ABUSE TRACKER

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

January 13, 2022

Verdict in Kerala nun rape case on Friday, key witness says it will be ‘victory over devil’

KOTTAYAM (INDIA)
India Today [Uttar Pradesh, India]

January 13, 2022

By Rickson Oommen Thiruvananthapuram

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Franco Mulakkal was the first Indian Catholic bishop to be arrested in a case of sexual abuse against a nun in Kerala.

Ahead of Kerala special court’s verdict in the nun rape case, Sister Lucy, who was dismissed from her congregation for criticising Bishop Franco Mulakkal, said the judgment would be “victory over devil”. Mulakkal is an accused in the Kerala nun rape case. The special court is likely to deliver its verdict on Friday.

“Tomorrow’s sexual harassment case verdict would be a victory over devil,” Sister Lucy said.

Sister Lucy criticised the police and government saying that they did not “try enough” to ensure justice to all the nuns allegedly assaulted by Franco Mulakkal. She said she was targeted for speaking up against the bishop in the wake of sexual assault allegations.

“After I took a stand there was continuous torture. They have expelled me from…

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Kin of dead sex abuse victim sue under new California law

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Associated Press [New York NY]

January 11, 2022

By Brian Melley

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After decades of dealing with the boyhood trauma of being molested by a priest, Jim Bartko sued the Roman Catholic church two years ago.

But the lawsuit was dismissed when he died four days after speaking publicly about it.

A new law has now revived his case, allowing his estate to file for damages he could have sought for his suffering if he were still alive.

Lawyers for Bartko’s children filed the lawsuit last week in Alameda County Superior Court against the Oakland Diocese for allegedly failing to prevent abuse by the former Rev. Stephen Kiesle that occurred between 1972 and 1975 at St. Joseph’s Parish in Pinole, 18 miles (29 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco.

“They used to call him ‘the pied piper’ because everywhere he went, the kids followed him around,” attorney Rick Simons said Tuesday of Kiesle. “He once said, ‘There wasn’t a single one I didn’t…

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Bishops of Portugal establish independent commission on abuse

LISBON (PORTUGAL)
Vatican News - Holy See [Vatican City]

January 12, 2022

By Lisa Zengarini

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The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Portugal (CEP) establishes a new independent Commission to shed light on sexual abuse in the Church, launching an investigation that will give voice to the victims covering a period of over 70 years.

A new independent commission has been established by the Portuguese Bishops’ Conference (CEP) to investigate into sexual abuse in the Portuguese Church by giving voice to the victims.

Giving voice to silence

The creation of the Commission, operating under the slogan “Giving voice to silence” (“Dar Voz ao Silêncio”), was announced during the last bishops’ Plenary Assembly in November, and comes on the heel of the release of the CIASE Report on sexual abuse in the Church in France.

It will be funded by the CEP, although it will open to contributions from other partners in civil society. The team is composed of experts from different backgrounds and coordinated by…

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Children of Catholic Sexual Abuse Victim Allowed to Sue California Diocese After His Death

OAKLAND (CA)
Newsweek [New York NY]

January 12, 2022

By Heather Bair

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Jim Bartko’s children last week filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Oakland on behalf of their late father, thanks to a new California law.

An administrator in the University of Oregon’s athletic department, Bartko sued Rev. Stephen Kiesle, 74, for alleged sexual assault that occurred between 1972 and 1975 at St. Joseph’s Parish in Pinole, a city northeast of San Francisco.

Four days after announcing his lawsuit at a news conference, Bartko collapsed and died while working out in Oregon in March of 2020. His cause of death was a hemorrhage due to cirrhosis, a result of excessive drinking due to more than four decades of keeping the alleged abuse secret.

The lawsuit was dismissed after Bartko’s death, but the new law has revived his case and his estate is allowed to file for damages he would have sought if he were alive. The lawyer for his adult son…

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Springfield Diocese names members of Implementation and Oversight Committee

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
iObserve (Diocese of Springfield MA]

January 12, 2022

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Springfield Bishop William D. Byrne has announced the creation of a nine-person committee to oversee the implementation of the recommendations of the Independent Task Force on the Response to Sexual Abuse within the Diocese of Springfield.  The Task Force’s strategic plan was shared with the public last September (http://diospringfield.org/12026-2/).

The committee members are Peter Caffrey, Henry East-Trou, Kristina Drzal Houghton, Jackie Humphreys, Ronald Johnson, Andrew Rome, James Ross, Jose Tosado, and Irene Woods. Caffrey is a survivor of clergy sexual abuse.

Jeffrey Trant, director of the diocesan Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance, will serve as senior staff to the committee.

“The Implementation and Oversight Committee is an important next step in turning the strategic plan that was developed with input from survivors, clergy and the broader community from words into concrete and meaningful actions,” said Trant. “The committee will set priorities, measure outcome, and serve as a…

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Oversight panel to carry out church sex abuse reforms in Springfield Diocese

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Daily Hampshire Gazette [Hampshire MA]

January 12, 2022

By Dusty Christensen

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The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield has named a nine-member committee tasked with overseeing reforms to how the church addresses sexual abuse.

On Wednesday, Springfield Bishop William Byrne announced that the new Implementation and Oversight Committee will lead the implementation of recommendations put forward by an independent task force that assessed the diocese’s response to sexual abuse.

Last September, the task force recommended changes to the process of responding to allegations of sexual abuse. Among its findings were that law enforcement should first investigate such accusations, not solely the diocese. The task force also nominated the slate of candidates who will now become members of the oversight committee.

In a statement, Byrne said that he was grateful to the diverse group who have accepted the invitation to serve on the committee. He said that work will ensure “that the diocese will improve its response to allegations of abuse within our…

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January 12, 2022

J.C. AND OTHERS V. BELGIUM: THE DELICATE BALANCE OF STATE IMMUNITY AND HUMAN DIGNITY

STRASBOURG (FRANCE)
Strasbourg Observers [Ghent, Belgium]

January 12, 2022

By Ash Stanley-Ryan

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International law walks a tightrope between the rights of sovereign States and the rights of those who comprise them. Tip too far to either side and the system breaks – sovereignty either becomes unbridled power, or becomes meaningless. This delicate balancing is most evident when sovereign power and human rights directly collide, as was the case in J.C. and Others v. BelgiumThe European Court of Human Rights (‘ECtHR’ or ‘the Court’) was asked to determine whether a grant of state(like) immunity for the Holy See could constitute a violation of Article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights, which enshrines the right to a fair trial, as state immunity had effectively limited the right of access to a court for victims of sexual abuse by members of the Catholic Church in Belgium. Although the outcome – the ECtHR finding no violation – is predictable and follows…

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The Philippines Is Raising the Age of Consent. That May Not Be Enough to Protect Its Children

MANILA (PHILIPPINES)
Time [New York, NY]

January 7, 2022

By Chad De Guzman

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In September 2020, the Supreme Court of the Philippines acquitted a man of child sexual abuse charges after he impregnated a 12-year-old girl.

The incident took place in 2012, when the man was 27. He was sentenced to more than 14 years in jail by a lower court in 2016, but appealed. The defendant argued that the sexual relationship was consensual, since the girl bore him not just one but two children before he was sentenced.

The country’s top justices ruled in his favor, saying that the court was “not prepared to punish two individuals and deprive their children from having a normal family life simply because” the girl was a minor at the time. The court also ruled that the benefits of living in a nuclear family outweighed “any perceived dangers” from the relationship.

The persistence of such attitudes at the highest levels of the Philippine establishment is the result…

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Philippines anti-child marriage law passed, age of consent law next

MANILA (PHILIPPINES)
Intellasia [Perth, AU]

January 10, 2022

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The landmark passage of a law banning child marriage in the Philippines enacted on Thursday hopes to turn the cultural tides on whether marriage, relationships, and sex with those under the age of 18 is a cultural practice or statutory rape. While the law is viewed as a huge win, the fight still continues to raise the age of consent in the country from 12 to 16, and push the government for stricter enforcement while revising the cultural ethos in a country rife with gender inequality and long-standing practice of adult men dating or marrying young girls.

The age of consent for a child in the Philippines has been 12 for the past 90 years, one of the youngest in the world and the youngest in all of Asia. This has led to 1 and 6 girls in the Philippines marrying before the age of 18 and one child in…

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Is the Catholic Church Beginning to Address Abuse of Adults?

SHOREWOOD (WI)
Awake Milwaukee [Milwaukee WI]

January 4, 2022

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As we’ve noted on this blog many times, the problem of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is not limited to the abuse of children. Adults can be victimized as well, a reality that the Catholic community has been slow to recognize. 

The case of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick illustrates this problem: The Vatican’s own investigation showed that Church officials knew about McCarrick’s abuse of young adult seminarians but largely ignored it for decades; they failed to take definitive action against McCarrick until they received a formal report in 2017 that he had abused a minor. 

But recent developments suggest that the abuse of adults is receiving more attention within the Church. 

CHANGES TO CANON LAW

In June 2021, Pope Francis released revisions to Book VI of the Code of Canon Law, which spells out the Church’s penal sanctions. The revisions specifically address cases…

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‘Spotlight’ On Clergy Sex Abuse 20 Years Later Shows Why Journalism Matters

NEW YORK (NY)
Religion Unplugged [New York, NY]

January 11, 2022

By Clemente Lisi

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The date Jan. 6 means different things to people. For me, as a Catholic, it is the Feast of the Epiphany. It marks the date on the liturgical calendar when the Magi, according to the Bible, brought gifts to the baby Jesus.

This year, the date became a polarizing remembrance of the 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection, riots or whatever else one calls it, depending on their political affiliation. For me, this Jan. 6 marked a special anniversary — the 20th anniversary of the groundbreaking Boston Globe “Spotlight” team’s investigation into predator priests. The series of articles won the Pulitzer Prize in 2003 in the Public Service category.

I must admit that the anniversary went by without much fanfare. It’s surprising, given that the ramifications from those original series of news articles reverberate within the church, both in the U.S. and globally, and that it was even made into…

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EU plans to fight child sexual abuse online with new law obliging tech firms to report offences

FRANKFURT (GERMANY)
Euronews [Lyon, France]

January 10, 2022

By Tom Bateman

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Social media platforms could be forced to do more to tackle child sexual abuse online, under new European Union plans expected to be announced in the coming months.

The rules would replace current interim legislation that allows the voluntary reporting of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) with a legal obligation to recognise, report and remove it.

“I will propose legislation in the coming months that will require companies to detect, report, and remove child sexual abuse,” EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson told Germany’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday.

“A voluntary report will then no longer be sufficient,” she said.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, would be particularly affected by any change in regulations, Johansson told the paper. The company currently accounts for around 95 per cent of child sexual abuse notifications.

The EU’s current rules on reporting CSAM leave it up to social media platforms…

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EU plans law requiring tech firms to do more to combat child abuse

FRANKFURT (GERMANY)
Reuters [London, England]

January 8, 2022

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The European Union plans to legislate in the coming months to require technology companies to do more to tackle child sexual abuse, beefing up current voluntary arrangements, a top official said in a newspaper interview.

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson told Germany’s Welt am Sonntag that internet service providers and social media firms had reported 22 million offences related to child sexual abuse in 2020, up from 17 million in 2019.

But she said that was only a fraction of the real number.

“I will propose legislation in the coming months that will require companies to detect, report, and remove child sexual abuse,” Johansson was quoted as saying.

“A voluntary report will then no longer be sufficient.”

Under current EU rules, social media networks and mail and messenger services such as Facebook (FB.O) and Google (GOOGL.O) have a choice whether or not to follow up…

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The sex abuse scandal is not over. The hierarchal culture still needs transformation.

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

January 12, 2022

By Tom Roberts

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A 2004 story in The New York Times bore the headline, all in caps: ABUSE SCANDAL HAS BEEN ENDED, TOP BISHOP SAYS.

That top bishop was a young Wilton Gregory who, two years earlier and as head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, had herded the rest of the U.S. hierarchy through the first phase of accountability for the scandal.

The headline was based on a Gregory declaration, made following the release of two studies of the scandal. “The terrible history recorded here today is history,” he said.

That, of course, turned out to be more wish than reality. The finality implied in the statement has yet eluded the bishops, a point made clear by the recent searing assessment by Barbara Thorp, who took on the job of directing the Boston Archdiocese’s response to victims back in 2002, when the ecclesial world there…

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Canadian bishop: Plans for healing, reconciliation campaign finalized soon

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

January 6, 2022

By Michael Swan

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A national framework for a five-year, $30 million (US$23.5 million) fundraising campaign to help with healing and reconciliation of residential school survivors and their communities is coming in the new year, Bishop William McGrattan, vice president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, told The Catholic Register weekly.

Church officials hoped that plans for the campaign, first announced Sept. 27, would be complete by November, but getting the framework in place for a national diocese-by-diocese effort has turned out to be more complicated than first thought.

Bishop McGrattan said he hoped that in January or February, “announcements of details would be able to be shared with the public and with Catholics.”

“We realize that it has taken longer than expected, but it’s important that we do this right and that we make sure that it is both transparent and that it demonstrates accountability,” Bishop McGrattan said.

“We’ve drawn upon the expertise of people in terms of…

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SNAP disputes assessment of Dallas charter at its 20th anniversary

CHICAGO (IL)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

January 11, 2022

By Mark Pattison

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An essay by Kathleen McChesney on the impact of the U.S. bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People drew a sharp rebuke by the executive director of the Survivor’s Network of Those Abused by Priests.

Zach Hiner, the group’s director, said the steps outlined in the charter “needed to be taken,” but he likened McChesney’s essay to “patting oneself for winning the marathon when you’re only a mile in.”

Hiner, in a Jan. 10 phone interview with Catholic News Service, said “delayed disclosure” of abuse is “a fact.” He noted that “most people in the United States do not come forward until their 50s,” so anyone abused in the past 20 years “would not likely be coming forward until 2030, 2040.”

The essay by McChesney, the first person to head the U.S. bishops’ Office for Child and Youth Protection, was published Jan. 5 by America Media, one day before the 20th anniversary of the first in a…

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Woman uses new Colorado law to sue over alleged sex assault in 1977

DENVER (CO)
The Denver Post

January 7, 2022

By Shelly Bradbury

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Lawsuit filed under state’s new Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act, which took effect Jan. 1

A Colorado woman on New Year’s Day sued a former schoolteacher and alleged he raped her when she was a teenager in the 1970s in what appears to be the first lawsuit filed under a new state law that opens up past sexual assaults of minors to civil liability.

Kate McPhee, 60, contends in the lawsuit that she was repeatedly raped by a then-teacher at Colorado Academy during the summer of 1977. McPhee was 15 and 16 at the time of the alleged assaults, according to the lawsuit.

She alleged in the lawsuit that the teacher, who was around the age of 30 at the time, raped her on the campus of Colorado Academy in Denver, then continued a series of assaults during three weeks of a river trip to the Grand Canyon that summer.

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Former priest admits to sex crimes, withdraws pleas after judge rejects sentencing agreement

(MI)
The Oakland Press [Troy MI]

January 11, 2022

By Aileen Wingblad

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After hearing emotional victim impact statements and then explicitly admitting in court that he sexually abused young boys several decades ago, a former Catholic priest withdrew his pleas of guilty and no contest Tuesday because an Oakland County judge rejected a light sentencing agreement offered by the Michigan’s Attorney General’s Office.

At his sentencing hearing in Oakland County Circuit Court, 80-year-old Gary Berthiaume exercised his right to pull back pleas of guilty to two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and no contest to one count of gross indecency stemming from allegations made when he was a priest at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Farmington in the 1970s. A “Killebrew Agreement” with the prosecutor’s office called for one year and one day in prison In exchange for his pleas made last November. But O’Brien rejected the agreement and sentenced Berthiaume to 20 months to 15 years, ruling that…

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January 11, 2022

Photo by: Cleveland State University Library Special Collection Sister Myra Wasikowski

‘I was scared’ — Women say they were beaten, mistreated by nuns at Parma children’s home in 1960s

CLEVELAND (OH)
WEWS-TV, ABC - 5 (News5Cleveland.com)[Cleveland OH]

January 11, 2022

By Jonathan Walsh

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[In this News 5 Investigators’ exclusive story, we want to warn you. What you’re about to read could be difficult for some.]

Photo above: Sister Myra Wasikowski – Cleveland State University Library Special Collection

Local women are breaking their silence about what they say really happened inside a Cleveland area home for children. They claim physical abuse by nuns at the former Parmadale home was well-beyond normal discipline handed out during the 1960s, and it’s all taken a drastic emotional toll.

Parmadale Children’s Village of St. Vincent DePaul in Parma started accepting orphaned children in 1925. In 1964, a 4-year-old Carolyn Foland, now Carolyn Mason, started what she called a living nightmare at the village.

“I was scared. I was scared being in there a lot,” said Mason.

Now in her 60s, she has revisited the former grounds of Parmadale that’s in the process of being demolished, and she’s opening…

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Family of Alleged Priest Abuse Victim Sues Oakland Diocese

OAKLAND (CA)
NBC Bay Area/KNTV, Ch. 11

January 11, 2022

By Bay City News

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The family of a deceased man who said he was repeatedly sexually abused as a child by a Bay Area Roman Catholic priest is suing the Diocese of Oakland under the provisions of a new state law that allows such cases to move forward. 

The family and estate of Jim Bartko, former athletic director at Fresno State University, filed the suit last week in Alameda County Superior Court.

The suit alleges Bartko suffered repeated sexual abuse from 1972 to 1975 at the hands of Stephen Kiesle, then a priest with the Diocese of Oakland and assigned to St. Joseph’s Parish in Pinole.  

It also claims the diocese knew of Kiesle’s “history of sexual conduct with and sexual assaults upon minors” prior to his alleged abuse of Bartko and negligently allowed Kiesle to continue working with children despite that knowledge. 

Kiesle was convicted in 2004 of sexually abusing a child, got…

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Church asks court to determine abuse victim’s sexuality and if relationship with priest “pleased” him

BIELSKO-BIALA (POLAND)
Notes from Poland [Kraków, Poland]

January 11, 2022

By Daniel Tilles

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A Catholic curia in Poland has asked for a court to determine the sexuality of the victim of a priest and whether he took “pleasure in the intimate relationship”. The victim says he was 12 years old when the abuse began.

Last year, Janusz Szymik – pictured above as a child – launched a civil case against Bielsko-Żywiec diocese. He is seeking three million zloty (€660,000) compensation from the curia, which he argues is responsible for abuse he suffered at the hands of a priest – who can be named only as Jan W. under Polish privacy law – in the 1980s

A church court had previously found Jan W. guilty of sexual offences against Szymik when the latter was a child. In 2017, he was given a five-year ban on conducting priestly ministry and hearing confession, and was ordered to live in isolation.

News website Onet has now published…

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Victorian Catholic diocese found vicariously liable for child sexual abuse in landmark ruling

(AUSTRALIA)
The Guardian [London, England]

January 4, 2022

By Christopher Knaus

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Church’s argument that it was not responsible for the abuse was rejected and described as ‘affront to common sense’

The Catholic church’s failed attempt to argue it was not responsible for a priest’s abuse of a five-year-old, because it took place during after-hours “social” visits, has been slammed as “ruthless” by the survivor and an “affront to common sense” by a judge.

Last month the Victorian supreme court handed down a judgment finding the current diocese of Ballarat was vicariously liable for the abuse of the boy, who cannot be named, by Father Bryan Coffey in Port Fairy in the early 1970s.

The survivor’s lawyers, Ken Cush & Associates, say the ruling is a landmark win that will help countless others.

Coffey abused the boy during pastoral care visits to his home on two occasions in 1971.

The critical issue in the case was whether Coffey, an assistant parish priest, could…

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20 years after Spotlight investigation of the Catholic sex abuse crisis, is the church a safer place?

WASHINGTON (DC)
America [New York NY]

January 5, 2022

By Kathleen McChesney

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The events of Jan. 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol caused shock and dismay for most Americans, many of whom feared that our political system was much weaker than we had thought. On the same date nearly two decades earlier, we witnessed a similar crisis of confidence in the Catholic Church as a protector of all children.

On Jan. 6, 2002, on the Feast of the Epiphany, The Boston Globe published the first in a series of reports from its Spotlight investigative team, headlined “Church allowed abuse by priest for years.” While the findings were not a surprise to abuse survivors, the revelations that a previously unknown number of priests in the Boston area had sexually abused minors for decades devastated Catholics in Boston and, ultimately, the faithful around the world. The Globe had learned that instead of removing many of these offenders from the priesthood, church leaders had transferred…

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Trial in nun rape case over, verdict likely on January 14

KOTTAYAM (INDIA)
New Indian Express [Chennai, India]

January 11, 2022

By Express News Service

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The additional district and sessions court in Kottayam on Monday completed the trial in the rape case filed by a nun against former bishop of Jalandhar diocese Franco Mulakkal. The court is likely to pronounce the judgment at its next hearing on January 14.

As per the prosecution, Franco raped the nun on several occasions at the St Francis Convent at Nadukunnu in Kuravilangad, and forced her to perform unnatural sex. The 2,000-page chargesheet in three volumes was submitted on April 4. The trial began in November 2019, but got delayed owing to various reasons ncluding the lockdown. 

At the same time, the trial was done in-camera and the media was prevented from reporting the details of the trial as per the request of Franco’s counsel. Of the 83 witnesses listed by the prosecution, 39 were examined during the trial. They included Major Archbishop Cardinal George Alencherry, Bhagalpur Bishop Kurian Valiyakandathil,…

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Verdict in Indian bishop’s rape trial likely on Jan. 14

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

January 11, 2022

By UCA News reporter, Kochi

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The trial in the rape case involving Bishop Franco Mulakkal has concluded and the special court in Kottayam in the southern Indian state of Kerala is set to deliver its verdict on Jan. 14.

Bishop Mulakkal was accused by a nun of sexually abusing her between 2014 and 2016 in a complaint registered with Kerala police in June 2018. Police filed a 2,000-page charge sheet against him in April 2019.

Additional District and Sessions Judge G. Gopakumar on Jan. 10 completed the trial procedure including recording the statements of the victim, accused, witnesses from both sides and the final legal arguments.

The prelate stands accused of raping a former superior general of Missionaries of Jesus, a diocesan congregation under the patronage of the accused as the then bishop of Jalandhar Diocese in the northern state of Punjab.

The nun in her complaint had accused the bishop of raping…

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CDF secretary’s departure beginning of dicastery shakeup

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

January 10, 2022

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Pope Francis reassigned the second ranking official at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Monday, the first in an expected series of moves that would overhaul the leadership of the Church’s doctrinal office. 

The Holy See announced Jan. 10 that Archbishop Giacomo Morandi had been appointed by the pope to lead the Italian Diocese of Reggio Emilia-Guastalla, replacing Bishop Massimo Camisasca, who turned 75 in November. 

While the appointment of a relatively unknown Vatican official to a small Italian diocese is unlikely to generate headlines, sources close to Morandi’s old department told The Pillar that it was the first in a series of personnel moves which have been expected since the end of last year.

“Ever since he went to see the pope in December, it has been understood [in the office] that he is leaving,” one senior Vatican source close to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the…

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Top official leaves Vatican doctrine office

(ITALY)
Crux [Denver CO]

January 10, 2022

By Elise Ann Allen

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In yet another shakeup of a department in the Roman Curia, the Vatican announced Monday that a high-ranking official in the Holy See’s doctrinal congregation is on his way out and will now lead an Italian diocese.

In a Jan. 10 Vatican statement, it was announced that Archbishop Giacomo Morandi, until now secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), is leaving his Vatican post and will take over as the new leader of the Italian Diocese of Reggio Emilia-Guastalla.

Morandi, 56, who was named secretary of the CDF in 2017, will replace outgoing Reggio Emilia Bishop Massimo Camisasca, who is 75, the mandated retirement age for bishops.

His exit marks the latest shakeup in the Roman Curia in recent months.

Throughout the spring and summer last year, Pope Francis held apostolic visitations of several curial departments, including the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of…

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Pope moves to reorganize Vatican doctrine office

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

January 10, 2022

By Nicole Winfield

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Pope Francis took the first step Monday to reorganize the Vatican’s powerful doctrine office, removing the No. 2 official widely believed responsible for a controversial document barring blessings for same-sex couples because God “cannot bless sin.”

Francis named Archbishop Giacomo Morandi, currently the secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, bishop of the Italian diocese of Reggio Emilia-Guastalla. The move amounts to a demotion since Morandi currently has the title of archbishop, yet is heading to a small diocese, not an archdiocese.

The Vatican said Morandi would nevertheless retain the title of archbishop “ad personam.”

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, or CDF, is one of the most important Vatican offices, interpreting doctrine for the universal Catholic Church, sanctioning dissenters and handling cases of clergy sexual abuse of minors. Morandi joined the CDF as an under-secretary in 2015 and was promoted to secretary, or the…

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January 10, 2022

The enablers of child abuse in families and the Church

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

January 10, 2022

By Fr. Shay Cullen

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We need to understand that some bishops and senior clergy are enabling child abuse when they allow abusers to continue

After months of trial and deliberation by a jury in New York, wealthy British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has been convicted of crimes related to human trafficking, grooming and enabling the sexual abuse of minors by her wealthy American boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein.

Maxwell, 60, was the recruiter and pimp for Epstein and is facing up to 65 years behind bars. This conviction focuses attention on persons who are enablers. They are the cover-up agents of crimes committed against children. They fail to help, protect and report the sexual abuse of children.

Parents and relatives, even some teachers and social workers, are guilty of crimes of omission and failure in their mandated duty to act to protect sexually or physically abused children.

A school principal in Zambales, Philippines, received a report of child…

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Law firm to publish report on handling of abuse in Munich Archdiocese

WEST MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The Boston Pilot [Boston, MA]

January 4, 2022

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In mid-January, the law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl is scheduled to publish a report into the handling of clerical sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising.

The potentially explosive aspect is that three of the highest-ranking officials are still alive: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — now retired Pope Benedict XVI — and Cardinals Friedrich Wetter and Reinhard Marx, reported the German Catholic news agency KNA.

The investigation followed two years of research and covers the period from 1945 to 2019, centering on who knew what about sexual abuse and when, and what action they took, if any, KNA reported.

Much of the public interest is focused on the retired pope’s 1977-1981 tenure as archbishop of Munich. The case concerns the assignments of a priest accused of a particularly large number of offenses.

In early summer 2021, Cardinal Marx — the current archbishop of Munich — tried to resign from office to take responsibility…

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Priest removed from Fort Wayne church after inappropriate behavior spent time at St. Pius

FORT WAYNE (IN)
South Bend Tribune [South Bend IN]

January 5, 2022

By Marek Mazurek

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A Fort Wayne priest, who was previously at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Granger, has been removed from public ministry after allegations of inappropriate conduct with an adult woman.  

The priest, Fr. Eric Burgener, committed a “serious boundary violation,” while assigned to St. Vincent De Paul Parish in Fort Wayne, according to a release from the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. Burgener has been removed from St. Vincent De Paul and is no longer a hospital chaplain, the diocese announced. 

The diocese was made aware of the allegations against Burgener on Dec. 5, though it is unclear when he was removed from the parish.  

Burgener was ordained in June 2017 and was assigned to St. Pius shortly after, according to a social media post by the church. The post listed Burgener’s role at St. Pius as parochial vicar, or a priest who assists a pastor. It is unclear when Burgener moved to St. Vincent De…

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Leaked church report accuses Pope Benedict of clerical abuse cover-up

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Irish Times [Dublin, Ireland]

January 5, 2022

By Derek Scally

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Pope emeritus denies claims he was aware of abusing priest in Munich and failure to act

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has denied claims he was aware of an abusing priest operating on his watch in Munich and that he failed to act against him – twice.

The 94-year-old former pontiff will be named later this month in a long-awaited report into clerical sexual abuse in the Bavarian archdiocese of Munich and Freising. A key case in the investigation involves an abusing priest who was moved to the southern archdiocese in 1980 when Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict, served there as archbishop.

More than two dozen men are on record as saying they were sexually abused as teenagers by the priest, identified only as Peter H, often after he gave them alcohol and showed them pornography.

Some victims live in the priest’s home diocese of Essen and others in Bavaria, where…

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Priest who abused boys in Boonville dies in prison

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

January 7, 2022

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A former Catholic priest who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing three boys in Boonville in the 1980s died in prison late last year.

Gerald Howard, also known as Carmen Sita, entered his plea in June 2014, and received a sentence of 12 years in prison. He had also pleaded guilty to charges of sexual contact with a minor in New Jersey in 1983, and was at that time sentenced to five years probation and entry in a treatment program, which he completed.

Howard served in the parish in Boonville (within the Diocese of Jefferson City) in 1983 and 1984. Howard was scheduled for release from the Missouri Department of Corrections in May.

The Diocese of Jefferson City list of credibly accused priests may be found at diojeffcity.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Clergy- removed-list-7.2.2020.pdf.

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Brisbane priest charged with sex offences

(AUSTRALIA)
The West Australian [Perth, Australia]

January 10, 2022

By Robyn Muth, Australian Associated Press

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A retired paediatric surgeon and Anglican priest appointed to investigate child abuse within the church has fronted court accused of historic sex offences.

Mervyn Meredith Lander faces two counts of the unlawful and indecent treatment of a boy under the age of 17.

Both offences are alleged to have occurred in Brisbane in 1988, court documents reveal.

Lander, 77, appeared briefly in the Brisbane Arrest Court on Monday.

He was not required to enter a plea and the case was remanded for mention in March.

Lander was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2021.

He and his wife were appointed Members of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to their respective fields of medicine and to the Anglican Church.

Lander is also listed as a long-serving priest at St Paul’s Anglican Church, East Brisbane.

In 1995, Lander was appointed to the Brisbane Diocese committee to establish protocols…

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January 9, 2022

Victims demonstrate, calling for justice for the crimes committed at the Provolo Institute. | Cedoc / Perfil

Catholic Church ordered to pay 14 million pesos to sexual abuse victim

(ARGENTINA)
Buenos Aires Times [Buenos Aires, Argentina]

January 7, 2022

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[Photo above: Victims demonstrate, calling for justice for the crimes committed at the Provolo Institute. | Cedoc / Perfil]

Mendoza judge orders multi-million-peso compensation be paid to an ex-pupil of Antonio Próvolo Institute for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children in Mendoza Province who suffered serious sexual abuse.

In a ruling considered historic, Mendoza Judge María Lilen Sánchez has ordered that multi-million-peso compensation be paid to an ex-pupil of Antonio Próvolo Institute for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children in Mendoza Province who suffered serious sexual abuse.

The Catholic Church will be required to pay 14.4 million pesos in total via its San José charity, which is linked to the institute, the judge ordered.

The ruling comes five years after the start of a trial which ended in convictions for Horacio Corbacho and Nicola Corradi, two priests who were in charge of the children at the centre. In November 2019, they were…

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Delta professor alleges sexual abuse by Prince George Catholic priests

VANCOUVER (CANADA)
Delta Optimist [Ladner, British Columbia, Canada]

January 6, 2022

By Jeremy Hainsworth

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Two dead Prince George Roman Catholic priests are among defendants named in a sexual abuse case filed by a man who asserts the pair began abusing him when he was in kindergarten at a church school.

A Delta professor and actor alleges in a new lawsuit that Roman Catholic priests in Prince George sexually abused him as a child.

Dr. Nicholas Harrison made the allegations in a notice of civil claim filed in the B.C. Supreme Court Vancouver registry on Jan. 4. He claims abuse by Father Francis “Frank” Joseph Rayner and Brother Dennis “Leopold” O’Mahoney occurred from 1973 to 1977, while he was in kindergarten through Grade 4.

“I was only six years old when the sexual abuse began,” Harrison said in a statement to Glacier Media, provided by his lawyer.

At the time, Harrison was an altar boy at Sacred Heart Cathedral and a student at the adjoining elementary school.

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Lawsuit alleging child sexual abuse filed against Archdiocese of Denver

DENVER (CO)
Colorado Newsline [Denver, CO]

January 7, 2022

By Faith Miller

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Man who attended St. Andrew’s Preparatory Seminary High School names former priests in complaint

At least one lawsuit alleging child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy has been filed in Colorado following the passage of a new law last year.

On Monday, Colorado resident Brian Barzee sued the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Denver, alleging exploitation and sexual abuse by a former priest during his time at St. Andrew’s Preparatory Seminary High School in Denver. Barzee’s suit was filed under Senate Bill 21-88, which passed last year and took effect on Jan. 1.

Under the new law, survivors of child sexual abuse for whom the civil statute of limitations has already expired have three years to file state lawsuits against their abusers and the public or private institutions that turned a blind eye to that abuse.

Colorado law previously required survivors to file a lawsuit over child…

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Priest abuse victims group takes aim at Mater Dei over alleged hazing

ORANGE (CA)
Los Angeles Times

January 7, 2022

By Laura J. Nelson, Connor Sheets, and Hannah Fry

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In an effort to bring deeper scrutiny to Mater Dei High School, an advocacy group for survivors of Catholic Church abuse has filed three complaints with government and church officials over allegations of hazing involving the school’s powerhouse football team.

The complaints, filed this week by a New Jersey leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, are an attempt to ensure that organizations other than the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange investigate a report of hazing at the private high school in Orange County.

A lawsuit filed in November against the school and the diocese alleges that a Mater Dei football player sustained a traumatic brain injury in a violent hazing ritual in the varsity locker room and that the school tried to cover up his injuries.

The complaints were filed with the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and…

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A new child sexual abuse law opens a window for victims

DENVER (CO)
KXRM - Fox 21 [Colorado Springs CO]

January 7, 2022

By Rachel Saurer

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January 1, 2022 marked the conclusion of a long road for lawmakers in the effort to provide justice for victims of sexual child abuse.

“Some of my clients were involved back in 2006 in trying to do something similar and there was very, very strong pushback by lobbyists in particular for the Catholic Church,” said Zach Warzel, Keating Wagner Polidori Free Partner.

The law had been pushed several times in the past several years, meeting similar ends. This year, lawmakers said the environment was just right for the law to pass.

This new law allows victims to come forward and file claims for the abuse more than 50 years after the event has occurred.

“Children should not be forced to figure out their legal rights and come forward, you know, within a very short amount of time after reaching the age of 18. Now, they can come forward when they’re…

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Sinead O’Connor needs all the support and best wishes now more than ever

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
IrishCentral [New York NY]

January 8, 2022

By Niall O'Dowd

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The death of her son Shane is a grave blow for all the O’Connor family but especially for a grieving mother fighting her own battle with sanity for so long.

On October 3, 1992, Sinéad O’Connor was the main musical act on  Saturday Night Live. She appeared on stage in an all-white dress, a vision of beauty and simplicity, a striking bald-headed young woman with a gorgeous singing voice.

But the innocence portrayed publicly was not what she was feeling that night.

What she did went down in television history.

These days, when clerical abuse stories are as common as dust, O’Connor’s action would have caused a Twitter stir perhaps, but not much more.

But not back in 1992. She clutched in her hand a photograph of Pope John Paul II, a revered figure whose fight against communism and whose dynamic personality had made him a figure of Olympian stature…

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Vatican to probe Cologne finances once cardinal returns from sabbatical

COLOGNE (GERMANY)
Crux [Denver CO]

January 8, 2022

By Elise Ann Allen

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Earlier this week, the troubled German Archdiocese of Cologne announced that the Vatican has agreed to conduct an external audit into its contracts once the archbishop of the diocese returns from a papal-mandated sabbatical.

The audit will investigate canonical legality in the awarding of contracts over the past ten years, a diocesan statement said.

In December, the Archdiocese of Cologne announced its intention to carry out an external audit to clarify “whether there have recently been omissions in canon law when awarding contracts,” saying the decision to move forward with the inquiry was agreed on by the archdiocesan property council and cathedral chapter, and the current administrator for the Cologne archdiocese, Auxiliary Bishop Rolf Steinhäuser.

Steinhäuser informed the Vatican of their request for an audit in Cologne, and earlier this week the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops sent a letter to the archdiocese saying they had agreed to the audit, but…

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Courageous Conversations – Twenty Years Since Spotlight: How Journalists Have Uncovered Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Awake Milwaukee [Milwaukee WI]

January 9, 2022

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PART 1, LISTEN AND LEARN – THURSDAY, JANUARY 13, 7:00PM – 8:30PM CST
PART 2, DISCUSS AND DISCERN – THURSDAY, JANUARY 20, 7:00PM – 8:30PM CST

Panelists:
– Jason Berry, pioneering Catholic journalist who first brought national attention to this issue beginning in 1985
– Walter Robinson, investigative reporter who led the Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team in their 2002 investigation into abuse and cover-up in the Catholic Church
– Anne Barrett Doyle, researcher, advocate, and co-director of Bishop Accountability, who was propelled to action by the Spotlight reports

Part 1 (Listen and Learn) will include a short introduction from Awake, engaging conversation with our panelists, and question and answer time at the end of the evening. (This event will be recorded for later viewing.)

Part 2 (Discuss and Discern) will be focused on building connections and community while diving deeper into the questions raised by the conversation the previous week. We will utilize Zoom…

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A Fearful Asymmetry

ATLANTA (GA)
Feminist Studies in Religion - Harvard Divinity School [Cambridge MA]

January 3, 2022

By Judith Plaskow

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I learned an important lesson this past summer about the ways in which institutional structures perpetuate a profound power imbalance between sexual harassers and those who are sexually harassed. In August, I received a letter from the AAR Executive Director saying that the board had voted to offer me the Ray L. Hart Service Award in 2021. Reading the letter caused me to laugh aloud because Ray Hart had sexually harassed me in the mid-1970s when I was young woman serving on my first AAR committee.

I remember the circumstances of that harassment very clearly. After the Program Committee meeting had ended for the day, several of us adjourned to orange armchairs in the lobby to have a drink before dinner. I was the only woman on the committee and was quite a bit younger than the next oldest member. I don’t recall whether I was a graduate student or…

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Catholic Church found liable for sexual abuse of child in landmark case

(AUSTRALIA)
IrishCentral [New York NY]

January 6, 2022

By Shane O'Brien

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Diocese was “vicariously liable” for a priest’s abuse of a five-year-old boy in 1971, the Supreme Court of Victoria ruled.

An Australian court has found the Catholic Church liable for a priest’s abuse of a five-year-old in the early 1970s in a landmark ruling that could impact future abuse cases. 

Last month, the Supreme Court of Victoria in southeast Australia found that the current diocese of Ballarat was vicariously liable for the abuse of the boy, who cannot be named, by Fr. Bryan Coffey in the coastal town of Port Fairy during the early 1970s. 

Coffey, an assistant parish priest at the time, abused the boy during two pastoral care visits to his home in 1971. 

The Ballarat diocese argued that Coffey was not a formal employee at the time and could not be considered liable for Coffey’s actions, adding that Coffey’s home visits were “social outings” not connected to…

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Rebecca Kudloo is fighting for a violence-free future for Inuit families

BAKER LAKE (CANADA)
Broadview [Toronto, Ontario, Canada]

January 6, 2022

By Rebecca Kudloo and Julie McGonegal

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The longtime advocate says abuse suffered by residential school survivors is a significant factor in domestic violence

Rebecca Kudloo is a powerhouse. Early last year, she had the RCMP agree to policy reform that would reduce violence against Inuit women and children — and she held the federal Liberal government to financing long-promised women’s shelters in Inuit Nunangat. She managed both by being steadily persistent. 

Kudloo has been president of Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada since 2014. She was an adviser on the creation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. She worked for the Nunavut Department of Education and is a co-founder of Mianiqsijit, a counselling service responding to the residential school legacy of sexual abuse and family violence. 

She spoke with Julie McGonegal from her home in Baker Lake, Nunavut.

Julie McGonegal: Tell me about your childhood growing up on the land.

Rebecca Kudloo: I was born…

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The enablers of child abuse in society, school, family and the Church

MANILA (PHILIPPINES)
Manila Times [Manila, Philippines]

January 9, 2022

By Fr. Shay Cullen

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After months of trial and deliberation by a jury in New York, a wealthy British socialite, Ghislaine Maxwell, has been convicted of crimes related to human trafficking, grooming and facilitating and enabling the sexual abuse of minors by her wealthy boyfriend, Jeffrey Epstein. She was the recruiter, pimp, human trafficker and enabler of child sexual abuse. Maxwell, 60 years old, is now facing a possible jail time of 65 years behind bars.

This conviction focuses attention on the persons who are the enablers. They are the cover-up agents of crimes committed by another against children. They fail to help, protect and report the sexual abuse of children.

Parents and relatives, even some teachers and social workers, are guilty of crimes of omission and failure in their mandated duty to act to protect sexually or physically abused children.

A school principal in Zambales, Philippines, received a report of child sexual abuse…

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2007: The Rev. David Bialkowski of St. John Gualbert Catholic Church, blesses the instruments at the Pvt. Leonard Post Jr. Post in Cheektowaga. The young musicians are part of the Harmony Polish Folk Ensemble. By Robert Kirkham / Buffalo News

Priest accused of molesting boys will control widow’s $2 million estate

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News [Buffalo NY]

January 9, 2022

By Charlie Specht and Dan Herbeck

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[Photo above: 2007: The Rev. David Bialkowski of St. John Gualbert Catholic Church, blesses the instruments at the Pvt. Leonard Post Jr. Post in Cheektowaga. The young musicians are part of the Harmony Polish Folk Ensemble. By Robert Kirkham / Buffalo News]

Buffalo priest who is suspended from ministry because of accusations that he molested children stands to gain control of the $2 million estate of a 93-year-old widow.

In a case at Erie County Surrogate’s Court, two attorneys are disputing the will of Ruth Peters, a retired principal from the Cheektowaga public school system who died in 2019 and left $125,000 to the Rev. David W. Bialkowski. Before her death, Peters also made Bialkowski the executor of her estate.

Attorneys representing several cousins of Peters allege in court papers that Peters was not of sound mind when she made out her will. They also accuse Bialkowski of taking advantage…

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January 8, 2022

Williams Lake First Nation sets date to release findings of St. Joseph’s Mission investigation

WILLIAMS LAKE (CANADA)
The Williams Lake Tribune [Williams Lake, CA]

January 6, 2022

By Tribune staff

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

Chief and council of the Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) have set a date of Jan. 25 to publically release the preliminary geophysical results from the first phase of the St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School investigation.

WLFN postponed the previously scheduled release of the results Dec. 7 in order to give adequate time for neighboring First Nation communities to put in place the necessary health and wellness supports, WLFN noted in a news release issued Jan. 6.

“This has been an extremely challenging time for WLFN and other First Nations who were affected by the facility at St. Joseph’s,” stated WLFN Chief Willie Sellars. “We have out of necessity in the course of our investigation opened old wounds and asked people to recount some terrible and harrowing stories. But the information provided has helped shape our investigation and I’m thankful…

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Archbishop gives Fr David Muscat a ‘formal warning’

(MALTA)
Times of Malta

January 6, 2022

By Claudia Calleja

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Archbishop Charles Scicluna has issued a formal warning against controversial priest Fr David Muscat, instructing him to stop making “inflammatory and hurtful comments” or else he could be stopped from exercising his ministry in public. 

In a statement on Thursday night, the Archibishop’s Curia said Mgr Scicluna had instructed Fr Muscat to delete a Facebook post, in which the priest claimed that being gay was worse than being possessed, and to stop insulting or using hurtful language against any group or individual.

It said the Archbishop also reminded Fr Muscat that in accordance with Catholic teaching, members of the clergy are required to display respect, compassion and sensitivity to people from all walks of life.

The formal warning is referred to in Canon Law as a penal precept.

The warning came hours after he was interrogated by police and hours after the Archbishop had promised to take action against a priest over homophobic…

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Police interrogate Mosta priest over Facebook post

(MALTA)
Times of Malta

January 6, 2022

By Matthew Xuereb

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Outspoken priest Fr David Muscat was interrogated by the police over hate speech claims following a homophobic Facebook post he uploaded.

The post focused on alleged murder suspect, Abner Aquilina, with the priest speaking about the possibility that the aggressor was gay or bisexual or possessed by the devil. Muscat said that being gay was worse than being possessed.

Sources said Fr Muscat was called to the police headquarters on Thursday afternoon where he was interrogated over his posts and successive comments. 

A spokesman for the police told Times of Malta that “the police investigates all allegations of a criminal nature that come to its attention”. 

It is not known whether the police will press charges.

Earlier, two ministers and activists had earlier urged police to take action against the Mosta priest for hate speech.

“A line has been crossed, and I ask the authorities to take the necessary decisions, because…

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Fr David Muscat to be charged in court with hate speech

(MALTA)
Times of Malta

January 7, 2022

By Mark Laurence Zammit

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Fr David Muscat will be charged in court with hate speech and misuse of technology over his disparaging comments on gay people.

Police have filed charges of hate crime over two comments that the priest posted to Facebook this week.

In one of the comments, Fr Muscat spoke about the possibility that murder suspect Abner Aquilina was gay, bisexual or possessed by the devil and said “gayness” was worse than being possessed.

The other comment was posted underneath a photo showing the murder suspect wearing a colourful shirt. Fr Muscat commented that he looked like he was just coming back from ‘gay pride’.

Police may have deemed this comment illegal for implying that people who attend gay pride are criminals.

Fr Muscat is scheduled to appear before Magistrate Ian Farrugia on January 28.

He could be released on conditional discharge or given a suspended sentence, but these charges could also…

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Malta: Priest given formal warning after posting homophobic remark

(MALTA)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

January 7, 2022

By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service

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Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta issued a formal warning against a controversial local priest who posted a homophobic remark on Facebook.

In a statement released Jan. 6, the Archdiocese of Malta confirmed that Archbishop Scicluna issued the warning, known as a penal precept, against Father David Muscat, ordering him “to cease making inflammatory and hurtful comments in public forums or face prohibition from exercising his ministry in public.”

“The archbishop instructed Father David Muscat to delete a Facebook post, in which the priest claimed that being gay was worse than being possessed, and not to use insulting or hurtful language against any group or individual,” the archdiocese said.

Furthermore, the statement said Archbishop Sciculuna reminded the priest that “in accordance with Catholic teaching, members of the clergy are required to show respect, compassion and sensitivity to people from all walks of life.”

According to the Times of Malta, the homophobic social media post was reported to authorities by the Malta Gay Rights Movement,…

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Mater Dei High names new president in the wake of hazing scandal

(CA)
Los Angeles Times

January 7, 2022

By Hannah Fry, Connor Sheets, Laura J. Nelson

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A longtime educator with experience overseeing high school athletic programs will take the helm of Mater Dei High School amid ongoing controversy over an alleged hazing scandal involving its storied football program.

Michael Brennan will start at the Orange County private school on Feb. 1, Diocese of Orange officials said Friday. He has been president of St. Anthony High School in Long Beach since last year.

The news comes less than a week after the abrupt resignation of the school’s former president, Father Walter E. Jenkins, who started at Mater Dei in July. Officials have said Jenkins is expected to return to South Bend, Ind., to “take on a new assignment” with his religious order, the Congregation of Holy Cross.

His departure followed weeks of controversy for Mater Dei’s powerhouse football program and head coach Bruce Rollinson. A lawsuit filed in late November by the family of a former football…

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Former Servite principal Brennan takes over at Mater Dei amid football hazing scandal

(CA)
Orange County Register[Anaheim, CA]

January 7, 2022

By Scott M. Reid

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Former Servite High School principal Michael P. Brennan has been hired to serve as president of Mater Dei High School, the Diocese of Orange announced Friday.

Brennan, currently the president of Long Beach’s St. Anthony High School, starts his new position on Feb. 1 as Mater Dei finds itself in the midst of a hazing controversy that has attracted national attention and called into question the culture within the school’s national championship football program, athletic program and the future of longtime head football coach Bruce Rollinson and principal Frances Clare.

Brennan replaces Father Walter Jenkins, who resigned last week amid tensions Rollinson and his supporters.

Jenkins’ departure came just days before attorneys for a Sacramento law firm are scheduled to start interviewing Mater Dei students and staff as part of an investigation into the culture of the Monarch football and athletic programs. The investigation, commissioned by Jenkins in November, is in response…

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Benedict XVI, Munich, and cover-up claims: why an old allegation is resurfacing

(ITALY)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

January 6, 2022

By Andrea Gagliarducci

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Claims that the future Benedict XVI covered up an abuse case in the German Archdiocese of Munich and Freising resurfaced this week, more than 10 years after the Vatican firmly rejected the allegations.

The claims reemerged in the German media on Jan. 4, when Die Zeit newspaper published an extensive report on the archdiocese’s handling of the case of Father Peter Hullermann, who is accused of abusing at least 23 boys aged eight to 16 between 1973 and 1996.

The priest, identified in German reports only as “H.”, was suspended from his duties in the Diocese of Essen in 1979 over allegations that he abused an 11-year-old boy.

He was moved in 1980 to the Munich archdiocese, led by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger from 1977 to 1982. Hullermann was found guilty of molesting boys in a parish of the archdiocese in 1986.

Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Benedict XVI’s…

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Fort Wayne-South Bend priest will plead guilty to sex abuse charges

FORT WAYNE (IN)
Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]

January 7, 2022

By Joe Bukuras

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Father David Huneck, a former high school chaplain in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, has agreed to plead guilty Jan. 27 to two felony charges of child seduction and sexual battery after six allegations were brought against him for sexual crimes committed against both a 17 and a 19 year old girl.

The other four misdemeanor charges — contributing to the delinquency of a minor, furnishing alcohol to a minor, and two counts of battery — would all be dropped if the court accepts the plea agreement. 

According to the plea agreement, which has the possibility of being amended before the change of plea hearing on Jan. 27, Huneck’s sentence for child seduction would amount to one year with between 10 and 90 days to be served in jail. The court will address the conditions and rules of the remainder of Huneck’s one year sentence during the hearing.

The…

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In priests’ tarnished image, French sisters see opening for bigger role for women, laypeople in church

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

January 7, 2022

By Elisabeth Auvillain

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Following publication of the report on sexual abuses in the Catholic Church, many women religious in France — while distressed over the report’s findings — have high hopes for the future. They think now is the time to start making changes in the way the church is governed — to be synodal, and more horizontal, to include more people in the process of decision making.

For five years, I’ve interviewed women religious in France on various topics for Global Sisters Report, including sexual abuse within the church. It’s been disheartening and distressing to learn of the extent of the abuse as the recent report revealed — more than 330,000 cases of sexual abuse of minors, two-thirds by clerics, had taken place in the French church since 1950, according to the report released in October. Yet as my conversations reveal, Catholic sisters hold a unique position to…

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January 7, 2022

The Rev. Carmen Sita (left) changed his name to Gerald Howard (right). Photo Credit: Archdiocese of Newark / Missouri Department of Corrections

Repetitive Pedophile Priest Formerly of Jersey City Church Dies

NEWARK (NJ)
Burlington Daily Voice [Burlington NJ]

January 6, 2022

By Jerry DeMarco

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[Photo above: The Rev. Carmen Sita (left) changed his name to Gerald Howard (right). Photo Credit: Archdiocese of Newark / Missouri Department of Corrections]

A twice-convicted pedophile priest who’d been an associate pastor at a Jersey City church reportedly has died.

The death of the Rev. Carmen Sita — who changed his name to Gerald Howard after getting probation for his first conviction — was announced by SNAP, a survivors network that provides support for sex abuse victims.

Sita had been at St. Aloysius Roman Catholic Church on West Side Avenue for six years when he was arrested in 1982 on charges of repeatedly sexually abusing a 17-year-old boy and giving him pot.

After pleading guilty the following year, Sita was sentenced to five months probation and sent by the Newark Archdiocese to a facility in New Mexico for treatment before being transferred to a parish in Missouri. He changed…

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Philippines slaps ban on child marriage

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

January 7, 2022

By Joseph Peter Calleja

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New legislation carries up to 12 years in prison for those who flout the law

The Philippines has enacted a new law banning child marriage and cohabitation with minors.

It is hoped the bill, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on Jan. 6, will end practices that see one in six Filipino girls married before they turn 18.

Children’s rights advocates welcomed the new law, saying it marked a major advancement in protecting young girls.

“This is a major victory in our campaign to end child marriage in the Philippines. This law will help protect children, especially young girls, and hopefully change the trajectory of their lives,” the law’s author, lawmaker Bernadette Herrera, told The Inquirer newspaper on Jan. 6.

The new law not only criminalizes marrying someone under 18 years old but also outlaws cohabitating with a minor as husband and wife and punishes those who facilitate such unions.

It carries a…

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Canada approved reparations – the US can be next

OTTAWA (CANADA)
Aljazeera [Dohar, Qatar]

January 7, 2022

By Christopher Rhodes

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The federal government just set aside a huge sum – $40bn – to compensate the victims and relatives of a system of cruel racial exploitation that existed for much of the country’s history. This news is not about the United States, where debate over reparations for slavery have been stalled in Congress for decades. No, this news comes from the US’s neighbour to the north, Canada.

The national government of Canada has agreed to set aside this sum, the equivalent of $31bn for Indigenous Canadians who were subjected to Canadian “boarding schools.” These institutions, generally operated by the Catholic Church and other religious institutions, forcibly removed First Nations, Inuit and Métis children from their parents and communities and systematically stripped them of their cultural identities while imposing upon them English and French, Christian religious practices, and white Canadian culture.

This programme of state-sanctioned kidnapping and indoctrination officially ran from 1883…

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German Catholic group gives Pope Francis ‘reform manifesto,’ saying the Synodal Path is ‘getting out of hand’

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

January 6, 2022

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[Via America Magazine]

A group of pilgrims presented Pope Francis with a “reform manifesto” critical of the German Synodal Path, reported the German Catholic news agency KNA.

On the sidelines of the pope’s Jan. 5 general audience, representatives of the “Neuer Anfang” (”New Beginning”) initiative handed him a pamphlet containing their own statements on themes that are also dealt with in the Synodal Path consultations, launched by the German bishops’ conference and the Central Committee of German Catholics.

A member of the group said they had handed the manifesto directly to the pope because its views had no chance of being accepted by Synodal Path members in Germany.In their manifesto, they thanked the pope for initiating a world Synod of Bishops on synodality and said the “Synodal Path in Germany is getting out of hand.”Tweet this

In their manifesto, they thanked the pope for initiating a world Synod of Bishops…

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Abusers are everyday people and their victims are not faceless statistics

BIRMINGHAM (UNITED KINGDOM)
Press and Journal [Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom]

January 6, 2022

By Catherine Deveney

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The South Africans have a philosophy, brought to world attention by the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu, called “ubuntu”.

Difficult to translate exactly into other languages, it essentially means that our humanity is recognised only when we acknowledge the humanity of others. To be a person, we must uphold the personhood of others.

Useful to keep in mind when assessing this week’s bizarre Twitter spat about paedophilia between Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP, Karen Adam, and Alba party general secretary, Chris McEleny.

Adam, herself an abuse survivor, tweeted: “Paedophiles and predators are people. Not bogey men under the bed. […] They are our family, friends and colleagues.” In a retort that, if nothing else, underlines the fact that Twitter is not the place for a nuanced discussion of anything, let alone paedophilia, McEleny accused Adam of “normalising paedophiles”.

Whatever the clumsy politicking going on behind McEleny’s comments…

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January 6, 2022

William O’Sullivan

A Priest in Wolf’s Clothing: Diocese settlement satisfying to other Grecco victim William O’Sullivan

ST. CATHARINES (CANADA)
St. Catharines Standard [St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada]

January 6, 2022

By Kris Dubé

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[Photo above: Survivor William O’Sullivan.]

‘Even though it’s financial, there’s some kind of accountability there,’ says St. Catharines resident abused at Welland church as a child

A recent settlement reached by a sexual abuse victim of Donald Grecco, who had sued the disgraced ex-priest and Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Catharines, comes as gratifying news to William O’Sullivan.

“I’m glad to see this happen for him. It’s about time,” said O’Sullivan, who also was abused by Grecco, between the ages of nine and 12 at St. Kevin’s Catholic church in Welland, a place he had protested in front of weekly for more than two years.

In October 2017, Grecco received an 18-month sentence for sexually abusing three boys between 1975 and 1982. It was his second conviction for sexually abusing children; his total number of known victims is six.

Six months later, Grecco was granted an early release from Central…

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Obituary: M. Susan Carlson

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Jewish Light [St. Louis MO]

January 3, 2022

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M. Susan Carlson passed away on December 30, 2021, at the age of 72. Beloved wife of Gerry Greiman for 39 years; dear mother of David Carlson Greiman and Nora Carlson Greiman (James Lange); dear sister of the late Jeff Carlson, the late Greg (Diane) Carlson and Steve (Tina) Carlson; our dear aunt, great aunt, sister-in-law; cousin and friend to many.

Susan was born in Lincoln, Nebraska on November 2, 1949, and grew up on the family farm outside Waverly, Nebraska. She graduated from Cottey College (which later conferred its Distinguished Alumni Award on her) and the University of Nebraska, taught high school for a year, and then earned her law degree from the University of Nebraska School of Law. Following Law School, Susan served as a Law Clerk for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis, where she met Gerry.

After her Clerkship,…

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‘Wasn’t an easy story to write’: Arnprior author’s new novel tackles difficult topic of priest sex abuse

ARNPRIOR (CANADA)
Arnprior Chronicle [Renfrew, Ontario, Canada]

January 5, 2022

By Sherry Haaima

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Local author Ellen Gable Hrkach has been writing fiction for over 20 years. Most of her novels are historical romance or suspense. This past summer, however, Hrkach decided to write her most challenging novel: a story based on her late father’s life.

“It wasn’t an easy story to write. My father was sexually abused by a priest when he was a freshman in high school. He suffered a nervous breakdown when I was two years old and struggled with alcoholism and depression. He died unexpectedly when I was a teenager. He wasn’t a perfect person, but he was a loving and dedicated father,” Hrkach said.

“Where Angels Pass,” Hrkach’s 12th book, is the fictionalized story about Hrkach’s father, who kept the abuse he experienced secret for most of his life. He only told Hrkach’s mother.

“When I found out about the abuse after his death, everything in his life made so…

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January 5, 2022

Cindy Woodhouse, the Manitoba regional chief at the Assembly of First Nations. Screen capture from video. Amber Bracken for The New York Times

Canada Pledges $31.5 Billion to Settle Fight Over Indigenous Child Welfare System

OTTAWA (CANADA)
New York Times

January 4, 2022

By Catherine Porter and Vjosa Isai

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[Photo above: Cindy Woodhouse, the Manitoba regional chief at the Assembly of First Nations. Screen capture from video. Amber Bracken for The New York Times]

The government agreed to a landmark settlement to repair the system and compensate those families harmed by it. It potentially ends many years of litigation.

The Canadian government announced Tuesday that it had reached what it called the largest settlement in Canada’s history, paying $31.5 billion to fix the nation’s discriminatory child welfare system and compensate the Indigenous people harmed by it.

The agreement in principle forms the basis for a final settlement of several lawsuits brought by First Nations groups against the Canadian government. Of the overall settlement, 40 billion in Canadian dollars, half will go toward compensating both children who were unnecessarily removed, and their families and caregivers, over the past three decades.

The rest of the money will go toward…

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Agreements-in-Principle reached on compensation and long-term reform of First Nations child and family services and Jordan’s Principle

OTTAWA (CANADA)
Indigenous Services Canada [Ottawa, Ontario, Canada]

January 4, 2022

By Andrew MacKendrick

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Ottawa, Traditional Algonquin Territory, Ontario: Indigenous Services Canada – The Government of Canada is pleased to announce that Agreements-in-Principle have been reached on a global resolution related to compensation for those harmed by discriminatory underfunding of First Nations child and family services and to achieve long-term reform of the First Nations Child and Family Services program and Jordan’s Principle, to ensure that no child faces discrimination again.

This is a result of discussions between Canada, the Assembly of First Nations, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, the Chiefs of Ontario, the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, and counsel for the Moushoom and Trout class actions.

We begin by acknowledging the generations of First Nations who have advocated so strongly for their children including Residential School Survivors, Sixties Scoop Survivors and children, young people and families whose lives are touched by this case. Their strength and the advocacy of First Nations…

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Hidden Harm and the Short Reach of Traditional Tort Remedies

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Justia [Mountain View CA]

January 5, 2022

By Kathryn Robb

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Not all civil wrongs are the same. There are, of course, the classic ‘slip and fall’ and fender bender claims, and then there are the more catastrophic harms. Whether negligence, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, or trespass—there are degrees of egregiousness in the land of civil justice. Most would agree that none are as bad as the harm to children, especially negligent or intentional abuse of children, where the complicated and lasting damage of trauma transforms the neurobiology of the whole child—continuing the injury to young victims well into adulthood.

The thought of children being manipulated and sexually violated is distressing and uncomfortable, especially when the perpetrator is someone they once trusted—a coach, counselor, doctor, religious leader, or even a family member. When the harm is sexual assault and rape, the image stings, and let’s face it, our eyes and minds look away. We just cannot think about it….

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Boy Scouts of America falls short in bid to emerge from sex-abuse bankruptcy

IRVING (TX)
Los Angeles Times

January 4, 2022

By Kim Christensen

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The Boy Scouts of America’s bid to emerge from bankruptcy appeared to fall just short Tuesday when a $2.7-billion settlement offer failed to garner enough votes from thousands of men who say they were sexually abused in Scouting.

Although 73% of the nearly 54,000 claimants who cast ballots voted to accept the settlement, the proposal needed at least 75% to ensure confirmation by the bankruptcy judge presiding over the case, according to plaintiffs’ lawyers.

“Survivors understood that the Plan does not adequately compensate them,” said John Humphrey, co-chairman of the official tort claimants committee appointed by the bankruptcy trustee to represent all victims.

The committee said the results would force the Boy Scouts to negotiate a better deal for abuse survivors. The Boy Scouts did not respond to a request for comment.

The results, disclosed in a bankruptcy court filing late Tuesday, capped a contentious two-month voting period in which…

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Bill to extend legal window for child sex abuse survivors unlikely to see a Pa. Senate vote

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Pennsylvania Capital-Star

January 3, 2022

By Marley Parish

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Despite pleas from advocates and a recent request from the governor, a bill that would open a two-year window for child sex abuse survivors to pursue civil lawsuits against their abusers is unlikely to see a floor vote as the Pennsylvania Senate returns to session this month.

Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland, who controls the upper chamber’s voting calendar, remains unchanged in her thinking that the constitutional amendment process remains the best legal path to extending the statute of limitations.

Erica Clayton Wright, a spokesperson for Ward, declined to answer further questions about the legislation and a possible Senate vote Monday. Instead, Wright cited previous statements made by Ward, who has argued there is no legal precedent to affirm extending a window legislatively.

If it weren’t for an advertising error made last year by the Department of State, the window for child sex abuse survivors would have…

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20 years after Boston Globe’s ‘Spotlight,’ we need a national database of accused clergy

BOSTON (MA)
National Catholic Reporter [Kansas City MO]

January 4, 2022

By Barbara Thorp

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In the United States, the terrible truth that Catholic clergy have sexually violated children has been known publicly now for at least 36 years. For this truth-telling, we are indebted to journalists such as Jason Berry. In stark and unsparing detail he documented in May 1985, writing for the Times of Acadiana (and NCR), the predations of admitted serial pedophile Fr. Gilbert Gauthe in the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana.

Over the decades others followed Berry’s groundbreaking truth-telling, often against and despite enormous pressure to remain silent. Led by many courageous survivors and their families, of notable mention are the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Bishop Accountability, the Boston Phoenix, The Boston Globe, The New York Times and several state attorneys general.

In January 2019, ProPublica published an interactive national directory of credibly accused clergy drawing on the published disclosures of dioceses…

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Sen. Kim Ward should run House Bill 951 to help survivors of clergy sex abuse

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
PennLive.com

January 4, 2022

By Mark Basquill

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As 2022 opens, clergy sexual abuse remains one of many issues calling for our caring attention. Before compassion fatigue sets in, now is the right time for Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward to run House Bill 951 and for Catholics in Pennsylvania’s pews and pulpit to push forward until it passes. Despite public and political support for the measure, Kim Ward said she has no intention of bringing the bill to a vote.

House Bill 951 will open a 2-year window for out-of-statute survivors of clergy sexual abuse and help survivors including myself close a chapter of our lives. The bill will also help repair the crumbling foundations of two vital institutions. I have little trust in politicians or priests. However, until we enter a utopian fantasy where we all sing natural harmony, we’ll need legislatures and churches to prevent cacophony. And we’ll need them both to restore…

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Court upholds dismissal of lawsuit by Warren priest against peer

WARREN (MI)
Macomb Daily [Sterling Heights MI]

January 4, 2022

By Jameson Cook

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The state Court of Appeals has upheld the dismissal of a defamation lawsuit by a suspended Warren priest against another clergy member who revealed potentially false sexual-abuse claims against the plaintiff, due to the Constitutional pillar that separates church and state.

A three-judge panel unanimously ruled against Rev. Eduard Perrone in the appeal of his lawsuit against Rev. G. Michael Bugarin, a St. Clair Shores-based priest who is part of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit review panel for clergy abuse. The judges say in a Dec. 21 opinion that state courts cannot have jurisdiction over “ecclesiastical matters forbidden under the First Amendment of the Constitution.”

Perrone also alleged “false light” and “intentional infliction of emotional distress” over Bugarin saying the AOD had found allegations by Perrone’s accuser as “credible, meaning they had a semblance of truth,” judges wrote in the seven-page opinion.

“The issue of whether the defendant’s conduct was…

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Benedict XVI covered up sexual abuse against minors when he was a cardinal

MUNICH (GERMANY)
News.TVS-24 [Noida, India]

January 5, 2022

By Nicole

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Chaplain Peter H. was transferred in 1980 from the diocese of Essen to that of Munich-Freising, after having abused several minors. Upon learning of the accusations, his superiors did not clarify them, but forced him to undergo psychological therapy.

Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as Archbishop of Munich-Freising, knew that the chaplain had committed abuses, but he still approved his transfer and did not report the case to the Vatican, as was his obligation, according to an extrajudicial decree of the Ecclesiastical Court of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising 2016.

After the transfer approved by Ratzinger, the priest continued with the abuses, for which he was sentenced in 1986 to 18 in prison, which led the ecclesiastical authorities to transfer him again, this time to Garching, in southern Germany.

Joseph Ratzinger “was willing to admit to the priest H. that he was aware of the situation”, says the document, quoted by…

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“Dozens of child abuse in his diocese, Ratzinger knew”, storm over the Pope emeritus

MUNICH (GERMANY)
L'UnioneSarda.it [Cagliari, Italy]

January 4, 2022

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Storm over Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, accused of not having put an end to the abuses of a priest in his diocese, despite being aware of it.

The German weekly Die Zeit reports this, according to which there is an extrajudicial decree of the ecclesiastical court of the archdiocese of Munich and Freising in 2016 which criticizes the behavior of the other prelates who have not stopped the work of Peter H., a clergyman accused of 23 cases of sexual abuse of minors between the ages of 8 and 16 between 1976 and 1993.

Among these high prelates who have kept silent even knowing there is also Joseph Ratzinger, archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982.

The Pope Emeritus and the Vicars General “have not lived up to their responsibilities towards the young people and children entrusted to their pastoral care”, reports the document.

The text also reads…

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Coming abuse report to review retired Pope Benedict’s tenure as German archbishop

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

January 4, 2022

By Catholic News Service

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In mid-January, the law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl is scheduled to publish a report into the handling of clerical sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising.

The potentially explosive aspect is that three of the highest-ranking officials are still alive: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — now retired Pope Benedict XVI — and Cardinals Friedrich Wetter and Reinhard Marx, reported the German Catholic news agency KNA.

The investigation followed two years of research and covers the period from 1945 to 2019, centering on who knew what about sexual abuse and when, and what action they took, if any, KNA reported.

Much of the public interest is focused on the retired pope’s 1977-1981 tenure as archbishop of Munich. The case concerns the assignments of a priest accused of a particularly large number of offenses.

In early summer 2021, Cardinal Marx — the current archbishop of Munich — tried to resign from office to take responsibility — explicitly also for possible mistakes of his predecessors. Pope Francis rejected his…

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No. 10 – Guam clergy sex abuse scandal reaches the Vatican, again

(GUAM)
Guam Daily Post

December 31, 2021

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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Guam’s clergy sex abuse scandal has once again reached the Vatican, which this year started defending itself in a particular case, blaming the Holy See for former Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron’s alleged sexual abuses.

The year came and went without any agreement between the Archdiocese of Agana and clergy sexual abuse claimants on the amount of restitution for the victims or on how to get the church out of bankruptcy.

The archdiocese this year increased its offer to pay clergy sex abuse survivors $34.38 million, including real estate.

The clergy sex abuse survivors, through the creditors committee, seek a minimum of $100 million and real estate properties.

A hearing on the two competing plans is expected next year.

The longer the bankruptcy proceedings take, the more money the archdiocese has to pay its own lawyers and the lawyers of the creditors committee.

The archdiocese has been billed and so far…

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Victorian Catholic diocese found vicariously liable for child sexual abuse in landmark ruling

(AUSTRALIA)
The Guardian [London, England]

January 4, 2022

By Christopher Knaus

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The Catholic church’s failed attempt to argue it was not responsible for a priest’s abuse of a five-year-old, because it took place during after-hours “social” visits, has been slammed as “ruthless” by the survivor and an “affront to common sense” by a judge.

Last month the Victorian supreme court handed down a judgment finding the current diocese of Ballarat was vicariously liable for the abuse of the boy, who cannot be named, by Father Bryan Coffey in Port Fairy in the early 1970s.

The survivor’s lawyers, Ken Cush & Associates, say the ruling is a landmark win that will help countless others.

Coffey abused the boy during pastoral care visits to his home on two occasions in 1971.

The critical issue in the case was whether Coffey, an assistant parish priest, could be considered a formal employee of the diocese at the time, thereby making it vicariously liable for his actions.

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Canada agrees C$40bn deal to reform child welfare for First Nations

OTTAWA (CANADA)
The Guardian [London, England]

January 4, 2022

By Tracey Lindeman

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A C$40bn agreement-in-principle has been reached in Canada to reform the child welfare system for First Nations people and compensate more than 200,000 individuals and families who suffered because of it.

At the heart of the deal is a legacy of discrimination in child welfare systems that saw many children removed from their homes and placed in state care, and others who were denied adequate medical care and social services because of their Indigenous identity.

Half of the C$40bn (US$31bn) is earmarked for reforming a child welfare system deemed discriminatory by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) and federal court.

The other half is reserved for payments to First Nations people harmed by the on-reserve and Yukon child welfare systems between 1 April 1991 and 31 March 2022.

First Nations people who experienced delays or denials of medical care and social services between 1991 and 2017 will also receive compensation.

“For too…

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Sexual Abuse in the Clergy: How the Past Cannot Be Wiped Away

(FL)
Space Coast Daily [Brevard County, FL]

January 2, 2022

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According to the latest reports, there were approximately 216,000 victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy in the French Catholic Church between 1950 and 2020.

Since 1950, ‘nearly 200,000 youngsters’ have been sexually molested by French clergy by ‘thousands of paedophiles in the French Catholic Church. The Catholic bishops of Canada apologise for the abuse of Indigenous children. Data on sex abuse in Poland’s Catholic Church is decades behind where it should be.

Sex abuse within the clergy of the world is rampant and has been for decades, and throughout this article, we’re going to dive into the facts to detail the full extent of what’s been going on.

United States of America

Starting with the US, The Boston Globe reported in 2002 on the widespread sexual abuse of children in the Boston diocese and the Catholic hierarchy’s efforts to conceal it. The newspaper’s investigation was the subject of the…

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Lawsuit against Archdiocese of Denver among the first brought under new victim rights law

DENVER (CO)
Denver Gazette

January 4, 2022

By Michael Karlik

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A Colorado man has filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Denver for the sexual abuse he reportedly suffered as a child, using a new state law that enables survivors to hold organizations liable for abuse decades in the past.

The legal action now pending in Denver District Court is one of the first to take advantage of a legal maneuver the General Assembly enacted last year to benefit childhood sex abuse victims who typically were barred from bringing lawsuits more than a few years beyond their assaults.

“As a person who survived years of sexual abuse at the hands of the powers that be, you end up as a broken person, a broken young adult, and a broken adult. It takes forever to realize, this isn’t my fault. This isn’t of my doing. This is what they did to us as victims,” said Brian Barzee of Colorado Springs.

Barzee, 58,…

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January 4, 2022

Salvatore Cernuzio, The veil of silence: Abuses, violence, and frustrations in the religious life of women (Il velo del silenzio: Abusi, violenze, frustrazioni nella vita religiosa femminile)

Book lifts “veil of silence” for 11 former nuns who suffered abuse (author interview)

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

January 4, 2022

By Salvatore Cernuzio

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Abuse is not only sexual, and these women point out the various ways that dignity can be betrayed.

[Photo above: Salvatore Cernuzio, The veil of silence: Abuses, violence, and frustrations in the religious life of women (Il velo del silenzio: Abusi, violenze, frustrazioni nella vita religiosa femminile)]

Spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, abuse of power or of conscience: These are dark realities in communities of consecrated women that Italian journalist Salvatore Cernuzio has sought to reveal. In The veil of silence. Abuses, violence, and frustrations in the religious life of women (Il velo del silenzio. Abusi, violenze, frustrazioni nella vita religiosa femminile, published in November 2021), this Vatican reporter gives 11 women a voice.

These 11 nuns, from all over the world and from different communities, were abused during their religious life. As a result, many of them have chosen to renounce community life. The journalist, who works for Vatican News, the official…

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Clergy Scandal: 20 Years Later – OpEd

NEW YORK (NY)
Eurasia Review [Albany OR]

January 3, 2022

By William Donohue

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On January 6, 2002, the Boston Globe began a series of stories on its investigation into clergy sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston. It would prove to be the most damaging report on the Catholic Church in U.S. history, shocking Catholic and non-Catholic alike. It also inspired reporters across the nation to take a close look at this subject, resulting in more bad news. The good news is that 20 years later, much has changed for the better.

Regrettably, most of the major media outlets are not exactly religion-friendly, and many are downright hostile, especially to Roman Catholicism. As I detail in my new book, The Truth about Clergy Sexual Abuse: Clarifying the Facts and the Causes, this explains why they have no interest in reporting on the progress that has been made.

In the 1970s, which was when priestly sexual abuse was at its height, there was an average of…

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Dublin archbishop: ‘Radical change is coming in the church’

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Catholic News Service - USCCB [Washington DC]

January 3, 2022

By Sarah Mac Donald

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[Via the Boston Pilot]

After a year at the head of the Archdiocese of Dublin, Archbishop Dermot Farrell said, “Radical change is coming in the church,” which will see a renewal of energy and new forms of ministry.

“With a powerful commitment from clergy and lay faithful, across the full range of the life and ministry of parish communities, we are going to experience a renewal of energy and the adoption of new forms of outreach and ministry,” the 67-year-old archbishop told Catholic News Service. He also said he believes change is already happening in the church’s structures all over the Western world.

“Pope Francis is offering us a way of being church, the synodal pathway, of walking together more closely and being a church that is hope-filled, despite many challenges.”

The leader of the largest Irish diocese, with more than 1 million Catholics and 207 parishes, invited the faithful to “walk this…

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Alleged victim declines prosecution against former Diocese of Charlotte priest

CHARLOTTE (NC)
WCNC - NBC 36 [Charlotte NC]

January 3, 2022

By Nate Morabito

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Records reveal CMPD cleared its investigation into Father Francis P. Gillespie, but a civil lawsuit against the former Charlotte priest and others remains pending.

The criminal investigation into a former Charlotte priest, accused in a pending lawsuit of sexually abusing a boy multiple times more than 20 years ago, is now closed, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department records. A police report reveals CMPD cleared its investigation into Jesuit Father Francis P. Gillespie in November after the alleged victim “chose not to prosecute.”

Editor’s Note: WCNC is no longer showing the photo of Father Francis P. Gillespie as the criminal case has been closed.

The Diocese of Charlotte previously reported church officials notified CMPD and the Department of Social Services in October of a new allegation of child sexual abuse against the former pastor of Our Lady of the Assumption Church after learning of the alleged abuse.

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Court sets March date for McCarrick hearing

BOSTON (MA)
The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

January 4, 2022

By Rhina Guidos, CNS

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Proceedings before a criminal trial involving former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick will continue on March 3 in Massachusetts, where he faces three counts of sexually assaulting a teenager in the 1970s.

A second pretrial hearing took place last month to continue on to the next phase in March.

The hearing was preceded by one in October, following the former cardinal’s arraignment in early September in Dedham District Court, where he pleaded not guilty to the charges. Though he was present during the arraignment, McCarrick was not present during the pretrial hearings.

McCarrick was dismissed by the Vatican from the clerical state in 2019 following an investigation of accusations that he had abused multiple children early on in his career of more than 60 years as a cleric and had abused seminarians as a bishop in New Jersey.

Though he was not a priest in Massachusetts, state prosecutors have said the alleged…

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January 3, 2022

The Rev. Athanasius Abanulo stands behind a group of parishioners as they hold a special ceremony for the Lady of Guadalupe at Holy Family Catholic Church in Lanett, Ala., on Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021. Originally from Nigeria, Abanulo is one of numerous international clergy helping ease a U.S. priest shortage by serving in Catholic dioceses across the country. (AP Photo / Jessie Wardarski)

US Catholic clergy shortage eased by recruits from Africa

WEDOWEE (AL)
Associated Press [New York NY]

December 27, 2021

By Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu

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[Photo above: The Rev. Athanasius Abanulo stands behind a group of parishioners as they hold a special ceremony for the Lady of Guadalupe at Holy Family Catholic Church in Lanett, Ala., on Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021. Originally from Nigeria, Abanulo is one of numerous international clergy helping ease a U.S. priest shortage by serving in Catholic dioceses across the country. (AP Photo / Jessie Wardarski). Article includes video at the end of the photo gallery.]

The Rev. Athanasius Chidi Abanulo — using skills honed in his African homeland to minister effectively in rural Alabama— determines just how long he can stretch out his Sunday homilies based on who is sitting in the pews.

Seven minutes is the sweet spot for the mostly white and retired parishioners who attend the English-language Mass at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in the small town of Wedowee. “If you go beyond that, you lose the…

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Retired Judge Brings Passion for Helping Children to New Mission

BRIDGEWATER TOWNSHIP (NJ)
TAP into Bridgewater/Raritan [Bridgewater NJ]

January 3, 2022

By Brenda Esler

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Retired Superior Court Judge Thomas Dilts handled child abuse cases for 16 of his 20 years as a family court judge serving Somerset and Hunterdon Counties.

Presiding over an average of 120 cases per week, he saw each day as an opportunity to make an impact in the lives of children and families. 

As he approached retirement, Dilts knew that he wanted to continue to help children who have been abused and neglected, and realized there was more work to be done from the other side of the bench. He shared this vision in his retirement speech, and, within a week, 15 colleagues answered the call to action, forming the Children’s Hope Initiative in fall 2011.

Eleven of the original 15 board members continue to serve the organization today.

Statistics shared on their website, ChildrensHopeInitiative.org, underscore the critical needs the organization works to address. In the United States, a report…

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Papal representative tells Mexican Church leaders to listen to abuse victims

(MEXICO)
Crux [Denver CO]

January 3, 2022

By Inés San Martín

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Rosario, Argentina – Hours before boarding the plane towards his new post, the papal representative in Mexico called the land of Our Lady of Guadalupe a “faithful” place, but also “scourged by violence, by death.”

Archbishop Franco Coppola, Apostolic Nuncio in Mexico, expressed his gratitude for having represented Pope Francis for a little more than five years as he celebrated Mass for the World Day of Peace, commemorated by the Catholic Church every January 1st, in Latin America’s most famous shrine, dedicated to La Morenita.

The Italian diplomat stressed that Mexico is a “rich country”, because it has “many material and human resources,” but warned that peace will not be achieved here as long as there is so much inequality.

“There is a part that lives with dignity, and there is a majority that lives poorly, that lives in poverty; unable to fulfill basic needs, lacking instruction (education), and lacking decent…

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Indian priest convicted of abuse may be defrocked

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

January 3, 2022

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Father Lawrence Johnson held guilty for abusing a minor boy now faces canonical procedures

Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias has recommended the Vatican to resume canonical procedures against a Catholic priest, who was convicted of sexually abusing a minor boy.

Father Lawrence Johnson, 55, a priest of the Archdiocese of Bombay (now Mumbai), was sentenced to life imprisonment by a special court dealing with sexual offenses against children on Dec. 29.

The priest was also charged with violating several sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

Cardinal Gracias, who is also the archbishop of Bombay, in a statement on Dec. 31 said that “as the case has been concluded in the courts, I am recommending to the Roman Offices that the canonical proceedings which were suspended due to the ongoing hearings be now resumed.”

Father Johnson was arrested on Dec. 2,…

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Money, media and Mel Gibson: Suburban-based Coalition for Canceled Priests uses aggressive tactics in bid to reinstate sidelined clerics

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

January 3, 2022

By John Keilman

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A curious trio of billboards went up across Rockford in November. They showed five men in Roman collars bracketed by angry red type: “Not one more penny! Until you reinstate our priests.”

The appeal to withhold contributions from the collection plate was the latest in-your-face gesture from the Coalition for Canceled Priests, a group that formed in the Chicago suburbs last year to advocate for clerics it says have been unfairly removed from the Roman Catholic ministry by bishops.

Its provocative tactics, which have also included a Lincoln Park rally and a viral endorsement from Mel Gibson, reflect its belief that public and financial pressure are more likely to get results than working through the church hierarchy.

“I’m not saying that all bishops are bad, far from it, but there’s a lot of corruption going on,” said co-founder the Rev. John Lovell, who has been sidelined for nine…

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“Devastating” decline in religious practice among young Poles, says Catholic primate

KRAKóW (POLAND)
Notes from Poland [Kraków, Poland]

January 3, 2022

By Daniel Tilles

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There has been a “devastating” decline in religious practice among young people in Poland, says one of the country’s most senior church figures, Wojciech Polak, the archbishop of Gniezno and Primate of Poland.

He admits that the Catholic hierarchy’s failure to deal with sex abuse by clergy has been a primary cause, and has called for the church to continue the process of “purifying” itself.

However, Marek Jędraszewski, the archbishop of Kraków, has questioned his colleague’s interpretation, arguing that in fact the church has been a “victim” of the pandemic and young people’s growing use of technology.

Polak pointed to recently published data showing that less than 25% of young Poles now regularly practise religion. In the early 1990s, the figure was almost 70%.

“These are simply devastating numbers,” said Polak, in an interview with the Polish Press Agency (PAP). “A very strong re-evaluation is taking place in the young generation.”

Asked…

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SDA church and officials sued for $1.5M for roles in alleged abuse

(GUAM)
Guam Daily Post

January 2, 2022

By Phill Leon Guerrero

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An attorney who represented multiple people allegedly sexually abused by local Catholic priests is now seeking damages against another religious institution: the Guam-Micronesia Mission of Seventh-day Adventists.

According to a lawsuit filed Dec. 31, 2021, by attorney David Lujan, the new case stems from misconduct alleged to have occurred in June 2012.

At that time, the victim in the suit, a U.S. citizen identified only as a man with the initials “AA,” came to Guam from the Philippines to complete his high school education.

The man, who was 16 years old in 2012, became acquainted with Danny Dial, who was serving as the church’s director, according to court documents.

“Since Dial was from Mindanao in the Philippines where AA was also from, and both speaking the same dialect, Dial asked AA’s guardian if AA could stay with him a few days so he could take AA and show him Agana…

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Phil Fontaine was the first Indigenous leader to bring the horrors of residential school abuse to the public eye 30 years ago, and now, he’s preparing for a visit to the Vatican in the hopes of procuring a formal apology from the Pope.

Indigenous leader Phil Fontaine hopes papal apology will give him, other survivors closure

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

January 2, 2022

By Donna Sound and Alexandra Mae Jones

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[Photo above: Phil Fontaine was the first Indigenous leader to bring the horrors of residential school abuse to the public eye 30 years ago, and now, he’s preparing for a visit to the Vatican in the hopes of procuring a formal apology from the Pope. Article includes video.]

Half a year after the discovery of 215 unmarked graves at a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., those numbers have now grown to almost 1,400 at sites across Canada.

Many of these schools were run by the Catholic Church, spurring calls for a formal apology from Pope Francis. But although a papal visit to Canada was planned, it was postponed just before Christmas because of the new Omicron variant and rising COVID-19 case numbers.

The Vatican has not confirmed the Pope’s travel itinerary, or a new date for that papal meeting with Indigenous leaders from Canada. But at least…

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January 2, 2022

Judge rules Catholic Church vicariously liable for Ballarat paedophile priest Bryan Coffey’s abuse 50 years ago

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

December 27, 2022

By Elizabeth Byrne

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A man has successfully sued the Catholic Church after a court found it had vicarious liability for sexual abuse he says he suffered from a notorious priest 50 years ago.

Key points:

  • The Catholic Church has been found liable for its priest’s abuse of a five-year-old boy in 1971
  • The ruling is believed to be the first of its kind in Australia
  • Other victims of the priest were compensated out of court this year

The Victorian man’s lawyers believe it is the first such ruling in Australia.

Father Bryan Coffey was convicted in the Ballarat County Court in February 1999 of multiple counts of sexual assault against other children, and was given a three-year suspended sentence.

He died in 2013.

The man told the Victorian Supreme Court that Coffey had sexually abused him at his parent’s Port Fairy home on two occasions in 1971, when the assistant priest was visiting.

The…

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Here we go again: With Catholic news, reporters should be careful with this word – ‘reform’

WASHINGTON (DC)
Get Religion

December 31, 2022

By Terry Mattingly

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Let’s pause for a moment and reconsider a very loaded and tricky word that shows up all the time religion-news coverage (as well as political coverage, of course).

That word is “reform.”

For really, really, loyal GetReligion readers, I will admit that I am, in part, flashing back to this 2008 GetReligion post: “Who gets to “reform” what?” Once again, let’s look at some of the language that shows up in online dictionaries when you search for that term. To “reform” an institution or a law means to:

* make changes for improvement in order to remove abuse and injustices; “reform a political system” * bring, lead, or force to abandon a wrong or evil course of life, conduct, and adopt a right one; “The Church reformed me”; “reform your conduct” … * a change for the better as a result of correcting abuses; “justice was for sale…

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A New Year challenge for us to protect children

(PHILIPPINES)
Manila Times [Manila, Philippines]

January 2, 2022

By Fr. Shay Cullen

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HAS Christmas ended? Is the story over? Did we learn anything from the Christmas nativity story, and what values did the Church draw from it and teach us? Will we face 2022 with a new determination inspired to live out and practice the values of the Gospel?

The Christmas belen (manger scene) that depicts the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes and surrounded by adoring parents Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and animals will be dismantled and removed from churches. But will it and the story it tells be removed from our minds and hearts? That is the story of Jesus of Nazareth that brought the love of God into the world, that elevated the rights of children and women to the highest level and that has called us to respect the rights of children and women and stop child abuse.

That Jesus who was born to a life of poverty in…

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Letter: The hypocrisy of failing to practice what we preach

NORWICH (CT)
The Day [New London CT]

January 2, 2022

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Thank you, Lisa McGinley, for your article “Money is the least of what the church has to lose” (Dec. 26). As a Catholic priest in West Virginia, I follow the “Abuse Tracker” website closely and found your article there. You have expressed many of my concerns more clearly and concisely than any other article I have seen. You have given us a very helpful perspective on our hypocrisy of failing to practice what we preach. We are seriously undermining our stated mission by destroying our credibility.

In all of the Gospels, hypocrisy by religious leaders was the ONLY situation that brought out Jesus’ anger!

I am grateful to journalists and attorneys who, whatever their motivation, have forced the church to face up to our systemic faults and grant some justice to our victims. They have also forced…

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January 1, 2022

Former Northland priest accused of abuse dead at 72

DULUTH (MN)
Duluth News Tribune [Duluth MN]

December 31, 2021

By Teri Cadeau

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A former Northland priest accused of child sexual abuse has died.

The Rev. David Tushar, 72, died Dec. 23 in Las Vegas, where he was living in retirement. Born in Eveleth, Tushar served as a priest in Northeastern Minnesota for nearly 35 years before he was placed on leave in 2019 pending an investigation into allegations of abuse at a previous placement.

Tushar attended Crosier Seminary in Onamia, the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, Gregorian University in Rome, and Catholic Theological Union and Loyola University in Chicago. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Congregation of the Holy Cross in 1976.

The allegations were related to his earlier service as a Holy Cross Father and Catholic School teacher in Niles, Illinois, from 1978-79. After Tushar was deemed “credibly accused” by the Diocese of Duluth in 2019, the case was sent on to the Vatican. He was also removed…

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Child sexual abuse survivors prepare to file lawsuits under new state measure

DENVER (CO)
Colorado Newsline [Denver, CO]

November 18, 2021

By Faith Miller

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Lawmakers in the Colorado General Assembly passed legislation in June giving new power to people who’d survived sexual abuse decades ago — and survivors and their attorneys said Thursday they’re planning to move forward with several cases once the law takes effect in the new year.

The statute of limitations had expired for these survivors, leaving them without the ability to hold abusers accountable. But Senate Bill 21-88 represented a major victory for child sexual abuse survivors and their advocates after years of advocacy and several failed attempts at passing similar state legislation.

“I faced years of sexual abuse in a high school here in Denver from Catholic clergy,” said Brian Barzee, who spoke at a Nov. 18 news conference with his lawyer, Michael Nimmo, to raise awareness about SB-88. “It’s only because of this new law that any of us are ever going to have a voice…

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