Abuse Tracker
A Blog by Kathy Shaw

BishopAccountability.org – Documenting the Abuse Crisis

May 25, 2015

Why some child abusers are a protected species

Red Flag

Louise O’Shea

We know that when Tony Abbott doesn’t approve of something, he is not backward in coming forward about it.

He’s made no secret, for instance, of his disapproval of refugees attempting to get to Australia by boat, Aboriginal people indulging their “lifestyle choices” in remote communities and women who access more than one maternity leave entitlement.

And that’s before we even get to the Islamic State, which Abbott has denounced as a “death cult” a whopping 346 times since last September.

But amid all this frenzied disapproval and moral righteousness, the abuse and sexual assault of thousands, if not tens of thousands, of children in Catholic schools, orphanages and churches, and the systematic cover-up of this abuse by the church hierarchy, fails even to rate a mention from that otherwise indefatigable moral crusader.

Asked whether he considered it morally sound for cardinal Pell to refuse to return to Australia to front the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse, Abbott declined to express disapproval.

That Pell has been asked to face allegations that he offered bribes to silence sexual abuse victims, covered up priests’ crimes and failed to act on sexual abuse complaints appears to matter not a bit to Abbott who, in 2013, described the cardinal as a “fine human being” and “great churchman”.

Abuse Victims Losing Faith In Goddard Inquiry

Sky News

Tom Parmenter
News Correspondent

The Goddard Inquiry into child sexual abuse still hasn't heard its first evidence, but it has already lost the trust of some survivors.

Esther Baker is one of them. In the early days she saw the inquiry as an opportunity to finally disclose her wretched childhood.

Being abused simply became part of her routine. She learnt to cope by repeating nursery rhymes or her times tables in her head as countless men took advantage of her.

The promises in recent months from politicians vowing to "uncover the truth" and "leave no stone unturned" gave her the hope that this time might be different.

She engaged with the process, took part in meetings and even received a letter from Home Secretary Theresa May thanking her for her "invaluable assistance".

Ms Baker though has lost faith in the process.

Justice Lowell Goddard was the third choice to lead the inquiry and was brought over from New Zealand to ensure she was independent of the British establishment, which finds itself at the centre of many allegations of child abuse.

Royal commission: Institutions should pay the bills, but not provide support

The Courier

By PATRICK BYRNE May 25, 2015

INSTITUTIONS at the centre of child sexual abuse should pay for victims’ support, but not provide it first-hand, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse was told on Monday.

Giving evidence to the Commission, psychiatrist Carolyn Quadrio said victims were angered by having to see doctors and psychologists who had been paid for by the institutions they were abused by.

“That’s one of the problems at attempts at redress made by the institutions,” Professor Quadrio said. “Maybe the institutions can pay the bill, but that’s all.

“They shouldn’t be providing the treatment. It’s a bit like psychiatric research run by drug companies ... you know the results are going to be skewed and they are. It has to be separate from the money, otherwise it gets skewed.”

The psychiatrist said while private help was needed in most cases, victims should also seek the support of other survivors.

“Finding other people who have been through the same experience is a great comfort,” she said.

Come home and face the Commission, Pell

ABC - The Drum


By Michael Bradley

The time has come for George Pell to forget about the legal strategies, the honour and assets of the Church, and his personal dignity. He needs to come back home, face up and tell the truth, writes Michael Bradley.

Immoveable object meets irresistible force.

Cardinal George Pell has engaged various tactics over the years in his response to the grave allegations regarding his part in the Catholic Church's handling of sexual abuse victims, but the attitude has remained the same: impassive, righteous, unrepentant, unmoved.

In terms of his apparent personal motivation of protecting the Church's reputation and assets, it's been pretty successful. But Royal Commissions are powerful beasts; and a determined Royal Commissioner can break the toughest resistance to their mission of shedding light into the darkest places.

I have no opinion to express on the allegations levelled at Pell. They have not been tested, and we should not presume their truth or otherwise before that has been done. The Royal Commissioner, Peter McClellan QC, has been sending a very clear message that this is what he intends to do. It has set the scene for what could be a memorable showdown.

Ex-Rosarian teacher’s child-sex-abuse trial set to begin

Palm Beach Post

WEST PALM BEACH — Just the accusation that he had molested students at Rosarian Academy, Stephen Budd warned an accuser three years ago, would be all it took for him to end his career as a teacher.

Budd’s April 2013 arrest on child sexual battery charges appears to have succeeded in doing that, but in a Palm Beach County courtroom this week prosecutors will begin their attempt on ending the 53-year-old Budd’s life as a free man.

Same-sex marriage vote an ‘unmitigated disaster’ for Church

Irish Times

Patsy McGarry

Gerry O Connor
Mon, May 25, 2015

The Same-sex Marriage Referendum was “an unmitigated disaster” for the Catholic Church in Ireland, Fr Brendan Hoban, co-founder of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), has said.

“It was clear from the beginning that the bishops’ decision in policy terms to campaign for a blunt No vote was alienating even the most conservative of Irish Catholics,” he said.

The referendum result illustrated “the gap between the church and a significant number of its people... It is so out of tune with the needs of the people,” he said.

It was “another significant body-blow to the position of the Catholic Church in Ireland” and “a watershed in Irish history”.

Another ACP co-founder, Fr Tony Flannery, said “the day of doctrinaire Catholicism is over in this country. The people are no longer willing to listen to speeches and sermons on morality from the church.”

What was “ particularly sad was to see the bishops in total opposition to a mass movement of the younger generation”.

Church leaders must tell all: advocate

9 News


It is inconceivable that church leaders would not ask why a priest was being moved from parish to parish, an abuse victims' advocate says.

Anthony Foster, whose daughters were raped by a Melbourne priest, says more needs to come out about the widespread abuse in the Ballarat diocese.

The child sex abuse royal commission's investigation has uncovered documents from meetings where it was decided to move Australia's worst pedophile priest, Gerald Francis Ridsdale, between parishes.

"I find it inconceivable that somebody sitting in a meeting like that would not ask why. We want to know why," Mr Foster told AAP in Ballarat.

He said a few lines in meeting minutes was an awfully long way from hearing the real story about the behind-the-scenes discussions.

"We need some of the clergy who are still around that were in on those discussions at the time to come clean for our sake, for their sake, for the sake of the victims."

The Duggar Homeschool Program's Terrifying Advice on Sexual Assault


Jay Hathaway

Why were evangelical reality star and conservative political activist Josh Duggar’s parents Jim Bob and Michelle so slow to act on the revelation that their eldest son had molested his younger sisters—and, ultimately, so lenient? Documents about sexual abuse from the cult-like homeschooling program the family follows—which focus on public image and lay heavy blame on the victims of assault—may help answer the question.

You see, the Duggars aren’t just “Quiverfull” breeders and Bible adherents—they’re also adherents of the Advanced Training Institute, a Bible-based homeschooling program run by alleged cult figurehead Bill Gothard. Months before the family had to deal with the revelation of Josh Duggar’s past sexual abuses, they were coping with sexual abuse allegations against Gothard.

The Web Has Known About Josh Duggar for Years. When Did TLC Find Out?

In 2006, Oprah Winfrey canceled an appearance on her show by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, the…
Read more defamer.​gawker.​com

Gothard last year denied accusations that he had sexually harassed or assaulted 34(!) women, claiming “I have never kissed a girl nor have I touched a girl immorally or with sexual intent.” He was 79 years old at the time.

Although Gothard was forced to resign as the head of the Advanced Training Institute due to the accusations, the Duggars apparently still follow the organization’s teaching plans, which include lessons on how to deal with sexual abuse in the home.

Former Ballarat bishop accused of hushing up pedophile’s offences

The Australian


Former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns allegedly hushed up pedophile Gerald Ridsdale’s ­offences and refused to step in because he was too busy with confirmation duties, according to evidence submitted to the abuse royal commission.

A former principal of a school in western Victoria said Bishop Mulkearns had told her in 1982 not to tell staff about Ridsdale’s abuse of students, there was not to be a meeting with parents and that “we could do nothing for the children”.

Bishop Mulkearns, then the most senior Catholic in Australia’s worst diocese for clergy sex offences, has also been accused in evidence tendered to the royal commission of having asked a nun to tip off Ridsdale that others knew about his offending, allegedly with the intention of stopping it.

Ridsdale is feared to have ­abused hundreds of children in the Ballarat diocese from the 1960s to the 80s. He is in jail convicted of abusing more than 50 children.

Bishop Mulkearns, who has since retired and is in ill health, ran the Ballarat diocese between 1971 and 1997 and was central to moving Ridsdale from parish to parish each time he was caught abusing schoolchildren.

Vatican bank posts big jump in net profits for 2014

Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) The IOR, the Institute for Works of Religion, released its Annual Report for 2014 on Monday, showing a net profit of 69.3 million Euros, a substantial increase from the 2.9 million reported in 2013.

IOR media officer Max Hehnberg told Vatican Radio that 2014 was a positive year financially, but "within the norm" for what is widely known as the Vatican bank. The net gains, the Institute said, are the result of a reorganization of the accounts and “mainly due to an increase in the Net Trading Income from securities and a decline in extraordinary operating expenses.”

“The main focus is on fundamentally improving our overall client service standards and further professionalizing our asset management services”, said Jean-Baptiste de Franssu in a statement. "Next to providing seamless and reliable payment solutions this is at the core of our plan within the new regulatory framework introduced in the Vatican and given the recently signed tax agreement between the Holy See and Italy".

The statement said further strengthening of IOR compliance culture and resources is a priority coupled with the establishment of new internal audit and risk management functions. In particular, the systematic efforts towards implementation of anti-money laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures under supervision of Vatican regulator AIF have continued and procedures are regularly monitored and further developed where necessary.

Profit at Vatican bank soars 20 times as it moves away from scandals of the past


By Nick Squires, Rome 25 May 2015

Once tainted by scandal and intrigue, the Vatican bank has managed to increase its profits by more than 20 times since embarking on a comprehensive drive for transparency and accountability ordered by Pope Francis.

The bank announced on Monday that it earned €69.3 million (£49 million) in 2014 – up from €2.9 million the previous year.

Profits plummeted in 2013 as a result of a dramatic dip in the value of the bank’s gold reserves, two substantial write-offs and the cost of employing a team of forensic accountants to review the murkiest corners of its finances.

The outside consultants were brought in to bring the bank, officially known as the Institute for Religious Works, into compliance with tough anti-money laundering regulations.

“The gold price did not move in our favour (in 2013) and there were the extraordinary effects of two substantial write-offs, one on an investment equity fund made by the previous management of the bank and the other on a bond issue for a media company,” Max Hohenberg, a bank spokesman, told The Telegraph.

Vatican Bank’s Profit Soars

Wall Street Journal

May 25, 2015

ROME—The Vatican bank said its 2014 net profit skyrocketed to €69.3 million ($77 million) from €2.9 million a year earlier, owing largely to a steep rise in net trading income and a decline in extraordinary operating expenses. The increase also reflected an exceptionally low net profit for 2013, largely from write-downs on legacy investments.

In its third annual report, released Monday, the Vatican bank, officially known as the Institute for the Works of Religion, or IOR, also described its efforts to bolster compliance with international financial norms, as part of a continuing effort to repair its scandal-plagued reputation.

The 2014 profit will allow the bank to turn over €55 million to the Holy See, for charitable purposes at the discretion of the pope, an amount in line with previous years. Last year, the bank drew from its reserves to give the Holy See €54 million.

The bank has been reviewing accounts to ensure compliance with anti-money-laundering regulations and to make sure all its clients belong to one of four categories consistent with its mission to serve “works of religion”: Catholic institutions; individual clergy and members of religious orders; Vatican employees and pensioners; and foreign diplomats accredited to the Holy See.

What About the Girls? The Duggar Scandal and the Cost of Fundamentalism


May 22, 2015 by Erin Wathen

This is what comes of fundamentalism.

This week in the news, the Duggar family–made popular by their reality show, “19 Kids and Counting”–have been in the spotlight for a sex scandal. Though I seriously doubt they are calling it that, amongst themselves. No, where they come from, this is a youthful indiscretion; a series of inappropriate behaviors; evidence that we are “not a perfect family”… Etc.

But the news that the oldest son, Josh (now 27) repeatedly molested and sexually assaulted his younger sisters (and another unnamed minor) is beyond “inappropriate.” It is a crime. And one for which nobody is going to jail, given the 3 year statute of limitations in the state of Arkansas. (And in many states).

This is what comes of fundamentalism. And this is not about me railing against conservative brands of faith. Conservatism in belief does not always amount to abusive behavior. But when conservative beliefs (the Duggars are part of the Quiverfull movement) manifest in harmful, toxic systems that allow for–and even condone–systemic abuse, then you have fundamentalism. And it comes at a price. Most often, the price is human dignity. And most often, that price is paid by women.

Fundamentalism is how Jim Jones got a tragically large group of people to “drink the Kool-aid.” (I know that is a really derogatory thing to say now, but this is, most literally, where the saying originated). Fundamentalism is how Waco happened. Fundamentalism is how ISIS continues to grow at an alarming rate.

Fundamentalism is why so very many children have horrific stories of being abused by Catholic priests; and fundamentalism is why so few of those priests are in jail (so far).

Remembrance service for those who died at mother and baby home in Galway


[with audo]

A remembrance ceremony will take place outside the Dáil today for babies who died at a mother and baby home in Tuam, Co Galway.

800 seconds of silence will be held in memory of the almost 800 babies who died at St Mary's between 1925 and 1961.

One year on since the Tuam babies tragedy made global headlines, survivors say they are deeply disappointed by the lack of progress made in the inquiry.

Silence for babies who died at Galway mother and baby home


A remembrance service has taken place outside Government buildings for babies who died at a mother and baby home in Tuam, Co Galway.

A moving 800 seconds of silence was held at 12pm for some 800 babies who died at St Mary's between 1925 and 1961 – one year on from the discovery of a mass grave which shocked the world.

The ceremony is organised by a coalition of mother and baby home survivors:

* The Bethany Home Survivors
* Adopted Illegally Ireland
* Beyond Adoption Ireland
* Castlepollard Mother & Baby home group
* Adoption Rights Now

Terri Harrison, from the 'Mother to Mother Dublin' group has called for the transparency in investigations into the homes.

She said: "As life givers in Ireland, we were cast aside, denied our basic human rights. Our loss hidden, our truth never told, our lives lived beneath a veil of deceit.

Poland’s Prosecutor to visit highland town where priest abused minors

Dominican Today

Santo Domingo.- Polish Prosecutor General Andrzej Seremet will visit six Dominican families whose under-age members were victims of sexual abuse by priest Polish pries Wojciech Gil (Padre Alberto).

Seremet and other Poland officials will visit midweek the highland town of Juncalito, Santiago province, where Gil molested at least six minors who were his altar boys when he was parish priest from 2008 to 2013, according to a statement from the Dominican Justice Ministry.

Gil, 37, was sentenced 25 March by a Polish court to a reduced sentence of seven years in prison for violations against six Dominican minors and two Poles.

Special medical cards for Magdalene survivors 'still available' - Minister

Irish Independent

Denise Calnan Twitter


Special medical cards awarded to survivors of the Magdalene Laundries are still available to be claimed, Social Care Minister Kathleen Lynch has said.

The card will be given to women who have accepted a formal offer of compensation under the Restorative Justice Scheme.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and Social Care Minister Kathleen Lynch said the "RWRCI Cards" will issue to the women in June and take effect from July 1.

It will entitle them to GP services, prescribed drugs, medicines, aids and appliances, dental, ophthalmic and aural services, home nursing, home support, chiropody or podiatr, physiotherapy and counselling.

"Just over 500 women, 512 women, already accepted the award," Minister Lynch told RTE's Morning Ireland.

Magdalene survivors can still apply for redress scheme; avail of medical cards

RTE News

Minister of State for Primary and Social Care Kathleen Lynch has said there is still time for women, who have not accepted the State's Magdalene laundries redress scheme, to apply for the plan so they can avail of special medical cards.

From 1 July the Health Service Executive will make available, without charge, primary and health services for Magdalene survivors including GP services, prescribed drugs, dental services and home nursing.

They will begin receiving Redress for Women Who Were Resident in Certain Institutions (RWRCI) cards in June.

On RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Minister Lynch said over 500 women will receive the special medical cards this summer.

Vatican bank reports rise in profits, says clean up on track

Europe Online

Vatican City (dpa) - The Institute for Religious Works (IOR), a scandal-plagued body that serves as the Vatican‘s bank, reported Monday a sharp rise in profits and said it was making progress on cleaning up its finances.

The IOR made a profit of 69.3 million euros (76 million dollars) in 2014, compared with 2.9 million euros the previous year, thanks to more lucrative trading in securities and a reduction in operating expenses.

The institute said it would put its profits to use by donating 55 million euros to the main budget of the Vatican and by stashing 14.3 million euros in its retained earnings reserve.

The Vatican bank also said it was making a "great effort [...] in addressing the abuse the Institute was subjected to in the past," in compliance with tougher Vatican financial supervision standards and a recently signed tax agreement between the Vatican and Italy.

Vatican bank profits rise as clean up continues

Irish Times

The Vatican bank posted a sharp rise in net profit in 2014 after absorbing the costs of a clean up that hit earnings the year before as part of a wide-ranging drive to tighten financial governance and eliminate abuse, a statement showed on Monday.

The bank, formally known as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), has toughened regulatory standards and closed thousands of accounts, which were either inactive or deemed not to meet new standards required of clients.

Reforming the IOR has been one of the most sensitive issues facing Pope Francis as he seeks to overhaul the complex Vatican administration after years of scandal, ranging from allegations of financial malpractice to coverups of child sexual abuse by priests.

After 2013 results that were hit by heavy write downs on investments and a jump in operating costs to meet new anti-money laundering standards, net profit last year rebounded to €69.3 million from €2.9 million the year before.

Annual Report 2014

Instituto per le Opere di Religione - Institute for Religious Works

A Business Review of 2014

a) Macroeconomic environment

The following gives an overview of the macroeconomic environment in 2014, with a particular focus on those markets and developments most relevant to explaining the IOR’s portfolio performance, given its conservative investment strategy.

Low inflation across developed economies became of particular concern in the Eurozone, raising fears that it might slide into Japan-style stagnation. In response, the European Central Bank (ECB) cut interest rates twice, initiated a programme of cheap four-year lending (TLTROs) and launched programmes to purchase covered bonds and asset-backed securities.

The divergence in monetary policy was clear: the Fed and Bank of England were expected to start raising interest rates over the next 12 months while the ECB and Bank of Japan (BoJ) remained firmly in easing territory. Emerging markets started to stabilise after their earlier volatility – but there was unease over the shadow banking sector in China. The world’s second-largest economy also showed signs of struggling to meet its government’s 7.5% GDP growth target for the year.

Vatican bank profits soar as it recovers from trading loss and continues Francis' reform

U.S. News

May 25, 2015

By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican bank said Monday its profit soared by more than 20 times last year as it recovered from a trading loss and continued its reform process away from its scandal-marred past.

The bank, officially called the Institute for Religious Works, said it earned 69.3 million euros ($77.37 million) in 2014, up from 2.9 million euros the previous year.

Its net trading result jumped to 36.7 million euros from a loss of 16.5 million euros in 2013, when it lost money on investments and saw the value of its gold holdings drop.

Profits were also boosted by a drop in operating costs. In 2013, operating expenses jumped by some 8 million euros as it paid outside consultants to help review its client base and bring it into compliance with anti-money-laundering norms.

That review resulted in some 4,600 accounts being closed, either because they were dormant or because clients no longer fit the revised client base approved by the bank's board, which include religious orders, Catholic institutions, clerics, employees or former employees of the Vatican, as well as embassies and diplomats accredited to the Holy See.

George Pell was in Ballarat in March

Brisbane Times


Cardinal George Pell visited his old school in the Ballarat area, which came as a surprise to the CEO of the Truth Justice and Healing Council. (Vision courtesy ABC News)

Victims hope Ridsdale reveals truth

Daily Mail


Abuse victims hope Australia's worst pedophile priest reveals what the Catholic Church knew about his offending when he appears before a royal commission.

Gerald Francis Ridsdale will give evidence to the child sex abuse royal commission's Ballarat hearing for at least two days from Wednesday.

One of his victims, Stephen Woods, said it was important to hear from all sides to find out as much as possible about the institutional and systemic problems that facilitated the abuse.

"For a lot of people it will be very, very difficult, but this is a factor that has to be looked at," Mr Woods told AAP.

Andrew Collins, who was abused by other clergy in the Ballarat diocese, said Ridsdale's victims were positive about his appearance before the commission as they wanted the truth to come out.

"The church has traditionally covered everything up and I think if he will actually say what happened, that has the potential just to unlock a lot of those doors to get to those people who actually made those decisions," Mr Collins told AAP.

Royal commission: No challenge to abuse survivors' claims about Pell

The Age

May 25, 2015

Jane Lee
Legal Affairs Reporter for The Age

Lawyers for the Catholic Church insist they will not challenge survivors' claims Cardinal George Pell tried to bribe one and ignored another's abuse reports, even though they themselves are willing to be cross-examined.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is expected to make findings on the claims, and to ask for a full response from Cardinal Pell, who now manages the Vatican's finances in Rome.

Lawyers for David Ridsdale and Timothy Green – Dr Martine Marich and Dr Kristine Hanscombe – told the commission on Monday that their clients were both willing to be recalled to give more evidence about their claims from last week, and to be cross-examined if required.

Dr Hanscombe, for Mr Green, said this was in response to an "inquiry".

It is believed that Counsel Assisting the Commission Gail Furness, SC, made the inquiry.

Peter Gray, SC, has repeatedly declined to cross-examine Mr Ridsdale and Mr Green on their accounts of separate conversations with George Pell in 1993 and 1974 respectively, to avoid making their experience before the commission more difficult.

George Pell visited St Patrick's College in Ballarat two months before royal commission hearings in town began

ABC News

It has been revealed Cardinal George Pell visited his old school, St Patrick's College in Ballarat, on a private trip about two months ago, as calls for him to re-appear at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse continue.

The commission, which began hearing evidence in Ballarat last week, was told Cardinal Pell tried to bribe the nephew of paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale to stay quiet about the abuse he suffered at the hands of his uncle.

Cardinal Pell has issued a statement denying the allegation, but is facing mounting calls to travel to Ballarat from his home at the Vatican to answer questions under oath.

A post on St Patrick's College's website showed Cardinal Pell visited the school in late March.

"He was particularly interested in meeting new headmaster John Crowley for the first time and taking a tour of the college to meet with staff and students and inspect new facilities," the post read.

Cardinal George Pell visited Ballarat before abuse commission hearings

The Australian


Victims’ advocates have questioned why Cardinal George Pell could make it back to Ballarat recently but not front up for the child abuse royal commission.

Cardinal Pell returned to his home town and visited his former school St Patrick’s College on March 27.

Truth Justice and Healing Council chief executive Francis Sullivan says he did not know Cardinal Pell was in Ballarat recently and it was obviously a private visit.

St Patrick’s College’s new headmaster, John Crowley, said Cardinal Pell was a proud Old Collegian who visited the school to meet him and view changes since his last visit.

There have been calls for Cardinal Pell to return from Rome to answer allegations about what he knew regarding widespread abuse by clergy in the Ballarat diocese.

Royal Commission into child abuse: Ballarat victims still lack justice

ABC - The Drum


By Judy Courtin

Decades after the crimes, the victims of sexual abuse by clergy in Ballarat continue to suffer at the hands of the Church, the law and the federal parliament, writes Judy Courtin.

The Royal Commission into institutional child sexual abuse has completed its first week of public hearings in Ballarat. They have been heartbreaking, harrowing and revealing. The hearings are focusing on the Catholic Church's responses to allegations of child sexual abuse and the impacts on the survivors, their families and the broader Ballarat community. The commission's brief is vast.

The evidence from 17 survivors, as well as testimony from the mother of a young man who committed suicide following sex crimes by a Catholic priest, has exhibited a period of time in the 1970s and beyond in Ballarat that is memorialised as evil. Witness after witness painfully described the brutal bashings and sex crimes they experienced as young boys by trusted and respected Catholic clergymen.

Most of these children were raped by up to three paedophiles. These children were wittingly shared around by a bunch of depraved criminals. But more was to come - when these children tried to tell of their horrors, they were not believed and were severely punished for speaking so reprehensively about God's holy representatives on earth.

'Paedophile hunters could jeopardise investigations' ...

Darlington and Stockton Times

'Paedophile hunters could jeopardise investigations' say police following Darlington incident

by Joanna Morris

ONLINE vigilantes risk jeopardising child sex investigations, police have warned.

Darlington Police have warned self-styled paedophile catchers to leave catching predators to the professionals.

The warning comes after a video was posted to Facebook on Friday (May 22) showing a man confronted in the street by individuals who posed as a teenager online in an effort to snare paedophiles.

Police say the pair undeniably acted with good intentions but are urging people not to follow in their footsteps.

Inspector Caroline Dawson said there was a real danger of such actions tipping off wrong-doers and alerting them to potential police activity.

She said posting such incidents online amounted to an early warning for those with something to hide, who may then go onto destroy vital evidence ahead of police involvement.

Sydney archbishop orders standards review


Source: AAP
25 MAY 2015

The Archbishop of Sydney has ordered a complete review of the archdiocese's professional standards and safeguarding policies after a royal commission heard further shocking accounts of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy.

Speaking of the shame and disillusionment felt by clergy and faithful after sex abuse accounts and allegations, Archbishop Anthony Fisher says he is determined to ensure it never happens again in the church.

"We may feel disillusioned, contaminated, ashamed," he said in a letter to Sydney Catholics on Monday.

"I am determined that we will do all we can to ensure such things never happen again in our church; that those entrusted with the care of the young and vulnerable `care for the lambs' and keep them safe; and that those already harmed are brought justice and compassion."

He said he would soon make announcements about further improvements to the Sydney Archdiocese professional standards and safeguarding practices, and he wanted the "best contemporary testing and discernment" for seminarians, as well as improved protocols and responses to allegations and the needs of survivors.

Westmoreland pastor charged for sex with juvenile

Jamaica Observer

THE Westmoreland Police on Friday charged a pastor with having sexual intercourse with a person under 16 as well as grievous sexual assault.

Reports are that in 2014, the victim was sent to the pastor's house to collect payment for goods, and she was assaulted and raped.

The matter was reported to the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse, and following an investigation, a file was prepared and sent to the Defender of Public Prosecutions who ruled that he should be charged.

He is to appear in court.

Catholic Church Ponders Future After Same-Sex Marriage Vote in Ireland

The New York Times

MAY 24, 2015

DUBLIN — The morning after Ireland learned it had become the first nation to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote, Diarmuid Martin, the archbishop of Dublin, looked out at the future of the Roman Catholic Church.

It could be found at St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral here, in downtown Dublin, as two rows of children awaited confirmation before him in the lofty, column-lined church.

“Boys and girls, I made my confirmation 60 years ago,” he told them, adding, “Your world is different from mine.”

Not far away, the streets were quiet after a long night of celebrating. Revelers filled the bars, beeped horns, waved rainbow flags and drank Guinness after the result was announced on Saturday. The size of the victory energized supporters, with the referendum affirmed by 62 percent of the electorate and passed in all but one of Ireland’s 43 districts.

Child abuse victims live 'shorter lives' than other children, royal commission hears

The Age

May 25, 2015

Jane Lee
Legal Affairs Reporter for The Age

People who have been abused as children live shorter lives than those who have not been abused, a psychiatrist has told a royal commission.

Dr Carolyn Quadrio, from the UNSW School of Psychiatry, said on Monday that children who have been abused have a life expectancy about 10 to 20 years shorter than those who have not.

"They don't live as long as children who have not been traumatised," she told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Ballarat.

Trauma produced both physical and psychological damage, affecting children's development, including their personalities and sense of self.

Children's brains and immune systems were also affected, making them more prone to a range of auto-immune diseases.

Cardinal Pell visited St Patrick's weeks before sex abuse hearing

The Age

May 25, 2015

Rania Spooner
Crime reporter

Cardinal George Pell visited Ballarat and a school at the centre of clergy abuse claims just weeks before the royal commission hearings began in the town.

The Cardinal is pictured walking the halls of St Patrick's College with the school's headmaster John Crowley in the April edition of the school's magazine The Shamrock.

The development comes as public pressure builds on Australia's most senior Catholic cleric to front the commission to answer explosive claims that he bribed a victim to remain silent about a notorious paedophile priest.

The March 28 visit to the school coincided with a "short vacation to Australia" for Cardinal Pell, a former St Patrick's student, and involved talks of "an exciting new initiative" to promote excellence at the school, The Shamrock reported.

"Cardinal Pell has long been a strong and passionate advocate of St Patrick's College and remains close friends with many of his former classmates from his time as a student here," Mr Crowley told The Shamrock.

"It was a great thrill to be able to escort his Eminence around the College grounds and witness the way he interacted with staff and students alike."

Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher defends Catholic Church ...

Sydney Morning Herald

Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher defends Catholic Church and Cardinal George Pell over response to child abuse claims

May 25, 2015

Kate Aubusson

Sydney's Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher has defended Cardinal George Pell over his handling of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

In a letter to Catholic schools and parishes in the Sydney diocese, Archbishop Fisher rebuffed allegations that the church used legal manoeuvres to protect itself from victim claims for compensation and applauded Pell for his handling of the child sexual abuse scandal.

On Monday it emerged that Cardinal Pell visited Ballarat and a school at the centre of clergy abuse claims just weeks before the royal commission hearings began in the town.

"Many things are being said about the church at the moment, some of them fair, some of them not so fair," Archbishop Fisher wrote in the letter, which he posted on Twitter.

"It is alleged, for instance, that we are engaged in self-protective legal evasions.

"In fact, my predecessor, Cardinal Pell, was the first Church leader in Australia to introduce a more contemporary process to confront this evil and he repeatedly apologized when mistakes were made," he said.

The Irish Church’s failures have caused its people to choose secularism over faith

Catholic Herald (UK)

by Mary O'Regan
posted Monday, 25 May 2015

Secularism has filled the vacuum left by the decline of Irish Catholicism

Saturday’s vote for same-sex marriage in Ireland is one for the history books. It’s the first time a country has legalised gay marriage by popular vote.

The question on everyone’s lips is: what changed Catholic Ireland into a post-religious country where gay marriage has been enshrined in law by the will of the majority of people?

The vastly diminished role of the Church has left an elephantine emptiness in Irish life. One very important factor is how ashamed many Irish people feel about the sexual abuse crisis. Perhaps the people who ought to feel that shame are the guilty priests and nuns. But Benedict XVI was right, in his book-long interview with Peter Seewald, when he pointed out that most Irish families had a member who had a vocation either as a priest or a nun. Therefore most Irish people felt very deeply the disgrace caused by the revelations of clerical sexual abuse. This was the case even if the priest or nun in a family was totally innocent.

Growing up in Ireland, I saw this first-hand, when a friend or acquaintance who had a brother who was a blameless priest, they would feel embarrassed to say that their sibling was a good priest, for fear that people would think they were “covering up”.

Humiliation and regret have gone hand in hand, and increasingly in the past few decades, the Irish, who have, by an average margin of two to one, legalised gay marriage, convinced themselves that if the Church was wrong, then the opposite of the Church’s teaching must be right.

Uproar as pastor's wife and mother of 11 ...

Daily Mail

Uproar as pastor's wife and mother of 11 suggests child-molester Josh Duggar was simply 'PLAYING DOCTOR' as a teenager - and should be 'left alone to live a good life'

A pastor's wife and mother of eleven has sparked outrage online after suggesting that 19 Kids and Counting star Josh Duggar was simply 'playing doctor' when he molested young girls as they slept.

In a rant on a Quiverfull critic's Facebook page, Carrie Hurd, the wife of Texas minister Patrick Hurd, also referred to Josh's actions as 'a little Christian misbehavior' and said he should be 'left alone'.

Using her husband’s account to address atheist Vyckie Garrison, she wrote: 'When I was a kid, it was often called "playing doctor", there were just as many girls initiating this kind of behavior as boys.

'Most of those never went on to perp horrible things. The Duggars, who I have never watched - am not a fan, did it properly and the 14 year old boy should probably be left alone to live a good life.'

Hobby Lobby billionaire behind the Christian counseling center that treated Josh Duggar

The Raw Story

24 MAY 2015

For more than a decade, Hobby Lobby billionaires provided substantial financial support to Bill Gothard, a politically influential religious leader who — among other things — founded the Institute in Basic Life Principles and the chain of Christian ‘treatment’ centers to which Josh Duggar’s parents sent him after he was caught molesting young girls.

“No one,” Gawker observed last year, “was more instrumental to [Gothard’s] now-controversial ministry than the family behind Hobby Lobby.”

Hobby Lobby founder David Green and his family are committed donors to evangelical Christian causes. Mother Jones reports that the Greens sold Gothard — for $10 — a 2,250-acre campus in Big Sandy, Texas, complete with landing strip and aircraft hangar. The Greens further gifted Gothard a 529,717-square-foot building Little Rock, Arkansas, and a campus in New Zealand.

In 2003, Josh Duggar took his son to the Basic Life Principles Training Center in Little Rock for counseling on Christian values and sexuality. Gothard resigned from the Institute he helmed in 2014 amid allegations by more than 30 women that he touched them inappropriately.

Child sexual abuse can shorten life expectancy, shrink brain, royal commission hears

ABC News

By court reporter Peta Carlyon

There is still a long way to go in understanding how best to help victims of child sexual abuse, which can shorten a person's life expectancy and result in the shrinkage of their brain, a royal commission is told.

Psychiatrist Dr Carolyn Quadrio, an Associate Professor at the University of New South Wales, appeared as a witness at a Ballarat hearing of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse.

Dr Quadrio told the hearing the sexual abuse of children damaged brain development and, at worst, resulted in shrinkage of the brain and a shortened life expectancy of 10 to 20 years.

"The child feels worthless, betrayed ... they feel dirty, defiled ... they blame themselves," Dr Quadrio said.

"It's extremely damaging for the child's psychological development.

Online Commenter Warned About Josh Duggar Molestation Accusations 8 Years Ago


BY MICHELE CORRISTON @mcorriston 05/24/2015

When allegations that 19 Kids and Counting star Josh Duggar molested five young girls resurfaced this week, fans of the TLC reality show were shocked. To the millions of viewers who've tuned in each week, the Duggars personified family values, from their strict rules about modesty to their dedication to religion.

The illusion was shattered Thursday, when Josh, 27, admitted he "acted inexcusably" as a teenager. But rumors of former Christian lobbyist's past are nothing new: They first surfaced online eight years ago. As Gawker's Defamer points out, a commenter called "Alice" recounted the allegations on a blog, ibiblio.org, in May 2007. Other sites such as FreeJinger.org have long cited Alice's comments.

Eight years ago, Alice gave a thorough and detailed account of events that are nearly identical to those outlined in the police report that became public this week:

"In January, the whole family went to Chicago and taped Oprah Winfrey show... As you may have noticed, that show never aired and it never will," Alice posted before delivering the bombshell that The Oprah Winfrey Show staffers had been told that Josh had molested five minor girls. Alice then wrote, "Yes, this is the truth ... They have been investigated to some length..."

On the subject of Josh's parents Jim Bob, 49 and Michelle, 48, Alice wrote "They have lied and lied about their son to protect him... In my eyes he is a CHILD MOLESTOR. HE SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM THE HOME."

Celibacy doesn't drive sex abuse: expert

9 News


A Catholic Church rule requiring celibacy of its clergy is not driving child abuse, an expert has told a royal commission.

University of NSW Associate Professor Carolyn Quadrio said while abuse occurs in every faith group, it seems to be more marked in Catholic institutions.

The issue of celibacy is important but not the driving cause, she said.

"I don't think the celibacy drives child abuse," she told the child abuse royal commission hearing into Catholic institutions in Ballarat on Monday.

Assoc Prof Quadrio said men who already had an orientation to be attracted exclusively to children as sex objects would feel more comfortable in the priesthood.

"The celibacy vow is not going to bother you if you're not interested in having sex with other adults, so obviously that will be a more comfortable environment," she said.

Accused Hibbing Priest Brian Michael Lederer Out on Bail

Legal Examiner

Posted by Mike Bryant
May 24, 2015

Brian Michael Lederer, an associate pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Hibbing, was released from the St. Louis County Jail on Thursday after posting bond. He had been held on $250,000 bail since his arrest last week. He has request release without bail which was denied.

He was arrested and charged with three counts of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree, and two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree. He is accused of inappropriately touching three girls — all under the age of 16 — in incidents starting last year and continuing until his arrest.

At present he is on leave , is not allowed to minister as a priest or not allowed to have contact with anyone younger than 18.

Inside the 'Treatment' Josh Duggar Received After Reported Child Molestation


BY MICHAEL MILLER @write_miller 05/24/2015

When Jim Bob Duggar became aware that his eldest son was allegedly molesting underage girls, the family decided to handle the incident privately instead of immediately reporting the accusations to police.

Sixteen months elapsed between the time Jim Bob learned of his son's self-admitted "wrongdoing" and Josh Duggar's official admission to Arkansas state trooper Cpl. Hutchins – who gave him a "very stern talk" but did not press charges, according to police reports obtained by InTouch but which have now been expunged.

Sometime between Josh's confession to his father and his formal confession to police, Josh spent time at a facility called the Institute in Basic Life Principles Training Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, PEOPLE has confirmed.

The center claims to "strengthen individuals and families through sound Biblical teachings and character development opportunities and to demonstrate Christ's love through serving," as posted on their official website. Jim Bob would later tell police Josh was in the program from March 17, 2003 to July 17, 2003.

The methods employed by the institute have received numerous criticisms from alumni and online forums. John Krull, Executive Director of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union has called the center "appalling" and a "shadow world, where these kids almost disappear." The Institute in Basic Life Principles Training Center has been the subject of a local Child Protective Services investigation, and its principal, Rodger Gergeni, has denied allegations of maltreatment.

Last year, at 79-years-old, founder Bill Gothard was accused of sexually harassing or assaulting 34 women, and resigned his position at the institute.

The Duggar's decision to send Josh to the program in lieu of contacting authorities could be explained by the family's deep rooted connections to Gothard and his teachings.

May 24, 2015

Royal commission: 'Some good must come from this,' says Ballarat abuse survivor – video

The Guardian

A child sexual abuse survivor, Peter Blenkiron, says a 'phoenix must rise from the ashes' of the royal commission. Survivors described physical and mental health problems, as well as difficulties maintaining relationships and employment. Speaking outside the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, he says, 'There've been so many suicides and premature deaths.' Blenkiron is one of almost 20 survivors who have given evidence into the abuse in Ballarat, Victoria.

Time to go, Cardinal Pell

Independent Australia

Michael Galvin 25 May 2015

Cardinal George Pell does not seem to know it yet, but last week his world changed. Once and for all.

LAST WEEK, in Ballarat, no fewer than 17 survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of the Catholic Church told their stories. The horror and pain in each individual story was gut-wrenching, but the cumulative effect was far worse than that. What emerged was a dense and interconnected latticework of violence, and sexual crimes of young children on a large scale.

Always ready to defend himself, the pugnacious Pell issued an almost immediate statement. His statement was as predictable as it was irrelevant. What it showed was that Pell clearly does not realise this nightmare and his place in it has moved on to a new stage.

He still thinks it is about his personal actions and his personal innocence. What a proud, inflexible man he must be. And how blind he is — blind to the fact that this is not just about him, it is about an institutional failure so massive and so evil as to almost defy belief.

'We're next' says Italy after Irish gay marriage vote

Telegraph (UK)

Andrea Vogt 24 May 2015

Ireland's historic vote in favour of same sex marriage reverberated across Italy on Sunday, as Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's lieutenants came out in force to call for fast-track passage of a stymied civil partnership law.

Socially conservative Italy now is the only Western European country that does not recognize either same sex marriage or civil unions. But that the Irish referendum garnered an unexpectedly strong 62 per cent "Yes" vote in such a deeply Catholic country rallied backers of the Italian law, which has been languishing in parliament for months.

Several editorials on Sunday suggested that such a referendum in Italy would have a similar outcome, recalling the divorce referendum in 1974, when 60 percent of Italian voters went against the wishes of the Catholic church on a major social issue. ...

The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, described the vote against church teaching on gay marriage as "overwhelming" and said Catholic leaders needed "urgently" to find a new way to speak to the country's young.

"It's a social revolution," he said. "The church needs to do a reality check right across the board."

He said that some church figures who argued in the "No" camp came across as "harsh, damning and unloving, the opposite of their intention".

Judge puts vacate order for Scituate church on hold

Wicked Local Scituate

By Jessica Trufant
The Patriot Ledger

Posted May. 24, 2015

SCITUATE – Parishioners who have occupied the closed St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church in Scituate for more than 10 years will likely gather for at least one more Sunday service after a judge put on hold his order that they leave the church by May 29.

Late Friday afternoon, Judge Edward Leibensperger modified his ruling that the Friends of St. Frances must end their vigil and vacate the Hood Road church by May 29, and instead left the date as undetermined.

The effective date for the injunction barring the parishioners from entering the church will be determined once Leibensperger rules on their request that he suspend the order while they bring their case to the state Court of Appeals.

In order to enforce the May 29 date, Mary Elizabeth Carmody, a lawyer representing the parishioners, said Leibensperger would have to rule on their request before then.

“The judge needs more time, which is understandable,” she said Sunday. “I don’t want to speculate, but I’d assume that (the parishioners) would be able to be there next Sunday.”

Teachings about aboriginals 'simply wrong', says Murray Sinclair

Ottawa Citizen


Canadians must acknowledge that for generations their public schools have fed them misinformation about aboriginal people, says the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Justice Murray Sinclair, whose commission has examined the history and abuses that took place in Indian residential schools, made the comment in a personal interview with the Citizen.

Sinclair’s commission has finished six years of hearings and research and will publicly release its findings in Ottawa on June 2.

The TRC’s report will provide a detailed account of how 150,000 aboriginals were stripped from their families starting in the 1880s and sent to church-run schools established by the federal government. The last residential school closed in the 1990s.

The report will chronicle the abuse many faced, and how the system scarred several generations of aboriginals, leaving their communities in shambles.

But Sinclair emphasized that one of the most important messages that will come from the report is that the consequences of the school system are far more wide-reaching than many realize.

Church Discipline Gone Wrong: The Village Church Scandal

Divorce Minister

As promised in yesterday’s post on the Duggar situation, today I am covering another story that deals with pedophilia and the evangelical church. The focus of this post will not be on the pedophilia per se but on how The Village Church treated the (then) wife of the admitted pedophile when she decided to obtain a marriage annulment. It is illustrative of poor pastoral care and poor divorce theology at work in the evangelical world.

As the quote from Karen states above, the facts of this situation really are not in dispute as it comes to this former missionary couple (for further reading click here). Her former husband, Jordan Root, admitted the sexual appetite of a pedophile and gratifying that appetite by viewing child porn. In fact, their sending missionary organization, SIM, took this so seriously that they expelled Jordan Root from its membership.

How does The Village Church figure into the story?
Karen and Jordan Root’s home and supporting church was The Village Church in Dallas, Texas. The family came back from the mission field amid this story breaking about Jordan’s pedophilia. They were both members of this church.

For those who do not know, The Village Church is the flagship megachurch of the Acts 29 church planting network. It boasts 11,000 members with multiple campuses in Texas. Pastor Matt Chandler is a lead pastor at The Village Church and the pastoral personality that arguably helped this church explode in membership. He is a very gifted teacher, and I have appreciated learning from his teachings–i.e. online and in print–in the past.

Church sexual abuse victims’ families are also suffering

The Courier

THE stories coming out of the Royal Commission into Institutionalised Responses to Child Sexual Abuse are horrific.

They are tragic stories of lost childhoods and damaged adulthoods.

But what tends to be forgotten are the secondary victims – the partners, the children, the parents ... family members of those who were abused.

Today, Clare Linane bravely – and very honestly – tells what it’s like to be the wife of not only a survivor but a man who has made it his life mission to help other victims.

Clare is the wife of Peter Blenkiron, who has been leading the charge to not only stop the Ballarat victim suicides but to ensure the horrors of the past are never repeated.

She tells us of eight years of hell, during which the stress of dealing with her husband’s post-traumatic stress disorder nearly all became too much.

“It was like having eight years walking around next to someone neck high in mud. I was trying to keep him moving, keep him living but trying not to drown in the mud myself,” she said.

Minnesota Child Victims Act Year Two: The Numbers

Legal Examiner

Posted by Mike Bryant
May 24, 2015

The Minneapolis Tribune took time to look at the second anniversary to look at how it is going. The story was interesting for its overview, but there are areas that are worth looking at a little closer.

The headlines of the story were interesting. In the paper the headline was: Abuse law Triggers A Painful Awakening and in the internet version it was: Minnesota Child Victims Act continues to rock Catholic Church. The law didn’t start things. The abuse that has been hidden for years is what created the firestorm. The hiding is what caused the need for the law.

The numbers are interesting. There have been 50 plus lawsuits and notices of claims statewide against 100 different priests. There also has been a significant increase in the naming of disclosed pedophiles who were credibly accused. So far 180 Priest names have been made public by dioceses, archdiocese, and the St. John’s Abbey. This is almost double since this time last year.

Dominicana: Procurador polaco verá a víctimas de pederasta

20 Minutos

[Polish Attorney General Andrzej Seremet will visit six families of children who were victims of sexual abuse by Polish priest Wojciech Gil in the town of Juncalito. He was tried in Poland for the crimes and was sentenced to a prison term.]

El procurador general de Polonia, Andrzej Seremet, visitará a las familias de seis menores de edad dominicanos que fueron víctimas de abuso sexual por parte de un sacerdote polaco, informaron el domingo las autoridades de República Dominicana.

Seremet y otros funcionarios de Polonia acudirán a mediados de esta semana al montañoso poblado de Juncalito, 200 kilómetros al norte de Santo Domingo, donde el sacerdote polaco Wojciech Gil abusó sexualmente al menos de seis menores de edad que fueron sus monaguillos cuando fue párroco en esa localidad entre 2008 y 2013, adelantó la Procuraduría General dominicana.

Gil, de 37 años, fue condenado el 25 de marzo pasado por un tribunal polaco a una condena reducida de siete años de cárcel por las violaciones contra los seis adolescentes dominicanos y dos polacos.

The Irish Save Church Again, As World Leaders Watch Weakness of Pope Francis

Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

The Irish in the “Dark Ages” saved the Catholic Church from external “pagan barbarians”. Now the Irish are saving the Church from internal “hierarchical wrongdoers” who secretly abuse children, obstruct responsible family planning, pillage donations, intimidate honest opponents and disrespect women, divorced and gay Catholics.

Irish voters have declared a new reality in an open referendum that overwhelmingly rejected one of Pope Francis’ key positions on marriage. The Catholic Church is reeling after Ireland’s huge ‘Yes’ vote to changing, despite Pope Francis’ opposition, Ireland’s law on marriage .

All Irish political parties and their leaders stood up to and opposed Pope Francis and his Irish bishops. These political leaders rushed in to applaud the vote, as did UK Prime Minister David Cameron as well. Cameron tweeted: “Congratulations to the people of Ireland, after voting for same-sex marriage, making clear you are equal if you are straight or gay.”

Democratically elected political leaders worldwide, including US President Obama, had previously been fearful of standing up the media created “superstar”, Pope Francis, with the Vatican’s longstanding ties to billionaire media moguls like Rupert Murdoch and Carlos Slim. Yet an overwhelming majority out of almost 2,000,000 Irish voters have shown the pope’s popularity, despite the media hype, is mainly a superficial “feel good” reaction after the last two failed popes. Irish Catholics overwhelmingly have demonstrated that the pope’s public relations ploys cannot get Catholics to accept the Church’s corrupt status quo and irresponsible positions on sexual morality, including on same sex marriage and contraception.

Political leaders worldwide are noting the pope’s clearly demonstrated weakness after two years of high priced Vatican media image management. Even the Archbishop of Dublin has publicly and boldly challenged the pope indicating that the Catholic Church needs a “reality check” after the Irish marriage vote .

This is very bad news for the pope and his “low tax” US Republican billionaire backers with their “anti-gay marriage” crusade now underway for next year’s US presidential elections. Catholics in the U.S. — white, Hispanic, and otherwise — support same-sex marriage at about the same rate as the Irish voted. This reportedly despite some US fundamentalist Christian funding of the supporters of Ireland’s anti-gay marriage crusade .

As Mark Silk has noted, this Irish vote will resonate around the world, and perhaps even ring a bell with the two Irish Catholics on the U.S. Supreme Court, John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy, who represent the swing votes on next month’s (June’s) decision to determine whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to be married in the United States.


The Courier-Mail

Opinion: All Catholics must condemn child sex abusers much as we expect all Muslims to denounce extremists


ONCE more, the media is awash with reports, heated discussion and accusations about the role of the Catholic Church and specific individuals’ accountability in the wake of the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sex Abuse.

The sense of deja vu is all-pervasive, as victims, after enduring years of shame, depression, denial and cover-ups by those in whom they placed their trust and faith, come forward to tell their stories publicly, only to have those they accuse play a game of denial or “I don’t recall”.

Cardinal George Pell’s statement in response to allegations by David Ridsdale, the victim of one of the church’s worst paedophiles, his uncle Gerald Ridsdale, is both predictable and frustrating.

Able to manage the finances of the sovereign nation of The Vatican, earn rank within the Catholic Church, presumably because he’s possessed of a good mind, ethics, strong faith and a decent moral compass, Cardinal Pell is still unable to recall facts when it suits him; but he is able to offer blanket sympathy from the comfort and distance of his home in Rome.

“I am committed to complete co-operation with the royal commission,” Pell wrote. “I will address in full all matters it wishes to raise in any statement requested from me before I make any further comment. I have the deepest sympathy for the victims of abuse, their families and the community of Ballarat for what they have suffered.

“Once again, I will answer allegations and criticisms of my behaviour openly and honestly.”

Victims want church held accountable

Sky News

Victims of the worst clergy abuse in Australia's history want church leaders to be held accountable.

Lawyer and Monash University doctoral researcher Judy Courtin says the fact church figures who covered up abuse have not been held accountable adds to the harm to victims.

'The ongoing response of the church, which is one of contempt or disdain, is causing ongoing harm to the victims,' Ms Courtin told AAP in Ballarat.

Ms Courtin, who has worked closely with abuse survivors in the Ballarat diocese and conducted wider research into justice for clergy abuse victims, said survivors want the whole truth to come out that goes further than what the offenders themselves did.

'It was much more important to have accountability of the hierarchy on the concealing than accountability of the offender,' she said.

Irish ayes smiling as Church loses faith

New Zealand Herald

A top Irish Catholic leader said the Church needs a "reality check" as the predominantly Catholic nation voted to approve gay marriage.

"I think the Church needs to do a reality check right across the board ... Have we drifted away completely from young people?" Diarmuid Martin, the Archbishop of Dublin, told national broadcaster RTE.

"It's a social revolution that didn't begin today," said Martin, who voted 'No', arguing that gay rights should be respected "without changing the definition of marriage".

"There's a big challenge to see how we get across the message of the Church. We're becoming a Church for the like-minded and a safe space rather than the Church that Pope Francis is talking about that is reaching out." ...

The Catholic Church once controlled virtually every aspect of Irish life but its clout has been vastly reduced by the impact of secularisation and a wave of child sex abuse scandals that discredited the clergy. Ireland has followed a more secular narrative in recent years, highlighted by Prime Minister Enda Kenny's scathing attack in 2011 on the Vatican's handling of clerical child abuse. Its inability to properly deal with the issue showed "the dysfunction, the disconnection, the elitism" of the culture at the Vatican, he said then.

Attendance at masses has dropped sharply in recent decades, though 84.2 per cent of the population still identified as Catholic in the last census in 2011. Despite their opposition to the referendum, bishops framed their arguments in a conciliatory manner, admitting that gay and lesbian people were treated in a harsh way by the church in the past. It follows similar comments from Pope Francis, who posed the question, "Who am I to judge?" when asked his views on homosexuality. He has since repeated his opposition to same-sex marriages.

Scotch College reveals five cases of abuse, calls for victims to come forward

The Age

May 25, 2015

Steve Lillebuen


One of Australia's most prestigious private schools has acknowledged, for the first time, that at least five students have been abused on school grounds.

In what's seen as a breakthrough for abuse survivors and their advocates, Melbourne's Scotch College has finally admitted it settled a handful of historical claims – most of which relate to sexual abuse –dating back to the 1960s.

The Presbyterian-run school, which educates young boys and manages several boarding houses, is now reaching out to others who may have been victimised through a letter sent to thousands of former students, known as Old Boys.

"We are concerned that throughout their lives, some Old Boys may have suffered trauma that continues to impact on their health and well-being," the school's statement read.

"Abuse, be it physical, emotional or sexual, may have occurred during childhood, adolescence or adulthood."

The carefully-worded statement then asks those who suffered abuse "relating to their time at Scotch" to seek help by contacting the school's psychologist.

Jim Bob Duggar Kept The Devil in the Closet – At Least Until The Statute Of Limitations Expired

Liberal America

By Robert Franklin on May 22, 2015

The Statute of Limitations has expired and any chance of convicting Josh Duggar for his indiscretions is long past, so why is there so much fuss about the charges? Because it goes a lot deeper than a few teenage exploratory ‘touches.’

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have spent the last several years creating a wholesome image for their large family and for their often-criticized religious affiliation. The Duggars are members of a fringe sect of Christianity called “Christian patriarchy,” an extreme far-right philosophy that promoted and rigidly adheres to a variety of rules that stand in contention with average American viewpoints. Their principles include complete female submission, bans on dating, homeschooled education, rejection of higher education for women, and the shunning of contraception in favor of having as many children as possible.

The Duggar’s have used their fame as a means to bring their brand of conservatism to a nationwide audience. Thanks to the network formerly known as The Learning Channel, the Duggars have enjoyed the spoils of primetime cable television, giving their family frequent exposure and assisting in Jim Bob Duggar’s political ambitions.

However, a recent report found within the pages of In Touch has bolstered the national spotlight on Jim Bob, Michelle, and their family for another reason. Eldest son, Josh Duggar, has found his past racing back into his present, as a police report obtained by the publication detailed an investigation into allegations that Josh Duggar molested several underage girls, and his father, knowing of his son’s actions, did nothing about it for over a year.

Church reels after Ireland’s huge ‘Yes’ to gay marriage

The Guardian (Nigeria)


The once-dominant Catholic Church in Ireland was trying to come to terms Sunday with an overwhelming vote in favour of gay marriage, saying it needed a “new language” with which to speak to people.

As jubilant “Yes” supporters nursed their hangovers after partying late into the night following Saturday’s referendum result, the faithful attended mass to hear their priests reflect on the new social landscape in Ireland.

“The Church has to find a new language which will be understood and heard by people,” Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, one of the Church’s most senior figures, told reporters after mass at the city’s St Mary’s Pro Cathedral.

“We have to see how is it that the Church’s teaching on marriage and family is not being received even within its own flock.”

He added: “There’s a growing gap between Irish young people and the Church and there’s a growing gap between the culture of Ireland that’s developing and the Church.”

The majority of Irish people still identify themselves as Catholic but the Church’s influence has waned in recent years amid growing secularisation and after a wave of clerical child sex abuse scandals.

All churches in Ireland in need of ‘reality check

Irish Times

Patsy McGarry

Sun, May 24, 2015

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is of course correct. The Catholic Church does indeed need a reality check in the wake of the same-sex marriage referendum.

As the unequivocal result of the referendum became clear he said: “I think really that the church needs to do a reality check, a reality check right across the board, to look at the things it’s doing well, to look at the areas where we really have to start and say, ‘Look, have we drifted away completely from young people’?”

It’s not just young people. The people who voted for this referendum included tens of thousands of practicing older Catholics in the cities, towns and countryside of Ireland. People who will continue to practice their faith but who no longer accept that their gay sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, grandchildren, even their gay parents, are “objectively disordered” with a tendency to evil, as their Church teaches.

Rather, by voting Yes last Friday, they embraced their gay minority and trumpeted to the world “you are my son, you are my daughter, you are my brother, you are my sister, you are my grandchild, you are my mother, you are my father, you are my equal inlaw whatever the church may teach.”

Gay parish priest thanks congregation for accepting him

Irish Times

Ronan McGreevy

Sat, May 23, 2015

Gay priest Fr Martin Dolan has said he now feels accepted in Irish society following the Yes vote in the marriage equality referendum.

Fr Dolan, the parish priest at the Church of St Nicholas of Myra in Francis Street, Dublin, told his congregation on Saturday evening that the Irish public had heard the “pleas of desperation of a minority” from the LGBT community and had made the LGBT cause “as important as their own”.

He said he was proud to be Irish and thanked his parishioners for accepting him as a gay man. Fr Dolan first came out as a gay man in January when he urged his congregation to vote Yes in the marriage equality referendum.

Fr Dolan took issue with the Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin’s comments that the Catholic Church needed a new language when dealing with young people.

“With great respect, it is not a new language that we need but a new way of being and living,” he said.

Church in Ireland needs 'reality check' after gay marriage vote

BBC News

One of Ireland's most senior Catholic clerics has called for the Church to take a "reality check" following the country's overwhelming vote in favour of same-sex marriage.

The first gay marriages are now likely to take place in the early autumn.

Diarmuid Martin, the archbishop of Dublin, said the Church in Ireland needed to reconnect with young people.

The referendum found 62% were in favour of changing the constitution to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.

The archbishop told the Irish broadcaster RTÉ: "We [the Church] have to stop and have a reality check, not move into denial of the realities.

"We won't begin again with a sense of renewal, with a sense of denial.

Josh And Jim Bob Duggar: Can Either Be Prosecuted Now In Sexual Molestation Case...


Josh And Jim Bob Duggar: Can Either Be Prosecuted Now In Sexual Molestation Case, Or Placed On A Sexual Offenders’ Registry?

Josh Duggar, now 27 and married with three children, with another on the way, was the subject of a police investigation in 2006. He was then accused of “forcibly fondling” five different girls when he was a teen, according to Hollywood Life. Four were his sisters. He recently admitted to the molestations.

When his father, Jim Bob, found out about Josh’s fondling other youngsters, he turned him in to Arkansas State Police, according to In Touch. Jim Bob allegedly caught Josh leaving a young girl’s bedroom and learned something inappropriate happened.

However, a strange sequence of events prevented police and prosecutors from completing their investigation and possibly prosecuting. Shortly prior to 2005, the state trooper who originally took the report about Josh failed to follow up. That state trooper was later convicted on child pornography charges and is serving a 60-year prison sentence. His name is Joseph T. Hutchens, according to the Daily Mail.

When that trooper had difficulties, someone from the Arkansas State Police alerted the Child Abuse Hotline about the Duggar situation that had been sitting inactive. Then, the Crimes Against Children Division and Springdale Police Department became involved. However, by that time, the three-year statute of limitations that then existed had passed. Therefore, it would not have been possible to prosecute Josh even if the allegations warranted such. The investigation was therefore discontinued. A source familiar with the case stated the following, according to In Touch.

Since that time, the statute of limitations has been lengthened. When questioned whether Josh or his father Jim Bob could now conceivably be prosecuted, a criminal defense attorney Jason Files stated the following, according to Hollywood Life.

“At this point, it does not appear that either man should be facing any criminal charge, based on the statute of limitations.”

The question also arose whether Josh should or could be placed on a sexual offenders’ registry, and attorney Files stated that he could not, as he was never convicted of a crime, and he stated the following, according to Hollywood Life.

Talucci convocato dai carabinieri ...

Rete L'Abuso

[Talucci summoned by police, Brindisi upset by omissions, plots and exorcisms: what is behind the pedophile priest]

Talucci convocato dai carabinieri, brindisini sconvolti da omissioni, intrecci ed esorcismi: cosa c’è dietro il prete pedofilo

di Giancarlo Sacrestano

Lunedì l’arcivescovo benemerito Rocco Talucci andrà a spiegare dai carabinieri cosa sapeva degli atteggiamenti morbosi di don Giampiero Peschiulli e se è vero che i genitori di due bambini violentati dal parroco gli avessero denunciato l’accaduto più di dieci anni fa senza che prendesse alcun provvedimento. Talucci è stato invitato a comparire come persona informata dei fatti nell’ambito dell’inchiesta sull’arresto dell’ex parroco della chiesa di Santa Lucia.

Dalla lettura dell’ordinanza di applicazione della misura degli arresti domiciliari, si percepisce a pelle, che siamo di fronte ad un intricato coacervo di interessi: i peggiori, i meno confessabili.

Tra preti omosessuali, pedofili, businessman della fede e quel che maggiormente conta, la presenza di vittime, troppe, che soffrono una condizione di prostrazione che andrà ben oltre ogni limite di condanna che sarà inflitta al loro aguzzino, il macello della Chiesa locale, una tra le più antiche e nobili dell’intero cristianesimo, vive un terremoto che la scuote sin dentro le ragioni fondative.

Dieses Thema darf nicht einfach so wieder verschwinden


[This topic of sexual abuse in the church must not just disappear again.]

Als vor fünf Jahren die schrecklichen Missbrauchsfälle in der katholischen Kirche bekannt wurden, war dies Titelseiten-Thema für Wochen. Hält man sich beim grünen Missbrauchsskandal zurück? Gastkommentar von Klaus Kelle

Berlin (kath.net/Blog ‘Denken erwünscht!‘) Im Berliner Landesverband der Grünen, der Alternativen Liste, hat es in den 80er und 90er Jahren eine große Zahl von Fällen sexuellen Missbrauchs an Kindern gegeben. Das sage nicht ich, sondern das dokumentiert ein Bericht, der im Auftrag der Partei erstellt und in dieser Woche veröffentlicht wurde. Das Entsetzen bei der Alternativen Liste ist groß.

Belgischer Priester in Italien wegen Kindesmissbrauchs in U-Haft


[A 43-year-old priest from Charleroi, Belgium, is said to have abused four minors, ages 12 to 16, in Italy. He was working at a church in Sardinia.]

Ein 43-jähriger Priester aus Charleroi soll in Italien insgesamt vier Minderjährige im Alter von zwölf bis 16 Jahren missbraucht haben. Er war erst seit kurzem Priester in einer Gemeinde auf Sardinien.

In Italien sitzt ein 43-jähriger Priester aus Charleroi wegen des Verdachts auf sexuellen Missbrauch von Kindern in Untersuchungshaft. Er soll insgesamt vier Minderjährige im Alter von zwölf bis 16 Jahren missbraucht haben. Er bot seinen Opfern ein Getränk mit Schlafmitteln an, anschließend missbrauchte er sie. Auf seinem Computer fanden die Ermittler außerdem kinderpornographisches

Pedofilia: 6 sacerdoti arrestati in 5 mesi


[Pedophilia: 6 priests arrested in 5 months]

L'operazione Meeting Point alla stazione Termini di Roma

Sei sacerdoti in meno di 5 mesi. Un numero sconvolgente di preti sono finiti in carcere con l’accusa di pedofilia o di omicidio. Un numero impressionante, come impressionante è quello degli abusi che hanno commesso su decine di minorenni, bambini e adolescenti, che frequentavano l’oratorio o la parrocchia per la Prima Comunione e per la Cresima. Sacerdoti pedofili che si sono “spacciati” come esperti di massaggi sportivi per abusare di ingenui ragazzini in cambio di ricariche telefoniche oppure che hanno abusato di adolescenti 'comprandoseli' direttamente com’è accaduto alla stazione centrale della Capitale: sesso per 10 euro nei treni della stazione.

Don Pascal, parla la difesa:"Scompensi sessuali colpa dei farmaci"

L'Unione Sarda

[A priest accused of abuse said drugs he takes for Parkinson's may have caused him to be hypersexual.]

I farmaci assunti da don Pascal Manca per la cura del morbo di Parkinson potrebbero avergli provocato degli scompensi sessuali: si è parlato anche di una ipotetica «ipersessualità» ieri mattina nell'aula al piano terra del Palazzo di giustizia dove, a porte chiuse, per circa due ore si è svolta l'udienza del Tribunale del riesame che entro martedì dovrà decidere se concedere gli arresti domiciliari all'ex parroco di Mandas e Villamar, come richiesto dagli avvocati Luigi e Pierluigi Concas.

Nueva manifestación contra obispo de Osorno opacó ceremonia de confirmación


[A demonstration by citizens against Bishop Juan Barros of Osormo ended with police intervention and tarnished a confirmation ceremony of a dozen young people at the local cathedral.]

Una nueva manifestación ciudadana contra la labor de Juan Barros como obispo de Osorno terminó con la intervención de Carabineros y empañó la ceremonia de confirmación de una decena de jóvenes en la catedral local.

Aproximadamente 150 personas se mantuvieron gritando consignas en las afueras del templo católico acusando a Juan Barros de encubrir los abusos de Fernando Karadima, siendo monitoreados por personal policial mientras un número similar de personas presenciaba el ritual al interior del lugar.

A Christian Brother molested students in public in their classroom

Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 21 May 2015)

A Christian Brother, Peter John Toomey, had a habit of indecently assaulting students at a Melbourne Catholic secondary school in the presence of other students, a court has been told. Toomey also taught in other schools including in Ballarat, in regional Victoria. In May 2015, Brother Toomey was mentioned by a Ballarat victim at a public hearing of Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission 2015.

Peter Toomey joined the Victoria-Tasmania province of the Christian Brothers order (the St Patrick's province) about 1967, when he was aged 18. In 1972, aged 23, he was teaching a variety of subjects in Years 7 and 8 at Trinity Regional College in Brunswick, in Melbourne's inner north.

In 1998, an ex-student of this school ("Boris", born in 1960) was having a personal crisis at the age of 38. In discussions with his parents, he revealed how he had been sexually abused by Brother Toomey at the Brunswick school in 1972-3, when he was aged 12. Boris's father then phoned Broken Rites, asking how to obtain justice. Broken Rites explained that this was a matter for the Victoria Police Sexual Offences and Child-abuse Investigation Team (SOCIT). Broken Rites provided the phone number of the SOCIT unit.

Boris told the SOCIT unit that he was not Toomey’s only victim. Police managed to locate ten of Toomey’s former students, who provided written statements. These were not necessarily Toomey’s only victims — they were merely those who were interviewed by police. The case was investigated by Detective Tony Mousa of the Brunswick Criminal Investigation Unit, Melbourne.

A former Christian Brother is brought to justice - again

Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 21 May 2015)

After committing sexual crimes against boys, Christian Brother Stephen Francis Farrell left his religious order. He then taught in other Catholic schools as "Mister" Farrell and he married three times. But, by December 2013, three of his earlier pupils had got him convicted for his crimes. In one of the court hearings (in 1997), Farrell was supported in court by Jesuit priest Michael McGirr (this made Farrell's victims feel that they were being abused again). In May 2015, several of Farrell's victims gave evidence at a public hearing of Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission.

In the early 1970s, St Alipius Catholic boys' primary school in Ballarat (105 kilometres west of Melbourne) had four classes: for grades 3, 4, 5, and 6. In the early 1970s, four Christian Brothers there were committing sexual crimes against their pupils. In addition, the school chaplain, Father Gerald Francis Ridsdale, was doing likewise.

Brother Stephen Farrell, then aged in his early twenties, taught at St Alipius school in 1973-74.

An American Brother is convicted in Australia for crimes against Melbourne children

Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher (article posted 22 May 2015)

In 2015, an American Catholic Brother (Brother Bernard Hartman, 75) has been convicted in Australia for committing a series of sexual crimes against Australian children while he worked at a Melbourne school more than 30 years ago. He is believed to be the first Catholic clergy member extradited from the United States to face court in Australia.

Brother Hartman, born in the United States, is a member of an international Catholic religious order known as the Marianist brothers and priests. He worked in Australian schools in the 1970s and early 1980s.

In court in Australia he was charged with sexual assaults on two boys and two girls while he was working at St Paul's College in Altona, a suburb in Melbourne's west. (This was then a boys' school, operated by the Marianist religious order, but now has become one of the campuses of the Catholic Church's co-educational Emmanuel College.)

The attacks, on victims aged between six and 16, occurred between 1976 and 1982 when Brother Hartman worked at the school. The court was told that the alleged assaults occurred at both the school and at the victims' homes.

Founder of Josh Duggar’s ‘treatment center’ left after ‘sexually grooming’ teens and young women

The Raw Story

23 MAY 2015

The founder of a chain of Christian “treatment” centers Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar sent their eldest son to for molesting five girls — including his sisters — resigned in 2014 under a cloud of accusations that he had “sexually groomed” and harassed young women and teens in his ministry.

According to RadarOnline Josh Duggar was taken by his father to the Basic Life Principles Training Center in Little Rock, for counseling after admitting to groping the young girls.

Bill Gothard, a Christian writer and minister, founded the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) in 1961, as a way to help families resolve issues by using Biblical principles. Among the services offered at IBLP are ministry seminars, community outreach, counseling for troubled Christians, and mentoring Christian youth.

In an interview, Harold Walker, a former leader at the Little Rock location said he recalled Josh Duggar being brought in, but couldn’t recall the reasons why.

“I really don’t remember the circumstances on why Josh came to our center,” Walker said, “He came down … they used to work at the center, the entire family did.”

A timeline of the molestation allegations against Josh Duggar

Washington Post

By Abby Ohlheiser

This week, a shocking series of allegation, apology and repercussions rocked one of the most famous families in reality television. Josh Duggar, the oldest son of the Duggar family, apologized Thursday after a tabloid published allegations that Duggar had molested multiple young girls as a teenager. A day later, TLC announced that the family’s show, “19 Kids and Counting,” which just finished airing its most recent season Tuesday, had pulled all episodes of the program off the air “effective immediately.”

Although the developments moved quickly, the allegations themselves have existed out of the public eye for more than a decade. A police report obtained by In Touch Weekly and the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette appears to detail those allegations, though the names of the suspect and all of the victims have been redacted from the report, because all were minors at the time.

In Touch Weekly, based on its unnamed sources, has said that the redacted suspect in the report is Josh Duggar. The Democrat-Gazette noted that the details of the report it has reviewed match statements made by the Duggars concerning the unspecified “wrongdoing” for which Josh Duggar has apologized. Although Josh Duggar was named by both publications and made statements of apology, he has not specifically addressed the molestation allegations.

What follows is a timeline of the case and some of its context, using the police report as a basis. The Democrat-Gazette has published an exhaustive investigation into the circumstances laid out in the report it obtained. The full document with police redaction was published by In Touch Weekly.

March 2002: This is when the Duggar parents say they were first made aware of allegations that a person in their home was improperly touching others, according to a 2006 statement to police. The couple added that the person confessed to the behavior in July of that same year. Josh Duggar would have been about 14 years old at the time these incidents occurred.

May 2002: Jim Bob Duggar, the family patriarch, who served in the state legislature as a representative from 1999-2002, loses a primary bid for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.

TLC pulls Duggar show


POSTED: Sunday, May 24, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - TLC pulled the reality series 19 Kids and Counting from its schedule Friday, a move that follows reports of sexual misconduct allegations against one of the stars, Josh Duggar, when he was a juvenile.

Also Friday, Arkansas police said they had destroyed a record outlining a nearly decade-old investigation into Duggar, 27, a day after he resigned his role with a prominent conservative Christian group amid reports about the allegations.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, which obtained the offense report before its destruction, reports Duggar was accused of inappropriate contact with five girls in 2002 and 2003. Duggar issued an apology Thursday on Facebook for unspecified bad behavior as a youth and resigned his role as executive director for FRC Action, the tax-exempt legislative action arm of the Washington-based Family Research Council.

Catholics gather for Mass in Ballarat, and call for survivors to be heard

The Age

May 24, 2015

Konrad Marshall

Normally swung shut and baldly unadorned, the wrought iron gates of the early Gothic church were flung wide open on Sunday morning, and tied with colourful ribbons.

They will remain that way at St Patrick's Cathedral throughout the course of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Ballarat, as an expression of the parish desire to be open to this ongoing pain.

Father Justin Driscoll was dressed in resplendent red for Mass, and he stood above the congregation of 100 or more, both welcoming and commanding, his hands raised as the searching homily began.

"I don't know what to say – and don't know what not to say," he said, pausing. "Part of me wants to be silent for long enough to allow the real impact of this past week to simply stay with us."

It has been a rough few days to be Catholic in this part of the world, and will be rougher still in the coming two weeks as the hearings continue. And yet the parishioners of this place are open to what comes of the investigation.

"We've heard so much about our church culture, that has enabled these crimes to continue – a culture of power and secrecy, silencing and clericalism, of protecting the institution," Father Driscoll continued. "For us it continues to be hard to hear, and it continues to be hard to bear, but that is no reason to seek to silence those voices who are seeking to bring the truth. Those who are speaking need our encouragement, not our condemnation."

Ireland gay marriage: Church's decision not to lead...

Independent (UK)

Ireland gay marriage: Church's decision not to lead No campaign recognised remarkable new reality


In 1987, the plain people of Ireland were asked in a referendum whether or not they wanted divorce to be made legal in their country. They overwhelmingly voted No. Hardly surprising, everyone said, since Ireland was the most Catholic country in Europe. No more.
The massive vote in favour of legalising gay marriage in the same country charted the profound transformation undergone by Irish society in a single generation.

In less than three decades, the Catholic Church has lost its grip on the Irish. From being one of Europe’s most socially conservative societies, Ireland has become the first country in the world to approve same-sex marriage – one of the modern world’s defining issues – not from the legislation of a parliamentary elite, but through a poll of the whole people.

The self-destruction of the institutional church has been spectacular. Revelations over the extent of sexual abuse by predatory priests have undermined the moral authority of the Catholic hierarchy and overturned the nearest thing Europe had to a theocracy. It was not just paedophile priests. Scandals involving regimes of physical and psychological cruelty have been laid bare involving nuns and religious brothers in schools, care homes and the infamous Magdalene laundries set up by the church for single mothers and “fallen women”.

53-Y-O Westmoreland Pastor Arrested, Charged With Having Sex With A Minor


A 53-year-old Westmoreland pastor is now behind bars on sex charges involving a minor.

Pastor Elvis Thompson is charged with having sex with someone under 16 years old and grievous sexual assault.

Thompson is from Cave district, near Bluefields in Westmoreland.

It is reported that last year, the victim went to the pastor's house to collect payment for goods and was assaulted and raped.

The matter was reported to the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse and following an investigation, a file was sent to the Defender of Public Prosecution, Paula Llewellyn.

Westmoreland pastor charged with sexual offences

Jamaica Observer

WESTMORELAND, Jamaica - The Westmoreland Police yesterday charged a pastor with having sexual intercourse with a minor and also with Grievous Sexual Assault.

Reports are that in 2014, the victim, who was sent to his house to collect payment for goods, was assaulted and raped. The matter was reported to the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), and following an investigation, a file was prepared and sent to the office of the Director of Public Prosecution who ruled that the pastor be charged.

The court date will be announced at a later time.

We must also be mindful of new liberal orthodoxy

Irish Independent

Jody Corcoran


The overwhelming Yes vote in favour of same-sex marriage must represent an end to the influence and power of the Catholic church over the political and social trajectory of politics and society.

But as the country embarks on a new era, post Celtic Tiger, economic collapse and austerity, this is a good time to ask: With what have we replaced the overbearing authority of that discredited church?

The decline of the church's influence over the nation's morals, more specifically over education, health and, to a lesser extent, social services, has been evident for more than three decades.

That diminished authority is more often than not associated with revelations to do with the sexual abuse of children, which began to emerge in the mid-1990s.

It can be pinpointed, however, to the first in a series of scandals when the Bishop of Galway, Eamon Casey, resigned in 1992 after it was discovered that he was the father of a teenage son.

That revelation may have exposed the hypocrisy of the church; but it was the sex-abuse scandals, specifically the controversy in 1995 over the extradition of a paedophile priest, Brendan Smyth, which also brought down the government, that accelerated the decline of the church.

Catholic church 'buried head' to abuse, says priest convicted of indecent assault

The Guardian

Megan Neil
Sunday 24 May 2015

Catholic church leaders buried their heads about clergy abusing children in Ballarat and should have made victims a priority, a priest convicted of indecent assault has told the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.

Paul David Ryan, 66, told the commission he could not explain how so many notorious pedophiles came to operate in Ballarat diocese at the same time. But he agreed the culture of the diocese allowed it.

“And that allowed me to happen too, even though I was independent of them,” Ryan told the commission during a private hearing, according to a tendered transcript.

“Probably a gross misdirection of who should be supported, for a start: in other words, victims weren’t made a priority.

“Certainly burying their head about their responsibilities and seeing if, ‘OK, let’s try and avoid making this a scandal’, and all that type of thing.”

May 23, 2015

Irish Catholicism supports same-sex marriage!

Religion News Service - Spiritual Politics

Mark Silk | May 23, 2015

The stunning vote of the Irish to legalize same-sex marriage will be taken as one more indication (along with the legalization of divorce and homosexual behavior and abortion if the mother’s life is at risk, plus the decline in Mass attendance and priestly vocations) of the collapse of the Catholic Church in a country where it once bestrode the sod like a colossus. Such would appear to be the wages of a rolling sexual abuse scandal, particularly acute because of the church’s control of public education, and the ugly history of its abusive homes for wayward boys and girls.

But for all that, Ireland remains a country where over 70 percent of the population identifies as Catholic, where a higher proportion of Catholics go to Mass than in the U.S., where the divorce rate is low. And yet, every Irish political party supported the referendum and the citizenry voted in favor by a 62-38 margin. What gives?

What gives, in part, is that Catholicism, understood as a religious culture rather than as a set of official doctrines, is far more amenable to same-sex marriage than is generally thought. Unlike Protestantism, it never valorized the nuclear family as the church in miniature. Catholics have, by contrast, exercised their analogical imaginations in understanding nuns as married to Jesus and bishops to their dioceses. Priests are fathers; abbeys are governed by mother superiors; monks are brothers; nuns are sisters. In Catholicism, there have always been different kinds of holy families that love makes — and so, why not add one more? It’s no accident that Catholics in the U.S. — white, Hispanic, and otherwise — support same-sex marriage at the same rate as the Irish voted.

Revolt Grows: Dublin Bishop Tells Pope, “Time For A Reality Check” & Political Leader Tweets “F*** Yeah !”

Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

Pope Francis honeymoon with Catholics is definitely over! Predominantly Catholic Ireland has now overwhelmingly rejected one of Pope Francis’ key positions by permitting same sex marriage. This follows the recent Catholic revolt in a Chilean cathedral against Pope Francis’ controversial bishop appointment (see here and YouTube ). As a result, the Archbishop of Dublin has publicly and boldly challenged the pope to “get real”. The Irish voted to allow same-sex marriage, by direct referendum by almost a two to one margin, with one of highest voter turnouts ever at more than 60 per cent. This despite ample US funding of the anti-gay supporters, see “US Christians bankrolling “No Vote” in Ireland’s anti-gay marriage crusade”.

This is very bad news for the pope and his “low tax” US Republican billionaire backers with their “anti-gay marriage” crusade now underway for next year’s US presidential elections. An Irish government minister reflected expletively the reaction of many angry Catholics, worldwide, who overwhelming and emphatically reject the pope’s hypocritical and homophobic position in a Church with a signicant number of actively gay clerics. The minister tweeted after the Irish vote, “F*** Yeah!”

The pope’s main source of political power with right wing leaders worldwide derives from his potential ability in elections to “bring out” targeted and mainly single issue fundamentalist voters on issues like gay marriage and abortion. That potential influence is declining rapidly due to the sex abuse and financials scandals. This has been clearly indicated by the Irish vote, as well as by recently popular petitions focused on Cardinals George Pell’s and Timothy Dolan’s alleged abuse cover-ups and callous disregard for abuse survivors. Indeed, the Vatican’s Irish anti-gay crusade paradoxically brought out more papal opposition voters, as is likely to occur in next year’s US elections as well.

Also, more than 65,000 people in just a few days have signed a petition calling for Cardinal George Pell to return to his native Australia and face a government commission on child sex abuse, after allegations that he tried to bribe the victim of a pedophile priest. Addressed to Pope Francis, the Change.org petition calls for Pell — the Vatican’s financial chief and former archbishop of Sydney — to answer questions under oath. Please see “Political leader calls on Cardinal Pell to face Royal Commission” , “‘Australia’s worst pedophile priest’ ” , and “Cardinal Pell is ‘weak and ineffectual’and not very smart” .

Please see also my “A Pope, A New US War, Jeb Bush Neocons & Big Oil” , “By Sacking Only Bishop Finn, Now Pope’s Interests Are First, No?“, “Cardinals Pell and O’Malley Show Limits of Reform”, “Alleged Crimes of Philly Cardinals: Will Pope Act?“, “Now Chile Bishop Revolt Reaches Ireland, USA & UK” and “NY’s Cardinal Dolan, Criminals, & Hypocrisy” .

A few days ago in an last minute and desperate Irish Times article, Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin tried unsuccessfully to use Pope Francis’ media created popularity: “My position is that of Pope Francis, who, in the debates around same-sex marriage in Argentina, made it very clear that he was against legalising same-sex marriage, … “. Now after Irish Catholics overwhelmingly rejected the pope’s and Martin’s position, Martin reportedly has directly challenged the pope publicly in pertinent part (in italics): “It’s a social revolution {the Irish vote} that’s been going on – perhaps in the Church people have not been as clear in understanding what that involved, … We have to stop and have a reality check, not move into denial of the realities. We won’t begin again with a sense of renewal with a sense of denial, … I ask myself, most of these young people who voted yes {to allow same sex marriage} are products of our Catholic school system for 12 years. I’m saying there’s a big challenge there …” (emphasis mine)

In the weeks running up to the voting day and under Vatican direction evidentally, a series of Catholic bishops futilely issued public letters to their congregations outlining their objections to same sex marriage. The Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, even threatened that the Irish Catholic hierarchy might even reconsider its position on whether priests would continue to solemnise the civil aspect of a marriage if a vote approving same sex marriage were passed. That foolish threat backfired apparently.

Minnesota Child Victims Act continues to rock Catholic Church

Star Tribune

By Jean Hopfensperger Star Tribune MAY 23, 2015

Fallout continues to jolt Catholic institutions across Minnesota as a landmark law permitting lawsuits for older claims of clergy sex abuse marks its second anniversary this week.

Just last week the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis removed a priest from active ministry in Richfield — bringing to 69 the number of accused priests it has identified since the law was passed.

Earlier this month a young Hibbing priest was arrested and jailed for sexual misconduct with three girls, reflecting Catholics’ heightened awareness of contacting law enforcement, not just the church.

A Catholic nun and her religious order were sued last month by a Shakopee man for sexual improprieties, a sign of the law’s widening impact.

The current trial of former priest Francis Hoefgen in Dakota County — a rare criminal prosecution of a priest for child sex abuse — was sparked by an alleged victim emboldened by the new law.

“This is the biggest shake-up in the history of the Catholic Church in Minnesota,” said Charles Reid, a professor of civil and canon law at the University of St. Thomas. “The church has always been a powerful institution in the state — just look the height of the cathedral compared to the State Capitol. What we’re seeing is a humbling of that.”

AR--Huckabee defends sex offender; SNAP responds

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, May 22

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com )

Shame on GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee for defending Josh Duggar by attacking those who report on his admitted abuse and using inflammatory words like “bloodlust.”

In a Facebook post, Huckabee wrote"(Josh) and his family dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities.” That’s a disingenuous statement and a reckless assumption.

It’s disingenuous because Duggar’s parents waited a year before contacting law enforcement about these crimes. Hiding child sex crimes for a year is hardly “open and honest.”

And it’s reckless because Huckabee doesn’t really know whether the Duggars were “honest” with secular authorities about this tragic situation.

“No purpose whatsoever is served by those who are now trying to discredit Josh or his family by sensationalizing the story," Huckabee claims. Those who commit and conceal child sex crimes often make this claim: that no good comes from talking about abuse and cover up. We believe just the reverse.

And history, psychology and good sense suggest otherwise. The more our society discusses, debates and discloses child sex crimes, the safer kids will be. Silence helps wrongdoers. Silence hurts kids.

In his Facebook post, Huckabee repeatedly bashed the media for showing "insensitive bloodthirst" in dredging up things that occurred when Duggar was underage.

It may not be too late to pursue charges against Duggar’s parents or others, possibly for endangering kids, destroying evidence, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, failure to report suspected abuse or other related offenses. We urge law enforcement officials to work hard investigating this case. And we urge pundits like Huckabee and others to put the healing of victims, the safety of kids, the punishment of wrongdoers, the deterring of cover ups ahead of their personal views of or feelings towards their ideological or personal friends.

Finally, Huckabee is wrong to talk forgiveness at this point. Forgiveness is a personal, private choice. Endangering kids is an irresponsible public act. That’s what the Duggar family apparently did.

A victim can choose to forgive their predator. That's admirable. But I can't knowingly allow him the chance to hurt others. That's irresponsible.

If we allow a convicted drunken driver to get behind the wheel of a school bus filled with kids, is that forgiveness or folly?

It’s painful when some misunderstand and misapply the notion of forgiveness in ways that lead to putting other innocent kids and vulnerable adults in harm's way again, even in cases of proven, serial, predatory behavior by dangerous men.

One other quick point: we forgive after, not during, wrong-doing. In many instances, even now, the church hierarchy continues to act secretively, callously and recklessly, which makes it extremely hard for some victims to even begin thinking about forgiveness. If it becomes clear that Duggar’s family is not still hiding child sex crimes, then and only then will it be time to consider forgiveness.


Roger Canaff

What we know: Josh Duggar’s admission is great fodder against Duggar Family Values, which include anti-gay stances as well as assertions that “non-traditional” values endanger children.

What we don’t know: What created the awful urges in Josh to begin with. Those opposed to what this powerful family both believes and attempts to influence politically are triumphantly declaring things like home-schooling and hyper-religiosity to be petri dishes for the kind of sexual deviance Josh displayed as a teenager.

They’re probably wrong.

As deliciously tempting as it is for some on my side of the political spectrum to demonize the Duggars and their way of life as some sort of catalyst for awful behavior, there’s little psychological evidence to support that. In fact, Josh’s deviance was most likely not (in and of itself) the product of home schooling or any other religious dogma or tradition the Duggars took part in. Sexual deviance, as far we know at this point, does not generate that way. More likely, Josh was (or is) deviant for reasons we don’t understand, but that are probably innate (“nature”) and/or the product of his environment (“nurture”), but in a different way than we normally observe. ...

Therefore, the question better asked is not “what made this happen?” but “what allowed it to flourish and continue in that particular situation?” In the case of the world of “19 and Counting,” we should look, as always, to an institution.

In Josh Duggar’s world, the institution of dogmatic, insular Christianity provided him two things: First, It made it easier for him not only to offend, but to get away with offending. Second, it did so in a manner that leaves him today free of legal consequences, still married, and still employable. Here’s how:

Whatever Josh was (or is), he grew up in a male-dominated world where “the father is the head of the family as Christ is the head of the Church.” Firstly, his was an environment that exalted a Christian-based order that, among other things, clamped down on any opposition or suggestion of “rebellion.” This very likely discouraged his victims from reporting his actions to other family members or anyone who might have made a difference. Rebellion, after all, can be perceived as anything that upsets the proverbial apple cart. This was a fact probably not lost on Josh himself as he chose his victims.

Secondly, this same Christian-based worldview necessitated, as it does with any religiously based orthodoxy, an “in-house” solution to conflict or deviant behavior within the environment. Why? Because it reinforces the idea that the religion itself has within it the answer to every problem- there is never a need to consult outside sources which are doubtlessly less pure and enlightened.

Archbishop Martin: Church needs reality check

Irish Examiner

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has called for the Church to take a reality check after the gay marriage vote.

Archbishop Martin declared the groundswell of support for same-sex couples was a social revolution that did not happen in the last day.

“It’s a social revolution that’s been going on – perhaps in the Church people have not been as clear in understanding what that involved,” he said.

“It’s clear that if the referendum is an affirmation of the views of young people the Church has a huge task in front of it.”

In the weeks running up to polling day, a series of Catholic bishops issued open letters to congregations outlining their concerns about gay marriage and why the Church would not support the reform.

The Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin, said the hierarchy may even reconsider its position on whether priests would continue to solemnise the civil aspect of a marriage if the vote was passed.

But Archbishop Diarmuid Martin called on Church leaders to take a look at itself and how it interacts with young people and their views.

Fans express concern and support for Duggar daughters on Twitter: ‘Run away and be free!’

The Raw Story

23 MAY 2015

Fans of the the Duggar family reality show, 19 Kids and Counting, have taken to Twitter to express support for the Duggar daughters, four of whom were reportedly molested by eldest brother Josh Duggar when they were little girls.

While much attention has been paid to Josh Duggar –who has admitted to sexual improprieties with the girls as well as another young woman who is not a member of the family when he was in his teens– little has been said about the Duggar girls who were victimized.

In their statement to the media, parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar — who hushed up the scandal — mentioned “God” six times without mentioning their daughters once.

Fans of the show, and of the daughters in particular, expressed more support for the girls on Twitter, with one advising eldest daughter Jana to “Run away and be free!”

'Ireland hasn't just said Yes... it has said F*** YEAH!' ...

Daily Mail

'Ireland hasn't just said Yes... it has said F*** YEAH!': Irish equality minister joins thousands celebrating across the country as first gay marriage vote results point to landslide victory for supporters


Ireland is set to legalise gay marriage after voters overwhelmingly backed allowing same-sex unions in a historic referendum.

Celebrations spilled out into Dublin city centre as it became clear that the campaign to extend the right to marry to same-sex couples was heading for a landslide victory.

With almost half of the results in, all constituencies have so far voted in favour of gay marriage, with around 62 per cent backing reform.

With 19 constituencies returning official results, it appeared that Ireland would pass the gay marriage rights reform with close to 65 per cent in favour.

The biggest support was recorded in Kildare North with a 69.67 per cent majority for the Yes side, while the closest contest was in Taoiseach Enda Kenny's own turf in County Mayo where 52 per cent were in favour.

Duggar's State Police notice went nowhere in '03

Northwest Democrat-Gazette

Posted: May 23, 2015

SPRINGDALE -- An Arkansas State Police corporal who gave Josh Duggar "a very stern talk" in 2003 about the teen's improper sexual conduct started the clock on the time limit for filing any charges, according to police records and Arkansas law.

The time in which charges could be filed expired before police received an anonymous tip Dec. 7, 2006, about the same conduct by Duggar, records show.

Joshua James Duggar, now 27, resigned as director of a lobbying organization run by the conservative Family Research Council on Thursday. His resignation came less than a day after a 2006 Springdale Police Department report was released through the state's Freedom of Information Act. The report disclosed sexual misconduct in 2002 and 2003 involving the foundling of sleeping victims and other sexually inappropriate acts with five girls.

Although the report withheld names of the offender and victims, Duggar apologized in a statement after resigning.

"Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends. I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life."

Unsealed police report...

Daily Mail

Unsealed police report reveals 'Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar covered up after eldest son Josh confessed to repeatedly fondling girls when he was a teen - and case only went to police in 2006 because of Oprah concerns'


The police report of Josh Duggar's alleged molestation reveals that incidents happened multiple times between the then teenager and five girls, almost always while the minors were sleeping.

What's more, both of his parents were aware of the situation but waited over a year to notify anyone in law enforcement, going at that time to see a family friend who was a trooper and did not file a report.

They also revealed details of the incident to church elders who did not reach out to law enforcement.
It was not until producers from The Oprah Winfrey Show, who were planning an interview with the family, received an email alerting them to the alleged molestation that an investigation began, this after the show reached out to the Department of Human Services.

That was in December of 2006, over four years after the first reported offense.

Josh Duggar's Investigation Record Destroyed By Arkansas Police (Report)

The Hollywood Reporter

by Natalie Stone 5/23/2015

Investigation records tied to Josh Duggar's alleged sexual molestation of five girls have been destroyed by Arkansas police, a spokesperson told The Associated Press Friday.

Springdale Police spokesman Scott Lewis told AP that Judge Stacey Zimmerman ordered the 2006 offense report destroyed Thursday.

"The judge ordered us yesterday to expunge that record," Lewis said. He added that similar records are usually kept indefinitely. "As far as the Springdale Police Department is concerned this report doesn't exist."

The 27-year-old married father of three resigned from his lobbyist position with the Family Research Council (FRC) on Thursday after reports surfaced that the 19 Kids and Counting star sexually molested five girls as far back as 2002, when Duggar was 14 years old.

Josh Duggar’s police docs destroyed

New York Post - Page Six


Arkansas police have destroyed a record outlining a nearly decade-old investigation into reality TV star Josh Duggar, a spokesman said Friday, a day after the 27-year-old resigned his role with a prominent conservative Christian group amid reports about sexual misconduct allegations from when he was a juvenile.

Duggar was accused of fondling five girls in 2002 and 2003. Duggar issued an apology Thursday on Facebook for unspecified bad behavior as a youth and resigned his role as executive director for FRC Action, the tax-exempt legislative action arm of the Washington-based Family Research Council. ...

Springdale police began investigating Josh Duggar in 2006 when officers were alerted to a letter containing the allegations that was found in a book lent by a family friend to someone else.

The report, originally published by tabloid In Touch Weekly, states that a member of Harpo Studios, the producer of Oprah Winfrey’s then-show, received an email containing the allegations before the family was set to appear in 2006. The tipster warned producers against allowing the Duggars on the show and studio staff members faxed a copy of the email to Arkansas State Police.

Springdale police spokesman Scott Lewis said Judge Stacey Zimmerman ordered the 2006 offense report destroyed Thursday. Zimmerman didn’t return a request for comment on Friday.

“The judge ordered us yesterday to expunge that record,” Lewis said, adding that similar records are typically kept indefinitely. “As far as the Springdale Police Department is concerned, this report doesn’t exist.”

Sex abuse inquiry: how evil stole the innocence of children

Brisbane Times

May 24, 2015

Warwick McFadyen

How odious they are. How pernicious their intent. They were not murderers, but surely they killed something precious in their victims. Something unique to each of their victims was crushed and in that horrible devastation of body and spirit came an unwanted bond with others: links in the chain of a callous cruelty and nonchalant indifference disposed and imposed on them.

They are the priests of Ballarat, of Maitland, of points far and wide, who snuffed out the light innocence of youth and the implicit trust the young have in adults. In its place grew, in many cases, a dark and nightmarish pit. From such depths these boys had to pull themselves out and go into adulthood and make a life for themselves. The boys became survivors of a casual monstrosity of perversion.

This past week the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sex Abuse has been sitting in Ballarat. It will do so for the next two weeks. Last week victims gave the distressing details of the abuse they suffered and endured while school children. During the victims' stories and from the evidence it became clear that survival had morphed into a relative term.

One abuse survivor, Philip Nagle, had attended St Alipius Primary School, and of the 33 boys in the grade four picture of his class from the early '70s a dozen had died. Mr Nagle believed they had all killed themselves. The school "was a place where there was true evil".

Another survivor spoke of a Christian Brother giving him a choice when he was 12 or 13, "the strap or sex education and I always chose the latter because I didn't want to get belted. I should have taken the beltings".

Yeshivah Centre board on brink of collapse after abuse revelations

The Age

May 22, 2015

Henrietta Cook and Timna Jacks

The board of the Yeshivah Centre is on the brink of collapse, following grim revelations at the Royal Commission and a community campaign.

Board member Michael Goldhirsch stepped down this week, bringing the number of members who have resigned in the past three months to five.

The resignation of Mr Goldhirsch, who has been a member for decades, leaves just three board members.

An online petition signed by members of Melbourne's Jewish community has called for the committee of management to resign, saying it does "not have the confidence of the community".

The Parents and Friends Yeshivah Melbourne group, set up in the wake of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, is lobbying for positions on the board.

A two-week hearing of the Royal Commission revealed a cover-up at the ultra-Orthodox Yeshivah Centre, which employed convicted sex offenders David Cyprys and David Kramer.

Fairfax Media does not suggest any individual board members were involved in the concealment of any abuse.

The Problem With the Duggar Sexual Assault Cover-Up Nobody's Talking About


By Julie Zeilinger May 22, 2015

Revelations of sexual assault and child molestation are always deeply disturbing, but they seem to capture the public's attention most when they are rooted in hypocrisy. This has certainly been the case with Josh Duggar, a member of one of TV's most wholesome Christian families and (former) executive director of the anti-gay Family Research Council's lobbying arm, who was recently exposed as a child molester.

In Touch Weekly reported that Duggar was accused of sexually molesting multiple underage girls in a 2006 police report, some of whom were his own sisters.

"Back 12 years ago our family went through one of the most difficult times of our lives," Josh's parents, Jim Bob and Michelle, told People in a joint statement. "When Josh was a young teenager, he made some very bad mistakes, and we were shocked. We had tried to teach him right from wrong. That dark and difficult time caused us to seek God like never before."

While the act itself is inexcusable, the family has arguably perpetuated even more harm in the way they've chosen to handle it. The Duggars have focused their public concern around Josh, the perpetrator, rather than their daughters or the other victims of his actions.

The moment I gave up on the Catholic Church

Daily Telegraph

Sounds a bit bah-humbug, doesn’t it?

Stick with me for a sec.

I love Midnight Mass, although I’m not a Catholic, and I’ve been going along for about 20 years at Christmas, although I always have to go by myself because nobody in the family will come. For me, it’s not Christmas till I’ve sung Silent Night by candlelight.

The Catholics do it better than anyone. In my 20 years of solo Christmas Eve action, I’ve attended all kinds of denominations and churches for Christmas Eve services, and I must admit: there’s nothing like the Catholic St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney City for incense and Latin and blokes shuffling round in frocks — all the essential ingredients for a real feeling of festivity.

I love the little families; Italians and Croats and Filipinos and Vietnamese, all crowded in to St Mary’s, getting hotter and hotter as the evening progresses. I love the sleepy babies and the toddlers, wriggling and itching in their starchy new Christmas outfits. In the time I’ve been visiting, the Church has seen an incredible revival. 20 years ago, I could always find a seat.

Now, it’s standing room only, with crowds spilling out onto College Street, from an hour before kick-off.

George Pell did that. Something about the Cardinal’s American Eagle properness and insistence on the pillars of conservative Catholic thought resonated with people in this, our tolerant, egalitarian city.

I guess, like me, enough of them liked the incense and Latin. Maybe they thought Pell’s certain conservatism was reassuring in an uncertain world. Maybe they believed, unlike his many detractors, that Pell was a fundamentally decent man who has been courageous in speaking up for the poor and the needy. Maybe they thought all the drama of Mass was OK as a symbol of the Church’s greatest qualities: charity, mercy, humanity.

Anyway, on this particular evening a few years ago, the Mass had been rumbling along for an hour or so when it came time for Pell and the other priests to make a grand procession of sorts up the aisle. ...

It is carrying on with the same arrogance it’s been enjoying since the Middle Ages, when all the pomp was designed to terrify the paupers into behaving. For a thousand years, nobody dared to say: “Mate, you look stupid carrying that dolly around.”

Now plenty of people are saying it. They’re demanding to know why the Church isn’t a proper legal entity that can be sued for the horrific wrongs some of its officials inflicted on innocent children. They want to know what’s happened to those messages of peace, kindness and charity when the Church is flapping around, wasting precious time trying to stop women being ordained, or gay people marrying. They want to know why it’s apparently so quick to betray the principles Jesus taught us when it comes to confronting the hard truth about its own failings.

Irish voters back gay marriage in 'social revolution'



Irish voters backed same-sex marriage by a landslide in a referendum marking a dramatic social shift in the traditionally Catholic country, government ministers and opponents of the bill said on Saturday.

Final results were not expected until later in the day, but ministers predicted Ireland had become the first country to adopt same-sex marriage via a popular vote by a margin of around two-to-one, just two decades after it decriminalized homosexuality.

"This has really touched a nerve in Ireland," Equality Minister Aodhan O'Riordain said at the main count center in Dublin. "It's a very strong message to every LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) young person in Ireland and every LGBT young person in the world." ...

The Catholic Church, whose dominance of Irish politics collapsed in the wake of a series of sex scandals in the early 1990s, still teaches that homosexual activity is a sin. But it limited its 'No' campaigning to sermons to its remaining flock, a marked contrast with active public opposition to similar moves in France and elsewhere.



[with copy of the police report]


WARNING: Graphic descriptions contained in police report.

Jim Bob Duggar waited more than a year after his son, Josh, confessed to sexually molesting several female minors before contacting police, In Touch Magazine is reporting exclusively, based on information contained in the official police report.

What’s more, Jim Bob informed the elders of his church about Joshua’s actions and they waited three months before contacting authorities. The explosive new information is contained in a Springdale, Ark., police report obtained by In Touch magazine.

The report has been hidden since 2006 and was just obtained by the mag through a Freedom of information Act request. Jim Bob also refused to allow police to interview Josh when they opened a felony investigation in 2006. The Duggars star on TLC’s hit show 19 Kids and Counting.

In Touch magazine first broke the news of the Duggars’ underage sexual molestation scandal in this week’s magazine. (Note: Josh’s name is redacted from the police report but In Touch has confirmed the passages that refer to him.)

How The Duggars’ Church Encourages Young Women To ‘Submit’

The Daily Beast

Brandy Zadrozny

The Quiverfull movement preaches that women must be subservient to all of men’s needs. It’s not impossible to see how abuse could flourish.

Since TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting first premiered in 2008, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have amazed their less fecund audience members with their ability to “extreme parent” nine girls and 10 boys. For 10 seasons, viewers—either in admiration or guilty-pleasure gawking—have watched the large brood live their lives according to evangelical Christian values, which include the total submission of women, sexual purity, homeschooling, and adherence to a particular sect known as the Quiverfull movement, which (among other principles) eschews all forms of birth control.

But just two years before the show aired, according to a police report unearthed by In Touch, the family was involved with police in an investigation of their oldest son, Josh, for the alleged molestation of at least five underage girls—including his own sisters—starting in 2002 when he was around 14. A flurry of admissions and apologies followed the news yesterday, from Josh, his parents and his wife, and Josh resigned from his position as executive director of FRC Action, the lobbying arm of the evangelical Family Research Council. TLC announced Friday it was pulling the show off the air.

For those less acquainted with Quiverfull and the reports of alleged sexual abuse inside the movement by ex-fundamentalists, the allegations were shocking, and dulled the shine on a family that seemed to be perfect. For others, the allegations and Josh’s seeming admission and apology only confirm that the patriarchal religious movement can be both a breeding ground and hiding place for this type of crime.

Josh Duggar scandal: TLC pulls all episodes of '19 Kids and Counting,' ...

The Celebrity Cafe

Josh Duggar scandal: TLC pulls all episodes of '19 Kids and Counting,' says 'we are deeply saddened and troubled'

By Daniel S Levine, 5/23/2015

After Josh Duggar admitted that the reports of him molesting young girls as a teen were true, TLC has pulled episodes of 19 Kids and Counting. It was a necessary move, considering the network had to do the same for Here Comes Honey Boo Boo when that show had its own controversy.

Unlike Honey Boo Boo though, TLC hasn’t made a long-term decision, according to TMZ. All episodes of 19 Kids and Counting have just been pulled from the schedule. The network even ran a poorly timed 19 Kids marathon on Thursday.

After the reports, TLC issued a statement on Facebook, which reads:

"Effective immediately, TLC has pulled all episodes of 19 Kids and Counting currently from the air. We are deeply saddened and troubled by this heartbreaking situation, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and victims at this difficult time."

The scandal has blown wide open in just 24 hours. After an InTouch report about allegations that Josh, 27, molested a young girl while in his teens was published, TMZ reported that he was accused of molesting four other girls as well. One of those young girls was one of his sisters.

Should clergy agree to abide by the new 'Code of Conduct'?

Canonical Consultation


Jennifer Haselberger

On May 19, the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis sent to all clergy the newly revised Code of Conduct for Clergy and an amazingly abbreviated 'Archdiocesan Safe Environment Policy and Requirements'. I am posting the packet received by clergy below.

Since these documents went out, I have been asked if I would advise clergy to sign the attestation that they will abide by the Code of Conduct. My answer is 'no'. There is nothing I would like better than to see policies promulgated in this Archdiocese that would improve the safety of children and vulnerable adults. In my opinion, these policies will do little to achieve that goal. More importantly, they are overly broad, lack specificity, and confuse concepts and principles in such a way as to make them largely unworkable. Bad policies (as we have seen repeatedly in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis) quickly become irrelevant, widely ignored, and rarely enforced.

For instance, the Code of Conduct prohibits clergy from acquiring, possessing, or distributing 'pornography' (1.4). A good idea, certainly. However, it is not clear if by 'pornography' the Code means illegal images, or the more broad, and more inchoate, idea of obscene renderings that 'lack artistic merit'. Can you imagine that conversations that this lack of clarity will give rise to?

The obvious issue becomes who determines whether an item is pornography or 'art'. The unspecified 'whom' and 'by what standard' should be a concern for all clergy asked to adhere to this policy because it does not just apply to matters of sexual morality, but also to issues such as clerical dress. According to the Code, clergy are to dress professionally and appropriately. Yet, anyone who has participated in the discussion regarding the proposed Archdiocesan chasuble (or attended a Chrism Mass) will be aware that notions of what is 'appropriate' are open to debate and different interpretation. This particular provision is especially problematic because it is likely aimed at times when priests and deacons would not normally wear vestments or clerics. Can they wear shorts at a picnic? Will a particular priest have to abandon his lederhosen this Saint Boniface Day? I think I understand the intent of this provision, but again the formulation of the concept is so contrived as to make it basically unenforceable.

Judge: Scituate parishioners can stay put for now

Boston Herald

Parishioners who last week were ordered to leave a closed Scituate Catholic church, where they’ve been holding vigil, by May 29 have won a temporary reprieve as a Norfolk Superior Court judge scratched that date late yesterday, according to the protesters’ attorney.

Mary Beth Carmody, who is representing the Friends of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church, said she was notified Judge Edward P. Leibensperger will not determine a new date for the parishioners to leave until he hears a motion to suspend his May 14 decision that Carmody filed Thursday.

“It’s short-term relief, I would call it, for the parishioners,” Carmody said. “They were concerned that this Sunday would be their last Sunday to worship at the church. It looks like this won’t be their last Sunday, though we don’t know how many more Sundays.”

Carmody also filed an appeal of the judge’s decision on Thursday to the state appeals court.

In his May 14 ruling, Leibensperger declared the parishioners were trespassing and had to leave the premises by May 29.

Maryellen Rogers, president of the Friends of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church, who have been holding vigil there since it was closed in a parish consolidation in 2004, said they had no choice but to appeal.

Magdalenes finally get promised health cards

Irish Independent

Eilish O'Regan Twitter


Women who worked in the Magdalene laundries and two similar institutions will get a long-awaited health card giving access to a range of free services including GP care

The card will be given to women who have accepted a formal offer of compensation under the Restorative Justice Scheme.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and Social Care Minister Kathleen Lynch said the "RWRCI Cards" will issue to the women in June and take effect from July 1.

In the meantime, the HSE will be directly contacting the women who have accepted a formal offer made under the Restorative Justice Scheme.

It will entitle them to GP services, prescribed drugs, medicines, aids and appliances, dental, ophthalmic and aural services, home nursing, home support, chiropody or podiatr, physiotherapy and counselling.

Catholic order fails to expel pedophile after $1.5m fees

The Australian


The Catholic Church has failed to expel jailed pedophile Robert Best from the Christian Brothers and the order has paid more than $1.5 million to cover his legal fees.

The fee to defend the child abuser is about half the total amount the Christian Brothers have paid in compensation to scores of victims of abuse in the scandal-plagued Ballarat diocese in western Victoria.

Best was jailed for 14 years and nine months in 2011 for abusing 11 boys, most of them aged between eight and 11, in Ballarat, Box Hill and Geelong between 1969 and 1988.

Despite this reign of terror, the Oceania province leader of the Christian Brothers, Brother Peter Clinch, said yesterday he had been told it was a “very complicated and lengthy” process to have someone expelled from the order.

“That’s where I left it really,” he conceded.

The admission came as Bill Shorten urged George Pell, now a cardinal at the Vatican, to return to Australia to give evidence to the commission if required.

“I do believe that George Pell should help the royal commission and if that means coming back to Australia to co-operate with the royal commission, he should,” the Opposition Leader said.

Toledo Priest Accused Of Violating Sexual Abuse Code, Placed On Leave


TOLEDO, Ohio - A Toledo Catholic priest has been placed on leave after being accused of violating the diocesean code on sexual abuse of minors.

Reverend Samuel Punnoor was placed on administrative leave Friday by Bishop Daniel E. Thomas. Rev. Punnoor is not allowed to exercise public ministry, administer any of the Sacrements, wear clerical attire or present himself publicly as a priest pending the outcome of ongoing civil and ecclesiastical investigations. He will also not be in residence at Saint Joseph Parish while on leave.

The Diocese of Toledo says there hasn't been any previous such allegation against Father Punnoor. He has served in the Diocese since April 2011 and passed all necessary background checks and training.

Josh Duggar reportedly molested own sisters: Was Jana a victim of the 19 Kids And Counting star?

International Business Times

By Kabita Maharana
May 23, 2015

The Duggar family is under severe public scrutiny after reports of sexual abuse against Josh Duggar surfaced on the internet.

Jana is the oldest of the 19 Kids And Counting daughters and fans of the 25-year-old reality star speculate that she might be one of the victims of the eldest son of the Duggar family.

Web Pro News suspects that the four oldest daughters, Jana, Jill Dillard, Jessa Seewald, and Jinger may have been victims of their eldest brother.

The evangelical Christian family has been criticised for being hypocritical as they failed to file a police report after they found out that their son had allegedly molested five underage girls, including some of his sisters, when he was around 14 years old.

According to a report by Raw Story, the Arkansas police have confirmed that the reality star had fondled the breasts and touched the vaginas of multiple young girls, sometime during their sleep, in around 2002.

The sexual abuse was reported to the police only in December 2006 when someone called a hotline and disclosed that Josh had molested several minor girls three and a half years before, a blog post in Patheos reports.

High turnout may point to 'Yes' vote for Irish gay marriage


Kim Hjelmgaard, USA Today May 23, 2015

DUBLIN (USA Today) — Twenty-two years after decriminalizing homosexuality, Ireland was poised Saturday to become the first country to legalize same-sex marriage as a result of a national referendum that has highlighted the dramatic pace at which this traditionally conservative Catholic nation has changed in recent times.

While counting is still taking place, electoral officers reported an unusually high number of people showing up for Friday's vote to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. National turnout may top 60%.

Campaigners on both sides believe this high turnout, buoyed by strong engagement from younger members of the electorate as well as the many Irish expatriates who returned home to cast their votes, is likely to favor a "Yes" result. ...

The referendum is seen as an especially complex one for Ireland, where about 85% of the population still call themselves Roman Catholic even though church attendance has been steadily declining for a few decades and the church's moral authority has been questioned in the wake of a series of sexual abuse scandals and cover-ups involving children.

Ex-Scout leader (89) is jailed for child sexual abuse

Belfast Telegraph


An 89-year-old former teacher and Scout leader has been jailed for seven years for "awful" abuse of two of his pupils.

Peter Farrands, also a former church minister, told one of his victims the young boy was his "special lad" as he abused him in a classroom at the Folville Junior School in Leicester during the 1980s.

His other young victim was abused as he stood at the front of the class and read a book, but Farrands was careful to ensure the other pupils could not see his assault.

Sentencing a frail-looking Farrands, Judge Simon Hammond said that the attacks were "awful, awful offences" on vulnerable youngsters which had left the victims "tormented" into adulthood.

The judge was "moved" by the witness testimony of one of the men for whom the effect of abuse "has been frankly devastating", he added. The other youngster was Robert Gibb, who said after sentencing at Leicester Crown Court: "There's no forgiveness."

How Josh Duggar Reveals a Critical Flaw in the Church

Charisma News


Sin, death, repentance, grace: They're the core elements of what we believe, and by putting them into practice, we set ourselves apart from the world as we strive for holiness.

But holiness is not perfection, as the recent case of Josh Duggar revealed. Brothers and sisters, we were quick to forgive as Christ forgave us, and for that I am thankful.

Duggar recognized his wrongdoing, confessed, repented and has spent his life making up for it. His sin led to his salvation, and we rejoice in that.

However, as I scroll through reactions on social media, I am not without a heavy heart as I see how we as Christians try to cover up our sin, to protect our own and whitewash their wrongdoings without consequences.

Unfortunately, I think this applies too often to sexual abuse in the church. How often do we preach about forgiveness, practice it and let those who participated in sexual crimes take places in leadership?

Forgiveness and moving along doesn't mean we are without consequences. Though Josh deeply regrets his actions, he's still haunted by them, as are the victims of his sexual abuse and others.

Though all sin is equal in terms of separating us from the Father, sexual sin is different from others in terms that it's both an internal and external expression of one's flesh. To engage in sex outside of God's intent means we are saying that we know better for ourselves than God does, and we sear our souls in an attempt to gratify our flesh.

Lawsuit against West Dundee church in case of minister accused of sex assault, child porn

Daily Herald

Harry Hitzeman

A former West Dundee church youth minister accused of a June 2013 sexual assault of a teen has been sued by the girl's parents for damages.

The parents of the victim, identified in court documents as Jane Doe, also have sued the pastor at First Congregational Church of Dundee and its parent organizations for negligent hiring and failing to take action against Chad Coe, 33, formerly of Elgin and now living in Lakewood.

"This case involves the rape of a child committed by a (then) 31-year-old youth minister that occurred in the church's youth ministry office, which destroyed the spiritual, physical and mental core of the child and her parents," according to the filing by attorney Kevin Lyons, who declined additional comment Friday.

"These offenses were compounded by the face that the offender, Chad Coe, the son of a church council member, was given free reign to groom and abuse the minor youths in his care while the church and senior pastor failed to implement their safe church policies and protect the minor child," Lyons said in the suit.

Pekin's Nicholas Lawrence, a former youth pastor, pleads guilty to sexual abuse

Journal Star

Andy Kravetz
Journal Star courts reporter

Posted May 22, 2015

PEORIA — A former youth pastor pleaded guilty Friday to charges that he sexually abused a young girl last year.

Nicholas Lawrence, 27, of Pekin, pleaded in Peoria County Circuit Court to one count of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child in an agreement that saw a lesser charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse dropped. Also, a companion charge that alleged Lawrence possessed child porn was dropped as part of the plea agreement.

The agreement is a “blind,” one which means there’s no agreement as to what sentence Lawrence might receive next month. The sentencing range is six to 60 years in prison with no possibility of probation.

Prosecutor Donna Cruz told Judge David Brown that the girl, then 12, was abused by Lawrence for several months. The two had met through church services years before.

Duggar Revelations Are Just the Latest Sex Abuse Scandal to Rock Far-Right Fundamentalism


By Amanda Marcotte

Score one for the tabloid press. Josh Duggar, the eldest son of the creepy super-fundamentalist clan at the center of the TLC show 19 Kids and Counting, has admitted to charges of molesting multiple underage girls when he was a teenager; he has since stepped down from his position as a sex scold for the Family Research Council. Duggar admitted to molesting five girls—some of them reportedly his sisters—and while the family claims to have addressed the situation, a timeline constructed by Gawker suggests he did not get counseling while managing to dodge any prosecution.

The family's fame guarantees this story will stay in the public memory for awhile, but it's far from the first sex abuse scandal in the tight-knit world of far-right fundamentalism. As I wrote last year for Slate, Doug Phillips of the far-right group Vision Forum was forced to step down after admitting to "a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman." The woman in question, Lourdes Torres-Manteufel, claims it was more than "inappropriate," noting that they met when she was 15 and that he "methodically groomed" by moving her into the house as a nanny and becoming "the pastor of her church, her boss, her landlord, and the controller of all aspects of her life" before pushing for sex. The Duggars were tight with Phillips and Vision Forum, which promoted a lot of Duggar-related material.

Roseau: Priest, extradited from India, pleads guilty to assaulting girl

Pioneer Press

By Sarah Volpenhein
Forum News Service
POSTED: 05/22/2015

ROSEAU, Minn. -- A Catholic priest pleaded guilty Friday to sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl while serving in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Crookston in northwestern Minnesota.

The guilty plea comes nearly 10 years after the Rev. Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, 60, assaulted the girl at his home in Greenbush, Minn.

Jeyapaul was extradited from his home country of India to the U.S. in November to face criminal charges brought in two different cases in Minnesota 9th District Court in Roseau, Minn., both alleging sexual abuse by Jeyapaul of underage female parishioners.

He had left the U.S. in September 2005 before criminal charges were filed against him and was first arrested in March 2012 in India.

Jeyapaul pleaded guilty Friday to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony, in one of the two cases. The other case, in which he is charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, is still pending.

Pell shouldn’t be a target of our anger toward priests

Herald Sun


DIE Pell” was the headline on The Age Facebook page, over a photograph of Cardinal George Pell.

Editor in chief Andrew Holden claimed the page had been hacked, and the offending words inserted by persons unknown, where they remained for an hour on Wednesday morning.

“I assume it’s a hacker, but I don’t know absolutely… You never expect somebody from The Age to put those sort of words on a story.”

Well, maybe.

Offensive as it was, the death threat was the least of the shameful abuse that has been heaped on Pell as the child sexual abuse royal commission moves into his former home town of Ballarat.

Not just by the defamatory swamp of Twitter, but by mainstream media and politicians, who have joined the absurd call for Pell to “come home” from the Vatican to answer allegations he ignored one victim of a paedophile priest and tried to bribe another.

He has testified under oath twice, including before the royal commission, last August by video link from Rome, and says he is willing to do so again if asked by the commissioners. Is he expected to respond to a Twitter hashtag?