Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

Voice of the Faithful Focus, Apr. 4, 2013

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

TOP STORIES

Catholic MPs Urge Pope Francis to Allow Ordination of Married Men
Catholic peers and MPs have written to Pope Francis asking him to consider permitting bishops in the United Kingdom to ordain married men as priests.

Five Tests of Whether Pope Francis’ Reform of the Vatican Could Be Real
As soon as Holy Week wraps up, hard questions will begin to be asked about whether Pope Francis is capable of delivering the reform in the Vatican that many cardinals believed they were voting for in electing him.

Pope Francis Supports Zero Tolerance of Child Abuse
Pope Francis is on record as supporting zero tolerance for the sexual abuse of minors by priests. In a 2012 interview, then-Cardinal Bergoglio said that a bishop called him for advice on how to deal with it, and "I told him to take away the priests' licenses, not to allow them to exercise the priesthood any more, and to begin a canonical trial in that diocese’s court."

Clergy Abuse Victims Call on Pope Francis to Open Files on Argentina’s Pedophile Priests
Activists against abuse by Roman Catholic clergy have urged Pope Francis to apologize for what they called the Argentine church’s protection of two priests who were eventually convicted of sexually assaulting children.

Pope to Review Vatican Bureaucracy, Scandal-Ridden Bank
Pope Francis, who has said he wants the Catholic Church to be a model of austerity and honesty, could restructure or even close the Vatican's scandal-ridden bank as part of a broad review of its troubled bureaucracy.

Time to Reunite All Catholics with a New Nicaea
Now, almost 17 centuries after the Council of Nicaea, the Church is at another crossroads. Catholics are deeply divided over issues of theology, authority, scriptural interpretation, tradition and canon law. Developments in archeology, biblical exegesis, historical research, psychology and other disciplines call into question whether the Nicene Creed remains sufficiently elastic to embody the truths of Christianity. At this moment in Christian history, a "new Nicaea" is needed to unify the people of God courageously and creatively through the vehicle of a general council.

POPE

Successors: A Papal Transition
Video from America Magazine discussing the transition from Pope Benedict XVI to Pope Francis.

Can Pope Francis Summon the Necessary Courage
Courage is something Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, the new pope, seems to exude in these first few weeks in office. Courage to do things differently than his peers: to choose simplicity over vanity, humbleness rather than highness.

Pope Francis to Live in Vatican Guesthouse, Not Papal Apartments
Pope Francis decided not to move into the papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace, but to live in a suite in the Vatican guesthouse where he has been since the beginning of the conclave that elected him.

Pope Francis’ Record on Dirty War, Sex Abuse Cases
Within days of the election of Pope Francis, stories began to surface about his conduct as the former Fr. Jorge Mario Bergoglio, head of the Jesuit order in Argentina during that country's "Dirty War," as well as his handling of the sex abuse crisis later as head of the Buenos Aires archdiocese.

Havana Cardinal Says Francis Made Strong Critique of Catholic Church at Papal Conclave
Havana's Roman Catholic cardinal says Pope Francis made a strong criticism of the church just hours before he was selected as the new pontiff.

Traditionalists Are Less Than Delighted with the New Pope
While there is also some skepticism from left wing Catholics, many traditionalists are viewing the selection of Pope Francis as disastrous.

Editorial: Francis’ Election Full of Symbols, Signs of New Era
For a community whose narrative is woven deeply with symbols great and small, those advanced by Pope Francis since he stepped onto the balcony above St. Peter's Square in a simple white cassock became more awe-inspiring as the days wore on.

THE FUTURE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

Church Must Be ‘Restructured,’ Says Archbishop of Dublin
The church “has to be restructured and de-structured to allow it to witness to the sense of meaning and purpose that Jesus brings to the lives of believers,” the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said.

Catholicism Growing in Ghana
While the Roman Catholic Church struggles in some parts of the world, the church in Africa is being embraced like never before.

Latinos Give Minneapolis Catholic Church New Life
As pastor of St. Stephen’s Church in Minneapolis, Rev. Joseph Williams bears witness to the importance of Hispanics to the Catholic Church. St. Stephen’s has found new life by embracing the changing demographics of the community and is among the fastest-growing Catholic parishes in the Twin Cities archdiocese.

Pope of Good Promise
The Catholic Church may be entering a new springtime. It is evident both from the election of Pope Francis and from the worldwide reaction to it, that a change has taken place whose consequences can only be guessed at. Some have called it a “Vatican II moment”, the rebirth of the spirit of aggiornamento (bringing up to date) proclaimed by Pope John XXIII.

Pope Francis’ Appointments Will Create Church of the Future
If Pope Francis is serious about reforming the Roman Curia and undertakes that reform with the poor in mind, the first question is not where might he begin, but how long has he got?

How Pope Francis Can Reform the Vatican Curia
The cardinals have packed their bags and gone home, and now Pope Francis is left with the unfinished work of reforming the Vatican Curia, something practically all of the cardinals said they wanted. But it is not clear what they mean by "reform."

Bishop Delays ‘Morals’ Requirement

After meeting with local pastors and Catholic school administrators this week, Santa Rosa Diocese Bishop Robert Vasa reversed his prior edict that all teachers at schools under his jurisdiction sign a controversial morals addendum in order to keep their jobs.

In Praise of Priestly Marriage
Growing up in New England around a community of former priests who considered themselves in exile from the Roman Catholic Church, author Peter Manseau often heard of a mythical-sounding place where ecclesiastic strictures like celibacy were more flexible than they were in parishes closer to home: South America.
-- Married Priests

Catholic Church Turns to Anglicans to Fill U.S. Priest Shortage
On a typical Sunday, Father Tim Kitzke said Mass at three churches, held a luncheon for dozens of parishioners and baptized a baby. Kitzke and one other priest are in charge of seven churches in the Milwaukee Archdiocese. More than 14 priests used to cover the seven churches.

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Feminism and the Future of the Catholic Church
The gender question may be the fundamental moral question of our times, just as the social question was to church and society alike from the middle of the 19th century. The Catholic Church has a commendable record of addressing the social question. But when it comes to the gender question, church leadership has not succeeded in addressing the new challenge theologically or institutionally.

My Prayer: Let Women Be Priests
“Who are we, as men, to say that our call from God is authentic, but God’s call to women is not?,” says Roy Bourgeois. “Isn’t our all-powerful God, who created the cosmos, capable of empowering a woman to be a priest?

CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE

CALIFORNIA

Exploring the Priest Abuse Scandal in L.A.
As KCET-TV revealed in an exclusive investigation, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for years responded to some of the sexual abuse allegations against priests by moving them around from one parish to another. To get an idea of the extent of the scandal, the station developed this map to track the movements of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors.

Some Prefer Bishop Curry Stay Away from Confirmations
A backlash over Bishop Thomas Curry’s handling of priests accused of molestation has led at least one area parish to change plans to have the bishop preside over the May confirmation of high school students.

ILLINOIS

Files Detail Decades of Abuse in Joliet Diocese
South suburban electrician David Rudofski wanted the diocese to truly pay for its repeated and, oftentimes, willful mishandling of sexual abuse cases involving clergy — and he insisted on a currency far more precious to the church than money. He demanded that the diocese settle its debt by turning over the secret archives it maintained on abusive priests and making them available for public consumption.

Secret Archive Contains Records of Alleged Sexual Abuse in Diocese of Joliet
A secret archive containing records on priests accused of sexual abuse was covered up for years in the Diocese of Joliet. Also included in the files was information on the suicides of victims who complained, but were ignored.

LOUISIANA

The One Who Got Away
David Primeaux was a priest in South Louisiana, mainly in Lafayette Parish – A priest who molested children, a priest who benefitted from the church’s willingness — eagerness, it can easily be argued — to play shell games with its most toxic clergy, moving them around after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced, a priest who got away with it.

MINNESOTA

Committee Approves Bill to Remove Time Limits for Child Sex Abuse Victims to Sue
A bill that would allow victims of child sexual abuse more time to file civil lawsuits was approved by the Minnesota House Judiciary Committee Mar. 20.

MONTANA

Transparency Marks Montana Sex Abuse Lawsuit Mediation
A weeklong "global mediation" slated to begin April 15 in Seattle will seek a broad settlement for two comprehensive sex abuse lawsuits pending against the diocese of Helena, Mont., and the Ursuline Sisters. If the process is successful, at least two major goals would be met. First, the diocese would avoid bankruptcy. Second, a significantly larger portion of any ultimate monetary settlement would reach claimants rather than be consumed by costly, extended legal maneuvering.

NEW MEXICO

Lawsuit Alleges Sex Abuse by Priest in Questa
An anonymous Taos County man alleges in a lawsuit that he was molested as a child by a priest in Questa some 25 years ago.

NEW YORK

Priest’s Rape Appeal Denied
A Massachusetts appellate court has rejected the appeal of a former Albany Roman Catholic Diocese priest who was convicted of raping altar boys during trips to Berkshire County in the 1980s.

OREGON

Oregon Priest Gets 6 Years for child Sex Abuse
A Catholic priest pleaded guilty Monday to sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy he invited for a sleepover when he was pastor of a church in a small city south of Portland.

WISCONSIN

Pius X Priest Suspended after Teacher Questions His Behavior with Child
A Catholic priest has been temporarily suspended from ministry at two parishes and elementary schools, pending a Wauwatosa police investigation into allegations involving inappropriate contact with a student in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

AFRICA

Archbishop Lwanga Sacks Fr. Musaala over Sex Claims
The Archbishop of Kampala Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga has suspended maverick cleric Fr. Anthony Musaala, who authored a document criticising Catholic Church colleagues in Uganda, accusing them of sexual crimes among others.

AUSTRALIA

Healing Broken Souls
After decades of desperate struggle to have the world take them seriously, survivors of child sexual abuse by clergy are beginning to live, in the words of survivor and advocate Peter Blenkiron, in a fragile ''bubble of hope.”

Wary Catholic Church Ready to Talk
In the Holy See's first public response to the creation of a federal royal commission, the new papal nuncio, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, offered qualified assistance.

Church Used ‘Blackmail, Secrecy’

Sexual abuse in the Catholic Church gets covered up through a system of blackmail and ''sacred silence'', according to the founder of the Broken Rites advocacy group, Chris Wilding.

Official Silence for Sex Victims
The child sex abuse royal commission will soon begin five months of secret sessions, but as yet it has not spoken to any victims. Hundreds of victims a week are flooding the phones at organizations representing survivors like Bravehearts while the commission is yet to employ trained staff to answer its hotline ahead of its first public hearing.

IRELAND

Censored Section in Murphy sex Abuse Report Set to Be Published
A censored chapter in Judge Yvonne Murphy's report into the handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations by the Catholic Church and State is finally set for full publication. Chapter 20 has remained censored on foot of a High Court direction that its full publication could damage the trial of a defrocked priest charged with the sexual assault of children in the 1970s and 80s.

Sexual Abuse of Children ‘Clearly a Crime, Not an Illness,’ says Archbishop Martin
The sexual abuse of a child is "very clearly a crime" in civil and church law and there can be no going back on that, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has said.

Former Eureka Priest Accused of Molesting Boys Sentenced to Prison in Ireland
A former Catholic priest who once served in Eureka has been sentenced to 18 months in prison in his native Ireland for molesting two boys more than 30 years ago.

SCOTLAND

Catholic Church in Scotland Has Covered Up Culture of Sexual Bullying among Priests
Father Matthew Despard says sexual misconduct is rife throughout the church and a "powerful gay mafia" bully and intimidate other priests.