ABUSE TRACKER

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

February 6, 2023

Massachusetts diocese publishes nameless clergy abuse report

WORCESTER (MA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

February 6, 2023

By Wilson Ring

Read original article

A Roman Catholic Diocese that covers central Massachusetts has published a new report about clergy sexual abuse of minors between 1950 and 2022, but unlike similar reports released by many other dioceses, the report did not include the names of the priests who were found to have committed abuse.

In the report made public Friday, Bishop Robert McManus of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester said he felt releasing the names “will not accurately reflect the various concerns and outcomes.”

McManus said that in addition to reporting every allegation to law enforcement, the diocese publishes information on its website about every priest who has been placed on leave due to a credible report of abuse or who has been removed from clerical duties.

“Such lists can be a cause for deep division among many members of our Church who see this as publicly branding as guilty…

View Cache

Who killed the monsignor? Could a Buffalo bishop shut down a murder investigation?

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News [Buffalo NY]

February 5, 2023

By Dan Herbeck and Lou Michel

Read original article

This is the 16th installment in an 18-part serial on the unsolved 1966 murder of Buffalo Diocese Monsignor Francis J. O’Connor. Read the rest of the series.

[Includes brief video of former Buffalo News reporter Michael McKeating [who] remembers the murder of Francis O’Connor, sharing why he believes the Buffalo Diocese pressured the Buffalo police to stop investigating, and what Buffalo police homicide chief Leo J. Donovan told him about the investigation being shut down.]

Bishop James A. McNulty left no doubt who was the boss during the nine years he spent in charge of Buffalo’s Catholic Diocese.

But was he powerful enough to stop Buffalo police from investigating the murder of one of his priests? Did he?

McNulty was running the Buffalo Diocese when Monsignor Francis J. O’Connor was found dead March 13, 1966, in Scajaquada Creek.

The O’Connor murder probe was shut down suddenly –…

View Cache

Abuse victims will never have the ‘right to rest’

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

February 5, 2023

By Daniel Smith

Read original article

What a despicable statement by the attorney for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, Gerald Petruccelli, who argued in court last week that nobody in Maine would have the “right to rest” if the statute of limitations for civil cases remained repealed. The victims of heinous crimes will never have that luxury.

It’s clear that the Catholic Church hasn’t changed. It has not accepted responsibility for decades of systemic protection of abusers and still does not exhibit compassion for the victims. Is there no limit to its hypocrisy?

Daniel Smith
Yarmouth

View Cache

Reform and renewal – Prague gathering aims to chart new pathway for global Catholic church

PRAGUE (CZECHIA)
Independent [Dublin, Ireland]

February 6, 2023

By Sarah Mac Donald

Read original article

Delegates representing the Catholic Church in Ireland will join another 200 in-person and 390 online delegates from around Europe at an assembly in Prague today to hammer out recommendations on reform and renewal for global Catholicism.

The ground-breaking European Synodal Assembly in the Czech capital is the next stage in a radical process of widespread consultation within the church initiated by Pope Francis in 2021.

The gathering will agree a series of “priority calls to action” which may include recommending change on the position of women and on the church’s language on LGBTQ+ relationships.

The four Irish delegates who will attend the Assembly in person are led by the leader of the Irish church, Archbishop Eamon Martin. A further 10 delegates will attend the Assembly online.

According to Dr Martin the Irish team, “is conscious of our responsibility to bring the fruits of what has been shared in many gatherings across…

View Cache

President of Malawi Lauds Catholic Church’s “enormous socioeconomic impact”

LILONGWE (MALAWI)
ACI Africa - Association for Catholic Information in Africa [Nouaceur, Morocco]

February 5, 2023

By Silas Isenjia

Read original article

The President of Malawi has lauded “the enormous socioeconomic impact” of the initiatives that the Catholic Church has undertaken in the Southeastern African nation.

In his message following a meeting with the Apostolic Nuncio to Malawi and Zambia, Archbishop Gianfranco Gallone, President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera said that his government will continue to collaborate with the Church to improve livelihoods.

“I have restated my administration’s satisfaction with the enormous socioeconomic impact the Roman Catholic Church has had in this country for decades through a number of interventions in various key sectors of human development,” President Chakwera says in a Wednesday, February 1 Facebook message

The Malawian President disclosed the purpose of the meeting, saying, “The main thrust of our discussion was on consolidating the cordial working partnership between the government of Malawi and the Roman Catholic Church.”

To enhance the partnership, the President who has been at the helm of the country…

View Cache

Knoxville diocese asks judge to allow it to keep documents secret, cites Knox News reports

KNOXVILLE (TN)
Knoxville News Sentinel [Knoxville TN]

February 6, 2023

By Tyler Whetstone

Read original article

Key Points

  • The filing is the next step in the explosive lawsuit which alleges alleges a former church employee was raped by a church seminarian and that the church, led by Bishop Richard Stika, interfered.
  • The church asked the judge to permit the order of protection specifically due to the continued reporting of Knox News.
  • The church is specifically asking for investigative documents to be sealed. A similar request was denied in a New York Court late last year.

The Catholic Diocese of Knoxville is asking a judge to grant greater secrecy as the church continues to defend itself in an explosive sexual abuse lawsuit. The effort is in large part due to the reporting of Knox News.

The Catholic Diocese of Knoxville has asked a judge to allow it to keep secret internal documents as it defends itself in an explosive sexual abuse lawsuit.

The diocese, citing ongoing coverage by Knox…

View Cache

February 5, 2023

Cuenca’s most decorated Catholic priest, accused of being a ‘sexual monster’, is dead at 95

CUENCA (ECUADOR)
Cuena High Life [Cuenca, Ecuador]

February 4, 2023

By Liam Higgins

Read original article

Father César Cordero of Cuenca died Saturday morning at age 95. Easily the best-known Catholic priest in Ecuador and one of the most decorated in Latin America, he was accused in 2010 of being a “sexual monster” who raped and abused more than 50 boys and was subsequently defrocked by the Vatican.

Born into one of Cuenca’s most prominent families, Cordero’s father was the city’s most successful attorney in the early 20th century. His grandfather was president of Ecuador and later, its poet laureate.

Cordero is the founder of the Catholic University of Cuenca and more than a dozen primary and high schools throughout Ecuador. He is also credited with establishing hospitals, clinics, religious radio and television stations and several Catholic charities. He earned PhDs in Lima and Paris and did post-doctoral work in the U.S. In addition to Spanish, he was fluent in five languages. Among his many honors were…

View Cache

Diocese of Fargo priest arrested on suspicion of committing sexual exploitation

FARGO (ND)
SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [Chicago IL]

February 3, 2023

Read original article

(For Immediate Release February 3, 2023)

A North Dakota priest, removed from ministry last month pending an investigation of “inappropriate conduct,” was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of committing “sexual exploitation by therapist.” We applaud the brave victims for speaking up and contacting the police about this young priest. Contrary to what Catholic bishops say, clergy sexual abuse is NOT a thing of the past. This is the third arrest that we know of in 2023. Moreover, these arrests are likely a drop in the bucket, because only between 2 and 10 out of 100 victims of clerical abuse report within a year of being molested, and one-third never, ever report.

Fr. Neil Joseph Pfeifer, 48, was arrested in Rugby, North Dakota, and taken to the Pierce County Correctional Facility, where he awaits formal charges. Bishop John Folda of the Diocese of Fargo said in a statement, “Father…

View Cache

Diocese of Worcester releases report on allegations of cleric abuse of minors

WORCESTER (MA)
Spectrum News [Syracuse NY]

February 3, 2023

Read original article

A new report by the Diocese of Worcester identified 173 credible allegations of cleric abuse of minors since the diocese was established in 1950.

The diocese said the report by Bishop Roberth McManus serves as an update to the 2004 report by then-Bishop Daniel Reilly. The total number of allegations made in the review, including allegations deemed unsubstantiated false or withdrawn, was 209.

Most of the allegations were reported to have occurred between the 1960s and 1980s, but 93 more credible or substantiated allegations have been made since the 2004 report. 

A large majority of the substantiated claims involved the abuse of boys. Less than 25% of the substantiated claims involved the abuse of girls, according to the diocese.

View Cache

Outcry as Melbourne’s Anglican Church sexual abuse reviews drag on

(AUSTRALIA)
The Australian [Surry Hills, Australia]

February 5, 2023

By John Ferguson

Read original article

A judge-led review of the Anglican diocese of Melbourne’s professional standards framework that investigated whether its response to sex abuse and other complaints was quick enough has been quietly warehoused by the church at the same time as it is embroiled in a messy five-year delay over whether to defrock ­former governor-general Peter Hollingworth.

The diocese of Melbourne was handed the review findings in April last year into its professional standards legislation but is not set to formally act on any reforms until at least October this year, further angering survivors who have for years been denied a ruling on Dr Hollingworth’s place in the church.

The glacial response comes as Dr Hollingworth is due to face the church’s independent professional standards board this week, in secret, to defend claims he bungled the handling of the child sex abuse response while he was archbishop of Brisbane and in his responses while…

View Cache

Vatican nun sees synod process as key to preventing more sexual abuse in Catholic Church

(AUSTRALIA)
The Australian [Surry Hills, Australia]

February 4, 2023

By Helen Trinca

Read original article

The synod process heavily criticised by the late cardinal George Pell could hold the key to preventing a recurrence of the “shocking” historical sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, according to the most senior woman working at The Vatican.

In Sydney on Friday, Sister ­Nathalie Becquart, an ­adviser to Pope Francis, would not be drawn on Pell or the “culture wars” emerging here and overseas between progressive and conservative ­Catholics.

But she said the emphasis on synodality – a process in which lay Catholics are included in discussions with priests and nuns and ­religious brothers – was a way to get rid of the clerical model of the church that could lead to abuse of power and sexual abuse.

“We know that all sexual abuses are abuses of power,” she said. “It’s a big issue.”

Before his sudden death last month, Pell wrote a scathing article for the Spectator in…

View Cache

Lawyer: Priest ‘methodically groomed’ and sexually assaulted women for years at church

FARGO (ND)
inforum.com [Fargo ND]

February 3, 2023

By Matt Henson

Read original article

The attorney for a woman who is accusing a local priest of sexually assaulting her on church property says this is just the beginning of a “terrifying” case. 

JAMESTOWN, N.D. — The attorney for a woman who is accusing a local priest of sexually assaulting her on church property says this is just the beginning of a terrifying case.

Father Neil Pfeifer was released Friday, Feb. 3, on $5,000 cash bail after pleading not guilty to charges of sexual assault and sexual exploitation by a therapist. However, he is being tracked electronically 24/7.

If convicted, he faces up to 5 years in prison.Lawyer says priest sexually assaulted women for years at churchhttps://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.554.2_en.html#goog_12717684550 seconds of 3 minutes, 19 secondsVolume 90% 

“It was heart-wrenching,” said lawyer Tim O’Keeffe as he described the story of the woman accusing Pfeifer in the case.

The Diocese of Fargo has removed Pfeifer from ministry at his parishes in…

View Cache

Call to survivors of paedophile priest employed at Eagle House School

(UNITED KINGDOM)
Bracknell News [Reading, England]

February 4, 2023

By Daisy Waite

Read original article

Sexual abuse survivors of former priest Michael Studdert who took indecent pictures of children are being urged to come forward.

The priest, who has now died, is thought to have abused children in England, Wales, Poland, Denmark and Italy.

Survivors of Studdert’s shocking crimes are being encouraged to take action during a compensation scheme which is set to close on April 28.

Studdert worked as a chaplain at Eagle House School in Sandhurst, Berkshire.

Specialist abuse law experts at Simpson Millar are representing a number of individuals who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of the former priest.

Head of the Abuse law team at Simpson Millar, Liam Goggin said: “This is a truly horrific case of abuse over a significant period of time, in multiple locations, and which undoubtably impacted the lives of many individuals.

“Money from the estate has been set aside specifically to help anyone who may have suffered sexual abuse from Michael…

View Cache

February 4, 2023

Sexual abuse in the Portuguese Catholic Church reached ‘epic proportions’

LISBON (PORTUGAL)
Euronews [Lyon, France]

February 3, 2023

By Filipa Soares

Read original article

On February 13, the final report of the Independent Commission for the Study of Sexual Abuse in the Portuguese Catholic Church will be released.

In October, the commission had already validated testimony from 424 witnesses, but most had already expired in legal terms.

However, Pedro Strecht, President of the Independent Commission for the Study of Sexual Abuse in the Portuguese Catholic Church, says what they have is compelling: “The witness reports present a lot of identical information, a fact that reinforces the consistency of the testimonies and outlines serious situations existing over decades that become more evident the further you go back in time, and in some places, they assumed truly endemic proportions.”

“….taking the experience of other countries and what we are learning about reality, these figures will increase over the next few months”

Ricardo Barroso Psychologist and researcher

The initial figures presented by the commission came as no surprise to…

View Cache

‘Our own little Vatican’: inside the biggest Catholic parish church in North America

VISALIA (CA)
The Guardian [London, England]

February 3, 2023

By Oliver Wainwright

Read original article

There used to be more cows than people in Visalia, but a new 3,000-seat megachurch has brought Vegas kitsch to the worshippers of California’s Central Valley

With declining congregations, shuttered chapels and an ever shrinking number of priests, it is easy to assume that church in the US is on the way out for good. As parishes struggle to attract younger generations, and almost a third of Americans now declare no religious affiliation, this one nation under God seems to be rapidly losing its faith.

But some regions are bucking the trend, particularly in the south and west. In California’s Central Valley, the agricultural heartland of dairy farms and orchards that sprawl across the state’s flat fertile plains, producing half the country’s fruit and veg, the Catholic population is booming, and busy building. Rising out of the rolling landscape of fruit and nut trees, which march in a mesmerising grid as…

View Cache

A High Percentage of Proven Priest Predators in Houma, LA

HOUMA (LA)
Adam Horowitz Law [Fort Lauderdale, FL]

February 3, 2023

By Adam Horowitz Law

Read original article

With just 205,000 Catholics, the Diocese of Houma-Thibodoux, Louisiana, is the smallest of the state’s seven dioceses. In fact, out of 177 US dioceses, Houma is ranked 174th in size. Unlike its neighbors to the west (Lafayette Diocese) and the northeast (the New Orleans Archdiocese), Houma hasn’t had even one truly high-profile predator priest. Overall, the percentage of its clergy who have been accused of child sex crimes and/or sexual misconduct doesn’t appear to be massively out of line with expectations given its size, although one can never be sure, given the Catholic hierarchy’s still-largely-steadfast commitment to keeping abusive hidden whenever possible.

In two key ways, however, the Houma Diocese stands out.

  1. It has a disproportionately high percentage of proven predator priests. The diocese admits that six of its priests admitted, were convicted, or pled guilty to sexual abuse
    • Fr. Lawrence Cavel admitted to ‘solicitation…
View Cache

Diocese of Fargo priest arrested on suspicion of committing sexual exploitation

FARGO (ND)
SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [Chicago IL]

February 3, 2023

By Zach Hiner

Read original article

A North Dakota priest, removed from ministry last month pending an investigation of “inappropriate conduct,” was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of committing “sexual exploitation by therapist.” We applaud the brave victims for speaking up and contacting the police about this young priest. Contrary to what Catholic bishops say, clergy sexual abuse is NOT a thing of the past. This is the third arrest that we know of in 2023. Moreover, these arrests are likely a drop in the bucket, because only between 2 and 10 out of 100 victims of clerical abuse report within a year of being molested, and one-third never, ever report.

Fr. Neil Joseph Pfeifer, 48, was arrested in Rugby, North Dakota, and taken to the Pierce County Correctional Facility, where he awaits formal charges. Bishop John Folda of the Diocese of Fargo said in a statement, “Father Pfeifer remains out of ministry…

View Cache

Abusive German priest with links to late pope to face trial in March

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Gwinnett Daily Post [Lawrenceville, GA]

February 2, 2023

By dpa

Read original article

The civil lawsuit by a German abuse victim against a convicted abusive priest with links to the late pope Benedict XVI and representatives of the Catholic Church is now due before court on March 28.

The Traunstein Regional Court in the southern state of Bavaria set the trial date on Thursday in a case which is considered one of the most prominent in the abuse scandal involving the German Catholic Church.

The priest, a repeat offender convicted of sexual abuse identified by the initial H under Germany’s strict privacy laws, must appear in court.

“The personal appearance of the defendant priest and an informed representative of the defendant archdiocese has been ordered,” the court announced on Thursday.

Priest H was transferred from the western state of North Rhine Westphalia to Bavaria in the 1980s after accusations were made against him. At the time, the late pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph…

View Cache

Catholic Church in Germany has paid $43.5 million to more than 1,800 victims of abuse

BONN (GERMANY)
American Magazine [New York, NY]

February 3, 2023

By OSV News

Read original article

The Catholic Church in Germany has so far paid more than $43.5 million (40 million euros) to victims of sexual abuse, German Catholic KNA agency has reported.

The Independent Commission for Recognition Payment approved an average amount of $24,000 (22,150 euros) in 1,809 cases. The commission’s annual report was presented in Bonn Feb. 3. There have been a total of 1,839 applications from victims of sex abuse seeking compensation from the Catholic Church.

In 143 cases (about 8%), the commission ordered a payment of more than $54,300 (50,000 euros); in 24 cases (1%) more than $108,600 (100,000 euros). In almost 1,000 cases (54%), the approved amount was $16,300 (15,000 euros) or less, KNA reported.

Most of the applications—three out of four—came from men, and one in four were from women. However, KNA noted, 20 of the 24 payments over $108,600 went to women.

The panel classified nine cases as not…

View Cache

Quebec court approves class-action lawsuit against Brothers of Charity

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

February 3, 2023

By Daniel J. Rowe

Read original article

The Quebec Superior Court has authorized a class action lawsuit against more than a dozen members of the Catholic order Brothers of Charity order for alleged sexual assaults committed over the past eight decades.

The Arsenault Dufresne Wee law firm is representing the complainants and argued the case in a Montreal courthouse on Dec. 12. The case is centred around assaults allegedly committed between 1940 and the present.

“The Brothers of Charity had contested this first step,” a news release from the law firm reads.

An heir of an applicant listed as A.B. is representing all the victims who were allegedly assaulted by either members of the clergy or lay persons connected to the religious order.

The order established itself in Quebec’s education system in 1873 and founded several schools in the province, including Mont-Siant-Bernard College in Sorel, Mont-Saint-Antoine in Montreal and College Saint-Bernard in Drummondville.

The law firm…

View Cache

New York debates whether clergy should be required to report abuse

ALBANY (NY)
Washington Post

February 4, 2023

By Kathryn Post, Religion News Service

Read original article

The Child Abuse Reporting Expansion Act, a bill making its way through the New York legislature, would make clergy mandated reporters

If a member of the clergy suspects that a child in the congregation has been abused, is the clergyperson legally required to report it?

In New York state, the answer is no. But some advocates, clergy members and lawmakers think that should change.

The issue is at the heart of the Child Abuse Reporting Expansion Act, a bill making its way through the state legislature that, if passed, would make clergy mandated reporters.

Anti-abuse advocate Abbi Nye, part of the advocacy group CFCtoo, said her group “is calling for CARE Act to be passed because we see it as a necessary first step toward making our communities and children safer.”

CFCtoo is a collective of former Christian Fellowship Center members. The CFC has five locations in New York’s North…

View Cache

6 KEY DETAILS IN THE NEW REPORT ON JEAN VANIER’S ABUSE

PARIS (FRANCE)
Sojourners [Washington, DC]

February 3, 2023

By MITCHELL ATENCIO and BETSY SHIRLEY

Read original article

Earlier this week, a commission of French scholars released the results of their two-year investigation, nearly 900 pages of information, on sexual and spiritual abuse by Jean Vanier, his mentor Thomas Philippe, and their mystical-sexual sect that played a role in the founding of L’Arche, a worldwide organization that supports people with intellectual disabilities.

The report includes historical, sociological, psychological, theological, and religious analysis, drawing from more than 200 hours of interviews and numerous documents from the archives of two L’Arche communities, L’Arche International, the French Dominicans, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Vanier’s personal archives, and more.

Notably, the commission had access to private folders Jean Vanier had labeled “NFA — Not For All,” which included received letters, documents, and notes of Vanier’s from 1950 to 1960. He had asked for the folder to be destroyed at his death, according to the report, but the…

View Cache

Vatican’s most senior woman says Catholic Church ‘failed’ child abuse victims

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC [Sydney, Australia]

February 4, 2023

By Isobel Roe

Read original article

The Vatican’s most senior woman says the Catholic Church has “failed” victims of child abuse, and the church must become more modern and inclusive to stay relevant. 

Key points:

  • Census data from 2021 indicated 43 per cent of Australians identify as Christian
  • This is down from 52 per cent in 2016
  • The largest group describing themselves as having ‘no religion’ are people under 39

Sister Nathalie Becquart, the first woman to receive voting rights in the Synod of Bishops, is on a tour of Australian Catholic dioceses, advocating for the church to listen more to its congregation.

Her visit to Sydney and Parramatta coincides with the funeral of Australia’s most senior Catholic Cardinal George Pell, an event she did not attend due to prior speaking commitments. 

Sr Becquart, 53, said fiery protests outside the funeral showed people were understandably angry at the church for its handling of institutional child sexual…

View Cache

Worcester Diocese lists 173 credible allegations of cleric abuse; critics slam report

WORCESTER (MA)
Worcester Telegram & Gazette [Worcester MA]

February 3, 2023

By Marco Cartolano

Read original article

Following a review of all cases of sexual abuse of minors since the establishment of the Diocese of Worcester in 1950, the diocese reported Friday that it had identified 173 people who have made credible or substantiated allegations.

The diocese has refused to publish the names of accused priests.

Lawyers who have advocated for people who were sexually abused as minors by priests blasted the report as self-serving, called the Diocese of Worcester especially unhelpful on sex abuse claims, and harshly criticized the diocese for not naming accused priests.

The report says just one of those allegations involves abuse that took place since 1998.

The report, conducted by Bishop Robert J. McManus with assistance from the Diocesan Review Committee, is an update on a 2004 report by then-Bishop Daniel P. Reilly.

During the 72 years covered in the review, the total number of allegations made — including allegations deemed unsubstantiated,…

View Cache

‘John Doe’ Forced to Give Full Name in Suit Alleging Clergy Sexual Abuse

KNOXVILLE (TN)
Baptist Press [Nashville TN]

February 3, 2023

By Diana Chandler

Read original article

A former Catholic church musician anonymously alleging he was raped has been forced to identify himself by name in order to continue his legal action against the Catholic Diocese of Knoxville, Tennessee.

Identified only as “John Doe” in his original lawsuit alleging a seminarian raped him, the claimant refiled his lawsuit Jan. 27 under his legal name, according to the document uploaded by Pillar Media.

Knox County Circuit Court Judge E. Jerome Melson ruled in August 2022 that the claimant could not pursue the lawsuit anonymously, granting a request by the defendants, according to court records Pillar Media accessed.

Liz Evan, a Clarksville, Tenn.-area attorney and member of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Sexual Abuse Task Force, which oversaw a third-party investigation in the SBC Executive Committee’s handling of abuse claims, said the judge’s ruling could discourage alleged sexual abuse survivors from seeking justice.

“Survivors will absolutely be chilled…

View Cache

Sexual Assault Survivors Speak Out on Grammy Weekend: ‘The Music Industry is the Catholic Church on Steroids’

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Variety [Los Angeles, CA]

February 3, 2023

By Elizabeth Wagmester

Read original article

On the eve of Grammys weekend, a group of sexual assault survivors came together to call on the music industry to take action against sexual predators and those who enable them.

“We need to take concrete steps to make sure that the music industry is safe and equitable,” said Melissa Schuman, a former member of the 2000s girl group Dream, who previously accused Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter of rape, which he has vigorously denied. 

“How much does music care?” Schuman asked, referencing Friday’s MusiCares Person of the Year gala, a Grammy tradition which raises funds to assist music professionals in need.

Alexa Nikolas, the actor known from Nickelodeon’s “Zoey 101” tearfully took the podium Friday afternoon at press conference held at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles.

“I have seen the music industry publicly participate in smear campaigns that have come up about me,” Nikolas said. “It’s time to turn down…

View Cache

Francis ‘light years ahead’ of other popes in tackling abuse scandal, says pioneering journalist

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

February 3, 2023

By Patsy McGarry

Read original article

An American journalist who was one of the first reporters in the world to expose the clerical child sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church says Pope Francis “has gone far beyond his two predecessors in confronting” the issue.

Jason Berry (73), an author and documentary-maker who has a film showing at a Dublin venue on Saturday, said the current pope “has made his share of mistakes, not heeding Ireland’s survivor leader Marie Collins on genuine reform, and his failure initially to believe news reports about the scandals in Chile. But he did change, sacking a third of the Chilean hierarchy and getting to know survivors like Juan Carlos Cruz [a prominent international campaigner on the issue].”

Francis “is still on a learning curve, though he’s light years ahead of John Paul II’s scandalous denial and Benedicts’ failure to oust culpable bishops. After so much suffering caused by the church,…

View Cache

February 3, 2023

Mourners call Australian Cardinal Pell victim of injustice

(AUSTRALIA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

February 1, 2023

By Rick Rycroft and Rod McGuirk

Read original article

Mourners at the Sydney funeral for Australian Cardinal George Pell, who was once the most senior Catholic convicted of sex abuse, remembered him Thursday as a victim of a campaign to punish him regardless of his guilt.

Meanwhile, a few hundred protesters yelled slogans from the street denouncing Pell, a staunch conservative who had riled gay rights supporters and was among church leaders blamed for inaction on clergy sex abuse.

Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher told the mourners at St. Mary’s Cathedral that the once third-highest-ranking cleric in the Vatican was the author of a dozen books including three volumes of a diary he wrote in prison before his child abuse convictions were overturned in 2000.

“That was one happy fruit from 404 days spent in prison for crimes he did not commit following a media, police and political campaign to punish him whether guilty or not,” said Fisher, a longtime…

View Cache

New report details abuses of L’Arche founder

PARIS (FRANCE)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

February 1, 2023

By Solène Tadié

Read original article

A new independent report commissioned by L’Arche International and released on its website Jan. 30 has shed light on the magnitude of psychological and sexual abuse committed by its famous founder, Jean Vanier, who died in 2019.

Founded in the French commune of Trosly-Breuil in 1964, L’Arche is an international federation gathering networks of community where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together. The initiative has inspired thousands of faithful around the world, allowing it to expand to 38 countries on five continents through 150 different communities. The shockwaves caused by the revelations about its founder were all the greater because he was often regarded as a saint.

While a previous report issued in February 2020 revealed Vanier’s sexual misconduct with six women in the context of providing spiritual direction to them, this new investigation found that between 1952 and 2019, at least 25 women — all of them adults without disabilities, single,…

View Cache

Catholic Church: So Far 40 Million Euros For Abuse Victims

BONN (GERMANY)
Globe Echo [London, England]

February 2, 2023

Read original article

The Catholic Church has so far paid out around 40 million euros to victims of sexualised violence. In the past two years, a commission processed more than 1,800 applications for recognition services.

A commission set up by the Catholic Church in Germany has so far approved more than 40 million euros in so-called recognition benefits for victims of sexualised violence. In 2021 it was almost 13 million, in 2022 around 28 million. This was announced by the Independent Commission for Recognition Services (UKA) in Bonn.

In 143 cases, sums of more than 50,000 euros were awarded. In 24 cases it was more than 100,000 euros. This was always done with the consent of the responsible church authorities, emphasized the UKA chairwoman Margarete Reske, former presiding judge at the Cologne Higher Regional Court. She emphasized that there were no problems with any of the 27 Catholic dioceses.

People who have experienced…

View Cache

Two churches ‘under inquiry’ by SBC Credentials Committee for platforming Johnny Hunt

NASHVILLE (TN)
Baptist News Global [Jacksonville FL]

February 3, 2023

By Mark Wingfield

Read original article

There could be a consequence for creating a self-appointed committee to “restore” a sexually abusive pastor to ministry and then inviting him to preach at your church. You and your church could get kicked out of the Southern Baptist Convention.

At least that’s what some Southern Baptists hope will happen at next June’s SBC annual meeting in New Orleans. The denomination’s Credentials Committee has placed two churches “under inquiry” for their support of Johnny Hunt, former executive vice president of the SBC North American Mission Board.

Hunt was named in last summer’s Guidepost Solutions investigation of mishandled sexual abuse cases in the SBC, resulting in his admission that he once had inappropriate contact with the wife of another pastor but his denial that it was abusive. The evidence against Hunt was compelling enough that he was forced from his role at NAMB and was disowned by the church where he served as…

View Cache

Priest arrested, accused of sexual assault, Jamestown police say

FARGO (ND)
Jamestown Sun [Jamestown ND]

February 2, 2023

By Masaki Ova

Read original article

The investigation is ongoing

A St. James Basilica priest removed from ministry pending an investigation of inappropriate conduct was arrested Wednesday, Feb. 1, on suspicion of committing sexual exploitation by a therapist in Stutsman County, according to Maj. Justin Blinksy, assistant chief of police with the Jamestown Police Department.

Neil Joseph Pfeifer, 48, was arrested in Rugby, North Dakota, and taken to the Pierce County Correctional Facility, where he awaits formal charges, Blinsky said.

Bishop John Folda of the Diocese of Fargo issued a statement that Pfeifer was removed from active ministry on Jan. 14 pending an investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct with adults. Pfeifer served St. James Basilica in Jamestown, St. Margaret Mary’s Catholic Church in Buchanan and St. Mathias Catholic Church in Windsor.

“Father Pfeifer remains out of ministry as pastor of the Basilica of St. James in Jamestown, St. Margaret Mary in Buchanan, and St. Mathias…

View Cache

February 2, 2023

Demonstrators in DR Congo demand pope meet sexual abuse victims

KINSHASA (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO)
Reuters [London, England]

February 2, 2023

By Benoit Nyemba

Read original article

Around two dozen activists and sexual abuse victims demonstrated in Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital on Thursday across the road from a cathedral where Pope Francis was meeting clergy.

They held up placards, including some demanding that the pope meet with clergy abuse victims in the country.

It was not clear if the pope saw the demonstrators as he arrived and left in a motorcade.

The demonstration in Kinshasa was organised by Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA), an international group, one of many that have been bringing attention to sexual abuse in the worldwide Church.

One demonstrator, Benjamin Kitobo, said he was abused when he was a boy in a seminary in the city of Kolwezi. He said the priest who allegedly abused him was later allowed to return to ministry.

There were no plans for the pope to meet with victims of sexual abuse in Congo, where about 50% of…

View Cache

A problematic nominee

CONCORD (NH)
Boston Globe

February 1, 2023

By Yvonne Abraham

Read original article

His supporters say federal appeals court nominee Michael Delaney is a dedicated advocate for sexual assault survivors. The family of one high-profile survivor would beg to differ.

When Michael A. Delaney, President Biden’s nominee to the US Court of Appeals in Boston, appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee at his upcoming confirmation hearing sometime soon, Alexander Prout will be there.

Many think Delaney, a former New Hampshire attorney general, is a stellar candidate. When his nomination was announced on Jan. 18, Democratic Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan called Delaney “exceedingly qualified,” by virtue of his long career in public service and his “commitment to justice.”

Prout takes a different view.

“Michael Delaney is not qualified to sit on the bench,” he said. “If he is confirmed, it will send a chilling message to survivors of sexual assault and their advocates.”

In 2014, when Prout’s daughter Chessy was…

View Cache

R.I. high court weighs whether law allows Providence Diocese to be sued in older child sexual abuse cases

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Boston Globe

February 1, 2023

By Brian Amaral

Read original article

The case comes down to whether, under a 2019 law, the Diocese of Providence and its leaders can be considered “perpetrators” if their conduct contributed to child sexual abuse by priests

Victims of childhood sexual abuse by priests asked the state Supreme Court in oral arguments Wednesday to revive their lawsuits against the Diocese of Providence, arguing that a state law passed in 2019 allowed them to sue the institution and its leaders.

The case comes down to whether the Diocese of Providence and its leaders can be considered “perpetrators” of childhood sexual abuse under a 2019 law. The victims argue that the conduct of the diocese and its leaders was so egregious that they could be considered a “perpetrator,” the same way the driver of a getaway car can be criminally charged in a bank robbery.

They appear to face an uphill climb. The victims’ attorney, Timothy Conlon, faced…

View Cache

‘Pell Burn In Hell’: Clashes break out at funeral of cardinal accused of child sex abuse

(AUSTRALIA)
The Independent [London, England]

February 2, 2023

By Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Read original article

George Pell accused of sexually abusing two choir boys as Archbishop of Melbourne

‘Go to hell’: Hundreds protest outside of George Pell’s funeral in Sydney

Mourners and protesters clashed ahead of the funeral service for controversial cardinal George Pell in Sydney on Thursday morning.

The cardinal, who was once the most senior Catholic to be convicted of sex abuse, died last month in Rome aged 81 and was returned to Australia to be interred at the crypt of St Mary’s Cathedral.

Hundreds of protesters shouted slogans from the park across the cathedral, denouncing Pell, a staunch conservative who had riled LGBT+ rights supporters and was among church leaders blamed for inaction on clergy sex abuse.

“Pell Burn In Hell,” read one of the signs carried by the protesters and displayed on cars, as others screamed, “George Pell, go to hell”.

Tensions flared when several faithful tried to remove colourful ribbons that the protesters had…

View Cache

Nine US religious leaders arrested last month on child sex crimes

NEW YORK (NY)
Fox News [New York NY]

February 1, 2023

By Jessica Chasmar

Read original article

‘Dances with Wolves’ actor accused of sexually abusing Indigenous girls while claiming to be ‘Holy Person’

FIRST ON FOX: At least nine religious leaders were arrested in the U.S. last month for alleged sex crimes against children, ranging from grooming to child porn to rape, Fox News Digital has found.

Former “Dances with Wolves” actor Nathan Chasing Horse was arrested Tuesday in Las Vegas on allegations he sexually assaulted young Indigenous girls spanning several states while claiming to be a spiritual healer.

According to a search warrant obtained by the Associated Press, police said Chasing Horse, who played Smiles a Lot in the 1990 film, had followers who referred to him as “Medicine Man” or “Holy Person,” and he “used spiritual traditions and their belief system as a tool to sexually assault young girls on numerous occasions.”

He is also accused by police of pimping out his victims…

View Cache

Who killed the monsignor? Diocese secretly used Bemus Point mansion to house molester priests

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News [Buffalo NY]

February 2, 2023

By Dan Herbeck and Lou Michel

Read original article

Who killed the monsignor?

This is the 13th installment in an 18-part serial on the unsolved 1966 murder of Buffalo Diocese Monsignor Francis J. O’Connor. Read the rest of the series.

BEMUS POINT – In 1966, Buffalo priests who were accused of sexually abusing children did not have to worry about being arrested.

Instead, some were sent for a time out in the lap of luxury – a stately mansion in this beautiful vacation community, on a property with lush, rolling lawns, tennis courts and a gorgeous view of Chautauqua Lake, a Buffalo News investigation has revealed.

The mansion served as the Buffalo Diocese’s secret place of confinement for at least two molester priests in the 1960s.

Police records show that the Rev. John D. Lewandowski and three other troubled priests were living at the Bemus Point mansion when homicide detectives questioned and fingerprinted Lewandowski as a suspect…

View Cache

Gary Franks: Pope Benedict — sex abuse scandals and collateral damage

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Tribune-Review [Pittsburgh PA]

January 6, 2023

Read original article

In Pope Benedict’s final letter, he asked for forgiveness. In the past, Benedict acknowledged “his failure to act decisively at times in confronting sexual abusers.”

The priest sex abuse scandals over the decades have been shocking and horrific. The issue has been debilitating to those directly and indirectly affected. More than $3 billion have been paid in legal settlements to victims between 1950 and 2018.

Over 7,000 members of the Catholic church sexually abused over 20,000 minors, predominately young white boys. The man responsible for disciplinary action for the church for over 25 years was then-Archbishop/ Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who would go on to become Pope Benedict XVI.

A major asset of the Catholic church is its school buildings. A countless number of Catholic schools were closed in the inner cities in my home state of Connecticut. These school closures impaired, if not eliminated, accessibility to a Catholic school education, which…

View Cache

Priest who offered up cancer for clerical abuse victims says he was healed at Lourdes

INDIANAPOLIS (IN)
Catholic Review - Archdiocese of Baltimore [Baltimore MD]

February 1, 2023

By Gina Christian, Our Sunday Visitor

Read original article

INDIANAPOLIS (OSV News) — A priest who offered up his suffering from cancer for the sake of clerical abuse victims said he has experienced a miraculous healing following a June 2022 pilgrimage to the Marian shrine at Lourdes, France.

Father John Hollowell, a priest of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, told OSV News that doctors have said his brain tumor, diagnosed in 2019, has disappeared.

“I had an MRI two weeks after I got back from Lourdes (at the end of June 2022),” said Father Hollowell, who first announced the news in a Jan. 30 video message on his YouTube channel. “All that remained was scar tissue from the surgeries.”

In 2020, Father Hollowell learned that a series of fainting spells and dizziness were the result of an oligodendroglioma – a brain tumor usually occurring in white and non-Hispanic males between the ages of 35 and 44. About 1,200 individuals…

View Cache

Can the Diocese of Providence be sued over clergy sexual abuse? Appeal argues it was a perpetrator

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Providence Journal [Providence RI]

February 2, 2023

By Tom Mooney

Read original article

The state Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday on whether the Diocese of Providence as an institution can be defined as a “perpetrator” of child sexual abuse under a relatively new state law, and thus possibly sued by alleged victims of accused pedophile priests from decades ago. 

Rhode Island lawmakers in 2019 extended the deadline for victims of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits against those who abused them, even if the abuse took place outside of the statute of limitations.

The new law extended the deadline from seven years to 35 years after the victim’s 18th birthday. But it allowed a retroactive extension of that deadline only if they were suing a “perpetrator” — not a “non-perpetrator.” 

In a test case of the new law, Superior Court Judge Netti C. Vogel in 2020 dismissed three priest-abuse lawsuits against the diocese and its leaders, finding that the law defined “perpetrator” as the person…

View Cache

Irish Catholic Church in ‘terminal decline’ after sexual abuse scandals

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Euronews [Lyon, France]

February 2, 2023

Read original article

Ireland was once regarded as the most catholic Country in the World. That, though, is no longer the case.

Mark Vincent Healy was sexually abused by a member of the Spiritan Order while at school during the 1960s and 70s. He says the sexual abuse he experienced destroyed his life.

“It had a profound psychological effect on me and the way that I made decisions in things that I wanted to do with my life, even more recently and obviously when this matter came forward and it surfaced in my life, everything changed,” he revealed to Euronews.

“It’s been now 16 years I have been seeking redress and justice but it hasn’t been an extension of justice for myself but an extension of justice to so many other survivors in Ireland.”

A ‘catastrophic’ impact on Catholicism in Ireland

Weekly Mass attendance which stood at 91% in 1975 was down to 36% in…

View Cache

February 1, 2023

Stika told priests accused seminarian was ‘victimized’

KNOXVILLE (TN)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

January 31, 2023

By The Pillar

Read original article

Bishop Rick Stika is accused of defamation, and covering up sexual abuse, in the Diocese of Knoxville.

The Pillar has confirmed a recently-made allegation, that Bishop Rick Stika told priests a seminarian accused of sexually assaulting a parish organist had actually been victimized by the organist – essentially recasting the story so that the accused seminarian was the victim, rather than the alleged aggressor.

The allegation came in a lawsuit refiled last week, which charges that Stika impeded an investigation into the claim that former seminarian Wojciech Sobczuk sexually assaulted the lawsuit’s plaintiff, who worked as a musician at the Diocese of Knoxville’s cathedral.

The suit was initially filed in February 2022, but had to be refiled this month, after a court agreed last year with the Diocese of Knoxville’s argument that the plaintiff could not file the lawsuit using a pseudonym. Plaintiff’s attorney Patrick Thronson told The Pillar that his client…

View Cache

As George Pell departs, every ribbon tells a story the church tried to silence

(AUSTRALIA)
Brisbane Times [Brisbane, Australia]

February 1, 2023

By Simon Hunt

Read original article

As people arrived one by one to put up ribbons at St Mary’s Cathedral over the past week, Ballarat child abuse survivor Paul Auchettl would quietly approach them. Every person had a story about their own experience of abuse at the hands of the Catholic Church, or stories of abuse suffered by someone they loved. Children would emerge from the faces of 60-year-old men and women, and Auchettl would guide them through the release that the tying of a ribbon would bring, like a contemporary shaman.

Every day the fence would be picked “clean” of the presence of abused children that each ribbon represents. It was this removal that most deeply troubled Auchettl and his fellow Ballarat survivor Trevor Coad, who accompanied him to Sydney. Their seven-year ribbon campaign in their hometown, the epicentre of revelations in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse, has progressed to some sort…

View Cache

Police ask court to ban protest at Cardinal’s Sydney funeral

(AUSTRALIA)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

January 31, 2023

By Rod McGuirk and The Associated Press

Read original article

Australian police plan to ask a judge to ban gay rights protesters from demonstrating outside the funeral of Cardinal George Pell in Sydney on Feb. 2 due to public safety concerns.

Pell, who was once considered the third-highest ranking cleric in the Vatican and spent more than a year in prison before his child abuse convictions were squashed in 2020, died in Rome this month at age 81.

The staunchly conservative church leader will lie in St. Mary’s Cathedral starting Feb. 1 and will be interred at the cathedral after a funeral Mass the following day.

The New South Wales Police Force said on Jan. 31 it has rejected an application from Sydney-based gay rights group Community Action for Rainbow Rights for a permit to protest outside the cathedral on Feb. 2 due to safety concerns.

It said police Commissioner Karen Webb will apply to the New South Wales Supreme…

View Cache

Pell mourned at Sydney cathedral day before funeral, protest

(AUSTRALIA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

February 1, 2023

By Rod McGuirk

Read original article

Mourners paid their respects to Cardinal George Pell in a Sydney cathedral Wednesday a day before the funeral and interment of a polarizing church leader who was once the most senior Catholic convicted of sex abuse.

Pell, who died last month at age 81, spent more than a year in prison before his convictions were overturned in 2020.

Once the third-highest-ranking cleric in the Vatican, he returned to Australia in 2017 to fight abuse allegations made by multiple complainants over decades in his home state of Victoria. Only charges that he abused two choirboys in his early months as archbishop of Melbourne in the late 1990s led to convictions. He spent 404 days in mostly solitary confinement before he was cleared. But his Vatican career by then had ended.

The staunchly conservative church leader will lie in St. Mary’s Cathedral until he is interred at the cathedral crypt after a funeral Mass…

View Cache

Former Peterborough and St Neots priest guilty of historic child sex offences

PETERBOROUGH (UNITED KINGDOM)
Cambsnews.co.uk [Cambridge, UK]

January 31, 2023

By John Elworthy

Read original article

A retired Roman Catholic priest Dennis Finbow formerly from Cambridgeshire has been found guilty of three historic sex offences against a child.

Fr Dennis Finbow, a retired priest of the Diocese of East Anglia, was convicted by a jury at Huntingdon Crown Court.

He gone on trial accused of five counts of indecently assaulting a girl and one of indecently assaulting a boy.

Following a six-day trial, Fr Finbow was convicted of three counts of indecent assault on a child and found not guilty of the remaining three offences.

Fr Finbow, 74, who now lives in Martlesham, Suffolk, denied all six counts of indecent assault.

During his time in Cambridgeshire, Fr Finbow held posts at Littlehey prison, St Joseph’s Church in St Neots and at Dogsthorpe, Peterborough.

The trial was told by the prosecution that when Fr Finbow was interviewed by police he described the allegations as nonsense and “a…

View Cache

Peterborough Catholic priest, 74, guilty of child sex abuse

PETERBOROUGH (UNITED KINGDOM)
BBC [London, England]

January 31, 2023

By BBC

Read original article

A 74-year-old Catholic priest who claimed allegations against him were “nonsense” has been convicted of abusing a child in the 1980s.

Dennis Finbow, who had worked in Peterborough, was found guilty of three counts of indecent assault against a girl aged between 10 and 13.

The trial at Huntingdon Crown Court heard the defendant had touched the girl while she was in bed.

Finbow, of Martlesham, Suffolk, will be sentenced on 8 March.

He was cleared of two other counts of indecent assault against the same girl and one count of indecent assault against a boy.

Following the verdicts, Finbow was granted bail, but the judge, Philip Grey, warned him to prepare for a immediate jail term which was the “almost inevitable outcome”.

In a police interview played to the jury, the female complainant said Finbow was “charismatic” and “everybody loved him”.

Prosecutor Nicholas Bleaney said when he was voluntarily…

View Cache

JEAN VANIER BEGAN L’ARCHE TO COVER ABUSIVE ‘MYSTICAL-SEXUAL’ PRACTICES, FINDS REPORT

TROSLY-BREUIL (FRANCE)
Sojourners [Washington, DC]

January 30, 2023

By Mitchell Atencio

Read original article

A report released today concluded that Jean Vanier — a Catholic lay leader and founder of L’Arche, a worldwide network of communities supporting adults with intellectual disabilities — founded the first L’Arche community primarily as a cover for a secretive religious sect with exploitative “mystical-sexual” beliefs and practices.

The report also found Vanier sexually exploited at least 25 nondisabled women from 1952 until just before his death in 2019, far more than previously known.

According to the report, the sect used L’Arche as a “screen” to secretly reunite around their leader, Thomas Philippe, a Dominican priest who had previously been investigated and disciplined by Catholic authorities for his abuse and his manipulative theology.

Tina Bovermann, national leader and executive director of L’Arche USA and a member of L’Arche’s international leadership team, told Sojourners the new report offered a “heavy” look at the “insidious … and strategic” behavior of…

View Cache

Georgia Church Hosting Johnny Hunt Men’s Conference Despite Sex Assault Allegations

HIRAM (GA)
The Roys Report [Chicago IL]

January 31, 2023

By Sarah Einselen

Read original article

Disgraced former Southern Baptist Convention president Johnny Hunt found a new venue for his upcoming men’s conference: A church whose pastor Hunt ordained decades ago.

The Johnny Hunt Men’s Conference will take place March 17-18 at New Season Church in Hiram, Georgia, Hunt announced in mid-January. He had previously planned a men’s conference in February at his former church, First Baptist Church Woodstock in the Atlanta area. But details of the event vanished from the conference website after FBC Woodstock said it wasn’t hosting the conference.

Hunt also filled the pulpit this past Sunday at New Season Church—the second time he has preached since being publicly accused of sexually assaulting another pastor’s wife.

Hunt did not mention the accusations during either this past Sunday’s sermon or in his sermon at a different church earlier in January. He briefly alluded to having been out of the…

View Cache

Asian Church’s ‘sin of omission’ on child porn

(INDONESIA)
Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) [Hong Kong]

January 31, 2023

Read original article

It’s time the bishops’ conferences on the continent form a separate commission for a digital mission

Asian teens are known for churning out terabytes of hypersexual content on a daily basis that makes big waves across all social media platforms with consumers, not necessarily all young, located abroad. It adds to the already available child porn on the dark web at people’s fingertips.

Less surprisingly, the immortal nature of the videos has outpaced efforts to get rid of them, forcing victims of child pornography to live with it forever.

In Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country by way of population, the trade in pornographic and sexual videos involving children reached 114.26 billion rupiah (US$ 7.3 million) in 2022.

Indonesia’s Financial Transaction Analysis Reporting Center, which tracks money laundering, said most of the consumers are people based outside the country. Unable to visit Asian nations where child prostitution thrives, pornographers opt for…

View Cache

Philippine Church must let law take its own course

MANILA (PHILIPPINES)
Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) [Hong Kong]

January 31, 2023

By Father Shay Cullen

Read original article

Pope Francis has forbidden attempts to obstruct justice and asks to turn over clerical child abusers to civil authorities

The institutional Church in the Philippines has never had a priest jailed for child sexual abuse so far because as Cardinal Antonio Tagle told the BBC’s Hardtalk TV program, it was an internal affair handled by Church authorities. That policy is now changing as Pope Francis and the Vatican have forbidden such handling. The days of impunity are past. Or are they? 

In the past, in every case settled out of court, the excessive authority and influence of the Church authorities overwhelmed the victims and their families. The parish community could pressure them to drop charges of sexual abuse against a priest and “not go against the Church.”

Pope Francis has forbidden that and such attempts can be a crime, obstruction of justice and a violation of Vatican rules now in place. The…

View Cache

New Report Details Path Forward from Clergy Sexual Abuse Crisis

(NY)
University News Fordham [Bronx, NY]

January 27, 2023

By Patrick Verel

Read original article

In July 2020, Fordham led the creation of a project called Taking Responsibility, an interdisciplinary initiative aimed at addressing the Catholic Church’s ongoing sexual abuse crisis.

The project was spurred by a 2018 report by the Society of Jesus that publicly disclosed the names of its members who were credibly accused of sexually abusing minors, as well as a report that year by a Pennsylvania grand jury that found similar findings in diocesan priests. It was funded by a $1 million gift from a private donation.

On Thursday, Jan. 26, the group released its final report, featuring research projects conducted by 18 teams from 10 Jesuit universities. In addition to Fordham, the initiative included lay and clergy faculty from Creighton, Gonzaga, Georgetown, Loyola Chicago, Loyola Maryland, Marquette, Rockhurst, Santa Clara, and Xavier universities.

The research projects addressed topics connected to the Society of Jesus, but were not limited strictly to it. There was often…

View Cache

Church believes sexual abuse report “won’t affect World Youth Day”

LISBON (PORTUGAL)
Portugal Resident [Lagoa, Portugal]

February 1, 2023

By Natasha Donn

Read original article

Day in fact may well “increase religious vocation” – priest tells Lusa

The director of the National Department of Youth Ministry (DNPJ) believes the release of the report on child sexual abuse by members of the clergy in Portugal will not affect World Youth Day, but admits that the situation has “shaken” the Church.

In a wide ranging interview he went so far as to suggest that World Youth Day, already creating a fervour of touristic speculation, could in fact increase religious vocation, as he believes it “will touch and awaken the hearts of some young people to give themselves to this Church of Jesus Christ” – and ostensibly ignore completely the issues of previous generations, highlighted by Independent Commission for the Study of Sexual Abuse of Children in the Portuguese Catholic Church. 

Father Filipe Diniz considered all the work that has been done “by…

View Cache

Activists urge Pope to sanction DR Congo priest accused of sex abuse

KINSHASA (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO)
Africa News [Pointe-Noire, CG]

January 31, 2023

By Rédaction Africanews and AFP

Read original article

Congolese and foreign activists on Monday (Jan. 30) called on Pope Francis to sanction a priest accused of sexually abusing a minor in the Democratic Republic of Congo where he is to arrive this Tuesday (Jan. 31).

A girl identified as Marie recounted to reporters via video conference how she was raped nearly two years ago by a priest from the Tshumbe diocese in the centre of the country, when, at the age of 14, she was “aspiring” to become a consecrated religious.

Marie said she informed church authorities in DR Congo at the time.

Since then, she claimed she was “not living in safety, everyone around me is under threat.” 

“It’s a serious case,” Tim Law, founder of Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA), told a press conference in Kinshasa, where his NGO is seeking to give a voice to victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy.

“It’s your…

View Cache

Why is Italy dawdling in its response to sexual abuse in the Catholic Church?

(ITALY)
Euronews [Lyon, France]

February 1, 2023

By Giorgia Orlandi

Read original article

Four years ago, Pope Francis called for a major global summit to address the problem of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, promising an end to cover-ups. But the Vatican has often been accused of not doing enough, compared to other countries, to tackle the issue. 

A special panel set up in 2014 to advise Pope Francis on ways to better protect minors from sexual abuse by the clergy faced heavy scrutiny in 2017 when Marie Collins, an Irish abuse survivor and panel member, left the group citing the Church’s unwillingness to change.

“When I resigned I wanted it to be known that there was resistance,” Marie revealed. “I wanted it to be known that the Commission had been trying to do its work … but stumbling blocks had been put in its way by people within the curia.” 

“Vatican power and politics [were] involved. They wanted to control the commission, to take away…

View Cache

‘Confusion, control and abuse’: Report offers new details about Jean Vanier’s secret sect and sexual exploitation

PARIS (FRANCE)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

January 30, 2023

By Katie Collins Scott

Read original article

When revelations emerged nine months after his 2019 death that Jean Vanier — a philosopher, author and activist once deemed a living saint — had sexually and spiritually abused women, his legacy was upended.  

Now a massive report, released Jan. 30, seeks to untangle and analyze many pieces of the dark and complex story of Vanier’s decadeslong hidden life, highlighting both the extent of abuse and the “incredible persistence of a perverse nucleus” of abusers.

Produced by an independent, interdisciplinary commission of French academics, the nearly 900-page report validates the claims of 25 non-disabled women against Vanier, who founded a worldwide organization supporting adults with intellectual disabilities. As part of a sectarian group led by Vanier’s spiritual mentor, Dominican Fr. Thomas Philippe, the charismatic Vanier identified people seeking spiritual guidance and exploited them for sexual purposes.

The new report builds upon an investigation launched by Paris-based L’Arche International…

View Cache

‘Dances With Wolves’ actor arrested in Nevada sex abuse case

LAS VEGAS (NV)
Associated Press [New York NY]

February 1, 2023

By Rio Yamat

Read original article

Las Vegas police on Tuesday arrested and raided the home of a former “Dances With Wolves” actor turned alleged cult leader accused of sexually assaulting young Indigenous girls during a period spanning two decades, according to police records obtained by The Associated Press.

Nathan Lee Chasing His Horse, who goes by Nathan Chasing Horse, was taken into custody in the afternoon near the North Las Vegas home he is said to share with his five wives. SWAT officers were seen outside the two-story home in the evening as detectives searched the property.

Known for his role as the young Sioux tribe member Smiles a Lot in the Oscar-winning Kevin Costner film, Chasing Horse gained a reputation among tribes across the United States and in Canada as a so-called medicine man who performed healing ceremonies and spiritual gatherings and, police allege, used his position to abuse young Native American girls.

His…

View Cache

January 31, 2023

India: Bishops Need To Be Serious About Their Meetings – OpEd

NEW DELHI (INDIA)
Eurasia Review [Albany OR]

January 29, 2023

By Michael Gonsalves

Read original article

In recent years, the simple church-going Catholics in India, the world’s biggest democracy, have been scandalized by allegations of clerical sex abuse and financial crimes rocking the Catholic Church in India. Will that be a botheration for the bishops as they gather for their annual plenary meeting this week in southern Indian Bangalore city?

The growing rift and spirited fight among the bishops, priests, and the laity, some of them involving court cases, have undermined Catholics’ faith in the Church’s self-stabilizing system and exposed to the world the serious lack of leadership in the Indian Catholic Church today.

Mainstream national media have run headlines of sex scandals, financial misappropriation, and land scandals involving priests and bishops. Court cases continue about a bishop accused of raping a nun, and a cardinal accused of alienating Church lands. But both continue in office.

Gone are the days when people in general and Catholics…

View Cache

Ex-Vic priest extradited on assault charge

(AUSTRALIA)
Newcastle Herald [Newcastle, Australia]

January 30, 2023

By Tara Cosoleto, Australian Associated Press

Read original article

A former Victorian priest who was jailed for sexually abusing six schoolboys will be extradited to Tasmania to face more indecent assault charges.

David Edwin Rapson was in 2015 found guilty of abusing the boys, aged between 11 and 16, at two Victorian boarding schools in the 1970s and 1980s.

He was sentenced to 12 years and six months in jail, with a non-parole period of nine years and four months.

The Victorian attorney-general office on Monday lodged an application in Melbourne Magistrates Court, requesting Rapson be extradited to Tasmania.

The defrocked Catholic priest has been charged with further indecent assault offences in the island state, the court was told.

Rapson appeared in the court via video link from Hopkins Correctional Centre in Victoria’s west.

He did not oppose the application, instead telling magistrate Brett Sonnet he was “happy and thankful” to have the opportunity to front the Tasmanian charges.

View Cache

Catholic cardinal twice accused of sexual assault is allowed to resign

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Washington Post

January 30, 2023

By Adam Taylor

Read original article

A powerful Canadian cardinal who was twice accused of sexual assault will retire on April 12, the Vatican’s news service announced Monday.

The announcement did not mention the allegations against Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who was head of the Vatican’s powerful bishops’ office. He was also once considered to be a strong contender for the papacy.

Instead, the news service said that Pope Francis had accepted Ouellet’s resignation “upon reaching the age limit” for cardinals, which is 75. Ouellet, 78, reached the limit a few years ago — but so have several other heads of major Vatican departments, according to the independent National Catholic Reporter.

His retirement could bring more scrutiny to the allegations. It also draws attention to Francis’s handling of the affair, coming just a week after the Catholic leader told an interviewer that he wanted more “transparency” within the church’s…

View Cache

NJ priest serving life sentence for rape has died. But trauma continues for his victims

METUCHEN (NJ)
NorthJersey.com [Woodland Park NJ]

January 31, 2023

By Deena Yellin

Read original article

A former New Jersey priest who was serving a life sentence in Massachusetts for raping a child has died, authorities said.

Romano Ferraro admitted during a Parole Board hearing to sexually abusing “numerous” children and has prompted lawsuits by alleged victims in New Jersey, New York, Missouri and Florida. He served in Catholic parishes in Middlesex County during the 1980s and was eventually removed from the priesthood in 2011.

Ferraro was “one of the most prolific priest pedophiles on the East Coast,” according to the website of Adam Horowitz, an attorney representing a former altar boy who sued the Diocese of Metuchen in New Jersey.

Advocates for clergy abuse survivors cite Ferraro as proof of the church’s failure in New Jersey to live up to its promises of transparency about sexual assault. While he is included on lists of “credibly accused” priests issued by the Diocese of Brooklyn and Archdiocese of St. Louis,…

View Cache

Pope Francis names Chicago native head of Vatican bishops’ department

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

January 30, 2023

Read original article

Pope Francis has named Bishop Robert Francis Prevost O.S.A. to lead the Dicastery for Bishops.

Pope Francis has named Bishop Robert Francis Prevost O.S.A. to lead the Dicastery for Bishops, the Vatican announced on Monday, ending months of speculation about who would succeed Cardinal Marc Ouellet as head of the department which oversees episcopal nominations and discipline.

Prevost, 67, has been serving as bishop of the Peruvian Diocese of Chiclayo, where he was appointed in 2014. Along with his appointment as prefect, the Vatican press office announced, Pope Francis has granted Prevost the personal rank of Archbishop, and he will take the title of Archbishop-Bishop emeritus of Chiclayo when he takes over at the dicastery on April 12.

A Chicago native, he was previously appointed by Francis as a member of both the Dicastery for Bishops and the Dicastery for Clergy. He is also a canon lawyer with experience as…

View Cache

Pope taps American to head Vatican’s powerful Dicastery for Bishops

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Crux [Denver CO]

January 31, 2023

By John Lavenburg

Read original article

NEW YORK – Pope Francis on Jan. 30 accepted the resignation of Cardinal Marc Ouellet as prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops, and tapped Bishop Robert Francis Prevost, a Chicago native who currently leads the Diocese of Chiclayo in Peru, to take over the department responsible for bishop appointments.

Ouellet, 78, is currently facing two allegations of sexual misconduct from adult women, both of which he has denied.

The Dicastery for Bishops traditionally has been considered one of the Vatican’s most powerful departments, as it advises the pope on the appointment of new bishops around the world. While the pope theoretically is free to name anyone he wants, in most cases he accepts the top choice presented by the discastery.

Prevost, 67, has led Chiclayo since 2015. Prior to that, he served as a regional and global head of the Augustinian order, and spent many years as a missionary in…

View Cache

January 30, 2023

Pope urged to sanction Congo priest in child sex abuse case

KINSHASA (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO)
Manila Bulletin [Manila, Philippines]

January 30, 2023

Read original article

Congolese and foreign activists on Monday called on Pope Francis to sanction a priest accused of sexually abusing a minor in the Democratic Republic of Congo where he arrives on Tuesday.

A girl identified as Marie told reporters by video conference how she was raped nearly two years ago by a priest from the Tshumbe diocese in the centre of the country, when, at the age of 14, she was “aspiring” to join the church.

Marie said she had informed the church authorities in Congo.

Since then, “I am not living in safety, everyone around me is under threat,” she said.

“It’s a serious case,” Tim Law, founder of Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA), told a press conference in Kinshasa, where his NGO is seeking to give a voice to victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy.

“It’s your duty to protect the children” from “the lies of pastors”,…

View Cache

Charlotte priest challenges bishop, demands reinstatement to ministry

CHARLOTTE (NC)
Crux [Denver CO]

January 26, 2023

By John Lavenburg

Read original article

NEW YORK – An embattled priest in the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, has taken the unusual step of publicly criticizing his own bishop for recent comments on the priest’s removal from active ministry – a decision the Vatican has already upheld twice.

Father Patrick Hoare said in a Jan. 24 statement that in a recent letter to the faithful from Bishop Peter Jugis, the phrasing regarding allegations of inappropriate behavior towards minors was “inaccurate and implies an objective finding of fact that has not occurred.”

“It is very unusual for a priest to publicly question the statement of his bishop, and for three years, I have been silent, but I feel I must respond because this letter has caused real and unjust harm to my reputation,” Hoare said, claiming that he can’t go into much detail because he has a third appeal pending with the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, the…

View Cache

Francis replaces Ouellet with American-born Prevost to run Vatican bishops’ office

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

January 30, 2023

By Christopher White

Read original article

Pope Francis on Jan. 30 accepted the resignation of Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet as prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops and appointed Chicago-born Augustinian Bishop Robert Francis Prevost, currently serving in Chiclayo, Peru, to head the influential Vatican office responsible for recommending priests to be named bishops. 

Prevost, 67, previously served as prior general of the Augustinians and holds degrees from both Villanova University and the Catholic Theological Union in the United States, as well as a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome.

Since the mid-1980’s, he held a number of missionary postings in Peru, and in 2014, Pope Francis appointed him as bishop of the Chiclayo Diocese in the country. 

In 2020, Francis appointed him as a member of the then-Congregation for Bishops, which meets regularly in Rome to vet candidates and advise the pope on nominations to the episcopacy. Prevost…

View Cache

Quebec Cardinal Ouellet set to retire amid sexual abuse allegations

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [Chicago IL]

January 30, 2023

Read original article

The Vatican announced on Monday that Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who oversees the influential bishops’ office, will retire on April 12.

The announcement that Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet, comes two weeks after allegations of sexual misconduct against Ouellet by a second woman in the Quebec Archdiocese were made public.

In August 2022, Pope Francis passed up a perfect chance to demonstrate that even those closest to him, such as Cardinal Ouellet, are not immune to investigation.  We simply do not understand why the uninvited actions by a high-ranking Catholic official that is the subject of a current lawsuit can be so easily — and quickly — dismissed by the Church. Victims who fight hard to bring forth the wrong done to them do not have the luxury of retirement, their fight continues. It shows the superficiality…

View Cache

Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet to retire

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) [Toronto, Canada]

January 30, 2023

Read original article

Ouellet has been head of the Vatican’s powerful bishops’ office

Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the head of the Vatican’s powerful bishops’ office, is retiring as of April 12, the Vatican announced Monday.

The Vatican said Pope Francis accepted Ouellet’s resignation, due to him having reached the age limit. Ouellet is 78, which is three years past the normal retirement age for bishops.

“It is time for me to take on new challenges, always in the service of the church and the Holy See,” said a statement released by Ouellet.

Appointed to head the Dicastery for Bishops by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, Ouellet was one of the few Vatican prefects Francis retained from his predecessor’s papacy, in a clear sign of trust.

The Dicastery for Bishops is a committee that advises the Pope in the selection of bishops. It also investigates allegations of abuse or neglect against them.

On Monday, the Pope named American-born…

View Cache

Pope accepts resignation of powerful Canadian cardinal accused by two women – Response from BishopAccountability.org

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
BishopAccountability.org [Waltham MA]

January 30, 2023

By Anne Barrett Doyle

Read original article

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Marc Ouellet from his powerful position as prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops.  

This sudden event occurs less than two weeks after a French Catholic publication revealed that a second woman has accused the cardinal of sexual abuse. The timing is suggestive, and it raises troubling questions about the Pope’s possible complicity.   

Now would be a good time for Francis to practice the transparency he recently espoused.

He should account for his seemingly reckless disregard of two women’s allegations. He should also tell us why the cardinal is stepping down now. Was Ouellet subject to a Vos Estis investigation? Is his departure from office a sanction?  
For more than 12 years, Ouellet has occupied one of the most powerful and consequential positions in the Curia. Under his watch, several bishops substantively accused of sexual wrongdoing against…

View Cache

Former priest Frank Pavone, head of Priests for Life, faces sexual misconduct allegations

AMARILLO (TX)
Catholic Review - Archdiocese of Baltimore [Baltimore MD]

January 27, 2023

By Gina Christian, Our Sunday Visitor

Read original article

Embattled former priest and pro-life activist Frank Pavone is facing accusations of sexual misconduct that took place prior to his laicization in November 2022.

Pavone, national director of the nonprofit Priests for Life, was the subject of at least two reports sent to the Diocese of Amarillo, Texas, “during or before 2010,” according to a Jan. 24 article in The Pillar, an online outlet that covers the Catholic Church. The Pillar’s article cited allegations of inappropriate behavior by Pavone toward several Priests for Life employees.

The Pillar noted reports also were submitted to the Archdiocese of New York, for which Pavone was ordained in 1988 and where he served as a priest until he transferred to the Diocese of Amarillo in 2005, where he was incardinated.

Due to what he called years of “disobedience and scandalous behavior,” Amarillo Bishop Patrick J. Zurek moved in 2017 to have Pavone dismissed from…

View Cache

Abuse survivors say Catholic church has failed to disclose hundreds of cases in NJ

NEWARK (NJ)
NorthJersey.com [Woodland Park NJ]

January 30, 2023

By Deena Yellin and Abbott Koloff

Read original article

Four years ago, when New Jersey’s Catholic dioceses released a list of 188 clergy who had been “credibly accused” of sexually assaulting children, church leaders vowed that they would continue to update the names as new allegations arose.

Cardinal Joseph Tobin, leader of the Newark Archdiocese, wrote that he hoped releasing the names would be “an expression of our commitment to protecting our children” and “a new level of transparency in the way we report and respond to allegations.”

But today, Newark’s inventory of 63 credibly accused clerics remains unchanged − even after hundreds of sex abuse lawsuits have been filed against the Archdiocese and accusers have received settlements from a fund established to compensate victims. Numerous accused priests are not on the list.

Maria Margiotta, an Archdiocese spokeswoman, declined to share any details about potential updates to the list and did not respond to a request to interview Cardinal Tobin.

“At this…

View Cache

Pope Francis recalls a “conversion moment” on abuse

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Aleteia [Paris, France]

January 28, 2023

By Isabella H. de Carvalho

Read original article

Francis talks about his “conversion” on the issue of abuse in the Church and comments on two well-known figures who were recently accused.

You can get Aleteia inspiration and news in your inbox. Our specially curated newsletter is sent each morning. The best part? It’s free.Sign up here

In a wide ranging interview with the Associated Press, published on January 25, 2023, Pope Francis explained how he had a “conversion moment” on the issue of abuse within the Church during his 2018 trip to Chile. He also commented on two important abuse accusations that have emerged over the last months.

The first concerns an East Timorese Nobel Peace Prize-winning Bishop, Carlos Ximenes Belo, and the second a Slovenian Jesuit artist, Father Marko Rupnik, whose paintings are found in churches all over the world. 

A “wake up” call

Pope Francis explained that on his return…

View Cache

News conf. in Congo, 8am EST today – Attend via Zoom

KINSHASA (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO)
Ending Clergy Abuse (ECAGlobal.org) [Seattle WA]

January 30, 2023

Read original article

[Note: Anyone is welcome to attend today’s news conference at 8am Eastern. Register here for the livestream: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Bj731M10TXqUVi2EK2IfkA]

MEDIA ALERT. For Immediate Release, January 25, 2023; http://bit.ly/3vSuVnq ]

Current Clergy Sex Abuse Cases in DRC Exposed.

Clergy sex abuse victims in Kinshasa call on Pope to help.

Survivors and Advocates in DRC call for Zero Tolerance for Clergy Sex Abuse.

For the first time in Africa, international activists will join with Congolese survivors and advocates in a press conference to highlight the failure of the Catholic Church to protect survivors and whistleblowers. 

Pope Francis will visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo the week of January 31 to February 3, 2023. On Monday January 30, survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their advocates from the Congo, U.S. and Europe will be in Kinshasa to hold a press conference in order to:

  1. Share information regarding a current case of 
View Cache

Clydebank: Priest guilty of sexual abuse charges served in Clydebank

GLASGOW (UNITED KINGDOM)
Clydesbank Post [Glasgow, Scotland]

January 27, 2023

By Tom Grant

Read original article

The Catholic Church in Glasgow has apologised to victims of a priest convicted of sexual abuse who spent time at a Clydebank parish.

Archbishop William Nolan was speaking after Father Neil McGarrity, 68, was convicted last week of sexually abusing four girls across two parishes in the east end of Glasgow.

McGarrity preyed on his victims at St Bernadette’s Church in Carntyne and St Thomas’ in Riddrie as well as his parish home in the Glasgow.

However, the Post understands McGarrity also served some time at St Mary’s Church in Duntocher for many years, although there is no suggestion he committed any offence whilst serving there.

St Mary’s declined to comment further to the Post.

A spokesman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Glasgow said: “The fact that a priest has been found guilty of the abuse of those in his care is a source of deep sorrow for the Archdiocese…

View Cache

‘Tip of the iceberg’: hundreds of victims allege sexual abuse at Victorian state schools

(AUSTRALIA)
The Guardian [London, England]

January 29, 2023

By Benita Kolovos

Read original article

Exclusive: Pressure builds on government to apologise, as lawyer likens ‘trail of destruction’ to that wreaked by Catholic church

Almost 400 civil claims have been made against the Victorian government for historical child sexual abuse in state schools in the past 12 years, with more than half settled out of court, documents obtained under freedom of information laws show.

Since 2010, 381 claims have been made for abuse that occurred in Victorian state educational settings between 1960 and 2018, including primary and secondary schools, specialist schools, early learning centres and after-school care.

Of those, 212 have been settled out of court with a payment made to the complainant, two went to trial, 136 claims are ongoing and 29 have been discontinued, while the outcome of two is unknown.

The figures were provided to the office of Justice party MP Stuart Grimley under a freedom of information (FOI) request submitted to…

View Cache

San Antonio archbishop accuses priest of financial and sexual misconduct

SAN ANTONIO (TX)
MySA [San Antonio TX]

January 27, 2023

By Katy Barber

Read original article

The misconduct was reported in a church newsletter.

San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller wrote to a Northside parish over the weekend to ensure one of the congregation’s leaders “does not fraudulently present himself as a priest” to ask for money after he was investigated and accused of sexual and financial misconduct. The news was shared with parishioners in a bulletin on Sunday, January 22. 

In a letter dated January 10, Garcia-Siller said that an investigation uncovered Reverend Duncan Amek’s financial and sexual misconduct involving “adult women” and said the priest was found to have entered into a civil marriage with an unidentified person. It was not immediately clear if the priest’s misconduct rose to criminal misconduct or if the accusations are only in violation of Archdiocese’s code of conduct for clergy.

Amek was ordained as a priest in May 2019 by Garcia-Siller, according to a…

View Cache

Pa. House leaders are on a listening tour. Sex abuse survivors feel unheard — again.

HARRISBURG (PA)
Phillyburbs.com [Doylestown, PA]

January 25, 2023

By Bethany Rodgers and Bruce Siwy

Read original article

“All the survivors that are working on this, we’re all in the same boat. We are mentally trapped in this moment until these legislators act on this.”

Before every interview she does, Lara Fortney-McKeever clasps a delicate key-motif bracelet around her wrist — a symbol of the years she and her sisters spent locked in silence about their childhood sexual abuse.

Even after the arrest of the parish priest who had groomed and molested Fortney-McKeever and four of her younger sisters, a gag order signed as part of a settlement with the Diocese of Harrisburg prevented them from speaking about it. 

They finally broke their silence in 2018, she said, when then-Attorney General Josh Shapiro released a landmark grand jury report identifying more than 300 Catholic priests accused of sexually assaulting children in Pennsylvania. The Fortney sisters’ abuser was among those named in the 884-page document.

“We were stuck in…

View Cache

January 29, 2023

Rockville Centre diocese proposes up to $200 million settlement for clergy abuse survivors

ROCKVILLE CENTRE (NY)
Newsday [Melville NY]

January 27, 2023

By Bart Jones

Read original article

The Diocese of Rockville Centre on Friday proposed a settlement of up to $200 million to be paid to hundreds of survivors of clergy sex abuse as it works toward emerging from bankruptcy.

Attorneys for survivors denounced the proposal as too little and said the diocese was not being transparent about its finances in papers filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. A week ago, lawyers for clergy sexual abuse survivors proposed a settlement in which the diocese would pay at least $450 million to victims.

The diocesan proposal calls for paying the survivors as a group a total of $185 million to $200 million, not including funds that could also come from insurance companies and could be hundreds of millions more.

“The Diocese believes the plan is the best means to efficiently and effectively pave the way for compensating survivors and emerging from bankruptcy,” the diocese said in a statement. It added: “Survivors deserve and expect a…

View Cache

Pope Francis’s remarks to AP about Rupnik are confusing and contradictory

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Catholic World Report [San Francisco CA]

January 28, 2023

By Christopher R. Altieri

Read original article

Why the Pontiff’s response to the AP’s queries not only left much unanswered, but also created new layers and levels of perplexity.

A papal interview made real waves in the news this week, for the first time in a good while and for very good reason.

The really big piece of news from the AP interview was the pope’s claim he knew nothing about either Fr. Marko I. Rupnik, SJ’s alleged predations, or about the way Vatican justice handled the celebrity artist-priest’s case.

More broadly, the responses Pope Francis gave to the AP’s questions regarding l’Affaire Rupnik suggest a confused state in Francis’s thinking when it comes to the crisis of abuse and coverup in the Church, especially insofar as vulnerable adult victims are concerned.

“With the abused vulnerable adult,” Pope Francis told the AP, “it is the same as if he were a minor, practically.” Only, Francis said he has very different…

View Cache

Looking to solve a Harrisburg problem, Pa. House Speaker Rozzi turns to Pittsburgh for advice

HARRISBURG (PA)
Pennsylvania Capital-Star

January 25, 2023

By Kim Lyons

Read original article

The roughly 90 minute-long session was held at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business

State House Speaker Mark Rozzi kicked off a statewide listening tour in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, with his Workgroup to Move Pennsylvania Forward, which he called an attempt to break a partisan logjam in the House over operating rules.

Rozzi, D-Berks, and the panel heard from sexual abuse survivors, gun violence reduction advocates, and residents who said they were tired of the gridlock in Harrisburg. 

The roughly 90-minute-long session was held at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. 

Also on the panel were Republican Reps. Paul Schemel, of Franklin County; Valerie Gaydos, of Allegheny County, and Rep. Jason Ortitay, of Washington County.

“The purpose of this tour is to hear from you, the people. A decade of ever-increasing hyper-partisanship has left Harrisburg in a gridlock,” Rozzi said. 

He added that many of his…

View Cache

Who killed the monsignor? A diocese journalist emerges as a suspect

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News [Buffalo NY]

January 27, 2023

By Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck

Read original article

This is the seventh installment in an 18-part serial on the unsolved 1966 murder of Buffalo Diocese Monsignor Francis J. O’Connor. Read the rest of the series.

Buffalo homicide detectives took a special interest in a young reporter for the Catholic Diocese newspaper after his boss was murdered.

A day after Monsignor Francis J. O’Connor’s body was found floating in Scajaquada Creek on March 13, 1966, detectives interviewed Robert Armbruster.

He told them he was physically attracted to the priest, but had fantasized about taking an ax to his head, according to 56-year-old police reports obtained by The Buffalo News.

“He admits that he has had homosexual inclinations toward the monsignor and has had occasions when he pictured himself hitting the monsignor over the head with an ax,” stated a March 14, 1966, police report, which has never been publicly revealed until now. 

No charges were ever…

View Cache

Calls for Pope Benedict’s sainthood make canonizing popes seem like the norm – but it’s a long and politically fraught process

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
The Conversation [Waltham MA]

January 25, 2023

By Joanne M. Pierce

Read original article

Like many others around the world, I watched the funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI live on the internet. Before the service began, an unexpected announcement came over the loudspeakers requesting that members of the assembled crowd refrain from raising any banners or flags. Nevertheless, toward the end of the liturgy, at least one large banner was displayed, reading “Santo Subito,” an Italian phrase that means “sainthood now.”

Identical signs were raised at the 2005 funeral of Pope John Paul II, who was officially canonized nine years later. The connection between these events has not gone unnoticed, leading some to raise questions about expectations that every future pope will be acclaimed as a saint.

As a specialist in Catholic liturgy and ritual, I know that in the contemporary church, no one, from popes to laypeople, is ever officially proclaimed a saint immediately after death. The way that saints are chosen…

View Cache

India: Bishops Need To Be Serious About Their Meetings

BENGALURU (INDIA)
Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) [Hong Kong]

January 29, 2023

By Michael Gonsalves

Read original article

[Via Eurasia Review]

In recent years, the simple church-going Catholics in India, the world’s biggest democracy, have been scandalized by allegations of clerical sex abuse and financial crimes rocking the Catholic Church in India. Will that be a botheration for the bishops as they gather for their annual plenary meeting this week in southern Indian Bangalore city?

The growing rift and spirited fight among the bishops, priests, and the laity, some of them involving court cases, have undermined Catholics’ faith in the Church’s self-stabilizing system and exposed to the world the serious lack of leadership in the Indian Catholic Church today.

Mainstream national media have run headlines of sex scandals, financial misappropriation, and land scandals involving priests and bishops. Court cases continue about a bishop accused of raping a nun, and a cardinal accused of alienating Church lands. But both continue in office.

Gone are the days when people in…

View Cache

The War Between the Catholic Cardinals

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
New York Times

January 28, 2023

By Ross Douthat

Read original article

The death of the pope emeritus, Benedict XVI, was succeeded by a small literary outpouring, a rush of publications that were interpreted as salvos in the Catholic Church’s civil war. The list includes a memoir by Benedict’s longtime secretary that mentioned the former pontiff’s disappointment at his successor’s restriction of the Latin Mass, a posthumous essay collection by Benedict himself that’s being mined for controversial quotes, and an Associated Press interview with Pope Francis that made news for its call to decriminalize homosexuality around the world.

Amid all these words, two interventions deserve particular attention. One isn’t exactly new, but the revelation of its author elevates its importance: It’s a memorandum, intended for the cardinals who will elect Francis’s successor, that first circulated in 2022 and has now been revealed by the Vatican journalist Sandro Magister to be the work of Cardinal George…

View Cache

January 28, 2023

Pope clarifies homosexuality and sin comments in note

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

January 28, 2023

By Nicole Winfield

Read original article

Pope Francis has clarified his recent comments about homosexuality and sin, saying he was merely referring to official Catholic moral teaching that teaches that any sexual act outside of marriage is a sin.

And in a note Friday, Francis recalled that even that black-and-white teaching is subject to circumstances that might eliminate the sin altogether.

Francis first made the comments in an interview Jan. 24 with The Associated Press, in which he declared that laws criminalizing homosexuality were “unjust” and that “being homosexual is not a crime.”

As he often does, Francis then imagined a conversation with someone who raised the matter of the church’s official teaching, which states that homosexual acts are sinful, or “intrinsically disordered.”

“Fine, but first let’s distinguish between a sin and a crime,” Francis said in the pretend conversation. “It’s also a sin to lack charity with one another.”

His comments calling for the decriminalization…

View Cache

Pope Francis clarifies comments on sin and homosexuality

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

January 28, 2023

By Hannah Brockhaus

Read original article

Pope Francis has written a letter to clarify his comments on sin and homosexuality from a recent interview with the Associated Press.

“When I said it is a sin, I was simply referring to Catholic moral teaching, which says that every sexual act outside of marriage is a sin,” the pope wrote to Jesuit Father James Martin, in response to a request for clarification.

Francis said he was trying to say in the interview that criminalization of homosexuality “is neither good nor just.”

“As you can see, I was repeating something in general,” he wrote. “I should have said ‘It is a sin, as is any sexual act outside of marriage.’ This is to speak of ‘the matter’ of sin, but we know well that Catholic morality not only takes into consideration the matter, but also evaluates freedom and intention; and this, for every kind of sin.”

Martin published the pope’s…

View Cache

Vatican lawyers deploy full court press against former auditor

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

January 26, 2023

By The Pillar

Read original article

Lawyers from three Vatican departments lined up in court to oppose the lawsuit for wrongful dismissal brought by Libero Milone.

Vatican lawyers argued for judges to throw out a lawsuit brought by the former auditor general in a hearing Wednesday. Lawyers for three curial departments questioned the credibility of the evidence submitted by Libero Milone in his wrongful dismissal case, and suggested further possible criminal charges against him and his former deputy.

In the first hearing of the suit, filed by the Vatican’s former chief auditor in November, lawyers for the Secretariat of State argued that the department should not be party to the case at all, while Milone’s former office said they had no record of the more than 500 pages of documentation submitted by the plaintiffs to support their case.

Milone and his former deputy, Ferruccio Panicco, filed suit Nov. 4 last year, claiming that they were forced…

View Cache

The Gatekeepers

ROME (ITALY)
Commonweal [New York NY]

January 27, 2023

By Austen Ivereigh

Read original article

This January exposed the opposition to Francis.

New Year in Rome, normally a quiet time, is when the Vatican slowly emerges from the post-Christmas shutdown. While keeping one eye on the pope’s address to foreign diplomats, many reporters dare to take time off. In January 2023 that was a bad idea.

The passing of Benedict XVI—ninety-five and long ailing—on December 31 was followed by the unexpected death on January 10 of a giant figure of conservative Catholicism, Cardinal George Pell, eighty-one, who had concelebrated Benedict’s funeral just five days earlier. What made this one of the most turbulent months of the past decade was not just these two deaths but what they exposed: the tactics and mindset of a group of conservatives who, smelling the end of the Francis era, are determined to secure its reversal in the next conclave. Yet by playing their hand too hard and too early—confident…

View Cache

Covert Childhood Abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
Psychology Today [New York, NY]

January 27, 2023

By Mackenzie Littledale

Read original article

An interview with actress Marylee Martin on her memoir.

KEY POINTS

  • When unusual events of our childhoods have labels and a diagnosis, it can open doors to different directions in our lives.
  • A parent doesn’t have to physically molest a child for it to be an abusive situation.
  • Martin’s memoir shows how helpful a therapeutic relationship can be in changing the course of an undesirable emotional state to a thriving one.

Marylee Martin is a member of EQUITY, SAG/AFTRA, ASCAP, The Dramatists’ Guild of America, the WorkShop Theater, and the Gingold Theatrical Group. She has performed in over 30 productions. We discussed her memoir, An Unsuspecting Child: Coming to Grips with Childhood Abuse, which won first place in memoirs from Fireside Books and third place for women’s issues from Outstanding Creator Awards.

Mackenzie Littledale (ML): Marylee, thank you for joining me. An Unsuspecting Child begins before you are born, and your family leaves you with unanswered questions….

View Cache

Church seeks justice for Filipino migrant raped, killed in Kuwait

(KUWAIT)
Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) [Hong Kong]

January 25, 2023

By UCA News Reporter

Read original article

In 2022, nearly 6,000 cases of abuse of Filipino workers were reported, a majority in the Middle Eastern countries

A top Catholic bishop joined labor activists in the Philippines to demand justice for a female migrant worker allegedly murdered after rape in Kuwait.

The call has been made after the authorities in the Middle Eastern country found the body of Jullebee Ranara, 35, buried in a desert on Jan. 22.

Ranara was raped and murdered before her body was buried in a desert, Kuwaiti police said following an autopsy.

The autopsy report also revealed she was pregnant at the time of her death, Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai reported.

“We cannot just turn a blind eye to what happened to her,” said Bishop Narciso Abellana, head of Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.  

“All governments, regardless of religious denomination, should understand…

View Cache

Prosecutors, children win convictions of sex abusers

MANILA (PHILIPPINES)
Manila Times [Manila, Philippines]

January 28, 2023

By Father Shay Cullen

Read original article

IT is a happy day when I can write about victories and convictions. Prosecutors are fighting hard for child rights and are winning important convictions. Judges, too, believe testimonies of children with horrifying accounts of multiple rape and sexual assault by biological fathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles and Catholic priests. These are great victories for those who hunger or thirst for justice and have had their fill.

The children endure, survive and find the courage to overcome the fear of rejection, anger and hatred of their abusers and their families when they point a finger and say to the court and the world, “He raped me.” That’s a powerful courageous allegation to make and why would they if it were not true? The wise experienced judges of family courts know and accept these truths.

The amazing survival stories and court cases with dedicated prosecutors and good judges give victory to raped…

View Cache

Letters: Plastic bags; abortion and matricide; underpaid vets and abusive priests | Opinion

WICHITA (KS)
Wichita Eagle [Wichita KS]

January 28, 2023

By Letters to the Editor

Read original article

PLASTIC BAGS

There are two truths about the leadership in the Kansas Legislature: 1) They are totally out of touch with Kansas citizens and 2) They are bullies about it.

Now comes Senate Bill 47, promoted by their overlords at the Kansas Chamber of Commerce: “An act concerning cities and counties, prohibiting the regulations of consumer merchandise and of auxiliary containers that are designed for the consumption, transportation or protection of consumer merchandise.”

This proposed abrogation of home rule is aimed at preventing cities or counties from limiting — in any way whatsoever — the use of single-use plastic bags, among other types of packaging.

Such packaging, which is designed to be discarded, then works its way into our streams and rivers, poisoning our environment, killing wildlife, and eventually becoming microplastics, which enter the food chain.

Blessedly, the bill states it does not prohibit anti-littering laws. Well,…

View Cache

Wester: Church doesn’t have to mortgage Santa Fe cathedral after all

SANTA FE (NM)
Santa Fe New Mexican

January 27, 2023

By Philip Casaus

Read original article

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi — perhaps Santa Fe’s most identifiable landmark and the emotional and spiritual center for New Mexico’s large Roman Catholic population — is no longer on the mortgage block.

Archbishop of Santa Fe John C. Wester said in a telephone interview Friday the cash raised by parishes and other sources provided enough money to convince officials to remove the cathedral basilica from a list of properties to be mortgaged to satisfy the terms of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

Wester said the archdiocese would make an official announcement about the decision once the bankruptcy proceedings — spurred by a $121.5 million settlement with hundreds of people who made claims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests — were completed, perhaps by mid-February.

“We had everything ready to go, but then at the last minute, because we had this cash, then we didn’t have to…

View Cache

Jacklin sentenced to 18 years in sexual assault conviction

KANKAKEE (IL)
Daily Journal [Kankakee IL]

January 27, 2023

By Jeff Bonty

Read original article

Richard E. Jacklin, a Catholic priest, was sentenced to 18 years in prison in Kankakee County court Thursday after being convicted of sexually assaulting a Shapiro Developmental Center resident in 2017.

The sentence came at the conclusion of the 71-year-old Jacklin’s sentencing hearing before Kankakee County Circuit Judge Kathy Bradshaw-Elliott.

According to Illinois sentencing guidelines, Jacklin must serve 85% of the sentence. Upon his release from prison, he will serve three years to life on parole. Jacklin must register as a sexual offender for the remainder of his life.

Jacklin was facing a prison sentence of between six and 30 years.

Jacklin was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault, criminal sexual assault and sexual misconduct during his jury trial in September 2022.

Bradshaw-Elliott went over the facts of the case before rendering her decision near the end of the about 90-minute hearing.

She talked about how, during the trial, a…

View Cache

New York diocese, abuse victims file competing bankruptcy plans

ROCKVILLE CENTRE (NY)
Reuters [London, England]

January 27, 2023

By Dietrich Knauth

Read original article

  • Summary
  • Sexual abuse victims seek larger contribution from individual parishes
  • Rockville Centre diocese seeks to resolve 600 sexual abuse claims in bankruptcy
  • Competing bankruptcy plans are relatively rare in Chapter 11 cases

A Roman Catholic diocese on Long Island, New York, proposed a bankruptcy plan on Friday, moving to retake control of its Chapter 11 case after a committee representing sexual abuse victims filed a competing restructuring proposal.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre, one of the largest in the United States, said in a statement Friday that the proposed aggregate payment and the payment each abuse victim would receive under its proposed plan are “well in excess of any other Diocesan Chapter 11 plan in history.”

The diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in New York in October 2020, citing the cost of lawsuits filed by childhood victims of clergy sexual abuse. The state’s Child Victims Act, which took effect in August…

View Cache

The uncomfortable truth about Hillcrest

JOS (NIGERIA)
The Christian Century [Chicago IL]

January 6, 2023

By The Editors

Read original article

How missionary work can create the conditions for child abuse to thrive unchecked

It would be easy to glance at “Surviving Hillcrest,” the feature article we recently published about Hillcrest School in Jos, Nigeria, and see what you’ve seen before: people in positions of institutional authority accused of abuse. We accept such familiar stories as routine. But look more closely, and you will see a much broader indictment—one that includes all of us.

The few news stories that have been run about the physical and sexual abuse at Hillcrest suggest that people whose whole lives were dedicated to the Gospel had something go terribly wrong. Scandalously, the boarding school where parents left their children while they pursued God’s work had mishandled that sacred responsibility, allowing abuse to be rampant.

But with a close look at this story, another picture emerges: in this case, the missionary work itself—not a deviation from…

View Cache

Scientology’s leader goes missing as lawyers try to serve him with human trafficking suit

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Raw Story [Washington, DC]

January 27, 2023

By Sky Palma

Read original article

Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige is allegedly trying to dodge lawyers who are trying to serve him in a trafficking lawsuit, the lawyers say.

TMZ reports that Miscavige “eluded process servers a whopping 27 times” at Scientology offices in Los Angeles, California, and Clearwater, Florida. Staffer at both locations reportedly keep refusing to accept the suit, saying they have no idea where Miscavige is.

The suit is brought by three former members of Scientology’s Sea Org, alleging that they were forced into the church as kids and forced to work into adulthood for low wages.

“Miscavige cannot be permitted to continue his gamesmanship” — and a federal judge says she will soon decide whether Miscavige can be considered officially served,” one of the plaintiff’s lawyers said last month.

“What’s weird about Miscavige’s alleged disappearance is that some people believe his wife, Shelly, has also vanished. She…

View Cache

Police Say Texas Pastor, School Board President Sexually Assaulted 16-Year-Old

SAN ELIZARIO (TX)
The Roys Report [Chicago IL]

January 28, 2023

By Sarah Einselen

Read original article

Authorities charged a Texas pastor and school board president this week after a 16-year-old girl told police he sexually assaulted her, records show.

Andrew “Drew” Wilborn, 43, reportedly bonded out of the Dallas County Jail on Thursday. He was arrested Wednesday on a felony charge of indecency with a child by sexual contact, jail records indicate.

Police allege Wilborn rubbed his genitals against the 16-year-old’s rear during a church event last April, according to his arrest affidavit. The girl reportedly told police Wilborn later gave her an unwanted hug, grabbed her waist, and wouldn’t let her go. Wilborn was executive pastor of Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas at the time.

The affidavit states the girl told others about the incident, including the church’s youth pastor and her mother, immediately afterward. The church said in a statement to The Roys Report (TRR) that it quickly…

View Cache

Benton County, Arkansas, pastor accused of using position to manipulate person into sex

GRAVETTE (AR)
40/29 News [Rogers, AR]

January 27, 2023

By Adam Roberts, DMM

Read original article

Court documents accuse a Benton County pastor of using his position to manipulate a person at a faith-based addiction living facility into sex.

The Rev. Thomas Gilman Hartman, 53, is a founding member of Wings of Peace Ministry NW Arkansas in Gravette. He was arrested on charges of sexual assault third-degree and possession of firearm by certain person.

40/29 News reached out to Hartman through his ministry but has not heard back.

A man told police that he had met Hartman at a place called Freedom Seekers, a group that uses spiritual healing to help people with addiction and substance abuse issues, according to the court documents.

The man said Hartman let him move into his home for free and bought him presents, including a cellphone and a Jeep, to which he kept the title.

The man said Hartman played mind games and manipulated him into sex…

View Cache