Showing posts with label Hypocrisy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hypocrisy. Show all posts

Monday, August 27, 2012

Archbishop-Elect Salvatore Cordileone (Co-Creator of CA Proposition 8) Arrested for DUI

What a fascinating development!


When Father Peter Petroske was recently arrested in Michigan for a DUI, he was immediately suspended from his duties.  (He also happened to be driving naked.)  It will be interesting to see if +Cordileone is suspended from his duties and sent off to detox or whether bishops on the fast track to cardinal, who author anti-gay constitutional amendments, get a free pass.  

ABC reports that Archbishop-elect Cordileone was arrested at 12:30 AM Saturday morning in the College District of San Diego State University.  Why was a drunken +Cordileone cruising at that hour?  I doubt he was canvassing against gay rights.





Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Oregon Priest Arrested for Sexual Abuse After Pursuing His Victim Dressed Only in His Underwear

In recent years, I've heard Catholics say, "I believe in the Catholic Church.  I mean, we're all sinners."  "The bishops have taken care of the sexual abuse crisis."  "The pedophiles have been weeded out.  They were just old priests, who went to seminary decades ago."  "Why won't the media leave us alone?  Can't we just move on?"  

No, we can't just move on.  Sexual abuse by Catholic clerics continues.  

Perez was arraigned in Marion County Circuit Court on Tuesday, appearing via video from Marion County Jail, wearing a black V-neck top with his hands secured in front of his waist. He faced allegations of first-degree sexual abuse, abuse of a child in the display of sexually explicit conduct, furnishing alcohol to a minor and driving under the influence of intoxicants.
Father Perez was arrested after he chased a twelve-year-old boy down the street at midnight wearing only his underwear.  The priest had told the boy's parents that he was taking him on a trip to the mountains.  Instead, the priest took the boy to his rectory, got the boy drunk, waited for the boy to fall asleep and then assaulted him.  Thankfully, the boy was able to run away and find help.

Father Perez is not the product of some seminary past.  Like me, he was ordained in 2002, which as you might recall, was when sexual abuse and cover-up in the Catholic Church was on the front page of nearly every U.S. publication.  We baby priests were under a great deal of pressure.  We needed to be the new life, the new hope that the church needed.  We needed to provide people with the assurance that our generation would change the abusive culture that had been exposed.  We would make things right.  

In 2002, Father Perez was interviewed by The Oregonian.  He was praised for being the only priest ordained by the Diocese of Portland that year.  The following excerpts from that article show how Mount Angel Seminary formed Father Perez well.  He knew the right things to say in order to distract Catholics from smelling the predator in their midst: 

The sex scandals trouble him, but Perez says he is confident bishops are dealing with the problems. His new duties come first... "There are rules. There are so many rules," he said, walking back to the parish. "They taught us at the seminary -- we are not supposed to touch. I don't have any problems with that. I know my boundaries."
Rev. Angel Perez, in 2002 (via  The Oregonian

The 2002 article provides an accounting of Father Perez's Mass of Thanksgiving -- the grand Mass newly ordained priests celebrate in their parish.  Again, Father Perez said all the right things:


The new priest's hands were shaking. In the cavernous sanctuary of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Corvallis, hundreds of college-town Catholics waited to hear what the Rev. Angel Perez would say. In heavily accented but fluent English, he assured them he would be a priest for all, not just for the Latino parishioners. I will need your help, he said. "I said to them, my faith is very strong," he recalls. "That even though we have these problems in the church right now, these sex scandals, I really believe the Holy Spirit sustains us.  God is with us," he said, and stopped to look at his notes. Silence. In the pews, he heard one parishioner applaud. Then another, and another, until they all were clapping. For a moment, the anxiety that accompanies a new Catholic priest in 2002 went away.
Ten years later, that anxiety lives on in the communities of Woodburn and the victim's hometown, Salem.  

After losing the boy to a couple of good Samaritans, who took the boy to the police, Father Perez went to the boy's home at two in the morning and told his victim's parents, "I am just one who serves in the church, and I have sinned; don't stop believing in the church."

I won't stop believing in the Catholic Church.  I still believe that it is incapable of protecting its children from its priests.

The police report goes on to state that Father Angel Perez refused to leave his victim's home until "the mother forgave him and 'gave him her blessing.'"  

How Catholic of him: Go to confession.  Be forgiven. Go out and sin again.  I can only hope that no other parents have granted this same "blessing" to Father Angel in the past.

Rev. Angel Perez, Today.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Biblical Marriage & Traditional Christian Values

How can one argue with what's in the Babble?  

Come on, conservative Christians, let's stick up for "traditional" values and legislate these religious beliefs:
I came across this chart on Facebook.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Plural Marriage, Racism, Homophobia, and Armageddon for "Big Love"

     Tonight is the series finale of HBO's polygamist-family drama Big Love.

     Here's a clip in honor of Bill Henrickson and his "true" Mormons:


     Because the other "true" Church of Latter Day Saints knows about the sanctity of marriage:


      Some LDS claim plural marriage is an immutable pillar of their faith.  Others have spent millions of dollars on smear campaigns against same-sex couples in an attempt to prove the Mormon church believes marriage is, has been, and always will be, as their God commanded, between one man and one woman.  But they are hypocrites.  LDS teachings are mutable.   

     Or do they still believe the once-immutable teaching that African-Americans and other persons of color are the cursed descendants of Cain?  Polygamist Brigham Young did. Here's a Young quote from a Utah State University Secular Humanists, Atheists, and Free Thinkers article, entitled, "Why I Don’t Believe: Racism in Mormon History and Doctrine:"
     Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so. (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 10, page 110)
     Tonight, as I say goodbye to the Henricksons, I can only hope that someday the Mormon church will say goodbye to its homophobia as it did to its racism.
Image via Entertainment Weekly

     PS.  If gays were as dominant in football as African-Americans, would the LDS drop its teachings condemning homosexuals to improve BYU's chances of winning a national championship?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lawrence O'Donnell Blasts FOX's Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck for Their "Concerns" about Japan

     Here's Lawrence O'Donnell's reaction to Bill O'Reilly's claims that the news media is falsely "hyping" the tragedy in Japan, while O'Reilly's FOX compatriot Glenn Beck invokes Revelation, "these days," and the end of the world as we know it.  Beck's god "may or may not be" punishing Japan with the earthquake/tsunami and "may or may not be" coming to eradicate the human race.  O'Donnell blasts Beck's fear-driven eschatology and hate-based theology.  How refreshing to see reason over religion on the news!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Non-Believers Giving Aid -- Disaster Relief Fund for Japanese Earthquake; Glenn Beck Attributes Disaster to His god

     If you would like to contribute to a relief fund for those devastated by the Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster, but do not want to donate to a religious organization that might use this tragedy as an opportunity for proselytism, click here:  Non-Believers Giving Aid.   Why?  Because this is the only world and only life that we and those harmed in Japan have got.
     This is a link to the most overwhelming photos that reveal the level of total destruction that I have seen.  These folks need our help.

     Meanwhile, Glenn Beck continues to proudly display his ignorance and prejudice by attributing the tragedy to God and wielding fear to control and convert viewers to their versions of Christianity.  The Washington Post reports:
     Glenn Beck is already speculating on the disaster’s divine message:  “I’m not saying God is, you know, causing earthquakes,” the conservative pundit said on Monday’s show. But Beck added that he’s “not not saying that, either.” 
     “Whether you call it Gaia, or whether you call it Jesus, there’s a message being sent and that is, ‘Hey, you know that stuff we’re doing? Not really working out real well.’ Maybe we should stop doing some of it.”
     Beck later referenced the Ten Commandments, and sugested that following them is an antidote to global chaos.  “What do you say we start doing those things?” he asked. “Because the things we are doing really suck. And they’re not getting better.”
     I'm sure that Beck's god appreciates Beck's use of the work "suck" in his preaching.  

     As for the "I'm not saying but I'm not not saying double speak," Mr. Beck, I leave you with the words of your Jesus: "Let your 'Yes' mean 'Yes,' and your 'No' mean 'No.' Anything more is from the evil one." (The Sermon on the Mount, Mt 5:37).

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Wisconsin, Michigan, Washington, Public vs Private Sector, Salaries, Unions, Tax Cuts, Corporations, Greed, Religion, Hypocrisy, & the Republican Jesus Christ of the Upper Class: David Koch -- A Lament for Our Time

     Good Christian white rich men rejoice!  With heart and soul and voice!  If Calvin was right and the Prosperity Gospel is true, then you are on your way to heaven.  Only, you may not want to stay long as your Jesus will be hanging out with the poor people who's rights, benefits, and livelihoods you've crushed.  

     You say it's the middle class and public employees that are bankrupting America, especially those money-hoarding teachers, power-hungry nurses, and lazy road-construction workers.  You hypocrites!  You forget, that we are the poor souls are paying your salaries.


             So, why don't all of you Tea Party/Republican politicians put your money where your mouth is and lower your wages, benefits, and expense accounts to the average made by your fellow public workers?  In Wisconsin, you would drop to a salary of $50,774; in Michigan, $58,801; and in Washington, DC, $82,607 (which is only $457 more than DC's private sector workers.  Hmm.  I wonder if the immense cluster of elected public officials and their six-figure salaries have anything to do with DC leading the nation's average public-sector salary?).  Or better yet, you should all work for free.   When you each average nearly a million dollars in personal wealth, why should we be paying you?

             But the public money that the Scott Walkers and John Boeners of the world are being paid is peanuts compared to the billions their benevolent benefactors are making thanks to unprecedented tax cuts, courtesy of the political lobbying and campaign donations bought and paid for by multi-billionaire heir David Koch (Roman Catholic) and the like.  

             Mister Koch--Or shall we refer to you as "Master"?--you might want to catch up on the social ethics of your own precious Holy (Dysfunctional) Mother Church, who has supported the right of workers to join unions and collectively bargain, not to mention a just wages, universal healthcare, taxation of the rich, and service to the poor, alien, and ill.  Of course, Mother Church is still giving you and your Speaker Boehner communion, which makes her a hypocrite, as well.

             Oh, America, when did you become so ungrateful?  Oh, Middle Class, when did you become so ignorant, so easily duped?  When will you wake up and see that the problem is not that public workers are paid too much but that private workers, whose corporate overlords are stuffing their pockets via tax loopholes they've bought and secured with your votes, are paid too little!  You are fighting over the difference of a few thousand dollars, while the upper class of our nation, Wall Street thieves, and corporate hoarders are transferring wealth from the middle class to the upper 2% at unprecedented proportions.  The Forbes 400, the richest 400 individuals in the nation, have no amassed more wealth than a combined 155 million Americans.

             Yes, 0.0001% of the American public holds 50% of the nation's wealth.  Don't believe me, take it up with Forbes and simple math (although I had to get out my old scientific calculator to divide 400 by 310,964,000).  Trickle down economics--the warrior's cry of the Republican politicians of my youth--has shed it's grace on thee, upper 0.0001%.

             But still, the GOP wants to extend tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the poor and middle class.  This chart from the Center for American Progress says it all:

             If faced with such an immoral disparity, what would Jesus do?  

             Apparently, the Jesus of the United States of America would take back the loaves and fishes he'd given to the middle class of Wisconsin, shake the snow from his sandals, and walk across the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers to Wichita so he could hand-feed David Koch.
             I've heard the middle and lower classes despairing on Facebook and in the streets, "What can we do?"  "We're helpless."  "We don't have the money to influence politicians like the corporations and billionaires do."  Well still have the votes, although the upper class is working pretty hard to take those away from us too.  We have the numbers.  It's time to STRIKE!  If every public employee in this nation stopped working for one or two days, the nation would come to a standstill.  And even David Koch couldn't save the upper class then.


             Postscript: In my years as a Catholic school student, seminarian, and priest, I never once heard a private sector/Catholic school teacher or parish employee, who was making between twenty and forty thousand dollars while trying to feed a natural-family-planning family of four or five children, ever say, "You know, I'm making just the right amount of money for what I do."  So, let's not blame the state for being too generous to school teachers, when it's the private sector who refuses pay its workers a just wage.

        Hug a teacher!

        Wednesday, March 9, 2011

        Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia Suspends 21 Priests for Sexual Abuse, Is It 2002 Again?

             Here's the NPR report from Philadelphia  (My comments are interspersed.):
             The archbishop of Philadelphia has suspended 21 priests connected to allegations of child sex abuse, the latest in a series of actions by the archdiocese to deal with findings in a disturbing grand jury report released last month. The grand jury report accused a monsignor, three priests and a parochial schoolteacher of abusing kids or failing to prevent abuse by others. It also said that as many as 37 priests remained in active ministry with allegations or reports of inappropriate behavior or sexual abuse of minors...    
             I'm  relieved that these 21 abusive priests in Philadelphia have been removed from ministry and will not have access to children.  But it's been over nine years since this iteration of the sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church broke into national headlines from Boston.  What took Philadelphia so long to act?
        Cardinal Rigali, Serious about Pedophiles 
             Cardinal Justin Rigali said in a statement that he's sorry for the harm done to the victims of sexual abuse and is determined to work for a solution that deals effectively with the issue in the church.  Rigali added that he knows many people's trust in the church has been shaken, and that he prays that the efforts of the archdiocese to address these cases and re-evaluate how it handles such allegations will help rebuild that trust in truth and justice.
             It's been nine years since Boston and nearly 30 years since the media started widespread reporting of Catholic priests sexually abusing children in the early 1980s.  The church has had thirty years to, as Cardinal Rigali stated, "work for a solution that deals effectively with the issue in the church."  They have failed miserably.

             The Dallas Charter, which the US Catholic Conference of Bishops promulgated in June 2002, was touted as to be the church's greatest response to prevent sexual abuse, remove abusive clerics from ministry, and prove to the nation that they were trustworthy.  Since its implementation, this charter has been consistently ignored and violated by bishops throughout the nation.

             So today, when a story breaks that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has suspended 21 more priests due to allegations of child sexual abuse while leaving "as many as 37 priests with allegations" in active ministry, why anyone, Catholics included, would believe that the church is effectively protecting its children is beyond me.  

           Here's a bit more more the NPR article:
             The archdiocese's move is a "long overdue and welcomed step," says David Clohessy, the executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. But "it's only a very partial first step. It would be incredibly naive for anybody to think that a mere suspension of these men somehow signifies a new day in the archdiocese," Clohessy says. "Anytime a credibly accused child molester is publicly identified or suspended, kids are safer. However, it's crucial to remember that the grand jury found widespread fault and deceit and recklessness by church officials."
              But Patrick Wall, a former Roman Catholic priest who is now a canon lawyer in California, says the grand jury report and the moves by the archdiocese mark a historic moment. "This report takes it to another level because they go after the vicar for clergy — that person who has the authority of the Archbishop Justin Rigali to handle priest affairs and priest assignments, and that person now is being called to justice," says Wall, who has worked on priest sex abuse cases across the country.  He says the situation in Philadelphia could have ripple effects on litigation nationwide. "It really does change the face of things, because not only can we look to the bishop or the religious superior, but now we can specifically look at how different lower, midlevel managers could be charged with child endangerment," Wall says.
             We can only hope that some of the "princes of the Church" will finally face the criminal charges they deserve.

        Monday, February 28, 2011

        Anti-Gay Christian Fundamentalist Rev. Grant Storms Arrested for Masturbating in Public Park while Watching Children

             Hypocrisy alert: Rev. Grant Storms, another outspoken, hate-spewing, anti-gay Christian cleric, goes down in a sex scandal involving children.  

             The Rev. Grant Storms, a Christian fundamentalist best known for his bullhorn protests of the Southern Decadence festival in the French Quarter, was arrested for allegedly masturbating at a Metairie park Friday afternoon...Storms told deputies that he was merely having lunch at Lafreniere Park, 3000 Downs Blvd., in his van when he decided to relieve himself using a bottle instead of using the restroom, an incident report said.
             But two witnesses said they saw Storms through the open windows of his van masturbating himself while watching children on the playground, the report said.
             Armed with bullhorns, Bibles and picket signs, Storms and a group of followers in 2003 protested against Southern Decadence, the gay three-day festival held over Labor Day weekend in the French Quarter. Storms' efforts prompted the New Orleans City Council to ban megaphones and other amplification devices.
             And we gays are the ones they're calling pedophiles.

        Rev. Storms, Masturbator,
        and Possible Pedophile

        Friday, February 25, 2011

        The Taliban and the Tea Bagger, Part MMMDCCLXIII: Loving Christian Republicans Laugh at Town Hall Question, "Who Is Going to Shoot President Obama?"

             Here's a follow-up to yesterday's post.

             Salon reports:
             Here's the latest evidence that nothing has changed in post-Tucson America: A person at a Tuesday town hall with Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga. [Baptist], got up and asked, "Who is going to shoot President Obama?" 
             The exact wording of the question is not clear because, the Athens Banner-Herald reports, there was a lot of noise at the event. Perhaps more significant than the question was the response of the crowd and Broun, who is a member of the Tea Party Caucus and one of the most right-wing members of Congress. 
             The question prompted a "big laugh" from the crowd, in Oglethorpe County, Ga., according to the Banner-Herald. Broun, for his part, did not object to the question.  [Click here for the rest.]

             So much for any post-Tuscon civility.   On average, 34 Americans die from guns every day.  If you are looking for gun laws to change and a way to help bring down the statistics, check out Mayors Against Illegal Guns.  They are a bi-partisan coalition trying to do something about this gun-inflicted terror raging within our nation.

             As for the anti-union, anti-healthcare reform, anti-government GOP myth, how quickly they have forgotten their party's history.  Look at what a little bit of history reveals about Presidents Reagan, Eisenhower and Nixon (from the San Francisco Chronicle's article about the California Assembly recognizing President Reagan a few weeks ago):
             "Eisenhower supported unions, and Nixon advanced health care reform that was more ambitious than what President Clinton proposed and certainly more than what President Obama got," he said. "President Reagan was a member of a union. He was the first president to allow a black couple to spend an evening at the White House. And he even imposed taxes when he was the governor of California. He created the welfare program in California, and he did it not only as a Republican but as a patriot. It's important to recognize his contributions."
              The speeches prompted one Democratic staffer at the back of the chamber to quip, "Who's this left-wing nut job they're talking about?"
             The answer: someone they would threaten to shoot, were he president today.

        Thursday, February 24, 2011

        "Highlights" for Adults: the Tea Partier and the Taliban

             Here's a simple exercise reminiscent of the ones I completed in Highlights as a child, but this one is for adults.  What happens when a tea partier and a Taliban run into each other?

             Via BuzzFeed:

        Sunday, February 13, 2011

        Adults Are Also Victims of Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church

             A recent Religion Dispatches' article, "Sex Abuse in the Catholic Church: When Adults Are Victims," tells a story that I know all too well from my own experience of being sexually assaulted, exploited, and abused by my priest while I was in college.  The article tells the story of Katia Birge, who at 25 was raped by a charismatic lay minister in her Denver parish only to be bullied by church officials when she came forward and sued.  (Click here to read the full account, which because of it's length I will not repost.)

             This particular quote from the article sums up what I learned in therapy after seeing my case covered-up:
             To Jeb Barrett, Denver Director of the Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a peer counseling group that Birge turned to after the attack, her story follows classic lines of abuse of authority. “There are many cases where very charismatic men develop very close and controlling relationships with the people given to them for pastoral care. There’s a kind of intimacy that’s of a different level than the grooming of a child. You groom a child with favors and candy and strokes and get their trust. With an adult, it’s different.”
             Adult victims could comprise up to 25% of all clergy abuse cases, estimates David Clohessy, National Director of SNAP, but often face considerable skepticism about their stories. “In the eyes of the law, victims like Birge are adults. But that doesn’t mean that emotionally, psychologically, in the presence of a trusted, powerful, charismatic clergy person, that in fact they can function like adults.” Considering the abundant ethical and legal prohibitions against doctors or therapists having even consensual sex with patients, in recognition of coercive power imbalances in play, Clohessy notes, “none of us have been raised from birth to think that a therapist is God’s representative or that a doctor can get me into heaven.”  [Another estimate is that over 95% of the victims of sexual exploitation by clergy are adult women.]
             In my case, I was completely groomed by my perpetrator.  Like Ms. Birge, who's perpetrator (Hernadez) called her a "whore" and told her that no man would want to be with her, after he'd just raped her, I was told by my confessor/priest/perpetrator that I was "seductive," "manipulative," and "sinful."   Because he was "God's representative," I believed him.  I believed that I was was the depraved sinner who had corrupted a holy priest.  This dynamic gave him more power over me by increasing my dependency upon him for his spiritual insights and sacramental graces, including forgiveness.  After I escaped his grasp, it took years of therapy and the recognition that my perpetrator was continuing to groom other barely-legal students--who my friends at the time referred to as "the new Tom"--for me to find the strength to come forward.

             Here are a few more paragraphs from Ms. Birge's case that ring true to my experience of coming forward:
             To victims’ advocates, this level of intimidation, and the attempt to recast Hernandez as an insignificant volunteer, is par for the course across the country, and especially in Denver, where Church lawyers have used increasingly aggressive, victim-blaming tactics as part of a brutal Church defense industry, composed of attorneys, insurers and the bishops who hire them. 
              “That’s been our experience here,” says Jeb Barrett, “that people who have gone to the Archdiocese have found their families scrutinized and questioned. It’s revictimizing, and it discourages other victims from coming forward.”
             I was told by the powers-that-be to be extremely careful with whom I spoke about my accusations and that reputations were at stake.  They asked "Why would you want to hurt your parishioners by scandalizing them with this?"  Those in power refused to speak to my parents and to respond to my sister's emails, even though my family was reeling in the face of the abuse and in need of pastoral care.  My counselor's advice and prescriptions were summarily dismissed, for she was a woman, and a lay woman, at that.  (This wasn't 1950.  It was 2004.)
             If anything, adds David Clohessy, “I think Church officials are even more reckless and callous when a predator exploits adults.”
              This is very true.  A priest exploiting an adult is almost a relief to some bishops: "Well, it's not like he raped an altar boy."  But the psychological/spiritual damage to the victimized adult is horrendous.  Like Ms. Birge, I also suffered depression and panic attacks.  After church officials covered things up, I became suicidal.  While I left the priesthood, my job, my community, and the church, losing everything I knew, my perpetrator was given a promotion to be in charge of "Catholic Identity" for the diocesan schools and remained in his campus ministry position, where he continued to have an ongoing supply of handsome, naive, and malleable young men fresh out of high school; gay boys like me, who were closeted, feeling rejected by the church's anti-gay teachings, in need of acceptance and love by God and his ministers, and ripe for exploitation by a known predator allowed to remain in power.

             Thank you Ms. Birge for coming forward.  May your witness inspire other adult victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests to speak out.  The scandal doesn't end at the age of consent.


        If you or anyone you know has been abused by clergy, here are some resources:

        Another (Conservative) Priest from My Alma Mater Goes Down

             Another priest, with whom I was in seminary, has been removed from ministry because of scandal.  And, I'm not surprised.  After seeing a classmate removed for having sexually abused minors decades ago, hearing about one of the most conservative fellows going down in an assault/adultery case, and seeing another one die after drinking himself to death, nothing surprises me anymore.  I'm just thankful that I got out when I did.

             Delaware Online reports:
             A Roman Catholic pastor of two city parishes -- including one that counted Vice President Joe Biden as a past congregant -- is being accused of embezzling more than $350,000 from the parishes.  
             The Rev. Cornelius J. Breslin, 59, who had been pastor of the parishes of St. Patrick and St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception until Wednesday, turned himself in at the New Castle County Courthouse and entered pleas of not guilty to the charges.  Breslin faces two felony charges of theft over $100,000 -- one for each parish -- and two misdemeanor charges of falsifying business records.  If convicted on all charges, he faces up to 32 years in prison, but likely would face far less -- including a sentence of probation -- given his lack of a criminal record and state sentencing guidelines.
             Adding insult to injury:
             St. Mary's, meanwhile, is one of the 28 parishes in the diocese facing a priest sex-abuse lawsuit. The plaintiff in the case is an anonymous "Jane Coe" who charges she was molested as a 13-year-old by the Rev. Edward Carley, who has since died.
             But the "good" news is:
             Krebs said Wednesday that he did not believe the alleged thefts by Breslin would have any effect on the diocese's bankruptcy proceedings -- because they involved parishes, not the diocese -- or the ongoing efforts by diocesan officials to reach a "global settlement" to resolve all outstanding priest-abuse lawsuits against both the diocese and its parishes. 

        Tuesday, January 25, 2011

        Hypocrisy Today: Iowa's Republican House Goes after Same-Sex Marriages AND Anything Resembling a Domestic Partnership

             When the Religious Right and their anti-gay Republican (and sometimes Democrat) allies repeatedly claim that they're not against same-sex couples having equal civil rights as long as it's not called "marriage," they are lying.

             A proposed amendment to the Iowa Constitution in the newly-elected Republican-controlled Iowa House is proof.

             The Des Moines Register reports:
             The Iowa House Judiciary Committee approved a proposal Monday to amend the Iowa Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriages.
             The vote was 13-8, with Rep. Kurt Swaim, a Bloomfield lawyer, the only Democrat to join Republicans in supporting it. The resolution is now eligible for debate by the full House
             The amendment would not only prohibit same-sex marriages but also would deny state recognition to arrangements such as civil unions and domestic partnerships.
             The resolution reads, "Marriage between one man and one woman shall be the only legal union valid or recognized in this state."
              Once again, it's okay to lie and hit people with your god-stick, as long as Jesus is on your side.

        Friday, January 21, 2011

        Catholic Church Unveils 12-Step Program for Homosexual Addiction and So Much More

             It was really only a matter of time.  When I was a priest/seminarian, I was formed to believe that my (homo)sexuality was an addiction and prescribed so many "more natural" ways to "deal with" my "depraved" nature that was a "gift" from a loving god.

             The Catholic Diocese in Colorado Springs has adopted a 12-step program that offers "support" for homosexuals.  Despite striking similarities to Alcoholics Anonymous's 12-step program for recovering addicts, proponents claim that the program is less about therapy than it is about support for people experiencing homosexual thoughts that they consider "a burden."
             Sure it is.  And it has nothing to do with a closeted clergy projecting their own crap onto the rest of the world.

             Here are the actual Twelve Steps as reported in The Huffington Post via The Gazette (and my comments):

              1. We admitted that we were powerless over homosexuality and our lives had become unmanageable.

             When I was parked at the edge of a frozen river with the plan of driving on the ice until it broke and I died, I admitted that I was powerless against Catholicism.

             2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

             So, I guess, those of us who are out of the closet are obviously insane.  

             3.  We made a decision to turn our will and our lives to the care of God as we understood Him.

            Clarification: as Holy Disfunctional Mother church taught us to understand "Him" [sic].

             4.  We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

             As a gay Catholic, my greatest was going to hell because god made me gay.  

             5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

             Exact nature?  According to Catholic teachings, their god makes people gay.  How can one's exact god-given nature be wrong?  Unless your god's a vindictive ass hole.

             6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of our character.


             7. We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

             Pray away the gay.  And you'll soon discover that nothing fails like prayer.

             8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make direct amends to them all.

             Someone, who claims to have been injured by someone else's homosexuality, is the person who needs to be making amends for their bigotry.

             9. We made the direct amends to such people whenever possible except when to do so would injure them or others.

             I'm still waiting for Father Mustache and those who covered his tracks to apologize.  But maybe their apology would hurt me too much.

             10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

             Yes, just as Pope Benedict XVI, the Slapping Pope, has promptly admitted his wrongdoings in the sexual abuse scandals.

             11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for the knowledge of God's Will for us and the power to carry it out.

             "Conscious contact"?  I guess that is in opposition to the unconscious contact that being gay implies.  

             12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

             So I guess that makes Rev. Larry Brennan, diocesan director of priest formation, who defended this program to the paper a liar, for The Gazette quoted him: “It’s not about therapy and not about activism.”  Yes, and the Catholic money, DVDs, and pamphlets that support the suppression of gay rights is totally not about activism either.

             And for those of you who just can't stop harping about the penile focus of the Catholic Church , don't worry.  The Gazette reports:
             A 12-step program for lesbians may also be created if there is demand for it, Brennan said.
            Fight on, my feminist lesbian sisters! 

        Russian Orthodox Archpriest Calls for National Dress Code

             When absurdity rules...

              A top official of the increasingly powerful Russian Orthodox Church has triggered a storm of outrage by calling for a "national dress code" that would force women to dress modestly in public and require businesses to throw out "indecently" clad customers.
             Women, said Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, can't be trusted to clothe themselves properly.
             "It is wrong to think that women should decide themselves what they can wear in public places or at work," he said Tuesday. "If a woman dresses like a prostitute, her colleagues must have the right to tell her that."
             "Moreover," Archpriest Chaplin added, "if a woman dresses and acts indecently, this is a direct route to unhappiness, one-night stands, brief marriages followed by rat-like divorces, ruined lives of children, and madness."
             One could substitute any number of things for "if a woman dresses and acts indecently" in that statement and it would make more sense from what we've seen repeated throughout history.  For example, try the sentence substituting "a political career" or "celibacy" or "a nasty goatee" or "religious power" or "Christianity."  The list could go on and on.

             "Archpriest Chaplin's comments sound absurd," says Irina Shcherbakova, head of youth programs for Memorial, Russia's largest human rights organization. "Instead of dealing with real social issues – such as the rise of ethnic hatred – and teaching tolerance, they busy themselves with this nonsense. Most women will ignore this but, especially since Islamic religious authorities are in support, it does threaten a serious attack on women's rights."
             Chaplin's remarks have not generated the groundswell of public fury that would erupt in a Western country, but that doesn't mean it's likely to gain much public traction either, says Masha Lipman, editor of the Moscow Carnegie Center's Pro et Contra journal.
             "The average Russian woman will just shrug this off and regard it as having nothing to do with her life," she says. "In post-Soviet times the church has enjoyed much more success at winning concessions from the state than it has in winning souls.... Polls show that the majority of Russians respect the church as a traditional institution but not as a moral authority over their lives."
             Though Russians have for centuries been told what to do and how to behave by clerical and state authorities, Ms. Lipman argues that those days are past.
             "One big difference between today's Russia and the USSR is that, though the state is politically authoritarian, it no longer attempts to interfere in peoples' private lives," and it's not likely to empower the church to do so either, she says.
             If only the United States, the greatest nation on earth, where all are supposedly created equal, could practice such separation of church and state. 

        Pope Benedict XVI Blasts Italian Premier for Having Sex with 17-Year-Old Prostitute

             You've got to read this hypocrisy to believe it.  Or you could just have faith in the Pharisaism of the Unholy Father.

             Premier Silvio Berlusconi came under mounting criticism Friday from the Catholic Church over his dalliances with young women, with the pope saying public officials must set good moral examples and Italian bishops planning to discuss the sex scandal.  Pope Benedict XVI didn't mention the scandal or Berlusconi by name. But during an audience with Rome's police chief and police officers, he said public officials must "rediscover their spiritual and moral roots."  "The singular vocation that the city of Rome requires today of you, who are public officials, is to offer a good example of the positive and useful interaction between a healthy lay status and the Christian faith," Benedict said, echoing more direct comments about the scandal a day earlier by his No. 2.
             Prosecutors have placed Berlusconi and three associates under investigation, alleging he paid for sex with a 17-year-old girl nicknamed Ruby and used his office to cover it up. Prosecutors have said Berlusconi had sex with several prostitutes during parties at his Milan estate.
             Why a premier would need to pay for sex and with a seventeen-year-old girl is scandalous.  That said, the age of consent in Italy is fourteen (frighteningly low, by U.S. standards).  The age of consent rises to sixteen if the elder party is in a position of power over the minor (parent, teacher, priest--I'm not sure if premier is included, but it would make sense.).  However, the fact that Berlusconi used his office's power to cover it up is reprehensible and deserving of investigation and punishment if laws were broken.  But...

             When it comes to morally shaming the premier is Pope Benedict, who covered-up for priest-pedophiles and dragged his ruby slippers for years rather than remove the child molesters from positions of power, thus enabling them to rape and abuse uncounted children under their nations' various ages of consent, really the best moral judge?   Benedict's own Vatican was exposed for a prostitution sex scandal less than a year ago.   Of course, since they were renting out little boys, it was okay.

             Perhaps the true scandal is that that the media and Catholics throughout the world continue to give Pope Ben's words moral credence. 

        Wednesday, January 19, 2011

        1997 Letter Exposes Vatican's Refusal to Report Pedophile-Priests to Irish Civil Authorities (and a Trip Down Memory Lane: Benedict XVI, the Slapping Pope)

             As Pope Benedict moves towards beatifying John Paul II, the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church continues to balloon.

             The latest news out of Ireland is that a 1997 letter from the Vatican reveals how the John Paul II/Ratzinger-led Vatican resisted the Irish bishops' adoption of mandatory reporting to civil authorities of pedophile-priests.


             A newly disclosed document reveals that Vatican officials told the bishops of Ireland in 1997 that they had serious reservations about the bishops’ policy of mandatory reporting of priests suspected of child abuse to the police or civil authorities.  The document appears to contradict Vatican claims that church leaders in Rome never sought to control the actions of local bishops in abuse cases, and that the Roman Catholic Church did not impede criminal investigations of child abuse suspects.
             A documentary to be aired tonight reveals the contents of the letter and also claims that, on at least two occasions, the Vatican stepped in and stopped attempts by Irish bishops to defrock abuser priests.
             Last month, details of one of those occasions was made public when a High Court order finally allowed the full publication of a previously censored chapter in the Murphy Report on the Dublin Archdiocese.  That revealed that when bishops made moves to dismiss paedophile priest Tony Walsh, the Vatican instead sought to send Walsh to serve 10 years in a monastery.
             Tonight’s RTÉ programme, Unspeakable Crimes, shows Walsh went on to abuse another child after a Church court recommended that he was laicised because Rome insisted on a long, drawn- out appeal of his case.
             Watch the documentary by clicking here and then clicking on RTÉ's January 17, 2011 episode of Would You Believe?  The revelation of the letter's content comes at 0:12:00.  The connection to Benedict XVI/Ratzinger comes around 0:23:00, when he refuses to defrock pedophile-priests in both Ireland and the U.S.A.  The documentary's lack of sensationalism is damning.

             "The letter is of huge international significance, because it shows that the Vatican's intention is to prevent reporting of abuse to criminal authorities. And if that instruction applied here, it applied everywhere," said Colm O'Gorman, director of the Irish chapter of the human rights watchdog Amnesty International.
             The January 1997 letter is from papal nuncio Archbishop Luciano Storero to the Irish hierarchy. It states that the Vatican's Congregation for Clergy, which oversees policies for the more than 400,000 priests around the world, said the bishops' new policy of mandatory reporting of suspected sex crimes by priests to police "gives rise to serious reservations of both a moral and canonical nature."
             Storero (who died in 2000) wrote that canon law, which governs abuses and legal matters within the church, "must be meticulously followed" and any bishop who took actions that did not follow canon law would face the "highly embarrassing" position of being overturned on appeal in Rome. Such a result would be "detrimental" to the bishop in question, the Vatican warned.
             The letter closes with a stern admonition to the bishops that Vatican policies must be "meticulously" adhered to.
             How the folks in the pew can continue to disassociate themselves from the overwhelming evidence of their "Holy Father's" collusion in such heinous crimes against children and humanity is beyond me.

        Postscript:

             And, in case you forgot, here's a news report from last spring on Benedict XVI's and John Paul II's protection of Legionaries of  Christ founder and serial pedophile, Father Marcial Maciel Degollado.  (At 4:00, watch Ratzinger/Benedict slap the hand of the ABC reporter that questioned him about Maciel.  How's that for humbly turning the other cheek?)