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Vatican voices ‘shame and sorrow’ over damning sex abuse report

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, August 17th, 2018

 

 

Pope Francis and Vatican spokesman onboard plane | Reuters

The Vatican, in its first response to a damning report by a U.S. grand jury on sexual abuse of children by priests in Pennsylvania, on Thursday (August 16) expressed “shame and sorrow”.

The grand jury on Tuesday (August 14) released the findings of the largest-ever investigation of sex abuse in the U.S. Catholic Church, finding that 301 priests in the state had sexually abused minors over the past 70 years.

In a statement, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke also said the Catholic Church “must learn hard lessons from its past”, and that the Vatican vowed to hold abusers and enablers accountable.

The statement stressed the “need to comply” with civil law, including mandatory reporting of abuse against minors and said Pope Francis understands how “these crimes can shake the faith and spirit of believers” and that he wanted to “root out this tragic horror”.

Earlier on Thursday, U.S. Roman Catholic bishops called for a Vatican-led probe backed by lay investigators into allegations of sexual abuse by former Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who resigned last month. — Reuters

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Pope orders investigation of bishop as U.S. Church leaders meet on abuse crisis

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, September 14th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

 

Pope Francis has ordered an investigation of an American bishop accused of sexual misconduct with adults and accepted his resignation, the Vatican and U.S. Church officials said on Thursday (September 13).

The announcement was made as the pope was meeting U.S. Catholic Church leaders to discuss the fallout from a scandal involving a former American cardinal and demands from an archbishop that the pontiff to step down.

Reuters correspondent Philip Pullella said, “it seems that every day there is a new surprise.”

The bishop who resigned is Michael J. Bransfield, 75, of the diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia. The Vatican said the pope had appointed Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore to run the diocese until a new bishop is appointed.

The Catholic Church worldwide is reeling from crises involving sexual abuse of minors. Surveys show plummeting confidence in the Church in the United States, Chile, Australia, and Ireland where the scandal has hit hardest, as well as in other countries. — Reuters

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Man yells ‘Shame on you!’ as Cardinal Wuerl speaks about sex abuse scandal

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, September 3rd, 2018

 

Cardinald Donald Wuerl speaking about sex abuse scandal | REUTERS

A man attending a Catholic mass led by Cardinal Donald Wuerl on Sunday (September 2) yelled “Shame on you!” and walked out as the Church leader spoke about the sex abuse scandal and the need to be loyal to Pope Francis.

“I ask your prayers for me for forgiveness in any of my errors of judgment, for any of my inadequacies as well as for the grace to find with you ways of healing, ways of moving out of this darkness,” Wuerl told parishioners at the Annunciation Catholic Church in Washington.

Catholic priests in Pennsylvania sexually abused thousands of children over a 70-year period and silenced victims through “the weaponization of faith” and a systematic cover-up campaign by their bishops, the Pennsylvania state attorney general said in August.

Prior to his current role as archbishop of Washington, Wuerl was bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006.

A grand jury report on the abuse found that during that time, Wuerl had reassigned priests who had been accused of abusing children, rather than taking stronger action.

The grand jury report did not accuse Wuerl of personally sexually abusing children. — Reuters

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Pennsylvania report details decades of alleged sexual abuse by priests

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

Victims crying, comforting each other | Reuters

 

Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania sexually abused thousands of children over a 70-year period and silenced victims through “the weaponization of faith” and a systematic cover-up campaign by their bishops, the state attorney general said on Tuesday (August 14).

An 884-page report made public by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro after a two-year investigation contained graphic examples of children being groomed and sexually abused by clergymen. It was largely based on documents from secret archives kept by the dioceses, including handwritten confessions by priests, he said.

“It was child sexual abuse, including rape, committed by grown men – priests – against children,” Shapiro told a press conference.

The attorney general said it was the most comprehensive report on Catholic clergy sex abuse in American history, nearly two decades after an expose of widespread abuse and cover-up in Boston that rocked the Roman Catholic church.

Several of the dioceses issued statements apologizing to victims and saying they were taking steps to ensure any criminal behavior was stopped. “The grand jury has challenged us as a Catholic diocese to put victims first and to continue to improve ways to protect children and youth,” Bishop Lawrence Persico of the Erie Diocese said in a statement.

As accusers wept behind him, Shapiro described alleged abuse by priests in six of the state’s eight dioceses, including a group of Pittsburgh clergymen accused of ordering an altar boy to strip naked and pose as Christ on the cross while they photographed him.

“The pattern was abuse, deny and cover up,” Shapiro said, adding that church officials sought to keep abuse allegations quiet long enough so they could no longer be prosecuted under Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations.

“Priests were raping little boys and girls,” Shapiro said. “They hid it all for decades.”

The report cited 301 priests, some of whom have died. Only two of the priests are still subject to prosecution. — Reuters

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