Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Separate but Not Equal Prom Held for Homosexual High School Girl in Mississippi

     A few weeks ago, I posted about Constance McMillan who's high school in Jackson, Mississippi, canceled everyone's prom so that she couldn't attend with her date, another girl.  After a US District Court judge ruled that this was an infringement of Ms. McMillan's First Amendment rights, another prom was arranged.  Last weekend, the prom, or I should say proms, took place.

     Constance McMillen did attend her school’s prom Friday night, although many of her classmates partied at an alternate event in Itawamba County.
     McMillen went to the Itawamba Agricultural High School prom at the Fulton Country Club, but she was one of the few to attend the event. McMillen said she arrived at the dance an hour-and-a-half after it began and stayed for about 30 minutes. She said she saw six other students and several school officials while she was there.
     Meanwhile, many more Itawamba AHS students went to an event held at the community center in Evergreen, another community in Itawamba County. McMillen said she knew about that event but that when she asked another student if she was invited, the student told her, “the prom is at the country club.”
     “I took that as no,” McMillen said. “If I wasn’t wanted there, I wasn’t going to go.”
     At a hearing on a preliminary injunction filed by the ACLU, Senior U.S. District Judge Glen H. Davidson ruled that the district had violated McMillen’s First Amendment rights but that it shouldn’t be forced to sponsor a prom since a group of parents had already agreed to hold an event that would be “open to all IAHS students.”
     Last Monday night, those parents announced they would no longer host that prom. On Tuesday afternoon, school district attorney Michele Floyd said a private prom would be held at the Fulton Country Club, although the exact sponsorship of that event remains a mystery.
     Kristy Bennett, legal director for the ACLU of Mississippi, said her organization was still gathering details about what happened Friday night to determine whether they would ask Davidson for sanctions.
     Thank you prom-canceling parents for taking your children back fifty-six years into the pre-Brown v. Board of Education Topeka era and teaching segregation.  You are true bigots and hypocrites and I hope you have your day in court. 

Pope Ratzinger Delayed Punishment of Pedophile Priests in Tucson for Years

     On Sunday, I posted a video telling of Tucson's sexually abusive Rev. Michael Teta and how then-Cardinal Ratzinger delayed formally removing him from ministry.  More details have been revealed in this case and another case involving another priest-pedophile in Tucson, Rev. Robert Trupia.  Then-Bishop Moreno of Tucson begged the Ratzinger to defrock the pedophile priests for years, before now-Pope Benedict took action against the pedophiles.

     The abuse cases of two priests in Arizona have cast further doubt on the Catholic church's insistence that Pope Benedict XVI played no role in shielding pedophiles before he became pope.  Documents reviewed by The Associated Press show that as a Vatican cardinal, the future pope took over the abuse case of the Rev. Michael Teta of Tucson, Ariz., then let it languish at the Vatican for years despite repeated pleas from the bishop for the man to be removed from the priesthood.   In another Tucson case, that of Msgr. Robert Trupia, the bishop wrote to then-Cardinal Ratzinger, who would become pope in 2005. Bishop Manuel Moreno called Trupia "a major risk factor to the children, adolescents and adults that he many have contact with." There is no indication in the case files that Ratzinger responded.
     The details of the two cases come as other allegations emerge that Benedict – as a Vatican cardinal – was part of a culture of cover-up and confidentiality.

     "There's no doubt that Ratzinger delayed the defrocking process of dangerous priests who were deemed 'satanic' by their own bishop," Lynne Cadigan, an attorney who represented two of Teta's victims, said Friday.

     It took 12 years from the time Ratzinger assumed control of the case in a signed letter until Teta was formally removed from ministry, a step only the Vatican can take. Teta was accused of engaging in abuse not long after his arrival to the Diocese of Tucson in 1978. Among the eventual allegations: that he molested two boys, ages 7 and 9, in the confessional as they prepared for their First Communion
     Teta was removed from ministry by the bishop, but because the church's most severe punishment – laicization – can only be handed down from Rome, he remained on the church payroll and was working with young people outside the church.
     In a signed letter dated June 8, 1992, Ratzinger advised Moreno he was taking control of the case, according to a copy provided to the AP from Cadigan, the victims' attorney. Five years later, no action had been taken.
     "This case has already gone on for seven years," Moreno wrote Ratzinger on April 28, 1997, adding, "I make this plea to you to assist me in every way you can to expedite this case."  It would be another seven years before Teta was laicized.
     Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said Teta was ordered defrocked in 1997. But Teta appealed, and the appeal remained on hold until the new regulations took effect in 2001.  "Starting in 2001, all the appeals that were pending were promptly taken up, and Teta's case was one of the first to be discussed," Lombardi said.   But this still took time, he said, because the documentation that had been presented was "especially voluminous." The sentence was upheld and in 2004 Teta was laicized.   The case of Trupia shows the fragmented nature of how Rome handled such allegations before 2001, when Ratzinger dictated that all abuse cases must go through his Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.  
     Before then, files were sent to varied Vatican departments, as they were in the case of Trupia. Moreno suspended Trupia in 1992, but again faced delays from the Vatican in having him formally removed from the church.  Documents show at least two Vatican offices – the Congregation for the Clergy and the Apostolic Signatura, the highest judicial authority of the Catholic Church – were involved in the case at least as early as 1995.   Moreno pleaded with the Congregation for the Clergy to do something, writing, "We have proofs of civil crimes against people who were under his priestly care" and warning Trupia could "be the source of greater scandal in the future."
     Ultimately, the case landed in Ratzinger's office.  On Feb. 10, 2003, a day after the Arizona Daily Star reported that Trupia was living in a condo near Baltimore, driving a leather-seated Mercedes-Benz with a rosary hanging from the rearview mirror, Moreno wrote to Ratzinger again.  Sick with prostate cancer and the beginning stages of Parkinson's disease, Moreno was approved for early retirement by Pope John Paul II.  Before he was replaced, the bishop wrote Ratzinger yet again. Moreno's replacement, Bishop Gerald Kicanas, sent similar requests to Ratzinger and his subordinates.
      "My experience – and as I've looked at the records in our serious cases – the Vatican actually was prodding, through the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and Cardinal Ratzinger, to try to get this case going," Kicanas said.  Finally, in August 2004, Trupia was laicized.
     "The tragedy is that the bishops have only two choices: Follow the Vatican's code of secrecy and delay, or leave the church," Cadigan, the victims' lawyer, said Friday. "It's unfortunate that their faith demands that they sacrifice children to follow the Vatican's directions."
     That is the tragedy.  It's the tragedy I faced

     The good news is that there is life outside of the abusive closets of the Catholic Church, a life of authenticity, morality, and living in peace.