Catholic Church in Crisis

News coverage and Beliefnet articles on the clergy sexual abuse scandals rocking America's Catholic Church.


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  • What's It All About?
  • Recent Headlines and Opinion
  • How Are Catholics and Others Reacting?
  • What Happened at the Bishops' Meeting in Dallas?
  • Is Celibacy to Blame?
  • Which Dioceses Are Affected?
  • How Bad Is Clergy Abuse in Other Faiths?
  • How Much Is This Costing?
  • How Has the Vatican Responded?
  • How Have Innocent Priests Been Affected?
  • Why Are Gay Priests Under Discussion?
  • What's Happening in Other Countries?
  • Polls: Catholics Respond
  • Prayer Resources
  • The Papal Summit in April
  • More Stories

    Headlines and Opinion Essays

    April 2004: Boston Archdiocese Sells Headquarters to Cover Abuse Settlements

    February 2004: Report: 11,000 Abuse Complaints since 1950

  • Key Figures From the Catholic Abuse Survey: From the John Jay College of Criminal Justice's report on molestation of minors by U.S. Roman Catholic clergy.

    January 2004: Interview with Boston's New Archbishop

    Sept. 2003: $85M Deal in Boston Church Abuse Suits

    Augustr 2003: The Coming Catholic Church: How the Faithful Will Reshape U.S. Catholicism
    The scandal exposed the Church's worst flaws, but also points the way to positive change, says journalist David Gibson

    July 2003: Massachusetts Attorney General Says Number of Victims May Top 1000

    July 2003: Can the New Archbishop Save Boston?
    Profile of Sean O'Malley

    June 2003 Bishops' Meeting

  • A House Divided: Where Are the U.S. Bishops Heading?
    As the abuse scandal continues, Catholic bishops will be judged by their worst member. Can they overcome their divisions? By David Gibson
  • Catholic Bishops Shoot Themselves in the Foot--Again
    Despite everything that's happened, they still hide behind legalisms when their only salvation is transparency. By Fr. Andrew Greeley

    Head of Abuse Review Board Resigns
    Governor Frank Keating blasts coverups

    What's It All About?

    February 2004: Report: 11,000 Sexual Abuse Complaints Since 1950
    From the John Jay College of Criminal Justice's report on molestation of minors by U.S. Roman Catholic clergy.

  • Key Figures From the Catholic Abuse Survey

    Past Sex Abuse Cases (AP)
    Answers to common questions about the current scandal and past cases of clergy sexual misconduct.

    Common Misperceptions (USA Today)
    Nov. 2002: An overview says that very few accused priests remain in positions where they could abuse minors.

    Who's Who in the Catholic Church
    Basic facts about who makes what decisions.

    Q&A: Psychiatric Issues in Pedophilia
    Accessible answers to frequently asked questions by a psychiatrist specializing in clergy pedophilia.

    Are They Really Pedophiles?
    A researcher analyzing earlier data says that many victims of priests are adolescent boys, not children. By Philip Jenkins

    Catholic Reactions

    "A Crisis of Fidelity"
    George Weigel on the culture of dissent (Summer 2002)

    Time for the Laity to Step Forward
    Interview with Garry Wills (Summer 2002)

    "The Catholic Church's Watergate" (Summer 2002)
    Beliefnet's interview with Catholic League's President William Donohue reveals a typically staunch defender of the Church indicting it instead. (Spring 2002)

    Spring 2002: Pope Denounces Sex Abuse
    In an annual letter to priests, Pope John Paul II says the current "scandal" casts a "dark shadow" on all priests.

    Spring 2002: U.S. Bishops' Conference Issues Formal Apology

  • Full text of Bishop Gregory's statement
  • Restoring Trust: The Response to Sexual Abuse
    Op-ed piece by the Chairman of the Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse

    Nuns Call for Reform in Wake of Abuse Crisis (August 2002)

    Opinion Polls for Catholics: Cast Your Votes
    Have you decreased your contributions to diocesan collections? Has your priest preached about the scandals? Beliefnet invites Catholic users to respond to polls.

    Spring 2002: Cardinal Law Should Resign
    Even conservative Catholics agree that some prelates have failed God's children. By Charlotte Hays
  • Poll for All Users: Should Law resign?

    Another Look at Cardinal Law
    Do Law's actions rise to that level of offense for which resignation is the only recourse? To analogize from politics, Nixon's cover-up of Watergate did rise to that level, Clinton's cover-up of Monica did not.

    What the Media Is Missing
    In focusing on the admittedly terrible events of the past, the press is not covering systemic changes the Church made in the 1990s to combat clergy sex abuse. By Bishop Joseph Galante, member of the Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse

    Spring 2002: An Ecclesiastical Enron
    Molesters and sexual deviants among the Catholic clergy, episcopal negligence and coverups, stonewalling chanceries and empty claims that at long last the Church is going to clean house: This is not a new story. And that is the real scandal. By Rod Dreher

    Spring 2002: Odd Attempts to 'Explain' the Pedophilia Crisis
    Both liberals and conservatives are playing the blame game--and are usually way off the mark. By Eugene Kennedy

    Spring 2002: For Catholics, a Special Kind of Horror
    Pedophile priests: The phrase brings instant and visceral reaction: anger, revulsion, fear. For all people of goodwill, it's a dual tragedy: the violation of a child and the betrayal of a trust.

    Chicago Cardinal's 'Sexist' Comments Anger Critics (April 26)

    February 2002: How Should Catholics Respond to the Scandals?
    The great St. Francis of Assisi lived in a time of terrible immorality in Italy. Priests were setting horrible example. Lay immorality was even worse. Then, as now, the only adequate response was holiness.

    Continued on page 2: »

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