While Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, Mo., may be the first American bishop to be criminally indicted for alleged failure to report child abuse, he’s hardly the first Catholic bishop in recent years to run afoul of the criminal justice system.
Updated KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Bishop Robert Finn and the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese have been charged with failure to report suspected child abuse.
DUBLIN, IRELAND -- The Irish Free State was founded in 1922. Irish journalist Desmond Fisher was then 2 years old. Now 91, Fisher, grew up with the state. A former editor of the London Catholic Herald, Fisher covered the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), later joined Radió Telefís Éireann as deputy director of news and became head of current affairs.
DUBLIN, IRELAND -- Catholic Ireland is bleeding. The Vatican has rubbed in the salt.
The initial pain is from the catalog of clerical abuse, shortly to add yet another shocking report, this time from the Raphoe diocese, which covers most of Donegal. The gaping wound was caused by Rome’s and the Irish bishops’ systematic cover-up of abuse.
VATICAN CITY -- Francesco Zanardi walked almost 350 miles to deliver a letter asking Pope Benedict XVI to meet Italian victims of clerical abuse and to work harder to ensure bishops around the world follow Vatican norms for dealing with accusations of abuse.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Alleging that the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese broke a series of legal obligations in its mishandling of sexual misconduct by clergy, a law firm representing abuse victims today filed a formal complaint that could force the diocese to accept third-party supervision of its reporting procedures.
If the recently released report of the investigation of the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese were reduced to its core, it would read: Diocesan officials -- priests and bishops -- should never investigate accusations of other priests (see story).
That point might seem glaringly obvious, and one that has been made repeatedly in other circumstances. Nonetheless it is helpful to see it once again in writing as a central conclusion to an elaborate study.
WARSAW, Poland -- A Catholic journal has criticized the Polish church's handling of sexual abuse by priests, following repeated claims that local church leaders failed to confront the problem.
"The harm caused by sexual molestation of children is unquestionable, but the evil is much greater when pedophilia occurs in the community of faith, and when, in a falsely conceived defense of the church, the authorities hide the facts, conceal the perpetrators and ignore the suffering victims," the Wiez bimonthly said in an editorial in its August-September edition, dedicated to clergy sexual abuse.
The journal questioned whether the Polish church's handling of abuse claims complied with Vatican instructions and whether the good of the church meant "the good name of clergy or the good of the weakest."
"In Poland, church superiors react in different ways. Sometimes sentences are passed on the quiet against priest-pedophiles in secular courts. Sometimes, everything is consistently denied," it said.
DUBLIN, Ireland -- The self-described conservative Catholic mother of four said simply, “The Vatican is up on its hind legs.” That was one reaction -- and a not uncommon one -- to a Vatican report issued Sept. 3 countering Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s sharp accusations in July that top church officials had tried to keep the lid on the Irish bishops from forthrightly reporting sexual offenders to the civil authorities.
[Editor's Note: Charles Chaput was installed as the archbishop of Philadelphia on Thursday. Sept. 8. You may want to read the text of Chaput's homily, see Homily of the Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, before reading the following editorial.]
Philadelphia is an archdiocese in which the people have been deeply wounded by a significant number of their priests and the last three cardinal archbishops. It is a place where children, mostly boys, have been raped and molested, in some cases repeatedly and over years. It is a place where the wounds of the priest sex abuse crisis are perhaps the most exposed of any diocese, and where, with each new revelation of testimony by former archdiocesan officials, the wounds are scored open anew.