Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

Voice of the Faithful Focus, Nov. 18, 2016

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

TOP STORIES

Four cardinals openly challenge Francis over ‘Amoris Laetitia’
“Four semi-retired cardinals have publicly questioned Pope Francis' most recent teachings on family life, issuing an open letter to the pontiff with five yes or no questions about how he understands church teaching following the publication of his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia … Publication of such an open challenge to a Catholic pontiff from some of his cardinals, who normally act as the pope's staunchest defenders, is exceedingly rare.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

In troubled Newark archdiocese, hoping its new leader is a pastor, not a prince
“…But Archbishop Tobin will face other challenges in Newark, where he will succeed Archbishop John J. Myers, the leader of the archdiocese’s 1.5 million Catholics for the past 15 years. Archbishop Myers—who in July turned 75, the age at which bishops routinely submit their resignations to the Vatican—has been faulted for the archdiocese’s handling of a case involving a priest convicted of sexual.” By James Barron, The New York Times

Papal administrator of Guam archdiocese: Vatican preparing trial for accused archbishop
“The papal appointee given authority to take charge of a Guam archdiocese rocked by allegations of sexual abuse against its archbishop has said the Vatican is preparing to put the prelate on trial. Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, who Pope Francis appointed in June to step-in over Agana Archbishop Anthony Apuron, told reporters Tuesday (Nov. 1) that ‘they just formed all the conditions for the trial.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

DiNardo says it’s ‘crazy’ to see his election as anti-Francis vote
“The election of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, self-described as a ‘traditional priest’ who leads the immigrant-heavy diocese of Galveston-Houston, as president of the U.S. Bishops Conference was quickly defined by church-watchers and pundits as either a rejection by the American bishops of Pope Francis’s more ‘progressive’ agenda, a warning to Donald Trump, or both. Speaking to Crux on Tuesday (Nov. 15) hours after the voting, DiNardo firmly rejected the first premise, while acknowledging there’s truth in the second …” By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

The Catholic Church has a plan to compensate sexual-abuse victims, but many will get nothing
“Neal Gumpel, a 59-year-old screenwriter, said he was elated when he heard in October that Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, announced that the church was setting up a fund to compensate sexual-abuse victims … But then he heard the bad news. Gumpel's claims would not be covered and he would not receive a public acknowledgement from the church.” By Sonam Sheth, Business Insider

Twin Cities archdiocese puts forth amended bankruptcy plan
“An amended bankruptcy plan for the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese would potentially double the funds set aside for its creditors to the tune of as much as $133 million. Despite that increase, attorneys representing the 440 claimants say that the archdiocese's contribution to the trust falls well short of its total assets, what they estimate above $1 billion, as does the per-person payout when compared to past similar settlements.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

BISHOPS

USCCB and Pope Francis are singing from different hymnals
Watching the USCCB meeting this week was frustrating. The conference seems stuck. At a time when the country desperately needs a strong moral voice, the united voice of the bishops is sidelined, fretting about things that don't matter and tepidly addressing the things that do. And, it was apparent to all that the concerns of Pope Francis are far from the concerns of the USCCB.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

U.S. Catholic bishops elect Texas cardinal to top post
“The nation's Roman Catholic bishops elected a Texas cardinal Tuesday (Nov. 15) as their new president, choosing him to guide their relationship with the new Trump administration and represent them to the Vatican. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, had served three years as vice president and succeeds Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, who is completing his three-year term.” By Rachel Zoll, Associated Press
 -- U.S. bishops’ conference elects first Hispanic vice president, By Dennis Coday, National Catholic Reporter
 -- USCCB General Assembly 2016 November, Press releases from USCCB

POPE FRANCIS NAMES NEW CARDINALS

Pope Francis names Joseph Tobin to lead archdiocese of Newark
“In his latest move to reshape the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, Pope Francis on Monday (Nov. 7) named a moderate known for standing up for refugees and nuns to be the next leader of the Archdiocese of Newark, a large and troubled diocese. Francis’ pick is Joseph W. Tobin, currently the archbishop of Indianapolis … Archbishop Tobin is so clearly in the pope’s favor that he is among 17 churchmen being made cardinals in Rome later this month. The Archdiocese of Newark has never before been led by a cardinal, the rank of those entrusted to select new popes.” By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times
 -- Pops Francis assigns Indy archbishop Tobin to Newark, By Kaitlin Lange, Vic Ryckaert and Robert King, Indy Star
 -- Pope Francis gives N.J. it first cardinal – and ups the ante on church reform, By David Gibson, Religion News Service
 -- New Jersey meets its new, and first, Catholic cardinal, By David Gibson, Religion News Service

POPE FRANCIS

‘Never’ or ‘Never Likely’?
“On Tuesday (Nov. 1), Pope Francis told the Vatican press corps on the papal plane that the Catholic Church’s ban on women priests would remain intact forever. Or did he? At America we use the team communication app Slack, and two days ago it was abuzz with a discussion on how to headline the story accurately. We were running the Catholic News Service story, and had started from their headline, ‘Catholic Church Never Likely to Ordain Women, Pope Says,’ promoting it on social media as ‘Pope Francis says Catholic Church unlikely to ever ordain women. But was it ‘never likely’ or ‘unlikely to ever?’ Or was it just ‘never?’ By Zac Davis and Sam Sawyer, S.J., America: The National Catholic Review
 -- On women clergy, Pope Francis fears ‘disease’ of clericalism, By John L. Allen, Jr. on Angelusnews.com

“AMORIS LAETITIA”

Bishops need shared approach to ‘Amoris Laetitia,’ new cardinal says
“Cardinal-designate Kevin J. Farrell believes the U.S. bishops as a whole should have discussed pastoral guidelines for implementing Pope Francis' exhortation on the family before individual bishops began issuing guidelines for their own dioceses.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Little attention paid to ‘Amoris Laetitia’ at bishops’ fall meeting
“Except for brief references in a few committee reports, Pope Francis' April teaching document on marriage and family life, Amoris Laetitia, received very little attention at the U.S. bishops annual fall meeting. At a press conference Nov. 15 following his election as president of the conference, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston was asked if a conference-wide or national discussion was planned on the implementation on the papal exhortation ‘The Joy of Love,’ which has the Latin title Amoris Laetitia. ‘I don't think so, no,’ DiNardo said." By Dennis Coday, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

It’s not a complement
“One thing everyone can agree on about Pope Francis: His press conferences give us something to talk about. This week’s was no different. When asked about women’s ordination, the pope recalled St. John Paul II’s assertion that women could never be considered for the priesthood as a final, settled matter … More troubling than the question of whether women can participate in the church’s sacramental ministry as priests is the infiltration of such a gendered ecclesiology into the highest echelons of the church’s hierarchy.” By Natalia Imperatori-Lee, America: The National Catholic Review

ACCOUNTABILITY

Dioceses pay settlements, struggle with bankruptcy over sex abuse
“While one American diocese has paid settlements to end legal challenges related to clerical sexual abuse claims, another currently finds its exit strategy from bankruptcy proceedings stalled in court.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

VOICES

Theologians praise San Diego’s pioneering synod
“Theologians who helped guide and advise the five working groups that were the engine of the San Diego diocese's Oct. 29-30 synod on marriage and family universally praised the pioneering effort and agree that its basic structure and thrust would work well to confront other challenging issues in church life. Some said they even saw clues for addressing the often-strident differences between progressive and traditionalist wings of the Catholic church.” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Bishops’ letter to Catholic priests’ group criticized
“A letter sent by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference to the Association of Catholic Priests has been described as ‘a sugar-coated push-off’ that ‘would appear to be the end of any possibility of dialogue’ between the organizations. The ACP claims to represent one-third of Irish priests. Last May, representatives of the bishops met an ACP delegation for the first time in two years.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Yakima bishop gets pushback on possible committee appointment
(Nov. 14, 2016) “Bishop Joseph Tyson of the Yakima Catholic Diocese is one of two bishops nominated to head the Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. ‘Tyson is honored to be nominated,’ said Monsignor Robert Siler, chancellor of the Yakima Diocese … Not everyone is pleased with Tyson’s nomination, however.” By Jane Gargas, Yakima Herald

A Newcastle judge’s comments reveal flaws in the justice system
“His (Newcastle District Court Judge Ralph Coolahan) comments make disturbing reading given what we know after more than three years of evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual abuse. They are also disturbing given what judges should, and would, have known about disclosures by alleged victims even back in 2001, when the Newcastle Anglican priest case was heard by Judge Coolahan, and eventually dropped.” By Newcastle Herald

MARYLAND

Archdiocese of Baltimore gives $40,000 to reported childhood multiple rape victim
“After more than 40 years of struggling to get the Catholic Church to ‘acknowledge the crimes’ that were committed against her, a Pennsylvania woman who says she was raped by two priests and a policeman while attending a Catholic high school in Baltimore was recently awarded more than $40,000 from an Archdiocese of Baltimore funding program aimed at ‘promoting healing for … victims of abuse.’ But there was a catch.” By Tom Nugent, Inside Baltimore
 -- Baltimore archdiocese pays settlements to a dozen alleging abuse by late priest, By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun

MINNESOTA

Archdiocese adding millions to clergy abuse compensation
“The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis is adding more money to its compensation plan for clergy abuse victims. Our partners at Minnesota Public Radio News report the compensation fund will jump from the original $65 million dollars to more than $100 million.” By Jeremiah Jacobsen, KARE-TV

MISSOURI

Archdiocese reaches settlement with Florissant parents who say son killed himself over abuse by priest
“Pat and Dan Harkins, who say their 21-year-old son killed himself in 2009 because of sexual abuse by a St. Louis priest years before, told reporters Thursday they hope his story inspires others to find help before it’s too late. As for the Catholic church, the Harkins believe there’s little left to say.” By Joel Currier, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

NEW YORK

Abuse victim: “Spotlight continued Church denial”
“In this extension of Thursday’s (Nov. 10) breaking story, Lex Filipowski – abused at the hands of his childhood priest at Holy Cross Church in South Centerville – goes into more detail on the issues troubling him since he was too young to fully comprehend them.” By Jay Behrke, Hudson Valley News

PENNSYLVANIA

Former priest waives hearing on child porn charges
“A lawyer for a Roman Catholic priest in Pennsylvania says his client downloaded and viewed child porn but he says ‘the important thing’ is the priest never tried to contact any children. Attorney John Waldron says Monsignor John Stephen Mraz, of Bethlehem, has waived his right to a preliminary hearing on child pornography charges because he committed the crime.” By Associated Press in Reading Eagle

SOUTH DAKOTA

Area priest cleared of abuse allegations
“A Catholic priest serving two Bon Homme County parishes has been exonerated from a decades-old child sexual abuse allegation in Minnesota and will resume his ministry next week.” By Randy Dockendorf, Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan

AUSTRALIA

Catholic Church memorial plans slammed by child abuse survivors support group
“Plans to set up a memorial for survivors and victims of child sexual abuse at a church in Armidale, in northern New South Wales, are being criticized by a support group. The Catholic Diocese of Armidale is one of a number of organizations to have come before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, with the findings of a case study relating to a former priest yet to be handed down.” By Kerrin Thomas and Caitlin Furlong, ABC News Australia

Apology from archbishop over absence from healing ceremony
“The Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn, Christopher Prowse, says he regrets his decision not to attend a healing ceremony for abuse victims at a Marist college and has asked for forgiveness for any offence it may have caused. Archbishop Prowse was invited to the Marist school's healing ceremony on Thursday (Nov. 10) night, but declined to attend.” By CathNews.com

Australian Catholics torn over allegation against their cardinal
“Like many of their brethren around the world, Catholics in Australia have been rocked in recent years by evidence of systemic child abuse in the church. One big question remains, though, for the country’s five million Catholics: Was one of their top clerics complicit?” By Watertown Daily Times

TJH Council welcomes national abuse redress scheme
“The Truth Justice and Healing Council has welcomed the Commonwealth Government's announcement that it will establish and run a national redress scheme for the survivors of institutional child sexual abuse. Francis Sullivan, CEO of the TJH Council, said the announcement on Friday (Nov. 4) marked a great day for the survivors of child sexual abuse in the Church, other churches as well as state and federal government and other private institutions.” By CathNews.com

CANADA

Priest convicted of sexual assault seeks bail
“A priest convicted of sexual assault is seeking bail following his October arrest on eight new charges involving the alleged sexual abuse of four men. Ron Léger had just been granted day parole when Winnipeg police took him into custody Oct. 19.” By Katie Nicholson, CBC News

Archdiocese of Ottawa paid former altar boy $50,000 after sex abuse allegations
“More than a decade before the Archdiocese of Ottawa told Jacques Faucher he could no longer be a priest, it paid tens of thousands of dollars to a former altar boy who had accused the reverend of molesting him.” By Joe Lofaro, Ottawa Sun

Peterborough priest placed on administrative leave over sexual misconduct allegations
“A Peterborough Catholic priest is under police investigation for sexual misconduct that allegedly took place in the 1980s, at the summer camp where he was the long-time director. Rev. Bill Moloney has been put on leave from his job as priest at Immaculate Conception Church on Rogers St. in East City. He's also stepped down from the directorship of Camp Northern Lights in Haliburton, a camp for kids aged nine to 13 that was founded in the 1970s by the Knights of Columbus.” By Joelle Kovach, Peterborough Examiner

FRANCE

French bishops hold day of prayers for victims of sex abuse
“French bishops are holding a day of prayers and fasting for victims of sex abuse within the Catholic Church. The bishops, who have gathered in the city of Lourdes for their biannual plenary assembly, prayed Monday ‘for forgiveness for the sins committed by clergy members.’” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Catholic bishops are in danger of confirming the worst fears of abuse survivors
“We write as members of the McLellan Commission which reported on Safeguarding in the Catholic Church in Scotland 15 months ago. When will we see action from the Catholic Bishops of Scotland in response to the report? Having been asked by the bishops to produce the report we made 49 recommendations and they announced that they accepted the report and the recommendations in full.” By Members of the McLellan Commission

GUAM

Archdiocese urged to consider 7-point plan to address child sexual abuse
“A group of Catholics seeking Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron’s removal over multiple sex abuse allegations and other leadership decisions they find questionable has recommended a seven-point plan to address child sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of Agana, including tapping the resources of other agencies on Guam.” By Haidee V. Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Court unable to serve Apuron
“While Archbishop Anthony Apuron has been implicated in civil suits filed by victims of alleged sexual abuse, it appears the Superior Court of Guam has been unable to actually serve him the summons to defend against the complaints. According to documents provided to the Post, when a process server attempted to provide the summons to Apuron at his last known residence – the Episcopal Residence – he was simply met with a sign that stated Apuron vacated the premises. Documents stated that the archbishop was unable to be located and has not been served.” By John O’Connor, The Guam Daily Post

Retired priest: Catholic church knew of Guam sex abuses for decades
“Guam’s Catholic church leadership has known for decades about clergy sex abuses that happened as early as the 1950s, a retired priest said in a signed statement released Nov. 1. The statement was released in connection with civil lawsuits filed by several former altar boys, who allege sexual abuse at the hands of Guam priests decades ago.” By Haidee V. Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

INDIA

Why nuns are silent about sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in India: It’s never taken seriously
“‘If it comes out, it will be like a tsunami,’ the nun Manju Kulapuram said, earlier this year, about the rampant sexual abuse of women by the men of the Catholic church in India. Evidently, Kulapuram was onto something—and it’s across denominations, nor confined just to the Catholic church. Unlike other work places, which in theory are meant to have set up mandatory internal complaints committees, there is no formal institution in place that addresses sexual abuse inflicted by members of the clergy.” By Maya Palit, FirstPost.com

Christian women in India take steps to address clerical abuse cases
“After efforts to persuade the Catholic church in India to deal with sexual abuse of women by clergy, and upset over the church's slow progress, a group of Christian women, mostly Catholics, announced steps for addressing the issue on their own. ‘We should move outside the church to seek answers to abuse cases. We should treat this problem as a crime and take recourse to the law,’ said Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, a lay woman theologian.” By Jose Kavi, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

IRELAND

Survivors of abuse deserve far more than a ‘deafening silence’
“It’s the biggest sex abuse case ever taken against an individual in this country. Some of it happened in the biggest church on the island. But it doesn’t matter because the Church is not Catholic. Patrick O’Brien’s up to 1,000 counts of abusing young boys in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin over 40 years is not a national story because it can’t be used to tell the story of adults from Catholic homes and because they are the majority they are the only people who count. O’Brien, now 76, was a volunteer at the cathedral for four decades. He was the Honorary Treasurer of the Friends of St Patrick’s Cathedral and he took up the collection at the cathedral’s iconic annual Christmas Eve service.” By Victoria White, Irish Examiner