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Accountability

Voice of the Faithful marks 10th year with new calls for church reform

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BOSTON – Some 450 members of Voice of the Faithful gathered in Boston yesterday (Sept. 14) to mark their 10th anniversary with a conference that featured new calls for deep structural reforms in the church, including lay input on the selection of bishops and ordination of women at least to the diaconate, if not to the priesthood and episcopacy as well.

US bishops' point man on sex abuse addresses Kansas City case

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In the wake of the first conviction of a Catholic bishop in the decades-long clergy sex abuse crisis, bishops throughout the country have to recognize they are accountable to their own people for their actions to protect children, the bishop who heads the U.S. bishops' committee tasked with advising their national conference on sexual abuse said Tuesday.

Bishops also have to be "firm" in applying the procedures that the body of bishops adopted 10 years ago to prevent child abuse, said Joliet, Ill., Bishop R. Daniel Conlon, the chair of the U.S. bishops' committee for the protection of children and young people.

Conlon spoke to NCR by phone from the sidelines of a meeting of the U.S. bishops' administrative committee. He addressed last week's conviction of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., Bishop Robert Finn for failing to report suspected child abuse.

Catholics react to Bishop Finn's conviction

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- At an early morning Mass here at St. Patrick Parish on Friday (Sept. 7), the Fr. Justin Hoye preached about judgment, saying people are incapable of admitting the absolute fullness of their own sins.

He didn't mention Bishop Robert Finn, shepherd of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. On Thursday, a judge in Jackson County found Finn, 59, guilty of one misdemeanor count of failing to report suspected child abuse, including the fact that Finn knew child pornography was on the computer of the Fr. Shawn Ratigan, who used to be pastor of St. Patrick's.

Editorial: Kansas City's Bishop Finn must resign or be removed

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If Bishop Robert W. Finn wanted today to volunteer at a parish in the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese to teach a religious education class or chaperone a parish youth group to World Youth Day, he couldn't do it. Convicted of a misdemeanor charge of failure to report suspected child abuse, Finn wouldn't pass the background check necessary to work with young people in the Catholic church.

Kansas City bishop found guilty in child abuse case

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For the first time in the decades-long clergy sex abuse crisis, a Catholic bishop has been found guilty of criminally shielding a priest who was a threat to children.

Bishop Robert Finn, the head of the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese, received the verdict Thursday on one misdemeanor count of failing to report suspected child abuse in the case of a local priest who had been known to be in possession of lewd images of children.

UPDATE: Priest steps down from TV show after comments on sexual abuse

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NEW YORK -- Fr. Benedict Groeschel, a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal who has long been a popular speaker and television personality, apologized Aug. 30 for interview comments he made that were published online two days earlier, saying that "in a lot of cases" the victim of child sexual abuse is "the seducer."

Groeschel also had said priests who have committed abuse just one time should not go to jail.

In the interview, Groeschel referred to Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach who was convicted in June on 45 charges relating to the sexual abuse of 10 different boys, as a "poor guy."

"I apologize for my comments. I did not intend to blame the victim," said Groeschel, 78, in an Aug. 30 statement. "A priest -- or anyone else -- who abuses a minor is always wrong and is always responsible. My mind and my way of expressing myself are not as clear as they used to be."

Eternal Word Television Network announced Monday that Groeschel had decided to step down as host of its "Sunday Night Prime" television show after consulting with EWTN and his religious community.

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August 29-September 11, 2014

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