SHOCK CLAIM: Did the Vatican order the killing of a banker in central London?

Daily Star

By Jeremy Culley / Published 16th October 2015

Roberto Calvi was initially thought to have committed suicide after he was found hanged under Blackfriars Bridge On June 18, 1982.

Private investigators and journalists have claimed there was more to Calvi's death than meets the eye.

It is alleged that he was profiting from vast sums of money being laundered by the Mafia and the Vatican.

The Vatican ran the only unregulated bank in the world. It is claimed this meant money in it could be invested, and the profits would not be subject to tax laws because Italian regulators could not see it.

The theory being put forward by Channel 5 show Murder at the Vatican - Conspiracy, which airs on Friday at 8pm, is that the Vatican needed Calvi to siphon Mafia money from its bank to a network of global companies so it would be free of Mafia association.

Rabbi Karp sentenced to 22 years in prison

Cleveland Jewish News

Posted: Friday, October 16, 2015


Rabbi Ephraim (Frederick) Karp was sentenced to 22 years in prison, and five years of supervised probation upon his release, after pleading guilty to sexual abuse of a minor and a third-degree sex offense Oct. 15 in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Robert E. Cahill Jr. sentenced Karp to 35 years, with all but 22 suspended.

Karp, 51, is former director of spiritual living at Menorah Park Center for Senior Living in Beachwood.

Baltimore County Prosecutor Lisa Dever, chief of the sex offense and child abuse division in the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office, said the state was asking for a 35-year sentence for Karp, with all but five to be served in prison.

Press Release: Appeal of 50 international reform movements to the Synod Fathers in Rome:

International Movement We Are Church

To date more than 50 international Catholic organisations have signed an ‘Appeal to the Synodal Bishops’ due to meet in Rome in October 2015 to address major issues related to Catholic family life.

In a spirit of dialogue as urged by Pope Francis and motivated by the Spirit of God all of these organisations are calling on the bishops to listen attentively to what they are saying so as to make our Church a more compassionate family.

The outcomes from this Synod will have a critical bearing of the relevance of Catholicism to the needs of our time.

The Appeal outlines the fundamental problems experienced by Catholic families throughout the world:

The social and economic problems of the family should be widely discussed by the Synod, particularly those affecting the most vulnerable, children and women.

Did diocese’s auctioneer mislead bankruptcy judge?

Gallup Independent

Published in the Gallup Independent, Gallup, N.M., Oct. 14, 2015

By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola
Independent correspondent

ALBUQUERQUE — When U.S. Bankruptcy Judge David T. Thuma made his decision not to invalidate the Diocese of Gallup’s property auction in Albuquerque after the public and media were barred from attending, Thuma said he based his decision partly on the written declarations of the auctioneer and one of the diocesan attorneys.

But were those declarations true?

On Oct. 6, the evening before Thuma held a hearing for diocesan attorneys to explain why the public and media were excluded, auctioneer Todd Good, the CEO and president of Accelerated Marketing Group, submitted a five page declaration to the court, signed under the penalty of perjury, stating that it was, and had been, Good’s custom and practice not to admit non-bidders to his property auctions in the past 33 years.

“This is because non-bidders do not increase bid prices,” Good stated in his declaration. “Rather, they have the potential to distract legitimate potential buyers, disrupt the auction, or chill bidding.”

Susan Boswell, the lead bankruptcy attorney for the Diocese of Gallup, also filed a written declaration under the penalty of perjury in support of Good’s actions.

“He informed me that this was his usual policy and procedure for the numerous court-ordered and bankruptcy auctions he had conducted in the past,” Boswell wrote of Good.

Public event

However, Arizona media reports about the Diocese of Tucson’s property auction challenge Good and Boswell’s statements to the court. In 2005, Boswell was also the lead bankruptcy attorney for the Tucson Diocese. As with the Diocese of Gallup bankruptcy case, Good was hired along with George H. “Hank” Amos III, CEO and president of Tucson Realty & Trust Co., to publicize and conduct a property auction for the Diocese of Tucson.

According to Tucson media reports, non-bidders, such as the press, were welcomed into the diocese auction.

A KOLD News 13 television news report, which is still posted online, was aired the day of the auction, May 21, 2005. The news story includes a photo of Good conducting the auction at his podium, which features a sign with Good’s company logo. The news report also includes quotes from three bidders the television reporter interviewed at the auction.

The next day the Arizona Daily Star featured a Sunday front page story about the event, complete with a news photograph focused on one man with his hand raised up to make a bid, sitting among rows of bidders. Reporter Carol Ann Alaimo, who confirmed in an email that she attended the auction, described in her article a festive scene with “merry strains of fiddle music and frenzied shouts of bidders.”

Alaimo also kept a running tally of the winning bids during the auction.

“An unofficial tally compiled by the Arizona Daily Star shows Saturday’s winning bids totaled at least $2.4 million,” she wrote. “That does not include a trio of sealed