National Catholic Reporter

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Accountability

Asian bishops to confront sex abuse

TOKYO -- Roman Catholic bishops from across Asia will hold a summit on “The Impact of Pedophilia” in the Catholic Church, saying abusive priests are not simply “a problem of the West.”

The Federation of Roman Catholic Asian Bishops' Conferences will host a seminar for bishops and clergy Nov. 14-19 at Assumption University in Bangkok, Thailand.

Bishops to take second look at abuse reforms

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A review of church sex abuse guidelines will top the agenda when the nation's Roman Catholic bishops meet in Seattle next week (June 15-17). But no major changes have been proposed, according to church leaders, even after several recent reports have raised questions about the rules' power to remove abusive priests.

The stakes at the Seattle meeting will be high, as the bishops struggle to recover their moral authority and end the worst crisis in modern church history.

John Jay report just a first step

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An NCR Editorial

The report of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice on the causes and context of sex abuse of minors by priests is an important landmark, flawed as it is, in understanding this awful crisis in our church.

Any attempt to quantify and explain a reality as ugly as sexual abuse of children by priests was bound to draw fire from many sides. The volatility of the response to the report is at once reflective of the severe limits of the study and the ongoing frustration of Catholics and the wider society in trying to understand how the leaders of an institution that professes Jesus could behave so badly when its own ministers were destroying the lives of the community’s children.

Diocese warned of priest's aberrant behavior one year before arrest

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The principal of a Catholic elementary school warned the Kansas City-St. Joseph chancery office that a local priest “fit the profile of a child predator” six months before the diocese took any action to remove him from ministries dealing with children.

Fr. Shawn Ratigan, 45, was arrested May 19 on three counts of possessing child pornography, six months after the diocese took its first action to limit the priest’s involvement with children by moving him to a local home for religious sisters.

The letter, written by Julie Hess, the principal of Saint Patrick School, is dated May 19, 2010 -- nearly one year before the arrest. In her letter, Hess pleads with the diocesan vicar general, Msgr. Robert Murphy, to consider a list of incidents teachers observed at the school involving Ratigan that “raised significant red flags.”

Salesians suspend two after pedophilia remarks

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ROME -- The Salesians of St. John Bosco removed two European members from their duties after it was discovered one belonged to a pro-pedophilia organization and another made remarks defending pedophilia.

The Salesian headquarters in Rome said a Dutch priest identified only as Father "B" and the superior of the Salesians in the Netherlands, Father Herman Spronck, had both been suspended.

"The Belgium-Holland Province officially announced that Father B no longer has permission to carry out any pastoral activity and that Father Spronck has been relieved of his office as delegate," the congregation said in a May 23 press release.

The Salesian provincial of Belgium-Holland, Father Jos Claes, said that to the Salesians' "great surprise," Father "B" was a member of a Dutch-based association that advocates legalizing sexual relations between an adult and child.

Father Claes said the association is "not compatible with our Salesian identity" and "we therefore condemn the membership and the opinions of Father van B."

Critics point to John Jay study's limitations

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Release of the John Jay College study on the causes of sexual abuse by Catholic priests signals the end of the U.S. bishops’ five-year, $1.8 million inquiry into the institution they govern and the priests in their charge. But the new study hardly quiets the fundamental questions that have dogged the church and its leaders since the crisis was first publicized in the mid-1980s.

Bishop admits failure in priest's child pornography case

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One day after newspapers across the nation featured front page articles about a U.S. bishops' sponsored study on the causes of the clergy sex abuse scandal, which blamed much of the crisis on the sexual revolution of the 1960s, another clergy abuse news story was on the front page of The Kansas City Star: A local priest had been arrested for possession of child pornography.

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July 18-31, 2014

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