September 07, 2018

University President John Garvey was quoted in a Washington Post story on the need for lay people to rebuild the church. Catholic News Service wrote about his statement to the University community on the current clergy sex abuse scandal. He was also interviewed on WAMU.

Chad Pecknold, associate professor, theology, was quoted in The Wall Street Journal on the Pennsylvania report on child abuse. He also published an op-ed there. He appeared on the Hugh Hewitt radio show

Rev. Robert Kaslyn, professor, canon law, was interviewed by NPR on the differences between canon law and civil law. Listen at Hawaii Public Radio

Mary Leary, professor, law, was quoted in a National Catholic Register story about statutes of limitations and child sexual abuse.

Kurt Martens, professor, canon law, was quoted in an Atlantic story on reforms on clergy sex abuse. He was also interviewed for NPR's All Things Considered and the morning show on WIOD in Miami. He was quoted in a Vice story about civil and canon law and how they each apply to members of the Church hierarchy. He was quoted in a Reuters story on the pope and the calls for his resignation.

Very Rev. Mark Morozowich, dean, theology and religious studies, was interviewed on WUSA9 about the future of the church in the wake of the sex abuse scandal.

Joseph Capizzi, professor, theology, and director, Institute for Human Ecology, was quoted in a Washington Post story on lay Catholics demanding reform in the Church.

Monsignor Stephen Rossetti, associate professor, theology, was quoted in an Our Sunday Visitor story on the mental health of priests. He was also quoted in an Associated Press story on religious orders being asked to disclose the names of priests accused of sexual abuse.

Rev. Robert Kaslyn, professor, canon law, was quoted in a Catholic News Service story on crimes committed by bishops.

Mark DeYoung, master’s candidate, theology and religious studies, was interviewed in the National Review about being one of the first signers of a letter to Pope Francis encouraging him to respond to accusations made by Archbishop Vigano.

Catholic University was mentioned in a Wanderer column on “walking toward the fire” when bad news comes out of the Church.

William Dinges, professor, religion and culture, and fellow, IPR, was quoted in The Washington Post on how young people who feel distant from the church are affected by the abuse crisis.

Sister Nancy Bauer, professor, canon law, was quoted in a Catholic News Service story on the role of the laity in addressing the abuse scandal.

Scott Rembold, vice president for University advancement, was quoted in a Catholic News Service article on the effect of the clergy sex abuse crisis on giving.


... The Most Rev. Edward Scharfenberger, bishop of Albany, N.Y., said earlier this month that lay people, not bishops, should lead inquiries into allegations of misconduct by U.S. bishops. John Garvey, president of Catholic University — the U.S. bishops’ university — told The Washington Post on Monday that reform needs to be lay-led. “Most bishops are good and holy men, but as a group they have lost a lot of trust because of the actions of the ones being reported on,” he said.

In a letter to the school Saturday, Garvey called to students: “The Church is experiencing a moment of real crisis. I encourage you to prepare yourselves to take on key roles in rebuilding Christ’s Church.” ...

Continue reading in The Washington Post. 


... Chad C. Pecknold, a professor at the Catholic University of America, said the scale of this investigation—and the number of Catholic clergymen who were found to be culpable—set it apart from previous accounts of abuse within the church. “Previously, everyone understood that abuse was rampant, and that the church worked hard to try to resolve the problem,” Mr. Pecknold said. “What was not clear before, and is clear now, is how many bishops worked just as hard to cover things up.” ...

Continue reading in the Wall Street Journal. 


A Pennsylvania grand jury this week published a 900-page report detailing sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children by some 300 Roman Catholic priests over 70 years. The grand jury had spent two years gathering subpoenaed archives from Pennsylvania’s six dioceses. It sought not only to share the victims’ stories but to document an entrenched culture of coverup reaching the highest levels of the U.S. church. ... 


... However, Mary Leary, a law professor at The Catholic University of America, took a slightly different view of the report’s recommendations, as she underscored the very real “tension” between the statute of limitations, “which exist so that the accused has a chance to build a defense by going to the date and time of the crime and rebuilding what occurred,” and the demand for justice for victims following the lifelong trauma of childhood sexual abuse.

“[T]he statute of limitations does serve a legitimate purpose of fairness to those accused of crimes,” said Leary. “In the child sexual-abuse context, this principle is in tension with the legitimate claim of victims that this form of victimization is so damaging and unique that children cannot bring themselves to report it until many years after the victimization, and defendants should not benefit from that reality.”

The report’s recommendations on this matter are surely “controversial,” she agreed. But they are designed to “treat child sexual abuse the same as murder, which in most states does not have a statute of limitations. ...

Continue reading in the Register


... “My question is, ‘Have we learned our lesson?’ I’m not so sure the answer is yes,” said Kurt Martens, a professor of canon law at the Catholic University of America. ... Martens, the Catholic University canon lawyer, pointed out that recent calls for independent investigations from the Vatican amount to the “Church investigating the Church.” Although Pope Francis appointed several lay people to serve on his special commission for the protection of minors, which he created in 2014, that effort has largely stalled. ... 

Continue reading in Atlantic


... Mark Morozowich is the Dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America.

He said there needs to be a review process for everyone in the church and that lay people should continue to remain a part of such procedure.

"One of the things that we have seen happen with the sex abuse scandal is that the control of power, in only the hands of few, has led to some bad decision making,” he said.

Morozowich added that ordained members of the church and laypeople can work together on the issue.

"It's up to the church to look at, together with lay people, and see how indeed, we can create systems that really work to protect the good of the church,” he said. ...

Continue reading or watch the interview at WUSA9.com. 


... The letter from Viganò “shoots the lack of trust right up the ladder,” said Joseph Capizzi, a professor of moral theology at the Catholic University of America. ...

Continue reading in The Washington Post. 


... As defined in the “Program of Priestly Formation” — the normative document for seminary formation in the United States — human formation is aimed at helping seminarians become men of solid moral character who are good communicators, prudent and discerning, able to have good relationships with people, open to personal growth and possessing self-mastery of their sexuality.

“All those things require a bit of maturity. You’re talking about a maturity that a lot of adults in the world don’t reach,” said Msgr. Stephen Rossetti, a theology and religious studies professor at The Catholic University of America.

Msgr. Rossetti, a licensed psychologist who is an expert on psychological and spiritual wellness issues for Catholic priests, told OSV that having healthy adult relationships possessing emotional maturity and celibate sexual integration are the three hallmarks of a human formation program as articulated by Pope St. John Paul II in his 1992 apostolic exhortation on the formation of priests, Pastores Dabo Vobis (“I Will Give You Shepherds”). ...

Continue reading in Our Sunday Visitor


WASHINGTON, D.C. - The 1983 Code of Canon Law did not anticipate crimes being committed by bishops that could result in their laicization, according to a canon law professor at The Catholic University of America.

Jesuit Father Robert Kaslyn, who has taught courses in laicization, said the Second Vatican Council has also made it more complicated to remove a bishop from the clerical state.

“It’s a mess,” Kaslyn told Catholic News Service in a Sept. 4 telephone interview. “It really is a 20th-century process that really didn’t exist beforehand. And that process was suddenly needed to adapt to the abuse crisis.”

Under canon law, laicization is given to deacons for “grave causes” and to priests for “most grave causes.”

“It doesn’t even mention bishops,” said Kaslyn. “So in general, it was not foreseen that bishops could be quote-unquote laicized.” Abuse of minors, he added, is “a more grave delict,” or breach of care.

Continue reading in Crux. 


With a new open letter to Pope Francis, approximately 10,000 men have joined the effort to encourage and insist that he respond to the accusations made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò regarding the Vatican’s knowledge of Theodore McCarrick’s alleged abuse of seminarians. (Some 45,000 women have orchestrated a similar letter.) Mark DeYoung, a theology student at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., is among the first signers and organizers of the letter and talks a little about its purpose, just ahead of representatives of the U.S. bishops preparing to meet with Pope Francis early Thursday. ...

Continue reading at the National Register.

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