March 3, 2016 |
In a scathing report that took aim at Catholic leaders, a Pennsylvania grand jury on Tuesday accused bishops of ignoring or hiding decades of sexual abuse by priests and religious leaders against hundreds of children in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. The panel recommended no charges against the 34 priests it named in its 147-page report, one that resembled, in tone and substance, a grand jury report that a decade ago lambasted the Philadelphia Archdiocese. The abuse in Altoona had been so pervasive, the probe found, a bishop created a "payout chart" to guide how much money a victim deserved for offenses ranging from over-the-clothes fondling to sodomy.
February 19, 2016 |
By the time he was in high school, Mark Haynes felt called to devote his life to the Catholic priesthood. But from a much earlier age, his lawyer said Wednesday, Haynes realized something else that set him apart - an unshakable feeling that by some accident of genetics, he had been born a woman stuck in the body of a man. Haynes' therapist would later conclude that the dissonance between his vocation and the condition he came to view as an affliction...
February 11, 2016
ISSUE | INCLUSION A priest who cares For St. John Chrysostom Church to involve those with disabilities in the life and worship of the parish, it took the Rev. Edward J. Hallinan to listen ("Open arms," Tuesday). After noticing that families dealing with disabilities frequently didn't attend Mass, the pastor did what, in my experience, Catholic pastors rarely do. Instead of berating the families for their absence, he met with them and asked how the church could make them feel more welcome.
January 21, 2016 |
A SIMPLE WORD played a big role in Christine Parker's long life: Yes. She said yes when people asked for help, yes to invitations, and yes to travel and to singing every day. "She was very much someone who did things," said Gloria Shabazz, Christine's youngest child. "She never really talked about volunteering, she just did it. She just helped people. She wasn't resumé-building or trying to get into a good school, she was just trying to do the right thing. " Christine Parker, 93, who married an Episcopal priest and served alongside him in three cities, taking on other jobs as well, died Jan. 13 at Sunrise of Lafayette Hill, the assistant-living facility where she lived.
January 18, 2016
Orlando R. Barone is a writer in Doylestown He was the finest athlete I ever saw up close, certainly the best I ever played against. I got to know him in high school, where he was a varsity baseball player. I sat right behind him in homeroom for two of our four years at Monsignor Bonner High School in Drexel Hill, because of the alphabet. He was Atkinson; I was Barone. He was unassuming and good-natured, but not the sort of person who would up and decide to become a priest. When he up and decided to become a priest, I was surprised.
January 16, 2016 |
A Philadelphia judge has ruled that documents and other evidence from pretrial proceedings in a lawsuit involving sexual abuse of minors by a Catholic priest will remain public before trial. The two-paragraph ruling by Common Pleas Court Judge Mark I. Bernstein was a setback for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which had asked for an order barring public disclosure of the materials. The church has insisted on confidentiality as a condition for engaging in pretrial discovery with lawyers in suits seeking damages for being sexually molested by priests.
January 11, 2016 |
Brian McDonnell lies in his small, dark room under the crucifix on his wall, praying Hail Marys on his blue plastic rosary beads. Symbols of a church that had forsaken him, but one that he has never abandoned. He worries that he is dying. It is all he thinks about. "I don't know how long I'm going to last," he said the other afternoon. "I just feel like I'm fading quick. I just fall asleep saying Hail Marys. " Brian suffers from schizophrenia, dementia, and depression. The manifestations of his mental illness are inextricably intertwined with the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of a priest as an altar boy at now-closed St. Gregory's in West Philadelphia.
December 31, 2015 |
The Rev. Rick Curry embraced his disability as a gift and used it to empower thousands. When Richard Jerome Curry was born without a right forearm and hand, his mother wept, and his father fled to a bar near the family home in Southwest Philadelphia. The missing limb would define him, people told the boy - he could never be a soldier or a doctor or a priest. The difference did define him, but in no way that his parents or early teachers had imagined. After spending much of his life as a Jesuit brother, Father Curry received a special dispensation from the Vatican to become a priest at age 66. He earned a doctorate.
December 23, 2015 |
A Philadelphia priest who was temporarily removed in the wake of the 2011 investigation into clergy sex abuse, and then reinstated, has again been removed from ministry. The Rev. Steven Harris, most recently the pastor of St. Bridget Church in East Falls, has been put on administrative leave by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. "The archdiocese was made aware of possible concerns regarding his suitability for ministry at this time," said an announcement shared at St. Bridget's weekend Masses and posted on the parish's Facebook page.