All posts by Maria

President of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Issues Statement on Theodore McCarrick in Response to Judgement by the Holy See

February 16, 2019

WASHINGTON— Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following statement upon the decision of the Holy See announced today regarding Theodore McCarrick.

Cardinal DiNardo’s Full Statement Follows:

“The Holy See’s announcement regarding Theodore McCarrick is a clear signal that abuse will not be tolerated. No bishop, no matter how influential, is above the law of the Church.  For all those McCarrick abused, I pray this judgement will be one small step, among many, toward healing. For us bishops, it strengthens our resolve to hold ourselves accountable to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful to Pope Francis for the determined way he has led the Church’s response.

If you have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of someone within the Catholic Church, I urge you to contact local law enforcement and your local diocese or eparchy.  Victims Assistance Coordinators are available to help.  We are committed to healing and reconciliation.”

Statement Regarding Jesuit Priests Who Have Been Credibly Accused of Abusing Minors

On December 7, 2018, the U.S. Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) released a list of names of Jesuits with credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. They announced that no Jesuit with a credible accusation currently serves in public ministry.

Of those Jesuits listed in the report from the Jesuit Province, four of them previously served in parishes in the Diocese of St. Petersburg.  Their names are listed below.  All four of them are deceased. We have notified the pastors of these parishes so that they can inform their congregations.

Rev. Edward DeRussy, S.J. served as Parochial Vicar of Sacred Heart Parish in Tampa from 1990 to 1991.  Father DeRussy also served at St. Joseph Parish, Zephyrhills (1991-1997) and St. Benedict Parish, Crystal River.  He died in 2001.

Rev. Thomas Hidding, S.J. served as Parochial Vicar of Sacred Heart Parish in Tampa from 1993 to 1997.  He was removed from ministry in 2002 and died in 2005.

Rev. Austin Park, S.J. served as Parochial Vicar of Sacred Heart Parish in Tampa from 1970 to 1976.  He died in 2013.

Rev. Norman Rogge, S.J. served as Parochial Vicar of Sacred Heart Parish in Tampa from 1960 to 1972 and again from 1973 to 1979.  He died in 2009.

For questions about priests who served at Jesuit High School, please contact Father Richard Hermes, S.J., President of Jesuit High School.

For questions about the list of credibly accused Jesuit priests, please contact Fr. Ronald Mercier, S.J., Provincial Superior of the Jesuits U.S. Central and Southern Province.

Any parishioner who is aware of abuse is urged to report the crime to local law enforcement.  Parishioners can also contact the Diocese of St. Petersburg Victim Assistance Minister at (866) 407-4505 for pastoral support.

We continue to pray for all people whose lives have been wounded by crimes of abuse.  We denounce all forms of sexual abuse by any person or any institution as a reprehensible crime and believe that perpetrators should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

U.S. Bishops To Meet Nov. 12-14 in Baltimore; Will Address Abuse Crisis and Action Items; Assembly to be Live Streamed, Live Tweeted, Carried Via Satellite

WASHINGTON—The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will gather for the 2018 Fall General Assembly in Baltimore, November 12-14.

The assembly will begin with an address by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the USCCB and also an address by the Papal Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre.  The body of bishops will then adjourn to an on-site chapel for a full day of spiritual discernment and prayer.  This will be followed by a Mass celebrated Monday evening at the site of the assembly.

During the assembly the bishops will discuss and vote on a series of concrete measures to respond to the abuse crisis, including those approved for the agenda at the September meeting of the Administrative Committee, such as a third-party reporting mechanism, standards of conduct for bishops, and protocols for bishops resigned or removed because of abuse.  The bishops will also hear reports from the National Advisory Council and National Review Board.

The assembly will also vote on the Pastoral Letter Against Racism and will also hear a report on the 15th Ordinary Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment.  The bishops will also vote on the 2019 budget.

The bishops will also vote for a Conference Treasurer-elect, new chairmen of the Committee on Catholic Education, and new chairmen-elect of the following five USCCB committees: Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations, Committee on Divine Worship, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth, and the Committee on Migration.

There will also be a voice vote on the cause for canonization for Sr. Thea Bowman, FSPA.

Public sessions of general assembly discussions and votes as well as portions of the day of spiritual discernment will be available via livestream at:   http://www.usccb.org/live

News updates, vote totals, texts of addresses and presentations and other materials will be posted to this page: www.usccb.org/meetings as soon as possible.

Those wishing to follow the meeting on social media can use the hashtag #USCCB18 and follow on Twitter (@USCCB) as well as on Facebook (www.facebook.com/usccb) and Instagram (https://instagram.com/usccb).

Media outlets interested in taking the meeting’s satellite feed may request coordinates by email. Live stream and satellite feed is expected to run Monday, 12, 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Eastern, Tuesday, November 13, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Eastern and Wednesday, November 14, 11a.m.-6p.m.  The assembly will be live streamed on the Internet and will be available via satellite for broadcasters wishing to air it. The live stream will be available at:  http://www.usccb.org/about/leadership/usccb-general-assembly/usccb-general-assembly-live-stream.cfm.

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Administrative Committee Statement on Sex Abuse Scandals; Committee Releases Actions to be Taken Within Its Authority

September 19, 2018

WASHINGTON–The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Administrative Committee has issued the following statement today in response to the recent sex abuse scandals. In the statement, the bishops say they pledge to “heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us.”

Turning to the Lord

“When each of us was ordained as a bishop, we were told:

‘Keep watch over the whole flock in which the Holy Spirit has appointed you to shepherd the Church of God.’

We, the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, assembled last week in Washington at this time of shame and sorrow.  Some bishops, by their actions or their failures to act, have caused great harm to both individuals and the Church as a whole. They have used their authority and power to manipulate and sexually abuse others. They have allowed the fear of scandal to replace genuine concern and care for those who have been victimized by abusers.  For this, we again ask forgiveness from both the Lord and those who have been harmed. Turning to the Lord for strength, we must and will do better.

The Administrative Committee took the following actions within its authority:

1. Approved the establishment of a third-party reporting system that will receive confidentially, by phone and online, complaints of sexual abuse of minors by a bishop and sexual harassment of or sexual misconduct with adults by a bishop and will direct those complaints to the appropriate ecclesiastical authority and, as required by applicable law, to civil authorities.

2. Instructed the USCCB Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance to develop proposals for policies addressing restrictions on bishops who were removed or resigned because of allegations of sexual abuse of minors or sexual harassment of or misconduct with adults, including seminarians and priests.

3. Initiated the process of developing a Code of Conduct for bishops regarding the sexual abuse of a minor; sexual harassment of or sexual misconduct with an adult; or negligence in the exercise of his office related to such cases.

4. Supported a full investigation into the situation surrounding Archbishop McCarrick, including his alleged assaults on minors, priests, and seminarians, as well any responses made to those allegations.  Such an investigation should rely upon lay experts in relevant fields, such as law enforcement and social services.

This is only a beginning. Consultation with a broad range of concerned parents, experts, and other laity along with clergy and religious will yield additional, specific measures to be taken to repair the scandal and restore justice. We humbly welcome and are grateful for the assistance of the whole people of God in holding us accountable.

As these initiatives get underway, the Administrative Committee invites each of our brother bishops to join us in acts of prayer and penance.  This is a time of deep examination of conscience for each bishop. We cannot content ourselves that our response to sexual assault within the Church has been sufficient.  Scripture must be our guide forward, “be doers of the word and not hearers only” (James 1:22).

In all of this, we do not want anyone – ourselves included – to lose sight of those who have suffered from those who have acted or failed to act as the Gospel demanded. For survivors of sexual abuse, these days may re-open deep wounds. Support is available from the Church and within the community.  Victims Assistance Coordinators are available in every diocese to help you find resources. We are grateful to hundreds of dedicated people who, since the adoption of the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, have been working with the Church to support survivors and prevent future abuse.

To anyone who has been abused, never hesitate to also contact local law enforcement.  If you don’t feel comfortable for any reason with the Church providing help, your diocese can connect you with appropriate community services. With compassion and without judgement, the bishops of the United States pledge to heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us.

Acting in communion with the Holy Father, with whom we once again renew our love, obedience, and loyalty, we make our own the prayer of Pope Francis in his August 20 letter to the people of God, “May the Holy Spirit grant us the grace of conversion and the interior anointing needed to express before these crimes of abuse our compunction and our resolve courageously to combat them.”

Bishop Parkes’ Statement on Diocesan Wide Prayer and Reparation

In his letter to the People of God regarding sexual abuse and ecclesial coverup of abuse, Pope Francis stated, “Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient. Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated.” (Letter 8/20/18)

Since the current sexual abuse crisis surfaced, I have been discerning ways that we as a diocese, and particularly me as your bishop and our priests, can offer prayer and penance as a means of spiritual support to the victims whose lives have been irreparably harmed by the heinous crimes committed against them. In addition, I recognize that prayer invoking the guidance of the Holy Spirit is also needed as actions are taken to ensure that this abuse, and the cover-up of abuse, never happens again.

Therefore, after consulting with the pastors and priests of our diocese, I am asking each parish to join me in offering opportunities for prayer and reparation between now and the First Sunday of Advent. It will be up to each pastor to discern what is appropriate for his parish.

Possibilities for this prayer could include, but are not limited to:

• Mass(es) of Reparation
• Holy Hours with the specific intention of healing for victims
• Rosary for Healing and Protection
• Stations of the Cross
• Chaplet of Divine Mercy
• First Friday Devotions
• Designated days of fasting and penance
• Prayers/Intercessions during Mass for healing and reparation

As your Bishop, I will lead this effort at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle. Recognizing that the laity of our diocese are not responsible for the atrocities and cover-up that have occurred, I nevertheless humbly invite and ask for your participation recalling the words of Our Lord, “Amen I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Mt. 18:19)

As we continue to work through this difficult and painful period in our Church’s history, be assured of my continued prayers. May Mary, Mother of Sorrows and Our Lady of Hope, pray for us.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+ Gregory L. Parkes
Bishop of St. Petersburg

Given September 14, 2018
Feast of The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Michael Bransfield of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston; Archbishop Lori Instructed to Conduct Investigation into Allegations of Sexual Harassment of Adults

September 13, 2018

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael Bransfield from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia.  Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop William E. Lori as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. He will remain Archbishop of Baltimore. The Holy Father has additionally instructed Archbishop Lori to conduct an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment of adults against Bishop Bransfield.

The resignation and appointment were publicized in Washington, September 13, 2018, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop Bransfield was born September 8, 1943, in Philadelphia, PA. He graduated from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 1971, where he earned a master’s in Divinity. He also earned his Master’s in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America.

He was ordained to the priesthood on May 15, 1971 by Cardinal John Krol for service in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Assignments after ordination included: teacher, chaplain, and Chairman of the Religion Department at Lansdale Catholic High School.  In 1980, Bishop Bransfield went on to serve as  Assistant Director and Director of Liturgy, Director of Finance, and then Rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (1990).

On December 9, 2004, Pope Saint John Paul II appointed Bishop Bransfield the eighth Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia.   He was ordained a bishop on February 22, 2005.

Bishop Bransfield served as a member of the Communications Committee, the National Collections Committee, and Treasurer of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston is comprised of 24,282 square miles in the state of West Virginia and has a total population of 1,844,128 of which 77,874 or 4 percent, are Catholic.