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November 30, 2020

Former NY Giants chaplain accused of sexually abusing Montclair girl as nuns held her down

Bergen Record via NorthJersey.com

November 30, 2020

By Deena Yellin and Abbott Koloff

A priest who until last year worked as the New York Giants team chaplain has been accused in a lawsuit filed last week of sexually assaulting a young girl as two nuns held her down at a Montclair parish decades ago.

The priest, William Dowd, had been removed from ministry almost 20 years ago, after two men accused him of sexually abusing them as children at the same Montclair parish — but he was reinstated in 2007 after being acquitted in a church trial.

One of those men filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Newark last year accusing Dowd of abuse — a complaint that was settled last month with a payment to the plaintiff, according to the man's lawyer, Greg Gianforcaro. He declined to specify the amount.

In the latest suit, filed Tuesday, a woman alleges that she was abused by two nuns at the Immaculate Conception parish school in 1969, when she was 8 years old. The woman says that two years later, in 1971, the two nuns took her to Dowd and held her down by her arms and legs while the priest raped her in the parish's Madonna Hall.

Pope, with new cardinals, warns church against mediocrity

Associated Press

November 29, 2020

By Frances D'Emilio

Pope Francis, joined by the church’s newest cardinals in Mass on Sunday, warned against mediocrity as well as seeking out “godfathers” to promote one’s own career.

Eleven of the 13 new cardinals sat near the central altar of St. Peter’s Basilica, where Francis on Saturday had bestowed upon them the red hats symbolizing they are now so-called princes of the church.

Two of the new cardinals couldn’t make it to Rome because of pandemic travel complications. The freshly-minted cardinals who did come to the Vatican wore protective masks and purple vestments, as the Church began the solemn liturgical season of Advent in the run-up to Christmas.

In his homily, Francis decried what he called “a dangerous kind of sleep: it is the slumber of mediocrity.” He added that Jesus “above all else detests lukewarm-ness.”

Being chosen to head Vatican departments or eventually becoming pope themselves could be in any of these new cardinals’ future. Cardinals often advise popes and pick the next pontiff by conferring among themselves and then meeting in secret conclave to select one of their own to lead the Roman Catholic Church and its roughly 1.3 billion rank-and-file faithful.

Francis has often warned against clericalism during his papacy, and he picked up on that theme in Sunday’s homily.

“If we are awaited in Heaven, why should we be caught up with earthly concerns? Why should we be anxious about money, fame, success, all of which will fade away?” the pope said.

Deviating from his prepared text, he added: “Why look for godfathers for promoting one’s career?”

Utah priest abuse lawsuit poses new challenge to time limits on old cases


November 29, 2020

By Annie Knox

What began as a routine visit to the deli aisle last year ended in a revelation for Guy Platt.

Platt spotted the Colosimo name on a pork sausage label and wondered if it belonged to a member of the family he recalled from childhood. But an online search turned up a series of mugshots and a more profound connection.

The man he said he remembers sexually abusing and threatening him five decades earlier hadn't been a schoolmate's father like he'd thought. Rather, he was a Roman Catholic priest later convicted of victimizing boys in Michigan and Oklahoma, and accused of similar conduct in Utah.

"I was having heart palpitations, those kind of feelings that you get when you're angry and in shock and when you feel guilty," Platt recalled in a recent interview.

As adults, Utah brothers Matthew and Ralph Colosimo came forward as victims of repeated abuse by James Rapp in the years following Platt's own alleged encounters with the onetime cleric.

Platt is now suing the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City for damages of more than $300,000, contending the diocese knew Rapp was "wholly unfit to work around children" but allowed him to do so.

Editorial: Attorney general shows complicity by Malone in shielding accused priests

Buffalo News

November 29, 2020


In 2019, a member of a Catholic parish’s pastoral council in Elma told The News that Bishop Richard J. Malone had “taken the blame here and the bullet for years of abuse, years of cover-up.” The state Attorney General’s Office’s investigative report on the Buffalo Diocese released this week suggests that Malone was not an innocent party, but an active participant in the diocese’s repeated instances of turning a blind eye to accusations of sexual misconduct against priests.

The long, devastating history of clergy sexual abuse of children in the diocese of some 600,000 Catholics stretches back decades, long before Malone was installed as bishop here. But as one of the case studies demonstrates in the court filing from Attorney General Letitia James, Malone was one of seven Buffalo bishops who covered up for Rev. Donald W. Becker, who was accused of molesting boys. The attorney general filed a civil suit this week against the diocese, Malone and former Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Grosz.

Malone resisted calls to resign for more than a year before quitting in December 2019. (Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger took over as apostolic administrator.) The tipping point was the release of private audio recordings in which Malone discussed keeping quiet about an alleged sexual harassment by a priest of an adult seminarian and on another priest’s love letter to the seminarian.

"My world was the Church," abuse survivor Andrew Madden on his journey to recovery


November 30, 2020

Interview of Andrew Madden

[Includes three-minute video of the interview.]

Andrew Madden was an altar boy. He had always enjoyed going to the Church and wanted to become a priest. But aged 12, he was abused by Father Ivan Payne. That abuse lasted for several years.

In Ireland, he was the first victim of clerical child sex abuse to go public with his story in 1995.

As part of an Unreported Europe episode focusing on the survivors of Ireland's child sex abuse scandal at the hands of Catholic priests, Euronews spoke to Madden his personal healing journey.

Rare punishment for Bhopal priest — Pope dismisses him for disobedience, abuse of power

The Print

November 30, 2020

By Milind Ghatwai

[Includes copy of the Vatican decree.]

Fr Anand Muttungal claims he has received no communication from Vatican, and church authorities are running a campaign against him

Bhopal - A Catholic priest who used to be the public relations officer for the Bhopal archdiocese has been dismissed from priesthood for disobedience, abuse of power and sullying the image of the church.

While priests’ dismissals on charges of sexual misconduct are not uncommon, punishment is rarely dealt out on disobedience and abuse of power charges, as in the case of 48-year-old Fr Anand Muttungal. This is the first such instance in Madhya Pradesh.

Muttungal had served as the archdiocese’s PRO for eight years before being removed in 2013.

Archbishop of Bhopal Leo Cornelio said in a statement on 26 November: “…By an official decree, Pope Francis has dismissed Anand Muttungal, the former spokesperson of the Catholic church, from priesthood.”

The archbishop accused Muttungal of repeatedly disobeying church authorities, accusing its leaders in public, engaging in trading and business, and bringing “public scandals to the church and its community”.

MO reform school’s ties to law enforcement stifle abuse investigations, students say

Kansas City Star

November 29, 2020

By Laura Bauer and Judy L. Thomas

Word spread inside Agape Boarding School last fall that a report had been made to Missouri’s abuse and neglect hotline and a social worker was on campus to investigate.

Lucas Francis, a student at the time, said he was told that someone had called the state to report that a group of boys was running laps on school grounds in below-freezing temperatures. Francis, one of the boys who said he was forced to run for hours in sleet and snow with only a light jacket on and no cap or gloves, was pulled aside to speak to the Children’s Division worker.

“I was pretty excited because I was finally going to be able to tell them what was going on,” said Francis, now 18, who left the school in March. “I was just going to let them know.”

Until, that is, he said he realized that he wouldn’t be talking to the Children’s Division worker alone. Also inside the parents’ lounge on the sprawling campus, in uniform and waiting for the interview, was Cedar County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Graves.

Graves, not only a deputy but an Agape alum and long-time employee of the school. Son-in-law of the owner, James Clemensen. And brother-in-law of the school’s principal, Bryan Clemensen.

Editorial: The Boy Scouts’ dishonor

Boston Globe

November 24, 2020

In the absence of radical reform to an organization now deluged with child sex abuse allegations, the Boy Scouts of America charter should be revoked.

The recent revelation that more than 95,000 claims of sexual abuse have been filed against the Boy Scouts of America has been all but lost in the news cycle dominated by President Trump’s refusal to concede his election defeat and the latest deadly surge of COVID-19 infections. But it should be a shock to the system of every American, given the staggering breadth of alleged abuse of children by those who took an oath to God and country to obey the law, help others, and live honest and moral lives.

As the organization seeks to restructure, settle those claims, and reemerge from this crisis to reclaim its place as a treasured American institution, it is also incumbent on members of Congress — and the Americans they represent — to ask: How did this happen, and should an organization that fostered such widespread abuse be allowed to survive at all?

In February, the Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy in light of hundreds of lawsuits filed against it by people who allege sexual abuse over the course of decades. That triggered a reorganization in bankruptcy court to create a compensation fund to pay out settlements to abuse survivors who assert credible claims. Survivors were given a deadline of Nov. 16 to file claims, which brought tens of thousands more people forward. In a statement, the organization has said it is “devastated by the number of lives impacted by past abuse in Scouting and moved by the bravery of those who have come forward.”

November 29, 2020

Letter on Father David Ryan

Archdiocese of Chicago

November 28, 2020

By Cardinal Blase J. Cupich

Dear Saint Francis de Sales Parish and School Family,

With this letter, I write to share some difficult news about your pastor, Father David Ryan. In keeping with our child protection policies, I have asked Father Ryan to step aside from ministry following receipt by the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Archdiocesan Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review of allegations of sexual abuse of minors approximately 25 years ago while he was assigned to Maryville Academy in Des Plaines. Allegations are claims that have not been proven as true or false. Therefore, guilt or innocence should not be assumed.

Father Ryan has been directed to live away from the parish while the matter is investigated, and he is fully cooperating with this direction. Father Jerome Jacob, pastor of Saint Mary of the Annunciation in Mundelein will serve as temporary administrator of Saint Francis de Sales Parish. Father Jacob, a seasoned pastor and Dean of the area will attend to the needs of the parish and school community.

Moreover, as is required by our child protection policies, the allegations were reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and the Cook County State’s Attorney. The persons making the allegations have been offered the services of our Victim Assistance Ministry and the archdiocese has begun its investigation of these matters.

Lake Zurich priest accused of sexually abusing minors while at Maryville Academy 25 years ago

Chicago Tribune

November 28, 2020

By Elyssa Cherney

The Archdiocese of Chicago says it is investigating allegations that a Lake Zurich priest sexually abused minors 25 years ago while he was assigned to Maryville Academy in Des Plaines.

The Rev. David Ryan, pastor at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Parish in Lake Zurich, was asked to live away from the parish during the investigation and “is fully cooperating with this directive,” the archdiocese said.

In a letter to the parish Saturday, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich wrote that he asked Ryan to “step away from ministry” after the archdiocese received the allegations. The archdiocese reported the allegations to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the Cook County state’s attorney office, Cupich wrote.

A spokeswoman for the archdiocese declined to provide further details about the allegations, saying in an email, “We have nothing to add to what is in the letter.”

Suburban priest asked to step away from parish following child sex abuse allegations


November 28, 2020

By Andy Koval and Brónagh Tumulty

[Includes a copy of Cardinal Cupich's letter to parishioners.]

A suburban priest has been asked to step away from his parish following child sex abuse allegations stemming from when he was an executive at a youth academy.

Father David Ryan, a priest at St. Francis de Sales Parish and School in Lake Zurich, has been asked to step away by Cardinal Blase Cupich due to allegations of sexual abuse of minors approximately 25 years ago.

The allegations are tied to when he was an assistant executive director at Maryville Academy, located in Des Plaines. He reportedly became assistant executive director in 1985.

He was promoted to executive director in December of 2003, according to his biography on City Club of Chicago. City Club of Chicago lists him among their board of directors.

At the time, Maryville was serving 1,100 infants, children and youth with a staff of around 900, according to his biography.

Father David Ryan leaving St Francis de Sales in Lake Zurich while sex abuse allegation investigated

Chicago Sun-Times

November 28, 2020

Ryan has been accused of sexually abusing minors about 25 years ago while he was assigned to Maryville Academy in Des Plaines, Cardinal Blase Cupich wrote in a letter to the St. Francis community.

Father David Ryan, pastor at St. Francis de Sales Parish and School in Lake Zurich, has been asked to step away from the parish while the Archdiocese of Chicago investigates decades-old sexual abuse allegations.

Ryan was accused of sexually abusing minors about 25 years ago while he was assigned to Maryville Academy in Des Plaines, Cardinal Blase Cupich wrote in a letter to the St. Francis community.

Father Ryan was directed to live away from the church, 135 S. Buesching Rd., while the matter is investigated, “and he is fully cooperating with this direction,” Cupich wrote.

The allegations were reported by the archdiocese to the Illinois Department of Children and Family services as well as the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, Cupich wrote.

Neither DCFS nor the state’s attorney’s office immediately responded to a request for comment.

Biden and Cardinal Wilton Gregory share a mandate for healing divisions

Washington Post

November 28, 2020

By Christopher White


When Pope Francis needed someone to help heal Catholics in the nation’s capital recovering from the latest round of clergy sex abuse that had engulfed now former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, he tapped Archbishop Wilton Gregory as its new leader in April 2019.

This January, when Joe Biden becomes only the second Catholic president in U.S. history, the politician who pledged to heal America amid a global pandemic, economic dislocation and a racial reckoning will have Gregory as his local pastor.

Both men have been put in their positions with a mandate for reconciliation and are united by a shared admiration for Pope Francis who on Saturday elevated Gregory to the Catholic Church’s College of Cardinals, making him the first African American to receive the honor.

Gregory’s new title is more than mere symbolism. While it will increase his collaboration with the pope and his profile among the U.S. Catholic hierarchy, it also presents him with a rare opportunity for partnership with Biden who has a more complicated relationship with Catholics and with the church than President John F. Kennedy did 60 years ago.

New pupils barred from top UK Catholic school after abuse scandal

The Guardian

November 28, 2020

By Mattha Busby

Ampleforth college says it will appeal against education secretary’s decision

The government has ordered one of England’s most prestigious Catholic boarding schools, Ampleforth college, to stop admitting new pupils as a result of “very serious” failings.

Scandal has surrounded the private school in recent years and an independent inquiry into child sexual abuse published a highly critical report in August 2018 that said “appalling sexual abuse [was] inflicted over decades on children as young as seven”.

Ampleforth’s abbot, Cuthbert Madden, was removed from the post that year following allegations that he indecently assaulted pupils. Madden has denied the claims.

His replacement, Deirdre Rowe, stood down as acting head after 10 months in the role following the release of a highly critical inspection report that found the school did not meet standards for safeguarding, leadership, behaviour, combating bullying and complaints handling.

The Department for Education (DfE) has now launched enforcement action against the 200-year-old institution in North Yorkshire after ruling it had failed to meet safeguarding and leadership standards following an emergency Ofsted inspection.

Pedophile Scandal Can’t Crack the Closed Circles of Literary France

New York Times

November 29, 2020

By Norimitsu Onishi and Constant Méheut

The scandal surrounding the writer Gabriel Matzneff was not limited to his pedophilia. It also opened a window on the entrenched and clubby nature of many of France’s elite institutions.

Paris - One of France’s most prestigious literary awards, the Renaudot can change a writer’s career overnight. Prizewinners jump onto best-seller lists. Publishers earn bragging rights in a nation that places literature at the heart of its sense of grandeur and global standing.

A striking example is now a notorious one: Gabriel Matzneff, the writer whose career was revived with the award in 2013 before collapsing this year when a woman published a bombshell account of their sexual relationship when she was underage. He now faces a police investigation in a national scandal that has exposed how clubby Parisian elites long protected, celebrated and enabled his pedophilia.

Mr. Matzneff’s win was engineered by an elite fully aware of his pedophilia, which he had brazenly defended for decades. His powerful editor and friends sat on the jury. “We thought he was broke, he was sick, this will cheer him up,” said Frédéric Beigbeder, a confidant of Mr. Matzneff and a Renaudot juror since 2011.

The fallout from the Matzneff affair has rippled through France, dividing feminists and seemingly ending the career of a powerful deputy mayor of Paris. Yet the insular world that dominates French literary life remains largely unscathed, demonstrating just how entrenched and intractable it really is.

Proof of that is the Renaudot — all but one of the same jurors who honored Mr. Matzneff are expected to crown this year’s winners on Monday.

That the Renaudot, France’s second biggest literary prize, could wave away the Matzneff scandal underscores the self-perpetuating and impenetrable nature of many of France’s elite institutions.

Whether in top schools, companies, government administration or at the French Academy, control often rests with a small, established group — overwhelmingly older, white men — that rewards like-minded friends and effectively blocks newcomers.

In France’s literary prize system, jurors serve usually for life and themselves select new members. In a process rife with conflicts of interest that is rarely scrutinized, judges often select winners among friends, champion the work of a colleague and press on behalf of a romantic partner.

The process would never be tolerated in contests like Britain’s Booker Prize or the American Pulitzer, where juries change every year and judges recuse themselves over potential conflicts of interest.

November 28, 2020

Sins of the fathers: Ireland’s sex abuse survivors


November 28, 2020

[Includes 20-minute interview with interviews of survivors.]

Revelations of sexual abuse inside the Catholic church shook Ireland to its core. Unreported Europe speaks to those who survived the paedophile priests and examines if the church has truly taken responsibility for the scandal.

Our lives are not as normal as other people who haven’t been abused. The abuse has just changed our attitude to life, changed our attitude to people. - Martin Gallagher, Survivor

Ireland has one of the largest Catholic communities in Europe. The Church is rooted into the culture of the country, but when Pope Francis visited Dublin in 2018 his words divided the nation.

Since 2002, multiple reports and investigations have shed light on nearly 15,000 cases of sexual abuse committed in Ireland between 1970 and 1990.

The pontiff had come to apologise for those crimes carried out by members of the Church’s clergy. For many survivors, the visit and remorse that came with it was far too late.

You know, you only have to do a few Google searches to see loads of examples of popes and bishops saying ‘We didn’t know’. Like the rest of society, we didn’t understand such things were possible. They did. They lied. - Colm O’Gorman, Survivor

Ampleforth College: £36k-per-year Catholic boarding school banned from taking new pupils after 'serious' failings

Sky News

November 27, 2020

By Tim Bake

The school was previously criticised by an independent inquiry into child sexual abuse in 2018.


A £36,000-a-year Catholic boarding school has been banned from admitting new students following "serious" failings on safeguarding and leadership standards.

Ampleforth College, which was previously criticised by an independent inquiry into child sexual abuse in 2018, was found to have "prioritised the monks and their own reputation over the protection of children".

The Department for Education (DfE) sent a letter to the North Yorkshire school's proprietor on Friday as part of an enforcement action.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson told the school to stop accepting new pupils to "safeguard the education and well-being of children".

The letter raised concerns from multiple inspection reports dating from 2016 onwards, and said the institution had failed to meet safeguarding and leadership standards.

Indian priest laicized for gross abuse of power

Union of Catholic Asian News

November 27, 2020

Pope Francis dismisses Bhopal priest who once accused his archbishop and two priests of trying to poison him

Pope Francis has laicized an Indian Catholic priest for gross abuse of ecclesiastical power and office.

Announcing the Vatican decision, Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal said in a statement that “now, with regret and pain, I wish to formally communicate to everyone that by an official decree from our Supreme Pontiff Pope Francis, on Oct. 22, 2020, Anand Muttungal (Joseph M.T.) of the Archdiocese of Bhopal has been dismissed in poenam (as a penalty) from the clerical state and dispensed from all his clerical obligations, including that of celibacy.”

However, Muttungal, the former public relations officer of Bhopal Archdiocese, said he was unaware of his dismissal.

“I must say that to date I have had no communication from the Vatican,” he said, adding he was not aware of the offense attributed to him that led to his dismissal.

Referring to a criminal case he had filed against Archbishop Cornelio and two other priests from the archdiocese, he said that “… authorities have been trying to get me to withdraw the criminal cases going on against them.”

Clergy sex abuse advocate welcomes AG's lawsuit against Catholic Diocese


November 24, 2020

By Michael Mroziak

An advocate for clergy sex abuse victims who had actively called for the removal of Bishop Richard Malone is praising the New York State Attorney General for her lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and its former top leadership.

Robert Hoatson, co-founder and president of Road to Recovery, appeared Tuesday in his usual chosen place for his Buffalo appearances, on the sidewalk across the street from the Catholic Center on Main Street. His podium displayed a sign declaring "Free At Last," a commentary on behalf of victims.

"We're free at last, we victims, we advocates, we are free at last because government officials have stepped in and have investigated and concluded that what occurred here was absolutely outrageous in this Diocese of Buffalo," he said. "Not just with Bishop Malone or Bishop Grosz, or even Bishop Scharfenberger, but for decades and decades and decades before that."

EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo Interviews Archbishop Viganò About McCarrick Report

National Catholic Register

November 13, 2020

By Raymond Arroyo Interviewing Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò

The archbishop, whose explosive letter in August 2018 helped trigger the Vatican investigation into McCarrick’s misconduct, explains why he believes the report is gravely flawed.

More than any other person except for Theodore McCarrick himself, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò is responsible for triggering the 449-page Vatican report released this week that details what other Church leaders knew about the disgraced ex-cardinal’s decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct, and the actions they took or failed to take with respect to what they had learned.

As the report itself documents, the archbishop was the first senior Vatican figure to call concretely for action to be undertaken against McCarrick, at a time when Archbishop Viganò was serving as a senior official in the Secretariat of State. Then, after the archbishop was subsequently posted to Washington as the U.S. nuncio from 2011 to 2016, he was again involved with the Vatican’s handling of the McCarrick file.

And in August 2018, Archbishop Viganò released his initial 11-page “testimony” regarding McCarrick, in which he accused numerous Church leaders of turning a blind eye to McCarrick’s misconduct — including the explosive claim that he personally told Pope Francis about the transgressions following the Holy Father’s election in 2013, and that the Pope ignored this information and tapped McCarrick to carry out duties on the behalf of the Vatican. The firestorm sparked by Archbishop Viganò’s document resulted in the Holy Father’s formal authorization of an investigation of all relevant documentation related to the allegations against McCarrick, and how they were handled.

Former Seminary Investigator: McCarrick Was ‘Epicenter’ of Problems

National Catholic Register

November 25, 2020

By Edward Pentin Interviewing Fr. John Lavers

Father John Lavers, who led a 2012 investigation into allegations of homosexual activity among seminarians at Holy Apostles Seminary, assesses the findings of the McCarrick Report

Vatican City - What are the strengths and weaknesses of the McCarrick Report, and what can be learned from it that could be applied to similar cases in the future?

Father John Lavers, a Canadian priest of the Diocese of Portsmouth in England, currently serves as the director of chaplaincy with Stella Maris (Apostleship of the Sea) in the United Kingdom. He led a 2012 investigation into allegations of homosexual behavior and activity at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Connecticut that led to the removal of 13 seminarians, primarily from the Archdiocese of Hartford and Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey.

Father Lavers’ investigation also indicated that a homosexual “pipeline” had been created that funneled vulnerable Latin American candidates into some U.S. seminaries where they were sexually exploited, and subsequently ordained as actively homosexual priests in some American dioceses.

And on the basis of the evidence collected for the Holy Apostles investigation, Father Lavers concluded that it was Theodore McCarrick himself who was at the “epicenter” of this powerful influential network that has preyed on seminarians, and has advanced homosexually active clergy within the U.S. Church.

Prior to becoming a priest, Father Lavers served in Canadian law enforcement and national security work. In this interview with the Register, he explains the nature of the report, how it falls short, and what he believes the next steps should be.

Father Lavers, what has been your initial reaction to the McCarrick Report?

I think the expectation of the report may have been overstated, even over-expected by people. It’s a report that would not be classified as investigative, but more of a gathering of data and analysis — almost like how you would approach an academic function: looking at the documents that the Vatican archives would have, as well as other information that they would have pulled from the various dioceses of the United States. But it’s not an investigative report.

And when I use the term “investigative report,” I use it from the perspective of how professional law enforcement, and/or intelligence services, would do, say, an investigation into this and in following all the leads as well as following the evidence. This report does not do that.

November 27, 2020

Study leads to benchmarks for sexual misconduct policies at US seminaries

Catholic News Service via Union of Catholic Asian News

November 27, 2020

By William Cone

Seminarians were surveyed anonymously about incidents of sexual misconduct at their schools of formation

Policy benchmarks developed from a study of sexual harassment and misconduct at seminaries and religious houses of formation in the United States are being promoted as a way to stem the abuses that came to light recently about former cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

The study was conducted in spring 2019 by the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, and the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in Washington.

Seminarians were surveyed anonymously about incidents of sexual misconduct at their schools of formation. The study found that, even though sexual misconduct is uncommon, there is low awareness among students of protocols for reporting such infractions.

Following the study's completion, a group of bishops, seminary rectors, faculty and lay consultants was formed to develop proactive policy guidelines. The policy benchmarks came from that McGrath Seminary Study Group.

"All of these people are very well respected in the field of seminary education and are regarded as reformers, I would say," said John Cavadini, Notre Dame theology professor and director of the McGrath Institute for Church Life, who convened the study group earlier this year. Two of the group members are presidents of national associations of seminary rectors.

Editorial: Blame to share

Catholic Register

November 26, 2020

In the weeks since the Vatican released its report regarding disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the blame game has been in full swing.

How is it possible, both critics and friends ask, that such a man as McCarrick could ever rise to the highest levels of the Church? It’s a good question, with not a lot of good answers.

The 460-page report does not lay blame on any one person or group. Instead, it has carefully followed the trail of facts and communiques inside and outside the Vatican regarding who knew what and when and how about the allegations of sexual misconduct against McCarrick. The issue of guilt isn’t addressed in the report; that had been decided by an investigation two years ago that found “credible” evidence against him. He was subsequently removed from the priesthood.

At the heart of the report compiled over two years is the Vatican’s response to the rumours and allegations that had been circulating about McCarrick for years. It’s clear the Vatican was guilty of turning a blind eye, ignoring warning signs and siding with the accused. The good news is that it has chosen not to keep its missteps hidden from public view.

Three popes are central to this story of course, because that’s where the buck stops. John Paul II fares the worst. He heard reports of McCarrick’s behaviour, ordered an investigation, but ultimately chose to believe his denials of wrongdoing, perhaps swayed by his own history in Poland of seeing people unjustly accused. Pope Benedict put restrictions on McCarrick that were largely ignored. Pope Francis was more proactive, ordering further investigation after more claims of abuse surfaced in 2018 and laicizing him last year. McCarrick is now 90 years old, whereabouts not publicly known, and there are no criminal charges filed against him.

Vatican's McCarrick Report Casts A Dark Cloud Over Pope John Paul II's Legacy


November 25, 2020

By Sylvia Poggioli

When St. John Paul II died in 2005 after nearly 27 years on the papal throne, his funeral drew millions to St. Peter's Square. The crowd soon broke out into spontaneous chants of "Santo subito" — "make him a saint immediately."

Days later, John Paul was put on the fast track, becoming a saint a record nine years after his death.

Now, many Catholics wonder whether that was too hasty. A recent report issued by the Vatican is casting a dark cloud over John Paul.

The report is the result of an investigation into Catholic leaders' failings in allowing now-disgraced former American Cardinal Theodore McCarrick to rise up the church hierarchy. Its explosive revelations have started to tarnish the legacy of the Polish-born pope and globetrotting media star who is credited with triggering the fall of communism in Europe.

McCarrick report is one small step to dismantling clerical culture

National Catholic Reporter

November 20, 2020

By Tom Roberts

It has long been understood by those who take a measured and thoughtful assessment of his papacy that the story of St. Pope John Paul II was sent off to the printer long before it was ready.

The narrative had not had time to mature, to incorporate the layers of complexity that marks us as truly human, to account for contradictions and flaws. The McCarrick report is the most persuasive evidence to date that the appellation "The Great" was applied too soon. In that regard, the report also serves as warning not to rush to conclusions about the abuse crisis itself.

John Paul II, confronted with the most damaging scandal the church faced in centuries, ignored the disturbing warnings from victims and from bishops entrusted with the care of the flock and instead embraced the adulation and counsel of serial predators. In doing so, he became not a figure of the courage that he persistently demanded of others, but the highest profile example of a corrupt hierarchical culture responsible for perpetuation of the abuse disgrace.

The editors of this publication do a great service to the church, and to sexual abuse victims, by asking the U.S. bishops to put the brakes on the John Paul II cult. It is, indeed, time to rein in the cult that has grown up around a garish superhero version of a pope.

The greatest value of the recent report, however, is not in establishing the weight of blame for the McCarrick debacle, though that is significant. Its greatest value is establishing that for all of his legendary achievements on the international front, at home John Paul II was a rather pedestrian member of a culture that has deep underlying maladies that became manifest in the abuse crisis. What he did, which warrants condemnation today, was not extraordinary at the time. He did what was expected of one deeply invested in and rewarded by the culture. He protected it at all costs, ignoring credible and impassioned warnings about McCarrick and another of his favorites, Marciel Maciel Degollado, founder of the corrupt Legionaries of Christ. The costs have been globally destructive of the church's credibility and authority.

Setting the record straight on NCR and McCarrick coverage

National Catholic Reporter

November 20, 2020

By Heidi Schlumpf

The McCarrick report, released Nov. 10, attempts to describe how former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick rose through the ranks of leadership in the church despite his abuse of children and vulnerable adults, mostly seminarians. The shorthand for its charge: "Who knew what, and when?"

Although primarily focused on popes, bishops and other church leaders, the report also briefly considers the role of journalists in exposing — or, in this case, not exposing — this particular story.

For those who did not read all 461 pages — and all 1,410 footnotes — I can tell you that the National Catholic Reporter is mentioned in four footnotes, referencing articles we have published about sexual abuse, including an interview with McCarrick, in Rome, by current Vatican correspondent Joshua McElwee in 2014.

Three of those footnoted articles were by NCR's former Vatican correspondent John Allen, who is now editor of Crux, the now-independent Catholic news website initially launched as a project of The Boston Globe.

Priest's Aboriginal victims sue Pope Francis over church's failures

Sydney Morning Herald

November 27, 2020

By Chip Le Grand

Pope Francis has been named as a defendant in a Victorian Supreme Court damages claim by three Aboriginal men who were sexually assaulted as young boys by paedophile priest Michael Glennon after the Vatican knew of his crimes against children but did not defrock him.

It is the first known case in Australia in which victims of clerical sexual abuse have sought to hold the world’s most senior Catholic personally responsible for his church’s failure to take decisive action against predators in its ranks.

The three plaintiffs, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, all claim to have experienced significant, ongoing impacts from their childhood abuse including drug addiction, homelessness and unemployment.

They are seeking compensation and exemplary or punitive damages against Pope Francis, the Archdiocese of Melbourne and Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli for the inaction of their predecessors.

If successful it would represent the first time an Australian court has punished the church – as distinct from compensating victims of abuse – for its failure to protect children from paedophile priests.

Catholics angered, saddened by Montreal Church's mishandling of abusive priest

CBC News

November 26, 2020

By Leah Hendry and Steve Rukavina

'The sheep are not following the church blindly anymore,' one former parishioner says

People who tried to warn Montreal's Catholic Archdiocese about a pedophile priest say they're sad, angry and overwhelmed by an explosive report outlining the church's repeated failures to heed their warnings.

The Montreal archdiocese asked retired Quebec Superior Court justice Pepita Capriolo to investigate the church's handling of allegations against former priest Brian Boucher, who was convicted in January 2019 of sexually abusing two young boys.

Capriolo's report, released Wednesday, outlines the failures of top officials in the Montreal diocese to take action after repeated red flags about Boucher were raised.

"I have to tell you I'm overwhelmed by what Justice Capriolo has put together," Kurt Reckziegel, a parishioner at Our Lady of the Annunciation Church in the Town of Mount Royal, said Thursday.

This archbishop is about to become the first African American cardinal in Catholic history


November 27, 2020

By Daniel Burke and Delia Gallagher

Rome - For the past week, Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington, DC, has been holed up in a Vatican guesthouse, receiving meals at his door.

On Saturday afternoon, if all goes as planned, Gregory will step out of his quarters and into history. During an installation ceremony planned for 4pm in Rome, Gregory will become the first African American cardinal in Catholic history.

Gregory will be one of 13 men -- and the only American -- elevated to the College of Cardinal during Saturday's ceremony. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, two bishops will not be in Rome, another first in church history, according to Vatican News.

In keeping with the Pope's concerns for Catholics who have been historically marginalized, the other soon-to-be cardinals include men from Rwanda, Brunei, Chile and the Philippines.

Gregory, 72, already the highest-ranking African-American Catholic in US history, told CNN this week that he has been praying, writing homilies and letters to well-wishers, and reflecting on his new role.

Bishop Barron praises Mary MacKillop’s efforts to renounce clerical abuse

Catholic Leader - Archdiocese of Brisbane

November 27, 2020

By Joe Higgins

In light of the McCarrick Report, detailing the abuse of disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Los Angeles auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron appeared on his Word on Fire podcast and praised a name familiar to Australians.

Host Brandon Vogt asked Bishop Barron about how to understand the abuse crisis from a historic lens and how saints had responded to similar crises in the past.

Bishop Barron mentioned the great reformers like St Francis of Assisi and St Ignatius Loyola, and said Australian St Mary MacKillop came to his mind “very powerfully”.

“She (St Mary MacKillop) brought this issue to light and she suffered enormously for it,” he said.

“(She was) facing a Church that was in many ways problematic and dysfunctional, but she brought this issue forward.”

Bishop Barron lamented how many Catholics fell into resentment with the Church over the abuse scandals and other scandals too.

November 26, 2020

Report on the investigation regarding Brian Boucher’s career in the Catholic Church

Archdiocese of Montreal

November 25, 2020

By Justice Pepita G. Capriolo

The author of this report was mandated by Archbishop Christian Lépine to investigate “who knew what when” in regard to Brian Boucher’s actions during his career within the Catholic Church and to formulate recommendations to the Archdiocese, with the view that such behaviours not be repeated.

To do so, the author searched for and analyzed in detail hundreds of documents and interviewed more than 60 witnesses. She received the assistance and support of Bishop Thomas Dowd, appointed by Archbishop Lépine as her liaison with the clergy, but she was not in any way directed or censored in her work. Indeed, the author had complete autonomous access to all documents, including those contained in the Secret Archives, which even Bishop Dowd could not consult. Furthermore, she was able to interview anyone whose testimony she judged useful.

The involvement of Brian Boucher in the Catholic Church covers a long period: from his time as a catechist in the mid-1980s to 2019, when he was convicted and sentenced on two counts of sexual assault of a minor. Throughout these years, his suitability as a seminarian and later as a priest was often questioned, but it was only in December of 2015 that a serious investigation began, leading to Boucher’s canonical and criminal trials. Brian Boucher is no longer a priest and is currently serving an eight-year sentence.

Until 2016, no one had come forward and claimed having been Boucher’s victim of sexual abuse while still a minor. No parent had ever brought such a charge against Boucher to the attention of his superiors. But this is no cause for premature exoneration of the Church authorities. Many people had complained about Boucher’s unacceptable behaviour over the years: he was rude, authoritarian, overly intense, intransigent, homophobic, racist, misogynist and verbally, and sometimes even physically, aggressive. These complaints were repeatedly reported to his superiors. Rumours about his untoward interest in young boys had been circulating since the 1980s and communicated to those in charge of the Grand Séminaire de Montréal as well as to the Archdiocese. These rumours later became more concrete: Boucher was observed having a very close and worrisome relationship with a young boy at the end of the 1990s. No concrete evidence of sex abuse was brought forth- but how often is this behaviour caught on camera? Despite the concerns raised over this relationship and brought to the attention of the authorities in ever-increasing detail, no investigation was undertaken at the time.

A contemporary unwanted sexual advance directed at an 18-year-old was dismissed and erased from the collective written memory of the Church. A later, heartbreaking abusive relationship with a 19-year-old student under Boucher’s tutelage when he was Chaplain of the Newman Centre became the tipping point … to send Boucher for psychological treatment!

The overly vague psychological evaluation of Boucher done by the Southdown Institute in 2003 had the disastrous effect of appearing to shield him from any suspicion of being a child molester, until Bishop Dowd began his investigation in December 2015, twelve years later. The reports containing the conclusions based on Southdown’s therapeutic approach also gave the impression that Boucher’s aggressive and inappropriate behaviour had been “fixed.”

Despite Southdown psychological reassurance, rumours persisted and another complaint about inappropriate behaviour with a minor was sent to the diocesan authorities and quickly dismissed in 2006. In 2011, a senior official of the Church wrote a lengthy, detailed summary of Boucher’s ongoing failings in order to stop his reappointment as pastor of a parish. The official left on extended sick leave and Boucher was reappointed.

Boucher was finally caught in his own lies: he claimed that, during his sabbatical studies in Washington, he had been the victim of sexual abuse by a much younger man, a fellow priest. Bishop Dowd investigated this claim and quickly realized, given the evidence he found, that Boucher had been the perpetrator and not the victim. Once a broader investigation was started, Bishop Dowd discovered the existence of at least two child victims.

Boucher’s deplorable story is told in detail over 150 pages of the report.

Archdiocese of Montreal releases independent report on complaints against former priest Brian Boucher

Archdiocese of Montreal

November 25, 2020


The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Montreal has released the report of an independent investigation into its handling of complaints against former diocesan priest Brian Boucher. The 276-page report, authored by the Honourable Pepita G. Capriolo, retired Québec Superior Court Justice, was made public at a press conference today by Archbishop Christian Lépine with Justice Capriolo.

The Archbishop commissioned Justice Capriolo in November 2019 to investigate "who knew what when" regarding complaints made against Mr. Boucher, from his seminary days until 2019. The Archdiocese had initiated a canonical investigation into his behaviour four years earlier, in 2015.

"I had the support of the Archbishop. At no point did he or any other member of the diocese attempt to limit or restrict my investigations,'' the retired justice said during the press conference. The author of the report was given independent access to hundreds of documents and interviewed everyone whose testimony she deemed relevant, which was more than 60 witnesses. The report concludes with 31 recommendations designed to ensure responsibility, transparency and accountability within the organization of the Archdiocese and thus mitigate a recurrence of similar abuses.

The report reveals that, in the course of Brian Boucher's involvement with the Archdiocese, his suitability both as a seminarian and a priest were the subject of repeated complaints. It was only in 2015 that the diocese undertook a comprehensive investigation into his behaviour.

Catholic Church wilfully blind again, leaders of victims groups say

Montreal Gazette via Strathroy Age Dispatch

November 25, 2020

By Paul Cherry

The culture of silence has ruled supreme within the Catholic Church for years, a former abuse victim says.

The disturbing details that emerged from Justice Pepita Capriolo’s report on how the Catholic Church ignored warning signs and adopted a culture of secrecy as Brian Boucher, now a convicted pedophile, made his way toward being ordained a priest sounded all too familiar to people who represent other victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests in Quebec.

Boucher, now 58, was convicted last year of sexually assaulting two boys: one while working at Our Lady of the Annunciation Church in Town of Mount Royal, the other at St. John Brébeuf Parish in LaSalle.

Capriolo was asked to do an audit of the time Boucher spent in the Catholic Church and found warning signs were ignored before he was ordained.

“I think we can certainly talk about wilful blindness which was for the longest time the modus operandi of the Roman Catholic Church in Quebec and elsewhere in cases of abuse of children,” said Carlo Tarini, director of communication for the Comité des victimes des prêtres. The group has supported victims of abuse who have filed class-action suits against Catholic orders in the past.

“Certainly, the prevailing method of dealing with pedophile priests was to tell them they should pray to redeem their sins. Unfortunately, prayers have nothing to do with preventing pedophiles from abusing children, which is something the Church should have certainly known,” Tarini said.

Review slams Montreal church’s handling of pedophile priest

The Globe and Mail from Canadian Press

November 25, 2020

By Sidhartha Banerjee

Montreal’s archdiocese did little to address complaints against a pedophile priest and seemed more interested in protecting his reputation than his victims, according to an independent review released Wednesday.

Former Quebec Superior Court justice Pepita G. Capriolo’s report highlighted numerous deficiencies in the church’s response to complaints against Brian Boucher. The priest was sentenced in March, 2019, to eight years in prison for abusing two boys.

“Secrecy is everywhere in this file,” Ms. Capriolo wrote in her report. “Secret archives, secret hiding places for sensitive documents and documents so secret they have been eliminated completely.”

Ms. Capriolo told a news conference Wednesday the church improperly handled complaints against Mr. Boucher from the 1980s to the end of 2015. “Yet Boucher’s inexcusable behaviour had been the subject of a slew of complaints from the very start of his career in the church.”

Report blames top Montreal Church officials for ignoring complaints about priest who preyed on young boys

CBC News

November 25, 2020

By Benjamin Shingler

Catholic Church officials protected Brian Boucher's reputation for years before he was arrested, report says

Montreal - A Montreal priest was able to sexually abuse two young boys and terrorize several others over a 20-year span because top officials in the Catholic Church ignored complaints about his behaviour and, in some cases, tried to keep serious allegations secret, according to a damning new report.

The priest, Brian Boucher, worked at 10 churches in Montreal during his career, which began in the early 1980s. He was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2019 after being found guilty in one case and pleading guilty in another.

After Boucher was sentenced, the church commissioned former Quebec Superior Court justice Pepita Capriolo to investigate how the crimes could have gone undetected for so long.

As she released her report on Wednesday, Capriolo placed blame on the upper echelons of Montreal's Catholic Church. She said officials preferred to turn a blind eye rather than investigate mounting complaints about Boucher.

Temple priest arrested in Bengaluru for allegedly sexually assaulting 10-yr-old girl


November 26, 2020

The incident occurred on Tuesday in Devanahalli and the accused, Venkataramanappa, has been arrested.

A 62-year-old temple priest was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly raping a 10-year-old girl in Devanahalli, located in the northeast Bengaluru. The priest allegedly sexually assaulted the 10-year-old girl at his daughter’s residence. The incident was first reported by Deccan Herald. The accused has been identified as 62-year-old Venkataramanappa. According to the police, on Tuesday, he had gone to visit his daughter at around 4 pm in Devanahalli, when he saw the 10-year-old girl playing outside.

Deputy Commissioner of North East Bengaluru, CK Baba, said that at around 4.30 pm, Venkataramanappa allegedly lured the girl inside, into his daughter’s home, and is said to have sexually assaulted her. DCP Baba said that the girl and her family live in the neighbourhood and so she often plays in the area.

When the girl did not return home after a long time, her parents began looking for her. They went to the temple, located near the accused’s daughter’s home, and asked street vendors whether they had seen their daughter. A flower vendor allegedly informed the girl’s father that she had gone into the accused’s daughter’s house.

'He will be away from children': Houston-area priest pleads guilty to child indecency charges

NBC News / Telemundo

November 25, 2020

By Belisa Morillo and Luis Antonio Hernández

One accuser said Manuel La Rosa-Lopez' upcoming sentence gives him a sense of justice, as well as hope that the Catholic Church "will change the way it does things."

A Houston-area priest has pleaded guilty to child indecency charges in a case that has put a focus on the archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and its failures over the handling of sexual abuse cases.

The Rev. Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, 62, pleaded guilty to two out of five charges of indecency with a child Nov. 17, as part of an agreement with the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office. He faces 10 years in prison in the case which deals with allegations that he molested two teens more than 20 years ago after gaining the trust of their families; his sentencing is Dec. 16.

La Rosa-Lopez avoided a possible 20-year sentence with the guilty plea.

"We offered him to plead guilty on two of the greater charges, which were second-degree felonies, indecency with a child," Montgomery County chief prosecutor Nancy Hebert told Noticias Telemundo Investiga. "In exchange for that plea, we're dismissing the other three charges."

Priest jailed for theft blames Catholic doctrine, also facing sex abuse charges

Catholic News Agency

November 25, 2020

By JD Flynn

A South Dakota priest has been sentenced to almost eight years in federal prison, after he was convicted of 65 felonies related to stealing donations from Catholic parishes. Ordered to pay more than $300,000 in restitution, the priest said he stole in part because he disagrees with Catholic doctrine on homosexuality.

The priest is also facing federal criminal charges related to child sexual abuse and possession of child pornography.

Fr. Marcin Garbacz, 42, was convicted in March of wire fraud, money laundering, and tax fraud — crimes he committed while serving as a chaplain and Catholic school teacher in the Diocese of Rapid City, between 2012 and 2018. Garbacz was ordained a priest in 2004.

Prosecutors said the priest stole more than $250,000 from parishes, spending some money on artwork, a piano, a Cadillac, liturgical items, and a $10,000 diamond ring.

Target 11 receives more complaints about Pittsburgh Diocese Compensation Fund


November 25, 2020

By Rick Earle

After a Target 11 Investigation into the independent compensation fund established by the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese to pay victims of clergy sex abuse, Investigator Rick Earle received more complaints about the diocese.

Several victims of clergy sex abuse reached out to Target 11 and expressed concern about a lack of response by the diocese. Three victims said they reached out to the diocese after the grand jury report on clergy sex abuse was released and they said they never got any response. The men, all of whom are in their 50′s and 60′s now, said there were abused by the same priest at a church in Lawrenceville. All three said they left their contact information with the diocese but never got a response.

Two of the victims did not want their names used, but both expressed frustration and concern with the process. A third victim decided to speak publicly about the alleged abuse and his efforts to contact the diocese.

Child abuse in the Catholic Church — a scandalous approach to scandal

Deutsche Welle

November 25, 2020

By Melina Grundmann

Karl Haucke was sexually abused by a priest for years. He and other survivors were promised an investigation. But the Catholic Church has decided not to publish the findings. To Haucke, this is a repeat of the abuse.

Standing on the banks of the Rhine river, practically in the shadows of Cologne's cathedral, Karl Haucke says he has lost faith in the Catholic Church. His story begins in the early 1960s, when he was sent to boarding school in the West German capital at the time, Bonn. From the age of eleven, he was regularly abused by a priest for four years — at least once a week.

But the abuse was not just of a physical, sexual nature. The priest made him relate the stories during the weekly confession. "Confession includes penance. Depending on the abuser’s mood, he might say 'I’ll come around to your bed tonight or tomorrow.' Then it would start all over again."

Back then, Haucke had no one to talk to about it and no way of figuring out what was being done to him. He was unaware that the same thing was happening to many of his fellow pupils. "We had no words to describe what was being done to us. Nor did we know what it meant. And it did not stop at physical pain. We had a clear sense of humiliation and being used," says Karl Haucke.

As an adult, he had no concrete memory of the abuse. He turned into a workaholic, toiling for as many as fourteen hours a day without even knowing why. A racing heart and other symptoms of trauma had long since become familiar companions.

Then, Haucke suddenly realized what was going on. It was in 2010 when the news of the biggest sexual abuse scandal in the history of the Catholic Church broke in Germany and thousands of abuse cases in church institutions were gradually revealed.

November 25, 2020

Confessions of a Vatican source: Jason Berry on the McCarrick report

National Catholic Reporter

November 25, 2020

by Jason Berry

When Pope John Paul II made Theodore McCarrick a cardinal in 2001, the archbishop of Washington, D.C., was a silk-between-the-fingers fundraiser. A year later, when the pope summoned the U.S. cardinals to Rome to confront the abuse crisis, McCarrick took the lead at press conferences — a bold move, given his revelation to The Washington Post and CNN that accusations against him had been investigated and found false.

In the ensuing years, McCarrick traveled the globe as an unofficial church diplomat, and rumors spread that he had slept with seminarians while a bishop in Metuchen and Newark, New Jersey, using a beach house on the Jersey Shore. Rumors no journalist could pin down.

As the genial, glad-handing cardinal gained a high media profile, he seemed to be almost everywhere, even leading graveside prayers on TV at the funeral for Sen. Edward Kennedy.

And yet, as we now know from the 449-page Vatican report on McCarrick, two New Jersey dioceses had quietly paid settlements to victims by 2007. In 2018, after more lawsuits and survivors spoke out, a Vatican tribunal at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found him guilty of moral crimes. Pope Francis approved McCarrick's laicization, stripping him of priestly status, and ordered an investigation on how McCarrick had avoided detection for so long.

Priests' defamation suits are the latest wrinkle in sex-abuse fallout

National Catholic Reporter

November 25, 2020

By Mark Nacinovich

As U.S. dioceses continue to pay out big settlements for lawsuits, the church is facing another nettlesome problem stemming from the abuse scandal: Priests who say they were falsely accused are suing for defamation.

In August 2018, shortly after a Pennsylvania grand jury report listed more than 300 priests in six dioceses in the state who had been credibly accused of abusing more than 1,000 minors since 1947, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson asked the three dioceses in his state to turn over files on church personnel credibly accused of sexual abuse since 1978.

Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha complied with that request, and in November 2018, the Omaha Archdiocese published a list of the names of 38 priests and deacons who had faced "substantiated claims" of abuse in the archdiocese.

The fallout from that list reverberates today. One of the priests whose name was on it — Fr. Andrew Syring — is suing the Omaha Archdiocese for defamation, counted among those priests who say they have been unfairly swept up in the church's effort to repair its reputation and put the crisis behind it.

Lyle Koenig, Syring's lawyer, said his client's defamation suit is one of 20 to 25 similar cases in the country. By comparison, 7,002 priests were "credibly" or "not implausibly" accused of abuse in the U.S. between 1950 and June 30, 2018, according to BishopAccountability.org, which cited published information from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Allentown Diocese has paid $16 million to abuse victims

Morning Call

November 24, 2020

By Peter Hall

The Allentown Diocese has paid nearly $16 million to victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy, it reported Tuesday, as the program to compensate victims draws to a close.

The payments, totaling $15.85 million, were made to 96 abuse victims through the diocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, according to a final report by an independent committee appointed to oversee the program.

Allentown was among seven Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses to establish compensation funds in the wake of a 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report that revealed efforts to hide decades of sexual abuse by hundreds of priests.

Administered by Washington, D.C., attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who is also overseeing compensation programs for abuse victims in other dioceses, Allentown’s program accepted applications from April to September 2019, receiving 106, the diocese reported.

Six of those applicants rejected offers totaling $1.18 million, three were deemed ineligible and one offer remains outstanding, the report says. The payments averaged about $165,000 per victim and came with a stipulation that those accepting them would not sue.

Archbishop Gregory stood up to Trump. Now he’s about to be the first Black cardinal in U.S.

Los Angeles Times

November 25, 2020

By Tracy Wilkinson

Washington DC - Few of his parishioners were surprised when Washington, D.C., Archbishop Wilton Gregory took on President Trump.

Gregory isn’t known to speak out often about issues specifically facing Black Americans. But when he does, it is unambiguous and forceful — in words unusually strong for a man of the cloth.

In selecting Gregory, 72, Francis is rewarding a man who over the decades took courageous stands to end sexual abuse by clergy. They were positions that at times seemed to sideline his career, but that put him, his supporters say, on the right side of history and on a firm moral footing.

Like most Black people in the United States, Gregory was not born into the Catholic faith, growing up in a Protestant denomination. It was largely with the great migration of Black Americans from the South to the North in the first half of the 20th century that many turned to Catholicism, drawn partly by its educational opportunities and social work in urban areas.

As a child on the South Side of Chicago, the young Gregory so admired the nuns who taught him in the grade at his Catholic school that he decided he wanted to become a priest. He informed the school’s head father of this ambition, according to a story Gregory often relates. He was told: Well, maybe you should become a Catholic first.

And so he did, taking his first communion while in elementary school.

Lawyer cites 'cover-up' after pastor removed at Plymouth's Our Lady of Good Counsel

Detroit News

November 24, 2020

By Mark Hicks

A priest recently removed from leading an Archdiocese of Detroit parish after church leaders said he was “overwhelmed with the responsibilities” is challenging the decision, claiming it was retaliation for his objections to another leader's alleged sexual harassment and abuse

The Rev. Michael Suhy, who had been pastor at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Plymouth, was targeted because he "refused to be quiet," his lawyer, Ron Thompson, told The Detroit News. "This is a cover-up. This is once again the Catholic Church trying to hide their misconduct."

The Rev. Michael Suhy was pastor at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church in Plymouth.
Archdiocese officials dispute the claim, saying Suhy could no longer handle his duties.

"The discussions aimed at getting Fr. Suhy to step aside voluntarily for his good and the good of the parish started — with him — this past spring," said Ned McGrath, a spokesman for the archdiocese, in an email Tuesday. "Ultimately and unfortunately, his intransigence triggered a canonical process for his removal."

The McCarrick report: Victims show fear, courage, anger, need for action

Catholic News Service via Hawaii Catholic Herald

November 25, 2020

By Carol Glatz

Vatican City - The Vatican Secretariat of State’s report on Theodore E. McCarrick provides a glimpse into how a number of witnesses and victims of the former cardinal’s abuse sought numerous ways to alert church officials and were disturbingly aware their allegations might trigger repercussions.

Over its 460 pages, the report also reveals how much difference 30 years can make when it comes to flagging misconduct and abuse.

The report begins with a New York mother’s account of writing to every U.S. cardinal and the papal representative in the mid-1980s detailing McCarrick’s “dangerous” behavior toward her underage sons. Having left no address or legible name, her red-flag warnings went unheeded.

Decades later, in 2017, when the Archdiocese of New York received an allegation of the sexual abuse of minor by McCarrick in the early 1970s, the report showed how the archdiocese’s now mandatory reporting system and procedures resulted in McCarrick’s eventual dismissal first from the College of Cardinals and, later, from the priesthood.

But for decades in between, the victims and witnesses described in the report recount how they struggled to figure out if and how they should or could make their claims in essentially a no-man’s land for accusations.

Montreal archdiocese to release report on response to pedophile priest Brian Boucher

Canadian Press via Global News

November 25, 2020

A review of the Catholic archdiocese of Montreal’s handling of complaints against a pedophile priest is to be released today.

The archdiocese enlisted former Quebec Superior Court justice Pepita Capriolo to examine the church’s response to complaints against former priest Brian Boucher.

Archbishop Christian Lépine is expected to speak about the report, tabled in September, at a news conference Wednesday.

Experts: Seminaries need clear sexual harassment guidelines to prevent clerical abuse

America Magazine

November 24, 2020

By Michael J. O’Loughlin

Theodore E. McCarrick, middle row center, is seen with fellow seminarians in a close-up of the official portrait of the class of 1958 of St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, N.Y. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
When the former cardinal Theodore McCarrick was bishop of the diocese of Metuchen, N.J., he routinely asked seminarians to join him at his vacation home, visits that regularly included the bishop sharing a bed with young men. Any reasonable standards would characterize those episodes, in which a powerful authority figure even suggested sharing a bed with students, as instances of sexual harassment. Stories like these led to Mr. McCarrick’s downfall, as was laid out in a recent Vatican investigation into allegations of harassment and abuse.

But a group of theologians, bishops and administrative professionals say that, even decades after Mr. McCarrick’s abuse, seminaries and formation houses are still learning how best to equip their students to recognize and report inappropriate behavior. According to the working group, assembled by the University of Notre Dame theologian John Cavadini, seminary and formation house leaders should strive to implement five benchmarks when it comes to protecting faculty, staff and students. There is a need, the group agreed, for regular training on harassment policies, clarity around reporting and investigating, support for victims, periodic review of policies, and the ability to apply guidelines to specific conditions. Meeting these benchmarks would not only protect seminarians from abuse and harassment but could also shape the culture in parishes.

“It’s not just policy training but part of the seminarian’s human and pastoral formation. These seminarians are going to be priests, and we want them to go away from the seminary formed in the kind of culture that takes this seriously,” Mr. Cavadini, who directs the McGrath Institute for Church Life, told America.

According to research released last year from the McGrath Institute and the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, 6 percent of active Catholic seminarians surveyed in 2019 said they had been subject to sexual harassment, abuse or misconduct. Nine in 10 seminarians said they had not been subjected to sexual harassment, abuse or misconduct.

US Catholic bishops' response to McCarrick report is sad but predictable

National Catholic Reporter

November 23, 2020

By Thomas Reese

The discussion of the Vatican report on ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick by the U.S. bishops at their annual fall meeting was sad but predictable — sad because the bishops failed to communicate that they understood the report's implications; predictable in that some bishops defended John Paul II against the report's finding that the pontiff shared culpability in the McCarrick case.

The report, released Nov. 10, acknowledged that despite it being known that McCarrick was sleeping with seminarians, he was promoted to the Archdiocese of Washington and made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II.

It would have been better for the bishops to acknowledge the pope’s failure and argue that if he were alive today, he would be apologizing for his mistakes. In their 45-minute public discussion of the report, followed by 90 minutes of talking privately about it, they did neither.

Bishops are reluctant to criticize John Paul’s record of appointing and promoting bishops because most of them were appointed the same way by the same pope. To acknowledge his failures would open the possibility that they, too, were selected through a defective process that stressed loyalty over other factors.

“It can't be a bad system; it selected me,” would be the attitude of most bishops.

Only Bishop Mark Brennan of Wheeling-Charleston suggested that the process should be improved. He proposed giving 30 to 60 days at the end of the process for people to comment on a candidate before his appointment was finalized. That way, he said, “We might avoid appointing someone to the episcopacy who did not deserve it.”

Advocates praise New York AG for filing lawsuit against Buffalo Diocese


November 24, 2020

"We are free at last because government officials have stepped in."

Just one day after New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced a lawsuit against the Buffalo Diocese, alleging that diocesan leadership covered up credible claims of improper sexual conduct by priests, sex abuse victims advocate Robert Hoatson stood in front of the diocese proclaiming a victory for survivors.

"We victims, we advocates, we are free at last because government officials have stepped in and have investigated and concluded that what occurred here was absolutely outrageous," said Hoatson. "This report from Attorney General Letitia James outlines what we have known for decades: that the church refuses to take accountability for its actions and to reform its actions because we're still experiencing the same kind of behaviors.

"If you look at the statement that came out of Mr. Tucker last night, that came out of the diocese, they continue to use the same words," Hoatson continued. "'Oh, we have zero tolerance for anybody who sexually abuses a child here in the Diocese of Buffalo,' but we know that is not true."

Read the full diocese statement below:

"We will be reviewing this lawsuit just announced by the New York Attorney General and weighing the Diocese’s response. In the meantime, we wish to reiterate that there is zero tolerance for sexual abuse of a minor or of sexual harassment of an adult in the Diocese of Buffalo by any member of the clergy, employee or volunteer. The Diocese has put in place rigorous policies and protocols governing required behavior as well as a code of conduct which all clergy are expected to abide by. Moreover, the Diocese has committed to full cooperation with all civil authorities in both the reporting and investigation of alleged crimes and complaints.”

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who was made famous for representing victims and helping to expose the Boston Diocese in the early 2000's, joined Hoatson's press conference via phone, and he praised James for filing the lawsuit, saying steps like that are part of the healing process for victims.

November 24, 2020

New York Attorney General sues bishops Malone, Grosz and Buffalo Diocese for failing to protect children


November 23, 2020

By Charlie Specht

AG says diocese ‘engaged in cover-up’ of priests

New York State Attorney General Letitia James on Monday sued the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and former bishops Richard J. Malone and Edward M. Grosz for failing to protect children and for engaging in a decades-long cover-up of sexual abuse by diocesan priests.

New York’s top prosecutor also filed a motion that seeks to force a full public disclosure of predatory priests and their actions against those whom they were entrusted with spiritual care, and is seeking a court-appointed monitor that would ensure that interim Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger complies with sexual abuse policies and procedures.

The state is also seeking to bar both Malone and Grosz -- who resigned their positions last year after a Vatican investigation -- from serving in secular fiduciary roles in any nonprofits or charitable organizations in New York State.

“When trust is broken with spiritual leaders, it can lead to a crisis of faith,” James said in a news release. “For years, the Diocese of Buffalo and its leadership failed to protect children from sexual abuse. Instead, they chose to protect the very priests who were credibly accused of these atrocious acts. Individuals who are victims of abuse deserve to have their claims timely investigated and determined, and the Buffalo Diocese refused to give them that chance.”

Class action against Oblate priests jumps to 190 alleged victims from across Quebec

CBC News

November 24, 2020

By Julia Page

A class-action lawsuit launched against a Catholic religious order in 2018 has grown from the initial 30 Innu claimants on Quebec's Lower North Shore to 190 Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from across Quebec.

Allegations of sexual abuse by priests with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate initially surfaced during the federal inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG).

Those allegations have now multiplied across several First Nations, where the clergy tried to "silence repeated sexual assaults it was well aware of," according to court documents submitted to Quebec Superior Court, in the request for authorization for the class action.

[Photo caption: Several priests in this photo, taken in the 1980s in the Sept-Îles region, have been named in the class action suit against the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. (Submitted by Institut Tshakapesh)]

The inquiry's stop in Mani-Utenam in November 2017, an Innu community near Sept-Îles, on Quebec's North Shore, revealed decades of alleged abuse against Innu children and women living in Unamen Shipu and Pakua Shipu, on the province's Lower North Shore.

Alexis Joveneau, a Belgian priest who arrived in the region in the 1950s, held a tight grip on the Innu communities where he worked, until his death in 1992.

Detroit Catholic Archdiocese removes priest from Plymouth parish

Detroit Free Press

November 24, 2020

By Niraj Warikoo

The Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit has removed the pastor of a large church in Plymouth, alleging he was not able to handle the responsibilities of the parish. But the pastor is claiming he was unfairly targeted for speaking out on what he says was a harassment case involving an employee of the Archdiocese.

The Rev. Michael Suhy, pastor at Our Lady of Good Counsel parish, was told last week that he was being removed from the church he led.

Auxiliary Bishop Gerard Battersby said in a statement: "One of Archbishop Vigneron’s conclusions was that Father Suhy has become overwhelmed with the responsibilities, burdens, and challenges of administrating a large and complex parish like Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish with its added dimension of having a school. Following the required consultations and fact-finding, the action taken on Nov. 17 was believed necessary for Father Suhy’s well-being, and also for the well-being of the parish, parishioners, and school."

New York Attorney General sues Buffalo Diocese for 'sex abuse cover-up'


November 23, 2020

New York's Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against the Buffalo Catholic Diocese, alleging its leaders protected priests accused of child sex abuse.

Attorney General Letita James said the diocese and two now-retired leaders failed to refer over two dozen accused priests to the Vatican for removal.

In response, the diocese pledged "full cooperation" with authorities.

It is the first suit to come from a state inquiry that began in 2018. Seven other dioceses are under investigation.

Announcing the lawsuit on Twitter, Ms James promised to bring those responsible to justice.

"While we will never be able to undo these horrific acts, we will do everything in our power to hold the Buffalo Diocese and its leadership accountable and ensure this never happens again."

November 23, 2020

Attorney General James Takes Action Against Catholic Diocese of Buffalo for Failing to Protect Minors from Sexual Abuse by Clergy

Attorney General of the State of New York

November 23, 2020


Church Leadership Failed to Respond to Sexual Abuse Allegations,
Engaged in Cover-Up of Credible Claims of Improper Sexual Conduct by Priests

Buffalo - New York Attorney General Letitia James today filed a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and former senior leaders, Bishop Emeritus Richard J. Malone and former Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Grosz, for failing to follow mandated policies and procedures that would help to prevent the rampant sexual abuse of minors by priests within the Catholic Church. The Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) two year-long investigation into the sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults within the New York dioceses of the Catholic Church found that allegations of improper sexual conduct against diocesan priests in Buffalo were inadequately investigated, if at all, and were covered-up for years. Even though the diocese’s leadership found sexual abuse complaints to be credible, they sheltered the accused priests from public disclosure by deeming them as “unassignable,” and permitted them to retire or go on purported medical leave, rather than face referral to the Vatican for possible removal from the priesthood.

“When trust is broken with spiritual leaders, it can lead to a crisis of faith. For years, the Diocese of Buffalo and its leadership failed to protect children from sexual abuse,” said Attorney General James. “Instead, they chose to protect the very priests who were credibly accused of these atrocious acts. Individuals who are victims of abuse deserve to have their claims timely investigated and determined, and the Buffalo Diocese refused to give them that chance. While we will never be able to undo the wrongs of the past, I can guarantee that my office will do everything in its power to ensure trust, transparency, and accountability moving forward.”

In addition to today’s suit, Attorney General James filed a motion to allow for the disclosure of the accused priests’ names and alleged conduct outlined in the complaint. [See also the memorandum supporting the motion.]


Attorney General of the State of New York

November 23, 2020

By Letitia James et al.

The Attorney General brings this lawsuit to obtain remedial and injunctive relief for the persistent violation of New York nonprofit law by the Diocese of Buffalo (the “Diocesan Corporation” or the “Diocese”). For nearly two decades, the Diocesan Corporation ignored standards established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (“USCCB”) in June 2002 to address and prevent the sexual abuse of minors by U.S. clergy. In direct defiance of the USCCB’s public commitment to reform, the Diocesan Corporation, through the conduct of its senior leadership, evaded key provisions of these standards, ignoring requirements for the investigation and review of alleged clergy sexual abuse.

2. Complaints of sexual abuse against priests continued unabated at the Diocesan Corporation from 2002 forward. Rather than adequately investigate and formally review the allegations to determine if priests were qualified to maintain their clerical status, the Diocesan Corporation privately designated priests that it considered to have abused minors as “unassignable.” Some of these unassignable priests were removed from ministry or allowed to retire in anticipation or shortly after the adoption of the USCCB’s 2002 standards. The Diocese permitted these unassignable priests to remain incardinated without any meaningful supervision or monitoring. These tactics together amounted to a practice of non-compliance with the USCCB’s principles and procedures, and they operated to conceal the actual nature and scope of sexual abuse allegations in the Diocesan Corporation.

AG sues Buffalo Diocese, alleging misuse of funds in covering up sex abuse cases

Buffalo News

November 23, 2020

By Jay Tokasz


New York Attorney General Letitia James on Monday sued the Buffalo Diocese, along with retired Bishop Richard J. Malone and retired Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Grosz, alleging that diocese leaders protected more than two dozen priests accused of child sexual abuse by not referring their cases to the Vatican for potential removal from the priesthood.

The civil lawsuit filed in State Supreme Court in New York County accused Malone and Grosz of misusing charitable assets by supporting priests the diocese considered to have committed sexual abuse.

The lawsuit was accompanied by the release of a 218-page report on the attorney general’s two-year investigation into Catholic dioceses across the state, with a focus on allegations of a coverup of improper sexual conduct by diocesan priests in the Buffalo Diocese.

The investigation found that Buffalo Diocese leaders determined sex abuse complaints to be credible, but sheltered the accused priests from public disclosure by deeming them “unassignable” and allowed them to retire or go on medical leave, rather than face referral to the Vatican for laicization.

Buffalo Diocese Accused of Yearslong Cover-Up of Sexual Abuse

New York Times

November 23, 2020

By Liam Stack

The state Attorney General said in a lawsuit that two former top leaders helped shelter more than two dozen priests accused of harming children.

The New York attorney general’s office on Monday accused the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and three bishops connected to it of violating church policy and state law with their involvement in a yearslong cover-up of sexual abuse by priests.

The lawsuit is the first state legal action against the Catholic Church in New York since a new wave of abuse investigations began in 2018, and it is the culmination of just one of eight inquiries, one for each Catholic diocese in the state. The other seven inquiries are ongoing.

The lawsuit represents what prosecutors believe is a novel legal strategy: The state will attempt to use civil laws, in particular those governing religious charities and their fiduciaries, to sue a Catholic diocese for failing to follow church policies enacted in 2002, after a series of investigative reports by The Boston Globe thrust the sex abuse scandal into public view.

It also may also raise questions about religious liberty: in addition to restitution and changes in the way the diocese handles sexual abuse claims, the lawsuit seeks to ban two bishops from management roles in any charitable organization, which may draw pushback from those who believe this encroaches into church autonomy.

The office of the attorney general, Letitia James, said its investigation found that the diocese and its two former top leaders, Bishop Richard J. Malone and Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Grosz, used bureaucratic maneuvers to shelter more than two dozen priests accused of harming children.

Mississippi abuse trial delayed for ex-Catholic Church friar

Associated Press

November 21, 2020

The trial for a former Catholic Church friar accused of sex abuse at a Mississippi school has been postponed.

Paul West, a former member of the Franciscan religious order, was supposed to face trial on Tuesday for allegations that he sexually molested students in the 1990s at Greenwood’s St. Francis of Assisi School.

No new trial date was immediately set, Kelly Roberts, senior deputy clerk of the Leflore County Circuit Court, told The Greenwood Commonwealth.

West’s court-appointed lawyer, Wallie Stuckey, sought the continuance that was granted. Stuckey said he filed the request because he hadn’t received all the information he’s legally due from the state about the witnesses and evidence that will be presented to the jury.

Stop blaming children for the behaviour of sexual predators

Malta Today

November 23, 2020

By Josanne Cassar

When it comes to young children who have been exposed to sex, we must also be concerned about what happens next and how this emotional trauma will colour their future

Two headlines this week have perturbed me considerably, not only because of the stories they refer to, but because it points to an alarming inability by some fellow members of the press to comprehend how important it is to report sex abuse stories using the right terminology.

This is not about being ‘politically correct’, which has become a hackneyed phrase, and is often being used with negative connotations, much in the same way we sneer at people for being ‘snowflakes’, i.e. overly sensitive and easily offended.

No, the issue here is that the way certain headlines are phrased, and the choice of language in the reporting, filters down to the public which is all too ready to blame the victims instead of the culprits.

iNewsmalta.com came out with this gem: “Raġel jistenna li jgħaddi ġuri dwar sess ma’ tifla ta’ 11-il sena” (Man expected to stand trial for having sex with 11-year-old girl”.

LovinMalta, not to be outdone, wrote this headline about the same story: “Preteen Rabat Girl Sexually Abused By 31-Year-Old ‘Family Friend’ She Met At A Party”.

An 11-year-old cannot “have sex” with a man because this is not some romance novel we are talking about here. How many times does it need to be emphasised that a minor cannot consent to sex and, without consent, it is statutory rape? When this government lowered the age of consent from 18 to 16, a decision I strongly disagreed with, I knew that it would only give licence to all sorts of predators to feel that they could get away with abusing children even more. At 16 we are not adults, and although physically our bodies tell us we are ready to have sex, emotionally and psychologically most cannot handle it, and it often leads to dysfunctional sexual relationships for life in girls who confuse lust and physical gratification for the need to be loved.

Pope asked to dismiss Maltese priest convicted of sexually abusing a boy

EuroWeekly News

November 23, 2020

By Matthew Roscoe

50-year-old Fr Donald Bellizzi was convicted on appeal of sexually abusing the then-teenage boy who had been entrusted into his care and the pope was given the recommendation by the Rome-based Conventual Franciscans Order, of which Bellizzi still belongs while in prison, to dismiss him.

Bellizzi, who was jailed for three-years, abused the poor boy from 2010, when he attended meetings to find out if he had the vocation to become a priest, in abuse that lasted until he was 16-years-old, when he was eventually able the stand up to the priest and report the abuse.

The Secretary-General of the Conventual Franciscans, Tomasz Szymczak, told Times of Malta when contacted that the matter was investigated and that the pope had been asked to dismiss the guilty friar.

“The General Curia is now presenting a request to the Holy Father to dismiss Friar Donald from the clerical state and from the religious order, in accordance with the regulations in force,” Szymczak said.

Muslim Communities Divided Over Abuse Allegations Against Popular Preacher


November 22, 2020

Leila Fadel, Host: In 2017, in the midst of the #MeToo movement, a rigidly conservative celebrity American Muslim preacher was caught in a sexting scandal. Nouman Ali Khan was accused of using his position to lure and groom women into sexual relationships under the guise of secret marriages, all while he was legally married to someone else. The scandal divided Muslim communities as some came to his defense and others called for him to be held accountable. He largely disappeared from public life.

Now, like a few other men accused of being sexual predators at the height of #MeToo, he appears to be attempting a comeback. Last week, Nouman Ali Khan was invited to speak on an all male-hosted podcast called "The Mad Mamluks," and that was met with outrage from largely young Muslims questioning why anyone would give him a platform.

We called Alia Salem to hear her reaction. She's the founder of FACE, which stands for Facing Abuse in Community Environments, a Dallas-based organization that investigates spiritual, sexual and financial abuse by Muslim leaders.

November 22, 2020

Victims alarmed over legal bid to suppress names of faith-based abusers

Radio New Zealand

November 22, 2020

By Jean Bell

Efforts by church organisations to temporarily keep the names of deceased perpetrators secret ahead of an Abuse in Care inquiry is hugely upsetting for survivors, an advocate for abuse survivors says.

Lawyers acting for the Catholic Church, the Salvation Army and the Anglican Church have asked the Royal Commission to temporarily keep the names of deceased perpetrators of abuse hidden from the public eye through an interim non-publication order.

The faith-based hearings start at the end of the month, following a lengthy hearing into redress for survivors of abuse while in state care between 1950 and 1999.

A central argument for the non-publication order is that there has not been sufficient time for natural justice and preparation before the hearing starts.

Murray Heasley, an advocate for Catholic Church abuse survivors, who was at the procedural hearing today, said it has caused massive disquiet among victims.

"For many of them it is between 20 and 60 years since this happened and this is for many of them, perhaps their last chance to seek some redress and some justice."

He said it is incredible so many people had come forward.

"There is massive cultural reasons not to step up. Most people don't - they remain silent. Now they've heard about these questions of redactions ... and now this talk about dead people not being able to be mentioned is deeply alarming."

The Catholic Church's lawyer Sally McKenzie told chair Judge Coral Shaw the church was not seeking to cover up evidence.

Who's at Fault? New Reports on Clergy Sex Abuse Offer Different Views


November 18, 2020

By Rose Marie Berger

On the same day last week, two reports on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church made headlines.

The first report, released by the Vatican, is the so-called “McCarrick report.” It documents the rise of former (now-laicized, or removed from priestly office) Cardinal Theodore McCarrick to the highest levels of the Catholic Church, despite persistent warnings that he had sexually entrapped seminarians for decades and then abused his significant power and finances to buy silence. (The now-90-year-old McCarrick, the most senior church official ever laicized for sexual abuse, lives in an undisclosed location in the U.S.)

The second report was released by an independent commission in the U.K. It documents nearly 50 years of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic institutions in England and Wales and how Cardinal Vincent Nichols, current president of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, consistently elevated protection of his own reputation over that of the children in the care of church workers — priests, brothers, and lay leaders.

What the reports have in common is long lists of sexual abuse victims and their broken families. The testimonies of survivors are instructive for the quality of their demand for justice and yet, to paraphrase Tolstoy, each unhappy survivor story “is unhappy in its own way.” Each story is unbearable in its details of the physical and psycho-spiritual torture and the chronic wounds that remain.

But in other respects, the two reports could not be more different.

Archdiocese of Philadelphia to close two high schools in 2021


November 18, 2020

Two area Catholic high schools will close at the end of this academic year, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced Wednesday.

The decision to shut John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls High School in Philadelphia and Bishop McDevitt High School in Wyncote, Montgomery County, comes as a result of their declining enrollment. The schools are operating at 36% and 40% of enrollment capacity, respectively.

The ongoing pandemic has taken a toll on Catholic school systems and dioceses across the country. In October, the Diocese of Camden became one of the latest to file for bankruptcy, citing revenue losses resulting from the pandemic as well as millions of dollars it paid out to clergy abuse victims.

In April, the Diocese of Camden also announced it was closing five South Jersey Catholic schools at the end of the academic year due to financial issues made worse by the pandemic.

The Philadelphia Archdiocese is no stranger to school closures as a cost-cutting measure. In 2012, four high schools and 49 elementary schools were shuttered due to widening budget deficits and dwindling student populations.

Catholic bishops pledge changes to safeguarding


November 20, 2020

By Catherine Pepinster

Catholic bishops of England and Wales have admitted that their safeguarding work must change and have outlined how this will happen.

Their admission comes just days after a damning report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse which lambasted its safeguarding structures and poor treatment of survivors and singled out Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Vincent Nichols for criticism.

At a press conference today, when the bishops unveiled their new safeguarding set-up, Cardinal Nichols said he had no intention of quitting.

Survivors had called for his immediate departure following the IICSA report but the cardinal said he would be staying put while the Church reorganises its safeguarding.

Cardinal Nichols says he has ‘no wish to walk away’ as bishops launch safeguarding overhaul

Catholic News Agency

November 20, 2020

Cardinal Vincent Nichols said Friday that he was committed to overseeing a major overhaul of safeguarding procedures in England and Wales following an independent report that sharply criticized his handling of abuse cases.

The Catholic Church in England and Wales announced sweeping changes to its child protection system Nov. 20, 10 days after the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) issued a scathing report on the Church.

In a personal statement shared with journalists at a press conference Friday, the cardinal said that the report had “brought together a picture of abuse inflicted in the Catholic Church over a period of 50 years.”

“It is a terrible picture,” he said. “I remain shocked and ashamed. It is a reality that hangs like a dark cloud over my heart and mind.”

He continued: “I say again: I am so sorry. I say this for many bishops who have gone before me over these 50 years. Many hearing this will feel that we let you down. Yes, we did let you down in many ways, in different times, in different places, for different reasons. I apologize again. I am so sorry for all that has happened over these years.”

Cardinal faces legal action over safeguarding case


November 17, 2020

By Catherine Pepinster

An abuse survivor is to sue the Diocese of Westminster, including its archbishop, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, for personal injury because of the way she was treated when she asked to have access to her own safeguarding files. The claim is believed to be a highly unusual action.

The decision by A711 came as the bishops of England and Wales were due to meet on Wednesday for an all-day discussion on the highly critical report by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) on the Catholic Church, published last week. It said the Catholic Church had betrayed its moral purpose in its neglectful handling of abuse cases and the way it treated survivors. It singled out Cardinal Nichols in its report, saying that he showed “no acknowledgement of any personal responsibility to lead or influence change” and failed to be compassionate to victims.

Cardinal Nichols said in television news reports that he had tendered his resignation to Pope Francis who had asked him to stay on. But the resignation was caused by him reaching 75, the date for episcopal retirements, rather than the comments made about his handling of the abuse crisis.

According to A711, it was Cardinal Nichols’ response to the report that was “the last straw” for her and led to her decision to press for damages. “The fact that he resigned because he is 75 not because of the report has made me think there must be some sort of accountability, and I hope that’s what this action will bring about,” she said.

When A711 asked to see documents relating to her case of abuse, disparaging emails from Westminster diocesan staff were discovered and efforts to see further documents were blocked until recently. Requests to speak to the cardinal went unheeded until a newspaper reported on her case.

“I have catalogued a long list of problems about the way they have treated me over the last four years”, she said. “They retraumatised me. They can’t keep treating survivors like this”.

‘Cardinal Vincent Nichols has failed victims of abuse and must step down’

The Times

November 21, 2020

By Peter MacDiarmid

An independent inquiry has criticised the Catholic leader’s handling of sexual allegations. Those who have suffered for years say he must go

In October 2016 a woman approached the Catholic Church to report the sexual abuse and rape she had suffered at the hands of a priest from the age of 15.

She knew it would take all her strength to relive what had happened. What she did not expect was to be “retraumatised” by the church.

Safeguarding officers for the diocese of Westminster, which handled her case, described the woman, now in her fifties, as “needy” and “manipulative” in internal emails.

She pleaded with Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the head of the diocese and the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, to help her with her case. She was ignored. Requests for meetings fell on deaf ears for months. After submitting a formal request...

Pope Francis’ leadership underscores global influence of Roman Catholic Church

Kenosha News

November 22, 2020

By Arthur I. Cyr


“An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth …,” is a useful starting place for discussion of the influence of Pope Francis, who is proving to be a remarkably active and activist leader of the Roman Catholic Church. To modern readers, the Biblical quote (Exodus 21:24) may seem brutal, but the Old Testament sentiment actually represented revolutionary progress.

Ancient warfare involved unrestrained killing and pillaging. By contrast, this Hebrew law codified proportionality and limits. Historically and currently, the Vatican has played an important role in restraining and restricting warfare, building on this fundamental insight.

Shocking criminal sexual abuse by priests is a principal contemporary challenge. In 2015, a Vatican tribunal was established to review and judge cases of sexual abuse. Francis’ predecessor Pope Benedict XVI publicly acknowledged the criminal behavior, met with victims and apologized.

The world wars of the past century reconfirmed the Catholic Church’s emphasis on restraint in war. Contemporary Catholic analysis of ethics and military strategy is spearheaded by influential scholars such as J. Bryan Hehir, a senior priest and faculty member at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

During the Cold War, Fr. Hehir guided the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ influential report on use of nuclear weapons. Hehir also bluntly criticized his church for mishandling sex abuse crimes by priests.

November 21, 2020

Target 11 investigates issues with the clergy sex abuse fund


November 20, 2020

By: Rick Earle

The special fund created by the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese to compensate victims of clergy sex abuse closed down in October, but some victims say the fund fell far short of what they expected.

Target 11′s Rick Earle spoke to several victims who said they feel like they’ve become victims again, not at the hands of priest, but the diocese. They believe that some of the settlement offers were “a slap in the face.”

“Quite frankly the program that Pittsburgh ran, of all the programs, was the most poorly funded,” said Ben Andreozzi, an attorney who represents approximately 30 victims from the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese.

Andreozzi said about half of the victims he represents accepted settlements from the diocese. The other half declined the offers.

“We’re not talking about them thumbing their nose at millions of dollars. We’re talking about situations where people who have been raped are offered less than $20,000. I’m not suggesting that $20,000 isn’t a lot of money, but for somebody who has extensive needs for therapy, they lost out on job opportunities, they lost out on their education, the needs far exceed that of what they were offered, " he said.

Sex abuse charges against New Bedfordpriest 'credible'

Standard-Times / SouthCoastToday

November 21, 2020

By Kiernan Dunlop

A Ministerial Review Board has determined that allegations of sexual abuse of minors brought against a New Bedford Roman Catholic priest are credible and recommended he be permanently removed from priestly ministry, according to the Diocese of Fall River.

“Based upon my own review of the evidence and the thoughtful work of the Review Board, I have accepted the recommendations and met this week with Father [Daniel] Lacroix to inform him of this decision,” Bishop Edgar. M da Cunha said in a letter that was read to parishioners of Lacroix’s the weekend of November 14 - 15.

In 2019, Lacroix was named co-pastor at three North End Churches - St. Joseph-St. Therese, St. Mary, and Our Lady of Fatima Parishes. St. Mary, where Lacroix had been serving as a pastor since 2017, has an associated school, All Saints Catholic School, which serves preschool through Grade 8 students. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic St. Mary is the only church where Mass is currently being held out of the three parishes and the announcement about the diocese's decision was made there, according to Director of Communications John Kearns.

A priest removed from ministry may not publicly celebrate a Mass or sacrament, preach, present himself as a priest or wear clerical clothing, participate in any meeting or gathering or engage in any form of ministry, and he may not reside in a rectory or any other parish or diocesan facility, according to Kearns.

Kearns did not say if Lacroix would receive any retirement benefits or a severance.

In November 2019, Lacroix was placed on administrative leave after an external review of the diocese’s personnel files revealed information related to alleged misconduct that is said to have occurred decades ago.

Albany Diocese adds deceased priest to list of accused sex abusers


November 20, 2020

The Diocese of Albany has added a name to its list of offenders who have been accused of sex abuse.

The late Rev. Lawrence McTavey passed away nearly a year ago.

The diocesan review board hired an investigator to look into a long history of allegations against McTavey.

MORE: 33 new lawsuits filed against Albany Diocese, law firm now reports over 100 survivors

He was ordained in 1955 and served at churches in Stillwater, Troy, and Albany.

He retired in 2007 from St. Bernard's in Cohoes.

Multiple abuse claims were filed against McTavey between 2002 and 2019 before his death.

The diocese asks anyone who may have been abused by McTavey to contact law enforcement or the diocese.

At Vatican trial, seminary rector accuses victim of seeking payout

Catholic News Service via Crux

November 20, 2020

By Junno Arocho Esteves

At Vatican trial, seminary rector accuses victim of seeking payout

Rome - The former rector of a minor seminary located in the Vatican denied knowing about the alleged sexual abuse of a student, but instead alleged that the victim and his friend, who claimed he witnessed the abuse, were motivated by money.

Msgr. Enrico Radice, the former rector of the St. Pius X Pre-Seminary, took the stand Nov. 19, the third day of the Vatican criminal trial against him and Father Gabriele Martinelli.

Martinelli, 28, is accused of abusing a younger student from 2007 to 2012. Although he and his alleged victim were under the age of 18 when the abuse allegedly began, the court accused him of continuing to abuse the younger student when Martinelli was already 20.

Vatican cardinal says ouster deprived him of possible papacy

Associated Press

November 19, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican cardinal sacked by Pope Francis amid a corruption investigation is suing an Italian news magazine, claiming that his ruined reputation has eliminated his chances of becoming pope and will undermine the legitimacy of any future papal election.

Cardinal Angelo Becciu is seeking 10 million euros ($11.9 million) in damages, to be given to charity, in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in the Sassari, Sardinia tribunal against L’Espresso magazine, the weekly affiliated with Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica.

The 74-page complaint raises questions about the conduct of Vatican criminal prosecutors, suggesting they leaked information to L’Espresso as they sought to build a corruption case around the Holy See’s 350 million-euro ($416 million) investment in a London real estate venture.

Kerala police arrest man who disguised as temple priest, sexually abused minor girl


November 21, 2020

By Sreedevi Jayarajan

The incident is said to have taken place in Kilimanoor back in 2018.

The Kerala police on Thursday arrested a man who allegedly disguised himself as a temple priest and sexually abused an 11-year-old girl in Thiruvananthapuram. The incident is said to have taken place in Kilimanoor back in 2018. The accused, 37-year-old Shyam is a native of Allapad panchayat in Kollam district. According to the police, the girl's mother had knowledge of the abuse.

Speaking to TNM, officers at the Kilimanoor police station said that the accused had been working in a local temple in the area, under his fake name - Shan. He reportedly got acquainted with a woman in the neighbourhood and visited her regularly. The woman is the 11-year-old girl’s mother. “The accused and the mother also threatened the girl to not reveal the abuse to anybody. This is how reporting of the incident got delayed by two years,” an officer at the Kilimanoor Police Station told TNM.

The accused was finally arrested when the minor revealed the abuse to her father and the two filed a complaint in the station. The arrest was recorded on Thursday after he was charged under relevant sections of the POCSO Act (Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences). The accused has been remanded to judicial custody.

Reports also add that the accused had been duping people for years by working in Kerala temples under a fake name. He had also created fake identity cards and documents to make it more convincing. He also made fake documents in the name of a famous Namboothiri family in Edakulangara, according to reports. Several documents and multiple mobile SIM cards were seized from the accused. He was arrested by a team of officers from the Kilimanoor police station headed by Station House Officer (SHO) KB Manoj Kumar. He has remanded by the Attingal POCSO court.

November 20, 2020

Paedophile priest yet to be defrocked by the Vatican

Times of Malta

November 20, 2020

By Matthew Xuereb

The decision needs to be taken by the Franciscan Order
The Vatican is yet to order the defrocking of a priest convicted of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy who had been entrusted into his care.

The decision needs to be taken by the Franciscan Order which is based in Rome and which receives its orders from the Vatican. Meanwhile, Fr Donald Bellizzi is serving time in jail as a priest.

Bellizzi was convicted on appeal of sexually abusing the then teenage boy, who used to attend a special group for those who were keen on becoming priests.

The offences began in 2010 when the boy attended meetings to find out if he had the vocation to become a priest and lasted until he was 16 years old when he stood up to the priest and stopped the abuse.

Bellizzi, who is now almost 50 years old, had his three-year jail sentence confirmed on appeal.

Vatican abuse trial: Priest accused of cover-up says he knew nothing

Catholic News Agency

November 20, 2020

By Hannah Brockhaus

The Vatican court heard Thursday the questioning of one of the defendants in an ongoing trial of two Italian priests for abuse and cover-up allegedly committed in Vatican City from 2007 to 2012.

Fr. Enrico Radice, 72, has been charged with impeding investigations into an abuse allegation against Fr. Gabriele Martinelli, 28.

The abuse is alleged to have taken place at the St. Pius X pre-seminary located in the Vatican. The abuse allegations were first made public by the media in 2017.

Radice stated at the Nov. 19 hearing that he was never told about abuse by Martinelli by anyone, accusing the alleged victim and another alleged witness of making up the story for “economic interests.”

Suspended Metairie deacon focus of criminal child rape investigation, JPSO confirms


November 19, 2020

By David Hammer


Deputies have not booked the deacon with any crime, and prosecutors have not filed charges.

A Catholic deacon from Metairie who was suspended from public ministry this summer is now under criminal investigation over accusations that he raped a pre-teen boy 20 years ago, according to a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office report released this week.

The initial report on the case shows an unidentified man met with a personal violence investigator at the Sheriff’s Office detectives’ bureau on Oct. 21 and recounted how he had been sexually abused between January 2000 and December 2001, when he was less than 13 years old. He said the abuse occurred at a home on Hector Avenue in Metairie, at the hands of a man who is now 62.

Land records show that the home in question was owned at the time by Virgil Maxey “V.M.” Wheeler III, 62, a prominent New Orleans lawyer who was ordained a deacon in 2018 but was removed from ministry in August over unspecified abuse allegations dating back two decades.

The property on Hector, which Wheeler sold in 2019, is just two blocks from St. Francis Xavier Parish on Metairie Road, where Wheeler served as a deacon.

The police report doesn’t name Wheeler, but Sheriff’s Office Capt. Jason Rivarde on Thursday confirmed that Wheeler is the suspect referenced in the report.

Ex-Priest Blames Unfair Testimony in Appeal of Sex-Abuse Conviction

Courthouse News Service

November 19, 2020

By Amanda Pampuro

A former Catholic priest convicted of sexually abusing minors in the 1990s told a 10th Circuit panel Thursday that the jury that found him guilty was clearly predisposed to distrust him after listening to several other witnesses who said they saw him commit similar acts of abuse.

In October 2019, a jury convicted Arthur Perrault, then 81, of sexually abusing children at Santa Fe National Cemetery and Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, where he served as a chaplain in the 1990s.

Throughout the trial, several other victims came forward to testify that Perrault had abused them hundreds of times as young boys under the age of 12, while he served as a Catholic priest at St. Bernadette’s parish and Our Lady of Assumption in Albuquerque. The tales of abuse went back as far as 1966, when Perrault was teaching at St. Pius Catholic High School.

Perrault fled the country in 1992, as a New Mexico state attorney was preparing lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe over the priest’s alleged crimes. Perrault was finally extradited from Morocco in 2018 to stand trial.

Following the trial, U.S. District judge Martha Vazquez, appointed by Bill Clinton, sentenced Perrault to 30 years in prison.

On Thursday, public defender Aric Grant Elsenheimer told a 10th Circuit panel Vazquez had erred in letting seven propensity witnesses testify.

“What if the court allowed five?” asked U.S. Circuit Judge Gregory Phillips, a Barack Obama appointee.

November 19, 2020

Louisville Police cover-up of Explorer Scouts sexual abuse scandal is outrageous

Courier Journal

November 19, 2020

By Jim Wayne

The astonishing news that the Louisville Metro Police Department and the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office concealed at least 738,000 records dealing with child sexual abuses in the Explorer Scouts program should raise the collective ire of everyone in our community.

The cover-up by public servants of any information about the incidents is, in effect, a collusion in crimes against our most precious, innocent citizens — our children.

As a licensed clinical social worker who treats victims of childhood sexual abuse, I can attest to the serious, long-term psychological impact of this horrendous trauma. The pain that for years finds its way into every crevice of a person’s life is indescribable.

In 2008, following the devastating news of abuse of thousands of children by Catholic priests, I worked with the adult victims of these crimes to successfully sponsor legislation to tighten reporting requirements, raise age limits, stiffen penalties and extend the statute limitation on child sexual abuse cases in Kentucky. Since the passage of the law, the number of prosecutions has grown and the level of awareness about transparency in these cases has increased.

This awareness, evidently, never penetrated the walls of our city administrations or the Jefferson County attorney’s office.

German survivors accuse Cardinal Woelki of ‘abuse of abuse victims’

Catholic News Service

November 19, 2020

Munich - The two abuse survivors who resigned as spokesmen of the victims’ advisory board in the Cologne Archdiocese have accused Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of a “renewed abuse of abuse victims.”

The board had been “completely overrun” by Cardinal Woelki’s treatment of the Cologne abuse studies, Patrick Bauer told the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper in comments published Nov. 19.

“We were meant to deliver the certificate: approved by the advisory board,” said Karl Haucke.

The German Catholic news agency KNA reported that at the end of October, the archdiocese had announced in a joint statement with the victims’ advisory board that the abuse report compiled by a Munich law firm would not be published due to alleged deficiencies, and that Cologne-based criminal law expert Björn Gercke would conduct a new investigation.

The Christ & World supplement of the newspaper Die Zeit cited the unpublished abuse report and said it accused former Cologne cardinals Joseph Höffner and Joachim Meisner of mistakes in handling an abuse case. There is also renewed public debate about the behavior of the Archbishop Stefan Hesse of Hamburg, former head of personnel of the Cologne Archdiocese.

Hannah Colton, KUNM News Director And Reporter, Dies At 29


November 11, 2020

By Marisa DeMarco

[Note: Hannah Colton and her colleagues Ellen Berkovitch and Rita Daniels reported the 2018 series Dark Canyon: Sexual Abuse and Secrecy in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.]

The KUNM community is heartbroken to say that News Director Hannah Colton died earlier this week at age 29.

She has been a brilliant news leader during the pandemic, guiding the team and editing stories about the virus, the calls to stop racist policing and the 2020 election.

She was passionate about equity and racial justice. She fought those fights in the field, in news content and on behalf of her staff.

Hannah loved being a reporter. She was a gifted storyteller. She was great at meeting people and talking with them, asking good questions and really listening to the answers.

She well-understood the urgency of this moment, and she gave it her whole heart, working around the clock to cover equity and education, the dangers of the virus for people who are incarcerated, protests and the pandemic’s impacts on people without shelter.

Hannah was originally from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She was committed to this region and told me she wanted to stay here, doing this work— even though after this pandemic is over, she could have gone anywhere she wanted as a reporter or newsroom leader.

The McCarrick Report: a call to reform Catholic priest selection

Baltimore Sun

November 18, 2020

By Phillip J. Brown

The McCarrick Report investigating sexual abuse by disgraced former Washington, D.C., cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, released this month by the Vatican, catalogs facts that cannot be ignored, denied or explained away. The harm inflicted by Mr. McCarrick over decades is a source of deep remorse and shame for the Catholic Church. Like most, I am bewildered that he was able to advance in the ranks while preying on victims even while serious accusations about him were known or credibly rumored.

Before priesthood, I served as assistant attorney general for Pardons, Parole and Probation in North Dakota. I reviewed the files of every inmate in the corrections system, which included every kind of sex crime. Later I served as guardian ad litem for the juvenile court, representing the interests of children, including those who had been sexually abused. As a priest and canon lawyer, I have been deeply involved in cases of clerical sexual abuse of children and young people. I have had a life-long commitment to the welfare and well-being of children and young adults — that they be protected from sexual predators especially. That life experience has informed my work as a canonist and now as a seminary official.

The greatest value of the McCarrick Report will be what we learn from it to ensure that nothing like this is able to happen again.

Vatican orders investigation into former Las Cruces Bishop


November 18, 2020

Las Cruces NM - Catholic officials in Rome have ordered an investigation into former Las Cruces Bishop, Oscar Cantu, over his handling of cases of clergy sexual abuse, according to the Catholic News Agency.

The investigation is being carried out under the provisions of Vos estis lux mundi, Pope Francis’ 2019 law for holding bishops accountable in the handling of sexual abuse cases.

Senior sources in the Vatican told CNA that the investigation was ordered by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, in October and that the allegations concern Cantu’s handling of abuse and misconduct cases in his former diocese of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Cantu is now Bishop of San Jose, California.

Mass. Boy Scout Troops Implicated In Sexual Abuse Lawsuits, Lawyer Says


November 19, 2020

By Isaiah Thompson

More than a dozen Massachusetts Boy Scouts troops have been implicated among a flood of tens of thousands sexual abuse lawsuits filed nationwide against the Boy Scouts of America, according to a lawyer representing some of the alleged victims.

Boston Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who prominently represented victims of abuse by Catholic clergy, tells GBH News that he is currently representing about 100 clients accusing the Boy Scouts of sexual abuse. Most of those clients, he says, are from Massachusetts; their allegations implicate an estimated dozen or more Boy Scouts troops from around the state.

“From Boston, to Springfield, to western Massachusetts … it’s spread out almost everywhere,” Garabedian said. “It was the culture, of abuse.”

Vatican investigates San Jose bishop’s handling of sex abuse in former diocese

Mercury News

November 18, 2020

By John Woolfolk

Oscar Cantu became Bishop of San Jose in 2018

San Jose’s recently seated Bishop Oscar Cantú is under investigation by the Vatican for his handling of clerical sex abuse cases in his former Diocese of Las Cruces, New Mexico, according to a Catholic news agency report.

The Catholic News Agency reported Tuesday that the investigation was ordered in October under a zero-tolerance policy Pope Francis implemented last year to hold bishops accountable for their handling of past sexual abuse cases, particularly for actions or omissions intended to avoid or interfere with investigations.

The Catholic News Agency quoted two unnamed Vatican sources who confirmed the investigation but declined to comment on the specific accusations or whether they concern any clergy still in ministry. One of those officials stressed that the investigation is not a trial and that Cantú “has every presumption of innocence and remains in office.”

Cantú in a statement Wednesday morning acknowledged the reported investigation and said he supports the Vatican’s protocols “to ensure the accountability of bishops and to bring justice and healing to victims/survivors.”

“I intend to cooperate fully with any inquiry,” Cantú said in the statement.

The Diocese of Las Cruces, where Cantu was bishop from 2013 to 2018, and its current Bishop Peter Baldacchino had no comment on the allegations, said spokesman Christopher Velasquez.

Lansing Bishop Promulgates Law Written by MacKillop Coalition to Protect Adults and Children


November 16, 2020

On November 4, 2020, Lansing Bishop Earl Boyea signed policies into law written by the St. Mary MacKillop Coalition for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults (Fenton, Michigan). These policies were promulgated to the priests of the Diocese of Lansing by email on Friday, November 13, 2020, and thereby became local law consistent with Canon Law 7.

However, these previous policies and current policies have been rescinded from public view.

The newly promulgated law protects adults and children in the following ways:

- Priests will no longer be able to sleep with children or be alone with them in general (see new policy

- Sex abuse documents regarding abuse of adults will no longer be able to be destroyed by attorneys (see new policy

- Adults will now be included in the protections afforded by the Charter for the Protection of Children included in policy 2.1.9.

- Victims will be given access to records regarding their case so they can verify that what has been documented is what they reported (policy 2.1.9-14).

- Victim’s statements will now be verified with them in writing to prevent misstatement (policy 2.1.9-17).

November 18, 2020

Bishops encouraged to continue response to pandemic, racism, abuse

Catholic News Service

November 17, 2020

By Carol Zimmermann

Two women who lead groups that advise the U.S. bishops on key issues, encouraged them Nov. 16 to continue holding dialogues on racism, reaching out to Catholics during the pandemic and letting Catholics know about their efforts to prevent abuse in the church.

In prerecorded remarks, Deborah Amato, chair of the National Advisory Council, and Suzanne Healy, chair of the National Review Board, spoke to the bishops on the first day of their annual fall meeting, held virtually this year due to the pandemic.

Amato's remarks were taped prior to the Nov. 10 release of the Vatican report on former cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, so she did not address this investigation except to say that a council member had recently been asking about the report's status.

Former church music leader convicted of rape, sex abuse to spend life in prison


November 17, 2020

A former music ministry leader at a Eugene church - who has been in custody since 2018 on accusations of raping a child under the age of 12 - will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

A jury found Edward Samuel Thompson of Eugene guilty after a week-long trial earlier this month.

Morrisey lawsuit against diocese faces setback


November 18, 2020

By Lacie Pierson

CHARLESTON — Schools and camps operated by the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston aren’t subject to the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, the West Virginia Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The ruling is a blow to a lawsuit launched by Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in March 2019, when he sued the diocese, alleging the diocese didn’t conduct background checks, despite advertising that it did so, and knowingly employed priests who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse at Catholic schools and a camp owned and managed by the diocese.

In the broader ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that no part of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act could apply to religious schools or camps. The court ruled 4-1, with Justice Margaret Workman being the dissenting vote.

In its ruling, the court said the Consumer Credit and Protection Act is in conflict with a 1983 law that establishes operational parameters for religious schools. That law includes language that says as long as religious schools meet those standards, then they aren’t subject to any other laws, with the exception of laws pertaining to fire, safety, sanitation and immunization.

In the majority’s opinion, Justice Beth Walker noted that the attorney general’s allegations against the diocese were “deeply troubling” and noted that teachers, youth camp administrators and counselors, and members of the clergy are required by law to report incidents of sexual abuse to police.

Federal lawsuit details new rape allegations against McCarrick involving 12-year-old boy

NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

November 18, 2020

By Ted Sherman

In one of the most graphic accusations yet against Theodore McCarrick, the disgraced and defrocked former Catholic cardinal accused of sex abuse, attorneys for a 47-year-old man claim he was sexually assaulted for years by the former cleric — beginning when he was just 12 years old.

The new allegations against McCarrick, 90, were made in a federal lawsuit filed in New Jersey on behalf of the unnamed “John Doe,” who said he was raped and sexually abused as a child by McCarrick on dozens of occasions from 1985 through 1990.

6 more former students alleged sexual abuse by priests at Dallas Jesuit Prep

The Dallas Morning News

November 18, 2020

By David Tarrant

Lawsuit reveals new allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Jesuit priests in the late 1970s and early 1980s, including a former principal and president of the school.

Six more former students at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas have joined a lawsuit saying they were abused by priests when they were enrolled in school there.

The latest plaintiffs bring to eight the number of former students in the lawsuit, first filed in Dallas County civil court in August 2019, against the school and the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, among others, alleging that they were sexually abused in the early 1980s by five Jesuit Prep priests.

Six of the eight plaintiffs are using pseudonyms in the lawsuit. All eight men say the were abused during a time in the late 1970s and 1980s, when a cluster of priests that have since been found credibly accused of sexual assault, taught, counseled or coached students at the exclusive Jesuit Prep, according to records.

Ex-Conroe priest Manuel La Rosa-Lopez pleads guilty to child molestation charges

Houston Chronicle

November 17, 2020

By Nicole Hensley

Former priest Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, whose case surfaced amid a revitalized look at how the Catholic Church handled decades of child sex abuse, on Tuesday accepted a plea deal after facing five counts of indecency with a child, officials said.

The Houston-area cleric, charged in 2018, was accused of molesting three children at a Conroe church from 1998 to 2000. He pleaded guilty to two of the charges involving one male and female victim and will be sentenced in December to a decade in prison, said Nancy Hebert, a Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office prosecutor.

Lesser felony charges stemming from a second male accuser — who said La Rosa-Lopez exposed his genitals in a confessional booth — would be dismissed, she said.

La Rosa-Lopez, who was slated to go to trial in January and had recently been considering the plea deal, Hebert said. He decided this week to accept the offer.

“It wasn’t an easy thing for him to do,” La Rosa-Lopez’s lawyer, Wendell Odom, said. “He didn’t deny kissing one of the complainants and embracing the other. The question in his mind was if it was done with pure intentions .”

Former Conroe priest pleads guilty to 2 counts of child indecency


November 17, 2020

By Jeremy Rogalski

Manuel LaRosa-Lopez is scheduled for a formal sentencing on Dec. 16.

Conroe TX - A former Conroe priest at the center of a sex abuse scandal involving children is headed to prison.

Manuel LaRosa-Lopez has pled guilty to two counts of indecency with a child, and according to prosecutors Tuesday, has agreed to serve 10 years in prison.

He is scheduled for a formal sentencing on Dec. 16.

LaRosa-Lopez was charged back in May 2019. He is accused of abusing children while he was a priest at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe.

"It is incredibly rare for clergy abusers to see jail time for their crimes and we applaud the brave victims who came forward to ensure that this dangerous man would face justice," Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said in a statement. "We believe that these survivors have surely saved other children from the lifelong scourge of sexual abuse and hope that they will now be able to focus on their own healing."

Priest accused of sexually abusing children headed to prison


November 17, 2020

By Phil Archer and Rose-Ann Aragon

A Houston-area priest who was accused of sexually abusing children has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

KPRC 2 Investigates has learned, Father Manuel La Rosa-Lopez pleaded guilty to two counts of indecency with a child on early Tuesday morning. It was part of a plea deal that will send him to prison for a decade and make him a registered sex offender for the rest of his life, according to prosecutors.

He was charged with five counts of indecency with a child involving sexual contact. He was headed to trial in January but surprised prosecutors by agreeing to the plea deal, they said.

Investigators said La Rosa-Lopez abused a girl and a boy while he was a priest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe from the late ’90s to early 2000s. A third person came forward last year and said he was also abused by La Rosa-Lopez when he served as an altar boy in the mid-'90s.

Diocese of Savannah denies it knew about sex abuse allegations


November 17, 2020

By Jessica Savage

The Catholic Diocese of Savannah responded to a new lawsuit about claims that it knew about the sexual abuse involving a priest and young boys; and conspired to cover it up.

This lawsuit is the third one involving Wayland Brown who was defrocked in 1988. Brown was convicted just two years ago for sexual crimes against boys who attended St James Catholic School in Savannah in 1987.

The Diocese claims it didn’t know or try to cover up any sexual abuse involving Brown and the young boys at St. James.

Much of the lawsuit filed against the Catholic Diocese of Savannah is based on this 1986 transcript. It describes a meeting called by then acting Bishop Raymond Lessard after he learned of a police investigation involving Priest Wayland Brown and allegations he molested boys in another Georgia county.

'Who am I to judge?' helps explain pope's view

Associated Press via Star-Tribune

November 18, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

Pope Francis' famous quip "Who am I to judge?" could go a long way toward explaining his initial attitude toward Theodore McCarrick, the defrocked and disgraced American cardinal who was the subject of a two-year Vatican investigation that was released last week.

Francis uttered the line on July 29, 2013, four months into his pontificate, when he was asked en route home from his first papal trip about reports of a sexually active gay priest whom he had just promoted. His point: If someone violated the church's teaching on sexual morals in the past but had sought forgiveness from God, who was he to pass judgment?

The comment won plaudits from the LGBT community and landed Francis on the cover of The Advocate magazine. But Francis' broader tendency to blindly trust his friends and resist judging them has created problems seven years later. A handful of priests, bishops and cardinals whom Francis has trusted over the years have turned out to be either accused of sexual misconduct or convicted of it, or of having covered it up.

In short, Francis' loyalty to them cost him credibility.

The Vatican report spared Francis blame for McCarrick's rise in the hierarchy, faulting instead his predecessors for having failed to recognize, investigate or effectively sanction McCarrick over consistent reports that he invited seminarians into his bed.

Francis ultimately defrocked McCarrick last year after a Vatican investigation determined he sexually abused children as well as adults. Francis commissioned the more in-depth probe after a former Vatican ambassador alleged in 2018 that some two dozen church officials were aware of McCarrick's sexual misconduct with adult seminarians but covered it up for two decades.

California Bishop Cantu under Vatican 'Vos estis' investigation

Catholic News Agency

November 17, 2020

By JD Flynn and Ed Condon

Washington DC - The Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops has ordered an investigation into Bishop Oscar Cantu’s handling of allegations of clerical sexual abuse and misconduct. The investigation is being carried out under the provisions of Vos estis lux mundi, Pope Francis’ 2019 law for holding bishops accountable in the handling of sexual abuse cases.

Senior sources in the Vatican told CNA that the investigation was ordered by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, in October and that the allegations concern Cantu’s handling of abuse and misconduct cases in his former diocese of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Cantu is now Bishop of San Jose, California.

One senior official in the Vatican congregation, who spoke to CNA on condition of anonymity because the investigation is confidential, said that Pope Francis has adopted a “zero tolerance” policy with regard to American bishops’ handling of clerical sexual misconduct.

“The Holy Father is absolutely firm that cases of abuse will not be tolerated. He is also firm that bishops must treat all of these cases with complete seriousness,” the official said.

Ex-Burmarrad parish priest gets three years in jail for sexual abuse of minors

Malta Today

November 18, 2020

By Matthew Agius

Priest found guilty of corruption of minors has three-year prison sentence confirmed on appeal

A former parish priest convicted of sexually abusing a teenage boy has had his three-year jail sentence confirmed on appeal.

The erstwhile parish priest of Burmarrad, Fr Donald Bellizzi, had been found guilty in June 2020 of corrupting the boy, a crime for which he was sentenced to three years in prison.

He had been charged with corrupting the boy and another two minors, participating in sexual acts with them and producing or circulating child pornography. He was eventually cleared of the latter charge but found guilty of the first two.

Bellizzi had appealed, arguing amongst other things that the sexual contact had been consensual and that this had a bearing on the charges.

What happened to Bobby Bizup?


November 17, 2020

By Kevin Vaughan

{Includes video report.]

Bobby Bizup disappeared while attending a popular Catholic summer camp.

In the square, black-and-white snapshot, Bobby Bizup holds a toy pistol in his left hand, pointing it at the camera, a triangle of hair peeking from beneath his cap and pointing down his forehead.

There’s a mischievous grin sneaking across his face, just the barest hint of a gap in his teeth.

In another picture, Bobby cocks a bat above his left shoulder, ready to unleash a home-run swing on an imaginary pitch.

And the grin’s there again.

“He was always smiling,” said his cousin, Harriet Dudich.

Smiling, even though he was different in an era when that was a lot harder.

Born almost completely deaf, Bobby wore a hearing aid that didn’t do him much good. And when he spoke, few people besides his parents could understand him. He relied on sign language and lip-reading, and he seemed to shrug off the times that other kids teased him

Independent inquiry into claims Dunedin bishop failed to act on abuse claims spanning 30 years

New Zealand Herald

November 17 2020


An independent investigation is under way into the handling of sexual abuse complaints by a former Roman Catholic bishop of Dunedin.

The Catholic Church has appointed an independent investigator to look at whether Bishop John Kavanagh took proper action when he received complaints of sexual abuse during his tenure, between 1957 and 1985.

The news comes as survivors of abuse in faith-based settings, including the Catholic Church, prepare to give evidence as part of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care.

The investigation could also have ramifications for Kavanagh College, the Dunedin high school that bears his name.

November 17, 2020

Deadline arrives for sex-abuse claims in Boy Scouts bankruptcy case, with tens of thousands filed

The Seattle Times

November 16, 2020

By Lewis Kamb

Before a Monday deadline, tens of thousands of men — including scores from Washington — already have filed sexual-abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in a federal bankruptcy case the national organization hopes will help it emerge from the cloud of a decades-old scandal.

But the sheer flood of claims that already have rolled in has revealed the hidden horrors of pedophilia perpetuated in scouting programs at a level vastly more widespread than previously known, some claimants’ lawyers said.

Not only does the far-reaching bankruptcy case now jeopardize the national BSA’s existence, but it throws into question whether hundreds of local scouting councils in Washington and around the nation can survive unscathed, according to two Seattle attorneys involved in the case.

“It was a disastrous decision,” Michael Pfau, a Seattle attorney who co-represents more than 1,000 sexual-abuse claimants, said of the BSA’s bankruptcy filing.

Cyr column: Pope Francis’ leadership underscores global influence of Roman Catholic Church

The Leavenworth Times

November 17, 2020

By Arthur I. Cyr

Columns share an author’s personal perspective.
“An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth ...,” is a useful starting place for discussion of the influence of Pope Francis, who is proving to be a remarkably active and activist leader of the Roman Catholic Church. To modern readers, the Biblical quote (Exodus 21:24) may seem brutal, but the Old Testament sentiment actually represented revolutionary progress.

Ancient warfare involved unrestrained killing and pillaging. By contrast, this Hebrew law codified proportionality and limits. Historically and currently, the Vatican has played an important role in restraining and restricting warfare, building on this fundamental insight.

Pope Francis has just made an important statement supporting of civil unions of same-sex couples. His message is in the documentary “Francesco” which premiered Oct. 28 in Rome.

The essential Christian message emphasizes compassion, and the Catholic Church over centuries has played a vital role in relief of poverty and human misery, and in promotion of human rights. The cumulative positive impact is profound among the approximately one billion Roman Catholics currently on the planet, and well beyond.

Pope Francis’ April 2016 letter on marriage and the family should be viewed in this context. Media commentary emphasized Rome’s reiteration of commitment to traditional marriage, which is hardly news. The letter emphasizes tolerance for those who do not accept Catholic doctrine. That marks a change, important if overdue.

Pope Francis prevails in Vatican abuse row


November 17, 2020

By Hannah Roberts

Accusations from conservative Catholics seem to have backfired.

In the civil war that is raging inside the Catholic church, Pope Francis has won an important battle.

In 2018, Monsignor Carlo Viganò, a former Vatican ambassador to the U.S., accused Francis of covering up clerical sex abuse at the highest level, alleging that he had ignored sexual misconduct allegations against former Cardinal and Archbishop of Washington Theodore McCarrick. Viganò then called for the Pope to resign.

But two years on, following the publication of a forensic and ground-breaking report into the case last week, the conservative assault seems to have backfired, with Francis emerging stronger than ever.

The Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Blase Cupich, who was also attacked by Viganò for having “a pro-gay ideology,” called Francis “fearless” in admitting church leaders’ failings. The report represented a “watershed moment” that demonstrated Francis’ “commitment to responsibility, accountability and transparency to all victim-survivors,” he said.

The attack by Viganò was widely seen as the latest skirmish in the conflict between progressives and mainly U.S.-based conservatives who oppose Francis for his more liberal stances on issues including homosexuality and migrants.

Survey shows opinions about diocese’s response to sexual abuse allegations

Daily Hampshire Gazette

November 17, 2020

By Michael Connors

A task force charged with improving the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield’s response to allegations of sexual abuse within the local church released preliminary results Tuesday from an online survey in which respondents were asked to provide input into how they perceive the diocese’s response to such allegations.

The survey was available on the diocese’s website from Oct. 8 to Oct. 19 and garnered 492 responses. It asked respondents to rate their perception of the diocese and to provide recommendations that the Independent Task Force on the Response to Sexual Abuse within the diocese should consider making, according to a statement released by the diocese.

“The results of the survey established a baseline for how people perceived the current and past response by the diocese,” said Jeffrey Trant, director of the diocesan Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance in a statement. “With the help of these responses, the task force is developing a strategic plan that we hope will significantly improve the response to these allegations while supporting healing and reconciliation for survivors and their families and the faith community.”

Full timeline of sex abuse allegations against former Conroe priest


November 17, 2020

A possible sex abuse scandal involving a local priest is unfolding.

Prosecutors say multiple people have come forward, saying that Father Manuel La Rosa-Lopez sexually abused children in Conroe in the 1990s to early 2000s.

University of California system agrees to proposed $73M settlement in lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by gynecologist

Associated Press

November 16, 2020

University of California system agrees to proposed $73M settlement in lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by gynecologist.

Priest accused of sexually abusing children headed to prison


November 17, 2020

By Debbie Strauss

A Houston-area priest who was accused of sexually abusing children has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

KPRC 2 Investigates has learned, Father Manuel La Rosa-Lopez plead guilty early Tuesday morning.

He was charged with four counts of indecency with a child involving sexual contact.

Investigators said La Rosa-Lopez abused a girl and a boy while he was a priest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe from the late ’90s to early 2000s. A third person came forward last year and said he was also abused by La Rosa-Lopez when he served as an altar boy in the mid-'90s.

WVa high court deals setback in state’s Catholic church suit

Associated Press

November 17, 2020

West Virginia’s attorney general cannot use a consumer protection law to sue a Roman Catholic diocese over sexual abuse allegations, the state’s high court said Monday.

The West Virginia Supreme Court issued its opinion in response to a lawsuit the state filed last year accusing the Wheeling-Charleston diocese of failing to publicly disclose the employment of sexual abusers in its schools and camps. The absence of such disclosure amounted to a violation of a consumer protection law, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey argued. Attorneys for the diocese asked the court to dismiss the suit.

It Is Past Time for a National Federal Investigation into the Catholic Church

SNAP Network

November 16, 2020

The United States is lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to investigating and preventing cases of Catholic child sexual abuse. We need to catch up and we can start by launching a federal investigation into sexual crimes and cover-ups committed by clergy and staffers.

Australia, the UK, France, and Canada have all launched their own nationwide investigations into crimes committed against their children and the vulnerable by Catholic clergy. It is time that the US does the same. The McCarrick report is only the most recent example of the critical need for secular oversight and it is becoming clearer and clearer that we cannot trust the word of Church officials when they promise to investigate their own.

Revelations that multiple US bishops lied to protect their friend Ted McCarrick from a Vatican “investigation” illustrates that internal probes are fraught with bias and unlikely to be probative. But the McCarrick scandal is not the only situation that shows the need for external oversight.

Take, for example, the case of Nicholas DiMarzio, a bishop in Brooklyn. Bishop DiMarzio had been tasked by the Vatican to investigate wrongdoing in the neighboring Diocese of Buffalo, but he himself has been accused twice of child sexual abuse and a nearly-year-long investigation from Vatican officials has yet to reveal any findings to the public. For another example, look at that of Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore. Archbishop Lori was tasked with investigating the crimes of former West Virginia bishop Michael Bransfield, but when he released his final report, the Archbishop scrubbed any mention of the lavish financial gifts that Bishop Bransfield doled out to other prelates, including Archbishop Lori himself.

Boy Scout Bankruptcy Reveals Similarities with Catholic Church Abuse Scandal

SNAP Network

November 16, 2020

As the true depth of sexual abuse and cover-up within the Boy Scouts of America continues to be revealed, it is impossible to ignore the similarities between the abuse scandal within the BSA and that of the Catholic Church.

According to the BSA’s own records, at least 7,800 scoutmasters abused boys under their care. We are sure that number will grow as this bankruptcy proceeds, given that more than 82,000 cases have been filed and more are likely to come. While these numbers are staggering, it is important to recognize that they are likely not even a full accounting. Due to the fact that many victims never come forward, there is no doubt that the number of children abused in the BSA system is in the hundreds of thousands and the number of abusive scoutmasters in the tens of thousands.

Pope John Paul II was no saint. Neither is Pope Francis

Boston Globe

November 16, 2020

By Joan Vennochi

Putting much of the blame on a dead pope is a convenient outcome for a living one.

Last week’s big headline about Pope Francis concerned the call he made to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden. A 449 page Vatican report, also released last week, presented a less pleasant revelation — that Francis knew of “allegations and rumors” of sexual abuse involving former cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick but didn’t pursue them because he believed others before him had properly vetted the matter.

The report holds Pope John Paul II — who died in 2005 — mostly accountable for McCarrick’s elevation to the top of the church hierarchy, despite decades of explicit warnings about sexual abuse. Francis — who canonized John Paul in 2014 and also launched the Vatican investigation into the McCarrick matter, in 2018 — is essentially let off the hook. In the wake of the findings, the sainthood of John Paul II is being questioned, while Francis is vowing to “eradicate” sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

Putting much of the blame on a dead pope is a convenient outcome for a living one. But what about Francis’s role? Protecting him from shared responsibility, the report draws a line between gossip that he might have heard and confirmed knowledge. Yet the details suggest that he, too, was part of a deliberate blindness that allowed predators like McCarrick to flourish. As Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability, a group that gathers information on clergy abuse, told The Washington Post that Francis’s “lack of curiosity” about the allegations against McCarrick “was at best negligent, at worst corrupt.”

Diocesan priest placed on administrative leave

Diocese of Springfield

November 15, 2020

Father Francis “Frank” Lawlor, a priest of the Diocese of Springfield, has been placed on administrative leave effective immediately pending the outcome of a private legal matter.

Father Lawlor has most recently been serving as administrator of Sacred Heart Parish in Pittsfield. That parish community was informed of the action in a statement read at all Masses this weekend, Nov. 14-15.

The Diocese of Springfield’s apostolic administrator, Worcester Bishop Robert McManus, has placed the parish’s day-to-day pastoral and administrative care under the guidance of Msgr. Michael Shershanovich, pastor of neighboring St. Joseph Parish in Pittsfield.

Gulbinowicz, Polish cardinal accused of abuse, dies at 97

Associated Press

November 16, 2020

By Vanessa Gera

Henryk Gulbinowicz, a prominent Polish cardinal who only days ago was sanctioned by the Vatican over accusations he had sexually abused a seminarian and covered up abuse in another case, has died. He was 97.

The Polish Bishops’ Conference said Gulbinowicz died Monday morning, adding in a brief statement: “Lord, give him eternal rest.”

Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, the head of the bishops’ conference, asked God to forgive Gulbinowicz.

“I am asking God in His mercy to forgive the deceased for causing suffering to those harmed, and pain to the community of believers,” Gadecki said in a statement.

“While unequivocally expressing disapproval of the sins committed, one must not forget about the good that many people shared through his life and ministry. May he rest in peace!”

Gulbinowicz was long viewed as a hero in Poland and was decorated with the nation’s highest honors. Under communism, he was considered one of the most important clerics helping the democratic opposition, hiding Solidarity activists in his church buildings in Wroclaw and helping to store its money.

Tumult over sex abuse, abortion and corruption grips LatAm church


November 16, 2020

By Inés San Martín

Rosario, Argentina – Between the Vatican’s McCarrick report and the US presidential elections, much of what’s happened in the rest of the global Church over the past week has gone unnoticed.

Here’s a round-up, including the Argentine bishops accusing the president of being a pawn of the “abortion lobby;” Bolivians asking their newly elected president to respect the constitution; prelates in Peru applauding protests in the midst of a pandemic; and survivors of clerical abuse once again facing disappointment in Chile.

This past week, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found Father Jorge Laplagne, a renowned priest in Santiago, Chile’s capital, guilty of sexually abusing a minor 15 years ago.

Javier Molina, a former altar boy for Laplagne, had accused the priest of sexual abuse and abuse of power. He did so first in 2010, but Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz, then Archbishop of Santiago, after hearing the allegations from Molina himself, accepted a report by the then-Promotor of Justice of the archdiocese concluding the accusations were “not true,” and decided not to investigate.

A Troubled Vatican: When Praxis Contradicts Profession

Christianity Today

November 17, 2020

By Scott McKnight

Let’s begin with the cultural problem before we get to the recent revelations about McCarrick, what the popes knew, and before we get to comments by conservatives like Vigano and Barron. I begin with Frederic Martel’s blockbuster book published simultaneously in eight languages, based on more than 1500 people interviewed (some many times) from 30 countries, including 41 cardinals, 52 bishops and monsignors, 45 ambassadors and nuncios, all conducted by the author and some 80 researchers, etc.. In other words, lots of data accumulated in his book called In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy.

What I am about to describe is, yes, duplicity regarding same-sex relations, but our intent is to frame this description as something about the Vatican’s culture, a “Christian” culture corrupted to the core and all the way to the top. It is so pervasive no one in the Vatican, from the Popes down, could not have known what was going on.

McCarrick report rings familiar to former Newark seminarians

National Catholic Reporter

November 17, 2020

By Peter Feuerherd

While some reacted with shock to a report released Nov. 10 by the Vatican detailing how church officials ignored former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick's long history of sexual abuse, one group was not surprised.

Those who went through seminary for the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, during McCarrick's tenure as archbishop from 1986 to 2000 already knew the story, with the Vatican report a kind of "imprimatur" validating their experiences.

Bob Hoatson remembers that as summer weekends approached, "Uncle Ted," as McCarrick called himself, would send out invitations to a select crew of students. They would number just beyond the number of beds available at McCarrick's New Jersey beach house. McCarrick, according to the report, would then invite a seminarian to share a bed with him.

"Everybody knew about McCarrick, about Uncle Ted and the 'nephews' he had," Hoatson told NCR.

Those selected for the beach house trips knew, said Hoatson, "you had to go," or they would fear repercussions with the archbishop, who had ultimate authority over their future careers as priests.

Hoatson, then in his 40s, was never invited, he surmises because of his relatively advanced age. But before starting ordination studies for Newark, he asked if the archbishop was still sleeping with seminarians, and was assured by an archdiocesan official that the practice had stopped, even as the invites to the beach house continued. Hoatson had heard of McCarrick's reputation while he worked as a teacher in New York's Harlem as a Christian Brother.

Buffalo Diocese's legal bill in first 6 months of bankruptcy grows to $1.9M

Buffalo News

November 17, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

Dozens of lawyers and other professionals have billed the Buffalo Diocese $1.9 million for their work so far on the diocese’s bankruptcy case.

More than 30 attorneys in five law firms that charge from $150 to $843 per hour have worked on behalf of the diocese since its Chapter 11 filing on Feb. 28.

In addition, the diocese is on the hook for U.S. trustee fees and for fees charged by two additional law firms that represent the committee of unsecured creditors, which consists of childhood victims of sex abuse.

The diocese also hired a financial firm, a public relations firm and a research firm, each of which has submitted a bill for work over the past eight months.

The charges revealed in court papers filed over the past few weeks are on top of the more than $2 million the diocese spent on attorneys in the 12 months prior to the bankruptcy filing, primarily defending against more than 200 lawsuits alleging childhood sex abuse by priests and other employees.

November 16, 2020

Reality of the abuse scandals now seems A Tale of Two Cardinals


November 15, 2020

By John L. Allen Jr.

Over the last three years, sexual abuse charges against two high-profile and massively influential cardinals have rocked the Catholic Church, and now, seemingly, both stories have reached their conclusions. George Pell is a free man, while Theodore McCarrick is defrocked and exposed as a cunning manipulator able to hoodwink three papacies until his string finally ran out.

The McCarrick and Pell sagas contain two unavoidable truths about the clerical abuse scandals, and they must always be held together: Every accusation of abuse has to be taken seriously, but the mere fact of an allegation doesn’t make it true.

To put the point differently, McCarrick illustrates the risks of clericalism in blinding an entire system to clear warning signs and sincere attempts to blow the whistle; Pell illustrates the risks of anti-clericalism in allowing implausible charges to go to trial and cost a man 400 days behind bars before being finally dismissed.

Tumult over sex abuse, abortion and corruption grips LatAm church


November 16, 2020

By Inés San Martín

Between the Vatican’s McCarrick report and the US presidential elections, much of what’s happened in the rest of the global Church over the past week has gone unnoticed.

Here’s a round-up, including the Argentine bishops accusing the president of being a pawn of the “abortion lobby;” Bolivians asking their newly elected president to respect the constitution; prelates in Peru applauding protests in the midst of a pandemic; and survivors of clerical abuse once again facing disappointment in Chile.

Church child sex abuse survivor says crimes made her a 'compassionate' oncology nurse

ABC News

November 16, 2020

By Meagan Dillon

A South Australian child sex abuse survivor has told a court that crimes committed against her within the Church have made her a "compassionate" oncology nurse who cares for those dying of cancer.

In September, District Court Judge Paul Slattery found former music teacher and Church organist Malcolm Winston Day, 79, guilty of child sex crimes against a pupil, aged between nine and 12 at the time, in the 1980s.

Damning child sex abuse report finds Catholic Church put its own reputation over children’s welfare

The Irish Post

November 16, 2020

By Fiona Audley

THE Catholic Church prioritised its reputation over the welfare of vulnerable children for decades, according to a report by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

The 147-page report, released on November 10, finds the Catholic Church's moral purpose was betrayed by those who sexually abused children - as well as those who turned a blind eye and failed to take action against perpetrators.

Between 1970 and 2015, the Catholic Church received more than 900 complaints involving over 3,000 instances of child sexual abuse in England and Wales.

Since 2016, there have been more than 100 reported allegations each year.

The true scale of abuse over the last 50 years is likely to have been far higher, according to the report’s authors.

What to make of the McCarrick Report?

La Croix International

November 15, 2020

By Peter Steinfels

The striking conclusions and the remaining questions

The Vatican has issued its report on the shocking case of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Two years in the making, it is 449 pages long, names names, gives dates, and cites extensive documentation and more than ninety interviews, all anchored with 1,410 footnotes.

Will it bring closure to questions about how the now-defrocked prelate could rise to the heights of the hierarchy despite rumors of sexual activity with adults and repeated machinations to bed seminarians?

Anyone who believes that must inhabit an alternative universe.

Sex-Abuse Claims Against Boy Scouts Now Surpass 82,000

The New York Times

November 15, 2020

By Mike Baker

The deluge of sex-abuse filings, coming ahead of a bankruptcy deadline, far surpasses the number of claims filed in Catholic Church cases.

More than 82,000 people have come forward with sex-abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America, describing a decades-long accumulation of assaults at the hands of scout leaders across the nation who had been trusted as role models.

The claims, which lawyers said far eclipsed the number of abuse accusations filed in Catholic Church cases, continued to mount ahead of a Monday deadline established in bankruptcy court in Delaware, where the Boy Scouts had sought refuge this year in a bid to survive the demands for damages.

Paul Mones, a lawyer who has been working on Boy Scouts cases for nearly two decades, said the prevalence of abuse detailed in the filings was breathtaking and might reflect only a fraction of victims.

Records military fought to keep secret show pedophile priest had multiple child victims

Ottawa Citizen

November 16, 2020

By David Pugliese

The Canadian Forces has fought for 40 years to keep such details under wraps, even to the point of falsely claiming the original charges against pedophile Chaplain Capt. Angus McRae couldn’t be revealed to the public.

A Canadian Forces chaplain took children to his quarters at an Edmonton military base and gave them alcohol before sexually assaulting them, according to newly released court martial transcripts.

The Canadian Forces has fought for 40 years to keep such details under wraps, even to the point of falsely claiming the original charges against pedophile Chaplain Capt. Angus McRae couldn’t be revealed to the public.

Former Holy Family Priest charged with child molestation

The Valley Breeze

November 11, 2020

By Lauren Clem

A former priest who served at Holy Family Parish in Woonsocket from 1981 to 1990 was indicted by a grand jury on child molestation charges last week.

John Petrocelli, who was the assistant pastor at Holy Family Parish, faces three counts of first-degree child molestation and nine counts of second-degree child molestation. He is accused of molesting three male victims under the age of 14 during his time at the church.

The Diocese of Providence said in a statement that Petrocelli was removed from ministry in 2002 following credible allegations of abuse. His name was included on a list of credibly accused clergy released last year.

Child sex abuse survivor wins payout after electric shock 'therapy'

The Age

November 15, 2020

By Henrietta Cook

A former ward of the state who was forced to undergo electric shock "therapy" after disclosing he had been sexually abused has reached an $825,000 settlement with the state government and Uniting Church.

It is believed to be one of the largest top-up payments for a state ward since new laws took effect in Victoria giving victims who have accepted meagre settlements the right to sue again.

New ‘benchmarks’ released to help seminaries deal with sexual misconduct


November 13, 2020

By John Lavenburg

When reports of then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual misconduct surfaced in 2018, John Cavadini got to work.

The director of the Notre Dame McGrath Institute for Church Life wanted to figure out a way to help ensure those guilty of sexual abuse or misconduct were held accountable in the future.

Two years later, and the Institute has come out with five sexual misconduct policy benchmarks for seminaries.

UK abuse inquiry says London cardinal, Vatican did not show leadership

Catholic News Service

November 11, 2020

By Simon Caldwell

The Catholic Church in England and Wales and the Vatican failed to show compassion or leadership in the fight against child abuse, a U.K. inquiry concluded.

"The Roman Catholic Church: Investigation Report" was part of a national inquiry -- set up by the British home secretary -- into abuse in a range of institutions, including social care, government and the Church of England. The report on the Catholic Church, released Nov. 10, accused Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, president of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, of putting the reputation of the church ahead of the welfare of vulnerable children.

In a Moment of Turmoil, US Catholic Bishops Meet Virtually

Associated Press

November 15, 2020

By David Crary

Catholic bishops of the United States open a national meeting Monday under dramatic circumstances.

A pandemic has compelled them to meet virtually from their far-flung dioceses. A hard-fought presidential election has caused sharp divisions in their own ranks. And six days before the meeting, the Vatican released a revelatory report detailing how clerics in the U.S. and abroad failed to hold ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick to account until many years after suspicions of serial sexual misconduct had become widespread.

“The shadow of the McCarrick report hangs over this meeting,” said John Gehring, Catholic program director at a Washington-based clergy network called Faith in Public Life.

McCarrick, who was defrocked by Pope Francis last year, headed up dioceses in Metuchen and Newark, New Jersey, and in Washington, D.C. The report found that three decades of bishops, cardinals and popes dismissed or downplayed reports of McCarrick’s misconduct with young men.

For U.S. clergy, one of the most embarrassing revelations was that three New Jersey bishops — all now deceased — provided “inaccurate and incomplete information” about McCarrick to the Vatican as part of an investigation in 2000, just a few months before he became a cardinal and archbishop of Washington.

The bishops will discuss the McCarrick report twice Monday, first in a private session and later in a public livestream, according to the communications office of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Abusive Church 'betrayed' its moral purpose

The Tablet

November 10, 2020

By Catherine Pepinster

The Catholic Church betrayed its moral purpose by prioritising its own reputation over bringing child abusers to book and turning a blind eye to sex assaults, according to the official report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

Survivors of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests, monks and other Church figures have called for mandatory reporting of assaults in the wake of the damning report, which accuses the Catholic Church of repeated failures to protect the vulnerable and of showing more interest in protecting its own reputation.

In an exclusive letter, published in The Tablet (below), 20 survivors of abuse appeal for mandatory reporting and an independent body to be responsible for the oversight of safeguarding in the Catholic Church. IICSA says that the Church’s moral purpose has been betrayed by not only those who abused children but also by those who turned a blind eye to the assaults and failed to take action against the perpetrators. It says that the Church prioritised its own reputation.

Blaming St. John Paul II for McCarrick's advancement called misplaced

Catholic News Service via Catholic Sentinel

November 11, 2020

Following the Nov. 10 release of the Vatican's 460-page report on former cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, some of the speculation in the media has centered on the role of St. John Paul II in McCarrick's rise through church ranks.

Commentators have alleged the pope knowingly advanced McCarrick up the hierarchical ladder despite being aware of allegations of sexual misconduct going back decades.

But those who are experts on St. John Paul's life oppose that characterization.

"The McCarrick report is an important document that relates painful events," said the Knights of Columbus, which operates the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington. "We pray that it leads to healing and reconciliation. However, this tragedy in no way diminishes St. John Paul II's legacy of love and compassion, and it has no bearing on the shrine or its mission."

"From its inception, the shrine was intended as a response to St. John Paul II's call for a 'new evangelization,' which was repeated by Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis," the Knights said in a Nov. 11 statement to Catholic News Service.

"The shrine is a place of genuine encounter with God that leads to a renewal of individuals, families, societies and cultures -- a place where God heals and renews every dimension of human life," it added. "That continues to be the shrine's focus."

Catholic commentator George Weigel — in two articles published Nov. 10 to coincide with the McCarrick report's release — provided strong opposition to those seeking to blame St. John Paul for McCarrick's advancement.

Polish church reels from new claims against John Paul II

National Catholic Reporter

November 16, 2020

By Jonathan Luxmoore

Warsaw, Poland - When a long-awaited report on the case of disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was published by the Vatican Nov. 10, it had a special resonance in Poland.

The extensive document highlighted mistakes by the last three popes, but particularly questioned judgments by St. John Paul II, a figure long considered beyond criticism in his homeland.

The role of the Polish pontiff's long-serving secretary, retired Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, had been examined a day earlier by a Polish TV documentary, citing damning evidence that he connived in covering up sex abuse by Catholic clergy both in Rome and in Poland.

The revelations come during a hot autumn for Poland's predominant Catholic Church, already facing multiple abuse-related investigations, the disgracing of its oldest cardinal and angry protests over its backing for new curbs on abortion.

How the church reacts now will be closely watched.

Editorial: US bishops, please suppress the cult of St. John Paul II

National Catholic Reporter

November 13, 2020

In many, many ways, Pope John Paul II was an admirable man. The last decades of the 20th century were enriched immeasurably by his deft use of papal statecraft in raising up the voices of oppressed peoples across Eastern Europe, in his various efforts toward inter-religious dialogue, and by his personal witness to the dignity of aging.

But as the Vatican's unprecedented report on the career of disgraced ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick reveals in shocking detail, the first decade of the 21st century will forever be marred by John Paul's calamitous, callous decision-making.

It is time for a difficult reckoning. This man, proclaimed a Catholic saint by Pope Francis in 2014, willfully put at risk children and young adults in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., and across the world. In doing so, he also undermined the global church's witness, shattered its credibility as an institution, and set a deplorable example for bishops in ignoring the accounts of abuse victims.

As with every saint, John Paul has a vibrant cult — people across the world who celebrate his memory by encouraging devotion to him, placing his name on churches and schools, and hosting processions and parades on his liturgical feast.

Given what we know now about the long-lasting repercussions of John Paul's decision-making, the U.S. bishops, meeting next week for their annual conference, should seriously consider whether American Catholics can continue such practices. They should also discuss requesting that the Vatican formally suppress John Paul's cult. Abuse victims deserve no less.

Bishops' conference elections: why they matter and what they portend

National Catholic Reporter

November 16, 2020

By Michael Sean Winters

The U.S. bishops' conference begins its virtual plenary session this afternoon. On Friday, I looked at what I thought they should be discussing today and tomorrow. Sadly, if they do have that discussion, it will likely be mostly during executive session.

This morning, let's look at the conference's public agenda and especially at the elections of new committee chairs. Your average Catholic in the pew may not care who leads the Communications Committee at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, or the Pro-Life Activities Committee, but it matters a lot to the direction the conference will take in the years ahead.

Overall, one question has hung over the conference's meetings for seven years now: Will the U.S. bishops continue to resist the direction Pope Francis is trying to steer the church or will they engage his evangelical vision?

The first order of business will be addresses from the papal nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, and from the conference president, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles. Pierre is a diplomat and Gomez is one of the most mild-mannered people you could ever want to meet, so I do not expect fireworks in either address. Yet both men must address the recent report about former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Of course, both must recommit the church to eradicating the scourge of clergy sex abuse, but it will be interesting to see how much either or both of them acknowledge the indictment of the clerical culture that report contained: a pope none-too-curious about the veracity of serious allegations about a prospective cardinal, bishops willing to lie to protect a friend and mentor, a diplomat — I am talkin' about you, Viganò! — who did not carry out an investigation when requested, only to later complain that he was the only one trying to hold McCarrick accountable.

In gathering for U.S. bishops like no other, annual meeting goes online

Catholic News Service via Catholic Philly

November 16, 2020

By Rhina Guidos

U.S. Catholic bishops will address the recent Vatican report on former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick when they gather Nov. 16 and 17 for their annual meeting, taking place in an online format this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A revision to the agenda issued in a Nov. 13 news release by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops shows a change to reflect that “changes were made in the schedule in order to accommodate a discussion by the bishops on the Holy See’s report on Theodore McCarrick.”

“Additionally, the bishops will hear a report from the National Review Board, which advises the Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People on matters of child and youth protection, specifically on policies and practices,” the press release said.

In what is undoubtedly one of the largest virtual gatherings of Catholic bishops in the world, more than 300 prelates are expected to log on for the two-day meeting with plenary sessions to be livestreamed from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 16 and from 1 p.m. to about 3 p.m. Nov. 17, both Eastern Standard Time, to accommodate the variety of time zones.

Editorial: Bishops shouldn’t investigate one another. Their U.S. conference must enact reforms.

Washington Post

November 13, 2020


As the Catholic Church was reeling two years ago in the aftermath of revelations that former cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, one of the highest-profile prelates in this country, was a serial sexual predator, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops met in Baltimore. At the top of the bishops’ agenda was how to grapple, once again, with the unending scandals that had ensnared so many clerics and wrecked so many lives. In the end, they did nothing.

The bishops were derailed by the Vatican, which urged them to hold off pending an action plan to be formulated in Rome for addressing wrongdoing by bishops. Yet in the end, the shortcomings of the church’s approach to rooting out misconduct in its highest ranks, which relies largely on bishops investigating and judging their fellow bishops, were exposed by an extraordinary Vatican report this week, which laid bare the details of the McCarrick case itself.

Mr. McCarrick, who was expelled from the priesthood last year, was found to have preyed on at least 17 victims. Some were young seminarians; more than half were children. The 449-page document’s headline finding is that Pope John Paul II dismissed explicit information about Mr. McCarrick’s sexual abuse in naming him archbishop of Washington in 2000. Yet the report also makes clear that at least three American bishops, tasked with investigating the allegations at the time, provided the Vatican with “inaccurate and incomplete information.” And another bishop, in Rome, who functioned as the pope’s own gatekeeper, believed Mr. McCarrick’s denials when the American prelate contacted him.

One of the main takeaways from the report, therefore, is the manifest inadequacy of the system now in place that counts on archbishops to police abuse by bishops. Yet proposals from within the American church’s U.S. hierarchy to give laypeople a prominent, formal role in investigating allegations involving bishops, floated two years in Baltimore, were controversial within the U.S. bishops conference — and do not appear to have been seriously considered by the Holy See.

Here's how the Catholic Church is trying to reform after years of clergy abuse scandals

Bergen Record via NorthJersey.com

November 16, 2020

By Deena Yellin

The Catholic Church is still reckoning with the legacy of alleged abusers like Theodore McCarrick and the culture of silence that let the former cardinal rise to prominence.

But that culture has also been transformed after years of painful revelations.

The church still faces hundreds of lawsuits and an incalculable loss of trust. But it's also made progress through reforms adopted by Pope Francis and his predecessors, experts said last week after the Vatican released a 449-page report that documented decades of indifference to McCarrick's misdeeds.

Local churches now require background checks and training for priests, volunteers and other staff who work with children. Dioceses have been ordered to quickly report allegations to local authorities, a sea change from the days when McCarrick ascended through the Catholic hierarchy in New York and New Jersey despite the accusations against him.

Three more lawsuits alleging sexual abuse filed against Diocese of Scranton

Citizens Voice

November 16, 2020

By Terrie Morgan-Besecker

Three more people who allege they were sexually abused by priests as children filed lawsuits against the Diocese of Scranton.

Two of the lawsuits were filed by men who allege they were molested at St. Dominic’s Parish in Wilkes-Barre in the early 1970s. The third suit, filed by a female, alleges a priest at St. Ignatius Church in Kingston raped her in 1972, when she was 7.

The lawsuits are among dozens of lawsuits filed against the diocese on behalf of abuse victims.

Two of the most recent complaints filed by Kingston attorney Kevin Quinn relate to abuse at St. Dominic’s. One man alleges he was molested at age 11 by the Rev. Gerald Burns in 1972, while the other man was abused at age 7, by the Rev. William Culnane, in 1971. The third suit identifies the Rev. Neil McLaughlin, who was a member of the Society of Jesus but served in the diocese, as the abuser.

Each lawsuit alleges church officials knew the clergy members were abusing children, but instead of stopping it they transferred them to other parishes. The suits name as defendants the Diocese of Scranton, retired Bishop James Timlin and current Bishop Joseph Bambera.

Eric Deabill, spokesman for the diocese, said the diocese does not comment on pending litigation.

The allegations against Culnane were filed by Jeffery A. Stucker of Wilkes-Barre, who claims Culnane once forced him to perform oral sex on Culnane behind the church’s altar. He also groped and penetrated him two other times.

Gulbinowicz, Polish cardinal accused of abuse, dies at 97

Associated Press

November 16, 2020

Henryk Gulbinowicz, a prominent Polish cardinal, died Monday at the age of 97, days after the Vatican imposed sanctions on him over accusations he had sexually abused a seminarian and covered up abuse in another case.

The Polish Bishops’ Conference said Gulbinowicz died on Monday morning, adding in a brief statement: “Lord, give him eternal rest.” The body did not give details about the circumstances of his death.

Earlier this month, the Vatican’s embassy in Poland said Gulbinowicz, the retired archbishop of Wroclaw, was forbidden from using his bishop’s insignia and participating in any religious celebrations or public events.

The once well-respected cardinal, who supported Poland’s pro-democracy Solidarity movement in the 1980s, was also denied the right to have a cathedral burial service or to be buried in a cathedral.

Days after that announcement, it was reported that Gulbinowicz was hospitalized in Wroclaw and was unconscious.

Last year, prosecutors in Wroclaw opened an investigation into allegations against Gulbinowicz concerning sexual abuse of a seminarian in the 1980s, but they dropped the case because too much time had passed.

Gulbinowicz was also cited in a recent video documentary in Poland, called “Tell No One,” about predator priests and coverup efforts. It alleged that Gulbinowicz saved a priest suspected of abuse of minors from arrest by vouching for him.

November 15, 2020

Opinion: Diocesan sex abuse panel committed to fairness, transparency


November 15, 2020

By Daniel A. Ford

I am the Chair of the Bishop’s Independent Task Force on the Response to Sexual Abuse within the Diocese of Springfield. Last month I wrote an op-ed explaining that the Task Force was conducting an online survey designed to elicit ideas from the faithful, both laity and clergy, to inform us in our work, and encouraging people to participate. The response was very strong, and I wish to thank profusely those individuals who took the time to respond. I want to assure everyone who responded that all answers and comments, some of which were extremely thoughtful and insightful, have been read and studied. I know that they will be seriously considered and I expect that many of them will be incorporated into our final report.

There is one misconception that I want to clear up. Some people seem to think that the mission of the Task Force is to investigate claims of sexual misconduct within the Diocese. It is not. Our charge is to identify areas in which the Diocese’s response to those claims could be improved and to recommend significant and meaningful changes in Diocesan policies and procedures designed to promote healing and reconciliation. To that end, we are in the process of engaging the services of an outside professional organization which will organize focus groups in order to obtain the views and perspectives of survivors of clergy sexual abuse in a safe and trauma-informed way. We consider their opinions to be essential if we are to provide sensible and workable recommendations to the Bishop which are responsive to the needs of these most important stakeholders.

Polish cardinal chastised by Vatican unconscious in hospital

Associated Press

November 10, 2020

A prominent Polish cardinal who was recently sanctioned by the Vatican over sexual abuse allegations has been hospitalized since last week and remains unconscious, Polish media reported Tuesday.

Retired Archbishop Henryk Gulbinowicz was sanctioned by the Vatican last week after the 97-year-old was accused of sexually abusing a seminarian and of covering up abuse in another case.

Private Polish broadcaster TVN24 on Monday night aired a documentary suggesting that another well-respected churchman, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, covered up sex abuse by priests in Poland and elsewhere, including abuse of minors by the Mexican priest Marcial Meciel Degollado.

The head of Poland’s Catholic episcopate, Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, said in a statement Tuesday he hopes that “all doubts” presented in the documentary “Don Stanislao. The other face of Cardinal Dziwisz” will be “clarified by the appropriate commission of the Holy See.”

Dziwisz, the retired archbishop of Krakow who served as secretary to beloved Polish pope St. John Paul II in 1978-2005, said he was ready to cooperate with a commission and wanted the matter to be “clarified in a transparent way.”

Sainted Too Soon? Vatican Report Cast John Paul II in Harsh New Light

New York Times

November 14, 2020

By Jason Horowitz

The former pope was fast-tracked for canonization immediately after his death. But a tarnished legacy in dealing with the church’s sex abuse scandals has left critics to wonder whether it was too fast.

Rome - At the funeral of Pope John Paul II at St. Peter’s Square, banners rose from the sea of mourners reading “Santo Subito,” or “Saint at Once.” He was a giant of the church in the 20th century, spanning the globe, inspiring generations of believers with his youthful magnetism, then aged infirmity, and, as the Polish pope, he helped bring down Communism over his more than 26-year reign.

Days after his death in 2005, cardinals eager to uphold his conservative policies had already begun discussing putting him on a fast track to sainthood while devotees in Rome and beyond clamored for his immediate canonization, drowning out notes of caution from survivors of sexual abuse and historians that John Paul had persistently turned a blind eye to the crimes in his church.

Now, after more than a decade of doubts, his reputation has fallen under its darkest cloud yet, after the very Vatican that rushed to canonize him released an extraordinary report this week that laid at the saint’s feet the blame for the advancement of the disgraced former prelate Theodore E. McCarrick.

The investigation, commissioned by Pope Francis, who canonized John Paul in 2014, revealed how John Paul chose not to believe longstanding accusations of sexual abuse against Mr. McCarrick, including pedophilia, allowing him to climb the hierarchy’s ladder.

The findings detailed decades of bureaucratic obfuscation and lack of accountability by a host of top prelates and threatened to sully the white robes of three popes. But most of all, critics say, it provides searing proof that the church moved with reckless speed to canonize John Paul and now it is caught in its own wreckage.

“He was canonized too fast,” said Kathleen Cummings, author of “A Saint of Our Own” and the head of a center on U.S. Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame. She said that given the “really damning evidence,” in the report, had the church waited at least five years, and not mere days, to begin the canonization process “it would probably not begin for John Paul II because of his complicity in the clergy sex abuse scandal.”

November 14, 2020

Diocese of Stockton releases updated list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of a child

The Stockton Record

November 12 2020

By Bob Highfill


The Diocese of Stockton has released an expanded and updated list of priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a child.

The diocese added the names of 27 priests and two religious order brothers who have served in the Diocese of Stockton and faced credible accusations elsewhere. The original list published in 2017 during bankruptcy proceedings included only clergy who were accused of abuse that occurred within the diocese or who were accused while serving within the diocese.

No one on the updated list currently serves with the Diocese of Stockton.

Bishop Myron J. Cotta said the update is a vital part of the Church’s effort to confront and atone for the sins of the past.

“The process of atoning for the horrible sins of clergy sexual abuse requires us to continually revisit this list and seek to make it as thorough as we can,” Cotta said. “A thorough, honest and open accounting of the sins of the past is necessary if our Church and the many victim-survivors of clergy abuse are to find healing.”

The updated list was prepared following a review of more than 1,850 diocese personnel files by Kinsale Management Consulting led by Dr. Kathleen McChesney, a former executive assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and a founding member of the Office of Child Protection at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Former Rapid City priest expected to pay back over $259,000 to local parishes


November 13 2020

By Natalie Cruz

United States Attorneys are requesting over $40,000 to be paid back to the (IRS) Internal Revenue Service

Former Rapid City Priest Marcin Garbacz was convicted last March of wire fraud, money laundering, transporting stolen money from Rapid City Parishes, and filing a false tax return.

Earlier today at the restitution hearing, the Diocese of Rapid City and the United States attorneys are asking Garbacz to pay $259,096.19 to the Parishes.

Internal Revenue Service agent Bryan Pickens testified at the restitution hearing and says " the hardworking people of the Catholic church deserve their money back".

The Diocese requested the money will be split evenly between St.Therese Catholic church, Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, and Cathedral of the lady of Perpetual Help.

In addition to paying back the Parishes, the IRS is requesting Garnacz to pay an additional $46,000 for not declaring the stolen money on his 2018 tax return.

Garbacz attorney Jennifer Albertson says " herself and the defendant both agree to paying back the parishes".

Pope Francis defrocks former Rapid City priest

Rapid City Journal

November 12, 2020

By Arielle Zionts

Pope Francis has defrocked, or laicized, a former Rapid City priest convicted of child sexual abuse.

The Pope laicized John Praveen on March 26, the West River Catholic reported in its September issue.

“This means that John Praveen has been removed from the clerical state and cannot function or present himself as a priest,” the announcement says.

The 40-year-old was sentenced in March 2019 to six years in prison after admitting to sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl inside the Rapid City cathedral.

Praveen, who is from Hyderabad, India, joined the Diocese of Rapid City for a 10-year assignment in December 2017. The diocese sponsored his work visa.

Praveen first worked in Eagle Butte on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe reservation.

Editorial: Catholic report shows there should be no time limit for justice

Orlando Sentinel

November 14, 2020

The state attorney general’s office has concluded a two-year investigation into alleged sexual abuse by Catholic priests. Investigators believe the systemic abuse has been largely weeded out.

That’s the good news. The bad news is investigators say they have enough evidence to prosecute dozen of priests, and here’s what they plan to do about it:


They can’t. Statute-of-limitations laws make the alleged criminals untouchable.

“Some of these people, we would have loved to have prosecuted,” statewide prosecutor Nick Cox told CBS12 News in West Palm Beach.

Beyond the names, investigative details and disturbing anecdotes, the report could be interpreted as a 19-page distress letter to Florida lawmakers. The conclusions tell us that the Legislature needs to pass a “look-back” law that would override statute-of-limitations constraints.

If ever a situation demanded a good look back, it’s this one.

Commentary: McCarrick report must be the Catholic Church’s #MeToo moment


November 14, 2020

By Michael McGough

The explosive inquiry leaves the strong impression that allegations of exploiting young adults weren't treated as seriously as the abuse of minors.

The Vatican this week released an eye-popping report documenting how Theodore McCarrick, the defrocked former cardinal archbishop of Washington, D.C., ascended in the church hierarchy despite warnings that he had sexually harassed young seminarians.

The report, released by the Vatican secretary of state’s office, assigns primary responsibility for McCarrick’s advancement to Pope John Paul II, a favorite of Catholic conservatives, and essentially exonerates the current pope, Francis. It discredits the suggestion by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, a retired Vatican diplomat, that Francis had relaxed “sanctions” imposed by now retired Pope Benedict XVI. (Vigano also accused Francis of being close to a “homosexual current” in the church.)

In assessing blame for the rise of McCarrick, a prodigious fundraiser, the report confirms much that was already obvious from decades of scandal over the church’s cover-up of sexual abuse of minors. When confronted with suspicious behavior or even specific evidence, church authorities turned a blind eye or gave accused clerics the benefit of the doubt.

On Wednesday Pope Francis said, “I renew my closeness to victims of any abuse and commitment of the church to eradicate this evil.” It’s unclear, however, whether the McCarrick investigation will be an inflection point in the church’s newfound commitment to confronting sexual abuse by the clergy and abandoning a culture of cover-up.

In the aftermath of the McCarrick investigation, liberal and conservative Catholics probably will continue to refract the issue of clerical sexual abuse through their respective partisan lenses. Liberals will link the problem to mandatory celibacy for priests; conservatives will complain about a gay subculture in the clergy.

But there is one arguably new takeaway from the report: that the church is belatedly realizing that sexual abuse of children and adolescents, horrific as it obviously is, isn’t the only form of sexual predation by priests.

Boy Scouts of America Sexual Abuse Victims Seek Justice in Bankruptcy Court


November 13, 2020

By Wade Goodwyn

The Boy Scouts of America are in the midst of a legal action that could threaten the very existence of the iconic, century-old institution. The Scouts declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February after thousands of allegations of child sexual abuse perpetrated by scoutmasters. The scope far exceeds the scope of American Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandal — the number of abused Boy Scout claimants is more than 60,000 men. And that number could rise before Monday's deadline to file a claim.

In the summer of 1977, Frank Spinelli was a young boy and lived on Staten Island with his mom and dad and two sisters. His parents were Italian immigrants, devoutly Catholic and eager for their children to become successful Americans. One weekend, the family went to the Staten Island Mall, where there just so happened to be, a Boy Scout Jamboree.

"And my parents, particularly my mother, thought it would be really good if I joined the Boy Scouts because my father worked two jobs at the time and she thought it would be really good for me to be around boys," Spinelli recalls.

At the mall was the scoutmaster for Troop 85, a man named Bill Fox, he was a New York City police officer. And although Spinelli was a few months shy of being old enough to join the Scouts, the officer took an interest in the boy immediately.

November 13, 2020

Letter to the Editor: The Vatican Report on Clerical Abuse

New York Times

November 12, 2020

By James Connell

A Catholic priest says the report documents the failure of the hierarchy, and a need for civil authorities to take the lead in finding the truth. Also: Happy to fly the flag again.

To the Editor:

Re “The Catholic Sex Abuse Crisis Is Far From Over,” by Elizabeth Bruenig (Opinion, Nov. 11), about the Vatican report on the former cardinal Theodore McCarrick:

We have seen the unwillingness and even inability of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church to confront and resolve its clergy sexual abuse scandal, but now a report by the Vatican itself documents the utter failure of church leadership at the highest level and the many victims who have suffered.

Who can be trusted to right this tilting ship?

Civil governments must take the lead and do what the church won’t do: find and declare the truth because without the whole and complete truth there can be no justice, and without justice there will be no healing.

Culprits must be held accountable, regardless of their social or professional status. Doing so serves the common good of our society.

James Connell

The writer is a priest in the Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

The McCarrick Report and Pope John Paul II: Confronting a saint’s tarnished legacy

America Magazine

November 10, 2020

By James T. Keane

The release of the long-awaited “McCarrick Report” by the Vatican this morning provided significant information about Theodore McCarrick’s abuse of minors and adult seminarians, as well as a long and shameful history of church leaders ignoring complaints and concerns about Mr. McCarrick. It also raised the inevitable questions of who knew what and when, including regarding three popes: John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. John Paul II was canonized by Pope Francis in 2014, less than 10 years after his death.

Mr. McCarrick, once a priest and an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New York (full disclosure: Mr. McCarrick was the homilist at America’s 100th anniversary Mass at St. Ignatius Church in New York City in 2009), served as the first bishop of the newly formed Diocese of Metuchen in New Jersey from 1981 to 1986, as archbishop of Newark from 1986 to 2000 and as archbishop of Washington from 2000 to 2006. He was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 2001.

In June 2018, he was removed from ministry after the Archdiocese of New York deemed an allegation that he had abused an altar boy decades earlier “credible and substantiated.” In the weeks following, further allegations emerged of inappropriate behavior with minors and adults, including seminarians, and officials in the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Metuchen admitted that both had reached financial settlements with alleged victims of Mr. McCarrick over a decade earlier. He was finally removed from the clerical state by Pope Francis in February 2019 after a canonical trial and an unsuccessful appeal by Mr. McCarrick of the guilty verdict.

Today’s report largely avoids blaming Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI for the lack of oversight and restrictions on Mr. McCarrick, saying that Benedict and Francis both assumed that John Paul II had determined that Mr. McCarrick was not guilty of any crimes. In the case of John Paul II, the report argues that he was naturally suspicious of accusations of sexual misconduct against bishops because he had seen similar tactics used in his native Poland under Soviet rule. “Several prelates familiar with Pope John Paul II’s thinking opined that the Pope believed that allegations of sexual misconduct against important clerics were often false and that this belief was grounded in his own prior experience in Poland,” the report states, “where rumors and innuendo had been used to damage the reputations of Church leaders.”

A similar rationale was offered by many church leaders in the case of the Rev. Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legion of Christ, who was removed from ministry by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 after multiple allegations of sexual abuse of minors, repeated affairs with adult women and decades of financial malfeasance while serving as head of the religious order. Father Maciel was close to John Paul II, who beatified Father Maciel’s uncle, Rafael Guízar (Pope Benedict XVI canonized Guízar, in 2006), and the priest was a prominent financial donor to the Vatican for many years.

The McCarrick Report confirms it: Clericalism powered the sex abuse crisis.

America Magazine

November 12, 2020

By Sam Sawyer, S.J.

People have been scouring the 461 pages of the McCarrick Report, looking for a smoking gun that definitively explains what went wrong and who should be held responsible for the church’s long-standing failure to take allegations of abuse by former cardinal Theodore McCarrick seriously. But there is no single smoking gun. Instead, the report documents decades worth of smoke during which almost no one went looking for the very real fire producing it. Even more, it gives us a close-up view of concentric layers of plausible deniability and culpable ignorance, powered by clericalism, that allowed McCarrick to evade discovery or accountability.

There are, to be sure, specific events in the report that are particularly shocking, most especially Pope John Paul II’s irresponsible decision to accept McCarrick’s protestations of innocence over the counsel of multiple advisors when transferring him to become archbishop of Washington, D.C. But even if John Paul II had refused to promote him, McCarrick would have remained the archbishop of Newark, with the hope—made explicit by those recommending against his appointment—that the rumors swirling around him would simply fade into the background, never to be further investigated.

This dark and deceptive hope, focused on avoiding scandal, is perhaps the single most common theme in the report. It shows up when McCarrick is passed over for appointment to Chicago and New York, when he is chosen for Washington and when the Vatican spends years unsuccessfully attempting to limit his public activity and travel. Over and over again, shepherds of the church, were faced with persistent and proliferating rumors and eventually even specific allegations that one of their brothers had abused and mistreated those entrusted to his care. But time and time again they asked themselves not whether members of the flock had been hurt and were in need of care but how likely the media was to notice and publicize the matter. To put it bluntly, the hope of those with responsibility over him was not that McCarrick had not done these things of which he was accused—a hope that might have led to investigations and oversight—but rather that it would be possible to avoid any definitive reckoning before the public about whether or not he had.

The Catholic Sex Abuse Crisis Is Far from Over

New York Times

November 10, 2020

By Elizabeth Bruenig

What can we learn about needed reforms from the Vatican’s damning report on the defrocked cardinal Theodore McCarrick?

After the Catholic sex abuse crisis exploded into headlines in 2002, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops promulgated standards that would guide the American church’s efforts to protect children. In May 2002, the editorial board of USA Today met with an American bishop who would play an important role in shaping the new regulations.

“We haven’t been focused on the Lord; I’m trying to do that,” he told them. “As I see the bishops losing credibility in many areas, I want to try to be as good a bishop as I can be. I’ve got a long way to go.” It now seems that bishop, Theodore McCarrick, had further to go than it seemed.

But the report the Vatican released Tuesday on Mr. McCarrick’s history of sexual misconduct before he was removed from the College of Cardinals and defrocked in 2019 sheds harsh light on the church’s unfinished response to the sex abuse crisis. It indicates policy weaknesses and dangerous habits that must be corrected so figures like Mr. McCarrick cannot again wreak havoc on future generations of Catholics.

Mr. McCarrick’s own history of abuse underscores the gaps left by the standards he helped craft in 2002.

While the charter improved the church’s policies on sex abuse prevention and its management of allegations, it was directed specifically at shielding children and youths from the predations of priests. As Mr. McCarrick’s exploits show, it isn’t just children who are at risk of sexual exploitation in the church.

November 12, 2020

French hotline for Church sex abuse received 6,500 calls in 17 months

Channel News Asia

November 11, 2020

An independent commission set up by the Catholic Church in France to investigate claims of sex abuse by priests said on Wednesday (Nov 11) it had received 6,500 calls in 17 months from alleged victims and witnesses.

A hotline line set up for this purpose was closed on Oct 31.

Jean-Marc Sauve, who leads the commission, told a video conference of religious bodies that 62 per cent of the callers were men, and nearly 90 per cent of the allegations concerned crimes against minors.

About a third said they were aged between six and ten when they were targeted, and about another third aged 11 to 15.

'We need to look this evil in the eye' - Clergy abuse survivors respond to McCarrick Report

Denver (CO)

November 11, 2020

By Jonah McKeown

After the Nov. 10 release of the Vatican’s McCarrick Report, some survivors of clerical abuse told CNA they remain skeptical that the report contains the full truth about McCarrick, and say the were disappointed that rumors of McCarrick’s misconduct with adults largely appeared not to have been investigated.

Jan Ruidl, who lives in Milwaukee, was abused by a priest in the 1970s. She worked in church ministry for several years and now works in grief ministry at a funeral home.

Based on her reading of the report, Ruidl said, there was "an extremely high level of denial" in the hierarchy about McCarrick, especially when it came to the allegations that he abused adults.

"As a woman who's been abused, as a mother, a wife, a church minister, and a human being, I just can't comprehend why nobody was concerned about these young men. They were adults, but they were young, and in such a power imbalance they might as well have been children."

Civil authorities must confront clergy sexual abuse scandal

Chicago Sun Times

November 12, 2020

Letters to the Editor

Without the whole and complete truth, there can be no justice; and without justice there will be no healing.

I welcomed your news story on Wednesday about the Vatican report regarding former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Once again, we see the unwillingness and even inability of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church to confront and resolve its clergy sexual abuse scandal. And this time it is a report by the Vatican itself that documents the utter failure of church leadership at the highest level.

Who can be trusted to right this tilting ship?

Clergy abuse survivors face a lifetime of recurrence of PTSD


November 10, 2020

By Dennis Sadowski

New job in hand, Jim Richter was adjusting well to life in Minneapolis several months after leaving his hometown of Chicago.

He was enjoying his fellowship at the University of Minnesota Medical Center despite the long hours and he was coming to realize his move was a good one.

Pope Francis vows to end sexual abuse after McCarrick report

Associated Press

November 11, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

Pope Francis pledged Wednesday to rid the Catholic Church of sexual abuse and offered prayers to victims of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a day after the Vatican released a detailed report into the decadeslong church cover-up of his sexual misconduct.

The Vatican report blamed a host of bishops, cardinals and popes for downplaying and dismissing mountains of evidence of McCarrick’s misconduct starting in the 1990s — but largely spared Francis. Instead, it laid the lion’s share of the blame on St. John Paul II, a former pope, for having appointed McCarrick archbishop of Washington in 2000, and making him a cardinal, despite having commissioned an inquiry that found he had slept with seminarians.

USCCB president apologizes to clergy abuse victims as report is released

Catholic News Service

November 10, 2020

Calling a Vatican report on its investigation into its knowledge of sexual improprieties of Theodore McCarrick while a clergyman, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles said the findings mark "another tragic chapter in the church's long struggle to confront the crimes of sexual abuse by clergy."

The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops also said in a Nov. 10 statement as the report was being released at the Vatican that the findings were being reviewed by U.S. church leaders, and he expressed gratitude for Pope Francis' effort to address clergy sexual abuse.

Catholic Diocese of Peoria says church is held to account for leaders looking the other way in sex abuse case


November 11, 2020

The Catholic Diocese of Peoria, covering much of central Illinois, is weighing in on the Vatican’s report showing bishops, cardinals, and popes downplayed or dismissed multiple reports of sexual misconduct by former Washington, D.C. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

The two-year investigation culminated in the release Tuesday of a 449-page report showing among other things that Pope John Paul II knew about the sexual abuse allegations, but allowed McCarrick’s promotion anyway.

The investigation determined Pope Francis merely continued his predecessors’ handling of the case until a former alter boy alleged abuse.

Deadline nears for national Boy Scouts sex abuse lawsuit

Post Register

November 10, 2020

By Sally Krutzig

Fifteen years ago, Adam Steed came forward to the Post Register with his story of abuse.

Steed detailed his experiences of sexual assault at the age of 14 by Brad Stowell, a Boy Scout counselor, while at Camp Little Lemhi in Swan Valley in 1997. The Post Register’s six-part “Scouts’ Honor” series investigating Stowell and the cover-up of his crimes by many connected to the Boy Scouts of America sparked outcry from all directions in eastern Idaho.

The Steed family learned that the Boy Scouts had settled claims from lawsuits alleging Stowell had abused other boys and gotten the lawsuits dismissed. When one of those court files was finally made public in January 2005, “it revealed that before the Scouts settled the suits and paid the victims, Stowell had testified under oath that from 1988 to 1997 he molested at least 24 boys, many of them Scout campers,” the Post Register reported.

Anti-SLAPP motion denied in lawsuit filed by Craig Harrison against Catholic monk


November 12, 2020

A Kern County judge has denied a motion seeking to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Msgr. Craig Harrison against a Catholic monk.

Judge Kenneth G. Pritchard’s Nov. 3 ruling on the anti-SLAPP motion filed by Justin Gilligan allows Harrison to continue with his defamation suit against the monk, who is also known as Ryan Dixon. An anti-SLAPP motion is typically filed to stop lawsuits from restricting someone’s freedom of speech.

Norwich diocese reveals it is investigating the sexual abuse of children by its priests

The Day

November 8, 2020

By Joe Wojtas

The Diocese of Norwich revealed to the region’s Catholics on Sunday that it has spent the past 13 months investigating the extent of abuse of children by priests assigned to the diocese dating back to 1953.

In a letter to parishioners across the diocese, Bishop of Norwich Michael Cote announced that retired state Superior Court Judge Michael E. Riley is leading the “Clerical Sexual Abuse Accountability Investigation” for the diocese. Riley is a member of the Internal Investigations and Alternative Dispute Resolution practice at Pullman & Comley, a Connecticut-based legal firm.

Catholic Church in Malta reports six priests for child abuse in two years

Times of Malta

November 12, 2020

By Jessica Arena

Safeguarding commission receives 53 complaints

Six priests and two lay persons have had substantiated claims of child abuse made against them in the last two years, according to the Catholic Church in Malta's safeguarding commission.

All eight were reported to the authorities and had "restrictions placed upon their pastoral duties" following an investigation, according to two annual reports on complaints of abuse published on Thursday.

In all, 53 complaints of abuse were made against diocesan priests, religious priests or lay people in 2018 and 2019. More than half of those, 35, were allegations of abuse against minors.

Cardinal Dziwisz defends himself in wake of McCarrick report


November 11, 2020

By Paulina Guzik

While the world is still digesting the McCarrick report, released by the Vatican on Tuesday, the blame game has begun in Poland, St. John Paul II’s homeland. One of the report’s few living protagonists is Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, John Paul’s longtime personal secretary, who was mentioned 45 times in the document.

But the storm for Dziwisz actually started the day before the report was released, when TVN24 aired “Don Stanislao” by journalist Marcin Gutowski, a 90-minutes-long documentary “showing another face of Cardinal Dziwisz,” as the station advertised it.

The film aired a long list of accusations from covering up for his friends from the seminary, to the role of Dziwisz in the case of the late Father Marcial Maciel, the disgraced founder of the Legionaries of Christ, another other dark spot in John Paul’s pontificate.

Pope Francis, retired Pope Benedict questioned for McCarrick report

Catholic News Service

November 11, 2020

By Cindy Wooden

In an unusual move, both Pope Francis and retired Pope Benedict XVI subjected themselves to questioning by Vatican investigators charged with compiling a report on how church decisions were made regarding the career and ultimate expulsion of Theodore E. McCarrick.

“Pope Francis was questioned closely regarding the 23 June and 10 October 2013 meetings” during which Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former nuncio to the United States, claimed he told Pope Francis about McCarrick’s history of sexual misconduct and about supposed sanctions imposed on him by Pope Benedict, said the report released Nov. 10.

The footnotes indicate that McCarrick himself also was among the more than 90 people interviewed for the report. Vigano, who claimed to have gone into hiding after making his accusations against Pope Francis in 2018, apparently was not. The report refers only to his 2018 statement and to documents and letters written by him and available in archives at the Vatican and the nunciature in Washington.

In the interviews, “Pope Francis did not recollect what Vigano said about McCarrick” during the two 2013 meetings with Vigano, the report said. “However, because McCarrick was a cardinal known personally to him, Pope Francis was certain that he would have remembered had Vigano spoken about McCarrick with any ‘force or clarity.'”

The pope also said he was “certain that Vigano never told him that McCarrick had committed ‘crimes’ against any person, whether adult or minor, or described McCarrick as a ‘serial predator’ or stated that McCarrick had ‘corrupted generations of seminarians and priests,'” as Vigano claimed in 2018.

After McCarrick report, Chile wants full accounting of its abuse crisis


November 11, 2020

By Inés San Martín

Upon the release of the Vatican’s long-awaited report on the rise to power of former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, abuse survivors from Chile wonder where’s the report on the rise to power and fall of several members of the local hierarchy, included two influential cardinals accused of cover-up.

Chile’s abuse crisis is staggering: Over a quarter of the country’s bishops have been subpoenaed by prosecutors over allegations of either abuse or its cover up.

The list includes Cardinals Francisco Javier Errazuriz and Ricardo Ezzati, both former archbishops of Santiago.

Opinion: The disturbing truths in the new Vatican scandal report


November 11, 2020

By Paul Moses

November 11, 2020

As a Catholic, I long ago uneasily made my peace with the knowledge that too many church leaders who preached a Christian message I regard as sacred may themselves be deeply flawed, deceitful or corrupt. The release Tuesday of a Vatican report filled with the sordid details of former Archbishop of Washington Theodore McCarrick's rise and fall doesn't so much tear at my faith as give hope that the Holy See is finally learning to come clean with the truth.

This is so even though the report convincingly details how then-Pope and now St. John Paul II, who died in 2005, promoted McCarrick despite being very much aware of allegations that he was a predator who had sexually manipulated and abused seminarians. McCarrick denied the allegations against him in the past, but his attorney, Barry Coburn, has declined to comment since church authorities formally found him guilty in 2019 of sexual misconduct with minors and adults, "with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power."

The report outlines how church authorities failed to take action as allegations mounted that McCarrick, an influential voice for the church internationally and a prodigious fundraiser, manipulated seminarians and male teenagers into unwanted sexual activity while serving as a New York priest and then as the leader of two New Jersey dioceses and the Archdiocese of Washington, DC. In January of this year, according to the Catholic News Service, McCarrick, who is 90, moved from a Kansas friary to a new location that has not been made public.

History-making report sets a precedent the Vatican can’t walk back


November 12, 2020

By John L. Allen Jr.

Rome - When I took Western Civ in college, our professor once read aloud to the class an excerpt from the diary of a Roman senator written on Sept. 4, 476 AD. The senator described his efforts to suck up to 16-year-old Emperor Romulus Augustulus in hopes of being appointed to some high office, perhaps a tribune or magistrate.

On that same day, Romulus Augustulus, the last emperor in the West, was deposed by the barbarian warlord Odoacer, marking what historians now conventionally identify as the fall of the Roman Empire.

My professor’s point was that quite often, people living through moments that change history fail to recognize them at the time.

The point arises with respect to Tuesday’s release of the Vatican’s long-awaited report on the case of ex-cardinal and ex-priest Theodore McCarrick. While the focus, understandably, has been on the content of what the report contains, the crucial historical point may be the fact it happened at all.

It’s so breathtaking, in fact, that one wonders if anyone in the Vatican actually understands the magnitude of the precedent they just set.

The only comparison that comes to mind dates to August 17, 2011, when the Vatican released roughly 70 pages of documents in its possession regarding the case of Father Andrew Ronan, a Servite priest who was laicized in 1966 and died in 1992 and who later figured in a sex abuse lawsuit in Oregon in which the Vatican was named as a defendant.

Victims ‘welcome’ McCarrick report, but say accountability needed


November 12, 2020

By Inés San Martín

As the dust begins to settle on the report on the rise to power of defrocked ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick, survivors are lauded by many as the impetus of the 460-page Vatican document.

Had victim’s not come forward, one of the Church’s most notorious predators might still be in the Vatican’s most exclusive club.

“As a survivor of clergy sexual abuse and someone who worked closely with former Cardinal McCarrick, I welcome the Vatican’s report on his abusive activity, how it was hidden and covered up and who enabled this betrayal of trust and failed to act to protect victims and the Church,” said John Carr. “For me, the former cardinal’s repeated abuse of young people and children, his constant lies, and his ongoing refusal to accept responsibility and apologize are a greater betrayal of trust than what I experienced more than 50 years ago as a young seminarian.”

McCarrick whistleblower says he feels ‘vindicated’ by report


November 12, 2020

By Elise Ann Allen

Rome - Over 30 years after he first raised concerns about the conduct of his then-Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, Father Boniface Ramsey says he believes he is finally seeing justice in a lengthy report detailing how his former boss was able to climb the ecclesial ladder despite rumors of sexual misconduct.

“In a mild sort of way, I feel vindicated,” Ramsey told Crux.

“McCarrick was in and out of my consciousness for more than 30 years. I was outraged by him. He wasn’t always at the top of my mind, I wasn’t always thinking about McCarrick, he wasn’t an obsession for me, but every now and then he would come up and do something that angered me,” the priest said.

A former Dominican, Ramsey oversees the parish of St. Joseph in Yorkville in upper Manhattan, and was the first person to blow the whistle on ex-cardinal and ex-priest Theodore McCarrick, a towering figure in the American Catholic Church who was defrocked last year over allegations of child sexual abuse and the sexual harassment of seminarians under his watch.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian Calls for Consequences Following Vatican Report on McCarrick


By Mitchell Garabedian Interviewed by Jim Braude

The Vatican released a nearly 450-page report this week about former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s rise through the Catholic Church ranks, in spite of warnings about his sexual abuse of minors. The damning report, commissioned by Pope Francis more than two years ago, determined that then-Pope John Paul II knew about the claims of wrongdoing when he elevated McCarrick to cardinal. To discuss, Jim Braude was joined by Mitchell Garabedian, an attorney who has represented hundreds of victims of clergy sexual abuse including James Grein, who says he personally told Pope John Paul in 1988 about sexual abuse by McCarrick, which started when he was a young boy.

Who are the 13 Diocese of St. Augustine priests credibly accused of sex abuse?

News 4 JAX

November 10, 2020

St. Augustine - Top church officials in Northeast Florida published a list of 13 priests with credible allegations of sex abuse against them. All 13 have ties to the Diocese of St. Augustine, according to the Diocese, and are all either dead or were removed from ministry.

The list was published this week after the Office of Statewide Prosecutors released its long-awaited findings from a two-year-long investigation into sex abuse within Florida’s Catholic churches.

A Florida Statewide Prosecutor said at the start of the investigation he was immediately concerned with whether children were currently being abused by clergy in Florida, but the investigation found no allegations of sex abuse after 2002.

Investigators did release a list of 97 priests they found were credibly accused of sexual abuse prior to 2002. The list included at least five clergy members who held assignments within the Diocese of St. Augustine at the time of the allegation and only one of them is currently alive, according to the Office of the Attorney General.

“It was disturbing. And whether it was in the Catholic Church or anywhere, it’s disturbing,” said state prosecutor Nick Cox. “But you know, what got to me was is this was a church.”

List of Credibly Accused Clergy

Diocese of St. Augustine

November 6, 2020

The following clergy have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor. A “credible allegation” is one that, after review of reasonably available, relevant information in consultation with the Diocesan Review Board and other professionals, there is reason to believe it occurred. A credible allegation on this list is not equivalent to a finding by a judge or jury that a cleric is liable or guilty for sexual abuse of a minor under civil or criminal law. All clergy identified have been removed from ministry or are deceased.

The Diocese of St. Augustine initially encompassed the state of Florida east of the Apalachicola River and was subsequently split into other dioceses, including the Diocese of Miami in 1958, the Diocese of Orlando in 1968, the Diocese of St. Petersburg in 1968 and the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee in 1975. In 1984, two additional dioceses were formed in Florida – Palm Beach and Venice. All seven dioceses make up the Province of Miami. The clergy listed below have been credibly accused within the Diocese of St. Augustine’s current boundaries.

Cupich calls Vatican sex abuse report a watershed moment for Catholics


November 10, 2020

By Katharin Czink and Dina Bair

The Catholic Church is reeling after a Vatican report on sex abuse was released Tuesday.

The report reveals mistakes and cover ups allowed for the abuse.

Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich calls it a watershed moment.

The report is almost too difficult to read — 449 pages documenting assaults on innocent victims and protection of the adults who carried out the abuse.

Church sex abuse victims stood in Rome telling the Pope, cardinals and bishops about their abuse. The sex abuse summit was just the beginning for the Catholic Church. An investigation of one of the most powerful U.S. bishops and a disgraced former U.S. cardinal was occurring at the same time.

Now the final report.

It is a revelation church leadership hopes will pull the curtain back on what were systemic problems to make way for healing for abuse victims and prevention of these horrors from ever happening again.

Vatican report finds Pope John Paul II dismissed sex abuse by ex-Cardinal McCarrick – but goes easy on Pope Francis

USA Today

November 11, 2020

By John Bacon

A Vatican investigation into disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick lashed out at bishops, cardinals and a pope-turned-saint who downplayed ominous reports about the Catholic kingmaker's sexual abuse of children and seminarians.

But the 400-page internal investigation released Tuesday by the Vatican goes easy on Pope Francis, saying the pontiff accepted his predecessors' naive belief in McCarrick's impassioned denials.

Francis defrocked McCarrick, 90, last year after the investigation confirmed decades of allegations that he had sexually molested children and adults. The Vatican had reports from authoritative figures dating back more than two decades yet allowed the prelate's rise in the church to continue unchecked.

"Today’s report paints a picture of fraternal lenience and silence," Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, told USA Today. "The impact of this brotherly support has been horrifying. Dozens of children and vulnerable young people were sexually violated by McCarrick himself, and perhaps hundreds more were sexually assaulted by abusive priests who went unchecked under McCarrick."

Still saintly? Vatican’s new report on McCarrick may complicate the legacy of Pope John Paul II

Washington Post

November 11, 2020

By Michelle Boorstein and Sarah Pulliam Bailey

A new Vatican report’s revelations that Pope John Paul II disregarded reports about ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual misconduct had Catholics on Wednesday debating the legacy of one of the modern church’s towering figures. The report triggered questions about whether John Paul was rushed through the saint-making process, and whether the author of contemporary Catholic teaching on human sexuality didn’t understand the complex nature of the topic.

The 450-page report released Tuesday is an unprecedented effort by the church at full transparency, a rare window on internal Vatican decision-making that showed that not only John Paul but also popes Benedict and Francis knew McCarrick had faced multiple accusations. Each pontiff was aware of different aspects of the accusations against McCarrick, but the initial years of the case came under John Paul’s 27-year reign.

John Paul, who died in 2005 and was made a saint in 2014, elevated McCarrick to archbishop of Washington and summarily to cardinal despite the allegations. Under Benedict, McCarrick was asked to step down as archbishop of Washington when he reached the standard retirement age of 75 and told to keep a lower profile. Francis assumed his predecessors had already vetted the allegations against McCarrick, but took action once a credible accusation surfaced involving a minor. McCarrick was laicized in 2019.

Reactions to the revelations about John Paul have been emotional and divided. Some saw a man perhaps naively believing a scheming friend. The report’s authors raised the possibility that John Paul’s judgment was heavily colored by his experience in the Eastern Bloc, where negative propaganda about priests was used to weaken religious organizations. Others felt his decisions were potentially disqualifying for the high moral honor of sainthood.

Pope Francis responds to McCarrick report with vow to end sexual abuse

Washington Post

November 11, 2020

By Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli

Rome - Pope Francis on Wednesday vowed to "eradicate" the evil of sexual abuse from the Catholic Church, one day after an investigation into the case of ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick detailed failures that continued into his pontificate.

The Vatican’s 449-page report focused mainly on the years critical to McCarrick’s rise, when Pope John Paul II named him archbishop of Washington despite being warned of his sexual misconduct.

But the report also revealed how lieutenants close to Francis showed little interest in following clues about McCarrick’s misconduct. When briefing the pope, they glossed over the accusations, describing them as something “gossiped about” or resolved.

Vatican’s McCarrick report says Pope John Paul II knew of misconduct allegations nearly two decades before cardinal’s removal

In its transparency, the report is a groundbreaking moment in Francis’s papacy, documenting impunity and coverup with the kind of detail advocates and abuse victims have long demanded. But the report also muddles the picture for Catholics of how effectively Francis and his advisers can respond to the broader scourge.

In speaking about the report for the first time, at a general audience Wednesday, Francis was brief. He expressed his “closeness to the victims of all abuse” but did not elaborate on plans to fight abuse within the church. He notably quoted John Paul II, after mentioning it was Poland’s independence day.

Early reactions to McCarrick report cite its significance to the church

National Catholic Reporter

November 10, 2020

By Brian Roewe

Two years after reports of sexual abuse by Theodore McCarrick surfaced into public view, the Vatican's long-awaited report on the now-defrocked former cardinal was released Tuesday. As the public sifted through the dense and detailed document, abuse survivors and their advocates called it an important moment that must lead to further action and investigations, perhaps even from the nation's next president.

Much of the early reaction centered on the significance of the report itself, rather than specific findings and conclusions. At 400-plus pages, the report presents an extensive portrait of McCarrick's rise within the church's ranks and how allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct followed him throughout his career but did not derail it, even as the highest levels of the church learned of them.

In perhaps its most explosive discovery, the report stated that Pope John Paul II made the decision in 2000 to appoint McCarrick as archbishop of Washington, D.C., despite a warning a year earlier that he had been accused of pedophilia and sharing beds with seminarians.

'Awareness is meaningless without concrete action'

Survivors of sexual abuse and their advocates called the report a milestone. They said it told a story too familiar to too many victims, and they cautioned against viewing it as a condemnation of one pope alone, or as the end of the abuse saga.

Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of Bishop-Accountability.org, a web archive that houses troves of documents on the abuse crisis, called the report "the most significant document on the abuse crisis to come from the Church," and expressed hope that it represents in the Catholic Church "a shift to genuine transparency."

At the same time, Barrett Doyle said the report represents "a powerful argument" against Vos Estis Lux Mundi, the 2019 apostolic letter that issued mandates and laws for reporting and investigating sexual abuse, and the self-policing model of accountability.

Vatican’s McCarrick report says Pope John Paul II knew of misconduct allegations nearly two decades before cardinal’s removal

Washington Post

By Chico Harlan, Michelle Boorstein and Sarah Pulliam Bailey

November 10, 2020


An unprecedented Vatican internal investigation has found that Pope John Paul II knew about and overlooked sexual misconduct claims against Theodore McCarrick, instead choosing to facilitate the rise of an American prelate who would be defrocked and disgraced two decades later.

The Vatican’s report amounts to a stunning play-by-play of the kind of systemic failure that the Catholic Church normally keeps under wraps, describing how ­McCarrick amassed power and prestige in the face of rumors, and sometimes written evidence, of his sexual misconduct with seminarians, priests and teenage boys.

The report devotes a good deal of attention to John Paul II and the pivotal years of McCarrick’s rise, but it also portrays Pope Benedict XVI as trying to handle the cardinal quietly and out of the public spotlight, and Pope Francis as assuming that his predecessors had made the right judgments. It shows how U.S. bishops sanitized reports of what they knew and all but ensured that warnings would arrive at the Vatican unsubstantiated or dismissible. In Rome, church leaders found every rationale for believing a “good pastor” over a victim.

For a church that has grappled for a generation with its sexual abuse crisis, the report — 449 pages, and two years in the making — goes further than any previous effort in naming names and providing details of a coverup. Such assessments have been long requested by victims of abuse, but they are nonetheless fraught for the church, because revelations have the potential to recolor the reputations of major figures within the faith, including John Paul, who was named a saint in 2014.

“By virtue of the simple fact that this investigation had to be conducted and this report had to be written, my heart hurts for all who will be shocked, saddened, scandalized and angered by the revelations contained therein,” Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington, wrote in a statement Tuesday.

‘It’s crushing’: Survivors react to McCarrick abuse report

Associated Press

November 12, 2020

By Sarah Rankin

[Includes brief video statements by James Grein, Mitchell Garabedian, and Jeffrey Anderson (about "Priest 3")].

Men who have come forward with allegations of abuse by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick expressed disgust, frustration and outrage after an internal Vatican report outlined what was known about the clergyman’s behavior — and what was ignored.

“It was very emotional to read. It was very emotional because there were so many opportunities to stop him. So many opportunities to stop him. And maybe my life would be different, maybe I wouldn’t be a victim if someone had,” said John Bellocchio, a New Jersey man who has sued both McCarrick and the Holy See, alleging the prelate abused him in the 1990s when he was a teenager.

In interviews with The Associated Press, Bellocchio and others demanded that the Vatican institute changes to ensure nothing like what was described in Tuesday’s extraordinary report can happen again.


The report contained heartbreaking testimony about McCarrick’s inappropriate behavior, including from a woman identified only as “Mother 1” who told Vatican investigators she also sent anonymous letters in the 1980s when McCarrick was bishop in Metuchen, New Jersey, after she saw McCarrick “massaging (her two sons’) inner thighs” at her home.

“It’s crushing,” said Geoffrey Downs, who in a lawsuit filed in New Jersey accused McCarrick of abusing him when he was a teenager and serving as an altar boy. “It’s just crushing to those of us who went through it because you realize how small and incidental you are to these creatures, predators. You’re almost like a small nut and bolt in this giant machine of predatory behavior.”

Both Bellocchio and Downs suggested the church create lay review boards as a way to give parishoners an actionable role in holding priests accountable.

Office of Statewide Prosecution's Report on Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church in Florida

State of Florida - Office of the Attorney General

November 6, 2020

[Note: This brief report includes two lists:
- Alleged Priests in Florida and reason for impossibility of a criminal prosecution
- Credibly Accused Priests Relocated to Florida by the Church]

Executive Summary

In October 2018, the Office of Statewide Prosecution ("OSP") with the assistance of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement ("FDLE") began an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse of children in Florida by priests of the Catholic Church (the "Church"). OSP began that investigation after reviewing the findings of a grand jury report by a Pennsylvania grand jury that found sexual abuse by Church priests and wrongful actions by the Church in response to reports of that sexual abuse. This investigation did not find any instances indicating children in Florida were currently in immediate danger of sexual abuse by priests. The investigation did identify ninety-seven (97) priests against whom allegations of historical sexual abuse were made. However, after careful examination of each allegation and the relevant criminal statutes, prosecution ofthose allegations is barred by either the applicable statute of limitations or intervening death of the accused priest. Likewise, the wrongful actions or inactions of the Church and its personnel in connection with those depraved acts are not prosecutable because either the applicable statute of limitations has expired or the person who committed that act is deceased. This past legislative session the Florida legislature modified the statute of limitations (HB 199) that barred the prosecution of the accused priests, but that change constitutionally cannot retroactively allow prosecution of any alleged perpetrator who may still be alive. With these hurdles removed, any future, similar misconduct can be prosecuted.

Investigation and Findings

A. Summary of the Investigation Conducted

In August 2018, a grand jury in Pennsylvania released a report that detailed seventy (70) years of clerical sexual abuse within that state. See Report of the 40th Statewide Investigative Grand Jury (2018) (hereinafter the "Pennsylvania Report"). Over three hundred (300) priests were listed by the grand jury who were accused of sexual misconduct and instances of cover up were described, several of which had ties to Florida. Id. Following the Pennsylvania Report, many jurisdictions followed suit and reported their findings within their states. Across the board, jurisdictions' conclusions were consistent: the Church placed very little focus on victims and no substantial proactive policies for protecting children existed prior to 2002.

The Church in Florida is compromised of six Florida dioceses and the Archdiocese of Miami (collectively referred to as the "Florida Province").1 After the launch of the investigation in October 2018, OSP created and placed a link on the Department of Legal Affairs' website for victims to report information related to the investigation. The inquiry highlighted the prevalence of incidents of abuse and the response by the Church. The investigation focused on those priests accused and the viability of their prosecution. Over two hundred sixty (260) tips were submitted regarding clergy abuse. All tips were reviewed, and the individuals involved with reporting were interviewed when possible. During the informational phase, tips unrelated to the investigation of the Church were forwarded to law enforcement for response and/or follow-up investigation.

Vatican’s McCarrick report forces debate on power and abuse

Associated Press

November 12, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican’s report into ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has raised uncomfortable questions the Holy See will have to confront going forward, chief among them what it’s going to do about current and future clergy who abuse their power to sexually abuse adults.

Priests, lay experts and canon lawyers alike say the Vatican needs to revisit how the church protects its seminarians, nuns and even rank-and-file parishioners from problem bishops and cardinals, who for centuries have wielded power and authority with few — if any — checks or accountability.

McCarrick was only investigated and defrocked by Pope Francis because a former altar boy came forward in 2017 to report the prelate had groped him when he was a teenager in the 1970s. It was the first time someone had claimed to be abused by McCarrick while a minor, a serious crime in the Vatican’s in-house legal system.

And yet the bulk of the Vatican’s 449-page forensic study into the McCarrick scandal released Tuesday dealt with the cardinal’s behavior with young men: the seminarians whose priestly careers he controlled and who felt powerless to say no when he arranged for them to sleep in his bed.

Vatican faults others for McCarrick’s rise, spares Francis

Associated Press

November 10, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

A Vatican investigation into former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick found that bishops, cardinals and popes downplayed or dismissed multiple reports of sexual misconduct and determined that Pope Francis merely continued his predecessors’ handling of the predator until taking action when a former altar boy alleged abuse.

The Vatican took the extraordinary step Tuesday of publishing its two-year, 449-page internal investigation into the American prelate’s rise and fall in a bid to restore credibility to the U.S. and Vatican hierarchies, which have been shattered by the McCarrick scandal.

The report put the lion’s share of blame on a dead saint: Pope John Paul II, who appointed McCarrick archbishop of Washington, D.C., in 2000, despite having commissioned an inquiry that confirmed he slept with seminarians. The report found that John Paul believed McCarrick’s last-minute, handwritten denial: “I have made mistakes and may have sometimes lacked in prudence, but in the seventy years of my life I have never had sexual relations with any person, male or female, young or old, cleric or lay,” McCarrick wrote.

But the report also charted the alarm bells that were ignored, excused or dismissed in 1992-93 when six anonymous letters were sent to U.S. church officials and the Vatican’s ambassador to the U.S. alleging McCarrick was a “pedophile” who would sleep in the same bed with young men and boys. Those alarms continued, when a Catholic psychiatrist traveled to the Vatican in 1997 to report that his priest-patient was a victim of McCarrick’s sexual abuse.

Key findings in Vatican report into ex-Cardinal McCarrick

Associated Press

November 10, 2020

The Vatican has taken the extraordinary step of publishing its two-year investigation into the rise and fall of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was defrocked in 2019 after a Vatican investigation determined he sexually abused adults as well as children.

Here are key findings from the report, based on documentation and interviews with witnesses, divided into the three papacies that are affected by the McCarrick case: St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis.

Pope John Paul II (1978-2005)

McCarrick had generally positive marks during his first two posts as bishop, in Metuchen, N.J. (1981-1986) and Newark, N.J. (1986-2000). But by the mid-1990s, rumors about his behavior were starting to fly, and John Paul passed McCarrick over as archbishop of Chicago in 1997 and New York in 1999.

When the position of archbishop of Washington D.C., opened up, the then-archbishop of New York, Cardinal John O’Connor, warned the Vatican in an Oct. 28, 1999 letter that naming McCarrick there would be a mistake, the findings said.

By that time, the allegations against McCarrick included: a 1994 letter by one priest to the Metuchen, N.J., bishop providing eyewitness testimony of McCarrick and other seminarians engaging in sexual acts during a fishing trip, and the priest’s own claims that McCarrick tried to fondle him. It also included anonymous letters sent to various U.S. cardinals that “accused McCarrick of pedophilia with seminarians as well as claims that McCarrick slept with young men in his official residence as well as seminarians at his beach house. O’Connor cited that information and said the risk of scandal would be too great if McCarrick were moved to Washington.

John Paul tasked the Vatican ambassador to the U.S. to investigate. His report confirmed McCarrick bedded seminarians but didn’t find “certainty” that he had engaged in sexual misconduct. The findings didn’t explain what McCarrick and the seminarians were doing in bed together. Instead, they faulted the bishops who were asked to provide information to the ambassador, saying “three of the four bishops provided inaccurate and incomplete information.”

The doubts, however, were enough to persuade John Paul to drop McCarrick as a candidate....

A look at the lawsuits against ex-Cardinal McCarrick

Associated Press

November 9, 2020

McCarrick, who was one of the highest-ranking, most visible Roman Catholic officials in the United States, was defrocked by Pope Francis in 2019 after a Vatican investigation determined he sexually abused minors as well as adults.

A number of accusers have come forward in the past two years, and the 90-year-old McCarrick and the various archdioceses where he was stationed are facing lawsuits.

McCarrick denied an initial allegation that led to his removal from public ministry in 2018 — an accusation that he had groped an altar boy in the 1970s. He has not commented on the lawsuits against him, nor did he when he was defrocked last year.

A look at the lawsuits and other settlements involving McCarrick ...

McCarrick: What’s known about the abusive US ex-cardinal

Associated Press

November 9, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican on Tuesday will release its report into the rise and fall of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the once-influential American cardinal who was defrocked by Pope Francis in 2019 after a Vatican investigation confirmed decades of rumors that he was a sexual predator.

The McCarrick scandal is different from other cases of clergy abuse, primarily because there is evidence that Vatican and U.S. church leaders knew of his penchant for bedding seminarians but turned a blind eye as McCarrick rose to the top of the U.S. church as an adept fundraiser who advised three popes.

When McCarrick’s crimes were revealed, the scandal sparked such a crisis of confidence in the church’s U.S. and Vatican hierarchies that Francis approved new procedures to investigate bishops accused of abuse in a bid to end decades of impunity for Catholic leaders.

But beyond that, the McCarrick case has forced the Vatican to acknowledge that adults can be victims of sexual abuse, too. The Vatican has long tried to paint any sexual relations between priests and adult men or women as consensual, focusing its prevention policies on protecting minors.

November 11, 2020

Vatican report reveals anonymous letters accusing McCarrick

Associated Press

November 11, 2020

By Luis Andres Henao and Flana Schor

[Note: See also the texts of the six anonymous letters (and one pseudonymous letter) and the detailed account of Mother 1's letters to U.S. cardinals and the nuncio.]

The Vatican’s report on ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick revealed the previously unknown contents of six anonymous letters accusing him of pedophilia that were sent to U.S. church leaders in the early 1990s and later forwarded to the Holy See.

New York’s then-archbishop, Cardinal John O’Connor, forwarded them to the Vatican in 1999, shortly before he died, along with a six-page confidential memo in which he recommended McCarrick not be promoted to any important U.S. diocese because of a “scandal of great proportions” that would erupt if the allegations became public.

The 449-page report also included testimony from a woman identified only as “Mother 1” who told Vatican investigators she, too, tried to raise the alarm with anonymous letters in the 1980s when McCarrick was bishop in Metuchen, New Jersey, after she saw McCarrick “massaging (her sons’) inner thighs” at her home.

The woman said she sent the letters to members of the ecclesiastical hierarchy “expressing her distress about McCarrick’s conduct with minors,” and she believed they “may have been thrown aside” because they were anonymous.

Jeff Anderson, an attorney for several of McCarrick’s accusers, said at a news conference Tuesday that he also represents two people in the woman’s family and criticized the church for turning a blind eye to the warning.

McCarrick accuser sees comfort in Vatican report

Associated Press

November 10, 2020

[This article includes a summary of the report's findings.]

A Virginia man who accuses former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of sexually abusing him says he finds some comfort in the Vatican’s release of a report about the former prelate but he wants a public apology.

James Grein says the abuse he experienced for two decades beginning as a boy was “incredibly heinous” and will hurt “forever.”

“How they could ever repair my damage,” he adds, “I don’t know.”

Still, he says the release of the report makes this a “powerful day” for him and other victims.

The Associated Press typically does not name survivors of sexual abuse, unless they have identified themselves publicly. Grein, who came forward in 2018, has filed lawsuits in New York and New Jersey and testified in the canonical sex abuse case against McCarrick.

Mitchell Garabedian, Grein’s attorney, called for an investigation by law enforcement of why what he called a cover-up went on for decades.

Editorial: Let’s hope hell reserved a special place for Shanley

The Sun

November 9, 2020

If there’s indeed a hell, it’s a fitting final destination for Paul Shanley.

Shanley, a former Roman Catholic priest who played a pivotal role in the sexual-abuse scandal that rocked the Archdiocese of Boston two decades ago, has died, authorities said Friday. He was 89.

Police in Ware, a town in west-central Massachusetts where Shanley had lived since his release from prison in 2017, confirmed his death, but not the circumstances.

WFXT-TV, Boston’s Fox News affiliate, said he died of heart failure on Oct. 28.

Shanley was known in the 1960s and ’70s as a hip, street-wise priest who reached out to troubled youths. But in 2005 he was convicted of repeatedly raping and fondling a boy at a suburban parish in the 1980s, and he was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prison.

During the trial, Shanley’s accuser, then a 27-year-old firefighter, said Shanley would pull him from Sunday catechism classes and rape and fondle him at St. Jean’s parish in Newton, beginning when he was 6 years old. The man said he recovered memories of the abuse as the clergy sex-abuse scandal unfolded in the Archdiocese of Boston during the early 2000s.

Incredibly, not only was Shanley’s predatory conduct tolerated, but rewarded, as in 1984 when Cardinal Bernard Law promoted him to pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church in Newton.

Australian media’s trial begins over gag order violation in Cardinal Pell case

Catholic News Agency

November 9, 2020

Members of the Australian media are on trial this week for charges of violating a gag order issued during the trial of Cardinal George Pell, whose 2018 conviction for sexual abuse of minors was overturned last spring.

In total, 18 media personnel as well as 12 media organizations could face punitive measures including prison sentences or fines if found guilty by the Supreme Court of the state of Victoria, according to the AP.

The County Court of Victoria imposed a sweeping injunction against media coverage of Pell’s trial in June 2018, suppressing news of the legal proceedings at the request of the prosecution. The first trial proceeded to a deadlock in the early autumn of 2018, and a five week retrial convicted Pell in December 2018.

Pell was sentenced to six years in prison, and served 13 months before his conviction was overturned and he was released in April 2020.

The controversial media gag order had applied to all states and territories of Australia as well as any media format accessible within Australia.

Archbishop: Vatican should clarify ‘doubts’ after Cardinal Dziwisz accused of negligence

Catholic News Agency

November 10, 2020

Allegations that Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz failed to investigate claims of clerical abuse aired in a television program Monday should be clarified by the Vatican, the president of the Polish bishops’ conference said.

Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki made the comment in a Nov. 10 statement, issued in response to the program “Don Stanislao: The other face of Cardinal Dziwisz,” shown on TVN24, a Polish commercial news channel, on the eve of the publication of the McCarrick Report.

The 82-minute program, presented by journalist Marcin Gutowski, accused the former personal secretary of St. John Paul II of failing to investigate clerical abuse allegations.

Gądecki said: “In reference to yesterday’s TVN24 report entitled ‘Don Stanislao: The other face of Cardinal Dziwisz,’ in which Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz is accused of neglecting to investigate cases of sexual abuse by clergy, I hope that any doubts presented in this report will be clarified by the relevant commission of the Holy See.”

Diocesan investigator pledges to speak with anyone with information about priest sexual abuse

The Day

November 9, 2020

By Joe Wojtas

Norwich - The retired state Superior Court judge leading the Diocese of Norwich’s investigation into the extent of sexual abuse of children by priests assigned to the diocese said Monday that his team's goal is to “speak with as many persons as possible who have information relevant to our investigation.”

Michael E. Riley, made the written comments in response to questions posed by The Day.

On Sunday, the diocese revealed to the region’s Catholics that it has spent the past 13 months investigating abuse dating back to 1953 as part of its “Clerical Sexual Abuse Accountability Investigation.”

The Day had asked Riley if he is interviewing the many men and women who say they were sexually assaulted by diocesan priests, attorneys who have represented some of them in civil cases or if he is interviewing retired Bishop of Norwich Daniel Reilly, who documents show transferred priests who had complaints made against them for sexually assaulting children and teens to other parishes.

Riley said investigators would speak with people whether they are survivors of abuse, alleged perpetrators of abuse or diocesan administrators.

He said they also plan to reach out to attorneys who have represented victims requesting they encourage their clients to speak with them and will also reach out to survivor groups for their input.

“We encourage any survivor or witness to contact us through the toll-free hotline we have established, and we appreciate the media’s support in publicizing the hotline and reporting website so that our investigation can be as thorough as possible. The diocese has committed that we will have unrestricted access to all of its current and former staff, priests and administrators including bishops. We will make those judgments based on the details of the investigation as it unfolds,” he wrote.

Investigative Report: Safeguarding in the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales

Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

November 10, 2020

By Alexis Jay, Sir Malcolm Evans, Ivor Frank, and Drusilla Sharpling

[Note: More than 800 documents gathered in the course of this investigation may be viewed here.]

This investigation report examines the extent of institutional failings by the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales to protect children from sexual abuse and examines the Church’s current safeguarding regime. It draws on evidence from the Inquiry’s three case studies on Ampleforth and Downside Abbeys and their respective schools, Ealing Abbey and St Benedict’s School, and the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

Between 1970 and 2015, the Roman Catholic Church received more than 900 complaints involving over 3,000 instances of child sexual abuse against more than 900 individuals connected to the Church, including priests, monks and volunteers. In the same period, there were 177 prosecutions resulting in 133 convictions. Civil claims against dioceses and religious institutes have resulted in millions of pounds being paid in compensation. It would be wrong, however, to regard child sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church as solely a historical problem. Since 2016, there have been more than 100 reported allegations each year. Across the entire period of nearly 50 years covered by this Inquiry, the true scale of sexual abuse of children is likely to have been much higher.

As we have said previously, faith organisations are marked out from most other institutions by their explicit moral purpose. The Roman Catholic Church is no different. In the context of the sexual abuse of children, that moral purpose was betrayed over decades by those in the Church who perpetrated this abuse and those who turned a blind eye to it. The Church’s neglect of the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of children and young people in favour of protecting its reputation was in conflict with its mission of love and care for the innocent and vulnerable.

Victims and survivors described the profound and lifelong effect of this abuse. One witness said “the psychological effects have continued ever since, resulting in years of unbearable guilt, depression, nightmares, anxiety and PTSD symptoms”. Another victim said the abuse which he experienced at junior and senior residential schools affected every aspect of his life, and led to him self-harming. It “nearly wrecked” his marriage and “destroyed my trust, not just in the church but in any authority”.

In another instance, a young boy estimated that he was abused several hundred times by a senior priest between the ages of 11 and 15 years. After each incident he was required to make confession, and the priest concerned made it plain that his sister’s place at a local convent school depended on his compliance.

Child sexual abuse in Catholic church ‘swept under the carpet’, inquiry finds

The Guardian

November 10, 2020

By Owen Bowcott and Harriet Sherwood

Damning report says church put its reputation above the welfare of abuse victims

The Catholic church “betrayed” its moral purpose by prioritising its reputation over the welfare of children who had been sexually abused by priests, a damning inquiry report has concluded.

In its final review of the church, the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA) was scathing in its criticism of the leadership of Cardinal Vincent Nichols and says the Vatican’s failure to cooperate with the investigation “passes understanding”.

The 162-page report states: “The church’s neglect of the physical, emotional and spiritual well‐being of children and young people in favour of protecting its reputation was in conflict with its mission of love and care for the innocent and vulnerable.”

Between 1970 and 2015, the church received more than 900 complaints involving over 3,000 instances of child sexual abuse against more than 900 individuals, including priests, monks and volunteers. Over that period, there were 177 prosecutions resulting in 133 convictions. Civil claims against dioceses and religious institutes have resulted in millions of pounds being paid in compensation.

The sexual abuse of children involved instances of “masturbation, oral sex, vaginal rape and anal rape”. On occasions, the inquiry says, it was accompanied by “sadistic beatings driven by sexual gratification” as well as “deeply manipulative behaviour by those in positions of trust”.

Vatican Report Places Blame for McCarrick’s Ascent on John Paul II

New York Times

November 10, 2020

By Jason Horowitz

In elevating Theodore E. McCarrick to the position of cardinal, the former pope disregarded warnings and believed the prelate’s denials about sexual misconduct, an inquiry found.

Vatican City - A highly anticipated Vatican report found on Tuesday that Pope John Paul II had rejected explicit warnings about sexual misconduct by Theodore E. McCarrick, now a disgraced former cardinal, choosing to believe the American prelate’s denials and misleading accounts by bishops as he elevated him to the highest ranks of the church hierarchy.

As Washington’s archbishop, Mr. McCarrick was one of the most powerful leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, a media darling and prodigious fund-raiser with deep connections in the Vatican. But he became the highest-ranking American official to be removed for sexual abuse when the pope kicked him out of the priesthood in 2019.

Given Mr. McCarrick’s long career — as a priest in New York, archbishop of Newark and a Washington cardinal with a national and international profile — the 449-page report had the potential to engulf three separate papacies in scandal. Since the abuse carried out by Mr. McCarrick became public in 2017, conservative critics have accused Francis of covering up the American’s misconduct.

But the investigation, commissioned by Francis, who had promised to “follow the path of truth wherever it may lead,” largely absolved the current pope. Instead, it put fault chiefly with Francis’ conservative predecessors, emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, and in particular Pope John Paul II — elevated to sainthood since his death — who believed Mr. McCarrick’s denials of the allegations of sexual misconduct and promoted him.

Five Takeaways from the Vatican’s Explosive McCarrick Report

New York Times

November 10, 2020

By Elizabeth Dias and Ruth Graham

A new report about a disgraced former cardinal had the potential to implicate three separate papacies in scandal.

On Tuesday the Vatican released a massive report investigating how Theodore E. McCarrick, a disgraced former cardinal and archbishop of Washington, rose to the heights of the Catholic Church, despite leaders receiving reports that he had sexually abused minors and adult seminarians over the course of decades.

Here are five takeaways from the report:

• Pope John Paul II knew of allegations of Mr. McCarrick’s sexual misconduct.

Pope John Paul II personally made the decision to elevate Mr. McCarrick even after a U.S. cardinal warned that he had been accused of sexual misconduct.

In 1999, when Mr. McCarrick was being considered to take over the Archdiocese of New York, Cardinal John O’Connor of New York wrote a six-page letter to the Vatican’s ambassador to the United States. He raised concerns that Mr. McCarrick had asked young adult men to sleep in his bed with him and that some priests had experienced psychological trauma from Mr. McCarrick’s inappropriate behavior.

“I regret that I would have to recommend very strongly against such promotion, particularly if to a Cardinatial See,” Cardinal O’Connor said. “Nevertheless, I subject my comments to higher authority and most particularly our Holy Father.”

Vatican leaders shared the assessment with Pope John Paul II. But the pope dismissed the allegations after Mr. McCarrick wrote him a letter directly denying them, and he elevated Mr. McCarrick anyway to the Archdiocese of Washington, one of the most prominent positions in the country. “McCarrick’s direct relationship with John Paul II also likely had an impact on the Pope’s decision making,” the report said.

[The other takeaways discussed in this article are:]

• The Vatican blames three American bishops for providing misleading information.

• Pope Benedict XVI ousted Mr. McCarrick as archbishop of Washington but declined to investigate him.

• Pope Francis did nothing until 2017 because he believed the allegations had already been reviewed by Pope John Paul II.

• It is extremely unusual for the Vatican to investigate its highest leaders like this.

November 10, 2020

Theodore McCarrick’s Human Sacrifices

New York Times

November 10, 2020

By Elizabeth Bruenig

A Vatican report reveals that the defrocked cardinal’s manipulation of power went all the way to the top.

Since accusations of sexual misconduct with boys and young men culminated in the former archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s dramatic resignation as a cardinal in 2018 and expulsion from the priesthood the following year, the Catholic hierarchy has been haunted by the question of who knew what, and when.

A Vatican-commissioned report released Tuesday gives us a clearer answer: everyone — to the highest echelons of the church — and far sooner than had previously been verified.

According to the report, a year before Pope John Paul II installed Mr. McCarrick as archbishop of Washington, D.C., Cardinal John O’Connor of New York warned the pontiff of serious concerns about Mr. McCarrick’s rumored sexual abuses, citing seminarians who had entered psychiatric treatment in the wake of their encounters with him.

Report into disgraced ex U.S. cardinal shows failings by popes, top clerics


November 10, 2020

By Philip Pullella

A Vatican report into disgraced ex-U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick points to failings by popes, Vatican officials and senior U.S. clerics who let him rise through the Catholic ranks despite repeated allegations of sexual misconduct.

With testimony from 90 witnesses and dozens of documents, letters and transcripts from Vatican and U.S. Church archives, the 460-page document offers a remarkable reckoning by an institution known for its secrecy, portraying a man long able to convince superiors of his innocence.

The report said that “credible evidence” that the former archbishop of Washington, D.C. had abused minors when he was a priest in the 1970s did not surface until 2017.

But it said the U.S. Church hierarchy was aware of consistent rumors that after McCarrick became a bishop in the early 1980s he preyed on adult male seminarians.

“During extended interviews, often emotional, the persons described a range of behavior, including sexual abuse or assault, unwanted sexual activity, intimate physical contact and the sharing of beds without physical touching,” the report’s introduction says.

Report on the Holy See’s Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930 To 2017)

Holy See

November 10, 2020


A. Scope and Nature of the Report Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick

On 6 October 2018, the Holy Father ordered a thorough study of the
documentation present in the Archives of the Dicasteries and Offices of the
Holy See regarding McCarrick, in order to ascertain all the relevant facts, to
place them in their historical context and to evaluate them objectively.

The examination of documents was undertaken in compliance with the
instructions of the Holy Father and under the auspices of the Secretariat of
State. No limit was placed on the examination of documents, the questioning
of individuals or the expenditure of resources necessary to carry out the
investigation. The Secretariat of State, having now concluded its
examination, sets forth the results in this Report on the Holy See’s
Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal
Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930 to 2017) (“Report”). The Report is
released to the public pursuant to the Holy Father’s instruction in this
exceptional case for the good of the Universal Church.

This Report is based upon review of all relevant documents located after a
diligent search. Within the Roman Curia, information was primarily obtained
from the Secretariat of State, the Congregation for Bishops, the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for Clergy and
the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
All relevant documents of the Apostolic Nunciature to the United States were
also examined. While an explanation of the various roles and functions of
the named dicasteries and officials is beyond the scope of the Report, an
understanding of such matters, including the distinctions between the
competencies of the dicasteries, is critical to comprehend the decisionmaking
process described below.

Wuerl retiring from Vatican roles as McCarrick report nears


November 10, 2020

By Peter Smith

This week was already shaping up as a milestone in the career of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the former bishop of his native Pittsburgh, who is reaching the mandatory retirement age of 80 from powerful roles he has held at the Vatican.

Adding to that, he is also expected to figure in a Vatican report Tuesday about his predecessor as archbishop of Washington, the disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The report is expected to focus on who knew what and when about allegations of sexual misconduct against the now-defrocked Mr. McCarrick, even as he rose to the highest ranks of the U.S. church hierarchy.

Cardinal Wuerl, who served as the Roman Catholic bishop of his native Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006, turns 80 on Thursday. Under Catholic Church law, that means he will no longer be eligible to vote in conclaves of cardinals who select a new pope when there is a vacancy.

In addition to shedding that role, Cardinal Wuerl will also reach mandatory retirement age on the influential Congregation for Bishops, which advises the pope on appointments of new bishops, and hence has a large role in shaping the church hierarchy around the world. He has served in that role since 2013. The mandatory retirement also applies to his service on the pontifical councils for culture and Christian unity.

McCarrick Report: What to know before it's released - A CNA Explainer

Catholic News Agency

November 9, 2020

By JD Flynn

On Tuesday, Nov. 10, the Vatican’s Secretariat of State will release a report on its two-year investigation into the career of ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who has been found canonically guilty of serial sexual abuse and misconduct, and was laicized in 2019.

Ahead of the report, CNA looks at some of your questions, and reviews what you need to know:

Who is Theodore McCarrick?

Theodore Edgar McCarrick was born July 7, 1930 in New York City. His father died when McCarrick was three years old.

McCarrick entered New York’s St. Joseph’s Seminary in the early 1950s, after a family friend paid for him to study for a year in Switzerland.

He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of New York in 1958.

Bishops Accused of Sexual Abuse and Misconduct: Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick


November 10, 2020

Stripped of his clerical status on January 11, 2019, becoming the first cardinal to be laicized for sex crimes. As of November 8, 2020, McCarrick had been publicly accused of sexually abusing at least ten minors in New York and New Jersey and of sexually abusing and/or harassing at least eight seminarians and priests of the Metuchen diocese and Newark archdiocese.

Substantive allegations against McCarrick were public on the internet for more than a decade before the mainstream press reported them. In 2005, conservative Catholic blogger Matt Abbott wrote about McCarrick’s alleged abuses of seminarians and priests. In 2008, scholar Richard Sipe published an open letter to Pope Benedict, saying he knew of “at least four priests who have had sexual encounters with Cardinal McCarrick.” In 2010, in an essay entitled the Cardinal McCarrick Syndrome, Sipe published excerpts from files of a church settlement with a former priest who was sexually abused by McCarrick.

The mainstream press did not report McCarrick’s sexual offenses until June 20, 2018, when Cardinal Dolan announced that the New York archdiocesan review board had found a child sexual abuse allegation against McCarrick to be “credible and substantiated” and that McCarrick had been ordered to cease public ministry. It was the first public allegation that McCarrick had assaulted a child. In a statement on the Washington DC archdiocesan website, McCarrick denied the abuse: “I have absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse, and believe in my innocence.” The victim was a 16-year-old student at NYC’s Cathedral Prep Seminary in late 1971, when then-Monsignor McCarrick allegedly sexually assaulted him in the sacristy of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. A year later, in late 1972, the boy was attacked by McCarrick a second time in one of the cathedral’s bathrooms. In separate statements released simultaneously with Dolan’s, Bishop James Checchio of Metuchen NJ and Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Newark NJ admitted that the Metuchen and Newark dioceses had “received three allegations of [McCarrick’s] sexual misconduct with adults decades ago; two of these allegations resulted in settlements.”

November 9, 2020

The Vatican's McCarrick report: a roster of likely figures

National Catholic Reporter

November 9, 2020

by Joshua J. McElwee

Who are the prelates who may have made decisions about the former cardinal's rise?

Rome - The Vatican's report on the rise of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, set to be released Nov. 10, will likely contain the names of a vast array of figures — some who were directly involved in the success of his now-disgraced career and others who were ancillary but influential.

To help in preparing for the report's release, NCR has assembled short biographical sketches of some of the more major figures.

McCarrick, aged 90, was long one of the most influential prelates in the U.S. Catholic Church — before a series of shocking announcements in June 2018 revealed that he had been ordered by the Vatican to step down from active ministry after an allegation of sexual abuse was found "credible and substantiated."

Pope Francis confirmed McCarrick's removal from the priesthood, after a guilty finding by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in February 2019.

For this roster, we have focused primarily on the periods surrounding McCarrick's episcopal appointments, namely: as auxiliary bishop of New York in May 1977, as bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey, in November 1981, as archbishop of Newark in May 1986 and as archbishop of Washington, D.C., in November 2000.

The data included was taken from publicly available sources. The glossary begins with a description of the two key Vatican offices involved, continues with the offices' leaders and concludes with a focus on U.S. cardinals who had unusual influence during the periods in question.

The Vatican's McCarrick report: a timeline of events

National Catholic Reporter

November 9, 2020

By Joshua J. McElwee

Rome - Theodore McCarrick had a nearly six-decade-long career as a priest, bishop and cardinal before revelations about his sexual abuse of young men led to his removal from the priesthood in 2019.

To help prepare for the expected Nov. 10 release of the Vatican's report on how the disgraced ex-cardinal was able to rise through the ranks of the American hierarchy, NCR has prepared the following timeline of some of the major events in McCarrick's career.

May 31, 1958:

Theodore McCarrick is ordained a priest by New York Cardinal Francis Spellman.​


McCarrick serves as the president of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico. He is made a monsignor by Pope Paul VI in 1965.


Spellman recalls McCarrick back to New York, where the young monsignor serves first as an associate secretary of education for the archdiocese, and then as the cardinal's personal secretary.

About 1971 through about 1980:

During this period, James Grein alleges that McCarrick repeatedly abused him while Grein was in his teenage years. In a July 19, 2018 New York Times report, Grein said he and McCarrick would go on trips and spend nights in hotel rooms together, where McCarrick would touch Grein sexually.

May 1977:

Pope Paul VI appoints McCarrick as the titular bishop of Rusibisir and an auxiliary bishop of New York.

Priest urges Vatican to intervene as fresh sexual misconduct allegations emerge from the Diocese of Broome


November 9, 2020

By Erin Parke

A second priest has broken ranks with the Catholic Church, going public with concerns about what he has described as the "abysmal and extremely unjust" Vatican response to sexual misconduct allegations at an outback diocese.

It comes as an ABC investigation has uncovered a series of scandals involving priests in the trouble-plagued Diocese of Broome, including one who impregnated a schoolteacher, and a clergyman who returned to India before police could interview him over indecent assault allegations made by a teenage girl.

The incidents allegedly occurred under the management of 70-year-old Bishop Christopher Saunders, who is subject to an ongoing, two-year police investigation into sexual misconduct, allegations he has strenuously denied.

The Vatican is also running a separate internal investigation into his management of the diocese, which covers the vast Kimberley region of northern WA.

The review was triggered in March, when local priest John Purnell went public with concerns about the Church's inaction over the sexual misconduct allegations made against Bishop Saunders in October 2018.

Now, another former Kimberley priest has spoken out, saying he is shocked and appalled at the Church's failure to remove Bishop Saunders while the investigation is ongoing.

Pedophile priest Paul Shanley, key figure in Boston clergy sex abuse scandal, dead at 89

The Republican via MassLive

November 7, 2020

By Anne-Gerard Flynn

Ware - Convicted pedophile priest Paul Shanley, a key figure in the Archdiocese of Boston clergy sex abuse scandal, has died. He was 89.

Shanley, who was removed from ministry by the Vatican in 2004 and convicted of child rape a year later in a landmark case in Middlesex Superior Court that rested on the repressed memories of a 27-year-old man, had been a Ware resident since his release from prison as a level 3 sex offender in 2017, and police in that Hampshire County town confirmed in media reports Nov. 6 his death Oct. 28 of heart failure.

The Boston Archdiocese, which has paid millions of dollars to victims of clergy sexual abuse, including those with allegations against Shanley, released a statement acknowledging his death and what it called the “harm caused to so many.”

“The harm caused to so many by Paul Shanley is immeasurable," the statement said.

“His victims showed great courage in exposing his crimes and fighting for justice both within the criminal justice system and the Church. We are indebted to Shanley’s victims and all victims of clergy abuse for what they have done to stop the abuse, assure that the Church supports healing for those abused, and puts the protection of children at the top of our priorities.”

The Vatican removed Shanley from ministry only after he was arrested and numerous complaints of child sexual abuse were filed against him, even though the release, under court order, of archdiocesan records and documents showed church officials at the highest levels knew for decades of such allegations and continued to allow him to minister.

'I wanted the priest who hurt me to be terrified and burn in hell for ever'

Daily Mail

November 7, 2020

By Gabriel Byrne

Actor Gabriel Byrne reveals a terrible secret and how he tried to confront his tormentor

Surrounded by a moat, the Christian Brothers' School House for Older Boys was a fine old Irish castle from the 13th Century.

The ghost of Oliver Cromwell was said to walk its stairways and corridors, and Queen Elizabeth I once slept in the stone chamber where we had our classes.

In 1961, when I was ten years old, a curate visited and announced to the class: 'Boys, I want to talk to you about vocations to the priesthood. A vocation is a word from Latin meaning 'to call'.'

God might be calling you, he said. 'And if he is, you must answer.' I thought of God trying to get through to me on the phone.

The curate continued: 'If you listen to the voice deep inside yourself, in quiet moments, you will hear him. To be chosen is the greatest gift any family could have.'

Gabriel Byrne: 'There’s a shame about men speaking out. A sense that if you were abused, it was your fault'

The Guardian

November 8, 2020

By Catherine Shoard

The actor’s autobiography confronts the abuse he experienced at the hands of the church. But he has just as much contempt for Hollywood – and US presidents from Obama to Trump

Forget the pollsters. If you wanted to know the outcome of last week’s US election, you just had to ask Gabriel Byrne. I did, a month ago. I wish I had gone to the bookies.

Byrne was in London on the way back to his farm in Maine, where he lives with his wife and three-year-old daughter. It’ll be thin, he said, Biden’s margin is miles slimmer than anyone predicts. He called it in 2016, too.

“If you were in touch with the rage that was on the ground, you were not looking at Hillary Clinton and saying, she’s going to get elected. That rage is still on the ground. The 40 million who support Trump haven’t wavered one iota.”

When he emails on Thursday night, he blames the Democrats for the tight result. “This is the second time they’ve come up against a gameshow host and they’ve learned nothing. Again they seriously underestimated the level of anger among mostly blue-collar workers.”

Byrne was sexually abused by priests from the age of eight; then, three years later, dispatched to a seminary in England where, lost and homesick, he found comfort in the attentions of an encouraging teacher.

“What I remember most about him was his voice. It was very beguiling and calming,” he says. In his book, Byrne records the evening he was first invited to the man’s room. “I’d never seen it written down before – how you reel in an 11-year-old. Saying, ‘Oh you must be missing a little girl or maybe a little boy?’ Saying, ‘Are you this way? Are you that way?’ Having laid the ground in the most sophisticated way by saying, ‘You’re great at that. You’re terrific.’”

‘For so long I blamed myself’ - Gabriel Byrne speaks out about his experience of being abused by priest

Irish Post

November 8, 2020

By Jack Beresford


Gabriel Byrne has spoken of how he felt “ashamed and guilty” for many years after he was abused by a priest at the age of just 11.

The Usual Suspects star has opened up about the abuse in his new memoir, Walking With Ghosts, in which he recounts how he first moved from his family home in Dublin to St Richard’s College in Worcestershire to train for the priesthood.

In an abridged extract published by the Mail on Sunday, Byrne recalled how he was initially taken under the wing of a kind priest at the college.

Their relationship turned sinister, however, when that same priest molested him.

Recalling the night the clergyman first revealed his true intentions, Byrne wrote: “The priest’s breath was sour and hot as he moved toward me. Then there was blackness.

“Even years later it feels like the night has been concreted over. I’ve been picking at it with a pin ever since, afraid to use a jack-hammer, afraid of what’s buried in there."

Liberia: 'Circle of Secrecy' Children, Sexual Abuse, and the Catholic Church in Africa

All Africa

November 8, 2020

In every culture, there is a belief in a supernational being (Almighty), and the relationship between humans and God requires worship and sacrifice. And, in any recorded human history, humans practiced some form of cultural religion -- spirituality, so, culture cannot occur without education, while education is impossible without some form of societal culture.

From the time in antiquity, religion comprised of regular ceremonies centered on a belief in a higher supernatural power (God -- the unknown) that created and maintained the order of things in the universe. Over a period, religions focus on the spiritual aspect of God, creation, human, life after death, eternity, and how to escape suffering or to be adjudicated afterlife. That is the reason why every culture made Gods in its image, similarity, and representation in their cultural space.

There is nothing more important in any culture or life than the worship of something. The only question is whether the worship is the right One, done in the right way. However, every religion believes that they are the right One, worship the right way, and their God is best in their cultural space.

They reported their alleged abuser. He died. Now what?

CBC News

November 9, 2020

By Paige Parsons

After decades of silence, a group of men came forward alleging Anglican priest Gordon Dominey sexually assaulted them in the 1980s, when they were teen inmates at an Edmonton youth jail. Dominey died before the case could go to trial, leaving the men with an uncertain path to justice.

One man was watching TV at a Calgary homeless shelter in February 2016 when the priest’s face flashed on the screen.

Another was lying in bed in British Columbia when he saw it on the news. Another man, in Manitoba, saw the face he couldn’t forget flash up on Facebook.

Others were reading the newspaper — in a living room in downtown Edmonton, at work in Saskatchewan.

One by one, the men recognized the Anglican priest from their past.

Rev. Gordon Dominey was set to go to trial on 33 charges related to alleged historical sexual offences against 13 teen inmates at the Edmonton Youth Development Centre.

November 8, 2020

Cardinal-designate sees appointment as testament to God’s word


November 7, 2020

By Junno Arocho Esteves

[See also Vatican Priest Likens Criticism Over Abuse to Anti-Semitism, by Daniel J. Wakin and Rachel Donadio, New York Times, April 2, 2010.]

Rome - For Cardinal-designate Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the papal household, his elevation to the cardinalate has little to do with his own merits and everything to do with God’s word.

“In my case, the roles of preacher and listener are reversed. It is actually the pope who silently preaches to me and to the whole church, finding time every Friday morning in Advent and Lent to go and listen to the meditation of a simple priest of the church.”

However, his role as preacher is not confined to the walls of the Eternal City. In 2019, he was sent by Pope Francis to lead the U.S. bishops in a spiritual retreat as they deliberated better ways to address the sexual abuse crisis.

Recalling that “particularly delicate moment,” Cantalamessa said that among the fruits he witnessed were the participation of about 250 U.S. bishops as well as their attentiveness to “the meditation and liturgical prayer and silent adoration of the Eucharist” during the retreat.

Abuse Survivor: ‘All Catholics Will be Grieving’ When McCarrick Report is Released

Catholic News Agency via National Catholic Register

November 7, 2020

By Jonah McKeown

The report is expect to answer questions about how McCarrick rose through the ecclesiastical ranks despite apparently widespread rumors of sexual misconduct over the years.

Vatican City - The Vatican is set to release next week a comprehensive report of the misdeeds of disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who last year was laicized for serial sexual abuse of both minors and adults.

One clerical abuse survivor and advocate told CNA that while it will be hard to read the McCarrick Report next week, she plans to read it all.

“All Catholics will be grieving. I'm in a place of grief myself right now, just anticipating. I know it's going to be very, very hard,” Teresa Pitt Green, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by priests, told CNA.

“No matter what is in the report, I will go through a depth of grief that is as deep as anything I went through in recovery. Because that's what being triggered is, and this report will put me and a lot of survivors through hell...I guarantee that survivors are already in profound grief. We're going to have to walk through it all again, and so are all Catholics, not just survivors.”

Vatican report on investigation into ex-Cardinal McCarrick to be released Nov. 10

Catholic News Service

November 6, 2020

By: Rhina Guidos

Vatican officials announced Nov. 6 that the Holy See will release Nov. 10 a long-awaited report on the investigation about the ascent to power of now-disgraced former U.S. Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick.

The report’s release comes days before the U.S. bishops gather virtually Nov. 16 and 17 for their annual meeting.

“On Tuesday, 10th November 2020, at 2 p.m. (Rome time), the Holy See will publish the report on the Holy See’s institutional knowledge and decision-making process related to former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (from 1930 to 2017), prepared by the Secretariat of State by mandate of the Pope,” Vatican officials said.

It added: “The same day, an hour before publication, a section of the document will be provided in advance to accredited journalists.”

Various news organizations had reported its imminent release in early November.

In an electronic update to the Archdiocese of New York, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan referenced what, some suspected, was a signal about the imminent release of the report.

“We are also still waiting for the release of the so-called ‘McCarrick Report’ by the Holy See, detailing the damning story of former-cardinal Theodore McCarrick,” Cardinal Dolan wrote in a Nov. 5 email addressed to Catholics in the archdiocese. “That could be another black-eye for the church.”

Vatican to release McCarrick report Tuesday, spans 1930-2017

Associated Press

November 6, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican on Tuesday will release its long-awaited report into what it knew about ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual misconduct during his rise through the church hierarchy, setting up a remarkable moment in the Vatican’s long reckoning with clergy sexual abuse and cover-up.

The Vatican said Friday the report would span McCarrick’s entire life, from his birth in 1930 to the 2017 allegations that triggered his downfall. The Vatican said the report would cover “the Holy See’s institutional knowledge and decision-making process” as the American prelate rose through the church’s ranks.

Pope Francis defrocked McCarrick in February 2019 after a Vatican investigation determined he sexually abused minors as well as adults. The 90-year-old is believed to be living in a treatment center for priests as a layman.

‘Hard times’ ahead for Church in Poland after cardinal sanctioned by Vatican


November 7, 2020

By Paulina Guzik

Krakow, Poland - In an unprecedented move for the Polish Church, the Vatican banned a retired cardinal from public ministry, public appearances, and the use of the bishop’s insignia.

Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz of Wrocław also cannot be buried in the archdiocesan cathedral after his death.

The disciplinary measures are a historic and symbolic moment for the Church in Poland.


The abuse crisis in Poland exploded after the release of a documentary on YouTube in May 2019 called Tell No One, by the filmmakers known as the Sekielski Brothers. The film documented a history of abuse and cover-up in the country and was viewed by more than 2.5 million people in less than 24 hours.

Soon after its release, an alleged victim using the pseudonym Karol Chum posted on Facebook that he was abused by Gulbinowicz, but never reported it to the Church authorities. However, after the archdiocesan offices were made aware of the post, they contacted the alleged victim, and he eventually filed an official canonical complaint against the cardinal.

He was allegedly abused by Gulbinowicz when he was a 15-year-old student at the Franciscan Minor Seminary.

His case was turned down by the state prosecutor in 2019, due to the statute of limitations. The Church proceeded with its own investigation, which ended with the disciplinary measures announced on Friday.

November 7, 2020

Criminal case marks new phase in clergy investigation


November 6, 2020

By Katie Davis

A criminal case unsealed this week marks a new phase in the Rhode Island Attorney General's investigation: charges based in part on evidence that was already in church files and in some cases had been reported to law enforcement, but had not led to criminal prosecution in the past.

"I don't want to really talk about how this case got made," Attorney General Peter Neronha told NBC 10 News. "Let me just say this: that as we go back and look at all the records, it's an opportunity to look again at information that the Diocese may have provided to law enforcement."

A least 100,000 pages of records involving allegations of child sexual abuse, going back some 50 years, have now been turned over to the attorney general's office by the Diocese of Providence under a voluntary agreement that began last year. Some of those documents had not been seen by law enforcement until now.

"They are more voluminous than I can give you a number on," Neronha said of the files.

Former Woonsocket priest charged amid review of diocese records


November 5, 2020

The Rhode Island Attorney General's Office has been examining records handed over by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence for close to 18 months, and the first criminal charges in connection with that review came on Thursday.

A grand jury indicted John Petrocelli, a former Woonsocket priest, on charges of abusing three boys under the age of 14 between 1981 and 1990. He was charged with three counts of first-degree child molestation and nine counts of second-degree child molestation.

Petrocelli entered a not guilty plea and bail was set at $50,000 with surety. He was ordered to have no contact with the three alleged victims or any children under 16.

Petrocelli had served as an assistant pastor at Holy Family Church in Woonsocket, but was on the diocese's List of Credibly Accused Clergy and is no longer working as a priest. The diocese said Petrocelli was removed from the ministry in 2002 because of "credible allegations of abuse."

Paul Shanley, ‘poster boy’ of clergy sexual abuse scandal, dead at 89

Boston Globe

November 6, 2020

By Shelley Murphy

Paul R. Shanley, a defrocked priest and convicted child rapist who became one of the most notorious figures in the Catholic Church clergy sexual abuse scandal, died of heart failure on Oct. 28 at a Ware hospice facility, according to state officials.

The 89-year-old had been living in Ware since his release from prison three years ago after serving 12 years for repeatedly raping a boy in the 1980s.

“Children are now safer because of the passing of Paul Shanley,” said Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who represented dozens of Shanley’s victims in civil claims against the church and described him as “one of the poster boys of clergy sexual abuse throughout the United States and the world.”

Garabedian said Shanley’s victims feel cheated because he died a free man and church supervisors who failed to stop him from preying on victims were never prosecuted.

Paul Shanley, Priest at Center of Sex Scandal, Dead at 89

Associated Press via U.S. News and World Report

November 6, 2020

Authorities say a former Roman Catholic street priest who played a pivotal role in the sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Archdiocese of Boston has died.

A former Roman Catholic street priest who played a pivotal role in the sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Archdiocese of Boston has died, authorities said Friday. Paul Shanley was 89.

Police in Ware, a town in west-central Massachusetts where Shanley was living since his release from prison in 2017, confirmed his death but did not say how he died. WFXT-TV, Boston's Fox News affiliate, said he died of heart failure on Oct. 28.

Shanley was a popular priest who counseled gay and troubled youths in the 1960s and 1970s. In 2005, he was convicted of raping a boy at a Newton church in the 1980s and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Shanley's release in July 2017 triggered a firestorm of protests from some of his victims, who alleged he sexually abused them as children.

Shanley was a notorious figure in the clergy sex abuse scandal that exploded in Boston in 2002, after The Boston Globe revealed that dozens of priests had molested and raped children for decades while church supervisors covered it up and shuffled abusive priests from parish to parish.

The Vatican defrocked Shanley in 2004 after dozens of men came forward and reported being sexually abused by him.


Archdiocese of Boston

November 6, 2020

The harm caused to so many by Paul Shanley is immeasurable. His victims showed great courage in exposing his crimes and fighting for justice both within the criminal justice system and the Church. We are indebted to Shanley's victims and all victims of clergy abuse for what they have done to stop the abuse, assure that the Church supports healing for those abused, and puts the protection of children at the top of our priorities.

The Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach is available to those who were abused by clergy and their families. We encourage anyone who was abused by clergy to call, regardless of when the abuse occurred. We also encourage you to report the abuse to law enforcement. If the victim is under the age of 18, please also report the abuse to the Department of Children and Families. Help is available. Call 617-746-5985.

November 6, 2020

Former priest Paul Shanley, key figure in Boston clergy sex abuse scandal, dies


November 6, 2020

By Maria Papadopoulos

Ware - Paul Shanley, a former Catholic priest who served time in prison for child rape and a key figure in the Boston clergy sex abuse scandal, has died, Ware Police have confirmed.

Shanley, a Ware resident, died on Oct. 28 of heart failure, police said. He was 89 years old.

In 2005, Shanley was convicted of raping a child repeatedly in the 1980s. He formerly served as a priest at St. Jean’s Parish in Newton.

In 2017, he was released from prison after completing his 12-year sentence.

Shanley lived out his remaining days as a sex offender.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who represented several victims in the church sex abuse scandal, said in a statement that he was not aware of Shanley’s passing until Friday, when contacted by media.

“Respectfully, children are now safer because of the passing of Fr. Paul Shanley. Unfortunately, the amount of human pain caused by Fr. Shanley and the Archdiocese of Boston is continuing and immeasurable,” Garabedian said.

Priest abuse victims question if Archdiocese properly investigated, referred cases to Vatican

WWL 4 CBS and Times-Picayune and Advocate

November 5, 2020

By David Hammer and Ramon Antonio Vargas

[With video]

The consequences for not properly reporting abuse cases in the church can be harsh.


Mark Vath thought the sexual abuse complaint he filed against his father’s cousin, a Roman Catholic priest named Paul Calamari, was resolved when the Archdiocese of New Orleans put Calamari on a 2018 list of clerics strongly suspected of molesting children.

Church officials also agreed to pay Vath a $100,000 settlement for his ordeal. That was less than a month before the release of the roster of fallen priests and deacons. Church officials also later told him they believed his allegations.

But it turns out a formal investigation of Vath’s case by the church didn’t even start for another two years. Archbishop Gregory Aymond informed Vath in a letter in September that the church had only begun scrutinizing Calamari a month earlier, a process that might refer the matter to top Catholic bureaucrats in Rome to consider removing Calamari from the priesthood.

Ex-Roman Catholic priest who lives in York County pleads guilty to sexually abusing 2 boys

York Daily Record

November 5, 2020

By Dylan Segelbaum


As part of a plea agreement, John Allen, 76, of West Manchester Township, is set to be sentenced to five years' probation on Jan. 21, 2021.

A former priest who is one of more than 300 clergy named in a landmark investigating grand jury report about widespread sexual abuse and institutional coverup in the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania pleaded guilty on Thursday in Dauphin County to assaulting two altar boys between 1997 and 2002.

John Allen, 76, of West Manchester Township, appeared via video conference before Common Pleas Judge Deborah E. Curcillo, and admitted to sexually touching the boys over their clothes while at St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Church in Penbrook. He’s set to be sentenced to five years’ probation on Jan. 21, 2021, as part of a plea agreement on charges of indecent assault and corruption of minors.

In response to questions from Chief Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Gettle, Allen answered with, “Yes, indeed” and “I understand that, yes.” He sat next to his attorney, Brian Perry, who is reserving discussing the case until sentencing.

Gettle said the survivors were between 10 and 12 at the time. The sexual abuse, she said, was not disclosed to law enforcement until more than a decade later.

The sentencing guidelines for the crimes, at that time, called for probation. The men are now 31 and 35, respectively.

Details of Schoenstatt founder abuse and coercion allegations emerge

Catholic News Agency

November 5, 2020

A Church historian has published some details regarding the allegations of abuse made against Fr. Josef Kentenich, founder of the Schoenstatt ecclesial movement. The movement has rejected claims that its founder engaged in sexual abuse, while in July a German bishop announced that a commission would review the priest’s beatification process.

Historian Alexandra von Teuffenbach has published the first of two volumes in a history of the Schoenstatt movement and allegations that Kentenich, who is being considered for beatification, manipulated and coerced community members into sexually inappropriate conduct.

The first volume focuses on the life of Sister Giorgia Wagner, a member of the community who died in 1987. Wagner was assigned to ministry in Chile during her time in the community.

“When Fr. Kentenich visited Chile after the Second World War, in 1947, he abused her and deposed her as provincial superior,” von Teuffenbach wrote in a letter to Vatican analyst Sandro Magister, which Magister published Nov. 2.

Pope Francis attempts to tackle sexual abuse globally and in his own backyard

Religion News Service

November 5, 2020

By Claire Giangravé

This ongoing clergy sex abuse trial at the Vatican will be a litmus test for the efficacy of Pope Francis’ reforms.

Vatican City - Recent comments by Catholic clergy and a sex abuse trial inside the Vatican highlight Pope Francis’ uphill battle in enforcing accountability and child protection within the Catholic Church.

“Which is worse, abortion or an act of pedophilia?” asked the Rev. Andrea Leonesi, the vicar of the Diocese of Macerata, Italy, during a homily on Oct. 27 that was recorded and later went viral.

In his homily, Leonesi implied abortion is worse than pedophilia and condemned the protests women have led in Poland, where the highest court recently applied further restrictions on abortion.

“In Poland these feminists are loose and doing anything to protest,” the priest said. “Wives must be submissive toward their husbands; do you understand ladies? The husband is in fact the master of the woman,” he added.

The homily, which was uploaded to YouTube on Monday (Nov. 2), garnered a lot of criticism by political activists for gender equality in Italy. Bishop Nazzareno Marconi of Macerata defended his second-in-command by saying while “the drama of pedophilia is a battle that must engage us all,” the homily wished to “guarantee the right to not have an abortion for every woman.”

Ex-priest indicted on multiple counts of child molestation

Associated Press

November 5, 2020

A former Rhode Island priest was indicted Thursday on multiple counts of child molestation, state Attorney General Peter Neronha’s office said.

The grand jury indictment against John Petrocelli was unsealed Thursday and he was arraigned in Providence County Superior Court, according to Neronha’s office.

He faces three counts of first-degree child molestation and nine counts of second-degree child molestation.

Prosecutors say Petrocelli molested three boys under the age of 14 multiple times during his tenure as assistant pastor at Holy Family Parish in Woonsocket from 1981 to 1990.

Petrocelli, 75, has been the subject of other litigation involving priest misconduct, including a 2008 settlement between the Diocese of Providence and men who said they were abused as boys by Rhode Island priests, including Petrocelli, the Providence Journal reports.

The public defender’s office, which is representing Petrocelli, didn’t respond to an email seeking comment Thursday.

‘Credibly accused’ former RI priest charged with child molestation


November 5, 2020

By Eli Sherman

A former priest named to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence’s list of “credibly accused” clergymen last year was arrested on multiple charges of child molestation, according to R.I. Attorney General Peter Neronha.

John Petrocelli, 75, was indicted by a statewide grand jury on three counts of first-degree child molestation and nine counts of second degree molestation, according to state prosecutors. The indictment was unsealed after he was arraigned in Providence Superior Court where he pleaded not guilty.

The grand jury alleged Petrocelli committed multiple acts of child molestation against three male victims under the age of 14 between November 1981 and October 1990.

Vatican's report on ex-cardinal McCarrick expected within weeks

National Catholic Reporter

November 5, 2020

by Joshua J. McElwee

Rome - The Vatican's report on how disgraced ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick was able to rise through the American Catholic hierarchy despite reports of inappropriate relationships with young men is expected to be released within the next weeks, National Catholic Reporter has learned.

The Vatican wants to release the document prior to the annual meeting of the U.S. Catholic bishops' conference, which is to be held virtually Nov. 16-17, said an informed Vatican source. The person asked not to be named as they did not have authorization to speak on the matter.

Reuters first reported the news earlier in the day Nov. 5.

McCarrick, aged 90, was long one of the most influential prelates in the U.S. Catholic Church. He led the Catholic communities in Metuchen, New Jersey, and Newark, New Jersey, before serving as Archbishop of Washington, D.C., from 2001 to 2006.

But in a series of shocking announcements in June 2018, the archdioceses of New York, Newark, and Washington and the diocese of Metuchen revealed that McCarrick had been ordered by the Vatican to step down from active ministry after an allegation of sexual abuse was found "credible and substantiated."

Francis confirmed McCarrick's removal from the priesthood, after a guilty finding by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in February 2019.

'McCarrick Report' could be 'black-eye' for Church, Cardinal Dolan says

Catholic News Agency

November 5, 2020

The Archbishop of New York said Thursday that a long-awaited Vatican report on the career of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick could be a “black eye” for the Church. The report is expected to be released next week.

The U.S. Church is “still waiting for the release of the so-called ‘McCarrick Report’ by the Holy See, detailing the damning story of former-cardinal Theodore McCarrick. That could be another black-eye for the Church,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York wrote in a Nov. 5 post on his website.

“But, better that the story come out, in all its awful detail, to both bring some measure of peace to the victim-survivors, as well as serve as a lesson on how to prevent a similar recurrence in the future,” Dolan added.

The report, which was initially expected to be released in December 2019, will come after a Vatican review of documents and witness accounts spanning McCarrick’s 40-year episcopal career, after he was accused of serial sexual crimes related to minors and seminarians in 2018.

Sources at the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops and Secretariat of State, which coordinated the review and report, independently told CNA that the report is slated for release early next week; both identified Nov. 10 as the expected publication date.

Former Woonsocket Priest Charged With Child Molestation

Patch / Hale Global

November 5, 2020

By Rachel Nunes

John Petrocelli was indicted on three counts of first-degree child molestation and nine counts of second-degree child molestation.

Woonsocket RI - A former Woonsocket priest is facing allegations of child molestation. John Petrocelli was indicted by the statewide grand jury Monday on three counts of first-degree child molestation and nine counts of second-degree child molestation.

The indictment alleges that the acts happened from November 1981 to October 1990, when Petrocelli served as an assistant pastor at Holy Family Parish in Woonsocket. The victims are believed to be three boys, all under the age of 14 at the time.

"There is nothing more critical to the mission of my Office than to deliver justice on behalf of victims and of the people of Rhode Island, regardless of the time that has passed after the alleged offense," Attorney General Peter Neronha said. "Our ongoing review of alleged misconduct by clergy in Rhode Island is intended to achieve that result wherever possible."

The indictment, which was secret, was unsealed Thursday and Petrocelli was arraigned in Providence County Superior Court.

Year of St. Joseph to begin with archdiocesan consecration Dec. 8

Catholic Spirit - Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

November 5, 2020

By Maria Wiering

This is the cover of “Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father” by Marian Father Donald Calloway. Archbishop Bernard Hebda and Bishop Andrew Cozzens are encouraging Catholics to use the book as a guide for a personal consecration ahead of the Dec. 8 consecration of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to St. Joseph. The book can be found online and at local Catholic bookstores. CNS

Bishops encourage preparation with 33-day guide for personal consecration
After completing a personal consecration to St. Joseph in March, Anne Marie Hansen felt so richly blessed by the experience that she bought 500 copies of the 33-day guide to give to family, friends, coworkers, neighbors and anyone she sensed needed to read it.

Hansen, who is chairwoman of the archdiocese’s committee on the Year of St. Joseph, said that she hopes it will bring about a greater sense of fatherhood in the priesthood, and repair a relationship between priests and laity she sees weakened by the clergy sexual abuse crisis.

She said she is a survivor of years of clergy abuse as a child. Her love of St. Joseph began in her childhood and gave her hope despite the abuse, she said. She’s deepened her relationship with the saint as an adult, and her consecration in March was actually a formal reconsecration, she said. She participated in a group Father Calloway led online.

Fresno diocesan priest accused of misconduct, gang links

Catholic News Agency

November 5, 2020

The Catholic Diocese of Fresno has taken out a restraining order against a priest and launched an investigation of him after he was accused of drug use, physical abuse, threatening behavior and gang links.

Bishop Joseph Brennan of Fresno said Mass last Sunday at St. Joseph’s Church in Selma, Calif. and announced that Father Guadalupe Rios, the parish administrator, has been put on administrative leave while the diocese conducts an investigation.

Cheryl Sarkisian, the diocese's chancellor, confirmed that the priest has been placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation is pending.

“This is a matter of an internal investigation and the confidentiality and privacy of all concerned parties will be respected and upheld,” Sarkisian told The Fresno Bee Nov. 3.

November 5, 2020

Vatican report on disgraced ex U.S. cardinal McCarrick expected this month - sources


November 5, 2020

By Philip Pullella

A long-awaited Vatican report into disgraced ex-U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is expected to be released this month to coincide with an annual meeting of American bishops, Vatican sources said on Thursday.

McCarrick was expelled from the Roman Catholic priesthood last year after a Vatican investigation found him guilty of sexual crimes against minors and adults and abuse of power.

Pope Francis ordered a thorough study of all documents in Holy See offices concerning McCarrick in 2018. The four U.S. dioceses where he served - New York, Metuchen, Newark, and Washington, D.C. - carried out separate investigations to feed into the Vatican report.

U.S. Catholic bishops are due to hold their annual meeting Nov. 15-19. It will be held virtually this year because of the coronavirus.

The sources said the report would be released by the Vatican before the bishops’ meeting starts.

The Battered Priesthood

First Things

November 5, 2020

By Thomas G. Guarino

I was astonished to read recently that the archbishop of New Orleans, Gregory Aymond, is seeking to laicize all clergy who have been removed from ministry because of credible accusations of sex abuse. If the report is accurate, this move represents another grave blow to the Catholic priesthood, which is now tottering because of the draconian actions of American bishops wishing to atone for their past misprision of abuse.

Surely Archbishop Aymond recognizes the serious theological problems inherent in his proposal to laicize all credibly accused priests. Occasionally, a priest admits to having abused a minor. This kind of clear, unambiguous guilt represents a unique case in which laicization may, indeed, be justified. In most instances, however, “credibly accused” priests deny that they committed any wrongdoing. And usually these priests are accused of having abused someone years ago, so it is impossible to prove—or even to establish reasonably—that the alleged abuse actually occurred. This is precisely why civil prosecutors normally dismiss these cases; reliable and vital evidence becomes clouded and confused over time. Bishops formerly removed accused priests from ministry out of an abundance of caution. But now, a Catholic archbishop has seemingly proposed laicizing priests whose guilt has not been decisively established.

The archbishop may be motivated by economic interests. Priests who have been removed from ministry remain, canonically, the responsibility of their dioceses. Minimal but continuing sustenance must be provided for them. Priests who have been laicized, however, are regarded by the Church as laymen (though they remain priests due to the character indelebilis conferred by the sacrament of Holy Orders). After laicization, dioceses are no longer responsible for these men financially or otherwise.

Eight more from Diocese of Scranton ‘credibly accused’ of abuse

River Reporter

November 4, 2020

By Owen Walsh

Church compensates nearly 250 abuse claims

Scranton - More than two years since the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s sweeping grand jury report on “widespread sexual abuse” throughout the commonwealth’s Catholic churches, the Diocese of Scranton is continuing to add names to its list of “credibly accused.”

Pennsylvania’s 2018 grand jury report identified 301 priests in the state who had committed abuse, including 59 in the Diocese of Scranton, which serves 350,000 Catholics in NEPA. The grand jury concluded that the “several [Scranton] diocesan administrators, including the bishops, often dissuaded victims from reporting to police or conducted their own deficient, biased investigation without reporting crimes against children to the proper authorities.”

Now, the diocese has announced that six more priests, one member of a local religious order and one lay employee have been added to the list of credibly accused. Of the six priests, the only one still living is the retired, 80-year-old Monsignor Joseph Kelly, who denies the accusations.

“I say to my family, my friends, my former parishioners, that these claims are absolutely not true,” Kelly said in a statement.

According to a release, the diocese assesses the credibility of allegations of abuse through assessments by outside counsel and investigation by a former FBI agent. All allegations are submitted to the appropriate district attorney’s office.

Worthy of Elevation

Catholic New York - Archdiocese of New York

November 5, 2020

First, we want to offer our heartiest congratulations to Cardinal-elect Wilton D. Gregory, the Archbishop of Washington who will become the first African-American cardinal at a Nov 28 consistory at the Vatican.

That alone is worth rejoicing.

The 3 million African-American Catholics in the United States have been faithful members of the Church for generations, and the elevation of Cardinal-elect Gregory by Pope Francis is an important recognition of their place in the Catholic family.

The honor also recognizes the spiritual gifts and leadership skills that the cardinal-elect has demonstrated in his 47 years as a priest, a bishop and an archbishop.

Most notably, as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the early 2000s when the clergy sexual abuse scandals escalated, he steered his fellow bishops through the most serious crisis ever faced by the modern American Church.

We’d also like to congratulate Cardinal-elect Silvano Tomasi, a member of the Scalabrinian order who served in New York for many years and will also receive the red hat at the Nov. 28 consistory. Although he turned 80 last month and therefore will not be eligible to vote for pope in the next conclave, his elevation is nevertheless an appreciation of his long and faithful service to the Church.

He was a founder of the Center for Migration Studies based on Staten Island and also served a term as the U.S. Provincial of the Scalabrinians, based in Manhattan.

Chile's cardinal appointment coincides with country's political change

Catholic News Service via Union of Catholic Asian News

November 5, 2020

By Lucien Chauvin

The vote came after a year of protests, many violent, against the country's economic and political system

Cardinal-designate Celestino Aós Braco will take on his new role at one of the most critical times for Chile and its church in the past three decades.

The 75-year-old archbishop of Santiago received word about his elevation to the College of Cardinals Oct. 25, the same day Chileans voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to rewrite the country's constitution. The vote came after a year of protests, many violent, against the country's economic and political system.

The new cardinal, a Spaniard who was first sent to Chile in 1983, is aware that he will be at the helm of the church in Chile as the country works through the constitutional process and as the church continues to untangle a sex abuse scandal that has kept it on edge for a decade. He had served as bishop of Copiapó from 2014 to 2019, when he was named administrator, then archbishop, of Santiago, amid the clerical abuse scandal.

In the first interview since his appointment, Cardinal-designate Aós told Catholic News Service: "I hope that the people who write constitution will include fundamental values that correct flaws that led to the violence. We have to stay on the path of understanding and dialogue."

Vatican OKs probe of sex abuse coverup by Polish bishop

Associated Press via Minneapolis Star Tribune

November 5, 2020

The Vatican has ordered an investigation into allegations that a now-retired archbishop in Poland was negligent in investigating reports of sex abuse of minors by priests in his Gdansk archdiocese.

The Vatican Embassy in predominantly Roman Catholic Poland said the archbishop of Warsaw had been assigned to conduct the probe and that the preliminary investigation into Archbishop Slawoj Leszek Glodz has been completed.

The embassy provided no details about the outcome in a statement issued this week.

Pope Francis accepted Glodz's resignation on his 75th birthday in August, a sign he was taking the allegations against the archbishop seriously. Glodz, who had also served as the chief chaplain of Poland's armed force, denies any negligence.

Abuse survivors included Glodz in a report identifying two dozen current and retired Polish bishops accused of protecting predator priests. The report was delivered to Francis on the eve of his 2019 global abuse prevention summit at the Vatican.

2 accused predator priests may be deposed despite New Orleans church's bankruptcy case

Times-Picayune and Advocate

November 4, 2020

By David Hammer and Ramon Antonio Vargas

Judge ends stay that was blocking purported victims from taking sworn testimony of alleged abusers

A bankruptcy judge has ended a stay that was blocking purported victims of child abuse at the hands of Roman Catholic clergy from taking the sworn testimony of their alleged abusers while the Archdiocese of New Orleans is protected from its creditors.

The church has used its bankruptcy proceedings to fight to keep two elderly priests, whom the archdiocese acknowledges are likely child molesters, from having to testify in lawsuits that accuse them of sexually abusing minors decades ago.

But U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Meredith Grabill rejected the archdiocese’s argument that the church’s interests were “intertwined” with those of the accused priests, Paul Calamari, 76, and Lawrence Hecker, 89, and that allowing either to be deposed would divert attention and resources from the archdiocese’s Chapter 11 case.

Grabill's ruling could set up explosive and damaging testimony under oath from two of about eight surviving diocesan priests whom Archbishop Gregory Aymond has named as suspected child molesters. Court filings suggest that the plaintiffs’ legal team would seek to use the questioning in part to determine how church officials — including Aymond and his predecessors — managed Calamari and Hecker after learning of the allegations against them.

November 4, 2020

Priest who denied Pope Francis laicized, bishop urges reparation for sexual abuse

Catholic News Agency

November 2, 2020

A California priest who was excommunicated after denying the legitimacy of Pope Francis has been laicized, according to a Nov. 2 letter from his bishop. The priest has also been accused of sexual coercion and manipulation, prompting Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento to call priests to a day of fasting and reparation for the sins of clerical sexual abuse.

“On September 10, 2020 the Holy Father, Pope Francis, granted the personal request of Fr. Jeremy Leatherby for a return to the lay state and a dispensation from the promise of celibacy…. Mr. Jeremy Leatherby was informed of the Holy Father’s decision on Tuesday, October 27, 2020. Mr. Leatherby no longer has any responsibilities or rights proper to the clerical state. The Catholic Faithful are admonished not to participate in Mass or any further sacraments attempted by him,” Bishop Soto wrote in a Nov. 2 letter.

In August, Leatherby explained that he continued to celebrate Mass in public settings, despite a prohibition from his bishop against doing so. He also admitted that he did not accept the papacy of Pope Francis.

“I continue to regard Benedict as retaining the Office of Peter, as mysterious as that might be. Therefore, I do not regard Bergoglio as the Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church,” Leatherby wrote.

Catholic church accuses Fresno-area priest of violence, gang ties, court documents show

Fresno Bee

November 3, 2020

By Yesenia Amaro

A restraining order filed by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno accuses a Selma priest of physical abuse, street-gang ties, and marijuana use.

The Rev. Guadalupe Rios has been placed on administrative leave from St. Joseph’s Church in Selma pending investigation, Cheryl Sarkisian, chancellor for the Diocese of Fresno, said in a statement to The Bee on Tuesday.

“This is a matter of an internal investigation and the confidentiality and privacy of all concerned parties will be respected and upheld,” Sarkisian said. “I can confirm that Fr Rios has been placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation is in process.”

The Bee wasn’t immediately able to contact Rios on Tuesday.

Church officials filed the restraining order last week in Fresno County Superior Court.

Three Models of Priestly Goodness

The Pilot - Archdiocese of Boston

November 4, 2020

By George Weigel

Father Michael McGivney's beatification is a blessing for the organization he founded and inspired; it is also a compliment paid by the universal Church to the parish priests of the United States.

The Pandemic of 2020 has been hard on every Catholic. Eucharistic fasting for this length of time may remind us what 20th-century heroes of the faith in underground churches endured, and what 21st-century confessors in China and elsewhere endure today; and that is no bad thing. Still, it is very, very hard to be the Catholic Church without being a vibrantly eucharistic Church. That's true for everyone. The people of the Church should realize that it's especially true for priests.

Priests, who live out their priesthood as the Catholic Church, understand that unique vocation -- as an icon of the eternal priesthood of Jesus Christ, the Church's spouse -- and miss their eucharistic congregations terribly. They have dedicated their lives to nourishing the flock, and to be unable to do so as they did eight months ago is a constant sorrow. Pastors are also bearing heavier financial burdens these days as donations shrink. Then, there are the serious challenges involved in keeping parochial schools afloat under today's public health circumstances. No man entering the seminary after the Long Lent of the 2002 and the sexual abuse crisis could imagine he was embracing an easy life; but no one expected this.

Former Trinity College teachers found guilty of failing to report suspected child sexual abuse

ABC News

November 3, 2020

By Rebecca Turner

Two former teachers at prestigious Catholic boys school Trinity College in Perth have been found guilty of failing to report suspected child sexual abuse.

Ian Francis Hailes and Anthony Paul Webb were both fined $1,200 in the Perth Magistrates Court this morning and given spent convictions.

They are believed to be the first people convicted under WA's mandatory reporting laws.

Their case relates to a school rugby trip to Japan, during which they learned that one of the students in their care, named as AB, was allegedly sexually assaulted by some of his team mates.

They were the only people to be charged as a result of the alleged incident at a hotel on the outskirts of Tokyo in April 2017.

November 3, 2020

Row over unpublished report on Cologne clerical sex abuse cover-up

Irish Times

November 2, 2020

By Derek Scally

Report falls victim to legal claims and a power battle among two church camps

Berlin - Germany’s most influential Catholic diocese stands accused of protecting senior bishops after refusing to publish a report outlining their cover-up of clerical sexual abuse.

Last February Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, archbishop of Cologne and one of Germany’s most senior Catholic figures, promised to publish within a month a report by a Munich law firm granted access to diocesan archives.

The report, he promised, would name figures who “as a result of their decisions and their behaviour could have contributed to abuse: structurally, institutionally or even in a concrete way”.

“Perhaps even I will be criticised,” he said, framing the forthcoming report as proof of church transparency in exploring abuse and cover-up in its ranks.

Two days before a press conference to launch the report in March, however, Cardinal Woelki cancelled the presentation. Seven months on, with the report still under wraps, the Cologne archdiocese has turned on the lawyers responsible, accusing them of failing to complete their task professionally.

In reality the report has fallen victim to legal claims as well as a power battle among two church camps in Cologne: one favours full disclosure, the other prioritises the rights and reputations of church figures.

Looming large in the 350-page report, which examines 15 sample cases, is Archbishop Stefan Hesse of Hamburg. Between 2006 and 2017 he was personnel officer and later general vicar of the archdiocese of Cologne under Cardinal Joachim Meisner.

Book offers details about alleged manipulation by Schonstatt founder

Catholic News Service via Crux

November 2, 2020

Book offers details about alleged manipulation by Schonstatt founder

Vallendar, Germany - Can a “great founding figure” be beatified when some of his own followers level such accusations at him?

After causing a stir with her article about Father Joseph Kentenich in the German Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost in July, Rome-based church historian Alexandra von Teuffenbach has now presented evidence to back her accusations in her book titled Father Is Allowed to Do It! It contains detailed descriptions by several Schonstatt Sisters of Mary about Kentenich’s style of leadership, reports the German Catholic news agency, KNA.

“How can one offer this man, this priest, as a model to the Christians in the world, after what he has done and said?” von Teuffenbach writes in the foreword.

Kentenich, who died in 1968, remains popular to this day. Von Teuffenbach has accused him of systematic manipulation, abuse of power and sexual harassment. The researcher has based her claims on sources that include newly accessible Vatican documents from the pontificate of Pope Pius XII.

Selma priest removed from church over photos and accusations of sex, drugs, and weapons


November 2, 2020

By Corin Hoggard

A Catholic priest with a past got removed from his church in Selma this weekend over a story of sex, drugs, and weapons.

"You don't expect a priest to be packed, to have those type of weapons," said legal analyst Ralph Torres.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno got a restraining order to protect church employees -- all the way up to Bishop Joseph Brennan -- from one of their own priests.

Father Guadalupe Rios still has his name on the church marquee at St. Joseph's Church in Selma, but the man himself is not allowed within 100 yards of the property.

Several parishioners told us they knew Rios was either in a gang or affiliated with one, as the diocese mentioned in their application for a restraining order against him.

Parishioners have also seen social media photos of Rios with an AK-47 or an AR-556 or a .357 Magnum.

So they were afraid to be interviewed.

"The fact that he is having photographs published like that, to me, would be a little disturbing and certainly something you would think the bishop would've nipped in the bud," said Melanie Sakoda, a survivor support specialist for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Poland's Cardinal Dziwisz denies knowledge of abuse complaint, Maciel's crimes

National Catholic Reporter

November 3, 2020

By Szymon Piegza

Krakow, Poland - Polish Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the influential former long-time personal secretary of Pope John Paul II, is denying a priest's accusation that he covered up a case of clerical abuse in 2012.

In an extraordinary Oct. 20 interview for the largest private TV station in Poland, TVN24, the cardinal also denied that John Paul had any knowledge of the crimes committed by Marcial Maciel Degollado, a serial child abuser and founder of the once-powerful Legionaries of Christ.

Dziwisz, who served as the Archbishop of Krakow from 2005 to 2016, has been accused personally of not replying to a letter he was given about the case of Janusz Szymik, a long-time victim of the abusive priest Fr. Jan Wodniak.

Fr. Tadeusz Isakowicz-Zaleski, a Krakow priest, claims to have given Dziwisz the letter in 2012.

"I don't remember conversations about that," Dziwisz told TVN24, saying the matter did not pertain to him, as Wosniak did not belong to the Krakow Archdiocese but the nearby Diocese of Bielsko-Zywiec.

"I cannot have on my conscience that I didn't help when someone sought my support," said the cardinal. "It's impossible. If I knew about all the details, I would react, although I had no right to do it because it was a different diocese."

Isakowicz-Zaleski's allegation against Dziwisz has attracted wide attention in Polish media, as the priest is the founder of the Brother Albert Foundation, one of the country's largest non-profit groups helping those who are physically or mentally disabled.

Deadline to File Childhood Sex Abuse Claims Against Diocese of Syracuse Is Set

Legal Examiner - Saunders and Walker Attorney Blog

November 2, 2020

By Joseph H. Saunders

Chief Judge Margaret Cangilos-Ruiz of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Northern District of New York stated that survivors of child sexual abuse within the Diocese of Syracuse will have until April 15, 2021 to file claims against the Diocese.

The Diocese of Syracuse filed for bankruptcy protection in June 2020 after dozens of abuse survivors filed abuse lawsuits against the Diocese. The bankruptcy filings show the diocese has assets of more than $10 million but less than $50 million. Lawyers for the diocese from Syracuse firm Bond, Schoeneck & King estimated the diocese has between 100 and 200 creditors and up to $100 million in liabilities.

The filings also revealed the diocese received a $1.3 million federal Paycheck Protection Program loan to help cover expenses during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Diocese of Syracuse, along with the Dioceses of Buffalo, Rochester, and Rockville Centre sought bankruptcy protection after the Child Victims’ Act was extended for another year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bankruptcy filings provide the beleaguered dioceses an opportunity to re-structure but more importantly it shields them from potentially thousands of abuse lawsuits that would have most certainly revealed the nature and extent of the cover-up and corruption that underlies the priest abuse crisis.

Anger at ex-priest's abuse may be tied to church fires inn London area, cleric says

Stony Plain Reporter

November 2, 2020

By Norman De Bono

Chippewas of the Thames First Nation - Simmering anger and hurt here over sexual misconduct by a former priest may have fuelled fires that destroyed two Southwestern Ontario churches, including one where he procured his young victims.

That’s the perspective of Rev. Canon Gaye Whippey of St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, at 81 Chippewa Rd. in Muncey, that was gutted by a fire about 6 a.m. Sunday. Another fire hours earlier destroyed South Caradoc United Church on Muncey Road.

“I think it may be anger from things that happened, that may have something to do with it,” Whippey said.

“It has been very difficult to work with the fact that someone had experienced something negative from a church person.”

But the Diocese of Huron, which oversees St. Andrew’s, cautioned against speculation about the cause of the fires.

November 2, 2020

Former Marist High student sues, alleging school knew of abuse by administrator in 70s


October 28, 2020

By Jordyn Brown

A former student is suing Marist Catholic High School in Eugene and the Marist Brothers of the Schools in New York for $3.25 million, alleging an administrator in the 1970s sexually abused him for years.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Multnomah Circuit Court in Portland, states that Brother Robert Ryan worked at the private Catholic high school in Eugene as vice principal in the 1970s and used his role to groom and isolate students, sexually abusing them at school and on school trips.

Ryan is memorialized on the Marist High School website, which states that he died in April 2017.

The Marist suit seeks $250,000 in economic damages and $3 million in noneconomic damages, claiming sexual battery of a child, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligence and fraud. It sues both the local private school and the larger nonprofit Marist Brothers of the Schools, which oversaw and staffed the high school at the time until 1994, when the Archdiocese of Portland took over.

Former papal secretary asserts innocence

The Tablet

November 1, 2020

By Jonathan Luxmoore

A retired cardinal who served as personal secretary to Pope John Paul II has denied any knowledge of sexual abuse by priests in his Krakow archdiocese, as another Polish bishop was placed under church investigation after similar claims.

“They seek to thrust responsibility on to me when I had no such responsibility and no knowledge of this matter,” said Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz. “Every priest has a conscience, and a bishop has a particular sense of responsibility. If I had known all these things, I would have reacted.”

The 81-year-old cardinal, who was the late pontiff's secretary for 39 years, was responding to TV interview questions about a prominent sexual abuse case in the Krakow archdiocese, which he headed for 11 years until his retirement in 2016. He said he had no recollection of the case, insisting it fell under the jurisdiction of another retired prelate, Bishop Tadeusz Rakoczy, and added that he had always followed the “zero tolerance” policy, coupled with care for victims, instituted by John Paul II.

O.C. bishop sues charity administrator who accused Catholic leader of wrongdoing

Los Angeles Times

November 1, 2020

By Harriet Ryan

The suit by Bishop Kevin Vann seeks a retraction and money from the former administrator of a church-affiliated charity.

The Roman Catholic bishop of Orange County is suing a former charity administrator for libel, an escalation in the prelate’s dispute with influential church philanthropists who have complained to the Vatican about his firing of a nonprofit board.

Bishop Kevin Vann and the Diocese of Orange’s chief financial officer are seeking a retraction, financial compensation and punitive damages from the ex-administrator for an email in which they contend she gave a “false narrative” that suggested that charity funds might be used to cover clergy sex abuse claims.

The Superior Court suit filed earlier this month is the latest development in the bishop’s ongoing conflict with a group of high-dollar donors and other church insiders. Vann terminated the group from the independent Orange Catholic Foundation board in June after they rebuffed his request for millions of dollars in emergency pandemic funding. The board members reported the bishop to the Holy See for allegedly acting beyond his authority and violating state and church law, accusations the bishop denies.

The suit does not name any of the well-connected real estate developers, attorneys, corporate executives or others tossed from the board or the misconduct accusations they made to church officials in Rome and Washington, D.C. It focuses instead on an email written by an administrator ousted after the board firings.

Priest's notorious sex abuse may be linked to church blaze: Reverend

London Free Press

November 2, 2020

By Norman De Bono

Chippewas of the Thames First Nation - Simmering anger and hurt here over sexual misconduct by a former priest may have fueled Sunday fires that destroyed two churches, including one where he procured his young victims.

That’s the perspective of Rev. Canon Gaye Whippey at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, which was gutted by a fire at about 6 a.m. Sunday. Another fire several hours earlier destroyed the South Caradoc United Church on Muncey Road.

“I think it may be anger from things that happened, that may have something to do with it,” Whippey told The London Free Press on Sunday.

“It has been very difficult to work with the fact that someone had experienced something negative from a church person.”

Disgraced former Anglican priest David Norton was the rector at St. Andrews in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 2018 he was convicted of three counts of indecent assault and one count of sexual assault of boys at the church. At the time of that conviction Norton was serving a four-year prison term for assaulting a boy at a London church a decade after he left the First Nations community.

“I think people know there’s anger against the church that goes back to him,” Whippey said. “I have spoken to people who hurt.”

Pioneering Rev. Clements paved the way for Cardinal Wilton Gregory

Chicago Sun-Times

November 1, 2020

By Laura Washington

Clements led Black Catholics out of the shadows of a Church that had underappreciated and unrecognized them.

Pope Francis will soon install Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington, D.C., to the College of Cardinals. Roman Catholics — and, especially, Blacks like me — should celebrate this long-overdue arrival of the nation’s first African American cardinal.

Gregory was born, raised and ordained in Chicago. He served as associate pastor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Glenview and taught at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein. He became an auxiliary bishop in 1983 and was later ordained the bishop of downstate Belleville.


As we celebrate, we must also remember. Remember there could be no Cardinal Wilton Gregory without the Rev. George Clements.

Clements, the iconic, pioneering cleric, was once the most famous Black priest in America. Last November, he died after a heart attack and stroke. He was 87.

Last year, Clements was accused of sexually abusing a minor in 1974 while he was pastor of Holy Angels.

In August, after an 11-month investigation, the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Independent Review Board determined that, “in light of the information presented, there is not reasonable cause to believe that Fr. Clements sexually abused” the accuser when he was a minor.

‘They All Got Careless’: How Falwell Kept His Grip on Liberty Amid Sexual ‘Games,’ Self-Dealing


November 1, 2020

By Maggie Severns, Brandon Ambrosino, and Michael Stratford

The deposed university president secured backing by ousting critics and hiring the family members and businesses of loyalists.

When Jerry Falwell Jr. and his wife Becki strolled around the Lynchburg, Va., campus of Liberty University, the evangelical school which Falwell led as president, they would play a secret game called “Would you rather.”

The middle-aged couple would point to students, men and women, and imagine what it would be like to have sex with them, according to a former student who said Becki told him about the game.

The former student, a member of a band with the Falwells’ son Trey, has said that Becki initiated oral sex with him while he stayed overnight at the Falwell home, following other attempts to seduce him. She confided to him the details of the game she and her husband would play, and told him multiple times how she and Jerry would take note of students' appearances.

November 1, 2020

New Charges Filed Against Catholic School Teacher After 2 More Victims Come Forward

MI Headlines

October 28, 2020

By Joseph Comperchio

Jackson MI - New sexual assault charges have been filed against a former Catholic school music teacher after her prosecutors last month accused the 67-year-old man of sexually assaulting two other minors while he was employed at St. John Catholic School in Jackson in the 1970s.

Joseph – or Josef – Comperchio, of Fort Myers, Florida, is charged with five new counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving two individuals. Four of the counts occurred when the victims were under the age of 13, and the fifth was while the victim was physically helpless – second-degree criminal sexual conduct–injury to incapacitated victim. All charges are 15-year felonies. The incidents reportedly occurred between 1975-77 when Comperchio was employed as a drama/music teacher at the Jackson Catholic school.

He is expected to be arraigned on the new charges today in Jackson County 12th District Court.

“My office stands committed to seeking justice for all of those who have been assaulted or taken advantage of and we will continue to review the circumstances in each case with careful scrutiny and file charges when the evidence demands it,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “I continue to be encouraged by the victims who come forward to share their experiences, which are undoubtedly difficult stories to tell and serve as a reminder to the rest of us that the pain which can be inflicted when predators prey on the vulnerable remains long after the reported incident.”

Clinton County Priest Suspended for “Inappropriate Conduct” with Minor


October 27 2020

A priest at two rural Clinton County parishes has been suspended from ministry after he was accused of “inappropriate conduct” with a minor.

According to a letter to Clinton County parishioners from Bishop Michael McGovern of the Belleville Diocese, Rev. Anthony Onyango, who was pastor at both St. Bernard Parish in Albers and St. Damian parish in Damiansville, was removed from ministry last week.

The allegations came to the attention of the diocese last week and involve a minor at one of the two parishes, though the diocese will not disclose which parish or the minor’s age or gender, Msgr. John Myler, spokesman for the Diocese, said Sunday.

“We don’t want to compromise the identity of the person who made the allegation,” Myler said.

Myler noted that the allegations involve “inappropriate conduct that was not sexual,” but would not give specifics of what the priest is accused of doing.

Opinion: Why so many Poles are breaking with the Catholic Church

Washington Post

October 31, 2020

By Magdalena Moskalewicz

I saw a young woman screaming in a priest’s face today and something in me changed. The priest must have just gotten outside of his church to tell people to disperse, and she was standing there among a group of other young protesters, mainly women. They were holding simple signs and yelling loudly at him, a large man in his 50s, his posture hidden by a long black cassock. I have never screamed at a priest myself, but I found the image impressive, oddly compelling.

The church’s handling of its sexual abuse scandals has alienated many. Over the past few years, the appalling breadth of pedophilia among priests has become vividly apparent. Millions of Poles watched the recent documentaries by Tomasz and Marek Sekielski, which showed how the church and the state covered up cases of repeated abuse.

Law and Justice, meanwhile, has tried to use religious feeling to its own ends. It has relied heavily on anti-Muslim fearmongering and has recently started mobilizing the same sort of social hatred against the LGBTQ community — with comprehensive help from the Polish church, which eagerly preaches against “the rainbow plague.”

In papal sweepstakes, Italy still may be more equal than others


November 1, 2020

By John L. Allen Jr.

Rome - You know it’s a strange time when the pope gives an interview to a major news outlet, and arguably it’s not even the most interesting ecclesiastical Q&A of the month.

Pope Francis spoke Friday to the Italian agency Adnkronos. Yet earlier this month, legendary Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the once all-powerful Vicar of Rome and president of the Italian bishops’ conference under St. John Paul II, spoke to the Italian paper Corriere della Sera and offered possibly even tastier food for thought.

Now a lion in winter as he nears his 90th birthday in February, Ruini is seen as one of the leaders of the College of Cardinals’ conservative wing. In Catholic circles, the main headline from the interview thus was a comment from Ruini about whether there’s an “international conservative front” against Pope Francis.

Former Children’s Village Residents Allege Sexual, Physical Abuse

Hudson Independent

October 28, 2020

By Rick Pez­zullo

Ten for­mer res­i­dents of The Chil­dren’s Vil­lage res­i­den­tial treat­ment cen­ter in Dobbs Ferry have taken le­gal ac­tion, ac­cus­ing staff, ad­min­is­tra­tors and older res­i­dents at the home for trou­bled boys of sex­ual and phys­i­cal abuse over a 25-year pe­riod.

The vic­tims, who were all emo­tion­ally dis­turbed young boys when they were placed at the Chil­dren’s Vil­lage by courts or child wel­fare agen­cies, al­lege in law­suits they were phys­i­cally bru­tal­ized, raped, and hu­mil­i­ated by older res­i­dents, while sim­i­lar sex­ual abuse was per­pe­trated by staff, in­clud­ing teacher aides, coun­sel­lors, and a for­mer ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor.

When the boys com­plained to so­cial work­ers or other staff about the phys­i­cal and sex­ual abuse, they al­lege were ei­ther ig­nored or threat­ened with vi­o­lence.

“These chil­dren were typ­i­cally brought to The Chil­dren’s Vil­lage to re­move them from abu­sive or ne­glect­ful con­di­tions in their fam­i­lies’ homes with the goal of heal­ing their trau­mas. In­stead, their vic­tim­iza­tion con­tin­ued and es­ca­lated to hor­ri­fy­ing pro­por­tions,” said at­tor­ney Robert Green­stein of Green­stein & Mil­bauer, LLP. “These vic­tims have en­dured—and con­tinue to ex­pe­ri­ence—fear, shame and pain. It has taken them years to step for­ward and tell their sto­ries.”

The law­suits ac­cuse The Chil­dren’s Vil­lage of neg­li­gence in its hir­ing, train­ing, and su­per­vi­sion, among other fail­ures, from about 1970 to 1995.

The cases, which are be­ing heard by Jus­tice Steven M. Jaeger at the Nas­sau County Supreme Court in Mi­ne­ola, were filed un­der the pro­vi­sion of the Child Vic­tims Act.

Chile’s bishops call on Catholics to participate in drafting new constitution


October 26, 2020

By Inés San Martín

Rosario, Argentina – After almost a year of civil unrest, interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Chileans overwhelmingly approved a bid to scrap the constitution written under the mandate of General Augusto Pinochet, a dictator who ruled the country until 1990.

The Chilean conference of Catholic bishops called the Sunday’s referendum, where almost 80 percent of those who cast a vote did so in favor of re-writing the constitution, a “great example of civility and participation,” expressing that in the new path now undertaken by the country the citizens will have a fundamental role.

They also called on Catholics to get involved in the process, so that Christian values are reflected in the new Constitution.

The bishops urged Chileans to continue on in the path of dialogue, towards the “decision that the voters will have to make to determine in April 2021” who will take part in the drafting of the country’s new Magna Carta.