National Briefs - May 23, 2013

Women religious unite to end trafficking - Abortionist convicted of murder, manslaughter - Abuse allegations declined in 2012 - Cardinal will not attend commencement

Women religious unite to end trafficking
Congregations of women religious are uniting in a nationwide effort to limit the reach of human trafficking.


The effort will focus on broader education about sex and labor trafficking, legislative advocacy for stricter laws and penalties for traffickers and wider support for victims through much-needed social services and employment.

The collaborative campaign was formalized during a three-day meeting of representatives of a dozen congregations active in anti-trafficking programs in local communities and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in mid-April in Washington.


Abortionist convicted of murder, manslaughter
A Philadelphia jury May 13 found Dr. Kermit Gosnell guilty of murder in the deaths of three babies born alive during abortions and acquitted him of a fourth similar charge. He also was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death by a drug overdose of a patient who had an abortion.

A few weeks earlier in the six-week trial, after the prosecution had rested its case, Judge Jeffrey Minehart of the Common Pleas Court dismissed three other murder charges against Gosnell, 72, saying they lacked evidence.


Abuse allegations declined in 2012
The annual audit of diocesan compliance with the U.S. Catholic Church's "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" found a drop in the number of allegations, number of victims and number of offenders reported in 2012.

The Georgetown University-based Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, which gathered data for the report, found "the fewest allegations and victims reported since the data collection for the annual reports began in 2004."

Most allegations reported last year were from the 1970s and 1980s with many of the alleged offenders already deceased or removed from active ministry.

According to the audit, law enforcement found six credible cases among 34 allegations of abuse of minors in 2012. The credibility of 15 of the allegations was still under investigation.

Law enforcement officials found 12 allegations to be unfounded or unable to be proven, and one was a boundary violation.


Cardinal O'Malley

Cardinal will not attend commencement
Boston Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley will not attend Boston College's commencement this year because the college planned to honor the prime minister of Ireland, who has supported a bill to introduce legalized abortion in that country.

In a statement May 10, Cardinal O'Malley said he cannot support the Jesuit-run university when it confers an honorary degree on Prime Minister Enda Kenny at commencement ceremonies May 20 — an event traditionally attended by Boston's archbishop.

Cardinal O'Malley, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, referenced a 2004 declaration by the USCCB in his statement.

"Because the Gospel of life is the centerpiece of the church's social doctrine and because we consider abortion a crime against humanity, the Catholic bishops of the United States have asked that Catholic institutions not honor government officials or politicians who promote abortion with their laws and policies," Cardinal O'Malley said.

June 5, 2013