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NEED TO KNOW:
Pope Francis will address the US Congress next week. Perhaps he'd also like to address the following:
The Catholic Church has allowed priests accused of sexually abusing children in the United States and Europe to relocate to poor parishes in South America, a yearlong GlobalPost investigation has found.
GlobalPost Senior Correspondent Will Carless and videographer Jimmy Chalk confronted five accused priests. One of them, who relocated to a poor parish in Peru, admitted on camera to molesting a 13-year-old boy while working in the Jackson, Mississippi diocese. Another is now under investigation in Brazil after allegations arose that he abused disadvantaged children living in an orphanage he founded there.
All five were able to continue working as priests, despite criminal investigations or cash payouts to alleged victims. All enjoyed the privilege, respect and unfettered access to young people that comes with being clergy members.
Pope Francis is popular among many non-Catholics for statements he's made about economic inequality, the need to confront climate change, his more liberal views on gay relationships, and for being hip enough to take a selfie. Pope Francis has also touted reform of the Vatican's safeguards against child abuse.
It seems the pope's words can be slow to translate to actions.
For advocates and attorneys who have studied abusive Catholic priests for decades, the flight of these fathers overseas represents just the latest chapter in a long story of deceit, collusion and church-sponsored impunity for child abusers.
“As developed countries find it tougher to keep predator priests on the job, bishops are increasingly moving them to the developing world where there’s less vigorous law enforcement, less independent media and a greater power differential between priests and parishioners,” said David Clohessy, national director and spokesman for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. “This is massive, and my suspicion is that it’s becoming more and more pronounced.”
WANT TO KNOW:
Thousands of refugees continue to walk, in whichever direction they can, in their quest to reach Germany. Germany says it will resettle hundreds of thousands of refugees, and is right now focused on how to employ all these people. The progressive policy, even if it's coupled with temporary border controls, exists in stark contrast to the policies of many of its neighbors to the southeast.
After Hungary closed its border on Tuesday night and began fast-tracking trials for arrested refugees, others have followed suit. Bulgaria, which is just north of Turkey, is sending troops to its border to confront refugees. While Croatia is allowing refugees to pass through on their way to northern Europe, its northern neighbor, Slovenia, has promised to tighten border security. Almost 6,000 people, mostly Syrians, have entered Croatia in the last day.
Stranded refugees at the Serbia-Hungary border clashed with police on Wednesday. Facing columns of police in riot gear on the Hungarian side of the border, some frustrated refugees threw stones and water bottles. The Hungarian police responded with water cannons and tear gas. If they had opened fire, for the refugees it might have been just like being home in Syria. Chaos erupted as Serbian police and ambulances rushed to the scene.
The European Parliament approved plans for the mandatory relocation of 120,000 refugees around the European Union. The plan will be discussed by EU ministers during a meeting next week.
While US President Barack Obama called for the immediate resettlement of 10,000 Syrian refugees in the United States, that number represents only a tiny fraction of the millions of Syrians needing homes. Compared to Europe, the United States is not under much pressure. But Americans are increasingly calling on their government to do more. In an editorial on Tuesday, The Detroit News called on the state of Michigan to lobby to have Syrians relocated to Detroit, a large city that was nearly abandoned after it went bankrupt in 2008 and is desperate to attract new residents.
STRANGE BUT TRUE:
The second Republican candidate debate was held Wednesday night in the United States. It was very strange. Some of it was true. It was mostly dominated by a group of people who were doing whatever they could do take down Donald Trump, who has somehow surged in the polls despite offending just about every group of people imaginable.
Trump, who suffered from the obvious effort to sideline him in this debate, tried everything he could to keep the cameras on him, including two very awkward attempts at high-fives — or perhaps they were handshakes, it was hard to tell. Every candidate did something weird last night. You can see a rundown here.
The conversation focused mostly on foreign policy, with a debate over the Iran deal taking up most of the time. Republicans in Congress unanimously oppose the deal. But enough Democrats are on board, so the deal is done. Jeb Bush, who sometimes seems like the most level-headed of them all, argued that the United States shouldn't tear up the Iran agreement; instead it should strengthen its ties with Israel. That woud create a “healthier deterrent effect than anything else I can think of,” he said. It begged the question, “How hard are you thinking?”
The war against the Islamic State came up, as did America's relationships with Russia and China. Check out this overview for all the details.