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Council of Cardinals discusses new Apostolic Constitution

The regularly scheduled meeting of the Council of Cardinals took place at the Vatican from 2-4 December

Maltese bishops appeal for unity in the pursuit of the common good

The Catholic Bishops of Malta issue an appeal for unity on the island nation at a time in which division could lead to the “trap of hatred, lies and violence.”

Pope to COP 25: Do not close the window of opportunity

Pope Francis has sent a message to participants at the United Nations Climate Conference, COP 25, being held in Madrid until 13 December.

Card. Bo urges Myanmar’s leaders to seek peace, reconciliation not violence

As Myanmar prepares to defend itself against charges of genocide by the International Court of Justice, Cardinal Bo urges the government on the path of peace and reconciliation and urges the international community to take measures that will not punish the poor and innocent.

The Vatican prepares for the inauguration of the Nativity Scene in St Peter's Square

The Nativity Scene and Christmas Tree will be inaugurated on the 5th December in St Peter’s Square. Meanwhile, a Nativity Scene, by the Pare di Conegliano Artistic Crib Group will also be exhibited in the Paul VI Hall.

Pope accepts resignation of Buffalo Bishop

The Holy Father has accepted the resignation of Bishop Malone, of the Diocese of Buffalo, in the United States.

Pope at Audience: Pray and entrust yourself to the Lord

At Wednesday’s General Audience, Pope Francis reflects on St Paul’s ministry in Ephesus, and on his farewell to the leaders of the Christian community there.

Pope meets with Polish Solidarity Trade Union

Pope Francis greets leaders of Poland’s Solidarity movement on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of its foundation.

Pope Francis' General Audience: English Summary

At the General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis continues his catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, reflecting on St Paul's ministry in Ephesus, and his farewell to the leaders of the community there.

Updated: Sheen beatification postponement not related to 2007 cover-up allegation, sources say

Peoria, Ill., Dec 3, 2019 / 02:43 pm (CNA).- The delay of the beatification of Archbishop Fulton Sheen is not related to a 2007 allegation that Bishop Fulton Sheen witnessed and covered up an act of clerical sexual abuse, sources close to the beatification told CNA.

Sheen was due to be beatified at a Mass in Peoria, Illinois Dec. 21. The Diocese of Peoria announced Dec. 3 that the beatification will be delayed, so that more time can be given to examine Sheen's life.

A source close to the beatification told CNA that the delay is not related a 2007 lawsuit which alleged that while an auxiliary bishop, Sheen walked in on an act of sexual abuse in a New York Church office, “called the victim a slut, told the priest to put his pants on, and did nothing to report the incident or comfort the victim. Bishop Sheen covered-up the crime.”

Sheen was an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of New York from 1951 to 1966.

The lawsuit was filed by now-laicized priest Robert Hoatson, who in 2007 was a priest in the Archdiocese of Newark. It catalogs a number of instances of clerical sexual abuse Hoatson claims to have witnessed or heard about. Hoatson said he had learned about a number of those instances of abuse through his ministry of pastoral counseling.

A Church official connected to the beatification told CNA that “the allegation from the U.S. lawsuit has been on the internet for ten years. Every thing said of Sheen's life has been examined during the process for beatification.”

In its Dec. 3 statement on the beatification delay, the Diocese of Peoria said that “it has been demonstrated definitively that [Sheen] was an examplary model of Christian conduct and a model of leadership in the Church. At no time has his life of virtue ever been called into question.”

The diocese said that on Dec. 2 “the Holy See decided to postpone the date of Beatification, at the request of a few members of the Bishops’ Conference who have asked for further consideration.”

“Bishop Jenky is deeply saddened by this decision,” the statement added.

“In particular, Bishop Jenky is even more concerned for the many faithful who are devoted to Sheen and who will be affected by this news.”

Jenky is “firmly convinced of the great holiness” of Sheen, and “remains confident that Sheen will be beatified.” The cause for Sheen’s beatification and canonization will continue and, the press release stated, there have been “many miracles” reported through Sheen’s intercession, including some as recently as the last three weeks.

The Peoria diocese stated that the delay was not the result of any allegations of abuse of a minor.

“In our current climate, it is important for the faithful to know there has never been, nor is there now, any allegation against Sheen involving the abuse of a minor,” the release added.

Hoatson's 2007 lawsuit also alleged that former cardinal Theodore McCarrick was “actively homosexual,” also naming Archbishop John Myers, Cardinal Edward Egan, and Bishop Howard Hubbard.

“These bishops have been compromised in their positions and status as employers by predators and pedophiles in ministry and motivated to retaliate against the plaintiff for exposing criminal acts, corruption, immorality, hypocrisy and criminal acts by predators and amongst bishops,” the suit claimed.

The lawsuit was initially filed federally, and dismissed, and the lawyer who filed it was sanctioned by the court, which suggested that the suit was seeking publicity and was “littered with wholly irrelevant, inflammatory, and embarrassing facts concerning defendants and non-defendants alike that have no bearing on the actions brought.”

The suit was subsequently filed in state court and then dismissed.

Hoatson told CNA Dec. 3 that at the request of the victim he would not comment on the allegation at this time, citing her desire for anonymity and confidentiality.

“The victim just wants to remain quiet about it, and has asked me not to say anything more,” he told CNA.

Hoatson was laicized in 2011 and now leads an organization called Road to Recovery, through which he has offered support to victims of clerical sexual abuse, and advocated for changes to Church teaching and discipline on clerical issues.
 

This story is developing and has been updated. It will continue to be updated as information becomes available.