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.
Father Hans Zollner, one of the leading members of the Vatican committee against child sexual abuse, said on Wednesday he had resigned from the group, citing concerns over the way it was operating.
Zollner was one of the founding members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, which Pope Francis established in 2014 as part of efforts against the decades-old scandal of paedophilia within the Roman Catholic Church.
His abrupt departure represents a sharp blow to its image and comes after several members resigned early on, complaining the commission had no real power and met with internal resistance.
“Over the last years, I have grown increasingly concerned with how the commission, in my perception, has gone about achieving [the goal of protecting children and vulnerable persons]”, the Jesuit priest said in a statement.
Zollner said his resignation was effective on 14th March. He added that he could not…
Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, a leading safeguarding expert, resigned from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors because of his concerns over how the advisory body had been working over the past years.
There are urgent “structural and practical issues,” he said, “that led me to disassociate myself” from the papal commission.
A member of the papal commission since its establishment in 2014, Father Zollner had submitted his resignation to Pope Francis, who accepted it March 14, the priest said in a written statement released March 29, the date his resignation became public.
Thanking the commission’s president, members, and staff, “both past and present, who share in the hope of building a safer church,” Father Zollner wrote, “The protection of children and vulnerable persons must be at the heart of the Catholic Church’s mission. That was the hope I and many others have shared since the commission was first…
The most influential member of a Vatican commission on tackling clerical sex abuse said Wednesday he has quit over “structural and practical issues” which made it “impossible” for him to continue.
Hans Zollner, the public face of Pope Francis’s efforts to tackle the global paedophilia scandal, said he had “grown increasingly concerned” over how the papal advisory body works, “particularly in the areas of responsibility, compliance, accountability and transparency”.
His resignation from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors is the latest blow to a working group dogged by controversy.
US Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the body’s head, said early Wednesday that Zollner had resigned due to a heavy workload.
But German Jesuit priest and renowned academic Zollner, one of the leading experts in the fight against child abuse in the Catholic Church, said he had “noticed issues…
One of Pope Francis’ key advisers on clergy sexual abuse has resigned from the pontiff’s child protection commission and has launched searing criticisms against the organization’s leadership and its alleged lack of transparency.
The president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley, announced on March 29 that one of the commission’s founding members, German Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner, had asked the pope “to be relieved of his duties as a member.”
O’Malley’s statement, which praised Zollner as a global “ambassador” for combating clergy sexual abuse, said that Zollner had resigned due to his new appointment earlier this month as a consultant to the Diocese of Rome’s safeguarding office.
Yet in an unusually blunt 400-word statement issued several hours later, Zollner said that after nine years of service on the commission, it was “impossible” to continue given his mounting concerns “in the areas…
A proposed bill, now pending in the Texas Legislature, could bring a measure of justice to many survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
As introduced by state Rep. Ann Johnson, a Democrat from Harris County, House Bill 206 would allow a person who was sexually abused as a child to bring a civil lawsuit “at any time” to recover for injuries arising out of the abuse.
If the bill is passed, the law would apply retroactively, effectively reforming archaic statutes of limitation to give child sex-abuse survivors access to the civil justice system, even if their cases would have been time-barred under prior law.
This would bring Texas law in line with current knowledge about the effects of childhood sexual abuse. Inherent to the trauma is a silencing effect that causes many victims to delay disclosure. Often, victims are well into adulthood before they begin talking about what was done to them. The
Morganton native Jeffrey Kendall no longer works as an active Catholic priest, but that doesn’t mean he has given up looking for God.
“I’m always going to be Catholic – I can never change that,” Kendall said. “I’m not anti-church. I’m anti-abuse.”
Kendall left his post as in the Diocese of Charleston due to what he calls “a culture of cruelty.” He said the abuses of power and mistreatment he experienced left him broken and distant from God.
“I went back, and I tried to heal in the Catholic Church,” he said. “But healing was impossible in the Diocese of Charleston. That’s a damning statement.”
In his new memoir, A Walk to the End of the Earth, Kendall, a Freedom High School graduate and the first Catholic priest to hail from Morganton, recalls the abuse he endured and his journey away from the priesthood. The book recounts his anger at God,…
Bishop Richard J. Malone testified about being shocked and “very concerned” to discover that the Buffalo Diocese hadn’t forwarded credible allegations of clergy sex abuse of minors to the Vatican, per the terms of a 2001 church law.
But when pressed by a state prosecutor in 2019 about when exactly he learned the cases hadn’t been forward and who told him or how he learned about it, Malone struggled to remember.
Newly released transcripts of sworn testimony to the state Attorney General’s Office by Malone and Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Grosz reveal the bishops’ most extensive comments to date about their roles in addressing child sex abuse allegations and handing abusive priests. They also provide a glimpse into the inner workings of the highest levels of the Buffalo Diocese as a scandal over the cover-up reached fever pitch.
Malone, in the testimony, acknowledged that he never discussed with his predecessor…
A widely known and well-respected world figure is once again taking on the Catholic Church over its abuse crisis, speaking more forcefully than ever before.
Asking for forgiveness “is not enough,” he says.
Victims, he says, have to be “at the center” of everything.
He insists there must be “concrete actions to repair the horrors they have suffered and to prevent them from happening again.”
The Catholic Church must set an example in helping to solve the problem and “bring it to light,” he says.
Strong words, no?
Here’s the problem, though: the man saying these things is the man who can do these things.
Pope Francis himself, in a carefully choreographed new video released earlier this month (March 2), talks tough about abuse, as though he is someone outside the church looking in.
But he is, of course, the ultimate church “insider,” the man at the…
Legislation that would lift deadlines for survivors of child sexual abuse to sue their abusers is closer to receiving approval by both chambers in the Maryland legislature.
At a House Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, Sen. William C. Smith Jr. (D-Montgomery) took questions on part of the bill, which would repeal the statute of limitations and cap liability for governments and school boards at $890,000.
Smith sponsored the legislation which the Senate approved March 16.
The measure increases the liability limit to $1.5 million for claims against private institutions for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. An amendment approved last week removes the cap for economic damages for costs of services such as therapy or medical treatment.
Del. Nicole Williams (D-Prince George’s) asked what settlement amounts have been agreed upon in cases where an organization is charged with abuse and later files for bankruptcy.
Kathryn Robb, executive director of Child USAdvocacy,…
The Sexual Offences Against Children (Amendment) Bill 2023, aimed at providing a clearer and comprehensive protection to children, was passed in the Dewan Rakyat today.
It was passed with more votes in favour after it was tabled for the second reading by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform), Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, and debated by 10 Members of Parliament.
According to Azalina, the bill, among other things, is to replace the terminology ‘child pornography’ with ‘child sexual abuse material’ in the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017 (Act 792).
“Although it looks like a replacement of terms only, this replacement has a great impact on the perspective and depiction of the level of seriousness, and the true nature of the crime of exploitation and sexual abuse of children,” she said when winding up the debate on the bill.
In addition, Azalina said that the…
Independent Review Group finds ‘repeated and regular’ sexual attacks on members
Senior officers in the Defence Forces groomed more junior members for sexual purposes and the spiking of drinks for the purposes of carrying out sexual attacks was “repeated and regular”, an independent review into allegations of abuse in the organisation has concluded.
There was a “discernible pattern of rape and sexual assault” in barracks, swimming areas, naval boats, showers and abroad on foreign deployments, the Independent Review Group (IRG) said.
Some members were “targeted with sadistic violence for officers’ perceived pleasure”. Others “alleged that violence was gratuitously perpetrated without any trigger beforehand”.
[ Women of Honour report: Defence Forces ‘barely tolerates women’ at best and ‘abuses women in ranks’ at worst ]
The IRG’s examination of sexual misconduct, bullying, harassment and discrimination in the Defence Forces, established by Government in 2021 to investigate matters first raised by a group of…
Several athletes have testified about sexual, mental, physical abuse in Canadian sport
The Canadian government committed $13.8 million in Tuesday’s budget to addressing safe sport issues that have dominated headlines over the last year.
Federal sport minister Pascale St-Onge has said the sport system is in crisis.Tearful athletes have testified at parliamentary committee meetings in recent months about the sexual, mental and physical abuse they’ve experienced, and how the sport system has failed to address it.
The budget committed $13.8 million over three years starting in 2022-23 to the Heritage department that oversees the sport portfolio to “enhance accountability and support efforts to build a safe and accountable sport system.”
“From beginners to Olympians, every athlete in Canada should be safe from abuse, harassment, and…
The claims come after a court certified a class-action lawsuit by students alleging abuse by members of the Christian Brothers at St. Thomas More Collegiate and Vancouver College.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver and a private Catholic school have denied wrongdoing after claims of sexual abuse from former students and have filed their own lawsuits against the alleged abusers.
The archdiocese and St. Thomas More Collegiate in Burnaby filed separate lawsuits last week against the men who belonged to a Catholic order and were transferred to B.C. from Mount Cashel, the Newfoundland orphanage notorious for the sexual abuse that took place there.
The claims come soon after a court certified a class-action lawsuit by students, naming the archdiocese, St. Thomas More Collegiate and others as defendants, alleging abuse by members of the Christian Brothers at the school and Vancouver College, another Catholic private institution.
The statement of claim filed by…
A U.S. judge on Tuesday affirmed the Boy Scouts of America’s $2.46 billion settlement of decades of sex abuse claims, rejecting appeals by some of the group’s insurers and abuse claimants.
U.S. District Judge Richard Andrews in Wilmington, Delaware, ruled that the Boy Scouts agreement, which would create the largest sexual abuse settlement fund in U.S. history, was a good faith effort to resolve claims by more than 80,000 men who say they were abused as children by troop leaders.
The Boy Scouts settlement, approved in bankruptcy court in September, was supported by 86% of abuse claimants and the Boy Scouts’ two largest insurers.
The Boy Scouts organization said it was “enormously grateful” to abuse survivors who spoke out about their experiences and who voted to support the settlement.
“We look forward to the organization’s exit from bankruptcy in the near future and firmly believe that the mission of Scouting…
Just six days before a long-awaited trial was to begin on allegations from a former student that Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and former President Paige Patterson failed to protect her from sexual assault, a federal judge dismissed most of the case for lack of sufficient legal evidence.
Left pending is a motion for summary judgment on a defamation claim the judge has not yet acted upon. The parts of the case dismissed by U.S. District Judge Sean Jordan March 25 relate to allegations of negligence and gross negligence.
The assertion by the anonymous Jane Roe that “women who tried to report sexual harassment and sexual abuse were ignored, dismissed or disciplined themselves” is “a gross distortion of the evidence before the court,” Jordan wrote March 25. “The proposition that SWBTS has a history of condoning sexual assault or sexual harassment of female students has not been proven by Roe and is not…
Leaders of First Baptist Church of Houston knew about Paul Pressler’s alleged inappropriate sexual activity with young men in 2004, according to correspondence from the church to Pressler obtained by the Texas Tribune.
Journalist Robert Downen, writing for the Tribune, also reports Pressler’s law partner — a prominent conservative Republican known for his anti-LGBTQ stances — knew about the serious allegations yet continued to work with Pressler for another decade and provide him young male “personal assistants, most of them young men who typically worked out of his River Oaks mansion. Two have accused Pressler of sexual assault or misconduct.”
Downen and the Tribune have sifted through thousands of pages of new court records recently released in the six-year-old lawsuit brought against Pressler, his law partner Jared Woodfill, First Baptist Church and other leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention by a former member of Pressler’s church youth group.
Plaintiff Duane Rollins claims after he enrolled in Pressler’s…
A prominent Catholic architectural historian, author, and professor has been accused of sexual misconduct involving adult seminarians, Chicago’s Mundelein Seminary notified seminarians Monday.
“I write to inform you that we received reports alleging Dr. Denis McNamara, a former [seminary] faculty member, engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior toward adult seminarians during and after the time he was employed here,” wrote Fr. John Kartje, Mundelein’s rector, in a March 27 letter obtained by The Pillar.
“We deeply appreciate the courage of the men who came forward to report these matters,” Kartje added, while encouraging “anyone who believes he or she has been subjected to inappropriate behavior” at the seminary to make a report to seminary officials.
McNamara was from 2000 until 2019 a faculty member at the Liturgical Institute at Mundelein Seminary — which is called formally the University of St. Mary of the Lake, and includes Chicago’s seminary formation programs, and theology…
There are complexities because the Catholic Church operates under both canon and civil law
Recent and potential bankruptcy filings by California and New York dioceses, made in response to clerical sexual abuse claims, highlight the complex tensions between civil and canon law regarding church assets — including those at parishes — and their availability for settling lawsuits.
With several states, including California and New York, having temporarily lifted statutes of limitation on child sex abuse claims, a number of Catholic dioceses have declared or are poised to declare bankruptcy.
The Diocese of Santa Rosa, California, officially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy March 13. Bishop Robert F. Vasa explained the move was necessary due to more than 160 sexual abuse claims filed against the diocese after California opened a three-year window in its statute of limitations.
The Diocese of Albany, New York, announced March 15 it would file for bankruptcy, having…
On a recent Sunday, Brother Joseph Holthaus posted a photo of a child on a trash heap. He captioned it with a prayer for “those who dig through garbage dumps in search of recyclables and food.” The prayer intention was that caring adults might help them to find a healthy and wholesome life.
Other weekly postings on the Facebook and website pages of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart offer prayers for children who are snatched from their families and forced to join an army, children who have no spiritual center, those in institutions or with serious illnesses. There are prayers, too, for children who are unloved and unwanted, and those who have been bullied, exploited and sexually assaulted.
They are the at-risk children that the province holds up in prayer in their Youth on the Margins series of postings.
“We were founded to work with…
The Vatican has for the first time handed over to a Polish court the case file of a former priest on trial for child sex abuse. The move came after the local Polish archbishop informed the judge that he was unable to make the documents available himself.
The transfer of the material took place in autumn last year, when the Vatican handed the 200 pages of documents over to the Polish embassy. But it was only reported yesterday for the first time by the Gazeta Wyborcza daily because the trial of the former priest is being conducted behind closed doors.
The files pertain to ecclesiastical proceedings against the accused, who can be named only as Krzysztof G. under Polish privacy law. They reportedly include his written confession of guilt and a subsequent decree removing him from the clergy.
Krzysztof G. is currently on trial in a state court for the same accusations…
Under oath, outspoken anti-gay activist Jared Woodfill said he was told in 2004 that Paul Pressler had sexually abused a minor. But Woodfill did not cut ties with the Southern Baptist leader — and said he had no knowledge of Pressler’s alleged behavior when another young man came forward about alleged sexual misconduct in 2016.
In 2016, former Harris County GOP chair Jared Woodfill received an urgent warning about Paul Pressler, his longtime law partner and a Southern Baptist leader. In an email, a 25-year-old attorney from Woodfill’s Houston firm said he’d recently gone to lunch with Pressler, who told him “lewd stories about being naked on beaches with young men” and then invited him to skinny-dip at his ranch.
Woodfill — an outspoken anti-gay politician and prominent conservative activist who’d just played a key role defeating an equal rights ordinance for LGBTQ Houstonians — responded to the young man’s request…
A support group for survivors of abuse within the Catholic Church has sent an open letter to the pope claiming a coverup, secrecy and denial of abuse by the church in this country.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, SNAP, said the church’s redress process was secretive and denied a survivor’s right to natural justice.
SNAP said it wrote to Pope Francis in September last year, but never got a reply.
”We informed you of ongoing coverup and denial of credible complaints of clerical abuse and child sexual assault through a secretive A Path to Healing – Te Houhanga Rongo redress process.’
”We are disappointed to not have had the courtesy of a reply or acknowledgement of our letter.”
SNAP is calling on the pope to instruct church leaders in New Zealand to initiate an urgent, independent and transparent external audit of its redress and safeguarding system.
FLINT, MI – A former Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting underage boys may stand trial just shy of four years after being charged with several counts of criminal sexual conduct.
Vincent DeLorenzo, 84, is scheduled to face a jury at a trial before Genesee County Circuit Judge Brian S. Pickell on April 26, online court records show.
DeLorenzo, a former Flint-area priest accused of sexually assaulting two boys in the mid-1990s, when the alleged victims were under 13 years old, appeared before Pickell on Monday, March 27, for a final pretrial hearing.
It was at that hearing that Sara Coaster, a defense attorney representing DeLorenzo, and the prosecutor on the case, assistant attorney general Danielle Hagaman-Clark, told the judge they were prepared to head to trial.
“Father DeLorenzo has denied these specific allegations,” Michael Manley, an attorney handling the former priests case told MLive-The…
Both organizations say the teachers themselves would be to blame for any alleged abuse
The Archdiocese of Vancouver and one of two local high schools facing allegations of systemic sexual abuse have now filed their own lawsuits denying any wrongdoing, saying any mistreatment of students was through no fault of their own.
The archdiocese and St. Thomas More Collegiate (STMC) high school filed their claims last week in response to an ongoing class action lawsuit that has claimed abusive teachers targeted students in Vancouver for decades after they were transferred from the notorious Mount Cashel orphanage in Newfoundland.
The organizations say the teachers themselves would be among the ones to blame for any alleged abuse.
“If … any members of the class have suffered any damage … such damage was caused or contributed to by the fault of [the teachers],” read the archdiocese’s claim.
The lawsuits come weeks after the original lawsuit was certified as a class-action, which…
ROCCA DI PAPA, Italy — The findings of an initial expert report were astonishing: One of the 20th century’s revered Catholic leaders, who built an international movement of community care for people with intellectual disabilities, perverted Catholic doctrine about Jesus and Mary to justify his own sexual compulsions and abuse women.
The findings of a second report were even worse: The movement he created had at its core a secret, mystical-sexual “sect,” and was founded for the precise purpose of hiding the sect’s deviant activities from church authorities.
The two rounds of revelations about Jean Vanier and the L’Arche federation he founded have rocked the group to its core, all the more because L’Arche itself commissioned independent scholars to investigate after receiving a first complaint from a victim a few years before Vanier died in 2019. It’s the latest case of a Catholic giant, considered a living saint by his admirers…
EAST FLATBUSH — The Diocese of Brooklyn has removed from priestly ministry Father Bony Monastere, the parochial vicar for St. Therese of Lisieux Church in East Flatbush, after a sexual abuse allegation involving an adult was substantiated, according to the diocese.
Bishop Robert Brennan announced the decision via a letter that was read aloud to parishioners by Auxiliary Bishop Neil Tiedemann on Sunday, March 19.
Bishop Brennan wrote that the diocese was made aware of the allegation in September 2022 and that Father Monastere had denied it. The matter was then referred to the Diocesan Review Board — an independent panel tasked with investigating abuse allegations.
Following an investigation, the review board determined the allegation was substantiated and recommended that Father Monastere be removed.
Bishop Brennan wrote in the letter, “I have accepted the recommendation of the Diocesan Review Board, and Father Monastere has been removed from priestly ministry.”
Last week, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò — the former apostolic nuncio to the United States — published a new open letter, wherein the fugitive churchman welcomes the founding of the “International Movement of Russophiles.” I do not exaggerate when I describe it as the most astounding and bizarre public document created by this deeply troubled man to date. His letter — posted on the website of Italian traditionalist Marco Tosatti and delivered by email to subscribers of Robert Moynihan’s “Inside the Vatican” newsletter on March 16 — is a full-throated endorsement of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, laden with new world order conspiracy theories and religious paranoia.
In it, Viganò, a man once lauded as “the best nuncio we’ve had thus far” by John Paul II biographer George Weigel — a man whose grasp on reality has also faded, albeit to a lesser…
To the Editor:
Re “Sex Abuse Accusation Names a Rowing Legend” (front page, March 20):
In this article about childhood sexual abuse, The Times correctly noted that “victims may not report their abuse because of denial, shame or fear that they won’t be believed.”
There’s another, often overlooked factor that helps explain delayed abuse reports. Many survivors don’t deny their victimization — they simply don’t understand, until years later, that what happened to them was abuse.
Often, a child gets inadequate attention at home and believes that abuse is abrupt and brutal. Along comes a shrewd predator who convinces her that gentle touches are genuine affection. Her ignorance and innocence cause her to confuse being abused with being loved.
So it’s not only true that most victims don’t come forward promptly, but also the case that they may not recognize what occurred as abuse.
David G. Clohessy
The writer is the former…
ROME – It’s entirely possible that by the time this article appears, Father James Connell of Milwaukee, already barred from hearing confessions unless the penitent is in immediate danger of death, may be facing other suspensions – possibly from preaching, possibly from public ministry altogether.
A March 24 email to Connell relaying instructions from Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee made the threat crystal clear.
“The Archbishop wants you to understand that if it is too difficult for you to appropriately understand the limits of your ministerial permissions in the light of his decree, that he is willing to remove your faculties to preach publicly as well, and to also restrict your permission to publicly exercise ministry period,” it read.
“He will take those further steps if his ongoing assessment of your behavior and situation warrants it,” wrote Father Nathan Reesman, the Vicar for Clergy in Milwaukee.
The warning came two…
What reason did the Vatican give when it made the surprise announcement Saturday that Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of one of Germany’s most prominent bishops?
The answer: none whatsoever.
That’s not unusual. When the pope accepts a diocesan bishop’s resignation before the customary age of 75, the Holy See press office rarely gives a reason.
In the absence of an official explanation, speculation is rife. Was the 72-year-old Bishop Franz-Josef Bode’s resignation accepted because he was one of the chief organizers of Germany’s controversial “synodal way”?
Or was it because he was one of the first German bishops to invite same-sex couples to receive blessings after the synodal way endorsed the practice earlier this month — despite an emphatic Vatican prohibition on doing so?
Or could it have been on account of his errors in handling abuse cases, which prompted a canonical complaint to Rome?
Let’s consider each of three principal theories.
ANALYSIS: Pope Francis’ acceptance of the resignation of Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, a major proponent of the Synodal Way in Germany, is widely seen as a blow to the controversial process. But was this a ‘strategic element’ of the Vatican’s decision?
Pope Francis’ acceptance of Bishop Franz-Josef Bode’s surprise resignation is a clear blow to the German Synodal Way — at least according to the reactions of others championing the controversial process, which is pushing for blessings of same-sex unions, women’s ordination and other changes at odds with Church teaching.
Johannes Norpoth, the spokesman for the German Bishops’ Conference’s (DBK) advisory board of abuse victims, described the erstwhile bishop of Osnabrück as “an episcopal engine of the Synodal Way,” noting that his resignation “will clearly and permanently weaken the wing in the German Bishops’ Conference that is willing to reform and change.”
Irme Stetter-Karp, the president of the powerful Central Committee for…
The Bishop of Worcester, Massachusetts, issued on Friday a ban on the use of so-called hookup apps for all diocesan clergy.
Bishop Robert McManus promulgated the new diocesan penal law March 24, warning that use of hookup app technology will lead to sanctions for priests and deacons in the Massachusetts diocese.
“The new law reminds the clerics to cultivate and preserve the virtue of chastity as well as the promise of celibacy for priests and single or widowed deacons,” the diocese announced in a statement Friday.
“This particular law specifically references digital solicitation, grooming, pornography and/or sharing of such material on social media as ways of violating their lifelong commitment to the observance of chaste celibacy.”
The diocese said the new law, which invoked the existing universal law of the Church related to the clerical obligation to “behave with due prudence towards persons whose company can endanger their obligation to…
A former Wausau priest convicted of child molestation two decades ago was sentenced to three years in prison on child porn charges Monday after graphic images of children were found on his computer in December.
Svea, now 60, faced new possession of child porn charges after pictures were discovered by a computer repairman who notified police in December 2022.
In 2002, Svea served 18-months in jail after being convicted of molesting an underage boy. He’d pled guilty to sexual assault of a minor, false imprisonment and several counts of exposing himself to a child.
Svea was living in Mosinee when a new investigation started. Svea had served in various Catholic groups in Wausau and Cashton.
Pope Francis on Friday accepted the resignation of an influential German bishop who has been a key player in the German synodal process and come under pressure over his handling of clerical sex abuse cases in his diocese.
Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, 72, who has been vice-president of the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK) since 2017 and a keen advocate for reform in the Church, allegedly offered his resignation due to mishandling of sex abuse cases.
As recently as September last year, Bishop Bode of Osnabrück publicly refused to resign amid calls to do so following the release of a 600-page report entitled “Sexual violence against minors and vulnerable by clergy in the Diocese of Osnabrück since 1945”.
The report incriminated Bode for “repeatedly” retaining in their posts or promoting clergy accused of abuse.
Particular concern surrounded the fact that the bishop refused to take precautionary measures pertaining to clergy who were…
The sanctuary at St. Mark Catholic Church was nearly full for 11 a.m. Mass.
A white-robed priest gave a sermon on the recent Sunday morning about a Samaritan woman who met Jesus at a well. Parishioners lined up to receive Communion. And as congregants flooded to their cars afterward, a few paused to share thoughts on an issue that could soon engulf the historic parish in Catonsville.
Sometime in the next week or so, the Maryland Attorney General’s Office is expected to release its report on the sexual abuse of children and young adults by priests and brothers in the Archdiocese of Baltimore dating back 80 years. Its authors identify 158 men who abused and tortured more than 600 people between the mid-1940s and 2002, and describe the archdiocese’s efforts to protect abusers and silence victims.
A summary that appeared in a court filing in November said some…
Archbishop Charles Scicluna, Adjunct Secretary of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith and an expert in the fight against abuse, shares his thoughts on Pope Francis’ updates to “Vos estis lux mundi,” and says one important change is a “detailed procedure for reporting and investigating allegations against lay people at the head of international associations.”
Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the Archbishop of Valletta, Malta, since 2018, serving as Adjunct Secretary of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, has always been involved in combating the scourge of abuse by clergy.
In the following interview with Vatican News, he illustrates the importance of the changes introduced on Saturday by Pope Francis in his update of ‘Vos estis lux mundi,‘ the motu proprio promulgated in 2019 with which the Pope introduced procedural rules to combat sexual abuse and ensure that bishops and religious superiors are held accountable for their actions.
Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, welcomes Pope Francis’ promulgation of an updated version of ‘Vos estis lux mundi’, and says it confirms the Church’s desire to root out sexual abuse and give justice to abuse victims.
Pope Francis has released an updated version of his 2019 motu proprio Vos estis lux mundi, which offers specific procedures to regulate the Church’s actions to counter sexual abuse.
The Holy See Press Office published the new text on Saturday, which enters into force on 30 April and replaces the version released in May 2019.
In the following interview with Vatican News, American-born Cardinal Blase Cupich describes a few of the important changes made to the original text of Vos Estis.
The Archbishop of Chicago, who also serves as a member of the Vatican’s task force for the protection of minors, says the updated document shows the Pope’s desire to protect victims…
A former Anglican priest jailed twice for sexually abusing almost a dozen children has pleaded guilty to the historical rape and assault of two more boys.
Louis Victor Daniels, 75, appeared in the Supreme Court of Tasmania in Hobart on Monday, where he admitted to two counts of persistent abuse of a young person in the 1970s and ’80s.
Daniels, who has held senior positions in the church, regularly abused one boy at Church of England Boys’ Society camps when he was a prominent leader.
Daniels raped the second boy at his home and forced to him perform sex acts on him, including when he drove him home from boys’ society meetings.
After the rape, he told the boy it was a “secret and because he was a priest no one would believe (you)”.
The first survivor, who is now in his 50s, told the court he experienced flashbacks and…
A complete analysis of the new and apparently permanent version of Pope Francis’s signature reform law is certainly in order. Nevertheless, the fundamental issue really is not one of parsing legal niceties.
Pope Francis issued a permanent version of his signature reform law, Vos estis lux mundi, on Saturday. First promulgated in 2019 as a three-year experiment, Vos estis purported to facilitate the investigation of abuse and coverup in the Church and to streamline the procedures for trying churchmen accused of abuse, coverup, or both.
The new, permanent version of the paper reform changes some language in notable ways.
The inclusion of the term “vulnerable adult” is one, though the new version of the law defines the term in the same way the original defined “vulnerable person” – nebulously – as “any person in a state of infirmity, physical or mental deficiency, or…
Pope Francis promulgates an updated version of the Church’s norms to prevent and counter sexual abuse against minors and vulnerable adults, harmonizing various legislative reforms introduced since 2019 and extending the norms to cover lay leaders of international associations of the faithful recognized by the Holy See.
Following nearly four years of experimentation and extensive consultation with bishops and the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, Pope Francis has definitively promulgated procedures to prevent and counter sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.
The updated version of the motu proprio Vos estis lux mundi was published on Saturday, and enters into force on 30 April. It replaces the previous version published in May 2019, and confirms the Church’s desire to continue to combat crimes of sexual abuse.
Leaders of lay associations
The most significant change introduced in the new version of the normative text concerns the provisions in “Title II” which lay out the…
Two bills proposed by state elected officials would remove the Catholic Church’s right to the “seal of confession” protecting priests’ right to refuse to provide private information divulged during confessionals, and Catholic advocates warn it could be a slippery slope when it comes to protections for religious freedom.
Delaware HB 74 and Vermont Sen. Bill 16 were introduced earlier this year by Democratic Rep. Eric Morrison and Democratic Sen. Richard Sears, respectively, to prevent child abuse, according to the bills’ texts. The legislation would amend state law to prohibit any clergy member from asserting the right to a privileged conversation during confessions if information about child abuse or neglect is revealed, but advocates warn it will not help prevent abuse and only deprive churches of their First Amendment rights.
“This is not the first time this has come up,” President of Catholic Action for Faith and…
[See also the text of the Report of Child Sexual Abuse in the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah]
Victim advocates critical of report, say numbers are too low
A long-awaited investigation into sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in Georgia detailed historical abuse by clergy, but the review did not uncover ongoing or active allegations of sexual abuse that could be criminally pursued.
The Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia report said none of those priests could be prosecuted because they are either deceased, have already been prosecuted or the statute of limitations expired before the review was launched.
Most of the victims were boys but there were also girls.
The report details allegations against priests ,members of religious orders and others, who at some point worked in the archdiocese and diocese, and the resolution.
The Church in the United States placed little focus on victims…
Pope Francis permanently decreed Saturday an updated version of Vos estis lux mundi, his landmark legislation to counter sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
The decree promulgated March 25 extends the Church’s norms for handling of abuse to cover lay leaders of international associations of the faithful recognized by the Vatican.
Vos estis lux mundi (“You are the light of the world”) reaffirms an obligation to report cases of “vulnerable adult” victims of abuse, including violence against religious women by clerics and cases of harassment of adult seminarians or novices by a superior.
It also includes protections for people who witness acts of abuse, in addition to those who submit reports of alleged abuse, stipulating that no “obligation of silence” may be imposed on those who report, witness, or are victims of abuse.
The new norms will go into force on April 30 and replace the pope’s previous…
Pope Francis has updated a 2019 church law governing clerical sexual abuse and extended it to include accountability for Catholic lay leaders of Vatican-approved religious organizations.
Lay leaders are people other than clergy members who are on the professional rosters of the church.
The norms were first defined by Francis in an Apostolic letter, Vos estis lux mundi, in 2019 and were originally mandated for a four-year period.
Francis has now made minor changes to that document and made it permanent, effective April 30, according to a document released by the Vatican on Saturday.
For decades the Catholic Church has been plagued by a series of sex abuse scandals in countries around the world.
The new norms represent Pope Francis’ pledge to offer “concrete measures” to combat sexual abuse.
One of the changes includes provisions for holding lay leaders of Vatican-approved associations accountable for…
Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki has stripped a retired priest of his permission to hear confessions after the priest advocated publicly for requiring clergy to report abuse revealed in confidential settings.
The Rev. James Connell said he got word Wednesday that Listecki had ordered him to stop speaking publicly about repealing what’s known as clergy-penitent privilege. Listecki also removed Connell’s “faculty” to hear confessions and offer absolution.
Connell, who for years has worked alongside anti-clergy sexual abuse groups, has been pushing to remove exceptions in states’ laws on mandatory reporting that allow clergy to keep quiet if an allegation of sexual abuse is revealed to them in a private setting like a Catholic confessional.
Wisconsin is among 33 states with laws that protect conversations between clergy and penitents, or those confessing their sins, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway.
Six states have laws that require clergy to report cases of abuse…
Clergy abuse survivors and advocates called out the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Friday after a retired Milwaukee priest was stripped of some of his rights after writing an opinion piece early last week.
Father James Connell appeared at a press conference Friday morning in front of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, to explain how Archbishop Jerome Listecki barred him from hearing confession and giving absolution after publicly advocating on behalf of rape and sexual violence victims at the hands of Catholic clergy.
On March 13, Father Connell wrote an Op-Ed for USA Today Network saying, “All people in Delaware should support the proposed HB 74 that would repeal the Delaware clergy-penitent privilege statute. The bill would essentially require all priests to report child abuse cases they hear during confession.
Peter Isely is the Director of Nate’s Mission, a Wisconsin group of advocates and survivors, who…
Mothers and fathers would have good reason to think of child abuse—sexual or otherwise—as the greatest of crimes. Parents, after all, see the physical, emotional, and spiritual fallout from abuse in their children’s lives. Everyone, particularly parents, should be interested in measures that would detect child abuse earlier or prevent it entirely.
It’s therefore not surprising that lawmakers continue to try to find ways to protect children. Since the Catholic priestly scandals erupted two decades ago, there have been periodic attempts by legislators to make sure that those involved in the care of children report acts of child abuse. Most recently, bills in Delaware, Utah, and Vermont have been introduced that would force Catholic priests to report child abuse and neglect to the authorities (which is reasonable and permissible to Catholics), even when that sin is revealed in the confessional (which is not).
In general, only non-Catholics—those who don’t understand Catholic…
Pope Francis has updated and made definitive the provisions in “Vos Estis Lux Mundi” (You are the light of the world), his 2019 document setting out procedures for investigating and judging cases of sexual abuse in the church and for holding responsible bishops, religious superiors and others in the case of covering up abuse.
Pope Francis has updated the procedures for investigating allegations of sexual abuse or the cover up of abuse, specifying that the leaders of Vatican-recognized international Catholic lay associations and movements have the same responsibilities over their members that a bishop has over the priests of his diocese.
The updated version of “Vos Estis Lux Mundi” (You are the light of the world), published March 25, also expanded the categories of victims covered by the regulations to include vulnerable adults.
The original text spoke of the crime of “sexual acts with a minor or a vulnerable person.”…
Procedure has drawn criticism that it lacks transparency
ROME—The Vatican on Saturday published new legislation that extends to lay leaders of Catholic organizations the existing rules for investigating bishops over sex abuse or its coverup.
The amended rules aim to fill a gap in the Vatican’s effort to improve accountability over sex abuse, following revelations of abuse by lay leaders, but the changes are unlikely to quell criticisms that the procedure in place lacks transparency.
Under the legislation, promulgated in 2019 after a spate of scandals involving high-ranking prelates in the U.S., Latin America and Europe, every Catholic diocese around the world must maintain a “public, stable and easily accessible” process for reporting allegations of abuse, including by bishops and cardinals, that protects victims and whistleblowers.
The dioceses are required to report the allegations immediately to the Vatican, which is supposed to decide within a month whether they warrant an…
Today’s long-awaited update of the Pope’s key anti-abuse law is a big disappointment.
Pope Francis missed an opportunity to fix the grave flaws of Vos estis lux mundi that have rendered it ineffective.
Today’s revision delivers a few modest changes, some of which are welcome. It’s good that it clarifies that abuse of vulnerable adults is a crime under canon law and that lay leaders of religious associations can be subject to penalties too.
But this policy needed an extensive revamping, not a few tweaks.
Vos estis remains self-policing packaged as accountability. It keeps bishops in control of investigating and judging allegations against fellow bishops. It omits any requirement to inform the public. It tells bishops that they do not have to report child molestation to civil authorities unless they are mandated to do so under local law. And it limits lay involvement to roles that are fragmented and powerless.
None of these weaknesses…
The Catholic Church in Germany has dominated the headlines so far in 2023, thanks to its controversial “synodal way,” which concluded this month with endorsements of same-sex blessings, women deacons, and “gender diversity.”
Measured by international media attention alone, German Catholicism would appear to be a commanding presence on the world stage, pioneering radical changes to Church teachings and practices.
But could it be that, paradoxically, its influence within the wider Catholic Church is declining?
Consider the following developments:
- When Pope Francis announced the new line-up of his Council of Cardinals March 7, a notable name was missing: that of German Cardinal Reinhard Marx. The Archbishop of Munich and Freising had served on the “C9” since its creation in 2013.
- When the Vatican unveiled the preparatory commission for October’s synod on synodality in Rome March 15 none of the seven members was from Germany.
- Following the election of new leaders of the Commission of the Bishops’…
Lesa Patterson-Kinsey says a change in state law would allow survivors to hold abusers accountable.
After years of urging the Kansas Legislature to act, survivors of child sex abuse hope a new compromise will finally allow law enforcement to charge their abusers and let victims sue them for compensation.
Current state law requires those abused as children to file lawsuits by the time they’re 21. Survivors have long said the limit effectively stops most from seeking compensation because many victims don’t come forward until years, even decades, later.
A recently-introduced proposal would remove the criminal statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases. It would also allow survivors of childhood abuse to pursue lawsuits up to the age of 31 – a decade later than current law.
Survivors could also sue after 31 if a criminal conviction has occurred in the past three years. The measure, SB…
A defrocked New York priest “credibly accused” of sexually abusing a minor runs a charity that provides scholarships to Catholic schools for underprivileged children, according to public records.
John J. Voglio, 65, is president of Mary F. Clancy Charities, which was founded in 2000 by another former priest, John Harrington, who was also accused of sexually abusing a minor, according to the Archdiocese of New York.
Voglio frequently mingles with children and teenagers who attend charity events, a member of the organization’s board of directors told NBC News.
“He’s very good with the kids,” Madelaine Cavegn said. “They like him very much.”
Voglio does not mention on the charity’s website that he is a former priest, and he did not return several phone calls seeking comment about his activities.
Voglio has never been charged with a crime so was never required to register as a sex offender in Massachusetts, New York or…
Pope Francis on Saturday accepted a resignation request from a German bishop who asked to step down because of his mistakes in handling sexual abuse cases.
Franz-Josef Bode, who has been the bishop of Osnabrueck, Germany, since 1995, said in a personal statement that his decision to resign “has matured in me in recent months” and he hoped it would have a liberating effect on the diocese.
Bode explained that an interim report released in September on abuse by clergy in the diocese had revealed his mistakes. He acknowledged his responsibility as a bishop and said, “Today, I can only ask all those affected again for forgiveness.”
Abuse survivor groups have accused Bode of failing to respond appropriately to some cases of abuse, German news agency dpa reported.
The head of the German Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Georg Baetzing, issued a statement that noted Bode’s resignation with “great regret and respect.”
Pope Francis on March 25 made permanent his 2019 experimental law on clergy sex abuse, which was established to hold bishops and religious superiors accountable for abuse that they commit or cover up, and extended the law to now include lay leaders who head international associations recognized by the Vatican.
The norms were first published in a 2019 apostolic letter titled Vos estis lux mundi (“You are the light of the world”), and for the first time in the church’s history, mandated that all priests and members of religious orders worldwide are obligated to report any suspicions of abuse or its cover-up.
Now, after a four-year experimental period and consultation with bishops and Vatican officials, Francis has revised the legislation and made it definitive, effective April 30.
In addition to expanding the law to hold lay leaders of Vatican-approved associations accountable, the updated version…
Pope Francis on Saturday updated a 2019 church law aimed at holding senior churchmen accountable for covering up cases of sex abuse, expanding it to cover lay Catholic leaders and reaffirming that vulnerable adults can also be victims of abuse when they are unable to consent.
Francis reaffirmed and made permanent the temporary provisions of the 2019 law that were passed in a moment of crisis for the Vatican and Catholic hierarchy. That law had been praised at the time for laying out precise mechanisms to investigate complicit bishops and religious superiors, but its implementation has been uneven and the Vatican has been criticized by abuse survivors for continued lack of transparency about the cases.
The new rules conform to other changes in the Catholic Church’s handling of abuse that have been issued since then. Most significantly, they are expanded to cover leaders of Vatican-approved associations headed by lay leaders,…
More than 400 Sexual abuse survivors who sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester under the New York Child Victims Act have reached a settlement with the diocese.
The $75.6 million settlement is the first of its kind in New York state. The payout includes a previously reported $55 million from the diocese and parishes, along with $20.6 million from two of the diocese’s insurers.
BACKGROUND: Diocese of Rochester survivors reach settlement | Following settlement, sex abuse victims at crucial point in journey to justice
The settlement also gives survivors the ability to legally prosecute the diocese’s insurers.
Rochester’s diocese was the first in New York state to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid a flood of lawsuits under the Child Victims Act. The dioceses of Buffalo, Syracuse, Rockville Centre (Long Island) and Albany have followed.
The settlement awaits approval…
Legal Battles to be Fought with Insurance Industry
Today, a settlement was announced in the Diocese of Rochester bankruptcy case on behalf of courageous survivors of child sexual abuse who filed lawsuits under the New York Child Victims Act. The settlement, the first of its kind in a New York Catholic bankruptcy case, consists of two main components: 1) a $55 million payment from the Diocese and parishes; and 2) an additional settlement with two of the diocese’s insurers, LMI and LMI Underwriters, for $20.6 million.
“This is a major step forward for these courageous survivors, but it’s not the end of the fight,” said attorney Steve Boyd.
Additionally, this settlement allows survivors to directly pursue insurance companies who face potentially hundreds of millions in exposure. The ability for the survivors to legally prosecute all insurers of the diocese, specifically Continental National Insurance (CNA), is unprecedented and groundbreaking. This opportunity provides…
With a reorganization plan in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester and abuse survivors seeking compensation for sexual abuse they suffered as children decades ago have entered the final stretch of a nearly four-year slog. The plan was filed today.
The bankruptcy, first filed by the diocese in September 2019, has been the forum the diocese chose to come to terms with more than 400 abuse survivors. It sought court protection as many survivors were filing or planning to file state court claims as a state law opening a temporary window for them to do so took effect.
“Today’s filing represents an important first step towards reaching a settlement for all the survivors,” says James Cali, who chairs the bankruptcy’s official Committee of Creditors, a body appointed by the U.S. Trustee to look out for the rights of abuse survivors in the Chapter 11.
“The Chapter 11…
The report, from the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, is the result of a third-party review dating back to 2019.
The Diocese of Savannah issued a statement Friday, shortly after a report was released detailing suspected child abuse by Roman Catholic clergy in both Savannah and Georgia.
The report, from the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, is the result of a third-party review dating back to 2019 of records, files and documents from the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah concerning suspected child abuse.
According to the PAC, the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah and their attorneys fully cooperated in the review and made all documents available.
“We began the review by immediately evaluating whether any of the alleged sexual abuse reports occurred within the applicable criminal statute of limitations,” the PAC wrote. “The review did not uncover ongoing or active allegations of sexual abuse…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 24, 2023
Contact: Jill Parks
Director of Communications
DIOCESE OF SAVANNAH RESPONDS TO RELEASE OF REPORT INVESTIGATING HANDLING OF ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE
Savannah, GA — The Most Reverend Stephen D. Parkes, Bishop of Savannah, released the following statement in response to the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council (PAC) review of files related to the handling of past cases of suspected child abuse by Roman Catholic clergy in Georgia.
The sexual abuse crisis has been a blight on the Church and a source of profound suffering. While the sins of the past cannot be overlooked – and indeed must be acknowledged – I assure you that the Church of today is firmly committed to the safety and protection of children.
My heart aches for those who have been affected by the scandal of abuse in any way, from the victims and their families to those who have had their…
The Polish journalist Tomasz Krzyżak is one of just four people who have examined the archives related to the future St. John Paul II’s handling of abuse cases and published their findings.
Krzyżak and his colleague Piotr Litka have come to strikingly different conclusions from the two other investigators, whose claims have been reported internationally, provoking an acrimonious debate in Poland and concern throughout the Catholic world.
The Polish television reporter Marcin Gutowski and the Dutch journalist Ekke Overbeek have argued that there is sufficient evidence to believe that John Paul II (then Karol Wojtyła) covered up abuse while serving as Archbishop of Kraków from 1964 to 1978.
Krzyżak, who writes for the respected daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita, rejects their contention. In an interview with The Pillar, he discussed what archival material is available to researchers, what he makes of the cases under the media spotlight, and why Gutowski and Overbeek’s theses…
Two independent journalists in France are using podcasts to report the findings of an unprecedented six-months-long investigation into sexual violence committed by rabbis of the country’s Orthodox Jewish community,
Salomé Parent-Rachdi and Lila Berdugo, who released the first podcast this past Wednesday, said they wanted to go beyond individual cases and look at the mechanisms within the community – such as the institutional silence or omertà – that has allowed the abuse to take place.
“It was my father, my God, my rabbi, my guru”
The first podcast, titled “Thou shalt not be silent”, identified three French Orthodox rabbis who have been guilty, in recent years, of sexual violence and spiritual control over Jewish women or those in the process of converting to Judaism.
The investigation is particularly interested in the actions of a former rabbi who served in communities in Aix-en-Provence and Grenoble. A professed feminist and progressive, he…
A plan to force religious leaders to report accounts of sexual abuse to police has stalled in Utah, where a majority of politicians are members of the Mormon faith
It was supposed to be the law that would finally force clergy in Utah to report sexual abuse if a member their congregation admitted it to them.
HB 115 would have put religious leaders in the same bracket as therapists and doctors with a legal requirement to contact the police.
But in Utah, where 89 of 103 state lawmakers are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, the President of the State Senate, Stuart Adams, himself a member of the church, simply refused to bring it to the floor, effectively killing it.
Democrats who sponsored the bill said that it was evidence of the powerful effect of lobbying by the Mormon and Catholic churches.
Rep Angela Romero,…
Pope Francis has demonstrated a different way of being a pope since the day of his election when he bowed down before the crowd in front of St. Peter’s Square and sought their blessings.
His daring insistence to serve justice to the victims of clerical abuse and end the abuse crises in the Church continues. But Church leaders in Asia seem to be non-cooperative to papal efforts because of their inaction.
In a message to the second Latin American congress on the prevention of abuse, the 86-year-old pope last week said that clerical abuse remains a “clear and present danger” that “continues to degrade the Lord’s Gospel in the eyes of all.”
The pope told scholars, pastors and child protection experts in Latin America who had assembled in Paraguay for three days from March 14, to pay special attention to his 2019 apostolic letter Vox Estis Lux Mundi (You are the light…
Detained JMS Church founder faces fresh multiple allegations from female followers
South Korean prosecutors and police raided the compound of a controversial religious sect, the Jesus Morning Star, as part of ongoing investigations into sexual assault allegations against its leader, reports say.
Investigators from Chungnam Provincial Police and the Daejeon District Prosecutors Office searched the JMS training center in Geumsan, about 165 kilometers south of the capital Seoul, and other sites on March 23 to secure evidence to support allegations that he sexually assaulted female followers, Yonhap news agency reported.
The sect’s founder and leader, Jeong Myeong-seok, 77, remains detained and faces charges of sexual assaults on two foreign female followers. Recently, three more female followers filed fresh charges of sexual assault against him.
Prosecutors said that they have stepped up the investigation against Jeong as his detention period is set to expire soon.
Jeong was released in 2018 after serving 10 years in…
Survivors of Roman Catholic clergy sex abuse from Britain and Ireland said on Thursday they finally felt vindicated after “transformative” meetings with Pope Francis and leaders of the Comboni Missionary order.
The survivors were abused as teenagers in the 1960s and 1970s, while studying to be missionary priests at a Comboni seminary in Yorkshire, northern England.
In 2014, the Comboni settled a civil claim brought on by 11 former pupils, but without admitting liability. The order’s leadership questioned the victims’ accounts and refused to meet with them.
That stance has changed, survivors said after a group of them held talks in Rome with top Comboni and English Catholic church figures, and had a 45-minute Vatican audience with the pope.
“We feel that we were not only heard, but believed by the Comboni leadership, something that has brought us a sense of calm. This has been a transformative experience for us,…
Re: Report of Child Sexual Abuse in the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah
In 2019, the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah agreed to permit the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council to conduct a third-party review of any records, files, documents, and reports concerning suspected child abuse in their possession. The Archdiocese of Atlanta, the Diocese of Savannah and their respective attorneys cooperated fully in this file review and made records available as requested. The only time in which files could not be obtained was the two-year period of 2020 and 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic, when church facilities were not accessible. The review and report of Child Sexual Abuse in the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah has been completed.
The file review focused on information regarding allegations of sexual abuse against minors located in the personnel files of diocesan and religious order priests…
- One California diocese in Chapter 11, others considering options
- Dioceses face issues with parishes, insurance, emboldened survivors
Several California Catholic dioceses are considering bankruptcy to deal with their liabilities, facing a years-long reckoning with an avalanche of child sexual abuse lawsuits.
Abuse victims filed hundreds lawsuits after the state of California paused for three years its statute of limitation on claims for child sexual abuse. The pause ended on Dec. 31, 2022.
The Roman Catholic Bishop of Santa Rosa in Northern California filed Chapter 11 on March 13, becoming the only one in the state to take the leap so far. But the Oakland, San Diego, and Sacramento dioceses also have said recently they’re considering bankruptcy due to hundreds of lawsuits. Others within the state, which has 12 regional dioceses, have said they are evaluating their financial options.
The influx of litigation comes as more states contemplate reopening their statutes of…
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee announced Wednesday that a priest has lost the faculty to hear confessions validly, after he published an op-ed supporting a bill that would remove legal protections for the confessional seal.
Archbishop Jerome Listecki announced March 22 that he had “immediately removed the canonical faculties of Father [James] Connell to validly celebrate the Sacrament of Confession and to offer absolution, here in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and thereby also in the Catholic Church around the world.”
Priests are required to have faculties from a diocesan bishop to validly hear confessions and confer sacramental absolution. Listecki’s withdrawal of Connell’s faculties renders the priest unable to hear confession in any cases unless a particular penitent is in immediate danger of death.
Connell, 80, is retired from active ministry in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, after a priestly career which included stints as both a diocesan curial official and a parish pastor.
Bilbao Cathedral in northern Spain held a mass on Friday to recognise and apologise to victims of sexual abuse by the Roman Catholic Church in the diocese, in one of the first services of its kind in Spain.
Spain has been confronting cases of sexual abuse since El Pais newspaper reported in December 2021 more than 1,200 alleged cases of abuse by clergy spanning seven decades.
Josu Lopez Villalba, a priest who was also a victim of abuse, joined other victims at the service on Friday.
“The act was profound and silent. No need for words, the people who were there know why they were there,” Lopez told Reuters.
“We were kids, we didn’t understand. Afterwards you realise. This was necessary for the church and for victims.”
Joseba Imanol Ibarra, another victim, said in other parts of Spain such a mass might not have been held.
“We were lucky this happened…
Today, a panel of the Kansas State Senate will finally hold a hearing on legislation that would remove legal barriers preventing victims of child sexual abuse from seeking criminal and civil justice. We support the efforts of the brave survivors who have worked so hard for this hearing, and we applaud their courage and persistence.
Senate Bill 317 would remove the statute of limitations on criminal charges going forward, as well as allow survivors to file lawsuits for damages until they turn 31 years old. Under current law, children who are victimized by coaches, clergy, family members, and others must file a lawsuit before the age of 21.
Based on over 30 years of experience, we at SNAP believe that changing antiquated, arbitrary, predator-friendly statutes of limitations in both the criminal and civil arenas is the single most effective thing lawmakers can do to help prevent child…
[A 45-minute audio interview with Kenneally and DePalma Hannon, with questions and comments from survivors and other listeners.]
A new book documents decades of abuse and neglect at Catholic orphanages in the last century, centering around St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington. We’re talking with the author about her book and with a survivor of the abuse who is pushing to change Vermont’s laws around abuse allegations.
Our guests are:
Kenneally is visiting bookstores in the region promoting her new book, with events including:
Archbishop Jerome Listecki’s attempt to silence Father James Connell and deprive him of his ministry to hear confessions is a disgrace. Father Connell has been an important voice urging everyone to understand the complex history of confession and the care that must be taken with this powerful sacrament, lest it be used to facilitate sexual abuse. By trying to silence Father Connell, Archbishop Listecki is showing that he is ignorant of the history and careless about the danger.
Father Connell is a church lawyer with deep knowledge and experience with confession. In fact, when a Milwaukee priest, Father Lawrence Murphy, used confession repeatedly to find potential victims and sexually assault them, sometimes during confession, Father Connell was selected to investigate the case. This was the worst case of confessional abuse in Milwaukee, and one of the worst known cases in the history of Catholicism – and Father Connell…
[Via Yahoo News]
A former student has filed a civil lawsuit against a Christian boarding school outside of Humansville. Circle of Hope Girls Ranch now faces six lawsuits in federal court.
The most recent lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court’s Western District of Missouri, states that “instead of providing a safe haven to (former student Sophia Ellis) and others, the (Circle of Hope Girls Ranch) — by the actions of its owners, employees, and/or agents — subjected (Ellis) to physical torture and psychological abuse for three years” starting in 2017. The suit is requesting a trial by jury and an unspecified amount of money.
According to the court document, Ellis was brought by her father via plane to the religious boarding facility, where she, among other things, saw other children being restrained and forced into a push-up position for extended periods of time, had her belongings taken and…
Photo caption: Paul Neyer and his wife, Liesl, stand inside their home Feb. 12. Paul Neyer decided to come forward with abuse allegations against the Rev. Geoff Drew almost 30 years after he was abused. Albert Cesare / The Enquirer
Paul Neyer swiped the screen on his phone and watched the images race by.
Friends mugged for the camera. Kids posed with pets. The usual Facebook stuff. It was the end of a long week in 2017 and Paul welcomed the distraction. He just wanted to relax on the couch in his family room without thinking too much.
But after a few minutes, he stopped scrolling. His eyes fixed on a photo someone had posted of a Catholic priest baptizing a baby.
Paul’s hands shook and his heart quickened. Still clutching the phone, he jumped to his feet and rushed out the front door to the porch. He felt as…
During his first assignment as a pastor in 2005, the Rev. Geoff Drew quickly developed a reputation among the boys at St. Rita’s Catholic school in Dayton.
Drew liked to touch them, one of the boys told prosecutors years later. He rubbed their shoulders. He put his hands on their faces. He whispered in their ears.
The behavior went on for so long and happened so often, according to court records, that more than 40 boys at St. Rita wrote a letter asking school officials to instruct Drew to “stop touching them.”
Drew didn’t stop.
Instead, the letter from the boys at St. Rita became another example of what prosecutors and some parents would later describe as Drew’s grooming behavior, the work of a sexual predator seeking out children to abuse.
It’s also another example of Drew avoiding consequences for his behavior, which went on for decades, until his
Four lawsuits filed Tuesday claim mental and physical abuse in a former children’s home run by the Catholic Diocese, three of which also claim sexual abuse.
Parmadale Family Services was a group home for “unruly” children open from 1925 to 2014.
The four women filing the lawsuits resided at Parmadale throughout its time, some from the early 1960′s and some as late as the 2000′s.
Three of the victims reported sexual assault while at the children’s home, including:
- Being forced to have sexual interactions with other children while employees watched
- Being sexually assaulted by a priest named “Father Leahy” while other men he invited watched
- Being sexually assaulted by a “Mr. P” among other staff
One of the lawsuits notes that she was even sexually assaulted on her birthday.
All four women reported mental and physical abuse, including:
- Being punched in the face or stomach
- Getting their hair pulled
- Being verbally and physically reprimanded…
The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland is among the plaintiffs in four lawsuits filed by women who say they were abused as children at the former Parmadale Family Services.
Known as Parmadale Children’s Village when it opened in 1925, the sprawling campus along State Road in Parma was for many years an orphanage run by Catholic Charities.
Parmadale eventually closed in 2014 and later fell to the wrecking ball, but many of the dark secrets about the treatment of children at Parmadale over the decades are just now being brought to light.
According to the new lawsuits, the women say they were subjected to systematic abuse by staff members at Parmadale and members of the Catholic clergy assigned to the orphanage.
“It made me sick to my stomach, truthfully. It made me appreciate that I had a mother to come home to every day,” said Attorney Bruce Taubman.
For more than a year, the News 5 Investigators have been telling you about women breaking their silence concerning child abuse at the Parmadale Home for Children in Parma. The reports are centered on physically abusive nuns in the 1950s, ‘60s, and ’70s, but those stories are now sparking a whole new chapter in this investigation.
Women who were at Parmadale in the late 1990s and early 2000s are coming forward with their own stories and they’re armed now with lawyers.
Today, four women filed lawsuits against the Catholic Church saying the abuse they survived as children was “extreme and outrageous” and they were “subjected to continual physical, mental and sexual abuse by numerous employees of Parmadale.”
We want to warn you, what you are about to read may be difficult for some to experience.
LAWSUIT: KAREN BROWN’S STORY
“Never did I expect me walking into Parmadale was…
Lawsuits filed today, defendants respond to allegations
During our News 5 Investigation “Breaking Their Silence,” our reports focused on nuns physically abusing kids at the Parmadale home for children in Parma decades ago. Now, we have some of the most explosive allegations yet and they go beyond the brutal beatings.
New lawsuits filed today in Cuyahoga County Court claim multiple children were not only physically assaulted but sexually abused during their stay at Parmadale.
Tammie Mayle’s lawsuit names several entities like the Cleveland Catholic Diocese and the Sisters of Charity as defendants. She told us she was only 7 years old and a ward of the state when she went into Parmadale.
We want to warn you. What you’re about to read may be difficult for some to experience.
“What was it like living with this for decades?” we asked Mayle.
“It’s hard to trust people,” she replied with tears streaming…
[Includes excerpts of video interviews with Christine Kenneally and two orphanage survivors.]
A new book has been released detailing the alleged child abuse that happened at Burlington’s St. Joseph’s Orphanage for over 100 years.
Author Christine Kenneally wrote an article for Buzzfeed in 2018 detailing countless accounts of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of children, and even allegations of murder at the St. Joseph’s Orphanage.
That article was viewed more than 6 million times in six months.
Kenneally said there was a lot more to unpack, which she did in her new book “Ghosts of the Orphanage: A Story of Mysterious Deaths, a Conspiracy of Silence, and a Search for Justice.”
“I really wanted to put St. Joseph’s Orphanage in context of this whole system,” Kenneally said.
She did so by sharing the stories of what people in the system, like Walter Coltey, suffered through.
A journalist and survivors reckon with a brutal reality.
Excerpt from Ghosts of the Orphanage
It was a freezing day in January 2016 when I passed through a long-locked door and first set foot into what had once been St. Joseph’s Orphanage. The beautiful, spooky old hulk of a building was dark and frigid, and as I walked through the hallways, the sound of my feet against the worn wood floors was amplified in the long corridors.
In the cold winter light, the basement dining room, once an optimistic yellow, had an uneasy green tinge. Here and there the paint blistered. I tried to picture all the children sitting here at their little tables, eating their food and keeping their heads down, dreading the consequences if they got sick.
I walked up the stairs, above the lattice-panel doorway that led to the confessional, past the polished wood posts, past exposed brick and moldering mortar. A dark corridor ran the…
Clergy abuse survivors and advocates to hold press conference in support of Father James Connell
WHERE: Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, 812 N Jackson St, Milwaukee, WI
WHEN: Friday, March 24th, 11:00am
WHO: Clergy abuse survivors and advocates
WHAT: A press conference with clergy abuse survivors and advocates holding signs in support of Father James Connell
WHY: On March 22nd, Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki, in an unprecedented act of retaliation, “removed the canonical faculties of Father James Connell to validly celebrate the Sacrament of Confession and to offer absolution,” as punishment for his relentless advocacy on behalf of survivors of rape and sexual violence at the hands of Catholic clergy.
Since 2010, when Father Connell, a canon lawyer, pastor, and former vice chancellor of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, co-founded the Survivors and Clergy Leadership Alliance, he has met and prayed with…
Sadly, I have learned that Father James Connell, a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee who is now retired from active ministry, has continued to disseminate false information about the sacramental seal of confession. He has publicly advocated for the removal of the legal protection of the confessional seal, suggesting there are situations where it is permissible to violate it.
Such assertions are gravely contrary to the definitive teachings of the Catholic Church about this sacrament. The Catholic Church firmly declares that the sacramental seal of confession is always, and in every circumstance without exception, completely inviolable. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee fully assents to this fundamental tenet of the Catholic faith.
The false assertions of Father James Connell have caused understandable and widespread unrest among the People of God, causing them to question if the privacy of the confessional can now be violated, by him or any other Catholic priest.
Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee has stripped one of his priests of the faculty to hear confessions following the clergyman’s public support for civil laws mandating that priests break the seal of confession for sins of sexual abuse.
“I have informed Father James Connell that effective immediately he is to cease all such erroneous communications that distort the teachings of the Church about the confessional seal,” Listeicki wrote in a March 22 statement.
“I have also immediately removed the canonical faculties of Father Connell to validly celebrate the sacrament of confession and to offer absolution, here in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and thereby also in the Catholic Church around the world.”
Connell, a retired priest in the archdiocese and former vice chancellor, made comments March 13 in delawareonline.com advocating for a Delaware state bill that mandates priests break the seal of confession for penitents who confess…
[Note: Author Christine Kenneally is reading at Harvard Book Store in Cambridge MA on Tuesday 3/28/23 at 7:00 pm. See her publisher’s page for other New England dates.]
Even after Spotlight, even after Tuam, this book was a shock. Christine Kenneally’s exposé of the abuse and torture of children in 20th-century orphanages fits neatly alongside those earlier stories of religious institutional child abuse. And yet, readers might find themselves emotionally unprepared.
Kenneally’s book, “Ghosts of the Orphanage,” focuses primarily on St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington, Vt., though it also touches on Native boarding schools as well as institutions in Canada, Ireland and Australia. Most were run by the Catholic Church. The appalling stories from all of those places are chillingly similar.
Children taken into these institutions were often stripped of their name, birthday and identity; they were known by numbers and sometimes by cruel nicknames. Punishments for even minor…
- Book alleges John Paul II covered up child abuse cases before he became pope
- Ruling PiS party vocally defending late pope’s name
- Some non-PiS supporters say would vote to defend late pope
- Elections expected to be close run
Wadowice, Poland – A controversy over John Paul II’s legacy looks set to spur some undecided voters in Polish elections due by November, political analysts say, as allegations that the late pope concealed child abuse deepen rifts in the predominantly Catholic country.
Claims in a new book and TV documentary that the late pope, born Karol Wojtyla, knowingly hid clerical paedophilia scandals as archbishop of Krakow have led some Poles to demand that his legacy be reassessed.Advertisement · Scroll to continue
This has provoked a furious response from religious conservatives, with politicians from the ruling nationalists Law and Justice (PiS) defending John Paul II in the face of what they say is a left-wing…
Daniel J. Fleming, James F. Keenan, SJ, and Hans Zollner, SJ along with a substantial team from Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church and the Institute of Anthropology at the Gregorian University (formerly the Centre for Child Protection), have assembled this collection of essays on one of the most critical issues facing Catholicism.
This book seeks answers to questions such as: “to what extent have we been blind to these issues? Why have our efforts in theology and theological ethics been so slow to wrestle with this crisis? How are theology and theological ethics implicated in the crisis? And how might the disciplines be constructive in responding?”
From the Introduction
In the Spring of 2019, James Keenan was a visiting professor at his alma mater, the Gregorian University in Rome. After several meetings with his friend and fellow Jesuit Hans Zollner and his colleagues at the then Centre…
Publishing the names of credibly accused child sex abusers, as Canada’s Jesuit Fathers did March 12, is one small step toward creating a better Church, but it’s not enough for abuse survivor John Swales.
For Swales, who was sexually exploited by Fr. Barry Glendinning between 1969 and 1974 in London, Ont., transparency about past sexual abuse is a good first step. But transparency must be accompanied by accountability, Swales told The Catholic Register.
“The question that needs to be answered is, ‘Why? Why are we here? What are we going to do about it?’ Accountability really reigns high,” he said. “If the question is, ‘Would that build a better Church?’ Absolutely.”
Swales won’t get an argument from Canada’s most recognized expert on clerical sexual abuse, Sr. Nuala Kenny.
“Transparency and accountability are key in atonement and developing a culture of safeguarding,” she said in an e-mail. “We are slowly learning how…
Kansas owes its kids.
It owes them protection. It owes them a better future. For those who have been wronged through sexual abuse, it owes them justice.
With a hearing Thursday, the Kansas Legislature has finally — after years of delay — inched toward recognizing that fact. At 10:30 a.m., the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Senate Bill 317, which eliminates the statute of limitations for criminal prosecutions of child sexual abuse. It also extends the deadline for pursuing civil action by 10 years, among other changes to state law.
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon formally announcing the hearing, Sen. Cindy Holscher, D-Overland Park, detailed the bill and a bit of the process.
“We are very excited to get to this point, to have a bill hearing and work to move this bill forward,” she told reporters. “Getting…
The Catholic Church has overseen the world’s longest-lasting and most widespread campaign of institutional sexual abuse. Why is it that after sixteen centuries of documented evidence and decades of continuous international public exposure, new revelations of the scope and magnitude of the crisis continue to shock the public?
Manufacturing the Clerical Predator goes beyond the usual clichéd and tediously-repeated popular explanations offered for the abuse crisis by exploring the personal narrative and theoretical accounts of three Wisconsin former seminarians and priests detailing the transmission of the culture of clerical abuse across three generations. It supplies a fresh, unique, and urgently-needed approach to the question that has yet to be answered about sexual abuse and cover-up in the Church: Why?
Manufacturing the Clerical Predator is now available on YouTube! Click here to see the film.
German prosecutors looking into historical cases of sexual abuse by clergy in the Munich archdiocese said Tuesday that they initially investigated the late Pope Benedict XVI on suspicion of being an accessory to abuse, but later dropped the probe.
Munich prosecutors examined 45 cases of possible wrongdoing by church officials that arose from a report into how the archdiocese handled abuse cases between 1945 and 2019.
The then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was archbishop there from 1977-1982, and the report by a law firm commissioned by the archdiocese and released in January 2022 faulted his handling of four cases during that time. Benedict, who died in December nearly 10 years after his retirement as pope, asked forgiveness for any “grievous faults” in his handling of abuse cases, but denied any personal or specific wrongdoing.
Prosecutors said that that “three (at the time) living church personnel managers” were listed as suspects for a time during their…
An Australian jury retired on Wednesday to consider their verdicts following the six-week trial of a former principal of a Melbourne ultra-Orthodox Jewish girls school accused of molesting three sisters.
Malka Leifer, 56, has pleaded not guilty in the Victoria state County Court to 27 sexual offenses that were allegedly committed at the Adass Israel School, where she was head of religion and later principal, and at her Melbourne home and at school camps in the rural Victorian towns of Blampied and Rawson between 2003 and 2007.
Prosecutor Justin Lewis had asked the 12 jurors to consider that Leifer, a Tel Aviv-born mother of eight, showed sexual interest in the girls when they were teenage students at the school and later when they became student teachers there. He alleged that Leifer engaged in sexual activities with them and took advantage of their vulnerability and ignorance in sexual matters, and her position…
Exclusive: Strategy used to deny compensation is a ‘stark example’ of Catholic clergy prioritising the advice of lawyers over moral leadership
How the church is blocking survivor compensation claims – Full Story podcast
In the small workshop behind his home in the Victorian country town of Broadford, Craig Waters was huddled on the floor, rocking back and forth. He’d been back there for hours, crying and alone, trapped anew in childhood nightmares.
Waters was trying to process what the Catholic church had just told him: it was threatening to thwart his attempt to receive justice for the horrors he says he experienced as an eight-year-old boy at St Brendan’s Catholic primary school in western Sydney.
There, a Catholic nun he dubs “the witch” would take him away from his friends at lunchtime, lead him to a small dark room off the main assembly hall and shut the door.
Every week since the beginning of the legislative session in January, survivors of childhood sexual abuse have staffed a table near the main public entrance to the Statehouse.
Every week, they have met with senators and representatives, working toward a compromise on legislation that would remove barriers for other survivors who seek justice through criminal charges and civil litigation.
Every week goes by without a hearing on the bill.
They are frustrated.
This week, on Thursday, a Senate panel finally plans to hold a hearing on legislation that remains a work in progress. Senate Bill 317 would establish a legal climate in Kansas where there is no statute of limitations on criminal charges, and where survivors could seek damages through civil cases until they turn 31 years old. Under current law, children who are victimized by coaches, priests, family members and others must file a lawsuit before the…
Parishioners twice went to church officials with concerns about about a South Carolina priest’s behavior years before before he allegedly groomed and sexually assaulted an 11-year-old boy, including on overnight visits at his home and on a trip to Panama City, Florida, according to federal prosecutors.
Father Jaime Adolfo Gonzalez-Farias, 68, allegedly plied his victim with gifts. He gave him a tablet and a phone, and sent the boy intimate messages, calling him Cricket and himself Mr. Wildfire, according to prosecutors. He also warned the child that something bad would happen if he told his parents about their relationship.
The allegations were made against Gonzalez-Farias, formerly a priest at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston, at a detention hearing in the federal courthouse in Columbia on Friday. It was the first time those details emerged since the indictment was unsealed following Gonzalez-Farias’s arrest on Nov. 29, 2022.
Three women filed lawsuits Tuesday that allege they were sexually and physically abused at a now-shuttered children’s group home that had been run by the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland.
One of the woman who was at the Parmadale Children’s Village in the 1970s said in her lawsuit that the priest at the time, whom the document referred to as “Father Leahy,” sexually abused her at his cottage on the property while men he invited there watched.
The abuse described in the lawsuits spanned from 1961 to 2002.
The suits, including one filed by a fourth woman who said she was physically and mentally abused, named Parmadale Family Services; the diocese; its bishop, the Rev. Edward Malesic; Catholic Charities Corp.; and Sisters of Charity St. Augustine as defendants.
It also accused Cuyahoga County and the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services of failing to…
Less than three months after the Archdiocese of Santa Fe reached an agreement in its yearslong Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, Archbishop John Wester has published an open letter to sexual abuse claimants saying that he is “ashamed” of what happened to them.
“With this open letter, I wish to express my profound regret and sorrow over the tragic and inexcusable harm done to you by clergy sexual abuse,” Wester said. “As Archbishop of Santa Fe, I apologize to each of you and to all those who have been harmed by sexual abuse perpetrated by Roman Catholic Clergy in this archdiocese.”
Wester added that the archdiocese “takes full responsibility for the abuse.”
“I am ashamed of what happened to you and even more so that it happened within the auspices of the Catholic Church,” the archbishop said. “There are no words that can convey how sorry I am and how committed…
Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra admitted to asking Vatican national police to spy on the director of the Vatican’s primary bank.
The sostituto of the Secretariat of State, Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, appeared as a witness before a Vatican City court on Friday, telling judges that he had ordered unsanctioned electronic spying on the phone of the director general of the IOR, the Vatican bank which had rejected a loan application from Peña Parra’s office.
Admitting that he ordered electronic “monitoring” of IOR director Gianfranco Mammì, both in Vatican City and in Italy without a court order, raises questions about the operation of the rule of law at the highest levels of the curia, and accountability among Vatican law enforcement personnel.
When Archbishop Peña Parra took the witness stand March 17, he confirmed prior testimony from former officials at the Secretariat of State, who said that Peña Parra had ordered an…