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April 30, 2008

Judge OKs Davenport diocese bankruptcy plan

The Gazette

By Gregg Hennigan
The Gazette

DAVENPORT — A judge this afternoon approved the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport's bankruptcy reorganization plan, paving the way for clergy sex abuse victims to be paid and for the diocese to accept responsibility for the scandal.

The decision by Judge Lee Jackwig of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Iowa was the last major hurdle to clear for the $37 million settlement between the diocese and more than 150 alleged abuse victims

Those with claims against the diocese will have three options: They can take $10,000 and do nothing more; they can go before an arbitrator, who will weigh the circumstances of their cases and use a matrix to assign values to the claims; or they can go through the court system.

The expectation is that most people will use the matrix system because the payouts likely will be higher.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 PM

Boston priest returns to work; some outraged


[with video]

(NECN: Brad Puffer, Boston, Mass.) - A support group for victims of clergy abuse is speaking out against a priest who was recently reinstated by the Boston Archdiocese.

Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) held a news conference Wednesday outside the Boston Archdiocese headquarters to talk about their concerns regarding the Reverend Jerome Gillispie, who was returned to parish work after accusations against him involving a 12-year-old girl.

Gillispie was in a Chelsea, Massachusetts restaurant three years ago when he allegedly offered to pay the girl and her mother for oral sex.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:49 PM

Long-time leader of Kettering parish dies

Dayton Daily News

By Jim DeBrosse
Staff Writer

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

CENTERVILLE — Monsignor Lawrence Breslin, a long-time leader of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Kettering and a voice for social justice, died at St. Leonard Retirement Community on Tuesday, April 29, after a prolonged illness. He was 75. ...

In more recent years, he was one of the few priests in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to question publicly its policies toward priests accused of sexual abuse and their victims. In 2005, he was the second priest in the nation to receive the Priest of Integrity award from Voices of the Faithful, a Catholic lay group advocating for victims of priest sexual abuse.

Breslin opened the doors of St. Charles to meetings of the Voice of the Faithful when no other Catholic institution in the Miami Valley would, said Kris Ward, chair of the group's Dayton affiliate.

"He was unusual among priests of this era," Ward said in a statement today. "He will most assuredly be missed."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:39 PM

Clergy sex abuse victims call to boycott Providence Diocese

Houston Chronicle

By MICHELLE R. SMITH Associated Press Writer
The Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Advocates for clergy sex abuse victims on Wednesday asked Roman Catholics to stop donating to the Providence Diocese until it does more for potential victims of two priests accused of abusing children.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, called on Bishop Thomas Tobin to actively seek out potential victims of Philip Magaldi and A.J. Cote, who have worked in Rhode Island.

David Clohessy, national director of the group, said he wanted Tobin to visit the parishes where the men worked and urge people to come forward. He also said Tobin should more aggressively seek out potential victims or people who may have witnessed improper conduct by Magaldi and Cote.

"Within this diocese, there are current and former church workers, current and former church members, who if they were prodded by a spiritual leader like Bishop Tobin and begged and encouraged to come forward, that they would, in fact, divulge information that just might lead to the successful prosecution of these two men," Clohessy said.

Magaldi worked in Johnston, Providence and Cranston in the 1960s and 1970s. Cote worked in Providence as recently as 2005

Skip Shea, 48, a victim of clergy sex abuse from Uxbridge, Mass., said he hoped Pope Benedict XVI's recent visit to the United States, when Benedict said the church would "do everything possible" to heal the wounds of clergy sex abuse, would show Tobin and other bishops the way to handle cases going forward.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:43 PM

Pope speaks of abuse, says U.S. trip 'strengthened' him

USA Today

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI, reviewing his recent trip to the United States, said Wednesday that he wanted to help heal the wounds from the clergy sex abuse scandal that battered the American church.

The pope made atonement from the shame of the scandal a cornerstone of his American trip. He spoke out often on the scandal and prayed with victims during a stop in Washington.

Benedict returned to the subject during remarks at his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square.

"Thinking of the painful affair of the abuse of minors committed by ordained ministers, I wanted to express my closeness to the bishops, encouraging them in their commitment to bind up the wounds and reinforce relations with their priests," the pope said, speaking in Italian to the 20,000 pilgrims and tourists gathered in the square.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:52 PM

Bishop Pelotte resigns; erratic behavior raised questions

Catholic World News

Phoenix, Apr. 30, 2008 (CWNews.com) - Bishop Donald Pelotte of Gallup, New Mexico, has resigned, several months after his erratic behavior raised questions about his ability to maintain his episcopal duties.

The Vatican announced on April 30 that Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) had accepted the resignation of Bishop Pelotte-- who at 63 is well short of retirement age-- under the provisions of #401-2 of the Code of Canon Law, which provides for the early resignation of a bishop "because of illness or other grave reason."

Last July, Bishop Pelotte was hospitalized with serious injuries that he sustained his home. Police indicated that the injuries appeared to be the result of a beating, but the bishop insisted that he had fallen down a flight of stairs. Several weeks later, with questions still circulating about the first incident, the bishop drew attention again with a confused call for emergency help, in which he claimed that four small masked intruders were in his house.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:29 PM

U.S. trip helped pope, Catholic Church image: poll


By Philip Pullella

ROME (Reuters) - Americans have a more favorable view of Pope Benedict and the Catholic Church after his U.S. trip but many believe more must be done to avoid a repetition of a sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Church, a poll showed on Wednesday.

The poll, taken among Catholics and non-Catholics, showed that 61 percent felt the trip met or exceeded their expectations but that only 35 percent said they were more in touch with their own spiritual values as a result of the trip.

The poll, called "The Papal Visit: Americans Reflect," was carried out last week in the United States by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion and commissioned by the Knights of Columbus, the international Catholic fraternal benefit society. ...

But only 32 percent believed sufficient steps had been taken to avoid a repetition of the scandal, while 46 percent said more had to be done and 22 percent were not sure.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:24 PM

Sect's boys may have been abused too, agency says


(CNN) -- At least 41 children taken from a polygamist sect's Texas ranch may have had past broken bones, officials say, and investigators are looking into the possible sexual abuse of some of the sect's young boys.

"The investigation is still in its early phases, but we have gathered additional information that is cause for concern," the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said in a statement on its Web site.

The statement said the department is looking into the possibility that some of the young boys taken from the Yearning for Zion Ranch near Eldorado, Texas, had been sexually abused based on interviews with the children and journal entries found at the ranch.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:21 PM

Reid, Shurtleff agree to work together on polygamy probe

Deseret News

By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Published: Wednesday, April 30, 2008 10:49 a.m. MDT

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is ready to bury the hatchet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The Nevada senator called Shurtleff this morning, expressing his desire to work with Utah and Arizona authorities on investigations involving the Fundamentalist LDS Church.

"He said, 'I'm ready to kiss and make up,'" Shurtleff told the Deseret News today.

Shurtleff said Reid pledged to help get the U.S. Justice Department involved to arrange a meeting among Arizona, Utah and Nevada authorities, as well as federal authorities.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:16 PM

Mo. pastor charged with sex abuse of 16-year-old girl

Belleville News-Democrat

The Associated Press

NEOSHO, Mo. --The pastor of a small southwest Missouri church is charged with statutory rape and sodomy for allegedly having sex with a 16-year-old girl in the church office.

Forty-nine-year-old Randall Danny Russell of Act II Church in Neosho also was charged Wednesday with child abuse.

Court records did not name an attorney for Russell and he could not immediately be reached by phone.

According to court records, the a woman told police that she went to Russell for counseling when she was 16 in 2003.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:13 PM

12:51 p.m. Pastor allegedly had sex with minor after Sunday services

The Joplin Globe

Randall Danny Russell, 49, pastor of a church in Newton County, has been charged in Newton County with statutory rape in the second degree, statutory sodomy in the second degree and child abuse today after Newton County authorities allegedly found photographs of a nude juvenile female at the church, according to the Newton County Sheriff’s Department.

The arrest followed the serving of a search warrant at Garages and More, 11285 Mulberry Road. Authorities also confiscated several photographs of the nude juvenile female at the “Acts 2” church located on the same property.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:47 PM

New Mexico police remove 4 children from church compound


Apr 30 11:53 AM US/Eastern
Associated Press Writer

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - State police have removed four children from an apocalyptic church whose leader claims to be the Messiah and acknowledges having sex with some of his followers.

The three girls and one boy—all under the age of 18—were taken from the northeastern New Mexico compound following an April 22 investigation, Romaine Serna, spokeswoman for the state Children, Youth and Families Department spokeswoman, said Wednesday.

The children were taken into state custody because of allegations of inappropriate contact between minors and the adult leader of The Lord Our Righteousness Church, Serna said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:45 PM

Advocates: Former RI Priests May Have Abused Victims Years Ago


[with video]

John Eagan

Advocates for clergy sex abuse victims are concerned.
Two priests who used to work in Rhode Island, accused of abuse in other states, may have victims here.
Concerned citizens are asking Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin to reach out to parishioners of churches where those priests worked.
Reverend Philip Magaldi worked in Johnston, Providence and Cranston in the 1960's and 70's.
Reverend Aaron Cote, a Dominican priest, worked in Providence in 2005.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:34 PM

Clergy sex abuse victims challenge Cardinal

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests


TODAY, Wednesday, April 30, 1:00 p.m.

Outside the Boston Catholic archdiocese headquarters, 2121 Commonwealth Ave, in Brighton, MA

Three-four clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) including a Missouri man who is the group’s long-time national director and a Boston therapist who is the group’s New England co-director


Several days ago, clergy sex abuse victims disclosed that Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley is putting an accused and suspended criminal priest secretly back in parishes without warning anyone.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:05 PM

10:06 a.m. Self-described ‘pastor’ in custody; charges pending

The Joplin Globe

A rural Neosho man identifying himself as a self-anointed pastor was arrested Tuesday afternoon after authorities allegedly found photographs of a nude juvenile female, according to the Newton County Sheriff’s Department.

Authorities are withholding the suspect’s name pending the filing of charges, although they did say the arrest of the 49-year-old man followed the serving of a search warrant of Garages and More, 11285 Mulberry Road. Authorities also confiscated the several photographs of the nude juvenile female at the “Acts 2” church located on the same property.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:57 PM

Church treasurer faces embezzlement charge

Greensboro News Record

From Staff Reports
Wednesday, Apr. 30, 2008 12:06 pm

THOMASVILLE — A church treasurer faces an embezzlement charge after a church discovered more than $100,000 missing.

The Davidson County Sheriff's Office said Teresa Mabe Swartz, 49, of 2028 Chestnut Street Ext., High Point, turned herself in Tuesday. She was charged with one count of felony embezzlement in excess of $100,000 and was later released from the Davidson County jail on a $5,000 bond.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:54 PM

Former pastor of Maumee church indicted for sexual imposition

Toledo Blade


A Roman Catholic priest was indicted Wednesday morning on one misdemeanor count of sexual imposition for an incident that led to his resignation as the pastor of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Maumee.

The charge was handed down against the Rev. Frank Murd by a Lucas County grand jury and stems from an alleged incident that occurred March 18 in a hot tub at the YMCA/JCC.

Sylvania Township police investigated the accusation against Father Murd, 65, who had been pastor of St. Joseph’s since July, 2003 before his resignation earlier this month.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:48 PM

Clergy sex abuse victims call to boycott Providence Diocese


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Advocates for clergy sex abuse victims have asked Roman Catholics to stop donating to the Providence Diocese until it does more for potential victims of two priests accused of abusing children.

David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests on Wednesday called on Bishop Thomas Tobin to actively seek out potential victims of Philip Magaldi and A.J. Cote. He says Tobin should follow the lead of the pope, who on his recent visit to the United States urged bishops to reach out to abuse victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:43 PM

Sentence for falsely accusing priest cut on appeal

One in Four

The Irish Times

The Court of Criminal Appeal has reduced to three years the jail sentence imposed on a Dublin man who had falsely accused a priest of child sexual abuse.

The appeal court yesterday ruled that the sentencing judge, when imposing a four-year term on Paul Anderson (34), had erred in not fully taking into account that Anderson suffered from medical problems and that this was his first offence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:30 AM

Bishop Carl resigns, but any pay-off stays secret

ic Wales

Apr 30 2008 by Martin Shipton, Western Mail

THE terms of the Bishop of St Davids’ resignation yesterday will remain secret – at least until the Church in Wales’ accounts are published.

Both Bishop Carl Cooper – who had been on a leave of absence for seven weeks following serious concerns about his friendship with his married female chaplain and communications officer – and the Church have signed a confidentiality agreement, we understand.

The chaplain – the Rev Mandy Williams-Potter – has also resigned, it was confirmed yesterday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:25 AM

Bishop injured in fall resigns

Las Cruces Sun-News

The Associated Press
Article Launched: 04/30/2008 05:24:20 AM MDT

VATICAN CITY—The Vatican says the pope has accepted the resignation of a New Mexico bishop who has been recovering from head injuries suffered in an apparent fall at his home in July.

Bishop Donald Pelotte of Gallup has been on a medical leave of absence.

The Vatican announcement Wednesday said Pope Benedict XVI had accepted Pelotte's request to resign as Gallup bishop but did not elaborate.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:10 AM

Pedophilia a serious problem among priests


Posted by Jackson Citizen Patriot April 30, 2008 09:34AM

LEONI TOWNSHIP — The pope is right to insist that no pedophile serve as priest or bishop from this day forward. To get an idea how serious the problem has been in the past, and no doubt still exists in some places, go to the web site bishopaccountability.org.

Even Jackson has had its share of this disgrace. At this site one can get an update on the Rev. Timothy Crowley and the Rev. James Rapp, both defrocked, one accused and one convicted.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:01 AM

Clergy sex abuse victims call to boycott Providence Diocese

Boston Herald

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Advocates for clergy sex abuse victims are calling on Roman Catholics to stop donating to the Providence Diocese until it does more for potential victims of two priests accused of abusing children.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests is holding a news conference Wednesday outside the diocesan offices in Providence.

Director David Clohessy says they’ll be calling on Bishop Thomas Tobin to reach out to potential victims of Philip Magaldi and A.J. Cote (KOH’-tee).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:55 AM

Abuse film pupils get €60,000

Irish Independent

Wednesday April 30 2008

Ray Managh

FIVE primary school children, whose images were unlawfully used in the award winning documentary 'Deliver Us From Evil' about American paedophile priest Oliver O'Grady, have been awarded more than €60,000 damages.

Mr William Hamilton, counsel for the five pupils of Presentation Primary School, Warrenmount, Dublin 8, told the Circuit Civil Court their solicitors had succeeded in having pictures of the children removed from releases of the film in Ireland and the United States and worldwide DVD releases.

"Unfortunately footage of the children, some as young as five, was used in a trailer of the film which was available for some time on the internet in which the children were identifiable," Mr Hamilton said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:51 AM

5 More Join Lawsuit Over Child Porn Slides

NBC 30

Five more people have joined in a another sex abuse lawsuit against the estate of a West Hartford doctor and St. Francis Hospital.

Nearly 50 people, former patients of Dr. George Reardon, are now suing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:39 AM

Hearing sought on sect's ties

Austin American-Statesman

By Josh White

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Defense Department has contracted with three companies that have close ties to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and some lawmakers want to know whether money from those deals supported the sect, whose compound was raided this month after allegations of child abuse.

Pentagon officials said the Air Force and the Defense Logistics Agency bought $1.7 million in airplane parts from the three companies. Some officials are raising questions about statements by an employee of one of the companies that much of that money went directly to the sect and its polygamist leader, Warren Jeffs.

Jeffs was convicted of rape in Utah last year for arranging an underage marriage. On April 3, Texas authorities raided the Yearning for Zion ranch, which was run by the polygamous group outside Eldorado, after a family violence center received a call from a female saying that she was a 16-year-old girl inside the compound whose 49-year-old husband beat and raped her. More than 400 children from the compound have been taken into state custody as authorities try to sort out what happened at the ranch.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:24 AM

Pope Gets Pass on Church Abuse History

Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting


During his recent visit to the U.S., Pope Benedict's crusade against child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy garnered much approving ink. The Washington Post (4/21/08) credited him with "directly confront[ing] the clergy sex-abuse crisis," while the New York Times 4/19/08) said he "has persistently addressed the scandal of child sexual abuse by priests." In all, hundreds of stories were published on the subject.

But has Benedict "persistently addressed" the scandal? Not according to London's Observer newspaper. The Observer reported (8/17/03, 4/24/05) that in 2001, Benedict, then known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, sent a confidential letter to church bishops invoking a 1962 doctrine threatening automatic excommunication for any Catholic official who discussed abuse cases outside the church's legal system. At the time, Ratzinger headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office responsible for investigating abuse claims.

In 1994, according to sources quoted by the Observer, Ratzinger personally dismissed charges of sex abuse against Father Marcial Maciel, the head of an influential conservative seminary in Mexico, and a personal confidant to then-Pope John Paul II. Maciel was accused of abusing several children over decades. According to the paper, Ratzinger dismissed the case, telling a reporter at the time, "One can't put on trial such a close friend of the pope."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:16 AM

Our opinion: Culture shock

Times Record News

The latest revelation coming out of the raid on a polygamous compound near San Angelo, Texas, appears to be chilling evidence that something terribly wrong has been going on at the Yearning for Zion Ranch.

Of course, we’ve suspected as much, but news out of San Antonio, where many of the children have been transported, points to our worst suspicious and requires more than a sinister imagination to conceive.

Texas child welfare officials announced this week that almost 60 percent of the underage girls taken from the compound have either given birth or are pregnant right now.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:07 AM

Pope should say sorry: sex abuse victims

Sydney Morning Herald

A support group for victims of church-related sexual abuse is demanding an apology from Pope Benedict XVI when he visits Australia for World Youth Day in July.

The call follows the Pope's attempt during a recent visit to the United States to heal the wounds caused by church sex scandals.

The Broken Rites group says the sexual abuse was worse in Australia than the US, and the victims of priests feel they are owed an apology by the Catholic church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:51 AM

A long wait to begin healing

The Sudbury Star

The appointment Monday of Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Harry LaForme to head the national commission on residential schools marks the beginning of what is surely going to be a long and painful disclosure of abuse of aboriginal children over a decades-long policy of assimilation by the Canadian government.

The commission, based on the model established in South Africa following the downfall of apartheid, will hear stories from aboriginals who were taken from their families and placed in residential schools run mainly by the Catholic and United churches, and funded by the federal government.

The clear intent was to bring an end to native societies' way of life throughout Canada.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:44 AM

Leader sexually exploited girls in church program

Peterborough Examiner


Turning around to face his victims and their families, a former church instructor apologized in court for taking advantage of two girls, an act the Crown has called an egregious breach of trust.

The 26-year-old has pleaded guilty to providing two of his female students alcohol and engaging in sexual acts with them before and after church programs.

"I just want to apologize to the families for what I've done," he said. "I can't imagine the pain I have caused all of you."

A publication ban prohibits reporting any details that might identify the victims, which because of the small church community involved covers the man's name and the name of the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:38 AM

Abuse of faith

Yahoo! News

It has been a bad month for religious groups and sex.

The Texas compound of a polygamous Mormon sect was raided on the suspicion that teenage girls were being forced to marry and bear children. Texas child welfare officials now say 31 of the 53 girls ages 14-17 who were living on the ranch are pregnant or are already mothers. They say there was a pattern of underage girls forced into "spiritual marriages" with much older men. And when the grown women from that compound were interviewed on TV, their cowed demeanor and inability to answer the simplest questions intelligibly made me wonder what was going on there to rob them of any sense of personal will or motivation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:35 AM

AME Church to hold big convention in St. Louis

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

By Tim Townsend

ST. LOUIS — A meeting this summer of the African Methodist Episcopal Church is expected to bring 40,000 delegates and church members from around the world to St. Louis, making it the city's largest convention this year.

Mayor Francis Slay announced the gathering at a news conference in his office Tuesday with about a dozen leaders of the predominantly African-American denomination. ...

Bryant said the case of the Rev. Sylvester Laudermill Jr. also will be taken up by the church's General Convention, its highest legal authority, during the St. Louis meeting.

Laudermill, 50, was pastor at St. Peter AME Church, at Margaretta and Shreve avenues in St. Louis, from 1994 to 2004 and served with numerous clergy-activist groups. He then returned to his native Los Angeles to pastor a church there.

Bryant, whose authority extends from Missouri to California, defrocked Laudermill after two church-run investigative committees in St. Louis and Los Angeles sustained separate allegations of "child sexual abuse" against Laudermill in May 2006.

The church investigations looked into allegations that Laudermill had a seven-year sexual relationship with a young man in St. Louis that started when the boy was 14, and that the pastor sexually abused a 16-year-old Los Angeles boy in 2005.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:31 AM

Valley parish donates $1.5 million to pay archdiocese sex abuse victims

LA Daily News

By Tony Castro, Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 04/29/2008 08:33:13 PM PDT

St. Bernardine of Siena Parish in Woodland Hills has donated nearly $1.5 million of its savings to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles to help fund last year's multimillion-dollar settlement of clergy sex abuse cases.

The donation is unprecedented in the archdiocese, which has called on 101 churches with identified savings of at least $1 million each to help offset the more than $660 million payout to victims of clergy sexual abuse, according to archdiocese spokesman Tod Tamberg.

"While it may not sit well with everyone in the parish, it is an extraordinary gesture of community and family on the part of St. Bernardine Parish," said Tamberg, who called the gift "emotionally moving."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 AM

Costs of papal visit to U.S. hard to pin down but total millions

Catholic News Service

By Chaz Muth
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI's recent U.S. visit has been credited with improving his image among Americans, sparking greater interest about him and spurring much-needed evangelization efforts in the country. But those benefits came with a price tag of at least $12.5 million and perhaps much more.

The many dioceses, governments, transportation agencies and hosting facilities involved in the pope's April 15-20 visits to Washington and New York varied widely in their willingness to provide Catholic News Service with estimated tallies of their expenditures.

Those that did provide estimates included the Archdiocese of Washington ($3 million), the District of Columbia ($2.2 million), The Catholic University of America in Washington ($800,000), the city of Yonkers, N.Y. ($400,000) and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority ($250,000). Among the archdioceses that estimated their spending were Louisville, Ky., $250,000; Boston, $180,000; Philadelphia, $177,700; and Baltimore, $46,000.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:22 AM

Former Sioux City Priest Named in Suit, Speaks Out


A former priest with the Sioux City Diocese is firing back against the men accusing him of sexual abuse.

Two former Iowa men filed lawsuits claiming they were sexually abused by former Sioux City Diocese Priest John Kurzak and Seminarian John Perdue.

Kurzak wants the suit dismissed, saying he's never met either of his accusers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:10 AM

Trew blasts media coverage

Standard Freeholder

Posted By Trevor Pritchard

A veteran city police officer who took the stand at the Cornwall Public Inquiry Tuesday unleashed a torrent of criticism at news outlets for years of "negative, lopsided" coverage.

Rick Trew, a former inspector with the Cornwall Police Service's criminal investigations branch, paused frequently and at one point reached for a tissue as he condemned how the media covered the force's handling of a number of historical sexual abuse investigations.

"This negative media storm lasted for 15 years," said Trew, reading from prepared notes.

"The media used our professional silence as a fact that we were covering up when we really were trying to protect."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

April 29, 2008

Don Cantini, al vaglio le decime i soldi dei parrocchiani al prete

il Repubblica

Repubblica — 23 marzo 2008 pagina 7 sezione: FIRENZE

PER trenta anni era rimasto avvolto nell' ombra, protetto dal silenzio, dalla vergogna e dell' omertà. L' 8 aprile 2007, domenica di Pasqua, lo scandalo degli abusi nella parrocchia fiorentina della Regina della Pace divenne pubblico sulle pagine del nostro giornale. Un anno più tardi, una Pasqua dopo, tutto risulta confermato: sia le rivelazioni delle ex parrocchiane ed ex parrocchiani della Regina della Pace sulle violenze e le perversioni di don Lelio Cantini, sia il racconto del giovane commerciante gay Paolo Chiassoni sulla notte sadomaso trascorsa anni fa in una canonica in compagnia di alcuni sacerdoti e di un alto prelato, da lui riconosciuto nel vescovo ausiliario di Firenze Claudio Maniago, allievo prediletto di don Cantini.


The Rev. Cantini, under investigation for the "decime" (one tenth of the stipends) and the money the parishioners gave the priest

For the past thirty years he remained in the dark, protected by silence, by shame and complicity. On April 8, 2007, on Easter Sunday, the scandal for the abuses committed in the Florentine parish "Regina della Pace" (Queen of Peace), became public in our newspaper. A year later, the following Easter, everything was confirmed: the revelations of former female and males parishioners of the Regina della Pace about the violence and perversion of the Rev. Lelio Cantini and also the report by the gay businessman Paolo Chiassoni about the night of the sadomasochistic happening in a rectory. He had participated together with some priests and a high prelate, whom he recognized as the auxiliary bishop of Florence Claudio Maniago, the favourite pupil of the Rev. Cantini.

A year later the investigation of the prosecutor Paolo Canessa hasn't stopped yet. The abuses reported by the numerous witnesses are very grave and date back to 20-30 years ago and for that they are covered by the statute of limitation. Some former female parishioners endured sexual violence when they were 11-12-years-old and they have been suffering the consequences since then. Sometimes the priest forced them to oral sex after confession, pretending to give them the blessed Host: a behavior which, under canon law is subject to excommunication. One of the victims is even today, after 40 years, under psychiatric care and being terrorized she can't live without taking prescription drugs. To each abused little girl or female teen ager the priest said she was "his favorite".

Only years later, when they were adult, they discovered their parish priest had abused many of them and (according to what some of them said) some boys were included too. Their reports (the prosecutor listened to many witnesses) made a very disturbing picture from which the Rev. Lelio Cantini - the stern prior, authoritarian and sexuophobic to the point of forbidding wearing jeans to his young female parishioners - emerged as a compulsive abuser. The consequence is that all the youngest and young people who frequented the parish Regina della Pace, even in the recent years, were potentially under the risk of being abused. Therefore the investigations were shifted to the last years in which the Rev. Lelio Cantini was still the parish priest. They included the patrimonial aspect, too. Some former female parishioners reported having delivered the priest the "decima" (that's one tenth of their stipend). Those donations were deposited in a bank and some of the families were induced to give up their inherited goods and homes on behalf of the parish. Where did all those properties end up and which, according to the priest, were to be used to build a "real church", a "parallel church"?

The witnessing of the young gay, Paolo Chiassoni, widened the front of the investigation to the bishop Claudio Maniago, the smartest pupil of the Rev. Cantini. Chiassoni said he fled from the rectory at the end of the night in which the sadomasochist events took place and of having later being contacted other times by the priests he had met, accepting what was defined an offer, given perhaps in exchange for his silence: three million lires credited in his account in the town of Lesi, situated in the Marche region. The carabinieri found the paper trace of that money, which had been debited to the account of another parish. It was found out that near the church where the sadistic and masochistic encounter took place there was a summer residence for disabled people and a center of assistance for drug addicted people.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:12 PM

Court baffled over what to do with blogger in press seat as jury selection begins for Salesian trial in LA Superior Court

City of Angels

By Kay Ebeling
I thought they were saying hello to me so I waved back. But those weren’t welcome smiles on the attorneys’ faces as jury selection began for the Salesian cases jury trial in LA Superior Court. As I hunched down I could hear whispering from the judge and lawyers at the front. You know how you can tell someone is talking about you.

The clerk said I had to move from the first to the second row. Then the judge and lawyers beckoned and he picked up a blue easy chair and lifted it over the railing so I could sit in the aisle. The blue chair was on wheels so I could move up and down the aisle as the attorneys argued over where it was okay for me to sit. I rolled down the aisle when jurors were lining up in back, I rolled up to the back when they were talking with a juror up front.

Then from all the way in the back I heard, "If she’s going to be in here all the time, we need to move to another room.” It was a female whisper, I doubt it was the judge, but I was too far in the back to see. I was drawing fast, as I knew I better finish this sketch quick. In a kind of ceremony, the attorneys got up and walked up the aisle, right past me, and out the back exit. After lunch, I sat in my blue chair in the aisle, but the chairs up front were vacant. The judge and attorneys were questioning jurors one by one in the other room.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:09 PM

The Pope reaches out to abuse victims

Manila Times

By Fr. Shay Cullen , Manila Times Columnist

IT was an unprecedented historical event of great importance and significance in the 2000-year history of the Catholic Church when Pope Benedict XVI flew to the United States last week and expressed sorrow and pain and asked forgiveness for the victims of child sex abuse. He spoke openly with compassion and deepest concern for the thousands of victims of clergy sexual abuse. He asked to meet with some representatives of the victims in a private meeting in the Vatican Embassy chapel in Washington, DC. This has given great hope to all advocates and supporters of the victims of child abuse in their work to save them and bring the abusers to justice.

It was a very emotional meeting. The victim’s groups have been asking and demanding justice for many years. They want an end to the coverup of abuse by bishops and the firing and prosecution of offenders. The scandal cost the Church an estimated $2 billion in compensation and legal fees and a massive loss of credibility. Pope Benedict is trying to heal and restore the loss of trust. ...

How can they be held fully accountable? Some say they were following a Vatican directive of 1962 written by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani. It referred to the worst crime “sexual assault committed by a priest” that came to light as part of the confessional relationship. If so the crime had been kept as the strictest secret, “perpetual silence” by the bishop and all who knew it, including the alleged victim under penalty of excommunication. Critics say the directive and the sacrament of penance could have been used as a shield against disclosure.

The Pope’s statements could reverse that directive. Besides the information about abuse came through many channels not just the confessional and still they covered up the crimes. Although today most bishops have a Zero Tolerance policy for those priests accused with strong evidence against them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:42 PM

Arrest made in Beaverton sex abuse investigation


Associated Press - April 29, 2008 9:15 AM ET

Corrected Version

BEAVERTON, Ore. (AP) - Beaverton Police detectives have arrested 40-year-old David Michael Schedin (Shedin), accusing him of having sexual contact with a juvenile female.

Police say the abuse happened in the Beaverton High School parking lot.

The victim told her parents. Schedin is affiliated with the Palace of Praise Church in Aloha where he serves as a part time teacher and tutor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:58 AM

Almost All Sex Is Sin?

The RH Reality Check

Carolina Austria, RH Reality Check, Asia on April 29, 2008 - 8:45am

Addressing the United Nations, Pope Benedict XVI invoked "human rights" in the context of geopolitical inequality and emphasized responsibility and community between nations:

"Multilateral consensus continues to be in crisis because it is still subordinated to the decisions of a few; whereas the world's problems call for interventions in the form of collective action...International rules must be binding."

He received accolades for his skilled use of diplomacy as he tackled the thorny issues of the Iraq war, immigration and religious diversity, but when he met with some of the victims of clergy sexual abuse, he got mixed reviews. Some said they were impressed that he actually met with some of the victims, while others said he really didn't do much because it was all talk and no action.

Saying that he was "deeply ashamed" at the breakdown in US values, the Pontiff acknowledged at last that the situation was "sometimes very badly handled."

Peter Isely, a National Board member of Survivors Network of those abused by Priests and himself a victim of clergy sexual abuse, demanded a clear course of action from the Vatican, namely the amendment of canon law to ensure that every priest who has assaulted a child anywhere in the world will be removed from ministry and disciplinary action against any bishop who has been involved in covering up an assault.

David Clohessy, another victim and member of the network added: "If the pope would clearly, publicly and severely discipline even a handful of complicit bishops, bishops who knew or suspected abuse and ignored it or concealed it, that's the easiest and most effective step."

A Pope able to talk about "human rights" on the level of global community and responsibility on one hand but only able to acknowledge the pain, harm and suffering by victims of the clergy's sexual abuse with "sense of shame," shouldn't be surprising. For years, the Catholic Church has been dealing with debates regarding social teaching and indeed, a number of the issues consistently coming to fore have been about sexuality and human rights.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:36 AM

YOUR VIEW: Parishioners should let priests know they appreciate them


Ms. Bruno lives in Mattapoisett.
April 29, 2008 6:00 AM
In The Standard-Times edition of April 15, there was a picture of a young woman carrying a sign in Washington, D.C., that said, "Catholic priests are predators." This sign was very disturbing to clergy and laity alike.

I asked myself, "Is she a survivor of clerical abuse?" Perhaps that is why her sign was so painful.

Over the last six years, I have had opportunities to hear victims speak of their clerical abuse. Their unforgettable stories are not pretty. Once you have heard a survivor's story, you can't ever look at the survivors without overwhelming sorrow, abundant love and pure compassion. That is why I wonder what is the story behind that sign? If she were abused by a member of the clergy, would she ever be able to have any regard for any priest?

As disturbing as that sign is, remember, this woman might have been victimized twice, once by a priest and the second time when she went to report the abuse to a diocesan prelate.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:15 AM

Voice Of The Faithful: Dissenters, plain and simple

The Journal News

By Andrew Piacente • April 29, 2008

I am submitting this in response to Peggy Cashman's April 17 Community View, "Plea to pope: Send a message of compassion." Cashman is chairwoman of Voice of the Faithful Southern Westchester.

The Journal News and other publications have, over the past couple of years, given publicity to a group who think they are affiliated with the Catholic Church. This group is called Voice Of The Faithful. VOTF began in January 2002 as a support group for parishioners who wanted to express their concerns about the sex-abuse scandal in the Church.

What started in one church basement in Wellesley, Mass., has now grown into a full-blown organization with a contact list of over 22,000 names. Many of those associated with its leadership are involved with other dissenting groups, like Call to Action and We Are the Church. If one hears these names - run! Beware of this group. They are an anti-Catholic group of dissenters.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:12 AM

Diocese says man can't sue for $130m

Foster's Daily Democrat


Article Date: Tuesday, April 29, 2008
PORTSMOUTH — The Diocese of Manchester has filed a sealed motion attempting to dismiss a $130 million civil suit against it, claiming a former Dover priest raped and infected a man with HIV.

The former Seacoast man who filed the suit, Daniel M. Brown, of Key West, Fla., provided Foster's with the motion, which is sealed at Hillsborough County Superior Court. Earlier this month, Brown filed a $130 million suit alleging the diocese and Bishop John McCormack were negligent for allowing the priest to be head priest at St. Mary Parish in Dover.

Brown said the priest, Father Wilfred Houle, was an open homosexual, drug user and infected with HIV. Brown claims the negligence of the diocese led to him being raped by the priest in a Portsmouth apartment. The priest lived at on Cabot Street. Brown claims the rape caused him to get HIV.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:08 AM

More action urged against priest


Star-Telegram staff writer
FORT WORTH -- Saying that the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth has done little to stop abusive priests, victim advocates went to diocese offices Monday to ask Bishop Kevin Vann to visit parishes where an HIV-positive priest served and to urge victims to seek help.

Pope Benedict XVI, in his recent visit to the United States, urged bishops, priests and parishioners to heal wounds caused by clergy sex abuse, said David Clohessy, national director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

The diocese is "not doing everything possible" about the Rev. Philip Magaldi, a former associate pastor in North Richland Hills, he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:06 AM

Justice LaForme chosen to chair Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Anglican Journal

Marites N. Sison
staff writer
Apr 28, 2008

Justice Harry S. LaForme, an aboriginal Ontario Court of Appeal judge, has been appointed by the federal government to chair an independent commission that will hear the stories and promote public education about the 150-year legacy of the now-defunct Indian residential schools.

“This is an important step in our commitment to the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement, and another example of our government doing the right thing for former students, and all Canadians,” said Minister of Indian Affairs Chuck Strahl who announced on April 28 Justice LaForme’s appointment as chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in Ottawa. Mr. Strahl said that Justice LaForme, who is a member of the Mississaugas of New Credit First Nations in southern Ontario, “brings a wealth of respect and leadership experience and is the most senior aboriginal judge in the country.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:48 AM

Part-time tutor arrested, charged with sex abuse

The Oregonian

Posted by Roger Gregory, The Oregonian April 28, 2008 14:18PM

David Michael SchedinA part-time teacher and tutor associated with Palace of Praise Church in Aloha has been taken into custody in connection with sexual-abuse accusations.

Schedin, 40, of Aloha, was arrested at 3:18 p.m. Thursday by detectives from the Beaverton Police Department, and transported to the Washington County Jail. He has been charged with third-degree sodomy and third-degree sex abuse.

A juvenile female told her parents that Schedin had sexual contact with her Thursday in the parking lot at Beaverton High School, according to Sgt. Paul Wandell, Beaverton police spokesman. The parents contacted police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:45 AM

Girl says she shared bed with 'minister' at age 8

Montreal Gazette

Sue Montgomery, Gazette justice reporter
Published: Monday, April 28
MONTREAL - He was 47 and she was 8 when she began spending every weekend at his house, sharing a bed with him.

By the time she was 9, Daniel Cormier, a self-proclaimed minister of a defunct downtown church, was having intercourse with her, the girl testified Monday at Cormier's trial.

Cormier, on trial for several sex charges, claims he legally married the girl when she was 10.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:43 AM

Church teacher charged with sexual contact with girl


Associated Press - April 28, 2008 5:55 PM ET

BEAVERTON, Ore. (AP) - A 40-year-old teacher at an Aloha church has been charged with having sexual contact with a girl in the Beaverton High School parking lot.

David Michael Schedin is a part-time teacher and tutor at the Palace of Praise Church in Aloha.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:41 AM

Texas sect girls 'mostly mothers'

BBC News

More than half of the teenage girls removed from a polygamist sect in Eldorado, Texas, are either mothers or currently pregnant, US officials say.

All 463 children on the Yearning For Zion Ranch were taken into care after allegations of sexual abuse prompted police to raid the ranch this month.

Officials from the sect deny that any children were abused at the ranch.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:39 AM

The all-powerful, all-wise state

World Net Daily

Joseph Farah

We're going on three weeks since the Texas Rangers raided the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Texas on the pretext of child abuse, polygamy, physical violence and rape.

So far, though, even though more than 400 children were seized from parents, precious little evidence of the crimes has been made public.

Now suppose this raid had not been on a compound of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but instead on your average public school.

I read the news. I know the statistics. The chances are very good there would be more evidence of child sexual abuse in government schools than has been produced at the Yearning for Zion Ranch.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't approve of this cult. I don't approve of polygamy. I don't approve of child brides. But I also believe in the rule of law.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:37 AM

Native judge named to lead healing forum

National Post

Norma Greenaway, Canwest News Service
Published: Tuesday, April 29, 2008

OTTAWA - The aboriginal judge appointed to head a federal truth and reconciliation commission exploring the legacy of abuse in Indian residential schools says he hopes the process will allow the country to come to terms with its past and move forward.

Justice Harry LaForme, whose appointment was announced yesterday by the federal Conservative government, credited the victims and survivors of the abuse for inspiring the creation of the first truth and reconciliation commission established in the developed world.

"Your pain, your courage, your perseverance and your profound commitment to truth made this commission a reality," Judge LaForme, a Mississauga Indian from Ontario, said after puffing on a "healing pipe" at a ceremony to mark his appointment at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:35 AM

Reconciliation no 'blank slate,' Strahl warns

Toronto Star

Apr 29, 2008 04:30 AM
Richard Brennan

OTTAWA–Participants in long-awaited truth and reconciliation hearings on native residential schools could find themselves being held criminally responsible, Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl says.

Strahl made the comment yesterday after naming Justice Harry LaForme – a member of the Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation – the chair of the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

"Let's be clear – this does not absolve people. This is not a blank slate," he told reporters.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:27 AM

Native judge to head residential-school hearings

Globe and Mail


April 29, 2008

OTTAWA -- Harry LaForme, Canada's top aboriginal judge, sees similarities between Canada's Indian residential schools and South African apartheid.

The Ontario Court of Appeal judge is taking on a five-year assignment from the Harper government to write the official history of the dormitory schools that housed native children - often by force - for more than a century.

It is a monumental task for the 61-year-old member of the Mississaugas of New Credit, given that the schools operated in all corners of the country. Thousands of former students and school employees are long dead. Many key government and church records have been destroyed. Documents that survive are buried on hazy microfiche.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:22 AM

Group demands Mass for healing after abuse

The Advocate

By Stephen P. Clark
Staff Writer
Article Launched: 04/29/2008 01:00:00 AM EDT

A week after Pope Benedict XVI urged U.S. Catholics to "foster healing and reconciliation" in response to church sex abuse scandals, a Catholic advocacy group called on Bishop William Lori to celebrate a Mass of Reconciliation and encourage pastors throughout the Bridgeport Diocese to do the same.

Voice of the Faithful, a lay group that formed in 2002, asked Lori in a letter sent last week to follow Benedict's lead by celebrating a Mass of Reconciliation at least once a year in St. Augustine's Cathedral, the mother church of the diocese, and to advise pastors in the diocese's parishes to follow suit.

"Sadly, some 30 of our priests have been accused of sexually assaulting at least 67 of our children, causing them untold suffering," the letter said. "Many of the survivors, now grown to adulthood, often tell us that, feeling abandoned by the church, they do not go to Mass or find it impossible to enter a church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:18 AM

Victims' group warns of accused ex-priest

The Times-Union

By Jeff Brumley, The Times-Union

A clergy sexual abuse victims group scheduled a news conference downtown Monday to warn Jacksonville residents about an accused offender and former priest living in the community.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests went ahead with the event despite learning moments beforehand that the former minister, Jose Mena, no longer resides at the downtown address they reported, and that he may be living in Europe instead.

The idea, group spokesman Daniel Frondorf said at the Duval County Courthouse, was to encourage potential victims to seek help.

"Where he is is important, but what also matters is where this guy has been," Frondorf said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:13 AM

Innocent in the holiest of ways

Denver Post

E-mail Fort Collins poet and writer Natalie Costanza- Chavez at grace-notes @comcast.net. Read more of her essays at gracenotescolumn.org.

I'll get the guts of it out in the open: A priest abused him his first year of seminary. He was 13.

Most teen boys discover their own bodies, the new electric zing that buzzes there, ready to move their cells and skin toward adulthood. Most discover touching. Some confess it. This priest used the sanctity of the confessional to catch young boys in a teenage "sin." The penance was to go to the priest's room after lights out.

He thrives, so breathe — this story will end OK. His life has not been wracked and wrecked by depression. Or confusion. Or madness. He has not killed himself. He made it through. Not everyone did. Not everyone will.

This one little boy wanted to be a priest. It was his very most important thing, and he held it like a small prize, safe. No one pushed him, except and perhaps God. He didn't use his call to get attention like some other firstborn boys. He spoke little of it until he asked to go to seminary. It was there he was abused. He left, and told no one why.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:08 AM

April 28, 2008

Residents ask judge for leniency on behalf of Hayes


Published Monday, April 28, 2008

Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to sentence Jim Hayes to up to eight years in jail, and his wife to between five and six years, for stealing from federal grants from 2001 and 2005.

A handful of Fairbanks residents have written to ask federal District Judge John Sedwick to show leniency, identifying Hayes as a community leader. ...

A jury convicted Hayes, who served as the mayor of Fairbanks for three terms ending in 2001, of working with his wife to steal from federal social service grants and launder the money. Much of the hundreds of thousands of dollars was funneled to a cash-strapped South Fairbanks church where Hayes served as pastor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:10 PM

Ex-Fairbanks mayor and wife to be sentenced Friday

Anchorage Daily news

The Associated Press

Federal prosecutors are recommending more than 6 1/2 years in prison for a former mayor of Fairbanks, who was convicted of misusing more than $450,000 in government grants sent to a social services agency.Both Jim Hayes and his wife, Chris, will be sentenced in U.S. District Court in Fairbanks on Friday.

Prosecutors are recommending he be sentenced to serve between 78 months to 97 months. His lawyer is arguing for a 33-month sentence. ...

The Hayeses are accused of diverting funds from the nonprofit LOVE Social Services, which they helped found. They are accused of using the money to help complete construction of the new Lily of the Valley Church of God in Christ where he is pastor, and for personal use.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:07 PM

Burlington Co. Teacher's Child Porn Charges Prompt Meeting

NBC 10

LUMBERTON, N.J. -- A Burlington County school held a closed-door meeting with parents on Monday after a beloved teacher was indicted on federal child pornography charges.

NBC 10 reported that when federal agents showed up at Joe Macanga's house, they said they had already made contact with the popular Lumberton Middle School teacher in a chatroom visited by pedophiles. When FBI officials said they found 300 images of child pornography on Macanga's home computer, agents said he confessed.

"Joe Macanga was the one person you would not ever picture to be arrested for child pornography," said Betsy Kapulskey of the Lumberton School District.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:00 PM

Was there welfare fraud in Eldorado?

Austin Statesman-American

By Corrie MacLaggan | Monday, April 28, 2008, 03:05 PM

Readers have been asking whether residents of the polygamous ranch in Eldorado run by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have relied heavily on public assistance.

They ask because FLDS communities in other states have been accused of welfare fraud. For example, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2001 that as many as half the residents of the FLDS center of Hildale, Utah, were on public assistance. The fraud comes in when plural wives claim not to know where their husbands are, the article says.

But it doesn’t appear that the residents of the YFZ Ranch in West Texas relied heavily on public assistance. Though statistics aren’t available for individual families or addresses for privacy reasons, Stephanie Goodman, a spokeswoman for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, gave me these numbers for Schleicher County, which includes Eldorado. Keep in mind these numbers are for the entire 2,800-resident county and that easily more than 500 people lived at the ranch before the state pulled out the children during the recent raid.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:56 PM

31 of 53 teen girls from polygamist sect are pregnant or have children

The Dallas Morning News

By ROBERT GARRETT / The Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN — Texas child welfare officials say that more than half the teen girls — 31 of the 53 under the age of 18 — swept into state custody from a polygamist sect’s ranch already have children or are pregnant.

While many of the children’s mothers and court-appointed lawyers kept up a barrage of criticism of the state’s removal of 463 children from their families, Child Protective Services officials countered today with the most detailed information to date on how many young girls at the ranch have been pregnant.

“Thirty one of 53 girls between 14 and 17 have children, are pregnant or both,” CPS spokesman Patrick Crimmins said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:46 PM

Pope Looked Outward, but Not Inward

On Faith, an interactive conversation on religion produced by Newsweek and the Washington Post

By John Dominic Crossan

The Question: In his speech to U.S. bishops last week, Pope Benedict XVI said: "Any tendency to treat religion as a private matter must be resisted . . . To the extent that religion becomes a purely private affair, it loses its very soul." Do you agree or disagree? Why?

Is the Roman Catholic hierarchy structurally and systemically flawed by an abuse of authoritative power of which clerical pederasty and episcopal complicity are but one terrible manifestation?

In his “Address to the Bishops of the United States” in Washington on April 16, 2008, the Pope said: “Any tendency to treat religion as a private matter must be resisted.” That was unfortunate as a separate sentence although its actual meaning is clear in the following one: “Only when faith permeates every aspect of their lives do Christians become fully open to the transforming power of the Gospel.”

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 10:44 PM

Giuliani v. Egan


April 28, 2008, 3:08 pm Posted by David Gibson

Not to distract anyone from the other highjinks (and lowjinks) on the blog today, but an interesting smackdown is brewing between Rudy Giuliani and Cardinal Edward Egan over Giuliani’s decision to take communion at the papal mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on April 19. We were all surprised to see Giuliani–twice-divorced (once annulled), thrice-married, pro-gay rights, pro-abortion rights–receive, especially in such a context. ...

“Mayor Rudy Giuliani is certainly willing to meet with Cardinal Egan. As he has previously said, Mayor’s Giuliani’s faith is a deeply personal matter and should remain confidential.”

“Deeply personal?” Not when you score a coveted invite to St. Patrick’s with the pope, and take communion. Then again, it is certainly true that Giuliani might have gone to confession beforehand. He has said that his spiritual confidante is a longtime friend, Alan Placa, a Long Island priest who has been suspended on allegations that he molested children. Giuliani gave Placa a job at his consulting firm.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:43 PM

NY cardinal criticizes Giuliani for taking Communion

The Associated Press


NEW YORK (AP) — Rudy Giuliani should not have received Holy Communion during the pope's visit because the former presidential candidate supports abortion rights, New York Cardinal Edward Egan said Monday.

Egan says he had "an understanding" with Giuliani that he is not to receive the Eucharist. The Catholic Church teaches "that abortion is a grave offense against the will of God," Egan said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:40 PM

The Vatican’s Not-So-Secret Weapon

The Trumpet

April 28, 2008 | From theTrumpet.com
Pope Benedict and his Catholic hierarchy are using the abortion issue to take down national governments that oppose their will—but what comes next? By Andrew Miiller

When Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero came to power four years ago, the Spanish government promised legislation that would expand the availability of abortions. He took a more soft-line approach to the issue during his re-election campaign last month, however, as Spanish bishops all but directed citizens to vote against any candidate who toed the pro-abortion line. Watering down his pro-abortion stance may have saved the election for Zapatero, but not by much. He still remains massively unpopular among Spanish conservatives and, even more significantly, with the Vatican hierarchy.

This unpopularity makes Zapatero’s hold over Spanish politics precarious. Romano Prodi’s left-wing Italian government fell just two months before Zapatero’s re-election when the Catholic leader of Italy’s Udeur Christian Democrat Party followed Vatican guidance and quit his post as justice minister. Prodi took a pro-abortion stance in direct opposition to the Vatican and paid a dear price for it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:38 PM

Lawyer wants archdiocese suit heard in open court


[with video]

By Sarah Schulte

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A lawyer who represents a victim of a priest convicted of sexual abuse says he wants his client's civil lawsuit to be heard in a courtroom instead of being quietly settled out of court. The lawsuit was filed against the Chicago archdiocese for their handling of Father Daniel McCormack.

Bill Martin says when cases are quietly settled the public never gets to see documents or hear testimony about what he says is years of the archdiocese sweeping sex abuse cases under the rug. Martin was in court Monday arguing a motion seeking punitive damages in a lawsuit filed against the archdiocese. While he lost the argument Monday, Martin is determined to keep fighting in the courtroom.

It has been almost a year since Father Daniel McCormack pleaded guilty to molesting five boys. While the former priest serves a five-year prison term, the Archdiocese of Chicago is busy defending civil suits over how it handled the allegations against McCormack.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:30 PM

Ward Seeks Free Speech Defense In Child Porn Case


[with video]
[with download of the police report and chat log. Warning: graphic sexual language]

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) ― Former radio talk show host Bernie Ward has asked a federal trial judge in San Francisco to allow him to present a First Amendment defense to charges of receiving and distributing child pornography on his computer.

Ward filed a motion earlier this month asking U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker to allow him to argue he had "a legitimate, journalistic purpose" for his actions because he was doing research for a book.

Ward, 56, a former host on KGO radio in San Francisco, is accused of three counts of receiving child pornography, knowingly distributing it and attempting to distribute it in December 2004 and January 2005. ...

Ward, a former Catholic priest who is married and has four children, previously hosted a nighttime 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. show Monday through Friday and a Sunday morning show called Godtalk on KGO.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:50 PM

Sex Abuse Advocates Outraged After Priest Returns to Parish Work

Fox News

[with video]

Monday, April 28, 2008

BOSTON — Advocates for clergy sex abuse victims are outraged that a priest accused of drunkenly propositioning a 12-year-old girl has been allowed to return to parish work.

The Rev. Jerome Gillispie was in a Chelsea restaurant three years ago when he allegedly offered to pay the girl and her mother for oral sex.

A court dismissed charges against Gillespie, who has also undergone court-ordered evaluations for alcohol, psychiatric and sexual problems.

The Boston Archdiocese says Gillispie has satisfied all court obligations and been determined fit to return to ministry. He has been assisting area parishes on an interim basis.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:42 PM

St. Casimir gets word of closure in May

Wicked Local Brockton

By Jessica Scarpati and Maria Papadopoulos
Mon Apr 28, 2008, 08:22 AM EDT

St. Casimir Church parishioners say their worst fear is coming true: The Archdiocese of Boston will close their beloved and historic Lithuanian Catholic church.

Parishioners said the church is expected to be closed by the end of May. A parish council member broke the news during two Masses this weekend, at 10 a.m. Sunday and 4 p.m. Saturday.

Regional Bishop John Anthony Dooher is expected to read a letter from Cardinal Sean O’Malley concerning the church closing at a meeting tonight at 7 p.m. at the Sawtell Avenue church, parishioners said.

“The archdiocese hasn’t changed. They’re just a little less bold,” said Maryte Bizinkauskas, the church’s cantor. “They’re closing churches any way they can.”

Terrence C. Donilon, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Boston, confirmed Sunday that the parish will close, but he did not have a specific date.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:15 AM

Woman files sex suit against church

The Mississauga News

By: John Stewart

April 28, 2008 08:42 AM - A long-time parishioner of a Mississauga gospel church has launched a $6.8 million lawsuit, alleging she was sexually and verbally abused by one of the congregation's leaders.

"I am shattered," Diana Carrol, 38, told The Toronto Sun. "If this didn't happen in a church, I think maybe I'd be okay. You're in a church for 14 years with people that you love and that you think will protect you ..."

Carol's lawsuit asks for damages from Kingdom Covenant International on Dundas St. E., a church founded by Pastor Pat Francis. She has established an international following through her 3,000-strong congregation and a television show called Washed By The Word, which is shown on religious broadcast networks around the world.

Carol says she attended services at the church for 13 years and was known as "Princess Diana" because of her tireless volunteer work for the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:11 AM

Clergy sex abuse victim urges disclosure of predator priest's whereabouts

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

TODAY, Monday, April 28, 1:15 p.m.

Outside the Duval County Courthouse, 330 East Bay Street, in Jacksonville, Florida 32202

An Ohio man who was molested as a child by a prest and who is a leader in a nationwide support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:58 AM

Sex abuse victims confront national head of Episcopalians

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests


Monday, April 28, 1:15 p.m.


Outside St.. Thomas Episcopal Church, Inwood & Mockingbird in


Two-three sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a Missouri man who is the organization’s long time national director and a Dallas woman who’s a leader in a Catholic lay reform group called Voice of the Faithful (VOTF.org)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:56 AM

The End of the Caricature


April 25, 2008

By George Weigel

Forty-eight hours into his visit to the United States, Pope Benedict XVI had done something remarkable: he had successfully buried the cartoon Joseph Ratzinger, a nasty caricature created decades earlier by his theological enemies and subsequently marketed to the world press. From his first moments at Andrews Air Force Base, however, it was clear that this was no hard-edged theological enforcer, no Rottweiler. Instead of the cartoon Ratzinger, America was introduced to a modest, friendly man, a grandfatherly Bavarian with exquisite manners and a shock of unruly white hair, full of affection and admiration for the United States.

Nor was Ratzinger's cartoon image the only thing crumbling on the brilliant spring morning of April 16, when President George W. Bush formally welcomed the pope to America. Forty-five years before, a White House fearful of the political backlash from anti-Catholic prejudice insisted that a brief meeting in Rome between President Kennedy and Pope Paul VI be described as informal and unofficial. Now an evangelical Texas Methodist pulled out all the ceremonial stops to welcome the Bishop of Rome on the south lawn of the White House—and the Bishop of Rome, a former American POW, could be seen singing the refrain of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" along with the U.S. Army choir. It all seemed a very long way indeed from the days when the Know Nothings bludgeoned the marble sent by Pope Pius IX for the Washington Monument and threw the fragments into the Potomac. What historian Arthur Schlesinger Sr., used to call the deepest prejudice in American history—anti-Catholicism—was largely a thing of the past, save in the fever swamps where ancient bigotries and hatreds fester.

The transformation of the papal image was complete when Benedict XVI surprised everyone (including many senior churchmen) by meeting privately for conversation and prayer with five Boston-area victims of clergy sexual abuse. On the flight to America the pope had forthrightly seized control of this issue, speaking of his own "shame" over the behavior of priests who had abused the young; he later acknowledged the parallel and related disgrace of bishops who had failed in their duty to protect the flock. Still, it took that meeting with those who had suffered at the hands of something both they and he loved—the Catholic Church—to drive home the point that Benedict XVI was not just a friendly scholar. By meeting, praying and even crying with those who had been deeply hurt, Benedict made unmistakably plain what those who had known him already knew: that he is a man with a pastor's heart and a true priest's compassion.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:40 AM

Church 'moving on after sex scandals' -- Martin

Irish Independent

By John Cooney

Monday April 28 2008

The head of the Catholic Church in Dublin has claimed that the country's biggest diocese is moving forward after the damage inflicted on it by child sex abuse scandals.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin yesterday urged over 1,200 lay volunteers to regain the goodwill of all Dubliners who were alienated from the Catholic Church over the revelations of abuse of children by priests.

Addressing the first major assembly of 200 recently formed parish pastoral councils, Archbishop Martin acknowledged that the people of Dublin had also reacted against what appeared as the Church's "near arrogance" in not realising the damage that had been done to the weakest in society by the abuse scandals.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:36 AM

Pope must address sex criminals in church

The Post-Standard

Monday, April 28, 2008

By Charles L. Bailey Jr. Baldwinsville
As an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse by a Catholic priest, I don't know if I'm more deeply hurt or offended by the pope's visit. As head of the Catholic Church, he should talk less and do more about his offending bishops and priests.

For Pope Benedict to say he is "ashamed" by the sex scandal is an insult to us survivors. To say he feels bad about the damage to the church is very offensive. What about the damage to the children? Meeting with a few survivors doesn't cut it.

He should have met with the National Leadership of SNAP, the Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests. SNAP followed proper channels to meet with the pope in advance of his visit, but received no response.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:34 AM

Vermont sex abuse trial set for former local priest


BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, which still faces two dozen lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct by priests, will see the next one, involving a former local priest, come to trial next week.

In it, former altar boy Perry Babel, 40, of Denver, accuses the diocese of failing to protect him from former Rev. Edward Paquette, saying church officials transferred Paquette to Burlington without telling anyone he'd been accused of molesting boys elsewhere in Vermont, Indiana and another state.

Paquette worked as a Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend priest in the 1960s before seeking reassignment to Vermont. In a 1972 letter to Diocese of Burlington officials, then-Indiana Bishop Leo Pursley said Paquette had had three homosexual episodes involving young boys and suggested Paquette be assigned to an institutional chaplaincy instead of a parish where he might relapse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:32 AM

In book crafted for pope, a list, a legacy

Boston Globe

By Michael Paulson
Globe Staff / April 28, 2008
The book has no title, no author, no explanatory words - just a few quotes from The Bible, and page after page of first names.

Robert Jeffrey Michael Michael Kim Curtis

Richard Scott John Steven Peter Michael

Jackie Robert Wayne Stephen Paul Linda

Much ink has been spilled over the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the last six years, but this work is different: a hand-painted list of 1,476 men and women who have reported being sexually abused by a Catholic priest, deacon, or nun in the Archdiocese of Boston.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:28 AM

Voyage of discovery

The Tablet

By Robert Mickens

Tens of millions across the United States were entranced by the visit of the Pope of ‘faith and reason' to their country and engaged by his frankness, especially over the matter of clerical sexual abuse. But there was as much unsaid as spoken

. . .

But image was only part of the allure. Benedict XVI won points from nearly everyone for expressing "deep shame" over the clerical sex-abuse scandal and, even more dramatically, for meeting several of the victims - a private encounter that the Franciscan Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston helped arrange. The Pope admitted that the sex-abuse problem was "sometimes very badly handled" by the US bishops, though he later said they were now dealing with it "effectively".

The overall effect of his repeated references to the abuse crisis throughout his time in the United States was a sign for many Catholics that "the Pope gets it". Before the visit many wondered if he really did. Even leaders of Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the group that has been most critical of church authorities for the way they have handled this issue, voiced appreciation for the Pope's words and gestures, while also demanding further action be taken against bishops who reassigned the abusing priests.

. . .

Understandably, perhaps, few people were willing to recall the major role Cardinal Ratzinger played during the post-conciliar period and how it may have contributed to, or healed, the divisions in the Church he spoke about. Neither did anyone publicly cite the tensions in the 1980s between the once-robust US bishops' conference and the Vatican - including the then Ratzinger-led Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - or that those tensions were resolved by the appointment of bishops more docile to Rome. Whether this was owing to collective amnesia or just a desire for a more serene period in the Church, the long-standing neuralgic issues such liturgical reform, women's ministry, contraception, human sexuality and lay authority were never seriously discussed during the papal visit. It would be a mistake to think these have been resolved. As one seasoned New York priest said: "It was like having your father-in-law over for a visit. You hide all the mess and then, after he leaves, you bring it all out again."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:27 AM

Pope Benedict and the Lasting Impact of His U.S. Trip


April 26, 2008

By Peter Steinfels

Pope Benedict XVI has come and gone. To a population that knew little about him, he almost certainly left a favorable impression. Once the afterglow fades, however, what will remain?

There are a variety of categories, of course, for sorting through the messages and images. But here are two useful ones: the God crisis and the church crisis.

. . .

The pope certainly addressed the personal dimension. He exhorted the bishops to be “engaging and imaginative.” He worried out loud about the state of the liturgy and whether preaching had “lost its salt.” He underlined the need for more priests. He urged the healing of divisions in Catholic ranks. He called on all Catholics to take their beliefs into public life. Most of all, in meeting with victims of sexual abuse by priests, he offered a model of pastoral sensitivity.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 8:19 AM

Benedict's conversion


April 16, 2008

By David Gibson

While Pope Benedict voiced his revulsion at the sexual abuse scandal for the first time yesterday, it is important to understand that the genesis of his statements went back to a meeting that took place more than four years ago, not with other bishops, but with leaders of the lay review board set up to keep an eye on how the American hierarchy was complying with their own guidelines.

The National Lay Review Board, as it is known, had a rocky start, as the first head, former Oklahoma governor Frank Keating (now a Catholic advisor to John McCain) was sent packing after comparing the bishops to the Mafia--always a fast way to the bad side of the episcopacy.

A well-respected Chicago jurist, Anne Burke, was then named to lead the blue-ribbon panel of 13 lay leaders, and while she was more politic in public, she found it tough going as she tried to arrange meetings with various bishops about the issue. She got nowhere, and in frustration, Burke and other board members started calling and faxing various Vatican offices asking if they could fly over, at their own expense, to meet with them. A few offices responded, among them the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, headed by Cardinal Joseph Raztinger.

In January 2004, Burke and several other board members met with Ratzinger and his aides in his offices, for a full two-and-a-half hours. They set out the scope and depth of the scandal, which Ratzinger (and other Vatican officials) said they had not known. The U.S. bishops, Burke said, weren't giving the Vatican the full story. Ratzinger listened attentively, and at the end of the meeting stood up and promised the lay leaders he would get back to them. His time and response was something that one of the cardinal's top aides told Burke was very unusual.

“Cardinal Ratzinger was far more open to meeting with members of the national review board than our own bishops and cardinals,” Burke later told Newsday [see The New Pope, by Carol Eisenberg, April 21, 2005]. Burke said Ratzinger was very engaged in the topic, beyond the fact that his department was charged with dealing with most cases to determine whether a priest should be defrocked, or “laicized” in church terms. “He took in everything we had to say and answered our questions. And we pulled no punches: We told him what was going on in terms of the extent of the actual abuse by the priests and about our dismay with the U.S. church hierarchy."

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:49 AM

Victims of abuse recall meeting with pope


April 23, 2008

By Patricia Rice

Olan Horne, 48, a survivor of clerical sex abuse, believes that Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States marks a turning point in the way victims of sexual abuse are treated in the Catholic Church.

"I saw it in his face, heard his voice. He understands," said Horne, one of six survivors who met Thursday with the pope. He spoke with the St. Louis Beacon from his Massachusetts university food service office.

Benedict himself brought the shameful issue up last week at three masses at Washington Nationals and Yankee stadiums and at St. Patrick's Cathedral, at a New York seminary campus and at a press conference aboard his plane Shepherd One. He also discussed the issue with the bishops in Washington.

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:41 AM

April 27, 2008

Clergy sex abuse victims want action on predator priest

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Monday, April 28, 10:30 a.m.

Outside the Ft. Worth Catholic chancery office, 800 W. Loop 820 South, in Ft. Worth (817 560 3300)

Two-four sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) including a Missouri man who is the group's long-time national director and a Dallas woman who is a leader in a Catholic reform group called Voice of the Faithful.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:05 PM

Man Sues Winter Garden Church Over Sex Abuse


A former altar boy has sued the Catholic Diocese of Orlando for negligence, alleging that church leaders knowingly concealed a sexually abusive priest who molested him.

The incidents date back to the 1970s when the accuser, now in his mid-40s, was a parishioner of Resurrection Church of Christ in Winter Garden.

According the lawsuit, the man claims church leaders knew Jose Mena was abusing young parishioners while he was a priest and transferred him to keep others from finding out.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:49 PM

Benedict XVI and Vatican Justice

The Trumpet

April 27, 2008 | From theTrumpet.com
Pope Benedict XVI went to great pains to distance the Vatican from the troubles of the Catholic Church in America during his recent visit.

Ron Fraser

For six days the small, stooped, white-clad figure of the Bavarian spiritual leader of the world’s 1 billion adherents to the religion of Rome was the focus of the mass media in America. Benedict xvi came, he saw—but did he conquer the hearts of American Catholics? So many Americans have embraced liberalism since Vatican ii; and so many have become disaffected with their religion as a result of the corruption of large segments of the priesthood resulting in the great pedophilia scandal. Were they convinced that justice would be done and the church healed by Benedict’s declarations to the masses and to the bishops who gathered to hear his messages? ...

In April 2001, John Paul ii realized that the cat was out of the bag and that the policy of secrecy had been profoundly breached within the church in America as accusations of pedophilia started to mount with subsequent wide exposure through the press and mass media. He subsequently directed Cardinal Ratzinger in his office of prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to deal with this massive embarrassment to the church.

Ratzinger’s response was to immediately correspond with every one of the church’s bishops to remind them that they were bound, under canon law, by an oath of the most intense secrecy on such matters. In his letter of May 18, 2001, sent to the bishops, Cardinal Ratzinger pointed to the Vatican’s firm instruction, issued from Rome in 1962, that, in respect of any accusation brought against a priest involving solicitation, “those same matters be pursued in a most secretive way … they are to be restrained by a perpetual silence (Instruction of the Holy Office, February 20, 1867, n. 14), each and everyone pertaining to the tribunal in any way … is to observe the strictest secret, which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office …” (Vatican Press, “Instruction on the Manner of Proceeding in Cases of Solicitation,” 1962; emphasis mine throughout).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:48 AM

Mr K knew I was 13 when we had sex'

One in Four

Irish Examiner

The woman at the centre of the landmark mistaken-age sex case has said the man cleared of sexually assaulting her knew she was 13 at the time.

Speaking after the 27-year-old man, referred to as Mr K, became the first person in the state to successfully use the legal defence of honest mistake, the woman said both of them knew there was a seven-year age gap.

Yesterday, the verdict reignited the two-year-old controversy surrounding statutory rape laws and prompted Justice Minister Brian Lenihan to say if the constitution was an obstacle to reform it had to be changed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:37 AM

Supreme Court allows trial of man accused of sex abuse

One in Four

The Irish Times

THE supreme Court has cleared the way for the trial of a man accused of sexually abusing a troubled man who has alleged he was abused from childhood by other men.

The alleged victim operated as a teenage prostitute and met the accused at age 13, was sexually abused by him and was introduced by him to other men for sex.

By a two-to-one majority - with Mr Justice Nial Fennelly and Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns agreeing and Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman dissenting - the court yesterday allowed the DPP's appeal against a High Court order stopping the man's trial.

The accused is facing trial on charges of buggery and indecent assault of the now 39-year-old complainant relating to alleged offences between 1982 and 1983. A complaint was made in 1996, the accused was charged in October 1999, returned for trial in 2001 and then took judicial review proceedings to stop the trial.

The alleged victim claims he was sexually abused by several men from a very young age, beginning with a priest at the age of six or seven. He acted as a teenage male prostitute and was "hooked on sex". He claimed he met the accused man when he was 13 and was subject to acts of sexual abuse by him over a two-year period.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:34 AM

Lenihan says law regarding sex with minors 'defective'

One in Four

The Irish Times

Minister for Justice Brian Lenihan has described as "defective" current legislation that allows a defence of honest mistake in cases involving sexual contact with minors. Conor lally, Crime Correspondent, reports.

He believes a referendum could help to rectify the difficulties but said the issue could only be put to the people if the public supported such a ballot.

"My own view is that we have to make it less easy to avail of this defence. If the Constitution is a roadblock then it has to be removed," the Minister said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:32 AM

Supreme Court clears way for sex ring trial

One in Four

Irish Examiner

The Supreme Court has cleared the way for the trial of a man who is accused of sexually abusing a then 13-year old boy and introducing him to other men for sex as part of a sex ring.

By two to one majority the Supreme Court yesterday allowed the DPP's appeal against a High Court order stopping the nan's trial. ...

The alleged victim claims he was seriously sexually abused by several men from a very young age, beginning with a priest at the age of six or seven, acted as a teenage male prostitute and was "hooked on sex". He claimed he met the accused man when he was 13 and was subject to acts of sexual abuse by him over a two year period.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:18 AM

Neighbor angry over Fushek's new church

East Valley Tribune

Lawn Griffiths, Tribune

Carl Mawhinney is infuriated at what has come to the 'hood.

Dale Fushek, the Catholic priest whom he accuses of sexually related misbehavior with him when he was a young teenager two decades ago, has brought his upstart nondenominational church to within a half-mile of Mawhinney's home in Mesa.

The Praise and Worship Center was formed in November by Fushek and Mark Dippre, a former priest who is now married. Before the move to a former movie theater near Southern Avenue and Longmore, services were held periodically on Sunday mornings at the Mesa Convention Center. On April 6, they met for the first time at what is now Fiesta Fountains, a banquet, conference and reception center. Plans call for weekly services at 10 a.m. Sundays.

"He is setting up shop in my neighborhood. I can't believe that he is doing this," said Mawhinney, 37, who was shopping at the nearby Target store Sunday when he stumbled upon the service and worshippers' spillover parking in the store lot.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:56 AM

Aaron: Grappling with abuse and the papal visit

The Record

Sunday, April 27, 2008


He was trying to run away from something inside him — the corrosive emotional residue from many years of sexual abuse.

AT SOME POINT during the 13 years when Johnny Vega was living in Wallington, his marriage started falling apart.

He'd be sullen, angry, incommunicative, confused and so depressed that he tried suicide three times.

Vega had moved to Wallington from Paterson during his 20s to escape a terrible feeling that he couldn't shape into a cohesive thought. But neither the move, the marriage nor anything else helped, he said, because he was trying to run away from something inside him — the corrosive emotional residue from many years of sexual abuse. ...

"My personal feeling [about clergy abuse] is that we haven't scratched the surface yet," said the Rev. Robert Hoatson, 56, a priest relieved of pastoral duties by the Newark Archdiocese after he filed a lawsuit criticizing the church's handling of abusive priests.

Hoatson worked in Bergen County as a priest and educator for several years, starting in 1998. He served in Hackensack's Holy Trinity Parish as principal of the school and associate pastor.

He is a dangerous man from the church's point of view, because he speaks with an insider's voice — not only as a priest but as a victim of sexual assault at the hands of priests. Hoatson says his own sexual victimization started when he was an 18-year-old junior seminarian. He's more forgiving than Vega, but says the pope's words are not enough without a firm plan of action.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:46 AM

Lumberton parents should attend meeting on Monday


The arrest of popular teacher and coach Joseph Macanga has certainly been a complete shock for students and parents in Lumberton. The former Catholic priest was Lumberton Middle School's teacher of the year in 2003, and a popular figure in the school. Now he's facing federal charges of sending and receiving images of child pornography on his home computer. He could get up to 10 years in prison, if convicted.

It's sad that this is the world we live in; that parents now have the awful task of trying to explain child pornography to their children.

The district is hosting an informal meeting at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow in the middle school auditorium. Administrators are asking for parents to come without children. Parents will break into small groups and talk with counselors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:08 AM

FROM THE EDITOR: Covering the pope important "” and delicate "” work for a newspaper


April 27, 2008 6:00 AM
Everyone knows you don't talk about sex, politics or religion at the dinner table unless you want to risk a food fight.

It's probably good advice for popes and for newspapers — although a food fight isn't always the worst thing that can happen.

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI made his first visit to the United States and, despite predictions that he would try to largely steer the conversation away from the clergy sex abuse scandal that has roiled the American church for nearly a decade, he talked about the problem directly and repeatedly, met with victims of that abuse and expressed his shame and sorrow over the church's failures. ...

We interviewed local Catholics and clergy, and received helpful background information from the Rev. Roger Landry of St. Anthony of Padua in New Bedford, in advance of the pope's arrival, about what message he would bring to Catholics. We published wire service reports about what the pope hoped to accomplish, and photographs of some of those protesting Vatican policies. We interviewed local people who traveled to New York for Pope Benedict's Mass at Yankee Stadium. We published interviews with Cardinal Sean O'Malley about the pope's visit with abuse victims and published Page 1 photos and stories about his meeting with American youths, and we interviewed a young woman from Wareham who was going to hear the pope. We wrote an editorial about the moral influence of the pope in the modern world.

Of course, not everyone was pleased with everything we did. Several readers were angry about our publishing an Associated Press photograph of a solitary protester holding a sign that said, "Catholic priests are predators."

"You don't know my priest," one woman called to say, her voice catching with tears. "You don't know what a wonderful person he is."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:00 AM

Imagine All the Bishops, Doing What He Said To Do--ooh-ooh-hoo-ooh, You May Say I Have The Audacity To Dream.

City of Angels

By Kay Ebeling
In 1994 I fantasized that the church would respond exactly like the Pope told the bishops to respond last week, with compassion for the victims. When my daughter turned five and I started to remember what happened to me when I was five, I had The Audacity To Imagine I’d go to the Chicago Archdiocese and tell them what Father Horne did to me and my sister, and like the Christian loving community the Catholic Church is, they would welcome us with open arms. The archbishop of Chicago himself would lean over me and say, “What can we do for you to make up for this horrendous crime?”

Since the Archbishop of Chicago stood over me in 1955 when I was seven years old and told me to stop babbling (and showing other children the moves Father Horne had shown me), this more recent fantasy is poignant. I imagined, in 1994 and in 2001 and 2004 and 2005 and 2007 each time I tried, that an archbishop would reach out to me and this time it would be different. It never was.

IMAGINE: The true story comes out, including whatever the church is covering up so desperately that they allowed these pedophiles to get at us. Imagine the truth of the total damage to the victims comes out, in spite of the power of PR, pseudo-advocacy, and media control, whatever tactics the church has used, from the start, to shoot down the crime victims and keep the true felonies performed on children from ever being public.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:58 AM

Congregants fight their church's closing

Philadelphia Inquirer

By Kristen A. Graham
Inquirer Staff Writer

John Canuso is an upbeat man, rarely at a loss for words. But he struggles to describe the day he found out the parish he considers home was closing.

"I can't tell you it was as bad as my daughter dying, but it was pretty bad," said Canuso, a member of St. Vincent Pallotti Roman Catholic Church in Haddon Township.

This month, Bishop Joseph A. Galante announced that the 124 parishes of the Camden Diocese would become 66. St. Vincent Pallotti was ordered to merge with St. Aloysius, 1.3 miles up the road in Oaklyn.

This month, Bishop Joseph A. Galante announced that the 124 parishes of the Camden Diocese would become 66. St. Vincent Pallotti was ordered to merge with St. Aloysius, 1.3 miles up the road in Oaklyn.

Parishes around the diocese are struggling with the fallout of the consolidation. But St. Vincent's case seems especially acute.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:48 AM

Three Laconia Catholic churches face consolidation

Laconia Citizen

Staff Writer

Article Date: Sunday, April 27, 2008

LACONIA — City Catholics with questions about a proposal to merge the three parishes will get to voice their concerns at a 'listening session' scheduled next Sunday, May 4, at 3 p.m. at Our Lady of the Lakes Church in Laconia.

The 'listening' session will include a presentation on the proposal which seeks to merge the Laconia parishes of Sacred Heart, St. Joseph and Our of the Lady of the Lakes into a new parish, said Patrick McGee, spokesman for the Manchester Diocese, which represents the Catholic Church in New Hampshire.

McGee said the proposal, which is still tentative, was developed by members of a 'cluster task force' or key members of a group of parishes in the Lakes Region.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:46 AM

Abuser steps down from church position

News Letter

CONVICTED sex offender Ivor Hogg has stepped down as a congregational committee member of his Presbyterian church in north Antrim.

Hogg, 31, from Greenville Avenue in Ballymoney, received a suspended sentence last month after admitting to three indecent assaults.

His 24-year-old victim – his cousin Simone Walker – waived her right to anonymity to highlight the issue of sexual abuse within religious circles.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 AM

FLDS attorney challenges Texas count of pregnant minors from polygamous sect

The Salt Lake Tribune

By Brooke Adams
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 04/26/2008 05:14:10 PM MDT

SAN ANGELO, Texas - An attorney for FLDS families in Texas challenged the state's allegations of a "pervasive pattern" of underage girls having children, saying the state's own documents show just three teenagers in custody are pregnant.
Of those girls, one will turn 18 in a few months and another merely refused to take a pregnancy test, said Rod Parker, a Salt Lake City attorney representing families at the YFZ Ranch. "That leaves us with one," he said.
Parker also said Friday that one state document includes a woman whose first child was born more than a decade ago. He said he based his statements on a copy of a list created by an investigator for Texas Child Protective Services.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:36 AM

A Deeper Conversation About the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints


Posted by Sara Robinson, Orcinus at 2:51 PM on April 25, 2008.

So far, the wall-to-wall news coverage of the state of Texas's raid on the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints compound in Eldorado, TX has been focused on just a couple of narratives. The first, of course, is the state's dogged and thorough -- and long overdue -- attempt to prove that the church's young women have been systemically sexually abused by the men of the group; and that this abuse is not just rare, but rather an inherent and accepted feature of the group's social order.

The other is the cultural curiosity of the sect's women in general. We see them, looking like they just walked out of the 1890s in their bizarre high hairdos, pastel prairie dresses, and sturdy shoes, and wonder how such a group of fossils (let alone tens of thousands of them) could still exist in modern America. It makes for great TV; but I often look at these women (most of whom have never watched TV in their lives), and feel like they're lambs being dragged out in front of media wolves they've never learned to recognize or fear. In a world when all of us seem to be in permanent rehearsal for our own 15 minutes of fame, these women are so unprepared for all this that they're downright fascinating.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:34 AM

Abuse victim vows to defy gagging order

Guardian (United Kingdom)

Henry McDonald, Ireland editor
The Observer, Sunday April 27 2008

One of the founders of a group representing victims of Catholic clerical abuse vowed last night to defy a gagging order banning him from linking compensation payouts to sexual and physical assaults in Ireland's industrial schools and orphanages.

Patrick Walsh, of Irish Survivors of Child Abuse, said the ban imposed on all victims who are paid out of an estimated €1bn fund does not apply in countries outside the Irish Republic. He compared any victim's attempt to link compensation to past abuse in a foreign jurisdiction to ex-MI5 agent Peter Wright using Australia to publish Spycatcher, which had been banned under the Official Secrets Act in the UK.

A number of abuse victims contacted The Observer last week after they had to sign forms promising not to talk publicly about the payouts they received or make any connection between the compensation and the abuse they suffered at the hands of the clergy. Some said they were now afraid to speak in case they faced criminal prosecutions in Ireland.

Pope Benedict XVI is expected to visit the Irish Republic next year. A number of victims' organisations in Ireland, including Irish Soca, have threatened nationwide protests during his visit if the church refuses to organise a meeting between abuse survivors and the pontiff.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:26 AM

Airport agony, scandal fatigue

Telegram & Gazette

Robert Z. Nemeth

... THE AMERICAN VISIT of Pope Benedict XVI brought out an assortment of “disaffected” Catholics (and Catholic-haters) who tried to use the occasion to seek attention. Groups such as the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, DignityUSA, Voice of the Faithful and others staged press conferences and demonstrations to protest the Vatican’s position on sexual abuse by clergy, homosexuality, birth control, abortion, divorce, celibacy for priests, the role of women in the church, test-tube conception, genetics research and more. When the pope surprised the detractors by meeting with abuse sufferers, they challenged his sincerity, calling the meeting a “dog and pony show” and announcing that dozens of new people were coming forward to say they were molested when they were children.

The pope has shown genuine regret about an issue that has concerned many American Catholics in recent years. Evidently, the organized victim movement has taken the pontiff’s gesture as a cause for keeping the scandal alive and to make more demands. While the scope of the abuse has never been legally determined, the church has paid dearly for the sins of a few rotten apples, making certain those sins will never be repeated. It’s time to put this ugly chapter behind us and move ahead. Hundreds of thousands of American Catholics turned out to cheer Pope Benedict XVI during his historic visit. A tiny and increasingly tiresome minority used the occasion to protest. They deserve to be ignored.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:22 AM

Defense seeks to repress confession in sex abuse case

Courier & Press

By Len Wells
Sunday, April 27, 2008

GEFF, Ill. — A judge has taken under advisement a defense motion to suppress the alleged confession of a former Southern Illinois minister, in which he gave details of how he sexually abused an Illinois boy.

Lawrence J. Reinke, 57, faces two felony charges of criminal sexual assault and a felony charge of child pornography. The former pastor of the United Methodist Church in Geff, Reinke is accused of having unlawful sexual contact with an 11-year-old boy who attended his church.

Reinke's attorney argued during a 21/2-hour suppression hearing last week that his client invoked his right to remain silent during questioning by an Illinois State Police detective and an agent with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau, and that the alleged confession should not be allowed during his upcoming trial.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:19 AM

Claimants support diocese plan

Quad-City Times

By Ann McGlynn | Friday, April 25, 2008

The 142 sex abuse claimants in the Diocese of Davenport who cast their ballots on the diocese’s bankruptcy reorganization plan overwhelmingly supported the roadmap for how the $37 million settlement will be dispersed.

Just one claimant voted no, according to records filed in the case.

Several claimants participated in meetings and conference calls over the past few weeks to discuss the plan, said Mike Uhde, chairman of the creditors committee. A common sentiment, Uhde said, was to get the bankruptcy and the determination of payment of claims “done and over with as soon as possible.”

Uhde is one of the people on the list to testify Wednesday at the confirmation hearing for the reorganization plan. Also on the witness list is Char Maaske, diocesan chief financial officer; Leo Bressanelli, trustee of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church; and Michael Murphy, who will represent people who file claims at a later time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

Equal justice for prophets and priests

Houston Chronicle

Houston Chronicle

Scattering 462 children who've been living in a strange part of the 19th century into the rickety current system of foster homes smacks of punishing the alleged victims.

You can't envy San Angelo District Judge Barbara Walther — who made the decision — her choices in the Yearning for Zion case.

You can, however, wish the state of Texas had shown similar vigor in protecting the children of some other religious groups with sexual practices that seem out of touch with modern society.

Say, for example, the church that prescribes celibacy for its priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Vt. diocese faces another sex abuse trial Case follows pope's call for healing

Rutland Herald

April 27, 2008

By KEVIN O'CONNOR Staff Writer

Pope Benedict XVI, visiting the United States this month, told Catholic bishops dealing with a clergy sex abuse scandal: "It is your God-given responsibility as pastors to bind up the wounds caused by every breach of trust, to foster healing, to promote reconciliation and to reach out with loving concern to those so seriously wronged."

Vermont Bishop Salvatore Matano, whose diocese faces two dozen priest misconduct lawsuits, is finding that easier said than done.

Matano, who returned last week from seeing the pope in New York and Washington, could find himself in Burlington's Chittenden Superior Court next month as the state's largest religious denomination defends itself in the second recent clergy sex abuse case to reach a Vermont jury.

"I think the faithful in Vermont realize we still are working toward resolution," Matano says.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:10 AM

Victim of abuse thinks little of pope's apology


By Jeffery Kurz, Record-Journal staff

CHESHIRE - When Pope Benedict XVI visited the United States for the first time, he expressed remorse over the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the American church. The pope met with a handful of victims and, during Mass at Washington's Nationals Park before 50,000 people, said "no words of mine could describe the pain and harm inflicted by such abuse."

Though surprised that the pope so directly spoke about the issue, Jim Hackett remains unimpressed. The 44-year old computer programmer, who lives in Cheshire, went public in 2005 with his story of being sexually abused three times by the same priest in 1976, when he was an altar boy and middle school student at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Hamden.

Hackett considers the pope's comments public relations "spin."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 AM

April 26, 2008

O'SHAUGHNESSY: Is Benedict the man who can?

The Republican-American

At the dawn of the 16th century, the Renaissance master Botticelli unveiled a painting known as "The Mystic Crucifixion." It's a creepily evocative image of a slingshot-wielding angel screaming out of the blackened heavens, clutching a tiny lion, ready to set Florence aflame. Well, Florence deserved it, but not nearly as much as Rome, which was then toxic with randy, grasping popes and riven with ecclesiastic dissension.

The angel is said to represent the notorious Girolamo Savonarola (1452-98), of "bonfire of the vanities" fame, a rather sanctimonious Dominican intent on purifying the debauched church. At the foot of the cross, the ever-repentant Mary Magdalene, representing the Catholic Church, clutches the cross, as the wolf of clerical vice flees from under her robe.

The painting hangs inside the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard, just a stone's throw from the epicenter of the priestly pedophilia crisis in Boston. I was queerly transfixed by the painting, not least because I was looking at it only days after Pope Benedict XVI had met with victims of the abuse, telling them that it was important that "those who have suffered be given loving pastoral attention."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 PM

Advocates angered after priest returns to parish work


Associated Press - April 26, 2008 11:34 AM ET

BOSTON (AP) - Advocates for clergy sex abuse victims are outraged that a priest accused of drunkenly propositioning a 12-year-old girl has been allowed to return to parish work.

The Rev. Jerome Gillispie was in a Chelsea restaurant three years ago when he allegedly offered to pay the girl and her mother for oral sex.

A court dismissed charges against Gillespie, who has also undergone court-ordered evaluations for alcohol, psychiatric and sexual problems.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 PM

Lawsuit claims Orlando diocese concealed pedophile priest

Miami Herald

The Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A former altar boy has sued the Catholic Diocese of Orlando for negligence, alleging that church leaders knowingly concealed a sexually abusive priest who molested him.

The incidents date back to the 1970s when the accuser, now in his mid-40s and identified in court papers as John Doe No. 10, was a parishioner of Resurrection Church of Christ in Winter Garden, according to a lawsuit filed in February in an Orlando circuit court.

According to a copy of the lawsuit, which The Associated Press received from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the man claims church leaders knew Jose Mena was abusing young parishioners while he was a priest and transferred him to keep others from finding out.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 PM

Bishop may step down permanently, official says

The Tundra Drums


April 25, 2008 at 11:31AM AKST

A Russian Orthodox official said on Monday, April 21, that Bishop Nikolai Soraich, the embattled head of the Alaska diocese, will likely step down.

"I think, ultimately, he’ll probably be leaving," said Diocese Chancellor Archimandrite Isidore, the second-highest ranking official in Alaska. "It’s not set in stone yet."

National church leaders recently held hearings in Alaska to investigate claims from priests and parishioners that Soraich is overbearing, disrespectful of Alaska Native culture and bad for the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 PM

New WI bill would create nation’s first public registry of clergy child molesters

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests


-Saturday, flyering starts at 5:00 p.m. at Gesu Jesuit Parish, downtown Milwaukee, on Wisconsin Ave., between 12th and 13th streets

-Sunday, flyering starts at 11:30 a.m. at St. John’s Cathedral, Milwaukee, 812 N. Van Buren St.


3-5 victims of clergy childhood sexual abuse who are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the nation’s oldest and largest self help organization of victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:19 PM

Boston Cardinal quietly returns criminal priest to parish work

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

O’Malley doing what bishops have done for decades and still do: quietly moving an almost certain sex offender to unsuspecting parishes without warning, supposedly relying on the advice of therapists, using alleged alcohol to excuse criminal acts toward a child, alerting neither the public nor the parishioners, and disclosing all this only after being confronted by the news media.

Here's the bottom line: Why gamble with the safety of children, especially in the one community that may have suffered and be suffering the most because of dozens and dozens of similarly reckless, callous and secretive decisions for decades?

Less than a week ago, the pope admitted being 'ashamed' by the church's on-going sex abuse and cover up scandal and promised to rid the priesthood of pedophiles. Yet days later, O'Malley secretly puts back into parishes a priest who faced four criminal charges, and essentially admitted to one, just three years ago.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:17 PM

Slovenia: Priest gets 3 years for sexual abuse of child


26 April 2008
LJUBLJANA -- A Catholic priest in Slovenia has been sentenced to three years and ten months in jail for sexually molesting a 10-year-old girl.

The sentence to Franc Frantar was handed down by Ljubljana's District Court, reports from the Slovenian capital said.

The victim was sexually assaulted in her home, and at the parish building, the court found.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:36 AM

Lumberton suspends educator


By JOSEPH GIDJUNIS • Courier-Post Staff • April 26, 2008

LUMBERTON — The township board of education voted unanimously, 8-0, late Thursday to suspend without pay one of its most popular educators, Joseph Macanga.

One board member, Terri West, did not attend the meeting.

Macanga, a former Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, was Lumberton Middle School's "Educator of the Year" in 2003. He was arrested by FBI agents on Wednesday and charged with possession of child pornography.

On the Web site RateMyTeachers.com, Macanga is one of nine teachers with a best five out of five overall rating.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 AM

Catholic Diocese of Orlando ignored abuse, lawsuit says

Orlando Sentinel

Mark I. Pinsky | Sentinel Staff Writer
April 26, 2008
The Catholic Diocese of Orlando knowingly assigned a pedophile priest to two Central Florida parishes in the 1970s and 1980s, according to a suit filed in Orange County Court.

At a small sidewalk news conference Friday outside the Chancery in downtown Orlando, anti-sex-abuse activists from the national organization SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said Jose Mena was allowed to continue to act as a priest at Resurrection parish in Winter Garden and Blessed Sacrament in Clermont, despite credible reports that he was sexually abusing altar boys.

The suit alleges that Mena, now 79, abused the plaintiff, 46, when he was a 10-year-old in the early and mid-1970s at Resurrection. For five years, the priest engaged in abuse that "occurred before and after church services on the premises of Resurrection Church, including the living quarters of Father Mena."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:12 AM

Sweep of polygamists' kids raises legal questions

The Associated Press


SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) — The state of Texas made a damning accusation when it rounded up 462 children at a polygamous sect's ranch: The adults are forcing teenage girls into marriage and sex, creating a culture so poisonous that none should be allowed to keep their children.

But the broad sweep — from nursing infants to teenagers — is raising constitutional questions, even in a state where authorities have wide latitude for taking a family's children.

The move has the appearance of "a class-action child removal," said Jessica Dixon, director of the child advocacy center at Southern Methodist University's law school in Dallas.

"I've never heard of anything like that," she said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:00 AM

Ottawa confirms at least one Canadian citizen found on Texas polygamist ranch



OTTAWA - The federal government confirmed Friday that at least one Canadian citizen was living on a Texas polygamist ranch raided by U.S. authorities.

Foreign Affairs says the Canadian government is providing that person with diplomatic assistance, but a spokeswoman for the department offered no further details. "Consular officials have confirmed the presence of one Canadian citizen," Eugenie Cormier-Lassonde said in an e-mail.

"Contact has been made with the lawyer representing the Canadian and assistance is being provided."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:57 AM

U.S. better off for pope's visit

Quay County Sun

Saturday, Apr 26 2008, 1:11 am
Freedom New Mexico
The most vivid impression most Americans have of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the United States is likely to be the attention he paid to the clergy sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Roman Catholic Church in the United States (and in other countries as well).

He brought it up unbidden at almost every stop along the way, from interviews on the plane from Rome to his final Mass at Yankee Stadium.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:52 AM

Abuse victims OK Davenport diocese settlement

The Gazette

By Gregg Hennigan
The Gazette

The $37 million settlement in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport's bankruptcy case has been overwhelmingly approved by alleged victims of sexual abuse by diocese priests, court records filed Thursday show.

Judge Lee Jackwig of U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Iowa still must OK the reorganization plan for it to take effect. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

A total of 141 people who filed claims in the case saying they were sexually abused by priests voted in favor of the plan, versus only one vote against, according to court records. Attorneys from the diocese and those representing abuse victims had predicted widespread support.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:48 AM

Bishop Provost comments on papal visit


Bishop Glen John Provost of the Diocese of Lake Charles has returned from his visit to Washington D.C. where he participated in various events that were part of the Pope's visit to the United States.

Provost says the Holy Father brought a message of hope and healing, meeting and praying with various groups including survivors of those who perished at ground zero in New York on 9-11. Provost also spoke of Pope Benedict's time spent with those who were victims of sexual abuse by priests. " He showed himself very courageous and I think he led the way for a lot of healing in the lives of these people who have suffered so much and I think that's very important and for the Pope to do this and mention it as frequently as he did shows that this is what our concern is, is for the victims and we have to be very conscious of our care and concern for them and for the future, for it to not happen again."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:44 AM

Courville gets grilled again

Standard Freeholder

Posted By Trevor Pritchard

Lawyers at the Cornwall Public Inquiry continued to press the former head of the Cornwall Police Services Board about how the public got information about their force during his tenure. From 1993 to 1996, city lawyer Leo Courville was the chair and one of three provincial appointees on the board, whose responsibility was to provide civilian oversight of the Cornwall police.

At the time, the force was dealing with the fallout from the David Silmser investigation.

Silmser had gone to police in December 1992 with sexual abuse allegations against Rev. Charles MacDonald and probation officer Ken Seguin.

He would later accept a $32,000 settlement from the Alexandria-Cornwall Roman Catholic Diocese in exchange for not pressing charges against MacDonald.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:41 AM

Powerful images of the crosses victims bear

The Star-Ledger

Saturday, April 26, 2008
Star-Ledger Staff

NEW YORK -- When photographers publish books, more often than not any text that accompa nies the visuals serves mostly as a frame in which to present the images. The stories contained within are usually accomplished by viewing the photographs. It is rare that one find a book as rich in text as it is in photographs.

That's the case with "Crosses" ($50 hard cover/Trolley Press), a compelling collection of black-and- white images by Carmine Galasso, a staff photographer for The Record of Hackensack.

Images from the book are on display in "Crosses: Portraits of Clergy Abuse," an exhibit at Lott Gallery at Drive-In 24 Studios in Manhattan. The fact that the show and book signing opened April 18 with a candlelight vigil for abuse victims was no accident; it was timed to coincide during Pope Benedict XVI's visit to New York.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:37 AM

Priest's return to parish work angers advocates

Boston Globe

By Michael Paulson
Globe Staff / April 26, 2008
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston is allowing the Rev. Jerome F. Gillespie to return to parish work, after a court dismissed charges that he drunkenly propositioned a 12-year-old girl and her mother in a Chelsea restaurant three years ago.

Victim advocates are irate, saying the archdiocese should have announced the decision before allowing Gillespie to return to work in parishes, and saying that Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley should not allow someone accused of sexually propositioning a minor to serve in ministry.

But the archdiocese noted that not only were the charges dismissed, but that the priest submitted to court-ordered evaluations for alcohol, psychiatric, and sexual problems. Gillespie allegedly offered to pay the girl and her mother for oral sex; he was not accused of physical contact with either person. ...

The advocate, David Clohessy, called the decision to restore Gillespie to ministry "outrageous." Clohessy is the national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. ...

Another advocate, Anne Barrett Doyle of Waltham-based Bishopaccountability.org, called the decision to allow Gillespie to go back to work as a priest "shocking."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:28 AM

April 25, 2008

Ex-church worker charged with having sex with girl

The Gazette

April 25, 2008 - 7:43PM
A former employee at Lighthouse Baptist Church in Colorado Springs has been charged with having sex with an underage girl from the congregation.

Jon Scott Moore, 51, was arrested March 25 after an Ohio woman told police the pair began the relationship when she was 16 years old and living with her parents in Colorado Springs.

Moore, formerly the assistant to Pastor James Carroll, is charged with sexual assault of a child while in a position of trust and promoting obscenity to a child, both felonies, court records show. He is free on a $10,000 bond and due to appear in court May 19.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:19 PM

Group Goes After Orlando Bishop


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, is going after Orlando Bishop Thomas Wenski.

It said Wenski learned about a new lawsuit against Father Jose Mena in February, and did not announce the allegations.

Mena is accused of sodomizing a boy repeatedly in the mid-1970s near Winter Garden.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:14 PM

Support group calls for publicity in lawsuit against Orlando Diocese


[with audio]

Members of a clergy-abuse support group held a rally downtown Friday to publicize a lawsuit against a former Orlando Priest. "We're announcing the lawsuit. We're asking that the bishop step up to the plate and do the right thing."

The lawsuit stems from claims that a priest molested a boy in Winter Garden during the mid-1970s. The support group, SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests - is calling for more publicity by the Diocese:

"We have yet to see in any Diocese - including Orlando - where the church authorities have just done the right thing because its the right thing."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:10 PM

Laws must give us protection fromsexual offenders

The Courier

We must continue to make the world a safer place for our children, the elderly and the mentally disabled – those who are most vulnerable to sexual predators. ...

That was the case in Montgomery County in 2002, when a man who had molested nearly 40 Louisiana youths, mostly boys, was working and living here.

Gilbert John Gauthe, now 62, pleaded guilty in 1985 to sexually abusing the children while he was a Catholic priest.

At the time he lived in Montgomery County, however, he was not required to register as a sex offender in either Texas or Louisiana, even with his crimes in Louisiana and an additional accusation that he molested a 3-year-old in Polk County in 1996. He pleaded guilty in that case to a lesser charge of intentional injury to a child and was not required to register for that crime.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:21 PM

Pastor and Prophet


By The editors | MAY 5, 2008
The enduring impression Pope Benedict XVI left with most Americans following his recent visit to Washington, D.C., and New York was of a pastor ministering to his flock. In repeated gestures, from meeting with the victims of sexual abuse to blessing the disabled and speaking with the survivors of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he showed his desire to heal those who are wounded and broken.

His numerous comments on sexual abuse by members of the clergy demonstrated awareness of the depth of the hurt to victims and their families as well as to the American Catholic Church as a whole. From his confession of shame to reporters during the flight to the United States to his spontaneous acknowledgment of his own human weakness at the Mass at New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, he signaled that like Peter, he is an ordinary Christian who struggles to be a disciple.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:12 PM

Bishop, local priests, others reflect on messages, challenges

The Catholic Free Press

By Margaret M. Russell

The visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United States changed his image in the minds of many. His message of hope resonated with the young, with immigrants, with abuse victims, with teachers, with bishops, with Catholics in the pews and with people of other faiths.

“It was exactly what the Church in the United States needed; to have the pope come among us,” Bishop McManus said reflecting on the five days he spent with the pope in Washington, D.C., and New York. ...

“Pope Benedict brought a message of hope, but this was not just any kind of hope it was a hope in Christ, Christ our hope. Pope Benedict is a witness to that hope and he was calling upon all of us to share in that witness,” Jonathan Slavinskas said. Mr. Slavinskas is a diocesan seminarian at Mount Saint Mary Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. He saw the pope up-close at Nationals Stadium. ...

Mr. Slavinskas said, “Not only did Pope Benedict bring with him this message of hope, he also brought with him a message of the healing love of Christ” when he addressed the sex abuse crisis at three venues and spoke directly to a small group of victims.

“This was particularly powerful for me. I remember when the scandal of the Church broke, and I know and have witnessed the pain that the scandal had caused so many. Pope Benedict acknowledged the pain,” Mr. Slavinskas said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:07 PM

Reflection: The Pope's Pastoral Visit

The Tidings

By Cardinal Roger M. Mahony

Pope Benedict XVI came as our Pastor and as our Shepherd, and he spoke to us of our most human joys and sorrows, our hopes and our failures. He came in the name of Jesus Christ and he reminded us "to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus" [Hebrews 12:2].

Our Holy Father did not hesitate to lift up for us challenges and difficulties which our Church was facing here in the United States, but he never left us alone with our failures and problems. He stood with us, acknowledged the shame of sinful behavior, and urged us forward in the name of our Risen Lord.

He openly spoke of the scourge of sexual misconduct on the part of clergy over these past decades, he visited with victims of that abuse, he reminded us of our immigrant roots and urged us to be present to today's immigrant peoples and their plight, he spent quiet prayerful time at Ground Zero, he met with those young people suffering with physical disabilities, he spoke of the futility of violence and war, and he did not hesitate to alert us to the conflict between the Gospel of Jesus and our contemporary society.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:04 PM

Suspend predator priest immediately, Sex abuse victims say

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

We call on Indianapolis’ archbishop to immediately remove Fr. Jonathan Stewart from his post and take steps to reach out to anyone else he may have harmed.

Yesterday, an unbiased jury has heard the evidence and determined that Stewart is a child molester. As Pope John Paul II said, there is no place in ministry for anyone who would harm the young.

We believe that Stewart should have been suspended from ministry, not just shifted to another job, when this allegation was made or when this lawsuit was filed. To do anything less is to put kids in harm’s way and violate the US bishops national sex abuse policy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:51 PM

Cardinal reflects on apostolic visit, meeting with victims

The Pilot

By Antonio Enrique
Posted: 4/25/2008

BRIGHTON -- In an April 23 interview with The Pilot, Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, shared his thoughts on the Holy Father’s six-day trip to the United States. ...

Q: Can you explain your involvement in that unannounced meeting in Washington that brought together the Holy Father with five local victims of sexual abuse by clergy?

A: After it was announced that the Holy Father was going to Washington and New York and that Boston was not included, the bishops of the region joined me in writing a letter to the Holy Father asking him to reconsider and talking about the pastoral needs that we have in New England. Then the response came back that, given the very taxing nature of the trip, that they (Vatican officials) really hesitated to add anything else. So I wrote back again asking if the Holy Father would meet with victims and after that the Holy Father responded and asked me to make the necessary arrangements.

Q: Why was this meeting not part of the official schedule?

A: We did our best to keep it a very discreet meeting because we did not want to turn it a media circus and we were afraid that if people found ahead of time that that was just what would happen. Also, some of the survivors who accompanied us wished to remain anonymous and it would have made it impossible for them to participate under the public scrutiny. So, I am just thankful that we were able to carry it off without becoming public before hand.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:42 PM

Audit says Anchorage Archdiocese falls short

Fort Mill Times

(Published April 25, 2008)
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An audit of Catholic dioceses around the country is not good news for Anchorage.

The Anchorage Archdiocese is among only a dozen that fell short amount 190 dioceses audited. The audit looked at the response by dioceses to the Catholic priest sex abuse scandal.

The report by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says the Anchorage diocese failed to comply in two areas. The report says it did not initially report some new allegations to law enforcement, and it didn't do enough training for children, priests and volunteers to ensure that children are safe.

The directives on how to protect children come from a charter drafted in 2002 by the conference of bishops and later revised.

The audit results don't mean the Anchorage Archdiocese isn't trying hard to improve its record on protecting children, said Teresa Kettelkamp, who oversees child protection programs for the conference of bishops, and also is a retired colonel with the Illinois State Police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:13 PM

Former priest Gauthe arrested again in Texas

The Independent

By Leslie Turk
Friday, April 25, 2008

Former priest Gilbert Gauthe, who pleaded guilty in 1985 to sexually abusing 11 boys in Louisiana in a pedophilia scandal that rocked the country and the Catholic Church, was arrested in Texas Wednesday, accused of violating that state's sex offender registration law. Gauthe was still in jail yesterday.

Gauthe served 10 years of a 20-year-sentence for molesting boys in local parishes while a Diocese of Lafayette priest. He was again arrested in Texas in 1996 for sexual abuse of a 3-year-old. Bond for the 63-year-old was set at $200,000 after his arrest Wednesday at the Galveston Island State Park.

Gauthe had been living in the Houston suburb of La Marque as an unregistered sex offender because of a loophole in Texas law.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:27 PM

The story behind the pope's meeting with sex abuse victims; Cardinal O'Malley interview

National Catholic Reporter

All Things Catholic by John L. Allen, Jr.
Friday, April 25, 2008 - Vol. 7, No. 32

Prior to Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States, some handlers worried that the American media would impose the sexual abuse crisis as the trip's dominant storyline. As it turns out, those fears were misplaced -- the media didn't impose the crisis upon the pope, he imposed it on us.

During a papal trip, the Vatican press corps gathers early each day, usually around 5 a.m., to receive advance copies of that day's speeches. Saturday morning in New York, waiting outside the room where the speeches would be handed out, I bumped into a prominent Italian vaticanista who actually grumbled that it would have been better if the pope had given one substantial speech on the crisis, rather than scattering his references across several days. This journalist said he had come prepared to write about several topics, but as it was, four of his five stories so far had led with the sexual abuse crisis -- because, he said, the pope himself kept bringing it up.

Certainly Benedict's five public references to the crisis, beginning with his lengthy answer to my question aboard the papal plane on April 15, were destined to keep the story in the headlines. Yet his most dramatic gesture actually came off-camera, in a private encounter with five survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests. That session took place on Thursday, April 17, in the chapel of the nunciature, or Vatican embassy, in Washington, D.C.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:48 AM

The secret costs of papal visits

National Secular Society (United Kingdom)

By Muriel Fraser
In Australia protests are mounting against the unknown bill for the papal trip planned for July. As a visiting head of state, Benedict XVI will have his accommodation and (the massive) security paid for by his hosts, but the Australian taxpayers are not allowed to know what it will cost them. In preparation for the Pope’s visit to Australia, the premier of New South Wales had a financial statement drawn up which he says proves how advantageous this will be. However, Premier Morris Iemma, who happens to be Catholic, then promptly exempted this report from the Freedom of Information Act, claiming it would be against the public interest to disclose it. (Courier-Mail, 10.4.2008)

Occasionally, however, some of these carefully-guarded figures do come out. Two years ago, on the occasion of Benedict’s first papal trip, the president of the Bavarian Police Union, Harald Schneider, got a look at the cost of the Pope’s security. This led Schneider to remark that it would have been cheaper if the German taxpayers had given every Catholic pilgrim who wanted it, a round-trip ticket to go and see the Pope in Rome. (Mittelbayerische Zeitung, 1.2.2006).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:26 AM

German priest suspended during child abuse probe

Stuff (New Zealand)

Reuters | Friday, 25 April 2008

Roman Catholic Church in Germany has suspended a priest over allegations he sexually abused a boy nearly a decade ago.

"I am very concerned that a priest in one of our churches has come under suspicion," said Werner Thissen, archbishop of Hamburg, in an online statement on Thursday.

"If young people have suffered because of a priest, we deeply regret it."

A spokesman for state prosecutors in the northern port city said an investigation was started after a member of the local Polish-German community filed a charge via his lawyer. The man alleged the priest had sexually abused a young boy in 1999.

The lawyer, the priest and his accuser had Polish backgrounds, the spokesman said. He gave no further details.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:23 AM

How DNA Could Reveal Relationships of Texas Sect

Fox News

By Jeanna Bryner

Officials in Texas just finished collecting cheek-swab samples from the 437 children and alleged parents in order to determine who is related to whom.

The children were removed from a polygamous commune in Eldorado earlier this month during a raid sparked by reports of sexual abuse of underage girls.

According to news accounts of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) in Eldorado, pubescent girls were forced into "spiritual marriages" to older men. ...

Results could have legal implications, including any evidence for possible statutory rape, which includes individuals below a certain age deemed legally incapable of consenting to sexual activity.

In Texas, 17 is the minimum age, making it illegal for anyone under the age of 17 to engage in sexual activity with another who is at least three years their elder. (An individual must be at least 16 years old to enter into a legal marriage in Texas.)

"Now not only can we look at alleged relationships between parents and their children," said Robert Allen, a professor of biochemistry at Oklahoma State University, "but now we can look at alleged sibships [siblings], alleged half-sibships [half brothers and sisters]."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:03 AM

Teacher in porn case once served as priest in Bucks

Bucks County Courier Times

Bucks County Courier Times

LUMBERTON, N.J. — A teacher in the township middle school who was charged with possession and distribution of child pornography was formerly a Roman Catholic priest and teacher within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Joseph E. Macanga, 54, was a priest in the archdiocese for nearly 10 years, said Donna Farrell, spokeswoman for the archdiocese.

Macanga was ordained in May 1986 after graduating from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa. During his tenure, he served as priest and teacher at the following locations in Southeastern Pennsylvania: St. Andrew Parish in Newtown; Cardinal Dougherty High School in Philadelphia; St. Hilary of Poitiers in Rydal; St. Cecilia parish in Coatesville; St. Alice parish in Upper Darby, and SS. Simon & Jude parish in West Chester.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:45 AM

‘Pope gets mixed reviews on visit


Published: Tuesday, April 22, 2008 10:38 AM EDT
Three longtime veterans of the struggle against sexual abuse of children by priests had sharply, differing opinions about Pope Benedict’s meeting with sexual abuse survivors in Washington, D.C.

“How can I not feel positive by the fact that he (the pope) has made this the primary focus of his talks?” said the Rev. Kenneth Lasch.

Lasch was the longtime, former pastor of St. Joseph Church in Mendham, the scene two decades ago of dramatic revelations about child sexual abuse by a former church pastor, Robert Hanley.

Lasch became nationally known for his efforts on behalf of clergy sexual abuse victims. He also became virtually ostracized by the leadership of the Paterson diocese because of his persistent criticism of church hierarchy in not confronting the issue of clergy sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:37 AM

Priest loses abuse lawsuit

Indianapolis Star

By Jon Murray

A Marion Superior Court jury on Thursday awarded a Greene County man $155,000 in damages in his sexual abuse lawsuit against a priest.

The man, now 21, said during this week's trial that he was touched or fondled by the Rev. Jonathan L. Stewart twice, the first time when he was 6.

At the time, Stewart -- the boy's relative -- was serving at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Milan, but the alleged abuse occurred at the boy's home.

Stewart has denied the abuse claims. The Greene County prosecutor did not file charges, and the family filed the lawsuit in 2004.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:13 AM

Police arrest Gauthe in Texas

The Advertiser

[with timeline]

Claire Taylor

Former Acadiana priest and pedophile Gilbert Gauthe is in a Texas jail, arrested Wednesday for violating the state's sex offender registration law, said Detective Geoff Price, LaMarque Police Department spokesman.

Gauthe, 62, served 10 years of a 20-year sentence after being convicted in 1985 of molesting several Vermilion Parish boys while a priest with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette. He also had been stationed at churches in Broussard and Iberia Parish.

After a Texas television station last week reported Gauthe was not registered as a sex offender, police officers approached him and Gauthe registered, Price said.

He was not in violation of Texas sex offender registration laws at that point.

Gauthe told Price that he was leaving LaMarque for a few days to avoid further news media attention. But the owner of property where Gauthe had been living in an RV told Price that Gauthe had moved, that he said he would not be back.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:44 AM

Church court to rule on sex abuse allegations

River Forest Leaves

April 23, 2008
By JOLIE LEE jlee@pioneerlocal.com
The Presbytery of Chicago will convene an ecclesiastical court to rule on allegations the church made against an Elmwood Park pastor who has been accused of sexual abuse by a former congregant.

The Rev. Robert Reynolds, Executive Presbyter of the Presbytery, confirmed charges were filed against the Rev. Ronald Campbell, but declined to provide further details of the charges.

The charges were filed against Campbell on March 19, according to an e-mail sent by the Presbytery's lawyer, David Strom, to the former congregant's lawyer, Thomas McCauley. A copy of the e-mail was obtained by Pioneer Press.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:33 AM

Paracletes Psychologist: I would ask, did your fellow priests question why you had kids around so much. Priests just did not discuss sexuality

City of Angels

By Kay Ebeling
Went document diving today because the hearing on issues the defense does not mentioned was continued to Monday afternoon for the upcoming Salesian cases jury trial. Jury selection begins Monday morning downtown LA in the Stanley Mosk Courthouse Department 1, (110 North Grand Ave). Then the hearing on motions in limine starts back up at 308 S. Commonwealth that same day at 2PM.

Once they have a jury, the trial takes place in Judge Emilie Elias’ courtroom at the Commonwealth location. (Try not to step on people living on the sidewalk as you approach this looming mass of 20th Century concrete and glass that overlooks Lafayette Park. Across the street is a building that used to be a nightclub-hotel, where the likes of Liz Taylor and Rock Hudson would dance the night away. Today it houses Russian refugee families.)

Catch of the day in the Salesian case documents is this statement written by a seminarian who observed and complained about Father Jim Miani way back in the 1940s, copy typed here:

“One day of such vacation , alluding the company of the others, he (Miani) stopped together with a 13 year old youngster and, between a word and a joke, it seems in truthfulness that he tried to commit an indecent act.

The young fellow was able to resist but at the return in the seminary he candidly manifested everything to the Rectory. Thus all the consequences to Miani. The Superiors when questioned have not reported anything else.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:23 AM

Protection Program Helps Keep Sexual Predators Out of Church

Christian News Wire

Contact: Sandra Hoekstra, Christianity Today International, 630-260-6200 x4224, Shoekstra@ChristianityToday.com
CAROL STREAM, Ill., April 24 /Christian Newswire/ -- A Christian media ministry with a passion to keep children safe from sexual abuse released a new resource that will help churches and ministries properly screen, train, and oversee the people who work with children.

Since the 1980s, when a surge of child sexual abuse cases in churches surfaced, allegations of abuse by clergy have decreased, yet allegations of abuse by church lay leaders and volunteers have risen sharply.

Last year, more than 300 incidents were reported within church or ministry organizations, and in half of these cases the perpetrator was a volunteer or paid staff member. The reason? Many child sex offenders seek out welcoming environments where there is easy access to minors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:20 AM

Judge turns down Jeffs' bid for new trial

United Press International

ST. GEORGE, Utah, April 24 (UPI) -- A judge in Utah Thursday refused to grant polygamist leader Warren Jeffs' motion for a new trial.

Jeffs, now awaiting trial in Arizona on similar charges, was convicted in Utah of rape as an accomplice. Prosecutors said that he forced a 14-year-old girl into a marriage with her cousin.

Fifth District Judge James Shumate rejected arguments by Jeffs' lawyers that the trial was full of "errors and improprieties," the Deseret Morning News reported. On Wednesday, he refused to delay a hearing on another issue, a motion by Jeffs' lawyers to question jurors on whether they reached verdicts on some counts before a juror was dismissed for failing to disclose past sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:16 AM

Former Gilbert youth leader gets 17 years for molestation

ABC 15

A former Gilbert church youth leader accused of molesting a 13-year-old girl was sentenced to 17 years in prison by a Maricopa County Superior Court judge Thursday.

On March 27th, a jury found 40-year-old James Ward Chapman III guilty of child molestation and sexual abuse.

Chapman, who could have faced 22 years in prison, will be placed on lifetime probation and registered as a sex offender.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Back Channels: Benedict issues lofty call to eliminate evil of abuse

Philadelphia Inquirer

By Kevin Ferris
Editor of the Editorial Page

Pope Benedict XVI didn't raise just the issue of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. He raised the bar on how to respond to the crisis.

There was no 10-point to-do list. Instead, appropriately, he took the discussion to a higher level. The question is, can he and his church live up to his words and deeds?

First, of course, was the condemnation. In his meeting with bishops, he called the sexual abuse of minors a "deep shame" that has caused "enormous pain." He spoke of "clerics [who] have betrayed their priestly obligations and duties by such gravely immoral behavior." He mentioned the need to "eliminate this evil."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 AM

Lubbock attorney representing a leading member of polygamist sect


Friday, April 25, 2008

A Lubbock defense attorney has lended his services to one of the members of the polygamist sect in Eldorado.

Criminal defense lawyer Danny Hurley is representing Merrill Jessop, one of the leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Earlier this month, more than 400 children were taken from the Yearning for Zion Ranch after allegations of physical and sexual abuse surfaced. The raid has garnered national attention.

"There are no criminal charges pending right now," Hurley said. "But it is certainly implied and it appears there might be in the future."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

Confidence in warrant now shaky

Deseret News

By Paul A. Anthony
Scripps Howard News Service
Published: Friday, April 25, 2008 1:11 a.m. MDT

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Revelations that the March 29 phone call that sparked a raid on a west Texas polygamist compound may be a hoax have led prosecutors to doubt the reason for the original search-and-arrest warrant that granted authorities access to the Yearning for Zion Ranch.

Arrests still could be made in the case, said first assistant 51st District attorney Allison Palmer. The raid, based on the warrant, led to the removal of 437 children from the Fundamentalist LDS Church ranch, the largest child custody action in Texas history.

"If it were true that the female who identified herself as Sarah is not really Sarah, I do not feel that would be enough to (invalidate) the search warrant," Palmer said.

Even so, "some events have shaken our belief and confidence in that probable cause," she said. Palmer used the phone calls as the probable cause necessary to secure the warrant granted by District Judge Barbara Walther.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:01 AM

Church youth leader gets 17-year sentence

The Arizona Republic

Apr. 25, 2008 01:12 AM
The Associated Press
A Gilbert church youth leader accused of sexually molesting a teenage girl has been sentenced to 17 years in prison.

After a three-day trial, James Ward Chapman III was found guilty by a jury March 27 of child molestation and sexual abuse.

Chapman, 40, was sentenced Thursday by a Maricopa County Superior Court judge.

A former volunteer leader at First United Methodist Church of Gilbert, Chapman could have faced up to 22 years in prison.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:59 AM

Direct anger at FLDS leadership, not Texas authorities

The Spectrum

Many think that Texas deprived the FLDS mothers of their constitutional rights of due process. Bryan Hyde recently so opined.

Several writers to the editor have complained bitterly that mothers should not have their children torn away from their homes by the government.

Mr. Hyde is right to be concerned about separating children from their parents for even a short time. Nevertheless, constitutional and criminal law seek both to protect parents' rights to liberty and to protect children from physical and sexual abuse. Mr. Hyde might argue that the state has no such interest in child protection, but many reasonable judges have ruled against him for many years. They hold that under certain specific circumstances children can be removed from their home to prevent imminent threat of abuse.

In a Utah case, the United States Tenth Circuit court said: "The parents' liberty interest in the custody and management of their children while paramount must be balanced against the state's compelling interest in protecting children against physical and sexual abuse."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

Pope has shown himself to be effective pontiff

Niagara Falls Review

Pope Benedict XVI's recently-completed visit to the United States has likely secured his place in history.

That's because he has done what few people would have predicted: Proven himself to be a more effective pontiff than his predecessor.

Of course, John Paul II was wildly popular and famous for having visited more than 100 countries.

But, in the final analysis, he dedicated too much of his energy to keeping the church rooted in the past and, more importantly, he ignored the elephant in the room: The molestation of children by priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

Christine M. Flowers: PAPAL BULL

Philadelphia Daily News

WHICH OF the following people lost their jobs for making insulting or insensitive remarks?
(a) Don Imus.

(b) Jimmy the Greek.

(c) Larry Summers.

(d) Randi Rhodes.

(e) Bill Maher.

Pencils down. If you said (a), (b), (c) or (d), go to the head of the class.

Don Imus called the Rutgers women "nappy-headed hos" and lost his gig at MSNBC. Jimmy the Greek said that black athletes were better because they were bred that way during slavery and got axed as a sports commentator on ABC.

Larry Summers suggested that the male and female brains were organically different and ended up "resigning" as Harvard president. Randi Rhodes called Hillary Clinton a "bitch" and got pink-slipped by Air America.

But if you picked (e), no gold star for you! Bill Maher called Pope Benedict XVI a Nazi and the head of a "child-abusing religious cult" - and he's still sitting pretty. (Well, not so pretty, but that could just be a problem with the lighting.)

And despite the fact that so many other people with foot-in-mouth disease have been shown the door, it's highly unlikely that the Patron Saint of Snark will be standing in the unemployment line anytime soon.

Normally, I'd say that's a good thing.

We've all become overly sensitive to perceived slights. Muzzled, as Michael Smerconish might say.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 AM

“For the sake of expedience”

California Catholic Daily

In its attempts to pay its share of a $660 million settlement reached with victims of sexual abuse by clergy, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has turned to school properties to guarantee a loan needed to finance payment of part of the out-of-court agreement.

The archdiocese is not selling the school properties in question – six high schools – but is using them as collateral for a $50 million loan from the Allied Irish Bank, according to press reports. Archdiocesan spokesman Tod Tamberg said five of the schools are in no danger of closing, and one had already been scheduled to close, the Associated Press reported.

The five schools not at risk of closure are St. Bernard in Playa del Rey, St. Bonaventure in Ventura, Bishop Amat in La Puente, Bishop Conaty-Loretto in Los Angeles, and Bishop Montgomery in Torrance. Daniel Murphy High School in Los Angeles, already slated for closure, was also among the six schools used as collateral.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 AM

Police: Sex offender priest didn't register

The Galveston County Daily News

By Chris Paschenko
The Daily News
Published April 25, 2008

LA MARQUE — A former Catholic priest who admitted to sexually abusing 11 boys two decades ago remained jailed Thursday on a charge of failing to register in La Marque as a sex offender.

Gilbert John Gauthe, 63, was arrested shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday at Galveston Island State Park and remained jailed on a $200,000 bond.

Gauthe was living in a motor home in La Marque when he recently became the center of a broadcast news exposé.

Capt. Donnie Head of La Marque police said Gauthe garnered national attention as one of the first Catholic priests accused in multiple cases of child sexual abuse. Head said Gauthe admitted to molesting 39 young boys in Louisiana.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 AM

Ex-priest jailed on probation violation

Houston Chronicle

[with recent photo]

Houston Chronicle

LA MARQUE — The Catholic priest whose admission to molesting boys more than 20 years ago set loose a flood of lawsuits has been arrested on allegations of failing to register as a sex offender, La Marque police said Thursday.

Former priest Gilbert Gauthe, 62, was living in a recreational vehicle at Galveston Island State Park when he was arrested Wednesday, police Detective Geoff Price said.

Gauthe admitted to molesting 37 boys in the Diocese of Lafayette, La., 22 years ago. He pleaded guilty to 34 counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and possession of child pornography in 1985.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 AM

Archdiocese gets low marks in church audit

Anchorage Daily News


Published: April 25th, 2008 12:40 AM
Last Modified: April 25th, 2008 01:02 AM

Six years after the scandal of Catholic priest sex abuse broke nationwide, a new audit says most dioceses around the country follow national church directives intended to protect children.

The news is not so good in Anchorage.

The Anchorage Archdiocese is among only a dozen that fell short among 190 dioceses audited, a March 2008 report says.

And it failed to comply in two areas, making it among the dioceses that performed the very worst: It didn't initially report some new allegations to law enforcement, and it didn't do enough training for children, priests and volunteers to ensure a "safe environment" where kids aren't abused, according to the annual report on child protection by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 AM

Pope offers words of encouragement, hope

The Daily Observer

Pope Benedict XVI, supreme pontiff of the world's one billion Roman Catholics, is being lauded for his admission that "great pain" has been caused by the sexual abuse of minors by Roman Catholic clergy.

The Pope reportedly opened the topic on the plane on his way from Rome to the U.S., where he is now making an official visit.

The issue of clergy abuse has been the elephant in the room for a generation, since revelations started coming out of the U.S. and Canada and countries around the world of inappropriate touching, even intercourse, between priests and innocent children in their care.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

Former police board prez criticized for approving release

Standard Freeholder

Posted By Trevor Pritchard

The former president of the city's police board was assailed at the Cornwall Public Inquiry yesterday for approving a press release omitting key parts of a report critical of the David Silmser investigation.

Leo Courville signed off on a February 1994 release highlighting the "excellent police work" an Ottawa investigator observed as he reviewed the force's investigation of Silmser's sexual abuse allegations against a Catholic priest and a probation officer.

"The members of the investigative team . . . are satisfied that there was no attempt by any member of the Cornwall Police Service to 'cover-up' the situation," read the second paragraph of the two-page release.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 AM

Group to sue Orlando's Catholic bishop for abuse handling

Orlando Sentinel

Susan Jacobson | Sentinel Staff Writer
11:32 PM EDT, April 24, 2008

Several members of a support group for people molested by clergymen plan Friday afternoon to publicize a new lawsuit they say has been served on Orlando's Catholic bishop, and to criticize him for his handling of the matter.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests says the suit stems from the abuse of a boy in the 1970s by a priest at a parish in Winter Garden. The group, whose founder will be at the Orlando event outside the Diocese of Orlando's chancery building on Robinson Street, says Bishop Thomas Wenski should have made the lawsuit public when it was filed in February.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:11 AM

April 24, 2008

It can happen in the best of families


By Avi Novis-Deutsch

Until not long ago, most of us had hardly heard about cases of familial violence within ultra-Orthodox society, so the recent media reports have come as something of a shock. It may be hard to imagine such things happening in any family, let alone among those whose lives are led in such close observance of Jewish law. It would be a mistake, however, to lump all the recent cases in the same category. There is, in fact, little to link violence that appears to be motivated by a religious authority, and sexual violence and incest that are committed by ultra-Orthodox Jews.

The first phenomenon, in which cult-like leaders have been reported to have gathered around them small groups of followers, who, in obedience to a religious doctrine set out by those leaders, have tortured their children, can be attributed to the perverse direction religion and religious authorities can sometimes take. It is a chilling reminder of how religion can sometimes overcome our moral will and become the motivation for immoral acts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:20 PM

Hat dieser Priester ein Kind missbraucht?


Anfang des Monats war der Geistliche (Name ist BILD bekannt) angezeigt worden, 1999 einen Jungen geküsst und unsittlich berührt zu haben, bestätigte die Hamburger Staatsanwaltschaft.

Erstattet hatte die Strafanzeige ein hochrangiges Kirchenmitglied: Krzysztof Stobinski, Mitglied des Pastoralrats und Präsident des Polish Business Clubs Hamburg e.V.!


Did this priest abuse a child?
The Hamburg state prosecutor's office identified (document number 7203 JS 85/08] as an allegation against a Hamburg priest who is suspected of having sexually abused children. The published image of the suspected priest has been altered so not to show his face. The prosecutor was told early this month that the priest kissed and touched a boy in 1999. The complaint to the prosecutor was made by Krzysztof Stobinskiu, a high-level church member, member of the pastoral council and present of the Polish Business Club of Hamburg.

The accusation made by the businessman is based on witnesses and several letters written from 1999 to 2000. These letters, addressed to church leaders, reported that the priest was seen kissing a boy between the legs.

Archbishop Werner Thissen said he was concerned that a priest was under suspicion. He personally led a discussion with the suspect. But why had the church not acted earlier based on the dates of the letters? Bishop Thissen said he did not know of the complaints.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:01 PM

Bishop Galante: Fewer churches can meet region's needs


By BARBARA S. ROTHSCHILD • Courier-Post Staff • April 24, 2008

During a meeting this morning at the Courier-Post, Bishop Joseph Galante elaborated on his plan to reconfigure parishes in the Camden Diocese, including merging some and cutting the total number from 124 to 66.

The needs of an increasingly diverse population numbering half a million Catholics in the diocese can best be met by fewer, more dynamic parishes that can attract lay people to minister to various groups, including the young, the elderly, families and divorced Catholics, he said.

"Parishes aren't so much the building. They're the community of people who gather," Galante said, adding that only 22 percent to 24 percent of the diocese's Catholics attend Mass regularly.

"That is appalling. We have to have active ministries, people to knock on doors and talk to people. We need people with training," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:47 PM

Judgment day comes for former Cleveland pastor


Marc Magill

CLEVELAND -- Judgment day has come for a local pastor accused of fleecing his flock of more than $400,000.

On Thursday, a judge found Reverend Artis Caver, of Bedford, guilty of theft and 20 counts of money laundering.

Caver, a former pastor at Harvest Missionary Baptist Church in Cleveland, was accused of taking money from accounts and funneling it to his failed bus company.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:42 PM

The Pope has come, but not change

Dos Mundos

Written by Jorge Ramos
Thursday, 24 April 2008
The only reason the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United States attracted any attention is that it was his first as pope -- nothing more. There are no changes and no new debates to be engaged in. After all, Joseph Ratzinger is known for defending the Roman Catholic Church’s most traditional values. He travels a lot, but he doesn’t change.

“Remember, the Catholic Church is not in a continuous process of change,” said Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahoney in a recent interview.

That’s true.

And perhaps that might explain why so many Catholics in the United States are leaving the church. According to a Pew Research Center study on religion in America, three out of nine people raised as Catholics have deserted the Church. And where do they go? The majority leave for Christian congregations with more modern practices that allow pastors to marry, women to have greater access to the same positions as men, and human sexuality to be accepted with fewer restrictions. ...

Ratzinger was one of the principal officials in the Catholic Church when it was the Vatican’s policy to handle the sexual abuse complaints internally and in secret. Pedophile priests weren’t reported to the police. Many cases ended tragically, and guilty priests remained unpunished with the church simply transferring them to a different parish.

“Why did the Catholic Church hide the criminals?” I asked Mahoney.

“There were a lot of problems in those three decades, and we do not know why,” responed the spiritual leader of more than three million. Then, he added: “We have taken many steps to protect everyone in the Catholic Church.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:34 PM

The Catholic Church’s shameful legacy

Tandem (Canada)

By Alessio Galletti

“We were expecting more,” said David Clohessy of SNAP (The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests), commenting on Pope Benedict XVI’s statements about the sex abuse scandal involving priests and minors in dozens of American dioceses on his recent visit to the U.S. But for Clohessy, national director of the association, which offers help to victims in the U.S. and Canada, the Pope’s recent statements offer little for victims.
“We’re nowhere closer to what needs to be done. Lots of words and many promises, but nothing concrete. The kind of media campaign where nothing is done to prevent it from happening again,” Clohessy explains.
A lot can be done according to Clohessy, but a start would be to discipline the bishops who he labels as corrupt, in order to create a safer Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 PM

Pedophile ex-priest Gilbert Gauthe back in jail


Gilbert Gauthe, the former Roman Catholic priest who pleaded guilty in 1985 to sexually abusing 11 boys in South Louisiana, is in a Texas jail today -- accused of violating that state's sex offender registration law.

Bond for Gauthe, 63, was set at $200,000 after his arrest Wednesday at Galveston Island State Park.

Police said Gauthe had been living in the Houston suburb of La Marque as an unregistered sex offender because of a loophole in Texas law.

He did not register with police until last week after inquiries about the former priest were made by KTRK-TV in Houston.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 PM

Does this sound like a consensus?

Catholic World News

Ideological allies? Absolutely not. But although they disagree on many other things, these voices are singing in tune on one topic. See if you can pick out the dominant note:

Voice of the Faithful press release:

Voice of the Faithful has publicly called for the Holy Father to ask for the resignations of all bishops who put the interests of the institutional Church before the safety of Catholic children.

Sister Maureen Paul Turlish (writing in the Philadelphia Inquirer):
Not one bishop has been removed from office because of his own complicity, collusion or cover-up of the church's continuing sexual-abuse problems. Nor has anyone been forced to resign for violating Canon Law or criminal or civil laws.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:23 PM

Catholic Church Takes On Sex Abuse Scandal


By Emily Wood

Thursday morning third graders at St. Therese Catholic School asked questions about multiplication, spelling, and learned lessons of a different kind. The young students listened as their teacher Patricia Holder told them how to say "No" to strangers and as she explained the difference between a safe touch and an unsafe touch.

"I wondered was there a child that had been abused, and maybe I didn't recognize the signs," Sister Deborah Hughes said.

Hughes has worked in Catholic education more than forty years. The thousands of sex abuse allegations against Catholic priests shocked her and led her to create a new sex abuse prevention curriculum.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 PM

Case of Malka Leifer

The Awareness Center

In 2000, Malka Leifer was hired by Adass Israel Girls School. In 2003 she was promoted and made principal. Her employment terminated and left Melbourne within 24 hours of being investigated by the school board. There were allegations made that Adass Israel school purchased the ticket for Leifer to return to Israel. Norman Rosenbaum, the schools spokesperson, the rumors are not true.

Zipporah Oliver, a prominent Orthodox psychologist, was quoted in saying that she has encouraged anybody who feels traumatized by the events to seek help in a culturally appropriate way.

Over the last seven years The Awareness Center has seen "the culturally appropriate way" in many orthodox communities is to let the rabbis "handle" these sorts situations, by either doing nothing or protecting the alleged sexual predator not to embarrass his or her family, at the expense of those who have been criminally violated.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:27 PM

German priest suspended during child abuse probe

Stuff (New Zealand)

The Roman Catholic Church in Germany has suspended a priest over allegations he sexually abused a boy nearly a decade ago.

"I am very concerned that a priest in one of our churches has come under suspicion," said Werner Thissen, archbishop of Hamburg, in an online statement on Thursday.

"If young people have suffered because of a priest, we deeply regret it."

A spokesman for state prosecutors in the northern port city said an investigation was started after a member of the local Polish-German community filed a charge via his lawyer. The man alleged the priest had sexually abused a young boy in 1999.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:22 PM

Pedophile ex-priest back in jail in Texas

Houston Chronicle

By ALAN SAYRE Associated Press Writer
The Associated Press

— A former Roman Catholic priest who pleaded guilty in 1985 to sexually abusing 11 boys in Louisiana, in a precursor to the abuse scandal that rocked the church in 2002, was in a Texas jail Thursday, accused of violating that state's sex offender registration law.

Bond for Gilbert Gauthe, 63, was set at $200,000 after his arrest Wednesday at the Galveston Island State Park, said Capt. Donnie Head, with the La Marque, Texas, police department.

Gauthe had been living in the La Marque area as an unregistered sex offender because of a loophole in Texas law, Head said. La Marque is a Houston suburb.

Although the registration law was changed in 2005 to cover earlier sex offenders such as Gauthe, he did not register with police until last week after inquiries about the former priest were made by KTRK-TV in Houston, Head said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:15 PM

Where’s the beef, Pope Benedict?

Bay Windows

by Rick Harris
contributing writer
Thursday Apr 24, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI has made his first visit to America. It is clear this man knows his way around the public relations business. During his visit it was hard to turn on a television or open a newspaper without seeing his outstretched arms. I am sure that the presidential candidates were annoyed by all the airtime he was getting, especially right before the Pennsylvania primary. He played to thousands at venues all along the eastern seaboard. He met with the president, spoke at the UN, celebrated mass with thousands of pilgrims and met with some victims of clergy sexual abuse. But as I reflected on his visit, that old Peggy Lee song kept playing in my head: "Is that all there is?"

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:09 PM

Group wants Maher fired

Stafford County Sun

By Uriah A. Kiser

Published: April 24, 2008

STAFFORD — A Stafford-based organization, led by Judie Brown, is upset about recent comments made by an HBO talk show host about the Pope.

The American Life League has launched a campaign aiming to remove comedian Bill Maher from the HBO cable network’s lineup of shows, for comments they say personally attacked and offended many Catholics across the country.

On April 11, during the live broadcast of “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Maher drew correlations between the Catholic priest sexual abuse scandal, and a polygamist society that was recently raided by government agents in Texas.

“If you have a few hundred followers and they let you molest a few hundred children, they call you a ‘cult leader.’ If you have a few thousand, they call you
Pope,” said Bill Maher.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:03 PM

NYPD Buffers Pope From Protest

Gay City News


The New York Police Department consigned several groups protesting Benedict XVI on Saturday, April 19 to pens three blocks south of where he was at St. Patrick's Cathedral and blocked them from his view with massive city trucks as his popemobile passed them after services, even though spectators with signs of welcome were allowed to line Fifth Avenue.

The protestors included small groups of survivors of sexual abuse by priests, atheists, and a handful of the New York Clowns cavorting in the spirit of ACT UP's Operation Ridiculous.

"You have a legal right to be in reasonable proximity to your target of protest," said Christopher Dunn of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU). This action by the police violated dissenters' constitutional right to be within "sight and sound" of Benedict, he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:01 PM

Tattered vestments

Bay Windows

by Richard J. Rosendall
contributing writer
Thursday Apr 24, 2008

Santa Maria Maggiore is unique among the Patriarchal Basilicas of Rome in that it retains its original structure, though it has been enhanced over the centuries. Its most recent enhancement is Cardinal Bernard Law, who was appointed its archpriest in 2004. This appointment elicited protest due to Law’s role in the priest sexual abuse scandal when he was archbishop of Boston.

The scandal was in the news again last week due to the visit to America by Pope Benedict XVI, who used the occasion to speak of "deep shame" over the abuse and to meet with a few of its victims. The pope’s remorseful sentiments, including those expressed in a meeting with bishops in Washington at another basilica dedicated to Mary, fell a bit flat considering that Law remains comfortably ensconced in the Holy City instead of facing justice.

According to the Vatican website’s description of Santa Maria Maggiore, "Special details within the church render it unique including the fifth century mosaics of the central nave, the triumphal arch dating back to the pontificate of Pope Sixtus III (432-440) and the apsidal mosaic executed by the Franciscan friar Jacopo Torriti. ... Every column, painting, sculpture and ornament of this basilica resonates with history and pious sentiment."

One wonders what pious sentiment led to Law being allowed to remain a member of the Roman Curia, the Catholic Church’s central governing body.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:56 PM

G-d Questions From A Survivor of Child Sexual Abuse

Jewish Survivors of Sexual Abuse Speak Out

The following questions were sent to me from a survivor. I'm hoping every survivor, parent or rabbi out there who reads this will post their answers in the comment section.

Many say G-d gave us the freedom of choice. I've heard over and over again that when someone sexually victimizes another they are choosing to do evil. My question and confusion is the fact that G-d gave those who offend the thoughts and ability to sexually abuse/assault others.

Why would G-d do that?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:54 PM

Fictional account of predatory priests - 'inspired by real events' - raises ethical questions

The Salt Lake Tribune

By Peggy Fletcher Stack
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 04/24/2008 01:24:58 PM MDT

First-time author Paul McGill (Juniper Press)Posted: 12:49 PM- A new book by first-time author Paul McGill tells a disturbing tale of alcohol abuse and predatory priests at a Salt Lake City Catholic high school in 1969.
Written as fiction "inspired by real events," McGill's book, published by small Salt Lake City publisher Juniper Press, molds traits of several real people into single characters and condenses events the author says occurred over time into a single weekend as a means of exposing clergy abuse.
McGill's approach in Finding the Lost Weekend is not unique. More survivors of the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal are writing books, plays or films, according to David Clohessy, national director of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests). "They realize that the truth isn't going to come out in court and public attention is waning. Exposing and discussing the scandal globally doesn't negate the importance of doing so personally."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:45 PM

Katholischer Priester unter Missbrauchsverdacht

Hamburger Abendblatt

Von Jan-Eric Lindner und Jens Meyer-Odewald

Die Geste war ebenso außergewöhnlich wie unerwartet: Während seines USA-Besuchs in der vergangenen Woche bat Papst Benedikt XVI. die Missbrauchsopfer pädophiler Priester um Vergebung. Praktisch zeitgleich nähren Vorfälle in der Katholischen Kirche Hamburg den Verdacht, dass es in den vergangenen Jahren auch hier zu sexuellen Übergriffen an Kindern gekommen ist. Die Staatsanwaltschaft ermittelt unter dem Aktenzeichen 7203 JS 85/08 gegen einen Hamburger Priester, der sich an Ministranten vergriffen haben soll. Der Name des Geistlichen und die detaillierten Vorwürfe liegen dem Abendblatt vor.


A Catholic priest is under suspicion in the Hamburg diocese of abusing minors and Bishop Jasche said he knew nothing about it but announced suspension of the accused priest.

A report was filed by Krzysztof Stobinski, member of the pastoral council. The gesture is extraordinary and follows the trip to the United States last week of Pope Benedict XVI where he asked forgiveness of sexual abuse victims. Almost simultaneously information about the suspected abuse in the Hamburg diocese surfaced. The prosecutor is investigating the allegations. Application for complaints was made by Mr. Stobinski, president of the Polish Business Club of Hamburg and member of the pastoral council, one of the highest groups of the diocese.

Mr. Stobinski said as a citizen he is obliged to report such incidents. He said that he does not want to be held personally responsible if children continue to be abused. Several witnesses had specific allegations against the priest, who is not named. Stobinski said the essence of the complaints is not against homosexuality but against abuse of children and adolescents in Hamburg.

Mr. Stobinski said he filed legal complaints early this month and involved allegations of sexual abuse against minors. Wolfgang Vehlow, lawyer for Mr. Stobinski, said the allegations are outrageous and the evidence of misconduct is serious. Mr. Stobinski and other members of the Hamburg Catholic community were particularly bitter because accused priests cotninue to operate outside of Hamburg and still have young people in their care. The public prosecutor in Hamburg confirmed the opening of investigations but declined to give details.

Bishop Hans-Jochen Jasche told the newspaper that he know nothing of the allegations but is working to clarify the matter.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:37 PM

Erzbischof suspendiert Priester

Hamburger Abendblatt

Der Verdacht wiegt schwer: Der Geistliche soll in Hamburg Kinder und Jugendliche sexuell missbraucht haben. Die Staatsanwaltschaft ermittelt. Jetzt zog auch die katholische Kirche erste Konsequenzen.

Hamburg -
„Ich bin sehr betroffen, dass ein Priester unserer Kirche unter einem solchen Verdacht steht“, sagte Hamburgs Erzbischof Werner Thissen am Donnerstag in der Hansestadt. Er habe erst durch Medienberichte von den Vorwürfen erfahren. „Ich habe den beschuldigten Priester bis zur Klärung der Vorwürfe vom Dienst beurlaubt. Dies geschieht zum Schutz möglicher Opfer und aus Fürsorge für den Verdächtigten. Wir werden alles in unserer Macht stehende tun, um zur Aufklärung der Vorwürfe beizutragen“, sagte der Erzbischof.

Archbishop Werner Thissen of Hamburg has has suspended a priest because of allegations of sexual abuse of children for the duration of an investigation. He said he is concerned that a priest of his diocese would be under suspicion. He has asked the accused priest to clarify the allegations and go on leave which is done to protect potential victims and out of concern for the suspect.

The archbishop promised to do all in his power to assist with investigation of the allegations. He said he regrets deeply that young people would be harmed and he pledged to do all he could to assist victims. A member of the church pastoral council brought the allegations forward. The accused priest is in the Hamburg archdiocese but belongs to another diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:27 PM

German Priest Suspended as Child Abuse Inquiry Grips Hamburg

Deutche Welle

Prosecutors in Germany have opened a child-sex inquiry involving a Catholic priest, it was disclosed Thursday, just one week after Pope Benedict XVI spoke about clerical molestation during his visit to the United States.

Prosecutors are looking into possible sexual abuse of children by the priest in the northern German city of Hamburg.

The Archdiocese of Hamburg announced Thursday that the cleric had been suspended for the duration of the police inquiry.

A city newspaper, the Hamburger Abendblatt, said a complaint against the priest was filed by Krzysztof Stobinski, a Catholic layman on the archdiocese of Hamburg's pastoral council and president of the Polish Business Club in the city.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:22 PM

Former Acadiana pedophile priest in Texas jail

The Daily Advertiser

Claire Taylor

Ex-pedophile priest Gilbert Gauthe, who admitted to sexually abusing children in Acadiana, was arrested in Galveston, Texas, on Wednesday, Maj. Ray Tuttoilmondo of the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office said.

Gauthe was arrested for alleged violations of Texas laws requiring sex offenders to register and tell police their location.

His bond was set at $200,000. Gauthe was in the Galveston County Jail today.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:18 PM

Abusive former priest released from prison

Savannah Morning News

Dana Clark Felty | Wednesday, April 23, 2008 at 11:30 pm
Former Savannah priest Wayland Y. Brown was released from a Maryland prison Wednesday after serving five years on a child sexual-abuse conviction.

Brown, 64, has reported to a parole officer in Maryland and will live in the Baltimore area, said Mark Vernarelli, spokesman for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

Brown will be required to register as a child sex offender on the Maryland sex offender registry.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:06 AM

Pastor defends right to sex with child wife

The Chronicle Herald

Thu. Apr 24 - 6:27 AM

MONTREAL — The leader of a fringe evangelical movement kept his so-called marriage to a 10-year-old girl hidden from her mother despite using it to lay claim to her body, a Quebec court heard Wednesday.

Daniel Cormier, who headed the now-defunct Church of Downtown Montreal, says the marriage gave him the right to have sexual relations with the girl.

But as Cormier cross-examined the girl’s mother, she denied ever being aware of a marriage.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:50 AM

Convicted ex-priest brought back to prison

Geneva Sun

By MATT HANLEY mhanley@scn1.com
Only two months after being released, former Aurora and Geneva priest Mark Campobello is back in prison.

Campobello was brought back to prison last week, after a "technical parole violation," according to Illinois Department of Corrections spokesman Derrick Schnapp. ...

Last week, Campobello was initially taken to Dixon Correctional Center, but he was transferred to Stateville by Thursday, Schnapp said.

Campobello will have to have his case heard by the Prison Review Board, which will determine whether he should be re-released or serve the rest of his sentence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:35 AM

Ex priest extradition may take months

Herald Sun

From correspondents in Indonesia

April 24, 2008 03:59pm
THE extradition of a former priest to Australia to face sex charges could take months, despite an Indonesian court approving the process today, his lawyer says.

The 66-year-old will be returned to Australia where he is accused of sexual offences against six boys between 1977 and 1994, South Jakarta District Court ruled today.

Police allege he sexually abused the boys, then aged between 11 and 16.

"The prosecutor's request ... is in accordance with law and should be granted,'' Judge Syafrullah Suma said, after hearing the extradition request made on behalf of Australian authorities.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:29 AM

Indonesia to extradite Australian pedophile suspect

International Herald Tribune (France)

The Associated Press
Published: April 24, 2008

JAKARTA, Indonesia: An Indonesian court ruled Thursday that a former Roman Catholic priest could be extradited to Australia, where authorities accuse him of sexual offenses against young boys dating back to 1979.

Charles Barnett, 64, was taken into police custody at his Jakarta home in February following a request from the Australian government, according to prosecution papers filed at the South Jakarta District Court.

Judge Syafrullah Suma ruled that the extradition arrest was legal and Barnett could be sent back to Australia. It was not immediately clear when he would be returned or whether his lawyers would appeal the verdict.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:26 AM

Ex-parishioner's suit accuses priest of attack

Arizona Daily Star

By Stephanie Innes
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 04.24.2008

In a lawsuit his lawyer calls "a total outrage," the priest who led Tucson's only Greek Orthodox church for three decades has been accused by one unidentified woman of sexual assault.

A former parishioner at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Midtown made the claim against the Rev. Anthony Moschonas. No criminal charges have been filed against Moschonas.

The parishioner, identified in the lawsuit as "Jane Doe," said the alleged sexual contact occurred during a trip to Athens, Greece — a trip she says the priest gave her as a gift for her 18th birthday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:20 AM

Child-porn case snares Lumberton teacher


By JIM WALSH • Courier-Post Staff • April 24, 2008

LUMBERTON — A popular teacher here had hundreds of images of child pornography on his home computer, including one that showed an unclothed toddler in a sexual situation, authorities say.

Joseph E. Macanga, who taught social studies and language arts at Lumberton Middle School, was arrested by FBI agents at his township home about 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, officials said. The teacher, charged with possession of child pornography, was held on $100,000 bail.

"If it's true, a lot of people are still in complete disbelief," said school district spokeswoman Betsy Kapulskey. She said Macanga, who told the FBI he was an ex-priest, was his school's Educator of the Year in 2003.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:16 AM

Church payout denied

The Herald


THE Catholic Church has denied compensation to a woman sexually abused by a Catholic priest at the Mater Hospital in 1981 despite knowledge of two other victims, including a dying patient sexually abused by the priest while he was giving her the last rites.

In a letter on April 2, the Maitland-Newcastle diocese advised the woman, Marie Cowling, that its insurer in 1981, CGU Insurance, had "denied liability for this matter", and because "it is not the diocese's practice to offer financial settlement", compensation would not be paid.

This was despite emails from the diocese to Mrs Cowling in December advising of hopes for "good news in the new year", and a letter from the diocese to CGU Insurance on December 18 detailing two other abuse cases and the willingness of witnesses to give evidence supporting Mrs Cowling's compensation claim.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:07 AM

Ex-fundamentalist fears 'scandal from Hell'

Vancouver Sun

Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun
Published: Thursday, April 24, 2008

It will be "an international scandal from hell" if Texas officials determine that some of the Canadian children taken from the polygamous compound in Texas were taken there without their parents, says a former member of the fundamentalist Mormon group.

And Carolyn Jessop believes that is "a very strong possibility."

"I suspect that they [the FLDS] had a whole lot of kids there without their parents," said Jessop, who fled the community in 2003 with her eight children.

At 18, she became the fifth wife of Merril Jessop, who is in charge of the Yearning for Zion ranch, from which Texas officials took 437 children earlier this month and put them into protective care.

For several years now, children have been reassigned from one father to another and even one family to another as Warren Jeffs, the prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, grew increasingly tyrannical, Carolyn Jessop said in an interview.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:00 AM

City Catholics reflect on Pope's visit

Hackensack Chronicle

(by Mark J. Bonamo - April 23, 2008)

When Daniel Aguiar, a fourth grader at Hackensack’s Holy Trinity School, caught his first sight of Pope Benedict XVI as he rode in the Popemobile down New York’s Fifth Avenue last week, the spectacle made a strong impression on him. ...

Aguiar is not the only Bergen County resident to get close to the pope. The Most Reverend John Flesey is an auxiliary bishop in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, serving as the regional bishop for Bergen County since 2004. As part of the ecclesiastical entourage surrounding the pope, Flesey was nearer to the pope than most. ...

Many American Catholics also responded positively to comments the pope made at the beginning of his trip to the United States on the sex abuse scandal involving members of the priesthood and their parishioners that erupted in 2002.

"No words of mine could describe the pain and harm inflicted by such abuse," said the pope during his homily at an April 17 open-air mass in Washington, D.C. "It is important that those who have suffered be given loving pastoral attention."

The pope met with several victims of sexual abuse by priests from the Boston area on the same day.

The pope’s comments and actions were firmly seconded by Flesey.

"Nothing he could ever say or do can undo the past," he said. "All he can do is address it by saying that we are aware of the damage it caused and do everything possible to prevent a recurrence of such events. It think people felt a great deal of trust in him because he dealt so directly with the issue right in the beginning."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:53 AM

Downers Grove church sued in sex assault case

Chicago Tribune

Tribune staff report
6:30 PM CDT, April 23, 2008

A woman who was sexually abused by a former youth pastor at Marquette Manor Baptist Church in Downers Grove filed a lawsuit against the church Wednesday, alleging that leaders knew about the abuse but failed to prevent it.

"The leadership of the church knew things were going on, knew they had people engaging in inappropriate sexual contact with minors, but didn't call police," said the woman's attorney, Marc Pearlman. "Instead, they handled it 'internally,' which solved nothing."

The suit also seeks damages against the former pastor, Edward E. Green, who pleaded guilty last month to criminal sexual assault while in a position of trust. The girl was 13 to 17 years old when she attended the church and its school. Green was sentenced to 4 years in prison.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:49 AM

Ex-priest sent home to face abuse case

The Australian

April 24, 2008
JAKARTA: A former priest will be extradited from Indonesia to South Australia, where he is accused of sexual offences against six teenage boys.

South Jakarta District Court today granted a request to extradite the 66-year-old.

The man was taken into police custody at his Jakarta home in February, following a request from the Australian Government.

Australian authorities want him returned to South Australia to face charges over alleged sexual offences against six young members of his congregation between 1977 and 1994.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:42 AM

Millions sought in Ontario sex abuse lawsuits

Canadian Christianity

By Deborah Gyapong
Canadian Catholic News

OTTAWA -- A lawyer who represents 11 victims of retired Vatican official Msgr. Bernard Prince believes the Pembroke diocese knew about the priest's sexual abuse of boys between 1964 and 1984.

Robert Talach said he hopes the multi-million dollar lawsuits launched on behalf of 11 of Prince's victims will uncover the "extent of institutional complicity," including the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and the Vatican.

A spokesman for the Pembroke diocese, however, said there is no evidence anyone knew of Prince's abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 AM

Addressing a scandal

Toledo Blade

BY FAR the most significant feature of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States was his meeting in Washington with a half-dozen victims of sexual abuse by clerics. The private session, in which the Pope voiced deep shame over the long-running abuse, gave hope to some American Catholics that the devastating scandal would be more forcefully addressed.

Still, the distance between papal acknowledgement of the problem and real action by the church hierarchy could be lengthy. As recent local events have suggested, the church still has a long way to go in restoring trust in its ministry.

The revelation that a Catholic priest in the Toledo diocese, now under investigation by Sylvania Township police on charges of sexual assault, also was arrested nearly 10 years ago for public indecency, is highly disturbing. So is the discovery that another area priest, currently leading a diocesan parish, was likewise arrested about the same time, also for public indecency.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:35 AM

April 23, 2008

Pedophile priest in jail

ABC 13

By Ted Oberg

LAFAYETTE, LA (KTRK) -- Gilbert Gauthe, the former priest and pedophile Eyewitness News tracked down in La Marque, is back in jail.

As Eyewitness News first reported Monday night, Gauthe was unregistered as a sex offender. After an investigation, he registered. But Wednesday night, police say he broke the rules.

Gauthe was picked up Wednesday afternoon at about 4:30 at Galveston Island State Park. He registered as a sex offender last week, and here's where the problem starts. Gauthe, a former priest and pedophile, admitted to abusing 39 children in Louisiana and another boy in Polk County here in Texas. He was living unregistered as a sex offender for years in La Marque, and a loophole in Texas law allowed him to do that.

That loophole closed in 2005 and he should have registered after that.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:48 PM

Sex Offender Gil Gauthe Located in Texas


Posted: April 22, 2008 10:04 PM EDT

It's been years since anyone heard about one of the nation's most notorious child sex offenders Gil Gauthe, a Catholic Priest from Lafayette.

But this week, Gauthe was tracked down in Galveston County, Texas, living within just a few miles from a day care center, a school and a church.

Gauthe had been living in La Marque for years without being registered as a sex offender. But Texas law changed in 2005, requiring all sex offenders to register with the state.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 PM

Unholy Communion with ‘CityBeat’

LA CityBeat

The Pope had concluded his visit to Washington, D.C., and the cherry blossoms had peaked as Cardinal Roger Mahony walked through Union Station last week. Tall in a black suit with only his white clerical collar to give him away, Mahony went all but unnoticed. That is, until D.C.-based CityBeat correspondent Jeffrey Anderson spotted him from across the lobby. Mahony had been in town as part of the Pope’s traveling road show, a classic propaganda visit in which the Pope confessed his shame at the Catholic clergy pedophilia scandal that has shaken the church and its faithful. Once, L.A.’s cardinal had been among the most powerful Catholics in the world, his name on the shortlist should an American ever become pope. That was before Mahony, a former social worker with great business acumen, presided over the largest settlement of priest abuse cases in history – a staggering $660 million doled out to more than 500 victims – but after tying the matter up in court for more than five years and practically perjuring himself at a 2004 deposition, in which he claimed to have no knowledge of priest molestation until well into the 1980s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:30 PM

Sect leader suspected of draining $100 million trust


By TRISH CHOATE, Scripps Howard News Service
SAN ANGELO, Texas -- While many have wondered how a Mormon splinter sect financed its multimillion-dollar West Texas spread, one man thinks he knows the answer.

Bruce Wisan, a court-appointed officer for the polygamist sect's $100 million real-estate trust, said he believes sect spiritual leader Warren Jeffs drained the trust to buy the land for the Yearning For Zion Ranch, then build the sprawling compound in Eldorado, Texas, and keep the operation going for years.

"Warren was converting trust assets into cash at fire-sale prices to get the cash to build up the community in Eldorado," Wisan said in a telephone interview.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 PM

Salesian Cases Jury Trial Update. Pretrial motions Thursday, jury selection begins April 28.

City of Angels

By Kay Ebeling
Hearings continue Thursday morning on remaining motions in limine for cases which were part of the LA Archdiocese settlement concerning the Salesians Religious order. Three of the remaining 17 cases are making their way to what will likely be a five to six week trial. Jury selection begins April 28th in the Stanley Mosk courthouse downtown LA.

The 17 victims of Salesian religious order brothers who were sexual predators received settlements for their cases last December along with the other 550-plus LA Clergy Cases plaintiffs. But the Salesian religious order still claims they had no knowledge of pedophilia among their priests and brothers the last 60 years.

If the Salesians lose these trials, they have to repay the LA Archdiocese moneys that were paid to the plaintiffs. If the Salesians win, the Archdiocese will accept the loss of up to $26.5 million dollars, as part of an agreement reached in December between plaintiff attorneys and attorneys for Cardinal Roger Mahony.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:16 PM

Sex abuse victim starts Web site support group

MetroWest Daily News

By Erin Smith
GateHouse News Service
Posted Apr 23, 2008 @ 01:27 PM

CAMBRIDGE — A man who says a convicted pedophile teacher sexually abused him at his exclusive Cambridge private school in the 1980s has launched an Internet campaign to help other potential victims.

Daniel Weinreb said Edward Washburn — his seventh-grade English teacher at Buckingham, Browne & Nichols — sexually abused him from 1983 to 1985. Washburn, who taught at the school for more than two decades, pleaded guilty to molesting two children in 1987. ...

Weinreb recently retained Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston attorney famed for his work representing victims of the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal, to help him navigate conversations with the school on the sensitive topic.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:15 PM

Pope Benedict XVI Addresses Sex Scandal

Virtue Online

by Mike McManus
April 23, 2008

WASHINGTON - Pope Benedict XVI deeply touched American Catholics on his first papal visit to the United States and moved many Protestants as well.

At Nationals Park, a baseball field converted into an open air cathedral I asked Mary Ellen, why she and her grown daughter arose at 3 a.m in Wilmington, Del. to drive to the Mass. "It was the opportunity of a lifetime," she exulted. ...

Benedict had one central goal - to frontally address and help heal the church's major psychic wound stemming from the scandal of 5,000 priests having molested at least 12,000 children. More than $2 billion has been paid to victims. Five dioceses declared bankruptcy - San Diego, Tucson, Spokane, Portland, OR, Davenport, IA. With an acute shortage of priests, 1,000 churches have closed even though America's largest denomination has grown to 67.5 million.

The Pope began to focus on the scandal as flew to America, telling reporters on the plane, "I am deeply ashamed, and we will do what is possible so this cannot happen again in the future."

In his homily at Nationals Park, Benedict asserted, "No words of mine could describe the pain and harm inflicted by such abuse. It is important that those who have suffered be given loving and pastoral attention." He made similar comments at four other public events.

However, his most important gesture was a private, unannounced meeting with a half dozen victims selected by Cardinal Sean O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston. No cameras were present. However, three of the victims told CNN how awed they were by the experience.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:05 PM

Vatican spokesman: Pope has helped to close “chapter of shame and sorrow” in U.S.

Catholic News Agency

Vatican City, Apr 23, 2008 / 09:17 am (CNA).- In statements broadcast by Vatican Radio, the director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, said that with his recent visit to the United States, Pope Benedict XVI has helped the Church in that country to close a chapter of shame and sorrow over the sex abuse scandal.

“The Pope has helped the American Church to close a chapter of shame and sorrow over the faults and grave responsibilities of the past,” Father Lombardi said, and that he did so “without escaping from the difficulties, with loyalty, honesty and clarity of conscience.”

According to Vatican Radio, despite having been in only two cities—New York and Washington DC—the Pope “had a packed schedule that allowed him to reiterate on American soil some essential themes of his pontificate. The central point of his trip was the speech on human rights at the UN. The most emotional moment was his visit to Ground Zero.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:31 PM

Reforming the Vatican


Thomas J. Reese, SJ

Too often when someone proposes the reform of church structures, the reformer is attacked for borrowing from the secular political field, as if this were necessarily a bad thing. But throughout history the Vatican has often imitated the organization of secular political institutions. Today the governance of the church is more centralized than at any time in its history. To make the church more collegial, the Vatican should once again adopt practices of the secular political world.

When St. Peter arrived in Rome, he did not immediately appoint cardinals and set up the offices that we see in the Vatican today. He had only a secretary to help him with his correspondence. In early centuries, the bishop of Rome had helpers much like those of any other bishop: priests for house-churches, deacons for charitable assistance and catechesis, and notaries or secretaries for correspondence and record keeping.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:29 PM

The Bad Shepherd

The Nashville Scene

An alleged victim of sex abuse turns to Nashville’s Southern Baptist Convention for help but finds herself facing Goliath instead

by Elizabeth Ulrich

Shayna Werley was only 14 when the Rev. Jeremy Benack came knocking on the door of her family’s Pennsylvania home, asking them to join the First Baptist Church of Lansford. Soon Werley found herself, at the pastor’s urging, deeply involved in the church: in the youth group, the praise and worship team and Bible study. Benack, now 30, even enlisted her to set up for church functions, select music for services and take guitar lessons—from him, of course.

But when Werley’s parents found explicit photographs of their beloved pastor on their daughter’s cell phone in the summer of 2007, they say Benack’s true intentions were clear: The married pastor was grooming their young daughter for a sexual relationship. This all according to a little-known lawsuit Werley, now 20, filed in a Pennsylvania court in February. Shortly after the cell phone discovery, Werley’s mother called the Nashville headquarters of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) to lodge a complaint against Benack. According to Werley’s lawsuit, the First Baptist Church of Lansford is affiliated with the SBC, so the Werleys turned to the church’s “parent organization” for help.

They didn’t get any.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:22 PM

Child abuse lawsuit filed against church

Merinews (India)

Niraj Ray, 23 April 2008, Wednesday

A NEW civil sexual abuse lawsuit against a local fundamentalist Baptist church is announced in Chicago. The lawsuit names the Baptist church, Marquette Manor Baptist Church of Downers Grove, Illinois and its former youth pastor, Edward D Greene.

In DuPage county last month, Greene, the former youth pastor at the church, pleaded guilty of sexually abusing Rachel Griffith since 1994 to1999, when she was between 14 and 18 years old.

Before the abuse began, Griffith trusted Greene enough to reveal to him that her father, a former deacon of the church, had also sexually abused her. Instead of reporting that to police, Greene seized the opportunity to abuse Griffith himself. Greene molested Griffith at least 50 times between 1994 and 1999, all while promising Griffith that he was helping her. This was particularly confusing for Griffith, given that the church was a conservative Baptist church that taught her dancing, drinking, and sexual acts were all sinful.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:16 PM

Suburban church and former pastor named in sex abuse suit

Chicago Sun-Times

April 23, 2008

A west suburban fundamentalist congregation and a former youth pastor convicted of sexual abuse are named in a lawsuit for allegedly shielding sexually abusive church officials.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests announced Wednesday it is filing a lawsuit on behalf of a woman who was sexually abused between 1994 and 1999 by Edward D. Greene, former youth pastor of Marquette Manor Baptist Church of Downers Grove, according to a release from attorney Marc Pearlman. The suit names Greene, who pleaded guilty last month in DuPage County County Court and was sentenced to four years in prison. It also names Marquette Manor Baptist Church as a defendant.

The suit claims that the victim confided in Greene that she had been sexually abused by her father, a former deacon of the church, but instead of reporting it to the police as required, Greene began to sexually abuse the girl, 14 at the time. The suit claims he abused her at least 50 times between 1994 and 1999, while promising the girl he was helping her. The abuse occurred across the Chicagoland area, and during church trips to Mexico, Canada, New York and Wisconsin.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:03 PM

Former seminarian agrees to return to Oregon in porn case

Seattle Times

A former seminarian charged with viewing child pornography while studying to be a priest in Oregon no longer faces a fugitive warrant, now that he has promised to return voluntarily for arraignment.

An $80,000 bail requirement for Juan Jose Gonzalez Rios, 30, of Tieton, also was dropped Tuesday in Yakima County Superior Court, but he remained in jail pending an immigration status hearing during the next week in Tacoma.

The case is one of a number cited recently by critics who have accused Roman Catholic Bishop Carlos A. Sevilla of covering up sexual misconduct by priests and employees within the Yakima archdiocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:01 PM

Are your children being abused? (1)

Times of Malta

During his first trip to the United States, Pope Benedict XVI brought a certain closure to the cases of sexual abuse of children by priests. This scandal has shaken the church in the US for more than six years. The lives of hundreds if not thousands were shattered and several parishes and dioceses came to the brink of bankruptcy. The Pope in no uncertain terms expressed his personal shame at what happened. He did more than that. He met some of the victims and prayed with them in a very moving, tearful and therapeutic meeting.

The Pope addressed clerical sex abuse on five occasions, beginning with his encounter with reporters aboard his plane from Rome. He spoke from the heart about the shame, the damage to the church and the suffering of the victims. He also spoke about the church's efforts to make sure perpetrators are out of ministry and to implement better screening of would-be priests.

At one point, he said that when he read the case histories of the victims, he found it hard to imagine how a priest could betray his mission to be an agent of God's love.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:58 AM

N.J. Teacher, Also An Ex-Priest, Arrested On Child Porn Charges


FBI agents in New Jersey arrested a former priest and now a teacher and coach at a Burlington County middle school Wednesday on child pornography charges, law enforcement sources tell WNBC.com.

Joseph E. Macanga was arrested at his Burlington County home by FBI agents early Wednesday and will appear in federal court in Trenton, law enforcement sources said.

Macanga, who is married and teaches sixth-grade language arts and coaches the girls' soccer team, is charged in a criminal complaint with five counts of child pornography, sources told WNBC.com.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:55 AM

COLMAN MCCARTHY: Pope's visit should have had different focus

Belleville News-Democrat

The pastoral visit by Pope Benedict XVI was a missed opportunity. It was admirable that the pope talked with four men and one woman who had been abused by priests.

But why only five victims? Why for only 25 minutes? Why a closed meeting? More than 5,000 U.S. priests have been charged with inflicting horrific suffering on 12,000 children over a period of decades. And the pope could spare less than half an hour to make amends? If a measure of justice prevailed, Benedict would have traveled to Boston - the epicenter of abuse where Cardinal Bernard Law oversaw a mammoth cover-up - and held an all-day public forum with a question-and-answer exchange with victims, and no limit on the number. That would have been genuine pastoring, humane in a way that apologizing in sermons is not.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:49 AM

Papal visit prompting alleged sex abuse victims to come forward


[with video]

April 22nd, 2008
Pope Benedict XVI first visit to the U.S. is doing more than inspire American Catholics. According to the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, the papal visit is also prompting dozens of alleged sex abuse victims to come forward for the first time. To find out about these victims, News 4 spoke with the national director of S.N.A.P. who traveled to Washington and New York for the Pope's visit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:45 AM

Yes, Maher's Catholic rant was unfair

Chicago Sun-Times

BY RICHARD ROEPER Sun-Times Columnist
The "question" posed to me by the irate reader was more like a conclusion:

"So you're more offended by the 'Horry Kow' T-shirt than you are by Bill Maher's hate speech against Catholics? You must be, because you wrote about the T-shirt but you haven't said a word about Maher." ...

Maher's assertion that then-Cardinal Ratzinger "wrote a letter instructing every Catholic bishop to keep the sex abuse of minors secret until the statute of limitations ran out" is simplistic and misleading. (Yes, I've read the letter.)

There is no way to overstate the heinous actions of priests who molested children, or the unconscionable behavior of any church officials who engaged in any form of cover-up, including moving some of these priests to other parishes without informing the flock. There is no way to minimize the damage done to the victims.

But Maher's rant implies the pope was advocating a cover-up, when the letter was actually about a 1962 Vatican document that said the church should maintain a cloak of confidentiality while conducting investigations regarding the ecclesiastical outrage of solicitation in the confessional.

"The document is clearly not intended to protect predatory priests," states a Catholic World News article from 2003, when the news stories broke about the document's contents.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:55 AM

New Sex Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against Baptist Church

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

At a press conference, a new sexual abuse lawsuit against a local fundamentalist Baptist church will be announced. The lawsuit names the Baptist Church, Marquette Manor Baptist Church, and its former youth pastor, Edward D. Greene.

Wednesday, April 23 at 11:00am
Daley Plaza, next to the Picasso.
50 W Washington St, between Dearborn and Clark.

The victim, her Chicago attorney, and several members of a self-help support group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org), the nation's largest self-help group for men and women who have been wounded by religious authority figures.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:50 AM

Catholic bishop to meet with victims' advocacy group

Palm Beach Post

Palm Beach Post Religion Writer

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bishop Gerald Barbarito is scheduled to meet on Tuesday with local members of Voice of the Faithful, a victims' advocacy group.

The meeting comes on the heels of a U.S. visit by Pope Benedict XVI, who said he "deeply ashamed" of the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. Benedict, who also met privately with victims of sexual abuse by priests, called on bishops to "address the sin of abuse" in a "determined, collective response."

Voice of the Faithful president John McGovern said he requested the meeting with Barbarito about a month ago. A diocese spokeswoman confirmed that the meeting is on Barbarito's schedule.

The timing could not be better, said past president Peter Amann, who will also attend the meeting with the bishop.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:44 AM

Former Acadiana Priest, Child Molester Living in Texas


[with video]

A former Acadiana priest, arrested and charged for molesting young boys, has been found, living in a Texas town, just blocks from a church,school, and daycare center.

Gilbert Gauthe admitted to abusing children inside his church rectory. Now, he's living in a camper in Galveston County, in La Marque, TX.

Gauthe was a Lafayette priest in the mid 1980's when allegations surfaced he was sexually abusing dozens of young boys. He was accused of fondling some boys in confessionals, and convincing others to engage in sex acts with each other while he took Polaroid photos.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 AM

Pope, US bishops must follow through on vow to prevent abuse

Yakima Herald-Republic

How refreshing and encouraging it was to see the leader of the Roman Catholic church publicly, and repeatedly, take on an issue that at the top levels of the church was for so long hidden in the shadows.

During his U.S. visit that ended Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI said he was "deeply ashamed" of priest sex abuse scandals that have rocked the church in the United States and pledged greater future efforts to bar pedophiles from the priesthood.

The shining moment during his trip happened in Boston -- where new revelations of abuse boiled to the surface in 2002 -- when he met Thursday with victims of abuse. From all reports, it was an emotional, yet sincere, private session that served notice from the Vatican that victims will not be forgotten.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 AM

Levada said, before going to Vatican in 2005, bishops protected church over children. Now as Pope Junior, it never happened.

City of Angels

By Kay Ebeling
"We are suffering for the mistakes of bishops and administrators who did not place the future protection of children above their desire to protect the reputation and service of priests who had proven themselves unfaithful to their duties.” -- Wm Levada, 2005

When William Levada left for the Vatican in 2005 to do Ratzinger’s old job, I thought the former bishop of San Francisco was running from the feds. Then I heard and read last week this quote from Levada: "I personally do not accept that there has been a broad base of bishops guilty of aiding and abetting pedophiles." Another blatant lie by a hierarchy spokesman reported over and over again as a fact in mainstream media.

“When I challenged Levada it was about investigating a former bishop,” said Jim Jenkins who resigned from the San Francisco Review Board and is now on the VOTF Survivors Support Working Group. “I didn't want to be part of an elaborate dishonest public relations scheme, and that's all that review board had become. Levada was becoming so disingenuous.”

Just talking off the top of his head, the San Francisco psychologist named a list of priests whose crimes Levada himself aided and abetted in covering.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:18 AM

Petaluma advocate of abused Catholics dies

The Press Democrat

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Donald I. Hoard, an early and impassioned advocate for people molested by Roman Catholic priests, died Monday of colon cancer at his longtime home in Petaluma. He was 73.

Hoard, a retired insurance agent, became a victims' advocate and harsh critic of the church hierarchy after his son, Donald, came forward in 1994 as one of the Santa Rosa Diocese's first victims.

By the time the sex abuse scandal became national news in 2002, Hoard had counseled scores of victims and compiled an archive on the North Coast diocese's 40-year history of child abuse, cover-up and denial by church leaders.

"It's a huge loss for our movement," said David Clohessy of St. Louis, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "He was a real pioneer."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 AM

Reactions to the Pope's Expressions of Regret

Kruispunt TV - Katholiek Nederland

April 20, 2008

[Video - Contains interviews in English with survivors in New York City.]

Uit Kruispunt TV
Reacties op de spijtbetuigingen

Slachtoffers aan het woord
Wat zijn de reacties van de slachtoffers van seksueel misbruik op de spijtbetuigingen van de paus tijdens zijn reis in Amerika?

From Junction TV
Reactions to the Expressions of Regret

Victims of the word

What are the reactions of the victims of sexual abuse on the expressions of regret by the Pope during his trip in America?

Posted by Terry McKiernan at 7:03 AM

Pope's visit should make U.S. better

Clovis News Journal

Tuesday, Apr 22 2008, 8:52 pm

The most vivid impression most Americans have of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the United States is likely to be the attention he paid to the clergy sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Roman Catholic Church in the United States (and in other countries as well).

He brought it up unbidden at almost every stop along the way, from interviews on the plane from Rome to his final Mass at Yankee Stadium.

Perhaps his most important act, undertaken outside the view of pervasive television cameras, was his meeting with a group of victims of abuse, where presumably he was able to share his sincere shame at what had happened and his determination that the church would not be complicit in such outrages in the future.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:54 AM

Filmmaker screens documentary on church sex scandal

The Good 5-Cent Cigar

Bridgette Blight

04/23/08 - Twenty men who attended seminaries of the Legionaries of Christ religious order testified to Monsignor Charles Scicluna about allegations that Rev. Marcial Maciel, the founder of the order, sexually abused young men.

Eight of the men interviewed said that Maciel sexually abused them. However, the Vatican took no action against Maciel, who died on Jan. 30. Journalist Jason Berry explored this scandal in his documentary "Vows of Silence," which he showed to an audience of approximately 30 people last night in Chafee Social Science Center as part of the University of Rhode Island Film Festival.

The Legionaries of Christ have approximately 300 priests and a budget of $650 million independently raised on their own.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:49 AM

Church needs to act on sex abuse

Philadelphia Inquirer

By Maureen Paul Turlish
Pope Benedict XVI last week lamented his "deep shame" over the clergy sex-abuse scandal, decrying the "enormous pain" that individuals and communities have suffered from "gravely immoral behavior" by priests. He vowed to "do what is possible so this cannot happen again in the future."

Do what is possible?

Not one bishop has been removed from office because of his own complicity, collusion or cover-up of the church's continuing sexual-abuse problems. Nor has anyone been forced to resign for violating Canon Law or criminal or civil laws.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:44 AM

Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas "Inspired" by the Pope's Pastoring


KOLD News 13 Anchor Dan Marries

It's been a whirlwind of a week for Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas,"every event was filled with a lot of enthusiasm, spirit, energy, it was a very powerful experience." Bishop Kicanas was there, just behind the president and first lady, greeting Pope Benedict the XVI on his first visit to the U.S. as the leader of the world's largest Christian faith but it was more than just a meet and greet. ...

The Holy See addressed the sexual abuse scandal within the church and he met privately with victims. Kicanas says he was pleased with how forthright Benedict was, "I think he understood in a deeper way some of the pain those individuals suffered."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:39 AM

B16: Talk to the vox

Get Religion

Posted by Mark Stricherz

The greatest reporter you’ve never heard of is Samuel Lubell. In his 1950 classic The Future of American Politics, Lubell explained why Harry Truman, against all odds and the conventional wisdom, won the 1948 presidential election. What made Lubell’s book great was his skill at interviewing ordinary voters, telling their stories with nuance and subtlety, and detecting the larger pattern from their responses.

A faint echo of Lubell-style reporting can be found in The Washington Times’ and The New York Times’ coverage of Pope Benedict XVI’s final day in America. I thought the stories would have benefited from using this technique more fully. Even so, its use suggested larger religious themes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:34 AM

Victim of pedophile priest talks


[with video]

By Ted Oberg

LAFAYETTE, LA (KTRK) -- It's been years since a Louisiana priest molested dozens of children in that state and later assaulted a Texas child in Polk County.

He was living unregistered in our area. That concerned some of his past victims.

It's been 21 years since Gilbert Gauthe was the parish priest at Henry, Louisiana's St John Church outside Lafayette. The young priest had a flair for preaching and what parishioners thought then was a great connection with young people at the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:29 AM

Haverhill woman sees tears in pope's eyes He offers rosary beads, prayers to victim of sexual abuse by priest

The Eagle Tribune

By Mike LaBella
Staff Writer

HAVERHILL — When Faith Johnston looked into the eyes of Pope Benedict XVI, she felt genuine sorrow and regret. She also saw his tears.

She tried to speak to him and express how much she's been suffering, but the words would not come.

"I had so many things to say but I just burst into tears," Johnston said of her meeting with the pope last week. "I wanted to tell him, 'Thank you,' but I could not get the words out. I think my tears spoke louder than words."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:27 AM


Philadelphia Daily News


AN ESTEEMED graduate of Columbia Journalism School, where I work, came to visit his alma mater recently.

It was Philadelphia's own Cardinal John Foley, class of '66, and he was in town to accompany his boss, Pope Benedict XVI, on his first American tour. ...

More recently, we have the pedophile-priest scandal. Here Cardinal Foley has spoken out forcefully: "The best defense against the crisis is virtue," he has been quoted as saying, "and in the absence of virtue, candor."

But there's the rub. For the first years of the scandal, the Vatican described it as a modern, peculiarly American Catholic problem, even as victims, most under age 45, began to speak out from Ireland and Ecuador, Australia and Spain. Priests have been so reluctant to confess that cases take years to resolve. And when the dioceses of Boston, L.A., Bridgeport, Conn., and others found themselves mired in lawsuits, cardinals used legalese to limit the blame.

That's candor?

These days, the Vatican has shown more willingness to hang pedophile priests out to dry.

The pope surprised American Catholics during his visit by bringing up the scandal repeatedly and apologizing profusely - from the pulpit, in public comments to the press and to victims themselves.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:23 AM

Accused priest took job with church

The Advocate

By Angela Carella
Assistant City Editor
Article Launched: 04/23/2008 01:00:00 AM EDT

STAMFORD - A Catholic priest who resigned from the Diocese of Bridgeport six years ago amid allegations he abused a teenage boy was hired by another diocese, the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Stamford, where he could have had contact with seminarians from St. Basil College.

The eparchy was warned repeatedly by the Bridgeport Diocese about Albert McGoldrick, who was a priest at St. Paul Parish in Greenwich when he resigned in 2002, a Bridgeport diocese spokesman said.

McGoldrick was hired Sept. 1, 2006, as assistant to Bishop Paul Chomnycky of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy but never was employed by St. Basil College, said a statement the eparchy issued last night in response to media requests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:20 AM

Forgiveness, reconciliation are necessary for all

Arizona Daily Star

Tucson, Arizona | Published: 04.23.2008

The Rev. Andrew M. Greeley

No one except the hard-line haters of SNAP — The Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests — and Christopher Hitchens can find fault with the Pope's response to the sexual-abuse scandal in the United States.

SNAP wants the severed heads of many American bishops to be served up on silver platters. The pope's words, we are told, are too little and too late. Hitchens demands that the pope remove Cardinal law from his sinecure at the Church of St. Mary Major in Rome.

The hate in some of the victims groups scares me. I gave the keynote address at the founding meeting of SNAP — in those days I was one of the few priests that publicly supported the victims. They shouted hate at me even though I was on their side.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:16 AM

Return to Oregon for arraignment on child porn charges will be voluntary for ex-semiarian

Yakima Herald-Republic

Yakima Herald-Republic

YAKIMA -- A Tieton man, arrested last month on charges of viewing child pornography while studying to be a Catholic priest in Oregon, got a step closer to being released from jail.

A fugitive warrant from Oregon for Juan Jose González Rios was dismissed in Yakima County Superior Court Tuesday, and the $80,000 bail requirement was waived.

In return, González, 37, agreed to appear June 5 in Marion County, Ore., for arraignment on the child pornography charges.

However, González was not released from the county jail Tuesday because he still faces a hearing on his immigration status with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:14 AM

Is religion the new social evil? Pope on the slippery slope?

Thought Leader (South Africa)

Michael Trapido

In a poll conducted by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in the United Kingdom, faith — defined here not as limited to extremism but rather in the broadest possible terms — was considered to be tantamount to “intolerance, irrational behaviour and the basis for justifying persecution”.

Many of those polled not only believed that faith was divisive but also that it brought about irrational educational and other policies. ...

Of course, another issue that would be of concern to many is the amount of crime being committed using the guise of religion. In this regard, Pope Benedict XVI was forced to confront the sexual-abuse scandal currently rocking the Catholic Church during his recent visit to the United States.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:10 AM

Quinn tried to warn pal Dunlop

Standard Freeholder

One of Perry Dunlop's closest friends on the city's police force warned him about the potential repercussions of taking an alleged victim's statement to the Children's Aid Society, the Cornwall Public Inquiry heard Tuesday.

"I told him, once this started, once things get beyond a certain point, there was no turning back," said Const. Michael Quinn. "And you best buckle up for the ride, because it's gonna get really, really rough."

Quinn spent 26 years with the Cornwall Police Service, and served on the executive of the Cornwall Police Association - the force's bargaining unit - before retiring in 2003.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:03 AM

April 22, 2008

Editorial: Pope should ensure abuses not repeated

San Antonio Express-News

Inspiring joy throughout his recent U.S. visit, Pope Benedict XVI also inspired a notable amount of sadness.

Some Catholics were afraid the church sex scandal would overshadow his trip, but it was the pope himself who brought up the issue, and he was wise to do it.

Ignoring the scandal will not make it go away, as church officials from Boston to San Francisco have discovered.

It was a painful subject, but the pontiff addressed it with refreshing honesty and compassion, going so far as to speak with some of the abuse victims in private meetings; he is believed to be the first pope to do so.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:03 PM

Bishop Provost comments on papal visit


Bishop Glen John Provost of the Diocese of Lake Charles has returned from his visit to Washington D.C. where he participated in various events that were part of the pope's visit to the United States.

Provost says the Holy Father brought a message of hope and healing, meeting and parying with various groups including survivors of those who perished at ground zero in New York on 9-11. Provost also spoke of Pope Benedict's time spent with those who were victims of sexual abuse by priests. " He showed himself very courageous and I think he led the way for a lot of healing in the lives of these people who have suffered so much and I think that's very important and for the pope to do this and mention it as frequently as he did shows that this is what our concern is, is for the victims and we have to be very conscious of our care and concern for them and for the future, for it to not happen again."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:58 PM

Michael Gerson: Catholic Church endures, flawed but indispensable

Minneapolis Star Tribune

By Michael Gerson

Last update: April 22, 2008 - 6:20 PM

Pope Benedict's recent visit offers a chance to take stock of the health of the Roman Catholic Church in America, which, like any church, reflects the flaws of its very human members. Many Catholics worry about the shortage of priests, nuns and vocational enthusiasm; complain about empty pews (about one in 10 Americans is a former Catholic), and anguish over sexual scandals in which clergy have, at times, appeared more interested in protecting the church than in demonstrating its ideals.

But members of a church older than any nation tend to take the long view. In the 10th century, Pope Sergius III grabbed the keys to the kingdom in an armed coup and promptly had two of his imprisoned predecessors strangled. His son, by his 15-year-old mistress, Marozia, eventually became Pope John XI. Marozia's grandson, Pope John XII, stood accused of great crimes as well. According to one account, he "mutilated a priest ... violated virgins and widows high and low, lived with his father's mistress, [and] converted the pontifical palace into a brothel." Those were the days to be a reporter covering the Vatican.

Catholics generally regard the survival and success of such a flawed institution as evidence of divine favor. The church has managed to outlive all of its scandals -- and all of its critics.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 PM

Michael Novak on Pope's U.S. Visit (Part 1)


By Carrie Gress

WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 22, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The United States gave a warm welcome to Benedict XVI when he arrived to the nation, and it must have been a little bit of a surprise for the Pope, says Michael Novak. ...

Q: What did you think about the Pope's repeated mentioning of the abuse crisis that has plagued the Church in America?

Novak: The headline of the "Washington Times" on Monday, April 21, was "Pope visit soothes abuse crisis." Journalists are full of praise for the deft and serious way in which Benedict XVI expressed his shame, repentance and love regarding this issue.

At first, like many others, I was surprised that Benedict brought up the abuse crisis on the airplane. Then he brought it up in practically every venue thereafter.

The title of the Pope's pilgrimage was titled "Christ Our Hope," and he was calling us to renewal. For renewal to take effect, the right thing to do is begin with the confession of sin. I think it is true that we were all ashamed. I can't think of anything in my lifetime that shamed me more than the behavior of priests, almost always with young men.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:59 PM

Bishop ‘in the clouds’ over pope’s visit

Independent Record

By ANGELA BRANDT - Independent Record - 04/22/08

Bishop George Thomas said he was exhilarated by watching Pope Benedict XVI speak in Washington last week.

“It made me want to be a better bishop,” Thomas said Monday afternoon. ...

In regards to the sexual scandals within the Catholic Church, which have caused a lot of hurt and sadness within the community, he said, Benedict “chose to walk directly into that.”

By meeting with victims, Thomas said, Benedict showed that all in the priesthood are not “brushed with a common paintbrush.” A small portion of individuals have tainted the image of the vast majority, who are hardworking and dedicated, he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:31 PM

Missionary teacher ‘molested’ minor

Daily News & Analysis

Divyesh Singh
Tuesday, April 22, 2008 21:13 IST

A 14-year-old girl, studying in Std VIII of Saint Peter’s School, Vasai, was allegedly molested by a priest, who was also her teacher, on April 4. The girl was so scared and traumatised that she reported the incident to her parents only on Sunday.

A complaint was lodged with Vasai police against the priest, Father Agnel, 45, a Marathi teacher in the school. According to it, the girl, Swati Shinde (name changed), had gone to school on April 4 for her Marathi language viva examination. Along with her, there was another girl from her class.

The complaint stated that Father Agnel sent the other girl away and asked Swati to wait in his office. Alone with her, the priest tried “to touch her private parts and also tried to remove her top”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:26 PM

Archbishop: Pope's Visit Restored Faith Among Catholics


BALTIMORE -- As the craze over Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States dies down, Baltimore's archbishop said that people were finally able to learn more about the church's leader.

"It was like St. Patrick's Day and the opening of the General Assembly and having a president visit all at the same time," said Baltimore Archbishop Edwin O'Brien. ...

The archbishop said he didn't expect the pontiff to talk about the church's sex abuse scandal as frequently and forcefully as he did, but said that speaking out left no doubt about the church's position.

"I was pleased he did, and I hope it will encourage others to come forward who have been abused and bring people to light who have been involved in this terrible crime," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:22 PM

How Pope Benedict fared in America

The Week Daily

What happened
Pope Benedict XVI returned to Rome on Monday after a six-day U.S. visit that included a meeting with President Bush and stop in New York City to bless the ground at ground zero, where the World Trade Center towers stood until the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The German-born pope was met with loud cheers in his last Mass, at Yankee Stadium, after a trip in which he repeatedly referred to the sexual abuse scandal that has wracked the U.S. church. (Voice of America)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:19 PM

U.S. Papal Visit: The World Reacts

Global Voices

by Jillian York
As Pope Benedict XVI makes his first papal visit to the United States, the media and blogosphere are in a frenzy - primarily due to the sexual abuse scandal that shook the foundation of the American Catholic church six years ago. The Pope addressed the issue in Washington D.C. on Thursday, speaking with victims of sexual abuses, which pleased some bloggers but for others was too little too late.

Darryl Wolk, a Canadian blogger, is of the former category, stating:

As a Catholic, I am glad that Pope Benedict XVI addressed this issue head on. It will take more than words and apologies, to heal the scars caused by the actions of some priests towards the victims. I think today was a step in the right direction for my church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:13 PM

Spinning the Pope

On Faith

Anthony Stevens-Arroyo

Television spins everything: so do newspapers and commentators. This basic fact of American life carried over to the just concluded papal visit of April 2008. I don’t place myself over and above the crowd, but perhaps because subjectivity is so inescapable, it bears analysis.

The spinners outside the faith wanted to make light of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit by insisting that the pedophilia scandal loomed much larger than any Mass or (what they called) cliché-ridden sermons. Even when the pontiff began his apologies while still on the plane, the pundits sneered that this was merely a tactic to avoid dealing directly with the issue. When Pope Benedict brought this matter up before the bishops and the laity over and over again, his sincerity was dismissed as inadequate because he refused to meet with abuse survivors: and then he did. But he didn’t meet with all of them, I heard someone opine, as if such a meeting were logistically possible. Words are cheap, the pope has yet to take action, was the next response from the critics. Changes in canon law were then announced further demolishing the objections of the never-to-be-satisfied.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:10 PM

Ex-priest hired by another diocese, people outraged

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Bridgeport's Catholic bishop claims he notified a brother bishop about a pedophile priest. So what? The public, the parishioners and the police need to be warned about this potentially dangerous man, not one church official.

Despite the Pope's repeated comments about the church's on-going clergy sex abuse and cover-up scandal, this case is more proof that little has changed within the church hierarchy.

We desperately hope that anyone with suspicions or information about McGoldrick's crimes will call the police immediately. We hope that others who've been hurt by this predator finds the strength to come forward and get help. Finally, we hope that Bridgeport Catholic officials will use their considerable resources - their newspaper, websites, parish bulletins and staff - to warn Connecticut citizens about this child molesting cleric.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:06 PM

Visiting leader says time for church to acknowledge abuse


The Press | Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Benedict's apology to people who have been abused by clergy is an opportunity for Catholic churches worldwide to take responsibility for people abused under their care, a visiting expert says.

During his visit to the United States last week the Pope said he was "deeply ashamed" over sexual abuse within the church and vowed to do everything possible to avoid a repeat.

Christchurch's own sexual abuse scandal erupted more than five years ago when allegations surfaced against Catholic brotherhood St John of God.

The accused brothers worked at Marylands, a Christchurch residential school for boys with intellectual and learning disabilities run by St John of God until 1984.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:01 PM

Texas judge OKs moving polygamist sect kids into foster care

The Associated Press


ELDORADO, Texas (AP) — A judge gave Texas child welfare officials permission Tuesday to move children taken from a polygamist sect into foster care, while authorities continued taking DNA samples from sect members to sort out the children's lineage.

The state has custody of 437 children taken from a west Texas compound more than two weeks ago, and nearly all have been housed at the San Angelo Coliseum since then.

State District Judge Barbara Walther signed an order Tuesday allowing Child Protective services officials to begin moving the 437 children held in the San Angelo Coliseum for the last two weeks into temporary foster care, most likely group homes or privately run facilities, until individual custody hearings can be held.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:58 PM

What Benedict Wrought

National Catholic Register


April 27-May 3, 2008 Issue | Posted 4/22/08 at 12:32 PM

NEW YORK — Pope Benedict XVI surprised everyone by using his pastoral visit to the United States to mark the end of the beginning of the sexual abuse crisis that has afflicted the Church in the United States.

“Benedict has not written a ‘period’ to the sexual abuse crisis, but a ‘semicolon,’” said George Weigel, papal biographer, indicating that Benedict thinks that there are other important things that need to be said some six years after the scandal first broke.

In looking ahead to the Holy Father’s visit, I wrote that Benedict has developed over many years a distinctive but successful media strategy.

He demonstrated it on this pastoral visit, seizing control of the sexual abuse issue from the beginning.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:52 PM

US people and Benedict XVI. Now it's up to us live the Pope's message

Il Sussidiario (Italy)

Lorenzo Albacete.

Pubblicato il 22/04/2008 - Letto 13

In spite of being in the midst of an increasingly bitter election campaign, in spite of a widespread feeling of insecurity and concern for the future of the country, in spite of an ever growing secularism that splits faith from life and more and more becomes the cultural atmosphere of many Americans, in spite of a historical difficulty of a very Protestant country to understand the role of the Papacy, in spite of an ever-more refined form of anti-Catholicism that is still part of the American narrative, in spite of the fact that in popular culture the Catholic Church remains the one Institution which is politically correct to attack, in spite of the fact that the popular image of a widely unknown Joseph Ratzinger was of concern to many Americans who so loved Pope John Paul II, and – above all – even if the Catholic Church in America has not yet overcome the horrible scandal of the sexual abuse by priests…in spite of anything and everything militating against it, the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Washington and New York has been a stunning success.

Or so it seems…

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:01 PM

Pope may defrock Fernando Lugo, former bishop voted Paraguay president

The Times (United Kingdom)

Richard Owen in Rome
Pope Benedict XVI is to decide whether to defrock Fernando Lugo, a Roman Catholic Bishop, following his election as President of Paraguay, Vatican sources said today.

Mr Lugo, 56, a former Divine Word missionary and Bishop, was elected President of Paraguay with 41 per cent of the vote with a platform of land reform and help for the poor. His election ended over 60 years of rule by the Colorado Party, whose candidate Blanca Ovelar received 31 per cent of the vote.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:36 AM

Pope's Apologies For Pedophile Priests Are Too Little, Too Late. Nothing Will Change

OpEd News

by Sandy Sand

While some Catholics are hopeful that Benedict "Arnold" XVI’s acknowledgement of crimes committed against children by pedophile priests will bring about change, others are doubtful.

Doubtful wins.

Just as Benedict chose to close his eyes to U.S. torture policies and other crimes committed against humanity during his visit here, his blind-eye policy to pedophile priests and subsequence apology are anti-everything people of sanity and reason hold dear.

There will be no changes and the abuse and cover-ups will continue as long as the pope continues to give Bernard Law sanctuary in Rome and Roger Mahoney is running around free in Los Angeles along with every priest who committed child abuse or covered up for these criminals, including the pope, who is still protecting them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:31 AM

Former L.I. Priest To Be Sentenced In Teen Sex Tryst Case


A defrocked Roman Catholic priest who admitting driving to what he thought would be a tryst with a teenage boy will be sentenced on Tuesday in a Long Island courtroom.

Thomas Bender faces at least five years in prison.

The former priest was due to be sentenced last week -- the first day Pope Benedict XVI arrived in New York for his first official visit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:28 AM

Benedict a Man of Conviction, Contradiction

On Faith

Sally Quinn

Thinking back on last week with the Pope it struck me that he was, like the words in the old Kris Kristofferson song, “a walking contraction,” beginning with his demeanor. ...

Here are a few areas of contradiction that struck me.

On the issue of child sexual abuse: He was admirable in the way he addressed it headlong instead of trying to shove it under the rug. He brought it up on the plane coming over, in which he used the word “shame”, again in his homily at National Park in Washington, where he said “no words of mine could describe the pain and harm inflicted by such abuse,” and he met with five victims of abuse here in Washington.

And yet, there are still cases of abuse, there are still abusive priests who are on pensions, there are still bishops who looked the other way and repeatedly refused to recognize what was happening or take action. The most egregious of all, the major perpetrator of this, Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston, who was forced to step down as a result of the scandal, is now an honored member of the Vatican in Rome. Cardinal Law, who knew about the abuse cases and quietly transferred the guilty priests to other parishes where they could continue their abuse rather than discipline or fire them, has his own Basilica. There are those victims who say that until Law is forced to pay the consequences, the Vatican is sending a message to all Catholics that the Pope’s words can not be taken seriously.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:24 AM

Papa negli Usa, domande senza risposta


di Alessandro Litta Modignani

Con la sua visita negli Stati Uniti, Bendetto XVI ha sicuramente incassato un successo di immagine. L’accoglienza di Bush, il discorso sui diritti umani all’Onu, il dialogo interreligioso, il raccoglimento a Ground Zero sono tutte tappe simboliche ben studiate, soprattutto dal punto di vista mediatico. La Chiesa cattolica esce politicamente rafforzata dalla trasferta del suo capo. Guardando al di là dell’apparenza, tuttavia, non è difficile notare come il Papa, forte di un’abilità millenaria, abbia sostanzialmente eluso tutte le grandi questioni al centro del dibattito culturale e politico del nostro tempo. Joseph Ratzinger si è nuovamente scusato (già Karol Wojtila l’aveva fatto prima di lui) per la gravissima vicenda dei preti pedofili, che scuote l’opinione pubblica americana nel profondo. Il Papa ha condannato duramente questo scandalo, ma in realtà era stato lo stesso Ratzinger (nel ’99, quando era cardinale) a invitare la Chiesa cattolica americana a non collaborare con la giustizia di quel paese, nel tentativo di mettere tutto a tacere. E’ di questo atteggiamento omertoso che egli avrebbe dovuto fare ammenda, se avesse voluto davvero voltare pagina; mentre condannare lo scandalo oggi appare come un tentativo, tardivo e incompleto, di “chiamarsi fuori” dall’intera vicenda.
Restano senza risposta gli interrogativi di fondo.


Benedict XVI doesn't make any light on the conspiracy of silence and disregards the freedom not to believe

The Pope in the USA, questions with no answer

by Alessandro Litta Modigliani

With his visit in the United States, Benedict XVI surely achieved a successful image. Bush's welcome, his UN speech on human rights, the dialogue among religions, his prayers at Ground Zero are all symbolic steps carefully studied above all under the media point of view. The catholic church was politically strengthened from the transfer of his chief. Looking beyond appearances, however, it's not difficult to notice how the Pope, heir of a millenary ability, substantially eluded all the great issues at the center of the cultural and political debate of our time. Joseph Ratzinger again apologized (Karol Wojtila had done the same before) for the very grave facts related to pedophile priests, which shocked deeply the American public opinion. The Pope firmly condemned that scandal but in reality it was the same Ratzinger (in '99, when he was a cardinal) invited the catholic church not to collaborate with the justice of that country, in an attempt to silence everything. For that cooperative behavior he had to present his apologies, if he really wanted to turn the page; while condemning the scandal now appears as a late and incomplete attempt to " clear himself " of any responsibility.

No answers were given to the main questions.

How was it possible that there occurred 10,665 proven cases of pedophilia in the American catholic church? Given that number, it can't be said those were isolated cases. Then, why is it those that were discovered in Italy until now can be counted upon the fingers of the hand? Are the Italian priests good and the American ones bad or does the Catholic church in Italy benefit of protection networks much more solid than those available in the lay and progressive USA? Moreover, how is it possible the American catholic church can count upon two billion dollars for victims' compensation without going broke? How much then is the global level of its wealth which was meant to be distributed to the poor? Finally: aren't the distressful tendencies towards pedophilia on the part of the priests strictly connected to forced celibacy? Ratzinger well avoided to answer this last question, which could make him risk to admit, about a so crucial issue, the "rival" protestants are right . Aside from all that it's on the theological aspect that Benedict XVI didn't show to be innovative at all. His appeal to religious freedom is but an invitation to other confessions to make an agreement on "the rules of the game", while he doesn't face one of the founding elements of the Western culture: the one pertaining to the freedom not to believe, which Ratzinger hastily dismisses as "relativism". Except for the fact, in his so called dialogue among religions, to confirm the superiority of the catholic-christian message. As he was saying: " We are all sons of the only true God. Mine, obviously".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:53 AM

Kansas parish seeks help to continue fight

Fostoria Review Times


The continuation of a Catholic parish's fight to keep its church will depend on the charity of others.

Parishioners of the former St. James Parish in Kansas are looking for funding to take their legal battle with the Catholic Diocese of Toledo to the Third District Court of Appeals. A 10-day fundraiser to raise $50,000 for legal fees will go through Tuesday.

After a ruling from Seneca County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Kelbley that ruled in favor of the diocese, the parishioners are looking to appeal.

"They took up the effort not just to protect their own parish," parishioner Steve Johnson said, noting this is a chance for others affected by closed parishes to take ownership of the case, which could set a precedent.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:43 AM

Pope confronts priest scandal and teaches a wider lesson on speaking up early


South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board
April 22, 2008

ISSUE: Pontiff addresses scandals.

Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States went a long way toward healing wounds, and re-establishing the Catholic Church's spiritual and moral authority. But that the pontiff needed to heal wounds in the first place speaks to the damage caused by a widespread string of sex abuse scandals.

And there lies an abject lesson for people and institutions of all faiths and purposes. It is better to face up to wrongdoing, and confront it aggressively, than to look the other way. It is best to accept embarrassment upfront than to feel the sting of a much broader scandal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:32 AM

Catholic priest sex abuse case carries on


By Nina Mehlhaf, KTVZ.COM

Lawyers met Monday behind closed doors with a judge in Bend Monday to talk about the future of a sex abuse case against the Catholic Diocese of Baker.

The Diocese of Baker, which is moving its headquarters from Bend to Powell Butte, overseas all Catholic parishes on this side of the Cascades.

The suit alleges that a priest in the northeast Oregon town of Elgin sexually abused a child in the 1970's. ...

In his civil suit, a transgendered man only known as K.C. says he realized in 2005 that his depression, anxiety and gender confusion were all related to alleged sex abuse by his then-priest, Fr. Pacome St. Arnaud.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:29 AM

Pope's US visit 'a huge success'

The Mercury (South Africa)

April 22, 2008 Edition 1

VATICAN CITY: Pope Benedict XVI more than met his goals for his just-ended trip to the United States of encountering Americans and encouraging the US Catholic Church in the wake of its paedophile sex scandals, the Vatican said yesterday.

The success of the 81-year-old pope, who returned home from the six-day journey yesterday, was "almost unexpected in its manner and degree", Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said on Radio Vatican.

The first goal was "the encounter between the pope and the American people as an encounter of friendship, respect, recognition of the positive characteristics of this people and its vocation of service to the entire world," he said.

The pope also achieved his goal of "encouraging the American Catholic Church, which has experienced difficult periods, especially after the well-known scandals of recent years", Lombardi said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:27 AM

Bishop Quinn to retire from office in June

The Morning Journal

RON VIDIKA, Morning Journal Writer

LORAIN -- Pending official approval from the Vatican, Bishop A. James Quinn, head of the western region of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese, will retire from his duties in mid-June.

Quinn, 76, is celebrating his 50th anniversary of ordination into the priesthood and is marking a quarter-century of service as bishop. ...

Quinn called the national sex abuse scandal involving priests ''a sorry day for the church.''

''It's time to move on from that,'' said Quinn. ''It's too bad that some people don't want to move on. There are always people who bring up the scandal. It surfaces from time to time. The Holy Father said he was scandalized by it and said it was shameful.''

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:22 AM

Pope appeared to cover all his bases during U.S. visit

The Journal News

By Gary Stern
The Journal News • April 22, 2008

Reviewing Pope Benedict XVI's American journey with hindsight, the papal agenda could have looked like this:

A. Introduce Benedict to America as warm, friendly and gracious - without going overboard or trying to make him into something he's not.

B. Celebrate the success of Catholicism in America and of America itself, but warn of the dangers to faith that are presented by relativism, secularism and materialism.

C. Face the fallout from the clerical sex-abuse crisis directly and on his own terms.

Through three days in Washington and three in New York, Benedict repeatedly hammered home points B and C and, through it all, appeared to accomplish point A with little trouble.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:18 AM

U.S. visit casts pope in new light

Philadelphia Inquirer

By David O'Reilly
Inquirer Staff Writer

By all accounts, Pope Benedict XVI's six-day tour of Washington and New York was a transforming event for a pontiff few Americans knew. ...

The trip "was definitely a huge success for Benedict in terms of introducing himself to the American [Catholic] church and the American public," said David Gibson, another Benedict biographer.

According to Gibson, author of the 2006 biography The Rule of Benedict, the Vatican and Benedict had been deeply concerned that the clergy sex-abuse scandals here would "overshadow the message" of evangelization and hope he wanted to bring to the United States.

"If he had tried to avoid the topic, or treat it in a glancing fashion, it would have backfired," Gibson said yesterday.

"So the paradox is that by addressing sex abuse so directly, and by meeting with victims, Benedict showed himself as the very pastor - the kind of pope - they wanted to show. It was good for Benedict and for the American church."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:06 AM


New York Post


April 22, 2008 -- A Catholic priest who was defrocked amid allegations he molested a boy in one diocese was hired by another, where he socialized with teens and young men studying to be priests, The Post has learned.

Despite warnings from the Bridgeport, Conn., Roman Catholic Diocese, Albert McGoldrick was given a job as an assistant to the bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy, a diocese headquartered in Stamford, Conn., but which also has churches in New York.

"There's no reason why this guy should be back working with boys," said private investigator Vito Colucci, who would not disclose his client. "People are furious . . . These are boys, 17, 18, 19, 20 years old from the Ukraine - naive boys who are looking to get into the priesthood." .

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:44 AM

More German shepherd than Rottweiler

Chicago Sun-Times

April 22, 2008

BY CATHLEEN FALSANI Religion Columnist
Three years and a few days ago, I was standing in the middle of St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, eating a cone of hazelnut gelato when smoke began to appear from the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel.

It was a little before 6 p.m., if memory serves, and more than an hour before we were expecting to see the last smoke signal of the day, telling the outside world how the cardinals, meeting in a secret conclave to choose a new pope, were progressing.

On that late Tuesday afternoon, the first puffs of smoke looked gray. A few minutes later, when a steady stream of decidedly white smoke appeared and then the campanone -- the enormous bell on the front of the basilica that is rung when a new pope has been chosen -- began to toll, total mayhem broke out in the square.

Habemus Papam! We have a pope!

Thousands of people ran toward the basilica, straining to see who would appear on the main balcony of St. Peter's. When a cardinal from Chile emerged to announce that we did, in fact, have a new pope, tension in the crowd made it feel as though it was holding its collective breath. And then, Cardinal Josef Ratzinger of Germany walked through the velvet curtains onto the balcony with a new name: Pope Benedict XVI.

The crowd groans

I recall vividly the massive cheer from the crowd in the square, followed almost immediately by an audible groan. ...

Benedict showed the warmth and kindness that people who have known him privately for years insist is very much central to who he is. Even before he landed on U.S. soil, the new pope addressed the sex-abuse travesty head on, calling it shameful and incomprehensible.

After he landed, the pope continued to talk about the scandal and met face-to-face with victims of clergy abuse, a Christ-like pastoral move that was felt well beyond the few souls he met with privately.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:39 AM

LA archdiocese puts 6 schools up as loan collateral


Associated Press - April 22, 2008 5:34 AM ET

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles is using its school properties to help pay $660 million to alleged victims of clergy sex abuse.

Spokesman Tod Tamberg says the diocese has put up six high schools as collateral on a $50 million loan to go toward the settlement.

He says 5 of the schools are in no danger of closing because of the action. They are St. Bernard, St. Bonaventure, Bishop Amat, Bishop Conaty-Loretto and Bishop Montgomery.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:29 AM

The Pope in the US

The News Today

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

Pope Benedict arrived for his first visit to the US as Pope, receiving a warm, rousing welcome that spanned "from sea to shining sea." ...

First was the issue of clerical sexual abuse which has caused great pain on everyone. It was very moving of him, amply showing his humanity and spirituality, to apologize for this ugly stain in the American Church.

He met with some of the victims and drew attention to his paternal hurt and affection for what happened to them. But he did not get stuck there. He said that the problem has to be seen and resolved in the wider context of everyone's proper understanding of human sexuality.

He encouraged and dared the bishops to do their best to put a stop to this highly scandalous problem. He was happy to note that "you have been able to adopt more focused remedial and disciplinary measures and to promote a safe environment that gives greater protection to young people."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:24 AM

The pope's message

Los Angeles Times

April 22, 2008

Almost three decades ago, a new pope still in his 50s captivated Americans during a triumphant tour that took him to Washington, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Des Moines. Last week, America was visited by a different sort of pope -- a soft-spoken octogenarian -- with a less ambitious itinerary. But, like John Paul II's 1979 tour, Benedict XVI's visit to New York and Washington was a success beyond the opportunity it afforded the bishop of Rome to pray with the faithful.

The pope deserves credit both for what he said and for what he didn't say. He repeatedly apologized for the widespread sexual abuse of young people by some Catholic clergy and the fact that the scandal was "sometimes very badly handled," an oblique reference to bishops who shuffled predatory priests from one parish to another. He amplified that apology by meeting with a small group of victims from Boston, the epicenter of the scandal. Finally, unlike some conservatives, he refused to scapegoat gays, telling reporters: "I would not speak in this moment about homosexuality, but pedophilia, [which] is another thing."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:22 AM

St. Bonaventure is put up as collateral for abuse cases

Ventura County Star

By Marjorie Hernandez
Tuesday, April 22, 2008

St. Bonaventure High School in Ventura has been put up as collateral by the Catholic Church to secure a loan for a multimillion-dollar settlement in clergy abuse cases, but it is not in danger of closing, officials said Monday.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles officials said six schools, including St. Bonaventure, were used as collateral to help obtain a $50 million loan from Allied Irish Bank. The five other schools are all in Los Angeles County: Daniel Murphy, St. Bernard, Bishop Montgomery, Bishop Amat and Bishop Conaty- Loretto.

The archdiocese is raising money to pay a $660 million settlement to the more than 500 victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy within the Los Angeles archdiocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:19 AM

Court hears sordid story

Montreal Gazete


Daniel Cormier, a self-proclaimed clergyman, sexually abused a 9-year-old girl, then married her at the same time he was helping her impoverished parents pay their bills, Quebec Court heard yesterday.

Acting as his own defence, Cormier, 57, has delayed his trial on several morals charges many times since first being arrested in 2003.

But as the first witness finally took the stand yesterday, the sordid story began to unfold of how he is alleged to have taken advantage of an underprivileged family and a girl 39 years younger than him. ...

Cormier, who claims he was the minister of the defunct Church of Downtown Montreal, is charged with sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, sexual assault and two counts of sexual exploitation of girls. Neither victim can be named.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:13 AM

Apology to native people must end 'denial of truth'

Toronto Star

Apr 22, 2008 04:30 AM

Phil Fontaine

In the Oct. 16, 2007, Throne Speech, your government promised to apologize for residential schooling for First Nations, Métis and Inuit children which led to profound harms. Every expression and word of the apology will be of great importance to our peoples and will be carefully studied, as will its timing and place. After 150 years of waiting, nothing less than a complete, unencumbered and honest apology for this dark period in our shared history will do.

An apology acceptable to survivors must be offered in the House of Commons where the Prime Minister will address Parliament, the nation and the world. It must be an event as significant and meaningful as the apology to our brothers and sisters of the Stolen Generations of Australia, and our fellow Japanese Canadians. It must incorporate the ceremony and dignity that such a symbolic and historic occasion requires. The galleries must be filled with survivors, their families, as well as church and government representatives who will bear witness.

The content of the apology must end denial of truth and history. It must raise the awareness about the residential school policy and its disastrous consequences, admit that it was wrong, accept responsibility and provide us with solemn assurances that it will never happen again.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:11 AM

Residential school deaths

Times Colonist

Alberni Valley Times
Published: Tuesday, April 22, 2008

For the sake of the survivors of Alberni Indian Residential School, we need to find out the truth.

Kevin Annett, the former Alberni United Church minister turned residential school activist, has laid his cards on the table. Annett claims to have physical evidence at 28 former residential school sites across Canada showing children were killed and buried. That includes what he describes as a series of sinkholes, consistent with old graves, on the former Alberni site.

Are there children buried out there somewhere?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 AM

America basks in Benedict's benediction - editorial

The Plain Dealer

Tuesday, April 22, 2008
America' introduction to Pope Benedict XVI went far more smoothly than either the Vatican or American Catholics could have dreamed. ...

The 81-year-old pontiff voiced his concern about sexually abusive priests while still ensconced in his airplane. Throughout his visit, the abuse suffered by young victims never seemed far from his thoughts. And his surprise visit with a handpicked group of sexual abuse victims offered hope this issue has finally resonated at the highest levels of the church.

Predictions from some quarters that the pope would scold American Catholics, an often wayward yet influential congregation, never came close to being true. In almost everything he said, Benedict chose honey over vinegar.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:01 AM

A call to come back to the fold

Daily Herald

By Corrinne Hess and Ashok Selvam | Daily Herald Staff

Pope Benedict XVI's six-day pilgrimage to the United States has ended, but church leaders say his visit will resonate with area Catholics for months to come.

Chicago Archdiocese Vicar General John Canary said the pope's visit will encourage younger Catholics to participate in their faith, while giving those who have drifted a reason to return. ...

The Catholic church monitors attendance annually through a monthlong process called the October count.

Canary said the numbers have declined since 2001 but are beginning to level off.

"I think some of it is connected to the sexual abuse issue," he said. "It is very important that he addressed that issue while he was here, and even more significant that he met with the victims."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

More victims come forward after papal visit’s acknowledgment of sexual abuse

Catholic News Agency

Chicago, Apr 21, 2008 / 11:35 pm (CNA).- Pope Benedict XVI’s visit and his recognition of the problems of clerical sexual abuse have prompted many alleged sexual abuse victims to come forward, Newsday reports.

Barbara Blaine, president of the Chicago-based Survivor’s Network of Those Abused by Priests said her 8,000-member organization has been “inundated” with calls. "Several are saying that they never told anyone." ...

Father Robert Hoatson, the New Jersey co-founder of the abuse victims’ group Road to Recovery, Inc., said the organization has received calls from five new victims in the last three days.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 AM

Our Views: Pope mixes messages

The Advocate

Pope Benedict XVI, three years into his papacy, acknowledged the 6-year-old scandal of pedophilia in the priesthood.

While the pope expressed shame regarding priests who sexually abused children, he was more charitable toward church officials who failed to protect children.

The scandal involves shocking accusations that thousands of predatory priests committed sex crimes against thousands of children between 1950 and 2002. It would have been difficult to visit this country without mentioning a scandal of such proportions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:44 AM

Statement From SNAP On Catholic Sex Abuse Developments


The group that represents victims and survivors of priest sex abuse speaks out on the local impact of top level Catholic admissions of pedophile priest abuse.

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - Pope Benedict XVI has spoken out with compassion to almost 74 million Catholics in America on the reality of the sex abuse scandal that has shook the church nationally.

Pope Benedict has communicated how ashamed he is for priests sexually abusing minors in America. The Pope has made an appeal to bishops to foster healing and reconciliation to victims in their diocese.

SNAP is hopeful that Archbishop Vlazny who has not spoken publicly on the sex abuse scandal since the bankruptcy will heed the Popes appeal to foster reconciliation and healing here in the Portland Archdiocese and that it will not be business as usual for Vlazny upon his return.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 AM

A visit of substance

Baltimore Sun

April 22, 2008

There were plenty of doubting Thomases who suspected that Pope Benedict XVI would steer clear of any meaningful discussion of the clergy sexual abuse scandal during his first visit to America. But the 81-year-old pontiff proved them wrong. His gradual but repeated references to the despicable actions of priests who sexually abused the church's most vulnerable members have resonated through the ranks of the American church, from parishioners to pastors to prelates. His candor about the problem and the compassion shown to victims must be viewed as a concerted effort to convince American Catholics that he won't tolerate such criminal behavior.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

Orange Diocese Dimwit of the Month...

Orange County Weekly

Posted by Gustavo Arellano in Ex Cathedra
April 21, 2008 11:01 PM

...Is actually the dimwit from last month: Father Christopher Heath of St. Edward the Confessor in Dana Point. To mark Pope Benedict XVI's meeting with the sex-abuse victims of his priests, Heath wrote a post on his blog where he made this off-hand but telling remark:

It's a good story of healing and hope, but will never be enough for some who use this awful situation to justify their hatred for all things Catholic.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

April 21, 2008

Abuse victims: Pope is listening

My Fox Tampa Bay

TAMPA - Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the U.S. has left a lasting impression - most notably on those who may have needed it the most.

Chris McCafferty, from St. Petersburg, is commending the Pope. He is one of thousands who were sexually abused by priests.

"I thought it took a big effort for him to acknowledge that what was happening in the U.S. was severe," McCafferty said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:06 PM

Follow Visit With Deeds

Hartford Courant

April 22, 2008

By any measure, Pope Benedict XVI's six-day trip to the United States was a stunning success. The 81-year-old pontiff, thought by many here to be distant and intolerant, showed warmth and charm as well as political and diplomatic skill.

He spoke to the beleaguered American Catholic Church of hope and rejuvenation. He navigated the pomp of the White House, prayed quietly at Ground Zero and, perhaps most important, met with victims of sexual abuse by priests. His repeated expression of shame and compassion for the victims of one of the church's worst crises in centuries brought hope to many American Catholics.

For the papal visit to be transformational, however, words of healing must be followed by structural change. It is far from clear that the conditions that caused the sexual abuse crisis have been adequately addressed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:02 PM

St. Patrick's press conference

The Washington Times

Julia Duin, assistant national editor/religion, The Washington Times

Just after 8:30 this morning, I was shivering in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral on Fifth Avenue while listening to Peter Isely, who serves on the national board of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. He (the bald-headed man in the photo) was handing out lists of what the American Catholic Church should do next after getting its knuckles rapped by Pope Benedict for the past six days over sex abuse crisis.

"The disciplinary measures against those who covered up those crimes have not been put in place," he told me. "We would like to see a national registry naming all the sexually offending priests and what we're doing with them and what neighborhood we are settling them in." Some archdioceses (such as Baltimore) have published the names of such priests. Others, such as Washington, have not.

I told him of my interview with Archbishop Wuerl Sunday night (see previous blog entry) where he thought everything that needed to be done to contain priestly sex abuse had basically been done.

"That is the worst thing he could have possibly said," Isely replied. "He should have said, 'We will hold ourselves as bishops accountable to correct the failures the pope talked about.' ''

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:59 PM

Cardinal George Reflects On Pope's U.S. Visit


[with video]

CHICAGO (CBS) ― Chicago's archbishop reflected on Pope Benedict XVI's historic first visit to America, a day after the pontiff left the states.

In an interview with CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine, Francis Cardinal George recalls a candid and compassionate leader, determined to heal and re-energize his church. ...

"The protection of children was I think the dominant note he wanted to sound and the outreach in loving care to those who been injured by this terrible sin," Cardinal George said.

It was perhaps the clearest acknowledgment yet that the Vatican truly understood the impact of the scandal here.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:56 PM

The Forum: Pope's challenge, US bishops' quick response

Catholic World News

by Phil Lawler
special to CWNews.com

New York, Apr. 21, 2008 (CWNews.com) - "Perhaps it is the task of the leader of the Roman Catholic Church to bring discomfort to a people so thoroughly shaped by modernity, as we Americans are," wrote E.J. Dionne in the Washington Post. "If so, Benedict is succeeding."

Dionne-- one of the more perceptive liberal commentators working in the American secular media-- touched on an important point in his commentary on the papal visit. Although Benedict XVI was quick to praise the American traditions of religious freedom, tolerance, and reverence for natural law, the Pontiff also left his US listeners-- at least those who were listening carefully-- with a sense that there remains something incomplete, something even potentially dangerous, about the American experiment. ...

1. On the sex-abuse scandal. Pope Benedict surprised reporters by speaking frankly and repeatedly about the damage done by the sex-abuse crisis and the failures of Church leaders to respond appropriately. He might have chosen to issue a few general statements of regret; instead he chose to offer a candid acknowledgment that the crisis had been "sometimes very badly handled" and, far more important, to show his sympathy by meeting with a few victims.

When the Pope left, the focus of media attention was on a hint that canon law could be changed to allow greater scope for disciplinary action against priests who had molested children. But in a briefing session with reporters Cardinal William Levada, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith-- and, not incidentally, an American-- resisted the notion that the Vatican might ask for resignations from the bishops most obviously culpable of condoning sexual abuse.

Still worse, the chairman of the US bishops' committee on sexual abuse, Bishop Gregory Aymond of Austin, Texas, suggested that the Pope's apparent endorsement of "safe environment" programs-- in language that appeared to have been carefully scripted by the US bishops' conference-- would encourage the conference to "reach out again to the bishops who have been resisting participating in what we're going." In other words Bishop Aymond interpreted the Pope's stance as a mandate to put additional pressure on Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz rather than on Bishop John McCormack-- on the bishop who has resisted pressure to approve a sexually explicit program for young children in parochial schools rather than the bishop who has reached a plea-bargaining agreement to avoid prosecution.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:52 PM

Church critic "outs" American cardinal

Catholic World News

Washington, Apr. 21, 2008 (CWNews.com) - Richard Sipe, a former Benedictine priest and psychologist who has commented extensively on the sex-abuse scandal in the US, has accused Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the retired Archbishop of Washington, of recruiting seminarians as sexual partners.

The problem of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church "is not generated from the bottom up— that is only from unsuitable candidates—but from the top down— that is from the sexual behaviors of superiors, even bishops and cardinals," Sipe wrote in an open message to Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news).

Sipe said that he had received evidence that several prelates had preyed on adolescents and seminarians. He claimed to have received reports about the homosexual activities of the future Cardinal McCarrick more than 20 years ago, and to have "documents and letters that record first-hand testimony and eyewitness accounts" to support those accounts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:50 PM

Adding up price tag of pope's New York City visit


MICHAEL FRAZIER | michael.frazier@newsday.com
6:32 PM EDT, April 21, 2008

New York City returned to business as usual Monday after the Sunday departure of Pope Benedict XVI, who capped his visit with Mass at Yankee Stadium for nearly 60,000.

Hours after Benedict's departure, city officials continued to measure the economic benefits of his stay. They also are tallying how much it cost the city to host his holiness.

The city expected to pay significant overtime for police officers.

"This is one of those things were the expenses are relatively negligible, virtually impossible to measure, but the benefits will go on for a long time," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, pointing to the global exposure the city gained by welcoming Benedict.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:47 PM

Pope ends US trip with a challenge in New York

Catholic World News

New York, Apr. 21, 2008 (CWNews.com) - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) issued a clear challenge to American Catholics during his appearances in New York on April 19 and 20 as he concluded his apostolic voyage to America.

In his homily at a Mass in St. Patrick's cathedral on April 19, the Holy Father said that he had come to the US to bring "the message of hope we are called to proclaim and embody in a world where self-centeredness, greed, violence, and cynicism so often seem to choke the fragile growth of grace."

Later, after acknowledging the damage the Church has sustained because of the sex-abuse scandal, the Pope expressed his solidarity with faithful Catholics "in praying that this will be a time of purification for each and every particular church and religious community, and a time for healing.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:44 PM

The pope's PR coup


By Marshall Loeb, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Pope Benedict XVI is safely back in the security and serenity of the Vatican now, and all of those souls who prayed for him and protected him during his six-day stay in the U.S. can offer a sigh of relief.
But for years to come, leaders of business, government, academe, the military and our other basic institutions will be, or at least should be, studying what he said and did.
They will find much that is familiar, but is too rarely put into practice by our leaders:
Don't try to dodge the truth, no matter how awful it may be or whom it may implicate.
Do open a dialogue with those whom you may disagree.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:05 PM


Spirit Daily

Is a purification now underway in the Church?

It is a question that hangs in the air after the extraordinary papal visit.

Much to everyone's surprise, the horrific scandal surrounding homosexual abuse of youth by priests was brought front and center to the stage by a courageous pontiff who clearly saw what that scandal threatened.

He didn't mention much about the war in Iraq. He didn't take on genetics and cloning the way one might have expected (given their potential for future harm). There was an indelible allusion to restoring nature (when the Pope used the profound expression that we must "rediscover the authentic image of Creation"). There was also a message about immigrants and minorities and abortion, about unity.

But for the most part, it was not a policy trip, it was a pastoral one -- and that meant taking care of the blackest mark on Catholicism since its institution in America.

The scandal remains hard to believe: at least 5,000 men consecrated to God and granted the authority of presenting Christ in the Eucharist had used that position to take sexual advantage of young people -- mainly boys.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:18 PM

Fairbanks Diocese Copes with Sex-Abuse Crisis


by Libby Casey

Audio for this story will be available at approx. 7:00 p.m. ET

All Things Considered, April 21, 2008 · More than 140 Alaska natives have sued the Roman Catholic Diocese in Fairbanks, Alaska, saying they were sexually abused by church workers from the 1950s through the 1980s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:07 PM

Pope caught in row over who should pay for Australia visit

The Times (United Kingdom)

Paul Larter in Brisbane
This year’s papal visit to Australia is already sorely testing the country’s commitment to the virtues of peace and goodwill as politicians and the Roman Catholic Church wrangle over the cost to the taxpayer.

World Youth Day, the Catholic celebration that takes place every two or three years, is to be hosted in Sydney this year and is expected to culminate in a gathering of half a million pilgrims. An opposition politician demanded yesterday that the Church – Australia’s largest property owner – should underwrite the A$128 million (£61 million) public cost of holding the event.

The cost includes A$42 million in compensation to the horse racing industry because a local racecourse has been booked for an overnight vigil and Mass, to be celebrated by Benedict XVI on July 20. The New South Wales Government has also told Sydney-siders, who hosted the Olympic Games in 2000, that unprecedented levels of traffic jams, akin to “a week of New Year’s Eves”, were expected.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:53 PM

In a time of healing, let us remember all victims

Boston Herald

By Joe Fitzgerald
Monday, April 21, 2008

Three years ago, while multitudes chanted “We have a new pope!” upon seeing white smoke at St. Peter’s Basilica, critics of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger were already predicting gloom and doom.

Ratzinger, they charged, was the last thing the Catholic Church needed, especially here in America, figuring his reputed inflexibility would put him very much at odds with a culture wanting to believe anything goes and everything’s negotiable. ...

Back when Bernard Law was made a cardinal here in 1984, Pio Laghi, the pope’s ambassador, quipped, “After Boston, only heaven,” meaning Boston was a dream assignment for anyone wearing a Roman collar.

By the time Law left in the throes of the scandal, however, that collar had become a scarlet A, thanks to a lynch-mob mentality implying every priest was guilty by association, a slur made unconscionable by the fact it was intentional.

Yes, it was heartwarming to read of the pope’s unprecedented private meeting with local victims of priestly abuse; even his most wild-eyed critics were momentarily mollified.

But, lest it be overlooked, he also had the grace to allude to forgotten victims, too, urging love for those faithful priests who, while remaining true to their vows and callings, were made to pay a price for crimes they did not commit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:35 PM

Theology students extol pope's pastoral gifts but say change unlikely

Catholic News Service

By Chris Herlinger
Catholic News Service

NEW YORK (CNS) -- Catholic students at one of New York City's most prominent schools of theology said Pope Benedict XVI's visit did not soften some of their concerns about his papacy and the future of the U.S. Catholic Church.

The students at Union Theological Seminary, a nondenominational graduate school of theology with Protestant roots and a home for Catholic academics who have run afoul of the Vatican, praised Pope Benedict's pastoral gifts and his ability to energize the Catholic faithful.

But they also said the visit will not lead to what they feel are much-needed reforms within the church and expressed concern that the U.S. church's current and future needs are not likely to be addressed any time soon.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:25 PM

Facing up the to abuse crisis

Catholic Explorer

By Tom Sheridan (Catholic News Service)
Published Apr 21, 2008

Sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll.

In some media accounts last week, Pope Benedict XVI blamed clergy sexual abuse of minors on the influence of those three all-American vices.

That's an easy -- albeit incomplete -- answer to the church's scandalous crisis. Neither is it exactly what the pope had in mind when he mentioned the breakdown of society contributing to the tragic molestation of thousands of minors by clergy.

That Pope Benedict's American apostolic journey would address the crisis which has consumed much of the church's energy over the past five-plus years was widely speculated.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:17 PM

Clergy Sex Abuse Victims Call For Action


[wth video]

Members of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests stood outside St. Patrick's Cathedral this morning, handing out flyers that highlight their five-point plan for combating clergy sex crimes.

This comes on the heels of Pope Benedict XVI's unprecedented meeting with church sex abuse victims while he was in Washington, D.C. last week. Several times during his visit, the pope addressed the scandal.

"Responding to this situation has not been easy and, as the president of your Episcopal Conference has indicated, it was 'sometimes very badly handled,'" said Benedict.

Victims say they want the pope's strong words to be followed by stronger actions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:04 PM

Egan May Be Leaving the Archdiocese Soon, Now That a Historic Visit Has Ended

The New York Times

Published: April 21, 2008
For Cardinal Edward M. Egan, the visit of Pope Benedict XVI was one of the highlights of his eight-year tenure as leader of the Archdiocese of New York. On Sunday, he escorted Benedict to ground zero and helped him celebrate Mass at Yankee Stadium before seeing him off at Kennedy Airport.

On Saturday, the cardinal prayed in St. Patrick’s Cathedral with the pope and then rode with him in the Popemobile through the streets of his archdiocese, which recently completed the celebration of its bicentennial.

Serving as host to Benedict was quite likely his swan song.

Cardinal Egan, head of the Archdiocese of New York — and its 2.5 million Catholics in three boroughs and seven counties — was required by church law to submit his resignation as archbishop to the pope when he turned 75 last year. When the resignation takes effect is up to the pope, and Benedict’s predecessor, John Paul II, often let bishops and archbishops serve well past retirement age.

But Benedict has been more prompt about replacing bishops, and the consensus among Catholic experts is that the next major event in Cardinal Egan’s ecclesiastic life will be the acceptance of his resignation and the anointing of his successor. ...

Cardinal Egan has also had to deal with the effects of the sex-abuse scandals, and the decline in candidates for the priesthood, which he has been unable to stem. The archdiocese’s seminary, St. Joseph’s in Yonkers, where Cardinal Egan appeared by Pope Benedict’s side on Saturday, expects to ordain just six men in May.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:06 PM

Benedict in America: He Came, He saw, He Conquered

Catholic Online

By Deacon Keith Fournier
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

LOS ANGELES (Catholic Online) - The Nation awakened Monday morning to begin what must now become a prolonged reflection on the apostolic visitation of Pope Benedict XVI to the United States of America.

This master teacher, theologian, Chief Pastor and Pope acted with precision, purpose, and profound care, laying the groundwork for what can become a rebirth of dynamic Catholic faith and life in America, for the sake of the world. ...

Then, there was the unannounced meeting. Sean Cardinal O’Malley, true Franciscan and shepherd, accompanied the Holy Father in a meeting with representative victims of the horrible sexual abuse committed by a small minority of clerics. Though he had addressed this wound from the moment he began his journey on the plane, it was at this meeting that his pastor’s heart and genuine care evidenced that not only had this Pope heard the cry of this segment of the poor in our midst, but that he had what is, in Latin, “Compassio”, from which we derive the word compassion.

In its etymology it means “to suffer with”. This meeting was, in the words of one of the participants “the beginning of the end.” Pope Benedict showed, what the Lord proclaimed, that the Truth does indeed set you free. He demonstrated the importance of his Papal office as he began to bind up the wounds which must be healed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:53 PM

Plea to Pope on sex abuse 'firewalls'

The Australian

Ean Higgins and Nicola Berkovic | April 22, 2008
A PROMINENT lawyer representing victims of alleged sexual abuse by Catholic teachers and priests has called on the Pope to use his World Youth Day tour to urge his agents not to hide behind legal firewalls.

Porters Lawyers principal Jason Parkinson has won several big settlements for former students and has more than 60 more clients who claim they were abused by teachers at two private Catholic schools in Canberra, Marist College and Daramalan College.

He said the Pope should make similar expressions of accepting responsibility for child abuse by agents of the church as he did on his recent visit to the US.

Mr Parkinson said that despite the Catholic Church in Australia's official stance that it was confronting the history of sexual abuse of children by teachers, brothers and priests, it was in fact trying to dodge legal liability.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:50 PM

The Pope's Visit: Shame or Disgrace?

OpEd News

by Stephen Pizzo

Before I unload, let me set some markers down:

- I was raised Catholic.
- I went to Catholic schools.
- But no, I was not molested by a priest.
(In the interest of full disclosure it is only fair to note that I was not an attractive child.)

I mention all that only to nix charges that I am anti-Catholic. To be so I would have to be anti-my-parents and entire family. And I am not "bitter" because I was molested by some guy in a black dress. (Though I was a regular customer of Sister Superior's yardstick.)

Now, onto the meat of the matter.

We are such suckers for pomp and circumstance, and we got a TV full of the stuff last week as the Pope dropped by for a holy howdy-do. The cable channels, which can fixate on subjects large and small like nothing before, fixated on the man in the flowing gold and white robes and red slippers. ...

- Why the Pope came:
Historically being Pope really did mean never having to say you're sorry. No longer. The Pope's visit was entirely an apology tour. He came to apologize for the priest abuse scandal. And he did so at every opportunity. He was soooooo sorry. Now.

But wait, the scandal has been raging for well over 15 years. Why now? The Church's initial response to the crisis was a combination of denial and Cheney-esk hide the evidence. (Even if that meant hiding the perps, which the Church regularly did.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:46 PM

Editorial: Journey of a pontiff

The Dallas Morning News

When John Paul II died at the end of possibly the most extraordinary pontificate in the 2,000-year history of the Roman Catholic Church, it was hard to imagine what kind of man could wear the shoes of the fisherman after Karol Wojtyla strode the globe in them. Joseph Ratzinger, the gentle theology professor who became Pope Benedict XVI, is not the man John Paul was, at least not in terms of style.

It has been difficult over the three years of his pontificate to get a clear picture of his mind, which has tempted those who remember him as the Vatican's doctrine chief to stereotype him as a rigid enforcer of rules. His one significant diplomatic stumble – his 2006 inflammatory reference to Islam in the context of a scholarly speech – revealed the limitations of a man learning the difference between being a professor and being a pope. ...

Only a few years ago, Cardinal Ratzinger, from his Vatican office, was seemingly dismissive of the scandal's gravity. Something happened to him on the journey from then till now. He has come further than we imagined even a few days ago in an editorial on this page.

With his simple but profound gesture of pastoral good will, Pope Benedict gave reason to hope that he will take the advice of his sixth-century namesake, the saint who began his famous rule by exhorting followers to listen "with the ear of thy heart."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:40 PM

Accused child sex priest begs against extradition

The West Australian

21st April 2008, 15:45 WST

A former priest accused of sexually abusing teenage boys in Australia has begged an Indonesian court not to extradite him, saying he’s sorry for the “hurt that I have caused the victims”.

South Jakarta District Court is hearing an extradition request from Australian authorities to return Adelaide-born Charles Alfred Barnett, 66, to South Australia, where the alleged offences took place.

Barnett is accused of sexual crimes against six boys in his congregation between 1977 and 1994.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:36 PM

Reach Out and Touch Faith

Awearness Blog

It is clear that the Catholic Church is under attack: In addition to the damage caused by the sex abuse scandal, American churches face a consistent dwindling number of priests as well as members. A recent study by Georgetown University found that a third of the 64 million US Catholics never attend mass. Additionally, the divide between the church's teachings and people's beliefs is growing. Closer to home, the grammar school that my entire family attended in Greenwich Village closed this past year as did several others across New York City.

One would have to believe that the church is aware of these alarming statistics. A great deal of the Pope's time during his visit to the US was spent addressing and apologizing for certain abuses by the Catholic Church. "it is a great suffering for the church in the United States, for the church in general and for me personally that this could happen', Benedict said. So now what? The Pope and his entourage will fly back to Rome, to Vatican City and do what?

Let me start off by saying that I am Catholic and have decided to raise my family in the same tradition but I continue to question that decision every time another sacrament is on the schedule for my children. It's a shame, my upbringing in the Catholic religion has been rewarding for many reasons. However, the church's ignorance and unwillingness to evolve with the times and environment is creating an unsure future. Sure, we're always going to debate the Church's stance on abortion, the morality of birth control or the ordination or women but these are big issues and cornerstones of the religion. However, the church can start to leverage the strength of contemporary communication to better reach its flock, create dialogue - reconnect and rebuild these relationships as well as its numbers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:28 PM

Pope Benedict is Living in Denial

The Huffington Post

Bill Press

He came, he spoke, he conquered.

Pope Benedict XVI is back in Rome, after his razzle-dazzle visit to the United States -- where he impressed everybody with his apologetic comments about the priest pedophile scandal.

Well, ALMOST everybody. He didn't impress me, because -- even though, for the first time, he expressed regret at the way the Church tried for so long to cover up the scandal -- he still refuses to recognize what lies at the heart of the problem.

As long as the Catholic Church insists on only ordaining men as priests -- and only accepting celibate men as priests -- its sex scandals are never going away.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:24 PM

Papal Visit 2008: Pope Touches On Sex Scandal, Peace During Stay


[with video]

April 21, 2008

While in the United States this past week, the pope spoke about many issues from the church's sex scandal to world peace. NY1's Lindley Pless filed the following report on the topics he repeatedly touched upon.

In less than a week, Pope Benedict XVI managed to tackle some of the toughest topics facing the Catholic Church and the world at large.

Even before his plane had touched down on U.S. soil, Benedict spoke about the sex abuse scandal in the church.

"We are deeply ashamed and we will do all that it possible so that this cannot happen in the future," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:22 PM

Secret life of Ireland's singing priest

BBC News

By Fiona Murray
BBC News

It was a story which shocked Ireland and created a national scandal - the revelation that one of the country's most popular priests had a live in lover and two children.

Dublin-born Father Michael Cleary was well-known for his devout Catholic views on sex, divorce and abortion.

He also published a book about maintaining faith in the modern world and was dubbed the Singing Priest after releasing two albums of songs.

However, after his death it emerged that this man, who was a powerful player in the Catholic Church, had lived a contradictory, secret life, where his housekeeper, Phyllis Hamilton, was his lover and mother of his children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:19 PM

POINT OF CONVERGENCE: Was the Pope's spotlight on the Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal an act of contrition or damage control?


by Mario A.

With Pope Benedict XVI ending his visit to the U.S., the biggest question will be whether his very public efforts to address the Catholic priest sex scandal that has rocked the Church for the past six years have helped begin the healing process among disillusion faithful; faithful who felt betrayed by the way the Church initially covered it up, then vehemently denied it, then quickly tried to quell the controversy by paying off the alleged victims.

At this point, the scandal has exposed more than 5,000 abusive priests and revealed more than 13,000 victims. It has caused the Church more than $2 billion in litigation and severely bruised the image of the institution. In many neighborhoods, parishioners are still skeptical of priests who pat a young boy on the head or make physical contact with children in any way.

Shooting the Messenger

The biggest revelation of the scandal was not the number of priests who were full-blown sexual predators in every sense of the world. It was, rather, the rampant corruption within the institution of the Catholic Church in its handling of these guilty priests. Instead of disciplining them and turning them over to the authorities, it shuffled them off to other, unsuspecting parishes where they were able to resume their pedophilic behavior.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:16 PM

Pope Praised for Remorse over Pedophile Priests

Spiegel (Germany)

The success of the pope's US visit depended on how he addressed the child sex abuse scandal that had shaken the American Catholic Church. German media commentators Monday heap praise on Benedict for the open and personal way he spoke about the scandal.

The pope's six day visit to the US received blanket media coverage around the world. Many of the headlines related to his handling of the most difficult and serious issue of the trip (more...): the sex abuse scandal that has rocked the American Catholic Church for the past six years.

At nearly every relevant public occasion during the visit, Benedict XVI addressed the scandal openly and offered words of comfort for the victims and the church as a whole. Even during his flight to Washington, he told reporters he was "deeply ashamed" about the child sex abuse scandal and the church would do all it could in the future to prevent that kind of abuse from happening again.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:13 PM

What the Pope Accomplished


By Daniel Stone and Matthew Philips | Newsweek Web Exclusive
Apr 21, 2008 | Updated: 11:25 a.m. ET Apr 21, 2008

It was one of the few unscripted moments of the entire week. Following the final psalm reading at Saturday's papal mass inside New York's historic St. Patrick's Cathedral, Pope Benedict XVI held on to the microphone when an altar assistant, who had likely rehearsed this moment dozens of times, was about to take it away and move on with the service. "I will do all possible to be a real successor to Peter, who also was a man with all his faults and sins but who remains finally the rock for the church," the pontiff said in his thick German accent, speaking slowly and deliberately. The moment seemed to catch everyone off guard, including the row of journalists seated next to the altar. Impromptu moments like this don't come often from Benedict.

The words were an addendum to the pontiff's homily, in which for the fifth time during his five-day tour of America Benedict addressed the issue most prominent during his trip: the sexual abuse scandals that shook the American church six years ago and have cost it more than $2 billion in settlements, not to mention moral authority in the minds of many. But just a day before the end of his American tour, the pope's off-the-cuff moment conveyed authentic humility, acknowledging his inability to offer charisma comparable to his predecessor's. In fact, his lack of superficial attractiveness makes his five-day tour of Washington, D.C. and New York all the more impressive. With all his limitations, Benedict seems to have set into motion an awakening of Roman Catholic faith in the United States after a rocky decade marred by scandals and diluted faith.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:11 PM

Strong words from the Pope during his U.S. visit

The Sarnia Observer (Canada)

Pope Benedict XVI, supreme pontiff of the world's one billion Roman Catholics, is being lauded for his admission that "great pain" has been caused by the sexual abuse of minors by Roman Catholic clergy.

The Pope reportedly opened the topic on the plane on his way from Rome to the U.S., where he made an official visit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:07 PM

Pope leads by example

Whig-Standard (Canada)

Somewhere along the line, Pope Benedict XVI learned the first rule of effective public relations: get the bad stuff out of the way first.

Even before the leader of the Roman Catholic Church landed in the U.S. last week, he was expressing the church's "deep shame" over years of sexual abuse by American priests.

Since 1950, more than 4,000 priests in the U.S. have been accused of sexually abusing minors. The church has paid out more than $2 billion in settlements.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:02 AM

When the pope mentioned growing up in a sinister regime, did he mean Nazis or Catholics? Readers respond to the papal visit

City of Angels

By Kay Ebeling
Here are reactions to the pope’s visit you won’t read in mainstream media, plus Bill Maher’s New Rule About Catholics in the video box above. (He sees FLDS and Pope as similar, except 'altar boys can't get pregnant.') First email: Mary Pitcher writes, “To those who so want the Catholic Church to be what it claims to be.”

I am truly pleased that the pope has mentioned the abuse and the victims so often on his trip. I think people have become tired of the topic and want it to be over. And it is so not over…and if we pretend it is, it is such a disservice to all of us, most especially those who had the courage to step forward, and to those who have not yet had found their voice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:57 AM

The quotable voice


"A half-hour is not enough for a cup of coffee. Is it a positive step? I don't know if it is or not. It might be too little too late."

— Peter Calderone of Attleboro, who was sexually abused by defrocked priest James Porter, assessing Pope Benedict XVI's meeting with Boston-area victims of the priest abuse scandal.

"We applaud the pope for meeting with the survivors. But this is a first step. ... Nothing has changed in terms of lay involvement, the culture of secrecy and bishops not being held accountable."

— Dan Bartley, president of Voice of the Faithful, a lay group formed in response to the sex abuse scandal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:30 AM

Local advisory board's role still unclear

Yakima Herald-Republic

by Jane Gargas
Yakima Herald-Republic

When two cases of sexual misconduct -- one alleged, one admitted -- on the part of two Catholic clerics became public in Yakima earlier this month, questions arose on what role the Catholic Diocese of Yakima's Lay Advisory Board took in overseeing the cases.

It turns out the group, charged with reviewing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by church personnel, had no role. Its members weren't apprised of either situation.

Although the alleged child sexual abuse occurred in Oregon in both cases, the men worked in the diocese here, one before allegations were lodged and one after being charged by police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:27 AM

Grumbles grow over Pope's upcoming visit to Australia


SYDNEY (AFP) — Complaints grew Monday over the cost of Pope Benedict XVI's planned visit to Australia in July for the Roman Catholic Church's World Youth Day, which is expected to draw some 125,000 pilgrims.

An opposition politician called on the Church to bear the brunt of the costs after it was revealed that taxpayers would contribute 86 million dollars (80 million US) towards the event in Sydney.

"The Catholic Church is the organisation that will gain the biggest benefit from this event, not the people of New South Wales," said Greens party member of the state parliament, Lee Rhiannon.

"It's a clear promotional event and, therefore, they should be footing the main part of the bill," she told national radio.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:22 AM

Benedict: Protect Children from Future Abuse

On Faith

Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite

A papal apology to those sexually abused by Catholic priests is certainly long overdue and it is good that Pope Benedict met with some of the victims of sexual abuse by priests on his U.S. trip.

But as Mother Jones was fond of saying, “Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living.” We need to know from Pope Benedict how future abuse will be stopped.

Bernie McDaid, one of the survivors of priestly sexual abuse who met with the Pope, rightly called attention to the fact that this abuse is still going on and will continue to go on unless something is done about it. He said in an interview with CNN that he told the pope he was an altar boy when he was abused and "it wasn't just sexual abuse, it was spiritual abuse. And I want you to know that. And then I told him that he has a cancer growing in his ministry, and needs to do something about it.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:18 AM

Bishop in meeting to defuse row over sex abuse clergy

Irish Independent

By Ralph Riegel and John Cooney

Monday April 21 2008

ONE of Ireland's highest profile bishops will hold talks with the head of the Catholic Church's child protection office to defuse a potential Church-State row over paedophile clergy.

The Bishop of Cloyne, Dr John Magee has arranged the crucial meeting to stave off a possible Government probe into his handling of alleged child rapes by priests in his diocese.

He said he had been surprised by the comments attributed to Ian Elliott of the National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) which suggested that the diocese had not been cooperative.

Today's urgent meeting between Cloyne officials and the NBSC was confirmed last night -- just days after Pope Benedict made the issue of clerical child abuse one of the themes of his visit to the US.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:09 AM

Group seeks committment on Church abuse policies

The Irish Times

Patrick Logue

Bishops have been urged to give a commitment to publish a national audit on the introduction of child protection policies in all Irish dioceses.

The One in Four group said a number of Catholic dioceses had taken a “robust” approach in dealing with allegations of child abuse by members of the clergy “by involving An Garda Síochana and the HSE upon receipt of an allegation”.

“However, we are also acutely aware that some dioceses are not following this approach”, the group’s Executive Director Maeve Lewis said.

“The difficulty lies in the fact that there remains a lack of transparency and accountability in how each individual diocese and religious order are responding to the issue of clerical sexual abuse."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:07 AM

Editorial: Toward reconciliation

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Posted: April 20, 2008
In his visit to the United States last week, Pope Benedict XVI talked about a range of issues, from academic freedom to human rights to the need for more international cooperation to "a growing forgetfulness of God" in the U.S. But it was his attention to the clergy sexual abuse issue and his singular meeting with a small group of victims of such abuse that will resonate for many.

Expected to address the matter only once, the pope returned to the issue repeatedly. He talked about the crisis as a cause of "deep shame." He told American bishops that the problem sometimes has been very "badly handled" and said it was their duty to heal the wounds caused by abuse. He asked Catholic parishioners at a Mass on Thursday "to do what you can to foster healing and reconciliation and to assist those who have been hurt."

And he apologized to victims, meeting with a handful on Thursday for 25 minutes. Two Boston-area victims of abuse shared details of the meeting in interviews late Thursday with The Associated Press. One man who had been abused as an altar boy said he placed his hand over Pope Benedict XVI's heart as he pleaded with the pope to fix the problem of sexual abuse of minors. The pontiff apologized for his poor grasp of English and for "everything," according to another victim.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:04 AM

Repentance and renewal

San Francisco Chronicle

Monday, April 21, 2008

Even before he reached American soil, Pope Benedict signaled that he was carrying a message of reflection, contrition and outreach.

The pope took on the darkest issue facing the church in the United States - child sexual abuse scandals involving priests - with reporters on the plane ride from Rome. He came back to it again and again during his visit, expressing his profound regret for "so much suffering." In Washington, he even met with a group of victims from the Boston Archdiocese.

The pope's words could never repair the broken lives of that awful history, reclaim the millions of dollars lost on settlements or fully assuage the enduring outrage by people within and outside the church who were frustrated by years of high-level denial about the magnitude of the damage. The strong messages from the Vatican will help the church move forward. As the pope said, it is far more important to have "good priest than to have many priests."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:01 AM

Bay area abuse victims see pope as a healer

St. Petersburg Times

By Waveney Ann Moore, Times Staff Writer
Published Sunday, April 20, 2008 10:20 PM

ST. PETERSBURG — Abused by a priest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pinellas Park when he was 11, Chris McCafferty said he was stunned when he learned that Pope Benedict XVI met and prayed with victims of clergy sexual abuse last week.

"I think that says a lot that he is acknowledging that happened and that he is working to repair what happened in the Catholic Church,'' said McCafferty, 35.

"He said he is ashamed. God bless him for even saying something like that."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:56 AM

Pope impresses Western Mass. residents

The Republican


Western Massachusetts residents who worshipped with nearly 60,000 Roman Catholics at Yankee Stadium today said Pope Benedict XVI brought a message of hope and unity to the country. ...

Even those who have been highly critical of the church leadership's handling of the sex abuse crisis found Benedict XVI did bring a message of hope.

"I was impressed with the fact he came with a message with regard to the clergy sexual scandal and he addressed it and expressed the shame involved with the issue," said James P. Connor, a member of St. Michael's Church in East Longmeadow.

But Connor, who watched the pope's Mass on television from his East Longmeadow home, said he wants to know what the next step will be when the pope returns to the Vatican City.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:52 AM

Rhode Island Catholics heartened by papal visit

Providence Journal

By Jennifer D. Jordan
Journal Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE — As a faithful Roman Catholic, Julia Freia closely followed the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United States over the past week, particularly his statements about the need to protect society’s most vulnerable, among them poor immigrants who may or may not be here legally. ...

The pope’s willingness to address the priest sex-abuse scandal as well as his call to promote peace around the world and protect the poor showed a more caring, approachable side, said Joan Kline, of Coventry.

“He was so humble and I think it was wonderful that he met with some of the abuse victims,” said Kline, who has come to Sunday Mass at St. Michael for 25 years. “I changed my mind about him. I thought he was more of a person who followed the letter of the law, but he was warm.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:49 AM

Abuse Victim Reacts To Pope's Visit


[with video]

The thousands of victims who didn't get a chance to speak one-on-one with the Pope still experienced an emotional roller coaster, as they watched him address the sexual abuse scandal. One Duluth man who was abused by a priest in Proctor in 1965, said the Pope's words and actions is helping him put the abuse behind him.

"He made the first move," said Verne Wagner. "He said, 'We screwed up, not only are we ashamed of what happened, but we're ashamed of how we handled it."

Wagner says he's approached leaders of the Catholic Church without ever getting the response he wanted or needed to restore his faith.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:46 AM

OUR VIEW: Atoning for church sins, 04-21-08

The Herald News

Thumbs up to Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who helped arrange a meeting between a handful of clergy sexual abuse victims and Pope Benedict XVI, who has made atoning for the sex scandal a top priority of his first swing through the United States.

The pope spoke and prayed with the tearful victims, acknowledging the trauma they experienced. Benedict has called the scandal a "deep shame" on the Catholic Church and vowed to keep pedophiles out of the priesthood. His meeting with abuse victims, which Pope John Paul II declined to do, shows his commitment to addressing the crisis and atoning for the sins of his church.

O’Malley, former bishop of the Fall River Archdiocese, has a history working to repair the damage the scandal has done. He addressed the issue as Fall River’s bishop and has brought his efforts to a larger stage, arranging for victims to air their grievences before the most influential audience possible. He deserves credit for tackling the problem and at least trying to heal the wounds.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:42 AM

Pontiff's Entreaty Bolsters His Image

Wall Street Journal

April 21, 2008; Page A3

By blessing disabled children, and clutching the hands of widows and firefighters at Ground Zero in New York, Pope Benedict XVI telegraphed a gentle compassion to members of the beleaguered church during his first papal visit to the U.S. this past week.

But it was the pope's entreaties for forgiveness for the church's role in the sexual abuse of youngsters, along with a surprise private meeting with some victims, that raised the stature of the pontiff and, perhaps, the Catholic church globally.

"The fact that he mentioned it every day of his visit, he's making it a priority of his pontificate," said Nicholas Cafardi, a professor at Duquesne Law School in Pittsburgh and a canon lawyer who has worked in Rome. "I'm encouraged by the way he's taken the problem on." ...

Anne Barrett Doyle, a founder of BishopAccountability.org, an online archive of the scandal, said that by condemning only pedophiles and not those who kept them in ministry, "it was a signal to us he will take no action. He came here to achieve a public-relations triumph and he did it."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:37 AM

Dolan Calls Clergy Abuse 'Cancer' In Church

Today's TMJ4

[with video]

Tom Murray

NEW BERLIN - Pope Benedict XVI left New York Sunday. He left behind a strong call for action on the priest abuse scandal that's plagued the Catholic Church in this country.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan, leader of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, called clergy abuse a disease in the church that bishops cannot forget.

"[The pope] said let's not deny this," Dolan told TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray during an interview at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in New Berlin Sunday. "It's a terrible cancer in the mystical body of Christ. We need to own up to this. We need to apologize and to continue effective outreach to victims."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:35 AM

Pope's visit soothes scandal

The Washington Times

By Julia Duin
April 21, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI's six-day visit to the United States ended last night with all the gala and pomp of a Yankee Stadium Mass to tens of thousands, but the six-day trip will have its greatest impact in the pope's words and deeds on the sex-abuse scandal that has engulfed the church in the United States.

Observers of his first visit as head of the world's 1 billion Catholics have unanimously praised his multiple apologies for the priestly sex-abuse crisis that shattered the confidence of many Catholic laity in their church. And on the third day of his visit, the pope stunned the world by meeting secretly with five victims of sexual abuse from Boston, the archdiocese at the epicenter of the crisis since 2002.

"Frankly, it shows that he gets it," said the Rev. Thomas Reese, senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. "He realized he couldn't just mention it once and move onto other things."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:32 AM

A seed of hope is sown by visit


By Susan Pawlak-seaman
Live and Learn
April 21, 2008 6:00 AM
Through the years, I've had my share of disagreements with the Catholic Church.

And I've been outspoken about some of them. ...

His reaching out to the victims took me totally by surprise — and I'd guess I wasn't alone.

Sadly, we've come to expect a church hierarchy that, at best, has isolated itself from the unpleasantness and, at worst, has totally ignored it.

That this pope would actually talk and personally apologize to real victims was totally unexpected. At least for doubting Thomases like me.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:29 AM

A Pilgrim's Progress



On the scorecard of the non-Catholic world, Popes — even more so than other leaders — tend to be counter-punchers. Within their churches they are lions, pro-actively setting courses and slapping down dissent. Outside it, however, they tend to be judged by how they deal with what's on the plate that's handed them. Pope Pius XII got World War II; John Paul II got the beginnings of the crumbling of the Soviet system and an assassination attempt.

Benedict XVI got 9/11, a worldwide issue, and the priest sex abuse scandal, an in-house problem that captured the horrified imagination even of Americans outside the Catholic house. And Benedict's reaction this past week would have to be scored a public-approval knock-out, from his unexpected broaching of the topic on the plane over, to his moving expression of "deep shame" at his Wednesday prayer service with his bishops, to his private meeting with the victims of abuse, to his acceptance from Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley of a book containing the names of almost 1,500 victims. O'Malley flipped through the pages with him, noting those who had died of suicide or drug abuse. Subsequently, Benedict continued to at least mention the scandal on almost every day of his journey.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:25 AM

'Use Wisely the Blessings of Freedom'

New York Sun

Staff Reporter of the Sun
April 21, 2008

The Catholic faithful have much to do in the wake of the visit to America by Pope Benedict XVI, who encouraged hopefulness but also challenged his flock to take up the work of healing a church battered by the fallout from the clergy sex abuse scandal, the dearth of men and women becoming priests and nuns, and the loss of parishes and parochial schools as church membership contracts. ...

To the surprise of many, he repeatedly expressed shame for the clergy sexual abuse scandal throughout the trip, but he coupled his concern and sympathy with calls for both the laity and the clergy to forgive and to come together to heal the deep wounds that divide the church.

The only way to move forward, he suggested, is "in hope, in love for the truth and for one another."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:21 AM

Two St. Anne's members enjoy trip to see pope in Washington, D.C.


By Ross Farrow
News-Sentinel Staff Writer
Updated: Sunday, April 20, 2008 10:58 PM PDT

Two members of St. Anne's Catholic Church got the thrill of their lives Thursday, when they were in the same stadium as Pope Benedict XVI.

"It's the closest thing to Jesus on earth," Caroline Fyffe said. ...

Both St. Anne's representatives said they support Pope Benedict's comments about his sorrow for the clergy abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church in recent years.

"I think he was really forthright," Heli said. "He didn't beat around the bush. I really felt he was really sincere. I think that makes a difference. I know a lot of Catholic people have been hurt, and a lot of non-Catholic people."

Fyffe added, "It's just a very unfortunate thing that a whole society that when you turn the TV on, it is everywhere. Even the (sexual abuse) victims that he met with, they were so touched, they could see the sincerity in his eyes. His story never changes like a politician's."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

Q&A: Abuse survivor unmoved by papal gesture

Sacramento Bee

By Blair Anthony Robertson - brobertson@sacbee.com
Published 12:00 am PDT Monday, April 21, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI has addressed the Catholic Church's sweeping sex abuse scandal on four occasions since arriving in the United States on Tuesday.

He has prayed for healing on the matter in New York and, in a first for a pope, met in the nation's capital with victims of abuse from the diocese in Boston.

To many observers, the scandal, which has reportedly involved some 13,000 victims and has cost the church $2 billion in settlements and legal fees, is a defining issue of Pope Benedict's six-day visit.

One such observer is Paul Cultrera, the 58-year-old general manager of the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op. Known as much for his dry wit as his commitment to buying and selling organic foods, Cultrera startled many when he went public about having been abused by a Catholic priest as a teen in Boston.

In early 2007, Cultrera was the focus of a "Frontline" documentary made by his brother Joe. "The Hands of God" detailed his battle to come to terms with the sexual abuse he experienced in 1964 as a 15-year-old altar boy in Salem, Mass., outside Boston. He said the priest was Joseph Birmingham.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:11 AM

Editorial: Priest Child Sex Abuse

Philadelphia Inquirer

Finally, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church has spoken out in strong terms against the priest child sex abuse scandal, calling it "evil" and "immoral." In his first papal trip to the United States, Pope Benedict XVI said he was "deeply ashamed" of the pedophilia in the priesthood. Benedict acknowledged that the scandal - which first exploded into public view in 2002 in Boston - was poorly handled by the church hierarchy.

The pope's comments may be late, but they are greatly welcomed and appreciated. In Washington on Thursday, he even met in private with five adults who had been victims of clergy sex abuse.

It was refreshing to hear an official of the church speak in such clear, plain language, rather than the usual incremental, nuanced phrasing that sounds like Alan Greenspan dissecting the economy. But, while Benedict's comments will go a long way toward helping to heal the wounds and restore shattered trust for many, much more must be done.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 AM

Facing priest abuses, pope initiates healing

Baltimore Sun

By Matthew Hay Brown | Sun reporter
3:00 AM EDT, April 21, 2008

This was supposed to be an introduction. On his first papal visit to the United States, Pope Benedict XVI would celebrate a few Masses, give a speech at the United Nations, and let a nation that knew him by his reputation as the church's doctrinal enforcer experience his softer, warmer, more welcoming side.

Somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, plans changed.

Shepherd One hadn't yet touched down at Andrews Air Force Base when Pope Benedict made his first comments on the sex abuse crisis that has shaken the Roman Catholic Church in America.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:06 AM

Group: Pope visit prompts new claims of abuse by priests


BY STEVE RITEA | steve.ritea@newsday.com
April 21, 2008

The pope's visit and his acknowledging sexual abuse by priests within the church has prompted dozens of people to come forward and claim they were molested as children, the president of a victim support group said yesterday.

"We've been inundated with calls," said Barbara Blaine, president of the Chicago-based Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, a national organization. "Several are saying that they never told anyone."

Any media coverage of the issue often prompts new people to come forward, Blaine said, noting several hundred calls her organization received in 2002, when America's Catholic bishops approved a toughened sex abuse policy after scores of molestation charges against priests became public.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:03 AM

Being pope means a lot more than just saying you're sorry

Montreal Gazette (Canada)

JOHN ZUCCHI, The Gazette

I don't find myself agreeing with Janet Bagnall very often but I totally agree with her statement on the sexual abuse scandal that "Apologies aren't enough" (Opinion, April 18).

It's not clear, however, from Bagnall's article just what would be enough. She seems to suggest that apologies from the Church will not be seen as sincere as long as Cardinal Bernard Law has a "plushy sinecure" in Rome. The plushy sinecure in question, I assume, is that of archpriest of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, technically an important role but practically an honorific position.

Although he was four years shy of 75, the age at which a bishop must tender his resignation, or his charge of a diocese, Cardinal Law was not given the charge of another diocese. This of course sent a signal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:01 AM

A painful US trip for the Pope, he meets sex abuse victims

New Europe (Belgium)

Pope Benedict XVI did more than talk about the sex abuse of children by Catholic priests during his American trip: he met with them, face-to-face, in what turned out to be a dramatic audience. The pope stood before them “almost as if in front of a jury,” recalled Olan Horne, one of the priest sex abuse victims who met with the Pope. Horne described details of the Pope’s meeting with five victims from Boston - the first such known meeting for the Vatican, at least since the wave of worldwide abuse revelations that started in the 1990s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

Impact of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to US to be seen

The Associated Press


NEW YORK (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI's U.S. visit left behind the impression of a compassionate and candid leader who has made a successful transition from professor to pope.

But it's uncertain whether the pontiff's six-day pilgrimage, which ended Sunday, will make a lasting imprint on a country he obviously admires.

"In the short term, the trip was an enormous success, probably beyond anyone's expectations, including those of the pope himself," said Russell Shaw, a Catholic writer and former spokesman for the U.S. bishops' conference. "Whether the trip is going to have a significant outcome regarding the large problems facing American Catholicism, that's anyone guess."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 AM

Pope: "May God Bless America!"


By Vicky Hollowell and Jay Sorgi, AP

Story Created: Apr 21, 2008

The Pope is back in Rome this morning after nearly a week in Washington, D.C. and New York City.

Before leaving, the pope declared: "May God bless America!" ...

Much of the Holy Father's message this weekend also had to do with advocating that the Church reconcile with victims of abuse at the hands of clergy and other church staff.

The pope met with victims on his visit, and spoke out about healing old wounds.

"Today, I encourage each of you to do what you can to foster healing and reconciliation, and to assist those who have been hurt," said the Pontiff.

Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan made a point to hear the Pontiff's message first hand.

"He said, 'Let's not deny this,' " said Dolan.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM


Richard Sipe

Your Holiness, I, Richard Sipe, approach you reluctantly to speak about the problem of sexual abuse by priests and bishops in the United States, but I am encouraged and prompted by the directive of Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, Chapter IV, No. 37. “By reason of knowledge, competence…the laity are empowered—indeed sometimes obliged—to manifest their opinion on those things that pertain to the good of the Church.” And also moved by your heartfelt demonstration of concern for victims on your recent visit to the United States I bring to your attention a dimension of the crisis not yet addressed. It is closer to the systemic center of the problem and one most difficult for you to address.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

April 20, 2008

Pope Benedict Solves Mystery of Pedophile Priests . . . Sort of

MWC News (Canada)

For twenty-four years the archconservative, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—formerly the Holy Office of the Inquisition. As the Vatican's doctrinal watchdog, he earned the monikers, "God's Rottweiler" and "panzer cardinal." It was his job to enforce doctrinal purity, both within the clerical rank and the rank and file . . . a task he performed with an apostolic zeal bordering on mania.

In 2002, when the scope of the pedophile priest scandal in the United States was becoming too obvious for even the Vatican to continue to ignore, Rottweiler Ratzinger claimed that the sexual abuse allegations against Catholic clergy were part of a "planned campaign" that was "intentional [and] manipulated" to discredit the church. Whose campaign he didn't say, but his short list probably included the pro-choice and gay rights lobbies.

On April 19, 2005, in an arcane rite of "transubstantiation" known only to the College of Cardinals, the rabid Rottweiler Ratzinger became, with a puff of white smoke, the kindly, thoughtful Pope Benedict XVI, the 265th Bishop of Rome and leader of one billion Catholics worldwide.

"According to Benedict, it is America's "increasingly secular and materialistic culture" that caused priests to fondle and rape children. Keep in mind that the "materialistic" remark is coming from a guy who has been seen sporting a pair of custom-cobbled red shoes, Gucci sunglasses, ceremonial gowns by Gamarelli, and listening to an iPod Nano while tens of millions of Catholics worldwide struggle to feed their families, much less put shoes on their feet or sunglasses on their faces."

During Benedict's million-dollar-a-day junket to the United States, a trip that the Vatican admits is a P.R. opportunity to change a German Rottweiler into an American Golden Retriever, the mystery of pedophile priests was cleared up . . . sort of.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:57 PM

Church still owes 50 million euro to victims of sex abuse

One in Four

The Irish Examiner

Religious orders still owe the Government more than 50 million euro of the sum they agreed to pay in 2002 to compensate victims of clerical sexual abuse.

While the overall compensation package will cost €1.1 billion, the controversial deal the religious orders struck with the state limits their liability to €128m — of which only €76.8m has been paid.

The rest of this figure was agreed to be paid by the taxpayer.

Figures released yesterday show the scheme cost more than four times the amount envisaged when the Residential Institutions Redress Board was set up in 2002.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 PM

Brother fails in bid to stop abuse trial

One in Four

The Irish Times

A former Christian Brother charged with more than 100 counts of indecent assault of 16 children in a national school where he taught almost 40 years ago has lost his Supreme Court bid to stop his trial.

The three-judge court yesterday unanimously rejected the man's appeal against the High Court's refusal to stop his trial before the Circuit Criminal Court.

The man, now in his 60s, was initially charged with 104 charges of indecent assault against 16 former pupils on dates between 1969 and 1972. One of the 16 complainants has since died. The first complaint was made in 1998 and, after a five-year Garda investigation, a file was sent to the DPP in April 2003. The man was charged in January 2005.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:10 PM

Jack Palmer - Local priest merits support of community


Jack Palmer

Four weeks ago this newspaper ran a color photo of Father Tim Kummerer carrying a wooden cross during the annual community "Outdoor Stations of the Cross" event on Good Friday.

This weekend he is carrying another cross.

With many half-truths and rumors swirling around the area, the public has a right to know the facts about the St. Mary Catholic parish pastor.

During the summer of 1998, Kummerer was arrested at a county park south of Fremont for public indecency, a misdemeanor. We really don't know more specifics of the allegations, since the court records were sealed. ...

What is known is that he was never convicted. He didn't plead guilty or no contest. He was never found guilty by a judge.

The Diocese of Toledo office said Friday it has no plans to discipline Kummerer for his arrest a decade ago, noting that he complied with the diversion program.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:05 PM

Church youth leader arrested

Peninsula Clarion

By Phil Hermanek | Peninsula Clarion
A 46-year-old Kenai man was arraigned in Kenai District Court on Saturday on three counts of second-degree sexual assault of a minor.

Richard J. Wagner, a church youth leader, was arrested Friday by Kenai police following an investigation by the Alaska Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force looking into child pornography.

According to an Alaska State Trooper press release, a Pennsylvania State Trooper conducted an undercover child pornography investigation in January that resulted in the discovery of a substantial amount of graphic child pornographic movies - much of it male-on-male - on a computer in Wagner's Kenai residence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:56 PM

ACLU says constitutional rights threatened in Texas FLDS child custody proceedings

The Salt Lake Tribune

Brooke Adams
Article Last Updated: 04/20/2008 01:29:50 PM MDT

Posted: 1:04 PM- SAN ANGELO, Texas - The ACLU of Texas has joined the debate over the removal of 416 children from a polygamous sect's ranch more than two weeks ago.
A Utah man also has gathered 1,000 signatures through an online petition site from people who oppose the blanket removal of the children from the YFZ Ranch in Eldorado. That petition is on its way to Texas, said Connor Boyack, a political blogger. The petition is online at www.thepetitionsite.com/2/free-the-innocent-flds.
In a statement released Friday, the Texas ACLU said the situation has raised "serious and difficult issues regarding the sometimes competing rights of children and their parents." The organization made the statement after listening to some testimony but before the judge issued an order continuing state custody of the children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:53 PM

Texas sect kicked out its boys as teens

The Arizona Republic

FORT WORTH, Texas - Forced marriages. Underage sex. Teenage mothers.

That is the portrait emerging of the hundreds of girls who have been removed by the state from a polygamist sect's compound in West Texas that is at the center of one of the largest child welfare investigations in American history.

But what about the boys who are among the 416 children taken from the YFZ (Yearning For Zion) Ranch? ...

The FLDS has traditionally kept the number of boys in their communities low. That way the male leaders can have their pick of young "plural wives," without the worry of younger competition, said Brenda Jensen, a former "polygamy kid" who now works as a volunteer for The Hope Organization. It is a nonprofit group in St. George, Utah, that helps abuse victims from polygamous relationships.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:47 PM

Youth Day to cost NSW taxpayers $86m

Sydney Morning Herald

April 21, 2008 - 6:13AM

The Catholic church World Youth Day events in July will cost NSW taxpayers $86 million in transport, accommodation, traffic management, security and emergency medical units.

More than 200,000 pilgrims from 177 countries are expected to descend on Sydney for the six-day event to be attended by Pope Benedict XVI.

The figure released by the NSW government does not include the $42-million compensation to the Australian Jockey Club and the racing industry to secure Randwick Racecourse for the overnight vigil and mass to be held by the Pope on July 20.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:35 PM

Papal visit challenges Catholics weary of abuse scandal

The Associated Press

By RACHEL ZOLL – 55 minutes ago

NEW YORK (AP) — The clergy sex abuse scandal had exhausted American Catholics.

After six years of painful revelations about guilty priests, apologies to victims, reforms, and massive settlements, many hoped the issue could wither and fade into the background. ...

Many advocates for victims wonder how much further Benedict is willing to go. They say children won't be safe unless the church creates an independent system to discipline bishops who fail to warn parents and police about abusive clergy. Only the pope oversees bishops.

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Neb., has refused to participate in the bishops' child protection programs that aren't required by church law.

Ohio Judge Michael Merz, head of the National Review Board, a lay panel formed by the bishops' to monitor their reforms, has said that Bruskewitz' conduct "scandalizes the faithful." Yet, there have been no public consequences for the bishop.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:22 PM

Benedict The Brave

The Times (United Kingdom)

A Catholic priest from California who attended Mass with the Pope in New York at the weekend said afterwards that he thought His Holiness might have been “a little stunned and surprised by the warm welcome he's received”. This is entirely possible. The US has a way of surprising visitors, whether they be Benedict XVI or tourists attracted by the exchange rate and then won over by a diversity and generosity of spirit that defy stereotypes. But the real surprises of the Pope's visit have been for his hosts. Few of them can have expected him to be so candid on the subject of the sexual abuse crisis that has threatened the foundations of the Catholic Church in America; so forthright on the role of human rights and the UN in international affairs; or so disarming on his own youth, shaped as it was by Nazism.

Through the content of his words over the past five days, if not the style of their delivery, the Pope has unquestionably emerged in the US from the shadow of his charismatic predecessor. He has also confirmed for those still in any doubt that he is a warmer, more responsive person than the apparently doctrinaire academic presented to the world in so many headlines on his elevation to the papacy three years ago. Yet his undoubted successes in Washington and New York prompt two important questions: can the Church now harness the goodwill left by this visit to put the abuse scandal firmly behind it, not least by recruiting new clergy in a country where one in six Catholic parishes has no priest? And does the Pope, at 81, envisage a sustained engagement in international affairs - or was his speech to the UN a one-off occasion?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:14 PM

Benedict Celebrates Mass at Yankee Stadium

The New York Times

By Sewell Chan

Updated, 3:19 p.m. | Nearly 60,000 Catholics packed into Yankee Stadium erupted in a roar of applause when the Popemobile entered the stadium at 2:19 p.m. As the papal vehicle made its way around the baseball field, many of those in the crowd waved yellow and white handkerchiefs, the colors of the Holy See. The Mass will be the third papal Mass in the stadium’s history — following Masses said there by Pope Paul VI in 1965 and Pope John Paul II in 1979. ...

The Rev. Robert Hoatson, 56, a Catholic priest who is known for his outspoken advocacy for victims of sexual abuse by priests, was one of a small number of protesters outside the stadium.

Father Hoatson said he was sexually abused as a Christian brother between the ages of 18 and 30. He said he was put on administrative leave in 2005 after emerging as because he started an organization to help victims of clergy abuse called Road to Recovery. He held up a sign that read: “Sexual abuse of little boys and girl is soul murder.”

Father Hoatson said, however, that he was gratified that the pope made a surprise visit last week with victims of sexual abuse by priests. “We want to remind the pope that his words to survivors in D.C. need to put into action,” Father Hoatson said, “He’s got to walk the walk.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:23 PM

With U.S. visit, pope projects softer image

The Christian Science Monitor

By Jane Lampman | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the April 21, 2008 edition

By most accounts, Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States achieved its paramount purpose – to inspire hope among American Catholics and others looking for encouragement in troubling times.

With his face-to-face meeting with sexual-abuse victims, he stirred fresh expectation within a US church that has long been in limbo. He reminded Americans and those at the United Nations of the moral strengths – and responsibilities – of free and prosperous nations. His soft-spoken manner and nuanced messages gave a very different impression from his reputation as a hard-nosed conservative.

"Honestly, I don't believe he could have done a better job of remaking his image," says Paul Lakeland, director of the Center for Catholic Studies at Fairfield University in Connecticut.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:21 PM

DA shows evidence of a lack of trust


Logan Jenkins

A block – the Saints (Finally) Be Praised award – to Dean A. and Wayne B., the two Needles men who were unfairly excluded from the so-called “global” settlement negotiated in September between San Diego's Catholic diocese and 144 sexual-abuse victims.

In a Nov. 12 column, I tried to deconstruct the snafu that led to the exclusion of A. and B. Legally, ethically and morally, these two men belonged in the class of diocese victims who filed lawsuits in 2003, the year in which the state Legislature suspended the statute of limitations for civil cases against the church.

“These two cases should have been in the global settlement,” San Diego attorney Irwin Zalkin told me Friday.

It's a fitting irony that on Thursday, the same day Pope Benedict XVI was meeting with victims of Catholic pedophilia, the legal team representing A. and B. worked out a settlement with the San Diego diocese during an 11-hour marathon session.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:16 PM

Ein Thema mit hoher Dunkelziffer


Frankfurt/Main (AP) Zuletzt sorgte in Deutschland der Fall eines einschlägig vorbestraften pädophilen Priesters aus Riekhofen bei Regensburg für großen Wirbel. Wegen sexuellen Missbrauchs eines Ministranten wurde der 40-jährige Wiederholungstäter im vergangenen Monat zu drei Jahren Gefängnis verurteilt und in die geschlossene Psychiatrie eingewiesen.


Allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic priests is also a problem and the laity are calling for independent checks on the issue.

A priest who abused children in Riekofen, near Regensburg, was recently given a jail term and ordered to receive psychiatric treatment. He was a repeat offender. Case of abuse by priests is generally not known until there are criminal charges which is why there are a large number of unreported cases.

In the United States where Pope Benedict is now, more than 4,000 priests have been accused since the 1950s of abusing mnor. The scandal took on a national dimension when a serial sex offender in Boston was made publicly known. This gave victims impetus to go public.

In Germany, the cases of documented instances of abuse of minors by priests is small. IKyu Federal Executive Bernd Hans Gohrig told AP that American dioceses now aggressively deal with the issue but in Germany it is "less so."

Cardinal Karl Lehmann, former head of the German Bishops Conference, said last fall that no priest convicted of sexual abuse should work with young people. He indirectly reprimanded the Regenburg bishop on his handling of the case of the Reikofen priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:31 PM

The Prada Pope

The Manila Times

By Eric F. Mallonga

CARDINAL JOSEF RATZIN­GER, now Pope Benedict XVI, has been playfully dubbed the “Prada Pope” after the supposed maker of the ruby red shoes he has been wearing to his most important events since he ascended St. Peter’s throne in 2005. Theology Professor Lawrence Cunningham of Notre Dame explains that red shoes commemorate the blood of martyrdom. In wearing them, the Pope wishes to demonstrate the continuity of his reign as Catholic Pontiff with the symbols and history of the church, a church that was founded upon the supreme sacrifice of a crucified Jesus Christ and upon the sacrifice of slaughtered apostles and disciples, who lived and died in the imitation of Christ. But it takes more than just wearing red shoes to demonstrate the values and tradition of a church founded upon the charity and compassion of the greatest Man who ever walked this earth.

In his recent sojourn to the US, the Catholic Pontiff has precisely undertaken what we would expect from a compassionate and loving Pope in the imitation of Jesus Christ: he has denounced clerical pedophilia. He has expressed heartfelt apologies to the victims and committed to pursue meaningful atonement for this great shame that compares with the infamous Papal Inquisitions, the Christian Crusades, and the Church tolerance of Hitler’s Final Solution.

Previously, the Vatican policy was to merely transfer clerical pedophiles from one Catholic parish to another, which allowed the continuation of the commission of sexual abuse of children in those various parishes. It has been happening here in the Philippines as well. Catholic priests who have been abusing children are merely transferred to different parishes as if the matter of clerical pedophilia could be resolved by a mere transfer from one jurisdiction to another. Pope Benedict now declares: “I am deeply ashamed, and we will do what is possible so this cannot happen again in the future . . . We will absolutely exclude pedo­philes from the sacred ministry. It is more important to have good priests than many priests. We will do everything possible to heal this wound.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:21 AM

A Catholic's Take on the Pope's Trip


Saturday, Apr. 19, 2008

Whenever someone asks me why I'm still a Roman Catholic in spite of the pedophile scandals and the retro dogma, I usually reach for Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron and its story about a Catholic trying to convert a non-Catholic friend. The friend insists on visiting Rome so he can observe the Holy See himself. This being the 14th century, when church leaders were about as saintly as Enron executives, the Catholic fears that his pal will return home appalled. And so he does — but he declares he's ready to become a Catholic anyway. The reason: he figures any religion that can have that bad a church and still have so many followers must be pretty good.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:45 AM

Giving Voice to Victims

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

TODAY, Sunday, April 20, from 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 p.m.

On sidewalk outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan

Four-six clergy abuse survivors who are members of a support group called SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:39 AM

Pontiff’s strong words, actions foster spirit of healing

Boston Herald

By Jessica Fargen / Analysis
Sunday, April 20, 2008

NEW YORK CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI will always have his detractors, but even his toughest critics will admit that this past week the aging pontiff brought the need to heal the clergy sex abuse crisis high up onto his papal platform.

Whether one believes that reform is coming or that Benedict’s speeches are merely words on a page, the pontiff has confronted the thorny issue in ways that defied expectations. ...

Benedict’s speeches in New York have touched on universal themes of healing and hope - two things the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests says are still lacking among clergy abuse victims. SNAP has pressured Benedict at every turn and for good reason. American bishops who knowingly shuffled molester priests from parish to parish are still serving the papacy.

Many victims like Betty McCabe, a Canton, Conn., woman who waited until her 50s before she faced what happened to her as an 11-year-old, lost their childhoods forever.

“It’s been absolutely devastating,” McCabe said as she stood on a sidewalk Friday holding a photo of “Danny,” a priest abuse victim.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:14 AM

A papal visit

Albany Times Union

First published: Sunday, April 20, 2008

Almost from the moment his plane took off from Rome, Pope Benedict XVI seemed determined to address the clergy sex abuse scandal in America head on. En route to Washington, he told reporters how the scandal had made him ashamed. When he landed, he returned to the theme several times, calling pedophilia "evil." On Thursday, he told church leaders assembled in Washington's Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception that they had a "God-given responsibility" to heal the suffering of abuse victims and restore the trust of Roman Catholics in general. Later, he held a surprise meeting with abuse victims from Boston and prayed with them.

All of this may help heal some wounds and restore trust in the church for those who have experienced a crisis of faith because of the scandal. But if the Pope expects to be taken seriously on this issue, he will have to show more evidence that he is living up to his own standards and words. He can do that by holding accountable the bishops and other church leaders who, while not accused of abuse themselves, nonetheless enabled it by shifting pedophile priests from parish to parish, putting innocent youth at risk.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:12 AM

FLDS case may ignite a broader fight

The Salt Lake Tribune

By Brooke Adams
The Salt Lake Tribune

SAN ANGELO, Texas - For a controversial polygamous sect, a nearly 10-year standoff with government authorities over marriage practices has come to this: a prophet in prison. Property seized. The prospect of a generation of children taken away.
The ramifications of a Texas judge's ruling that 416 children taken from the sect's YFZ Ranch would remain in temporary state custody have ignited a debate about the intertwining of religious liberty, parental rights and child protection. ...
But in Texas, state authorities went to the heart of the matter: The children.
Ed Firmage, an emeritus law professor at the University of Utah, said the removal of the sect's children may do what individual prosecutions and property confiscations did not do: stop underage marriages among the FLDS.
“This is their time,” he said. “This is the most brutal way of learning it.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:58 AM

Last of the FLDS mothers may soon have to leave kids

The Salt Lake Tribune

By Kristen Moulton
and Brooke Adams
The Salt Lake Tribune

SAN ANGELO, Texas - FLDS sect mothers who have been staying with their small children in state shelters will have to leave them behind as early as Monday.
Shari Pulliam, a spokeswoman for Texas Child Protective Services, said Saturday that once DNA samples are taken from children under age 5, the adult mothers will be separated from the children. ...
CPS persuaded the judge that the raid revealed enough evidence of child physical and sexual abuse - or the threat of abuse - to warrant keeping the children in state custody. Its key evidence is that five teenage girls in custody were pregnant before they were 17.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:51 AM

Kenai volunteer pastor arraigned on sexual abuse charges


by Channel 2 News Staff
Saturday, April 19, 2008

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A volunteer youth pastor from Kenai arrested for sexually abusing a boy was arraigned in court Saturday.

Investigators say they found child pornographic images on a computer in the home of 46-year-old Richard Wagner.

As the investigation progressed they learned two boys had spent the night at his house unsupervised and one of them said Wagner had abused him.

Pastor Vance Wonser of the Kenai Bible Church says the congregation is shocked and that the accusations do not fit the character of the man they've come to know in the last few years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:48 AM

Visit inspires a mix of wishes

Democrat & Chronicle

Ernst Lamothe Jr. • Staff writer • April 20, 2008

The Rev. Denise Donato has paid close attention to the words and actions of Pope Benedict XVI during his first visit to the United States, even though she knows he wouldn't say the words she wanted to hear.

"My hope was that he would bring up women in the church and that God calls people to serve as priests regardless of gender, martial status or sexual orientation," said Donato, family minister at Spiritus Christi Church, 121 N. Fitzhugh St. "But I know that is a pie-in-the-sky hope." ...

However, Donato appreciates some of the public comment Pope Benedict uttered about the sexual abuse scandals.

"I'm glad he is meeting with survivors of sexual abuse," she said. "He needs to be sympathetic because there is still a lot of healing that needs to happen in the church and a lot of hurt that remains, so taking the initiative to talk about the issue is pretty significant. Pope Benedict needs to treat this visit as more of a listening tour."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:44 AM

Pope Benedict

Watertown Daily Times

SUNDAY, APRIL 20, 2008
This week's visit to the United States by Pope Benedict XVI will mean many things to many people.

For most Catholics and Protestants, the visit will encourage a time of reflection on their own walks of faiths. For politicians, the visit will require a re-examination of how they fund war and peace. ...

That the Catholic Church is struggling in this country is no secret. Too many Catholics have fallen away from their faith, and too few Catholics are offering their lives for ordination. Churches and schools are closing in the face of declining rolls and mounting debt.

The north county is not immune to these same pressures, which has led to the closing of the seminary in Ogdensburg and the merging or closing of schools in Watertown, Potsdam, Lowville and elsewhere. In 2002, the Diocese of Ogdensburg removed four parish priests for sexual misconduct, which forced then Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito to speed up a plan to close or merge churches.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 AM

Benedict XVI in America

Berkshire Eagle

Sunday, April 20
By expressing his shame in the church's legacy of sex abuse to reporters while flying to the United States last week, Benedict signaled that he would become the first pope to fully address this scandal even before his plane had landed at Andrews Air Force Base. The pope's meeting with five victims of clergy abuse in the chapel of the papal embassy carried significant symbolism beyond the small numbers and brevity of the meeting, and gave Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley the opportunity to present the pontiff with a notebook listing the names of victims of sexual abuse in the Boston Archdiocese. It exceeded 1,000.

The revelation of serial molesters in the Boston Archdiocese blew the lid off the church's clergy sex abuse scandal, prompting victims of abuse in other dioceses across the nation to come forward. The harm these relatively few abusive priests were able to do grew geometrically over the decades because of the refusal of their superiors to confront their crimes. Instead the priests were shuttled from church to church, where they collected new victims among parishioners who had no way of knowing that what was among them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:38 AM

COMMENT: Will it happen to us? by Patricio P. Diaz


Patricio P. Diaz / MindaNews
Sunday, 20 April 2008 09:57
GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/19 April) -- Will it happen to us? By “Us”, I mean “we, Filipino Catholics”. The question refers to the possibility of the crisis the Catholic Church in the United States is now facing happening to the Catholic Church in the Philippines.

The crisis is manifested in the closure or merger of parishes, the closure of Catholic schools or their merger with government schools, and the reasons for the closures and mergers. The New York Times headlined aptly the anticipation of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit: “Uncertain Church Awaits Pope in U. S.” The Pope arrived in Washington, D.C. April 15.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:36 AM

Mixed Feelings Surround Pope's Comments On Abuse

My Fox Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States and his comments about the sex abuse scandal are opening the wounds of local victims abused by priests.

Some are pleased by the public recognition of the problem, but others (including former priests) think more needs to be done before Catholics can move on.

Casey Walsh is suing the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese, claiming he was sexually abused by two priests for two years beginning when he was 12. Walsh attended St. Elizabeth's in Kansas City, Mo.

He said he's pleased the Pope has acknowledged the decades-old problem with pedophile priests, but that dialogue is only the beginning.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:34 AM

Protesting the pope: sex-abuse survivors, evangelicals, atheists

The Journal News

By Nicole Neroulias
The Journal News • April 19, 2008

NEW YORK - As Pope Benedict XVI prayed for unity at St. Patrick's Cathedral this morning, his presence temporarily brought together protesters including abuse survivors, atheists, fundamentalists, communists, and clowns.

These diverse bands, some of whom had traveled hundreds of miles for the occasion, picketed for hours on Fifth Avenue, shouting conflicting messages from behind police blockades as the pope celebrated Mass a few blocks away. ...

"There are still pedophile priests in ministry," said Bob M. Hoatson, of West Orange, N.J. "There are bishops who covered all this up, and there are bishops who abused who have not been held accountable."

Hoatson, 56, said he had survived years of abuse after joining the Christian Brothers in New Rochelle, the subject of a lawsuit in state Supreme Court. He and other survivors said they appreciated Benedict's remarks this week expressing sorrow about the abuse and the fact that he met with some victims - more than Pope John Paul II had done, they noted - but said they needed to see more actions than words.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 AM

When pope is ashamed, it's news

Palm Beach Post

By C.B. Hanif
Palm Beach Post Editorial Writer and Ombudsman

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Post readers never lack interesting observations on the paper's news and feature offerings. Let's get right to some of them.

" 'Deeply ashamed' of abuses," Wednesday's headline regarding Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the U.S., "is crazy," said Thomas Sullivan of Boynton Beach. "That headline casts a pointless pall over the pope, his visit to America and the Catholic Church. The church had 4 percent of its priests during a 50-year time period accused of child-molesting," Mr. Sullivan said. "It was a shameful time which everyone deplores. Why did The Post use that headline for this historic visit? You fabricated an opportunity to run a negative headline about the Catholic Church.

"Contrast the pope's headline," he added, "with another of today's headlines - 'SHE PREACHES PEACE' - about the Episcopal presiding bishop visiting South Florida. Since The Post heavily and favorably covers gay activities and causes, you gave this bishop an all-caps headline and a nice puff-piece story. The pope preaches peace, too, but for some reason, that's not good enough for his headline. The Post should be deeply ashamed of such obvious bias, and besmirching the pope's visit to America."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:28 AM

Fr. Richard A. Mangini: Airing dirty laundry is healthy

Contra Costa Times

Fr. Richard A. Mangini Guest commentary
Article Launched: 04/19/2008 11:04:19 PM PDT

Like a family who prefers to keep "its skeleton" in the closet, East Bay Catholics cringe when four separate editions of the Contra Costa Times print the "full story" of clergy sexual abuse that occurred in the Diocese of Oakland over the last 50 years.

It is, indeed, a very dark page in the history of the Catholic Church where pedophiles and others became Catholics priests and then, perversely misused their role of spiritual influence to perpetrate sexual violence to meet twisted sexual needs, sometimes in the name of God.

The Catholic Church as well as society in general is, still, a long way from the kind of transparency that is needed today because sexual abuse continues to happen in families and in other professions. There are still many people who do not want to talk about it or have it "go public." Psychosexual disorder is still prevalent and still causes harm.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:23 AM

Pope confronts scandal in ways Erie bishop hasn’t

Erie Times-News

Pat Howard

In registering his objection to Mercyhurst College inviting Hillary Clinton to speak on its campus, Erie Catholic Bishop Donald W. Trautman was answering Pope Benedict XVI's call for bishops to mix it up in public debates over cultural mores. ...

Hanging over any debate about Catholic ecclesiastical authority is a haze of anger and disillusionment left by the sexual-abuse scandal. Pope Benedict's approach to the issue in recent days suggests he understands the nature of the damage in a way Bishop Trautman still hasn't fully grasped.

At the heart of Trautman's reaction to the most recent flare-up of the scandal in the Erie diocese was an implicit, familiar question. Why won't people move on?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:16 AM

Faithful ask: Who is Benedict?


By Andrew Perlot, Record-Journal staff

In trying times, in changing circumstances, what does a visit by the leader of the 76.9 million U.S. Catholics mean?
Pope Benedict XVI, since his election in 2005, has left his policies firmly ensconced in traditional Catholic values, while at the same time making some practical updates to deal with the modern eras's new challenges. Yet the American Catholic Church, the largest church in the country, is awash with problems.
Parish schools and churches in some areas are closing for lack of parishioners. Too few priests are enrolling to replace the faith's aging shepherds. Lawsuits are still being fought over the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests. And certain disaffected Catholics feel the church has not adequately addressed their concerns over contraception, divorce, gay marriage and other social issues.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:14 AM

Victims say pope's gestures not enough

The News Journal

By BETH MILLER • The News Journal • April 20, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI's meetings with survivors of priest sexual abuse was stunning to several abuse victims and their advocates here.

During his visit to the United States, the pope said the crisis caused "deep shame" and "enormous pain," acknowledged that it sometimes was badly handled, and exhorted the nation's bishops and their parishioners to express love and compassion to victims.

"I think it shows how serious this issue is, when he comes to the United States and decides to address it," said John Dougherty, whose life took a turn after the late Rev. Edward Carley, then pastor of Wilmington's St. Ann's Church, took an interest in the 10-year-old Dougherty in 1954 and abused him for years afterward. "I never thought I'd see that in my lifetime."

But the head of the Roman Catholic Church hasn't gone far enough to resolve the issue, Dougherty and others said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:11 AM

Abuse victims dubious

Worcester Telegram & Gazette


WORCESTER— Some local clergy abuse victims and Catholic activists yesterday dismissed Pope Benedict XVI’s historic apology for the priest abuse scandal, and his private meeting Thursday with a group of victims from Boston, as empty gestures.

“This is just, as far as I’m concerned, a dog and pony show,” said clergy abuse victim David Lewcon of Uxbridge. “It’s all deceptive. Too little too late. Staged.”

Mr. Lewcon successfully sued the Diocese of Worcester over abuse he suffered at the hands of convicted child molester Thomas H. Teczar, who has been stripped of his priestly duties and jailed in Texas.

“This has brought some of us together. I’ve heard from more victims in the last week or so than I have for years. You get those e-mails that say, ‘How are you handling this?’ ” Mr. Lewcon said. “I’ll be very happy when the pope goes home and starts cleaning his own house.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:09 AM

A positive step

Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Even before his plane touched down on American soil, Pope Benedict XVI indicated that addressing the clergy sexual abuse scandal figured prominently on his agenda. His meeting in Washington with five victims of abuse in the Boston Archdiocese by no means lays the issue to rest. Still, it was a positive gesture of recognition of the suffering of hundreds of innocents — and the serious damage, albeit largely self-inflicted, it has done to the Roman Catholic Church in America.

The meeting signals a significant change in the Roman Catholic Church’s approach. Until abuse and cover-ups in dioceses across the country were documented by the Boston Globe and other newspapers beginning in 2002, many bishops had reacted not by rooting out the abusers but by trying to keep the problem under wraps. Serial abusers were reassigned to “street ministries” or other dioceses, often to abuse again.

Benedict’s head-on confrontation of clergy sexual abuse, in words and gestures such as the meeting with victims, contrasts sharply with the actions of his predecessor. When Pope John Paul II traveled to North America in 2002, he skipped the United States altogether.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:07 AM

Pope’s apology just scratches the surface

Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Dianne Williamson

Bernard McDaid’s voice mailbox was full on Friday.

Every major news organization wanted a piece of his time. He was interviewed by The Associated Press and on CNN. He told the world about his historic meeting with Pope Benedict, which he called “the beginning of a new start.”

As they say, from his lips to God’s ear. And what a difference from the decades of silence and denial, when victims of clergy sexual abuse were disbelieved and told to move on, when no one wanted to hear their sad stories because they made Catholics — and just about everyone else — uncomfortable and resentful.

The pope’s meeting Thursday with McDaid and a handful of sexual abuse victims is welcome, but even now there’s a feeling the victims need to move on, that the crisis that rocked the Catholic Church is old news. The church has acknowledged its mistakes. Enough already. As local readers learn the topic of this column, I can almost hear a collective turning of the page.

Such scandal fatigue is understandable. But if anyone believes that the pope’s apology for the crisis and his meeting with the victims will put an end to it and to the years of anguish and anger, they’re wrong.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:03 AM

Pope’s visit brings out other views

Buffalo News

Updated: 04/20/08 6:58 AM

NEW YORK — Inside security barricades along Fifth Avenue, a wall of admirers gathered around St. Patrick’s Cathedral Saturday morning, cheering and applauding Pope Benedict XVI on the third anniversary of his election. ...

The words were “very encouraging” and the pope “seemed sincere,” said Mark Lyman, one of two-dozen or so Catholics wearing white arm bands in support of sexual abuse victims on Fifth Avenue.

Terry McKiernan, founder of the group BishopAccountability. org, which tracks how prelates handled abuse cases, said he gives Benedict “points for trying” but remained skeptical about whether the pope’s words would translate into anything more.

“It’s good that he’s mentioned the issue, and it’s good that he’s spent time with survivors,” said McKiernan. “That, though, doesn’t bring it out of the realm of Vatican travel PR.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:52 AM

April 19, 2008

Hauptsache der Ruf ist ruiniert


Der Papst ging wegen der Kinderschänderei in den USA in Sack und Asche. Ein deutsches Boulevardmagazin benützte die Gelegenheit, um einen unbescholtenen Priester fertigzumachen. Der jüngste Fall von Hinrichtungsjournalismus.Symbolphoto(kreuz.net, Mainz) Pünktlich zum Papstbesuch veröffentlichte das antikirchliche Boulevardmagazin ‘Spiegel’ einen anonymen Artikel über einen angeblichen Mißbrauchsskandal im Bistum Mainz.


The Mainz diocese said Saturday that the incidents involving a priest, accused of sexually abusing minors in Switzerland, was known to the diocese in 2005. The priest was aquitted in Switzerland.

The priest had been quickly ordained in 1992, according to the diocese, but had been a seminarian during the 1960s but then decided on a teaching career. The alleged incidents occured while he was teaching at a school in Freiberg, Switzerland.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:40 PM

Pädophilieverdächtiger zum Priester geweiht


Der Papst nutzte seine Amerikareise, sein Bedauern über Kindesmissbrauch durch katholische Priester auszudrücken. Klärungsbedürftige Vorgänge gab es aber auch in der hiesigen Kirche: In Mainz wurde nach SPIEGEL-Informationen 1992 ein Verdächtiger zum Priester geweiht. Kinderschützer sind empört.

Hamburg - Im Bistum Mainz wurde von Kardinal Karl Lehmann ein Mann zum Priester geweiht, der nach Informationen des SPIEGEL in der Schweiz wegen des Verdachts auf "Unzucht mit Kindern" zur Fahndung ausgeschrieben war. Johannes Heibel, Sprecher einer Initiative von Opfern sexuellen Missbrauchs, hat deswegen den Umgang der deutschen katholischen Kirche mit Pädophilen, insbesondere in Lehmanns eigenem Bistum, scharf kritisiert.


The pope used his trip to America to say he regreted child abuse by Catholic priests. However, In Mainz a priest was ordained by Cardinal Karl Lehman and child advocates are expressing outrage. The priest was suspected of sexually abusing children in Switzerland. John Heibel, spokesman for an initiative for victims of sexual abuse, was critical of the way pedophiles have been dealt with in the German Catholic Church. He said this is the opposite of what Pope Benedict has said during his American tour. The church in Germany has a policy of hushing up allegations, he said.

The priest in question is 63 and was charged in 1992 by Swiss police of sexually abuse involving a child. The allegation was of touching a child's genitals. In Germany, despite the arrest warrant, he had a course in seminary and was personally ordained by Lehmann in October, 1992. The priest has denied the accusastions made against him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:19 PM

Cardinal O'Malley recounts meeting with the pope

Boston Globe

April 19, 2008 06:51 PM
By Tania deLuzuriaga, Globe Staff

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley grew emotional today as he recounted to reporters the dramatic and unprecedented meeting earlier this week between Pope Benedict XVI and five people from Boston who had been sexually abused by priests.

Asked how difficult the meeting was for him personally, O’Malley paused for a long moment and appeared to tear up.

“Just seeing the book makes a great impact,” he said, referring to a handmade book he gave the pontiff listing the names of nearly 1,500 alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston. As the pope slowly turned the pages, the cardinal mentioned that some of the victims died from suicide or drug abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:12 PM

Pope Benedict XVI Addresses Sex Abuse Scandal


Reported by: Bill Price
Contributed by: Larry Shields
Web produced by: Ian Preuth

Pope Benedict XVI continued his whirlwind visit to the United States over the weekend, by visiting one of our country's best known Catholic churches. ...

Christy Miller of the SNAP victims support group told 9News, "He could have done more, actions speak louder than words. He can apologize all he wants. We've yet to see any physical action from the Vatican to change what has happened. It does not become policy."

Miller is part of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Miller said the Pope needs to make the Vatican part of world-wide child protection policies.

Miller also said the Vatican needs to lead the way to investigate bishops and others who she said may have covered up for abusing priests for years before they were discovered.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 PM

"Le parole non bastano a noi abusati dai religiosi"


da La Repubblica del 18 aprile 2008, pag. 15

di Arturo Zampaglione

Le vittime dei preti pedofili non si accontentano nè delle espressioni di «profonda vergogna» di Benedetto XVI, ne dell'incontro di ieri del Papa con alcuni di loro.

«Ci aspettavamo un atteggiamento più fermo nei confronti di vescovi e cardinali che hanno nascosto le nefandezze dei sacerdoti», si lamenta Peter Isely. «Invece il Papa non ha redarguito nessuno e si e li-mitato a pregare assieme a un piccolo numero di vittime, scelto con molta cura, rifiutandosi di incontra-re i membri della nostra associazione».


"Words are not enough for us who were abused by the clergy"

• from La Repubblica, April 18 2008, page 15

By Arturo Zampaglione

The victims of pedophile priests aren't satisfied neither by Benedict XVI's expressions of "deep shame" nor by the Pope's meeting some of them.

"We expected a firmer behavior towards those bishops and cardinals who hid the nefarious acts of those priests", lamented Peter Isely. "Instead the Pope blamed none and limited himself to pray with a very small number of victims, chosen accurately, and refusing to meet the members of our association".

Isely was molested by a priest in Wisconsin when he was 13 and continued to be a catholic. He is one of the leaders of SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests), the association which has a membership of 4500 of those victims, now accompanying the Pontifical visit with demonstrations and protests. The objectives? " We ask that a good example could be given, punishing those prelates who protected the pedophiles and extending the rules adopted in USA to all the Church", said Isely during a conversation with La Repubblica.

Isn't it important for you the great attention of the Pope for a problem which shocked and weakened the American Church?

" We appreciated the Holy Father's words: but they remained in the air, at 10 thousand meters of altitude, the same altitude where was the airplane carrying him to the USA, without ever descending to the ground and being transformed into concrete actions. The Pope sat near the cardinal of Chicago, Francis George, without ever reproaching him. And he deplored the omnipresence of pornography and sexual shows on TV as if they were the cause of the priests' pedophilia".

What's is the charge against the cardinal of Chicago?

"In 2005, instead of suspending Daniel McCormack, a priest arrested for pedophilia, the cardinal transferred him to another parish where the priest continued to molest children, insomuch he was arrested once more. You see: it will never be possible to avoid cases of pedophilia, but you can't protect those who are found responsible. And that's what the Church did: refusing to report the crimes committed by the pedophile priests to the magistrates, or transferring them to other dioceses or even abroad".

Now however the American Church has turned the page.

"That's true, but there remain many ambiguities. According to the data provided by our bishops, there have been 5180 pedophile priests: some are now dead, as the one in Wisconsin who molested 40 boys among whom myself, but some have been simply kept hidden. And nobody was ever punished for the institutional cover-up".

Why aren't you satisfied with the Ratzinger's criticism of pornography?

" I can understand the Pope has some difficulties in accepting that the sacrality of priesthood is being betrayed by pedophilia. But that's a reality. And to fight against that problem you can't blame the culture of the masses because it incenses sexuality, but you must alert the magistrates and above all get rid of the accomplices, even if they are clothed in purple. I'm also surprised the sanctions of canon law against pedophile priests are only applicable in USA, not to all the Church: as if the problem were only American, while we know well it's spread all over the world".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:34 PM

O'Malley Says Victims' Meeting With Pope 'Moving'


BOSTON -- Even nearly 48 hours after the event, Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley was still clearly moved by a meeting he helped arrange between victims of clergy sexual abuse and Pope Benedict XVI.

Speaking to reporters at Boston College on Saturday, O'Malley reflected on the pope's intimate and unannounced meeting two days prior with five abuse victims selected by Boston Archdiocese officials.

"In receiving (the victims), he was trying to reach out to all those who were affected by the sexual abuse crisis," O'Malley said. "It was an important gesture that everyone was waiting to see."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:28 PM

Wineke: Pedophile priests and a pope's impossible promise

Wisconsin State Journal

Pope Benedict XVI came to America this week and promised to keep pedophile priests out of the church.

It 's a promise he won 't be able to keep. ...

However, the problem in the Roman Catholic Church was never pedophile priests in the first place. The problem in the Roman Catholic Church was that bishops protected them, moved them from parish to parish and tried, often very successfully, to silence their victims. That went on for decades. Bishops had to choose between protecting children and protecting priests, and they chose to protect priests.

As the pope, himself, acknowledged, the scandal was "sometimes very badly handled by the bishops. " They were also very badly handled by the Vatican.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:39 PM

Atlanta Archbishop praises pope for addressing abuse

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 04/19/08

It was perhaps inevitable that the sexual-abuse scandal in the Catholic Church has become a theme in Pope Benedict XVI's first U.S. visit.

Stories of abusive priests and child victims began making constant headlines in 2002 when the stories broke, but the issue had died down to low-grade fever for the church in the last couple of years.

During his days here, the pope has arranged an unannounced meeting with victims, talked to U.S. bishops about sex abuse, and spoke of it in broader references to the issues of public morality.

The Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta Wilton D. Gregory said Saturday he was glad the pope has been forward about the issue.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:28 PM

Victims weigh in on pope

Telegraph Herald

[with audio]


As the leader of the world's Roman Catholics headed for his historic visit to the United States, there was much speculation about whether he would talk about the clergy sexual abuse scandal that has rocked his church in America for more than six years.

Pope Benedict XVI ended the conjecture almost immediately by talking about it on his flight from Rome to Washington, D.C., saying he was "ashamed" by the failings of predatory priests.

Dubuque Archbishop Jerome Hanus heard the pope address the scandal twice more -- in a meeting with U.S. bishops and cardinals on Wednesday and during a public Mass on Thursday. Hanus recalled the pontiff's words on both occasions.

"He reminded us (bishops and cardinals) that our first priority must be to show compassion and care to the victims," Hanus said, adding that the pope agreed that "response to the abuse had been sometimes very badly handled."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:26 PM

Editorial: A reassuring visit from the pope

Star Tribune

Like his charismatic predecessor, Pope Benedict has played to rock-concert-sized crowds on his first visit to the United States as head of the Roman Catholic Church.

John Paul II's youth and energy made him an instant celebrity, a role he embraced and wielded in global politics. Benedict, the 81-year-old German pontiff with a reputation as a doctrinal hardliner, has steered a quieter course. His 2005 election prompted concern and debate in his independent-minded American church. Yet his visit, which ends today after a mass at Yankee Stadium, offers reassurances. He has consistently struck the right notes in his words and deeds here, demonstrating an appreciation and understanding of his Western flock.

The pontiff's visit came at a challenging time for the American church. Wounds from the clergy sex scandals are still fresh, in Minnesota and across the nation, and are likely to scar the laity's trust for generations. In many areas, priest shortages and shifting resources are forcing the painful closure of beloved parishes. Weekly Sunday worship attendance is in decline; in the Midwest, it hovers around 25 to 30 percent. Pews would be emptier still if not for the immigrants attending church in ever-greater numbers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:23 PM

Cincinnati Archbishop Reflects On Visit With Pope


[with video]

Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk met with the pope this week in Washington D.C. and says his visit brought a few surprises.

Pilarczyk Wednesday asked Pope Benedict a rather lengthy question, one that took nearly a minute to ask, about the problem of people leaving the Catholic church. ...

What has been a surprise to the archbishop is how often and how openly the pope has discussed the church's sex abuse scandal.

"The pope has talked about sex abuse more than I thought he would and he's spoken well, in my opinion. He did not come to set the bishops straight. He came to affirm us in our ministry."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:20 PM

O'Malley: Victims' Meeting With Pope Moving


BOSTON (AP) ― Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley says the pope's meeting with victims of clergy sexual abuse this week was a profoundly moving experience.

Pope Benedict XVI held a secret meeting with five abuse victims from the Boston area on Thursday. O'Malley says it was a way for the pope to reach out to all those affected by the crisis.

O'Malley said Saturday that he gave the pope a book containing the names of about 1,500 victims from the Boston area.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:12 PM

Updates: No changes in canon law, Vatican now says; Rudy takes communion; the Pope gets “Sirius”


April 19, 2008, 3:02 pm Posted by David Gibson

At a news briefing just ended, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi sought to quell speculation in news reports (including yesterday’s posting here) that Rome was considering changes in the canonical statute of limitations to make it easier to laicize future clergy abusers.

Reports, especially a front-page story in The New York Times today and from the Associated Press, wrote that Levada said changes were in the offing. Levada told AP’s Eric Gorski (who has a recording) and Laurie Goodstein of the Times and myself that “There are some things under consideration that I’m not able to say.” He indicated they referred to changes in the statute of limitations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:03 PM

Short-lived scoop on Vatican changing laws on sex abuse


Posted by: Tom Heneghan

Ouch! Just imagine you write the top story on the front page of the New York Times — and it gets promptly denied. That’s what happened today. Time had the same story, too, but only on their Web site. In both cases, the journalists were trying to pin down what if anything comes now, after Pope Benedict has spoken so strongly about the shame of the sexual abuse scandal and his determination to bar pedophiles from the priesthood. The victims who met him felt very strongly that Benedict’s gesture was a promise of more steps to come. But what? We had a story examining this question yesterday but we were not among the few at a closed lunch with Cardinal William Levada organised by Time for a few U.S. journalists.

The story the NYT and Time took away from that session was that Levada, who succeeded the pope as the Vatican’s top doctrinal official, had hinted that the Catholic Church was considering changing its laws to pursue more abuse cases. More specifically, he was supposed to have said it was considering lengthening the statute of limitations on sexual abuse cases. Under current canon law, an abuse victim has to report within 10 years of his or her 18th birthday. Levada said some victims took longer to come to grips with the issue and should be able to report abuse and see it investigated even if it happened more than a decade ago.

We saw the NYT report on Friday evening and it didn’t seem watertight. We’d also been told that Time was going to post the transcript of Levada’s remarks, but it wasn’t posted late Friday evening. So we left it over for Saturday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:54 PM

Accused priest released on bond

News 14

04/19/2008 01:10 PM
By: News 14 Carolina Web Staff
CHARLOTTE -- A former priest accused of molesting a Charlotte teen almost a decade ago is out of jail on bond.

The Rev. Robert Yurgel, 43, was once the parish priest at St. Matthew Catholic Church. He was extradited to Charlotte last weekend after authorities arrested him at his current parish in New Jersey

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:46 PM

SNAP Press Statement

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Statement by Pat Serrano, New Jersey SNAP leader 201-715-6510, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Even now, many priests have suspicions or information about clergy sex crimes. Regardless of when those crimes may have happened, it's critical that the information be given to police. Someone- the pope, the bishops, or law enforcement - must send a clear signal to church employees: come forward and report what you know. Priests should protect vulnerable kids not their child molesting colleagues.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:41 PM

Spokesman says pope not planning changes to church laws on abuse

Catholic News Service

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

NEW YORK (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI is not planning any new changes to church law in response to the clerical sexual abuse crisis, said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman.

Father Lombardi spoke April 19 after The New York Times ran a front-page story reporting that U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada, head of the Vatican's doctrinal congregation, had said the Vatican was considering further revisions to church norms.

Father Lombardi said that, after the cardinal read the Times story, "Cardinal Levada told me they had not understood him. The changes already have been made.

"He did not intend to announce any changes, but he explained the norms that were put into effect recently for cases of sexual abuse," Father Lombardi said. "Further changes are not expected."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:39 PM

Former Charlotte Priest Accused Of Sex Abuse Out Of Jail


[with video]

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A former Charlotte priest is now out of jail. The Mecklenbug County Sheriff’s Website reports Robert Yurgel was released just after 4 p.m. on Friday.

Yurgel’s bond was $225,000, but it’s not certain how much of that was actually paid. Eyewitness News is also working to find out who paid for Yurgel’s bond.

Yurgel worked at St. Matthew for three years in the late 90s. Police said the child he sexually abused was 14 at the time and just recently came forward.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:34 PM

Church fraudster told to sell off stamp collection on web to pay back victims


By Aidan Mcgurran 19/04/2008

A church treasurer who stole £70,000 to fund his stamp collection has been told to sell the hoard on eBay to repay his victims.

Prosecutors wanted to sell Derek Klein's albums, which feature 100,000 first day covers, at a conventional auction.

But Klein, 53, claimed he could make four times as much - up to £100,000 - by selling individual lots on eBay.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:31 PM

Mayfield: Benedict’s baffling logic

Vail Daily

Rich Mayfield
Vail CO, Colorado
April 19, 2008

I had hoped the Pope and I might have met earlier this week while both of us were visiting Washington D.C. but as luck would have it our schedules just didn’t mesh.

Had I the opportunity to present a question to His Eminence as the 70 journalists traveling with him had (although all of their questions had to be written down days before and only four were deemed worthy to be answered by Benedict), I would have inquired as to the well-being of Cardinal Bernard Law, the ex-priest-in-charge of the Diocese of Boston who skipped out of town before the law could catch up to him.

Seems he managed to get a cushy job right there in Rome where diplomatic immunity prevents his ever being held responsible for the high-crimes perpetrated by too many pedophilic Boston priests. It was Benedict’s papal predecessor who offered the pleasant little post complete with a fresco-filled palatial home and a reputed $12,000 per-month salary. It is no wonder Benedict’s apology on the first day of his visit was deemed way too little and much too late for many who were the victims of Law’s unlawfulness.

One cannot help but wonder what was going on in the Vatican when they opened their back door to this ecclesiastical do-badder and actually rewarded his malfeasance. Of course, similar confusions arise among some of us non-Catholic Christians when we read of other strange decisions emanating from the offices next to St. Peter’s basilica.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:40 PM

Polygamist turmoil in U.S. could spill over into Canadian community


Daphne Bramham, Canwest News Service
Published: Saturday, April 19, 2008
VANCOUVER — The same problems that have bedevilled prosecutors in British Columbia, Utah and Arizona are making life difficult for Texas authorities, who over the last two weeks have apprehended 416 children from a walled, fundamentalist Mormon compound.

Backed by tanks and snipers, child protection officials moved into the compound after a phone call from a pregnant 16-year-old mother who claimed she had been forced into a plural marriage with a 50-year-old man, who subsequently abused her.

Yet nothing may come of it unless the state can prove its allegations that girls as young as 13 were assigned to “spiritual marriages” and that others are at risk of similar harm.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:35 PM

Lawyer Calls State's Custody of Kids Illegal

ABC News

SAN ANGELO, Texas April 18, 2008

After two days of testimony, a judge ruled Friday night that all 416 children taken from the polygamous Texas compound will remain in state custody. The judge also ordered the adults to undergo DNA testing Monday to establish parental relationships.

Attorney Jim Bradshaw helps FLDS members organize legal defense.The dozens of Yearning for Zion sect members who crowded the San Angelo courthouse didn't show any emotion following the ruling, but one of their lawyers said today that they are, in fact, "devastated" and called the trial "a mockery of justice."

"The law is clear: Unless there's imminent or immediate danger to the children, the children must be returned to the parents. What the judge is saying is, 'I'll just keep these children and send them into foster families while we sort this out.' That's directly contrary to what the law requires," said attorney Jim Bradshaw, who is helping members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints organize their legal defense.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:32 PM

Christian School Founder's Indecent Proposal

ABC News

April 18, 2008

The founder of a Christian school in Texas was caught on tape offering to waive a teen's enrollment fee at the school in exchange for sex with her mother, an undercover investigation by ABC News' Houston station KTRK revealed this week.

KTRK investigative reporter Wayne Dolcefino and his crew captured audio and video showing the unidentified woman climbing into the man's truck before he offers to waive the school's $300 enrollment fee for the woman's daughter if she has sex with him.

Just after the incident was filmed, Dolcefino approached LeVern Jordan, co-founder of Parkway Christian School in Spring, Texas, and asked what he was doing inside his pickup truck with the woman at the back end of a La Quinta Inn parking lot.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:27 PM

Sex for diploma offer caught on tape

ABC 13

[with video]

By Wayne Dolcefino

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The founder of a Christian school is confronted after 13 Undercover catches him soliciting sex from a parent, who's trying to get her daughter a high school diploma.

At graduation ceremonies he talks about God, but you'll hear the founder of a Houston-area Christian school not only talk about sex, but ask for it on tape.

It's the middle of the day when a white pickup truck pulls into the back of a motel on 1960. Then it goes to the very back to park for a long while. We already know who the driver is. His name is LaVern Jordan and he runs Parkway Christian School.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:10 PM

Papal conquest

Philippine Daily Inquirer

First Posted 23:38:00 04/19/2008

MANILA, Philippines—By going to America, Pope Benedict XVI achieved several targets in a papacy (now on its third year) viewed along the line of his German virtue of tight and effective management. For one, he has shown that like his globetrotting predecessor, he can just as well lap up miles to show that the institution he heads is indeed “catholic” or universal; that as head of this institution that’s both visible and invisible, he could be present everywhere, like the Church that was sent by its founder, Jesus Christ, to all the ends of the earth. ...

Of course, the wide media coverage came with some risks: there were protests from groups fighting for victims of clerical sexual abuse. To his credit, Benedict handled the protests well. Brushing aside papal protocol, he allowed himself to be “ambushed” by the press on the sensitive topic, and he responded with a very touching sound byte: “No words of mine can describe the pain of abuse.” And surprising everyone, he met with the victims, extending to them papal solicitude, blessing and comfort.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:48 PM

Now, Pope, for your penance. sell enough statues at the Vatican to start a foundation for ALL the victims of sex crimes in the Catholic Church

City of Angels

By Kay Ebeling
The Catholic Church has to acknowledge its role in turning sexual predators loose on our society. Instead of criticizing us for our loose morals in America, the Vatican has to start recognizing the residual effects of its own crimes. I was a sexual predator all my life, when I look back on it. I forced men to have sex with me, although I thought it was seduction. So think about it. All 130,000 of us victims of sex crimes in the Catholic Church went into the world with our warped psycho-spiritual-sexual confusion and each of us affected anywhere from three to a hundred to more other people.

With all those pedophiles raping boys and girls in Catholic churches, don’t you think that enabled and empowered pedophiles all over America? Why do you think we have an epidemic of children being raped even murdered in America today? Maybe it’s because predator priests got away with it for 50 years and warped our entire society.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:45 PM

Pope Benedict XVI's Addresses in US

Catholic News Agency

This links to all speeches given by the pope on his visit to the United States.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:43 PM

Angela Bonavoglia is coming to Westchester on April 21 evening at 7:30pm


Angela will give a talk on Women in the Church and the Sex Abuse Crisis. Sponsored by the Voice of the Faithful (Votf) of Larchmont. She is author of one of the best books on Women in the Church: "Good Catholic Girls." ... The talk will take Place on Monday Evening April 21st at 7:30pm at the The Larchmont Avenue Church 60 Forest Park Avenue Larchmont, N.Y. 10538

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:40 PM

Pope celebrates Mass for clergy, prays for healing


NEW YORK (CNN) -- Pope Benedict XVI again addressed the Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandal, assuring priests, nuns and other religious of his "spiritual closeness" as they recover from the scandal's damage.

"I have already had occasion to speak of this, and of the resulting damage to the community of the faithful," he said at Saturday's Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

"I join you in praying that this will be a time of purification for each and every particular church and religious community, and a time for healing. I also encourage you to cooperate with your bishops who continue to work effectively to resolve this issue."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:09 PM

At St. Patrick’s, Pope Makes a Call for Unity

The New York Times

Published: April 20, 2008
Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass Saturday morning at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the symbolic seat of American Catholicism, where he delivered a rallying cry for a “new spring” in a church he acknowledged was divided in many ways and wounded specifically by the clergy sex abuse scandal.

For the fourth time on his first trip to America as pope, Benedict again referred publicly to the “suffering” caused by priests who abused children, an issue that has become the defining theme of his six-day visit.

“I have already had occasion to speak of this, and of the resulting damage to the community of the faithful,” the pope said in his 22-minute homily, addressing the 3,000 priests, deacons and seminarians present. “Here I simply wish to assure you, dear priests and religious, of my spiritual closeness as you strive to respond with Christian hope to the continuing challenges this situation presents. I join you in praying that this will be a time of purification for each and every particular church and religious community, and a time for healing.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:47 AM

Pope Benedict renews call for ending child sexual abuse - Summary


New York - Pope Benedict XVI renewed Saturday an appeal for ending child sex abuse among the ranks of priests in the Catholic Church in the United States, calling on church officials to cooperate with their superiors. Benedict chose the venue of St Patrick's Cathedral in the heart of New York City to once again speak about the humiliating stain on the church committed by priests, which he said had deeply hurt the Catholic Church. He made a similar appeal when he visited Washington earlier this week.

"I have already had occasion to speak of this, and of the resulting damage to the community of the faithful," he said in a sermon during an solemn mass at the cathedral attended by nearly 3,000 church clergy, who have been selected from all dioceses in the US to attend the event in New York.

"I join you in praying that this will be a time of purification for each and every particular Church and religious community, and a time for healing," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:43 AM

Pope promises healing, prays for church’s future

Boston Herald

By Jessica Fargen
Saturday, April 19, 2008 - Updated 0m ago

During his historic homily at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral this morning, Pope Benedict XVI expressed "disappointment" in the division of Catholics in America, promised to heal those still wounded by the priest sex abuse crisis and prayed for hope for the church’s future.

"This message of hope we are called to proclaim and embody in a world where self-centeredness, greed, violence and cynicism so often seem to choke the fragile growth of grace in people’s hearts," Benedict said during his homily, which was heard outside the cathedral and broadcast on large screens.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:41 AM

Maher 'Apologizes' to Pope by Suggesting He Should Be In Jail


By Noel Sheppard | April 19, 2008 - 10:13 ET

Bill Maher on Friday night's "Real Time" made something crystal clear that conservatives have known for decades: Liberal means never having to say you're sorry.

Having on last Friday's program (as reported by my colleague Matthew Balan) "stated that the Pope 'used to be a Nazi,'" Maher was supposed to apologize for his transgression. ...

Last week, I got into some trouble with the Catholic League, not the first time...Not my biggest fans...because I said in our little essay ending the show, I said, "The Pope," and I looked at it again, I looked at the words carefully, "used to be a Nazi." Okay, now first of all, it was a joke, okay? We were in a comedic context. I said, "He used to be a Nazi, and he wears funny hats, and ladies, he's single." So, right away, we're in the context of a joke, okay, and "used to." Okay, but, you know, you got me. The Pope was not a Nazi. When he was a teenager, he was in the Hitler Youth, which meant that he said the oath directly to Hitler and not to the Nazis, which is sorta worse!

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:38 AM


Catholic League

April 19, 2008

On his HBO show last night, Bill Maher apologized for accusing the pope of being a Nazi; he acknowledged that the Catholic League was right when we said that Joseph Ratzinger was forced to join a German youth organization (from which he fled at the first instance). Maher then said that if a CEO were in charge of an institution that housed molesters, he would be fired.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue commented as follows:

“We accept Maher’s apology for accusing the pope of being a Nazi. Too bad he didn’t stop there. For him to suggest that Pope Benedict XVI was in charge of policing molesters, and failed in doing so, is patently absurd.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:35 AM

Sexual abuse, liturgical abuse: connected?

Catholic World News

Posted by: Phil Lawler - Today 9:00 AM ET USA

After a week of interviews with radio, TV, and newspaper reporters, most of them concentrating on the sex-abuse crisis, I'm more convinced than ever that most American-- even most Catholics-- are missing a vitally important point.

Most people see the sex-abuse crisis as an isolated problem, like a malignant tumor that appeared on an otherwise healthy body. Now the tumor has been removed (or so the line goes), and we can get back to normalcy. But you know what? Malignant tumors generally don't appear on healthy bodies. When the tumor appears, the doctor looks for an underlying cause.

There are some people who think that the real disease is the Catholic faith itself. They've been having a field day, because they claim the ability to explain something that most Catholics aren't explaining. If we expect to counteract their anti-Catholic rhetoric, we'd better come up with an explanation of our own. That's what I tried to do in The Faithful Departed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:32 AM

Text: Pope Benedict's Homily

The New York Times

This links to the full text of the pope's homily presented today in St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:29 AM

Pope confronts fallout from sex scandal at NYC mass


NEW YORK (AFP) — In a historic mass at St Patrick's cathedral Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI pledged his support to Roman Catholic clerics as they seek to heal the wounds of a sex abuse scandal that has rocked the US church.

The sex scandal "has caused so much suffering" and damaged "the community of the faithful," the pope said in his homily to the hundreds of clerics and men and women of religious orders gathered in the 150-year-old St Patrick's cathedral for the first-ever mass celebrated there by a pope.

Benedict, who was marking the third anniversary of his pontificate, assured them of his "spiritual closeness" as they strive to respond to the "continuing challenges" presented by the sex abuse scandal, which the ageing pontiff has made an overarching theme of his six-day US visit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:25 AM

Pope's Visit Sparks Debate on Sex Abuse


[with video]

Pope Benedict's first visit to America is focusing new attention on church sex abuse cases. Several local families all too familiar with the toll it can take are speaking out about the issue.

The Pope took time this Thursday to talk and pray with a small group of clergy sex abuse victims. It made many of them feel hopeful, but the Pope's meeting doesn't go far enough to heal the pain of local abuse victim's, they say.

"He sat with five people and heard their stories," says Janet Patterson. "The 5,000 or 50,000 he should have sat with are the many families who have been fractured because of this."

Patterson's son Eric was abused by Father Robert Larson when he was 12 years old. He finally told his family the secret 16 years later. At age 29, he committed suicide. Patterson wants to make sure what happened to her is not only never forgotten but never allowed to happen again.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:19 AM

Pope calls for unity in US Church

The Irish Times (Ireland)

Pope Benedict has urged the US Catholic Church to overcome its divisions and seek "purification" and the truth following its sexual abuse scandal.

For the fifth consecutive day, the 81-year-old pontiff spoke out about the scandal that rocked the US Church and has cost it some $2 billion in settlement payments with victims.

Pope Benedict began the penultimate day of his first US papal visit with a Mass in New York's St Patrick Cathedral, the Gothic cathedral known as the center of American Catholicism.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:16 AM

At St. Pat's, Pope prays for healing from sex abuse scandal

The Kansas City Star

AP Religion Writer

Pope Benedict XVI returned to the clergy sex abuse scandal as he preached Saturday in St. Patrick's cathedral, assuring priests and nuns that he was close to them as they battled the damage left by the scandal.

Addressing some 3,000 people, most of them clergy, he called it a time for purification and healing.

"I simply wish to assure you, dear priests and religious, of my spiritual closeness as you strive to respond with Christian hope to he continuing challenges that this situation presents," Benedict said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:14 AM

Pope encourages healing from sex abuse scandal


Associated Press - April 19, 2008 11:03 AM ET

NEW YORK (AP) - Pope Benedict is using another stop on his U.S. trip to focus on the clergy sex abuse scandal.

Speaking this morning before thousands at New York's St. Patrick's cathedral, Benedict assured priests and nuns that he was close to them as they battle what he calls the "continuing challenges that this situation presents."

Benedict also encouraged them to cooperate with bishops, who he says are working to resolve the crisis.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:10 AM

Pope to priests from St. Pat’s: Find unity in Christ


April 19, 2008, 9:18 am Posted by David Gibson

Benedict’s homily (text to come) at the mass with priests and seminarians this morning at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York (the first papal mass ever at the great church) was a heartfelt and often lyrical call for American priests to overcome divisions so that the church can grow once again.

“We can only move forward if we turn our gaze together to Christ!” Benedict told the assemblage. “In the light of faith, we will then discover the wisdom and strength needed to open ourselves to points of view which may not necessarily conform to our own ideas or assumptions. Thus we can value the perspectives of others, be they younger or older than ourselves, and ultimately hear ‘what the Spirit is saying’ to us and to the Church.”

“Was not this unity of vision and purpose–rooted in faith and a spirit of constant conversion and self-sacrifice–the secret of the impressive growth of the Church in this country?” the pope asked.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:09 AM

Benedict's homily at St. Patrick's

Boston Globe

April 19, 2008 10:22 AM
The pope has just finished delivering his homily here at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, in which he addressed himself to 3,000 rapt clergy and nuns gathered in the grand Gothic cathedral on Fifth Avenue.

"The spires of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral are dwarfed by the skyscrapers of the Manhattan skyline, yet in the heart of this busy metropolis, they are a vivid reminder of the constant yearning of the human spirit to rise to God,'' Benedict said.

He devoted a few sentences to the sexual abuse abuse crisis, which, among its many impacts, has seriously damaged the morale of many priests around the country.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:02 AM

Pope urges U.S. church to 'put aside all anger' and unite

Catholic News Service

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

NEW YORK (CNS) -- Celebrating Mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, Pope Benedict XVI urged the Catholic Church in the United States to move past divisions and scandal toward a "new sense of unity and purpose."

The pope, celebrating Mass April 19 with bishops, priests, religious and seminarians, once again addressed the damage and suffering caused by the clerical sex abuse scandal and called for a time of purification and healing.

More generally, he said it was time to "put aside all anger and contention" inside the church and embark on a fresh mission of evangelization in society.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:52 AM


Catholic League

April 18, 2008

Yesterday, after first addressing the Catholic Church’s failure to act responsibly in handling the sex abuse scandal, Pope Benedict XVI addressed the social context in which the scandal took place, asking, “What does it mean to speak of child protection when pornography and violence can be viewed in so many homes through media widely available today?” On his CNN show last night, Lou Dobbs made the following comments about the pope:

“I don’t want to put you [addressing a guest] in jeopardy of either perdition or Hell itself. But, so I will gamble this, may I? The idea that the pope would come here and criticize the United States this way is, I think, first of all bad manners.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:16 AM

Clergy sex abuse victims to leaflet near Cathedral

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests


Saturday, April 17, from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.


At two intersections near St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan
(47th & Fifth Ave. and 50th & Sixth Ave. @ Radio City Music Hall by subway)


Ten clergy sex abuse victims, including leaders of a national self-help group called SNAP,
the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:13 AM

Statement on the proposed reforms to Canon (Church) law

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Statement by Peter Isely, Midwest Regional Director 414-429-7259, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Kids are safest when predators are exposed and jailed. That requires civil and criminal legal actions. That is where real reform must happen. Rather than tinkering with internal church processes the bishops should be lobbying for serious civil and criminal reforms. Floating a nearly meaningless proposal protects no kid. Taking real action protects kids.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:11 AM

Bishop Jarrell reflects on papal visit to D.C.

The Daily Advertiser

Judy Bastien

Bishop Michael Jarrell describes the trip to Washington, D.C., for the visit of Pope Benedict XVI as "inspiring."

Jarrell was among the U.S. Catholic bishops who met Wednesday with the pontiff during his first U.S. visit. ...

One topic addressed by the pope that surprised Jarrell was the sex abuse scandals involving Catholic clergy.

"My sense of that is the Holy Father has done the right thing and I was surprised that he returned to this theme and I think it shows the seriousness with which he takes this issue.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:55 AM

Benedict address sex scandal at UN

New York Daily News


Saturday, April 19th 2008, 4:00 AM

Would the Pope talk to the American public about the church’s sex abuse scandals? If so, what would he say? Those burning questions on people’s minds before the Pontiff’s visit were certainly answered as the esteemed head of the Catholic Church addressed the issue head on even before landing on U.S. soil.

"We are deeply ashamed," the pope told reporters on the plane. "We will do what is possible so this cannot happen again in the future."

"No words of mine can describe the pain and harm inflicted by such abuse," he also said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:53 AM

Pope leads way in long process of needed healing

The Pueblo Chieftain

Marvin Read

Olan Horne, as a boy, had been molested by a Catholic priest.

Now an adult, he was among a small group of Bostonians who met Thursday with Pope Benedict XVI to communicate and share their continuing hurt. Each had the chance for a one-on-one chat with the pontiff, and each let Benedict know of the lifelong pain that a priest's selfishness had caused years before, and continued as church officials failed to work with them.

Horne, recalling what had happened between him and the pope at the meeting, may have best summarized where the Roman Catholic Church is heading after years of one of the nastiest scandals in history. He relayed to reporters that he had told the pope that it was time to move beyond anger and embrace hope.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:51 AM

Taking Responsibility

The Day

The reality of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to America has been so much greater than what was anticipated.

This German-born pontiff, who marked his 81st birthday at the White House on Wednesday, may have signalled a turning point in the clergy sexual abuse scandal by repeatedly vilifying it and meeting privately to hear from and pray with some of the victims.

The surprise meeting with the victims of abuse by Boston-area priests followed several other denunciations in recent days of the scandal that has marred the Roman Catholic church by the pope.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:49 AM

Commentary: Pope Benedict XVI and the United States

Caribbean Net News

By Jean H Charles

Pope Benedict XVI came to America to celebrate his birthday and his ascension to the throne of St Peter. Yet the official version of the visit called for the commemoration of the Bicentennial of the Diocese of New York, Washington and Baltimore. Beyond these official pronouncements, the Pope has his own intimate agenda. As a modern St Augustine, Pope Benedict is featuring the United States in general, the American Catholic Church in particular as a model for the rest
of the world to emulate.

The shortcomings are enormous. Before his departure, and all through his remarks, he has defused the critics inside and outside the church by expressing his sincere and strongest outrage for the abuse inflicted on some 4,000 young people by the pedophile priests. The Catholic Church has paid dearly for that scandal. Some 2 billion US dollars and the desertion from the church have been the most pressing consequences.

Yet, in fact, the American Catholic church has become stronger. Never again a priest would engage in and a Bishop would condone repressive sexual behavior. I was moved on the first of Day of Lent to see such a large number of people in Manhattan who proudly went to church to take and exhibit the ash on their front, reminding us all that we are dust and we shall become dust.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:41 AM

Former church piano player indicted on child sex charge

The Cullman Times

By Patrick McCreless
The Cullman Times

A Cullman County grand jury recently indicted a registered sex offender and former local church piano player for the alleged sexual abuse of a child.

Michael Likos, 34, was charged during the April grand jury session with sexual abuse in the first degree. Cullman County Sheriff’s reports indicate the victim was a local 7-year-old girl.

The Etowah County Sheriff’s Department currently has Likos listed as a registered sex offender in Gadsden.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:37 AM

Pope preaches peace

Boston Herald

By Jessica Fargen / Pope Benedict XVI in America
Saturday, April 19, 2008 - Updated 2h ago

NEW YORK CITY - Making history with every stop, Pope Benedict XVI preached peace at the United Nations and healing at a city synagogue, all while thousands of pilgrims danced and chanted “Beneditto” in the streets of the Big Apple.

Through it all yesterday, the 81-year-old pontiff worked the marbled halls and sacred rooms with the pomp only a sitting pope can command. ...

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests held a protest outside the cathedral, where this morning Benedict is expected to say the first papal Mass ever inside the historic church. SNAP members held black-and-white photos of priest abuse victims, many of them from Massachusetts and New York.

“We need to protect the next generation of children,” said Paul Kellen, a member of SNAP who lives in Medford and held a photo of Patrick McSorley, a Boston abuse victim who died of a heroin overdose.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:34 AM

The Pope and Me

Human Events

by Bill O'Reilly

In the first grade, at St. Brigid's school on Long Island, Sister Mary Claudia made 60 urchins, including me, say a prayer to St. Peter because he was the "rock" upon which the Catholic Church was founded. I can't remember much more than that because I was 6, but I do recall liking St. Peter, which, of course, made the good sister happy.

Now, more than 50 years after my first-grade prayers, St. Peter's distant successor is here in America, and I have mixed feelings about it.

Like millions of American Catholics, I was deeply disappointed by the Vatican's response to the priest-pedophilia scandal. The fact that the late Pope John Paul II rewarded Cardinal Bernard Law with a cushy job in Rome after he covered up massive crimes by New England priests was almost inexcusable.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:30 AM

Douglas Ensbey back in fold after sex case link

Courier Mail

Robyn Ironside and Sophie Elsworth
April 19, 2008 12:00am

A BAPTIST Church minister convicted of destroying evidence of child sexual abuse is allowed to work with children again and has been reinstated to his previous ranking in the church.

Douglas Ray Ensbey, 56, was restored to the ministry of the Maleny parish by Queensland Baptists in February, less than four years after his conviction for intentionally destroying evidence.

In March 2004, Mr Ensbey was given a suspended jail term for shredding a teenage girl's diary that detailed her sexual abuse by a member of the Sandgate Baptist Church when he was a minister in the 1990s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:13 AM

Pope's talk angers some abused by priests

Philadelphia Inquirer

By Alfred Lubrano
Inquirer Staff Writer

When he saw Pope Benedict XVI on television in Washington on Thursday, Michael Wurtz felt hot anger burn through his gut.
The leader of the planet's billion Catholics had just been talking and praying privately with victims of the clergy sex-abuse scandals.

Speaking to reporters, Benedict said pedophiles in the priesthood were a cause of "deep shame."

Wurtz, a Center City man who was victimized by a priest as a child, found himself screaming and shaking a fist at his television:

"You should be ashamed!" he yelled. "Ashamed! All this wasn't right."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:07 AM

Pope Benedict XVI working to clean up priesthood


By RACHEL ZOLL AP Religion Writer

Addressing the clergy sex abuse crisis this week, Pope Benedict XVI said that it was more important to have good priests than many priests.

A top Vatican official now says the Roman Catholic Church is weighing a further change to clean up the clergy: revising church law so predators could be more easily removed.

"It's possible," said Cardinal William Levada, head of the Vatican office that reviews abuse claims against priests worldwide. "There are some things under consideration that I'm not able to say," Levada told reporters Friday, in a meeting at Time magazine's offices.

It is the latest signal during Benedict's first papal visit to the country that he is intent on purifying the priesthood as he affirms traditional Catholic practices and teaching.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:03 AM

Eye To Eye: Confronting Abuse

CBS News


Three victims of church sexual abuse talk to CBS News about their meeting with the Pope, who has publicly apologized for a scandal from which the Catholic church has yet to recover. (CBSNews.com)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:00 AM

Arrest in polygamy call stuns child advocates

Houston Chronicle

Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau

AUSTIN — It sounded so genuine: a terrified voice of a young girl expressing fear that if rescued from a religious cult, blacks might harm her.

The calls to the Child Protection Project, run by a former member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, were recorded at the request of the Texas Rangers.

The Rangers wanted to know if the anonymous caller was the young girl whose outcry by phone on March 29, to a San Angelo crisis center triggered a massive raid two weeks ago on the breakaway Mormon sect's ranch outside Eldorado.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:58 AM

Hope for the healing

The Journal News

The Lower Hudson Valley today welcomes a pontiff with appreciative high marks from the faithful for confronting head-on the most controversial issue facing the Catholic Church in America, the still-festering wounds of the child sexual-abuse scandal involving clergy, many protected for years, even decades, by pastors and bishops. Pope Benedict XVI has acknowledged the widespread suffering at virtually every stop in his six-day U.S. tour. His words answer long-standing criticism that the Vatican has been indifferent to the scars left by the scandal.

A Mass this morning at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan for priests, deacons and religious orders offers more opportunity for healing; calls remain for an unambiguous statement from Benedict that the church will no longer protect culpable clergy. A meeting planned this afternoon with young people and seminarians at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers offers Benedict a chance to build on an earlier statement, that "it is more important to have good priests than many priests."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:53 AM

Ex-youth leader charged with sex crime

Lawrence Journal World

By Janet Reid

April 19, 2008

A former Lawrence woman took the stand Friday in Douglas County District Court describing sexual abuse that took place nearly a decade ago at the hands of a former church youth leader.

“He was the youth director at my church — he was like a mentor to me,” the 24-year-old woman said.

The victim came forward to Lawrence police last year, nine years after she claims the relationship started.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:51 AM

Benedict's message

Rutland Herald

April 19, 2008

The visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United States has inspired the faithful of the Roman Catholic Church and given others much to think about.

The faithful includes about one in five Americans, which is not a slim demographic slice, but a sizable and growing segment of the population. The continuing influx of Latino immigrants has strengthened the church in America, just as the influx of Irish, Italian and Polish immigrants did in the past.

The church sexual abuse scandal has been on the top of the minds of millions of Catholics who have been dispirited by the betrayal of trust perpetrated by abusive priests and by the bishops who covered up their crimes. The effects of the scandal continue to be felt in Vermont and elsewhere, and it has opened up a host of questions among American Catholics about church doctrine on such matters as priestly celibacy and the ordination of women.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:47 AM

Colorado woman may be caller who sparked CPS sweep, officials say

The Dallas Morning News

By ROBERT T. GARRETT / The Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN – Texas Rangers are pursuing the possibility that the pleas of a 16-year-old girl named Sarah, which triggered the massive child protection raid in West Texas, actually came from a Colorado woman with a history of filing false reports, officials said Friday.

Rangers accompanied Colorado Springs, Colo., police on Wednesday as they arrested Rozita Swinton, 33, on an unrelated misdemeanor charge of false reporting to authorities there. Ms. Swinton was already serving a one-year deferred judgment after pleading guilty in a 2005 false-reporting case near Denver.

Texas authorities view Ms. Swinton "as a 'person of interest' regarding telephone calls placed to a crisis center hotline in San Angelo, Texas, in late March," said a statement issued by Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Tela Mange.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:43 AM

Polygamist 'underage sex cult': Genetic testing to be carried out to discover relationships

Daily Mail (United Kingdom)

More than 400 children seized from a ranch run by a polygamous sect will remain in state custody and be subject to genetic testing, a judge ruled today.

Judge Barbara Walther said the 416 youngsters would be kept by the state and, along with their parents, must undergo genetic testing to determine their relationships.

The ruling came after the judge at the district court in San Angelo, Texas, heard 21 hours of testimony over two days in one of the largest custody cases in US history.

Individual hearings are due to be set for individual children over the next few weeks.

Child welfare officers have faced problems determining how the children and adults are related because of evasive or changing answers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:40 AM

Judge says FLDS children will stay in custody, orders DNA tests

The Salt Lake Tribune

By Brooke Adams
and Kristen Moulton
The Salt Lake Tribune

SAN ANGELO, Texas - In a swift end to a trying, emotional hearing, a Texas judge said Friday night that 416 children are better off in state custody than with their parents, who belong to a controversial polygamous sect.
If the parents are ever to get their children back, they will have to provide a safe environment, 51st District Judge Barbara Walther told about 75 mothers and fathers of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The Texas Child Protective Services used just four witnesses to persuade the judge that a polygamous community where underage girls sometimes marry is a threat to all children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:38 AM

Judge orders DNA testing on children

The Expositor

Posted By Michelle Roberts

The attorney general for British Columbia said Friday he was alerted by officials in Ottawa that some of the children taken from a polygamist compound inhabited by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are Canadians.

The confirmation came hours after Angie Voss of Texas Child Protection Services testified at a custody hearing for 416 children, seized in a raid earlier this month because of evidence of physical and sexual abuse, that some of the children before the court are Canadians.

State District Judge Barbara Walther, meanwhile, ruled that the children will stay in state custody.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:37 AM

Ketchum: Benedict XVI may be what church needs

Times Herald

Nearly three years after succeeding one of the most charismatic popes ever to rule the Roman Catholic Church, Benedict XVI has come calling to the United States.

The pontiff arrived Tuesday for a six-day visit that finds eight in 10 of the American faithful are somewhat or very satisfied with his leadership of the church. Not a bad statistic for an 81-year-old former cardinal from Germany who had the reputation as "God's Rottweiler" when he served as chief enforcer of church dogma under the rule of Pope John Paul II. ...

Benedict's visit comes as the U.S. church continues to struggle with a shortage of priests, an ongoing debate about the role of women in the church and the clergy sexual abuse scandal that erupted more than five years ago. The pope has acknowledged "a great suffering for the church in the United States and for the church in general" and has vowed to "do what is possible so this cannot happen again in the future."

He has said he is "deeply ashamed" about what has happened.

The scandal remains the greatest piece of unfinished business the U.S. church faces. While some offenders have wound up behind bars and some dioceses have paid settlements that have driven them to bankruptcy, the damage remains.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:34 AM

WENDY MURPHY’S AND JUSTICE FOR SOME COLUMN: And the Lord said: ‘Go forth and rape children’ (No, He didn’t!)

The Patriot Ledger

QUINCY — Just when I thought we’d hit a lull in sex crimes stories so that I could write about something other than rape, big news developed in Texas when a polygamist cult was raided after a teenage girl called 911 to report that she’d been beaten and sexually abused by her middle-aged “husband.”

So forgive me for yet another column about sexual abuse, but polygamy is a huge and growing problem in many states and it’s high time law enforcement used its might to knock down the walls of every religious organization that uses the First Amendment to hide or justify crimes against children.

I’m not anti-religion, I’m anti-exploitation of religious freedom; a fundamental right that aptly enjoys constitutional primacy because it was meant as a shout out to other nations that America’s greatness would grow from its commitment to the inherent right of human beings to have a personal, not government imposed, belief in God (or not).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 AM

Kids in polygamist sect to stay in state's custody for now

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Star-Telegram staff writer

SAN ANGELO -- A district judge ruled Friday that the state will keep temporary custody of 416 children removed from a polygamist sect's West Texas compound.

As part of the ruling, District Judge Barbara Walther ordered that all of the children and adults from the YFZ (Yearning for Zion) Ranch in Eldorado must undergo paternity testing on Monday and Tuesday.

A mobile lab will be set up Monday in San Angelo, where the children are being temporarily held, and at the Schleicher County Courthouse in Eldorado on Tuesday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 AM

EDITORIAL:Discipline of peace

Daily Journal

4/19/2008 6:47:23 AM
Daily Journal

Pope Benedict XVI's pastoral visit to the United States reminds all people of faith that following a life focused on peace is the surest way to prevent and resolve conflicts - personal, corporate, national, physical, and spiritual.

The pope's extraordinary face-to-face meeting Thursday with now-adult victims of clerical sexual abuse demonstrated how reconciliation creates and moves toward authentic peace.

All people can seek and find the same kind of reconciling and life-changing spiritual renewal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:25 AM

The Vatican Rethinks Laws on Abuse


Friday, Apr. 18, 2008

[with audio and video]


Cardinal William Cardinal William Levada, a high-ranking Vatican official whom Pope Benedict XVI hand-picked to succeed him in his old job as head of the Vatican's doctrinal office, offered early signs on Friday that the Vatican will change its internal, or canon, laws concerning the church's response to sexual abuse allegations — a matter that has become the main topic of the Pope's American visit. The Cardinal suggested that laws meriting amendment may involve statutes of limitations regarding abuse cases. He gave his comments to reporters at a lunch given in his honor by Time Magazine.

Asked whether the Vatican should consider such changes to canon laws, Levada said, "It's possible. There are some things under consideration that I'm not able to say."

The American-born Cardinal, who was Archbishop of San Francisco before Benedict brought him to Rome, said that there have already been some abuse cases in which the Vatican had "made exceptions" to canon laws — cases in which victims may not have spoken up until years later. "We found that many of the cases go back over quite a number of years, and [victims] don't feel personally able to come forward until they reach a certain level of maturity. Some canon norms are like statutes of limitations, and if the case warrants...we've been able to make exceptions." He said that those cases were ones in which "strong measures needed to be taken, even dismissal from the priesthood."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:23 AM

Edmonds not totally absolved of criminal responsibility in Green case

West Virginia Record

4/18/2008 6:55 AM
By Lawrence Smith -Kanawha Bureau

CHARLESTON - Despite a dismissal six months ago, Tim Edmonds may still face criminal charges he sexually abused a 16-year-old student at the Upper Kanawha Valley Christian School in Chesapeake.

Currently, Edmonds, 37, is named as a co-defendant in a civil suit along with UKVSC, Chesapeake Apostolic Church and its pastor, K. D. Priddy. In the suit, Hernshaw residents James and Debbie Green allege Edmonds sexually abused their daughter in 2006, who at the time was a UKVSC student.

According to court records, the Greens claim that CAC, which oversees UKVSC, and Priddy, who is Edmonds' father-in-law, were alerted to allegations that Edmonds engaged in "prior sexual deviant behavior ... at a previous congregation," but conducted no investigation into the allegations. Furthermore, the Greens allege that prior to May 10, 2006, Edmonds, acting as CAC's assistant youth pastor, "did sexually abuse and/or assault the individual plaintiff both at Chesapeake Apostolic Church building proper and at a house located at 11937 MacCorkle Ave."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:19 AM

Former pastor found guilty

London Free Press

Fri, April 18, 2008


The former pastor of a controversial London church was found guilty of 12 of 13 criminal charges this morning.

Royden Wood, 57, the senior pastor of the now-defenct Ambassador Baptist Church, will be sentenced June 13.

Wood was found guilty of nine of 10 assault and assault-with-a-weapon charges in connection with the abuse of three boys, who attended the church's alternative school from 1985 to 1987.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:16 AM

Woman accuses Everett pastor of misconduct


By Jim Haley, Herald Writer

An Everett woman has gone to court seeking damages against an Everett church and its pastor, whom she accuses of entering into a sexual relationship with her "under the guise of marital counseling."

The woman, who is identified only as T.B. in court documents, is seeking unspecified monetary damages from Pastor Dwight Schultz and Grace Lutheran Church. The Snohomish County Superior Court civil lawsuit was filed in October, and the court this week set a Feb. 2, 2009, jury trial date.

Attorneys for Schultz and the church say there was no impropriety by either of their clients.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:11 AM

Deal found guilty in child sex-solicitation case

The Enquirer

Trace Christenson
The Enquirer

A former youth pastor was convicted Friday of using a computer to entice young girls to have sex.

Troy Deal, 35, who was director of youth ministries at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church when he was arrested in July, was found guilty by a Calhoun County Circuit Court jury of 11 counts of using a computer to solicit a child for sexually abusive material, distributing sexually

Deal faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced June 2 by Circuit Judge Stephen Miller. Deal remains free on bond until his sentencing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:09 AM

Priest in sex-assault case arrested in '98

Toledo Blade


A Catholic priest under investigation by Sylvania Township police on an accusation of sexual assault was arrested nearly 10 years earlier for public indecency.

The Rev. Frank Murd, 66, who resigned last week as pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Maumee, was arrested in the summer of 1998 at Wolf Creek Park in Sandusky County. Records of that arrest have been sealed.

A second Toledo diocesan priest, the Rev. Tim Kummerer, 51, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Defiance, also was arrested for public indecency at Wolf Creek Park the same summer. Those records also have been sealed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:01 AM

Theft charge against pastor dismissed

Georgetown News-Graphic

Georgetown News-Graphic
Published: Friday, April 18, 2008 3:37 PM EDT
A Scott Circuit judge dismissed a theft charge against a Stamping Ground minister Thursday for lack of probable cause.

William Joseph Moran Jr., pastor of Stamping Ground Baptist Church, had been charged with theft by unlawful taking greater than $300, for allegedly defrauding or depriving his church of $900.50.

The charge stems from Moran depositing a check into his personal account that the church receives quarterly for interest from a trust set up in 1985 by a former church member.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 AM

Local Bishop Reacts To Papal Visit

Central Florida News 13

ORLANDO -- The Bishop of Orlando returned to Central Florida after his visit to Washington to be with the Pope.

Bishop Wenski said he admires the Pope for addressing so many difficult issues facing the Catholic Church, such as immigration and sexual abuse.

Wenski said he plans to continue with efforts to protect children here in the Catholic Diocese.

However, he admitted there are challenges.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

For Abuse Victims on ‘Journey of Healing,’ an Emotional Encounter

The New York Times

Published: April 19, 2008
BOSTON — Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley had repeatedly urged Pope Benedict XVI to make Boston part of his visit to the United States, both to meet abuse victims and to foster healing in the Archdiocese of Boston, where the sexual abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church erupted in 2002.

The pope ruled out a visit to Boston. But several months later, in February, one of his emissaries asked the cardinal to find a handful of Catholics from the region who had been abused by priests and who were willing to meet with the pope.

“We proposed some things and they proposed some things,” the Rev. John Connolly, a special assistant to Cardinal O’Malley, said on Friday. “But it was at the Holy Father’s initiative that this happened. This was very much a personal initiative of his.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 AM

Local Priest To Celebrate Mass With Pope Today

Courier Herald


Laurens County will have a presence at the papal Mass conducted by Pope Benedict XVI in Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral today.

“Just to be in the same room with him is exciting,” said Father Richard Hart of the Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception in Dublin. ...

The pope is expected to broach the sexual abuse crisis when he celebrates Mass for priests, deacons and members of religious orders. The pope has addressed the issue on several occasions since arriving in the United States Wednesday and has met with victims.

Hart touted a child protection program called VIRTUS, developed by the National Catholic Risk Retention Group. Participation in VIRTUS is required for all priests, deacons and seminarians in the diocese, as well as full-time and part-time employees, according to the VIRTUS Web site. The Catholic church also has adopted a Save Environment Program.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:48 AM

Papal Visit 2008: Clergy Sex Abuse Victims Protest For More Legal Punishment Of Abusers


[with video]

Clergy sex abuse victims gathered outside St. Patrick's Cathedral Friday, warning Catholics to stay vigilant about reporting abuse cases.

Representatives from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church is not over.

They feared Thursday's meeting between victims and the Pope will give Catholics a false sense of security.

"We're here today to implore the pope to force bishops here in the US to send any priest who has abused a child to law enforcement and to make sure that any bishop who covers up for sexual abuse is reprimand and removed," said Joelle Casteix, regional director of SNAP Southwest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 AM

$50-million collection basket

Los Angeles Times

April 19, 2008

Tim Rutten

Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States has provided the requisite quota of breathlessly televised pageantry. But the most dramatic moment in his brief visit surely was his meeting with three Catholics who, as children, suffered sexual abuse at the hands of priests.

Benedict called for the church to do more for the thousands who endured similar outrages. Los Angeles' Cardinal Roger M. Mahony echoed that sentiment following the meeting. "We've got to face it [the abuse crisis] head on and deal with it," he told The Times. The pope, he said, "asked us to set a better tone in the church."

Back in Los Angeles, where the archdiocese reached a record $660-million settlement with hundreds of abuse victims last summer, Mahony is already engaged in an unprecedented exercise that sheds light on what that new tone may entail.

Combined with an earlier payout, the 2007 settlement brought the archdiocese's total liability to $720 million. When Mahony announced the agreement, he pledged that it would not involve the sale of any parish or school properties, as has occurred in other dioceses. Most local Catholics took that as an assurance that their parishes wouldn't be asked to pay for pedophiles.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 AM

Pope belatedly doing right thing

Pocono Record

April 19, 2008
Pope Benedict XVI is to be commended for his long overdue pronouncements — voiced during the Roman Catholic leader's current U.S. visit — condemning the church's sex abuse scandal by priests.

More than 4,000 U.S. priests have been accused of molesting minors since 1950. For decades, bishops and cardinals covered up such abuses by spiritual leaders that young people were taught to trust and revere. Worst than that, these abusive priests were typically transferred to another parish when a set of abuses was revealed, enabling them to prey upon another group of unsuspecting boys and girls. One man, who was molested by a priest at age 11, calls it "spiritual abuse" as well as sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

Pope to rally Catholic Church leaders in New York


By Claudia Parsons

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pope Benedict on Saturday turns his attention to the present and future leaders of the U.S. Roman Catholic Church by celebrating Mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral and visiting a seminary near New York City.

With applications to the priesthood falling and inner city Catholic schools closing, the pope will try to rally the spirits of a Church recovering from the scandal of sexual abuse of minors by U.S. priests.

The scandal broke in 2002 and has forced U.S. dioceses to pay more than $2 billion in damages. Five have gone bankrupt.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:36 AM

Defining moment for pope, victims, O'Malley

Boston Globe

By Michael Paulson
Globe Staff / April 19, 2008
NEW YORK - It was just over five months ago, early on the morning of Nov. 12, when Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley heard the news.

Pope Benedict XVI's ambassador to Washington was addressing the American bishops at a meeting at the Baltimore Waterfront Marriott. The pope was coming to the United States in April, and his only stops would be Washington and New York.

O'Malley was clearly disappointed: He had repeatedly exhorted Benedict, during visits to Rome and through pleas to the ambassador, to come to Boston in recognition of the archdiocese's close association with the clergy sexual abuse crisis. A papal visit, O'Malley had said, could prove healing for some victims. ...

Two months after rejecting a stop in Boston, Vatican officials called the Archdiocese of Boston to float the idea of a papal visit with Boston victims in Washington, at the Vatican ambassadorial residence sometimes called the pope's house because it is where visiting popes stay. The meeting would not be on the pope's official schedule, but the pope would, as O'Malley suggested, speak face to face, and one on one, with men and women whose lives were upended when they were sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests in Boston.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 AM

Cardinal: Pope Benedict said what bishops can't

Chicago Tribune

What can the pastor and moral authority for 1 billion Roman Catholics say about the clergy sex abuse scandal in the American church? Answer: Anything he wants to.

In an interview on Friday, Cardinal Francis George said Pope Benedict XVI articulated a point that bishops have wanted to make ever since the clergy sex abuse scandal rocked the church. That is, the sexual abuse of minors is not a problem exclusive to the priesthood. It is a symptom of moral relativism--a central theme of Pope Benedict's pontificate.

But experts say one consequence of the crisis is that bishops have been stripped of the clout and moral authority to say that.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 AM

Changes to sex abuse canons?

The News Tribune

Published: April 19th, 2008 01:00 AM

NEW YORK – After three days in which Pope Benedict XVI has persistently addressed the scandal of child sexual abuse by priests, a top Vatican official said on Friday that the church is considering changes to the canon laws that govern how it handles such cases.

The official, Cardinal William Levada, would not specify which canons were under reconsideration. But he suggested that they related to the church’s statute of limitations, saying that his office has frequently had to judge allegations from years ago because the victims “don’t feel personally able to come forward until” they are more mature.

The comments by the cardinal, who heads the Vatican office that rules on cases of sexual abuse that are forwarded to Rome by bishops throughout the world, were apparently spontaneous, and came in response to three reporters as he left a luncheon in New York given by Time magazine.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 AM

Vatican indicates reconsidering canon laws on sexual abuse

The Hindu (India)

New York (PTI): Vatican is considering changes to canon laws that govern the handling of cases of child sexual abuse by priests, a top official has indicated.

Cardinal William J Levada, who heads the Vatican office that rules on cases of sexual abuse forwarded to Rome by bishops throughout the world has suggested that canons under reconsideration related to the church's statute of limitations, the New York Times has said.

Though the cardinal did not clearly specify which canons were being considered for change, he said his office has frequently had to judge allegations dating back in the past because the victims "don't feel personally able to come forward" until they are more mature, the newspaper said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 AM

Strong words from Pope Benedict XVI

The Sudbury Star (Canada)

Pope Benedict XVI, supreme pontiff of the world's one billion Roman Catholics, is being lauded for his admission that "great pain" has been caused by the sexual abuse of minors by Roman Catholic clergy.

The Pope reportedly opened the topic on the plane on his way from Rome to the U.S., where he is now making an official visit.

The issue of clergy abuse has been the elephant in the room for a generation, since revelations started coming out of the U.S. and Canada and countries around the world of inappropriate touching, even intercourse, between priests and innocent children in their care.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:22 AM

Pope Connects With Message Of Hope, Peace, Stewardship

The Day


In a city designed to inspire awe with its magnificent monuments to the founders and sustainers of this great nation, Thursday the center of inspiration was His Holiness Pope Benedict.

Crowds followed him along his route to the events of the day, beginning with his celebration of Mass before 46,000 strong and faithful at Nationals Park. ...

Later Thursday, our Holy Father visited with some survivors of the sexual abuse tragedy expressing to each individually his desire for healing and renewal of faith in God and in each other. The pope has spoken out and reached out on every occasion to be a source of healing and a protector of the young.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:16 AM

April 18, 2008

The Pope and the Orthodox: Serious About Sexual Misconduct Reform?

Orthodox Reform

by Theophan Zarras

The media is widely reporting news of the Pope’s current visit to the United States and his comments on the sexual abuse crisis. ...

BishopAccountability.org recently posted a database of 19 US bishops publicly accused of sexual abuse of minors.

In the sexual abuse crisis, attention has focused on priests who have sexually abused children; the problem of bishops and major superiors who abuse has not received systematic scrutiny. Yet a bishop who is himself guilty of child abuse, or who has other violations of celibacy to conceal, has compromised his role in the formation of his priests and in assigning them properly. Bishops who sexually abuse seminarians, as Anthony J. O’Connell has admitted doing, may establish a generational pattern of clergy abuse. The following list comprises bishops who have been publicly accused of sexually abusing minors. It does not include bishops accused of sexual misconduct with adults, such as Archbishop Robert F. Sanchez of Phoenix. Source

Read the full list if current bishops who — beyond all believe — still have the Pope’s blessing to retain their episcopal power.

How did the Greek Orthodox Archbishop react to a recent high-profile child sexual abuse case? Did he defrock the offending priest, reach out pastorally to victims, offer counseling, and ensure the abuser had no more access to children within churches? Sadly, he did none of the above.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:46 PM

Are Orthodox Clergy Sexual Misconduct Investigations Handled Properly?

Orthodox Reform

Are the OCA and GOAA officials in charge of investigating sexual misconduct qualified? Are they doing a good job? Below is a roundup of some press on this topic, in one case including troubling criminal charges that have recently surfaced.

Fr. Alexey Karlgut (OCA)

According to OCANews.org, Fr. Alexey Karlgut, the OCA’s investigator into allegations of abuse and misconduct, is not certified to handle such investigations:

One Metropolitan Council clergy member, who is clinically trained in handling allegations of abuse, said the OCA must send qualified teams to respond to such allegations as have been made in Alaska, to meet procedural norms. He stressed the need to respond promptly; since months had elapsed since the first allegations of misconduct had arisen in Alaska. The subsequent discussion confirmed that Fr. Alexey Karlgut, the OCA’s investigator into such allegations of abuse and misconduct, is not certified to handle such investigations. Source

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:44 PM

Fifth Greek American Joins in Child Molestation Suit Against Katinas

Orthodox Reform

Author: Theodore Kalmoukos
Publication: The National Herald

BOSTON - A first generation Greek American has come forward as the latest victim to accuse defrocked Dallas priest Nicholas Katinas of allegedly molesting him when he was child.

According to court papers, this newest plaintiff joined the existing other four plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the Metropolis of Denver, and the Holy Trinity Church in Dallas, Texas. The lawsuit is also directed against Katinas personally.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:42 PM

Dates Set for Katinas Jury Trial and Pre-Trial Mediation

Orthodox Reform

According to an article today in The National Herald:

A court date has been set for Monday September 22, 2008. The jury trial will take place in Dallas, Texas, and is expected to be open to the public and members of the press. The judge has set a pre-trial meeting for Tuesday May 20, 2008 to inquire about the possibility of a settlement before the case is tried, however both sides have already begun taking depositions and preparing for the trial, in the event that a settlement is not reached on May 20th.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:40 PM

Bishop Nikolai put on leave

Kodiak Daily Mirror

Article published on Friday, April 18th, 2008
Mirror Writer
A day after memorial services were held in Sitka to honor former Alaska diocese leader Archbishop Gregory Afonsky, Bishop Nikolai Soraich, the current diocese leader, agreed to a leave of absence.

In an official statement posted on the Orthodox Church in America Web site following a special meeting of the Holy Synod of Bishops, church leader Metropolitan Herman said Bishop Nikolai agreed to the voluntary leave of absence after hearing testimony from the Right Rev. Tikhon Mollard, bishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, and the Most Rev. Nathanial Popp, archbishop of Detroit and the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America.

During the bishop’s absence, the metropolitan was placed in charge of the diocese administration and the Right Rev. Benjamin Peterson, Bishop of San Francisco and the West, will assist the church leader.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:37 PM

Man sues Seattle Archiocese over sexual abuse

Seattle Post-Intelligencer


A man who says that the Rev. James Knelleken, then a priest in Raymond, sexually abused him has filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Seattle.

The alleged victim, identified by the initials "L.J,." was about 16 years old in 1959 when the alleged abuse took place at Immaculate Conception Church (now known as St. Lawrence) in Raymond. L.J. is now 65 years old.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:35 PM

Vatican mulls change in sex abuse laws

United Press International

NEW YORK, April 18 (UPI) -- The Roman Catholic Church is considering changing church law on the handling of sexual abuse by priests, a Vatican official said Friday in New York.

Cardinal William Levada -- the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith -- spoke of the possible change Friday, one day after Pope Benedict XVI met in Washington with a small group of victims of clergy abuse, The New York Times reported.

The pope has prominently mentioned the clergy abuse scandal several times since Tuesday, when he began his first visit to the United States.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:32 PM

Bishop returns from meeting with pope

The Press Democrat

By Clark Mason
April 18, 2008

The bishop of the 150,000 member Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa said Friday he was not surprised by Pope Benedict XVI’s focus on the clergy sex abuse scandal during his visit to the United States.

“That would be the elephant in the room,” Bishop Daniel Walsh said of the numerous highly publicized cases of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy members.

“He spoke very directly on it.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:30 PM

Bishops express hope after meeting with Pope

Catholic Online

By Dennis Sadowski
Catholic News Service (www.catholicnews.com)

WASHINGTON (CNS)- Bishops from across the country left their April 16 meeting with Pope Benedict XVI feeling more hopeful and optimistic about their work and the future of the U.S. Catholic Church. ...

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles called attention to the fact that the pope addressed the clergy abuse scandal for the third time in two days during the address, meaning it was an issue of great concern to him.

"I think we need to hear that," he said. "He needed to bring it up and needed to speak to the American Catholic community. I think that's very important. We've got to recognize the crisis and, more important, to take steps to make sure it never happens again."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:24 PM

Judge Orders Children Of Sect To Remain In Custody


[with video]

SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) ― More than 400 children taken from a ranch run by a polygamous sect will stay in state custody and be subject to genetic testing, a judge ruled Friday.

State District Judge Barbara Walther heard 21 hours of testimony over two days before ruling that the children be kept by the state. Individual hearings will be set for the children over the next several weeks.

She ordered that all children and parents be given genetic testing. Child welfare officials have said they've had difficulty determining how the children and parents are related because of evasive or changing answers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 PM

The Pope Confronts the Priest Sex Scandal

U.S. News & World Report

By Alex Kingsbury
Posted April 18, 2008

After years of near silence on the issue of the abuse and rape of children at the hands of pedophile priests, Pope Benedict XVI made public acknowledgement of the scandal a central theme of his first visit to the United States as head of the church. The first mention of the scandal came while still en route from Rome when he told reporters he was "deeply ashamed" about the scandal that had caused "great suffering."

It was the first time the papacy had directly addressed the victims of abusive clerics, and it signaled that Benedict's first trip to the United States as pontiff would be not just a state visit but an effort at reconciliation with American believers and an exercise in humility for the church's role in a scandal the pope conceded had been "very badly handled." ...

"We've never before heard this type of honesty from the pope about what actually happened, and that's clearly a very encouraging sign — but talk is only as good as the actions that follow it up," said Dan Bartley, president of the Boston-based Voice of the Faithful, a group formed in the wake of the scandal to push for greater transparency and lay involvement in the management of the church. The group took out a full page advertisement in the New York Times in anticipation of the pope's visit calling for the pontiff to meet with victims of pedophilia and the removal of bishops responsible for covering up abuse or transferring known pedophiles within the ministry.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 PM

Pope worries that big powers control decision-making

The Associated Press


NEW YORK (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI warned diplomats at the United Nations on Friday that international cooperation needed to solve urgent problems is "in crisis" because decisions rest in the hands of a few powerful nations. ...

Cardinal William Levada, an American cleric who runs the Vatican agency that enforces church doctrine, said Friday he does not know of any bishops guilty of "aiding and abetting" pedophiles, and would respond if he did. Bishops who have made mistakes, he said, largely took advice that was accepted at the time but proved wrong.

Leveda said it was possible that canonical rules, or church rules, could be changed to better address the abuse scourge.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:08 PM

Horne: There was sincerity in the room


[with video]

(NECN: Boston, Mass.) - Olan Horne, a clergy sex abuse victim from Lowell, Massachusetts, was one of five victims who prayed and talked with Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday.

Olan said the sincerity and the tone of the room was very easy. Olan said the pope understood that he needed to be the Holy Father for a few minutes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:04 PM

Pope urged to do more for sex abuse victims


Fri Apr 18, 2008 4:50pm EDT

By Jason Szep

BOSTON (Reuters) - Pope Benedict's meeting with victims of sexual abuse by priests helps to heal the wounds from a scandal that has roiled the U.S. Roman Catholic Church for six years, but Church experts and victims say far more needs to be done.

"We are still far from closure," said Rev. Richard McBrien, a professor of theology at Notre Dame and editor of the Encyclopedia of Catholicism. "Some bishops who covered up these crimes and exposed children and young people to serious risk of abuse are still in office."

But McBrien, other prominent Catholic academics and several victims of clergy abuse, hailed Thursday's 25-minute meeting as a crucial, historic step that needs to be followed by other deeds.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 PM

Bishop praises pope's handling of clergy sex abuse crisis

Sioux City Journal

By Travis Coleman Journal staff writer

SIOUX CITY -- Just hours after he returned from a trip to Washington, D.C., to see Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop R. Walker Nickless described the pontiff as kind, gentle and open.

"It was a wonderful, exciting, enthusiastic event," Nickless, bishop of the Diocese of Sioux City, said during a news conference today at the Central Catholic Offices.

As part of the visit, Benedict met privately Thursday with victims of clergy sex abuse and spoke about the issue repeatedly, calling the crisis a "deep shame." Nickless agreed, saying the diocese believes Benedict is handling the abuse crisis the right way.

"We're all ashamed at what has happened," Nickless said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:57 PM

Cardinal says canon law changes 'possible' to better address abuse


Associated Press - April 18, 2008 3:43 PM ET

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - An American cardinal says it's possible that canon law could be changed to better address the abuse scandal that has badly damaged the Catholic church in the U.S. and other nations.

Cardinal William Levada (leh-VAY'-duh), who runs the Vatican agency that enforces church doctrine, says there are some things under consideration. However, he says he's not at liberty to discuss them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:52 PM

McDaid: We're not numbers & stats, we're people


(NECN: Boston, Mass.) - Clergy sex abuse survivor Bernie McDaid of Lynn, Massachusetts was on the the abuse victims to meet privately with Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday.

McDaid said he shook the pope's hand, told him he was an altar boy and had been abused by a priest in the sacristy of his parish.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:50 PM

Cardinal Levada: No sanctions for bishops


April 18, 2008, 3:43 pm
Posted by David Gibson

At a lunch meeting today with journalists sponsored by Time magazine, Cardinal William Levada, the former San Francisco archbishop who Joseph Ratzinger named to replace himself at the CDF when Ratzinger was elected pope, answered a number of good questions about the papal visit so far. But in addressing the sexual abuse crisis, he rejected any suggestion that Benedict’s statements and meeting with victims was opening the door to disciplining bishops.

In fact, the cardinal seemed to bristle at a suggestion that some bishops had “aided and abetted” priest-abusers by not acting to remove them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:47 PM

Austin's Bishop Aymond comments on Pope's visit

News 8 Austin

4/18/2008 2:58 PM
By: News 8 Austin Staff

One of the most emotional moments of Pope Benedict's visit to the U.S. is said to be a private meeting he held with several victims of sexual abuse in Washington.

Afterwards he met with leaders of the Catholic Church, including Austin's Bishop Gregory Aymond.

Aymond said the pope praised the clergy's efforts to heal the community, but said the work is not finished.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:44 PM

Bishop praises pope session with victims


By M.R. KROPKO Associated Press Writer

Published on Friday Apr 18, 2008

The bishop of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese said Friday that Pope Benedict XVI brought spiritual healing to victims of clergy sex abuse.

Bishop Richard Lennon said at a news conference inside the sanctuary of St. John Cathedral in Cleveland that he got to know some of those victims who met with the pope when he was with the Archdiocese of Boston, which he briefly led.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:42 PM

Speaking Directly to the Pope

Voice of the Faithful

Last week, VOTF President Dan Bartley sent a letter to Pope Benedict reiterating the message presented in our New York Times ad, introducing Voice of the Faithful and our mission, and inviting him to lead the transformation we see as essential for the Church. You can read a copy of that letter here. It was sent through the Papal Nuncio an