Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

Voice of the Faithful Focus, Jan. 27, 2017

Highlighting issues we face working together
                        to Keep the Faith, Change the Church

TOP STORIES

Joliet priest says diocese failed to follow protocol to protect children
“Standing before parishioners in his historic Joliet church, the Rev. Peter Jankowski said years of internal conflict had brought him to this difficult moment. In an emotional homily, the parish priest publicly blew the whistle on his diocese for alleged past failures that he said put children at potential risk.” By Christy Gutowski, Chicago Tribune

Role of women a priority for Irish bishops during Vatican talks
“The role women in the Church today stood front and center of the ad limina visits, where many Irish prelates gathered in Rome to meet with the pope. Bishop Brendan Leahy said that the Holy Spirit is 'saying something' to us about the future of women in the Church and in our society.” By Elise Harris, Catholic News Agency, on Cruxnow.com

Vatican prosecuting financial crimes for first time, watchdog agency president says
“The head of the Vatican's financial watchdog agency has revealed that the city-state began pursuing prosecutions against people accused of financial crimes for the first time in 2016, in what may be seen as a breakthrough for Pope Francis' continuing reforms. In an NCR interview Jan. 10, the president of the Vatican's Financial Intelligence Authority said the first prosecutions had begun without public announcement in 2016 and would continue at a faster pace in 2017.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

In sign of resolve, Pope taps O’Malley for Vatican office handling abuse cases
“Boston’s Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, who sits on the council of cardinal advisers who help Pope Francis in the reform of the Roman Curia, and who leads the Commission for the Protection of Minors, was appointed on Saturday (Jan. 14) to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in what some will see as a sign of resolve in the fight against clerical sexual abuse.” By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com
-- O’Malley is named to Vatican office that reviews abuse cases, By Felicia Gans, The Boston Globe
 -- Cardinal hopes to build collaboration between CDF, child protection commission, By Antonio Enrique, The Pilot

Should we forgo married priests until we can have women priests?
“It seems that married priests are on the horizon in the Catholic church. Word is that an experiment will soon take place in Brazil to address the severe shortage of priests in that country. We know, of course, that married priests are already active even in the United States … As is to be expected, things will go slowly.” By Pat Perriello, National Catholic Reporter

Four cardinals challenging pope are harming the church
“The head of the Vatican's doctrinal office has expressed disagreement with four cardinals who issued an open letter to Pope Francis questioning the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, saying the document is fully in line with church teaching. Cardinal Gerhard Müller, who leads the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has also said he was ‘astonished’ that the cardinals would choose to make such a challenge to the pontiff publicly.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

ACCOUNTABILITY

The pope has acted to speed up abuse cases
“In no way do I defend the indefensible (Letters, 21 January). The abuse of children and vulnerable adults is a crime and one which is taking far too long for both civil and church authorities to address with rigor and understanding. The members of the pontifical commission for the protection of minors welcome constructive criticism and evidence to inform its advice to the pope, and are acutely aware of how long it could take to implement adequate protection measures and responses to suspicions of abuse to protect children throughout the world.” By Baroness Sheila Hollins, Crossbench, House of Lords, member of Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, in letter to The Guardian

POPE FRANCIS

Walking with Peter
“Since the first days of his pontificate in 2013, Pope Francis has dealt with more than his fair share of tension in the church he was elected to govern. Those tensions have become more pronounced in recent months, as Francis tries to extend the center of global Catholicism away from Rome to the peripheries and implement reforms that his supporters say are long overdue.” By Michael O’Loughlin, America: The National Catholic Review

The opposition to Pope Francis doubles down
“We have grown accustomed, sadly, to hearing Cardinal Raymond Burke bemoan the ‘confusion’ caused by Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, specifically the section that deals with how the church should accompany those who are divorced and remarried. Now, he has been joined by two others who share his given name, Fr. Raymond De Souza of the National Catholic Register and Raymond Arroyo of EWTN.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis could face key choices on bishops in 2017
“Perhaps no single thing any pope ever does is more consequential than the kinds of bishops and Vatican officials he chooses to appoint, and here's a rundown of some of the personnel choices Francis may face in 2017.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

CARDINALS

Cardinal Tobin, new Newark archbishop, cites ‘chasm between life and faith’
“In a ceremony that combined pageantry with a promise of a different style and approach, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin was installed on Friday (Jan. 6) as the archbishop of Newark. In his homily, Cardinal Tobin said he was thankful for his new job, though he described it as ‘a daunting proposition.’ But he focused his remarks on what he called ‘the chasm between life and faith.’” By James Barron, The New York Times
 -- New Jersey’s first cardinal evokes Pope Francis as he takes helm in Newark, By David Gibson, Religion News Service

BISHOPS

Zambia’s Catholic bishops call for the protection of children
“Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) president Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu has called for the protection of children and minors. Speaking on behalf of other Catholic Bishops of Zambia during the opening of a one-day workshop on Child Protection held at Lusaka’s Kapingila House Monday (Jan. 23), Lusaka Archdiocese's Archbishop Mpundu described the statistics on reported cases of abused children as a tragedy.” By Vatican Radio

Irish bishops discuss abuse crisis and role of women in Church during meeting with Pope
“Telling the bishops of Ireland that he wanted to hear their questions, concerns and even criticisms, Pope Francis spent almost two hours in conversation with them … The ministry of a bishop, the clerical sexual abuse crisis, the role of women in the Church, the need to find new ways to engage with young people, the changing status of the Church in Irish society, the importance of Catholic schools and methods for handing on the faith were among the topics discussed, the bishops said. They also spoke about plans for the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in August 2018 and hopes that Pope Francis would attend.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in Catholic Herald

Another Pope Francis bishop is named in India
“‘Care for Creation’ will be my Episcopal motto,’ Father Allwyn D’Silva told Crux and added that, ‘My appointment is a recognition of the Church for justice and environment issues.’ D'Silva is preparing for his new job as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Bombay.” By Nirmala Carvalho, Cruxnow.com

PRIESTS

Fr. Tony Flannery to ignore Vatican ban to celebrate Mass
“A letter from a priest who was suspended from public ministry was taken to Pope Francis by Taoiseach Enda Kenny when he met the pontiff on November 28th last. A spokesman for the Taoiseach confirmed the letter was delivered as Fr. Tony Flannery had requested. Fr. Flannery was disciplined by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) for views he expressed on Catholic teachings in 2012, the year prior to Pope Francis’s election.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times
 -- More than 800 people witness cencured priest defy Vatican ban and celebrate Mass, By Megan Cornwell, The Tablet

Priest sues diocese alleging persecution for reporting abuse
“A Catholic priest filed suit Wednesday (Jan. 11) against his former diocese, saying that the bishop pushed him aside and lied about him because he called law enforcement after another priest showed child pornography to a teenage boy and cooperated with the investigation. Father John Gallagher said that Bishop Gerald Barbarito of the Palm Beach Diocese forced him from the church where he worked and publicly called him a liar after he refused to cover up for the other priest.” By Terry Spencer, Associated Press, on Cruxnow.com

Shortage of priests leaves Catholic Church in a real predicament
“There is a shortage of priests everywhere, certainly all over Ireland. In some countries the priest is peripatetic. He moves from parish to parish, stopping for a day to consecrate enough wafers of the Eucharist bread to supply the masses for weeks ahead. He then leaves it to the lay servers or Eucharistic ministers to distribute them.” By Malachi O’Doherty, Irish Independent
 -- Mulling the practical pros and cons of married priests, By Fr. Dwight Longnecker, Cruxnow.com

“AMORIS LAETITIA”

As recent guidelines show, ‘Amoris’ argument is far from over
“The fact that guidelines from bishops for the pastoral application of chapter 8 of Pope Francis's 'Amoris Laetitia' present opposite interpretations on the issue of access to the sacraments for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics confirms one truth: the argument is not yet settled.” By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com
 -- ‘Amoris’ a murky document on wonderful and messy experiences, By Fr. Michael J. Rogers, S.J., Cruxnow.com
 -- ‘Amoris Laetitia’: Are we seeing change by stealth, By Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Cruxnow.com

Bishops of Malta issue norms for ministry to divorced, civilly remarried
“Under certain circumstances and after long prayer and a profound examination of conscience, some divorced and civilly remarried Catholics may return to the sacraments, said the bishops of Malta. With ‘an informed and enlightened conscience,’ a separated or divorced person living in a new relationship who is able ‘to acknowledge and believe that he or she is at peace with God,’ the bishops said, ‘cannot be precluded from participating in the sacraments of reconciliation and the Eucharist.’” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

The real argument over ‘Amoris’ is an old one over conscience
“The furious reaction from critics of 'Amoris Laetitia' to the Maltese bishops' guidelines implementing it suggests that behind the debates and arguments over Francis's apostolic exhortation 'The Joy of Love' is a very old-fashioned, and still unresolved, dispute within the Church over the role of conscience.” By Austen Ivereigh, Cruxnow.com

A case study in communion for the divorced/remarried
“‘Amoris Laetita’ calls on pastors to distinguish among the circumstances of different cases in assessing whether a divorced and civilly remarried Catholic can receive communion, and here's one hypothetical situation in which Father Paul Keller says his answer would be ‘yes.’” By Fr. Paul Keller, Cruxnow.com
 -- Conscience can’t be the final arbiter on who gets communion, By Edward Peters, Cruxnow.com

Questioning the dubia
“In December, in a letter directed to Pope Francis and the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, four cardinals cited dubia (literally, ‘doubts’) or questions about the post-synodal apostolic exhortation ‘Amoris Laetitia.’ The cardinals then made their letter available to the general public. Their concerns about the exhortation centered on what they felt it had provoked: ‘uncertainty, confusion, and disorientation among many of the faithful.’ Although they wanted to resolve uncertainty, it seems that their letter may have exacerbated it.” By Louis J. Cameli, America: The National Catholic Review

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Catholic women’s equality requires a shift on the night watch
“One hundred years ago, Jan. 10, 1917, was a cold Wednesday morning. There was nothing exceptional about the day and that's important to note. Women's history isn't made in exceptional moments. It is often made by the long striving of a woman who has called together some friends for a cup of tea and their conversation leads to freedom, whether in society or the church.” By Nicole Sotelo, National Catholic Reporter

Sydney mum takes on Catholic Church in unfair dismissal case
“Rox Subramany was a struggling Sydney mother and proud Catholic Church employee whose lifelong commitment to her faith had never wavered. In her own words: ‘I live my life with God's help and direction.’ Yet when she reached out to church superiors in her own hour of need and complained of how she had fallen victim to violent, workplace bullying, not only was she abruptly terminated by email, she was stripped of her much cherished, voluntary duties as a baptism co-ordinator.” By Eamon Duff, The Age

CELIBACY

High-ranking Catholic priests push for an end to celibacy
“A group of 11 retired high-ranking Catholic priests is causing a stir across Germany with their request to abolish celibacy … Among the men is Franz Decker, a retired priest who for over a decade led the Catholic Relief Service in Cologne. ‘We believe that requiring that every man who becomes a priest to remain celibate is not acceptable. We think, every Catholic should be allowed to choose if they would rather be celibate or not, regardless of whether they want to work as priests or not - just like in the Protestant Church or the Orthodox church, really, every church but the Catholic Church.’” By Deutsch Welle
 -- Why the celibate priesthood is in crisis, By Erasmus, The Economist

Lay Catholics frustrated over failure to raise celibacy issue
“A group of lay Catholics has expressed ‘deep frustration’ over the bishops' failure to bring proposals on ending the celibacy requirement for Catholic priests to Pope Francis during a visit to Rome this week. According to a spokesman for the Association of Catholics in Ireland (ACI), there is a solution to the current chronic shortage of priests in the Irish Church but the bishops are ‘sticking’ their heads ‘in the sand hoping the problem will go away.’” By Sarah MacDonald, Irish Independent

Irish bishops shelve married priests’ proposal
“The country's Catholic bishops have shelved a proposal to ask Pope Francis at a meeting in Rome next week to consider allowing priests who left ministry to get married to return to priestly work. According to The Irish Catholic newspaper, the decision follows a failure by the hierarchy to reach a consensus on proposals by the Bishop of Kilmore, Dr Leo O'Reilly, which also included considering lifting the bans on ordaining married men and female deacons.” By RTE News Ireland

VOICES

Mysteries of Catholic church include delay in confronting abuse
“When an institution measures time in centuries, change comes slowly. Still, it is dismaying that it takes a religious institution decades to finally find the moral high ground. Last week a letter from Pope Francis to the world’s Catholic bishops was made public. He called for zero tolerance for child molesters within the clergy.” Editorial by Belleville News-Democrat

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

A new ‘vocational culture’ is needed in the Church, Pope Francis says
“A fresh and courageous perspective is needed when it comes to helping youth discern and discover their vocation, Pope Francis said Thursday (Jan. 5), emphasizing the importance of personal holiness and the commitment to serving others. ‘(Today) there is the urgency to bring into the Christian community a new ‘vocational culture,’” the Pope said in his prepared Jan. 5 remarks.” By Elise Harris, Catholic News Agency

Several North County Catholic churches to consolidate
“St. Peter's, St. John's and Our Lady of Victory churches will eventually become one Catholic congregation in Plattsburgh. Monsignor Dennis Duprey of St. Peter's said consolidating is a natural step. ‘Churches merge and expand all the time,’ he said. He said the decision, made by the Diocese of Ogdensburg, is because of a shortage of priests and declining attendance.” By Liz Strzepa, MYNBC5-TV

Three Portsmouth Catholic churches consolidating
“St. James Church, one of three Catholic churches that comprise the Corpus Christi Parish, will be sold while the parish plans renovations of its other two churches and moves all services to the ‘mother church,’ said Father Gary Belliveau. The marketing for sale of St. James Church, at 2075 Lafayette Road, will begin soon and include discussions with ‘numbers of people’ who expressed interest in the property, Belliveau said. Interest in the parish's real estate holdings has been recurring during the past year, as rumors, most untrue, were spread about the church's four separate real estate holdings.” By Elizabeth Dinan, SeaCoastOnline.com

CHURCH FINANCES

Cardinal Dolan contemplates selling NY chancery in biting letter to priests
“New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan has informed his clergy he is considering moving his archdiocese's headquarters out of the building it now occupies in midtown Manhattan in a bid to save money and to correct what he says is an ‘unfair and inaccurate perception of the archdiocese as some bloated, money-grabbing corporation.’ The cardinal revealed the possible move in a highly charged letter to his priests and deacons in late November in which he also takes the clergy to task for complaining about how the archdiocese collects money from its parishes and exhorts them to challenge parishioners to donate more frequently and abundantly.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Hoboken parish kicks through veil of financial secrecy
“Every year, the people of Ss. Peter and Paul parish here are presented with an annual report that spells out, in clear language and inviting format, an inventory of how their church is doing. The graphics are sparkling, but there are few pious sentiments. Lots of facts and figures. It's more like a report to corporate shareholders than to a typical Catholic parish congregation. That is deliberate, says Msgr. Robert S. Meyer, pastor of the Catholic Community of Ss. Peter and Paul, located in the middle of a square-mile urban enclave on the Hudson River, just minutes from lower Manhattan via train. The city of 50,000 has boomed over the past few decades, in the process emerging as the dictionary definition of gentrification.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Griffey bill to end statues of limitations on certain sex crimes get approval from House committee
“A bill eliminating the statutes of limitations for certain felony sex offenses was unanimously passed out of the House Public Safety Committee Thursday (Jan. 20). Rep. Dan Griffey, a Republican from Allyn, introduced House Bill 1155, which would allow prosecutors to bring charges at any time after the commission of some sex crimes, including rape and rape of a child, child molestation, sexual exploitation of a minor and voyeurism.” By Dan Hammock, The Daily World

D.C. Council considers ending statute of limitations for prosecuting sex abuse
“The D.C. Council is considering ending the statute of limitations for sexual abuse, which would align the District with more than 30 states that do not restrict the time for prosecuting such crimes. The Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations Eliminations Amendment Act of 2017 would end time restraints on prosecuting charges of rape, child abuse and other sex-related felonies.” By Ryan McDermott, The Washington Times

Cuomo unveils plan for Child Victims Act that would do away with statute of limitation
“Stepping up to the plate for child sex abuse survivors, Gov. Cuomo weighed in Wednesday (Jan. 11) for the first time with his own plan to help victims seek legal recourse as adults. Cuomo’s version of the Child Victims Act would do away entirely with the statute of limitations on prosecutions of those who abused children. It would also allow victims to bring civil lawsuits for 50 years from when their attacks took place and would open up a one-year look-back window for survivors who under current law can no longer bring cases to do so.” By Kenneth Lovett, New York Daily News
 -- Boston lawyer who helped uncover Catholic church’s child sex scandal applauds Cuomo’s plans for New York Victims, By Stephen Rex Brown and Kenneth Lovett, The New York Daily News

Sex crime statute of limitations debate returns to New York
“New York lawmakers will again face a proposal this year to lift the statute of limitations on sex abuse crimes. Supporters of the bill gathered at the state Capitol on Wednesday (Jan. 4) to urge lawmakers to pass the bill, which has faced repeated obstacles in the Legislature.” By Associated Press in The Washington Times

Statute of limitations proponents set to renew push for change in sex-abuse law
“Whether to make any new child sexual abuse statute-of-limitation laws retroactive to include past incidents that have gone unpursued in the legal system became a point of contention in the Pennsylvania General Assembly last year. It appears like the same political and legal debate might occur again during the 2017 session that recently got underway.” By Dave Sutor, The Tribune-Democrat

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Two missed opportunities for real reform on sex abuse
“Two stories broke this week (Jan. 21) regarding the Church’s clerical sexual abuse scandals, one in Italy and the other in the States, and in different ways, each speaks to a missed opportunity. In Italy, a book came out titled ‘Lust: Sins, Scandals and Betrayals of a Church Made of Men’ by journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi … In the States, a former employee of the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the country’s best-known advocacy organization for survivors of clerical abuse, has sued the group, charging that in reality it’s a commercial operation funded by kickbacks from lawyers who sue the Church.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

How problematic priests are warehoused
“Since at least 1947, when a religious community called the Servants of the Paraclete opened one of the first treatment centers for priests grappling with pedophilia and substance abuse, dioceses have often warehoused problematic priests. The ‘rehab’ facility closest to Houston is Splendora’s Shalom Center, whose website states, ‘We genuinely seek to create a spirit of Gospel compassion, a nonjudgmental atmosphere and a safe environment where healing and growth can happen’ … In the survey’s anonymous comments section, where diocesan officials can share their thoughts, one official wrote that Shalom is ‘sometimes too eager to ‘excuse’ priest offender[s].’” By Craig Malisow, Houston Press

Vatican not doing enough to fight sexual abuse in Catholic Church, author alleges
“The Vatican is not doing enough to stop the sexual abuse happening inside the Catholic Church, according to Italian author Emiliano Fittipaldi. In an upcoming book titled ‘Lussuria’ (Lust), Fittipaldi cites court documents and interviews with priests and judicial officials to paint a picture of Pope Francis' first three years of papacy. The author says the pontiff has done ‘close to nothing’ to address the sexual abuse cases that have tainted the Catholic Church's image.” By Lorraine Caballero, Christian Today
 -- Abuse accusations against clerics still runs high under Pope Francis, book claims, By Anthony Faiola and Stefano Pitrelli, The Washington Post

Zero tolerance simply about ministry, advocate argues
“‘Zero tolerance’ is key to child protection in the Irish Church and should not be confused with how priests are handled when out of ministry, the sole Irish member of Pope Francis’ child protection commission has said. Commenting on the Pope’s call to bishops on the Feast of the Holy Innocents for the Church to renew its commitment to tackling clerical abuse and to ‘adhere, clearly and faithfully, to ‘zero tolerance,’ Marie Collins said: ‘Zero tolerance is the policy whereby anybody who has abused or who has been found to have abused is not returned to ministry.’ By Greg Daly, Irish News

CALIFORNIA

Fresno State AD opens up about alleged abuse by priest as child
“Fresno State athletic director Jim Bartko has opened up in recent days to tell co-workers — and the public — that he was molested some 35 times as a child in the early 1970s by his priest and basketball coach at a Catholic church in Northern California. Bartko, who said he underwent inpatient treatment beginning in December for issues with insomnia and anxiety that began as a child, told his story to Fresno Bee, recounting alleged abuse by Stephen Kiesle, in the rectory of Saint Joseph Church in Pinole, about 18 miles north of Oakland.” By Bob Hille, Sporting News

Mary Star of the Sea physics teacher arrested in child pornography case
“A physics teacher at Mary Star of the Sea High School in San Pedro was arrested Tuesday (Jan. 10) on suspicion of possession of child pornography. Daniel T. O’Connell, 32, was arrested about 8 a.m., jail records show. Police investigators with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children unit took him into custody, but information about the arrest was not immediately disclosed.” By Larry Altman, Daily Breeze
 -- He didn’t murder any of our students—so it’s ok, By Joelle Casteix, TheWorthyAdversary.com

GEORGIA

Lawsuit filed against priest for allegedly luring minor into illegal sex acts
“A Savannah resident and ordained priest was served a lawsuit claiming that in the 1980's, he lured a minor into illegal sex acts. Henry Groover has a criminal history. In fact, he was arrested in 2003 for exposing himself to a Savannah-Chatham Metro Police officer. Since then, the Catholic diocese has moved Groover from parishes in Athens, Georgia to Miami, Florida. He has never served in Savannah.” By David Klugh, WTOC-TV

ILLINOIS

$2.7 million settlement in priest abuse case
“Two brothers who allege they were victims of sexual abuse by a former Catholic priest have settled their lawsuit for $2.7 million. The brothers — who are identified as John Doe A and John Doe B in the lawsuit — sued the Archdiocese of Chicago in 2014, alleging it allowed Daniel McCormack to be ordained as a priest and placed him in a church to teach and mentor children despite having knowledge of prior sexual misconduct allegations against him.” By Lauraann Wood, Chicago Daily Law Journal

MINNESOTA

Archdiocese abuse victims to vote on bankruptcy plans
About 450 clergy abuse victims, plus several hundred other creditors of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, soon will be able to vote on competing compensation plans presented in bankruptcy court. U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Kressel approved a timeline Thursday (Jan. 12) for sending out the ballots — within about 30 days — and a 40-day response time. Creditors can vote for one of two competing plans or none at all.” By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune

MISSOURI

Marshall priest placed on administrative leave, pending resolution of allegations
“In a statement from the Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City Tuesday, Jan. 3, Bishop John R. Gaydos announced a Marshall priest had been placed on a temporary administrative leave while an investigation of alleged misconduct was conducted. Fr. Bob Duesdieker was placed on leave Wednesday, Dec. 28, while the diocese and law enforcement investigate a report of alleged inappropriate conduct with minors approximately 25 years ago, Gaydos states.” By The Marshall Democrat-News

PENNSYLVANIA

Lynn could avoid new trial in clergy sex abuse coverup
“Common Pleas Court Judge Gwendolyn Bright ruled Thursday (Jan. 5) that Monsignor William Lynn should be given the chance to avoid a new trial. A hearing on his lawyer's motion to dismiss the case is scheduled for Jan. 11. Bright may also decide then what evidence will be permitted at a new trial scheduled to start in mid-May.” By Aaron Moselle, NewsWorks.org
 -- Detective testifies he warned prosecutor of ‘great inconsistencies’ in story of key witness in trial of Msgr. Lynn, By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Philadelphia Inquirer

RHODE ISLAND

State to dismiss charges against former priest who died awaiting trial
“The state attorney general is expected to dismiss charges Wednesday (Jan. 4) against a former Roman Catholic priest who died while awaiting trial on sexual assault charges. The Rhode Island Medical Examiner's Office said Barry Meehan died of a heart attack on Dec. 8. He was 67.” By Associated Press on TurnTo10.com

TEXAS

The buried abuse of the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese
“On the phone, the former Houston priest didn’t recognize the name of the 13-year-old boy he molested in 1978. So much time has passed since that third encounter with the boy, in the Town & Country Village movie theater in Memorial City, where the priest slid his hand into the boy’s jeans and masturbated him. It’s hard to keep track of these things, and besides, the priest says, it’s old news.” By Craig Malisow, Houston Press

AUSTRALIA

Australia’s oldest Catholic boys’ boarding school to formally apologize to sex abuse victims
“Australia's oldest Catholic boys' boarding school is set to apologize to students who were sexually abused by staff during their time there. St Stanislaus College in Bathurst has been at the center of child abuse investigations for almost a decade, and a number of priests, chaplains and teachers have been convicted.” By Gavin Coote, Australan Broadcasting Company

Concern raised over delays in extraditing Catholic priest accused of abuse
“The abuse is said to have been committed in the UK, and the Crown Office there had announced plans to extradite the man from Sydney more than a year ago. The man making the allegations, Hugh Kennedy who lives in UK, has questioned why Father Denis Alexander remains in Australia.” By Thomas Oriti, ABC News Australia

Victorian Catholic priest charged with fresh child sex offences
“Catholic priest Gerald Ridsdale has been charged with fresh child sex offences. The 82-year-old is listed to front the Melbourne Magistrates Court next week where it is expected he will appear via video-link. The Herald Sun understands Ridsdale has been charged with abusing a string of children while working as a priest in the Ballarat diocese.” By Shannon Deery, Herald Sun
 -- Ex-priest Gerald Ridsdale faces 36 abuse charges, By Greg Brown, The Australian
 -- Gerald Ridsdale, former Catholic priest, faces court over historical sexual abuse charges, By Emma Younger, Australian Broadcasting Company

Pope Francis’ ‘tears’ on child sex abuse a balm for Catholic Church
“Catholic leaders across Australia have welcomed a letter from the Pope saying the church ‘weeps bitterly’ over the sexual abuse of children by priests, ahead of a final royal commission investigation into how these crimes could occur. In what represents one of the most frank admissions of institutional failure by any pontiff, Pope Francis used the letter to say: ‘We … weep for this sin. The sin of what happened, the sin of failing to help, the sin of covering up and denial, the sin of abuse of power.’” By Dan Box, The Australian

CANADA

Ottawa priest convicted of molesting boys back in jail after allegedly visiting pool 96 times
“A disgraced Ottawa priest convicted of molesting altar boys in the 1960s and 1970s has been re-arrested after he allegedly visited a Lowertown swimming pool frequented by children – a breach of his release conditions – nearly 100 times. Gatineau police arrested Jacques Faucher, 80, on Monday, nine days before he was scheduled to be sentenced on historical sex crimes involving three children. Faucher was free on bail while awaiting sentencing.” By Joe Lofaro, The Ottawa Citizen

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Monk accused of child abuse arrested in Sydney
“A former Catholic monk accused of abusing children at a Scottish school has been arrested in Australia. Father Denis Alexander was one of several monks who were alleged to have sexually and physically abused boys at the former Fort Augustus Abbey boarding school.” By Marc Horne, The Times, Scotland

GUAM

Guam concern over priest transfer to Canada
“Concerns have been raised on Guam about the Catholic Church's decision to send a priest accused of misconduct to study canon law in Canada. The Pacific Daily News reported a group called Concerned Catholics of Guam said Father Adrian Cristobal lied to shelter Anthony Apuron, an archbishop accused of sex abuse.” By Radio New Zealand
 -- Claim Guam Catholic Church rewarded priest who protected Apuron, By Radio New Zealand

IRELAND

Church apologizes for sexual abuse in Northern Ireland
“The head of the Church in Ireland has apologized unreservedly to survivors of sexual abuse following the release of a report that found evidence of systematic sexual and physical crimes in Church-run institutions, reports The Tablet. The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA), which published its findings on Thursday (Jan. 19), investigated allegations of abuse in 22 children’s homes in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995.” By CathNews.com

Priest’s sex crimes ‘ignored to protect the Catholic Church’
“A predatory priest’s sex crimes were ignored to protect the good name of the Catholic church, a public inquiry found. Fr Brendan Smyth attacked children ‘far and wide’ at residential homes in Northern Ireland from the 1940s and was convicted of more than 100 offences.” By Belfast News Letter

Northern Ireland child abuse inquiry to publish report in Belfast
“The final report of the largest completed inquiry into child abuse in the UK will be published on Friday (Jan. 20), including an investigation into a Northern Ireland care home where it is alleged a paedophile ring was being blackmailed by the security services. Retired judge Sir Anthony Hart will deliver his findings in Belfast after 232 days of hearings and interviews with more than 500 witnesses since the historical institutional abuse inquiry was established in 2014.” By Henry McDonald, The Guardian
 -- Northern Ireland child abuse inquiry singles out police and church, By Henry McDonald, The Guardian
 -- Historical child sex abuse inquiry team passes final report to Stormont, By Belfast Telegraph
 -- Priest’s sex crimes ‘ignored to protect the Catholic Church, By Belfast News Letter