A new iPad application developed by two priests will send users news, videos and photos from the Holy Land and let people send prayers via “virtual candles.”
The new app, called “Terra Sancta,” was to be launched in English, Spanish, French and Italian at the Apple Store in mid-May, according to a May 18 press release by the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. Hebrew and Arabic were to be made available at a later date.
App users receive news from the custodia.org website as well as videos and high definition photographs produced by the Franciscan Media Center. The application lets users have “information on what is happening in the holy places, news and videos on the life of the custody, and photos of celebrations, events and people,” the press release said.
The content can be shared on Facebook and Twitter, it said.
Users can also “light a candle for the Holy Land” by sending prayers and messages to the custody, it said.
The idea for the new application was conceived by Father Paolo Padrini, a diocesan priest from Italy who also helped develop the iBreviary application for the iPhone, and Franciscan Father Silvio de la Fuente, secretary of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land.
The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the chief author of the recently passed House budget for 2012 have exchanged letters discussing the moral implications of the federal budget debate.
Archbishop Timothy P. Dolan of New York, USCCB president, said in a May 18 letter to Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., a Catholic who chairs the House Budget committee, that he was pleased to know that consideration was given to the foundational principles of Catholic social teaching in drafting the budget plan.
The archbishop’s correspondence came in response to an April 29 letter from Ryan, who explained that the needs of the poor, the sick and the elderly were not being ignored and that it was a moral imperative to address the growing federal deficit in the budget as passed in the House. The Senate has yet to take up the budget.
Ryan’s office released the letters May 19.
The House budget has been criticized by some Catholics who have said that it deviates from the basic tenets of Catholic social teaching. Specifically, they have raised concerns about how the plan would change Medicaid funding in the future, particularly harming children and women, how it would reshape Medicare and would likely reduce access to health care for the elderly, and how its plan to reduce the tax rate for high income individuals would fuel the federal deficit.
Archbishop Dolan reminded Ryan that any budget must keep the needs of the poor as a priority.
He reiterated the guidelines he offered in a Jan. 14 letter to all members of Congress as well as those offered by Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif., chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, N.Y., chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, in an April 13 letter to the House as it debated the budget bill.
“In any transition that seeks to bring new proposals to current problems in order to build a better future, care must be taken that those currently in need not be left to suffer,” Archbishop Dolan wrote. “I appreciate your assurance that your budget would be attentive to such considerations and would protect those at risk in the processes and programs of such a transition.
“While appreciating these assurances, our duty as pastors will motivate our close attention to the manner in which they become a reality,” he said in a Catholic News Service report.
Archbishop Dolan took no stance on the House budget, however.
In his letter, Ryan explained to the USCCB president that he wanted to “provide facts about our budget to help advance an informed debate in light of social teachings about the well-being of the family, subsidiarity, the preferential option for the poor and the dignity of the human person.”
The budget “honors responsibility to family and self work, self-restraint, community and self-government both individually and collectively,” he wrote.
Ryan said the budget would reduce the country’s debt by $4.4 trillion and prevent Medicare from becoming insolvent. He also said it proposes that tax rates be “flattened and broadened” while closing loopholes that benefit upper income earners.
In doing so, he said, the budget “is intended to restore the confidence of job creators in order to encourage expansion, growth and hiring today.”
Archbishop Dolan said he, Bishop Blaire and Bishop Hubbard welcomed further discussion on the budget.
More than half of the $1.8 million cost for the nearly 150-page report by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice on the “causes and context” of child sex abuse by clergy came from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The USCCB spent $918,000 and other organizations and individuals an additional $914,893 for the report, commissioned by the all-lay National Review Board in November 2005.
Mandated by the bishops’ 2002 “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” the report was released May 18 in Washington.
It said potential sexual abusers of minors cannot be pinpointed through “identifiable psychological characteristics” and there is “no single identifiable ‘cause’ of sexually abusive behavior toward minors.” Because of that, it encouraged steps to deny abusers “the opportunity to abuse” by limiting the “situational factors” associated with it.
In an acknowledgments page, the John Jay researchers thanked “the funding agencies that supported this study,” including the National Institute of Justice, a branch of the U.S. Department of Justice that gave John Jay a grant of $283,651, and the Knights of Columbus, which contributed $250,000.
Other donations, ranging from $100,000 to $1,000, came from foundations that included the Raskob Foundation, Catholic Mutual Group, Sisters of Charity Ministry Foundation, Luce Foundation, Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Assisi Foundation of Memphis and Daughters of Charity Foundation/Province of the West; and health-related organizations such as the Catholic Health Association of the United States and St. Joseph Health System in Orange, Calif.
There also was a $100,000 anonymous donation and donations totaling $242 from individual members of Voice of the Faithful.
The “causes and context” report was the second completed by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, part of the City University of New York, on the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests. The first, a study of the nature and scope of the problem, was published in February 2004.
The information collected in the nature and scope study “shaped the investigation of the present study and served as a resource to verify results,” the John Jay researchers said.
They also listed as among the “primary data sources” for the latest report:
— “Longitudinal analyses of data sets of various types of social behavior,” such as crime, divorce and premarital sex.
— Analysis of seminary attendance, the development of seminary curriculum for human formation and information from seminary leaders.
— Interviews with and surveys of inactive priests with allegations of abuse, and a comparison sample of active priests who were not accused.
— Data from a 1971 Loyola University study of the psychology of U.S. Catholic priests.
— Surveys of survivors and victim assistance coordinators and analysis of clinical files about abusive behavior.
— Surveys of bishops, priests and diocesan leaders about policies put into place after 1985.
— Analysis of clinical data from three treatment centers where priests who abused minors and priests with other behavioral problems were treated.
U.S. Catholic bishops called the newly released report on the causes and context of clergy sexual abuse an important tool to gain insight into the scope of the problem and prevent it from occurring in the future.
“It is important for us to understand, as completely and accurately as we are able, the causes and context of this problem in order to respond appropriately for the safety and protection of our children and young people,” wrote St. Louis Archbishop Robert J. Carlson in an editorial for the St. Louis Review, archdiocesan newspaper.
The report: “The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010,” was released May 18. It was conducted by a team of researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York and commissioned by the National Review Board, a lay consultative body created in 2002 under the bishops’ “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”
An earlier study on the nature and scope of abuse appeared in February 2004. The causes and context study commenced in 2006.
Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron called the comprehensive report “both sobering and significant,” saying in a May 18 statement that it was “yet another indicator to keep us vigilant in our efforts for the protection of children and youth.”
New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the report pointed out “that there was no single cause that led to the sexual abuse crisis. Neither celibacy, as some have suggested, nor homosexuality, as others have claimed, has been found to be a reason why a person would engage in sexual abuse of a minor.”
He also said in a statement that the study “is a report to the bishops of the United States, not from them,” noting that initial reaction to it was critical of U.S. bishops.
The report showed that sexual abuse of minors by priests “increased steadily from the mid-1960s through the late 1970s, then declined in the 1980s and continues to remain low. Most abuse incidents occurred decades ago.”
Baltimore Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien said that the report’s link of increase number of abuse cases during a socially turbulent time period should not provide consolation.
“While it may be comforting for some to learn that there is nothing intrinsic in our church or its makeup that contributes to the presence of sexual abuse, it does not mitigate the damaging effects of sexual abuse that did occur in our church,” he said in a column for The Catholic Review, the archdiocesan newspaper.
He also noted that although the abuse crisis is “a historical problem,” it has “not been completely eradicated from our church or from our society. We have the responsibility to protect children entrusted to our care and we must be ever vigilant in our efforts to prevent any incident of sexual abuse.”
Archbishop Dolan pointed out that the sexual abuse of minors affects every family, religion, school, organization, institution and profession in society and credited the U.S. Catholic Church for being “the first group anywhere to contract a professional agency” to examine the “causes and contexts of this scourge.” He also said the study closely mirrors what has taken place in the New York Archdiocese, specifically that the vast majority of sexual abuse occurred decades ago and has declined sharply in the Catholic Church since 1985.
Archbishop Carlson apologized to those who had been abused by church officials and assured them of the church’s “unshakeable commitment to protect our children” and make church facilities and programs safe environments for minors. He also urged anyone who had been abused by a church official to contact the archdiocese. Archbishop Dolan similarly apologized to abuse victims in his statement.
The archbishops praised local efforts of archdiocesan programs in place to implement the charter and provide safe environments for young people today, emphasizing such steps are key to preventing further abuse.
“After the painful revelations of the sexual abuse crisis, the only greater sin our church could commit would be a failure to follow the very policies and procedures we have in place to protect children and root out abusers. And that can never happen,” said Archbishop O’Brien.
Although a new report on the causes and context of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy says it is primarily a historical problem, the church must guard against complacency, two key figures in the release of the report said at a Washington news conference.
“There is no room for fatigue or feeling that people have heard enough when it comes to efforts to protect children,” said Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Spokane, Wash., chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People.
Diane Knight, a retired Milwaukee social worker who chairs the all-lay National Review Board, said the report’s findings that the church’s actions since 2002 have been “effective in preventing further acts of abuse” should in no way “lull us as a church into complacency.”
“There will always be adults who are attracted to children in society and in the church,” Knight said. “Thus, we must always be on guard and do all that is possible to prevent sexual abuse.”
The two spoke May 18 following the release of a report by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York on “The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010.” The report was commissioned by the National Review Board as part of its mandate under the bishops’ 2002 “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”
They were joined at an afternoon news conference in the headquarters of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops by Karen Terry, principal investigator for the John Jay study.
“The problem of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests in the United States is largely historical, and the bulk of cases occurred decades ago.” Terry said.
But, she added, “the vulnerability to abuse remains a risk in any organization where adults form mentoring and nurturing relationships with minors.”
In response to a question, Terry stressed that the report was prepared independently by the John Jay researchers, without any influence on the findings from the bishops or the National Review Board.
“We did the work, we did the writing, we came to the conclusions,” she said in a Catholic News Service report.
It is “critical to build safety barriers around children and young people to keep them from harm,” said Teresa M. Kettelkamp, executive director of the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington.
The barriers she had in mind take the form of “protective guardians, codes of conduct, background evaluations, policies and procedures, and safety training programs” aimed at preventing sexual abuse of minors.
In a discussion of safe environment programs, Kettelkamp posted 10 child-protection points on her office’s website. A report released May 18 in Washington on a major study of the causes and context of the sexual abuse of minors in the church accented the value of safe environment programs.
“No one has the right to have access to children,” Kettelkamp said. She insisted that “background checks work,” keeping “predators away from children” in churches, schools and other organizations.
The U.S. bishops’ 2002 “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” created Kettelkamp’s office. It staffs the bishops’ Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People. Helping dioceses implement safe environment programs is a key priority.
Safe environment programs should make clear to everyone in the community “the standards of conduct for clergy and other persons in positions of trust with regard to sexual abuse,” the charter said.
The programs equip children, youths, parents, ministers, educators, volunteers and others to recognize the warning signs and grooming techniques of potential sexual abusers. For example, Kettelkamp said:
— Some seek “age-inappropriate relationships” and are “more comfortable with children than fellow adults.”
— Some abusers give potential victims “undue attention or lavish gifts.”
— Some allow “young people to participate in activities” their parents would disapprove of, such as viewing pornography or consuming alcohol.
Today, safe environment programs exist in the vast majority of U.S. dioceses. Diocesan websites commonly provide an easy-to-spot link to the local church’s program.
Here is a timeline for some key events in the clergy sex abuse crisis in the United States and the church response to it.
1983 — First nationally publicized case: Father Gilbert Gauthe is suspended by Diocese of Lafayette, La., after he admits having sexually abused at least three dozen children.
1985 — Father Gauthe sentenced to 20 years in prison.
1985 — Several state Catholic conferences and individual dioceses begin developing policies governing abuse allegations.
1985 — Bishops discuss problem in executive session at a June meeting.
1988 – Bishops’ general counsel acknowledges scope and extent of crisis in public statement.
1988 – Victims’ advocacy group Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests forms.
1990 – Bishops’ priestly life committee studies question of reassignment of abusive priests.
June 1992 — Bishops affirm five principles for dioceses to deal with child sexual abuse; they include responding promptly and openly to all allegations.
November 1992 — Cardinal Roger Mahony and other bishops meet with victims.
1993 – Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse established. Pope John Paul II forms joint study commission with U.S. bishops on priest abusers.
1994 — Pope allows for some exceptions to canon law to make it easier to laicize priests who commit sex crimes against minors.
1994-2001 — Ad hoc committee issues “Restoring Trust” materials to dioceses, urging written policies with special emphasis on education, prevention and pastoral response.
1998 — Bishops attend a symposium on working with victims and healing.
2000 — U.S. bishops meet with other English-speaking bishops’ conferences in Rome about clergy sex abuse.
2001 — Vatican doctrinal congregation takes juridical control over cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests, classifying it as one of several “graver offenses” against church law.
January 2002 — Boston Globe launches series on clergy sex abuse; case of defrocked Boston archdiocesan priest John J. Geoghan figures prominently. Small group of Boston lay Catholics begins to meet, expresses outrage over the scandal. Group grows to become Voice of the Faithful.
February 2002 — Geoghan convicted of child sexual abuse, sentenced to 10 years in prison.
March 2002 — Boston Archdiocese agrees to pay $15 million to $30 million in settlement with plaintiffs in Geoghan case.
April 2002 — Pope meets with 12 U.S. cardinals and bishops’ conference officers at Vatican. He tells them he is “deeply grieved” by news of clerical sexual abuse and says there is no place in the priesthood or religious life for those who would harm children.
June 2002 — Bishops approve “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” their landmark document responding to the crisis. Bishops establish National Review Board, a lay group to work with the USCCB in preventing sexual abuse of minors.
December 2002 — Pope accepts resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law as archbishop of Boston.
2003 — Annual audits of dioceses begin to ensure compliance with the charter.
2003 — California opens a one-year window for child abuse victims to file civil lawsuits previously barred by statutes of limitations, resulting in multimillion dollar settlements against dioceses and religious orders in the state.
February 2004 — Report on nature and scope of clergy sex abuse problem in U.S. is released, showing that 4,392 priests were accused of abusing 10,667 minors between 1950 and 2002.
July 2004 — Archdiocese of Portland, Ore., becomes first U.S. diocese to file for bankruptcy protection because of sex abuse lawsuits. Others follow, including Tucson, Ariz.; Fairbanks, Alaska; Spokane, Wash., Davenport, Iowa; San Diego; Milwaukee and Wilmington, Del.
June 2005 — Ad hoc committee becomes standing Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People.
November 2005 — National Review Board commissions John Jay College of Criminal Justice to study the causes and context of clergy sex abuse problem. Bishops approve new Program of Priestly Formation; it orders the rejection of any seminary applicant and expulsion of any seminarian who has molested a child or shows inclination to do so.
April 2008 — Pope Benedict XVI during U.S. visit meets privately in Washington with small group of survivors of clergy sex abuse.
2009 — Oregon province of the Society of Jesus files for bankruptcy protection after more than 500 people make claims against the province. A second U.S. religious order, the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers, files for bankruptcy protection in 2011.
2010 — Vatican issues revised procedures, penalties for clergy sex abuse cases.
February 2011 — Philadelphia grand jury indicts priests, others for abusing or failing to protect children, says allegations against 37 priests still in ministry were credible.
May 2011 — Vatican doctrinal congregation says every bishops’ conference in the world must have guidelines for handling accusations of clerical sex abuse in place within a year; John Jay report on causes and context of clergy sex abuse problem is released.
Making recommendations “to Catholic leadership” was an objective of the “causes and context” study released in Washington May 18. The study sought to understand factors that led to sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests in the United States.
In a key summary observation on abuse prevention, the report said:
“For abuse to occur, three factors must converge: There must be a person who is motivated to commit the act of abuse, there must be a potential victim and there must be a lack of a ‘capable guardian.’”
In light of that, the report recommended that “careful attention” be paid to the “situational factors” associated with abuse. “Reduce the opportunities for abuse to occur,” it said.
Putting the findings of the study itself to use in seminaries and in the continuing education of priests was a recommendation. The report said:
— The study findings “should be digested and used as the basis for a mandatory curriculum for a workshop for all seminary faculty.”
— The human formation of seminarians and priests “should include a thorough understanding of the major findings of this study.”
— Abuse prevention policies should “focus on three factors: education, situational prevention models, and oversight and accountability,” the report said. It recommended that Catholic leaders and others in the church:
— Make it more difficult for priests to commit acts of abuse. Safe environment programs serve this goal.
— Increase the risks of abuse. Make it more likely abusers will be identified.
— Refuse to accept “techniques of neutralization,” used by abusers to “excuse and justify” their behavior.
— Educate seminarians and priests “about the harm of abuse to victims.”
— Clearly delineate “behavioral expectations appropriate to a life of celibacy.”
— Institute periodic evaluation of the performance of priests.
— Maintain and evaluate steps to prevent abuse.
— Exercise “transparency in reporting and dealing with sexual abuse.”
The report recommended steps to reduce “the need for priests to develop social bonds with adolescents they are mentoring.” It said priests should have “outlets to form social friendships and suitable bonds with age-appropriate persons.”
The report stressed that “to fully achieve change in the Catholic Church, all diocesan leaders must be committed to transparency about their actions, ensure that the immediate and appropriate responses to abuse become routine and ensure that such actions are adopted on a national level by all church leaders.”
Here are some key quotes from the report titled “The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010,” released May 18 in Washington.
— “The problem of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests peaked in the 1970s, with a decline by the mid-1980s in all regions of the Catholic Church in the United States.
— “Some percentage of priests will be vulnerable to sexually abuse children. Although a vulnerability or predisposition may exist in general, this situation does not imply that it is possible to either identify specific ‘causes’ of the abusive behavior or identify specific individuals who will commit acts of abuse.”
— “The failure to recognize the harm of physical or sexual abuse was not atypical in American society generally in the late 1970s and 1980s.”
— “(It is) crucial to recognize that the abuse was concentrated in the 1960s and 1970s, and that those generations of Catholic priests were vulnerable without having had either a careful preparation for a celibate life or the understanding of the harm of sexual abuse that is now part of the overall culture.”
— “Over the past 25 years, a remarkable intensification of human formation and deeper understanding of the importance of its role are evident in almost every seminary. Over the same period, the total number of accusations of sexual abuse of a minor by a Catholic priest has fallen.”
— “Prior to 1984, the common assumption of those who the bishops consulted was that clergy sexual misbehavior was both psychologically curable and could be spiritually remedied.”
— “Situational crime prevention strategies are opportunity-reducing measures directed at highly specific forms of crime.”
— “The priest-abusers saw themselves as able to fulfill the role of priest even as they lived the life of an abuser.”
— “Priests who were ordained prior to the 1960s who had a ‘confused’ sexual identity prior to ordination were more likely to sexually abuse minors than those who clearly identified with a particular sexual identity from those cohorts.”
— “After the ‘Five Principles’ were affirmed (by the bishops) in the early 1990s, there was general consensus that a response to sexual abuse was necessary; yet diocesan implementation varied considerably. This pattern is consistent with innovation in organizations in general.”
— “Pope Benedict XVI’s recent and highly publicized support for accountability and transparency regarding abuse victims and hierarchical neglect should encourage Catholic dioceses to continue to complete their innovation in response to and prevention of sexual abuse of minors.”
Teresa Kettelkamp anticipates that over the next few years every article in the U.S. bishops’ 2002 “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” will come to be viewed as the commonly expected practice in dioceses, parishes, schools and other church organizations. Catholics will say, “This is what we do.”
The bishops adopted the charter during a 2002 meeting in Dallas after reports of sexual abuse of minors by priests swept the nation.
“If complacency and issue fatigue don’t take over, which is a problem in any organization, what I anticipate seeing is an integration of the charter articles into the culture of the church,” Kettelkamp said in a May 13 interview. She is executive director of the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Today, nearly nine years after the charter’s adoption, there is “no tolerance” in the church for the sexual abuse of minors, Kettelkamp emphasized.
In the nine years ahead, however, if not much sooner, Kettelkamp hopes Catholics will become so “used to” what the charter demands that they “will have the expectation” that youth ministers receive safe environment training and background checks, and that the church has a code of conduct for those working with minors.
Among its 17 articles, the charter mandates policies and procedures for responding to abuse allegations. Also mandated are clear standards for those in the church in regular contact with minors, as well as safe environment programs for children and adults aimed at preventing abuse.
Assessing the effectiveness of each charter article remains important, but the next step is for this effectiveness to become routine, Kettelkamp said.
The real reason for doing “what we do in the charter” is not simply because this is required, but because “we are Christians, Catholics,” she said.
There is no single cause of the sexual abuse of minors, Kettelkamp said. “It’s a huge, complex issue.” In her opinion, very rarely “are things this big caused by one thing.”
She acknowledged that this makes addressing the problem “more complex.” If there were a single cause, “we could assess whether we;ve gotten rid of the cause,” she explained.
The interview with Kettelkamp took place just before the release in Washington of a long-awaited report on a major study of the causes and context of clergy sexual abuse of minors. The study was commissioned by the National Review Board, a lay, consultative body created in 2002 under the bishops’charter.
Without discussing details of the report, she said the U.S. bishops wanted to know “what caused this crisis” in order to “look at the charter” and ask, “Are we doing what needs to be done, and if we’re not doing what needs to be done, what needs to be fixed?”
But “if we’re doing things that are right, we need to know that too,” she said.
The causes and context study will be “totally put to use,” according to Kettelkamp. “This is not just something so that the bishops can say we did this, check and close the book.” She added, “The National Review Board would never allow that.”
“We do not have a sexual abuse crisis in the church at this time,” Kettelkamp said. The bulk of clergy abuse incidents took place in the 1960s and 1970s.
However, in accenting the “historical” nature of the crisis, Kettelkamp said she in no way wanted victims of abuse in the 1960s and 1970s who might yet find the courage to come forward to be “minimized or dismissed.”
Though a situation of “no tolerance” for sexual abuse of minors has developed in the church, Kettelkamp said work remains to be done. “I’m not saying we’re where we need to be,” she said.
With the new study’s findings in hand, Kettelkamp’s office will work at “ascertaining the effectiveness of each article” of the bishops; charter. She said it is “one thing to have policies and procedures,” but there is a need to assess whether they are working.
There always will be some sexual abuse of minors, Kettelkamp said. But she believes the “learning level” in the church today is “much higher than it was” 10, 20 and 30 years ago. “We really have a good grasp, I think, on how to keep children safe,” she said.