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Accountability

Mass. man sues Catholic bishops over sex abuse

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NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- A Massachusetts man is suing two former bishops of the Springfield, Mass., diocese and another church administrator for allegedly allowing him to be molested by a priest who had admitted to sexually abusing other boys.

Lawyers for the alleged victim say it is perhaps the first U.S. case that involves a defendant who is an accused molester charged with overseeing another accused molester.

Why did the bishop of Scranton, Pa., resign?

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When Bishop Joseph F. Martino resigned Aug. 31 after six tumultuous years as bishop of Scranton, Pa., he left behind a diocese badly divided and demoralized, but, ironically, better prepared for the future than it was in 2003.

Sources contacted by NCR said the problem was Martino’s remote, uncommunicative and often authoritarian leadership style, not his decisions to close nearly half the Catholic schools and 40 percent of the parishes in the northeastern Pennsylvania diocese.

Nixon quote describes Irish church abuse scandal

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DUBLIN, Ireland -- A Redemptorist priest has used a quote by the 37th president of the United States to describe the situation of the Catholic Church as the Irish clerical sex abuse scandal continues to unfold.

Writing in the current issue of the monthly Redemptorist magazine Reality, its editor, Fr. Gerry Moloney, recalled remarks former President Richard Nixon made in an interview with journalist David Frost when, admitting that he had given his enemies the ammunition that they were looking for, he said, "I gave 'em a sword."

Legionaries' letter details reforms order has made

The Legionaries of Christ have initiated a number of reforms since publicly acknowledging Feb. 4 that the order's founder, Mexican Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, fathered a child, two U.S. Legionaries priests said in a letter to members of the order's lay association, Regnum Christi.

The reforms include the training of Legionaries on best practices when dealing with minors to protect children from sex abuse; reconfiguring business and management practices; and altering the depiction of Father Maciel in the order's communications, including Web sites and publications, Father Scott Reilly, director of the order's Atlanta territory, and Father Julio Marti, director of the New York territory, wrote Sept. 1.

Diocese must release sealed abuse records

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Officials from the Diocese of Bridgeport said they were disappointed with an Aug. 25 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court saying documents from settled abuse cases should not remain sealed.

After the ruling, made by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the diocese posted a statement on its Web site saying it intends to "ask the full U.S. Supreme Court to review the important constitutional issues that this case presents."

Ginsburg told attorneys in the case, Rosado v. the Bridgeport Roman Catholic Diocesan Corp., Aug. 25 that she was denying the diocese's request that the documents remain sealed until the high court decides whether to take up the case in the fall.

Each of the justices on the Supreme Court has responsibility for a region of the country and can issue a ruling in cases on an emergency basis.

Church embezzlers rob congregations of trust

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- For 24 years, Barbara Myers worked with Barry R. Herr in a small church office where everybody knew everybody. Co-workers all knew when someone's family had a baby, a wedding or a death.

But they didn't know Herr was embezzling money -- more than $1 million from the Lower Susquehanna Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, where he was treasurer. He used the money to buy classic cars, police said.

“He ripped off his own church,” said Myers, a spokeswoman for the synod. “Where else do you trust people if not in a church environment?”

Keating recalls service on review board

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WASHINGTON -- When Frank Keating, then the Republican governor of Oklahoma, agreed in 2002 to serve as the first chair of the board established by the U.S. bishops to investigate clergy sex abuse, he was admittedly naive. “I couldn’t imagine that something like this could happen,” Keating told 200-plus attendees of the 21st annual gathering of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) on Aug. 8.

Iowa diocese sells diocesan property

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- St. Ambrose University is the new owner of 58 acres of property that includes the Diocese of Davenport headquarters.

The school's officials finalized the $3.35 million purchase of the St. Vincent property July 31, said Mike Poster, vice president of finance at the diocesan university.

The new ownership comes after St. Ambrose negotiated a financial agreement with the trustee handling the U.S. Bankruptcy Court's liquidation of diocesan assets. The court received the deed for the property as part of a $37 million settlement the diocese reached last year with its creditors, most of whom are survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

Out of bankruptcy: Now a mandatory season of renewal

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The season of bankruptcies -- think GM, AIG, Chrysler -- is upon us. And the health care industry is not exempt.

For Catholic hospitals in New York City, bankruptcy arrived in 2005 when the flagship St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers took the dramatic step. It could have been worse: All the other church-affiliated, acute care hospitals in the city bypassed bankruptcy and headed straight to closure. In 2007 there were eight Catholic acute care hospitals and by the end of 2008 only St. Vincent’s survived.

Tell the truth, as damning as it may be

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Editorial

It is likely that when the U.S. Supreme Court begins its new session in October, it will ignore the appeal brought by of the Bridgeport, Conn., diocese, which then will be forced to release thousands of documents relating to more than 20 suits against seven priests accused of sex abuse. The cases were settled in 2001 and the documents were sealed at that time.

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September 12-25, 2014

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