Just received the following media release from Jeff Anderson & Associates, the Minnesota law firm that represents victims of clergy sex abuse:
BP requested that the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) do an interim report on the health of oil spill cleanup workers. The NIOSH Oil Spill Worker Health Evaluation is available on the web site of the Lousiana Environmental Action Network and the Lower Mississippi Riverkeepers.
Finally, a thoughtful and articulate priest-diocesan official criticizes diocesan sexual abuse audits and the U.S. bishops conference staffer agrees that the weakness in the audits is a legitimate issue. Why has it taken so long for this to come out?
"Catholic dioceses in Wisconsin and across the country often tout their annual audits by the U.S. Conference of Bishops as proof that they are protecting children from sexual abuse by clergy.
The audits ensure a diocese has in place such safety measures as training, a code of conduct, background checks and a child sex abuse review board, all required by the so-called Dallas Charter, a 2002 document drafted by the bishops conference in response to the clergy sex abuse scandal.
But a canon lawyer and vice chancellor in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee alleged this week that the audits are insufficient, saying parameters the bishops conference imposed limit their scope in a way that could endanger children.
Cardinals are supposed to be the papacy’s last line of defense, which means that conflicts between cardinals – especially in public, and especially over something as explosive as the sexual abuse crisis – are guaranteed to get the pope’s attention.
This morning, Pope Benedict XVI essentially presided over a kiss-and-make-up session between two Princes of the Church: Cardinals Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, Austria, and Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals and the former Secretary of State under Pope John Paul II.
This in from the Vatican Information Service today. John Allen tells me that he will be filing a report about this later this morning.
COMMUNIQUE CONCERNING AUDIENCE WITH CARDINAL SCHONBORN
VATICAN CITY, 28 JUN 2010 ( VIS ) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique early this afternoon:
"(1) The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Christoph Schonborn O.P., archbishop of Vienna and president of the Austrian Episcopal Conference. The cardinal had asked to meet the Supreme Pontiff personally in order to report on the current situation of the Church in Austria. In particular, Cardinal Schonborn wished to clarify the exact meaning of his recent declarations concerning some aspects of current ecclesiastical discipline, and certain of his judgements regarding positions adopted by the Secretariat of State - and in particular by the then Secretary of State of Pope John Paul II - concerning the late Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, archbishop of Vienna from 1986 to 1995.
"(2) Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, and Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. were subsequently invited to join the meeting.
I am a big fan of New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan and was surprised by his decision not to allow parishioners from St. Francis Xavier Church to attend the city’s Gay Pride parade with a banner that extols that church’s ministry to gays and lesbians. After all, the Church explicitly and repeatedly calls for ministry to gays and lesbians and, just a few days prior, Dolan had presided at the Mass of Rededication which included a mention of the parish’s ministry to gays and lesbians.
The head of the Belgian church-backed commission investigating cases of clerical sexual abuse has resigned. Peter Adriaenssens, a layman who is a child psychologist, said he was quitting and that the commission "had been used as bait," according to reports in the Belgian press.
After meeting on Monday, members of the commission have said they will step down on Thursday, Belgian reports say.
Adriaenssens expressed concern at what could have motivated the authorities.
"They could only act in that way with the sentiment that we were in the wrong or that we were trying to conceal the cases. This while I made a point of working in complete transparency," he is quoted as saying in the Belgian press.
Two gigantic extremes dominate life in America to an increasing degree and journalists either slavishly serve one or the other -- or stand between them, ethically challenged.
One extreme is full bore exposure of triviality. The peccadilloes of the stars, both show biz and political, shouted and magnified by their publicist accomplices; hyped outrage at moms who let their kids have dessert before finishing their carrots; and the juicy details of exotic murders.
The voluntary side of that is the orgy of self-exposure. Accounts of troubled childhoods that spare no gruesome detail. "Biographies" that blame everyone else for everything. Revelations that pretend to shock while expecting sympathic reactions.
Secrecy, the other extreme, is even deadlier, operating in the shadows to manipulate persons and enormous resources to maintain its own privileges. Corporations thrive on it; so do universities and governments. It takes a Freedom of Information Act to pry the Federal doors open even enough to find a fraction of what should be readily available.
Back in April, retired Belgian priest and anti-pedophilia crusader Fr. Rik Devillè told reporters that he had informed church authorities more than fifteen years ago about sexual abuse allegations against Bishop Roger Vangheluwe of Bruges, but no action was taken. Vangheluwe resigned on April 23, admitting that he had repeatedly abused his teenage nephew in the late 1970s and early 1980s.