National Catholic Reporter

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Accountability

Mercy sisters pledge $191 million to abuse victims

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DUBLIN, Ireland -- Ireland's Sisters of Mercy have pledged to contribute an additional 128 million euros ($191 million) to compensate victims of abuse in government schools and orphanages run by the order.

That equals the amount that 18 religious orders -- including the Sisters of Mercy -- agreed to pay under terms of a 2002 deal with the Irish government.

Bridgeport diocese unseals 12,600 pages of court documents

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After years of legal wrangling and after unsuccessfully taking its argument all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, on Dec. 1 the Bridgeport, Conn., diocese unsealed nearly 12,600 pages of documents dealing with three decades of child molestation accusations against diocesan priests.

The files, including a deposition of then Bishop Edward Egan, the recently retired cardinal of New York, were part of lawsuits filed against six priests in the Bridgeport diocese, five of whom were eventually banned from ministry and one who died. The lawsuits were settled in 2001.

The diocese, which covers some of the wealthiest towns in the country as well as Bridgeport, Connecticut’s largest city, has paid nearly $38 million over the years to settle abuse claims involving allegations by more than 60 people who said they had been molested by priests.

Jason Tremont, one of the attorneys for the clergy abuse victims, said the documents “confirm the mishandling and cover-up of sex abuse claims” by Egan and his predecessor, Bishop Walter Curtis.

Dublin report leads to calls for bishops resignations

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DUBLIN, Ireland -- A report detailing failures of church leaders' handling of sex abuse cases in the Archdiocese of Dublin has resulted in calls for bishops' resignations and further investigations and prosecution.

"The Dublin Archdiocese's preoccupations in dealing with cases of child sexual abuse, at least until the mid-1990s, were the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the church, and the preservation of its assets," said the report by the independent Commission of Investigation, headed by Judge Yvonne Murphy.

Details of report on clerical abuse in Dublin leaked

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DUBLIN, Ireland -- The Sunday Independent newspaper has leaked details of the report resulting from a government investigation into clerical child abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

In its Nov. 22 edition, the Sunday Independent said the report finds that four previous Dublin archbishops knew about child abuse by priests but did not report it to civil authorities; when cases of child abuse were reported, frequently the abusers were moved to other parishes where they were free to abuse again. The paper reported that the commission found that civil authorities also failed children, for example, by releasing convicted clerical abusers from prison without any further supervision.

Voice of the Faithful: hoping to begin anew

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MELVILLE, N.Y. -- Four months after financial woes threatened to shut its doors, Voice of the Faithful has emerged with cash in the bank and a new strategic plan that its leaders say will sharpen the organization’s message and shift its efforts from mostly words to mostly actions.

The stated mission of this church reform and advocacy group, formed in 2002 in the wake of clerical sex abuse revelations in Boston, is to provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the church.

Two respond to Archbishop Dolan's anti-Catholic charge

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A blog posting by Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York criticizing The New York Times for unfair and even anti-Catholic reporting of the church generated much discussion online and off. Here, two NCR writers weigh-in. Tom Roberts says The "anti-Catholic!" cry is a cheap, easy accusation, and Joe Ferullo tries to answer the question Why does the media 'go after' the church?

Update: Legionaries of Christ banned from Miami

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The Miami archdiocese has prohibited members of the Legionaries of Christ from working in the archdiocese. The notice was given in an Oct. 29 memo addressed to "All Priests" from Miami Chancellor Msgr. Michael Souckar.

The prohibition takes effect immediately, the memo says.

Members of the Legionaries' lay group, Regnum Christi are also prohibited from working in the archdiocese, the memo says.

Abuse settlement in New Orleans a surprise to some

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NEW ORLEANS -- When the Archdiocese of New Orleans announced last week, Oct. 20, it will pay $5 million to an undisclosed number of adults who claimed that as children they were beaten, berated and sexually molested at Catholic orphanages, it took some by surprise.

The archdiocese announced a package settlement of 20 lawsuits, most of them filed by adults alleging that in the 1950s and 1960s they were abused at Madonna Manor and nearby Hope Haven, Catholic group homes on this city's West Bank.

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April 25-May 8, 2014

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