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May 31, 2008

‘Spiritual business’ in Kerala worth Rs 2,000 cr

INDIA
Hindustan Times

Ramesh Babu , Hindustan Times

Kerala, June 01, 2008

Is God’s Own Country turning into godmen’s own country? Scandals involving self-styled godmen are surfacing almost every day in the most literate state. Intelligence sources say the ‘spiritual business’ is worth roughly Rs 2000 crore. Almost 36 such gurus are under police scanner and many are absconding.

The CPM’s youth outfit, DYFI, has called for a 'second renaissance' to rein in the so-called ‘godmen’. Senior Congress leader Aryadan Muhamed’s son's statement that fake Thangals (Muslim spiritual leaders) would also be targeted had almost wrecked the Congress-Muslim League tie-up. Finally, the Congress president had to intervene to cool frayed tempers of the ally.

The campaign against ‘godmen’ began with the arrest of Santosh Madhavan alias Amrutha Chaitanya, a temple priest-turned small-time astrologer. A couple of days after his arrest, gun-toting Himaval Bhadrananda Swamy created a scare after firing two rounds at a police station.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:49 PM

Catholic activists mark end of an era

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

By Margaret Ramirez | Tribune reporter
3:43 PM CDT, May 31, 2008

In the late 1970s, with memories of Vietnam still raw and the Cold War raging, hundreds of activists rallied in peace and justice movements, pressing the government for change.

Here in Chicago, a former priest and a former nun saw a chance for similar activism within the Roman Catholic Church. In 1976, Dan and Sheila Daley launched Call To Action, a group of Catholics seeking to act out God's vision in society and hold leaders accountable.

Bold and controversial from the start, Call To Action made history as the first lay group to publicly question the church's prohibitions on birth control, women's ordination, homosexuality and celibacy for priests. Its actions paved the way for other reform groups, including Voice of the Faithful and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Along the way, many church leaders branded the group's members as dissidents and rebels, with one conservative bishop punishing Nebraska members with excommunication.

Tribune religion page Now the group's founders have announced they will retire this fall as co-executive directors of Call To Action after 32 years. Though a horrific 2006 collision that permanently injured Sheila Daley was a factor in the decision, the married couple, both 65, say the time is right to pass the movement to younger Catholics.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:34 PM

A battle with the bishop

OLEAN (NY)
Olean Times Herald

By JOHN T. EBERTH
Olean Times Herald

OLEAN - The Diocese of Buffalo announced Transfiguration Church of Olean and St. Helen's Church of Hinsdale will merge with Olean St. John's Church on July 5.

They are among the last local churches to join as part of the diocese's Journey in Faith and Grace strategic plan launched by Bishop Edward U. Kmiec in June of 2005.

Bishop Kmiec announced in June of 2007 that the three churches would become one. Members of Transfiguration Church have been fighting that decision since it was announced.

Sue Fox, spokesperson for the Committee to Save Transfiguration Church, said the group has notified Bishop Kmiec they plan to appeal his decision to the Vatican.

Mrs. Fox said the group has hired a lawyer that specializes in Catholic church law to draft their appeal. They hope to have the appeal finished within the coming days so it can be sent to the Vatican.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:29 PM

Text of Vatican congregation's decree on attempts to ordain women

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service

By Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Here is the English text of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's general decree on the attempted ordination of a woman, signed by Cardinal William J. Levada, congregation prefect, and Archbishop Angelo Amata, secretary. It was released by the Vatican May 30.

In order to protect the nature and validity of the sacrament of order, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in virtue of the special faculty given by the supreme authority of the church (cf. Canon 30, Code of Canon Law), in the ordinary session of Dec. 19, 2007, has decreed:

Without prejudice to the prescript of Canon 1378 of the Code of Canon Law, both the one who attempts to confer a sacred order on a woman, and the woman who attempts to receive a sacred order, incur an excommunication "latae sententiae" reserved to the Apostolic See.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:07 PM

The Boom, Lowered

Whispers in the Loggia

[with link to text of the Vatican document]

Lest any doubt remained, a decree (fulltext) released yesterday from the CDF announced formally that the parties directly involved in a woman's attempt to be ordained incur latae sententiae (read: automatic) excommunication:

"Both the one who attempts to confer a sacred order on a woman, and the woman who attempts to receive a sacred order, incur an excommunication 'latae sententiae,'" or automatically, said a decree from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. ...

While only a handful of cases of the attempted ordination of women occur each year, the ceremonies themselves are given widespread publicity as are the decrees of excommunication that have been pronounced by the bishop of the place where the ceremonies are held.

Dominican Father Augustine Di Noia, undersecretary of the doctrinal congregation, told Catholic News Service May 30 that the decree explicitly applies what canon law says about the offense of attempting to enact a sacrament.

"The problem is not that all of a sudden there was a tsunami of attempted ordinations of women," Father Di Noia said, but that the Code of Canon Law and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches "never anticipated that such a thing would happen."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:03 PM

'Voice of the Faithful' grows beyond its origins

MIDLAND (MI)
Midland Daily News

By Angela E. Lackey
Published: Saturday, May 31, 2008 7:06 AM EDT
It formed in response to the Catholic Church's priest sexual abuse scandal. It has grown as a voice for Catholics who want greater say and involvement in their church.

"The people are the church," said Harry Grether of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church and coordinator of MidMichigan Affiliate of Voice of the Faithful.

"We would just like to be recognized that we have a role to play," said Joe Schoren. Schoren is a member of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church and the affiliate's chairman.

The Voice of the Faithful formed in 2002, "To provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the Faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:36 PM

Canada begins examination of abuses at church-run schools for Indians

CANADA
International Herald Tribune (France)

The Associated Press
Published: May 31, 2008

TORONTO: A truth-and-reconciliation commission examining what Indian leaders call one of the most tragic and racist chapters in Canada's history will begin its work on Sunday.

The commission will study Canada's decades-long government policy requiring Canadian Indians to attend state-funded church schools, often the scenes of physical and sexual abuse.

From the 19th century until the 1970s, more than 150,000 aboriginal children were required to attend Christian schools in a painful attempt to rid them of their native cultures and languages and integrate them into Canadian society.

The federal government admitted 10 years ago that physical and sexual abuse in the once-mandatory schools was rampant. Many students recall being beaten for speaking their native languages and losing touch with their parents and customs.

That legacy of abuse and isolation has been cited by Indian leaders as the root cause of epidemic rates of alcoholism and drug addiction on reservations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:27 AM

$500 'insult' to victim

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

James Campbell

June 01, 2008 12:50am
A PRIEST convicted of the indecent assault of a teenage girl has been fined only $500.

The Catholic Church acknowledged Father Adelrick D'Cruz abused five other girls from the same extended family, but then asked if they minded if he held a mass for their relative.

D'Cruz, of Clayton South, was convicted on May 22 of indecent assault.

He admitted attacking a 17-year-old girl who sought his help when he was a priest in Victoria's northeast in 1984.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:56 AM

Defrocked priest Shanley seeks new trial

MASSACHUSETTS
Wicked Local Braintree

By Robert Aicardi
Fri May 30, 2008, 05:38 PM EDT

Braintree -
A defrocked Roman Catholic priest at the center of the Boston clergy sex abuse scandal, who was assigned to St. Francis of Assisi Church in Braintree in the late 1960s, is seeking a new trial based on a challenge to the theory of repressed memories.

Paul Shanley, 77, is serving a 12-to-15 year sentence for repeatedly fondling and raping a boy at St. Jean’s Catholic Church in Newton in the early 1980s.

The victim, a member of the parish’s CCD class when Shanley was assigned there, said that Shanley carried out the assaults, starting when he was six, in the bathroom, the rectory, the pews, and the confessional, and his repressed memories of what happened surfaced in 2002 when the media began reporting about the abuse scandal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:45 AM

Vatican: Automatic Excommunication for Women who try Fake Ordination and the Bishops that Assist Them

ROME
LifeSite News

By Hilary White

ROME, May 30, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After years of well-publicised media stunts in which radical feminist organisations staged mock “ordinations” of women, the Vatican has ruled that these events have no religious reality and that those who participate in them, both lay and clerics, including bishops, are automatically excommunicated.

In recent years, feminists, who interpret the priesthood in political rather than religious terms, have staged a number of mock “ordination” rites as media events to attempt to force what they call the Church’s “oppressive” intractability. According to the Church’s own understanding of the meaning of the priesthood, all attempts to “ordain” women, even if they include a validly ordained Catholic bishop, are invalid, a technical term meaning lacking all objective sacramental reality.

But the new decree, issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s highest doctrinal authority under the Pope, makes clear that the act also means that those who attempt it have removed themselves “by the act” from communion with the Church. The decree says, “Both the one who attempts to confer a sacred order on a woman, and the woman who attempts to receive a sacred order, incurs excommunication latae sententiae.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:34 AM

Vatican Asserts Rule That Bars Female Priests

ROME
The New York Times

By ELISABETTA POVOLEDO
Published: May 31, 2008
ROME — The Vatican on Friday reaffirmed a ban on ordaining women as priests, warning that the consequences of any such ordination would be the automatic excommunication of anyone involved.

The decree was a reaction to specific episodes of “so-called ordinations in various parts of the world,” according to Msgr. Angelo Amato, the secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which issued the decree. In recent years, dozens of women have been ordained by individuals acting outside of the church’s authority.

The document was also drafted to give bishops uniform guidelines on an increasingly contentious matter, as a growing number of Catholics contest the church’s position that only men can be ordained as priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:32 AM

Judge throws out priest abuse lawsuit

PEORIA (IL)
The Journal Star

By ANDY KRAVETZ
of the Journal Star
Posted May 31, 2008 @ 12:41 AM

PEORIA — Another lawsuit alleging a former priest molested a young parishioner has been dismissed because it was filed too late after the alleged victim "remembered" the abuse.

Peoria County Judge Kevin Galley, who has dismissed seven similar suits for similar reasons, wrote in a five-page order this week that the suit, filed by Richard Jones, violated the state's statute of limitations.

Jones filed the case in 2007 after "rediscovering the abuse" by Monsignor Norman Goodman, who was the pastor of Holy Family Catholic Church in Lincoln in 1979 when Jones alleges he was molested when he was seven or right.

Twice, the suit had been thrown out for similar reasons but he was allowed to re-file to restate his claim. Galley's order, handed down May 28, is a final order, meaning that barring a successful appeal, the case is over.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:29 AM

Vatican moves against ordination of women

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Saturday, May 31, 2008
By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
In a decree intended to close loopholes in canon law, the Vatican has said that any attempt to ordain a woman will bring automatic excommunications that can be lifted only by Rome.

It is aimed at a number of rituals worldwide, including one in Pittsburgh in 2006, that claim to have ordained women as Catholic priests. Experts say that because canon law is designed to be flexible and to favor the accused, and because no law previously dealt explicitly with penalties for attempting to ordain a woman, this decree is intended to eliminate all wiggle room.

It was signed by Cardinal William Levada of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:23 AM

Priest's profession banned at trial

COLORADO
The Tribune

David Young, dyoung@greeleytribune.com
May 31, 2008

A priest's profession will not be referenced in his indecent exposure trial next month.

Rev. Robert Whipkey, 53, who is charged with indecent exposure for jogging naked in June 2007 in Frederick, according to police. Police said he was jogging naked in the early morning hours down a Frederick street. He told police that wearing clothes while he ran made him sweat profusely.

Friday in court, Whipkey's appearance was waived for his pre-trial readiness conference, in which Weld District Judge Timothy Kerns approved a motion to exclude any reference to Whipkey's profession as a priest during the trial because it has no bearing on the charge.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:20 AM

Anonymous man files lawsuit against priest, Wilmington diocese

DELAWARE
The News Journal

By SEAN O'SULLIVAN • The News Journal • May 31, 2008

A 58-year-old man who claims he was sexually abused as a child by a priest filed an anonymous lawsuit Friday in Kent County Superior Court against the man he says molested him and against the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington.

The "John Doe" civil action, which leaves the claimant unidentified, is believed to be the first of its kind in Delaware in a priest abuse case, according to the man's attorney, Thomas S. Neuberger.

"This case is very important because we are beginning to use John Doe plaintiffs so the victims do not have to identify themselves, add to their injury and suffer public embarrassment in revealing what occurred to them," he said.

Neuberger said he hopes the use of the "John Doe" status will encourage others to come forward before the deadline for filing retroactive abuse lawsuits expires next year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:17 AM

Vatican: Women Priests To Be Excommunicated

VATICAN CITY
PoliGazette (Netherlands)

Michael van der Galien on May 31, 2008 @ 1:24 pm CEST

Reuters reports that the Vatican has announced that women priests, and those who (try) to ordain them, will be automatically excommunicated. ‘The decree was written by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and published in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano,’ meaning that it immediately went into effect.

Excommunication means that the person cannot receive the sacraments, nor that he or she can participate in acts of public worship. For Catholics, then, excommunication is very, very serious.

According to Rev. Tom Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University, the decree ‘was meant to send a warning to the growing number of Catholics who favor admitting women to the priesthood.’ “I think the reason they’re doing this is that they’ve realized there is more and more support among Catholics for ordaining women, and they want to make clear that this is a no-no,” Reese said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:09 AM

Anti-female priests decree not based on Bible

UNITED STATES
Cincinnati Enquirer

On Thursday, Reuters reported that the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano included a decree that women priests, and those who ordain them, will automatically be excommunicated.

The Roman Catholic Church, which already bans the ordination of women priests, now forbids those who participate in such activities from receiving the sacraments or sharing in acts of public worship.

Why does the Catholic Church ban women's ordination? Because Christ chose only men for his apostolate, the pope says.

There are two serious problems with this assertion.

First, Jesus also selected women apostles. In fact, Jesus selected Mary Magdalene for his original apostle. At the tomb scene, Jesus deliberately did not appear to his male disciples, including Peter and John; he waited until they left before appearing to Mary Magdalene (John 20). Then he commissioned her to tell his followers he had appeared, making her the primary witness to the Resurrection. This transformed her into the unique role of first apostle, the earliest person sent to tell Jesus' followers he had risen from the grave. If Jesus could entrust a woman with the status of primary apostle, why can't the Vatican?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:06 AM

Vatican Says Woman Can't Be Priests & Should Stop Being So Uppity

The Spoof (satire)

(Vatican City) - The Vatican today announced that anyone attempting to ordain a woman into the priesthood would be excommunicated, as would the woman herself. The decree was signed by Cardinal William "Misogy" Levada, prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of faith, and was itself a compromise doctrine when Vatican officials realized they could no longer order people burned at the stake.

An official Church statement released Thursday by the Vatican Office of Suppression, Ignorance & Intolerance read: "Women, with their fuzzy triangles of doom, can hypnotize a man's mind, causing the blood to flow hot and the body to become tumescent. The resulting confusion causes a decrease in rational thought and an increase in wild parties, to which we never get invited. For this reason and many, many, many, many others, The Church has decreed that a woman priest is a Heretic Jezebel doomed to Hell for all Eternity, as is anyone who aids these filthy, whore-y, bitchy women. In this day and age, when all the ancient and stupid practices of the Church that we so enjoy are under increasing attack, we have decided this is where we must make our stand." ...

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:02 AM

Few details emerge in months since priest was removed

MORGAN CITY (LA)
Houma Today

JOHN DeSANTIS
Acting City Editor

MORGAN CITY -- When Jared Ribardi told authorities that the former pastor of Holy Cross Church had sexually molested him for years beginning when he was 9, the former altar boy, now 26, expected them to do something besides file a police report.

Yet little more has happened in the nine months since he made the allegations.

Detectives have yet to question the Rev. Etienne LeBlanc, who officials at the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux said is undergoing counseling at an undisclosed location out of state.

The priest was placed on administrative leave in August and removed from his post at Annunziata Catholic Church in Houma.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:57 AM

FLDS raid appears to have backfired

TEXAS
Los Angeles Times

By Miguel Bustillo and Nicholas Riccardi, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
May 31, 2008
ELDORADO, TEXAS -- As officials haggled Friday over how to return more than 400 children to their parents, it was becoming increasingly clear that Texas' audacious attempt to rein in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints had backfired -- and become a lesson in the difficulty of cracking down on the 10,000-member polygamist sect.

"If you want to make any change . . . it has to go case by case, one child at a time," said Ellen Marrus, co-director of the Center for Children, Law and Policy at the University of Houston. "It's going to be very slow."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:55 AM

Turmoil in New York archdiocese

NEW YORK
The Tablet (United Kingdom)

Rocco Palmo

CARDINAL EDWARD EGAN of New York has attempted to crack down on clergy in his archdiocese whom he accuses of making what he called "false and shameful" allegations in press reports that he is to reassign almost 10 per cent of his 470 active priests to different parishes.

His criticisms appeared in a terse one-sentence note sent to his priests that accompanied the agenda of a regular meeting of the priests' council last Thursday. The note, obtained by The Tablet, expressed the cardinal's desire "that priests serving in the archdiocese are properly informed about the false and shameful statements that have been made and reported in the media about personnel matters." Although the cardinal did not explain what the statements were, his note came a day after the New York Times and other media outlets published stories of the reshuffle. There is a history of friction between the cardinal and his priests. In this latest row, barely a month after Pope Benedict's successful visit to his archdiocese, clergy were informed of their moves in phone calls made by archdiocesan officials, rather than applying for or being asked to consider transfers. Priests spoke to the press on condition of anonymity criticising the cardinal's handling of the event. One said it had caused devastation and hurt among his fellow priests.

Of the 40 changes, several were said to involve the transfer of priests to new assignments part-way through fixed six-year terms, and in a number of instances outgoing priests reported learning of their departures in calls from their successors. Six more transfers are expected. Spring is traditionally the peak period for reassignments and retirements of clergy in American dioceses.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:51 AM

The FLDS Children Seized in Texas are in Their Own Private Gitmo

TEXAS
AlterNet

By Richard Wexler, The Nation. Posted May 31, 2008.

Foster care is a toxic intervention, to be used sparingly. In the case of the Yearning for Zion ranch, Texas prescribed megadoses of foster care.

A little boy, maybe 3 years old, walks past row after row of cots arrayed in a sports coliseum in Texas, carrying a little pillow. "I need someone to rock me," he says. "I just want to be rocked, I want to find a rocking chair." Two adults, whose job is child protection, are following him. But they make no move to comfort him. They just follow him and write in their notebooks.

Other children, with their mothers, are jammed into a building dating to the 1800s, with no air conditioning and no indoor plumbing. Chicken pox quickly spreads; many children come down with diarrhea, some are hospitalized. At night, hostile overseers keep the women awake with their loud conversations and sometimes shine lights in their eyes.

More than 400 children and their mothers endured those conditions in the first days after Texas Child Protective Services raided the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado, according to the only independent eyewitnesses -- mental health professionals brought in by the State of Texas. (Their statements were published in the Salt Lake Tribune.) The state alleges that because some of the mothers are underage, all of the girls are at risk of sexual abuse and all of the boys are at risk of being "groomed" to be abusers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 AM

Talks to return children to polygamist ranch break down

TEXAS
The Dallas Morning News

By EMILY RAMSHAW and ROBERT T. GARRETT / The Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN – An agreement to reunite children removed from a West Texas polygamist ranch with their parents fell apart at the last minute on Friday, after a district judge and attorneys for the religious sect sparred over the details.

The courtroom drama followed four hours of negotiation on a plan that would've returned the youths to the Yearning for Zion ranch starting Monday, as long as their parents agreed to keep them in Texas and fully cooperate with child welfare investigations.

Now, it's unclear when the children, separated from their parents for seven weeks, will go home and how soon a new compact can be reached.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:34 AM

DNA samples are taken from jailed leader of sect

TEXAS
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

By R.A. DYER
Star-Telegram staff writer

AUSTIN -- Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs, jailed in Arizona on several counts of incest and sexual assault of a child, has surrendered DNA samples to law enforcement officials investigating allegations of sexual conduct with underage girls at the group's West Texas compound, officials confirmed Friday.

Jeffs, 52, is revered as a prophet by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the polygamist sect embroiled in a child custody tug-of-war with Texas. The group's YFZ Ranch near Eldorado was raided by law enforcement April 3, although the Texas Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state overreached its authority by rounding up more than 400 children after allegations of child sex abuse.

A top official from the office of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott traveled to Kingman, Ariz., on Thursday to obtain DNA swabs from Jeffs as part of an investigation of claims of sexual conduct with four underage girls. At least three suspected violations occurred at the YFZ Ranch, according to a warrant provided by Abbott's office.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 AM

San Angelo judge blocks sect parents from reuniting with kids

SAN ANGELO (TX)
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

By BILL HANNA
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

SAN ANGELO -- A state district judge who had been ordered by two higher courts to send children from a polygamist sect back home refused Friday to sign an order that would have started the process of reuniting them with their parents.

The judge's unexpected move came after four hours of legal wrangling where it appeared some of the children from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) would be going home as early as Monday.

Attorneys left the courtroom scratching their heads over Judge Barbara Walther's abrupt end of the hearing.

The sticking points centered on restrictions Walther added to an order that had been agreed upon among attorneys for Child Protective Services, the parents and the children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:28 AM

CELIBACY: It's the reason fewer men want to be priests, author says

UNITED STATES
Winston-Salem Journal

By Nicole Neroulias
RELIGION NEWS SERVICE

Published: May 31, 2008

During his recent trip to America, Pope Benedict XVI attended a youth rally at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, N.Y. -- the same school where enrollment has dwindled to the point that no new prospective priests are enrolled next fall.

As the U.S. church ordains its crop of about 400 new priests in the coming weeks, church leaders hope that Benedict's words of encouragement will inspire more men to consider the priesthood.

The Rev. Donald Cozzens of John Carroll University, however, says that it will take a major change in Vatican policy on celibacy to revitalize the priesthood.

Cozzens, 69, has tracked the decline in vocations for more than 10 years, including as rector of Cleveland's St. Mary Seminary from 1995 to 2000. In his 2006 book, Freeing Celibacy, and in lectures all over the country, he argues that celibacy should be optional for Catholic priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:24 AM

The demonic Father Pfleger

CHICAGO (IL)
American Thinker

James Lewis
If you want another proof that the Catholic Church has completely lost control of its ordained priests, consider another one of Obama's mentors, one Father Michael Pfleger -- a white race-baiting Marxist. Like Rev. Wright, you have to hear the truly demonic tones in his voice --- simply reading the text isn't enough. Your inner “reading voice” just won't say it like he does. (Not unless you hear demonic voices in your head, like some paranoids and multiple personality victims.) ...

The Catholic Church has a responsibility in this matter. It has bent over backwards to protect the privacy of ordained priests who have been engaged in regular sexual abuse of children. I have not seen evidence that child abuse occurs more often among priests than in the general population. I understand the Church has its own ways of dealing with errant priests. Nevertheless, the public seems to have the accurate impression that the Church is tainted with the worst public behavior in centuries. This has done immense damage to its reputation among Catholics and the general public all around the world. The response of the Church is widely considered to be grossly inadequate, even by faithful Catholics.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:19 AM

Father Raul to return to church Sunday

MOUNTAIN HOME (ID)
Mountain Home News

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Father Raul Covarrubias will return to Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church in Mountain Home Sunday, the Diocese of Boise has said.

Father Raul was placed on administrative leave in September following allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

The church determined the allegations to be false but found evidence of other unspecified and unrelated misconduct.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:17 AM

Defying hierarchy, bishop urges change

DEDHAM (MA)
Boston Globe

By Michael Paulson
Globe Staff / May 31, 2008
DEDHAM - He is an unlikely hero for the Catholic left: a retired Australian bishop who served for years as an aide to the very conservative cardinal-archbishop of Sydney.

more stories like thisBut now Bishop Geoffrey Robinson is under investigation by the Australian bishops conference, and multiple American bishops are trying to ban him from their dioceses after he published a book suggesting the Catholic Church examine the roles that power and sex played in the clergy abuse crisis.

The Catholic left - whose weakened influence was captured in a Time magazine essay this month headlined "Is liberal Catholicism dead?" - has rallied to this little-known bishop, packing his speaking appearances and driving up sales of his book.

On Thursday night, Robinson drew a crowd of about 550 to St. Susanna Church in Dedham, which he said was the largest audience he has drawn on a US speaking tour that began earlier this month. On Wednesday night, 110 showed up to hear him speak at the Paulist Center in Boston.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:11 AM

May 30, 2008

Vatican strips ex-priests of authority

PORTLAND (ME)
Maine Today

By The Associated Press wire report
May 30, 2008 04:38 PM

PORTLAND - Two Roman Catholic priests previously removed from ministry for sexually abusing minors have been formally stripped of their authority by the Vatican, church officials said Friday.

The Diocese of Portland announced that the Vatican imposed its most severe punishment on George Beaudet, 69, and Michael Plourde, 57, both of whom were named publicly by Bishop Richard Malone last January because the Vatican investigation was progressing slowly.

Beaudet was accused and removed from ministry in 2000 because of alleged abuse dating to 1979. Additional complaints were received in 2002. Beaudet now resides out of state.

Plourde was accused by two minors in 1994 and was removed from ministry that year. The offenses occurred after Plourde returned to the ministry after undergoing counseling in 1989 because of a complaint involving sexual misconduct toward an adult. Plourde still resides in Maine.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 PM

Female Priest Excommunicated

FALLS CHURCH (VA)
WJLA

A local woman was just kicked out of the Catholic Church because she broke what's become a strict rule.

She wanted to become a priest. But the Pope says that position is for men only.

For two years, Sister Bridget Mary Meehan has been saying mass at her Falls Church home as, she claims, a Roman Catholic priest.

On Friday, the Vatican decreed that women priests and those who ordain them incur in lah-tay senten-see-yay or automatic excommunication.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 PM

Frederick priest may consider plea in nude jogging case

GREELEY (CO)
Longmont Times-Call

By Victoria A.F. Camron
Longmont Times-Call

GREELEY — A Frederick priest accused of indecent exposure may negotiate a plea deal since two court rulings did not go his way this week, his attorney said in court on Friday.

The Rev. Robert Whipkey, 54, was excused from attending Friday’s court hearing, so he did not hear Weld County Judge Timothy Kerns rule that three previous incidents of Whipkey’s being naked when the public could see him will be evidence at his trial.

“The defendant places himself in circumstances in which his nudity can be seen by others,” Kerns said.

Because Whipkey was not charged in the earlier cases, the judge had to decide if they were relevant to this case and if they would prejudice the jury against Whipkey.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:16 PM

CHURCH SCANDAL: Convicted priest target of sex abuse lawsuit

DELAWARE
The Daily Times

By The Associated Press • May 30, 2008

DOVER — A New Castle County man filed a lawsuit Friday alleging that he was sexually abused as a child by a priest already convicted of molestation.

Attorneys for the 58-year-old former Marine filed the lawsuit under the pseudonym “John Doe” to protect his identity. Named as defendants in the Kent County Superior Court lawsuit are the Diocese of Wilmington and St. John the Beloved Church in Wilmington.

The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff repeatedly was abused in the 1960s by the Rev. Francis DeLuca, when the victim was an altar boy and DeLuca was an assistant pastor at St. John.

DeLuca, 77, was sentenced by a New York judge last year to 60 days in jail for repeatedly molesting his 18-year-old grandnephew.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 PM

Another sex abuse suit against former priest http://www.wdel.com/story.php?id=429921075759

DELAWARE
WDEL

By Mellany Armstrong

Another man who says he was sexually abused by a priest when he was an altar boys in Wilmington is suing the diocese and St. John the Beloved Church.

The man, who calls himself John Doe #1 in the suit, says he was another victim of the Rev. Francis DeLuca. DeLuca was a priest at several churches in the Wilmington diocese for 31 years.

John Doe #1 says DeLuca abused him more than 40 times between 1961 and 1964 when he was an altar boy at St. John's. The 58-year-old Doe, a married U.S. Marine Corps veteran, claims the diocese covered up DeLuca's sexual abuse of young children because of a shortage of priests at that time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 PM

Childhood sexual abuse survivors need more time to begin recovery

New York
Democrat and Chronicle

Maggie Watson • Guest essayist • May 22, 2008

New Yorkers have an opportunity to make our state safer for children. S.4614 is a bill currently before the state Senate that if passed would extend the statute of limitations for the prosecution of sexual offenses against a child until that victim reaches age 28. Currently the statute of limitations runs out at age 23. However, because victims are often traumatized by someone known to them, an estimated 80 percent to 90 percent of abused children are unwilling or unable to disclose their victimization until well after they reach adulthood.

Since childhood sexual abuse survivors are more likely to do poorly in school, more likely to suffer from mental and physical illness and more likely to experience financial failure and physical injury, they need more time to begin to recover and to distance themselves from the offender.

As the law stands, we unrealistically expect survivors of sexual abuse to face their abusers in grueling court proceedings before they turn 23. In addition, children stay silent because predators use any number of trauma-inducing tactics to keep them that way. And the current law tells abusers that their methods need only be effective until their victim's 23rd birthday. Hence, not extending the law to (at least) age 28 leaves most child predators free from punishment and free to reoffend.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:09 PM

All of the state's children deserve to be protected

DELAWARE
Delaware Online

By GREGORY F. LAVELLE • May 28, 2008

Delaware's Child Victim's Act has now been in effect for almost one year.

It has allowed a number of victims of childhood sexual assault to gain access to the courts for previous assaults and more may step forward in the coming year.

Before Senate Bill 29, victims had two years from the time of an assault to file a civil action against the individuals that assaulted them and the institutions who were charged with their safety and protection.

In addition to the two-year window of opportunity to allow past victims access to the civil courts when the statute had tolled, S.B. 29 also eliminated the civil statute of limitations for future assaults.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:06 PM

Polygamist linked to other underage cases

TEXAS
United Press International

SAN ANGELO , Texas, May 30 (UPI) -- Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs faces new accusations related to child brides in a search warrant for his DNA, officials say.

Jeffs, in jail in Arizona on sexual assault and other charges, was brought into the Texas polygamist story with the DNA request. The number of young girls he allegedly was involved with has been growing as the story grows.

In the warrant, Jeffs was said to have "sexually assaulted a 12-year-old child ... on or about July 27, 2006, in Schleicher County, Texas," reported the Deseret News, which obtained a copy.

A DNA sample was collected from Jeffs at the Mohave County Jail in Kingman, Ariz., the News said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:57 PM

New suit alleges abuse by priest

DELAWARE
The News Journal

By SEAN O’SULLIVAN • The News Journal • May 30, 2008

An unnamed victim of child sexual abuse by a priest filed an anonymous lawsuit in Kent County Superior Court this morning against the priest and the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington.

The “John Doe” civil action is believed to be the first of its kind in Delaware in a priest abuse case, according to the man’s attorney, Thomas S. Neuberger.

“This case is very important because we are beginning to use John Doe plaintiffs so the victims do not have to identify themselves, add to their injury and suffer public embarrassment in revealing what occurred to them,” he said. ...

According to Neuberger, Doe is now 58 and was abused by now-retired Rev. Francis DeLuca at St. John the Beloved Church from 1961 to 1964 when he was an altar boy and DeLuca was an assistant pastor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:08 PM

FLDS: Polygamist sect practices

TEXAS
Miami Herald

Carolyn Jessop fears for her life and the survival of her eight children. "Ugly realities" highlight her first-person account of a life inside a religious cult known as the Fundamentalist of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS). ...

It is a sin for a woman to talk about abuse, if she is being abused, it is because she is not in harmony with her husband.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:06 PM

FLDS children could be returned to parents starting Monday

TEXAS
The Salt Lake Tribune

By Brooke Adams and Julie Lyon
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 05/30/2008 01:32:13 PM MDT

SAN ANGELO, Texas - Attorneys are reviewing a Texas Child Protective Services proposal that could return FLDS children to their parents starting Monday and continuing through June 6.
There are conditions: While all the children can return to the polygamous sect's YFZ Ranch in Eldorado they cannot leave Texas and parents must take parenting classes. CPS workers also must have access to residences on the ranch, and residents must provide an ID and have a photo taken.
The Texas Supreme Court on Thursday backed a May 22 decision from the Third Court of Appeals that found the state did not have proof that all 450-some FLDS children were imminent danger of abuse that justified keeping them out of their homes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:02 PM

Texas, polygamists reach tentative deal

TEXAS
KXAN

[with video]

SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) -- Texas authorities and a polygamist sect have reached a tentative agreement to begin returning children taken by the state starting Monday.

A draft agreement released in court by Texas Child Protective Services attorney Gary Banks on Friday said the parents can get their children back after showing identifications and pledging to take parenting classes and remain in Texas.

The agreement was reached with the 38 mothers of the 124 children who filed the complaint that prompted the Texas Supreme Court to rule Thursday that the state overstepped its authority in taking more than 400 children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:39 PM

AP: Vatican 'Slamming the Door' on Female Priests

NewsBusters

By Ken Shepherd | May 30, 2008 - 13:08 ET

According to the Associated Press, the Vatican is "slamming the door on attempts by women to become priests in the Roman Catholic Church." But it's rather hard to slam shut a door that was never open, which is what Catholic Church teaching holds about women serving in the priesthood.

From a May 30 article entitled "Vatican: excommunication for female priests" (paragraph break removed):

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican is slamming the door on attempts by women to become priests in the Roman Catholic Church. It has strongly reiterated in a decree that anyone involved in ordination ceremonies is automatically excommunicated. A top Vatican official said in a statement Friday that the church acted following what it called "so-called ordinations" in various parts of the world.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:35 PM

Conference examines how clergy abuse is handled by dioceses worldwide

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

By Dennis Sadowski
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Father Joe Mathias sat and listened, scribbling notes at times, paying careful attention to Teresa Kettelkamp, executive director of the U.S. bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection.

Kettelkamp was talking about the latest efforts by dioceses across the country to protect children from abuse. For the Jesuit priest from India, it was an education.

As the Indian Catholic Church's lone representative at Anglophone Conference 2008 May 27-30, Father Mathias took in all he could during the gathering of 40 church representatives from English-speaking countries who handle allegations of child sexual abuse and oversee child protection programs in their home dioceses.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:33 PM

DNA taken from FLDS 'prophet' in criminal probe

TEXAS
CNN

SAN ANGELO, Texas (CNN) -- Texas authorities say they have collected DNA swabs from jailed polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs in connection with a criminal investigation involving "spiritual marriages" to girls as young as 12.

The samples were collected Thursday from Jeffs, the 52-year-old "prophet" of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said Jerry Strickland, spokesman for the Texas Attorney General's Office.

A search warrant for the DNA alleges that Jeffs had so-called "spiritual" marriages with four girls, ages 12 to 15, The Associated Press reported.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:30 PM

Teams ready to help

WORCESTER (MA)
The Catholic Free Press

By Tanya Connor

WORCESTER – Transition teams have met with members of closing and welcoming parishes. The diocesan Office for Divine Worship is preparing to help them move liturgical items to their new homes and is asking parishes across the diocese to pray for them.

These are among ways the diocese is helping parishes in transition, according to Deacon Anthony R. Surozenski, a member of the Pastoral Planning Committee, and Father Robert K. Johnson, director of the Office for Worship.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:26 PM

Safe Environments: What Virtus Won’t Tell You…

UNITED STATES
love your family

by Christopher Manion

The USCCB has announced that April is “National Child Abuse Prevention Month.” In the spirit of the season, I took a look at the web site of Virtus, a “safe environment” program required by over a hundred U.S. Catholic dioceses.Virtus is a program of The National Catholic Risk Retention Group (NCRRG). And what is NCRRG? An insurance company. Now, no responsible insurance executive will inaugurate a program that collides with the interests of his shareholders or his clients. So who are NCRRG’s shareholders? Bishops. And who are the clients? Bishops and archbishops - 66 of them, according to its web site, which helpfully explains, “National Catholic is owned and ultimately managed by its Shareholders. Company policies are therefore established by Shareholders for the benefit of Shareholders.”

Well, you’d think that language was as plain as day, but Virtus “trainers” are apparently trained not to talk about it. Three years ago, the Diocese of Arlington, Va., began requiring Virtus, along with mandatory criminal background checks, of the faithful. Fr. Terry Specht, the chancery’s “safe environment” official, assured a parish assembly, “I’ve had this job for a year and I’ve never hear that word, ‘liability,’ used once.” But at the same time, Fr. Specht was requiring over 10,000 of Arlington’s Catholics to be fingerprinted and to sign hard-nosed waivers absolving the diocese of any liability. Today, three years later, he still does.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:37 AM

WHY IS AN AMERICAN CARDINAL TRYING TO MUZZLE AN AUSTRALIAN BISHOP?

CALIFORNIA
Neil McKenty Weblog

The Australian bishop whose “devastating critique” of sex abuse in the Church (Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church: reclaiming the Spirit of Jesus) became a controversial bestseller last year has come under fire from the American hierarchy at the start of a month-long US tour.

Retired Sydney Auxiliary Bishop Geoffrey Robinson was “den[ied] permission ” to speak in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles by Cardinal Roger Mahony after a statement from the Australian bishops cited “doctrinal difficulties” in Bishop Robinson’s “questioning of the authority of the Church.”

Cardinal Mahony wrote to Bishop Robinson warning him to “cancel the entire speaking tour.” The tour which began in Philadelphia includes stops in New York, Seattle, San Diego and Boston. Bishop Robinson is scheduled to speak in suburban Encino on June 12.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:29 AM

Vatican: Attempted ordination of women incurs excommunication

VATICAN CITY
Catholic Courier

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican's doctrinal congregation has decreed formally that a woman who attempts to be ordained a Catholic priest and the person attempting to ordain her are automatically excommunicated.

"Both the one who attempts to confer a sacred order on a woman, and the woman who attempts to receive a sacred order, incur an excommunication 'latae sententiae,'" or automatically, said a decree from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The brief "General Decree Regarding the Delict of Attempted Sacred Ordination of a Woman" was published on the front page of the May 30 edition of L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper. It said it "comes into force immediately."

U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada, prefect of the congregation, who signed the decree, said it was published "in order to protect the nature and validity" of the sacrament of holy orders.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:20 AM

Name, shame sex offenders

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

Derryn Hinch

May 31, 2008 12:00am
IT is more than 20 years since I went to jail, first to Pentridge then Morwell, for being in contempt of court after trying to alert parents to the predatory behaviour of evil priest Michael Glennon.

His victims included teenage boys who attended his karate school and his camps in Lancefield and a 10-year-old girl he raped.

Despite time in jail for that crime, he remained a Catholic priest for years.

I have thought about that a lot in recent days as this newspaper has gone to court - on your behalf -- to try to get suppression orders lifted that are protecting the identities of a serial rapist, who once terrorised this city and may again, and one of the worst recidivist pedophiles in this country's history.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:51 AM

Sex abuse victims respond to predator priest's appeal

BOSTON (MA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Everyone is of course entitled to his or her legal rights, but this maneuver will only cause more harm to those who've already been harmed by the crimes of Paul Shanley and the complicity of his Catholic supervisors.

We grieve for Shanley's victims and for their families who have already suffered so much, so long and so severely.

This is, of course, typical predator behavior: trying to exploit every imaginable legal technicality possible. We hope he doesn't succeed. Kids are safer when predators like Shanley are behind bars.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:31 AM

SNAP Press Statement

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Our hearts ache for the caring parishioners at St. Stan's. Their real crime, in the eyes of the hierarchy, is refusing to bow to a ruthless archbishop.

It's very telling that Burke excommunicates well-intentioned lay people but hasn't ever even tried to excommunicate a single pedophile priest or even discipline a single corrupt church supervisor.

This case shows, just like Jason Berry's documentary 'Vows of Silence' shows, there's no real justice in the Vatican's so-called 'justice system.'

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:25 AM

Catholic churches to learn their fates

ALLENTOWN (PA)
The Morning Call

By Daniel Patrick Sheehan | Of The Morning Call
May 30, 2008
This Sunday promises to be an emotional one for Catholics in the Diocese of Allentown, as they learn the fate of their churches during liturgies that will be tailored to ease hard feelings and encourage unity.

An unknown number of churches will vanish as the five-county diocese restructures itself to deal with shifting populations, fewer priests and other demographic pressures that have left some churches virtually empty.

The announcements are expected to hit especially hard in Carbon and Schuylkill counties, home to dozens of ethnic churches founded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to serve immigrant populations. Their prevalence, proximity and small membership relative to suburban parishes make them especially vulnerable to closure.

Catholics in the Schuylkill County borough of Mc-Adoo, for instance, already know their Polish, Italian, Slovak and Irish churches will be folded into a single parish. They'll find out Sunday which building will survive to serve the community.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:10 AM

Vatican sends threat over women priests

ROME
CNN

From CNN Bureau Chief Alessio Vinci

ROME, Italy (CNN) -- The Vatican announced Thursday in a general decree that it will excommunicate anyone who would attempt to ordain a woman as a priest and the woman herself.

According to the decree, the excommunications would take place with immediate effect.

The decree was signed by Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith.

It was not persuasive to Regina Nicolosi, a program coordinator for Roman Catholic Womenpriests (sic), who was ordained two years ago.

"We have come not to take that too seriously," said Nicolosi, a 66-year-old married mother and grandmother who lives in Red Wing, Minnesota, and said her group is composed of 40 to 50 women priests, none of whom are recognized by the church hierarchy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:08 AM

Allentown Diocese: Restructuring of Schuylkill County parishes to be announced this weekend

ALLENTOWN (PA)
Republican Herald

BY LESLIE RICHARDSON
STAFF WRITER
lrichardson@republicanherald.com
Published: Friday, May 30, 2008 5:57 AM EDT

The wait may soon be over.

On Thursday, the Diocese of Allentown announced that details of the long-awaited consolidation of parishes will be released this weekend.

Starting Saturday evening at Masses across the diocese, priests will read letters from the Most Rev. Edward P. Cullen, bishop of Allentown, according to Matt Kerr, director of communications for the Roman Catholic diocese.

Each restructuring plan was developed by one of 33 Deanery Region Committees across the diocese and reviewed by the Diocesan Pastoral Council and the Council of Priests. Restructuring plans were made on a region-by-region basis and not all have been approved, so it was unclear what parts of Schuylkill County will be discussed in the bishop’s letters. The bishop is not expecting recommendations from some regions for several months.

However, in those churches that have been marked for closure, parishioners will learn the date this weekend. Cullen directed every Mass this weekend to include special scripture readings and prayers to help worshippers with the process.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:05 AM

Vatican: excommunication for female priests

VATICAN CITY
The Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican is slamming the door on attempts by women to become priests in the Roman Catholic Church. It has strongly reiterated in a decree that anyone involved in ordination ceremonies is automatically excommunicated.

A top Vatican official said in a statement Friday that the church acted following what it called "so-called ordinations" in various parts of the world.

Monsignor Angelo Amato of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith says the Vatican also wants to provide bishops with a clear response on the issue.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:03 AM

Women priests face excommunication

VATICAN CITY
United Pres International

VATICAN CITY, May 30 (UPI) -- The Vatican has announced it would excommunicate from the Catholic church anyone who would ordain a woman as a priest along with the woman herself.

The general decree said the excommunications would be effective immediately, CNN reported Friday.

The decree, announced Thursday, probably won't be taken seriously by some, said Regina Nicolosi, a program coordinator for Roman Catholic Womenpriests, who was ordained two years ago. She said her organization counts as members between 40 and 50 women priests, none recognized by the church's leadership.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:58 AM

Hear what Roger Mahony does not want you to hear. Bishop who confronts sex and crime in the Catholic Church will appear in LA June 12

LOS ANGELES (CA)
City of Angels

[with link to Cardinal Mahony's letter]

By Kay Ebeling

What a clear and direct opening paragraph: “Sexual abuse of minors by a significant number of priests, together with the attempts by many church authorities to conceal the abuse, constitute one of the ugliest stories ever to emerge from the Catholic Church. It is hard to imagine a more total contradiction of everything Jesus Christ stood for, and it would be difficult to overestimate the pervasive and lasting harm it has done to the Church.”

The book quoted above caused Roger Mahony to write: “I am hereby requesting that you cancel your visit to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Canon 763 makes it clear that the Diocesan Bishop must safeguard the preaching of God’s Word in his own Diocese. Under the provisions of Canon 763, I hereby deny you permission to speak in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.” -- Signed His Eminence, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles, May 9, 2008.

Showing all the respect due Roger Mahony when it comes to the issue of predator priests, Bishop Geoffrey Robinson from Australia, pictured above, will be speaking and signing his book, Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church, in Los Angeles June 12th at 7:00 PM , in the ballroom at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel near Fox Hills Mall, Culver City, 7:00 PM, admission free, $4 to park or you can take the 439 bus like me.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 AM

from New Catholic Times, Canada…

AUSTRALIA
Catholica

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson has certainly been generating plenty of media coverage from his speaking tour in North America. Our colleagues, Ted Schmidt and John Quinn at New Catholic Times Sensus Fidelium in Toronto, Canada, report that the Archbishop of Toronto has now attempted to obstruct Bishop Robinson from speaking in his Archdiocese. Bishop Robinson is persisting though in his quest to have the issues of power and sex discussed openly and sensibly in the Church. These articles by the editor of New Catholic Times, Ted Schmidt, and John Quinn is how they are reporting the developments in Canada.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:48 AM

Jeffs's wedding pictures disgust

CANADA
Vancouver Sun

Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun
Published: Friday, May 30, 2008
The idea of child brides is disgusting, but seeing photographs of 12- and 14-year-olds with their adult husbands is stomach-churning.

That's why Elissa Wall passed out photos of her 14-year-old self after testifying against Warren Jeffs, the prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, last September.

If not for her, Jeffs might still be marrying young girls. Instead, he is serving two consecutive terms of five years to life and preparing to go to trial on similar charges in Arizona later this year or early next year when, once again, Wall will be the key witness.

Yet even while he sits in jail, Jeffs's sermons form the basis of the religious instruction at Bountiful elementary-secondary school, which is both accredited and funded by the B.C. government.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 AM

Former Cleveland Bishop Anthony Pilla testifies in diocese kickback trial

CLEVELAND (OH)
The Plain Dealer

Friday, May 30, 2008
John Caniglia
Plain Dealer Reporter

Retired Bishop Anthony Pilla testified Thursday that he was stunned when an anonymous letter accused Joseph Smith, one of his closest friends and advisers, of fleecing the Cleveland Catholic Diocese out of $784,000 through an elaborate kickback scheme.

"My reaction was disbelief and secondly shock," Pilla said. "That was not the person I knew. Why was I shocked? We had a close relationship. I trusted him, for good reason."

Pilla, looking pale and tired, testified in U.S. District Court for three hours in the second week of Smith's trial on charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, money laundering and filing false tax returns.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:33 AM

Anglicans prepare for more abuse compo claims

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

The Anglican Church could face more compensation claims as a result of the Mullighan Inquiry into abused state wards in South Australia.

End of year financial documents reveal the church paid more than $700,000 to sexual abuse victims last year.

But the documents say "it is uncertain whether any part of these paid claims or the future potential claims paid may be covered by insurance".

A meeting of Anglicans tomorrow in Adelaide will be told future claims could cost the church $2 million.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:25 AM

Polygamists Gain Custody of Children

TEXAS
Wall Street Journal

By STEPHANIE SIMON and ANN ZIMMERMAN
May 30, 2008; Page A3

Texas authorities prepared to return hundreds of children seized from a polygamist ranch after the state Supreme Court ruled that child-welfare authorities were wrong to have separated the children from their parents.

The Texas Supreme Court let stand an appellate ruling that the state acted illegally in taking custody last month of 468 children from the Yearning for Zion ranch in Eldorado.

"Removal of the children was not warranted," the justices wrote.

Texas Child Protective Services spokesman Patrick Crimmins said the agency would "prepare for the prompt and orderly reunification of these children with their families."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:21 AM

Polygamist sect's kids could be returned within days

TEXAS
The Dallas Morning News

By ROBERT T. GARRETT and EMILY RAMSHAW / The Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN – Children removed from a West Texas polygamist ranch could be heading home within days, after Texas' highest court ruled against the state in a massive child custody case Thursday.

The Texas Supreme Court said in an unsigned opinion that Child Protective Services' removal of children was "not warranted." It left intact an appellate court's finding that CPS hadn't proved the children were in immediate danger and failed to fully explore alternatives to removing them. The appellate court had ordered Judge Barbara Walther of San Angelo to vacate her orders putting sect children in CPS custody.

The Supreme Court said that Judge Walther still has tools at her disposal to protect kids, even if she releases all of the more than 450 children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:18 AM

Texas Supreme Court: CPS overstepped its bounds in polygamy sect case

TEXAS
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

By JOHN MORITZ
Star-Telegram staff writer

AUSTIN -- In a stinging rebuke to the agency charged with protecting youngsters, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Child Protective Services overreached its authority when it seized more than 460 youngsters from a polygamist outpost near Eldorado last month.

The much-awaited ruling chides the agency for failing to pursue less drastic remedies to ensure that the children at the YFZ (Yearning For Zion) Ranch were not being subjected to what state welfare officials described as a culture of sexual abuse that dates back several generations within the Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS).

"On the record before us, removal of the children was not warranted," the justices wrote in the ruling. "The Department [CPS] argues without explanation that [returning the children to their families] leaves the Department unable to protect the children's safety, but the Family Code gives [the state] broad authority to protect children short of separating them from their families and placing them in foster care."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:14 AM

Milford man charged in sexual abuse of girl in 1990s

MILFORD (DE)
CBS 3

MILFORD, Del. (AP) Delaware State Police have charged a Milford man for repeatedly sexually abusing a girl during a more than 3-year span in the early 1990s.

Sixty-five-year-old William Tucker faces 131 criminal counts. The victim told investigators the abuse happened when she was 9 to 12 years old, while she was living near Harrington. ...

Milford police seized letters from the Lighthouse Christian Center Church that corroborated the woman's accounts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Students' video tells tale of Los Angeles school and its closing

CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles Times

By Carla Rivera, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
May 30, 2008
It was midday on Oct. 5 at Daniel Murphy Catholic High School when a voice on the public address system directed students at the all-boys campus to report to the chapel.

Senior Bryce Vinson, 17, thought it must be something routine; maybe someone had pulled the fire alarm. Gregory George, 18, noticed the principal and several teachers crying and got a strange sensation. James Ward, 17, recalls saying to a friend, "What if they're closing the school?"

Enrollment had been declining for years as operating costs had increased, officials of the Los Angeles Archdiocese said. Keeping the school open was untenable.

The chapel went silent, the students recalled. It felt like a "slap in the face," James Ward said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:07 AM

DANIEL MURPHY SCHOOL SET TO CLOSE

CALIFORNIA
Larchmont Chronicle

Suzan Filipek

DANIEL MURPHY High School bell ring for the last time on June 6.

After 82 years of various religious education on the Third and Detroit streets site, the L.A. Catholic Archdiocese is poised to sell Daniel Murphy High School.The last day of school is at the end of student finals Fri., June 6.

The decision to close the boys’ school at 241 S. Detroit St. was made amid declining enrollment and the high cost of clergy abuse scandals, said Archdiocese spokesman Tom Tamberg. Future plans for the property have not been determined, he added.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

The settlement’s non-monetary measures

DAVENPORT (IA)
The Catholic Messenger

Here is the list of non-monetary measures that are a part of the Diocese of Davenport’s bankruptcy settlement. All actions are to take place within 30 days after the effective date, unless otherwise noted:
• Publicly release the names of all perpetrators responsible for abuse.
• For a period of at least nine years after the effective date, the diocese will post on its Web site a prominent link on the home page to the names of all known perpetrators, including deceased perpetrators and those previously listed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

Spokesman: Pope's Relationship With Press Growing

CANADA
Zenit

TORONTO, MAY 29, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Three years after his election to the See of Peter, Benedict XVI's relationship with the press has markedly developed, and the Pope's U.S. trip reflects the newness, said the Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, this change is due in large part to the Holy Father's positive vision of the press and the service it offers.

The spokesman affirmed this today at 2008 Catholic Media Convention taking place in Toronto, Canada, through Friday, on the theme "Proclaim It From the Rooftops." ...

Father Lombardi, who also directs Vatican Radio and Vatican Television, revealed elements of this attitude. He noted that, like Pope John Paul II, Benedict XVI meets with the press directors after each of his trips to evaluate the impact his message has had.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 AM

Mass by bishop focuses on 'sin of sexual abuse'

PORTLAND (ME)
Morning Sentinel

BY KELLEY BOUCHARD
Blethen Maine Newspapers

Maine's Roman Catholic bishop prayed Thursday for God's forgiveness for the "horrific sin of sexual abuse" by clergy.

During a special Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, Bishop Richard Malone encouraged all members of the Diocese of Maine to strive to make sure the church is the "safest, most secure of environments" and worthy of parents' trust.

He also urged victims to report sexual abuse to church officials or legal authorities, saying that no pain is deeper than abuse by a representative of the church.

"Come to me when you feel ready to do that," Malone said during his homily.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 AM

Ex-priest's request for new trial assailed

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

By Denise Lavoie
Associated Press / May 30, 2008
Advocates for victims of clergy sexual abuse said yesterday that they were outraged that a priest at the center of the Boston clergy sex abuse scandal is seeking a new trial, based on a challenge to the theory of repressed memories.

Former priest Paul Shanley, 77, is serving a 12-to-15-year sentence for repeatedly raping and fondling a boy at a Newton parish in the 1980s. The victim testified that his repressed memories of the event surfaced in 2002.

Shanley was in Suffolk Superior Court yesterday for a hearing on his motion for a new trial, during which his new lawyer, Robert Shaw Jr., argued that the theory of repressed memories was "junk science."

Shaw said Shanley's trial lawyer failed to vigorously challenge the theory during his trial. "Paul Shanley, just like any other citizen, is entitled to a fair trial," he said.

Mitchell Garabedian, the Boston lawyer who represented more than 100 clergy abuse victims who reached civil settlements with the Boston archdiocese, said he has been flooded with calls about Shanley's motion for a new trial.

"The victims [are] outraged that Father Shanley might have any possibility of having a new trial," Garabedian said. "The victims desperately want closure."

Robert Costello, a Norwood man who said he was sexually abused by another priest during the late 1960s and early 1970s, said he attended the hearing to remind Shanley about the victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:55 AM

Albany priest, diocese sued

NEW YORK
Renew America

[with text of the lawsuit]

Matt C. Abbott
May 30, 2008

The following lawsuit was filed May 23, 2008 against Father Gary Mercure, Bishop Howard Hubbard and the Albany Catholic diocese.

Several years ago, Father Mercure gave pornographic photos of himself to John Watkins, the plaintiff, who alleges that the priest manipulated him into a sexual relationship.

The Albany diocese has a history of dissent and corruption, culminating in the 2004 apparent suicide of whistleblower priest Father John Minkler.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

3 more claim sex abuse by priest in 1950s

LACEY (WA)
The Olympian

By Jeremy Pawloski | The Olympian • Published May 30, 2008

Three men allege in a civil lawsuit filed Wednesday that they were sexually abused as boys by a Catholic priest at the former Saint Martin's High School in Lacey in the mid- to late 1950s.

It is the second lawsuit filed this year alleging sexual abuse by Father Leonard Feeney, who died in 1980. Both suits were filed by Seattle attorney James S. Rogers.

"All three came forward separately after the first lawsuit was filed because they, too, were victims of the same priest," Rogers said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:44 AM

May 29, 2008

The Catholic Diocese of Orange's History Book Is Pretty-and Pretty Pathetic

ORANGE COUNTY (CA)
Orange County Weekly

By GUSTAVO ARELLANO
Thursday, May 29, 2008 - 3:00 pm

Loose Canon
The Catholic Diocese of Orange’s history book is pretty—and pretty pathetic

The fun never stops with Catholic Diocese of Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown. Last week, attorneys filed another lawsuit alleging the Church protected Jeff Andrade, the former Mater Dei High School assistant boys’ basketball coach who admitted to having sex with a student during the 1990s. The week before that, Brown wrote a letter to former Bishop of Sydney Geoffrey Robinson—a clerical sex-abuse survivor and fierce critic of the Vatican’s pedo-priest cover-up—to cancel his scheduled June 11 speech at the Costa Mesa Community Center because the visit would be “a source of disunity and a cause for confusion among the faithful of our local church of Orange.” But that’s not the most important thing on His Eminence’s mind right now—like yours truly, he wants you to buy his book!

For the past couple of months, the Orange diocese’s website and various church bulletins have urged the faithful to purchase Diocese of Orange: Learning, Loving, Living our Faith, a history of the second-largest diocese west of the Mississippi, written by priest William Krekelberg and diocesan chancellor Shirl Giacomi. As a history, Diocese of Orange is structured to interweave the growth of Orange County with the expansion of the Church. It starts with the 1769 baptism of two Indian girls (forever ungrammatically memorialized in Orange County topography by Cristianitos Road) by the Gaspar de Portola expedition, sent forth by Father Junipero Serra as scouts for the coming Mission San Juan Capistrano. After a couple of pages focusing on the Mission days, the book breezes through nearly a century of history in about 20 pages—understandable, since the Diocese of Orange wasn’t spun off from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles until 1976.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:53 PM

Priest calls on pope to lift celibacy requirement

UNITED STATES
The Dallas Morning News

2:33 PM Thu, May 29, 2008
Bruce Tomaso

The Rev. Donald Cozzens is a Catholic priest who teaches at John Carroll University, a Jesuit school outside Cleveland.

For years he has tracked the decline in the number of Catholic priests. He says that for every 100 U.S. priests who die, retire or otherwise leave ministry, fewer than 35 new ones are ordained.

The solution, he argues, is to end the church's celibacy requirement. (He wrote a 2006 book on the subejct, called "Freeing Celibacy.")

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:50 PM

Lawyer for ex-priest questions repressed memory science

BOSTON (MA)
Daily News Tribune

By Kerri Roche/Daily News staff
Daily News Tribune
Posted May 29, 2008 @ 09:09 PM

BOSTON — The decision to grant a new trial for a defrocked priest convicted of repeatedly raping a young boy is in the hands of a judge who was asked yesterday to reconsider the "junk science" central to the trial.

Robert F. Shaw, the attorney for former Newton priest Paul Shanley, asked Superior Court Judge Stephen Neel to re-examine the validity of repressed memory syndrome. Neel presided over Shanley's original trial.

Shanley, 77, is serving 12 to 15 years in Old Colony Correctional Center, following his 2005 conviction in Middlesex Superior Court on two counts of rape of a child and two counts of indecent assault and battery upon a child.

The former priest once hailed for his ability to reach out to troubled youth entered the packed courtroom yesterday shackled at the ankles and wrists, wearing a white shirt and light-colored jeans.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:46 PM

BREAKING NEWS: Allentown Diocese to announce restructuring plans at churches this weekend

PENNSYLVANIA
Republican Herald

From Staff Reports
Published: Thursday, May 29, 2008 9:53 PM EDT

This weekend, at churches throughout the Diocese of Allentown, letters from the Most Reverend Edward P. Cullen, D.D., Bishop of Allentown, will be read detailing restructuring plans, a press release from the diocese Office of Communications said Thursday.

The plans will also be posted on the Diocese Web site, www.allentowndiocese.org, after 12 p.m. on Sunday.

Each restructuring plan was developed by one of the 33 Deanery Region Committees across the Diocese and reviewed by the Diocesan Pastoral Council and the Council of Priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:44 PM

Defrocked priest Shanley seeks new trial

BOSTON (MA)
NECN

[with video]

(Greg Wayland, NECN: Boston, Mass.) - Defrocked priest Paul Shanley, 77, is seeking a new trial based on a challenge to the theory of repressed memories. Advocates for clergy sex abuse victims are outraged.

Shanley was in Suffolk Superior Court Thursday for a hearing on his motion to dismiss. His new lawyer argued that the theory of repressed memories was "junk science."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:13 PM

Victims advocates protest priest's bid for new trial

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

By Denise Lavoie
AP Legal Affairs Writer / May 29, 2008
BOSTON—Advocates for clergy sex abuse victims said Thursday that they were outraged that a priest at the center of the Boston clergy sex abuse scandal is seeking a new trial, based on a challenge to the theory of repressed memories.

Defrocked priest Paul Shanley, 77, is serving a 12- to 15-year sentence for repeatedly raping and fondling a boy at a Newton parish in the 1980s. The victim testified that his repressed memories of the event surfaced in 2002.

Shanley was in Suffolk Superior Court on Thursday for a hearing on his motion for a new trial, during which his new lawyer, Robert Shaw Jr., argued that the theory of repressed memories was "junk science." ...

Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who represented more than 100 clergy abuse victims who reached civil settlements with the Boston Archdiocese, said he has been flooded with calls about Shanley's motion for a new trial.

"The victims outraged that Father Shanley might have any possibility of having a new trial," Garabedian said. "The victims desperately want closure."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 PM

Retired bishop testifies in church kickback case

CLEVELAND (OH)
WTOL

Associated Press - May 29, 2008 6:15 PM ET

CLEVELAND (AP) - The retired Roman Catholic bishop of Cleveland has testified at the trial of a former top church accountant accused of receiving $785,000 in kickbacks.

Bishop Anthony M. Pilla (PIHL'-uh) testified Thursday that he was unaware of any such backdoor payments by outside contractors. He called the defendant, 51-year-old Joseph Smith, a highly valued and respected co-worker and said he was shocked to learn of the alleged kickbacks.

The defense says the alleged payments were part of a pattern of secret church accounts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:47 PM

Recent Decisions of the Holy See Regarding Saint Stanislaus Kostka Corporation

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis

The following is the text of Archbishop Rayond L. Burke's weekly column in the St. Louis Review, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. This column will be published in the May 30 edition of the newspaper.

Introduction
On December 15th of 2005, I was obliged to declare the excommunication of the members of the Board of Directors of Saint Stanislaus Kostka Corporation because of their persistence in schism. The members of the Board had committed the most grievous delict of schism by hiring a suspended priest, that is, a priest not in good standing in the Church, for the purpose of attempting to celebrate the sacraments and sacramentals at Saint Stanislaus Kostka Church, all outside of the communion of the Catholic Church. The priest in question, the Reverend Marek B. Bozek, a priest of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, had left his priestly assignment against the expressed will of his bishop, Bishop John Leibrecht, in order to be hired by the Board of Directors of Saint Stanislaus Kostka Corporation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:30 PM

Former Springfield priest excommunicated

ST. LOUIS (MO)
News-Leader

Linda Leicht • News-Leader • May 29, 2008

The Vatican has ruled that the six members of the board of directors of St. Stanislaus Catholic church in St. Louis and their priest committed the act of schism two and a half years ago and are excommunicated, the Archdiocese of St. Louis Web site announced Wednesday.

The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had considered an appeal of a Dec. 15, 2005, declaration of excommunication by St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke after the board refused to turn over ownership of its property to the archdiocese and then independently hired a priest.

That priest, Marek Bozek, was assigned to the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau in 2005, when he left his position at St. Agnes Cathedral in Springfield to take the job as priest of the historically Polish parish. Bozek is a native of Poland.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:26 PM

Supreme Texas Win for FLDS Moms: State Shouldn’t Have Taken 400-Plus Kids

TEXAS
ABA Journal

[with links to majority and separate opinions]

By Martha Neil

Updated: Texas illegally removed more than 400 children from a ranch run by a religious sect that advocates polygamy and sent them to foster homes last month, a majority of the Texas Supreme Court decided today.

The ruling is a stunning victory for about 40 mothers and their roughly 126 children, who were represented by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid attorneys, reports the Houston Chronicle. However, although the court's decision directly applies to only these families, "it is expected to apply to all of the children because of a San Angelo judge's global order last month that gave the state broad custody of minors taken from the Yearning for Zion Ranch near Eldorado," the newspaper writes.

"On the record before us, removal of the children was not warranted," the supreme court writes in a brief per curiam majority opinion. It points out, however, that "while the district court must vacate the current temporary custody orders as directed by the court of appeals, it need not do so without granting other appropriate relief to protect the children, as the mothers involved in this proceeding concede in response to the Department’s motion for emergency relief. The court of appeals’ decision does not conclude the ... proceedings."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:22 PM

persons, places and things: Holy Spirit lifts cloud

DAVENPORT (IA)
Catholic Messenger

By Barb Arland-Fye

Remember that character from the Charlie Brown comic strip, who always had a dark cloud hanging over his head?
It seems like that same cloud emerged over the Diocese of Davenport in 2002, when the national crisis in the Catholic Church swept into our diocese, too.
The dark cloud expanded into a fog when the diocese filed for bankruptcy in 2006, after a jury awarded $1.5 million to Michl Uhde, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse, and more lawsuits were waiting in the wings.
The sense of misery was palpable. Survivors of abuse were struggling to come to terms with what had happened to them so many years ago. The memories had been too painful to deal with and had been locked away.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:06 PM

Mass offers prayers for abuse victims

PORTLAND (ME)
Portland Press Herald

By Portland Press Herald Staff Report
May 29, 2008 09:50 AM

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland will be a place of prayer today for those who were abused by members of clergy.

Bishop Richard Malone has designated today as a day of prayer and penance for harm done to survivors and the faithful by past incidents of clergy sexual abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:00 PM

Victims advocates protest Paul Shanley’s bid for new trial

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Herald

By Associated Press
Thursday, May 29, 2008

Advocates for clergy sex abuse victims are outraged that a priest convicted of repeatedly raping and fondling a boy at a Newton parish in the 1980s is asking for a new trial.

Defrocked priest Paul Shanley was in Suffolk Superior Court on Thursday for a hearing on his motion for a new trial. Shanley’s new lawyer is challenging the repressed memories of Shanley’s accuser.

Shanley’s accuser testified that Shanley repeatedly pulled him out of catechism class and raped and fondled him, beginning when he was 6 years old.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:58 PM

CPS Loses Appeal To Texas Supreme Court Over Polygamist Children

TEXAS
KLTV

The Texas Supreme Court has upheld the decision of a lower court finding that CPS had no legal grounds to remove more than 400 FLDS children from their parents.

Though CPS could still appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, this ruling essentially says that those children should be returned to their parents.

Parents and lawyers have been anxiously awaiting a ruling from the high court since the lower court said child welfare officials were wrong to take the children from their parents.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:56 PM

FLDS update: Texas Supreme Court lets ruling stand to return sect children to parents

SAN ANGELO (TX)
The Salt Lake Tribune

By Brooke Adams
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 05/29/2008 03:44:10 PM MDT

3:34 PM- SAN ANGELO, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court today turned down the state's request to overturn a lower court's ruling that hundreds of FLDS children were taken into custody improperly.
In doing so, the high court rejected the Texas Department of Families and Protective Services' plea to overturn the Third Court of Appeals ruling that the children should be returned to their parents.
The opinion was met with delight by attorneys representing the FLDS families. Kevin Dietz of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid said he would work with the courts and state Child Protective Services to do what's in the best interest of the children.
"Right now, that means reuniting these families," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:53 PM

Texas Supreme Court issues FLDS decision

TEXAS
News 8 Austin

5/29/2008 4:06 PM
By: Associated Press

The Texas Supreme Court said the children in polygamist custody case should be returned to their parents.

The court issued a decision in the mandamus proceeding in the FLDS case Thursday.

The high court said child welfare officials overstepped their authority and affirmed a decision by the appellate court last week, saying Child Protective Services failed to show an immediate danger to the more than 400 children swept up from the Yearning For Zion Ranch nearly two months ago.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:51 PM

Texas high court: Removal of sect kids 'not warranted'

TEXAS
CNN

SAN ANGELO, Texas (CNN) -- Texas officials had no right to remove more than 440 children from a polygamist sect, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The Texas Supreme Court agreed with an earlier lower court's ruling, possibly clearing the way for the children to be returned to their families. They were removed in April from the Yearning for Zion (YFZ) Ranch, near Eldorado.

The ruling means that each child's case must be weighed individually, not all together, to determine if abuse has occured, according to an attorney close to the case. The ruling does not address the abuse allegations.

"We are not inclined to disturb the court of appeals' decision," the ruling said. "On the record before us, removal of the children was not warranted."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:48 PM

Green Bay diocese sued over case of alleged abuse

GREEN BAY (WI)
Herald Times Reporter

By Andy Nelesen • Gannett Wisconsin Media • May 29, 2008

The Catholic Diocese of Green Bay has been sued by its insurance company, which claims it doesn't have to defend or pay lawsuit damages for the church because the alleged abuse by the Rev. John Patrick Feeney — and church officials' decisions not to warn other parishioners when reassigning Feeney — were intentional acts.

The lawsuit was filed May 15 in Brown County Circuit Court. No court dates have been set yet.

The diocese filed a claim with Indiana Insurance Co. to have the insurer pay for its defense in a priest abuse civil suit pending in a Clark County, Nev., court. The insurance company claims in the Brown County suit that its policies with the diocese do not provide liability coverage for any of the Nevada allegations "because the acts complained of are not accidental, but instead are intentional in nature …"

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:44 PM

Vatican says will excommunicate women priests

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

By Phil Stewart

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican issued its most explicit decree so far against the ordination of women priests on Thursday, punishing them and the bishops who try to ordain them with automatic excommunication.

The decree was written by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and published in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, giving it immediate effect.

A Vatican spokesman said the decree made the Church's existing ban on women priests more explicit by clarifying that excommunication would follow all such ordinations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:40 PM

Delivering Ourselves from Evil

UNITED STATES
Crosswalk

Dr. James Emery White

One of the more disturbing films of late is Deliver Us from Evil, a 2006 documentary on pedophile priest Oliver O’Grady who was moved from parish to parish in Northern California during the 1970’s. Church hierarchy, with knowledge of his attraction to children and evidence of actual misconduct, harbored him for thirty years, allowing him to abuse countless numbers of children. Even more gripping than the interviews of some of the abused children, now adults, is the extended interview with O’Grady himself as he chillingly recounts his predatory past.

From this and other scandals, the Catholic Church - and Christianity in general – has a tarnished reputation for basic integrity. Not simply as a result of priests or ministers acting in very unchristian ways, but from the response given to the misconduct.

Or more to the point, the lack of response.

I watched this film with a graduate level class on cultural apologetics. Specifically, I wanted them to see what we must grapple with in terms of the church’s tarnished reputation, and the impressions many have regarding church leadership and scandal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:18 PM

Archbishop explains admonishment of pro-abortion Kansas governor

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Catholic News Agency

Kansas City, May 28, 2008 / 12:50 pm (CNA).- Archbishop of Kansas City Joseph F. Naumann has further explained the motives for his public admonishment of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius for her support for legal abortion. The archbishop’s May 9 column, citing her recent veto of an abortion law reform bill passed by the Kansas legislature, had warned Governor Sebelius not to present herself for Holy Communion until she has publicly repented.

Writing in his column for the archdiocesan newspaper The Leaven, Archbishop Naumann repeated that Governor Sebelius must seek “to repair the public scandal of her long-standing support for legalized abortion.” He said he had personally received a number of letters both in favor and opposed to his actions regarding the governor. The archbishop explained that he was using his column to collectively respond to some of the critical letters he had received. ...

Lastly, the archbishop addressed those who claim that the sexual abuse scandal within the Catholic Church discredits it from being able to address moral social issues like abortion.

“In logic,” he explained, “this type of argument is termed ‘ad hominem.’ It is an attempt to attack personally one’s opponent in a debate, rather than make substantive arguments about the issue being debated. It is usually an indication of a weak position by the person making the ‘ad hominem’ argument. What is needed is a substantive discussion of this important social and moral issue, not personal attacks!”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:10 PM

Stolen from Chicago Tribune editorial cartoons

This links to a cartoon regarding the FLDS issue in Texas.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:01 PM

Priest Sex Abuser Appeals Conviction: Denies Existence of Repressed Memory

BOSTON (MA)
Sexual Abuse Claims Blog (Canada)

Posted On: May 29, 2008 by John McKiggan

Paul Shanley the notorious defrocked priest and convicted sex abuser that was the center of the Boston priest sexual abuse scandal has appealed his conviction on charges of repeatedly raping and fondling a boy at a Newton parish in the 1980s.

Shanley claims that his lawyer at his trial did not do a good enough job challenging the admissibility of the victim’s “repressed memories” of the childhood sexual abuse.

The District Attorney who prosecuted Shanley, Gerry Leone was quoted as saying:

"The concept of recovered memory by victims of abuse has been accepted by both the scientific and legal communities, as well as the jury who convicted Mr. Shanley after hearing the full evidence in this case," Leone said. "We remain confident in the jury's verdict."

Repressed Memory: What is it?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:34 AM

Child Maltreatment Victims Lose 2 Years Of Quality Of Life

Science Daily

ScienceDaily (May 29, 2008) — Child maltreatment is associated with reductions in quality of life even decades later, according to a new University of Georgia study that finds that—on average—victims lose at least two years of quality of life.

UGA College of Public Health associate professor Phaedra Corso and her colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed surveys of more than 6,000 people to assess the deficits in quality of life that victims suffer. Their results appear in the June issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

“We found, with rigorous statistical methods, that there are significant differences in health-related quality of life between people who were maltreated as children and those who were not,” Corso said, “and that holds across all age groups.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 AM

Massachusetts: Priest Seeks New Trial

BOSTON (MA)
The New York Times

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: May 29, 2008
Seeking a new trial, a defrocked priest in the sex abuse scandal among clergy members in the Boston Archdiocese is challenging what are called the repressed memories of his accuser. The former priest, Paul Shanley, is serving a sentence of 12 to 15 years in prison after being convicted in 2005 of repeatedly raping a boy at a Newton parish in the 1980s. In a motion for a new trial, Mr. Shanley said his former lawyer did not properly challenge the repressed memory evidence that helped convict him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:49 AM

St. Stan's looks to the fringe

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

By Tim Townsend
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
05/29/2008

The feisty, stubborn members of the Polish church believed their long, rich history would save them. But the Vatican saw things differently, and now the congregation, which still celebrates Mass in Polish once a week, is set to follow a renegade priest into the fringes of the church.

The Vatican has upheld the excommunication of the board members of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, and also has hinted that the church's pastor, the Rev. Marek Bozek, would soon be laicized, or stripped of his priesthood.

If Bozek is laicized, he said he will ask a different bishop to oversee St. Stanislaus, and the board's chairman says the congregation will support him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:44 AM

Schismatic St. Louis parish loses appeal to Vatican

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Catholic News Agency

St. Louis, May 29, 2008 / 01:03 am (CNA).- The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has confirmed Archbishop of St. Louis Raymond Burke’s decree excommunicating the board of directors of a schismatic parish. Archbishop Burke had excommunicated the leaders of the breakaway ethnically Polish parish for hiring a suspended priest to celebrate the Sacraments and sacramentals.

The priest could be defrocked for remaining in schism, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has warned.

St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish had operated under a structure in which the pastor is subject to the authority of the parish governing board, in violation of canon law. Archbishop Burke sought to bring the parish into line with canon law, but the parish resisted his efforts. In August the archbishop removed priests assigned to St. Stanislaus and moved Polish language masses to a nearby parish. In January 2005 parishioners voted 299-5 to retain full control of the parish.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 AM

Archdiocese unresponsive to concerns over priest transfers

NEW YORK
The Journal News

By Brian and Patricia Ledley • May 29, 2008

As religion writer Gary Stern reported last week, the sudden reassignment of dozens of Catholic priests across the Archdiocese of New York has caused much consternaton among both priests and parishioners, with some questioning why the moves were made. A letter from a Brewster couple, sent to Cardinal Edward Egan, captures some of the anxiety and disappointment.

The community of Kennedy Catholic High School was stunned by Father Stephen Norton's announcement that he has been transferred. We are saddened, angry, worried for our future and overall just befuddled by the move. As you well know he has boosted enrollment by over 30 percent in his five years, dramatically increased the availability of technology to the student body and created a connection with the alumni that has begun to blossom. Last year's President's Dinner was the largest ever, with over 270 people in attendance.

We as parents need you to visit us at Kennedy to answer the following question: Why move him now?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 AM

Clericalism: On Ave Maria and Church Sex Abuse

UNITED STATES
AveWatch

The June 2008 issue of Homiletic & Pastoral Review (a publication from Ignatius Press, run by AMU’s Fr. Joseph Fessio) features a piece titled “Calumny in the blogosphere” by Ave Maria School of Law Chaplain, Fr. Michael Orsi. By nature of his chaplaincy and the recent changes in priestly administration at AMU, Fr. Orsi is arguably Tom Monaghan’s current top priest. Fr. Orsi will be familiar to AveWatch readers as the person behind a series of controversial Ave Maria radio broadcasts and as the Law School staff member who invited the “BoysCherries” investigation upon the institution [background 1, 2; archived series 2006-2007].

In the H&PR article, Orsi makes a number of legitimate, if not rambling, points about inappropriate activities by “blogs”. AveWatch has always shared the same concern for accuracy in what is published on the web; as a news site, AW doesn’t employ typical “blog” activities such as “incorporating a forum for interactive discussion”, a characteristic of blogs as noted by Orsi. AveWatch has never been asked by Ave Maria to retract a specific false statement; in fact, on several occasions, AveWatch has sent advance copies of stories to Ave Maria asking for input or corrections. To date, Ave Maria has declined AveWatch’s invitation to submit an article for publication on AW that offers evidence or opinions to counter what is found here.

As such, AW had no reason to consider Fr. Orsi’s H&PR opinion piece as pertaining to this website… that is, until late in his article when he maked a vague and curious reference to what might be AW’s coverage of his own “BoysCherries” imbroglio.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 AM

Victims of local leader suffered in silence

AUSTRALIA
Adelaide Now

SEAN FEWSTER, COURT REPORTER
May 29, 2008 01:30pm
TWO men sexually assaulted by a respected community leader kept silent for 30 years because of their tormentor's high profile, an Adelaide court has heard.

The victims of Ronald Louis Tuckwell today told the District Court they suffered without support because everyone they knew loved their abuser.

One of the men, who was just five when Tuckwell assaulted him, said he lives in fear he will continue the cycle of perversion. ...

Tuckwell is renowned in the Light Council area as a former mayoral candidate, teacher, volunteer worker and a church leader.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 AM

Texas court seeks more info in FLDS case

TEXAS
Deseret News

By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Published: Thursday, May 29, 2008 12:04 a.m. MDT

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Lawyers for a group of mothers whose children were rounded up in the raid on the Fundamentalist LDS Church's YFZ Ranch have a 9 a.m. deadline.

The Texas Supreme Court requested a response today by two legal aid groups representing FLDS mothers seeking to have their children returned to them. The high court is deciding whether to uphold or reject a decision by an Austin appellate court that orders the return of more than 100 children to 41 mothers.

"We're dedicated to representing these women throughout this process," said Cynthia Martinez of the Texas RioGrande Legal Aid Society, which is representing 38 FLDS mothers. "If the court needs a response by 9 a.m., they'll get a response by 9 a.m."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 AM

Hearing set on sexual abuse, but no vote on stalled bill

HARRISBURG (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

By Angela Couloumbis
Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau

HARRISBURG - For more than a year, victims of childhood sexual abuse have been trying to get a public hearing on a bill that would make it easier for them to sue their abusers.

Yesterday, it was decided they would get their hearing - just not a vote on the legislation.

The House Committee on Children and Youth said it was scheduling a June 12 meeting to examine the issue of childhood sexual abuse and the impact it has on victims' lives. But the hearing will not specifically address a long-stalled bill calling for a two-year suspension on the statute of limitations for civil actions by adults who were victims of sexual abuse during childhood.

That measure has been bottled up in the powerful House Judiciary Committee since May of last year. Earlier this month, the committee's chairman, Rep. Thomas R. Caltagirone (D., Berks), told The Inquirer he would not allow a public hearing on the measure.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

Allegations continue to unfold in Christian Gospel Temple saga

TENNESSEE
The White House Watch

By SHANTELE KEMPVANEE and JOHN FERGUSON
Watch Staff

According to Katie Burns, a former member of Christian Gospel Temple unrelated to the current lawsuits, the scandalous information circulating in the public arena is only the tip of the iceberg.

“There are 45 victims that I know of – that I can attach names to – in the past 60 years,” said Katie Burns, who says she was raped at the age of six by a teenager at the church.

“For every one that comes forward, there is typically three or four that don’t,” said Burns, who was allegedly raped on three separate occasions by George Wainscott, who, according to Burns, threatened to stab her family to death if she revealed the rape.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:18 AM

The Morally and Spiritually Bankrupt Diocese of Pennsylvania

PENNSYLVANIA
Virtue Online

News Analysis

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org
5/27/2008

Recently, the Diocese of Pennsylvania met for prayer to pray for...well exactly who should they pray for?

They decided to pray for Charles E. Bennison, the inhibited Bishop of Pennsylvania - a bishop who faces fraud in a civil court and ecclesiastical charges that he covered up his brother's sexual abuse of a minor.

At least one layman thought this was over the top and wrote, "While Charles is named in this prayer, no specific reference is made to the 14-year-old victim, her family, or Maggie Thompson, then the wife of (the Rev.) John Bennison." Nor, he said, was there any request made for courage for those who will be testifying.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 AM

Ex-priest seeking new trial

BOSTON (MA)
Daily News Tribune

By Kerri Roche/Daily News staff
GHS
Posted May 29, 2008 @ 12:50 AM

BOSTON — A defrocked Newton priest convicted of raping a young boy will appear before a Suffolk Superior Court judge today and challenge the repressed memories of his victim in hopes of a new trial.

In 2005, Paul Shanley, 77, was convicted by a Middlesex Superior Court jury on two counts of rape of a child and two counts of indecent assault and battery upon a child.

He is serving a 12- to 15-year sentence at Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater.

Shanley was one of the most notorious figures in the Boston Archdiocese sex abuse scandal.

Today, a judge will hear Shanley's request for a new a trial.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:09 AM

Removing Curran's name honors victims

MAINE
Morning Sentinel

The Rev. John J. Curran, who died in 1976, served as priest at Augusta's St. Augustine Church from 1962 to 1972. Curran was a central and powerful figure in the city's Catholic community, largely composed of Franco-Americans. So it was fitting that when the state wanted to honor Augusta's citizens of French descent, the downtown span crossing the Kennebec River was named the "Father Curran Bridge." So, too, it was fitting that two college scholarships in the area -- one at the University of Maine at Augusta, the other awarded by the Calumet Club -- were named in honor of Curran.

Yet much has changed since those honors were bestowed on Curran. Allegations of sexual abuse have been lodged against priests across the country, and Augusta's Catholic parish was not immune. At least two people came forward -- one to the Legislature and the other to the Attorney General's office -- and claimed that Curran sexually abused them when they were children. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland investigated both claims and spokeswoman Sue Bernard says the diocese believes one of those two formal accusations to be true. If Curran were alive today, says Bernard, the diocese would ask the Vatican to prevent him from ministering.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:00 AM

May 28, 2008

I-Team: Former CFO for Cleveland Catholic Diocese on Trial

CLEVELAND (OH)
MyFox Cleveland

CLEVELAND -- The defense team for the former chief financial officer of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese sought to discredit the government's key witness in federal court today.

Former CFO Joe Smith is on trial for allegedly taking almost $800,000 in kickbacks. Smith says he didn't steal the money, but that it was a raise paid in unusual ways. Smith's defense team asserts that unusual types of payments used to be common at the diocese.

Four years ago, Fox 8 I-Team Reporter Bill Sheil broke the story of the alleged kickback scheme within the diocese. The government indicted Smith in 2006.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:01 PM

Petition call for help for victims of OCA clergy abuse

UNITED STATES
Orthodox Reform

Matushka Carol Bacha has started a petition calling for help for victims of OCA clergy abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:55 PM

Defrocked priest reinstated, supported by Metropolitan Isaiah

UNITED STATES
Orthodox Reform

A priest defrocked for “ethical and sexual reasons” has now been reinstated, and is supported by Metropolitan Isaiah:

“The Synod decided the reinstatement of defrocked priest John Theodore to the active priesthood and ministry of the church. Fr. Theodore had been defrocked a few years ago for alleged ethical and sexual reasons. The reasoning behind the reinstatement of Fr. Theodore was that “he has repented” and also “to give him a second chance.” Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver supports him wholeheartedly. The Holy Synod had discussed Fr. Theodore’s case in its meeting on March 2007.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:20 PM

Bishop Robinson confrontation leaves unfinished business

AUSTRALIA
Eureka

Andrew Hamilton May 29, 2008

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson's book Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church, in which he explores what he sees as the roots of abuse in the Church, continues to raise controversy.

In May this year the Australian Bishops issued a statement in which they praised Bishop Robinson's commitment to the victims of abuse, but raised issues of doctrine that concerned them in his book. In reply, Bishop Robinson expressed disappointment that they left untreated the central challenge made by his book.

Acting on the request of Roman authorities, many United States Bishops have recently said he would not be welcome to speak in their churches. ...

In his book Bishop Robinson argues that the causes of sexual abuse are to be sought in the psychological state of the abusers, in their ideas about power and sex, and in the environment that shapes them. He claims that these factors are woven together in a church culture that needs to be changed if the roots of sexual abuse are to be excised. He explores broadly how this church culture developed and how it could be changed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:46 PM

Woman Gets 6 Years For Stealing $320K From Church

NEWPORT BEACH (CA)
KNBC

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- A woman who worked as a bookkeeper and office manager for Newport Harbor Lutheran Church was sentenced Wednesday to six years in prison for stealing about $320,000 from the church by forging checks.

Cheryl Leann Granger, 45, who lived in Irvine but moved to New Hampshire after theft was discovered, admitted to felony counts of grand theft and forgery, and a sentencing enhancement that losses exceeded $150,000, said Farrah Emami of the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

Granger was ordered to pay $333,133 in restitution, Emami said, but it was unclear if she had the means to do so.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:41 PM

High Point Pastor Arrested for Soliciting Sex

HIGH POINT (NC)
Fox8 News

By CARON MYERS
FOX8 News

HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) – A Methodist minister is charged with soliciting sex for money.

Otis Durham, the pastor of Sandy Ridge United Methodist Church, was nabbed in a sting operation in which Durham believed he was meeting a woman he had met online.

The 54-year-old has served as a Methodist minister for the past seven years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:38 PM

Former youth pastor arraigned on sex charges

RIVERHEAD (NY)
Times Beacon Record

May 28, 2008 | 04:11 PM
A former private school teacher and youth pastor arrested by Suffolk detectives May 15 for having a sexual relationship with a female teenage student was arraigned today in Suffolk County court in Riverhead.

Rodney A. Jackson Jr. of Holbrook Street in Patchogue pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of criminal sexual act in the third degree, six counts of third degree rape and one charge of endangering the welfare of a child.

The defendant allegedly began a sexual relationship in April of 2006 with a 16 year old female student at Our Savior New American School in Centereach.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:35 PM

Walsh: Past time for FLDS to question their prophet

TEXAS
The Salt Lake Tribune

Rebecca Walsh
Tribune Columnist
Article Last Updated: 05/28/2008 02:25:41 PM MDT

The moment demanded a Raymond Burr flourish:

Still reeling from an appeals court ruling that cracked the foundation of the largest child welfare case in the country, Texas attorneys produced a photo just this side of kiddy porn - a lanky Warren Jeffs kissing a tiny, flat-chested girl "how a husband would kiss a wife."

That kind of courtroom drama only happens on "Perry Mason" or in a John Grisham novel. And Judge Barbara Walther, Texas Child Protective Services and state attorney Ellen Griffith got the gut-churning change of subject they wanted - Ewww!

The 2006 photo became proof positive, according to Griffith et al., of Texas CPS' claims that a "pervasive" system of child abuse exists on the Yearning For Zion Ranch, that each of the 450 children bused to shelters and foster homes throughout Texas were at risk.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:26 PM

Defrocked priest looks for new trial in rape case

BOSTON (MA)
Daily News Tribune

By Kerri Roche
GateHouse News Service
Posted May 28, 2008 @ 04:48 PM

BOSTON — A defrocked Newton priest convicted of raping a young boy will appear before a Suffolk Superior Court judge Thursday and challenge the repressed memories of his victim in hopes of a new trial.

In 2005, Paul Shanley, 77, was convicted by a Middlesex Superior Court jury on two counts of rape of a child and two counts of indecent assault and battery upon a child.
He is currently serving a 12- to 15-year sentence at Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater.

Shanley was one of the most notorious figures in the Boston Archdiocese sex abuse scandal.

On Thursday, a judge will hear Shanley’s request for a new a trial.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:16 PM

Priest and directors of St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in St. Louis excommunicated

ST. LOUIS (MO)
News-Leader

News-Leader staff • May 28, 2008

The Vatican has ruled that the six members of the board of directors of St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in St. Louis and their priest committed the act of schism two and a half years ago and are excommunicated, the Archdiocese of St. Louis Web site announced today.

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had considered an appeal of a Dec. 15, 2005 declaration of excommunication by St. Louis Archibishop Raymond Burke after the board refused to turn over ownership of its property to the archdiocese and then independently hired a priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:11 PM

Defrocked priest Shanley seeks new trial

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

May 28, 2008 03:44 PM
By Globe Staff

Defrocked priest Paul R. Shanley, a notorious figure in the clergy sex abuse scandal who was convicted in 2005 on rape and assault charges, has filed a motion for a new trial, the Middlesex district attorney's office said today.

A hearing on the motion is slated for tomorrow afternoon in Suffolk Superior Court, prosecutors said.

Shanley was convicted in February 2005 in Middlesex Superior Court of raping and fondling a Sunday school student in the 1980s. He was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prison.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:08 PM

What About the Rights of the Parents?

UNITED STATES
The Huffington Post

Tim Giago

The upstanding and righteous Christian community had to do something. The people living near them had a religion that was so different than their own that it had to be considered as heathen. They didn't believe in Jesus Christ so they had to be on the wrong path.

And what's more, they were living in deep sin by practicing polygamy. Why some of the men had as many as three or four wives. What kind of damage was this doing to the innocent children?

The Christian community saw only one conclusion. They had to go in and rescue the children. If that meant sending law enforcement officials into the community to forcibly take the children from their parents, so be it. It would lead to a much better life for the children so the parents be damned. After all, what did these backward people know about raising children properly?

No, I am not talking about the fiasco at San Angelo, Texas. I am talking about what happened to the children of Native Americans across America in the late 1800s. Thousands of children were ripped from the arms of their mothers and fathers and shipped off to far away schools that would endeavor to turn them into God-fearing Christians, but not before they were shorn of their identities, their culture, religion and traditions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:44 PM

Vatican upholds declaration of excommunication for St. Stan Six

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

By Tim Townsend
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
05/28/2008

ST. LOUIS -- The Vatican has upheld St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke’s 2005 declaration of excommunication of the Stanislaus Six, the six lay members of the St. Stanislaus Kostka Church board who refused to turn over church property and assets to the archdiocese.

The board members were declared excommunicated after they hired a priest — the Rev. Marek Bozek — who had been suspended by his own bishop in the diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau.

Bozek, who was made a member of the St. Stan's board, was also declared excommunicated by Burke, and the rejection of the board's appeal also includes his excommunication, according to the archdiocese.

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith rejected the board’s appeal of the excommunications, writing in a decree dated May 15, 2008, that "it is evident that the Board Members have committed the delict of schism by constituting St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish as an independent entity capable of appointing its own clergy apart from the hierarchy of the Church."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:27 PM

Survivor Responds to Salesian Father John Itzaina

CALIFORNIA
Voice from the Desert

Received via email from Joey Piscitelli who lives in Northern California.

Thanks, Joey.

Response to Salesian Kingpin Fr. John Itzaina

The current mouthpiece for the World Record holder clergy molesters, the Salesians of California, is Fr. John Itzaina. Itzaina goes on record as attacking Attorney Ray Boucher, for “getting rich on the misery of the abused.” This formidable statement is followed by Itzaina’s claim that Salesians clergy’s lives are ruined by “allegations without proof.” How can attorneys get rich on the misery of the abused, if, according to Itzaina, the false accusers were not abused?

If it were true that the Salesians were merely innocent priests who have been falsely targeted, I could not go on record and state in writing that: The Salesians Dabbenne and Billante were convicted, Presenti and Miani are serial pedophiles, Whelan and Vitone were found guilty by juries, and of course, “the Salesians are record holder accused molesters.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:16 PM

Priest in Mass. clergy abuse crisis seeks new trial

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

By Denise Lavoie
AP Legal Affairs Writer / May 28, 2008
BOSTON—A notorious priest in the clergy sex abuse crisis in the Boston Archdiocese is challenging the repressed memories of his victim in a bid for a new trial.

Defrocked priest Paul Shanley is serving a 12- to 15-year prison sentence after being convicted in 2005 of repeatedly raping a boy at a Newton parish in the 1980s.

In a motion for a new trial, Shanley claims his former lawyer did not properly challenge the repressed memory evidence that helped convict him. The victim testified he repressed memories of the sexual abuse until 2002, when they came back as the sex abuse scandal unfolded in the media.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:05 PM

Salesian compares sex abuse cases with burden and suffering of Christ. Salesian sex crime survivor writes, get out of your cesspool of denial

CALIFORNIA
City of Angels

A priest wrote: “The successful settlement with plaintiffs in the Los Angeles sexual abuse cases have (sic) been on the minds of all of us, especially with Father David Purdy, our provincial. I know for certain that these 17 cases have weighed heavily on him and have damaged his physical and psychological well being. With medication, rest, and conversation he seems to be doing much better.

"Didn’t St. Paul say we make up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ, an enigmatic statement for sure, but so true for Fr. David and our province these last few years? At the news that we had settled in Los Angeles, Fr. Pascual Chávez emailed to say, 'Now that the nightmare is over, I hope that Fr. David Purdy will feel better, because this was a tremendous pressure on him, and also the Province will be able to move forwardmore purified.'" -- Fr. John Itzaina, SDB, Vice Provincial, in In Touch, 5.19.08

A Salesian sex crime survivor wrote: "The current mouthpiece for World Record holder Clergy molesters the Salesians of California is Fr. John Itzaina. Itzaina goes on record as attacking Attorney Ray Boucher, for “getting rich on the misery of the abuses.” (see May 22 CofA post.)

Letter from Joey Piscitelli continued:

This formidable statement is followed by Itzaina’s claim that Salesians Clergy’s lives are ruined by “allegations without proof.” How can Attorneys get rich on the misery of the abused, if , according to Itzaina, the false accusers were not abused?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:03 AM

Catholics challenge bishop's decision to merge parishes during meeting at Malaga church

NEW JERSEY
Philadelphia Inquirer

By David O'Reilly
Inquirer Staff Writer

Bishop Joseph A. Galante was greeted with placards calling for his resignation and even some boos last night when he appeared at St. Mary's parish in Malaga, where dozens implored him to keep their little church open.

"Small, vibrant parishes have a right to exist," read a placard carried by Tom Mazzola, 72. "The bishop should resign."

Parishioners from a half-dozen other parishes around the Diocese of Camden also stood outside St. Mary's bearing signs asking Galante to keep their parishes open.

"Don't make our parish perish," read one.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:15 AM

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson in an extended interview on US ABCTV

AUSTRALIA
Catholica

posted by Brian Coyne

See Bishop Robinson on "Faith Matters Now":
http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=4922240

Skip over the next segment and see the rest of the interview and Richard Gaillardetz' response at:
http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=4922281

How refreshing it is watching a bishop speaking as openly and candidly as this. I submit this is the sort of language our Church needs to use if it is to reach out to the world again. It's language directed "downwards and outwards" trying to address the real issues in people's lives. It's not language directed "inwards and upwards" trying to prove to God, Jesus, the Pope, or who knows, saying "look at me, aren't I being good!" This really is refreshing. Thank God for Geoffrey Robinson! May his example be followed by many other bishops and pastoral leaders.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:00 AM

Motion to have judge removed from case dismissed

TEXAS
KSL

Team coverage

There was a new twist today in the court battles over children belonging to members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) in Texas: One of the fathers tried to get a judge removed from the case.

Dan Jessop started court proceedings with a bang. Showing off pictures of his wife and two older children, he fired a shot across the bow of the judge who authorized the raid on the FLDS compound almost seven weeks ago.

"I'm trying to get somebody to listen to me that I'm an innocent man. I haven't done any of these bad things that they say I've done, but nobody will listen," Jessop said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 AM

Talks of merger

EUCLID (OH)
News-Herald

Nick Carrabine
NCarrabine@News-Herald.com

05/28/2008

If approved by the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland in February, Euclid will have gone from six Catholic churches to three by July 2010.

The city has six parishes that are members of the Cuyahoga County Suburban East cluster: Holy Cross, St. Christine, St. Felicitas, St. Paul, St. Robert and St. William.

Because of a decline in Mass attendance, a change in demographics, fewer priests, decreasing revenue and increasing costs, each parish formed a five-member team in July to find a solution and submit a recommendation to Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon.

The cluster planning teams met for the past year, and each parish held a two-hour meeting Tuesday night to go over the results of their meetings. ...

If a church were to close, all of the assets and liabilities go to the Diocese of Cleveland, a cluster team representative said. ...

The properties at the proposed former churches will be sold, but as soon as they cease to perform as places of worship they're considered taxable by Cuyahoga County. Functioning churches are tax exempt, McNulty said.

One member of St. Robert asked if they could sell the land and put the money toward the cost of education.

St. Robert Pastor Rev. Dennis McNeil said the Bishop has to sign for any sale because the land is in his name and already has been contacted by interested buyers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:43 AM

Potpourri Plus (2)

UNITED STATES
Father Lasch

Tuesday May 27, 2008
Since the previous posting ‘Potpourri Plus’ I have received comments from website ‘subscribers’ relevant to the topic at hand. The first is from a subscriber, a former seminarian for a religious community in California. He is now living in the east. He is a remarkably insightful gentleman and has had several letters published over the last few years in the National Catholic Reporter. Shall we say he cuts to the chase?

Harvey: Let it run!

Fr. Lasch: Just by way of introduction, recall that we have been discussing the ‘grooming’ aspect of sexual abuse by clergy. Understanding this ‘phenomenon’ is crucial in order to appreciate the underpinnings of sexual abuse. It’s not the only underpinning but it is significant.

Harvey: I think you spent some time on this topic in the original “Harvey Interviews.”

Fr. Lasch: Yes, we did. At any rate, here is how this subscriber states it:

Subscriber’s Observations:

I enjoyed the column; I’m particularly intrigued that you’re beginning to nibble around the edges of the clerical life.

The word ‘clericalism’ gets bandied about a great deal but I honestly wonder sometimes if it’s starting to become a bit meaningless—when it is in fact quite meaningful.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:31 AM

Parishioners demand churches be kept open

FRANKLIN (NJ)
Courier-Post

By JIM WALSH • Courier-Post Staff • May 28, 2008

FRANKLIN — Bishop Joseph Galante came here to listen Tuesday night and the leader of the Camden Diocese got an earful.

An overflow crowd of more than 200 people jammed into St. Mary's Church in Malaga, where they blasted the bishop's plan to shut more than half of the parishes in the South Jersey diocese. The small country church used by St. Mary's parishioners would close as part of the makeover.

Parishioners from across the region greeted Galante with signs that called for his resignation and described the diocese as a "destruction zone."

Many wore blue ribbons that read "Save St. Mary's," while others called for the survival of parishes like St. Gregory's in Magnolia and St. Anthony in Waterford.

"This isn't right," said Donna Bosco of Malaga, whose family has worshipped at St, Mary's for five generations. "I just pray they keep this church open."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:23 AM

Atlanta's archbishop may be plucked for New York

ATLANTA (GA)
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

By Christopher Quinn
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 05/28/08

Roman Catholic leaders may be reaching to Peachtree Street to make a pick for the Big Apple.

Atlanta's popular and respected Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory is one of several candidates under consideration to replace Cardinal Edward Egan, the Archbishop of New York, church watchers say.

The secretive and sometimes long process to assign Egan's successor could take years, as it has in the past, but several indicators are that a choice could be made sooner rather than later. ...

His communication skills were tried and honed in the years immediately before he came to Atlanta. He did tough work as head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the early 2000s, addressing the church sex abuse scandal in the U.S. He set a zero-tolerance policy for abusers, some of whom had been shifted from church to church in the past, and he called for parishioners to make reports to police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:20 AM

My Turn: Editorial board gets it wrong

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

By Paul Rousseau

I found myself reading The Burlington Free Press editorial on Thursday evening while also watching the 6 p.m. broadcast of the WCAX .

The editorial board made two statements: "The verdict should end any sense of denial that might linger about the church's share of the responsibility" and "The size of the punitive damages -- awarded as punishment to the church -- shows how seriously the jury of everyday Vermonters felt was the church's lapse in protecting children under its care."

Very bold statements by the board, but apparently incorrect and misleading while listening to the additional reports on WCAX.

WCAX interviewed two jurors, on condition of anonymity, on the reasons for such a large punitive award. They stated that part of their thought process was that they wanted to send a wake up call to the church which did not present any evidence at trial on what the church has done since that time to protect children under its care. As far as the jury was concerned, the church had done nothing and only a large punitive award would force the church to act.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:06 AM

May 27, 2008

Texas makes deal with FLDS couple

TEXAS
Deseret News

By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Published: Tuesday, May 27, 2008 11:33 a.m. MDT

SAN ANGELO, Texas — A deal was struck today involving a 14-day-old baby caught up in the raid on the Fundamentalist LDS Church's raid on the YFZ Ranch.

The deal was announced in court this morning after a 2 1/2 hour delay. The hearing would have called numerous child witnesses, attorneys said, including a 13-year-old girl who Child Protective Services authorities suggested last week was a child bride of church leader Warren Jeffs.

The deal gives Texas CPS sole conservatorship over the baby and appoints the parents, Dan Jessop and Louisa Bradshaw (Jessop), as temporary possessors. The deal also delays the hearing until the Texas Supreme Court decides what to do about hundreds of other children still in state custody.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:40 PM

Texas officials ask state Supreme Court to stay lower court ruling

TEXAS
The Salt Lake Tribune

Article Last Updated: 05/27/2008 10:25:08 AM MDT

Posted: 9:41 AM- The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services continues to argue it does not have sufficient evidence to match FLDS children with alleged mothers, in a new document filed today with the state Supreme Court.
On Friday, the department asked the court to stay a lower court's ruling that children from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints were kept in state custody improperly and that they should be returned to their families.
The initial request from DFPS contends the ruling issued Thursday by the 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin was overbroad and would "irreparably" affect the outcome of cases involving hundreds of children taken from the polygamous sect's ranch in Eldorado last month.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:35 PM

Congratulations to Bishop Geoffrey Robinson

UNITED STATES
Journey to a New Pentecost

Congratulations are in order for a retired Auxiliary Bishop from Australia, Geoffrey Robinson, the author of ”Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church”.

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson is a recent receipent of two awards: “Priests of Integrity” Award sponsored by Voice of the Faithful and the “Hans Küng Rights of Catholics in the Church” Award sponsored by the Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church.

Prior to Bishop Robinson’s tour of the United States, the Bishops of Australia issued a blanket condemnation of Bishop Robinson’s book (read it here) and urged him to cancel his speaking engagements. You can read Bishop Robinson’s response to his brother Bishops here.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:32 PM

Father Chris Heath Says Adios, Maligns Sex-Abuse Victim

ORANGE COUNTY (CA)
Orange County Weekly

Posted by Gustavo Arellano in Ex Cathedra
May 27, 2008 8:58 AM

It is with much regret that OC's favorite idiot bloggin' Catholic priest, Christopher Heath of St. Edward the Confessor in Dana Point, announced last week that he will no longer post, and it really is a tragedy. Now, who will be so openly cavalier in his attitude toward clerical sex-abuse victims?

For one of his swan songs, Heath wrote about the controversy surrounding retired Australian Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, whom Diocese of Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown arrogantly tried to ban from giving a June 11 speech in the Costa Mesa Community Center. Of course, Heath won't see "this Aussie," as he so eloquently puts it. But the most galling part? "I doubt this bishop is going to be any different from the kind of speakers who come every year into our diocese as part of the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, which in my opinion is not worth going to," he opines.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:34 PM

Church history missing in Burlington verdict

VERMONT
The Observer (Springfield, Mass.)

The Diocese of Burlington’s decision to appeal the record-setting $7.8 million verdict against it in a clergy misconduct case is certain to prolong the course of justice.

But it is necessary, both for the financial ability of the church in Vermont to effectively minister and for its efforts to correct the public’s understanding of church history.

Predictably, attorney-allied groups like the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), cited “an ancient, rigid, secretive, all-male monarchy that essentially answers to no one.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:31 PM

Next Vermont priest sex abuse trial set for August

BURLINGTON (VT)
Brattleboro Reformer

The Associated Press

Tuesday, May 27
BURLINGTON - The next priest sex abuse trial against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington is scheduled to begin in August.

Officials with the Chittenden County Superior Court say the next three cases all involve allegations against the Rev. Edward Paquette, who is retired. There are about 20 cases pending against the diocese.

Earlier this month a jury awarded a 40-year-old man $8.7 million in damages. The man claimed the diocese failed to protect him from Paquette, a known child molester.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:24 AM

Westchester parents want to halt popular priest's move to Dutchess

NEW YORK
Poughkeepsie Journal

By John Davis • Poughkeepsie Journal • May 27, 2008

The transfer of the Rev. Stephen Norton to St. Denis Catholic Church in Hopewell Junction is among more than 40 changes in assignments for priests in the New York Archdiocese.

Norton is president of John F. Kennedy High in Somers where parents plan to fight the transfer of the popular priest to St. Denis. No one could be reached at St. Denis for comment on the transfer.

While the transfer of Norton and other priests is raising some objections in the archdiocese, Joseph Zwilling, the archdiocese spokesman, said the transfer of priests in the early summer is nothing out of the ordinary. Between 40 to 46 are set to be transferred by July 1. Last year, 39 or 40 were transferred, he said.

"Priest terms usually end on June 30 and new assignments are effective July 1st," Zwilling said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:00 AM

Calls for Pope to apologise to Australian victims

AUSTRALIA
Lateline

Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Broadcast: 26/05/2008
Reporter: Suzanne Smith

There are calls for the Pope to apologise to the Australian victims of paedophile priests when he visits Sydney for World Youth Day.

Transcript
TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Bishop Michael Malone is the only bishop in Australia calling for a papal apology to sexual abuse victims when the Pope visits the country in July for World Youth Day. The story behind why the Bishop for the Maitland Newcastle diocese in New South Wales is taking such a stand is a story of shocking abuse and congregations ripped apart.

It's also a story of betrayal, how the Catholic Church fought a family's legal battle to get a paedophile priest removed from duty and into jail. Suzanne Smith investigates.

SUZANNE SMITH, REPORTER: This Catholic Church was once filled with worshippers every Sunday. The last parish priest died in jail after sexually abusing at least four young boys over a period of more than 20 years, in various parishes. Daniel was an altar boy at St Patrick's Church when Father Fletcher arrived in the late 1980s. Daniel was 11 years old. Daniel, like his parents and three brothers, was a devout Catholic. His father worked closely with the bishop of the diocese. Concerned that Father Fletcher knew no one in the parish, Daniel's family befriended the new priest. It's a bitter memory for Daniel's mother.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:58 AM

Correction: Salesian Mansion is not squatty and it IS to be sold along with a camp to pay 17 LA plaintiffs. Plus, the LA Times gets it wrong again

CALIFORNIA
City of Angels

By Kay Ebeling
Good morning, folks, it’s time for some corrections. Re the Salesian mansion, which YES will be sold to pay the LA settlements, the Provincial House in San Francisco only looks "squatty" from the front where the public sees it, a faithful reader tells me. The mansion is “huge” and from side views it stretches w-a-a-a-ay back and takes up an entire city block.

Another correction: The Itzaina letter in the May 22nd post, where the Vice Provincial takes Ray Boucher to task and claims all Salesian priests are innocent, was not written last month as reported here, but less than 48 hours before the May 14th settlement, which included an admission that Titian Miani DID rape four plaintiffs. Also, Itzaina is not just "a Vice Provincial," but THE Vice-Provincial, my source emailed me scolding.

The camp to be sold is likely Camp Salesian, in Middletown, California, north of Santa Rosa, my source, who says he has to stay anonymous as that's how things are with the Salesians, said.

The Salesians have two camps, Camp St. Francis for boys age 7 to 13 featured in a post here last week, and Camp Salesian. “No activities appear to be planned at Camp Salesian in Middletown this summer,” said my source, “whereas a full summer camp program staffed by Salesians is scheduled at Camp St. Francis for this summer.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:45 AM

Actor takes on the tricky role of an abuse victim

UTAH
The Salt Lake Tribune

By Ellen Fagg
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 05/26/2008 02:49:01 PM MDT

In a way, actor Martin Moran was inspired to write his intensely personal memoir-cum-play "The Tricky Part" because of what happened to him in Utah.
Back in 1988, the Colorado-born actor was cast in Pioneer Theatre Company's production of "Singing in the Rain," but a knee injury on opening night laid him up for a few months. During his career layoff, Moran went home to Denver to recuperate.
He set himself to the task of studying plays, but instead found himself writing a response to a subconscious, urgent question: "What happened to you when you were 12? Tell the truth."
What had happened to Moran, then a Catholic school boy, was a three year-long period of sexual victimization by a church camp counselor, memories he had buried for most of his adult life.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:36 AM

Crash victim overcame abuse in residential school

CANADA
The Edmonton Journal

Elise Stolte, The Edmonton Journal

EDMONTON - The man killed in a northern helicopter crash last weekend was abused at a residential school as a child, but went on to become a leader in his community.

Alvin Yallee, 51, died outside a remote diamond exploration camp near Norman Wells, N.W.T., on Saturday when the helicopter he was riding in crashed and burst into flames.

Yallee was born in Tulita, a hamlet on the Mackenzie River, about 100 kilometres south of the crash site. Every winter, students like him were flown 500 kilometres northwest to Inuvik, to Grollier Hall, a Catholic residential school.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:34 AM

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

CALIFORNIA
California Catholic Daily

A state appeals court has ruled that a lawsuit alleging decades-old abuse by a Central California priest may go forward based on a review of deposition testimony by Cardinal Roger Mahony. A trial court had earlier dismissed the case.

Two brothers, George and Howard Santillan, claim they were molested by Msgr. Anthony Herdegen from 1959-1973 at a parish in Wasco. In 2003, the brothers sued the Fresno diocese under an act of the California legislature permitting the filing of abuse claims otherwise void under the statute of limitations. The brothers claimed the diocese had failed to protect them from abuse. The trial court, however, agreed with the diocese that there was no evidence that the diocese had any knowledge of abuse by Herdegen.

The trial court had heard testimony that Herdegen’s elderly housekeeper knew or should have known of the abuse. The woman, Barbara Zielman (also spelled Zeilman by the appeals court), sometimes let the brothers into Herdegen’s bedroom. Zielman knew the brothers “were often alone with Herdegen behind his closed bedroom door,” said the appeals court decision. The housekeeper “was hired by Herdegen and paid with parish funds, but those funds ultimately belonged to the Diocese,” said the 2-1 decision issued last week by the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:29 AM

Three more clergy abuse trials looming

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

By Sam Hemingway • Free Press Staff Writer • May 27, 2008

The next three clergy abuse cases on tap for trial in Burlington involve claims of molestation by the Rev. Edward Paquette similar to allegations that led a jury to award $8.7 million in damages to a Paquette victim this month.

Diane Lavallee, clerk of Chittenden County Superior Court, said the three cases selected for a potential Aug. 5 trial start were picked because they had been on the docket the longest of the 22 priest sex-abuse cases pending at the court.

The oldest of the three cases -- involving claims by a former Montpelier altar boy identified in court papers only as "John Doe" -- will be tried first, unless it is resolved by August. If that case is resolved, one of the other two cases will take its place.

The future course of the ongoing Vermont clergy abuse litigation has been uncertain since a jury awarded an alleged Paquette victim, a former altar boy at Christ the King Church in Burlington, $8.7 million in damages after concluding the diocese engaged in negligent supervision by hiring and retaining Paquette, a known child molester.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:22 AM

May 26, 2008

Pigs Fly: Cardinal Mahony bars liberal Aussie bishop from speaking

UNITED STATES
American Papist

[with link to Cardinal Mahony's letter]

Wonders never cease, and I'm glad they don't.

Australian Bishop Geoffrey Robinson was recently condemned for "doctrinal difficulties" by the Australian Bishops Conference, and when Voice of the Faithful invited him to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to deliver a lecture, none other than Cardinal Mahony decided to step in:

Cardinal Roger Mahony has denied an Australian bishop permission to speak in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles after the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference issued a statement warning of “doctrinal difficulties” present in the bishop’s writings. (CNA)

How Cardinal Mahony handled it:

Archbishop of Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony in a May 9 letter asked Bishop Robinson not to speak in his archdiocese. ...

Even if the Cardinal was motivated by a fear that Bishop Robinson was being disrespectful of his authority, the bottom line is that Cardinal Mahony did the correct thing, and a brave one. He even managed to get on the bad side of Voice of the Faithful:

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:56 PM

The Long Knives Are Out to Get Bishop Geoffrey Robinson

UNITED STATES
Voice from the Desert

I received the following email from Bob Stewart, Co-Chair of VOTF Holy Trinity in Washington D.C.

It’s clear the long knives are out to Get Bishop Geoffrey Robinson.

Truth-tellers are very real threats to bishops and to people like the person who edits the blog called “dccatholic” which carried this diatribe against Bishop Robinson.

Thought you may want to bring attention to this.

Please be sure to note Dr. Bill D’Antonio’s posting on this web site: http://dccatholic.wordpress.com/2008/05/20/disgraced-australian-bishop-geoffrey-robinson-speaks-in-the-archdiocese-of-washington/.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:49 PM

Disgraced Australian Bishop Geoffrey Robinson speaks in the Archdiocese of Washington

WASHINGTON (DC)
D.C. Catholic

Last night, Australian Bishop Geoffrey Robinson spoke to Washington, DC area affiliates of Voice of the Faithful, a dissident group, at the National 4-H Youth Center, as this entry in the parish bulletin of St. John’s, Silver Spring states (thanks to Archdiocese of Washington Catholic)

However, we also learned yesterday (thanks to the American Papist and CNA) that Cardinal Mahony, of Los Angeles, has written to Bishop Robinson asking him not to speak in his diocese and invoked Canon 763 and denied him permission to speak in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

No action was taken by Archbishop Wuerl prior to Bishop Robinson’s speech to the faithful of Washington, DC.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:46 PM

Rebecca Walsh: Feminists waffle in FLDS case

TEXAS
The Salt Lake Tribune

By Rebecca Walsh
Tribune Columnist
Article Last Updated: 05/25/2008 02:29:12 AM MDT

Don't wait for Gloria Allred to step into the mess in Texas.

She's watching Larry King, the news conferences. Over the years, she has been asked to represent some of the FLDS women. But she's waiting for the right case.

So far, this one doesn't seem to be it.

For a feminist attorney who has made a career out of representing some of the most maligned, powerless women in America - Rob Lowe's nanny, Scott Peterson's mistress, Orem water scofflaw Betty Perry - polygamous wives are not easy victims.

"We're so used to thinking of the individual rights of each woman. Here, it's all turned on its head. In polygamy, all women must be subordinated," Allred says. "Women are obviously treated like property. They're prizes for men who obey the rules." ...

And Warren Jeffs' Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints interpretation of polygamy is particularly controlling - women are uneducated, financially dependent and impregnated at a young age to keep them that way. They look and sound like Stepford Wives on the Prairie.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:42 PM

State officials faced culture of lies, religious experts say

TEXAS
The Dallas Morning News

By EMILY RAMSHAW and ROBERT T. GARRETT / The Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN – Child welfare officials were up against a culture of secrecy, unlimited resources and sect members well-schooled in the art of misleading authorities as they tried to build their case for removing hundreds of children from a West Texas polygamist enclave, religious experts and former adherents say.

Thursday's appeals court decision that many if not all of the children removed from the Yearning For Zion ranch last month must be returned to their parents highlights how difficult it is to build a child welfare case against a fundamentalist religious group, sect investigators say – particularly without a vocal victim.

The 450 children remain in state custody while the Texas Supreme Court decides whether to take up the case. But the legal challenge has kindled quiet debate over whether Texas authorities should deal with polygamist groups as states such as Utah and Arizona have done: trying to win cooperation rather than raiding communities and prosecuting members en masse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:31 PM

Are FLDS sect's beliefs sufficient grounds for taking the kids?

TEXAS
The Christian Science Monitor

By Faye Bowers | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
from the May 27, 2008 edition

Phoenix - Are the beliefs of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), the polygamous sect that the state of Texas has also accused of child abuse, sufficient grounds for removing all the children from the group's compound in Eldorado, Texas?

The answer now lies in the hands of the Texas Supreme Court, and how it rules will help resolve a major church-state clash that began when Texas officials last month took some 460 minors from the sect's Yearning for Zion ranch after receiving phone calls from an alleged underage spouse complaining of physical abuse. That complaint, it turns out, was almost certainly a hoax – the first in a series of bad news for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).

It also now appears that evidence about the sect's belief system that the state collected during the raid – and presented to a district court to justify its temporary removal of the children – is probably flawed. In the DFPS's biggest setback so far, a Texas appeals court on May 22 overturned the district court's decision to keep the children in state custody temporarily.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:22 PM

One family speaks out as some FLDS children are returned to their families

TEXAS
KXAN

Three families from that Texas polygamist ranch have their children back Monday; but they're still not allowed back into the compound, where officials say they found pregnant teens and child brides.

For weeks FLDS members have complained Texas officials had no right to seize more than 450 children from the sect ranch near El Dorado. Now that an appeals court has sided with the FLDS, a dozen children have been re-united with their parents for the time being.

"It was so comforting to hold them and to take them out put them in the car and know that we were going to stay with them that night," father Joseph Jessop said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:21 PM

Media called out for not asking tough polygamy questions

TEXAS
azfamily.com

[with video and photos of Warren Jeffs with an alleged minor bride]

TEXAS - The Texas Supreme Court has been working through the holiday weekend determining the fate of hundreds of children removed from that polygamous compound in Texas.

The court is considering an appeal from Child Protective Services after a Texas appeals court ruled last Thursday the children should be returned to their parents but that is not the only development taking place in Texas courts.

There has been some explosive evidence being presented in court. This extraordinary story is now being played out in various courts of law and in the court of public opinion where sympathy for the FLDS community and anger at the state of Texas seems to be the prevailing sentiment, with networks agreeing not to ask tough questions of FLDS members in order to get access. The following interview was provided to 3TV by CNN:

For weeks FLDS have complained that Texas officials had not right to seize more than 450 children from the ranch near ElDorado. Now that an appeals court has sided with the FLDS a dozen children, for the time being, have been renunited with their parents.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:39 PM

Papal apology sought during World Youth Day

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

PM - Monday, 26 May , 2008 18:30:00
Reporter: Suzanne Smith
MARK COLVIN: There's still no confirmation from the Catholic Church of press reports that the Pope will make an apology for the Church's history of sexual abuse when he visits Sydney in July.

Bishop Michael Malone is the only Catholic Bishop in Australia calling for a papal apology.

He wants the Pontiff to see a group of victims when he arrives for World Youth Day in July.

But the story behind why the Bishop of the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese in NSW is calling for an apology is one of shocking abuse and congregations ripped apart

It's also a story of betrayal. How the Catholic Church fought a family's court battle to get a paedophile priest removed from duty and into jail.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:30 PM

Can a photo say it all?

TEXAS
GetReligion

Posted by dpulliam

The Salt Lake Tribune has been the place to go for news on the FLDS court battles in Texas. While most news organizations have focused on the arguments before the Texas Supreme Court Friday regarding an appellate court’s decision finding the removal of 468 children improper, the Tribune has the goods on how the knives are coming out in this chaotic legal battle, at the heart of which are religious beliefs and values.

Reporter Brooke Adams demonstrates a tremendous ability to tell the complex story from the collapse of the state’s case due to a lack of hard evidence, to the introduction of The Photo, which is posted above, by state officials. The Photo shows imprisoned sect leader Warren Jeffs giving a not-so-friendly kiss to a 12-year-old girl he allegedly married nearly two years ago:

In San Angelo, the state went to battle with the Jeffs photos.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:09 PM

Costi, omertà e pedofilia L'altro lato della tonaca

ITALY
la Repubblica

di MATTEO TONELLI

ROMA - Si parla di Chiesa. Quella che passò attraverso gli anni di piombo. Quella del sequestro Moro e della dissociazione. La Chiesa e Cosa Nostra, la mafia devota e la religione "capovolta". Ed ancora Chiesa e pedofilia, una delle pagine più nere della storia. E i conti in tasca al Vaticano per capire quanto ci costa la Santa Sede.

I costi della Chiesa. Da una serie di articoli a firma di Curzio Maltese su Repubblica, nasce La Questua. Quanto costa la Chiesa agli italiani (Feltrinelli, 14 euro). Qualche cifra per capire. Un miliardo di euro dai versamenti dell'otto per mille. 650 milioni per gli stipendi degli insegnanti di religione. 700 milioni per le convenzioni su scuola e sanità. 250 milioni per il finanziamento dei Grandi Eventi. Mittente lo Stato italiano, destinatario la Chiesa cattolica. Senza contare vantaggi fiscali come il mancato incasso dell'lci. il totale si aggira sui 4 miliardi di euro. Una somma che solo per un quinto viene destinata a interventi di carità e di assistenza sociale.

[translation]

From the religious mafia to the relationship with the terrorists and to the costs of the Vatican
Four books meticulously examine the most controversial aspects of the Church

Costs, silence and pedophilia
The other side of the frock

by MATTEO TONELLI

ROME - The subject is the Church. The one during the years of terrorism, when statesman Aldo Moro was kidnapped and when afterward many terrorists abandoned their fight. The Church's relationship with the mafia, the faithful one, with that kind of religious "upside down" behavior. Moreover, the relationship between Church and pedophilia, one of the blackest pages of history. And how much is the money pocketed by the Vatican to calculate the cost for the Italian taxpayers.

The costs of the Church. The book entitled La Questua (request for alms) contains a series of articles written by Curzio Maltese in the newspaper Repubblica. The publisher is Feltrinelli and the book can be bought for 14 euros. The subtitle is Quanto costa la Chiesa agli Italiani (How much the Church is costing to the Italians). Some figures can help us understand. A billion euros coming from the 8 euros per each thousand euros of almost the majority of the taxpayers' income. 650 million euros is given for the stipends of the teachers of religion. 700 million euros for the conventions about schools and health system. 250 million euros for the financing of the Grandi Eventi (very important events). The sender of the money is the Italian State, the recipient is the Catholic Church. Without counting other fiscal advantages like the exemption of the local real estate taxes. The total amount of money is about 4 billion euros, of which only a fifth is destined by the Church to charities and social assistance.

The faithful mafia. They seem to be worlds very far apart. Yet between mafia and religion, there is a tie which can be said all but tenuous. You only need to read La mafia devota (The faithful mafia) by Alessandra Dino (Publishers Laterza, 295 pages, 16 euros) to be aware of that. In order to understand how many times the mafia used and still uses catholic symbols to legitimate itself and as a self-absolution. As if there existed a "private" God with whom to bargain "the salvation of one's soul". A kind of "upside down" religion, to sum it up. Towards which, too often, the Church responds underestimating the phenomenon or considering it as a concept of intimate religiosity by which the mafia man is only seen as a "lost sheep". For there is the God of Father Puglisi, who was killed by the mafia in 1993, but also the Church which changed the route for the Saint Agata's procession in Catania in order to render homage to a mafia man just freed from jail by passing under the balcony of his home. A hybridity, as the author Dino calls it, after having spoken to many Sicilian priests. There are parish priests who "wish the Church's intervention in a synergy with the State", there are those who reduce the problem to a concept of intimate religiosity and those, the majority of the interviewed, who don't consider the presence of the mafia in the territory as a direct menace to the Church. Fortunately there are now some signs of repudiation of that stance. But a clear and direct pronouncement of the high ecclesiastical hierarchy hasn't come yet.

Church and terrorism. For those who chose the armed fight against the State like Camillo Torres, the guerrilla priest, church and terrorism weren't separated. The same happened to the many terrorists educated in a Catholic environment, the ones more sensitive to social justice. A "closeness" which was confirmed during the kidnapping of Judge Sossi and statesman Moro, the choice of the terrorist group Prima Linea to consign the arms to the Milan Curia and the fact that former terrorists had been Catholic volunteers. The book is entitled Parole, opere e confessioni. La Chiesa nell'Italia degli anni di piombo (Words, works and confessions. The Church during the years of the lead) . Written by Anna Valle (publishers Rizzoli, 262 pages, 17 euros). It's an investigation trip about the role of the Church in one of the darkest pages of contemporary history. Since the start, when some boys "grown up in the oratories" decided the only possible way to change things was the taking of the arms. " Many times I asked myself about the messages we gave - the Rev. Ciotti says in the book - if and how we helped people to connect the earth with heaven". Then there is the Moro's story. The church which tries or would do any attempt to save the life of the statesman and the one which stops any new attempt. Then the time of the defeat of terrorism arrives. Jail, dissociation, reinstatement in society. And once more the important role played by the Church. Just to close the circle which had initiated years before in some tranquil oratories in the Italian Provinces.

Church and pedophilia. The most horrendous of crimes. The darkest shadow on the Church. The silences, the pain, the reticence. The words of the victims. There are two things which can be read in the book Viaggio nel silenzio (A voyage in the silence) by Vania Lucia Gaito (publisher Chiarelettere, 273 pages, 13 euros): in Italy the known cases of clergy's pedophilia are about fifty but those who were reported are many more. There is the list of the priests convicted for pedophilia, with their first and last names. But what the church doesn't want to know is the reason, starting from the education in the seminaries. The picture is alarming: the lack of a normal psycho-sexual development can explain the tendency to pedophilia. The American dioceses, after the scandal, closed the seminaries for the minors. In Italy there continue to be 100 of them. And the witnessing of the former priest Alessandro Pasquinelli (who made a plea bargain even if now he seems to be unjustly in jail) shines the limelight on the problem: " I have the impression that in the seminaries there is a higher percentage of homosexuals. I, too, received propositions.

(May 26, 2008)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:52 PM

Residential School - the dirty little secret

CANADA
First Perspective

May 26, 2008 — By Rosanna Deerchild

School didn’t teach me about it. I was a teenager before even hearing the word and an adult before I knew my own mother went. She didn’t talk about it. No one did. It was a story told in bits and pieces. People wouldn’t make eye contact when they said it. They whispered the word like some kind of dirty secret: residential school.

By 1948 there were 72 church run, federally funded schools operating with a single objective: assimilate the Indian. Children were stripped of their home, family, community, culture, language and their identity. Imagine that. Really imagine it. You’re five years old and suddenly you are nothing but a number. But that wasn’t the worst thing to go on behind those doors.

In 1990 those doors were opened in a very public way when Phil Fontaine told CBC’s Barbara Frum that sexual and physical abuse was prevalent in the schools. The country was stunned. Aboriginal people were not. Residential School was a dirty secret ready to be told and a flood gate opened.

My mom told me about her time in the schools. She was four when she was taken. She would spend the next 12 years at three schools, the last, Guy Hill Residential School near The Pas. She told me about a nun cutting off her braid and telling her all Indians had lice; about being forced to kneel on a row of pencils for hours because she spoke her language; and about being locked in a closet for days with no food or water when she tried to run away.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 AM

First Nations: Why an Apology is Wrong, and Deceptive: Bringing Humanity to Bear on the Residential School Atrocity

CANADA
Global Research

by Rev. Kevin Annett

Author's Note:

This article below was offered to the Canadian media as an exclusive piece last week, and was rejected or ignored by the following newspapers:

The Globe and Mail, The National Post, The Montreal Gazette, The Toronto Star, The Ottawa Citizen, The Ottawa Sun, The Winnipeg Free Press, The Edmonton Sun, The Vancouver Sun, The Province, The Alberni Valley Times, The Epoch Times, and the Victoria Times Colonist:

Rend your hearts, and not your garments Joel 2:17

Imagine for a moment that your own child goes missing and never comes home. Years pass, and one day, the person responsible for your child's death is identified, but he evades arrest and imprisonment simply by issuing to you an "apology" for your loss. He even speaks of seeking "reconciliation" with you.

How would you feel?

Hold on to that feeling, and now multiply your loss by many thousands of children, and make the guilty person the government and churches of Canada. Do so, and you will have arrived in a human way at the Indian Residential Schools atrocity.

One of my former parishioners put it another way:

"What we did to those native children was an abomination, and abominations aren't resolved with words and money. We need to have our hearts torn in two and be changed. We've got to stand, ourselves, under the judgment of God."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 AM

“Defendants owe over $25,000”

CALIFORNIA
California Catholic Daily

A California-based online service offering Catholic news, money transfers for church-related organizations and other services through various Internet web sites has been sued by the Kern County district attorney for allegedly engaging in “unlawful and unfair business practices.”

Named in the complaint for civil penalties and injunctive relief filed in Kern County Superior Court by District Attorney Edward Jagels are Catholic Online, Catholic Financial Services, Your Catholic Voice Inc. and Your Catholic Voice Foundation Inc., along with owner Michael Galloway. All of the businesses are operated out of Bakersfield.

According to the June 29, 2007 civil complaint, which has yet to go to trial, Galloway “has made false representations to the public” via the following web sites: www.catholicfs.org, www.yourcatholicvoice.org, www.ycvf.org and www.catholic.org.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 AM

Justice must throw book at sexual predators

CANADA
Montreal Gazette

In Toronto this week, a teacher accused of sexually assaulting a student 26 years ago turned himself in to Toronto police. Robert Judge, 58, has been charged with indecently assaulting a 15-year-old girl in 1982 when he taught at Etobicoke Collegiate Institute.

In Lennoxville, Bishop's College School is facing a class-action suit filed by 11 former students alleging sexual abuse by an Anglican minister, the late Harold Theodore Gibson Forster, between 1953 and 1962 when Forster was teacher, chaplain, choir director and house master at the school.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:12 AM

Pashinski rallying support for labor law amendment

PENNSYLVANIA
The Citizens Voice

BY ERIN MOODY
STAFF WRITER
05/24/2008

WILKES-BARRE — Picketing teachers and sign-waving students and alumni are ready for the fight between the Scranton Diocese Association of Catholic Teachers and the diocese to move into the state Legislature.

It’ll go there with the help of state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre, who is gathering support for a proposal that would amend the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Act to allow lay teachers and employees at Catholic schools to join collective bargaining units.

“The diocese will undertake a review of this proposed legislation,” a Diocese of Scranton release indicated. “The diocese will have no comment at this time.” ...

While recognizing that religion and government are supposed to be separate, there are notable circumstances, such as the recent sexual abuse scandal, in which that changes.

“When we fail to follow our law, our church law, and fail to follow our church teachings, usually the civil government steps in to fill the gaps and slaps us hard,” Oubreco said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:04 AM

LA parishes answer call for donations for abuse settlements

LOS ANGELES (CA)
San Jose Mercury News

The Associated Press
Article Launched: 05/25/2008 06:28:21 AM PDT

LOS ANGELES—Parishes across the sprawling Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles are answering an appeal from Cardinal Roger Mahony to help the church pay its multimillion-dollar legal settlements with victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The gifts are coming in large and small. One parish donated almost all of its $1.5 million savings and another church offered a $100,000 interest-free loan, according to a story in Sunday's Los Angeles Times.

"It's like a family trying to take care of itself," Father Scott Santarosa of Dolores Mission Catholic Church in Boyle Heights said. The church gave $500.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:57 AM

Hiker who died was a prominent Springs businessman

COLORADO
Colorado Springs Gazette

May 25, 2008
By BILL VOGRIN
THE GAZETTE
A hiker who fell to his death at St. Mary's Falls was a prominent Colorado Springs businessman who had sued the Catholic Church, accusing a priest of sexually abusing him as a child.

The victim was Edward Anthony Murphy, 59, according to El Paso County sheriff's Lt. Lari Sevene.

Murphy died at the scene Saturday after he fell more than 25 feet while descending from the summit of Stove Mountain, on the side of Mount Rosa, on a morning hike.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:51 AM

May 25, 2008

Lay group honors controversial Australian bishop

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

By Daniel Burke
Religion News Service

A prominent lay Catholic group is presenting an award to retired Australian Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, whom U.S. bishops have barred from speaking on church property for questioning the church's authority.

Voice of the Faithful, a reform movement spawned by the Catholic sexual abuse crisis, is presenting its "Priest of Integrity Award" to Robinson on Thursday (May 22) in Manhasset, N.Y.

VOTF is also sponsoring several events on Robinson's U.S. speaking tour, which continues through mid-June, according to spokesman John Moynihan.

Robinson, a sexual abuse victim and auxiliary bishop of Sydney until 2004, led the Australian bishops' investigation of its own clergy sex scandal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:58 PM

By refusing to hear Child Sex Abuse Act and almost passing puppy protection act, PA legistors reveal priorities gone to the dogs

PENNSYLVANIA
City of Angels

By Mike Ference
(Reporting from PA for City of Angels Network)
State Rep. Lisa Bennington, D-Allegheny County, held a press conference May 12 in Harrisburg, PA, to discuss House Bill 1137, legislation known as the Child Victim’s Act of Pennsylvania, which addresses the statute of limitations and identification of sex abusers.

If the bill passes, it would raise the age at which an accuser could file a civil suit from 30 to 50, bringing the civil statute of limitations in line with the criminal statute. The bill would also suspend the civil statute of limitations for two years in child sex abuse cases in which the statute has expired, so that people over the age limit could file a suit. The bill allows actions against child sex abusers and their enablers in both public and private institutions.

A 2005 Philadelphia Grand Jury Report uncovered 63 priests in the Philadelphia archdiocese who had abused hundreds of children over several decades. In some cases, archdiocese leaders intentionally concealed the abuse to protect the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:33 AM

The unholy doings of Kerala ‘godmen’

INDIA
Thaiindian News

By Liz Mathew
New Delhi/Thiruvananthapuram, May 25 (IANS) In ‘god’s own country’ Kerala, the Left government is out godmen hunting! In an unusual drive against the numerous fake ‘godmen’ and ‘godwomen’ in the state, Kerala state police have initiated a probe into the fraudulent deals and disproportionate wealth of almost a dozen such spurious gurus and religious charlatans and arrested some.

The ‘holy war’ began with the arrest of Santhosh Madhavan, a temple priest-turned-astrologer, who was charged with rape of a teen as well as cheating in Alappuzha district earlier this month. The swami turned out to be fake and a benami real estate bigwig. A tiger skin and pornographic films were recovered from his house in Kochi.

Madhavan’s arrest seemed to have opened a can of worms. Since then the state police have raided the homes of several swamis - Divya Joshi, a self-proclaimed sanyasi in Thrissur district, Swamy Thapasyananda, a godman in Panthalam (Pathanamthitta), Swamy Almachaithanya in Kannur district, Matha Prasanna, who runs a ‘charitable’ trust, and Amma Thaya Mahamaya - both in Kottayam district.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:26 AM

Nashville priest says married men should be allowed to be priests

TENNESSEE
The Tennessean

By BOB SMIETANA • Staff Writer • May 25, 2008

When the Rev. Joseph Breen first arrived at St. Edward Catholic Church in 1984, he found a thriving parish. There were 750 families, 300 children in the parochial school, and two assistant priests on the staff to keep things running smoothly.

"Now we have over 1,200 families, 480 children in the school, and one old priest, 73 years old," Breen said, referring to himself.

St. Edward illustrates the problem the Catholic Church in America faces. While the number of Catholics continues to grow, topping 64 million last year, the number of priests continues to dwindle. Since 1985, the number of diocesan priests has dropped from 35,052 to 27,971, and the number of parishes without a priest in residence has tripled. In 2007, 3,238 parishes — or one in six — were without a priest.

For Breen, one solution to this crisis seems clear. The Catholic Church, he says, needs to allow married men to become priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:20 AM

I «soldi della Chiesa»: le tesi infondate del libro di Curzio Maltese

ITALY
Avvenire

Da che parte cominciare a smontare La questua. Quanto costa la Chiesa agli italiani, il libro del giornalista di Repubblica Curzio Maltese appena giunto in libreria? Ma dall’inizio, e dall’equivoco di fondo che Maltese non nasconde, anzi dichiara apertamente.

La confusione tra Vaticano e Santa Sede di qua, Chiesa italiana e Cei di là. A pagina 31 sbotta: signori, è la stessa zuppa ed è vano perderci tempo. «Una volta scartati il politicamente corretto e il cattolicamente corretto, mi sono concentrato su quello di cui finanche l’autore capiva il senso: il costo della Chiesa, una e trina». In realtà la correttezza non c’entra. Maltese ha bisogno di confondere Santa Sede e Cei perché il mirino è puntato sull’otto per mille, che va alla Cei ma che ai lettori va fatto credere vada al Vaticano, insinuando l’idea che la distinzione sia un cavillo, una pura formalità. Invece è sostanza.

[translation]

The "Church money": the unfounded thesis in the book written by Curzio Maltese
A "Questua" (meaning: "research of money") with no results

by Umberto Folena

From where can I begin to show how baseless is the book titled "Quanto costa la Chiesa agli italiani" (How much the church is costing to the Italians), the book by the Repubblica journalist, Curzio Maltese, now on sale in the bookstores? Obviously from its start, from the main misunderstanding Maltese doesn't hide but, on the contrary, he openly declares.

The confusion he makes between the Vatican and the Holy See on one hand and between the Italian Church and the Cei (Italian Episcopal Conference) on the other. At page 31 he bursts out: sirs, it's the same soup and it's useless to waist more time. "Once I discarded the politically and the catholically correct, I concentrated my thoughts on that which even I understood the meaning: the cost of the Church, in its Oneness in its Trinity". In reality it's useless to ask him to be correct. Maltese needs to confuse the Holy See with the Cei because his target is the "eight per thousand" (8 euros per each one thousand euros of the taxpayers' income) which is cashed by the Cei but readers are made to believe it's going to the Vatican, insinuating the idea that distinction is only a quibble, a mere formality. Instead it's substance.

A book based upon thesis

An other initial thesis: the percentage of the Italians who attend Mass (about a third of the population) and of the taxpayers who sign for the "eight per thousand" in favor of the Catholic Church is the same. Therefore those people are the same. Wrong, and it's proven by the numbers. First, the comparison is between non-homogenous groups of people: on one side all the Italians, on the other the taxpayers. Second, those who sign are more than 40% of the taxpayers, but not well distributed: in fact 61,3% consists of the taxpayers for which filling out the (730 or the Unico) form is mandatory. Only a very low percentage of those who are not obligated, mainly retired people, can be said to belong to the faithful. A real mess. Maltese instead writes that all those Italians "declare to attend Mass and are influenced at the polls by the opinion of the Pope and the bishops". Nobody knows the source of that information but it's very incredible that a believer or not could admit of being "influenced".

(From here on there is only a concise summary of this article, consisting of two long pages. It responds to the main accusations made in the book):

-John Paul II can't be described summarily as the Pope who brought the church back to the days prior to the Vatican Council II in a alliance with the traditionalist forces and the elimination of catholic dissent;

- Cardinal Ruini, the former head of the Italian Bishops' Conference, wasn't a nobody when Pope Paul John II called him to Rome. He was instead a very known professor of Theology in Bologna and the organizer of the Ecclesiastical Meeting in Loreto in 1985;

- Cardinal Ruini was never a kind of dictator who decided how to spend the Church's money. Bishops and priests receive a monthly stipend, starting from the net sum of 853 euros. The bishops who are going to retire get about 1309 euros. There are no secrets in that. There are no privileges. Moreover the dioceses all receive the same amount of money, with an additional sum of money proportional to the inhabitants they serve. An apposite committee decides the allocation of the money for the dioceses abroad. All this information can be found in the official book "Dalla parola alle opere" (from the words to the deeds), which can be read online in the website www.chiesacattolica.it/sictm ;

-The "eight per thousand" system set for the Italian taxpayers' donations, paid by the State to the Church, is very democratic, a case of direct democracy applied to the fiscal system: the church has no guarantee to get the money and it's up to the taxpayers to decide if the money must be given to the catholic church. Those who don't express their will generally are elderly people who are exempted to fill out their tax form and thereby can't make their choice for the donation. But that doesn't mean their total income mustn't be counted. As in the electoral law, those who don't go to the polls allow the others to decide for all the citizens. When the Italian taxpayers sign for the "eight per thousand", they don't express their personal choice, but a collective choice, which applies also to those who didn't, couldn't or wouldn't express their will;

-It's not true that only 20% of the "eight per thousand" money received by the church is spent in charities. All Italian priests and parish priests are involved in charities and are custodians of the churches and places of worship;

-Most of the money received by the church is offered by the faithful in their parishes during Sunday Mass, in addition to the money donated during many events, starting with the blessing of the families by the parish priests;

-The money, notwithstanding any kind of criticism, is used just to render all those services like education, training, health, sport, places of worships. It doesn't serve to build personal careers like it's affirmed in the book.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:13 AM

Man sues priest, diocese

NEW YORK
Post-Star

By Thomas Dimopoulos
tdimopoulos@poststar.com
Published: Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Queensbury man who claims he had an adult sexual relationship with the Rev. Gary Mercure between 1992 and 1994 filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Warren County on Friday against Mercure, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany and Bishop Howard Hubbard.

The lawsuit, filed by attorney John Aretakis on behalf of his client, John Watkins, seeks $2 million in damages for slander and a non-monetary settlement called an "injunctive relief" that asks Mercure be permanently removed from the priesthood.

Mercure, an ordained priest since 1975, was an associate pastor at Our Lady of the Annunciation Church in Queensbury in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and pastor at St. Mary's Parish in Glens Falls, in addition to working at a number of other parishes in the Capital Region.

In January, the diocese announced Mercure was under investigation by the diocese's Sexual Misconduct Review Board and he was granted a paid leave of absence pending the results of a currently ongoing investigation, which is not related to Watkins' allegations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:59 AM

Teen adds civic club to sex abuse lawsuit

WHEELING (WV)
Charleston Daily Mail

by The Associated Press
WHEELING - A teenager suing a Roman Catholic Diocese claiming he was sexually abused has added a service organization to his lawsuit, his lawyer says.

The Clarksburg teen, who was not identified in court papers, is seeking damages from the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, as well as former and current church officials and now the Key Club chapter of West Virginia.

The amended lawsuit filed Friday claims that the late Rev. Charles E. McCallister sexually abused the now 19-year-old at a hotel during district and state Key Club conventions. It also alleges that an organization overseeing the Key Club allowed McCallister to return after receiving at least one report that he had inappropriate contact with a minor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:48 AM

Church urges government to consult native groups about schools apology

CANADA
Anglican Journal

Marites N. Sison
staff writer

May 25, 2008
Mississauga, Ont.

The Anglican Church of Canada has written to Prime Minister Stephen Harper urging him “to make every effort possible” to consult the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) about the federal government’s long-awaited apology over the now-defunct Indian residential schools system.

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate (national archbishop) of the Anglican Church of Canada, and Bishop Mark MacDonald, national indigenous bishop, signed the letter, which was sent to Mr. Harper on May 23.

The Harper government has announced that it will issue an apology on June 11 as part of its settlement with former students of Indian residential schools, but the AFN has said that there has been no consultation with native groups about this.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:46 AM

Churches grapple with allowing sex offenders to join spiritual community

MASSACHUSETTS
Standard-Times

By CHARIS ANDERSON
Standard-Times staff writer
May 25, 2008 6:00 AM
Religious communities minister to people's spiritual needs, offering a place for healing — but what happens when the person seeking restoration is a convicted sex offender?

The First Unitarian Church in New Bedford and the Unitarian Memorial Church in Fairhaven faced this dilemma last March, when a Level 3 sex offender asked to join their congregations.

Both churches considered the request but ultimately turned the man down.

"We really felt that it was something that our congregation wasn't going to be able to handle," said Catherine Walsh, president of the Board of Governors at the Fairhaven church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:43 AM

L.A. parishes help pay archdiocese's $720 million in abuse settlements

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

By Rebecca Trounson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
May 25, 2008
Blessed with a nest egg of nearly $1.5 million, a Woodland Hills parish donated almost all of it, leaving just $1,000 in its savings account. An Encino church offered a $100,000 interest-free loan. And a Boyle Heights parish decided it could spare $500 after ruling out the idea of raising money with tamale sales.

With gifts large and small, parishes across the sprawling Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles are answering an appeal from Cardinal Roger M. Mahony to help the archdiocese dig out of the financial hole resulting from its multimillion-dollar legal settlements with victims of clergy sexual abuse.

"It's important that we the church take care of this," said Father Scott Santarosa of Dolores Mission Catholic Church in Boyle Heights, which gave the $500 from its limited unrestricted funds. "It's like a family trying to take care of itself. Every family has parts that break down or need help. That's part of the church too, and we can't turn our backs."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 AM

Texas standoff: Battle over FLDS kids gets rough

TEXAS
The Salt Lake Tribune

By Brooke Adams
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 05/25/2008 06:20:12 AM MDT

SAN ANGELO, Texas - Saddle up, because it ain't over yet.
The largest child-welfare case in United States history bucked participants and spectators every which way last week - and the wild ride will continue.
The first jolt may come anytime from the Texas Supreme Court, which worked through Saturday without deciding whether to stay an appeals court decision that sends some, if not all, of about 450 children from a polygamous sect back to their parents.
The children, taken from the YFZ Ranch near Eldorado, Texas, have spent seven weeks in state custody and are scattered in shelters throughout the state. The ranch is home to members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The next jolt may come Tuesday. A court hearing that has already been jarring - state attorneys introduced photographs of sect leader Warren S. Jeffs giving a husbandly kiss to a 12-year-old girl he purportedly married last summer - resumes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:38 AM

Editorial: Prestonwood Church does the right thing

TEXAS
The Dallas Morning News

It is quite possibly a church's worst nightmare: a minister caught in sexual impropriety involving a child.

We've seen this play out time and time again over the past few years, particularly in the Roman Catholic Church. Bishop Kevin Farrell, the new Catholic ordinary in Dallas, told this newspaper's Sam Hodges recently that the diocese is short of money. The bishop didn't elaborate, but one reason for the financial shortfall is the tens of millions of dollars paid out locally to clerical sex abuse victims. And it's impossible to put a dollar figure on the loss of trust and confidence in church authorities.

Why has it been so difficult for the institutional leaders in churches to understand what's at stake for their credibility in these ugly matters?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:32 AM

May 24, 2008

Pope encourages media professors to teach skepticism, not cynicism

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Students preparing for a career in communications must learn to be skeptical, especially when the public good is at stake, but they also must be helped to avoid becoming cynical, Pope Benedict XVI told communications professors.

"Nourish and reward that passion for truth and goodness that is always strong in the young. Help them give themselves fully to the search for truth," the pope said in a May 23 address to participants in a meeting sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:10 AM

'GAMBLING' REV RUNS OUT OF LUCK

WHITE PLAINS (NY)
New York Post

By TODD VENEZIA and LORENA MONGELLI, Post Wire Services

May 24, 2008 -- A White Plains priest was a real holy roller - using the Sunday collection plate as his own personal gambling pot, authorities charge.

The Rev. Patrick Dunne was arrested yesterday and arraigned on charges of grand larceny. He allegedly took hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Sunday donations, including aid meant for Hurricane Katrina victims.

The theft allegedly occurred from 2002 to 2007, while Dunne was at Our Lady of Sorrows.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:43 AM

Catholic bishop at odds with church to speak at UCSD Faculty Club

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Union-Tribune

By Sandi Dolbee
UNION-TRIBUNE RELIGION & ETHICS EDITOR

May 24, 2008

A retired Catholic bishop from Australia, under fire for a book expressing “profound disillusionment” over the church's handling of its clergy sexual abuse crisis, said he will continue his U.S. speaking tour – including a stop in San Diego next month – despite requests from other bishops not to do so.

“I'm not looking for any form of confrontation,” said Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, retired auxiliary bishop of Sydney, during a brief telephone interview from the East Coast. “I've been invited by a particular group there, and I will be talking to that group.”

Both Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony and San Diego Bishop Robert Brom have asked Robinson not to speak in their jurisdictions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:39 AM

Porn photos priest off hook

AUSTRALIA
Adelaide Now

NIGEL HUNT
May 25, 2008 12:30am
A CATHOLIC priest at the centre of a police investigation into his activities with young males will not face any criminal charges.

But the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide has refused to reveal if it will now conduct an internal inquiry into Father Tony Pearson's conduct, as it promised last December.

This is despite the discovery of hundreds of pornographic photographs of young men being found on Father Pearson's office computer.

Pedophile Task Force detectives found the photographs, and another image of him carrying an AK47 assault rifle, when they examined his church-owned office computer hard drive.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:18 AM

Cardinal Egan's moves

NEW YORK
The Journal News

As if the housing slump, high gas prices and worries about the economy weren't enough to set residents on edge, now many in the region's Roman Catholic communities are finding that the place they turn for comfort - their parish church - is facing new turmoil. Cardinal Edward Egan recently reassigned about 47 priests, or 10 percent of the active priests in the New York Archdiocese. As religion writer Gary Stern reported earlier this week, the transfers, which are effective July 1, are unprecedented, both in number and in the method of reassignment. Many of the priests are in the middle of their terms; some learned of the reassignments in the most awkward of ways - when their replacements informed them of the change.

And there are enough rumors of payback and retribution swirling through the church pews that parishioners are starting to demand answers. Parishioners at St. Gregory Barbarigo Church in Garnerville are petitioning to keep their beloved pastor, the Rev. Robert McKeon. "Without Father's leadership, many residents will look to leave our area and further depress our community," reads an online petition.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

‘Godmen’ flourish in Kerala under political patronage

INDIA
Gulf Times

By Ashraf Padanna
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: There are some 50 self-styled ‘godmen’ in Kerala and almost all of them enjoy political patronage, according to a criminologist. “It’s a crime syndicate. Fake swamis, politicians, drug pushers and money launderers all work hand in glove. It’s an organised crime and is very difficult to crack,” said James Vadakkumcherry, a retired trainer at the Police Training College here who is doing an extensive study on the subject.

Last week, one swami was arrested and charged with rape of minor girls, swindling money and producing blue films while another swami is behind bars after opening fire in a police station.
Yet another swami is on the run following media reports that he was a film director in his ‘poorvashram’ (life before becoming a swami) and was wanted by police for issuing dud cheques for Rs1mn.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:06 AM

We are just honest businessmen, claims fugitive ‘swami’

QATAR
The Peninsula

Doha • Satguru Murali Krishna Swamikal, one of the 58 alleged religious conmen who are under investigation in India’s Kerala state, yesterday denied charges of involvement in any illegal activities at home or abroad. He is currently in Qatar on a private visit at the invitation of one of his devotees.

Talking to the Peninsula, Murali Krishna said he didn’t run away to avoid arrest or interrogation back home. “My visit to Doha was preplanned and was published on our website (www.saravanabhava.com) long ago, not as some media reported. I am accused of holding large acres of land but this is not true. The police raids on our ashrams found nothing.”

“Evil will be uprooted and the truth will remain. This is nature’s way of cleansing the society. People should have the maturity to differentiate between the good and the evil. This is God's doing,” said Murali Krishna Swami. The state of Kerala is currently rocked by a series of scandals involving self-styled swamis who have duped hundreds of people.
Swami Santhosh Madhavan

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

Swami scandal: Police looking into antecedents of Amrita Chaitanya

INDIA
Zee News

Kochi, May 10: Kerala police are verifying antecedents of Amrita Chaitanaya, against whom the UAE Interpol has issued a Red Corner Notice for allegedly cheating an Indian woman.

IGP Vinson M Paul said he got in touch with the CBI in Delhi following media reports about the fraudster swami. He also spoke to Interpol in Delhi and they informed him that UAE Interpol had issued a notice against Santosh Madhav, his name before he became a swami.

However, Kerala Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has said the state government had not received any communication from any international agency regarding Chaitanya so far.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

BISHOP PAT POWER...

AUSTRALIA
Catholica

Retired Australian Bishop, Geoffrey Robinson, has in the last week or so come under pressure from the Vatican, from an unsigned statement put out in the name of the Australian Bishops, and from at least one Cardinal in the United States, for his blunt book entitled "Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church — Reclaiming the Spirit of Jesus". Bishop Patrick Power, who is presently on long service leave, yesterday sent Catholica this unsolicited statement of heartfelt support for Bishop Robinson which it is our great pleasure to publish. The sentiments expressed in this article very much accord with the overwhelming sense of support we detect being expressed for them in the lay Church we come into contact with in this nation. We salute both Bishop Robinson and Bishop Power for having the courage to exhibit the spiritual leadership of their people that they have shown. …Brian Coyne, Editor
In many ways he had no other option but to write such a book…

The lot of a prophet is rarely a comfortable one. Geoffrey Robinson with his great knowledge and love of the Scriptures would understand that better than most. Yet he chose such a path when he wrote Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church: Reclaiming the Spirit of Jesus.

“It is imperative to look not just at the causes of individual instances of abuse, but to try to understand the systemic weaknesses and failures which underlie such a betrayal of trust and power.” …Bishop Power

In many ways, he had no other option but to write such a book. Since the late 1980s when revelations of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church began to surface, Bishop Robinson was at the forefront in addressing the issue. He began by listening to victims, hearing first hand the stories and witnessing the pain and damage of those most affected. He saw too the effects on families, parish and school communities and other people involved. He began to understand something of the complexity of factors which led to abuse. He saw it as necessary as well to "get inside the skin" of those responsible for the abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 AM

Janitor gets 30 months of probation for camera in restroom

HIGHLAND PARK (IL)
Chicago Tribune

Associated Press
9:37 PM CDT, May 23, 2008
HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. - The one-time janitor of a suburban Chicago synagogue has been sentenced to 30 months of probation for installing a hidden camera in the building's restroom.

Salome Zequeida pleaded guilty last month to 15 counts of unauthorized videotaping of a victim younger than 18. He was found not-guilty of a child pornography charge. In addition to probation, he must spend a year in a work-release program.


Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 AM

Column: Child abuse apparently okay under the law, as long as it takes place slowly over many years

TEXAS
Vancouver Sun

Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun
Published: Friday, May 23, 2008

Polygamy is illegal. Sex with children is illegal. Abuse of children is illegal.

Still, the Texas appeal court ruling this week suggests that the state is powerless to protect the more than 400 children who were seized in April from the closed compound of a polygamous, fundamentalist Mormon sect.

The problem is that the child protection laws weren't written to hold a community such as this to account. The laws require the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services prove "immediate" danger to the physical health and welfare of the children that requires "urgent" removal.

But in a group such as this, the danger is pervasive, inherent and imminent but not urgent or immediate. The future of any baby born into the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is not bright.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 AM

Texas Defends Seizure of Children

TEXAS
The Wall Street Journal

By JEFFREY BALL
May 24, 2008; Page A3

Texas officials sought Friday to retain custody of more than 460 children seized from a polygamist ranch after an appeals court ruled the children should be returned to their parents, but they also agreed to reunite 12 children with their parents while the case moves on.

The state turned to the Texas Supreme Court for its own appeal a day after an appeals court in Austin rebuked child-welfare authorities for acting too hastily and too broadly in seizing the children from the religious sect's West Texas community. The state asked the court to allow the children to continue to be kept in state custody until the appeal is decided, arguing that returning the children would put them in harm's way. Lawyers for the mothers in the dispute urged the state supreme court to let the children be returned, arguing in a motion Friday that the children are experiencing "continuing, irreparable harm" by being kept away from their parents.

The agreement narrowly specifies 12 children, some of whose parents had filed a motion with a state district court in San Antonio for their release from state foster care.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 AM

Scholarships named for Curran focus of abuse victim advocates

MAINE
Morning Sentinel

BY MATTHEW STONE
Staff Writer

Advocates for victims of sexual abuse by priests are honing in on two Augusta organizations that offer scholarship awards named after the Rev. John J. Curran.

Paul Kendrick, who co-founded the state's chapter of the victim advocacy group Voice of the Faithful, has contacted representatives at the Calumet Educational and Literary Foundation and the University of Maine at Augusta, which both offer scholarship awards named after Curran.

Kendrick, of Freeport, said he is requesting the organizations either rename the monetary awards or stop offering them.

"It's offensive to those he abused," he said. "It's offensive to all victims of abuse that someone who abused children is being honored in this way."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 AM

A bishop speaks out on abuse

CANADA
Toronto Star

May 24, 2008 04:30 AM
Stephen Scharper

"Sexual abuse of minors by a significant number of priests and religious, together with the attempts by many church authorities to conceal the abuse, constitute one of the ugliest stories ever to emerge from the Catholic Church. It is hard to imagine a more total contradiction of everything Jesus Christ stood for, and it would be difficult to overestimate the pervasive and lasting harm it has done to the Church."

These are bold, candid words, particularly from the mouth of a bishop. But they have been given episcopal voice by Roman Catholic Bishop Geoffrey Robinson of Sydney, Australia. A canon lawyer, Bishop Robinson for almost a decade also chaired the Australian bishops' committee investigating clerical sexual abuse.

What he found deeply disturbed him, hastening his retirement and prompting a profound disillusionment with the church he had served for over half a century.

Robinson has attempted to both record and confront his disillusionment in his book, Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church: Reclaiming the Spirit of Jesus. With its critique of the church's leadership on the scandal and church officials who seem to place ecclesial power ahead of the protection of vulnerable children, Robinson's book has been a religious bestseller down under.

Bishop Robinson will be at Emmanuel College in Toronto June 1 to talk about his concern for and critique of the church in light of the pedophilia scandals.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

Md. has gaps in offender registry

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

By Justin Fenton | Sun Reporter
May 24, 2008
A former Roman Catholic priest who was convicted in 2006 of sexually abusing a student at Calvert Hall College High School 20 years earlier will not be required to register as a child sex offender due to a loophole in state law, which legislators unsuccessfully sought to address this year.

Jerome F. Toohey Jr., who was permanently removed from the ministry this week, completed an 18-month jail sentence last year for abuse that had occurred in the late 1980s. He is not required to register because of the time lag between his offense and his conviction.

Maryland law requires sex offenders convicted of offenses that occurred after September 1995 to register with the state. Also, offenders convicted of earlier crimes are required to register - if they were in prison or on probation in October 2001.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:18 AM

Officer made no notes about sex abuse allegation

CANADA
Standard Freeholder

Posted By Trevor Pritchard

A city cop told the Cornwall Public Inquiry on Friday he didn't write down an allegation against Rev. Charles MacDonald because the former priest's name only came up "in conversation."

Det. Const. Rene Desrosiers' notes from early 1997 came under scrutiny at the inquiry, which is probing how institutions like the Cornwall Community Police Service handled historical sexual abuse allegations. Desrosiers testified he had just launched an investigation into city teacher Marcel Lalonde when one complainant mentioned in passing that he had also been abused by MacDonald.

The former priest at St. Columban's church had been charged in 1996 by the OPP with a number of sex crimes involving young boys. A judge stayed those charges in 2002 after deciding they'd taken too long to come to trial.

Desrosiers said yesterday he told the man - who was at police headquarters to talk about Lalonde - that his allegation against MacDonald would be looked into at another time, either by city police or an outside force, depending on where the alleged incident happened.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 AM

Abusive priest does not have to register

BALTIMORE (MD)
United Press International

Published: May 24, 2008 at 6:53 AM
BALTIMORE, May 24 (UPI) -- A Catholic priest convicted of molesting a student in Maryland has been spared registration as a sex offender because the crime occurred before 1995.

Jerome Toohey Jr. was found guilty in 2006, almost 20 years after he sexually abused a student at Calvert Hall College High School. Under Maryland law, sex offenders convicted of crimes before September 1995 do not have to register unless they were in prison or on probation in October 2001, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Lisae Jordan, legal director of the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said that two to three offenders a year are protected by the loophole. She said that when the state legislature made registration retroactive, legislators did not consider that some people who offended before 1995 might be convicted years later.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 AM

May 23, 2008

Building on the good

WORCESTER (MA)
The Catholic Free Press

By Tanya Connor

Giving up one’s parish for the greater good is a Christ-like act of charity.

Father Richard A. Jakubauskas, pastor of St. Casimir Parish in Worcester, was looking at his parish’s upcoming closing that way a couple of days after announcing it to parishioners.

In his homily at the 7:30 a.m. Mass Tuesday, he mentioned that there are protests and sorrow over closing St. Casimir’s, but told parishioners that doing so is “living in charity, not in self-interest.”

“It’ll be a glory for them,” he told The Catholic Free Press afterwards. “They’re making a big sacrifice. Look at Jesus – he gave his life. They have something meaningful to bring to God. We’re not asked to give our life, but we do it through our charity.
“We have the physical building, but, like Vatican II said, it’s the people that are the living stones,” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:59 PM

Please, Archdiocese, Let Us Pray on Our Knees

MASSACHUSETTS
Bostonist

The Globe reports that the Archdiocese of Boston is planning to close two churches in the city, Holy Trinity Church in the South End and St. Casimir in Brockton. Just two years ago, the diocese finished shutting down over 60 local parishes, but the archdiocese says these new closures are not part of a larger consolidation movement.

Holy Trinity has long been a haven for German Catholic immigrants, and is one of few churches left still offering mass in Latin. About 50 people attend a German community service (mostly in English) there each week, while 100 attend the Latin Mass. The church also has a monthly mass in German.

St. Casimir, which has a largely Lithuanian-American congregation, offers services with some readings in Lithuanian and celebrates Lithuanian holidays. The church has worked to stay alive, with parishioners posting crosses outside the church to show their support and evoke the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:56 PM

Foundation funds research on clergy sex abuse.

TEXAS
The Baptist Standard

The Ford Foundation gave a $200,000 grant to Baylor University and its School of Social Work to conduct the first national research on clergy sexual abuse of adults. Diana Garland, dean of the Baylor School of Social Work, previously had received $31,000 combined funding for this project from the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the JES Edwards Foundation of Fort Worth.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:52 PM

Gambling NY priest charged in parish theft

WHITE PLAINS (NY)
Staten Island Advance

5/23/2008, 4:44 p.m. EDT
The Associated Press

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — A parish priest with a gambling problem was arrested Friday and charged with stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from church accounts, including a fund for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The Rev. Patrick Dunne, 63, was arraigned on a grand larceny charge, Westchester District Attorney Janet DiFiore announced. If convicted, he could be sentenced to five to 15 years in prison.

The New York Archdiocese announced in March that Dunne, who was pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows in White Plains, took a significant amount of church money because of a "very powerful" gambling addiction. DiFiore said he used the money for recreation and personal expenses, writing checks to himself and to "cash."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:39 PM

Defendants Added in Clarksburg Priest Abuse Lawsuit

WHEELING (WV)
The State Journal

[with link to Amended Complaint Part 1]
[with link to Amended Complaint Part 2]
[with link to diocese answer]
[with link to Kiwanis Club answer]

WHEELING -- Lawyers for a Clarksburg man have filed an amended complaint in a lawsuit accusing a Catholic priest of sexually abusing their client.

The original complaint was against the estate of the late Father Charles McCallister and the Wheeling-Charleston Catholic Diocese.

The new complaint adds the Kiwanis Club and Key Club as defendants in the suit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:30 PM

Lawsuit filed against suspended priest

SARATOGA SPRINGS (NY)
WNYT

[withv video]

By: Bill Lambdin

SARATOGA SPRINGS - A new lawsuit was filed Friday against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany and a suspended priest. The case involves compromising pictures of the Rev. Gary Mercure apparently taken more than a decade ago.

John Aretakis is the lawyer for John Watkins, the man who claims he was taken advantage of by Mercure. Aretakis says the priest gave these and many other pictures to the object of his affection.

Now Aretakis and Watkins are using these pictures to support their lawsuit against Mercure, Bishop Howard Hubbard and the Albany Diocese. ...

Watkins was not present at Friday's news conference announcing the lawsuit. The Rev. Robert Hoatson, a man identified as a priest Aretakis works with on clergy abuse cases, read Watkins's statement.

"During my first two visits to Mercure's private office at St. Mary's rectory in Glens Falls he was very professional. On my third visit he took me out for an expensive dinner and when we returned to the rectory he made strong sexual advances," Hoatson read.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:54 PM

Priest Council backs Egan on priest transfers

NEW YORK
The Journal News

By Gary Stern
The Journal News • May 23, 2008

The Priest Council of the Archdiocese of New York, which met yesterday with Cardinal Edward Egan, released a statement today supporting him and the reassignments of dozens of priests.

The Journal News and other media outlets have quoted priests anonymously in recent days who were critical of the transfers and of Egan.

The statement says:

"The Archbishop of New York, as Shepherd of this local Church, serves the needs of the people of the Archdiocese of New York. In that capacity, the Archbishop assigns priests based on the pastoral needs of the people of this Archdiocese, as well as the needs of the parishes and other institutions. We, the Priest Council of the Archdiocese, recognize our Archbishop's authority to assign priests and support him as he faces unfair and anonymous attacks in the media. We have full confidence in Cardinal Egan's leadership as he continues to serve with distinction the people who have been entrusted to his spiritual care."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:51 PM

White Plains priest charged in parish thefts

WHITE PLAINS (NY)
The Journal News

By Jonathan Bandler
The Journal News • May 23, 2008

WHITE PLAINS - The former longtime pastor at Our Lady of Sorrows Church was arrested this morning, accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from church accounts - including money intended for Hurricane Katrina victims.

The Rev. Patrick Dunne, 63, was arraigned in White Plains City Court after surrendering to investigators at the Westchester County District Attorney's Office.

Parishioners at the church on Mamaroneck Avenue were devastated in late March when they learned Dunne - their pastor since 1991 - had been removed from the parish, had a serious gambling habit and was the subject of a criminal investigation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:47 PM

The Pope and the Press

UNITED STATES
Zenit

By Teresa Tomeo

DETROIT, Michigan, MAY 22, 2008 (Zenit.org).- In watching and reading various media outlets days before the Holy Father arrived for his historic U.S visit last month to Washington D.C. and New York City, one could have easily gotten the impression that it was going to be nothing but more of the same media bias and misrepresentation.

One expected the media to round up the usual suspects, the unorthodox authors, so-called scholars and commentators who are Catholic in name only and cannot accept Church teaching on abortion, contraception, and the male priesthood, and put them on the air or quote them in print so they can once again attack the Church for not following the whims of American culture. ...

That was, of course, until the Holy Father himself hit the media with a very pro-active one-two punch. Not only was it the Pope who first addressed the fallout from the priest sex abuse scandal here in the United States, but he did it before even landing on American soil. He discussed the sensitive and embarrassing issue during a question-and-answer session with reporters on Shepherd One. And then later in the week he met privately with several victims of the sexual abuse scandal.

Gentler reporting

Tim Graham, director of media analysis for the Media Research Center, explains it was the Pontiff’s humility and directness concerning the biggest white elephant in the room that may have forced the press to take a closer look at this Pope and make at least some effort to cover him more fairly and at least a bit more gently.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:42 PM

Yukon leaders miffed by Fontaine's residential school comment

CANADA
CBC News

Some Yukon First Nations leaders are upset after Phil Fontaine dismissed their concerns about a rise in the number of deaths of residential school survivors after receiving compensation from Ottawa.

As many as two dozen funerals for former students have taken place across the territory in recent months after the survivors collected thousands of dollars from the federal government.

Some leaders are linking the two, saying compensation compounded with recollection of their painful experiences in residential schools has caused some survivors to turn to drugs and alcohol.

But the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Phil Fontaine, who helped pen the settlement agreement that resulted in more than $27 million in compensation cheques to survivors in the Yukon since September, disagreed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:40 PM

Another Canadian private school under shadow of abuse allegations

CANADA
Monsters & Critics

By Rich Bowden May 23, 2008, 14:29 GMT

On Feb 5, 2006, M&C News ran one of its most popular and heartbreaking stories concerning allegations of widespread abuse suffered by children at an elite Montreal school. The report was notable in that the abuse reported in the article was discussed at length in the report's comments field, as old students finally felt free to speak out about their experiences and share their harrowing ordeals with other former students.

Now tragically, another exclusive Canadian school has been accused of failing to prevent similar abusive behaviour towards a number of its students.

The Canadian newspaper The Gazettehas reported that eleven former students of Bishop's College School are suing the school for $CAN32 million in a class action over reported sexual abuse by the Rev. Harold Theodore Gibson Forster during the 50s and 60s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:21 PM

State appeals FLDS ruling

TEXAS
Austin American-Statesman

By Chuck Lindell | Friday, May 23, 2008, 12:28 PM

Child-welfare officials are asking the Texas Supreme Court to overturn an order to begin returning children to the polygamist sect’s ranch near Eldorado.

On Thursday, the Third Court of Appeals in Austin ruled that Child Protective Services failed to prove that children on the YFZ Ranch were in imminent danger of physical harm when they were separated from their parents in April and sent to foster homes across Texas. Their parents belong to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a breakaway Mormon sect.

In its filing Friday, the Department of Family and Protective Services, which includes CPS, also asked the Supreme Court to issue an emergency stay halting enforcement of the Third Court’s decision.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:19 PM

Commentary: Appellate court wrong on FLDS

TEXAS
CNN

By Sunny Hostin
CNN

Sunny Hostin is a legal analyst on CNN's "American Morning."

NEW YORK (CNN) -- It sounds like legal mumbo-jumbo.

The Texas Court of Appeals for the Third District found the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services failed to demonstrate there was either a danger to the physical health and safety of FLDS children, or an urgent need for protection of the children requiring immediate removal from their parents. The court also found the Department failed to make reasonable efforts to prevent the children's removal from their parents custody.

What does all that mean without the legalese?

The court found no legal basis for FLDS kids to be taken from their mothers. They effectively think the district judge got it wrong.

And they told the district court judge she had 10 days to make it right or else. Well I think the appellate court got it wrong. Why?

Isn't this a polygamist ranch we are talking about? Under Texas law, it's illegal to be married to more than one person. Weren't all of these children living on a ranch purchased in 2003 and built by Warren Jeffs, the self-proclaimed prophet of the group, who was convicted last year in Utah of being an accomplice to rape?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:12 PM

Taranto: 13enne violentato in parrocchia, arrestato il diacono, padre di 2 figli

ITALY
Corriere della Sera

TARANTO - Violentato in parrocchia. Un diacono di cui non è stato reso noto il nome è stato arrestato dai carabinieri in provincia di Taranto per abusi sessuali che sarebbero stati compiuti su un ragazzino di 13 anni. Il minorenne - secondo quanto accertato dagli investigatori - sarebbe stato costretto a subire violenza almeno in due occasioni, tra i primi giorni di gennaio e nel marzo scorsi, in una parrocchia di un comune del tarantino. Il diacono, a quanto si è appreso, è sposato ed è padre di due figli.

[translation]

The boy went to church for catechism

Taranto: 13-years-old boy sexually abused, the deacon, a father of two boys, was arrested
The minor was allegedly abused at least twice in a parish of the city

TARANTO - Sexually abused in a parish. A deacon, whose name wasn't made public, has been arrested by the carabinieri of the province of Taranto for having sexually abused a 13-year-old boy. The minor - according to what the investigators found out - was allegedly subjected to sexual violence at least twice, between the first days of January and March last, in a parish of the city of Taranto. The deacon, according to what has been learned, is married and father of two children.

THE INVESTIGATION - It started after the boy's parents, who had noticed a strange behavior after their son returned home from catechism, denounced the facts to the carabinieri. The 13-year-old boy, pressed by his parents questions, told them of having been subjected to sexual violence. The carabinieri heard first the 13-year-old boy and then started the investigation, which brought to the arrest of the deacon after the prosecutor had issued an ordinance for precautionary custody.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:03 PM

Fresno clergy abuse case revived after cardinal's testimony

FRESNO (CA)
CBS 2

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) A lawsuit accusing a central California priest of sexual abuse decades ago was revived after a state appeals court reviewed testimony from Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles.

Mahony, now head of the nation's largest Roman Catholic archdiocese, was a high-level administrator in the Fresno diocese during some of the years the two brothers who filed suit say they were molested by Monsignor Anthony Herdegen.

A three-judge panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 Wednesday that Mahony's testimony indicates the church was or should have been aware that Herdegen might have been an abuser.

The brothers, George and Howard Santillan, filed their lawsuit in 2003 under a one-year window that voided the statute of limitations on old abuse claims in California. The provision required plaintiffs to show that the church knew or should have known about priests' alleged misconduct.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:03 AM

Girl Says Pastor Inappropriately Touched Her Twice

BLOOMINGTON (IN)
TheIndyChannel

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A Bloomington pastor was charged with child molestation, accused of inappropriately touching an 11-year-old girl on two occasions, but he claims he was merely comforting the girl.

Donald Leroy Robinson, 56, is the pastor at Grace Baptist Temple, which operates a private school, 6News' Renee Jameson reported.

The student said Robinson fondled her twice at the school. She told police that the second incident happened on May 2 as she waited for her mother to pick her up and take her to a doctor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

Diocese weighs parish closure

SCHENECTADY (NY)
Albany Times Union

By MARC PARRY, Staff writer

First published: Friday, May 23, 2008

SCHENECTADY -- A Polish parish that dates to 1892 would close under a proposal expected to be presented to the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese by next month.

St. Mary's Church, an imposing Gothic structure on Eastern Avenue, could remain available as an "oratory" under the plan. That means there would be no official weekend Masses, but the church would be a sacred space for events like weddings, funerals and traditional Polish prayers.

"We've tried to do it in a way that minimizes the agony," said Eileen Shirey, employed as a local facilitator in a sweeping restructuring under way across the 14-county diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:59 AM

Defrocked pastor reinstated by Ugandan bishop

JACKSONVILLE (FL)
My Clay Sun

By MARY MARAGHY, My Clay Sun

Grace Anglican Church's former pastor, the Rev. Sam Pascoe, has been reinstated as an Anglican priest under an Ugandan bishop effective June 1.

"Sam has modeled true repentance for a real failure, and we, as believers, need to model and demonstrate true forgiveness," said the Rev. Neil Lehbar of Church of the Redeemer on Baymeadows Road in Jacksonville, who has been friends with Pasco for 30 years. "I'm grateful for Sam and Beth's [Pascoe's wife] determination to grow personally and stay faithful to Christ. His return to ministry will be a work in progress."

Lehbar invited Pascoe to share his story at the 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. services June 1 at his church. Pascoe, former pastor of Grace Anglican Church, will also celebrate communion for the first time since his defrocking in February 2007 for having an inappropriate relationship with a church member.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

Diocese to close two more parishes

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Globe

By Michael Paulson
Globe Staff / May 23, 2008
A Boston parish dedicated to serving two of the smallest and most unusual Catholic communities - those of German descent and those who prefer to worship in Latin - will close at the end of next month, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston said yesterday.

The long-anticipated closing of Holy Trinity Church, located in one of the last ungentrified corners of Boston's South End, is scheduled to take place June 30, four years after the Archdiocese of Boston first decided to close the church.

The closing is one of two the archdiocese is planning this year, and the other, St. Casimir in Brockton, is also a small parish dedicated to an earlier generation of Catholic immigrants, Lithuanian-Americans.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 AM

An attack on Ray Boucher, a squatty SF mansion may be sold to pay a settlement, and should the Salesians still be running a summer camp for boys 7-13?

CALIFORNIA
City of Angels

By Kay Ebeling
When the Salesians finally admitted the guilt of one of their pedophile priests, Titian Miani, last week, the buzz around the courtroom was, “They're going to sell the mansion in San Francisco.” But as of yet there’s no settlement in writing, no one really knows how the Salesians will come up with $20 million dollars to pay 17 victims from LA. The Salesians, one religious order among hundreds in California, own about a hundred million dollars in real estate in the state, according to reliable sources.

The “Salesian Mansion” in San Francisco, the architectural squatty-body pictured above, is 15,000 square feet, with 38 rooms and 12 bathrooms on Franklin Street near Geary, which is a nebulous part of The City between the newly gentrified north Tenderloin and aging wealth of Pacific Heights, prime real estate, ready to be developed. They can get $30 million for that property alone, easy cash, considering they got the mansion free, a gift from the bishop of San Francisco 20 years ago.

Meanwhile last week the Pope who last month assured the world the church he leads would finally do something for the victims of its pedophile priest epidemic stood in his window looking out of St. Peter’s Square and said, “Faith is love and so creates poetry and music. Faith is joy and so creates beauty,” and so forth, in other words, he’s forgotten about us.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 AM

Rabbi Aviner: Child abuse must be reported

ISRAEL
YNet News

Kobi Nahshoni

Published: 05.23.08, 07:29 / Israel Jewish Scene

"When children are battered, whether as part of sexual abuse or just being beaten, anyone aware of this must inform the authorities," Rabbi Shlomo Aviner of Beit El and one of Religious Zionism's prominent leaders says in an article on the weekend in the "B'Ahava Ub'Emuna" synagogue bulletin.

"A child is helpless and defenseless," the rabbi argues, noting that the law and the Halacha (Jewish law) see a person who fails to report of what he knows as bearing responsibility.

Under the headline "It's a duty to report, at all costs!", Rabbi Aviner says that "the desire not to report in order to have mercy on the beater or the abuser might be a desire frequently derived from sincere motives, but first of all we must have pity on the helpless child. The battered child's fate comes first."

In this context, the rabbi refers to data pointing to the fact that among the religious public, physical and sexual abuse is more severe than among seculars.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

Officer defends decision not to lay charges

CANADA
Standard Freeholder

Posted By Trevor Pritchard

A veteran Cornwall cop wanted medical records or the testimony of Marc Latour's parents before charging the Grade 3 teacher who allegedly abused him, the Cornwall Public Inquiry heard Thursday.

Det. Sgt. Jeff Carroll described those elements as "the cat's meow" and said they would've solidified his case against Gilf Greggain, who taught Latour in the late 1960s at St. Peter's Elementary School. ...

As with Latour, Carroll testified he could not uncover enough evidence to corroborate Lalonde's claim he was abused by Rev. Charles MacDonald, a retired Roman Catholic priest.

The OPP charged MacDonald in 1996 on a number of sex abuse counts, but the charges were stayed in 2002 when a judge ruled they'd taken too long to come to trial.

Carroll said Thursday he had doubts whether the alleged abuse - which came to Lalonde in a flashback as an adult - happened at all, never mind whether it involved MacDonald.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 AM

May 22, 2008

Fresno clergy abuse case revived after cardinal's testimony

FRESNO (CA)
San Jose Mercury News

The Associated Press
Article Launched: 05/22/2008 04:08:22 PM PDT

FRESNO, Calif.—A lawsuit accusing a central California priest of sexual abuse decades ago was revived after a state appeals court reviewed testimony from Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles.

Mahony, now head of the nation's largest Roman Catholic archdiocese, was a high-level administrator in the Fresno diocese during some of the years the two brothers who filed suit say they were molested by Monsignor Anthony Herdegen.

A three-judge panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 Wednesday that Mahony's testimony indicates the church was or should have been aware that Herdegen might have been an abuser.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:13 PM

'Vows of Silence' priest sex abuse documentary to be shown Thursday in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Belleville News-Democrat

ST. LOUIS --"Vows of Silence," a documentary about priest sex abuse at the highest levels will be shown Thursday (May 29th) at 7 p.m. in Maplewood at Schlafly's Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Ave.

The showing of the film, by nationally known writer and filmmaker Jason Berry, is sponsored by the Fellowship of Southern Illinois Laity, the St. Louis-based Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests and Voice of the Faithful, a national group whose state headquarters is in Chicago.

The documentary concerns the work of a secret Vatican investigator who probed sexual abuse allegations against a Rome-based church leader who raised more than $650-million for Legionaries of Christ.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:39 PM

Australian Catholic Bishop Speaks Here About Power and Sex in the Church

BROOKLYN (NY)
Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Controversial Australian Bishop Geoffrey Robinson was scheduled, as of press time for this column, to speak at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights on Tuesday, May 20, sharing his perspectives about sex and the Catholic Church.

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson has been called controversial by his contemporaries for his ideas regarding the Catholic Church’s approach to sensitive issues. These are detailed in his book, Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church: Reclaiming the Spirit of Jesus, published last fall.

Robinson speaks from his experiences in Sydney, Australia, in the early 1990s where, as Auxiliary Bishop, he was placed in charge of dealing with the sex abuse crisis. According to Ed Wilson, a member of the group Voice of the Faithful, which works for Church reform, Sydney’s sex abuse scandal was of higher magnitude than that of the US. Robinson played an active role in developing a process for prevention of sexual abuse within the Church and has made large strides towards raising the consciousness of Church leaders to their responsibilities.

The Australian prelate will also share his views on Rome and discuss his concerns that the power structure at the Vatican has become a one-man monarchical situation instead of the College of Bishops standing with the Pope as what Bp. Robinson believes is the intended, united governing body. Robinson’s talk will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:29 PM

Texas Polygamy Case Based on a Lie

TEXAS
LiveScience

By Benjamin Radford, LiveScience's Bad Science Columnist

The raid on Yearning for Zion, the polygamist compound in Texas, made international news amid accusations of underage marriage, child abuse, and religious persecution. Hundreds of children have undergone DNA testing and been relocated to foster homes as the case unfolds.

But one little detail has been largely forgotten: The raid ­— resulting in the largest child custody case in American history — was based on a lie.

Today, a Texas appeals court threw the case out, ruling that the state had no right to take more than 400 children from the sect's ranch.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:05 PM

Texas DFPS Responds To Appellate Loss

TEXAS
Lone Star Times

From the DFPS website:

Child Protective Services has one duty ― to protect children. When we see evidence that children have been sexually abused and remain at risk of further abuse, we will act.

The Department of Family and Protective Services removed children from the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado after finding a pervasive pattern of sexual abuse that puts every child at the ranch at risk.

The very first interviews at the ranch revealed a pattern of underage girls being “spiritually united” with older men and having children with the men. Investigators also observed a pattern of organized deception in those first interviews. Women and children frequently said they could not answer questions about the ages of girls or family relationships. Children were moved from location to location in an apparent attempt to prevent investigators from talking to them. Investigators observed numerous girls who had small children, and girls told us that marriages could occur at any age.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:01 PM

A Few Good Catholics

ORANGE COUNTY (CA)
Orange County Weekly

Posted by Gustavo Arellano in Ex Cathedra
May 22, 2008 2:44 PM

Congratulations are in order to the Orange County chapter of Voice of the Faithful (OCVOTF), a Catholic laity organization. Yesterday, we reported how Diocese of Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown wrote a letter to former Diocese of Sydney Bishop Geoffrey Robinson (pictured at left) arrogantly advising him to that "you do not have my permission to speak in the Diocese of Orange" even though Robinson's June 11 lecture at a OCVOTF gathering was to take place at the decidedly secular Costa Mesa Community Center. We placed a call to OCVOTF head Steve Dzida, and he told us the group was preparing a statement. He left it as a comment late last night, and we publish it here in its entirety:

Voice of the Faithful Orange County looks forward to Bishop Robinson’s speaking engagement on June 11 at 7 PM at the Costa Mesa Neighborhood Community Center, 1845 Park Avenue, Costa Mesa, CA. While we disagree with Bishop Brown on this issue, we applaud his other efforts to effect change in our Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:59 PM

Stallworth To Stay On Sex Offender Registry

JACKSON (MS)
WAPT

JACKSON, Miss. -- The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled 5-3 Thursday to keep the Rev. Jeffery Stallworth’s name on the state’s sex offender registry.

Thursday’s ruling upholds the decision handed down by Judge Bobby Delaughter of Hinds County Circuit Court.

Stallworth's attorneys had argued that his misdemeanor fourth degree sex conviction and sentence were removed by a judge in Maryland and the crime he pleaded guilty to in Maryland would not require a person to register as a sex offender in Mississippi.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:55 PM

Texas seizure of polygamist-sect kids thrown out

TEXAS
The Associated Press

By MICHELLE ROBERTS

SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) — A Texas appeals court said Thursday that the state had no right to take more than 400 children from a polygamist sect's ranch, a ruling that could unravel one of the biggest child-custody cases in U.S. history.

The Third Court of Appeals in Austin ruled that the state offered "legally and factually insufficient" grounds for the "extreme" measure of removing all children from the ranch, from babies to teenagers.

The state never provided evidence that the children were in any immediate danger, the only grounds in Texas law for taking children from their parents without court approval, the appeals court said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:27 PM

Affari vaticani, pecorelle e buoni pastori

ITALY
Notizie Radicali

di Francesco Pullia

Chi ha letto La questua di Curzio Maltese, scritto in collaborazione con Carlo Pontesilli e Maurizio Turco e pubblicato in questi giorni da Feltrinelli, si sarà reso conto del vertiginoso, incalcolabile, giro di denaro e di interessi, tutt’altro che spirituali, gestito dal Vaticano.

Grazie ai benefici e ai privilegi concessi dai vari governi, senza alcuna distinzione tra destra e sinistra (entrambe unite appassionatamente da un atteggiamento di opportunistico assoggettamento), la Chiesa cattolica ha potuto creare e detenere un impero patrimoniale la cui entità è talmente ingente e inestimabile da sfuggire, dal punto di vista quantitativo, alle stesse gerarchie ecclesiastiche.

[translation]

VATICAN BUSINESS, SHEEP AND GOOD SHEPHERDS

By Francesco Pullia

The readers of La Questua by Curzio Maltese, written in collaboration with Carlo Pontesilli and Maurizio Turco and published by Feltrinelli, are aware of the vertiginous, incalculable, movement of money and interests, very far from spiritual, run by the Vatican.

Thanks to the benefits and privileges granted by various governments on both sides of the political spectrum (right and left passionately united by an opportunistic submissive behavior), the Catholic Church was able to create and hold a patrimonial empire of such a huge and invaluable entity the amount of which couldn't even been grasped, under the quantitative aspect, by the same ecclesiastical hierarchies.

From the banking activity to the commercial sector, from the radio stations to real estate property, from the land ownerships to the hotels run by the "religious" institutions and to the profits of the so called "tourism of the faithful".

We warmly recommend that people buy the courageous and well-documented book by Maltese and to do that soon because it's very likely that "strangely", in a very short period, it can't be found anymore in the bookshops, as it happened, for example, for Finanza bianca, la chiesa, i soldi, il potere, (White Finance, the church, the money, the power) by Giancarlo Galli, published four years ago by Mondadori and literally disappeared from circulation.

The Vatican state exercises its action unscrupulously (and with impunity), behaving like one of the most powerful multinationals of the planet, if not the most aggressive. Its longa manus, passing through manifold channels, reaches any spot where conspicuous interests can be shared.

Today we had news that five injunctions for cautionary custody were issued by the Genoa prosecutor against the spokesperson of the mayor of that city, two former city councillors and of an entrepreneur, a former Vice President of the hospital Galliera and now President of the Bambin Gesu' hospital in Rome. Those people are charged for association to commit crimes, corruption, illegal interference in an auction. The entrepreneur in particular is very close to Monsignor Angelo Bagnasco, the president of the episcopal conference, and to Monsignor Tarcisio Bertone, the State Secretary of Vatican City.

The prosecutor ordinance, consisting of six hundred pages, reports numerous conversations between those who were arrested in connection with the contract for the school cafeterias (29 million euros) and it repeatedly refers to alleged intercessions made by the two ecclesiastical authorities.

Excuse me, but wasn't it Monsignor Bertone who at the last meeting of Comunione e Liberazione (a catholic association), referring to Psalm 71, affirmed the necessity to concretely be involved "to render justice to the poor and save the life of the misers"?

Many people, Oltretevere, (it means beyond the Tiber, where the Vatican is located) have forgotten the evangelical exhortation not to possess gold, silver, travel bag, two tunics, sandals and stick (Mt, 10,8-9).

Let's say that frankly, Jesus for the Vatican is a too dangerous relativist. His teaching is inapplicable, pure theory. A fantasy useful only for the flock, the lost sheep. Much better the expurgated version adopted by the late Monsignor Paul Casimir Marcinkus, the banker of God. He was the one who really was a good shepherd...

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:16 PM

Appeals court returns kids to YFZ sect

TEXAS
The Dallas Morning News

2:09 PM Thu, May 22, 2008

Jacquielynn Floyd
Texas' child-welfare authorities have no choice but to bow gracefully to a unanimous ruling by a state appeals court that it overstepped its bounds in separating the cult's nearly 500 children from their parents.

The court has the authority to make that call, and I would not presume to say they weren't correct in their interpretion of the law.

But I hope this isn't a singal that Texas intends to turn its back and allow the polygamous FLDS sect to go right back to operating as a closed and secret society operating outside the rules of law and of civilized society.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:03 PM

Court Rules Against Texas in Polygamy Case

TEXAS
The New York Times

[with link to text of the ruling]

By ANAHAD O’CONNOR and KIRK JOHNSON
Published: May 22, 2008
A Texas state court of appeals ruled Thursday afternoon that the state of Texas had no right to seize more than 400 children from a polygamist ranch in Eldorado, in the western part of the state.

The ruling asserted that the state’s child protection agency not only acted hastily in removing the children from the Yearning for Zion Ranch in April but also failed to show that they were in immediate danger. According to the court, the state did not establish proper grounds to remove the children from their families, who belong to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or F.L.D.S. The F.L.D.S. broke off from the mainstream Mormon church after it had disavowed polygamy in 1890.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:55 PM

Court of Appeal Revives Sex Abuse Suit Against Fresno Diocese

FRESNO (CA)
Metropolitan News-Enterprise

By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer

A lawsuit charging that officials of the Fresno Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church were on notice that a parish priest was molesting young boys was reinstated yesterday by this district’s Court of Appeal.

In a 2-1 decision, the court held that while there is no direct evidence the officials knew of any molestations taking place at the church rectory in the Kern County community of Wasco, a triable issue exists as to whether such knowledge may be imputed to them based on the observations of a part-time parish employee.

The action was brought by George and Howard Santillan, brothers who claim they were abused by the priest in the Wasco parish between 1959 and 1973. They apparently did not tell each other or anyone else of the abuse until the 1980s, by which time the statute of limitations had expired.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:50 PM

Ronnie Polaneczky: Bill to protect humans thrown to the dogs

PENNSYLVANIA
Philadelphia Daily News

By Ronnie Polaneczky
Philadelphia Daily News
Daily News Columnist

HERE'S MY PLEA for the day:
Call state Rep. Thomas Caltagirone and ask why he believes that surgically maimed puppies deserve more attention from the state Legislature than sexually abused humans.

And if he explains himself in a way that makes any moral sense at all, would you please call and explain it to me?

Because I'm at a loss to understand how someone of Caltagirone's stature can weep over damaged dogs but blithely dismiss damaged humans.

Caltagirone, D-Berks, is majority chair of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, where House Bill 1137 - The Child Victims' Act of PA - has been rotting for a year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:48 PM

Judges: CPS improperly removed FLDS children

TEXAS
Austin American-Statesman

By Chuck Lindell | Thursday, May 22, 2008, 12:32 PM

A Texas agency improperly removed more than 450 children from a polygamist ranch in West Texas, an Austin appeals court ruled today.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services failed to prove that children at the YFZ Ranch were in danger and needed to be removed from their homes, the 3rd Texas Court of Appeals ruled.

In addition, the appellate court ruled that District Judge Barbara Walther abused her discretion by failing to return the children after three days of hearings last month.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:57 PM

Appeals court rules Texas acted improperly in seizing FLDS children

SAN ANGELO (TX)
The Salt Lake Tribune

The Associated Press and The Salt Lake Tribune

May 22:
11:47 AM- SAN ANGELO, Texas -- A state appellate court has ruled that child welfare officials had no right to seize more than 400 children living at a polygamist sect's ranch.
The Third Court of Appeals in Austin ruled that the grounds for removing the children were "legally and factually insufficient" under Texas law.
Child welfare officials removed the children on the grounds that the sect pushed underage girls into marriage and sex and trained boys to be grown-up predators.
The appellate court ruled the chaotic hearing held last month did not demonstrate the children were in any immediate danger, the only measure of taking children Court of appeals ruling from their homes without court proceedings.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:55 PM

Court: Texas had no right to remove FLDS children

SAN ANGELO (TX)
CNN

SAN ANGELO, Texas (CNN) -- The state of Texas should not have removed more than 400 children it took from a polygamist sect's ranch, an appeals court ruled Thursday.

Earlier this year, authorities raided the Yearning for Zion ranch in Eldorado, Texas, after they received reports of child abuse.

About 460 children were taken from the ranch, which is run by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a polygamist sect linked to the jailed "prophet" Warren Steed Jeffs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:53 PM

Subject: Catholic Bishop did not do everything possible.

VERMONT
National Survivor Support Working Group

By Ed Friedl, National Representative of Voice of the Faithful

"A sad and tragic moment in our history" so claims Vermont Bishop Salvatore Matano, referring to the recent $8.7 million jury award in a priest abuse case. ...

But how much did Bishop Matano contribute to this sad history?

-- Instead of sitting down as a good pastor with the 40-year-old victim of childhood abuse by a priest, the Rev. Edward Paquette, who, it is alleged, fondled the victim from 40 to 100 times between 1976 and 1978.

In this case, like 18 others alleging similar claims about Paquette, the victim's lawyer contended the diocese was to blame because it hired Paquette in 1972 despite knowing that he had molested altar boys at parishes in Indiana and Massachusetts, and then kept him on duty after he sexually abused youths in Rutland in 1974.

-- Rather than sitting down and listening to the victims, and aiding them in their recovery, Bishop Matano chose to hunker down and take the advice of his high-priced attorneys - high priced for "a small rural diocese" to use his words -- and allow years to pass before legal action could take place. The marginalized and forgotten victims only seek to have acknowledgement of their soul-destruction at the hands of clergymen, the release of the documents of the perpetrators and the perpetrators' location, both now and in the past, and payment of the expenses of the survivors for their healing, no matter how long it lasts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:18 PM

Priest convicted of indecent assault

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

Nearly 25 years after he kissed a 17-year-old girl who came to his Benalla presbytery for help, retired Catholic priest Adelrick D'Cruz has been convicted of indecent assault.

Leaning heavily on a walking stick and grasping the hand of a supporter, Fr D'Cruz, 78, of the Melbourne suburb of Clayton South, cut a frail figure as he shuffled slowly into Shepparton County Court to plead guilty to the charge.

Judge Frank Shelton placed him on a two-year adjournment of good behaviour - tarnishing his previously unblemished reputation - and ordered him to pay $500 to the St Vincent de Paul society.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:07 PM

Clergy sex victims weigh in on Cardinal’s successor

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is asking Pope Benedict to rule out appointing six prelates who have been repeatedly cited as possible successors to retiring Cardinal Edward Egan of New York.

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are writing the papal nuncio in Washington DC criticizing Brooklyn Archbishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan, Hartford Archbishop Henry Mansell, Springfield MA Bishop Timothy McDonnell, Newark Archbishop John Myers and Paterson Bishop Arthur Serratelli.

All have been named in Catholic magazines, newspapers and on several widely respected Catholic blogs in recent weeks as likely candidates to replace Egan.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:55 AM

Second church child sex abuse trial discussed at hearing

AMITE (LA)
WXVT

AMITE, La. (AP) - Attorneys say it could take longer than a week to try the next suspect in the Hosanna Church child sex abuse case.

Defense attorney Michael Thiel told state District Judge Zoey Waguespack Wednesday that he could see the aggravated rape trial for his client, 49-year-old Louis D. Lamonica of Holden, taking longer than a week.

Former church pastor Lamonica is 1 of 7 members of the now-defunct Hosanna Church in Ponchatoula indicted in 2005 on charges of raping the same three children. His case is set for trial on August 18th.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:47 AM

Expanding churches to merge, build anew

MASSACHUSETTS
Telegram & Gazette

By Bronislaus B. Kush TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
bkush@telegram.com

The Diocese of Worcester, in its ongoing attempts to deal with changing demographics and a shortage of clergy, may soon close two more churches.

However, unlike the announcement by Bishop Robert J. McManus last weekend that five parishes will permanently shut their doors on July 1, news of the possible closures of St. Francis Xavier Church in Bolton and St. Theresa the Little Flower in Harvard is being welcomed by chancery officials and by the affected parishioners.

That’s because St. Francis and St. Theresa are too small to accommodate the growing numbers attending services, and church officials are looking to build a new church that would comfortably serve both congregations.

Members of both parishes voted recently to merge and to construct a new house of worship.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 AM

Investigation: Bakersfield man accused of scamming in God's name

BAKERSFIELD (CA)
Fox 58

[with video]

[with link to the judgment and liens files against Michael Galloway]

[with link to the District Attorney's complaint filed against Michael Galloway]

Kurt Rivera, Reporting

An alleged world wide web of deceit using the Catholic name. It's a business accused of ripping off thousands of dollars. It's headquarters, right here in Bakersfield.

The business calls itself "The Global Leader in Catholic On-line Donations and Payments", a sort of Catholic version of Paypal. But as we've discovered, they've been no pal to Catholic organizations stretching across the county and beyond, all in God's name.

While the Pope is considered the head of the Roman Catholic Church, you might say this man, Michael Galloway is the head of the world's largest Catholic based money transfer system on the Internet.

His websites, "Catholic Financial Services", Catholic Online, Your Catholic Voice Inc. and Your Catholic Voice Foundation are the focus of a major lawsuit by the Kern County District Attorney's office alleging years of deceptive or fraudulent business practices.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 AM

Ex-Bally priest gets 10 years in Web sex sting

PENNSYLVANIA
Reading Eagle

By Dan Kelly
Reading Eagle

The former priest at a Bally Roman Catholic church with a prior conviction of molesting a teenage boy was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison and a lifetime of probation.

Thomas Bender, 74, of Macungie, Lehigh County, pleaded guilty in federal court in New York to attempting to distribute indecent material to a minor, attempting a criminal sex act and attempted child endangerment.

Bender served as pastor at Most Blessed Sacrament in Bally from 1982 to 1985. He was sentenced July 7, 1988, to seven years of probation for molesting a teenage boy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:59 AM

LEVITTOWN: 10-year term for ex-priest

LONG ISLAND (NY)
Newsday

BY ROBERT KESSLER
May 22, 2008

A defrocked Catholic priest was sentenced yesterday to 10 years in prison - double the time recommended by federal sentencing guidelines - for trying to lure a person who he thought was a 14-year-old boy to a sexual encounter, according to officials.

The "boy" was actually an undercover Nassau detective who had made contact on the Internet with the former priest, Thomas Bender, 73, officials said.

U.S. District Judge Sandra Feuerstein at the federal court in Central Islip imposed the sentence on Bender for enticing a minor, noting he previously had been convicted of molesting a boy in his native state of Pennsylvania, and should have had the time to change his conduct, officials said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 AM

Priest convicted of indecent assault

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

By Kim Stephens | May 22, 2008
RETIRED Catholic priest Alderick D'Cruz has been convicted of indecent assault nearly 25 years after he kissed a teenager girl who came to his presbyery for help.

Leaning heavily on a walking stick and grasping the hand of a supporter, Fr D'Cruz, 78, of the Melbourne suburb of Clayton South, cut a frail figure as he shuffled slowly into Shepparton County Court today to plead guilty to the charge.

Judge Frank Shelton placed him on a two-year adjournment of good behaviour - tarnishing his previously unblemished reputation - and ordered him to pay $500 to the St Vincent de Paul society.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 AM

'No child should ever be afraid every minute'

CANADA
Montreal Gazette

PEGGY CURRAN, The Gazette

He has suffered from depression and panic attacks for decades. His dealings with bosses have often been stormy, although he likes to think he has succeeded at some jobs, most recently teaching adults. He's unable to sustain a sexual relationship with a woman or a man.

"I'm virtually a hermit," the 61-year-old Montreal man says, a pause on the end of the phone long enough for a drag on a cigarette.

It took a question from his dying mother a few years back to unlock the source of his lifelong distress. "What happened to you at BCS?"

Until then, he says, memory of those furtive fumblings at Bishop's College School in 1961, when he was 14 years old - the early morning summons to "wake the reverend," the order to undress, the hairbrush, the spankings, the threats of punishment to those who spoke out - had been locked in a secret pocket of his mind.

"I never knew how this had impacted my life, why I didn't trust people, why I had all this rage and anxiety."

The man, who spoke on condition that his name not be used, is one of 11 alumni of the prestigious private school in Lennoxville who have filed a multimillion-dollar class-action suit against BCS alleging sexual abuse by Rev. Harold Theodore Gibson Forster.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:44 AM

FLDS shun Texas officials twice at ranch

ELDORADO (TX)
The Salt Lake Tribune

By Brooke Adams
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 05/22/2008 04:25:24 AM MDT

ELDORADO, Texas - Texas child welfare officials returned to a polygamous sect's ranch twice Wednesday because they had "new information" that children were there but were not allowed on the property.
Two Child Protective Service (CPS) workers, accompanied by a Schleicher County Sheriff's deputy, first asked to be let on the YFZ Ranch shortly before noon Wednesday.
The workers told Guy Jessop, who met them at the gate, they were "looking for more children" but he refused to let them enter without a search warrant.
News of the visit reached the Tom Green County Courthouse, where the third day of status hearings for about 450 FLDS children was under way. Several FLDS spokesmen - and media - made a mad dash to the ranch, whose residents are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:39 AM

Bishop to consider closing 5 churches

LORAIN (OH)
The Morning Journal

RON VIDIKA, Morning Journal Writer

LORAIN -- A lay cluster committee is recommending that five Catholic churches in Lorain be closed and merged into a parish housed at Holy Trinity Church on Elyria Avenue. The recommendation will be forwarded to Cleveland Catholic Diocese Bishop Richard Lennon for evaluation.

The recommendation is for St. Stanislaus, St. Ladislaus, Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph Church be closed and merge with Holy Trinity Church as a new church with a new pastor, according to Robert Tayek, head of communications for the diocese.

A letter concerning the recommendation is expected to be read at Masses on Sunday at the affected churches.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:30 AM

The way of the jubilee at Lourdes

OREGON
Catholic Sentinel

By Archbishop John Vlazny
It has been 150 years since the Blessed Virgin appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes. There in southern France the sesquicentennial jubilee is being observed with great joy and solemnity. Eighty-nine pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Portland gathered there on the weekend of April 26-27 to participate in the way of the jubilee. It was a faith-filled and unforgettable experience. ...

We pilgrims from the archdiocese went to Lourdes to pray for healing, reconciliation and peace in our families, in our church and in our world. Like Pope Benedict XVI during his papal visit to the United States in April, we too were especially mindful of all those who were victims of child sexual abuse for too many years in our own church community. We turned to the Lord for the wisdom, compassion and understanding we need to become instruments of healing for all who have been aggrieved.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

High court denies order's appeal in sex case

DELAWARE
The News Journal

By BETH MILLER • The News Journal • May 21, 2008

The Delaware Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to review an appeal from the Norbertine Fathers, a Catholic religious order that is among the defendants in a clergy abuse lawsuit.

The suit, filed by U.S. Navy Cmdr. Kenneth Whitwell, alleged that the Rev. Edward Smith -- a Norbertine priest who formerly was a member of the Archmere Academy faculty -- had molested him hundreds of times in the 1980s while he was a student at the school.

Whitwell already has won a $41 million verdict against Smith from a federal jury and settled with the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington earlier this year for $450,000.

His suit remains in Superior Court, though, against Archmere and three branches of the Norbertine order -- in Delaware, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:20 AM

Diocese sues insurer for reimbursement of legal fees and settlements

HOLLIDAYSBURG (PA)
The Tribune-Democrat

By SUSAN EVANS
The Tribune-Democrat

HOLLIDAYSBURG — The Altoona-Johnstown Catholic Diocese is trying to hold a Philadelphia insurance company responsible for $1.1 million in legal fees and settlements paid to nine people who said they were sexually abused by priests.

In a lawsuit filed May 8 in Allegheny County, the diocese accuses ACE USA of failing to reimburse the diocese, even though it is the successor to Insurance Company of North America, which insured the diocese when the settlements were paid.

Both the diocese and the insurer declined comment on the suit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 AM

Alleged priest abuse case to go forward

CALIFORNIA
Central Valley Business Business Times

ALAMEDA

May 22, 2008 12:01am

• Appeals court says the case is not barred by statute of limitations

• Involves accusations against Central Valley priest

Because there is a triable issue over whether or not Catholic Church officials knew a Central Valley priest might pose a risk of child molestation, a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Bishop of Fresno can go ahead, the California Second District Court of Appeal says.

While the case involves accusations of sexual misconduct, the court’s ruling could apply to all types of employers.

Brothers George and Howard Santillan allege that from 1959 through 1973, they were the victims of childhood sexual abuse by Monsignor Anthony Herdegen, the priest at their hometown Catholic parish in Wasco.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:12 AM

Sexual Abuse Trial to Go Forward

WILMINGTON (DE)
WHSV

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP)

The Delaware Supreme Court will not review an appeal from a Catholic religious order among the defendants in a sexual abuse lawsuit filed by a Virginia man.

U.S. Navy Commander Kenneth Whitwell is a Navy optometrist based in Quantico, Virginia.

He alleges that the Reverend Edward Smith, a Norbertine priest, molested him hundreds of times in the 1980s while he was a student at Archmere Academy.

The lawsuit takes advantage of the 2007 Child Victims Act, which abolished a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits for victims of child sex abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:09 AM

Insufficient evidence to charge retired priest, former teacher

CANADA
Standard-Freeholder

Posted By Trevor Pritchard

City police couldn't uncover enough evidence to charge a retired priest and a former separate school teacher with sexual abuse, the Cornwall Public Inquiry heard yesterday.

Det. Sgt. Jeff Carroll, who spent his third day on the witness stand, conducted two separate investigations into allegations brought forward earlier this decade by Marc Latour and Albert Lalonde.

Latour first went to police in 2000, alleging he had been sexually and physically abused in the late 1960s by Gilf Greggain, his Grade 3 teacher at St. Peter's Elementary School.

Lalonde had allegedly been abused by Rev. Charles MacDonald, a Roman Catholic priest at St. Columban's Church, on at least three occasions when he was a young boy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:58 AM

May 21, 2008

Catherine Mulkerrin, Activist Boston Nun, Dies at 72

MASSACHUSETTS
The New York Times

By BRUCE WEBER
Published: May 22, 2008
Sister Catherine E. Mulkerrin, who lobbied ardently but in vain to persuade Roman Catholic leaders in the Boston Archdiocese to warn parishioners about priests who had been accused of sexually molesting children, died on Saturday in Framingham, Mass. She was 72 and lived in Brighton, Mass.

The cause was cancer, said Sister Joanne Gallagher, a spokeswoman for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston. Sister Catherine first learned she had cancer in 1984, Sister Joanne said. ...

From 1992 to 1994, Sister Mulkerrin worked for the Archdiocese of Boston in its office for victims of abuse. There, she repeatedly urged Bishop John B. McCormack to warn local parishioners about predatory priests, especially by posting announcements in parish bulletins.

As an aide to Cardinal Bernard F. Law, then head of the Boston Archdiocese, Bishop McCormack was in charge of ministerial personnel from 1985 to 1994 and was the official who handled the mounting number of sexual abuse complaints involving priests. Sister Mulkerrin’s pleas were never acted upon but became public after she gave depositions in 2002 and 2003 in lawsuits that accused archdiocesan officials of negligence in sexual abuse cases.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:28 PM

2007AP1262 Schauer v. Diocese of Green Bay, et al.

WISCONSIN
Wisconsin Law Journal

Torts
Statute of limitations; equitable estoppel

This is our second opinion in this case involving David Schauer's claims against the defendants, including the Diocese of Green Bay (collectively, the Diocese). In our first opinion, we concluded the statute of limitations on Schauer's claims ran out in 2001, two years before he filed this suit. See Schauer v. Diocese of Green Bay, 2004 WI App 180, ¶¶7, 26, 276 Wis. 2d 141, 687 N.W.2d 766 (Schauer I). However, we remanded the case for a circuit court determination on whether the Diocese was equitably estopped from asserting the statute. On remand, the circuit court, after submitting certain factual disputes to a jury, concluded the Diocese was not equitably estopped from asserting the statute and dismissed Schauer's claims.

In this appeal, Schauer alleges several circuit court errors in the proceedings following remand. He argues the court erred in limiting discovery and the evidence presented to the jury and should have submitted different questions to the jury. He also argues the judge should have recused himself. Finally, he argues we should revisit our holding on one of the issues in Schauer I in light of cases decided after that opinion was released. We reject Schauer's arguments and affirm the order. Not recommended for publication in the official reports.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:25 PM

The Cowardly Bishop Tod Brown

ORANGE COUNTY (CA)
Orange County Weekly

Posted by Gustavo Arellano in Ex Cathedra
May 21, 2008 2:11 PM

Apologies for the redundant title, but it's true, especially in light of the Diocese of Orange leader's decision to tell his fellow Bishop, Geoffrey Robinson, to stay away from the county.

A bit of background: Robinson is the former Bishop of Sydney who resigned his position after publicly criticizing the church hierarchy for their cover-up in the rape of innocents, of which he was one. He was invited by the Orange County chapter of the Voice of the Faithful to talk about his book, Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church: Reclaiming the Spirit of Jesus on June 11. But Bishop Brown wouldn't have it: on May 16, His Eminence wrote a letter to Robinson stating "Lest your visit be a source of disunity and a cause for confusion among the faithful of our local church of Orange, I want you to know that you do not have my permission to speak in the Diocese of Orange, and I ask you to cancel your speaking engagement here." Brown was following the example of Archdiocese of Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony, who has also arrogantly asked Robinson to stay away from his domain.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:12 PM

Texas CPS returns to sect ranch; rebuffed at gate

ELDORADO (TX)
The Associated Press

By MICHELLE ROBERTS

ELDORADO, Texas (AP) — Child Protective Services workers returned to the west Texas ranch of a polygamist sect Wednesday in search of children they believe might have arrived since more than 460 others were seized in a raid last month.

Guy Jessop, standing guard at the main gate of the ranch run by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, said two CPS workers accompanied by a sheriff's deputy asked whether they could enter the ranch to look for more children. Jessop said he denied them access without a search warrant.

CPS spokeswoman Marleigh Meisner said workers went to make initial inquiries and were conferring with law enforcement about how to proceed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:11 PM

We Owe Her

MASSACHUSETTS
Whispers in the Loggia

"She was alone, a voice in the wilderness, and she finally got drowned out.''

On Saturday, Sister of St Joseph Catherine Mulkerrin was called to her eternal reward:

Mulkerrin "was a gentle, caring woman with a wonderful sense of humor which those who knew her saw manifested in many ways," the order said in a statement.

As assistant director of the Boston Archdiocesan Office for Victims of Abuse from 1992 to 1994, Mulkerrin received allegations of clergy abuse and dealt directly with victims. She once said she heard allegations against more than 100 priests during that period. ...

Before it was too late, she tried to remind chancery about Christ... thank God she tried.

May she rest in peace and rise in glory... and may her heroic voice and example never fade from our midst.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:59 PM

Gotham's "Ides of May"

NEW YORK
Whispers in the Loggia

In recent weeks, as buzz of a coming handover at the helm of the archdiocese of New York picked up steam in the city press and church circles far beyond the "capital of the world," Cardinal Edward Egan's inner circle has held to the line that any talk of the Boss' imminent retirement was "way, way overblown."

Thirteen months past his 75th birthday, with Egan reported as saying that his occupancy of 452 Madison could continue for "some time," possibly as long as two more years, the cardinal backed up the talking point early last week by rolling out a list most estimates have placed at an unusually-high 47 clerical transfers -- precisely 10% of New York's active presbyterate, about twice the customary size of the routine spring reshuffle, and a figure described as a "record" for recent years.

Suffice it to say, the moves were even news to the personnel board... among many others. Yet while a few of the placements have been deemed "inspired" for making solid matches of priests with places that would benefit much from their particular skill-sets, word among the natives said that several of the rest -- including the reshuffling of some pastors midway through their canonical terms -- bore the distinct odor of appearing, as one cleric put it, "unjustly punitive."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:01 PM

Protection against child abusers is a must for churches

UNITED STATES
TransWorld News

Note: This is a column by Bill Emeott, lead childhood ministry specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources.

From all outward signs, John seemed to be a wonderful sixth-grade boys’ Sunday school teacher. He prepared, attended leadership meetings, participated in outreach and even spent time with the boys outside of Sunday school. But something went wrong.

It was late one Wednesday evening when the call came to the pastor’s home. A parent of one of John’s students began to share incredible accusations. “Know that the church will be hearing from our attorney,” was the final comment.

Completely bewildered, the pastor sought the advice of a local attorney. The attorney’s first question was, “What does your church do to ensure that minors (anyone under the age of 18) are protected from abusive conduct by adults?” The sick feeling in the pastor’s stomach grew as he confessed, “Nothing.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:50 PM

Former youth pastor sent to prison; given lifetime probation

COLORADO
Daily Camera

By Vanessa Miller
Originally published 12:30 p.m., May 21, 2008

Twenty years ago, the first of what would become several women and teenage girls said she was "groomed" and sexually assaulted by a youth pastor who served at various Colorado churches — including Longmont's Central Presbyterian Church.

Today — after years of court hearings on sex-assault charges, multiple arrests for bond violations and a Boulder County trial that ended in a hung jury — Peter Kim was sentenced to one year in prison and a lifetime of probation.

He also must register as a sex offender when he leaves prison.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:48 PM

Retired Sydney bishop doesn't want fight with U.S. bishops over book

UNITED STATES
Catholic News Service

By Regina Linskey
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A retired Australian bishop who has been asked by several U.S. bishops to cancel his book tour said he stands behind his critique of authoritarian and sexual abuses in the church but does not want a battle.

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, retired auxiliary bishop of Sydney and former head of the Australian bishops' panel investigating clergy sexual abuse, told Catholic News Service May 21, "A fight between me and the (U.S.) bishops is really something I'm not interested in."

Noting that he is not sure if any U.S. bishop has read his 2007 book, "Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church: Reclaiming the Spirit of Jesus," Bishop Robinson said, "I've written about what I believe."

In a telephone interview from New Jersey, a stop on his U.S.-Canadian speaking tour, he also commented on a May 6 statement from the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference expressing concern about doctrinal problems in the book.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:43 PM

Manhattan Parish, School Saved By Multi-Million Dollar Donation

NEW YORK
NY1

May 21, 2008

An unexpected multi-million dollar donation to the Catholic Church means resurrection for a Manhattan parish and school, Edward Cardinal Egan announced today.

Saint Brigid's Church in Alphabet City will be repaired, restored, and reopened after an anonymous benefactor donated $20 million.

Egan, the head of the archdiocese, says that $10 million will be used to restore the Avenue B house of worship, $8 million will go to support Saint Brigid's School and others in need, and $2 million will go to establish an endowment for the parish.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:42 PM

Ex-priest gets 10 years in prison in sex case

FRANK ELTMAN

GARDEN CITY (NY)
Philly.com

The Associated Press

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. - A defrocked Roman Catholic priest who admitted driving from Pennsylvania to Long Island intending to have sex with a teenage boy was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison.

Thomas Bender, who had a prior conviction for molesting a boy in Pennsylvania in the 1980s, pleaded guilty last year to a federal charge of enticing a minor for sex.

Bender, 74, of Macungie, Pa., could have received five years in prison, but U.S. District Court Judge Sandra Feuerstein said she was doubling the sentence because Bender had been given previous opportunities for rehabilitation yet continued to seek out trysts with young boys. He was given seven years probation in 1988 for molesting a teenage boy while serving as pastor at Most Blessed Sacrament in Bally, Pa.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:38 PM

Fear and loathing in the archdiocese

NEW YORK
GetReligion

David Gonzalez of The New York Times wrote a curiously incomplete story. He reported that a group of priests in the New York archdiocese resent Cardinal Edward Egan for reassigning them unilaterally. But he failed to explain why the priests are upset.

Gonzalez deserves credit for not only writing an interesting story but also for being honest with his readers. He must have been tempted to use the negative remarks anonymously. Instead, he explained the circumstances of his interviews with priests:

Almost no one interviewed for this story would speak without anonymity. Many of them said they were reluctant to risk running afoul of the cardinal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:36 PM

Bishop Censured for Position on Gays, Women

LOS ANGELES (CA)
EDGE Boston

by Steve Weinstein
New York Editor-In-Chief
Wednesday May 21, 2008

Cardinal Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles will not allow a retired Australian bishop to speak. Geoffrey Robinson was criticized by his fellow Australian bishops for arguing that until the church re-examines its attitudes about gays, women priests and papal infallibility, it will never take the sex-abuse scandal seriously.

The cardinal was reacting to the retired auxiliary bishop of Sydney’s planned sppech in his archdiocese. The open letter, citing canon law, stated in part, "Your letter informing me of your coming appearance made it clear that you were not seeking my permission or approval, that you were planning to come regardless."

Robinson’s tour is sponsored by Voices of the Faithful, a group seeking to change the church’s closed-session mindset and open a dialogue with laypeople, according to a story in the Catholic News Agency.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:31 PM

Augusta-area parishes move toward merger

MAINE
Kennebec Journal

By Kennebec Journal Staff report
May 21, 2008 11:12 AM

AUGUSTA — Two area parishes are moving forward with a merger under a plan the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland released in 2006.

The Augusta-based St. Michael Parish and St. Francis Xavier Parish, based in Winthrop, are combining business functions, but not closing churches at this point.

The two parishes sent a letter last week that formally requested diocesan approval for the two parishes’ merger.

St. Michael Parish, the result of a five-church merger in July 2007, includes St. Mary of the Assumption in Augusta, St. Augustine in Augusta, St. Andrew in Augusta, St. Joseph in Gardiner and St. Denis in Whitefield.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:50 AM

Burke in Rome for virgin confab, not New York job

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

By Tim Townsend
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Speaking from Rome last week, St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke put the kibosh on rumors that he was meeting with Pope Benedict XVI to receive a new appointment to become archbishop of New York.

“I can assure you that’s not the case,” he told the Post-Dispatch, laughing. “This trip has been planned for months.”

Burke said he was in Rome to take part in the second International Congress-Pilgrimage for consecrated virgins.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:42 AM

A Sudden Transfer of 40 Priests Brings Egan Unrest From Within

NEW YORK
The New York Times

By DAVID GONZALEZ
Published: May 21, 2008

Cardinal Edward M. Egan has reassigned almost 10 percent of the active priests in the Archdiocese of New York without adequately consulting the personnel board that has traditionally advised him and his predecessors, according to members of the board and other clergy familiar with the developments.

While canon lawyers said the cardinal was not bound to consult with the six-member board, two of its members said that the number of transfers in the last three to six weeks was so unusual and damaging to morale that the board sent him a letter on Monday requesting a meeting to discuss how priests are being reassigned. Forty priests are involved, out of about 470 active Diocesan priests.

“This is 10 percent of the diocese, and that is monumental,” said one priest familiar with the transfers. “There is nothing like this before. I am a priest in one of the major dioceses of this country, and they cannot put together a fact sheet to tell us what is going on right now. I’m getting news of this through phone calls, rumors and e-mails. It is unprofessional.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:39 AM

Australian bishops find 'difficulties' in retired bishop's book on church reform

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Reviewed by Dennis Coday, NCR staff writer
Publication date: May 14, 2008
Section: I. Book Reviews

CONFRONTING POWER AND SEX
IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH:
Reclaiming the Spirit of Jesus

By Bishop Geoffrey Robinson
Foreword by Donald Cozzens
Liturgical Press
320 pages, $24.95

Days before Australian Bishop Geoffery Robinson was to begin a U.S. tour promoting his book about church reform, Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church: Reclaiming the Spirit of Jesus, the Australian bishops’ conference released a statement saying they had found “doctrinal difficulties” with the book. ...

The bishops also rejected the reformist proposals advocated by Bishop Robinson in his book. They stated that "the authority entrusted by Christ to his church may at times be poorly exercised, especially in shaping policy and practice in complex areas of pastoral and human concern. This does not, in Catholic belief, invalidate the church's authority to teach particular truths of faith and morals."

Bishop Robinson's book, recently published in the U.S. by Liturgical Press, criticizes the structural and doctrinal causes the bishop claims are at the heart of sexual and authoritarian abuse in the contemporary Catholic Church, including the culture of secrecy and cover-ups that allowed systemic clerical abuse to go unchecked within its ranks for decades.

In his foreword to the book, Bishop Robinson revealed that he had been abused sexually as a teenager, a long-suppressed memory that he had to confront as coordinator of the Australian church's response to revelations of sexual abuse by priests and religious. He co-chaired the panel on behalf of the Australian bishops from 1997 to 2003.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:29 AM

Bishop Robinson says he is "disappointed" in fellow Australian bishops

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

By Dennis Coday NCR staff writer
Published: May 16, 2008

Australian Bishop Geoffery Robinson has said he is “disappointed” in his fellow bishops, who last week issued a statement saying they had found “doctrinal difficulties” with Robinson’s book on sex abuse and reform in the Catholic church.

Robinson is in the United States on a book tour for Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church: Reclaiming the Spirit of Jesus, which was published last fall in Australia is now available in North American through Collegeville, Minn.-based Liturgical Press.

Robinson, 71, is the retired auxiliary bishop of Sydney and led the Austrailan bishops’ committee that addressed sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.

The Australian bishops’ conference issued a statement May 6 that rejected the reformist proposals advocated by Bishop Robinson in his book. They stated that "the authority entrusted by Christ to his church may at times be poorly exercised, especially in shaping policy and practice in complex areas of pastoral and human concern. This does not, in Catholic belief, invalidate the church's authority to teach particular truths of faith and morals."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:26 AM

Prestonwood pastor addresses minister’s sex scandal

TEXAS
Plano Courier

By Stephanie Flemmons, Staff Writer

Prestonwood Pastor Jack Graham expressed his apologies to the congregation Saturday regarding the arrest of one of the church ministers for online solicitation of a minor.

Graham said the church requested and received the resignation of Joe Barron, the minister under investigation, which took effect immediately.

“We experienced a heartbreaking and tragic week,” Graham said. “We are appalled by the disgraceful and grievous actions and arrest of one of our ministers. I’m so very sorry for the injury this has been caused to individuals and certainly our testimony in the community.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:17 AM

Pastor case OK’d to move forward

MINNESOTA
Winona Daily News

By Kevin Behr | Winona Daily News

A case involving a pastor accused of sexually assaulting his parishioner has resumed after a long delay.

Judge Jeff Thompson issued a six-page ruling in Winona County District Court on Monday that denied motions filed on behalf of the Rev. Donald Dean Budd.

Budd’s attorneys had asked Thompson to dismiss the charges based on what they called an unconstitutional statute, as well as motions to suppress evidence and statements Budd, 64, made to investigators and his victim.

The Winona County District Court held off on making those decisions earlier in the proceedings almost a year ago, because a very similar case with identical challenges was being heard by the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:55 AM

DiMasi, prosecutors back new version of ’Jessica’s Law’

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Herald

By Associated Press
Tuesday, May 20, 2008

House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi and the state’s top law enforcement officials unveiled a bill today they say would strengthen child abuse laws.

The bill creates three new criminal charges that carry mandatory minimum sentences. It also increases penalties for using a weapon in a crime, and for using a position of authority to assault a child.

Attorney General Martha Coakley and the state’s 11 district attorneys support the bill, which is modeled after Florida’s Jessica’s Law. That law was passed after a repeat sex offender raped and murdered Jessica Lunsford in February 2005.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:17 AM

AG, speaker push minimum sentences for child sex-abuse

MASSACHUSETTS
The Standard-Times

By David Kibbe
Standard-Times staff writer
May 20, 2008 12:49 PM
BOSTON -- House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, joined by Attorney General Martha Coakley and the state’s district attorneys, today proposed legislation that would create new mandatory-minimum sentences for certain sex offenses against children.

House leaders rejected a proposal by the chamber’s Republicans to create a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years to life for the rape of a child with the use of force.

The bill offered by Rep. DiMasi and supported by the district attorneys would call for a mandatory-minimum sentence of 20 years for repeat offenders convicted of raping a child with force. It would also create new mandatory-minimums of 15 years for the rape of a child involving a weapon and 10 years for aggravated indecent assault and battery of a child.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

Mass. AG: Church gives up control of hospitals

MASSACHUSETTS
Conde Nast Portfolio

May 20 2008 5:37PM EDT

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston agreed to give up control of its financially struggling chain of six eastern Massachusetts hospitals, but will still retain authority over moral and ethical issues, Attorney General Martha Coakley said Tuesday.

An independent board of governors will manage financial, strategic and operational affairs under changes proposed by church officials, Coakley said. ...

On March 6, Coakley announced that a review concluded the management model for Caritas was "inconsistent with best practices for not-for-profit health care governance." The review was prepared for her office by a health care consulting firm.

Coakley said the study found Caritas' board of governors lacks independence, with power concentrated among archdiocese leaders and Cardinal Sean O'Malley granted authority to reverse board decisions - a situation the report called "inconsistent with best practices for not-for-profit community hospital governance."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Legislation would toughen sex offender laws

MASSACHUSETTS
MetroWest Daily News

By Lindsey Parietti/Daily News staff
GHS
Posted May 21, 2008 @ 12:29 AM

BOSTON — Flanked by district attorneys and Attorney General Martha Coakley, lawmakers unveiled legislation yesterday that would impose minimum mandatory sentences for repeat and violent sex offenders.

House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi ensured that the bill - a tougher version of which is backed by Republicans, including state Rep. Karyn Polito of Shrewsbury and former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey - would pass before the session ends in July.

"We must do something here ... to strengthen the law to make sure that sexual predators on children in Massachusetts will be prosecuted, will be sent to jail and we are giving the tools to the prosecutors who are addressing this," DiMasi said during a press conference.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:09 AM

Egan reassigns dozens of Catholic priests

NEW YORK
The Journal News

By Gary Stern
The Journal News • May 21, 2008

The sudden reassignments of dozens of Catholic priests across the Archdiocese of New York is causing great confusion and anxiety for priests and parishes, with some questioning Cardinal Edward Egan's motivation for making the moves.

About 47 priests found out last week, mostly in phone calls from the archdiocese, that they would be reassigned around July 1. Some of the priests are in the middle of their parish terms and had no inkling they would be moved. At least a few found out from the pastors who would replace them.

"No one knew it was coming," said one pastor who was reassigned. "We haven't been given a reason, and many of us are terribly confused about what's taken place. It's kind of unprecedented, really."

The pastor, like several other priests interviewed, did not want to be identified because he was concerned about retribution. ...

Monsignor Harry Byrne, a retired priest living in the Bronx who often speaks his mind when other priests feel unable, said these reassignments were handled differently from those in the past, when pastors whose terms were ending could usually apply for an open parish.

"There is a certain amount of arrogance and highhandedness involved," Byrne said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:03 AM

Lawyer claims firm hasn't paid for native abuse cases

CANADA
Calgary Herald

Daryl Slade, Calgary Herald
Published: Wednesday, May 21, 2008
A city lawyer who says he led the successful fight to win compensation for Indian residential school victims is suing his former law firm for $30 million, claiming it did not pay him for his work on the mammoth class-action lawsuit.

Tom Stepper alleges he was responsible for obtaining thousands of clients for Merchant Law Group, then drafted statements of claim utilized by the firm, including defining the concept of cultural abuse.

As a result of his ideas and work on the case, Stepper says in his five-page lawsuit filed this month, the law firm became extensively involved and ultimately resolved the litigation with the federal government.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 AM

Sex Abuse Complaint Against Reardon 40 Years Old

HARTFORD (CT)
Hartford Courant

By DANIEL P. JONES And HILARY WALDMAN | Courant Staff Writers
May 21, 2008

Almost 20 years before what was believed the first child molestation complaint against Dr. George Reardon, a mother accused the prominent St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center doctor of abusing her son, court records show.

The nearly 40-year-old complaint was among a huge cache of child pornography discovered hidden in Reardon's former home last year. But the document's existence was kept quiet until lawyers suing St. Francis for negligence recently asked a judge to order its release.

The court papers filed in connection with the lawsuits, which have been consolidated at Superior Court in Waterbury, do not precisely say to whom the mother's complaint was delivered. But it's clear the matter was handled by Dr. Joseph S. Sadowski, an official of the Hartford County Medical Association — who also practiced medicine at St. Francis.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:55 AM

Stronger child rape penalties outlined

MASSACHUSETTS
Telegram & Gazette

By John J. Monahan TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
jmonahan@telegram.com

BOSTON— House Democratic leaders and Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. joined Attorney General Martha Coakley yesterday to outline a proposed new child protection law they said would provide new powers to track child predators on the Internet and impose mandatory minimum sentences for repeat child rapists and those convicted of aggravated child rape.

But proponents of Massachusetts’ adoption of a version of Florida’s Jessica’s Law, which would impose mandatory sentences on all child rape convictions, said the proposed law is not tough enough on child rapists.

Among them is state Rep. Karyn E. Polito, R-Shrewsbury. “It doesn’t go nearly far enough to protect children, and may give the appearance that we are tough on this issue, when in fact we are not,” said Ms. Polito, who has pressed for action on her own legislation to impose mandatory sentences for all child rapists.

“Under this proposal we still don’t have a mandatory minimum sentence for rape of a child,” she said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

Apology is overdue

CANADA
Standard Freeholder

Prime Minister Stephen Harper deserves credit for deciding to apologize for abuses that took place at native residential schools, though it's a shame it took so long.

With native leaders hinting at highway and railroad blockades on the May 29 day of action, a cynic might suspect the move has more to do with political expediency than genuine contrition. We like to think the PM just wants to do the right thing.

It's been 10 years now since the federal government admitted that physical and sexual abuse was rampant in the once-mandatory schools. About 150,000 children attended the church-run facilities, which were funded by Ottawa to "Christianize" aboriginal people. Although some former students report positive experiences, thousands have sued the federal government for abuses suffered at the hands of church staff and other pupils.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

High court denies order's appeal in sex case

WILMINGTON (DE)
The News Journal

By BETH MILLER • The News Journal • May 21, 2008

The Delaware Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to review an appeal from the Norbertine Fathers, a Catholic religious order that is among the defendants in a clergy abuse lawsuit.

The suit, filed by U.S. Navy Cmdr. Kenneth Whitwell, alleged that the Rev. Edward Smith -- a Norbertine priest who formerly was a member of the Archmere Academy faculty -- had molested him hundreds of times in the 1980s while he was a student at the school.

Whitwell already has won a $41 million verdict against Smith from a federal jury and settled with the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington earlier this year for $450,000.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 AM

Del. Supreme Court won't review religious order's appeal

WILMINGTON (DE)
WAVY

Associated Press - May 21, 2008 6:45 AM ET

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - The Delaware Supreme Court will not review an appeal from a Catholic religious order among the defendants in a sexual abuse lawsuit filed by a Virginia man.

U.S. Navy Commander Kenneth Whitwell is a Navy optometrist based in Quantico, Virginia.

He alleges that the Reverend Edward Smith, a Norbertine priest, molested him hundreds of times in the 1980s while he was a student at Archmere Academy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

New Mexico sect leader accused anew of sex abuse

NEW MEXICO
The Associated Press

By DEBORAH BAKER

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The leader of an apocalyptic sect in New Mexico who already faced sexual abuse charges was indicted Tuesday in a new court on suspicion of sex crimes against two young female followers.

Wayne Bent, 67, who heads The Lord Our Righteousness Church, initially had been charged in magistrate court with crimes against three girls who previously lived on the church's compound in a remote area near the Colorado line.

District Attorney Donald Gallegos said he made the decision to pursue indictments — shifting the case to district court — to avoid an open preliminary hearing in magistrate court in which the girls could have been subjected to cross-examination by Bent's attorney.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:02 AM

Prestonwood minister resigns after arrest in online sex sting

TEXAS
Associated Baptist Press

By ABP staff

DALLAS (ABP) — An associate minister at a Dallas megachurch was arrested in Bryan, Texas, while trying to meet face to face with a “teen” he met online.

A minister to adults at Prestonwood Baptist Church, Joe Barron, 52, of Plano, a Dallas suburb, was arrested around noon May 15 and charged with solicitation of a minor, according to the City of Bryan Police Department. He has been released on $7,000 bond, the Dallas Morning News reported.

According to a police press release, Barron was caught as part of a police sting operation against online sexual predators. Barron had communicated with Bryan police officers for about two weeks, thinking he was chatting with a 13-year-old female. According to the report, the online chats were “sexually explicit in nature.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:59 AM

Tucsonan, ex-minister, admits to sex with teens

TUCSON (AZ)
Tucson Citizen

A.J. FLICK
Tucson Citizen

A 76-year-old Tucson man pleaded guilty in Pennsylvania to sexual acts with two teenage girls in 1980.
Gerald Leroy Klever, a former associate pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Penn., pleaded no contest Friday in Delaware County Courthouse to the rape of a 16-year-old girl and guilty to involuntary deviant sexual intercourse with an 18-year-old girl, said Deputy District Attorney Sheldon Kovach.
By agreement, Klever will be sentenced to 10 years' probation. The first year will be served on monitored house arrest at his home in the Catalina foothills, when he is formally sentenced July 29, Kovach said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:57 AM

Sex abuse allegations shock community

CROSS PLAINS (TN)
The White House Watch

By SHANTELE KEMPVANEE
Watch Reporter

Whispers of child molestation at Christian Gospel Temple, once based in Chino, California, came to a deafening roar in recent weeks with four civil lawsuits alleging abuse, cover-ups and cult-like conditioning.

The Cross Plains church has come under fire chiefly at the hands of four women who grew up in the church and claim their abuse was brought forward to the leadership and swept aside.

Cheryl Mears Morrell, Crystal Mears, and Lynette Fay each point to their biological grandfather, former assistant pastor Reverend Paul Mears, as the perpetrator of their abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:55 AM

Altoona-Johnstown bishop sues to recoup legal fees, settlements

PENNSYLVANIA
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

By Bobby Kerlik
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Altoona-Johnstown Catholic Diocese Bishop Joseph Adamec has sued a Philadelphia insurance company for more than $1 million, alleging it should be responsible for legal fees and settlements the church paid to sex abuse victims.

The lawsuit, filed May 8 in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court, accuses insurer ACE USA of failing to reimburse the church for settlements to nine victims of sexual abuse by six priests and one teacher.

Carla Ferrara, an ACE spokeswoman, declined comment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:52 AM

Los Angeles schools’ sex abuse scandal raises questions about double standards

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Catholic News Agency

Los Angeles, May 21, 2008 / 01:18 am (CNA).- Revelations of administrators’ mishandling of sexually abuse committed in the Los Angeles Unified School District have prompted comparisons to the clerical sexual abuse scandal that has afflicted the Catholic Church in recent years. Some are charging that there is a double standard which treats sexual abuse committed by educators less harshly than that committed by clerics.

The scandal that has brought the comparison to light is that of former assistant school principal Steve Thomas Rooney, who faces 13 felony sex-related counts. They include charges that he had unlawful sex with two female students ages 13 and 14 while he was assistant principal at a middle school.

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) assigned Rooney to the middle school in August 2007 despite knowing that police had investigated Rooney about an alleged sexual relationship with a student at his previous school. The former high school student has since testified that Rooney impregnated her.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:50 AM

“Planning to come regardless”

LOS ANGELES (CA)
California Catholic Daily

Saying he was working in accord with his brother bishops in Australia and Rome, Cardinal Roger Mahony on May 9 forbade a retired Australian bishop to address a group of lay Catholics in the Los Angeles archdiocese.

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, a retired auxiliary bishop of Sydney, Australia, published a book last year that won the condemnation of the Australian bishops conference. In Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church: Reclaiming the Spirit of Jesus, Robinson calls for a reexamination of Church teachings on extramarital sex, women’s ordination, homosexuality, and papal power in order to properly respond to sex abuse by clergy. Robinson for nine years headed the Australian bishops’ conference’s Committee for Professional Standards, which drew up policy to respond to sexual abuse victims.

Earlier this month, the Australian bishops issued a statement on Robinson’s book, saying it questions “the authority of the Church” – a questioning which is “connected to Bishop Robinson's uncertainty about the knowledge and authority of Christ himself.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:42 AM

May 20, 2008

Baltimore Priest Defrocked

MARYLAND
ABC 2

[with video]

Reported by: Brittney Gordon
Email: brittney.gordon@wmar.com
Reported by: Brittney Gordon
Last Update: 6:54 pm

On Tuesday members of a child sexual abuse advocacy group met at a home in Pikesville.

The topic of the day? The defrocking of Jerome Toohey.

"The Pope says that he's ashamed…is he as ashamed that he participated in the cover-up for 25 years? Jesus would just vomit at their actions," says victim’s advocate Frank Dingle.

Pope Benedict the 16th has officially fired Jerome Toohey. He was a Baltimore priest who plead guilty to sexually abusing a minor in the late 80s and early 90s. At the time he was a chaplain at Calvert Hall. His defrocking comes 15 years after the fact. For many, this news is underwhelming. ...

Calvert Hall sent ABC 2News this statement: "Calvert Hall condemns any instance of abuse, particularly the sexual abuse of a child. Jerome Toohey's actions and his violation of trust are reprehensible. Calvert Hall fully supports the Pope's decision."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:00 PM

Gov. signs law to toughen penalties for some child molesters

ARIZONA
Arizona Capital Times

By Luige del Puerto, luige.delpuerto@azcapitoltimes.com

Teachers and clergymen who have sex with minors will face tougher penalties under legislation signed by the governor earlier this month. The legislation will make it a Class 2 felony for a teacher of a minor who is more than 15 years old to have sexual conduct with that minor. It puts teachers who violate the law in the same criminal category as parents who have sexual conduct with their children.

The increased penalty also applies to priests and other clergymen.

"We shouldn't have to worry about the very people in whom we entrust our children, but unfortunately, we do," said President Tim Bee, the bill's sponsor. "Teachers and clergy are put in the ultimate position of trust and they will now be more severely punished when violating this trust."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:55 PM

Prosser Responds to Latest SNAP Comments

GREEN BAY (WI)
WBAY

By Natalie Arnold

State Supreme Court Justice David Prosser is not at all interested in joining the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP) to push through a Child Victims Act (see related story).

Prosser believes removing the statute of limitations for one crime could create a dangerous domino effect for other laws.

He continues to defend the decision he made 30 years ago not to prosecute then-priest John Patrick Feeney on allegations of sexually assaulting two boys.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:52 PM

Hindu leader accused of groping gets passport back

TEXAS
Houston Chronicle

Associated Press

AUSTIN — A Hindu guru accused of groping two girls will be allowed to leave the country after an Austin follower put up $10 million as a guarantee the swami will return, a newspaper reported.

Prakashanand Saraswati, the 79-year-old founder of the Barsana Dham Hindu temple in Hays County, retrieved his passport late last week, according to Hays County court records.

A spokesman for Barsana Dham told the Austin American-Statesman on Tuesday that the guru intends to visit India soon to oversee several hospital-building projects sponsored by his organization.

In a statement, temple Vice President Prabhakari Devi said on Tuesday that Saraswati's "gifts to Austin and the world are many. His honor and reputation will stand firm after these false allegations have been dismissed."

District Attorney Sherri Tibbe said her office argued against permitting the guru to leave.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:35 PM

SNAP Wants Action to Help Victims of Past Abuse

GREEN BAY (WI)
WBAY

Officials with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) are speaking out about comments former Outagamie County district attorney, now State Supreme Court justice, David Prosser made to Action 2 News last week.

Prosser said last week even though he believed brothers Troy and Todd Merryfield of Freedom were sexually abused as children by Father John Patrick Feeney, he did not prosecute the case in the late 1970s because he didn't think he could win. ...

"What we're saying now is, thank you for acknowledging at least what we always knew. Now it's time to change it, so let's change the law," Peter Isely, midwest director for SNAP, said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:59 PM

Appeals court: Diocese can't be sued for priest molestation

WISCONSIN
Chicago Tribune

Associated Press
11:34 AM CDT, May 20, 2008

WAUSAU, Wis. - A state appeals court has ruled against a man who sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Green Bay for damages over his molestation by a priest in 1988.

The three-judge panel rejected David Schauer's contentions that errors were made in a trial that concluded the diocese couldn't be sued because the statute of limitations had expired.

Schauer was molested as a 10-year-old student at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School in Green Bay, where Donald Buzanowski was assigned as a priest at the time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:57 PM

What If They Held A Pedophilia Scandal And No One Cared?

CALIFORNIA
wizbang

Posted by Jay Tea
Published: May 20, 2008 - 2:00 PM
Several times, I've lambasted the Catholic Church and its "pedophile priest" scandal. It was a huge black mark on the Church, and it persists to this day -- far, far too many of those who enabled the child-molesting clergy to continue abusing children and protected them from justice still hold exalted positions within the Church. (Bernard Law, I'm talking about you -- among others.)

But apparently there's another sex scandal going on, involving the sexual misuse of children by adults in a position of authority and trust -- and it's getting nowhere near the attention I think it deserves.

If even half of what NewsBusters reports about sexual abuse in Los Angeles public schools is true, then there are quite a few "educators" who could stand a bit of the "rope - tree - some assembly required" recipe.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:52 PM

Cardinal Mahony bars dissident Australian bishop

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Catholic World News

Los Angeles, May. 20, 2008 (CWNews.com) - Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles has barred a controversial Australian bishop from speaking in his California archdiocese.

In a May 9 letter to Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, a retired auxiliary of the Sydney, Australia archdiocese, Cardinal Mahony invoked the Code of Canon Law to explain that he had decided to "deny you permission to speak in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles."

Cardinal Mahony took action just as the Australian bishops' conference issued a public statement warning of "doctrinal difficulties" in Bishop Robinson's new book, Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church. The Australian bishops noted problems with Bishop Robinson's treatment of "the nature of Tradition, the inspiration of the Holy Scripture, the infallibility of the Councils and the Pope, the authority of the Creeds, the nature of the ministerial priesthood and central elements of the Church’s moral teaching."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:37 PM

Sadness and hope

WORCESTER (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

The closures and reorganization of several Roman Catholic parishes in Worcester, announced this past weekend, demonstrate that the Diocese of Worcester has learned to listen to the voices of its faithful as it faces current and future realities.

For many older Catholics whose lives were shaped by the ethnic neighborhoods and parishes that give Worcester so much of its rich history, the closing of a longtime parish brings great sadness and pain. But the reaction among Catholics has been tempered by the realization that changing demographics make it impossible to keep all the city’s parishes open. The combination of high maintenance costs and declining activity in certain parishes made the consolidations inevitable.

To his credit, the Rev. Robert J. McManus, bishop of the Diocese of Worcester, established a Diocesan Pastoral Planning Committee, consisting of Catholic clergy and laity in the best position to know each parish’s strengths and weaknesses. After a year of study and consultations, the committee presented carefully crafted recommendations to the bishop, who accepted them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:43 PM

Worcester Diocese To Close 5 Churches

WORCESTER (MA)
WBZ

[with video]

Reporting
Ron Sanders

WORCESTER (WBZ) ― Martine Blanc, who has no family here, walked out of Notre Dame Church -- the majestic landmark in downtown Worcester's Salem Square. This church has served a parish that dates back to 1869. Wiping a tear from her cheek, Martine confessed, "it's helped me tremendously...it's brought peace into my life."

Notre Dame des Canadiens, which burned down and was rebuilt just before the Great Depression, is one of the five churches being closed July 1 by the Diocese of Worcester. It had already been twinned with St. Joseph's. The four others, St. Casimir's, Ascension Church, St. Margaret Mary and Holy Name of Jesus will be merged with other parishes.

Bishop Robert McManus, who was in Washington D.C. on Monday, said in a letter to the parishes over the weekend, "more announcements are expected."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:38 PM

No Inuit on Truth Commission

CANADA
Northern News Services

Yumimi Pang
Northern News Services
Published Monday, May 19, 2008
IQALUIT - Some Inuit are disappointed by the lack of Inuit representation on the federal residential school Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

"It means that the kind of things that we as a unique group who went through experiences, different from all indigenous people in Canada, are hardly going to get our voice heard at the top level," said Jack Anawak, a former Nunavut MLA and MP.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was completed May 13 with the appointment of new commissioners, Jane Brewin Morley, a lawyer, facilitator and mediator and Claudette Dumont-Smith, a registered nurse who has been actively involved in aboriginal health issues since 1974. Morley and Dumont-Smith will sit alongside Justice Harry LaForme, chair of the commission.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:29 PM

Appeals Court Strikes Down Priest Abuse Suit

WISCONSIN
MyFox N.E. Wisconsin

[with link to the court's decision]

A civil lawsuit filed by a victim of sexual abuse by a priest will not be allowed to move forward, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

Donald Buzanowski was sentenced to 32 years in prison after being convicted of sexually assaulting David Schauer. Buzanowski was a priest in the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay.

Schauer also filed a civil suit, seeking monetary damages. However, a jury ruled, in effect, that Schauer filed the suit too late. He appealed and lost -- although the appeals court allowed the circuit court to review parts of the case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:06 PM

Five Worcester churches closing

WORCESTER (MA)
The Catholic Free Press

WORCESTER – Four Worcester parishes be closed and merged with other parishes and a fifth church building will be closed, the diocese announced this weekend.

Closing are: Holy Name of Jesus Parish, St. Casimir Parish, Ascension Parish, and St. Margaret Mary Parish; and Notre Dame des Canadiens Church, which is part of Notre-Dame St. Joseph Parish.

A new parish called Holy Family Parish will be established and located at St. Joseph Church on Hamilton Street. It is combining parishes with French-Canadian heritage including Notre-Dame-St. Joseph and Holy Name of Jesus.

Letters from Bishop McManus were read by pastors and associates at the end of each Mass this weekend announcing the changes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:55 AM

Indicted priest gets permit to visit India

INDIA
The Times of India

A Hindu priest, arrested three weeks ago on charges of groping two children, has been permitted to visit India after a follower agreed to put up a whopping US$ 10-million guarantee that he would return to the United States.

Prakashanand Saraswati, 79, founder of the Barsana Dham Centre in north Hays County in Texas-- one of the biggest Hindu temples in the US -- was released on a US$ 1 million bail by District Judge Bill Henry in April.

Saraswati was indicted on 20 counts of indecency between 1993 and 1996. He was arrested on April 24 at the Washington Dulles International Airport, after he arrived on a flight from Europe, where he had been receiving treatment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:57 AM

Priest removes Playboy stationery from shop shelves in protest at 'cynical' targeting of children

UNITED KINGDOM
Daily Mail

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 2:27 PM on 20th May 2008

A humble priest is taking on the might of the Playboy porn empire by protesting against the company's "cynical and wicked" branding of stationery aimed at young children.

Father Tim Jones, 40, was outraged when he popped into his local Stationery Box store and saw the Playboy items stacked next to more wholesome kids' characters such as Winnie The Pooh and Mickey Mouse.

So the clergyman began removing the offending merchandise - and received the backing of the shop's manager, who has removed the distinctive bunny-branded stock from the shelves.

Father Jones said: "I told the assistant manager, who was on duty, I was going to be launching a protest at the shop, and I went over to where the Playboy material was on the shelf alongside the Winnie The Pooh and Mickey Mouse items.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:54 AM

Ex-Morris priest to be released from jail

JERSEY CITY (NJ)
Daily Record

Daily Record staff report • May 20, 2008

JERSEY CITY -- James Hanley, a former Roman Catholic priest who was laicized after admitting to abusing children in Morris County churches, was to be released from jail Monday after a court hearing ended a case stemming from a dispute two years ago at a Secaucus hotel.

Hanley was sentenced Monday to time already served on charges that he had skipped bail last December when he was supposed to be sentenced on a weapons possession charge, said Howard Bell, a Hudson County assistant prosecutor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:41 AM

Nun who resigned in protest of clergy sex abuse dies; SNAP responds

BOSTON (MA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

We note with sadness the passing of Sister Catherine Mulkerrin, who in 1994, resigned her post under then-Boston Bishop John McCormack and then-Boston Cardinal Bernard Law over their callousness and secrecy regarding child sex crimes and cover ups. We applaud Sr. Mulkerrin's courage and compassion.

The church and our society would be far safer if other church employees had the strength and courage to step down in protest of the on-going misdeeds and deception by so many Catholic officials in sexual abuse cases.

According to David France's book, Our Fathers:

"She felt the church should actually go looking for victims of sexual abuse, by visiting each alleged perpetrator's past assignments and making formal announcements. At the very least, she said, notices should be placed in local parish bulletins where the priests had served - victims should be offered prayer and therapy without having to come and ask for it. This she felt was necessary to fulfill the spirit of the new (US Bishop Conference) policy, which called fror the church to 'deal as openly as possible with members of the community. 'In despair and frustration, she began secretively to refer callers to (attorney) Eric MacLeish's office, reasoning that civil litigation and public exposure offered more healing than the archdiocese was prepared to volunteer. But her defiance did little to assuage her conscience, and in 1994, after only two years on the job, Sister Mulkerrin resigned."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:45 AM

US Allows Indian Priest to Leave on $10 Million Guarantee

INDIA
Daijiworld

Washington, May 20: A Hindu priest, arrested three weeks ago on charges of groping two children, has been permitted to visit India after a follower agreed to put up a whopping US$ 10-million guarantee that he would return to the United States.

Prakashanand Saraswati, 79, founder of the Barsana Dham Centre in north Hays County in Texas-- one of the biggest Hindu temples in the US -- was released on a US$ one million bail by District Judge Bill Henry in April.

Saraswati was indicted on 20 counts of indecency between 1993 and 1996. He was arrested on April 24 at the Washington Dulles International Airport, after he arrived on a flight from Europe, where he had been receiving treatment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:35 AM

Former Chaplain Defrocked From Priesthood

BALTIMORE (MD)
WBAL

BALTIMORE -- The Archdiocese of Baltimore said a former Calvert Hall College high school chaplain who abused a student in the 1980s has been officially dismissed from the priesthood, or defrocked.

Pope Benedict XVI, at the request of the archdiocese, dismissed 62-year-old Jerome "Jeff" Toohey, of Lutherville, from the clerical state three years after he pleaded guilty in Baltimore County Circuit Court to abusing a minor.

He was sentenced to 18 months in prison and served 10 months before being placed on home detention.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:32 AM

Memory on Trial

UNITED STATES
National Science Foundation

The U.S. legal system has long assumed that all testimony is not equally credible, that some witnesses are more reliable than others. In tough cases with child witnesses, it assumes adult witnesses to be more reliable. But what if the legal system had it wrong?

Researchers Valerie Reyna, human development professor, and Chuck Brainerd, human development and law school professor -- both from Cornell University -- argue that like the two-headed Roman god Janus, memory is of two minds -- that is, memories are captured and recorded separately and differently in two distinct parts of the mind.

They say children depend more heavily on a part of the mind that records, "what actually happened," while adults depend more on another part of the mind that records, "the meaning of what happened." As a result, they say, adults are more susceptible to false memories, which can be extremely problematic in court cases.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 AM

Religious tutor charged with abusing four boys

BROOKLYN (NY)
Empire State News

BROOKLYN – The Kings County District Attorney’s office announced the indictment of Yona Weinberg, 29, a Flatbush Bar Mitzvah tutor and licensed social worker charged with sexual abusing four male students, one of which was a client.

The indictment charges Weinberg with Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child in the Second Degree, nine counts of Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree, Attempted Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree, and six counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:28 AM

Arrested Hindu guru allowed to leave country

TEXAS
Austin American-Statesman

By Eric Dexheimer
AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Prakashanand Saraswati, the Hindu guru arrested and charged three weeks ago with groping two underage girls, is being permitted to leave the country after an Austin follower agreed to put up $10 million as a guarantee that the swami would return. Legal experts called the arrangement — and the size of it — unusual.

The money was promised by Peter Spiegel, an entrepreneur who made his fortune primarily in direct marketing, according to published media reports posted on his Web site. Spiegel also is listed as a managing member, director and treasurer of JKP, Barsana Dham, the corporate name of the temple founded by Saraswati, according to records filed with the secretary of state's office. Spiegel's companion, Katie Williams, is also a director and managing member of the temple, the records show.

The amount of money, and the seeming ease with which the swami's followers were able to arrange it, speak to the apparent wealth of the organization. Barsana Dham owns more than 200 acres on FM 1826, on the way from Austin to Driftwood. Its dramatic, 35,000-square-foot temple, opened in 1995, rises above the surrounding trees and attracts hundreds of worshippers every Sunday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:26 AM

'Smearing the Pope'

UNITED STATES
Renew America

[with link to magazine article]

Matt C. Abbott
May 20, 2008

Earlier this month, the Catholic League issued a news release in response to an April 29, 2008 media advisory titled "Pope Gets Pass on Church Abuse History" issued by Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, which subsequently defended its initial advisory. The Catholic League then responded to FAIR's response.

Got all that?

The Catholic League and FAIR's press release exchange specifically involves the 1962 Vatican document Crimen sollicitationis, which, unfortunately, has been a subject of controversy and misunderstanding over the last few years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:18 AM

Diocese may close more churches

MASSACHUSETTS
Telegram & Gazette

By Bronislaus B. Kush TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
bkush@telegram.com

WORCESTER— The 20 or so worshippers gathered at the 12:15 p.m. Mass yesterday afternoon at Notre Dame Church were awaiting the final blessing of the worship service when the Rev. Richard G. Roger unexpectedly walked away from the altar area and returned to the pulpit.

Most knew what the priest would say.

The majestic midtown church — founded by French Canadians more than 100 years ago — would be closing this summer. ...

Raymond L. Delisle, the diocesan spokesman, said officials will soon begin examining other urban areas in the region.

He said, for example, officials will study the needs of Catholics in Southbridge and in Fitchburg, two communities with similar demographics to Worcester.

All three municipalities have “ethnic” churches that sit almost side by side with more diverse “territorial” churches. The older, immigrant-founded churches have been losing members as the younger generations move to the suburbs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 AM

Vatican: Prohibition on Homosexuals in All Seminaries, Universally

VATICAN CITY
Catholic Online

VATICAN CITY (CNA) - Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, has sent a letter to the bishops of the world with the approval of Pope Benedict XVI reaffirming the norms established by the Congregation for Catholic Education in the 2005 document, “Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocation with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders,” as universal and without exceptions.

In the brief “Rescriptum ex audientia” –a written response to various queries—Cardinal Bertone said the norms establishing the selection of candidates to the priesthood are valid “for all houses of formation for the priesthood, including those under the Dicasteries for Eastern Churches, for the Evangelization of Peoples, and for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.”

The letter, which Cardinal Bertone said was issued in response “to numerous requests for clarification,” implies that the prohibition against accepting homosexual candidates in seminaries applies not only to diocesan seminaries but also to those of religious orders and congregations, as well as to those that are located in mission territories.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 AM

Sex-abuse claims from long ago are a matter of justice, not money

HARRISBURG (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

Marybeth T. Hagan
lives and writes in Havertown

HARRISBURG - Former Philadelphia Eagle Al Chesley brought more than his past football fame or his 6-foot, 3-inch, 240-pound frame here last week.

The former NFL linebacker bore his story of being sexually abused as a 13-year-old by someone he trusted.

Chesley stood below the spectacular rotunda in the State Capitol, miles and years away from the Louisiana Superdome where he played in Super Bowl XV in 1981.

He was in Harrisburg to urge lawmakers to support a bill languishing in the House that would allow victims of sexual abuse from years ago to file civil lawsuits.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

Editorial: Child Abuse

PENNSYLVANIA
Philadelphia Inquirer

Just imagine how tough it must be for an elected official in Harrisburg to stand up and shield sexual predators and church leaders and other authorities who covered up the abuse of children.

That must take guts - and unmitigated gall.

Yet, a Berks County lawmaker, Democratic State Rep. Thomas R. Caltagirone, is proving that he's just the man for this dirty job.

As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Caltagirone has put himself squarely in opposition to legislation that would enable victims to sue their abusers beyond the statute of limitations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

School survivors deserve apology

CANADA
The Sarnia Observer

Prime Minister Stephen Harper deserves credit for deciding to apologize for abuses that took place at native residential schools, though it's a shame it took so long.

With native leaders hinting at highway and railroad blockades on the May 29 aboriginal day of action, a cynic might suspect the move has more to do with political expediency than genuine contrition.

We like to think the prime minister just wants to do the right thing.

It's been 10 years now since the federal government admitted that physical and sexual abuse was rampant in the once-mandatory schools. About 150,000 children attended the church-run facilities, which were funded by Ottawa to "Christianize" aboriginal people.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:48 AM

Texas sect parents complain of vague custody plans

SAN ANGELO (TX)
The Associated Press

By MICHELLE ROBERTS

SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) — The parents of the children in state custody after a raid at a polygamist sect's ranch came to a courthouse asking one question: How do we get back our children?

They left complaining that Texas child welfare officials offered no real answers Monday as five judges began sorting the massive custody case into separate family groups. The state has more than 460 children from the Yearning For Zion Ranch in foster care.

Texas officials are making it impossible for parents to get back their children, complained Willie Jessop, an elder of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which runs the ranch in Eldorado.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

Church Leaders Respond To NC5 Investigation

CROSSVILLE (TN)
NewsChannel 5

CROSSVILLE, Tenn. - A church at the center of sexual abuse lawsuits responds to the accusations.

Last week, a NewsChannel5 investigation found three women who claimed to have been abused as children and the church did nothing to stop it.

They recently filed lawsuits in California alleging sexual abuse was rampant in the church.

In the lawsuits, Christian Gospel Temple is labeled a cult. The lawsuits also claim it failed to report abusers to authorities.

On Monday, church leaders responded.

"Sexual abuse is deplorable. It is not tolerated by our church members or its leaders," said Steve Farmer, the pastor. "As the lawsuits move through the court procedures, the Christian Gospel Temple will fully cooperate to help ensure that the truth about these claims is discovered."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:44 AM

Cardinal Mahony bars Australian bishop with “doctrinal difficulties” from archdiocese

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Catholic News Agency

Los Angeles, May 19, 2008 / 07:10 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Roger Mahony has denied an Australian bishop permission to speak in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles after the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference issued a statement warning of “doctrinal difficulties” present in the bishop’s writings.

In 2007 Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, the retired auxiliary bishop of Sydney, published a book titled “Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church: Reclaiming the Spirit of Jesus.” Bishop Robinson argued in his book that because the Church refuses to reexamine Catholic teachings on extramarital sex, women priests, homosexuality, and papal power, the Church is not serious about responding to clerical sexual abuse but is only “managing” it.

In a May 8 statement, the Australian bishops said that Bishop Robinson’s questioning of the authority of the Catholic Church to teach the truth definitively is connected to the bishop’s “uncertainty about the knowledge and authority of Christ himself.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 AM

Vt. bishop writes letter on abuse verdict

VERMONT
Boston Globe

May 19, 2008
BURLINGTON, Vt.—Vermont's top Roman Catholic clergyman has written to parishioners around the state, apologizing to the victim in a priest sex abuse case but saying the church will appeal last week's $8.7 million verdict against the Diocese of Burlington.

more stories like this"I first wish to express my deep regret for the hurt endured by the plaintiff and on behalf of the Diocese I sincerely apologize to him that one chosen to be God's servant betrayed a sacred trust and so wounded him and other victims of abuse," Bishop Salvatore Matano wrote in a letter distributed at weekend Masses.

In a letter dated Friday, the same day a judge put a lien of more than $10 million on property including the diocesan headquarters overlooking Lake Champlain in Burlington, Matano expressed concern about the ability to continue programs in their current form.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:38 AM

Cardinal Rosales says gay priests OK but ...

PHILIPPINES
Philippine Daily Inquirer

First Posted 05:57:00 05/20/2008

MANILA, Philippines—The Manila Archbishop Monday said that having homosexual Catholic priests wouldn’t be “too bad” as long as they didn’t “act out” their “tendencies.”

In an interview on Church-run Radio Veritas, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales acknowledged that gay men had been accepted into the priesthood because “even if [the priest] has [homosexual] inclinations, it does not immediately mean that he is evil.”

Distinction

The cardinal noted that such priests had chosen “to make a distinction between inclination and acting out.”

“A homosexual inclination is not bad but acting it out is an entirely different matter, and that is what is written in the sacred scriptures,” he added.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 AM

Archdiocesan priest defrocked

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

By Liz F. Kay and Julie Scharper | Sun reporters
8:44 PM EDT, May 19, 2008

A Baltimore priest has been permanently removed from ministry 15 years after allegations that he had committed sexual abuse and three years after he pleaded guilty in court to abusing a minor -- too long a wait for some advocates for abuse victims.

At the request of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Pope Benedict XVI this month defrocked Jerome F. Toohey Jr., who admitted in November 2005 that he sexually abused a high school sophomore in the late 1980s while Toohey was chaplain at Calvert Hall College High School in Towson.

Toohey was stripped of his faculties as a priest -- such as celebrating Mass for anyone other than himself, or serving as a pastor -- after the allegations were made in 1993.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 AM

Nun who pressed church leaders on sex abuse dies

MASSACHUSETTS
The Associated Press

By RODRIQUE NGOWI

BOSTON (AP) — Sister Catherine Mulkerrin, who pressed Roman Catholic church leaders in Boston to warn parishioners about priests who had been accused of sexually abusing children, has died. She was 73.

Mulkerrin died Saturday at Bethany Health Care Center in Framingham after a 24-year battle with cancer, said Sister Joanne Gallagher, spokeswoman for her religious order, the Sisters of St. Joseph in Boston.

Mulkerrin "was a gentle, caring woman with a wonderful sense of humor which those who knew her saw manifested in many ways," the order said in a statement.

As assistant director of the Boston Archdiocesan Office for Victims of Abuse from 1992 to 1994, Mulkerrin received allegations of clergy abuse and dealt directly with victims. She once said she heard allegations against more than 100 priests during that period.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 AM

Journey to priesthood long, but rewarding

CHESHIRE (CT)
Record-Journal

By: Stacy L. Graham-Hunt 05/19/2008

CHESHIRE - Ryan Richardson had a normal childhood and adolescence. He had a girlfriend and a social life, but he wasn't happy.

Then a representative from the Legionaries of Christ Novitiate and Center for Humanities of Cheshire visited Loyola University in New Orleans to speak with students about life in a house of formation, also known as a seminary. Richardson, 27, wasn't immediately sold on the idea of becoming a priest, but he was intrigued by how happy the representative was. He wanted to get that same kind of happiness in his life. ...

Devereux believes the failure to identify men unsuited for the seminary may have contributed to the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. Although pedophiles make up only a small percentage of Catholic priests, Devereux said one is too many.

Nine people accused the founder of the Legion of Christ, Marcial Maciel, of sexual abuse in the 1970s. Although one of those took back his statement, more allegations have surfaced since Maciel's death in January.

When Richardson was researching the Legion of Christ on several Web sites before attending the seminary, he learned of the allegations and said he was concerned.

"They were some serious allegations," Richardson said.

He spoke with a priest he knew at home about what he learned. The priest told Richardson he had worked with Maciel for three years, but never got the sense that he would do something like that, so Richardson felt more at ease about joining the seminary.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 AM

James Janssen case: Former priest faces 2nd contempt accusation

IOWA
Quad-City Times

By Ann McGlynn | Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The attorneys for a man who won a $1.4 million verdict against a defrocked, jailed Catholic priest are asking he be held in contempt of court for a second time or charged with perjury.

James Janssen lied on the stand in January during his first contempt of court hearing when he said he did not know the whereabouts of savings bonds, said Craig Levien, the attorney for James Wells, a nephew Janssen sexually abused. Janssen produced a list of one set of bonds to the court, then another set when he entered the Scott County Jail to serve a six-month sentence for contempt.

On Thursday, Janssen, 86, declined to answer questions during what is called a debtor’s exam, except to acknowledge that the list is in his handwriting. He cited his right not to incriminate himself.

“He lied on his way into court, lied on his way out of court,” Levien said of Janssen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 AM

Priest officially dismissed after abuse of a minor

BALTIMORE (MD)
Examiner

May 20, 2008 by Luke Broadwater, The Examiner

BALTIMORE (Map, News) - A former Calvert Hall chaplain has been dismissed officially from the priesthood, three years after pleading guilty to abusing a minor, the archdiocese said.

At the request of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Pope Benedict XVI dismissed Jerome “Jeff” Toohey from the clerical state, according to a statement released this past week by the church.

Toohey, 62, of Lutherville, was removed from ministry and had his faculties to function as a priest removed in 1993, when the archdiocese received a credible allegation that he had molested a young man in the mid-to-late 1980s, the statement said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:22 AM

Advocates criticize bishop, diocese

VERMONT
Rutland Herald

May 20, 2008

By Kevin O'Connor Herald Staff

[with link to pastoral letter from Bishop Salvatore Matano]

A national support group for people sexually abused by priests is blasting Vermont's Catholic Church for appealing an $8.7 million jury verdict in a recent clergy misconduct trial.

"When a corporation knowingly hides the flaws in dangerous products and hurts unsuspecting consumers, no CEO tries to escape responsibility by saying, 'I've reformed and won't do it again,'" the leaders of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests wrote in a letter to this newspaper. "Nor can the CEO of a nonprofit that deliberately risks others' safety say, 'But ours is a nonprofit that helps people. Don't make us pay a fine.'"

The statement came as Vermont Bishop Salvatore Matano released his own letter to the state's 118,000 Catholics in response to the state-record verdict and 24 similar lawsuits pending against the church.

"While regretting that legal options still must be considered, the amount awarded in this present case seriously challenges the diocese in its ability to resolve the remaining cases and, therefore, does merit review," Matano wrote priests and parishioners.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:18 AM

Church actions show why jury award was justified

VERMONT
Rutland Herald

May 20, 2008

By BARBARA BLAINE and DAVID CLOHESSY

Following is a statement by Barbara Blaine and David Clohessy, leaders of the national Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a support group based in Chicago:

When a corporation knowingly hides the flaws in dangerous products and hurts unsuspecting consumers, no CEO tries to escape responsibility by saying, "I've reformed and won't do it again." Nor can the CEO of a nonprofit that deliberately risks others' safety say, "But ours is a nonprofit that helps people. Don't make us pay a fine."

In both cases, the institutions are held accountable, because that's what will make them (and other institutions) be safer and more responsible in the future.

So how can Vermont Bishop Salvatore Matano claim that his organization shouldn't face consequences for decades of recklessness, secrecy and deceit surrounding hundreds of horrific child sex crimes by clergy?

Matano is stunned by the $8.7 million punitive damage decision by an impartial jury. But such a decision will certainly help deter future wrongdoing. It gives employers more incentive to screen out molesters. It also prods employers to train employees how to spot warning signs of child molestation and respond appropriately when allegations surface. Vermont kids are safer now because of these wise jurors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:16 AM

Apology is long overdue

CANADA
The Chatham Daily News

June 11. Mark it on your calendar.

That's the day Prime Minister Stephen Harper plans to apologize to Canada's native community for abuse in residential schools.

For the approximately 90,000 surviving former students, it will be a "very meaningful and respectful" apology, says Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 AM

May 19, 2008

Nun who pressed Boston church leaders to combat abuses dies

MASSACHUSETTS
Telegram & Gazette

By RODRIQUE NGOWI
Associated Press Writer

BOSTON— Sister Catherine Mulkerrin, who repeatedly pressed Roman Catholic church leaders in Boston to warn parishioners about priests who had been accused of sexually abusing children, has died. She was 73.

Mulkerrin died Saturday at Bethany Health Care Center in Framingham after a 24-year battle with cancer, said Sister Joanne Gallagher, spokeswoman for Mulkerrin's religious order, the Sisters of St. Joseph in Boston.

Mulkerrin received allegations of clergy abuse and dealt directly with victims while working as assistant director of the Boston Archdiocesan Office for Victims of Abuse from 1992 to 1994. She said she received allegations against more than 100 priests in that period. Many of her memos to her supervisors later were released as part of lawsuits filed against the archdiocese by alleged victims.

"I know I sound like a broken record," according to one memo from Mulkerrin that was released in 2002, "but we need to put in church bulletins 'It has come to our attention a priest stationed here between 19XX and 19XX may have molested children - please contact ...'"

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 PM

Release of perpetrator priest files: Document Protocol begins now and hearings coming. LA Archdiocese still pays legal fees for priests to object

LOS ANGELES (CA)
City of Angels

By Kay Ebeling
When I sat in on a meeting between a plaintiff and Roger Mahony this month, she asked the cardinal, “Where are the documents that you're supposed to release as part of the settlement?” The cardinal said she’d have to go to her lawyer and request the files, and then expect objections from the priests, a process which most plaintiffs would find daunting after six years of legal issues.

The cardinal was wrong. What he told the plaintiff, who was meeting with him for healing and renewed trust, was incorrect. The archbishop said the priests on their own object to release of their files, claiming privacy rights (see May 12 post). Mahony told the plaintiff she’d see the priests’ attorney Donald Steier in court if she pursued this legal action.

Cardinal Mahony archbishop of Los Angeles assured my friend, as I sat there listening, that he had nothing at all to do with release of documents on perpetrator priests, which was part of the settlement of the LA Clergy Cases.

For one, the archdiocese pays legal costs for the priests to object to release of their documents. “Steier admitted in testimony in the court of appeals that he was paid by the Los Angeles archdiocese to represent the priests.” Quotes here are from a phone conversation last week with Tony DeMarco, of Kiesel Boucher Larson, lead plaintiff attorneys in the LA cases against the Archdiocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:28 PM

Custody battles begin over 463 children from polygamist sect

SAN ANGELO (TX)
The Herald (United Kingdom)

MICHELLE ROBERTS
SAN ANGELO

A six-year-old son of polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs did not suffer physical or sexual abuse while living with his mother at the group's Texas ranch, a child welfare case worker testified yesterday.

Child Protective Services case worker Joni Manske testified during one of several hearings in which more than 400 individual cases are being considered. The massive custody cases got under way yesterday in all five Tom Green County courtrooms, with parents learning what they must do to regain custody of the children. The hearings are expected to last three weeks.

Texas authorities have 463 children in foster care after claims that members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints were forcing underage girls into marriage and sex.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:13 PM

Supreme Court Upholds Law Aimed at Child Pornography

WASHINGTON (DC)
The New York Times

By DAVID STOUT
Published: May 20, 2008
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday upheld a 2003 federal law aimed at child pornography, concluding in a 7-to-2 opinion that a federal appeals court was wrong to find the law unconstitutionally vague.

The law in question arose from a sensible, constitutionally acceptable approach by Congress to correct faults that the high court found in an earlier child-pornography law, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the court.

“Child pornography harms and debases the most defenseless of our citizens,” Justice Scalia wrote. “Both the state and federal governments have sought to suppress it for many years, only to find it proliferating through the new medium of the Internet.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:05 PM

BEYOND SHAME

UNITED STATES
National Survivor Support Working Group

By Dr. James Jenkins, May 19, 2008

As reported in the media across the country, it was both heartening and hopeful for Benedict XVI to have a personal encounter with survivors of clergy sexual abuse. Thankfully, healing may now begin for these survivors.

Sadly, there are thousands more around the globe are still waiting.

Essentially, Benedict has done nothing more than what has been enacted across American Catholic dioceses the last several years where bishops and priests have publicly asked for forgiveness. Unfortunately, there are still too many dioceses where this kind of necessary and heartfelt gesture has yet to occur.

While emotionally moving for surely all the participants in this encounter between pope and victimized people, it is still not the accountability necessary to repair the gaping wounds of betrayal of trust that these sexual assaults have made upon the Body of Christ, the people of the church.

For twenty-five years during the papacy of his predecessor, John Paul II, as the abuse grew and festered in Catholic communities around the globe, the former Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, was the head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (previously known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition), the watchdog curial agency charged with ensuring Catholic orthodoxy and morality.

Is it reasonable to believe that this esteemed intellectual and astute clerical politician was unaware of the abuse and corruption running rampant among the clergy and bishops? It assaults credulity that Ratzinger, or John Paul for that matter, were that out-of-touch, that insulated from what was common knowledge within the Vatican Curia.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:58 PM

Not the Catholic Church? MSM Mum About Huge L.A. School Sex Abuse Scandal

LOS ANGELES (CA)
NewsBusters

By Dave Pierre | May 19, 2008 - 09:28 ET

A major child sex abuse scandal has erupted in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Where's the national media?

Steve Thomas Rooney faces 13 felony sex-related counts, including charges that he had unlawful sex with two female students, ages 13 and 14, during the time he was an assistant principal at a middle school. And here's the kicker: In August 2007 LAUSD assigned Rooney to his job even though it knew that police had investigated him about an alleged sexual relationship with a student at his previous job at a high school. The former high school girl has since testified that Rooney impregnated her. (LAT coverage) ...

Where's the national media on this current scandal? By comparison, look at how the media has covered decades-old allegations of sexual abuse by clergy of the Catholic Church. Since 2002, the coverage has been voluminous and incessant. (The Boston Globe alone ran a mind-blowing 989 articles related to the scandal in the 2002 calendar year.) Years later, the media still takes joy in hammering the Church, even with misinformation and falsehoods (as we've chronicled here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:56 PM

100 FLDS Children Not Matched To Mothers

SAN ANGELO (TX)
Wake Up America

5 judges, 5 court rooms and 3 weeks of court dockets cleared in the largest child custody action in America. A Canadian child with no parents at the ranch, family service plans, child abuse allegations and 100 children with no parental matches yet.

Those are just the tip of the iceberg in the problems that lie before the five judges set to preside over the status hearings of more than 460 children taken from the Yearning For Zion Ranch (YFZ), which is a Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) compound.

Todays hearings are not custody hearings, they are status hearings, which means custody will not be the main focus, but the status of the children and the status of what needs to be done by the parents to assure the children, if given back to them, will not suffer abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:54 PM

Children of FLDS 'prophet' kept in foster homes

SAN ANGELO (TX)
CNN

From Tracy Szabo
CNN

SAN ANGELO, Texas (CNN) -- Two children of jailed "prophet" Warren Steed Jeffs are among the hundreds of children removed from a polygamist ranch by child welfare authorities, court officials said Monday.

FLDS women file into the Tom Green County courthouse in San Angelo, Texas, as officers stand by.

Court hearings in the historic Texas polygamist child custody case have resumed, with cases going on in five courtrooms. Texas child welfare officials removed more than 400 children from a polygamist ranch in April.

The hearings are being held for parents to review documents called "family service plans" that dictate the conditions under which they can regain custody, lawyers said.

Two mothers who had children with Jeffs -- a boy and a 3-year-old girl -- were in court Monday. Both mothers were told that the children would stay in state custody as officials try to finish the family service plan.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:48 PM

Clergy Sexual Abuse Research By Baylor Social Work Dean Awarded $200,000 by Ford Foundation

TEXAS
Baylor University

May 19, 2008
Contact: Vicki Kabat, Baylor University School of Social Work, (254) 710-4417

Baylor University has received a $200,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to conduct the first national research on clergy sexual abuse of adults. The unprecedented initiative - announced by Dr. Diana Garland, dean of Baylor's School of Social Work and director of the study - will help communities and congregations develop new practices and policies to prevent clergy sexual abuse and ensure that survivors receive appropriate care.

The immediate goals of the project are:

• to determine the prevalence of clergy sexual abuse of adults;
• to teach religious leaders, congregants and the general public that sexual activity between a religious leader and a congregant cannot be considered consensual;
• to communicate to survivors and their families that they are not alone and that they deserve support and professional care;
• to provide promising policy and prevention strategies; and
• to communicate that the church can respond to ethical violations with compassionate care for the vulnerable as its major focus instead of institutional self protection.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:45 PM

Letter to parishoners from Bishop Salvatore Matano

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

Bishop Salvatore R. Matano has written an open letter to parishoners of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, updating them on recent legal issues.

The following letter was made available to parishoners over the weekend: ...

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

As you painfully are aware, the verdict rendered in the just completed sexual misconduct case before the civil court resulted in an $8,700,000 award to the plaintiff. Naturally, this causes great consternation among the faithful. Thus, I felt compelled to communicate with you.

I first wish to express my deep regret for the hurt endured by the plaintiff and on behalf of the Diocese I sincerely apologize to him that one chosen to be God’s servant betrayed a sacred trust and so wounded him and other victims of abuse. Again, I apologize to these victims. I pray one day we will meet and achieve reconciliation.

Regarding the verdict, as it stands, it requires serious consideration regarding how the Diocese can charitably, justly and effectively bring to a resolution this difficult and tragic situation, dating back in history but requiring resolution today. Possible alternatives are being considered and evaluated which present reasonable options for dealing with this heavy burden and taking into account all who are affected by this judgment, namely the victims, the faithful of our Diocese in parishes, health care facilities, schools and all who seek our assistance when in need or troubled. I do not wish in any way to inflict further suffering or pain upon the victims or upon the faithful of this Diocese because of what happened in the past. Mindful that I am the Shepherd of all the faithful, I, therefore, must be conscious of our diocesan and parochial needs and remain attentive to our brothers and sisters in need who seek our support through our charitable agencies. I pray that our mission continues with faith and enthusiasm.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:41 PM

Father Toohey Formally Dismissed From Priesthood

BALTIMORE (MD)
WJZ

[with video]

Reporting
Derek Valcourt

BALTIMORE (WJZ) ― A former Baltimore County priest convicted of sexually abusing a minor has been removed from the priesthood.

The allegations stem from the late 1980s. Derek Valcourt reports about 20 years later, Pope Benedict has taken action.

Father Jerome Toohey was punished in the criminal justice system. Now, the Vatican finally answered calls from abuse victims to formally dismiss Toohey from the clerical state.

"It was my most guarded secret that I had way tucked away and did not want to talk about," said Thomas Roberts.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:34 AM

Why We’re Different

UNITED STATES
Commonweal

Rev. Damian J. Ference

On the first Friday of every month, I join a dozen or so other priests for vespers, drinks, dinner, and fellowship. Two things make the group unusual. The first is that five decades of ordination classes are represented at our gatherings. The second is that each of us is expected to have read an article that was assigned in advance and be ready to discuss it after dinner. At our Christmas gathering we unpacked “The Other Health Crisis” by Paul Stanosz, which appeared in the November 23, 2007, Commonweal. Because of our discussion that night, it occurred to me that the way a generation of priests defines itself is often closely linked to how it suffers.

Before the abuse crisis exploded in 2001-2002, there was an earlier round of revelations about sexual abuse in the late 1980s; and even if it didn’t manage to gather as much media attention as the most recent round, its impact must not be forgotten. Most Catholics of my generation find it difficult to remember a time when pedophilia wasn’t widely associated with the priesthood. A dark cloud of suspicion has been hovering over priests for the past twenty years, and it has only grown more ominous with time. So, although much has been made about the distinction between the “servant-leader” model and the “cultic” model of priesthood, this is not, I think, the most important difference between generations of priests. In fact, the healthiest priests-of whatever age-seem to embody both the “servant-leader” and “cultic” models.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:42 AM

Orphanage sex claims denied

AUSTRALIA
Adelaide Now

MILES KEMP
May 19, 2008 10:10pm
EXCLUSIVE: TWO veteran campaigners against abuse at the Goodwood Orphanage have accused alleged rape victims from the institution of giving fake testimony to the Mullighan Inquiry to get compensation.

Both women told The Advertiser that after reading the Mullighan Inquiry report tabled in State Parliament last month, they felt compelled to defend the "cruel" nuns – who beat and mentally tortured them – against false claims of sex abuse.

Pat Carlson and Barbara Read have led the charge against the Catholic Church's management of the former orphanage, but now accuse up to 13 of their fellow-witnesses at the inquiry of faking claims of sex abuse by nuns and church workers.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:36 AM

5 catholic churches in Worcester, MA to merge or close

WORCESTER (MA)
NECN

[with video]

(NECN) Five more Catholic churches in Massachusetts will close this summer. The Diocese of Worcester says a drop in attendance is to blame.

Notre Dame Des Canadiens and Holy Name will merge with St Joseph church to form a new parish.

St. Casmir and Ascension parishes will be folded into St. John church and St. Margaret Mary church will also close to merge with a parish in Shrewsbury.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:29 AM

Silencing Courageous Catholics Is Detrimental to the Catholic Church

UNITED STATES
Voice of the Faithful

Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) believes that Cardinal Roger Mahony’s ban on Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, author of Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church: Reclaiming the Power of Jesus, which forbids his speaking at Catholic sites in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, harms the Catholic Church.

“Is this the way American bishops respond to Pope Benedict’s call to do everything possible to heal the Church?” asks Dan Bartley, president of Voice of the Faithful. “Why is a loyal Catholic bishop prevented from asking honest questions in his search for the truth in the aftermath of the worst scandal in the modern Church?”

Bishop Robinson argues in his book that the tragedy of the sexual abuse scandal impels all Catholics to re-examine the fundamental issues that permitted the abuse to take place, including Catholic attitudes towards power and sexuality. ...

Asking questions is not an attack on truth but an attempt to clarify it. During his trip to the United States, Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged that the sexual abuse crisis was very badly handled. In light of the Popes comments, blocking an open and honest discussion about what caused the crisis, as Cardinal Mahony has done, is appalling.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:23 AM

Losing a home parish

By Mark Melady TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
mmelady@telegram.com

WORCESTER— Parishioners at churches to be shuttered by the Diocese of Worcester expressed sadness, anger and nostalgia yesterday after hearing a letter from the Rev. Robert J. McManus detailing the closing of five city Catholic churches along with parish mergers the bishop said would create a more vibrant pastoral life.

It was difficult yesterday for parishioners, some whose families have been attending the church for generations, to reconcile future vibrancy with the present reality.

“This to me is a diocesan divorce,” Frank Statkus, 66, of Shrewsbury said outside St. Casmir Church on Providence Street as the 10 a.m. Lithuanian Mass was ending. ...

St. Casmir, one of the oldest ethnic Lithuanian churches in the commonwealth, will continue to host the Lithuanian Mass for another year and will be available for occasional daily use for funerals but that was of little comfort to some parishioners yesterday.

Some said they will not go anywhere for Mass. Some worried about where those who speak Lithuanian only will go. Others said keeping the Lithuanian Mass going for another year was only an attempt to appease them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Robinson banned in LA but hits back

AUSTRALIA
CathNews

Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony has banned controversial Bishop Geoffrey Robinson from speaking in the archdiocese but the controversial former Sydney bishop has hit back at criticism of his book by the Australian bishops.

The Age reports Bishop Robinson says that the Church is trying to restrict debate on sexual abuse.

In a statement replying to his condemnation by the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference last week, Bishop Robinson said that he was disappointed but not surprised, the paper says.

Bishop Robinson, the auxiliary bishop of Sydney, who for a decade headed efforts by the Australian Catholic Church to tackle sexual abuse, resigned in 2004.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:05 AM

Catholics Dismayed by Jury Award

VERMONT
WCAX

[with video]

Burlington, Vermont - May 18, 2008

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington plans to appeal a jury award of more than eight-million dollars in the latest priest sex abuse case. Meanwhile, parishioners are expressing dismay at the size of the judgement. Andy Potter reports.

Spiritual life in the Church continues, in spite of the scandal. The latest lawsuit alleging that former priest Edward Paquette molested a boy up to a hundred times in the late 1970s ended in 8.7 million in compensatory and punitive damages. This comes on top of an earlier out-of-court settlement of nearly one million dollars -- and eighteen more cases against the same former priest have yet to be resolved.

It all leaves Bob and Ruth Charlesworth concerned about the future of the Church's social mission. "First of all, I would say that the compensatory damages have to be understood as a separate item," Bob Charlesworth told Channel 3. "What is of most concern to me is the extent of the punitive damages." the Charlesworths attend services at Saint Joseph's Co-Cathedral in Burlington.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

Cardinal Mahoney and the American Speaking Tour of Bishop Geoffrey Robinson

AUSTRALIA
Voice of the Faithful

Posted May 15, 2008, in Catholica Australia (www.catholica.com.au). Catholica Australia introduced the following letter by saying: “Coincidental with the statement arriving from Bishop Robinson, Catholica Australia, also received a letter from Fr Daniel Donovan in response to yesterday's news story. Here is the text of Fr Donovan's letter. It has also been published in the Catholic forum.

The Churches in Australia and for that matter around the world have been mired for many years in the allegations of sexual abuse of persons by members of the clergy. This has led to universal condemnation for two major reasons. Firstly, there was an abuse of power by the perpetrators who took advantage of their position to harm the vulnerable. Secondly, the failure of Church leaders to deal effectively with the victims’ complaints and the attempts to cover up the matter. Bishop Geoffrey Robinson in Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church: Reclaiming the Spirit of Jesus, has had the courage to place this issue in the public forum. Robinson does not deny or call into question any teaching of the Church nor does he either in the book or at any time in his public lectures attack the teaching magisterium of the Church.

The Australian Bishops claim that the people “have a right to know clearly what the Catholic Church believes and teaches, and the Bishops have a duty to set this forth…” Robinson has never denied this. Rather he has addressed those issues which (as noted above) the Bishops were not setting forth in clear and specific teaching. Daily the Church was facing serious criticism for its failure to respond officially to the sufferings of victims of sexual abuse and their families.

It seems to me unconscionable that both the Australian Bishops and Cardinal Mahoney of Los Angeles would turn on a brother Bishop because he has called for not a change in orthodox teaching but rather he emphasizes orthopraxis. No one, least of all Robinson, is questioning truth but there is the corresponding duty to communicate the truth and this has been the importance of Robinson’s contribution. If the Church is to take seriously the healing process then it must not deny debate and ban dialogue. This would be to substitute intellectual abuse for sexual abuse. It is always unsettling when debate and discussion is stifled in the name of truth! It might be worth adopting the advice of the Pharisee, Gamaliel, who counsels the Sanhedrin “to take no action against these men” (the apostles, Acts 5:38). Gamaliel goes onto explain that if the if the teaching is “of human origin” then it will disappear but if it is of “divine origin” then they might be “fighting against God” (Acts 5:38-39).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

Cardinal Mahony bans Bishop Geoffrey Robinson from speak in Los Angeles

AUSTRALIA
Catholica Australia

[with link to Cardinal Mahony's letter]

The Cardinal Archbishop of Los Angeles, Roger Mahony, has written to Bishop Geoffrey Robinson denying him permission to speak on Church property in his territory and has endeavoured to urge Bishop Robinson to cancel his speaking tour in North America. Catholica has received this news, and the text of Cardinal Mahony's letter via Robert Blair Kaiser and Frank Douglas. Mr Kaiser, who is the author of the controversial novel, "Cardinal Mahony", also responds. This news story has partly been triggered because Robert Kaiser is in the course of preparing a promotional trip to Australia for the Australian release of his book, "Cardinal Mahony — A Novel" and he came across this sensational story in the course of preparing for his trip to our country.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

A Note on Bishop Robinson's Tour

UNITED STATES
Voice of the Faithful

[with links to Cardinal Mahony's letter, the VOTF response and Bishop Robinson's response to the Australian bishops]

Dear Friends and Members of Voice of the Faithful,

We have learned that Cardinal Roger Mahony has ordered Bishop Geoffrey Robinson not to speak at Church sites in the Diocese of Los Angeles. Bishop Robinson, as you may recall, is touring the U.S. to speak about his book Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church: Reclaiming the Power of Jesus.

During his trip to the United States, Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged that the sexual abuse crisis was very badly handled. In light of the Pope's comments, we believe that blocking an open and honest discussion about what caused the crisis, as Cardinal Mahony has done, is appalling.

The full content of Bishop Mahony's letter and our response are posted here, along with Bishop Robinson's own response and a supporting letter from an Australian colleague.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:48 AM

Polygamist sect cases set for status hearings Monday

TEXAS
The Dallas Morning News

By ROBERT T. GARRETT and EMILY RAMSHAW / The Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN – As one lawyer put it, Texas is offering polygamist families "a chance at redemption."

But the state also, in a way, will find itself facing trial. Beginning today, in five San Angelo courtrooms, judges will begin plowing through the biggest, most complex child abuse case in the nation, centering on more than 460 children swept from a polygamist ranch last month.

The hearings will look ahead at how sect parents can regain custody of their sons and daughters by establishing new homes, attending parenting classes and undergoing psychological evaluations.

State officials fear a horde of volunteer lawyers may seek to turn what will be at least a week of hearings into a prolonged, highly public attack on Child Protective Services.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 AM

Questions raised about why girl was in Texas compound


TEXAS
Globe and Mail (Canada)

ROBERT MATAS

May 19, 2008

It has been more than six weeks since Texas authorities took a Canadian girl into custody during a raid of the isolated compound of the polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

However, child-protection workers are still trying to figure out how old she is as well as verifying her citizenship. Questions are also being raised about why she was inTexas.

A former church member familiar with the Canadian family has speculated the girl may have been at the compound in Eldorado, Tex., for up to two years, and may have been in a so-called celestial marriage with an older church member.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 AM

Sex scandals in free-church pews

UNITED STATES
GetReligion

There’s a new sex scandal unfolding in the world of evangelicals, a small story that points toward an imporant and very complex larger story.

Here’s the top of a short, newsy report in the Dallas Morning News:

PLANO — A Prestonwood Baptist Church minister arrested for soliciting a minor online has resigned from the church, Pastor Jack Graham told his congregation Saturday evening. ...

So why is it hard for reformers to attack this problem?

Why can’t Southern Baptist authorities crack down? Ah, there’s the problem. In a free-church movement — one with no bishops, no authoritative central structure — the churches are pretty much on their own when it comes to this kind of work.


Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 AM

Gracepoint Baptist's pastor sparks church's revival

TENNESSEE
Commerical Appeal

By Lindsay Melvin
Monday, May 19, 2008

Without a pastor, the membership at Walnut Grove Baptist Church plummeted, and there was barely enough cash in the collection plate to keep the lights on.

The indictment of a former minister for sexual abuse last year splashed the small church's name across the news, sending an already waning congregation into a downward spiral.

"There were times we worried we didn't have enough membership to stay afloat," said Wesley Ann Flaherty.

A member of the church for 13 years, Flaherty and her family are among a handful who didn't abandon Walnut Grove Baptist after news of the scandal broke.

Plenty of larger congregations in the Cordova neighborhood could have easily absorbed the remaining members.

But Flaherty and other longtime members refused to leave the little brick building where their children and grandchildren had been baptized.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 AM

Diocese of Palm Beach offering training to stop sex abuse

WEST BOCA (FL)
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

BY LOIS K. SOLOMON | South Florida Sun-Sentinel
May 19, 2008

WEST BOCA - When a student at St. John the Evangelist Church did not want to shake Kit Johansen's hand, Johansen wasn't offended, she was impressed.

Johansen, who runs the Diocese of Palm Beach's Office of Serving Children, was talking to St. John students and parents last week about appropriate and inappropriate touching by adults. Johansen put out her hand to introduce herself, but the girl declined to respond in kind.

"She is being honest about the fact that she is uncomfortable," Johansen said. "We need to trust those instincts."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 AM

May 18, 2008

Parishoner Disappointed By Bishop's Response To Letter

OHIO
WTOV

Frank Slowikowski, like many area Catholics, is disappointed with the parish closures that are due to happen in just weeks. But what he is even more disappointed with is Bishop Daniel Conlon’s response to a recent email he sent.

"I got an email back that was just a form letter. The same thing a friend got at Blessed Sacrament. Just changed the name of the priest," said Slowikowski.

In Slowikowski's email, he expressed his concerns with the Bishop's plans to close several churches and build one large cathedral, in an effort to unify the parishioners. But the Bishop's impersonal response makes Slowikowski wonder whether the head of the Diocese is taking others' opinions into consideration.

"I don't know if he's even reading or if he even cares about how we feel," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 PM

Rev. Spagnolia, ex-Lowell priest caught up in abuse crisis, dies at 70

LOWELL (MA)
Lowell Sun

By Michael Lafleur, mlafleur@lowellsun.com
Article Last Updated: 05/16/2008 08:26:49 AM EDT

LOWELL -- Remembered by many of his former parishioners at St. Patrick Church as a priest tragically and unfairly caught up in the Catholic church's sexual-abuse crisis, the Rev. Dominic George Spagnolia has died.

Spagnolia, who was living in New Bedford, succumbed to cancer on May 6. He was 70. A memorial Mass will be held in his honor tomorrow starting at 9 a.m. at St. Patrick Church on Suffolk Street.

The nearly six years he spent in an active public role in Lowell ended in 2002 after he was suspended by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston in response to a single allegation that he had improperly touched a 14-year-old boy twice in 1971, when he was serving as a parish priest in West Roxbury.

While the Suffolk District Attorney's Office opted not to press charges against Spagnolia -- known to his flock as "Father Spags" -- he was never fully reinstated as a priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:07 PM

Pedophile priest cut from kids' choir

AUSTRALIA
NEWS.com.au

By Tanya Chilcott
May 19, 2008 04:10am

A CONVICTED pedophile priest found singing in a church choir with children three months after he was released from jail has been directed to stand down by his diocese.

The move is a backflip by the Anglican Church, which stood behind a decision earlier in the year to allow Robert Francis Sharwood to sing with children in the Holy Trinity Church choir at Fortitude Valley.

Sharwood was jailed for 12 months in November 2006 after being found guilty of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy in Brisbane more than 30 years ago.

The Courier-Mail revealed in February he was singing alongside children in his parish's choir with the permission of the congregation - although some parents were unaware of the priest's past.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:37 PM

Prosser denies wrongdoing in Feeney case

GREEN BAY (WI)
Chicago Tribune

Associated Press
2:24 PM CDT, May 18, 2008

GREEN BAY, Wis. - Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser said he did nothing wrong when, as a district attorney, he talked with a bishop about a priest's inappropriate conduct with two young boys in the 1970s.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests has asked Prosser to explain his connection to the church after details of a meeting between Prosser and Bishop Aloysius Wycislo surfaced in documents connected to a fraud lawsuit against the Green Bay Diocese and its insurance company.

Prosser also has recused himself from two cases on the docket this session that involve the Catholic Church and allegations of sexual abuse of minors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:31 PM

Must Read: Cardinal and Bishop Discuss Church Problems

UNITED STATES
Voice from the Desert

This fictional account of a meeting between a high-ranking Cardinal [Eminence] from Rome and a top-ranking bishop [TRB] of the U.S. was written by my friend Dom Tomasso.

TRB: Your Eminence, what an honor it is to have you visit us here in the Southwest. (I wonder what he’s looking for).

Eminence: Thank you, Bishop. I just regret that I didn’t visit you years ago. Maybe we could have saved ourselves a great deal of money and embarrassment.

TRB: Do you have a message for me from the Pope, your Eminence?

Eminence: Well, not directly. (If I told him how upset the Pope is with how things are going here in the U.S, it’s hard to know how he would react). One of my reasons for visiting, Bishop, is to find out what actions you are taking to resolve this problem involving abusive priests. The bishops have used very, very poor judgment. Making all kinds of mistakes. It is taking so long to resolve, not to mention the billions of dollars that are being lost by the Catholic Church. When will it stop?

TRB: You’re absolutely right, your Eminence but we sort of inherited this problem over decades (as if he didn’t know), and we tried to keep it contained but somehow the media got hold of it in Boston. After the Cardinal Law mess, the roof fell in. We have been sending out letters to all our dioceses instructing them as to how they should respond to difficult parishioners and the news media, when they bring up the abuse crises. We suggest that they point out that only a small percentage of our priests have been involved compared to public school teachers and other religious organizations. We also point out that no mention should be made of the over 11,000 allegations that have been made or the multiple charges against a single priest before corrective action was taken. That, your Eminence, was very, very difficult to explain. When so many abuse cases popped up all over the country, it became impossible for us to take the abuse cases to court to determine financial settlements without implicating over one hundred Bishops. You know, we had to protect them, at all costs. Where would we have been if the judges sent a number of them to prison? What a mess that would have made, your Eminence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:26 PM

Father fraud: Victims violated again by judge’s ruling

WORCESTER (MA)
The Patriot Ledger

Posted May 17, 2008 @ 02:20 AM
QUINCY — The victims weren’t asking for much – just a chance to be heard; a brief moment to tell the truth in a court of law. But Worcester District Court Judge David Ricciardone gave them a slap in the face instead.

John Szantyr, an ex-priest charged with sexually violating two boys more than 20 years ago, will not be brought to justice because Ricciardone has effectively allowed Szantyr to walk away scot-free under a laughable ruling that the guy is not competent to stand trial.

We’re talking about a man who was recently examined by Dr. Malcolm Rogers, an experienced competency evaluator who told the court in February 2008 that Szantyr understands the charges against him and can assist his counsel in his defense.

Ricciardone rejected Dr. Rogers’ opinion even though it is routinely deemed sufficient proof of a defendant’s competency in courtrooms across Massachusetts.

Ricciardone, instead, sided with the nonexpert opinions of Szantyr’s brother and an ex-nurse’s aide named Constance Plank who had no experience with competency evaluations and only limited contact with Szantyr right before the court hearing, in January 2008.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:20 PM

Roman Catholic Diocese in Worcester to close four parishes

WORCESTER (MA)
Boston Herald

By Associated Press
Sunday, May 18, 2008

WORCESTER - Four parishes will be closed and merged with neighboring parishes under a plan announced this weekend by the head of the Roman Catholic Diocese in Worcester.

Bishop Robert McManus cited declining Mass attendance as one of the reasons for what he called a difficult but necessary decision. McManus detailed the decision in a letter read in churches across the city this weekend.

Worcester has 29 churches to serve the city’s 22,000 Catholics, of whom only a third make regular offerings to the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:18 PM

Plano minister held in sex sting resigns

PLANO (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

By STELLA CHÁVEZ / The Dallas Morning News
schavez@dallasnews.com

PLANO – A Prestonwood Baptist Church minister arrested on charges of soliciting a minor online has resigned from the church, Pastor Jack Graham told his congregation Saturday evening.

Dr. Graham addressed the crowd at the start of the church's regular worship service. He said the church had accepted Joe Barron's resignation, which took effect immediately.

"You need to know that we are appalled and we are disgraced by this terrible action, an unacceptable action by a minister on our staff," Dr. Graham said. "I'm so sorry for the injury that this kind of behavior has brought to many people in our church and outside of our church."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:31 AM

Pastor: minister arrested in sex sting resigned

TEXAS
The Associated Press

PLANO, Texas (AP) — A minister arrested in an Internet sex sting has resigned his position at a Dallas-area megachurch, its pastor said Saturday.

The Rev. Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, said during services Saturday that the church accepted Joe Barron's resignation, effective immediately.

Barron was charged Friday with online solicitation of a minor. Undercover officers posing as a 13-year-old girl communicated with the 52-year-old minister for about two weeks. The online conversations were sexual in nature, police said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:28 AM

Priest chooses trial by judge and jury

CANADA
Le Soleil

Michel Thibault

Denis Tremblay, a priest from Sainte-Martine accused of sexual violations, chose to plead his case in front of a judge and jury if his case goes that far.

The preliminary hearing of the 70-year-old man originally set for April 28, got postponed to June 5. At this stage, it must be determined whether there is sufficient evidence for a trial to be held.

A priest at Sainte-Martine for more than 20 years, Tremblay is accused of sexual molesting, indecent exposure and indecency on a person over whom he had authority. These acts allegedly took place over a 40-year-period, between 1968 and 2007.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:17 AM

DALLAS CATHOLICS

DALLAS (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

By SAM HODGES / The Dallas Morning News
samhodges@dallasnews.com

Bishop Kevin Farrell put 12,000 miles on a Toyota Avalon during his first year as leader of the nine-county Catholic Diocese of Dallas, visiting far-flung churches and schools.

It was a full immersion course in North Texas. And it grew into a charm offensive, as he tried to raise spirits in a diocese hard hit by clergy sex abuse and attendant litigation and publicity. ...

Jerry Lastelick – a Dallas lawyer and part of a group that unsuccessfully tried to oust Bishop Farrell's predecessor, Charles Grahmann, over his handling of clergy sex abuse cases – sees Bishop Farrell's outreach efforts as creating a new dynamic in the diocese.

"People are willing to saddle up and get in the posse with him," Mr. Lastelick said.

But Bishop Farrell has courted controversy by having the diocese buy a big, expensive house as his residence. And the smooth ride of his early tenure hit a pothole last week when the Rev. Arthur Mallinson resigned as pastor at a McKinney parish over complaints about his past participation with a Web site for gay priests.

Though it wasn't a sex abuse case, Bishop Farrell had to do damage control, going before television cameras to say the matter would be reviewed by a lay board.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Tusky tells parishioners to move ahead

PENNSYLVANIA
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

By Celanie Polanick
VALLEY NEWS DISPATCH
Sunday, May 18, 2008

In a written statement to parishioners, the Rev. Richard Tusky admitted that he didn't always follow church procedures for handling parish money but denied any church money was misused.

Tusky, the former pastor at Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament and St. Joseph parishes, was removed from his post almost three months ago and investigated by the Diocese of Pittsburgh for alleged mishandling of parish finances. Bishop David Zubik announced last week that three investigations found that Tusky had violated church cannon by not properly accounting for church money while pastor of the two parishes. In a letter to parishioners, Zubik said Tusky hadn't committed any criminal acts.

Tusky's letter, included in weekend church bulletins, urged parishioners to put the situation behind them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:05 AM

You have been sued,' FLDS parents told

TEXAS
Deseret News

By Ben Winslow
Deseret News

SAN ANGELO, Texas — More legal notices have been published, putting on notice the parents of children seized in the raid on the Fundamentalist LDS Church's YFZ Ranch.
"You have been sued," said the notice published by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

"You may employ an attorney. If you or your attorney do not file a written answer with the clerk who issued this citation by 10 a.m. on the Monday next following the expiration of 20 days after you were served this citation and petition, a default judgment may be taken against you."

The notices, published in this week's edition of the Eldorado Success newspaper and on its Web site, myeldorado.net, list the names of hundreds of children and hundreds of people alleged to be their parents. It informs them that petitions have been filed in a Schleicher County court regarding the custody of their children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

Globe North community bulletin board

PEABODY
Boston Globe

Voice of the Faithful: Voice of the Faithful Northshore lecture, May 18, 6:30 p.m., St. Rose of Lima parish hall, 10 Park St. Rev. Michael Himes, who is a professor of theology at Boston College, will present "We are the Church: The Laity and Church Governance," then discussion, refreshments. 978-887-3412.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:59 AM

Diocese to close five churches

WORCESTER (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

[With link to letter from Bishop Robert J. McManus to parishoners]

By Jacqueline Reis TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
jreis@telegram.com

WORCESTER— Five Worcester churches will close July 1, the Diocese of Worcester announced in a letter read at afternoon Masses yesterday.

Notre Dame des Canadiens and Holy Name of Jesus churches will close and merge with St. Joseph Church to form Holy Family Parish located at St. Joseph’s; St. Casimir and Ascension parishes will be folded into the St. John Church parish, the mother church of the diocese; and St. Margaret Mary Church will close and its parish will be merged with St. Anne Church in Shrewsbury.

St. Casimir will continue to hold a Sunday Mass in Lithuanian for another year and will be available for occasional daily use for funerals.

The changes were the recommendation of the Pastoral Planning Committee that visited every parish and conducted focus groups, according to the letter from Bishop Robert J. McManus. Their goal was to determine which parishes were “pastorally vibrant, which were struggling with the full breadth of parish life,” and which “were facing a serious decline in population and sacramental activity, particularly if they no longer had a distinct ethnic population to serve.”

The parishioners at Notre Dame des Canadiens’ 4 p.m. Mass yesterday seemed to know they were in the last category. Although several said they were disappointed by the announcement, no one seemed surprised. They said it had been years since the church had a Mass in French, and only about 35 people were in the pews yesterday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:48 AM

Fort Lauderdale church denies fault in lawsuit that alleges sex abuse of girl on campus

FORT LAUDERDALE (FL)
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

By Jon Burstein | South Florida Sun-Sentinel
May 18, 2008

Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale and its school face a multimillion-dollar lawsuit accusing church officials of failing to protect a teenager who was being sexually abused by her adoptive father.

Church member Rodger Allen Thomas regularly visited his then 15-year-old adoptive daughter at Calvary Christian Academy, where he would kiss and touch her inappropriately, alleges the Broward Circuit Court case filed April 30. The lawsuit, brought by the girl's aunt, seeks at least $3 million in damages.

Calvary Chapel officials said they learned of the allegations when Coral Springs police arrested Thomas in July 2006, charging him with sexually preying on the girl.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

Recent Pedophile Priest Case Just Tip of the Criminal Iceberg

UNITED STATES
Digital Journal (Canada)

One of the nation's largest churches has been given a black eye with a Baptist Pastor being caught soliciting sex online to a 13-year-old girl. It seems this to be an fairly normal trend, as a simple look under the religious covers has found a lot more.

It happened again, the leader of a church busted for being involved in activities leading to the potential sexual abuse of a child. But this time, it isn’t the Papal Delegation that has dominated the news media over the past several years.

In Plano, Texas, the Prestonwood Baptist Church serves as home to dozens of thousands of members, not to mention visitors. As one of the nation’s largest mega churches, it is the example setting model for others churches to follow in terms of the Christian faith and servitude.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:39 AM

Diocese in denial

VERMONT
Rutland Herald

May 18, 2008

A jury last week rendered a historic judgment against the Diocese of Burlington in a sexual abuse case that could serve as a template for the scandals that have shaken the Roman Catholic Church.

The jury awarded the victim $8.7 million, including $7.75 million in punitive damages, for abuse by a former priest, Edward Paquette, whom the diocese had placed in churches in Rutland, Montpelier and Burlington before finally dismissing him.

All of the elements were there: the horrified discovery by parents that their children had been abused; the warnings by out-of-state church officials that went unheeded by others; the seemingly endless patience of the church hierarchy with the abusive priest; only the dimmest understanding of the nature of sexual abuse. There was even a so-called therapist used by the church who was himself an abuser and a thief.

The most disquieting element of all was the lack of concern evidenced by the church hierarchy with the welfare of the children who were abused. A story in today's Rutland Herald and Times Argus provides abundant documentation of the correspondence regarding Paquette's crimes. There is much talk of the potential for scandal and the need to keep a lid on it, and there is a dismissive comment by Bishop John Marshall about the concern of "irate" parents. Only after the church had finally fired Paquette did Marshall express concern for the victims, and then it was in a paragraph that equated concern for the victims with concern for the criminal priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 AM

Sins of omission

VERMONT
Times Argus

By KEVIN O’CONNOR
Staff Writer

On March 30, 1972, an Indiana bishop sent Vermont’s Catholic Church a confidential letter in reply to a question about a potential hire, the Rev. Edward Paquette.

“The dossier is large and the history long,” the Fort Wayne-South Bend leader began. “I will try to be brief and to the point.”

The Indiana diocese had caught Paquette in “three homosexual episodes involving young boys,” the bishop wrote. Having transferred the priest twice, the church couldn’t “risk scandal” by moving him again. If Vermont wanted Paquette, Indiana recommended an assignment in an “institutional chaplaincy” such as a hospital, prison or nursing home rather than a community church so he could minister “with less likelihood of relapse.”

The bishop sent the same letter to officials in Maine, New Jersey and New York. They read it as a warning. But the statewide Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington not only hired Paquette but also assigned him to three parishes with schools — Rutland’s Christ the King Church in 1972, Montpelier’s St. Augustine’s Church in 1974 and Burlington’s Christ the King Church in 1976 — where he went on to molest countless altar boys.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 AM

No hearing on leeway for abuse allegations

HARRISBURG (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

By Angela Couloumbis
Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau

HARRISBURG - In uncommonly blunt comments, the chairman of Pennsylvania's powerful House Judiciary Committee said efforts to allow victims of sexual abuse from decades ago to sue was about one thing: the all-mighty dollar.

The Berks County legislator, in an interview late last week, also said he would not allow a public hearing on a long-stalled bill to extend the statute of limitations despite impassioned pleas from victims of childhood sexual abuse.

"It is not going anywhere, and it's not going to have a hearing," Democratic Rep. Thomas R. Caltagirone said. "What's motivating this and driving this is money. . . . That's what it's all about, the money. It's not about justice."

Caltagirone's remarks have incensed advocates of the legislation - many of them victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests - who have been trying to have their voices heard on the bill.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:30 AM

Juror: Abuse case award 'justified'

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

By Sam Hemingway • Free Press Staff Writer • May 18, 2008

A juror in the just-concluded clergy abuse trial says the overwhelming amount of evidence against the state's Roman Catholic diocese more than justified the $8.7 million awarded in damages to the plaintiff in the case.

"We expected more of a defense," said Christopher Tall of Essex Junction, a 47-year-old engineer. "There was a lot of disparity between the plaintiff's evidence and the defense's evidence. I guess one thing the diocese was good at was keeping records, unfortunately for them."

The case involved claims by a former Christ the King Church altar boy that he was molested by the Rev. Edward Paquette between 40 and 100 times between 1976 and 1978.

Lawyers for the plaintiff, now 40, used a number of church documents to show the diocese knew Paquette had molested boys at parishes in Massachusetts, Indiana, and Vermont before the molestations in Burlington but had chosen to continue to employ Paquette.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 AM

State Supreme Court Justice Prosser disputes claims of wrongdoing in priest abuse case

GREEN BAY (WI)
Green Bay Press-Gazette

By Andy Nelesen • anelesen@greenbaypressgazette.com • May 18, 2008

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser bristles at the assertion he did something wrong as Outagamie County District Attorney when he talked with Bishop Aloysius Wycislo about a priest's conduct with two young boys in the late 1970s.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests has called on Prosser to explain his connection to the church after details of a meeting between Prosser and Wycislo surfaced in documents connected to a fraud lawsuit against the Green Bay Diocese and its insurance company.

Prosser said SNAP's assertions of wrongdoing or improper collusion are "categorically untrue."

"They have been trying since the beginning of the year to show there was a conspiracy here that I was part and parcel of it, and it is all false," Prosser said.

In the December 1978 letter, Wycislo wrote:

"I have just spent a half hour with the district attorney for Outagamie County, who presented me with evidence of a number of crimes of like sexual nature and a number of other civil violations of law that the attorney feels are base enough for a court case against Father (John Patrick) Feeney.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:20 AM

May 17, 2008

Diocese closing/merging five city parishes on July 1

WORCESTER (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

By Jacqueline Reis TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF

WORCESTER— Five Worcester churches will close on July 1, the Catholic Diocese of Worcester announced a letter read at Masses this afternoon.

Notre Dame des Canadiens, 5 Salem Square in downtown Worcester, and Holy Name of Jesus, 55 Illinois St., churches will close and merge with St. Joseph Church to form Holy Family Parish located at St. Joseph’s at 35 Hamilton St. In addition, St. Casimir, 41 Providence St., and Ascension, 48 Vernon Terrace, churches will be folded into St. John Church, 44 Temple St., the mother church of the diocese.

St. Casmir's will continue a Sunday Mass in Lithuanian for another year.

Also, St. Margaret Mary, 77 Alvarado St., will close and its parishioners have been invited to worship at St. Anne Church, 130 Boston Turnpike, in Shrewsbury.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:10 PM

Bishop McManus writes to Spanish-speaking Catholics

WORCESTER (MA)
Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester

En Espanol.

This links to the Spanish-language version of Bishop McManus' letter explaining the parish reconfiguration.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:55 PM

Diocese Announces First Phase of Parish Reconfiguration

WORCESTER (MA)
Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester

May 17, 2008, WORCESTER, MA – Most Rev. Robert J. McManus, Bishop of Worcester, announced this weekend in parishes around the Diocese of Worcester his decisions for parish reconfiguration in the City of Worcester. Letters were read by pastors and associates at the end of each Mass this weekend announcing the changes and outlining how this is the result of an ongoing process.

“For the past year, we have focused attention on the parishes in the City of Worcester,” according to the Bishop. “ In a city with 21,960 registered Catholic households, of which 32% provide regular offertory support, we have 28 parishes and missions, operating 29 churches. At any one time, we can seat over 14,000 people in our Worcester churches. In the face of such statistics, it has become evident that the time to reevaluate what is really needed to best serve the Catholics in the city has arrived.”

Based on the information from focus groups and interviews, the bishop announced that four parishes be closed and merged with other parishes. These include Holy Name of Jesus Parish, St. Casimir Parish, Ascension Parish, and St. Margaret Mary Parish. Additionally, Notre Dame des Canadiens Church building will be closed. He noted in his letter the he has “become convinced for pastoral reasons such as declining Mass attendance and little or no religious education or sacramental life that the spiritual lives of the parishioners would be better served in parishes with a more vibrant pastoral life.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:52 PM

Letter from Bishop Robert J. McManus on the reconfiguration

WORCESTER (MA)
Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester

This links to Bishop McManus' letter.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:53 PM

Power trip leaves the faithful in distress

AUSTRALIA
The Age

Juliette Hughes
May 17, 2008

IT'S not a good time to be a woman in the Catholic Church right now. When I read Barney Zwartz's piece last week on how the Australian Catholic bishops had put out a statement dissociating themselves from one of their most enlightened and compassionate members, I felt sick, then angry, really angry.

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, now retired from Sydney's Catholic archdiocese, published a book last year, Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church. It's one of the most hopeful, honest and responsible pieces of writing ever to come out of the church. But the other bishops are running away from its wisdom, too scared to withstand pressure coming from a Vatican whose reaction was predictable, given the dismal track record of the latest two popes.

As a woman and as a lay person I've been doubly disqualified from having any say in the leadership of my church; it's a galling place for a feminist to be. A quarter century of the misogynist John Paul II made it very hard for me to be proud of being Catholic: it's been like belonging to a dysfunctional family.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:48 PM

Anti-clergy protest marks pope trip to Italian north

ITALY
AFP

GENOA, Italy (AFP) — Pope Benedict XVI sparked a protest Saturday by campaigners angry at the Catholic Church's powerful influence in the country as he flew into northern Italy for a two-day trip.

Around 1,000 people marched through the industrial outskirts of the city of Genoa, where the pope made a brief stop, to denounce "daily interference by the Vatican in Italian public debate and daily life."

Organised by far-left, feminist and gay rights groups, the rally was called in defence of secularism and in protest at a speech Monday in which the pope lashed out at abortion, legalised in Italy 30 years ago, as an offence before God. ...

The demonstrators were also calling for a review of Italian state funding for the Roman Catholic Church, which they evaluated at nine billion euros (14 billion dollars) per year.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:45 PM

Kerala godman’s friends in quandary

INDIA
Hindustan Times

Ramesh Babu, Hindustan Times

Thiruvananthapuram, May 18, 2008

While Godman Swami Amritha Chaitanya cools his heels in lock-up, many of his high-profile contacts are breaking into a sweat. The mystery of Santosh Madhavan’s, the swami’s real name, nexus with the high and mighty keeps getting murkier.

While the police admit that two days of questioning have led to startling revelations, they are mum on his nexus with the high and mighty.

When the police raided his 16-suite posh ashram in Kochi, they recovered a police uniform among many other things. Initially, they claimed the uniform belonged to circle inspector Ashok Kumar who died in a mishap two years ago. But it appears that there has been no such person in the force over the past two years. There was an inspector Ajaya Kumar who died in March 2006 after falling off his terrace. The deceased police officer’s relatives have already denied the police version. Strangely, insignia and badges were missing from the uniform.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:39 PM

After verdict in abuse case, Vt. judge puts lien on church

VERMONT
Chicago Tribune

Associated Press
2:54 PM CDT, May 17, 2008

BURLINGTON, Vt. - A judge has agreed to put a lien of more than $10 million on property including the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington to secure damages won by the plaintiff in a suit alleging sexual abuse by a former priest.

Judge Matthew Katz approved a "writ of attachment" on the property overlooking Lake Champlain, after finding that the plaintiff, a 40-year-old former altar boy, had a "reasonable likelihood of success" in the suit, which the diocese is expected to appeal.

The property was targeted because "the court finds no liability insurance, bond, or other security known or reasonably believed to be available to satisfy a judgment," the judge wrote.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:35 PM

Sacerdote di Piacenza indagato per rapporti sessuali con un minore

ITALY
Il Messaggero

PIACENZA (16 maggio) - Un insospettabile sacerdote settantenne di Piacenza si è trovato nella duplice veste di parte lesa ed indagato: parte lesa per essere caduto vittima di un tentativo di estorsione da parte di quattro romeni, indagato per aver avuto rapporti sessuali a pagamento con minori. La notizia è trapelata oggi, dopo che al sacerdote è stato recapitato ieri l'avviso di garanzia dal Sostituto procuratore di Piacenza Antonio Colonna.

[translation]

A Priest in Piacenza is being investigated for sexual relationship with a minor

PIACENZA (May 16) - Above all suspicions a seventy-year-old priest in Piacenza found himself in both the position of victim and of being investigated: a victim for an attempt of extortion by four Romanians and investigated for having had a sexual relationship with some minors in exchange of money. The news leaked out today, after the priest received yesterday an indictment from the Substitute prosecutor of Piacenza, Antonio Colonna.

The carabinieri (the Italian military police) began the investigation after the priest reported he had been the victim of blackmail by four Romanians, among whom a minor, who had asked him 50.000 euros in exchange for compromising photos. Therefore, the carabinieri prepared a trap and arrested the four Romanians in the center of the city, charging them with extortion and production of pedo-pornographic material. The carabinieri found the four foreigners were in possession of photos in which the priest appeared having sexual intercourse with a group of people, among whom there was also the minor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:29 PM

Priest suspended after stealing £90,000 from church

UNITED KINGDOM
Fenland Citizen

A Roman Catholic priest from Norfolk has been suspended after admitting stealing more than £90,000 left to his church in a will.

Father Eric Woodhead, 60, of Thetford, pleaded guilty to the theft at Ipswich Crown Court on Friday.

A spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of East Anglia said: "Father Woodhead was suspended from his role following his guilty plea.

"Until the matter is concluded, we will not be commenting further."

Woodhead was charged in February with stealing £91,963 left in a will to Our Lady, Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Church, in Lowestoft, Suffolk.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:00 AM

Former Barksdale chaplain pleads guilty to sex charges

LOUISIANA
Shreveport Times

By John Andrew Prime • jprime@gannett.com • May 17, 2008

A priest who once served at Barksdale Air Force Base as a chaplain pleaded guilty Tuesday in Tucson, Ariz., to six counts of sexual abuse of a minor, The Times' sister paper, the Tucson Citizen, is reporting.

Gary Edward Underwood, who made his plea in Arizona, will be sentenced Aug. 4 by Pima County Superior Court Judge Richard Nichols. He is free on bond awaiting sentencing.

Underwood, 53, who had been a major in the Air Force and Barksdale's senior Catholic chaplain since 2005, first was indicted in 2006 on charges of molesting two boys and was indicted on similar charges involving another boy last year. His guilty plea covers all three instances.

Underwood was shifted from religious duties to an office slot under the staff director at 2nd Bomb Wing pending resolution of the legal proceedings, base officials said at the time of the first indictment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:58 AM

Excommunication: Why has the St. Louis archbishop not acted against pedophile priests?

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Beacon

By David Clohessy, Special to the Beacon
Last Updated ( Thursday, 15 May 2008 )

Last month, Pope Benedict XVI visited the United States and promised to do everything he could to rid the priesthood of predators. Before even touching down on U.S. soil, he said, “We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry.”

This is a good time to assess how his local representative is doing on that front.

There are two ways St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke could oust pedophile priests. He could defrock them (kicking them out of the priesthood) or excommunicate them (kicking them out of the church). Dozens of Burke’s brother bishops have defrocked child-molesting clergy. None, however, has taken the more severe step of excommunication, which is the most severe penalty the Catholic hierarchy can impose on anyone.

Because of a continuing dispute over parish governance, Burke has excommunicated several lay people on the board of St. Stanislaus parish and the church’s pastor.

He has also excommunicated two local women who declared themselves to be ordained Catholic priests.

None of these individuals was deemed guilty of any crime. None was criminally charged or civilly sued for crimes. None admitted to or was even accused of any crimes. But they were basically ousted from the Catholic Church.

In contrast, over the past 20 years, we can't recall a single other priest, nun, seminarian, lay employee or church volunteer in St. Louis (current or former) whom Burke or his predecessors ever excommunicated, even those who have been clearly and repeated charged with, sued for, accused of or deemed guilty of heinous child sex crimes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:42 AM

I am innocent: Fr Kottoor

INDIA
Newindpress

B Sreejan

T'PURAM: "A narco-analysis can reveal only what is in your mind. When the mind is blank, how can you draw conclusions?," asked Kottayam Knanaya Archdiocese Chancellor Fr Thomas M Kottoor.

While talking to this website's newspaper over phone from Kottayam on media reports that the CBI had identified the murderer of Sr Abhaya.

“I don’t know anything about it. I had repeated this a number of times to all the inquiring officials,” said Kottoor, who was placed under suspicion by a section of media on Friday for murdering the nun 16 years ago.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:29 AM

All godmen are fake, says Kerala minister

INDIA
The Times of India

[with link to video]

NEW DELHI: Religious figures across Kerala are up in arms against Devasom minister G Sudhakaran, after he pointed a finger at all godmen in state, labelling them as fake, according to a Times Now report. ( Watch )

Days after controversial godman Santosh Madhavan was arrested for molesting a minor and on charges of fraud, Kerala's Devasom minister G Sudkaran lashed out at godmen in a manner that is threatening to escalate into a huge row.

While attending a public function in the state, the outspoken minister labelled all swamis as "frauds".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:24 AM

Judge puts $10M lien on church HQ

VERMONT
Burlington Free Press

by Sam Hemingway, Free Press Staff Writer • May 17, 2008

Judge Matthew Katz on Friday agreed to place a $10,266,000 lien on land that encompasses the headquarters of the state’s Roman Catholic diocese at the request of the victorious plaintiff in a just-completed clergy abuse trial.

Katz, in a brief order approving a “writ of attachment” on the North Avenue property, said the plaintiff had proven that he had a “reasonable likelihood of success” of ultimately prevailing in the case, which is expected to be appealed.

Katz wrote in his order that part of the reason he took the action was because the diocese might not have insurance to pay the money, if the case is upheld on appeal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

Priest admits stealing cash from church

UNITED KINGDOM
EADT

A respected Roman Catholic priest betrayed the trust of his parishioners by stealing almost £100,000 of money left to his church in a will.

Father Eric Woodhead, who met Pope John Paul II earlier in his career, admitted taking the money when he appeared before a court yesterday .

The 60-year-old, who was the minister at Our Lady Star of the Sea church in Lowestoft, now faces the prospect of his long career lying in ruins after he pleaded guilty to stealing £91,963 from the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

Judge considers dropping incest charges against sect leader

PHOENIX (AZ)
Houston Chronicle

By CHRIS KAHN Associated Press Writer
The Associated Press

PHOENIX — Lawyers for Warren Jeffs asked an Arizona judge Friday to drop incest charges against the imprisoned polygamist leader.

Jeffs, who was convicted in a similar case last year in Utah, is charged in Mohave County as an accomplice with four counts each of incest and sexual conduct. The charges stem from two arranged marriages between teenage girls and their older male relatives, one of whom was in his 50s.

Jeffs' lawyers argued during a court hearing in Kingman that prosecutors can either file sex with a minor charges or incest charges, but not both, and they want the incest charges dismissed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:59 AM

Data may have inflated number of teen mothers

SAN ANTONIO (TX)
Austin American-Statesman

By Michelle Roberts
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Saturday, May 17, 2008

SAN ANTONIO — When Texas child welfare authorities released statistics showing that almost 60 percent of the teenage girls taken from a polygamous sect's ranch were pregnant or had children, they seemed to prove what officials have claimed all along: The sect commonly pushed girls into marriage and sex.

But in the past week, the state has twice been forced to admit that "girls" who gave birth while in state custody are adults. One, Louisa Bradshaw Jessop, is 22, and she claims to have shown state officials a Utah birth certificate shortly after she and more than 400 minors were seized in an April raid from the West Texas ranch of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

The state has in custody 24 other young mothers and additional sect members whose ages are in dispute. If most of them turn out to be adults, it could deal a severe blow to the state's claim of widespread sexual abuse at the compound in Eldorado. Such a revelation would mean that the number of actual 14- to 17-year-old mothers could drop to as low as five. That would amount to about 20 percent of the girls in that age range who were found at the ranch, substantially higher than the average rate of teen pregnancies in Texas but a far cry from 60 percent.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

Minister Charged in Second Sex Abuse Case

MACHESNEY PARK (IL)
WREX

By Dani Maxwell
13 News

MACHESNEY PARK - A Machesney Park minister faces additional counts of sexual assault charges.

Jonathon Christopher Powell, 40, was arrested last week after accusations he sexually abused an underage girl. The Winnebago County Sheriff's Department said there could be a second victim. Now, Powell's been charged in that case too.

He now faces two more counts of Criminal Sexual Abuse, for a total of four counts in the two cases. Powell is still in jail, with no bond.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:53 AM

Ex-pastor admits assault

MEDIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

By Joelle Farrell and Mari A. Schaefer
Inquirer Staff Writers

Three decades after he preyed on teenage girls in a church youth group, a 76-year-old former pastor pleaded no contest to rape and guilty to sexual assault in cases involving two women now in their 40s.

Gerald L. Klever of Tucson, Ariz., admitted to forcing a then-16-year-old girl to perform oral sex. He pleaded no contest to raping a second teenage girl in a pool.

Both crimes happened in 1980 when he was a pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Delaware County.

Yesterday, the victims spoke in a courtroom packed with church members and the family and friends of Klever's victims. Deputy District Attorney A. Sheldon Kovach, who prosecuted Klever, asked those affected by Klever's abuse, directly or indirectly, to stand.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 AM

Ex-pastor finds little forgiveness from rape victims in court

MEDIA (PA)
Philadelphia Daily News

By WILLIAM BENDER
Philadelphia Daily News
benderw@phillynews.com 215-854-5255

Gerald Klever, the 76-year-old former associate pastor at Springfield's First Presbyterian Church, limped down the center aisle of a packed Delaware County courtroom yesterday, clutching a walking cane in his right hand and searching for a place to sit.

No one offered to get up. It was not a friendly audience.

Klever, who left First Presbyterian in 1983 when he moved out of state, was in Media yesterday to face up to his sordid past - and to apologize to a furious congregation and two women that he sexually assaulted more than a quarter-century ago.

"What I did was unconscionable, just unconscionable. I know that," said Klever, who now lives in the Catalina Foothills, a wealthy suburb of Tucson, Ariz.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:47 AM

Sexual abuse allegations follow church to Tennessee

CROSS PLAINS (TN)
The Tennessean

By CHRIS ECHEGARAY • Staff Writer • May 17, 2008

CROSS PLAINS — They sold their homes in Southern California, left careers behind and followed their church leader despite whispers of sexual abuse among the congregation.

Now those whispers have arrived at their doorstep in rural Tennessee, where members of the nondenominational Christian Gospel Temple are solid members of the community who have lived here for more than 15 years.

The church is embroiled in four lawsuits filed in Southern California that stem from sexual abuse allegations by former members. Though the church is rooted in Los Angeles, its leaders began moving to Tennessee in 1993. They said they wanted to move from the congestion and perils of Chino, Calif., to the Bible Belt, where they would feel more comfortable.

The church's former leader, the Rev. Cornelius Mears, and the congregation built Christian Gospel Temple on 15 acres of land that includes a baseball field and a pavilion for community events.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:39 AM

Minister at Prestonwood Baptist charged in Internet sex sting

TEXAS
The Dalls Morning News

12:00 AM CDT on Saturday, May 17, 2008
By TANYA EISERER and SAM HODGES / The Dallas Morning News

A minister at Prestonwood Baptist Church faces a charge of online solicitation of a minor after police say he drove from Plano to Bryan to have sex with a 13-year-old girl.

The "girl" was a police officer pretending to be a teenager as part of an ongoing Internet sex sting. Joe Barron, one of about 40 ministers at the 26,000-member megachurch, could face up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for the second-degree felony.

Computer equipment was seized from Mr. Barron's home, and police said they were investigating evidence he had online conversations with more than a dozen girls.

Bryan authorities say the minister began crying Thursday morning as police arrested him. "He said he was feeling guilt and shame and grief," said Bryan police Officer Lesley Malinak, a Police Department spokeswoman.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:12 AM

How many believe Catholic priests will lie under oath to cover up sex crimes? Every potential juror raised their hands

LOS ANGELES (CA)
City of Angels

By Kay Ebeling
One of the questions was, “How many of you believe the Catholic Church has covered up sex crimes?” Every potential juror in the first day of voir dire raised their hand, in the Salesian cases which settled before going to trial this week in LA. At another point attorneys asked, how many of you think a Catholic priest will lie under oath to protect the church and, again, every one of them raised their hands.

Emilie Elias is a no-nonsense judge who was really glaring down from the bench just like the picture at left in the settlement hearing Wednesday in LA Superior Court. She presides in a community full of no-nonsense people. I looked at that jury and they were ready, savage with pencils poised to find a hundred reasons to award punitive damages if the cases went to trial. The Salesian defense was not going to be able to do the dance around justice they pulled off in San Francisco in 2006. Wayne Morse slouched home to Texas in tears.

The day before the settlement in LA, a jury in Vermont came back with the largest civil award in the state's history, $7,750,000 in punitive damages against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, which might have been on the Salesians attorneys' mind Tuesday night when they agreed to settle. One altar boy from Vermont held out, refused to settle with about 18 other cases earlier this year, insisted on a jury trial, and was awarded $950,000 compensatory along with the record breaking $7.75 million award in punitive damages. The Burlington verdict, reached by the jury in less than five hours, is a signal to the Roman Catholic Church. People who serve on juries are ready to award massive amounts to plaintiffs when given the chance to decide punitive damages.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:27 AM

Texas minister charged in Internet sex sting

BRYAN (TX)
The Associated Press

BRYAN, Texas (AP) — A minister from a Dallas-area Baptist megachurch was caught in an Internet sex sting and charged with online solicitation of a minor, police said Friday.

Undercover officers posing as a 13-year-old girl communicated with Joe Barron, 52, of Plano for about two weeks. The online conversations were sexual in nature, police said.

On May 6, Barron suggested meeting the girl in person. He eventually made the nearly 200-mile drive to Bryan on Thursday, when he was arrested. Police said they found a web-cam and condoms in his car.

Barron was released Friday night from the Brazos County Jail on bond. Police were unsure whether he had an attorney.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:03 AM

May 16, 2008

About a porn swami and a murderous priest

INDIA
Daily News & Analysis

Don Sebastian
Saturday, May 17, 2008 02:40 IST

A sleazy godman stole the show in Kerala at a time when the local newspapers had to squeeze in Jaipur blasts, a sensational murder verdict, higher secondary results, and the second anniversary of the Left Democratic Front government.

Santosh Madhav, who had been running a prostitution and porn racket under the pseudonym Amritha Chaithanya, has been remanded after a teenaged girl lodged a rape complaint against him. Santosh’s woes started when a Malayalam weekly Keralashabdam went to town with a cover story featuring his previous avatars.

The weekly exposed that the godman, who owns a 16-suite ashram in Kochi and property worth crores across Kerala, was in fact a fraudster wanted in the United Arab Emirates. The Interpol website has pictures of Santosh and his accomplice who had duped an NRI woman of Rs45 lakhs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:58 PM

Worcester churches close after low attendance

WORCESTER (MA)
NECN

[with video]

(Jennifer Eagan, NECN: Worcester, Mass.) - Some Catholic churches in Worcester could be shutdown. The Worcester Diocese is expected to make the announcement Saturday. If it happens, there will be some angry parishioners.

The Diocese is staying pretty tight-lipped on which churches could be affected in the coming months.

Priests from the city's parishes have been studying the churches over the past year. Shrinking attendance was a major factor in which churches will close.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:40 PM

Church closings or mergers possible

WORCESTER (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

WORCESTER -- A letter from Bishop Robert J. McManus announcing parish changes in the city, including possible church closings and parish mergers, will be read at Masses this weekend.

The undisclosed changes were recommended by the Diocesan Pastoral Planning Committee, which spent a year studying the viability of city parishes. This week, the Presbyteral Council, the canonical body of priests for the Diocese of Worcester, reviewed and approved the changes.

“Making a decision to close, merge or alter a parish’s status in any way can be very upsetting for parishioners,” Bishop McManus said in a statement released yesterday. “We have reached a point in our diocesan history, however, where not addressing the current vitality and viability of parishes is simply not a pastorally acceptable course of action.”

The bishop’s letter will be read beginning with Saturday afternoon Masses. Later in the weekend the letter will be posted on the diocesan Web site, www.worcesterdiocese.org.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 PM

Ethiopian child brides give themselves to tradition

ETHIOPIA
The Times

Ross Appleyard in Amhara
Wube-Enat cowers under a brightly embroidered blanket, peering out at the festivities going on around her. Bemused and bewildered, she has little understanding of why she is suddenly the focus of so much attention.

It is her wedding day; Wube-Enat is 10 years old. Her husband, Abebe, is 14.

For the first time in her life she has discarded her grubby smock and is dressed in traditional robes. “I like my new husband,” she says shyly. “But I don't really know him. In fact, I've never met him.”

The ceremony, in the remote Amhara region of Ethiopia, is conducted by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Child weddings are common in this region, although it is illegal to marry below the age of 18. The priest justified conducting the wedding by saying: “We marry the girls so young to ensure they are virgins. If she was older we wouldn't marry her - someone might have raped her.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 PM

"Sexfairy" reveals herself, speaks to I-Team

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
KGO

[with video]

By Dan Noyes

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- We're finally hearing from the woman at the center of the child pornography case against former KGO Radio host Bernie Ward.

Until now, you haven't seen her face and didn't know much about her except that she went by the screen name "Sexfairy" and called police when Ward sent her child porn. ...

Figueiredo tells the I-Team she was a 29-year-old stay-at-home mother with three young daughters when she went online as "Sexfairy" to explore her sexual boundaries. A friend gave her the screen name of a man who appeared to be submissive -- "Vincentlio."
Only later would she find out it was KGO Radio host Bernie Ward.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:49 PM

Catholic church reduces presence in eastern Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA
The Oklahoman

By Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Several Catholic churches in Pottawatomie and Seminole counties are being closed or being reassigned as missions, leaders with the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City have announced.

The Most Rev. Eusebius J. Beltran, archbishop of the archdiocese, wrote letters to parishioners in the affected churches saying that the closings and reassignments will become effective June 17.

In his letter to parishioners, published in the May 11 edition of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City’s official newspaper, The Sooner Catholic, Beltran said the closures and reassignments are necessary because of a shortage of priests and the reassignment of monks who had been serving in pastoral roles.

The monks of St. Gregory’s Abbey will be responsible for only the Sacred Hearts parish in Konawa. They will discontinue serving in seven other parishes where they have served for more than a century, Beltran wrote.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:47 PM

Court Orders More Records Released in Lawsuit Involving local Greek Orthodox Priest

JACKSONVILLE (FL)
First Coast News

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- Father's Day cards are now part of the mounting legal paperwork in a lawsuit involving a former local Greek Orthodox priest and a teenage boy.

The Very Reverend Nicholas Graff is being sued by the mother and grandparents of the boy identified as "John Doe" because of his age at the time.

Until last June Graff served as a religious leader at the St. John the Divine Greek Orthodox Church in Jacksonville.

The lawsuit alleges that obsessive and inappropriate behavior by Graff escalated into sexual misconduct.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:43 PM

Church trying to 'limit' abuse debate

AUSTRALIA
The Age

Barney Zwartz
May 17, 2008

THE Sydney bishop disowned by Australia's Catholic bishops as failing to understand basic church teaching says the church is trying to restrict debate on sexual abuse.

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson released a statement yesterday replying to his condemnation by the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference last week, saying he was disappointed but not surprised. Bishop Robinson, the auxiliary bishop of Sydney, who for a decade headed efforts by the Australian Catholic Church to tackle sexual abuse, resigned in disillusionment in 2004.

Last year he published Confronting Sex and Power in the Catholic Church, arguing that until the church considered radical reform from the Pope down, it was not serious about tackling clerical sexual abuse. ...

Bishop Robinson, who is on a lecture tour in the US, said it was reasonable to ask questions about power and sex in the church. "The bishops appear to be saying that, in seeking to respond to abuse, we may investigate all other factors contributing to abuse, but we may not ask questions concerning ways in which teachings, laws, and attitudes concerning power and sex within the church may have contributed," he said. "We must be free to follow the argument wherever it leads."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:14 PM

Kerala godman charged with rape

INDIA
Andhra Cafe

Kochi, May 13 (IANS) Controversial Kerala godman Swami Amritananthachaithanya alias Santhosh Madhavan was Tuesday arrested and charged with three offences, including rape of a teenager.

Inspector General of Police Vincent M. Paul told reporters that three cases have been filed against Santhosh Madhavan and his driver Thomas.

'Both were taken into custody while travelling in a black Lancer car this morning. He has been charged in different cases, including raping a 15-year-old girl in his flat here seven times. We received a complaint from the Class 10 girl today,' said Kochi City Police commissioner Manoj Abraham.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:12 PM

Godman Amrita Chaitanya remanded to police custody

INDIA
Zee News

Kochi, May 14: Controversial Kerala godman Amrita Chaitanya, arrested for allegedly cheating a NRI woman of Rs 45 lakh, was today remanded to five days police custody.

Amrita Chaitanya alias Santosh Madhavan, against whom Interpol had issued a look out notice in the cheating case, was produced before Magistrate K S Saratchandran, who remanded him to police custody till May 19.

Chaitanya was arrested yesterday from nearby Vypeen hours before his anticipatory bail petition was to come up before the Kerala High Court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:31 PM

Bishop Geoffrey James Robinson

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church

On Friday, May 16th at 8:00 pm, Bishop Geoffrey James Robinson, Author of Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church: Reclaiming the Spirit of Jesus,will usher in a two-day symposium with a keynote address at Temple University's Anderson Hall. As part of the event, ARCC will present Bishop Robinson the 2008 Hans Küng Rights of Catholics in the Church Award. The next day, symposium participants whill have a chance to hear and interact with six renowned Catholic writers during an all-day conference exploring the ramifications of this eye-opening book for the future of the American Catholic church. For additional details, please visit http://www.rccrenewal.org/.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:22 PM

Some Catholic churches to be closed, reassigned

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
KTEN

Associated Press - May 16, 2008 3:05 PM ET

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A shortage of priests and the reassignment of monks is leading the closing of 3 Catholic churches in Pottawatomie and Seminole counties and the reassignment of 4 others.

Archbishop the Most Rev. Eusebius Beltran of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City announced the closings and reassignments in a letter published in the May 11 edition of The Sooner Catholic.

Beltran says he's not happy but he has no available priests to send to the churches and monks serving the churches are being reassigned.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:54 PM

Worcester parishes to get news

WORCESTER (MA)
The Catholic Free Press

Catholics in Worcester will find out this weekend the future of their particular parish. A letter from Bishop McManus is to be read at all Masses in the 29 city churches. The bishop will outline the first phase of reconfiguration of parishes in the city, which will include some parish closings.

“The bishop wanted to deliver the news first to the people through their pastor,” said Raymond L. Delisle, director of the Office for Communications, vice-chancellor, and member of two panels involved in the so-called pastoral planning process.

“In letters to those parishes most immediately affected by the changes, the bishop will address in greater detail his decisions and the process which has led to those decisions,” Mr. Delisle said in a press release. No details were given to The Catholic Free Press. ...

“I am deeply grateful to the pastors, their parishioners, the Diocesan Pastoral Planning Committee, and the Diocesan Pastoral Council for conducting this process of self-evaluation,” said Bishop McManus in the press release.

“Making a decision to close, merge or alter a parish’s status in any way can be very upsetting for parishioners. We have reached a point in our diocesan history, however, where, not addressing the current vitality and viability of parishes is simply not a pastorally acceptable course of action.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:49 PM

Prestonwood Minister Arrested In Online Sex Bust

BRYAN (TX)
CBS 11

BRYAN (CBS 11 News) ―
A minister at one of the largest churches in North Texas has been arrested in a sex sting operation in Bryan.

Police confirm that Joe Barron was taken into custody after driving more than three hours to have sex with what he thought was a 13-year-old girl.

Barron serves as a minister at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano. The 52-year-old has reportedly counseled married couples at the church that has more than 20,000 members.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:22 PM

Baptist Minister Snared In Central Texas Internet Sex Sting

TEXAS
KWTX

(May 16, 2008)—A minister who counseled adults at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano is among those snared in a sting in Bryan that targeted online sexual predators.

Police say Joe Barron, 53, drove more than three hours from Plano to Bryan to meet what he thought was a 13-year-old girl he had met over the Internet.

The girl was actually a Bryan police officer. ...

Mike Buster, the executive pastor of the 20,000-member church, issued a statement Friday in which he said, “We are disturbed and saddened by the reports we have heard and we are praying for the Barron family. We are fully cooperating with the police in their investigation.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:19 PM

Minister caught in Internet sex sting

BRYAN (TX)
Houston Chronicle

2008 The Associated Press

BRYAN, Texas — A suburban Dallas minister has been charged with online solicitation of a minor after he was allegedly caught in a Bryan Internet sex sting.

Bryan police say undercover officers communicated in the guise of a 13-year-old girl with 52-year-old Joe Barron of Plano for about two weeks. A Bryan police statement says the online conversations with the minister on the Prestonwood Baptist Church staff were sexually explicit in nature.

The statement says officers asked Barron on May 6th for an in-person rendezvous in Bryan, where Barron was arrested.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:15 PM

Priest who battled removal over sex abuse allegation dies

LOWELL (MA)
Boston Herald

By Associated Press
Friday, May 16, 2008

LOWELL, Mass. - A Roman Catholic priest who fought his removal from a Lowell parish because of a decades-old allegation that he sexually abused a child has died at age 70.

A notice in the church bulletin at St. Patrick Church in Lowell says the Rev. D. George Spagnolia died on May 6. A memorial Mass is scheduled Saturday.

The Archdiocese of Boston removed Spagnolia and put him on administrative leave in 2002 after an allegation that he improperly touched a 14-year-old boy twice in 1971.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:04 PM

BOARD OF TRUSTEES’ REPORT ABOUT 2008 ELECTION PROBLEMS

UNITED STATES
Voice of the Faithful

May 16, 2008

As with past elections, the 2008 election of national officers revealed some important lessons to replicate or avoid in the future. The following is the Board of Trustees’ report on key election problems that it committed to review when it certified election results on March 3, 2008 (see http://votf.org/08results.html). ...

The Board recognizes that VOTF needs to strengthen its database security procedures as well as establish appropriate accountability for use of members’ contact information. In addition, it needs to clarify access to members’ email addresses for internal purposes, especially during elections. The Board also believes that it needs to ensure a more level playing field among candidates in the next election.

The Board acknowledges the limitations and advances in the 2008 election, and it will work with the Officers, the NRC and the Executive Director to incorporate the lessons learned to improve the next election in 2010. In the meantime, the Board again congratulates all those who stood for election and those who are now leading VOTF into a new era of leadership.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:56 PM

Twin cities’ Catholic parishes merge (May 15, 2008)

MAINE
Courier Connection

By Stephanie Grinnell
Staff Writer
Beginning July 1, Biddeford and Saco Catholic churches will merge under one name, Good Shepherd Parish, as part of Bishop Richard Malone of the Portland Diocese call for a church reorganization.
Biddeford, Saco, Old Orchard Beach and Lyman form Cluster 25. During the first phase of reorganization, the Biddeford and Saco churches, including St. Andre, St. Joseph, St. Mary, Most Holy Trinity and Notre Dame de Lourdes, will fall under the larger umbrella of Good Shepherd in respect to finances, Business Coordinator Paula Moses said. She said instead of each church having its own funds and finance manager, all will be managed as one under Good Shepherd. Monsignor Rene Mathieu will be named pastor of the Good Shepherd Parish. His current title is administrator.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:52 PM

Surviving an unholy school war

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

Larry Buttrose still marvels at the hypocrisy of a system he says violated generations of Catholic children.

I was born into a loving family. As far as I can remember, my parents never smacked me; hardly even raised their voices.

But they were churchgoing Roman Catholics and, a few weeks after my fifth birthday, one summer morning my mother walked me from our home to the local parish school.

Things there were very different. I vividly recall the red carbolic-scrubbed face of the young Irish nun swathed all in black who met us, and the strange gleam in her eye. Within days she was belting us with a cane, and being a left-hander I was singled out for special treatment; my hand beaten hard and often so I could no longer hold my pencil in "the hand of the devil".

Our nun teacher was ever on a slow simmer, hyper-vigilant for the merest mistake we might make in parroting back our lolly-hued religious texts.

Although still very young, even then I was surprised at the gulf between all the talk about God and love, and the beatings. I recall my confusion from the time, and the incipient feelings of resentment at what I would later learn to call hypocrisy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:04 PM

Bishop Nikolai Retired By Synod

ALASKA
Orthodox Reform

Article: “OCA Holy Synod issues statements on Diocese of Alaska at 2008 Spring Meeting”
Date Published: 5/13/2008
Publication: Orthodox Church in America Website

SYOSSET, NY [OCA Communications] — The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, meeting at the OCA Chancery in Oyster Bay Cove, NY, May 13 to 15, 2008, has issued the following statements concerning the Diocese of Alaska.

”The Holy Synod of Bishops, meeting at its full, regular Spring Session, reviewed the Leave-of-absence of His Grace, NIKOLAI, Bishop of Sitka, Anchorage, and Alaska, in accordance with the request of Bishop NIKOLAI that this be reviewed at the May Session, rather than at the October Session. The Holy Synod of Bishops of The Orthodox Church in America, meeting at the Chancery in Oyster Bay Cove, New York, effective May 13, 2008, retired His Grace Bishop NIKOLAI (Soraich) from the Diocese of Alaska, with the title ‘Former Bishop of Sitka.’ He remains, in retirement, a Bishop of the Orthodox Church in America.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:00 PM

Survey: How many priests back open discussion of clergy sexual misconduct?

UNITED STATES
Orthodox Reform

A recent poll of Orthodox Clergy by the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute conducted a first of its kind survey of a variety of issues.

Responses show the percentage of clergy who said that the following subjects are very important and should be the topic of open discussion within the church. Note the following responses which in some cases related to clergy sexual misconduct:

Emotional and psychosexual maturity of priests:
45% of GOA clergy said it should be discussed openly
29% of OCA of OCA clergy said it should be discussed openly

Problems of sexual misconduct by priests:
43% of GOA clergy said it should be discussed openly
25% of OCA clergy said it should be discussed openly

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:58 AM

New Poll: Should parishes have power to screen clergy?

UNITED STATES
Orthodox Reform

Orthodox Reform is conducting a new poll:

Should Orthodox parishes be allowed to do background checks on clergy which Bishops assign to them? Or should clergy be exempt from any parish background screening?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:57 AM

Jerome pastor Matheney agrees to misdemeanor guilty plea

JEROME (ID)
Times-News

By Cassidy Friedman
Staff writer
JEROME - All the people who might have been shocked by the Rev. Ron Matheney suddenly pleading guilty to a misdemeanor Thursday morning were absent from the courtroom. More than that, they were unaware any such hearing was taking place.

On Wednesday evening, the pastor reached a deal to plead guilty to a misdemeanor battery charge, just days before his trial was to begin on four felony charges involving violence against his wife.

The deal was finalized in court just hours later on Thursday morning. As a result of the quick action, not even Matheney's wife knew about the hearing or the plea agreement, county deputy prosecutor Paul Kroeger said.

Kroeger told the judge that the victim, Darlene Matheney, had entrusted him to make appropriate decisions, and she knew a plea bargain deal was on the table. But Kroeger declined to say why he agreed to drop the charges.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:52 AM

Local Woman Says Christian Temple Was A Cult

CALIFORNIA
CBS 13

[with video]

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) ― She spent years living in fear, and now she's one of four women suing a Christian temple claiming she was sexually assaulted by a pastor.

She says it was a cult, a cult that took advantage of her mind and her body.

Lynette Fay says it started 21 years ago, that Rev. Paul Mears did some of the most horrible crimes for eight years until she was 12.

"Basically he raped me on a daily basis," says Fay.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:45 AM

Former assistant pastor set for sentencing on rape charges

MEDIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

The Associated Press

MEDIA, Pa. - A former assistant pastor of a southeastern Pennsylvania church faces sentencing on charges that he sexually assaulted young girls nearly three decades ago.

After a plea deal with Delaware County prosecutors, 76-year-old Gerald Klever is scheduled for sentencing Friday before Common Pleas Judge James Nilon Jr.

Authorities say Klever raped and sexually assaulted girls in his youth group while an assistant pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Springfield between 1977 and 1983. One woman says he raped her one time at a pool party and another time after tying her to a bed at a church retreat.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:42 AM

Dolan Orders Audits for All Catholic Parishes

MILWAUKEE (WI)
WTMJ

By Jay Sorgi

All of Milwaukee's Catholic parishes will get visits from some bean counters.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan has ordered financial reviews for all 211 parishes in the 10-county Archdiocese.

The Journal Sentinel says it's a move to make sure that volunteers and church employees are not trying to steal donations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:38 AM

Bishop says Natrona pastor who resigned broke church money rules

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

By The Associated Press
Friday, May 16, 2008

Pittsburgh's Roman Catholic bishop says a pastor who resigned from two parishes broke church laws, but not man's laws, in mishandling church funds.

The Rev. Richard Tusky resigned Feb. 26 as from St. Joseph in Natrona and Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Natrona Heights.

Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik says there are unresolved questions about how Tusky handled money from memorial booklets, rental property and an estate sale. The bishop says it's impossible to determine whether money is missing because proper records weren't kept.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:31 AM

Let justice be done

INDIA
Mutiny

Here comes an important development in Sr. Abhaya murder case after 12 years. CBI has submitted a report on the case before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, Ernakulam.

The CBI inquiry team led by SP R M Krishna subjected Fr Thomas M Kottoor and Fr Jose Puthrukayil for the narcoanalysis in September, 2007. Both the priests had associated closely with the St Pius X Convent where the body of Sister Abhaya was found on March 27, 1992. The test result was submitted before the CJM Court on January 21 this year following directive of the High Court on January 11. [Abhaya killers identified? - The Indian Express]

The local news papers report that the Narco Analysis Test results hints at Fr. Thomas Kottoor as the culprit. News has it that the CBI will submit the final report at the Court on June 4th so we will know the culprits soon.

One of the main speculations about the reason behind 21-yrs old Sr. Abhaya’s murder is that she came to know that some of her colleague nuns had sexual relationships with two Catholic priests - Fr Jose Putrukayal and Fr Thomas Kattoor. Now consider this point too - that Sr. Abhaya came from a poor family. I have heard stories (from reliable sources) of how poor nuns are being treated in the convents by their superiors. The nuns from wealthy and known families have special consideration inside the convent and the poor ones are treated badly.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:27 AM

Former altar boy seeks lien on church building

VERMONT
Chicago Tribune

Associated Press
9:45 AM CDT, May 16, 2008

BURLINGTON, Vt. - A former altar boy who won an $8.7 million judgment against the Diocese of Burlington in a priest sex case wants a lien on the Vermont church's headquarters to make sure it gets paid.

The 40-year-old Lakewood, Colo., man's lawyer has filed for a writ of attachment on the diocese's North Avenue office building, which sits on land overlooking Lake Champlain. The property is valued at more than $11 million, according to municipal tax records. ...

The man's lawyer, Jerome F. O'Neill, said in court papers that the diocese has "no liability insurance, bond or other security known or reasonably believed to be available to satisfy a judgment."

Diocesan officials say the church had a comprehensive liability policy with the United States Fidelity and Guaranty Co. from 1972 to 1978, but that they can't find their copy of the policy, so they are suing the insurer in hopes it will find the policy -- and pay for costs stemming from the sexual abuse lawsuits filed against the diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:24 AM

Valley survivors of priest abuse protest molester-led retreats

SCOTTSDALE (A'Z)
KTAR

May 16th, 2008 @ 7:55am
by Colton Shone/KTAR

Valley members of SNAP -- the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests -- are outraged that a convicted child molester in Texas will lead summer retreats in Texas and Minnesota for the Episcopalian Church.

They gathered in front of an Episcopalian Center in Scottsdale Thursday, handing out flyers warning about the religious retreats and urging church head Katharine Schori to warn families about the retreats. The church has said the retreats are for adults only.

SNAP member Russ Marley said, ``Our only purpose here as SNAP members is to let people know that we want to protect the children. There is nothing more we can do other than to make people aware of what this man has done."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:22 AM

Orthodox Church leaders retire Alaska bishop

ALASKA
Anchorage Daily News

By ELIZABETH BLUEMINK
ebluemink@adn.com

Published: May 14th, 2008 11:26 AM
Last Modified: May 14th, 2008 02:13 PM

Leaders of the Orthodox Church of America said they decided Tuesday night to retire their controversial Alaska bishop.

The bishop, Nikolai Soraich, head of the Russian Orthodox Diocese of Alaska, left Alaska last week, having agreed to take a leave of absence last month after he heard preliminary results of an internal investigation of his leadership.

The Holy Synod of Bishops announced Tuesday on the national church's Web site that they are retiring Soraich from service in Alaska with the title "Former Bishop of Sitka."

The synod appointed the national church's top official, Metropolitan Herman, interim head of the diocese and appointed the Rev. Benjamin, bishop of San Francisco and the West, administrator for the diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:26 AM

Jurors Offer Insight into Priest Abuse Judgment

VERMONT
WCAX

Burlington, Vermont - May 15, 2008

It took the jury about four hours to determine the Vermont Diocese would pay a record $8.7 million in damages to a former altar boy who was molested by Father Edward Paquette 30 years ago.

Two jurors who asked not to be identified, told Channel 3 they had no trouble agreeing the Diocese would be hit hard with big punitive damages.

They told us the evidence proved Bishop John Marshall's disturbing, irresponsible behavior for covering up for hiring a known pedophile priest-- especially because Marshall showed a blatant disregard for protecting children in the diocese.

Equally troubling for the jurors was the failure of the diocese lawyers to show them any evidence of anything the diocese had done recently to show it could not happen again.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:18 AM

Bishop says priest broke church laws

PENNSYLVANIA
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Friday, May 16, 2008
By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Rev. Richard Tusky broke canon law and diocesan policies, but committed no civil crime when he failed to properly account for money given to his parishes, Bishop David Zubik wrote to parishioners at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish in Harrison and St. Joseph Parish in Natrona Heights.

Father Tusky resigned as pastor of both parishes on Feb. 26 when diocesan officials confronted him with allegations of financial impropriety.

"Decisions were routinely made by Father Tusky that not only violated the universal law of the church, diocesan policy and his oath as pastor, but appear to have been done so deliberately and consistently," Bishop Zubik wrote.

"If Father Tusky had not resigned earlier, I would have had no choice but to ask him to resign as a result of the investigation."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:17 AM

Priest found not guilty in sexual assault case

EL PASO (TX)
El Paso Times

By Erica Molina Johnson and Stephanie Sanchez
El Paso Times

The Rev. Philip Taban stood and hugged his lawyer Thursday afternoon moments after a jury found him not guilty on charges of sexual assault.

Taban had been accused of sexual assault by an 18-year-old woman he met in 2007 while working at an East El Paso church as a visiting priest during the summer.

Prosecutors tried to prove that Taban, as a priest, exploited the woman's emotional dependency to get her to submit to sex.

Defense lawyers argued that the sex was consensual and that there was no emotional dependency when the intercourse occurred.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:14 AM

Rod Dreher: Why McKinney priest's ouster matters

DALLAS (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

Rod Dreher of Dallas is an editorial columnist. His e-mail address is rdreher@dallas news.com.

The abrupt resignation of the Rev. Art Mallinson from St. Michael's Roman Catholic parish in McKinney after only two weeks on the job was right and proper. By involving himself in a lewd online discussion group for homosexual priests, Father Mallinson severely damaged his ability to serve as pastor of that or any parish.

One media report described the now-defunct St. Sebastian's Angels Web site as a "support group" for gay priests. That innocuous description is entirely misleading.

The site, which boasted more than 50 priests as members, featured pornographic imagery and photographs of naked men. It contained extensive, profanity-laced discussions of sexual fantasies and adventures. A South African bishop once posted a message that said he looked forward to the death of Pope John Paul II and shared his desire to poison Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who would later become Pope Benedict XVI.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:11 AM

Priest's bond set at $500

TOLEDO (OH)
Toledo Blade

By MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A Roman Catholic priest accused of having improper sexual contact with an adult in a hot tub was arraigned yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court on a misdemeanor sex charge.

The Rev. Frank Murd pleaded not guilty to sexual imposition, a charge that stems from an accusation made in March by a 27-year-old man. ...

Claudia Vercellotti, co-coordinator of the local chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, yesterday urged individuals in the community who may have observed, "suspected, or suffered" inappropriate actions involving the priest to contact authorities.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:08 AM

Texas priest resigns new post after complaints about homosexual web site

DALLAS (TX)
Catholic News Agency

Dallas, May 16, 2008 / 04:15 am (CNA).- A priest in the Diocese of Dallas on Tuesday resigned from his new post at St. Michael the Archangel Church in McKinney after complaints about his past participation on an Internet site for homosexual priests.

Father Arthur Mallison had been working at the church for several weeks after being transferred from a previous parish where he had served for years. According to the Dallas Morning News, his transfer prompted a widely circulated internet item, which reportedly described the priest’s history with the web site and questioned whether he would drive families from his new parish.

Father Mallison’s involvement in a no longer operating web site for homosexual priests briefly surfaced in news reports in 2002.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:06 AM

Priest found not guilty in sexual assault case

EL PASO (TX)
KVIA

By ABC-7 Reporter Darren Hunt

EL PASO, Texas - A visiting Catholic priest from Uganda has been found not guilty on all three counts of second degree sexual assault.

His attorney said he doesn't think the case should have ever been brought to trial.

Philip Taban, 40, was accused of raping an 18-year-old parishioner on church property while serving as a visiting priest at Mother Cabrini Catholic Church in East El Paso.

Since he could not afford his bond, he spent more than eight months in jail awaiting his trial. Taban cried after the not guilty verdict was read Thursday in Judge Sam Medrano's 409th District Court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:01 AM

Ex-priest jailed for sex attacks

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

A former Catholic priest has been jailed for sexually abusing two teenage boys in the 1980s.

Brian Rutledge, 69, was found guilty at Southampton Crown Court in March of attempting a sex assault on a boy aged 17 while he was staying at his house.

He earlier admitted indecently assaulting the 17-year-old, as well as a 15-year-old boy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:59 AM

Embezzlement at Cape church reflects national problem

CAPE COD (MA)
Cape Cod Times

By Patrick Cassidy
STAFF WRITER
May 16, 2008
Jeffrey Windle is not the first person accused of stealing money from a church on Cape Cod.

And the Congregational Church of South Dennis, where the Harwich Port man was volunteer treasurer until last week, is not the first local religious institution to deal with a theft.

"Every church has the same problem," Charles Zech of the Center for the Study of Church Management at Villanova University said in an interview last week. "Every church is simply too trusting."

During a hearing at U.S. District Court in Boston, an FBI agent testified that Windle may have taken between $200,000 and $400,000 from the South Dennis church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:55 AM

Fallen from Grace

IOWA
KGAN

The priest came from Boston. He was one of the most senior priests in the Boston archdiocese until the 2002 sex abuse scandal. The scandal rocked the church. Hundreds of victims came forward. Millions of dollars paid out.

Some accused priests are now in jail, others removed from the church without prosecution. And one of those accused priests lives in Washington, Iowa.

David Carney grew up in Boston. He's never been to Cedar Rapids or Iowa before.

He's here now because of one man.

Carney says, “At one time I blamed myself, I did you know, but I don't now, I know better.”

A man who Carney says changed his life., “I wish I had killed him right then and there.”

We found Fred Ryan in Washington, Iowa, living near a daycare and 3 blocks away from a junior high school.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:41 AM

5:45am -- Priest Acquitted of Sex Charges in El Paso

EL PASO (TX)
Albuquerque Journal

Written by Bruce Daniels - ABQnewsSeeker
Friday, 16 May 2008

Clergyman who was accused of assaulting 18-year-old woman now faces deportation.

The Rev. Philip Taban, an Ugandan priest who was accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old woman while working at an East El Paso church last summer, was acquitted by a jury Thursday but now faces deportation, the El Paso Times reported.

A jury of nine women and three men deliberated more than eight hours over two days before finding not guilty of six sexual assault counts -- three by force and three by emotional dependency, the Times reported.

Prosecutors argued that the priest exploited the woman's emotional dependency to get her to submit to sex, while defense attorneys said the sex that occurred was consensual and that there was no emotional dependency, according to the Times.


Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:32 AM

Ex-Deacon Sentenced To 20 Years In Child Sex Abuse Case

ROCKVILLE (MD)
NBC 4

ROCKVILLE, Md. -- A former deacon at a Maryland church was sentenced Thursday to 20 years for sexually abusing two young girls over several years.

Daniel Stallings, 72, apologized to his victims before a Montgomery County judge handed down the sentence.

One of Stallings' victims was a family member. She was 11 when the sexual abuse began. It continued for six years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:22 AM

West Texas Sect’s Finances Are Murky

TEXAS
KWTX

(May 15, 2008)--In just five years, a polygamist sect transformed 1,700 acres of West Texas scrubland near Eldorado into a bustling ranch with a limestone temple, three-story log cabins, woodworking shops and a dairy.

The Associated Press reports the property was purchased for just $700.00.

The assessed value of the property now is $20.5 million.

The male members of the group quarried the limestone for the Temple and built the enormous cabins with their own hands, AP reports, but where they got the money for building materials, dump trucks, rock-cutting equipment an other supplies is something of a mystery.

Court-appointed attorney Jeff Shields, who is studying the sect's finances, says an investigation is underway into who funded the complex.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:20 AM

PM to apologize for abuse at residential schools

CANADA
Toronto Star

May 15, 2008 06:00 PM
THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA–Prime Minister Stephen Harper plans to stand in Parliament on June 11 to make a long-awaited apology for rampant abuses at native residential schools during the last century.

Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl announced the news today as Ottawa prepares for a national aboriginal day of action May 29 that could include highway and railroad blockades.

Tensions have increased between First Nations and a federal government that has been accused of hard-hearted neglect of native poverty.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:18 AM

Leader to apologize to Canadian Indians

CANADA
The Associated Press

By ROB GILLIES

TORONTO (AP) — Prime Minister Stephen Harper will deliver a public apology for a decades-long government policy requiring Canadian Indians to attend state-funded church schools — often scenes of physical and sexual abuse.

"The apology is a crucial step in the journey towards healing and reconciliation," Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl said Thursday.

He said that Harper will make the apology in Parliament on June 11 to Canada's First Nations, a collection of Indian groups that have been seeking such an acknowledgment for years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:16 AM

Sex offender sentenced for fondling

NASHUA (NH)
Nashua Telegraph

By ANDREW WOLFE Staff Writer
awolfe@nashuatelegraph.com
NASHUA – A convicted sex offender, who admitted to fondling an 8-year-old girl while working as a monitor on a Faith Baptist Church bus, was sentenced Thursday to serve at least 13 years in prison.

Eugene Hammond, 59, formerly of 10 Burke St., Nashua, had been jailed since his arrest in October.

On Thursday, Hammond pleaded guilty to two counts of felonious sexual assault, and one count of possession of child pornography.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:13 AM

Pope likely to address sexual abuse during visit: Pell

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

May 16, 2008
CARDINAL George Pell expects Pope Benedict XVI to address sexual abuse linked to the church during his coming visit.

The Pope met with victims of sexual abuse during a trip to the United States last month.

He promised the church would “do everything it can to heal the wounds caused by pedophile priests” and ensure “events of this kind are no longer repeated”.

Cardinal Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney and Australia's catholic leader, said the issue of sex abuse would probably be discussed during the pontiff's visit to Sydney in July.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:10 AM

Former deacon gets 20 years in sexual abuse case

ROCKVILLE (MD)
The Examiner

ROCKVILLE, Md. (Map, News) - A former deacon at a church in Montgomery County has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually abusing two girls.

Seventy-two-year-old Dan Stallings was sentenced Thursday in Rockville. Stallings was a deacon at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Silver Spring.

He was arrested in December for the alleged abuse of a female relative in the 1960s and 1970s, beginning when the girl was 11-years-old. After his arrest, a second victim came forward and said Stallings had fondled her in 1997, when she was a teenager.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:07 AM

PM set to apologize for abuse at native residential schools

CANADA
The North Bay Nugget

News that the prime minister will apologize June 11 for rampant abuse in native residential schools was bittersweet for former students living a legacy of trauma and cultural losses.

"It's going to be a very emotional time when he does stand up for all Canadians and finally take responsibility and say they're sorry for what they did," says Ted Quewezance, executive director of the National Residential School Survivors' Society.

"It's the history of the government of this country - what they have done to little boys and little girls.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:05 AM

Few request counseling aid in clergy abuse cases

TOLEDO (OH)
Toledo Blade

By DAVID YONKE
BLADE RELIGION EDITOR

The deadline for Ohio victims of clerical sexual abuse to apply for $3 million in counseling funds expires today, and it appears that most of the money will go unused.

"We have had some applicants, but as far as I know we haven't had a huge number," said Carolyn Jurkowitz, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Ohio.

A Toledo diocesan official said several months ago that he was "100 percent positive" no one in the 19-county Toledo diocese had received funding from the program.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:00 AM

Order that sat out LA abuse settlement makes deal

LOS ANGELES (CA)
The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Catholic order of priests that refused to join a record sex-abuse settlement between accusers and the Los Angeles Archdiocese has reached a deal, an attorney for the plaintiffs said.

The Salesian Society of Catholic priests reached a $19.5 million settlement in a sexual molestation lawsuit against it, attorney Raymond Boucher said.

The Salesians were the only religious order that would not join the $660 million deal the archdiocese reached last summer.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:58 AM

Victim seeks lien on church property

VERMONT
Rutland Herald

May 16, 2008

By KEVIN O'CONNOR Herald Staff

The winner of an $8.7 million jury verdict against Vermont's Roman Catholic Diocese has asked a court to place a lien on the bishop's Burlington office building to ensure the judgment is paid.

A lawyer for Perry Babel has filed papers in Chittenden Superior Court seeking a writ of attachment on the diocese's headquarters at 351 North Ave., a historic brick building on land overlooking Lake Champlain that Burlington municipal records values at $11,059,400.

If successful, the 40-year-old Burlington native — who won a state-record award Tuesday in a priest misconduct lawsuit — wouldn't receive the church property but instead a legal claim on it if Vermont's largest religious denomination can't otherwise pay the court judgment.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:56 AM

All Catholic churches will have to get audits

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By TOM HEINEN
theinen@journalsentinel.com
Posted: May 15, 2008
Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan is going to require that the 211 parishes in the 10-county archdiocese undergo financial reviews by outside professionals to ensure that no volunteers or church personnel are dipping into the more than $198 million in unrestricted donations and fees that parishes and their schools collect annually.

Dolan has made that decision in consultation with advisers and is awaiting recommendations from a special committee looking at issues that include how extensive and how frequent those reviews should be, Katie Hoeller, director of the Parish and School Financial Services Office, said Thursday.

Started last year, that effort is not directly related to the recent hiring of an accounting firm to examine the books of St. John Vianney Parish, a large Waukesha County church whose pastor was arrested in December and charged with misdemeanor possession of cocaine.

But it is taking place amid a larger effort by U.S. Catholic bishops to improve church stewardship and tighten financial accountability in the aftermath of the priest sexual abuse scandals. In November, the U.S. bishops conference - which does not have the authority to mandate such action - strongly encouraged dioceses to have routine internal or external audits of parishes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 AM

Priest faces sex charges

PHILIPPINES
Tempo

By DEXTER A. SEE

NATONIN, Mountain Province – A Catholic priest here is now facing rape and acts of lasciviousness separately filed by two young girls who allegedly experienced sexual abuses from the priest on separate occasions.

As a result of the sexual abuse, one of the victims, Crystal, a 14-year old girl, the municipal social welfare and development office said she is now reportedly mentally impaired.

In her sworn statement, the victim narrated that the priest who is a native of Hingyon, Ifugao and assigned at the Catholic mission center here, allegedly bounded her arms and legs to a bed at the lay information center of the Natonin Catholic mission.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:52 AM

Diocese settles sex abuse suit

DELAWARE
The News Journal

May 16, 2008

By BETH MILLER
The News Journal

The first Delaware lawsuit filed in the wake of the Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal was settled out of court Thursday when Eric Eden, 40, of Wilmington, came to terms with the final defendants -- the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington.

It was the diocese's third settlement since January, and at least the sixth since the abuse scandal emerged nationally in 2002.

Eden, whose 2004 Superior Court suit claimed he was abused over a nine-year period by the former principal of Salesianum School, came away from the settlement Thursday with an undisclosed sum, an apology and acknowledgement from the bishop, and a permanent revocation of the priest's authority to minister in the diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:49 AM

Prosser questioned on priest-abuse case

GREEN BAY (WI)
Green Bay Press-Gazette

By Andy Nelesen • anelesen@greenbaypressgazette.com • May 16, 2008

A support group for victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy is calling for state Supreme Court Judge David Prosser to explain his role in the sex abuse investigation of the Rev. John Patrick Feeney while Prosser served as Outagamie County District Attorney.

The call by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests came because of a letter included in court filings on behalf of Troy and Todd Merryfield, two men who are suing the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay for fraud after being abused by Feeney as children in the 1970s.

A December 1978 letter from then-Bishop Aloysius Wycislo to the Rev. Ralph Merkatoris, then chairman of the Diocese Personnel Board, details the meeting.

"I have just spent a half hour with the district attorney for Outagamie County, who presented me with evidence of a number of crimes of like sexual nature and a number of other civil violations of law that the attorney feels are base enough for a court case against Father Feeney," Wycislo wrote.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:47 AM

The Pope, gays and world peace

UNITED STATES
Washington Blade

DALE CARPENTER
Friday, May 16, 2008

THE RECENT VISIT of Pope Benedict XVI to the United States is cause to reflect on what his papacy has meant so far for gay people. There is some good, but much bad and ugly, to report.

The largest and most pressing public-relations problem confronting the Catholic Church in the United States today is the fallout from the priest sex scandal. Some conservative Catholics have tried to blame “homosexuals” for the sexual abuse of children by priests, since most of it involved male priests and boys under their supervision. Some suggested that the church purge all gays from the priesthood.

But an anti-homosexual purge presents both practical and theological problems for the Vatican. As a practical matter, homosexuals are probably disproportionately drawn to the priesthood. It offers young homosexual Catholics some palliative for the guilt and shame they may feel for being homosexual. It also shields them from embarrassing questions about why they aren’t married.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:45 AM

Ex priest jailed for sex abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
This is Hampshire

A disgraced former priest has been jailed for four years and 10 months today for sexually abusing two teenagers.

Brian Rutledge, 69, was found guilty of a sexual offence on a boy of 17 following a trial.

He had previously admitted sexually assaulting the youth after getting into his double bed.

The retired Catholic priest, of Waldergrave Close, Woolston, Southampton, also pleaded guilty to sexually abusing another teenager.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:42 AM

Victims speak out against abusive Montgomery priest

MARYLAND
The Examiner

May 16, 2008 3:00 AM (5 hrs ago) by Freeman Klopott, The Examiner

Montgomery County (Map, News) - Victims of a Montgomery County Catholic deacon who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexual abuse Thursday said he abused his roles as a father and church leader.

“Dan Stallings is liar. He lied to his wife for 40 years about what a terrible person he was. He lied to his stepdaughter that she keep their relationship a secret to show respect for his love. He lied to me when he told me our relationship was special and something that made God smile,” one of the victims told Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Michael Pincus before Pincus sentenced Stallings, 72.

That victim, who was joined by another and several of their family members, had grown up in Stallings’ church, St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Silver Spring. She trusted and respected him enough to select him as her confirmation sponsor, her parents said in court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:38 AM

Analysis: Will next red hat in the Big Apple have St. Louis connections?

UNITED STATES
St. Louis Beacon

By Patricia Rice, Special to the Beacon
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 14 May 2008 )

As Cardinal Edward Egan of New York approaches retirement, the names of two former St. Louis-area bishops are being bandied about as possible replacements. The first is Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, 60, the former bishop of Belleville who left in 2004. If Gregory were named, he would become the first African-American cardinal.

Another beloved former St. Louis region bishop is also being mentioned -- Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, 58, who left St. Louis in 2002. For years, church leaders have expected this joyful priest to be named to an archdiocese where he would be named a cardinal.

Some astute Vatican watchers say Gregory tops the list of American archbishops that Pope Benedict XVI might chose to lead the New York archdiocese's 2.56 million Catholics. ...

Gregory proved himself a gifted leader in the worst of times. He bravely led U.S. bishops -- many kicking and screaming -- through the 2002 clerical sex abuse crisis. As the elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the scandal's critical years of 2001-2004, he met with victims of priests' sex abuse.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now the pope, was Gregory's most helpful Vatican supporter in the crisis. The Boston Globe published its exhaustive Pulitzer Prize winning investigation of sexual abuse in that archdiocese in the first months of 2002. That February, Gregory flew from St. Louis to Rome and spoke about the widespread findings of abuse investigations to cardinals who headed 12 different Vatican departments. That month he described those conversations as being "without nuance."

One of those cardinals was Ratzinger. He and Gregory got the ailing Pope John Paul II to underline the seriousness of the sex abuse crisis by calling all the U.S. cardinals to Rome for a "summit." In March, the pope told the cardinals that there was "no place in the church" for those who would harm children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:42 AM

I conti in tasca alla Chiesa

ITALY
Il Ghibellino

La Repubblica 15.5.08
I conti in tasca alla Chiesa
di Curzio Maltese

Esce "La Questua", un´inchiesta di Curzio Maltese su cattolicesimo e finanza

Una cifra enorme passa ogni anno dal bilancio dello Stato alle casse ecclesiastiche Quanto costa davvero la religione al contribuente?
Dopo lo scandalo Ior-Ambrosiano l´attenzione sull´argomento si è spenta
Gli italiani spendono più per il Vaticano che per il ceto politico Ma non lo sanno

[translated excerpts]


HOW MUCH IS THE MONEY THE CHURCH HAS IN ITS POCKET
(from an investigation entitled "The questua" (the alms)

By Curzio Maltese

(..) In almost thirty years I've been a journalist I happily ignored the Vatican and I would have continued to do so if the catholic church had behaved similarly with me and the other fifty eight million fellow countrymen.

The pope and the bishops intervene in the Italian public life - even in the details of a law - much more than the European community, to which we belong. As to what concerns me, I wanted to retaliate in kind. For many years the foreign correspondents in Rome have been repeating the same thing to me: "You Italian journalists are capable of writing poems about the minor politicians and ignore the influence of the church. While for us a news about the Pope is twenty times more valuable than one about the government crisis. The Vatican is too much important to be left in the hands of the "Vaticanists".

Each morning I say hello to my neighbor, Udo Gumpel, of the German public TV, when he is on his way to the Vatican pressroom. He can now be considered an expert of the Ratzinger's theology: "St. Peter is just in your home and I never found in the Italian public TV archives an investigation about the Vatican, I only found news about celebration of Masses and interviews of the bishops. If a scandal occurs, as priest pedophilia, you have to buy the BBC documentaries". I touched with my hands our state of denial when i tried to get data for my articles about the financing of the church by the Italian state: there had never been an investigation about that issue for the eighty years since the Concordato (Accord) between State and Church.

There were obviously some good investigations about the Vatican finances, almost all of them made between the sixties and the end of the eighties. After the Ior-Ambrosiano scandal the attention seemed to fade away. In the articles written by Ernesto Rossi for the newspaper Il Mondo I found many useful leads and a reflection for which I verified its stringent present validity. In the May 17, 1960 issue, Rossi wrote: " When it comes to deal with the "roba" (money, property) the Monsignors have a delicate skin, similar to that of the princess who couldn't sleep all the night for the pea which had been put under the seven mattresses of her bed. The Osservatore Romano (the Vatican newspaper) cashed in silence the data I brought to demonstrate that Pius XII was one of the major responsible for the II world war; but it reacted violently after my very moderate observation that the reactionary policy of the Church and its strict alliance with the Industrialists were to be considered the outcome of the big increase in the Holy See' s patrimony and that of the religious orders, caused by the financial clauses contained in the Patti Lateranesi ( Accords made with the Italian State), which allowed massif investments in stocks of the electrical companies and other majors big businesses which had the monopoly of the national market. Such observations, wrote the Osservatore Romano, " awake a feeling of compassion before stirring up disdain, revealing in fact a closed mind which can't understand what is above the contingent and material interest; a mind incapable, therefore, to measure reality, contemplated only using the meter of its own squalor"". After almost half a century, the church behavior when you want to speak about its "roba" (money, property) hasn't changed of a comma.

About one year ago, hit by the volume of fire unchained every day against the Prodi government (Prodi was the Prime minister) by the ecclesiastical hierarchies, cassocks going back and forth to public and private TV news programs, I asked why was that happening to a priest who was a friend of mine: I feel for him esteem and affection. He is one who has dedicated his life to fight poverty, ignorance and the mafia, as I would never be able to do. The answer, given in his usual simple way, was: "The bishops make politics. They don't want the center-left coalition parties in power. You'll see in the end they will provoke the Prodi government crisis".

With a candor I have finally lost I then asked him why there was so much political hatred against the very catholic Prime Minister Romano Prodi and his center-left coalition, which was so much shy in facing the issues related to the separation of powers between church and state, surely much nearer than Berlusconi (the leader of the center-right coalition) to the Christian ideals of solidarity. "There is no hatred, but only a practical advantage", was the answer. "The fact is the bishops can get more from the others".

I remembered those words during the turmoil of the weeks preceding the fall of the Prodi government. Overwhelmed by a final "spallata" (violent pushing of the shoulder) by the bishops. The most known episode is when the pope cancelled his planned attendance at the inauguration of the new academic year at the University of Rome. A case described in any handbook; more than that: a case of historical Machiavellian anthology, and of how a political case can be fabricated.

(....) In Italy the relationship between State and church is not reciprocal. The Church can intervene in the Italian domestic affairs when it wants, while the contrary is forbidden by article 11 of the Concordato: "The central institutions of the Church are exempt from any interference on the part of the Italian State". The catholic hierarchies, from the high position of a moral "magistero", can therefore judge as criminal the State laws, criticize the existing high tax level, attack a regional or city council for showing openness towards gay rights, while invoking against the (few) reactions to its attacks the protection of the Treaty. The Vatican is a foreign State which is living thanks to Italy, but it has the right of spitting in the dish where it gets its food from. If the so called ethical issues - divorce, abortion, assisted procreation, rights for unmarried couples were really central and therefore no negotiable, the Church mustn't accept to receive anymore financing and fiscal privileges from those - State and local governments - which it judges enemies of the christian values. On the contrary, it's asking and getting more and more of those privileges.

(...) The Italian catholics who practice their religion are about a third of the population, according to the number of people who affirm to attend Mass (in reality the number is even smaller) and who, when they go to the polls, are influenced by the opinion of the pope and the bishops. That percentage coincides with the Italian taxpayers who, filling out their annual tax form, demand the State to donate the catholic church 8 euros per each thousand euros of their income. This catholic electorate voted in the past evenly between the center-left and the center-right coalitions. But in 2006 it shifted massively to the center-right, which got two thirds of their vote. The prevailing reason wasn't the fact the center-left coalition didn't defend the family values because it was (timidly if compared to what had been done in the other European countries) willing to recognize some rights to the unmarried couples. The real reason was the fact that the catholic hierarchies use the ethical issues to mask very important economical interests.

(..)The real difference lies in the different behavior towards the perennial "questua" (alms) of public money by the Vatican. It's a kind of "do ut des" between two castes, the politicians and the church hierarchies, which passes over the citizens' head. The Italian spend much more to maintain the Church than to maintain the hated political class. But they are not aware of it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:32 AM

Prime Minister to Apologize (finally) for Indian Residential School Abuse

CANADA
Sex Abuse Claims Blog

Posted On: May 15, 2008 by John McKiggan

In a long over due gesture Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl announced today that Prime Minister Stephen Harper will officially apologize on June 11 on behalf of the government for abuses suffered by former residents of native residential schools.

Although she did not live to see it, I think my friend Nora Bernard would be pleased.

A Tribute to Nora Bernard

September 22, 1935- December 27, 2007

Nora was born, September 22, 1935, to the late Mary (Cope) and Michael Bernard. Her place of birth was the Mi'kmaq First Nation Community of Millbrook. She is survived by her six children, thirteen grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and four of her seven siblings, an uncle, and hundreds of other relatives.

I first met Nora in 1995. She came to me and asked for help her with a claim on behalf of all of the former students of the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School. What Nora wanted to do had never been done before.

She felt that Indian Residential School System was wrong and that every child that had ever been forced to attend the Shubenacadie Residential School was entitled to be compensated for their experience. She wanted justice for the Survivors of the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School. She wanted to file a claim against the Government of Canada and the Roman Catholic Church and she asked me to help her. After hearing Nora's story and the stories of many of the other Shubenacadie survivors I agreed to help Nora with her goal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:28 AM

May 15, 2008

Russell again arrested

NEOSHO (MO)
Neosho Daily News

By John Ford
Neosho Daily News
Thu May 15, 2008, 01:38 PM CDT

Neosho, Mo. -
Randall “Danny” Russell, local self-proclaimed pastor, was arrested late this morning on new child sexual abuse charges.

Newton County Sheriff Ken Copeland said he and Det. Mike Barnett, an investigator with the department, arrested Russell at his business, Garages & More, located at 11285 Mulberry Road, this morning. Russell was arrested on an active warrant alleging two counts of child molestation and seven counts of statutory sodomy.

“We have him here in custody at the Newton County Jail on a $50,000 bond,” said Copeland. “That’s in addition to the $250,000 bond he’d already posted.”

On Wednesday, additional child sexual abuse charges were filed against Russell.

Russell currently faces a total of 13 child sexual abuse charges after several young women have come forward with accusations he sexually molested them when they were under age, a number which is likely to increase once the prosecutor’s office reviews reports. The young women are all former members of his church, Acts II, located on the same grounds as Russell’s business.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:16 PM

Delaware diocese settles sex abuse lawsuit

DELAWARE
WRAL

By RANDALL CHASE
Associated Press Writer

Posted: Today at 5:14 p.m.

DOVER, Del. — A Catholic Diocese in Deleware announced Thursday that it settled a lawsuit filed by man who said he was molested as a child by a priest who once lead a North Carolina church.

Terms of the settlement with Eric Eden were not disclosed. Eden alleged he was repeatedly abused by the Rev. James O'Neill.

"The Most Rev. Michael A. Saltarelli, bishop of the Diocese of Wilmington apologizes to Eric Eden and acknowledges that Mr. Eden was sexually abused as a child by Oblate Fr. O'Neill," the diocese said in prepared statement. "Bishop Saltarelli also apologizes to Mr. Eden's parents and expresses deepest regret for the abuse."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:13 PM

Former Pastor Plans Appeal for Prison Sentence

LUBBOCK (TX)
MyFox Lubbock

5/15/08

A former Lubbock pastor plans to appeal his punishment for fraud and importation of an alien for immoral purposes.

James Cornell Clark files the notice on his own behalf with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals from the Dickens County Corrections Center.

Federal Judge Sam Cummings gave Clark the high end of sentencing guidelines, just shy of 20 years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:07 PM

Former legislator to plead guilty to new federal charges

ATLANTA (GA)
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

By BILL RANKIN
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 05/15/08

Ron Sailor Jr., already stripped of his seat in the Legislature for laundering money for a purported drug dealer, will plead guilty next month to new federal charges, according to court records.

In March, Sailor, then a Democratic legislator representing parts of DeKalb and Rockdale counties, pleaded guilty to money laundering. At the plea, federal prosecutors disclosed Sailor had agreed to launder $375,000 in drug proceeds for an undercover agent who was posing as a narcotics dealer.

Sailor was scheduled to be sentenced for money laundering by U.S. District Judge Jack Camp next Thursday. But that hearing has been canceled because Sailor will plead guilty to new charges on June 17, according to a notice filed in Sailor's case this week.

Although the filing does not specify the new charges, lawyers for Sailor's former church have told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution they are trying to recover $250,000 that Sailor obtained after secretly mortgaging the church just days before entering his guilty plea.

After finding out about the mortgage, Greater New Light Missionary Baptist Church fired Sailor as its pastor. Records showed that Sailor, who had changed the church's bylaws to make himself chief executive officer, borrowed $250,000 using the church's buildings and 2.5-acre property as collateral. A Church attorney has said no one was authorized to take out such a mortgage.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:03 PM

Local Pastor Pled Guilty To Raping Wife

IDAHO
KMVT

By Gina Jameson

05/15/08

A local pastor who was arrested last summer after allegedly raping his wife has pled guilty to one misdemeanor charge in court today.

According to the Jerome Prosecutors Office, Ron Matheney pled guilty to misdemeanor domestic battery.

In exchange for his guilty plea, the original felony domestic battery charge was reduced to a misdemeanor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 PM

Palmer Fire Claims a Life

PALMER (MA)
CBS 3

[with video]

By Justine Judge
Residents at the Palmer Green Apartment complex woke up to the harsh reality that their friend and neighbor, Jack Corbin a retired priest from South Carolina, is gone after a fire ripped through his apartment around 8:00 Tuesday night.

Neighbor Yvette Gould says, "It's the first big fire we've had in the 20 years since I've been here and it was terrible it was coming out of the roof, oh, the fire engines the cruisers, everything, everything, they threw everything out."

But what resident's didn't see was their friend who lived inside. They were hoping he wasn't home but fire officials discovered the elderly man's lifeless on his first floor apartment after entering the building.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 PM

Chief identifies fire victim, 79

PALMER (MA)
The Republican

Thursday, May 15, 2008
By LORI STABILE
lstabile@repub.com
PALMER - The man killed in a Tuesday night fire at his home has been identified as Andre A. Corbin, 79, who once served as a Roman Catholic priest in North Carolina.

Corbin was found in a first floor bedroom at 89 Beacon Drive, part of Palmer Green Estates, on Tuesday night, according to Palmer Fire Chief Alan J. Roy. He said the state Fire Marshal's Office is still investigating the fire, which is not considered suspicious.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:52 PM

Shocking Past of Retired Priest Who Was Killed In Palmer Fire

PALMER (MA)
CBS 3

[with video]

By Liz Tufts
Andre Corbin was arrested in 1988 for molesting a boy at a church in North Carolina. According to a website that highlights the history of sexual abuse by priests, it says Corbin plead guilty to the accusations and was sentenced to 5 years in Jail, of which he served 60 days.

It also states Corbin was accused of molesting an 8-year -old Springfield boy more than 40 years ago while home in Western Mass for a visit. In both cases, Corbin allegedly arranged for the boys to play the part of Christ in a school play and that's when the alleged molestation occurred.

But his neighbors back at the Palmer Green Apartment Complex where Corbin was killed Tuesday night were unaware of the 79-year-old's past Corbin was ordained in Palmer in 1961 but worked as a priest in Raleigh and then Charlotte for most of his life.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 PM

Justice Prosser Responds to Claim of Priest Assault Cover-up

GREEN BAY (WI)
WBAY

By Natalie Arnold

The sexual assault victims of former priest John Patrick Feeney say they have proof that a prosecutor was part of what they believe was a Green Bay Catholic Diocese cover-up.

Feeney was convicted in 2004 for sexually assaulting two brothers, Troy and Todd Merryfield, in the 1970s.

David Prosser, the Outagamie County district at the time and now a state Supreme Court justice, decided not to file charges at the time of the allegations. ...

The bishop wrote, "As is usual in such cases and out of respect for the position of the Church and in order to prevent unnecessary scandal, the D.A. came to see me merely to state that he was pursuing this case.... I had to agree with the District Attorney that the Church would prefer to keep this out of court and out of the public eye."

But Prosser says this is not quite what it seems.

He told Action 2 News over the phone that at the time he only knew about allegations of attempted sexual assault, no actual contact, so it was a case he didn't think he could win against a priest.

Prosser says he met with the bishop to do what he could to help the Merryfield family.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:27 PM