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However, the law will exempt clergy members from the reporting requirement when confidentiality is required by the religious organization, such as anything a priest hears during confession. A minister who hears about possible child abuse while counseling a parishioner, for example, would not have to tell authorities.
Delaney said she filed her bill after a church in her Northern Virginia district failed to act on a case of child abuse. She said 27 other states have laws making clergy mandatory reporters. Priest with "established" allegations of abuse in residence at a New Orleans parish ST. March 27, The Dominican Province of St. Joseph has posted a list of those friars "credibly accused" of the sexual abuse of a minor. This list included the name of a man with an allegation that was "deemed to be established by the lay Provincial Review Board.
Richard Raphael Archer was removed from public ministry in , according to the Dominicans. Yet the website of St. Dominic Parish in New Orleans, which has an attached school that serves children pre-K through 7th grade, shows that the priest is "in residence. Archer's 65 years as a priest. He claims Bishop Bransfield abused his power to get close to his client, who is referred to as J. Warner also told us his client had planned to have a career within the church but left the faith after his experiences. In this case, the suit alleges that Bishop Bransfield used that power to sexually assault the plaintiff, who was previously an altar server at the Cathedral of St.
Joseph and interim secretary to the Bishop. Warner says this type of behavior allegedly occurred with other adolescent and adult males, describing Bransfield in the complaint as a "sexual predator. And according to my client what happened to him was observed by other senior members of the church and he observed the Bishop do things inappropriately to other young men. It wasn't until the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston asked for people to come forward as part of its investigations Warner says his client reached out to tell his story.
The Diocese said that no criminal activity was found in its investigation into Bishop Bransfield, but Warner says they found his client's story to be credible. March 27, Despite being a month behind their self-imposed deadline, church officials from the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City still have no date in sight for when they will follow in the footsteps of more than dioceses around the country and release a list of credibly accused priests, nuns, deacons and other church staff.
Rather than continuing to delay these disclosures, we believe that Archbishop Paul Coakley should instead release what he has now and make amendments later. Nowhere is it etched in stone that all child molesting clerics must be revealed at exactly the same time, but we suspect that church officials prefer this approach because it means less publicity for predator priests. The editor of the Vatican's magazine for women denied that he attempted to exert control of the magazine's staff after the publication's founder and entire staff of female writers resigned en masse Wednesday.
The plaintiff, a onetime seminarian in his early 20s identified in court filings by the initials J. He was previously accused of abusing a minor during his time as a priest in Philadelphia — a claim Bransfield denied. Both prosecutors and the archdiocese reviewed the allegation; neither ultimately took action against him. But even amid the current scandal, J. Victims of sexual abuse in Pennsylvania can bring a lawsuit against their attackers until they're years-old under the current statute of limitations.
Last year, a bill that would open a two-year window for victims over the age of 50 to bring civil suits for their abuse passed in the Pennsylvania House, but stalled late in the year in the Senate. This, after the recommendations for just such a law from PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro after the release of the grand jury report on predator priests in Pennsylvania. The day after a Catholic priest pleaded no contest to sexual assault and drug charges, prosecutors said it would have been foolish of him to have gone before a jury with the audio recordings they had.
Robert J. He pleaded no contest March 26 to second-degree criminal sexual conduct, gross indecency between two males, and manufacturing or distributing an imitation controlled substance. The most serious charge is second-degree criminal sexual conduct, a year felony. The tapes were recorded by a teenager who filed a police report against DeLand in November , then went undercover in other interactions with the priest, equipped with a recording device provided by investigators. Five dioceses from the province of Quebec will allow an external audit of their files regarding sex abuse cases, the Archdiocese of Montreal announced March A lawsuit claiming the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is liable for alleged child molestation by one of its former priests in the s will remain in New Jersey court, a state Superior Court judge in Atlantic County has ruled.
Atlantic County Judge Christine Smith held that New Jersey was the appropriate venue for the John Doe lawsuit against defrocked priest Craig Brugger because some of the instances of alleged abuse took place in state. Brugger, who died in , was laicized in after abuse allegations against him surfaced. In the Doe lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged he was sexually assaulted several times by Brugger from to when he attended St. After a nun intervened, Brugger was transferred to another parish. A Corpus Christi priest accused of sexual misconduct wants to know how the Diocese of Corpus Christi is backing up its claims against him.
Attorneys for Msgr. Michael Heras and the diocese were in court Wednesday on a court filing by Heras' lawyer Andrew Greenwell. In it, Heras asks for documents and possible depositions related to Heras' "alleged 'admission' to child abuse and sex with a minor. Two systematic theologians examined how power and clericalism among Catholic clergy played a role in creating the sexual abuse crisis that has rocked the church anew since June during a daylong Catholic University of America conference. While offering differing perspectives, Richard Gaillardetz of Boston College and Chad Pecknold of The Catholic University of America agreed March 26 that clericalism needed to be addressed if the church is to begin recovering from the scandal.
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Pope Francis has described clericalism as an attitude embraced by priests and bishops in which they see themselves as special or superior to others. On the other hand, Pecknold theorized that clericalism stems from a willingness to turn away from God and the call to true priestly ministry as exercised by Jesus rather than solely the desire to maintain power and influence over others. A Chilean appeals court ruled on Wednesday that the Catholic Church should pay compensation to three victims in a sex abuse case involving former Santiago parish priest Fernando Karadima, potentially opening the floodgates to similar civil lawsuits.
The men accuse Karadima of having sexually abused them decades ago, and the Church of having covered up that abuse. The case could pave the way for a flood of civil lawsuits seeking monetary damages from the Latin American country's Catholic Church, and beyond. Chilean investigators have looked into about allegations of sexual abuse or cover-ups involving Church officials or workers. The scandal last week prompted Pope Francis to accept the resignation of Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, the archbishop of Santiago and the highest-ranking member of the Catholic Church in Chile.
Thus, the attached petition demands that equality of responsibilities and rights between men and women finally be recognized in the Catholic Church. We hope that the filing of this lawsuit against Bishop Michael Bransfield will help J. It is a brave thing to come forward with allegations and we commend him for doing so. We suspect that the announcement of this suit will encourage other victims who may be suffering in silence to come forward and report their own abuse. We hope that when they do, they contact independent law enforcement or the attorney general, not Church officials.
It is also disappointing that, despite powerful rhetoric from Church officials about the need to combat sexual abuse, those who have pushed the Church to continue working on the issue are leaving feeling ostracized and punished. I am the first known victim of priest Kevin Gugliotta. I am no longer Mr. My name is Michael Mautone. Today, I go public for many reasons. First and foremost I stand in support of all victims to encourage them to come forward … not necessarily go public as I am doing today … to come forward and report the crimes of your abusers.
I stand in support of change to systems and organizations that failed to address this issue and instead allowed perpetrators to repeat their offenses. I stand to hold accountable those in power who directly took action or inaction in a choice to protect abusers over a choice to protect children and young adults.
And I stand to finally hold accountable Kevin Gugliotta for his crimes against me and others. I am deeply pained and saddened by the recent news that another victim has come forward to report being assaulted by Kevin. In , I filed a complaint with the Newark Archdiocese alleging that Gugliotta had abused me in the s when he was a Boy Scout leader. He later became a priest. Former St. As part of his plea deal, Guidry will have to stay in Acadia Parish until his sentencing, turn over his passport and be placed on the sex offender registry.
We are deeply troubled by watching active members of St. Guidry, 75, is the former pastor of St. In December , Guidry was formally charged with molestation of a juvenile by the St. Landry Parish District Attorney. The victim and his parents sued Guidry and the Diocese of Lafayette in August of , claiming that a Diocesan official said they would discontinue therapy for the victim and his family should they file suit.
To answer that question, take a look at the recent Times obituary for the highly influential Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Belgium. This cardinal was a liberal, but he was also a liberal with a connection to The Scandal. The key to this obituary — no surprise — is what it does not include, especially the voices of Catholics who criticized his efforts to liberalize church doctrines on sexuality. For example, they criticized church sex-education materials about children, sex and pedophilia. Hold that thought. Here is the Times overture:. Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Belgium, a liberal supporter of Pope Francis and a former Vatican adviser whose long pastoral career was damaged in a sex-abuse scandal after his retirement, died on March 14 at his home in Mechelen, north of Brussels.
He was Cardinal Danneels, who spoke several languages, was considered a progressive in Roman Catholic leadership, supporting a greater role for women in the church and a less rigid policy against contraception. He believed that H. Years before Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world by retiring in , Cardinal Danneels had raised the possibility of popes retiring in advanced age or when their health deteriorated. They complained that he had not done enough to thwart growing secularization in Belgium, whose government has approved same-sex marriage, in vitro fertiliz.
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Citing an influx of files and documents, the attorney in charge of the investigation into abuse by priests in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City said the report detailing findings will not be finished by the end of the month, despite already being a month behind schedule. The report was set to be released February 28th after allegations dating back to the s were brought to light in the summer of The highest profile was the case of former priest Ben Zoeller who was credibly accused of abuse in August , for an incident in the early s according to a release from the Archdiocese.
Croninger said she should could not comment on how many documents have been collected so far nor could she give a timeline for when the investigation may be complete. Attempts for a comment from the Archdiocese were redirected to Croninger. Requests for comment from the local chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests were repeatedly unanswered. Posted on March 27, AM. The horror of the abuse he remembers experiencing at that hands of his local parish priest haunted him into silence. And for half a century he felt alone — isolated and, at times, lost in his own memories.
Julian Goodman. Instead, he bottled up the pain and carried the burden alone for 50 years. Even today, as a staff member at a Catholic church in Georgia, he struggles to attend Mass. Sheehan, 66, is now left with the emotional scars of the abuse he remembers and lingering questions that may never be answered. How could this priest, he remembers thinking, a man who pinned my body to the ground and violated me inside my own church, use those same hands to turn bread and wine into the body and the blood of Christ? Why did he choose me? Who was this man? One of the world's worst scandal-tainted bishops living in your parish?
Not to worry, say local Catholic Church leaders. By means of a letter signed by the pastor of St. Edward on the Lake, the Archdiocese of Detroit is assuring parishioners that it "is patently untrue" that Archbishop John Nienstedt could be a "potential threat" to their community north of Port Huron. In a surprise announcement at the end of Mass on Saturday afternoon, Fr. Lee Acervo told his flock at St.
Edward for the first time that Nienstedt is their neighbor. He emphasized that allegations against him are unproven — and added that the March 20 Metro Times cover story, in which his residence was revealed, is "not based on truth. The church made copies of the letter from Acervo — which also provided "my absolute assurance" that any "insinuations" that Nienstedt could be a dangerous neighbor "are unfounded" — available to people leaving Mass. But Acervo is apparently only the messenger of this "all clear" signal. In his remarks from the pulpit, Acervo said that even though it's in the first person and signed by him, he didn't compose the letter — "the archdiocese wrote it.
By Caroline Schelle A boy was homesick and upset during a Victorian school camp when a priest molested him more than 40 years ago. Notorious pedophile priest and teacher Frank Gerard Klep admitted abusing the boy at a Salesian College camp at Dromana in the s. It was the second night of the camp and the year-old boy was upset and homesick when Klep came and sat on his bed.
Klep also ingratiated himself with the boy's family, helping his mother get a job at the college, Mr Devlin said. But Father Percy said that this is not a time for the Church to retreat in shame. The price exacted has been enormous. Diocese of Erie responds to Garabedian news conference saying he misspoke Following the news conference with alleged clergy victim Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, the Diocese of Erie has released a statement of their own, saying the attorney "misspoke regarding the conduct of the Diocese".
As Attorney Mitchell Garabedian announced during a news conference this morning, the Diocese of Erie has settled all legal claims brought by a victim of David L. The Diocese of Erie stands behind the settlement in the interests of justice and recognizes the harms suffered by this victim. However, Mr.
Garabedian repeatedly misspoke regarding the conduct of the diocese. The Most Rev. Lawrence T. Persico, bishop of Erie, has expressed his disappointment and surprise at the amount of misinformation in Mr. He failed to take into account much information that is publicly available. If what Mr. Garabedian alleges were true and complete, then Attorney General Shapiro would have prosecuted individuals beyond David Poulson. This case was thoroughly investigated under Pennsylvania law by trained law enforcement prosecutors and agents who subpoenaed documents and testimony.
Per the settlement, signed by Mr. Garabedian, attached , he was well aware that the Diocese of Erie:. As a direct result, the wrongdoer, Poulson, was convicted and is behind bars. Garabedian emphasized that sorrow is not enough and that victims need to see action. Getting a sex offender put in prison is action.
Garabedian also appears to be inexplicably unaware of the following substantial measures taken by the diocese:. Over the past decade, New Jersey legislators have considered easing the tight deadlines that victims of sexual abuse face in filing civil lawsuits for damages. Twice the legislation got nowhere, but events of the past year or so have made an unstoppably strong case for the change.
After a Pennsylvania grand jury report identified Catholic Church clergy members credibly accused of sexual assault, New Jersey in September launched its own investigation. In , USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to to years in prison on multiple guilty pleas after accusations he molested at least girls and young women.
This year a special committee of the Legislature has been investigating the handling by the campaign and administration of Gov. Phil Murphy of a sexual assault allegation by one campaign staffer against another. Katie Brennan, who has filed a civil suit against the state and alleged attacker Al Alvarez, was among the first to testify at a state Senate hearing on the bill to make it easier to file such lawsuits.
The Diocese of Montreal has assigned an independent committee to examine more than five decades of files related to allegations of sexual abuse committed on children by the clergy or church personnel in Montreal-area parishes. The former rector of the Paray-le-Monial shrines, Father Bernard Peyrous is a specialist in the history of spirituality and spiritual theology as well as the former postulator for the beatification of Marthe Robin. The priest is also a well known personality in the Emmanuel Community, a lay Catholic association. He has been a highly appreciated spiritual director of hundreds of people.
At least, this was the case until October , when — to general surprise — the thenyear-old priest resigned from all his duties. In consultation with leaders of the Emmanuel Community, Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard of Bordeaux instituted precautionary measures that placed restrictions on Fr. Peyrous for "gravely inappropriate behavior towards an adult woman. By Michelle Boorstein U. Catholics know they are in the thick of a clergy sexual abuse crisis, but that's where agreement ends.
When the abuse topic exploded in the church in the early s, everyone knew the focus was stopping the shuffling around and coverup of priests abusing children. In , there's a void. With that lack of consensus, many parish priests are saying little about the crisis. Into that space, some Catholic universities are plunging with new abuse-related academic credentialing programs, million-dollar research grants and conferences - all related to exploring clergy abuse. Among the conferences was one this week at the Catholic University of America, which is run by U.
It featured something Catholics don't see often: Experts with totally different points of view on the topic sharing a stage at a prominent Catholic institution. Santa Clara University is asking if the West Coast has a particular perspective on abuse, with its large population of Latino Catholics and Catholics from other countries around the world.
Posted on March 26, PM. Was it sensitivity to the victims of sexual abuse or another slap in their faces? The history of the Catholic Church and the Buffalo Diocese practically shouts the latter. The question is how the local church went about acknowledging the deaths of priests credibly accused of molesting children. The policy implemented by Bishop Richard J. In a internal memo obtained by The Buffalo News, Malone explained that the new policy was to be more sensitive to survivors of clergy sex abuse.
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Events such as the death of an abuser could trigger survivors to suffer the trauma of their abuse all over again. Indeed, if those priests had been afforded the usual funeral, critics would later have howled. Nevertheless, the explanation would be more plausible if the church had already been acknowledging the abuses committed by many priests. Instead, it was trying to keep its dirty secret. Some of them see it as part of a continuing effort to shield the church from public accountability. Brooke, who was ordained in , has also served in Columbia.
According to the Sedalia Democrat and a Google summary from his now offline personal website, he served as a priest at Sacred Heart Parish from He was also listed as an alum of St. Thomas More Newman Center in a Facebook post from parish alumni, and according to reports also provided weekend fill-in work at various parishes throughout mid-Missouri.
She said the diocese also contacted local police. Despite fierce opposition from the Catholic Church, state legislators passed a bill today giving victims of sexual assault in New Jersey significantly more time to file lawsuits against their abusers. Phil Murphy is expected to sign the bill, which had been stalled in the state Legislature for more than two decades. The state Assembly voted with five abstentions Monday to approve the measure S , which would vastly expand the current two-year statute of limitations for such civil suits to seven years in most cases.
Your Illinois colleague is conducting a similar probe. At this point in her probe, Illinois citizens had learned the names of credibly accused clerics. At this point in your probe, Missouri citizens have learned the names of 48 credibly accused clerics. De momento, el episcopado no ha detallado el lugar exacto de los hechos y la fecha. Los Mossos acusan a los Maristas de poner trabas para investigar los abusos [Investigators accuse Marists of obstructing abuse investigation].
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La verdad es tan fundamental como el aire para la convivencia … y en un tribunal cada uno tiene su papel …. Karadima: acusan demora en fallo por demanda [Karadima case: accusers' lawyer criticizes delays]. Los cuatro casos de encubrimiento que se le imputan al cardenal Ricardo Ezzati [Four alleged cover-up cases involving Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati]. Well-known Boston Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who represents sexual abuse cases, holding a news conference in Erie to discuss his client's settlement.
His client was allegedly abused by now-former Reverend David L. Pope Francis's pick to replace Chile's top cardinal — who has been dismissed over allegations of covering up cases of clerical sexual abuse — was on Monday forced to deny that he himself had covered up the crimes of predator priests.
In a case that appears to cast doubt on Francis' judgement in appointing him to replace Chile's top prelate Ricardo Ezzati, Spanish bishop Celestino Aos was forced to deny allegations from two sex abuse victims that he covered up for their abuser. One of the victims, former seminarian Mauricio Pulgar, publicly slammed Aos' appointment on Monday, saying he had dismissed his complaints in The allegations against Aos date from when he was bishop in Valparaiso, where he acted as the Church's promoter of justice, a role akin to a prosecutor, investigating abuse cases.
He was accused by the abuse victims of denigrating their claims against a local priest, Jaime Da Fonseca, whom he cleared. Da Fonseca was found guilty in a subsequent investigation by the Vatican and expelled from the priesthood last year. I fulfilled them as I thought best, and the promoter of justice does not decide the sentence," said Aos, who until his sudden elevation by Francis on Saturday, had been bishop of Copiapo in northern Chile. He never gave me the opportunity to present evidence, or witnesses," Pulgar told Radio Cooperativo. To date, year-old Ezzati, who was the Catholic Church's highest official in Chile, has insisted he is innocent.
He has promised to cooperate with the investigation into his activities — if the authorities first clear him. What about dads? It was a bold effort to address the horror of child abuse across cultures and to get on the same page in terms of what needs to be done. Particularly striking for me was that three of the frankest and most challenging talks were delivered by two lay women and one woman religious. She laid down a challenge unlike any I have heard in such a Vatican-sponsored forum.
I only wish there had been a similar speech from a father who could articulate his sense of protectiveness for his children and righteous anger at anyone who would harm them, be they priest or bishop, teacher or relative. Where was the voice that represented me? Of course, there were a few fathers present, Vatican lay officials who did not formally address the assembly. Cardinals and bishops spoke, moms and nuns, but no one specifically spoke to the gathering from the point of view of a father.
A Catholic priest in Saginaw County has pleaded no contest to a sexual assault charge and two other charges, avoiding a second trial scheduled to begin on Tuesday, March The most serious charge is second-degree criminal sexual conduct, which is a year felony. The service is part of Springfield Bishop Mitchell T.
Church abuse probe passes six month mark ST. Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, they will also: --disclose that a notorious predator priest, who molested in St. Louis, is up for parole, --beg his victims and their families to write authorities urging he be kept locked up, and --urge St. Louis Catholic officials to tell their flock about the upcoming parole hearing. Louis at N. Posted on March 26, AM. The case of a former Massachusetts priest who was convicted of sexually assaulting an altar boy in Maine years ago is due to return to court later this week.
Ronald Paquin was found guilty of 11 of 24 counts of gross sexual misconduct in November and has been awaiting sentencing. Paquin's sentencing was delayed when his attorney filed a motion requesting a mental health evaluation. A judge granted the request. A pair of men who testified during Paquin's trial said they were altar boys when the priest invited them on trips in the s and assaulted them repeatedly. Paquin also spent more than a decade in a Massachusetts prison for sexually abusing an altar boy there. While on the lam in Peru, a former Mississippi priest confessed — in writing — to abusing a child in the s.
Despite the confession, the priest cannot be prosecuted for his crime by Mississippi authorities. Last week, the Rev. Paul Madden was on the list released by the Catholic Diocese of Jackson of clergy "credibly accused" of sexual abuse. Madden was accused of molesting a boy in Ireland in In a letter to the boy's mother, Madden admitted to the molestation. He also said that when he was confronted by the bishop in that he admitted his guilt privately at that time. Madden began working in Peru in the s and was indoctrinated there in , two years after the Jackson Diocese suspended his faculties.
He is currently retired and living in Peru, according to the diocese. He could could not be reached for comment. Father Paul Madden was on the list released by the Catholic diocese of Jackson of clergy "credibly accused" of sexual abuse. Photo: Jimmy ChalkGlobalPost. Last week, the mother of the victim provided the Clarion Ledger with letters — some copies, some originals — between her and Madden. The letters begin in and end in Since the abuse happened overseas, Mississippi has no jurisdiction, according to Margaret Ann Morgan, spokesperson with the Attorney General's office.
March 26, There is an effort Tuesday to ease the hurt caused by sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church. Bishop Eamon Casey, whose s affair with a young American woman produced a child and was the first major shockwave for the Irish Catholic Church, also abused three young girls, including his niece at the age of five it has been revealed. His niece, Patricia Donovan, told the Irish Daily Mail that she was raped by Casey when she was just five years old and assaulted sexually for years by the Bishop. It was the worst kind of abuse, it was horrific. It was one horrific thing after another.
Donovan was one of three women who made allegations that they were abused as children and in two of the cases financial settlements were made. Casey admitted he had molested one of the girls when he was based in Britain. As a boy growing up in Worth and attending Our Lady of the Ridge School, Robert Mergenthaler always felt there was something off about the parish priest Fr.
Norbert Maday. He was overly friendly to the children, especially the boys, but he could just as quickly turn mean. The other priests in the parish were stern, but they never tried to intimidate us," said Mergenthaler, now Maday's name appears in the Anderson Report, a list containing the names of roughly Illinois priests released last week by lawyers representing victims of sexual abuse by priests.
Maday was ordained to the priesthood in when he was Between and , Maday was assigned to St. John of God and St.
Jude the Apostle in South Holland. There was a settlement by the Catholic Diocese of Erie in a sexual abuse allegation against former priest David Poulson. The allegations go back as far as when the former priest, and convicted pedophile, was assigned at Saint Michael's in Fryburg, and Saint Anthony of Padua in Cambridge Springs, between the years of and Ezzati, 77, has faced accusations that he was involved in covering up the crimes of several abusive priests.
His resignation was accepted March The current crisis of the Church in Chile is a consequence of the uncovering of a great number of cases of sexual abuse and the abuse of authority and conscience as well as cover-up by members of the clergy. In that context Ezzati is facing the civil justice system, accused of allegedly covering up sexual abuse by the former chancellor of the Archdiocese of Santiago, Fr. It's not enough for them to say that someone has covered up, it has to be proven, and I hold my head high, confident that that will not be shown.
Republican Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, himself a Catholic, brought a lawsuit under the grounds of the Consumer Credit and Protection Act and alleges that the diocese and former bishop failed to meet or enforce the standards in which it advertised and claimed to operate safe environments for minors, and now he is soliciting further witnesses as the case makes its way through the circuit court of Wood County. Earlier this month, Lori announced that he, along with a team of 5 lay experts, had completed his investigation and sent the report to Rome for review, although its findings have not been made public.
Morrisey is now calling on that report to be made public, saying that there has been a lack of transparency from the diocese in its refusal to release certain requested records. A former priest facing child sex abuse accusations will await his trial out of custody, an Albuquerque judge ruled Monday. Prosecutors say Griego violently raped the girl multiple times, beginning when she was a second-grade student at Queen of Heaven Catholic School.
Judge Charles Brown said the state offered no evidence that Griego had harmed anyone in the 27 years since the alleged abuse took place, and there was no sign that he is presently a danger. What lessons can the clergy sex abuse crisis draw from a 4th-century church schism?
A string of sex abuse scandals have rocked Christian communities recently: In the Roman Catholic Church, revelations related to sex abuse by priests continue to unfold across the globe. These scandals stand alongside abuses by prominent male church officials that have occurred in independent Christian communities, such as Harvest Bible Chapel, Willow Creek Community Church and Mars Hill Church.
Such scandals have led to widespread doubts about church officials and institutions. And this is not for the first time. As a scholar of early Christianity, I know that in the fourth century, Christian churches in North Africa faced a similar crisis of trust in their leaders. Known as the Donatist controversy, it caused a schism that lasted for centuries and offers a parallel for thinking about the impact of these crises on contemporary Christian communities today. The Church under pressure: Reform or counter-reform?
Bishop Charles Morerod, who is recognized as one the leading intellectuals among the Catholic hierarchy of Europe, recently told La Croix "the Church reforms itself under the influence of seemingly adverse forces. Mounting pressure is a key factor to consider in the debates within the Church about the institutional reforms that are needed to address how bishops have failed in handling sex abuse cases. But this pressure on the institutional Church is undeniably different today from that of the past.
First, there is pressure from internal debate within the Church , as well as from external forces the media, society and culture, the state and the judiciary. This pressure is more visible and public than in the past. And it is also something much more difficult for the institutional Church to control, not by coercive measures, but in the sense of controlling the narrative.