Federal Judge: Catholic Church Has A Constitutional Right…

WISCONSIN
Think Progress

Federal Judge: Catholic Church Has A Constitutional Right Not To Compensate Victims Of Sex Abuse

BY IAN MILLHISER ON JULY 31, 2013

A federal judge in Wisconsin handed down an opinion yesterday granting the Catholic Church — and indeed, potentially all religious institutions — such sweeping immunity from federal bankruptcy law that it is not clear that it would permit any plaintiff to successfully sue any church in any court. While the ostensible issue in this case is whether over $50 million in church funds are shielded from a bankruptcy proceeding triggered largely by a flood of clerical sex abuse claims against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Judge Rudolph Randa reads the church’s constitutional and legal right to religious liberty so broadly as to render religious institutions immune from much of the law.

The case involves approximately $57 million that former Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan transferred from the archdiocese’s general accounts to into a separate trust set up to maintain the church’s cemeteries. Although Dolan, who is now a cardinal, the Archbishop of New York and the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has denied that the purpose of this transfer was to shield the funds from lawsuits, Dolan penned a letter to the Vatican in 2007 where he explained that transferring the funds into the trust would lead to “an improved protection of these funds from any legal claim and liability.”

The issue facing the court is, essentially, whether the funds that Dolan split off into a separate trust can now be reabsorbed into the archdiocese’s assets in order to enable sex abuse victims and other creditors to be paid out of these assets. In holding that these funds cannot be so absorbed, Randa relies on a law that limits the federal government’s ability to “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion,” Randa cites to the current Archbishop of Milwaukee’s statement that “the care and maintenance of Catholic cemeteries, cemetery property, and the remains of those interred is a fundamental exercise of the Catholic faith,” and concludes that this statement alone is enough to shield the church’s funds. As Randa explains, “if the Trust’s funds are converted into the bankruptcy estate, there will be no funds or, at best, insufficient funds for the perpetual care of the Milwaukee Catholic Cemeteries.”

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Bishop: Pope was `on a high’ during gay remarks

UNITED STATES
CNN

By Daniel Burke, CNN

(CNN) – The nation’s leading Roman Catholic archbishop said Wednesday that Pope Francis was “on a high” from his first international trip as pontiff when he said “Who am I to judge?” gays and lesbians.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who traveled last week to Brazil with the pope for World Youth Day, said the massive turnout – estimates ran as high as 3 million – and ecstatic crowds likely gave Francis hope that he would “revive the church on his home continent of Latin America.”

Francis was the archbishop of Buenos Aires in Argentina from 1998 until his papal election in March.

“The pope was visibly `on a high’ from his first international pastoral visit in Rio,” Dolan said. “Understandably so. Because I was there with him, I can verify that the superlatives being used — `oceanic’ crowds, `frenzied’ welcomes, `inspirational, heartfelt’ words — are not exaggerations at all.”

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Religious Orders Released Files

CALIFORNIA
Law Offices of Raymond Boucher

U.S Province of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Inc. and Oblate Fathers Western Province, Inc.

Fr. Robert Koerner

Fr. Ruben Martinez

Fr. Joseph Murphy

Fr. Emmett Schaller

Benedictine Fathers of Sacred Heart Mission, Inc. aka St. Gregory’s Abbey

Fr. Mathias Faue

Marianist Province of the United States

Fr. Joseph DiPiri

Fr. Charles Fatooh

Fr. James McGloin

Fr. Bernard Plieman

Fr. Thomas Havel

Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus aka The Cabrini Sisters

Sister Agnes Santomassimo

Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet

Sister Mary Joseph

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Files of 12 child molesting LA clerics released

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

[the files – Law Offices of Raymond Boucher]

POSTED BY JOELLE CASTEIX ON JULY 31, 2013

Five Catholic religious orders have released, as part of a settlement, files regarding 12 proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesting clerics (two nuns and ten priests). (Individual names are below.)

This is not a voluntary move. It’s happening only because brave survivors insisted on it happening. So it’s misleading for anyone to say or claim that church officials are “releasing” this information. It’s been pried from them, following years – sometimes decades – of irresponsible secrecy and deceit.

We hope this long-overdue disclosure will prod every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups by religious order clerics to step forward. And they should step forward to law enforcement officials, not church officials.

The LA Times reports that “the files have little or no reference to abuse allegations…suggesting the orders were either unaware of molestation claims or opted not to document them.” There are two other likely scenarios: Catholic officials destroyed or are still not turning over records about child molesting clerics.

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TAKE ACTION: Force the Orders Who Ran the Magdalen Laundries to Pay Compensation.

IRELAND
Care 2

They have refused to make payment of compensation, leaving this to the Irish Government but it was they who exploited the women, they who ran the laundries and they who should pay for the abuse they committed.

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Los Angeles Catholic Church Sex Abuse Files Released Including Files On Ruben Martinez Who Abused 100 Boys

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Huffington Post

[Ruben Martinez]

[the files – Law Offices of Raymond Boucher]

By GILLIAN FLACCUS 07/31/13

LOS ANGELES — Hundreds of pages of secret church files released Wednesday shed light on the troublesome careers of a dozen religious order priests, brothers and nuns accused of sexually abusing children while working in the nation’s largest Roman Catholic archdiocese.

The files include one case of a priest who later admitted to having sexual contact with more than 100 boys while serving in several Southern California parishes for years.

The papers, which were released under the terms of a $660 million settlement agreement reached in 2007, are the first glimpse at what religious orders knew about the envoys they posted in Roman Catholic schools and parishes around the Los Angeles area. The archdiocese itself released thousands of pages under court order this year for its own priests who were accused of sexual abuse, but the full picture of sex abuse in Los Angeles remained elusive without the religious orders’ records.

Several dozen more files are expected to be released by the fall.

The files cover five different religious orders that employed 10 priests or religious brothers and two nuns who were all accused in civil lawsuits of molesting children while working within the Los Angeles archdiocese. Among them, the accused had 21 alleged victims who alleged abuse between the 1950s and the 1980s.

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Vatican Bank launches its first official website

VATICAN CITY
Rome Reports

[with video]

July 31, 2013. (Romereports.com) For the first time ever, the Vatican Bank, or IOR, has launched its official website, available at www.ior.va

The website’s launch comes as a consequence of the new transparency policy prompted by Pope Francis himself, who wants the bank to carry out its activities in the clearest possible way.

Even though the website is still extremely simple in its structure, however it contains useful information about the IOR’s governance, the services it offers and a list of contacts. Another useful section is the ‘media’ page, in which various links and documents, but also recent press releases can be found.

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Survivors had choice of cops or cash: inquiry

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

By IAN KIRKWOOD Aug. 1, 2013

SURVIVORS of child sexual abuse by priests were only offered “healing” – including a financial settlement – if they signed a statement saying they were not going to the police, the Special Commission of Inquiry has heard.

Helen Keevers, a founding manager until 2009 of sex abuse survivors’ centre Zimmerman House, said this was her understanding of the Church’s practices when she began helping Bishop Michael Malone after the Jim Fletcher case in 2003.

Ms Keevers said there was little chance for her to look at historical files of child sexual abuse because her unit was “inundated” with complaints about existing priests.

She said complaints were laid against seven priests of the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese, with four individuals subsequently convicted.

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Secret files from religious orders add to sex abuse picture in Los Angeles archdiocese

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Calgary Herald

[the files – Law Offices of Raymond Boucher]

BY GILLIAN FLACCUS, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS JULY 31, 2013

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Hundreds of pages of secret church files released Wednesday expose the troublesome careers of a dozen religious order priests, brothers and nuns accused of sexually abusing children while working in the largest Roman Catholic archdiocese in the U.S.

The files include one case of a priest who admitted to having sexual contact with more than 100 boys while serving in several California parishes for years.

The papers, released under the terms of a $660 million settlement agreement reached in 2007, are the first glimpse at what religious orders knew about the envoys they posted in Roman Catholic schools and parishes around the Los Angeles area.

The files cover five different religious orders that employed 10 priests or religious brothers and two nuns who were all accused in civil lawsuits of molesting children while working within the Los Angeles archdiocese. Among them, the accused had 21 alleged victims who complained of abuse between the 1950s and the 1980s.

The files include more than 500 pages on a priest named Ruben Martinez who belonged to a religious order called the U.S. Province of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, a nearly 200-year-old Catholic organization with roots in France. The Los Angeles archdiocese settled eight lawsuits over Martinez’s actions in 2007.

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Religious order files reveal decades of LA abuse

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Yahoo! News

[the files – Law Offices of Raymond Boucher]

GILLIAN FLACCUS

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hundreds of pages of secret church files released Wednesday shed light on the troublesome careers of a dozen religious order priests, brothers and nuns accused of sexually abusing children while working in the nation’s largest Roman Catholic archdiocese.

The files include one case of a priest who admitted to having sexual contact with more than 100 boys while serving in several Southern California parishes for years.

The papers, which were released under the terms of a $660 million settlement agreement reached in 2007, are the first glimpse at what religious orders knew about the envoys they posted in Roman Catholic schools and parishes around the Los Angeles area. The archdiocese itself released thousands of pages under court order this year that covered its own priests who were accused of sexual abuse, but the full picture of sex abuse in the nation’s largest archdiocese remained elusive without the religious orders’ records.

The files cover five different religious orders that employed 10 priests or religious brothers and two nuns who were all accused in civil lawsuits of molesting children while working within the Los Angeles archdiocese. Among them, the accused had 21 alleged victims who alleged abuse between the 1950s and the 1980s.

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Five Catholic religious orders release files on L.A. clergy abuse

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

[the files – Law Offices of Raymond Boucher]

By Victoria Kim and Harriet Ryan
July 31, 2013

Confidential personnel records from five Catholic religious orders were turned over to victims of sexual abuse Wednesday in the first wave of a court-ordered public disclosure expected to shed light on the role the groups, operating independently of the L.A. Archdiocese, played in the region’s clergy molestation scandal.

The documents pertain to a dozen priests, brothers and nuns accused of sexual misconduct in the landmark 2007 settlement with hundreds of people who filed abuse claims against the Roman Catholic church in Los Angeles. An additional 45 religious orders will release the personnel files of their accused clergy by this fall, completing what is believed to be the fullest accounting yet of the abuse crisis anywhere in the Catholic church.

The 1,700 pages released by the religious orders differ markedly from those disclosed in January by the Los Angeles Archdiocese to comply with the terms of its settlement with all victims abused within its three-county jurisdiction. The archdiocese handed over materials reflecting Cardinal Roger M. Mahony’s meticulous record-keeping of molestation claims and treatment of accused offenders.

By contrast, the order files are a hodgepodge of seminary report cards, vacation requests, baptismal certificates and breezy dispatches in which priests update their higher-ups on parish projects. For the most part, the files have little or no reference to abuse allegations that surfaced in lawsuits a decade ago, suggesting the orders were either unaware of molestation claims or opted not to document them.

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Catholic Church Reformer On U.S Tour Stops In San Diego

SAN DIEGO (CA)
KPBS

By Marissa Cabrera, Maureen Cavanaugh

Observers are declaring Pope Francis’ first overseas trip as Pontiff a great success.

He wrapped up his tour of Brazil, the world’s largest Roman Catholic country, on Sunday with an outdoor mass that drew 3 million people.

It’s his comments in an impromptu news conference Monday that have also impressed some Catholics. Pope Francis said “who am I to judge gay people” and added that gays shouldn’t be marginalized.

These statements may be good news to people who are working for institutional change within the Catholic church.

One such person, an Austrian priest, is currently touring America in an effort to bring reform within the Catholic Church to a tipping point.

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Roberto Francisco Daniel, Brazilian Priest Excommunicated…

ARGENTINA
International Business Times

Roberto Francisco Daniel, Brazilian Priest Excommunicated For Defending Homosexuality, Wants Justice After Pope Francis Speaks Out Favor Of The LGBT Community

By Patricia Rey Mallén
on July 31 2013

Pope Francis’ first visit to Latin America has sparked all sorts of comments and headlines, some praising the Holy Father on his approachability, and others remarking his unorthodox take on leading the Catholic Church. One of the most talked-about bits of the Pope’s visit to Brazil was his statement on the gay community — which was very much unlike his predecessor’s position.

“If somebody is gay and looks for God, who am I to judge them?” he said in an unusually frank press conference on the plane back to Rome.

The unprecedented move has prompted Roberto Francisco Daniel, a former priest in Brazil, to seek justice. Daniel, who used to serve in the Bauru diocese in São Paulo, was excommunicated in April for publicly defending gays and criticizing the church’s attitude towards them.

“They treated me as if I were a teenager. I was publicly exposed. I didn’t even have the right to a trial,” he said to local newspaper Folha de São Paulo. He pointed out that his issue is not with the Catholic Church, but with his diocese.

Daniel never wanted to take back his comments, and went so far as to write them up in his book “Verdades Proibidas” (Forbidden Truths), in which he shed light into many of the controversial issues surrounding the Catholic Church. Brazil, with 126 million faithful, is the country with the biggest Catholic population in the world.

Daniel is now taking the new statements from Pope Francis as a sign that the Church is changing its views towards the LGBT community and hoping it will be the proof that he was mistreated by his diocese.

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St. Paul priest who fathered child is suspended, fellow cleric says

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By Emily Gurnon
egurnon@pioneerpress.com
POSTED: 07/31/2013

The Rev. Daniel Conlin, a St. Paul priest who fathered a child with a married woman, has been suspended from “his faculties as a priest” by the archdiocese, according to a fellow cleric.

“It is with personal and fraternal sadness that I write to you about the recent events concerning Father Daniel Conlin,” Rev. Charles Lachowitzer, pastor at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Eagan, said in a letter Monday to parishioners and staff.

“His faculties as a priest have been temporarily suspended and for the time being, he is no longer able to exercise his public ministry,” said the letter, posted on the church website.

Conlin, 51, did not immediately respond to a message left for him.

The Pioneer Press reported July 21 about Conlin’s affair, his continued involvement with the child’s family, the response by the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and the reaction of Conlin’s former parishioners.

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When does our hope for Francis become denial?

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Jamie Manson | Jul. 31, 2013 Grace on the Margins

Full disclosure: I do not feel excited or hopeful about what Pope Francis said about women and gay priests during his epic press conference on the way home to Rome.

Now, wait. Before you click me off as a hater or an incorrigible pessimist or an angry feminist lesbian or another choice label, please understand this: I don’t dislike Pope Francis.

I think he has an authentic warmth. I appreciate his desire to be among the people. I laugh at some of his jokes, and there are themes in his sermons that genuinely move me. I share his desire to break down clericalism and the injustices of capitalism, and I believe wholeheartedly in his vision of ecological justice.

More substantively than even all of this, I share with him a deep passion for the poor and marginalized. Like Francis, I, too, have my most vivid encounters with Jesus among those who are homeless, mentally ill, incarcerated or suffering with addictions.

But Francis and I part ways on the topics of women’s equality and the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in the church. The pope’s statements on the plane only reinforced the depth of my disagreement with him.

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Book Shows How a Revered Youth Group let Molesters Thrive

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

How does a pedophile join a youth group, molest kids despite warning signs and get everyone to keep quiet after he’s caught? Those questions are more are answered in the first book to examine how child molesters found success in one of America’s most revered youth organizations.

At a time of nonstop sex abuse scandals in churches, schools, youth groups and sports leagues, Scout’s Honor examines the phenomenon of institutional sex abuse through one group: the Boy Scouts of America. The book’s mission: Explore how good people inadvertently enable child molesters at the expense of children.

To find the answer, a veteran journalist reaches back to the beginning of Scouting more than 100 years ago; combs through nearly 2,000 of the BSA’s “Confidential Files” on molesters, and thousands of documents from court files and historical archives; and talks with molesters, victims, parents, Scout officials, investigators and child abuse experts.

But Scout’s Honor is also a personal story. It delves into the life one on of Scouting’s most notorious sex offenders – tracing his struggles as a child victim, a gifted young man with a horrendous addiction, a patient crying to be cured, and a prisoner racked by guilt.

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German seminary students expelled over anti-Semitic jokes

GERMANY
Expatica

Two Roman Catholic seminary students have been expelled for making anti-Semitic and racist jokes and attending a concert by a band accused of far-right ties, German bishops said Wednesday.

The decision came after an independent probe ordered by the German Church, which found wrongdoing by the students, who were not identified, but no evidence of a “right-wing extremist network” at the priest training college.

The bishops of the southern cities of Bamberg and Wuerzburg, Ludwig Schick and Friedhelm Hofmann, made the announcement in the wake of a scandal dating from May that was deeply embarrassing to the Church.

The report lists in detail incidents directly involving three students in a class at the Wuerzburg seminary, whose graduates go on to serve as priests in Wuerzburg and Bamberg.

“One student told at least three concentration camp jokes for fun,” they said in a statement, based on the findings of a three-member external commission.

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Brooklyn bishop named to lead Bridgeport Diocese

CONNECTICUT
Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Brooklyn Daily Eagle & Associated Press

The new bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport calls his new job “an awesome and exciting ministry” and is pledging to listen and learn about the needs of the diocese and collaborate with others.

The Most Rev. Frank Caggiano, an auxiliary bishop in Brooklyn, New York, will take over a post left vacant since the departure of Bishop William Lori, who was named Archbishop of Baltimore in March 2012.

The 54-year-old Caggiano praised Lori’s handling of the sex abuse crisis and says all bishops have the same commitment to protect children but it takes time to rebuild trust.

Caggiano, who was ordained a priest in 1987 for the Diocese of Brooklyn, has served in a number of pastoral and administrative positions. He has been both a pastor and also responsible for the formation of men for the permanent diaconate. Since 2006, Caggiano has served as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia.

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Pope Francis Hand Picks New Diocese Of Bridgeport Bishop

CONNECTICUT
CBS New York

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) – The new bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport calls his new job “an awesome and exciting ministry” and is pledging to listen and learn about the needs of the diocese and collaborate with others.

Rev. Frank Caggiano, an auxiliary bishop in Brooklyn, will take over a post left vacant since the departure of Bishop William Lori, who was named Archbishop of Baltimore in March 2012.

Bishop Caggiano made a point of saying he’s eager to learn of all the good work done by the diocese since the taint of child sex abuse committed by priests decades ago still lingers.

The 54-year-old Caggiano praised Lori’s handling of the sex abuse crisis and says all bishops have the same commitment to protect children but it takes time to rebuild trust.

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NY- Dolan wins re: millions of dollars; SNAP responds

WISCONSIN/NEW YORK
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, July 31

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

Cardinal Dolan and his colleagues have done what thousands of accused predator priests have done – exploiting legal technicalities instead of relying on the merits in cases involving child sex abuse and cover up.

And Dolan has just won.

Dolan acted legally, a Wisconsin judge says, when he quietly transferred $57 million into a cemetery fund as clergy sex abuse victims began suing.

That doesn’t mean, however, that Dolan acted morally. We believe he did not.

There are ways to fight. Some fight fair. Some fight dirty. In this case, Dolan fought dirty. Sadly, he prevailed. And this decision will encourage other church officials to act irresponsibly in the future.

The losers are not just child sex abuse victims. All Wisconsin Catholics have lost here. A judge is telling them “You have no recourse. Your bishop can misuse your donations. And no judge can stop him.”

Had a judge used Sharia law to rule on behalf of a Muslim official accused of hiding funds, there would be an uproar. But that’s basically what’s happened here. This Wisconsin judge has essentially said that internal church or ‘canon’ law trumps secular law. And for that reason, Catholic bishops get to spend their wealth in any way they like, without ever having to be held responsible – or even be questioned – by anyone.

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Judge rules in favour of Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE (WI)
The Tablet (UK)

31 July 2013

A federal judge has ruled that the US archdiocese of Milwaukee, which has filed for bankruptcy, cannot be forced to dip into a US$50 million trust fund it set up for the care of cemeteries in 2007 to pay for sex abuse claims.

Creditors of the archdiocese accused Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who was then the diocese’s archbishop, of creating the fund to protect the archdiocese’s money from abuse payouts. Judge Rudolph Randa yesterday said the archdiocese had a duty under canon law to use cemetery funds for their stated purpose.

Milwaukee cemeteries cover nearly 1,000 acres of land, in which more than 500,000 people are buried.

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Former LCWR leader: Pope should open door to women priests

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Joshua J. McElwee | Jul. 31, 2013 NCR Today

A key former leader of U.S. Catholic sisters said Pope Francis should reconsider the Catholic church’s ban on women priests, likening the male-only priesthood to “a form of inequality which is a form of idolatry.”

Commenting to NCR on Francis’ remarks on the papal plane Monday that the late Pope John Paul II had “definitively … closed the door” to Catholic women priests, Mercy Sr. Theresa Kane said Francis has a chance to “begin a whole new movement and a whole new philosophy.”

“John Paul II was definitive, but John Paul II is dead,” said Kane. “You don’t just bury it because John Paul II said it. I wonder what [Francis’] own feeling is.”

Kane served as president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in 1979-80. During that time she made headlines across the world when she welcomed Pope John Paul II on his first visit to the United States in 1979 and pointedly asked him about the possibility of ordaining women to the priesthood.

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IOR launches website

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) On Wednesday the Institute for Religious Works – otherwise know by the acronym of its Italian title, IOR – launched its website: www.ior.va.

In an interview with Vatican Radio’s Bernd Hagenkord, IOR president Ernst von Freyberg spoke about the objectives of this new website.

“In May we said we would focus over the coming months on transparency and on the Moneyval process, that is the anti-money laundering obligations which the Vatican has accepted in the EU reparative framework.”

“It is an important part of transparency to launch a website,” he said, explaining that its purpose “is to tell our customers, the Church, the interested public, what we are doing, how our reform efforts are progressing, and what the scope of our work is.”

Von Feyberg said that he and all employees have worked hard in recent weeks “to have the IOR as transparent, efficient, completely compliant institute following the highest regulatory and professional standards.”

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Vatican bank launches Internet site to publish balance sheet

VATICAN CITY
Gazetta del Sud

(updates previous with more quotes) Vatican City, July 31 – The Vatican bank, formally known as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), has launched a new Internet site where it will publish its annual balance sheet, the head of the Vatican Bank, Ernst von Freyberg, told Vatican Radio Wednesday. “Our task is to run IOR in a way that it can respond to international norms, that it is a clean institute and one of service,” von Freyberg said. The bank’s head also said that new measures were aimed at giving Pope Francis “an option to decide the right formula for IOR”.

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Court says jailed prelate shows ‘criminal behavior’

ROME
Gazzetta del Sud

Rome, July 31 – A court in Rome said that a Vatican prelate, a former Italian spy and a financial broker – each jailed for allegedly trying to smuggle 20 million euros into Italy – displayed “marked criminal behavior” and “common ruthlessness” in its assessment Wednesday of a decision not to release them. Giovanni Maria Zito, a recently transferred agent in the AISI domestic intelligence agency, financial broker Giovanni Carenzio and Monsignor Nunzio Scarano were detained June 28 in a probe over allegations they conspired to try to secretly repatriate the cash from Switzerland, allegedly the fruit of tax evasion by a family close to the prelate. A judge rejected their request earlier this month to move to house arrest. In its assessment of that decision, the court said the three showed the tendency to “manage people, institutions and things for their own personal gain”.

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Vatican bank launches a website

VATICAN CITY
The Guardian (UK)

Lizzy Davies in Rome
theguardian.com, Wednesday 31 July 2013

It may seem a small step, but for an institution that has long clothed itself in secrecy it is billed as a giant leap. The Vatican bank has unveiled its own website.

As it battles internal strife, external criticism and existential threat, the establishment officially known as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR) says it hopes the new portal will boost transparency and improve its dialogue with customers and the public.

Visitors to the site can read about the bank’s 71-year history, how many customers it has (18,900, as of last year), its employees (114), and its net profit for 2012, listed as €86.6m (£75.6m).

Opening hours and governance structure are also detailed, including the role of Monsignor Battista Ricca, the prelate chosen by Pope Francis to observe reforms, and around whom allegations of scandal brewed earlier this month.

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Vatican bank opens website in transparency drive

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

ROME, July 31 | Wed Jul 31, 2013

(Reuters) – The Vatican bank opened its web site www.ior.va on Wednesday as it steps up efforts to improve its tarnished image after a succession of scandals and repeated criticisms of its lack of transparency.

Bank President Ernst von Freyberg told Vatican Radio the site would publish an annual report – the first time the bank has published accounts – and would provide information “on our reforms and the things we do in the world and how we support the Church and its mission and charitable works”.

The bank, formally known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), has been the target of several investigations by Italian magistrates, and European anti-money laundering committee Moneyval said last year it fell short of international transparency standards.

Pope Francis has appointed a special commission to provide proposals for the future of the IOR.

He said this week the bank must become “honest and transparent” and that he would listen to the advice of a commission on whether it can be reformed or needs to be shut down altogether.

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Bridgeport Diocese Has New Bishop: Frank J. Caggiano Of Brooklyn

CONNECTICUT
The Hartford Courant

By BERNARD T. DAVIDOW, bdavidow@courant.com
The Hartford Courant
10:42 a.m. EDT, July 31, 2013

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport finally has a new bishop: Auxiliary Bishop Frank J. Caggiano, 53, of Brooklyn.

He replaces William E. Lori, who left to become archbishop in Baltimore in May 2012.

The diocese has scheduled a 10:30 a.m. press conference at the Catholic Center in Bridgeport to introduce Caggiano.

His Installation Mass is scheduled for Sept. 19, the Hartford Archdiocese said in a press release.

The pope announced Caggiano’s appointment at 6 a.m.

Hartford Archbishop Henry J. Mansell issued a statement welcoming the news.

“With deep appreciation and elation we thank our Holy Father Pope Francis for his appointment of Bishop Frank J. Caggiano as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport (Fairfield County). Bishop Caggiano has established a distinguished record of achievement over the years since his ordination as a priest in 1987 in Brooklyn, New York, and his ordination as an Auxiliary Bishop in Brooklyn in 2006,” Mansell said in a written statement.

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Oklahoma Pastor Accused of Raping Teen Relative at Church Re-Arrested

OKLAHOMA
Christian Post

By Nicola Menzie , Christian Post Reporter
July 31, 2013

An Oklahoma pastor listed as the owner of a child care and learning center has been arrested a second time in relation to allegations that he raped and impregnated a 15-year-old female relative. The alleged sexual assaults occurred numerous times over the last year, including at the pastor’s church, home, in a park, and a hotel, according to a police report.

Gregory Ivan Hawkins, 54, is the pastor of Zion Plaza Church in Tulsa, Okla., and has found himself behind bars again after posting a $50,000 bond in June when the allegations were initially made. Hawkins was reportedly re-arrested last week on charges of four counts of lewd molestation and two counts of rape. His bond has been set at $250,000.

The teen, who was 14 when the abuse started, informed police that Hawkins allegedly began molesting her in April 2012 with the latest time of contact being in January 2013. Investigators have said that the young girl provided recorded phone calls, in which Hawkins admits to having sexual intercourse with the girl because he thought she was “very sexy, attractive and beautiful,” and apologizes several times. There were reportedly also text message exchanges between Hawkins and the girl that support her claim.

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CT- Victims react to new Bridgeport bishop

CONNECTICUT
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: July 31, 2013

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

We see no evidence that Bridgeport’s new bishop has shown any real courage or compassion in the church’s on-going clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis. The crisis has hit the Brooklyn diocese hard – it has 53 proven, admitted and credibly accused priests. We see no indication that during his 25 years in Brooklyn he took any steps that were any different from any Catholic priest anywhere. So we are not encouraged by his promotion.

In Bridgeport, there are 34 proven, admitted and credibly accused priests. Many of them are still alive, few of them are incarcerated, and most are likely living among unsuspecting neighbors. Alerting the public about the whereabouts of these potentially dangerous men should be Caggiano’s first act as Bridgeport’s bishop. Then, he should post their names, photos and whereabouts on the diocesan website and in parish bulletins.

Bridgeport parishioners have endured years of poor leadership. Complacency won’t reverse this. Connecticut Catholics must be vigilant and skeptical. Complacency protects no one. Vigilance is crucial.

Many will be inclined to give Bishop Caggiano the benefit of the doubt. That’s reckless. He’s been a priest for decades, during a crucial time in the church. But he seems to have done little or nothing to distinguish himself from a largely callous, timid and deceptive church hierarchy.

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Former gay-priest in Argentina asks Pope to renew the Church’s moral teaching on sexuality

ARGENTINA
Vatican Insider

The Pope’s remarks about gays to reporters on the plane from Rio has triggered discussion worldwide, and led a former gay priest to write to him

GERARD O’CONNELL
ROME

Pope Francis’ remarks on gays, when he spoke to reporters on the plane returning from Rio, have sparked considerable discussion worldwide, and have been welcomed by many in the homosexual and lesbian community.

One member of that community, a former gay-priest from Mendoza, Argentina, Andres Gioeni, has written a letter to the pontiff urging him to “deepen the opening and renew the Church’s moral teaching on sexuality”.

He did so after hearing Pope Francis say, “If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem … they are our brothers.”

Gioeni told La Nacion, the Argentinean daily paper that Francis reads: “I wrote to him because I believe there is a ray of hope in the response that he gave about not judging gays. I see humility and an opening in him”.

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NSW Enquiry Rolls On (Or: The Money or the Cops)

AUSTRALIA
lewisblayse.net

The interesting evidence today at the NSW government enquiry into alleged cover-ups of child sexual abuse by members of the clergy in the Catholic Church’s Newcastle-Maitland diocese was given by Helen Keevers. She was head of the diocese’s child protection unit set up after the conviction of local paedophile priest Fr. Fletcher (see previous posting) in 2005.

Ms. Keevers was a church employee, as a social worker and non-Catholic, from 1978 to 2009. In her evidence, she was largely very supportive of the integrity of her former boss, Bishop Michael Malone (see previous posting). However, she did refer to Malone’s “inappropriate decision-making during the Fr. Fletcher matter.”

She was given access to confidential internal files on priests. She confirmed a previous witness’ claim that they were called the “bad priest files” (see yesterday’s posting), but thought this was “not particularly respectful.” When she began “digging in the files” she found “much more information and further evidence” against other priests. She described the McAlinden files as being 3-4 inches thick.

Ms. Keevers noted that: “On two occasions, I was denied access” to documents concerning the Central Clergy Fund. This file could have been interesting, and should be looked at again under the Royal Commission.

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Thanks for nothing, Pope Francis

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Sadhbh Walshe
theguardian.com, Wednesday 31 July 2013

It’s hard not to be fascinated by the Catholic church’s relatively new Pope Francis. From his opening act washing the feet of Muslim women prisoners (three no-no’s in one) to urging young Catholics to break out of their “spiritual cages” and “make a mess” in their diocese, to his casual chat this week with reporters on the plane back from his triumphant trip to Brazil, this pope has demonstrated a charming willingness to shake up the conservative institution and to make it a more open and accepting place.

When it comes to making the church a more equal institution, however, where roughly half the population (that is women) are not actively discriminated against, Pope Francis is sadly proving to be as traditional and conservative as the best of them.

The big takeaway from the plane chat, or at least the big media takeaway, was the pope’s acknowledgement that gay priests exist and that they have as much right to their affinity with God as their heterosexual counterparts. When asked about the so called “gay lobby” within the Vatican, the pope replied:

When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized.

Considering that his predecessor, Pope Benedict, declared in 2005 that men who had deep rooted homosexual tendencies should not be priests, the new pope’s words can at the very least be viewed as a step towards cementing gay men’s rights to equal status and treatment by the church, including their right to be ordained. This step in the right direction would be easier to applaud, however, if it had not been followed by two steps backwards on the rights of women, straight or gay, to ever having a chance to enjoy the same equal treatment.

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New York bishop named to lead Bridgeport Diocese

CONNECTICUT
Albany Times Union

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — A bishop from New York has been named to lead the Roman Catholic diocese in Bridgeport.

Rev. Frank Caggiano, an auxiliary bishop in Brooklyn, takes over a post left vacant since the departure of Bishop William Lori, who was named Archbishop of Baltimore in March 2012.

Caggiano was ordained as priest in Brooklyn in 1987 and has served in a number of positions in that diocese, including Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia.

A news conference was scheduled Wednesday morning at Bridgeport’s Catholic Center.

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New bishop named for Bridgeport diocese

CONNECTICUT
CT Post

Frank Juliano
Updated 9:30 am, Wednesday, July 31, 2013

BRIDGEPORT — An auxiliary bishop in Brooklyn, N.Y. has been named as the new spiritual leader of the Diocese of Bridgeport.

Pope Francis announced the appointment of the Most Rev. Frank J Caggiano, 53, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn, as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport.

Bishop Caggiano succeeds The Most Rev. William E. Lori, who was named Archbishop of Baltimore in March 2012.

The Installation Mass for Bishop Caggiano will take place on Thursday, September 19. He will become in fifth bishop of the Bridgeport Diocese that was founded in 1953.

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The Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano is named Bishop of Bridgeport

BRIDGEPORT (CT)
Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport

For live streaming of this Press Conference click here
Press Conference this Morning, Wednesday July 31, 10:30am at the Catholic Center, 238 Jewett Avenue, Bridgeport

July 31, 2013

At 12:00 noon, Vatican City Time on Wednesday July 31, 2013, (6:00am EST) his Holiness Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome, announced the appointment of The Most Reverend Frank J Caggiano, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn, as the Fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport. Bishop Caggiano succeeds The Most Rev. William E. Lori, who was named Archbishop of Baltimore in March 2012. No date has been announced for the installation of Bishop Caggiano, 53, a native of Brooklyn. Until the installation of Bishop Caggiano, Monsignor Jerald A. Doyle will continue to serve as administrator of the Diocese, a post he had held since May, 2012. “The Diocese of Bridgeport welcomes the news of Bishop Caggiano’s appointment. The Holy Father has blessed us with a priest, pastor and teacher with extensive experience at every level of diocesan ministries. Most importantly, he is a man of deep faith, love for the Church and commitment to the Gospel. On behalf of the Clergy, Religious and Laity, we welcome him with open arms and with our prayers that God will bless him as the Shepherd of our diocese,” said Msgr. Doyle.

Biography of Auxiliary Bishop Frank J. Caggiano

On June 6, 2006, the Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn and Titular Bishop of Inis Cathaig by Pope Benedict XVI. He received his episcopal consecration on the following August 22 from Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, with Bishops Thomas Daily and Ignatius Catanello serving as co-consecrators.

He was born in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn on Easter Sunday March 29, 1959, the second of two children of Arnaldo and Gennarina Caggiano, both of whom came to this country in 1958 from the town of Caggiano in the province of Salerno, Italy.

He grew up in Saints Simon and Jude Church and attended the parish’s grammar school. The bishop’s education continued at Regis High School in Manhattan, conducted by the Jesuits, where he was a member of the class of 1977.

Bishop Caggiano entered Yale University in September, 1977, as a political science major. After further discernment, he transferred into Cathedral College of the Immaculate Conception in January, 1978. He graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy in June, 1991.

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OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 31 July 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father:

– accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Ljubljana, Slovenia, presented by Archbishop Anton Stres, C.M., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

– accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Maribor, Slovenia, presented by Archbishop Marjan Turnsek, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

– appointed Bishop Frank Joseph Caggiano as bishop of Bridgeport (area 1,621, population 955,000, Catholics 479,000, priests 272, permanent deacons 103, religious 362), U.S.A. Bishop Caggiano, previously auxiliary of Brooklyn, U.S.A., was born in Brooklyn, U.S.A. in 1959, was ordained to the priesthood in 1987, and received episcopal ordination in 2006.

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After Pope’s statement, priest excommunicated for defending gays heads to court

BRAZIL
Folha

CRISTINA CAMARGO

Driven by Pope Francis’ remarks in Brazil last week about homosexuals, former Brazilian priest Father Beto, excommunicated this April after statements in support of gays, has decided to go to court to try to void his exclusion from the Catholic Church. Roberto Francisco Daniel, 48, known as Father Beto, hired lawyers and filed a restraining order on Monday against the Diocese of Bauru (329 km or 204 miles) from Sao Paulo).

He questions the manner in which he was expelled from the church by a court in which, according to him, he attended without knowing what was going on and without any rights to counsel. “I was treated like an adolescent. I have been publically ousted,” he says. “This lawsuit is also for every Brazilian that understands that no institution can do this to a person.”

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GAY PRIEST ADDRESSES POPE’S AND CARDINAL DOLAN’S REMARKS ON GAYS

UNITED STATES
Towleroad

BY RJ AGUIAR

Pope Francis made remarks about gay priests and gay Catholics that generated a great deal of publicity on Monday. New York cardinal and archbishop Timothy Dolan subsequently made comments the following day that, according to some, attempted to backtrack on the Pope’s message of tolerance and peace. It’s not often that you find someone with a vested interest in both Catholicism and LGBT rights. Fortunately, HuffPost Gay Voices managed to find Father Gary Meier, an openly gay priest and author of the book Hidden Voices: Reflections of a Gay, Catholic Priest, and asked for his thoughts on the two potentially-conflicting messages spouted by both the Pope and Cardinal Dolan.

“I’m not the only gay priest,” Meier began. “In fact, there are lots of gay priests in the clergy and in the Catholic church today.” He went on then to explain that the Pope’s original comments could potentially aid those gay members of the clergy who live life in fear of being exposed to their colleagues and congregations.

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Pedophile priest faces $3.1 million lawsuit

CANADA
Ottawa Citizen

BY CHLOÉ FEDIO, OTTAWA CITIZEN JULY 30, 2013

OTTAWA — An 82-year-old pedophile priest is facing a $3.1-million lawsuit from the former Ottawa student he admitted to sexually abusing in 1974.

Now 55, the man who was molested in his sleep as a 16-year-old by Kenneth O’Keefe is also suing the Ottawa Catholic School Board and two other religious organizations associated with the priest for alleged inaction on the sexual abuse.

O’Keefe was a teacher, guidance counsellor and teacher at St. Pius X High School — what the man considered to be “the ultimate ecclesiastical and educational authority” when he was in Grade 11, according to a statement of claim filed in April.

When the teen confided to O’Keefe after a basketball practice one night that he had an argument with his parents, he was invited for a sleepover. It wasn’t until the teen arrived that he realized O’Keefe only had one bed, which was offered to him. He woke in the middle of the night to find O’Keefe’s hand in his underpants. The teen ran home and told his parents, who in turn notified the school, according to the claim.

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Pope Francis – a wolf in sheeps clothing

SOUTH AFRICA
News 24

31 July 2013

Peter Allebone

Lately there has been an astounding PR campaign from the pontiff in order to claw back some of the Catholics who have begun to become disillusioned with their faith. While on the surface it appears to be a loving and inclusive doctrine, below the surface lies a hidden and immoral truth. I find this so repulsive, that it astounds me that so many people do not realise the Pope is peddling his message of lies, without notice.

The facts: So far we have seen the Pope declare seemingly that Homosexuality isn’t so bad with his famous quote “Who am I to Judge?” and that atheists can go to heaven with the paraphrased “Being an Atheist is alright as long as you do good”. In addition, how could we fail to forget his instance of carrying his own bag while travelling and his simple choice of clothing – shunning the fine raiment traditionally worn?

Who could hate such an accepting and revolutionary voice, so badly needed in the Vatican? We see people falling over themselves in an almost worship of this divine entity challenging false doctrine and commanding the perfect word of God. Big mistake. Big, big, mistake.

For when we step back, ladies and gentlemen, the majesty of his divine words began to reflect their shallow and hollow assertions. When we apply the mind of scepticism to his claims and dig below the surface, the putrid and rotting pestilence of his truth exposes its hatred once again. There is a disjointing as we look around and see the followers hearing his voice, only to fall prey upon each other starving for belief.

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Police investigating abuse claims at Catholic boarding school

SCOTLAND
The Courier

Police have confirmed they are investigating claims of sexual and physical abuse by monks at a former Catholic boarding school in the Highlands.

Alleged victims who attended Fort Augustus Abbey school told a BBC Scotland investigation that they were molested and beaten by monks over a period of three decades from the 1950s.

It has also been claimed that abuse was carried out at Carlekemp, its feeder school in East Lothian. Both schools are now closed.

A police statement said: “Police Scotland Highland and Islands division are investigating historic reports of allegations of abuse from former pupils at the Fort Augustus Abbey school.

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‘Abuse’ at monk school is probed

SCOTLAND
Scottish Sun

By LUCY CHRISTIE

COPS have launched a probe into claims pupils were sexually abused at a former Catholic boarding school.

Five alleged victims say they were molested or beaten by monks — including Australian Fr Aidan Duggan — from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Donald Macleod, a former pupil at Fort Augustus Abbey school in Inverness-shire, claimed he was raped by Fr Duggan — who died in 2004.

He told a BBC programme: “I was called into the headmaster’s office and he said he’d heard I’d been telling my parents about Fr Aidan and that I shouldn’t tell these lies and that it’s a mortal sin to lie about things like that.”

The documentary also uncovered allegations the school, run by Benedictine monks, was used as a “dumping ground” for problem clergy who confessed to abusing kids.

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Monks abuse claims to be probed

SCOTLAND
Herald Scotland

Wednesday 31 July 2013

David Ross
Highland Correspondent

Police have confirmed they are investigating claims of sexual and physical abuse by monks at a former Catholic boarding school for boys in the Highlands.

Fort Augustus Abbey School, at the south western end of Loch Ness, was seen as a prestigious place of learning for the sons of Roman Catholic families. However it closed in 1993.

Now former pupils have told a BBC Scotland investigation they were molested and beaten by monks over a period of three decades from the 1950s.

It has also been claimed that abuse was carried out at Carlekemp in East Lothian which acted as a preparatory school for Fort Augustus. It also closed.

A police statement said: “Police Scotland Highland and Islands division are investigating historic reports of allegations of abuse from former pupils at Fort Augustus Abbey school.

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Evidence uncovered in church archive about paedophile priest

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Dan Cox

The former head of the Catholic Church’s child protection unit says she uncovered evidence about a Hunter Valley paedophile priest after being given access to the Church’s archives.

Helen Keevers was the manager of Zimmerman House, which was set up to make it easier for abuse victims to come forward.

She has given evidence at the inquiry into claims the Church covered up abuse by two Maitland-Newcastle priests, Denis McAlinden and James Fletcher.

She told the Special Commission it “was not particularly respectful but the priests’ confidential files were called the bad files”.

Ms Keevers said the former bishop, Michael Malone, made it clear she could have access to any relevant documents she wanted, and he wrote a letter to strike force detectives stating they did not need a warrant and were welcome in the diocese at any time.

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‘Outsider’ called in to help church deal with abuse claims

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Dan Cox

The former head of the Catholic Church’s child protection unit in the Hunter Valley says the bishop was keen to get advice from outside of the diocese.

Helen Keevers is giving evidence at the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry, which is investigating claims the church covered up abuse by paedophile priests James Fletcher and Denis McAlinden.

Ms Keevers used to be the manager of Zimmerman house, set up to make it easier for abuse victims to come forward.

She has told the inquiry during her four years as manager her team investigated seven members of clergy, four of which resulted in criminal prosecution.

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RCMP biased in investigating of allegations against John Furlong, lawyer says

CANADA
The Province

BY VIVIAN LUK, THE CANADIAN PRESS JULY 30, 2013

VANCOUVER – A lawyer representing two women who allege former Vancouver Olympic CEO John Furlong abused them while he was a teacher decades ago has launched a formal complaint, accusing the RCMP of being biased in their investigation of those claims.

In a letter this week written to the Commission for Public Complaints Against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Jason Gratl accused Mounties of telling Furlong’s lawyers one thing about the investigation and the media something else.

Gratl is representing Beverly Abraham and Grace West, who each filed lawsuits last week alleging Furlong sexually molested them when he was a teacher at a Burns Lake, B.C., school decades ago.

None of the allegations have been proven in court, and Furlong has yet to file a response to the women’s statements of claim. However, in court documents filed last week related to a separate lawsuit, as well as in previous addresses to the media, Furlong denied such abuses took place.

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Pope Francis in Context

UNITED STATES
The New York Times

Ross Douthat

The cycle is familiar: A pope says something about a controversial issue that doesn’t fit the media’s semi-informed preconceptions about Roman Catholic teaching, a firestorm of coverage follows, and then better-informed observers are left to pick up the pieces and explain that no, actually, the pope is just reasserting an idea — an openness to Darwinian evolution, the possibility that nonbelievers might go to heaven, pick your controversy — that the church already accepted or believed or allowed to be considered.

In the case of Pope Francis’s comments on homosexuality on the plane back from a wildly successful World Youth Day in Brazil, though, I have a little more sympathy than usual for the media reaction. Here’s what the pontiff said, per the Catholic News Service, in response to a question about sex scandals and a so-called “gay lobby” within the Vatican and the Roman Curia:

… Pope Francis said it was important to “distinguish between a person who is gay and someone who makes a gay lobby,” he said. “A gay lobby isn’t good.”

“A gay person who is seeking God, who is of good will — well, who am I to judge him?” the pope said. “The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well. It says one must not marginalize these persons, they must be integrated into society. The problem isn’t this (homosexual) orientation — we must be like brothers and sisters. The problem is something else, the problem is lobbying either for this orientation or a political lobby or a Masonic lobby.”

Now it’s certainly true, as a host of Catholic writers quickly pointed out, that this doesn’t depart from official church teaching on human sexuality, and indeed invokes the language of the Catechism (commissioned by John Paul II and overseen by Joseph Ratzinger, the future Benedict XVI) to make its point. Which, means, in turn, that a lot of the more breathless coverage has exaggerated the significance of the pope’s words, and overhyped the gap between what he’s saying and what his predecessors might have said.

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Wayne church member accused by youths of sexual abuse

PENNSYLVANIA
Main Line

By ROSE QUINN
rquinn@21st-centurymedia.com
@rquinndelco

An Upper Providence man is facing charges he sexually abused two young men who considered him a mentor, according to court documents.

David Sperry, 44, of the 100 block of Park Place, surrendered Thursday at Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division headquarters on 29 offenses relating to allegations made by the two alleged victims, now 21 and 18, who had been around the ages of 13 and 15 respectively when the alleged sexual abuse began.

Sexual contact with the 18-year-old occurred as recently as when he was 17, according to documents.

Documents do not indicate what prompted the victims to come forward, only that one of the victims was interviewed on June 10 — a week after his 21st birthday.

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Church ‘inundated’ with abuse complaints

AUSTRALIA
Courier Mail

AAP

THE Catholic church’s Hunter Valley child protection unit was inundated by complaints of sex abuse by priests as soon as it was established in 2005, a NSW inquiry has heard.

“Frankly that took us by surprise,” Helen Keevers, who helped set up the unit and managed it until late 2009, told the special commission of inquiry in Newcastle on Wednesday.

“Immediately we were inundated and were investigating seven clergy and four (of those sexual abuse investigations) resulted in criminal prosecutions.”

Ms Keevers said the seven priests involved were additional to known Hunter Valley pedophile priests Denis McAlinden and James Fletcher.

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Scottish Catholic Church abuse probe spreads…

SCOTLAND/AUSTRALIA
Daily Telegraph

Scottish Catholic Church abuse probe spreads to Australia with two monks implicated

CHARLES MIRANDA IN LONDON NEWS LIMITED NETWORK JULY 31, 2013

A PROBE into claims of serious physical and sexual abuse at some of Scotland’s most prestige Catholic boarding schools has moved to Australia with at least two Aussie monks implicated in the scandal.

And in an unfortunate twist, some of their victims who left Scotland to get away from the memories recently discovered they unwittingly had relocated to the same Australian cities as their former tormentors.

An investigation by the BBC has found systemic abuse and cover up at several Scottish boarding schools and in particular abuse by seven monks in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s including Australian priest Father Aidan Duggan who allegedly abused five boys.

Fr Duggan returned to Sydney in 1974 and became a parish priest in Bass Hill after claims against him were made to his Benedictine order in Scotland. He died in 2004, but there is now evidence the claims were known but covered up by the church in the UK.

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Editorial | A papal presser

UNITED STATES
The Courier-Journal

Many Catholics are a pretty demoralized bunch these days. And who can blame them?

They’ve endured horrific revelations of the child sexual abuse scandal, a church bent more on condemnation than compassion and a male-dominated hierarchy that seems fixated on women’s reproductive rights without giving them a voice in governance.

But suddenly, just five months into his papacy, Pope Francis has offered a refreshing new approach to Catholicism with his extraordinary and candid comments Tuesday, particularly regarding gays in the church.

“Who am I to judge them if they’re seeking the Lord in good faith?” he asked an astonished planeload of reporters returning with him to Rome from Brazil following his first — and wildly successful — foreign trip.

While not a change in church teaching, it is a dramatic shift in tone for the Roman Catholic Church that has condemned homosexuality as a moral evil and discouraged gay men from becoming priests.

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Pope Francis in Brazil proved us right and Anne Lastman wrong.

UNITED STATES
Pope Crimes & Vatican Evils…

Paris Arrow

As feminists, we strongly disagree and defy Anne Lastman who uses women symbolism (Bride of Christ) to justify and cover-up the Catholic Church which is ruled only by males, the Popes and their Crimes and Vatican Evils for centuries, and the JP2 Army – John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army – who are men only!! The Vatican Gay Lobby, only males, could also use her imagery very well, read more below.

Pope Francis’ rock-star World Youth Day in Brazil proved that we are right and Anne Lastman is wrong, very wrong. Pope Francis proved that Anne Lastman is misleading the world when she writes, “The Catholic Church…is a church limping towards Calvary, being spat upon, being vilified, despised. I would suggest that there is more to what we are seeing. We are seeing the crucifixion of the Bride of Christ just like the crucifixion of her Groom.” Anne Lastman’s Catholic Church amidst all those papal spectacles and political photo-ops with the poor (to segue attention away from secret Vatican Swiss Banks that oppress these same poor people) – was not “crucifixion” at all. Pope Francis, his Vatican entourage, those 3 millions of Catholics basking in the sun as they feasted and ate the cloned flesh of Christ definitely were not “a church limping towards Calvary, being spat upon, being vilified, despised”.

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School principal rejects bishop’s testimony

AUSTRALIA
Maitland Mercury

By ELLE WATSON July 31, 2013

A Greta-Branxton Catholic school principal has rejected former Maitland-Newcastle Diocese bishop Michael Malone’s account of a 2002 meeting in which the bishop claimed he warned the principal to keep parish priest James Fletcher away from ­students.

William Callinan told the special commission of inquiry into alleged cover-ups of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, that he first heard of the alleged meeting when Bishop Malone called him “out of the blue” in March 2003.

The principal said Bishop Malone told him Fletcher should have been stood down earlier, that they (Callinan and the bishop) made a decision together in 2002 to keep Fletcher in the parish and instructed him to tell people Fletcher was sick and about to be stood down.

“I was in disbelief – I could not recall any conversation we had previously on the Fletcher situation … I think I would have remembered it because it’s not often a bishop visits you,” Mr Callinan told the inquiry.

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Survivors paid silent price for ‘healing’: inquiry

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

By IAN KIRKWOOD July 31, 2013

SURVIVORS of clerical child sexual abuse were only offered ‘‘healing’’ – including the chance of financial settlements – if they signed a statement saying they were not going to the police, the Special Commission of Inquiry has heard.

Helen Keevers, who was chosen by Bishop Michael Malone to bolster the diocese of Maitland-Newcastle’s response to child sexual abuse by clergy, has given evidence on Wednesday about her time with the church, which ran from 1978 to 2009.

A counsel assisting the inquiry, Warwick Hunt, took Ms Keevers to a section in her statement – which was tendered and is likely to be made public later today – that related to changes to the church’s Towards Healing policy dating from 2003.

Previous church figures have given evidence to the inquiry that the church would not undertake its own investigation of child sexual abuse allegations against its clergy if the complainant had gone to police.

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CHURCH LAW NO PROTECTION: INQUIRY

AUSTRALIA
7 News

AAP
July 31, 2013

Catholic church laws dating back to the institution’s inception no longer protect priests from civil and criminal law, a NSW inquiry has heard.

Nor does the church’s canon law prevent sexual abuse allegations from being reported to police or condone the destruction of incriminating evidence, the special commission of inquiry being held in Newcastle heard on Wednesday.

The inquiry headed by Commissioner Margaret Cunneen is investigating claims by police whistleblower Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox that child sexual abuse allegations against Hunter Valley priests Denis McAlinden and James Fletcher were covered up by church leaders who were aided by a “Catholic mafia” within the police force.

Canon law expert and a former priest with the Sydney archdiocese, Dr Rodger Austin, said canon law that once afforded priests some protection from secular laws was superseded by new church codes in 1983.

Under questioning by a barrister assisting the commission, David Kell, Mr Austin said canon law and secular laws were now “interfaced”, and while there could be conflict in some cases, “canon law does not prevent reporting (of sexual abuse by clerics) to police”.

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Milwaukee Federal Appeals Judge…

MILWAUKEE (WI)
SNAP Wisconsin

Milwaukee Federal Appeals Judge, in stunning and dangerous reversal, rules that Catholic Canon law trumps US Federal law

[Cemetery Trust Transfer – All Documents – Archdiocese of Milwaukee via Jeff Anderson & Associates]

Read Judge Randa’s Order: Randa_Order_7-29-13

Milwaukee Federal Appeals Judge, in stunning and dangerous reversal, rules that Catholic Canon law trumps US Federal law

Statement by Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director (Milwaukee)
CONTACT: 414.429.7259

In a stunning written decision released today, Milwaukee Federal Judge Rudolph T. Randa has ruled that Catholic “canon law”, including beliefs in the “resurrection of the body,” are a sufficient basis to shield religious organizations from US civil judicial law.

Randa’s decision, which could have far reaching public policy implications beyond the issue of sexually abusive clergy, was a reversal of an earlier ruling by Bankruptcy Judge Susan V Kelley. Kelley ruled the archdiocese could not use 1st amendment protections to stop the court from examining the possibly fraudulent creation of a 57 million dollar “cemetery trust” by former Archbishop Timothy Dolan now Cardinal of New York.

Dolan created the trust before the archdiocese filed for federal bankruptcy protection in 2011. In a letter made public through the bankruptcy court earlier this month, Dolan wrote the Vatican to receive permission to transfer tens of millions of dollars into the newly created trust in order to keep the assets from victim/survivors, a criminal act under US Bankruptcy Law.

Randa, who makes no mention of the transfer or Dolan’s letter in today’s decision, much less of the 575 victims that have filed cases in the court, seems mostly concerned that scrutiny of the fund could create difficulties for the current Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki with the Vatican. “The Archbishop as Trustee may well face discipline and a religious penalty from the Church…if the Trust is legally compelled to cede all or part of the funds to the Estate…neither the debtor nor the Trust will be able to fulfill their obligations . . .consistent with Catholic doctrine and canon law.”

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More Catholic than the Pope

UNITED STATES
Foreign Policy

BY MICHAEL D’ANTONIO | JULY 30, 2013

When an estimated three million enraptured people gathered on Rio de Janiero’s Copacabana beach on Sunday, July 28, Pope Francis’s pilgrimage to Brazil suddenly went from big news in Latin America to huge news around the globe. The beachside Mass confirmed for the press corps his charisma and sent reporters scurrying for superlatives. The Guardian described the Pope’s trip as “triumphant.” The Wall Street Journal said he had received a “rock star reception.” Al Jazeera’s correspondent Lucia Newman declared the scene on the beach in Rio as “extraordinary.”

Following the Copacabana Mass, Francis flew home to Rome aboard a chartered jet. After the plane leveled off at a cruising altitude, he wandered to the back of the cabin to mingle with reporters and conduct a press conference in the manner of a presidential candidate. The moment was unexpected, especially since the pope had previously declined all requests for interviews since taking office in March. But Francis was buoyant from the reception he had received in Brazil and, perhaps, emboldened to spend a bit of the capital he had accumulated.

No question was off limits and the reporters rose to the occasion, inquiring about controversies ranging from the Vatican Bank to gay priests in a Church that condemns homosexual activity. On that subject, Francis said, “If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem … they’re our brothers.” It was the kind of statement — humble, direct, and friendly — that makes people feel he’s like the priest who asks for second glass of wine at Sunday dinner and encourages you to have one too.

Even if Francis’s olive branch toward homosexuals in the church falls short of a shift in substance, his words represent a major break with the church’s long history of deep-seated social conservatism. While the Church still regards homosexual acts as sinful, no previous pope has offered a “who am I to judge?” response to the question of what to do with gay priests.

Indeed, under the reign on Francis’s immediate predecessor, Benedict XVI, top church officials frequently blamed gay priests for the terrible sexual abuse crisis afflicting the church worldwide. Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana even suggested the church could benefit from the some of the anti-gay prejudice seen in his country, echoing similar sentiments expressed by churchmen in the U.S. In this context, Francis’s comments about gay priests mark him as a very different leader who may be heralding the end of an era deep and abiding intolerance of homosexuality. (During his flight home Francis also said that the church needed a new theological perspective on the role and status of women. “Let us remember,” he said, “that Mary is more important than the bishop apostles, so women in the church are more important than bishops and priests.”)

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Tulsa pastor arrested again following additional charges

OKLAHOMA
Tulsa World

By KENDRICK MARSHALL World Staff Writer on Jul 30, 2013

A Tulsa pastor who was charged earlier this month with allegedly impregnating a 15-year-old girl has been arrested again.

Gregory Juan Hawkins, 54, was booked into the Tulsa Jail Monday, jail records show. A judge had issued warrant for his arrest July 23 on four counts of lewd molestation and two counts of rape, according to an arrest report.

His bond has been set at $250,000.

Hawkins was jailed June 24 after a 15-year-old girl informed Tulsa police that he sexually abused her since April 2012 when she was 14. The girl also alleged Hawkins is the father of her unborn child.

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Judge shields Milw. Archdiocese cemetery funds from creditors

MILWAUKEE (WI)
WITI

Posted on: 2:08 pm, July 30, 2013, by Trisha Bee

MILWAUKEE (WITI) — On Tuesday, July 30th a U.S. District Court Judge ruled that the Archdiocese’s practice of putting a portion of the money received from cemetery lot and mausoleum sales into a trust could not be undone for the benefit of claimants in bankruptcy proceedings.

The judge ruled that removing some or all of these funds from the trust and placing them in the bankruptcy estate would undoubtedly put “substantial pressure” on Archbishop Listecki to “modify [his] behavior” and “violate [his] beliefs”.

This ruling comes on the heels of allegations of fraud against Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who was Milwaukee’s Archbishop when he told deposers he, with the Vatican’s permission, in 2007 transferred $57 million in Archdiocese funds into a cemetery trust.

The Milwaukee Archdiocese says the money was always designated for cemeteries, and in 2007, it was formalized into a trust.

Meanwhile, SNAP, the Survivor’s Network for Those Abused by Priests, claim Cardinal Dolan set up a cemetery trust to shield assets.

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Judge shields Wis. archdiocese fund from creditors

MILWAUKEE (WI)
San Francisco Chronicle

By DINESH RAMDE, Associated Press
Updated 2:39 pm, Tuesday, July 30, 2013

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Archdiocese of Milwaukee can shield more than $50 million from creditors in sex-abuse settlements because the money is in a cemetery fund protected by the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom, according to a federal court ruling.

Sex-abuse victims have accused the archdiocese of shifting money into the fund to avoid having to pay them, while the archdiocese has said the money was always intended for cemetery care. A judge ruled Monday that Catholic cemeteries are sacred to believers, so setting money aside to maintain them represents the free exercise of religion.

The cemetery trust was formed in 2007 by then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan, four years before the archdiocese filed for bankruptcy protection to deal with hundreds of sex-abuse claims. Dolan specifically wrote to the Vatican seeking permission to move $57 million into the trust.

Archdiocese spokeswoman Julie Wolf said the trust was established for the perpetual care of cemetery sites and funded by sales of cemetery plots and mausoleums.

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In victory for Milwaukee Archdiocese, judge shields cemetery funds from creditors

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

[Cemetery Trust Transfer – All Documents – Archdiocese of Milwaukee via Jeff Anderson & Associates]

By Annysa Johnson of the Journal Sentinel July 30, 2013

In a major victory for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, a federal judge ruled that funds set aside for cemetery operations cannot be tapped to pay sex abuse settlements in the archdiocese’s bankruptcy case.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph T. Randa ruled that taking even a portion of the funds would violate the archdiocese’s free exercise of religion under the First Amendment.

Randa issued the decision Monday in a lawsuit filed by the archdiocese to keep its cemetery trust from being tapped to pay sex abuse settlements in the bankruptcy. The ruling was made public Tuesday.

Randa’s decision overturns a January ruling by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley and remands the case back to her.

The archdiocese has about $53 million in funds in a cemetery trust created in 2007, from monies it said it held in trust on its books for decades. Victims have accused the archdiocese of moving the money into a trust to keep it from sex abuse victims.

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CARDINAL DOLAN NOT IN JUDGEMENT OF ANTHONY WEINER, DELTA QUEEN RETURN, TODD AKIN

MISSOURI
Berger’s Beat

. .Several weeks after it was announced during masses at his Lincoln County parish, Fr. Phillip Krahman’s sudden – and unexplained – resignation from Immaculate Conception church was noted in the latest edition of the archdiocesan newspaper. That’s the same small community where the alleged victim of recent child molestation by Fr. Joseph JIiang lives. Coincidence?

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Michael Kelly: Pope’s openness is not a prelude to changes in core Catholic teaching

IRELAND
Irish Independent

30 JULY 2013

When it comes to reporting on the Vatican, there are two constants these days: a whiff of sulphur around the Pope’s bank and the alleged presence of a so-called gay lobby at the heart of the church’s central administration.

Just as Pope Francis, below, flew to Brazil to celebrate World Youth Day with an estimated 3.2 million young Catholics, the respected Italian magazine ‘l’Espresso’ carried the front page headline ‘La lobby gay’ about the Vatican.

You don’t have to be a scholar of Italian to work it out.

It is not surprising, then, that when the Pope held an impromptu press conference on board his plane on his way back from Brazil, the issue came up.

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Sex assault victim sues teacher, board for $3M

CANADA
CBC News

A 55-year-old sexual assault victim is suing a retired teacher, guidance counsellor and priest, Ottawa’s Catholic school board and two other organizations for more than $3 million, claiming the organizations should have responded to an incident almost 30 years ago.

The man has filed a lawsuit in Ontario Superior Court claiming damages in relation to an incident when he was 16 years old involving former school teacher and priest Kenneth O’Keefe.

O’Keefe pleaded guilty to the 1974 incident in which the boy woke up to being sexually abused.

According to the statement of claim, O’Keefe offered his residence for the night after the boy had complained of an argument with his parents.

Now 55, the man is suing O’Keefe, the Ottawa-Carleton Catholic District School Board, the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Ottawa and the Basilian Fathers of Toronto for $3.1 million.

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What if Rosa didn’t take a stand?

CALIFORNIA
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on July 30, 2013

In 1955, a woman named Rosa Parks refused to give up her Montgomery, Alabama bus seat to a white man.

But on that day, she did not stand up and shout, “If ALL African Americans can’t have complete and equal rights and access, then NO ONE should get anything!”

Why? Because civil rights movements are intellectual, emotional and legislative wars, fought battle by battle. Rosa Parks could not win the war in one fell swoop. But she could win a battle.

Which brings us to California’s SB 131, the Child Victims’ Act. SB 131 opens a one-year civil window for victims to come forward in the civil courts to expose their abuser, get justice, and punish wrongdoers. The state had a similar bill in 2003, but because of last year’s California Supreme Court decision in the Quarry case, many victims were excluded, even if they had mountains of evidence.

This bill fixes that.

According to today’s editorial in the San Jose Mercury News:

Why should [a civil window] ever end? Why should those responsible for abuse get a pass if enough time goes by?

Yet opponents of the bill, including the California Catholic Conference, US Swimming, and CAPSO call the bill a “mockery of legal protection.” They claim that the bill creates two classes of victims, those abused in public institutions and those abused in private schools. And they are terribly wrong.

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Vatican orders former priest to leave St. Vincent Archabbey

PENNSYLVANIA
Tribune-Review

By Richard Gazarik

Published: Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Vatican has ordered a former Benedictine priest and monk to leave St. Vincent Archabbey near Latrobe and has released him from his monastic vows for spreading false rumors about Archabbot Douglas Nowicki, according to the archabbey.

Mark Gruber has refused to vacate the abbey since June 30, 2012, when the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ordered him to spend the rest of his life in prayer and penance outside the abbey and relieved him of his priestly authority to say Mass, hear confession and administer the sacraments.

Gruber is no longer permitted to say he is a priest or to celebrate the sacraments in public, teach and have any contract with minors under the age of 18, according to a news release from the archabbey.

Then Pope Benedict XVI confirmed the ruling, according to the archabbey.

Gruber was an anthropology professor at St. Vincent College until he was relieved of his duties after a state police investigation found photos of naked men on his college-issued computer. A subsequent probe found no evidence of a crime, but Gruber was suspended from teaching and filed a defamation suit against the archabbey. He later dropped the lawsuit without explanation.

“The evidence against Rev. Gruber was judged to be irrefutable,” the archabbey’s news release states. “The Congregation found him guilty of the more grave delict of possession of child pornography, the crime of the production of materials which gravely injure good morals, the abuse of the Sacrament of Confession with the aggravating factor of the manipulation of conscience, and the defamation of a legitimate superior.”

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Cardinal George’s Response to Questions Regarding Pope Francis’ Comments about Homosexuals

CHICAGO (IL)
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago

July 29, 2013
Pope Francis, on his way back to Rome from the World Youth Day celebration in Rio, reaffirmed the teaching of the Catholic faith and other religions that homosexual genital relations are morally wrong. The Pope also reaffirmed the Church’s teaching that every man and woman should be accepted with love, including those with same sex orientation.

The Archdiocese of Chicago sponsors the Archdiocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach (AGLO) for openly gay people. It also sponsors Courage for those who are quietly homosexual. Both ministries make available the sacraments of the Church for those who want to live chastely as followers of Christ in the Church. Judgments about individual guilt are settled in the sacrament of reconciliation, according to Catholic pastoral practice.

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Retired priest in Pembroke, Ontario faces sex assault charges

CANADA
Sun News

KELLY ROCHE | QMI AGENCY

OTTAWA – A 72-year-old priest has been charged in connection to a historical sex assault.
The alleged assault happened in 1985 while Howard Chabot was serving at Holy Name Parish in Pembroke, ON.

Chabot is charged with one count each of sexual assault and gross indecency.

“The Diocese of Pembroke prays that the truth concerning this matter may be brought to light and extends support to any parties concerned in this case,” the Bishop of Pembroke, the Most Reverend Michael Mulhall, said in a statement.

The diocese said it is co-operating with police “and will encourage and support the healing process for all parties concerned following the resolution of the case.”

Chabot, of Arnprior, ON, was ordained in 1968 and retired from Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Pembroke in 2005 due to coronary artery disease.

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Costa Rica- Pastor charged with 22 counts of sexual abuse

COSTA RICA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday July 30, 2013

Statement by Barbara Dorris, Outreach Director, 314-862-7688 SNAPdorris@gmail.com

A Costa Rican pastor has been charged with 22 counts of sexual abuse of three adults and one minor.

A. Gutiérrez, a pastor at Iglesia Dios del Evangelio Completo in Santa Cruz, denies all charges despite victims’ testimonies. Gutiérrez has been released despite prosecutors request to be placed in detention while awaiting trial set for three months from now.

We encourage the leaders of Iglesia Dios del Evangelio Completo to inform their parishioners the former pastor’s charges and forbid him from interacting with all members of the church, not just the victims as instruction by the judge.

We urge any other victims or witnesses to come forward with more information in order to help put Gutiérrez in prison safely away from children.

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The latest – and weirdest – arguments against SOL reform

CALIFORNIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

POSTED BY BARBARA DORRIS ON JULY 30, 2013

It boggles my mind, but it’s clear that some value the reputations of a few adults over the safety of many kids. This includes many who oppose reforming the child predator’s best pal – the statute of limitations.

UCLA professor Stephen Bainbridge seems to be one such misguided individual. But instead of trotting out the usual stale arguments, Bainbridge has come up with a few new, and bizarre claims about why SOL is allegedly so terrible and why, he opposes California’s SB 131, a measure we support.

[Professor Bainbridge]

Here are a couple of Bainbridge’s odd notions.

1. Bainbridge writes “As time goes by, the likelihood increases that an offender has reformed, making punishment less necessary.

Really Professor? Where’s the data? I suspect you may be right about car jackers and pick pockets (who rely on their physical strength and speed to succeed). But I also suspect you’re dead wrong about child molesters (who rely on their experience and cunning to succeed). Many child sex offenders “improve” with age, learning better how to painstakingly spot and carefully groom and slowly molest kids. And I’ve seen no proof that somehow, the passage of time magically cures a compulsive, serial child predator.

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Days of reckoning for the high and mighty

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

POSTED BY DAVID CLOHESSY ON JULY 30, 2013

After of our annual conference (which was, by the way, a smashing success), I came home to a short stack of unread New York Times. Two stories in last Saturday’s edition struck me.

One featured this headline: “France Orders Strauss-Kahn to Stand Trial.” The one-time potential presidential candidate faces “charges linked to his involvement in a prostitution ring prosecutors say was operating in France and in the United States.” Along with “a small group of French businessmen and police officials,” Strauss-Kahn stands accused of pimping, or “aggravated procurement in a group,” a charge that “carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of 1.5 million euros,” about $2 million.

[New York Times]

I’m reminded of Martin Luther King’s contention that “the moral arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice.”

The other article featured this headline: “San Diego Mayor Says He Will Go Into Therapy.” It described how seven women have now reported that they were sexually harassed by Mayor Bob Filner who is struggling in the face of “a flood of demands that he step aside.”

Whether he’s ousted or not, the Filner case shows that ever so slowly, more who have been sexually victimized are finding the courage to step forward.

[New York Times]

Another King quote comes to mind: “No lie lives forever.”

However belatedly and inadequately it’s happening, I’m encouraged that the high and mighty – in both the secular and religious worlds – are increasingly being held to account for sexual wrongdoing.

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Police probe Fort Augustus Abbey monk abuse claims

SCOTLAND
BBC News

Police have confirmed they are investigating allegations of abuse by monks at a former Scottish Catholic boarding school.

It follows a BBC Scotland investigation which uncovered evidence of 30 years of physical and sexual abuse at Fort Augustus Abbey in the Highlands and its East Lothian prep school.

The Benedictine order which ran the schools has apologised to any victims.

Fresh claims of abuse have now emerged since the programme aired on Monday.

The documentary has also prompted calls for more support for victims.

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Benedictine order plans inquiry into Scotland schools child abuse scandal

SCOTLAND
The Guardian

Severin Carrell, Scotland correspondent
theguardian.com, Tuesday 30 July 2013

Senior figures in the Benedictine religious order are planning their own inquiry into harrowing allegations that monks sexually and physically abused dozens of boys at two schools in Scotland.

Police in Scotland have launched an investigation into disclosures by former pupils at Fort Augustus in the Highlands and Carlekemp Priory school near Edinburgh that monks subjected them to systematic violence and sexual assaults, including claims that one now deceased monk raped five boys.

Dom Richard Yeo, the head of the UK’s largest Benedictine group of congregations, said he had already been contacted by detectives from Police Scotland over the allegations, detailed in a BBC Scotland documentary on Monday.

In May the Observer revealed that a police investigation had begun into Fort Augustus after one pupil, Andrew Lavery, accused monks there of “systematic, brutal, awful torture”, which included being locked alone for days at a time in a room.

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Police to investigate monk abuse claims at former Catholic boarding school

SCOTLAND
Herald Scotland

Tuesday 30 July 2013

Police have confirmed they are investigating claims of sexual and physical abuse by monks at a former Catholic boarding school in the Highlands.

Alleged victims who attended Fort Augustus Abbey school told a BBC Scotland investigation that they were molested and beaten by monks over a period of three decades from the 1950s.

It has also been claimed that abuse was carried out at Carlekemp, its feeder school in East Lothian.

Both schools are now closed.

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Former Fort Augustus Abbey pupil tells of ‘violent’ whipping

SCOTLAND
BBC News

Fresh claims of abuse at Fort Augustus Abbey Catholic boarding school in the Highlands have emerged following a BBC investigation.

Another former pupil at the school has told the BBC he was “violently abused” and tortured by monks there.

Tim Coppin said he studied at Fort Augustus from 1960 until 1965.

“The main thing was whipping by the teachers, by the monks themselves,” he told BBC Radio Scotland, in an interview to be broadcast on Newsdrive.

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Anti-LGBT Cardinal Dolan: Pope didn’t actually mean to change policy on gay priests

UNITED STATES
The Raw Story

[Click here for the story.]

By Arturo Garcia
Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cardinal Timothy Dolan appeared to be trying to walk back recent comments by Pope Francis regarding gay priests in a CBS News interview Tuesday morning, explaining to hosts Gayle King and Charlie Rose that the pontiff’s refusal to judge them did not signal a change in Catholic Church doctrine.

What the pope was saying, Dolan told Rose, was that, “While certain acts may be wrong, we will always love and respect the person and treat the person with dignity,” describing an intersection between church doctrine regarding the “immorality” of sex outside marriage and acceptance of believers regardless of sexual orientation or other social factors.

On Monday, the pope told reporters during a flight out of Brazil that gay members of the church must not be marginalized, saying, “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?”

Dolan, who was criticized earlier this year for sermons focusing on “traditional marriage” amid an increase in anti-LGBT attacks in the New York area, emphasized throughout the discussion that Pope Francis was striking a new tone in his presentation of the church’s teachings.

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NSW Enquiry Concludes (Or: Good Priest – Bad Priest)

AUSTRALIA
lewisblayse.net

The Newcastle-Maitland diocese kept “good priest files” and “bad priest files”, according to Elizabeth Doyle, who was secretary to Bishops Clarke, Malone and Wright over the past 20 years. A quirk of the English language means that the reference could be to good files and bad files or good priests and bad priests. Ms. Doyle would choose the former interpretation.

In her early days, Ms. Doyle did not have the trust of Bishop Clarke. She told the enquiry that “she had no recourse to the files but believed they were all stored in the one cabinet upstairs in Bishop Clarke’s office.” Apparently, he took the distrust to extreme lengths. He never discussed such matters with her, typed some of his own letters, did his own filing and she never opened any letters addressed to him.

It must have been a classic “light duties” job for Ms. Doyle, with the Bishop doing most of the work. This cushy position apparently came to an end when Bishop Malone arrived and gave her charge of the filing cabinet. The good priest files where at the front, and the bad priest files were at the back. Not much to remember there.

Speaking of memory, Fr. Burston returned to the enquiry after several days of “stress leave” resulting from having to face the reality that victims tend to be a bit upset with people like him.

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NSW Enquiry – The Employees’ Testimonials (Or: Better Retired Than Fired)

AUSTRALIA
lewisblayse.net

Mr. Will Callinan, a school principal in the Newcastle-Maitland Catholic diocese, has told the NSW enquiry that he did not challenge an “untruth” by Bishop Malone, because he feared he would lose his job. The threat of unemployment appears to come up now and again in the context of the enquiry, especially from the father of a victim.

Malone, the enquiry has earlier heard, claimed to have notified Cullinan about a local abusive priest, which Cullinan disputes. Cullinan said that Bishop Michael Malone had known, in June 2002 that Father James Fletcher was the subject of child sex abuse investigations, but that the bishop did not tell him about the allegations until March 2003, just before charges were laid. He said he had heard a rumour from someone he could not remember in early June 2002 that Fletcher was being investigated.

The Cullinan and Malone accounts vary greatly. So greatly, that it was reported that cross-examination of Cullinan by Malone’s lawyer, Simon Harben, was described as “robust”.

For example, Cullinan said he was “in disbelief” when Bishop Malone referred to a conversation Malone claimed to have had with him concerning Fletcher, in June 2002. Cullinan said that Malone did not inform him of anything about Fletcher until almost a year later, in a telephone conversation. Cullinan told the enquiry that “He never had a conversation with me (on June 20, 2002) or sought advice (from me) whether Father Fletcher should stay in the parish.”

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Pembroke priest charged in alleged 1985 sex assault

CANADA
Ottawa Citizen

BY MEGHAN HURLEY, OTTAWA CITIZEN JULY 30, 2013 1

OTTAWA — A Pembroke priest faces charges in a historical sexual assault.

The charges were laid after the victim made a complaint to police about an alleged sexual assault in 1985.

Police arrested Father Howard Chabot on Monday and charged him with sexual assault and gross indecency.

Chabot was released from police custody on a promise to appear in court on Sept. 3.

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Eastern Ontario priest faces sex charges in 1985 incident

CANADA
CBC News

A Pembroke, Ont., priest faces two charges including sexual assault in connection with an incident in 1985.

Ontario Provincial Police said a complainant came forward in regards to the incident in Pembroke 28 years ago.

Rev. Howard Chabot, a retired Catholic church priest, was charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of gross indecency.

He was released with a promise to appear in Pembroke court on Sept. 3.

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Vatican bars Benedictine priest who taught at St. Vincent College

PENNSYLVANIA
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

July 30, 2013

By Ann Rodgers / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Vatican forcibly removed a priest who had been an anthropology professor and popular speaker at St. Vincent College from ministry and barred him from his Benedictine order, according to an announcement today from St. Vincent Archabbey.

The announcement from the archabbey did not focus on its previous allegations that Rev. Mark Gruber had pornography on his computer.

Instead it stressed that the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had reviewed evidence that Mr. Gruber was behind allegations, widely disseminated on a Web site, that Archabbot Douglas Nowicki had sexually harassed a young former monk.

The announcement said that the former monk has since signed a sworn statement saying that his allegations against the archabbot were a lie and that then-Father Gruber had written parts of the statement for him.

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Demon rum: Study finds alcohol may release aggression in religious individuals

UNITED STATES
Association of Religion Data Archives

By David Briggs

Mixing religion and alcohol may be dangerous to other people’s health.

A new study of religion, alcohol and violence revealed that religious folks who were not under the influence were the most likely to turn the other cheek.

However, the researchers also found that religious individuals who were intoxicated were the most likely to display aggression, administering higher and longer levels of electric shocks to opponents in a laboratory experiment.

The study by the University of Kentucky’s Aaron A. Duke and Peter R. Giancola, published in the latest issue of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, adds new insight into the complex relation between religion and aggression.

Religious beliefs and practices in general are associated with more compassionate behavior toward others. A review of the scientific literature by Duke and Giancola found that a majority of survey studies showed religion was associated with lower levels of aggression. In particular, some studies indicated religious individuals are less likely to commit crimes, and that faith may be associated with lower rates of domestic violence.

But there are also times when religion is linked to more aggressive behavior. For example, biblical admonitions warning parents that if they spare the rod, they will spoil the child appear to be associated with higher rates of corporal punishment among religious conservatives.

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Gary Meier, Openly Gay St. Louis Priest, Reacts to Pope Francis’s Remarks on Homosexuality

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Riverfront Times

By Jessica Lussenhop Tue., Jul. 30 2013

Father Gary Meier has apparently become the nation’s spokesman for gay clergy.

When Daily RFT reached Father Gary Meier yesterday afternoon he was waiting for a car service to pick him up and take him to a television studio for a satellite interview with CNN.
“I don’t like the cars,” he grumbled, saying he prefers to drive himself.

Meier has been inundated with interview requests ever since Pope Francis gave a surprising response to reporters who asked him, essentially, what his views are on homosexual priests.

“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” the Holy Father answered in Italian.

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Subway Icon Dr. Jonathan Zizmor Calls Accused Y.U. Abuse Rabbi ‘Best Teacher’

NEW YORK
The Jewish Daily Forward

By Paul Berger
Published July 30, 2013, issue of August 02, 2013.

To millions of New Yorkers, Jonathan Zizmor is the don of dermatology. But to some victims of sex abuse, Zizmor is the donor who established a scholarship in their alleged molester’s name.

Zizmor, who is renowned across New York City’s five boroughs for his campy subway advertisements promoting cosmetic procedures, gave $250,000 to Yeshiva University High School for Boys in 2002 to endow the Rabbi Macy Gordon Scholarship.

Gordon is one of two rabbis accused of molesting students at the Y.U.-run high school, according to a lawsuit filed July 8 in U.S. District Court. Nineteen former students accuse Y.U. administrators and staff of covering up physical and sexual abuse at the school.

Three of the former students say that Gordon, a Talmud teacher, abused them. One of those men, who says Gordon sodomized him with a toothbrush, “experiences extreme emotional distress whenever he sees” [Zizmor’s] name on the subway,” according to the suit.

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Critics press Ottawa to recognize wrongs against First Nations as genocide

CANADA
The Globe and Mail

GLORIA GALLOWAY
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Jul. 30 2013, 6:00 AM EDT

First Nations leaders and human rights experts will press the federal government to recognize that Canada’s historical treatment of native people, including nutrition experiments conducted on children at aboriginal residential schools, constituted a genocide.

Phil Fontaine, a former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Bernie Farber, a social activist who is the former executive director of the Canadian Jewish Congress, and Michael Dan, a former neurosurgeon turned philanthropist, have been talking with native leaders about the need for Canada to admit that the word applies to the cumulative actions taken by the government against First Nations.

As early as this fall, they could ask the United Nations to apply its definition of genocide to Canada’s historical record. This push comes five years after Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized on behalf of the Canadian government for the treatment of children at aboriginal residential schools.

Mr. Fontaine said he has been trying to elevate the issue so that more Canadians become aware of the history of the First Nations. He said he hopes that the government does not force native leaders to pursue the matter in the courts or at the UN.

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FRANCIS SPEAKS TO JOURNALISTS ON BOARD PAPAL FLIGHT

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Vatican City, 30 July 2013 (VIS) – On the return flight from Rio de Janeiro to Rome, Pope Francis spoke for around an hour and half with the journalists accompanying him on his journey. The questions and answers were all impromptu, and the Pope answered all the questioned posed, on matters ranging from his personal security to his relationship with the Roman Curia, his trip to Brazil, his collaboration with Benedict XVI and the situation of divorced and remarried persons.

Francis said he was happy with his first trip abroad as Pope, commenting that it had brought to the fore “the goodness and the suffering of the Brazilian people … the Brazilian people are warm-hearted, they are an amiable people … who even in suffering always find a way to seek out the best from all sides. And this is a good thing: they are cheerful people who have suffered much … This trip has been very good; spiritually, it has done me good … meeting people always does good, as in doing so we receive many good things from others”.

With regard to matters of security, he commented that there had been no incident during his visit to Rio de Janeiro, and that everything had been spontaneous. “With less security, I was able to stay with the people, to embrace them, greet them, without armoured cars … it is the security of trusting in people … yes, there’s always the danger of encountering a madman, but then there is always the Lord who protects us, isn’t there? It is also madness to separate a bishop from his people, and I prefer this madness”.

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Sodom, homosexuality, drone strikes and prayer

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Thomas Reese | Jul. 29, 2013 NCR Today

Last Sunday I preached in San Francisco on prayer. I think that was a good pastoral decision. People said they liked the homily, but I keep wondering if perhaps it was just a copout to avoid more controversial topics.

To understand my dilemma, you have to remember that the first reading was from Genesis 18 where Abraham argues with God over the destruction of Sodom. The reading led me to think about preaching on homosexuality—for about a nanosecond. I did not think I had anything new or interesting to say. Plus there is probably not a person in San Francisco who has not made up his or her mind on this topic. O yes, did I mention that the pastor was raked over the coals in the blogosphere and reported to the archbishop for saying something nice about homosexuals last month.

Then there is the scholarly debate over whether the sin of Sodom was sexual or whether it was a sin against hospitality to strangers. Abraham and Sarah had recently shown hospitality to three strangers and were rewarded with a pregnancy. The same three men go to Sodom, where they are welcomed by Lot and his family, but the locals want to have sex with them. When Lot tries to protect his guests, the crowd turns on him since he is not a real citizen but a “resident alien.” Lot’s guests end up saving him by pulling him into the house and closing the door.

Lot is so protective of his three male guests that he offers the mob his two virgin daughters instead. You don’t have to be a feminist to think that offering your daughters to a mob to be gang raped is a horrible idea. Later, these same daughters get their father drunk and have sex with him to “ensure posterity by our father.” Maybe I should have preached on the corrupting effect of patriarchal culture.

In any case, on the topic of homosexuality, I could not have said it better than Pope Francis did on the plane on the way back from Rio to Rome. When asked about the “gay lobby” in the Vatican, he responded:

“When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem … they’re our brothers.”

Since gay priests have been falsely blamed for the sexual abuse crisis, the pope’s statement is very significant. In 2005, the Vatican issued a document saying that men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be ordained or allowed in the seminary. Most interpreted this to mean that someone with a homosexual orientation could not be a priest even if he were celibate.

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Pope Francis a Sexist? Read His View on Controversial Women Priests, Received Negative Reactions on Twitter

International Business Times

By emil samaniego | July 30, 2013

Aboard the Papal aircraft, Pope Francis in a press conference said that the Church’s door is closed for a female priest.

This is the first time the Pope publicly talked about the topic.

“We cannot limit the role of women in the Church to altar girls or the president of a charity, there must be more,” the Pope said.

“But with regards to the ordination of women, the Church has spoken and says no. Pope John Paul said so with a formula that was definitive. That door is closed,” he said referring to a dictum of late Blessed John Paul II saying the ban was an infallible teaching of the Church.

With a wave of feminism creeping in the Catholic Church, many argued that it is time that the Church gives women a higher leadership position. However, the Church stands on its belief that Jesus only willingly chose males as his apostles. Proponents of female priests argued that Jesus only acted in accordance to the context of his time.

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Style matters

VATICAN CITY
The Economist

ON the lips of a more worldly sort of cleric, the pope’s comparatively generous comments (by recent Vatican standards, at least) about homosexuals might have been taken as a calculated move. “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?” That was the disarming rhetorical question which Pope Francis put to journalists accompanying him back from Brazil; it prompted reports of a major shift in the church’s attitude to same-sex relations. While carefully citing the church’s catechism, he also said gays should be “integrated” into society rather than marginalised.

The church does not, of course, make major doctrinal refinements in off-the-cuff remarks to the press. Other procedures exist for that. And the reason the question even arose has to do with some very awkward news reports over the past month. One of Italy’s best-known church-watchers has asserted that Pope Francis was trapped, in effect, by the gay lobby into naming a prelate with a very murky personal life to a job that would supposedly involve cleaning up the troubled Vatican bank. Pressed about this matter, the pontiff said he hadn’t come across any specifically “gay lobby” although there were plenty of other lobbies of “greedy people” in sight. A “quick investigation” had found the allegations about the newly appointed cleric to be unfounded, he insisted.

To a cynical mind, the pope’s headline-catching refusal to judge gay people might sound like an artful way of neutralising the most embarrassing saga that has come to light during his young papacy.

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Dissident priest says reformers hopeful, but unsure of Pope Francis

COLORADO
The Denver Post

By Electa Draper
The Denver Post

Pope Francis set the world debating whether his candid and concilatory remarks Monday on gays and women in the Catholic Church represent a new direction or simply a kindlier tone.

Archdiocese of Denver spokeswoman Karna Swanson said the pope’s comment — “who am I to judge” gay clergy — was “definitely not a departure” from Catholic teaching. It has always called for respect and compassion for those with same-sex attractions, she said, but doesn’t sanction homosexual acts.

Others aren’t so sure the remarks don’t foreshadow change.

Reformist Roman Catholic Austrian priest Helmut Schüller, in Denver Monday calling for an end to the global priest shortage through ordination of married men and women, also supports a more open and inclusive church for the LGBT community.

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How Religious Indoctrination Enables Clergy Abuse

UNITED STATES
Atheist Revolution

This will be a short post because I really just want to highlight something I read at Bitchspot, which I think is important. Cephus (Bitchspot) has been writing a weekly series of “Horror Show Sunday” posts in which he focuses on some of the worst religion has to offer. In today’s installment, Horror Show Sunday: Take Those Little Girls Home, he tells us about Nigerian pastor Fidelis Eze and how he has admitted taking two 11 year-old girls home and having sex with them. Pastor Eze first claimed that the 11 year-olds consented to sex. When police did not buy that, he claimed he was possessed by evil spirits.

The part I want to highlight is what Cephus had to say to those who complain that it is unfair for him to pick on clergy. As someone who addressed clergy abuse, I’ve certainly received this same complaint. It usually goes something like this: “People in many professions abuse children, so why do you focus on clergy as if it is somehow worse when they do it?” Well, because it is worse when they do it.

Cephus provides three reasons why it makes sense to consider clergy abuse as a special category:

1. The clergy is taught to be respected across wide swaths of American life, parents teach their children to listen to, respect and obey their priests and ministers and to turn to them in moments of crisis, both religious and physical. True, this respect and obedience also extends to a select few other occupations like police, firefighters and teachers, but they do not share other detrimental aspects.

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David Kramer, Jewish School Teacher Guilty of Molestation in St. Louis, Jailed in Australia

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Riverfront Times

By Sam Levin Thu., Jul. 25 2013

Update below: David Kramer, a Jewish school teacher who pleaded guilty to child molestation in St. Louis in 2008, has been sentenced for additional molestation charges — this time in Melbourne, Australia.

St. Louis advocates are drawing attention to the sentencing on the other side of the world this week, in part because Kramer, 52, could be out of jail in just three months — a development victims’ groups say is troubling, in a case in which a convicted child sex offender in Missouri was extradited to Australia.

“He could face other charges. And if he doesn’t, he could walk free soon and assault more children,” Barbara Dorris Outreach Director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), says in a statement.

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People v Sam Kellner…

NEW YORK
Charles Hynes Watch

People v Sam Kellner: Motion to Dismiss in the Interest of Justice

On July 26, 2013, the Law Offices of Michael G. Dowd, representing Sam Kellner in the much publicized case brought against him by DA Hynes, filed a motion to dismiss in the interest of Justice.

Click here to read and download the motion.

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PRIEST DENIES WITHHOLDING ABUSE CLAIMS FROM POLICE AT NSW HUNTER VALLEY ABUSE INQUIRY

AUSTRALIA
7 News

By Dan Cox, ABC
Updated July 29, 2013

A New South Wales Hunter Valley Catholic priest has rejected claims at a public inquiry that he held back information from police because child sexual abuse allegations are “damaging and distasteful”.

Father Bob Searle was the parish priest at Nelson Bay, north of Newcastle, in the late 1990s.

In giving evidence to a Newcastle inquiry today, he said he remembered a person known as AH, a victim of paedophile priest James Fletcher, coming to the presbytery one night drunk and angry and yelling out “nobody loves me”.

Police whistleblower Peter Fox has said that, at the time, Father Searle told him AH was also yelling about priests “doing filthy things to little boys”, but it was not included in his statement to police.

Father Searle said that was because he never heard the comments.

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Australian priests accused of UK abuse

AUSTRALIA/SCOTLAND
SBS

[with video]

A retired Australian priest is at the centre of an investigation accused of allegedly molesting young boys in the UK.

Those allegations come from some of the former students at a private boarding school in Scotland.

Donald Mcleod attended the Fort Augustus Abbey School in Scotland almost half a century ago, but that experience continues to haunts him today.

He told the BBC that he was repeatedly molested by one of the monks – Australian father Aidan Duggan.

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Two Australian monks accused of sex abuse at Scottish Catholic boarding school

AUSTRALIA/SCOTLAND
ABC News

An investigation is underway into a retired Australian priest who is alleged to have sexually abused a student at a Scottish Catholic boarding school.

Father Denis Alexander has been identified in a BBC documentary as one of two Australian monks who allegedly abused pupils at Fort Augustus Abbey School in the Highlands.

The Catholic Church in Australia has confirmed a police investigation into the former priest, who is now living in Sydney, is underway.

But the church has not confirmed the nature of the allegations.

The BBC investigation outlines an allegation from a former student who says he was abused by Fr Denis, then known as Fr Chrysostom, in 1977.

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Scottish Police probe Catholic school abuse claims

SCOTLAND
Fox News

LONDON (AFP) – Police are investigating claims of physical and sexual abuse at one of Scotland’s best known Catholic boarding schools.

The probe follows a BBC investigation which gathered evidence from former pupils at the now-closed Fort Augustus Abbey School and its preparatory school Carlekemp, run by Benedictine monks.

The programme, “BBC Scotland Investigates: Sins of Our Fathers” — which was aired Monday — spoke to 50 pupils and obtained evidence of abuse spanning 30 years.

Police Scotland told AFP that the BBC handed over their information on Sunday and that it was “something that we are investigating at the moment”.

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Inquiry: Davoren cross examined

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

John Davoren of the Catholic church’s Professional Standards Office has come under intense cross examination by counsel for the police force Wayne Roser.

At the special commission of inquiry in Newcastle on Tuesday morning, Mr Roser took Mr Davoren through a series of documents prepared in conjunction with complaints against serial paedophile the late Denis McAlinden.

Mr Davoren accepted that complaints were made to the church about McAlinden before 1997 but he had no knowledge of events that took place before he started his job in that year.

Showing Mr Davoren a complaint form filled out in relation to McAlinden, Mr Roser suggested the form was never sent to police.

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Catholic priests must have sex – Amekudzi

GHANA
Vibe Ghana

Legal practitioner, Benony Tony Amekudzi of “amicus curiae” fame says the Catholic Church must allow Priests to marry and copulate as a way of stopping the sexual abuse of young boys in the Church.

The Catholic Church has always been engrossed in allegations and accusations of sodomy against some Priests.

Not even the Papacy at the Vatican has been spared the raft of sodomy and sexual abuse allegations.

Mr. Amekudzi told XYZ News in an interview on Saturday July 27, 2013 that he strongly believes doing away with the oath of celibacy in the Catholic Church will go a long way toward ending the sexual abuse cases.

According to him, God gave a “command to man and woman to procreate” and so Catholic Priests and Nuns must be allowed to obey that biblical command.

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