News Story of the Day

Pope Francis Visits Chile and Peru: Sex Abuse, Politics and Opus Dei

By Betty Clermont,

This is the pope’s sixth trip to the region with which he is most familiar. But this one is different. This is the first time he will face a populace aware of both his indifference, at best, to victims of sexual abuse and, at worse, his efforts to shield the perpetrators. In addition, there is a consistent pattern of issues, as well as an alliance of powerful elites from church and state, in both countries.

Pope Francis will face significant hostility when he visits Chile Jan. 15 – 18. Demonstrations have been planned to protest his response to clerical sex abuse.

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After dispute over epitaph, tombstone at Catholic cemetery reads: ‘She supported priest sexual abuse victims’

By Angie Leventis Lourgos, Chicago Tribune, December 30, 2017

A son says his late mother finally will be able to rest in peace now that a dispute with a Catholic cemetery over her controversial grave marker has been resolved.

Marguerite Ridgeway, of west suburban Lisle, was a faithful Catholic before church sex abuse scandals came to light, including decades-old trauma recounted by her daughter-in-law. Before her 2015 death, Ridgeway closely followed the stories of abuse victims locally and across the country, and her outrage ultimately spurred a break with the church she once loved, according to her son, Jack Ruhl, of Kalamazoo, Mich.

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Jury to hear case against Mormon Church, officials

BY KELSIE LEROSE, December 28, 2017, The Journal

MARTINSBURG–A Berkeley County jury will hear the accusations and evidence against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormon Church, and local church officials in early January for allegedly covering up allegations that the son of local church officials sexually abused 12 children over the course of more than five years.

The case against the church was initially investigated after Christopher Michael Jensen, of Martinsburg, was found guilty and sentenced on July 29, 2013 to 35 to 75 years in prison for sexually abusing two minors–4 and 3 years of age at the time of the abuse.

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Sexual misconduct scandals remind clergy victims of abuse

Associated Press, Dec 23, 2017, Crux

PORTLAND, Oregon - When stories of sexual misconduct by powerful men began to fill the news this fall, Manny Vega immediately flashed back to his childhood.

He saw strong similarities between the recent allegations against producers and politicians and his own abuse as a child by his parish priest.

“The parallels are in the power dynamics,” said Vega, a former police officer and decorated Marine who lives in Oxnard, California. “Whether you’re the leader of a church or the leader of a film studio, you’re going to be someone people look up to and someone people go to for guidance. It puts the victim at a horrible disadvantage.”

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After Bernard Law’s Death, Revisit One Clergy Abuse Survivor’s Story

By PATRICE TADDONIO, PBS Frontline, December 21, 2017

Cardinal Bernard Law, a key figure in the clergy sex abuse scandal that continues to haunt the Roman Catholic Church, died this week at the age of 86.

Law was the archbishop of Boston when starting in 2002, a Boston Globe investigation found that for years, he had transferred priests who sexually abused children within his archdiocese. After the stories broke, Law’s name became synonymous with the abuse scandal. He apologized and resigned from his post after the Globe’s revelations, but he continued to hold his title as cardinal up until his death on Tuesday.

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Ending the Silence on Abuse

By Johnathan S. Tobin, Jewish Link 

In the past two months, the avalanche of stories about sexual abuse and harassment has touched virtually every sector of American society. The revelations about deeply troubling behavior on the part of politicians, journalists and figures in the entertainment world have transfixed the country. As more victims come forward to tell their stories, the consequences have gone beyond the disgrace of some prominent individuals, the end of careers and, in Alabama, a surprising election result. What began with a shocking story about movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has led to what may well be a crucial turning point in the way sexual misconduct is viewed.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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