News Story of the Day

Death of disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law reveals a truth we’d rather ignore about the Catholic Church

By Melinda Henneberger, The Kansas City Star

Twelve years ago, after the death of Pope John Paul II, I watched a man who will go down in history as a fierce protector of child rapists process into St. Peter’s to celebrate one of the nine masses that traditionally follow the death of a pontiff.

Bernard Law was the face of a dysfunctional Catholic Church

By Alfred P. Doblin, NorthJersey opinion, December 22, 2017, USA Today Network

Law became the face of this institutional evil, and his legacy will remain solely that, for generations to come.

There was a time when “men of the cloth” were revered. To have a priest in the family was a sign of pride for many a Catholic parent. Priests were good men, focused on helping others.

Then there was the time of Boston Cardinal Bernard Law. And nothing would be the same again.

Letting abuse commission lapse, Vatican sends disappointing message

By NCR Editorial Staff, December 19, 2017, National Catholic Reporter

In December 2013, Pope Francis sparked hope that the Catholic Church was (finally!) taking the scandal of clergy sexual abuse seriously. He created a group to advise him and future popes on how the church worldwide could protect children, appointing experts on the issue and even survivors of abuse to a new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Cardinal Law, disgraced figure in church abuse scandal, dies

By Rachel Zoll and Nicole Winfield, December 20, 2017, ABC News

Cardinal Bernard Law, the disgraced former archbishop of Boston whose failure to stop child molesters in the priesthood triggered the worst crisis in American Catholicism, died Wednesday in Rome at age 86.

A Prominent Sex-Abuse Survivor Hopes #MeToo Finally Gets Her Rapist Fired

By Gustavo Arellano, December 18, 2017, Jezebel

For the past 16 years, Dr. Thomas Hodgman has taught at Adrian College’s Music Department, where he currently serves as the choir director. He enjoys a tenured position at the school even though, in 2005, the Catholic Diocese of Orange County, California paid a $1.6 million settlement to Joelle Casteix, after she filed a civil lawsuit alleging that Hodgman repeatedly sexually assaulted her and gave her an STD in the late 1980s.

Cheverus victims seek the justice they never received

BY ERIC RUSSELL, December 17, 2017, 

At Cheverus, they were taught moral responsibility, but victims of alleged abuse by a former teacher say they're still waiting for the school and the Jesuit community to practice what they preach.

When Michael Sweatt looked at his son’s schedule and saw the familiar name of a teacher, he went to the school and demanded his son be removed from that class.

Cheverus officials balked at first, he said, until Sweatt revealed that the teacher, Charles Malia, abused him back in the mid-1970s.

Sweatt said the response from the school’s then-president, John Mullen, was, “Why would you enroll your son here?”

Child sexual abuse royal commission: recommendations and statistics at a glance

December 14, 2017, The Guardian

The Australian royal commission into the institutional responses to child sexual abuse has handed down its final report. Here are the key points

Key recommendations

The royal commission’s final report (pdf) has made 189 new recommendations, including:

  • The federal government should establish a National Office for Child Safety, sitting within the department of prime minister and cabinet. Its first job should be to develop a national framework to prevent child sexual abuse.
  • The federal government should create a portfolio overseeing policy towards children

Priest led away in handcuffs after judge hands down 1-year sentence for sexual contact with child

By Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 15, 2017

It started when she was in first grade, when she still had her baby teeth.

Robert Marsicek, a priest she trusted, repeatedly molested her at a Catholic school in Wauwatosa.

"My little self thought it was OK and I thought that this was normal," she said.

Catholic Church Singled Out In Australian Sex Abuse Report

By Scott Neuman, December 15, 2017, NPR

In a far-reaching report on child sex abuse in Australia, a government commission is recommending that the country's Catholic Church lift its celibacy requirement for diocesan clergy and be required to report evidence of abuse revealed in confession.

Those are among the 400 recommendations contained in the 17-volume final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, which is wrapping up a five-year investigation – the longest in Australia's history.

We All Helped Build The Wall Of Silence Around Victims Of Sexual Assault

By Guila Benchimol, December 12, 2017, Huffington Post

Gretchen Carlson, whose sexual harassment claims led to Roger Ailes's downfall, recently stated that "the culture of concealment and denial is coming to an end" and the Silence Breakers were just named Time Magazine's Person of the Year. But a culture of silence does not simply end when its victims are ready to speak up. For victims to be heard, we must understand what role we play in building the silence around them.

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Silver Participant