ST. PAUL, MINN. -- The attorney for a Minnesota priest charged with criminal sexual conduct with an adult female parishioner told the court that the case should be thrown out, arguing that a state law criminalizing sexual relations between a cleric and a church member is unconstitutional.
Even by the fractious standards of conversation about almost anything these days, debate over the Catholic sexual abuse crisis is remarkably polarized. Defenders say the church has cleaned up its act to such an extent that it’s now a model for child protection, while critics rip purported reforms as sound and fury signifying little.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Writing that recent sex abuse scandals have “raised grave doubts” about the management of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese, a law firm representing abuse victims here alleged today the diocese broke binding legal commitments by not reporting cases of allegations of sexual misconduct by clergy to authorities.
LONDON -- A popular Catholic priest returned a prestigious award to Queen Elizabeth II after he admitted sexually abusing boys at a school in Africa more than 40 years ago.
Father Christopher "Kit" Cunningham sent back his Member of the British Empire medal to Buckingham Palace in July 2010.
He received the award from the queen during a ceremony at the palace in 1998, dressed in a top hat and tails, for his work with homeless people.
The priest, who died Dec. 12 at age 79, offered no explanation to the palace for returning the medal and asked only that there would be no publicity.
But the reason for his action was disclosed June 21 in a British Broadcasting Corp. documentary titled "Abused: Breaking the Silence."
The film revealed Father Cunningham to be one of four Rosminian priests accused of abusing boys of British families who were attending St. Michael's School in Soni, Tanzania, in the 1960s.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Victims advocates have called for a local grand jury investigation into the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese’s sex abuse procedures.
“We’re making an appeal to prosecutors … to launch a full-fledged grand jury investigation into clergy sex crimes and cover-ups in the Kansas City Catholic diocese,” said David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, in a press conference this morning.
BELLEVUE, WASH. -- "This is a squandered opportunity and a disaster for children, not only in the United States but worldwide," a clergy sex abuse advocacy group said in response to the U.S. bishops' vote to approve only minor changes to their charter for child and youth protection.
The U.S. bishops overwhelmingly voted June 16 to adopt a revised Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People at their semiannual meeting.
And while it seemed clear the bishops and their officers are aware of divergent voices within the American Catholic community and the harsh light shed on clergy sexual abuse by recent revelations of lapses in the charter in Philadelphia and in Kansas City, Mo., the revisions they approved were little more than date and number updates and language tweaks for clarity.
BELLEVUE, Wash. -- The nation's Roman Catholic bishops began a review of church sex abuse policies here on Wednesday (June 15), bypassing several recent reports that raise questions about whether the rules are effective at removing abusive priests.
The bishops' brief public discussion seemed a mere prelude to private debates taking place throuhgout the week behind closed doors. The bishops are scheduled to vote on revisions to the church guidelines on Thursday.
BELLEVUE, WASH. -- If approved as submitted to the U.S. Catholic bishops today during their semi-annual meeting here, the revised "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" would feature little more than date and number updates and language tweaks for clarity.
And that has some observers discouraged.
TOKYO -- Roman Catholic bishops from across Asia will hold a summit on “The Impact of Pedophilia” in the Catholic Church, saying abusive priests are not simply “a problem of the West.”
The Federation of Roman Catholic Asian Bishops' Conferences will host a seminar for bishops and clergy Nov. 14-19 at Assumption University in Bangkok, Thailand.
A review of church sex abuse guidelines will top the agenda when the nation's Roman Catholic bishops meet in Seattle next week (June 15-17). But no major changes have been proposed, according to church leaders, even after several recent reports have raised questions about the rules' power to remove abusive priests.
The stakes at the Seattle meeting will be high, as the bishops struggle to recover their moral authority and end the worst crisis in modern church history.