Notre Dame Forum panelists share expectations for discussion, comment on Archbishop Lori’s controversial history

first_imgThe backgroundWednesday’s panel takes place over one year after the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report brought clergy sexual abuse allegations to the forefront of Catholic consciousness. Since the report, the Vatican has taken a more aggressive stance toward addressing the crisis — on May 9, Pope Francis announced a new law requiring Church leaders to report all allegations of sexual abuse. The policy also provided stipulations for how to investigate them.This legislation joins the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which established a “zero-tolerance” stance toward abuse — though the policy applies only to priests and deacons. Both Lori and McChesney helped to develop the charter.In conversations with The Observer, Wednesday’s guests shared their views of where the Church stands in addressing the crisis, as well as their hopes for the evening’s discussion. Addressing the crisisAllen, who has spent decades reporting on the Vatican, called the Church’s handling of the crisis “a mixed bag.”“I think we have to say out loud — and we should not be afraid to say — that there has been tremendous progress made in terms of the understanding of this pathology [of clergy abuse] and also in terms of the accountability we impose for it,” he said.But despite legislation like the Dallas Charter and the May 9 law, few clergy who hide or ignore cases of abuse are held responsible, Allen said.“A bishop who commits sexual abuse is going to be gone tomorrow,” he said. “A bishop who covers it up? Nah.”It is these coverups that keep abuse and other acts of corruption alive yet hidden, president of web database Bishop Accountability Terry McKiernan, who will be attending the panel, said. McKiernan warned the Catholic community to be skeptical of the Church’s progress.“Since 2002, the Catholic Church in the United States — both the dioceses and also to some extent the religious orders — have chosen a PR strategy that basically put forward the message that we’re on a learning curve, we’ve done a lot of work and we’re now a very safe place for children,” he said.Cruz said the culture of coverups that runs rampant in the Church makes grassroots reform from Catholic communities especially necessary.“Right now, it’s the time of the survivors,” he said. “It’s the time of those people who want to build, not those people who want to keep destroying and feeding this culture of abuse, and coverup that has no room in the Church.”Steinfels, who wrote a critique of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, said there also ought to be greater accountability in the government’s investigation of the crisis. He added that a key component in addressing clergy abuse is understanding where it comes from.“I would like to raise the question of, ‘Going forward, how can we equip people and the Church to have a better understanding of the history of this whole scandal?’” Steinfels said. “And here’s where I think an institution like Notre Dame can have a key role.”Rebuilding public trust in the Church is another important tenant of reform, Lori said — an obstacle clergy and laity must work together to overcome.“I think that the ultimate goal of the conversation is to offer healing to victim-survivors, to children, to restore people’s trust, to help people who are struggling in their faith,” he said. “And this cannot be done unless we pray about it, unless we work toward it. But we also have to dialogue.”No matter where the conversation goes, honesty will be the qualifier for a successful discussion, Allen said.“If there is anything we have learned from the abuse scandals, it is that pretending a problem isn’t there doesn’t make it go away,” he said. Joseph Han | The Observer Five key players in the push for Church reform will continue the global conversation on the clergy sexual abuse crisis in a panel Wednesday evening.The panel, “The Church Crisis: Where Are We Now?,” will be held Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center’s Leighton Concert Hall. A keynote event for the 2019 Notre Dame Forum, “‘Rebuild My Church:’ Crisis and Response,” the panel will feature Archbishop of Baltimore William Lori; Kathleen McChesney, former executive assistant director at the FBI; Juan Carlos Cruz, an advocate for survivors of clergy abuse; and Peter Steinfels, former editor at Commonweal and former columnist for the New York Times. John Allen, editor of online Catholic newspaper Crux and Vatican reporter, will moderate.center_img A controversial archbishopHowever, some have claimed the archbishop has been doing just that.Lori has been criticized for his numerous attempts to block Church transparency efforts — just this summer, he came under fire for his controversial investigation of Michael Bransfield, the former bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia.Notre Dame has not publicly acknowledged any of these criticisms — promotional materials for Wednesday night’s panel stated only that he investigated “allegations of sexual harassment and financial impropriety by the former bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.” But they were aware of them, vice president for public affairs and communications Paul Browne confirmed in an email to The Observer.“Archbishop Lori was invited to be part of the Forum event because of his insight, experience and tenacity in addressing the sex abuse crisis in the Church,” Browne said in the email. “We are certainly aware of the criticisms that have been leveled, but the purpose of the event is to talk about where we are and where we need to go, and we believe each of the panelists can speak about both what the Church has done well and its mistakes in handling the crisis.”Allen, who was the first to recommend Lori for the panel, said controversies surrounding the archbishop should not distract from what he brings as a Church leader and longtime advocate of reform.“I think [Lori] is a smart and deeply responsible guy,” he said. “And, does that mean he’s handled every issue that has come before him perfectly? No.”In a system as broken as the Catholic Church, critics should not be so quick to single Lori out, Allen added.“Give me a cleric who doesn’t have a controversial background,” he said. “Name one — I can’t.”Even so, Lori has long been held up as an example for clergy abuse response and prevention efforts. Just this year, the Archdiocese of Baltimore also established a new system for reporting complaints against clergy.The question remains of what role Lori will play on the panel, and how he will respond to questions about his past.“A bishop has an archdiocese to run and has a message to convey, and it’s just not always or even often the case that we get thinking outside the box from officeholders in general,” McKiernan said. Still, skeptics should withhold their judgement until the panel, he added.“That kind of a possibility that Archbishop Lori might play it safe, I think we need to balance it with the really amazing opportunity that we have here,” McKiernan said. “If he is willing to answer to ideas for change, is willing to really engage with hard questions about his time in Bridgeport, even his work in the Bransfield investigation, we could get a livelier evening, and an evening that might actually yield commitment for real change.”McChesney said critics of Lori should see his seat on the panel as a chance for dialogue.“[The panel] gives the audience an opportunity to ask [Lori] questions about things that they are concerned about. He is willing to come to a forum and discuss those things insofar as he can,” she said. “I think that is excellent. I think you want to hear from people that you may agree with, and people you may not agree with.”Lori said his past should be left out — or at the very least, be left at the periphery — of Wednesday night’s discussion.“This event is not about me,” Lori said. “I’m not the focus of this. This is a conversation about the Church, where the Church is now and how we can move forward. And so being the only cleric on this panel should not mean that I’m a target, it should illustrate how we can have a conversation together as one Church made up of clergy, laity and religious.”The archbishop said he is not one to turn away questions, however, pointing to his embrace of public discussion in his home community.“I’ve done 18 listening sessions around the archdiocese,” he said. “That means going to 18 different locations and spending, basically, three hours with an open mic, alright? Understand, I’ve been to the rodeo before.”Allen said those who disagree with Lori’s place on the panel should remember the University is hosting the forum from a place of goodwill.“It is enormously to the credit of Fr. Jenkins and the University that they are investing considerable time and treasure in something that quite honestly, isn’t necessarily the University’s concern,” he said. “Notre Dame, for the most part, has not been one of the epicenters of the sexual abuse crisis. … [The University] knew full well it had the potential to invite critical attention, but they decided to do it anyway.”Tags: Archbishop Lori, Catholic Church abuse scandal, Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Juan Carlos Cruz, Kathleen McChesney, Notre Dame Forum, Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, Peter Steinfelslast_img read more

Trackside stunner sells at auction in Hendra

first_imgThe back deck at 30 Rosewood St, Bardon.“It’s mixed feelings because we do love the house and we’ve made it our own but we’re also pleased to have a successful result today.”The couple said the price was where the felt the market was at. “While it is about the figures, the fact that it’s going to a local family who wanted it so badly is a really good feeling,” Mrs Brier said. In Taringa a beautifully renovated cottage also sold under the hammer on Saturday. The happy vendors Dan and Rebecca Smith with their children Ava, Savannah and Harry.“They were having a chat with buyers after the sale and they were all wondering around the house together,” she said. “(Mr and Mrs Smith) have already bought another property, so this will give them the ability to renovate their new home.” In Bardon it was third time lucky for Seamus O’Donoghue and Jessica Holding at the auction of 30 Rosewood St. The trackside pool and deck at 114 Mein St, Hendra.The auction began with a starting bid of $1.8 million and nine buyers actively vied for the five-bedroom home. “It was a drawn out auction and it got down to two people in the end battling it out,” Ms Kortlang said. The successful bidder was a local Hendra buyer with plans to move into the two-storey home. The renovated kitchen and dining room at 5 Magor St, Taringa.Mr Dixon said the new owners were a young professional couple who planned to move into the home. “They were very excited. They have been looking for something for some time,” he said. Mr Dixon said the high quality of the renovation carried out by the vendor ensured plenty of interest in the property. “We ran a four week marketing campaign and we had approximately 50 groups inspect the home,” he said. “It’s in a very nice pocket so I expected there would be good interest and there was.”The Toowong-based agent said the vendor was pleased with the result. “She is looking to move on to another renovation project in the area,” he said. The home at 5 Magor St, Taringa.Marketing agent Jack Dixon of Dixon Family Estate Agents said the three-bedroom home at 5 Magor St sold for $820,000. “We had five registered bidders but only two actively participated in the bidding,” he said. “The opening bid was $760,000 and bids increased in increments of $10,000 from there. “There was a bit of negotiating towards the end between the buyer and the highest bidder and the highest bid was increased to $820,000. “It was declared on the market at the point and sold.” The open-plan living area at 30 Rosewood St, Bardon.The couple plan to move into the three-bedroom home with their daughter and buy some chickens to fill the chook pen. “Our little girl is a climber so she’ll like the cubby house,” Ms Holding said. Vendors Eveline and Andrew Brier said the sale was a bittersweet moment for them. “We’re selling because of a change in family circumstances and it was somewhat of a reluctant sale,” Mrs Brier said. The home at 30 Rosewood St, BardonThe couple secured the property, their first home, with a bid of $900,000 after losing out at two previous auctions. Mr O’Donoghue was responsible for placing the opening bid of $700,000.More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home3 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor3 hours agoThe bids rose steadily until hitting $860,000 where the auction stalled and auctioneer Grant Penrose of REMAX Profile began negotiations. After some to-ing and fro-ing, Mr O’Donoghue raised his bid to $900,000 and the property was declared on the market and sold. Ms Holding said they were nervous going into the auction and a little shocked to have won the property. “We really liked the suburb, the location, proximity to good schools, the quiet street and the fact that it’s a beautiful home as well,” she said. The kitchen at 114 Mein St, Hendra.Vendors Dan and Rebecca Smith bought the block at 114 Mein St in 2014 and built the architecturally designed home with 793-bottle wine cellar, swimming pool and an entertaining deck overlooking the racetrack. “I thought, ‘how good would it be to just sit in the pool and watch the races?’, so we made it happen,” Mr Smith said.Ms Kortlang said the Smiths were “very happy” with the sale. 114 Mein St Hendra Brisbane is being sold by Dan and Rebecca Smith.A stunning Hamptons style property overlooking the 1400m start mark at Eagle Farm Racecourse has sold under the hammer in Hendra. Marketing agent Leigh Kortlang, of Ray White Ascot, said the home at 114 Mein St sold for $2.425 million with a crowd of more than 100 people watching on Saturday, July 22. “It felt like just about everybody in Hendra and the odd dog were there,” she said. last_img read more