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Bishop in chair
Catholic Diocese of Lansing

The Diocese of Lansing has announced plans to review its handling of allegations of child sexual abuse by Catholic clerics.

Bishop of Lansing Earl Boyea shared his plans on the website of the Lansing Diocese earlier this week.

In his statement, Bishop Boyea said the review will be conducted by an outside agency of lay professionals.

He said their report will be made public and will list the names of clerics who sexually abused minors in the Lansing Diocese.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Prosecutors and police say a Catholic priest’s ‘no contest’ pleas to sexual abuse charges this week will give his victims closure.

Father Robert Deland was scheduled to face the first of three trials this week. The charges related to incidents involving three young men, between the ages of 17 and 21. But before jury selection could begin, Deland entered 'no contest' pleas to six felony and one misdemeanor charge. 

Archbishop of Detroit Allen Vigneron
Courtesy of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit

 


The Trump administration’s policy of separating families at the border has generated criticism and condemnation.

The so-called "zero tolerance" policy resulted in the separation of 1,995 children from their families during the six-week period between April 16 and May 31. That number is now estimated to be well over 2,000 children. 

This weekend, current first lady Melania Trump as well as all living former first ladies — both Republican and Democrat — spoke out against the policy. 

Christian leaders across denominations have also publicly condemned the measure. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Diocese of Saginaw is bringing in a retiring Michigan Appeals Court judge to be part of the church’s internal investigations into sexual abuse allegations against several priests.

Michael Talbot announced earlier this year he is retiring as chief judge of Michigan’s Court of Appeals, after four decades on the bench.

Talbot also chaired the Detroit Archdiocese Board of Review, which dealt with Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse.

Bishop Joseph Cistone celebrating Mass at Holy Family Catholic Church in Saginaw.
Catholic Diocese of Saginaw / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Father Robert DeLand was the priest entrusted with recruiting and guiding young men thinking of becoming Catholic priests. He was also the pastor of a parish in the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw. Now, he stands accused of sexual assault and gross indecency based on the accusations of a 17-year-old high school student and a 21-year-old man.

Saginaw County Jail

A priest in the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw has been arrested for a second time on sexual assault charges.

Father Robert Deland was arrested for the first time on Feb. 25, and charged with sexual assault of two victims, a 21-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy.

Those charges included second degree criminal sexual conduct and gross indecency.

Deland was released with a GPS tether device, and was arrested again on April 5 on four additional charges.

Christian Cross
Waiting For The Word / Flickr CC /

A Catholic priest in the Marquette diocese is on administrative leave after a recent allegation of sexual misconduct.

The diocese says Father Frank M. Lenz has been removed from public ministry as a precautionary measure while the allegation is investigated. The diocese says the complaint was reported to the Marquette County Prosecutor’s office, which did not immediately return a request for comment.

A diocese press release calls the allegation a "credible complaint" alleging sexual misconduct by Lenz with a minor dating back to the 1970s. Lenz denies the allegation.

St. Agnes Parish in Freeland
Diocese of Saginaw

Saginaw County Prosecutor John McColgan Jr. assigned the investigation of sexual abuse involving officials in the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw to a special team that will work with Saginaw and Tittabawassee police and the Michigan State Police, as well as state and federal agencies. The move follows sexual assault charges against Rev. Robert DeLand, Jr. filed last month.

Ryan Basilio / Creative Commons

The Catholic Church's lobbying arm in Michigan says it has concerns with a bill that would retroactively lengthen the time limit for victims of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits.

the Solanus Center

70,000 people are expected to pack Ford Field Saturday.

Not for a football game, but for a Mass to celebrate the life of a Catholic priest who is one step away from sainthood.

Fr. Solanus Casey died 60 years ago, but he continues to be an inspiration to many.  During his lifetime, he developed a reputation of a simple man who inspired faith and healed the sick.    

Courtesy of the Archdiocese of Detroit

 

Pope Francis has elevated a Michigan priest another step closer to sainthood.

The pope announced that Father Solanus Casey, a member of the Capuchin Franciscan Order of St. Joseph in Detroit and one of the co-founders of the city’s Capuchin Soup Kitchen, has been elevated from Venerable to Blessed by the Roman Catholic Church.

Archbishop of Detroit Allen Vigneron
Courtesy of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit

The Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit is holding a meeting to determine its priorities for the coming years. It’s called a synod, and since the Archdiocese was established in 1833, there have been only ten. The last one was in the 1960s.

Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron joined Stateside to talk about this rare gathering. He said the impetus for the Synod came from no less than Pope Francis himself.

A brick church
User VanZandt / Flickr- http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Members of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit held a unique service on Friday called “Mass for Pardon.”

Leaders at the Archdiocese said it's important to ask forgiveness for sins the Catholic Church has committed as an institution. 

Former altar girl pens chapbook on clerical sexual abuse

May 10, 2016
Chapbook cover for "The Witness"
Kelly Fordon

Writer and poet Kelly Fordon grew up as a Catholic altar girl in the 1970s, and has published The Witness, a chapbook centered around sexual abuse by Catholic priests.

Chapbooks are used by poets to focus on a single theme or topic. 

Fordon never expected to write against the Catholic Church, but believes that people shouldn't be so quick to defend priests accused of abuse. Fordon joined Cynthia Canty on today's Stateside to discuss The Witness.

Oklahoma Dept of Corrections

James Francis Rapp, a former Roman Catholic priest, recently pleaded no contest to charges that he had sexual contact with students while he was a wrestling coach and a teacher at Lumen Christi High School in Jackson.
 

Rapp faces up to 20 years in prison. The trouble is, he’s already in prison.

Michigan Attorney General's office

A former Catholic priest has pleaded “no contest” to criminal sexual conduct charges in Michigan.

The charges stem back to the 1980’s when James Rapp worked at Lumen Christi High School in Jackson.

In 2013, two victims came forward with their allegations against Rapp, who was already serving time on similar charges in Oklahoma.

Eventually, more victims came forward.

Church pew with hymnal
Bala Sivakumar / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A priest is leaving a Battle Creek parish after some members of the southwestern Michigan diocese became angered to learn that he led a Minnesota archdiocese during a clergy sex abuse scandal.

Pastor John Fleckenstein wrote in a letter Thursday to members of St. Philip Catholic Church that Archbishop John Nienstedt decided to discontinue his work there "in light of the unintended discord that his presence was causing."

A brick church
User VanZandt / Flickr- http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A child sex abuse scandal from Minnesota has made its way to Michigan – and the Battle Creek community isn’t happy.

Archbishop John Nienstedt, the former leader of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, started working at St. Philip Catholic Church in Battle Creek last week.

Nienstedt volunteered to step in while the current priest undergoes treatment for epilepsy, according to the Diocese of Kalamazoo.

A brick church
User VanZandt / Flickr- http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The former archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is coming to Battle Creek.

John Nienstedt resigned from the Twin Cities archdiocese last summer, as county prosecutors alleged the church had failed to protect children from clergy sex abuse during his tenure.

St. Philip Roman Catholic Church’s newsletter says Nienstedt once worked as a pastor in Royal Oak and Detroit.

The Diocese of Kalamazoo issued this written statement:

ACLU Michigan

A woman involved in a controversial fight with a mid-Michigan hospital has given birth to a baby girl.

Jessica Mann suffers from a brain tumor. Her doctors advised her that she should undergo a tubal ligation after delivering her baby. 

Michigan Attorney General's office

A former priest, teacher and wrestling coach at a Michigan Catholic school has been charged with sexually assaulting several boys more than three decades ago.

State Attorney General Bill Schuette says 75-year-old James Rapp was arraigned Thursday in Jackson District Court on 13 counts of criminal sexual conduct.
Schuette says the investigation started in 2013, when two men came forward with allegations of past abuse.

Rapp was assigned to Jackson Lumen Christi High School at the time. He was told to leave in 1987, following allegations a student was molested.

Rapp was sentenced to prison in 1999 for sexually abusing teenage boys in Oklahoma.

He was jailed Thursday pending a June 26 preliminary examination. He’s being held on a $1 million bond.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing Bishop Earl Boyea is calling on Catholics in the mid-Michigan diocese to help the poor. Specifically, he wants them to focus on poor people living in Flint. 

Flint is part of the 10-county diocese. But Boyea feels too many Catholics ignore Flint and its needs.

Decades of economic decline and population flight has left Flint with a poverty rate well above the state average. 

Ann Arbor church pulls plug on concealed carry class

Apr 21, 2015
Christ the King Catholic Church in Ann Arbor Michigan
Dwight Burdette / Creative Commons

Christ the King Catholic Church in Ann Arbor has canceled the concealed pistol license class it was offering for parishioners. 

The decision comes after Lansing Catholic Bishop Earl Boyea issued a statement saying the classes were "inappropriate for church property."

National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak
Corey Seeman / Creative Commons

The National Shrine of the Little Flower Catholic church in Royal Oak will mark its designation as a minor basilica this week with a Mass of thanksgiving.

The Vatican granted the title last January, making the parish Michigan’s second to be named a minor basilica.

1968 was a very tense and pivotal year in Detroit's history. The city was putting itself back together again after the riots in July of '67.

That was the year 38-year-old priest Thomas Gumbleton became a Catholic bishop, and set about working to unite black and white parishes in the Detroit Archdiocese.

Today, after a lifetime of fighting for peace, justice and equality, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton is 85. And his life is now a film. American Prophet written, produced and directed by his parishioner Jasmine Rivera.

A brick church
User VanZandt / Flickr- http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Before you roll your eyes and grumble about what society is coming to, just hear these churches out for a second. 

"It was painful to hear that so many people weren't getting ashes until the evening," says Reverend June Marshall-Smith of Novi United Methodist.

She says growing up, she always got ashes in the morning, "to remind me all day how my faith is guiding me during the Lenten season."  

"[But now] churches had gone to only evening services and no longer morning services. So I was providing a morning service, but people who were not members of my congregation were not coming to that.

shrinechurch.com

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (AP) - The pope has elevated a historic church in suburban Detroit to the status of minor basilica.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit says that Pope Francis awarded the honor to the National Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak.

Hello Aerial / YouTube

The team at Hello Aerial, a drone cinematography group based out of Detroit, explored the images of Detroit's historical churches from a very different angle: the sky. 

The video, below, shows the Sweetest Heart of Mary Catholic Church and the St. Joseph's Catholic Church from the air. They even flew the drone inside the church to get a closer look at some historic detailing. 

Oklahoma Dept of Corrections

James Francis Rapp spent six years as a teacher and wrestling coach at Lumen Christi High School in Jackson during the 1980’s. 

It was during that time that prosecutors allege the former Catholic priest sexually assaulted several young boys. 

You may have seen a flash mob on YouTube, or even experienced the phenomenon in real life: A group of people converge on a public space, seemingly out of the blue, for a recreation of, say Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Or Verdi’s Requiem – it could be anything. Now in Detroit, a group of Catholics has created a variation on that. The Mass Mob is a crowd sourced effort to revive urban churches … which have a lot of empty pews these days.

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