Oh Those Bishops! 6/16/2011
Some of the most conservative Catholics are questioning whether American bishops comply with their own policies on child sexual abuse. In the diocese of Kansas City-St Joseph, Bishop Robert W. Finn has admitted allowing a priest who took pornographic pictures of young girls to celebrate Mass and continue having access to children.
“There’s no accountability and there’s no transparent protocol,” said Pat O’Neill, the co-owner of a public relations and marketing firm in Kansas City, who once served as a consultant for the diocese there. “I have never seen the anger as deep and widespread as I have seen and heard and felt it these last three weeks. It’s coming from people that I know of as very conservative, very devout, especially younger people.”
US bishops unlikely to change sex-abuse policies despite new criticism CatholicCulture.org
The most recent complaints about American bishops’ handling of the abuse scandal, aired in Philadelphia and Kansas City, involve the apparent failure of some bishops to follow the policies established at the Dallas meeting. Nicholas Cafardi, the author of Before Dallas, told the Times that the key consideration is fraternal correction among the bishops.
“Unless the bishops are willing to call each other out,” Cafardi said, “we will always have individual bishops who think that they can ignore the requirements of the charter.”
Vatican Warned Irish Bishops Not To Report Abuse To Local Police 1/18/2011
Catholic sex abuse victims worldwide call the newly-revealed 1997 letter signed by the late Archbishop Luciano Storero, Pope John Paul II’s diplomat to Ireland, the “smoking gun” they’re looking for.
The letter, obtained by Irish broadcasters and provided to AP, documents the Vatican’s rejection of a 1996 Irish church initiative that demanded cooperation with local police in identifying pedophile priests.
Storero wrote that canon law — which required abuse allegations and punishments to be handled within the church — “must be meticulously followed.” He warned that any bishops who tried to impose punishments outside the confines of canon law would face the “highly embarrassing” position of having their actions overturned on appeal in Rome. via AP
The letter undercuts the Vatican’s claims that they have cooperated consistently with authorities in the recent past in prosecuting sex abuse cases.
“The letter is of huge international significance, because it shows that the Vatican’s intention is to prevent reporting of abuse to criminal authorities. And if that instruction applied here, it applied everywhere,” said Colm O’Gorman, director of the Irish chapter of human rights watchdog Amnesty International.
Wisconsin Bishop Validates “With Moral Certainty” The Virgin Mary’s Visit 12/24/2010
Wisconsin bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay has declared “with moral certainty” that the Virgin Mary has visited America’s dairy farm country, “hovering between two trees in a bright light, clothed in dazzling white with a yellow sash around her waist and a crown of stars above her flowing blond locks.”
The occasion was 1859, the year after Mary appeared in Lourdes, and contact was made with a Belgian immigrant living in Wisconsin named Adele Brise.
The little chapel in Wisconsin joins only about a dozen sites worldwide, and is the first place in the US where apparitions of the Virgin Mary have been officially validated by the Roman Catholic Church. via NYTimes
American Catholic Clergy Convene for Conference on Exorcism 11/13/2010
American bishops, led by Bishop Thomas Paprocki, are holding a conference on Friday and Saturday on exorcism, “not necessarily to revive the practice, say the organizers, but to help Catholic clergy members learn how to distinguish who really needs an exorcism from who really needs a psychiatrist, or perhaps some pastoral care.” via New York Times
We last read about Catholic exorcism practices when Vatican Father Gabriele Amorth, the chief exorcist, said regarding the Vatican’s sex abuse scandals “the Devil is at work inside the Vatican”.
Some Vatican watchers say such movement reflects Pope Benedict XVI’s emphasis on return to traditional rituals and practices and repositioning the Catholic Church as a truly unique institution focused on the vitality of one’s soul and spirit. In addition, the rise of Hispanic and African Catholic worshippers in America is likely to increase the demand for exorcisms.
Vatican Rejects Irish Bishops Resignations | Kentucky Lawsuit Ends 8/14/2010
William F. McMurry, the lawyer for three U.S. men who sued the Vatican for alleged sex abuse by priests has decided to end their case. The case gained notoriety because it atempted to hold the Vatican itself responsible for clery sex abuse.
The Vatican has always maintained that as a sovereign nation, it is immune from lawsuits in the US.
“We’re not interested in banging our heads against the wall anymore,” said William F. McMurry, the plaintiffs’ lawyer. “The truth is that the U.S. courts have placed an impossible burden on plaintiffs trying to hold the Holy See responsible.” via Wall Street Journal
In breaking news from the Ireland, the Vatican has rejected the resignations of two auxiliary bishops to Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin following their reported involvement in the Roman Catholic Church’s cover-up of child abuse. via AP
The Vatican says they will be reassigned ‘revised responsibilities within the diocese’ and no further comments will be made.
Belgian Authorities Raid Offices of Senior Catholic Prelates 6/24/2010
Belgian authorities have confirmed that the palace of the Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels has been sealed off, as authorities seek evidence around child sex abuse claims in the country.
In April, the then-bishop of the Belgian city of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, resigned after admitting that he had sexually abused a boy earlier in his career. via BBC News
Easter News Weekend 4/3/2010
Without comment, we’ll first post reactions and commentary about the Catholic Church’s Easter weekend.
Current head of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal William Levada’s Decisions as Archbishop of Oregon
In a newly released court deposition, a top Vatican official Cardinal William Levada, who is now head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome and in charge of all sex abuse cases, defends not telling Oregon parishioners about the sex abuse allegations against a priest he restored to duty, when he was archbishop.
Then archbishop Levada said that Father Joseph Baccellieri had gone through therapy and the recommendation was that “he was not at risk for reabusing and that it would be prudent to reassign him.”
Rev Baccellieri’s position was parochial vicar, an administrative, not pastoral post, although he did go on being named pastor and co-pastor, before retiring in 2002
Two Tucson Cases: Teta and Trupia
The details of the two new US cases come contain more allegations that Pope Benedict — as a Vatican cardinal — was part of a culture of cover-up and confidentiality.
Rev Michael Teta of Tucson
In the 1990s, a church tribunal found that Rev. Michael Teta of Tucson, Ariz had molested children as far back as the 1970s, and the panel determined “there is almost a satanic quality in his mode of acting toward young men and boys.”
Teta was first charged with abuse in 1978.
The tribunal referred Teta’s case, which included the most damaging allegations that he abused boys in a confessional, to Ratzinger.
The Vatican assumed control of the case in a signed letter and then took 12 years to formally remove Teta from ministry, a step only the Vatican can take.
Msgr Robert Trupia of Tucson
In another Tucson case, that of Msgr. Robert Trupia, the bishop wrote to then-Cardinal Ratzinger, who would become pope in 2005. Bishop Manuel Moreno called Trupia “a major risk factor to the children, adolescents and adults that he many have contact with.”
In a signed letter dated June 8, 1992, Ratzinger advised Moreno he was taking control of the case, according to a copy provided to the AP from Cadigan, the victims’ attorney. Five years later, no action had been taken.
“This case has already gone on for seven years,” Moreno wrote Ratzinger on April 28, 1997, adding, “I make this plea to you to assist me in every way you can to expedite this case.”
It took Ratzinger’Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith another seven years before Teta was laicized.
Germany’s Sex Abuse Hotline
Earlier this month the Catholic Church in Germany announced it would set up a hotline for abuse victims. Critics doubted that people would come forward and were dumbfounded when 4,459 people phoned up on April 1, 2010, the first day of operation. via ABC News
Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s Sunday Sermon in Edinburgh
Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the most senior Catholic Catholic in Britain, preaching in St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh on Sunday, will stress that the small number of pedophile priests and those who didn’t report them have brought shame on everybody.
“We can take no comfort from the fact that only a small percentage of priests committed such crimes – the impact of their sinful acts is very large – their actions harmed the lives of their victims, caused great hatred to be directed at their innocent brother priests and left ordinary Catholics demoralised and confused.
Cardinal O’Brien, once nicknamed the “cardinal of controversy”, has opposed the “social evil” of abortion and the “Frankenstein” experiments of embryonic stem cell research. via The Guardian
Archbishop of Canterbury on Irish Catholics
Dr Rowan Williams said in an interview to be broadcast on Monday that the scandal had been a “colossal trauma” for Ireland in particular. ‘I was speaking to an Irish friend recently who was saying that it’s quite difficult in some parts of Ireland to go down the street wearing a clerical collar now.’
Because the Catholic Church is so interwoven into the life of Ireland’s social life, the dislocation isn’t only a problem for the church, for for everybody in Ireland.
Irish Bishop Magee Resigns in Sex Scandal 3/24/2010
Irish Bishop John Magee has resigned, resulting from alegations that he mishandled claims of clerical sex abuse in his Cloyne Diocese. Bishop Magee served as secretary for three Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul I and Pope John Paul II.
“To those whom I have failed in any way, or through any omission of mine have made suffer, I beg forgiveness and pardon. As I said on Christmas Eve 2008 after the publication report of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland, I take full responsibility for the criticism of our management of issues contained in that report,” Dr Magee said. via Irish Times
For 30 Years Ireland’s Police Concealed Known Chld Abuse by Catholic Priests 12/3/2009
We’re accustomed to news that the Catholic church covered up cases of sex abuse by priests. Investigations into sex abuse in Ireland have added a new layer of sadness and distrust between ordinary people and their ‘governing’ institutions.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that the highest-profile investigation into abuse allegations yet in Ireland found another breach of public trust: The Garda Síochána, the police force for the republic, failed to investigate reports of priest abusing children and conspired to protect Catholic officials in Dublin for 30 years.
Unlike the archdiocese of Boston’s 2002 scandal where offenders were referred for psychiatric treatement rather than reported to the police, in Ireland nothing happened.
The Murphy Report, focused on a 30-year period of priest abuse in Ireland, concluded that virtually nothing was done by the Catholic Church or the police to protect Irish children, who were victimized by priests. Known abusers were moved to another parish, with no warning to new parishioners about past misdeeds. Read: Ireland report into ab use by Catholic priests finds police coverup via Christian Science Monitor.
US Bishops Detailed Terms of Health Care Deal from Pelosi’s Office 11-13-2009
Salon’s article Bishops shape health care bill, written by AP’s Julie Hirschfeld Davis, paints not a pretty picture of an alleged Constitutional separation of church and state in America.
“The Catholic Church used their power — their clout, if you will — to influence this issue. They had to. It’s a basic teaching of the religion,” said Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., a leading abortion foe and architect of the health measure’s restrictions.
Representatives for the bishops were in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Capitol suite negotiating with top officials last Friday evening as they reached final terms of the agreement.
Pelosi, a pro-choice Catholic, had been on the phone to Rome with Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, Washington’s former archbishop, earlier Friday.
The Davis piece also outlines the catch 22 situation that Democrats find themselves in with the Catholic Church, who voted in favor of President Obama. Read Bishops shape health care bill.
Archbishop Burke Condemns Boston’s Cardinal O’Malley As Being Under the Influence of Satan 11/6/2009
The leaders of the Roman Catholic Church traditionally couch even the harshest disagreements in decorous, ecclesiastical language. But it didn’t take a decoder ring to figure out what Rome-based Archbishop Raymond Burke meant in a late-September address when he charged Boston Cardinal Seán O’Malley with being under the influence of Satan, “the father of lies.”
In case you think the discussion is about abortion or uppity American nuns, think again. The problem is Cardinal O’Malley’s decision to permit and preside over Senator Ted Kennedy’s funeral mass.
Burke, the former Archbishop of St. Louis, got an impressive new title and was transferred out of Dodge in 2008, all the way to Rome. Undaunted, an ocean didn’t inspire this man of deep, moral convictions to ignore events in the U.S.
Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, Raymond Burke has a long enemies list. Tempers are expected to roar when United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) holds its general meeting later this month. Read on: A Tale of Two Priests