January 20, 2012
In an unprecedented move this week, federal prosecutors in Belgium sent search teams into the headquarters of all eight of the country's dioceses. On Monday, detectives confiscated files from the offices of the archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussel and the dioceses of Antwerp and Hasselt; on Tuesday, from the dioceses of Bruges and Ghent and the office of a religious order; and on Wednesday, from the dioceses of Liège, Namur, and Tournai.
This is the first time that an entire nation's Catholic hierarchy has been investigated by civil authorities. Part of an extensive investigation called "Operation Chalice," this week's sweep generated more than 50 priest personnel files. Prosecutors will examine them for evidence that church officials culpably mismanaged abusive clergy.
Prosecutors are particularly interested in abusers supervised by former Bruges bishop Roger Vangheluwe, who resigned in April 2010 after admitting to molesting his nephew for years. Belgian church officials subsequently acknowledged complaints from hundreds of victims, including 13 who committed suicide.
The world first learned of Operation Chalice (see overview here) on June 24, 2010, when armed Belgian police seized hundreds of records from the former archbishop's home and office and searched two prelates' tombs. Belgian courts ultimately ruled the files inadmissible but allowed the investigation to continue.
YOU'RE INVITED. If you are in the metro New York area, please consider joining Terry McKiernan and me at Cardozo Law School this Tuesday, January 24. We will be giving a talk moderated by Professor Marci Hamilton, followed by a question-and-answer session and an informal reception. It's free and open to the public. We'd love to see you! See Cardozo's flyer here.
Anne Barrett Doyle
January 13, 2012
Mary Raftery R.I.P.
Mary Raftery died this week -- a remarkable person and the preeminent journalist of the Catholic abuse crisis. Her 1999 documentary States of Fear (see video excerpts 1 2) caused the Irish government to commission the Ryan report, and her terrifying 2002 documentary Cardinal Secrets forced the writing of the Murphy report and the Cloyne report. Survivor Andrew Madden worked with Raftery on Cardinal Secrets and reflected on her legacy. She forever changed Ireland and Catholicism worldwide, as Tom Doyle says in this brief video tribute.
This week more documents surfaced in the story of Mother Teresa's confessor, convicted child abuser Donald McGuire SJ. See the important article in SF Weekly with links to many other documents about the Jesuits and McGuire.
The previous Monitor was not delivered to some of our subscribers. If you missed that issue, you can read it here.
Thanks and all best,
January 6, 2012
Ten Years and Counting
Ten years ago today, the Boston Globe launched its Spotlight Team investigation into sexual abuse in the Catholic church with a groundbreaking article on the Boston archdiocese's cover-up of the crimes of Fr. John Geoghan. You can read the first articles in the series here, with links to dozens of documents in the Geoghan file.
The anniversary will be marked in Boston by a 10th Anniversary Celebration & Conference, starting at 6:00 p.m. Friday, January 6, and continuing through Sunday, January 8. The conference is open to the public. Visit the organizers' website for details.
This week seventeen more Haitian boys filed suit alleging abuse by Douglas Perlitz between 1998 and 2008 at Project Pierre Toussaint, with serious claims about Fairfield University and the Jesuits. You can read the complaints and defense motions here, with links to important articles.
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Thanks and all best,