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WAS MONSIGNOR OF US NATIONAL SHRINE A PIMP?

by GEORGE NEUMAYR The American Spectator

Monsignor Walter Rossi is “on retreat,” said the celebrant at a recent Mass held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where Rossi continues to serve as rector in spite of an investigation into his misconduct by the archdiocese of Washington, D.C., and the diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

At that very moment, according to a Church insider, Rossi was vacationing in Italy with Fr. Andrew Hvozdovic, the co-owner of Rossi’s posh beach condo in gay-friendly Fort Lauderdale. Nicknamed by Scranton priests “Randy Andy” for his open homosexuality — he decorated one of his residences with a statue of a crucified Jesus with an erection — Hvozdovic graduated from the same seminary class as Rossi. In Italy, they celebrated the anniversary of their ordinations.

I am told that the investigation into Rossi’s misconduct has fallen into the hands of a former FBI agent turned private investigator named Greg Auld. My call to Auld was not returned.

According to Scranton sources, Auld is working for a white-shoe law firm in the Philadelphia area that represents Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera. The sources with whom I spoke said Auld seemed more interested in Rossi’s financial improprieties than his sexual scandals. Auld has insinuated to at least one of his interviewees that Rossi pays himself a fat salary to run the Shrine.

Incidentally, Rossi has sold off one of his luxurious beach condos since I reported on them last year. According to Christine Niles at Church Militant, Rossi has unloaded his condo near Atlantic City — a revealing move, given that that condo is where he stashed Matthew Riedlinger, the defrocked priest ensnared by an underage sex sting for whom Rossi has been accused of serving as a kind of pimp.

Catholic University students preyed upon by Riedlinger say that Rossi introduced them to him.
If Auld doesn’t speak with Riedlinger’s victims — I am told they number in the double digits — then we’ll know his investigation is a crock. Imagine how quickly Catholic University would drop from its board a heterosexual priest who introduced a gaggle of women to a buddy who then pawed them. He would be gone in a second.

But the slippery Catholic University of America president John Garvey has still not opened an investigation into Rossi, who sits on CUA’s board. My call to Garvey was not returned, of course. The last time I tried to ask him about Rossi he quickly walked away.

At least one bishop, however, has called for the suspension of Rossi while he is under investigation. Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler,
Texas, tweeted out this last week that Rossi’s active status as rector is “contrary to canon law” and that a “canonical Preliminary investigation is called for and Msgr. Rossi should be on administrative leave.”

It appears that Bambera, who is angling to succeed the soon-to-retire Archbishop Charles Chaput in Philadelphia, has more at stake in this investigation than Archbishop Wilton Gregory. I was told by a Church insider that Rossi had a meeting with Gregory and Bambera after the announcement of the joint investigation. Gregory assured Rossi the investigation wouldn’t take long. Bambera dissented, saying, “I wouldn’t be so sure about that.”

Auld has mountains of material to examine, some of it going back to Rossi’s days as a disciple of the utterly corrupt Michael Bransfield, the former Shrine rector who was bounced from his position as bishop of Wheeling, West Virginia, after it came out that he had preyed upon male subordinates and spent millions on needless renovations, among other misdeeds.

Rossi is cut from the same cloth as his mentor, whose nickname was “Bunny,” according to a letter shared with me. Written by a long-time Rossi observer, the letter says that Bransfield kept a beach house, à la Theodore McCarrick, where he hit on seminarians and let other priests hit on them. Around this time, according to the letter, Rossi, who served as Bransfield’s “Director of Pilgrimages,” was similarly corrupting the young: “a group of seminarians known to party with Rossi was expelled from the Catholic University of America when they were caught at a gay bar.”

Rossi, the letter added, terrorized Basilica staff with his “sexual favoritism.” He protected his alleged lovers, such as Matthew Riedlinger, and punished those who objected to Riedlinger’s predatory behavior.

Emboldened by the open misconduct of Bransfield and McCarrick, Rossi at times flaunted his debauchery. “At the Basilica, Rossi has had relationships with various men. Stories have circulated that Rossi sometimes brings his conquests to the Basilica’s sacristy the next morning to show off,” according to the letter.

Rossi isn’t so much “on retreat” as he is in retreat. I have been told by a Shrine source that The American Spectator’s coverage, the Archbishop Viganò testimony against Rossi, and now the investigation have “sent Rossi into hiding and caused chaos, demoralization, and finger-pointing among his lackeys at the Basilica.” They know, he added, that the “end is near.”

Let’s hope so. Much will turn on whether Auld investigates the Rossi scandal thoroughly and honestly — and whether the laity can spur Gregory and Bambera into finally cutting this powerful but depraved priest loose.

PAT SAYS

What kind of priest decorates his home with a crucifix depicting Christ with an erection.

Such a priest cannot be a true believer and is more likely to be Satanist than a Christian.

There are so many complete sexual predators in today’s priest – of of the homosexual persuasion.

People like McCarrick and Rossi are not only sexual predators but they are truly destroyers of the young seminarians and priests they target.

And there are not only in the USA.

They are in Ireland and the UK too.

They are ruining places like Maynooth, The Irish College, Allen Hall, Oscott and Wornesh.

LET READERS CONTIUE TO COMMENT ON IRISH / UK seminaries and dioceses

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YOUTUBE VIDEO ON WORNESH.

What do readers think of the video below.

I detect a strong homosexual undertone.

________________________

ELSIE NICHOLS DOES NOT LIKE ME OR THIS BLOG 😊

I have been friendly for years with an English priest.

This week he got a telephone from Elsie Nichols office telling him that he should have nothing more to do with me or this blog.

The Westminster priest who rang my friend also told him that Elsie was thrilled that I had been detained in the Vatican for several hours on my visit to Rome in March.

But you see, the interesting thing is that I was also thrilled by my detention.

How many people, priests or bishops have had the distinction of being detained by the Vatican Police?

I believe that my detention was historic and I will dine out on it for years to come.

Apparently Elsie goes into a rage when he is discussed on the blog.

Good!

That makes the blog’ day 😊

Elsie is particularly cross when I publish the picture of his nun housekeeper / companion wearing his red biretta in Rome.

Elsie, here’s that pic for you again 😥

I wonder does Elsie and Carmel dress up as cardinals in their caravan hideout?

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HAVE SEMINARIANS BEING ARRESTED AT WORNESH SEMINARY ENGLAND?

Have the police arrested at least one seminarian in St. John’s Seminary, Wornesh?

If so, no one is admitting the reason(s) for the arrest.

Was the arrested seminarian formerly a Maynooth seminarian?

Another seminarian is being talked about as flashing was a 1st year, he flashed after a drunken heated argument broke out. It is claimed that he flashed Infront of other seminarians and staff to defuse the physical fighting which was escalating.

A source says the rector ignored this, yet others get reprimanded for bring late or not shaving.

Once the rector went crazy at all the seminarians during a fire alarm drill!

It is claimed the seminarians are afraid of the rector and think they are being treated like children whereas the guy arressed was the golden boy. Seminarians are saying:

“Why cant the staff see the issues we see? The staff fall for ass kissing”.

Wornersh, it is claimed, is riddled with a gay culture.

St John’s day celebrations ended in all out drunkeness and one older seminarian flashed his backside while standing on one of the refrectory tables in front of all the seminarians and staff, and kitchen staff.

At the beginning of this month, it is claimed, a seminarian was arressed by 5 police officers.

Are there serious scandals swirling around Wornesh?

What is going on in Wornesh?

The Rector Father Brian Coyle

The coat of arms of St. John’s

MOTTO

SPES MESSIS IN SEMINE

The hope of the harvest in in the seed!

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THE REPUBLICAN FATHER PATRICK FELL.

From a Blog reader

The recent revelation about how the Catholic priest Fr Ryan was the IRA’s major gunrunner and a former Pallotine priest is especially disturbing and I hope, despite being in his 90’s that he is arrested, tried and sentenced.

I don’t know if you know of the case of Fr Patrick Fell – The Fall of Fr Fell – he was a curate at All Soul’s Earlsdon, Coventry, in the early 1970’s and was, in fact, a commander of an active IRA unit who was tried and sentenced to 12 years for planning a bombing campaign against the people of Coventry.

After serving his sentence he retired to Donegal and served as a parish priest – he died there in 2011.

I have wondered what if anything his fellow clergy and church hierarchy knew about his terrorist activity – it is remarkable to say Mass on Sunday and plan a bombing campaign on Monday!!

I have often wondered what his parishioners thought of his arrest and sentence and whether the parishioners in the parish in Donegal (where he relocated) had any notion/idea of his past.

This much I know – this news was quickly buried and that is the way the clergy and the hierarchy like it – dead and buried and never discussed or brought out into the open and light where it should be!

I hope you don’t mind me contacting you about it – it dovetailed for me with the Fr Ryan case – only Fr Fell was caught and went to prison – as Fr Ryan should!

Thank you again for your blog – I enjoy your books too and am very interested in your knowledge of Archbishop John McQuaid – whose biography I am currently reading.

I met Cardinal Daly on a number of occasions and was always struck by how little he was but also how impatient -and him a philosopher!!

A NOTE

Among the least publicised Catholic priest IRA members was Fr. Patrick Fell who was sentenced to twelve years in prison in Birmingham, England, in 1973 alongside IRA volunteers Frank Stagg, Thomas Rush and Anthony Lynch for conspiracy to cause explosions in Coventry. [Frank Stagg later died on hungerstrike in Wakefield prison in February 1976.] Fell was the leader of the IRA unit while Stagg, who was sentenced to ten years, was his deputy. Fell’s conviction and imprisonment did not cause any particular shock or horror to the Catholic church or to the State at the time – he was viewed as an errant priest who got caught.

Patrick Fell had been a convert from Anglicanism to Catholicism who then became a Catholic priest in Coventry. It was after some years of ministry that he joined the IRA. During his time in prison, mostly on the Isle of Wight, he began an application to the ECHR but his politics changed dramatically when his fellow prisoners beat him severely believing that he had had a homosexual relationship with another prisoner which was thought at that time to be unthinkably unRepublican.

He never again showed interest in Sinn Féin or the IRA and upon his release travelled to Donegal where he was, rather surprisingly, incardinated into the Raphoe diocese and allowed to serve until he died in 2011.

Fell effectively repented his earlier involvement with the IRA and lived a quiet and fairly blameless life after serving his time. His dalliance with the IRA didn’t work out well for him either in political or in personal terms.

PAT SAYS

Father Patrick Ryan and Father Patrick Fell (two Patricks) both had one thing in common. They were both involved in the IRA and in bombing and killing and fundraising.

And them there was Father James Chesney the Derry IRA quarter master general who was involved in the Claudy bombing.

I’m sure there others that we do not yet know about?

I can understand a priest being a Republican or Irish nationalist – but not a shoter or bomber. Its goes against all that true Christianity and true discipleship is all about.

Of course, priests can be angered by injustices suffered by their people at the hands of the state, its police or its armed forces.

And, over 800 years on Ireland,the Brits are responsible for many atrocities and injustices, and murders.

Then we the Irish have blood on our hands too from all our years of armed resistance.

Many loyalists believed that all priests were IRA supporters.

When I first came to loyalist Larne in 1984 two gunmen came looking for me with guns. Fortunately I was out. The next say the RUC aarrived and bullet proofed all my doors and windows and presented me with a Walther automatic pistol for self protection.

The loyalists assumed that because I served in Divis Flats on the Falls Road I must have been a Provo.

In Divis, and in Kilkeel, I did try and protect my parishioners from the excesses of the RUC and UDR.

And when my parishioners were in need and trouble I was not found wanting in spite of great risks.

But we cannot stray across the line that divides champions of justice and human rights from paramilitary activists.

The Supreme Priest – Jesus – does not allow that in his teachings.

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AUSTRALIA TO MAKE IT ILLEGAL FOR PRIESTS NOT TO REPORT CHILD ABUSE HEARD IN CONFESSIONAL.

Michael Sainsbury CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

SYDNEY – The Australian states of Victoria and Tasmania have become the latest in the country to pass legislation criminalizing priests who fail to report the abuse of children disclosed during confession.

The country’s six states and two territories are all expected to have such laws in place in coming months.

But some clerics, including Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli, one of Australia’s most senior and vocal bishops, have vowed to ignore the laws in an effort to uphold the seal of the confessional.

Comensoli told Australian public radio that he would urge anyone who confessed to child sexual abuse to tell police. But he added that he, personally, would not break the seal, preferring to go to jail.

The laws broadly make it a crime if members of the clergy do not report abuse or suspected abuse to police.

Penalties for breaching the new laws range from fines to decades in prison, and the laws underscore the rollback of special concessions for the Church in Australia following the country’s landmark Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The laws have flowed from recommendations made by the Royal Commission, which ran from 2013 to 2017, when its findings were handed down along with 52 recommendations, many covering activities of the Church.

Victoria and Tasmania join Queensland and Western Australia as having passed or introduced such laws to parliament. New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory governments have signaled they will introduce legislation.

The new laws in Australia stand in contradiction to the Code of Canon Law, which states: “The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore it is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason.”

At present, a priest who breaks the seal of confession would be subject to automatic excommunication, unless otherwise decided by the pope.

Along with Comensoli, other bishops also have vowed to ignore the new laws. These include Bishop Greg O’Kelly, apostolic administrator of Adelaide, and Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher. As well, all three bishops and other senior clerics have effectively described the new confessional laws as a distraction that would do nothing to halt child sexual abuse.

O’Kelly told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that, in 28 years as a priest, he had never had anyone confess to child sexual abuse, either anonymously or in person.

“If you’ve ever had anything to do with a pedophile, they think they’re innocent and so won’t line up at a confessional,” one veteran Australian priest who asked not to be named told CNS. “Common practice (for confession of any serious crime) is for a confessor to say ‘we need to talk about this outside the confessional’ and certainly to withhold absolution till the penitent has gone to the police.”

The emergence of the issue comes at a delicate time for the Australian Catholic Church, which is undertaking two major processes that would result in a root and branch reform of the institution.

The Plenary Council, Australia’s first in 80 years and a rarity anywhere in the Catholic world, will be held over two sessions, in 2020 and 2021.

A review of church governance at parish and diocesan levels began in May 2019 and is being undertaken by a six-person panel of lay Catholics, under the chairmanship of retired Western Australia Supreme Court Justice Neville Owen. He was also the head of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council formed to coordinate the Church’s response to the Royal Commission.

PAT SAYS

Australia is a sovereign state and is fully entitled to make it’s own laws.

The church’s Code of Canon Law is all about pprotecting the RCC and the higher you rise in the RCC the more rights you get.

Canon Law has been used by the hierarchy to hide sex abuse.

So, it’s time someone and soon nation took it on.

There is no reason that any state should allow any one religion to have exemptions fron the law on religious grounds.

So, I think the Aussies are right.

And the RCC will just have to put a notice outside each confession box which reads

Please be advised that if you confess child abuse here the priest will have to report you to the local police.

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CATHOLIC PRIEST SUPPLIED ARMS AND MONEY FOR IRA.

Michael McHugh INDEPENDENT

A Catholic priest maintained a network of Europe-wide contacts used to generate arms and money for the IRA, a documentary revealed.

Patrick Ryan helped secure munitions from Libya which were intercepted by the Irish navy off the coast of Ireland, according to BBC Northern Ireland’s Spotlight programme.

Ryan travelled with former IRA commander Joe Cahill to Tripoli. A five tonne shipment of weapons on board the Claudia was to follow.

He said: “I would have liked to have been much more effective than I was but we did not do too badly.”

The former East Africa missionary from the Republic of Ireland initially worked as a parish priest and contributed money to the republican cause while doing so.

He was approached by IRA leaders who asked him to work for them permanently. He was no longer a parish priest while associated with the Provisionals.

He told Spotlight: “They asked me to travel the world and try to get info.”

In 1973 he was sent to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s Tripoli along with IRA chief of staff Cahill.

Ryan spent the next 10 years visiting Libya and Europe, using a camper van to travel all over Europe raising money, the Spotlight programme said.

He deposited cash in a Swiss bank account for use by the IRA.

He said: “We were doing considerable business with the bank… exchanging unusual sums of money.”

He also discovered timers which made it easier for IRA men to arm their bombs without being killed themselves, Spotlight said.

Those became a component in the republican organisation’s bomb-making technology.

One was used to detonate the 1984 bomb at the Tory party conference in Brighton.
Fragments of the timer were recovered from the rubble.

The extent of Ryan’s role was revealed by discussions between Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the Irish Taoiseach, Spotlight said.

The programme said documents revealed that Thatcher considered Ryan to be the main channel between the IRA and Libya for a decade.

She described him as a “very dangerous man” with an expert knowledge of bombing.

He said he regretted that he was not even more effective.

He told Spotlight: “One way or another I had a hand in most of them.”

Spotlight on The Troubles: A Secret History airs on Tuesday September 24 on BBC One NI and BBC Four at 9pm.

PAT SAYS

I cannot take it in that an old man in his 90s, a once active priest and Christian, is proud of having contributed to killing, bombing etc!

And at 90, perhaps only months before meeting his Lord, is not repenting of his very gravely sinful actions.

It seems as if his extreme republicanism has totally hardened his heart.

Did he not use to believe and preach THOU SHALT NOT KILL!

I fully understand that the British and the Unionists and their forces created massive evil in Ireland over 800 years.

And they will all answer for that before God.

I don’t agree very often with Northern Ireland Unionists but they are perfectly within their rights to demand the extradition of this old man from the Republic to that he can be prosecuted and jailed here.

In the picture above his face looks as hard as his heart!

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BISHOP BACKS PARISHIONERS WHO WANT WOMEN PRIESTS.

23/09/2019 Irish Examiner By Noel Baker

A bishop has given his support for a specially devised delegation process for the ordination of women priests.

Killala diocese, made up of 22 mainly rural parishes in north Mayo and west Sligo, undertook the process with the blessing of Bishop John Fleming as part of its efforts to arrest the decline of the church in the area after an analysis of priest numbers indicated that, by 2037, the 22 parishes of the diocese would be served by five or six priests.

A spot survey of all Masses over three consecutive weekends indicated that attendance overall was just 29%. A steering committee made up of representatives of the four deaneries — two women, one lay man, and a priest in each — as well as a priest co-ordinator and Bishop John Fleming looked at how to explore issues within the diocese.

According to Fr Brendan Hoban, a member of the Association of Catholic Priests, Bishop Fleming gave a commitment that whatever suggestions emerged that were within the diocese’s capacity to pursue would be incorporated into diocesan policy.

He said that whatever suggestions emerged that were not within the diocese’s capacity would be forwarded to the Irish Episcopal Conference and to the Apostolic Nuncio who would be asked to forward them to the relevant authorities in Rome.

Initially, 1,500 people across the diocese were surveyed anonymously on a range of broad questions, with the feedback then being processed by the Institute for Action Research in Kerry and ultimately turned into proposals that were then voted on by a representative assembly.

That 300-strong diocesan assembly, which included delegates from the 22 parishes, then voted on a range of issues, while 120 people participated in 10 focus groups.

The vote found that:

85% backed the view that priests be allowed to marry;

81% supported priests who have married being returned to active ministry;

80% backed women being ordained to the diaconate;

69% agreed that women be ordained to the priesthood.

The delegates voted 86% in favour of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality and those excluded from the Church being changed to reflect the inclusion of all people regardless of sexual orientation, marital status, or family status.

“The position was it was about what we would do in the diocese,” said Fr Hoban.

“There was no point us deciding that we were going to ordain women or married men as we don’t have the ability to do it, but we could control organising lay ministers in a different way. The agreement was that whatever came up out of the survey was going to be put in a set of proposals to delegates from each parish.”

The action programme based on the findings will get under way next January.

“It was a respectful adult consultation with the people,” Fr Hoban told the Irish Examiner. “This is new in the sense that it is completely open-ended, nothing ducked that people wanted to talk about.”
Findings from an Irish Examiner/ICMSA opinion poll of farmers and rural families found that 74% of respondents said religious services have been cut back or curtailed in their local area and that 73% backed the ordination of female priests.

Last year, an Irish Examiner special report showed at least half of the 25 archdioceses and dioceses around the country have seen an aggregate fall in the number of priests serving within them in the past five years, while almost half have parishes which have had to reduce the number of Mass services they can offer.

PAT SAYS

This consultation of the people of a diocese was a step in the right direction.

Of course one Irish bishop, or indeed all Irish bishops do not have the power to abolish celibacy allow the ordination of women or invite laicised priests back into ministry.

That authority is vested in the Pope and The Vatican who no signs of doing any of these things.

I am a small part of Independent Catholicism and I and many others have ordained women, brought laicised priests back into ministry and do not require celibacy.

I ordained a woman, Mother Frances Meigh, 21 years ago this month.

At that stage she was 67 and is now 88 and still ministering.

Flemming and Hoban TALK about it.

I have DONE IT.

Actions speak louder than words.

Neither Flemming or Hoban will live to see woman priests in the RCC in their lifetime

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BISHOP HEGARTY’S FUNERAL

From a Derry correspondent

I have just returned from Bishop Hegarty’s funeral in Derry and there were a few things of note I wanted to inform you of.
1 – The disgraced Cardinal Sean Brady was there, pride of place on the sanctuary in his full red gear. I really wanted to vomit seeing him there, and you could tell a lot of the congregation and clergy hated his presence. The protestant bishop, dean and archdeacon were there, and I am sure many thoughts went through their mind about that hypocrite in chief.
2 – Archbishop Amy (Eamon) Martin was there in his full prancing glory.

3 – Shock of shocks, Brendan Collins, the disappeared priest in 2016 was there in the congregation. Dressed in a smart suit, he was not there as a priest, but there is a member of the congregation. This is the first time since Bishop Edward Daly’s funeral in 2016 that we have seen him in the diocese.
4 – Bishop McKeown in his homily did acknowledge (in the most weakest way of course) Hegarty’s in-actions over child sex abuse claims when he was in charge of both Raphoe and Derry dioceses.
The cathedral was full, but compared to Bishop Daly’s funeral in 2016, it was not the same feeling.
So Bishop Hegarty is now laid to rest in the grounds of the cathedral – what will his legacy be Bishop Buckley in your opinion?
PAT SAYS

His legacy will be that of the generation of cover up bishops who put the so called “good name” of the RCC before victims who suffered unbelievably.

He was a strange man – a man who did not have a good way with people.

Really, he was unsuitable to be a bishop but then the vast majority of Episcopal appointments by Rome have been of unsuitable men.

Many of them have no principles, are very ambitious and do not know the difference between truth and lies. They call some of their worst lies “mental reservations”.

Thankfully more and more ordinary people are seeing through them and walking away from them.

As for Brady, he is a corpse who refuses to stay in his grave.

Amy is a big girl’s blouse.

Mc Keown is an empty vessel.

It was interesting that Brendan Collins was there. I hope he is happy.

_________________

LUKE MC CONNELL ARMAGH, TO BE PROSECUTED OVER HIS PARISH PRIEST

The Middletown, Co. Armagh man, who has been challenging Eamon Martin and other Armagh clergy has received notice from the Public Prosecurion Service that he is to be charged with harassing the parish priest where he lives – Father Sean Moore.

They have also decided to add common assault and resisting arrest to the charge sheet.

______________________

FATHER EAMON MURRAY

Father Murray got in touch with me yesterday and asked that we sort out dispute privately and in a Christian way. Of ccourse, I immediately agreed.

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DUTCH DOCTOR AQUITTED AFTER EUTHANISING PATIENT WITH DEMENTIA

The Dutch doctor who performed euthanasia on a woman suffering from severe dementia, has been acquitted of murder. The court in The Hague ruled on Sept. 11 that the doctor hasn’t broken the Dutch euthanasia law.

The trial began three weeks ago when, for the first time in Dutch history, a doctor was put on trial after performing euthanasia on a patient. Prosecutors said the 74-year-old doctor was guilty of murder.

In 2016, she performed euthanasia on a woman suffering from severe dementia. After being diagnosed with the condition, the patient had written down a living will in which she stated that she wanted to make use of the legal right to have euthanasia performed on her were she to end up in a nursing home. However, during the last days of her life, the patient gave mixed signals about wanting to die. Prosecutors stated that the now-retired doctor should have spoken with the patient about her wish to die.

The doctor has now been acquitted of breaking the Dutch euthanasia law in the landmark case. The judge ruled that the living will written by the patient four years earlier had sufficed.

Mentally competent?

In a reaction to the Dutch Catholic newspaper Katholiek Nieuwsblad Martin Buijsen, professor in health law, said that the Dutch law is hard to explain.

“Murder and homicide are punishable by law. An exception has been made for euthanasia, which is legal under certain strict requirements. After performing euthanasia, a doctor draws up a file, which is then checked by a regional commission,” he said.

In 2018, euthanasia was reported 6,000 times, 146 for a person suffering from dementia.

“144 of these patients were suffering from an early stage of dementia. Euthanasia was performed on them without any legal problems,” Buijsen said.

“In the other two cases, the patient was suffering from severe dementia. Both of them had written a living will in which they stated that they wanted euthanasia to be performed on them if they were to end up in a certain stage of the disease,” he said.

But, continued the professor, “At what point is a person no longer mentally competent? A person suffering from dementia may have lucid moments and is still able to change his or her mind. The term ‘mentally competent’ is not all white or all black.”

Official warning

The doctor on trial had already received an official warning by the Dutch medical disciplinary board. The court’s verdict doesn’t change that fact. This means doctors themselves follow stricter rules than the Dutch law prescribes.

“The verdict of the medical disciplinary board means that her colleagues think that in this case the doctor failed to do the right thing. They advised other doctors to verify with the patient if they still wish to die,” Buijsen said.
According to Buijsen, the whole trial has always been a matter of principle, and also a test case.

“Prosecutors asked the judge to come up with a verdict but were not seeking punishment for the doctor. What they wanted was for the court to stipulate clearer boundaries for the euthanasia law. The judge ruled that there is no legal duty for an extra living will to be written by the patient. This means the uncertainty remains, because in practice nothing has changed with this verdict,” he said.

A morally impossible thing to ask

“The euthanasia law dates back to 2002 and was meant, for example, for cancer patients or patients affected by ALS who were in excruciating pain with no hope of ever recovering. The current law was not made with dementia in mind. The Dutch federation of medical practitioners is working on a declaration for euthanasia in cases of dementia, with clearer standards for doctors,” Buijsen said.
According to the professor, the current euthanasia law is making it impossible for doctors to function well.

“The patient places his or her faith in the doctor’s hands. The doctor then needs to decide if a patient is allowed to die, not too early in the disease process, but not too late either. Think what we’re asking of our doctors. It is a morally impossible thing to ask.”

This article was translated for Crux by Susanne Kurstjens-van den Berk.

PAT SAYS

I agree with euthanasia under strictly controlled regimes.

I have watched parishioners die of horrible ddiseases like Motor Nurone Disease where tthey gradually died by drowning in their own saliva.

Of course I believe life is the most precious commodity on earth.

But when all quality of life is gone and there is only pain, suffering, decay and deat I do not believe that God demands utter suffering and utter pain.

Jesus did enough barbaric suffering for us all on the cross.

He does not demand utter Calvary from every human being.

I personally hope not to opt for euthanasia.

As a Christian I want to ride the bucking bronco to the end.

But I not believe everyone has the capacity for that.

I don’t even know, when it comes to the bit, that I will have it.

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WHEN PRIEST WEDS NUN

My parents may not get to see the transformation of Catholicism they dreamed of when they married 50 years ago, but some changes are underway.

By Peter Manseau August 2019.

Mr. Manseau is the curator of American religious history at the Smithsonian.

It made news around the world when my parents married 50 years ago this summer. They weren’t remotely famous. Their wedding was no lavish affair. The surprising interest in their nuptials can be summed up by a headline that ran in a Vancouver newspaper, thousands of miles from the ceremony in my grandmother’s modest Boston home: “Priest Weds Nun.”

The headline wasn’t precisely accurate. My mother was a teaching sister for a decade, but she had left her order the previous summer; my father by then had been a priest for eight years. On the day of the wedding, he was on a leave of absence from his nearby parish and, according to canon law, was automatically excommunicated for marrying without first receiving dispensation from the obligations of his ordination. As he told reporters waiting outside, he knew that his decision broke the rules of the church, but he had done so for its benefit.

“We believe in the goals of the church and love the church very deeply,” he said. “We have committed our lives to the church, and believe we are doing this for the good of the church.”

For him, to marry publicly as a Catholic priest was an act of protest meant to nudge Rome toward reconsideration of clerical celibacy and the church’s view of sexuality generally — a reconsideration he had come to regard as inevitable after the reforms of the Second Vatican Council earlier in the 1960s. “I really felt that in order to be true to the Gospel,” he said, “I should enter into the deepest relationship possible for the church.” By this he meant not his celibate religious vocation but marriage, family and the complicated relationships they would bring.

For my mother, though she shared these sentiments, their wedding day was more about becoming a bride than a modern-day Martin Luther. “Our plans,” she said in one news report, “are simply to live happily ever after.”

The headlines may not have captured the nuance, but they conveyed the essence: My parents’ marriage was newsworthy because it upset expectations. As a rule, those who make religious vows in the Catholic Church do not also make wedding vows. To newspaper editors, “Priest Weds Nun” was an irresistible ecclesiastical spin on “Man Bites Dog,” and the story itself turned out to be evergreen, as reporters continued for years to write about their life together, including in this newspaper.

My parents weren’t the only newlyweds to receive this kind of attention. Throughout 1969, couples in Texas, New York and California made headlines of their own: “Dissenting Priest Weds Nun Dropout”; “Former Priest Weds Ex-Nun”; “Priest Will Wed Nun He Met on Protestant College Campus.” A few similar news items had appeared in previous years, and many more followed in the years to come.
Stories about the weddings of priests and nuns were usually presented as singular curiosities, but in hindsight their real significance was not in their novelty but in their repetition. Unbeknownst to them, my parents were at the beginning of an exodus, a rejection of the established Catholic order from which the church has yet to recover.

After decades of growth, the ranks of Catholic clergy in the United States began to decline around the time of my parents’ wedding. Between 1969 and today, the number of priests has fallen nearly 40 percent; the number of nuns is down roughly three-quarters. Those who left did so for all kinds of reasons: ambition for secular careers, a longing to start families, just a yearning for another way of life. Yet entwined with those practical desires was the fact that many among my parents’ generation of priests and nuns recognized the church’s fault lines — its tendency toward secrecy, its culture of obedience, its history of abetting abuse — long before outsiders learned the extent of the problem.

As adolescents, both of my parents endured unwanted physical contact from priests who were supposed to be their spiritual mentors, the very men who guided them into religious life. My mother’s memories of the convent also include being required to use a medieval self-flagellation device she and the other sisters called “the discipline.” My father’s classmates in seminary included several of the most notorious of Boston’s pedophile clergy. Is it any wonder they began to ask to what else their faith might aspire?

My parents’ anniversary is an admittedly arbitrary date from which to look back over a half-century of Catholic history, but it happens also to coincide with a moment of widespread re-evaluation of the place of priests and nuns in the broader culture, in the United States and around the world.

In the cover story of the June issue of The Atlantic, another former Boston priest, the writer James Carroll, called for the abolition of the priesthood, blaming its culture of clericalism as the root cause of the church’s continuing crisis. On the latest season of the Amazon/BBC Series “Fleabag,” a fraught affair between a sassy atheist and a “hot priest,” as the internet calls him, leads to perhaps the frankest conversations about celibacy ever in a romantic comedy.

The spring announcement that the gothic horror film “The Nun” would have a sequel suggests that the word alone is considered sufficiently terror-inducing for not one but two big-screen scream fests, while a recent social experiment called Nuns and Nones put decidedly unfrightening elderly Catholic sisters in conversation with religiously unaffiliated millennials who admire the former’s dedication to activism.

Viewed side by side, these varied examinations and representations reveal a deep ambivalence: The priest might be cast as the key to the church’s failings or an answer to secular prayers; the nun is a figure fit for nightmares but also a potential role model for those seeking order in their lives.
Popular culture remains haunted by priests and nuns in a way that its audiences’ adherence to, indifference toward or rejection of Catholic doctrines does not fully explain. Priests and nuns remain, for many, symbols simultaneously of what was and what might be. Their symbolic significance endures even as their numbers fall and the meaning of their vocations, to Catholics and non-Catholics alike, continues to shift.

This re-evaluation is not just an American phenomenon. When South American church leaders gather in Rome this fall for the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region, they will consider allowing married men to be ordained as priests to address the shortage of Catholic clergy in an area home to tens of millions of people. While some wonder whether this might eventually provide a template the Vatican could follow elsewhere, in other places where the church is growing as the ranks of clergy fall, would-be married priests are not waiting for official sanction. The priests of Kenya’s breakaway Renewed Universal Catholic Church, for example, are guided by a desire to keep their Catholic identity without forgoing marriage or resorting to the “secret families” they say many supposed celibates maintain.

Catholic sisters around the world are also now being seen in a new light. Scandals like those involving the abuse committed at the Magdalene laundries in Ireland on the one hand, and, on the other, the abuse suffered by nuns at the hands of priests and bishops recently acknowledged by Pope Francis, have allowed figures too often caricatured as parochial school despots or cardboard saints to be more fully understood.

It is too soon to know what such movements and revelations will mean to the future of the faith. In the long history of the Catholic Church, there is ample precedent both for the opening of theological loopholes to address practical concerns and for independent churches attempting to continue their ministry in the style, if not with the blessing, of Rome. Yet it is clear that in the 21st century the issue of sexuality and its implications for religious service, long simmering beneath the surface, is in the open as never before.

The actor who plays the priest in “Fleabag,” Andrew Scott, who grew up Catholic in Ireland, said recently in an interview with New York magazine, “If the church could be a little movable on the subject of priests and nuns being allowed to marry, then I think maybe there might be more people interested in entering the church in our generation.”

Though such prescriptions are offered far more often by those who have left the Catholic Church than those who remain, today this is not an uncommon view. That it once would have been a scandalous notion suggests that those who shed their collars and veils five decades ago did something quietly revolutionary. Despite a lifetime of preparation for service to a church that once viewed itself as unchanging, they imagined that change was possible.

As a historian of American religion, and no longer a practicing Catholic, I have developed some distance on my parents’ story. I have far less of a stake than they do in the future of vocations they left behind. Whether the ranks of priests and nuns continue to decline, or somehow return again to the kind of flourishing that made them the significant cultural markers they remain, I will watch with interest, comparing their rise and fall with that of other religious groups that have experienced similar trajectories.

As a son, though, I can’t help but hope the church might one day acknowledge that my parents were right. While those who left were once seen as vow breakers, disappointments or worse, their understanding that a reckoning regarding matters of sexuality and power was long overdue has proved prescient.

My parents may never see the transformation of their faith that they dreamed of when they married, but 50 years later, they represent a road not taken, a path that the church they love, despite it all, may one day follow.

Peter Manseau (@plmanseau) is the curator of American religious history at the Smithsonian and the author of a memoir, “Vows: The Story of a Priest, a Nun and Their Son.”

PAT SAYS

The priest wedding the nun was a very 60s and 70s thing.

Why? Because there were more heterosexual persons in the priesthood.

With the homosexualising of seminaries and priesthood heterosexual men in seminaries and priesthood are becoming as scarce as the corncrake 😊

The other connection is that many priests and nuns in the past were semi forced by their families to enter the seminary and convent to bring honour and respectability on the family.

Such priests and nuns were unsuitable to celibacy and virginity.

I visited many convents in my time and the enforced virginity made many poor nuns mad with frustration and denied mother instinct. Some of them became as mad as march hares and wicked and sadistic.

I was serially beaten by such nuns as a child in a convent school.

One heterosexual priest said to me one time: “They wouldn’t let us get rid of our semen and it went to our heads and made us mad”.

In the future the abolition of celibacy and the ordination of women will give us much better and more integrated priests.

And those two moves will also rebalance the current homosexualised priesthood.