Pope’s efforts to stop church child abuse appear to unravel, Vatican riven by internal battle over handling of child abuse claims
February 17, 2016 Comments Off on Pope’s efforts to stop church child abuse appear to unravel, Vatican riven by internal battle over handling of child abuse claims
Pope’s efforts to stop church child abuse appear to unravel
Will Carless, GlobalPost February 15, 2016
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — A member of a commission set up by Pope Francis to advise him on child abuse says the group is a “token body” exercising in “smoke and mirrors” that won’t help children stay safe from abusive priests.
Peter Saunders, the commission member, is now on a leave of absence as he considers whether to continue with an effort he says he has lost faith in.
Meanwhile, new Catholic bishops are still being taught they’re not obliged to report cases of child abuse by priests to the police.
The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, which Francis set up with much fanfare in 2014, was supposed to issue guidelines for the Vatican on how to deal with child abuse. But the body was never consulted about the training for new bishops on exactly that topic.
These are just some of the signs that Francis’ reform efforts, and his pledge to clean up the Catholic Church’s most damaging crisis, seem to be unraveling before they’ve even really gotten started.
The problems come as Pope Francis pays a visit to Latin America, a region where, as GlobalPost has reported, the church is accused of reassigning and protecting many alleged predator priests. Among the latest scandals in the region, Chileans are outraged that the pope appointed a bishop accused of shielding the country’s most despised pedophile priest from investigation….
Vatican riven by internal battle over handling of child abuse claims
Rift comes amid signs that special commission created by Pope Francis to handle issue is being sidelined by senior church officials in Rome
Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Rome Tuesday 16 February 2016
A battle is being waged within the Vatican over how senior clergy ought to handle accusations of sexual abuse amid signs that a special commission created by Pope Francis to handle the issue is being sidelined by senior church officials in Rome.
The rift was exposed after a report in the Guardian about a training course that was offered to new bishops last year in which a controversial French monsignor instructed them that it was “not necessarily” their duty to report accusations of abuse to law enforcement authorities if local laws did not require it.
That stance was rejected this week by Pope Francis’s point man on abuse issues, Boston cardinal Seán O’Malley, who heads a special pontifical commission to protect minors.
“We, the president and the members of the commission, wish to affirm that our obligations under civil law must certainly be followed, but even beyond these civil requirements, we all have a moral and ethical responsibility to report suspected abuse to the civil authorities who are charged with protecting our society,” he said in a statement on Monday.
O’Malley also said that the special commission was committed to “extensive education efforts” within local churches since its founding two years ago, and that its members had reiterated their “willingness to provide this material at courses offered in Rome”, including at the training courses for new bishops and the offices of the Roman Curia, or bureaucracy.
But it is clear that these offers have not been accepted….
March 8, 2011 Comments Off on Abusive priests live unmonitored
Abusive priests live unmonitored By GILLIAN FLACCUS and JOHN MONE – ASSOCIATED PRESS March 7, 2011
VENTURA — Carl Sutphin was a problem priest who left ministry in the Roman Catholic church just before being charged nearly a decade ago with 14 counts of molestation for sexually abusing six children.
He was never convicted of the charges, and he now lives in a doublewide mobile home in a quiet neighborhood within two miles of a youth sports complex, a library, two day care centers and at least two elementary schools. Sutphin admits he molested children as a priest, but his name doesn’t show up in a sex offender database because the charges were dismissed because too much time had elapsed….
Plaintiffs’ attorneys have worked with private investigators since October to compile a list of the priests’ addresses, the most comprehensive accounting of the whereabouts of the 233 clergy accused of abuse in civil lawsuits in the Los Angeles archdiocese. They hope to use it Thursday to persuade a judge to recommend the release of all church files for every priest or religious brother ever accused of sexual abuse in the sweeping litigation.
Those confidential files are at the center of a heated dispute between the church and plaintiffs’ lawyers since the nation’s largest archdiocese reached a record-breaking $660 million settlement nearly four years ago. Plaintiffs want the files — which could include internal correspondence, previous complaints and therapy records — released, saying it’s a matter of public safety. The church is pushing for a more limited release of information.
The list of addresses, obtained by The Associated Press, contains nearly 50 former priests who live unmonitored in California, and another 15 in cities and towns from Maryland to Texas to Montana. More than 80 more cannot be located despite an exhaustive search by plaintiffs’ attorneys. Four are believed to have fled to Mexico or South America. About 80 are dead.
Lead plaintiff lawyer Raymond Boucher says it’s the only time anyone has put together a list of priest addresses in any other diocese or archdiocese nationwide. Lawyers hope to eventually make the names and locations of abusive priests available to the public, similar to Megan’s Law databases that exist nationwide….
The church is willing to release a significant number of documents from priest files and has already made public the names of priests who were credibly accused or whose names were listed in civil lawsuits, Hennigan said. The archdiocese believes, however, that many of the priests whose addresses appear on the list were wrongfully accused. The archdiocese included those clergy in the $660 million payout without admitting wrongdoing, simply to settle the claims, Hennigan said.