News Story of the Day

Grand jury report on clergy sex abuse: What you need to know ahead of its release

By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive, August 13, 2018

The long-awaited grand jury report into clergy sex abuse in Pennsylvania is poised to be released on Tuesday. PennLive will provide complete coverage of its release.

By order from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the Commonwealth has until 2 p.m. tomorrow to release the report.

The report is widely  expected to be one of the most scathing and comprehensive investigations into the worldwide scandal embroiling the 1.2-billion strong church.

Here is a quick primer on what we know so far about the report:

  • The office of state Attorney General Josh Shapiro empaneled the grand jury in 2016 to investigate allegations of child sex crimes across six of the state's eight Catholic dioceses, including: Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Scranton, Erie and Greensburg.
  • The grand jury, which completed its investigation in April, produced a 900-plus page report that names more than 300 members of the clergy by name in connection to criminal sex crimes against children.

'Irish survivors deserve more respect' - global clergy abuse group calls for removal of three cardinals at World Meeting of Families

By Rachel Farrell, August 10 2018, The Independent

The group has written an open letter to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to request three things from Pope Francis, including the removal of the cardinals

A group of global clergy abuse survivors has called on the removal of three cardinals from speaking at the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) at the end of the month.

A vast line up of speakers are scheduled to speak at the event in Knock and Dublin on August 25 and 26. 

The abuse survivors have delivered a letter to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin in the hopes of removing Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga, Cardinal Kevin Farrell and Cardinal Donald Wuerl from the WMOF speaker line up.

A. W. Richard Sipe (1932–2018)

By Terence McKiernan
August 9, 2018

Richard Sipe died Wednesday night, August 8, 2018, just before midnight, at his home in La Jolla, California, after a long illness. Sipe was a towering figure in the Catholic clergy abuse crisis and in Catholicism generally. He leaves behind a vital legacy.

A. W. Richard Sipe truly invented the rigorous study of the clergy abuse of children: he created a disciplined method for thinking about the unthinkable. His groundbreaking books – A Secret World: Sexuality and the Search for Celibacy (1990) and Sex, Priests, and Power: Anatomy of a Crisis (1995) – made activism and change possible in the Catholic abuse crisis, and ultimately prepared the way for the #MeToo movement.

Wave of sexual abuse accusations hits Lincoln diocese

By Lisa Bourne, August 7, 2018, LifeSiteNews

LINCOLN, Nebraska, August 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Fallout continues from allegations of sexual misconduct leveled recently against clergy in the Catholic Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska.

Lincoln Bishop James Conley has had to issue a subsequent statement following the diocese’s August 1 acknowledgement of reports of misconduct from the 1990’s against its deceased former vocations director. The statement comes after additional more current allegations surfaced related to a current priest in the Lincoln diocese.

Conley wrote the faithful on August 4 conceding the result of the new abuse stories left many feeling they’d been lied to and asking for forgiveness for “the potential betrayal of the good people of the diocese.”

Pope must admit Vatican disregard for abused on Irish visit

By Marie Collins, August 7, 2018, The Irish Times

Saying sorry it happened, sorry you were hurt, does not cut it any more

When Pope Francis comes to Ireland in two weeks’ time it will be 39 years since the last visit by a head of the Catholic Church. Since then the status of the church in Ireland has declined dramatically.

Those identifying as Catholic are down by 20 per cent, according to the last census. Mass attendance has fallen away, seminaries and religious houses have closed, and parishes are now often run by a single priest.

The majority of people no longer look to the church for guidance in their everyday lives. When the leadership speaks out on current issues as during the two recent recent referendums many, particularly the young, are antagonistic or indifferent. The church in Ireland has lost respect and credibility.

Report: Church leaders pressured victims, cops over abuse

Associated Press, August 5, 2018

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Church leaders were more interested in preventing scandal than protecting children. That’s the finding of a grand jury investigating clergy sex abuse in six Pennsylvania Roman Catholic dioceses according to a court filing. The report also says in some cases leaders discouraged victims from going to police, or pressured law enforcement officials to end or avoid investigations.

The grand jury’s full, nearly 900-page, report is expected to be released in the next two weeks.

But a court filing made public Friday, resolving one of many legal disputes over the report, included excerpts from the grand jury’s findings on the role of church leaders in the clergy abuse scandal.

Report: Catholic Church leaders pressured victims, cops over clergy abuse scandal

Mark Scolforo, Associated Press, August 3, 2018

A grand jury investigating clergy sex abuse in six Pennsylvania Roman Catholic dioceses found that church leaders were more interested in preventing scandal than protecting children, in some cases discouraging victims from going to police or pressuring law enforcement officials to end or avoid investigations, according to a court filing.

The grand jury's full, nearly 900-page, report is expected to be released in the next two weeks.

The Catholic Church has obliterated its ability to inspire trust

Opinion columnist, July 31, 2018, The Washington Post

We live in an era of diminished trust and heightened cynicism. It is hard, now, to imagine someone expressing unqualified faith in government, the media, business — or even, for that matter, religious institutions. And the implication of this development is not simply the erosion of trust. It is the increasing difficulty of learning about the world around us, as we lose belief in those who might teach us.

Learning requires risk-taking. It forces us to face what we don’t know with the hope of advancing toward some grasp of it. The smaller the undertaking, the lower the emotional gamble — learning tomorrow’s weather forecast doesn’t entail an interior journey. But learning about the true and important things in life does require trust and dedication and vulnerability — usually under a teacher’s guidance. It is no surprise so many of us come to love the ones who teach us.

71 accused of child sex abuse in Harrisburg diocese

By Stephanie Sadowski | |  August 1, 2018

Vatican meets #MeToo: Nuns denounce their abuse by priests


VATICAN CITY (AP) — The nun no longer goes to confession regularly, after an Italian priest forced himself on her while she was at her most vulnerable: recounting her sins to him in a university classroom nearly 20 years ago.

At the time, the sister only told her provincial superior and her spiritual director, silenced by the Catholic Church’s culture of secrecy, her vows of obedience and her own fear, repulsion and shame.

“It opened a great wound inside of me,” she told the Associated Press. “I pretended it didn’t happen.”

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