National Catholic Reporter editor-at-large Tom Roberts has witnessed a lot over his career: a Catholic Church still reacting to Vatican II, a dramatic demographic shift, and more recently, a sex abuse scandal that has revealed a growing inadequacy of the hierarchical culture.
Recent events in Kansas City have raised a new public furor about abuse by Catholic priests, but no one really knows how long the problem has been going on. According to the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, nearly 16,000 abuse victims have spoken out nationwide since 1950.
Kansas City, Mo. – A state court grand jury empanelled in Kansas City has indicted the Bishop and the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph on charges of failing to report child abuse. It is the first criminal indictment of a Catholic Bishop in the history of child abuse cases in the United States.
Harrisonville, Mo. – A lawsuit was filed today alleging the Catholic Kansas City- St. Joseph Diocese covered up purported sexual transgressions of a priest, but this time the allegations do not center on child abuse. In this case, the issue is a priest fathering a child by a married woman in a parish he served.
The man making the allegations against the priest is the husband of the woman who had the child.
Kansas City, MO – Earlier this summer, about 25 Cuban families gathered to honor Father Patrick Tobin, a Catholic Priest who helped them settle in Kansas City almost 50 years ago. As a board member of Catholic Relief Services, Tobin was given the job of helping refugees fleeing the Cuban Revolution. Tobin organized parishes in Kansas City to provide housing, jobs and basic services for the Cubans. Alex Smith spoke with Father Patrick Tobin as well as one of the Cubans who arrived in the early 60s, Maria Rovarosa.