Showing posts with label Timothy Dolan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Timothy Dolan. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Response to Father Benedict Groeschel's Apology

     I have another piece on The Huffington Post:
The condemnations and apologies have been forthcoming since Father Benedict Groeschel, a founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, told the National Catholic Register that some teenage victims of sexual abuse seduce their priest perpetrators. He also referred to convicted sex felon Jerry Sandusky as "this poor guy" before implying that Sandusky's victims should have spoken out sooner.
The National Catholic Register removed the interview from its website and posted an apology explaining the publication of Groeschel's "comment was an editorial mistake." In addition, the Register "sought clarification from Father Benedict," as if Groeschel's 468 word "comment" wasn't clear enough.

     Read the rest on The Huffington Post by clicking here.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Response to Archbishop Dolan's "Afterthoughts" and "Apology" Concerning the Same-Sex Marriage Battle in New York

Hello, readers.  I apologize for the long absence.  For my own well-being, I had to take a break from confronting the hatred out there.  That said, much has happened in New York where same-sex couples will now enjoy the state-level civil rights that opposite-sex couples enjoy.

Image Credit:   CBS News/Mike Segar
Archbishop Timothy Dolan just posted his "Afterthoughts" on his experience of being the mouthpiece for the anti-gay side of the New York marriage equality battle of the past few months.  In the response, which you can read in full here, he compares himself to John the Baptist and Thomas Moore, who were both beheaded.  He also "apologizes" to any gay persons who may have been offended by anything that he said.  (If you recall, he compared same-sex couples marrying to marrying his mother and that polygamy would follow gay rights.)

Here is my response.

Dear +Tim,

You are correct about one thing: "Finally, last point, for us in the Church, not much changes." Exactly, because in the U.S.A. there is a separation of church and state. You can discriminate as much as you want to in your churches and sacraments. That's what you purchase with your tax exemption. But know this: when you come after people's civil rights, you give up your claim to tax exemption. We will continue to fight you to retain our civil rights.

Those of us who are fighting for equal civil rights for LGBT persons are not "theophobic" or anti-religion; we're anti-theocracy. We don't care about your sacramental rights or rites.

I would think you would be anti-theocracy as well, since that's the real reason Thomas Moore was beheaded--he lived in a state where the King believed he was the hand of his god and not the pope's god. World history and your Old Testament show that there is a great danger marrying church and state; it always ends very bloody.

As for your "apology" to those of us who were "unintentionally" hurt by your "defense" of marriage, now you just dilute yourself. You said so many things that were based on unscientific, outdated and historically-abused stereotypes about homosexuals (i.e. the way you linked same-sex marriages to incest, polygamy, and such). You calculated your responses to hit below the belt and to stir the fears of your followers. You stoked hatred against LGBT persons who have been historically repressed and even tortured and murdered (see the Inquisition) in the name of your church.

Your "apology" is as hollow as the arguments you made against marriage equality. How do you look yourself in the mirror in the morning? How do you look gay priests and youth in the eyes? Do you have any idea how hurtful, demoralizing, and harmful your characterizations of homosexuals are? Your "apology" shows how out of touch you are with the virtue of compassion.

Yours outside of Christ,

Heretic Tom


Postscript: In case you forgot, +Tim, here's what the church did to gays in the Inquisition.
Source: Woodcut. Published in the 'Speculum in oculis Domini abominatium' by Franziscus Grotius, Leipzig,1474.  Reproduced in 'Inquisition torture instruments from the Middle Ages to the Industrial Age, "Qua d'Arno, Florence, 1985.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Dolan Forced Gay-Friendly Catholic Parish to March with Nameless Banner in Pride Parade

Banner Bashing Timothy Dolan via SILive/AP

     When he's not busy working his way up to cardinal by defending Pope Benedict's handling of priest rapists, he's picking on the gay friendly parish of St. Francis Xavier and their gay-friendly outreach at New York's Pride parade.

     In a letter to his parish, Father Joseph Costatino wrote:
     In past years, a group of parishioners from our parish who are members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans-gendered (LGBT) Ministries have participated in the Gay Pride March. They displayed a banner identifying themselves as parishioners of St. Francis Xavier parish. This year, Archbishop Dolan has requested that this group refrain from displaying the parish banner as they March.The participation of parishioners in the March provides an opportunity to spread the message of God’s unconditional love and thus is a form of evangelization... Nevertheless, the display of the parish banner may give the false impression that the parish is somehow serving as a sponsoring organization or officially endorsing other sentiments that may appear in the course of the March.  Avoiding such confusion is the motivation for the Archbishop’s request.
+Tim Smoking out the Masses via Church Times
     Dolan wouldn't want Catholics to be seen or identified with "sinners."  That would be too much like that crazy Jesus, who surrounded himself with "sinners," befriended them, and supposedly died for them.

     Dolan is a homophobic hypocrite and needs to lay off the incense and lace for a while.

     The news report embedded below tells the story of +Tim's telling the group from Francis Xavier to march with their anonymous (Catholic-friendly) banner.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pope Benedict Assigns Clerics with Questionable Records on Abuse to Investigate Irish Church

     The press is abuzz with what the New York Times is calling Pope Benedict's "most concrete actions since a sexual abuse scandal began sweeping the Roman Catholic Church in Europe."  What is this concrete action?

     Pope Benedict XVI has ordered an investigation into child abuse in the Irish Catholic Church to begin in the fall and named top prelates to carry it out, the Vatican said Monday.
     And who's qualified to head this Church run investigation?  A handful of bishops and a nun, including Archbishop Timothy "Stop picking on our awesome pope" Dolan and Cardinal Sean "I can't believe he abused again because I didn't think the allegations were credible" O'Malley, neither of whose own hands are clean when it comes to sexual abuse.

     The AP reports:
     But U.S. victims of clerical abuse were not impressed by Benedict's selections, saying some of the bishops themselves had "troubling" records on confronting abuse.  "We must look outside a largely complicit church hierarchy for real solutions to this devastating ongoing crisis," said Barbara Dorris, outreach director for the U.S. victims' group Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests.
     Some American victims groups criticized the appointments of Cardinal O’Malley and Archbishop Dolan because of their mixed records on handling abuse cases within their own dioceses.  Terrence McKiernan, founder and president of BishopAccountability.org, which tracks church records on abuse cases, said an apostolic visitation was by its nature a secretive approach that recapitulated the fundamental problem underlying the sex abuse crisis. “To employ a secretive process to solve a problem caused by secrecy,” he said, “seems to us problematic.”
      The images above are taken from articles that explore Dolan and O'Malley's participation in the cover-up and enabling of sexual predators.  The Dolan image is from the New York Times.  The O'Malley photo is  from the SNAP website.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Catholic Laity Flood the Vatican in Show of Support for Pope Benedict XVI, Enabling Abuse & Blaming the Victims

     Over the weekend, a number of Catholic lay organizations rallied at the Vatican to show their support of Pope Benedict XVI, who has been connected via his signature to cases of enabling child rape by his priests. Between 120,000 and 150,000 Catholic faithful attended.

Pope Benedict's Adoring Crowd
by CNS' Paul Haring
     Can you imagine if that many Catholics attended a Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) meeting to show their support of the persons whose lives were turned upside down by priests who raped them, while preaching their god's love and forgiveness to the adoring throngs?

      Can you imagine if that many Catholics filled the Vatican with signs demanding Benedict's resignation or gathered in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York to demand Archbishop Timothy Dolan's resignation, or in front of the Los Angeles cathedral to demand Cardinal Mahony's resignation?

     Can you imagine if lay Catholics banded together in the face of the mounting evidence against the pope and the bishops that shows they've continued to protect some abusive priests, since publicly proclaiming the Dallas Charter in 2004, which was supposed to have stopped this illegal practice?

     The Catholic News Service reports this choice comment by Andrea Olivero, speaking on behalf of an Italian Christian workers group at the rally:
     The abuse scandal, he said, "should be experienced as a cross by all of us. We cannot allow our pastors to be the only ones who live with this suffering, which is a suffering that affects the entire church."
Kevin Flannagan, 
     I would agree that the "abuse scandal" has affected all Catholics, but Olivero says the ones living with the suffering are the pastors.  He's concerned for the clergy.  This is the default Catholic response to sexual abuse claims.  In parishes where priests get accused, often the bulk of the parishioners side with the priest and against the victim.  Victims are cast out and ostracized, because the larger community is in denial and is complicit in a system that caters to abusive priests.  Trust me, the pastors are not living with the suffering in the same way as those who were raped and sodomized by priests.

     Here are a few more quotes from some Catholic laypersons at the "We Support Out Pope" rally, via the National Catholic Reporter (My comments are interspersed.):
     “We want Benedict XVI to hear our affection, after months of repeated attacks against him and the whole church,” said Gabriele Brunini, president of the National Confederation of Mercy, a Catholic charitable group in Italy.
     "Repeated attacks against the whole church"?  This is the mafia-like, group-think of the Catholic faithful.  An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.  No wonder that victims are afraid to come forward.  They have to experience the violence of their assault all over again by the Catholic "faithful" who stand by their pope, bishops, and priests no matter what. 
     “We can’t forget the people who’ve been victims of abuse,” Brunini said, “but to utilize the scandal of pedophile priests to strike at the pope and the church, trying to reduce them to silence, is something else entirely.”
Tom Cheemuk of Alaska, victim
     "To strike at the pope and the church, trying to reduce them to silence"?  No one is trying to reduce them to silence.  We want them to talk.  We want an admission and apology, not double-talk, excuses, and cover-up.  We want to see some accountability and action taken to ensure that future generations of children are protected.  

     Why is a movement to hold the pope accountable for his actions seen as a "strike" against the church?  Is the pope above the law?  It would seem that those supporting him believe so.  Would they support a superintendent of their public schools if the superintendent's signature was on numerous documents that delayed the removal of pedophile teachers?  No, they'd sue the bastard and scream for him to be jailed.
     Claudia Nodari, president of the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Italy, struck a similar note   “We’re with the pope,” she said, “against the effort to cancel out all the good the church and its ministers have done, and are doing, for the spiritual and material welfare of people all over the world.”
     This is the lie that Catholics in the pews tell themselves so that they can justify their support of a system that has protected pedophiles and shunned victims: those who challenge the church are trying to cancel the good that the church's priests have done.  This is just bullshit.  Victims want justice, accountability, and protection of future generations.
     Credibly accusing a priest or bishop of sexual abuse is not an effort to cancel out the good of the church, but an effort to stop a criminal.  The news reports that have exposed Pope Benedict as complicit in the cover-up for priest-perpetrators is not an effort to "cancel out all the good the church has done all over the world" but an attempt to ensure that innocent children are protected from rape in the name of god all over the world
     Guido Boldrin, a member of the “Communion and Liberation” movement who made the trip from Milan to Rome to take part in the rally along with his wife and four daughters, said he wanted to protest the “cynical and unjust” campaign against Benedict XVI on the part of the “national and international media.”
     Would Guido still be there if one of his four daughters or his wife had been raped by a priest?  Would he still think that credible news reports that have exposed Benedict are cynical an unjust?  Or would he throw out his abused child instead, calling her a whore, saying that she led the priest on, that she deserved it,or that priests are fragile celibates that the devil targets with temptation and that she let the devil use her?   

     I'm living proof of this ostracizing system that the Catholic church imposes on those who challenge it.  I was a priest who brought an accusation of sexual assault, exploitation and harassment against my college priest, Fr. Mustache, whom I went to for confession and spiritual counseling to work through my being sexually abused by a pediatrician during puberty.  The trusted and well-respected priest used me for his gratification, all under the guise of helping me discern the priesthood.  When I showed him that I'd been accepted by the diocese to go to seminary, Fr. Mustache blew me.  How's that for spiritual counsel?  

     In my seminary formation, I was told that what happened to me was my fault, it was my own sin.  I was told not to come forward with accusations because it would ruin my career, but Fr. Mustache continued his ministry on the college campus, where my old college friends called his new young male sidekicks "the new Tom."  

     When I returned to the diocese as a priest four years later, Fr. Mustache continued his former ways, surrounding himself with young boys, wrestling with them, giving them titty twisters, taking them to dinner, and entertaining them.  I told the bishop everything.  I was ordered to be silently obedient and to return to my post, because the church had "already seen enough scandal."

     I lost my career, my livelihood, my community, my vocation, and my friends because I came forward with an accusation against a priest.  I've been called Satan by old Catholic friends and told that I "betrayed" them.  Some of them continue to share meals with Fr. Mustache.  Some even trust their children with him, as does the bishop, if you count the thousands of college students that continue to receive their pastoral care from the abusive priest.  I've had family members tell me that I need to turn from my my sinful ways and return to the priesthood, because it's god's will for my salvation.  I've had others cut me off with no explanation.  I'm not alone in this.  This is the reality that faces many victims who come forward.

     These responses are typical of many Catholic laity.  They are the voices packing the Vatican in support of a pope that participated in the enabling of priest perpetrators.  A pope, who had he lived in the fourth century, would have ignored St. Basil of Caesarea's cries against monks screwing boys in their monasteries, or had he lived in the eleventh century would have ignored St. Peter Damian's demands to address the sexual molestation of minors by clergy in that time.  These are the Catholics that give their money to a system that protects abusive and exploitative priests.

     Victims come forward because they don't want others to experience the same horror and violation that they experienced.  Catholic laity, who continue to claim the church and pope are under attack, need to listen not to the legal defenses of the pope and bishops, but to the victims who lost more than their sexual, spiritual, and psychological health not only to an individual perpetrator, but to a community that prizes obedient communion above all else.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Catholic Clergy and Laity Stand by Their "Unfailing" Pope on Easter

"You can't blame our pope.  Our pope is a beautiful pope." 
     This is the voice of a regular Catholic in the pew in Washington, D.C., from the first video embedded below.  This voice then goes on to blame the scandal on what Pope Ben inherited from John Paul II, who is on the fast track to sainthood.

     The sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church is not only a problem with the hierarchy, but also of the church-going laity.  Folks at the bottom of the Catholic power chain are turning a blind eye to Pope Benedict's participation in certain cases of reshuffling and/or refusing to punish sexually abusive priests

     They are echoing the words of Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., the hypocrite who thinks the Catholic Church knows what's best for children and parenting, and Archbishop Timothy Dolan, another aspiring American bishop hoping to make the college of cardinals.  I guarantee you that after the way they've been obediently defending the pope, they will be cardinals within a couple years.

     As I've said before, the Catholics in the pews, who continue to turn a blind eye to sexual abuse and the failures of those at the highest levels of authority in the church to properly deal with sexual predators, are now complicit participants in any future crimes committed and/or covered up by clergy in the name of holy dysfunctional Mother church's god.

Parishioners at St. Matthew's Cathedral, Washington, D.C., support their pope.
 
Future Cardinal Dolan of New York supports his pope, while stroking his crosier.
 
One of the leading candidates to be the next pope, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, defends Pope Benedict's abuse record and calls him an "unfailing" leader.
 
Another case of the Vatican (under Pope Ben/Ratzinger) taking years to defrock a repeat-offending-pedophile-priest is exposed, this time in Tucson, Arizona.
 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pope Resigns Himself to Name-Calling: His Reaction to Sexual Abuse Allegations, "Petty Gossip of Dominant Opinion"

     The pope resigned yesterday, Palm Sunday, Passion Sunday, the day that Christians around the world celebrate Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem on the back of an ass.  Well he's riding the back of a different ass now.  Denying his culpability in the sexual abuse scandal, Pope Benedict XVI resigned himself to forever be the ass of the mystical body of Jesus Christ.

     Yesterday, before thousands of people gathered at St. Peter's Square and billions of eyes watching from around the world, Pope Benedict squandered an opportunity to witness to Jesus of Nazareth's words, to admit his  failings to properly act in the face of clergy-perpetuated sexual abuse, to confess that he acted immorally and selfishly at the expense of innocent children he was sworn to protect, and to accept the burden of the cross of his church's failure to deal sufficiently with the sexual abuse of their precious children.  After all, Ben preaches a Jesus who said that the truth will set one free.     

     Instead, Pope Ben avoided any direct address of the sexual abuse scandal in which he's drowning, denying its reality.  He even invoked his god to justify his Christ-like actions.  The Guardian reports:
     The pope said that faith in God helped lead one "towards the courage of not allowing oneself to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion".
     "The petty gossip of dominant opinion:" that is Hypocrite Benedict's response to the growing mountain of documents that have been uncovered in the past week that directly tie him to two failures to reprimand priest-pedophiles, one of whom Benedict allowed to return to ministry, where the priest continued to molest children.

     Catholics believe that Jesus sacrificed himself out of love for the forgiveness of sins of all sinners. What could be more fitting than the pope acting in his savior’s image and taking upon himself the sins of all the pedophile clerics and religious and of all the corrupt bishops who sacrificed the dignity and safety of children for to preserve the unblemished image of the church, under the guise of scandal control?

     Catholics believe that the church is the mystical body of Jesus Christ, that they are each a part of this body, and are a communal entity.  What could be more fitting than the pope, who is the earthly representative of Jesus Christ, the head of this mystical body, taking responsibility for his hands and penis that have been fondling and raping innocent children, while the head and nervous system cover it up?   Or, is the body divided against itself?  Do the children not count?  Benedict is the ultimate authority of the church.  He can delegate power, but not responsibility.  Is not the head not responsible for its parts?  

     Catholics believe that Jesus, when attacked, turned the other cheek.  How often do the people in the pews have this one preached at them?  Yet, instead of offering the other cheek, their beloved pope spits in the face of reality and the people who are calling him to atone for his sins.  Of course, looking at the various “woes” in the Sermon on the Mount and the flipping of tables in the Temple, Jesus didn't always turn the other cheek. But those actions were done in the face of confronting religious hypocrisy, and in Jesus’ mind justified.  So Benedict and the Vatican's brood probably feel justified when flipping over chairs in the news media.  

     Still, Benedict is the hypocrite here.  The news media is doing their job.  It's their job to seek the truth, to report the facts.  The pages uncovered by the New York Times last week show that Benedict is culpable.  In the face of Benedict's religious hypocrisy and his putting the needs of the Temple before the needs of the children, why aren’t Catholics flipping tables in the Vatican and their local churches?  Where is the outcry? 

     Instead, the faithful are applauding their leaders, like Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York who is praising Benedict for his great leadership, reform, and renewal. (See the embedded video below for Dolan's comments and the ascent of the people.)  Dolan is no fool.  If he wants to make Cardinal, he needs to stand by his man.  He's in this for himself.  If the pope doesn't retire, Dolan will be rewarded with a promotion.  If the pope does go down, the next guy to come in will know that Dolan is a company man, who does whatever it takes to support the institution, even if it means throwing sexual abuse victims and the truth under the Palm Sunday procession.

     Unlike Jesus, who according to Christian tradition is sinless, Pope Benedict is not without sin.  There is nothing in Catholic theology that would indicate that the pope is incapable of sin, even the doctrine of infallibility does not claim this.  So why are so many Catholics afraid of Benedict admitting his culpability in the scandal?  Why is Benedict slapping back, protecting his varicose-veined cheeks?   

     Catholics are guilty of what they call the sin of idolatry: their church and their pope have become idols.  If the pope takes the fall, many Catholics will be left without their faith in the papacy, the Vatican, and the church.  Catholics have so identified these exterior realities with the theological and mystical body of Jesus Christ that they no longer see a difference between the two.  They have come to believe that if the pope is sinful, if the church is flawed, then their faith will crumble.  There's too much at stake.  So, they applaud the pope and join in his chorus of No. 

     No, I will not apologize.  No, I did nothing wrong.  No, the world is trying to destroy us with its "petty gossip" and "popular opinion."  No, no, no, no!  

     If Benedict wants to save his beloved institution, if he want to return any credibility to the gospel that is founded upon the death of his innocent savior, and if he wants the vast majority of human beings in the world to view his church with any sort of seriousness, he must step down and take with him the other cardinals and archbishops, who have any ties to the sexual abuse scandal.  

     This sacrifice will no doubt be compared to Jesus' coming Good Friday sacrifice: the innocent lamb slain for the forgiveness of sinners.  Benedict's sacrifice will not be that of an innocent for the sake of the guilty, but of the guilty for the sake of the innocent children and adults who have been raped and pillaged in the name of the Catholic god and its idols.

     The truth is out.  Unless Benedict acts swiftly, transparently, and wholly, the truth will not set the Catholic church free.  

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Archbishop Dolan Defends Pope Benedict amid Sex Abuse Scandal, even though the Vatican Still Blames the U.S. and Ireland

     The pope "is seen as one 'who gets it' when it comes to the horror of clergy sexual abuse," Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York wrote in a blog this week. "Who can forget his forthright references to this scourge at least half a dozen times in his visit to our country nearly two years ago, and his moving meeting with victim-survivors? And now we have his blunt, realistic pastoral letter to Ireland on the crises there. He must be asking, as we all do, 'When will it all end?'"
     I'm sorry, +Tim.  If the pope is really someone who gets it, then why is the Vatican denying the written word of correspondence, which shows that the pope has a history of not getting it?  If he "got it" would he not specifically admit his personal sins in dealing with the sexual abuse crisis instead of pointing fingers at the Irish and American bishops?  Pope Ben should know how to be specific in his language of admitting wrongs.  Is he not a lifetime practitioner of the sacrament of reconciliation?

     As for Ben's "forthright references to this scourge" and "meeting with victim-survivors," these actions and words seem to have lost their sincerity and luster, now that we know Ben's been covering his own tracks and the tracks that other clerics have left on the sexual development of Catholic children for decades.  In light of what has been revealed about Ben's involvement in the scandal these past few weeks, everything Ben said from two years ago is meaningless deception.

     As for the number of these "forthright references," +Tim, you say that Ben made half a dozen.  Considering that there were roughly 3000 cases of sexual abuse reported to the Vatican in the past decade alone, over half of which were not prosecuted in the church, Ben's half a dozen apologies don't seem sufficient.  That's roughly one apology for every fifty abuse cases, a far cry from what seems more reasonable to me: seventy times seven, per victim, per incident of abuse.

     +Tim, a "realistic pastoral letter to Ireland," are you serious?  The Pope took no personal responsibility in the letter.  You can delegate power, but not responsibility.  The pope is the temporal head of the church, which sees itself as the Body of Christ.  Without the head taking responsibility for his limbs, there is neither realism nor sincerity in the mouth's words.

    As for putting thoughts into Ben's head, he probably is thinking "When will it all end?" so that he can go back to being deified and presented with children by parents desperate for the Holy Father's kiss upon their children's souls (not to mention their virginal lips).

     The Times reported a second U.S. cleric's defense of the pope:

     Father Thomas J. Reese, a Jesuit priest who is a senior research fellow at Georgetown University, said of the pope: "If you look at some of his early quotes, it's clear that he didn't quite get it, nor did anyone else in the church at that time. But he did grow. . . . He learned and came to understand the seriousness of this problem a lot faster than a lot of other people in the Vatican, including Pope John Paul II. And he's been a lot better on this than John Paul II."
      That's like saying Stalin was a lot better on human rights than Hitler.

     In the most telling of quotes in the Times article, we have a flashback quotation, from 1993, when Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls spoke out about the crisis of clergy sexually abusing children in the United States.
    "One would have to ask if the real culprit is not a society that is irresponsibly permissive, hyper-inflated with sexuality [and] capable of creating circumstances that induce even people who have received a solid moral formation to commit grave moral acts," he said.
     Hypocrite Benedict and his buddy Navarro-Valls need to eat their words.  It seems that the real culprit is a church society that is irresponsibly permissive of what happens behind closed doors, hyper-inflated with guilt and repression of sexuality, and capable of circumstances that induce even clerics who have received a solid moral seminary formation to commit grave immoral acts. 

Image Credits:
Archbishop Dolan from Roman Catholic Vocations
Pope Benedict Kissing a Child on the Lips from Joe. My. God.