National Catholic Reporter

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Accountability

Hierarchy's inability to mourn thwarts healing in church

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COMMENTARY

The Catholic hierarchy from the papacy on down seems to be roiling through a series of manic episodes in which they execute perverted power plays against those perceived as enemies. This kind of mania often is exhibited by large identity groups whose power has been threatened and who are unable to respond adaptively to that loss through a process of healthy mourning.

Chaput removes five Philadelphia priests from ministry

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Five of the 26 Philadelphia priests suspended in the wake of sexual abuse allegations revealed in last year's grand jury report will be removed from public ministry, Archbishop Charles Chaput announced Friday at a press conference.

Three of the 26 will be returned to ministry, while 17 cases are still pending in various stages of the investigation process, Chaput announced.

Chaput said the fate of the five priests determined "unfit for ministry" is still unknown. Each has the option to appeal the decision to the Vatican. If they decline or fail in their appeal, they could face laicization, life under supervision or a life of prayer and penance.

The type of conduct each was found guilty of -- sexual abuse or a violation of boundaries -- will likely dictate their fates. Of the five, only one, Fr. John Reardon, was accused of sexually abusing a minor, according to documents released by the archdiocese.

In Philadelphia, a church at the crossroads

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First Person

In the tumult that followed last year’s second grand jury report to allege a staggering history of sex abuse and cover-up in the Philadelphia archdiocese, the most striking response I heard from a reeling faithful came not from any cleric, staffer or abuse survivor, but from my mother.

Over a late-night cup of coffee as the revelations were still sinking in, all Mom could bring herself to say was, “It just feels like there’s been a death in the family.”

What she was implying seemed clear, but I wanted to be sure. “You mean your trust in the wider church, outside the parish?”

“That’s exactly what I meant,” she shot back.

If that was how Mom, a South Philly Italian named for a nun, now a lay minister and caretaker for my ailing grandmother -- in other words, a pillar of the faith -- felt at the start of a year whose turns since have read like a surrealist novel, one could forget about finding credibility anywhere else.

Kansas City abuse case decision expected to center on 'mandated reporter' statute

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The first criminal case against a Catholic bishop in the decades-long clergy sex abuse scandal is expected to take a pivotal turn this week, as a county judge decides whether Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese, can be tried on charges of failing to report suspected child abuse.

Central to the decision will be the question of whether Finn can be considered a "mandated reporter" in the case.

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