Why what Francis said about sex abuse yesterday matters

John Allen, as usual, sees the bigger picture. Writing about yesterday’s strongly-worded remarks on clerical sex abuse, Allen notes:  Three points about Friday’s statement seemed noteworthy to observers who have followed the arc of the church’s abuse scandals over the last two decades. First, Francis did not merely express regret or sadness for the pattern [Read More…]

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Pope Francis on priest sex abuse: “I feel compelled…to personally ask for forgiveness…”

Strong words this morning: I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil which some priests, quite a few in number, obviously not compared to the number of all the priests, to personally ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done for having sexually abused children. The Church is aware of this damage, [Read More…]

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USCCB: nearly 1,000 abuse allegations last year—UPDATED

Details: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released their eleventh annual report on the progress of implementing the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People as part of the effort to increase transparency with regards to sexual abuse. The 2013 audit was carried out by StoneBridge Business Partners, which collected data from 127 dioceses/eparchies between July [Read More…]

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Pope Francis names O’Malley, woman sex abuse victim to special anti-abuse panel

From John Allen in The Boston Globe:  Pope Francis today named Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston and seven other figures with reputations as reformers to guide a new Vatican anti-abuse commission, a move intended to demonstrate resolve about confronting the child sexual abuse scandals that have rocked Catholicism. O’Malley, already the lone American on [Read More…]

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Fugee update: Newark priest laicized

Details from The Star-Ledger in Newark: Acting with uncustomary speed, the Vatican has expelled a New Jersey man from the priesthood for repeatedly defying a lifetime ban on ministry to children. Michael Fugee, 53, who attended youth retreats and heard confessions from minors despite signing a court-sanctioned decree forbidding such activities, has been returned to [Read More…]

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Archbishop Nienstedt cleared, will not be charged

Details from The Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Archbishop John Nienstedt will return to full duties in the Catholic Church after the Ramsey County attorney’s office found insufficient evidence to support what it called an “unlikely” allegation that he touched a boy’s buttocks after a confirmation ceremony in 2009. The office began reviewing reports and evidence provided by [Read More…]

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Deacon found guilty of child porn

From The Catholic Register in Canada: William Kokesch, a deacon in the Montreal archdiocese, plead guilty in court on Feb. 21 to the possession, manufacturing and distribution of child pornography. Court heard that 99,000 still images of children and 2,000 child porn videos, many of which showed the sexual exploitation of young girls, were found [Read More…]

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Catholic group petitions pope to discipline Kansas City’s Bishop Finn

Details:  A group of Roman Catholics based in Kansas City has taken the rare step of petitioning Pope Francis to discipline Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. The formal request, initiated by a Milwaukee priest and parishioners in the Kansas City area, including a nun, was sent to the Vatican along [Read More…]

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Remarkable: how a man who was abused came to forgive his abuser

From the Santa Barbara Independent, a column by Paul Fericano that shows great courage, empathy and grace: On November 23, 2013, the Franciscan priest responsible for molesting me and hundreds of other boys at St. Anthony’s Seminary in Santa Barbara during the’60s, quietly passed away in a California hospital at the age of 82. Mario [Read More…]

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AP: Over two years, Pope Benedict removed nearly 400 priests from ministry for sex abuse—UPDATED

Details:   A document obtained by The Associated Press on Friday shows Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests over just two years for molesting children. The statistics for 2011-12 show a dramatic increase over the 171 priests removed in 2008 and 2009, when the Vatican first provided details on the number of priests who have [Read More…]

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