Browsing News Entries
Bishops demand ‘exhaustive investigation’ into murder of priest in Mexico
Posted on 05/24/2023 17:15 PM (EWTN News - Americas Catholic News)
ACI Prensa Staff, May 24, 2023 / 12:15 pm (CNA).
“We strongly condemn this act of violence that has not only taken a life but also threatens peace and justice in our nation,” the Mexican bishops said.
Jesuit provincial in Bolivia admits mistakes were made in dealing with sex abuse cases
Posted on 05/24/2023 16:15 PM (EWTN News - Americas Catholic News)
ACI Prensa Staff, May 24, 2023 / 11:15 am (CNA).
The Jesuit provincial in Bolivia, Father Bernardo Mercado, admitted that his religious order made mistakes in handling cases of sexual abuse.
Trial date set in June for Father James Jackson’s child pornography case
Posted on 05/24/2023 15:45 PM (EWTN News - US Catholic News)
Boston, Mass., May 24, 2023 / 10:45 am (CNA).
The federal child pornography case against Providence, Rhode Island, priest Father James Jackson is scheduled to begin on June 20.
The trial date marks almost two years since Jackson, a member of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), was arrested by the Rhode Island state police at his parish, shocking many of his current and former parishioners, including some of the traditionalist community online.
The ex-pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Providence is facing federal charges of receipt of child pornography and possession of child pornography.
The penalty for receipt of child pornography could result in a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment, with a mandatory minimum of five years, and a fine of up to $250,000. The penalty for possession of child pornography could result in imprisonment of up to 20 years and a maximum fine of $250,000.
Under the terms of his release from federal court in November 2021, Jackson was allowed to return to his home state of Kansas to live with a relative while waiting for the charges to be adjudicated.
After an additional child pornography investigation into Jackson by a local Kansas police department, Jackson’s federal probation officer issued a petition to the U.S. District Court of Rhode Island alleging that the priest broke the conditions of his pretrial release that were mandatory while he was allowed to live in Leawood, Kansas, with his sister.
U.S. Marshals arrested him and brought him back to the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, Rhode Island.
In a hearing in the U.S. District Court in Providence on Oct. 3, 2022, Jackson admitted that the government could prove that he violated the condition of his pretrial release prohibiting him from “possessing any materials including videos, magazines, photographs, computer-generated depictions, or any other forms that depict sexually explicit conduct involving children,” according to James Rosenberg, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Rhode Island.
Jackson also admitted that the government could prove that he violated the condition prohibiting him from having access to more than one internet-connected device, Rosenberg said.
In addition, Jackson admitted that the government could prove that he violated the condition requiring him to “notify his supervising probation officer of all computers or electronic data storage devices where he was residing and to report any additional acquisitions,” he added.
“Additionally, he further admitted that the government could establish probable cause that he committed a new crime, to wit, possession of child pornography, while on pretrial release,” Rosenberg said.
“To be very clear — he did NOT admit that he committed the new crime, only that the government could establish probable cause that he did,” Rosenberg wrote CNA in the Oct. 3 email.
Officer John Lacy, a spokesman for the Overland Park Police Department, told CNA on Tuesday that Jackson will be charged with a crime once the charges in Rhode Island are adjudicated. He said that an investigation is ongoing but would not elaborate on the nature of the charge.
Lacy said that the state charge would be brought by the Johnson County District Attorney’s office in Olathe, Kansas.
CNA asked the district attorney’s office what the charge awaiting Jackson is but did not immediately receive a response.
Jackson was only installed as pastor of St. Mary’s Church about three months prior to his arrest. Before that assignment, he served at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Littleton, Colorado.
He was arrested on Oct. 30, 2021, by the Rhode Island State Police after an investigation by a Rhode Island computer crimes task force.
The state police executed a search warrant that day at his parish and arrested Jackson after determining that he was the owner of large amounts of child sex abuse material found on an external hard drive in an office area near his bedroom, an affidavit states.
Jackson was originally charged with both federal and state offenses, but the state charges were dropped as a procedural move in January 2022.
UK Catholic bishops join other faith leaders to oppose assisted suicide bills
Posted on 05/24/2023 15:00 PM (EWTN News - World Catholic News)
London, England, May 24, 2023 / 10:00 am (CNA).
The Catholic bishops of England, Wales, and Scotland issued statements recently opposing assisted suicide for terminally ill people.
Auxiliary Bishop Michael Fitzgerald retires after 4 decades serving Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Posted on 05/24/2023 10:45 AM (EWTN News - US Catholic News)
Rome Newsroom, May 24, 2023 / 05:45 am (CNA).
Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Philadelphia’s Bishop Michael Fitzgerald one day after the auxiliary bishop’s 75th birthday.
With degrees in both civil and canon law, Fitzgerald served as the judicial vicar and the founding director of the archdiocesan Office for Legal Services. Over the past decade, he has worked to promote and maintain safe environments for children and youth in the archdiocese.
Archbishop Nelson Pérez of Philadelphia expressed gratitude for Fitzgerald’s four decades of ministry.
“Throughout the years, Bishop Fitzgerald generously sowed seeds of deep love for the Lord with the zealous heart of a missionary disciple. With great faith, fidelity, charity, and humility Bishop Fitzgerald has worked tirelessly for the good of souls and to build up the Kingdom of God in our region,” Pérez said.
Fitzgerald grew up in Philadelphia as one of nine children and attended the city’s Catholic schools. He earned a law degree from Villanova University and completed a Pennsylvania state court clerkship before entering seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on May 17, 1980.
After fulfilling his appointments as the defender of the bond and pro-synodal judge, Fitzgerald received a doctorate in canon law from the Gregorian University in Rome in 1991.
Benedict XVI appointed Fitzgerald an auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia in 2010. When he was consecrated as bishop, Fitzgerald chose the motto “Per Crucem ad Lucem,” meaning “through the Cross to the Light.”
Fitzgerald was one of five auxiliary bishops in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and assisted Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop Charles Chaput, and Archbishop Pérez with their pastoral and administrative duties.
A statement from the archdiocese said that Fitzgerald will continue to serve Philadelphia in a pastoral capacity after his retirement.
“It has been a great joy for me to work with him closely for many years and I am grateful for the wise counsel he has provided during my time as archbishop,” Perez said.
Pray at Pentecost for courage to evangelize, pope says
Posted on 05/24/2023 05:30 AM (USCCB News Releases)
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Christians should pray on Pentecost that the Holy Spirit would give them the courage and strength to share the Gospel, Pope Francis said.
"No matter how difficult the situation may be -- and indeed, at times it may seem there is no room for the Gospel message -- we must not give up and we must not forsake pursuing what is essential in our Christian life, namely evangelization," the pope said May 24, the Wednesday before Pentecost.
Using the example of St. Andrew Kim Taegon, the 19th-century Korean martyr, Pope Francis continued his weekly general audience talks about the "zeal" to evangelize.
With thousands of visitors and pilgrims -- including bands, flag twirlers and dancers -- gathered in a sunny St. Peter's Square, the pope introduced his talk about St. Andrew by pointing out how Christianity was introduced to Korea 200 years before St. Andrew by laypeople who had heard the Gospel proclaimed in China and then shared it when they returned home.
"Baptized laypeople were the ones who spread the faith. There were no priests," the pope said. "Would we be able to do something like that?"
Ordained in 1844, St. Andrew Kim Taegon was the first Korean-born priest and ministered at a time of anti-Christian persecution.
Pope Francis told the story of how when the saint was still a seminarian, he was sent to welcome missionaries who snuck into the country from abroad. After walking far through the snow, "he fell to the ground exhausted, risking unconsciousness and freezing. At that point, he suddenly heard a voice, 'Get up, walk!'"
"This experience of the great Korean witness makes us understand a very important aspect of apostolic zeal: namely, the courage to get back up when one falls," the pope said.
"Each one of us might think, 'But how can I evangelize,'" he said. Following the example of the "greats" of evangelization history, each Christian can find a way to witness to the Gospel -- "talk about Jesus" -- in his or her family, among friends and in one's local community.
"Let us prepare to receive the Holy Spirit this coming Pentecost, asking for that grace, apostolic grace and courage, the grace to evangelize, to always carry forward the message of Jesus."
Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Michael Fitzgerald
Posted on 05/24/2023 05:30 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON - Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend Michael J. Fitzgerald, 75, from the Office of Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia.
The resignation was publicized in Washington on May 24, 2023, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
80-year-old man tries to kill archbishop after Mass in cathedral in Mexico
Posted on 05/23/2023 20:40 PM (EWTN News - Americas Catholic News)
ACI Prensa Staff, May 23, 2023 / 15:40 pm (CNA).
An 80-year-old man wielding a knife tried to kill Archbishop Faustino Armendáriz of Durango, Mexico, on May 21.
Illinois AG report says nearly 2,000 were victims of clergy sex abuse over 70-year span
Posted on 05/23/2023 20:27 PM (EWTN News - US Catholic News)
CNA Newsroom, May 23, 2023 / 15:27 pm (CNA).
A report published by the Illinois attorney general’s office alleges that 451 Catholic clerics and religious brothers sexually abused 1,997 victims within the state’s Catholic dioceses over a 70-year period.
The report, published May 23, unveils a comprehensive list of “substantiated child sex abuse” allegations, which the attorney general’s office compiled with assistance from each of the six dioceses in Illinois. The report covers allegations from 1950 through 2019.
Investigators from the attorney general’s office reviewed more than 100,000 pages of documents provided by the dioceses related to abuse allegations and policies and procedures on how they dealt with the allegations. They also conducted interviews with diocesan representatives and with numerous victims who made the allegations.
The report notes that each diocese cooperated fully with this investigation, and acknowledged reforms that have been made, but Attorney General Kwame Raoul had harsh words for the Church’s leadership in the past.
“Decades of Catholic leadership decisions and policies have allowed known child sex abusers to hide, often in plain sight,” Raoul said in a statement. “And because the statute of limitations has frequently expired, many survivors of child sex abuse at the hands of Catholic clerics will never see justice in a legal sense.”
“It is my hope that this report will shine light both on those who violated their positions of power and trust to abuse innocent children, and on the men in church leadership who covered up that abuse,” Raoul’s statement continued. “These perpetrators may never be held accountable in a court of law, but by naming them here, the intention is to provide a public accountability and a measure of healing to survivors who have long suffered in silence.”
In total, the report found 275 substantiated abusers in the Archdiocese of Chicago, 69 in the Diocese of Joliet, 51 in the Diocese of Peoria, 43 in the Diocese of Belleville, 32 in the Diocese of Springfield, and 24 in the Diocese of Rockford. The number is higher than 451 because some of the accused priests served in more than one diocese.
The report also alleges that the final number disclosed in the attorney general’s report is much higher than the number disclosed previously by Illinois Catholic dioceses.
Before the attorney general investigation, only two dioceses — the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Diocese of Joliet — posted a list of substantiated sexual abuse on their websites, naming 103 alleged abusers. The report stated that, during the investigation, the dioceses disclosed 334 clerics and religious brothers who allegedly abused minors, which is still lower than the attorney general report of 451.
Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of the Chicago Archdiocese, said in a Tuesday statement that much of the discrepancy is because the report included abuse allegations from priests and religious brothers who were under the supervision of a religious order rather than the diocese itself.
“We have not studied the report in detail but have concerns about data that might be misunderstood or are presented in ways that could be misleading,” Cupich said.
Cupich said the 451 names disclosed include all diocesan and religious order priests and include the names already disclosed on the websites of Illinois’ six dioceses.
The dioceses do list religious priests and brothers with allegations found by their orders to be “substantiated.” The 149 names still undisclosed are “mostly religious order members who are not on our site; they are not undisclosed, and they are under the supervision and report to their respective order,” Cupich said.
In response to the report, Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield noted that there has been a decline in abuse allegations, which suggests that the prevention measures are working.
“The changes our diocese enacted have proven to be effective as we are not aware of a single incident of sexual abuse of a minor by clergy alleged to have occurred in this diocese in nearly 20 years,” he said Tuesday.
The Diocese of Peoria said in a statement that, to the extent of its knowledge, “there is not a single priest of the diocese with a substantiated allegation who is currently in ministry or who has not been reported to authorities.”
Bishop Paprocki added that the report helps Catholics “sustain the vigilance with which we guard against any future threat of abuse.”
“The Attorney General’s inquiry into the history of clergy sexual abuse of minors in this diocese has served as a reminder that some clergy in the Church committed shameful and disgraceful sins against innocent victim-survivors and did damage that simply cannot be undone,” Paprocki said.
“As bishop of this diocese, I cannot undo the damages of the past, but I have been and continue to be fully committed to ensuring we do all we can to prevent abuse from happening again.”
Vatican expert to go to Bolivia to examine the progress being made in sex abuse prevention
Posted on 05/23/2023 20:01 PM (EWTN News - Americas Catholic News)
ACI Prensa Staff, May 23, 2023 / 15:01 pm (CNA).
Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu of the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith previously investigated sexual abuse in the Church in Chile.