National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Accountability

Court: Diocese can't appeal abuse victims' $12.8 million claim

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YORK, England -- A Catholic diocese in northeast England has been refused the right to appeal a court ruling that found it responsible for a $12.8 million compensation claim by victims of child sexual abuse.

The Court of Appeal in London Nov. 9 rejected Diocese of Middlesbrough's application to appeal to the Supreme Court what is believed to be the largest award to abuse victims in English history.

Commission: Magdalene laundries should compensate wards

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DUBLIN (CNS) -- The Irish government has asked the country's attorney general to consider a report by the Irish Human Rights Commission that calls for compensating women and girls held in the so-called Magdalene laundries run by 10 religious orders.

Former inmates of the laundries, also known as Magdalene asylums, presented their case to the commission because they were not entitled to the same compensation given to former residents of church-managed orphanages and youth facilities despite often suffering the same hardship and neglect highlighted in the Ryan Report published in 2009.

Sex abuse, religious freedom on agenda of cardinals' meeting

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VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI has convened a meeting of the world's cardinals to discuss a wide range of topics, including clerical sex abuse and religious freedom around the world.

The "day of reflection and prayer" will take place at the Vatican's synod hall Nov. 19, the day before the pope presides over a consistory to create 24 new cardinals, a Vatican statement said Nov. 8.

Belgium archbishop's press officer calls it quits

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BRUSSELS -- Saying his "bucket is full" the press officer for controversial Belgium Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard quit his job yesterday.

In a Nov. 2 announcement, Jürgen Mettepenningen compared Léonard's leadership to a reckless driver headed in the wrong direction.

"For the sake of the church I really should have spoken out more often and more clearly," Mettepenningen said.

Léonard took over Belgium's leading diocese, Mechelen-Brussels, in January, succeeding Cardinal Godfried Danneels.

In October, Léonard seemed to drop exploding bombs every time he met the press. AIDS, he said, is a matter of "immanent justice" for people who misuse their bodies. Homosexuality is a form of human sexuality that has developed in the wrong way and is a disease like anorexia. And most recently —- retired pedophile priests should not be prosecuted but allowed to live out their remaining years in tranquility.

Vatican denies squelching coverage of victimsí rally

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A Vatican spokesperson has confirmed that permission has been denied to film aspects of an Oct. 31 gathering of sex abuse victims in Rome that may occur inside St. Peter’s Square, but insists the ban is standard practice rather than an effort to squelch coverage of the event.

The gathering is billed as “Reformation Day,” and organizers plan to launch a petition calling on the United Nations to include the systematic sexual abuse of children as a crime against humanity.

Two American survivors of abuse, Bernie McDaid and Gary Bergeron, are the primary organizers of the Oct. 31 event, which aims to bring together victims of sexual abuse from various nations to press the Catholic church for reform. The plan is to assemble outside the grounds of the Vatican, near Castel Sant’Angelo, then process to St. Peter’s Square.

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