Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

Voice of the Faithful Focus, June 3, 2016

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

TOP STORIES

Audit of U.S. Catholic church shows sharp spike in sex abuse reports
“An annual audit of reports of sexual abuse by members of the U.S. Roman Catholic clergy released on Friday showed sharp increases in the number of new claims and in the value of settlements to victims. The audit showed that 838 people came forward from July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015, to say they had been sexually abused by priests, deacons or members of religions orders while they were children, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said.” By Scott Malone, Reuters
 -- Number of U.S. priests accused of sexually abusing children and numbers of persons alleging abuse, By BishopAccountability.org

Francis to create commission to study female deacons in the Catholic church
“Pope Francis has announced he will create a commission to study the possibility of allowing women to serve as deacons in the Catholic church, signaling an historic openness to the possibility of ending the global institution’s practice of an all-male clergy. The pontiff indicated he would create such a commission during a meeting at the Vatican Thursday (May 12) with some 900 leaders of the world’s congregations of Catholic women religious, who asked him during a question-and-answer session why the church excludes women from serving as deacons.” By Joshual J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Bishop McElroy’s synod
“Yesterday's (May 11) news that Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego is convoking a diocesan synod to consider how to embrace the Holy Father's apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia is both good news and important news. It is good, because too many bishops have sought to minimize or relativize the pope's exhortation. McElroy, like Washington's Cardinal Donald Wuerl, whose talk on Amoris Laetitia I discussed last week, does not seek to minimize the text but to embrace it, to take it seriously, and to respond to the invitations it contains. And, this call for a synod is important because Bishop McElroy is charting a path that I suspect more bishops will follow in the years ahead.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Sins of the system: ‘Immediate need’ in seminary database faces years of delays
“… That investigation (by 10TV) revealed a widespread problem resulting in substandard screening of incoming seminarians. Those problems allowed Joel Wright, now convicted of attempted child rape, to gain a position of trust as a Josephinum seminarian. Nearly two months after that news conference, 10 Investigates attempted to find what progress was made on the pledges by Columbus Catholic leaders.” By Nathan Baca, WBNS-TV10, Columbus, Ohio

More than 800 sex abuse claims filed under Minnesota law
More than 850 child sex abuse claims, including about 500 against Minnesota Catholic clergy, have been made in the past three years under a landmark Minnesota law sunsetting this week that allowed victims of older abuse cases to have their day in court. The Minnesota Child Victims Act, which rocked the Catholic Church to its core, set a May 25, 2016, deadline for filing older claims. Victims’ lawyers are rushing to the finish line, expecting a last-minute surge in claims.” By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune

FEMALE DIACONATE

Pope Francis said he would favor a commission to study the possibility of restoring the female diaconate during a meeting May 12 in Rome of Catholic women religious leaders. His statement has received much publicity. Here is a sample:
 -- Catholic women deacons? By the Editors at America: The National Catholic Review
 -- Pope Francis: Let’s study idea of ordaining women as deacons, By Rosie Scammell and david Gibson
 -- Pope agrees to set up commission to study women deacons, By Cruxnow.com staff
 -- Pope Francis to consider ordaining women as deacons, By Francis X. Rocca
 -- Pope Francis says he’s open to studying whether women can serve as deacons, By Elisabetta Povoledo and Laurie Goodstein
 -- Pope says he’s willing to look at whether women can serve as deacons, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe
 -- Francis’ female deacon commission brings hope, caution, By Traci Badalucco an Elizabeth A. Elliott, National Catholic Reporter
 -- U.S. Catholics cautiously hopeful women may one day be deacons, By Scott Malone, Reuters, on Religion News Service
 -- Pope says he’s willing to study women deacons, in major step, By Elsie Buchanan, IUSBPreface.com
 -- Pope’s plan for women deacons ‘positive step,’ By Reuters in Otago Daily Times
 -- Vatican plays down expectations over women as deacons in Church, By Crispian Balmer, Reuters
 -- Putting Pope Francis on the couch about women deacons, By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com
 -- New deaconess commission is not pathway to ordination of women priests, says Vatican spokesman, By Catholic News Service in The Tablet
 -- Female deacons: Pope Francis walks it back, women clergy weigh in, By Kaya Oakes, Religion Dispatches
 -- On women deacons, is Pope Francis moving beyond rhetoric, By Henry Gass, Christian Science Monitor
 -- If Catholic women could be deacons, By The New York Times Opinion Pages
 -- Studying women deacons, By the Editors at America: The National Catholic Review
 -- 3 ways Pope Francis’ opening on women deacons can change Catholicism, By David Gibson, Religion News Service
 -- It’s time to be honest about Pope Francis and women, By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter
 -- Can women rejoin the ranks, By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter

ACCOUNTABILITY

Annual report shows continued toll of clergy sex abuse crisis
“The Catholic church paid $153 million in the United States last year to settle lawsuits, and fielded hundreds of new accusations, as fallout continued from the clergy sex abuse scandal exposed in the early 2000s, a new report from church leaders says. The annual report from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which covers July 2014 to June 2015, said 384 victims came forward with allegations the church deemed credible.” By Matt Rocheleau, The Boston Globe

USCCB abuse audit warns of complacency, cites ‘room for improvement
“The annual report on the implementation of the U.S. bishops' ‘Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People’ warns against complacency in dioceses, and the firm contracted to conduct audits of dioceses and parishes said there was ‘plenty of room for improvement’ in implementing two of the charter's articles.” By Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service

Bishops’ conference releases 2015 abuse audit report
“The U.S. bishops' conference released this morning its 13th Annual Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The report, which covers the period July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015, is really two reports in one: An auditor -- this year as in the last couple years, the Rochester, N.Y.-based StoneBridge Business Partners -- reports on the compliance of bishops and diocese with the U.S. bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, adopted in 2002 at the bishops' meeting in Dallas. Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, or CARA, reports on its Annual Survey of Allegations and Costs of the abuse crisis, a report it has prepared since 2004.” By Dennis Coday, National Catholic Reporter

Spike in clerical sex abuse cases reported in U.S.
“The number of people reporting sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy in the United States rose sharply last year, according to an audit released by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. The report, released on Friday (20 May) alongside a yearly progress review of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, showed that 838 people came forward from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015 to say they had been sexually abused by priests, deacons or members of religious orders.” By Megan Cornwell, The Tablet

Vatican PR aide warns Catholic blogs create ‘cesspool of hatred’
“Although Pope Francis has succeeded in rebranding the public profile of the Church, according to a Vatican PR aide, his positive tone isn’t always reflected when Catholics themselves take to the use of social media. On the contrary, to hear Father Thomas Rosica tell it, sometimes Catholic conversation on-line is more “culture of death” than “culture of life.” By Catholic News Service on Cruxnow.com

U.S. Catholic church has spent millions fighting sex abuse accountability
“The US Catholic church has poured millions of dollars over the past decade into opposing accountability measures for victims of clergy sex abuse, according to state lobbying disclosures. The lobbying funds have gone toward opposing bills in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland that would extend statutes of limitations for child sex abuse cases or grant temporary civil windows for victims whose opportunities for civil action have already passed.” By George Joseph, The Guardian

Prominent French priest and Vatican adviser accused in sex scandal
“For years, seminaries and monasteries around France sent students and novices to Monsignor Tony Anatrella, a prominent French priest and therapist who has written disparagingly of gays, if their superiors decided the young men were struggling with homosexuality. Now Anatrella, who argues that gay men cannot be ordained as priests, is facing mounting allegations that he himself had sex with male clients under his care, a scandal that could have repercussions all the way to the Vatican, where the priest is still regularly consulted on matters of sexuality.” By David Gibson and Tom Heneghan, Religion News Service

“AMORIS LAETITIA” -- SYNOD OF BISHOPS ON THE FAMILY

Archbishop Kurtz: ‘Amoris Laetitia’ a call to find new ways to walk with people
Describing what it means to be ‘pastoral’ is a lot more difficult than understanding a decree, for instance, that says girls can or cannot be altar servers or that women can or can't have their feet washed during Holy Thursday services. Rules and laws are precise. But what does it mean to have, as Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz put it recently, ‘a pastoral mindset’? Understanding what that means seems essential in this era of Pope Francis, when it can appear that simultaneously nothing changes yet everything changes, and so much of what seems to change is chalked up to ‘a more pastoral approach.’” By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter

Portraits of Love: A deeper look at ‘Amoris Laetitia’
“‘The Joy of Love experienced by families is also the joy of the Church.’ So begins Pope Francis’ long-awaited apostolic exhortation ‘The Joy of Love’ (‘Amoris Laetitia’). The statement draws on the conclusions of the Synod of Bishops, which gathered over the course of two years to discuss challenges to the family. America asked several experts to respond to this historic document, which was published on April 8. The full texts of their responses, along with additional commentary, can be found at americamagazine.org/joy-love.” By The Editors at America: The National Catholic Review

VOICES OF THE FAITHFUL

Amid ‘slanderous gossip,’ pastor at St. Rose Miami Shores asked to resign
“The pastor of St. Rose of Lima has been asked to step down after a group from the parish presented a 129-page report to the Archdiocese of Miami filled with allegations of sexual impropriety against Father Pedro Corces. ‘This unfortunate chain of events has fractured the spirit and unity at this long established parish and school,’ wrote Archbishop Thomas Wenski in a May 26 letter emailed to parents Thursday (May 26) afternoon …But far from calming parents’ concerns, the letter angered the group, which calls itself Christifidelis.” By Ana Veciana Suarez, Miami Herald

Reforming the Roman Catholic Church
Christian Churches are not in good shape today. Reform is urgently needed. Instead, in many parts of Europe, Roman Catholic bishops are destroying local communities…
Roman Catholic bishops in Europe are abolishing local Christian communities: pointing to the shortage of celibate priests, they are closing or amalgamating parishes into larger regional units. Parishioners are told to get used to finding a mass elsewhere – as if Christian faith could be reduced to merely getting to Mass.” By Prof. Werner Jeanrond, Roman Catholic theologian and Master of St. Benet’s Hall, University of Oxford, Oxford Mail, as compiled by Pete Hughes

There is hope for survivors to heal
“Editor's note: This is Part 2 of ‘Hell, hope and healing,’ an NCR four-part series on sexual abuse. You can read the series introduction and Part 1, which are also available at the feature series page ‘Hell, hope and healing.’ Parts 3 and 4 will be published in our print edition first and then posted to our website. ― In the first article of this series, I discussed the commonality and damage of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), including clergy sexual abuse. Here, I focus on the hope that most trauma survivors can heal because of inherent or learned resilience and/or through access to healing resources.” By Mary Gail Frawley-O’Dea

Pope Francis is a master at playing to the crowd. But we won’t get female deacons
“As a kid I loved the Picture Book of the Saints. It was full of feminist icons – Teresa of Avila, Joan of Arc (my confirmation name) and Elizabeth of Hungary. But one of my favorites was Catherine of Siena. She is a doctor of the church, a notable ecclesiologist and a persuader of popes. To quote the Picture Book: Catherine made a special visit to Pope Gregory XI (then living in France) and said ‘Holy Father, God wants the head of the Church to live in Rome. I pray you go there as soon as possible.’ And once again Rome became the home of the Popes. As if a woman could change a pope’s mind that easily. Or can she?” By Kristina Keneally, the Guardian

In Ireland, a ‘silenced’ priest speaks
“If you were to choose a venue for a public talk with Father Tony Flannery, a Redemptorist priest, the old, disused courthouse in the town of Dingle, County Kerry is as apt as any. Flannery sits at a table by the witness stand to speak about 100 years of the church in Ireland during the Feile no Bealthaine, an annual weekend festival held in the town. But he never gets around to that; the public are far too curious about Flannery and the public and personal trials he has faced since 2012.” By Rhona Tarrant, America: The National Catholic Review

‘Liturgy wars’ have gone quiet, but they’ve hardly gone away
“This week, a press release washed up in my in-box from the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), about a recent visit to their offices by a Vatican official. (Its) job is to translate texts for worship. My finger was poised on the delete button, when it suddenly struck me just how remarkable it is that ICEL is no longer a hot potato. Not so long ago, at the peak  of what came to be known as the ‘liturgy wars,’ that definitely wasn’t the case.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

POPE FRANCIS

Pope stands by French cardinal facing abuse cover-up claims
“Pope Francis has voiced support for a French cardinal who has faced allegations of covering up cases of pedophile priests in his Lyon parish, saying he shouldn't resign. Francis said in an interview with French Catholic daily La Croix coming out Tuesday that a resignation of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin ‘would be a mistake, an imprudence.’” By Associated Press on ABCNews.com

Pope’s latest Q&A tackles sex abuse, secularism and deacons
“In a new interview with a French newspaper Pope Francis stirred the waters once again, saying there must be no limit on the Church’s prosecution of sex abuse by priests, defending both secular states and religious freedom, and saying that it’s often a mistake to “clericalize” talented laity by turning them into deacons." By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com
 -- Pope in La Croix interview: the state must respect people’s consciences, By Gerard O’Connell, America: The National Catholic Review

Admiration of Pope Francis in sharp decline, study shows
“Three years into his papacy, a recent study shows global admiration for Pope Francis is in sharp decline. The pontiff fell seven spots in 2016, from sixth down to 13th among the world’s men, the biggest drop for anyone on last year’s list, and is now no longer either the planet’s most admired spiritual leader (the Dali Lama) or even the most admired Argentine (soccer star Lionel Messi).” By Cruxnow.com Staff

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

When smaller is better
(May 24, 2016) “In late November 2015, I journeyed to the palm tree-lined campus of Santa Clara University in California in hopes of seeing the future of the Catholic Church. I wasn’t disappointed. That evening, I participated in a meeting of a small group of students on campus and listened as they eagerly explored questions about God, their faith and its relevance to their everyday.” By Joseph Graham Healey, America: The National Catholic Review

Rome’s treatment of censured Irish priests a ‘great scandal”
“An Irish priest censured by the Vatican has cast doubts that his future or the futures of other clerics in his situation will improve following last week’s meeting between Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) colleagues and bishops. ‘Experience leads me to have little hope or expectation from the meeting,’ Fr. Tony Flannery said. He is among six Irish priests censured by the Vatican in recent years for their more liberal views on issues such as contraception, priesthood, women priests and homosexuality.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

Supreme Court declines to hear Scituate parishioners’ case
“A long and desperate attempt by a group of dedicated Catholic parishioners to keep open their Scituate church — the scene of marriages, baptisms, weddings, and funeral services — came to a halt after nearly 12 years on Monday (May 16) when the US Supreme Court refused to hear their case. The group has kept a constant vigil at St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church since October of 2004, when the Boston Archdiocese announced it would close the church.” By Travis Andersen, Martin Finnucane and John R. Ellement, The Boston Globe
 -- Massachusetts church vigil ending after 11 years, By G. Jeffrey MacDonald, Religion News Service, in America: The National Catholic Review
 -- Occupation of Massachusetts Catholic church to end after 12 years, By Scott Malone, Reuters
 -- An 11-year journey of faith ends in Scituate, By Thomas Farragher, The Boston Globe
 -- A nearly 12-year-long vigil ends, and a Massachusetts church closes, By Jess Bidgood, The New York Times
 -- After 11-year vigil, Massachusetts Catholic church holds final service, By Craig Lemoult, National Public Radio

NUNS

Leader of global sisters’ group envisions Catholic nuns serving as deacons
“Catholic sisters could be of greater service to the church in various parts of the world were they able to ‘go a step further’ and be ordained as deacons, says the leader of the global network of some 500,000 Catholic women religious. ‘Very often in different parts of the world we are doing most of the work that needs to be done,’ said Sr. Carmen Sammut, president of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG).” By Joshua J. McElwee, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

Top nun pushes for greater role for Catholic women
“Catholic sisters globally would be better-equipped to carry out their work if they could become deacons, the head of a global network of nuns has said, an important marker in the sharp debate over women deacons that Pope Francis opened last week. ‘We are already doing so many things that resemble what a deacon would do, although it would help us to do a bit more service if we were ordained deacons,’ Sister Carmen Sammut, president of the International Union of Superiors General, or UISG, told RNS.” By Rosie Scammell, Religion News Service

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

What difference would women deacons make?
“The only reason to restore women to the diaconate is the needs of the church. So, the question is: does the church need women deacons? Oh, no, the chorus responds: they were only used for immersion baptism and we don't do that anymore. Well, not exactly. Women deacons did a lot of other things.” By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter

CHURCH FINANCES

Catholic Church spends $2.1 million lobbying New York politicians to block law changes for historical clerical sex abuse cases to dodge compensation claims
“The Catholic Church in New York has spent $2.1 million lobbying New York politicians to block legislation aimed at allowing victims of historic child sex abuse to get justice. The church is strongly opposed to efforts to remove the statute of limitations, which would allow victims of clerical sex abuse to seek compensation. Under the current New York law, victims of child sex abuse have five years to lodge a claim once they turn 18.” By Darren Boyle, Daily Mail

Catholic diocese of Pittsburgh says church employee stole $220,000 in donations
“A former employee of Good Samaritan Parish in Ambridge who ran up a six-figure casino gambling loss admitted to stealing more than $220,000 from donations for votive candles and the collection plate, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh and Beaver County District Attorney's Office said Friday. Thomas P. Ross, 62, known in the church as Brother Ambrose Ross, was arraigned Friday on three counts of theft and three charges of receiving stolen property.” By Aaron Aupperlee, TribLive.com

Vatican says Italian arrest shows reform is real
“Under Pope Francis, the Vatican has been pursuing financial reform, with the goal, as one senior prelate put it, of making money management ‘boringly successful.’ The recent house arrest of a Roman construction magnate is being touted as proof that the new systems adopted under Francis are working." By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Editorial: Financial reforms need transparency
“It seems counterintuitive, but every time you hear about a financial scandal in the Vatican, that is good news, not bad. It is good news because it shows -- to quote the Vatican's financial watchdog -- that the regulatory system is working. For too long, the church has been racked by financial mismanagement. Now, some will say the basic problem is that clerics shouldn't be put in charge of finances. Because their training is in theology, they lack either the training or the interest in finances to develop the expertise necessary to run multimillion-dollar, multinational organizations and are too easily compromised by incompetent but devout lay advisers or duped by those with nefarious intent.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Vatican administrator Cardinal Calcagno probed for ‘alleged embezzlement’
“Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, the former bishop of the northern city of Savona and the current president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, is under investigation for alleged involvement in embezzlement relating the management of an institute to support the clergy in Liguria, according to press reports on Tuesday (May 17)." By ANSA.it
 -- Cardinal in charge of Vatican real estate faces embezzlement probe, By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Vatican bank: now ‘impossible’ to launder money here
“The head of the Vatican's scandal-marred bank declared Thursday (May 12) it's now ‘impossible to launder money’ there after a years-long cleanup that saw norms imposed to fight money laundering and tax evasion. Jean-Baptiste Douville de Franssu made the claim as the bank reported net profit of 16.1 million euros ($18.3 million) last year, down from 69.3 million euros in 2014. The bank attributed the decrease to lower interest rates and market uncertainties and provisions to fix a foreign tax issue.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Burlington Catholic priest has been on leave since July 2015
“A Catholic priest has been on indefinite leave from his Burlington parish since last summer for misspending more than $23,000 in church funds and comments he made toward staff. The Most Rev. Christopher Coyne, the bishop of Burlington, tells Vermont Public Radio that Fr. Richard O’Donnell was placed on leave from Christ the King-St. Anthony Parish in July 2015. Coyne says a diocesan audit and outside investigation found that O’Donnell didn’t break any laws, but he had a problem with being overly generous with parish money.” By Associated Press in The Washington Times

Fast growing Catholic foundations manage $4.6 billion
“Catholic archdioceses and dioceses across the country have set up 143 legally separate foundations whose combined assets total $4.6 billion, a fast-growing group of asset owners, many of them with little transparency, underserved and ripe for outreach for investment management services, said Walter J. Dillingham, who researched the market.” By Barry B. Burr, Pensions & Investments

Ayrshire Catholic priest faces jail for embezzlement
“A Catholic priest who stole £96,000 in two months from his Ayrshire parish is facing jail. Fr Graeme Bell, 41, left St Mary's (Our Lady, Star of the Sea) in Saltcoats last June after financial irregularities were reported to police.” By BBC News
 -- Priest pleads guilty to embezzling £100,000 of parish funds for gambling spree, By Gerry Braiden, The Herald Scotland

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Catholic Church spent $2 million on major N.Y. lobbying firms to block child-sex law reform
“Not leaving it to divine chance, the state Catholic Conference has turned in recent years to some of Albany’s most well-connected and influential lobby firms to help block a bill that would make it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek justice. The Catholic Conference, headed by Timothy Cardinal Dolan, has used Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker, Patricia Lynch & Associates, Hank Sheinkopf, and Mark Behan Communications to lobby against the Child Victims Act as well as for or against other measures.” By Kenneth Lovett, New York Daily News

Legionaries could be role models on fighting sex abuse
“Both in the Catholic Church as well as in individual lives, sometimes the area where one becomes truly great is the same place where once you failed badly and got burned. Theologically speaking, grace redeems what was once the place of darkness. Conversion isn’t just about overcoming vices, but making space for God’s grace to turn them into virtues.” By Austen Ivereigh, Cruxnow.com

Pope Francis meets with French archbishop accused of covering up for priest charged with sex crimes
“Pope Francis on Friday (May 20) came under fire for meeting Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the Archbishop of Lyon suspected of covering up for a paedophile priest in a scandal that has rocked the Church in France. ‘There was a meeting, nothing out of the ordinary,’ Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told AFP, without revealing the purpose or content of the talks.” By Agence France-Press in Straits Times

Bishops appoint new members to abuse oversight board
“Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) named two new members to the National Review Board and reappointed its chairman for the next four-year term, 2016-2020, beginning in June.” USCCB News Release in National Catholic Reporter

James Williams, ex-Chaminade president, investigated for sex abuse
“The Marianist order has suspended a former longtime president of Chaminade High School from functioning as a priest after allegations of sexual abuse involving a former student were found to be ‘credible,’ the order said. The Rev. James Williams, who resigned in 2011 after 12 years as president of the prestigious all-boys Catholic institution in Mineola, has ‘completely denied’ the allegations, but a ‘vigorous, thorough and comprehensive investigation’ conducted by the order ‘deemed them to be credible,’ the group said in a statement posted Friday (May 13) on Chaminade’s website.” By Bart Jones, Newsday
 -- Long Island priest suspended amid allegations, By Zolan Kanno-Youngs, The Wall Street Journal

ALABAMA

Closing arguments wrap up in sexual abuse trial of former priest
“During closing arguments, the prosecution argued this case is solely about the child under the age of 12 that David Stone is accused of sexually abusing. Prosecutors said Stone inappropriately touched the victim on his bottom on multiple occasions.” By WVTM-TV

CALIFORNIA

Catholic priest sentenced in child porn
“A Catholic priest with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno has been sentenced, following a ‘No Contest’ plea for child pornography possession charges. The Diocese released a statement Tuesday (May 24) afternoon, announcing the news involving Robert E. Gamel. Gamel, according to the statement released by the Diocese, Gamel pled ‘No Contest’ to felony charges of possessing child pornography, on March 11.” By YourCentralValley.com

CONNECTICUT

Lawsuit alleging abuse by former Meriden priest heads to settlement conference
“A settlement conference on sexual abuse claims against a former St. Stanislaus Church assistant pastor is scheduled this week in U.S. District Court in New Haven. The case is the third sexual assault on a minor claim against the Rev. Stephen Bzdyra, who served as assistant pastor at the Akron Street, Meriden church from 1979 to 1985. Bzdrya also had claims filed by men who said they were abused while he served at St. Francis Church in New Haven, and as a deacon at St. Hedwig Church in Naugatuck.” By Mary Ellen Godin Record-Journal

ILLINOIS

Beiser sponsors measures to eliminate statute of limitations on sex crimes
“State Rep. Dan Beiser, D-Alton, is co-sponsoring a package of legislative proposals backed by the Illinois Attorney General to eliminate various statues of limitation on sex crimes. ‘Sex crimes, especially those against minors, are some of the most heinous offenses imaginable,’ said Beiser. ‘These bills will help to support victims of sex crimes by removing the current statute of limitations so that offenders can be punished, even if they are convicted years after their offense occurred.’” By RiverBender.com

KENTUCKY

Owensboro Catholic diocese suspends priest amid abuse allegations
“The Diocese of Owensboro has suspended a priest who pastors churches in Daviess and Ohio counties, after church officials received an accusation that the priest had allegedly sexually abused a juvenile. The Rev. Gerald Baker, 59, who is priest for St. Mary of the Woods Catholic Church in Whitesville and St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Fordsville, was suspended May 6 while an investigation into the complaint takes place, the Most Rev. William Medley, bishop of the Diocese of Owensboro, said during a press conference Wednesday (May 18).” By James Mayse, Messenger-Inquirer

MASSACHUSETTS

Another priest with Haverhill ties accused of child sex abuse
“Another Catholic priest with Haverhill ties has been accused of sexually abusing a child. Mitchell Garabedian, lawyer who has brought civil suits against several priests and the Archdiocese of Boston, has filed a civil suit against the Rev. Arnold Kelley, an elderly priest who lived and served at All Saints Parish in Haverhill for several years.” By Lawrence Eagle Tribune

MICHIGAN

Catholic priest in abuse scandal resigns from pregnancy center
“A Catholic priest who was removed in 2009 from churches after allegations he abused a teen girl has resigned from a center for pregnant teens in Eastpointe that he cofounded, Catholic officials said this week. The Rev. Kenneth Kaucheck, 69, was the cofounder, development director and a board member of Gianna House, a new Catholic center to help teen girls who are pregnant. But after recent reports on his position there, officials with the center and the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit now are saying he has resigned and no longer works there.” By Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press

MINNESOTA

St. Cloud Diocese: 74 sexual abuse claims made under Child Victims Act
“The Diocese of St. Cloud says a total of 74 claims were made against the diocese under the Minnesota Child Victims Act. The Act created by the State Legislature lifted for three years the civil statute of limitations for allegations of past sexual abuse of minors. The window for filing claims ended on Wednesday. The claims name 31 members of the clergy who served in the diocese. Thirty parishes are named in the claims; the diocese has 131 parishes.” By Jim Maurice, WJON.com

St. Paul archdiocese plan offers $65 million to creditors
“The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on Thursday (May 26) filed a bankruptcy reorganization plan that would set up a trust fund of more than $65 million to compensate some 440 clergy abuse victims plus other creditors, with just over half of that amount coming from insurance. The plan would also create a $500,000 fund to pay for counseling and incorporate the terms of a settlement reached with Ramsey County in December that allows for greater legal oversight of the archdiocese over the next three years, with the goal of changing its organizational culture to ensure that no more children are abused.” By Steve Karnowski, Associated Press
 -- Archdiocese, creditors clash over bankruptcy assets, By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter
 -- A Twin Cities Catholic’s open letter to the new archbishop, By Zach Czaia, Star Tribune

New Prague parish faces priest abuse lawsuit
“A New Prague parish is being sued by a victim who alleges he was sexually abused by a priest in the 1960s. Minneapolis attorney Patrick Noaker filed a civil complaint on behalf of the victim on Monday (May 23) in Le Sueur County District Court. It alleges the victim was sexually abused when he was 12 by the Rev. Louis Heitzer in 1965 at St. Scholastica Parish in Heidelberg.” By Leah Buletti, Mankato Free Press

The latest: archbishop says archdiocese disclosed all assets
“The archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis says his archdiocese has cooperated fully in bankruptcy proceedings and has disclosed all its assets. Archbishop Bernard Hebda responded Tuesday (May 24) to accusations from attorneys who say the church is sheltering more than $1 billion in assets to avoid big payouts to abuse survivors as part of the church's bankruptcy case. The attorneys say the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has some $1.7 billion in assets — far more than the $49 million it lists in a filing this week.” By Associated Press in Clay Center Dispatch
 -- Creditors: Minnesota archdiocese sitting on $1.7 billion dollars, By Steve Karnowski, Associated Press

With abuse law ending, Diocese of Winona faces uncertain future
“On May 31, 1958, Thomas Paul Adamson was ordained a priest for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Winona. More than a half-century later, the Diocese of Winona has received 36 accusations of child sexual abuse by Adamson, one of 17 men who served as priests in the diocese who have substantiated claims against them of sexually abusing a minor.” By Jerome Christenson, Winona Daily News

MISSISSIPPI

Priest who served in Bilioxi Diocese sent to prison for sex abuse
“A Catholic priest who once served in the Diocese of Biloxi has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for the sexual abuse of a child, the Laurel Leader-Call is reporting. A judge also ordered Jose Vazquez deported, the paper said.” By Sun Herald

Catholic diocese with history of cover-ups caught protecting priest accused of child abuse
“Rev. Gregory Yacyshyn, the pastor of St. Jude Church on Long Island is the target of a lawsuit against the diocese, alleging he is a ‘public nuisance.’ The suit claims there is a history of the church covering up priest sexual abuse and allowing child molesters to live openly in the community. The Rockville Centre Diocese spokesman says these claims lack of ‘credible allegations’ and he believes the community is safe, according to the New York Daily News. The key decision maker in keeping Yacyshyn in the pulpit is Bishop William Murphy, who is a vocal opponent of the Child Victims Act.” By Sarah K. Burns, RawStory.com

N.Y. bizman wants to spend $100G against senators to help child sex-abuse victims: ‘kids are still getting abused every day’
“An upstate investor who was molested as a child in the 1960s says he’s prepared to spend $100,000 or more against incumbent state senators from both parties who refuse to support legislation to help child sexual assault victims. Gary Greenberg, who lives in New Baltimore, Greene County, and is a minority owner of the casino, hotel and racetrack Vernon Downs, told the Daily News he can’t understand why the Legislature won’t act to give adults who were victimized as children more time to bring criminal and civil cases against their abusers.” By Kenneth Lovett, New York Daily News
 -- Bill would give those abused their day in court, By Letters to the Editor, Times Union

N.Y. child sex abuse laws must change in order to protect and give aide to victims
“New York has some of the toughest-sounding sex crime laws in America — yet the Legislature has stitched the statutes with technicalities that protect both those who victimize children and institutions like schools and churches that have served as enablers. The hidden and grotesque nature of the laws has come into focus in the two months since the Daily News discovered that an exceedingly tight statute of limitations barred prosecutors from charging an alleged serial abuser with victimizing numerous foster children.” Editorial by New York Daily News
 -- Advocates blast Gov. Cuomo for not backing legislation to extend statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims, By Dan Rivoli and Stephen Rex Brown, New York Daily Post
 -- Timothy Cardinal Dolan ripped for delaying talk on child sex abuse, By Michael O’Keefe, New York Daily News

OHIO

Former Catholic priest convicted of raping boy loses appeal
“A former Catholic priest and attorney serving a life sentence for raping an eight-year-old boy lost another appeal Friday (May 13), as a federal appeals court tossed his attempts to question the strategy of his previous attorneys.” By Eric Heisig, Cleveland.com

PENNSYLVANIA

Child sex abuse bill focus of legislator’s panel
“Nearly 24 hours after priests in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia convened for meetings with Archbishop Charles Chaput, a state representative who claims he was abused as a child by a priest is hosting a panel for legislators on a bill that would expand the statute of limitations for filing lawsuits against suspected abusers and institutions that allegedly protected them." By Patti Mengers, Delaware County Daily Times
 -- Supporters, critics begin the battle over Pennsylvania sex abuse bill, By Maria Panaritis, PhillyNews.com
 -- Pensylvania lawmakers expect battle with church over child sex abuse bill, By Joe Holden CBS News Philadelphia
 -- Archbishop hires PR firm to battle child sex abuse statute of limitations reform legislation, By Courtncy M. Soliday, Huffington Post

With abuse bill looming, Chaput calls priest meeting
“Archbishop Charles Chaput has called all Catholic priests from southeastern Pennsylvania to meetings Tuesday (May 17) to discuss proposed state legislation - as lawmakers in Harrisburg this week consider a bill that for the first time would allow some victims of child sex abuse to sue their attackers and the institutions that employed them.” By Maria Panaritis, Philly.com

‘Inquiries’ into sex-abuse allegations going beyond Altoona-Johnstown diocese
“State investigators are conducting ‘inquiries’ into child-abuse allegations in Roman Catholic dioceses beyond Altoona-Johnstown, which was the subject of a hard-hitting grand jury report in March, Bruce Castor, solicitor general in the attorney general's office, said Friday (May 13). The grand jury report said nearly 50 priests molested hundreds of children over several decades in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese. Castor's statement in an interview with the Tribune-Review is the first public acknowledgement by Attorney General Kathleen Kane's office that other allegations are getting a serious review.” By Brad Bumsted, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

WASHINGTON

Six new sex abuse lawsuits filed against Seattle Archdiocese
Six new child sex abuse lawsuits have been filed against the Seattle Archdiocese. The Seattle attorneys who filed the lawsuits say more abuse survivors came forward after the Catholic church released the names of 77 people against which credible allegations have been made. They allege they were abused at various parishes and schools across the Seattle Archdiocese from the late 1950s to the late 1980s. In each lawsuit, they claim the Archdiocese knew or should have known that the abuse posed a danger to children, but did not protect them.” By Associated Press in Chinook Observer

AUSTRALIA

Maitland Newcastle Catholic priest David O’Hearn after being found guilty of child sex offences
“Catholic priest David O’Hearn is in custody awaiting sentence after being found guilty of more than 40 child sex offences against six victims after a fight that has gone all the way to the High Court. A jury on Friday (May 19) found him not guilty of three offences against one boy, after separate juries in 2015 and earlier this year found him guilty of 44 offences against six other boys, including sexual intercourse, indecent assault and inciting a minor to commit an indecent act.” By Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald

Catholic suspected pedophiles allowed to continue teaching, despite complaints
“Catholic officials knowingly allowed two suspected paedophiles, including one of NSW's worst, to continue teaching unpunished, eventually putting St Edmund's College students at risk for a decade. One cover-up involved a Marist Brothers principal in Sydney, who was aware that now-notorious child predator Brother Francis "Romuald" Cable was abusing boys, but failed to report him to police.” By Christopher Knaus, The Canberra Times

CANADA

Special report: Priest admits to sexual abuse for first time in Citizen interview
“A retired Catholic priest admitted, in an interview with the Citizen, that he sexually abused three young parishioners at Ottawa’s Holy Cross Parish in the 1970s and ’80s. Rev. Barry McGrory said he was a sex addict who suffered from a powerful attraction to adolescents, both male and female.” By Andrew Duffy, Ottawa Citizen
 -- Special report: Insurance lawsuit reveals secrets of Ottawa’s clergy abuse scandal, By Andrew Duffy, Ottawa Sun
 -- Ottawa diocese repeatedly warned about local clergy’s most notorious abuser, By Andrew Duffy, Ottawa Citizen
 -- Abuse victim speaks for first time, demands to know why priest not defrocked, By Andrew Duffy, Ottawa Sun

Priest guilty of trying to lure girl
“A Catholic priest entered a guilty plea Friday (May 6), court records show, to trying to lure a 14-year-old girl into his car as she was walking home from school in Vancouver’s Image neighborhood. Michael T. Patrick, 59, the former pastor of St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Scappoose, Ore., entered the plea in Clark County Superior Court to attempted luring but did not admit to the conduct. Patrick initially faced a charge of luring in connection with the 2014 incident.” By Jessica Prokop, The Columbian

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Alleged victims of Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing girls ‘all gave similar accounts’
“The alleged victims of a Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing nine young girls over four decades all gave similar accounts of his behavior a court has heard. Canon Mortimer Stanley, 84, who is also accused of indecently assaulting an altar boy, was parish priest at St Vincent De Paul RC Church, in Norden from 1977 to 2002.” By Nick Statham, Manchester Evening News

Former Roman Catholic priest arrested in Kosovo in connection with child abuse sex allegations
“Police in Kosovo have arrested a former Roman Catholic priest from Britain in connection with historical child sex abuse allegations. Lawrence Soper was detained in the west of the country. The allegations relate to offences allegedly carried out when he was abbot at a private Catholic school in London in the 90's.” By BreakingNews.ie
 -- Missing former Benedictine abbot arrested in Kosovo, By Christopher Lamb, Vatican Insider, La Stampa

Retired Catholic priest on Rochdale child sex assaults trial
“A retired priest sexually abused nine young girls and a boy over the course of four decades, a court has heard. Father Mortimer Stanley, 84, denies 19 counts of indecent assault said to have been committed between 1977 and 2002.” By BBC News

GUAM

52-year-old Agat man alleges archbishop molested him
“52-year-old Roy Taitague Quintanilla formerly of Agat tells his story before media on Tuesday (May 17) morning. As an alter server at Mt Carmel Church in Agat, Quintanilla alleges Archbishop Anthony Apuron, who was a priest at the time, molested him. Quintanilla has retained Attorney David Lujan and following the press conference, hand delivered his letter to the Chancery in Agana Heights.” By Sabrina Salas Matanane, KUAM News
 -- Head of Catholic Church in Guam accused of sexual abuse, By ABC News Australia
 -- Alleged victim responds to archbishop’s denial of abuse, By Jacqueline Perry Guzman, The Guam Daily Post
 -- Member of Guam church’s sex-abuse board says he believes claims against archbishop, By Jasmine Stole, Guam Daily News
 -- Resignations in Guam over sex abuse allegations, By RadioNZ.co.nz
 -- Mother of second alleged victim of archbishop speaks, victims respond, By Joelle Casteix, The Worthy Adversary

Catholic group hopes to find sex abuse victims
“The Concerned Catholics of Guam (CCOG) hope to find victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy with their full-page ad in local print media. The ad has two phone numbers to contact the organization confidentially, but does not provide information on the kind of help the organization will provide … Because of the ad, an undisclosed number of people have come forward and some have also led other victims to the group. ‘More than one victim (knows) of others and some don’t want to go public. They still are suffering from the damage,’ (CCOG supporter Tim) Rohr said.” By Johanna Salinas, Guam Post

IRELAND

Alleged victim says Irish Catholic priest sedated him with chloroform before abusing him
“AN Irish Catholic priest is on trial for sexually abusing 10 children over four decades while based at a parish in Manchester. Limerick-born Canon Mortimer Stanley, 84, was based at the St Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church in Norden, Rochdale at the time the alleged abuse took place. He has since returned to Ireland. Now living in Ballybunion, Co. Kerry, he denies 19 counts of indecent assault said to have been committed between 1977 and 2002.” By Jo O’Reilly, The Irish Post

Irish priest dubbed ‘a celebrity in playground’ sexually abused nine young girls over four decades, court hears
“A ‘godlike’ Catholic priest dubbed ‘a celebrity in the playground’ sexually abused nine young girls over four decades, a court has heard. Many of the schoolchildren were said not to have complained about Father Mortimer Stanley, 84, at the time, because of the ‘very high regard’ he was held in by parishioners and teachers. The priest allegedly targeted the complainants - who he called his ‘special girls’ - in his presbytery at St Vincent de Paul RC Church in Norden, Rochdale, where he would sit them on his knee and indecently assault them in various ways.” By Irish Independent

NEW ZEALAND

Predator priests and pay outs – why the church investigates its own
“Every surface in Sonja Cooper's Wellington office is swamped with boxes full of secrets. Each wall is lined with folders, and her shelves are stacked with cartons full of the worst memories of more than 700 New Zealanders' lives. But the human rights lawyer cannot talk about what's in the boxes. The hundreds of victims whose complaints Cooper's legal firm on the Terrace is handling all claim to have suffered abuse while in state care sometime between the 1940s and 1993.” By Talia Shadwell and Shane Cowlishaw, Stuff.co.nz