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Vatican official defends Pope Benedict in sex abuse scandal
February 6th, 2012
08:29 PM ET

Vatican official defends Pope Benedict in sex abuse scandal

By CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - A top Roman Catholic official opened a conference on protecting children from sexual abuse Monday by defending Pope Benedict XVI, arguing that he deserved thanks for his efforts.

Cardinal William Levada said Benedict, before becoming pope, enacted many of the reforms that followed the eruption of the church's sex-abuse scandal a decade ago.

"But the pope has had to suffer attacks by the media over these past years in various parts of the world, when he should receive the gratitude of us all, in the church and outside it," Levada said in his opening address to the conference.

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- Dan Merica

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI • Sex • Sex abuse • Vatican

Cardinal in scandal-hit Philadelphia dies at 88
Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua died in his sleep, his former diocese is at the center of a major sex scandal.
February 1st, 2012
07:22 AM ET

Cardinal in scandal-hit Philadelphia dies at 88

By Sarah Hoye and Dan Gilgoff, CNN

Philadelphia's Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua has died at the age of 88, the city's Catholic archdiocese announced.

The announcement Tuesday comes as the archdiocese faces one of the most sweeping sex abuse scandals in America.

The allegations date from the time when Bevilacqua was archbishop. He was not himself accused of abuse, but one of his top officials has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child in a ground-breaking prosecution.

He gave testimony in November for the upcoming trial to ensure that his evidence would be considered despite his age and illness.

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- CNN Belief Blog

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

Catholic official: Church aims to confront abuse, work with educators after Penn State scandal
Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, says “education in this area is phenomenally efficacious.”
November 15th, 2011
03:07 PM ET

Catholic official: Church aims to confront abuse, work with educators after Penn State scandal

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - The Roman Catholic Church is willing to partner with American educational institutions  to educate the public about child sex abuse after the Penn State scandal, according to the head of the U.S. church.

"One of the good things God might bring out of this evil and this tragedy would be now some type of alliance between religion and the educational establishment in a major national campaign to see that this is faced head on," said Archbishop Timothy Dolan, the top Catholic official in the United States.

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- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Sex abuse

November 14th, 2011
02:41 PM ET

Your Take: Comments on Penn State, Catholic Church abuse scandals

By David Michaels, CNN

(CNN) - On Thursday, we posted a story that pointed to various parallels between the Penn State and Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandals.

The question of whether those are valid comparisons became a hotly debated topic in our comments section, opening up a discussion about the ways the two cases might help shed light on one other.

Many readers agreed that there were similarities in what offenses allegedly took place inside each institution, but saw differences in how the two organizations handled the fallout.

JesusThe parallel is there. JoePa kept the abuse allegations in-house as did the Pope. Both didn't turn things over to the Police. The Pope went a step further when he was a Cardinal in sanctioning and transferring Priests so accused (before it became known to the public that the Church was doing so). Both are guilty, but JoePa at least has an out ¬– he had a purported higher authority that he reported the wrongdoing to...the Pope has no such excuse!

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Sex abuse • Sports

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.

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- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pennsylvania • Sex abuse

November 10th, 2011
12:48 PM ET

My Take: Paterno's unfulfilled ethical obligations

Editor's Note: Paul Root Wolpe, Ph.D., is director of Emory University’s Center for Ethics.

By Paul Root Wolpe, Special to CNN

(CNN) - I moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1969, when I was two years old, and then to Philadelphia when I was 12. Except for a stint in graduate school, I lived my life in Pennsylvania until moving to Atlanta three years ago.

In other words, I was raised in the land of Joe Paterno.

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Ethics • Opinion • Sex abuse

October 28th, 2011
10:00 PM ET

Predators in plain sight: Priests accused of child abuse appear beyond the reach of law

Editor’s note: Gary Tuchman reports on allegedly abusive Catholic priests who are living, unsuspected, in communities across the country on CNN Presents, Saturday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET on CNN.

By Gary Tuchman and Jessi Joseph, CNN

Los Angeles (CNN) - Former LAPD Detective Federico Sicard still remembers the Monday he arrived at a school to interview children who said a priest had molested them, even though the visit took place 23 years ago.

Sicard found four children at the school, Our Lady of Guadalupe in East L.A., who said they’d been abused by Nicolas Aguilar Rivera, a priest who’d recently arrived from Mexico.

But police never had a chance to interview Aguilar.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Mexico • Sex abuse

September 13th, 2011
07:22 AM ET

Sex abuse victims ask International Criminal Court to prosecute pope

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN) - Victims of abuse by Catholic priests asked the International Criminal Court to charge Pope Benedict XVI and other top Vatican officials with crimes against humanity, a victims' group announced Tuesday.

The pope and other church leaders "tolerate and enable the systematic and widespread concealing of rape and child sex crimes throughout the world," the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and the Center for Constitutional Rights said in a joint statement.

They filed more than 20,000 pages of documents with the international court in the Netherlands to support their charges, they said.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told CNN he was aware of the filing but had no comment.

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- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI • Sex abuse • Vatican

September 4th, 2011
11:44 AM ET

Ireland ramps up battle with Vatican over child abuse

Ireland stepped up its battle with the Roman Catholic Church over child abuse Sunday, with Justice Minister Alan Shatter vowing to pass a law requiring priests to report suspicions of child abuse, even if they learn about them in confession.

The Catholic Church regards information learned in confession as completely confidential.

But under the law proposed by Shatter, priests could be prosecuted for failing to tell the police about crimes disclosed in the confession box.

Shatter said in a statement through a spokesman last week that priests' failure to report what they learn in confession "that has led sexual predators into believing that they have impunity and facilitated pedophiles preying on children and destroying their lives."

Read the full story

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Catholic Church • Ireland • Sex abuse • Vatican

Church posts names of Boston clergy accused of child sex abuse
Cardinal Sean O'Malley made public the names of 159 clerics accused of child abuse.
August 25th, 2011
09:10 PM ET

Church posts names of Boston clergy accused of child sex abuse

By Tom Cohen, CNN

(CNN) -
A total of 250 clerics in the Boston Archdiocese have been accused of child abuse in recent decades, according to information made public Thursday by Cardinal Sean O'Malley in an attempt to help resolve an issue tearing at the core of Catholicism.

O'Malley said the archdiocese posted online the names of 159 accused clergy members, while there were 91 others who also faced some level of accusation but were not named for various reasons.

An investigation that began after the crisis over sexual abuse of children in the Boston Archdiocese fully emerged in 2002 has pored over records dating back more than 60 years, with subsequent decisions on who to name based on the nature of the accusations and other factors, according to O'Malley.

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Church • Sex abuse • United States

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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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