Full Version   Print   Search   Utenti   Join     Share : FacebookTwitter
Pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, [11], 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17
00Saturday, March 13, 2010 9:49 PM

Oh what a relief! To find something else other than the all-pedophilia-all-the-time storeis these days! NB: In the last post on the precedeing page (Flo's note), I have inserted my translation of the French article she indicated a few days ago about John Paul II's 'miracle nun'.

Book Review:
'The Development of the Liturgical Reform'

by Shawn Tribe

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Recently, Roman Catholic Books undertook the project of bringing a work by Msgr. Nicola Giampietro into the English language; a work which offers another account of the history of the 20th century liturgical reform, as seen through the eyes of Cardinal Ferdinando Antonelli by way of his personal diaries and notes, taken from the period of 1948 to 1970. I was very pleased to receive a copy of this last week.

This work can be understood as sitting in parallel to Archbishop Annibale Bugnini's (and, by extension, Archbishop Piero Marini's) own account of the 20th century liturgical reform (The Reform of the Liturgy: 1948-1975 and A Challenging Reform: Realizing the Vision of the Liturgical Renewal, 1963-1975), being a personal account of and response to those particular events, as seen from the eyes of one who was very close to the matter (indeed, directly involved in it) -- and offered from a different perspective.

The publication of this book has been welcomed by many as an important contribution which will help round out this history -- and of particular relevance for the reform of the reform movement.

No less a personage than Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger commented, in 2002 and in relation to the original edition, that this book "presents views that raise questions and provide considerable material for discussion about the liturgical reform before and after the Second Vatican Council."

Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, on the release of this English edition wrote to Msgr. Giampietro -- himself an official within the same Roman congregation -- noting:

This book is an important contribution to the study of the liturgical reforms of the twentieth century... because it makes available for the first time in English the papers of Father, later Cardinal, Antonelli, who was one of the protagonists of liturgical renewal in this period.

Antonelli embarked with considerable enthusiasm on the reform... and continued to participate in this project until 1970, when he felt that his moderate approach to liturgical renewal was abandoned.

In Antonelli's judgement, the lack of sound theological foundations made the Consilium... diverge significantly from the genuine renewal desired by the Second Vatican Council.

Finally, in his preface to the English edition, Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, the former Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, comments (in an essay that it is worth reading in its own right) that these writings "[help] us to understand the complex inner workings of the liturgical reform prior to and immediately following the Council." Ranjith continues further:

The penned notes of Cardinal Ferdinando Antonelli take on new significance. One of the most eminent and closely involved members of the Consilium which supervised the reform process. Cardinal Antonelli can help us to understand the inner polarizations that influenced the different decisions of the reform and help us to be courageous in improving or changing that which was erroneously introduced and which appears to be incompatible with the true dignity of the liturgy...

Cardinal Antonelli's notes reveal a man of great faith and of the Church struggling to come to terms with some of the inner currents which influenced the work involving the Consilium ad exsequendam Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia. What he wrote in these diaries reveal quite candidly his feelings of joy as well as of sorrow and at times of fear at the way things were being made to move along, the attitudes of some of the key players and the sense of adventurism which had characterized some of the changes that had been introduced...

Above all it is a timely study which would help us to see another side of the otherwise over-euphoric presentations of the conciliar reform by other contemporary authors.

The publication in English of this interesting study would, I am sure, contribute greatly to the ongoing debate on the post-conciliar liturgical reforms.

As is recognized by various parties, Antonelli is a name which many may not yet recognize in association with the liturgical reform, and so the first two chapters by Giampietro, which provide a biography of the Franciscan cardinal, as well as an account of his academic and liturgical formation, are certainly quite welcome and set some of the context for the rest of the book.

After this biographical section, the text gives consideration to the liturgical reforms pursued under Pius XII (including those of Holy Week). These are comprised of the following chapters:

* Preparatory Studies and Partial Attempts at a General Reform of the Liturgy under Pius XII
* The Reform of the Easter Vigil
* The Decree De Solemni Vigilia Paschali Instauranda
* The Liturgical Reform of Holy Week and the Ordo Hebdomadae Sanctae Instauratus

Following these sections, we then move into a consideration of the Conciliar period, with the preparation of Sacrosanctum Concilium:

* The Preparation of Sacrosanctum Concilium, 1960-1963
* Historical and Pastoral Reasons for the Liturgical Renewal
* From the Consilium ad exesequendam Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia to the Congregation for Divine Worship
* The Instruction Inter Oecumenici (1964)
* Antonelli's Personal Notes on the Development of the Reform (1968-1971)

In each of these chapters we are contextually guided through by the hand of Msgr. Giampietro, and provided with the accounts and reflections of Antonelli as these events were happening.

Noteworthy as well is a substantial appendix, "On the origin of the Pontifical Commission for the Reform of the Sacred Liturgy and on its work from 1948 to 1960" which presents the reader with some detailed accounts of the liturgical work and debates which were occurring in the period prior to the Council, inclusive of propositions tabled and discussions had by the likes not only of Antonelli, but then Msgr. Enrico Dante and the future Cardinal Bea.

These minutes provide fascinating insights and an illuminating picture which will certainly be of value and interest to those concerned with the subject of the 20th century liturgical reform, particularly in the period leading up to the Council.

Indeed, the entire work is valuable in this regard generally, for both the pre and post conciliar periods, and is most certainly an important addition to the corpus of available materials on this subject. For those who have an interest in this subject, and particularly for those who have already invested in Bugnini's and Marini's own accounts of these periods, this is certainly a must-have which will help to round out those works.

00Monday, March 15, 2010 4:22 PM

The latest Anglican community to request an Ordinariate is Canadian:

00Tuesday, March 16, 2010 10:27 PM

The Irish Bishops' Conference released this statement today:

Note from the Catholic Communications Office
to clarify media reporting on Cardinal Seán Brady

16 March 2010

•The State’s first Child Abuse Guidelines came into effect in 1987 and the Church’s first guidelines Child Sexual Abuse: Framework for a Church Response, were published in 1996.

•In late March 1975, Fr Seán Brady was asked by his bishop, Bishop Francis McKiernan, to conduct a canonical enquiry into an allegation of child sexual abuse which was made by a boy in Dundalk, concerning a Norbertine priest, Fr Brendan Smyth.

•Fr Brady was then a full-time teacher at St Patrick’s College, Cavan. Because he held a doctorate in Canon Law, Fr Brady was asked to conduct this canonical enquiry; however he had no decision-making powers regarding the outcome of the enquiry. Bishop McKiernan held this responsibility.

•On 29 March 1975, Fr Brady and two other priests interviewed a boy (14) in Dundalk. Fr Brady’s role was to take notes. On 4 April 1975, Fr Brady interviewed a second boy (15) in the Parochial House in Ballyjamesduff. On this occasion Fr Brady conducted the inquiry by himself and took notes.

•At the end of both interviews, the boys were asked to confirm by oath the truthfulness of their statements and that they would preserve the confidentiality of the interview process. The intention of this oath was to avoid potential collusion in the gathering of the inquiry’s evidence and to ensure that the process was robust enough to withstand challenge by the perpetrator, Fr Brendan Smyth.

•A week later Fr Brady passed his findings to Bishop McKiernan for his immediate action.

•Eight days later, on 12 April 1975, Bishop McKiernan reported the findings to Fr Smyth’s Religious Superior, the Abbot of Kilnacrott. The specific responsibility for the supervision of Fr Smith’s activities was, at all times, with his Religious Superiors. Bishop McKiernan withdrew Brendan Smyth’s priestly faculties and advised psychiatric intervention.

Irish Catholic leader won't quit
over 1970s case of priest abuse

by Shawn Pogatchnik

DUBLIN, March 16 (AP) -- Ireland's senior Roman Catholic, Cardinal Sean Brady, says he will not resign despite admitting he helped the church collect evidence against a child-molesting priest - and never told police about the crimes.

Brady, as a priest and Vatican-trained canon lawyer in 1975, said Monday he interviewed two children about the abuse they suffered at the hands of the Rev. Brendan Smyth. He said both children were required to sign oaths promising not to tell anyone outside the Church of their allegations.

Smyth went on to molest and rape scores of other children in Ireland, Britain and the United States before British authorities in neighboring Northern Ireland demanded his arrest in 1994. The Irish government of the day collapsed amid acrimony over why Smyth was not quickly extradited to Belfast.

Brady admitted his role in gathering evidence against Smyth because he has been named as a defendant in a current Dublin lawsuit filed by one of Smyth's female victims. Lawyers in that case unearthed records of Brady's involvement in gathering testimony from two Irish boys abused by Smyth.

Irish newspapers had identified the victims as a 10-year-old altar boy and a 14-year-old girl. But Martin Long, Brady's spokesman, told The Associated Press that both victims were boys.

Brady said it was the responsibility of his diocesan bishop, as well as the leader of Smyth's separate Catholic order of priests, to tell police. But he said the Church didn't do this because of "a culture of silence about this, a culture of secrecy."

"Yes, I knew that these were crimes," Brady said. "But I did not feel that it was my responsibility to denounce the actions of Brendan Smyth to the police. Now I know with hindsight that I should have done more, but I thought at the time I was doing what I was required to do."

Smyth abused at least 90 children in Ireland, Britain and in U.S. parishes in Rhode Island and North Dakota from 1948 to 1993.

His Irish religious order, the Norbertines, gave him sanctuary in the Republic of Ireland in 1991 after one Belfast family told Northern Ireland police he had molested four of the family's children.

After his delayed 1994 arrest and extradition north, Smyth spent three years in a Northern Ireland prison. In 1997 he pleaded guilty to 74 counts of sexually abusing 20 boys and girls between 1958 and 1993 in the Republic of Ireland. He died of a heart attack in an Irish military prison one month into his 12-year sentence.

Several of Smyth's Irish and American victims said Monday they couldn't believe that Brady had known since 1975 about Smyth's pedophilia.

Helen McGonigle, 48, who says Smyth repeatedly molested her four decades ago in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, said the Irish cardinal "sat on this information for 35 years" and was admitting it now only because of the Dublin lawsuit.

"He has absolutely no excuses for that, none whatsoever. He is protecting the hierarchy of the church itself and not protecting children," said McGonigle, who is suing the church in Rhode Island.

And an Irish lawmaker, Roisin Shortall, said the cardinal was "hopelessly compromised" and may have been guilty of taking part in a criminal conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

"It is bad enough that children should have been abused by a priest, but it is almost beyond belief that these children should also have been required to take an oath that they would not disclose the abuse to anyone," she said.

Ireland's leading lobby group for victims of Catholic child abuse, One in Four, said Brady had demonstrated appalling judgment.

"One does not need to be a learned theologian or an ordained priest to appreciate how grievously wrong it is to silence young children to protect a sex offender," said One in Four director Maeve Lewis. "People from every walk of life would instinctively know that such a course of action is completely misguided, and would also know that it is illegal to collude to protect a criminal."

Brady said he would resign as leader of Ireland's 4 million Catholics only if Pope Benedict XVI asked him to go.

The Pontiff so far has failed to accept the 3-month-old resignation offers of three other Irish bishops who have been implicated in Catholic abuse cover-ups in Dublin.

The reform-minded Dublin archbishop, Diarmuid Martin, had pressed for all three to go, but other Irish bishops have criticized Martin for not adequately defending the Church against outside attack.

Instead, the Pope is expected to publish a pastoral letter soon to the Irish people. Irish church leaders, who have been helping to draft its contents, expect the letter to be distributed at Masses throughout Ireland at Easter next month.

A top Vatican official, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, forecast that the Pope would speak with a "clear and decisive voice" in the letter.

The Vatican is on the defensive over an ever-widening array of child-abuse scandals in other European countries, particularly the pope's homeland of Germany. Since January about 300 Germans [I thought the number so far was 170!] have come forward to allege that priests assaulted, molested or raped them in Catholic boarding schools.

On Monday, the Munich archdiocese - which Benedict oversaw from 1977 to 1982 - announced that a priest originally convicted of sexually abusing children in 1986 has been suspended from pastoral duties because he had broken a promise not to have contact with minors. [At least this AP story has the dates for Cardinal Ratzinger's Munich tenure right this time. In a previous story, it said he was Archbishop until 1986/]

00Friday, March 19, 2010 4:05 PM

CDF and FSSPX hold third
doctrinal session tomorrow

Translated from

ROME - Representatives of the Holy See and and the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X (Lefebvrians) will have their third meeting tomorrow, March 20.

Earlier sessions to thresh out doctrinal questions regarding Vatican II were held in October and January.

Last January, Benedict XVI told the plenary assembly of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - under whom the discussions are taking place - that he hoped the discussions would end well, and lead to the reintegration of the traditionalist group into full communion with Rome.

Mons. Bernard Fellay, superior-general of the FSSPX, said a few days ago that "it was very important that the discussions be held in a calm atmosphere". So far, the Lefebvrians have said the talks are going well and that the CDF theologians who are meeting with them have a positive attitude.

00Friday, March 19, 2010 9:54 PM
The Church Should Resist Mood For A Wider Inquiry
In Ireland last week we were all informed by the media that Cardinal Brady had kept this secret but that finally at long last in 2010 a newspaper had exclusively obtained this damaging information. Only a few days ago it was revealed that the police also knew but the story got little play.


By David Quinn

Friday March 19 2010

Consider please, the vagaries of journalism. It now transpires that in 1997, which is to say, 13 years ago, 'The Sunday Mirror' broke the story that Archbishop Sean Brady -- as he was then -- had dealings with the Fr Brendan Smyth case 22 years before.

Why didn't that story generate the same amount of outrage and publicity then, as it is doing now? Today, it is being treated as a stunning revelation, a bolt from the blue, an exclusive.

Journalists could have picked up that story back in 1997 had they wanted to, if they were in the mood. But they weren't. The reason they are in the mood now is because of ongoing anger following the publication of the Murphy report last November.

Such, then are the vagaries of journalism. Same facts, same story, but only now has the story developed legs, 13 years later, in 2010.

This, of course, calls into question whether it is the facts of a given story that leads to headlines, or the mood of the moment. It suggests to us that it is the mood of the moment that counts, what interests journalists and the public at a given time. Other, equally important stories get ignored.

In any event, such is the mood at present that there is a call once again for an extension of the work of the Murphy commission to the whole of the Catholic Church, to the 24 dioceses that have not yet been investigated.

The call was given added impetus on Tuesday by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.

Speaking to reporters he had this to say: What is very important in all of this is that the truth comes out ... I believe there'll be no healing until we fully address the past. I do not believe that extending the Murphy commission to every diocese in Ireland would be the best way to use money for child protection. But it may be the only way.

He's right, the truth should indeed come out, but the truth about all child abuse in this country, and not just the truth about child abuse by priests and religious. Why is it that victims of clerical abuse are deemed more worthy of an official, nationwide investigation than those abused by other groups?

The church, therefore, should resist any further inquiry that targets it and it alone. It should resist such a narrowly targeted inquiry in the same way the church in Germany is resisting calls for a similar inquiry there.

The reason the church in Germany is resisting an official investigation that singles it out is because other institutions have also been guilty of widespread child abuse.

Currently the focus of attention in Germany is on a number of Catholic boarding schools where some hundreds of former pupils say they were abused in the 1960s and 1970s.

You will have read about this in the papers. But what you almost certainly have not read about is the fact that sex abuse did not take place only in Catholic schools. For example, it now transpires that there was similar abuse over a 30-year period in Germany's most prestigious progressive school.

For over a century this school -- the Odenwald School near Frankfurt -- has led the way in fashionable teaching methods that buck and overturn traditional methods.

But investigators now believe that eight teachers abused at least 100 students. The current principal admits that the school ignored complaints. In other words, this impeccably liberal school covered things up.

In addition, the Lutheran Church in Germany has recently apologised for the widespread abuse that took place after World War II in children's institutions that it ran (actually, the industrial school system originated in Germany).

This apology attracted no worldwide headlines, just as the fact of massive child abuse in state-run children's homes in Sweden attracted no worldwide headlines. There is currently an official investigation into these homes taking place. A preliminary report has already been issued. The final report is shaping up to be at least the equal of the Ryan report. This is why the German bishops are resisting attempts to single out the Catholic Church. It is why they have the backing in this of the General Secretary of the German Social Democrats, traditionally no friend of the church.

The German bishops are undoubtedly also learning from what has happened in this country. According to a poll conducted by the Royal College of Surgeons, a very significant percentage of the public now overestimates the number of priests who are guilty of child abuse in Ireland.

This is the result of a constant singling out of the church despite the fact that we should be concerned about child abuse no matter where it occurs.

So under no circumstances should there be a national investigation of the Catholic Church unless that investigation covers more than simply the Catholic Church. Or are we not in the mood for that?


- David Quinn

Irish Independent

00Friday, March 19, 2010 10:25 PM
The Danger In Over-reaching
I really do think that as bad as the situation is for the Church at present there's a very good chance that all of the attacks by the media and the singling out of the Catholic Church is going to backfire on its enemies. German Chancellor Angela Merkel to her credit recognises this. If the investigation in Sweden is anything like what David seems to think will be the final report, then that in itself could set off investigations by Governments across Europe and possibly even the world, I'm thinking here of the US school system. I’m not sure with the current economic difficulties anyone wants to go there but hey fair is fair, isn’t it? They’re all going to regret picking on the Catholic Church.

00Saturday, March 20, 2010 9:58 PM
Church not the only creature in our fog of abusive past
The Irish Times - Saturday, March 20, 2010

by Breda O'Brien

LIKE THOUSANDS of ordinary Catholics, this week I came close to despair. There is only so much that we can take as, time after time, revelations are forced out of church leadership, writes BREDA O'BRIEN

The incalculable damage will take decades to repair. The only positive aspect is that lay Catholics are slowly realising that if the church is to survive at all, it will be through the efforts of the people in the pews, and of much-battered faithful priests.

People who complain that the church is being unfairly singled out have a point and yet, in another way, are missing something. One reason why they are wrong was expressed eloquently in the Irish Catholic newspaper letters page this week by Fr Patrick McCafferty, himself a clerical sex abuse survivor. “Abuse by a Catholic priest, who by virtue of his ordination, acts as ‘another Christ’ ( alter Christus ) and in the person of Christ ( in persona Christi ) has a particularly obscene, blasphemous and sacrilegious dimension,” he wrote.

Another reason they are wrong is because the church seems singularly incapable of admitting wrongdoing unless forced into it. It is truly a case of “with leadership like this, who needs enemies?”

Cardinal Sean Brady has said that the “drip, drip” of information must stop. Yet he never told us himself he had a direct involvement with Fr Brendan Smyth. How different it would have been if he had told us everything years ago.

To consign abused children to enforced silence was wrong, wrong, wrong. However, this was a time when secrecy ruled everywhere in Ireland, where the “whatever you say, say nothing” culture made the Omertà-practising Mafia look like amateurs.

Without in any way wishing to “blame the victim”, parents did not go to the police either, and often with good reason – the desire to protect their already grievously damaged children from having to undergo the publicity and scrutiny of criminal proceedings, in a society disposed to think well of priests.

In fact, for a young priest, Sean Brady managed to persuade his bishop to act with great speed. Within three weeks, Brendan Smyth’s licence to practise as a priest had been removed. The tragic truth still remains that if Sean Brady had gone to the Garda, so much heartbreak and damage would have been prevented. His failure to “challenge the culture”, to step outside clerical thinking, had appalling consequences.

Yet anybody fair-minded would have to admit that if “challenging the culture” is the standard, there are swathes of Irish society in deep trouble, including many in the justice and health systems.

While accepting the anger at the church is completely legitimate, there are still startling degrees of hypocrisy in our society. The Health Service Executive (HSE) is to carry out an audit of the church – the same HSE that was excoriated by the Murphy report because it estimated it would take 10 years for it to produce any useful information on clerical abuse, so useless was its recording system.

The HSE practises secrecy about deaths of children in its care, and has “lost” hundreds of immigrant children. Martin McGuinness also showed a deep irony deficit when he called for the cardinal’s resignation. Not only is this a man who has progressed from virtual terrorist status to legitimate politician through being forgiven for his own past support of violence, but his own leader did not blow the whistle on his brother.

In contrast, in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel demanded “truth and clarity” about sexual abuse committed by priests. But she also said it makes no sense to limit any investigation to the church as child sexual and physical abuse was a broader problem affecting all of society. One of the biggest scandals in Germany concerns an elitist, secular, “progressive” school in Odenwald where 100 pupils were systematically abused by eight teachers, with nary a cleric in sight.

Sean Brady, in his address in Armagh Cathedral, said something of importance. He asked whether there was room for a “wounded healer”, someone who has failed and learned from that failure. The short answer – in southern Irish society in particular – is no. Yet that may not be a good thing for Irish society. Every culture that has had to face up to horror, at some stage is faced with a stark and deeply unpalatable choice. Do you continue to harbour enmity or do you forgive? The need to forgive is true in Northern Ireland, it is true in South Africa. It is true everywhere.

Milan Kundera, in Testaments Betrayed , says something wise and compassionate. Man is not in the dark but in a fog. “He sees 50 yards ahead of him, he can clearly make out the features of his interlocutor, can take pleasure in the beauty of trees that line his path, and can even observe what is happening close by and react. Man proceeds in the fog.

“But when he looks back to judge the people of the past, he sees no fog on their path . . . their path looks perfectly clear to him, good visibility all the way. Looking back, he sees the path, he sees the people proceeding, he sees their mistakes, but not the fog.”

There is a harsh and vindictive streak in Irish society, but there is also a deep vein of understanding of flawed human nature. Forgiveness is possible, but only if we are told the truth, the full truth, and with no taint of mental reservation.

It is a desperate tragedy that no one now believes that there are no more historical skeletons in the church cupboard. I don’t, and I don’t know anyone else who does.

Until the church can show sincere repentance by confessing what it has done that was either just plain wrong, or that would be judged harshly by today’s standards, trust will be impossible to restore. The “fog” we can understand and forgive, but deliberate obfuscation, even by omission, is a disaster for everyone.

00Saturday, March 20, 2010 10:02 PM
Psychiatrists must take share of blame on abuse
By Patricia Casey

Saturday March 20 2010

The debate about whether paedophilia should continue to be regarded as a psychiatric disorder has recently resurfaced

THE name of Alfred Kinsey is associated with two books published in 1948 and 1953 ('Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male' and 'Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female' respectively). The findings he reported astonished and horrified the public while for others it represent a long awaited end to sexual repression.

His studies not only considered intimate issues such as orgasm and masturbation but also opened up taboo subjects including paedophilic attraction. In so doing, he advocated that babies were sexual beings, capable of experiencing orgasm. He even described the behaviours that indicated this.

Kinsey suggested that sexual relations between children and adults were not necessarily harmful and that it was society's attitude that caused the harm. Thus he appeared to give such relations his imprimatur. The debacle occurred when it was alleged that some of his data was based on interviews with paedophiles whose disclosures of child molestation he chose to ignore in the interests of science.

It was another academic, Judith Reisman, who drew attention to the ethically questionable methodology and dangerous conclusions of Kinsey's work. This appears to have been provoked by, among other things, her attendance at a conference in 1977 organised by the British Psychological Association on Love and Attraction. It included among its speakers the head of a paedophile organisation.

The debate about whether paedophilia should continue to be regarded as a psychiatric disorder has recently resurfaced now that the American Psychiatric Association is examining the list of conditions it will classify as psychiatric disorders into the future.

The dangers of removing paedophilia from this list is obvious to most mental health professionals but in 2003 this was debated at the American Psychiatric Association conference and even last year there were still voices being raised in support of its elimination. Removal of paedophilia from the current classification would undercut its current status as a deeply problematic and dangerous form of sexuality and would undermine efforts to maintain its illegal status. Henceforth it would be regarded as simply an ingrained behavioural preference.

Perusing the textbooks of psychiatry that were in use in the 1970s and 1980s, the brevity of sections dealing with paedophilia and the adverse effects of child sexual abuse is striking. This has changed significantly and is reflected in the prominence child abuse is accorded in current journals and textbooks.

Treating the devastating consequences of childhood abuse is now an almost daily feature of modern psychiatry and psychology. The management of child abusers is less often dealt with in detail as this is the realm of specialists in dedicated centres, of which there is but one in this country.

It is clear from the Murphy report and from the information relating to the recent fiasco involving Cardinal Brady that mental health professionals, in this country and outside, were involved in the treatment of many abusers. As is clear from the Murphy report some priests were returned to ministry, sometimes with restrictions, on foot of reports from these professionals.

Brendan Smyth attended Purdysburn Hospital in Belfast, St Patrick's Hospital, Dublin, and a unit in Gloucestershire, all before 1975, followed by out-patient treatment in Dublin, all without any impact on his predatory behaviour. In Purdysburn he was treated with aversion therapy -- the only intervention available at that time and with limited evidence of effectiveness.

Archbishop Martin said on Tuesday evening that the full facts must now be made public. This, in my opinion, includes examination of the role of mental health specialists in treating paedophiles during the years of sexual abuse by clerics that are now the subject of national scrutiny.

And the questions that beg to be answered are numerous and wide-ranging.

How much information was given to the professionals charged with making these assessments in the first instance or was relevant and vital information deliberately not disclosed by the church authorities? Was additional information sought by those treating these men or was the information, limited as it was, accepted at face value?

What treatments were available through the decades of abuse -- was there any evidence for their effectiveness? Is it possible there was naive optimism rather than scientific reality influencing assessments of prognosis?

Was the assessment of insight, remorse and empathy based on the say so of the client/patient or was any objective proof sought? What was the training of those providing treatment? Were detailed reports provided to the bishops on the priest's return to the diocese? Did therapists discuss concerns about the truthfulness of their clients/patients with the referring agents? Were they serving their client, the church, or did they have a wider responsibility to the public?

When information was found that the level of abuse was greater than suspected, was this conveyed to the authorities who needed to know or was confidentiality a wall that could not be penetrated? How many were given a 'clean bill of health'?

Sexual abuse continues to be a huge problem although the focus is now less on clerical and more on familial and non-familial abuse. According to the SAVI report (Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland) commissioned by the Rape Crisis Centre and researched by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, one in five women and one in six men reported sexual abuse before the age of 17.

Knowledge that effective treatments are available, that their impact can be objectively measured and that those who need to know will be informed when questions of dangerousness and recidivism arise is essential if a worried and frightened public is to be reassured. Its trust must not be betrayed again.

- Patricia Casey

Irish Independent

00Sunday, March 21, 2010 12:24 PM
Dear David -I cannot thank you enough for these enlightening articles which point out some objective facts that are easily ignored today in the frenzy to dump all the blame on the Catholic Church.

If I have not seen the articles you posted - or anything similar to them - it's because Google appears to leave out anything that is against the current media bias, while favoring anything negative about the Pope and the Church.

I complained last year that after the condoms controversy, a search for 'papacy and the Vatican' on the Web consistently turns up with "Vatican insider calls Benedict's Papacy a disaster' as the first specific item on the search, after the Yahoo round-up. It remains there to this day - I just checked - almost a year after the condoms case.

That is no accident. Google can build any bias it wants into its search engine. Recently, there was some to-do about it here in the USA because the first specific items that turned up when you Google 'Christianity' were all anti-Christian! I have not checked lately if that has changed.

I am glad you have registered in the Forum, so you can have more possibilities with your posts and can avail of the system's e-mail feature.

Once again, thank you.


00Wednesday, March 24, 2010 1:04 PM

Punjab Christian burned alive dies,
Christian community calls for justice

by Fareed Khan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, March 23 (AsiaNews) - Arshed Masih died last night in hospital from the serious injuries - burns covering 80% of his body – which the 38-year-old Pakistani Christian suffered when he was set on fire because he refused to convert to Islam.

He died after three days of agony. His funeral would have taken place in in the late afternoon today, but the family has asked that "an autopsy is performed."

The Christian community of Pakistan condemns "with firmness" the latest episode of violence and denounces the "slowness" of the federal and provincial government to punish those responsible.

On March 19 a group of Islamic extremists burned Arshed alive. He was a driver employed by a wealthy Muslim businessman in Rawalpindi since 2005. His wife worked as a maid in the same estate, situated in front of a police station.

Recently disagreements had arisen between the employer, Sheikh Mohammad Sultan, and the couple because of their Christian faith. The couple suffered threats and intimidation to force them to convert to Islam.

Arshed Masih died last night at 7.45 local time after three days of agony and suffering at the Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi, Punjab province. His wife Martha Arshed was raped by police en she sought to denounce the violence inflicted on her husband. The couple's three children - ages 7 to 12 years - were forced "to witness the torture inflicted on their parents.

The pressure on the victim and his wife to renounce Christianity had lately become incessant, with their employer threatnening "dire consequences" unless they embrace Isladm. The couple were also accused of a recent theft by the employer who then said he would drop the complaint if they converted.

Several Christian associations and human rights activists - including Life for All, Christian Progressive Movement, Pakistan Christian Congress and Protect Foundation Pakistan - have organized protests.

Peter Jacob, executive secretary of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Church of Pakistan (NCJP), expressed to AsiaNews his "strongest condemnation" for the killing of the driver and for the rape of his wife.

The Catholic activist notes with regret the silence of the Federal Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic, and denounces "the slow pace and the inaction of the federal and provincial government.

"The executive," said Peter Jacob, "has not yet taken concrete steps to prevent violence and abuse on minorities and punish the guilty."

A news site, BosNewsLife.com, adds that yesterday the provincial government of Punjab blocked a protest march of Christians, under the pretext of "terrorist threat". The Christians wanted to demonstrate against the "refusal" of the police to arrest the perpetrators of the crime.

I was in the middle of making this post last night when the technical glitch occurred - I assume everyone experienced it - and I've only just been able to access the Forum again.
00Thursday, March 25, 2010 8:49 PM
“Nobody, Nowhere, No Time, No Way, No How . . .”
by the Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan.

Fridays of Lent are days of special sacrifice anyway, so I guess maybe the anguish caused by that day’s headline in our city’s newspaper should have been accepted as an invitation to further penance.

You’re familiar with the crescendo of recent stories on the sad and disturbing case of a German priest accused in 1979 of the vicious crime and sin of sexually abusing minor boys. When these hideous allegations came to the attention of this priest’s archbishop, a man by the name of Joseph Ratzinger — who now happens to be the bishop of Rome, Pope Benedict XVI — he rightly removed the priest and ordered him to report for residential assessment and therapy.

The shock of the original abuse is intensified because, tragically, upon his release from treatment, the priest was reassigned to parish work, although not by Archbishop Ratzinger. Horribly, as often was the case, the Reverend Peter Hullerman went on to abuse teenagers again.

Sad and sickening, a story all too familiar to us, as we Catholics in the United States have had to face this same ulcer ever so frequently over the last nine years. Scabs are reopened, anger rekindled, trust painfully restored now being chipped-away-at again, victim-survivors, their families, the vast majority of priests, and faithful Catholics, all hurt anew.

Pope Benedict XVI himself has expressed hurt, anger, sorrow, and contrition. As Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and now as Pope, he is seen as one “who gets it” when it comes to the horror of clergy sexual abuse, and who has placed the full force of the Apostolic See, the Vatican, behind efforts to reform. 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.”

So Friday’s headline, only the most recent, stings us again: “Doctor Asserts Church Ignored Abuse Warnings,” as the psychiatrist who treated the criminal, Dr. Werner Huth, blames the Church for not heeding his recommendations.

What adds to our anger over the nauseating abuse and the awful misjudgment in reassigning such a dangerous man, though, is the glaring fact that we never see similar headlines that would actually be “news”: How about these, for example?

– “Doctor Asserts He Ignored Abuse Warnings,” since Dr. Huth admits in the article that he, in fact, told the archdiocese the abusing priest could be reassigned under certain restrictions, a prescription today recognized as terribly wrong;

– “Doctor Asserts Public Schools Ignored Abuse Warnings,” since the data of Dr. Carol Shakeshaft concludes that the number of cases of abuse of minors by teachers, coaches, counsellors, and staff in government schools is much, much worse than by priests;

– “Doctor Asserts Judges (or Police, Lawyers, District Attorneys, Therapists, Parole Officers) Ignored Abuse Warnings,” since we now know the sober fact that no one in the healing and law enforcement professions knew back then the depth of the scourge of abuse, or the now-taken-for-granted conclusion that abusers of young people can never safely work closely with them again.

What causes us Catholics to bristle is not only the latest revelations of sickening sexual abuse by priests, and blindness on the part of some who wrongly reassigned them — such stories, unending though they appear to be, are fair enough, — but also that the sexual abuse of minors is presented as a tragedy unique to the Church alone.

That, of course, is malarkey. Because, as we now sadly realize, nobody, nowhere, no time, no way, no how knew the extent, depth, or horror of this scourge, nor how to adequately address it.

The sexual abuse of our young people is an international, cultural, societal horror. It affects every religion, country, family, job, profession, vocation, and ethnic group.

We Catholics have for a decade apologized, cried, reached out, shouted mea culpa, and engaged in a comprehensive reform that has met with widespread acclaim. We’ve got a long way to go, and the reform still has to continue.

But it is fair to say that, just as the Catholic Church may have been a bleak example of how not to respond to this tragedy in the past, the Church is now a model of what to do. As the National Review Online observes, “. . . the Church’s efforts to come to grips with this problem within the household of faith — more far reaching than in any other institution or sector of society — have led others to look to the Catholic Church for guidance on how to address what is, in fact, a global plague.”

As another doctor, Paul McHugh, an international scholar on this subject at Johns Hopkins University, remarked, “Nobody is doing more to address the tragedy of sexual abuse of minors than the Catholic Church.”

That, of course, is another headline you’ll never see.


A reader corrects the Archbishop on one point.

Thank you for you strong defense of the Holy Father, but in fact the German priest who is the subject of discussion was NOT a priest of the Diocese of Munich at the time. Card. Ratzinger was asked by ANOTHER diocese to house him while he was sent for therapy. The cardinal was not as involved as you stated in your quote ” he rightly removed the priest and ordered him to report for residential assessment and therapy.”

According to the Munich Diocese and the Vatican, Card. Ratzinger made no decisions on the priest other than to allow him housing while he was undergoing therapy. The rest of the tragic judgements were made by assistants to the cardinal and mostly after he had completed his tenure as archbishop of Munich.

Another important distinction to make clear is that according to the first article about the doctor’s claims in the NYTimes, the psychiatrist said that he NEVER spoke to Cardinal Ratzinger about the case and was unaware if he was ever told about the doctor’s assessment of the priest. These are very important distinctions which are rarely reported in the media. In fact subsequent articles in the Times avoid clarifying these facts, which has really unfairly damaged Pope Benedict’s reputation. These facts must be made clear.

I heartily agree with the rest of your article.
God Bless!
Robert K

00Thursday, March 25, 2010 10:40 PM
The Church is not trying to cover anything up
by the Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols - March 26, 2010

The child abuse committed within the Roman Catholic Church and its concealment is deeply shocking and totally unacceptable. I am ashamed of what happened, and understand the outrage and anger it has provoked.

That shame and anger centres on the damage done to every single abused child. Abuse damages, often irrevocably, a child’s ability to trust another, to fashion stable relationships, to sustain self-esteem. When it is inflicted within a religious context, it damages that child’s relationship to God. Today, not for the first time, I express my unreserved shame and sorrow for what has happened to many in the Church.

My shame is compounded, as is the anger of many, at the mistaken judgments made within the Church: that reassurance from a suspect could be believed; that credible allegations were deemed to be “unbelievable”; that the reputation of the Church mattered more than safeguarding children. These wrong reactions arise whenever and wherever allegations of abuse are made, whether within a family or a Church. We have to insist that the safety of the child comes first because the child is powerless.

Serious mistakes have been made within the Catholic Church. There is some misunderstanding about the Church, too. Within the Church there is a legal structure, its canon law. It is the duty of each diocesan bishop to administer that law. Certain serious offences against that law have to be referred to the Holy See to ensure proper justice. Some of these offences are not criminal in public law (such as profanation of the sacraments), others (such as offences against children) are. The role of the Holy See is to offer guidance to ensure that proper procedures are followed, including the confidentially needed to protect the good name of witnesses, victims and the accused until the trial is completed. It is no different from any other responsible legal procedure.

This “secrecy” is nothing to do with the confidentiality, or “seal” of the confessional, which is protected for reasons of the rights of conscience.

The relationship between the administration of church law and the criminal law in any particular state is a point of real difficulty and misunderstanding. Nothing in the requirement of canon law prohibits or impedes the reporting of criminal offences to the police. Since 2001 the Holy See, working through the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, has encouraged that course of action on dioceses who have received evidence about child abuse and which the diocesan authorities are responsible for pursuing. The canonical procedure is best put on hold until the criminal investigation is complete, whatever its outcome. This is what is needed. That it has not happened consistently is deeply regrettable.

In England and Wales, since 2001, the agreed policy followed by the bishops has been to report all allegations of child abuse, no matter from how far in the past, to the police or social services. By doing so and by having clear safeguarding procedures in place in every parish as well as independent supervision at diocesan and national level, we have built good relationships with those authorities in these matters, including, in some areas, co-operation in the supervision of offenders in the community.

What of the role of Pope Benedict? When he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith he led important changes made in church law: the inclusion in canon law of internet offences against children, the extension of child abuse offences to include the sexual abuse of all under 18, the case by case waiving of the statue of limitation and the establishment of a fast-track dismissal from the clerical state for offenders. He is not an idle observer. His actions speak as well as his words.

Every year since 2002 the Catholic Church in England and Wales has made public the exact number of allegations made within the Church, the number reported to the police, the action taken and the outcome. As far as I know, no other organisation in this country does this. It is not a cover-up; it is clear and total disclosure. The purpose of doing so is not to defend the Church. It is to make plain that in the Catholic Church in England and Wales there is no hiding place for those who seek to harm children. On this we are determined.

One more fact. In the past 40 years, less than half of 1 per cent of Catholic priests in England and Wales (0.4 per cent) have faced allegations of child abuse. Fewer have been found guilty. Do not misunderstand me. One is too many. One broken child is a tragedy and a disgrace. One case alone is enough to justify anger and outrage. The work of safeguarding, within any organisation and within our society as a whole, is demanding but absolutely necessary. The Catholic Church here is committed to safeguarding children and all vulnerable people

00Friday, March 26, 2010 9:31 PM
Cultural Obamalypse: the Attack on the Pope
by David P. Goldman (Spengler)

The Obamalyptic mood in the White House seems to have infected the cultural left generally. Thirty-year-old news is dragged daily into the headlines to make it appear that some dreadful truth has been dragged out of the Vatican vaults, demonstrating Pope Benedict XVI's culpability in child abuse. It is hard to avoid the impression that the nihilists have a sense of empowerment as never before.

There's something ugly in the air. The two central institutions of the West are the Throne of St. Peter and the Oval Office. That is not an exaggeration, for the Catholic model in Europe and the American model are the two modes of life that the West has developed. When Catholic universal empire failed with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, and was buried by Napoleon, the United States emerged as an alternative model; the non-ethnic nation founded on Christian principles albeit without an explicit tie to a particular Christian confession.

For the first time in history the barbarians have breached the citadel; to have Barack Obama in the White House is the cultural equivalent of electing Madonna to the papacy. America, the source of a civil religion that held together the world's only remaining superpower, is committed to its own self-demolition. Nihilists around the world are in a triumphant mood and believe that it is time to mop up the remnants of their enemies everywhere.

00Monday, March 29, 2010 8:06 PM

Fr. Maciel's Legionaries in retreat
All the top leaders of the congregation must go.
Due to their extremely close connection with the founder and his scandals,
real renewal is impossible as long as they remain in power

ROME, March 29, 2010 – At the end of April, the five bishops who carried out their apostolic visitation among the Legionaries of Christ as ordered by the Holy See will present the Vatican authorities their full report, completed recently.

A previous, long-ago apostolic visit among the Legionaries, between 1956 and 1959, ended with absolution. This time, however, everything gives the impression that will not be the case again.

It is likely that the Vatican authorities will put the Legion under the command of an external commissioner endowed with full powers.

And he will have to be obeyed by the current heads of the congregation, who are the real obstacle to any movement toward renewal, no matter how slight.

But this leadership group is anything but resigned to giving way.

Freed from the annoyance of the visitors, and not yet subjected to the command of the commissioner, during this interim period which they are hoping will last for 'several months', they are doing everything they can to consolidate their power and win the support of the majority of the 800 priests of the Legion, and of the other religious and lay members.

On March 25, during the annual meeting in Rome of the territorial directors with the director general and his council, they released a statement in which for the first time they publicly describe one by one and "reprove" the sinful actions of their founder, Marcial Maciel (1920-2008), ask forgiveness from the victims, and affirm that they can "no longer look to his person as a model of Christian or priestly life."

But how trustworthy is this distancing of the Legion's leaders from their founder, and in particular from the "sudden revelation" – or so they say – of his misdeeds?

And what is the composition of this "nomenklatura"?

Here it is, updated with the most recent appointments.

Director general
Álvaro Corcuera, Mexican, 53

Vicar general
Luís Garza Medina, Mexican, 53

General councilors
Francisco Mateos, Spanish, over 60
Michael Ryan, Irish, over 60
Joseph Burtka, American, 40

Secretary general
Evaristo Sada, Mexican, 50

General procurator
Cristóforo Fernández, Mexican, over 70

Territorial directors
Luís Garza Medina, Mexican, 53:
Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Poland, Holy Land, Korea, Philippines
Jesús María Delgado, Spanish, 45: Spain
Emilio Díaz Torre, Mexican, 50: Mexico-Monterrey
Rodolfo Mayagoitia, Mexican, 50: Mexico and Central America
José Manuel Otaolaurruchi, Mexican, 45: Venezuela and Colombia
Leonardo Nuñez, Mexican, 45: Brazil
José Gerardo Cárdenas, Mexican, 55: Chile and Argentina
Julio Martí, Venezuelan, 45: United States-New York and Canada
Scott Reilly, American, 45: United States-Atlanta
Jacobo Muñoz, Spanish, 40: France and Ireland
Sylvester Heereman, German, 40: Germany and Central Europe

About the reliability of the distancing of these Legion officials from their founder, a few facts need to be kept in mind.

The director, the vicar, and the current members of the general council were elected during the third and latest chapter of the congregation, in January of 2005.

On that occasion, Maciel, the founder, had renounced all official responsibilities, a few months after the opening of an investigation against him by then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

The investigation was carried out by the promoter of justice for the same congregation, Charles J. Scicluna, and resulted the following year, with Ratzinger having become Pope, in a canonical punishment.

But the current leadership group's ascent to power in the congregation dates back to the previous general chapter, the second, held in Rome in 1992.

On that occasion, founder Maciel was defended by the two who are still the big men of the Legion: fathers Corcuera and Garza, by the latter more than the former, together with a group of diehard faithful, almost all of whose names are found in the current "nomenklatura."

According to some of the testimonies given to the apostolic visitors in recent months, some in this group knew about the founder's double life, about the carnal acts he performed with many of his seminarians over the span of decades, about his lovers, his children, his drug use.

But in spite of that, a fortress was built around Maciel in defense of his virtues, devotion to him was fostered among his followers, all of them unaware of the truth, his talents were emphasized, even among the upper hierarchy of the Church.

This exaltation of the figure of the founder was so effective that even today it inspires the sense of belonging to the Legion among many of its priests and religious.

The cohesion of the leadership group, originating from its decades-long connection with Maciel, endures today in the bond that binds and subordinates everyone to Corcuera, and even more to Garza.

Garza concentrates two key posts in himself. He is vicar general, with control of administration, and he is the director of the congregation's Italian province, headquartered in Rome, where the Vatican is. He took this second post shortly before the beginning of the apostolic visit, transferring his predecessor, Jacobo Muñoz, to the province of France and Ireland.

But in addition to this, Garza is the creator and absolute master of Grupo Integer, the holding company that acts as treasury and administrative center for all the works of the Legion in the world, with assets totaling an estimated 25 billion euros.

Garza comes from a very wealthy family in Monterrey, which for decades was a major benefactor of Maciel's works and closely connected to another of the general councilors of the Legion, Francisco Mateos. The secretary general, Evaristo Sada, is his cousin.

In addition to being connected to Garza and Corcuera, some of the current directors were very close to the founder for years. Alejandro Ortega, until two years ago the director of one of Mexico's two provinces, was Maciel's personal secretary.

Julio Marti, director of the province of the United States and Canada, was superior general of the Legionaries' general headquarters in Rome.

Michael Ryan was an old friend of Maciel's family, and a supporter of the beatification cause of his mother, Maura Degollado Guízar.

In recent days, Garza and Corcuera have closed ranks even more tightly, with a few personnel changes. Emilio Díaz Torre has been appointed director of the province of Monterrey in Mexico. And his predecessor, Leonardo Nuñez, has been entrusted with the province of Brazil.

Both are Mexican, like most of the upper echelon of the Legionaries. The second most privileged nationality is Spanish.

The Italians, on the other hand, have always been kept away from the important posts. They are seen as less trustworthy, in addition to having too many connections in the Vatican Curia, where the Legionaries have friends but also enemies - more of them enemies now.

Magister is generally a fair reporter, and I don't believe he would make the statements he does - so strongly, too - unless he was convinced of his facts. So I would take his word regarding the attitudes and actions, past and present, of the leadership group that developed around Maciel.

It was a very unhealthy situation all around, starting with the inappropriate personality cult - I suppose Maciel himself wanted it that way - they built up around Maciel, and the infamous fourth vow of 'discretion', which was really their equivalent of the Mafia omerta, in which their priests took an oath not to speak of their superiors to anyone outside the Legion.

The personality cult, already anomalous in itself, became a travesty as soon as reports gained currency about Maciel's double life. But his loyalists never flinched or budged, even after the CDF penalized Maciel eventually.

They are answerable to their own priests and lay movement for sacrificing basic honesty and moral principles just not to 'rock the boat' and/or other ulterior motives, usch as 'protecting' the image of Fr. Maciel. This has compromised their leadership fatally, and it's hard to see how they can square their conscience.

It will be interesting to see what the visitation team says...

I still find it strange that ZENIT, the news agency of the LC, has not reported this at all in any of their language services. At least, they could have posted the statement.

Legionaries acknowledge founder's
sins and ask for forgiveness

By John Thavis

ROME, March 29 (CNS) -- Top officials of the Legionaries of Christ have acknowledged that the order's founder, the late Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, sexually abused young seminarians, and they have asked forgiveness for failing to listen to his accusers.

A statement released March 26 by the Legionaries and its lay branch, Regnum Christi, said that any members of the order who were guilty of cooperation in Father Maciel's crimes would be held accountable. [What about knowing about them but covering up for him all along? Or at least choosing to stay in denial?]

The statement said the Legionaries were looking to the future with the hope of continuing to serve the Church, but with a greater emphasis on reconciling with those who suffered from Father Maciel's actions and greater cooperation with local pastors and other Church officials.

The future of the order rests in the hands of Pope Benedict XVI, who ordered an apostolic visitation of the Legionaries last year. The visitation team's report was expected to be handed in to the Vatican at the end of April.

After investigating allegations that Father Maciel had sexually abused young seminarians, in May 2006 the Vatican ordered him to stop practicing his ministry in public and to live a life of prayer and penitence. At the time, Legion officials defended Father Maciel's declaration of innocence and compared him to Christ for his suffering.

The latest statement says the 2006 Vatican investigation reached "sufficient moral certainty to impose serious canonical sanctions related to the accusations made against Father Maciel, which included the sexual abuse of minor seminarians."

"Therefore, though it causes us consternation, we have to say that these acts did take place," it said.

The statement asked forgiveness from "those whom we did not believe or were incapable of giving a hearing to, since at the time we could not imagine that such behavior took place."

"If it turns out that anyone culpably cooperated in his misdeeds, we will act according to the principles of Christian justice and charity, holding these people responsible for their actions," it said.

In early 2009, the Legionaries said it had learned that Father Maciel had fathered a daughter. The latest statement said Father Maciel had had a longstanding relationship with the child's mother, and that two other people have since come forward, claiming to be the offspring of Father Maciel and a different woman.

"We find reprehensible these and all the actions in the life of Father Maciel that were contrary to his Christian, religious, and priestly duties. We declare that they are not what we strive to live in the Legion of Christ and in the Regnum Christi movement," it said.

"Once again, we express our sorrow and grief to each and every person damaged by our founder's actions," the statement said. It offered the order's "pastoral and spiritual help" to those who were injured by Father Maciel's actions.

Father Maciel, who died in January 2008 at age 87, founded the Legionaries of Christ in 1951 and was its superior until 2005.

The Legionaries' statement said that God, "for his own mysterious reasons," had chosen Father Maciel to found the order and its lay association, and "we thank God for the good he did."

"At the same time, we accept and regret that, given the gravity of his faults, we cannot take his person as a model of Christian or priestly life," it said.

The statement said the Legionaries would follow the instructions given by Pope Benedict in light of the Vatican investigation, which was conducted in the order's institutions around the world. Many at the Vatican expect a major reorganization of the Legionaries, perhaps with direct supervision by the Vatican.

As it looks to the future, the statement said, the Legionaries resolved to do several things, including:

- Reach out to those who have suffered.
- Tell the truth about the order's history.
- Protect minors in all its institutions.
- Cooperate better with bishops and church institutions.
- Continue oversight and demand accountability in the order.
- Redouble its efforts to bring the Gospel to as many people as possible.

00Saturday, April 3, 2010 5:02 PM

Child abuse scandal 'left Catholic Church
with no credibility', says Rowan Williams

By Martin Beckford, Religious Affairs Correspondent

April 3, 2010

The scandal over paedophile priests has caused the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland to lose "all credibility". [But why does the headline read 'Catholic Church' with no qualifier? It makes Williams sound even worse!]

In an unusual intervention, the leader of the Anglican communion said that the controversy had been a "colossal trauma" for Ireland.

His comments came as the Pope’s personal preacher likened accusations against the Pontiff and the Catholic church in the sex abuse scandal to anti-Semitism.

The Rev Raniero Cantalamessa said in a Good Friday homily, with the Pope listening in St Peter’s Basilica, that a Jewish friend had said the accusations reminded him of the "more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism".

[A normal person without malice and who uses normal reason cannot possibly say in one sentence, as Beckwith does, that Fr. Cantalamessa made the comparison, and then say in the next sentence that Cantalamessa was quoting a Jewish friend! Do you see the pathology of malice that has become second nature to the MSM who have it 'in' for the Church?

He said: "They [Jews] know from experience what it means to be victims of collective violence and also because of this they are quick to recognise the recurring symptoms."

Dr Rowan Williams, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week, to be broadcast on Monday, said: "I was speaking to an Irish friend recently who was saying that it’s quite difficult in some parts of Ireland to go down the street wearing a clerical collar now.

"An institution so deeply bound into the life of a societysuddenly becoming, suddenly losing all credibility — that’s not just a problem for the Church, it is a problem for everybody in Ireland." [Williams appears to ignore that despite its history as one of the most Catholic of nations, Ireland has also turned into one of the most secularized nations in Europe, perhaps as bad as the UK itself. But for all I know, sociologists may have already advanced the theory that the Irish became secularized so easily and so extensively as a reaction against the Catholic Church - both because of her 'old-fashioned' morality and as, as they could well claim from hindsight, to the offensive malpractices committed by some of her priests and bishops

But I have more basic objections to Williams's comments and his timing. It was most imprudent to have made the remarks he made during Holy Week - never mind that it won't be broadcast till Monday! The moment he said what he said, it became 'news' that cannot and would not be contained and promptly snatched by the media who live for a fresh scandal every day if they can manage it!

Second, look who's talking about losing credibility! Third, it's an uncharitable remark that should not be made by the spiritual leader of a major Christian church about a sister church in trouble.]

According to Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the most senior Roman Catholic in Britain, child abuse committed by priests has led to "a great public humiliation’’ of the Roman Catholic Church.

Cardinal O’Brien, the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, will tell Easter Sunday worshippers that the cover-up of ‘‘evil’’ paedophilia by senior clergy ‘‘brings shame on us all’’.

[The rest of the story, as the two paragraphs on O'Brien are, is a repetition of Beckwith's story in the April 2 issue of the Telegraph, posted earlier on this page.]

Cardinal Martin 'stunned' by
Archbishop of Canterbury's comments

April 3, 2010

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin today claimed he was stunned to hear the Archbishop of Canterbury declare the Catholic church in Ireland had lost all credibility because of the child abuse scandal.

The senior Irish Catholic clergyman said those working to renew the Church did not deserve such a comment, which he claimed would be immensely disheartening and would challenge their faith even further.

Commenting for the first time on the crisis gripping the Irish Catholic church Dr Rowan Williams said the revelations had been a “colossal trauma” for Ireland in particular.

In a strongly worded rebuke, Archbishop Martin, who has called for full accountability in the Church over child abuse, said he had rarely felt so personally discouraged.

The unequivocal and unqualified comment in a radio interview of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, that the Catholic church in Ireland has 'lost all credibility' has stunned me,” Archbishop Martin said.

As Archbishop of Dublin, I have been more than forthright in addressing the failures of the Catholic church in Ireland. I still shudder when I think of the harm that was caused to abused children. I recognise that their church failed them.

But I also journey with those – especially parents and priests – who work day by day to renew the Catholic church in this diocese and who are committed to staying with their church and passing on the faith in wearying times.

Archbishop Williams’ comments will be for them immensely disheartening and will challenge their faith even further.

But speaking frankly I have to say that in all my years as Archbishop of Dublin in difficult times I have rarely felt personally so discouraged as when I woke to hear Archbishop Williams’ comments.

I don't know... Is there some crisis of common sense somewhere? Why would Cardinal Martin publicly proclaim that he is 'discouraged' by Williams's comment? 'Disappointed' would have been the appropriate 'tactful' word to use, since he cannot possibly say he is 'outraged'.

But 'discouraged???? It takes so little to discourage him? Sanctimonious words said imprudently by someone who should have known better, from whom one would have expected instead something like "I know it's been a colossal trauma for the Catholic Church in Ireland, and I pray that God will give them the grace and the wisdom to get through it"?????

How does it make his congregation feel that their bishop says 'he has rarely felt so personally discouraged' at a time when they need him to be strong and persevere, and to reassure them that he is, if only to keep up their morale!

Martin has been steadfast so far in this crisis, and all Catholics can only appreciate him for it. But this is an unnecessary lapse I cannot explain. Go to it, Your Eminence. Don't be distracted, much less discouraged, by what Rowan Williams says. After all, he's far from a credible figure himself.

00Saturday, April 3, 2010 8:38 PM

April 3, Holy Saturday

Greek Orthodox icons: From left, Jesus is prepared for burial, with the Magdalene, the Virgin Mary, the Apostle John and Joseph of Arimathea; other icons show Jesus's descent to Hades. Holy Saturday is celebrated with elaborate rituals in the Orthodox Church.

Let us return once more to the night of Holy Saturday. In the Creed we say about Christ’s journey that he “descended into hell.” What happened then?

Since we have no knowledge of the world of death, we can only imagine his triumph over death with the help of images which remain very inadequate.

Yet, inadequate as they are, they can help us to understand something of the mystery. The liturgy applies to Jesus’ descent into the night of death the words of Psalm 23[24]: “Lift up your heads, O gates; be lifted up, O ancient doors!”

The gates of death are closed, no one can return from there. There is no key for those iron doors. But Christ has the key. His Cross opens wide the gates of death, the stern doors. They are barred no longer. His Cross, his radical love, is the key that opens them. The love of the One who, though God, became man in order to die – this love has the power to open those doors. This love is stronger than death.

The Easter icons of the Oriental Church show how Christ enters the world of the dead. He is clothed with light, for God is light. “The night is bright as the day, the darkness is as light” (cf. Ps 138[139]12).

- Benedict XVI, Easter Vigil homily, 2007

OR today.

At the Mass of the Last Supper, Benedict XVI tells the clergy that
'Christ's priestly prayer is an examination of conscience for the Church'
Other Page 1 stories: French intellectuals launch a support movement for the victims of child abuse and Benedict XVI, calling on the mass media to exercise an ethic of responsibility; Israel makes seven raids into the Gaza Strip to retaliate the Hamas killing of two Israeli soldiers; Father Cantalamessa's Good Friday homily; and in the inside pages, more bishops express their support for Benedict XVI, including Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini. [NB: Because of a 3 p.m. press deadline for the next day's issue, the OR is unable to report events that take place after 3 p.m. in the next day's issue. Fr. Cantalamessa's homily made it because it was a prepared text.]


Starting at 9 p.m., Easter Vigil and Mass at St. Peter's Basilica.

Today is also the feast day of
ST. BENEDETTO IL MORO (Benedict the Moor) (b N Africa, 1526, d Sicily, 1589), Franciscan

Second from right, a fresco showing angels helping the saint in the kitchen, in the Palermo church where he is enshrined; extreme right, the saint's remains.
The son of Ethiopian slaves, he and his family were taken to Messina, where he was freed at age 18. He joined some hermits near Palermo, but since they followed the
Rule of St. Francis, Pope Pius IV ordered them to formally join the order. A lay brother, he began as cook in the friary in Palermo but later became novice master
and then its superior. Although he was uneducated, his understanding of theology and of Holy Scriptures was considered remarkable. He also had healing powers. He developed
a reputation for holiness and attracted such a following he could only go out at night, well-covered, to avoid recognition and people trying to tear pieces off his
garments. In the last years of his life, he asked to serve once again as friary cook. His cult was immediate after his death, and today, he is particularly venerated
in Brazil. He is considered the patron saint of black Americans. He was canonized in 1807. His incorrupt body lies in Church of the friary where he served in Palermo.

Sorry for the very late start today!

00Tuesday, April 6, 2010 6:26 PM
Vatican lawyer's statement on Indian priest

Apr. 05, 2010

In the latest case to raise questions about the Vatican’s handling of the sex abuse crisis, attorneys today released church correspondence involving Fr. Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, an Indian priest charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in a Minnesota parish in 2004.

When those accusations first emerged in 2005, Jeyapaul returned to India, where he is still serving as a priest in a bureaucratic role for his local bishop.

Informed of the case by Bishop Victor Balke of the Crookston, Minn., diocese, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sent a letter instructing Jeyapaul’s bishop in India to look into it in early 2006.

The lawyers representing the young woman are demanding that Jeyapaul be returned to the United States for prosecution.

This afternoon, an attorney who represents the Vatican in American litigation, Jeffrey Lena, released a statement about the Jeyapaul case. In effect, Lena makes two points:

• The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith recommended expelling Jeyapaul from the priesthood, but his bishop in India decided simply to restrict his ministry following a church trial.
• When officials in Minnesota decided to seek Jeyapaul’s extradition, the Vatican promptly complied with requests to disclose his exact location.

The following is the full text of Lena’s statement.

Statement from Jeffrey Lena on the Jeyapaul Case

The decision regarding the canonical penalties imposed upon Father Jeyapaul was made by the Bishop of Ootacamund, whose diocese is located in the Nilgiris district of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith suggested in this matter that Father Jeyapaul agree to laicization, demonstrating that the Congregation believed that the accusations were serious enough to merit dismissal from the clerical state. However, as a matter of longstanding canon law, such decisions are made by the local bishop, who is deemed to be generally in the best position to adjudicate the case relating to the priest in question.

It is important to note that the canonical proceeding involving Father Jeyapaul was wholly separate from any pending civil or criminal proceeding. The Holy See has cooperated with the requests of law enforcement authorities seeking the extradition of Father Jeyapaul to the United States, and in fact provided his exact location in India to assist such efforts.

00Saturday, April 10, 2010 3:35 AM

Public to get latest peek
at the Shroud of


TURIN, April 9 (AP) - The long linen with the faded image of a bearded man is the object of centuries-old fascination and wonderment, and closely kept under wrap.

Starting Saturday, and for six weeks, both the curious and those convinced the Turin Shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ can have a brief look.

By late Friday, 1.5 million people had reserved their three-to-five-minute chance to gaze at the cloth, which is kept in a bulletproof, climate-controlled case.

Organizers said earlier this year they hoped some 2 million pilgrims and tourists would see the linen during the special viewing from April 10 to May 23.

That number doesn't include Pope Benedict XVI, who will fly up to Turin, Piedmont's capital, in northwest Italy, on May 2 for a day trip to pray before the Shroud.

Traditionally, the public gets a peek at the 14-foot-long, 3.5-foot-wide (4.3-meter-long, 1 meter-wide) cloth only once every 25 years. But recent decades have seen much shorter intervals. The Shroud went on display in 1998 after a 20-year-wait and then in 2000 during theMillennium celebrations.

Church officials resisted putting the cloth on display when tourists poured into Turin in 2006 for the Winter Olympics. But, as city officials recently put it, in a nod to the "importance to the economy and employment" of this city that is automaker Fiat's hometown, they allowed that is being billed as the "first showing of the new millennium."

Since the linen's previous showing a decade earlier, restorers have removed patches sewn on by nuns in 1534, two years after a fire damaged the case then holding the it, Shroud Museum director Gian Maria Zaccone said in an interview with Associated Press Television News.

Taking off the patches allowed the linen to be fully extended and let restorers smooth out creases in what for centuries had been a rolled-up cloth, making for what restorers hope will be better preservation.

"A challenge to the intelligence" is how John Paul II defined the cloth in 1998 when he journeyed to Turin to view it. In a major papal pronouncement about the Shroud, the late pope asked experts to study it without preconceptions using "scientific methodology" while keeping in mind the "sensibility of the faithful."

His balanced instruction reflected a Vatican tiptoe around the issue of just what the cloth is, calling it a powerful symbol of Christ's suffering while making no claim on its authenticity.

A Vatican researcher said late last year that faint writing on the linen, which she studied through computer-enhanced images, proves the cloth was used to wrap Jesus' body after his crucifixion.

But experts stand by carbon-dating of scraps of the cloth that determine the linen was made in the 13th or 14th century in a kind of medieval forgery. That testing didn't explain how the image of the shroud - of a man with wounds similar to those suffered by Christ - was formed.

However, some have suggested the dating results might have been skewed by contamination and called for a larger sample to be analyzed.

Among those in Turin on Friday for the start of the viewings this weekend was Antonio Lambatti, a professor of Christian history at the University of Parma, who describes himself as a skeptic.

"In my judgment, it's a fake," Lambatti told APTN. He cited historical research, specifically a declaration by a Church official in 1355 that the cloth was a "representation" of the original cloth.

But the fascination about the shroud "goes beyond history and archaeology," Lambatti acknowledged. "It implies a choice of faith."

Besides the 16th-century blaze, the cloth has had other brushes with disasters, including a 1997 fire in the cathedral.

It also might have survived the covetous clutches of Hitler.

In the early weeks of World War II, the cloth was secretly whisked from its resting place in the cathedral to a monastery in Montevergine in the southern Apennine mountains, recalled Rev. Andrea Davide Cardin, director of Montevergine's state library.

"It wasn't so much that Hitler was looking for it, but that the Nazi hierarchy wanted it as a symbol of power, of omnipotence," Cardin said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press in Rome.

Because of a friendship between the monastery's chief abbot and the Savoys, the Piedmont royal family, long custodian of the Shroud, Montevergine was chosen for safekeeping, and a hiding place carved in a wooden altar in a chapel of the abbey, Cardin said.

"During the war, no one knew it was there, except for the Victor Emmanuel III (then king of Italy), the head abbot and the Vatican secretary of state," he said.

The shroud was returned to Turin's cathedral in 1946, after the war's end, Cardin said. "What would have happened if, instead of entrusting it to the Benedictine monks of Montevergine, it was entrusted to the monks of Monte Cassino?" Cardin said, saying he was quoting a 1946 letter from then Turin Cardinal Maurilio Fossati in tribute to the shroud's survival.

The Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino, about 90 miles (150 kilometers) to the northwest, was heavily bombed by the Allies in 1944, and many Savoy family documents about the shroud that were placed there for safekeeping during the war were destroyed, Cardin said.

Of course, just before Holy Week, some buzz was generated by a digital reconstruction of the face of Jesus from the features imrpinted on the Shroud of Turin. Somehow, I think, the facat that the media practically ignored what is at least 'interesting' news is an indication of how little MSM thinks of Jesus Christ. As presumably, most of the MSM liberals do not believe in God anyway, to them Jesus was just another 'itinerant Jewish preacher' who travelled the roads of Galilee under the reign of Augustus Caesar

Is this the real face of Jesus?

Using the latest 3-D computer technology, a team of digital artists have created what they claim is the real face of Jesus.

The contours of the face and body were taken from the ghostly face imprinted on the Shroud, the bloodied linen sheet said to have covered the body of Christ in his tomb.

Months of painstaking work went into the reconstruction, which is the first of its kind. The results were recorded by The History Channel for a two-part documentary, The Real Face Of Jesus, broadcast this week.

"If you want to recreate the face of Jesus and you want to get the actual face of Jesus, you only have one object and that's the shroud," said Ray Downing, lead artist on the project.

"I have a lot of information about that face and my estimation is we're pretty darn close to what this man looked like."

The face they have created looks very different from the image on the Shroud, Mr Downing explained, because it has been transformed from 2-D to 3-D.

"The shroud wasn't hanging on the wall - it was wrapping a corpse. The face is hidden in there. By imitating those distortions we could take the image and put it back into shape and figure out what the face looked like. It gave us a blueprint," he said.

Debate has raged for centuries about the authenticity of the Shroud. In 1988, carbon dating tests appeared to show that the material dated back to between 1260 and 1390, suggesting that it was a medieval forgery.

I did not see the documentary, and I hope I can catch it some time soon on TV, but the reconstructions shown correspond to my idea of the figure that the Shroud enclosed. I'm a 'true believer' about many things about the faith which may be considered peripheral because they do noy really affect one's belief in the essentials of the faith.

So it is with the relics of saints, and the two 'relics' that I consider inherently authentic - the Shroud of Turin and the Face in Manoppello. But belief in these 'peripherals' does tend to reinforce belief in the essentials

00Sunday, April 11, 2010 12:51 AM

I couldn't be more excited about the next Archbishop of Los Angeles than if I were a resident of LA myself! But other than posting the news of his appointment as Coadjutor Archbishop right away, I have not found the time to give him the attention he and the event deserve - a lasting mark Pope Benedict XVI will leave on the Church in the United States. This column by John Allen is a good beginning to getting to know something of Archbishop Jose Gomez.....

All about the future
first Hispanic cardinal
for the United States

April 9. 2010

As difficult as it is to talk about any Catholic subject these days other than the Pope and the sexual abuse crisis, I'm going to give it a whirl, because there was another important storyline this week: In effect, the Vatican paved the way on Tuesday for the first Hispanic cardinal in the United States, as well as something of a new tone in the country's largest archdiocese.

The move came with the April 6 appointment of Archbishop Jose Gomez of San Antonio as coadjutor of Los Angeles, meaning that Gomez will succeed Cardinal Roger Mahony after Mahony turns 75 next February.

While diocesan bishops can serve after their 75th birthday if the Pope keeps them on, Mahony has made it clear that after a quarter-century at the helm, he's ready to go.

The Gomez appointment is in some ways a Rorschach test for the prism through which one sees the Catholic Church. If you're inclined to think globally, the fact that he's Latino probably looms largest; if you lean more to ideology, it's his Opus Dei connection that jumps off the page.

With 4.3 million Catholics, Los Angeles is the largest archdiocese in the United States, and among the largest in the world. Inevitably, the leader in L.A. sets a national and international tone, making the Gomez nomination significant well beyond the boundaries of the archdiocese.

I spoke to both Gomez and Mahony by phone on Tuesday afternoon, after their press conference in Los Angeles. Gomez will be formally welcomed to Los Angeles in a May 26 "Mass of Reception." In the meantime, four points about the appointment seem worth making.

The Gomez nomination seems another indication that whatever else one wants to say about the Vatican, it is at least paying attention to the demographics of American Catholicism.

The decision to make Daniel Di Nardo of Houston a cardinal in November 2007 reflected the Catholic population shift from the Northeast to the Southwest, and elevating Gomez, who will certainly become a cardinal himself shortly after taking over from Mahony, puts a face on the burgeoning Hispanic wing of the American Church.

According to a recent Pew Forum study of religion in America, Hispanics will represent more than forty percent of American Catholics by 2030, a trend that Pew director Luis Lugo refers to as the "browning" of the church.

Gomez was born in Monterrey, Mexico, and will become the first Latino cardinal in the United States, meaning that the country's hierarchy will better reflect its grassroots.

Jesuit Fr. Allan Figueroa Deck, executive director of the Secretariat for Cultural Diversity of the U.S. bishops' conference, called the appointment "a great moment in the history of the Catholic church in the United States, a sign of the leadership that Latinos are exercising and need to exercise."

Gomez said he keeps asking himself, "Why am I here?", and the answer he's arrived at is that his nomination is primarily intended by the Vatican and the Pope as a recognition of the importance of Latino Catholics in America.

Opus Dei has spent the better part of the last two decades trying to convince the world that they're really just normal folk, loyal to Catholic teaching and to the Pope, but not a bunch of fanatics attempting to hijack the Church.

In the abstract, if you had to pick one bishop with ties to Opus Dei anywhere in the world who best makes that case, it might well be Jose Gomez.

People who know Gomez say that he's practical rather than ideological, with a real ability to listen.

"Any fears people had about him because of Opus Dei were quickly dispelled," said Fr. Virgilio Elizondo, perhaps America's best-known Hispanic Catholic theologian, who divides his time between San Antonio and Notre Dame.

"He's a very moderate person," Elizondo told me. "Ideological categories don't really fit him."

Gomez was named Bishop of San Antonio in December 2004 by John Paul II. He received the pallium from Benedict XVI in June 2005.

In some ways, there are intriguing parallels between Gomez's arrival in San Antonio in early 2005 and his appointment to Los Angeles. In San Antonio too, Gomez took over from a prelate widely seen as more liberal, Archbishop Patrick Flores, whose emphasis had been on social justice and especially immigrant rights.

Despite fears that Gomez would undo that legacy, most observers say it didn't happen.

"He didn't come in and squash anything," said Fr. David Garcia of San Antonio, who serves as a senior advisor to Catholic Relief Services.

In fact, Gomez became a staunch supporter of immigrant rights -- Gracia said he remembers marching with Gomez down the streets of San Antonio during his second year in a pro-immigrant rally.

"He encouraged what was already there, and gradually blended in some of his own priorities," Garcia said.

Chief among those priorities, observers such as Elizondo and Garcia say, was catechesis. Gomez likewise told me over the phone it's fair to say that education in the faith, especially for Hispanics, is a core concern.

Garcia said Gomez is also a good listener.

"I've been in priests' meetings where he would propose something, and it was pretty clear which way he wanted it to go," Garcia said. "But if a good majority wanted to take another look at it, he would. It wasn't always a foreordained conclusion."

Gomez told me on Tuesday that he doesn't want to start talking about his priorities in L.A., or cobbling together a plan of action, until he's spent time listening to people on the ground.

Mahony said that his main charge to Gomez in the short time he'll spend as coadjutor is to move around the sprawling archdiocese, meeting its priests, deacons, religious and laity, and getting a sense of the challenges awaiting him.

One thing Gomez did tell me that points toward continuity is that he wants the annual Religious Education Congress to continue. The country's largest annual Catholic gathering, the congress routinely draws tens of thousands of people to the Anaheim Convention Center for liturgies, plenary sessions, scores of workshops in English, Spanish and Vietnamese, and a special youth event. It also, however, has drawn protests over the years from some conservatives who charge that Mahony gives a platform to dissenting Catholic voices.

(In the interests of full disclosure, for the last several years I've spoken at the Congress, though so far as I know I've not been among those who have drawn protests.)

One other footnote: Gomez says he is not a "member" of Opus Dei, but rather that he was ordained a priest in Opus Dei and that his spirituality reflects that background. If he's a "member" of anything now, he says, it's the diocese he leads.

Center photo: Mons. Gomez led a USCCB delegation to visit the Haiti earthquake victims last February.

As things stand today, there are seven archdioceses in America where the archbishop is almost certain to become a cardinal: New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and now Houston. By this stage, Benedict XVI has appointed new leaders in three of those spots: Archbishop Donald Wuerl in Washington; Archbishop Timothy Dolan in New York; and Gomez in Los Angeles.

Three cases does not necessarily a pattern make, but give the importance of those appointments, it's a safe bet they were carefully considered both by the papal nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, and in Rome. For that reason, a general observation seems in order.

Basically speaking, if Benedict faces a choice between a candidate whose outlook could be described as "center-right" and someone who is more "center-left," he goes with the center-right candidate.

In New York, for example, widely touted candidates included Dolan and Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta; in Los Angeles, Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento was considered a leading contender along with Gomez. Both Gregory and Soto would conventionally be seen as more "center-left," Dolan and Gomez as leaning to the "center-right."

Yet Benedict and Sambi also seem to be looking for center-right candidates with reputations as pragmatic, open-minded bridge builders. That, too, would generally describe Wuerl, Dolan and Gomez. None of the three, for example, have been among the most aggressive voices in the bishops' conference calling for denial of communion to pro-choice Catholic politicians.

Wuerl has been the target of protests from staunch pro-life groups for refusing to publicly excommunicate Nancy Pelosi, and Dolan came to the defense of Catholic Relief Services when it was briefly under fire for allegedly promoting condoms as part of its overseas anti-AIDS efforts.

In a sound-bite, the profile of a "Benedict bishop," at least in the most important dioceses in the United States, would seem to be a conservative pastor -- as opposed to a conservative ideologue.

As the five-year anniversary of Benedict's election approaches, it has long since become clear that one cannot draw a straight line between the personal convictions of Joseph Ratzinger and the policies of Benedict XVI. His senior American appointments confirm the point.

Back in 1999, Ratzinger joined two other veteran Vatican cardinals in denouncing careerism among the bishops -- Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, who once headed the Congregation for Bishops, and Cardinal Jorge Medina Estévez, at the time prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Among other things, Gantin, Medina and Ratzinger all suggested that a bishop should usually remain in the same diocese for life, in part because of the spousal imagery that a bishop is "married" to his diocese, to its people and its priests.

Ratzinger even expressed regret for having left the Archdiocese of Munich, where he was archbishop from May 1977 to February 1982, in a 1999 interview with 30 Giorni.

If that were Benedict's philosophy as Pope, none of his three most important appointments in the United States should have been made.

Wuerl is a Pittsburgh native and a priest of the diocese, and hence becoming the bishop of Pittsburgh should have been the end of the line. Dolan is a St. Louis native, so his appointment as an auxiliary of St. Louis in June 2001 likewise fit the "one diocese for life" theory. His transfer to Milwaukee a year later at least kept him generally in the Midwest. Gomez was born in Mexico, but spent much of his priestly career in Texas and has personal ties to San Antonio.

By way of contrast, he jokingly told me on Tuesday that when a reporter asked him how much time he had spent in Los Angeles, his reply was, "You mean, how many hours?"

The reality, however, is that before a Pope hands someone the keys to one of the country's most important dioceses, he needs an indication that the guy is up to the job. Normally, that means looking for someone with a solid track record in a mid-sized diocese someplace else, or at least someone without a reputation for running the place into the ground.

With each of these three appointments, there was criticism about bringing someone in from the outside: "You mean to say that the Pope couldn't find a single priest in Washington, or New York, or Los Angeles worthy of the job?" [Since when have priests become the usual candidates for bishop in any major diocese, which would have auxiliary bishops who would be more 'potential' nominees than priests?]

Aside from the fact that an outsider is sometimes able to start fresh, because he doesn't carry any local baggage, the problem with hiring from within is that it can be a crap shoot in terms of administrative ability. Purely in terms of management dynamics, the smart move is often to tap a proven commodity.

All of which illustrates the point that leaders may have a lofty personal vision about how things ought to be done, but sometimes that vision has to yield to the practical demands of running a complex organization. Time and the tides stop for no one, even Popes -- and to return to where we began, that's a lesson with implications for many issues in the Church, including, perhaps, the sexual abuse crisis.
00Sunday, April 11, 2010 1:19 AM

Shroud of Turin displayed
for first time in decade

by Gina Doggett

TURIN, Italy, April 10 (AFP) – The mysterious and controversial Shroud of Turin, believed by many to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, went on public display Saturday for the first time in a decade.

Some two million people are expected to view one of the most revered relics in Christendom -- and among the most disputed -- over the next six weeks in this northern Italian city.

The city that is home to the Fiat auto giant has completed extensive preparations to handle the onslaught of visitors, especially regarding security and crowd control.

A large area around Turin cathedral has been cordoned off and some 4,000 volunteers were pressed into service.

Special parking areas have been designated for coaches bringing pilgrims eager for their chance to spend a few minutes before the relic, framed by red drapery and backlit to provide the best possible view.

The Shroud of Turin, which was painstakingly restored in 2002, measures 4.4 by 1.1 metres (14.3 by 3.7 feet) and is said to have been imprinted with an image of Christ's body, notably his face.

It was discovered in the French city of Troyes, southeast of Paris, in the mid-14th century.

The cloth became an overnight international sensation in 1898 after amateur photographer Secondo Pia obtained a negative image with far more striking features than those of the natural, sepia-coloured positive.

No one has come up with a scientific explanation for the image, and no one has managed to replicate it.

A section missing from the upper right-hand corner of the fabric was used for radiocarbon dating analysis in 1988, when samples were sent to four different labs.

The analysis determined that the fibres in the cloth date from the Middle Ages, sometime between 1260 and 1390, but those findings have in turn been challenged.

Normally visitors to the cathedral can only view a lifesize reproduction of the relic, which last went on public display in 2000.

Daniela Kalatovic, 24, said she would make up her mind once she saw the relic with her own eyes.

"I'm a scientist, so I have my doubts," the Croatian chemistry student told AFP. "I hope once I see it I'll believe it, I hope it strikes me."

Andrea Francesco Morbini, 25, who works at a snack bar near the cathedral, said: "Lots of people have their doubts, but I am sure it is real."

Mina Nicholosi, who was handing out leaflets advertising a nearby pizzeria, chose her words carefully, saying: "It's a great opportunity for raising awareness, to deepen our faith, despite the doubts."

In an allusion to the paedophile priest scandals rocking the Roman Catholic Church, she added: "At this point in history, when as everyone knows there are problems hurting the Church (the event) will provide a chance for everyone to take part in a great exchange, a great synergy."

Turin Archbishop Severino Poletto, for his part, took on the subject more directly.

"The Church has always gone through painful times in the course of history," Poletto said. "Those who point the finger at a few priests forget to say how much good the Church and its institutions have done for humanity throughout history."

In remarks quoted by the ANSA news agency, Poletto chided the media, saying the display of the Shroud of Turin "can help make us all better people, even you journalists."

Celebrating mass later Saturday, Poletto said the shroud was a testament to "hidden suffering endured in silence between tears and despair."

He recalled that the late Pope John Paul II said the shroud evoked thoughts of the "millions of men who die of hunger, of the horrors perpetrated in so many wars (and) the brutal exploitation of women and children."

Pope Benedict XVI will pay homage to the shroud on May 2.

Benedict said his visit would be "a propitious occasion to contemplate this mysterious visage that speaks silently to the heart of men, inviting them to recognise the face of God."

The Vatican has never pronounced on the authenticity of the shroud.

Cardinal Poletto, Archbishop of Turin, led the concelebrants of the Mass that preceded the formal opening of the Exposition.

Shroud draws crowd
by Sabina Castelfranco

TURIN, April 10 (VOA) -The Shroud of Turin went on display Saturday in the cathedral of the northern Italian city of Turin. It will be displayed for six weeks during which time two million people are expected to see the mysterious cloth some believe is the burial cloth of Jesus.

The first to see the Shroud of Turin Saturday morning were city authorities and then journalists. A Mass was held later in the day and then the exhibit will be declared open to the public.

Hundreds of thousands of people have already made their reservations to come and see the linen, that believers think was the burial cloth of Jesus.

Among those who went in Saturday was Emanuela Marinelli, a shroud expert who has written numerous books on the shroud.

"I believe more and more that the shroud is really the burial cloth of Jesus so for me it's important to see again this important relic, to stay in front of it for one moment to say a prayer because I am convinced that the shroud is authentic, not for reasons of faith but for scientific reasons," she said.

Pilgrims and tourists from all over the world will be coming to Turin to see the shroud, which was restored in 2002. Thirty patches and a fabric backing sewn by nuns onto the shroud after a fire in the 16th century have been removed.

Still there are plenty of skeptics who say that the Shroud of Turin is a fake. They say carbon dating by three separate laboratories in 1988 - in Britain, Switzerland and the United States - dated it to the Middle Ages. But Marinelli says she has no doubt about the image that has special significance to her.

"For me the shroud is something to have continuously the memory of the presence of Jesus and the presence of the shroud in my life is also the presence of Jesus in my life," she said.

To this day, no one has yet been able to explain how the image on the shroud was formed. Because of the huge interest for the shroud, visitors will only get three minutes to view the mysterious cloth, which is being displayed in a bulletproof, climate controlled glass case in Turin cathedral. Pope Benedict will visit on May 2nd.

Opening Mass on April 10, 2010.

The Holy Shroud Exhibition:
a religious event

TURIN, 8 April 2010 – “The Holy Shroud Exhibition is a spiritual and religious event, it is neither touristic nor commercial.” These are the words of the speech delivered by Archbishop of Turin, Cardinal Severino Poletto, on the occasion of the Press Conference held at the Aula Magna of the Seminario Metropoliano 48 hours before the official opening of the Holy Shroud display inside the Cathedral of Turin.

This is the first display in the third millennium and it inspired by the motto «Passio Christi, passio hominis» selected by Archbishop Poletto to highlight «the strong link between the Passion of Jesus Christ and the human suffering in the world. »

So far, over 1.5 million pilgrims have already booked their visit. Cardinal Poletto said to the pilgrims: “Yours is a path of faith. I kindly invite you to concentrate on the prayer and avoid, if possible, taking pictures.”

The new introductory video for pilgrims was showed in order to highlight the spiritual value of the Holy Shroud Exhibition and the atmosphere of concentration that should be achieved during the visit. The video will be displayed at the beginning of the tour before entering the Cathedral.

Gian Maria Zaccone, Director of the Holy Shroud museum said: “The 3 minute video highlights the details of the Shroud image. The pilgrims are led to clearly distinguish the signs of the scourges, the lesions caused by the Crown of Thorns on the head, the wounds in the chest, and the holes from the spikes and to deeply understand the meaning of the Holy Shroud.”

The video is made up of high resolution images of the Holy Shroud created in 2008 by the company “Haltadefinizione “of Novara.

Fiorenzo Alfieri, President of the Holy Shroud Exhibition Organizing Committee, explained the importance of the cooperation between the different institutions. The Catholic Church and the public administrations, the Municipality of Turin, the Province and Regione Piemonte have been closely working together to organize the Holy Shroud Exhibition. In addition, the city of Torino and Regione Piemonte will organize for the pilgrims and visitors a variety of cultural events and initiatives, such as the exhibition of ancient paintings at the Reggia di Venaria, the “Ecce Homo” exhibition at the National Cinema Museum, and other art events at Palazzo Barolo and the Royal Palace.

This is the first time the Holy Shroud will be seen following the intervention it underwent in 2002. It included:
- Removal of the pieces of cloth burnt in the Chambéry fire in 1532;
- Removal of the “patches” applied by the Clarisses;
- Removal of the lining to which it was fastened in 1534 and placing the shroud on a new support.

New and more detailed information will be provided along the introductory route to the Shroud which, among other things, will also include, in the pre-reading area, super high resolution photographic documents.

This is a very interesting site for more information:

And this to 'examine' the Shroud online:

00Monday, April 12, 2010 12:38 PM

I overlooked posting this Saturday when I first saw it... But here's a typical media smear tactic - think up the worst headline possible, and omit the other side, even if you are also reporting it... Well, at least they asked the archbishop for his comment before they came out with the story, and that's a vestige of what used to be standard journalism practice!... Anyway, it's clear everyone in MSM now wants to the Woodward and Bernstein of Vaticangate and won't stop at anything simply to be in the running....

Britain’s top Catholic
‘protected’ a paedophile

by David Brown, Sean O’Neill, Julia Bradshaw

April 10, 2010

The head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales presided over a child protection system that allowed a paedophile priest to continue abusing schoolboys despite repeated complaints from victims, an investigation by The Times has discovered.

The Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, chaired the church’s child safety watchdog in 2001-08 while Father David Pearce was repeatedly investigated by church officials and police.

Despite a High Court ruling in 2006 awarding damages to one of his victims, Pearce remained a priest at Ealing Abbey, West London, where he groomed and assaulted one final victim before his arrest in 2008.

Pearce, 68, a Benedictine monk and former headteacher at the prestigious St Benedict’s School, was jailed for eight years in October after admitting a catalogue of sex offences against teenage pupils during 35 years at the abbey.

Archbishop Nichols last night denied any knowledge of the Pearce case while he was chairman of the Catholic Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults (Copca).

Church officials said that Archbishop Nichols was not told the full details of Pearce’s child abuse offences until he replaced Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor at Westminster last year.

However, his predecessor knew of the allegations, a spokesman for Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor confirmed. The Cardinal has recently been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to sit on the Vatican body that appoints bishops.

The Pope was further embroiled in the worldwide clerical abuse scandal yesterday by the discovery of a letter which purports to show that he resisted the defrocking of an American priest because of the effect it might have “on the good of the universal church".

And it turns out that on the same day, another British newspaper accused another British bishop in a sort of copycat story to embellish its hook-line-and-sinker rehash of the AP story regarding the Oakland priest... The story takes elements from the Milwaukee case (deaf victims) and the 'Pope resists defrocking pedophiles' - almost like a 'copy and paste' operation now, using a template that the MSM have developed to make the Pope and every Catholic bishop and priest look like the sleaziest of criminals

Catholic Church decided
not to unfrock priest
who abused deaf boys

By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent

Published: 9:00PM BST 10 Apr 2010

A priest who admitted indecently assaulting deaf boys at a school in Yorkshire has been allowed to remain as a cleric, it can be revealed, as the scandal over abuse cover-ups in the Catholic Church moves to Britain.

The Rt Rev Arthur Roche, the Bishop of Leeds, sent letters to the Vatican asking for advice on what action should be taken against Fr Neil Gallanagh, after details of his offences emerged, but decided not to unfrock him.

[It turns out further down that Roche did not recommend laicization, to begin with, and his spokesman explains why. The priest was retired and over 70 at the time his offenses were brought to light, he was no logner exercising priestly functions, and the diocese kept him under supervision. But most readers will never get that far because in the meantime, before telling the main story, this writer serves up the latest 'scandal' fabricated against the Pope!]

Victims' support groups said that the Catholic Church's failure to pursue the toughest possible course of action against Gallanagh seriously undermined its attempts to send a clear statement that priests guilty of abuse have been properly punished.

The disclosure comes as Pope Benedict XVI finds himself embroiled in new revelations over child sex abuse, following the emergence of a letter signed by him in 1985, before he became Pope, resisting the unfrocking of Stephen Kiesle, a US priest who had been convicted of offences against young boys.

The letter, signed by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was typed in Latin and is part of years of correspondence between the diocese of Oakland, in the US, and the Vatican about the proposed unfrocking of Kiesle, sentenced to three years of probation in 1978 for lewd conduct with two young boys in San Francisco.

In the letter, Cardinal Ratzinger – who was at the time the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which has responsibility for tackling abuse by clerics – said the "good of the universal Church" needed to be considered in any unfrocking. He also urged "as much paternal care as possible" for Kiesle.

Kiesle was ultimately unfrocked in 1987. In 2004, he was sentenced to six years in prison after admitting molesting a young girl in 1995.

Now aged 63, he is on the registered sex offenders list in California. The Vatican says he was exercising due caution before sacking the priest.

Last month it was claimed that while he was a Cardinal in the 1990s, the current Pope also took a lenient approach towards another American priest who was suspected of having molested as many as 200 boys at a school for the deaf.

The Vatican has insisted that the Pope was never involved in blocking the removal of paedophile priests during his two decades as head of the Catholic Church's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

He held the position prior to becoming Pope in 2005.

The decision not to unfrock Gallanagh, who also abused children at deaf school, is likely to prove embarrassing for the Catholic Church in England and Wales, which has up until now escaped from being dragged into the crisis that has engulfed the Catholic church in several countries over the past year.

Catholic priests have been accused of abusing children in Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, Italy and Germany.

Gallanagh abused boys while working as the chaplain of St John's School for the Deaf in Boston Spa, West Yorkshire, in the 1970s. The abuse first came to light in 2002, by which time he was working as a parish priest in Horsforth, Leeds.

In 2005, by then 75 and retired, Gallanagh pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting two teenage pupils at the school. He was given a six-month suspended sentence and a further 11 charges involving boys as young as 11 were left on file.

However, he escaped being unfrocked – or laicised – following Bishop Roche's decision that it would be sufficient to stop him from exercising his ministry. [Which is entirely the bishops

"He is not in good standing with the Church as a priest," said John Grady, the bishop's spokesman.

"He is not allowed to exercise ministry of any kind. He has observed these restrictions to the letter."

The diocese did not refer the case to the Vatican until 2007, according to Mr Grady, by which time Benedict XVI was Pope.

"When the Neil Gallanagh case was sent to Rome, the diocese did not ask for laicisation," Mr Grady said.

"Bishop Roche took the view that Neil had had his faculties removed at the time of the disclosure – he had not acted as a priest or worn priest's dress – and still does not."

Gallanagh, who currently lives in a flat "under the observance of the church" and has been financially supported by the Church with a retirement grant, was moved to the school in 1973 despite having been fined for assaulting a nine-year-old boy 13 years earlier on the Isle of Man, while he was a priest in Northern Ireland.

At the time of the 1973 offence he told police "it was a horrible thing to do", adding: "I have been worried with this sexual trouble for some time and recently it has become an obsession with me."

Margaret Kennedy, founder of Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors (MACSAS), a support group, said that the Church had not gone far enough in punishing Gallanagh.

"Defrocking him would send out a statement that he's not fit to be a priest," she said.

"He should not be left with this honour. By not defrocking him it says that he is still a man of God and that is clearly not the case.

"It's insulting to the victims who have suffered that he has been allowed to remain as a priest."

The disclosure that Gallanagh has been allowed to remain as a priest comes after Archbishop Nichols recently cited the ability to defrock priests as one of the key changes Pope Benedict had introduced to protect children.

"He pushed forward, for example, a fast-track to defrock priests who have committed abuse," the Archbishop said. "He changed the statute of limitations in Church law."

Kevin Walton, who was abused as a boy at the school, said he was shocked to hear that Fr Gallanagh has been allowed to remain a priest.

“He was known to have abused before in Ireland, then to Boston Spa with vulnerable Deaf boys,” he said.

“The church has not acted strongly enough at all, too many silences, brushing under carpet, not saying any more about it, as if they hope things will quieten down.”

00Tuesday, April 13, 2010 5:37 AM

What can Europe learn from
the U.S. sexual abuse crisis?

BY Thomas J. Reese, SJ

APRIL 12, 2010

When the clergy sexual abuse crisis exploded in the United States, most Vatican officials and European churchmen considered it an American problem. Then when Canada and Ireland experienced a similar crisis, it became an “English speaking” problem. Rather than seeing the crisis in the United States as a warning to put their own houses in order, too many European bishops continued with business as usual, believing that the crisis would not touch them.

Now that the crisis has arrived in Europe, what can the European bishops and the Vatican learn from the U.S. experience?

The Vatican needs to make zero tolerance the law for the universal church. Begin with the context.

The sexual abuse crisis did not start in Boston; it first came to public attention in the mid-1980s with a court case in Lafayette, La. The crisis was covered by the National Catholic Reporter long before the Boston Globe noticed it.

It was in the mid-80s that insurance companies told bishops such cases would no longer be covered in their liability insurance. This should have gotten the attention of any prudent C.E.O. [So why didn't anybody in the media push it then? They had their nine-day-wonder and that was it? And wouldn't return to the problem until almost 20 years later? Perhaps because there were no 'big fish' in the net, as Cardinal Law was, bigger than life, in Boston? Or as Benedict XVI is now - the Fisher of Men turned by his detractors into a Moby Dick they think they can bleed to death with a thousand harpoon cuts?]

Before 1985, few bishops handled these cases well. The tendency was to believe the priest when he said he would never do it again and to believe psychologists who said the priest could safely return to ministry.

The bishops were compassionate and pastoral toward their priests, while forgetting their responsibility to be pastoral and protective of their flock. They tried to keep everything secret so as not to scandalize the faithful.

Between 1985 and 1992, the bishops began to learn more about the problem. They held closed-door sessions with experts at their semi-annual meetings. At one closed meeting, at least one bishop told his brother bishops of the mistakes he had made and urged them not to do the same. The number of abuses declined during this period.

In 1992, under the leadership of Archbishop Daniel Pilarcyzk, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops adopted a series of guidelines on dealing with sexual abuse. Data collected by researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice show that the number of abuse cases plummeted in the 1990s, indicating that by that time most bishops “got it.”

The guidelines were opposed by Cardinal Bernard Law, however, and ignored by other bishops who still did not get it. The guidelines were not binding on the bishops, and they continued to leave open the possibility that an abusive priest could return to the ministry.

And at a meeting in St. Louis that same year, a group of psychologists who were treating priests urged the bishops to keep open the possibility of returning the priests to ministry.

The scandal in Boston showed that voluntary guidelines were insufficient. It also showed that no one trusted the bishops (or their advisors) to decide who could safely be returned to ministry.

As a result, in 2002 the bishops, with the consent of Rome, imposed binding rules requiring zero tolerance of abuse, reporting of accusations to the police, and mandatory child protection programs in every diocese.

Under the zero tolerance rule adopted at their meeting in Dallas, any priest involved in abuse will never be able to return to ministry. In most cases, he would be expelled from the priesthood with possible exceptions if he is elderly and retired or infirm.

The Dallas rules also required a lay committee in each diocese to review accusations against priests who are suspended from ministry while an investigation takes place.

The rules were controversial in that many priests saw the zero tolerance law as draconian. They also feared false accusations and that the rules made them guilty until proven innocent. They objected that Dallas dealt only with priests, not with the bishops who are guilty of negligence.

In any case, it took the American bishops 17 years to figure out how to proceed, from the 1985 lawsuit against the diocese of Lafayette, La., to the establishment of the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002. The European bishops need to travel the same ground very quickly, and the Vatican needs to make zero tolerance the law for the universal Church. [Which does not at al guarantees that all bishops will comply. They have been too defiant for too long on too many issues! It has become 'Rome proposes, the bishop disposes' - instead of the traditonal, Roma dixit, causa finita est'.]

While the Europeans can learn from what the American bishops got right at Dallas, they can also learn from the mistakes the Americans made during the crisis.

From the beginning, the American bishops under-estimated the size and gravity of the problem. Prior to 1993, only one-third of the victims had come forward to report the abuse to their dioceses, so not even the Church knew how bad the crisis was. [If they only learned about one-third of cases, how can they have under-estimated it? They were acting according to what came to their knowledge!]

Most victims do not want others to know they were abused, especially their parents, spouses, children and friends. Media coverage of clergy abuse encouraged and empowered victims to come forward as they recognized they were not alone.

Today, Europeans are shocked by the hundreds of cases that are being reported. They should get ready for thousands more. In the United States over 5,000 priests, or 4 percent of the clergy, were responsible for 13,000 accusations over a 50-year period.
[Yes, but Reese should also mention the rest of the pertinent stats!

The John Jay CC report on priest abuses between 1950-2002 said:
- A total of 4,392 priests, deacons and religious were identified to have been accused of such offenses.
- The overall percentage of accused in terms of all priests and religious in the US was 4%.
- A report to the police resulted in an investigation in almost all cases. 384 of the 4,392 were criminally charged - 9.1% of the accused.
Of the 384 charged, 252 were convicted.

Only 9% of those almost 5,000 accused priests ended up being criminally charged, of whom one third were acquitted. Allowing for attrition because the cases were too old or there was not enough evidence to back the accusations, could conceivably increase the number of those who would be criminally charged but probably nowhere near the 4,392 who were accused.

Yes, pervert priests are the shame of the Church, they must not be tolerated and they should leave the priesthood. But it is a great injustice to write about the bad apples as if the 96% of US priests who have not been accused of improper acts do not exist. And I would think priests like Fr. Reese would be more attentive to that disparity and when they write about priest abuse. And remember to say a good word for the 96% who are everyday heroes in their own right.]

There is no reason to think Europe is different. Hope for the best, but do the math and be prepared.

The biggest miscalculation the American bishops made was to think that the crisis would pass in a few months.

Hunkering down and waiting for the storm to pass is a failed strategy. Unless they want this crisis to go on for years as it did in the United States, the European bishops need to be transparent and encourage victims to come forward now. Better to get all the bad news out as soon as possible than to give the appearance of attempting a cover-up.

One school in Berlin, a Jesuit school, did the right thing. It knew of seven cases of abuse, went public, hired a female lawyer to go through their files and deal with victims, and then wrote to the alumni asking victims to come forward.

When at least 120 victims did come forward saying they were abused at Jesuit schools in Germany, the foolish concluded that the school had been crazy to issue the invitation. But not only was it the Christian thing to do, it was also smart public relations. No one is accusing the current school administration of covering up.

In addition, rather than have three to five years of bad publicity as one victim after another comes forward, they will have a few months of bad publicity before the media moves on to something else.

American bishops also made the mistake of blaming the media, blaming the permissive culture and trying to down play clerical abuse by pointing out that there are 90,000 to 150,000 reported cases of child sexual abuse each year in the United States.

While there is truth in all this, it is counterproductive for the bishops to make these arguments, which come across as excuses. Rather the bishops should condemn the abuse, apologize and put in place policies to make sure that children are safe. Nor is one apology enough. Like a husband who has been unfaithful to his wife, they must apologize, apologize, apologize.

Finally, the American bishops excused themselves by saying they made mistakes but were not culpable because of their ignorance. Sorry, this won’t wash. American Catholics wanted some bishops to stand up and say: “I made a mistake, I moved this priest to another parish, I did not think he would abuse again, I got bad advice, but I take full responsibility. I am sorry and I resign.”

If 30 bishops in the United States had done this, the crisis would not have gone on as long as it did. People would have said, “Good, that is what leaders are supposed to do. They get it. With a new bishop we can have healing and move on.”

[That all sounds good in theory, But in practice, was there any significant uprising at all by the diocesan faithful who rejected their bishop for covering up or some other failure in the sex abuse crisis? Even Cardinal Mahoney in Los Angeles has not seemed to lose any influence or support even if some of his decisions probably played into the $660 million vulnerability that his diocese had to shoulder to pay damages to victims.]

Bishops have to be willing to sacrifice for the sake of the whole church. It is a scandal that Cardinal Law was the only U.S. bishop to resign because of this crisis. It is encouraging that four Irish bishops have submitted their resignations. Unless the Church wants this crisis to go on for years in Europe as it did in the United States, some bishops will have to resign for the good of the Church.

[I don't buy this resign-for-the-sake-of-appearances bit. It's grandstanding and hypocritical. Resignations should be on a case to case basis. For instance, in the overheated, pressure-cooker conditions created by the media today, why hasn't anyone come out against just one of those 30 bishops Reese considers who ought to have resigned if their offense(s) had really been insupportable to their flock?]

Will the European bishops learn from the U.S. experience? I hope so.

Thomas J. Reese, S.J., is senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University, and author of Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church.

AMERICA revived a 2000 editorial on anti-Catholicism that is worth remembering:

The Last Acceptable Prejudice?

by James Martin, SJ
March 25, 2000

T he advertisement for a student-loan company features a picture of a nun in a veil with the legend "If you’re a nun, then you’re probably not a student."

The movie "Jeffrey" includes a trash-talking priest sexually propositioning a man in a church sacristy. One can readily venture into novelty stores and buy a "Boxing Nun" handpuppet or, if that’s out of stock, perhaps a "Nunzilla" windup doll.

"Late-Nite Catechism," a play that features a sadistic sister in the classroom, has become a favorite of local theaters across the country.

Since last fall nine Catholic churches in Brooklyn, N.Y., have been vandalized; statues have been decapitated and defaced. In some instances hate mail was sent as well. The playwright Tony Kushner, writing in The Nation, calls the Pope a "a homicidal liar" who "endorses murder." [What on earth was that about in 2000????]

During one Holy Week The New Yorker displays a picture of the crucifixion on its cover; but in place of the corpus, a traditional Catholic icon, appears the Easter Bunny.

On PBS’s "Newshour With Jim Lehrer" a commentator discussing mandatory DNA testing for criminals identifies the following groups as "at risk" for criminal behavior: "teenagers, homeless people, Catholic priests."

A Catholic priest highly recommended by a bi-partisan committee that spent "literally hundreds of hours" in their search for a chaplain for the U. S. House of Representatives is rejected with no adequate explanation.

And the leaders of Bob Jones University, where Gov. George W. Bush appeared during his presidential campaign, call Pope John Paul II the "Anti-Christ," and the Catholic Church "satanic" and the "Mother of Harlots." [DIM]98t[=DIM][What does Bush have to do with what the university leadres say?]

Examples of anti-Catholicism in the United States are surprisingly easy to find. Moreover, Catholics themselves seem to be increasingly aware of the specter of anti-Catholic bias. In the past, a largely immigrant church would have quietly borne the sting of prejudice, but today American Catholics seem less willing to tolerate slander and malicious behavior.

In addition, the question of anti-Catholic bias has recently been brought to the fore by the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. Emboldened by its public-relations successes, with attacks on television shows like "Nothing Sacred," Broadway offerings like "Corpus Christi" and last year’s exhibit "Sensation" at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, this organization has made anti-Catholicism a hot political issue.

But this raises a critical question: How prevalent is anti-Catholicism in American culture?
Is it, as some have termed it, "the last acceptable prejudice?"
Is it as serious an issue as racism or anti-Semitism or homophobia?
Or are rising complaints about anti-Catholic bias simply an unfortunate overstatement, another manifestation of the current "victim culture," in which every interest group is quick to claim victimhood?

In short, is anti-Catholicism a real problem in the United States?

It is, of course, impossible to summarize 400 years of history in a few paragraphs. But even a brief overview serves to expose the thread of anti-Catholic bias that runs through American history and to explain why the eminent historian Arthur Schlesinger Sr. called anti-Catholicism "the deepest-held bias in the history of the American people."

00Wednesday, April 21, 2010 1:05 PM

Archbishop of Toronto says
sex-abuse scandals in
the Church are ‘exceptions’

TORONTO, April 18 — Sexual-abuse scandals rocking the Roman Catholic church are “dramatic exceptions” to the good work done by most priests, the archbishop of Canada’s largest archdiocese said Sunday.

In a pastoral message delivered to churchgoers across the archdiocese, Thomas Collins said the clergy and lay people should not be discouraged by the seemingly endless stream of victims.

“These scandals are dramatic exceptions to the fundamental reality of priestly goodness, for almost all priests serve faithfully,” Collins said.

“But just one priest gone wrong causes great suffering, and as we hear of evil done by some clergy in our own communities and around the world, we are all filled with dismay.”

The pastoral message was given to priests to deliver as the homily at Sunday mass in all 225 parishes of the Toronto archdiocese, which is home to 1.9 million Catholics.

Mary Lozowsky, of Brampton, Ont., said she was encouraged by what she heard, particularly Collins’ admission the church had “failed.”

He didn’t try to blame the victims, she said.

“There was no counter-attack in this — it was not a defensive response,” Lozowsky said.

“I thought it was honest.”

Also Sunday, Pope Benedict met a group of clerical sex-abuse victims in Malta.

The pontiff promised them the church would do everything in its power to bring justice to victims and protect young people in the future.

Benedict also expressed shame and sorrow at the pain the men suffered, the Vatican said.

Among allegations that have emerged in recent weeks was that the diocese of Pembroke in eastern Ontario conspired with the Vatican to cover up sex-abuse accusations.

In that case, a letter from the bishop of the diocese written in 1993 indicated a church official — later jailed in Ontario — was promoted to a top Vatican post despite knowing about several complaints about his conduct.

Collins called the situation “painful” as he acknowledged the impact of the scandals on the church.

“It seems that not a day has gone by in recent weeks without hearing of Catholic priests who have sexually abused those entrusted to their care, or of the failure of their superiors to deal rightly with that,” he said.

“In the face of this constant criticism, Catholic clergy and lay people alike can feel discouraged, angry, confused, and ashamed.”

However, he noted that much of the abuse happened many years ago, and said measures have been put in place to make the church safer.

At the same time, he said, his archdiocese is looking to update its protocols — first introduced in 1989 — to deal with accusations of misconduct.

He said he would be asking a group of lay people experienced in youth, psychology, legal issues and ethics to recommend changes to make the protocol more effective.

In addition, he said, priests and others involved in pastoral service in the archdiocese will gather this fall to discuss more fully about how to best respond to sexual abuse in the Church and in society.

Lozowsky said she was pleased the church is talking about ways to prevent future abuse and cover-ups of complaints.

The Toronto archdiocese put a video of Collins’ message on its website along with text copies translated in five languages so it would be as accessible as possible, a spokesman said.

Abp. Collins is a great example of the young, pro-active, orthodox-thinking bishops that Benedict XVI has been naming, particularly to the big dioceses of North America. I hope more bishops follow his initiative.

They should not be all doom and gloom about the sex abuse issue, and should 'accentuate the positive' as Mons. Collins does. Yes, priests sinned grievously, and bishops erred in covering up for them, and the Church attitude to the problem before 2001 was simply wrong. The faithful must pray for the victims and the people who abused them and let them down, and for the Church and the offenders to do the neecessary penance.

But also look at what has been done since 2001. And so far, the Church is the only institution that has been cleaning house even if the abuses are much more frequent and common in all other sectors of society!

00Wednesday, April 21, 2010 7:51 PM

Variation on a theme....

Catholic priest removed, returned to Germany
to face allegations of sexual abuse -
of women, and back in the past!

By William Wan

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A German Catholic priest who has served in Washington for the past six years has been removed from ministry and ordered home to face surfacing allegations that he sexually abused teenage girls in Germany two decades ago, Church officials said late Tuesday night.

The priest, Michael Schapfel, was removed from ministry after the German Bishops' Conference and the Diocese of Mainz in that country learned of the allegations March 30, reported them to authorities and called Schapfel at home during the Easter holiday.

An archdiocese spokeswoman said local church officials were not told about it until Tuesday.

The Archdiocese of Washington said it has not received any reports of abuse by Schapfel during his time in the District. Since 2004, he has served as chaplain of the 75-family German Pastoral Mission of Washington, which is attended mainly by German parishioners.

Before coming to Washington, Schapfel was ordained as a priest of the Diocese of Mainz in 1984 and held a number of positions in Germany, including an assignment with the Secular Institute of Schoenstatt Diocesan Priests.

It was a report from the Schoenstatts to the Diocese of Mainz that led to his removal from ministry. According to a news release from the German Bishops' Conference, the Schoenstatts had information as early as 2004 that suggested a past inappropriate relationship, but the information was not shared, according to Church officials.

According to the Associated Press in Germany, the Mainz diocese and the German Bishops' Conference said in a joint statement that the suspended priest is suspected of "having had sexual relations in the late 80s and early 90s with female youths and young women who had confided to him in his capacity as a pastor."

One person reported abuse to the Schoenstatt Institute of Diocesan Priests, to which the priest belongs, as early as 2004, the statement said. But the leaders of that group did not inform the diocese at that time, the statement said.

Schapfel arrived in Washington with a letter of suitability from his home diocese, affirming that he had no known criminal background nor anything that would "render him unsuitable to work with children," according to the Washington Archdiocese. He attended mandatory child protection training, signed an affidavit that he read and agreed to follow the child protection policy.

The Archdiocese of Washington said the German Bishops' Conference has written to the people of the pastoral mission and will send a representative to meet with them.

Now the AP is speaking up for the devil???? On the principle of 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend'? It also reminds me of the hell that media gave Mons. Wagner in Linz, Austria, for his Hurricane Katrina remarks!

New bishop once blamed devil
for abuse lawsuits


SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, April 21 (AP) — A Chicago bishop who once blamed the devil for sexual abuse lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Church and proposed shielding the church from legal damages has been named to lead an Illinois diocese.

Thomas Paprocki, an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Chicago, was announced Tuesday as the church's ninth bishop of Springfield.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said it was disappointed with Paprocki's promotion.

"It says to us that the Vatican is more interested in doctrinal purity than child safety — or at least that child safety isn't the No. 1 priority," said David Clohessy, SNAP's executive director. [Clohessy is the Hans Kueng of victims; advocates, the king of kneejerk reactions! I never saw a more predictable Pavlov-dog responder!]

Paprocki, 57, said three years ago that the principal force behind the waves of abuse lawsuits was "none other than the devil."

He said the cost of litigation was making it more difficult for the church to perform charitable works. An attorney himself, Paprocki proposed that the courts revive an old policy of shielding nonprofit organizations from lawsuits over negligence and abuse.

"The settlement or award of civil damages is punishing the wrong people, namely the average parishioner or donor whose financial contributions support the church but who have no role in the supervision of clergy," Paprocki said in October 2007 during a special Mass for judges and attorneys.

Paprocki didn't immediately return a call seeking comment Tuesday afternoon. A message seeking comment also was left Tuesday afternoon with the papal nuncio's office in Washington.

In a news conference earlier in the day, Paprocki said the church must address sexual abuse to help restore trust. "I know what a painful and what a troubling issue that this sin and this crime is that confronts us in the Church," he said, according to The (Springfield) State Journal-Register.

Paprocki was ordained in 1978. He co-founded the South Chicago Legal Clinic to offer legal services to the poor and later became a top aide in the Chicago archdiocese.

He succeeds Archbishop George Lucas, who was named to lead the Omaha archdiocese last June.

00Wednesday, April 21, 2010 8:12 PM

The Catholic Church and Sexual Abuse: Part I
Why 64% of Americans believe Catholic priests are perverts


April 20, 2010

Kresta is a popular radio commentator for Ave Maria Radio in Florida. He also blogs actively.

A new round of reporting on Catholic clergy sexual abuse in Europe has generated a new climate of revulsion toward the Catholic Church. In spite of, I suppose some would say, because of, all the media attention, however, the public has a grossly distorted picture of clergy sexual misconduct.

No one denies that great evil has been done by the likes of John Geoghan, Paul Shanley, John Birmingham, and Marciel Maciel Dellgado and a thousand others. Not to mention the shocking neglect of authorities like now Bishop John B. McCormack and Cardinal Law.

The Dallas Morning News claimed that two thirds of sitting U.S. bishops were alleged in 2002 to have kept accused priests in ministry or moved accused priests to new assignments. [The article is presently under critical review by bishopsaccountability.org.]

However, of the 109 bishops identified in the Dallas Morning News survey, only 39 are still managing the same diocese. Of the others, eleven have retired or resigned. That means nearly two-thirds have been moved. Seven U.S. dioceses have declared bankruptcy and others are in financial crisis.

Nevertheless, the evil is not as widespread, as current, or as threatening as imagined in a 2002 Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll which found that 64 percent of those queried thought Catholic priests "frequently'' abused children.

First of all, hardly anyone seems to have noticed that clerical sexual abuse is not growing in the Catholic Church. The sheer volume of press reports mislead us into thinking that the scandal is widening while the reality is that it has been shrinking for a quarter of a century.

I just went to my homepage. There I read a headline: "Catholic priest arrested in molestation case". I'm ready to run to the parish, protect my child, and reduce the bodily integrity of the perpetrator. But I'd win no thanks for vigilante justice because I'm thirty years too late.

Yes, the crime and the headline are all too terrible and typical. Here's the lead: "A retired Roman Catholic priest has been charged with first-degree sex offense and crime against nature after allegations were made that he sexually assaulted a boy from his Kingsport parish more than 30 years ago."

Old cases still make sensational headlines. E.g., "Norway's Catholic Church Reveals New Abuse Cases" But Norway doesn't have new cases. The church disclosed 4 old cases that had previously been overlooked. Two from the 1950s; one from the 1980s and another which remains based on rumors. What was new was that the press finally learned of these cases at all.

Delayed reporting by the victims has compounded this lag time between the criminal acts and the public awareness. Indeed, some bishops ignored accusations and failed to report them in a timely manner, no doubt fearing lawsuits and scandal. They neglected the pastoral care of victims and the public's right to know the danger represented by certain priests.

But delayed media reporting wasn't generally due to episcopal foot-dragging. The victims, themselves, postponed reporting their abuse! Less than thirteen percent of victims abused between 1960 and 1980, for example, lodged a complaint in the same year as the assault. Two thirds filed their complaints after 1992, and half of those were made between 2002 and 2003 alone!

This means that the media has been covering old news and, understandably but unfortunately, creating a climate of suspicion years after the abuse had been perpetrated. Thanks to reforms instituted by the USCCB, the Catholic Church in America today is the safest private or public institution for children.

This is beyond dispute. The John Jay College of Criminal Justice has shown repeatedly that the vast majority of the abuse cases took place from the mid-60s to the mid-80s. And the reports over the last five years show a rapid decline. The latest report, covering 2008-2009, shows exactly six credible allegations.

How many Catholic clergy serve in the United States? Forty thousand priests, twenty one thousand permanent deacons and religious brothers and tens of thousands of other Catholic Church workers. Amidst all these eighty or ninety thousand American clergy and lay workers only six credible allegations were lodged in 2008-2009. Once again, note the historical flow.

The known number of cases increased in the 1960s, peaked in the 1970s, declined in the 1980s and by the 1990s had returned to the levels of the 1950s. One case of abuse is one too many and worth a millstone or worse but it is time to say that the American clerical sex abuse crisis is over.

So why don't people know this? Last month the USCCB posted the new figures on its website but the press had caught the scent of sin and crime in Europe. Old wounds got re-opened and, it is a general rule of journalism that bad news always displaces good news. Further, how many people bother to plod through the tedium of a sociologist's analysis?

By the way, how many priests have engaged in sexual misconduct with minors? The John Jay College of Criminal Justice estimated that about 4% of priests were involved-- about the same as in other institutions although no other institution has been so rigorously studied or has such kept such thorough records over generations.

An article in the Journal of Pastoral Psychology by Thomas Plante and Courtney Daniels doesn't see any greater problem among Catholic clergy.

Newsweek quotes Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: "We don't see the Catholic Church as a hotbed of this or a place that has a bigger problem than anyone else," Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi in September 2009 stated on behalf of the Holy See: "We know now that in the last 50 years somewhere between 1.5% and 5% of the Catholic clergy has been involved in sexual abuse cases." There are other surveys and studies with similar conclusions: See here and here.

According to a recent Newsweek article, "Since the mid-1980s, insurance companies have offered sexual misconduct coverage as a rider on liability insurance, and their own studies indicate that Catholic churches are not higher risk than other congregations."

Catholic activist scholar Leon Podles, author of Sacrilege: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church places the figure at 7-10% on the grounds that most abuse goes unreported and thus many priest-perpetrators go undiscovered. Perhaps, but this reporting flaw would apply to all institutions. Abuse would be under-reported everywhere.

We also know that some priests were more profligate than others. Overall, the John Jay study found that 149 priests were responsible for more than 2,900 cases of abuse over the 52-year period studied. Roughly, three percent of the accused were responsible for about 36% of the accusations.

Another misconception: Strictly speaking there are almost no pedophile priests. Only 1% of the cases involve pre-pubescent children. The majority of cases involve adults engaging in criminal sexual contact with adolescent boys. This is more accurately described as either hebephilia (younger adolescents) or ephebophilia (older adolescents). Criminal and immoral behavior yes but pederasty doesn't carry quite the disgust associated with pedophilia.

Second, priest sex abuse is treated not as an individual but as an institutional problem. For instance, CBS News.com reported: "The FBI says it expects to arrest at least fifty more people by week's end as it busts up an Internet child-pornography ring that allegedly included two Catholic priests, six other members of the clergy, a school bus driver, and at least one police officer." I am not interested in bringing discredit on Presbyterians or Baptists or Lutherans but why among the eight clergy only Catholic priests are identified by their ecclesiastical affiliation?

The same day that the Associated Press reported that the archbishop of Santiago, Chile had launched an investigation of a few cases of priestly sexual abuse, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights tipped the AP off about other cases of sexual abuse. For instance,
• A Milford, Connecticut teacher's aide pleaded no contest to sexually assaulting a high school student
• A Brookville High School teacher in Pennsylvania was charged with aggravated indecent assault, indecent exposure, corruption of minor, possession of obscene material, sexual abuse of children, and unlawful conduct with minors.
• A middle school gym teacher in Athens , New Your was arrested on charges of sex abuse and forcible touching
• A Morrisville-Easton Central School District teacher outside Utica, New York Was arrested for forcibly touching a girl over a three year period, beginning at the age of 11, and for endangering her welfare.....
• A former Teacher of the Year in Bullitt County, Kentucky was indicted by a grand jury on sexual abuse charges.
• A teacher at Olin High School in Iowa was charged with sexually exploiting a freshman. This same teacher faced similar charges two years ago when he taught in another school, and was simply moved from one school district to another.

The AP chose only to cover the archdiocese of Santiago because it fit the hot storyline of a corrupt institution getting its comeuppance while all the teacher examples are simply individual teachers bound together by their jobs and perversions but not embedded in a large, universal, mysterious institution that by refusing to ordain women, relax celibacy and applaud homosexuality defies the flow of modern life. The Catholic church is "other" to most Americans; public school teachers, on the other hand, are familiar and friendly to all of us.

Still, we can't take much pride that the Church's personnel appear no worse than boy scout leaders or public school teachers. Shouldn't we expect more? Shouldn't the Catholic Church be held to a higher standard? Yes, certainly, by the faithful who believe, but not by the press which doesn't.

I don't expect the New York Times and the Associated Press to do apologetics for the Catholic Church. I do expect them to compare institutions and to evenhandedly handle the data.

A reporter may not like the Church's teaching on artificial contraception but that doesn't give him a license to spawn misconceptions and distort the truth. Heaping inaccuracy upon the flames of moral indignation only sears the conscience of all involved.

Coming later this week :
The Catholic Church and Sex Abuse:
Part II - The Vatican, Public Relations, and Sheer Incompetence

00Thursday, April 22, 2010 9:18 PM

What's wrong with the headline? To begin with - the right chronology is 'First the US, then Europe...'; and 'sweeps' is a deliberate hyperbole meant to reinforce the media narrative of the Catholic Church as nothing more than a pedophile brothel run by unscrupulous conniving enablers, and an institution that has done not the least bit of good on earth....

First Europe, then the US
now abuse claims sweep Latin America

By Jerome Taylor, Religious Affairs Correspondent

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Are we surprised at this new tack? It was bound to come. Failing any new 'dirt' dug up about Joseph Ratzinger, just claim 'the scandal is sweeping the world', as if, surprise!, there are sex-offending priests in other places, too! It's all about keeping the momentum of the campaign going... Such as all the new to-do in the US about someone filing a new suit against the Pope and the Vatican... As annoying as it is, DUH!

The paedophile priest scandal currently enveloping the Vatican has spread to one of the most Catholic areas of the world following a string of new abuse revelations throughout Latin America.

Reports of priests raping or abusing minors have now emerged in Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay, Mexico and Chile causing growing anger [The Independent perhaps ran a poll in all the countreis of Latin America?] in a continent that is home to nearly half the world’s Catholics.

In Brazil, an 83-year-old priest has been arrested after he was secretly filmed in bed with a 19-year-old altar boy. The footage was broadcast on national television networks prompting a police investigation which led to the arrest of Monsignor Luiz Marques Barbosa and two other priests in the north eastern state of Alagoas. They have since been accused of abusing boys as young as 12 and have been suspended by their diocesan bishop.

The Catholic Church in Chile confirmed this week that there have been 20 alleged or confirmed cases of child abuse by priests. At a press conference yesterday, Monsignor Alejandro Goic, the head of Chile’s bishops’ conference, apologised and vowed to crack down on any priests who had abused children.

"There is no place in the priesthood for those who abuse minors, and there is nothing that can justify this crime," he said.

Reporters in Uruguay have also discovered that a priest who had been charged with raping three children in Bolivia had returned to his homeland and was living openly with full knowledge of local church officials.

Juan Jose Santana has been on the run from Bolivian authorities since May 2008. An Interpol warrant has been issued for his arrest but reporters from the La Republica newspaper tracked him down to his home town.

Asked if allegations that he had abused children were true, the newspaper reported that Santana said, "It's true. That's all I can say... You know something? I'm dead."

The Mexican church is already reeling from revelations surrounding the Legionnaires of Christ, a shadowy but powerful Catholic sect which was founded by the charismatic Maciel Degollado. Following his death in 2008 it emerged that the staunchly conservative theologian had a series of sexual affairs with men, women and boys in many different parts of the world.

This week the Mexican church has also been drawn into a potentially costly legal battle in the United States. An anonymous Mexican citizen has filed papers suing Catholic cardinals in Mexico City and Los Angeles, accusing them of purposely hiding the background of a Mexican priest accused of sexually abusing dozens of children.

Speaking at his weekly public audience in St Peter’s Square today, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about meeting abuse victims during his weekend trip to Malta, in what was a rare public statement on the paedophile scandal.

"I wanted to meet some people who were victims of abuse by members of the clergy,” he said. “I shared with them their suffering and with emotion I prayed with them, promising them action on the part of the Church."

So far the kind of widespread anti-Church outrage seen in European countries currently experiencing abuse scandals has yet to materialise in Latin America. But the drip of allegations are potentially damaging to an institution that is already trying to counter the growing influence of evangelical missionaries.

[The reporter has much to learn about the culture of the Hispanic countries. First, there's the machismo that is deeply rooted in them. Priests having mistresses and children out of wedlock have always been part of historical lore in the countries colonized by Spain and Portugal. Not that the natives want it to happen - it simply does not surprise them that it happens, when it happens. Father Maciel's Legionaries may have preferred to hear no evil, etc., about their founder, but that does not mean his libertinism was unknown to those Mexicans who thrive on celebrity gossip.

Equally deep-rooted and widespread is the culture of gossip - very little that happens with their priests and bishops, as with their local officials, is not known and whispered about by the locals. And all these 'revelations' now about man-boy relationships that involve priests would have been whispered about. What's new is that they are now in the headlines.

I don't know the extent of open homosexuality in Latin America today, but the macho culture also militates against the male victims of priests coming out into the open. The last I heard, 'maricon' - the Spanish term for a male homosexual - still was pretty pejorative and an affront to the malehood of anyone called that, not a badge of gay pride... Of course, a victim may have second thoughts if he sincerely wants to punish his abusers, and/or if he succumbs to victim advocates dangling visions of potential booty from the Church!... But I'd be interested to know what local people have done to priests who have been exposed as child-molesters]

Approximately 71 percent of South Americans consider themselves Catholic, down from 80 percent in 1995. The proportion of people who consider themselves evangelical or Protestant, meanwhile, rose from 3 percent to 13 percent in the same period.

Professor Manuel Vasquez, an expert in Latin American religion at the University of Florida, says the Catholic Church still has a “strong moral standing” in South America because of its history in confronting despotic regimes throughout the late twentieth century.

“That may insulate the Catholic Church from some of the dramatic anger that we’ve seen in Europe but it’s also a two-edged sword,” he explained. “The Church’s moral power comes through confronting governments on the issue of impunity. But if people believe the Church is now itself acting with impunity, it leaves them open to allegations of double standards.” [Ahem! In the Third World, double standards are hardly uncommon in any sector of society; in fact, it's probably the rule! And the people know it, and the more 'clever' ones simply seek to use it to their own advantage. .]

00Thursday, April 22, 2010 11:37 PM

Catholic Orthodoxy vindicated:
The real reason Archbishop Favalora
of Miami was made to resign

By Eric Giunta

April 21, 2010

Today is a glorious day, one for which Catholics should rightly be proud. The Bishop of Rome has responded to years of documented moral and financial mismanagement of the Miami Archdiocese by Archbishop John Favalora. On April 20, the Holy See compelled Favalora to tender his resignation "in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law," in the words of the official Vatican press release.

The canon in question reads as follows: "A diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office."

Archbishop Favalora is a mere eight months away from his 75th birthday, upon which Catholic canon law would have required him to submit his resignation, that he might step down from office with the customary grace and dignity.

Rome, it seems, didn't care to afford him that courtesy. And for good reason: Favalora did not resign "because of ill health"; he himself has admitted so. So, what "grave cause" could have possibly required an Archbishop to tender his resignation well before the customary date?

There is certainly far more to this decision than the archbishop himself has let on: ''I think it's time to move on . . . At age 74, I should know when I can do more and when I can't do more,'' Favalora said, later adding that he's ready for a quieter life and no longer wants ''to be a public figure.''

Whatever else might be said of Favalora's putative justifications, none of them comprise what a reasonable observer would call "grave cause." Rome is not spilling the beans on the reasons for Favalora's removal, and neither will the Miami Archdiocese.

But I think I have a good idea why. For the benefit of my newer readers, I will recapitulate what I wrote in these pages several months ago:

In 2004, a group of concerned lay Catholics of the Miami Archdiocese constituted themselves a lay "watchdog" organization, under the name Christifidelis. They were moved to do so by what they have alleged is a gay superculture running the archdiocese.

Attorney Sharon Bourassa, a member of Christifidelis, was counsel for The Rev. Andrew Dowgiert in a lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese in May of 2005. Fr. Dowgiert, on loan from a Polish archdiocese and soon to be incardinated in Miami, alleged that he was "fired" from active ministry in the Miami Archdiocese after whistle-blowing on homosexual activity by several pastors of the Archdiocese (particularly that of Fr. Anibal Morales of All Saints Parish [in Sunrise]).

In 2005 and 2006, RenewAmerica.com columnist Matt Abbott published several articles tracing developments in what became known as the "Miami Vice" scandal. Bourassa claimed that several "straight" priests were feeding her information on a culture of sodomy and theological heterodoxy on the part of priests of the Miami Archdiocese. Among the allegations: 70 to 90 percent of the Archdiocese's priests are sexually active gays; Archbishop Favalora and Catholic Charities of Miami owned several thousand shares in stock for a liquid aphrodisiac popularly sold in gay clubs and strip joints; at least 70 percent of the United States bishops are sexually active gays; many priests were misappropriating parish funds to live exorbitant lifestyles, and Archbishop Favalora and vicar-general Msgr. William J. Hennessey are in some way implicated in this superculture.

The lawsuit was eventually dismissed, on the grounds that it involved "separation of church and state" issues. The court refused to determine whether a religious employer wrongfully terminated the ministerial employment of an ordained cleric. In dismissing the case, the court made no determination on the veracity of the above allegations.

This writer [i.e., Eric Giunta] can personally testify to the truth of at least one of the above allegations, namely, that the vast majority of the Archdiocese's pastors are homosexuals. Yours truly applied to the seminary formation program of the Miami Archdiocese in the Spring of 2005. I was immediately blacklisted as an ultraconservative "traditionalist" for my regular assistance at the Latin Mass Community at Miami's St Robert Bellarmine parish.

During my course of interviews with priests from the Archdiocese's vocations admissions board, one priest volunteered to me (with absolutely no prompting on my part) the fact that "if the new Holy Father [i.e., Pope Benedict XVI] were to get rid of every gay priest, this Archdiocese could run maybe . . . ten parishes." The Archdiocese, at the time, operated at least 121 parishes and/or missions.

At the end of the day, I was refused admission to the Miami seminary, and advised to seek out a more "conservative" diocese or religious order. I applied, and was accepted, to the formation program of another Diocese, a "conservative" (read: orthodox) one in the Midwest.

This Midwestern Diocese used to send its Hispanic men to the seminaries in Florida, but stopped doing so owing to the rampant homosexuality tolerated and inculcated, particularly at St John Vianney in Miami. [What would the Cure of Ars think????]

[In the summer of 2006,] I and several other Catholics sent to Rome an exhaustive report (hundreds of pages of text, documentation, and eye witness accounts) detailing and documenting all these allegations and more. Rome responded to the report.

At the time I penned these words, I did not feel free to divulge just how Rome responded to the report, which we titled "Miami Vice." I now feel at complete liberty to do so.

The aforementioned attorney, Ms. Sharon Bourassa, was contacted by a Vatican monsignor, who met with her in person and assured her that the Holy See would be investigating each and every one of the allegations presented in the report. Ms. Bourassa shared with this monsignor the names and contact information of several confidential eye witnesses, including several priests.

Months later, this monsignor contacted her again, informing her that our allegations had all been vindicated, and that Rome was going to act on the report. This was in the late Fall of 2006.

Four years later, Rome has finally acted, and in doing so has vindicated RenewAmerica columnist Matt Abbott, myself, Ms. Bourassa, and all the lay faithful of the Archdiocese who have suffered tremendous persecution and ostracization for defending the integrity of the Catholic Church's doctrine, liturgy, and moral witness.

And we owe a debt of gratitude to our supreme pastor, Pope Benedict XVI.

Already the tide was turning in our Archdiocese after the Pope conducted the visitation of America's seminaries beginning in late 2005, effectively beginning to clean up the mess his disastrous predecessor left behind.

Four years later I am proud to report that the climate has, even now, changed markedly from when I applied just five years ago. I have met several fine, orthodox young men from Miami's St John Vianney College Seminary, in fact at a Gregorian Chant Conference held in Ave Maria, FL. Participation at such a conference just five years ago would have blacklisted any seminarian from the Archdiocese, causing him to be labeled a reactionary rad-trad. Not any longer.

The young men, readers of this column, were anxious to share with me the change of climate on campus, and asked me to share this felicitous news with my readers. And so I am.

Now, the real reform can begin. Replacing Archbishop "Ayatollah Favalora" (aka "The Don") will be Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando. Bishop Wenski is one of only two Florida bishops (the other being Frank Joseph Dewane of Venice) who have distinguished themselves as staunch, vigorous defenders of Catholic orthodoxy and liturgical reform, and Wenski's promotion to the Sunshine State's primatial see bodes well for both the state and the country. His accomplishments in Orlando have been many, among them:

a) Liturgical reform: Before Wenski's episcopate, the Orlando Diocese did not have a single parish that celebrated the Catholic liturgy in a reverent, traditional manner. Now, at least five parishes offer the Tridentine Latin Mass regularly, and the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter has just been invited to establish a full-time apostolate in the Diocese. The quality and beauty of Catholic worship is improving exponentially, and this is a healthy sign for any local church.

b) Wenski was the first Florida bishop to ever teach his flock how to vote in accord with Catholic principles. In every election since 2004 he has made clear that abortion and traditional marriage (and similar issues) trump prudential considerations on things like health care, the environment, and the economy. Newly-appointed Dewane followed his lead in the '08 elections.

c) Wenski is a staunch defender of the rights of God, and of His Church. He engages the culture by frequently contributing his editorialship to the local print media, is a tireless protector of the poor and the marginalized, and brings the Scriptures alive in his preaching and teaching.

Most famously, he celebrated a Solemn Mass of Reparation to atone for the scandal of Notre Dame University's award of an honorary doctorate to Barack Obama, the most radically pro-abortion, pro-homosexual president in United States history.

In his governance of the Catholic Church in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Monroe Counties, which he will assume on June 1, Bishop Wenski will be assisted by Felipe de Jesús Estévez and John Gerard Noonan, the Miami Archdiocese's auxiliary bishops. All three are holy, capable, and learned men who will be vigorous promoters of reform, discipline, and purification in a local church that needs it so badly.

The stage has been set for a real renaissance of Catholic Christianity in South Florida. The region is a haven of culture-of-death leftism, and these three bishops have their work cut out for them. Our thoughts and prayers at RenewAmerica are with them.

00Friday, April 23, 2010 1:06 PM
Bishop of Augsburg resigns
over 'whipping' charges

April 22, 2010

Bishop Walter Mixa of Augsburg has resigned amid charges that he physically abused teenagers at an orphanage. Mixa wrote to the Pope after the head of German bishops' conference called on him to take a leave of absence.

Reports of Augsburg Bishop Mixa's resignation, in the form of a letter to the Pope, initially came from the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper, and have now been confirmed by church officials in Mixa's Augsburg diocese.

Church officials in the southern-German city said on Thursday that Mixa wrote in his letter of a desire "to prevent further damage to the Church and make a new start possible" by resigning.

The scandal surrounding Mixa dates back to his time as a parish priest in the town of Schrobenhausen between 1975 and 1996, when he also oversaw the board of the town's orphanage. It is apparently unrelated to recent sex abuse scandals in German Catholic institutions.

Several people who lived at the orphanage as children have come forward with allegations that Mixa beat them with his fists, a stick and a carpet beater when they were reported for misbehavior.

"I ask forgiveness from all those I may have treated unjustly, and all those I have caused to grieve," wrote Mixa in his letter to Pope Benedict XVI, according to the Augsburg diocese.

The orphanage has apologized to the victims and hired an attorney to investigate the abuse allegations, although most of the cases stem from so long ago that they can no longer be pursued in court. The attorney is also investigating allegations of the misappropriation of the orphanage's funds to pay for fine wine, a tanning bed and highly-priced art.

Mixa originally denied the physical abuse charges "with a pure heart." He later admitted that he had slapped some children, and said that any financial irregularities were inadvertent.

Germany's top Catholic bishop, Freiburg's Robert Zollitsch, publicly stated on Wednesday that he and Munich Archbishop Reinhard Marx had asked Mixa to take an extended leave of absence to wait out investigations into his actions.

Zollitsch said they had discussed with Mixa whether "a period of spiritual retreat and geographical separation" would ensure "a more factual atmosphere during the investigation."

Mixa is regarded as one of Germany's most conservative bishops and fiercely supports parent child-rearing over sending them to kindergartens. Zollitsch, who heads the Conference of German Bishops, is seen as progressive by comparison, but the public parting of ways between two German bishops is unprecedented.

The Augsburger Allgemeine quoted Mixa's resignation letter as saying that the "continuing public discussion" about his character have "put a strain on priests and believers."
00Friday, April 23, 2010 4:04 PM

Belgium's longest serving bishop quits
over child abuse committed as a priest

by Robert Wielaard

BRUSSELS, Belgium, April 23 (AP) - Belgium's longest serving bishop resigned Friday, saying he was "enormously sorry" for having sexually abused a young boy about 25 years ago.

The resignation of Roger Vangheluwe, 73, the Bishop of Bruges since 1984, was the first from Belgium since a child abuse scandal began testing the Catholic Church several months ago in Europe and the United States.

Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard, Primate of Belgium and recently named Archbishop of Brussels-Malines, read a statement in which Vangheluwe announced his resignation and admitted to sexual abuse.

"When I was not yet a bishop, and some time later, I abused a boy," Vangheluwe said in the statement. He did not attend the news conference, but said Pope Benedict XVI had accepted his resignation.

"This has marked the victim forever. The wound does not heal. Neither in me nor the victim," Vangheluwe's statement said, adding that he repeatedly has asked the victim and his family for forgiveness.

"I am enormously sorry," he said. Vangheluwe had been due to retire next year.

Leonard called Vangheluwe a "great brother and dynamic bishop," but said that his transgression would shock many.

"We are aware of the crisis of confidence his resignation will set in motion," Leonard said. But he stressed the Catholic Church in Belgium was determined to "turn over a leaf from a not very distant past."

Leonard became Belgium's archbishop this year.

In his Easter homily, he addressed the pedophilia scandals that have surfaced in the Catholic Church, saying that in the past "the reputation of church leaders was given a higher priority than that of abused children."

As elsewhere, the Catholic Church in Belgium has a weak record of cracking down on sexual abusers in its ranks.

In 2000 it created a panel to look into abuse complaints that quickly clashed with the Church leadership. The panel has accused the Church of tardiness in compensating victims. [Hey, might it not be pertinent to mention that for years, the Primate of Belgium was Cardinal Danneels, one of the heroes of the MS for being such an outspoken progressive???? I bet if Abp. Leonard's predecessor had been another conservative, his name would have been brought up and maligned!]

Hundreds of people have come forward in recent months, including in Pope Benedict's native Germany, accusing priests of raping and abusing them while bishops and other church higher-ups turned a blind eye.

This week, the Vatican has said it would do everything in its power to bring justice to abusive priests and implement "effective measures" to protect children.

It recently published guidelines instructing bishops to report abuse to police when civil laws require it. The Vatican insists that has long been church policy, though it was never before explicitly written. [If you check the AP story from Bogota in the BENEDICT thread about Cardinal Castrillon today, you will note the identical paragraph, word for word, in the story. Apparently, the AP editorial desk has a number of these pre-fabricated slugs to be inserted by the desk editor into any report about this issue!]

The Vatican has provided a translation of the full statements from Brussels:


VATICAN CITY, 23 APR 2010 (VIS) - Given below are the texts of two declarations, one by Bishop Roger Joseph Vangheluwe of Bruges, Belgium, concerning his resignation from office, and the other by Archbishop Andre-Mutien Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium. Both declarations were delivered during a press conference held at midday today in Brussels.

From Mons. Vangheluwe:

When I was still just a priest, and for a certain period at the beginning of my episcopate, I sexually abused a minor from my immediate environment. The victim is still marked by what happened.

Over the course of these decades I have repeatedly recognised my guilt towards him and his family, and I have asked forgiveness; but this did not pacify him, as it did not pacify me.

The media storm of recent weeks has increased the trauma, and the situation is no longer tenable. I profoundly regret what I did and offer my most sincere apologies to the victim, to his family, to all the Catholic community and to society in general.

I have presented my resignation as bishop of Bruges to Pope Benedict XVI. It was accepted on Friday and so I retire.

From Archbishop Andre-Mutien Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels:

We are facing a particularly serious situation. Our thoughts go first and foremost to the victim and his family, some of whom have learned the shocking news only today. For the victim this has been a long Calvary, which has clearly not yet ended.

As for Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, as a person he has the right to conversion, trusting in the mercy of God. However, as regards his function, it is vital that, out of respect for the victim and his family, and out of respect for the truth, he should resign from office. This is what he has done. The Pope immediately accepted the resignation of the bishop of Bruges, which is at this moment is being published in Rome.

The Church thus underlines the importance of not procrastinating in such cases. We hope to contribute to the rehabilitation of the victim.

The decision of the bishop of Bruges, and the calling of this press conference, express the transparency that the Catholic Church in Belgium rigorously wishes to apply in these matters, turning a new page with respect to the not-so-distant period in which the Church, and others, preferred the solution of silence or concealment.

It goes without saying that this event will cause great suffering in the whole Catholic community of Belgium, especially because Bishop Vangheluwe was considered a generous and dynamic person, much appreciated in his diocese and in the Belgian Church.

We, his confreres, are aware of the crisis of trust this will provoke in many people. Nonetheless, we dare to hope that wisdom will prevail and that the bishops, and especially the priests, of this country will not be unduly discredited as a group, because the vast majority live a lifestyle coherent with their vocation, with a faithfulness for which I here publicly express my thanks.

00Friday, April 23, 2010 8:36 PM

Vatican will finance
adult stem cell research

ROME, April 23 (AP) -- The Vatican will finance new research into the potential use of adult stem cells in the treatment of intestinal and possibly other diseases, officials announced Friday.

The project is at a very preliminary phase and it will be years before any clinical treatment might be available, the officials said.

Cardinal Renato Martino said the Vatican fully supports the project because it does not involve embryonic stem cells.

He said he expected the Vatican to help finance the project through its Rome hospital, Bambin Gesu, but the exact amount must still be worked out in future meetings with the University of Maryland's School of Medicine, the project's leaders.

An initial announcement by the university said the Vatican had already agreed to donate euro 2 million ($2.7 million) to the research.

The church is opposed to embryonic stem cell research because it involves the destruction of embryos, but it supports the use of adult stem cells.

In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI said adult stem cell research respects human life, which according to church teachings begins at conception.

The Vatican has drawn criticism for its opposition to embryonic stem cell research. But the Vatican insists there are scientifically viable alternatives and the efforts of the scientific community should go in that direction. Financing this project is part of those efforts.

But while embryonic stem cells are especially prized for their pluripotency -- meaning they can morph into any type of cell in the body -- adult stem cells are not as pluripotent. For that reason, embryonic stem cells are considered to have more potential for the treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer's, diabetes and Parkinson's. [The reporter is working in an ideological bias that is scientifically wrong or mere conjecture. See article excerpt below.]

Researchers involved in the Vatican-financed project say they want to assess the potential of intestinal stem cells -- a relatively new field -- for therapeutic use.

"We want to harvest them, we want to isolate them, we want to make them grow outside our body and see if they are pluripotent," said Alessio Fasano, the scientist leading the project and the director of the University of Maryland's Center for Celiac Research.

"If we reach that phase, if we are able to achieve that goal, then our next step is to eventually move to clinical application," Fasano told the AP before Friday's announcement.

Intestinal stem cells have certain features that makes them appealing for this kind of research, Fasano said.

They are very active cells -- the intestine replenishes all its cells every few days -- and they are intrinsically flexible -- already programmed to generate all the various kinds of cells such as mucus cells or epithelial cells present in the highly complex organ. Furthermore, harvesting them can be done through a routine procedure like endoscopy, Fasano noted.

Fasano said his team hopes to have a first answer on the feasibility of the project within the next two to three years.

Questa è la versione 'lo-fi' del Forum Per visualizzare la versione completa click here
Tutti gli orari sono GMT+01:00. Adesso sono le 5:28 PM.
Copyright © 2000-2021 FFZ srl - www.freeforumzone.com