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.

September 25, 2021

Missouri launches crackdown on shadowy religious boarding schools

JEFFERSON CITY (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

September 22, 2021

By Kurt Erickson

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Beginning Oct. 1, unlicensed religious boarding schools in Missouri must notify the state they are operating as part of an attempt to address possible abuse and neglect at the often shadowy facilities.

Under a series of emergency rules filed this week by the Missouri Department of Social Services, the schools also will have to begin fingerprinting employees in order for the state to determine if workers are sex offenders or have other criminal records.

“The background checks are being conducted to help ensure that certain individuals who are associated with these facilities do not have a record of criminal conduct or substantiated incidents of child abuse or neglect which may pose a risk to the children served at these facilities,” the new rule says.

The filing of the rules is the latest step in a series of actions by state lawmakers and local law enforcement…

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Pope Francis reins in Catholic movements after flood of abuse cases

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Religion News Service - Missouri School of Journalism [Columbia MO]

September 23, 2021

By Claire Giangravé

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Francis said the Vatican is conducting a study, given the growing number of abuse cases in Catholic lay and religious movements.

Pope Francis condemned recent instances of abuse of power within Catholic movements and organizations, reminding leaders that “to govern is to serve,” during a gathering at the Vatican on Friday (Sept. 16).

Speaking to delegates of Catholic lay and religious movements at the Vatican, Francis said the root of the abuse that has plagued these institutions is always misuse of power. “In these years, the Holy See has had to frequently intervene by starting difficult processes of renewal,” he said.

The delegates were invited to the Vatican for a meeting on “The responsibility of Government in lay organizations: an ecclesial service,” organized by the Vatican department charged with overseeing laity, family and life.

Catholic movements are groups within the church that help lay and religious people seek a closer…

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An advertisement in the Chicago Sun-Times in 1968 for Camp Tivoli. The listed contact was the Rev. Joseph Rohlinger, who decades later landed on the Norbertine order’s list of sexually abusive clergy.

Camp run by Catholic religious order had 5 staffers later accused of child sex abuse

(WI)
Chicago Sun-Times

September 24, 2021

By Robert Herguth

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Camp Tivoli, run by Norbertine priests in Wisconsin for more than 50 years, attracted numerous children from the Chicago region. It also attracted clergy as counselors and administrators who were alleged child molesters.

[Image above: An advertisement in the Chicago Sun-Times in 1968 for Camp Tivoli. The listed contact was the Rev. Joseph Rohlinger, who decades later landed on the Norbertine order’s list of sexually abusive clergy.]

In the 1970s, the Norbertine Catholic religious order bought newspaper ads in Chicago encouraging parents to send their boys to Camp Tivoli, an overnight summer camp on Wisconsin’s Shawano Lake for boys 7 to 15.

The now-closed Camp Tivoli was staffed by the order’s seminarians and priests — among them five who, according to records reviewed by the Chicago Sun-Times and interviews, later faced what the order deemed credible accusations of child sexual abuse.

The order won’t say whether any of the five…

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Cardinal Woelki takes time out from archdiocese, retains Pope’s confidence

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Vatican News - Holy See [Vatican City]

September 24, 2021

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Having reviewed the results of the apostolic visit to the German archdiocese of Cologne concerning the handling of abuse cases, the Pope accepts Cardinal Woelki’s request to have a break. At the same time, the Holy Father rejected the resignation of two auxiliary bishops of Cologne.

Pope Francis has accepted the request of Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, the archbishop of Cologne, to spend “a spiritual time outside the diocese” from mid-October until the beginning of Lent next year, but reiterating that he continues to count on him. This was made known in a statement from the Apostolic Nunciature in Germany released by the Archdiocese of Cologne and the German Bishops’ Conference.

The communiqué refers to the Holy Father’s decisions, which came about after taking “careful note” of the results of the apostolic visit to the archdiocese made by Cardinal Archbishop Anders Arborelius of Stockholm and Bishop Johannes van den Hende…

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Pope Francis confirms Cardinal Woelki in post after apostolic visitation of Germany’s Cologne archdiocese

COLOGNE (GERMANY)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

September 24, 2021

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Pope Francis has ruled that Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki should remain in charge of Germany’s Cologne archdiocese after a Vatican investigation into his handling of abuse cases, the Holy See announced on Friday.

The Vatican said on Sept. 24 that the pope had asked the 65-year-old cardinal to continue leading the archdiocese in western Germany after a period of leave, reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.

The statement explained that the investigation had found no evidence that Woelki acted unlawfully in relation to abuse cases.

“Nevertheless, Cardinal Woelki has also made major mistakes in his approach to the issue of coming to terms with abuse overall, especially at the level of communication,” it said.

“This has contributed significantly to a crisis of confidence in the archdiocese that has disturbed many of the faithful.”

The Holy See noted that the pope and Woelki had “a long…

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German cardinal contributed to ‘crisis of trust’ on abuse, will take leave

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
CatholicPhilly.com - Archdiocese of Philadephia

September 24, 2021

By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

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Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of Cologne will take a “spiritual sabbatical” after a Vatican investigation found he did nothing illegal in his handling of clerical sex abuse allegations, but he did contribute to a “crisis of trust” in his archdiocese.

The German bishops’ conference announced Sept. 24 that Pope Francis had “a long conversation” with Cardinal Woelki earlier in September and agreed with the cardinal’s request to take a break from mid-October until March 1 because it was “obvious that the cardinal and the archdiocese need a time of pause, renewal and reconciliation.”

Cologne Auxiliary Bishop Rolf Steinhäuser will serve as apostolic administrator of the archdiocese and will lead “a spiritual process of reconciliation and renewal,” the statement said.

In May, Pope Francis ordered an apostolic visitation of the Cologne Archdiocese “to obtain a comprehensive picture of the complex pastoral situation” there and to investigate how accusations of clerical sexual…

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German cardinal takes a break after report details failures in handling sex abuse cases

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
Religion News Service - Missouri School of Journalism [Columbia MO]

September 24, 2021

By Claire Giangravé

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A Vatican report found no evidence of abuse coverup by Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki but suspended him for six months for “grave mistakes” in communication and approach.

Pope Francis has accepted a request from German Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki for a six-month break from his duties as archbishop of the Diocese of Cologne in order to deal with his “grave mistakes” in handling the sexual abuse cases.

A statement released by the Holy See on Friday said there is no indication that Woelki acted unlawfully in dealing with cases of sexual abuse, but it said that the cardinal failed in terms of communication and approach, which contributed to “a crisis of confidence” among Catholics that “has disturbed many believers.”

The Archdiocese of Cologne, the largest and richest diocese in Germany, has been at the center of a crisis in the German church over bishops’ accountability for clerical abuse scandals.

In…

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Pope decides to keep criticized archbishop, issues ‘spiritual timeout’

VATICAN CITY (VATICAN CITY)
The Hill

September 24, 2021

By Celine Castronuovo

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The Vatican announced Friday that Pope Francis has refused to accept the resignation of a German archbishop widely criticized for his handling of church sex abuse allegations, instead issuing a “spiritual timeout.”

The Holy See said Francis met with Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, the archbishop of Cologne, last week for a “long conversation,” regarding “major mistakes in his approach to the issue of coming to terms with abuse overall, especially at the level of communication,” the Catholic News Agency reported.

“This has contributed significantly to a crisis of confidence in the archdiocese that has disturbed many of the faithful,” the Vatican added.

The statement also said the pope “is counting on” Woelki and recognized “his loyalty to the Holy See and his concern for the unity of the Church.”

“At the same time, it is obvious that the archbishop and the archdiocese need a time of pause, renewal and reconciliation,” the Vatican said,…

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Catholic Bishops of Canada acknowledge residential school abuse; issue apology and make pledge

OTTAWA (CANADA)
My Coast Now [Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada]

September 24, 2021

By Patti Mertz

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WARNING: The following story contains details some readers may find disturbing.

The Catholic Bishops of Canada today expressed profound remorse, and apologized for the suffering experienced in Canada’s Indian Residential Schools.

The apology was issued at the end of their annual Plenary meeting. Below is the full statement:

Statement of Apology by the Catholic Bishops of Canada to the Indigenous Peoples of This Land

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), after months of regular meetings and conversation with Indigenous leaders at the national and local level, has completed its annual Plenary Assembly meeting, with this year’s major focus being on healing and reconciliation. At the end of this annual Plenary meeting, and informed by many conversations with First Nations, Métis and Inuit organizations, the Bishops have collectively issued the following statement:

We, the Catholic Bishops of Canada, gathered in Plenary this week, take this opportunity to affirm to you,…

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Canadian Catholic bishops apologize for role in indigenous residential schools

OTTAWA (CANADA)
Reuters [London, England]

September 24, 2021

By Moira Warburton

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The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on Friday officially apologized for their role in the country’s notorious residential school system for the first time, after refusing to do so for years despite public pressure.

In a statement issued on Friday, the organization expressed “profound remorse” and apologized unequivocally along with all Catholic entities that were directly involved in the operation of the schools.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is the national assembly of bishops in Canada, formally recognized by the Catholic Church and part of a global network of conferences.

Starting in 1831 and as recently as 1996, Canada’s residential school system forcibly separated indigenous children from their families, subjecting them to malnourishment and physical and sexual abuse in what the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015 called “cultural genocide.”

Survivors who spoke with Reuters recalled perpetual hunger and haunting loneliness, with schools run under the threat and…

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Canadian Catholic bishops apologize for residential schools

OTTAWA (CANADA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

September 23, 2021

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Catholic bishops in Canada apologized Friday “unequivocally” to Indigenous peoples for the suffering endured in residential schools, just as Pope Francis prepares to meet with Indigenous leaders at the Vatican later this fall.

The institutions held children taken from families across the nation. From the 19th century until the 1970s, more than 150,000 First Nations children were required to attend state-funded Christian schools as part of a program to assimilate them into Canadian society. They were forced to convert to Christianity and not allowed to speak their Native languages. Many were beaten and verbally abused, and up to 6,000 are said to have died.

The Catholic bishops in Canada are promising to provide documents that may help “memorialize” students buried in unmarked graves, work on getting the Pope to visit Canada, and raise money to help fund initiatives recommended by local Indigenous partners.

The church has been heavily criticized for…

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September 24, 2021

Bid by Catholic church to stop child sexual abuse case rejected by NSW supreme court

(AUSTRALIA)
The Guardian [London, England]

September 25, 2021

By Christopher Knaus

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Church tried to stop a woman from suing, despite its own records showing it knew the priest was a paedophile

The Catholic church tried to stop a survivor suing it over the childhood abuse she suffered at the hands of a parish priest in northern New South Wales, despite its own records showing it knew the man was a paedophile but did nothing other than move him from parish to parish.

On Friday, the NSW supreme court rejected the Catholic church’s request for a permanent stay of proceedings brought by a woman who alleges she was sexually assaulted in 1968, when she was 14, by Father Clarence Anderson, a priest with the Lismore diocese.

The church had argued it could not possibly have a fair trial and that the case was “unjustifiably oppressive” due to the passage of time and the deaths of the priest and clergy with knowledge of the…

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Hannah-Kate Williams (L) and her sister, Maddie Rose Douglas (R), pose in Lexington, Ky., in June. (Silas Walker) (Silas Walker)

These women say they were sexually abused by Southern Baptist leaders. Now they’re forcing a reckoning.

NASHVILLE (TN)
The Lily - A product of The Washington Post [Washington DC]

September 21, 2021

By Megan Botel

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An investigation of the church’s handling of allegations is moving forward. Women have been telling their stories for years

This story has been updated.

[Photo above: Hannah-Kate Williams (L) and her sister, Maddie Rose Douglas (R), pose in Lexington, Ky., in June. (Silas Walker)]

Tens of thousands gathered in June at the Music City Center in Nashville for the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual conference. For the many women who have been speaking out about sexual assault within the nation’s largest evangelical denomination, the conference marked a long-awaited change of course: The Southern Baptist Convention nearly unanimously approved a third-party audit of sexual abuse allegations within its more than 47,000 churches. It also authorized an investigation into a suspected widespread coverup by the Executive Committee.

This week, Southern Baptist executives reaffirmed the probe into the church’s handling of sex abuse allegations. But a top denominational committee voted against full…

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McCormack, bishop panned for role in sex abuse scandal, dies

CONCORD (NH)
Associated Press [New York NY]

September 23, 2021

By Holly Ramer

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Retired Roman Catholic Bishop John McCormack, who faced criticism for his role in Boston’s clergy sex abuse scandal and led New Hampshire’s diocese during its own reckoning, has died.

McCormack, 86, died Tuesday at Mount Carmel Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Manchester, according to the Diocese of Manchester. He had served as the diocese’s ninth bishop for 13 years before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75.

McCormack’s tenure as the leader of New Hampshire’s 310,000 Catholics started in 1998 and turned tumultuous in early 2002 when the sex abuse scandal erupted in Boston. Victims and grassroots Catholic groups called on him to resign, citing his former position as a top aide to Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston, where he was in charge of investigating allegations of sexual misconduct by priests.

That same year, McCormack averted unprecedented criminal charges against the New Hampshire diocese by agreeing that it had harmed…

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Retired N.H. Bishop John B. McCormack, who admitted to protecting abusive priests, dies at 86

MANCHESTER (NH)
Boston Globe

September 23, 2021

By Nick Stoico

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John B. McCormack, the retired Roman Catholic Bishop for New Hampshire who admitted to protecting the identities of priests accused of sexually abusing children, has died, the Diocese of Manchester, N.H., confirmed in a Facebook post Wednesday.

McCormack died Tuesday at Mount Carmel Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Manchester, the diocese said. He was 86.

The leader of New Hampshire’s Catholics from 1998 to 2011, when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 75, McCormack became the state’s ninth bishop after serving as a top aide to Cardinal Bernard Law for the Boston Archdiocese in the 1990s.

In 2002, after a Globe Spotlight report revealed how the church had for decades gone to great lengths to protect clergy members who sexually assaulted children, McCormack faced growing calls for his resignation as the top Catholic in New Hampshire.

While serving the church in Boston, Law…

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Critics condemn Pope’s decision on Hesse

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

September 23, 2021

By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

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Francis’ decision to refuse Hesse’s offer and to reinstate him as archbishop has been met with negative reactions.

In a decision that has been met with sharp criticism from lay Catholics, abuse victims’ associations and the secular press, Pope Francis has refused to accept Archbishop Stefan Hesse’s resignation, and reinstated him as Archbishop of Hamburg.

Archbishop Hesse of Hamburg offered to resign for his mishandling of 11 cases of clerical sexual abuse while he was personnel manager and vicar general of Cologne (2003-2014). The Pope’s decision to reinstate him as Archbishop of Hamburg was announced by the German nunciature on 15 September. Francis granted Hesse leave of absence at the end of March leaving Hamburg without an archbishop for almost six months although canon law prescribes a three-month deadline for the acceptance or not of an offer of resignation.

He was glad that a “period of uncertainty” for the archdiocese of…

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A Polish bishop punished over abuse cover-up has died

WARSAW (POLAND)
Associated Press [New York NY]

September 23, 2021

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Edward Janiak, a retired Roman Catholic bishop from Poland punished this year by the Vatican for the alleged cover-up of sex abuse of minors by other priests, has died. He was 69.

The Kalisz diocese where Janiak had served as bishop said he died Thursday. No cause or place of death was given in the statement that was posted on Poland’s Episcopate’s website.

The Vatican said in March it was punishing Janiak for the alleged cover-up of sexual abuse of minors by priests who were under his authority.

He was ordered to move out of the diocese and banned from any public celebrations. He was also ordered to make a contribution to a fund helping victims of clerical abuse.

Janiak retired last year as his case was being investigated.

A documentary released in 2020, “Playing Hide and Seek,” exposed two cases of alleged pedophile priests that Janiak handled, first as…

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School board sued for millions over eastern Ontario teacher’s sex crimes

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

September 24, 2021

By Julie Ireton

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Perth, Ont., victims say impact of sexual abuse will be lifelong

WARNING: This story contains details some readers may find distressing.

A young woman and her family have had to move out of their eastern Ontario town after the woman’s teacher groomed and sexually abused her, and now the family is suing the school board for millions.

That is one of two separate civil lawsuits filed by two victims of former teacher Jeff Peters.

“It was unbearable to be in that community with all the triggers and reminders,” said lawyer Elizabeth Grace, who represents one of the victims. 

“The survivor and her family should not be the ones leaving, but the reality is their lives were too difficult to remain in Perth. They had to leave. It’s a tragedy.”

The two lawsuits name Peters and the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario as defendants and each claim millions of dollars in damages.

Former…

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Suits against Ohio State over sex abuse by doc are dismissed

COLUMBUS (OH)
Associated Press [New York NY]

September 23, 2021

By Kantele Franko

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A federal judge dismissed some of the biggest unsettled lawsuits over Ohio State’s failure to stop decades-old sexual abuse by now-deceased team doctor Richard Strauss, saying Wednesday it’s indisputable Strauss abused hundreds of young men but agreeing with OSU’s argument that the legal window for such claims had passed.

“For decades, many at Ohio State tasked with protecting and training students and young athletes instead turned a blind eye to Strauss’s exploitation,” U.S. District Court Judge Michael Watson wrote in one ruling. “From 1979 to 2018, Ohio State utterly failed these victims. Plaintiffs beseech this Court to hold Ohio State accountable, but today, the legal system also fails Plaintiffs.”

The matter isn’t done. Strauss-related lawsuits against OSU filed this year by dozens of other plaintiffs appeared to still be pending, with no dismissal or other new rulings appearing on those dockets as of late Wednesday. And lawyers for the 200-plus…

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Lawsuits against Ohio State over sexual predator sports doctor tossed

COLUMBUS (OH)
Los Angeles Blade [Los Angeles CA]

September 23, 2021

By Brody Levesque

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A Federal judge Wednesday dismissed hundreds of pending lawsuits against Ohio State University, (OSU) in cases related to a former OSU sports team doctor Richard Strauss, who had sexually molested young male athletes and other students for twenty years.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson of the Southern District of Ohio wrote;

It is beyond dispute that Plaintiffs, as well as hundreds of other former students, suffered unspeakable sexual abuse by Strauss. It is also true that many Plaintiffs and other students complained of Strauss’s abuse over the years and yet medical doctors, athletic directors, head and assistant coaches, athletic trainers, and program directors failed to protect these victims from Strauss’s predation.”

According to Judge Watson he dismissed the cases because the statute of limitations for criminal rape cases in Ohio is 20 years to report for criminal prosecution or otherwise have legal proceedings initiated.

“If there…

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Cardinal Pell says he ‘never really approved’ of Benedict XVI’s decision to resign

ROME (ITALY)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

September 24, 2021

By Christopher White

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Australian cardinal maintains he’s not a climate change denier, but skeptical of solutions

Australian Cardinal George Pell said Sept. 23 he “never really approved” of Pope Benedict XVI’s shocking decision in 2013 to resign the papacy.

Pell, who was the prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy from 2014 to 2019 and a member of Pope Francis’ advisory Council of Cardinals from 2013 to 2018, said that among the recent popes — John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis — he was closest to Benedict.

Pell described John Paul II as “one of the greatest popes in history, of course,” and praised Benedict’s “prodigious intellect,” adding that “I knew him better than all of the other two popes.” 

The cardinal’s remarks came during a webinar as part of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross’ “The Church Up Close” virtual series targeted…

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Australians search for ‘a new way of living as church’

(AUSTRALIA)
Union of Catholic Asian News [Hong Kong]

September 24, 2021

By Barb Fraze, Catholic News Service

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After years of planning, Vatican approval and listening sessions, the first of two Plenary Council assemblies will be held

As part of the listening and dialogue phase of the Australian Catholic Church’s Plenary Council, 220,000 Australians answered the question, “What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?”

In 2015, Australian Archbishop Mark Coleridge was asking himself something similar. Australia was in the midst of a government-mandated investigation into sexual abuse in the church. Australian Catholics were leaving the church.

The Brisbane archbishop was at the Vatican, attending the Synod of Bishops on the family. It was there he had an idea that “seemed to me at the time and still seems to me the work of the Holy Spirit.”

“For the first time — certainly at a Roman synod — I saw discernment in action,” Archbishop Coleridge wrote earlier this year….

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A sixth lawsuit against Children’s Home alleges house parents sexually abused boy at age 7.

WINSTON-SALEM (NC)
Winston-Salem Journal [Winston-Salem NC]

September 23, 2021

By Michael Hewlett

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A Florida man now in his late 50s has filed a lawsuit alleging that house parents at the Children’s Home in Winston-Salem sexually abused him for several years, starting in 1969 when he was 7 years old.

This is the sixth lawsuit filed in Mecklenburg Superior Court against what was formerly known as the Children’s Home and the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, which operated the Children’s Home at the time the alleged sexual abuse took place. In 2017, the Children’s Home merged with the Crossnore School and is now known as the Crossnore School & Children’s Home.

The allegations center on a married couple who worked as house parents at the Anna Haines Cottage at the Children’s Home — Bruce Jackson “Jack” Biggs and Beatrice Biggs — from 1966 to 1975. The couple was never criminally charged, and Jack Biggs died in 2015. Beatrice Biggs,…

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Judge begins key hearing on Boy Scouts bankruptcy plan

DOVER (DE)
Associated Press [New York NY]

September 21, 2021

By Randall Chase

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A Delaware judge on Tuesday began a key hearing that could determine whether the Boy Scouts of America can emerge from bankruptcy later this year with a reorganization plan that would compensate thousands of men who say they were sexually abused as children.

The Boy Scouts, based in Irving, Texas, sought bankruptcy protection in February 2020, seeking to halt hundreds of individual lawsuits and create a fund for men who say they were molested as children by scoutmasters and others. Although the organization was facing 275 lawsuits at the time, it’s now facing some 82,500 sexual abuse claims in the bankruptcy case.

Judge Laura Selber Silverstein convened the hearing to consider whether a disclosure statement outlining the latest reorganization plan contains sufficient details to ensure that abuse claimants and other creditors can make informed decisions on whether to accept or reject it.

Silverstein must approve the disclosure statement before the…

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Vatican verdict looms for Knoxville bishop

KNOXVILLE (TN)
The Pillar [Washington DC]

September 22, 2021

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A report on Knoxville’s Bishop Rick Stika is under review at the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, months after multiple allegations of administrative and personal misconduct triggered an investigation into Stika’s leadership.   

Vatican sources tell The Pillar that a Vatican-ordered investigation was conducted over the summer, and that a decision is expected soon on whether Stika will remain in ministry as diocesan bishop.   

Among other things, Stika is accused of sidelining an investigator appointed to scrutinize allegations of sexual assault and misconduct committed by a former diocesan seminarian, with whom the bishop is alleged to have an inappropriately close relationship. 

The bishop told The Pillar in April that the charge against him was “fake news.” And last month, while Stika remained under investigation, he took the former seminarian on a vacation — a 10-day road trip along with Cardinal Justin Rigali.

An investigation into Stika’s leadership was ordered in May, and conducted by Archbishop Joseph…

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September 23, 2021

A man protesting against Cardinal Bernard Law faces a group of pro-Law protesters on the steps of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston in April 2002.MICHAEL DWYER/AP/FILE

‘They knew and they let it happen’: Uncovering child abuse in the Catholic Church

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

September 22, 2021

By Joseph P. Kahn and Mike Damiano

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The Spotlight Team revealed the church’s secret protection of pedophile priests in a series with global repercussions.

[Photo above: A man protesting against Cardinal Bernard Law faces a group of pro-Law protesters on the steps of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston in April 2002. – Michael Dwyer/AP/File]

On his first day on the job in July 2001, Globe editor Martin Baron stopped by the desk of Eileen McNamara, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist. A week earlier, McNamara had published a column about the Boston Archdiocese’s silence on three priests accused of sexually abusing children. One line, in particular, had irked Baron. McNamara had wondered whether an accused priest’s superiors had known about his crimes. Court documents were sealed. “The public,” she concluded, “has no way of knowing.”

McNamara recalls Baron standing over her desk: “Why don’t we find out,” he said.

Spotlight’s investigation of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church did…

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Retired Catholic Bishop John McCormack dead at 86

MANCHESTER (NH)
Union Leader [Manchester NH]

September 22, 2021

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Bishop John B. McCormack, the former head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester, has died at age 86.

McCormack died Tuesday at Mount Carmel Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, according to an announcement on the diocese’s website.

The statement said McCormack was “called to his rest” on the eve of the anniversary of his 1998 installation as bishop of Manchester.

“Almighty and eternal God, grant eternal rest to your departed servant, John, and may he enter into the eternal gladness of your kingdom. Amen,” the statement said.

McCormack retired in 2011.

Bishop John McCormack 1935-2021 Diocese of ManchesterBishop John McCormack 1935-2021 Diocese of Manchester

Before he was appointed as New Hampshire’s ninth bishop by then-Pope John Paul II, McCormack had served as an auxiliary bishop in Boston.

In his administrative role there, he…

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Anthony Pilla, Bishop of Cleveland Catholic Diocese for 26 Years, Dies at 88

CLEVELAND (OH)
Cleveland Scene [Cleveland OH]

September 22, 2021

By Sam Allard

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Anthony Pilla, who served as Bishop of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese from 1980 until 2006, died Tuesday morning at his home. He was 88.

Pilla was born in Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood and graduated from John Carroll University. His tenure as Cleveland’s Bishop, which began when his predecessor James Hickey was named Archbishop of Washington, spanned the mayoralties of George Voinovich, Michael R. White and Jane Campbell in Cleveland. He resigned in 2006 after open-bypass heart surgery and the cumulative stress and grief of the national sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.

Though Pilla eventually established a lay review board and procedures for the reporting of abuse and the removal of abusive priests, those actions came only after years of diocesan neglect in Northeast Ohio. The vast scale of the abuse, and the pain and distrust it created in millions of Catholics, didn’t seem to dawn on Pilla until…

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SBC Executive Committee agrees to pay for abuse review, stalls on waiving privilege

NASHVILLE (TN)
Religion News Service - Missouri School of Journalism [Columbia MO]

September 21, 2021

By Bob Smietana

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After two days of meetings, the details for an abuse investigation remain unresolved.

Members of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee agreed to spend $1.6 million to fund an outside review into how the committee has handled claims of sexual abuse over the past two decades.

But after two days of intense meetings and passionate debate, the committee remained divided on whether to waive attorney-client privilege as part of the investigation. 

Rolland Slade, chairman of the Executive Committee, said committee members made progress on setting up the investigation. He and other officers of the committee plan to meet with the independent task force that will oversee the investigation to hammer out final details over the next week.

“We are not done yet,” said Slade, pastor of Meridian Baptist Church in El Cajon, California, on Tuesday (Sept. 21) at the conclusion of the meetings. “But we all now grasp the urgency….

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SBC Executive Committee Balks at Directive to Open Up to Abuse Investigation

NASHVILLE (TN)
Christianity Today [Carol Stream IL]

September 21, 2021

By Kate Shellnut

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Leaders are still debating whether to hand over privileged materials as survivors and the majority of their own denomination have requested.

Months after the Southern Baptist Convention voted for a third-party investigation into how its Executive Committee responded to abuse allegations, leaders failed to adopt the convention’s terms for the process, deferring to ongoing negotiations between leaders and a sexual abuse task force.

The two-day proceedings in Nashville highlighted growing turmoil in the nation’s largest Protestant body and disappointed victims who had held out hope the convention would adopt a thorough outside review to address its missteps.

Still up for debate is whether the Executive Committee (EC) will comply with the convention’s directive to waive attorney-client privilege to allow investigators to obtain relevant documents from EC members and staff.

The majority of the EC voted against doing so, with several citing the “fiduciary duty” to protect the entity and the…

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Hillsong founder Brian Houston steps down from church board ahead of court case

(AUSTRALIA)
Christian Today [London, England]

September 20, 2021

By Jennifer Lee

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The founder of Hillsong Church, Brian Houston, has announced his decision to step down from the board ahead of a court case into what he knew about his father’s abuse.

The announcement comes not long after charges were brought against him for allegedly concealing knowledge of sexual abuse perpetrated by his late father, Frank Houston.

Brian Houston, who denies the charges, will remain in post as Hillsong’s senior pastor.

The 67-year-old confirmed his resignation from the board in an email to Hillsong members on Friday, PEOPLE magazine reports.

“I also wanted to let you know that I’ve made a decision to step aside from my role on the Hillsong Church boards that oversee the governance of our operations,” he wrote.

“I did this so that these boards can function to their fullest capacity during this season. This doesn’t change my role as Global Senior Pastor. I thought it…

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Letter: Fisher should use correct term for sex abuse scandal

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News [Buffalo NY]

September 20, 2021

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Kudos to The Buffalo News for publishing Michael Taheri’s Sept. 8 Another Voice article giving options to and describing how Bishop Michael W. Fisher can demonstrate “genuine remorse” over what seems to be endless revelations of priestly abuse. Western New York residents should take to heart what Taheri, a daily communicant and Eucharistic minister, has to say.

One of Taheri’s options for Fisher, a very good one, is that he offer every church asset including the diocese’ churches to the victims of abuse. But after reading of the obstinate reluctance for even basic forthright truthfulness from church leaders for so many years, this option will probably be greeted as a “non-starter” in clerical circles.

May I suggest an easier option and “starter” than Taheri’s towards the path of genuine remorse: ask the bishop to use the plain and simple word that the rest of the population uses to describe the…

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Get window open to help survivors as soon as possible

HARRISBURG (PA)
The Daily Item [Pennsylvania]

September 22, 2021

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Survivors of sexual abuse in Pennsylvania want justice, no more or no less. They have long deserved it, but continue to face more roadblocks than they should.

Adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse deserve a vote in the state Senate on whether they will be granted a window of time to file civil lawsuits against their abusers.

On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, said there are no plans to move legislation to allow survivors of child sex abuse to sue organizations that cover-up for child predators. Ward said the legislation is unconstitutional.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who rallied with abuse survivors in Harrisburg, disagrees.

He called Ward’s blockage “pathetic,” arguing Senate leaders won’t push legislation forward due to pressure from lobbyists and the insurance industry.

Proposed legislation would open a two-year window to sue even if the statute of limitations had expired in their case. Earlier this year, a…

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Church in Poland and protection of minors: from unprepared to informed

WARSAW (POLAND)
Vatican News - Holy See [Vatican City]

September 22, 2021

By Marta Titaniec and Father Piotr Studnicki

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Both the Church and society in Poland were unprepared to face the crisis caused by the sexual abuse of minors. Negative reactions prevailed at first. In the last few years, thanks to journalists and clear direction from the Holy See, the Church in Poland has learned how to create an integrated structure for the protection of minors and the support of victims.

The Church in Poland entered the 21st century feeling proud of itself, enjoying the success it had achieved. These sentiments were motivated by Poland’s past and more recent history. Up until 1918, the Polish state had vanished, being divided up by neighboring powers for a good 123 years. For the Polish people, the Catholic Church had been a bulwark of freedom and had contributed toward the survival of the nation’s language, culture, and even its hope for independence. Heroic deeds performed by many Catholic priests and lay faithful…

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Cruz: Survivor’s perspective lends urgency to Church’s fight against sexual abuse

WARSAW (POLAND)
Vatican News - Holy See [Vatican City]

September 21, 2021

By Devin Watkins

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As the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors holds a safeguarding conference in Warsaw, a well-known survivor of clerical sexual abuse urges the Church to deal with the emergency of clerical sexual abuse.

“When we don’t believe survivors, when we don’t have agile processes, and deal with it with justice, people are really traumatized, and people are dying because of this.”

Juan Carlos Cruz, a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM), offered that wake-up call in an interview with Vatican News.

Mr. Cruz is a well-known survivor of clerical sexual abuse of minors from Chile who suffered at the hands of the late Fernando Karadima (the Chilean priest was defrocked in September 2018 and died in July 2021).

Pope Francis appointed Mr. Cruz as a member of the PCPM in March of this year.

One of his first tasks in this new role has…

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The rebellion by Kerala nuns is a new chapter in an old story

KOTTAYAM (INDIA)
Mint Lounge [New Delhi, India]

September 23, 2021

By Gita Aravamudan

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The recent protest by four Catholic nuns in Kerala against anti-Muslim remarks is of a piece with their long fight against sexual abuse by priests

Poverty, chastity and obedience. These are the three vows a Catholic nun takes when she enters the convent. Priests also take similar vows. But what happens when everything nuns have dedicated their lives to is turned on its head and they are forced to break their vows?

Last week, four nuns Anupama Kelamangalathuveliyil, Alphy Pallasseril, Ancitta Urumbil and Josephine Viloonickal from Kottayam in Kerala walked out of a prayer service at St Francis Mission Home, accusing the priest, Rajeev, of hate speech against Muslims. The priest, they said, had spoken of “narcotic jihad” and “love jihad”, and had also asked the congregation to boycott Muslim businesses. Sr Anupama said she was shocked: “Christ has taught us to love not spread communalism.”

In 2019, these four…

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Cardinal O’Malley at safeguarding summit: ‘The wrongs done to God’s people must be corrected’

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

September 22, 2021

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Cardinal Seán O’Malley told a safeguarding summit this week that “the wrongs done to God’s people must be corrected.”

Preaching at Mass on Sept. 20 at a conference in Warsaw, Poland, the archbishop of Boston called for an end to clerical abuse and cover-ups.

“We are gathered here because so many of our brothers and sisters have suffered at the hands of abusive clergy who have perpetrated evil acts by using their office to abuse others or to cover up such abuse. And many times, those who have suffered have been rejected in their suffering when they spoke out,” he said.

“This cannot be what Jesus wants of his Church; this cannot be the Church of a loving and reconciling God. Abuse and its cover up must stop and the wrongs done to God’s people must be corrected.”

O’Malley, the president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors,…

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Delhi Rape Victim, 9, Was Suffocated By Priest, Police Tells Court

DELHI (INDIA)
NDTV (New Delhi Television Ltd) [New Delhi, India]

September 22, 2021

By Reported by Saurabh Shukla, Edited by Mallika Soni

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In the charge sheet, the police accused Radhey Shyam, Kuldeep Singh, Salim Ahmad and Laxmi Narayan of rape, wrongful confinement, murder, destruction of evidence.

A nine-year old girl who was allegedly raped and murdered near the Delhi cantonment area on August 2 died due to “suffocation” during the sexual assault, Delhi Police told court. The accused, priest Radhe Shyam had sexually assaulted the minor girl before as well, the police further said in the chargesheet adding that the search history of the accused’s mobile revealed that he had accessed more than 1300 porn websites, indicating his addiction to the same.

In the charge sheet, the police accused Radhey Shyam, Kuldeep Singh, Salim Ahmad and Laxmi Narayan of rape, wrongful confinement, murder, destruction of evidence, and under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act and the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Prevention of Atrocities Act, saying that there was sufficient…

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September 22, 2021

Convicted Kentucky priest set to be released from prison

LOUISVILLE (KY)
Associated Press [New York NY]

September 21, 2021

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A Catholic priest in Kentucky is set to be released from prison after serving nearly four years for sexual abuse that happened in the 1970s.

R. Joseph Hemmerle testified at his 2016 trial in Meade County that he would sometimes apply calamine lotion to the genitals of children at a church summer camp, with their permission. He was found guilty of one count of indecent or immoral practices with a child under 15.

Hemmerle is set to be released on Oct. 1, according to the state Department of Corrections. He will be on probation for six to eight months.

The victim who testified against Hemmerle said the priest, now 79, should not go free.

”I’m concerned this guy is getting out,” Michael Norris told WAVE-TV in Louisville. “He can show up next door and you won’t have a clue who this man is. Your children can get…

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Archdiocese auctions off properties to pay for settlement in bankruptcy case

SANTA FE (NM)
Santa Fe New Mexican

September 21, 2021

By Rick Ruggles

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Bids began rolling in Tuesday as the Archdiocese of Santa Fe launched its first online auction of properties to raise money for a settlement in a federal bankruptcy case prompted by hundreds of claims of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.

The archdiocese wants to generate funds through the online auction — as well as insurance, donations and other property sales — to settle a case with about 385 people who have alleged abuse, with some claims dating back decades.

About 140 properties are up for sale in Valencia, Sandoval and Bernalillo counties, most of which are small and vacant parcels donated to the archdiocese. Some parcels will be bundled for the sale.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, one Valencia County parcel had a bid of only $250, while another in Bernalillo County was up to $188,000.

The current auction will conclude next week. Additional properties in 15 other counties…

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Prof. Wiliński: Rights of victims of abuse must be protected

WARSAW (POLAND)
Vatican News - Holy See [Vatican City]

September 21, 2021

By Benedict Mayaki, SJ

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A conference on the safeguarding of minors and vulnerable persons taking place in Warsaw, Poland, highlights the Church’s efforts to to protect its vulnerable members. Prof. Paweł Wiliński reflects on the need to ensure abuse victims’ rights to information, representation, protection and compensation.

A 4-day conference organized by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors aims to help the Church in her reflections and response to the crisis of the abuse of minors and vulnerable persons.

The event, themed “Our Common Mission of Safeguarding God’s Children”, is being held on 19 – 22 September in the Polish capital of Warsaw. It gathers Catholic representatives from across Central and Eastern Europe, as well as experts who work in the field of child and youth protection.Listen to our interview with Prof. Paweł Wiliński

Need for a system of protection

Prof. Paweł Wiliński is one of the participants at the safeguarding conference. He…

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German bishops’ plenary assembly begins with appeals on church reform

FULDA (GERMANY)
Catholic Sun [Diocese of Phoenix AZ]

September 21, 2021

By Catholic News Service

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The German bishops’ plenary assembly began with urgent appeals for church reform and a reminder to heed admonitions from Pope Francis.

Bishop Georg Bätzing, conference president, called on all bishops to embrace radical change, reported the German Catholic news agency KNA. He said visible changes were needed soon in the Synodal Path German church reform project, which could be a “door opener” for the worldwide synodal process launched by the pope.

Meanwhile, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, the pope’s ambassador to Germany, repeatedly urged the bishops to preserve the unity of the church and to follow the pope’s directives.

At the start of the Sept. 20-23 assembly, Catholic reform groups and women’s associations held demonstrations demanding rapid and fundamental reforms, warning that this was the only way for the church to restore its credibility.

Bishop Bätzing called on his fellow bishops to agree radical changes are needed in the way they work…

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‘Additional information’ surfaces about recently reinstated priest accused of sexually abusing minors

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

September 16, 2021

By Rosemary Sobol

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A recently reinstated Lake Zurich priest who was accused of sexually abusing minors 25 years ago while he was assigned to Maryville Academy in Des Plaines is again sidelined after “additional information” has come to light, the Archdiocese of Chicago said.

The Rev. David Ryan was expected to return to the Roman Catholic parish this weekend, but the new information caused a delay in Ryan’s return “while it is thoroughly investigated,” according to a letter from Cardinal Blase Cupich that was released Thursday.

“Father Ryan has assured us that he will cooperate fully as he understands that we must take every allegation seriously in accordance with our child protection policies,” the letter said.

Cupich added in the letter that he shared the disappointment at the news, “especially” since Ryan was to come back this weekend.

“But, I ask your patience once again as we fulfill our obligation to keep the…

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Bishop Anthony M. Pilla, Cleveland native who guided Northeast Ohio Catholics for quarter-century, dies at 88

CLEVELAND (OH)
The Plain Dealer/cleveland.com [Cleveland OH]

September 21, 2021

By David Briggs

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Bishop Anthony M. Pilla, a Cleveland native who helped start a national dialogue on the role of the church in the city and guided Northeast Ohio Catholics through more than a quarter century, died Tuesday.

Pilla, who was bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland from 1981 until his retirement in 2006, died at his home, the diocese confirmed in a statement. He was 88.

In a statement, the diocese’s current Bishop Edward C. Malesic remembered Pilla as a “very warm, kind-hearted and deeply faithful shepherd.”

“He was generous with his time and sharing his knowledge and concern for the diocese with me,” Malesic said in his statement. “As a leader in the national Church, Bishop Pilla was an inspiration and example to me throughout my priesthood and in my years as a bishop. I felt so welcomed by him when I came to the Diocese of Cleveland, a Church that…

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Notre Dame to host consultation session, lecture on Church’s sex abuse crisis and lessons derived from truth and reconciliation processes

NOTRE DAME (IN)

September 21, 2021

By Carrie Gates

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Daniel Philpott, a professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, and Katharina Westerhorstmann, a professor of theology at Franciscan University, will host a public lecture and a day-long consultation session at Notre Dame on Thursday and Friday (Sept. 23 and 24), examining the Church’s sex abuse crisis and the lessons that may be derived from national truth and reconciliation processes for healing and restoration.

The initiative, “The Truth Will Make You Free: What Promise Do National Truth and Reconciliation Processes Offer for the Catholic Church’s Response to the Sexual Abuse Crisis?” is funded by Notre Dame’s Church Sexual Abuse Crisis Research Grant Program and stems from the 2019-20 Notre Dame Forum, “‘Rebuild My Church:’ Crisis and Response.” 

On Friday, Philpott and Westerhorstmann will bring together approximately 25 participants — including church leaders, representatives of survivor groups, experts on national truth and reconciliation processes, theologians, psychologists and legal experts — to generate…

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Priest who sparked calls for Vatican probe hit with new charges over threesome on altar

PEARL RIVER (LA)
The Independent [London, England]

September 17, 2021

By Gino Spocchia

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Higher charges were filed by a district attorney almost a year after the alleged act

A former Catholic priest accused of performing sexual acts on an altar in Pearl River, Louisiana, has been charged with a higher offence of obscenity for the September 2020 encounter, according to a report.

Travis John Clark, aged 38, was a pastor at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church when he allegedly had a threesome on the altar with Mindy Lynn Dixon, 42, and Melissa Kamon Cheng, 29, who were wearing corsets and high heels.

Mr Clark, Ms Dixon and Ms Cheng were charged with obscenity by St Tammy Parish Sheriffs Office in Pearl River, before a district attorney dropped the charges in favour of institutional vandalism, a lesser charge, in March 2021.

All three pleaded not guilty to charges of “knowingly vandalising, defacing, or otherwise damaging property and causing damage valued at over $500…

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Child sex abuse statute of limitations rally at Pa. Capitol Advocates and child sex abuse survivors gather on the Capitol steps for a statute of limitations rally. They are asking the Senate to immediately bring House Bill 951 to the Senate floor for a vote. September 20, 2021. Dan Gleiter | dgleiter@pennlive.com

Victims of child sex crimes demand Pa. Senate act on statute of limitations reform bill: ‘We have had enough’

HARRISBURG (PA)
PennLive.com

September 20, 2021

By Jan Murphy

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Victims of child sex abuse and their advocates said they have waited long enough to see Pennsylvania create a two-year window for child sex abuse survivors to take their abusers to court.

A crowd of more than 50 people holding signs that carried messages such as “Justice for Survivors” and “Why are we still here” converged on the state Capitol steps in Harrisburg on Monday. They implored the state Senate to vote on a bill that has already passed the state House of Representatives.

Kathyrn Robb, executive director of CHILD USAdvocacy and a child sex abuse survivor, opened the rally with an impassioned speech.

“We have had enough. We are not going away, not today, not tomorrow, not until this legislation is passed and not until survivors in Pennsylvania have been heard, have accountability, true healing and an opportunity for justice,” Robb said.

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September 21, 2021

Patty Bear during pilot training. When a representative of the Air Force Academy spoke at her school, she realized she'd found her ticket to freedom. COURTESY OF PATTY BEAR

‘I have religious PTSD’: Women tell stories of fleeing organized religion after abuse

(PA)
NorthJersey.com [Woodland Park NJ]

September 20, 2021

By Deena Yellin

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Leaving Religion, Keeping Faith

[Photo above: Patty Bear during pilot training. When a representative of the Air Force Academy spoke at her school, she realized she’d found her ticket to freedom. – Courtesy of Patty Bear]

Patty Bear began plotting her escape in high school. 

Raised in a strict Reformed Mennonite community in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Bear was trained to become a wife, mother — and little else. “My mother wore long dark dresses and a white bonnet,” the 57-year-old recalls. “And I was expected to grow up and wear the same uniform.” 

There was a darker side, too, Bear said, to a society where women were taught to be “submissive and obedient.” She endured years of emotional and physical abuse at her father’s hands, she said, forcing her mother to take Patty and five siblings on the run. 

Bear would eventually leave the church, become a U.S. Air Force pilot and fly commercial…

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Orphanage abuse survivors push Vermont’s Catholic Church to pay reparations

BURLINGTON (VT)
VTDigger [Montpelier VT]

September 16, 2021

By Kevin O'Connor

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Former residents of Burlington’s shuttered St. Joseph’s Orphanage are voicing frustration with Vermont’s Roman Catholic Diocese as they push the state’s largest religious denomination to pay for counseling after their mistreatment decades ago.

“The diocese has done as little as possible to help with our healing goals,” said Michael Ryan, who lived at the orphanage as a child. “They need to provide restitution for their sins of the past.”

A group of 18 former residents gathered Thursday at a reunion that’s part of a restorative justice process, which the orphanage’s former owners at the diocese and operators at the Montreal-based Sisters of Providence have yet to join.

“The church demands atonement from its faithful,” former resident Katelin Hoffman said, “but hypocritically, it is avoiding atonement for its own sins.”

The St. Joseph’s Orphanage Restorative Inquiry came in response to last year’s conclusion of a government investigation of past problems at the facility,…

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Probe of Southern Baptist sex abuse response moves forward

NASHVILLE (TN)
Associated Press [New York NY]

September 18, 2021

By Holly Meyer

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The Rev. Marshall Blalock feels the weight of his new responsibility.

The South Carolina pastor serves as vice chair of a recently formed Southern Baptist Convention task force charged with overseeing an investigation into how a top denominational committee handled sex abuse allegations, a review that comes years into the SBC’s public reckoning with the scandal.

Blalock thinks the work of the task force, set into motion in June by a vote of Southern Baptists at a national gathering, could be a foundational part of how the SBC addresses the issue in the future.

“If the task force does what the convention’s asked us to do, if the Executive Committee responds favorably, I think we’re making huge first steps toward really setting the future toward preventing and appropriately responding to and caring for sexual abuse survivors,” Blalock said.

The sex abuse scandal was thrust into the spotlight in 2019 by…

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Former Cardinal McCarrick, Metuchen Diocese ex-clergymen face more sex abuse suits

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

September 16, 2021

By Suzanne Russell, MyCentralJersey.com

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Three more lawsuits were filed Thursday against the Diocese of Metuchen alleging sexual abuse against adults and children by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the Rev. John Butler and Brother Regis Moccia.

And because Butler and Moccia, who have both died, were not listed on Diocese of Metuchen’s list of sexually abusive clergy, one of the attorneys filing the lawsuits pleaded with Bishop James F. Checchio to release the names of all clergy offenders, including those whose names have never been made public.

“We urge you, release those names of those secret settlements of those offenders that you have now made. The public needs to know, and the survivors need to know who are still suffering in silence sometimes believing they are the only ones, deserve to know while they have time to act. Do it today,” said attorney Jeffrey R. Anderson.

Anderson said he believes there are more than 15 names that should be…

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‘The Catholic School’ (‘La Scuola Cattolica’): Film Review | Venice 2021

(ITALY)
Hollywood Reporter [Los Angeles CA]

September 20, 2021

By Lovia Gyarkye

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In Stefano Mordini’s film, based on Edoardo Albinati’s fact-based novel of the same name, a group of young, privileged men commit a disturbing crime.

The story starts like this: A woman hears a noise — it sounds like a cry for help — from her apartment in a tony neighborhood in Rome and calls the police. The uniformed officers arrive and find two teenage girls locked in the trunk of a Fiat 127, their bodies brutally maimed and scarred. One of them, 17-year-old Donatella Colasanti, is shaken but alive; the other, 19-year-old Rosaria Lopez, is dead. Two of their attackers have been found and the other, perhaps tipped off, has fled.

The Circeo massacre, as the rape and murder would come to be known, shook Italian society. It was 1975 and the aggressive crime, committed by three young men who attended San Leone Magno, a prestigious all-boys Catholic high school,…

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Much talk of Germany’s Synodal Path, but what is it?

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

September 21, 2021

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As Catholics in Germany prepare for their second Synodal Assembly, Aachen Bishop Helmut Dieser has appealed for open debate to be held within the auspices of the Synodal Path reform project and not in the media, on the internet or other platforms.

“The synodal disputes, in which we speak both freely as well as intensively listen to one another, are taking place in the Synodal Path and not on the periphery,” he told Germany’s Catholic News Agency, KNA, Sept. 10.

He also said a good and open culture of debate means not entering the discussions with pre-fixed and unchangeable positions. “This can only succeed if each individual asks himself: May the view of the other person change me? May the spirit of God in this change me?”

He spoke to KNA after sometimes-heated arguments taking place about the Synodal Path project. Some participants have presented alternative proposals to the…

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St. Joseph’s Orphanage Survivors Say Church Must Do More

BURLINGTON (VT)
Seven Days [Burlington VT]

September 16, 2021

By Colin Flanders

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The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington continues to disregard the lifelong impacts of the physical and sexual abuse carried out at the St. Joseph’s Orphanage, according to some former residents, who are calling on Bishop Christopher Coyne to compensate the remaining survivors of the long-shuttered facility.

Former orphanage residents expressed mixed emotions during a press conference at a South Burlington hotel on Thursday, recalling how a two-year restorative process has helped many of them begin to work through their deep-seated traumas.

But they said their attempts to move on have been undermined by the diocese’s refusal to engage with them on certain issues, including the question of compensation. Some speakers said they have spent thousands and thousands of dollars on therapy over the years. Others referenced the untold amount of money funneled into the orphanage from both the state and from their own parents.

“They took money out of my father’s pocket and abused…

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Rally for a Window: Advocates for Child Sex Abuse Survivors Call on PA Senate to Pass Child Victims Legislation

HARRISBURG (PA)
WENY [Horseheads NY]

September 20, 2021

By Renata Stiehl

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HARRISBURG, PA (WENY) — Advocates for survivors of childhood sexual abuse rallied outside of the Pennsylvania state capitol Monday afternoon, calling for Senate action on a bill that would allow for lawsuits to be filed against their abusers. They’re calling for passage of House Bill 951, which was approved by overwhelming bipartisan support in the House in April. It then sent to the Senate, where the advocates say Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward is stopping it from moving forward.

“We’ve had enough. We have had enough. We are not going away, not today, not tomorrow,” said Kathryn Robb, Executive Director of CHILD USAdvocacy, and a survivor of child sexual abuse. She was one of several speakers rallying on the capitol steps Monday, urging Senator Kim Ward to put House Bill 951 up for a vote.

Survivors of child sex abuse are rallying for a window to be able to file…

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Opinion: Every Native Child Matters in Seattle Too

SEATTLE (WA)
South Seattle Emerald [Seattle WA]

September 20, 2021

By Caro Johnson and Millie Kennedy

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On Saturday, July 17, participants in Seattle’s “Every Child Matters — Seattle Rally and March” gathered at Cal Anderson Park. The crowd stood, sat, drummed, and mourned in solidarity with the First Nations tribes who found 160 children on July 12, buried at Penelakut Island Residential School in British Columbia and in remembrance of the nine children’s remains, recovered from the Carlisle Boarding School in Pennsylvania, returning to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. 

The assimilative policy in Canada and the United States of removing children from their parents is an ongoing form of genocide. From the 1860s until the late 20th century, over 300 American Indian residential schools were a government-funded and church-run national program to “civilize” Native children by coercing them into schools and, once there, forbidding them to speak their languages or learn their traditions. Both Catholic and Protestant churches forced the children to assimilate…

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Quebec judge OKs class action against Famille Marie-Jeunesse for ‘spiritual abuse’

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

September 20, 2021

By François Gloutnay, Catholic News Service

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SHERBROOKE, QUEBEC — A Quebec Superior Court judge authorized a class action against a Catholic religious group once heralded for its ability to foster vocations. The decision opens the way for people who claim to have been physically, spiritually or psychologically abused within the organization to join the legal case.

Judge Alicia Soldevila decided in favor of class action involving Famille Marie-Jeunesse (Family of Mary’s Youth), which was founded in the 1980s.

Pascal Perron, a member of the group for 17 years, will represent those who join the class action. He left the religious community in 2014, at age 36, after having lived in the group’s community houses in Quebec and on Reunion Island, a French department in the Indian Ocean.

Perron blames the group and its leaders for putting in place rules that were “so strict and rigorous” that they had the effect of “destroying the identity of the individuals…

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September 20, 2021

Child Labour: Catholic Bishops Conference in Jasikan Diocese dialogue with stakeholders

JASIKAN (GHANA)
MyJoyOnline [Accra, Ghana]

September 19, 2021

By Peter Senoo

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The Catholic Bishops Conference in the Jasikan Diocese of the Oti Region has engaged parents and stakeholders in fishing and cocoa-growing communities in the diocese on ending child labour and abuse.

The church as part of its corporate social responsibility has set up a committee that is mandated to ensure the protection of child rights and elimination of any existing form of child labour and abuse in the diocese.

The Jasikan diocese of the Catholic Church covers almost the entire Oti region.

Speaking at the ceremony, the regional director for social welfare, Innocent Agbolosu explained the position of the law on parental responsibility to children.

“According to the United Nation’s Convention on the rights of the child, child protection is safeguarding of children from violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect. This definition places responsibility on state parties to this convention to formulate programmes, policies and laws to protect children within their…

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Michael Ryan, of Buckingham, Va., Brenda Hannon, of Williston, Vt. and John Magnago, of Miami, from left to right, pose in South Burlington, Vt., during a reunion of orphans from the St. Joseph's Orphanage in South Burlington, Vt., Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021. Some of the residents of the long-closed Vermont orphanage want the Catholic Church to pay for therapy as they continue to recover from what they felt was the abuse most of which occurred more than half a century ago. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring

Catholic orphanage’s ex-residents ask church to fund therapy

SOUTH BURLINGTON (VT)
Associated Press [New York NY]

September 16, 2021

By Wilson Ring

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[Photo above: Michael Ryan, of Buckingham, Va., Brenda Hannon, of Williston, Vt. and John Magnago, of Miami, from left to right, pose in South Burlington, Vt., during a reunion of orphans from the St. Joseph’s Orphanage in South Burlington, Vt., Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021. Some of the residents of the long-closed Vermont orphanage want the Catholic Church to pay for therapy as they continue to recover from what they felt was the abuse most of which occurred more than half a century ago. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring)]

Some of the residents of a long-closed Vermont orphanage want the Catholic Church to pay for therapy as they continue to recover from what they described as abuse at the hands of the nuns and priests who were supposed to care for them.

The youngest members of the group that calls itself The Voices of St. Joseph’s Orphanage are in their late 50s. The…

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Former LDS Bishop in Utah Charged With Abusing Teen at Girls Church Camp

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Salt Lake Tribune [Salt Lake City UT]

September 17, 2021

By Scott D. Pierce

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He was the 15-year-old’s bishop at the time of the alleged assault.

A Utah man has been charged with sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl while he was her Latter-day Saint bishop.

James Douglas Robinson, 63, has been charged in 8th District Court with forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony.

According to a probable cause statement, the 15-year-old girl told police that she was assaulted June 16 while she was at a church girls’ camp at the Reid Ranch in Hanna, Duchesne County.

She said she was alone in the kitchen area when her bishop pinned her and touched her inappropriately over her clothes.

After the alleged assault, Robinson was released as bishop of his Latter-day Saint ward, or congregation, and, according to police, moved to Idaho.

According to a spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “The church reported these allegations to law enforcement as soon as…

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A long wait for a trial just got shorter for a former altar boy who survived clergy abuse

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
The Berkshire Eagle [Pittsfield MA]

September 19, 2021

By Larry Parnass

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A 69-year-old plaintiff shouldn’t be kept waiting.

After hearing that plea from an attorney, a Springfield judge ruled last week that the former Chicopee altar boy raped by a once-celebrated bishop deserves to have his civil lawsuit heard with as little delay as possible.

Until the decision came Wednesday from Judge Karen L. Goodwin, the plaintiff, identified only as John Doe, expected to have to wait for a year or more as defendants pursued an appeal of an earlier ruling.

Goodwin scribbled the word “Allowed” on a court document submitted by the plaintiff’s attorney, Nancy Frankel Pelletier, and set a status conference for 3:30 p.m. Oct. 21 in Hampden Superior Court, at which lawyers will discuss the trial’s timing.

Her decision is another setback to lawyers for the Springfield Diocese, who claimed in court filings that their clients, including the diocese itself, could not be sued…

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Fr. Zollner: Church in Central and Eastern Europe safeguarding vulnerable members

WARSAW (POLAND)
Vatican News - Holy See [Vatican City]

September 18, 2021

By Devin Watkins

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As a conference on safeguarding minors and vulnerable adults within the Church kicks off in Warsaw, Poland, Jesuit Father Hans Zollner describes the efforts already being made to protect the Church’s most vulnerable members.

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors is holding a conference to assist Church leaders in safeguarding her most vulnerable members.

The 4-day event, taking place from 19-22 September in the Polish capital of Warsaw, gathers Catholic representatives from across Central and Eastern Europe.

According to a consultant for the Pontifical Commission and one of the event’s organizers, the conference’s goal is to “show that the Church has to engage and commit in the protection of minors and other vulnerable people in any place or region of the world.”

Fr. Hans Zollner, SJ, the Director of the “Institute of Anthropology. Interdisciplinary Studies on Human Dignity and Care (IADC)” at the Pontifical Gregorian University, spoke to…

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Letter from Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, on the Status of Father David Ryan

CHICAGO (IL)
Archdiocese of Chicago IL

September 16, 2021

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Dear Parishioners of St. Francis de Sales Parish, 

Last week, I informed you that our Independent Review Board (IRB) had found there was insufficient reason to suspect Father David Ryan had committed sexual abuse of a minor and that I was reinstating him as your pastor, effective immediately. 

However, since then, additional information, not previously provided to the Archdiocese or the IRB, has surfaced and that will mean delaying Father Ryan’s return to the parish while it is thoroughly investigated.  Father Ryan has assured us that he will cooperate fully as he understands that we must take every allegation seriously in accordance with our child protection policies.  

I share your disappointment at this news, especially as I know plans were being made to welcome Father Ryan back this weekend. But, I ask your patience once again as we fulfill our obligation to keep the children entrusted to us safe and…

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Lake Zurich pastor suspended again after new evidence in sexual abuse investigation

LAKE ZURICH (IL)
Lake and McHenry County Scanner [Libertyville IL]

September 19, 2021

By Sam Borcia

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The return of a suspended pastor at Saint Francis de Sales Catholic Parish in Lake Zurich has been delayed after new evidence was brought forward in a child sexual abuse case.

In November, Cardinal Blase Cupich, who is the Archbishop of Chicago, wrote in a letter to the St. Francis community announcing the investigation into Father David Ryan.

Ryan was accused of sexually abusing minors approximately 25 years ago while he was assigned to the Maryville Academy in Des Plaines.

Due to the investigation by officials and the Archdiocese of Chicago, Ryan was asked to step down as pastor until the investigation was complete.

On September 9, Cupich sent a letter updating the St. Francis community that state officials determined the allegations were unfounded.

The archdiocese concluded there was insufficient reason to suspect Ryan had committed child sexual abuse, Cupich added.

Ryan was then reinstated as pastor. On Thursday, Ryan announced…

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Protection of Minors Commission set to host major conference in Warsaw

WARSAW (POLAND)
Vatican News - Holy See [Vatican City]

September 16, 2021

By Devin Watkins

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The Church in Central and Eastern Europe is coming together for a conference on the safeguarding of minors, which will take place in Warsaw, Poland, on 19-22 September.

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors sent out a press release on Thursday to announce details about the upcoming safeguarding conference.

The event kicks off on Sunday and runs through Wednesday in the Polish capital of Warsaw.

It is being held under the theme, “Our Common Mission of Safeguarding God’s Children”.

Representatives of Bishops’ Conferences from nearly 20 nations in Central and Eastern Europe will take part, along with professionals who work in the field of child and youth protection.

Systems to prevent abuse

According to the press statement, leaders from local Churches and delegates will examine their response to the crisis of sexual abuse of minors, while evaluating the impact of the regional context on the issue.

Participants will…

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Letter: Money alone cannot resolve church sex abuse scandal

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News [Buffalo NY]

September 19, 2021

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Regarding Bishop Michael W. Fisher and the Catholic sex scandal, there’s yet another letter with its own definition of remorse and compensation. Are the writers related to the out-of-state lawyers who will get one-third of their remorse? Why always money? In truth, there’s not enough money in all Christendom. Wiping out parishes and charities and institutions is as counterproductive as going through the courts. The bishop is at least trying to achieve a just closure to an irreconcilable situation that money simply can’t compensate. Comparable to slavery and the Holocaust, in a way. Needs change of heart, not more money.

Joseph Deck
Buffalo

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September 19, 2021

Pope rejects German archbishop’s resignation after abuse scandal

HAMBURG (GERMANY)
Reuters [London, England]

September 15, 2021

By Madeline Chambers

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Pope Francis has rejected the resignation of the Archbishop of Hamburg who had offered to step down after a report named him among several senior officials in Germany’s Catholic Church to have breached their duty in handling sexual abuse cases.

In a statement, the Vatican said it had thoroughly examined documents relating to the archbishop, Stefan Hesse, formerly head of personnel and administration at the Cologne archdiocese.

While it had identified deficiencies in the organisation of his office and personal procedural errors, it had not found any intention to cover up abuse, the Vatican said in a statement posted on the German Bishops’ Conference website.

“The basic problem, in the larger context of the administration of the archdiocese, was the lack of attention and sensitivity towards victims of abuse,” it said.

The archbishop offered to resign in March after the publication of an 800-page report into the handling of abuse…

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Pope says Church must face truth of cruelty to children

WARSAW (POLAND)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

September 19, 2021

By Ruth Gledhill

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Pope Francis has called on the Catholic Church to “listen to the call” of the victims of clerical sex abuse.

In a video message to an international conference on safeguarding and the Church, that begins in Warsaw, Poland today, Pope Francis says that care for children should not be sidelined in favour of managing the Church’s reputation. 

“Only by facing the truth of these cruel behaviours and humbly seeking the forgiveness of the victims and survivors, will the Church be able to find its way to be once again confidently considered a place of welcome and safety for those in need,” the Pope says. “Our expressions of contrition must be converted into a concrete path of reform, both to prevent further abuse and to guarantee others the confidence that our efforts will lead to real and reliable change.”

Recognising mistakes and failures can “make us feel vulnerable and fragile, for…

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We can’t let inner-city Catholic schools go extinct

HARTFORD (CT)
Montrose Press [Montrose CO]

September 18, 2021

By Gary Franks

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A former Catholic cardinal, Theodore McCarrick, is facing trial on charges of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy. He is the only current or former U.S. cardinal to be criminally charged with child sex crimes.

The Catholic Church has been paying millions of dollars to settle such cases for decades. I would argue that the collateral damage for inner-city children (Black and Hispanic) could be at least as damaging, in a completely different way, than the pedophilia cases.

The Archdiocese of Hartford paid more than $50 million to settle abuse allegations against dozens of its priests. The archdiocese admitted in a financial statement that such payments harmed its ability to provide other services. Among its major assets would be school buildings.

Connecticut could be on the verge of ending Catholic school choice for inner-city high school kids with only one such school left, Kolbe Cathedral.

Just imagine if the state’s public…

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September 18, 2021

Hidden in Plain Sight: The silence, secrecy and empty promises of child sexual abuse

STILLWATER (OK)
Stillwater News Press [Stillwater OK]

September 18, 2021

By Ashlynd Huffman

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The crime of child molestation is far more common than most people realize. Law enforcement officers tend to describe it as an epidemic, most often perpetrated in secret and typically by someone the child knows.

“It’s a heavy thing to have to deal with  investigating and it’s a very heavy thing for the public to accept. But it is an epidemic, it truly is,” Payne County Investigator Rockford Brown said. “If you look at it on a big scale, abuse of children is an epidemic.” 

Brown said almost all of his cases involve a suspect the child trusts.

“Most of the victims are abused by someone they know and love. So often I see folks post on social media about their concerns about child abduction and strangers; while this is a rational concern to have, the reality is that your child is far more likely to be abused by someone…

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The voices of the victims of clergy sexual abuse

WARSAW (POLAND)
Vatican News - Holy See [Vatican City]

September 16, 2021

By Ewa Kusz

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Ewa Kusz, a member of the organizing committee for the regional conference on the protection of minors for Central and Eastern Europe taking place in Warsaw, gathers the voices of people who have been abused by priests.

What do those who have been wounded within the Church say? What do they expect from the Church, from “Church people”?

To give one single response is difficult because each abuse victim is different. Each one of them has a different life story both before and after the trauma. Some of them speak immediately; others, after a few years or even many years later. Some have met others who have helped them along the way, while others have remained completely alone in their suffering.

Those who have been wounded are speaking. Some demand their right to speak and be heard at the top of their lungs. Others speak about it timidly within the…

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Pope: Misguided concern for Church reputation should not sideline abuse victims’ welfare

WARSAW (POLAND)
Vatican News - Holy See [Vatican City]

September 18, 2021

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In a video message to a 3-day conference in Warsaw, Poland, on safeguarding children from abuse in the Church, Pope Francis hopes such efforts will bring about real and reliable change.

As an important international conference on the protection of vulnerable children and adults for the Churches of Central and Eastern Europe kicks off in the Polish capital, Warsaw, on Sunday, Pope Francis hopes the effort will bring about real and reliable change in the Church and in the hearts of Christians.  

Organized by the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and the Polish Bishops’ Conference, the September 19 to 22 conference has as its theme, “Our Common Mission of Safeguarding God’s Children”. Representatives of bishops’ conferences, religious orders and lay professionals from 20 countries are participating in the 3-day event. 

Real and reliable change

Pope Francis has sent a video message in which he greets the participants…

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Video Message of the Holy Father Francis for the Meeting “Our Common Mission of Safeguarding God’s Children” Organised by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and the Bishops’ Conferences of Central and Eastern Europe

WARSAW (POLAND)
Holy See Press Office [Vatican City]

September 18, 2021

By Pope Francis

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Dear brothers and sisters, I am happy to welcome you now that you are gathered together to reflect on the response that the Church is now providing to the crisis of the sexual abuse of minors by members of the Church, and on the ways in which it might more adequately respond to this serious issue that we are facing.

In speaking to the leaders of the Episcopal Conferences from throughout the world, gathered in Rome in February 2019, I expressed my encouragement so that they might assure the wellbeing of victims might not be sidelined in favor of the misguided concern for the reputation of the institutional Church. Rather, only by facing the truth of these evil practices and of humbly seeking pardon from victims and survivors will the Church find its way to a place where it can be relied upon once again as a place of welcome…

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New Lawsuit Accuses Defrocked Cardinal McCarrick of Abusing NY Man

METUCHEN (NJ)
WBTS - NBC 10 [Boston MA]

September 17, 2021

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Defrocked cardinal Theodore McCarrick is the highest ranking Catholic official in the U.S. to face criminal charges for child sex crimes.

New lawsuits have been filed against defrocked cardinal Theodore McCarrick, accusing him of sexually abusing an adult in New York in the 1980s.

The now 91-year-old former Archbishop is already charged with sexually abusing a 16-year-old boy during a wedding reception at Wellesley College in 1974.

The latest lawsuit accuses McCarrick of sexual battery against a New York man, who was in his late teens and early 20s when McCarrick was Bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen, in central New Jersey. McCarrick went on to become archbishop of the Archdiocese of Newark in the mid-1980s and then Cardinal Archbishop of Washington, D.C., in 2001. The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

McCarrick was defrocked in 2019 after a Vatican investigation determined he sexually abused minors, as well as…

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Retired Diocese of Buffalo priest placed on administrative leave after abuse allegation surfaces

BUFFALO (NY)
WIVB [Buffalo NY]

September 17, 2021

By Patrick Ryan

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A retired priest who previously served as a chaplain at Kenmore Mercy Hospital has been placed on administrative leave by the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo Bishop Michael Fisher after an allegation of abuse has surfaced.

The allegation against Reverend Robert J. Schober, 70, came to light after informational documents filed with the federal bankruptcy court as part of the Diocese’s reorganization proceeding were forwarded to diocesan leaders.

Schober, who is not in active ministry, denied the abuse allegation in a meeting with Buffalo Diocese officials.

The Diocese has notified the Erie County District Attorney’s office and an independent review board has also been notified of the allegation. According to the Diocese, the board will work to appoint an independent investigator.

The 70-year-old is not allowed to present himself publicly as a priest or carry out any priestly ministry.

“The decision by Bishop Fisher to place Fr. Schober on administrative leave…

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Pope to bishops: Listen to abuse victims for sake of church

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

September 18, 2021

By Nicole Winfield

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Pope Francis urged European bishops on Saturday to listen to survivors of clergy sexual abuse and consider them partners in reform, warning that their failure to do so risks the very future of the Catholic Church.

Francis issued a videomessage to Central and Eastern European bishops who are gathering in Poland starting on Sunday for a four-day child protection conference organized by the bishops’ conference and the Vatican’s child protection advisory commission.

The location is significant, given around a dozen current and retired Polish bishops have been sanctioned by the Vatican in recent months for their repeated failures to listen to victims and take action to sanction the priests who raped and molested them.

“Only by confronting the truth of this cruel behavior and humbly seeking forgiveness from victims and survivors can the church find the way to once again be considered and trusted as a place of welcome and…

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Retired Buffalo priest suspended over sex abuse allegation

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News [Buffalo NY]

September 17, 2021

By Jay Tokasz

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Another retired Buffalo Diocese priest has been put on administrative leave after a claim in the diocese’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, along with a Child Victims Act lawsuit filed in August, alleged that the priest sexually abused a child.

Bishop Michael W. Fisher on Friday suspended the Rev. Robert J. Schober, who is restricted from priestly ministry or presenting himself in public as a priest while the allegations are under investigation. A review board is responsible for appointing an investigator to examine the claims.

Schober, 70, denied to diocese officials that he had abused anyone, according to a diocese statement.

It was the second consecutive Friday that Fisher announced a priest suspension. Four retired priests were put on administrative leave Sept. 10 due to child sex abuse allegations.

Schober is retired and was not currently in active ministry. He had been a chaplain at Kenmore Mercy Hospital prior to his…

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September 17, 2021

They Fled Sexual Violence. The UK Made Their Trauma Worse

LONDON (UNITED KINGDOM)
Vice [Brooklyn NY]

September 16, 2021

By Lauren Crosby

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Women don’t feel able to share their trauma with border authorities and so don’t get a fair hearing for their asylum claims, a survey shared with VICE World News says.

At 17 years old, Becky was called into the office of her Catholic priest, also the headteacher at her school, to help with Christmas decorations. “When a priest tells you to come, you have to yield to that,” she says.

At the time, Becky was living in Cameroon with her Christian family of six. “My dad was really violent to my mum – physically and emotionally. Where I come from, it is a normal thing.” Although witnessing abuse was part of Becky’s daily routine, she didn’t expect to experience abuse herself, especially at the hands of a priest. “He told my mum there were other girls coming, but then I discovered I was alone. He came closer to me, holding…

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Lawsuit: Defrocked Cardinal McCarrick abused man in 1980s

METUCHEN (NJ)
Associated Press [New York NY]

September 16, 2021

By David Porter

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Three sex abuse lawsuits filed against a New Jersey diocese and announced Thursday include claims that defrocked Cardinal Theodore McCarrick abused a young man in the 1980s.

The lawsuit accuses McCarrick of sexual battery against the man, who was in his late teens and early 20s when McCarrick was Bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen, in central New Jersey. McCarrick went on to become archbishop of the Archdiocese of Newark in the mid-1980s and then Cardinal Archbishop of Washington, D.C., in 2001. The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

McCarrick was defrocked in 2019 after a Vatican investigation determined he sexually abused minors, as well as adults. He faces other lawsuits in New Jersey, including one that alleged he sexually abused a teenage boy at a beach house in the 1980s.

In a separate case in Massachusetts, the now-91-year-old McCarrick recently became the only U.S. Catholic cardinal ever to…

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Second woman accuses Maine priest of sexual abuse

PORTLAND (ME)
WCSH - NBC News Center Maine [Portland ME]

September 16, 2021

By Vivien Leigh

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The woman alleges Father Robert Vaillancourt raped her when she was 15.

WARNING: This story contains details that may be triggering for some people. Resources are listed at the bottom of this story.

A woman has come forward after 39 years alleging she was sexually assaulted by a priest who is on administrative leave amid an internal investigation by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

Father Robert Vaillancourt was placed on leave in July following accusations he sexually abused a girl in the 1980s.

Vaillancourt, who was relieved of his post as pastor to several churches on the Mid Coast within the parish of Saint Brendan the Navigator, has denied the allegations. 

The latest alleged victim, who does not want to be identified, is now considering taking action under a new law that allows survivors to file a civil case.

“Jane” said she was…

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Chicago-area priest back under scrutiny for possible abuse

CHICAGO (IL)
Associated Press [New York NY]

September 16, 2021

Read original article

A suburban Chicago priest cleared last week of of allegations he sexually abused children 25 years ago is back under scrutiny because new information has become available, Cardinal Blase Cupich said Thursday.

Cupich wrote a letter to parishioners of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Parish in Lake Zurich saying the Rev. David Ryan will remain away from the parish while the new information is investigated. He did not disclose the nature of the new information.

“We will share new information as it becomes available,” Cupich said.

The development comes exactly one week after Cupich had written parishioners to report “there was insufficient reason suspect” that Ryan had abused anyone.

Ryan was directed to live away from the parish last November during the original investigation, Cupich said.

The Archdiocese of Chicago, which covers Cook and Lake counties, serves around 2.2 million Catholics.

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The second session of Germany's Synodal Assembly, delayed because of COVID-19, is scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 2. Participants are seen in this file photo at the Dominican monastery in Frankfurt, Germany, Jan. 31, 2020. (CNS / KNA / Harald Oppitz)

What America should understand about Germany’s Synodal Path

COLOGNE (GERMANY)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

September 17, 2021

By Renardo Schlegelmilch

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[Photo above: The second session of Germany’s Synodal Assembly, delayed because of COVID-19, is scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 2. Participants are seen in this file photo at the Dominican monastery in Frankfurt, Germany, Jan. 31, 2020. (CNS / KNA / Harald Oppitz)]

It strikes fear in the hearts of some conservative Catholics: Germany’s Synodal Path reform project. Will it cause a schism in the Catholic Church? Is Germany abolishing celibacy against the will of the Vatican? As a German observer, I wish to try and answer the questions some Americans don’t seem — or don’t want — to understand about the path before the next Synodal Assembly Sept. 30 to Oct. 2.

What is the Synodal Path?

It would be easier to define what it isn’t. It is neither a synod nor a particular council. Even though it was established unanimously by the German bishops’ conference, it cannot and will…

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September 16, 2021

Man abused by paedophile priest Malachy Finegan to receive ‘five-figure’ payout

NEWRY (UNITED KINGDOM)
The Irish News [Belfast, Northern Ireland]

September 15, 2021

Read original article

A MAN who claims a paedophile priest subjected him to sexual and physical abuse at a Co Down school is to receive a “five-figure” payout, his lawyer said.

The sum forms part of a resolution reached in his action centred on alleged historic assaults by the late Fr Malachy Finegan.

No admission of liability has been made in proceedings brought against the Trustees and Board of Governors at St Colman’s College in Newry and the Diocese of Dromore.

But the plaintiff’s solicitor, Kevin Winters, said: “This latest financial settlement highlights again the trail of emotional destruction left by Malachy Finegan.”

Now aged in his mid sixties, the man sued over allegations he was targeted while boarding at the school as an 11-year-old pupil in the late 1960s.

At the High Court today, counsel for the plaintiff, who is not being named, announced that his claim for negligence has been settled…

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Canada’s extradition process with France over Oblate priest ‘atrocious’, says prof

IQALUIT (CANADA)
APTN - Aboriginal Peoples Television Network [Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada]

September 15, 2021

By Kathleen Martens

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An Oblate priest was accused of sex crimes in the Arctic from 1968 to 1974

There is more Canada could be doing to pursue an Oblate priest in France suspected of sexually abusing children in Nunavut, says a Dalhousie law professor who specializes in extradition.

Robert Currie says it’s ‘atrocious’ that criminal charges have been stayed against Johannes Rivoire, who worked in three Arctic communities in the 1960s and ‘70s.

“What’s atrocious is the federal government’s refusal to say anything about the case to give the alleged victims any indication that there’s even any interest in justice being done,” Currie tells APTN News.

The three sex-related charges laid against Rivoire in 1998 were stayed in 2019, citing a low chance of conviction.

“In 1994, the Department of Justice Canada confirmed with the RCMP that France does not extradite its nationals,” says Nathalie Houle, a spokesperson for the Public Prosecution Service of…

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Commentary: A brother’s innocence, and the church’s transgressions

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union [Albany NY]

September 16, 2021

By Michael Wielch

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This whole pedophilia scandal the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany is enduring makes me think of my beloved brother Matt.

Matt was an altar boy. My mother thought he’d be a priest. I can still see him up there on the altar shadowing our pastor. The ancient rituals did something important for him.

Irish twins, 9 months and 29 days apart, we were inseparable. When we still wore flannel PJs with the feet attached, when we still needed a nightlight, when Star Trek was not yet in reruns, I remember rising from my bed early in the mornings with mischief on my mind. Matt was still in a crib, and as soon as he saw me enjoying my sweet freedom, he would bang on the slats of his crib like a hardened old con in Sing Sing.

I would grab him and drag him out (he ain’t heavy, he’s my…

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Salvatore Cordileone, the San Francisco archbishop, has asked Gavin Newsom to stop efforts to permanently remove a statue of Father Junípero Serra from the state’s capitol. Photograph: Jessica Christian / AP

Archbishops urge California governor to save controversial statue of 18th-century priest

SACRAMENTO (CA)
The Guardian [London, England]

September 15, 2021

By Dani Anguiano

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[Photo above: Salvatore Cordileone, the San Francisco archbishop, has asked Gavin Newsom to stop efforts to permanently remove a statue of Father Junípero Serra from the state’s capitol. Photograph: Jessica Christian / AP]

The monument to Father Junípero Serra has been in storage since it was toppled during a protest in the state capitol last summer

Two archbishops have asked California’s governor to stop efforts to permanently remove a statue of Father Junípero Serra from state’s capitol. The 18th century priest founded the California mission system, in which Native Americans were subjected to violence and forced labor.

Salvatore Cordileone, the San Francisco archbishop, and José Gomez, the archbishop of Los Angeles, pleaded with Gavin Newsom in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal to save the controversial statue of Serra.

Lawmakers passed a bill last month, which still requires Newsom’s signature, to replace the statue with a monument to local…

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September 15, 2021

NSW pedophile priest believed own ‘lies’

BURRADOO (AUSTRALIA)
Seven Network - 7news [Eveleigh, NSW Australia]

September 15, 2021

By Greta Stonehouse

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A Catholic priest and convicted pedophile must have believed his own lies to give “demonstrably” untrue evidence you could “poke a million holes through”, a judge told a court.

Anthony William Peter Caruana, 79, prayed silently in an isolated suite in prison before his second sentence hearing began in the NSW District Court on Wednesday.

More than two decades after he was acquitted at a 1990 trial for similar offences, he was found guilty of 26 charges against 12 young boys from Chevalier College in NSW’s Southern Highlands.

The charges from the 1980s included four counts of sexual intercourse with two of his students.

The teacher and dormitory master was removed from his teaching role in 1989 and forced to take psychiatric assessment and counselling.

Here he expressed “a lifelong problem of his attraction to young boys”, and he was assessed as being “remorseful for his past behaviours”, his lawyer…

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Man who claims paedophile priest Malachy Finnegan abused him at Co Down school to receive five-figure payout

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

September 15, 2021

By Alan Erwin

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A man who claims a paedophile priest subjected him to sexual and physical abuse at a Co Down school is to receive a “five-figure” payout, his lawyer announced today.

The sum forms part of a resolution reached in his action centred on alleged historic assaults by the late Fr Malachy Finnegan….

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Letter to the Editor – No excuses: Report all cases of suspected abuse

SANTA FE (NM)
Santa Fe New Mexican

September 14, 2021

By Steven J. Carrillo

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Regarding Friday’s editorial (“Schools must handle allegations better,” Our View, Sept. 10), I think the newspaper could have gone further in holding those involved in this alleged child abuse case to account.

Whether the accused is found guilty or innocent, a major failure was committed by those involved who failed to report. Refer to the New Mexico Administrative Code — 6.60.9.9c — and Section 24 therein.

Having served on the Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education for nine years, I know that our policy was that if anyone, bus driver, cafeteria worker, aide, teacher — anyone — suspected any kind of child abuse, sexual or otherwise, he or she was required to report it to an immediate supervisor.

Failure to report — and this includes supervisors and principals — to the district and law enforcement would result in immediate removal from the school site and the person being placed…

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Local church teacher, who was assaulted by mother claiming abuse, is cleared of wrongdoing

AUGUSTA (GA)
Augusta Chronicle [Augusta GA]

September 15, 2021

By Jozsef Papp

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A local church school program teacher, who was assaulted at school by an upset parent, has been cleared of any wrongdoing by Columbia County authorities.

In a statement, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office announced they had “a thorough review of video evidence” and investigators concluded that no crime had occurred. The Columbia County Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office was asked to review the case as well. Assistant DA Natalie Paine agreed with the sheriff’s office findings.

Maj. Steve Morris said the sheriff’s office is working to release the video to the general public, however, it’s going to take some time. Morris said the sheriff’s office is working with an outside company to make sure the identities of the children in the video are concealed. 

The 61-year-old teacher from St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church was assaulted by Kasey Marie Brooks, 28. After Brooks was arrested and charged with simple battery, she claimed the teacher…

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Five more former students say they were sexually abused at West Essex Middle School

NORTH CALDWELL (NJ)
The Record [Woodland Park NJ]

September 15, 2021

By Kaitlyn Kanzler

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Five more former students have filed lawsuits against the West Essex Regional School District and the estate of a middle school teacher who they say sexually abused them. 

Marc Cortese, Robert Swiatek, Kenneth Williamson, Bruce DeLorenzo and K.M. Doe joined two others who recently sued the district and Michael Petrucelli, who was a history and photography teacher at West Essex Middle School.

John Baldante, attorney for the seven men, called Petrucelli a “prolific pedophile.” Petrucelli died in 2014 at age 92.

Scott Reynolds and Peter Bonastia filed their suits at the end of August, accusing Petrucelli of sexually assaulting them multiple times in 1978. The new set of lawsuits allege that Petrucelli sexually assaulted the five men between 1977 and 1985. They were all age 13 at the start of the alleged abuse.

In the latest accusations against Petrucelli, the abuse ranges from pinches on the buttocks to horrific sexual assault….

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September 14, 2021

The resignation of the Bishop of Broome raises some big questions for the Catholic Church

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

September 14, 2021

By Noel Debien

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Has the Catholic church in Australia, at its most senior levels, learned anything from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse about good governance, transparency, and justice for those who are at the margins? The resignation of the Bishop of Broome, Christopher Saunders, has left a significant level of disturbance and dispute within the diocese. He is 71, and it is unusual that Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a bishop under the standard retirement age of 75.

The matter has proven highly contentious. Sexual misconduct allegations have been aired, along with claims of significant managerial problems — all of which the bishop has strongly denied. So what can or should the church do while such serious allegations linger in minds of the public?

Unclear reasons for departure?

The news of Bishop Saunders’s resignation was recently announced in the Vatican’s daily bulletin, the Bollettino, but no reason…

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Church Militant sues Baltimore, calls cancellation of Pier Six event free speech infringement

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Brew [Baltimore MD]

September 14, 2021

By Fern Shen

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Denying links to January 6 insurrection, organizer says former advisor to Donald Trump and others were to discuss Catholic Church reform and pose no threat

he far-right Catholic group Church Militant has sued the city of Baltimore in federal court, saying the decision by the administration of Mayor Brandon Scott to cancel the group’s upcoming rally at the Inner Harbor was “obviously unconstitutional.”

“They don’t get to shut down our speech. It’s that simple” said Michael Voris, Church Militant’s founder and CEO of St. Michael’s Media, speaking with The Brew.

The Michigan-based group contends that its First Amendment rights to free speech, religion and assembly were violated when City Solicitor James L. Shea canceled the organization’s contract to hold the meeting on November 16 at the MECU Pavilion on city-owned Pier Six.

Church Militant’s attorney, Marc Randazza of Las Vegas, and local Maryland counsel David S. Wachen of Potomac,…

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Victim-centric and Pastoral Authority

CAROL STREAM (IL)
Jesus Creed - Christianity Today [Carol Stream IL]

September 14, 2021

By Scot McKnight

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I have been asked by a number of church leaders if the approach we are advocating for an approach to allegations, which we call survivor-sensitive or survivor-centric or trauma-sensitive etc, diminishes the authority of the pastor. Does a survivor-sensitive approach go against the grain of what we in Anglican church call “episcopal authority”?

In some ways No, in some ways Yes. I need to explain.

First, I want to push against this term “authority.” This term is never used in the NT for pastors, bishops/overseers, or elders. Not once. They do not have authority, God does, Jesus does, the Spirit does. Which isn’t to say there isn’t some dimension of power and authority in the pastoral leader but I do want to register hesitation on framing the question with that term. By framing it with “pastoral authority” the discussion gets rigged in the wrong direction.

In fact, what authority a pastor…

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No abuse hearing in Dunedin called ‘slap in the face’

DUNEDIN (NEW ZEALAND)
Otago Daily Times [Dunedin, New Zealand]

September 15, 2021

By Daisy Hudson

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A decision to not hold a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care hearing in Dunedin has been criticised as a ‘‘repulsive slap in the face’’ for Southern survivors.

The South, and Dunedin in particular, is considered one of the country’s epicentres for child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

The royal commission says it has engaged with many Dunedin survivors and is committed to investigating their claims.

But the Network of Survivors in Faith Based Institutions says it is failing to meet its obligations.

The royal commission has held public hearings in Auckland into abuse in state and faith-based care.

Survivors have also been interviewed privately.

Network spokesman Dr Murray Heasley said it was ‘‘astonishing’’ Dunedin would not host hearings.

‘‘It is a massive dereliction of duty and a repulsive slap in the face for all of the victim survivors who reported thinking they would be listened to,…

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Montreal archbishop’s ombudswoman issues first report on abuse complaints

MONTREAL (CANADA)
The Catholic Register [Toronto ON, Canada]

September 14, 2021

By Francois Gloutnay

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Since May 5, 2021, the phone has been ringing at least once a day at the home of Marie Christine Kirouack, the Montreal lawyer to whom Archbishop Christian Lépine has entrusted the responsibility of receiving all complaints of abuse and inappropriate behavior committed by priests, staff members and volunteers of the Archdiocese of Montreal.

Since the ombudswoman was named last spring, she has received hundreds of calls and many emails.

In her very first quarterly report, released Sept. 9, Kirouack revealed that among all these calls, 29 denunciations were received and analyzed because they were related to sexual, physical, psychological or financial abuse. Since then, she has forwarded 26 formal complaints to the advisory committee in charge of studying them. This committee will then issue recommendations to Archbishop Lépine.

Because of the summer vacations, not all complaints have been processed yet. However, the ombudswoman confirms that 16 have been upheld,…

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Less words, more actions needed to protect minors

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

September 14, 2021

By Virginia Saldanha

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Church leaders need to stop playing with words and get down to serious business to protect children and women from abuse

During the 2019 Summit of Bishops in Rome on The Protection of Minors in the Church, Catholic Church officials told a press conference that Pope Francis had given bishops a handout of 21 points — a road map for policy and law seeking to save children from abuses within the Church.

On the last day of the summit, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay and member of Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals, was among those addressing the press conference.

When asked about what concrete measures were expected from the meeting, Cardinal Gracias said: “Implementation has to be done at the local conference and diocesan levels, that is why conference presidents are called to Rome for this meeting. All conferences have guidelines, we have to see how to make them effective.”

Referring…

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Deceased Priest Tied Up in LI Home Was Abuser: Lawsuit Alleges

SHELTER ISLAND (NY)
Patch [New York City NY]

September 13, 2021

By Lisa Finn

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A North Carolina man has filed suit against the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island and another church and is seeking $20 million in damages for abuse he says he suffered at the hands of a priest who was “restrained” and left critically injured in his Shelter Island home for days in 2018.

The retired Episcopalian Rev. Canon Paul Wancura later died of his injuries. The case has remained unsolved for years.

The complaint, filed with the New York State Supreme Court on August 19 by Gil Santamarina, New York City-based attorney for Lew H. Crispin III, states: “The circumstances surrounding the attack on the Reverend remain mysterious and unsolved, but there is reason to believe that the perpetrator’s primary intent was to torture the Reverend, not to steal from him.”

The complaint states that in 1975 when Crispin was five years old, he moved to Setauket with his…

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Al Shands, Episcopal priest, filmmaker, writer and art connoisseur, dies at 92

LOUISVILLE (KY)
Courier Journal [Louisville KY]

September 14, 2021

By Keith L. Runyon

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Those who knew Al Shands during his long and creative life realized he was on a journey.

In one of the newsletters he wrote for the parishioners of St. Clement’s “house church,” he compared his return to Durham, North Carolina, where he lived as a child, to the journey taken by Ms. Carrie Watts, the fictional heroine of Horton Foote’s “A Trip to Bountiful.”

“I did it, and it was a success,” Shands wrote. “But only now am I realizing why. Home is not just a place. Home is the place where we know we belong, where the loneliness of our lives is resolved, where we are known and appreciated just for who we are.” 

In so many ways Al Shands, who died Sept. 7, 2021, at age 92, spent his nine decades helping others to find their way home.

As an Episcopal priest, documentary filmmaker, writer and art connoisseur, he…

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The Catholic Church and the Art of the Coverup

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

September 13, 2021

By Richard Windmann

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It was the summer of 2011, and I was summoned to the office of a psychologist in Dallas, and Raymond Fitzgerald, the President of Jesuit High School, who flew from New Orleans to attend. Jesuit paid for the psychologist as a part of their due diligence, to determine if I was telling the truth about my abuse at the hands of Peter Modica, a janitor, and Cornelius Carr, a Theology teacher at the school.

Before Fitzgerald arrived, I was very nervous. I asked the psychologist, Ronald Garber, how long it would take for him to make his determination. He responded, “I already have, you cannot control the nervousness of your hands, you are rocking back and forth.” He continued, “When you described to me the first time you were abused, you said that you ‘froze up’, and that’s what all victims of childhood sex abuse do, and someone who is…

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