Voice of the Faithful Focus, Dec. 15, 2011

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

The Irish Church's National Board for Protecting Children Releases Audits
On Dec. 1, the Ireland’s National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, similar in responsibility to the U.S. bishops’ National Review Board, released audits on clergy sexual abuse in six of Ireland’s 26 dioceses. We have gathered several stories and commentary on the audits and links are below. The VOTF national office also worked with VOTF in Ireland and released a statement you can read by
clicking here.

One Way the Clergy Abuse Crisis Has Affected the Irish Church
Dublin, Ireland’s largest Catholic diocese, is
facing its biggest crisis since emancipation in 1829, according to its archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who said, “The change that will take place between now and the year 2020 – just eight years away – will be enormous. I am more and more convinced that they will be the most challenging years that the diocese has had to face since Catholic Emancipation.”

Netherlands Commission Reports Widespread Abuse
A commission has reported widespead clergy sexual abuse of children between 1945 and 2010. You may read VOTF's statement on the report by clicking here, and here are links to several of the many media stories about the report: 

Belgian Catholics Issue Reform Manifesto Signed by 6,000 To-Date
The week before the start of Advent four Flemish priests issued a church reform manifesto that called for allowing the appointment of laypeople as parish pastors, liturgical leaders and preachers, and for the ordination of married men and women as priests. As of Dec. 1, 6,000 active Catholics had signed on to the "Believers Speak Out" manifesto. 

Kansas City’s Clergy Sexual Abuse Ordeal Continues
The Kansas City Star’s editorial
“A Victim’s Courageous Stand against Child Molesters” shows how molesters use intimidation, silence and misplaced trust to gain access to their victims. Also, the Star’s Judy Thomas has written a three-part series, “The Altar Boys’ Secret,” that joins the best writing about the horrendous crime of child sexual abuse and the turmoil it causes victims and others – “No Longer Alone,”“I didn’t Want to Get Yelled at, Love, Brian,” and “If You Ever Tell…You’ll Go to Hell.” And a Star special report examines who knew what in the child porn case. 

A New Symbol of False Sex Abuse Allegations
This story from the National Catholic Reporter is the first we have seen observing  the tenth anniversary of the start of widespread publicity surrounding the Catholic Church’s clergy sexual abuse scandal and decries how all
Catholic priests have been “tarred with the same brush” and presumed guilty until proven innocent. 

The Catholic Church: A House Divided?
Catholics are battling Catholics. The battle is between past and present, is centuries old and continues today. 

Statutes of Limitations Must Be Reformed Now
Pennsylvania and New York will have an
uphill battle getting legislation dealing with the sexual abuse of children discussed, let alone signed into law, but Pennsylvania lawmakers are proposing reforms in the wake of the Penn State scandal, even though anyone seeking reform will have to outmaneuver new Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput

Suffer the Little Children
The sexual abuse of children has often been called our nation’s “dirty little secret,” but only one of those three words — “dirty” — is true, according to this Religion News Service story about assaulting children.

Canon Lawyers Step into Johnson Saga
In the wake of the controversy over theologian Elizabeth Johnson’s new book, head of the U.S. bishops' conference Archbishop Timothy Dolan received a letter Dec. 9 from the
Canon Law Society of America offering to help the bishops develop their processes for investigations of theologians. Two days earlier, the College Theology Society had issued a statement calling the bishops’ move against Johnson a “fundamental breach” in the Church’s call for dialogue. 

NCR Stories on New English Missal All in One Place
As part of a story about how a California parish is or is not accepting the new English liturgy introduced the first Sunday of Advent,
National Catholic Reporter offers a table listing many of the stories the paper has done on the topic.