Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Regional Report

the Inland Register

(From the July 30, 2009 edition of the Inland Register)

Archdiocese of Portland

PORTLAND – A Spokane woman is one of four University of Portland students to land Fulbright grants this year.

Danielle Jolicoeur received a Fulbright grant for an English teaching assistant position in Germany.

The Fulbright program began in 1946 after World War II to “assist in the development of friendly, sympathetic and peaceful relations between the United States and other countries of the world” through the exchange of students, scholars and professionals. The program operates in more than 140 countries worldwide.

PORTLAND – A federal bankruptcy judge has ruled that the Archdiocese of Portland must release more than 1,000 pages of additional priest personnel files and sworn testimony by church officials, as requested by lawyers of sex abuse victims.

In a statement released July 13, the archdiocese objected to the decision by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Perris, saying the documents sought for release are not relevant.

The church has 30 days to appeal before the files are released.

Perris’s ruling lifts a protective order on the files of a handful of accused priests and depositions given by church officials, including testimony by Cardinal William Levada, the former Archbishop of Portland and now prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Judge Perris has overseen the archdiocese’s restructuring since Archbishop John Vlazny filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy five years ago.

“In some cases, no claim was ever brought against the individual whose file is now ruled public,” the archdiocese said of the document order. “For some of the files, an individual was accused of misconduct with no proof other than the accusation itself. Accusations without proof should not result in an employee’s files being made public.”

The court says the order does not suggest that the allegations of abuse have merit.

The archdiocese released about 400 documents in April 2007, and approximately 2,000 additional documents in April 2008. Documents were also released in November 2008 and January 2009 after a process of arbitration by Federal District Judge Michael Hogan. In December 2008, Hogan ordered the release of more files, too, a decision the archdiocese appealed.

Meanwhile, a small group of victims led by Portland attorney Erin Olson also asked Perris to make more documents public.

At a news conference in April 2007, Archbishop Vlazny said, “As part of the healing process and in the interest of transparency, we will also be releasing relevant and appropriate documents, after a process that seeks a fair and just result for all concerned.”

On July 13, the archdiocese said the documents released previously met the qualifications for “relevant and appropriate” documents but that removing the protective order on additional documents violates the criteria.

ST. BENEDICT – Mount Angel Abbey hosted a third annual Festival of the Arts and Wine last month, raising $110,000 for the abbey library. More than 500 guests attended.

The library contains more than 200,000 volumes of books and a large collection of ancient Liturgy of the Hours books.

— The Catholic Sentinel (Archdiocese of Portland)

Diocese of Boise

BOISE – The Boise Diocese’s Catholic Appeal has reached 82.7 percent of its goal for this year.

“We recognize that many people are really feeling the pinch of the economic downturn,” said Bishop Michael Driscoll. “We are not asking people to give more. We are asking more people to give.”

He said, “It’s important that people understand times are tough everywhere. The priests of the diocese and diocesan staff have frozen their salaries, and diocesan budgets have been reduced. At the same time, the need for assistance has gone up dramatically.”

As of late June, 38 of the diocese’s parishes have met or exceeded their goals. Another seven have reached at least 90 percent of their goals.

— Idaho Catholic Register (Diocese of Boise)

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