Various Catholic News

Trinity Western University removes mandatory community covenant

Catholic Register Canada - News - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 4:29 PM

OTTAWA – After battling all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada to defend its mandatory community covenant, Trinity Western University (TWU) has decided to drop it for students.

On Aug. 9, the university’s board of governors voted to no longer require students to sign the covenant that included a prohibition against sex outside of traditional marriage. 

The governors passed the following motion: “In furtherance of our desire to maintain TWU as a thriving community of Christian believers that is inclusive of all students wishing to learn from a Christian viewpoint and underlying philosophy, the Community Covenant will no longer be mandatory as of the 2018-19 academic year with respect to admission of students to, or continuation of students at, the University.”

The decision follows the June 15 Supreme Court of Canada’s release of two 7-2 decisions against TWU that upheld decisions by the Law Society of British Columbia and the Law Society of Upper Canada (Ontario) not to accredit TWU’s proposed law school because the covenant was deemed discriminatory against LGBTQ students.

Robert G. Kuhn, president of TWU, stressed in a statement that despite the decision, TWU “will remain a Biblically-based, mission-focused, academically excellent University, fully committed to our foundational evangelical Christian principles.”

The Supreme Court’s TWU decisions were widely interpreted as a blow to religious freedom and associational rights by the many religious groups that intervened in the case, including the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Archdiocese of Vancouver and  the Catholic Civil Rights League.

Former Religious Freedom Ambassador Andrew Bennett said following the June 15 decision that the court had “effectively” relegated “freedom of conscience and religion out of section 2 of the charter.”

Boston, Lincoln open inquiries into misconduct among seminarians, priests

Natl Catholic Reporter - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 4:21 PM
Two dioceses are under scrutiny following a series of online allegations that include illicit sexual behavior and alcohol abuse among seminarians and by those overseeing their development.

Labor Department bolsters religious exemptions from nondiscrimination laws

Natl Catholic Reporter - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 4:17 PM
The government has a duty to allow contractors to be excused from federal anti-discrimination laws if they cite a religious reason for doing so, according to a new directive from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Pennsylvania grand jury accuses over 300 priests of abuse, bishops of cover-up

Natl Catholic Reporter - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 3:53 PM
More than 300 Pennsylvania priests were accused of committing sexual assault and their bishops covering up for them in a wide-ranging grand jury report that detailed some of the most damning accusations brought against the Catholic Church.

U.S. bishops 'shamed' by 'sins, omissions' of priests, bishops leading to sex abuse

Catholic Register Canada - News - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 3:47 PM
WASHINGTON – The U.S. bishops as "are shamed by and sorry for the sins and omissions by Catholic priests and Catholic bishops" that have led to sexual abuse and caused great harm to many, said an Aug. 14 statement from the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the chairman of its child protection committee.

"We are committed to work in determined ways so that such abuse cannot happen," said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, the president, and Bishop Timothy L. Doherty of Lafayette, Indiana, chairman of the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People.

They pledged "to maintain transparency" and provide for "the permanent removal of offenders from ministry and to maintain safe environments for everyone."

Cardinal DiNardo also said he is hosting a series of meetings during the week to respond to "the broader issue of safe environments within the church," and will provide an update when the meetings are concluded.

The prelates' joint statement was issued in response to the release the same day of a grand jury report based on a months-long investigation by the state's attorney general into sexual abuse claims in six Pennsylvania dioceses -- Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Allentown, Scranton, Erie and Greensburg.

The report covers a span of over 70 years. Many of the claims go back decades.

"(The report) again illustrates the pain of those who have been victims of the crime of sexual abuse by individual members of our clergy, and by those who shielded abusers and so facilitated an evil that continued for years or even decades," said Cardinal DiNardo and Bishop Doherty.

"We are grateful for the courage of the people who aided the investigation by sharing their personal stories of abuse," they said. "As a body of bishops, we are shamed by and sorry for the sins and omissions by Catholic priests and Catholic bishops."

They added, "We are profoundly saddened each time we hear about the harm caused as a result of abuse, at the hands of a clergyman of any rank."

Cardinal DiNardo and Bishop Doherty said the USCCB committee headed by the Indiana bishop and the USCCB Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection at the bishops' conference in Washington "will continue to offer avenues to healing for those who have been abused. We are committed to work in determined ways so that such abuse cannot happen."

In 2002, the bishops adopted the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People," which, they said, "commits us to respond promptly and compassionately to victims, report the abuse of minors, remove offenders and take ongoing action to prevent abuse." The charter was revised and updated in 2011 and again in 2018.

"We pledge to maintain transparency and to provide for the permanent removal of offenders from ministry and to maintain safe environments for everyone," the two prelates said. "All policies and procedures regarding training and background check requirements are made publicly available by dioceses and eparchies."

"We pray that all survivors of sexual abuse find healing, comfort and strength in God's loving presence as the church pledges to continue to restore trust through accompaniment, communion, accountability and justice."

Cardinal Wuerl named in grand jury report more than 200 times, responds to criticism

Catholic Register Canada - News - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 3:34 PM
WASHINGTON – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, D.C., and the former Bishop of Pittsburgh, has been named more than 200 times in a Pennsylvania grand jury report, released Aug. 14, after an 18-month investigation into historic allegations of sexual abuse in six Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses.

The cardinal released a statement in response to the report, underscoring the gravity of the sexual abuse for the Church and the real need for repentance for past failures

“As I have made clear throughout my more than 30 years as a bishop, the sexual abuse of children by some members of the Catholic Church is a terrible tragedy, and the Church can never express enough our deep sorrow and contrition for the abuse, and for the failure to respond promptly and completely,” the cardinal said.

In total, 99 priest from Pittsburgh were named in the report, 32 priests were referenced by the grand jury report in relation to Cardinal Wuerl’s time as bishop. Of these, 19 involved new cases or allegations which arose during his 18 years in charge of the diocese, during the years 1988-2006.

Of the 19 cases which arose during Wuerl’s time as bishop, 18 were removed from ministry immediately. The other cases Wuerl addressed in Pittsburgh principally concerned actions and allegations that arose during the reign of his predecessor, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.

Several of these cases inherited from Cardinal Bevilacqua’s time were subject to the report’s most stringent criticisms.

In one case, an abuser-priest left the Diocese of Pittsburgh in 1966, following allegations of abuse. He was allowed to seek ministry in dioceses in California and Nevada. The report says Wuerl authorized him to move from Los Angeles to the diocese of Reno-Las Vegas in 1991, but sources familiar with the Pittsburgh case said that Wuerl was unaware of the 1966 allegations at the time.

A further allegation, concerning past actions by the same priest, was made in 1994 at which time Wuerl immediately informed the dioceses where the priest had been living.

In another case highlighted by the report, Wuerl agreed to a settlement with an abuse victim in his first weeks as bishop of Pittsburgh in 1988. The victim received a total of $900,000 and signed a confidentiality agreement - such agreements were once common in settlements and have been heavily criticized as a means of silencing victims.

While acknowledging that the report contained specific criticisms of his time in Pittsburgh, Wuerl defended his record of handling sexual abuse allegations.

“While I understand this report may be critical of some of my actions, I believe the report confirms that I acted with diligence, with concern for the victims and to prevent future acts of abuse. I sincerely hope that a just assessment of my actions, past and present, and my continuing commitment to the protection of children will dispel any notions otherwise made by this report.”

The report also specifically criticized Wuerl for maintaining financial support for priests who had been removed from ministry, although providing that support is a canonical obligation for bishops. Many dioceses, including those covered by the report, have found themselves obligated to continue providing minimum benefits and support for priests.

Sources close to the cardinal also point out that the grand jury report does not distinguish between proven incidents of abuse and other allegations, saying that the report presumes that any priest accused of abuse should have been permanently removed from ministry, whether the allegation is proven or not. That assumption, they say, is not consistent with canonical norms on the subject.

As the most senior sitting bishop to be named in the report, and having served for so long as the head of a diocese as prominent as Pittsburgh, it was widely expected that Wuerl would be singled out for special attention by the report, and by the state’s Attorney General, Josh Shapiro.

Perhaps the most eye-catching allegation against Wuerl contained in the more than 1,000 pages released is the use of the phrase “circle of secrecy.” These words, the report claims, “were his own words for the church’s child sex abuse cover up.” This allegation is vehemently denied by both the diocese of Pittsburgh and the cardinal.

In an official response released with the report, the Diocese of Pittsburgh said that the phrase “circle of secrecy” appears in paperwork related to the request of a particular priest to return to ministry, and that it was used to make clear that there could be no “circle of secrecy” about the priest’s past problems. The diocese also says that the handwriting in which the phrase is written cannot be definitively attributed to anyone, including Wuerl.

Ed McFadden, spokesman for the cardinal, said that “the handwriting does not belong to then-Bishop Wuerl as the writers of the Report mistakenly assumed. Indeed, the cardinal confirmed the handwriting is not his, and confirmed he neither wrote nor used the phrase while serving as Bishop of Pittsburgh. When the Cardinal’s legal counsel informed the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office about this error – prior to the release of the report – the Attorney General and his Senior Deputy refused to acknowledge the mistake and refused to take any steps to correct the dramatic use and misattribution of the phrase in the report.”

McFadden called the report’s attribution of the phrase “another example that in factual ways, large and small, the Attorney General’s office was more concerned with getting this report out than getting it right. Such a focus detracts from the shared goals of protection and healing.”

In a letter sent to the priests of the Washington archdiocese on Aug. 13, Wuerl wrote that he was shocked at having to confront allegations of abuse almost from the beginning of his ministry in Pittsburgh.

“I cannot fully express the dismay and anger I felt, when as a newly installed Bishop of Pittsburgh in 1988, I learned about the abuse some survivors experienced in my diocese,” he said.

The cardinal said that the experience of meeting with victims of abuse “urged me to develop quickly a “zero tolerance” policy for clergy who committed such abuse,” and that he put in place procedures to ensure allegations were addressed “fairly and forthrightly.”

In his written testimony to the grand jury, Wuerl recounted that in his first months as Bishop of Pittsburgh he had to meet with two brothers who had been victims of abuse. Wuerl said he was profoundly affected by the experience and came away with “a permanent resolve that this should never happen again.”

In 1989, Wuerl established a diocesan committee to evaluate policies for responding to abuse allegations. This committee grew to become the Diocesan Review Board, nearly a decade before the Dallas Charter called for every diocese to have such a body.

In his letter to the priests of Washington, he said that he had tried to live up to his own zero-tolerance standards.

“The diocese [of Pittsburgh] investigated all allegations of child sexual abuse during my tenure there and admitted or substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse resulted in appropriate action including the removal of the priest from ministry,” Wuerl wrote to the Washington presbyterate.

What constitutes “appropriate action” is something that has changed in the years since the sexual abuse crisis at the turn of the millennium and the formation of the Dallas Charter by the United States bishops.

As Bishop of Pittsburgh, Wuerl says he implemented of a policy that formally encouraged Catholics making complaints to also report them directly to law enforcement agencies, and sometimes informed civil authorities himself, even against the express wishes of the person making the allegations.

Of the 19 priests whose original allegations were handled by Wuerl, 18 were immediately removed from pastoral assignments and a kept away from any further contact with children.

But, when allegations could not be satisfactorily established, many of these were given administrative positions in the diocesan chancery, something which would be considered inappropriate under current standards. Unlike the worst examples of earlier abuse cases in dioceses like Boston and Los Angeles, Wuerl is adamant that he never moved an accused or suspected abuser from parish to parish, or left them in parish ministry.

Indeed, from his first year in Pittsburgh, Wuerl acted publicly on issues related to clerical sexual abuse, even in the face of Church opposition.

In 1988, the year he arrived in Pittsburgh, Wuerl removed Fr. Anthony Cipolla from ministry following accusations the priest had molested a teenage boy. Following appeals by Cipolla, the Vatican ordered that the priest be returned to ministry but Wuerl categorically refused, flying to Rome and presenting evidence and arguments in person to the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. Rome eventually reversed its position and upheld Wuerl’s decision.

While cases of suspected abuse since 2002 have been handled according to the USCCB’s “Essential Norms,” the Cipolla case served as an important template in the 1990’s, making it easier for other bishops to remove priests accused of abuse from active ministry.

Coming hard on the heels of the revelations about Archbishop McCarrick, who preceded Wuerl in Washington, D.C., the cardinal has found himself on the receiving end of very pointed and sustained criticism. Appearing on “CBS This Morning” ahead of the report’s release, he was pointedly asked if he had any intention of resigning. He is likely to face renewed scrutiny and even more difficult questions in the weeks ahead.

Catholic News Agency

After Rwanda closes churches, bishops urge protection of religious rights

Natl Catholic Reporter - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 2:42 PM
The Rwandan Catholic bishops' conference urged the government of President Paul Kagame to preserve religious rights after government officials closed thousands of churches and mosques.

The abuse of secrecy and the secrecy of abuse

Catholic World Report - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 1:46 PM
Clerical elitism did not cause sex abuse, nor did sex abuse cause clerical elitism, but the link between the two things is certainly very real. [...]

Links for 8/9/18

Natl Catholic Reporter - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 1:07 PM
Michael Sean Winters rounds up political news and commentary: Subculture in seminaries; Bishop Barron joins discussion on McCarrick; There is no widespread voter fraud in this country; Football players who kneel

Australian court approves house arrest for Archbishop Wilson

Catholic Register Canada - News - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 12:14 PM
ADELAIDE, Australia – An Australian judge approved home detention for Archbishop Philip Wilson, the retired archbishop of Adelaide who was found guilty of failing to report child sexual abuse allegations in the 1970s.

The archbishop's lawyer said Aug. 14 that the archbishop will appeal his conviction but would begin serving his sentence immediately. He was sentenced July 3 to one year's detention, but with the possibility of parole after six months.

The Newcastle Magistrates Court ruled that he could serve the sentence at a relative's house; Australian media reported that it would be the home of his sister. He will be required to wear a location monitor.

When Archbishop Wilson was convicted in May, he stepped aside from his duties in the Adelaide Archdiocese while remaining the archbishop. In late July, however, he offered his resignation to Pope Francis, explaining in a statement that "there is just too much pain and distress being caused by my maintaining the office of archbishop of Adelaide, especially to the victims of Father (James) Fletcher."

Pope Francis accepted the resignation July 30. Earlier, the pope had named Bishop Gregory O'Kelly of Port Pirie apostolic administrator of the archdiocese.

"The arrangements made by Pope Francis for the care of the archdiocese by the apostolic administrator" remain in place "while the search for a new archbishop continues," said a statement released by the archdiocese Aug. 14.

"Bishop O'Kelly said he was keeping Archbishop Wilson in his prayers as he formally commences this stage in his life, while also remembering the victims and survivors of abuse in the church," the archdiocesan statement said.

A Newcastle court found that, in 1976, then-Father Wilson had been told by a 15-year-old boy that he had been indecently assaulted by a priest, but that Father Wilson chose not to go to the authorities despite believing the allegations were true. Father Fletcher, the abusive priest, was convicted in 2004 of nine counts of child sexual abuse and died in 2016 in prison.

Archbishop Wilson, who had led the Archdiocese of Adelaide since 2001, is the highest-ranking church official to be convicted of covering up abuse charges. He recently was diagnosed with early stages of Alzheimer's disease, and throughout the magistrate's hearing he testified that he had no memory of the conversation with the 15-year-old.

Court approves house arrest for Australian archbishop

Natl Catholic Reporter - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 10:32 AM
An Australian judge approved home detention for Archbishop Philip Wilson, the retired archbishop of Adelaide who was found guilty of failing to report child sexual abuse allegations in the 1970s.

PA GRAND JURY REPORT BASED ON ACCUSATIONS

Catholic League - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 9:31 AM
Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the Pennsylvania grand jury report on six dioceses in Pennsylvania: The grand jury report will attract the prurient interest of the public, much to the delight of the media. But when the dust settles, what counts are the facts. The media are saying that the report will name [...]

Morning Briefing

Natl Catholic Reporter - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 9:04 AM
Morning Briefing: Men's religious orders focus on upcoming youth synod; Letters of McCarrick's abuse sent to Boston; LCWR annual assembly; Catholic hospitals expand; What theological education needs

Priest sent second letter reporting McCarrick abuse to Cardinal O'Malley

Catholic Register Canada - News - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 8:38 AM
WASHINGTON – In a June 2015 letter to Boston's Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley obtained by Catholic News Service, a New York priest tells the prelate about "sexual abuse/harassment/intimidation" allegations he had heard concerning then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick and asks that if the matter doesn't fall under his purview, to forward it to the "proper agency in the Vatican."

The letter "has taken me years to write and send," writes Father Boniface Ramsey, pastor of St. Joseph's Church Yorkville in New York City, who made the letter available to CNS in early August. But it was the second time he had attempted to tell church officials in writing.

In it, he describes for Cardinal O'Malley conversations with the rector of a seminary in New Jersey about trips then-Archbishop McCarrick, as head of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, would take with seminarians to a beach house.

During the time period he mentions in the letter, 1986 to 1996, he says he was teaching at Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University in New Jersey. He writes of the accounts he'd heard of Archbishop McCarrick's repeated trips to a New Jersey beach house where, after too many seminarians were invited for too few beds, "the extra seminarian was then told that he could share the archbishop's bed."

"Some of these stories were not presented to me as mere rumors but were told me by persons directly involved," he wrote.

In an Aug. 13 phone interview with CNS, Father Ramsey said he didn't know any sexual acts were taking place, "but I thought his (McCarrick's) behavior was extremely inappropriate at the least." He said he was careful about what he wrote in the letter to Cardinal O'Malley because he didn't want to be spreading rumors he'd heard, but he had concerns about the bed-sharing after hearing that it weighed on one of his friends who was tasked with finding seminarians for the archbishop's beach visits.

"I'd never heard of any adult who had sex with McCarrick," he said, but felt the constant bed sharing he'd often heard about was "something he shouldn't have been doing."

The letter dated June 17, 2015, was sent just shortly after the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, headed by Cardinal O'Malley, received its statutes in May 2015. Father Ramsey said he sent it then because he had heard of the formation of the commission and had recently been at the funeral for New York Cardinal Edward M. Egan, who died in March 2015, and saw Cardinal McCarrick there. At that point the prelate was archbishop of Washington.

"I was angry," Father Ramsey told Catholic News Service. "I said 'this guy is still out and about.'"

Father Ramsey said it made him "upset" to see that Cardinal McCarrick, after "this long history which so many people knew about, he could continue to show his face."

He had written a letter about his concerns more than a decade before, in 2000, and it didn't seem to go anywhere, but his new motivation came about when he saw Cardinal McCarrick and "wanted this stuff to stop with the seminarians," he said in the interview. So, he sat down to write a letter – again.

"The matter does not have to do with the abuse of minors, but it does have to do with a form of sexual abuse/harassment/intimidation or maybe simply high-jinks as practiced by Theodore Cardinal McCarrick with his seminarians and perhaps other young men when he was the Archbishop of Newark," writes Father Ramsey to Cardinal O'Malley.

In a July statement, Cardinal O'Malley said he did not "personally" receive the letter but the statement said "at the staff level the letter was reviewed and determined that the matters presented did not fall under the purview of the Commission or the Archdiocese of Boston..." However, the response from the cardinal's office did not say whether it had been forwarded to the proper agency, as Father Ramsey had requested.

In the letter to Cardinal O'Malley, Father Ramsey says that he had in the past told Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly of Louisville, who died in December 2011, about his concerns. Archbishop Kelly told him that "stories about Archbishop McCarrick had been circulating among the American bishops," the letter says, and that Archbishop Kelly mentioned to him a story involving a flight attendant.

In the interview with CNS, Father Ramsey said the story was about a male flight attendant whom Archbishop McCarrick "picked up" on a flight, telling him that perhaps he had a vocation, and ended up enrolling him in a seminary, but there seemed to be reasons other than religious for wanting him there. The flight-attendant-turned seminarian was later kicked out of the seminary.

Father Ramsey writes in the letter that after Archbishop McCarrick was appointed to the Archdiocese of Washington in 2000, he tried to speak to the apostolic nuncio in Washington, who was then Gabriel Montalvo Higuera, about what he knew. The nuncio told him to write him a letter, which Father Ramsey said he sent. He told a priest friend about the letter and that friend tried to dissuade him from sending it, telling him it could hurt him.

"I never received any acknowledgement, although I have certain knowledge that the letter was received, and that the information was forwarded to somewhere in the Vatican," he wrote Cardinal O'Malley.

The writing of the letter didn't seem to hurt Father Ramsey, as his friend had feared. But its revelations also didn't seem to hurt Archbishop McCarrick.

"I found it shocking at the time that Archbishop McCarrick was ever advanced to the Archdiocese of Washington, since I have little doubt that many persons in the Vatican were aware of his proclivities before he was named," he wrote in the letter to Cardinal O'Malley. "And then, of course, on to the cardinalate, which was to be expected for the Archbishop of Washington, but still distressing."

Mentioning cases of high-ranking officials disgraced because of sexual misbehavior, he said in the letter that "it seems bizarre to me that Cardinal McCarrick is out and about, a conspicuous presence at religious (including papal) events, being interviewed, giving speeches, serving on committees and the like. Was not what he did at the very least highly questionable? Was it not taking advantage of young men who did not know how to say no to their archbishop? Has it not, for the many laity and clergy who were aware of his actions, contributed to cynicism about the church and the hierarchy?"

Father Ramsey said he did not keep a letter of the one sent in 2000 to the nuncio, but in between the first and the second letter he sent, he said tried to speak with others, including Cardinal Egan, about stopping then- Archbishop McCarrick.

"He (Cardinal Egan) didn't want to hear about it," Father Ramsey said to CNS.

Here is the text of a June 17, 2015, letter written by Father Boniface Ramsey, administrator of a parish in the New York Archdiocese, about Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick and claims of the archbishop's sexual improprieties with seminarians that Father Ramsey heard from some of the young men themselves. He sent it to Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, who has headed the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors since it was established in 2014. Father Ramsey provided a copy of the letter to Paul Haring, senior photographer in the Rome bureau of Catholic News Service:


His Eminence

Sean Patrick Cardinal O'Malley, O.F.M.Cap.

Archbishop of Boston

66 Brooks Drive

Braintree, Massachusetts 02184



Dear Cardinal O'Malley,

I am writing to you about a delicate matter, about which in fact I contacted Archbishop Montalvo, the Apostolic Nuncio, in November 2000. I feel that, after thinking about it for several years, I should make a second contact -- this time with you. The matter does not have to do with the abuse of minors, but it does have to do with a form of sexual abuse/harassment/intimidation or maybe simply high-jinks as practiced by Theodore Cardinal McCarrick with his seminarians and perhaps other young men when he was the Archbishop of Newark.

From 1986 to 1996 I taught patrology at Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University and for much of that time served there as a mentor and spiritual director. (I was a Dominican at the time and am now a priest of the Archdiocese of New York.) Early on in my tenure at the seminary I heard from several seminarians that Archbishop McCarrick was in the habit of inviting seminarians to his house on the New Jersey Shore -- always one more seminarian than there were beds; the extra seminarian was then told that he could share the archbishop's bed. Archbishop McCarrick would ask the rector of the seminary to find seminarians to go to his beach house, which the rector apparently did with a great deal of reluctance, not knowing how to refuse his ordinary. The rector was a man whom I admired, and a friend. When I had a chance to speak with him about this, I believe that he resolved to resist the archbishop, and I think that he did. I am not sure, however, that the archbishop ceased his invitations. There were also stories of seminarians and seminarian-age young men sharing the archbishop's residence, of special privileges (like studying in Rome) for his "nephews," and so forth. Some of these stories were not presented to me as mere rumors but were told me by persons directly involved.

Initially I kept this information to myself, viewing it as a natural secret, but I eventually discovered that it was rather widely known in the archdiocese and even further abroad, which made me feel that I was released from observing any confidentiality. I spoke with Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly of Louisville, a friend of mine, sometime in the 1990s, and he said that stories about Archbishop McCarrick had been circulating among the American bishops, and he himself mentioned one story involving a flight attendant (whom I knew at the seminary and who was expelled for preying on another seminarian).

When Archbishop McCarrick was named Archbishop of Washington in November 2000, I decided to inform the nuncio about what I knew. First I called him, spoke with him directly about the situation, and asked if he would receive a letter from me. He said yes. The next day I reconsidered, and then I called him and said that I had had second thoughts about sending him my letter. He told me in no uncertain terms that I should send it, and so I did. I never received any acknowledgement, although I have certain knowledge that the letter was received and that the information was forwarded to somewhere in the Vatican.

I found it shocking at the time that Archbishop McCarrick was ever advanced to the Archdiocese of Washington, since I have little doubt that many persons in the Vatican were aware of his proclivities before he was named. And then, of course, on to the cardinalate, which was to be expected for the Archbishop of Washington, but still distressing.

These days, when the former nuncio to the Dominican Republic is going to go to trial for child abuse and the Archbishop of Saint Paul has just resigned over the same issue, when a Scottish cardinal has recently been disgraced for sexual misbehavior with his priests, it seems bizarre to me that Cardinal McCarrick is out and about, a conspicuous presence at religious (including papal) events, being interviewed, giving speeches, serving on committees, and the like. Was not what he did at the very least highly questionable? Was it not taking advantage of young men who did not know how to say no to their archbishop? Has it not, for the many laity and clergy who were aware of his actions, contributed to cynicism about the Church and the hierarchy?

I am not sure whether Cardinal McCarrick's past actions come under your purview, but if they do, all the better. If not, perhaps you would forward this letter to the proper agency in the Vatican.

I am grateful for any attention that you may give to this letter, which it has taken me years to decide to write and send.

Yours sincerely in Christ,

(Rev.) Boniface Ramsey

Administrator

Jesus Defines True Humanity

Franciscan Media American Catholic Blog - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 7:00 AM


We are in Ordinary Time—and will be until Ash Wednesday. One of the purposes of this present liturgical season is to give us time and space to reflect on what we have just celebrated at Christmas; namely, that our God became flesh and lived among us. That is a mystery of our faith: God the Son, God from all eternity, became a human being in the person of Jesus of Nazareth born of the Virgin Mary. 

News at 4.30pm

Vatican Radio Morning News - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 6:01 AM
Vatican & World News at 4.30pm

Theological education needs more than a splash of ethnic color

Natl Catholic Reporter - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 5:00 AM
When it comes to competencies, pastoral preparation and theological education for ministry in Latin@ contexts, too often rich and complex worlds of meaning are overlooked or ignored, and important ways of being Latin@ are reduced to decorative accent pieces.

Justice Action Bulletin: Protecting counterprotesters; nuclear repentance

Natl Catholic Reporter - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 4:00 AM
The latest news on active nonviolence: Protectors support counterprotesters at "Unite the Right" rally; action follows catechism change on death penalty; vigils mark Hiroshima, Nagasaki anniversaries.

Men's orders focus annual assembly on upcoming youth synod

Natl Catholic Reporter - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 4:00 AM
Testimonials and studies fostered conversations throughout the annual assembly of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, which focused on the upcoming synod on young people.

Francis, the comic strip

Natl Catholic Reporter - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 4:00 AM
Francis, the comic strip: It seems Francis himself has recognized the humor inherent in being pope. "Francis," the comic strip, picks up on that cue.
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