National Catholic Reporter

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Irish abuse victims disappointed, angered


DUBLIN, Ireland -- Victims of clerical child sexual abuse and groups representing them reacted with a mix of anger and disappointment to a Vatican statement issued after a papal meeting with Irish bishops.

Marie Collins, who was abused by a Dublin priest, told Catholic News Service that she thought it was "pathetic" that the statement was "so far away from accepting that there was a policy of coverup."

"I wasn't expecting much from the meeting, but the fact that the resignation of bishops was not even on the agenda had been insulting," she said.

Priest-founder of Life Teen youth ministry laicized

PHOENIX -- A former Mesa pastor has been officially dismissed from the priesthood, officials for the Diocese of Phoenix announced Feb. 16.

Dale Fushek was recently notified he has been laicized. The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had been investigating the former pastor of St. Timothy Parish in Mesa and one-time vicar general for the diocese for alleged sexual abuse of minors. The Vatican's findings in that investigation resulted in his removal from the priesthood.

Fushek gained prominence throughout the 1980s and 1990s for co-founding Life Teen, an international youth ministry program.

Pope Benedict XVI ordered his dismissal from the priesthood, according to a diocesan statement. Fushek is no longer bound to the duties and obligations he incurred upon his priestly ordination in 1978, and he no longer has the rights of a cleric under church law. As a result, Fushek can no longer refer to himself as "reverend," "monsignor" or "father."

Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted received the "decree of dismissal" in January from the Vatican congregation notifying him that Fushek's laicization was the penalty for sexual abuse of minors.

Vatican consultant: sex abuse of minors 'repugnant'


VATICAN CITY -- Clerical sexual abuse of a child is "particularly repugnant" because a priest's paternal role in the life of Catholic children means "the act has something incestuous about it," said a German psychiatrist who works closely with several Vatican offices.

Dr. Manfred Lutz, chief of psychiatry at Cologne's Alexanier Infirmary, said the Catholic Church also "cannot remain indifferent" to the fact that abuse at the hands of a priest "destroys or seriously shakes faith in God."

Pope calls priestly sex abuse 'heinous crime'


VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI said priestly sexual abuse was a "heinous crime" and a grave sin, and he urged Irish bishops to act courageously to repair their failures to deal properly with such cases.

At the end of a two-day Vatican summit on the sex abuse scandal in Ireland, the Vatican said in a statement Feb. 16 that "errors of judgment and omissions" were at the heart of the crisis. It said church leaders recognized the sense of "pain and anger, betrayal, scandal and shame" that those errors have provoked among many Irish Catholics.

"All those present recognized that this grave crisis has led to a breakdown in trust in the church's leadership and has damaged her witness to the Gospel and its moral teaching," the statement said.

The full text of the final statement is here: Final statement of pope-Irish bishops meeting

"For his part, the Holy Father observed that the sexual abuse of children and young people is not only a heinous crime, but also a grave sin which offends God and wounds the dignity of the human person created in his image," it said.

Bishop: Oregon hospital no longer Catholic


PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Diocese of Baker has ended the church's official sponsorship of central Oregon's largest medical center, citing the hospital's refusal to adhere to some Catholic teachings.

Baker Bishop Robert F. Vasa said St. Charles Medical Center in Bend "gradually moved away" from church ethical and religious standards and can no longer be called Catholic.

Final statement of pope-Irish bishops meeting


Below is the final statement of the meeting between Pope Benedict XVI, Curia Prefects and Irish Bishops at the Vatican. The text is from Vatican Radio.

The news story about the summit is here: Pope calls priestly sex abuse 'heinous crime'

A related story: Irish sex abuse victims said to be close to despair

Statement on Meeting with Irish Bishops

On 15 and 16 February 2010, the Holy Father met the Irish Bishops and senior members of the Roman Curia to discuss the serious situation which has emerged in the Church in Ireland. Together they examined the failure of Irish Church authorities for many years to act effectively in dealing with cases involving the sexual abuse of young people by some Irish clergy and religious. All those present recognized that this grave crisis has led to a breakdown in trust in the Church’s leadership and has damaged her witness to the Gospel and its moral teaching.

Irish bishops, pope begin summit on sex abuse


VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI and the bishops of Ireland began a two-day, closed-door meeting to assess responsibility in the Irish church's handling of priestly sex abuse cases and explore ways to heal the wounds left by the scandal.

Each of the 24 bishops was scheduled to speak for seven minutes, in effect giving the pope "an account of themselves" and their own actions, Bishop Joseph Duffy of Clogher told reporters on the eve of the Feb. 15-16 summit.

The pope convened the bishops in response to the continuing fallout from the scandal, following an independent report that faulted the church for its handling of 325 sex abuse claims in the Archdiocese of Dublin in the years 1975-2004.

Irish sex abuse victims ask church for $1 billion

VATICAN CITY -- Irish victims of clerical sex abuse have asked Pope Benedict XVI for over $1.37 billion in compensation, in a letter that the head of Ireland's Catholic Church will hand-deliver to the pope next week.

The letter also requests a meeting with Benedict during his forthcoming visit to Britain, expected to take place in September.


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