National Catholic Reporter

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Accountability

German bishops sorry, issue new abuse measures

OXFORD, England -- Germany's Catholic bishops have asked forgiveness from victims of sexual abuse at church-run schools and promised to "learn lessons" from secular institutions dealing with child molestation.

"We are assuming responsibility. We condemn the offenses committed by monks, priests and their colleagues in our dioceses, and we ask pardon, in shame and shock, from all those who fell victim to these appalling acts," the bishops' said in a February 25 statement.

Legionaries of Christ apologize for founder Maciel

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MEXICO CITY -- The general secretary of the Legionaries of Christ asked for forgiveness from the people who were harmed by the "immoral actions" of the order's founder, Father Marcial Maciel.

"We ask forgiveness because we are sincerely sorry for what the church and people have suffered," Father Evaristo Sada told an audience during the Youth and Family Encounter in the Mexican capital Feb. 20.

Should Catholic chaplains be board-certified?

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Mission Management

Sick patients want to be treated by the best-trained doctors and nurses available. But is that enough or do patients need pastoral care as an integral part of holistic health care? While most hospitals offer spiritual care to their patients, do patients really need professionally trained and board-certified Catholic chaplains?

One organization thinks so.

“Chaplaincy work is a remarkable ministry, but requires knowledge of the setting,” said David Lichter, executive director of the Milwaukee-based National Association of Catholic Chaplains.

Irish sex abuse victims said to be close to despair

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DUBLIN, Ireland -- Victims of clerical child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin said they are close to despair because the church will not take full responsibility for covering up the abuse.

Clergy abuse survivors met with Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin Feb. 19 to discuss the outcome of the meeting of Irish bishops with Pope Benedict XVI and senior officials from the Roman Curia. The Feb. 15-16 Vatican meeting reviewed a November report by an independent commission that investigated how the Dublin Archdiocese handled complaints of clerical child sexual abuse between 1975 and 2004.

The commission, headed by Judge Yvonne Murphy, "found that the church deliberately covered up allegations of child abuse, but the only senior person who seems to accept that is Archbishop Martin," Maeve Lewis, director of the One in Four abuse survivors' group, told Catholic News Service.

She said that in the statement issued by the Vatican Feb. 16, the pope only accepted ''the failure of Irish church authorities for many years to act effectively in dealing with cases involving the sexual abuse of young people by some Irish clergy and religious."

Former head chaplain charged with sex assault

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OTTAWA -- The former head of the Canadian Forces chaplain branch, a Catholic, has been charged with sexual assault following alleged incidents 38 years ago at Canadian Forces Base Borden.

The current chaplain general, Brig. Gen. David Kettle, a Presbyterian minister, said his office is cooperating fully in an investigation by the Military Police and the Catholic Military Ordinariate of Canada.

Irish abuse victims disappointed, angered

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DUBLIN, Ireland -- Victims of clerical child sexual abuse and groups representing them reacted with a mix of anger and disappointment to a Vatican statement issued after a papal meeting with Irish bishops.

Marie Collins, who was abused by a Dublin priest, told Catholic News Service that she thought it was "pathetic" that the statement was "so far away from accepting that there was a policy of coverup."

"I wasn't expecting much from the meeting, but the fact that the resignation of bishops was not even on the agenda had been insulting," she said.

Priest-founder of Life Teen youth ministry laicized

PHOENIX -- A former Mesa pastor has been officially dismissed from the priesthood, officials for the Diocese of Phoenix announced Feb. 16.

Dale Fushek was recently notified he has been laicized. The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had been investigating the former pastor of St. Timothy Parish in Mesa and one-time vicar general for the diocese for alleged sexual abuse of minors. The Vatican's findings in that investigation resulted in his removal from the priesthood.

Fushek gained prominence throughout the 1980s and 1990s for co-founding Life Teen, an international youth ministry program.

Pope Benedict XVI ordered his dismissal from the priesthood, according to a diocesan statement. Fushek is no longer bound to the duties and obligations he incurred upon his priestly ordination in 1978, and he no longer has the rights of a cleric under church law. As a result, Fushek can no longer refer to himself as "reverend," "monsignor" or "father."

Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted received the "decree of dismissal" in January from the Vatican congregation notifying him that Fushek's laicization was the penalty for sexual abuse of minors.

Vatican consultant: sex abuse of minors 'repugnant'

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VATICAN CITY -- Clerical sexual abuse of a child is "particularly repugnant" because a priest's paternal role in the life of Catholic children means "the act has something incestuous about it," said a German psychiatrist who works closely with several Vatican offices.

Dr. Manfred Lutz, chief of psychiatry at Cologne's Alexanier Infirmary, said the Catholic Church also "cannot remain indifferent" to the fact that abuse at the hands of a priest "destroys or seriously shakes faith in God."

Pope calls priestly sex abuse 'heinous crime'

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI said priestly sexual abuse was a "heinous crime" and a grave sin, and he urged Irish bishops to act courageously to repair their failures to deal properly with such cases.

At the end of a two-day Vatican summit on the sex abuse scandal in Ireland, the Vatican said in a statement Feb. 16 that "errors of judgment and omissions" were at the heart of the crisis. It said church leaders recognized the sense of "pain and anger, betrayal, scandal and shame" that those errors have provoked among many Irish Catholics.

"All those present recognized that this grave crisis has led to a breakdown in trust in the church's leadership and has damaged her witness to the Gospel and its moral teaching," the statement said.

The full text of the final statement is here: Final statement of pope-Irish bishops meeting

"For his part, the Holy Father observed that the sexual abuse of children and young people is not only a heinous crime, but also a grave sin which offends God and wounds the dignity of the human person created in his image," it said.

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April 11-24, 2014

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