Showing posts with label Rape. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rape. Show all posts

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.

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.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The GOP's War on Women's Rights and Poor Children; Democratic Representatives Moore & Speier Fight Back

     Do you remember October and November, when Republicans said that the election was about job creation?  Well, the past month has shown their true agenda.  One of the groups they are targeting is women.  How is this for the Gospel According to Hate?

     MoveOn.org compiled the following report:

Top 10 Shocking Attacks from the GOP's War on Women

1) Republicans not only want to reduce women's access to abortion care, they're actually trying to redefine rape. After a major backlash, they promised to stop. But they haven't yet. Shocker.
2) A state legislator in Georgia wants to change the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to "accuser." But victims of other less gendered crimes, like burglary, would remain "victims."
3) In South Dakota, Republicans proposed a bill that couldmake it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care. (Yep, for real.)
4) Republicans want to cut nearly a billion dollars of food and other aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids. 
5) In Congress, Republicans have a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life. 
6) Maryland Republicans ended all county money for a low-income kids' preschool program. Why? No need, they said.Women should really be home with the kids, not out working. 
7) And at the federal level, Republicans want to cut that same program, Head Start, by $1 billion. That means over 200,000 kids could lose their spots in preschool.
8) Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women, and Republicans are taking aim at them too. A spending bill would cut funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens.
9) Congress just voted for a Republican amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers, one of the most trusted providers of basic health care and family planning in our country.
10) And if that wasn't enough, Republicans are pushing toeliminate all funds for the only federal family planning program. (For humans. But Republican Dan Burton has a bill to provide contraception for wild horses. You can't make this stuff up).

Sources: 

1. "'Forcible Rape' Language Remains In Bill To Restrict Abortion Funding," The Huffington Post, February 9, 2011http://www.moveon.org/r?r=206084 
"Extreme Abortion Coverage Ban Introduced," Center for American Progress, January 20, 2011http://www.moveon.org/r?r=205961 
2. "Georgia State Lawmaker Seeks To Redefine Rape Victims As 'Accusers,'" The Huffington Post, February 4, 2011http://www.moveon.org/r?r=206007 
3. "South Dakota bill would legalize killing abortion doctors," Salon, February 15, 2011http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2011/02/15/south_dakota_abortion_killing_bill 
4. "House GOP Proposes Cuts to Scores of Sacred Cows," National Journal, February 9, 2011http://nationaljournal.com/house-gop-proposes-cuts-to-scores-of-sacred-cows-20110209 
5. "New GOP Bill Would Allow Hospitals To Let Women Die Instead Of Having An Abortion," Talking Points Memo, February 4, 2011http://www.moveon.org/r?r=205974 
6. "Republican Officials Cut Head Start Funding, Saying Women Should be Married and Home with Kids," Think Progress, February 16, 2011http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/16/gop-women-kids/ 
7. "Bye Bye, Big Bird. Hello, E. Coli," The New Republic, Feburary 12, 2011http://www.tnr.com/blog/83387/house-republican-spending-cuts-pell-education-usda-pbs 
8. "House GOP spending cuts will devastate women, families and economy," The Hill, February 16, 2011 http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-a-budget/144585-house-gop-spending-cuts-will-devastate-women-families-and-economy- 
9. "House passes measure stripping Planned Parenthood funding," MSNBC, February 18,2011 http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/02/18/6080756-house-passes-measure-stripping-planned-parenthood-funding
"GOP Spending Plan: X-ing Out Title X Family Planning Funds," Wall Street Journal, February 9, 2011http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2011/02/09/gop-spending-plan-x-ing-out-title-x-family-planning-funds/ 
10. Ibid. 
"Birth Control for Horses, Not for Women," Blog for Choice, February 17, 2011http://www.blogforchoice.com/archives/2011/02/birth-control-f.html
    Here's Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI) speaking out against #9 on the above list, from her own experience of becoming a teenage mother in poverty.  She calls the GOP out on their claim that they are helping black babies and both parties for the gutting of support programs for low income mothers.


     Here's Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA) speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives calling the Republicans out for their hypocrisy of speaking about job creation while attacking people's private medical decisions.

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:

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?)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dutch Catholic Sexual Abuse Scandal Report: Nearly 2,000 Victims

     An investigative panel in the Netherlands released a report this week showing that almost 2,000 of the country's four million Catholics have made complains of sexual or physical abuse against priests and bishops.

     The New York Times reports:
     “The Roman Catholic Church has not faced a crisis like this since the French Revolution,” Peter Nissen, a professor of the history of religion at Radboud University in the Netherlands, said of the growing abuse scandal...
      Asked in March on television about the hundreds of complaints already surfacing, one of the church’s most senior figures, Cardinal Adrianus Simonis, shocked the nation by replying not in Dutch but in German. “Wir haben es nicht gewusst” — We knew nothing — he said, using a phrase associated with Nazi excuses after World War II.
     “A lot of people perceived it as an affirmation of the culture of covering up cases,” said Professor Nissen, adding that it meant to many, “ ‘We should have known’ or ‘We knew but we didn't want to know.’ ”
     The Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said that he had no comment and that the matter was in the hands of Dutch bishops.
     "In the hands of bishops," because that has worked so well in the past.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Study Reveals that 60% of Chicago Parishes Once Housed Pedophile Priests

     This sort of undermines the argument that sexual abuse by a small percentage of Catholic priests doesn't really impact that many Catholics.
     A new study conducted by three local advocacy groups paints a devastating picture of abuse by priests and other clergy within Chicago--showing that more than half of the Chicago Archdiocese's Catholic parishes have employed priests accused of sexual abuse.
     Reform groups Voice of the Faithful, African American Advocates for Victims of Clergy and Sexual Abuse and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) spent five years combing through data for the report--and they believe the number of unreported cases of abuse could make that percentage even larger.
     "Almost 60% of the parishes have had a publicly accused predator," SNAP founder and President Barbara Blaine said in a statement. "But the key word is 'publicly accused.' History, psychology and common sense tell us there are dozens and dozens of other offending nuns, seminarians, brothers, priests, bishops and lay employees who have molested or are molesting kids now whose identities are not known. And both groups of child molesters - known and unknown - have been at or worked at the 40% of the Chicago parishes that don't seem to have been affected."

Friday, October 1, 2010

Texas School Teacher Taped Himself Having Sex with Students: It's Not Just Priests & Ministers.

     Here's the latest out of El Paso, Texas.

     Dance teacher Marco Alferez accused of taping himself having sex with children.  Marco Alferez, a high school dance teacher in El Paso, Texas is accused of filming himself in sexual encounters with dozens of children -- some of them as young as elementary school age. Authorities say they’ve found over 200 videos of the Irvin High School teacher having sex with children.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pope Benedict Named as Defendant in Minnesota Sexual Abuse Suit

     The Daily Mail reports:
     The Pope has been named as a defendant for the first time in a lawsuit over the child abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic church.  Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as he was known then, is said to have failed to take action against an American priest who molested up to 200 boys at a deaf school.  Father Lawrence C Murphy abused the children in their dormitory beds in Wisconsin where he worked between 1950 and 1974.
     It became one of the most notorious cases to engulf the Catholic Church and was brought to the attention of The Pope whilst he was in charge of the body that dealt with serious sins.  The lawsuit is the first to name The Pontiff as an individual defendant, supposedly because culpability for the molestation went right to the top.  It raises the possibility that he could be called as a witness during court proceedings or faces the humiliation of being subpoenaed should he refuse to attend.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pope's UK Visit Has Been One Long Non-Apology Apology for the Cover-Up and Sexual Abuse of Children

     The first three days of Pope Benedict's controversial £19 million+ visit to the United Kingdom are over.  The big question continues to be when and if he will apologize for his participation in the cover-up of sexual abuse committed by priests.  But sticking to the role of politician rather than shepherd, Ben continues walk the familiar path of the non-apology apology.

     On his flight to the UK, Ben dodged questions about child rape without giving an all-out apology.  Southern California Public Radio reports:
     Speaking in Italian to reporters on board a flight to Scotland, the pope acknowledged that the church failed to act decisively or quickly enough to deal with cases of child rape and molestation by priests that have spanned decades and involved tens of thousands of victims.
     Benedict, who led the Vatican office that investigated child abuse claims during Pope John Paul II's papacy, said he was shocked and saddened on learning of the scope of the abuse partly because priests take vows to be Christ's voice upon ordination.
     "It's difficult to understand how a man who has said this could then fall into this perversion. It's a great sadness," Benedict said. "It's also sad that the authority of the church wasn't sufficiently vigilant, and not sufficiently quick or decisive to take necessary measures" to stop it.
     But, he didn't say "I'm sorry. I was a part of this failure to protect and respect our most vulnerable and innocent children. I acted out of self-preservation, pride, and malice.  I take responsibility for the wrongs I committed." 

     Instead and once again, the spineless pontiff "acknowledged" a general failure of some amorphous "church," but failed himself to take personal responsibility for his actions in shuffling and protecting pedophile priests.  As I learned in seminary, if there is no contrition there can be neither absolution nor reconciliation.

Above photo of papal shoes via Gaurdian.
Below photo of Pope in a bulletproof bubble via Telegraph
     In regards to Ben's statement about the difficulty of understanding how priests could possibly become abusers, he's living in a bulletproof bubble.  It's not difficult to understand, unless of course you don't understand the psychology of sexual predators and if you've lived your entire life in an organization that views priests as stand-ins for one's god.  

     Priests are men first.  They are human.  They are just as corruptible as any other person.  It's that simple.  But dressing priests up as divine media and protecting them within an organization that is anti-science and anti-reason blinds those within the church, like Ben, from seeing simple reality.

     Using his strongest language so far when discussing the child abuse scandal the pope said: "I express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable crimes."
     But victims' representatives said his comments did not, in fact, add up to an apology.  Colm O'Gorman, from the Irish victim support group One in Four, said: "I feel deep sorrow about the suffering I see on the news, but there's an enormous difference between an expression of sorrow and an apology and acknowledgement of responsibility.  "The Vatican chooses its words very carefully and that so-called apology could have been written by lawyers. It has 'no liability' all over it."
     Peter Isely of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests asked: "Why, if the pope feels so much remorse, won't he take action? Showing remorse isn't leadership. Taking decisive action is leadership."
     Here's the homily from Ben's mass at Hyde Park today.  There is no mention of sexual abuse, the scandal, contrition, or responsibility for these acts.  There is only talk of how great and glorious the church is and the need for young people to dedicate their lives to serving the church's "culture of life."  As certain priests in my past use to rail on sinners: Out of sight, out of mind.

     Many gathered at Hyde Park in protest of Pope Ben and the Catholic Church's teachings that are supposed to promote "truth" and "life."  From the Guardian:
     Day three of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Britain and it was a day for protests and anti-papists under bright blue skies in central London. Around 10,000 people took to the capital's streets for a Protest the Pope rally and march against what the organisers called "papal intolerance" and to condemn the state funding of the visit.
     They came in red cardboard papal hats scrawled with the words "bigot" and "homophobe" and carrying placards, rainbow flags, pledges of atheism and balloons made of condoms. One giant banner showing the Pope carrying a swastika was later taken down after offending many of the protesters, who went as far as complaining to the police officers lining the route of the march to Downing Street.... [Wouldn't it be great if Americans were this intelligent in their protests?]
     The protest organiser Peter Tatchell told the Observer the event was held both to send a message to the Pope that child abusers had to be brought to account and to call on the British government not to tolerate the Pope's "harsh, intolerant views on women's rights, on gay equality and on the use of condoms which is so vital to stopping the spread of the HIV virus".
     If the pope's key message during his visit has been to warn against atheism and secularism, then this rally was the chance of those with those views to present their view of Benedict. "An enemy of humanity" was the unminced words of prominent atheist Richard Dawkins, who gave a strong speech to the rally on its arrival at Downing Street.
     Comedian Al Murray also figured among the crowd. He said: "Like a lot of people I am a perplexed that it is a state visit. The pope's opposition to condoms kills people. It is all very well him lecturing us on morals, but he should look at his own organisation's view."
     What will tomorrow's itinerary in Birmingham bring?  We can only assume more of the same.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Christine O'Donnell on Abortion, Rape, Incest, Homophobia, "Ex-Gays," Masturbation & Election Result Lies

     Proud Christian Christine O'Donnell is officially the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Delaware.  There is already enough information on her in the news to write 10,000 dissertations.  Here are some of the highlights.

     In the videos below, she is confronted about her lies about her performance in a previous bid for the senate.  She's exposed as paranoid.  She is against women's reproductive rights, even in cases of rape and incest.  She's homophobic, believes in ex-gay therapy, compares homosexuals to Hitler, and used gay-slurs and stereotypes against her Republican opponent for the nomination.  She's using Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin's talking points in her speeches, saying President Obama is "anti-American."  On the night of her primary win the nation GOP (including Karl Rove, who called her statements "nutty") said they wouldn't support her, but a day later they are singing her praises.

     This is new face of the extremist Tea-Party-enhanced Republican party.  

     For example, five senate Republican nominees, including Rand Paul (KY), Sharron Angle (NV), Ken Buck (CO), Joe Miller (AK) and Christine O'Donnell (DE), have taken the extreme position that abortion should be illegal even for women pregnant in cases of rape and incest.  In the video embedded below, Rachel Maddow makes the following comment concerning these Republican party's hypocritical claims of being for small government while legislating American's most private choices:
     The government should force rape vicitms under pain of criminal prosecution to give birth to their rapist's baby...If you are a fourtenn year old girl who is raped by your uncle or by your father, the government will force you, as a fourteen-year-old, to give birth to the child that is the product of that incestuous rape. Remember, this is the year of small government conservatives, getting government out of your life.
     Here is Maddow's report on women running for office and women's rights in this year's elections.

     The Republican flip-flop on Christine O'Donnell: Karl Rove calls Christine O'Donnell "nutty" and won't giving her GOP money to "I'm also helpin' her" get elected.


     O'Donnell calling President Obama "anti-American" and trying to sound like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin in speeches.


     Below, Christine O'Donnell is exposed for lying about her performance in a previous election versus Joe Biden. When confronted with the hard statistical facts of of her loss to Biden, she lied again.  But she's a good Christian.  Her term as president and founder of The Savior's Alliance for Lifting the Truth, her condemnation of masturbation, and comparisons between homosexuals and Hitler, tell us so.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Belgian Catholic Church, Sexual Abuse, Suicide, Admissions, and Disappearances

     The Roman Catholic sexual abuse scandal in Belgium is not slowing down.  Here are some quick updates of what happened this week.

    A Belgian commission looking into sexual abuse by Catholic clergy says it has received testimony from hundreds of victims.  The commission's chairman Peter Adriaenssens said 488 witnesses came forward, most of them after the April resignation of a bishop for sexual abuse set off a deep crisis within the Belgian church.  A report by the commission lists in great detail how victims say they were abused by clergy, and lists one witness as saying it started as young as two.
     A Belgian Catholic Church-backed commission Friday published a report revealing hundreds of cases of alleged sexual abuse of minors by clergy and church workers, and 13 suicides by abuse victims...It noted that one fact in particular showed "the extent of the negative effects: the high number of suicides," the report said.  The commission received 13 reports in which "the person concerned died by suicide and this in relation to sexual abuse by a cleric," it said, adding that another six victims said they had attempted suicide.
     The former head of Belgium's Roman Catholic Church has admitted he made mistakes in dealing with a case of sexual abuse and should have demanded the resignation of the bishop involved.  In interviews published in newspapers Het Laatste Nieuws and La Libre Belgique and the weekly magazine Knack on Wednesday, Cardinal Godfried Danneels described his failure to urge the bishop to go as his "most serious error of judgment."
     "Up until today I have the feeling that I had stepped into a trap. Call it naivete. You can make all sorts of assumptions about the intentions of Roger Vangheluwe. But the error of assessment was mine," Danneels said.
     The former Belgian bishop who resigned in April after admitting he sexually abused a nephew for years said Saturday he would go into hiding to assess his future, despite calls for him to leave the church immediately.  Roger Vangheluwe said in a statement he would immediately leave an abbey in his bishopry of Bruges, where he has been staying since his April 23 resignation. His bishopry has urged him to seek another place to live, and several victims of sexual abuse by clergy as well as a prominent senator have called on him to leave the church as an institution.  Vangheluwe gave no response to the calls for him to step out of priesthood, but said that "as of today, I will contemplate my life and future somewhere hidden, outside the bishopry of Bruges."

Catholic Father Alejandro Flores, Ordination Class of 2009, Gets Four to Fifteen for Sexual Assault of a Child

     Pope Benedict XVI says repentance is more effective than structural change within the Church to counter sexual abuse by priests.  Using an indirect historical analogy, the pope on Wednesday recalled the words of XII century Saint Hildegard, according to whom "a true renewal of the ecclesiastic community is the result less of structural changes than of a sincere spirit of repentance and an active path towards conversion."  Saint Hildergard at the time was fighting the criticism by German sects "proposing a radical reform of the Church in order to fight abuses by clergy," Benedict told 7,000 pilgrims at his weekly general audience.  (The Sydney Morning Herald, September 8, 2010)
     The rhetoric coming from bishops, cardinals, and the pope about how the Catholic Church has repented, reformed itself and is no longer ordaining pedophile priests, all the claims that priest-perpetrated sexual abuse was a problem for elder generations of priests and that newly ordained undergo improved psychological procedures to weed out abusers, and all the reassurances that the church knows best how to reform itself have once again been proven false.

     On Wednesday, Father Alejandro Flores, 37, priest in the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois, and a member of the ordination class of 2009, changed his previous plea of not-guilty to guilty.  His crime: sexually assaulting a boy  over the past five years, beginning when the boy was eight years old.  He also hit on the boy's older brother.  Which means, Flores was sexually assaulting his prepubescent child-victim, while Flores was in seminary and going through the church's rigorous "formation" that is supposed to weed out abusive candidates.

     Here's the kicker.  Five years ago, then-seminarian Flores was spotted engaging in what is known as grooming behavior by the the diocese's vocations director.  Twice, the diocese delayed Flores ordination, but in the end, he was ordained anyway.

     The Chicago Tribune reports (My comments are interspersed):
     Flores, 37, a native of Bolivia, started abusing the boy over a five-year period in 2005 after befriending members of his family, who were parishioners at St. Mary Catholic Church in West Chicago. Flores was posted there as a seminarian and deacon while working toward ordination.  Assistant State's Attorney Deb Bree said Flores' crimes took place during the time church officials were deciding whether to elevate him to the priesthood.
     During an internship, Flores told his supervisor that as a child he had been the victim of sexual abuse at a Bolivian orphanage. That supervisor, the Rev. Burke Masters, vocational director for the Joliet Diocese, saw Flores alone in a car with the victim in 2005 and told him it was not appropriate to be alone with young boys, according to authorities.
      But he wasn't sent for counseling to deal with his inappropriate boundaries with children.  He was told it was "not appropriate."  Nor was he wasn't sent to counseling to better understand the dynamics of having been sexually abused as a child.  The counseling came when:
     Diocesan officials also later learned that Flores had viewed male pornography on a church-owned computer. The revelation again pushed back his ordination, Bree said, as Flores was sent for counseling.
     Doug Delany, a Joliet Diocese spokesman, said that with hindsight, Flores would not have been ordained. But he said the delays were part of what he called "extraordinary caution" exercised by Bishop J. Peter Sartain before deciding to elevate Flores.  "We were told he was ready for the priesthood," Delany said.
     Here again, the church passes the blame onto those who "told" the diocese that Flores was ready for the priesthood.  Still, it was Bishop Sartain who laid his hand on Flores at the ordination ceremony.
     Flores told the bishop that he had viewed pornography only once, Delany said. 
     That was probably the only time he masturbated, as well.
     And Flores' sexual abuse as a child did not necessarily indicate that he was a pedophile, the spokesman said.  Meanwhile, Flores maintained a relationship with the victim, now 13, and his older brother, now 18.
     Thankfully, someone other than the diocese's vocational director saw Flores alone in a car with a boy:
     Flores was ordained in June 2009 and remained at Holy Family, but his actions were drawing the attention of a man dating the victim's mother. The boyfriend said he saw Flores and the boy "in a suspicious position" in Flores' parked car, and in November the boyfriend found the boy and Flores in the bedroom of the boy's St. Charles home, Bree said.  In January, the victim's mother alerted Joliet Diocese officials to her suspicions.
     Once again, this story shows how the Catholic church is incapable of dealing with issues of sexual abuse.  Flores should have been investigated after being caught (by his superior) alone in a car with a possible victim.  But the church failed the victim and favored the seminarian.

     After the boy's mother came forward this January, the church did the right thing in handing Flores over the law, but that was after five years of abuse, during which time Flores was supposedly undergoing the best pyscho-spiritual counseling and formation that the church has to offer.

     Pope Ben, what good is your church's repentance, when the structures in place have consistently proven inefficient in preventing sexual abuse?

                   The Newly Ordained Priest                                       The Newly Convicted Pedophile

Monday, September 6, 2010

Catholic Sexual Abuse Scandal Update; Pope Benedict to Have Secret Meeting with Victims in Britain

     The sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic church continues, even if it isn't on the news every night.


     Here are other secrets recently exposed:

     A grand jury in Sullivan County has indicted a former Roman Catholic priest on criminal sexual conduct and aggravated rape charges.  The charges are the latest against 76-year-old William Casey stemming from accusations of sexual abuse over 30 years ago.  Warren Tucker of Jeffersonville, Ind., has said Casey abused him for five years, beginning in 1975 when he was a fifth-grader at St. Dominic's church in Kingsport, Tenn.
     A Catholic priest convicted of sexually abusing three young sisters has been [sentenced to be] jailed for four years.  Father Eugene Lewis, 76, was found guilty of 11 charges of assault between 1963 and 1973. The sisters said the abuse began when they were as young as seven. He had denied the charges.  The abuse took place at their County Fermanagh home.  In May, a jury in Omagh unanimously convicted Lewis, who lived in Dublin before his six-week trial.The former provincial superior of the Society of Missionaries of Africa was also accused of raping one of the sisters, but since the alleged incident happened in Dublin he could not be tried for the offence in Northern Ireland.
     Father Owino, a native of Kenya, is a priest of the Apostles of Jesus, a religious community with regional headquarters in Philadelphia. He was arrested July 8 in Fairfax, Va., and charged with aggravated sexual battery involving the 11-year-old daughter of close friends in Herndon, Va. The abuse reportedly occurred in July, when he was staying with the family.
     A 51-year-old Catholic priest wanted in Texas for four counts of sexual abuse of a child was arrested Friday in Lawrence.  The U.S. Marshals Service tracked down John M. Fiala, 51, after receiving a tip on his whereabouts. Fiala was charged Tuesday in Edwards County, Texas, with the abuse, said Matt Cahill of the U.S. Marshals Service
     Vintage ceramic tile and linoleum in his new workplace led attorney Gregory Guggemos to recall his days at St. Vincent home for children in the 1950s, he said Tuesday. Guggemos said he was abused at that home by its founder, Msgr. John Slowey, who led Catholic Social Services of Lansing.  He settled a claim against the Catholic Diocese of Lansing for $225,000 last month. He said he hopes telling his story will help his healing process -- and other victims of clergy abuse.  "I know now I did nothing wrong when I was at the orphanage. I have no responsibility for being sexually abused. I am a victim," said Guggemos, who formerly lived in Haslett.
     In the dark, spartan room lit only by an oil lamp, the priest gave the little girl a piece of candy and told her to keep her mouth shut.  “He told me it was our secret,” that little girl said recently. “He told me to be quiet or I’d be in serious trouble.”  She was 7 and she’d just been raped.
     Shame and fear of ridicule kept him quiet about alleged sexual abuse by a Catholic priest in Eureka nearly 30 years ago, a Humboldt County man said Tuesday...  He is one of two Humboldt County men who filed lawsuits last month accusing the Santa Rosa Diocese of fraud and negligence for hiring the Rev. Patrick Joseph McCabe and failing to disclose his sexual misconduct to parishioners in Eureka.  The men, who both served as altar boys, were not identified in the lawsuits. They both allege they were repeatedly fondled by McCabe, now 74, at St. Bernard Church in Eureka in the early 1980s.

Belgian Cardinal Caught on Tape Urging Victim to Cover Up Sexual Abuse by Bishop







     A set of tapes from an April 8th meeting between one of Bishop Vangheluwe's victims (his own nephew!) and Cardinal Danneels reveals how the Catholic Church operates behind closed doors, while under fire.

    Reuters reports on the verbatim record:
     Leaked tapes of Belgium's Cardinal Godfried Danneels urging a victim not to reveal he was sexually abused by a bishop are some of the most damaging documents to emerge in the scandal rocking the Roman Catholic Church.
     The tapes, made secretly by the victim and published in two Belgian newspapers on Saturday, show the former primate of Belgium exhorting him to accept a private apology or wait one year until the bishop retired before making his case public...
     Belgian Church spokesman Jurgen Mettepenningen confirmed to Reuters that the transcripts in the Flemish dailies De Standaard and Het Nieuwsblad were genuine.  "From everything he says, it's clear that his only aim is to avoid having the case made public so many years after the facts. It is containment, nothing more," De Standaard wrote... 
     In their one-on-one meeting, the victim says he feels a duty to report the case to the Church hierarchy and asks Danneels to help. The cardinal responds by urging him not to go public.
     "The bishop will resign next year, so actually it would be better for you to wait," the cardinal says. "I don't think you'd do yourself or him a favor by shouting this from the rooftops."
     The man pleads for help but Danneels, 77, who had stepped down as Brussels archbishop in January, says he cannot discipline Vangheluwe or inform higher authorities, including Pope Benedict. The bishop should turn himself in, he says.
     Danneels warns the victim against trying to blackmail the Church and urges him to seek forgiveness, accept a private apology from the bishop and not drag "his name through the mud."
     "He has dragged my whole life through the mud, from 5 until 18 years old," says the victim, who denies he wants to blackmail anyone. "Why do you feel so sorry for him and not for me?"
     This is the way the church works.  It's the same thing I've heard repeatedly:  "Don't scandalize the faithful."  "You need to stop focusing on Father and forgive yourself."  "What will people say?"  "Jesus never got justice.  It takes a strong person to heal without justice."  "Bringing this up will only limit your potential and keep you in the past."  "Parishioners have such wonderful memories of Father, and it would be so hurtful to them to find out the truth. Do you want to rob those dear people of their memories?"

     After all that has been brought into the light concerning sexual abuse and cover up in the Catholic Church, the operating principle of many Catholics remains: hush everything under the guise of "protecting the faithful from scandal."