Catholic Church | KUOW News and Information

Catholic Church

Former Mayor Ed Murray at a press conference in the University District in September 2016.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

This was going to be a story about how far we’ve come in talking about victims of sexual abuse.

A survivor of abuse has resigned from Pope Francis' panel on clerical sex abuse, citing "shameful" resistance within the Vatican to the group's efforts to protect children.

Pope Francis has declared that abortion, which remains a "grave sin" in the eyes of the Catholic Church, can be absolved by ordinary priests for the foreseeable future — instead of requiring the intervention of a bishop.

The change was implemented on a temporary basis, for one year only, as part of the Catholic Church's "Year of Mercy," which began last December and ended on Sunday.

In a letter released on Monday, the pope announced that the change was being extended indefinitely.

Pope Francis told a gathering of about 900 heads of women's religious orders that he supports studying whether women can become deacons. The step is seen as a possible turning point for the Roman Catholic Church, which does not allow women to serve in ordained ministry.

At Thursday's meeting of the International Union of Superiors General, Francis was asked why women are not allowed to be deacons and whether he would form an official commission to look into the issue. He responded, "I accept; it would be useful for the church to clarify this question. I agree."

Michael J. Cody
BishopAccountability.org

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Times reporter Lewis Kamb about his story profiling Rev. Michael Cody, a priest who worked in Western Washington for 21 years and sexually abused children.

Radke also speaks with attorney Michael Pfau about secret files kept by the Catholic Church on abusive priests. 

Church abuse victim Mary Dispenza looks on in her studio with her artwork in the background in her Bellevue, Wash., home on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2006.
AP Photo/Kevin P. Casey

Bill Radke talks with Mary Dispenza, director of SNAP (Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests) in Seattle, about her reaction to "Spotlight" winning Best Picture at the Oscars Sunday night. The movie tells the story of how Boston Globe reporters uncovered a massive child abuse cover-up by the Catholic Church.

Abusive Priests On Indian Reservations Leave ‘Profound Wound’

Jan 28, 2016
Attorney Vito De La Cruz in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Until the 1960s, Catholic boarding schools forcibly took Native American children from their families.

Steve O'Connor, a former police officer, was raped by his seventh grade teacher as a student at St. Benedict’s School.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Steve O’Connor was 63 when he told his full story – to a jury in King County.

"When Dan Adamson came to my house and I’m 12 years old, he says, 'I’ve selected Steve as my special boy,'" he said.

Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, a 43-year-old Polish priest who revealed his homosexuality, and a same-sex relationship on the eve of gathering of bishops from around the world, has been stripped of his doctrinal responsibilities for what the Vatican says are "very serious and irresponsible" actions.

"The decision to make such a pointed statement on the eve of the opening of the synod appears very serious and irresponsible, since it aims to subject the synod assembly to undue media pressure," the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said in a statement.

Alberto Pizzoli/Reuters

Argentina's Buenos Aires province passed a groundbreaking new law this week, believed to be the first of its kind worldwide.

The law requires the province fill at least 1 percent of government jobs with transgender people. The law only applies to Buenos Aires province, but USA Today reports that this sort of requirement is not in place anywhere else.

Pope Francis in a file photo from 2013.
Flickr Photo/Catholic Church England and Wales (CC BY NC SA)/http://bit.ly/1MuUz3K

Jeannie Yandel talks to Mary Dispenza, author and director of the Northwest branch of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, about Pope Francis' visit to the United States. 

Pope Francis speaks his mind, and he did that again in his address to a joint meeting of Congress on Thursday morning. But, in the vein of the best Jesuit teachers, Francis praised America, its rich political history and its ideals before delicately delivering some things its political leaders might, well, want to consider working on.

There were political messages that challenged the orthodoxy of both American political parties, but, in this 51-minute address, there were a lot more points of emphasis Democrats are happy about — and that put some pressure on Republicans.

Irene Velazquez, Araceli Hernandez and Angela Escoz prepare for a 100-mile pilgrimage to greet Pope Francis.
Liz Jones/KUOW

There’s a name Angela Escoz of Seattle refuses to utter: Donald Trump.

"It’s incredible the control this guy has over people and the media and the barbaric things he says every day against immigrants,” Escoz said. She’s an immigrant from Peru.

Sunday morning services at St. Mary Magdalene Community in Drexel Hill, Pa., look different from a typical Roman Catholic mass. The homily is interactive, there's gluten-free communion bread, and the priest is a woman.

Caryl Johnson calls herself a priest, but technically she was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church. That happened automatically in 2011 when she was ordained by the group Roman Catholic Womenpriests.

Two nuns from 19th-century Palestine are now saints after being canonized by Pope Francis, in a move seen as aimed at encouraging Christians across the Middle East who are facing persecution by Islamist extremists.

According to The Associated Press:

Pope Francis over the weekend became the first pontiff to hold a private meeting with a transgender person. It’s one of many firsts for Pope Francis that have been seen as promoting greater inclusiveness in the church.

But what about women in the church? According to a Georgetown University study, 72 percent of nuns in the U.S. have left the church in the last five decades, compared with 35 percent of priests.

Just six years ago, the Vatican’s launch of an investigation into American nuns sparked outrage, but the release of the report in December was more warmly received.

The Vatican released a much-anticipated report Tuesday, examining the lives and social work of American nuns.

The report on the 50,000 nuns and another on their leaders were both initiated under Pope Benedict in 2008. In 2012, the Vatican took over the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and said the leaders focused too much on social issues and promoted radical feminist themes.

Stefano Rellandini/Reuters

It's been only two years since the Vatican released a highly critical report on American nuns that caused years of tension and distrust. But Catholic cardinals offered the same nuns praise on Tuesday as part of a report on women's religious orders in the United States.

Seattle Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo
Courtesy Seattle Archdiocese, file

Marcie Sillman talks with Seattle Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' migration committee, about the Roman Catholic Church's push for immigration reform. 

Updated at 11:00 a.m. ET

As we reported earlier, a synod of Catholic bishops meeting at the Vatican has released an interim document that signals the likelihood of a dramatic overhaul in the church's stance on gays and lesbians, as well as its view on divorced members.

Calling the church sex abuse scandal a "leprosy in our house," Pope Francis tells an Italian newspaper that 1 in 50 Catholic clerics are pedophiles.

In an interview with Eugenio Scalfari, the 90-year-old founder of La Repubblica, Francis is quoted as saying that advisers in the Church "reassure me" that the problem amounts to "about 2 percent."

Marcie Sillman talks with Jason Berry, author of "Lead Us Not Into Temptation" and contributor to the National Catholic Reporter, about the long history of sex abuse in the Catholic church and one organization that is crumbling in the wake of sex abuse settlements.

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

For decades Marie Collins has advocated on behalf of sex abuse victims and spoken out against the way the Catholic Church has handled the crisis.

Collins was selected by Pope Francis to sit on the new commission he set up to try to right past wrongs and to make recommendations for dealing with pedophile priests in the future.

Marcie Sillman talks to Seattle P.I. reporter Joel Connelly about Father Harry Quigg, a priest who kept ministering despite being suspended for sexual misconduct in 2004. The Seattle Archdiocese announced earlier this week that Quigg had an on-going relationship with a 17-year-old.

Fred Moody's book, "Unspeakable Joy."

Ross Reynolds interviews local author Fred Moody about his account of discovering his seminary's sexual abuse past in his book, "Unspeakable Joy."

This interview originally aired on November 18, 2013.

Flickr Photo/binw.marketing

Mary Dispenza came out of the closet more than 20 years ago. At the time, the former nun was directing pastoral nun services at the Seattle Archdiocese. Once Mary came out as gay, the church wouldn’t let her keep her position for long. Dispenza said that watching the gay vice principal of Eastside Catholic High School has been painful, and, after 20 years, a little too close to home for comfort.

Flickr Photo/Semilla Luz

It’s Friday — time to talk over the week’s news with Joni Balter of the Seattle Times, Crosscut's Knute Berger and Eli Sanders of The Stranger. 

A shooting at the Navy Yard in DC and a fatal stabbing in Seattle's Pioneer Square again raise questions about public safety and mental health care. Seattle's race for mayor sees a new round of polling and endorsements. Plus, Pope Francis says Catholics need to find "a new balance" on issues like abortion and homosexuality.  What stories were you following this week?

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Compensating The Wrongfully Convicted
Imagine you’re wrongfully convicted of a violent crime and sent to prison. After many years, you’re exonerated by DNA evidence and released. When you leave prison, you get zero compensation from the state for the time you spent in jail. That used to be a probable scenario, but thanks to a new law that went into effect on Sunday, people wrongfully convicted of crimes are now allowed to file a claim for damages up to $50,000 against the state. We talk with Alan Northrop, who was convicted of rape, burglary and kidnapping in 1993 and exonerated and released from prison in 2010.

Former President Carter Plans North Korea Trip
Former President Jimmy Carter is reportedly planning a trip to North Korea. The White House confirmed Carter’s plans on Monday. He’s expected to try to win the release of Kenneth Bae, the Lynnwood man sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for “committing hostile acts” against the North Korean government. We talk with Professor Charles Armstrong of Columbia University about Kenneth Bae and the delicate dance of diplomacy with the North Korean regime.

The Pope's Performance Abroad
Pope Francis spent his first week abroad in Brazil. When asked about homosexual clergy, Francis said, "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" What did Francis reveal about his character and agenda during his travels? National Catholic Reporter's Jamie Mans  on and Father Paul Janowiak of Santa Clara University join us.

The Weather And Hike Of The Week
Michael Fagin suggests a hike that matches the week’s weather forecast.

Gay people should be integrated into society instead of ostracized, Pope Francis told journalists after his weeklong trip to Brazil. Answering a question about reports of homosexuals in the clergy, the pope answered, "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?"

In what's being called an unusually broad and candid news conference, Francis took questions from reporters for more than an hour as he flew from Brazil to the Vatican; his plane landed Monday.

Mortal Sins

Jun 28, 2013
Michael D'Antonio's book "Mortal Sins."

  In the mid-1980s a dynamic young monsignor assigned to the Vatican’s embassy in Washington set out to investigate the problem of sexually abusive priests. He found a scandal in the making, confirmed by secret files revealing complaints that had been hidden from police and covered up by the Church hierarchy.

Meanwhile, a young lawyer listened to a new client describe an abusive sexual history with a priest that began when he was ten years old. The lawsuit he filed would touch off a legal war of historic and global proportions. Ross Reynolds talks with author Michael D’Antonio about his new book "Mortal Sins," which reveals this long and ferocious battle for the soul of the largest and oldest organization in the world.

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