Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

Voice of the Faithful Focus, Mar. 22, 2012

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

Pope Mexico Trip Clouded by Documents
That Show Vatican Knew of Legion Founder’s Abuse
Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Mexico this week to a very public reminder of one of the
Catholic Church’s most egregious sex abuse scandals: A new book says internal Vatican documents show the Holy See knew decades ago of allegations that the Mexican founder of the disgraced Legion of Christ religious order was a drug addict and pedophile.

Belleville Diocese Settles 3 Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Involving 2 Priests
Three lawsuits settled on Tuesday in St. Clair County Court involving two priests of the Catholic Diocese of Belleville brings to at least five the number of victims of
sexual abuse of a minor by a priest of the diocese that have resulted in monetary damages.

Dutch Church Is Accused of Castrating Young Men
The Dutch Church has been accused of some of the worst sexual abuse that can be performed on young men. Decades ago, while in the care of the Roman Catholic Church, at least 10 boys were surgically castrated because they either had complained about sexual abuse or they were being protected from homosexuality. This recent discovery only adds to the scandal engulfing the church there.
 
Catholic sex abuse scandals in Europe
Here is a good summary and some of details on the major developments in the Roman Catholic abuse scandals in Europe in the last
in the last two years. It does not paint a pleasant picture.
 
Child abuse bill to go before Mass. House
After years of resistance and public criticism, state legislative leaders agreed Tuesday to let the full House of Representatives vote on an
increasingly popular proposal to eliminate the statute of limitations on prosecuting child sexual abuse crimes. It took 10 years after clerical sexual abuse exploded in the headlines of the Boston Globe for Massachusetts to take this major step. Hopefully it won't be another ten years to establish this as law.
 
Margaret Markey Brings Sex Abuse Bill Back to Albany
For the sixth year in a row, Maspeth Assemblywoman Margaret Markey is
pushing the Albany, NY, legislature to pass a bill that would extend the statute of limitations for victims of sex abuse to file claims against their attackers. Cardinal Dolan calls the legislation “unjust”.
 
SNAP, the bishops, and a lesson in ecclesiology
Over the years since its existence, SNAP has done what the institutional church should have done: It offered understanding, support, solace, and above all, hope for anyone who called upon it. Now through the actions of the Catholic Bishops’ it appears that their objective is to permanently silence SNAP.
 -- The lesson in ecclesiology
 -- Church Puts Legal Pressure on Abuse Victims’ Group
 -- Catholic Bishops Still Morally Challenged in Sex Abuse Cases
 -- Hurting Victims’ Advocates
 -- A Legacy of Pain

Catholics eye Cleveland closures for national precedentIn Cleveland there are some very happy parishioners. With little chance to reverse their bishop’s directive, they fought to keep their parishes open and the Vatican (perhaps it was God, Himself) helped. Bishop Lennon has 60 days to “mull” it over and decide what he will do.
 -- Vatican overturns some closures of ethnic churches in Cleveland

Defiant St. Louis Church Wins Archdiocese Suit
Speaking of churches staying open, a decade-long dispute between the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis and a local Polish parish has taken a big step forward with a state judge’s ruling that the parish has rightful control of its assets and property.

Vatican report gives blunt assessment of Church crisis in Ireland
The Vatican has released a comprehensive report on the struggles of the Catholic Church in Ireland, concentrating on the response to the sex-abuse scandal but also addressing the issue of widespread theological dissent. Some accuse the Vatican of not accepting responsibility for its role in the cover-up of sex abuse. Others find good progress made. The answer is surely somewhere in between. The Vatican is begging forgiveness of the survivors though many think it is too little too late.

Philadelphia Archdiocese takes action against archdiocesan personnel
The former CFO of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been
suspended and faces charges that she stole almost $1M from the Church to pay her credit card bills. In the meantime a priest of the archdiocese has been recently suspended for allegations of sexual abuse nearly two decades ago with a 17 year old girl. His name was on a newly disclosed 1994 church memo.

The Philadelphia sexual abuse saga continues
There is more questionable maneuvering of the lawyers in the Philadelphia story.
 --
Archdiocese Suspends Top Attorney
 --
Archdiocese Fights to Keep Abuse Allegations Out of Trial
 --
Priests’ lawyers want to air alleged victims’ past

Archbishop Chaput Addresses Financial Transparency (from Chaput's Weekly Column)
In the next few months, at my request, the Catholic Standard and Times will publish a report on the financial condition of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, including its offices, ministry programs and many of its related agencies and non-profit corporations. 

Reform Advocate Says Catholic Church “Eroding”, Calls for Change
The
struggle between questioning the Catholic Church and still practicing his religion is daily for Jason Berry. Since the 1980s, he has researched Church scandals both financial and lascivious, as a living. Perhaps more accurately, a calling.
 
Catholics must accept changing (the) church may take longer than their lifetime
Catholics hoping for reform in their church know progress will be – at best – glacial. The Catholic Church is facing many problems, but here we will focus on an
inability to fulfill its primary task: to promote the teaching of Jesus Christ. Not that church people are not trying. A lot is being attempted with limited success.
 
A Decade later, Catholic Anger, Defections Over Abuse Not Letting Up
Yet no matter how much the dioceses would like to put the sexual abuse scandal behind them, they can
no longer appeal to an obedient laity to ignore or downplay the crimes, according to new research.
 
Clerical Abusers and the First Amendment
Religious institutions have constitutional protections, but they are not above the law. Unfortunately, that has not stopped the Roman Catholic Church and other religious groups from
arguing that the First Amendment shields them from civil lawsuits for negligent supervision and retention of employees who sexually abuse children.

Vatican II priests still embrace council's model despite reversals
As the golden anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s opening on Oct. 11, 1962, approaches, men ordained in the years bookending the council predominantly
embrace “the spirit of Vatican II” as a wellhead for their lives and ministry even as other Catholics disparage that “spirit.”

‘Standing Silent’ follows sexual abuse in Baltimore’s Orthodox Jewish community
One by one the
victims stood and described their alleged molesters: the Torah teacher, the rabbi, the ice cream truck driver, the man at the mikvah.

Vatican Susceptible to Money Laundering, Says US
The United States Department of State has added the Vatican to a list of 67 Countries that could be
potentially susceptible to money-laundering, for the first time. In the annual report on the International Narcotics Control Strategy, the U.S. government has listed the Holy See as a “Jurisdiction of Concern”, alongside Albania, the Czech Republic, Egypt, South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam and Yemen. The Vatican begins criminal probe into leaks to Italian press of embarrassing details of the situation.

Survivors Furious at Bishop’s Call to Pray for Abusers
A leading abuse survivor last night branded as "insulting" a request from the Catholic bishops for
parishioners to pray to make amends for the sins of paedophile priests. Marie Collins said the onus should be on the bishops to make amends and she accused them of failing to show humility over the abuse scandals.