See news updates for December 12, 2012 by scrolling down below
See news updates for December 12, 2012 by scrolling down below
December 5, 2012
Forbes magazine yesterday listed Benedict XVI as the 5th most powerful man on earth after Bill Gates of Microsoft as the 4th (Obama 1st, Germany’s Merkel 2nd, Russia’s Putin 3rd, Ben Bernake 6th , US chair of Federal Reserve, Abdullah, King of Saudi, 7th , Mario Draghi, President European Central Bank, 8th, Xi Jinping, Gen. Sec. Chinese Communist Party, 9th, David Cameron, Prime Minister of UK, 10th) Forbes measures everything in monetary value and so it must know something about the Vatican Bank which we don’t, because the secret Vatican Billions http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2011/03/vatican-billions-holy-mass-tourism-for.html is the only power Benedict XVI has left and is the wealthiest institution; but the reality is, Last Tsar Benedict and his Vatican Titanic are sinking in moral bankruptcy and drowning with the heavy weight of the John Paul II Millstone http://jp2m.blogspot.ca/. It’s been proven that NCAA & Penn State are more moral than Vatican. Sports is more moral than John Paul II, Benedict XVI and the Vatican combined, read about it here
But what has Benedict XVI eradicated?
While he sits in his gilded papal Throne and Papal Midas Touch - the secret Vatican Billions that’s richer than Microsoft … all Benedict XVI is trying to eradicate are GAYS and the use of condoms and contraceptives and abortion, and he is trying to eradicate a few vocal Irish priests and American nuns, and today he has eradicated an American Maryknoll priest, read links and news below. But Benedict XVI refused to eradicate those thousands of Catholic criminals of the JP2 Army- John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army http://jp2army.blogspot.ca/ and those criminal Cardinals and Bishops who covered-them-up like criminal Cardinal Bernard Law, and the most recent convicted criminal Opus Dei Bishop Finn, read here http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2011/11/bishop-finn-makes-devils-bowels-smell.html
We pray that the UN United Nations will soon remove the status of the Vatican as a “country” because it promotes injustice worldwide via its Vatican’s Sacrament of Confession. The Vatican has the most corrupt justice system in the world - because its Sacrament of Confession protects criminals and persecutes their victims. The VCC Vatican Catholic Church can no longer boast of its “faith martyrs” because priests in Confession persecute countless millions of innocent victims - of criminals they pardon – be they pedophiles, murderers, rapists, thieves, etc. Name all crimes and priests in the Sacrament of Confession seek neither justice nor compensation for victims – because in the holy “sanctity of the seal” of Confession, they happily pardon and set scot-free all criminals without asking their names and without asking them to compensate the suffering and pay the consequences their crimes have caused, read more here http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2012/11/sacrament-of-confession-protects.html
2) attacks American nuns, read here http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2012/04/vatican-attacks-american-nuns.html
I’ve read a couple of strange reports recently that lead me to an idea for how the Catholic Church might redeem itself.
The first came out of Rome. The Vatican is urging Catholic religious leaders to wear black cassocks when visiting Rome. A cassock is an ankle-length robe that buttons down the front.
“The very example of those who, sealed with the episcopal dignity are faithful to the daily use of the cassock proper to them during daily office hours becomes an explicit encouragement to all,” the Vatican said.
OK, that was one story: The pope apparently wants to class up the clergy in
The second report came from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting held recently in Baltimore. Well, actually, it wasn’t a report. What happened is Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City attended the meeting, participated in its legislation – and no one said a word about the fact that he was recently convicted of criminally endangering children by knowingly covering up evidence that one of his priests was molesting kids.
There are those who thought Finn’s fellow bishops might have noticed. There are even those who think that, once a bishop is convicted of a major crime, he might consider retiring.
What do these stories have in common? Each of them suggests a mindset within the church that clergy are not bound to the same rules of the road as are lesser folk.
Bill Donohue released the following comments today:
The Catholic Left has been trying to unseat Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Robert Finn for well over a year. Their effort received another boost today from the New York Times. It deserves a response.
The Times says that Finn’s conviction of a misdemeanor “stemmed from his failure to report the Rev. Shawn Ratigan to the authorities after hundreds of pornographic pictures that Father Ratigan had taken of young girls were discovered on his laptop in December 2010.”
That statement is factually wrong. On October 15, 2011 the Times mentioned there was “a single photo of a young girl, nude from the waist down,” and “hundreds of photographs of children” showing “upskirt images and images focused on the crotch.”
Now anyone who takes such pictures is clearly disturbed. But it also needs to be said that crotch shots are not pornographic. Moreover, the diocese described the “single photo” of a naked girl to a police officer who served on the diocesan sexual review board, and he said it did not constitute pornography. So why would the Times say that “hundreds of pornographic pictures” were found two years ago this month? The record shows that it was not until after the diocese called the cops in May 2011 that porn pictures were found on Ratigan’s computer.
Dec 4, 2012
"I know it when I see it," Justice Potter Stewart famously wrote in a 1964 pornography case. Evidently, Bill Donohue doesn't.
Bill's got his knickers in a twist because the New York Times has stated that Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn's criminal conviction “stemmed from his failure to report the Rev. Shawn Ratigan to the authorities after hundreds of pornographic pictures that Father Ratigan had taken of young girls were discovered on his laptop in December 2010.” Asserteth Donohue: "That statement is factually wrong."
He then goes on to argue, as he has before, that what was discovered on Ratigan's computer was not pornography. So what was Finn convicted of? He doesn't say.
Factually speaking, Ratigan did have child porn. Here's a passage from the Graves Report, commissioned by the diocese of K.C. itself, describing a series of the priest's photos as described by diocesan information systems manager Julie Creech:
The first showed a little girl, face visible, standing and holding a blanket. In a “staged sequence,” the photos depicted a girl lying in a bed, from the waist down, and focused on the crotch. The girl was wearing a diaper, but with each photo, the diaper was moved gradually to expose her genitals. By the last photo, her genitals were fully exposed. According to Ms. Creech, there were approximately six to eight pictures in this sequence of photos; two displayed fully exposed genitals and one displayed her fully exposed buttocks. The little girl’s face was not visible in the staged sequence, but due to her apparent physical size and the fact that the photos were in the same folder, Ms. Creech assumed the photos were of the same little girl whose face appeared in the initial picture.
December 5, 2012
Posted by Grant Gallicho
Last Friday, Mollie did a superb job cataloging Bill Donohue’s shortcomings both as a crusader against anti-Catholicism (which obviously includes using the occasion of World AIDS Day to call people with HIV promiscuous) and as a surrogate for the conservative movement (giving Dick Morris a run for his money). Her conclusion was pointed: “Seriously, your excellencies and eminences: what will it take to make you rethink the wisdom of encouraging Bill Donohue to act as your public interpreter?” Wish I knew. Donohue has said lots of offensive things on a variety of topics, but his record on one subject in particular ought to give Catholic bishops considerable pause before lending him support: the sexual-abuse scandal.
Over the weekend, the New York Times reported that the clergy of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph are divided on the question of whether their bishop should resign after being found guilty of one count of failing to report suspected child abuse. (A diocesan school principal warned the diocese about about Fr. Shawn Ratigan’s “inappropriate behavior with children” in May 2010; seven months later disturbing photos of little girls were found on Ratigan’s laptop; Finn didn’t restrict Ratigan until February 2011; and the police weren’t notified until May 2011.) The Times story is ugly: One priest goes on the record recommending the bishop step down. Another says his liberal colleagues are using Finn’s travails to push for a new, less conservative bishop. More than one hundred thousand people have signed an online petition urging Finn to step aside. The diocese has spent $1.4 million on legal fees. And the Times spoke with two priests who say that at a recent meeting of diocesan clergy Finn denied any wrongdoing. Yet he agreed to a set of stipulated facts that led a judge to render a guilty verdict. “I truly regret and am sorry for the hurt these events caused,” Finn told the judge at the time. And now he’s privately telling priests that he did nothing wrong?
Director Alex Gibney wants us to believe he has proven a “direct connection of the Vatican” to the homosexual scandal, though his effort fails miserably (the horror-film music is laughable).
As one review of the movie said, “All the reports of sex abuse in the church since the 1960s went directly to the current pope, Benedict XVI, to the time when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.” Wrong. There was no central command center until 2001 when Ratzinger took over. And that’s when things really began to change—just the opposite of what Gibney would have us believe.
National Catholic Reporter
by Michael Sean Winters | Dec. 3, 2012
Today is December 3. On September 6, Bishop Robert Finn was convicted in civil court of failing to report an instance of child sexual abuse. Not only is Finn now serving a suspended sentence, he is in violation of the Dallas Charter the bishops adopted ten years ago to confront the sex abuse crisis. Three months. Bishop Finn is still the Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph. The Vatican is said to want the American bishops to exert fraternal correction and get Finn to step down. The US bishops are said to be waiting for the Vatican to move. Enough already. Someone do something. As long as Bishop Finn remains in office, the entire body of bishops lacks any credibility on the issue of child sex abuse. All the ten years of effort, the repeated promises to never let this happen again, all the apologies, all the settlements, none of that matters. And, as long as the US hierarchy lacks credibility on this issue, a sizable proportion of the flock, somewhat understandably, declines to listen to them on anything else.
If you doubt it, check out this story from the Times.
The New York Times
By JOHN ELIGON and LAURIE GOODSTEIN
Published: December 2, 2012
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In the three months since Bishop Robert W. Finn became the first American prelate convicted for failing to report a pedophile priest, lay people and victims’ advocates have repeatedly called for his resignation.
Now, recent interviews and a private survey by a company working for the Roman Catholic diocese here show for the first time that a significant number of the bishop’s own priests have lost confidence in him.
Bishop Finn, who oversees the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, is serving two ears of court supervised probation after his conviction in September on a single misdemeanor count. The survey by Church Development, a consulting firm the diocese hired to run a capital campaign, was of 40 priests. In the 32 responses obtained by The New York Times, half of them seriously doubted whether the bishop should continue as their leader, and several suggested that he resign.
“I think it would be easier for us to move forward without Bishop Finn as our bishop,” the Rev. Michael Clary, the pastor at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Lee’s Summit, Mo., which is part of Bishop Finn’s diocese, said in an interview. He added, however, that the bishop’s resignation may not be the only way forward.
Such sentiments raise the question of whether Bishop Finn can successfully continue to oversee a diocese of nearly 87 parishes and more than 130,000 people, or whether he will go the way of Cardinal Bernard F. Law, who gave up his post in Boston a decade ago after an outcry over his practice of reassigning priests accused of abuse to new parishes. An online petition calling for Bishop Finn’s resignation has collected 110,000 signatures to date.
But the bishop also has a strong base of supporters who contend that the critical priests do not appreciate Bishop Finn’s doctrinally conservative approach. He belongs to Opus Dei, a conservative Roman Catholic organization.
“Yes, there is a divide in the presbyterate, but in my opinion it’s the same old tired divide that has existed from the day he arrived,” the Rev. Vince Rogers, the pastor at St. Andrew the Apostle in Gladstone, Mo., and a 20-year veteran of the diocese, wrote in an e-mail. “In a word, some of the priests wish that we had a more liberal bishop, and they are willing to use any means to achieve that end.”
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
Posted by Barbara Dorris on December 03, 2012
The New York Times reports that roughly half of the Kansas City diocese's priests have no confidence in Bishop Robert Finn. Sadly those sentiments, unless backed by action, won't change a thing.
Kansas City priests must find courage and take action if ever their diocese is to become safer and healthier. Privately expressing disapproval of a criminal behavior won't get the job done.
A decade ago, some 50+ Boston priests publicly rebuked Cardinal Bernard Law seeking his resignation. They won.
The church is a feudal hierarchy. Bishops hold virtually all of the power. Priests, like lay people, are essentially serfs, so they are understandably reluctant to challenge bishops, even one who is a proven lawbreaker. (Bishops have clearly retaliated against brave whistleblowers, basically shunning them and transferring them to small, remote parishes for decades.)
A child protection group says it still wants Bishop Robert Finn to go. SNAP weighed in on a report showing as many 16 of the 70 active priests in the Kansas City/St. Joseph Diocese have doubts as to whether Finn should continue to serve.
In September, he became the first sitting U.S. bishop convicted of failing to report a pedophile priest. SNAP has issued a call for all priests opposing Bishop Finn step forward, but it's spokesperson Barbara Dorris doesn't expect a big push.
"The feeling can be out there that if I say anything I'm going to end up in some God-forsaken perish out in the middle of nowhere, where no one will speak to me, but when it comes to the safety of kids, we have to make that sacrifice," says Dorris.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
FAIR: To the priests in the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese who were courageous enough in a private survey commissioned by the diocese itself to say they have lost confidence in their leader, Bishop Robert W. Finn. The survey of 40 priests was conducted by Church Development. The New York Times reported Monday that it had obtained 32 of the responses and that the priests in half of those expressed serious doubt about whether Bishop Finn should continue as their leader. Several of those priests suggested that he resign. The priests were identified by name and by the churches they lead.
By Adam Lee
November 26, 2012
Last month in Ireland, Savita Halappanavar died, and she shouldn't have. Savita was a 31-year-old married woman, four months pregnant, who went to the hospital with a miscarriage in progress that developed into a blood infection. She could easily have been saved if the already doomed fetus was aborted. Instead, her doctors did nothing, explaining that "this is a Catholic country," and left her to suffer in agony for days, only intervening once it was too late.
Savita's death is just the latest in a long line of tragedies directly attributable to the doctrines and beliefs of the Roman Catholic church. I acknowledge that there are many good, progressive Catholics, but the problem is that the church isn't a democracy, and those progressives have no voice or vote in its governance. The church is a petrified oligarchy, a dictatorship like the medieval monarchies it once existed alongside, and it's run by a small circle of conservative, rigidly ideological old men who make all the decisions and choose their own successors.
This means that, whatever individual Catholics may do, the resources of the church as an institution are bent toward opposing social progress and positive change all over the world. Every dollar you put into the church collection plate, every Sunday service you attend, every hour of time and effort you put into volunteering or working for church organizations, is inevitably a show of support for the institutional church and its abhorrent mission. When you have no voice, there's only one thing left to do: boycott. Stop supporting the church with your money and your time. For lifelong Catholics, it's a drastic step, but it's more than justified by the wealth of reasons showing that the church as an institution is beyond reform, and the only meaningful response is to part ways with it. Here are just a few of those reasons:
1. Throughout the world, Catholic bishops have engaged in a systematic, organized effort going back decades to cover up for priests who molest children, pressuring the victims to sign confidentiality agreements and quietly assigning the predators to new parishes where they could go on molesting. Tens of thousands of children have been raped and tortured as a result of this conspiracy of silence.
2. Strike one: " What did the pope know and when did he know it? " The current pope, when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was personally implicated in a case from the 1970s in which at least three sets of parents reported that a priest in his diocese had sexually abused their children. In response, Ratzinger assigned the priest to therapy, without notifying law enforcement, and washed his hands of the matter. That priest was back on duty in just a few short days and went on to molest more children.
3. Strike two: In 1981, again when the current pope was Cardinal Ratzinger, he got a letter from the diocese of Oakland asking him to defrock a priest who had acknowledged molesting two children. Ratzinger ignored this letter, and several followup letters, for four years. Finally, in 1985, he wrote back saying that more time was needed, and that they had to proceed very slowly to safeguard " the good of the Universal Church " in light of "the young age of the petitioner" -- by which he meant not the victimized children, but the pedophile priest. (By contrast, when a rogue archbishop ordained married men as priests, he was laicized six days later. )
4. Strike three: In 2001, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote a letter, De Delictis Gravioribus , to all Catholic bishops advising them how to handle accusations of sex crimes by priests. There was no recommendation to contact the police, but rather an instruction for them to report such cases only to the
The decision to revoke Mgr. Helmut Schueller’s title comes just as the Austrian rebel priest movement prepares for a big international event
This punishment, which is more symbolic that anything, is nevertheless the sign of a certain cooling towards the activity of Austria’s rebel priests, just as they prepare for a big international event in 2013, which is aimed at creating links between priests across the world who are becoming restless with the Vatican’s ultra-conservatism and are seeking deep reforms in the Catholic Church.
Yesterday, the Vatican announced it was stripping Helmut Schueller, former vicar general of the Archdiocese of Vienna who has led the Pfarrer Initiative for some years now, of title “monsignor”. The Pharrer Initiative is a movement of Austrian priests that is asking for ecclesiastical reforms in areas such as obligatory celibacy and the administration of communion to divorcees and same-sex couples. Scheuller remains a priest to all effects and purposes but is not longer the “Chaplain of His Holiness”, an honorary title he received when he was president of Caritas Austria.
The Diocese of Vienna informed Schueller about Rome’s decision, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn’s spokesman, Michael Prueller told the Austrian press. Schueller is the parish priest of St. Stephan in the village of Probstdorf near Vienna.
The news comes just days after Schueller’s interview with Austrian news agency APA, in which he announced an international meeting of movements that have sprung up across the world in recent years, either following in the footsteps of the Austrian rebel priests or presenting their own requests.
VATICAN CITY (AP) — An Austrian Roman Catholic dissident priest says the Vatican has stripped him of the right to use the title ‘‘monsignor’’ in an apparent act of censure for his campaign challenging church teachings that priests must be celibate and excluding woman from the priesthood.
The Rev. Helmut Schueller said Friday that he had been informed the title had been revoked, but that ‘‘the title for me was not so important. I can live with it.’’ He remains a priest.
The Vatican declined to comment.
Schueller earlier this month told the Austrian News Agency that he was working on making his Pfarrer-Initiative more international in 2013, with interest from Germany, Ireland, France, Australia and the United States.
29 November 2012
The Vatican has stripped a prominent Austrian priest who has spear-heading calls for church reform of his right to use the title monsignor.
Rome also said today that Helmut Schüller was no longer a "Chaplain of His Holiness", Reuters reported. However he remains a priest.
Fr Schüller, a former vicar-general to Vienna's archbishop, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, had been given the honorary title in his capacity as head of the
Austrian branch of the Catholic charity Caritas.
National Catholic Reporter
You may not be surprised to learn that it was only after Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, that the doctrinal congregation's title of "Sacred" was removed from its coat of arms. That grandiose term was really a misprint for "Scared," the word that captures its centuries-old dynamic of acting out of fear, or generalized ambition-anxiety, rather than out of the love that supposedly motivates the church's actions at all levels.
It is what they are scared of that they condemn, and it is those persons they condemn that give us a reading of what triggers their fearful reactions. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith may be the only organization that suffers from a pre-stress anxiety syndrome.
Its officials get all worked up about the possibility of something or someone who may expand scientific (Galileo) or theological (a list too long to print) knowledge, or about someone who may plea for a better understanding of the human condition, like Sr. Jeannine Gramick and her pastoral work with homosexuals.
National Catholic Reporter
Dominican Fr. Tom Doyle's questions include what knowledge the religious order had of the move by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and why it hasn't shared the official document from the papal office.
Bourgeois, widely known for his work calling attention to injustices in Latin America, had come under scrutiny for his support of women's ordination. The Vatican congregation dismissed him from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, of which he had been a member for 45 years, on Oct. 4, the order announced in a press release Nov. 19.
The dismissal drew criticism from a former head of the U.S. missionary order, who said in an interview it represented interference "with the integrity of the society."
The call to the priesthood is a gift from God. It is rooted in baptism and is called forth and affirmed by the community because it is authentic and evident in the person as a charism. Catholic women who have discerned a call to the priesthood and have had that call affirmed by the community should be ordained in the Roman Catholic church. Barring women from ordination to the priesthood is an injustice that cannot be allowed to stand.
The most egregious statement in the Nov. 19 press release announcing Roy Bourgeois' "excommunication, dismissal and laicization" is the assertion that Bourgeois' "disobedience" and "campaign against the teachings of the Catholic church" was "ignoring the sensitivities of the faithful." Nothing could be further from the truth. Bourgeois, attuned by a lifetime of listening to the marginalized, has heard the voice of the faithful and he has responded to that voice.
Bourgeois brings this issue to the real heart of the matter. He has said that no one can say who God can and cannot call to the priesthood, and to say that anatomy is somehow a barrier to God's ability to call one of God's own children forward places absurd limits on God's power. The majority of the faithful believe this.
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
In 24 years, we've never heard of a single church official - whether child molesting cleric or corrupt colleague - be excommunicated for committing or concealing heinous child sex crimes.
Yet more than two years ago, Pope Benedict promised he would "do everything possible" to address the crisis.
His words ring hollow. He has yet to take any significant, effective steps to better safeguard kids anywhere on the planet.
The Association of Catholic Priests
Statement of Support for Fr. Roy Bourgeois
The Association of Catholic Priests (Ireland) is saddened and disappointed by the dismissal of Maryknoll priest Fr. Roy Bourgeois from the priesthood and from his religious congregation, and his excommunication from the Church that he has served for almost half a century. We believe that this type of action, ordered by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and implemented by the Maryknoll Order, is unjust, and ultimately counter-productive. Dismissing people because they have sincerely held views that are contrary to those of the Vatican, but which are widely shared by the Catholic faithful, will not end discussion and debate on these topics. In fact it will only serve to highlight the urgent need to face the problems around ministry in the Church. Participants in a year long ‘listening process’ in the diocese of Killaloe, a mainly rural diocese in Ireland, expressed the opinion that the ordination of women should be openly discussed, particularly in view of the projected shortage of priests in the next few years. Surely this is yet another of many examples of the sensus fidelium calling for change so that, in future, the Eucharist can be available to the Church community.
National Catholic Reporter
by Dennis Coday | Dec. 7, 2012
The church reform group that represents about a quarter of Ireland’s Catholic priests issued a statement of support Friday for Roy Bourgeois, the U.S. Maryknoll priest that the Vatican laicization and dismissed from his order because of his support of women’s ordination.
The Association of Catholic Priests (Ireland) called on the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith “to cease this type of abuse, to restore Fr. Bourgeois to the full exercise of his ministry and to allow for open and honest discussion on issues that are of crucial importance for the future of the Church.”
“We believe that this type of action, ordered by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and implemented by the Maryknoll Order, is unjust, and ultimately counter-productive,” reads the statement from the association.
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY | Thu Nov 29, 2012
(Reuters) - The Vatican has cracked down on a prominent Austrian Roman Catholic priest who has been leading a disobedience campaign to openly challenge Roman Catholic teachings on celibacy and women priests.
The Vatican said on Thursday it had stripped Father Helmut Schueller of the right to use title monsignor and said he also was no longer a "Chaplain of His Holiness". Schueller remains a priest.
Schueller, a former deputy to Vienna's archbishop, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, had been given the honorary title in his capacity as head of the Austrian branch of the Catholic charity group Caritas.
Schueller is head of the group "Call to Disobedience", which has broad public backing in opinion polls and says it represents about 10 percent of the Austrian clergy.
Nearly 150,000 Austrians left the Church in 2011-2012, many in reaction to sexual abuse scandals.
By TOM MCILROY @TomMcIlroy
Dec. 7, 2012
MORE than seven months after it was established, Victoria’s parliamentary inquiry into child sexual abuse by members of religious organisations will hold its first regional hearings in Ballarat today.
Witnesses will tell the inquiry of the tragic legacy of abuse by Catholic priests and brothers in the Ballarat region as well instances of mishandled allegations which saw one priest offend against further victims in the United States.
Calls for an official inquiry grew too loud to be ignored after an internal Victoria Police report was leaked in April, linking as many as 40 suicides in Ballarat to abuse by Catholic clergy.
Witness Helen Watson will tell the inquiry that a Catholic priest who abused her son Peter in the early 1990s was moved around the Diocese of Ballarat before he abused children in the United States.
On Line Opinion
By Moira Clarke - posted Monday, 26 November 2012
It would be difficult, at this stage, for anyone to deny that the perpetuation and cover-ups of the sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults is entrenched and systemic in certain religious institutions within Australia. It would be equally difficult to deny that the Catholic Church, ostensibly one of Australia's leading 'charities', is disproportionately involved. Evidence for this has existed for years, but only now have our political leaders agreed to a Royal Commission, and only under the pressure of overwhelming public outrage.
Almost as recently, the Australian Parliament has passed a piece of legislation that has received much less fanfare. The Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission (ACNC) was established on 1st November of this year. Its purpose is to simplify and regulate the charities and not-for-profit sector at the national level. Since religious institutions fall under this umbrella they, too, are affected by this legislation.
At this point in time, a charity is defined at common law and largely based on the preamble to the Statute of Elizabeth, passed by the English Parliament in 1601. One of the first tasks of the ACNC will be to introduce a statutory definition of charity; however, the Australian Tax Office, being a de facto regulator of charities, has already delivered its definition in October of last year, and there is little likelihood that the ACNC will take a different approach or that this will change in subsequent reviews.
Victims of sexual abuse by the clergy and the Catholic Church hierarchy have gathered in Newcastle's cathedral complex to acknowledge a family's suffering after their son was raped by a priest.
Daniel Feenan, who was abused by a Hunter Valley priest, was there for the launch of his mother Pat's book, Holy Hell.
The book documents the Feenan family's rejection by fellow Catholics when they went to the police and how the priest was "tipped off" that he was under investigation.
Pat Feenan says she chose the cathedral complex for Thursday evening's launch for maximum impact.
"I thought this is an appropriate place to launch it it's the centre of the Catholic Church," she said.
Ms Feenan received a standing ovation from around 200 supporters.
Published Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012
Former students of the Montreal Institute for the Deaf say they want justice after alleged abuse at the hands of priests.
About 200 people gathered outside the former Institute for the Deaf at
In what could turn out to be one of the largest cases of sexual abuse against deaf children, 60 former students are now pursuing a class action lawsuit against the religious order, which includes 28 priests and six other employees.
Each victim is seeking $100,000 in damages for abuse they say dates back as far as the 1940s.
Religion News Service | By Alessandro Speciale Posted: 12/03/2012
VATICAN CITY (RNS) Bishops must exercise closer supervision over Catholic charities and ensure that their activities do not contradict church doctrine, according to new rules issued by Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday (Dec. 1).
The new guidelines state that charities with links to the church must "follow Catholic principles in their activity" and may not "accept commitments" that could undermine those principles in any way.
They also bar charities from accepting funding "from groups or institutions that pursue ends contrary to the church's teaching" or for initiatives that are "not in conformity with the Church's teaching."
Holding signs and childhood photos at a footpath news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will;
- Demand answers as to why the papal nuncio to
- Question whether or not it has to do with the current abuse inquiries, and
- Will urge anyone who may have seen or suspected clergy sex crimes in Canberra to come forward now to police and prosecutors
Friday, November 30 at 10:15 a.m.
Outside the Papal Nuncio’s consulate in Canberra, 2 Vancouver Street, Red Hill ACT 2603 (corner of Monaco Cres)
Three to four members of an international support group called SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priest) including an American woman who is the organisation’s president and founder.
A prominent Australian Archbishop has recently left
December 7, 2012
The Catholic Church has been described as having a medieval mindset at the Victorian inquiry into sexual abuse by religious and other organisations.
The first hearing of the inquiry outside Melbourne was held today in Ballarat.
Local Catholic Carmel Moloney told the committee she was part of a support group for victims and their family members.
She described the parents and siblings of victims as secondary victims who had their sacrifice, loving care and nurturing trashed by perpetrators of abuse, and victims have to be protected throughout their lives.
IrishCentral Staff Writer
It also showed that seven per cent of Irish Catholics do not even believe in God. 84 per cent believe priests should marry, while 80 per cent believe women should be priests.
The survey reveals ala carte Catholicism is very much in fashion in Ireland, with 78 per cent saying they do not follow church teaching but their own individual conscience on issues.
Meanwhile 45 per cent do not believe in hell and 18 per cent do not believe that God created man.
On some issues however they are traditional. 92 per cent believe in God, 82 per cent believe in heaven and 84 per cent believe Jesus was the son of God.
Patrick J. Wall
December 01, 201212:00AM
By Nicole Winfield
Sunday November 25, 2012
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI responded to criticism that the club of churchmen who will choose his successor is too Eurocentric, elevating six new cardinals from the United States, Colombia, India, Lebanon, Nigeria and the Philippines during a ceremony yesterday.
Benedict welcomed the prelates into the College of Cardinals during an hourlong ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica, telling them that their presence among the other red-robed prelates was a sign of the “unique, universal and all-inclusive identity” of the Catholic Church.
The ceremony was both joyful and emotional: Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle, seen by many to be a rising star in the church, visibly choked up as he knelt before Benedict to receive his three-pointed red hat, or biretta, and gold ring. He wiped tears from his eyes as he returned to his place.
Pope Crimes & Vatican Evils...
The Sacrament of Confession is the VCC Vatican (not Roman) Catholic Church justice system that’s totally contrary to The Hague, to our American justice system and to all democratic countries’ of the United Nations justice system. The Vatican’s Sacrament of Confession is a system of injustice -- because it deletes the sins of criminals and sets them free instantly and it does absolutely NOTHING for their victims. The Sacrament of Confession protects criminals and persecutes their victims...for centuries. The Sacrament of Confession -- neither seeks justice nor compensation for victims of -- criminals it pardons.
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne
Friday 23 November 2012
THE Catholic Church in Victoria supports the extension of the current requirements relating to Mandatory Reporting under the Children Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic) to ministers of religion and other religious personnel with an exemption for imformation received during the Sacrament of Confession.
In its submission to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Non Government Organisations, the Catholic Church in Victoria also supports the reporting of all allegations of serious crimes to the Police in a way that does not infringe the confidentiality and privacy of victims who have come forward on that basis, or does not infringe on the sanctity of the confessional.
You can listen to Father Shane Mackinlay, spokesperson for the Catholic Church in
National Catholic Reporter
Jesuit Fr. Bill Brennan, a 92-year-old Milwaukee-area priest, said the superior of his religious community told him of the restrictions Nov. 29, saying they came at the request of Archbishop Jerome Listecki.
Brennan, a retired parish priest and former missionary to Belize, participated in a liturgy Nov. 17 with Janice Sevre-Duszynska, a woman ordained in the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement.
Posted by David Clohessy38pc on December 03, 2012
Could there be a more shrewd way for child molesting clerics to avoid getting caught than this: legally changing their names?
The Catholic clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis is exploding in Australia. A few months back, a newspaper there noted the case of Fr. Peter Chalk.
In a story that seems ripped from Hollywood, Peter Murphy, a sex abuse victim, went into a meeting with senior church officials wearing a wire, with police listening in on their conversation. During the meeting, Fr. Brian Gallagher – the head of Chalk’s order, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart –revealed that at least eight allegations had been levied at Fr. Chalk. Yet somehow, Gallagher did not believe it was his responsibility to report Chalk to police.
Instead of being in jail where he belonged, Chalk was able to leave Australia. He moved to Japan where he changed his name and became a teacher, giving him numerous opportunities to abuse more kids. Instead of doing the right thing and reporting this predator to police, the MSC allowed him to escape justice and public scrutiny, and likely allowed him to hurt more kids.
Sadly, this is not unique. Right here in Missouri, two such cases leap to mind:
--In 1983, Fr. Carmine Sita was convicted of abusing a New Jersey boy. He was sentenced to five years on probation. Less than a year later, however, Catholic officials urged him to legally change his name – to Fr. Jerry Howard - and quietly sent him to Boonville MO, without warning parishioners. There, he sexually assaulted several boys from 1983-1988. (He’s in jail now, but may soon be freed if a judge deems that the statute of limitations on his crimes has run out).
--In 2003, Fr. James Beine was sentenced to 12 years behind bars for exposing himself to three elementary school students in 2000-2001. However, the decision was overturned on a technicality in 2005, at which point Fr. Beine was released from prison and began to call himself “Mar James.” Although he was defrocked in 2005 and had his teaching certificate revoked in Missouri in 2007, he was last known to be living in the Las Vegas area where he applied for a teaching license that same year. While that license was denied, Fr. Beine remains free from jail and using his assumed name.
National Catholic Reporter
by Thomas C. Fox | Nov. 27, 2012
The Asian bishops will make history in December as they meet for the first time in communist-controlled Vietnam. Some 100 prelates are expected to gather for a week of planning 50 miles east of Ho Chi Minh City, an event unimaginable even a few years back.
The Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences, as part of its gathering, will celebrate 40 years of innovative pastoral ministries among the local churches of Asia.
Unfortunately, for Asian Catholics and the wider universal church, this potentially rich meeting will go unreported. The FABC leadership has decided to lock out the media.
NEWS UPDATES DECEMBER 12, 2012
Sisters Maureen McDonnell and Lynn Lisbeth, both Sinsinawa Dominicans, have diverged too far from Catholic teaching, according to a confidential memo sent Nov. 27 to priests on behalf of Morlino. A copy of the memo was leaked to the State Journal.
Two other women connected to the interfaith center, called Wisdom's Well, also have been banned as part of the same action.
The memo says Morlino has "grave concerns" about the women's teachings, specifically that they "espouse certain views" flowing from such movements as "New Ageism" and "indifferentism." The latter, according to the memo, is "the belief that no one religion or philosophy is superior to another."
The women "may not share an authentic view of the Catholic Church's approach to interreligious dialogue," the memo said.
Brent King, a spokesman for the diocese, said three other potential parish guest speakers, all male, have been banned "in recent years." The women are not prohibited from attending Mass or, if Catholic, from receiving communion, King said. Asked whether they could contribute to parish life in other ways, such as reading Bible passages from the pulpit or chairing a church committee, King said that would be up to individual priests.
The action comes amid a papal crackdown on nuns. Earlier this year, the
Wisdom's Well was founded in
The center's website says it "serves to support those who desire to grow spiritually, seek inner wisdom, and yearn for a transformative spirituality." Its mission statement says the center is "grounded in the Christian tradition, while embracing the wisdom found in other religious traditions."
Along with the sisters, the third staff member is Beth O'Brien, a married mother of two and a religious layperson affiliated with the Benedictine community. She also is banned, as is Paula Hirschboeck, a philosophy professor at Edgewood College in Madison who helped found Wisdom's Well but is no longer on its staff.
The women declined comment, referring questions to the Dominicans of Sinsinawa Congregation, based in southwestern
The order's spokeswoman, Tricia Buxton, released a statement saying McDonnell and Lisbeth are "respected and valued members" of the order, and that both women "have been dedicated to religious life and preaching and teaching Gospel values for nearly 50 years." The Sinsinawa Dominicans "wholeheartedly support our sisters and hold them in prayer as we continue our mission of participating in the building of a holy and just church and society," the statement said.
Buxton said Sinsinawa Dominicans have never before faced a prohibition like this in the diocese. The order has 521 sisters.
Both McDonnell and Lisbeth are well-known in
At the time the memo went out, McDonnell was co-facilitating a series of weekly classes with 12 students at St. James Catholic Church in Madison titled, "Just Peace Initiative: The Challenge and Promise of Nonviolence for Our Time." The class has been moved, according to an organizer, who did not want the new site published.
The memo sent to priests says the four women "are not to be invited or allowed to preach, catechize, lead spiritual or prayer instructions or exercises, or to provide spiritual direction or guidance at churches, oratories or chapels within the Diocese of Madison." No publicity materials from Wisdom's Well are to be allowed inside parishes.
The memo does not give specific examples of things the women may have said that violate church teaching. Rather, the memo references problematic statements on the center's website, including that the sisters embrace "the wisdom found in other religious traditions."
King said it is both the diocese's duty and right to ensure parish speakers transmit true church teaching. "A proposed speaker's association with a group whose philosophy is inconsistent with the Catholic faith disqualifies a proposed speaker," he said.
The prohibition against the sisters came only after the diocese "patiently and prudently" investigated the matter, King said. The memo says the diocese "sought clarification" from the sisters, but "the responses from these individuals proved insufficient and inconclusive to resolve grave concerns."
National Catholic Reporter
[Statement Directing Pastors and Rectors to Prohibit Individuals Associated with Wisdom’s Well Interfaith Spirituality Center from Undertaking Activity at Parishes - Diocese of Madison]
by Joshua J. McElwee | Dec. 11, 2012
Madison, Wis., Bishop Robert Morlino has forbidden his diocese's parishes and schools from using materials from an area interfaith spirituality center and banned the center's staff members, including two Catholic sisters, from speaking at all diocesan events, according to a letter from the diocesan vicar general.
The blanket ban, first reported Tuesday by the Wisconsin State Journal, concerns Wisdom's Well Interfaith Spirituality Center, which provides workshops and overnight retreats for people seeking spiritual direction.
Msgr. James Bartylla, Madison's vicar general, states in a Nov. 27 letter to the diocese's priests that even the center's advertisements for centering prayer are no longer to be distributed on parish property. ...
The letter specifically names four women in the ban, including Dominican Srs. Maureen McDonnell and Lynn Lisbeth, both members of the Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation, which is headquartered in Sinsinawa, Mich., about 90 miles southwest of Madison.
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
Sadly, he’s also the only one.
Recently, two high ranking church officials – Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn and Philadelphia Msgr. William Lynn – have been found criminally guilty of refusing to report known or suspected child sex crimes to law enforcement.
But that’s the secular justice system, not the church hierarchy, imposing a penalty on wrongdoers. Despite their convictions, both men have retained their positions within the church. In the case of Bishop Finn, he has steadfastly refused to step down from his post, despite the calls from parishioners and priests within his own diocese to do so.
Dec 12, 2012
The trial and conviction of a leader of the Satmar Hasidim in
Then you've got the situation of a Southern Baptist pastor in Missouri indicted for abuse of a girl but still presiding over his congregation without so much as a proposal to remove him from his position. In a fine piece of reporting, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Tim Townsend uses the case to explore the challenges of addressing abuse when it comes to self-governing congregations that belong to umbrella denominations like the Southern Baptist Convention.
Meanwhile, out in