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Accountability

Obama and the bishops: time to hit the reset button

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The last time the U.S. Catholic bishops were fully united in their approach to the nation's secular political leadership was the early 19th century, when Baltimore Archbishop John Carroll had only to consult his mirror to develop the unanimous view of the American episcopacy.

Today, with cardinals, archbishops, bishops and auxiliary bishops representing more than 190 dioceses around the country, some general consensus on matters of both principle and strategy is considerably more difficult to achieve. But it is as important, perhaps more so than ever.

Voice of the Faithful critically low on funds

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Voice of the Faithful, the reform and advocacy group that emerged in 2002 in the wake of the clerical sex abuse revelations in Boston, has announced that it may be forced to close its national offices unless it receives a quick infusion of cash.

In an e-mail sent to members and media representatives, the organization said it was “at the crossroads of financial survival” and is looking to raise at least $60,000 by the end of July in order to continue operations. The amount represents two months of operating expenses, said Bill Casey, chairman of the board of directors.

The organization blames its financial crisis on the larger financial downturn. “As we know all too well … that downturn has rippled into communities and households, confirming worst expectations and fears.”

In a July 14 phone interview, Casey said that about $10,000 had been donated since the announcement went out the day before. “But I don’t think we’re going to know until maybe later this week how realistic it is to raise the $60,000.”

Connecticut abandons probe of church lobbying

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport praised the Connecticut attorney general June 30 for his opinion urging state ethics officials to stop investigating whether the diocese violated state lobbying laws with its efforts to rally Catholics against legislation that would have given laypeople financial control of their parishes.

Paraguayan prelate: No reason to reconsider celibacy

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ASUNCION, Paraguay

Responding to comments by Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo, the archbishop of Asuncion said the Catholic Church has no reason to reconsider the church discipline of celibacy for Latin-rite priests. Archbishop Eustaquio Cuquejo Verga told the Paraguayan newspaper La Nacion, "Celibacy is celibacy" and that, as a former bishop, Lugo "is aware of the rules of the Catholic Church." In an interview published June 11 in Chile's El Mercurio newspaper, Lugo said the church should rethink its stance on celibacy.

The president's administration was rocked in April by revelations that he had fathered a child after he had resigned as bishop, but before being laicized by the Vatican, while he was running for the presidency. Lugo legally recognized the boy, who is now 2 years old. Two other women also claimed Lugo had fathered children with them, although he has called the claims "allegations." After spending Father's Day with the child June 21, he said the boy was his "only son."

Redirected storm aid angers NOLA Catholics

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NEW ORLEANS -- The Archdiocese of New Orleans said it is seeking federal permission to redirect federal storm compensation money all over the metro area, not just the city's urban core that was hard-hit by Hurricane Katrina.

The disclosure comes after Catholic parishioners in two relatively poor, hard-hit areas of New Orleans were shocked to learn from the government, not the church, that the archdiocese had sought permission to divert almost $11 million in compensation from their wrecked schools to school construction in two suburban parishes.

Irish bishops: Abuse was prevalent in church culture

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DUBLIN, Ireland

The abuse of children in institutions run by Catholic priests and nuns was part of a culture that was prevalent in the Catholic Church in Ireland, the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference said at the conclusion of its summer meeting.

The bishops spent a major portion of their June 8-10 meeting discussing a report from the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, published May 20 under chairman Sean Ryan. The commission found that church institutions failed to prevent an extensive level of sexual, physical and emotional abuse and neglect.

N.Y. Cath. Conf. rejects amended abuse lawsuit bill

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ALBANY, N.Y. -- Even with an amendment to include public institutions, a bill that would temporarily waive statutes of limitations on filing sex abuse lawsuits "remains terrible public policy," said the New York State Catholic Conference in Albany.
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tAs originally written, the Child Victims Act of New York -- also known as the Markey bill after sponsor Democratic Assemblywoman Margaret Markey -- applied only to suits against individuals and private institutions.
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tOn June 3 Markey said she would amend her proposal to include public institutions.

Irish church leaders meet pope about child abuse

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VATICAN CITY -- Two top leaders of the Irish church met with Pope Benedict XVI June 5 to discuss a report by an independent commission on child abuse.

The day before, the 18 Irish religious orders implicated in decades of abuse of thousands of children in their care agreed to increase their contribution to the compensation fund for victims.

Irish religious to pay more to abuse victims

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DUBLIN, Ireland -- The 18 Irish religious orders implicated in decades of abuse of thousands of children in their care have agreed to increase their contribution to the compensation fund for victims.

Following a June 4 meeting with the Irish prime minister and other government ministers, the orders also agreed to an independent audit of their assets, so that their ability to pay further compensation can be determined.

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September 12-25, 2014

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