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My Take: Why is NCAA taking sex abuse more seriously than Catholic Church?
Crews work to remove the Joe Paterno statue at Pennsylvania State University on Sunday.
July 24th, 2012
11:04 AM ET

My Take: Why is NCAA taking sex abuse more seriously than Catholic Church?

Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

(CNN) – As a resident of the most Catholic state in the nation (Massachusetts), I have watched for more than a decade as the Roman Catholic Church responded to charges of priestly pedophilia with a troubling combination of procrastination and obfuscation.

Far too often, Catholic priests, bishops and cardinals have identified not with abused children but with their “band of brothers,” their fellow priests.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Opinion • Pennsylvania • Sex abuse • Sports • United States • Vatican

June 22nd, 2012
03:04 PM ET

High-ranking priest guilty on one count in child sex abuse case

From Susan Candiotti and Sarah Hoye, CNN

(CNN) – Monsignor William Lynn, the highest-ranking cleric accused of imperiling children by helping cover up sexual abuse, was found guilty Friday of one count of child endangerment.

He was found not guilty on a second count of endangerment and a conspiracy charge to protect a priest accused of abuse.

The jury was unable to bring a verdict against his co-defendant, the Rev. James Brennan, who was charged with attempted rape of a 14-year-old altar boy and endangering the welfare of a child.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pennsylvania • United States

Deliberations continue in Catholic child abuse cover-up case
Catholic Monsignor William Lynn faces accusations that he failed to keep priests accused of sexual abuse away from minors.
June 4th, 2012
01:15 AM ET

Deliberations continue in Catholic child abuse cover-up case

By Sarah Hoye, CNN

Philadelphia (CNN) – Deliberations resume Monday in Philadelphia in the landmark trial of Monsignor William Lynn, the highest-ranking cleric charged with endangering children by allegedly helping cover up sexual abuse.

Lynn, a defendant with another Philadelphia priest, is accused of knowingly allowing dangerous priests to continue in the ministry in roles in which they had access to children.

Also on trial is the Rev. James Brennan, who is accused of the attempted rape of a 14-year-old. Both Brennan and Lynn have pleaded not guilty.

Closing arguments in the case concluded Thursday and jurors began their deliberations Friday.

FULL STORY

- CNN's Laura Koran

Filed under: Catholic Church • Courts • Pennsylvania • Sex abuse

Jury deliberations could begin Friday in landmark abuse trial of two priests
Catholic Monsignor William Lynn faces accusations that he failed to keep priests accused of sexual abuse away from minors.
May 31st, 2012
10:37 PM ET

Jury deliberations could begin Friday in landmark abuse trial of two priests

By Sarah Hoye, CNN

Philadelphia (CNN) – Preposterous. Disgraceful. Shameful. Absurd. Ridiculous.

Those are words Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington used in court Thursday to describe the behavior of Monsignor William Lynn, the highest-ranking cleric to be charged with child endangerment in the landmark child sexual abuse and conspiracy trial in which he and another Philadelphia priest are defendants.

"He actually looked you in the eye and said he put victims first. How dare he?" Blessington asked jurors during his more than two-and-a-half-hour closing argument.

"The hero," Blessington yelled before turning to Lynn and pointing. "That's what you saw, our hero here, endanger kids."

FULL STORY

- CNN's Laura Koran

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Courts • Pennsylvania • Sex abuse

May 23rd, 2012
10:27 PM ET

Accused priest: 'I was helping priests and helping victims as best I could'

By Sarah Hoye, CNN

Philadelphia (CNN) – The highest-ranking cleric to be charged with child endangerment testified Wednesday in the landmark child sexual abuse and conspiracy trial in which he and another Philadelphia priest are defendants.

Dressed in clerical garb, Monsignor William Lynn took the stand inside the packed Common Pleas courtroom under the watchful eye of Judge Teresa Sarmina. He was calm, confident and very matter-of-fact during direct examination by one of his defense attorneys, Thomas Bergstrom.

"I felt I was helping priests and helping victims as best I could," Lynn told jurors, swiveling in the witness chair.

Lynn is accused of knowingly allowing dangerous priests to continue in the ministry in roles in which they had access to children. Also on trial is the Rev. James Brennan, who is accused of the attempted rape of a 14-year-old. Both Brennan and Lynn have pleaded not guilty.

Bergstrom and fellow defense counsel Jeff Lindy put their client, Lynn, on the stand at mid-morning.

FULL STORY

- CNN's Laura Koran

Filed under: Catholic Church • Courts • Pennsylvania • Sex abuse

Philadelphia priest abuse trial a test case for Catholic church
Msgr. William Lynn is charged with child endangerment for his role in handling abuse complaints.
April 21st, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Philadelphia priest abuse trial a test case for Catholic church

By Sarah Hoye, CNN

Philadelphia (CNN) – It's been four weeks since the beginning of the trial of the highest ranking U.S. Catholic Church leader charged with covering up the crimes of priests against children.

The main issue is not whether sex abuse occurred, as defense attorneys have pointed out, but how the Archdiocese of Philadelphia - Monsignor William Lynn in particular - handled the allegations against priests in the diocese.

The trial against Lynn and the alleged offending priest, the Rev. James Brennan, has already created a shake-up in Philadelphia's Catholic leadership, according to Catholic commentator and blogger Rocco Palmo.

"It's a shift you see once in 200 years," Palmo told CNN.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Courts • Pennsylvania • Sex abuse

Seeming parallels abound in Penn State, Catholic Church abuse scandals
The statute of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, who was fired Wednesday, in State College, Pennsylvania.
November 10th, 2011
04:10 PM ET

Seeming parallels abound in Penn State, Catholic Church abuse scandals

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) – Both are managed by male dominated-hierarchies. Both are revered by millions of people. And both allegedly dealt with accusations of sexual abuse of children internally, without going to law enforcement authorities.

To many victims’ advocates, commentators and others, the parallels between this week’s allegations about how Penn State dealt with reports of sex abuse and decade-old revelations about sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church are uncanny.

“It is really a striking and almost identical factual pattern that has emerged in the Catholic Church cases and at Penn State,” says Jeffrey Anderson, a lawyer who has represented hundreds of American abuse victims in lawsuits against the Catholic Church.

Penn State: A campus divided

“The only difference is that two people have been fired at Penn State who were in revered positions,” says Anderson. “That’s in contrast to every diocese in the U.S where a cover-up has been revealed.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pennsylvania • Sex abuse

October 21st, 2011
03:32 PM ET

Basketball innovators go from hardwood to the big screen

By Sarah Hoye, CNN

Philadelphia (CNN) - The sound of high heels clicking against the marble floor and the din of ice cubes in cocktail glasses fills the main lobby of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on a recent Friday night.

Theresa Shank Grentz barely steps through the glass doors when the crowd, dressed in ball gowns and tuxedos, erupts in cheers.

Standing nearly 6 feet tall, Grentz, one of the winningest coaches in women's Division 1 basketball, is given a hero’s welcome.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Movies • Pennsylvania • Sports

Amid American church abuse scandal, Philadelphia stands out
New Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput and outgoing Philadelphia Archbishop Justin Rigali.
July 19th, 2011
03:33 PM ET

Amid American church abuse scandal, Philadelphia stands out

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Accusations and revelations of sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests have been hitting American cities for a solid decade.

The now-global scandal broke in a big way in 2002 in Boston and has ensnared dioceses from Los Angeles to Kansas City to Memphis, along with many others.

But Philadelphia, where Archbishop Justin Rigali stepped down Tuesday - five months after the scandal struck his city - is different.

Pope accepts resignation of Philadelphia archbishop amid sex scandal

The scandal there could open a historic chapter in the abuse crisis, church watchers say, changing the way the American criminal justice system deals with church abuse and challenging the church’s claims that that reforms adopted in the wake of the Boston scandal have largely rooted out abuse.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Crime • Pennsylvania • Sex abuse

July 19th, 2011
07:56 AM ET

Pope accepts resignation of Philadelphia archbishop amid sex scandal

By the CNN Wire Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CNN) –The new leader of Philadelphia's Catholic community is geared up to cope with the sex abuse scandal rocking the archdiocese and promises to "find a way through it."

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver, who takes the reins from Cardinal Justin Rigali as the new Philadelphia archbishop, says he's not intimidated by the challenges dropped on his plate.

Amid American church abuse scandal, Philadelphia stands out

"No bishop will solve any issues on his own - he needs everyone involved. This is not my problem, it's our problem," said Chaput, introduced on Tuesday as the huge region's new archbishop.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Crime • Pennsylvania • Sex abuse

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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.

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