Saturday, May 1, 2010

Cardinal Levada Failed to Mention that He Did Nothing to restrict a Priest Abuser after Learning that Priest had Molested a 13 year old Boy

"Cardinal Levada in his interview failed to mention that he himself (according to an Associated Press report published today) "did nothing to restrict a California priest after learning in 1995 that the priest had molested a 13 year old boy a decade earlier" . Levada admitted this in a 2005 deposition. The priest was finally removed from ministry in 2002 when the USCCB ennacted the zero-tolerance policy. A Vatican lawyer defended Levada's inaction as being appropriate "under the standards of the time" before 2002. "
Bill Schuch

Women Find A Way, a book about the Movement and Stories of Roman Catholic Womenpriests, Available in English and Now Published in German

First Ordination in the U.S.
in Pittsburgh, July 31, 2006
Women Find A Way, a book about Roman Catholic Womenpriests Movement features stores about some of the early pioneering women who are transforming the Catholic Church in a renewed priestly ministry. These women were ordained in apostolic succession. Women Find a Way is available on and other online retailers. See link.
Now Women Find a Way is published in German. See below.

Elsie Hainz McGrath, Bridget Mary Meehan, Ida Raming (Hg.)

Elsie Hainz McGrath, Bridget Mary Meehan, Ida Raming (Hg.)

Frauen finden einen Weg:
Die internationale Bewegung
Roemisch-Katholische Priesterinnen

Was ist aus der ersten oeffentlichen Ordination von sieben Frauen zu roemisch-katholischen Priesterinnen im Jahre 2002 geworden?
In diesem Buch erfahren Sie es! Aus einem kleinen Anfang hat sich inzwischen eine staendig wachsende internationale Bewegung entwickelt: Priesterinnen, die dem Volk Gottes in vielfaeltiger Weise dienen, die Hauskirchen oder groessere Gemeinden betreuen, als Seelsorgerinnen in Krankenhaeusern und in der Obdachlosenarbeit taetig sind. Bischoefinnen begleiten und ordinieren weitere Frauen zu Diakoninnen und Priesterinnen.
So entstehen Christuszentrierte, inklusive Gemeinden, und so wird Kirche von innen heraus mit dem Segen der goettlichen Geistkraft erneuert.


Die Herausgeberinnen:
Bridget Mary Meehan, Schwester der Christian Community, mit einem Doktorgrad in pastoralem Dienst;
Elsie Hainz McGrath, Priesterin der Gemeinde Therese of Divine Peace – Inclusive Community in St. Louis;
Ida Raming, Dr. theol., Zahlreiche Publikationen, besonders zur Thematik: Stellung und Wertung der Frau in der roemisch-katholischen Kirche.

(Theologische Orientierungen, Bd. 13, 216 S., 19,90 Euro, ISBN 3-643-10240-9)

Lit Verlag: Berlin Muenster Wien Zuerich London, 2009

Friday, April 30, 2010

Abuse Crisis Is Actually a Hierarchy Crisis/ Roman Catholic Womenpriests Ordain Two Womenpriests in Canada in April 2010

I agree with the NCR Editorial. This crisis is a hierarchy crisis, and a disaster for the Catholic Church. The Vatican and bishops are accountable and should be held responsible. This is a tragedy that belongs at the door of Pope Benedict. What can Catholics do? Stop paying and obeying. Demand change from the all-boys clerical club. cut off all funds until meaningful structural reforms are adapted such as decision-making authority in the hands of a leadership that is inclusive of women and men, non-ordained and ordained--- ordinary Catholics whose first loyalty is to the Gospel of Jesus. Catholics should also call forth from their communities spiritual leaders including married priests, women priests and other ecclesial leaders to preside at sacramental celebrations in a priest-short, sacramental church. Roman Catholic Womenpriests serve in grassroots communities in the U.S. Canada, and Europe, and are ordaining qualified candidates who are committed to a renewed priestly ministry. See photo of recent ordination in Canada of two new womenpriests.
Bridget Mary Meehan

Abuse crisis is actually a hierarchy crisis
An NCR Editorial on Apr. 30, 2010
"...The sex abuse crisis is actually a hierarchy crisis...The overwhelming evidence shows that from parish priest to pope, those charged with protecting the community, on hearing that children were being sexually abused, acted first to protect the institutional church. "
..."Who among the bishops would stand in a pulpit and admonish a congregation to follow their example in dealing with serious sin: deny, attack the accuser, hide the crime, pay for silence if discovered, and admit “mistakes were made” only when public pressure makes disclosure inevitable?"
..." It is beyond dispute now, as reporting of the crisis spreads worldwide, that the bishops used the secrecy of their privileged culture, the trust that those within the church and even the wider society conferred on them, as well as the labyrinthine and hidden protocols of their culture to shuffle offending priests and to avoid scrutiny by civil authorities. "
"The bishops’ strategy grew out of a model of governance owing more to the concept of royalty and to court behavior than to the demands of the Gospel. The royal model admits no wrong, requires absolute loyalty and is accountable to no one. Compassion has little place in the prince’s world."
Fr. Donald Cozzens, who has written extensively about the clergy culture and its shadow sides, commented, “We are witnessing the collapse of the Roman Catholic empire -- not, I hope, of the Roman Catholic church. "

In Abuse Crisis, a Church is Pitted Against Society and Itself/New York Times

In Abuse Crisis, a Church Is Pitted Against Society and Itself
Published: April 29, 2010
VATICAN CITY — "As the sexual abuse crisis continues to unfold in the Roman Catholic Church, with more victims coming forward worldwide and three bishops resigning last week alone, it is clear the issue is more than a passing storm or a problem of papal communications. "
"Instead, the church is undergoing nothing less than an epochal shift: It pits those who hold fast to a more traditional idea of protecting bishops and priests above all against those who call for more openness and accountability. The battle lines are drawn between the church and society at large, which clearly clamors for accountability, and also inside the church itself.
Uncomfortably, the crisis also pits the moral legacies of two popes against each other: the towering and modernizing John Paul II, who nonetheless did little about sexual abuse; and his successor, Benedict XVI, who in recent years, at least, has taken the issue of pedophile priests more seriously."

"He has had little choice, given the depth of the scandal and the anger it has unleashed. But when supporters defend Benedict, they are implicitly condemning John Paul and how an entire generation of bishops and the Vatican hierarchy acted in response to criminal behavior."

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Michael Rigdon and Bridget Mary Meehan Discuss Renewed Model of Priestly Ministry on Sarasota TV Program

Priest Partners, Michael Rigdon and Bridget Mary Meehan discuss a renewed model of priestly ministry in union with the people in the community as a important step to transform the hierarchical structure of the Roman Catholic Church. Michael Rigdon, Lee Breyer, and Bridget Mary, are priest partners who serve with Leadership Circle of Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community who meets for liturgy on Sat. evenings at 6pm at St. Andrew UCC Church
Posted by Bridget Mary at 4:32 PM

Legionaries Break Silence on Founder's Sex Abuse

Legionaries break silence on founder's sex abuse
Associated Press Writer
Legionaries break silence on founder's sex abuse

The No. 2 official in the conservative Legionaries of Christ order has broken his silence on revelations that the group's founder had fathered children and abused seminarians...

The revelations of Maciel's double life raised many questions that the Legion still hasn't publicly answered, including whether any current leaders covered up Maciel's misdeeds and whether any donations were used to facilitate the sexual misconduct or pay its victims.

"The case against Maciel is being closely watched as the Vatican struggles to show that it is serious about rooting out clerical sex abuse and being more transparent. The Maciel case has long been seen as emblematic of Vatican inaction on abuse complaints, since sex abuse victims had tried in the 1990s to bring a canonical trial against Maciel but were shut down by his supporters at the Vatican."

"Only in March of this year did the Legionaries acknowledge that Maciel had also sexually abused seminarians and that two men are claiming to be his sons. One of those men has asked the Legionaries for $26 million and says Maciel had promised him and his two brothers a trust fund when he died as financial compensation for the alleged sexual abuse they endured at Maciel's hands."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"Secret Sex in the Celibate System" by Richard Sipe/National Catholic Reporter

Secret sex in the celibate system
by A.W. Richard Sipe on Apr. 28, 2010 - NCR Online

..."Roman Catholic clerical culture favors doctrinal rigidity, conformity, obedience, submission and psychosexual immaturity, mistaken for innocence, in its candidates. These are the personality elements that lead to advancement and power in the clerical system. Single men are more easily controlled if their sexuality is secret. Double lives on all levels of clerical life are tolerated if they do not cause scandal or raise legal problems. Sexual activity between bishops and priests and adult partners is well known within clerical circles. The secret system forms a comfortable refuge for unresolved gay conflicts. There is a new emerging awareness of the systemic nature of sexual/celibate behavior within the Roman Catholic ministry that is increasingly destabilizing to the church.

"Dire consequences will follow the exposure of this sexual system embedded in a secret celibate culture. Authorities who are or have been sexually active, although not with minors, are hard put to publicly correct clerics who are abusing minors. The need for secrecy, the cover-up, extends beyond defending criminal activity of a sex abuser. The power and control that holds the Roman Catholic church together depends on preservation of the celibate myth. The Vatican and Pope John Paul II declared its inviolability."....

Sweden's Sole Bishop Ready to Resign/Sex Abuse Scandal in Catholic Church

Less than two weeks after he urged victims of clerical abuse to come forward so that “the guilty priests-- if they are still alive-- can receive just punishment for the crimes they have committed,” Sweden’s sole bishop says he is ready to resign amid claims that he failed in 2003 to address an abuse allegation adequately. A woman alleges that after she informed the bishop she had been abused by a priest who was having an affair with her mother, she was referred to a therapist.

“As a bishop I take full responsibility for that and am prepared to face the consequences,” said Bishop Anders Arborelius. “If it is due to me that it was not investigated, I am ready to face the consequences and ask the Pope to relieve me from my work as a bishop.”

Embattled German Bishops Submits Resignation

"Following weeks of claims of child beatings at the Schrobenhausen children’s home – and further suggestions he may have misused Church funds – Bishop Mixa, 68, sent a resignation letter to the Vatican to avoid further damage to the Church’s reputation, Mixa's office confirmed Thursday morning.

“I am taking this step in the unshakeable faith in God’s mercy and confidently hope that the Father in heaven will lead the Church of Augsburg to a good future,” he wrote, according to daily Augsburger Allgemeine.

His resignation would apply to his positions as Bishop of Augsburg and Catholic Military Bishop for the German Bundeswehr."

At Spiritus Leadership Begins With Love

"Especially in a church, Callan says, "the key thing in leadership is to create an atmosphere of love. You have to remember people's birthdays and anniversaries," and learn to "bring a little sunshine." Callan says Ramerman is much better than he at confronting problems ("I prefer to avoid confrontation," he says). "People will go to town if they feel loved," he says, "and that's my main talent." Ramerman says she has learned not to put off dealing with problems, especially personnel problems that can affect other staff and parishioners. But, she says, making sure that people feel loved "is the most transformative thing we can do."...

...The church has many ministries and each one requires many volunteers — and that's essential, Ramerman says, to encouraging people to find compassionate outlets for their many talents. The Spiritus leadership style encourages leaders to step forward and lead. Neither Ramerman nor Callan is reluctant to ask people to make a big commitment. Callan told of the church's efforts to renovate a home for men coming out of prison. "We asked people for $5,000 — about what it would cost for each room," and people wrote checks...

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Congratulations to Mary Ramerman, Jim Callan and the Spiritus Christi community. You are an image of Christ's love in our world and a model of a renewed Catholic parish in action! You are an inspiration to all that change is possible, and that Catholics will embrace a vibrant model of service in a loving community.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

"All About Inclusivity" Article on Roman Catholic Womenpriests 2010 Ordination at Centennial United Church in Victoria, BC

"All about Inclusivity"
Article Link:
Site Name: New Catholic Times
Site URL:

All about Inclusivity
Author: Phil Little
Posted by: Editor on April 26, 2010 1:00:00 AM
(Reprinted with permission of New Catholic Tmes)

She was followed by Bishop Patricia Fresen who spoke on the unusual ordination text from John citing the encounter between Jesus and the woman caught in the act of adultery. Bishop Patricia highlighted that Jesus was an orthodox Jew who took his religion seriously but he did not hesitate to critique the law or even break the law when it was applied unjustly or for evil purposes. Jesus did not come to condemn but to offer new life.

Years ago in a previous lifetime I participated in a Peruvian priest's movement. We gathered in our local groups to share news, to seek an analysis of current political and religious situations, and to deepen our commitment to Vatican II and the Latin American experiences of Medellin and Puebla. Through this movement I was provided with an essential support that educated and nourished me, helping to situate my own position as a "foreign" gringo priest working among the very poorest. This movement sort of disappeared in the 1980's, but was not forced out by authorities in the church or the state who feared its influence. In its own analysis within the context of encouraging and supporting base Christian communities, the group decided that it should "decrease" so that the "community" and its leadership could "increase". As priests of the old order, but still good faithful priests, they saw that their ministry came from and within the people of God. Clergy dominance, even when progressive, was a problem and a liability in the development of real Christian communities.

I see myself as "a priest of the old order", not chosen by a Christian community and somewhat dubious of any real "calling" other than coming out of the altar boy farm system and with a somewhat general feeling that as a priest I could do something positive for others. Much of the crisis of the church today I would attribute to this institutional apparatus that fashions priests of the old order who simply are obsolete in the church that is needed today. Old wine skins for new wine - and the precious nectar is wasted or ruined.

Through our local CORPUS group on Vancouver Island we had contact with the first woman candidate for the priesthood - Michele Birch-Conery, Ph.D. -through the Roman Catholic Women Priests (RCWP) movement. Michele began to attend our monthly ecumenical gatherings. Michele is a most accomplished woman, a professor of English literature, and prior to that she has a medical background as a "flying nurse" serving remote areas. Michele was near retirement. Why would she want to be a priest? Is this just not a feminist face to the "priest of the old order" paradigm? I was sceptical - and not too sure.

I was a human rights advocate in my work as a union representative and I understood the fundamental inequality that women in the church have faced over the centuries. The misogynist theology and policies of a patriarchal church contributed to the suffering, exclusion and oppression of women - well to be honest it still does. I understood that the RCWP movement was a logical next step for Catholic women. Groups like CNWE (Catholic Network for Women's Equality) can only talk about the issues for so long, but eventually advocating for change leads to action.

As happens sometimes the spark for change comes from a place least expected. A group of three bishops approached Dr.Patricia Fresen (a professor of theology in Rome) and asked her to consider ordination. Patricia is another of those women who has led a full life as an educator and as a member of a religious order could have chosen to retire gracefully in comfort. She had been jailed in South Africa for defying the laws of apartheid by allowing black children to attend the school where she was the director. She knew of the struggle for equality and she stood with the oppressed and paid the price. Reluctantly Patricia listened to the arguments of these bishops and she accepted ordination to the priesthood and then later as bishop so that she could make an effort in the struggle against inequality in the community that was her church. Again she paid a hefty price as she was expelled from her religious community at the insistence of the Vatican. This meant that all financial support and the security of religious life for a faithful member were abruptly ended. That was not the "vow" of poverty - rather it is real poverty.

I met Patricia Fresen a few years ago when she was visiting Vancouver Island and she asked to come and see our new home in Saltair. We asked her to bless our new home even before we had moved in and she consented graciously. There is a gentleness and depth of wisdom that comes from Patricia and I wish we could have more time with her.

On April 17, 2010 Patricia was again back on Vancouver Island for the ordination of two women to the priesthood. One of them I know as she had joined our mid-island community gatherings with her husband Robert. Kim Sylvester is another accomplished woman, professor of music with a full career behind her as well as her life as mother and grandmother. Kim felt the "call" to the priesthood and began the journey and preparation. How could you not support such a good woman? Yet still - the same question - another priest of the old order but with a woman's face?

I had a minor role in the ordination ceremony as videographer, something for which I am minimally qualified. Michele Birch-Conery drafted me and gave me her camera which is about 100 times better than my mini-Canon camera. The ordination was celebrated in the Centennial United Church in Victoria with the gracious support of its minister, Rev. Alana Menu. I recognized Rev. Rosalind Westaway, an Anglican priest, who recently retired and lives nearby in Ladysmith. Rosalind gave the welcome to the congregation. There were other women Anglican priests present. I noticed that like myself there were other married RC priests present - a former OMI and a former Jesuit among them. The church "felt" particularly warm and comfortable - this coming from one who is not known to be attentive to "feelings".

Francois Brassard was the master of ceremonies and managed to keep everything flowing smoothly. There was a choir, led by Gordon Miller, which had obviously put much effort into preparing for this ordination. Bishop Patricia came in the procession with the two women candidates and a number of other co-celebrants. There was a presentation of the candidates and witnesses to their calling came forth and spoke on their behalf.

The Liturgy of the Word was most powerful. Perhaps it was the texts chosen (Proverbs 8:32-25, 9:1-6, Acts 16:11-15, John 8:1-8) but also the readers - an Anglican priest, a laywoman and the gospel read by Rev. Alana Menu. The Rev. Ellen Willinham, an Anglican priest, then spoke about the calling of women to leadership roles in the church. She was followed by Bishop Patricia Fresen who spoke on the unusual ordination text from John citing the encounter between Jesus and the woman caught in the act of adultery. Bishop Patricia highlighted that Jesus was an orthodox Jew who took his religion seriously but he did not hesitate to critique the law or even break the law when it was applied unjustly or for evil purposes. Jesus did not come to condemn but to offer new life. This ordination was conducted according to the traditional ritual of the Church, except for the contravention of Canon 1024 which states that only a "male" can be validly ordained. Patricia outlined how this canon stands in contrast to centuries of tradition and the very example of inclusivity as witnessed in the life of Jesus as found in the gospels.

After the liturgy of the word the choir led the congregation in the singing of the Taize version of the "Veni Sancte Spiritu". This was not an ordinary church type hymn - there was almost a mystical breath of harmony as the entire congregation became one with the choir in this simple but profound prayer. Again the Myers-Briggs test says I am not a "feeling type" of guy, but there was something different happening. No dove fluttered down from the rafters, but there was a strong sense of communal unison in purpose.

As the candidates prostrated themselves before the altar, as is tradition, the community prayed in song the Litany of the Saints. This litany highlighted many of the great women of our religious tradition but also included modern saints like Bishop Romero. "All you holy men and women, pray for us" was the response and it was an invocation that made them present in this moment of deep religious renewal. Then Bishop Patricia explained the ritual of the "laying on hands" - a gesture without words that was itself the prayer. Bishop Patricia then invited the co-celebrants to follow her and then others in the congregation to then join in this prayer of the "laying on hands". All of the women priests and ministers, including those of other Christian communions, joined in this prayer of ordination as well as many of the congregation including family members of the candidates. I maintained my position as videographer but found myself profoundly affected when Rev. Alana Menu approached the candidates and joined in this ritual. I know Alana and her husband through another instance and rejoiced in her own ordination as a United Church minister only a few years ago.

Deep within me I recognized that something more profound was happening before my eyes. This was not just the ordination of two women, but it was the tearing down of walls of separation. Patricia Fresen had gone to jail in South Africa to include young black students in the school run by her religious order. This was not just equality but it was "inclusivity" - refusing to exclude and refusing to be excluded. Pope Benedict would have us believe that the other Christian communions are not real churches, and that their salvation depends on them joining us. Here I was witness to a different dimension of ecumenism - not a formal week of prayer for Christian unity as governed by the old order - but a demonstration that ecumenism is unity when it is made to happen. Women ministers united to pray for these two RC candidates in a gesture of solidarity and ecclesial love.

The communion table was again a moment that highlighted "inclusivity". Patricia Fresen highlighted two aspects that perhaps are symbolic but very powerful in the R.C.W.P. movement. The "program of service" had printed in bold "Please note that our tradition is that the Presider and ministers receive communion last, not first". At the beginning of the communion service it was also announced that at the Lord's Table "all are invited".

Religious movements and organizations pass through different stages beginning with "inspiration" and sometimes ending with "rigid institutionalization". There are powerful signs that the R.C.W.P. movement desires to move priesthood into a new paradigm. Will the inspiration provided by leaders such as Bishop Patricia Fresen sustain the group as it grows and matures? Is it possible that this new paradigm of priestly leadership will prove "contagious" and maybe even begin to influence the old order priests? Pope Benedict XVI has shown that he can go to extraordinary limits to rehabilitate renegade bishops of the Pius X movement, even when they turn out to be anti-Semitic holocaust deniers.

Perhaps with some time and growth, a successor pope might realize that for the good of the universal church, it would be opportune to offer full communion to these women who are ordained. In the meanwhile, there is some excitement, akin to the refreshing spirit in the air in the first years after Vatican II. Maybe some of the priests of the old order, those still in ministry and those who are retired and married, need to accept that it would be a "kairos" type moment to accept an option to "decrease" so that something new and potentially very alive can "increase".
Note: Comments are owned by the poster. We are not responsible for their content.

Title Author Date-Time

All about Inclusivity

Gerry Grundy April 27, 2010 09:57 AM
I am ready for this step at any time. Priests of both genders and an open communion are two things that our church is ready for. We can't wait for the hierarchy to deem it appropriate to do so. My wife and I continue to work at the grass roots of ecumenism, enjoying what we see in other denominations and embracing what we see as good. We must be ready to make bold steps as Jesus, Peter and Paul did even when being criticized for thinking outside the box. I have wanted for a long time to put on the sign of our church "All are welcome" and showing that by disposing of the tradition of an closed communion, which is so contradictory to the inclusivity of Jesus. The exclusion of women priests is based upon such weak arguments of dubious biblical research. If we keep working at it, it will eventually come to the whole church.

All about Inclusivity

Dennis Benoit April 27, 2010 02:06 PM
This women's ordination in Victoria was the second one I attended there and each time was deeply moved by the faith of the ordinands, presiders and all others who were present. Being present among those whom the Vatican has declared "outcasts" to put it mildly creates a special bond, similar to that experienced by those whom Jesus befriended and defended against the unjust laws created by the religious authorities of His time. The fact that Jesus spent the majority of His public ministry with such people without judgement or disapproval should strengthen the faith of all of us, knowing that we are not cut off from the love and grace of God whatsoever. I, a gay catholic, know first hand what it is like to be treated unjustly by most of our Catholic clergy. My faith community, Dignity Vancouver (and Dignity Canada) unconditionally acknowledge and welcome the ministry of our Catholic Women priests. One such priest, Michele Birch-Conery has aready facilitated a day of retreat and presided at a Eucharistic liturgy with us in Vancouver. Events such as these ordinations are true signs that a universal church is now underway.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Changes Have Been Made in the Church/ But Catholics Must Know the Whole Truth -Get Rid of Clerical Culture and Reform the Church

Changes have been made in the church
By Judge Nick Kuntz • April 26, 2010
Comments (3)
This article first appeared in The Sunday Enquirer, April 25, 2010.

"One of the greatest responsibilities adults ever face is the protection of children under their care.
That is a duty that falls heavily upon those who minister in the name of the Catholic Church because children are entrusted to the Church in so many ways - in schools, in religious education, in Scouting, on field trips and in sports. Parents have a right to expect that their children are as safe as humanly possible in all of these situations.

In earlier years, the Church's actions to prevent crimes against children under its care and the reactions to abuse when it happened were often inadequate or worse. I can assure you, as chair of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati's Child Protection Review Board, that things have changed."

My Reflection:
Thank you Judge Nick Kuntz for sharing your proactive approach and the actions your community has taken to protect our children. Every Catholic parish in the world needs to have a model similar to the Diocesan Review Boards to educate and provide transparency in dealing with best practices, and reviewing policy and complaints. And, of course, this includes reporting allegations to civil authorities for investigation.

As you said, the past abuse of youth was often "inadequate or worse."

In fact, I believe that the past needs to be dug up and dealt with now. If the bishops and Vatican want to heal the gaping wound that is piercing Catholicism's heart, why do they oppose removing the Statue of Limitations in sexual abuse cases against clergy? When are the victims going to get justice? And even more searing, when will their bodies, minds and spirits be healed? They are our beloved brothers and sisters, part of our family. This is now a global crisis.

Catholics around the world need to know the whole truth, put in place policies and practices such as Diocesan Review Boards. But Catholics also need to embrace the systemic changes that dismantle a clerical culture that played such a destructive role in the cover-up. Otherwise, we are only putting band-aids on a gaping wound.
Bridget Mary Meehan

History Will Judge the Catholic Faith/Cincinnati Sunday Enquirer

History will judge the Catholic faith
By Daniel Frondorf • April 26, 2010

This article first appeared in The Sunday Enquirer, April 25, 2010.

"As the clergy sex abuse scandal continues to evolve globally and is no longer simply an American anomaly, survivors of clergy sex abuse all around the world, like me, are left to wonder how and why we were forsaken by seemingly indifferent Roman Catholic leadership all those years ago...

"Recently attempting to deflect bad news, the pope and his cardinals, bishops and even his local parish priests have circled the wagons offering obligatory apologies, prayers, explanations and veiled references to the scandal muttered during Vatican homilies. The Catholics even have something terrible in common with the Jewish people - their own version of anti-Semitism as a "persecuted" faith. These reactions would be laughable if they were not so hurtful."

US Scandals Affect Local Views on Vatican Crisis
US scandals affect local views on Vatican crisis
By Dan Horn • • April 26, 2010

Comments (67)
This article first appeared in The Sunday Enquirer, April 25, 2010.

Catholics who were frustrated and angry over the church's response - or lack thereof - to abusive priests in 2002 are outraged by the more recent accusations that the pope failed to punish abusers when he was a bishop and a cardinal.

"The latest audit from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops found that the number of new credible abuse reports fell from 10 in 2008 to six last year."

"But some Catholics remain skeptical of the church's commitment and say the pope's actions as a bishop show that he was just as out of touch as the American bishops who tolerated abusive priests for years."

"The troubles in Munich relate to a known pedophile priest who was allowed to work in German parishes even after his superiors became aware of the abuse. As bishop, the pope was in charge of the diocese and responsible for dealing with abusive priests."

Australian Bishop Calls for 'Total Systemic Reform'

Australian bishop calls for ‘total systemic reform,’ says celibacy discipline should end
April 27, 2010
Saying that “the current crisis facing the Catholic Church arising out of sexual abuse is arguably the most serious challenge the Church has faced since the Reformation,” an Australian bishop says that the Church needs “total systemic reform.”
“The reform needed by the Church today will involve much more than just ‘tinkering around the edges,’” writes Auxiliary Bishop Pat Power of Canberra-Goulburn. “Issues such as the authoritarian nature of the Church, compulsory celibacy for the clergy, the participation of women in the Church, the teaching on sexuality in all aspects cannot be brushed aside. Listening must be a key component of reform and at times that will involve listening to unpalatable truths. It needs to be recognised that all wisdom does not reside exclusively in the present all male leadership of the Church and that the voices of the faithful must be heard.”

A Better Chance at Justice for Abuse Victims/New York Times
April 27, 2010
Op-Ed Contributor
A Better Chance at Justice for Abuse Victims

"New York has one of the nation’s most restrictive statutes of limitations for child sexual abuse, requiring victims to sue within five years of turning 18, whether or not they have recognized the psychological harm caused to them by their abuse.

Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, a Queens Democrat, has introduced a bill to give victims another five years to seek compensation, plus a one-year window for victims blocked by the old limitations to now bring suit. That legislation has passed the Assembly three times, yet the Senate has refused to consider it. It has now been reintroduced into the Assembly.

At the core of the opposition to this bill is heavy lobbying by the New York Catholic Conferenc"e...

If the Catholic hierarchy wants to move forward, they should support efforts toward justice for victims. Actions speak louder than words!
Bridget Mary Meehan

Monday, April 26, 2010

Austrian Cardinal Groer: Results of Vatican Investigation Never Released/ New York Times
April 26, 2010
Future Pope Tried to Get Fuller Inquiry in Abuse Case

There are indications that Benedict had a lower tolerance for sexual misconduct by elite clergy members than other top Vatican officials, including his boss, John Paul.

“He cannot expect others to be transparent, like the Irish bishops he appeals to in his letter, and not be transparent himself,”...

The results of a Vatican investigation at Cardinal Groër’s abbey in 1998 have never been released by the Vatican.

For the rest of his life, until his death seven years ago, Cardinal Groër never confessed or faced trial.

Bishop Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger Has Presided at Funerals and Weddings with Roman Catholic Male Priests In Austria- A Step Forward!

Bishop Christine Mayr- Lumetzberger presided at this funeral at which two Roman Catholic male priests also participated. See photo.
The funeral took place in an Austrian parish church (baroque style). The 2 priests are Roman Catholic male priests but even though they protested to the diocese that Bishop Christine was invited to preside, the wishes of the relatives of the deceased took precedence.
This is not the first time that Bishop Christine has made history. Last year she presided at a funeral held in a cathedral. There were 8 Roman Catholic male priests who participated in the liturgy and 500 people attended. Bishop Christine has also co-presided with a male Roman Catholic priest at a wedding in Austria.

This makes sense to me-- let the people choose! And they chose both a Roman Catholic Womanbishop and Roman Catholic male priests! Three cheers for Austria!! Perhaps, this will be a trend for the future of partnership and equality in the Catholic Church!
Bridget Mary Meehan

"Not Even a Slew of Angels"... "The Pope and the Roman Catholic Church have been visited by a whole slew of Angels"

Not Even a Slew of Angels

By Davidson Loehr
Published: April 25, 2010

"The Pope and the Roman Catholic Church have been visited by a whole slew of angels. But their willful blindness and deafness now have them up on the roof, with the water rising. To list just a few of the loudest messages they have ignored:

• The Irish government’s massive 2009 “Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse” (also known as the Ryan Report), was a nine year study of the abuse of children in Catholic schools from 1936 to the present. Published in 2009, the report found rape and sexual molestation “endemic” in the Catholic institutions caring for about 30,000 of Ireland’s children during that 73-year period. The Church successfully sued to keep all priests’ names secret. Not long ago, “Irish Catholic” was redundant. Now it’s becoming rare. The national Catholic seminary at Maynooth has graduated more than 11,000 priests since its founding in 1795. The huge number – far more than Irish churches needed – is why so many American Catholics had Irish priests in the last century. In 2008, only 15 men were ordained as Catholic priests for the entire island with about 4.2 million nominal Catholics."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Questioning the Pope/New York Times/ Catholics Should Hold Pope Accountable/Reform Now

Catholics, who love our church, should applaud media scrutiny of the global sex abuse scandal including the New York Times, Associate Press, the National Catholic Reporter and other responsible media around the world who are sharing the bad news of a global clerical culture of criminal behaviour that has betrayed our church. While it is shocking that this abuse leads to the Vatican, it is a truth that must be faced.

We cannot blame the messenger for the bad news. The media is not the problem, the clerical coverup is the issue. Catholics want to know the truth, and follow Jesus who challenges us to speak truth to power, even if that means holding the highest authorities in our church accountable. The Catholic church is not above the civil law.

We, the people of God, are the church and it is up to us now to demand reform and renewal of our beloved church. This, in my view, means an end to mandatory celibacy, women priests and married priests.Catholics must take responsibility for the future of our church, and act as partners and equals with the leaders of our church.

Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

April 25, 2010
The Public Editor
Questioning the Pope

"But it would be irresponsible to ignore the continuing revelations. A day after the first article about Murphy, The Times published another front-page article that said Benedict, while archbishop in Munich, led a meeting approving the transfer of a pedophile priest and was kept informed about the case. The priest was later convicted of molesting boys in another parish. The paper’s critics have been mostly silent about this report.

Like it or not, there are circumstances that have justifiably driven this story for years, including a well-documented pattern of denial and cover-up in an institution with billions of followers. Painful though it may be, the paper has an obligation to follow the story where it leads, even to the pope’s door."


Vatican Seeks 'Transparency' in Abuse Cases/But most recent case shows church authorities warned years before in story of abuse by bishop in Belgium
April 24, 2010
Vatican Seeks ‘Transparency’ in Abuse Cases

In the most recent case, in which a Belgian bishop resigned Friday after admitting to sexually abusing a boy, new information came to light on Saturday suggesting that church authorities had been warned about the bishop years ago.

The bishop, Roger Vangheluwe, 73, of Bruges, said that he had abused a boy when he was a priest and that he had continued after he became a bishop in 1985.

The Latest on Pope Benedict/New York Times


The Catholic Church is now enveloped in a widening sexual abuse scandal that is quickly defining Benedict's papacy.

The abuse scandals have put to the test a Vatican culture of protecting its own even in the face of crimes against civil and canon law.

Bishop Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger presides at wedding in Austria

Bishop Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger, one of the first women bishops of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests Movement, presides at a wedding in Austria in April 2010.

List of Topics/References on Roman Catholic Church/New York Times

A list of resources from around the Web about Catholic church as selected by researchers and editors of The New York Times.

The Holy See
Official home page of the Vatican
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
National Catholic Reporter
National Catholic Register
Catholic News Service
Catholic World News
Catholic news service
Catholic News Agency
Eternal Word Television Network
American Catholic
From the Franciscans and St.Anthony Messenger Press
Catholic Online
Catholic Exchange
Inside Catholic
New Advent
Catholic supersite, including the Catholic Encyclopedia published in 1914.
Catholic Culture
Catholic Blog Directory
Catholic Hierarchy
Seminary Boy
John Cornwell [2006]
Catholic Matters
Richard John Neuhaus [2006]
A Church That Can and Cannot Change
John T. Noonan Jr. [2005]
A People Adrift
Peter Steinfels [2003]
Catholicism and American Freedom
John T. McGreevy [2003]
Catholic Nuns and the Making of America
John J. Fialka [2003]
Goodbye Father
Richard A. Schoenherr [2002]
Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church
The Boston Globe [2002]
Why I am a Catholic
Garry Wills [2002]
Breaking Faith
John Cornwell [2001]
The New American Bible
Official Catholic bible from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Catechism of the Catholic Church
From the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops