National Catholic Reporter

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Nuncio to Irish Catholics: Pope knows abuse scandals made lives tough


DUBLIN -- Pope Benedict XVI is acutely aware that recent years have been tough for Irish Catholics as a result of the clerical sex abuse scandals, said the new apostolic nuncio to Ireland.

Speaking during a Mass to mark his formal welcome as Pope Benedict's representative in Dublin on Sunday, U.S. Archbishop Charles Brown said the pontiff understands "that these recent years have been difficult for Catholic believers in Ireland."

Brown said the pope was "scandalized and dismayed as he learned about the tragedy of abuse perpetrated by some members of the clergy and of religious congregations. He felt deeply the wounds of those who had been harmed and who so often had not been listened to."

Brown, a former official in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said, "I can tell you from my personal experience that he [Pope Benedict] has always had -- and he continues to have -- a great love for the people of Ireland and a high regard for the Catholic Church in Ireland, with its history of missionary richness and tenacious faith."

Clerical power thwarts victims in Poland


This is the second of two-part series looking at clergy sex abuse in Poland. Read part one here.

WARSAW, POLAND -- When Ewa Orlowska, a mother of nine, decided to confront her local priest for sexually abusing her as a child, she had little idea what was to follow. The priest, Msgr. Michal Moskwa, had been the parish pastor for three decades in the southern town of Tylawa, and Ewa had been just one of his victims. But when she’d told her mother about the abuse, her mother beat her and ordered her to apologize.

When the case came to light in 2001, Orlowska reluctantly agreed to give a statement to prosecutors. “I thought: When I stand before God and he asks me what I did for those other defenseless children, still threatened by the priest’s pedophile tendencies, what would I say?” she remembers. “Would I say I lacked courage, hadn’t the strength, was afraid of my own shadow?”

Vatican summit speaker says abuse caused 'death of respect' for church leaders


An Irish victim of sexual abuse bluntly told a Vatican summit this morning that her experience of being ignored, and her suffering minimized, by church leaders caused “the final death of any respect” she once felt for ecclesial authority.

Marie Collins said there must be “acknowledgement and accountability for the harm and destruction that has been done to the life of victims and their families” before she and other victims can regain trust in the leadership of the Catholic church.

Collins made the remarks at a four-day summit on the sexual abuse crisis titled “Towards Healing and Renewal” being held at the Jesuit-run Gregorian University.

Read the full story on NCR Today.

Victims caught up in Milwaukee's 'shell game'


Dead Catholics have a vested interest in reducing settlements to clergy abuse survivors in Milwaukee, thanks to a shift of $55.6 million on the church balance sheets by then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan in 2008.

Dolan’s move in the twilight of his seven-year tenure in Milwaukee has emerged as a major issue in the archdiocese’s bankruptcy, which his successor, Archbishop Jerome Listecki, filed last February. One expert who has done extensive research on diocesan financial statements has described the move as “a shell game.”

Activist's challenge to archdiocese began with Weakland


Steeped in the writings of Camus, Kierkegaard, Simone Weil and Emerson, Peter Isely put his career as a therapist on the line in 1993 when he identified himself as a victim of clerical sex abuse and criticized Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland, who at the time was lionized by NCR, Commonweal and The New Yorker as a progressive leader of a post-Vatican II church. Weakland had a victim assistance program, Project Benjamin, of which Isely was deeply suspicious.

September trial date set for KC bishop, diocese


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The trial of Bishop Robert W. Finn and the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., the first bishop and diocese to face criminal charges in the decades-long clergy sex abuse crisis, has been set for September.

Finn and the diocese were charged in October by a grand jury in Jackson County, Mo., with separate counts of failing to report suspected child abuse in the case of Fr. Shawn Ratigan, a diocesan priest who was arrested last May for child pornography.

Lawyers for Finn and the diocese met with Jackson County Judge John Torrence on Thursday to set a Sept. 24 trial date in the case. Finn and the diocese have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Speaking to NCR after the meeting, which was held in the judge's chambers, Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters-Baker said Torrence also set the next pretrial hearing for March 27, when the court would deal with motions from the defense.

Court documents reveal motives for deposing SNAP


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Attorneys seeking the deposition of the director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) argued the group had colluded with an attorney representing an abuse victim in violation of a court gag order, and also worried that the advocacy group could be “routinely advising” victims to evade statutes of limitations, according to court filings.

California Supreme Court to decide on statute of limitations in abuse cases


SAN FRANCISCO -- A major case that could reopen the statute of limitations window for sex abuse victims to file third-party claims is now before the California Supreme Court.

Should the court rule in favor of six brothers who say they were sexually abused by a priest of the Oakland diocese decades ago but only recently linked the abuse to their psychological difficulties, the church in California could see a wave of new clergy abuse lawsuits.



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