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Indiana bishop announces he'll release list of accused abusers in diocese

Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, said he will collect and release a list of the names of priests in the diocese he currently heads who committed sexual offenses against minors.

Franciscan brother goes on hunger strike to decry conditions in Brazil

Since the end of July, six Brazilians, including Franciscan Br. Sergio Gorgen, have been on a hunger strike to denounce the deteriorating conditions of many Brazilians due to increased violence, unemployment and hunger.

Pope calls entire Church to pray and fast after clerical sex abuse revelations

Vatican City, Aug 20, 2018 / 05:55 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis called Monday for every member of the Catholic Church to pray and fast in penance for the evil of clerical sex abuse, and to be involved in needed change within the Church.

“The only way that we have to respond to this evil that has darkened so many lives is to experience it as a task regarding all of us as the People of God,” Francis wrote Aug. 20.

In a letter to the entire Church following widespread revelations of clerical sex abuse in the Church in the United States, the pope invited “the entire holy faithful People of God to a penitential exercise of prayer and fasting, following the Lord’s command.”

“This can awaken our conscience and arouse our solidarity and commitment to a culture of care that says ‘never again’ to every form of abuse,” he said. “Every one of the baptized should feel involved in the ecclesial and social change that we so greatly need.”

In the letter, Francis acknowledged the recent publication of a report detailing abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses, which included more than 300 priests and 1,000 victims, over a period of around 70 years.

Recognizing the deep pain and suffering endured by many minors who have experienced sexual abuse, or the abuse of power or conscience, at the hands of clerics, he said no effort to seek pardon or to repair the harm will ever be enough.

“Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated,” he stated.

He said the words of St. Paul, that “‘If one member suffers, all suffer together with it’… forcefully echo” in his heart.

The pope also emphasized that he thinks a conversion of the Church is “impossible” if it does not include the “active participation” of all the members of the Church, and he criticized the silencing or ignoring of some Catholics through the creation of elitist groups or projects.

In particular, all forms of clericalism should be rejected, he said, because clericalism undervalues baptismal grace and can lead to abuses by Church authority. Clericalism causes “an excision in the ecclesial body that supports and helps to perpetuate many of the evils that we are condemning today.”

Voicing strong support for all the victims of clerical sex abuse and for their families, he said though most of the cases recently come to light, “belong to the past,” as time goes on the pain of the victims has come to be more known.

He said the gravity and extent to which clerical sexual abuse of minors and other abuse has happened takes “coming to grips… in a comprehensive and communal way,” and while conversion requires acknowledgment of the truth, it is “not enough.”

“This change calls for a personal and communal conversion that makes us see things as the Lord does… to be where the Lord wants us to be, to experience a conversion of heart in his presence. To do so, prayer and penance will help,” he stated.

The penitential aspect of fasting will help Catholics to come before the Lord “as sinners imploring forgiveness and the grace of shame and conversion,” so that actions “attuned to the Gospel” can follow, he explained.

He prayed that fasting and prayer will open people’s ears to the pain of children, young people, and the disabled, that it will make Catholics “hunger and thirst for justice,” and impel the Church “to walk in the truth, supporting all the judicial measures that may be necessary.”

“It is essential that we, as a Church, be able to acknowledge and condemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics, and all those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for those most vulnerable,” he continued.

“Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others,” he said. “An awareness of sin helps us to acknowledge the errors, the crimes and the wounds caused in the past and allows us, in the present, to be more open and committed along a journey of renewed conversion.”

Francis says Catholic Church 'abandoned' children, letting them be abused

In response to the Pennsylvania grand jury report, Pope Francis says the Catholic Church "did not act in a timely matter" to protect children and "abandoned" minors to those who would abuse them.

Omarosa Manigault Newman says Trump has met his match -- her

Distinctly Catholic: I watched Omarosa — who is enough of a star to be known universally by her first name, like Oprah — do her round of interviews last week, and she is brilliant and in a very specific way: She is brilliant the way Trump is brilliant.

Confrontation time: Cardinal McCarrick and me in 2002

Parish Diary column: The damage is done. The church has no credibility on its ability to police itself. I remember when I asked Theodore McCarrick about the sex abuse crisis, years ago.

Cameroon's church walks line of neutrality amid attacks, possible civil war

The plight of the West African country of Cameroon, where English-speaking separatists have been fighting French-speaking government forces, is worsening. Church-brokered peace talks there were postponed in August, though Cardinal Christian Tumi of Douala pledged he and his Muslim and Protestant partners would go on seeking a solution as "politically neutral servants of God."

How a teen who fought a tumor showed 'you can be holy living your daily life'

Madrid, Spain, Aug 19, 2018 / 01:00 pm (CNA).- A young woman whose cause for sainthood is being considered by the Church demonstrated by her life that “you can be holy living your daily life,” according to one of her closest friends.

Alexia González-Barros was recently declared “venerable” by Pope Francis, a step in the Church process that could lead to canonization. González-Barros died in 1985 at the age of 14, after a ten-month battle with cancer.

Begoña Hernandez, Alexia's classmate and one of her best friends, recalled that the youth lived out her illness “with joy” and trust in God. Hernandez said that she had the “conviction that [González-Barros] was a saint” from the moment that she died in 1985.  

Alexia González-Barros was born in Madrid, Spain, in 1971 and was the youngest of seven siblings, two of whom died before they were born. Her parents, Francisco and Moncha, were supernumeraries in Opus Dei.

In February 1985, she was diagnosed with a malignant spinal tumor that quickly led to paralysis. She died in December that same year, just ten months after her diagnosis, in the University of Navarre Clinic in Pamplona, Spain.

During her sickness, the young girl offered her suffering for the Church and for the pope. Several biographies highlight her fortitude, peace and joy despite the severe pain she suffered.

In June, Pope Francis recognized her heroic virtues, the first step in the process of canonization.

The friendship between Begoña and Alexia began in nursery school. “We were in the same class since we were 4 or 5 years old until she died, and we were very close  friends,”  Hernandez recalled in an interview with ACI Prensa, CNA's Spanish-language sister agency.

“Alexia was a lovely person, joyful, friendly, a normal girl. I remember when I was a teenager I had a diary and I wrote down 'the people that especially help me' and on that list was Alexia. They were very simple things, but she helped me be a better person, to share with others and to not be capricious,” she said.

Hernandez said that “when we learned she could not move, all of us girls in her class went to see her. During her convalescence I continued to visit her and I sincerely say  she always exhibited joy.  With her you found peace and that was very surprising.”

“You left the hospital with joy and not with anguish or suffering,” Hernandez recalled.

A great help in maintaining hope despite the difficulties was González-Barros' mother, who “always trusted in God and reminded that we are in his hands,” Hernandez said.

During her illness, González-Barros used to repeat “Jesus I want to be healed, but if you don't want that, I want what you want.”

Hernandez said that González-Barros’ fortitude was rooted in her faith, because “she took everything that happened to her from the point of view of faith and that's is why she endured all the suffering so well.”

The process of canonization for González-Barros was opened in the Archdiocese of Madrid in 1993 and was sent on to Rome that same year.

“When Alexia died I had the conviction that my friend was a saint. Since then I have commended myself to her and I know that it has been through her intercession that she helped me on many occasions,” Hernandez said, and assured that that is a common feeling among her other classmates.

Alexia's example shows  the world that you can be holy living your daily life in a normal way. And she demonstrated that with her life,” she emphasized.

 

 

 

Wuerl cancels World Meeting of Families appearance

Washington D.C., Aug 18, 2018 / 08:35 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Archbishop of Washington has cancelled his scheduled participation at the Church’s World Meeting of Families, which will be held next week in Dublin, Ireland.

The cancellation comes after a week in which Washington’s archbishop, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, has faced heavy criticism for the way he managed priests who had been accused of sexual assault during his tenure of Bishop of Pittsburgh, from 1988 to 2006.

On Aug. 14, a Pennsylvania grand jury released its report on an 18-month investigation into seven decades of clerical sexual abuse allegations in six Pennsylvania dioceses, including Pittsburgh. The report raised serious questions about Wuerl’s handling of abuse cases, including one in which Wuerl authorized the transfer and continued ministry of a priest who had been accused of committing acts of sexual abuse decades earlier.

Wuerl has denied having had knowledge of the allegations at the time he authorized the transfer, but questions remain remain unanswered regarding his management of that case and others.

The cardinal has also recently faced questions related to what he might have known about the alleged sexually coercive behavior of his predecessor as Archbishop of Washington, former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. In recent months, McCarrick has faced allegations that he serially sexually abused two adolescent boys, and spent decades committing acts of sexual assault and coercion toward seminarians and young priests. In 2005 and and 2007, two New Jersey dioceses reached settlements with alleged victims of McCarrick.

Wuerl, who succeeded McCarrick as Archbishop of Washington in 2006, reports having had no knowledge of those settlements, or of any complaints about sexually abusive behavior on the part of McCarrick, who continued to live and minister in the Archdiocese of Washington subsequent to his retirement.

Wuerl has faced multiple calls for his resignation this week. In fact, the cardinal actually submitted a letter of resignation to Pope Francis in November 2015, upon turning 75, the age at which bishops customarily submit letters of resignation to the pope. While many insiders had expected Wuerl to remain in his post until the age of 80, it now seems likely that his resignation will be accepted before that time.

There has been no indication from the Vatican of when Wuerl’s resignation might be accepted. However, sources close to the cardinal speculate that he might remain in his position long enough to participate in initial discussions among U.S. bishops as they begin to address the fallout from the monumental sexual abuse crisis the Church is now facing.

 Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston also cancelled his participation this week in the World Meeting of Families. O’Malley withdrew from the event after announcing an investigation into allegations of sexual improprieties at the Archdiocese of Boston’s seminary.

The World Meeting of Families is organized by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life, which is headed by Cardinal Kevin Farrell, formerly the Bishop of Dallas, and before that an auxiliary bishop, under McCarrick, in the Archdiocese of Washington.

The World Meeting of Families will take place Aug. 21-26. Pope Francis will celebrate an open air Mass in Dublin’s Phoenix Park on Aug. 26.

In Australia, Christian Brothers sex abuse settlement a first after lawsuit limits end

Perth, Australia, Aug 18, 2018 / 04:09 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Christian Brothers have reached a settlement with a dying 74-year-old Australian man for physical and sexual abuse he suffered in their orphanages as a child in the 1950s and 1960s.

The man, Paul Bradshaw, is the first victim to receive compensation under a new Western Australia law that removes the time limit on bringing abuse cases.

Bradshaw will receive AUD 1 million (nearly $732,000).

Before the settlement was reached, Bradshaw was preparing to testify in Western Australia state District Court about how he suffered abuse at Castledare Junior Orphanage and Clontarf Orphanage.

Bradshaw is suffering terminal cancer and doctors have given him six months to live.

The Trustees of the Christian Brothers made the settlement for abuse committed by the deceased Brothers Lawrence Murphy, Bruno Doyle, and Christopher Angus.

Bradshaw said he aimed to use the funds to support his relatives.

“I will die happy now knowing that I can care for my family,” he said.

“I lived on the street most of my life and I don’t want them to go through the same thing I went through,” he told reporters, according to the Associated Press. “I’m just hoping now that this has been settled and I can get on with my last six months in peace.”

Bradshaw’s lawyer, Michael Magazanik, said the orphanages housed the most vulnerable children who had no families or outsiders who could protect them.

“They were utterly vulnerable and the orphanages were a magnet for the very worst of the brothers, the violent pedophiles,” he said.

The lawyer said that Brother Murphy was reported for child sex abuse 10 years before he first abused Bradshaw but nothing was done.

Bradshaw reported his abuse twice as a child but his claims were dismissed. After he left the Clontarf orphanage, he told a judge about his allegations but he was accused of lying and admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

Bradshaw did aid in the criminal prosecution of Murphy in the 1990s but prosecutors dropped the case.

The Catholic Church in Australia in May committed to an AUD 3.8 billion ($2.8 billion) national redress plan for victims of child sex abuse in Australian institutions. The Church is the first non-government institution to commit to the fund. It will be liable for an estimated AUD 1 billion ($732 million).

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse since 2012 has investigated the institutional response to sex abuse as far back as 90 years. More than 8,000 survivors of child sex abuse testified. Catholics made up about 62 percent of those abused in religious institutions.

The commission issued its final report in December.

Multiple bishops have faced trial over sex abuse allegations.

In July Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide. In May the archbishop was convicted of failing to report alleged sex abuse disclosed to him in the 1970s, when he had been a priest for only a year.

Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, faces trial for allegations of abuse.