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February 28, 2013

Government rejects FF call to reinstate ambassador to Vatican

IRELAND
Irish Times

STEPHEN COLLINS

The Government has rejected a call by Fianna Fáil to reinstate a full-time Irish ambassador to the Vatican to coincide with the election of a new pope.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said last night there were no plans to revisit the issue, and he described as “inappropriate” any attempt to politicise Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to retire.

Fianna Fáil whip Seán Ó Fearghaíl said the election of a new pope in the coming weeks would be the perfect opportunity to appoint a full-time ambassador once again to this important role in Rome.

“Ireland has always had an ambassador in this important post, and now that the Government are saying the economic picture is improving there is no need for any further delay in my view,” said Mr Ó Fearghaíl.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 PM

New archbishop Philip Tartaglia takes first Mass

SCOTLAND
Scotsman

By RHIANNON WILLIAMS
Published on Friday 1 March 2013

THE archbishop who is temporarily replacing Cardinal Keith O’Brien spoke of the “pain and dismay” he shares with worshippers, as he took Mass for the first time since being appointed.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia told those gathered at St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh yesterday that he understood the archdiocese was in a “state of shock for the loss of its shepherd” following the cardinal’s resignation.

The Pope appointed the Archbishop of Glasgow to govern the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh until a permanent replacement is chosen.

Benedict XVI, who stepped down yesterday after nearly eight years as pope, named him apostolic administrator after Cardinal O’Brien resigned from the post on Monday amid allegations, which he contests, of inappropriate behaviour towards fellow priests.

Archbishop Tartaglia told the congregation: “I am glad to be with you today, even if I wished, very much wished, that the circumstances were other than they are. I want first of all to say that I appreciate that this archdiocese is in a state of shock for the loss of its shepherd.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:20 PM

Revealed: first claim against Cardinal Keith O’Brien

UNITED KINGDOM
The Times

Mike Wade

The resignation of Cardinal Keith O’Brien was triggered by a claim of inappropriate behaviour towards a priest in 2001, that was lodged with the Vatican in October.

Details of the accusation emerged for the first time last night. It is the fifth such allegation to be made public but the first, historically, to have been made by a priest or former priest against the former leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 PM

Attorneys Teaming Up in Lawsuit Against Catholic Leaders

OHIO/PENNSYLVANIA
WYTV

Attorneys from Boston and Johnstown, Pa. are teaming up in at least one lawsuit against Catholic religious leaders accused of allowing Brother Stephen Baker access to hundreds of children at schools across the Midwest that he allegedly molested.

Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who successfully negotiated high-five figure settlements for 11 former students that were molested at Warren’s John F. Kennedy High School and St. Mary’s Middle School, and Johnstown attorney Richard Serbin, who has filed two other lawsuits on behalf of Bishop McCort students that were allegedly molested by Baker, filed another lawsuit Thursday in Blair County Court.

Serbin filed a second lawsuit Thursday on behalf of another alleged victim. Earlier in the week, he filed a lawsuit for three other victims.

A Greensburg, Pa. attorney, Susan Williams, has filed two lawsuits for seven total clients.

Serbin said on Tuesday he expects the number of clients and lawsuits to grow. He has a number of clients that have alleged abuse and is in the process of investigating their claims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 PM

Fiji police say Catholic priest suspected of multiple rapes

FIJI
Radio New Zealand

Posted at 23:02 on 28 February, 2013 UTC

Fiji police say they have questioned a Catholic priest who is suspected of having committed several rapes.

A police spokesperson, Naina Ragigia, has told the Fiji Times that the priest is the prime suspect in a series of alleged rapes.

She said a complaint was lodged last week and since then other victims have come forward.

The Archbishop elect Father Peter Loy Chong says he is aware of the incident and has spoken to the priest concerned.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:08 PM

Bill Would Eliminate Deadline for Child Sex Abuse Suits

MINNESOTA
KSTP

His name and his abuse had been hidden for decades.

"I was John Doe 76C," the now-45 year-old recalled.

Then Jim Keenan lifted the veil of anonymity and went public.

And lost.

"It just felt empty. It was over," Keenan thought.

He was a 13 year-old Apple Valley alter boy when, he said, his parish priest abused him. The abuse continued for two years, Kennan alleges.

When Keenan was 38, he sued the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona, which ultimately led to his name being revealed publicly. But last year, the Minnesota Supreme Court threw out the case, deciding the statute of limitations had long since expired.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:45 PM

WI - Benedict leaves papacy with no apologies to we deaf victims of Fr. Murphy

WISCONSIN
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by Steve Geier on February 28, 2013

Very sadly, today, Benedict XVI finished his time as Pope without ever once apologizing for his involvement in covering up the crimes of Fr. Lawrence Murphy, who sexually assaulted me and over 200 other students when we were youngsters at St. John’s boarding school for the deaf, operated by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

We pleaded with Benedict, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger and the head of the powerful head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Faith (CDF) to remove Murphy from the priesthood so he could harm no other children. The Pope had at his desk thousands of pages of direct criminal evidence and testimony that Murphy had destroyed and was likely destroying the lives of so many young deaf children. We wanted the Pope turn Murphy over to criminal authorities, and alert the deaf community and the public about this dangerous man.

The Pope never doubted Murphy’s guilt. Yet, he allowed him to remain in ministry in good standing as a priest, Murphy’s secrets kept safe by the church. As one final gesture, when Murphy died in 1997, we begged Cardinal Ratzinger and officials of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to not allow Murphy to be buried as a priest. That, we felt, was the least the church could do, given all the harm that Murphy had caused us. Instead, the Vatican and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee one more time ignored our pleas, and Murphy was buried in his full priestly vestments his today. Murphy’s grave stone today still identifies him as a priest.

Fr. Murphy may have stolen our bodies, but it was Pope Benedict who stole our voice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:27 PM

8:01 PM FEB. 28 SEDE VACANTE

VATICAN CITY
Cardinal Roger Mahony Blogs LA

It is now 8:01 PM on Thursday, February 28, 2013, and history has just been made: the Church has a Sede Vacante/Vacant See of Peter, but we still have a Pope Emeritus living.

Bells pealed all over Rome continuously from about 4:55 PM to 5:15 PM, the window of time for the Pope's helicopter to depart the Vatican and fly to Castel Gondolfo in the mountains outside Rome. It was Rome's final tribute to a Pope whom Catholics and the world came to admire and cherish.

A Sede Vacante, but no Funeral Rites to be performed; no lying in state; no major Funeral Mass in St. Peter's Square. So different than the last 600 years.

Tomorrow morning, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Dean of the College of Cardinals will send a special letter to all the Cardinals of the world informing them officially that the See of Peter is now vacant, that no one is holding the Keys of Peter. Because of the advance notice by Pope Benedict, most of the Cardinals of the world are already here in Rome.

Most likely our first gathering, or General Congregation, will be on Monday, March 4. Since the proceedings of those General Congregations are secret, except for official announcements, I will not be able to post new Blogs nor Tweet on the confidential issues and discussions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:37 PM

Priest faces rape probe

FIJI
The Fiji Times

Margaret Wise And Felix Chaudhary
Friday, March 01, 2013

SCANDAL is threatening the Catholic Church in Fiji as police confirmed the questioning of a priest in connection to allegations of rape by multiple victims.

It all began when a complaint of an alleged rape incident was lodged at a police station in the Western Division last Saturday.

Police said investigations established there were more than one victim and since then "other victims have come forward".

"I can confirm that a Catholic priest has been questioned and is the prime suspect in a series of alleged rape cases," said Naina Ragigia, the west media police spokeswoman.

"After the initial report was received on Saturday and after investigations had begun, it was established that there were more than just one victim. Other victims have come forward and investigations are continuing before charges are laid."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:35 PM

Pope Resigns: Did a Money Laundering Scheme Force Benedict XVI to Step Down?

VATICAN CITY
PolicyMic

Kiki Van Son

Benedict the XVI is officially no longer pope. While he cited poor health and a demanding schedule as the main reason, this hasn't stopped competing explanations from entering the fray. While allegations that the pope was involved in some sort of gay cover-up, or is even gay himself, many are overlooking a little-remembered incident that occurred last March, when suspicious financial activity surrounding the Vatican’s account No. 1365, opened in 2009 with JPMorgan Chase, caused the global bank’s branch in Milan to shut it down.

The account was operating as a sweep account, which facilitates an automatic flow of money at the end of each business day from cash accounts to investment accounts, where the money accrues higher interest. The account was primarily being swept to Vatican accounts in Germany. However, an estimated $1.5 billion had been processed in the short amount of time that the account had been opened, according to Italy’s leading financial newspaper II Sole 24 Ore.

Speculation over money-laundering led JPMorgan Chase to question bankers at the Vatican who ultimately failed to provide an explanation. The Vatican has been under scrutiny for its lack of financial transparency since JPMorgan Chase’s decision to close the account, but no further comment has been made by either party.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:28 PM

The Pope Is Gone ! Now Why Will Nothing Change ?

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

Within a few hour period, (1) the ex-Pope, Joseph Ratzinger, left all the Cardinals his “final” marching signals, (2) his oldest colleague, Hans Kung, gave his informative assessment and a final warning , and (3) a major human rights group filed a comprehensive report with the well regarded UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on the Vatican’s worldwide cover-up of priest rape of children supporting the Committee’s pending summons to the Vatican to account shortly. The Vatican is subject by international treaty to the Committee’s juridiction and has for over a decade failed to comply fully with its treaty oligations.

Today’s final signals to Cardinals are set forth in Cardinal Mahony’s unexpected report accessible by clicking on at:

[Cardinal Roger Mahony Blogs LA]

Hans Kung’s brief and perceptive assessment of the current papal election situation is accessible by clicking on at:

[The New York Times]

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:21 PM

Clergy sex abuse victims say O'Malley should be next pope

BOSTON (MA)
WCVB

BOSTON —Local Catholics and victims of the church sex abuse scandal are speaking out Thursday, and some say Cardinal Sean O’Malley should be the next pope.

Bernie McDaid, a clergy sex abuse victim from Peabody, was one of the few victims to meet with Pope Benedict XVI. He believes the crisis played a huge role in the pope's decision.

"Change is here, folks, whether you like it or not. It's here," McDaid said.

Now, McDaid is looking past his differences with O'Malley, saying he understands the gravity of sexual abuse and has truly listened to the victims.

"Sean O'Malley should the next pope and very well could," he said.

He said unless the church hears the voices of victims, “I believe the church is doomed."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:14 PM

Catholic Church’s attempt to evade responsibility for child abuse liability is stymied by Supreme

UNITED KINGDOM
National Secular Society

Posted: Thu, 28 Feb 2013

The Supreme Court has this week refused to hear a case from the Catholic Church that it could not be held responsible for abuse committed by one of its priests because he was not an 'employee'. This means the Catholic Church can now be financially liable for child abuse by priests working under its control.

The case arose when a Portsmouth woman brought a civil action against the Church after claiming she was abused by a priest at a children's home run by the Church.

The woman, identified in court as Miss E, was seven years old when she was admitted to the Firs Children' Home in 1970. She alleges she was sexually abused by Father Wilfred Baldwin, a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth, who died in 2006.

In November 2011, High Court judge Mr Justice Alistair MacDuffs ruled that the church is legally responsible for sexual abuse committed by its priests. This week's ruling by the Supreme Court has now confirmed that decision.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:10 PM

Mexico Catholics want abuse acknowledged

MEXICO
Aljazeera

[with video]

Nearly 90 million Mexicans profess to being Catholic and will be closely watching who is chosen to lead the Church.

Catholics in the country who allege they were sexually abused by members of the clergy, say they are still waiting for the Vatican to acknowledge their suffering.

Millions of Mexicans and people throughout Latin America have abandoned the church in the past decade.

Many are demanding a change in the Church's attutude towards sexual-abuse victims when the new pope succeeds Benedict XVI.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:08 PM

Catholic church sex abuse ruling could cause big spike in compensation claims

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

[the court decision]

Owen Bowcott, Legal affairs correspondent
The Guardian, Thursday 28 February 2013

The Catholic church could facing spiralling compensation costs after an attempt to avoid liability for abuses committed by priests and nuns was dismissed by the UK supreme court.

The decision will have implications for a wide range of organisations by expanding the principle of "vicarious liability" to other churches, local authorities, charities that rely on volunteers, as well as Scouts and Guides. Lawyers said it could even affect claims involving Jimmy Savile's abusive past.

The refusal by the UK's highest court even to hear the church's challenge that clerics are not "akin to employees" marks the end of a potential legal escape route from responsibility for compensation.

Lawyers for the trustees of Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust had appealed against a decision in the court of appeal that they had a duty to compensate a young girl for alleged beatings inflicted by a nun and sexual abuse perpetrated by a priest as long ago as the 1970s – if the facts of the abuse were established.

But in a statement issued this week, the supreme court said it had refused permission to appeal "because the application does not raise an arguable point of law of general public importance". It believes the issue has now been settled.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:05 PM

NY TIMES HOSTS EX-CATHOLIC THEOLOGIAN

UNITED STATES
Catholic League

Bill Donohue comments on an op-ed by Hans Küng in today’s New York Times:

Yesterday, I took on the unfair reporting by the Times on the pope [click here for my Newsmax piece]. Today, I will address one of Benedict’s most virulent critics, Hans Küng, an embittered ex-Catholic theologian.

Küng says the pope “irritated the Protestant churches, Jews, Muslims, the Indians of Latin America, women, reform-minded theologians and all pro-reform Catholics.” He blames the pope (when he was Cardinal Ratzinger) for covering up the sexual abuse of minors, and cites “Vatileaks” as a problem. He also says the two major scandals of his tenure were giving “recognition” to the “Society of St. Pius X, which is bitterly opposed to the Second Vatican Council, as well as of a Holocaust denier, Bishop Richard Williamson.”

It is true some Protestant churches were angry after the pope welcomed Anglicans into the Church; Küng fails to mention they lobbied hard to join. Jews have warmly embraced the pope, though some were unhappy when the Latin Mass was being promoted. However, as Rabbi Brad Hirschfield recently said, “It is unfair to complain about a text, which has its own parallels in Jewish liturgy….” Yes, there were Muslims who misunderstood the pope’s 2006 speech when he warned against severing the link between faith and reason; rioting and murder followed, unwittingly proving his point. In 2007, the pope didn’t win the plaudits of some Indians in Brazil when he criticized “the utopia of going back to breathe life into the pre-Columbus religions,” but he won points for being honest. Catholic women have embraced the pope, save for those who share the dissident views of the “reformers.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:04 PM

Roman Catholic Church refused Supreme Court sex abuse appeal

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

A woman who claims she was sexually abused by a priest is set to sue the Roman Catholic Church after it was refused a last chance to reverse a ruling holding it responsible.

The church argued it could not be held liable as no formal employment relationship with its clergy existed.

It lost a High Court case in 2011 and has now been refused permission to take the appeal to the Supreme Court.

The woman said she was abused a priest of the Portsmouth Diocese.

Lawyers for the claimant, who is set to pursue a civil case, said it was the first time a court had been asked to rule on whether the "relationship between a Catholic priest and his bishop is akin to an employment relationship".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:46 PM

Southland Woman Sues Catholic Church over Sex Abuse

CALIFORNIA
Patch

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A Southland woman who sued the Roman Catholic Church 1984, saying she was sexually abused by seven priests, including one who impregnated her, plans to return to the limelight today to discuss the abdication of the pope and the propriety of having Cardinal Roger Mahony help elect the next one.

Rita Milla said she was sexually molested over a four-year period, starting when she was 16, when she was a volunteer at St. Philomena's Church in Carson. She sued the church after her daughter, Jacqueline, was born, eventually settling with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Coinciding with the pope's last day in office, Milla will hold a news conference at the law offices of attorney Gloria Allred late this morning. Allred said her client wants to talk about what the next pope should do about sex crimes in the church, about Mahony's inclusion in the conclave that will elect his successor, and about evidence of a church cover-up in her own case, which dragged out for more than 20 years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:44 PM

As Pope Benedict steps down, group asks U.N. to act on abuse

ROME
Reuters

By Naomi O'Leary

ROME | Thu Feb 28, 2013

(Reuters) - On the final day of Pope Benedict's papacy, a victim support group asked the United Nations to censure the Vatican for failing to protect children from sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy.

Speaking at a press conference meters from the walls of the Vatican City on Thursday, the head of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said his group had made a formal submission to the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child.

"It's a long submission of 30 pages based on government reports by five different nations," David Clohessy told reporters, surrounded by photographs of children he said were members of his organization, at the age they were abused.

"We hope that the U.N. speaks out very forcefully and says that the Vatican is in violation of the treaty that it agreed to honor."

The SNAP submission argues that the Holy See has violated the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which it signed in 1990, on four counts including a failure to cooperate with criminal investigations and failing to protect children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:41 PM

Hans Kung: Pope Benedict Will Be A 'Shadow Pope'

VATICAN CITY
Huffington Post

HuffPost Italy | By Stefano Baldolini Posted: 02/28/2013

The theologian Hans Kung has always been very hard on Joseph Ratzinger’s papacy, and was particularly disappointed by Pope Benedict XVI’s last audience. He did not expect that the resigning Pope would decide to stay in the Vatican to wield his influence. A situation without precedent.

Two Popes in the Vatican?

Let’s be clear, I don’t have anything against Joseph Ratzinger. I wish him all the best. I have nothing against a nice life, in a place where one can rest. We are the same age. … Initially I thought that retreating in a convent to pray was a good decision. But now it seems this is not the plan. It is very dangerous to have a former pope living in the actual Vatican. Who does not live in a monastery. He will not live with monks, but with nuns who were at his service in the Vatican when he was pope. He will have the same secretary, Father George. He wants to remain in contact with cardinals and with the new pope. I was afraid of a “shadow pope” in the Vatican. Now it seems confirmed. He is certainly interested in prolonging his line, otherwise he would not have done it like this.

What could happen?

He is not exactly going on a mountaintop to pray. Rather, he will have the possibility to intervene constantly. It is a dangerous situation. I see many conflicts. I live near Lake Constance, where we had the Council of the Western Schism, with as many as three popes. It was the 15th century. The situation was obviously different then. … But if, for example, the future pope says, “it is necessary to discuss the celibacy of priests,” as the current Cardinal of Scotland has said, whoever doesn’t want this will turn to the old pope [for support].

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:37 PM

Sex, lies and the next Pope

UNITED KINGDOM
The Spectator

Freddy Gray
2 March 2013

In a corner of the Sistine Chapel, below Michelangelo’s hell, is a door to the little chamber they call ‘the room of tears’. Some painter-decorators are in there, frantically doing the place up. That’s because, in a matter of days, a new Pope will be led into the room. According to tradition, at that moment, as he first contemplates the magnitude of his role, he will weep.

A myth, you might think. But we can be sure that the next Supreme Pontiff — whoever he is — will have plenty to sob about. Since Benedict XVI’s resignation two weeks ago, each day seems to have brought yet more bad news. Scandal is swarming around the upcoming papal conclave like a Biblical plague.

There’s the poor old Scottish cardinal Keith O’Brien, who resigned on Monday after reports of ‘inappropriate acts’ with fellow priests. There’s the two American cardinals, Roger Mahoney and Timothy Dolan, facing renewed accusations that they protected paedophile priests in their dioceses.

And then the big one: the theory that the real reason Benedict resigned was not ill-health, but because he was so appalled by the findings of an investigation he commissioned into the so-called ‘Vatileaks’ affair. The Italian newspaper La Repubblica has been publishing extraordinary claims that the 300-page Vatileaks dossier proves that Benedict was forced out by an ‘underground gay network’. Whispers of sodomy and bribery abound.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:48 PM

Vatican admits secretly bugging its own clergy

VATICAN CITY
The Telegraph (United Kingdom)

The Vatican admitted on Thursday that it had secretly bugged clergy within the Holy See as part of the investigation into the Vatileaks scandal, which resulted in the Pope's butler being imprisoned for stealing confidential pontifical documents.

By Nick Squires, Rome

Like much of the rest of his papacy, Benedict's last day in office was overshadowed by claims of secrecy and intrigue.

An Italian news magazine, Panorama, claimed that Vatican authorities had conducted, and are still conducting, an extensive covert surveillance programme, tapping the phone calls and intercepting the emails of cardinals and bishops in the Curia, the governing body of the Catholic Church.

The surveillance operation was to weed out Vatican insiders who may have helped Paolo Gabriele, the butler, steal and leak to the press compromising papal documents, in a scandal that rocked the Catholic Church and reportedly contributed to Benedict's decision to resign.

The Vatican confirmed that secret surveillance had indeed taken place, but on a far smaller scale than that portrayed by Panorama.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:45 PM

Vatikan: Kardinal soll Kurien-Kollegen ausspioniert haben

VATIKAN
Spiegel

Von Annette Langer

Wenige Stunden vor dem Rücktritt des Papstes sorgen Gerüchte aus dem Vatikan für Unruhe: Benedikts wichtigster Helfer, Kardinalstaatssekretär Bertone, soll laut einem Magazinbericht dafür gesorgt haben, dass die Kurie überwacht wurde. Keine gute Ausgangssituation für das Konklave.

Rom - Der wichtigste Helfer des scheidenden Papstes, Kardinalsstaatssekretär Tarcisio Bertone, soll systematisch Vatikanangehörige ausspioniert haben. Ziel sei es gewesen, ein mutmaßliches Netzwerk um den wegen Dokumentendiebstahls aus dem Privatbesitz des Papstes verurteilten Paolo Gabriele auszuleuchten. Dies berichtet die heutige Ausgabe des italienischen Wochenmagazins "Panorama".

Demnach habe Bertone den Chef der Vatikan-Gendarmerie, Domenico Giani, damit beauftragt, Telefongespräche, Unterhaltungen und den E-Mail-Verkehr von Bischöfen und Kardinälen zu überwachen. Es handele sich um die "massivste und flächendeckendste Abhöraktion", die es je im Vatikan gegeben habe. Detailliert sei aufgezeichnet worden, wer den Vatikan zu welcher Uhrzeit betreten und wieder verlassen und wer sich mit wem getroffen habe. Beweise für die Behauptung führt "Panorama" nicht an.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:38 PM

Ideologisch und allzu politisch

DEUTSCHLAND
Die Welt

Papst Benedikt XVI. ist gescheitert. Er gesteht dieses Scheitern ein und zieht sich ins Schweigen zurück. Ein Schweigen, das diesem Mann des Wortes besonders schwerfallen dürfte. Da ist also auch Größe, die der Gegner anerkennen muss – auch ich, der ich ein Buch mit dem Titel "Der gefährliche Papst" geschrieben habe. Am Ende ist Joseph Ratzinger kein gefährlicher Papst geworden, sondern ein tragischer.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:34 PM

N24-Emnid-Umfrage zum Papst-Rücktritt: Mehrheit zufrieden mit Papst Benedikt - aber Reformen dringend nötig

DEUTSCHLAND
Bankkaufmann

Berlin (ots) - Papst Benedikt tritt zurück - und die Deutschen ziehen ein insgesamt recht positives Fazit seiner Arbeit.

In einer repräsentativen N24-Emnid-Umfrage bewerten 52 Prozent der Befragten die Arbeit des Papstes als "eher gut". Nur 23 Prozent der Deutschen halten die Leistung Benedikts XVI. für "eher schlecht".

Trotz des insgesamt eher positiven Urteils sehen die Deutschen bei der Katholischen Kirche einen klaren Reformbedarf. 78 Prozent der Befragten halten grundlegende Reformen in der Katholischen Kirche für notwendig, nur 12 Prozent sehen keinen Reformbedarf. Bei Frauen ist der Wunsch nach Reformen mit 83 Prozent deutlicher ausgeprägt als bei Männern (72 Prozent).

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:32 PM

»Diese Kirche ist am Ende«

DEUTSCHLAND
Neues Deutschland

Berlin (nd). Für »unwahrscheinlich« hält es der Religionswissenschaftler Hubertus Mynarek, dass der wahre Grund für den Rücktritt von Papst Benedikt XVI. ein Sexskandal im Vatikan ist, wie italienische Medien mutmaßen. Dabei geht es um ein angeblich im Zuge der Vatileaks-Ermittlungen aufgedecktes geheimes Netzwerk homosexueller Priester. »Jemand, der wie Ratzinger Jahrzehnte in der Kurie tätig war, dürfte von solchen Berichten wohl kaum überrascht sein«, sagte der ehemalige Dekan der Katholisch-Theologischen Fakultät der Universität Wien im Interview mit »neues deutschland«. Hingegen hält es Mynarek für »nicht abwegig«, dass auf den Papst wegen dessen Eingriffen in die Vatikanbank Druck ausgeübt wurde. Er erinnerte in diesem Zusammenhang an Papst Johannes Paul I., der sich mit Machenschaften des päpstlichen Geldinstituts befasst hatte und 1978 nach nur 33 Tagen Pontifikat überraschend verstorben war.

Hoffnung auf Reformen in der katholischen Kirche nach dem Rücktritt von Benedikt XVI. hat Mynarek nicht.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:29 PM

"Die Kirchen müssen die Heimkinder entschädigen"

DEUTSCHLAND
Presseportal

Aschaffenburg (ots) - Anlässlich der Ausstrahlung des Filmes "Und alle haben geschwiegen" fordert das ehemalige Heimkind Alexander Markus Homes, dass die Kirchen endlich Verantwortung für die Gräuel übernehmen, die den Heimkindern angetan wurden. "Es ist völlig inakzeptabel, dass trotz der bekannten Fakten die Kirchen sich noch immer aus der Verantwortung stehlen. Es findet keine umfassende Aufklärung statt und die Kirchen sind auch nicht gewillt, die Opfer angemessen für das erlittene Leid zu entschädigen", so Homes.

Der Buchautor von "Prügel vom lieben Gott", dessen Erstveröffentlichung 1981 maßgeblich zum Bekanntwerden der Missstände in den christlichen Heimen beitrug, sieht aber nicht nur die Kirchen in der Verantwortung: "Es ist beschämend mit ansehen zu müssen, wie staatliche Institutionen mit der Frage der Heimkinder und mit dem Missbrauch in kirchlichen Einrichtungen umgehen." Weder der Runde Tisch Heimerziehung noch der Runde Tisch Sexueller Kindesmissbrauch hätten laut Homes akzeptable Ergebnisse gebracht. "Es ist höchste Zeit, dass die Kirchen endlich offen legen, wer damals bei Misshandlungen und sexueller Gewalt wegschaute oder die Täter durch Schweigen gedeckt hat. Wenn die Kirchen das nicht von alleine hinkriegen, muss der Staat ihnen auf die Sprünge helfen."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:27 PM

Priest Treatment Facility Across From High School Causes Concern

PENNSYLVANIA
Catholics4Change

February 28, 2013 by Susan Matthews

Community concern over St. John Vianney, a psychiatric treatment facility for priests, was addressed last night. The meeting was held in response to a recent incident of a patient trespassing on Bishop Shanahan property during school hours.

Unlike most other treatment centers, St. John Vianney allows “approved” patients to leave their premises to walk through the neighborhood.

Please note it was a parent who finally called the police after the archdiocesan high school administration neglected to take action in regard to her concerns.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:23 PM

Lombardi: “Checks may have been carried out on two or three individuals”

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Insider

In a press conference this morning, the Vatican spokesman discussed the allegations made by an Italian news magazine about the Vatican Secretary of State placing the Curia under surveillance for a year

Vatican Insider staff
Rome

“During the Vatileaks affair the Vatican’s investigating judge may have ordered some interceptions and checks; nothing major, just two or three.” The director of the Vatican Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, said this during this morning’s press conference, in reference to some claims made by Italian current affairs magazine, Panorama.

“Interceptions and surveillance activities were not as described,” Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi said, in response to journalists’ questions regarding the content of an article published by Panorama magazine, on an investigation apparently ordered by the Roman Curia, involving the interception of telephone calls during the Vatileaks scandal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:29 AM

Catholics dismiss Pell's claims and back Pope

AUSTRALIA
Bendigo Advertiser

By Vince Chadwick, Barney Zwartz
March 1, 2013

PROMINENT Australian Catholics have rejected claims by Cardinal George Pell that the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI weakened the papacy, and dismissed notions the Sydney Archbishop was angling for the top job.

It came as the Pope had a last day to match his shy personality, with surprisingly little ceremony.

He was to meet cardinals from around the world, followed by a private parting ceremony in a Vatican courtyard in mid-afternoon, followed by a helicopter flight across the Vatican, the world's smallest state, to the papal retreat of Castel Gandolfo near Rome.

Earlier, Cardinal Pell - in Rome, where he will help choose Benedict's successor - said that the resignation could set a dangerous precedent.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:12 AM

Fascism in the Church: Ex-Priest On "The Pope’s War," Clergy Abuse and Quelling Liberation Theology

UNITED STATES
Democracy Now!

[with video]

As Pope Benedict XVI steps down today, we turn to a former Catholic priest who was silenced and expelled by the Pope, then Cardinal Ratzinger, in the 1980s. Matthew Fox chronicles his story in the book, "The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved." Pope Benedict’s tenure was marked by several scandals — most notably his handling of the widening sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, including allegations that he ignored at least one case of abuse while serving as a cardinal. Documents show that in 1985, he delayed efforts to defrock a priest convicted of molesting children. “I will take the Pope at his word here when he says he is tired. I would also be tired, too, if I had left as much devastation in my wake as he has,” Fox says. “I think that the Catholic Church as we know it, the structure of the Vatican, is passé. We are moving beyond it, it has become a viper’s nest. It is really sick what is going on — obviously to cover up the pedophile priests." [Transcript to come. Check back soon.]

Guest:

Matthew Fox, Author of over two dozen books, most recently, "The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved." He is a former Catholic priest who was first stopped from teaching Liberation Theology and Creation Spirituality by Cardinal Ratzinger, then expelled from the Dominican Order to which he had belonged for 34 years. He currently serves as an Episcopal priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:09 AM

The Vatican is stuck in a monarchical past

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

by Tom Roberts | Feb. 27, 2013

Analysis
A coincidental confluence of monarchical events occurred in 2005, during the period between the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Benedict XVI.

In a span of less than three weeks, John Paul died (April 2), Prince Rainier of Monaco died (April 6), Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles were married (April 9) in England, and Benedict was elected pope (April 19).

Through all of it the international media followed the flow of mourners, celebrators and ornately bedecked imitations of bygone eras as they made their way from castles to famous churches and back. It was a manner of reverse time-travel. All of the braided gold rope and draped epaulettes, feathered hats, shiny silver helmets, chests full of medals, gilded coaches, and endless reminders of dead kings and popes was enough to almost convince one that an age of Renaissance princes had somehow been recreated.

But there were differences, quickly apparent, among the pageants. In England and Monaco, amid joy and sorrow, the principals, privileged as they might be, walked as 21st-century intruders upon ancient ceremonials. They bore contemporary, real-life scars of tragic deaths and love gone sour. There was no retreat into some insular spirituality, no hiding away in a religious culture, though religion brought the most profound meaning to the events. The talk in these settings was not about some metaphysically infused heroic suffering. It was just suffering of the human sort, which is holy enough, the kind most of us bear no matter how elite, the kind where relationships need tending and there are children and others to worry about. In London and Monaco, the artifacts of royalty were symbols in service to a faded reality.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:05 AM

A Vatican Spring?

GERMANY
The New York Times

By HANS KÜNG

Published: February 27, 2013

TÜBINGEN, Germany

THE Arab Spring has shaken a whole series of autocratic regimes. With the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, might not something like that be possible in the Roman Catholic Church as well — a Vatican Spring?

Of course, the system of the Catholic Church doesn’t resemble Tunisia or Egypt so much as an absolute monarchy like Saudi Arabia. In both places there are no genuine reforms, just minor concessions. In both, tradition is invoked to oppose reform. In Saudi Arabia tradition goes back only two centuries; in the case of the papacy, 20 centuries.

Yet is that tradition true? In fact, the church got along for a millennium without a monarchist-absolutist papacy of the kind we’re familiar with today.

It was not until the 11th century that a “revolution from above,” the “Gregorian Reform” started by Pope Gregory VII, left us with the three enduring features of the Roman system: a centralist-absolutist papacy, compulsory clericalism and the obligation of celibacy for priests and other secular clergy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:03 AM

Protect our children, victim urges sex abuse inquiry

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

By FIONA HENDERSON
Feb. 28, 2013

A VICTIM of clergy sex abuse has called on members of a parliamentary inquiry to recommend the establishment of an independent watchdog to protect future generations.

Peter Blenkiron was one of five victims who gave evidence in Ballarat this morning to the Victorian Parliamentary into child sexual abuse by members of religious organisations.

In his submission, Mr Blenkiron also pleaded with the inquiry members to put measures in place that would stop further victim deaths.

In an emotion charged morning, several victims broke down while detailing their horrendous abuse, prompting inquiry chairwoman Georgie Crozier to praise their "extraordinary courage" in speaking out.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:00 AM

Teachers tried to report child abuse, inquiry told

AUSTRALIA
The Age

March 1, 2013

ANNE Ryan's 25-year career as a Catholic school teacher ended abruptly in 1996 when her job came under threat over her trying to expose sexual abuse.

''I resigned that day,'' Ms Ryan told a parliamentary inquiry into institutionalised child abuse sitting in Ballarat on Thursday.

Fellow Catholic school teacher Michael Crowe also told the inquiry his career had been destroyed for trying to report inappropriate priest behaviour.

''I've been persecuted, harassed, bullied,'' Mr Crowe said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:56 AM

Vatican Summoned Before UN Committee on Rights of the Child

UNITED STATES
The Center for Constitutional Rights

[the report]

Groups Submit Report on Worldwide Sex Abuse Crisis

press@ccrjustice.org

February 28, 2013, New York and Rome – Today, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed an alternate report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child documenting the ongoing worldwide sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. The UN committee has summoned the Vatican to report on its record of ensuring children are protected from sexual violence and safeguarding children’s well-being and dignity, the first time the Holy See will have been called to account for its actions on these issues before an international body with authority. The first meeting will take place in Geneva in June.

The SNAP-CCR report to the Committee lays out the depth and breadth of the problem, the policies and practices within the church that have both enabled and perpetuated the sexual violence, and the principles in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and one of its Optional Protocols which the Vatican has violated.

Said Center for Constitutional Rights Senior Attorney Pam Spees, “When the Committee on the Rights of the Child meets in June and demands answers from the Vatican on its handling of the epidemic of sexual violence in the church, it will be a historic day for survivors. The church has put itself and its reputation above the welfare of children at every step, in many cases knowingly moving a pedophile priest from one congregation to the next to keep things quiet, allowing the priest to continue to operate and have contact with children. This UN body has authority to determine whether the Holy See has violated the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It’s a long overdue calling to account.”

The Center for Constitutional Rights filed a case with the International Criminal Court on behalf of SNAP against the pope and other high-level Vatican officials for crimes against humanity in September 2011 and provided additional documentation in the case in April 2012. The prosecutor is currently reviewing the evidence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:09 AM

POPE'S FAREWELL TO CARDINALS

VATICAN CITY
Cardinal Roger Mahony Blogs LA

This morning at 11:00 AM, Pope Benedict XVI met with all of the Cardinals who were in Rome for the Conclave. It was a very moving and touching event as we were participating in the final apostolic work of our Holy Father. His words to us:

Dear beloved brothers

I welcome you all with great joy and cordially greet each one of you. I thank Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who as always, has been able to convey the sentiments of the College, Cor ad cor loquitur. Thank you, Your Eminence, from my heart.

And referring to the disciples of Emmaus, I would like to say to you all that it has also been a joy for me to walk with you over the years in light of the presence of the Risen Lord.

As I said yesterday, in front of thousands of people who filled St. Peter's Square, your closeness, your advice, have been a great help to me in my ministry. In these 8 years we have experienced in faith beautiful moments of radiant light in the Churches’ journey along with times when clouds have darkened the sky. We have tried to serve Christ and his Church with deep and total love which is the soul of our ministry. We have gifted hope that comes from Christ alone, and which alone can illuminate our path.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:06 AM

Papabile of the Day: The Men Who Could Be Pope

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

by John L. Allen Jr. | Feb. 28, 2013

John Allen is offering a profile each day of one of the most frequently touted papabili, or men who could be pope. The old saying in Rome is that he who enters a conclave as pope exits as a cardinal, meaning there's no guarantee one of these men actually will be chosen. They are, however, the leading names drawing buzz in Rome these days, ensuring they will be in the spotlight as the conclave draws near. The profiles of these men also suggest the issues and the qualities other cardinals see as desirable heading into the election.

During the run-up to the conclave, most of the buzz around papal candidates is generated by pundits and church-watchers, as opposed to the cardinals who will actually vote. As an index of broader opinion in the church, the buzz is often illuminating; as a guide to what might actually happen, it can be of limited utility.

The "Great Asian Hope" in the 2013 conclave could turn out to be a case in point.

On the buzz meter, the clear winner is Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila in the Philippines, whose nickname is "Chito." He's young, articulate, smiling, and media-savvy, with a reputation for simplicity and humility. Tagle is hugely popular back home, and tends to wow people wherever he goes.

Among the cardinals, however, there's another Asian who might seem a more compelling choice: Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith (formally, Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don) of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

For one thing, Ranjith is 65, ten years older than Tagle, and probably right in line with the ideal age profile: Not as young as John Paul was in 1978, meaning he wouldn't have an overly long papacy, but not as old as Benedict XVI in 2005, meaning the church probably wouldn't face another transition too soon.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:01 AM

Vatican plays down Australian cardinal comments

VATICAN CITY
Mercury News

The Associated Press

VATICAN CITY—The Vatican is playing down an Australian cardinal's comments that Pope Benedict XVI's decision to resign was "slightly destabilizing," saying cardinals are not media savvy.

Cardinal George Pell told Australian Broadcasting Corp. that the pope "was well aware that this was a break with tradition, slightly destabilizing." The comments were interpreted by the Italian media as unusual criticism of the pope.

But in the interview, Pell also seems at pains to defend the pope, saying: "He felt that because of his weakness and sickness ... that he just didn't have the strength to lead the church."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:51 AM

Pedophile Priest Conducted Mass at Local Church

CALIFORNIA
Los Feliz Ledger

[James Ford - Los Angeles archdiocese]

By Colin Stutz, Ledger Contributing Writer

LOS FELIZ

—For two months in 2010, Our Mother of Good Counsel Catholic Church on Vermont Avenue had Rev. James Ford—who had previously been involved at least one sexual abuse case of a minor—conduct mass at the parish.

According to OMGC’s Father James Mott, Ford was dispatched to OMGC by the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Mott said he was unaware of Ford’s history.

Ford was listed as a priest who had sexually abused a minor, from 1968 to 1971, at Holy Family Catholic Church in Orange, in a 2004 report released by the Los Angles Archdiocese titled “Report to the People of God: Clergy Sexual Abuse.”

More details of Ford’s abuse, some 340 pages—and the possible cover-up by the Archdiocese—were released on the Archdiocese’s website Jan. 31st. A total of 12,000 pages in all were posted, the result of a court order, detailing 128 priests that have been accused of molestation of minors.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:47 AM

Pope Benedict Leaves A Church Mired In Crises

VATICAN CITY
KOSU

Filed by KOSU News
February 28, 2013

Today is the last day of the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI. Just two weeks ago, the German-born pope stunned the world by announcing he would be the first pope to resign in 600 years. After eight years on the throne of St. Peter, Benedict leaves behind a church in crisis.

Since the announcement, bulletins issued by the Vatican have ranged from the lofty — how Benedict will retire to a life dedicated to prayer and study — to the mundane, such as the details of packing the pope’s personal belongings and what he’ll leave behind.

In a sign that even the Vatican was totally unprepared for the resignation, it took two weeks to decide Benedict’s new title and what he would wear. ...

Before becoming pope, as theological watchdog, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had overseen many cases of clerical sex abuse.

David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests (SNAP), says Benedict has been credited for meeting with and apologizing to victims and issuing new guidelines on handling cases, but he has not sanctioned one bishop for covering up abuse cases.

“Pope Benedict came into office knowing more about abuse than any other Catholic official on the planet, and I think many victims and many Catholics had some real hope that he would clean house, and he clearly didn’t,” Clohessy says.

The sex abuse cloud will hang over the conclave to elect the new pope. As will a confidential report on last year’s embarrassing leaks of private papers that revealed corruption and turf battles within the Vatican. Benedict has left the report for his successor’s eyes only, but many cardinals are already asking to be briefed on its contents.

Massimo Franco, author of numerous books about the Vatican, says the scandals have revealed Benedict to be a poor manager and a victim of the powerful administrative apparatus known as the Roman Curia.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:17 AM

Vatican's looming 'Inquisition' reveals a fractured Catholic Church

UNITED STATES
Global Post

Over the last half century, the place known as Holy Wisdom Monastery in Westport, Wisconsin, has changed as the Catholic Church has changed.

And today as history is made with Pope Benedict XVI resigning, the first pontiff to do so in 600 years, this simple, white building here with its modern architecture as a symbol of a global Catholic Church that is deeply polarized, and which some fear could even be fracturing.

But it wasn’t always that way.

In the early 1950s, Holy Wisdom Monastery was a Catholic girls’ school run by the Sisters of St. Benedict. In time, the school closed, and in 1966 the sisters, spurred on by the reformist ideals of the Second Vatican Council, transformed it into a retreat center, one that thrived in the confident spirit of a church opening its windows to the modern world — the metaphor used by Pope John XXIII in summoning the world’s bishops to the council in Rome.

In the 1990s, the nuns there established a strong interfaith spirit, they undertook a rigorous environmental effort toward “sustainability’ and they welcomed gay couples into the church and its services. By the year 2000, the nuns transformed the monastery into an ecumenical institution, welcoming a Presbyterian woman minister. And that was the point at which they crossed an irreversible line. Having a Protestant woman ministering in the community threw their identity as a Catholic women’s order into question.

The sisters decided to leave the diocese and end their formal affiliation with the Catholic Church. As they saw it, they were maintaining the monastic ideal of Benedictine spirituality by opening the place to others. In the process of leaving the Catholic Church, the nuns made their own power move, of sorts. They held onto the deed to the land with the position that their faith community was true to the interfaith spirit of Vatican II. Their message, though never formally stated, was sledgehammer blunt: the male hierarchy has gone backwards and we’re moving forward. They quite literally held their ground.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:14 AM

Pontiff Benedict tells cardinals to set aside differences as conclave approaches

VATICAN CITY
Belfast Telegraph

28 February 2013

Pope Benedict XVI has promised his "unconditional reverence and obedience" to his successor in his final words to his cardinals, a poignant farewell before he becomes the first pope in 600 years to resign.

The pontiff appeared to be trying to defuse concerns about possible conflicts arising from the peculiar situation of having a reigning pope and a retired one.

Delivering an unexpected speech today, Benedict also urged the "princes" of the church to set aside their differences as they elect the next pope, urging them to be unified so that the College of Cardinals works "like an orchestra" where "agreement and harmony" can be reached despite diversity.

He said he would pray for the cardinals in coming days as they choose his successor.

"Among you is also the future pope, whom I promise my unconditional reverence and obedience," Benedict said in his final audience.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:11 AM

"Liar, liar, pants on fire"

CALIFORNIA
Renew America

By Randy Engel

On Monday, February 25, 2013, at St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, Calif., Cardinal William Levada gave a media conference at which he defended the presence of retired Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony at the upcoming papal conclave in Rome. Readers of The Rite of Sodomy will recall that St. Patrick's Seminary was where the now deceased homosexual predator Bishop Joseph Ferrario used to bring his young prey David Figueroa for homosexual liaisons.

So it appears a bit hypocritical that Cardinal Levada would use the same location as an occasion to defend the Homosexual Collective, clerical and secular, by claiming that there is a sharp divide between homosexual men and "pedophile priests." According to Levada, "By nature homosexuality is a not a predatory activity, it is a sexual activity that the Catholic Church does not condone." By contrast, he states "pedophile priests are violating the sanctity and purity of young people."

Liar, liar pants on fire, Cardinal Levada.

How is it possible that the former Archbishop of San Francisco, the Sodom of the Pacific, and the former Prefect for the Congregation for the Faith which routinely deals with clerical sex abuse cases against minors and vulnerable adults can argue that homosex is not predatory sex?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:07 AM

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia speaks of 'painful times' for Catholic Church

SCOTLAND
BBC News

The Archbishop temporarily replacing Cardinal Keith O'Brien has spoken of the "painful and distressing times" affecting the Catholic Church.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia will celebrate mass at St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh later.

It will be his first service as administrator of the Archdiocese of Edinburgh and St Andrews.

Cardinal O'Brien is contesting allegations of inappropriate behaviour made by four priests in the 1980s.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien stepped down on Monday amid allegations he behaved "inappropriately" to three serving priests and a former priest.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia is due to tell worshippers they are having to bear the impact of sad events and disturbing media reports.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:01 AM

Ex-Fitchburg priest avoids jail in child porn case

WORCESTER (MA)
My Fox Boston

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) - A Roman Catholic priest who once served at a Fitchburg parish has avoided jail time after pleading guilty to possessing child pornography and stealing from his church.

The Rev. Lowe Dongor was sentenced Wednesday in Worcester Superior Court to 2 ½ years in jail, with the entire term suspended for five years of probation.

The 37-year-old Dongor was assigned to St. Joseph's parish when he was initially charged in 2011. Prosecutors said child pornography was found on his computer, and he was also accused of stealing church collection money.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:57 AM

Teacher hounded out of school

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

[video]

The Victorian enquiry into sexual abuse in religious organisations has heard how a teacher who blew the whistle on a priest who was abusing a student, was hounded out of his job.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:55 AM

ABDICATION on the LAST DAY

UNITED STATES
National Survivor Advocates Coalition

Editorial

February 28, 2013

Our hope is slim and sliding rapidly away but hope’s DNA is resilience and therefore we will hover over it until the hour strikes when hope is slain and an abdicating pontiff punts the largest crisis in the Roman Catholic Church in the last 500 years into the Vacant See.

In the waning hours of his papacy, we hope that Pope Benedict XVI removes criminally convicted Bishop Robert Finn as head of the Diocese of Kansas City- St. Joseph, MO, lifts the seal of secrecy from the documents that Vatican knows detail the crisis, and removes from the priesthood all of the priests who are credibly accused whose cases have been sitting for years within the protection of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.

In the name of all that is good and holy we hope that Pope Benedict, who can express his own sense of desolation adrift from a Lord he felt was sleeping, understands what those raped and sodomized by priests and nuns live with each day.

We hope he knows that they are burdened, scarred and haunted by depression, loss, confusion, anger and the void of being held back from the gate of spiritual solace by the memories of the desecration of their young bodies by priests and nuns.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:44 AM

Former Visitation Priest Indicted on Additional Sex Charges

NEW JERSEY
Patch

By Daniel Nee

A Roman Catholic priest from Brick Township who was arrested in July 2012 on sex charges has been indicted on those allegations, as well as in two additional incidents – one of which includes a third victim.

The seven-count indictment against Fr. Marukudiyil C. Velan, 64, was handed up by an Ocean County grand jury Feb. 7, court records obained by Patch show.

Velan, who was known as "Father Chris" to parishioners at Visitation Roman Catholic Church on Mantoloking Road in Brick, where he last served, was arrested July 14, 2012 and charged with a single count of criminal sexual contact against an adult victim, and one count of criminal sexual contact plus one count of endangering the welfare of a child against a victim who was a minor.

At the time, County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford said Velan, whose full name is Velanmarukudiyil J. Christudas, was arrested after a woman filed a report saying Velan came to her house and had "inappropriate contact" with her as well as her minor child.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:38 AM

Anchorage priest loses ministry over abuse allegations

ALASKA
Alaska Dispatch

February 26, 2013

The Catholic Archdiocese of Anchorage is moving forward with plans to defrock a long-time priest suspected of inappropriate behavior with five women. In 2009, the archdiocese forced Father J. Michael Hornick to resign for inappropriate physical contact with two adult women, according to a Catholic Anchor Online article dated May 2011.

After another complaint surfaced in January 2011, the archdiocese immediately suspended Hornick of all priestly ministries; he could no longer identify himself as a priest or wear priestly clothing, the Catholic Anchor reported.

Archdiocese spokesman Father Thomas Brundage told KTVA the priest broke the church's code of conduct with "occasional touches, and then attempts at kissing."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:35 AM

Pope resignation: cardinal criticises Benedict XVI on last day

VATICAN CITY
The Telegraph (United Kingdom)

Cardinal George Pell, Australia's most senior Catholic, has criticised the Pope on his last day, describing his historic resignation as destabilising, while questioning his political prowess.

Cardinal Pell, Australia's representative at next month's secret conclave to elect a successor, said Benedict XVI was a "brilliant teacher" but "government wasn't his strong point" in a candid interview on the eve of the pope's departure.

"I think I prefer somebody who can lead the Church and pull it together a bit," Cardinal Pell said.

He pointed to the so-called "Vatileaks" scandal, in which Benedict's butler leaked secret papal memos revealing intrigues between rival groups of cardinals, though he said it was "very easy to be wise after the event".

"I think the governance is done by most of the people around the Pope and that wasn't always done brilliantly. And I'm not breaking any ground there – this is said very commonly," Cardinal Pell added in a later radio interview from the Vatican.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:33 AM

Fighting for the Future

UNITED STATES
The Center for Constitutional Rights

I. General Considerations: Overview

As a result of the efforts of survivors and advocates who have come forward in different countries over the past few decades, often with considerable personal sacrifice and risk, the widespread and systemic rape and sexual violence of children by priests and others associated with the Roman Catholic Church is now well-documented and incontrovertible.4 The revelations of sexual violence by clergy arising in recent years in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, the United States and elsewhere demonstrate that the rates of abuse in any one country or diocese are not an anomaly but part of a much larger pattern and practice. In light of these revelations, some observers have estimated that the number of victims of sexual violence occurring between the years 1981-2005 is likely approaching 100,000, and will likely be far greater as more situations continue to come to light in Latin America and Africa.5

Commissions of inquiry and grand juries have been convened in Canada,6 Australia,7 and Germany,8 as well as the United States, some of which will be discussed below. Ireland has seen a number of inquiries, resulting in the Ferns Report,9 the Ryan Report,10 the Murphy Report,11 and the Cloyne Report.12 There have also been Church-appointed commissions, as well as non-governmental reports setting forth widespread and systematic sexual violence within the Catholic church, in Belgium,13 Germany,14 The Netherlands,15 and the United States. In September 2011, Amnesty International issued a report finding that the abused of children in Catholic-run institutions in Ireland amounted to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.16

Every investigative body that has studied these situations has identified the same policies and practices that allowed the sexual violence to proliferate and that furthered the harm to the direct victims. Without exception, each of these inquiries has reached the same inevitable conclusion: The primary concern of Church officials in these cases has been to protect the reputation of the Church and its priests – not the best interest of the child. This conclusion was perhaps most succinctly expressed by a grand jury in the United States when it observed that Church authorities “continued and/or established policies that made the protection of the Church from ‘scandal’ more important than the protection of children from sexual predators.”17 Similarly, the Ryan Commission in Ireland found that: 2 Cases of sexual abuse were managed with a view to minimizing the risk of public disclosure and consequent damage to the institution and the Congregation. This policy resulted in the protection of the perpetrator. When lay people were discovered to have sexually abused, they were generally reported to the Gardai.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:23 AM

ITALY - Victims blast Vatican in new United Nations filing

ROME
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

[Fghting for the Future]

Posted by David Clohessy on February 27, 2013

■Victims blast Vatican in new United Nations filing
■In 30 page document, they say church breaks UN convention
■SNAP says top Catholic officials submit one report 14 years later
■Group accuses Holy See of falling short on prevention & extradition

WHAT:
Holding signs and childhood photos at a news conference, two clergy sex abuse victims who are long time leaders of an international support group for victims will disclose and discuss a new 30 page filing calling on a United Nations committee to act against Catholic officials for multiple alleged violations of the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (which was ratified by the Vatican).

WHEN:
Thursday, February 28 at 2 p.m.

WHERE:
Orange Hotel, 86, Via Crescenzio, 00193 Roma (St. Peter)

WHO:
Two clergy sex abuse victims who are leaders of the US-based international support group SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a Missouri man who is the organization’s long time director

WHY:
SNAP is filling a new 30 page report with the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) that is highly critical of the Vatican’s past and current handling of clergy sex crimes and cover ups. It’s the first time SNAP is making a formal appeal to the UN for help with the crisis. (The CRC oversees compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted in 1990.)

Later this year, the CRC will question Vatican officials on their compliance/non-compliance with the Convention. The CRC will then report publicly on its concluding observations.

The Vatican ratified the Convention in 1990 (under Pope John Paul II). In 1994, in its first report to the CRC, the Vatican made no mention whatsoever of the issue of clergy sex abuse though even then, top church officials had extensive knowledge about pedophile priests and complicit bishops around the world.

In 1997, the Vatican’s second report to the CRC was due. It was finally submitted about 14 years late. (And the Vatican is ten years late in filing its first required report under a similar agreement called the “Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, which was due in 2003.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:21 AM

Boston Clergy Abuse Victims: Next Pope Faces Unfinished Work

BOSTON (MA)
WBUR

By Deborah Becker February 28, 2013

BOSTON — Among those closely watching as Catholic cardinals gather in Rome to choose the next pope are clergy abuse survivors and their advocates in Boston.

The survivors say the next church leader faces unfinished work on the clergy abuse scandal since it first erupted in Boston 11 years ago. Some of them say that the man who led Boston through the crisis should go on to do the same as head of the world’s Catholics.

Bernie McDaid was among the first clergy abuse survivors to meet directly with Pope Benedict XVI in 2008. McDaid says while that event was important, it was largely symbolic for survivors and for the pope.

“When I confronted him he grabbed my arms and he wouldn’t respond to anything I said — he would just say ‘Yes, yes, my son,’ ” McDaid said. “There was no dialogue. He was there in a spiritual fashion for his church and that’s understandable, but that’s not why I was there.”

One of the reasons McDaid was there was because Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley arranged the meeting, bringing not only survivors like McDaid but a book with the names of 1,000 survivors from Boston that he asked the pope to bless. McDaid says O’Malley’s experience in Boston prompted the Vatican to appoint him to help with Ireland’s abuse scandal in 2010. ...

“This is a man who has a record of being brought in to the diocese in an uproar over sex abuse and of quieting the anger and restoring calm. He has restored calm but he has not been transparent,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, with the group BishopAccountability.org. Her group started tracking abusive priests around the world once the scandal broke in Boston.

Barrett Doyle points out that it took years for O’Malley to release a list of accused abusive priests in Boston and when he did, in 2011, it was not complete.

“What’s disturbing is that his public relations is so successful that he is now being considered as pope,” she said. “As pope he would be nicer to victims but just as protective of accused priests.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:17 AM

Cardinal DiNardo blogs as conclave for new pope begins

HOUSTON (TX)
Houston Chronicle

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo might be in Rome preparing to elect the new Pope, but he will be keeping in touch with local Catholics on the archdiocese's website.

A new page, archgh.org/conclave, launched this week with background information on the secret election process for a new pope, live updates from the Vatican's news office and a new blog about DiNardo's trip titled, "When in Rome."

"That will be updated as frequently as we get a post from the cardinal, whenever he has time available," said Jonah Dycus of the archdiocese's communications office. "Obviously, when the conclave starts there will be no transmissions."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

Pope did 'more than anyone' to deal with sex abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
YouTube - Channel 4 News

Published on Feb 27, 2013

Alex Gibney who made a documentary on church sex claims says the Catholic Church covered up "crimes", but Father Robert Gahl from Rome's Pontifical University says the pope dealt robustly with abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:13 AM

Yeshiva U. Rabbi George Finkelstein Acted Inappropriately Even After Ouster

NEW YORK
The Jewish Daily Forward

By Paul Berger
Edited By Jane Eisner

Published February 28, 2013, issue of March 08, 2013.

Rabbi George Finkelstein was quietly forced out of Yeshiva University High School for Boys in 1995 because of inappropriate wrestling with students that some of them considered abusive.

But the Forward has learned that the wrestling did not stop after his departure from Y.U. It continued during Finkelstein’s next two posts, as dean of a Jewish school in Florida and as director general of the Jerusalem Great Synagogue in Israel, where he worked until abruptly resigning this past December.

The most recent wrestling incidents documented by the Forward were in 2009.

Finkelstein, 67, has been a respected figure in the Modern Orthodox community for decades, first as an administrator at Y.U.’s high school in Manhattan and later at the Jerusalem Great Synagogue. But allegations that he behaved inappropriately with boys have trailed him for at least 30 years, according to dozens of interviews with former students, colleagues and peers in the United States.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:10 AM

Ruben Rosario: Ex-NFL player opposes time limits on justice for child sex abuse

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By Ruben Rosario
rrosario@pioneerpress.comtwincities.com
Posted: 02/27/2013

You can't get more red-blooded American macho than Al Chesley. Now 55, he is still -- at 6 feet 3 inches and at least 250 pounds -- a bear of a man, a former NFL middle linebacker nicknamed "Mad Dog" who played on a Philadelphia Eagles team that went to the Super Bowl.

But at age 13, he was but a child -- putty in the hands of a larger-than-life and revered neighborhood police officer who loosened him up with booze, showed him porn flicks, then molested and raped him for nearly five years.

"He told me that he wanted to teach me how to become a man -- how ironic," Chesley said this week about his childhood molestation. It took him more than three decades to overcome the guilt and shame to brave speaking about his victimization.

"I thought I would go to my grave (without coming forward)," he said. "Any kind of abuse is horrible. But when a man abuses a boy, I think it's just extra horrible. It screws you up as a man. It kills your spirit."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:06 AM

New Pope and Church Can Be Saved Only By 2 Protestants, Merkel/Obama

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

Cardinals are about to begin the spectacular sideshow in Rome to try to save many in the Catholic Church’s hierarchy from criminal prosecution and/or financial bankruptcy. The Catholic Church’s current salvation is, however, really in the invisible hands of Protestant political leaders in Berlin and Washington DC, as the Church’s salvation during the Reformation was principally in the hands, not of the Council of Trent, but of the Catholic Holy Roman Emperor, then ruler of much of Europe and the Americas.

The Vatican Cardinals’ sinful ways have been publicly exposed, but other subservient and unorganized Cardinals acting alone, even with a new Pope, are not expected to have the clout to change these Vatican Cardinals’ unChristian ways, notwithstanding the mystical webs that will be spun to the contrary over the next few weeks.

Some Cardinals desperate recent ploys, such as mentioning permitting married priests and the “morning after pill” and calling for the election of almost any Cardinal but a European, especially an Italian, may have helped some uninformed journalists meet a daily deadline, but are really just insignificant distractions. The audacious attempts of imminent ex-Pope, Joseph Ratzinger, and others like Cardinals Mahony (LA), O’Brien (Scotland) and Egan (NY), to portray themselves as victims are both pathetic and predictable. Similarly, Cardinal Pell’s surprising criticism of the new ex-Pope for mismanagement and resigning are too little too late and likely just some defensive posturing as Pell faces soon an extensive royal commission investigation in Australia.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:05 AM

Eclipsed and the world of the Magdalene Laundries

IRELAND
Galway Advertiser

By Kernan Andrews

THE DIFFERING reactions to the Magdalene Laundries over the years have been mirrored in the responses to Patricia Burke Brogan’s Eclipsed, which will have a staged reading in Galway next week.

Set in 1963 in a convent laundry at St Paul’s Home for Penitent Women in Killmacha, Eclipsed explores the practice of making pregnant and unwed Irish mothers work as ‘penitents’, supervised by nuns who regarded them as vessels of evil. In these laundries the women were treated as virtual slaves while their infants were forcibly put up for adoption.

Eclipsed will be given a performed reading by eight of Galway’s leading actresses in the Druid Lane Theatre, on Friday March 8 at 8pm.

The cast is Órla McGovern, Fiona Kelly, Helen Gregg, Liz Quinn, Sarah O’Toole, Laura Crosby, Lynelle Colleran, and Andrea Kelly, who also directs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:01 AM

Over 700 inquire about Magdalene fund

IRELAND
Irish Times

MARIE O'HALLORAN

More than 700 women have contacted the Department of Justice about eligibility for supports and the fund to be established for survivors of the Magdalene laundries, the Minister for Justice has said.

Alan Shatter also told the Dáil Minister of State Kathleen Lynch and he would shortly meet the four religious congregations involved, for talks about the McAleese report.

Their discussions would include the need to access the laundries’ records again to assist with the operations of the scheme that will be established for the women, he said. He reiterated the Government’s commitment to address the Magdalene laundries’ issue “as quickly, effectively and compassionately as possible. That is the least we can do for the women who were admitted to and worked in the laundries.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 AM

Nearly 800 inquiries about Magdalene Laundries fund

IRELAND
Journal

NEARLY 800 PEOPLE have been in contact with the Department of Justice in relation to accessing the fund that will be set up for survivors of the Magdalene Laundries.

The Department confirmed this morning that at the close of business yesterday evening there were 790 calls to it in relation to the fund which survivors are being asked to register their interest in.

Survivors are being asked to fill out a form on the Department’s website and include details of the institution they were based in, their date of entry, length of stay, reason for entering laundry, and details of any records they have from the institution.

A spokesperson said that at the moment it was simply a process of registration and that incomplete forms are not being returned and will not be discounted from processing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

Secret Vatican report could play a part in pope selection

VATICAN CITY
Los Angeles Times

Cardinals aren't allowed to read the dossier on leaked papal documents, but they may still be influenced by it as candidates jockey for the post.

February 26, 2013|By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times

VATICAN CITY — Deep inside a safe in the papal apartment lies a top-secret report — for his holiness' eyes only — that has become the most talked-about document in Rome.

Written by three elderly cardinals, the dossier delves into the most damaging security breach in the Vatican in living memory: the recent leak of private papers belonging to Pope Benedict XVI. The pontiff commissioned the senior prelates to find out how such a major lapse could have occurred and why.

Where the fingers point — already a matter of fevered conjecture in the Italian press — could become a factor in the selection of the next pope after Benedict's retirement Thursday. Even though the 115 cardinals who will choose a new pontiff are not being allowed to read the confidential file, what they believe to be in it could color their decision.

Speculation over the dossier's potentially explosive contents is just part of the politicking that is likely to go into the heavily veiled process of picking a new leader for the world's 1.1 billion Roman Catholics.

That process in effect started earlier than usual because of Benedict's surprise announcement of his intention to step down from office rather than let death remove him from it. The advance notice of a vacancy on the throne of St. Peter means that papal hopefuls, their supporters and detractors have already begun sizing one another up, plotting strategy and assessing chances.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 AM

Billy Doe's Junkie Hustle

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Big Trial

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

Michael E. Wallace, criminal defense lawyer, has a cardinal rule: don't ever believe anything your client tells you.

Wallace's client in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia sex abuse case was Edward V. Avery, a defrocked priest with a history of sexually abusing young boys. So when Avery told Wallace he didn't touch "Billy Doe" -- the former altar boy who accused Avery of raping him -- Wallace was skeptical.

"Father, you're saying Mass for me this Sunday," Wallace told the former priest. "And next Sunday. And the Sunday after that."

Wallace had Avery stop by his law office on the 12th floor of 2 Logan Square. Every Sunday morning, the lawyer would serve the former priest a cup of tea, and then grill him about the details of the crime. "After 65 Sundays of cross-examination, I believed him," Wallace said. But that didn't mean Wallace was done checking out his client's story.

Wallace's next move was to send the "smiling padre" out "to be boxed," meaning a polygraph test. The man who administered the test was William L. Fleisher, a former FBI agent who did polygraphs for District Attorney Seth Williams and the U.S. Attorney's office. How'd Avery do? "He passed it with flying colors," Wallace said.

That brought Wallace to a firm conclusion about Billy Doe's allegations -- "It all added up to a big lie," Wallace said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:49 AM

Pope Benedict final speech leaves papacy in ‘choppy waters’

VATICAN CITY
Press TV (Iran)

Pope Benedict XVI has given his final papal address amid the Vatican’s decades-long scandalous record of pedophilia, sexual abuse, theft and bribery.

Outgoing Pope Benedict XVI held his final all-purpose speech in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City on Wednesday, reminding the 1.5 billion Roman Catholic followers that he will pray for and try to look past the Vatican’s history of transgression.

“Then there have been times when the seas were rough and the wind against us, as in the whole history of the Church it has ever been - and the Lord seemed to sleep,” said the 85-year-old high priest, while describing the tumultuous role of the papacy.

Pope Benedict confessed that “in recent months, I felt that my strength had decreased”, that I was too weak to carry out the duties of the Church along with the vices “that seems to push faith more and more toward the margins of life… in a time in which many speak of its decline.”

Opponents criticized Benedict for failing to mend the Church’s decades-long history of worldwide scandalous wrongdoing including theft, bribery, rampant pedophilia and allegations of covering up sexual abuse by priests in order to protect its own reputation.

A report published last week by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica said that the real reason the pontiff decided to resign was in light of an internal church probe that informed him about a series of blackmails, grafts and underground gay sex in the Vatican.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 AM

Abuse can only happen with the unspoken agreement that it will be covered up

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Suzanne Moore
The Guardian, Wednesday 27 February 2013

'Sexual intercourse began/ In nineteen sixty-three," wrote Philip Larkin. And to judge by recent coverage, sexual abuse began last year, in 2012. Well, it had been going before, apparently, but no one knew too much about it. Except those actually being abused, who were on the whole young, female, damaged, unreliable and not "credible" witnesses. This is what anyone who has watched the media coverage of the past few months might ascertain. From Savile to the Socialist Workers Party, from the resignation of Cardinals to the allegations about Lord Rennard. No one knew much at the time at all! Raping a child is not the same as putting your hand on the leg of an adult woman, but what is this but a spectrum of systematic abuse being uncovered?

And what is our response? Still, the victims are mute, dispensable, irrelevant. Speaking out has not empowered them as it should: they remain a lumpen mass of unfortunate people to whom unfortunate things were done. The focus remains on the powerful as they scurry between media outlets changing their stories.

Abuse is shocking. Its covering up even more so, and a culture that is prepared to do this is rotten to the core. So where is this hidden culture? Oh look, it's in Westminster, at the BBC, in the SWP, in the Catholic church, in the police force, in care homes and even in the godforsaken Lib Dem party. Sex scandals in the Catholic church are decades old. After Cardinal O'Brien resigned over the allegations against him, one of the men who had made them talked about his own decision to leave the priesthood: he said it had been presumed he did so to get married, but this was not the case. "I knew he would always have power over me." This is key to understanding how abuse wrecks lives. Those detectives trying to meet their targets by persuading women to drop rape charges in Operation Sapphire are not much concerned with this. Those who covered up Cyril Smith's grooming and abuse of institutionalised boys can't be either. Those who knew the "difficulties" about Lord Rennard have known about them for some time, though, like O'Brien, he denies them. Likewise those in the BBC and the police who heard the Savile rumours ignored them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

Call for fund for victims of church sex abuse

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Jacqui Peake

Victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy are calling for the church to be opened up to compensation claims.

A number of Ballarat victims, from the group known as The Survivors, are making submissions to the hearing of the Victorian Parliamentary inquiry into institutional abuse.

Keith Whelan was abused when he was a schoolboy and has told the hearing the church coerced him into signing a deed which prevents him from seeking compensation.

"The Towards Healing process was more about the church being seen to be doing something than healing for victims," he said.

"I want support and funds to start my own business. We need ongoing medical and counselling support."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

VIDEO: Centre to aid abuse inquiry will open

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

[with video]

By JOANNE McCARTHY
Feb. 27, 2013

THE NSW Special Commission of Inquiry into child sexual abuse allegations in the Hunter will open an information centre at Wallsend from next Monday.

Commissioner Margaret Cunneen SC said the centre was to help make it as easy as possible for people to speak to the commission, which is investigating church and police handling of allegations against Catholic paedophile priests Denis McAlinden and Jim Fletcher.

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell ordered the inquiry after allegations raised by Hunter Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox last year, including that police had ordered him to stop investigating McAlinden.

The inquiry is also investigating church knowledge of McAlinden’s offending from 1949 to 1995, and the church’s response to allegations involving Fletcher.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 AM

Child Sexual Abuse: It's Not Just a Catholic Issue

UNITED STATES
Huffington Post

Samantha Parent Walravens

As Catholic cardinals from around the world gather to elect a new pope, they face the growing ire of an international community that has lost confidence in the moral integrity of the Church. New details are emerging every day about Catholic priests who have committed acts of child sexual abuse and a Church hierarchy that has for decades worked to protect them.

Amid all the names, the one that has attracted the most anger in the U.S. is Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles. Last month, a court ordered the release of files relating to more than 120 priests accused of child sex abuse which showed that Mahony, along with other officials, had protected the clerics. He was publicly reprimanded by his successor and stripped of his public and administrative duties.

The Catholic Church is in crisis, no doubt. The next pope will be bogged down for years in ongoing worldwide investigations, civil litigation and criminal prosecutions of Church officials. He faces the even tougher job of regaining the diminishing trust of many Catholics who have left the Church out of frustration and disgust.

While the media has chosen to focus on the wrongdoings of the Catholic Church, the problem of child sexual abuse -- and its cover up -- is by no means unique to this one religion. Over the past year, we have seen evidence of several other organizations where moral integrity is a given (including the Boy Scouts of America, Penn State University and an Orthodox Jewish community in London) fall prey to widespread child sexual abuse. Like the Catholic Church, these institutions chose to protect themselves and their own image rather than the lives of innocent victims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 AM

Questions over police role in church abuse handling process

AUSTRALIA
Radio Australia

[with video]

Updated 28 February 2013
By Suzanne Smith

New South Wales police are facing fresh questions over whether they forged an unhealthy relationship with the Catholic Church in dealing with sexual abuse allegations against priests.

Lateline can reveal that for eight years to 2004, a senior police officer was an integral part of Towards Healing, the church's internal process for handling sexual abuse cases.

The state's former director of public prosecutions says that was a serious conflict of interest for police and should never have been approved.

In the mid-1990s, the Wood royal commission into police corruption was highlighting the need for greater child protection measures in the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 AM

Catholic Church harassed sex abuse victims, inquiry finds

AUSTRALIA
NEWS.com.au

THE Catholic Church harassed victims of sexual abuse and coerced them into signing legal settlements, a Victorian inquiry has heard.

The parliamentary inquiry into sexual abuse within religious organisations heard personal accounts from a number of victims in Ballarat today.

One victim who was bashed and molested by two Christian brothers in the 1970s, said private detectives hired by the church had called victims asking them if they were continuing with their complaints.

He told the inquiry he had received such a call himself.

He said he threatened the caller before telling police.

"This is what happens when you go against an organisation such as the church. They harass you," he said.

Another victim said he had felt coerced into accepting a settlement under the church's Towards Healing program.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 AM

Church blame in the frame

AUSTRALIA
Eureka Street

Frank Brennan February 28, 2013

Last night I attended the opening night of the Big Picture Film Festival in Sydney. The festival is the brainchild of the Reverend Bill Crews who sees a place for film enhancing the community's commitment to social justice.

On the very eve of Pope Benedict's last day in office, the program included the Australian premiere of the American documentary about clerical sexual abuse Silence in the House of God: Mea Maxima Culpa followed by a panel discussion with Tom Keneally, Geraldine Doogue and myself. It was a very confronting and draining night, particularly for me, the one Catholic priest in the audience.

Crews introduced the festival declaring that the common theme of all films chosen for the week was 'Hope'. For the next 90 minutes the audience took in the relentless and overwhelming portrayal of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church presented by producer Alex Gibney, focusing on the horrendous case of Fr Lawrence Murphy, who abused up to 200 children at a school for the deaf in Milwaukee.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 AM

Pope Benedict could face court over sex crimes in the church

AUSTRALIA
The Conversation

Not a day goes by without further allegations of rape and sexual abuse being made against the Catholic Church. The vast majority of accusations relate to abuse perpetrated outside the Vatican’s walls, in dioceses around the world. Evidence suggests, however, that high ranking members of the Church’s hierarchy were well aware of these despicable acts and actively shielded the perpetrators from criminal investigations. This has led to repeatedcalls for Benedict XVI to be held personally accountable for the grave harm inflicted on innumerable children.

To date, attempts to prosecute Benedict have been stymied by his immunity as the Head of State of the Vatican City. His resignation, however, changes the game and opens up the possibility that warrants will now be issued for his arrest.

Prosecuting a former head of state

The status of the Holy See and the Vatican under international law is anomalous. But for all intents and purposes, the Vatican City has been equated to a sovereign state since the Lateran Treaty of 1929, with the Pope as its head. International law accords complete immunity to heads of state from the jurisdiction of other states while they are in office. They retain this immunity with respect to acts performed in an official capacity even after leaving office.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

'Benedict left pedophilia unaddressed, victims still suffering'

VATICAN CITY
RT

[with video]

There is little hope that even with Pope Benedict XVI stepping down, the Catholic Church will see an end to high-profile pedophile scandals. All Catholic clergy are culpable, David Lorenz of a priest abuse survivor network told RT.

Nothing has been done by the current pope to support the victims of pedophile priests, and nothing will be done in the next papacy, Lorenz said.

David Lorenz: We are working to raise awareness for sexual abuse crimes crisis that's plagued the church a minimum of 25 years, if not hundreds of years longer. We want the church to take real action. There's been a lot of words and a lot of apologies, but there hasn't been a lot of action and we want those people who have sexually abused children to be held accountable.

RT: According to Pope Benedict, he decided to resign for health reasons. How much do you think his decision is actually connected to the numerous scandals surrounding the Vatican?

DL: There certainly are a lot of rumors and I hate to speculate on their truthfulness. I will say that clearly the sexual abuse crisis during his pontificate has probably weighted heavy on his mind. It's been difficult for him, it continually comes up. And it continually comes up primarily out of his own failings. He has not fully addressed it, he said some nice words but it hasn't been a lot of really true action. It has distracted him, it was something he had to deal with during his entire time. And it probably has caused him to wear out. If he'd only addressed it, I think it would have been a lot better.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:21 AM

As Pope Resigns, Clergy Abuse Survivors Remember 2008 Meeting

MASSACHUSETTS
KOSU

Filed by KOSU News
February 27, 2013

Among those watching the papal transition closely are survivors of clergy sexual abuse, including a handful who were selected to meet with Pope Benedict XVI five years ago as the crisis raged.

The group left the meeting hopeful that that Benedict would make significant changes in how the church handled both past and current cases. Among those at the meeting were Olan Horne and Bernie McDaid.

It would be hard to blame Horne or McDaid for being cynical, having survived repeated sexual abuse by their priest only to find out that it had also happened to thousands of others and was covered up by the church. It’s little wonder they reacted as they did when they heard the pope was resigning.

“My mind just immediately went to that there was a scandal or something behind it,” says Horne.

Since then Horne has read the stories swirling around and heard the news that Britain’s most senior Catholic cleric resigned amid allegations of inappropriate behavior with priests. Secrets have a way of coming out, Horne says, not that it brings him any satisfaction.

“My intent never was to inflict shame and damage. I’ve come from shame and damage. I want to work the problem. I don’t want to work the Catholic Church,” says Horne.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 AM

Priests ‘should report confessed abuse'

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

By Patrick Caruana
From: AAP
February 28, 2013

CATHOLIC priests who hear confessions about the sexual abuse of children should be obliged to report the crimes to police, a Victorian inquiry has heard.

Priests aren't subject to mandatory reporting requirements if they suspect child abuse and are obliged by the church to keep secret anything divulged to them during confessions.

Former Victorian MP and lawyer Dianne Haddin says laws covering the church's disclosure obligations need to be toughened.

The protection of children must be paramount, Ms Haddin told a parliamentary inquiry into sexual abuse within religious organisations in Victoria.

"We can no longer accept that a priest can abuse a child and continue to abuse a child and be protected by the church and canon law," she told the inquiry in Ballarat on Thursday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 AM

Vatici-can't: Catholic church debacle

UNITED STATES
fsunews

Written by
Adrian Chamberlin
Senior Staff Writer

Pope Benedict XVI made history when he announced he would resign at the end of February, citing his poor health as the reason for his decision. Unfortunately, being the first pope in 598 years to resign will not be the only legacy Benedict XVI leaves behind.

Much of Benedict’s papal reign has been tarnished by continued allegations claiming the Catholic Church participated in covering up instances of sexual abuse done by their priests. The latest news in this scandal also happens to be one of the pope’s last acts in office and concerns the resignation of a high-level official.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the Archbishop of Scotland, had previously announced to the pope and to the public he would resign effective upon his 75th birthday on March 17. In spite of this, O’Brien’s resignation was made effective immediately via official word of the pope, in light of his imminent resignation.

By itself, this does not seem too shocking; the pope appears to be cleaning up shop on his way out. The truth, however, is much more suspicious.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:13 AM

Abuse victims speak out

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

By Fiona Henderson
Feb. 28, 2013

TWO teachers told a parliamentary inquiry into child sexual abuse by religious organisations that their careers had been destroyed for trying to expose offenders.

Anne Ryan resigned from a 25-year career while Michael Crowe hasn't worked since 2010 for trying to report inappropriate behaviour by a parish priest.

Ms Ryan said her entire career had been spent teaching in the Ballarat diocese until she began to have concerns about sexual abuse.She complained to the then Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns - who she said described paedophilia as an "illness" - and representative Catholic bodies, but was ignored.

"Due to the inaction within the church, I began to use my voice more publicly," Ms Ryan said."I contacted Broken Rites, I wrote letters to the editor, I even went on a Four Corners program to try to raise the issue.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 AM

Pope Benedict's retirement has many European Catholics hoping for reform

EUROPE
CBC News (Canada)

By Karen Pauls, CBC News

Posted: Feb 28, 2013

Many devout Catholics in Europe feel that church doctrine and social reality have drifted too far apart - and that it’s time for a change.

But no matter who is chosen as the new pope, it won’t be enough to spur Chris Fischer to return to the parish pews.

“For me it’s over, it’s really over. Because I think there are so many things they [the Catholic Church] have to change,” he says, taking a deep breath and gazing out the window of a restaurant near the Munich Cathedral.

Fischer and countless others say they have been victimized twice. First, by priests or nuns who sexually or physically abused them. Second, by a church structure that protected the perpetrators and has been slow to offer help and healing to the victims.

Fischer was 12 years old when he was sent to a boarding school in southern Germany run by a Vatican missionary order.

“The sexual abuse usually took place in the evening. The priest would come to our bed and … touched us,” Fischer says, haltingly and mostly in German, adding that he doesn’t remember all the details.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:06 AM

Do You Trust the Catholic Church With Your Children?

GEORGIA
Patch

By Adrianne Murchison

When news of Pope Benedict’s resignation was released, the first thought that came to many minds was that it must be related to a child sexual abuse scandal. Are children safe within the Catholic Church - Sandy Springs and North Fulton included?

Today is Pope Benedict XVI's final day as the leader of Catholics around the world. Stories swirling around his resignation prompts many questions. The most pressing one: Are children safe within the Catholic Church - Sandy Springs and North Fulton included?

Last week, during a "CBS This Morning" town hall segment on the state of the Catholic Church, a mother said, “At this point, if I had to leave my child with a priest for him to watch him for the day, that would not happen.”

In full disclosure, I am Catholic. But as much as I love the holiness of the Catholic experience I have never been fully in step with the rules.

When news broke of Pope Benedict’s resignation, the first thought that came to my mind, and many others, was that it must be related to a child sexual abuse scandal.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:03 AM

New Evidence Surfaces Against Catholic Priests Accused Of Sexual Abuse, Claims Gloria Allred

CALIFORNIA
Radar

By Jen Heger

On Pope Benedict XVI’s final day as head of the Catholic Church, attorney Gloria Allred, and her client, Rita Milla, who went public in 1984 and filed a lawsuit against the church, accusing seven priests of sexual abuse, will hold a news conference in Los Angeles on Thursday to discuss newly revealed documents about the case that point to a massive cover-up and obstruction of justice by the Archdiocese, RadarOnline.com is exclusively reporting.

The famed civil rights attorney filed the groundbreaking lawsuit almost two decades before the priest sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church made international headlines. On the day that Allred filed the lawsuit on Milla’s behalf in 1984, all seven priests mysteriously disappeared from their parishes. Milla filed the lawsuit after giving birth to a child fathered by one of the priests.

According to a Los Angeles Times report from June of 1991, then-Archbishop Roger Mahony held a news conference and said, “The responsibility for apologies rests on the priests who misused their vow of priestly celibacy, not on the archdiocese,” which had supervised them and advised one of them to stay out of the United States after the story broke. On the same day, a former priest, Rev. Santiago (Henry) Tamayo, publicly apologized to Milla, and he admitted to having a sexual relationship with her.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 AM

February 27, 2013

Pell critical of Pope as he bids farewell

ROME
Hobsons Bay Weekly (Australia)

ROME: A frail Pope Benedict made his public farewell to the world's Catholics on Wednesday morning, hours after one of his closest allies - Sydney Archbishop George Pell - criticised his decision to resign and said the church needed a stronger leader.

Cardinal Pell, who was close to the Pope when both served on the key Vatican watchdog congregation and played an important role gathering support for him at the 2005 conclave at which Benedict was elected, said the resignation created a precedent and left the church in an even more uncertain position.

Cardinal Pell, Australia's only voter at the coming papal election, was unexpectedly candid in a television interview.

He said: ''People who, for example, might disagree with a future pope will mount a campaign to get him to resign.''

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:49 PM

Chicago Catholic Archdiocese cuts jobs, closes schools

CHICAGO (IL)
KGMI

By Mary Wisniewski

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago announced on Wednesday that it had suffered setbacks during the economic downturn and would cut about 14 percent of jobs in its central offices, as well as close or consolidate 5 schools.

Chicago Cardinal Francis George wrote about the cuts in a column on the archdiocesan website -- he has gone to Rome for the conclave to choose the next pope to replace Pope Benedict XVI, who gave his last general audience Wednesday.

The Chicago Archdiocese is the third-largest in the country, with 2.3 million members.

George said that administration operations have run operating deficits of more than $30 million in each of the past four years and the trend is "unsustainable."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:46 PM

Michael Kelly: Cardinal’s crisis is not whole faith’s

SCOTLAND
Scotsman

By MICHAEL KELLY
Published on Thursday 28 February 2013

ALLEGATIONS against Keith O’Brien elicit more compassion than anger from Catholics. The Church faces far more important issues, writes Michael Kelly

I never realised that there were so many opinion formers who were Catholics. However, this week I’ve met them all traipsing in and out of radio and television studios pontificating on the sensation that has surrounded the resignation of Keith O’Brien as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, squeezed between the horsemeat horror and balloons in Egypt. For the few remaining conspiracy theorists, I should emphasise that I did not previously know them all to be Catholics, much less agree a party line with them to defend the Church. But I found a common thread among those gurus that I did manage to say a brief hello to as we passed each other on the way to and from the cameras.

There were no funereal tones or glum faces. This was to the grave disappointment of producers and the puzzlement of presenters, who clearly were expecting a flagellation of all things Roman. But the O’Brien scandal is not the crisis for the Church that the media is portraying. The main reaction I have had from “ordinary” Catholics is one of sorrow and compassion for all of those involved, which is exactly what one would expect from any Christian. There is, of course, shock and disappointment and some anger. But most are able to distinguish quite clearly between the dogma and doctrines of the Church, which we are all obliged to follow, however errantly and despite human frailty.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:39 PM

Additional accusation surface against Anchorage priest

ALASKA
Roman Catholic Diocese of Anchorage

Process underway to remove J. Michael Hornick from priesthood

CatholicAnchor.org

Two new accusations of inappropriate physical relationships have surfaced in regards to J. Michael Hornick, a priest of the Anchorage Archdiocese. Hornick was suspended from all priestly duties in 2011 for similar accusations with three separate women.

The new allegations, from two adult women, accuse Hornick of inappropriate behavior when the alleged victims were minors.

Following the Anchorage Archdiocese’s protocols for the protection of children and vulnerable adults, the Anchorage Police Department was immediately contacted in both cases.

The process to permanently prohibit Hornick from practicing as a priest will begin through an internal church court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 PM

Anchorage Priest's Counsel Denies Allegations by Women

ALASKA
KTUU

By Chris Klint
Channel 2 News
KTUU
3:13 p.m. AKST, February 27, 2013

ANCHORAGE, Alaska—

The attorney for an Anchorage priest accused of improper conduct with five women says the allegations are unfounded, and that he will fight attempts by the Catholic Archdiocese of Anchorage to defrock him.

Father J. Michael Hornick was named in a Tuesday statement from the archdiocese as the source of allegations from five women that he engaged in inappropriate physical contact with them -- two of whom recently came forward, saying the incidents occurred decades ago when they were minors.

Hornick’s attorney, Wayne Anthony Ross, says in a Wednesday statement that Hornick hasn’t seen details on the new claims against him, but “vehemently denies” them.

“Such allegations are easily made and one made, they cannot be recalled and unfairly tarnish the reputation of Father Hornick, who has faithfully performed his priestly duties for over forty years,” Ross said.

Ross also said the public release of the new information about Hornick was unfair to his side of the story.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:34 PM

Tod Brown's Perpetual Pedo-Priest Parade!

CALIFORNIA
Orange County Weekly

Documents released by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles shows again how the Orange diocese is still not telling the full story of its sex-abuse scandal

By GUSTAVO ARELLANO Thursday, Feb 28 2013

Over the past month, Southern Californians have largely turned their backs in communal revulsion at former Archdiocese of Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony. The outcry emerged after a judge forced the archdiocese to release tens of thousands of pages of once-secret priestly personnel files that told in exacting detail how Mahony and his cronies tried to shield pedophile priests from the law during his career. Because of his inactions, Mahony is now largely exiled from church life, his name forever tainted in any future analyses of his career.

Of course, the vile revelations are nothing new to longtime watchers of the Catholic Church—indeed, some of the breathless tales heralded by major media outlets as exclusives have circulated in the Catholic and alternative press for more than a decade. But the episode at least shows that members of the public will attack the church hierarchy once damning evidence is shoved in their faces. So there's hope that another major Catholic figure will emerge with his reputation in further tatters after the LA document dump: former Diocese of Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown.

He retired quietly late last year per Vatican rules requiring bishops to step down at age 75, and successor Kevin W. Vann has gamely tried to have OC's 1.2 million Catholics remember Brown for his last-minute purchase of the former Crystal Cathedral (to be renamed Christ Cathedral) in 2011 instead of the $100 million-plus in sex-abuse settlements Brown had to sign off on during his term. But while the LA Archdiocese published almost all of its pedo-priests files on its website (it took a judge to do this, but still), it's more than Brown ever did. When asked in 2005 if he'd publicly publish Diocese of Orange pedo-priests files that a judge forced him to hand over to lawyers, Brown flat-out refused and didn't bother giving a reason for the secrecy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:32 PM

Will new pope open door for women priests?

CANADA
CBC News

Aleksandra Sagan, CBC News

Posted: Feb 27, 2013

As Pope Benedict XVI prepares to retire this week, and the College of Cardinals readies to elect a new Roman Catholic Church leader, many wonder if Benedict's successor will take a more liberal position on women joining the priesthood, a sacrament currently forbidden to women.

'Whereas the Western world may be ready for women clergy ... a lot of the world is just not ready for that yet.'—Terence Fay, theology teacher

"Respecting women and giving them a larger role in the church is very important," Terence Fay, a Jesuit priest who teaches at the University of Toronto's school of theology, told CBC News. "But, that takes time to move in that direction."

He said the pope is the CEO of the largest corporation in the world and, like any administrator moving into a new leadership position, can only move so much on the political spectrum during a term. Making radical changes — such as starting to ordain women — would destroy the pope's constituency, he said.

"Whereas the Western world may be ready for women clergy and so forth, a lot of the world is just not ready for that yet," said Fay.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:27 PM

Sex Abuse Victims Ask Pope To Act Before Leaving

FLORIDA
CBS Miami

MIAMI (CBS4) – In Rome Wednesday, Pope Benedict took a final lap around St. Peter’s Square and delivered a goodbye address to hundreds of thousands of cheering, adoring faithful.

In Miami, bells were tolling at the Archdiocese as advocates for alleged victims of sex abuse by Catholic priests called on the out-going Pope to fully reveal the scope of the Church’s sex scandals.

“This case implicates the Vatican,” said attorney Jeffrey Herman, referring to “John Doe #97,” now 52-years-old, who has filed suit accusing a disgraced, defrocked priest of sexually abusing him as a child at Our Lady of Divine Providence church in Miami-Dade.

Advocates for children of sex abuse by men of the cloth called for the departing Pope to fully confess the sins of the Catholic fathers.

“The Vatican is still protecting priests, is still not transparent, and is still not coming clean,” said Herman.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:25 PM

Mum's the word: Cardinals let on little to journalists after Benedict XVI’s last General Audience

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Insider

There were about seventy cardinals present at St. Peter’s for this morning’s General Audience. Mahony, Pell, Wuerl and Marx were all there but did not issue many comments to the press

Vatican Insider staff
Rome

Cardinal Roger Mahony seems seraphic despite the accusations against him for covering up sexual crimes in the Church. He was one of the first to appear in the crowd that was pouring out of St. Peter’s Square after Benedict XVI’s last General Audience today. Journalists recognised him, went after him and tried asking him some questions. “God bless you!” the cardinal responded, smiling, and then slipped away.

Seventy out of the 208 cardinals were present in St. Peter’s Square this morning. There were lots of Curia members and some papabili present, but also a number of important absences. The papacy becomes vacant at 8 pm on 28 February and many of the 115 cardinal electors have still not arrived in Rome. Nearer the time of the Conclave, cardinals will stay inside the Vatican, in the Domus Sanctæ Marthæ. Before then, they will be staying in various parts of Rome.

Imposing Australian archbishop, George Pell, gives a few half answers to journalists. Will it be a long Conclave? “Who knows, I doubt it, but I don’t know.” Will it begin before 15 March? “Maybe a bit before, maybe.” There are “obviously” no splits in College of Cardinals. Will the next Pope be Italian? “The best cardinal will be the next Pope!” Will it be you? “No! It is possible an Italian may be chosen…”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:02 PM

Second Act

VATICAN CITY
Time

By Howard Chua-Eoan Monday, Feb. 25, 2013

The pilgrimage had seemed rather random, but its significance is finally clear. On April 28, 2009, while visiting the earthquake-stricken city of L'Aquila in central Italy, Benedict XVI paid a visit to the nearby tomb of Celestine V, a 13th century Pope who reigned for only five months. After pausing in silent prayer, Benedict left his predecessor a gift: his pallium, a liturgical vestment he received when he started his pontificate in 2005. Celestine's claim to fame--and infamy--was his resignation from the office of the papacy, choosing instead to return to a hermit's life. For that, the Roman Catholic Church eventually made him a saint. For the same act--the so-called Great Refusal--Dante Alighieri damned Celestine to the torments of the Inferno.

Benedict may well have reflected on Celestine's dual fate before announcing, two days before Lent, that he would resign on Feb. 28. "The Pope must have felt very lonely in taking this decision," says a well-placed member of the Curia, the secretive bureaucracy that runs the Vatican. "After all, there is no one higher up than him to defer the choice to. Above him, there is only God." The papal announcement, delivered in Latin, stunned the church. Here was a Pope, in the ultimate exercise of free will, giving up his throne and his role as the Vicar of Christ. The last time that happened was 1415, when Gregory VII resigned as part of a negotiated deal to end the schism that had divided the church between rival papacies for close to 40 years.

There is no existential crisis to resolve this time. But Benedict's abdication may transform the church he has ruled for almost eight years of both intractable controversy and burgeoning growth. He cited his physical condition, at age 85, as a reason for stepping down, and his brother Georg indicated that doctors have advised the Pontiff to give up transoceanic flights. The Pope has lived with a pacemaker since before ascending to the throne, and the Vatican acknowledged that its battery was recently replaced as part of regular maintenance. But unless Benedict's health deteriorates rapidly, he will not only see the election of his successor but also watch the new Pontiff take his first steps in the job. That convergence is likely to have huge implications--and perhaps complications.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:46 PM

Will the new pope be open to change?

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

by Pat Perriello | Feb. 27, 2013

Two contrasting viewpoints from NCR's John Allen and Time magazine suggest that possibilities exist for either a conservative or more progressive successor to Benedict XVI.

I would put my money on Allen, as he is second to none on reporting on the Vatican. Yet there is perhaps much to learn from both articles. Certainly, as Allen intimates, progressivity is a relative issue. The new pope is not likely to say that abortion is a good thing, nor should he. Yet even the Time magazine article makes clear that simply by resigning, Benedict XVI has initiated a change in the governance of the church.

So what can we expect from a new pope? Everyone is speculating, so let me share my thoughts on the subject and encourage the readership to do so as well. First of all, what would I look for in a pope? Certainly he needs to be holy and a man of prayer. He needs to exemplify Gospel values, a preference for the poor and a commitment to social justice for all people. He needs to be thoughtful and learned. He needs to have experiences that go beyond the walls of the Vatican and chancery responsibilities. A parish ministry background is a must. He must be patently pastoral and open to the world around him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:44 PM

Cardinal O’Malley in Rome as pope prepares to step down

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Herald

By
Colneth Smiley Jr. / Boston Herald

Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley flew to Rome last night, where he will join other cardinals tomorrow as they meet with Pope Benedict XVI for the final time before the pontiff steps down.

The Archdiocese of Boston today released a photograph of Cardinal O’Malley reading a newspaper onboard his flight to Rome.

Vatican watchers last week were circulating O’Malley’s name as a possible successor to the pope. But O’Malley, who has been praised for his handling of the Catholic priest sex abuse scandal in the United States, has said he has no interest in the post.

“In these days, there will be endless speculation about candidates and outcomes. I assure you no cardinal goes into the conclave with the ambition of being chosen for this overwhelming responsibility,” O’Malley said last week.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:41 PM

Why We Wait for a Non-European Pope

VATICAN CITY
Religion & Politics

By Tiffany Stanley | February 27, 2013

As Pope Benedict steps down this week, speculation stirs that the next pontiff could be a man of color or from outside Europe. And while many qualifications trump nationality when it comes picking the leader of 1.1 billion Catholics, an end to the European dominance of the Holy See is still an enticing suggestion. On his Sirius XM radio show last week, Cardinal Timothy Dolan mused that it was “highly possible” there might be a pope from the Americas or Asia or Africa. The former cardinal of Washington told the National Catholic Reporter that he thought the church was ready for a pope outside the West. The Pew Research Center found that most American Catholics (60 percent) think it would be good for the next pope to come from the developing world, hailing from South America, Africa, or Asia.

For some, a pope from the Global South would offer a new perspective, energizing a church faced with the challenges of the modern world. The move could signal an overcoming of past injustice, a herald that all parts of the church hold equal weight within the body. “I think it would send the message to the global church that they recognize the present and future of the church, and that they want to give voice and authority to what’s increasingly becoming the majority,” says Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado, a professor of religion at the University of Miami who specializes in theologies of the Americas. “It says you are really a part of the authentic church, not just the colonized church.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:36 PM

Pope Benedict named in sexual abuse lawsuit

TEXAS
WCSC

SAN ANTONIO (KENS/CBS) – A woman whose son committed suicide is filing a lawsuit against the man she believes is responsible for his death – the pope.

Barbara Boehland said her son killed himself after suffering sexual abuse from a priest while he was a student.

Boehland is the director of the San Antonio chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). The organization has asked the international crime court to open up an investigation requesting the prosecution of high-level Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict XVI and several of his cardinals, as criminally responsible for aiding and abetting these crimes.

This includes moving priests to different locations after an alleged sexual incident has happened.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:33 PM

Fitchburg priest gets suspended sentence for child porn, thefts

WORCESTER (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

By Gary V. Murray TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
gmurray@telegram.com

WORCESTER — A Fitchburg priest has been placed on probation with a suspended jail sentence hanging over his head after pleading guilty to child pornography and larceny charges.

The Rev. Lowe B. Dongor, 37, who fled to his native Philippines after being charged with the crimes, entered guilty pleas this afternoon in Worcester Superior Court to charges of possessing child pornography that was found on his laptop computer and larceny of more than $250 from St. Joseph's Parish in Fitchburg, where he had formerly been assigned.

Judge Janet Kenton-Walker sentenced Rev. Dongor, who was previously relieved of his priestly duties, to 2-1/2 years in the House of Correction, but suspended the sentence for 5 years with probation. The judge imposed conditions of probation that included sex offender registration and counseling, no unsupervised contact with children under age 16, GPS monitoring and the payment of $750 in restitution.

The sentence imposed by Judge Kenton-Walker was requested by his lawyer, Shane W. Surrette. Assistant District Attorney Courtney Sans recommended the Roman Catholic priest, the Diocese of Worcester's first Filipino priest, be sentenced to 1 to 3 years in state prison with probation to follow.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:31 PM

Victim forgives disgraced priest for abuse

CANADA
CBC News

Retired priest George Smith was in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in Corner Brook for sentencing Wednesday.

Smith, 75, pleaded guilty to 41 sex-related offences and has been in jail for more than a year.

Of those charges, 26 are for indecent assault, seven for sexual assault, and eight for assault.

A total of 13 victims have come forward, all of them either former altar boys or those who had families involved with the churches where Smith was parish priest.

During the reading of the agreed statement of facts, a pattern was presented for each victim.

They said they would be asked to go to Smith's home to help with tasks, and Smith would give the boys alcohol. They would drink until they either passed out or fell asleep, often waking up while Smith was touching or fondling them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:29 PM

NYT coloca a Errázuriz en lista de cardenales cuestionados para elegir a nuevo Papa

CHILE
El Mostrador

Un reportaje publicado por el diario estadounidense New York Times menciona al cardenal, Francisco Javier Errázuriz, como uno de los prelados considerados “cuestionables” en su lucha contra los abusos sexuales de sacerdotes a menores de edad y que participarán en el proceso para elegir al nuevo Papa.

El reportaje denominado “Ahora reunidos en Roma, un cónclave de cardenales cuestionables” se enmarca dentro los hechos que ha tenido que enfrentar la Iglesia Católica ante diversas acusaciones de abusos sexuales, siendo lo último la renuncia del cardenal británico Keith O’Brian, quien fue acusado de “conductas inapropiadas” por tres sacerdotes y un ex prelado.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:26 PM

No Rio, padre é indiciado por abuso de duas menores

BRASIL
Veja

Vídeo mostra padre Emilson Soares Corrêa tendo relações sexuais com uma das meninas dentro da casa paroquial. Uma delas, segundo o pai das vítimas, teria 15 anos na época do crime

No momento em que a renúncia do papa Bento XVI chama a atenção para uma série de denúncias de abusos sexuais cometidos por padres, um caso assustador é descoberto no Rio de Janeiro, na cidade de Niterói, a 13 quilômetros da capital. O padre Emilson Soares Corrêa foi indiciado pela Polícia Civil por estupro de vulnerável. O pai de duas meninas, uma com 19 e outra com 10, afirma que o padre abusou das duas. Segundo a denúncia, Emilson tocou as partes íntimas da mais nova, quando tinha 7 anos, e mantinha relações sexuais com a mais velha, desde os 15 anos da jovem.

Segundo a arquidiocese de Niterói, Emilson, de 56 anos, está afastado desde outubro do ano passado. Até então, o padre era o responsável pela igreja Nossa Senhora do Rosário e São Benedito. A irmã mais velha com quem Emilson teve relações sexuais dentro da paroquia era coroinha da igreja. Ela foi batizada aos 13 anos pelo padre, que também foi escolhido pela família da menina como padrinho.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:23 PM

Padre irá responder por estupro de jovem em Niterói

BRASIL
Correio de Brasil

27/2/2013

A Polícia Civil indiciou nesta quarta-feira o padre Emilson Soares Corrêa, de 56 anos, afastado da Igreja Católica, por estupro de vulnerável de duas irmãs em Niterói, na Região Metropolitana do Rio. Uma delas teria 7 anos quando o caso ocorreu, há três anos. A outra irmã, atualmente com 19 anos, disse ter feito sexo oral com o padre quando tinha 13 anos.

O pai das meninas, o técnico em refrigeração Ubiratan Homsi, foi indiciado pelo crime de extorsão. Segundo a delegada Marta Dominguez, da Delegacia Especial de Apoio à Mulher (Deam) de Niterói, testemunhas do padre e a mãe da jovem de 19 anos confirmaram em depoimento que o pai tentou obter vantagens financeiras ao mostrar ao padre o vídeo em que o religioso aparece fazendo sexo com uma menor de 15 anos.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:21 PM

Brazilian priest under investigation for alleged sexual abuse of 3 young girls

BRAZIL
Fox News

Published February 27, 2013

Associated Press

SAO PAULO – Police are investigating a Roman Catholic priest for alleged sexual abuse of three young girls in his parish in southeastern Brazil.

A police spokeswoman says Father Emilson Soares Correa is under investigation for committing the abuse in Niteroi, a city across Guanabara Bay from Rio de Janeiro. She declined to be identified in accordance with department policy.

The priest has been temporarily suspended during the investigation.

The spokeswoman said Wednesday that one of the girls, now a 19-year-old woman, claims the abuse started when she was 13.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:18 PM

Pope Benedict speaks of church's stormy waters in final papal audience

VATICAN CITY
CNN

[with video]

By Laura Smith-Spark and Barbie Latza Nadeau, CNN
Wed February 27, 2013

Rome (CNN) -- In front of rapt crowds, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of moments of struggle as well as joy Wednesday during his final public address from a stage set up in St. Peter's Square.

In an unusually personal message, he said there had been "many days of sunshine" but also "times when the water was rough ... and the Lord seemed to sleep."

But even as the church passes through stormy seas, God will "not let her sink," he added, in what was his final general audience before he steps down Thursday evening.

Those words will be seen by many as a comment on the series of child sex abuse scandals and corruption claims that have rocked the Roman Catholic Church in the course of his pontificate. ...

Meanwhile, the cardinals who must elect the new pope are already gathering in Rome, Lombardi said.

The dean cardinal will on Friday summon the cardinals to a general congregation, Lombardi said. That could come as soon as Monday, although the date is not yet fixed.

The cardinal-electors will then decide exactly when to hold the conclave, during which they will select a peer via paper ballot. The voting process will end when only when one cardinal gains two-thirds support.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:16 PM

Pope Appoints Apostolic Administrator

SCOTLAND
Scottish Catholic Media Office

Wednesday 27th February 2013
Pope Appoints Apostolic Administrator

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has appointed the Most Rev. Philip Tartaglia, Archbishop of Glasgow, as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh. With immediate effect, Archbishop Tartaglia will govern the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh until a new Archbishop is appointed.

Archbishop Tartaglia said: “These are painful and distressing times for the Archdiocese, I also feel pained and distressed. With the grace of God, I will do my very best to oversee and govern the Archdiocese until the appointment of a new Archbishop. I ask for your prayers.”

ENDS

Peter Kearney
Director
Catholic Media Office
5 St. Vincent Place
Glasgow
G1 2DH
0141 221 1168
07968 122291
pk@scmo.org
www.scmo.org

Notes for Editors

1.With the resignation of Cardinal O’Brien, the Archdiocese of Edinburgh is canonically a “Vacant See” and will remain so until the appointment of a new Archbishop. The Apostolic Administrator governs until that time.

2. The Apostolic Administrator governs with the authority, obligations and rights of a diocesan bishop.

3. Cardinal O’Brien is now the Archbishop Emeritus of St Andrews and Edinburgh. An Archbishop or Bishop Emeritus has no role in the governance of a diocese.

4. Bishop Stephen Robson will remain as Auxiliary Bishop and will assist Archbishop Tartaglia as his Delegate in the running of the diocese. The office of Vicar General and Vicar Episcopal lapse during the time of the vacant see, as do the Council of Priests and the Pastoral Council. The Offices of Chancellor and Treasurer remain, as does the College of Consultors as an Advisory Council.

5. When there is a vacant see, the diocese is governed by a diocesan administrator who is elected by a group of priests; or by An Apostolic Administrator who is appointed by the Pope. An Apostolic Administrator is often chosen for the governance of an archdiocese/diocese when the see becomes vacant before a new archbishop/ bishop can be appointed.

6. Contrary to some reports, the Apostolic Administrator will not be invited to be involved in any Vatican investigation into the allegations made against Cardinal O’Brien.

7. Archbishop Tartaglia will not be available for interview, but he will release a message to the people of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh later today (Wednesday 27 February)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:09 PM

Message to the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh

SCOTLAND
Scottish Catholic Media Office

Wednesday 27th February 2013

Message to the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh
From Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, Apostolic Administrator

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has appointed me Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh.

These are painful and distressing times for this venerable Archdiocese. You have lost your Cardinal Archbishop in the most difficult of circumstances. I am so sorry for everyone involved and I assure them of my prayers. I too feel pained and distressed. The people of the Archdiocese are having to bear the impact of these sad events as you go about your daily lives in your communities and at work. You have to cope with disturbing media reports and you have to face the questions, the critical comments, the unkind remarks and the jibes.

I want you to know that Bishop Robson, the priests of the Archdiocese and I are one with you in these unfortunate circumstances, and thank you for your faithfulness and love of the Church. At this time, we need more than ever to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ who alone is our Saviour, our Good Shepherd and our Consoler.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:07 PM

Controversial Archbishop takes over Cardinal Keith O'Brien's role

UNITED KINGDOM
The Telegraph

A senior cleric who was forced to apologise after suggesting homosexuality can kill has stepped into the post held by Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s until his resignation.

By John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor
5:09PM GMT 27 Feb 2013

In one of the final acts of his pontificate, Pope Benedict appointed the Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, to run the archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh temporarily.

The Vatican announced that Archbishop Tartaglia, the second most senior Catholic cleric in Scotland, would be the Apostolic Administrator until a permanent successor is found for Cardinal O’Brien.

Cardinal O’Brien stepped down with immediate effect and announced he would not be joining the Conclave to elect the next Pope after allegations of “inappropriate” behaviour with male priests emerged.

He denies the allegations and it in understood he has not been told even who his accusers are.

Archbishop Tartaglia faced a furore last year when comments he made about the death of the Labour MP David Cairns in a speech at Oxford were published.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:04 PM

Gespräche gescheitert. Prof. Dr. Haupert erklärt Mediation für beendet.

DEUTSCHLAND
Initiative EhemaligerJohanneum Homburg

Im Vorfeld des geplanten Gespräches am 2.3.2013 wurde deutlich, dass der Orden, vertreten durch Herrn Dr. Kleer, weiterhin nicht bereit ist, auf die Betroffenen der INITIATIVE zuzugehen und seine seit drei Jahren unveränderte Position zu überdenken.

Um eine Weiterführung der Mediationsgespräche hatte der Orden gebeten, der Mediator hatte sich dazu bereit erklärt und die INITIATIVE zugestimmt.

Ausgangslage der Gespräche war von Seiten der INITIATIVE die Forderung:

1. Anerkennung der Tatsache, dass es weit mehr Täter und Opfer gibt als bisher bestätigt nach folgender Definition entsprechend der Leitlinien

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:02 PM

erneuter Skandal: Gespräche am "Homburger Johanneum" endgültig gescheitert.

DEUTSCHLAD
MissBit

27.02.2013

Gespräche gescheitert. Prof. Dr. Haupert erklärt Mediation für beendet.

Im Vorfeld des geplanten Gespräches am 2.3.2013 wurde deutlich, dass der Orden, vertreten durch Herrn Dr. Kleer, weiterhin nicht bereit ist, auf die Betroffenen der INITIATIVE zuzugehen und seine seit drei Jahren unveränderte Position zu überdenken.

Um eine Weiterführung der Mediationsgespräche hatte der Orden gebeten, der Mediator hatte sich dazu bereit erklärt und die INITIATIVE zugestimmt.

Ausgangslage der Gespräche war von Seiten der INITIATIVE die Forderung:

1. Anerkennung der Tatsache, dass es weit mehr Täter und Opfer gibt als bisher bestätigt nach folgender Definition entsprechend der Leitlinien

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:01 PM

God’s Racket: Why It’s High Time to Shut Down the Vatican Bank

VATICAN CITY
AlterNet

AlterNet / By Lynn Stuart Parramore

February 25, 2013

It’s a place where angels fear to tread; where criminals, frauds and mysterious corpses turn up as regularly as rats in the metro. The Institute for Works of Religion, commonly known as the Vatican bank, was set up in 1942 by Pope Pius XII to manage the vast Vatican finances. Often referred to as the world’s most secret bank, the operation is run by a CEO and overseen by five cardinals who report directly to the Pope.

The bank’s official role is to safeguard and administer property intended for works of religion or charity. The actual activities of the bank are somewhat different. They include money laundering for narcotics traffickers, bribery, skimming charitable funds to enrich priests, and tax evasion for wealthy Italians.

Finance, Vatican-Style

The scandals associated with the Vatican bank, particularly over the last four decades, are so sordid and improbable as to strain the creativity of a supermarket tabloid. The Church’s past offenses of selling indulgences and charging fees for sacraments have been updated for the world of modern finance, complete with shell companies, speculation and secret transfers. (For more on the antecedents of the current bank, see Betty Clermont’s handy synopsis at Daily Kos.) Last year, Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi published a book delving into the intrigue and corruption swirling in a bank that has been answerable to no one. It was an eye-opener.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:58 PM

Ex-Fitchburg priest pleads guilty to child porn, larceny charges

WORCESTER (MA)
Senteinel & Enterprise

WORCESTER -- A former Fitchburg priest pleaded guilty today to possessing child pornography on his computer and stealing from his parish.

At Worcester Superior Court, the Rev. Lowe Dongor was sentenced to five years probation and has to repay $750 in retribution to the Diocese of Worcester.

Timothy Connolly, spokesman for Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr., said prosecution was seeking a one- to three-year state prison sentence for Dongor as well as five years probation.

Dongor pleaded guilty to charges of possession of child pornography and larceny over $250. Charges related to Dongor's escape to the Philippines while on bail were not mentioned and Connolly did not have information on that issue immediately.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:54 PM

Papabile of the Day: The Men Who Could Be Pope

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

by John L. Allen Jr. | Feb. 27, 2013

Rome --
John Allen is offering a profile each day of one of the most frequently touted papabili, or men who could be pope. The old saying in Rome is that he who enters a conclave as pope exits as a cardinal, meaning there's no guarantee one of these men actually will be chosen. They are, however, the leading names drawing buzz in Rome these days, ensuring they will be in the spotlight as the conclave draws near. The profiles of these men also suggest the issues and the qualities other cardinals see as desirable heading into the election.

Back in 2000, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Ray Flynn and writer Robin Moore published a novel called The Accidental Pope. Although they didn't have Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco in mind, if the 70-year-old Italian gets elected, there's a sense the title would fit him like a glove.

When Bagnasco was installed as president of the powerful Italian bishops' conference in 2007, known by its acronym CEI, he was seen as a compromise between competing camps. (CEI, by the way, is the only bishops' conference in the world whose president is named by papal appointment.)

At one level, the contest was between moderates, who wanted Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi of Milan, and conservatives, who wanted someone like Cardinal Angelo Scola (then of Venice, now in Milan) or perhaps Cardinal Carlo Caffarra of Bologna.

In another sense, it pitted Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the über-powerful Vicar of Rome and president of CEI during the John Paul years, against Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Benedict's Secretary of State. That clash wasn't over ideology, but primacy. John Paul had let Ruini do the heavy lifting in Italy, but Bertone aspired to become the new point of reference. Neither wanted a third player in the game, so they settled on Bagnasco, who seemed sufficiently low-profile to stay out of the fray.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:52 PM

New pope could learn lessons from Aust

UNITED KINGDOM/AUSTRALIA
The Australian

Julian Drape, AAP London Correspondent
From: AAP
February 28, 2013

ONE of the harshest critics of outgoing Pope Benedict XVI says his replacement could learn valuable lessons from Australia's royal commission into child sexual abuse.

Australian human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson hopes the commission will propose children not be confirmed in any religion until they turn 14.

And he thinks the new pope could embrace such a change.

Speaking on the eve of Benedict's resignation Mr Robertson said Joseph Ratzinger would be remembered for ignoring the abuse of over 100,000 young children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:37 PM

Landmark ruling over church responsibility after abuse claims

UNITED KINGDOM
Portsmouth News

Published on Wednesday 27 February 2013

THE HIGHEST court in the land has ruled against the Catholic Church in a row over whether it can be held responsible for the sexual abuse of a Waterlooville woman by one of its own priests.

The Supreme Court has refused to hear the Catholic Churches’ case that it could not be held responsible because the priest was not an ‘employee’.

The issue of responsibility arose after the woman, who can only be identified as Miss E, brought a civil action against the church.

She claimed she was abused in a children’s home run by the church and therefore the church has ‘vicarious liability’.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:33 PM

The manner in which Cardinal O'Brien has been deposed ...

UNITED KINGDOM
The Telegraph

The manner in which Cardinal O'Brien has been deposed is more despicable than anything he's alleged to have done

By Brendan O'Neill
Last updated: February 27th, 2013

What did Cardinal Keith O'Brien do that was so bad? He is alleged to have made inappropriate advances to young men when he was a teacher of priests in the 1980s. But is not a crime to make sexual advances to men over the age of 18. It is not child abuse (despite the best efforts of the press to lump O'Brien together with paedophile priests). Nor is what he is alleged to have done perverted in any way. It can at best be described as stupid – and if everyone in Britain who has ever done something stupid was thrown out of their jobs, the nation would grind to a halt.

Ah, but O'Brien's alleged behaviour makes him a hypocrite, say his exposers in the liberal press as they desperately scrabble about for a PC justification for why they are depicting adult gay interaction as something sinister and sordid. Perhaps it does make him a hypocrite, given his current stance on homosexuality. But perhaps not. We know nothing of Cardinal O'Brien's inner spiritual life. For all we know he may have spent the past 30-plus years repenting for that "inappropriate" behaviour in the Eighties, before deciding that, on balance, he thinks that homosexuality is wrong and wicked. People change. People regret. Would we say St Paul was a hypocrite for criticising those who attacked Christians even though he spent his early life doing the same thing?

Now, what do we know about the allegations against O'Brien? We know they are being made by anonymous individuals, which makes it impossible for O'Brien to defend himself. In normal justice scenarios, it is paramount that the accused knows whom he is being accused by so that he can prepare his defence. We know the allegations are unsubstantiated, and will remain so for as long as the accusers are anonymous. They therefore linger in that limbo between rumour and truth. We know the allegations were leaked by someone – perhaps one of the accusers or perhaps someone in the upper echelons of the church – to the press, which immediately politicised them, allowing them to be used for the ideological end of getting one over on the Catholic hierarchy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:47 AM

Cardinal O'Brien's resignation is an opportunity to reform ...

UNITED KINGDOM
The Telegraph

Cardinal O'Brien's resignation is an opportunity to reform Scotland's complacent and philistine Catholic hierarchy

By Damian Thompson
Last updated: February 27th, 2013

Tom Gallagher, professor emeritus of politics at Bradford University, has sent me an article about Catholicism in Scotland that is so thoughtful and provocative that I'm reproducing it here in full. Prof Gallagher's conclusion is upbeat – but the picture he paints is of a sclerotic, philistine and arrogant Church whose weakness has been exploited with deadly effectiveness by the country's secular Labour/SNP/BBC/public-sector elite.

Cardinal O’Brien’s via dolorosa could well be a low road towards eventual oblivion for the bedraggled forces of Scottish Christianity. In Scotland, a defensive set of institutions seeking to uphold a Christian ethical code in the face of an apparently thriving secular culture has been on the retreat for some time.

A secular design for Scotland has flourished due to long-term intra-Christian strife in Scotland, robbing the Churches of broad authority. Operating most of the levers of state power, emphatically secular elites are determined to make their values the only ones that count through law-making and bold interventions at various levels of society.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:45 AM

Former Bankie priest replaces O'Brien

SCOTLAND
Clydebank Post

FORMER Clydebank priest and Glasgow Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, has been appointed Administrator of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh after the departure of Cardinal Keith O'Brien.

He has taken over this role with immediate effect.

Archbishop Tartaglia said: "These are painful and distressing times for the Archdiocese, I also feel pained and distressed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:40 AM

Sentencing hearing for retired priest in Corner Brook

CANADA
CBC

Retired priest George Smith was in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in Corner Brook for sentencing Wednesday.

Smith, 75, pleaded guilty to 41 sex-related offences and has been in jail for more than a year.

Of those charges, 26 are for indecent assault, seven for sexual assault, and eight for assault.

A total of 13 victims have come forward, all of them either altar boys or had families involved with the churches where Smith was parish priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:38 AM

Victim tells court how assault by former priest has affected his life

CANADA
The Western Star

Published on February 27, 2013

Gary Kean

CORNER BROOK One of George Smith’s victims wants to give something back to the former Roman Catholic priest who abused him when he was a child.

The man was one of 13 who suffered sexual assaults at the hands of Smith in western Newfoundland in the 1970s and ’80s when he was a parish priest in their communities.

The man was also one of three victims who read out their victim impact statements during Smith’s sentencing hearing in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in Corner Brook this morning.

The first victim to read his statement carried a crucifix that he said Smith gave him more than three decades ago. He could not give it directly to Smith, but said after court that he hoped to find a way to get it back to him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:35 AM

SHORT TAKES

UNITED STATES
National Survivor Advocates Coalition

Editorial

February 27, 2013

Cardinal Levada: enough is never enough

We read with interest the following quote from Cardinal William Levada who will be an elector in the coming conclave.

‘There are some victims groups for whom enough is never enough, so we have to do our jobs as best we see it,’ said Levada, 76, who spoke with reporters from a Menlo Park seminary as he prepared for his trip to the Vatican for the papal conclave.

The dig at survivors is obvious, of course, from this man who was entrusted with care of souls in a California diocese before being promoted to Pope Benedict’s previous position as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith where the clergy sexual abuse cases were sent.

We have to wonder what Cardinal Levada’s reaction would be if Catholics who sat in the pews where he preached or in the audience at dinners where he spoke simply said to themselves following the homily instructions, “enough goodness, sacrifice, fasting, almsgiving, or prayer will never be enough – why try it?”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:51 AM

Archbishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia appointed ...

SCOTLAND
The Glaswegian

Archbishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia appointed by Pope to fill in for Cardinal Keith O'Brien

Feb 27 2013

THE Archbishop of Glasgow has been named temporary successor to Cardinal Keith O'Brien following his resignation.

Philip Tartaglia will govern the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh until a permanent successor is appointed.

The pope named him as apolistic administrator after Cardinal O'Brien stepped down from the post on Monday amid allegations of "inappropriate" behaviour towards fellow priests.

Cardinal O'Brien has denied the allegations and is taking legal advice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:33 AM

Cardinal Donald Wuerl: American Pope Would Be Unwise

VATICAN CITY
KMBZ

ABC News(VATICAN CITY) -- Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, on Wednesday argued against electing a pope from the United States because the pontiff would be conflicted about delivering the "spiritual challenge" that a superpower needs from time to time.

Speaking with ABC's Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos in Vatican City on Wednesday, Wuerl also commended the pope's final public address and his historic decision to step down, while discussing the unlikely appointment of a U.S. pope at the upcoming Conclave.

"I think the conventional wisdom, which I think is correct, is a pope from the superpower would probably have a lot going against him when he's trying to present a spiritual message to the rest of the world," Wuerl said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:30 AM

Pope Benedict bemoans 'great burden' and loss of privacy as head of church

VATICAN CITY
The Guardian (United Kingdom)

Lizzy Davies in Vatican City
The Guardian, Wednesday 27 February 2013

As his papacy entered its final hours, Pope Benedict XIV admitted on Wednesday that his eight-year spell as head of the Roman Catholic church had had its "difficult moments" when he felt that God "seemed to be sleeping".

Before tens of thousands of pilgrims in St Peter's square who had come to hear his final general audience, the outgoing pope looked tired but serene as he thanked believers for understanding his decision to resign "for the good of the church".

Smiling and waving from an open-sided car, he toured the square, stopping occasionally to bless babies.

In a very personal homily, which differed in tone from his usual Wednesday messages, Benedict recalled that, when he agreed to become pope on 19 April 2005, he felt the calling placed "a great burden" on his shoulders. The eight years that followed, he said, had had moments "of joy and light" but also of difficulty. His papacy was marred by the unfolding clerical abuse scandal in Europe and the United States, and by the so-called Vatileaks affair.

"I have felt like St Peter with the Apostles in the boat on the Sea of Galilee: the Lord has given us many days of sunshine and gentle breeze, days in which the catch has been abundant; [then] there have been times when the seas were rough and the wind against us … and the Lord seemed to be sleeping," he said. ...

Benedict will cease to be pope at 8pm Italian time on Thursday. After a final meeting with cardinals in the morning, he will leave the Vatican City at 5pm by helicopter, making a brief flight to the hilltop town of Castel Gandolfo. There, amid pilgrims, he is expected to make one last public appearance as pope before becoming, instead, "emeritus pope", as he will be styled.

Cardinals, many of whom were massed on the steps of St Peter's basilica alongside Benedict on Wednesday, will then begin consultations ahead of a conclave to choose a successor. The secretive process, which could start as early as next week, is already mired in controversy after the resignation of the Scottish cardinal, Keith O'Brien, who will no longer be attending. Another cardinal, the emeritus archbishop of Los Angeles, Roger Mahony, has withstood pressure from grassroots Catholic activists to stay away after court papers indicated he had helped shield priests accused of sex abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:25 AM

Cardinal Roger Mahony Gripes About “Judgemental, Self-Righteous” Critic

UNITED STATES
Lez Get Real

There is something utterly ironic in a Catholic Cardinal condemning the judgmental attitude of others given that his Church has a long history of condemning people based upon the least little scrap of hearsay; however, Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles did just that. Writing on his personal blog while at the Vatican to vote on the next Pope, Mahony wrote:

“I can’t recall a time such as now when people tend to be so judgmental and even self-righteous, so quick to accuse, judge and condemn. And often with scant real facts and information. Because of news broadcasts now 24/7 there is little or no fact checking; no in-depth analysis; no context or history given. Rather, everything gets reported as ‘news’ regardless of the basis for the item being reported — and passed on by countless other news outlets.”

“Jesus’ message of love and forgiveness has flooded the world over the centuries, and this message has had the power to change hearts and minds. May his challenge this Lent inspire us to do as he asks.”


Mahony has been under attack for not just going to Rome to vote for the next Pope, but for his handling of several child sexual molestation cases including ones that involved priests tying up and raping children. Mahony, who has apologized for his actions in the 1980′s, does not quite seem to grasp why people are so furious over his deliberate interference with police investigations into those crimes.

The blog post comes after Mahony tweeted “Anyone interested in loving your enemies, or doing good to those who persecute you? See my blog for today. Wow, Jesus is demanding.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:23 AM

Pope appoints Cardinal O’Brien’s successor

SCOTLAND
Herald Scotland

Pope Benedict XVI has announced that the Archbishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia will take over the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh following the resignation of Cardinal Keith O’Brien.

Archbishop Tartaglia will act as Apostolic Administrator and govern the archdiocese until a new Archbishop is appointed.

He said: “These are painful and distressing times for the Archdiocese, I also feel pained and distressed. With the grace of God, I will do my very best to oversee and govern the Archdiocese until the appointment of a new Archbishop. I ask for your prayers.”

Cardinal O'Brien announced that he was stepping down with immediate effect on Monday in the wake of allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards young priests.

He had been due to formally submit his resignation in three weeks, but stood down with immediate effect after weekend revelations he was being investigated for the claims, which date back 30 years and relate to three priests and a former priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:19 AM

Pope appoints Apostolic Administrator of Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh

SCOTLAND
Independent Catholic News

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has appointed the Most Rev Philip Tartaglia, Archbishop of Glasgow, as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh. With immediate effect, Archbishop Tartaglia will govern the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh until a new Archbishop is appointed.

Archbishop Tartaglia said: “These are painful and distressing times for the Archdiocese, I also feel pained and distressed. With the grace of God, I will do my very best to oversee and govern the Archdiocese until the appointment of a new Archbishop. I ask for your prayers.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:17 AM

Philip Tartaglia takes over from Cardinal O’Brien

SCOTLAND
Scotsman

By STEPHEN MCGINTY
Published on Wednesday 27 February 2013

IN perhaps the last appointment of his Papacy, Benedict XVI has named Philip Tartaglia, Archbishop of Glasgow as the Apostolic Administrator for the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh following the scandal involving Cardinal O’Brien.

The ‘caretaker’ role will mean the Archbishop will govern the Archdiocese but will have no role in the Vatican’s investigation into the complaints raised about the Cardinal’s alleged ‘inappropriate behaviour’ to four priests.

Yesterday Archbishop Tartaglia said: “These are painful and distressing times for the Archdiocese, I also feel pained and distressed. With the grace of God, I will do my very best to oversee and govern the Archdiocese until the appointment of a new Archbishop. I ask for your prayers.”

Cardinal O’Brien is now the Archbishop Emeritus of St Andrews and Edinburgh, however as an Archbishop Emeritus he no longer has any role in the governance of a diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:14 AM

Pope appoints anti-gay temporary successor to Cardinal Keith O’Brien

SCOTLAND
Gay Star News

27 February 2013 | By Joe Morgan

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed a temporary successor to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh.

Archbishop of Glasgow Reverend Philip Tartaglia will govern the vacant diocese until a permanent appointment is made.

It follows Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who has previously compared gay marriage to slavery, resigned after allegations he initiated inappropriate acts with his male priests.

Archbishop Tartaglia said: 'These are painful and distressing times for the archdiocese, I also feel pained and distressed.

'With the grace of God, I will do my very best to oversee and govern the archdiocese until the appointment of a new archbishop. I ask for your prayers.'

But with Tartaglia’s appointment, it shows the pope is not planning on putting a pro-gay Catholic in charge.

When he was made an archbishop last year, Tartaglia was criticized for connecting former minister David Cairns’ death, who passed away from pancreatic cancer, to his sexuality.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:12 AM

Pope appoints temporary replacement to Cardinal Keith O'Brien

SCOTLAND
BBC News

The Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, has been put in charge of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh.

The move comes after the resignation of Cardinal Keith O'Brien from the post.

He stepped down on Monday amid allegations he behaved "inappropriately" to three serving priests and a former priest.

The church said Archbishop Tartaglia would lead the east coast diocese until a permanent appointment was made.

He has been appointed apostolic administrator of the archdiocese with immediate effect.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:10 AM

Pope names Archbishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia as Cardinal Keith O'Brien's temporary replacement

SCOTLAND
Daily Record

THE Archbishop asked people to pray for him as he took control of the east coast diocese in "painful and distressing times".

A TOP Glasgow Catholic has been named as the temporary replacement for Cardinal Keith O'Brien.

The Archbishop of Glasgow, Rev Philip Tartaglia, will govern the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh.

His appointment comes after the shock resignation of Cardinal Keith O'Brien on Monday

Britain's most senior Catholic stepped down amid allegations he behaved "inappropriately" to three serving priests and a former priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:08 AM

Cardinal Mahony controversy

UNITED STATES
azfamily.com

[with poll]

[with video]

by Jay Crandall
azfamily.com

It is a week when the Catholic Church hoped to look forward, as the College of Cardinals prepares to elect a new pope.

But, instead the church finds itself confronting ghosts of the past.

A British cardinal has resigned amid allegations of inappropriate relationships with priests.

Italian papers are filled with reports of sexual escapades inside the Vatican itself.

And now word that a U.S. cardinal accused of hiding sexual abuse by priests will be among those choosing the new pope, which has many wondering if the Catholic Church is once again turning a blind eye to its own failings.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:00 AM

CA - SNAP blasts Mahony claims of “scant information”

CALIFORNIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by Becky Ianni on February 27, 2013

It's mind boggling and insulting that Mahony claims those who criticize him have ""scant information."

Mahony has a three decade track record of ignoring, hiding and enabling pedophile priests. There are thousands of pages of records disclosed through more than 500 child sex abuse and cover up lawsuits against his archdiocese. There is a weeks-long Stockton trial in the 1990s about an admitted serial pedophile, Fr. Oliver O’Grady, who Mahony supervised. There are almost 300 proven, admitted and credibly accused LA area priests (see BishopAccountabilty.org)

And now there are 12,000 more new pages of documents released weeks ago.

“Scant information?” That’s absurd. The public now knows more about cover ups by Mahony than any other US Catholic official, even more than Cardinal Bernard Law, formerly of Boston and now of Rome.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:55 AM

ROME - Abuse victims want Cardinal Law to stay away too

ROME
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

[Now Gathering in Rome, a Conclave of Fallible Cardinals - New York Times]

Posted by Barbara Dorris on February 27, 2013

Today’s New York Times reports that disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law, while too old to vote for the next pope, is eligible to “participate in the general congregations meetings that precede the conclave.”

We beg Pope Benedict and Cardinal Angelo Sodano (who heads the College of Cardinals) to insist that Law stay away.

His presence and participation hurts in two ways. First it inflicts more suffering on those who have already suffered enough – clergy sex abuse victims and Catholics in Boston and elsewhere.

And it sends precisely the wrong signals to church employees everywhere: “Endanger kids and you’ll rarely and barely pay any price at all. Your career will largely remain unscathed, no matter how irresponsibly and recklessly and deceitfully you behave.”

It’s tough to imagine that Law’s involvement in these meetings will benefit anyone. It’s easy to see, however, how his involvement will hurt many.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:53 AM

Seeing Clerical Corruption in a Larger Light

UNITED STATES
Crisis Magazine

by Regis Martin

It must be because February is so fleeting that one naturally assumes the news cycle will follow suit. Less calendar time translates into fewer stories, right? Wrong. Recent events have blown that thesis completely out of the water. Begin with the announcement of a papal resignation—could anything be more newsworthy? It will take effect by the end of this month, too, leaving the See of Peter officially vacant until a conclave can elect a new pope.

So what else has happened this month? How about the unprecedented public rebuke of retired Cardinal Roger Mahony by his successor, Archbishop Jose Gomez, in the largest Archdiocese in America, the City of Angels no less?

What an extraordinary moment this has been in the life of the Church. And, without doubt, the most stunning humiliation possible for a once popular prelate, who had championed all the hot-button issues so dear to the liberal heart, from farmworkers to immigrants to inmates on Death Row. What had he done to deserve this? He had, in a word, failed to protect children and young boys from sexual abuse by predatory priests. “Nothing in my own background or education,“ he confessed on his blog, equipped him to cope with such a problem. How competent does a Cardinal need to be to recognize and report criminal sex abuse among members of his own clergy? If it requires a masters degree in social work, then what possible use did he make of the one he had earned? On the other hand, one would have thought a class or two in Morals and Canon Law quite enough background for someone charged with the spiritual welfare of four million plus souls. That and a little courage with which to punish priests who set about perverting the young and the innocent.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:50 AM

Sexueller Missbrauch in der Kirche „Wie bei Überlebenden von Folter“

OSTERREICH
Die Presse

Wien/Kb. Von einem „erschreckenden Bild“, das teilweise an Überlebende von Folter erinnert, sprach Psychologin Brigitte Lueger-Schuster am Dienstag bei der Präsentation ihrer Studie über Spätfolgen für Missbrauchsopfer. Rund die Hälfte der Betroffenen leide an schweren „posttraumatischen Belastungsstörungen“, mehr als 80 Prozent zumindest unter einzelnen Symptomen wie Albträumen, Depressionen, Paranoia, sexuellen Problemen und „Flashbacks“. „Eine gesunde Gruppe“ – also Personen, die die Geschehnisse größtenteils überwunden haben – „gibt es nicht“, so Lueger-Schuster bei einem Symposium der Kommission zur Aufarbeitung von Missbrauchsfällen in kirchlichen Institutionen.

Insgesamt wurden für das Forschungsprojekt der Universität Wien die Daten (Berichte, Gutachten) von 448 Missbrauchsopfern (339 Männer und 109 Frauen) analysiert. 185 von ihnen füllten darüber hinaus ausführliche Fragebögen aus, 48 wiederum erklärten sich zu Interviews bereit. Die Täter gingen Lueger-Schuster zufolge zumeist einzeln vor, „aber es gab auch Übergriffe durch zwei oder mehr Kirchenmitarbeiter. Diese sind in allen Kirchenämtern zu finden.“ Den größten Anteil stellten Ordensmitglieder, die in katholisch geführten Institutionen oft als Erzieher fungierten, sowie Pfarrer. Die Schauplätze des Missbrauchs waren meist Heime und Internate, aber auch kirchlich geführte Schulen sowie Pfarren.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:48 AM

HINTERGRUND: Künftiger Papst vor großer Herausforderung

DEUTSCHLAND
N24

Wer auch immer Papst Benedikt XVI. im Amt folgen wird, kann sich kaum auf ruhige Jahre im Vatikan freuen. Viele Probleme, die der katholischen Weltkirche bereits seit Jahren Sorgen bereiten, schwelen weiter. Vor allem sechs große Herausforderungen gilt es zu bewältigen:

MISSBRAUCHSSKANDAL:

In Europa und den USA wurden seit der Jahrtausendewende massenhaft Fälle des Missbrauchs von Kindern und Jugendlichen durch katholische Geistliche bekannt. Im Juni 2010 bat Benedikt XVI. erstmals öffentlich um Entschuldigung und versprach Aufklärung. Viele Kritiker sehen das Bemühen des Vatikans, Licht in die Verfehlungen zu bringen und die Verantwortlichen zu bestrafen, nicht als ausreichend an.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:45 AM

Bishop steps aside due to ill health

IRELAND
UTV

The auxiliary bishop of Armagh, Gerard Clifford, has retired due to ill health.

His resignation after 21 years has been accepted by Pope Benedict.

Bishop Clifford, who was born near Dundalk in Co Louth and ordained as a priest in 1967, has worked closely with Cardinal Sean Brady.

However he is now stepping aside after receiving medical advice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:35 AM

Filipino priests hope Tagle will be next pope

PHILIPPINES
Sun.Star

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

MANY Filipino priests and bishops are hoping that Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, who is second among the youngest cardinals, will have an equal chance to be elected as the next pope.

The 117 Cardinals from all over the world, including Tagle, will arrive Thursday and start converging in the Vatican for the conclave, an election of a new Pope after Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation takes effect Thursday, February 28, 2013.

Msgr. Rey Manuel Monsanto, vicar general of the archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro and parish priest of Nazareno Church, said all Cardinals are candidates as anyone of them can be elected.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:30 AM

The Shape of the Church to Come

UNITED STATES
America Magazine

James Hanvey

Just southeast of Rome stands the small church of St. Mary in Palmis, better known as the Church of Domine Quo Vadis. It takes its name from the legend of St. Peter’s meeting with Christ as he flees persecution in Rome. “Lord, where are you going?” Peter asks. “To Rome to be crucified again,” the Lord replies. Whatever the actual origin of the name, there is a certain familiarity about this Petrine encounter with Christ: It ends in the reversal of what Peter originally had planned. The rest is history.

As the church prepares for Easter and the election of a new successor to Peter, the ancient question remains powerfully relevant, not only for the papacy but for us all. It is not easy at the moment to get a clear sense of where the church is heading. What we do know is that with his resignation, Pope Benedict has separated the office from the person. Even for a moment, he has created a space of reflection, an opportunity to hear Christ ask us the question, Quo vadis? Even more searchingly, in this moment we must ask not only “Where are we going?” but “Where do we desire to go?” ...

The wound of abuse. We need to acknowledge deep desolation and the wound in the church’s heart caused not only by the crisis of abuse but by the way in which it is addressed. We need to accept that it is not the enemies of the church who have exposed this wound, but the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. It is the same Spirit who gives us the grace to act with integrity.

Abuse cannot be addressed by safeguarding procedures alone, necessary though they are. A purely juridical process can never be adequate. To attempt to blame others or a lax secular culture is not only a dangerous denial; it is a sin against the victims and against the Spirit who is their advocate. Though intensely personal, abuse is about an institutional failure and the ecclesial culture that supported it. Only through a deep, humble repentance that begins and desires a sustained metanoia of ecclesial soul and culture can there be healing and renovatio.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:11 AM

Headlines overshadow Pope's final days

UNITED STATES
CNN

[video]

Christiane Amanpour, Robert Hoatson and CNN's Sr. Vatican Analyst John Allen detail the scandals weighing on the Papacy.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 AM

Former Dominican Friar On Vatican Gay Sex Scandal: Homosexuality A 'Ticking Time Bomb' (VIDEO)

UNITED STATES
Huffington Post

[with video]

A former friar believes that homosexuality is a "ticking time bomb" for the Catholic Church.

Days before Pope Benedict XVI is officially set to resign from papal office, two bombshells rocked the Catholic Church.

First, On Feb. 21, an article published in Italy's La Repubblica newspaper alleged that Benedict was influenced to resign by an unsourced report claiming the Vatican has been influenced by multiple internal lobbys, including a gay one. The report also claimed members broke the Sixth Commandment, which is "linked in Catholic doctrine to the proscribing of homosexual acts," according to The Guardian.

Then, three days later, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, known for his anti-gay rhetoric, was accused of "inappropriate" behavior with other priests and offered his resignation.

Mark Dowd, an openly gay man and a former Dominican friar, spoke on Monday with CNN's Christiane Amanpour about the recent gay sex scandals to hit the Catholic Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

How next pope must tackle child sex abuse

UNITED STATES
CNN

By Jeff Anderson, Special to CNN
updated 6:55 AM EST, Wed February 27, 2013

Editor's note: Jeff Anderson is an attorney and the founder of Jeff Anderson and Associates in St. Paul, Minnesota. He has represented survivors of sexual abuse by clergy and other authority figures for 28 years.

(CNN) -- As Pope Benedict XVI steps down, the moral authority and future of the Roman Catholic Church depends on the next pope forcefully dealing with child sex abuse in its ranks.

Benedict had the power to effect fundamental, institutional change from the top that would have protected children of future generations. Benedict failed on child protection and the sexual abuse of children was allowed to continue, with thousands of more cases on his watch.

Before his installation as pope, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was the keeper of the traditional papal secrecy around sexual abuse as the leader of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He issued orders directing cardinals, archbishops and bishops to keep credibly accused priests in ministry, to move them to a different parish or to keep them in the priesthood because they were too young, too infirm or their removal would cause too much scandal for the church.

As pope, he condemned the abuse more strongly than his predecessors, but he did nothing to act on his words.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:48 AM

Church saddened as priest sentenced

NEW ZEALAND
Newstalk ZB

By: Newstalk ZB staff

The Bishop of a Christchurch church which was defrauded by one of it' priests says it is extremely sad for all involved.

Father John Fitzmaurice was sentenced to two years and three months in prison for defrauding the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament of more than $150,000.

He had been a priest there for 34 years.

Bishop Barry Jones says the church has continued to support him.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 AM

Church takes steps to defrock Anchorage priest

ALASKA
Juneau Enterprise

By Dan Joling
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

ANCHORAGE — The Catholic Archdiocese of Anchorage said Tuesday it will take steps to defrock a longtime priest suspected of inappropriate behavior with women.

Father J. Michael Hornick resigned in 2009 as pastor of St. Nicholas of Myra Byzantine Catholic Church after allegations were made by three adult women that he had engaged in inappropriate — not criminal — behavior.

After the claims were made public, two more adult women came forward and said they had inappropriate contact with Hornick decades before when they were minors, said Father Thomas Brundage, a spokesman for the archdiocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 AM

For Cardinal Roger Mahony, social media is a powerful pulpit

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

Mahony's online presence has continued to grow via Twitter and a blog, even as church leaders and Catholic groups continue to question his integrity over the sexual abuse cases.

By Victoria Kim and Harriet Ryan,
Los Angeles Times
February 26, 2013

As archbishop of Los Angeles, Roger Mahony responded to criticism of his handling of sexual abuse cases with a high-priced crisis management firm, full-page ads in Spanish and English newspapers, and a report naming accused priests.

In retirement, Mahony's public relations operation consists mainly of his thoughts and a computer keyboard. Since last month, when outrage flared anew over files showing he shielded abusers, the cardinal has thrown himself into social media to give the public his side of the story.

It was on his blog that Mahony defended himself against a public rebuke by his successor, and it was on Twitter that he confirmed, to the dismay of many critics, that he would attend the conclave to elect a new pope.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 AM

What Would Jesus Do About the Catholic Church?

UNITED STATES
Huffington Post

Cathy Cash Spellman

I was raised an Irish Catholic. Six a.m. Mass most mornings, Novenas every Tuesday, First Fridays every month and as many rosaries as could be squeezed in between. I was taught by the long-suffering nuns and was usually the debater they sent to Archdiocesan Religion Contests to compete on matters of faith.

Then I grew up. I studied other peoples' theologies and evolved my own connection to God. I've written about Him/Her from a Tibetan, Catholic, Mystic, Native American, Hindu, Jain and Kabbalist point of view in my books. I've penned a book of Uncommon Prayer.

So much for my bona fides.

I'm now an outsider who was once an insider, but I'm troubled enough by the ongoing and seemingly endless litany of scandals and coverups within the Church, to want to raise a few issues:

It's now well documented that the Church spent 25 years and more than a billion dollars to protect pedophile priests by covering up their crimes and moving them from parish to parish, allowing them back into the company of children, and denying their guilt until forced by law and the sheer number of victims, to admit it. Did you know there's now an insurance company that underwrites a policy for clergy that covers "any act of unlawful sexual intimacy, sexual molestation or sexual assault" available for $2,500 per cleric per year. Presumably such insurance policies would not exist without ample need for them. Insuring pedophiles? Really?

Pope Benedict XVI, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger and head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly called The Inquisition -- yes, that Inquisition) was tasked with collecting all data worldwide on priestly sexual abuse cases. Doesn't that mean he has possessed for decades all the data that was hidden from the law and the laity? Yet victims of these brutal crimes must still fight, diocese by diocese, and lawsuit by lawsuit to have the truth of the priestly sexual predators who abused them laid bare? Does anyone hold the Pope and his minions accountable for their complicity in the cover-up, I wonder? Maybe only God.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:17 AM

Indian unlikely to be elected as next Pope: Mumbai Archbishop

INDIA
Hindustan Times

Mugdha Variyar, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 27, 2013

The wait for the next pope of the Roman Catholic Church may not be too long, with the papal elections slated to begin as early as the middle of next week, the Archbishop of Mumbai Cardinal Oswald Gracias has said.

The Archbishop, however, is doubtful that an Indian is in the reckoning for the post.

“While anybody can be elected, I do not think an Indian cardinal, or even an Asian cardinal, will be elected to become the pope this time, but one never knows,” said Cardinal.

The Archbishop will leave for the Vatican on Wednesday to participate in the farewell of Pope Benedict XVI, who will step down from office on Thursday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 AM

Next pope must address church scandals: #tellusatoday

UNITED STATES
USA Today

As Pope Benedict XVI prepares to step down this week, the Catholic Church confronts new allegations of corruption. What can the church do to address recent scandals? Comments are from Twitter and Facebook:

I would kick priests involved in scandal out of the priesthood and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.

— @tnmtman1

Scandals are all around us, in every institution. The church is led by human beings and imperfect.

— @2010ljn

Church has to handle rape accusations ASAP. Offer retribution and repent. Convict priests and settle old cases.

— @DeeMSea

Allow women priests and/or allow priests to marry. Humanity has surpassed the church in its ability to show love.

— @daveguy7

One of the church's biggest dilemmas by far is this strange paradox it constantly finds itself in, preaching to us all the virtues of marriage and family while secretly carrying on lives of unmarried debauchery.

— Molly Jones

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:12 AM

Future of Cardinal in the hands of the new Pope

SCOTLAND
Herald Scotland

Wednesday 27 February 2013

Cardinal Keith O'Brien is said to be very upset after resigning as the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland following allegations of inappropriate behaviour with young priests.

Cardinal O'Brien, who has spent the days since his resignation in his residence in Morningside, Edinburgh, is said by sources to be baffled over "who his accusers are and doesn't know what they're accusing him of".

His fate will be decided by the new Pope, with the outcome of the Vatican investigation into the claims expected to determine how the cleric will see out his days.

Senior Vatican officials are to examine the allegations which, it is claimed, involve three priests and a former priest dating back 30 years. His case has to be dealt with at such a high level of the Church because of his seniority.

Cardinal O'Brien has denied the accusations and said he was taking legal advice. It is understood the full magnitude of his resignation has not fully hit home yet. Sources say he is "hurt and wounded".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:05 AM

Allegations 'did not cause Cardinal Keith O'Brien to quit'

UNITED KINGDOM
Belfast Telegraph

27 February 2013

The Catholic Church in Scotland has said the resignation of Cardinal Keith O'Brien had not been brought forward because of allegations of "inappropriate" behaviour towards fellow priests reported on Sunday.

The Catholic Church in Britain was plunged into crisis on Monday after the resignation of Cardinal O'Brien as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh.

The cardinal – originally from Ballycastle, Co Antrim – has denied the allegations.

Peter Kearney, director of the Scottish Catholic Media Office, said: "When it comes to responding to the allegations I think what he will do is act on his legal advice, and the legal advice at the moment would be to not publicly engage with the detail... of the allegations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:02 AM

Cardinal O'Brien's departure leaves a rudderless Church

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

By Robert Pigott

Even if you're not a Scottish Catholic, the case of the disappearing cardinal has an unsettling effect.

So much about the case against Cardinal Keith O'Brien, until Monday the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, is unknown.

Even he is said by a close colleague to be unaware of who his accusers are, and exactly what they claim he did. The cardinal has said that he "contests" the claims against him.

Yet he has paid an extremely heavy price - resigning barely two weeks short of his 75th birthday, when he could have retired with dignity at the end of an illustrious career.

So why did he choose to go?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:00 AM

Cardinal Keith O'Brien keeps low profile after shock resignation as former Church leader calls for renewal and reform

SCOTLAND
Daily Record

AS the Cardinal worked from home an ex-leader of England's Catholics says the next Pope must put his house in order.

CARDINAL Keith O’Brien seemed to be working away like normal in his study yesterday – despite claims he was “very upset” over the circumstances of his shock resignation.

The day after he stepped down as Britain’s most senior Catholic, the 74-year-old remained behind closed doors in his official residence in Edinburgh’s Morningside.

As O’Brien was making calls and talking into a dictaphone, a former leader of Catholics in England and Wales called for the “Pope’s own house to be put in order”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:56 AM

Cardinal O'Brien's resignation pressures scandal-hit Church leaders to step down from Papal Conclave

SCOTLAND
Daily Record

THE resignation of Britain's most senior Catholic has been felt world-wide in the run up to the selection of the next Pope.

CARDINAL Keith O’Brien’s decision not to take part in the conclave to elect the next pope has heaped pressure on other scandal-hit cardinals to follow his lead.

Several senior Catholic figures from around the world are planning to travel to Rome despite the fact they’ve been embroiled in damning claims of abuse cover-ups.

Father Tony Flannery, of the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland, believes many of them will now be feeling the heat. He said: “Cardinal O’Brien has taken the decision on his own not to attend the conclave and that’s significant.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:53 AM

Ghana’s Cardinal Peter Turkson is Irish bookmakers’ favorite for new pope

IRELAND
Reuters

By Tom Heneghan

February 27, 2013

Ghana’s Peter Turkson is the Irish bookmakers’ favorite to replace Pope Benedict, putting a non-European in pole position to lead the 1.2 billion-member Roman Catholic Church for the first time in more than a millennium.

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power offered odds of 11/4 against for Turkson, meaning successful punters would win 11 pounds for every four staked, while Britain’s second largest bookmaker Ladbrokes offered odds of 5/2 against.

Turkson would be the first non-European to lead the Catholic church in more than a millennium if he is chosen to succeed Benedict. Italian Angelo Scola is second favorite according to Paddy Power at 3/1 against.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:51 AM

SNAP LEADERS ARRIVE IN ROME...

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Berger's Beat

SNAP leaders Barbara Dorris and David Clohessy landed in Rome this morning and just five hours later held their first news conference challenging Pope Benedict to “take dramatic action” during his final days in office to “punish those who conceal child sex crimes.” Among those in attendance: Mary Ann Ahern of the Chicago NBC affiliate, the inimitable Sylvia Poggioli of NPR and two reporters – Dennis Coday and Josh McElwee – of the KC-based National Catholic Reporter. . .

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:50 AM

Scholars Shed Light on Papal Resignations

BOSTON (MA)
WGBH

By Ibby Caputo

This week, Pope Benedict XVI joins a handful of his predecessors who resigned as leader of the Catholic Church. In Boston, and around the world, the Pope’s startling decision has prompted weeks of reaction, reflection and curiosity.

There are 1.8 million Roman Catholics in the Boston area. They range from the devout to Catholic “in name only.”

I asked a few local people, “Are you Catholic?”

“Um, Kind of yes,” one young woman replied. “I was raised Catholic.”

“I do go to church on Easter, that's about it,” a man said.

“I am a practicing Catholic,” an older woman said. “I go to church every Sunday and I'm delighted to do so to praise and thank God.”

For both the devout and the dubious, the Pope’s resignation has caused a stir, especially for Catholics here in Boston.

Because we’ve been immersed in it, possibly more thoroughly than the average Catholic,” said Anne Southwood, chair of the Boston Council of Voice of the Faithful, an international organization that supports victims of clergy sexual abuse, started in Massachusetts after the Boston Globe broke the scandal in 2002. ...

Scholarly speculation about the next pope has been intense – including the mention of long shot American names like New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley.

Local scholars are also being asked to help put the Pope’s decision into a broader historical context. After all, it has been 600 years since a Pope resigned. We were curious about why -- and why it’s been so long.

"There have probably been 4, 5 popes who have resigned, but all but one of them rescinded under duress,” said Richard Gaillardetz, professor of theology at Boston College. “Either an emperor or some political figure, maybe even local clergy forced them to resign."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:40 AM

2013 Papal Conclave: ‘From the New Pope, We Simply Expect Courage’

VATICAN CITY
International Business Times

By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | February 27

In the midst of the sexual abuse crisis now hounding the Roman Catholic church which ironically is in its most critical period in selecting the new pope, believers of the faith say it is not enough that the highly anticipated new leader is just plain spiritual or has charisma to convert bigots into the secular religion.

"From the new pope, we'd simply expect courage," David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, told reporters at a news conference in Rome on Tuesday.

"We long for the day when church officials announce that this cardinal or this bishop is being demoted because church officials have found proof of wrongdoing and church officials want to clean things up."

The shock resignation of Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Britain's most senior Catholic clergyman, on Monday, who observers said was pressured to step down by no less than the outgoing Pope Benedict XVI himself, could be a most improved signal of better things to come for the secular Roman Catholic faith.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:34 AM

Sex and power scandals to loom over Vatican pre-conclave talks

VATICAN CITY
The Himalayan Times

REUTERS

VATICAN CITY: The sex and power scandals haunting the Catholic Church look set to play a big role in meetings before next month's papal election after two senior cardinals called on Tuesday for more internal debate about them.

A leading support group for victims of clerical sexual abuse also made what it called a "last-ditch plea" to Pope Benedict to use his authority before resigning on Thursday to discipline bishops who have protected predatory priests in their dioceses.

The abuse issue took on new urgency after Scotland's Cardinal Keith O'Brien, accused of improper behavior with young priests, quit as Edinburgh archbishop on Monday and pulled out of the Sistine Chapel conclave to elect a new pope. ...

French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran said in a newspaper interview that the cardinal electors, who number 115 after O'Brien stepped down, should also be informed about a secret report on Vatican corruption prepared for Pope Benedict.

The retiring pontiff has decided to reserve the report for his successor, but the three cardinals over 80 years old who drew it up will be allowed to inform the cardinal electors about some of its findings during next week's consultations.

ASKING TO NAME NAMES

"The cardinal electors cannot decide to choose this or that name to vote for if they don't know the contents of this dossier," Tauran told La Repubblica newspaper.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:28 AM

Church sexual abuse victim takes action over physical attacks

NETHERLANDS
Expatica

A 59-year-old man who was sexually assaulted once by church officials while living in a Catholic boarding school in Limburg is taking legal action against the church for years of physical abuse.

In an interview with the Volkskrant, the man says he was kicked and punched as a teenager over a period of several years. 'I was literally beaten into hospital five times,' the man said. 'But the church does not comment on this sort of abuse.'

The case will be heard on March 11. The paper says it is the first time a victim of church physical abuse has gone to court. The man was earlier given €25,000 compensation for the sex attack he endured.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:25 AM

Victims of abuse share their stories

AUSTRALIA
Maitland Mercury

By EMMA SWAIN
Feb. 27, 2013

The mother of a son who suffered at the hands of a paedophile priest and a man abused by a Marist Brother when he was just a boy have revealed their stories in a DVD.

Breaking the Silence: The Impact of Sexual Abuse by Church Personnel presents the testimony of two Maitland residents, Patricia Feenan and Bob O’Toole, in a confronting and unflinchingly honest account of their experiences.

The DVD was produced by Insights – an arm of Zimmerman Services in the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle that was established in 2009 to explore the ongoing consequences of historic child sexual abuse in the diocese.

“I think this is a very worthwhile venture because it’s a way of getting the message out there about what this does to a family,” Ms Feenan said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:22 AM

DVD 'raw and confronting' story of clergy sexual abuse

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Dan Cox

Updated Wed Feb 27, 2013

A new DVD, commissioned by the Maitland-Newcastle Catholic Diocese, aims to raise the awareness of the impact of child sexual abuse at the hands of church workers.

Around a hundred people were at the Newcastle launch of the DVD titled, 'Breaking the Silence'.

Pat Feenan's son Daniel was sexually assaulted by a Catholic priest from the age of 12.

She says he was sometimes assaulted between church services.

"He left one mass, he took my son to another mass to be an extra altar boy , and he abused him in the car," she said.

"That's disgraceful."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:20 AM

Now Gathering in Rome, a Conclave of Fallible Cardinals

VATICAN CITY
The New York Times

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN

Published: February 26, 2013

The sudden resignation of the most senior Roman Catholic cardinal in Britain, who stepped aside on Monday in the face of accusations that he made unwanted sexual advances toward priests years ago, showed that the taint of scandal could force a cardinal from participating in the selection of a new pope.

His exit came as at least a dozen other cardinals tarnished with accusations that they had failed to remove priests accused of sexually abusing minors were among those gathering in Rome to prepare for the conclave to select a successor to Pope Benedict XVI. There was no sign that the church’s promise to confront the sexual abuse scandal had led to direct pressure on those cardinals to exempt themselves from the conclave.

Advocates for abuse victims who were in Rome on Tuesday focused particular ire on Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, the former archbishop of Los Angeles, and called for him to be excluded from the conclave. But Cardinal Mahony, who has vigorously defended his record, was already in Rome, posting on Twitter about the weather.

Even stalwart defenders of the church point out that to disqualify Cardinal Mahony would leave many more cardinals similarly vulnerable. Many of the men who will go into the Sistine Chapel to elect a pope they hope will help the church recover from the bruising scandal of sexual abuse have themselves been blemished by it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:18 AM

Sex abuse survivors group seeks accountability from Catholic Church

TEXAS
KENS

[with video

by Brix Fowler / KENS 5

Posted on February 26, 2013

"It's been a very big loss. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about Eduardo," Barbara Boehland said.

Boehland's son, Eduardo Ramon, committed suicide back in 1997. She says he did it because of sexual abuse by a priest.

'I remember falling to my knees and crying because it didn't happen at my house. It happened at my grandparents' house where he hung himself," Boehland said.

Boehland says the Catholic Church needs to be held accountable. She's part of a nationwide group that supports survivors of religous sexual abuse.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) petitioned the International Criminal Court to investigate its 84-page legal complaint that the pope and several cardinals knowingly condoned sexual abuse and did very little, if anything, to stop it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:15 AM

February 26, 2013

Brazil: Cardinal Damasceno Assis pushes for Latino Pope

BRAZIL
Infosur Hoy

APARECIDA, Brazil – Catholicism in Latin America is “lively and dynamic,” Brazilian Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis said on Feb. 24, suggesting that the church look to Latin America for leadership.

Damasceno, 76, is one of the 117 “cardinal electors” who will participate in the upcoming conclave to elect a new pope. No favorite has emerged to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, who announced that he is stepping down at the end of the month.

Damasceno, who also is the head of Brazil's Conference of Catholic Bishops, said Catholicism is very strong in Latin America.

“The Church in Latin America is enjoying a very special moment, with strong missionary enthusiasm,” Damasceno said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:18 PM

Pope has 'cleaned up the episcopate,' nuncio says

SPAIN
EWTN News

Throughout his eight-year papacy, Pope Benedict XVI has “carried out a cleansing of the episcopate,” said the apostolic nuncio to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tadjikistan.

“This Pope has removed two or three bishops per month throughout the world because either the accounts in their dioceses were a mess or their discipline was a disaster,” said Archbishop Miguel Maury Buendia during a Feb. 20 address at the University of San Pablo in Madrid.

“The nuncio went to these bishops and said, ‘The Holy Father is asking you for the good of the Church to resign from your post.’”

Nearly all of these bishops, when approached by the Pope’s representative, were aware of the “disaster” and accepted the request to resign, he added.

“There have been two or three instances in which they said no, and so the Pope simply removed them,” he explained. “This is also a message to the bishops: do the same thing in your dioceses.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:14 PM

Pope Benedict has removed many unsuitable bishops, nuncio reveals

SPAIN
Catholic Culture

A Vatican diplomat has given Pope Benedict XVI credit for a “cleansing of the episcopate,” saying that the Pope has removed many bishops from office during the course of his pontificate.

Speaking in Madrid, Spain, Archbishop Miguel Maury Buendia said that the Pope has confronted bishops who have proved incompetent or unworthy, and asked them to resign. The Spanish archbishop--who is the apostolic nuncio to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tadjikstan—said that most of the bishops acknowledged their failings and agreed to resign. “There have been two or three instances in which they said no, and so the Pope simply removed them,” he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:13 PM

How many bishops has Pope Benedict persuaded to resign?

UNITED STATES
Catholic Culture

By Phil Lawler February 26, 2013

If the only news you read comes from popular commentators in the secular media, you might think that Pope Benedict XVI is resigning because he could not make any progress in fighting corruption within the Church. Those who follow Catholic news carefully know better.

In our news coverage yesterday we called attention to remarks by a member of the Vatican diplomatic corps, who credited Pope Benedict with a cleaning up the ranks of Catholic bishops. Archbishop Miguel Maury Buendia said that the Pope has quietly demanded the resignations of many bishops. The Spanish archbishop made this eye-opening claim:

This Pope has removed two or three bishops per month throughout the world because either the accounts in their dioceses were a mess or their discipline was a disaster.

Two or three bishops a month! That number seems impossibly high. There are thousands of bishops in the world, and every month brings a certain amount of turnover in their ranks. But most of the resignations reported by the Vatican press office come with convincing explanations: in most cases the bishop has reached the canonical retirement age of 75.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:09 PM

O’Brien allegations: Church is damaged says cleric

UNITED KINGDOM
Scotsman

By STEPHEN MCGINTY
Published on Wednesday 27 February 2013

THE Catholic Church in Scotland has been badly damaged over allegations of “inappropriate behaviour” by Cardinal Keith O’Brien towards priests, according to the former leader of the Church in England and Wales.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the retired arch-bishop of Westminster, said yesterday that “what has happened will for him and for the Church in Scotland have been very damaging”.

His comments came on the day Cardinal O’Brien had been expected to fly to Rome to take part in the conclave to elect a new pope, but instead remained at his home in Edinburgh.

Cardinal O’Brien’s decision to stay in Scotland was triggered by the Pope’s immediate acceptance of his resignation following accusations that he made “inappropriate” approaches to four priests during the 1980s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:05 PM

'Baffled by accusations’: Cardinal Keith O'Brien said to be "vulnerable and very upset"

UNITED KINGDOM
Mirror

Colleagues said he and knew neither what he is alleged to have done nor who had made the allegations that led to him quitting

Cardinal Keith O’Brien today continued to deny strenuously the “anonymous and non-specific” allegations that led to his resignation.

Colleagues said he was “vulnerable and very upset”, and knew neither what he is alleged to have done nor who had made the allegations.

Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric quit aged 75 on Monday.

He was accused of “inappropriate behaviour” in the 80s by three priests and an ex-priest to papal nuncio Antonio Mennini.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:00 PM

Dani Garavelli: Amid the darkest hour shines a beacon of hope

SCOTLAND
Scotsman

Published on Wednesday 27 February 2013

IT IS, without doubt, the strangest of times to be Catholic in Scotland, but I would argue not necessarily the most disheartening if you’re liberal like me and desperate for change.

I know that there will be many traditional church-goers who feel cast adrift by Keith O’Brien’s resignation and bewildered by the allegations that have been made against him, and I have some sympathy for them.

If you are a parishioner who looked to him for spiritual guidance; who listened and invested in his and other Church leaders’ increasingly strident views on issues such as gay marriage, then you would, of course, be justifiably distressed by suggestions that he himself had engaged in “inappropriate behaviour” with other men.

Though O’Brien contests the allegations, made by three priests and a former priest, the very fact that they have been made will be enough to leave ordinary worshippers wondering what on earth is going on at the heart of religious life.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:58 PM

Víctimas de Karadima ...

CHILE
Bio Bio

Víctimas de Karadima afirman que Francisco Javier Errázuriz debería restarse de la elección del Papa

Los denunciantes de Fernando Karadima indicaron que el cardenal Francisco Javier Errázuriz debería inhabilitarse en la elección del nuevo Papa, debido a su actuar frente al caso contra Karadima.

Esto, a propósito de la decisión del ex arzobispo de Sain Andrews y único cardenal británico, Keith O’Brien, que decidió restarse del proceso tras ser acusado de abusar de cuatro personas.

Las víctimas de Karadima señalaron que si se trata por pureza de conciencia, Errázuriz no debería participar en el cónclave que escogerá al sucesor de Benedicto XVI.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:55 PM

Sex abuse victims call on new pope to do better

ROME
Irish Times

As Pope Benedict XVI prepares to celebrate his last Wednesday public audience in front of 150,000 faithful in St Peter’s Square this morning, clerical sex abuse continues to cast a dark shadow over the conclave.

Speaking in Rome yesterday, David Clohessy, spokesman for the US-based clerical sex abuse victims group, SNAP, called on the new pope to do a lot better than his two predecessors.

“We would like the new pope to have a lot of courage and make the safety of kids his number one job. Benedict was perfectly positioned to make the kind of changes that were needed, but it is obviously very, very tough to change things if wrongdoers are virtually never disciplined,” he said.

“I mean there is not a single bishop on the planet today who drives a smaller car or does his own laundry or takes fewer vacations because of the clerical sex abuse crisis. This is a crisis that has had massive impact on the day to day life of the Church but not on that of the men who have caused this crisis. Until we see the pope defrocking bad bishops . . . then things are not going to change.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:52 PM

Scandal-hit Vatican ‘must be reformed’

UNITED KINGDOM
Express

By: Dean Herbert
Published: Wed, February 27, 2013

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, retired Archbishop of Westminster, said the successor to Benedict XVI would need to be able to tackle reform of the Roman Curia, the Vatican departments that govern the 1.2 billion-strong global church.

His remarks came as the Church was shocked by the resignation of Cardinal O’Brien amid allegations that he behaved inappropriately towards young priests in the early 1980s.

Cardinal O’Brien, who was once pictured with the disgraced late television presenter Jimmy Savile, has denied the allegations and is taking legal advice.

Yesterday, a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland strongly denied suggestions that the Pope had effectively “sacked” the Cardinal, saying his resignation was not linked to the allegations.

The Church said the Cardinal had been due to retire on March 17 when he turned 75, but had requested some time ago for the date to be brought forward due to ill health.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 PM

Catholic Scandals: The Ultimate in Reality TV

UNITED STATES
Fort Worth Weekly

Posted February 26, 2013 by JIMMY FOWLER

Some Catholic commentators have lamented the latest round of tabloid-quality scandals besetting the Vatican. Tragic that so much vanity and human error should impede the serious business of selecting a new pope, they opine. And isn’t the church’s professed mission of helping the poor and the marginalized compromised by all the salacious gossip? It’s a sad time to be a Catholic, they sigh.

Oh, bollocks! As I wait for another CNN “breaking news” report about some errant bishop or shadowy gay cabal in Rome, my response is: “Pass the popcorn!” The current intrigue is one of the many reasons some of us chose to join this particular flock: Nobody does drama like the Catholic Church hierarchy. A very cool priest once told me that the history of the church is “more like a soap opera than a religious institution.” That’s an understatement.

As a Catholic, I don’t worry about “the moral authority of the church,” because that ship sailed a long time ago. Even before the worldwide pedophilia scandals broke, the church’s stance against birth control sealed the Vatican’s reputation among most Westerners –– including, perhaps especially, most Western Catholics –– as an overly pampered, out-of-touch club of old men.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:44 PM

I-Team: Ex-priest won't be monitored

RHODE ISLAND
NBC 10

By Katie Davis

Updated: Feb 26, 2013

NBC 10's I-Team has learned that a priest in Woonsocket who admitted to sexual abuse involving a 15-year-old boy in the 1980s won't be monitored or forced to register as a sex offender.

This week, the former Monsignor John Allard was removed from duty at Precious Blood Church and St. Agatha's Church, both in Woonsocket.

But critics say that's not enough. Anne Barrett Doyle of Bishop Accountability, a nonprofit group that tracks publicly accused priests, said she believes Allard is still a risk to children.

"They suspend priests," Barrett Doyle said. "But who is going to monitor him?"

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence said in a statement that Allard took responsibility for his actions. But NBC 10 learned he won't be tracked or forced to register as a sex offender because of Rhode Island's statute of limitations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:36 PM

Priest found guilty on sex charge in Canada

OHIO/CANADA
The Columbus Dispatch

By JoAnne Viviano
The Columbus Dispatch
Tuesday February 26, 2013

A Roman Catholic priest who once worked in central Ohio has been convicted in British Columbia, Canada, of sexually touching a person between the ages of 14 and 18.

The Rev. Philip Jacobs was found guilty yesterday. He was acquitted on one count of sexual assault and two counts of sexually touching a person younger than 14.

The Saanich News reported trial testimony that Jacobs ran his hand up and down the pants-clad leg of a boy he was tutoring at St. Joseph the Worker School in Saanich. The boy testified that he lay on a couch in the priest’s home with his legs over Jacobs’ lap and Jacobs’ hand touched his genitals, according to the newspaper.

Jacobs maintains that he unintentionally brushed the boy’s groin, his attorney, Chris Considine, said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:36 PM

Cardinal says he will attend papal conclave despite abuse claims

BELGIUM
The Times (United Kingdom)

Charles Bremner
Brussels

Roman Catholic activists, led by a retired priest, are calling on a Belgian cardinal to stay away from the papal conclave in Rome because of his alleged failure to expose widescale sexual abuse by priests. Rik Devillé, a priest who has campaigned for two decades to uncover sexual abuse in the Church, said that Cardinal Godfried Danneels, 79, who headed the Church in Belgium from 1979 to 2010, should follow Cardinal Keith O’Brien from Scotland in not attending the conclave to pick a successor to Benedict XVI.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:30 PM

Poly Prep-inspired Child Victims Act to be heard in New York State Assembley next month

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

BY Michael O'Keeffe

New York assemblywoman Margaret Markey is taking her sexual abuse legislation on the road.

Markey, a Democrat from Queens, will hold a hearing on her Child Victims Act, which would eliminate criminal and civil statute of limitations in sex abuse cases in Manhattan on March 8. The bill was inspired in part by scandals at Poly Prep, Penn State and Syracuse.

Markey will hold the hearing with the New York State Assembly Codes Committee. The lawmakers have invited will hear from law enforcement officials, mental health experts and sexual abuse victims testify about why the statute of limitations should be eliminated.

“We are particularly interested in hearing about research that clearly demonstrates why so many victims of abuse do not come to grips with the abuse they have suffered until later in life, long after the current law permits them to come forward, and long after their abusers and those who hide them can be identified and punished,” Markey said in a statement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:26 PM

With Benedict's resignation, what is unsaid in sisters' case looms large

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

by Ken Briggs | Feb. 26, 2013

Analysis
As it turns out, the investigation of American nuns came squarely in the middle of Pope Benedict XVI’s eight-year reign. It angered those who’d pledged themselves to renewal and stirred barely suppressed glee in the minority whose concept of religious life was pre-Vatican II.

In the years leading up to that alarm, many religious communities belonging to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious had languished in the face of huge challenges, among them the financing of care for retired sisters and sheer survival.

Their position was further compromised by a successful public relations initiative to convince the public that adherents of the rival Conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious, certified by the Vatican in 1991 as a traditionalist alternative, were thriving as the result of their fidelity to true religious life while LCWR-affiliated groups were dying because they had abandoned their vows for worldliness and self-seeking.

No matter that the publicity was essentially wrong. It had an impact; news coverage focused on the joyous nuns in habits who did everything the old way and were booming. Renewal sisters found themselves in a defensive posture.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:21 PM

Church takes steps to defrock Anchorage priest

ALASKA
News-Miner

Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The Catholic Archdiocese of Anchorage is moving forward with plans to defrock a long-time priest suspected of inappropriate behavior with five women.

The archdiocese in 2009 suspended Father J. Michael Hornick for what it said was inappropriate physical contact with three adult women.

Archdiocese spokesman Father Thomas Brundage says two more women came forward with similar allegations that occurred decades ago when they were minors.

Hornick served in Anchorage for more than 40 years. After his dismissal as pastor of St. Nicholas Parish, he was forbidden from identifying himself as a priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:16 PM

Pembroke parents accuse Concord priest of making sexual comments to son

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Concord Monitor

By TRICIA L. NADOLNY Monitor staff
Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The parents of a 14-year-old Pembroke boy have accused a priest at St. John’s Regional School in Concord of making inappropriate comments about sex and pornography to their son while the two talked during the sacrament of confession last December.

In a lawsuit filed today by the boy’s parents against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester, the Rev. George Desjardins is accused of asking the boy if he had “engaged in watching pornographic material and masturbating.” When the boy said that he hadn’t and that he had a girlfriend, Desjardins went on to tell the boy to use “rubbers” and warned him that the a girl can “yell ‘rape’ ” during sex, the lawsuit alleges.

Kevin Donovan, the diocese’s spokesman, said this afternoon that he had just received the lawsuit and was unable to comment. According to the lawsuit, Desjardins is officially retired but still working in some form at the school.

The family’s lawyer, Peter Hutchins, said the comments were completely unsolicited and called the actions “classic grooming.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:11 PM

COMMENTARY: Pope Benedict XVI’s missing mea culpa

UNITED STATES
Religion News Service

Tom Ehrich | Feb 12, 2013

(RNS) I wish I could see Pope Benedict XVI’s surprise decision to resign on Feb. 28 as a mea culpa for having led the world’s largest Christian body backward for eight years.

Alas, he has made no apology for cementing Roman Catholicism’s reputation as male-centric, homophobic and uninterested in sex abuse scandals beyond their litigation costs.

In an eerie tone-deafness, he announced his retirement in Latin and had it translated into seven languages of Europe, where the church is close to extinct, and not into any of the African, Asian or Middle Eastern languages spoken by emerging Catholics.

The 85-year-old pope simply said he was physically too frail to do the job. That was a humble admission, and there are countless old men around the world’s power structures who might take a cue from him about the wisdom of letting go.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:09 PM

Bravo: Bishops Respond to Media Bias and Inaccuracies

UNITED STATES
TheMediaReport

Ever since Pope Benedict announced his resignation, the media has given a special voice to the usual cadre of anti-Catholic bigots and malcontents lashing out at the Church over the decades-old abuse issue.

However, in what may be the beginning of a positive development, two bishops are finally engaging in the public debate with these haters and calling them out for their inaccuracies. The time for bishops to speak out against the media jihad against the Catholic Church is long overdue.

Bishop Paprocki steps up

Seizing on Benedict's announcement earlier this month, so-called Episcopal priest Tom Ehrich unleashed an angry and bigoted screed in which he stated that the Catholic Church is "uninterested in sex abuse scandals beyond their litigation costs," "stuck in the 19th century," "providing safe cover for oppression and intolerance," "against oppressed peoples," and "homophobic." It was an unhinged screed of such magnitude that it easily could have found a home in the anti-Catholic New York Times or a 19th-century Know Nothing pamphlet.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:05 PM

Conclave: Absence of clear favourite leaves door open to a number of possibilities

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Insider

Cardinals, including the over 80s, have started their pre-Conclave pow wows. Many Italians are betting on Scola. U.S. candidates will play a central role but there is still uncertainty over the future Pope’s profile

GIACOMO GALEAZZI
Vatican City

Big manoeuvres are expected in the election of the next successor to the Seat of Peter. Cardinals, including the over 80s among them (Sodano and Ruini), have kick started the pre-Conclave pow wows. Many Italians are betting on Scola being elected as he would strengthen the front and prevent a split, like the one which occurred between Benelli and Siri in 1978, paving the way for outsider Wojtyla’s rise to the Seat of Peter. The focus will also be on U.S. cardinals as they were the first to deal with the paedophilia scandal, they are at the forefront of issues that are key for the Catholic Church in today’s secularised society (the constant friction between U.S. bishops and the Obama administration over issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion demonstrated this), and more prosaically, they are the biggest contributors to the Holy See’s coffers. The Church does not appear to be ready for an African or Asian. Africa and Asia are scarcely represented in the Conclave.

Whoever is elected as the next leader of the Catholic Church will have to add Ratzinger’s “purification” programme to their agenda. The profile of the new Pope remains hazy.

In his last homily before leaving for Rome, the Archbishop of Washington, Donald William Wuerl, who figures in the list of those considered likely to be elected Pope (the papabili) expressed enthusiasm but also apprehension at the prospect of electing Benedict XVI’s successor. The new Pope will have to have the energy and presence needed in order to tackle the big challenges the Church faces.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:12 PM

Does Ireland hold the key to Catholic Church's future?

IRELAND
GlobalPost

Ireland's Catholics have been profoundly affected by the scourge of clergy sex abuse. Author Michael D’Antonio explains why the Irish are vital to the future of the global church.

Ireland, once called “the most Catholic country in the world” by Pope Paul VI, isn’t as Catholic as it used to be. Surveys show dramatic drops in the number of Irish people who identify as religious or attend weekly masses. News of heinous sex abuse and coordinated cover-ups challenge the church’s crucial position in Irish life.

The extent of child sexual abuse by clergy in Ireland’s parishes and Catholic institutions was revealed in a series of government inquiries over the last decade. One report revealed how tens of thousands of children were abused in a network of church-run residential schools. Another showed how the church worked to cover up decades of child sexual abuse by priests in Dublin. In March 2010, it became widely known that Cardinal Sean Brady — the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland who has been asked by abuse victims not to take part in the enclave selecting a new pope — attended meetings in the 1970s where two teenage abuse victims signed vows of silence after testifying against a priest who was later exposed as the most infamous serial sex offender in Irish church history.

Responding to widespread outrage, Pope Benedict XVI penned an unprecedented apology letter to Ireland’s Catholics, expressing “shame and remorse” for clergy sexual abuse and criticizing Irish bishops for “failures of leadership.” But the pope did not declare any Vatican responsibility in the chronic scandal or call for any church leaders to be disciplined.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:54 PM

Popular misconceptions: III

UNITED STATES
Catholic Culture

By Phil Lawler February 26, 2013

As the date of the Pope’s resignation draws near, thousands of “news” stories are posted about a confidential Vatican report on the “Vatileaks” scandal and on the likely candidates for the papacy. Let me caution readers once again about putting any credence in these reports. The “Vatileaks” scandal has not been seen by anyone in the media; stories about its contents are entirely conjectural. As for the odds of any particular prelate’s chances to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, the old Vatican saying is particularly applicable: “Those who know don’t tell, and those who tell don’t know.”

Today, rather than correcting outright errors, let me answer a few questions that have been asked frequently, and needlessly.

•Could Cardinal Peter Turkson become the first African Pope? That’s easy. No, he couldn’t. Not because he is unlikely to be elected (although I think that’s the case), but because the Church has already had African Pontiffs. St. Victor became the 1st African Pope 1,824 years ago. Sts. Militiades and Gelasius, both Africans, succeeded him in the 4th and 5th centuries.

•Will Archbishop of Westminster be called to participate in the conclave, replacing Cardinal Keith O’Brien? The Daily Telegraph asked that question, and again the answer can be given easily: No. In theory, perhaps Pope Benedict could rush Archbishop Vincent Nichols a red hat. But it is extremely improbable that in the final hours of his pontificate, the Holy Father would act so rashly. A few British Catholics might feel better, knowing that they had at least one representative in the conclave. But millions of others would accuse the Pontiff of manipulating the conclave. And in any case, cardinals are not representing their native countries at the conclave; they are representing the universal Church. One more point: Pope Benedict called 2 consistories last year, and created 28 new cardinals. If he had felt it was imperative to have Archbishop Nichols in the College of Cardinals, he could have arranged it.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:23 PM

Vatican's 'own house has to be put in order' by pope, says Murphy-O'Connor

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Severin Carrell and Sam Jones
The Guardian, Tuesday 26 February 2013

Senior Roman Catholics including the former archbishop of Westminster have urged the new pope to radically reform the Vatican in the wake of the resignation of the Scottish cardinal Keith O'Brien and other scandals.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, former head of the Catholic church in England and Wales, said he believed the pope's "own house has to be put in order".

He added that many bishops and cardinals believed the entire church should be reformed by Benedict XVI's successor, with the pope taking a much less dominant role in the church, to give a greater say to its bishops. "It is not just the pope who rules the church," he said. "It is the pope with the bishops.

"There is no doubt that today there needs to be renewal in the church, reform in the church and especially of government," he told a news conference in London. "How is this next pope going to govern the church?"

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:18 PM

New pope must lead reforms after scandals

UNITED KINGDOM
SBS (Australia)

Reform should be the top priority for the new Pope, says the former head of the Catholic church in the UK.

The next pope must drive through reforms in the wake of scandals that have hit the Roman Catholic Church, the former head of the Church in England and Wales says.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the former archbishop of Westminster, said Pope Benedict XVI's successor must be "capable of the kind of reform and renewal that are needed in the church".

"The pope's own house has got to be put in order," Murphy-O'Connor told a press conference in London.

"As you know there have been troubles in recent years. These have got to be addressed."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:16 PM

Sexual abuse in the DNA of Roman Church

AUSTRALIA
ABC - Lateline

[with video]

Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Broadcast: 26/02/2013

Reporter: Emma Alberici

Former monk and priest, and now advocate for victims of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, Patrick J Wall, says sexual abuse of children has been part of the culture of the Catholic Church as far back as 60 AD and despite constant attempts by the Popes to curtain the problem, it has never been snuffed out.

Transcript
EMMA ALBERICI, PRESENTER: Just a short time ago we were joined from Irvine, south of Los Angeles, by Patrick J Wall, a former priest and monk who is now a lawyer and an advocate for victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

Patrick Wall, welcome to Lateline.

PATRICK J WALL, ADVOCATE FOR SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIMS: Thank you.

EMMA ALBERICI: Now you are a former member of the Roman Catholic clergy. Can you tell us the circumstances around which you actually left the priesthood?

PATRICK J WALL: Well after 12 years in the monastery and six years as the priest, all six years I was assigned to follow perpetrators, I came to the conclusion in my early 30s that if I wanted to be a defence lawyer and to defend child abusers the rest of my life, that was going to be my next 40 years.

And at that point after, you know, discovering that this is just not an isolated phenomena to the diocese or the religious order I belong to, it's really a worldwide phenomena, I had to pull the plug and leave in '98.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:12 PM

Pressure to prevent US Cardinal from going to Rome

AUSTRALIA
ABC - Lateline

Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Broadcast: 26/02/2013

Reporter: Lisa Millar

Catholic activists in the US are demanding the former Los Angeles Archbishop, Cardinal Roger Mahoney, pull out of the papal conclave because he has been tainted by a sex abuse scandal.

Transcript
EMMA ALBERICI, PRESENTER: The resignation of the UK's top cardinal, Keith O'Brien, has encouraged Catholic activists in the United States who've been demanding the former Los Angeles Archbishop, Roger Mahony, pull out of the papal conclave.

They've delivered a petition of 10,000 names to the now Cardinal Mahony alleging he's a Church leader tainted by the sex abuse scandal and therefore unfit to take part in the new pope's election next month.

North America correspondent Lisa Millar reports.

LISA MILLAR, REPORTER: Ten thousand names united in one cause.

PETITIONER: I would respectfully ask that you deliver this petition on to Cardinal Mahony that he recuse himself from the upcoming papal conclave.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:07 PM

Garry O’Sullivan: Papacy needs a Gorbachev to confront tired empire

IRELAND
irish Independent

26 February 2013

'BE not afraid' was one of the great recurring catch-phrases of Jesus, and yet, 2,000 years on, his church persists in the shady business of fear management. When there isn't openness, transparency or accountability, then power is devoid of collective scrutiny and inevitably becomes warped and misused. We've seen it in the banks, in politics and the media. The wielding of power by the few needs to be regulated by the many.

In the case of Christ's church, we should expect better checks and balances than are found in secular institutions but, ironically, the church has no oversight structures. It is run by a clerical caste, much to the embarrassment of many decent priests and laity the world over.

Historically, the institutional church manufactured fear based on its own fears; fear of science and progress, of educated followers, of other religions, of bible reading, of change, and it is fear that drives the institution today. A humble church for the people became a church that took from the Emperor Constantine the clothes of a dying empire, parting ways with the simplicity of its early foundation.

From then on, it would be 'princes of the church' instead of fishermen in charge; Popes would run empires and start wars rather than humbly lead; those who spoke out would be deemed heretics and burned at the stake. Catholicism had truly lost its way.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:52 PM

White Smoke and a Black Pope: Is Turkson the Church’s Future?

UNITED STATES
The New Yorker

Posted by Naunihal Singh

According to the smart money, the odds favor the election of Ghana’s Cardinal Peter Turkson as the next Pope, the first from Africa since Pope Gelasius I over fifteen hundred years ago. In the intervening years, several African candidates have attracted interest (Benin’s Cardinal Gantin, in 1978, and Nigeria’s Cardinal Arinze, in 2005), but none has ever been a front-runner among the papabile. In fact, the term “black pope” traditionally refers to the head of the Jesuits, revealing how unlikely the prospect of an actual black pope was for most of the Church’s history.

This time around, the demographic argument in favor of a non-European pope is hard to ignore. In the eight years of Benedict’s papacy alone, the number of Catholics in Africa grew by twenty-one per cent and the number of priests by sixteen per cent. In Europe, on the other hand, the number of Catholics has plummeted to such an extent that it is no longer the most Catholic region in the world, both in terms of the number of faithful and percentage of the population. The election of Turkson by the College of Cardinals, most of whom still come from Europe, would be clear acknowledgment that the leadership of the Church has to reflect this shifting center of gravity. The past of the Catholic Church is in Europe, and its future is in Africa and Asia.

For me, as a (non-Catholic) professor teaching African politics at the University of Notre Dame, this is an immensely teachable moment. Once, Pope Alexander VI used his authority to help divide the world for colonial conquest. Now the Church is considering a man for the papacy who was born a subject of the British colony of the Gold Coast. There is a clear sense of the wheel turning around.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:49 PM

Vatican Insider

VATICAN CITY
Foreign Policy

BY PAOLO MASTROLILLI |FEBRUARY 26, 2013

The last time a pope resigned -- Gregory XII in 1415 -- it was to end a 40-year schism that threatened to tear the church in two. Today, the church faces a crisis that may be no less profound, and it has to do it with the entire world watching. (Gregory didn't have to contend with the Twittersphere.) And while many things remain opaque in the secret and closeted Vatican, one thing we know for sure is that the church faces a fundamental divide that threatens its future far more than the scandals that are dominating front pages.

"This time is different, the crisis is much deeper and more difficult to solve than it appears," an Italian bishop with long experience in the Curia laments. "Catholics are deeply divided between a group of conservatives, constantly looking toward the past that will never come back, and progressives, who pushed themselves too far from any possible compromise with the other group. I don't envy the next pope."

According to sources close to the pope, Benedict XVI resigned because he felt he no longer had the physical and intellectual energy to address the Vatican's problems. These problems started to emerge in the late 1990s,with the revelations of sexual abuse of children by priests in the United States. Church officials hoped the scandal could be contained in America, but soon there were similar reports of abuses and church cover-ups in Ireland, Belgium, Britain, and even Benedict's old parish in Germany. The fallout from the abuse investigations was compounded by other scandals including remarks by Benedict that upset the Muslim community in 2006, the rehabilitation of Holocaust-denying bishop Richard Williamson in 2009, and revelations of money laundering at the Vatican's bank, IOR, last year. If Benedict were an elected politician, it's unlikely his government could have survived.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:44 PM

Sex, Power And Scandals In Catholic Church Loom Over Vatican Pre-Conclave Talks

VATICAN CITY
Huffington Post

Reuters | By Tom Heneghan Posted: 02/26/2013

VATICAN CITY, Feb 26 (Reuters) - The sex and power scandals haunting the Catholic Church look set to play a big role in meetings before next month's papal election after two senior cardinals called on Tuesday for more internal debate about them.

A leading support group for victims of clerical sexual abuse also made what it called a "last-ditch plea" to Pope Benedict to use his authority before resigning on Thursday to discipline bishops who have protected predatory priests in their dioceses.

The abuse issue took on new urgency after Scotland's Cardinal Keith O'Brien, accused of improper behaviour with young priests, quit as Edinburgh archbishop on Monday and pulled out of the Sistine Chapel conclave to elect a new pope. ...

Two directors of the United States-based abuse victims' network SNAP arrived in Rome on Tuesday to draw attention to their demands for tougher Church policies.

"We're here to make a last ditch plea to Pope Benedict to use the remaining hours of his papacy to take decisive action to protect kids," said David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

He acknowledged that Benedict had met some abuse victims and made some strong statements condemning the molestation of minors by priests, but said he only acted under public pressure.

"We long for the day when Church officials announce that this cardinal or this bishop is being demoted because Church officials have found proof of wrongdoing and Church officials want to clean things up," he told journalists.

SNAP saw no papal candidates ready to fire bishops for shielding wrongdoers, he said, but added: "It's hard to believe there aren't some cardinals who are grabbing their colleagues by the lapels and saying 'We simply have to do better'."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:39 PM

Vatican Gay-Baiting Is Bigotry That Shames the Church

UNITED STATES
Huffington Post

Michael D'Antonio

As in American politics, where every campaign season sees a revival of Republican race baiting, every twist and turn of the long-running Catholic sex abuse scandal brings another round of gay baiting. High churchmen and their supporters note that most victims are male, like the offending priests, and hastily conclude that the problem is homosexuality. Of course this claim ignores the fact that gay men are no more likely to abuse that heterosexual men, and avoids the fact that abuse is not about sexual relations but about criminal behavior enabled by the church itself.

The gay baiting technique was deployed most recently by Peter Turkson, a cardinal from Ghana, who has been much-mentioned as a successor to Benedict XVI. In an interview with CNN, Turkson blamed gays for the abuse scandal and said that Africa has not been affected by the crisis because an anti-homosexual cultural tradition "has served to keep it out."

There is so much wrong with Turkson's claims that it's difficult to know where to start. First, despite his denial, sexual abuse by priests is a problem in Africa, as cases in Kenya and Tanzania show. And as anyone who has studied the abuse crisis knows reporting abuse is far more difficult in the developing world, where access to the legal system can be difficult and so costly it is foreclosed to many victims. Finally, if some African societies do harshly stigmatize gay men and women, this is hardly to their credit. Anti-gay legislation and hate speech seen in countries such as Ghana and Uganda reflect the worst of these societies, not the best. (Turkson, The Huffington Post has reported, gave his support to legislation that would make gay relationships in Ghana a crime punishable, in soem cases, by death.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:36 PM

Cardinal Keith O'Brien 'very upset' about his resignation

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

The BBC has been told Cardinal Keith O'Brien is "very upset" over the circumstances of his resignation.

A source within the Catholic Church also said the cardinal "doesn't know who his accusers are and doesn't know what they're accusing him of".

The ex-Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh has been accused of inappropriate behaviour towards priests in the 1980s - allegations he contests.

Cardinal O'Brien will no longer take part in the election of the new Pope.

The source also said Cardinal O'Brien, Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric, was "a vulnerable adult" approaching the age of 75, the age at which he was due to retire from his position.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:34 PM

SALLY QUINN’S VOODOO EXERCISE

UNITED STATES
Catholic League

Over the weekend, Sally Quinn wrote a piece in the Washington Post that caught the interest of Bill Donohue. Here is his response:

It is not easy to write an op-ed on any subject and manage to be factually wrong about virtually everything. But Sally Quinn did just that.

Quinn speaks about the “child sexual abuse scandal” in the Catholic Church. The scandal did not involve children—less than 5 percent of the victims were prepubescent. The typical offense involved “inappropriate touching” of postpubescent males. In other words, it was a homosexual scandal. Furthermore, it ended more than a quarter century ago: the number of credibly accused priests over the last decade has averaged in the single digits, among a population of more than 40,000. No religious or secular group can match that proportion today.

Due principally to the efforts of Pope Benedict XVI, it is much harder for practicing homosexuals to enter the priesthood these days. The net result is an incredibly sharp decline in abuse. Those who were guilty are for the most part either dead or laicized.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:31 PM

Missbrauchsopfer: "Lassen Sie keine Verharmlosung zu"

OSTERREICH
kathweb

Symposion der Unabhängigen Opferschutzkommission im Wiener Haus der Industrie - Evangelischer Pfarrer und Übergriffsopfer Öllinger warnt vor verharmloster Gewalt in der Familie - Referenten nehmen Staat in die Pflicht

26.02.2013

Wien (KAP) "Lassen Sie keine Verharmlosung zu": Diesen Appell vor dem Hintergrund selbst erlittenen sexuellen Missbrauchs richtete der evangelische Pfarrer Jürgen Öllinger an die Teilnehmer eines Symposions der Unabhängigen Opferschutzkommission ("Klasnic-Kommission") über Missbrauch im kirchlichen Bereich. Ca. 200 Experten und Personen aus Zivilgesellschaft und Kirche - darunter die Bischöfe Klaus Küng und Alois Schwarz sowie Propst Maximilian Fürnsinn - waren am Dienstag im Wiener Haus der Industrie anwesend.

Er sei als 11-Jähriger sexuell gedemütigt worden und hatte mit 16 Mordfantasien gegenüber seinen Peinigern, berichtete Öllinger, der 1984 im Stiftsgymnasium Kremsmünster maturierte. Es folgte langes "Vergessen", erst als 40-Jähriger habe er sich dem Erlittenen stellen können - auch mittels Gesprächen mit den damaligen Tätern. Der nun in Villach wirkende evangelische Pfarrer sprach vom "Problem der juristischen Verharmlosung", es gebe fast keine verurteilten Täter, da - nicht zuletzt wegen Verjährung - selten Anklage erhoben werde.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:29 PM

Nach peinlich einseitigem kirchlichen ...

OSTERREICH
APA

Nach peinlich einseitigem kirchlichen Missbrauchssymposium: Betroffene regen große Missbrauchskonferenz an

Wien (OTS) - Anlässlich des kirchlichen Missbrauchssymposiums im Haus der Industrie, an dem hauptsächlich kirchliche Mitarbeiter und die Mitglieder der kircheneigenen Klasnic-Kommission anwesend waren, regt die Plattform Betroffener kirchlicher Gewalt jetzt eine große Konferenz zum Thema sexueller Missbrauch in der r.k. Kirche an.

Die Zeit ist reif, dass auch Betroffenen als kompetenten Experten Mitspracherecht eingeräumt wird. Das offenbart auch die Tatsache, dass diese Veranstaltung, die zuerst im Parlament anberaumt war, letztendlich von Parlamentspräsidentin Prammer abgesagt wurde, mit der Begründung, dass die Vertrauensbasis mit Betroffenen fehle.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:27 PM

Nil Inultum Remanebit

UNITED STATES
Leon J. Podles: Dialogue

The story of the downfall of Cardinal O’Brien has proceeded at a dizzying pace.

He was accused by three current and one former priests of inappropriate actions. He resigned and will not attend the conclave. The Pope has accepted his resignation.

It sounds like a confession of guilt to me.

The four accusers must have strong evidence, because they can be sued for libel, and in Britain they must prove the truth of their allegation.

He has also been vociferous on his criticism of gay marriage.

Cardinal Groër of Vienna had made strong homeoerotic gestures to almost every student and seminarian he had come in contact with – 1,000+. A former student read Groer’s denunciation of homosexual acts. Groër said that those who committed them would not enter the kingdom of heaven. The student thought that was not what Groër had told him while they had a relationship, and decided to go public – the first public accusation against a cleric in German-speaking lands since the Nazi era.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:39 PM

DIFFERENT MOOD IN ROME

ROME
Cardinal Roger Mahony Blogs LA

The overall mood here in Rome now is quite different from 2005. Recall that Pope John Paul II had been in declining health from early 2004 until his death April 1, 2005. It was obvious that the Pope would not remain much longer on this earth, and we had all begun to mourn him even before he died.

The mood back in April of 2005 was somber and sad. So many people had never really known any other Pope in their lives, and it was like losing a revered Grandfather--someone whom we had made a part of our own families.

There then followed the official days of mourning, the Pope lying in state in St. Peter's Basilica, countless pilgrims coming to pay their respect and gratitude for his ministry in our midst.

This time, the mood is two-fold. On one hand, we give thanks for the incredible eight years which Pope Benedict served as Successor to Peter. We recall his wonderful teachings and homilies, and we were all in awe at his scholarship. There is no real sense of loss this time, because we have not "lost" Benedict. He is stepping away from the very active role as Pope to serve God and the Church in a more prayerful fashion--outside the fury of activities that swirl around the Pope who is active.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:36 PM

O’Malley: The sandal and habit-clad outsider

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Insider

The Archbishop of Boston, the Capuchin monk who beat the paedophilia plight, is an “odd” choice of papal candidate

Andrea Tornielli
Vatican City

One of the papabili arrived in Rome a few days ago. He is wearing a Capuchin habit and has an imposing disposition. He is a determined man devoted to prayer who ten years ago was called to perform a miracle that was considered impossible: restore the credibility of the Catholic Church in Boston which was crumbling as a result of the paedophilia scandal that had led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law. He has a typical Irish name, Patrick O’Malley, was a missionary in the Virgin Islands and is deeply involved in assisting the U.S.’s Latin communities. He is also plays a leading role in the pro-life movement.

The Capuchin cardinal is not one of those candidates who are known favourites for the papacy, such as Marc Ouellet. O’Malley is an outsider, a surprise candidate whom electors could pick if there is a vote gridlock.

As a figure, the Archbishop of Boston, manages to unite Europe and the Americas in some way. When he arrived in Boston, once a stronghold of U.S. Catholicism, he found the diocese on its knees. Cases of sexual abuse of children had been covered up and paedophile priests moved from one parish to another, free to continue abusing new victims. The situation was disastrous: vocations and mass attendance had dropped and the Church had lost a great deal of credibility. The archbishop came to the diocese wearing his friar’s sandals and without causing an outcry. He started listening and also making decisions. He paved the way to a path of purification and renewal and now the situation that existed ten years ago is just a horrible memory. Faithful are returning to Church and vocations have picked up again.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:34 PM

EUR - SNAP statement on Vatican corruption report

VATICAN CITY
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by Peter Isely on February 25, 2013

Regarding the alleged network in and around the Vatican involving financially corrupt individuals and active gay clerics:

At one level, we’re skeptical because Catholic officials have often tried to scapegoat gays. That's wrong and hurtful. At another level, we suspect there’s some truth to these accusations. Studies have shown that many priests, bishops and seminarians – gay and straight - are not celibate.

In a rigid, secretive hierarchy where no one is permitted to have sex of any type, many will have sexual secrets, so they are loathe to report sexual misdeeds by their peers. It's likely, then, that there's some truth to these new accounts.

Vatican staffers criticize these so-called "rumors." But the Catholic hierarchy has only itself to blame for "rumors." In this digital age, centuries of secrecy and deception are slowly catching up to Catholic officials who are accustomed to special treatment and excessive deference by many.

Catholic officials continue to make vague attacks against journalists. They serve only one purpose: to distract attention away from wrongdoing by the church hierarchy. They're designed to deter others from exposing the truth. We hope all citizens and Catholics will be highly skeptical when Catholic officials try to 'shoot the messenger' and criticize reporters.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:31 PM

Papabile of the Day: The Men Who Could Be Pope

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

by John L. Allen Jr. | Feb. 26, 2013

Rome --
John Allen is offering a profile each day of one of the most frequently touted papabili, or men who could be pope. The old saying in Rome is that he who enters a conclave as pope exits as a cardinal, meaning there's no guarantee one of these men actually will be chosen. They are, however, the leading names drawing buzz in Rome these days, ensuring they will be in the spotlight as the conclave draws near. The profiles of these men also suggest the issues and the qualities other cardinals see as desirable heading into the election.

To date I haven’t included Italian Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi in my daily sketches of papal contenders, largely because I published a profile of him on the first day of the Vatican’s Lenten Retreat, which was led by the 70-year-old President of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

That profile can be found here.

Suffice it to say that I’m sticking to my guns: In many ways, Ravasi really is “the most interesting man in the church.”

Ravasi drew good reviews for his meditations during the retreat, organized as a series of reflections on the Psalms. At the end, Pope Benedict XVI thanked him for his “brilliant” work – “brilliant” being a word that often tends to crop up in sentences about Ravasi.

In most media reports, the only line from the retreat that got much play was Ravasi’s reference to “divisions, dissent, careerism [and] jealousies”, which made a nice sound-bite amid the “Vatican gay lobby” furor touched off by the Italian media.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:27 PM

Keith O’Brien’s resignation is no good thing...

UNITED KINGDOM
The Spectator

Keith O’Brien’s resignation is no good thing. But it might be good for the Catholic church

Melanie McDonagh
26 February 2013

The downfall of Cardinal Keith O’Brien could not have been more complete if it had been orchestrated by Stonewall, which, if you recall, awarded him Bigot of the Year for his opposition to gay marriage. Actually, the one surprise is that it wasn’t Stonewall that brought him down, but three Scottish priests, and one ex-priest, courtesy of The Observer. The most senior Catholic cleric in Britain, the most forthright opponent of gay marriage; quite a scalp for secularists, gay rights activists and indeed for some Catholics of a liberal persuasion. One Catholic academic, when he heard the news, observed that this marked the end of the Church’s authority on matters to do with sex – no more Rome in the bedroom.

Which is one take on it. The Guardian lost no time in its editorial today in getting the boot into a man who epitomised every attitude it least likes about Catholicism, notably abortion. Except that it went even further, observing that Rome ‘has a special problem with sex’ and in a spectacularly spiteful aside added: ‘even if one discounts innuendo about Pope Benedict XVI’s own proclivities’. Sorry? Come again? Was that a suggestion that the pope himself is a homosexual? Perhaps that was intended as a reference to Benedict’s good looking sidekick, Georg Gänswein, a cue for readers to take to the internet? Or a titter at his weakness for old fashioned regalia? Raising allegations for which there is just no evidence goes to show that Keith O’Brien has become a useful means to get at the Vatican in general, and the pope in particular.

Actually, the culture that gave rise to these alleged abuses by the cardinal does merit scrutiny. The one good thing about these allegations/revelations (which he may yet contest) is that they were first brought to the attention of the papal nuncio and that he responded, not by silencing the accusers, but by praising them for their bravery. In the old days – well, before the child abuse scandals alerted the church to the reality there is a problem – criticism was hushed up rather than addressed; anything rather than give comfort to the opposition. The replacement of a post-Reformation mindset by a culture of (relative) openness is a very good thing.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:18 PM

Top cardinal defends Mahony on abuse scandal, takes on critics

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

A top U.S. cardinal came to the defense of Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony, saying some priest abuse victims groups who have criticized Mahony may never be satisfied with the church's response to the crisis.

Cardinal William Levada on Monday said Mahony should help select a new pope.

"There are some victims groups for whom enough is never enough, so we have to do our jobs as best we see it," said Levada, 76, according to Associated Press. "He has apologized for errors in judgment that were made. I believe he should be at the conclave."

Levada, who spoke about Mahony and the historic events at the Vatican during a talk at a Menlo Park seminary, is a former archbishop of San Francisco and also served as the pope's prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Critics have slammed Mahony for going to Rome for the papal conclave after church files released last month showed he sought to prevent law enforcement officials from investigating priests who molested children. Mahony has apologized for his actions in the 1980s but said it is his duty to help select a new pope.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:13 PM

Venice patriarch, wildcard pope candidate, praises Benedict

ITALY
Gazzetta del Sud

Padua, February 26 - The patriarch of Venice and wildcard candidate for pope praised Benedict XVI's legacy on Tuesday in the final days of his papacy. "He is a man that has served the church through and through, and who taught us that one does not fill a post but serve the Church. We all love him very much," said Archbishop Francesco Moraglia. He was speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony to march the start of the academic year at the Triveneto School of Theology. At just 59 and not yet a cardinal, Moraglia is considered a dark horse candidate for pope.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:17 AM

Dolan Begins Journey To Rome For Selection Of New Pope

NEW YORK
NY1

Cardinal Timothy Dolan is heading to the Vatican today to take part in the conclave that will elect a new Pope.

Pope Benedict XVI resigns in just two days.

The Vatican says he will be called Emeritus Pope upon his retirement and will continue to wear white.

He's set to make his final public appearance tomorrow.

Before leaving for the Vatican, Dolan chimed in on speculation that he could be the next pope.

"Yeah, I'm eager to get to Rome. A lot going on. I'm eager to say goodbye and give my love and gratitude and prayers to the holy father on behalf of myself and of the Archdiocese of New York and then get to the work of the conclave then get back home," said Dolan. "Listen, I think I got a better chance of taking A-Rod's place than I do of Benedict XVI."

Cardinal Dolan also addressed the resignation of Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien, whose resignation was accepted by Pope Benedict yesterday.

O'Brien is denying charges of inappropriate behavior with priests.

"Right now all I hear is this speculation and opinions and kind of gossip and whispers so I'm as eager as the rest of you to know what's going on and I presume that will too will be part of the solicitude and concern and reflections of the cardinals and the new pope," Dolan said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:12 AM

Papal historian: Cardinals likely to choose an 'extrovert'

UNITED KINGDOM
NBC News

By Sohel Uddin, Producer, NBC News

LONDON - With Pope Benedict XVI set to step down on Wednesday, questions are swirling over what's next for the soon-to-be ex-pontiff and who will be chosen as the next leader of the Catholic Church.

"There is a tendency of the electors in a conclave to choose somebody who is unlike the predecessor," papal historian Michael Walsh said. "If you are not going to elect an Italian necessarily, then I don't think there is any problem about whether he comes from Africa or from Asia or from America."

Walsh added that the cardinals would be more likely to choose an "extrovert ... who relates much more easily to the people than cardinal Ratzinger did."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:09 AM

Wuerl: 'Teach truth from pulpit, then meet people where they are'

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

by John L. Allen Jr. ,Dennis Coday,Joshua J. McElwee | Feb. 26, 2013

Rome

Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. may not have the rock star charisma of New York’s Timothy Dolan, or the reputation for simplicity of Boston’s Sean O’Malley, but he’s arguably the most pivotal senior prelate in the United States for two reasons.

First, he’s seen by many observers as the dead center of the bishops’ conference, a pragmatic thinker able to hold people of differing outlooks and temperaments together. Second, he’s viewed as an effective manager who can get things done. Put those two qualities together, and it's no mystery why he's become the "go-to" figure among the U.S. bishops on a variety of fronts.

Wuerl is also no stranger to the Vatican, having lived and worked here as priest-secretary to Cardinal John Wright of Pittsburgh from 1969 to 1979, the period when Wright served as prefect of the Congregation for Clergy.

Wuerl clearly enjoys the esteem of Pope Benedict XVI. The apple of Benedict’s eye is the idea of a “New Evangelization”, meaning relighting the missionary fires of the church, especially in the secular cultures of the West. When the Vatican staged a synod of bishops on the subject last fall, Benedict tapped the 72-year-old Wuerl for the all-important role of relator, or general secretary, whose role is crucial in keeping the synod on track and shaping its conclusions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:00 AM

Does Boston Archdiocese have a “gay network” of clergy too?

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Catholic Insider

Today, we learned that the Cardinal O’Brien of Scotland resigned in the wake of charges he made “inappropriate” sexual advances to four men. In the past week, most people have probably read media reports about a secret dossier claiming there is a ‘gay network’ inside the Vatican. There is speculation–denied by the Vatican–that this news contributed to the resignation of the Pope.

The drumbeat of these troubling reports from across the Atlantic has prompted BCI to tackle two topics that we have avoided for nearly the past 3 years. They are:

i) Does the Boston Archdiocese have a “gay network” of clergy
ii) Why and how is the gay agenda being advanced within the Boston Archdiocese in parishes and Catholic schools with tacit approval by Cardinal O’Malley?

We start our coverage on this topic by publishing in its entirety a document titles,”Crisis and Reform in Boston.” What you are about to read was apparently written between the time when Cardinal Bernard Law resigned (December 2002) and when Bishop Sean O’Malley was appointed Archbishop of Boston (July 2003). We do not know who wrote it or who has seen it. We posted excerpts in January 2011 (“Musings on the Future of the Boston Archdiocese: Episcopal Leadership“) and in August 2011 (“Episcopal Leadership“).

Much of what was described in the document written about ten years ago still seems to apply today. It describes the clerical “black wall”, behind which some priests have surrendered completely to the pagan culture of “gay” identity and behavior. It also describes the author’s view of a ”perfect Archbishop of Boston” which also could be criteria for the “perfect next Pope.” We were especially struck by the passage about the archbishop needing to “be the pastor of the pastors” and by the very last sentence: “he must be a passionately effective evangelist because he is first a thoroughly converted disciple of Jesus Christ.”

Crisis and Reform in Boston (written late December 2002 or winter/spring 2003)

The next Archbishop of Boston will find his particular Church in the midst of a grave crisis of faith and discipline. The public scandals which led to the resignation of Bernard Cardinal Law point to deep and longstanding problems among the priests and people of the Archdiocese, and the nature and magnitude of these problems should be considered in selecting the new pastor of a profoundly troubled Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:57 AM

Homosexuals and the Conclave

UNITED STATES
Virtue Online

By Michael Voris
THE VORTEX
http://www.churchmilitant.tv/scripts/vort-2013-02-25.pdf
February 25, 2013

Perhaps Pope Benedict is a lot smarter and more clever than he is being given credit for by the secular media and much of his opposition in the Church.

As we reported last week, a blockbuster report was released by a priest from Poland detailing a homosexual underground among Catholic priests and bishops that has helped ruin the Church in much of the west.

Media reports began emerging late last week from the Italian press that the Pope was handed a secret report in December prepared by three cardinals in response to the so-called Vatileaks scandal from last spring.

According to some media reports .. one alleged particular damning piece of information in the overall 300 pages of documentation is the existence of a number of homosexual cardinals who are being blackmailed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:53 AM

Courts Must Now Apply Laws To Popes & All Cardinals

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

The current meltdown at the Vatican reveals what so many Catholics shamefully preferred to overlook for years. It is truly a “Wizard of Oz moment”, as the international media has pulled back the papal curtain for all to see. The Pope is trying to keep secret a 300 page report evidentally of massive criminal conduct affecting innocent children, among others, and documenting financial corruption. Papal Rome has just burned down and the Pope fiddles over his new title.

Meanwhile, the Pope’s press officer has now even suggested that the papal elections are so secret that reporters face excommunication if they report any leaks they receive from Cardinals about voting results. The Middle Ages are over! The papal “witch” is dead. Time to end the mystical nonsense and to protect children, women, AIDS victims, gay persons and the many other groups that have suffered much, needlessly, as a result of a self-serving Vatican clique’s lust for power and wealth, with a little sex on the side. We have heard more than enough already.

The papal geo-political strategy following World War I of trading “papal blessings” for papal influence and subsidies received a mortal wound with President Barack Obama’s strong re-election victory over the Pope’s flawed anti-contraceptive and anti-gay marriage strategy. The Pope’s strategy has now breathed its last with the recent election trouncing of the Pope’s preferred candidate, Italy’s Prime Minister Monti by an ex-Clown Prince! It really is a good time for the Pope to leave the Vatican, and hopefully he will not return. He can pray and mediate better at Castel Gandolfo, and still claim sovereign immunity there as well under the Lateran Treaty.

Now secular leaders must act immediately to apply the rule of law to the Pope and the Cardinals. Enough with the winks and nods and special dispensations seeking political support. The International Criminal Court prosecutor must stop procrastinating and national leaders, like President Obama and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, must step-up and follow the admirable lead of Australia’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and Ireland’s Prime Minister, Enda Kenny. Subpoena the secret report and the Pope’s butler and put an end to the incessant rape of children by priests!

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:47 AM

Pope Benedict leaves amid a holy mess at the Vatican

VATICAN CITY
Tucson Citizen

by Eric J. Lyman and Cathy Lynn Grossman on Feb. 26, 2013

VATICAN CITY — When Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger took the name Benedict XVI upon becoming pope, it was a nod to sixth-century St. Benedict of Nursia, who had lived for several years in a cave in Italy.

As Pope Benedict prepares to end his papacy this week, his critics say the challenges he’ll leave to his successor are the result of him living in a cave of his own.

Benedict’s intellect and successful role as a spiritual leader for the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics is not in doubt, say Vatican experts and observers. But recent blunders and the poor handling of festering scandals indicate Benedict may have been far too immersed in scholarship and theology over his nearly eight-year tenure when what the church needed was a CEO.

“There was a time when the pope was a kind of king, and then, more recently, a spiritual leader,” said Alistair Sear, a church historian in Rome. “Perhaps now we will see an age of the pope first and foremost as an administrator.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:34 AM

Cardinals want to begin pope selection ASAP, Vatican source says

VATICAN CITY
CBS News

[with video]

(CBS News) The world's cardinals want to begin the job of choosing a new pope as soon as possible, according to a well-placed Vatican source.

The newest guessing game in Vatican City is how soon the conclave will begin. By both law and tradition, the cardinals can't talk openly about it until one day after Benedict officially leaves office.

Pope Benedict XVI officially steps down Thursday.

A major issue plaguing the cardinals through the selection process will be the sex abuse scandals. But they must be dealt with, in the view of U.S. Cardinal James Stafford, who is too old to vote in the conclave.

"If it means to be despised, which in many ways it does mean, then we accept that," Stafford told CBS News' Allen Pizzey.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:21 AM

Controversial Debut Novel 'Forgotten Word' Explores Church Taboos and the Eternal, Hidden Battle Between Good and Evil

UNITED KINGDOM
Sys-Con

MANCHESTER, England, Feb. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Some readers may find it disconcerting that Sam Jane Brown's debut novel "Forgotten Word" (http://www.samjanebrown.com) depicts tumult in the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy at a time when the church is, in fact, experiencing a shakeup in its ranks.

But as extraordinary as the factual troubles are, Brown takes the conflict to a whole new level, blending the suspense of a thriller with the unconventionality of speculative fiction and the intellectual challenge of a murder-mystery. The main character is Zena McGrath, a detective working for an International Police Organization. She is charged with investigating the death of an Irish priest based at the Vatican, the latest victim of a chain of unexplained deaths among the Catholic priesthood.

Though Vatican authorities claim the deaths are due to natural causes, Cardinal Donatello, an enigmatic figure who is responsible for training priests in the sacred, secretive and highly dangerous art of exorcism, reveals to Zena that the priests who have died were all exorcists. Donatello reluctantly reveals the gravity of the problems the Vatican faces in the eternal battle between good and evil. He even takes her to see a priest who is possessed by evil spirits, and Zena herself has a chilling encounter with a demonic presence. Donatello convinces Zena to allow the church authorities to fight the evil in their own way.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:18 AM

NOW

UNITED STATES
National Survivor Advocates Coalition

February 26, 2013

This is an urgent, intense cri de coeur to priests and seminarians who have been abused by superiors or who know of priests, former priests and seminarians who have been abused by superiors to come forward – now.

We have learned in the 10 years since the Boston incarnation of the crisis what others who have labored in this field before us have long known: that there are patterns to abuse, to grooming, to the wrong use of authority, to the twisting of obeisance, the misuse of closing ranks.

We have learned that it is extremely rare that survivors emerge from totally unique circumstances.

The priests and former priest who took their cases to the papal nuncio in Scotland about the “inappropriate behavior” of Cardinal Keith O’Brien showed courage. Their acts of courage have borne fruit.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:14 AM

New sex-related charges filed against man

CANADA
CBC News

A man who was convicted of a sexual assault in the late 1980s has had two new charges filed against him.

The two sex-related charges against Gary Gerard Hoskins date back almost 20 years.

Police said they believe the assaults took place between 1984 and 1986 in or near Stephenville.

Hoskins was a Roman Catholic priest in that area at the time.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:38 AM

Which Catholic Church?

UNITED STATES
The New York Times

By PAUL KENNEDY

Published: February 26, 2013

Being about the only professor at a liberal, tolerant, cosmopolitan Western university who is known to be a practicing Catholic — baptized at the age of two weeks — I have been asked frequently in recent times about what I think will happen to the church in the light of Pope Benedict’s resignation. Will it split further, between conservatives and liberals? Will there be an African pope? When will there ever be female priests, then bishops? What about declining attendance of the European congregations (as opposed to the surging populations in the southern world)?

I sigh. When I turn to my daily newspapers, I sigh further, at the stereotyping, the false assumptions, the hostility in some quarters, the focus upon protocol rather than substance, the obsession with fiscal laxities at the Vatican rather than the proclaimed mission of Christ. Much of this criticism is boringly predictable; I may be wrong, but I suspect it might be hard to find a month, for example, when New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd does not launch an attack upon the papacy and the Catholic Church. And when the College of Cardinals announces the successor to Benedict, there will be fervid speculation about the new pope’s attitude toward divorce, abortion, the Jews, secularism in Italy, and so on.

That is one view of the Catholic Church, the church of hierarchy, tradition, formalism, its bursts of reform soon restrained by a return to conservatism. It is the church so familiar to the minds of secularists, pagans and anti-Catholics everywhere. It is the church of the 19th-century popes. It is the church of infallibility, incense, candles, and of Latin masses. Pushing it further, it is the church of financial corruption and sexual abuse. It is the church of stereotype, which is not wise.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:32 AM

Churches protected by trust laws

AUSTRALIA
ABC - Lateline

Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Broadcast: 25/02/2013

Reporter: Hamish Fitzsimmons

The Victorian inquiry into sexual abuse in religious organisations is likely to recommend a reform of property trust laws which allow churches to avoid being sued.

Transcript
EMMA ALBERICI, PRESENTER: One of the key recommendations of Victoria's inquiry into sexual abuse by religious organisations will be that property trust laws be reformed to enable people to sue churches.

The prediction comes from legal researcher Judy Courtin who has made numerous submissions to the inquiry on behalf of abuse victims.

And ahead of committee hearings this week in Ballarat where dozens of male abuse victims have taken their own lives, there are calls to fast track support services to stop more deaths.

Hamish Fitzsimmons reports.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS, REPORTER: Victoria's inquiry into sexual abuse by religious organisations has been repeatedly told victims of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church have few legal options because the only legal entity the Church has are property trusts. It's believed the inquiry will recommend change.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:29 AM

Atonement not in Catholic Church's best interests

AUSTRALIA
Canberra Times

Opinion

Judy Courtin

Only secular justice will help the victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The Vatican is surely ablaze with excitement and expectation. The imminent influx of holy men in a sea of flowing crimson cassocks and skull-caps makes for a powerful picture.

This papal convocation of cardinals will soon meet and greet, grace its way into the Sistine Chapel, factionalise, debate and make its decision. Then, with that puff of white smoke, the new pontiff will be known.

One topic that is on everyone's lips with this atypical and rather curious resignation of the Pope is whether or not the sexual abuse crisis within the church is related to his decision to resign and whether the newly elected leader will make any difference and deliver some justice to victims.

There will certainly be millions of Catholics wanting changes in the church, changes that are many and challenging for the conservative, misogynistic and headstrong Catholic hierarchy pursuing centuries-old male doctrines. Much of the world's Catholics, not least children, women and gays, are marginalised and muzzled and treated with disdain and contempt by the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:26 AM

Former Saanich priest guilty of sexual exploitation

CANADA
CTV

VICTORIA – Former Catholic priest, Phil Jacobs, has been found guilty of sexual exploitation.

The ruling came Monday morning in a Victoria courtroom. Jacobs was facing four charges including two counts of sexual interference, one count of sexual assault, and one count of sexual exploitation.

The former priest at St. Joseph the Worker Church in Saanich was acquitted of three of the four charges.

Madame Justice Groper told the court that some of the testimony against Jacobs did not add up and that some of the evidence presented raised doubts over when the alleged offences took place.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:22 AM

Emer O'Kelly: Religious must pay for warping our society

IRELAND
Irish Independent

Emer O'Kelly– 24 February 2013

'Sacred heart o' Jesus, take away our hearts o' stone an' give us hearts o' flesh." In 1924, Sean O'Casey put that passionate prayer into the mouth of Mrs Tancred, standing on the stairs of a Dublin tenement. Nobody listened then to his cry for the voiceless; we remained deaf for generations.

But last Tuesday a group of women sat in the visitors' gallery of our national parliament, moved to tears and cheers as a Taoiseach who had listened broke down on the floor of the house. The women had spoken often of a "stigma". The only stigma is that they had to wait until most of them were old before the moment came.

The women incarcerated in the Magdalene Laundries were there against their will. According to several of the women's representatives, the report delivered by former Senator Martin McAleese fell short in many ways; one of the most glaring was to write of "self-referral".

Was a destitute woman thrown on the street by her parents "willing" when her choice was between selling herself or a hell-hole of slave labour?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:20 AM

My 3 years as a child slave in a workhouse run by sadistic nuns

IRELAND
The Sun

By JENNIFER TIPPETT

MORE than 10,000 women and girls were forced to do unpaid labour in workhouses run by Catholic nuns in Ireland between 1922 and 1996.

Following Irish PM Enda Kenny’s apology for the atrocity last week, hundreds of women have already come forward – each potentially due thousands of pounds in compensation.

Here one survivor tells of her harrowing life inside one of the Magdalene Laundries.

FORCED into hard labour at the tender age of 14, Kathleen Legg’s only crime was being born out of wedlock.

The Magdalene Laundries seemed the perfect solution to hide her “shameful secret”.

Kathleen, now 77, was sent to St Mary’s Training School, Stanhope Street, Dublin, where she lived and worked in horrific conditions.

Although it happened more than 60 years ago, she still can’t erase her memories of life in the laundry.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:18 AM

Pope did not ask Keith O'Brien to stand down, says English cardinal

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Sam Jones
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 26 February 2013

The former leader of the Catholic church in England and Wales has denied that the Vatican forced Cardinal Keith O'Brien to step down early amid allegations of "inappropriate acts" against fellow priests.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor insisted that no pressure was brought to bear on the former archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh to quit ahead of schedule or to stay away from the conclave to choose the next pope.

"It was up to his own conscience that he stepped down. He wasn't asked to; he decided to do that," said Murphy-O'Connor. "As he said in his statement, I think he thought it would be a distraction to be in Rome. I think that was the main reason, the media attention.

"It was his decision to do so. He wasn't forced to do so; he wasn't asked to do so. He thought that given the publicity over the allegations, which are being contested by the cardinal, that was a better thing to do."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Pope to be called 'emeritus pope,' will wear white

VATICAN CITY
The Associated Press

By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI will be known as "emeritus pope" in his retirement and will continue to wear a white cassock, the Vatican announced Tuesday.

The pope's title and what he would wear has been a major question ever since Benedict stunned the world and announced he would resign on Thursday, the first pontiff to do so in 600 years.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Benedict himself had made the decision in consultation with others.

Benedict decided he would be called "Your Holiness Benedict XVI" and either emeritus pope or emeritus Roman pontiff, Lombardi said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:07 AM

Ex-pope will have 'pontiff emeritus' title

VATICAN CITY
9 News

Pope Benedict XVI will have the official title of "pontiff emeritus" after he resigns on Thursday - the first leader of the Catholic Church to do so since the Middle Ages, the Vatican says.

Benedict can still be addressed as "Your Holiness Benedict XVI" and will have the title of "Roman Pontiff Emeritus", spokesman Federico Lombardi told the Vatican press corps on Tuesday.

Benedict can also still wear a white cassock normally reserved only for pontiffs and will continue using the shoes given to him by artisans in Mexico during a trip last year, Lombardi said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:06 AM

Cardinal Levada: Cardinal Mahony Should Help Select Pope

CALIFORNIA
Huffington Post

By MARTHA MENDOZA 02/25/13

MENLO PARK, Calif. — The former archbishop of San Francisco said Monday that Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony has a rightful place among Vatican officials who will choose the next pope, even though Mahony has been battered in recent days by disclosures about his role in covering up clergy sex abuse.

The comments by Cardinal William Levada, a high-ranking Vatican official until recently, came in the wake of a grass-roots campaign to shame Mahony into refraining from participating because of his role protecting sexually abusive priests.

Mahony left for Rome over the weekend after recently released church documents showed he had covered up for other priests who raped and molested children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

Cardinal’s resignation raises Vatican conspiracy theories

VATICAN CITY
The Globe and Mail (Canada)

JOHN ALLEMANG
The Globe and Mail

Questions are being raised about backroom tactics at the Vatican after Britain’s highest-ranking cleric, in the wake of abuse allegations, decided not to attend the conclave to elect the next pope.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien resigned his post as Archbishop of Edinburgh, it was announced on Monday, a day after The Observer newspaper reported that four men had made complaints to the Vatican’s representative in Britain – and just a week after the influential cleric had stated that Pope Benedict’s successor should move to change the church’s law on priestly celibacy. He had also expressed his belief that the next pope should be an outsider from Africa or Asia rather than Europe or North America, a suggestion that could be seen as threatening to the influential lobby of Italian bishops and to the Curia, the powerful Vatican bureaucracy.

“This will send a shock wave through the College of Cardinals,” said Thomas Reese, the Jesuit author of Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church. “This hits at the very core of what it means to be a cardinal. The most important thing they ever do in their lives is to go to a conclave and elect a pope – and this guy is not going.”

Cardinal O’Brien’s withdrawal from the conclave he was obliged to attend under church law comes at the same time that Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles is being pressured to stay away because of his reluctance to deal directly with issues of priestly abuse early on in his tenure as archbishop.

“Are these attempts to undermine cardinals outside of Rome?” Father Reese asked.

“I think some of the cardinals will believe that there’s a conspiracy to affect the outcome of the conclave,” said Michael Higgins, co-author of Power and Peril: The Catholic Church at the Crossroads and a CTV Vatican analyst. “And when you argue that there’s a conspiracy in Rome, there usually is. Rome is full of rumours, whispers and conspiracies because it’s not a transparent place – things are veiled, things are secretive.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:59 AM

Cardinal George heads to Rome to elect new pope

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

[with video]

By Manya A. Brachear, Chicago Tribune reporter
February 26, 2013

As he prepared to rush to Rome ahead of a snowstorm at home, Chicago's Cardinal Francis George said Monday that the next pope should have insight about how the Vatican operates and the ability to lead a global church.

"You're talking about governance here," George said. "People say sanctity. Well, sanctity is nice, but there have been popes who have governed fairly well who have not been holy. … What's important here is governance. Can the man govern the church as a pastor? He has to be a man who knows the Lord because he's governing in his name. But it doesn't mean he's going to be a great saint."

George's interview with the Tribune was cut short as his staff scrambled to move up his travel plans to avoid a snowstorm in Tuesday's forecast. He will arrive at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome ahead of Pope Benedict XVI's departure to the Vatican holiday retreat of Castel Gandolfo on Thursday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 AM

Winds of change blow through the Vatican – not before time

UNITED KINGDOM
Irish Independent

Paul Vallely– 26 February 2013

Make no mistake about it, Cardinal Keith O'Brien has not resigned as Scotland's leading Catholic. He has been sacked by the Pope. And that is a measure of just how grave the crisis in the world's biggest church has become. Cardinal O'Brien was due to retire next month anyway because he will then be 75. The usual drill is for a bishop to hand in his resignation to the Pope (pictured) a few months ahead of the due date and for it to be accepted nunc pro tunc, which in Latin means "now for later". The cardinal handed in his resignation back in November, expecting it to take effect later this year.

The Pope's decision that he must stand down forthwith came just one day after a newspaper report that three priests and one ex-priest from his diocese have complained to the Pope's representative to Britain, the nuncio Antonio Mennini, alleging "inappropriate behaviour" towards them in the 1980s.

All this adds to the sense of crisis gripping the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, still reeling from a papal resignation unprecedented in almost 700 years. To add to that, the Pope himself condemned the manoeuvring of factions within the church. And last Friday the punch drunk church was told by the respected Italian newspaper 'La Repubblica' that a report into the Vatileaks scandal claimed there was a gay mafia within the Vatican involving several cardinals and sexual shenanigans in a Rome sauna.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:55 AM

Could Archbishop of Westminster get a last-minute Conclave call-up?

UNITED KINGDOM
The Telegraph

The decision by Cardinal Keith O’Brien to give up his role in choosing the next Pope has prompted renewed calls for the Archbishop of Westminster, the most Rev Vincent Nichols, to be made a Cardinal.

By John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor
6:00AM GMT 26 Feb 2013

Archbishop Nichols was appointed as leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales almost four years ago.

But because his predecessor, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, was already a member of the College of Cardinals, which elects the Pope, he was not elevated to the most senior position – in line with recent tradition that there is only one English or Welsh voting Cardinal.

Yet under Church law, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor no longer has a vote after he turned 80 last summer. It means that the Church in England and Wales will not be represented in the vote.

Now, following Cardinal O’Brien’s decision to stand aside, there will be no UK voice in the Conclave.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:52 AM

Cardinal Keith O'Brien was friends with sex predator Jimmy Savile

SCOTLAND
Daily Record

THE shamed TV star helped the clergyman raise money for charity years before his sex crimes came out.

O’BRIEN was a friend of paedophile Jimmy Savile – decades before the disgraced DJ’s crimes were known.

But he demanded Savile be stripped of his papal knighthood – bestowed in 1990 – after his offences came to light.

O’Brien’s spokesman said at the time: “We would absolutely endorse and support that move.

“It seems to be an appropriate response and echoes exactly what every other institution and organisation who had an association with Jimmy Savile are doing.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 AM

Cardinal Keith O'Brien: I am sorry for my failures that led to my resignation

SCOTLAND
Daily Record

THE Pope told Cardinal Keith O'Brien he could leave the church immediately yesterday amid allegations of inappropriate conduct towards three priests dating back 30 years.

CARDINAL Keith O’Brien shocked the world yesterday after apologising for his failures as he resigned as head of the Scottish Catholic Church.

The stunning admission came after allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards three priests and one ex-priest in the 1980s.

He said: “For any failures, I apologise to all whom I have offended.” O’Brien’s decision sent shockwaves through the Catholic community as they prepare for the appointment of a new pope after Benedict XVI resigned earlier this month.

The cardinal, Britain’s most senior Catholic, had been planning to stand down when he turned 75 next month.

As recently as Friday, he talked about taking part in the conclave to appoint the next Pope.

But after the priests’ allegations became known, he was told by the pope that he could leave
immediately.

Yesterday, he confirmed Pope Benedict “had now decided that my resignation will take effect today”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:47 AM

Priests who accused Cardinal Keith O'Brien urged to step out into the open

SCOTLAND
Daily Record

WRITER Peter Jennings said the accusers should have the courage to "come out and say exactly who they are".

A FRIEND of Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s yesterday challenged the priests who accused him to have the courage to identify themselves.

Writer Peter Jennings, who has known O’Brien for more than 40 years, said: “I believe these priests should have the courage to come out and say exactly who they are.”

He also questioned why the priests made their claims through a senior figure in the diocese rather than directly to nuncio Antonio Mennini, the Vatican’s “open and accessible” ambassador to Britain.

Jennings added: “I would challenge these four men also to be more specific in their allegations.

“The talk of inappropriate behaviour is all very vague. It is not even clear if the allegations are sexual.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:42 AM

Pope Struggling to Tame Intrigue Won’t Show Cardinals Report

VATICAN CITY
San Francisco Chronicle

Jeffrey Donovan, Bloomberg News

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Pope Benedict XVI, struggling to tame intrigue, won’t give cardinals access to a secret Vatican dossier into leaked papal documents before they meet next month to elect his successor.

The 85-year-old Benedict, who will become the first pontiff in 600 years to retire on Feb. 28, met with the three cardinals tasked to investigate the case known as “Vatileaks,” the Holy See press office said in a statement yesterday. The episode led last year to the arrest of the pope’s personal butler in one of the worst security breaches in modern Vatican history.

The pontiff thanked Cardinals Julian Herranz, Jozef Tomko and Salvatore De Giorgi for work that “made it possible to detect, given the limitations and imperfections of the human factor in every institution, the generosity and dedication of those who work with uprightness and generosity in the Holy See,” according to the statement. Still, “the acts of this investigation,” known only to Benedict, “will remain solely at the disposition of the new pope.”

The German-born pope is preparing to make his last public appearance tomorrow amid a wave of controversy, including the resignation of Britain’s most senior Catholic cleric following allegations of his “inappropriate” behavior toward priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:40 AM

'Amateur hour': Vatican conclave drama is one for the history books, experts say

UNITED STATES
NBC News

By Tracy Connor, Staff Writer, NBC News

A lame-duck pope. A secret dossier. Rumors of a gay cabal. A cardinal accused of "inappropriate" behavior.

The Vatican is in an uproar, and church scholars say there hasn't been this much drama surrounding a conclave since 1800, when Pope Pius VI died while being held prisoner by Napoleon.

One Vatican watcher says you have to go back to 1730 — when Pope Benedict XIII's right-hand man fled Rome in disguise amid allegations of corruption — to find a conclave buffeted by this much scandal.

"This is not a healthy situation for any kind of institution," said the Rev. Thomas Reese, an expert on the Catholic Church at Georgetown University.

"It looks like amateur hour."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:37 AM

Cardinal Keith O'Brien's resignation: hiding the truth would be a sin

SCOTLAND
Daily Record

THE shock exit of Britain's most senior Roman Catholic has left the entire church reeling.

IT has been a tumultuous fortnight for Scotland’s Roman Catholic community.

Having just absorbed the resignation of the Pope, communicants now have to deal with the swift departure of Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic.

The Church is bereft of spiritual leadership and plunged into self-doubt by the allegations against O’Brien.

But the hasty resignation of the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh has left the whole of civic society gasping for breath.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:36 AM

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor on Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal O'Brien's resignation

UNITED KINGDOM
The Telegraph

[with video]

The former head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor says it would be "inappropriate" for him to comment on Cardinal Keith O'Brien whilst an internal enquiry continues.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor's press conference to discuss Pope Benedict XVI's legacy and his visit to the UK in 2010, was over-shadowed by questions about the resignation of Scottish Catholic leader Cardinal Keith O'Brien.

Cardinal O'Brien stepped down on Monday after facing allegations dating from the 1980s that he behaved inappropriately towards priests.

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor said it would be "inappropriate" for him to comment on the Scottish Catholic leader's resignation and stuck to talking about his memories of the 2005 Papal Conclave after the death of John Paul II.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:32 AM

Cardinal Keith O'Brien's decision to withdraw from Pope vote 'his own'

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

Cardinal Keith O'Brien's decision not to take part in the election of a new Pope was his own, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church has insisted.

The cardinal also resigned as archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh following claims of inappropriate behaviour towards priests in the 1980s.

Archdiocese of Glasgow spokesman Ronnie Convery said Cardinal O'Brien had not come under pressure from the Vatican.

"It was very much his own decision," Mr Convery told BBC Scotland.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:30 AM

Cardinal O'Brien resignation: Murphy-O'Connor 'saddened'

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

A former archbishop of Westminster says he is "saddened" by the resignation of Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Keith O'Brien.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor said Cardinal O'Brien's decision to step down was "up to his own conscience".

Cardinal O'Brien has been accused of inappropriate behaviour towards priests in the 1980s - allegations he contests.

The ex-Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh will no longer take part in the election of the new Pope.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor was asked whether his fellow cardinal had been right to stand down.

"It was up to his own conscience that he stepped down. He wasn't asked to, he decided to do that," he said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:28 AM

Papal Conclave Preceded By Silent Campaigns To Become Next Pope

VATICAN CITY
Huffington Post

Jaweed Kaleem
Jaweed.Kaleem@huffingtonpost.com

An Italian newspaper publishes a controversial report on an alleged secret network of gay priests in the Vatican. Campaigns start against two American cardinals linked to sex abuse scandals who are about to head to Rome to vote for the new pope. A top British cardinal steps down amid allegations of unspecified "inappropriate" behavior with priests and says he won't attend the papal conclave. Catholics worldwide start opining about what the next pontiff's race, age and origin should be, while the dozen or so rumored candidates for pope keep insisting, "No, not me!"

Welcome to the secretive and at times confusing process of selecting a new pope.

In two days, Pope Benedict XVI will stay goodbye to the papacy, leaving the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics without a leader and dozens of top-ranking cardinals in charge.

Nobody knows exactly when the conclave -- the closed-door meeting of cardinals who will elect Benedict's successor -- will take place. According to new rules that Benedict issued Monday, it could be as early as March 1 or as late as March 20. It's up to the cardinals to decide, though reports have indicated the conclave may start between March 9 and 11.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 AM

The O'Brien moment: a spiritual leader in Edinburgh

UNITED KINGDOM
The Telegraph

By Stephen HoughSociety
Last updated: February 25th, 2013

Cardinal Keith O'Brien has been forced into retirement slightly earlier than expected. If the accusations against him are false then we've seen a despicable use of media power to spread lies and cause scandal. It's one of the nastiest of modern sins.

But if the accusations are true there's an opportunity here for a moment of Church-changing, life-enhancing heroism. Cardinal O'Brien has within his hands the potential to preach the Gospel with more power now than ever before, to touch more people's hearts than at any other time in his priestly life. He's holding a stick of spiritual dynamite in his anointed hands.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:22 AM

Cardinal O'Brien gay sex scandal...

UNITED KINGDOM
The Telegraph

Cardinal O'Brien gay sex scandal: this was a hit job that succeeded beyond the plotters' wildest dreams

By Damian Thompson
updated: February 26th, 2013

The Cardinal Keith O'Brien Downfall video had been ready to run for ages. The story of three priests and one ex-priest complaining of inappropriate behaviour was timed to break when the Scottish prelate retired at 75 next month. The aim was to expose his alleged hypocrisy. To quote our blogger Stephen Hough, responding in the comments to his blog post yesterday, "I'm convinced that what he did (if he did it) was harmless enough, but he may not have thought it harmless if he'd caught other priests doing it … at least until this week." If the scandal had come to light next month, that would have been nicely timed to ruin the Cardinal's reputation just when the media would be running retrospective pieces about him. And, of course, it would throw a spotlight on O'Brien's passionate opposition to gay marriage, effectively silencing the Scottish Catholic Church on this subject, and probably the Church in the rest of Britain, too.

What no one could have guessed is that Pope Benedict would resign, meaning that Cardinal O'Brien would be the only Briton with a vote in the next conclave. The Observer story was brought forward, with devastating results. The four complainants had the good sense – and, arguably, the courage – to inform the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Mennini, of their claims. (Mennini, it should be noted, is not in the pocket of the British bishops to the extent that previous ambassadors have been.) So the Vatican already had a file on Britain's senior Catholic churchman, and Pope Benedict, on being informed of its contents, decided to bring forward O'Brien's resignation as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh. In other words, the alleged victims of these inappropriate acts were helped by something that the Church's critics have often refused to recognise: Joseph Ratzinger's determination to purify the Church of sex abuse, right up until the last week of his pontificate.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 AM

Church in need of strong new leaders

UNITED KINGDOM
Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint– 26 February 2013

The resignation of Cardinal Keith O'Brien heralds more turmoil for the Catholic Church. While he denies allegations of improper conduct levelled at him by three priests and a former priest, it is an issue which will not go away. The damage done to the church in Ireland by clerical sexual abuse of young people has eroded its moral and political authority and there is no doubt that these latest allegations – which unproven – will lead many to question the standing of the church in Scotland.

Cardinal O'Brien, who had tendered his resignation last November before these allegations surfaced, has done the right thing in standing aside now instead of allowing a media feeding frenzy to develop. The Pope, who is to retire on Thursday, also made the correct move in agreeing to the Cardinal leaving office.

Of course what it does is leave big problems for both their successors. For the new Scottish cardinal the task will be somewhat similar. While Cardinal O'Brien certainly won respect for much of his work, his outspoken views on gays and abortion hit a discordant note with many.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 AM

Former church minister jailed for 15 years for raping his wife and stepdaughter

UNITED KINGDOM
Stroud News & Journal

A FORMER evangelical church minister who subjected his family to sexual abuse and cruelty and was jailed for 15 years on Friday.

Jailing the man at Gloucester Crown Court, Judge Jamie Tabor described him as 'bullying and tyrannical'.

The man, from the Quedgeley area, was convicted earlier this month of raping his wife and stepdaughter and of cruelty against both the stepdaughter and a stepson.

During the trial, the court heard how the man imposed a 'Victorian nightmare' on his family.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 AM

Former McCort students allege abuse, plan lawsuits

PENNSYLVANIA
Tribune-Democrat

Kathy Mellott kmellott@tribdem.com

JOHNSTOWN — An Altoona attorney filed notice of pending civil lawsuits in Blair County court Monday on behalf of three men, former students of Bishop McCort Catholic High School, who allege they were sexually molested by the late Franciscan Brother Stephen Baker.

The victims are identified in the notice that the lawsuits are commencing as John Doe 75, John Doe 76 and John Doe 77. The abuse is alleged to have occurred at various times from 1992 to about 2001, when Baker worked at or was seen around the school.

Attorney Richard Serbin, a clergy sexual abuse civil litigator, said Monday’s filing in Blair County likely is just the beginning.

“I know I’ll be filing more. I’m certain I’ll be filing more,” he said. “I don’t think the dust has settled.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:07 AM

Suits might target diocese in Baker case

PENNSYLVANIA
The Altoona Mirror

February 26, 2013

By Phil Ray (pray@altoonamirror.com) , The Altoona Mirror

HOLLIDAYSBURG - Another chapter began Monday in the Brother Stephen Baker child sexual abuse case when Blair County attorney Richard Serbin filed notices of three lawsuits against the Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown and others in the Blair County Courthouse.

"There will be more suits," Serbin said, as he explained that he is investigating many other potential court cases that have come to his attention.

Serbin said the first such cases to be filed in Blair County involve former students at Bishop McCort Catholic High School in Johnstown who say they were abused by Baker. Serbin said Baker served in the local diocese from the mid-1990s to 2000.

Serbin filed writs of summons on behalf of the three individuals listed for court purposes as John Doe 75, John Doe 76 and John Doe 77.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:05 AM

Youngstown Diocese says nobody is reporting abuse to it

YOUNGSTOWN (OH)
Vindicator

Tue, February 26, 2013

The Catholic Diocese of Youngstown says letters, interviews have uncovered no new allegations involving Brother Stephen Baker.

By Ed Runyan
runyan@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The Catholic Diocese of Youngstown has written to 1,800 former Warren John F. Kennedy High School students, interviewed five to six current faculty members who worked with Brother Stephen Baker, and soon will talk to all other faculty and staff members from that time to ask what they know about the Franciscan friar.

None of the former students, however, has responded to the letter to indicate any knowledge of sexual misconduct by Baker other than the 11 who were part of a legal settlement last fall. None of the faculty members has indicated a prior awareness that Baker sexually assaulted students, a diocesan spokesman said Monday.

Furthermore, no one has come forward with any credible allegations against any other faculty member, staff member or coach at the school, said Brian Corbin, a member of the administrative board of the diocese.

Corbin called The Vindicator with those and other points, in response to statements made at a news conference Sunday in front of Warren JFK. That’s when Robert Hoatson, a former priest and an advocate for victims of sexual abuse by clergy, said at least 50 more men have come forward to allege sexual abuse by Brother Baker. Many of them have ties to Kennedy High School or the former St. Mary’s Middle School in Warren, Hoatson said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:02 AM

Church sex abuse victims speak up on DVD

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

FOR more than 50 years Bob O’Toole lived with the consequences of being sexually abused by a Marist Brother at Hamilton.

In 2008 he broke the silence and told his wife.

In December last year, Hunter woman Patricia Feenan broke another silence and released her book, Holy Hell, about the crimes of paedophile priest Jim Fletcher against her eldest son, Daniel.

Last night Mr O’Toole and Mrs Feenan took another step on behalf of victims of the Catholic church’s child sex abuse crisis, and launched a DVD in association with Maitland-Newcastle diocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:00 AM

Top British Cardinal Resigns, a Day After Charges of ‘Inappropriate Acts’

VATICAN CITY
The New York Times

By RACHEL DONADIO and JOHN F. BURNS

VATICAN CITY — Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric announced his resignation on Monday, a day after being accused of “inappropriate acts” with priests, saying he would not attend the conclave to elect a new pope.

The cleric, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, said that he had submitted his resignation months ago, and that the Vatican said Pope Benedict XVI had accepted it on Feb. 18. However, the timing of the announcement — a day after news reports of alleged abuse appeared in Britain — suggested that the Vatican had encouraged the cardinal to stay away from the conclave.

“Everybody’s been struck by how quickly Rome responded,” said Austen Ivereigh, director of the British church advocacy group Catholic Voices. “Clearly Rome saw that there was sufficient substance to the allegations. They would not have told him to stand down unless they thought there was something worth investigating.”

The move leaves Britain without a voting cardinal in the conclave and is bound to raise questions about other cardinals. It comes amid a campaign by some critics to urge Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles not to attend the conclave because of his role in reshuffling priests accused of abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:57 AM

The picture Cardinal Keith O'Brien probably wishes he had never posed for...

UNITED KINGDOM
Daily Mail

The picture Cardinal Keith O'Brien probably wishes he had never posed for: UK's top Catholic was long-standing friend of Savile

By Steve Doughty and Larisa Brown

Britain's most senior Catholic cleric - Cardinal Keith O'Brien - stands alongside his long-standing friend, Jimmy Savile.

Pictured giving a thumbs-up, he is seen grinning alongside the paedophile at a fund-raising event in Edinburgh six years ago.

The former leader of Scotland’s Catholics stepped down yesterday amid accuations of 'inappropriate acts' towards fellow priests. He strongly denies all claims against him.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien was among many high-powered supporters of Savile who did not know about the entertainer’s sexual abuse of children.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:55 AM

Melanie McDonagh: The church of sinners loses more authority on sex

UNITED KINGDOM
London Evening Standard

Melanie McDonagh

26 February 2013

Oh God. Not again. Catholics are used to weathering the worst when it comes to revelations, and allegations, about clerical sexual abuse so we’ve grown something like a hardened carapace. Even so, to lose the head of the church in Scotland, one of the two cardinals in Britain, is quite something.

The practical result of Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s resignation is that there are no electors from Britain at the papal conclave — that’ll be one less vote, then, for the man from Ghana. The longer-term effect will be to diminish that bit further the church’s authority when it comes to sex.

For Cardinal O’Brien, who was to retire in three weeks, on St Patrick’s Day, his 75th birthday, it’s a devastating humiliation. As for the Vatican, one cleric in the Curia took his head out of his hands long enough to tell me: “It feels like the church is under siege from the forces of chaos.” Well, that’s one way of putting it.

To be honest, there isn’t that much love lost between the bishops of England and those of Scotland. For English bishops, who favour a nuanced approach when it comes to public debate, the abrasive style of Cardinal O’Brien, a pitbull polemicist, was embarrassing. They cringed when he sounded off on subjects such as gay marriage because he’d alienate more people than he won round. “You spend so much time trying to build bridges with gay people,” one (London) priest told me, “and when Keith O’Brien opens his mouth, it’s all undone.” But the fallout will affect them too.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:53 AM

The cardinal and the Lib Dem: death by sex scandal

UNITED KINGDOM
Spiked

Tim Black

One weekend. Two so-called sex-abuse scandals. And now two more institutional staples of British life find themselves caught up in foundation-shaking crises.

First it was the Lib Dems: On Friday, Channel 4 News ran a story in which several women with varying Lib Dem affiliations claimed that former party chief executive Lord Rennard had behaved ‘inappropriately’ towards them. At first, Lib Dem leader and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg denied any prior knowledge of the allegations. But by Sunday evening he was forced to admit that he had been aware of ‘indirect and non-specific concerns’ regarding Rennard’s behaviour since 2008. At the time, then chief of staff Danny Alexander had apparently even reprimanded Rennard over the so-called non-specific concerns. As it stands, the police are set to meet Lib Dem officials, as senior party officials offer a panicked combination of mea culpa and denial.

For the Catholic Church, the second institution finding itself basking in the murk of a sex scandal, the lurid headlines are nothing new. Still, between the Observer’s initial report that Britain’s most senior Catholic cleric, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, had been accused of ‘inappropriate’ behaviour with several aspiring priests, and Monday’s revelation that Pope Benedict XVI had effectively ‘asked Cardinal O’Brien to resign’, we saw the church virtually dismantling itself. It is now not only without a pope; it lacks a leader in Britain, too. That is a startling state of affairs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:49 AM

February 25, 2013

Vatican shifts tone on cardinals linked to sex scandals

VATICAN CITY
Washington Post

By Jason Horowitz

ROME — Before the election of Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican circled the wagons around cardinals ensnared in sex abuse scandals. As the church prepares to pick Benedict’s successor, those embattled cardinals increasingly find themselves under the wagon wheels.

In a wide-ranging news conference on Monday, the Vatican struck a markedly blase tone when asked about the decision by British Cardinal Keith O’Brien not to attend the conclave to elect the next pope. Hours earlier, the Vatican had accepted O’Brien’s immediate resignation over sexual harassment accusations.

Whereas the Vatican made clear in 2005 that disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston was expected to report to the Sistine Chapel, on Monday it said it had nothing to do with O’Brien’s announcement.

In other words, he was on his own.

“The cardinal can say what he wants to say,” the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, told a packed briefing room.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:24 PM

CHURCH IN CRISIS

SCOTLAND
Herald Scotland

Gerry Braiden
Local Government Correspondent

Tuesday 26 February 2013

THE Catholic Church in Scotland has been thrown into an unprecedented crisis following the accelerated resignation of its most senior cleric in the face of allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards young priests.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien had been due to formally submit his resignation in three weeks, but he has stood down with immediate effect after weekend revelations he was being investigated for the claims, which date back 30 years and relate to three priests and a former priest.

The 74-year-old will also not attend the conclave to choose the successor to Pope Benedict, who steps down on Thursday, a move that leaves the Catholic Church in the UK with no vote in the election.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:22 PM

Challenges that face next Pope

SCOTLAND
Herald Scotland

Tuesday 26 February 2013

THE resignation of Cardinal Keith O'Brien as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh following allegations that he behaved inappropriately towards three priests and one former priest puts the issue of sexual abuse at the heart of the Catholic Church in the week when cardinals gather at the Vatican to elect the new Pope.

Cardinal O'Brien denies the claims, which date back to 1980. Despite his decision not to attend the conclave because he wants to avoid a focus on him when attention should be concentrated on Pope Benedict XVI and his successor, how the church handles clerical abuse must be a key consideration.

Much will be read into the timing of these claims. In particular, since they date back more than 30 years, some will question why they are surfacing now. One of those alleging unwanted contact and inappropriate behaviour has said that he resigned from the priesthood when Keith O'Brien was appointed a bishop because he would always have power over him. That is an indication of how much the culture within the church has changed from one of absolute hierarchical power over the last 30 years. That it is now possible for priests to use the Vatican's diplomatic service to raise a complaint about abuse by a superior directly with Rome is a revolution that owes much to belated admission of child sex abuse on the part of the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:20 PM

Catholic Church: cardinal errors

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Editorial

The Guardian, Monday 25 February 2013

The future pope Joseph Ratzinger dragged the Catholic church into the poisonous American presidential campaign of 2004, through a memo about denying pro-choice politicians communion. Its target was John Kerry, a sincere Catholic who nonetheless believed that the law should not dictate to women on abortion, and went on to lose to George W Bush (before popping up in London as President Obama's secretary of state). Three years later, in an outburst that also suggested abortions were resulting in "two Dunblane massacres a day", Cardinal Keith O'Brien attempted to unleash American-style culture wars on the UK, by questioning whether MPs supporting abortion rights should continue receiving communion.

It is only one expression of a notably unreflective priest's desire to build a narrow church – there was also, for example, the intemperate likening of embryology research to Frankenstein. Another manifestation – and one that seems poignant in the aftermath of the Observer's disclosure of allegations about "inappropriate acts" with younger priests, which prefigured his departure on Monday – was his trenchant denunciation of reforms to advance gay rights. After having opposed civil partnerships in the past, the cardinal – who was the archbishop of Edinburgh and St Andrews, and the leader of the Roman Catholic church in Scotland – last year pledged fresh funding for propaganda against gay marriage.

There is no Catholic monopoly on sexual scandal – as current events within the atheistically led Liberal Democrat party underline. It is also important to acknowledge that despite having been "resigned" (or, more precisely, "prematurely retired") by the Vatican, Cardinal O'Brien has contested the allegations, which is what the claims reported by the Observer remain. But, stepping back from the specifics of this case, one cannot brush off the evidence that Rome has a special problem with sex. In the Vatican itself, even if one discounts innuendo about Pope Benedict XVI's own proclivities as he hangs up his cassock, that cleric – who has denounced both homosexuality and masturbation as moral disorders – has indubitably been weakened by the perception that he looked away in some cases where priests abused boys. In the US and more particularly Ireland, the institution has been shaken by the failure of so many priests to live up to the chaste ideal that the church has long (though not always) imposed upon (most but not all) of its priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:15 PM

Cardinal Keith O'Brien 'right' to resign ahead of conclave

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

Cardinal Keith O'Brien's immediate resignation as leader of the Scottish Catholic Church was the right thing to do, according to a Vatican adviser.

Britain's most senior Roman Catholic has been accused of inappropriate behaviour towards priests dating back to the 1980s - claims he contests.

He had been due to take part in the election of Pope Benedict's successor.

Professor John Haldane said it would "not be helpful" for him to go to Rome "under the cloud of these allegations".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:12 PM

The Father Crews we know

CALIFORNIA
Sonoma News

Editorial

By David Bolling INDEX-TRIBUNE EDITOR AND PUBLISHER

Feb 14, 2013

In the living room of his campus home, with a grand piano in one corner, stacks of paper piled in random disarray and afternoon sunlight streaming in a western window, the Rev. John Crews, until last week the executive director of Hanna Boys Center, recalled the moments immediately after he was called up for service in the Navy Reserve following the tragedy of 9/11.

“When the kids were told I would be gone indefinitely, one of them said, ‘But who’s going to buy me Slurpies?’” Crews stopped and blinked back tears.

“It was the first time since 1983 that I’d been away from the center,” he said, and then stopped again as his voice broke. He tapped his chest several times, as if freeing something inside, more tears formed and for a long moment he was silent, deeply moved.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:07 PM

Clifford Longley: Why O’Brien deserves a bit of credit as he faces up to worst moment in his career

SCOTLAND
Scotsman

Published on Tuesday 26 February 2013

AS THE shock waves from the resignation of Cardinal O’Brien resonate round the world, it would be a brave man who was prepared to predict how the Catholic Church could dig itself out of the deep hole into which it has got itself stuck.

The situation now could hardly be worse, and we may only know the half of it. The sudden and unexpected focus on Cardinal O’Brien is only the latest in a series of damaging news stories surrounding the Vatican.

It is credibly stated that what finally persuaded Pope Benedict to resign was a report he received detailing the way the Catholic Church’s central government had become beset by factions and infighting, with allegations of financial corruption in very high places still not properly responded to.

One allegation stands out from the media reporting we have seen so far: that within the Vatican itself, there is a group of homosexual clergy whose private lives run entirely contrary to church teaching – in other words, who are actively gay, including attending gay bars and clubs.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:02 PM

Sex, Lies, And Clericalism

UNITED STATES
The American Conservative

By Rod Dreher • February 25, 2013

Andrew Sullivan writes on his blog accusing me of “sexual panic” in my writing about the situation in the Church, a remarkable thing to say for someone who knows as well as I do how sexual corruption within the Church has led it to this rotten place. If it’s “sexual panic” to complain that the sex lives of bishops and monsignors and priests and religious have a lot to do with the sex abuse cover up, then fine, I’ll accept that charge. It is apparently the case that believing that what the Catholic tradition teaches about sex, pornography, and so forth, and expecting priests to live up to their vows of celibacy, makes me guilty of sexual panic. If so, yes indeed, I’m guilty. Just as long as we’re clear about that. Anyway, Andrew writes:

Where Rod errs, I think, is in believing that covering up child-rape has a direct link to homosexuality.

That word “direct” does a lot of work in that sentence. I don’t believe that homosexual = pedophile, and never have believed that. The way the homosexual subculture in the priesthood is connected to the scandal is in the keeping of sexual secrets, and the promotion within the priesthood of people who are sexually compromised, and who are therefore “tame” — that is, can be trusted not to speak out against sexual abuse and misconduct among the priesthood, for fear of outing themselves. You learn to turn a blind eye to sexual misconduct among your fellow priests, because your own “safety” depends on your silence. The “lavender mafia” amounts to an informal network of priests, bishops, abbots, religious order leaders, monks, and seminary staff and faculty who work together to cover each other’s sexual activity, and to exclude priests and others who disapprove of it and would pose a threat to its continued existence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:59 PM

Woonsocket Priest Resigns With "Profound Remorse" For Sexual Misconduct

RHODE ISLAND
Patch

By Rob Borkowski

Rev. Monsignor John Allard of St. Agatha and Precious Blood Parishes has resigned after an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor more than 30 years ago.

According to a release posted by The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence on their website, the priest "has taken responsibility for his actions and has expressed his profound remorse for the harm he has caused."

WPRI.com, which has also reported on this story, has posted a photo of Msgr. Allard with their coverage.

Msgr. Allard has been placed on administrative leave, and his permission to serve as a priest has been revoked. He has moved out of the rectory and will reside at a private residence.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:53 PM

The Catholic Church Needs Purification, Renewal and Restoration to Rise to a New Missionary Moment

VATICAN CITY
Catholic Online

By Deacon Keith Fournier
2/26/2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - All weekend long the European Press was rife with speculation over a 300 page report from three cardinals given to Pope Benedict XVI on December 17, 2012. It reflected the results of an investigation into the Vati- Leaks episode. Speculation over the content of the report led to a series of articles in the European press which filtered back to the States over the weekend. Catholic Online intentionally chose to NOT enter into the feeding frenzy. The sources were questionable and the tenor was sensational.

Some reports insinuated that the contents of the report could have contributed to the Pope's decision to resign his office. They offered no objective proof. That claim simply did not fit what we know to be true about the man who has served with such humility, integrity, holiness, theological profundity and quiet courage for nearly eight years, Pope Benedict XVI.

Among the more salacious claims was that the report exposed some sort of lavender mafia, a homosexual network of clerics which may have even attempted to blackmail the Pope. The feeding frenzy in the European press finally led to an editorial from Fr Federico Lombardi entitled A Penitential Time which can be read in its entirety here.

He noted "There is no lack, in fact, of those who seek to profit from the moment of surprise and disorientation of the spiritually naive to sow confusion and to discredit the Church and its governance, making recourse to old tools, such as gossip, misinformation and sometimes slander, or exercising unacceptable pressures to condition the exercise of the voting duty on the part of one or another member of the College of Cardinals, who they consider to be objectionable for one reason or another."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:51 PM

Alleged victim sues ex-priest, N.O., Lake Charles dioceses

LOUISIANA
The Advocate

BY BILLY GUNN
Acadiana bureau

February 25, 2013

LAFAYETTE — A former southwest Louisiana priest facing trial Sept. 16 on charges of sex crimes against boys from the late 1980s to the early 1990s “ought to be locked up for life,” an attorney for an alleged victim said Monday.

Felicia Peavy is one of two attorneys suing Mark Anthony Broussard and the Roman Catholic Church on behalf of her client, who is identified in court papers as John Doe I. The civil action was filed in January in U.S. District Court in New Orleans and seeks a total of $18 million in damages.

The lawsuit also lists the Vatican; the Archdiocese of New Orleans and its archbishop, the Most Rev. Gregory M. Aymond; the Diocese of Lake Charles; and others as defendants in the lawsuit.

“During the course of extending himself as a positive adult male role model, holy cleric and priest and spiritual advisor … Broussard raped and sexually molested, abused and exploited (the victim) on a daily basis during his preadolescent years from 1985 to 1988,” the lawsuit states.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:49 PM

The Wages of Celibacy

UNITED STATES
The New York Times

By FRANK BRUNI

Published: February 25, 2013

The resignation of Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic clergyman, accused of unwanted advances toward younger priests, will ratchet up the usual talk about lies, double lives and hypocrisy in the church, and rightly so. The church’s leaders preach a purity that its own clerics can’t maintain. They cast stones, and are so very far from blameless.

But before we range across that sadly familiar terrain, let’s give a moment’s thought to loneliness. And longing. And this: the pledge of celibacy that the church requires of its servants is an often cruel and corrosive thing. It runs counter to human nature. It asks too much.

Just so we’re clear: I’m not excusing priests who’ve sexually abused minors, or even talking principally about them. The British clergyman, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, isn’t charged with any such crime. He’s charged with failing to obey the moral absolutes he pronounces. And if true, the allegations represent more than yet another peek behind a false curtain of fraudulent righteousness. They’re a suggestion of celibacy’s foolishness, even its recklessness: of the way it warps the culture of the priesthood; of the unreasonable standard it sets.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:47 PM

Priest not in court for child sex case mention

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

An 83-year-old Catholic priest was not present when child sex offences against him were mentioned in a Newcastle court this morning.

John Patrick Gleeson of Glenbrook is charged with eight counts of indecent assault with a child under 16 years.

Police allege he assaulted two boys in the 1960s when he was teaching at a Hamilton school.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:46 PM

Is the Roman Holy Empire Folding As Fast As the Soviet Empire Did?

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

The escalating cracks in the Vatican’s walls are expanding almost at a geometric pace–truly breathtaking. One Cardinal is down, several are on the edge, and a desparate Pope cannot change the Conclave rules fast enough to try to stem the bleeding as he packs to leave town. This surely is the worst crisis since the Reformation, at least for the Catholic hierarchy.

To many of the remaining one billion plus Catholics, it is mainly Good News. The “First” will soon be returned to the “Last”, children will be safer, women will be more respected, family planning will be available to save more children from misery, Catholic scholars will again be able to think freely and aloud, and gay persons will be freed of oppression from too many conflicted and closeted gay hierarchs. Divinely, the Gospels wisely show us Jesus and his early followers rejected evil empires and hypocritical hierarchs; while valuing authenticity and children. Welcome back, Gospels. We missed you when you were gone!

The Pope is treating Cardinals as obedient fools, not as successors to the Apostles. He springs on them suddenly his resignation, then tells them they cannot read the very relevant secret report about Vatican scandals that likely lead to his resignation. He wants to cut down the Cardinal’s pre-voting candidate review period, while the Vatican Cardinal clique has likely had plenty of time to scheme for their candidate. Will Cardinals play dead now or bark back at the departing German Shepherd? Or will the Cardinals just let the prosecutors and courts take control and implement reforms?

Cardinal Dolan already objected to shortening the pre-Conclave candidate review period. Will others now join him and demand more time? By assembling a one-third voting block, they of course can take all the time in the world!

Increasing numbers of Cardinals seem to be facing serious criminal prosecution risks that likely could increase rapidly unless the Vatican is reformed promptly and broadly. Last year, Philly’s Cardinal Bevilacqua avoided almost imminent prosecution by dying first and his top aide is in prison. Prosecutors and jurors will likely no longer give Cardinals the benefit of the doubt and the media is aggressively reporting Cardinals’ sins more often. The next Pope must confront these risks honestly and openly or the risk of imprisonment will almost surely only increase for Cardinals worldwide. The next Pope must require that abuse survivors are treated justly and that children are protected effectively. He must assure that hierarchical wrongdoers are exposed, removed and punished transparently and promptly. He must end the financial scandals; not just ship a key financial player to South America. These pressing imperatives require new leadership and real reforms now, especially to minimize prosecution risks.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:20 PM

ITALY - Victims push Pope for action on his last day

ROME
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by David Clohessy on February 25, 2013

■Victims push Pope for action on his last day
■They list 5 things he should do before leaving
■“Take decisive action now,” self help group urges

WHAT:
Holding signs and childhood photos at a news conference, US clergy sex abuse victims will

-- Publicly push for 5 specific actions for Pope Benedict to take before he resigns, and
-- Urge papal electors to push Cardinal Brady and Cardinal Mahony to not participate in the conclave, and
--Urge all who have seen, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups to come forward get help, call police, expose wrongdoing, protect others and start healing

WHEN:
Tuesday, February 26 at 2:00 pm

WHERE:
Orange Hotel, 86 Via Crescenzio 00193, Roma +39.06.6868969

WHO:
Two leaders of the US-based international support group SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including a Missouri man who is the organization’s long time director

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 PM

Charisma, courage, but he had too many enemies

UNITED KINGDOM
Daily Mail

By Guy Adams

Cardinal Keith O’Brien took time out from official duties last week to concentrate on one of the things he loves best: getting himself into the news.

After summoning the BBC to his private chapel in Edinburgh at 3pm on Thursday, the de facto leader of Scotland’s 750,000 Catholics declared it was time for his church to end a thousand years of tradition, by allowing priests to marry.

‘It’s a free world,’ he announced, in comments splashed across Saturday’s papers, ‘and I realise that many priests have found it very difficult to keep with celibacy as they lived in the priesthood and have felt the need for … companionship.’

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 PM

Jimmy Savile and the Cardinal: Britain's top Catholic cleric was friend of disgraced TV host

SCOTLAND
Mirror

Grinning and giving a thumbs-up, Britain’s most senior Catholic cleric poses with his friend, disgraced paedophile Jimmy Savile.

The snap, taken six years ago, emerged last night after Cardinal Keith O’Brien quit amid allegations of “inappropriate acts” towards fellow priests.

The photo was taken in Edinburgh in 2007 as fund-raiser Savile and the cardinal unveiled a £375,000 vehicle for the disabled.

The pair first met in the 70s, when O’Brien was a priest in Kilsyth, North Lanarkshire – and worked with a friend of Savile’s mum.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:31 PM

John Haldane: The Church can overcome

SCOTLAND
Scotsman

“IF IT were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well, it were done quickly.” So speaks Macbeth of the murder of the king, but the words might well be self-applied by someone who finds themselves in the situation faced by Cardinal Keith O’Brien, when he learned of the news stories reporting accusations against him of inappropriate behaviour.

The circumstances could hardly be more dramatic: on Thursday the Pope abdicates and the process of electing a successor begins shortly thereafter. The situation is unprecedented (medieval “resignations” were entirely different) and the Church and the world have still not worked out quite what it means. At the same time, there is speculation about possible scandals within the Vatican itself, and complaints about the attendance at the Conclave of figures accused of failure in dealing with sexual abuse cases. Under these circumstances, to have the leading serving churchman from the British Isles turn up in Rome beneath a dark and heavy cloud would intensify the storm.

To his credit, the cardinal has understood all of this, no doubt feeling the deep irony of the fact of his imminent retirement, and in circumstances of ill-health, and he has done the right thing. Whether this is what the publicisers of the accusations hoped for in reporting the allegations now, and whether they will feel satisfied at the outcome I do not know, but it is hard not to ask, with the Romans, cui bono – who benefits?

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 PM

There Is Nothing Hidden That Will Not Be Revealed

UNITED STATES
The American Conservative

By Rod Dreher • February 25, 2013

A day after he stood formally accused by three priests and one ex-priest of sexually harassing them, Scotland’s Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s resignation from his office was announced by the Vatican. O’Brien did not admit fault in the accusations, or address them at all, except perhaps in this oblique remark:

Looking back over my years of ministry: for any good I have been able to do, I thank God. For any failures, I apologise to all whom I have offended.

It is not credible to think that O’Brien resigned simply to avoid controversy at the upcoming conclave, as his public statement indicates. The man has been formally accused by three active priests and one ex-priest. That’s not nothing. Here is the news report from the weekend about the allegations. The ex-priest says he didn’t leave the priesthood to marry, but rather because when O’Brien became archbishop, he knew he would be forever subject to the man who sexually abused him:

“You have to understand,” explains the ex-priest, “the relationship between a bishop and a priest. At your ordination, you take a vow to be obedient to him.

“He’s more than your boss, more than the CEO of your company. He has immense power over you. He can move you, freeze you out, bring you into the fold … he controls every aspect of your life. You can’t just kick him in the balls.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 PM

Surprise as pope changes conclave rules

VATICAN CITY
Irish Times

PADDY AGNEW in Rome

On what was another momentous day in this curious pre-resignation moment in the pontificate of Benedict XVI, the Holy See confirmed yesterday that Benedict had changed the rules governing the conclave which will next month to elect his successor.

On any other day, Benedict’s Motu Proprio or papal decree relative to the conclave would have dominated all news attention. When he faced the world’s media yesterday, however, Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi found himself having to deal with questions about another resignation, that of Scottish cardinal Keith O’Brien.

Just one day after UK media reports revealed that Cardinal O’Brien had been accused of “inappropriate acts” with three priests and one ex-priest, the Vatican confirmed the pope had accepted his resignation, effective immediately. However, Fr Lombardi refused to comment on the accusations made against Cardinal O’Brien nor could he confirm the Scottish cardinal will not now attend the conclave.

It was Cardinal O’Brien himself who confirmed he will not attend, with a statement in which he said he did not want media attention to be focused on him, “but rather on Pope Benedict XVI and his successor” at the conclave.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:20 PM

Cardinal's ministry likely to be remembered for manner of his leaving it

UNITED KINGDOM
Irish Times

Patsy McGarry

Cardinal had liberal reputation until man who would be pope made him toe line

There must be glee in Stonewall today. Set up in 1989 to promote equal rights for gay people it awarded Cardinal Keith O’Brien its Bigot of the Year Award last November for his attacks on proposals to legalise same-sex marriage.

In an article for the Daily Telegraph last March the cardinal said civil partnerships involving gay people were “harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of those involved” while “the repercussions of enacting same-sex marriage into law will be immense”.

He bemoanded that politicians were not “derided” when they suggested “jettisoning the established understanding of marriage and subverting its meaning.” Instead, he continued, “their attempt to redefine reality is given a polite hearing, their madness is indulged”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:18 PM

Catholic Church controversies since Benedict XVI's resignation

CANADA
CBC News

The resignation of British Cardinal Keith O'Brien on Feb. 24 over allegations of inappropriate behaviour is the latest scandal facing the Catholic Church in the run-up to the election of the next pope in March.

Here's a look at controversies that have emerged since Pope Benedict announced his resignation on Feb. 11.

O'Brien's resignation

On Feb. 24, the Vatican accepted the resignation of Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who heads the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland. The 74-year-old O'Brien faces misconduct allegations after three priests and one former priest within the Diocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh filed complaints that he approached them in an inappropriate way, the Observer newspaper reported on Feb. 23.

The physical advances allegedly took place as far back as 30 years ago.

Although O’Brien is contesting the allegations, by stepping down he will no longer be a part of the conclave that will choose a new pope in March.

"I do not wish media attention in Rome to be focused on me, but rather on Pope Benedict XVI and on his successor," O'Brien said following his resignation.

Vatileaks

On Feb. 21, the Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported that Benedict's decision to step down could have been the result of wanting to distance himself from allegations that a network of closeted gay priests in the Vatican was being subjected to blackmail.

According to the paper, the Pope's decision to step down came on the same day last December that he received a dossier related to the so-called "Vatileaks" controversy — the 2012 scandal in which the Pope's butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested for allegedly stealing secret documents.

La Repubblica reported that the dossier concluded that because of their alleged homosexuality, some members of the Holy See were susceptible to "external influence," in other words, blackmail.

The Vatican replied on Feb. 23 by condemning the "false and damaging reports" and suggesting that the media were trying to influence the election of the next pontiff.

U.S. allegations of coverup

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, former head of the largest Catholic archdiocese in the U.S., is being urged not to take part in the conclave after being accused of protecting more than 120 sexually abusive priests during his time as the archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985 to 2011.

According to the L.A. Times, a Catholic organization called Catholic United has gathered thousands of signatures and took a petition to Mahoney on Feb. 23, asking that for the well-being of the Catholic Church, Mahony refrain from participating in the conclave.

The protest is in response to the Jan. 31 release of 12,000 pages of personal documents dealing with the accusations and Mahony and other officials’ handling of them, which were published by court order. The files showed that Mahony helped keep accused priests of out trouble.

In one instance, the files showed that an accused priest by the name of Aguilar Rivera fled to Mexico when Thomas Curry, Mahony’s aide, advised him that parents of the allegedly abused children might go to the police. Rivera is still a fugitive in Mexico, the Times reported.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 PM

Former doctrinal enforcer used pontificate to crack down on sex abuse

VATICAN CITY
U.S. Catholic

By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI's disgust over the abuse scandals marring the church was made evident even before his election as pope.

In his forceful Way of the Cross meditations, which he wrote as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in the few weeks before his election as pope in 2005, he wrote for the world to hear: "How much filth there is in the church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him."

That straightforward attitude, coupled with sympathy for victims and commitment toward prevention, marked much of the pope's subsequent eight years as pope.

"Pope Benedict XVI will certainly be remembered for his extraordinary reply and response to the very sad phenomenon of sexual abuse of minors by the clergy," Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna of Malta told Vatican Radio. The bishop was promoter of justice at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, handling accusations of clerical sex abuse from 2002 to 2012.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:12 PM

Cardinal Keith O'Brien: scourge of liberals with a flair for rhetoric

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Sam Jones
The Guardian, Monday 25 February 2013

Even Keith O'Brien's friends and admirers would probably admit that he has a regrettable tendency to deploy the heavy artillery of rhetoric whenever the public debate touches on matters of homosexuality, abortion or secularism.

As befits one of the most outspoken churchmen of the already outspoken Roman Catholic church in Scotland, he has never been slow to condemn what he sees as immorality whenever and wherever he sees it.

His vigorous opposition to same-sex marriage – "a grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right" – his comparison of the abortion rate to "two Dunblane massacres a day" and his description of the implications of the human fertilisation and embryology bill as "grotesque" and akin to "Nazi-style experiments" earned him the respect and gratitude of conservative Catholics pleased to see a cardinal taking a stand.

His language and intractability also infuriated liberals, progressive Catholics and equality campaigners. Last year, the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity Stonewall decided to reward his "vitriolic campaign against equality in Scotland" with its bigot of the year award. "If Roman Catholics don't approve of same-sex marriage," said its chief executive, "they should make sure they don't get married to someone of the same sex".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:09 PM

RI diocese: Priest acknowledges 1981 sex assault

RHODE ISLAND
CT Post

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A priest has acknowledged he sexually abused a minor more than 30 years ago and resigned from two parishes in Woonsocket, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence said Monday.

In a statement the diocese said Monsignor John Allard was placed on administrative leave and has expressed remorse for the abuse.

State Police Maj. Michael Winquist said police received a letter from the diocese earlier this month that outlined the allegations.

Winquist said a boy who was one of Allard's then-parishioners in Cranston was allegedly assaulted by him in 1981. The diocese said Allard served at Immaculate Conception in Cranston from 1975 to 1984.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:07 PM

Woonsocket pastor acknowledges sexual assault, resigns

RHODE ISLAND
Valley Breeze

WOONSOCKET – A priest who was serving at St. Agatha and Precious Blood has acknowledged that he abused a minor in 1981 and has resigned from both churches.

Rev. Monsignor John Allard has been placed on administrative leave and police are encouraging anyone who knows of abuse to report it to police or the diocese.

The priest also served at Our Lady of Good Help in Burrillville, St. Aloysius in Woonsocket, and the Diocesan Office of Youth Ministry.

The incident, announced by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence on Monday, Feb. 25, is reported to have occurred at Immaculate Conception in Cranston, where Allard served from 1975 to 1984. In a statement, the diocese expressed remorse for the abuse.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:04 PM

Pope Benedict Forced Cardinal O’Brien to Quit 4 Weeks Ahead of Retirement Over Sex Scandal

VATICAN CITY
International Business Times

By Vittorio Hernandez | February 26, 2013

Just days before his official retirement on Feb 28, Pope Benedict XVI made a controversial decision on Monday by forcing Scottish Cardinal, Keith O'Brien to quit his post.

The decision to pressure the head of the Scottish Catholic Church to step down over allegations of improper behavior by Cardinal O'Brien toward priests is contrary to previous reports that the cardinal resigned on his own.

The cardinal is the most serious among the 100 plus cardinals who are arriving in Vatican City to vote for the next pope in a conclave to be held inside the Sistine Chapel. His participation in the selection process was supposed to be one of his last acts as head of the Scottish Catholic Church since he is due for retirement in the next 4 weeks when he reaches 75.

Three current priests and an ex-priests claimed that the cardinal committed inappropriate acts on them during the 1980s and the publication by the Observer of the charge added to the growing list of sex scandals involving the clergy and prompted the pope's decision.

After quitting as archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Cardinal O'Brien issued a statement apologizing for any failures to those whom he offended. He canceled his trip to Vatican, which dashes any hope of him supporting a papabili who would be more friendlier to the idea of a growing proposal to remove the marriage ban on priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:01 PM

Venting and vetting: The brutal side of papal politics

UNITED KINGDOM
Washington Post

By David Gibson| Religion News Service,

Updated: Monday, February 25

If you want a crash course on how papal politics really works, look no further than the saga of Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien.

On Friday, Britain’s most senior Catholic cleric grabbed headlines by telling the BBC that priestly celibacy was “not of divine origin” and that he’d be “happy” if priests had the option to marry.

On Saturday, O’Brien was back in the news, this time after four men reportedly accused him of “inappropriate acts” dating back to the 1980s.

By Monday, O’Brien had resigned as archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh and announced he would skip the conclave.

From champion of married priests to disgraced churchman within 72 hours, O’Brien’s trajectory is stunning but also emblematic of the frenetic and fever-pitched campaigning that occurs during the tiny window between a pope’s death or resignation and the election of his successor.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:42 PM

Analysis: Intrigue is age-old part of Vatican politics

VATICAN CITY
Detroit Free Press

by Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY

The Vatican today appears rocked by scandalous rumors and resignations just as church leaders must gear up to replace frail Pope Benedict XVI within weeks.

But Vatican experts say if you think the world's largest non-governmental institution is in unprecedented chaos right now, think again.

"Have you ever heard of the Borgias?" quips professor Terrence Tilley, chairman of the theology department for Fordham University, New York. They were the larcenous, adulterous, murderous, election-rigging, Renaissance-era family of renaissance popes "who ran the papacy for decades like a private fief."

For all the sex, money and power headlines wafting out of Rome these days, at least no one has been murdered. Infighting and innuendo, though, are ancient traditions that have moved into the bright lights of the 24/7 news cycle social media.

"It's high season for reporting chaos," Tilley says. "There have always been rumors about money, power and sex in the Vatican. The question is not whether but how much. There's a lot of smoke, right now. Is there a spark, yes. If it's a fire, is it a small campfire or a five-alarm conflagration? No one knows."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:40 PM

Goodbye to Cardinal O’Brien

UNITED STATES
First Things

Monday, February 25, 2013

John Haldane

The resignation of Cardinal O’Brien as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, within a month of the date on which his formal resignation would normally have taken effect, is both shocking and sad, for he was a well-known and well-liked figure within the Catholic Church in Scotland, in Britain, and more widely; and within Scotland he had good relations with other churches and faiths, and with civil and political society.

Given the nature of the accusations, however, and the publication of them over the weekend, ahead of the formal abdication of Pope Benedict later in the week, it is unsurprising that he has taken the decision to resign. The Scottish Catholic Church has a good reputation in Rome for clear and confident leadership, and the Pope particularly relished the Scottish part of his visit to the UK, and appreciated the work done by Cardinal O’Brien and his fellow bishops.

With that in mind, however, the Cardinal could not but be mindful of the problems that would follow given the inevitable press interest created by the accusations, and he would not want that burden to fall upon the Church and the Pope at what is obviously a critical moment in the life of the Roman Catholic community.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:37 PM

The Scandal of the Cardinals. The Disgrace of Episcopal Bishops

UNITED STATES
Virtue Online

The Episcopal Church embraces what Rome calls "intrinsically disordered"

News Analysis

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org
February 25, 2013

Leading Episcopal gay and lesbian clergy and laity are publicly gloating over revelations that more leading Roman Catholic leaders have been quietly practicing what they themselves openly practice and preach.

In the name of transparency, integrity, openness, inclusion and diversity, the Episcopal Church has rolled over to the zeitgeist and embraced pansexuality, even as leading Catholic prelates have been exposed for their sexual behavior paralleling a number of Episcopal bishops. Four of them have publicly outed themselves including Gene Robinson, Mary Glasspool, Otis Charles and Tom Shaw, while other Episcopal bishops clandestinely practice sodomy but have chosen not to "come out" preferring to remain closeted with their sexual practices.

Who is surprised to learn that there are gay priests in the Vatican, asked Jim Naughton in a headline at his liberal blog Episcopal Café? "It is common knowledge that punitive attitudes about sexuality and the pressure to keep one's identity hidden can lead to unhealthy behavior. People who hide their identities and engage in these behaviors are open to blackmail. So this news is less shocking than it is predictable. The church's repressive teaching and the subterfuge it engenders--from officials of all sexual orientations--is what is undermining the church."

Or this:

"Perhaps we need to add to the list of known knowns and unknown unknowns, the "known but not acknowledged." One of the principal facts of scandal is that there is a fact, a reality that is revealed publicly. So I would not automatically dismiss this as a possibility. After all, in addition to being Bishop of Rome, one might well observe that the pontiff is to some extent Prisoner of the Vatican... and many are the secrets held in pectore..."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:34 PM

Former Saanich priest convicted of child sexual assault

CANADA
The Province

VICTORIA — A former Victoria-area Roman Catholic priest has been found guilty of one sex-related charge while being acquitted of three others.

Sixty-three-year-old Phil Jacobs was convicted of touching a person under the age of 14 for sexual purposes.

B.C. Supreme Court Judge Madam Justice Merriam Gropper acquitted Jacobs of three other charges, including sexual assault and two counts of sexual touching of a person under 14.

She said much of the evidence raised doubts over when the alleged offences took place and she was therefore unable to find Jacobs guilty on those charges.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:31 PM

Despite criticism, Mahony should help select pope, says cardinal

UNITED STATES
Los Angeles Times

A top U.S. cardinal on Monday said Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony should help select a new pope despite new revelations about his handling of priest abuse cases.

Cardinal William Levada spoke about Mahony and the historic events at the Vatican during a talk at a Menlo Park seminary, according to the Associated Press. Levada is a former cardinal of San Francisco who also served as the pope's prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Critics have slammed Mahony for going to Rome after church files released last month showed he worked to prevent law enforcement officials from investigating priests who molested children. Mahony has apologized for his actions in the 1980s but said it was his duty to select a new pope.

On Saturday, a Catholic organization delivered a petition with thousands of signatures asking that Mahony recuse himself from the conclave in Rome.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:29 PM

Archbishop: Philly Catholics 'in need of healing'

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
San Francisco Chronicle

By PATRICK WALTERS, Associated Press

Monday, February 25, 2013

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced Monday the city has been formally selected by the Vatican to host a large gathering of the Roman Catholic church called the World Meeting of Families in 2015, with Archbishop Charles Chaput saying the region's 1.5 million Catholics are in need of "healing and renewal."

The meeting, expected to draw hundreds of thousands from around the world, will be held from Sept. 22 through Sept. 27 in 2015. Pope Benedict XVI originally announced the selection of the city as host in June, months before his planned resignation was announced earlier this month.

The dates for the VIII World Meeting of Families were confirmed in a letter last month, Chaput said Monday. At a news conference, Chaput said he didn't know why the pope chose Philadelphia but that he was "deeply grateful."

"These events also become moments of grace," he said, adding that the region's Catholic community is "in need of healing and renewal" and that the church needs "to better protect children and young people."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 5:25 PM

Former St. Mary’s Orchard Lake Schools students come forward, say they were molested

MICHIGAN
Daily Tribune

By CAROL HOPKINS
carol.hopkins@oakpress.com; @opcarolhopkins

Four former St. Mary’s Orchard Lake Schools students have come forward to say they were sexually molested by a priest at the school in the 1980s — and a Boston attorney has heard the stories and is researching his next step in the matter.

The priest, Brother Stephen Baker, worked at the school in Orchard Lake between 1983-85.

Baker, 62, killed himself Jan. 26 with a self-inflicted knife wound to the heart at the St. Bernardine Monastery in Hollidaysburg, Pa. — Baker is accused of molesting high schools students in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Baker left a note apologizing for his actions, officials reported.

Prior abuse cases continue to trouble the church.

There is no record that Baker molested anyone connected with the school system, said officials with the Archdiocese of Detroit.

“He knew no bounds and was not properly being supervised,” said Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston, Mass.-based attorney who specializes in sexual abuse cases.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:35 PM

U.S. Catholics: Key Data from Pew Research

UNITED STATES
Pew Research Center

Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to hold his final general audience in St. Peter’s Square on Feb. 27, the day before he steps down as leader of the Roman Catholic Church. In the coming weeks, approximately 117 cardinals, including 11 from the United States, will gather to elect his successor. How do U.S. Catholics view the church, and what do they want from the next pope? Here are some of the Pew Research Center’s key findings about the U.S. Catholic population on these and other questions.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:32 PM

Former Saanich priest guilty on one count of sexual touching

CANADA
Saanich News

By Kyle Slavin - Saanich News
Published: February 25, 2013

Father Phil Jacobs has been found guilty of touching a young person for a sexual purpose, but not guilty on three other counts of molestation.

Justice Miriam Gropper handed down her verdict this morning in B.C. Supreme Court after a trial that spanned December and January.

Three young men and former students of St. Joseph the Worker School testified that Jacobs molested and sexually touched them during his tenure as parish priest at the Saanich Catholic school in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:27 PM

New questions arise as conclave rules change

VATICAN CITY
Gazzetta del Sud

Vatican City, February 25 - With only four days remaining before Benedict XVI steps down as pope, new questions continue to surface regarding how his successor will be elected. On Monday Benedict issued a decree changing the rules of the conclave electing the new head of the Catholic Church. The rule change allows the conclave to take place sooner than the mandatory 15 days from a papacy's end, and so before mid-March, the Vatican said. "The cardinals will be permitted to bring forward the start of the conclave, if they are all present," said the decree, called 'motu proprio' in Latin. Vatican Spokesman Federico Lombardi said: "We cannot anticipate the date of the conclave, but it is likely a formal decision will come in the first few days of March".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:26 PM

Cardinal's resignation 'the biggest crisis since the Reformation'

SCOTLAND
STV

[with video]

The Catholic Church in Scotland has been engulfed in crisis following the resignation of Cardinal Keith O'Brien amid allegations of "inappropriate behaviour" stretching back 30 years.

Cardinal O'Brien is to step down with immediate effect after three priests and a former priest made complaints to the Vatican.

The move leaves the Catholic Church in Britain with no vote in the forthcoming conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI after the Cardinal said he would not attend.

Cardinal O'Brien's resignation is the latest in a series of scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church. Two years ago, the Bishop of Bruges stepped down after admitting to sexual abuse. And in Ireland, revelations have come to light that 10,000 women were kept as virtual slaves in church-run laundries across the country.

The current scandal is so profound that Professor Tom Devine of the University of Edinburgh said: "This is possibly the biggest crisis in the history of Scottish Catholicism since the Reformation.

"It has come from the heart and soul of the church."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:20 PM

U.K. Cardinal's Resignation Amid Scandal Pushes Oscars Coverage to Back of News Reports

UNITED KINGDOM
Hollywood Reporter

LONDON – The resignation of Britain's most senior representative of the Roman Catholic church, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, pushed Adele, Daniel Day Lewis and the other British-born Oscar winners down in U.K. news coverage on Monday.

The Oscars led early morning news shows as the best picture award was handed out in the early hours of Monday morning here.

Then, O'Brien's resignation hit the headlines amid claims, which he contests, of "inappropriate behavior," meaning sexual advances, towards priests dating back to the 1980s. The news began to dominate the British news agenda with it leading the BBC and ITV news reports starting mid-morning Monday.

It follows revelations in Sunday newspaper The Observer, which reported that three priests and one former priest complained about O'Brien to the Pope's representative in Britain earlier this month, when Pope Benedict announced his shock resignation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:15 PM

Cardinal Mahony in Rome despite calls to skip conclave

ROME
Gazzetta del Sud

Rome, February 25 - Controversial American Cardinal Roger Mahony, who critics have urged to abstain from the conclave to elect a new pope over a growing sex-abuse scandal, is in Rome and attended Benedict XVI's final Angelus on Sunday, Mahony said on his blog Monday. Mahony answered questions under oath Saturday about a visiting Mexican priest who in 1987 is believed to have molested 26 children at the Los Angeles Archdiocese, where he was the archbishop at the time. A grass-roots campaign had sprung up, trying to shame Mahony into dropping out of the conclave over allegations that he protected sexually abusive priests by moving them to other parishes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:13 PM

Too many priests preach truth, but live a lie

UNITED KINGDOM
The Telegraph

The scandal surrounding the resignation of Cardinal Keith O'Brien shows why the Catholic Church must end its hypocrisy over gays

By Peter Stanford
8:06PM GMT 25 Feb 2013

For us million or so run-of-the-mill Catholic Mass-goers in Britain, there have been plenty of bishops’ letters and other hellfire sermons about gay marriage to sit through of late. Since the argument from the pulpit is always the same, my mind often wanders and I find myself focusing instead not on the message but on the messenger.

As a “professional” Catholic – having once edited the Catholic Herald – as well as a private one, I’ve met many clerics. Many are openly gay. Or so open when not saying Mass that it is easy to forget I’m not meant to remember it when they are.

In general, such double standards don’t overly concern me. Like the rest of us, priests, monks, bishops and even cardinals are as God made them. Whatever inner tension they struggle with as leaders in a Church that teaches that to be gay is – and I am quoting a document sent out by the soon-to-retire Pope when he was Cardinal Ratzinger – “a strong tendency towards an intrinsic moral evil”, that is a matter for their own conscience.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:10 PM

Decoding the Papacy: Benedict XVI's cryptic frustration

VATICAN CITY
BBC News

By David Willey
BBC News, Rome

Popes tend to be prodigal with words. They make thousands of speeches and religious homilies every year. Nevertheless, papal pronouncements rarely hit the headlines.

But occasionally a single word or phrase shines out like a beacon that illuminates the arcane world of the Vatican.

One of these occasions was when at Easter 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, leading a Good Friday meditation at Rome's Colosseum only days before the death of Pope John Paul II and his own election as Pope Benedict XVI, referred to the "filth" besmirching the Catholic Church.

We were at a loss to understand immediately to what he was referring.

As we now know, it was a reference to the clerical sexual abuse scandals which were damaging the credibility of the Catholic Church, not only in the United States, but also in many other countries.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:08 PM

UK’s Top Cardinal, Keith O’Brien, Resigns—Who’s Next?

VATICAN CITY
The Daily Beast

by Barbie Latza Nadeau
Feb 25, 2013

Keith O’Brien’s resignation as archbishop of Scotland—amid claims that he made advances towards male priests—could be the first in a wave of scandals to plague the coming conclave.

When Cardinal Keith O’Brien handed in his resignation as archbishop of Scotland to Pope Benedict XVI ahead of his 75th birthday on March 17 last year, he likely had no idea how relevant it would become in the history of the Catholic Church. The resignation was made nunc pro tunc or “now for later”--to be dealt with when the pope had time for such matters. But Pope Benedict, who is stepping down from his papacy on February 28, only found time to approve O’Brien’s resignation last Friday. The resignation, and the presumed assumption that O’Brien will not participate in the conclave to elect the next pope, is just the latest in an avalanche of sleazy scandals to rock the Vatican since the pope tendered his resignation on February 11. And, given the speed at which the Vatican’s skeletons are surfacing, O’Brien’s resignation has left many wondering how many cardinals will be left by the time the conclave begins.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:04 PM

Cardinal Mahony blogs about persecution and 'loving your enemies'

ROME
Los Angeles Times

February 25, 2013

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, currently at the Vatican to help select a new pope, has spoken out on Twitter and his blog about forgiving enemies.

Critics have slammed Mahony for going to Rome after new revelations that he worked to prevent law enforcement officials for investigating priests who molested children. Mahony has apologized for his actions in the 1980s and said it was his duty to select a new pope.

"Anyone interested in loving your enemies, or doing good to those who persecute you? See my blog for today. Wow, Jesus is demanding," Mahony posted on Twitter Monday.

He expanded on the theme in a blog post.

"I can't recall a time such as now when people tend to be so judgmental and even self-righteous, so quick to accuse, judge and condemn," Mahony wrote on his personal blog. "And often with scant real facts and information. Because of news broadcasts now 24/7 there is little or no fact checking; no in-depth analysis; no context or history given. Rather, everything gets reported as 'news' regardless of the basis for the item being reported -- and passed on by countless other news outlets."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:02 PM

Another Lawsuit Filed Against Catholic Leaders for Baker Sex Abuse

PENNSYLVANIA
Fox Youngstown

Reported by: Adam Ferrise - Online News Manager

The third lawsuit against Catholic leaders in Pennsylvania was filed Monday, accusing church leaders of allowing Brother Stephen Baker access to teenage students he allegedly sexually abused.

Johnstown, Pa. attorney Richard Serbin filed a lawsuit Monday in Blair County Court for three unnamed alleged sexual abuse victims, who were molested by Baker while they were students at Bishop McCort High School. Baker was a religious teacher, baseball coach and athletic trainer at Bishop McCort and held the same positions at Warren’s John F. Kennedy High School.

Serbin said Monday in a phone interview he has more than three clients that Baker abused and said he would likely add more to the lawsuit. He also said he expects more to come forward throughout the process.

The filing, called a Praecipe to Issue Writ of Summons, notifies defendants that a lawsuit has been started against them. The filing says Serbin will allege sexual abuse as the reason for the lawsuit and a complaint detailing allegations will be filed at a later time.

The filing names Bishop McCort, the Third Order Regular Franciscans and the Johnstown-Altoona Catholic Diocese, as did a similar lawsuit filed by Greensburg, Pa. attorney Susan Williams in Cambria County Court.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:59 PM

Father Phil found guilty of sexually touching young person; acquitted of three other charges

CANADA
Times Colonist

Louise Dickson / Times Colonist
February 25, 2013

A Roman Catholic priest has been found guilty of sexually touching a young person while in a position of trust.

This morning, the young man — whose identity is protected by a court order — burst into tears as B.C. Supreme Court Justice Miriam Gropper convicted Father Phil Jacobs, 63, of sexually touching him when he was between 14 and 18.

The offence occurred between Jan. 1, 2000, and June 30, 2001, when Jacobs was parish priest at St. Joseph the Worker in Saanich. It carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Jacobs, who resigned from the parish in 2002, was acquitted of three other charges: sexual assault; and two counts of sexual touching a young person under the age of 14.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:57 PM

NEW: Providence Diocese Suspends Priest for Sexual Misconduct

RHODE ISLAND
GoLocalProv

Monday, February 25, 2013

GoLocalProv News Team

The Providence Diocese has announced that the Rev. Monsignor John Allard was placed on administrative leave for alleged misconduct.

The Diocese of Providence has just announced that it has placed the Rev. Monsignor John Allard on administrative leave following a “credible allegation” of sexual misconduct of a minor that reportedly took place more than 30 years ago.

“Monsignor Allard has taken responsibility for his actions and has expressed his profound remorse for the harm he has caused,” the Diocese said.

Allard had been pastor of both the St. Agatha and Precious Blood Parishes in Woonsocket and has been replaced, at least temporarily, with the Rev. Wilfred Gregoire

The Diocese said that this is the “first and only known allegation of abuse” relative to Allard and the matter has been referred to the Rhode Island State Police.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:54 PM

Diocese Places Woonsocket Priest on Administrative Leave

RHODE ISLAND
Roman Catholic Diocese of Providece

(PROVIDENCE, R.I.)- In accordance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and diocesan policy, the Diocese of Providence today announced that Rev. Monsignor John Allard has resigned as pastor of St. Agatha and Precious Blood Parishes (both in Woonsocket) and has been placed on administrative leave as a result of a credible allegation of sexual misconduct of a minor that allegedly took place more than 30 years ago. Monsignor Allard has taken responsibility for his actions and has expressed his profound remorse for the harm he has caused.

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin has appointed Rev. Wilfred Gregoire, a senior priest in residence at St. Agatha, temporary administrator of the parishes.

According to the Diocesan Office of Education and Compliance, this is the first and only known allegation of abuse relative to Msgr. Allard and the Rhode Island State Police were notified of the allegation. Due to the ongoing internal investigation, the Diocese is unable to offer additional comment at this time.

“Allegations of abuse, even if they occurred many years ago, are taken very seriously and acted upon in accordance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and diocesan policy,” said Bishop Tobin. “For the many who are affected by this heartbreaking news, I offer my prayers for healing and forgiveness.”

Msgr. Allard’s faculties, or permission to serve as a priest, have been revoked in accordance with the Charter. He has vacated the rectory and will reside at a private residence.

Bishop Tobin will meet with parish staff this week and visit the parish community in the near future to provide spiritual and pastoral support.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:53 PM

Diocese places Woonsocket priest on administrative leave

RHODE ISLAND
WJAR

By WJAR Staff

PROVIDENCE -
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence said Monday that the Rev. Monsignor John Allard has resigned as pastor of St. Agatha and Precious Blood parishes in Woonsocket and has been placed on administrative leave.

The diocese said the action was a result of a credible allegation of sexual misconduct of a minor that took place more than 30 years ago.

The diocese said in a statement that Allard has taken responsibility for his actions and that he has expressed his profound remorse for the harm he has caused.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:50 PM

Woonsocket priest on administrative leave for sex-abuse allegation dating back 30 years

RHODE ISLAND
Providence Journal

February 25, 2013

By Maria Armental

WOONSOCKET, R.I. -- The Rev. Monsignor John Allard has been placed on administrative leave, his authority to serve as a priest revoked, "as a result of a credible allegation of sexual misconduct of a minor that allegedly took place more than 30 years ago," Diocese officials said Monday.

Msgr. Allard, most recently assigned to St. Agatha and precious Blood parishes and the Father Marot CYO Center in Woonsocket, "has taken responsibility for his actions and has expressed his profound remorse for the harm he has caused," a news release said.

Diocese officials said "this is the first and only known allegation of abuse" against Msgr. Allard, who was ordained in 1975.

The Rev. Wilfred Gregoire, a senior priest in residence at St. Agatha, will administer the parishes in the interim.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:47 PM

GAYS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

UNITED STATES
Catholic League

Bill Donohue comments on news stories involving gay priests:

Is there a “gay lobby” involved in blackmail that resulted in the decision of the pope to resign? No serious observer in or out of the Vatican currently accepts this account. But that hardly means there isn’t still a gay subculture in the Catholic Church.

Father Donald B. Cozzens warned us many years ago that the priesthood was becoming a “gay profession.” Notre Dame theologian Father Richard McBrien also spoke about the “gay culture” in the Church, and the damage it was doing. Father Andrew Greeley coined the term “Lavender Mafia” to refer to the way homosexual priests cover for each other. All three priests have stellar liberal credentials.

Now we have reports that Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Scotland will not be going to Rome to join the conclave because he does not want to distract from the proceedings. He has resigned following allegations by three priests and one former priest that he was involved in improper conduct. He says the accusations are untrue. Is this another example of the “Lavender Mafia” at work?

Consider this. We don’t know the names of the four men making the accusations because the British newspaper behind this story, The Observer, won’t release them; the details of what allegedly happened have not been disclosed (all we know are vague statements about “inappropriate” and “unwanted” contact); the four accusers waited over 30 years to come forward before coordinating their joint charges.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:45 PM

Jimmy Savile's Satanic ritual

UNITED KINGDOM
Express

By: James Murray
Published: Sun, February 24, 2013

The former BBC presenter went to weird events at a place known locally as The Chamber, which had a ceremonial whipping post in the centre of the room.

The room was decorated with an occult style pentagram and goats heads.

The building housing The Chamber still exists in Whitby, North Yorkshire, but has since been redecorated and the whipping post removed.

Officers working on Scotland Yard’s Operation Yewtree investigation will travel to the coastal town in the coming days to interview a local resident who has been amassing a file of evidence about the strange goings on there decades ago.

The man, who declined to be named, said: “There is a substantial amount of information to show Savile was invited to Satanic rituals in Whitby on a number of occasions. Once someone made a recording of what unfolded and that film is still said to be in existence in DVD form.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:43 PM

JIMMY SAVILE 'NAKED IN SATANIC SEX CLUB'

UNITED KINGDOM
Daily Star

25th February 2013

By Jerry Lawton

POLICE are probing claims that disgraced DJ Jimmy Savile was filmed cavorting naked in a Satanic sex club.

Operation Yewtree detectives investigating the shamed star’s sordid antics are hunting for the footage which is said to have been preserved on DVD.

The sleazy film is said to show other celebrities and civic bigwigs taking part in naked Satanic rituals at a secret club called The Chamber.

The meeting place in Whitby, North Yorks, had a ceremonial whipping post in the centre of the room. Occult symbols including pentagrams and goat’s heads adorned the walls.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:39 PM

'Satanic Jimmy Savile Wore Devil Robes at Scarborough Sex Club' [PHOTO]

UNITED KINGDOM
International Business Times

February 25, 2013

By Dominic Gover

Paedophile DJ Jimmy Savile danced naked during Satanic sex rituals held in a creepy underground chamber, according to reports.

Disgraced Savile regularly visited a secret club in Whitby, Scarborough, to join in sex-based rituals around a flogging post, it was claimed.

The BBC star belonged to a convent of northern public figures, now deceased, who gathered in a venue called The Chamber - which had signs of the devil on the walls.

Details were provided by a local source in Scarborough who has been delving in to Savile's life beyond the public eye.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:36 PM

Round two: conclave of the People of God

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

by Pam Cohen | Feb. 25, 2013

Last week, we asked our readers which of the 117 eligible cardinals in the College of Cardinals they thought would be selected as pope next month. More than 1,000 of you voted in our preliminary round, so here we are in round two!

Below are the 26 cardinals who received the most votes in round one. Of those 26, choose the man you think will be voted to become the next pope. (We are not voting on the person you would like to see become the next pope, but we've received some requests to do that poll next, so keep an eye out.) Check back next Monday to see if your pick makes the top 10!

We recognize that technically, any unmarried baptized Catholic man is eligible to become pope, but since that is unlikely, we are only offering cardinals under the age of 80 (those who will be voting in the conclave) as the candidates.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 2:07 PM

Cardinal O'Brien interviewed about Church's attitude to child sex abuse before allegations eme

UNITED KINGDOM
The Telegraph

[with video]

Before allegations of 'inappropriate behaviour' forced Cardinal Keith O'Brien to resign on Monday, he gave an interview about the Church's attitude to sexual abuse.

Cardinal O'Brien, who resigned today over allegations of "inappropriate behaviour", was being interviewed on February 22 about the prospect of the former archbishop of Los Angeles, who resigned over claims he protected priests accused of child sex abuse, voting for the next pope.

Cardinal O'Brien said it was down to Cardinal Mahony, to examine his "own conscience" as to whether or not he would take part in the upcoming papal conclave.

Roger Mahony, 76, was last month relieved of all his church duties for allegedly trying to conceal abuse cases involving dozens of priests in the US.

As O’Brien quits, Tatchell threatens to ‘out’ gays who oppose equality

UNITED KINGDOM
Gay Star News

25 February 2013 | By Tris Reid-Smith

Veteran British activist Peter Tatchell has told GSN he may expose ‘half a dozen’ leading clergy and politicians who are secretly gay but oppose LGBT equality.

He made the comments as he said allegations against Cardinal Keith O’Brien indicate he may have been a hypocrite. O’Brien, Britain’s most senior Catholic, quit today after claims emerged he engaged in ‘inappropriate acts’ and a ‘relationship’ with his own celibate priests.

Long-term LGBT and human rights activist Tatchell was part of campaigns in the early 1990s which threatened to ‘out’ 200 clergy, politicians and other public figures who opposed LGBT equality but were secretly gay or bi themselves.

Tatchell told GSN he knew of ‘half a dozen’ clergy and politicians who are speaking against gay and lesbian marriage equality despite their hidden sexuality.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:59 PM

Cardinal’s resignation should not deflect the issue of abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
Pannone

Alan Collins, a solicitor at law firm Pannone who has represented over fifty victims of abuse by catholic clergy, says the resignation of Cardinal Keith O’Brien should not deflect attention from the central issue of abuse in the Catholic Church.

Commented Mr Collins, “We need an open and honest account of what happened. This should not be an internal matter for the Church because it goes to the heart of its inability to confront sexual abuse in a frank and honest manner. Cardinal O'Brien was responsible for the supervision of priests and if he was culpable in any way, he would have been compromised when it came to addressing child abuse in his diocese. Openness on this issue will provide the Catholic Church with an opportunity to examine failings so as to ensure that abuse is never tolerated at any level.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:57 PM

Pope Benedict and the Vatican's 'Gay Lobby'

VATICAN CITY
Huffington Post

Michelangelo Signorile

The news that the UK's most senior Catholic cleric, the anti-gay Cardinal Keith O'Brien, has resigned over allegations of unwanted sexual advances on priests, combined with last week's reports of a secret gay cabal within the Vatican that supposedly pushed Pope Benedict to resign, is explosive. The stunning news certainly bolsters the argument that the Catholic Church is in crisis and that the pope's resignation is reflective of that fact, but it's important to separate the sensationalism in this rapidly developing story, not to mention the anti-gay bias, from the facts and the probabilities.

First off, the idea that an all-powerful "gay lobby" forced Pope Benedict to resign, as some of the international media reports have insinuated, is pretty ludicrous. If there really were such an influential gay cabal, you'd better believe that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger would not have become pope in the first place, nor would the Vatican be such a repository of blood-curdling homophobia.

But it would not be surprising if there were some truth to the report in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that three Vatican cardinals conducted an investigation focusing on the existence of many gay men in the Vatican and produced a report on their findings. The Vatican has angrily dismissed the idea that a gay cabal led to Benedict's resignation, but it has not outright denied the existence of that investigative report. If the report had anything to do with Benedict's stepping down, it is probably that at 85 years old, he is not up to the task of purging the Vatican and the church of the secret gays whom the Vatican sees as the cause of its problems (in addition to dealing with the corruption, financial mismanagement and leaks inside the Vatican). But make no mistake: That would certainly be the plan, and, if true, it will be left to the next pope.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:52 PM

Embattled Scottish cardinal resigns, won't partake in conclave

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

by John L. Allen Jr. ,Joshua J. McElwee | Feb. 25, 2013

Rome --
Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien, the archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh in Scotland who has been accused of inappropriate sexual relations with priests, has resigned as archbishop and has indicated he will not partake in the election of the next pope.

News of O'Brien's resignation came Monday in a press release from his diocese, which said the cardinal, who turns 75 in March, had submitted his resignation to the pope in November.

"Given the imminent Vacant See, the Holy Father has now decided to accept the said resignation definitively," stated the release from the Scottish archdiocese.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:49 PM

Pope gives cardinals power to change conclave date

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

by John L. Allen Jr. ,Joshua J. McElwee | Feb. 25, 2013

Rome --
Pope Benedict XVI has given the college of cardinals authority to change the date of the upcoming conclave to elect his successor, the Vatican announced Monday.

The pope has signed a motu propio on the issue, setting aside parts of a previous mandate from Pope John Paul II governing the working of a conclave, said Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesperson, at a press conference.

With a potential date for the concave now in the cardinals' hands, it is unknown when they will choose to meet to elect Benedict's successor.

Lombardi said the earliest a date for the conclave might be known is March 1, when the cardinals will first meet following Benedict's resignation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:45 PM

Pope Benedict XVI lays out conclave process, penalties

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

by Joshua J. McElwee | Feb. 25, 2013

Rome --
Besides giving the College of Cardinals authority to change the date of the upcoming conclave to elect his successor, the Vatican on Monday specified other rules for the secret vote, including the penalty of excommunication for those who share inside information.

The Vatican announced Monday Pope Benedict XVI had issued a motu propio, or administrative order, regarding the conclave. It comes after some cardinals raised the question of whether the college could move up the date at which it will elect the pope's successor.

The earliest date for the conclave had previously been set at 15 days following Pope Benedict's formal resignation Thursday.

"The College of Cardinals is ... granted the faculty to anticipated the beginning of the Conclave if all the Cardinal electors are present as well as the faculty to defer, for serious reasons, the beginning of the election for a few days more," the order states.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:44 PM

Church Trying to Bring Lapsed Catholics Home

UNITED STATES
WGBH

[with audio]

By Anne Mostue

Catholicism in America can be described in various ways: in numbers, movements and emotion.

“I go every holy day of obligation,” said one area Catholic. “It means a lot to me, to take part in the sacraments.”

But approximately one third of those who say they were raised Catholic are no longer practicing the religion. That’s according to the Pew Religious Landscape Survey. “Disconnect” is one word used by Jim Crowley, a 62-year-old Brighton resident, who says he’s drifted from the parish of his childhood.

“Twelve years of schooling right over there, St. Columbkille’s,” Crowley said.

Crowley stopped going to Church in high school, but still went through the sacraments of confirmation and marriage in the church.

“I became over the years more spiritual than religious, so I don’t follow a lot of the orchestrated dictates and I don’t agree with a lot of their policies and procedures,” he said. “Not allowing women, not allowing priests to marry. So I never became angry at God, I just became fed up with the people he left in charge.”

Crowley said he isn’t referring to the sex abuse scandal, just leadership and dogma in general. He, along with many Catholics, are questioning whether the church is relevant in a country that’s increasingly accepting gay marriage, divorce, and women in positions of power. In fact, Pew research shows that the sex abuse crisis has little to do with Catholics leaving the faith. Seventy-one percent of those interviewed in 2007 said they drifted away from the church because it wasn't meeting their spiritual needs. That is precisely the target audience of Catholics Come Home, a campaign started by Catholic lay people. ...

But the campaign faces scrutiny, especially from those who want the Vatican and church leaders to take more responsibility for the ongoing sexual abuse crisis.

“Apologies have been made,” said Terry McKiernan, founder of the website BishopAccountability.org, and a practicing Catholic himself. “But if you look at the CatholicsComeHome.org website, or if you go to most of the diocesan websites and look at how they’re trying to entice people to come home, the sexual abuse crisis is for the most part invisible. Their approach has been to pretend that it’s all over, it’s been dealt with, move along, it will be fine. And I think they’re making a huge mistake.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:00 PM

Papabile of the Day: The Men Who Could Be Pope

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

by John L. Allen Jr. | Feb. 25, 2013

Rome --
John Allen is offering a profile each day of one of the most frequently touted papabili, or men who could be pope. The old saying in Rome is that he who enters a conclave as pope exits as a cardinal, meaning there's no guarantee one of these men actually will be chosen. They are, however, the leading names drawing buzz in Rome these days, ensuring they will be in the spotlight as the conclave draws near. The profiles of these men also suggest the issues and the qualities other cardinals see as desirable heading into the election.

Although the election of a pope is in many ways a carefully scripted process, the closest thing to a wild card this time around may well be 68-year-old Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, Austria.

Depending on who's doing the handicapping, the erudite Dominican is either an obvious, slam-dunk contender, or somebody who's basically taken himself out of the running.

Schönborn certainly has the right pedigree for the job. A member of the ancient Austrian noble family of Schönborn-Buchheim-Wolfstahl, he's one of two cardinals and 19 archbishops, bishops, priests, and religious sisters his family has produced. He's not even the first Schönborn to be the primate of the Austrian church; that honor fell to his great-great uncle, Cardinal Franz Graf Schönborn, who led the Austrian episcopacy under the old Austro-Hungarian empire from his position as the archbishop of Prague. (He had previously been the bishop of Budweis – hence he was, believe it or not, a "Budweiser").

Schönborn studied theology under then-Fr.Joseph Ratzinger in Regensburg, Germany, in the 1970s, and later taught at the prestigious Swiss University of Friborg. He served as general editor of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:49 PM

Vatican Conclave: Cardinal's O'Brien's Departure Darkens Mood

VATICAN CITY
Huffington Post

Reuters | By Philip Pullella Posted: 02/25/2013

VATICAN CITY, Feb 25 (Reuters) - A senior cleric resigned under duress on Monday and Pope Benedict took the rare step of changing Vatican law to allow his successor to be elected early, adding to a sense of crisis around the Roman Catholic Church.

With just three days left before Benedict becomes the first pope in some six centuries to step down, he accepted the resignation of Britain's only cardinal elector, Archbishop Keith O'Brien, who was to have voted for the next pope.

O'Brien, who retains the title of cardinal, has denied allegations that he behaved inappropriately with priests over a period of 30 years, but said he was quitting the job of archbishop of Edinburgh.

He could have attended the conclave despite his resignation because he is still a cardinal under 80, but said he would stay away because he did not want media attention to be focused on himself instead of the process of choosing the next leader of the 1.2 billion-member Church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:44 PM

Top British Cardinal Resigns After Allegations of "Inappropriate Behavior"

UNITED KINGDOM
Slate

By Abby Ohlheiser

Posted Monday, Feb. 25, 2013

Another week, another headache for the Catholic Church: Top British Cardinal Keith O'Brien has stepped down as Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, just one day after a British paper reported on "allegations of inappropriate behaviour" against the cardinal.

According to the Observer, four current and former priests from O'Brien's diocese have reported the former archbishop to the Vatican and demanded his resignation. Here's the paper with more details on the complaints, which have been contested by the cardinal's office:

It is understood that the first allegation against the cardinal dates back to 1980. The complainant, who is now married, was then a 20-year-old seminarian at St Andrew's College, Drygrange, where O'Brien was his "spiritual director". The Observer understands that the statement claims O'Brien made an inappropriate approach after night prayers...In a second statement, "Priest A" describes being happily settled in a parish when he claims he was visited by O'Brien and inappropriate contact between the two took place...In a third statement, "Priest B" claims that he was starting his ministry in the 1980s when he was invited to spend a week "getting to know" O'Brien at the archbishop's residence. His statement alleges that he found himself dealing with what he describes as unwanted behaviour by the cardinal after a late-night drinking session..."Priest C" was a young priest the cardinal was counselling over personal problems. Priest C's statement claims that O'Brien used night prayers as an excuse for inappropriate contact.

The Roman Catholic Church's media office in Scotland issued a statement indicating that O'Brien tendered his resignation on Feb. 18 and had previously indicated his intention to retire by his 75th birthday in mid-March. The cardinal didn't address the allegations in his acknowledgment of the pope's acceptance of his resignation on Monday. But, notably, he won't participate in the selection of Pope Benedict XVI's successor, despite still being a cardinal young enough to join the Conclave. According to the National Catholic Reporter, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi declined to comment on the resignation at a news conference on Monday. The English translator at the Vatican, however, essentially offered papal procrastination as an explanation on the timing: "Because of the date of the pope's resignation, some things were held up a bit," Thomas Rosica said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:40 PM

Pope says Vatileaks probe will stay secret, adding intrigue to final days

VATICAN CITY
NBC News

[with video]

By Erin McClam, Staff Writer, NBC News

A potentially explosive report into embarrassing leaks from the Vatican will be seen by only two people — Pope Benedict XVI and the man who succeeds him.

Italian newspapers have already angered the Vatican by suggesting that the report found evidence of corruption, blackmail and a gay sex ring, and that it triggered the Benedict’s decision earlier this month to give up the papacy.

The Vatican said in a statement Monday that Benedict, who commissioned the report on leaks from three cardinals, is the only person who knows its contents and will make them available only to the next pope.

The pontiff also praised the cardinals for showing, “given the limitation sand imperfections of the human component of each institution, the generosity, honesty and dedication of those who work in the Holy See.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:35 PM

'Vatileaks' report for Pope's eyes only

VATICAN CITY
Sky News

The Vatican says a secret report on a leaks scandal in 2012 had revealed human "imperfections" in the running of the Catholic Church and would be shown exclusively to the future pope, not to voting cardinals.

"The Holy Father has decided that the documents, which only he has seen, will be exclusively available to his successor," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said at a media conference.

Italian media reports had suggested cardinals set to vote in a new pope once Benedict XVI has resigned would be given access to the report.

The Pope met on Monday with the cardinals who investigated the so-called "Vatileaks" scandal, Lombardi said.

The run-up to next month's conclave to elect a successor to Benedict has seen new scandals and allegations emerge, including claims of "inappropriate behaviour" on the part of one of the cardinal electors, Keith O'Brien of Britain.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:31 PM

Wineke: A crisis in Catholicism


WISCONSIN
Channel 3000

Author: William R. Wineke, Special to Channel 3000

Published On: Feb 25 2013

Pope Benedict XV1 enters his final week as the world’s only absolute monarch this week and the 100 or so Roman Catholic cardinals who share in the church’s leadership are preparing to choose his successor.

In doing so, they will find – I expect – both tactical and strategic challenges.

As in any organization, the tactical decisions those cardinals make will make the news and the strategic decisions will make the difference.

The tactical decision is relatively easy: The cardinals will choose a new pope. In theory, they could choose almost anyone; in practice, they will choose someone from among their small number. And they will choose someone who pretty closely reflects Benedict’s philosophy. They will do so because he had a hand in elevating them to their present positions of honor.

The strategic decisions are far more difficult. The cardinals will take the first steps toward determining whether the underlying theological concepts of the church still make sense.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:31 PM

HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE COMMUNIQUE

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 25 February 2013 (VIS) – Following is the text of the communique published this morning by the Press Office of the Holy See:

“This morning, the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Herranz, Cardinal Tomko, and Cardinal De Giorgi, members of the Commission of Cardinals appointed to investigate into the leak of reserved documents, accompanied by the commission's secretary, Fr. Luigi Martignani O.F.M.Cap.”

“Upon finishing their assigned task, His Holiness wished to thank them for the useful work they carried out, expressing satisfaction with the outcome of the investigation. In fact, the report revealed, along with the limitations and imperfections of a human nature that are found in every organization, the generosity, uprightness, and dedication of those working in the Holy See at the service of the mission entrusted to the Roman Pontiff by Christ.”

“The Holy Father has decided that the results of the report, the contents of which are known only to His Holiness, will be made available exclusively to the new pontiff.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:21 AM

MOTU PROPRIO: POPE LEAVES EXPEDITION OF CONCLAVE UP TO CARDINALS

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 25 February 2013 (VIS) – In an unofficial translation of the Apostolic Letter in the form of a Motu Proprio by Holy Father Benedict XVI and dated 22 February, following are a few amendments concerning the election of the Roman Pontiff.

“With the Apostolic Letter 'De aliquibus mutationibus in normis de electione Romani Ponteficis' given as a Motu Proprio in Rome on 11 June 2007 in the third year of my pontificate, I established some norms that, rescinding those prescribed in no. 75 of the Apostolic Constitution 'Universi Dominici Gregis' promulgated by my predecessor Blessed John Paul II, have re-established the regulation, sanctioned by tradition, according to which a two thirds majority of the votes of the Cardinal electors present is always required for the valid election of the Roman Pontiff.”

“Considering the importance of ensuring the best implementation of what is concerned, albeit with a different significance, regarding the election of the Roman Pontiff, in particular a more certain interpretation and execution of some provisions, I establish and prescribe that some norms of the Apostolic Constitution 'Universi Dominici Gregis', as well as what I myself set forth in the above-mentioned Apostolic Letter, be replaced with the following norms:

35. “No Cardinal elector can be excluded from active or passive voice in the election of the Supreme Pontiff, for any reason or pretext, with due regard for the provisions of No. 40 and No. 75 of this Constitution.”

37. “I furthermore decree that, from the moment when the Apostolic See is lawfully vacant, the Cardinal electors who are present must wait fifteen full days for those who are absent before beginning the Conclave; however, the College of Cardinals is also granted the faculty to anticipated the beginning of the Conclave if all the Cardinal electors are present as well as the faculty to defer, for serious reasons, the beginning of the election for a few days more. But when a maximum of twenty days have elapsed from the beginning of the vacancy of the See, all the Cardinal electors present are obliged to proceed to the election.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:20 AM

Are Cardinals Merely the German Shepherd’s Obedient Pups?

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

The Pope is treating Cardinals as obedient pups, even trained seals, not as successors to the Apostles. He springs on them suddenly his move to a nearby convent with Georgeous Georg, then tells them they cannot read the very relevant secret report about Vatican scandals, then tells the UK’s sole representative he cannot vote and finally (so far) tells the rest of the voting Cardinals he is cutting down the voting period. Of course, the Vatican Cardinal clique has likely had plenty of time to scheme for their candidate, as they watched the papal convent being reconstructed over several months. Collegiality or servitude? The effects of the early lessons the German Shepherd learned in his formation as a young recruit in Hitler’s Wehrmacht are becoming more evident daily. Will Cardinals play dead or bark back? Or will they just let the prosecutors take conrol? Cardinal Dolan already objected to shortening the pre-Conclave period. Will others now join him?

Increasing numbers of Cardinals seem to be facing serious criminal prosecution risks that likely could increase rapidly unless the Vatican is reformed promptly and broadly. Last year, Philly’s Cardinal Bevilacqua avoided almost imminent prosecution by dying first and his top aide is in prison. Prosecutors and jurors will likely no longer give Cardinals the benefit of the doubt and the media is aggressively reporting Cardinals’ sins more often. The next Pope must confront these risks honestly and openly or the risk of imprisonment will almost surely only increase for Cardinals worldwide. The next Pope must require that abuse survivors are treated justly and that children are protected effectively. He must assure that hierarchical wrongdoers are exposed, removed and punished transparently and promptly. He must end the financial scandals; not just ship a key financial player to South America. These pressing imperatives require new leadership and real reforms now, especially to minimize prosecution risks..

In the past week, Catholic scholar, Hans Kung, Dominican priest, Matthew Fox, and Oxford historian, Sir Diarmaid MacCulloch, have weighed in on the current crisis. Their brief assessments must be listened to, or some Cardinals will likely be prosecuted sooner rather than later.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:17 AM

British cardinal resigns after charges of 'inappropriate behavior'

UNITED KINGDOM
Los Angeles Times

By Janet Stobart
February 25, 2013

LONDON -- Britain’s most senior Catholic cleric resigned his position Monday, 24 hours after allegations against him by four priests of “inappropriate behavior” dating back 30 years were published in a national newspaper.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the Catholic primate of Scotland, contested the allegations and is reported to be seeking legal advice, but in a surprise move said he would be stepping down immediately as archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh.

He also said he would not participate in the election of the successor to Pope Benedict XVI. Elevated to cardinal in 2003, O’Brien would have been Britain’s only representative at the conclave next month that will elect the next pope, following Benedict's resignation. Although he stepped down as archbishop, he remains a cardinal, with full voting rights to participate in the conclave.

The cardinal's statement made no mention of the allegations against him. But, he said: "I also ask God’s blessing on my brother cardinals who will soon gather in Rome to elect his successor. I will not join them for this conclave in person. I do not wish media attention in Rome to be focused on me –- but rather on Pope Benedict XVI and on his successor. However, I will pray with them and for them that, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, they will make the correct choice for the future good of the church."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:14 AM

Cardinal O'Brien resigns: profile of an outspoken cleric

UNITED KINGDOM
MSN

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the UK's most senior Catholic cleric, has resigned with immediate effect. He is facing allegations of inappropriate behaviour from three priests and a former priest, as reported in the Observer newspaper.

He was the only British Roman Catholic cleric able to vote in the upcoming conclave electing Pope Benedict XVI's successor.

The 74-year-old, who is Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, was created and proclaimed a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in October 2003.

The cleric was born in Ballycastle, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

He obtained a bachelor of science degree in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Edinburgh and a diploma in education.

On 3 April 1965 he was ordained a priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:11 AM

UK - SNAP calls for action in the Cardinal O'Brien situation

UNITED KINGDOM
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by David Clohessy on February 25, 2013

We are grateful that Vatican officials have confirmed that "the Pope is informed about the (O'Brien) problem and the question is now in his hands." We implore Pope Benedict to take firm, clear and prompt action.

Pope Benedict accepting O'Brien's retirement would be a weak cop out. It would show that within the church hierarchy, there's still more sympathy for the victimizers than for the victims.

There are now 116 electors. None of them are indispensable. If men like O'Brien and Mahony and Brady love the church, they should stay home. But even if they do, a papal punishment is still in order. Youngsters are safe when those who commit or conceal abuses are publicly punished, not when they're allowed to quietly and voluntarily step aside.

By skipping mass, avoiding interviews and apparently hiring a lawyer, even though he faces no lawsuits - O'Brien is acting like he's guilty. (We can't immediately recall a single instance in which a cleric has faced four accusers and eventually been found not guilty of sexual misconduct.)

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:08 AM

Pope Changes Conclave Rules, Allows Earlier Start

VATICAN CITY
Huffington Post

By NICOLE WINFIELD and GREGORY KATZ
02/25/13

VATICAN CITY — Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Britain's highest-ranking Catholic leader, said Monday he wouldn't take part in the conclave to elect the next pope after being accused of improper conduct with priests – an unprecedented first head to roll in the mudslinging that has followed Pope Benedict XVI's decision to resign.

Benedict accepted O'Brien's resignation as archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh – submitted back in November because he is due to turn 75 next month, the normal retirement age for bishops. But simultaneously, O'Brien issued a statement Monday saying he would also skip the conclave because he didn't want to become the focus of media attention at such a delicate time for the church.

O'Brien has said through his spokesman that he is contesting allegations made Sunday in a British newspaper that three priests and a former priest have filed complaints to the Vatican alleging that the cardinal acted inappropriately with them. The Observer newspaper did not name the priests, but it said their allegations date back to the 1980s. There were no details about the alleged inappropriate behavior.

It was the first time that a cardinal has said he was staying away from a conclave because of personal scandal, and comes in the wake of a grass-roots campaign to shame another cardinal, retired Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony, into refraining from participating because of his role protecting sexually abusive priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:44 AM

Cardinal O'Brien "will meet justice," papal consultant says

VATICAN CITY
CBS News

[with video]

(CBS News) As reports of scandals mark Pope Benedict XVI's final week as pontiff, questions arise about the efficacy of internal Vatican inquiries into abuse and corruption charges.

Britain's Cardinal Keith O'Brien announced his resignation Monday morning, amid allegations of inappropriate behavior during his time as a priest. O'Brien denies the charges, but his resignation comes as Benedict is already mired in another controversy. Benedict received a voluminous confidential report Monday complied by three cardinals who investigated the so-called "Vatileaks" scandal.

There has been widespread speculation by Italy's media that the internal investigation revealed everything from bitter political infighting at the highest levels of the Vatican, to sexual blackmail and a purported "gay lobby" of homosexual prelates within the Church.

Church officials have dismissed the reports as "unsourced and unverifiable," insisting they have no basis in truth.

Rev. Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo, co-director of The Pontifical North American College in Rome and a CBS News consultant, defended the Church's ability to police itself without outside interference.

"The Roman Catholic church has a process for dealing with such cases. It is thorough, it is just, it is final," the papal consultant insisted. "That process is already in motion and Cardinal O'Brien will meet the justice he needs, as will the church, as will the perpetrators, and also those who have been victimized."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:25 AM

Sad tactics from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by David Clohessy on February 25, 2013

Jim Stang is a bankruptcy expert. He’s been involved in nine Catholic institutional bankruptcies-more than any other attorney. In 2010, he was named “Bankruptcy Lawyer of the Year.” He knows this stuff.

And according to the National Catholic Reporter, Stang says that he has “not faced anywhere near the number of challenges to claims” as in Milwaukee.

In recent years, 574 alleged victims have come forward in response to the Milwaukee archdiocese bankruptcy filing. Catholic officials are trying to toss out 400 of them.

What a particularly cruel "bait and switch" maneuver. Church officials repeatedly claim “We’re seeking bankruptcy so we can be sure we’re able to help ALL victims.” Then, after running mandatory notification ads across Wisconsin urging victims to come forward, church officials now try to disqualify 400 of them.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:49 AM

The Skeletons in Benedict's Closet: A guide to the sex abuse scandals under Pope Benedict XVI's watch

UNITED STATES
Syracuse.com

By Elias Groll, Foreign Policy magazine

If a report on Thursday, Feb. 21, in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica is to be believed, Pope Benedict XVI's recent decision to resign just got a whole lot more interesting. The paper claims that around the time that Pope Benedict decided to step down, the pontiff learned of a faction of gay prelates in the Vatican who may have been exposed to blackmail by a group of male prostitutes in Rome. The revelations allegedly appeared in a 300-page report by three cardinals that the pope commissioned to investigate the release of internal documents by his butler, the so-called "Vatileaks" scandal. (A Vatican spokesman has refused to confirm or deny La Repubblica's claims, and the internal Vatican report is reportedly stowed away in a papal safe for Pope Benedict's successor to peruse.)

Seen in the context of Pope Benedict's career in the Catholic Church, it is difficult to understand why revelations of yet another sex scandal would push him to resign. For over a decade, he has served as the church's point person for responding to allegations of abuse. From 1985 until his election to the papacy in 2005, Benedict served as the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a powerful Vatican body charged with policing church doctrine. In 2001, Pope John Paul II transferred responsibility for dealing with the sex scandals enveloping the institution to then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's office. In that role, Ratzinger received tens of thousands of complaints alleging sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests. Those documents often went into lurid detail, and Ratzinger is said to have been deeply affected by the experience.

As a theologian and head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Benedict gained the not-so-flattering nickname "God's Rottweiler" for his rigid interpretations of doctrine and his stringent enforcement of church rules. In practice, he has frequently displayed a preference -- both as a pope and as a cardinal -- for confronting predatory priests behind closed doors and protecting the church's reputation at the expense of public accountability.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:46 AM

Cardinal O'Brien and the church's sexual confusion

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Andrew Brown

As O'Brien is accused of misdemeanours the Catholic church must review its damaging strictures on celibacy

They call it a resignation, but it looks to me as if Cardinal Keith O'Brien was pushed before he could even think of jumping. Only yesterday he was defending his position. Then we were told that the Pope was considering it. Now – miraculously – the cardinal has reconsidered.

In any case, this shows how very sensitive the Roman Catholic church has become towards sexual scandal. The long years of trying to tough out problems and of circling the wagons are over, at least in the developed world. Cardinals now get the same treatment as priests.

The other remarkable change shown by this is within the culture of the church. Priests now dare to complain about their superiors through the back channel to Rome provided by the Vatican's diplomatic service. That is how these allegations were made. There was a time when complaining about your bishop or cardinal to Rome was a one-way ticket to a posting on Craggy Island. There are probably still a great many crimes or misdemeanours that a priest with a sense of self-preservation would hesitate to denounce his superiors for – but it seems that sexual abuse is no longer one of them. This is progress, though slow and belated.

Otherwise, the story illustrates the grotesque and humiliating difficulties that the Roman Catholic church has knotted itself into where sex and gay people are concerned.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:42 AM

BENEDICT XVI'S FINAL ANGELUS: THE LORD CALLS ME TO DEDICATE MYSELF MORE TO PRAYER, BUT I DO NOT ABANDON THE CHURCH

VATICAN CITY
Cardinal Roger Mahony Blogs LA

Vatican City, 24 February 2013 –

More than 200,000 people attended the final Angelus of Benedict XVI's pontificate. Looking up from St. Peter's Square, everyone--near and via television--were able to see a more relaxed and hope-filled Pope.

The Holy Father was received with much applause and, before beginning his short meditation, responded saying, “Thank you, thank you very much.” He then commented on the Gospel reading for this second Sunday of Lent, which recounts the Transfiguration of the Lord.

“Luke the Evangelist places particular attention on the fact that Jesus was transfigured as He prayed. His is a profound experience of relationship with the Father during a type of spiritual retreat that Jesus undergoes on a high mountain in the company of Peter, James, and John, the three disciples who are always present at the moments of the Master's divine manifestation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:37 AM

Pope accepts cardinal's resignation; Scot to stay away from conclave

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien, 74, announced he would not participate in the conclave to elect Pope Benedict XVI's successor because he did not want media attention focused on him instead of the election of a new pope.

Pope Benedict XVI had accepted the cardinal's resignation as archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh Feb. 18, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman told reporters Feb. 25.

The British newspaper The Observer reported Feb. 23 that three priests and a former priest had accused the cardinal of "inappropriate conduct" with them going back to the 1980s. Father Lombardi had told reporters Feb. 24 that Pope Benedict had been informed about the accusations and "the issue is now in his hands."

Cardinal O'Brien, 74, has denied the allegations and, according to his spokesman, is seeking legal advice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:32 AM

Pope Moves Up Start Of Conclave; British Cardinal Resigns Amid Allegations

VATICAN CITY
KOSU

Filed by KOSU News in World News.
February 25, 2013

On the Monday of Pope Benedict XVI’s final week as leader of the Roman Catholic Church begins, there’s word that:

– Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric has resigned and will not be taking part in the conclave of cardinals that will select the next pope. As NPR’s Philip Reeves reports from London, “Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s decision was announced a day after revelations that he behaved inappropriately with several priests.”

– Benedict has, as it was rumored he might, decided to allow the cardinals to begin the conclave earlier than rules require. If all the cardinals who are eligible to vote have gathered at the Vatican, the Associated Press and Reuters report, they won’t be required to wait the 15 days after Benedict’s resignation (which takes effect Thursday) to begin the conclave.

On O’Brien’s resignation, Phil tells our Newscast desk that the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland was the subject of a report in Britain’s Observer. Phil says that “the newspaper alleged he made inappropriate approaches towards three priests and one former priest in the 1980s. Cardinal O’Brien — archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh — strongly denies this. He’s 74, and was due to retire soon.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:28 AM

Cardinal O'Brien quits immediately

SCOTLAND
Stirling Observer

Feb 25 2013

Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who is facing allegations of inappropriate behaviour, is stepping down with immediate effect.

He said he tendered his resignation some time ago, but added: "The Holy Father has now decided that my resignation will take effect today."

Cardinal O'Brien, Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, said he would not be joining the conclave to choose a successor to Pope Benedict XVI: "I do not wish media attention in Rome to be focused on me - but rather on Pope Benedict XVI and on his successor."

In a statement issued by the Scottish Catholic Church, he said: "I have valued the opportunity of serving the people of Scotland and overseas in various ways since becoming a priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:27 AM

Pope gives Scottish cardinal the boot over gay 'inappropriate behaviour' allegations

UNITED KINGDOM
politics.co.uk

Monday, 25 February 2013

By Alex Stevenson

Cardinal Keith O'Brien appears to have been fired as head of the Catholic church in Scotland, after he allegedly committed "inappropriate acts" with four men.

The 74-year-old had tendered his resignation with a view to leaving office on November 13th. But, following letters of complaint from three priests and one ex-priest working in the diocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, he confirmed in a statement this morning he had been given instructions from the Vatican to leave early.

"The Holy Father has now decided that my resignation will take effect today, February 25th 2013, and that he will appoint an apostolic administrator to govern the archdiocese in my place until my successor as archbishop is appointed," O'Brien said.

"I have valued the opportunity of serving the people of Scotland and overseas in various ways since becoming a priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:18 AM

Cardinal Keith O'Brien: A churchman with a strong voice

SCOTLAND
BBC News

By Deirdre Kelly
BBC Scotland

Cardinal Keith O'Brien had a strong voice in his role as one of the UK's most senior Roman Catholic clergymen.

The 74-year-old has now stepped down as an archbishop and revealed that he will not travel to Rome to take part in the election of the next Pope.

He had most recently sparked controversy when he locked horns with the Scottish government over its plans to enshrine same-sex marriage in law by 2015.

A year ago the cardinal put on record his view that gay marriage was a "grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:17 AM

Italy: Pope meets cardinals from 'Vatikleaks' commission

VATICAN CITY
adnkronos

Vatican City, 25 Feb. (AKI) - Pope Benedict XVI was Monday due to meet with the three cardinals who probed the 'Vatileaks' scandal involving the leaking of his personal correspondence to Italian media last year by his former butler.

The pontiff's meeting with Spain's cardinal Julian Herranz, Italy's Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi and the Slovak cardinal Jozef Tomko came after Italian daily La Repubblica cited an unnamed source last week as claiming Benedict resigned after the cardinals' report uncovered a 'gay lobby' in the Vatican.

The meeting came the same day the pope accepted the resignation of UK's most senior Catholic cleric Cardinal Keith O'Brien, after he was accused of 'inappropriate acts' against priests in a series of allegations by three priests and one former priest that were disclosed by Britain's Observer newspaper.

O'Brien said on Monday he would not take part in the election for a successor to the 85-year-old pope when he steps down on Thursday. His landmark abdication, on the grounds of old age and frailty, is the first by a pope in 600 years.

Herranz, De Giorgi and Tomko were tasked by Pope Benedict XVI to shed light on the Vatileaks scandal and produced a 300-page dossier presented to the pontiff in two parts - one in July and the other in December.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:14 AM

Britain's top Catholic cleric Cardinal Keith O'Brien quits amid claims of 'inappropriate ac

UNITED KINGDOM
London Evening Standard

Ross Lydall Chief News Correspondent

Cardinal Keith O’Brien quit after Pope Benedict was told that the outspoken churchman faced allegations from three serving priests and a former priest.

A church statement today confirmed his resignation had been accepted by the Pope with immediate effect. Cardinal O’Brien had originally planned to retire next month on his 75th birthday.

His rapid downfall means that Britain will not have a single member of the conclave of 117 Archbishops voting for Benedict’s successor next month.

Settlements spur scrutiny of LA funds

LOS ANGELES (CA)
National Catholic Reporter

by Brian Roewe | Feb. 25, 2013

While Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez said he and his fellow bishops are “committed to moving forward” from the fallout of the late-January release of thousands of pages detailing clergy sex abuse, revelations from a December 2012 finance report have kept the focus on how the archdiocese plans to fund the largest abuse settlement in U.S. history.

“We need to keep praying for those who are hurting. We need to ask again for forgiveness for the sins of the past and for our own failings. And we need to match our prayers for grace with concrete actions of healing and renewal,” Gomez wrote in a Feb. 8 column for his archdiocesan paper, The Tidings.

But how the Los Angeles church advances past its abuse scandal remains tied to how it first deals with its 700-million-pound elephant -- $722 million, to be exact, in global settlements agreed upon in 2005 and 2007 with 550-plus victims in clergy abuse cases.

In its 2012 audited finance report of the fiscal year ended June 30, the archdiocese details sources covering settlement sums. Of the total $722 million, nearly $200 million will come from archdiocesan insurers; $162 million from other defendants and their insurers; and $362 million from archdiocesan administrative office resources and bank financings.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:09 AM

Cardinal Keith O'Brien resignation 'hugely significant'

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

25 February 2013

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the most senior Roman Catholic in Britain, has announced he is to step down as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh.

The announcement came after it emerged that accusations of "inappropriate behaviour" had been made against the cardinal by three priests and one former priest.

Catherine Deveney, who revealed the allegations in The Observer newspaper at the weekend, told BBC Scotland's John Beattie why she wrote the story.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:06 AM

Shock as leader of Scots Catholics resigns from post

SCOTLAND
Glasgow Evening Times

CARDINAL Keith O’Brien today stepped down as leader of Scotland’s Roman Catholics amid allegations that he behaved inappropriately towards four priests.

Pope Benedict XVI accepted his resignation seven days ago but it was only made public today by the Church which released a statement by Britain’s most senior cleric.

The cardinal was expected to leave his post in three weeks times but his departure will only fuel the controversial surrounding his alleged behaviour.

In a prepared statement Cardinal O'Brien said he had lodged his resignation with the Vatican in November ahead of his 75th birthday on March 17.

He said: "The Holy Father has now decided that my resignation will take effect today, 25 February, 2013, and that he will appoint an Apostolic Administrator to govern the Archdiocese in my place until my successor as Archbishop is appointed.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:04 AM

Scottish cardinal resigns after sex accusations

UNITED KINGDOM
Religion News Service

David Gibson | Feb 25, 2013

Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Scotland resigned on Monday in the wake of explosive charges that he had made “inappropriate” sexual advances to four men, three of them priests and one now a former priest, starting in the 1980s. He said he would skip next month’s conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.

In a statement, O’Brien said Pope Benedict had accepted his resignation effective immediately, and he appeared to allude to the events surrounding his sudden exit.

“Looking back over my years of ministry: For any good I have been able to do, I thank God. For any failures, I apologize to all whom I have offended,” said the cardinal, who turns 75 next month, which is the mandatory retirement age for bishops. Cardinals retain the right to vote in a conclave until they are 80.

The resignation adds to the air of crisis and tumult that has surrounded the Vatican since Benedict earlier this month announced his intention to resign on Feb. 28, the first pope to voluntarily relinquish the office in 700 years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:02 AM

Alex Salmond saddened at Cardinal Keith O'Brien's resignation

SCOTLAND
BBC News

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said he was saddened to hear of the resignation of Cardinal Keith O'Brien.

Britain's most senior Roman Catholic stepped down as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh after claims of "inappropriate behaviour" with priests.

Mr Salmond had clashed with the cardinal over his government's same-sex marriage bill plans.

Cardinal O'Brien said gay marriage was a "grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:00 AM

New pope alone will see Vatileaks enquiry report: Vatican

VATICAN CITY
GMA News (Philippines)

February 25, 2013

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican said Monday that a secret report on a leaks scandal in 2012 had revealed human "imperfections" in the running of the Church and would be shown exclusively to the future pope, not to voting cardinals.

"The Holy Father has decided that the documents, which only he has seen, will be exclusively available to his successor," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said at a press conference.

"Their work made it possible to detect, given the limitations and imperfections of the human factor of every institution, the generosity and dedication of those who work with uprightness and generosity in the Holy See," it said.

Italian media reports had suggested cardinals set to vote in a new pope once Benedict XVI has resigned would be given access to the report

The pope met Monday with the cardinals who investigated the so-called "Vatileaks" scandal, Lombardi said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:57 AM

Catholicism's critics will 'rejoice' at Cardinal O'Brien's resignation

UNITED KINGDOM
The Telegraph

[with video]

Telegraph's Damian Thompson says "the rejoicing of the enemies of traditional Catholicism will be deafening" at the news that Cardinal Keith O'Brien has resigned in the wake of misconduct allegations.

Cardinal O'Brien has stepped down as archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh in the wake of misconduct allegations.

He also said in a statement issued on Monday that he will not attend the papal conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.

The cardinal said he would not attend because he did not want media attention focused on him during the important session in Rome.

The Vatican accepted his resignation under the code of canon law for reasons of Cardinal O'Brien's age.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:54 AM

Cardinal Keith O'Brien no stranger to controversy

UNITED KINGDOM
The Telegraph

Cardinal Keith O'Brien's resignation and his decision not to attend the papal conclave leaves Britain's Roman Catholics without a vote in the forthcoming election to choose the successor to Pope Benedict XVI.

By Telegraph reporters
1:36PM GMT 25 Feb 2013

The announcement comes after allegations by three priests and one ex-priest of inappropriate behaviour, published in yesterday's Observer newspaper and dating back to the 1980s. The cardinal reportedly contests the claims.

Cardinal O'Brien is no stranger to making the news but it is more usually the result of his at times outspoken views.

He has been an advocate of priests marrying but also an outspoken opponent of plans to legalise same-sex marriage.

Last year his stance earned him the Bigot of the Year award from the gay rights group Stonewall.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:52 AM

The Magdalene laundries ...

IRELAND
Catholic Herald (United Kingdom)

The Magdalene laundries were used as reformatories where girls were sent without due process. But they were not brutal: anti-Catholics have lied about them

By William Oddie on Monday, 25 February 2013

I usually maintain a general scepticism about the BBC’s reporting of stories involving the Catholic Church, but I have to admit that I missed out on this one, maybe because it has to do with Ireland, and because there have been so many true Irish stories one really didn’t want to contemplate. The saga of the Magdalene laundries has been one I just didn’t want to think about; here we go again, I thought: now, it’s Irish nuns. And last week, the BBC reported (as did everyone else) that another enemy of the Church, the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, has formally apologised on behalf of the state for its role in the story.

Some 10,000 women and girls, reported the BBC, were made to do unpaid manual labour in laundries run by Catholic nuns in Ireland between 1922 and 1996. More than a quarter of those who spent time in the laundries had been sent there by the Irish state.

Mr Kenny apologised to all the women affected.

He said their experiences had cast a “long shadow” over Irish life and that it had been “humbling and inspiring” to meet them. “For 90 years Ireland subjected these women, and their experience, to a profound indifference,” he said. “By any standards it was a cruel and pitiless Ireland, distinctly lacking in mercy”.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:48 AM

Österreich ...

OSTERREICH
Der Tagesspiegel

Österreich - das Land, in dem Heimkinder brutal missbraucht und misshandelt wurden

Mädchen, die als Neue zu den Nonnen ins Heim kamen, mussten die ersten Nächte zum Schlafen in einem Kellerraum unter der Kirche verbringen. Zum Eingewöhnen, hieß es. Das war kein falsches Versprechen. Hilde, heute eine Erwachsene, erinnert sich an das Inventar des ungeheizten, unbeleuchteten Kellers bei den „Schwestern vom guten Hirten“: ein Hocker, ein Kübel, ein schimmelnder Strohsack, ein Plastiknapf für Nahrung. „Man hat uns erzählt, wir sind Teufel“, erinnert sich Hilde, die in den 1960er Jahren Heimzögling in Österreich war. Kinder wie Hilde hatten geschiedene oder alleinerziehende Mütter, hatten kranke Eltern oder waren, wie es heute heißt, „verhaltensauffällig“.

Markus’ Mutter gab ihn mit sechs ins Heim. „Weil ich ein schlimmes Kind war“, sagt der Erwachsene. In der Akte des Jungen war zu lesen, dass die Mutter ihn „hasst“; solche Zeilen lasen sich wie ein Freibrief für Misshandler und Missbraucher.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:44 AM

Aufarbeitung, Hilfe, Genugtuung: Wir stehen immer noch am Anfang!

DEUTSCHLAND
Eckiger Tisch

[Bittere Bilanz]

Anlässlich des Bilanztreffens des Runden Tisches der Bundesregierung am 20. Februar 2013 in Berlin hat Matthias Katsch diese Rede gehalten.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:41 AM

Ranghöchster britischer Kardinal tritt zurück

GROSSBRITTANIEN
Die Welt

Der Erzbischof von Edinburgh, Kardinal Keith O'Brien, ist zurückgetreten. Auch an der Papstwahl nimmt er nicht teil. Zuvor war über "unangemessenes Verhalten" gegenüber Priestern berichtet worden.

Der ranghöchste Würdenträger der katholischen Kirche in Großbritannien, Kardinal Keith O'Brien, ist zurückgetreten. Das teilte die katholische Kirche von Schottland am Montag mit. Papst Benedikt XVI. habe das Rücktrittsgesuch bereits am 18. Februar angenommen, hieß es in der Mitteilung, die auf Berichte über "unangemessenes Verhalten" O'Briens im Umgang mit Glaubensbrüdern folgte. O'Brien selbst teilte mit, der Papst habe den Rücktritt O'Briens als Erzbischof von Edinburgh und Saint Andrews auf den 25. Februar festgesetzt.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:40 AM

Schottischer Kardinal tritt zurück

GROSSBRITTANIEN
Zeit

Das Oberhaupt der Katholiken in Großbritannien, O'Brien, hat nach Belästigungsvorwürfen sein Amt niedergelegt. An der Wahl des neuen Papstes wird er nicht teilnehmen.

Der ranghöchste Würdenträger der Katholischen Kirche in Großbritannien, Kardinal Keith O'Brien, ist nach Vorwürfen "unangemessenen" Verhaltens gegenüber jungen Priestern zurückgetreten. Er habe das Amt des Erzbischofs von St. Andrews und Edinburgh niedergelegt, teilte das Erzbistum mit. Papst Benedikt XVI. habe das Rücktrittsgesuch bereits am 18. Februar angenommen, hieß es.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:37 AM

Kardinal Keith O'Brien: Tiefer Sturz vor dem Konklave

GROSSBRITTANIEN
Spiegel

Von Annette Langer

Vorwürfe, Dementi, Rücktritt: Kardinal Keith O'Brien, einer der führenden katholischen Geistlichen in Großbritannien, ist zurückgetreten. Vier Priester hatten sich über ihn beschwert. Er habe sich "unangemessen" verhalten, heißt es. O'Brien wird damit nicht an der Papstwahl teilnehmen.

Edinburgh/Hamburg - Jetzt also Keith O'Brien. Noch am Freitag plauderte der Kardinal mit BBC-Reporter Glenn Campbell darüber, dass der Zölibat abgeschafft werden müsse. Dass es vielen Priestern schwerfalle, ohne Frau und Kinder zu leben. Jetzt ist der 74-Jährige von seinem Amt als Erzbischof von St. Andrew's und Edinburgh zurückgetreten. Der Grund: Er soll sich "unangemessen" verhalten haben. Ein ehemaliger und drei aktive Priester aus seiner Diözese hatten sich beim Apostolischen Nuntius in Großbritannien über den Geistlichen beschwert und seine Entlassung gefordert.

Die britische Wochenzeitung "Observer" hatte die Beschwerden öffentlich gemacht - obwohl unklar bleibt, welcher Art die mutmaßlichen Übergriffe gewesen sein sollen. Einer der Priester war dem Bericht zufolge 20 Jahre alt und Seminarist im St. Andrew's College im schottischen Drygrange, als ihm O'Brien nach dem Nachtgebet Avancen machte. Ähnlich soll es einem anderen Geistlichen nach einem Trinkgelage in der Residenz des Erzbischofs ergangen sein.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:35 AM

Erzbischof Keith O'Brien: Schottischer Kardinal stürzt über Belästigungsvorwürfe

GROSSBRITANNIEN
Spiegel

Der ranghöchste Katholik in Großbritannien muss sein Amt aufgeben: Der schottische Erzbischof O'Brien hat nach Belästigungsvorwürfen seinen Rücktritt bekanntgegeben. Mehrere Priester berichten, er habe sich ihnen in "unangemessener Weise" genähert.

Hamburg - In den kommenden Wochen hätte Kardinal Keith O'Brien eigentlich den neuen Papst wählen sollen. Doch daraus wird nichts: Der 74-Jährige tritt als Erzbischof von St. Andrews und Edinburgh zurück. Laut Vatikan hat Papst Benedikt XVI. das Gesuch bereits angenommen.

Er werde nicht an dem Konklave teilnehmen, weil er in dieser wichtigen Zusammenkunft keine Medienaufmerksamkeit auf seine Person lenken wolle, heißt es in einer Mitteilung O'Briens. Er wäre der einzige britische Geistliche des Konklaves gewesen.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:32 AM

Cardinal Keith O'Brien resigns – full statements

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Pope's statement on Cardinal Keith O'Brien's resignation

The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has accepted on the 18 February 2013 the resignation of His Eminence Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien from the pastoral governance of the archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh. This information will be announced and published in the Osservatore Romano of Monday 25 February 2013.

The cardinal had already presented last November his resignation in view of his 75th birthday on 17 March 2013, and it was accepted by the Holy Father with the formula "nunc pro tunc" (now for later). Given the imminent vacant see, the Holy Father has now decided to accept the said resignation definitively.

O'Brien's statement reacting to the acceptance of his resignation

Approaching the age of 75 and at times in indifferent health, I tendered my resignation as archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh to Pope Benedict XVI some months ago. I was happy to know that he accepted my resignation "nunc pro tunc" – (now – but to take effect later) on 13 November 2012. The Holy Father has now decided that my resignation will take effect today, 25 February 2013, and that he will appoint an apostolic administrator to govern the archdiocese in my place until my successor as archbishop is appointed. In the meantime I will give every assistance to the apostolic administrator and to our new archbishop, once he is appointed, as I prepare to move into retirement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:29 AM

Records detail cardinal's failings in abuse scandal

CALIFORNIA
CNN

By Wayne Drash, CNN

(CNN) – Told by two families that a visiting priest was suspected of molesting their children in 1988, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles did not immediately notify police. Instead, Cardinal Roger Mahony’s right-hand man alerted the priest – a heads-up that allowed him to flee the country for Mexico.

He remained in the priesthood there for another 21 years, allegedly continuing to molest. He has denied the accusations and remains a fugitive.

Newly released church documents show the behind-the-scenes machinations of top officials within the Los Angeles archdiocese making decisions on how to deal with pedophile priests, hindering police investigations and saying, in private, something completely different than what they said in public.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:27 AM

Dozens more claim abuse by friar with ties to Orchard Lake, Michigan

OHIO/PENNSYLVANIA
Click on Detroit

TOLEDO, Ohio -
An attorney says about 50 more people have come forward to say they were sexually abused at schools in Ohio and Pennsylvania by a Franciscan brother who killed himself in January.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian said Sunday that the accusers say the abuse happened between 1982 and 2007.

Authorities say 62-year-old Brother Stephen Baker stabbed himself at a western Pennsylvania monastery after the disclosure of financial settlements in 11 alleged abuse cases in Warren, Ohio.

Garabedian says the latest claims come from people who went to school in Warren and those who went to another school in Johnstown, Pa., where Baker taught and coached.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:23 AM

Dozens more in Pa., Ohio claim abuse by friar

PENNSYLVANIA/OHIO
CT Post

By JOHN SEEWER, Associated Press

Sunday, February 24, 2013

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — About 50 more people have come forward to say they were sexually abused at Catholic schools in Pennsylvania and Ohio by a Franciscan brother who killed himself in January, said an attorney who settled 11 alleged abuse cases against the friar.

Brother Stephen Baker, 62, stabbed himself in the heart at a western Pennsylvania monastery on Jan. 26, a little over a week after the disclosure of financial settlements in alleged abuse cases in Warren, Ohio. A coroner told the Altoona Mirror that Baker left a short note apologizing for his actions.

The new accusers have alleged in recent weeks that they were abused between 1982 and 2007, attorney Mitchell Garabedian said Sunday. Some said Baker abused them even after he left teaching in 2000 when he would attend school events in Johnstown, Pa., Garabedian said.

The latest allegations come from people in 12 states who went to school in Warren or were either middle school or high school students in Johnstown, where Baker taught and coached, Garabedian said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:21 AM

50 people claiming sexual abuse by late Brother Baker

PENNSYLVANIA
WJAC

By Melanie Gillespie

More people are coming forward and claiming sexual abuse by a Franciscan Friar.

An attorney involved in the case said 50 more people reported abuse by Brother Stephen Baker between 1982 and 2007.

Brother Baker stabbed himself inside a Blair County Monastery in January after 11 alleged abuse cases in Ohio were settled and more allegations surfaced from Bishop McCort.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:19 AM

Number of Alleged Br. Baker Abuse Victims Around 65

OHIO/PENNSYLVANIA
WKBN

[with video]

The mother of one of Brother Stephen Baker's alleged victims stood with Dr. Robert Hoatson of Road to Recovery to talk about the more than 50 new victims that have come forward, since January 16th, alleging wrong doing by Brother Baker.

Hoatson said the total now stands at about 65 victims covering Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Sunday's press conference was held in front of Warren's John F. Kennedy High School, where some of the behavior is said to have occurred.

"We take this time to applaud the courage of the nearly 65 men and women who have stepped forward to say enough is enough, " Hoatson said the latest victims are not ready to go public, but felt compelled to come forward. "They have contacted either Road To Recovery or Mr. Garabedian in Boston."

Joining Hoatson was Barbara Aponte. She claims her son, Luke Bradesku, was one of Baker's victims. Bradesku committed suicide in 2003, and she believes the emotional turmoil from the abuse was the reason her son took his own life.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:18 AM

Vatican Denies Report Of Pope Abdication Over Gay Prostitution Network

VATICAN CITY
Fox 2

(CNN) – New controversy is rocking the vatican in benedict the 16th’s final days as pope. The pontiff came out of a pre-lenten retreat Saturday.

On February 11 Pope Benedict the sixteenth announced shocked the world that he was stepping down at the end of the month, too old and too tired to carry out his official duties.

But, a report first broken in the Rome Daily, La Repubblica, suggests his reason for resigning was far more explosive: Shock at the discovery of a network of gay priests at the Vatican blackmailed by a network of male prostitutes.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:15 AM

Pope's resignation raises questions about church's future

VATICAN CITY
The Star-Ledger

By The Associated Press
on February 23, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI has reshaped the papacy simply by giving it up. But how?

As the first pontiff in six centuries to step down, Benedict has carved a new path for his successors who decide they cannot rule for life. But scholars say the repercussions could reach beyond just changing how pontiffs leave to ultimately shape perceptions about the authority and significance of the pontificate.

"A lot of what it will mean has to do with what subsequent popes do. Does this become a precedent for future popes to follow or not?" said Phillip Thompson, executive director of the Aquinas Center of Theology at Emory University.

Benedict's pontificate will end at 8 p.m. Thursday. He plans no role in the conclave that will choose the next pontiff, and will retreat to a life of prayer in a monastery behind Vatican walls. His decision shocked the church. But papal resignations are expected to become more likely over time because of extended lifespans and the growing demands of the pontificate, Thompson said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:12 AM

Britain’s Top Catholic Resigns Before Conclave Vote on Pope

UNITED KINGDOM
Bloomberg

By Rodney Jefferson - Feb 25, 2013

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Britain’s most senior Catholic cleric, stepped down amid allegations he behaved inappropriately toward priests in the 1980s.

O’Brien, 74, has denied any wrongdoing. The archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh had handed in his resignation to Pope Benedict XVI on Nov. 13 and said in a statement the pontiff had decided to accept it with effect today.

“Approaching the age of 75 and at times in indifferent health, I tendered my resignation some months ago,” O’Brien said in the statement on the Scottish Catholic media office’s website. “The Holy Father has now decided that my resignation will take effect today and that he will appoint an apostolic administrator to govern the archdiocese in my place.”

The cardinal won’t take part in the conclave that votes on the next pope following Benedict’s decision to step down at the end of this month, the office said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:10 AM

Resigning UK cardinal says he will not attend conclave

UNITED KINGDOM
Reuters

Mon Feb 25, 2013

(Reuters) - Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, said he would not be attending the conclave at the Vatican to choose a successor to Pope Benedict after announcing he was resigning as an archbishop.

"I will not join them (the other cardinals) for this conclave in person. I do not wish media attention in Rome to be focused on me - but rather on Pope Benedict XVI and on his successor," he said in a statement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:08 AM

Exit O'Brien, Britain's plain-talking cardinal

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Lizzy Davies and Sam Jones
guardian.co.uk, Monday 25 February 2013

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who has stepped down as leader of the Roman Catholic church in Scotland, acquired a reputation for speaking his mind on homosexuality, abortion and secularism.

But it is for his resignation that he is likely to be best remembered. On Monday morning, a day after reports emerged that three serving priests and one former priest had accused him of "inappropriate acts" towards them, he resigned, saying: "The Holy Father has now decided that my resignation will take effect today."

The decision to step down with immediate effect means that O'Brien will not travel to Rome for the conclave to elect the next pope, leaving the UK without a vote in who will succeed Benedict XVI. His departure also leaves traditional and conservative British Catholics without one of their most outspoken leaders.

Last Friday, in an interview that surprised many, the cardinal appeared to be softening his line, suggesting that Catholic priests ought to able to marry and have children, and saying the demand for celibacy was not of "divine origin".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:05 AM

Britain’s top Catholic cleric resigns ...

UNITED KINGDOM
Washington Post

Britain’s top Catholic cleric resigns after accusations of inappropriate behavior

By Anthony Faiola

LONDON — Pope Benedict XVI on Monday accepted the immediate resignation of Britain’s highest-ranking Roman Catholic cleric, effectively forcing Cardinal Keith O’Brien to step down two days after allegations surfaced publicly that he had engaged in inappropriate behavior with priests.

The latest scandal to engulf the church involves one of its most strident conservatives and influential clerics, and comes just weeks before the conclave to select a successor to Benedict, who unexpectedly announced his retirement on Feb. 11.

The nature of the allegations could cast a shadow over the church’s moral authority in Europe – the continent where the church is losing the most ground globally. O’Brien, the head of the church in Scotland, had emerged as a leading voice in Britain against homosexuality. He has described gay marriage as “grotesque” and same-sex couples as “immoral.”

O’Brien has denied the allegations against him — first made public Saturday on the Web site of Britain’s Observer newspaper — and retained legal counsel. But on Monday, he issued a statement saying he was stepping down immediately because of a decision taken by the pope.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:02 AM

Britain's top Catholic cleric resigns amid allegations of inappropriate behavior

UNITED KINGDOM
NBC News

By John Newland, Staff Writer, NBC News

LONDON -- Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric has resigned amid allegations of inappropriate behavior made by priests.

The Vatican said Monday that Pope Benedict XVI had formally accepted the resignation of Cardinal Keith O’Brien, archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh. The Observer newspaper reported Sunday that the Vatican had been notified of allegations of inappropriate behavior stretching back 30 years.

Three priests in Scotland, as well as a former priest, have lodged complaints to the Vatican's ambassador to Britain and demanded O'Brien's immediate resignation, according to the newspaper.

The 74-year-old cardinal has contested the claims and said he is taking legal advice.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:57 AM

Cardinal Keith O'Brien resigns ...

SCOTLAND
Daily Record

Cardinal Keith O'Brien resigns as head of Catholic Church in Scotland with immediate effect following allegations of misconduct dating back 30 years

SCOTLAND'S top Catholic Cardinal Keith O'Brien has resigned from his position as head of the church in Scotland after being accused of inappropriate conduct by three priests.

BRITAINS most senior Roman Catholic cleric Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who is facing allegations of inappropriate behaviour, is stepping down with immediate effect.

He said he tendered his resignation some time ago, but added: "The Holy Father has now decided that my resignation will take effect today."

Cardinal O'Brien, Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, said he would not be joining the conclave to choose a successor to Pope Benedict XVI: "I do not wish media attention in Rome to be focused on me - but rather on Pope Benedict XVI and on his successor."

In a statement issued by the Scottish Catholic Church, he said: "I have valued the opportunity of serving the people of Scotland and overseas in various ways since becoming a priest.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:52 AM

Top British Cardinal Resigns After Accusations of ‘Inappropriate Acts’

UNITED KINGDOM
The New York Times

By ALAN COWELL and JOHN F. BURNS

Published: February 25, 2013

LONDON — A day after a newspaper accused him of committing “inappropriate acts” in his relations with three priests and one former priest, Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, said Monday that he had offered his resignation to the Vatican and Pope Benedict XVI had accepted it.

But he made no specific, public comment on the account in The Observer newspaper on Sunday, which said accusations dating back to the 1980s had been forwarded to the Vatican.

Cardinal O’Brien said he had canceled plans to attend the deliberations at the Vatican over the selection of a new pope to replace Benedict, who stunned the Catholic world by announcing his own resignation on Feb. 11.

A statement issued by the media office of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland said Cardinal O’Brien had already told the pope some time ago of his intention to resign as his 75th birthday approached on March 17. But no date was set.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:50 AM

Top cardinal to resign amid allegations of misconduct

UNITED KINGDOM
Detroit Free Press

By Kim Hjelmgaard
USA TODAY

LONDON -- The United Kingdom's top cardinal, Keith O'Brien, is to step down, effective immediately, according to a statement published on the website of the Scottish Catholic news office.

Cardinal O'Brien, who is the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland and the U.K.'s most senior Roman Catholic, was due to take part in the election of the next pope next month to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, a process known as the "conclave.' He said in a statement that he will not attend.

He is resigning due to allegations surrounding inappropriate behavior toward priests dating from the 1980s. He contests the allegations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:47 AM

Top British Cardinal Resigns

VATICAN CITY
The Daily Beast

Things just keep getting worse at the Vatican. Britain’s top Catholic cleric, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, resigned on Monday as archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh amid allegations of inappropriate behavior with priests. O’Brien will not be allowed to participate in the papal election for Pope Benedict’s successor, leaving Britain without a representative. He was set to retire after taking part in the papal election. On Sunday, Britain’s Observer reported that three priests and one former priest had complained to the pope’s representative in Britain about O’Brien’s behavior, with the former priest accusing O’Brien of making sexual advances toward him in 1980.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:45 AM

Britain’s Cardinal O’Brien steps down

UNITED KINGDOM
Brisbane Times

LONDON: Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the top Catholic official in Britain, is stepping down a day after publication of reports of ‘‘inappropriate’’ behaviour in his relations with priests working for him.

O’Brien, an outspoken critic of gay rights, is alleged to have made unwelcome advances against priests reporting to him, the BBC reported.

The Vatican announced on Monday that Pope Benedict XVI had accepted Cardinal O’Brien’s resignation.

‘‘The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has accepted on the 18 February 2013 the resignation of His Eminence Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien from the pastoral governance of the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh,’’ a statement said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:43 AM

Reaction as Cardinal Keith O'Brien resigns

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

[live text]

[with video]

Key Points
Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, resigns as leader of the Scottish Catholic Church

It comes after newspaper reports that three priests and one ex-priest had complained about inappropriate behaviour towards them in the '80s

The Scottish Catholic Church says the cardinal, who is 74 and was due to retire in a few weeks, contests the claims and is taking legal advice

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:41 AM

Scottish Cardinal O'Brien Resigns as Archbishop

VATICAN CITY
Wall Street Journal

By STACY MEICHTRY and BRUCE ORWALL

Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien resigned, saying he won't attend the coming conclave of cardinals to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.

In a statement, Cardinal O'Brien said his resignation, tendered on Feb. 18, had been accepted by the pope.

The resignation comes close on the heels of a report in The Observer newspaper in the U.K. on Sunday, which detailed allegations of inappropriate behavior against Cardinal O'Brien that date back to the 1980s.

Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said the pope "immediately" accepted Cardinal O'Brien's resignation in order to address the an "unclear situation" before cardinals from around the world gather in Rome for the conclave.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:39 AM

Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric resigns

UNITED KINGDOM
Moneycontrol

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric resigned on Monday following allegations he behaved in an "inappropriate" way with other priests, and said he would not be going to the Vatican to take part in the election for Pope Benedict's replacement.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who had been expected to take part in the conclave, said he had tendered his resignation to Pope Benedict some months ago as he was turning 75 and because he was suffering from "indifferent health".

The pope, who himself is stepping down on February 28 because of ill health, had decided to accept O'Brien's resignation before he left the role, O'Brien, the archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, said in a statement.

"For any good I have been able to do, I thank God. For any failures, I apologise to all whom I have offended," said the statement, which made no reference to the recent allegations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:36 AM

British Cardinal to Skip Papal Conclave

UNITED KINGDOM
Time

By AP / GREGORY KATZ and NICOLE WINFIELD
Feb. 25, 2013

(LONDON) — Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Britain’s highest-ranking Catholic leader, says he is resigning as archbishop in the wake of misconduct allegations and will be skipping the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.

The cardinal said in a statement Monday that he will not attend because he doesn’t want media attention focused on him during the important session in Rome.

Experts said the decision not to attend the papal conclave is unprecedented; never before has a cardinal stayed away from a conclave because of personal scandal, according to Vatican historian Ambrogio Piazzoni, the vice prefect of the Vatican library.

The Vatican confirmed that O’Brien had resigned as archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh. It was accepted under the code of canon law due to O’Brien’s age; he turns 75 — the normal retirement age for bishops — on March 17.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:35 AM

Will the next pope be Italian?

VATICAN CITY
News 24

Vatican City - After a Pole and a German, will the Roman Catholic Church revert to an Italian leader once again?

Italy has the biggest voting bloc in the conclave to elect the next pope, with 28 of the 117 cardinal electors, but only one Italian, Milan Archbishop Angelo Scola, is widely seen as "papabile", or a strong candidate to succeed Benedict XVI.

Many cardinals oppose the idea of adding to the long line of Italians who preceded the back-to-back foreign popes, John Paul II of Poland and the German Benedict.

The last pope before John Paul II who did not hail from the Italian peninsula was Adrian VI, from the bishopric of Utrecht who died in 1523.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:33 AM

Vatican says Vatileaks report to remain confidential

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

(Reuters) - The Vatican said on Monday that a report into papal documents leaked by Pope Benedict's butler in the so-called "Vatileaks scandal" last year will remain confidential and only be shown to the next pontiff.

"The Holy Father has decided that the facts of this investigation, the contents of which are known only to Himself, will be made available exclusively to the new Pontiff," the Vatican said in a statement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:29 AM

Pope alters law to allow conclave to begin earlier

VATICAN CITY
BBC News

Pope Benedict XVI has altered Roman Catholic Church law which governs the conclave to elect his successor, the Vatican has said.

The change to the constitution means the cardinals will no longer have to wait 15 days after the papacy becomes vacant before beginning the conclave.

Therefore, the conclave can now start before 15 March.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:27 AM

'Vatileaks' investigators to meet with resigning Pope Benedict XVI

VATICAN CITY
Indian Express

Investigators into theso-called "Vatileaks" scandal were to meet with Pope Benedict XVI, two months after submitting their secret report into the leaks of papal documents to a journalist.

The three retired cardinals, Julian Herranz of Spain,Slovakian Jozef Tomko and Italian Salvatore De Giorgi, were set to see the pope at 11:00 am today, according to the Vatican's daily programme.

The meeting comes just three days before Benedict steps down following his shock resignation announcement on January 11. The 85-year-old German pope cited his age as the main factor in his nearly unprecedented decision, but observers said Vatileaks may have been the last straw in a scandal-ridden papacy.

The run-up to next month's conclave to elect a successor to Benedict has seen new scandals and allegations emerge, including claims of "inappropriate behaviour" on the part of one of the cardinal electors, Keith O'Brien of Britain.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:25 AM

'Sinners' who hid sex abuse 'should vote for pope'

VATICAN CITY
France 24

AFP - Cardinals suspected of having protected predator priests should be allowed to take part in next month's papal conclave, the Vatican's former prosecutor on child sex abuse cases said Monday.

Amid mounting criticism over the presence of such cardinals, notably Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, among the men who will choose a successor to Pope Benedict XVI, Monsignor Charles Scicluna said they had kept quiet "out of fear of scandal".

Citing canon law, he said the cardinals "have the right and duty" to vote in the conclave.

"Wisdom is not (God)-given just to saints but also to sinners," said Scicluna, who was in charge of Vatican efforts to combat the scourge of predator priests before his promotion to auxiliary bishop of Malta in 2012.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:23 AM

Dozens more in Pa., Ohio claim abuse by friar

OHIO/PENNSYLVANIA
13 ABC

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - About 50 more people have come forward to say they were sexually abused at Catholic schools in Pennsylvania and Ohio by a Franciscan brother who killed himself in January.

That's according to attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who settled 11 alleged abuse cases against the friar.

Brother Stephen Baker stabbed himself in the heart at a western Pennsylvania monastery on Jan. 26. His death came a little over a week after the disclosure of financial settlements in alleged abuse cases in Warren, Ohio. A coroner told the Altoona Mirror that Baker left a short note apologizing for his actions.

Attorney Garabedian says the new accusers have alleged in recent weeks that they were abused between 1982 and 2007. Some said Baker abused them even after he left teaching in 2000 when he would attend school events in Johnstown, Pa.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 AM

Pope accepts Cardinal O'Brien's resignation

SCOTLAND
Scottish Catholic Church Media Office

11am - Monday 25 February 2013

Pope accepts Cardinal O'Brien's resignation

The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has accepted on the 18 February 2013 the resignation of His Eminence Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien from the pastoral governance of the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh. This information will be announced and published in the Osservatore Romano of Monday 25 February 2013.

The Cardinal had already presented last November his resignation in view of his 75th birthday on 17 March 2013, and it was accepted by the Holy Father with the formula 'nunc pro tunc' (now for later). Given the imminent Vacant See, the Holy Father has now decided to accept the said resignation definitively.

Reacting to the acceptance of his resignation, Cardinal O'Brien said;

"Approaching the age of seventy-five and at times in indifferent health, I tendered my resignation as Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh to Pope Benedict XVI some months ago. I was happy to know that he accepted my resignation ‘nunc pro tunc’ – (now – but to take effect later) on 13 November 2012. The Holy Father has now decided that my resignation will take effect today, 25 February 2013, and that he will appoint an Apostolic Administrator to govern the Archdiocese in my place until my successor as Archbishop is appointed. In the meantime I will give every assistance to the Apostolic Administrator and to our new Archbishop, once he is appointed, as I prepare to move into retirement.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 AM

Cardinal Keith O'Brien resigns amid claims of inappropriate behaviour

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Severin Carrell, Scotland correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Monday 25 February 2013

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the UK's most senior Roman Catholic cleric, has resigned with immediate effect after being accused of "inappropriate acts" towards fellow priests.

The Scottish Catholic church announced that Pope Benedict had accepted the cardinal's resignation as archibishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, which came after the Observer disclosed a series of allegations by three priests and one former priest.

O'Brien has denied the allegations and had been expected to continue in his post as head of the Scottish Catholic church until mid-March, when he was due to retire at age 75.

But in a detailed statement, O'Brien said he resigned on Monday, and apologised to any people he had let down. He said he did not want the controversy to overshadow the election of the new pope.

"I have valued the opportunity of serving the people of Scotland and overseas in various ways since becoming a priest," he said. "Looking back over my years of ministry: For any good I have been able to do, I thank God. For any failures, I apologise to all whom I have offended."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:14 AM

Church Faces Emerging-World Hurdles

Wall Street Journal

By JAMES HOOKWAY

The Roman Catholic Church is contending with more than the aftermath of sexual-abuse scandals in Europe and North America as it prepares to select a new pope. Its authority is being questioned more frequently in the barrios and tower-blocks of developing-world strongholds like the Philippines, too.

Congregations in places such as Latin America, Africa and the Philippines now make up a majority of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. Often they are viewed as a bedrock of support for the institution as its influence in Europe and elsewhere continues to decline. But as economies around what used to be known as the Third World quickly grow and millions of people move to megacities such as São Paulo or Manila, once-faithful Catholics are beginning to look for more immediate answers to their day-to-day problems.

Across traditionally Catholic-dominated regions, Protestant evangelical groups have enjoyed explosive growth in popularity as Catholics have switched to a faith that they view as being more attuned to modern life in a quickly changing world. In Brazil, where evangelicals now make up over a fifth of the population compared with fewer than 4% four decades ago, preachers such as Edir Macedo use their own television networks and the Internet to preach about finding success as their country quickly grows. In Christian parts of Africa, too, evangelicals are gaining ground, now making up 10% of the population of the entire continent and providing a ready following for American pastors such as Rick Warren and Benny Hinn

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:11 AM

65 claiming abuse by Baker, advocate said

OHIO
Tribune Chronicle

February 25, 2013

By VIRGINIA SHANK - Staff reporter (vshank@tribtoday.com) , Tribune Chronicle | TribToday.com

WARREN - At least 65 people, here and in other states, have now come forward claiming to be sexual abuse victims of the late Brother Stephen Baker, an advocate speaking on their behalf said Sunday.

Robert Hoatson of New Jersey-based Road to Recovery was in the area this past weekend he said "to meet with potential victims." Hoatson said that based on statistics indicating only 10 percent of child sex victims report being abused, he believes Baker "may be one of the most prolific" sexual child abusers he is aware of.

"Based on the number of people who have come forward we believe the number of victims could be in the hundreds," Hoatson said during a news conference in front of John F. Kennedy High School in Warren.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:08 AM

Duterte sees reason in US protests vs cardinal

PHILIPPINES
Sun.Star

By Ivy C. Tejano

Monday, February 25, 2013

DAVAO CITY Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is throwing full support to Roman Catholic activists in United States (US) who are calling on a cardinal not to take part in the Papal Conclave this year after he was found to have been protecting priests who have figured in several sexual abuse cases.

Based on an article from the Reuters, the activists delivered a petition with around 10,000 marks to the North Hollywood Church, where Cardinal Roger Mahony lives, to advise the latter not to attend the conclave so as not to insult the survivors of sexual abuse committed by some priest in Los Angeles during his term as archbishop from 1985 to 2011.

In his television program “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa” on Sunday, Duterte said his stance on the matter is the same to those catholic activists.

According to church files unsealed under a US court order dated January 2013, Mahony worked to send priests known to be abusers, out of state, to protect them from law enforcement scrutiny in the 1980s.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:06 AM

Watch: Mahony Heads to Rome as Catholic Church Scandals Widen

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Frontiers LA

By Karen Ocamb
News Editor

The Roman Catholic Church seems to be coming apart at its brocade seams—thanks to the seemingly unending child sexual abuse scandal, another revelation of “inappropriate” behavior by a priest and allegations of a gay underground at the Vatican. Former Cardinal Roger M. Mahony flew to Rome to late Saturday to participant in the conclave to select the next pope on the same day he was deposed in a lawsuit alleging he had covered up for a pedophile priest. Mahony ignored a petition signed by 10,000 victims and church-lovers asking him not to go (see video below).

Meanwhile in England, Reuters reported Sunday that Cardinal Keith O’Brien, 74, had been reported to the Vatican for 30 years for “inappropriate” behavior towards others priests. This is the same cardinal who called gay marriage a “grotesque subversion.” The Observer newspaper reported that three priests and a former priest had demanded that O’Brien resign and not participate in the conclave so selection of Pope Benedict’s successor would be “clean.”

“Clean” might be difficult, given stories swirling around the pope’s resignation. Pope Benedict XVI, 85, said he was stepping down on Feb. 28 because of “advanced age.” New reports suggest it might be more complicated than that. Before his election to pope, Benedict XVI was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who the late gay author Paul Monette called “diabolical” and “the Vatican’s Minister of Hate” in Last Watch of the Night. In Becoming a Man, Monette wrote:

Vatican II castrated itself, and the rosy 60s are no more. A new Inquisition is in full cry, led by the rabid dog in brocade, Cardinal Ratzinger of the Curia, the malevolent divine who laid down the law that loving gay was a matter of “intrinsic evil.” In the decade of the AIDS calamity I’ve come to see the church of the Polish pope [Pope John Paul] as a sort of Greenwich Mean of moral ro—thus in my small way returning the compliment of Sturmfuhrer Ratzinger. Hardly a week goes by that we don’t hear from the pope’s minions in the colonie—O’Connor in New York, Mahony in L.A.—spewing their misogyny and homophobia, delirious with triumph that sex finally equals death.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:03 AM

Conclave of shame: Look who’s electing the next pope

CANADA
iPolitics

By Paul Adams | Feb 24, 2013

Nothing has undermined the moral authority of the Catholic Church more than its handling of the torture and rape to which many children in its care have been subjected.

It is not just the abuse itself that is so shocking. As the church often reminds us, it is an institution made up of human beings subject to human frailty.

It is the complicity of the church hierarchy — bishops, cardinals and popes — in covering up the truth and, in the course of doing so, abetting and condoning criminal behaviour.

As the American conservative Catholic commentator Michael Brendan Dougherty has remarked, the church should be telling these men: “Go to the monastery and wait for the cops.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:00 AM

Fifty more accuse friar of abuse, group says

OHIO
Youngstown Vindicator

BY Jordan Cohen
news@vindy.com

WARREN

At least 50 more men have come forward claiming sexual abuse at the hands of Franciscan Brother Steven Baker, the head of a support group for victims of molestation by clergy said Sunday that

Most of the accusers attended Warren’s John F. Kennedy High School and St. Mary’s Middle School from 1986 to 1990.

“We think the total is nearly 65, and that would make him one of the most prolific pedophiles in the history of the church,” said Robert Hoatson, a former priest who heads Road to Recovery, a New Jersey-based support group for victims of sexual molestation by priests and other Catholic clergy.

Baker committed suicide Jan. 26 shortly after the school, a Franciscan order and the Diocese of Youngstown settled with 11 male students who said they had been assaulted by Baker while he served as a sports trainer, baseball coach and religion teacher at JFK.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:59 AM

Catholic Church hit by another scandal

UNITED STATES
Press TV (Iran)

Dozens of Americans have declared that they were abused by a Catholic priest, in yet another scandal for the Vatican.

About 50 people have reported that the abuses took place in Catholic schools in the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio during the period of 1982 to 2007 by Franciscan friar Brother Stephen Baker, who apologized in a note prior to stabbing himself to death on January 26.

Baker’s death came after the disclosure of financial settlements for 11 men, who accused him of sexually abusing them, while he was a teacher and a coach at Catholic John F. Kennedy High School in Warren, Ohio, from 1986 to 1990.

The Roman Catholic Church has been hit by numerous scandals in the United States and in Europe over the past few years, involving allegations of covering up sexual abuse of children by priests to protect pedophiles and the Church’s own reputation.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:55 AM

February 24, 2013

Next Pope Can Keep Cardinals Out Of Jail Only If … ?

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

Increasing numbers of Cardinals seem to be facing serious criminal prosecution risks that likely will increase rapidly. Pope John Paul II mainly avoided acknowledging these risks and Pope Benedict XVI duplicitously tried to Tweet them away. They both failed and made matters worse, certainly from a criminal defense perspective. Prosecutors and jurors will no longer give Cardinals the benefit of the doubt and the media is aggressively reporting Cardinals’ sins more often. The next Pope must confront these risks honestly and openly or the risk of imprisonment will only increase for Cardinals worldwide. Abuse survivors must be treated justly and children must be protected effectively. Hierarchical wrongdoers must be exposed, removed and punished transparently and promptly. This requires papal leadership and real reforms now.

In the past week, Catholic scholar, Hans Kung, Dominican priest, Matthew Fox, and Oxford historian, Sir Diarmaid MacCulloch, have weighed in on the current crisis. Their assessments must be listened to, or some Cardinals will very likely be prosecuted in the near term.

Fr. Kung just spoke of his former university colleague, Joseph Ratzinger, this week as reported here at:

[Spiegel]

The seemingly unending and substantially unaddressed Vatican scandals of child abuse cover-ups, sexual blackmail, financial corruption and managerial incompetence have reached a tipping point making resignation the only option apparently. Shortly, on March 1, Cardinals reportedly will be told secretly what is in the confidential report of the three octogenerian Cardinal survivors of Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin and Franco. They have seen it all before, no doubt.

The next Pope will surely be bogged down for years in ongoing worldwide governmental investigations, civil litigation and criminal prosecutions of the Church’s hierarchy that are now beginning to mushroom. These challenges are already burdened by the overall dark legacy left by ex-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and his Polish predecessor, so concisely summarized by Dominican priest, Matthew Fox, a student of key theologian, M.-D. Chenu, who theologically guided Joseph Ratzinger and Karol Wotyla at Vatican II, accessible here:

[Huffington Post]

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:26 PM

Pope to act over conduct claims against Britain’s senior Catholic

UNITED KINGDOM/VATICAN CITY
The Times

Ruth Gledhill, Mike Wade

The Pope is considering how to respond to allegations of “inappropriate behaviour” against Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric.

Vatican officials confirmed that Pope Benedict XVI had taken “into his own hands” the accusations against Cardinal Keith O’Brien by three priests and a former priest.

Cardinal O’Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh and the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, missed High Mass in Edinburgh yesterday, where he had been expected to celebrate the eight-year reign of Pope Benedict, which ends at 8pm on Thursday.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:22 PM

Pope considering response to alleged 'inappropriate acts' by UK cardinal

UNITED KINGDOM/VATICAN CITY
The Guardian

Severin Carrell, Catherine Deveney, John Hooper and Sam Jones
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 24 February 2013

Pope Benedict XVI is considering how to respond after being told about allegations that the UK's most senior Catholic has been accused of "inappropriate acts" against fellow priests.

The Vatican confirmed the pope had seen allegations made by priests against Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the head of the Scottish Catholic church, by three serving priests and a former priest in his diocese which date back to 1980.

The claims – which are denied by the cardinal and remain unproven – add to a series of controversies over senior figures in the church and within the Vatican that will overshadow Benedict's final days as pontiff and the first weeks of his successor.

As the pope gave his last pontifical blessing to crowds in St Peter's Square on Sunday morning before stepping down this Thursday, his spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said: "The pope is informed about the problem and the issue is now in his hands." O'Brien, who is also due to retire on his 75th birthday next month, is the only Catholic in the UK within the elite group of 117 cardinals eligible to vote on the pope's successor. It is not known whether he will attend the vote.

The claims against O'Brien, reported in the Observer, surround allegations of "unwanted behaviour" following late-night drinking and "inappropriate contact" involving the three priests, who are all serving within the cardinal's diocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, and a former priest who is now married.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:19 PM

Cardinal Keith O’Brien future ‘in Pope’s hands’

SCOTLAND
Scotsman

By MARTYN MCLAUGHLIN and NATALIE WALKER
Published on Sunday 24 February 2013

POPE Benedict will consider allegations of “inappropriate behaviour” levelled by priests against Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic clergyman, Cardinal Keith O’Brien.

In a move that has sent shockwaves throughout the Church, three priests and one former cleric have sent detailed allegations relating to Cardinal O’Brien’s behaviour towards them to the Pope’s representative in the UK.

Yesterday, as the move to involve the papacy in investigating the allegations became public, Cardinal O’Brien did not say Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, at which he would have led prayers for the Pope.

Last night, it was confirmed that the demands by the four for the cardinal – due to travel to Rome tomorrow to take part in the election of a new pope – to resign have been received by the Vatican.

Federico Lombardi, a spokesman for the Vatican, said: “The Pope is informed about the problem and the question is now in his hands.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:15 PM

Cardinal Keith O’Brien Accused of ‘Inappropriate Acts’

UNITED KINGDOM
The New York Times

By JOHN F. BURNS

Published: February 24, 2013

LONDON — Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, has been accused of committing “inappropriate acts” in his relations with three priests and one former priest, the Observer newspaper reported Sunday. The accusations, which date back to the 1980s have been forwarded to the Vatican.

The newspaper said the four men had made their complaints to the pope’s representative in Britain, Antonio Mennini, and that the complaints had reached Archbishop Mennini in the week before Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation on Feb. 11.

The timing of the Observer’s article, which was apparently drawn from church sources with access to the file that Archbishop Mennini had forwarded to Rome, became an immediate focus of attention.

Reports from Rome in recent days have described the feverish speculation — and intrigue, according to Vatican insiders — surrounding the choice of the new pope, who is set to be chosen by a conclave of 117 eligible cardinals, among them Cardinal O’Brien, scheduled to convene at the Vatican sometime in March. Benedict’s resignation takes effect Thursday.

The Catholic Church has been besieged during Benedict’s eight years in office by scandals over pedophilia and other forms of sexual abuse by priests. But the three weeks since he announced his decision to retire on the grounds of failing health have been marked by a surge of Italian news media reports, many of them speculative, of gay sex scandals in the Vatican and other allegations of sexual abuse by priests.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:43 PM

Mahony, the Vatican, and the risks of pushing back

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

by John L. Allen Jr. | Feb. 24, 2013

Two recent twists in the unfolding drama of Benedict’s resignation and the election of the next pope raise the age-old question at the heart of any good PR strategy: When is it important to speak up, and when it wiser to put a sock in it?

One sidebar to the papal transition story focuses on a number of cardinals whose participation in the conclave is kicking up dust, a list which includes Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles.

In the last several days, news stories on Mahony have cited comments he’s made either on his blog or through his Twitter account. On his blog, Mahony has been trying to share his spiritual journey in Lent, especially in the wake of new furor over his handling of sex abuse cases in Los Angeles. On Twitter, he’s been referring to his participation in the upcoming conclave.

It’s hard to say, but one sometimes one has the impression that Mahony is actually fueling some of the negative coverage by offering quotable quotes via social media.

On a different front, Saturday brought an extraordinarily bristling statement from the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, intended to rebut the story about a “gay lobby” supposedly behind Benedict’s resignation in the Italian press.

The statement complained of “unverified, unverifiable or completely false news stories,” and even suggesting the media is trying to influence the papal election.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 6:40 PM

Papabile of the Day: The Men Who Could Be Pope

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

by John L. Allen Jr. | Feb. 24, 2013

ROME -- John Allen is offering a profile each day of one of the most frequently touted papabili, or men who could be pope. The old saying in Rome is that he who enters a conclave as pope exits as a cardinal, meaning there's no guarantee one of these men actually will be chosen. They are, however, the leading names drawing buzz in Rome these days, ensuring they will be in the spotlight as the conclave draws near. The profiles of these men also suggest the issues and the qualities other cardinals see as desirable heading into the election.

There’s a lot of chatter these days about a “Third World pope,” and it’s a realistic possibility. Politically speaking, however, it overlooks one bit of arithmetic: 61 of the 116 cardinals who will file into the Sistine Chapel still hail from Europe, so discounting candidates from the Old Continent means ruling out half the talent pool a priori.

Moreover, there are Europeans and then there are Europeans. Electing an Italian might strike some cardinals as heading back to the future, but choosing a pope from a long-neglected corner of the continent might seem almost as bold to them as picking someone from, say, Latin America.

If so, many church insiders believe that Cardinal Péter Erdõ of Budapest, Hungary, could get a very serious look.

A canon lawyer by training, Erdõ has been on the ecclesiastical fast track his entire career. In 2001, while he was still an auxiliary bishop and before he’d even turned 50, he was elected to his first term as President of the Council of Episcopal Conferences of Europe. He was reelected to a second five-year term in 2006.

In 2002, he was named the Archbishop of Hungary’s premier see at the tender age of 50, and made a cardinal a year later. At 52, he was the youngest cardinal to participate in the conclave that elected Benedict XVI in 2005. Eight years later, there are still only five cardinal electors younger than Erdõ, who’s now 60.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:49 PM

Cormac Murphy-O'Connor discusses allegations denied by Cardinal O'Brien - video

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

[video]

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, former archbishop of Westminster, discusses the allegations of inappropriate acts concerning Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Britain's most senior Roman Catholic. Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Murphy-O'Connor says that he is very sad to hear about the allegations. O'Brien is due to take part in the conclave at the Vatican next month to choose a new pope. O'Brien strenuously denies the allegations

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:44 PM

Toronto cardinal keeping open mind on how to pick new pope

CANADA
Edmonton Journal

By The Canadian Press February 24, 2013

TORONTO - Toronto's Thomas Cardinal Collins says he is keeping an open mind and will keep an open ear to the advice of other cardinals as he heads to Vatican City to help select a new pope.

Collins says he has no idea yet what characteristics the next pope should have, adding he will first get to know the 116 cardinals who will join him in conclave to pick the next head of the Catholic Church.

Collins says he has been intensely studying historical studies of the "awesome process" of a papal conclave, which he has never participated in before.

He says he has received emails encouraging him to express a willingness to become pope, but adds he has no interest in the church's top post.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:42 PM

Dozens more in Pa., Ohio claim abuse by friar

OHIO/PENNSYLVANIA
KVUE

Associated Press

Posted on February 24, 2013

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — About 50 more people have come forward to say they were sexually abused at Catholic schools in Pennsylvania and Ohio by a Franciscan brother who killed himself in January, said an attorney who settled 11 alleged abuse cases against the friar.

Brother Stephen Baker, 62, stabbed himself in the heart at a western Pennsylvania monastery on Jan. 26, a little over a week after the disclosure of financial settlements in alleged abuse cases in Warren, Ohio. A coroner told the Altoona Mirror that Baker left a short note apologizing for his actions.

The new accusers have alleged in recent weeks that they were abused between 1982 and 2007, attorney Mitchell Garabedian said Sunday. Some said Baker abused them even after he left teaching in 2000 when he would attend school events in Johnstown, Pa., Garabedian said.

The latest allegations come from people in 12 states who went to school in Warren or were either middle school or high school students in Johnstown, where Baker taught and coached, Garabedian said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 4:40 PM

Calls for UK Cardinal to be excluded from pontiff vote

VATICAN CITY
ABC News - AM (Australia)

When Pope Benedict XVI unexpectedly announced his impending retirement he told the world he was simply too old to fulfil his duties, but Italian newspapers claim that a sex scandal, infighting and corruption within the Vatican were behind his decision. There are also demands that two cardinals not be allowed to take part in the conclave to elect a new pope.

Philip Williams

Transcript

TONY EASTLEY: When the Pope unexpectedly announced he was retiring he told the world he was simply too old to fulfil his duties. But Italian newspapers claim that a sex scandal, infighting and corruption within the Vatican were behind his decision.

Adding to the Vatican's woes, there are demands that two cardinals not be allowed to take part in the conclave to elect a new pope.

Here's Europe correspondent, Philip Williams.

PHILIP WILIAMS: With St Peter's Square packed with tens of thousands of the faithful, Pope Benedict took to the balcony for his final Sunday blessing as Pontiff.

BENEDICT XVI: I offer warm greeting to all the English speaking visitors present for this Angelus prayer. I thank everyone for the many expressions of gratitude, affection, closeness and prayer which I have received in these days.

PHILIP WILIAMS: But even before he leaves, there are stories of dark forces within the Vatican - warring factions and illicit sexual encounters.

Italy's La Republica newspaper says a red bound two volume report on nefarious activities within the Vatican walls convinced the Pontiff it was time to go.

This has been dismissed by the Pontiff's media people, but it's a story that refused to disappear ahead of the conclave of 117 cardinals who will decide amongst them who has the right qualities to be the next pope.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:25 PM

Cardinal Keith O'Brien complaints given to pope's UK office this month

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Severin Carrell and Catherine Deveney
The Guardian, Sunday 24 February 2013

The four complaints against Cardinal Keith O'Brien alleging "inappropriate acts" were given to the pope's representative in the UK, Antonio Mennini, in early February.

They arrived at the papal nuncio's London office, delivered by a trusted intermediary from the cardinal's diocese, a few days before Pope Benedict XVI stunned the Catholic world with his decision to resign.

The earliest of the allegations, which are denied by O'Brien, dates back to 1980. That complainant, who is now married, was then a 20-year-old seminarian at St Andrew's College, Drygrange, where O'Brien was the rector and his "spiritual director". The statement claims he made an inappropriate approach after night prayers.

The complainant said he was too frightened to report the incident, and became depressed. He was ordained, but told Mennini he resigned when O'Brien was promoted to bishop in the mid-1980s.

"I knew then he would always have power over me," he alleges. "It was assumed I left the priesthood to get married. I did not. I left to preserve my integrity."

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:23 PM

Britain’s top cardinal accused ...

UNITED KINGDOM
Washington Post

Britain’s top cardinal accused of ‘inappropriate’ behavior with priests

By Anthony Faiola

Sunday, February 24

LONDON — On the same day as his last public blessing Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI confronted the threat of a fresh scandal within the church hierarchy, with Vatican officials informing him of new allegations that Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric had engaged in inappropriate behavior with priests.

In Britain, the accusations against Cardinal Keith O’Brien — head of the church in Scotland and one of this nation’s most strident opponents of gay rights — were already escalating into a national furor. The controversy revolved around a report first published Saturday night on the Web site of Britain’s Observer newspaper, saying that four men — three current priests and one former priest — had denounced O’Brien earlier this month for engaging in “inappropriate” and “intimate” behavior.

Through a spokesman, O’Brien denied the charges and was said he was seeking legal counsel.

If proven true, the allegations could rock the church at a highly sensitive time, highlighting a Vatican in crisis as its cardinals begin to gather in Rome to pick the pope’s successor after his surprise resignation earlier this month.

The exact nature and timing of the alleged contact, which the Observer said was reported to the Vatican’s emissary in London a week before Benedict’s Feb. 11 resignation, were not spelled out. But one of the alleged victims claimed that O’Brien had started a “relationship” with him in the 1980s that resulted in the need for long-term counseling. Another of the men said O’Brien had initiated “inappropriate contact” during nightly prayers, according to the paper.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:19 PM

Father Crews resigns in wake of 1970s abuse claim

CALIFORNIA
Sonoma News

By David Bolling INDEX-TRIBUNE EDITOR AND PUBLISHER

Feb 14, 2013

Father John Crews, the longtime executive director of Hanna Boys Center, resigned late last week following the allegation of a single act of sexual misconduct dating back to the early 1970s.

According to Bishop Robert F. Vasa, of the Diocese of Santa Rosa, the allegation “came to our attention on Tuesday (Feb. 12) and was immediately reported to the police.”

Vasa, who said he had been out of town when the allegations surfaced, added the diocese then learned the matter had already been reported to the police. “A mandatory reporter,” he said, “reported it to police, and then to us.”

But according to Sebastopol Police Chief Jeffrey Weaver, his office received a telephone report from a private citizen, not a mandatory reporter such as a priest or therapist, on Friday, Feb. 1 stating that someone had been victimized by a priest at a church in Sebastopol more than 40 years ago.

“We were told the victim was not accessible,” said Weaver. Asked if that meant the victim was dead, Weaver said he did not know.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:14 PM

Hanna Boys Center Executive Director Resigns

CALIFORNIA
Hanna Boys Center

Father John Crews to Leave Hanna after nearly 30 years

Sonoma, CA, February 13, 2013- Father John Crews, longtime Executive Director of the Hanna Boys Center, has resigned after an allegation was made of an inappropriate relationship in the 1970’s prior to his arrival at Hanna Boys Center in 1984.

Hanna Boys Center management moved quickly to meet with Father Crews after learning about the allegation. After the meeting, in the best interest of the school, Father Crews tendered his resignation and it was accepted by the Hanna Board of Trustees.

“We are shocked and saddened and take any allegation of this nature very seriously,” said Jack Bertges, Hanna Boys Center’s current Chair of the Board of Trustees. “We want our supporters and community to know that this alleged incident did not occur during John Crews’ tenure at the Hanna Boys Center and that we have no reason to believe that there was any inappropriate conduct between Father Crews and the students of Hanna Boys Center,” Bertges added.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:11 PM

The End of Days or the End of Catholic Daze?

UNITED STATES
Minnesota SNAP

By Vinnie Nauheimer

What if all the prophecies about Benedict XVI being the next to last pope are true, but not for the universal reason everyone suspects? Suppose fulfillment of the prophecies doesn’t mean the end of the world, but instead means the end of a centuries old corrupt Vatican reign? The recent sordid revelations bursting forth from the Vatican will hasten the end of days for the hierarchy and the end of daze for millions of Catholics.

Prophecies from Malachy to Fatima and every one in between, including the rarely mentioned prophecy of a Japanese nun from Akita, Japan, Sister Sasagawa have predicted the end of days. However, Sister Sasagawa quoting the Blessed Virgin has a prophecy that has hit the bulls eye, with no interpretation needed, that describes current Vatican events. She said she was told, “The work of the devil will infiltrate even the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other bishops.” It wouldn’t stretch anybody’s mind (except maybe a bishop’s) to believe that the Blessed Mother was prophesying the scenario currently surrounding Benedict’s resignation.

My personal favorite prophecy is from her son, Jesus: Luke 12:1-3

He began to say unto his disciples first of all, “Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees (Hierarchy), which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 3:08 PM

Pope Primer: Sorting through an 11th-hour Vatican sex scandal

CHICAGO (IL)
WLS

Chuck Goudie

February 24, 2013 (WLS) -- As Chicago's Cardinal Frances George and his cardinal colleagues begin arriving in Rome to replace the retiring pope, they find themselves gathering under a new, unexpected and ill-timed Vatican cloud.

Church leaders were caught off-guard a few days ago by an Italian newspaper report that stated Pope Benedict XVI was resigning after he learned of a gay-sex network operated by some of his highest ranking prelates.

Vatican officials have strongly denied that the pope was motivated by such a revelation, saying that his age and health caused him to become the first pontiff to abdicate in 600 years.

However, the Vatican has not issued a blanket denial that a blackmail-prone, gay-sex network was uncovered.

The report in La Repubblica states that top churchmen-including some unnamed cardinals who have a vote for the new pope-have been blackmailed by forces outside the Vatican. "Everything revolves around the non-observance of the sixth and seventh commandment" according to the newspaper, which is Italy's largest-circulation daily.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:59 PM

UK cardinal contests 'inappropriate' acts claims

UNITED KINGDOM
Boston Herald

By
Associated Press

LONDON — The Vatican is looking into allegations of "inappropriate behavior" by Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Britain's most senior Catholic cleric, officials said Sunday. The claims came at a sensitive time, as O'Brien and other cardinals prepare for a conclave to choose the next pope.

O'Brien, who heads the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, was taking advice from lawyers after British newspaper The Observer reported that three priests and a former priest have filed complaints to the Vatican alleging that the cardinal approached them in an inappropriate manner.

The paper did not cite the names of the priests, but it said their allegations date back to the 1980s..

"Cardinal O'Brien contests these claims and is taking legal advice," Peter Kearney, a spokesman for the Scottish Catholic Church, said. He declined to comment further.

A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the complaints had been channeled through the office of the papal nuncio — the Vatican's ambassador — in London. "The pope has been informed, and the question is in his hands," Lombardi said.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 1:47 PM

Mass no-show by Cardinal Keith O’Brien after ‘inappropriate behaviour’ claims

UNITED KINGDOM
The Times

Mike Wade, Nick Drainey

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Britain’s most senior Catholic cleric, this morning failed to appear at High Mass in Edinburgh after allegations of inappropriate behaviour were levelled against him.

Cardinal O’Brien was due to deliver a homily to Pope Benedict XVI at St Mary’s RC Cathedral, but instead the service was led Stephen Robson, the Auxiliary Bishop of Edinburgh.

The allegations, by three priests and a former priest from the diocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, claim that Cardinal O’Brien had committed “inappropriate acts” going back 33 years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:07 PM

Sex Scandal Cardinal 'Must Decide for Himself' over Papal Vote

UNITED KINGDOM
International Business Times

By Timur Moon

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Britain's most senior Catholic clergyman, should be allowed to decide for himself whether to take part in next week's Vatican conclave to select the next Pope after allegations he made "inappropriate advances" to other priests, according to the former Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor.

Three priests and one former priest in Scotland have reported Cardinal O'Brien to the Vatican over the claims, which stretch back 30 years.

One of the complainants said the cardinal's inappropriate behaviour led him to seek long-term psychological counselling.

Cardinal O'Brien has denied the allegations.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:05 PM

WITH THE POPE AGAINST THE HOMOHERESY

POLAND
Church Militant

Fr. Dariusz Oko, Ph.D.
For several weeks now Poland has witnessed a heated discussion on the “huge homosexual underground in the Church”, provoked by the most recent book by Fr. Tadeusz Isakowicz-Zaleski entitled Chodzi mi tylko o prawdę[1](Truth Is All That Matters). Some deny any such underground exists, and put forward theses profoundly inconsistent with the teaching of the Church, both being at odds with truth[2]. The problem is serious to the extent I feel I must join in the discussion as well, because I also care about truth, and first of all about good, the fundamental wellbeing of man and of the Church – the basic community in which he lives.

Any discussion should have as its starting point the basic, axiomatic assumption that any one of us can know with certainty only a part, and that part is likely to be partially wrong. That should result in any opinions being presented with humility, and the arguments of partners or opponents being listened to with attention. That way we may best benefit from the parts of knowledge each of us has, and correct them. They will always remain only parts, but they will be bigger and purified from errors
to a greater extent. That is the blessing of an honest dialogue, and it is in this spirit that I want to proceed.

My feeling of duty to take a stance results from my involvement in the philosophical criticism of homosexual ideology and homosexual propaganda (abbreviated to homoideology and
homopropaganda), which I have dealt with for several years now to the order and with encouragement from many cardinals and bishops.[3] In doing that, I have accumulated what is probably the biggest Polish collection of writings on the topic, one of the largest collections of data. This has been accomplished with the help of many friends and allies, both lay people and clergymen, university professors and practicing physicians, as well as a large number of people I had not known before, but who, encouraged by the opinions I have expressed and having read my articles, wished to add to and correct my knowledge.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 12:00 PM

Catholic clerical “Gay Mafia” finally being exposed in media?

UNITED STATES
LifeSite News

by Steve Jalsevac

Fri Feb 22, 2013

The resignation of Pope Benedict is causing a series of large explosions along the way to the new conclave to replace the burnt-out reformer Pope. Some of us have been desperately waiting for many years for the power and influence of an extremely damaging homosexual mafia within the Catholic clergy to be exposed and dealt with. It appears this might finally be happening in a very dramatic fashion thanks to Benedict in the last few days of his pontificate.

Italian media reports on the details of a Benedict-ordered internal investigation on the Vatileaks scandal, if true, are astounding. The reports appear to confirm what LifeSiteNews and many others have been incessantly warning about for years only to be constantly dismissed as being overly negative, divisive and sensationalist.

Deny, deny, deny has been the standard response and many good priests and laity and even bishops have been subjected to ridicule and ruthless treatment for daring to try to expose the scandals and criminal or otherwise highly immoral actions of homosexuals in parishes, orders, chanceries and even the Vatican itself.

At the same time as this Vatican controversy is raging, the English translation of another report, this time by a Polish priest, on the wide extent and influence of homosexual clergy has just been released. With the Pope against the homoheresy by Fr. Dariusz Oko, reveals the global phenomena of a "huge homosexual underground in the Church".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:57 AM

Vatican: “Public opinion is being exploited to condition the Conclave”

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Insider

The Secretariat of State’s tough statement and Fr. Lombardi’s comments: “There is slander and malicious gossip going round, against the Church’s leadership”

Vatican Insider staff
Rome

The Holy See’s Secretariat of State has issued a statement condemning attempts to condition cardinals ahead of the Conclave, through the publication of “news reports…which are often unverified or not verifiable, or even false, even subsequent damage to people and institutions.”

The statement issued by the Vatican Secretariat of State and published by Vatican Radio goes on to say: “The freedom of the College of Cardinals, which alone, under the law, is responsible for the election of the Roman Pontiff, - has always been strongly defended by the Holy See, as a guarantee of a choice based on evaluations solely for the good of the Church.”

“Over the centuries, - the text continues - the Cardinals have faced multiple forms of pressure exerted on the individual voters and the same College, with the aim of conditioning decisions, to bend them to a political or worldly logic.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:53 AM

Scotland's Cardinal O'Brien denies allegations of "inappropriate behavior"

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Insider

[UK's top cardinal accused of 'inappropriate acts' by priests - The Observer]

Three priests and one former priest have denounced Scotland’s Cardinal O’Brien for what they allege as “inappropriate behavior” with them in the 1980s.

By Gerard O’Connell
Rome

Scotland’s Cardinal Keith O’Brien has denied allegations that he engaged in “inappropriate behavior” with three priests and a former-priests some 30 years ago.

His fellow British cardinal and friend, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor stated this on the BBC on Sunday morning, February 24. He said “The cardinal has denied these allegations”, and expressed sadness at this news.

The Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi told journalists, “The Pope has been informed of these allegations, and the problem is now in his hands.”

The allegations have been transmitted to the Vatican according to The Observer, a British Sunday daily which broke the news on February 24. It reported that “three priests and a former priest in Scotland” have reported Cardinal O'Brien to the Vatican alleging instances of “inappropriate behavior stretching back 30 years.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:50 AM

Despite criticism, Cardinal Mahony will help select new Pope

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

Cardinal Roger Mahony intends to help select a new pope in Rome despite calls from some critics that he withdraw from the process in the wake of revelations about his actions in the priest sex-abuse scandal.

The day Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation almost two weeks ago, Mahony wrote on his blog that he looked forward to participating in the conclave of cardinals in Rome to elect Benedict's successor.

That stance elicited some criticism given that last month the Los Angeles Archdiocese stripped Mahony, its former archbishop, of his public duties after it was revealed that he plotted to conceal child molestation by priests.

But Mahony indicated via Twitter on Friday that he still would be part of the sequestered papal selection process. He tweeted: "Just a few short hours before my departure for Rome. Will be tweeting often from Rome, except during the actual Conclave itself. Prayers!"

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 11:46 AM

Cardinal Keith O’Brien misses Mass after claims

SCOTLAND
Scotsman

By ROSEMARY FREE
Published on Sunday 24 February 2013

THE most senior Roman Catholic cleric in Britain failed to show for Mass in Edinburgh today amid claims of inappropriate behaviour dating back three decades.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, is facing allegations from three priests and one former priest who are demanding his immediate resignation, it has emerged.

The allegations sent shockwaves through the Catholic community on the day that Pope Benedict XVI gave his final Sunday blessing before tens of thousands of people in St Peter’s Square. The cardinal, who remained in his official residence in Morningside this morning, is contesting the claims, and is taking legal advice. A spokesman for the Vatican said that “the pope is informed about the problem and the question is now in his hands.”

In tears

Bishop Steven Robson, who took the special Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh in the cardinal’s absence, told the congregation – some of whom were in tears - that they “cannot not be saddened” by events, after which a number of people left the cathedral.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the former archbishop of Westminster, said he was “very sad” to hear of the allegations made against Cardinal O’Brien and would have to “see how that pans out.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:51 AM

Pope considering response to alleged 'inappropriate acts' by UK cardinal

VATICAN CITY/UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Vatican confirms priests' written allegations against Cardinal Keith O'Brien have been received and issue is in pontiff's hands

Severin Carrell, Catherine Deveney, John Hooper and Sam Jones
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 24 February 2013

The pope has been told about allegations that the UK's most senior Catholic had been accused of "inappropriate acts" against fellow priests, and is considering how to respond.

Hours after the allegations were published by the Observer, the Vatican confirmed that written allegations against Cardinal Keith O'Brien by three serving priests and one former priest were being studied by Pope Benedict XVI.

As the pope gave his last pontifical blessing to crowds in St Peter's Square, a spokesman for the Vatican said "the pope is informed about the problem and the issue is now in his hands".

Cardinal O'Brien, the UK's most senior Roman Catholic and head of the Scottish Catholic church, missed giving mass at his cathedral on Sunday, citing legal advice. He contests the allegations, which date back 30 years to the 1980s, when O'Brien was a rector of a seminary in Aberdeen and then archbishop.

The cardinal, who is himself to retire in mid-March after taking part in the conclave at the Vatican next month to choose the new pope, had been due to hold mass at St Mary's cathedral in Edinburgh to celebrate Pope Benedict XVI's eight years as pontiff.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:47 AM

Cardinal 'has right to choose Pope'

UNITED KINGDOM
Harlow Star

Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric should be allowed to help choose the next Pope despite facing allegations of inappropriate behaviour, the former archbishop of Westminster says.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor expressed sadness at the claims - which have been denied - made against Cardinal Keith O'Brien, leader of the church in Scotland.

Three priests and a former priest have complained to the Vatican about behaviour towards them going back 30 years, according to the Observer. They are reported to be demanding Cardinal O'Brien's immediate resignation.

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor said: "I was obviously very sad to hear that. The cardinal has denied the allegations, so I think we will just have to see how that pans out. There have been other cases which have been a great scandal to the church over these past years. I think the church has to face up - has faced up - to some of them very well indeed."

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor said it was up to Cardinal O'Brien - who is reported to have sought legal advice - "how he faces the allegations".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:46 AM

Top British cardinal accused of "inappropriate behavior," rejects allegations

UNITED KINGDOM
NBC News

By Mohammed Abbas, Reuters

LONDON — Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric, a cardinal expected to take part in the conclave to choose the next pope, rejected allegations on Sunday that he had behaved in an "inappropriate" way with other priests.

The Observer newspaper said Cardinal Keith O'Brien, 74, the archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, who is known for outspoken views on homosexuality, had been reported to the Vatican over allegations of inappropriate behavior stretching back 30 years.

"Cardinal O'Brien contests these claims and is taking legal advice," a spokesman for the cardinal said.

Three priests and a former priest, from a Scottish diocese, have complained to the Vatican and demanded O'Brien's immediate resignation, the newspaper said, adding that they wanted the conclave to choose Pope Benedict's successor to be "clean".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:43 AM

Britain's most senior Catholic 'should be allowed to vote...

UNITED KINGDOM
Telegraph

Britain's most senior Catholic 'should be allowed to vote on next Pope' despite allegations of inappropriate acts

Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric should be allowed to vote on the next Pope despite facing allegations of 'inappropriate' acts involving four men, the former archbishop of Westminster has said.

By Telegraph reporters
3:32PM GMT 24 Feb 2013

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor said he was saddened by the allegations made against Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the only figure based in mainland Britain with a vote on the next Pope.

Cardinal O’Brien is said to be “contesting” the claims which involve three priests and a former cleric.

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor said: "I was obviously very sad to hear that.

"The cardinal has denied the allegations, so I think we will just have to see how that pans out. There have been other cases which have been a great scandal to the church over these past years.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 10:39 AM

Quebec bishops not campaigning for Ouellet

CANADA
Montreal Gazette

RIMOUSKI — The Assembly of Quebec Catholic Bishops is happy that Cardinal Marc Ouellet is being considered a possible successor to Pope Benedict XVI, who is resigning this week, but doesn’t want to show any preference.

The president of the assembly, Bishop Pierre-André Fournier of Rimouski, believes that Ouellet has the qualifications to assume the highest office in the church. He said he’s not surprised that the former archbishop of Quebec is on the list of potential candidates. But he notes that the cardinals, who will assemble in a conclave in mid-March, must elect the person who best responds to the needs of the Catholic Church.

Bishop Fournier said he admired the courage of Benedict, who said he no longer had the physical strength necessary to exercise his functions as the “great servant” of the church.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:11 AM

British cardinal rejects "inappropriate behavior" allegations

UNITED KINGDOM
Chicago Tribune

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric, a cardinal expected to take part in the conclave to choose the next pope, rejected allegations on Sunday that he had behaved in an "inappropriate" way with other priests.

The Observer newspaper said Cardinal Keith O'Brien, 74, the archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, who is known for outspoken views on homosexuality, had been reported to the Vatican over allegations of inappropriate behavior stretching back 30 years.

"Cardinal O'Brien contests these claims and is taking legal advice," a spokesman for the cardinal said.

Three priests and a former priest, from a Scottish diocese, have complained to the Vatican and demanded O'Brien's immediate resignation, the newspaper said, adding that they wanted the conclave to choose Pope Benedict's successor to be "clean".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:08 AM

Cardinal O'Brien does not attend St Mary's Cathedral

SCOTLAND
ITV

by Debi Edward: ITV News Scotland Correspondent

Cardinal Keith O'Brien has not turned up to St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh.

An apology was given to the congregation saying he wouldn't be coming due to the allegations in a Sunday newspaper.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:04 AM

Accused Cardinal 'should' attend conclave

UNITED KINGDOM
Irish Times

Britain’s most senior Catholic cleric should be allowed to help choose the next Pope despite facing allegations of inappropriate behaviour, the former archbishop of Westminster said today.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor expressed sadness at the claims, which are denied, which have been made against Cardinal Keith O’Brien, leader of the Catholic church in Scotland.

Three priests and a former priest have complained to the Vatican about behaviour towards them going back 30 years, according to the Observer. They are reported to be demanding Cardinal O’Brien’s immediate resignation.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said: “I was obviously very sad to hear that.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 9:03 AM

Tucson a 'dumping ground' for abusive Calif. priests

ARIZONA
Arizona Daily Star

[Kevin Barmasse - Los Angeles archdiocese]

Stephanie Innes Arizona Daily Star

When a young Catholic priest in Los Angeles was accused of sexually molesting a 12-year-old boy in 1983, church officials did not remove him from ministry.

Instead, they sent him to Tucson.

Recently released court documents from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles show church officials allowed Kevin Barmasse to minister in Tucson for seven years after that original accusation.

Once in Tucson, Barmasse worked at three churches in Southern Arizona and was later accused of molesting five local teens who had been members of youth groups he led.

Those five teens, now men in their 40s, later filed lawsuits saying Barmasse abused them. They received a total of nearly $2 million apiece in settlement money from the Los Angeles archdiocese and the Tucson diocese. The settlements in Tucson were part of the local diocese's bankruptcy case.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:11 AM

Allegations made against NI born Cardinal

NORTHERN IRELAND
News Letter

By MICHAEL MCGLADE
Published on Sunday 24 February 2013

THE most senior Catholic cleric in Britain - Cardinal Keith O’Brien - who was born in Ballycastle - is facing allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

Three priests and a former priest in Scotland have reported Cardinal O’Brien, to the Vatican over allegations of inappropriate behaviour stretching back 30 years.

A report published in the Observer website claimed the four, from the diocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, have complained to nuncio Antonio Mennini, the Vatican’s ambassador to Britain, and demanded O’Brien’s immediate resignation. A spokesman for the cardinal said that the claims were contested.

One of the complainants, it is understood, alleges that the cardinal developed an inappropriate relationship with him, resulting in a need for long-term psychological counselling.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:07 AM

Cardinal: 'I'll fight claims from priests'

SCOTLAND
The Scottish Sun

By CAMERON HAY

SCOTLAND’S top Catholic was last night set to fight allegations made by four priests.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, 74, has been accused of “inappropriate behaviour” dating back more than 33 years.

It is understood that three serving and one former priest have made claims against the churchman in reports to the Vatican.

But last night a spokesman for the Edinburgh-based Cardinal said he will “contest” the claims.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:04 AM

Cardinal Keith O'Brien misses Sunday Mass after accusations

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric, has missed Sunday Mass after being accused of inappropriate behaviour.

The Observer said three priests and one former priest have made complaints going back 30 years against the 74-year-old cardinal, who is leader of the Scottish Catholic Church.

They demand his immediate resignation. ...

'Saddened'

He was due to take Mass in St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh to celebrate the eight years of Pope Benedict holding office.

But Bishop Stephen Robson, who is auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, made a statement at the cathedral.

He said: "A number of allegations of inappropriate behaviour have been made against the cardinal. The cardinal has sought legal advice and it would be inappropriate to comment at this time. There will be further statements in due course.

"As always in times of need such as this we cannot not be saddened by the events of the last 24 hours.

"It is to the Lord that we turn to now in times of need."

A spokesman for the Vatican said that "the Pope is informed about the problem and the question is now in his hands".

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 8:01 AM

Kindermisbruik kost Rooms-Katholieke Kerk 30 miljoen euro

NEDERLAND
NRC

door Joep Dohmen

Het schandaal rond het grootschalig kindermisbruik kost de Rooms-Katholieke Kerk in Nederland bijna 30 miljoen euro. Daarvan is 19,2 miljoen euro smartengeld voor de slachtoffers, blijkt uit onderzoek van NRC Handelsblad. De kosten van het klachtenmeldpunt en de commissie-Deetman, die de Kerk zelf moet betalen, bedragen 10,5 miljoen.

In het buitenland is de Kerk beduidend meer kwijt. Bisdommen en congregaties in de Verenigde Staten, Ierland, Canada en Australië betaalden bij elkaar 2 miljard euro aan smartengeld en kosten. Alleen al in Ierland zegden religieuze ordes in 2009 een half miljard euro toe.

Komende week is het drie jaar geleden dat het misbruikschandaal in Nederland uitbrak. Op 26 februari 2010 onthulden NRC Handelsblad en de Wereldomroep het jarenlange misbruik van leerlingen door de paters en broeders salesianen in internaat Don Rua in ’s-Heerenberg. Daarna volgde een vloed aan mediaberichten over kindermisbruik door kerkelijke dienaren.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:56 AM

Pope Addresses Crowd in Last Vatican Window Appearance

VATICAN CITY
Manila Bulletin

VATICAN CITY (AP/Reuters) — Pope Benedict XVI made his last St. Peter’s Square window appearance of his pontificate on Sunday.

Addressing the crowd, the pontiff said he was following God’s wishes by resigning and turning to a life of prayer.

Although facing a life of seclusion form the public, Pope Benedict said he will continue to serve the church with the “same dedication and love” after resigning.

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:54 AM

Iowa bishops say papal vacancy creating “energy” in Catholic Church

IOWA
Radio Iowa

February 23, 2013 By O. Kay Henderson

The state’s four Catholic bishops say interest in the election of a new pope is creating “energy” in their church.

“Maybe this is a bad analogy, but it’s almost like watching Britain and their monarchy,” Davenport Bishop Martin Amos said during a visit to the Iowa statehouse this past week. “Everybody gets excited about it and I think there’s a lot of excitement when it’s been so long that a pope retired.”

Bishop Richard Pates of the Des Moines Catholic Diocese said he’s experienced some of the energy first-hand as he’s talked with students in Catholic schools about the search for a new pope.

“Anytime you have a new beginning, it gives people a great deal of hope and, I think, creates curiosity for the church and where it’s going to go,” Pates said, “and personalities make a difference, obviously.”

Posted by Kathy Shaw at 7:51 AM

Catholic group petitions Mahony not to attend papal conclave

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

A Catholic organization has delivered a petition with thousands of signatures asking Cardinal Roger Mahony to recuse himself from th