Blaming homosexuality for abuse of minors is distraction, victims say

Barbara Dorris, an abuse survivor and former executive director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, speaks at a news conference at the Foreign Press Club in Rome Feb. 19, 2019. The event was held to talk about the abuse of women as the Vatican prepares for its Feb. 21-24 Vatican meeting on the protection of minors in the church. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Carol Glatz 
Catholic News Service

ROME (CNS) — People must stop using homosexuals as scapegoats for the sexual abuse of children, two male survivors of abuse by priests told reporters.

“To make this link between homosexuality and pedophilia is absolutely immoral, it is unconscionable and has to stop,” said Peter Isely, a survivor and founding member of the survivor’s group SNAP.

Speaking to reporters outside the Vatican press office Feb. 18, he said: “No matter what your sexual orientation is, if you’ve committed a criminal act against a child, you’re a criminal. That’s the designation that counts. Period.”

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Posted in Vatican, World

To know God is to know love, pope says at audience

Pope Francis speaks during his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Feb. 20, 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Junno Arocho Esteves 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When speaking to God as a father, Christians experience a love that goes beyond human love and affection, which can be unpredictable and mired by selfishness, Pope Francis said.

While often compared to the love of parents, the love of God is greater; “there is a God in heaven who loves us like no one on this earth has ever done and can ever do,” the pope said Feb. 20 during his weekly general audience.

“God’s love is that of the father ‘who is in heaven,’ according to the expression that Jesus invites us to use. It is the total love that we in this life can savor only in an imperfect way,” he said.

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Posted in Vatican

Dolan: Church loves, welcomes pregnant women, is ‘honored’ to serve them

Sister Mary Elizabeth, vicar general of the Sisters of Life, holds 6-month-old Esther at the religious community’s Holy Respite residence in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City May 4, 2016. Holy Respite serves as a home and support center for pregnant women in crisis and new mothers. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

By Beth Griffin 
Catholic News Service

NEW YORK (CNS) — In a robust demonstration that actions speak louder than words, New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan Feb. 18 introduced representatives of six church-related organizations that help pregnant women in need.

Standing in the modest living room of a convent that Sisters of Life share with expectant and new mothers and their children, the cardinal reaffirmed the commitment first made in 1984 by his predecessor, Cardinal John J. O’Connor.

“Any pregnant woman can come to the Archdiocese of New York, to its parishes and facilities, and we will do all in our power to assist you, so that you never feel that you have no alternative except an abortion,” Cardinal Dolan said. “It does not matter what your marital status, your religion, or your immigration status might be. None of that matters, folks.”

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Posted in U.S.

Philippine bishop: Duterte’s drug war is ‘illegal, immoral and anti-poor’

Six-year-old Clarisa Jugadora touches a photo of her grandparents, who were taken by police from their home in a slum in Manila, Philippines, in 2016. Their bodies were found the next day. They were killed, allegedly as part of the Philippine government’s war on drugs. The girl believes her grandparents are in heaven and talks to their photograph every day, keeping them apprised of her life. (CNS photo/Paul Jeffrey)

By Paul Jeffrey 
Catholic News Service

KALOOKAN, Philippines (CNS) — A Catholic bishop in the Philippines said his government’s controversial war on drugs is really a war against the country’s poor.

“There is no war against illegal drugs, because the supply is not being stopped. If they are really after illegal drugs, they would go after the big people, the manufacturers, the smugglers, the suppliers. But instead, they go after the victims of these people. So, I have come to the conclusion that this war on illegal drugs is illegal, immoral and anti-poor,” said Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan.

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Posted in World

Religious superiors admit denial, slowness to act against abuse

A Dominican nun and Jesuit priest are pictured in a combination photo. “Pope Francis rightly attacks the culture of clericalism which has hindered our fight against abuse and indeed is one of the root causes,” said a statement Feb. 19 from the women’s International Union of Superiors General and the men’s Union of Superiors General. (CNS file)

By Cindy Wooden 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Twisted ideas of power and authority in the Catholic Church have contributed to the clerical sexual abuse crisis, leaders of religious orders said, but sometimes the positive “sense of family” in their own communities also made them slow to act.

“Pope Francis rightly attacks the culture of clericalism which has hindered our fight against abuse and indeed is one of the root causes,” said a statement Feb. 19 from the women’s International Union of Superiors General and the men’s Union of Superiors General.

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Posted in Vatican, World

Vatican summit: Silence, denial are unacceptable, archbishop says

Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna of Malta and Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago, members of the organizing committee for the Feb. 21-24 Vatican meeting on the protection of minors in the church, attend a news conference Feb. 18 to preview the meeting. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When presented with an accusation that a priest has sexually abused a child, “whether it’s criminal or malicious complicity and a code of silence or whether it is denial” on a very human level, such reactions are no longer tolerable, said the Vatican’s top investigator of abuse cases.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, who handles abuse cases as adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was part of a panel of speakers at a news conference Feb. 18 to outline the Vatican’s plans and hopes for the summit meeting on the protection of minors in the church.

The meeting Feb. 21-24 was to bring together almost 190 church leaders: the presidents of national bishops’ conferences, the heads of the Eastern Catholic churches, superiors of religious orders of men and women, Roman Curia officials and invited experts and guest speakers.

After reciting the Angelus Feb. 17, Pope Francis publicly asked Catholics around the world to pray for the summit, and he repeated the request Feb. 18 in a tweet, saying he wanted the meeting to be “a powerful gesture of pastoral responsibility in the face of an urgent challenge.” Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

DiNardo: Action on McCarrick ‘clear signal’ church will not tolerate abuse

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, responds to a question during a conference on “Healing the Breach of Trust: The Role of the Laity in Responding to the Crisis” Feb. 6, 2019, at The Catholic University of America in Washington. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Vatican’s removal from the priesthood of Theodore McCarrick “is a clear signal that abuse will not be tolerated,” said the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Feb. 16.

“No bishop, no matter how influential, is above the law of the church,” said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston. “For all those McCarrick abused, I pray this judgment will be one small step, among many, toward healing.”

“For us bishops, it strengthens our resolve to hold ourselves accountable to the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” the cardinal said. “I am grateful to Pope Francis for the determined way he has led the church’s response.” Continue reading

Posted in U.S.