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Accountability

Pope to meet top German bishop to address abuse

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI will meet with the head of Germany's Catholic bishops Friday, March 12, to discuss allegations of widespread sexual abuse of children in the pope's homeland.

The visit was scheduled previously, but the rapidly developing sex abuse scandal was sure to be discussed, Catholic News Service reported.

Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg, president of the German bishops' conference, said through a spokesman that he will brief Benedict on some 170 abuse allegations involving children at Catholic schools. The charges, which surfaced in January, have prompted a possible criminal probe by prosecutors.

Lawyers sever ties with accusers of Maciel

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MEXICO CITY -- The lawyers representing the supposed children and former partner of Legionaries of Christ founder Fr. Marcial Maciel have severed their relationship with the complainants, a Spanish news agency reported March 8.

The lawyers' spokesman, Jose Bonilla, said in a statement to the news agency, EFE, that the supposed family of Maciel went public March 3 with the story of their lives with the Legionaries of Christ founder and allegations of abuse against the late priest without first notifying their legal advisers.

Vt. diocese selling HQ to pay abuse claims

The statewide Diocese of Burlington, Vt., is preparing to sell its headquarters building and a now-closed camp to help pay for claims and judgments stemming from clerical sexual abuse.

The diocese has been in the process of selecting a broker to judge the worth of the properties and market them to potential buyers, according to Father Dan White, communications director and associate chancellor of the diocese.

Liens had been placed on the two properties after a Colorado man, a former altar server in Burlington in the 1970s, won an $8.75 million judgment against the diocese after arguing he had been molested by a priest, Father Edward Paquette. The man recently reached an out-of-court settlement with the diocese while the diocese was appealing the judgment to the Vermont Supreme Court, allowing the sales to take place.

Father White, in a March 2 interview with Catholic News Service, said no one in the diocese knows the worth of the properties since they are tax-exempt entities and not on the tax rolls.

The diocesan headquarters building is a former Catholic orphanage which sits on a 30-acre site. It is about 70 percent empty, according to Father White.

Irish parishes asked to help with abuse settlements

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DUBLIN, Ireland -- The Diocese of Ferns is asking its parishes for additional funds to help cover the cost of legal settlements stemming from cases of clerical child abuse.

The diocese paid more than 10.5 million euros ($14.2 million) in legal settlements to victims, payments to lawyers and fees for treatment programs for offenders, Bishop Denis Brennan of Ferns told the annual general meeting of the diocesan finance committee March 1.

40% of Brooklyn parishes canít meet expenses

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BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio March 1 called for the renewal of church life in the diocese by addressing changes he said are needed in parishes, schools and diocesan structures.

In a pastoral letter titled "Renewing the Mission: Christ Jesus, Our Hope," he said changes have become necessary because "meeting the ordinary expenses of parish life and maintaining the buildings that form our parishes and schools should never detract us from the mission of evangelization."

More abuse allegations against Maciel surface

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MEXICO CITY -- Many in Mexico -- and beyond -- know Father Marcial Maciel as the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, an influential Catholic order famed for its elite schools and well-heeled followers.

Blanca Estela Lara Gutierrez came to know him in Tijuana by the alias "Raul Rivas," who, she said, "wanted to have a family" and, at various times, masqueraded as either a private detective or a CIA agent.

Her three sons, Jose Raul, Omar and Cristian, came to know Father Maciel as "Dad."

Rockville Centre's plan to ensure 'financial health'

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ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. -- To "ensure the financial health" of the Rockville Centre Diocese for the future, the diocese has put in place a strategy to meet a number of fiscal challenges, said Bishop William F. Murphy.

The plan includes offering eligible employees an early-retirement package; establishing a shared services center to help make operational functions more efficient and to strengthen financial controls; and expanding a pastoral administrative team to help pastors focus more on pastoral responsibilities.

The Irish Catholic House of Cards

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Analysis

DUBLIN, IRELAND -- Just days after the crisis summit at the Vatican between Pope Benedict XVI and the Irish bishops to address the issue of clerical sexual abuse, the event appears to have somewhat backfired. Following the Feb. 15-16 meeting, victims and children’s rights groups reacted with a mixture of anger and disappointment. While the meeting was billed as an attempt to foster unity among divided Irish bishops, some victims believe that the Rome meeting effectively represented a rebuke to Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, popularly seen as the vanguard of Irish prelates when it comes to combating clerical abuse.

Ever since 2003, when Martin, a career Vatican diplomat, was sent back to take charge of his native diocese amid revelations of decades of mishandled abuse allegations, tensions have emerged among the hierarchy.

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August 29-September 11, 2014

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