Wednesday, September 5, 2018

“Bishops and priests, abusing their authority, have committed horrendous crimes to the detriment of their faithful, minors, innocent victims, and young men eager to offer their lives to the Church, or by their silence have not prevented that such crimes continue to be perpetrated. To restore the beauty of holiness to the face of the Bride of Christ, which is terribly disfigured by so many abominable crimes, and if we truly want to free the Church from the fetid swamp into which she has fallen, we must have the courage to tear down the culture of secrecy and publicly confess the truths we have kept hidden.” —Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, “Testimony,” dated August 22, 2018, made public on August 25, 2018

“In his 2008 homily on the Feast of the Epiphany, Pope Benedict reminded us that the Father’s plan of salvation had been fully revealed and realized in the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection, but it needs to be welcomed in human history, which is always a history of fidelity on God’s part and unfortunately also of infidelity on the part of us men. The Church, the depository of the blessing of the New Covenant, signed in the blood of the Lamb, is holy but made up of sinners, as Saint Ambrose wrote: the Church is ‘immaculata ex maculatis,’ she is holy and spotless even though, in her earthly journey, she is made up of men stained with sin.” —Archbishop Vigano, in the same text

“This trumped-up net has been shown to overflow with hate and fake news. Journalists are doing their job, and Viganò’s statement appears for what it is. The sketchy interests [behind it], in collusion with pseudo-Catholic American media, have in part been revealed. The tragedy has become a farce.” —Father Antonio Spadaro, S.J., editor of the influential Jesuit bimonthly Civilta Cattolica, and a close advisor of Pope Francis, on his Facebook page (link)

Day #13

Today is the 13th day since the publication of Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano’s “Testimony.” (The full text is here; it was made public on the evening of August 25.)

In the news (with fuller texts below):

1) Expanded investigation.

Authorities in the state of New York have issued subpoenas to every Catholic diocese in New York state to obtain diocesan records related to allegations and actions in cases of sexual abuse by clerics. New Mexico has made a similar request. Nebraska and Missouri This suggests that the investigation in the US could grow much wider than Pennsylvania alone, and possibly, over coming months, reveal many more cases than are now known.

2) Passionate defense of Pope Francis.

A top advisor to Pope Francis, Father Antonio Spadaro, has denounced the attacks on the Pope as the product of “desperate interests (pseudo-Catholic American media are involved…)”

3) “In escrow.” (link)

And now, the question of money. The Legatus group, made up of Catholics who are CEOs of companies, has announced it will hold back its annual donation to the Holy See (normally $1 million annually). The gift is being placed “in escrow,” Legatus founder Thomas Monaghan (the former owner of Domino’s Pizza and Detroit Tigers baseball team and the founder of Ave Maria University near Naples, Florida) wrote today.

Here are reports on these matters.

Working on another aspect of this story — another letter to follow soon…


(1) Investigation of sexual abuse to expand beyond Pennsylvania

New York attorney general’s office has issued subpoenas to every Catholic diocese in the state (link)

By Julie Zauzmer and Michelle Boorstein

September 6 at 7:10 PM

The New York attorney general’s office has issued subpoenas to every Catholic diocese in the state, becoming the latest U.S. state to embark on an expansive investigation of sex crimes committed and covered up by Catholic priests.

The Catholic Church faces a major test over the next several months, as the attorneys general of at least five states conduct investigations and several more consider opening up the decades-old secret files of the dioceses in their states.

Millions of Catholics nationwide now must grapple with attending a church that is under criminal investigation.

After New York’s subpoenas were issued, and first reported by the Associated Press on Thursday, New Jersey quickly followed, announcing a criminal task force focused on investigating sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.

New Mexico launched an investigation this week, and Nebraska and Missouri have inquiries underway.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro set off this wave when he announced last month the results of a massive grand jury investigation, alleged that more than 1,000 children were sexually abused by more than 300 priests in six of the state’s Catholic dioceses, over a period spanning more than 70 years.

The report began a storm across the country, with many Catholic faithful demanding that their own dioceses open their files to criminal investigators to examine whether a similarly extensive cover-up took place.

Shapiro said on Thursday, “Our work in Pennsylvania has spurred a movement.”

Marci Hamilton, a professor of religion and law at the University of Pennsylvania who is an expert on child protection laws, said these state investigations signal a totally new phase in the U.S. government’s treatment of clergy abuse. While several other countries have had government-led national probes of child sexual abuse, in the United States, Pennsylvania’s is the very first state-wide investigation.

Previously, Hamilton believed, U.S. politicians like attorneys general didn’t want to touch the church. “Since 2002, I’ve been waiting to hear three words: ‘Clergy sex abuse,’” she said Thursday. “It’s see no evil, hear no evil. They are terrified in this hyper-religious liberty environment of offending an organized religion like the Catholic Church.”

She thinks state officials changed their minds when they saw Shapiro “did it with no political peril.”

Due to the statute of limitations on sex crimes, almost all the abuses documented by the Pennsylvania grand jury cannot lead to criminal prosecutions, and Underwood’s office warned that any victims who report abuse in New York might also find that the crimes are no longer prosecutable under state law.

A person familiar with the New York investigation told The Washington Post that the attorney general’s office sent civil subpoenas to the eight Catholic dioceses. The subpoenas are part of an ongoing civil investigation by the attorney general’s Charities Bureau, which is looking into whether the nonprofit dioceses covered up sexual abuse of minors.

Separately, the criminal division is working with district attorneys in the state who might convene grand juries to investigate crimes committed by priests.

On Thursday, Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced a telephone hotline and an online forum for victims and witnesses of child abuse committed by clergy in the state of New York to contact investigators. New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal also said that his office had set up a new telephone hotline for victims of sexual abuse by clergy and would investigate the allegations through its new criminal task force.

Many within the church have called for criminal investigations in recent weeks, in place of the church-run remedies that U.S. bishops have pursued since the Boston Globe exposed the clergy sex abuse scandal in 2002.

Michael Merz, a federal judge in Ohio who formerly chaired the National Review Board that the church set up to handle sexual abuse cases, said the government can investigate in a way that his board never could.

He said the body didn’t investigate so much as audit how dioceses were handling the abuse cases that parishioners brought to the church.

“That kind of auditing doesn’t do anything about stuff that’s never been reported, for example. This has the possibility of helping people who have never spoken out about their abuse do so,” Merz said.

He wondered about expending state resources on exhaustive investigations that lead to few if any criminal prosecutions, though.

“There’s a serious question in my mind about the validity of an investigation by a grand jury that doesn’t result in indictments,” he said. “On the other hand, it’s clear from the press reports that the investigation in Pennsylvania was of great assistance to victims…. In my judgment, it’s valuable to get those accusations out there where people can read them.”

After the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, The Washington Post reached out to the attorneys general of the 49 other states to see if they had plans to launch similar inquiries or had investigations already underway. Many said they could not comment on potential investigations, while others said they lacked the authority to immediately act on local cases. Under state law in many states, the investigation needs to begin at the local level.

Missouri became the first state to launch an investigation in the wake of the Pennsylvania report, announcing last month that it would explore allegations of alleged abuses by clergy in the St. Louis area, which is home to more than half a million Catholics.

In New Mexico, Attorney General Hector Balderas sent letters to the bishops of the state’s dioceses on Tuesday, saying that the Pennsylvania report was “shaking the conscience of those throughout the world by detailing the vast extent of sexual abuse perpetrated by priests and clerics and the shocking cover-up by church leaders.”

Balderas acknowledged that the statute of limitations would likely prevent many prosecutions but said that he is investigating “in the interest of long overdue transparency.”

Calling the letter a “demand…in contemplation of litigation,” he asked the dioceses to turn over by October 5 all documents relating to child sexual abuse allegations and to numerous specific priests.

In Nebraska, the state’s three dioceses said they had received an inquiry from the attorney general’s office requesting their files on the subject dating back to 1978.

The dioceses of Lincoln and Grand Island said they would cooperate with the investigation; the archdiocese of Omaha did not immediately respond to The Post’s inquiry.

The results of such state probes could cause many U.S. Catholics to leave the church, as happened after a national probe in Ireland, where the Catholic Church was literally part of the government.

Hamilton noted that Scotland’s government also ran a national probe, as did Germany, Sweden, Japan.

A commission by the Australian government ran a years-long investigation that just ended this year.

“People are much less inclined to belong to institutions that are suspect,” Merz said. “There’s no doubt that a lot of people have left because of doubting the integrity of this particular institution.”

In the New York investigation, Albany bishop Edward Scharfenberger, who leads one of the eight dioceses subpoenaed in the state, said on Thursday that he had asked Albany’s district attorney to review the diocese’s records of handling sexual abuse cases.

In a letter to parishioners on Thursday, Scharfenberger said his decision to contact law enforcement “is necessary and ultimately will result in much good, but [is] one that is likely to be difficult and incredibly challenging for us for the foreseeable future.”

“I believe a fully independent investigation, one coordinated by the District Attorney, is the only way forward,” Scharfenberger wrote. “So many people have questions about transparency and about the process. We need a thorough review of our records in order to objectively answer those questions. Our goal is to build trust, demonstrate transparency, and restore confidence that we mean what we say.”

In the archdiocese of New York, which includes most of New York City, spokesman Joseph Zwilling said that the archdiocese received the subpoena on Thursday. New York joined other dioceses across the state, and across the country, in professing to be “ready and eager” to comply with an investigation.

Mark Berman contributed to this report.

2) Spadaro

This text was posted on August 31, a week ago, but it seemed important to include it befoee even more time passes. (link)

Antonio Spadaro SJ
August 31 at 1:37 PM

Already I see this sad story of the “Vigano statement” (that has caused wounds and so much damage to the people, the Church) in the long run will have positive effects on the Church herself.

The tragedy has become a farce.

The accusations are by now a broken record.

Journalists are engaging in their craft.

The net is overflowing with hate and fake news.

The Vigano statement appears for what it is.

Some very desperate interests (pseudo-Catholic American media are involved…) are already revealed.

The Pope draws energy from conflict and sees that his actions upset them as a sign.

The driving force of the pontificate of #PopeFrancis manifests itself precisely in the paroxysm of the backlash that it generates and that is thrown at him, crossing over him without moving him.

Discernment goes forward and reveals the intentions.

Some shepherds are shown to be wolves.

No, we don’t need to think about a general purification of the cliques of shady powers (God promised that there would not be another universal flood after the first one…).

It’s not possible to eradicate the evil of the divisions of the Church, moreover, as long as it remains human.

A pure and sinless Church would be an unreal abstraction.

Where there is man or woman there is always a shadow [I am referring here to those who raised up this mess against the Church, the Viganò thing, which is just evil. Even them need mercy. No new great flood anymore].‬

Now we need however to think about a more humble Church in the example of her Crucified Lord, precisely humbled on the cross, who saved the world.

About Pope Francis: he accepted the pontificate using the formula “in spiritu penitentiae” (in the spirit of penitence).

His prayer of offering to the Lord had always been to imitate him in enduring “todas injuries y todo vituperio” (ES 98) (all wrongs and all condemnation).

Let’s pray. This is time to pray for the Church and for the Holy Father.


3) “In escrow” (link)

Thu Sep 6, 2018 – 1:38 pm EST

BREAKING: Catholic CEOs’ group Legatus withholds Vatican tithe, cites ‘recent revelations’

By Lianne Laurence

September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The highly influential Catholic business association Legatus has put its annual Vatican tithe “in escrow,” citing the current crisis in the Church.

A September 6 letter (full letter below) from Legatus CEO and founder Tom Monaghan states the Legatus board took the step “in light of recent revelations and questions.”

“We have also had discussions regarding our (Legatus’) annual tithe to the Holy See, specifically pertaining to how it is being used, and what financial accountability exists within the Vatican for such charitable contributions. The Board has begun a dialogue along these lines, and in the meantime has decided to place the Holy See annual tithe in escrow, pending further determination (by the Board),” Monaghan stated.

“We certainly pledge our continued devotion to Holy Mother Church, and recognize the tithe has been an important commitment of Legatus since our founding.”

“However, in light of recent revelations and questions, we believe it appropriate to respectfully request clarification regarding the specific use of these funds,” he added.

Last month Archbishop Viganò, former apostolic nuncio to the U.S., accused Pope Francis in an August 22, 2018 detailed testimony of covering up for now ex-Cardinal McCarrick despite knowing of McCarrick’s serial sexual abuse of seminarians and priests.

When a reporter asked Pope Francis if there was any truth to the allegation, the Pope said that he wouldn’t comment.

“I am not going to say a word about this,” Pope Francis said.

Legatus, described as “the most influential lay organization in the Church” by the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, exists to integrate faith, family and business in its members’ lives, and upholds Church teaching as part of its mission.

According to Legatus spokesperson, a Legatus member must be a practicing Catholic and an owner, chairman, president or CEO of a business with a minimum of $7 million annual revenue and at least 49 employees, or, for a financial service company, with at least 10 employees and $275 million in assets under management.

The association was founded in 1987 and has 3,000 current members.


Here is the full text of Monaghan’s letter of today.

September 6, 2018

Dear fellow members –

Events over the past few weeks have prompted many members to contact the national office and members of the Board of Governors regarding the current crisis in the Church.

This is a time when each member of Legatus is truly needed. Our mission to study, live and spread the Catholic faith in our business, professional and personal lives is more crucial now than ever.

We are certainly blessed with the leadership of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the USCCB, who has called for a “prompt and thorough examination,” into how the recently uncovered moral and ecclesiastical failings have persisted and what steps are to be taken to remedy this indescribably difficult situation.

We have also had discussions regarding our (Legatus’) annual tithe to the Holy See, specifically pertaining to how it is being used, and what financial accountability exists within the Vatican for such charitable contributions.

The Board has begun a dialogue along these lines, and in the meantime has decided to place the Holy See annual tithe in escrow, pending further determination (by the Board).

We certainly pledge our continued devotion to Holy Mother Church, and recognize the tithe has been an important commitment of Legatus since our founding.

However, in light of recent revelations and questions, we believe it appropriate to respectfully request clarification regarding the specific use of these funds.

Please join the Board as we continue to pray for healing and clarity during this troubled time: for our Church, for all victims of abuse and injustice, and for our clergy.

Sincerely in Christ,

Thomas S. Monaghan

Chairman & CEO

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