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Accountability

Irish priests reject suggestion that they break seal of confession

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DUBLIN (CNS) -- The group that represents Ireland's Catholic priests says the secrecy of confession must be protected, despite government indications that confessions would not be exempt from rules on mandatory reporting of child abuse.

"The point is, if there is a law in the land, it has to be followed by everybody. There are no exceptions, there are no exemptions," said Irish Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

Irish report reveals abuse, bishop's mismanagement

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DUBLIN -- A judicial report into the handling of allegations of child sexual abuse against clerics in the Diocese of Cloyne has concluded that the church's own guidelines were "not fully or consistently implemented" in the diocese as recently as 2008.

The report, released by Judge Yvonne Murphy, also said Cloyne Bishop John Magee admitted to what has been described as inappropriate behavior with a young man. It said the bishop embraced him, kissed him and told the young aspirant for the priesthood that he loved him.

The 400-page report also records for the first time stark disagreement among Irish bishops over whether Bishop Magee -- a former secretary to three popes -- should quit as bishop of Cloyne after December 2008, when the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church said he was using child safeguarding policies that were "inadequate and, in some respects, dangerous."

At an emergency meeting of the Irish bishops' conference in January 2009, just weeks after the report critical of Bishop Magee, "there were strong opinions on both sides" as to whether the bishop should quit.

Episcopal bishop defends record in abuse case

WASHINGTON -- The Episcopal Church is rejecting charges that its top leader, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, mishandled the ordination of a former priest who is now accused of sexual abuse.

Jefferts Schori has remained silent on the matter, which surfaced after an alleged victim filed suit last month against a Benedictine monastery in Missouri where the priest, the Rev. Bede Parry, once lived.

Parry, a former Catholic monk, was ordained as an Episcopal priest in Nevada in 2004, when Jefferts Schori was the local bishop before her 2006 election as presiding bishop.

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.

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November 21-December 5, 2014

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