1. Sex-Abuse Suits Flood New York, Over 400 claims made on first day of window for childhood victims to seek compensation.

By Melanie Grayce West, The Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2019, Pg. A3

Attorneys representing alleged victims of child sexual abuse filed hundreds of lawsuits in courts across New York state Wednesday, the first day of a one-year window when people who said they were abused as children can bring civil suits.

Outside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Midtown Manhattan, James Grein spoke about the years of sexual abuse he said he suffered from former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was dismissed from the priesthood in February after being found guilty by the Vatican of sexual abuse of minors and sexual misconduct with adults. The former cardinal has said that he was innocent of one of the abuse charges.

Several of the complaints filed in New York on Wednesday named the Archdiocese of New York as a defendant. One lawsuit filed by several adults who lived as children at Mount Loretto Catholic Mission in Staten Island alleged physical, emotional and sexual abuse by Catholic nuns, priests and other staff there.


2. Sri Lankan cardinal calls probes into Easter attack ‘biased’

By Elise Harris, Crux, August 15, 2019

Sri Lanka’s top Catholic has called for an independent inquiry into a series of bombings that shook the country on Easter Sunday, saying investigations conducted until now have been swayed by political interests.

In comments to Crux, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, said that for Sri Lankans, a parliamentary probe into the attacks “is biased because it is done by parliamentarians of different political parties, they are not independent of their positions.”

“We want a completely independent, impartial, apolitical group to investigate this … and to find out who planned this, who did this, why certain aspects of warning were not taken seriously and so on,” he said.


3. New Labor Dept. rule would exempt ‘religious’ contractors from bias claims.

By Sommer Brokaw, United Press International, August 14, 2019, 2:46 PM

The U.S. Department of Labor proposed a new rule Wednesday that would allow federal contractors that “exercise religion” to exempt themselves from accusations of bias in their hiring practices.

The proposal is intended to help employers of nonprofit “religion-exercising” organizations and “closely-held” companies with religious beliefs make hiring decisions that align with their religious tenets and beliefs — “without fear of sanction.”

“[The] rule helps to ensure the civil rights of religious employers are protected,” acting Labor Secretary Patrick Pizzella said in a statement. “As people of faith with deeply held religious beliefs are making decisions on whether to participate in federal contracting, they deserve clear understanding of their obligations and protections under the law.” 


4. Planned Parenthood to leave federal family planning program Monday absent court action.

By Jessie Hellmann, The Hill Online, August 14, 2019, 2:53 PM

Planned Parenthood will leave a federally funded family planning program Monday unless a court blocks the Trump administration’s new restrictions on abortion providers

While Planned Parenthood stopped using Title X family planning funds last month after the administration announced it would begin enforcing the restrictions, it told the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) it would stay in the program while it sues over the changes.

But the administration told Planned Parenthood it must completely exit the program by Monday if it does not plan to fully comply with the rules, regardless of whether it is using the money.


5. Australian court to rule next week on Cardinal Pell’s appeal.

By Rod McGuirk, The Associated Press, August 14, 2019

An Australian court will announce its verdict next week on the appeal of the most senior Catholic clergyman to be found guilty of child sex abuse.

Cardinal George Pell could walk free if the judges acquit him of the five convictions for molesting two choirboys in a cathedral more than two decades ago. They also could order a retrial, in which case Pell would be released on bail, or they could reject his appeal.

No matter the verdict by the Victoria state Court of Appeal, Pell’s case is likely to end up in the High Court, Australia’s final arbiter.


6. Bishops reflect on abuse crisis on anniversary of Pa. grand jury report.

By Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service, August 14, 2019, 3:51 PM

On the anniversary of the Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing alleged abuse by clergy and other church workers over several decades in six dioceses, bishops in those dioceses reflected on what the past year has wrought and described how their dioceses have acted to help past victims and prevent future victims.

The grand jury report, released Aug. 14, 2018, was based on a monthslong investigation into alleged abuse in the dioceses of Pittsburgh, Allentown, Scranton, Erie, Harrisburg and Greensburg, Pennsylvania. It covered a 70-year period starting in 1947.

“It was devastating for me, as the pastor of this diocese, to see the ugly details of what had happened within the church,” said a statement by Bishop Lawrence T. Persico of Erie on his diocese’s website. “I knew that survivor/victims, as well as all Catholics and the entire community, would need time to grapple with the report. Their deep pain, anger and grief was understandable.”

He added, “My apology is only one step in the long and complex process of healing. I know words mean very little without action. The Diocese of Erie has taken many important steps in the last year, and will continue on this path.”


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