Victims, accountability on agenda at pope’s sex abuse summit

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican on Tuesday released the first details of Pope Francis’ upcoming high-stakes sex abuse prevention summit, making clear that bishops attending the gathering must reach out to victims before they get to Rome and that accountability is very much on the agenda.

Organizers of the Feb. 21-24 summit warned participants in a letter that failure to address the scandal now threatens the very credibility of the Catholic Church around the world.

As a first step, they urged the estimated 130 presidents of national bishops’ conferences attending the summit to meet with survivors in their home countries “to learn firsthand the suffering that they have endured.”

Francis invited the church leaders to the meeting to develop a comprehensive response to what has become the gravest threat to his papacy, as the abuse and cover-up scandal erupted anew in the U.S., Chile and elsewhere this year.

Survivors have been dubious about what the meeting can accomplish, given the limited time, the varied experiences and needs of national churches and the fact that the problem has already been known for years.

“They’re just now getting around to this? Good Lord, where’ve you been?” marveled Barbara Dorris, a survivor of abuse who has been a longtime outspoken advocate for victims.

Noting that the U.S. scandal first emerged in 2001, she said: “It’s been 17 years. If you haven’t met with survivors in 17 years, I think that says a lot right there.”

In revealing the first details of the meeting, the Vatican said itt would focus on three main areas: responsibility, accountability and transparency. The reference to accountability suggests that church leaders will confront not only the crimes of priests who rape and molest minors, but the cover-up by their superiors as well.

Abuse victims and their advocates have long blasted the Vatican for failing to discipline and remove bishops who fail to protect their flocks, and until recently Francis appeared unwilling to significantly change course.

He appointed four key clerics to prepare the meeting: Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, a Francis-appointee and staunch supporter, Mumbai Cardinal Oswald Gracias, a member of the pope’s informal cabinet, as well as the Vatican’s leading abuse experts, Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna and the Rev. Hans Zollner.

Their letter to the global church hierarchy laid out the stakes.

“Absent a comprehensive and communal response, not only will we fail to bring healing to victim survivors, but the very credibility of the church to carry on the …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

      

Actress and director Penny Marshall dies at age 75

NEW YORK — Penny Marshall, who starred in “Laverne & Shirley” before becoming one of the top-grossing female directors in Hollywood, has died. She was 75.

Marshall’s publicist, Michelle Bega, said Marshall died in her Los Angeles home on Monday due to complications from diabetes. “Our family is heartbroken,” the Marshall family said in a statement.

Marshall starred as Laverne DeFazio, the Milwaukee brewery worker, alongside Cindy Williams in the hit ABC comedy “Laverne & Shirley.” The series, which aired from 1976 to 1983, was among the biggest hits of its era.

It also gave Marshall her start as a filmmaker. She directed several episodes of “Laverne & Shirley” before making her feature film directorial debut in “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” the 1986 comedy starring Whoopi Goldberg.

Her next film made Marshall the first woman to direct a film that grossed more than $100 million. Her 1988 hit comedy “Big,” starring Tom Hanks, was about a 12-year-old boy who wakes up in the body of a 30-year-old New York City man. The film earned Hanks an Oscar nomination.

Marshall reteamed with Hanks for “A League of Their Own,” the 1992 comedy about the women’s professional baseball league begun during World War II. That, too, crossed $100 million, making $107.5 million domestically.

A Bronx native, Marshall became a dedicated Los Angeles Lakers fan, and a courtside regular. Her brother Garry Marshall, who died in 2016, was also one of Hollywood’s top comedy directors. Penny Marshall was married to Michael Henry for two years in the 1960s and to the director Rob Reiner from 1971-1981. Their daughter Tracy Reiner is an actress; one of her first roles was a brief appearance in her mother’s “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”

Marshall is also survived by her older sister, Ronny, and three grandchildren.

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Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

      

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel Announces His Resignation

BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has resigned amid pressure on his government after the biggest party in his coalition quit over his support for the U.N. global compact on migration.

Michel told Belgian lawmakers Tuesday that “I am taking the decision to offer my resignation. I am now going to see the king” to inform him.

The lawmakers had been demanding that he submit his new minority government to a confidence vote, but Michel had so far refused and a confrontation seemed likely this week.

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Source:: Time – World