NRB: Change in Church’s culture, including bishops, needed to end abuse
WASHINGTON — More committees are not the answer to stop the abuse of children and vulnerable adults by clergy, said an Aug. 28 statement by the National Review Board, which is charged with addressing clerical sexual misconduct in the Catholic Church. “What needs to happen is a genuine change in the Church’s culture, specifically among the bishops themselves,” the board said. “This evil has resulted from a loss of moral leadership and an abuse of power that led to a culture of silence that enabled these incidents to occur. “Intimidation, fear, and the misuse of authority created an environment that was taken advantage of by clerics, including bishops, causing harm to minors, seminarians, and those most vulnerable,” the NRB said. “The culture of silence enabled the abuse to go on virtually unchecked. Trust was betrayed for the victims/survivors of the abuse; the entire body of Christ was betrayed in turn by these crimes and the failure to act.” The purpose of the NRB, established in 2002 as part of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, is to work collaboratively with the U.S. bishops’ Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People in preventing the sexual abuse of minors in the United States by persons in the service of the Church.
Seton Hall University investigates clergy sexual misconduct charges
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. — Seton Hall University officials have opened an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick and others. University President Mary J. Meehan announced the action in a letter published on the school’s website Aug. 22. The investigation follows allegations of sexual misconduct by Archbishop McCarrick, who formerly was archbishop of Newark, and other archdiocesan priests that may have involved students at Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology and the College Seminary at St. Andrew’s Hall at the university. Media reports based on interviews with former seminarians detailed the alleged incidents. In addition, an allegation that Archbishop McCarrick abused a teenager in 1971 in the Archdiocese of New York was found credible. After the reports, Archbishop McCarrick resigned from the College of Cardinals July 28. He has said he is innocent.
Bishop recalls McCain’s service, bipartisanship
TUCSON, Ariz. — Retired Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson praised Arizona Sen. John S. McCain, who died at age 81 of brain cancer Aug. 25, for his service to the nation. “He was a very principled man who had a passion for service,” Bishop Kicanas told the Catholic Outlook, newspaper of the Tucson Diocese, Aug. 27. The two worked together on immigration reform issues, especially in 2007, when McCain was trying to balance the political pressures of securing the Republican nomination for the 2008 presidential election with his bipartisan attempts at immigration reform. Bishop Kicanas recalled an office visit in which McCain challenged him to help activate Hispanic and other voters to lobby congressional offices on behalf of immigration reform. Political pressure inevitably doomed the effort. McCain believed in American principles — such as hard work, cooperation and protecting human dignity — and that sharing those with the world made the world safer. “He was a tough competitor, but he also understood that we cannot achieve success (global stability) by ourselves,” Bishop Kicanas said
Puerto Rico getting back on feet but long road remains
WASHINGTON — Nearly a year ago, Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico as a category 4 storm, and afterward 11-year-old Marco Lebron’s first thought was about the monks who teach at his school, Benedictine-run San Antonio Abad School and Abbey in Humacao. “A few days after the hurricane I just think my school is in the middle of the forest, they’re monks, and they’re elderly, they’re retired,” Marco said. “And I just told my dad, ‘Hey, let’s see if they’re OK.’” The monks have their own well, but without electricity they couldn’t get water from it, said Benedictine Abbot Oscar Rivera. “It was hurricane like I’ve never seen before. Basically, all your fundamental necessities, like water, were gone. … We felt totally helpless.” Helping the monks get water was one of the first things Marco and his father, Jose Lebron-Sanabria, set out to do in those first days after Maria; that and take care of their own family’s water needs. Lebron-Sanabria and his wife, Christina, also have a daughter, Natalia, 2. He had even more people to help as a member of the Knights of Columbus and general insurance agent for the fraternal organization. “We are getting back on our feet step by step,” Lebron-Sanabria told Catholic News Service in a phone interview from Humacao.
Catholics face fear
as Chad prioritizes Islam
OXFORD, England — Christians in Chad are being intimidated and forced from public life, under new rules prioritizing Islam in violation of the North African country’s secular foundations, according to the Catholic Church. A senior Church source, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution, called the situation “critical.” The source also stated Catholic leaders fear for their lives after criticizing constitutional changes. The comments were sent Aug. 27 to Catholic News Service, as the government of President Idriss Deby enforced a revised constitution, extending presidential powers in the predominantly Muslim state and requiring office-holders to take a religious oath. “The new religious oath is exclusive and reductive in its vision of the state and appears to be another way of excluding Christians from public responsibilities,” the Church source stated. “What will now become of the many Chadians who are neither Muslims nor Christians, and what will be the purpose of our institutions of justice and regulation?” The revised constitution, in force since May 4, abolishes the office of prime minister and extends the powers of Deby, in office since 1990, allowing him to seek a sixth and seventh term, running till 2033.
— Catholic News Service