After the strenuous Christmas festivities, I decided to have a cultural day before heading back to the Big Smog. My plan was simple – to visit the Jewish Cemetery of Limerick. I had heard about this place’s existence. I knew that it was located close to the University of Limerick. The precise location was a mystery to me. During my ill spent university days, I had never sought it out. Now, almost quarter of a century later it was time. When it comes to Jewish people, my hometown has a shameful past. In the 1871 census the Jewish population of Limerick had doubled from the previous 1861 census. It now comprised of two people. Over the following thirty years the population expanded as some Jewish folk from Lithuania fleeing persecution came to Limerick. By 1900 the population was almost 200 people. Then in 1904 some catholic bishop declared that they were unwelcome in Limerick as they were doing the devil’s work.
Their businesses were boycotted, and their properties vandalised. The boycott may have lasted only a few years, but by 1930 the Jewish population had reduced. After World War 2 the Jewish population of Ireland (approximately 5000 people) left Ireland in large numbers for Israel. They’d not suffered in Ireland as they had on the mainland during the horrors of World War 2, but I guess they wanted a home with their own people. The Jewish Graveyard in Limerick fell into dereliction. Until 1990 when Limerick Civic Trust restored the cemetery.
NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS
One Maynooth person has resolved not to visit the Boiler House gay sauna in 2019
One Maynooth person has resolved to remove the Daddyhunt app from his mobile.
One Maynooth person has promised not to send any other seminarian’s Grindr profile to the president.
One Maynooth person has resolved not to visit his mistress in the West of Ireland during 2019.
One young priest has resolved not to again invite Chris Derwin, Georgeous, Horney Andy, Mark Moriarty and Rory Coyle to his parties.
One Maynooth person has decided to sell his villa in the nude resort of Cap di Agde and give the money to Brother Kevin for the homeless.
One Maynooth person has resolved to come clean about rape.
One Maynooth person has resolved not to return to the Sauna Babylonia in 2019.
One Maynooth person has resolved to end their relationship with a music student.
One Maynooth person has resolved to give up altar sex.
One Maynooth person has resolved not to visit Paris every month in 2019.
Irish journalist Tim Fanning published his new book in 2010 – The Fethard-on-Sea Boycott about a notorious sectarian dispute in Ireland in the late 1950s, concerning a Catholic father, his Protestant wife and their two young daughters. The events were previously dramatised in the controversial movie A Love Divided (1999) and Mr. Fanning’s well-reviewed book has re-ignited interest in the scandal which rocked Ireland – north and south – half a century ago. Having had the book recommended to me, I did some research into the original case and the story of the boycott is truly a fascinating one.
On a wet Saturday morning of April 1957 in the southern Irish town of Fethard-on-Sea in County Wexford, some local people spotted the family car of their neighbour, Sheila Cloney (30), accidentally backing into her own gatepost, before speeding off out of the town. In the back of the car were Mrs. Cloney’s two daughters – Eileen (6) and Mary (3). Their journey was the 176 miles to the Irish border with Northern Ireland.
When Sheila’s farmer husband, Seán, returned from work that evening, he was confused as to his wife and daughters’ whereabouts: he called over to Sheila’s parents, who lived nearby, but they had not seen her. Then, he visited her siblings, who also lived in the town – but, again, they had no idea where Sheila was and assumed that she had been at home with the children all day. Eventually, Seán reported Sheila, Eileen and Mary as missing to the Garda Síochona (the Irish police) and a search was started for the missing Cloneys.
At the age of thirty, there was nothing about Sheila Cloney that would have led anyone to think she would cause a scandal by fleeing her hometown without telling her husband or her parents. Like her husband Seán, Sheila had been born in Fethard-on-Sea, the daughter of a local cattle dealer and his wife. Along with the rest of her family, Sheila was raised as a member of Fethard-on-Sea’s small Protestant community – attending the local Church of Ireland, until she moved to Britain in her early 20s, finding work as a domestic servant in London shortly after the Second World War.
It was in London that she met her future husband, Seán Cloney, another inhabitant of Fethard-on-Sea, who had grown up on a farm one mile from Sheila’s and who had been over in England attending the funeral of an ex-pat relative in Suffolk. Hearing that a girl from back home was living nearby, Seán did as good Irish boys are supposed to and made the effort to go and call on her. Seán and Sheila began courting and fell in love, but because he was Catholic and she was Protestant, they decided to keep their budding relationship secret from their families back home in Ireland. When news leaked that Seán was “going” with a Protestant girl, his parish priest, Father William Stafford, retaliated by banning him from any of the Catholic recreational societies in the town – beginning by expelling Seán from the Catholic amateur dramatic society (the only society he had requested to join.) Deciding that if this was as bad as it was going to get they could probably learn to cope, Seán and Sheila were married in a civil ceremony at a registry office in London on October 8th 1949.
But Ireland being Ireland meant that news travelled fast and two months into their marriage, another parish priest was dispatched to track down the young couple and talk to them about the role Catholicism should play in their marriage. On the issue of converting to her husband’s faith, Sheila Cloney refused point-blank. Seeing that there would be no persuading her about joining the Catholic faith herself, the priest then asked if she would at least consider marrying Seán in a second ceremony – this time, a Catholic one – for the sake of her husband’s family back home. Sheila was reluctant even at this request, namely because doing so would require her to sign the Church’s Ne Temere decree, by which she promised to raise any children from the marriage as Roman Catholics, but Seán apparently assured her that even if she did sign the Ne Temere, any children they had together would have as much a Protestant upbringing as a Catholic one and when they reached maturity, they could decide for themselves which denomination to attend. Sheila signed, the Nuptial Mass was celebrated and, a few months later, Seán and Sheila Cloney returned to Fethard-on-Sea to live together as man and wife.
The problems in their marriage began a year later with the birth of their eldest daughter, Eileen. With Sheila still lying in recovery from the birth, the nuns who worked in the nursing home immediately took baby Eileen away to receive a Catholic baptism. Sheila was angry at this, although apparently accepted that the nuns had probably been doing it with the best intentions in the world and had been unaware of Mrs. Cloney’s wishes on the matter. However, just to be sure, when she became pregnant again the following year, Sheila specifically requested that any child she had would not immediately be baptised a Catholic. A second daughter, Mary, was born in 1953 and, again, this time deliberating ignoring the mother’s wishes, the nuns took the child away to be christened by the local priest.
When it came to Catholicism, Sheila Cloney’s back was now well and truly up and she was worried over the fact that her husband Seán had not prevented the nuns in taking both of their daughters for baptism at the maternity home, despite his earlier promises about the children’s religious upbringing. Between the baptism and the children beginning school, the issue simmered but as their eldest daughter, Eileen, reached the age of five, it once again reared its head – with a vengeance. Sheila feared that if Eileen was sent to the local Catholic school, all chances of her being able to make up her own mind when she was older would be gone, since on top of receiving a Catholic baptism, she would also receive a Catholic education, which would entail going through First Holy Communion and Confirmation, as part of the school ethos. On the surface at least, Seán Cloney agreed with his wife that this would be a step too far and for a few months, they debated what exactly to do about Eileen’s education. Aside from the religious issue, Sheila Cloney was also in favour of home schooling for children and she wanted this system of education for her children.
Throughout the spring of 1957 – the months immediately preceding Sheila’s escape to Northern Ireland – Catholic priests became regular visitors to the Cloney household, pleading reason and then applying pressure on the couple to send Eileen to the local Catholic National School. Finally, one day, Father Laurence Allen visited and it was right after his visit that Sheila Cloney took the decision to leave Fethard-on-Sea. It was also during Father Allen’s visit, I think, that she finally realised she did not have the support of her husband Seán, because at some unknown point Seán Cloney had changed his mind. Seán now agreed with Father Stafford and Father Allen and felt that Eileen should be sent to the National School.
Armed with this bombshell, Father Allen called to the Cloney house in the morning and Sheila offered him a cup of tea in the kitchen. With the obligatory pleasantries out of the way, Father Allen told her that given the fact that Catholicism was the official State Religion of the Irish Republic, Eileen was going to the local Catholic school and that was that – there was absolutely nothing Sheila could do about it. The State would back the Church every step of the way, especially since her husband would now offer no opposition to the idea. And with that, he got up and left, assuming the matter was finally settled. A few hours later, Sheila sped out of her driveway, with Eileen and Mary in the back seat.
Crossing the border on April 27th 1957, and reaching Belfast a few hours later, Sheila Cloney immediately contacted associates of the Reverend Ian Paisley, knowing that she could be certain of their support. She was right: the Free Presbyterian Church, zealous in hatred of all things Catholic or “Papist,” provided Mrs. Cloney with money, accommodation and tickets for her and her two children to emigrate to Scotland, where a new place to live had been prepared for them at the church’s expense. In the meantime, a heartbroken Seán Cloney, discovering what his wife had done, attempted to get his children back through the courts – however, given that Sheila had removed them to the United Kingdom, it was presenting a legal quagmire, especially since the Northern Irish Courts were taking enormous pleasure in being as difficult as possible in retaliation for the Republic refusing to allow the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary – the Northern Irish police service) to arrest republican trouble-makers once they crossed the border into the South.
Whilst Seán Cloney wept, the local clergy in Fethard-on-Sea had apparently still failed to realise that honey catches more flies than vinegar. On May 12th, Father William Stafford – who a decade earlier had banned Seán from the Catholic am dram society for marrying a Prod – let fly at Sunday Mass. Before the entire Catholic population of Fethard-on-Sea, he denounced Sheila Cloney for robbing her children of their chosen Faith and their father. Then, in an astonishingly vicious and unfounded move, he accused the Protestant community of Fethard-on-Sea of having secretly provided the funds for Sheila and the girls to run off to Northern Ireland. In retaliation, Father Stafford announced that it was now up to the Catholics of Fethard-on-Sea to exert pressure on the missing Mrs. Cloney by punishing those who had helped her escape – they were to boycott every Protestant business and every Protestant person in Fethard-on-Sea, until Sheila, Eileen and Mary returned.
The next day, the majority of Catholics in Fethard-on-Sea stopped going to the two local shops owned by Protestants. On Wednesday, the local Anglican school was forced to close when their only teacher (a Catholic) walked out. An elderly music teacher living alone in Fethard-on-Sea lost her dozen pupils (all Catholics), Catholic labourers told local Protestant farmers they could no longer work for them, and Catholics refused to buy milk from the local Protestant dairy farmers. The only Catholics who continued to buy from their Protestant neighbours, ironically, were the old retired IRA members, who had fallen out with the Church during the Irish Civil War. One octogenarian ex-IRA member took to following Father Stafford around after parish hall meetings, shaking his walking stick at him and lambasting him for his lack of patriotism – after all, the Prods were Irish too.
Within weeks, the Fethard-on-Sea boycott became a scandal in Ireland, on both sides of the border. Donations from Northern Ireland flooded in to Fethard-on-Sea to relieve the economic plight of the boycotted Protestants in the village and, to the horror of Irish patriots, their charity prompted John Percy Phair, the Protestant Bishop of Ossory, to write a public letter to The Belfast Telegraph, referring to Unionists as Irish Protestantism’s “friends in the North.” In subsequent sermons, Bishop Phair segued from praising the North to lambasting mixed marriages, citing the case of the Cloneys to prove that no Protestant could ever expect to be treated as an equal if they married a Catholic.
Unlike the Church of Ireland, the Catholic hierarchy in the Republic was initially quiet, both on the subject of Mrs. Cloney’s flight and Father Stafford’s boycott. The silence ended a month later, at a High Mass celebrated by the Bishop of Galway. Speaking from the altar, the Bishop said, “There seems to be a concerted campaign to entice or kidnap Catholic children and deprive them of their Faith. Non-Catholics, with one or two honourable exceptions, do not protest against the crime of conspiring to steal the children of a Catholic father, but they try to make political capital when a Catholic people make a peaceful and moderate protest.”
However, despite his eloquence, the Bishop of Galway had badly misjudged the mood of the nation – outside of Fethard-on-Sea, the vast majority of Irish Catholics were disgusted by the boycott and embarrassed that financial assistance was coming to their compatriots from “The Black North” rather than from within. Most important of all the people who felt this way was Ireland’s leader, the Taoiseach Eamon de Valera(left), who condemned the Bishop of Galway’s speech and the boycott as “ill-conceived, ill-considered and futile.” In a speech to the Dáil Éireann (the Irish House of Representatives) on July 4th, De Valera begged people to consider what impact the Fethard-on-Sea boycott would have on Ireland’s reputation abroad.
Eight days later, on July 12th, De Valera was proved right, but far closer to home than he had ever expected. Astonishingly, the Taoiseach never seemed to question what the reaction would be in Ulster about the Fethard-on-Sea incident and he once again failed to appreciate the deep-rooted fears and prejudices of the vast majority of those who lived in “the Six Counties.” Had he been under any illusions before, however, De Valera and the entire South were woken up with a rude shock on the Twelfth of July, the high holiday of the Orange Order (below.)
The entire mood on the Twelfth that year was marked by thundering fury at the treatment of the Protestants in Fethard-on-Sea. Leading the attack was Lord Brookeborough, the aristocratic Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, who, in a fierce, venomous speech warned every Protestant in the country to look at the case of Fethard-on-Sea and realise what the fate of every single last one of them would be if Northern Ireland was ever swallowed-up into an all-Ireland Republic: every Protestant on the island would be bullied, intimidated and controlled by a Catholicism that was now less a religion and more an over-bearing, over-privileged arm of the State. It was perfectly possible for Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland to send their children to Roman Catholic schools of their own choice, but just look at what the flip side of the coin was for Protestants in the Republic of Ireland! As the Prime Minister reached the climax of his speech, he proclaimed that it would be the fate of every Protestant to become a second-class citizen if the unification of Ireland was ever brought to pass and for the first time since 1912, the cry went up from thousands of throats: “Ulster says No! Ulster says No!”
Prime Minister Lord Brookeborough, himself a life-long vicious anti-Catholic, had hit a nerve – not just with most Northern Irish Protestants, but also (unintentionally) with numerous wealthy and middle-class Catholics in the North as well. The Irish Republic was now being depicted in Northern Irish newspapers as not just economically backward (which was how it had always been presented before anyway), but also as culturally degenerate and morally spineless – a feudal, Pope-addled nightmare compared to the economic boom of Northern Ireland. Taoiseach De Valera’s plea that the Fethard-on-Sea boycott could do nothing but harm to Éire had come true to a degree that understandably horrified Irish nationalists north and south of the border.
With events spiralling out of control, a deal was organised to bring to an end the débâcle in Fethard-on-Sea, at the insistence of De Valera. The negotiations were chaired by Jim Ryan, the Irish Republic’s Minister for Finance, in his house in Dublin. By September, a solution had been reached, and one of the local priests entered a Protestant-owned newsagency in Fethard-on-Sea and bought a packet of cigarettes, signifying to the parishioners that the boycott was over.
Through the cruelty and stupidity of the boycott, including a crisis of diplomatic relations and the rising tide of sectarian tensions, Seán and Sheila Cloney, who had unwittingly started the whole thing, kept a low profile. Within weeks, it was no longer really about either of them, anyway. Instead, they had worked on saving their marriage. Shortly after Christmas, Sheila left her new house in Scotland and on New Year’s Eve 1957, she and her two daughters returned to the family home in Wexford.
In the years to come, Seán and Sheila were far more united as a couple than they seem to have been before. Eileen and Mary were home-schooled, as their mother had wished, as was their sister Hazel, born a few years after Sheila and Seán’s reunion. Seán Cloney remained a devout Roman Catholic his entire life, but in later years he began to compile a dossier on the activities of a local priest, Father Sean Fortune, who Cloney suspected had molested up to as many as seventy young people.
Despite being paralysed from the neck down after a terrible road accident in 1995, Seán Cloney continued in his attempts to expose Father Fortune’s sexual and financial misdeeds. Father Fortune eventually left the area, before being arrested and committing suicide whilst awaiting trial – a few weeks before Seán Cloney’s own death, at his family home in Fethard-on-Sea. And thus – in one of those fantastically curious coincidences that history loves – this unassuming, quiet Catholic farmer stood at the centre of two of the great catastrophes to rock Irish Catholicism in the 20th century and yet never lost his faith in the religion he believed in all the days of his life.
Seán and Sheila’s middle daughter, Mary, who was three at the time of her mother’s temporary migration to Northern Ireland, died in 1998, at the young age of 44, following liver failure. In the same year, the Catholic Bishop of Ferns issued a formal apology for the Church’s role in creating the Fethard-on-Sea boycott of 1957. Eleven years later, on June 28th 2009, ten years after her husband, Sheila Cloney was buried in a quiet ceremony out of Saint Mogue’s Church of Ireland Church in Fethard-on-Sea. The two other Cloney girls – Eileen and Hazel – still live in the area.
Writing of her death The Belfast Telegraph said, “She will be remembered by many for standing up to clerical bullies and raising her children as she saw fit.” Tim Fanning, the journalist, suggested that: “In some small way, the boycott marked the waning influence of the Catholic Church in the Republic. The bishops themselves recognised that they had failed to win over public opinion.” Whatever the truth of the matter (and the case continues to provoke debate) – whether one thinks Sheila Cloney was right to take a stand or that her husband and her community’s wishes were just as valid as hers, that she was unfairly bullied by the local authorities or that she knew what she had gotten herself in for by signing the Ne Temere in the first place, that Northern Irish Unionists were capitalising to the point of tasteless gloating on a national humiliation in the Republic or that they were simply offering assistance to a stricken community when no-one else would, or whether one thinks (as many do), that Sheila Cloney’s domestic dispute and the issue of the church-ordered boycott are actually two very different issues – the story of Sheila Cloney and one community’s crisis in the summer of 1957 is undeniably a fascinating window into an ugly and often unexplored era in Irish history.
Sorry for the long blog today. I just wanted people to really realise how the RC Church behaved in Ireland in the past.
A man who says he was serially sexually abused by Archbishop Theodore McCarrick testified Thursday as part of a Vatican investigation regarding the archbishop’s history of sexual abuse and misconduct.
James Grein testified on December 27 in a canonical deposition conducted by officials of the Archdiocese of New York, the Washington Post has reported. Grein’s attorney, Patrick Noaker, told CNA that the New York officials were acting as “auditors,” or delegates of the Holy See, adding that Grein was told that his testimony was part of an administrative process at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office charged with investigating and adjudicating charges of clerical sexual abuse. Grein claims that McCarrick, who was a family friend, began abusing him in the late 1970s, when he was 11 years old and McCarrick was in his late 30s and a priest of the Archdiocese of New York. In July, Grein told the New York Times that the abuse continued for the next 18 years, he said, during which time McCarrick was consecrated a bishop and served as auxiliary bishop of New York, and diocesan bishop of Metuchen and then Newark. Grein’s testimony this week alleged that McCarrick repeatedly groped and assualted him during confession, his lawyer said. Grein also testified that McCarrick sexually assualted him in a car, later telling the boy’s mother that Grein had spilled a soda, in order to explain a mess in the car. In November 2000, McCarrick was appointed Archbishop of Washington, where he served until his 2006 retirement. In 2001, he was elevated to the College of Cardinals. About a week after Grein’s allegation was published in the New York Times, McCarrick resigned from the College of Cardinals. Noaker told CNA that the Archdiocese of New York invited Grein to make a statement for the Vatican about one month ago. The lawyer said he got a call last week asking that Grein testify as soon possible. The lawyer said that he was told the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is considering trying McCarrick for three canonical crimes the archbishop could have committed while abusing Grein: the broad prohibition in canon 1395 §1 prohibiting “persisting with scandal in..[an] external sin against the sixth commandment;” the specific prohibition in canon 1395 §2 prohibiting sexual abuse against a minor; and the crime of solicitation of a penitent in the confessional, established in canon 1387. A trial or administrative penal process pertaining to those crimes could lead to McCarrick’s laicization. Noaker said he was told that that the “Vatican wants this finalized by the second week of February- the entire case” against McCarrick.
In June, it was announced that a New York review board had found charges that McCarrick had abused another youth to be “credible and substantiated.” While additional allegations of coercive and abusive sexual behavior were subsequently made against the archbishop, he was until now expected to face canonical charges only in the initial case of abuse. Grein’s testimony suggests that the archbishop could now be canonically tried for abusing multiple victims. A spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York told CNA that he was unable to provide details on how Grein’s testimony might fit into Vatican procedures against McCarrick. This was “not an archdiocese of New York process,” Joe Zwilling told CNA. “This is a Vatican process.” Noaker told CNA the abuse McCarrick is alleged to have committed during the sacrament of confession has had profound effect on Grein. “McCarrick integrated the abuse into the sacrament,” Noaker said, alleging that McCarrick would molest Grein’s genitals while discussing the virtue of chastity. “That really hurt James.” “This case illuminated for me how damaging it is for someone to be as vulnerable as they are when they come into confession and then to be sexually manipulated during that sacrament.” The lawyer said that testifying against McCarrick has been difficult for Grein. When Grein recounted a particularly troubling incident, Noaker said, “he closed his eyes, and you could see him going back to that moment, and it was especially gruesome sexual assault, and it was upsetting just to be there.” “He came out pretty worn out.” “He has been so courageous, to go back to these moments,” Noaker said. While many victims take pains to avoid addressing their sexual abuse, he said, Grein has approached the matter head on. “Turning around and running at it is not without its pains.” Noaker added. “He did it knowingly and willingly, but not happily.” Grein has filed a claim in a victims’ assistance program, the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program of the Archdiocese of New York, Noaker said, but has not yet received indication of whether he will be offered a financial settlement. Noaker said he expects notification to be forthcoming. The lawyer said that Grein is most interested in healing from his abuse. “He really wants his Church back. He just wants to be able to go to Church again, and find peace again, and, you know sure, I’m not sure we’re going to get that for him,” Noaker said. “He said probably ten times yesterday, ‘I just want my Church back. I would like to have Jesus in my life again.’”
This victim can have Jesus back in his life – especially if he looks for Jesus OUTSIDE the RC institution.
I have Jesus in my life and I stopped being part of that institution 32 years ago.
We have Jesus in our lives through faith, prayer and performing good in His name.
As for McCarrick – Pope Francis has the power to excommunicate him and dismiss him from the priesthood – and canon law says that Francis’ words are final.
In reality McCarrick should be spending the rest of his life in jail.
But even if the RC crowd dismiss him he will be given a comfortable home to live in and more money than he needs. If the institution does not provide it some half witted Catholic pew dweller. with more money than sense will look after him.
Its all about brainwashing.
As Aristotle said – and as the Jesuits practiced: “Give me a boy until he is 7 and I will give you the man”.
Yet another one of Cardinal Mahony’s auxiliary bishops disgraces the Church.
Former Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony is long retired, but his scandals keep exploding like ticking time bombs around the feet of his successor. The latest eruption was this week’s revelation that Mahony had elevated Monsignor Alexander Salazar to auxiliary bishop in 2004 despite a credible allegation of abuse against Salazar from the 1990s. Mahony’s successor, Archbishop Jose Gomez, announced that Salazar’s resignation flowed from “deep concern for the healing and reconciliation of abuse victims and for the good of the Church’s mission.” The Church has known about the allegation against Salazar for at least 13 years and in all likelihood much longer, but only got around to forcing Salazar’s resignation this week, presumably out of a PR need to tidy up such cases before Pope Francis’s “abuse summit” next February, and perhaps also out of fear of exposure by approaching investigators.
In anticipation of that gathering in February, Pope Francis vowed in a speech before cardinals this week that abuse cover-ups would “never” happen again, a promise that he can’t even keep in the most obvious case — the ongoing scandal of Theodore McCarrick, who remains holed up in a Kansas friary next to a school and tourist site while his criminal defense attorney issues protestations of innocence to the press in his name. Never happen again? The cover-up is happening right now. Salazar, by the way, is only the most recent Mahony-era auxiliary bishop to disgrace the Church. Mahony really knew how to pick them: in addition to Salazar, he selected Gabino Zavala, who had a secret family.
And then earlier he selected Patrick Ziemann, a repeatedly accused molester whose ecclesiastical career was punctuated by an affair with an embezzling priest at one of his parishes (the priest also claimed coercion). In 2004, Salazar was co-consecrated by Mahony and Zavala. Mahony had appointed Zavala to auxiliary bishop in 1994. It came out later that he had sired a couple of children from a mistress residing in another state. He resigned in 2012. Salazar, Zavala, and Ziemann were Mahony’s kind of bishops — politically and theologically liberal, big on “social justice,” and mired in scandal. Mahony liked to keep bad priests close and the worst ones even closer. He made a molester known to him, Fr. Carl Sutphin, the associate pastor of his cathedral until prosecutors closed in on him.
Through Mahony’s string-pulling, Ziemann ended up a bishop. He went from Los Angeles to the head of the Santa Rosa diocese until ripped-off parishioners demanded his resignation in 1999. The police discovered that Ziemann had outfitted his embezzling priest-boyfriend with a special beeper for spur-of-the-moment sexual demands and had concealed his larceny during the throes of their affair. By the time Ziemann left the Santa Rosa diocese, it was $16 million in debt. Outraged parishioners wanted him prosecuted, but Vatican officials rode to his rescue and whisked him into a safe retirement. He was later hit with multiple molestation charges, dating to his days as dean of studies at a high school seminary in Los Angeles. Salazar and Zavala might have received their own dioceses too had they managed their affairs a little more discreetly. I found an old story from a Utah paper purring over Salazar as a possible future bishop of Salt Lake City. But it turns out that Salazar, according to the Church’s latest admission, was under “precautionary” measures during his time as an auxiliary bishop, whatever that means. In other words, the Church knew perfectly well that he was a credibly accused molester and decided to let him retain his lofty title anyways. The utterly scandalous arrangement was overseen in part by Cardinal William Levada, an old crony of Mahony’s who conveniently assumed the top position at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith the year after Salazar’s elevation.
Levada, Mahony, and Ziemann all came out of the same rotten 1960s-era seminary in Los Angeles, St. John’s, and had been trading favors for years. Before Pope Benedict XVI inexplicably promoted Levada to the head of his doctrinal office, Levada served as the archbishop of San Francisco, where he too had a molesting priest on his cathedral staff. Out of all these intersecting friendships from seminary days came a golden parachute for Ziemann after he got bounced from Santa Rosa. Levada oversaw Ziemann’s landing far from police in the Arizona desert, where he joined the “artsy party circuit in nearby Tucson” until his death, reported the journalist Ron Russell. All of this is beyond the grimly satirical imagination of Evelyn Waugh, and the Church hasn’t even hit bottom yet. The news out of Illinois this week — its attorney general says that Illinois dioceses excluded at least 500 cases from their self-accounting of alleged priestly abuse — hints at the many revelations to come from unfolding state investigations across the country.
In the recent resignations of auxiliary bishops from New York (Bishop John Jenik) to Los Angeles (Bishop Salazar), one can already see the effects of that pressure. Both Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Archbishop Gomez knew that grand juries would eventually find out about the abuse allegations against their auxiliaries and apparently urged the Vatican to cut them loose sooner rather than later. The Vatican has been spinning the abuse scandal as a relic of the “past.” But almost all the figures responsible for it remain highly visible in the present — even Mahony got his chance at the microphone in Baltimore at the fall bishops’ gathering — and they continue to exercise real power. Here and there a derelict bishop drops out, but for the most part the hierarchy stumbles on as a club for the compromised and the corrupt in which yearly membership is earned through mutual complicity in the cover-up.
Everyday the rotten underbelly of the RC hierarchy and clergy is being shown up more and more.
We are seeing it big time in the USA because of how many bishops they have and because of the size and power of the American media.
The RC Church in the USA is more rotten than a ship load of rotting, smelly. weeks old fish.
But that’s not the most serious issue. What is more serious is:
The widespread abuse and sexual assault of children, seminarians, young priests and other adults.
The massive coverup of all this rottenness of the bishops and the Vatican.
The promotion of men to the episcopate on the basis of having done sexual favours to others and being involved in all kinds of corruption.
At this stage we can be 100% sure that what has been happening, and is happening in the USA has been and is happening in Ireland.
The most urgent necessity in Ireland is exposing Irish bishops who have been, or are, involved in sexual misbehaviour and corruption.
This will be exposed. It is simply a matter of time until it happens.
Pope Francis offered his “heartfelt thanks” in a lengthy speech on Friday to members of the media who helped expose sexual abusers within the ranks of the Catholic clergy. In his yearly address to members of the Roman Curia, the pope publicly thanked “those media professionals who were honest and objective and sought to unmask these predators and to make their victims’ voices heard.” “Even if it were to involve a single case of abuse (something itself monstrous), the Church asks that people not be silent but bring it objectively to light, since the greater scandal in this matter is that of cloaking the truth,” Francis said. The pope himself has come under fire in recent months for a lack of transparency regarding his own conduct in the case of disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, accused of serial homosexual abuse of seminarians, priests, and laypersons for decades. In late August, the former papal nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, accused the pope of having rehabilitated McCarrick despite knowing of his abuse. Cardinal McCarrick enjoyed a “long friendship with Cardinal Bergoglio” and played an “important part” in his recent election, the archbishop claimed in an 11-page affidavit, which led the pope to continue using McCarrick as a trusted aide in the naming of American bishops even after learning of his misdeeds. “McCarrick was part of a network of bishops promoting homosexuality who exploiting their favor with Pope Francis manipulated episcopal appointments so as to protect themselves from justice and to strengthen the homosexual network in the hierarchy and in the Church at large,” Viganò wrote. When journalists questioned him about the truth of these and other allegations, the pope refused to answer and has maintained his silence ever since while lashing out at his accuser as an agent of Satan because of his attempts to reveals others’ wrongdoing. “It is true, we are all sinners, we bishops,” the pope said in September, but the Great Accuser “seeks to unveil sins so that they may be seen, to scandalize the people.” In his address Friday, Francis praised the “heroic example” of the martyrs and countless good Samaritans but said that their witness cannot “make us overlook the counter-witness and the scandal given by some sons and ministers of the Church.” He said: The Church has for some time been firmly committed to eliminating the evil of abuse, which cries for vengeance to the Lord, to the God who is always mindful of the suffering experienced by many minors because of clerics and consecrated persons: abuses of power and conscience and sexual abuse. Comparing abusive priests to King David, the pope said that these men “perform abominable acts yet continue to exercise their ministry as if nothing had happened. They have no fear of God or his judgement, but only of being found out and unmasked.” “Today too, there are many Davids who, without batting an eye, enter into the web of corruption and betray God, his commandments, their own vocation, the Church, the people of God and the trust of little ones and their families,” he said. “Often behind their boundless amiability, impeccable activity and angelic faces, they shamelessly conceal a vicious wolf ready to devour innocent souls.” The pope also reiterated the commitment of the Church to root out the evil of sexual abuse. “Let it be clear that before these abominations the Church will spare no effort to do all that is necessary to bring to justice whosoever has committed such crimes. The Church will never seek to hush up or not take seriously any case,” said the pope. “To those who abuse minors I would say this: convert and hand yourself over to human justice, and prepare for divine justice,” he said. “Remember the words of Christ: ‘Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea,’” he said.
Rev. W. Thomas Faucher speaks to the Idaho Statesman from the Ada County Jail about how he would like to be remembered in the community and what will happen after his trial.
The Rev. W. Thomas Faucher, a longtime priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise who pleaded guilty to five felony crimes, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison without parole and will be required to register as a sex offender.
Faucher, 73, was accused of amassing thousands of child porn images and videos on his home computer — and pleaded guilty in September to sharing some of those images online. He apologized in the courtroom ahead of his sentencing at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise on Thursday.
“This is the crime that has the potential for both immediate and long-lasting consequences,” 4th District Court Judge Jason Scott said. “… I think there is a legitimate risk to the community.
“I am deeply sorry that I was and have been connected to that in any way,” Faucher told the judge in a statement that lasted about 17 minutes. Faucher said he was deeply struck by the victim impact statements and that he knows child pornography is not a victimless crime.
“I was one really sick puppy. I screwed up big time … I feel so much remorse and anger,” Faucher said at his sentencing.
He wants to build a future making up for what he’s done. He would like to meet with victims and apologize to them and give lectures on the evils of child pornography.
“There are many people who will benefit if I am no longer in jail,” Faucher said, explaining that he’d like to help others. “There are no people who will benefit if I am in jail or in prison.”
A thinner and more frail-looking Faucher was wheeled into the courtroom in his Ada County jail uniform just before 9:30 a.m. At least 30 people, including some members of the Diocese of Boise, plus local media were packed into the windowless fifth-floor courtroom — some watching cried while others left the room as a local detective described in graphic detail the images and child pornography found in Faucher’s possession.
Thomas Faucher appears before Fourth District Judge Jason Scott to be sentenced after being found guilty of multiple felonies, including possessing and trafficking child pornography among other charges Thursday at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise, Idaho.
Darin Oswald email@example.com
Diocese officials told the Statesman Wednesday that they will seek to have Faucher defrocked. They reiterated that in a press release after the sentencing:
“The volumes of shocking information that the law enforcement investigation uncovered reveal the heinous nature of child pornography and the tragic impact upon its victims,” the release says. “While we cannot begin to fathom what brought Faucher to the point that he was able to enter into this evil and dark world, we are thankful for the efforts of the law enforcement community in doing what it can to protect our children from these crimes.”
Investigation took a toll on police
The prosecutor called Garden City police officer Detective John Brumbaugh to the stand on Thursday. Brumbaugh, who’s been on the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force for five years, said he received a cybertip that involved two images sent from firstname.lastname@example.org that was linked to the St. Mary’s Catholic Church website. In the months that followed, Brumbaugh said, his investigation looked at chats and emails that showed Faucher was “actively seeking interests with gay men, satanic interests” and the rape and killing of minors. He also described the contents of the images police found on Faucher’s cellphone, computer and Dropbox account: more than 2,500 files that were sexually exploitative or pornographic with young-looking subjects. The files were described by police as violent, disturbing and torturous, some involving children crying.
“The volume of [images] was something I haven’t come across,” detective said. He’s talking about how the extreme nature of the images affected him and others that investigated.
Other images include live animals being abused. Files of children and adults being set on fire. The detective is listing a variety of forms of very graphic abuse.
In online chats with a person called “Bruno,” Faucher expressed a desire to have sex with boys, Brumbaugh said. Faucher said he had “satanic desires,” an attraction to 6-year-old boys and that “the thought of killing someone does begin to excite me,” according to the detective.
Brumbaugh also said Faucher’s online conversations about shared child pornography include the Catholic priest talking about fantasies, including the sexual abuse of altar boys and babies, and saying that he liked a video of a boy being being beaten to death. “The volume of [images] was something I haven’t come across,” Brumbaugh said, and added that the extreme nature of the images took a toll on himself and others involved in the investigation. As Faucher solicited more videos of young boys, he wrote that he felt “wonderful indifference,” Brumbaugh told the courtroom.
Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, whose office oversees the task force that investigated the crimes, said in a press release that the sentencing is a reminder of how challenging this work can be. “Today’s sentencing brings to close one of the most difficult cases the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit has ever investigated,” Wasden said. “As those in the courtroom today are now aware, the nature of the evidence uncovered was extremely disturbing. I want to publicly say thank you to the ICAC staff for their extraordinary professionalism and dedication to their mission in the face of inherently difficult work. ”
Other images the detective said the investigation found included depictions of black slavery, which Faucher spoke about using racist language, as well as images of Faucher urinating on a cross and canon law book. Faucher also wrote that he urinated in the wine for Mass at least once, Brumbaugh told the courtroom. Faucher talked to “Bruno” about betraying canon law, then blaming it on his age and illness, Brumbaugh said.
Faucher bragged to Bruno about how easy it had become to lie: “It felt good to lie for no good reason except to do it … Most of the time, I just make a new reality and believe it as long as it suits me.”
“It felt good to lie,” Faucher wrote in one of the conversations, the detective said. Faucher later told Brumbaugh that no one else had access to his email account, the detective said. Brumbaugh also said there was no evidence that someone had remote access to Faucher’s computer nor evidence of a virus on the computer.
‘It shakes the community’
Ahead of the sentencing, special prosecutor Kassandra Slaven asked for a 30-year prison sentence, including 20 years before Faucher would be eligible for parole. She also requested a no-contact order be put in place with all minor children.
An evaluation concluded Faucher is on the upper end of the risk to reoffend and is less amenable to treatment, Slaven said, adding that he was diagnosed as a pedophile. She argued that his status as a Catholic priest is an aggravating factor.
“It shakes the community. It shakes the members of the Catholic Church,” Slaven said. “… He portrays himself as a victim and is not at all accountable for his actions.”
Faucher’s defense attorney, Mark Manweiler, had called for probation and sex offender treatment instead of prison time. Manweiler said the evidence does not support that Faucher looked at all of the images on the computer. He also said that although Faucher looked at, possessed and shared child pornography, “He’s never sexually abused any child.”
Earlier, the Statesman reported that two men came forward to church officials and prosecutors to accuse him of sexually abusing them when they were children several decades ago; no charges have been filed in those cases. The defense said Thursday any accusations made now should be taken “with a grain of salt.”
“Tom isn’t a good person. He’s a wonderful person” who’s helped hundreds if not thousands of people, Manweiler said. He also read from a letter of support from Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, who said Faucher has helped his family.
Manweiler emphasized what he says caused Faucher “to get into this world of Satanism and pornography”: that the priest of 45 years went from a position of power “to all of the sudden being nothing” and “he couldn’t handle it.” Manweiler said it was a combination of rejection by church officials, alcohol abuse and loneliness that caused Faucher to stray into Satanism and child porn.
Faucher has lost 47 pounds since he’s been in jail and has a life expectancy of about 5 more years, the defense says. He also has brain damage and alcohol-induced dementia.
Charges against Faucher
Prosecutors have said they found more than 2,000 photos and videos depicting child sexual abuse on Faucher’s computer and phone. They said he spoke in online chat rooms about having a desire to rape and kill children; his attorney previously said at least one of those conversations was Faucher “role playing” with an author in Brazil.
He was charged with 21 counts of felony sexual exploitation of a child, one count of felony possession of a controlled substance (LSD) and two counts of misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance (marijuana and ecstasy). He pleaded guilty to two counts of distribution of sexually exploitative material, two counts of possession of sexually exploitative materials and one count of drug possession.
Diocese spokesman Gene Fadness told the Statesman Wednesday that church officials haven’t seen evidence that Faucher has taken full responsibility for his actions. In pleading guilty to five of the 24 charges against him, Faucher said that he didn’t remember sharing child porn with others because he had alcohol-induced depression and dementia.
The diocese evicted Faucher while he was being held in the Ada County Jail, and they had the house exorcised before selling it.
I cannot remember ever meeting anyone with the name Emmanuel until I came to Belfast in 1978 at the age of 26. Then, all of a sudden, I met a whole lot of Emmanuel’s on the Fall’s Road. The Belfast people have a habit of shortening names – especially complicated names like Emmanuel. So all the Emmanuel’s I met in Belfast were called “Bap” – Bap McAreavey, Bap Dundon, Bap Stitt. I have never been able to work out how you get Bap out of Emmanuel. So, I did what many people do these days – I searched the meaning of Bap on the internet and I found:
• Your name, Bap, creates an independent, determined, and persevering nature.
• You desire to work on your own or at least where you are making your own decisions.
• You enjoy working with your hands and can be resourceful and inventive along practical lines.
• Being much focused on your pursuits, at times you overlook the personal considerations and attentions that create understanding and companionship with others.
• This name causes you to suffer with self-consciousness in new situations and an inability to be diplomatic when situations warrant.
• You are loyal in friendships and express candidly.
• You enjoy outdoors activities with a few close friends. Health Analysis • Tension could affect the eyes, ears, teeth, or sinuses. Frequent head colds or headaches. So, there you go – someone out there is an expert on the name Bap – and I am wiser today that I have been for over 60 years.
We meet today to remember and be with the most famous Emmanuel ever – our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. He was indeed independent, determined and persevering. He did work on His own and made His own decisions – doing the will of His Father and in companionship with his disciples. He enjoyed working with His hands as he was a carpenter. He was focused on his pursuits and some people liked Him and others hated Him. I don’t think He was self-conscious in new situations and he was not always diplomatic. And I don’t think He suffered head colds in the nice warm climate of Israel
We know that from the point of view of the Bible and our Christian faith, Emmanuel means “God is with us”. The prophet Isaiah used it 700 years before Jesus came when he told the leader of his people, Ahaz who was under military siege, that God was with him.
We who believe in Jesus, hopefully, are aware at all times, the good times and the bad times, that God is with us? But, of course, it probably becomes more important to us, that God is with us in the bad times when we feel “under siege. For each person those sieges differ: We might be sick or have a loved one who is sick? We might be struggling financially? We might be experiencing problems in our families and relationships? We might be suffering with depression or anxiety? We might be experiencing loss or grief? We might be trapped in an unbearable job or an unbearable marriage? We might be living with painful memories or harbouring an oppressing secret?
There are so many forms of suffering and pain that are possible. We see it everyday on our television screens. And therefore, it is more important than ever that we have a reason to have hope. St. Peter said in his first letter: “But in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to defend yourself to anyone who asks you for the reason that you have the hope you have”. And the reason that those of us who are gathered here today have hope is because we believe in Emmanuel – we believe that God is with us. That does not mean that our lives will always be easy. But it does mean that, easy or hard, our lives will always have meaning. The great philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said:
“HE WHO HAS A WHY TO LIVE CAN BEAR ALMOST ANY HOW”.
Our WHY is Jesus Christ – Emmanuel. He will see us through any, and every HOW. Corrie Ten Boom was a Dutch watchmaker who work with her father. She helped many Jews escape the Nazis and when she was caught she was sent to a concentration camp. The wrote the following poem to express how and why she never lost hope and hope in God.
MY LIFE IS BUT A WEAVING
“My life is but a weaving Between my God and me. I cannot choose the colours He weaveth steadily.
Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow; And I in foolish pride Forget He sees the upper And I the underside.
Not ’til the loom is silent And the shuttles cease to fly Will God unroll the canvas And reveal the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful In the weaver’s skillful hand As the threads of gold and silver In the pattern He has planned
He knows, He loves, He cares; Nothing this truth can dim. He gives the very best to those Who leave the choice to Him.”
― Corrie ten Boom
I don’t know about you? But I trust the Weaver more than I trust myself.
San Diego Seminarian Receives Justice as Jury Convicts Abuser Priest
Posted by Catholic News Agency on Tuesday Dec 18th, 2018 at 5:51 PM
Bishop Robert McElroy ordered Father Juan Garcia Castillo be removed from ministry permanently following the conviction for sexually assaulting one of the San Diego diocese’s seminarians.
San Diego, Calif. — A California priest was convicted Monday of sexually assaulting a seminarian. After his conviction, Father Juan Garcia Castillo will be listed on California’s sex offender registry, and could face up to six months of incarceration.
During a week-long trial, the San Diego seminarian assaulted by Father Castillo testified that the priest approached him Feb. 4 in a restaurant bathroom and groped his genitals twice.
The assault followed a night in which Father Castillo took two seminarians to a bar and restaurant after an event at St. Patrick’s Parish in Carlsbad, where the priest served as parochial vicar. The seminarian said they had several drinks, and that Castillo encouraged him to drink to excess.
The seminarian testified that he went to the bathroom sick after midnight, and that Father Castillo approach him from behind and groped him.
In September, a spokesman for the Diocese of San Diego told CNA that the diocese had not publicly commented on the allegations because “we need to see what happens to the criminal case because the issue of consent is so important and if it’s not clear, we wait for that to get made clear.”
Father Castillo’s defense did not address consent, but instead denied that contact between the men was sexual.
Father Castillo told jurors he put one hand on the seminarian’s back and then “tried to put my other hand on his stomach.”
“My mom always put pressure on my stomach to calm down, stop the vomiting. That’s what I was taught as a kid,” he said. Father Castillo added that he might have “accidentally” touched the seminarian’s genitals, but that he couldn’t recall.
Father Castillo sent text messages to the seminarian after the incident, offering apologies, but not specifying what the apologies were for, San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Father Castillo told jurors he was apologizing for encouraging the seminarian to drink to excess. However, in one exchange, a seminarian accused the priest of “sexually com[ing] on to seminarians.”
Father Castillo responded: “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
A jury decided Dec. 17 that Father Castillo’s contact constituted misdemeanor sexual battery. He is expected to be sentenced within a month.
Father Castillo, who is also known as Father Juan Gabriel Castillo, is a member of the Congregation of Jesus and Mary, a religious community of priests also known as the Eudists. The priest, 35, was born in Honduras, and in 2011 was ordained a priest at St. Patrick’s Parish by Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa.
In a statement released Monday afternoon, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego said that “upon reviewing the facts regarding the allegation of sexual assault against Father Castillo, the diocese of San Diego removed him from ministry in the diocese immediately and permanently.”
According to the Tribune, the bishop said, “We are deeply saddened by the victimization of one of our students, and the damage to society and the Church that it represents.”
It’s good to see, at last, that a powerless seminarian has had the priest who abused him brought to justice
There are a number of Maynooth seminarians who need to bring cases against Irish priests against and bishops.
Hopefully this case will spur them on to approach the Gardai and the courts.
Pope Francis tells Curia: ‘Spare no effort’ in bringing abusers to justice Courtney Grogan/CNA 21 December, 2018
Pope Francis strongly condemned clerical sex abuse in his annual Christmas speech to the Roman Curia Friday, promising that the Church leadership will never again cover-up abuse or treat such cases lightly. “Let it be clear that before these abominations the Church will spare no effort to do all that is necessary to bring to justice whosoever has committed such crimes. The Church will never seek to hush up or not take seriously any case,” Pope Francis said in Vatican’s City’s Apostolic Palace on December 21. “It is undeniable that some in the past, out of irresponsibility, disbelief, lack of training, inexperience, or spiritual and human short-sightedness, treated many cases without the seriousness and promptness that was due. That must never happen again. This is the choice and the decision of the whole Church,” he continued. The 40 minute address to the cardinals and members of the Roman Curia largely focused on the “scourges of abuse and infidelity.” The pope delivered a decisive message to those “consecrated men, ‘the Lord’s anointed’, who today “abuse the vulnerable, taking advantage of their position and their power of persuasion.” With his hands visibly shaking as he read from his prepared text, the pope addressed abusive clergy directly, telling them to prepare to face justice. “To those who abuse minors I would say this: convert and hand yourself over to human justice, and prepare for divine justice,” Pope Francis said. “Remember the words of Christ: ‘Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of scandals! For it is necessary that scandals come, but woe to the man by whom the scandal comes!’” he added. The pope chose to focus his Christmas address on the struggles the Church faced in the past “turbulent” year. “This year, in our turbulent world, the barque of the Church has experienced, and continues to experience, moments of difficulty, and has been buffeted by strong winds and tempests,” he said. Francis outlined what he perceived to be the different reactions from Catholics around the world in response to the sex abuse crisis. “Many have found themselves asking the Master, who seems to be sleeping: ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ Others, disheartened by news reports, have begun to lose trust and to abandon her. Still others, out of fear, personal interest or other aims, have sought to attack her and aggravate her wounds. Whereas others do not conceal their glee at seeing her hard hit,” he said. “Many, many others, however, continue to cling to her, in the certainty that ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against her,’” he added. The pope also thanked the journalists who shed light on the cases of sex abuse within the Church, “who were honest and objective and sought to unmask these predators and to make their victims’ voices heard.” “Even if it were to involve a single case of abuse (something itself monstrous), the Church asks that people not be silent but bring it objectively to light, since the greater scandal in this matter is that of cloaking the truth,” Francis added. He urged, “Please, let us help Holy Mother Church in her difficult task of recognizing real from false cases, accusations from slander, grievances from insinuations, gossip from defamation.” In a possible indication of the scope of the Vatican’s February meeting to address the abuse of minors and other vulnerable adults, the pope said that the Church must confront the root causes of sexual abuse, both within itself and in the wider society. “The Church will not be limited to healing her own wounds, but will seek to deal squarely with this evil that causes the slow death of so many persons, on the moral, psychological and human levels.” “An effort will be made to make past mistakes opportunities for eliminating this scourge, not only from the body of the Church but also from that of society. For if this grave tragedy has involved some consecrated ministers, we can ask how deeply rooted it may be in our societies and in our families,” he commented. At the February meeting, the heads of all of the international bishops’ conferences “will question, with the help of experts, how best to protect children, to avoid these tragedies, to bring healing and restoration to the victims, and to improve the training imparted in seminaries,” Francis said. Pope Francis said he wanted to “stress the importance of a growing awareness that should lead to a duty of vigilance and protection on the part of those entrusted with governance in the structures of ecclesial and consecrated life.” “The strength of any institution does not depend on its being composed of men and women who are perfect (something impossible!), but on its willingness to be constantly purified, on its capacity to acknowledge humbly its errors and correct them; and on its ability to get up after falling down,” he said. The pope used the Biblical story of King David to analyze the sins of “abuses of power and conscience and sexual abuse.” “Today too, there are many Davids who, without batting an eye, enter into the web of corruption and betray God, his commandments, their own vocation, the Church, the people of God and the trust of little ones and their families. Often behind their boundless amiability, impeccable activity and angelic faces, they shamelessly conceal a vicious wolf ready to devour innocent souls,” he said.
FRANCIS – ACTION! NOT JUST WORDS!
No one can reasonably disagree with Francis’ words to the Roman curia.
But we know that the vast majority of paedophiles would never hand themselves over to the police.
So Francis needs to put his money where his mouth is and:
Dismiss ex cardinal McCarrick from the clerical state and make him a layman.
Do the same to Pell if his conviction stands.
Excommunicate all clerical child abusers. If you can be excommunicated for becoming a bishop without Rome’s permission surely you can be excommunicated for sexually abusing a child?
Make crimes against children one of the most serious crimes in canon law.
Set up national tribunals consisting of prosecutors, policemen, judges and social services to conduct investigations into accused bishops and priests.
Hand over all files on bishop and priest abusers to the police.
When Francis does these things we will know he is serious.
Words are just too easy without accompanying actions.
The Pope Didn’t Go Far Enough in Urging Predatory Priests to Turn Themselves In BY HEMANT MEHTA – Friendly Atheist
In a speech made this morning to Vatican administrators, Pope Francis urged priests to do what the Catholic Church has proved incompetent at doing: Weed out the abusers in their midst. He told predatory priests to “convert and hand yourself over to human justice, and prepare for divine justice.” That might be great advice if anyone actually took the threat seriously. But if the priests didn’t follow the “Don’t rape kids” rule, it’s hard to imagine they’re going to fall in line with the whole “Turn yourselves in” approach. It didn’t help that the pope also used his speech to go after critics of the Church who called out the abuse beyond merely reporting on it. The pontiff also suggested that some critics of the Church are taking advantage of the scandals to inflict additional damage on it. “Others, out of fear, personal interest or other aims, have sought to attack [the Church] and aggravate her wounds,” he said. “Others do not conceal their glee at seeing her hard hit.” Dude. The critics (hello) who condemn the Church’s inaction aren’t throwing victory parties. We’re angry and appalled and infuriated that a giant crime ring has been able to continue functioning all because it’s dressed up in religion. If we weren’t talking about the Catholic Church, an organization with this many credible allegations of abuse and people at high levels covering it all up would’ve been shut down decades ago. At no point did the pope go into detail about how individual churches would be punished for not being fully transparent with government officials investigating them. He didn’t say the Church was changing the intractable doctrine that leads priests to groom children instead of finding partners their own age. He didn’t call for a change in Vatican guidelines that call for bishops to turn abusers in to civil authorities only if the local law requires it. Instead, he just claimed the Church would “never again” cover up sex abuse by religious leaders… which implies that, yes, they covered up sex abuse by religious leaders up until this very moment. Keep in mind this comes the same week we learned that the discrepancy between abusers reported by the Church and abusers being investigated by law enforcement in Illinois was more than 500. While not all 500 will turn out to be credible allegations, it’s hard to imagine all of them will turn up nothing. Which means the cover up is still going on. The speech might have been useful a few decades ago. Right now, it’s quite literally the least he could do. It was the equivalent of Republican Sen. Jeff Flake admonishing Donald Trump. We hear the words, but we see no meaningful action to back it up. At some point, the rhetoric itself just becomes a running gag.