Dec 28, 2019

AP: Over 900 clergy accused of child sexual abuse absent from dioceses' lists

Pope Francis holds a 'Protection of Minors in the Church' meeting in February 2019 in Vatican City. Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Over 900 clergy accused of sexually abusing children are not included in dioceses' public lists of those credibly accused, AP reports.

The big picture: Sexual abuse and misconduct within the Catholic Church is a global problem that has persisted for decades. Pope Francis recently unveiled rules to make the Church accountable for reporting allegations of abuse.

  • Last week, Francis rid the church of the privacy it was previously given in internal proceedings that dealt with sexual abuse by banning "pontifical secrecy" — which often protected perpetrators.

What they're saying: Church officials told AP that without an admission of guilt, "they have to weigh releasing a name against harming the reputation of priests who may have been falsely accused."

  • Naming priests can also open church officials to lawsuits from accused priests who maintain their innocence, AP reports.

Flashback: Francis concluded a Vatican summit on sexual abuse in February by calling for an "all-out battle" against the issue. But, the Church did not make public any concrete measures to move forward to address it.

Go deeper: The stunning scale of the global Catholic sex abuse crisis

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AP: Communities of color vulnerable to abuse from the Catholic Church

A cardinal at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, in 2018. Photo: Lane Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Out of 178 dioceses contacted by the AP, only a handful knew the race or ethnicities of accusers of sexual abuse inflicted by clergy with the Catholic Church.

Why it matters: A leading scholar on clergy sexual abuse says communities of color "are less likely to know where to get help, less likely to have money for a lawyer to purse that help and they are more vulnerable to counterattacks" when coming forward against predators.

Go deeperArrowJan 4, 2020

Methodist church proposes plan to split over LGBTQ inclusion

Karen Oliveto, the Methodist church's first openly lesbian bishop, speaks at Iliff School of Theology in April 2017 in Denver, Colorado. Photo: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

United Methodist Church leaders announced plans on Friday for a historic split of its 13 million-plus denomination over allowing same-sex marriage within the church and LGBTQ clergy members.

What's next: The church is expected to vote on the measure to implement the division of America's second-largest Protestant domination at the general conference in Minneapolis this May.

Go deeperArrowJan 3, 2020

Pope Benedict prods Pope Francis on Catholic Church's celibacy policy

In 2017, Pope Francis (left) and Pope Benedict meet at the Vatican on the occasion of the elevation of five new cardinals. Photo: Maurix/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Former Pope Benedict, 92, in a book written with a conservative cardinal, defends priestly celibacy in an apparent strategic appeal to Pope Francis, 83, to keep the centuries-old rules, reports Reuters.

What's happening: Pope Francis is considering a recommendation that would allow the ordination of married men as priests in the remote Amazon.

Go deeperArrowJan 13, 2020