Catholic Church

Virgina Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Most of the financials of Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses’ are a mystery to outsiders. As religious institutions, they don’t have to report income or spending. 

Pennsylvania Dioceses Consider Victims' Compensation Fund

Sep 21, 2018
Michael Rubinkam / AP

Pennsylvania's Roman Catholic dioceses said late Friday they are willing to set up a victims' compensation fund as they face the prospect that state lawmakers will give victims of decades-old child sexual abuse another chance to sue the church.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

During the first mass of the school year, two students at St. Bernard Elementary School stood in front of the congregation and lead their classmates in prayer.

Virginia Alvino Young

Right inside the doorway of Courey and Andy Leer’s house in Wilkins Township, visitors are met with a golden cross, some palms, “and then we have a little Mary holy water holder,” said Courey, 31. 

Church Abuse Report, 2 Years In The Works, May Soon Be Released

Aug 13, 2018
Andrew Rush / AP

A damning report into allegations of decades of child sexual abuse at the hands of clergy members and efforts to cover it up in six of Pennsylvania's Roman Catholic dioceses is expected to be released in the coming days.

The public disclosure of the findings, the result of an almost two-year grand jury investigation, has been delayed while some of the people named in the report have launched legal challenges, arguing the report is inaccurate and releasing it in its current form would violate their constitutional rights to their reputations and to due process of law.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The bishop of Pittsburgh's Roman Catholic diocese says he'll release the names of any of his clergy members accused of sexual misconduct with a minor once a state grand jury report on clergy sex abuse is released.

Bishop David Zubik says in a letter issued Saturday he'll wait for the grand jury report to be issued before going public with the information.

The state Supreme Court disclosed recently the grand jury has identified more than 300 "predator priests" in six Pennsylvania dioceses, including Pittsburgh. Those dioceses minister to more than 1.7 million Catholics.

Andrew Medichini / AP

The Supreme Court is adding another job for the special master it appointed to help black out names and other identifying information from a grand jury report into child sexual abuse in six of Pennsylvania's Roman Catholic dioceses.

Julio Cortez / AP

The state Supreme Court has ordered  the release of a heavily redacted grand jury investigation into sexual abuse of children at the hands of clergy in six of Pennsylvania's eight Catholic dioceses.

Andrew Rush / AP

The Pennsylvania attorney general's office is pushing for the public release of a grand jury report into allegations of child sexual abuse and cover-ups in six of the state's Roman Catholic dioceses.

A legal action that seeks to lift a stay against the report's release was filed Monday under seal. Details weren't made public.

Report On Pennsylvania Priest Abuse To Be Most Extensive Yet

Jun 11, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

The results of a lengthy probe into the handling of sexual abuse claims by Roman Catholic dioceses throughout Pennsylvania, which victim advocates say will be the biggest and most exhaustive ever by a U.S. state, could be made public within weeks.

A statewide grand jury spent nearly two years looking into the abuse scandal, and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has said he plans to address the panel's findings by the end of June.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Andrew Rush / AP

A grand jury report on child sexual abuse in six Pennsylvania Roman Catholic dioceses is expected to be released in the coming weeks, after two years of investigation.

Riccardo De Luca / AP

 A Roman Catholic diocese has appointed a five-member board to oversee its handling of child-sex abuse allegations against clergy as part of an agreement with the federal prosecutor who oversees western Pennsylvania.

Marie Cusick / StateImpact PA

A group of Roman Catholic nuns has filed a lawsuit against the federal agency that approved construction of a major interstate natural gas pipeline, planned to run through the nuns’ property in Lancaster County.

The suit, filed by sisters from the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, targets the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline and alleges the project violates their religious freedom, which is protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Retired Priest Accused Of Forcing Boy To Perform Oral Sex

Jul 25, 2017
Gene J. Puskar / AP

A now-retired Roman Catholic priest was charged Monday with forcing a 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy to perform oral sex on him while counseling the fourth-grader about misbehaving on a school bus.

The state attorney general's office accused the Rev. John Thomas Sweeney of committing felony involuntary deviate sexual intercourse at St. Margaret Mary Elementary School in Lower Burrell during the 1991-92 school year.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities have lived on a hill in Millvale for more than 100 years: they started a hospital and a high school and taught generations of children.

But over the years their numbers have dwindled, and the order has decided to sell its 25-acre campus, Mount Alvernia.

Diocese of Allentown / Facebook

Pope Francis decided to stay close when selecting a new leader of the Allentown Roman Catholic Diocese.

The pope on Tuesday appointed Monsignor Alfred Schlert as the fifth bishop of Allentown. Schlert is the first priest from the diocese to be appointed to lead it.

The 55-year-old has been serving as the diocesan administrator since the pope named his predecessor the bishop of Rockville Centre, New York. He said his experience in the area will help as he takes on the new role.

Chris Sloan / Flickr

 

The Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown has agreed to take more steps to protect children from sexual abuse. 

Pope Francis officially declared Mother Teresa a saint before a crowded St. Peter's Square on Sunday morning, 19 years after her death.

Applause broke out from the tens of thousands in attendance even before Pope Francis finished the canonization at the start of Mass.

Mike Procarlo / Flickr

The leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh said Monday the church is human and wants to apologize for any pain its leaders may have caused.

Bishop David Zubik held a special Service of Apology at St. Paul's Cathedral in Oakland open to anyone who may have experienced emotional or physical pain from the church.

90.5 WESA's Virginia Alvino talked to Larkin Page-Jacobs about the service's message and why some sexual abuse victims find it troubling. 

Chad Kainz / Flickr

A statewide grand jury has found that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown concealed the sexual abuse of hundreds of children at the hands of priests and religious leaders for decades, giving known child molesters the chance to prey on additional victims. 

Bishop David Zubik announced Wednesday the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh will no longer charge to annul marriages.

The diocese is answering the call of Pope Francis, who previously proposed the elimination of all fees related to sacraments, including marriage, and in this case, the annulment of that union. According to the Rev. Thomas Kunz, judicial vicar for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, the annulment fees have prevented some Catholics from experiencing the sacraments within the church.

Thousands of Catholic Educators Gather in Pittsburgh

Apr 22, 2014

For years, Catholic schools across the country have been struggling with declining enrollment.

From the peak in the 1960s at 5.2 million students in Catholic schools, about 1.9 million now attend. But the National Catholic Educational Association, or NCEA, maintains that a Catholic education is as important in today’s world as it was in the 1960s.

“Catholic education addresses the whole person,” said NCEA President Brother Robert Bimonte. “We’re not only a school that’s teaching facts, but we’re forming the whole person: body, mind and spirit.”

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Members of the group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is taking news about two abuse case settlements to call on the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh to better notify the public when a priest has been accused of sexual misconduct.

The priests in question had both worked in Pittsburgh, though the abuse allegations come from other places they worked.

Diocese of Pittsburgh to Honor Saturday as 'Day of Prayer for Peace'

Sep 6, 2013

Pittsburgh Catholic Bishop Zubik will celebrate mass Saturday to honor Pope Francis’ proclamation of a universal day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria.

The crisis in Syria has been making headlines ever since an alleged chemical weapons attack on a Damascus suburb. U.S. and U.K. intelligence reports blame the Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad for the attack and indicate that more than 1,400 people were killed, including at least 426 children.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Homosexuality has historically been a highly controversial subject throughout the Roman Catholic Church. But recent comments from Pope Francis may change the way the Church approaches the topic.

Earlier this week, Pope Francis said to reporters, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord, and has good will, who am I to judge?”  A statement, deemed by some as “revolutionary.”

Many say that statement highlights the compassionate nature of the new Pope and paves the path for possible internal changes in the Church. The Most Reverend David Zubik, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is enthusiastic about the new Pope’s leadership technique and finds that those in the region are equally excited.