As Catholic bishops meet in Mundelein, victims of sexual abuse in Chicago slam church leadership

As U.S.-based Roman Catholic bishops gathered in suburban Mundelein for a weeklong retreat, activists in Chicago on Wednesday stood outside the Archdiocese of Chicago’s headquarters to slam church leadership for its handling of sexual abuse investigations.

The bishops planned to focus on prayer and spiritual reflection, and they would not spend the week formulating policy amid the church’s national sexual abuse scandal, according to organizers of the retreat. Outside the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Gold Coast offices, Zach Hiner, executive director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said recent movements like #MeToo have made people realize how common sexual violence is and also compelled them to confront the issue.

“And they are angry, they’re angry,” Hiner said. “The public at large is very far ahead of the Catholic Church on this issue, and if the Catholic Church does want to catch up, does want to ensure that this never happens again, they need to start talking to some of those survivors now.”

The bishop’s retreat, at Mundelein Seminary, began a day after The Associated Press reported that the Vatican blocked U.S. bishops from taking measures last year to address the scandal because U.S. church leaders didn't discuss the legally problematic proposals with the Holy See enough beforehand.

The rebuke from Rome was contained in a letter from a Vatican official before the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops met in November. The move stunned abuse survivors and some other Catholics demanding action.

The retreat is a prelude to a summit of the world's bishops at the Vatican next month to forge a comprehensive response to the crisis that has lashed the church.

The meetings follow two blistering reports during 2018 from state attorneys general — in Illinois and Pennsylvania — alleging negligence by state church leaders.

Here's a look at the retreat.

What’s on the agenda?

According to Archdiocese of Chicago spokeswoman Anne Maselli, bishops at the gathering would be pra...

Read the rest of the story here.

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  • Richard Kensinger, MSW
    commented 2019-01-04 17:15:24 -0600
    I reside in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese, PA, where 46 of 50 perpetrators named in the state attorneys GJ Report are clergy. The cover-up is massive and decades old. AJD is now under federal scrutiny, a move I whole-heartedly support. AJD established a compensation fund in 1999, in essence to buy victim silence.

    I provide free clinical consultation to survivors in my area; and i have divorced the Church. It is my clinical view that the Church is much more interested in avoiding further legal liability. All the prayer and spiritual reflection will no longer protect the guilty.
    Rich, MSW

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