Chicago News Conference Wednesday
Documents on 16 Priests from the 
Diocese of Joliet, Bishop Imesch to be 
Disclosed Wednesday
Sexual abuse survivors and their attorneys will respond to the 
release and announce the filing of five lawsuits 
What:  At a news conference on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 in Chicago, sexual abuse attorneys Jeff Anderson and Marc Pearlman will:
•Publicly release the files of 16 priests credibly accused of sexually abusing minors in the Diocese of Joliet.
•Announce the filing of five lawsuits naming the Diocese of Joliet.
•Reveal secret Diocesan communications detailing the Diocese’s efforts to conceal abuse and protect itself at the expense of innocent children.
•Introduce several sexual abuse survivors who will respond to the release of the files and share their experiences in fighting to make these files public. 
WHEN:  Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 11:00 AM CDT
WHERE:   Law Offices of Kerns, Frost & Pearlman and Jeff Anderson & Associates
                   30 West Monroe 
                   Suite 1600 
                   Chicago, IL 60603
WHO:   Attorneys Jeff Anderson and Marc Pearlman, lawyers specializing in sexual abuse litigation who work together on behalf of sexual abuse survivors in Illinois helping them achieve justice and healing. 
•All documents will be available online Wednesday morning prior to the press event at and

Vatican says bureaucratic reforms won’t happen until 2015

Vatican says bureaucratic reforms won’t happen until 2015

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis and his council of eight cardinals are unlikely to complete a radical shakeup of the Holy See’s administration, or Curia, before 2015, the Vatican said Tuesday (April 29).

The council, which includes Australian Cardinal George Pell, head of the Vatican’s new economic secretariat, has been meeting in Rome for the past two days and also received input from the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.


Deadly tornadoes, “The Blue” diamond, anti-Obama protest in the Philippines and more.

Francis joined the council’s discussions in between events on an intense appointment schedule that included an audience with King Juan Carlos of Spain after the historic double canonizations of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII on Sunday.

“The work is of some importance,” Pell said on Monday evening at a function to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and the Holy See.

The former archbishop of Sydney recently moved to Rome to take up his new position. He said there is a great deal of work to be done but declined to comment further.

The president of the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Organization of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See (COSEA), Joseph F.X. Zahra, presented a report to the council.

The pope’s eight-member kitchen Cabinet — backed by seven lay financial experts — is now focusing on an individual appraisal of each pontifical council and will meet again in July.

The pope is determined to implement tighter financial and auditing procedures at the Vatican amid moves to overhaul the Vatican bank after allegations of money laundering and corruption.

“There is much work ahead, so we can expect it to be done not this year but the next,” said the Vatican’s chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi.

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Religion News Service LLC.

Is It Just Me, or Do Things Feel Really Depressed Right Now, Following the Day of the Four Popes?

Is It Just Me, or Do Things Feel Really Depressed Right Now, Following the Day of the Four Popes?

Is it just me, or do things feel really depressed right now, following the big papal circus of the day of the four popes? I had thought that the big papal circus was designed to have precisely the opposite effect. As Susan Jacoby rightly notes

The dual canonization is an attempt to please the traditional Catholic base while luring back some among the millions of who have left the church in what was once Christendom’s western bastion. 

Jacoby had previously explained the point about “luring back some among the millions who have left the church in what was once Christendom’s western bastion” by noting,
It is no accident that during John Paul’s conservative papacy — when the church refused to reconsider sexual prohibitions applying to the laity but covered up sexual abuse of children by priests — millions of practicing Catholics decamped in the United States and Western Europe. According to a Pew poll conducted in 2009, more than one out of five native-born Americans raised in the church no longer consider themselves Catholics.
And so as she notes that the dual canonization is being sold by media spin-doctors as an adroit way for Pope Francis to heal the divisions in the church and bring back many who have strayed, she observes:

It is difficult to imagine, though, that Catholics who no longer consider themselves Catholics are likely to return to a church that still condemns divorce, artificial birth control, in vitro fertilization, abortion for any reason and gay unions. Moreover, if the church continues to require priestly celibacy and refuses to consider the ordination of women (Francis has already reiterated his support for the latter policy), there will continue to be a severe priest shortage. 

Jacoby directly engages (and counters) the meme of centrists in the Catholic media and academy right now — that the dual canonizations will heal a badly divided (and deeply demoralized, if we’re talking about the developed sectors of the world) church. She points out that what the canonizations are designed to do, instead, is to play to the minimally educated, docile masses of Catholics in the developing parts of the world, while implicitly writing off the disobedient and educated Catholics of the developed nations, who had taken Vatican II at its word when it told us to live our lives of faithful witness to the gospels within the modern world:

In this environment, how can the canonizations of two such different men heal the deep spiritual and intellectual divide within a church that, increasingly, must rely on the poor and poorly educated, in Africa and some parts of Asia, for new converts? 

One need not be an atheist to be stunned by the anachronism of attributing nature-defying miracles to prayers directed through saints. Educated men and women of most faiths, Catholicism included, now believe pretty much what Enlightenment deists did—that alleviating human suffering depends on the exercise of human reason, not on supernatural intervention deemed miraculous.

And so, if I’m right that not a few Catholics now seem to be strongly depressed about what has just taken place in Rome, surely that depression has a lot to do with the sense that we’ve witnessed an empty show that will only further the divisions within our church, not heal them. It is, in fact,designed to further the divisions in the church, since its loud and clear message to educated Catholics of the developed parts of the globe who reject magisterial teaching on matters like contraception and homosexuality is that they have no place in the Catholic communion, except insofar as they keep their mouths shut. 
They have no real place, that is to say. Even worse, the message that the canonization of John Paul II has given to survivors of childhood clerical sexual abuse and to those who care about survivors of such abuse, to women, and to gay Catholics is one of downright disdain: it’s a redoubled message of not counting and not being included — one that can only harm the entire church insofar as those who remain in the church and think about these matters recognize that it’s impossible to sustain the claim that a church is catholic when it writes off challenging constituencies within the whole body of Christ.
At National Catholic ReporterTony Magliano maintains that what ties John XXIII and John Paul II together (in addition to their having been popes, and ordained members of the church, and white European men) is that both were voices for the voiceless. I’d like to suggest that this claim is going to fall on deaf ears — and outraged ones — when we turn our attention to the voiceless community of abuse survivors in the church. Or to women. Or to gay folks. Or to the many theologians silenced by John Paul and his orthodoxy watchdog Cardinal Ratzinger.
This old disreputable Catholic game of claiming that the church’s magisterium speaks on behalf of the poor and marginalized even as the leaders of the church trample on abuse survivors, women, and gay folks is an increasingly expensive game for the church to play, it seems to me. It’s an expensive game to play in a world in which — at least, in the developed parts of the globe — more and more people have access to important information about the abuse crisis, about women’s issues and women’s rights, and about gay issues and gay rights. And in which more and more people see the response of the leaders of the church to these parts of the body of Christ as anything but holy . . . . 
One can claim that the canonizations that took place in Rome this past weekend will heal the church only if one writes off not merely abuse survivors and those who care about them, uppity women, and mouthy gays, but Catholics throughout the developed world, insofar as they inform themselves about these people and these issues and come to conclusions at variance from the positions promoted by the hierarchy. And insofar as they no longer buy into a medieval understanding of sainthood and the miraculous. And insofar as they question whether the clerical system as it’s currently configured and the current configuration of the papacy have much at all to do with the gospels and the mind of Christ for the church.
That seems to me a very high price to pay for “unity” and “healing.” 

Mandurah child abuse survivor speaks out – ‘they can’t shut me up now’

Mandurah child abuse survivor speaks out – ‘they can’t shut me up now’

WHEN Helena Maiolo was 12 years old she was thrown into a bin full of pig slop in a bid to try to shut her up.

More than 40 years later, the Mandurah woman refuses to be silenced.

Just one of tens of thousands who suffered at the hands of abusers while in State care, Ms Maiolo has made it her mission to speak out against child abuse.

Referring to herself, and others who were abused while institutionalised, as a ‘forgotten Australian’, the mother of four chose the opening week of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse as the moment to have her say.

“I was told to keep quiet,” Ms Maiolo said.

“But they can’t shut me up now.

“I have a voice and I’m going to use it.”

Placed in care at just two years old following the breakdown of her parents’ marriage, Ms Maiolo and her three siblings learnt early on that abandonment was to become a central theme in their lives.

Speaking only for herself – the 56-year-old will not comment on experiences faced by her siblings – Ms Maiolo said being placed in a Salvation Army childrens’ home in Perth at 11 led to “horrific and ongoing” abuse.

“It was general knowledge that things were happening to kids there,” she said.

“You just knew.”

It wasn’t until she was 12 and threatening to speak out that Ms Maiolo suffered the worst of the abuse from one carer who was a Captain in the Salvation Army.

Recounting one evening being ‘cared for’ by the man, Ms Maiolo said she was wrestled to the ground by him before being taken outside.

“He threw me in the pig slop bin,” she said.

“He told me I was nothing but garbage and nobody would ever love me.

Is there a lawyer in the house?

Is there a lawyer in the house?


No question but that Catholic priest Andrew McCormick had one of the region’s most respected criminal defense lawyers for his trial in March for allegedly sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy in 1997 at St. John Cantius church in Bridesburg.

Now, more than a month after the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury deadlocked in its deliberations, it seems lawyer William J. Brennan Jr. may be irreplaceable.

On Monday, McCormick, 57, was supposed to tell Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright the name of the lawyer who will represent him in the retrial. Instead, McCormick told the judge he was still lawyer-less although the reasons why were not explained.

Bright gave McCormick until May 29.

Brennan, appearing exhausted, withdrew as McCormick’s lawyer after the March 12 mistrial. Earlier, the veteran lawyer said he felt uncomfortable after discovering shortly before trial that he knew the extended family of the alleged victim.

Bright has imposed a gag order on all parties to try to limit publicity about the case.

McCormick, ordained in 1982, was pastor of Sacred Heart parish near Bridgeport, Montgomery County, when he and 26 Roman Catholic priests were suspended in March 2011 by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for possible inappropriate conduct with children. The suspension did not involve the alleged victim in the trial in March.


Our Reputation as Clergy Abuse Attorneys Speaks for Itself

Our Reputation as Clergy Abuse Attorneys Speaks for Itself 


Jeff Anderson & Associates pioneered the use of civil litigation to seek justice for survivors of child sexual abuse and is recognized as the nation’s premier law firm to represent victims of clergy sexual abuse. Widely recognized as the most prolific and successful litigators of clergy sexual abuse cases against churches and other institutions, Jeff Anderson has handled priest abuse cases in numerous states across the nation. 

Jeff Anderson and his team are smart, tough and relentless, but the virtue that ultimately sets them apart is their compassion. They are clergy abuse attorneys who feel deeply and work tirelessly in response to an unjust world and over three decades have built a caring reputation of supporting, protecting and guiding survivors on their journey towards justice and healing.

Australia priest advised boy, 10, to make himself less attractive

Australia priest advised boy, 10, to make himself less attractive

A 10-year-old boy was told by a priest to make himself less attractive so as not to be a target for sexual abuse, a royal commission has heard in Australia.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has also heard that Christian Brothers pimped boys out to a visiting photographer at St Joseph’s Farm and Trade School, Bindoon, in the late 1950s.

A witness known as VV told the commission in Perth that a Christian Brother who raped him suddenly announced he needed to confess his sins.

“Then Brother Parker came back and said I needed to see Father Gerard. Father Gerard sat me down and told me what we were doing was very wrong, and that I should make myself less attractive,” VV said.

“I should stop leading Brother Parker on, because it was a sin. He told me it was my fault, all the while he sat there sucking a cigar, blaming a child for being assaulted.”

He said boys were also sent out on picnics with a local photographer, who was known to abuse boys. Boys were also promised parcels of land by brothers who used the inducement to groom them.

When VV — an orphan in care since the age of four in England — arrived at Bindoon aged nine, he was the youngest there and below the 10-year age requirement for the school.

Soon after arriving, he was raped by Brother Christopher Angus.

He was also savagely beaten numerous times, and lost hearing in his left ear.

Meanwhile, VV’s mother tried repeatedly to find him in England.

“She was told I was put into a good home in Australia, that I was cared for and loved and that I would receive an education,” he said. “She never gave permission for me to go to Australia.”

VV never saw his mother again.

Years after he left Bindoon he was offered $20,000 compensation by the Catholic Church’s professional standards office, which later upped it to $40,000 when VV said he found it insulting.

During the two-week hearing, 11 men will give evidence of the abuse they suffered as children between 1947 and 1968 at four institutions run by the Christian Brothers in Bindoon, Tardun and Perth.

Orphans as young as seven were stalked at night and repeatedly assaulted by the Brothers.

When the boys spoke out, they were branded liars and abused again.

The hearing has heard that only four Christian Brothers had been charged with sexually assaulting children at the institutions, and of those, only one was jailed — for just three-and-a-half years.

John Wells told the commission it was a nightly occurrence for Brothers at the Clontarf school in Perth to take boys into their rooms. He said he felt ashamed about what had happened to him, has never been able to show affection and has battled alcoholism for decades.

Another man, Oliver Cosgrove, gave evidence that sexual abuse occurred in plain sight at Castledare school, but that no one said anything. He said the cost of the abuse had been enormous and he had since struggled with depression and PTSD.

One former resident at Bindoon cried as he recalled his years of sexual abuse at the hands of the Christian Brothers.

John Hennessey, who was a child migrant from the United Kingdom, said he could not read parts of his statement aloud.

It detailed how he was raped and beaten by a number of Christian Brothers.

“I lived in constant terror of physical violence. Punishments, by way of floggings with canes and straps, were frequently carried out as a public spectacle,” he said.

“If they could not get us during the day, the Brothers would get you at night — there was no escape.

“Most of the Christian Brothers at Bindoon when I was there were paedophiles. The remainder were sadistic and violent brutes.”

Rev. James Scahill, an outspoken critic of the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, announces retirement

Rev. James Scahill, an outspoken critic of the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, announces retirement


Rev. James J. Scahill, a controversial but beloved priest known for being an outspoken critic of the way the Catholic church has handled the sex abuse scandal, will retire as pastor of St. Michael’s Parish in June.

Scahill, who is around 67, met with Rev. Timothy A. McDonnell, the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, to discuss his plans to retire recently, said Mark E. Dupont, spokesman for the diocese.

“It is not an unusual time. It is the end of the fiscal year and the program and there is plenty of notice to give the bishop a chance to find a new pastor for July,” Dupont said.

Scahill, who could not be reached for comment, is known internationally for his years of support of victims of priest sex abuse and his outspoken criticism of the way the Catholic Church has handled the crisis. He has appeared on a variety of international networks including the British Broadcasting Corp. and Cable News Network in 2010 after urging then-Pope Benedict XVI to deal more forcefully with sex abuse causes or resign.

Then two years ago Scahill got into a more personal problem when he was arrested for drunken driving after a minor car accident in East Longmeadow. The case was continued without a finding.

In June 2004 Scahill received the Priest of Integrity Award from a national organization that supports victims of clergy sex abuse.

Many such victims and their families had sought his counsel, including one of the two men who accused the Most Rev. Thomas L. Dupre, former bishop of the Springfield diocese, of abusing him as a minor.

Dupre resigned in February 2004 when confronted by The Republican with the allegation. He later was indicted, but the statute of limitations had passed for prosecution.

Priests have many choices upon retirement. Many continue part-time ministry, assisting parish priests with masses and other duties or filling in for those on vacation. Some priests opt to stay in the area and live in church property while others have their own homes where they live after retiring, Dupont said.

He added he does not know what Scahill’s future plans are yet.

Scahill announced his plans to retire to his parish, which is one of the largest in the Springfield Diocese and the only one in East Longmeadow, last weekend, Dupont said.

“It is my fond hope that you will please remember me as a priest who strove to celebrate each mass with prayerful reverence. As a Christian person, I truly labored to prepare and deliver sermons that might be applicable and helpful in our Christian journey. Please remember my sincere efforts at each and every Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, Marriage ceremony and Funeral service; and, my counseling efforts to comfort, to challenge and to encourage,” he wrote in his letter

“We recognize it is a loss for his parish community. He is much beloved for his parish community and he has been there for 12 years,” Dupont said.

While Dupont declined to talk about Scahill’s advocacy over the sex abuse scandal, he said he understands the support he has shown for sex abuse victims.

“I think for some abuse victims, his loss will certainly be dearly felt and we recognize that,” he said.

But he also said St. Michael’s is a difficult parish to oversee since it is so large, growing and the parish priest is alone. He does receive assistance from Sister Betty Broughan and Sister Mary McGeer, who serve as pastoral associates.

The bishop will now send a letter to all priests telling them of the impending vacancy and inviting anyone to apply for the position. A clergy commission, which deals with all vacancies, will select a new pastor, Dupont said.

Publicity Trumps Kids’ Safety: SNAP Knew About Abuse Claim Against Chicago Priest ‘For Several Weeks’ But Did Not Call Police; Instead It Held a Press Conference

Publicity Trumps Kids’ Safety: SNAP Knew About Abuse Claim Against Chicago Priest ‘For Several Weeks’ But Did Not Call Police; Instead It Held a Press Conference

The anti-Catholic pressure group SNAP sets the bar very high in its purported quest to protect children from abuse – or it least when it comes to the Catholic Church.

In the past, SNAP’s hysterical founder and president, Barbara Blaine, has said that it is “reckless” and “irresponsible” for Church officials to fail to call law enforcement and keep an accused cleric in ministry “even for one day” before calling police and yanking an accused cleric out of ministry.

But if nothing else, SNAP is rich in hypocrisy. So it should come as no surprise that, according to an Archdiocese of Chicago press release, SNAP did not call police or alert Church officials even though it knew “for several weeks” about a shocking sex abuse allegation against a Chicago priest.

Rather than acting according to its purported mission to protect children, the group instead held a press conference, strategically timed for a slow news day on the Monday after Easter. The conference was led by Blaine herself, who in the past has personally written a letter of supporton behalf of a man arrested with over 100 images of kiddie porn on his computer.


Publicity first, safety of kids last

Blaine’s latest publicity stunt only adds more evidence to the fact that SNAP is not really about protecting children but actually about pummeling the Catholic Church in order to advance its ownpolitical agenda.

Here we have Blaine not only not calling the police about an abuse allegation against a priest – and thereby “endangering children” by her own standards – but instead withholding information until she felt it was an opportune time to hold a press conference and generate some more free publicity for SNAP.

What’s more: This is not the first time SNAP has pulled a stunt just like this. As we reported back in 2011, SNAP knew about a Los Angeles priest still in ministry who had been accused of an inappropriate relationship with a teenage girl back in the 1960s. But rather than immediately calling law enforcement or alerting the Church, it took its information to the New York Times, who then dutifully trumpeted a big story that was embarrassing to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

The time is long overdue for the media to reveal the truth about SNAP and its hypocrisy when it comes to reporting abuse. We especially call on Manya Brachear, religion reporter from the Chicago Tribune, who has regularly enabled SNAP by giving them free publicity.

Hasidic Man Gets Probation for Throwing Bleach at Sex Abuse Victims Advocate

Hasidic Man Gets Probation for Throwing Bleach at Sex Abuse Victims Advocate

A Hasidic man from Brooklyn was sentenced to five years probation for throwing bleach in the face of a rabbi who had accused the man’s father of being a sexual predator.

Meilech Schnitzler, 38, pleaded guilty on Monday in Brooklyn state Supreme Court to felony assault for throwing bleach at Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg, an advocate for victims of sexual abuse in the New York City borough’s haredi Orthodox Jewish community.

In 2012, Rosenberg on his blog for sexual abuse victims accused Schnitzler’s father of being a child sexual molester. As Rosenberg walked past Schnitzler’s Brooklyn fish market, Schnitzler ran toward him with a cup of bleach and threw it in his face.

Rosenberg, of the same Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn, was treated for burns on his face, around his eyes and in his left eye.

The incident came a day after Nechemya Weberman, a Satmar Hasidim leader, was convicted on 59 counts of sexual abuse of a then-18-year-old woman when she was between the ages of 12 and 15 and went to Weberman for counseling. Rosenberg supported and assisted the victim throughout the judicial process.

Rosenberg, who also runs a website and telephone hot-line for sex abuse victims, said the sentence was too lenient.

“Six months in jail would have been enough to show this was serious,” he said, according to The New York Times. “Probation in our circles is a joke.”


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