Showing posts with label Vatican. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vatican. Show all posts

Monday, September 17, 2012

Catholic Bishop Conlon Reinstates Priest Who Abused a 14-Year-Old, Because According to the Vatican That Was OK in the 70s

Bishop R. Daniel Conlon, chair of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops' Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, has once again shown that he and the bishops are failing to correct past mistakes and crimes surrounding the handling of sexually abusive priests.  The Vatican backs them up on this.


Bishop Conlon's spokesperson told the Chicago Tribune that the decision to reinstate Rev. F. Lee Ryan "had been difficult."  I wonder how difficult it's been for Ryan's victim to hear this news:
"He will not return to (full) ministry, but he is being permitted (a) very narrow ministry," the statement said. "This was a very difficult decision. I believe it respects the law of the Church and protects children."  (Chicago Tribune)
Father Ryan's (partial?) ministry that "protects children" will be visiting the homebound parishioners of two parishes in Watseka and Crescent City, IL.  Apparently in Bishop Conlon's universe, children don't live in the homes of sick people.  

Church officials said the man's complaint was assessed by a local review board, then sent to the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Catholic officials in Rome decided that because of church law in the 1970s, which stated that 14 was the age of consent, Ryan did not commit a serious crime by the church's standards and could not be permanently removed from ministry, a spokesman for Bishop R. Daniel Conlon said.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests criticized the diocese for allowing Ryan to return to some of his duties as a priest.  "This is a shocking and dangerous move by Bishop Conlon," SNAP said, noting that the bishop leads the U.S. Catholic bishops' committee on sexual abuse. "What part of 'one strike and you're out' do Catholic officials not understand?"
Apparently, every part.

The age of sexual consent in the Vatican is 12.  Yes, 12, but there are some exceptions that bump it up to 15.  Here's a link to The Daily Dish that expounds upon this absurdity.

How convenient for the Catholic hierarchy that a U.S. District Court recently ruled that the Vatican is not the employer of Catholic priests.  The Vatican can't be held accountable in U.S. courts for its priests' perpetration of sexual abuse against minors.  But when it comes to reinstating sexually abusive priests, the U.S. bishops determine whether a crime really took place using the Vatican's outdated age of consent.  How sweet it is for the Catholic hierarchy to eat its cake.

Next up, reinstating those priests found guilty of child-porn charges before May 3, 2011.  That was the date the Vatican allowed the USCCB to apply the federal legal age defining child pornography (under 18) to local church law, as opposed to Vatican child-porn, which is under 14.  You can read about this in the bishops' inappropriately named Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.  



Boston Archdiocese Continues to Pay Salary to Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse; Vatican Unwilling to Defrock

This is an interview on Radio Boston concerning Rev. James Foley, who was accused of sexual abuse in 1999.

Over the past thirteen years, Foley has received his priestly salary, even after the Archdiocese of Boston settled the abuse suit and another victim came forward.

Meanwhile, those of us priests, who were whistle-blowers over the past decade, were turned out without pay.

Foley remains a priest.  This interview discusses how the Vatican and the U.S. bishops have not yet removed Foley from priesthood.  I wonder how many priests, who left to get married since 1999, have been successfully laicized by the Vatican?

Friday, January 21, 2011

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?)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Leering Pope Benedict Gives Half-Naked Male Acrobats a Standing Ovation--But He's Not Gay

     What would you do if you opened today's window on your iPad Roman Catholic Advent calendar and found this?
     What a great early Christmas present!


    Is this proper activity for the sanctuary?  I hope they removed the Blessed Sacrament.


   But remember: none of those smiling and/or fearful cardinals watching and applauding is gay.  And neither is the scrutinizing and standing-ovation-eager Pope Benedict.  


     Postscript:  Those towel-waving nuns are definitely straight.

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.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pope Benedict Concedes Condom Use (for Male Prostitutes)

      There's big news coming from the Vatican.  


     The BBC reports  (My comments are interspersed.):
     The book - Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times - is based on a series of interview [sic] the Pope gave the German Catholic journalist, Peter Seewald, earlier this year.
     Note: what Pope Ben said in the interviews with Seewald are not official Catholic teachings.  If the pope's following comments are to be "official," an encyclical is in order.
     When asked whether the Catholic Church was not opposed in principle to the use of condoms, the Pope replied: "She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality."
     Click on the links on "different," "more human," and "living sexuality" to see how Pope Ben's celibate own have done such a fantastic job of living hypocritically.
     The Pope gives the example of the use of condoms by male prostitutes as "a first step towards moralisation", even though condoms are "not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection."
     This is a very good thing.  Now the Vatican's male prostitutes will no longer be infecting Catholic clerics, who are in town for "business" and/or "pilgrimage."  Perhaps the pope's decision was economic.  Has the global recession been that rough on Vatican tourism?
     He says that the "sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalisation of sexuality" where sexuality is no longer an expression of love, "but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves."
     As I've observed in my experience of priesthood, the drugs of choice for conservative Catholic clerics are ignorance and fear.  Now, Ben has one less fear: getting HIV from one of his choir boys.

     Ten years after the Kansas City Star exposed the death rate for Catholic priests dying from AIDS as four times higher than the U.S. population, nearly three decades after medical professionals began advocating condom usage to curb the spread of HIV, and after decades of the Vatican's stubborn ignorance and fear pushing against WHO's anti-HIV efforts around the world, maybe Pope Ben and the Catholic Church are finally going to enter the 1980s .

     But how many thousands have been unnecessarily infected in the meanwhile?

Monday, September 6, 2010

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."

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Catholic Church Puts Ordaining Women in the Same Category of Crime as Child Sexual Abuse by Clerics

     Ordain a Catholic woman and go to hell.  Rape a child and go to confession.
     
     Here's a quick and sick update in Vatican politics and Canon Law.

     The Vatican today made the "attempted ordination" of women one of the gravest crimes under church law, putting it in the same category as clerical sex abuse of minors, heresy and schism.
     The new rules, which have been sent to bishops around the world, apply equally to Catholic women who agree to a ceremony of ordination and to the bishop who conducts it. Both would be excommunicated. Since the Vatican does not accept that women can become priests, it does not recognise the outcome of any such ceremony.
     The latest move, which appeared to bar and bolt the door to Catholic women priests, came at a time when the Church of England moved in the opposite direction, to a step closer to the ordination of female bishops.
     The Guardian's claim that this move by the Vatican puts ordaining women in the same category as a cleric raping children is not exactly correct.  While both may be categorized as "grave crimes," from what I understand, a priest can still rape children, sexually assault parishioners and a bishop can cover it all up, and neither of them will be automatically excommunicated.  But if a woman attempts ordination, anathema sit.

     Someone who is excommunicated is said to have removed themselves from communion with the Catholic Church.  They are no longer allowed to receive the sacraments and their god's grace, which means they are going to hell.  

     So, if you are a woman and get ordained a Catholic priest, you will go to hell.  If you are Catholic priest and rape a little girl, you will go to confession and be welcomed back into the fold and on your way to paradise.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Catholic Church's Condom & HIV Hypocrisy


     A little reminder of what religion, god, and healthcare can do when combined courtesy of an old Guardian article:
     The Catholic Church is telling people in countries stricken by Aids not to use condoms because they have tiny holes in them through which HIV can pass - potentially exposing thousands of people to risk.
     The church is making the claims across four continents despite a widespread scientific consensus that condoms are impermeable to HIV.  A senior Vatican spokesman backs the claims about permeable condoms, despite assurances by the World Health Organisation that they are untrue.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

An Interview with a Survivor of Sexual Abuse Perpetrated by a Catholic Priest

     Here are some highlights from a Huffington Post interview of one of the first victims of child sexual abuse by priests to come forward nearly a decade ago, suing the Roman Catholic Church.  Titled "The Man Who Brought Down the Catholic Church," the interview delves into the perspective and experience of abuse-survivor "Princess" and provides a window into the church's hypocrisy and lies from the perspective of one, who was deeply damaged by the church.

     On the explosion of sexual exploitation on all levels -- pornography, prostitution, etc. -- and the hypocrisy of the Marriott-owning Mormons.
     Yeah, the media always uses sexuality to sell products, and the one thing in this country no one wants to talk about is that children are sexual beings. People are very uncomfortable with that and would prefer to ignore that reality. Still, companies, mainstream companies, have long used children by exploiting them sexually. Think of Brooke Shields' ad ["Nothing comes between me and my Calvins."]. She was what, 14 in that ad? That was very controversial in 1979, '80. I think it's not new, but yeah, people don't look at how come when you check into any Marriott Hotel, you can see all this porn, and yet they're Mormons. They're very conservative, but they're making money in porn. Most hotel chains do that. No one wants to really address it. They want it to go away, they want to sweep it under the rug.
     On the Catholic Church's contrition and continuing lies:
     But I mean, the Catholic Church continues to this day to lie about what they know and what they allowed. These press releases the Vatican has been handing out the last couple of months just shows them all to be bigger liars than ever.  But I mean, if you think about it, priests, the Catholic Church, they're not supposed to be having sex, and yet they're giving advice about experiences they're not supposed to know about. Which sort of makes no sense.  I don't believe for a minute that they're sincere or sorry that these crimes have been committed, and continue to be committed. I mean, they had seven hospitals in the United States built in the 1960s housing pedophile priests. And yet in 2002, and up to today, they claim that they didn't know the extent of the problem.
     On the public's perception and/or indifference to sexual abuse:
     I don't think that people, in general, realize the long-term effects that it has on people. I think some people think just, okay, that happened 20, 40 years ago. Buck up, things happen. Be a man, or be a woman. I think one of the reasons they have that reaction is society. Nobody wants to talk about it, because most people know someone who's been sexually abused, and a lot know someone in their family, or whatever, that has sexually abused someone
     I don't think they understand it completely, the general public. I think a lot of people want it to go away because it's ugly. They don't want to look at it or hear about it, and I don't think they want to -- I don't think a lot of people want to be educated about the subject matter, just because it's so distasteful. People don't want to hear about children being raped and how that impacts lives down the road. And it's scary, and it could be their children. I know it's one of the reasons they should hear about it, but I think it's one of the reasons that makes them uncomfortable.
     For the entire interview, click here.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Catholic Nuns and Priests Attack Goldman Sachs on Transparency Issues

     Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,' when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother's eye.  -Jesus of Nazareth, Luke 6:41-42
     Sure, the executives at Goldman Sachs are despicable and deserve to be held accountable for their crimes, but when the Catholic Church attacks Goldman Sachs on issues of transparency, accountability, and excessive wealth and the Church's priests and nuns are ignorant enough to agree to an interview with one of the Daily Show's moles, isn't it time to hang up the cassock and surplice?
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Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy Holy Flag Day

U.S. Supreme Court flying the Vatican and Israeli flags.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pope Concludes Year for Priests by Demanding Forgiveness, Admitting No Personal Wrongdoing, and Focusing Inward

     The Catholic Church's "Year for Priests" came to close at a mass celebrated by Pope Benedict, the Enabler, earlier today at the Vatican. As anticipated, the pope mentioned "the abuse of little ones" and promised "to do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again."

     However, he offered no plan other than more of the same:  prayers to his god and promises to weed abusers out of the seminaries (a.k.a. in Vatican-speak, get rid of the gays).

     He took no personal responsibility for his role in covering-up and mishandling abusive priests and bishops that enabled pedophile-priests to rape and assault children.

     Focusing on his own needs and the needs of the abusive clerics and bishops instead of the victims, benevolent Ben begged "the persons involved," meaning those raped, abused, and bullied by priests and bishops in their god's name, to forgive the church. 

     Because nothing says pastoral care like demanding the forgiveness of those who've been abused and raped.

     “We, too, insistently beg forgiveness from God and from the persons involved, while promising to do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again,” Benedict told thousands of priests and faithful gathered in Saint Peter’s Square for celebrations marking the end of the Vatican’s Year of the Priest.
     The pope’s remarks did not substantively go beyond what he had already said in a letter to Irish Catholics in March and in a private meeting with victims of sex abuse on Malta in April, but it was the first time Benedict had mentioned the crisis from Saint Peter’s Basilica, the heart of the church itself, and on an occasion focused on priests.
     “In this very year of joy for the sacrament of the priesthood, the sins of priests came to light — particularly the abuse of the little ones,” the pope said.
     He added, “In admitting men to priestly ministry and in their formation we will do everything we can to weigh the authenticity of their vocation and make every effort to accompany priests along their journey, so that the Lord will protect them and watch over them in troubled situations and amid life’s dangers.” The pope did not mention any specific actions the church was planning to take to combat abuse, as some had hoped, and victims’ groups said Benedict’s remarks did not go far enough.

     My other favorite moments came when Ben used the biblical cliche of the priest being a shepherd and using his rod and staff to guide the vulnerable, stupid flock to their god (Psalm 23).  He mixes his psalms and then quotes Fr. Mustache's favorite, Psalm 139, speaking of "the 'darkest valley' through which the Lord leads" his followers. Who better to understand a priest's use of his rod and staff and Jesus' dark valley than those raped by priests? 

     Nothing says "god loves you and is always with you" like having a priest's rod ripping up one's childhood and adolescent "dark valley."  

     Ben returned to Psalm 23's rod/staff imagery, and speaks of the use of the rod to fight and punish heretics to lead them back to the correct path of the church. Yes, priests should use violence to keep their stupid flock in order. It worked for Georg

     It's a historical fact that shepherds used their rods to break the legs of their wandering sheep to prevent them from getting away. What a loving image and how respectful of free will! (I once had a classmate in seminary get scolded for talking about this violent image during a homily.  A shepherd breaking his lambs' legs to control them roving was off limits, but a father slaughtering his innocent son on tree was beautiful.)

     Continuing with the Psalm 23 imagery, Ben focused on the anointing of one's head with oil and relates it to the eating of Jesus body and blood at the Mass, in which the priest stands in the person of Jesus. What is more sexual than rubbing oil all over one's head and talking of eating someone's body?

     The conclusion of Ben's grand homily to close the Year for Priests and address the sexual abuse/rape scandal in the church was an inward focus on his own needs and the needs of his priests:
     Give us life, make us live from you as our source, and grant that we too may be sources, wellsprings capable of bestowing the water of life in our time. We thank you for the grace of the priestly ministry. Lord bless us, and bless all those who in our time are thirsty and continue to seek. Amen.
     It's all about Ben. It's all about the priests and their wellsprings.  I think they've sprayed enough.

     I'd like to declare this coming year "The Year for Those Fucked by the Church," but it seems that Pope Ben, self-serving bishops, and pedophile priests celebrate that one every year.

Catholic Relics, Pope Ben Prays with a Piece of a Dead Human Heart

     A year ago when Pope Benedict declared the "Year for Priests," he quoted the Curé of Ars (no comment), John Mary (no comment) Vianney, patron saint of priests, saying:
     A few moments ago, in the Choir Chapel, I was able to venerate the relic of the saintly Curé of Ars: his heart. A heart that blazed with divine love, experienced amazement at the thought of the dignity of the priest, and spoke to the faithful in touching and sublime tones, telling them that “after God [sic], the priest is everything! ... Only in heaven will he fully realize what he is.”
     If you are unfamiliar with Catholic lingo, Pope Ben's proclamation might seem strange.  What does it mean to "venerate" a "relic"?  No.  It's not a sexual euphemism, although who knows how the mind of an enabler of child rapists works.

     A relic is a piece of dead person, who Catholics believe is a saint (meaning s/he went to heaven).  Catholics have so much respect for their holy deceased that they exhume saints' decomposing bodies from the ground.  They take these "earthen vessels" that their scriptures call "temples of the Holy Spirit" (meaning vessels for god) and chop them up or carve out little pieces of bone, fingernails, or in the case of Pope Ben's relic of John Mary Vianney, organ meat (a.k.a. "A heart that blazed with divine love.")

     Catholics also cover their exhumed saints' bodies with preservatives and put their heads, limbs, bodily fluids, or entire body, if it's still in tact, on display for all to see.  (Seriously, I've seen the decapitated head of Sir Oliver Plunkett in Ireland and the the plastered body of John Henry Neumann in Philadelphia.  I haven't eaten beef jerky since.)

     Back to the relics.  After chopping up holy and dead Catholics, the pieces of their beloved are then packaged into containers made of precious metals and sold by the church to priests, parishes, and individuals to be embedded in church altars, stored in drawers by those with a collective fetish for pieces of dead Catholics, and most importantly to be prayed before.

     Catholics only worship and pray to their one god, but it doesn't hurt to have a shriveled up piece of dead saint, whom one invokes by name, when hoping for the cosmic vending machine to bend the laws of physics, science, and medicine to one's will.
     If you are still confused by the concept of relics, watch an old Star Trek: the Next Generation or Star Trek: Deep Space 9 episode in which Ferengi death rituals are portrayed.  This will clarify everything.  I wonder how much latinum the Grand Nagus is bringing in these days.

     And remember that when you're praying, after god, the dried up piece of a dead priest's heart is everything.

     Postscript:

     Isn't it a miracle how St. John Mary Vianney's body was preserved?  Who knew that Madame Tussaud did better work than the Catholic god?  You can't  even tell that his heart is missing. 
Image from Godzdogz

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Priests Gather at Vatican to Celebrate the End of the Year for Priests and What a Year It's Been

     Catholic priests from around the world are gathering at the Vatican to celebrate the culmination of what Pope Benedict XVI christened "the Year for Priests" in the Roman Catholic Church.  It just wasn't the year that Benny and his self-congratulatory clerics had in mind last June when he made the proclamation.

     You can read the entire declaration by Pope Benedict made in June 2009 here, but this is my favortie line, in which Benny refers to and quotes the Curé of Ars (no comment), John Mary (no comment) Vianney, patron saint of priests:
     A few moments ago, in the Choir Chapel, I was able to venerate the relic of the saintly Curé of Ars: his heart. A heart that blazed with divine love, experienced amazement at the thought of the dignity of the priest, and spoke to the faithful in touching and sublime tones, telling them that “after God [sic], the priest is everything! ... Only in heaven will he fully realize what he is.”
     What sexual abuse scandal?  Pedopope?  Bah.  It's been a year to celebrate the holiness of the divinely revealed patriarchal system that rules the Catholic masses.  "After God [sic], the priest is everything!" Wasn't that the same line that Fr. Murphy in Wisconsin used to seduce and rape nearly 200 deaf children?

     But, I digress.  It was a year to for Catholics to praise their god/priests, and what a better time to do this than in the midst of a scandal in which the last two popes, who are the head of the heads of these divine priestly vessels, the firsts among equals, who stand in the person of Jesus Christ, embodying his ultimate sacrifice and suffering before feeding the masses with his flesh and are everything after god itself, have been exposed for working together to cover-up and enable child rapists.  Yes, there is no better time than for the church's pointy-hatted cocks to pat one another's straight, celibate backs than now.

     NPR reports:
     Welcoming priests from all over the world, the Vatican No. 2, Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said revelations of hundreds of cases of clerical sex abuse show the need for spiritual renewal.
     You remember Cardinal Bertone.  The last time he got such international press was in April, when he said that gays were to blame for pedophilia and there was scientific evidence to prove it.  Yes, Bertone, a man of and for the closeted-gay priesthood, not to mention Medieval divining.
Picture by NPR
     But not all Catholics joined in Bertone's celebration.  Some gathered in protest.  NPR continues:
     ...a group of American, German, Canadian and English women marched in St. Peter's Square and chanted their demands that women be ordained.  They wore purple stoles — the symbol for female priests; some even had Roman collars. Their protest lasted about a minute before Vatican police made them leave.  Earlier, the women had denounced the Vatican for honoring priests while the clerical sex abuse scandal is raging.
     "The Vatican is all too happy to turn a blind eye when men in its ranks destroy the lives of children and families, but jumps at the chance to excommunicate women who are doing good works and responding to injustice and the needs of their communities," said Erin Saiz Hanna, executive director of the U.S.-based Women's Ordination Conference.  Under church doctrine, women who attempt to be ordained are automatically excommunicated.
     Hypocrisy is a bitch, and Mother Church is the biggest bitch of them all.

     Also protesting were members of the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP).  They demanded that Pope Ben and the bishops turn all criminal evidence of abuse and cover-up over to civil authorities, that Ben account for his own participation in the cover-up of abuse, and that John Paul II's path to sainthood be halted until an independent commission investigates his role in the cover-up and mishandling of sexual abuse.  The SNAP spokesperson told NPR:
     "These clerics and priests that assaulted us may have stolen our bodies, but it is the bishops and archbishops and cardinals and the popes who stole our voice," Isely added.  There are two Pope Benedicts, according to Isely. One first dismissed the revelations as idle gossip. "But then there is the other Pope Benedict, and this is the one we are hopeful about, the one that said there is no forgiveness without justice," Isely said.  Many Vatican watchers wonder what, if anything, Pope Benedict will say in ceremonies Thursday and Friday about the scandal that has reached the Vatican's doorstep.
     Why people continue to wait for the pope to "do the right thing" is beyond me.  How many more years must those who've been raped, assaulted, abused, harassed, and/or blacklisted by clerics wait, while their perpetrators and those who enabled them are still being paid by the church, receiving sacraments, and some even practicing as priests, bishops, cardinals, and as pope?  How many more children will be sacrificed?

     Nothing short of Ben's personal acceptance of his responsibility, his resignation, and the resignation of the criminal cardinals and bishops like Mahony, Law, Levada, etc. will suffice.

A year for priests, indeed.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Maywood Catholic Church Vandalized, Police Call It a Hate Crime, which I Think Is an Apt Description of Sexual Abuse

     People are appalled and angry.  In Maywood, CA, (southeast of downtown Los Angeles), vandals broke into Santa Rosa de Lima Catholic Church and tore through the church's kitchen and auditorium.

     KTLA reports:
     "The vandalism was of a heinous nature, and in fact, consistent with a hate crime," department official said. The pastor told KTLA that he looked at surveillance video and it appears two young men broke into the church around 1 a.m. Monday.
     ABC7 reports:
     Investigators said the vandalism is extremely graphic, calling it heinous. They wrote 666 on the walls, stuck a knife through a painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe and took a cross and displayed it in a sacrilegious manner. Police said the suspects went as far as to defecate in the auditorium, located next to the kitchen.
     If you know anything about the vandalism call the Maywood-Cudahy Police Department at (323) 562-5005.

     Let me make myself very clear: I do not support breaking into churches and defecating in their auditoriums.  Breaking and entering, destruction of property, and doing anything with the hateful intention to inspire fear in a specific group of people are crimes.  I hope the people who did this are captured and brought to justice.

     Here's the thing: I want to see this kind of anger, shock, and call to urgency coming from Catholics and local newscasters when it comes to sexual abuse/rape of children.  The church building, the kitchen, the painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe that took a knife in the face, etc. are all just possessions.  They are things.  The only exception, according to Catholic belief, is the content of the tabernacle--the  consecrated hosts, which Catholics believe are Jesus Christ (who is obviously not claustrophobic).   From the news reports, the vandals did not desecrate this holy of holies.

     But, what of the holiest of all holies, the real flesh and blood of our children?  

    Why is it that newscasters and Catholics get so bent out of shape over possessions getting destroyed, but seem to distance themselves from feeling and even verbalizing any sort of anger about what pastors, bishops and popes have done unto their children in the name of their god?  


    Imagine if the newscasts on the church vandalism were rewritten as a report on child rape/sexual abuse in the Catholic church:  

     The vandalism was of a heinous nature, and in fact, consistent with a hate crime. The concerned Catholic reported to the police that priests enticed twelve year old boys/girls with promises of love, holiness, and eternal life, only to rape them. Investigators said the vandalism to the children's bodies and psyches is extremely graphic, calling it heinous. The priests ripped through the children's anal/vaginal walls, ejaculated on the faces of their virgin victims, and used the cross as a means of control, telling the children that they were seductive and bad and that they needed to ask Jesus for forgiveness.

     How's that for a sacrilegious hate crime?

     If you are offended by that, then good.  We need to be offended by what was and is being done unto children in the names of people's gods.  We need not to forget how extremely graphic and heinous child rape and sexual abuse are.  Those, who conspired to enable and cover-up for the perpetrators of these hate crimes against children and who bullied adult-victims that came forward, need to be brought to justice.

     If you know of a child that has been sexually abused, call 911.

Pictures of the vandalism are from KTLA; the protest, from Evidentia.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Australian Archbishop Coleridge Admits Catholic Church's Culture of Discretion Is One Cause of the Child Sexual Abuse Scandal

     Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Canberra, Australia, is trying to speak the truth.  Yesterday, while Christians around the world celebrated the "birth" of the church on Pentecost, Archbihop Coleridge released an open letter in which he attempted to explain what it is about Catholic culture that lead bishops, relgious, and lay to turn a blind eye to priest-perpetuated sexual abuse and rape if children.

     The Roman Catholic Church's culture of discretion and focus on "sin and forgiveness rather than crime and punishment" were among ingrained factors that ultimately led to the child sex abuse scandal and cover-up surrounding the church today, a pre-eminent Australian bishop said Monday. 
     Archbishop Mark Coleridge, whose archdiocese is based in the national capital of Canberra, took the unusual step of writing an open letter attempting to explain the culture that led the church to turn a blind eye to priests accused of molesting children.  Factors include a determination to protect the church's reputation, a culture of discretion, "institutionalized immaturity" of priests fostered by seminary training, and an outlook of "sin and forgiveness rather than crime and punishment," Coleridge wrote. 
     Broken Rites Australia, a support group for victims of clergy sex abuse, said the church's failing as outlined by Coleridge was unforgivable.  "The archbishop's comments show how the Catholic Church hierarchy have covered up sex abuse and dealt very badly with the victims," group president Chris MacIsacc said. "But there is no excuse for not understanding that rape, sodomy and child sex abuse is a crime. To be more concerned for the perpetrator of crime than the victim is unforgivable."
     Here are some excerpts from the Coleridge letter:
     Another factor was the Catholic Church’s culture of forgiveness which tends to view things in terms of sin and forgiveness rather than crime and punishment. But in the case of clerical abuse of the young, we are dealing with crime, and the Church has struggled to find the point of convergence between sin and forgiveness on the one hand and crime and punishment on the other. True, sin must be forgiven, but so too must crime be punished. Both mercy and justice must run their course, and do so in a way that converges. This relates to larger questions of how the Church sees her relationship with society more generally. We are “in the world but not of it”: but what precisely does that mean in the here and now? There is also the large question of the relationship between divine and human judgement. The Church insists that it is to God, not to human beings, that final judgement belongs. Yet how does that fit with the need for human judgement when we move within the logic of crime and punishment? We have been slow and clumsy, even at times culpable, in shaping our answer to such questions. 
     I have asked myself often enough who has been to blame in all this. Clearly the victims were not, though we have treated them at times as if they were. Just as clearly, the offenders were to blame and must bear the full weight of judgement both human and divine. The bishops? Yes, insofar as they concealed or denied the abuse.
     Coleridge concludes that Pope Benedict is the man to lead the Catholic church through the crisis, which I think is an unfortunate conclusion.  This conclusion undermines the entire letter, in which he called for clerics to be held accountable for their crimes.  I guess he doesn't consider the cases of alleged cover-up and denial of abuse at the hand (or signature) of Pope Benedict/Ratzinger as grounds for criminal investigation.  On that we disagree.

     Until, the pope resigns and is replaced with someone, who had no ties to cases of sexual abuse and cover-up, the Catholic church's credibility will be in question, especially in matters of child rape, sexual abuse, and transparency.