National Catholic Reporter

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Accountability

KC diocese faces first legal action in sex abuse cases

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Writing that recent sex abuse scandals have “raised grave doubts” about the management of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese, a law firm representing abuse victims here alleged today the diocese broke binding legal commitments by not reporting cases of allegations of sexual misconduct by clergy to authorities.

Priest returned medal after admitting abuse

LONDON -- A popular Catholic priest returned a prestigious award to Queen Elizabeth II after he admitted sexually abusing boys at a school in Africa more than 40 years ago.

Father Christopher "Kit" Cunningham sent back his Member of the British Empire medal to Buckingham Palace in July 2010.

He received the award from the queen during a ceremony at the palace in 1998, dressed in a top hat and tails, for his work with homeless people.

The priest, who died Dec. 12 at age 79, offered no explanation to the palace for returning the medal and asked only that there would be no publicity.

But the reason for his action was disclosed June 21 in a British Broadcasting Corp. documentary titled "Abused: Breaking the Silence."

The film revealed Father Cunningham to be one of four Rosminian priests accused of abusing boys of British families who were attending St. Michael's School in Soni, Tanzania, in the 1960s.

Group presses for grand jury investigation of bishop, diocese

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Victims advocates have called for a local grand jury investigation into the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese’s sex abuse procedures.

“We’re making an appeal to prosecutors … to launch a full-fledged grand jury investigation into clergy sex crimes and cover-ups in the Kansas City Catholic diocese,” said David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, in a press conference this morning.

Bishops squandered opportunity, victims' group says

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BELLEVUE, WASH. -- "This is a squandered opportunity and a disaster for children, not only in the United States but worldwide," a clergy sex abuse advocacy group said in response to the U.S. bishops' vote to approve only minor changes to their charter for child and youth protection.

The U.S. bishops overwhelmingly voted June 16 to adopt a revised Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People at their semiannual meeting.

And while it seemed clear the bishops and their officers are aware of divergent voices within the American Catholic community and the harsh light shed on clergy sexual abuse by recent revelations of lapses in the charter in Philadelphia and in Kansas City, Mo., the revisions they approved were little more than date and number updates and language tweaks for clarity.

Bishops open meeting to review sex abuse rules

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BELLEVUE, Wash. -- The nation's Roman Catholic bishops began a review of church sex abuse policies here on Wednesday (June 15), bypassing several recent reports that raise questions about whether the rules are effective at removing abusive priests.

The bishops' brief public discussion seemed a mere prelude to private debates taking place throuhgout the week behind closed doors. The bishops are scheduled to vote on revisions to the church guidelines on Thursday.

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.

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September 12-25, 2014

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