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On this page we will post topics that expand our understanding of the issues that relate to the mission of Heal Our Church.  Check back often.

2022The Vatican's investigation of sex abuse cases still not transparent

By Robert Mickens | Vatican City

It's very disappointing to have to say this, but a word of advice to anyone who has been sexually abused by a Catholic priest or bishop: if the offense is still within the statute of limitations, do not — under any circumstances — report it to Church authorities, especially those at the Vatican.


No, go directly to the police. Otherwise, there is no guarantee that your denunciation will be taken seriously or investigated in any sort of transparent way.


Why Pope Francis' Canada school apology isn't enough

Brandi Morin, Cree/Iroquois/French journalist | NBC NEWS THINK

Following a historic apology first given in Rome on April 1, Pope Francis told Indigenous survivors of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools he was “deeply sorry” and begged for their forgiveness for the “evil” done by Christians against Indigenous Peoples across this land.


True reconciliation will require forgiveness, says former AFN national chief ahead of Pope's visit
Vatican defrocks Bay Area priest who scolded diocese over sex abuse



Walnut Creek resident Tim Stier, who was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1978, has been a steadfast critic of the church’s handling of sexual abuse. 


The Twilight of Pope Francis


James Carroll

Even this supremely good man has so far failed to tackle the church’s most urgent moral task.



The Dallas Charter, 20 years later — Part 2: Procedures have been implemented, but the Church is not finished


This is the second of a special two-part series marking the 20th anniversary of the passing of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (known as the Dallas Charter). Part 1 can be found here.NCR



The Dallas Charter, 20 years later — Part 1: Widespread abuse comes to light, and the bishops respond


The first six months of 2002 marked a watershed in how sexual abuse of children and the Catholic Church were seen in the United States, as well as an inflection point for how the Church responded to allegations of abuse against priests.


Fox 19

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati is the 44th largest ... of the churchsex abuse crisis to try to prevent the abuse of children. 


Corpus Reports 

We believe in the powerful potential of a grassroots movement. Our history and our tradition have taught us that whenever two or more are gathered in Christ's name, Christ's own Spirit is in our midst. 

Autumn 2022 is the latest selection of articles that share HOC visions.  


Opinion: Vatican's reprimand falls disappointingly short

Yakima Herald-Republic Editorial Board  Jul 24, 2022

The Vatican’s belated and inadequate reprimand of now-retired Yakima Bishop Carlos Sevilla shows that some church leaders still struggle to grasp the seriousness and complexity of the problem of clergy sexual abuse.  It also shows that they feel little obligation to be transparent enough to reassure the community that local parishes are safe and that the church stands ready to hold clergy accountable for any misdeeds. Even now.

Even after the church has had to answer for thousands of clergy around the world who’ve been plausibly accused of abusing young boys and girls over the years. Even after the church has paid out millions to settle international claims made against clergymen by people who suffered life-scarring harm, intimidation and humiliation at the hands of the people they trusted more than anyone: their priests.

Even after stacks of disturbing reports of church leaders around the globe — including here — attempting to hide reports of abuse with secrecy or by quietly reassigning problem priests to other communities. And even now, despite a recent Seattle Archdiocese investigation’s conclusion that he disregarded local whistleblowers who reported possible abuses, the former bishop of the Yakima Diocese gets no more than a rap across the knuckles.

What sort of message does that send parishioners who might be suffering abuse by a member of the clergy this very day? And how comfortable will anyone feel about stepping forward and alerting church leaders to future problems? Granted, church initiatives launched since Sevilla’s time as bishop aim to better protect abuse victims. But how would a whistleblower in the diocese be received today?

Sure, Sevilla — now a bishop emeritus for the diocese — seems to be taking some responsibility for how he handled local abuse reports dating back to 2003. We’ll give him that. “The investigation has concluded,” he told the YH-R in an email, “and I received a papal reproof. It means I made mistakes and could have done better. I accept that judgment.”

He still doesn’t seem to show much empathy for the victims of those mistakes, though. He’s praying for them, he said. But not apologizing.

No, the overarching priority of everyone from Sevilla to the diocese to the Vatican still seems to be protecting the church itself. Preserving its authority, shielding it from liability and maintaining the stony hierarchy that has stood for centuries.

With typical secrecy, the church reportedly reprimanded Sevilla privately for causing “scandal or a grave disturbance of order” — no mention of the personal agony his decisions likely allowed.  That’s disappointing. And for some, devastating.

After following this story for two decades, our staff has heard heartbreaking accounts of young lives betrayed, whistleblower warnings going unheeded, church promises and safety directives being ignored or forgotten.

While we certainly don’t question anyone’s faith or deny the enormous amount of good the Catholic Church has done in this community and elsewhere, we do think it’s fair to question church leaders’ handling of Sevilla’s case. And we think it’s reasonable to expect them to answer those questions truthfully and openly.

But our faith in the church’s willingness to address this problem straightforwardly and compassionately is shaken.

‘Spiritual refugees’ feel the loss of closed Catholic churches in Seattle. Some are appealing to the Vatican

Seattle Times

Nina Shapiro

Parishioners who refuse to abandon their locked-up Our Lady of Mount Virgin Catholic Church talk after a service without a Mass held on the sidewalk.


​Exclusive: Pope Francis calls steps against clerical abuse irreversible, despite resistance



Pope Francis has acknowledged that there is resistance by some national Catholic Churches on implementing measures to protect children from sexual abuse by clergy.


Priest who is survivor says church still needs ‘lamentation’ for abuse


U.S. bishops applaud the vote approving a strict national policy to address clergy sexual abuse. The room of bishops all stood to acknowledge the vote at their meeting June 14, 2002, in Dallas.

(Credit: Bob Roller/CNS.)



Survivors praised for 20 years of exposing Catholic abuse scandals


More than 20 years since the Boston Globe's Spotlight investigative team exposed the scope of Catholic clergy sexual abuse and institutional cover-up in the Archdiocese of Boston, attorney Mitchell Garabedian said abuse survivors are still teaching the church "how to be moral."