Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

Voice of the Faithful Focus, Jan. 27, 2012

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

Church to Launch Global Safeguarding Initiative
“Toward Healing and Renewal”
Feb. 6-9, 2012, Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome
Bishops and religious superiors from across the world will come to Rome in February for the launch of the Catholic Church’s
global initiative on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. Voice of the Faithful has issued this statement in advance of the symposium to caution Church hierarchy of their long-past-due responsibility to adopt universal child protection guidelines. The symposium anticipates the May deadline for dioceses worldwide to submit such guidelines. 

Allegations Pile on Priest in Sex-Abuse Trial
Prosecutors and lawyers for Msgr. William Lynn and his co-defendants
heatedly sparred in court before Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina in anticipation of her ruling next week on whether to admit evidence of clergy sexual abuse and its coverup in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that occurred before Lynn became administrator of the archdiocese’s clergy office.
Judge Hears Explicit Allegations in Priest Sex-Abuse Case
Pennsylvania Archdiocese Named 'Unindicted Co-conspirator'
Clergy Abuse Survivors Group SNAP Fighting to Survive

First Trial of Clergy Sexual Abuse Against Hartford Archdiocese Begins
The first trial of a
sexual abuse complaint against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford opened in Superior Court in Waterbury, Conn., Jan. 24 amid allegations that high church officials, including former Archbishop John Francis Whealon, since deceased, shifted an offending priest between parishes after learning of complaints that he had abused boys.

10 Years On, Clergy Abuse Scandal Still Reverberates
National Public Radio’s
Talk of the Nation discusses the Church’s clergy sexual abuse scandal 10 years after The Boston Globe broke the story of sex abuse and its systematic cover up in 2002 with Michael Rezendes, a reporter at The Boston Globe, Suzin Bartley, executive director of the Children’s Trust Fund, and attorney Mitchell Garabedian. Rezendes also was interviewed about The Boston Globe Spotlight Team’s series on clergy sexual abuse by Michel Martin of Tell Me More on National Public Radio

Survivor Faces Abuse to Reclaim His Life
In a recent column in The Boston Globe,
Kevin Cullen tells about Joe Crowley, who didn’t know how he’d feel when everybody started talking about anniversaries and commemorations and retrospectives 10 years after the story of the international cover-up of sexual abuse by priests exploded in Boston. Crowley was a 15-year-old student at Boston College High School, on a college path, when predator Fr. Paul Shanley changed all that. Shanley abused Crowley, and then sent him to other men.

The ‘Schoolboys’ Have No Real Authority
Rev. Norbert F. Dlabal relates how he sees how
“schoolboys are running things” in the Church without any real authority, and he uses examples such as the introduction of the new English translation of the Roman Missal this past Advent.

Court Documents Reveal Motives for Deposing SNAP
The process of
subpoenaing files from SNAP continues as attorneys seeking the deposition of the director David Clohessy have argued the group colluded with an attorney representing an abuse victim in violation of a court gag order and also worried the advocacy group could be “routinely advising” victims to evade statutes of limitations.

Leading Priest in Philippines Predicts
End of Celibacy in the Catholic Church
A leading missionary priest who has earned three Nobel Peace Prize nominations for saving hundreds of children in the Philippines from a life of sexual abuse
has claimed that celibacy will soon be a thing of the past, describing it as simply a “business arrangement” for the Catholic Church.

Seventeen People Accuse Catholic Church of Abuse
Seventeen people have come forward as
victims of clergy sexual abuse in Iceland to the investigative commission of the Catholic Church, which is responsible for uncovering abuse said to have taken place under the church’s veil a few decades ago.

German Priest Admits 280 Counts of Sexual Abuse
A German Catholic priest has admitted to
280 counts of sexual abuse involving three boys in the past decade, saying he did not think he was doing harm.

Seismic Shifts Reshape US Catholicism
Archbishop Charles Chaput’s announcement Jan. 6 that the Philadelphia archdiocese will be
closing schools in record numbers during the coming year was the latest and loudest rumble in a series of seismic displacements that are permanently reshaping the look of U.S. Catholicism.

Child Sex Abuse: When Concern for Institutional Risk Trumps the Truth
Grand jury investigations into the recent child sex abuse scandals that have rocked Penn State and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia have placed the issue of
child sex abuse onto the front burner in Pennsylvania — where it belongs.

Belgian Police Raid Catholic Church Offices over Abuse Files
Belgian police conducted a
third day of raids on Catholic church offices Jan. 18 as part of an operation targeting priests suspected of child abuse. Police already had searched offices in seven of Belgium’s eight dioceses, looking for documents on priests associated with child-abuse claims.

A New Report of Sex Abuse in the Dutch Church
Scandalizes an Already Diminished Flock
As the clergy sexual abuse scandal plays out in his homeland, Timothy Schilling tells us in Commonweal magazine how a recent report of more than 20,000 children being sexually abuse by clergy in the Netherlands is the same
story of dismal failure as that of the self-assessment and reforms of the 1980s and 1990s

For Priests’ Wives, a Word of Caution
One wonders what life will be like for the wives of Roman Catholic priests now that the Vatican has created the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, a special division of the Roman Catholic Church that former Episcopal congregations and priests —
including, notably, married priests — can enter together en masse. With this, the Roman Catholic Church is prepared to house married priests in numbers perhaps not seen since the years before 1123, when the First Lateran Council adopted canon 21, prohibiting clerical marriage.

More U.S. Catholics Take Complaints to Church Court
Parents upset by the admission policy at a parochial school; clergy and parishioners at odds over use of their building; a priest resisting a transfer to another parish. Catholics once assumed disagreements like these could end only with the highest-ranking cleric getting the last word. But that outcome is no longer a given as
Catholics, emboldened by the clergy abuse scandals, seek another avenue of redress.

Irish Journalist Whose Documentary Uncovered Sex Abuse Dies
Mary Raftery, an Irish journalist whose documentary series States of Fear exposed abuse in Irish Catholic schools, has died in Dublin at 54. Mary was a journalist by profession, but by vocation, she was a deeply honest and compassionate woman who fearlessly challenged the Irish Catholic Church, and in doing so, made the present and the future a safer place for children.