Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

Voice of the Faithful Focus, Mar. 8, 2012

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

Vatican Overrides Bishop on 13 Cleveland Church Closings
In a rare instance, the Vatican has reversed a U.S. bishop and has taken the extraordinary step of overruling the closing of 13 parishes by the Cleveland Diocese.
-- FutureChurch’s Statement on Vatican’s Decisions

The Archbishop of Dublin Candidly Speaks Out
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, Ireland, spoke out on American television’s 60 Minutes with candid remarks on the sexual abuse crisis in Ireland. The crisis is not over and will never be over, Martin said, as we must never give up being diligent about protecting our children. He was clearly moved when talking about meeting 8-year-olds and realizing they were the age of many children who suffered abuse.
-- Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin’s interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes
(Click on Video or Script)
-- Catholic Church at Breaking Point over Abuse                                                                             

Maryknoll Votes on Bourgeois' Dismissal from Order
Priest says general council split on decision
The leadership of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers has voted on whether they will dismiss Fr. Roy Bourgeois, a longtime peace activist who has come under scrutiny for his support of women's ordination, from the order. While the outcome and timing of the vote is unclear, the order's communications manager confirmed with NCR on Wednesday it had taken place; hence the next chapter in a very sad story.

SNAP Leader’s Deposition Made Public
The transcript of the court ordered deposition of the director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) reveals that attorneys defending clergy accused of abuse cast a wide net in their inquiries, seeking information about how the group handles phone calls with clergy sex abuse victims to how it files its tax returns. David Clohessy, SNAP Executive Director, continues to be interrogated.

Philadelphia’s Clerical Culture is Deeply Troubling, Led by Archbishop Anthony J. Bevilacqua
Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua, in an attempt to cover up suspected predator priests, is alleged to have destroyed a list identifying them in 1994, demonstrating a tightly wound clerical culture unparalleled in this country. The Philadelphia cover-up is a major case of sexual abuse which appears to becoming even more intricate as time goes on.
-- Inquirer Editorial: Couldn’t Shred the Truth
-- 12 Jurors Seated for Landmark Catholic Priest Abuse-Child Endangerment Trial in Philly
-- A Deep Look into Philly’s Clerical Culture
-- Judge in Priests Case Won’t dismiss Case against Lynn
-- Monsignor: Philly Cardinal Shredded Abuse List
-- Philadelphia Priest Says Cardinal Ordered Abuse List Shredded
-- Pennsylvania Priest Faces Trial on Child Abuse Cover-up   
-- Judgment Day Is Approaching for Archdiocese’s Facilitator’s & Enablers
-- Pushing the Limit: Examining the Legislative Battle over Statute of Limitations in Sex Abuse Cases

News & Updates from Other U.S. Cities

Clergy-Abuse reporting Under Fire from DAs
Fourteen district attorneys whose counties are within the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese have called on Bishop Howard J. Hubbard to reshape the diocese's handling of sexual abuse complaints against clergy and other employees.

Priests Accused of Molesting Children Hiding in Plain Sight
Some 200 Catholic priests suspected of sexual abuse are living undetected in communities across California, according to an attorney who represents hundreds of plaintiffs who sued the LA Archdiocese for molestation they say was inflicted on them by priests and clergy of the church.

Lawsuit Claims Former KC Priest Abused Four Boys in Family
A former Kansas City-area Catholic priest sexually abused four boys in an Independence family, a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Jackson County Circuit Court alleges. John Tulipana, who left the ministry in the mid-1990s, purportedly abused four boys while serving at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Kansas City. The suit alleged that the abuse began in 1976 and occurred on camping trips and at the family’s home.

Victims’ Attorneys Move to Unseal Certain Documents in Archdiocese Bankruptcy
Attorneys for sex abuse victims in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee bankruptcy are asking the court to unseal thousands of pages of documents they say will show the breadth and scope of the sex abuse crisis, and alleged coverup, in the local church over the last half century.
-- 9 Democrats Call for Church Abuse Probe
-- Bankrupt Archdiocese Tries to Limit Abuse Claims

Cardinal Edward Egan Renounces Apology Given 10 Years Ago – In Denial
Ten years ago, Cardinal Edward Egan, then the leader of the New York archdiocese, famously apologized to his parishioners for the church’s failure to deal with priests who abused children. Now, three years after his retirement, he suddenly feels moved to renounce that courageous move. This month, the Vatican held a summit meeting on the global sexual abuse scandal. Officials vowed that bishops must be held accountable — a recommendation of the American review board that has gone unheeded. Cardinal Egan’s feckless ruminations are Exhibit A on the problem of shepherds hiding from their responsibilities.

Diocese of Wilmington Releases Files Which Detail Anguish
Unprecedented look at the struggle to manage a child sexual abuse crisis
Secret Church Files Released as personnel records of more than a dozen priests and thousands of pages of court documents from sexual abuse lawsuits filed against the bankrupt Catholic Diocese of Wilmington were released Feb. 15.

News & Updates from Around the World

Clerical Power Thwarts Victims in Poland
This two-part series in National Catholic Reporter details appalling clergy sexual abuse in Poland using first-person accounts. (Part 1, Part 2)

“Towards Healing and Renewal,” a Vatican Symposium on Clergy Sexual Abuse: A Report
The symposium, ‘Towards Healing and Renewal, was held at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome from Feb. 6-9. About 220 church leaders and others from around the world attended. Here is a report published in a US Catholic blog and a good deal of other coverage on the symposium.
-- US Bishop: Church Must Discover Why Victims Don’t Report Abuse
-- The Church as a Powerful Voice for Abuse Victims, Part 1
-- The Church as a Powerful Voice for Abuse Victims, Part 2
-- Accountability, “Fraternal Correction” for Bishops
-- Bishops Get Earful at Vatican Sex Abuse Summi
-- Lombardi Editorial: Towards Healing and Renewal
-- Scicluna: “the Church’s Practice in Combating Child Abuse Needs to Be Audited”
-- The Vatican Gets Religion on Fighting Abuse
-- Clergy Must Abide by Child Protection Guides
-- Vatican Abuse Summit: Web-based ‘Centre for Child Protection’ Launched
-- Pontifical Gregorian University Centre for Child Protection Website
-- Does Hierarchy’s Getting Together Mean It’s Falling Apart?
-- Vatican Abuse Summit: Bishops Must Be Held Accountable
-- Vatican Abuse Summit: Victim Reports ‘Death of Respect’ for Church Leaders
-- Vatican Abuse Summit: $2.2 Billion and 100,000 Victims in U.S. Alone

New Inquiry into Catholic Abuse in Netherlands
The Deetman Commission is to conduct a follow-up investigation into sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. The new investigation will examine the fate of girls and women, according to Security and Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten. The report published late last year by the Deetman Commission was not specifically restricted to boys, but the Dutch parliament took the view that the position of girls and women was not covered thoroughly enough. Former government minister Wim Deetman concluded late last year that an estimated 20,000 children have been abused in Catholic institutions. Directors of the church covered up the abuse and gave hardly any help to the victims.

Belgian Catholics Urge Bishops to Empower Laymen to Counter Priest Shortage
Belgian Catholics have petitioned their bishops for reforms, including ordaining women and married men and allowing laymen to lead church services, as ways to counter their growing shortage of priests. The petition represents yet another challenge to the Belgian Church, deeply shaken by revelations of clerical sexual abuse that prompted police to raid its offices across the country for evidence of crimes.

Victims of Clergy Push for Inquiry
Victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in Victoria and others in Australia are forming a coalition to campaign for a royal commission on the abuse and the church's response.