Knights buy John Paul II Cultural Center


The beleaguered Pope John Paul II Center in Washington, a $75 million monument to the legacy of the late pope that has been financially strapped since its opening in March 2001, will be sold for $22.7 million to the Knights of Columbus. The organization said it will transform the center into a shrine to John Paul.

The sale brings sighs of relief to the Detroit archdiocese, which has loaned the center more than $54 million under an arrangement worked out by former archbishop Cardinal Adam J. Maida, the driving force behind establishment of the facility. The archdiocese will be left with a loss of at least $34 million when the sale is finalized.

See NCR's editorial on the purchase of the JPII Center: $34 million loss was a theft from the poor

Maida first approached John Paul with his idea for the center while bishop of Green Bay, Wis., where he served from 1984 until 1990, the year he was appointed to head the Detroit archdiocese. He retired as archbishop in 2009.

$34 million loss was a theft from the poor


The John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., will take on a new identity and purpose thanks to the recent purchase by the Knights of Columbus, who plan to turn it into a shrine to the late pope.

Exactly how the Knights will manage to fund the ongoing operations of a facility that has been a financial nightmare during its 10-year existence has yet to be announced. We trust that the organization’s members have means of letting the leadership know if it doesn’t like what it’s doing with their money.

Unfortunately, such is not the case for Catholics in the Detroit archdiocese who, when the deal is finalized, will be left with a loss of $34 million.

Prime minister's harsh attack on Vatican wins praise in Ireland



DUBLIN, IRELAND -- After the July 12 revelations of the damning Cloyne Report, which uncovered church failures to report allegations of abuse to the civil authorities as recently as 2008 (NCR, July 22), it would have been hard to imagine the crisis gripping Irish Catholicism getting any worse.

That was until Irish Prime Minister -- the Taoiseach -- Enda Kenny took to his feet in parliament July 20 to address the crisis.

In an attack probably without parallel anywhere else in the world from such a senior figure, Kenny accused the Vatican of adopting a “calculated, withering position” on abuse in the wake of the report that accused the Holy See of being “entirely unhelpful” to Irish bishops trying to deal with abuse.

He said the Cloyne Report “exposes an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic as little as three years ago.”

Braxton battles on against abuse suit


UPDATE: For the second time, the Illinois Supreme Court denied the request of the Belleville diocese to hear the appeal of a verdict awarding $5 million to former altar boys who were abused by a priest, the Belleville News-Democrat reported July 30. The final option for appeal is to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, but only if a constitutional issue is raised, according to the News-Democrat.

Cloyne Report fallout: Vatican recalls nuncio from Ireland


VATICAN CITY -- In an exceptional move, the Vatican recalled its nuncio to Ireland so that he could participate in meetings aimed at drafting the Vatican's formal response to an Irish government report on clerical sex abuse.

Following the publication July 13 of the so-called Cloyne Report "and, particularly, after the reactions that followed, the secretary of state has recalled the apostolic nuncio in Ireland, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, for consultations," the Vatican said in a statement July 25.

Background: Wisniewski v. Diocese of Belleville


Robert McClory's news story about Belleville diocese's appeal of clergy sex abuse case is here, Braxton battles on against abuse case. Following is more details about the case and Fr. Raymond Kownacki's tenure in the Belleville, Ill., diocese.

Wisniewski v. Diocese of Belleville got virtually no press coverage when the trial was held in the circuit court of St. Clair County, Ill., in August 2008. Belleville is a largely rural diocese near St. Louis, and the public by then was tiring of clerical abuse stories.

But the trial still deserves notice, because of the huge award ($5 million) the jury gave the plaintiff, James Wisniewski, because it is only one among a handful of abuse claims against U.S. Catholic dioceses that have been allowed to go to trial, and because the Belleville bishop is still battling to overturn the verdict.

It's particularly important too because of the shocking admissions that emerged during the trial.

Text of Irish prime minister's address on the Cloyne report


Following is the full text of the address to parliament by Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny on a judicial inquiry into the Cloyne diocese and its handling of clergy abuse cases. The address was delivered July 20, 2011.

Statement by the Taoiseach on the Dáil Motion on the report of the Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Diocese of Cloyne, in Dáil Éireann.

The revelations of the Cloyne report have brought the Government, Irish Catholics and the Vatican to an unprecedented juncture.

It's fair to say that after the Ryan and Murphy Reports Ireland is, perhaps, unshockable when it comes to the abuse of children.

But Cloyne has proved to be of a different order.

Irish PM: Vatican has 'calculated, withering' abuse stance


DUBLIN -- Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has accused the Vatican of adopting a "calculated, withering position" on abuse in the wake of a judicial report that accused the Holy See of being "entirely unhelpful" to Irish bishops trying to deal with abuse.

During a July 20 parliamentary debate, Kenny said an independent judicial investigation into the handling of clergy sexual abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne "exposes an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic as little as three years ago."

"And in doing so, the Cloyne Report excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism and the narcissism that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day," he said.

The John Jay Study: What it is and what it isn't



Editor’s Note: Much has already been written about the “The Causes and Contexts of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010,” commissioned by the U.S. bishops, conducted by the John Jay College of Criminology and released in May. Much of that has looked at the report from a particular stance toward clergy sex abuse, namely either an institutional view or an advocate’s view. That is why when Mary Gail Frawley O’Dea approached NCR to write a “dispassionate” review of this study, from a clinician’s viewpoint, we said yes.

Irish priests reject suggestion that they break seal of confession


DUBLIN (CNS) -- The group that represents Ireland's Catholic priests says the secrecy of confession must be protected, despite government indications that confessions would not be exempt from rules on mandatory reporting of child abuse.

"The point is, if there is a law in the land, it has to be followed by everybody. There are no exceptions, there are no exemptions," said Irish Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald.



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April 21-May 4, 2017