Santa Rosa Bishop Opts for Counseling

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — Bishop Daniel Walsh of Santa Rosa agreed to enter a counseling program in lieu of misdemeanor charges for failing to report a case of sexual abuse by a priest, the Associate Press reported.

The case came about in April, when Father Xavier Ochoa admitted to the bishop that he’d engaged in sexual misconduct with a 12-year-old boy. Bishop Walsh immediately suspended Father Ochoa. But clergy, like other professionals, are also required by law to report cases of child abuse.
A day after Father Ochoa’s admission, Bishop Walsh asked the diocese’s attorney to make a report, but it was a weekend. The lawyer asked his secretary to file the report on Monday morning, and a series of reporting errors ensued, including delay on the part of Child Protective Services. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department “officially” received a child-abuse report Wednesday, after Father Ochoa fled to Mexico.

Media reporting on the case suggested that Bishop Walsh willfully delayed filing the report long enough to allow the disgraced priest a chance to escape.

Participating in the counseling program will require the bishop to pay $350 and check in monthly with a case worker. He might be required to undergo therapy or participate in community service.

(Register staff)

New Jersey Conference Opposes Divorce Bill

TRENTON, N.J. — The New Jersey Catholic Conference opposes a bill in the state Legislature it says will facilitate divorces. The bill, S 1467, would establish new grounds for divorce — “irreconcilable differences which have caused the breakdown of the marriage for a period of six months and which make it appear that the marriage should be dissolved and that there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.”

The bill was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee Nov. 13. The next voting session in the Senate is Dec. 1.

“Six months is an insufficient period of time to conclude that a marriage should be dissolved,” said Patrick Brannigan, executive director of the New Jersey Catholic Conference. “The conference rejects the proposition that divorce is inevitable and therefore the Legislature should take action to permit two parties to begin to dissolve a marriage in a somewhat amicable fashion after a six-month period of differences.”


Film Guadalupe to Open in the United States

MEXICO CITY — A film on the miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe and its impact on Mexican life will be released Dec. 8 in the United States. The movie Guadalupe is being released in the context of celebrations for the 475th anniversary of the apparitions to St. Juan Diego at Tepeyac.

Director Santiago Parra, a native of Ecuador, filmed scenes of the movie in Europe and the Americas. The film was produced by the company Dos Corazones (Two Hearts). Parra said the film tries to capture the Guadalupan fervor of Mexico by a foreign director who is able to see profoundly what many Mexicans do not see. His team and cast members were advised by the Guadalupan Institute of Higher Studies.

The world premiere was to take place in 150 cinemas of Mexico on Nov. 30. The film’s official website is