1. 152 abusive priests removed, church says.

By Associated Press, The Washington Post, February, Pg. A10

The head of the Mexican bishops’ conference says that 152 Catholic priests have been removed from the ministry over the past nine years for sex abuse offenses against “youths or vulnerable adults.” 

Archbishop Rogelio Cabrera said some of the priests have been prosecuted and sent to prison but did not say how many. 

The church often uses the term “vulnerable adults” to refer to those with mental or physical disabilities. 

Pope Francis has convened presidents of all the bishops’ conferences worldwide for a three-day summit this month to address the abuse of minors. 


2. Catholic dioceses to provide sex-abuse victim names to fund.

By Associated Press, The Washington Times, February 12, 2019, Pg. A9

Victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy in New Jersey will soon be able to apply for compensation from a fund representing all five of the state’s dioceses, one of the fund’s administrators announced Monday.

Camille Biros, who also is overseeing similar compensation funds in Pennsylvania and New York, said New Jersey’s will be different because all five of the state’s dioceses will follow the same protocols.

A fund Ms. Biros oversees in New York has paid out more than $210 million to more than 1,100 victims in five dioceses, she said.

Victims who accept compensation in New Jersey forfeit their right to sue.


3. Push to rehabilitate past pope illustrates great truth about the present. 

By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, February 12, 2019

It’s thus entirely contemporary that a private association in Spain is petitioning the Vatican to rehabilitate the figure of Benedict XIII, who was elected to the papacy in 1394 during the Avignon period and traditionally has been considered an anti-pope.

According to the text it submitted, the group wants the Vatican to recognize “his moral, academic and cultural dignity by repealing his excommunication and incorporating him as a legitimate and faithful son of the Church.”

The events in question may have happened six centuries ago, but should the Vatican take up the request, it would have clear relevance for the here and now.

In any event, the contemporary relevance of the story is this: How one is seen by Church officialdom today is rarely enough to assess how that figure will be seen in the long run. Church history is actually rife with personalities who were seen as heterodox, renegade or disobedient by someone in power in their day – Francis of Assisi, Joan of Arc, Mary MacKillop and Padro Pio, among many others, all come to mind.

It remains to be seen whether Benedict XIII will one day join that company. The mere fact it exists, however, is a useful reminder that getting in hot water with Church authorities may not be anybody’s idea of a good time, but it’s also not necessarily the last word.


4. In run-up to abuse summit, voices emphasize global dimension of crisis. 

By Inés San Martín, Crux, February 12, 2019

Ahead of a summit of presidents of bishops’ conferences and other Church officials in Rome Feb. 21-24 on clerical sexual abuse and child protection, voices from around the world are emphasizing that it’s a global problem requiring a global solution.

In Spain, where new cases of clerical sexual abuse are coming to light regularly, there’s a group of professionals, both lay and religious, who see the encounter with survivors and victims as more than a request in preparation for the meeting.

Earlier this month, a group of educators, psychologists, doctors, journalists and experts on both civil and canon law created the association Betania (Bethany). As its president Maria Teresa Compte told Crux on Monday, the association was formed “organically,” as part of a process to guarantee that the work these people were doing autonomously had a continuation in time.

According to the pontiff, his advisory cabinet first discussed the possibility of the meeting last year after seeing that there are bishops who still don’t know what to do when cases of clerical sexual abuse arise.

Their three-day gathering in Rome, then, will become a platform to make the “drama of children who’ve been abused” comprehensible to every bishop, he said, not only for those where the scandals have already exploded.


5. DC’s Women in White Need to Learn from Damas de Blancos – And Fast. 

By Grazie Christie, CNS News, February 11, 2019, 3:46 PM
Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie specializes in radiology in the Miami area and serves on the advisory board for The Catholic Association.

Optics are everything – at least, in politics. And the display of women Democrats dressed in white and looking sour as President Trump condemned socialism and late-term abortion was an exercise in poor optics. 

Here in Miami, what we fondly call the capital of Latin America, a group of women dressed in white as a sign of protest means only one thing: The Ladies in White of Cuba.  

The Damas de Blanco are the mothers and wives of jailed Cuban dissidents, who dress in white and wear pictures of their loved ones and the years of their sentence pinned to their blouses while they walk to church on Sundays in Havana.  They chose white after Argentina’s Madres de Plaza de Mayo, who demonstrated in white to demand information about their “disappeared” children in the 1970’s.  The Cuban women started their weekly marches in 2003, after the government sentenced 75 librarians, journalists and human rights activists to decades in prison for criticizing the Castro dictatorship.  Each Sunday the Damas de Blanco are regularly harassed, beaten and hauled into police detention, yet they keep showing up each week.  They are brave, very brave, in the way they stand up to power in defense of human dignity.

The white-clad women at the State of the Union looked silly by comparison. 

Indeed, at that moment, the self-declared socialist Ocasio-Cortez was an especially incongruous reminder of the Cuban Ladies in White.  Those women can’t even walk to mass silently without being harassed and beaten by government thugs.  Ocasio-Cortez, meanwhile, speaks freely and widely about her disdain for the president and our whole capitalist system.  She couldn’t do that under the socialist systems she praises with such energy.

Unlike Ocasio-Cortez and her friends, Cuba’s “Ladies in White” face real authoritarianism – face it week after week with grace and valor, standing up for human dignity at great personal cost.  D.C.’s Women in White need to learn from the Damas de Blancos – and fast.