Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

Voice of the Faithful Focus, Jun. 21, 2019


TOP STORIES

Catholic bishops adopt long-promised abuse plan – for bishops to police bishops
“Under intense public pressure, the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops approved new steps this week to deal more strongly with the clergy sex-abuse crisis. But activists and others say the moves leave the bishops in charge of policing themselves and potentially keep law enforcement at arm’s length.As their national meeting in Baltimore concluded Thursday (Jun. 13), leaders of the US bishops conference stopped short of mandating that lay experts such as lawyers and criminal justice professionals take part in investigating clergy accused of child molestation or other misconduct. They also did not specify a procedure for informing police of abuse allegations that come in over a newly proposed hotline.” By David Crary, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe

Catholic bishops’ conference (in Poland) to set up system for reporting sexual abuse
“The Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference (MKPK) on Thursday (Jun. 6) saidit is setting up a system for reporting sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.MKPK secretary TamásTóth said the system will be implemented in the autumn.He noted that under new rules issued recently by Pope Francis, dioceses have a year to devise systems for reporting abuse.Though the Hungarian system will be designed to function at a national level, it will assign significant responsibility to the various dioceses and diocesan bishops, Tóth said, noting that the ‘Motu Proprio’ issued by the pope clearly stipulates who must be in charge of investigating reports of sexual abuse.” By Hungary Today

Vatican opens door to limited ordination of married men as priests
“In a potentially groundbreaking move, the Roman Catholic Church on Monday (Jun. 17)cracked open the door to ordaining married, elderly men to the priesthood to meet the pastoral needs of Catholics in remote areas of the Amazon.The proposal would respond to the dearth of priests in the region by ordaining “viriprobati,” or men of proven character, as they are known in Latin. It is the kind of exception to the celibacy requirement that church experts say — and church traditionalists worry — could be a step toward the ordination of married men in other areas of the world.” By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times

Archbishop Lori issues letter on Bishop Bransfield investigation
“Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore released additional details June 5 about the investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct and financial improprieties against Bishop Michael J. Bransfield, former bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia.In a letter to the faithful, Archbishop Lori, who was appointed apostolic administrator of the diocese last September, said that he wanted to more fully share information about the investigation the Vatican asked him to conduct into Bishop Bransfield's activities, the report of which was sent to the Holy See in March.” By Catholic News Service in America: The Jesuit Review

Top cardinal accused of mishandling aide’s sex abuse case
“When Cardinal Daniel DiNardo first met Laura Pontikes in his wood-paneled conference room in December 2016, the leader of the U.S. Catholic Church’s response to its sex abuse scandal said all the right things.He praised her for coming forward to report that his deputy in the Galveston-Houston archdiocese had manipulated her into a sexual relationship and declared her a ‘victim’ of the priest, Pontikes said. Emails and other documents obtained by The Associated Press show that the relationship had gone on for years — even as the priest heard her confessions, counseled her husband on their marriage and pressed the couple for hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

ACCOUNTABILITY

Editorial: Who watches the shepherds who watch over the sheep? Us.
“Who watches over the shepherds who watch over the sheep?The answer, U.S. bishops agreed to at their meeting in Baltimore last week, are other, more senior, shepherds. That answer remains unsatisfying even if, according to Pope Francis' apostolic letter Vos Estis Lux Mundiand the hierarchal structure of the church, the bishops felt they had no other viable choice. They overwhelmingly approved what has been called the metropolitan plan, relying upon the nation's archbishops to be the investigator of alleged wrongdoing and cover-ups by other bishops.”By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Board

Catholic bishops vow to hold themselves accountable for sexual abuse and cover-ups
“America’s Roman Catholic bishops voted on Thursday (Jun. 13) to enact a new oversight system intended to hold them accountable for abuse and cover-ups, a move meant to restore faith in a church whose epidemic of misconduct has driven away parishioners and attracted the attention of state and federal law enforcement. The move was endorsed at a high-stakes gathering in Baltimore of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.”By Liam Stack, The New York Times

U.S. bishops adopt protocols for holding themselves accountable for sex abuse
“U.S. Catholic bishops voted overwhelmingly in Baltimore on Thursday (Jun. 13) to adopt new protocols aimed at holding themselves accountable for committing sexual abuse themselves and for mishandling accusations of abuse made known to them. While the new protocols are designed to include laypeople at every stage of an investigation—they advise that bishops ‘should’ include laypeople by way of an office in their chanceries—lay reform groups and victim advocates say they are unsatisfied, as the new rules stop just short of requiring such involvement.”By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

Retired Wyoming bishop to face Vatican trial on allegations of sex abuse
“Retired Bishop Joseph Hart of Cheyenne will face a Vatican trial for allegations that he sexually abused several minors years ago.Cheyenne Bishop Steven Biegler announced June 12 that such a trial of the retired prelate would take place. Biegler included Hart's name in a list of all Catholic clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable persons for whom the diocese had files and who were in active ministry from 1950 to the present in the Diocese of Cheyenne.” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter

As bishops gather, prosecutors step up scrutiny of Catholic Church
“Hundreds of boxes. Millions of records. From Michigan to New Mexico, attorneys general are sifting through files on clergy sex abuse this month, seized through search warrants and subpoenas at dozens of archdioceses. They’re looking to prosecute, and not just priests. If the boxes lining the hallways of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s offices contain enough evidence, she said, she is considering using state racketeering laws usually reserved for organized crime. Prosecutors in Michigan are even volunteering on weekends to get through all the material.” By Juliet Linderman,Garance Burke and Marth Mendoza, Associated Press, in Denver Post

New poll: U.S. Catholics believe bishops need to manage abuse crisis better
“Bishops meeting in Baltimore this week (Jun. 11) to deliberate new protocols aimed at holding themselves accountable for managing sexual abuse by priests are facing skepticism from U.S. Catholics, who believe the crisis is ongoing and in need of better management. A poll released Tuesday (Jun. 11) by the Pew Research Center found that 69 percent of U.S. Catholics believe the clergy sexual abuse scandal is ‘an ongoing problem.’ Non-Catholic Americans are more likely to think the sex abuse crisis is still an issue, with 81 percent saying they believe it is a continuing crisis.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

What Catholic bishops must do to prevent sexual abuse and hold clergy accountable
“Rarely do Americans pay attention to the biannual assemblies of the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops, but the gathering that starts on Tuesday (Jun. 11) in Baltimore will be different.Millions of people, Catholic and not, are asking the same question: What new steps will the bishops take to clean up — or clean out — the church after years of sex abuse scandals?This is a question the bishops take seriously.” By Tim Busch, USA TODAY

Investigation into Bishop Bransfield finds harassment, gross misuse of funds
“A thousand dollars a month in liquor. Daily fresh flowers delivered to the diocesan office, costing up to $182,000 over 13 years, and $350,000 in gifts to priests, bishops and cardinals spread around the country and at the Vatican.While Bishop Michael Bransfield led the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, with its reputation as a poor, isolated church, it's the details of high living that spring out from an investigative report, details of which were published by The Washington PostJune 5. The report, directed by Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, describes Bransfield ordering $4.6 million of renovations on his house in Wheeling and conducting a regular pattern of sexual harassment of seminarians and priests under his authority.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Archbishop didn’t tell Vatican whole story on fallen bishp\op
“The archbishop appointed to investigate the former leader of the Roman Catholic Church in West Virginia says he should not have redacted from his report to the Vatican the names of clergy, including himself, who received a portion of $350,000 in cash gifts from Bishop Michael Bransfield.Archbishop William Lori oversaw a probe of alleged sexual and financial misconduct by Bransfield, who has denied wrongdoing. His team's confidential findings in February prompted Bransfield's ouster from ministry.” By Associated Press on FoxNews.com

McCARRICK CASE

At one-year mark, McCarrick saga remains a story of lights and shadows
“One year ago today, Theodore McCarrick woke up as a cardinal of the Catholic Church, a busy informal diplomatic trouble-shooter on behalf of the Vatican and someone perceived as a friend of the reigning pope, Francis. By the time he went to bed he’d been removed from public ministry, starting a cascade of abuse allegations that led to his being expelled from the College of Cardinals and, eventually, from the priesthood. … As we reach the one-year milestone of the McCarrick saga, it’s a good time to examine where things stand. In essence, it’s a tale typical of the Catholic Church, full of both lights and shadows, hope aroused and business left undone.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Lay advisers urge U.S. bishops to press for release of McCarrick documents
“Advisory bodies to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called Tuesday (Jun. 12) for the bishops to urge the Holy See to make public all documentation related to the misconduct of Theodore McCarrick, in accord with canon and civil law. ‘We once again present a resolution related to the McCarrick scandal,’ stated retired Army Col. Anita Raines, Chair of the National Advisory Council to the U.S. Bishops (NAC), in her report to the U.S. Bishops’ Spring General Assembly in Baltimore, Md., June 11.” By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, in Catholic Herald

POPE FRANCIS

Francis treats church’s internal ‘sickness’
“With Pope Francis, the Catholic community is re-learning both the limits of papal power as well as the persuasive reach of papal imagination and symbol.We've seen the latter before, especially during the reign of Pope John Paul II. He had no global mandate from any world body, but his presence and actions on the world stage contributed to historic changes in both civil and religious realms. He confronted communism in a unique way, and he forever clothed the words of Nostra Aetate, the document reforming the church's relationship with non-Christian religions, in unmistakable reality with bold gestures of cooperation with other world religions.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

BISHOPS

Pope Francis accepts resignation of Chilean auxiliary bishop
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the auxiliary bishop of the Chilean capital city just 24 days after he appointed him to the post, church officials said Friday (Jun. 14).Bishop Carlos Eugenio Irarrázabal had become embroiled in controversy after he recently said there were no women at the Last Supper of Jesus and his disciples so ‘we have to respect that.’ He also said that perhaps women ‘like to be in the back room.’” By Associated Press

Media outlets highlight division through coverage of U.S. bishops’ meeting
“The fractures that define the life of the Catholic Church in the United States at this time were on full display in the ballroom of the Marriott hotel where the U.S. bishops just met. But not among the bishops, who rallied around proposals to implement Pope Francis' motuproprio letter Vos Estis Lux Mundi, (‘You are the light of the world’) dealing with sex abuse. No, the division can be seen among the media outlets covering the event.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Bishops pass 10-point plan to acknowledge ‘episcopal commitments’
“The U.S. bishops approved a 10-point statement, ‘Affirming Our Episcopal Commitments,’ June 13 during their general meeting in Baltimore in which the bishops hope to regain ‘the trust of the people of God.’The 217-1 vote, with two bishops abstaining, was applauded by the bishops gathered in Baltimore for the meeting. Approval was needed by two-thirds, or 180, of all U.S. bishops.”By Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

U.S. bishops vote to design hotline for reporting complaints against bishopds
“As the U.S. Catholic bishops inch closer to enacting new protocols for bishop accountability, they concluded the second day of their high stakes spring meeting by approving a measure to design a national third-party system for reporting claims against bishops.The third party reporting system is meant to serve as a confidential mechanism, via telephone or online, for complaints against bishops for either abuse or its cover-up.”By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Institutional decline of U.S. bishops’ conference obvious on first day of meeting
“The first day (Jun. 11) of the bishops' spring meeting in Baltimore was a case study in institutional decline.In 2002, then-Bishop Wilton Gregory, now the Archbishop of Washington, was the president of the bishops' conference and he knew how to count votes, a trait people learn young in his native Chicago. He went into those meetings having built wide consensus for the proposals. That did not happen this time. The bishops received the proposed documents on their bishops' only website, but only in some ecclesiastical provinces did the metropolitan archbishop take the initiative to consult his suffragan bishops.”By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

USCCB bishops to tackle ‘unfinished business’ on sex abuse at meeting
“When the U.S. Catholic bishops gather in Baltimore next week, the theme of their three-day meeting could largely be summed up as ‘unfinished business.’ For starters, there’s the unfinished business from seven months ago of enacting new guidelines for bishop accountability. Just ahead of last November’s meeting, the Vatican halted plans to vote for new guidelines for bishops, citing canonical concerns and faulting the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) leadership for not providing Rome adequate time to review the proposals.”By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Bishops of the United States: the basics
“There are 441 active and retired Catholic bishops who oversee 196 Latin- and Eastern-rite dioceses and archdioceses and one ‘personal ordinariate’ (for former Anglican groups and clergy in the United States who became Catholic) in the United States and U.S. Virgin Islands. This includes 15 cardinals: six who lead archdioceses, five who are retired and four in other positions.”By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

PRIESTS

Don’t abolish the priesthood, redeem it
“This year has been another dismal one for revelations about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church—painful for victims and their families, painful for all of us who care about the Catholic Church and especially dismal for the Catholic hierarchy that covered up so much of the abuse for so many decades. Analyses of this tragedy are unsurprisingly many, denunciations fiery, proposed remedies innumerable. Some essayists and opinion-makers with Catholic connections are now getting fiercer, proposing more radical solutions, and so the Catholic priesthood itself is now a common target of outrage. Abolish it!” By Francis X. Clooney, America: The Jesuit Review

WOMEN DEACONS

Women & the Diaconate
“On May 10 Pope Francis had a long session of questions and answers in the Vatican with the 850-women strong International Union of Superiors General gathered for their twenty-first plenary assembly. It was an important moment in the history of the ministry of women in the Catholic Church … Last May, in front of the assembly of superiors general, Francis announced that the result of the (women’s diaconate) study commission was inconclusive, as there was still no consensus among the members about the nature of the women’s diaconate in the early church. The pope gave the outgoing president of UISG, Sr. Carmen Sammut, a copy of the commission’s report, which has yet to be published.”By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Sister mentors provide faith formation for 120 women at leadership event
“Religious sisters and a diverse group of laywomen gathered to bond in faith and forge new paths in church leadership during the 2019 Given Institute’s Catholic Young Women's Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C. The forum brought together 120 participants from 30 states with members of 13 religious orders on the scenic grounds of the Catholic University of America for a five-day formation journey that emphasized both prayer and professionalism.”By Zita Ballinger Fletcher, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

LAITY & THE CHURCH

Parishioners at two Philadelphia-area churches organize on abuse crisis
“Unbeknownst to each other, parishioners at both churches (St. Malachy and St. Thomas of Villanova) wanted to do something, anything, when hit by the cascade of sex abuse stories that rocked the Catholic Church last summer, including a Pennsylvania grand jury report and the scandalsinvolving former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. As Catholics in an archdiocese that experienced its own massive turmoil back in 2005, when scores of priests were implicated by a grand jury, they needed to talk.”By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Bishops debate extent of lay involvement in sex abuse response
“Preliminary discussion about proposals aimed at bishop accountability evinced some frustration among U.S. bishops at their spring general assembly this week in Baltimore, especially when it comes to the degree of lay involvement that can be mandated to be part of the process. Bishops expressed their intention to adopt protocols aimed at accountability, but they are still hammering out the details ahead of a vote on Thursday (Jun. 13).”By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

Cesareao repeats call for greater lay involvement as church tackles abuse
“National Review Board chairman Francesco Cesareo offered the U.S. bishops meeting in Baltimore a series of recommendations that he said will strengthen the church's response to the ongoing clergy sexual abuse crisis.The recommendations made June 11 during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' spring general assembly in Baltimore included a call for a greater role for laity in investigating allegations of abuse or reaction to reports of abuse against bishops.”By Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service, National Catholic Reporter

CLERICALISM

Priest & lay reform organizations take on clericalism
“Pope Francis has repeatedly called out the clerical culture’s danger to the Catholic Church and its faithful, for example, calling clericalism “our ugliest perversion.” Now a nationwide Catholic priests’ organization and two international lay reform groups have developed the BridgeDialogues: Laity & Clergy re-Imagining Church Togetherto show Catholics what they can do to recognize and prevent this perversion which blocks the laity from achieving their full potential in the Church.”By Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, FutureChurch and Voice of the Faithful

Clericalism will undo the Catholic Church
“A lavish lifestyle that included over $2 million in travel expenses for chartered jets and luxury hotels. An average monthly alcohol expenditure of nearly $1,000.Funds in excess of $4 million to refurbish an executive mansion.Purchases exceeding $60,000 from Ann Hand — a D.C. jewelry boutique specializing in patriotic items like gold and silver sapphire eagles.These and other tawdry details flow from a recent report about the Most Reverend Michael J. Bransfield, the former Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, W.Va. The report was submitted to the Vatican by Baltimore's Archbishop William Lori.”By Stephen J. Stahley, The Baltimore Sun

VOICES

Outside of Inside
“There are prophets of peace and builders of peace. There are protesters and institutional reformers. There are outsiders and insiders. The distinction is fluid. A person might be a prophetic outsider on one topic and an expert insider on another … Voice of the Faithful, to mention a second example, has headquarters in suburban Boston. Its members have not left Roman Catholicism in disgust over bishops’ malfeasance nor have they challenged Catholic dogma. Instead they are a controversial ginger group that presses for reform.” By William Droel, Working Catholic, Patheos

How much corruption can we tolerate in the church before we leave?
“After reading James Carroll's lengthy lament in The Atlanticon the corruption in the Catholic Church and its priestly caste, I remembered reading an article in America magazine by the late Jesuit theologian Walter Burghardt. ‘In the course of half a century,’ the weathered scholar wrote in Tell the Next Generation, ‘I have seen more Catholic corruption than you have read of. I have tasted it. I have been reasonably corrupt myself. And yet I joy in this Church — this living, pulsing, sinning people of God.’”By Donald Cozzens, National Catholic Reporter

When it comes to church reform, despair is not an option
During this season of Pentecost I find myself searching for hope in the midst of horrific stories about financial corruption by a West Virginia bishop, priests who raped and sexually abusedmy religious sisters, and bishops from eight states in the Northeast who spent over 10 million dollars lobbying against sex abuse victims. I am outraged to learn that Baltimore Archbishop William Lori — who was delegated by the Vatican to investigate Wheeling-Charleston Bishop Michael Bransfield — had accepted over $10,500 in gifts from him. In his final report to Rome, Lori decided to delete his own name as well as those of ten other influential prelates who had also accepted financial gifts from the Wheeling bishop.”By Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter

Explainer: How could Bishop Bransfield misuse funds for years without raising red flags?
I thought I had lost the capacity to be surprised by the misconduct of bishops after the past year of scandal. But as I read The Washington Post’s reporton the financial abuses committed by Bishop Michael J. Bransfield, who was recently removed as head of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in West Virginia, I could not believe what I was learning. Fueled by revenues from a Texas oil field donated to the diocese over a century ago, the bishop in one of this country’s poorest states was living a life of luxury and cutting four- and five-figure checks to fellow clerics—including certain priests who accused Bransfield of sexual harassment.”By Ashley McKinless, America: The Jesuit Review

The Church’s next scandal is money
“‘The Devil always enters by way of the pocket.’ It’s a phrase that Pope Francis’s often repeats. He has it on no lesser authority than that of St Paul the Apostle, who wrote: “For the desire of money is the root of all evils …” If the allegations against Michael J Bransfield, the former Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, as well as those regarding the scores of clerics who benefitted from his largesse, are correct, it would suggest that too many in the hierarchical leadership of the Church do not believe St Paul in any meaningful sense of the word …” By Christopher Altieri, Catholic Herald

Sexual misconduct with adults next scandal facing U.S. Church
“As the U.S. bishops prepare to meet next week for their general assembly in Baltimore, they must be hoping it won’t be a repeat of this one.The bishops were hoping to finalize a tough new policy on child sex abuse and - even more importantly - abuse cover-up, after the Vatican put a halt on the issue during the USCCB’s fall assembly last year. Since then, there has been a Vatican abuse summit and new legislation from the Vatican to battle abuse and cover-up, meaning the possibility of a ‘good news’ ending to the meeting was in the cards. But now new scandals are likely to overshadow the meeting.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

CHURCH FINANCES

German court says Catholic Church can keep billions secret
“A court in the western city of Cologne has ruled that Germany’s richest Catholic archdiocese doesn’t have to reveal what it does with the billions it receives from taxpayers each year.The investigative journalism group Correctiv had sued for the information, arguing that the Archdiocese of Cologne should be bound by laws granting media access to government information because much of its revenue comes from an income tax paid by Catholics in Germany.”By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

The opaque finances that enable the Catholic Church’s abuse scandal
“The breadth and depth of corruption in the Catholic Church seem boundless, and colored by the ongoing dysfunction arising from clergy sex abuse and the hierarchy’s inability to grapple with it. Some of the misdeeds and coverups have been facilitated by a law that exempts religious institutions and affiliated charitable entities from financial reporting that is required of other nonprofit organizations. Even as the Vatican, seeking to move beyond its protracted season of scandal, calls for a new era of transparency, the church’s finances in the United States remain opaque.”By The Washington Post Editorial Board

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Catholic church lobbying against sex abuse laws
“The Roman Catholic Church has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years lobbying in Massachusetts, and a new report suggests the effort was aimed at derailing proposals to extend the statute of limitations for survivors of clergy sexual abuse.The report, commissioned by several law firms that represent victims of clergy abuse, found the church has spent more than $10.6 million collectively on lobbying in several northeast states since 2011, much of it aimed at defeating proposed legislation to help victims of rape or sexual assault pursue criminal or civil charges against priests.” By Christian M. Wade, Gloucester Daily Times

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Erie’s Trautman accused over Buffalo abuse complaints
“Donald W. Trautman, already criticized for how he handled clergy abuse cases while he was bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Erie, is now facing similar claims in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo.Trautman, who retired as Erie bishop in 2012, was accused  (Jun. 18) of mishandling complaints that a priest in the Diocese of Buffalo was abusing minors when Trautman was chancellor in that diocese more than 30 years ago.Flanked by lawyers at a news conference in Buffalo, the accuser, James Bottlinger, 50, said that he was in high school when the Rev. Michael Freeman molested him when Freeman was at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Lancaster, New York.” By Ed Palattella, GoErie.com

Poland becomes Europe’s testing ground for best practices on abuse
“It was a very hot day when Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s point man on the fight against clerical sexual abuse, met Polish bishops on June 14. The temperature was as high as expectations that the word ‘dismissal of bishops’ would come out of his mouth.In the end, his visit may inaugurate Poland as the testing ground for the new Vatican norms on sexual abuse and cover-up.” By Paulina Guzik, Cruxnow.com

Americans see Catholic clergy sex abuse as an ongoing problem
“More than 15 years after U.S. bishops pledged ‘zero tolerance’ for sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, reports of previously unpublicized misconduct continue to receive wide media coverage … Americans are paying attention. A new Pew Research Center survey finds that about nine-in-ten U.S. adults – including 95% of Catholics – have heard at least ‘a little’ about recent reports of sexual abuse and misconduct by Catholic priests and bishops, including a clear majority who say they have heard “a lot.” By Pew Research Center

Letter: Clergy abuse response was fatally flawed
“Readers of The Eagle's reports on the seemingly unending crimes of sexual abuse by Catholic clergymen in Western Massachusetts might find some clarification useful.This issue broke into the open in 1984 with a terrible case in Louisiana. Many more crimes, including many in Massachusetts, were revealed well before 2002 when the Boston Globe Spotlight team brought international attention to the scandal.” By David J. O’Brien, Letter to the Editor, The Berkshire Eagle

Zanchetta formally charged with abusing seminarians
“A bishop close to Pope Francis has been formally charged with sexually assaulting two seminarians.Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta has been barred from leaving Argentina and must undergo a psychological evaluation later this week, according to InfoCatólica. He faces between three and ten years in prison if convicted.” By Catholic Herald Staff

ARIZONA

Former Phoenix Catholic priest facing sex crime charges after fleeing U.S.
“A former Phoenix Catholic priest is facing multiple sex crime charges after being returned to Maricopa County by U.S. Marshals from Italy.Joseph John Henn, 70, is facing multiple counts of child molestation, attempted child molestation, sexual conduct with a minor and attempted sexual conduct with a minor for crimes allegedly committed in the late 1970s to early 1980s.” By KTAR-FM News

Two Catholic orders name 65 priests accused or convicted of abuse; 27 served in Arizona
“Two Catholic religious orders recently released lists naming 65 clergy accused of sexual abuse against minors dating back decades; 27 of the men served in Arizona. The newly released information comes as American bishops met this week in Baltimore for a conference that focused on how to respond to the church's sex-abuse crisis, which has increasingly caught the attention of state prosecutors across the U.S.” By Lauren Castle, Arizona Republic

CALIFORNIA

New report lists 16 Catholic clergymen with connections to Kern being accused of sexual abuse
“A report released this week by a Los Angeles law firm says 16 Catholic clergymen with Kern County connections have been accused of sexual misconduct, including five who did not show up on a separate list put out recently by a group advocating for abuse survivors.The alleged abusers — at least three of whom are now dead — were among 43 clergymen with some association with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno.” By John Cox, Bakersfield.com

Retired FBI executive will review clergy files, Fresno Diocese says
“The Diocese of Fresno said Wednesday (Jun. 5) that retiredFBI agent and high-ranking bureau executive Kathleen McChesney is leading a team reviewing all clergy files going back nearly 100 years.Their goal is to compile a list of Catholic priests who have been credibly accused of improper conduct with minors, according to the diocese.McChesney was selected by the United States Catholic Bishops’ Conference to establish and lead their Office of Child Protection where she developed and administered a national compliance mechanism to ensure that all Catholic dioceses complied with civil laws and internal policies relative to the prevention, reporting, and response to the sexual abuse of minors.” By GVWire.com

FLORIDA

Florida Catholic Church sex abuse investigation shrouded in secrecy
“Roman Catholic Bishops were in Baltimore on Tuesday (Jun. 11) to confront the reignited sex abuse crisis. They're looking at increasing their accountability when it comes to sex abuse cases.Several Attorneys General, including Florida's, launched state investigations after a Pennsylvania Grand Jury report in August detailed hundreds of cases of alleged abuse.More than half of all the dioceses around the country have released lists with the names of Catholic clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.”By Rachel Polansky, NBC-TV2 News

ILLINOIS

DCFS ends investigation into Maryville's Smyth; archdiocese set to resume inquiry
“The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has formally closed its investigation into former Maryville Academy leader the Rev. John Smyth. Now the Archdiocese of Chicago is expected to reopen its internal probe into sex abuse claims against the priest, who died earlier this year.” By Christopher Placek, Daily Herald

LOUISIANA

Holy Cross order’s list of suspected clergy abusers ties two more New Orleans priests to scandal
“The Catholic order in charge of Holy Cross priests released a list last week of clerics faced with credible accusations of sexual abuse, and it included two clergymen with ties to New Orleans who have not been previously named.Lawrence Dark and Archibald McDowell — who both are dead and previously served at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Mid-City — are among 14 priests named on the list published June 14.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, The New Orleans Advocate

MASSACHUSETTS

Sex abuse claim against late Springfield bishop Christopher Weldon demonstrates challenge victims face
“Springfield Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski will meet Thursday (Jun. 20) with an alleged clergy sex abuse victim, who says he told a diocesan Review Board a year ago that he had been sexually abused decades ago by the late Bishop Christopher J. Weldon.The Review Board has disputed that his June 2018 testimony included allegations of direct abuse by Weldon, though three individuals present say he named Weldon.”By Anne-Gerard Flynn, Springfield Republican, on MassLive.com

MICHIGAN

Michigan Catholic priests charged with child sex abuse crimes jailed, extradited
“Five Michigan Catholic priests are moving along in the legal process after being charged with sexual abuse crimes against children.The five priests, including two from Detroit Archdiocese, two from Lansing and one from Kalamazoo, face a total of 21 charges. The four boys and girl victimized range in ages between 5 and 26 years old.”By FOX2-TV News

Survivors of clergy abuse demand that Detroit Archdiocese update list of accused priests
“Survivors of clergy abuse are calling on the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit to update its list of priests accused of abuse.The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, gathered at the Archdiocese of Detroit on Tuesday evening to call on the archdiocese to act, and to protest potential funding cuts to the attorney general’s office, which is investigating cases of abuse.” By Carline LLanes, Michigan Public Radio

More charges coming in Catholic clergy sexual abuse probe
“Attorney General Dana Nessel told the Michigan Advanceon Wednesday (Jun. 5) that her department will issue more charges in its ongoing investigation of sexual abuse in the Catholic church. Last month, Nesselannounced21 charges of criminal sexual misconduct against five Michigan priests after receiving more than 450 tips on the clergy abuse hotline, which made national news. She declined to share details on future charges or timing.” By Susan J. Demas, MichiganAdvance.com

NEW JERSEY

‘Secret’ Catholic files called key to exposing full clergy abuse scandal
“Bruce Novozinsky was a 16-year-old seminary student when his longtime parish priest, The Rev. Gerry Brown of St. Mary of the Lake in Lakewood, New Jersey, abused him and attempted to rape him. ‘It cost me part of my youth, my trust in those who I was taught to trust and decades of my life...’Novozinsky, an Upper Freehold resident, said. Years later, he discovered that he was not the only victim of the priest, who died in 2013.Brown's name recently showed up on a list of credibly accused priests of the Trenton Diocese.” By Deena Yellin, North Jersey Record

New Jersey independent compensation program for victims of church sexual abuse of minors opens June 15
“Beginning June 15, the New Jersey Independent Victim Compensation Program (IVCP) will begin accepting claims related to the sexual abuse of minors by diocesan priests of the Roman Catholic dioceses of Camden, Newark, Paterson, Metuchen, and Trenton.According to a release, the IVCP is administered by Kenneth R. Feinberg and Camille S. Biros, two victims’ compensation experts who have designed and administered similar compensation programs for the Catholic Dioceses in New York and Pennsylvania.” By Cape May County Herald

More protections coming under new New Jersey sex abuse law
“After nearly 20 years of advocacy, New Jersey recently passed a historic law providing new and extended protections for victims of sexual abuse by lengthening the statute of limitations to pursue a civil claim as a result of various sexual abuse related offenses. Those who have fought for these extended protections should be commended for their perseverance and courage in sharing their emotional and painful experiences for the betterment of our society.” By Michael G. Donahue, NorthJersey.com

NEW MEXICO

340 people file claims against Archdiocese of Santa Fe, at least 78 clergy accused
“The window is now closed for survivors of alleged sexual abuse by New Mexico's Roman Catholic clergy to seek a financial settlement against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. According to court records, 340 people filed claims against the church as of the 5 p.m. Monday (June 17) deadline. Although most claims are sealed, attorneys say the overwhelming majority relate to allegations of sexual molestation and assault by priest and deacons who worked in the archdiocese.” By Rebecca Moss, The Taos News

As deadline looms, more than 200 to file clergy sex abuse claims
More than 200 people are bringing claims of sexual abuse against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe as the church goes through a bankruptcy. Anyone who still wants to file a claim has until next Monday to do it.June 17 at 5 p.m. is the cutoff to get in on the settlement that the archdiocese will negotiate with survivors of clergy sex abuse. June 17 at 5 p.m. is the cutoff to get in on the settlement that the archdiocese will negotiate with survivors of clergy sex abuse.” By Hannah Colton, KYNM-FM

NEW YORK

Victim sues Diocese of Rochester over claims of sexual abuse by priest
“A new lawsuit was filed against the Diocese of Rochester and several other local Catholic organizations Monday (Jun. 10) evening over allegations of sexual abuse.The lawsuit was filed Monday in Monroe County and names several prominent religious organizations as defendants, including the Catholic Youth Organization of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rochester, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rochester, Most Holy Redeemer Parish and St. Bridget's Church.”By WHAM-TV13 News

Catholic Church finds ex-Kingston priest not guilty of child sex abuse month after placing  him on ‘credibly accused’ list
“A Catholic priest who served in Kingston and Saugerties has been found not guilty of sexually abusing a child at a canonical trial by a Vatican-authorized tribunal, the Archdiocese of New York said Tuesday (Jun. 11). Word of the decision regarding Msgr. William Williams came just over a month after he appeared on an archdiocese list of 120 priests ‘credibly accused of sexual abuse.’ By Brian Hubert, Daily Freeman

Diocese whistleblower attends Bishop Malone’s first listening session on abuse crisis
“The woman who leaked documents on clergy sex abuse in the Buffalo Catholic Diocese attended Bishop Richard J. Malone’s first listening session with the laity Saturday (Jun. 8).One of about 200 Catholics in attendance at the two-hour session at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church in Amherst, Siobhan O’Connor said the gathering left her with a sense of concern that Catholics are divided — including whether the bishop should remain as head of the diocese.” By Lou Michel, The Buffalo News

NORTH DAKOTA

Fargo Diocese says clergy abuse claims date back ‘several decades’
“The Diocese of Fargo has been investigating allegations of clergy sex abuse of minors that date back ‘several decades.’ The information was revealed to KFGO News in response to a question regarding when the diocese plans to release a list of credibly accused priests.The statement, from Bishop John Folda, says the diocese is ‘conducting a review of possible allegations of abuse of minors going back several decades.’Folda says a report will be released after the review is complete.” By Jim Monk, KFGO-FM News

OHIO

Congregation of Holy Cross releases list of clergy members accused of sexual abuse
“The Congregation of Holy Cross released 15 names of priests with what they say are credible sexual abuse allegations.More than half served here in South Bend at one time or another.Most of the incidents happened back in the 1970's and 80's.According to the congregation's list, they did not receive the allegations until much later.” By Max Lewis, WSBT-TV22 News

PENNSYLVANIA

Payments to 93 clergy abuse survivors in Philadelphia archdiocese average $211,000
“The meter is ticking as administrators for compensation funds in Catholic dioceses across the state process payments to survivors who experienced child sexual abuse at the hands of trusted priests.Church officials have released interim statements showing the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Diocese of Scranton alone have paid a total of nearly $21.8 million to 110 survivors of clergy sexual abuse who opted to forego legal action and seek compensation from the church.” By Deb Erdley, The Morning Call

Pennsylvania court finds merit in lawsuit filed by victim of clergy sex abuse despite expired statute of limitations
“An opinion issued by a Pennsylvania court this week is being hailed as a victory for survivors of clergy sex abuse who are seeking to sue Catholic Church officials and dioceses but are timed barred from the legal system.The unanimous opinion issued on Tuesday (Jun. 12) by the Pennsylvania Superior Court finds merit in an amended complaint filed by an adult survivor of clergy sex abuse, which, instead of focusing on the predator priest, charges the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown with conspiracy, fraud and constructive fraud.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

WEST VIRGINIA

West Virginia attorney general ‘disappointed’ in level of church’s cooperation with sexual abuse probe
“West Virginia’s attorney general says church leaders in his state are withholding information that could prove useful in his fight to expose what he called ‘a history of secrecy and concealment’ within the Catholic Church on alleged sexual abuse by members of the clergy.In a recent interview with ABC News, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, a Republican who has served as the state’s top law enforcement official since 2013, expressed concern that even after two subpoenas and a lawsuit, the state's diocese of Wheeling-Charleston has yet to make a number of relevant documents available to his office.” By Meghan Keneally and Pete Madden, ABC-TV News

WISCONSIN

Madison Catholic diocese hires detectives to probe clergy sexual abuse
“The Catholic Diocese of Madison said Wednesday (Jun. 12) that private investigators have been hired to review personnel files in a probe of child sexual abuse by members of the clergy. ‘The Diocese of Madison reaffirms its commitment to protect children and young people, as well as to be open and transparent with victims, faithful Catholics and the larger community,’ the diocese said in a statement.” By Steven Verburg, Wisconsin State Journal

WYOMING

11 former clergy accused of sexual abuse by Wyoming diocese
“Roman Catholic officials in Wyoming for the first time have published a list of former clergy they say have had substantiated claims of sexual abuse against them.The Wyoming Catholic Register newsletter mailed Wednesday the names of 11 accused clergy who served in Wyoming. They include a bishop, priests and a member of a religious order.”By Mead Gruver, Associated Press, in The Salt Lake Tribune

ARGENTINA

Argentine bishop at heart of phone porn scandal charged with abusing seminarians
“Argentine Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, one of Pope Francis’s first episcopal appointments in his home country, has been formally accused of sexually abusing seminarians and could face 3 to 10 years in prison.The information was released on Friday (Jun. 7) by the prosecutor’s office in the Argentine northern province of Salta. The bishop was charged with ‘aggravated continuous sexual abuse committed by a minister of a religious organization.’” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

AUSTRALIA

Law change could see survivors access additional payments
“The Victorian Government says it is set to offer child abuse survivors the chance to access additional compensation. The changes will allow survivors to apply to the courts to overturn historical compensation payments by setting aside ‘deeds of release.’ It is unclear how many survivors might be cleared to sue their abusers under the reform but one compensation scheme, the Melbourne Archdiocese's “Melbourne Response” is thought to have signed up more than 500 victims to deeds of release.”By CathNews.com

The Catholic Church after George Pell: Can it find salvation in a greater role for women?
“MsEnglebrecht does not say these things easily. Until a few months ago she worked for a nearby Catholic diocese, visiting parishioners and assisting the Bishop.Now she has moved on and is free to speak about what she believes must happen in the wake of the Pell verdict. ‘I think it was a moment of absolute clarity,’ she said.” By Norman Hermant and Sterre Meijer, ABC Australia

COSTA RICA

Costa Rica wants Catholic priests to violate sacramental secrecy of confession
“Costa Rica’s president, Carlos Alvarado, has asked to ‘discuss as a society’ the creation of a bill that would force Catholic priests to denounce cases of child abuse and pedophilia they learned during confessions.The text, promoted by legislator Enrique Sánchez–member of the same ruling party, the PartidoAcciónCiudadana (PAC), proposes to extend to religious, youth, cultural and sports groups the obligation to report cases of sexual assault against minorsof those who have knowledge.” By QCostaRica.com

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

UK’s most senior Catholic ‘more concerned with church’s reputation than child sex abuse victims,’ report finds
“The most senior Catholic in the UK stands accused of being more concerned with protecting the Church’s reputation than historic victims of child sex abuse in a government inquiry report. Since the mid 1930s, there have been more than 130 allegations of child sexual abuse made against 78 people associated with the Archdiocese of Birmingham. At least 13 of them have been convicted in criminal courts and three others have been cautioned.” By Gabriella Swirling, The Telegraph

Review calls for Catholic Church safeguarding revamp
“The Catholic Church in Scotland needs to revamp its measures for protecting young and vulnerable people, an independent review has concluded.The review said a better resourced and independent safeguarding service was a ‘crucial step to promote transparency and restore credibility.’Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke, who led the review, said ‘a good start has been made’ by the Catholic Church.But she said cultural change was still needed within the organization.” By BBC News

POLAND

Poland’s church struggles to contain its latest crisis
“When Polish Catholics marked 40 years since Pope John Paul II's first home pilgrimage in early June, it was a moment to look back on their church's legacy of much-lauded struggles for justice and human rights. Today, with that legacy tarnished by a spate of controversies and scandals, some Catholics fear its authority and prestige face serious erosion, whereas others insist the church has come through disasters before, including those of its own making.” By Jonathan Luxmore, National Catholic Reporter

Sex abuse in the Catholic Church: Poland’s moment of reckoning?
“As the Vatican's chief investigator into child sex abuse by clergy arrives in Poland to meet with bishops, we explore the close relationship Poland’s leaders have with the Catholic Church. This is in the wake of the release of a documentary about paedophile priests that shocked the country. We speak to RadoslawMarkowski, a professor of political science at the Polish Academy of Sciences.”By Haxie Meyers-Belkin, France24.com