Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

Voice of the Faithful Focus, Mar. 3, 2017

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

TOP STORIES

Abuse victim quits Vatican Commission, citing ‘resistance’
“A high-profile member of a commission advising Pope Francis on ways to protect minors from sexual abuse by the clergy resigned from the panel on Wednesday Mar. 1, citing what she called ‘cultural resistance’ from the Vatican. Marie Collins, who was molested by a priest in Ireland when she was 13, expressed frustration over what she called reluctance among the Roman Catholic Church’s hierarchy to implement the commission’s recommendations — even those approved by the pope.” By Elisabetta Povoledo and Gaia Pianigiani (Story quotes Voice of the Faithful)
 -- Sole abuse survivor on a Vatican sex-abuse panel quits, By Lisa Wangsness, The Boston Globe (Story quotes Voice of the Faithful)

Pope quietly trims sanctions for sex abusers seeking mercy
“Pope Francis has quietly reduced sanctions against a handful of pedophile priests, applying his vision of a merciful church even to its worst offenders in ways that survivors of abuse and the pope's own advisers question. One case has come back to haunt him: An Italian priest who received the pope's clemency was later convicted by an Italian criminal court for his sex crimes against children as young as 12. The Rev. Mauro Inzoli is now facing a second church trial after new evidence emerged against him.” By Nicole Whitfield, Associated Press
 -- Survivors denounce handling of Peru abuse case, By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com
 -- Is Francis actually backsliding on punishing abuse? By Michael Sean Winters, Cruxnow.com

‘Criminally negligent’: Catholic archbishops criticize church’s handling of abuse scandal
“Australia’s most senior Catholic leaders have conceded that the church’s handling of the child sexual abuse crisis was ‘hopelessly inadequate,’ had catastrophic consequences, and amounted to ‘criminal negligence,’ Five of Australia’s metropolitan archbishops appeared before the child abuse royal commission and were asked to explain how the church had allowed the abuse of at least 4,444 children between 1980 and 2015.” By Christopher Knaus, The Guardia

An opportunity for deep reform in the church
‘Sad to admit, the evidence is clear that the church in Australia is sick to its institutional core. It has a nasty, though treatable cancer that is being fed by a pervasive clericalism’ … Australia might also become a test bed for what needs repair and how it can be done in the Catholic Church. The facts are friendly. Those reported in La Croix International by Frank Brennan on Feb 14 are staggering statistics. Some of them are new and some are have been in the public domain for some years.” By Peter Day, La Croix International
 -- The Catholic wrap-up at the Australian government’s abuse inquiry, By Frank Brennan, La Croix International

Cardinal Burke presides over trial investigating Guam archbishop
“Cardinal Raymond Burke, a church law expert and former head of the Vatican's highest court, arrived in Guam Feb. 15 as the presiding judge in a church trial investigating allegations of sexual abuse leveled against Archbishop Anthony Apuron of Agana. The Vatican press office confirmed a ‘tribunal of the first instance’ was constituted by the Vatican Oct. 5 and its presiding judge is Cardinal Burke.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic New Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Founder steps down while SNAP considers new directions
“In a matter of weeks, an extreme makeover changed the face of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). Gone is David Clohessy, its national director and the relentless force behind the group’s advocacy efforts. Gone is Barbara Blaine, its president and the former Catholic Worker … What remains, SNAP says, is its wide network of volunteer leaders who perform “the vast majority” of its work outside public view, as well as its longstanding commitment to survivors of sexual abuse.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

ACCOUNTABILITY

Vatican abuse commission expresses frustration to Australian Royal Commission
“On March 1, Marie Collins, the only abuse survivor on Pope Francis' Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, resigned because ‘what was happening behind closed doors was in conflict with what was being said to the public.’ On Feb. 23, three other members of the Pontifical Commission, Baroness Sheila Hollins of Great Britain, Bill Kilgallon from New Zealand and Kathleen McCormack from Australia gave evidence in a panel to the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and expressed their frustration with the Vatican.” By Kieran Tapsell, National Catholic Reporter

New Catholic standards body to crack down on clergy
“A newly established national oversight body for the Catholic church will have the power to publicly name dioceses or religious orders which fail to meet its robust standards, a royal commission has heard. The inquiry was told the new body, Catholic Professional Standards (CPS) Ltd, will also give bishops the authority to penalize priests who do not to comply with the new benchmarks.” By Rachel Browne, The Age
 -- Catholic church claims ‘seismic shift’ after child sexual abuse scandals, By Australian Associated Press in The Guardian
 -- Catholic church’s child protection body would have broad secrecy powers, inquiry told, By Christopher Knaus, The Guardian

Defrocked priest appears in court in Main on 29 sex counts
“A former Roman Catholic priest who spent more than a decade in a Massachusetts prison for raping an altar boy has made an initial court appearance in Maine on 29 counts of sexual misconduct.” By Associated Press on WWLP-TV

Vatican tribunal moves on to Hawaii
“The Vatican tribunal led by Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, which came to Guam last week to investigate sex abuse allegations against Archbishop Anthony Apuron, is in Hawaii to hear testimony from former Agat Parish altar boy Roy Quintanilla, according to a document The Guam Daily Post has received.” By Neil Pang, The Guam Daily Post

POPE FRANCIS

Pope Francis opens door to Communion for Catholics in irregular marriages
“In the post-synod exhortation on the family, Pope Francis made it possible for Catholics in non-legitimate unions, including civil remarriage after divorce, to receive the Eucharist under certain conditions, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, the Vatican’s top legal expert, affirmed.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

Pope Francis seeks forgiveness from clergy abuse victims
“Pope Francis has condemned clerical sex abuse as an ‘absolute monstrosity’ and asked victims and their families for forgiveness on behalf of the Catholic church. In an unusual move, the pontiff’s comments were published as a preface to a new book by Daniel Pittet, a Swiss victim who was sexually abused for four years by a priest when he was a child. ‘How can a priest in the service of Christ and his church cause so much evil?’ the pope said. ‘This is an absolute monstrosity, a horrendous sin, completely opposed to what Christ teaches us.’” By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

CARDINALS

Council of cardinals weighs reorganization of Vatican tribunals
“The deputy director of the Holy See Press Office, Paloma García Ovejero, this morning (Feb. 15) gave a briefing on the eighteenth meeting of the Council of Cardinals with the Holy Father … On 13 February, after the first consultations, the Cardinals issued the following declaration through the Holy See Press Office …” By Holy See Press Office

Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors

Here is more coverage on the resignation March 1 of Marie Collins from the papal commission to protect children from clergy sexual abuse:
 -- Lone survivor on Vatican abuse commission resigns in frustration, By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
 -- Exclusive – Survivor explains decision to leave Vatican’s abuse commission, By Marie Collins in National Catholic Reporter
 -- Irish abuse victim lashes out at Vatican bureaucracy as she quits panel, Religion News Service
 -- Marie Collins resigns from Vatican child protection body, By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times
 -- Abuse survivor quits Vatican’s child protection panel, By BBC News
 -- Why survivor’s exit from papal panel may be a blessing in disguise, By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com
 -- Survivor says she quit pope’s anti-abuse panel over frustrations with Curia, By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Pope’s abuse advisory group ‘underfunded’
“Pope Francis' child sexual abuse advisory group is under-resourced and struggling to carry out its work, a royal commission sitting in Sydney has heard. Members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors on Thursday (Feb.23) agreed the Catholic Church was still struggling to deal with its child safety responsibilities. Australian commission member Kathleen McCormack said underfunding, infrequent meetings, and structural and cultural barriers were hampering the group's work.” By Rebekah, Ison, Australian Associate Press, on new.com.au

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

In new portrait of Catholic parishes, changing demographics but continued strength
“Catholic researchers have published a detailed new study of U.S. parishes in hopes of strengthening an increasingly complex church that is short on cash. Based on reams of data from national polls and surveys of Catholics, their new book, ‘Catholic Parishes of the 21st Century,’ investigates, among other trends, the church’s changing demographics, the continued decline in the number of priests and the rise in lay ecclesial ministers.” By Laruen Markoe, Religion News Service

Refugees, sex abuse and gender all global Catholic concerns
“With a strong media focus on Pope Francis and the Church's reaction to Donald Trump, it's sometimes easy to forget Catholicism is a worldwide faith of 1.2 billion people. Here's a roundup of issues facing the Church around the world, from Venezuela and Argentina to Israel and the UK. By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

“AMORIS LAETITIA”

Europe’s bishops still at odds over how to apply ‘Amoris Laetitia’
“When Germany's Catholic bishops released a pastoral letter Feb. 1, urging sympathetic pastoral approaches to marriage and family problems, there were hopes it might signal a coherent European church response to the Pope Francis' much-discussed apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia. Just one day later, however, a bishop in neighboring Switzerland took a very different position, telling his priests to stick to traditional Catholic teaching on ‘the perfect ideal of marriage.’ With divisions running deep, many European Catholics are unsure which direction their spiritual leaders are now likely to take on key issues such as the granting of Communion to the divorced and remarried.” By Jonathan Luxmoore, National Catholic Reporter

A conversation about Amoris Laetitia
“A friend of mine writes from England, asking me for my take on Amoris Laetitia. Here is my reply: Unfortunately I’m really not much use here. I have more or less tuned out the many kerfuffles about Francis and this is one of them. What little I have gleaned is that this is controversy about a pastoral document that was deliberately intended to allow as much flexibility as possible to pastors and which presented to enemies of the pope their hoped-for shot at suggesting he is heterodox.” By Mark Shea, The Catholic Weekly

Vatican canon law official explains provisions of ‘Amoris Laetitia’
“The provisions of ‘Amoris Laetitia’ allow people in irregular marriage situations access to the sacraments only if they recognize their situation is sinful and desire to change it, according to the cardinal who heads the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. The fact that such a couple also believes changing the situation immediately by splitting up would cause more harm and forgoing sexual relations would threaten their current relationship does not rule out the possibility of receiving sacramental absolution and Communion, said Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the pontifical council that is charged with interpreting canon law.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

CELIBACY

It’s not celibacy, but a distorted view of it that leads to abuse
“In the wake of Australian revelations about the scope of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, some will once again wonder if celibacy is to blame. In reality, the problem isn't celibacy itself, but a distorted understanding of the call which led some priests to go disastrously astray.” By Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Cruxnow.com

VOICES

Jesus must be reinterpreted: Jesuit General
“In an interview with a Swiss newspaper, the Jesuit Superior General, Venezuelan Arturo Sosa Abascal, said the words Jesus spoke were expressed in a language and setting that needed to be contextualized, ‘Settimo Cielo’ reports. Fr Sosa who is said to be very close to Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was speaking to the Swiss vaticanista Giuseppe Rusconi for the blog ‘Rossoporpora’ and for the ‘Giornale del Popolo’ of Lugano." By CathNews.com

Who’s listening to the victims of pedophile priests
Interview with Matthias Katsch, the founder and spokesperson for the ECKIGER TISCH (Squared Table), and a member of the German Council of Survivors, working alongside the German Parliament.” By Agata Diduszko-Zyglewska

COUNCIL OF CARDINALS

Amid controversy, council of cardinals backs Pope Francis
“In the wake of several contentious events surrounding the Vatican recently, Pope Francis’ advisory board in his ongoing reform of the Roman Curia affirmed their support of the Pope and his work … ‘In relation to recent events, the Council of Cardinals expresses its full support of the work of the Pope, while ensuring full adhesion and support to his person and his Magisterium,’ it (a Vatican communique) added.” By Hannah Brockhaus, Cruxnow.com

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Apostolic visitation brought dialogue with Rome, new unity of women religious with laity
“Leaders of some of the congregations of women religious invited to Rome last year for further discussion of the apostolic visitation in the United States told Global Sisters Report they considered their trips constructive and a sign of better relations with Rome. ‘The conversation really did feel respectful and gracious,’ said Sr. Mary McKay, a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet who is on the community's leadership team and made the trip to Rome in October. ‘They didn't just talk at us. They really listened and asked us if there were other things wanted to talk about. We were all pleased by the experience and felt it was an experience of grace.’” By Dan Stockman, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

The role of women in the Catholic Church: Two feminist scholars debate
“Erika Bachiochi, fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and Doctor Mary Anne Case, law professor at the University of Chicago, had a lively debate in Colorado on the role of women in the Catholic Church and how it coincides and clashes. The two scholars clashed on many issues from women priests to gender identity.” By Maggie Maslak, Cruxnow.com

CHURCH FINANCES

Banker accused of using Vatican to rig markets
“Magistrates in Italy have frozen millions of euros worth of assets of an Italian banker who is believed to have used the Vatican bank for market manipulation, Reuters reports … Magistrates accuse him (Giampietro Nattino, head of Banca Finnat Euramerica SpA) of market manipulation and providing false information to Consob, Italy's stock regulator.” By CathNews.com
 -- Vatican froze two million euros in suspect funds in 2016, By Philip Pullella, Reuters

Vatican court continues investigating possible cases of money laundering
“While the trial of five people accused of leaking confidential Vatican financial documents captured headlines in 2016, the Vatican City court also continued investigating possible financial crimes, freezing more than $2.1 million in assets deposited at the Vatican bank. Gian Piero Milano, promoter of justice at the Vatican City court, summarized the city-state’s judicial activity Feb. 18.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Lawyer criticizes child abuse inquiry for not safeguarding evidence
“The national child abuse inquiry has been criticized by a prominent lawyer representing victims for failing to seize potentially vital caches of evidence before they are destroyed. In a letter to the inquiry, London solicitor Imran Khan has called for records from Catholic treatment centers for problem priests, Lambeth council and even the Boston Globe newspaper – which investigated clerical abuse in the USA – to be secured.” By Owen Bowcott, The Guardian

Is the Catholic Church guilty of crimes against humanity?
“The Catholic Church, which has presided over a decades-long international cover-up of countless cases, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of child rape and other sexual abuse is arguably guilty of crimes against humanity.” By Michael Short, The Age

The Catholic Church must show leadership for abuse survivors
“Extraordinary details have continued to emerge at The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse about the extent of sexual abuse and alleged perpetrators within the Catholic Church, as well as compensation paid … Sadly, the struggle for survivors seeking access to compensation is a tale we have heard all too often when it comes to the Catholic Church -- whether this is sought through the Towards Healing process or directly through a diocese or affiliated organization.” By Michelle James, Huffington Post

Priest who denied a duty to report abuse faces abuse charges
“Monsignor Tony Anatrella, a prominent French priest and psychoanalyst who stirred controversy in 2015 when he advised newly appointed Catholic bishops that they were not obligated to report sex abuse allegations to the police, now faces a Church legal procedure for abuse charges himself. Anatrella has strongly denied the abuse allegations, suggesting in the past that he’s become a target because of his critical views and writings on homosexuality.” By Cruxnow.com Staff

New Sodalit report details severe sexual, psychological abuse
“A two-part report made public on Tuesday (Feb. 14) details sexual, physical and psychological abuses committed by members of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, both those who have left the community and those who remain in it. In addition to the movement’s founder, Luis Fernando Figari, four other Sodalits were reported to have sexually abused minors. The report named the other offenders, none of whom are still part of the community.” By Catholic News Agency on Cruxnow.com

Vatican asked to speed up abuse discipline
“The Vatican has been asked to change a system which sees just 12 people decide the Catholic Church's disciplinary process for child sex abusing priests from around the world. Teresa Devlin, the chief executive of Ireland's National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, says it takes at least two years for Rome's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to reach an outcome after a case has been referred.” By Australian Associated Press on 9News.com.au

To limit clergy abuse, look at model of business accountability
“In a wide-ranging discussion, members of Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and experts called to testify discussed how good business practices might or might not make children less vulnerable. The hearing included discussion of church governance, celibacy and what seminarians are being taught about power and leadership.” By Catholic News Service on CatholicPhilly.com

Making sense of abuse statistics
“The newspaper headlines this week have not been kind to the Catholic Church, writes Michael Cook at MercatorNet. The statistics are cold numbers but behind them are horrifying stories of abuse by men (they are nearly all men) and women consecrated to God. They are deplorable and inexcusable and cry out to the Almighty for redress. The lives of many innocent children have been ruined. While all Catholics, and especially their bishops, have to bear the burden of shame for this abominable sexual abuse, the Church still deserves to be treated fairly, on the basis of the facts.” By CathNews.com

Catholic Church’s ‘pontifical secret’ stops disclosure of sex abuse allegations, expert says
“The Catholic church’s ‘pontifical secret’ rule is still preventing bishops from disclosing child sexual abuse allegations in some states, an expert has said. The royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse on Thursday (Feb. 9, 2017) began to examine how canon law contributes to the secrecy surrounding child abuse within the Catholic church.” By Christopher Knaus, The Guardian
 -- Vatican enforces Church ‘secrecy,’ royal commission hears, By Rhian Deutrom, The Australian
 -- Child abuse royal commission to see report suppressed by Catholic Church, By Hamish Fitzsimmons, ABC New Australia
 -- Catholic church underpaid sex abuse victims, By Rachel Browne, The Sydney Morning Herald

CALIFORNIA

Priest abuse lawsuit singles out diocese of orange, All American Boys Choir founder
“In response to a recent lawsuit filed in Orange County alleging that a priest, who was the founder of the All American Boys Chorus, was allowed to sexually prey on children for years, Diocese of Orange officials Wednesday (Feb. 15) said he never worked in the county. The lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court on Feb. 3 does not specify a defendant, but it refers to a priest, chorus and Diocese.” By California Patch Staff

CONNECTICUT

Archdiocese of Hartford sued for alleged sexual abuse by former Guilford priest
“The Archdiocese of Hartford has been sued by a former altar boy, claiming he was sexually abused by a priest who served three parishes in Greater New Haven. The Rev. Daniel McSheffery has been accused of abusing the man, now 49 years old, between 1977 and 1982 when McSheffery was pastor of St. George Roman Catholic Church in Guilford.” By Ed Stannard, New Haven Register

DELAWARE

Catholic priest gets prison for producing child porn
“A former U.S. Navy chaplain and Catholic priest from Millsboro has been sentenced to 30 years in prison and lifetime supervision for taking pornographic pictures of a teen boy, according to U.S. Attorney Charles M. Oberly III of Delaware.” By Jessica Masulli Ryes, The News Journal

GEORGIA

Catholic leaders in Savannah to discuss priest sex abuse scandals
“A three-day conference of Catholic church leaders will convene in Savannah beginning Sunday (Feb. 26) to discuss the church’s ongoing response to protecting children and youth in the wake of priest sex abuse scandals.” By Jan Skutch, Savannah Morning News

MICHIGAN

Northern Michigan priest arrested I sexual misconduct case
“A Roman Catholic priest is in jail in northern Michigan in a sexual misconduct investigation. The Presque Isle County prosecutor says he won’t comment until after an arraignment Tuesday (Feb. 14). But radio station WHSB says Bishop Steven Raica discussed the matter Sunday (Feb. 19) night with members of St. Ignatius Church in Rogers City.” By Associated Press in Detroit Free Press

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Alleged victim of Catholic priest brave to speak out
“Seabrook, New Hampshire, resident Keith Townsend shows great bravery in sharing his story about allegations of sexual abuse against a former Catholic priest. Townsend said he thought Paquin was going to be in jail for life for past convictions and was stunned when he was released from jail after raping an altar boy and said ‘no one is safe’ if Paquin, now 74, is free. Paquin, formerly of the Boston archdiocese, served prison time for abusing an altar boy from 1989 to 1992 while serving as associate pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in Haverhill, Massachusetts. He pleaded guilty to charges in relation to those crimes in 2002 and was released in 2015.” By Seacoastonline.com

NEW MEXICO

Judge orders ex-priest to pay $16 million in sexual abuse case
“A state District Court judge last week (Feb. 18) ordered former Catholic priest Arthur Perrault to pay $16 million in damages to a man who alleges in a lawsuit that Perrault had sexually abused him when he was a child. Perrault vanished in 1992 from his Roman Catholic parish in Albuquerque and is believed to be living in Morocco.” By Uriel J. Garcia, The Santa Fe New Mexican

NEW YORK

Archdiocese of New York seeks $100 million mortgage for sexual abuse fund
“The Archdiocese of New York wants to take out a $100 million mortgage on one of its prized real estate possessions to fund a compensation program for victims of clergy sexual abuse. The petition for a mortgage, which was filed in New York State Supreme Court on Monday (Feb. 27), will be on the land the archdiocese owns underneath the luxury Lotte New York Palace Hotel and a semicircle of landmark 19th-century mansions known as the Villard Houses, on Madison Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets.” By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times

PENNSYLVANIA

Survivors, community members seek change one year after diocese grand jury report
Survivors of clergy sex abuse and community supporters stood at the foot of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. Signs and pictures of alleged victims were in hand as the group demanded change on a rainy March morning. ‘Any priest that has touched a child inappropriately needs to resign,’ said Thomas Venditti. One year ago, life changed for many members of the Catholic faith in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown: a 147-page grand jury report was released.” By Kody Leibowitz, WJAC-TV

WISCONSIN

Former school priest accused of sexually assaulting young girl
“A former school priest known to students as ‘Father Bob’ touched a young girl on her buttocks, vagina and breasts over the course of nearly three years, a criminal complaint said. Robert Marsicek, now 75, faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted on three counts of 1st degree sexual assault of a child under age 13.” By WISN.TV
 -- Priest charged with sex assault of child at Wauwatosa parish, By Annysa Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

AUSTRALIA

Gough Whitlam and how Australia facilitated a child abuse crisis
“Gough Whitlam wrote a letter to Pope Benedict XVI in October 2012, nearly four decades after his government granted formal diplomatic recognition to the Vatican, and only weeks before another Labor prime minister, Julia Gillard, established a royal commission that would expose the extent of child sexual abuse within the Australian Catholic Church … Whitlam died two years later, only three months after Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Pietro Parolin declined a request from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse for files of all Australian alleged perpetrator priests held by the Vatican.” By Joanne McCarthy, Bendigo Advertiser

ABCD reforms aim to prevent future abuse
“On behalf of the ACBC and Catholic Religious Australia, Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart has promised ‘to do all in my power to ensure the abuse of the past never happens again’ and that reforms will be implemented.” By CathNews.com

Child abuse royal commission: Review of Melbourne Response recommends redress scheme be separated from church
“The Melbourne Archbishop should not oversee the Catholic Church's scheme to address sexual abuse within the archdiocese, a redacted report has recommended. A 2015 report into the Melbourne Response by former Federal Court judge Donnell Ryan QC was released by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse late this afternoon (Feb. 23), at the conclusion of hearings featuring senior Catholic figures. The report was suppressed by the Catholic Church for more than a year.” By Karen Percy, ABC New Australia

Australia’s grim toll in the church’s sex abuse scandal
“The global scale of the Catholic clergy’s sexual abuse scandal becomes harder for the Vatican to deny with each shocking national inquiry. The latest, from Australian government investigators, found that from 1980 to 2015 there were 4,444 victims of abuse and at least 1,880 suspected to be abusers, most of them priests and religious brothers.” By The New York Times Editorial Board
 -- Catholic Church paid A$276 million to abuse victims in Australia, By BBC News

Australian bishop says he suffered sexual abuse at hands of Catholic clergy
“The Catholic bishop of Parramatta has gone public for the first time about the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of clergy. Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen talked about the abuse at a royal commission hearing in Sydney and called on the church to consider removing priests’ honorifics and giving parishioners more power.” By Australian Associated Press in The Guardian

The Vatican, child sex crimes and how Australia is the great facilitator
“Australia should renounce the Vatican’s diplomatic status, close its embassy to the Holy See and make senior Catholic clergy accountable to the Australian criminal justice system, say supporters of a tougher response to the church after it refused to comply with requests from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.” By Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald

Hobart archbishop says scale of abuse by Catholic clergy ‘difficult’ to understand
“The archbishop of Hobart said he still struggles to understand why Catholic clergy abused children on such a massive scale, and blamed the church’s response on an ignorance of ‘the seriousness of child sexual abuse.’ The royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse on Tuesday (Feb. 14) heard evidence from a panel of archbishops and bishops, largely from Australia’s smaller Catholic dioceses.” By Christopher Knaus, The Guardian

‘Cult-like’ abuser removed from priesthood
“An Australian priest who set up a cult-like group based on the Peanuts comic strip to groom convent school girls has been dismissed from the clergy. The Pope has agreed to Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge's petition to dismiss Francis Edward Derriman, nearly two decades after his conviction for indecently assaulting a teenage girl in the 1960s.” By Megan Neil, Australian Associated Press, on news.com.au

Catholic education system under a cloud after child sex abuse commission findings
“The royal commission has uncovered abuse on a staggering scale inside the Catholic church, particularly inside religious orders which ran schools. Can the church be trusted with your children?” By Deborah Snow and Beau Donnelly, Illawarra Mercury

CANADA

New Brunswick priest who molested boys sentenced to four years in prison
“A retired Roman Catholic priest who pleaded guilty to molestation has been sentenced to four years in prison. The charges were laid against Yvon Arsenault in connection with incidents involving boys under the age of 18, dating back to the 1970s. The first incident happened in 1971 in Shediac, N.B.” By Atlantic.CTVNews.ca

House arrest for former priest convicted of molesting altar boys
“After four decades, three men who were molested as altar boys by their priest finally got some closure Thursday (Feb. 16) when a judge sentenced Jacques Faucher for his historical sex crimes. But the three men, now 56 years old, say the sentence is little comfort for the abuse they suffered and the years of mental trauma because the man who committed the crimes will not spend another night in jail.” By Jo Lofaro, Ottawa Sun

COLOMBIA

Catholic Church attacks sex abuse victim’s family for seeking reparation
“The catholic church in Colombia’s third city Cali has come under fire after questioning the morality of the family of four children who had been sexually abused by a priest. The mother, the grandparents and an uncle of the children who were abused by a priest in one of the poor areas of Cail, had taken the church to court to seek reparation for the multiple incidents of rape of the children.” By Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports

GUAM

New Guam priest lawsuits: Catholic Church operated ‘harem of young boys’
“Four more former altar boys filed separate federal lawsuits Wednesday, alleging that former island priest Louis Brouillard sexually molested them repeatedly when they were children in the 1970s, bringing to 22 the total number of clergy sexual abuse cases filed on Guam.” By Haidee V. Eugenio, Pacific Daily News, in USA TODAY

Ex-altar boy refuses to testify at Vatican Guam abuse trial
“A former altar boy who accused Guam's longtime archbishop of sexually abusing him refused Thursday (Feb. 16) to testify before a Vatican court headed by American Cardinal Raymond Burke on the grounds that he couldn't have his lawyer present. Roland Sondia met with Burke and other Vatican officials who traveled to the Pacific island U.S. territory to take testimony for the trial of Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron, attorney David Lujan said.” By Nicole Winfield and Garces Bordallo, Associated Press on Yahoo.com

As Vatican tribunal hears Apuron accuser, Catholics show support
“Vatican representatives on Thursday (Feb. 9) morning are scheduled to receive testimony from a former altar boy allegedly sexually assaulted by Archbishop Anthony Apuron in the 1970s. Groups of Catholics plan to be there to show their support for Roland Sondia and other clergy sex abuse survivors.” By Haidee V. Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Retired bishop could still face Vatican probe, trial
“Former Guam priest Tomas A. Camacho, who now is a retired bishop on Saipan, still can be investigated by the Vatican and face a canonical trial over allegations he sexually abused an altar boy in the 1970s, a lawyer with expertise on Catholic Church law said.” By Haidee V. Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Survivors network not confident Vatican probe will lead to justice
“The world’s largest network of clergy sex abuse survivors said the Vatican’s ongoing investigation into sexual abuse allegations against Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron will not lead to justice for former altar boys, citing a lack of transparency in the canonical trial process and the absence of punishment for church officials who helped cover up the abuses. Civil courts, however, give survivors a chance at healing and justice, said Joelle Casteix, volunteer western regional director for the Illinois-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.” By Haidee V. Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

INDIA

Minor abuse by priests turning a major issue for Catholic Church in Karala
“Despite attempts by the Church to rein in clerical sex abuse, incidents of exploitation of minors, both female and male, involving priests are on the rise casting a shadow on the Church in Kerala.” By Babu K. Peter, New India Express

IRELAND

Safeguarding head calls for faster Vatican processes
“The Vatican should speed up how it deals with the cases of priests accused of abuse, the head of the Irish Church’s safeguarding body has said, calling on Ireland’s hierarchy to engage with the Vatican to encourage this. Addressing Australia’s royal commission into institutional abuse, Teresa Devlin, CEO of the National Board for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC), said the board has asked the Holy See to reconsider how cases are handled once submitted to Rome.” By Gerg Daly, The Irish Catholic

Falsely accused of child sex abuse: ordeal of innocent priests
“In his victim impact statement to the courts in Dublin a priest, falsely accused of raping a child, said he would have preferred to have been shot through the head than go through what he had since the allegation was made. He had to stand down from public ministry, leave the presbytery where he had lived for years, and deal with rumor, and rumors of rumor.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

NEW ZEALAND

Victim says law not requiring religious groups to police vet children’s workers is dangerous
“Spiritual leaders with access to children are not subject to police vetting, a loophole that urgently needs closing, according to a victim of historic sex abuse. Ann-Marie Shelley, of Upper Hutt, was abused by Catholic priest Peter Hercock, who molested her when she was a teenager, along with three other girls.” By Talia Shadwell, Stuff.co.nz

PERU

Survivors denounce Vatican handling of Peru abuse case
“Victims of Latin America's latest charismatic Catholic leader-turned-sexual predator are denouncing the Vatican's handling of the case, saying the six-year delay and final resolution are anything but satisfactory for survivors of his sexual, psychological and physical violence. ‘It's really shameful,’ said Pedro Salinas, who blew the whistle in 2015 on the twisted practices of the Peru-based Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, and was himself a victim of Luis Fernando Figari's psychological abuse.” By Nicole Whitfield and Franklin Briceno, Associated Press, in Minneapolis Star Tribune

PHILIPPINES

Philippine Catholic Church abusers rarely prosecuted
Sexual misconduct in the Catholic church is a growing problem in the Philippines, an Al Jazeera investigation has revealed, and priests suspected of abuse are seldom prosecuted. Oscar Cruz, a retired archbishop overseeing the investigation, told Al Jazeera's 101 East program that in recent years more cases had come to the church's attention. ‘Yes, yes, yes... [there are] more reports on pedophilia and homosexuality,’ Cruz said. ‘It is a heinous crime, you know. And a priest at that? Violating a minor? Come on!’” By Al Jazeera

SWITZERLAND

Swiss Catholic Church commission to examine abuse victims’ cases
“After creating a victims’ fund one year ago, the Swiss Catholic Church has set up a reparations commission to formally examine abuse victims’ complaints. The news coincides with the publication this week of a biography in which the author recounts years of abuse by a Swiss priest.” By SwissInfo.ch