UPDATE: For the second time, the Illinois Supreme Court denied the request of the Belleville diocese to hear the appeal of a verdict awarding $5 million to former altar boys who were abused by a priest, the Belleville News-Democrat reported July 30. The final option for appeal is to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, but only if a constitutional issue is raised, according to the News-Democrat.
VATICAN CITY -- In an exceptional move, the Vatican recalled its nuncio to Ireland so that he could participate in meetings aimed at drafting the Vatican's formal response to an Irish government report on clerical sex abuse.
Following the publication July 13 of the so-called Cloyne Report "and, particularly, after the reactions that followed, the secretary of state has recalled the apostolic nuncio in Ireland, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, for consultations," the Vatican said in a statement July 25.
Robert McClory's news story about Belleville diocese's appeal of clergy sex abuse case is here, Braxton battles on against abuse case. Following is more details about the case and Fr. Raymond Kownacki's tenure in the Belleville, Ill., diocese.
Wisniewski v. Diocese of Belleville got virtually no press coverage when the trial was held in the circuit court of St. Clair County, Ill., in August 2008. Belleville is a largely rural diocese near St. Louis, and the public by then was tiring of clerical abuse stories.
But the trial still deserves notice, because of the huge award ($5 million) the jury gave the plaintiff, James Wisniewski, because it is only one among a handful of abuse claims against U.S. Catholic dioceses that have been allowed to go to trial, and because the Belleville bishop is still battling to overturn the verdict.
It's particularly important too because of the shocking admissions that emerged during the trial.
Following is the full text of the address to parliament by Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny on a judicial inquiry into the Cloyne diocese and its handling of clergy abuse cases. The address was delivered July 20, 2011.
Statement by the Taoiseach on the Dáil Motion on the report of the Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Diocese of Cloyne, in Dáil Éireann.
The revelations of the Cloyne report have brought the Government, Irish Catholics and the Vatican to an unprecedented juncture.
It's fair to say that after the Ryan and Murphy Reports Ireland is, perhaps, unshockable when it comes to the abuse of children.
But Cloyne has proved to be of a different order.
DUBLIN -- Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has accused the Vatican of adopting a "calculated, withering position" on abuse in the wake of a judicial report that accused the Holy See of being "entirely unhelpful" to Irish bishops trying to deal with abuse.
During a July 20 parliamentary debate, Kenny said an independent judicial investigation into the handling of clergy sexual abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne "exposes an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic as little as three years ago."
"And in doing so, the Cloyne Report excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism and the narcissism that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day," he said.
Editor’s Note: Much has already been written about the “The Causes and Contexts of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010,” commissioned by the U.S. bishops, conducted by the John Jay College of Criminology and released in May. Much of that has looked at the report from a particular stance toward clergy sex abuse, namely either an institutional view or an advocate’s view. That is why when Mary Gail Frawley O’Dea approached NCR to write a “dispassionate” review of this study, from a clinician’s viewpoint, we said yes.
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.
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.
VATICAN CITY -- The reform of the Legionaries of Christ is being undermined by members who believe the current leadership needs to go and that more drastic measures are needed, said the cardinal appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to oversee the reform.
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.