National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Accountability

US Catholics growing more critical of pope

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WASHINGTON -- A new Pew survey shows that while Catholics are still more positive than Americans in general about Pope Benedict XVI's handling of the abuse scandal, they have grown more critical of how he has addressed the issue.

In a telephone survey of 1,001 adults conducted April 1-5, more than one in 10 Americans, or 12 percent, said the pope has done an excellent or good job in handling the abuse scandal and 71 percent said he had done only a fair or poor job.

Out of all the Catholics in the survey group, 32 percent said the pope has done an excellent or good job, but 59 percent rated his handling of the scandal as fair or poor. Of Catholics who said they attend Mass weekly, 44 percent gave the pope a rating of excellent or good, while 49 percent said he was doing a fair or poor job.

U.S. survivors take stories to Europe

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MUNICH, GERMANY -- When Barbara Blaine and Barbara Dorris, U.S. sex abuse survivors, showed up last month at the front gate of the archbishop’s office here, they quickly attracted eager members of the German media, still in their relative infancy in covering the scandal and wondering what to make of the women.

Blaine is president of the Saint Louis-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, and, in that capacity, has had many years’ experience working with reporters, explaining her story of abuse: child molested by a priest in Toledo, Ohio; memory of the abuse that erupted in a flashback in 1985 reading an article about abuse in the National Catholic Reporter; trauma and frustration that followed; and finally the re-empowerment that came with going public.

Vatican rebuts allegations of stalling sex abuse case

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VATICAN CITY -- Vatican officials have rebutted allegations that the future Pope Benedict XVI stalled on a priestly sex abuse case in 1985, and said critics have misunderstood the fundamental church procedures in use at the time.

The Associated Press reported that then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger resisted pleas to defrock Father Stephen Kiesle, a California priest with a record of sexually molesting children. It cited a letter from Cardinal Ratzinger, who was head of the Vatican's doctrinal congregation, advising further study of the case for "the good of the universal church."

Vatican officials pointed out that Cardinal Ratzinger was responding to the priest's own request for dispensation from the vow of celibacy, and at the time had no authority to impose dismissal from the priesthood as a penalty for sex abuse.

Jeffrey Lena, a California lawyer for the Vatican, said the AP article reflected a "rush to judgment" and presumed -- incorrectly -- that Cardinal Ratzinger's office had control over clerical sex abuse cases.

More documents link Ratzinger to abuse cases

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More documents have been discovered linking Pope Benedict to particular cases in the clergy sex abuse scandal, and other regions of the world are being drawn into the scandal. Meanwhile, supporters of the pope continue to defend his actions, with one calling Benedict "a coherent guide along the path of rigor and truth" and "a pastor well capable of facing -- with great rectitude and confidence -- this difficult time."

Bishop in Norway retired after abuse allegation

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VATICAN CITY -- A German-born bishop who headed a prelature in Norway admitted that his resignation last year was linked to the sexual abuse of a minor.

(Editor's Note: Some information in this story was corrected April 8.)

Bishop Georg Muller, 58, submitted a request to step down as prelate of Trondheim, Norway, in May 2009 and Pope Benedict XVI "quickly accepted" the request June 8, according to a Vatican press release.

Victims of clergy abuse call for October summit in Rome

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Two of the five sex abuse victims who met Pope Benedict XVI during his April 2008 visit to the United States, and who pledged at the time to "hold his feet to the fire," have announced plans to stage a "Day of Reformation" for the Catholic church in Rome on Oct. 31, amid a mushrooming crisis which threatens to engulf the pope himself.

Bernie McDaid and Olan Horne, who met Benedict XVI on April 17, 2008 -- the first-ever meeting between a pope and survivors of sexual abuse -- said today that they intend to gather thousands of victims, along with church reform activists and ordinary "people in the pews," in Rome on Oct. 31. They're asking that Benedict XVI participate, and that the event be simulcast to Catholic churches around the world.

They also called on priests "who know in their hearts that their church is in dire need of change" to join them.

Abuse victims meet with Irish cardinal

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DUBLIN, Ireland -- Victims of clergy sexual abuse met with Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh, Northern Ireland, and said they still believed the cardinal should resign.

Amid continuing investigations into clerical child abuse and the high-level church cover-up of that abuse, the cardinal held a series of meetings March 31 with representatives of the survivors of clerical child abuse and representatives of those who suffered neglect and mistreatment while in the care of religious-run institutions, such as orphanages and industrial schools.

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September 12-25, 2014

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